I’m Getting Sick

sick-manI WILL NOT SUCCUMB!

I never get sick. But when I do, I do it with abandon. Problem is, I already took two days off last week, just to write on Incongruous Circumspection, and clean the house. I told all my myriad bosses that I was sick. Now, when I’m really sick, I’m going to have to go in and sneeze on everyone.

But that would actually work in my favor. Everyone else would get sick, causing them to wave me off and fall back to sleep, when I announce I’m really not coming in.

Maybe I’ll just take the day off and not tell anyone. Not like they’d notice I’m not there.

Grocery Store Trip with my Analisse

The last time we went on a grocery shopping trip alone, Analisse (6) and I were in Colorado in the middle of nowhere. She wore her sister’s tiara and begged me to wear another one. It was made of plastic and was too small for my head, so I was afraid I was going to break it. Laura (13), the owner, would have wept. I wore a hat instead.

Tonight, we went shopping again and she wore this:

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You can’t see it, but one of her socks is an ankle sock and the other, a mid-calf sock.

We went to Costco and ate dinner. There was a small mishap:

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A full cup of Pepsi, all over the floor. She dropped it and then loudly and publicly blamed me.

Second Guessing My Life Choices: Kids’ Room Edition

hazardous-wasteI took the last two days off from work, just to get on top of the house. Since the end of August, when we went to the Colorado mountains, the house has gotten away from us. School began. Kristine had her tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy/deviated septum/sinus polyp removal/uvula removal/etc. surgery, where she was out for two weeks. But mostly, my kids are allergic (epi pen-esque) to cleaning, with very few exceptions, mostly due to the phases of the moon on a weekend where the temperature difference between the inside of the house and the outside is directly proportional to the number of coherent sentences published in the current edition of The Hill vs. the number of omitted co-authors of the latest academic paper from the chemistry department of USC, due to their lack of Photoshop experience, botching the smoothing of the edges of their microscope images.

In other words, only my eldest really cleans on a consistent basis, and even she is beginning to see the fairness ratio in this equation. I’m sure, if the rest of the kids read this, they would be furious, pointing out all of their hard work. But they lack an understanding of the Sisyphus nature of cleaning. They think, “Once I’ve done enough, I am done for life.” It doesn’t work that way.

Which finds me walking down the hallway to the laundry room, this morning. I pass by the boys bedroom and smell a sour and rotten stench coming from it. We had worked into the night, last night, uncovering the floor and had been very successful in that endeavor. There was probably a day’s worth of work left to do and I wrote the smell off as having uncovered an old sock that had been soaked in waffle grease and laid lovingly on top of a banana peel.

I walked past again. And again. Then once more. I couldn’t take it anymore. I rushed downstairs, grabbed a pile of cleaners, a garbage bag, and a roll of paper towels, and ran back up to the room. Entering, I was met with a cloud of fruit flies. It was dark in there. I had to adjust my eyes to the lighting and use my nose as the chief sense to find the rotten cup of pudding on top of their dresser.

Only, it wasn’t just a pudding cup. It seemed to have boiled over, liquefying all over the flat top, gluing down coins, legos, Nerf bullets, baseball, Pokemon, and Valentine’s Day cards, and had permanently affixed a lava lamp to the surface. I lifted up the pudding cup. Sticky strings came with it. There was a mound of something else that looked like a pile of tiny maggots. I picked that up with my fingers. It came off in one piece, didn’t crumble, and is now in the garbage outside, along with everything else. Sure, they lost a few toys but, whatever.

It’s all clean now, but I’m wondering how on earth humans can exist in such filth. I’ve figured out a final solution to this problem – I’m banning pudding and only allowing Jello.

Michelle Bachmann and Biblical Sexual Assaults

sirani_elisabetta_-_timoclea_uccide_il_capitano_di_alessandro_magno_-_1659“Is sexual assault against women a big issue? Yooooou bet it is!”

Said Michelle Bachmann on the “Stand in the Gap” radio program. She then followed it up with:

“I believe that Hillary Clinton will set a standard in this country that will lead to even more sexual assaults against women, because she will be setting anti-biblical agenda.”

Really, Michelle Bachmann? I’m not so sure. Let’s look at the Biblical standards for sexual assault.

First, Judges 21:10 – 24

10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

13 Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.

15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. 16 And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? 17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. 18 We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ 19 But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not giveyour daughters to them.’”

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.

Sounds a lot like sexual assault to me. But wait…let’s continue! Numbers 31:7 – 18:

They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burnedall the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Hmmm…seems a bit like ownership of a woman to me. If she’s a virgin, you get to keep her! If not…kill ’em all! Yeah. Forget sexual assault. This Biblical stuff needs its own terminology.

Let’s keep going, shall we? Deuteronomy 20:10 – 14:

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

What? God-sanctioned ownership of the women of the town? Of course, this doesn’t say anything about checking their vaginas for an intact hymen, but we can be fairly certain this whole virgin business was quite important to the barbarians.

This Biblical stuff is fun! Let’s actually look at the law of God. Deuteronomy 22:28 – 29:

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Oh God no!!!! No God! That can’t be what you meant! Surely Michelle Bachmann, you’re anointed one, knows the Biblical laws better than those libruls! Hell…Hillary Clinton supports an anti-biblical agenda! I’m feeling a little cognitive dissonance here…

Deuteronomy 22:23, 24:

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

Um…I’ll just let that one speak for itself.

Deuteronomy 21:10 – 14:

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

Now THAT one is just weird. But hey! It’s Biblical!

Meh. I’m bored. Let’s look at Minnesota’s rape and sexual assault laws, otherwise known as Minnesota’s anti-biblical agenda. The link is here

Rape and sexual assault are illegal in Minnesota, as in all other states. However, Minnesota doesn’t call these crimes by the usual terms. The legal name for the crime of rape and sexual assault is “criminal sexual conduct.” Minnesota has five degrees or levels of criminal sexual conduct that vary based on the unlawful sexual activity and the age of the victim.

You can read all the gory details of why we can’t do what the Bible teaches anymore, at that website.

But really, it seems to me that Michelle Bachmann has it back-asswards. Donald Trump is biblically within his rights to do anything he wants to a woman, as long as he has 30-shekels of silver jingling and jangling in his pocketses for her pa. And only sometimes might he be kilt at the gate – but not to worry, so does the female, being she didn’t yell loud enough to stop the rape.

I think I’ll stick with Hillary’s anti-biblical agenda.

The Biggest Scandal of the Year

stream_imgShe mocks my iPhone.

In June, 2015, I wept as I gave up my Windows Phone, replete with the beautiful and intelligent voice of Cortana, and moved over to the iPhone 6. I wept because I hate being like everyone else and had held out hope, for two years, that the technology would improve, people would catch wind of the perfection that was the Windows Phone, and move to the platform in droves.

In the span of two years, the technology continually broke down where I had to get my phone replaced exactly eight times. My cell carrier, Verizon, had trained their people to deal with tech problem on the iPhone and Samsung’s line of devices, but had failed to give their technicians even a brochure that the Windows Phone existed. Not to mention, the Windows Store app library was so unpopular, the only Google apps available were third party. And those broke every time Google changed their API. And I needed Google.

So I went to the iPhone. My wife was on a Samsung S5, or whatever the hell they called them then. I had watched as she struggled to remove simple storage, in order to free up space to just send texts. I watched as the battery life and charging abilities made you feel like you were using heavy duty batteries from the dollar store. I watched as saving and watching videos took half-a-dozen finger touches to get where you wanted to be. And I went with the iPhone.

She has laughed at me every day since. Whenever Samsung announced a new feature, she would laugh. Every time she put her phone on the wireless charger (which is still wired to the wall), she would laugh. Whenever she heard that Apple was removing a time-tested, standard feature, she would laugh. Every time she saw me purchase an official Apple accessory or a charger, for exorbitant prices, she would laugh.

And I took it. Humbly, with silent gloating eyes of intrepid pride. I knew I was hooked. Hooked with the ease of this device I held in my hands. A device that would sometimes get warm, but would never explode or melt my nether regions. A device that never required me to delete OS backup files, in order to get 1K extra space to send a text. A device that the FAA gladly let me take onto a plane. A device THAT. JUST. WORKED. I’m not a gadget guy and don’t spend three seconds in an entire year, messing with the configuration of my iPhone. It looks nearly the same as it did when I took it out of the box last year (except for that large crack on the bottom of the screen).

So when the Samsung Note 7 began to melt, causing the company to halt production, kill the entire thing, and lose $20 billion off their market cap, I expected an apology. A tearful one. One done on her knees, wringing her hands in the style of the old black and white motion pictures. I imagined the softness of her lovely face, even softer around the edges, lit with the rays of a sunbeam straight from the heavens, as she wept in non-contrivance, begging me to forgive her, acknowledging that I had been right all along.

And nothing. Nothing but silence.

It’s bloody difficult to be so humble.

The Art of the Deal: A Broccoli Cheese Soup Tale

broccoli-cheese-soup_5992At the end of August, my bride and I surprised the kids, waking them up at 4:00AM, having packed the previous day, and told them to get dressed and get ready for a week in Colorado. We were taking them on a plane for the first time in most of their lives. The older three had vacationed to Maine many years ago, flying on the old Midwest Airlines (I miss them so much), but nobody actually remembered the experience.

They were so excited.

During that week, we stayed on a ranch in south central Colorado, about 12-miles from a horse ranch where you could ride horses – and eat. The place was owned by a lovely couple and their mother cooked the food for the guests. One morning, when my wife and girls got back from riding, we sat down and ordered food.

Laura (13) ordered a large bowl of broccoli cheese soup, The Freak (6) ordered some nondescript sandwich  with a pile of large fries, and Fred (11…also, he has decided he does not like to be called Frederic anymore) ordered another forgettable sandwich with massive onion rings on the side.

Fred and Laura despise each other. Their personal hatred for one another is greater than the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

“Fred, can I have some of your onion rings? I can trade some soup,” Laura asked.

“No.”

That was it. No explanation. Just a quick and dirty rejection with no fanfare.

“Laura, can I have some of your soup? I’ll give you some fries,” Analisse (The Freak) piped up.

“I don’t want fries. I want onion rings! Daddy! Fred won’t trade me his onion rings!”

I shrugged, ignoring the tattling. It had been like this the entire vacation and I was simply tired of it. Ignoring it didn’t make it go away, caused me even more stress, but gave the semblance that I was actually indifferent to the pointless non-issues at hand.

Laura slumped in a huff and made noises of disgust.

“Fred, can I have an onion ring for three of my fries,” Analisse asked.

“Sure!”

Over the cries of unfairness by Laura, The Freak crossed to Fred’s table, summarily dropping four fries (one more for a reason you’ll soon see) on his plate, grabbed the largest onion ring (which Fred couldn’t argue about now, being she gave him extra fries), walked over to Laura’s table, dropped the onion ring on her plate, grabbed the spoon without so much as a polite request, and slurped down an ample helping of soup.

Fred was pissed. Here, his archenemy got an onion ring, when he had worked his rear  end off keeping it from Laura. He made it quite clear that he didn’t want Laura to have it even then.

“It’s not your onion ring, Fred. It was mine,” Analisse giggled.

Fred had no case and was left mumbling under his breath. He had been bested. Everyone had been bested.

And The Freak’s stomach was full of warm soup.

I Get Comments: Thanks for the Laugh

maxresdefaultI posted a eulogy to the Dunn Bros Coffee shop in my lowly town and a reader by the handle of blf left the following comment, which gave me a good chuckle:

Weirdly, when I lived in the States, I tended to drink tea — even though most USAliens have no idea how to make the stuff — at least until I moved to Santa Cruz, where it’s illegal to be more than c.10 metres from a coffee shop. Then I discovered espresso.

So in England, I drank coffee. Despite the English having a clew how to make tea. And espresso being, initially, at the time, a weird foreign thing…

In France, where it is again illegal to be more than a few metres from a cafe, moar espresso! So the typical day is: Get up. Stumble towards the the nearest cafe. Realize I forget to put clothes on and stumble back… Stumble back, dressed. Have a croissant and a café. Stumble slightly less to the cafe. Café. Walk more-or-less upright to the bus terminal. Vending-machine pseudo-café. With a foul taste in the mouth and fully awake, wish the bus had a pissoir. Arrive near work, which is slightly closer than the cafe. And has a WC. Relived, get first espresso in the break room. Sit down at desk, get up, and go back to the WC. (Repeat…)

And then there’s the vin

Now I want to move to France.

Early Morning Burglary

cartoon-burglarWe were robbed last night.

I woke up at 2:35AM with a start. Light from the garage was pouring into my bedroom windows.

“That’s weird,” I thought, “I swear I turned that light off before I went to bed.

I threw my wife’s red robe on and walked downstairs to flip off the switch to the garage, beside the front door. I reached my hand around the corner and stopped cold. The switch was in the direction I had flipped it earlier, which meant only one thing – the garage light had been turned on from inside the garage.

I mustered the courage and then peeked out the window, staring at the light and the garage for a few moments, waiting for burglars to bust out of the garage, carrying away my plywood scraps, old chairs, kayak with a hole in it, and a tent that leaked when the sky sneezed. I even flipped the light off and on a few times to let the thugs know I meant business.

Nothing moved.

Groggily, I climbed the stairs again, to find my slippers. I had no interest in chasing a fleet-footed, Amazonian woman in bare feet, though, with my ample callouses, I wouldn’t feel a thing, even if I had reason to chase her over hot coals.

“What are you doing,” my wife asked, irritated?

I explained. She shot out of bed, grabbed a robe, and told me to follow her.

I obediently hid behind her, making sure to touch her butt, so she would have moral support. We walked outside together and walked to the garage. Everything was buttoned shut. Nothing was missing. Turning around, I noticed our old grill missing, our shiny new one, sitting in its place.

“Oh right. I told Josh to come and get the old grill. His wife said it would probably be the wee hours of the morning.”

Disaster averted, we went back to bed. My hero status would have to wait.

The Untold Story of the New Minnesota Vikings Stadium Design

vikes_birdseyeThe architect, hired to design the new Minnesota Vikings stadium was up late, working through several designs. He was frustrated. Nothing jumped out at him as “the one” design. They were all meh.
 
Rubbing his eyes one last time, he grabbed the large papers on his desk, loudly crumpled them up into one large ball of cellulose, tossed them back onto the slightly tilted table, and walked out the door for the weekend.
 
Saturday morning came bright and early. The architect’s boss, needing to take care of a few things at the office, opened the front door and walked in. Walking through the medium-sized office, he passed the late-working architect’s desk and stopped in his tracks. There before him lay the crumpled paper, lines and measurements still clearly seen on all protruding sides.
His face lit up and he dropped his briefcase on the floor, gingerly scooping the seeming mess into his arms.
“Genius!!!”