Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ask the Alien

Dear Ask the Alien:
My children have started, lately, to introduce me to their friends as, "my mother's current husband." When I order them to stop, they just laugh. My daughter is 12 and my son is 14, and they somehow think this is "hip" behavior I suspect they have also been hiding my tools, and the other day they dropped my car keys behind a couch and it took me half a day to find them. My son wants me to sign for him to get a tattoo of his girlfriend's name across his chest and my daughter keeps asking about the possibility of birth-control pills, and asking why a high-school diploma is so important. My wife isn't helping. She is gone most of the day, sometimes well into the evening, and the other night, during sex, she called me "Harrison.," (not my name). On top of it all, our faithful dog, Arson, has started to growl at me when I come home.

My question is this: should I upgrade to Windows Ten?


Dear Perplexed:
Since you failed to provide the type of work you are involved in, it's hard to form a recommendation. I would simply say that, in the shortage of usable data, I would recommend that, whatever operating system you use, you get one that allows you to play solitary games.

The Alien C.W.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

336. Pairings

“Do you think if you had it all to do over, that you would have gotten married?”

Uh, oh. C.W. was obviously playing one of his little tricks on me. I looked around to see who might be within earshot, and saw no one. “Sure,” I said, then I raised the volume a bit. “Absolutely.”

“To the same woman?” He had, by the way, assumed a new form he has grown fond of lately. He calls it “Leon the Neo-Liberal.” I can’t really describe it. Just imagine Johnny Depp playing Stephen King in a movie.

“Of course,” I said, nearly shouting. “Why do you ask?”

“Just curious,” he said. He toyed with his wrist-phone, raised it to eye level, looked, and said, “Why do members of your species get married?”

We were sitting in the living room waiting for full light so we could take a walk. He came in as I was writing, and I had to quit to answer his questions. I thought long and hard before framing my answer to this one. “I don’t know,” I said. “Companionship?”

“Have you read what your Apostle Paul had to say about it, marriage that is?”

“He was against it, I think.”

“Pretty much so,” he said, “unless you were weak in spirit—lacked ‘moral fiber’ so to speak—and had found a woman you just had to …”

“I know the conditions,” I said. “It’s better to marry than to be tempted into immorality.”

“Quite so,” he said. “How long have you been married?”

“Forty-four years,” I said. “Why are you asking me all this?”

He ignored me. “Mrs. Big Dope says it seems like it’s been longer than that.”

I ignored his jibe. “You know what a joker she can be.”

“So why did you marry her? I mean how did you come to pick her? Did you do an internet search or something?”

“There was no internet then,” I said. “One scoured the bars, Sunday schools, and fast-foods hoping for the best.”
It's like they say, I suppose.
The grass isn't greener on the
other side. The grass is 
where you water it. - C.W.

“I heard that,” a sleepy voice boomed from the next room.

I turned to C.W. “Can we change the subject?”

“So why did she take you? I mean you obviously lacked moral fiber.”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Was she desperate or something?”

I lowered my voice and moved closer to him. “Well,” I said, “she was past sixteen, the official age of spinsterhood in our state.” Then I raised my voice. “She could have had her choice of men,” I said, “but in her infinite wisdom and kindness, she saw something in me.”

It was his turn to think. “I wonder what it was,” he said.

“You wonder,” the voice from the next room said. “How do you think I feel?”

“I think I may be talking to the wrong person here,” he said. He rose and left the room. I heard him say, “Pardonnez-moi jeune fille. May I have a word?”

I just groaned and tried to go back to writing, but I had forgotten what I wanted to say.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

335. Explaining

 It’s a rainy day with no chance to go outdoors. The family is off doing things, and I’m left alone with C.W. The politics are oozing from the bizarre to the ridiculous and we don’t care to watch the Olympics on TV. I’ve settled in with a stack of magazines, wanting to catch up and enjoy the respite, and, you guessed it, it’s “Splainin’ Day.”

First clue? C.W. entered in his best Ricky Ricardo form and in a highly agitated state. “Hey Big Dope,” he yelled, “you got some splainin’ to do.”


He sat across from me. “I’m confused,” he said. “You gotta tell me ‘bout some tings.”

“Like what?” I laid the magazine on a table.

“Let’s start with these races,” he said, holding up the sports section of the paper. “What difference does it make if one person gets to a point a fraction of a second before the rest?”

“I suppose it’s a test of excellence,” I said.

“Ain’t they all within what you call one standard deviation?”

“I suppose so.”


“What else can I explain?”

“You ain’t ‘splained that yet,” he said, “but here’s another. I been talkin’ to the Galilean.”

“You are the Galilean,” I said. “At least when you want to be. Try explaining that.”

He looked at me with a quizzical expression. “Don’t you never talk to yourself?”

“Only when I question why I put up with you.”

“So I axed the Galilean …”

“You didn’t ‘axe’ the Galilean. You asked him. There’s a big difference. Let’s adjust your Galactic Universal Translator.”

“You leave my GUT out of this,” he said. “it is just fine ... don’t need no meddlin’ with.”

“Next question,” I said.

“The Galilean says divorces, they suck.”

“He phrased it that way?”

“I tink so.”

“So he is against divorces?”

“Oh yeah. He says they …”

“I know. They suck.”

“You been talkin’ to him too?”

“So what about divorces?”

“You ever heard of this Franklin Graham man?”

“The evangelist?”

“The one say he talk to God.”

“Yes. I’ve heard of him.”

“He say God tell him Americans got to vote for a man done had two divorces and, like Mrs. Big Dope say, ‘the crack of dawn ain’t safe around him.’ What’s up with this?”

“Mr. Graham is a sick man.”

“He got cancer or sometin’?”

“No, he’s deranged,” I said. “Next question.”

“Why you got such a small house?”


“Why you make me live in such a small house. The Falloonian over in Virginia lives in a 10,000 square foot home. Plenty of room.”
Vote for a man endorsed
by the KKK? Que? - C.W.

“Maybe he lives with a large family.”

“Just a man and his wife.”

“Maybe they are rich.”

“They both work two jobs. Know what?”

“No. What?”

“She got a desk in her bathroom in case she want to write a letter or sometin’”

“Americans like big houses, I said.

“Mrs. Big Dope say they be compensatin,’” he said.

“Next question.”

He thought. “Why your Doctors give their patients antibiotics for viruses? They don’t even do that on Rumpamundovia?”

“I think because their patients demand it,” I said. I started to say more but I heard noises from the next room. Someone was listening. Then a high-pitched, mocking, female voice yelled out.

“Honey, I’m home,” it said.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

334. Feelings

“Got a minute?”

I looked up. There was a favorite character that C.W. loved to shape himself into: Reggie the Young Conservative. Given the events of the last couple of months, this might be interesting. “Sure,” I said. “Have a seat.” I laid my book on a side table as he took a seat in front of me. “What’s up?”

“I’ve been to a party conference,” he said, straightening his bow tie.

That didn’t surprise me. He has been known to infiltrate all sorts of gatherings due to his ability to adapt his shape to the needs of the hour. I asked, “What type of conference?”

“A policy conference. We’re finalizing our platform policies for the big election.”

I knew what he wanted but I decided to play it coy. “That’s nice,” I said.

He fidgeted and opened a notebook he had carried in with him. When I didn’t respond, he said. “Wouldn’t you like to hear them?”

“Oh,” I said, “of course,” as if I had realized what he was up to for the first time. He gave me a dirty look.

“They’re great,” he said as he opened the notebook. “They’ll produce a landslide for us without a doubt.”

“That’s nice,” I said.


I nodded.

“Number One,” he said. “Anger.”


“You heard me … anger. Don’t you know what anger is.” He looked confused. “Think of Mrs. Big Dope.”

“I know what anger is,” I said. “I’ve just never thought of it as a political party platform.”

“You’re stuck in the past,” he said. “Number Two,” he looked to see my reaction. “Resentment.”

“Resentment of what?”

“Not what,” he said. “Whom.”

“Then whom?”

“People who don’t normally vote for our party.”

I groaned. “C.W. …”

“Reggie,” he said.

“Reggie,” I said. “Resentment is not a policy.”

“Three,” he said, “Paranoia.”

“Would you stop this? I get your joke. It scares me but I get it.”

“What joke? Number Four, Science …”

“Now,” I said. “That’s better. The advancement and support of science would be a great party platform."

“Is evil,” he said. “Number Five. Education ...”

“Well at least you are on the right track there. We need a better educational system for all.”

“Is unnecessary,” he said. “Number Six, Faith.”

“There you go again,” I said. “Faith in what?”

He gave me his best ‘dumb question’ look. “The Party first, guns second, exceptionalism third, and religion fourth.” He stopped and checked a note. “The right religion of course. Number Seven, Fear.”

Now that's the look we want on the face
of the voter at the November elections. - C.W.
“What do you mean? Fear is not a policy.”

“A policy is what makes a person vote your way, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it move people to action?”

“Well I don’t know …”

Just then, we heard a loud female voice from the kitchen. “Get in here right now,” it shouted. I rose and started hurrying in that direction.

He watched me, smiling, and I heard him making a note to himself as I left. “Move fear up to Number One,” he said.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Morning Thoughts

We were taking a morning walk and I was telling C.W. about my childhood. He seemed to be interested so I told him about some folks I knew as a child. One in particular interested him.

In the rural community where I was reared, there lived be a mentally disabled man whom everyone, himself included, called “Happy Bill.” He was a slight, sprite African-American who, when poked in the ribs, would yell out exactly what he was thinking at that second. It might be “white donkeys,” kiss her now,” or “jitterbugs,” whatever was on his mind. The local thugs tortured him constantly and cruelly for fun and frivolity.

C.W. thought. “They tortured him just to hear him blurt?”

“They did. It was great fun, particularly if a crowd had gathered in my father’s little country grocery store. They poked. He blurted. Everyone laughed.”

“Odd,” he said.

“It was odd,” I said. “Just a way for rednecks to feel superior.”

“No,” he said. “That’s not what I meant by odd.”

“Oh, really.”

“No,” he said. “I was thinking about that man who is running for the president of your country.”

“What about him?”

“He blurts out what is on his mind without being poked.”


“Not many people are laughing.”

This man is becoming a cult figure on my planet,
for reasons that you might expect - C.W. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Morning Thoughts

Morning Friends:

Just a thought to start your day.

May the farce be with you.

Your Pal

Sunday, August 7, 2016


I was minding my own business when in walked a young man much in the style and appearance of the actor Harrison Ford. He stopped in the middle of the room, assumed a pose of thoughtfulness, and said nothing. It was clear to me that he wanted to appear cool.

“C.W.” I said. “Sup?”

His cool demeanor sank. Confusion spread over his face like ants flooding a hill.

“Sit,” I said, and motioned to chair opposite me.

He sat, but was still confused. “What does ‘sup’ mean? Is it short for ‘supper’ or something?”

“No,” I said. “The young folks use it as short for ‘what’s up’ when they meet.”

“Why don’t they just say ‘what is up,’ so they won’t confuse strangers?”

“Kids these days don’t converse with strangers,” I said. “Anyway, you seem to have something on your mind.”

He relaxed. “I do,” he said.

“And it is …?

“A new business.”

“And that business is to be called what?”

“Solutions Are Us.”

“That sounds like an interesting business. What kind of problems will you be solving?”

“Oh,” he said, “we won’t be offering problems. Just solutions.”

It was my turn to be confused. “You will create solutions for no particular problems?”

“A great business plan, don’t you think?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “What gave you this idea?”

“The fascination that some of your species has with voter ID requirements.”

“Say again?”

“In my studies, I deduced that someone saw value in a solution that would make it hard for certain voter groups to vote.”


“They needed a problem to fit the solution.”

“So,” I said, “it was a simple matter to envision voter fraud.”

“Precisely,” he said. “As they say on the Planet Santural, “when the solution appears, the master will provide the problem.”

“That planet,” I said, “is it an advanced one?”

“No,” he said, “very undeveloped, barely five tetra-centuries ahead of yours.”

“You have other solutions in your repertoire?”

“How about drug testing?”

“And what problems might that work for?”

“You name it,” he said, “voting, college entrance, financial assistance, home location, marriage, sex, cell phone usage, Facebook access, …”

“I see,” I said, interrupting him. “Any others?”

“Forced reading. That’s a good one.”

That got my attention. “And what problems might that be aimed at?”

He just looked at me as if I had given the wrong answer to a simple question. “For starters,” he said, “religious fanaticism, conservatism, addiction to fake news channels, internet-generated ignorance, belief in male dominance, bigotry. Should I go on?”
You have to admit, creating a solution is
much easier than identifying a problem. - C.W.

“I think you have made your point. Any others?”

“Social justice.”

“That’s a good one,” I said. “Lots of promise there.”

“Unfortunately,” he said. “It’s not selling well in our test markets.”

“Oh, and where might those be?”

“In what many people refer to as your Biblical-strip of leather or other material worn around the waist.”

“Say what?” Then it hit me. “Do you by chance mean our Bible-Belt.?”

“That is exactly what I said.” He stopped, took a pencil and pad from his pockets and wrote as he spoke, “Hearing aids.”

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