Sunday, May 21, 2017

374. Writing

“What in the world are you doing?”

C.W. looked up at me. He had been hunched over my laptop computer typing furiously. I would describe his shape closer to John Steinbeck, the author, than anyone. A lit cigarette dangled from his mouth. “What?”

“You’d better put that thing out before my wife gets home,” I said.

“Nuts,” he said. He took a long drag, walked to door, and flipped the butt away. He returned and sat at the laptop again, seeming to forget I was there. He typed for a moment, then appeared to notice my presence. He looked at me. “Don’t you have something to do?”

“I hope that if I do, I won’t need my computer for it.”

“Use Mrs. Big Dope’s,” said. “She’s not here.”

“I don’t share your death wish. Just what, exactly, are you doing?”

“Updating Elmore Leonard’s rules of good writing. It’s time someone did.”

“Oh,” I said, “such as his advice to ‘leave out the part that readers tend to skip?’”

“Yeah,” he said. “But I have one better.”


He turned to the laptop screen, “If you feel compelled to write a lengthy flashback, stab yourself in the foot with an icepick instead.”

“That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?”

“Never shirk from suffering for your art,” he said, “That’s another one.”


He read again, “Before attempting to describe a sex scene, digest a good laxative. Both your body and your readers will thank you.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Here’s another. Don’t dignify a child character with insight, logic, or meaningful dialogue.” Before I could respond, he continued. “Unless you are certain that you are William Faulkner reborn in a new skin, and ready to take up where he left off, don’t ever include a sentence containing more than 14 words, including adverbs and em dashes—which you should omit anyway—no matter how strongly you are tempted.”

Aching to respond, I chose instead to listen. He was on a roll.

“Never write a novel using the present tense,” he said, “That isn’t story telling, it’s stage direction.”

For this one, I nodded in agreement.

“If all you want to write about is angst,” he said, “do us all a favor and join a monastery.”

“Uh,” I said. “I don’t think there would be any modern novels being published.”

He ignored me. “If a man buys his wife a new gas range in Chapter One, make sure someone finds his head in it by Chapter 20.”

What can I say? - C.W.

I had to think about this one.

“Avoid using the literary suicide of metaphors and similes, like a politician avoiding the truth.”

“Uh … .

“And finally,” he said, “the best of all.”

I braced myself.

“Never, never, never, let female soldiers, at isolated outposts, wear uniforms consisting of wet t-shirts and bikini bottoms …” He stopped. “No, no,” he said. “That’s one from my rules for filmmaking. Wait one.” He scrolled.

I waited again.

“Here it is,” he said. “Never allow a female to resolve a crisis with her raw strength or a man with his logic.” He smiled and looked up. “So, what do you think?”

“I think I want to think,” I responded gravely to his question. Suddenly, a dam burst in my head. The brown-tinges walls of the room, set off by ivory trim and decorated tastefully with art purchased carefully over the years and immaculately placed in an arrangement best complimenting one another and adding a splendid counterpoint to the glass fixture hanging from a dappled ceiling took me back to the first day I thought I might like to write something someday. I am enjoying a warm day in late April and a gentle breeze is bringing darkening cumulus clouds that are threatening rain …

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Morning thoughts: Abuse

C.W. and I were talking …

“Did he really say that?” Left Head asked.

“Oh yes. It’s on tape.”

“That he is mistreated somehow?”



“Most unfairly.”

“Made to suffer?”

“More than any politician in history.”

“Has he ever been to a Syrian refugee camp?” Middle Head asked.

“I don’t think so.”

Right Head, the happy-smile one joined in. “He feels he’s been abused somehow?”

“Apparently. At least that’s what he told the Coast Guard graduates.

“Has he ever been to a Miley Cyrus Concert?” Right Head wanted to know.

Middle Head stared into space, thought, and spoke. “Or to a poetry jam?”

Left Head: “A Joel Osteen service?”

Middle Head: “Forced to sit in a waiting room with Fox News on the TV?”

Right Head: “Has he ever picked strawberries for a living?”

Left Head: “Sat through a Henry Kissinger lecture?”

Middle Head: "Roofed a house during an Arkansas summer?”

Right Head: “Forced to attend a massed banjo concert?”

Left Head: “Or a Jennifer Hudson one?”

“The horror! The horror!” I said. Please stop. “I get your point.”

“One more,” Right Head said.

“Okay, but hurry.”

“Remember,” he said, looking toward the kitchen, “that cornbread gravy Mrs. Big Dope made from some magazine recipe?”

“The nifrphceenacin! The nifrphceenacin!” said Middle Head, lapsing, in his shock, into Falloonian.

“I think we might better change the subject,” I said. “She has great plans for supper. It is the greatest plan ever made. It is going to be a super plan and we are going to love it. We’ll be winners again, right?”

“Yes, of course,” in unison. “It is good when she cooks. We win when she cooks. We’re almost tired of winning.”

I think they are beginning to learn what abuse truly is.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

373. Truth in Advertising

“I’ve been thinking.”

Oh no.

“Did you hear me?”


“I said I’ve been thinking.” C.W. was in the form of Reggie the Young Conservative. (Picture Sean Spicer without the disarming personality). Any wariness developed from a memory of the last time he admitted to thinking. This time, we were driving around looking for ideas for a column on urban planning due in a week. It was no use resisting. When he gets in this shape, he is like a bulldog.

“Okay. Share.”

“I still think I could make it in the advertising business,” he said. With that, he produced a notepad and began to study it.

“We’ve been through this already.”

“I know. We’ve had some rough times before.”

“Correction. You’ve had some rough times before.”


“Remember the time you wanted my wife to become the model for ‘The White Aunt Jemima,’ and what happened?”

“Like I explained to Mrs. Big Dope, it was a brilliant plan to take racism out of an otherwise successful ad campaign. It would have worked, too.”

“Do you still have the bruise from the iron skillet?”

He pressed on. “I’ve done the research, this time,” he said. “I plan to capture and utilize the three major elements of the current mood in your country.”

“Which are?”

He consulted his pad. “Braggadocio, brevity, and bullsh… .”

“Stop there. That’s enough.”

“So, what do you think?”

“Try me." I had turned the car and was headed home.”

“Okay.” He looked and read. “Our light bulbs last a whole two weeks.”

“Oh, that it were so. What else?”

“Our print cartridges will print 20 sheets, guaranteed.”

“If they could do that, you’d have a winner.”

“We don’t have to win,” he said. “We just have to sell.”

“Ah.” A minute passed. “Have any more?”

He looked and read. “Our clothes even look good on fat people.”


He was on a roll now. “Be thin, win, never exercise again, no matter how big you’ve been.” He stopped. “We’ll have to have a spokesperson from the South, so all those words will rhyme.”

“Of course. Do you see any applications in political campaigns?”

“Oh,” he said. “That where we will excel without a doubt. Here … ,” he turned a page in a notebook and read, “Feel trapped? We tell the truth, and it will set you free.”

“Oh please.”
The truth may set us free.
But it doesn't pay the bills. - C.W.

“We fear no woman alive.”


“We love everybody and everybody loves us.”

“Stop. Stop.”

“Win with us and stop the fuss.”

“You’re getting worse.” We had completed our touring by then and were back home in the living room. He had gone nonstop and was still going. I was having a beer, and he was on fire. “Here’s a great one,” he said. “Our vision of America is so simple a public-school teacher could understand it.”

“Suggest you don’t try that one out around the mistress.”

“Oh,” he said, “here’s one I did just for her. He flipped a page. “We promise to round immigrants up like a bunch of stray dogs and … ,”

A voice from the kitchen interrupted him. “As soon as I find my skillet,” it said, “I’m going to round somebody up.”

I had turned toward the sound. When I looked back, Reggie, C.W., whoever, was gone. Since then, I’ve heard no more about this advertising business.    

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

372. News

“Gone? For how long?”

“Don’t know. It depends on the punishment they mete out to me.”


“Punishment.” It was the Walter Cronkite—C.W., his most somber form, the one he takes when things are serious, very serious.

“By whom? What kind of punishment? For What?”

“The Falloonian Elders are punishing me for sending them fake news. The sentence will depend, of course, on my defense.”

“Fake news is punishable now?”

“In Falloonia, yes. We take information much more seriously than your species does.”

“So, have you just been making stuff up, like our …, uh, like some folks are doing?”

“Certainly not,” he said with an uncharacteristic vehemence. “Everything I’ve sent them is fact-checked and accurate.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“They’re saying what I reported could never have happened.”

“Too complicated, or too controversial? Do the events not translate? Are they cynical, or too critical?”

“Oh,” he said, “it varies. Some are quite tragic.” He fumbled in a pile of papers and handed me a sheet. I recognized it at once. It involved an incident in our state that happened just last week. During a heavy flash flood, a woman in a mountainous community donned a helmet and life jacket and went “tubing” down a raging creek. They found her body later.

“This really happened,” I said. “I can vouch for you here.”

“Would you?” he said. He thought. “But you can’t help me with this one.” He retrieved another sheet and handed it over. It was another flooding incident, one of numerous similar stories published during the recent flooding. This one involved a man from a neighboring state who drove his pickup truck around a police barricade and was swept into the floodwaters.

“But,” I said. “Look where it happened. Won’t they make allowances for that?”

“No,” he said. “Unfortunately, it came on the heels of this national report.” He handed the next sheet over. It was an account of plans to market a cell phone shaped like a banana. Yes, really, a banana.

“I see. Well, these are easily proven.”

“Those aren’t the most serious,” he said. “Here’s the one that got me into the most trouble.” He handed over a sheet and I recognized it at once. It occurred just this week in our very city.

“But this happened,” I said. “It really happened.”

“Try convincing a bunch of aged creatures from a civilized planet of that.” He read from the sheet, Three drunken men steal a three-foot livealligator from a nature center.” He stopped, looked at a wall clock, and stared back at me, his voice breaking. “I’m doomed,” he said.
I call this, "Hold my beer
and watch this news." - C.W
He stiffened and his eyes turned metallic. This means one thing. He is getting a message from his home planet and responding. He listened, then nodded slightly. Then he did the strangest thing. He let out a soft laugh. Next, his face brightened with a smile. He nodded once more, relaxed and turned to me.

“It’s over,” he said. “They’ve received verification from the other resident aliens.”

“That’s great, but you almost laughed once,” I said. “What was so funny?”

“It seems,” he said, “that reading these reports has become a huge source of planetary merriment on Falloonia. They want more, and they want them fast. Do you think we can manage? I’d hate to be in another kind of trouble for not fulfilling their orders.”

“C.W.,” I said. “This is America. Don’t worry about a thing.”

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Or order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw Press, Amazon, or other book sellers.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Humor

C.W. and I were talking …

Right Head, or “Giggles” as I call him, was guffawing. The other two were frowning and trying to ignore him.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“He’s been reading about the leader of this political party that’s in power now, Left Head said.

“He thinks it is funny,” Middle head said. “What do you think?”

I pondered the question. “The word ‘alarming’ comes to mind.” I said. I turned to Giggles. “What’s cracking you up now?”

“Mrs. Big Dope,” he said. “She keeps me in sudden, stabbing pains in the side.”

“In stitches?”

“Why do repeat things I say?” he said, stifling a laugh.

“So, what did she say about our president?”

Between laughs, he said, “She said he was so helpless that he needed a dictionary to spell TV.”

We all smiled. “Tell him the one about the chair,” Left Head said.

“She said she heard he stands on a chair two hours a day trying to raise his IQ.”

We all had a good snicker over this. That just encouraged Giggles.

“She said the only way they could keep him out of trouble was to sit him down, coat his fingers with honey, and hand him a feather.” With this he mimicked a person pulling something from one hand and then the other, repeating the process while concentrating intently.

“Has she told you about what he and his staff remind her of?”

I thought. “Does it involve monkeys, copulation, and a football?”

He quit giggling and looked crestfallen. “You’re no fun,” he said. He turned to the others. “Let’s go find Mrs. Big Dope. She’s a sound an owl makes.”

“She may be a ‘hoot,’ I said, “but you shouldn’t egg her on like that.”

“Did we tell you what she said about you?” Middle Head asked.

“I’m sure it was something pithy,” I said.

“Oh no,” Left Head said. “It was a nice compliment.”


“Yes,” she said at least Donald Trump makes you seem like Albert Einstein.”

Big Dope says that she is having a
1960s "Flash-up," whatever that is. - C.W.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

371. Dreams

 Oh lord.

It’s that time of year again, the Fallonian festival of Pskasurveetezov. It’s the time in which they appear as the innermost form of their dreams and parade around in public, dancing and drinking their home planet’s version of wine, a noxious mixture call Geechurgudisonne++. I think the clicks at the end are supposed to signify some sort of gustatory nirvana.

Anyway, since they can’t be home, C.W. and his counterparts meet once a year to celebrate as best they can. Last year they met in Branson, Missouri, but two of them disappeared. The Falloonian Elders have designated that place as sort of a spiritual “no-fly” zone.

This year they’re meeting in the wonderfully welcoming community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, nestled in the Ozark Mountains. I can’t imagine a more fitting location.

But anyway, back to C.W. Get ready. He walks in to demonstrate his “dream-state” form and outfit, and … and … it was Shelley Winters.

Not the “American Tragedy” Shelley Winters, but the “Bloody Mama” Shelley Winters. The blond hair was so lively and free that it almost sang “Que Sera, Sera.” A red dress caressed every fold, hump, and mound from bodice to ankle. The whole body looked like the mountains of Mars draped in velvet. The sparkling of diamond earrings kept perfect cadence with that of her—his—eyes.

“Does this dress make me look too thin?” he asked.

I swallowed hard and managed, “I don’t think so.”

“Then, what do you think?”

I said nothing.

“Now come on,” he said. “Mrs. Big Dope and I have worked hard on this outfit. She says I’ll be the hit of the ball.”

“She said that?”

“Every time she pulled a dart in tighter, she said, “You are going attract attention like a Muslim woman at a Tea Party rally.”

“She said that?”

“She did. Now what do you think?”

I thought it over. “I think that, for those who like Falloonian transvestites, it’ll be just the sort of thing they’ll like.”

“I just knew you’d love it,” he said, almost gushing.

“Always glad to lend a helping hand,” I said. “Who else is going?”

“Tea Baby from North-Central will be there.”


“Somebody named Hattie McDaniel, they say. All three of his heads agreed on it.” He paused and expressed a frown. “Mine was a two to one vote.”


“Yes. Giggles wanted us to go as Ma Joad, you know, in that movie we all watched the other night.”

“Ma Joad?”

“Well, the actress who played her. Jane Darwell. Can you just imagine?”
One of my colleagues from the east coast
was already there when I arrived. - C.W.
“I think my imagination has been tried and found wanting,” I said. “Anyone else coming?”

“Yeah. Sweet Jesus will be there, Jumping Joe, Gypsy Don, Jimmy Blue Eyes, and, all the way from the west coast, Happy Hopalong. It should be a great festival.”

“And the folks in Eureka Springs? That’s one of our favorite towns, you know, mine and my wife’s. She had a boyfriend there once and I had a girlfriend. What do the present city leaders think about your coming?”

“Oh,” he said. “they’ve been marvelous. They’re even providing us with a ‘Shock Guide,’ for the entire time.”

“A shock guide? What’s that?”

“Oh,” he said, “that’s someone who goes on before us when we go out on the streets.”


“They warn us if there is anyone odd, unusual, or shocking in the vicinity, so we won’t be surprised.”

See also:
Or order Big Dope's book from Amazon

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Marriage

 C.W. and I were talking …

Left Head—the data-gathering one—said, “We’ve all been talking.”

“You’ve been talking. We’ve been listening, goof-round-object used for play,” Right Head—the frivolous one—said.

“You mean ‘goof-ball’ the middle—or evaluative one—said.

“Anyway,” Left Head said, turning to them and flashing what I’m told is the equivalent of a frown in Falloonia, “anyway, we are amazed at how much you seem to dote on Mrs. Big Dope, especially when she’s not around.”

“Yeah,” Middle Head said, “Explain.”

“I, uh … uh,” I searched for the right word, since they are not above recording every word I say (yes, they can do that), and playing whole conversations back to her.

“Is she easy?” Left Head asked.


“Not easy that way,” Right Head said, giggling. “Easy like in, ‘easy to get along with.’”

“Oh yes.”

“Example,” Left Head said.

“Let’s see,” I said. “Oh yes. I knew this man one time whose wife wouldn’t let him crumble his crackers into his bowl of chili. Chewed him out if he tried.”

“Say what?” This got Middle Head’s attention.

“I think it was a Junior League thing,” I said.

“So, she's flexible. What else?” Left Head asked.

“Well, she's kind. Once when she taught elementary school, she caught the kids making fun of a little girl’s ragged, hand-me-down shoes.”

“She punished them?” Middle Head said. “Beat them? Walloped them good?”

“No. She guessed the girl’s size and bought her a pair of new shoes with her own money.”

“I’ll bet they wouldn’t do that in one of these new chartless schools.” Middle Head said.

“It is ‘charter school’ and no, they wouldn’t,” Left Head said. “They would never allow a child in one of those if their parents couldn’t afford new shoes for them.”

“She’s damned funny, too,” Right Head said. “She taught English to the kids.” He looked at me. “That’s when she made up that expression she uses when you offer some complicated excuse for screwing up.”

I was nonplussed.

Right Head continued, “When she accuses you of trying to ‘diagram a f…’”

“Shut up,” I said. “Where did you hear that?”

“She used it on me,” Right Head said.

“I think she sort of likes you, too, at least a little bit,” Middle Head said, re-directing the conversation thread.


“Quite so. I asked her why. We couldn’t understand it at all.”

“What did she say?”

“She borrowed a line from a movie she saw once,” Right Head said.

“And that was?”

“He always ate everything I cooked for him, and he never hit me.”

“And oh,” Middle Head said, “I take it she allows this cracker-crumbling thing?”

“Not in bed. Not anymore.” 

I think the reputation from her past
 helps keep Big Dope in line. - C.W.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

370. Respect

Ah, the sun had come out after several days of rain, and I was enjoying a pleasant morning with C.W. You might ask whether all mornings are pleasant with C.W.? Actually, no. Some are, some aren’t. This morning, though, he was honoring the late Don Rickles, his favorite comedian, the one who died a couple of weeks ago. His likeness was excellent and we were both in a jolly mood.

“So, he really, didn’t know which way his warships were headed?”

“Apparently not,” I said. “They were some 180 degrees or thereabouts off his announced course.”

“Who do they get to open child-proof pill boxes for him? His Secretary of State?”

“Are you kidding? I think they have to hire a child to come in and do it for them.”

“Hey,” he said. “Good idea for a new business: Rent-a-Child, Inc. Motto: Never have to chew the top off a bottle again. Hire one of our experts to open it for you.”

“Sounds promising,” I said.

“I’m busy right now, tough,” he said.

“At what?”

“Another sure-fire winner.”

“And that is?”

“Tear-Away Garments, Inc. Motto: ‘Double the income from your next humiliation, girls.’ It’s a winner if I ever thought of one. The first ad is ready. Theme: ‘You’ll have them all wanting to grab your money-maker.’ What do you think?”

“I’m not sure what to think,” I said. “What exactly are you selling?”                                                                                                   
 “Tear-way clothing for the ambitious woman.

“Say again?”

“It’s designed to be the clothing of choice for airline travel.”

I said nothing.

“In case you’re dragged off the plane,” he said.


“The clothes tear right off. Then you make money two ways.”

“Two ways? How?”

“First from the lawsuit. Second from the model-royalties.”

We had a good laugh over this.

“Do you think,” he said, “Mrs. Big Dope would be interested?”

“Well,” I said, “why don’t you just ask her?”

He thought for a moment, then said. “Maybe not. She wasn’t wild, as I remember, about my ‘President’s Dream’ line. And I thought that would even be a better investment.”

“Oh,” I said. “I remember. The line of see-through women’s apparel you wanted to market?”

“That’s it,” he said.

“The one you wanted her to model?”

“Yes,” he said, rubbing his jaw. "She didn't approve."

“I think it was the slogan you suggested for the line,” I said.

“I don’t remember,” he said, still rubbing his jaw.

“Of course you do,” I said. “It was, ‘Designed to aid his aim,’”

He appeared ready to change the subject. “Speaking of him,” he said, “Did he really invite Ted Nugent to the White House.”

“Yep. You got a problem with that?” (Sometimes I play his straight man).

“Not as long as they still sell heavy-duty fumigators in Washington.”

“Well,” I said. “He can invite whom he pleases. His predecessor invited the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.”

“Isn’t that,” he said, raising an eyebrow, “a bit like equating ‘When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries … ,’ with, say, ‘There once was a man from Nantucket …?'”
Wouldn't you know it?
He has to die just as the most
 humor-creating administration
in the history of he country
comes into office? - C.W.
“Shh,” I said. “Wherever did you learn that?”

“From the book of Shakespearian sonnets by your desk.”

“No,” I said, “the other one. My wife might hear you.”

“Your wife knows that poem,” he said, rubbing his jaw again. Then quickly, “But back to him again, did he really fire the Surgeon General and replace him with a nurse?”

“Apparently,” I said, glad to be changing courses, like a ship at sea headed in the wrong direction.

“And it is now Nurse General?”

“I suppose so.”

“That’s comforting,” he said.

“How so?”

“Simple,” he said. “It means that he might fire the Attorney General and replace him with a Paralegal General.”

I began to think about this.

“You know,” he said, “someone well-versed in the law.”

See also:
Or order Big Dope's book from Amazon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Sailing Along

C.W. and I were talking …

“I read in your bio file that you served in the United States Navy,” Left Head said.

Middle Head leaned forward to hear my answer.

Right Head giggled and said, “Avast there, Matey.”

I said, “Yes, that’s true.”

“You carried a rifle,” Left Head said.

“For a year.”

“Then what?” it continued.

“Then, I completed my enlistment on board the USS Hunley.”

“Ah,” said Middle Head, “that’s what we would like to converse about now.” For some reason that it never explained, it began talking with a heavy Irish accent.

“Carry on, lad,” Right Head said, though I wasn’t sure whether he was talking to me or Middle Head.

I waited.

“So you served on the old girl for over two years, give or take?” said Middle Head.


“And her commanding officer?”

“Captain S. G. Anders.”

“A good man, was he?”

“A very good man, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Never quite made to the Board Room.”

“And why not, do you suppose now?”

The Irish bit was putting me off, but I played along. “It was a bit of a jump in the Navy, into the Board Room. They didn’t really use the equivalent rank of brigadier, so one had to jump from “Full-Bird” or “Captain” to two-star. Big jump, and Captain Anders never made it. They say that, when he retired, he put “Commander on his business card so people wouldn’t mistake him for an army captain.”

“Well shiver me timbers,” Right Head said. We all ignored it.

“Was he a good sailor now?” Middle Head asked.

“Yes,” I said. “All in a clove hitch. Now where, exactly is this going?”

“Under his command, did the grand ship ever sail in the wrong direction?”

“Never. Why?”

“Was there ever a time at sea that the president of your country didn’t know where the grand girl was headed?”

“Are you crazy? Never.”

“And am I correct in supposing that she always went where she was supposed to?”

“Of course. If directed to Spain, she went to Spain, directed to Guam, she went to Guam, directed to Puerto Rico, that’s where she sailed to, directed to Fort Lauderdale …,” I stopped as a warm blanket of memories settled on me.

“Now,” Middle Head said, “would Herself be interested in what you might be thinking now, me lad?”

“Uh,” I said, “probably. But where are you headed with this?”

“How long was your grand vessel commissioned?” it said, ignoring my question.

“Over thirty years, I think.”

“And she never got lost, even a wee bit, in all that time?”

“Off course not.”

Right Head interrupted us. “And the wives of the crew members,” it said, “did any of them ever ‘drag their anchors’ so to speak, while the ship was at sea?”

“Shut your Stinkletingep,” Middle Head said, reverting to Falloonian in his anger. “You’re supposed to be ‘tinkin’ of a new slogan for the grand Navy this lad served in so proud-like.”

“Oh,” Right Head said, “I’ve got it, jack me off with a bilge pump and call me a snipe, if I don’t.”

“Then let’s hear it,” said Middle Head.

Right Head stared dramatically and said, “Today’s Navy, still honoring the proud tradition—give me a fast ship, for I intend to go somewhere.”

I groaned.

Left Head said, “I’ve got to get back to my database.”

Middle Head turned to Right Head and said, “By jove, lad, I be thinking you have it, now.”

Right Head did the equivalent of a smile, and said, “Anchors aweigh, we’ll let you know where to.”.

USS Hunley - AS31
Our Proud Slogan:
"Always Sailing In the Right Direction"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

369. Poetic Justice

Well, he was a pretty good imitation of the kid Anthony in the famous Twilight Zone episode called It’s a good life. Only he had orange hair for some reason. It was going to be a long morning. As the sky lightened, I thought of all the sunrise services that folks were attending this Easter morning, at least the true believers among the Christians. But I had to deal with Anthony, or C.W. if you prefer.

He was reading from a book and taking notes. Oh, and he was muttering to himself. He looked up as I walked in, pointed his pen at me, and said, “I don’t like poetry. Poetry is a bad thing and I don’t like it.”

“Oh,” I said. “What don’t you like about it?”

”I don’t like things that make no sense to me.” He pointed to a section of his book. “What does this mean when it says, ‘April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the barren sterile land,’ for goodness sake?”

“I think it says breeding lilacs out of the dead land.”

“That’s what I said. I don’t like it when people disagree with me. I can read for myself.”

I started to say something catty in return but a feeling came over me. “It’s good,” I said, “that you can read for yourself.”

“So, tell me what it means.”

“I think,” I said, “the author is referring to the ancient belief that the earth died in the winter, and had to be coaxed back to life in order to be reborn in the spring, reborn by the shedding of blood, human sacrifices in fact, hence the reference to cruelty. The poem was also written not long after a world war in which over 17 million people died. Quite a shedding of blood in order to renew the earth.”

“I don’t like it when your species sheds blood for no reason,” he said.

“It’s good that you don’t like it,” I said.

“How did they do it? This shedding of blood to make the earth come alive?” He paused. “That’s a pretty silly idea, isn’t it?”

“Very,” I said. “It probably seemed less silly to those who weren’t shedding the blood. But, to answer your question, there were countless ways. Sometimes they sacrificed a beautiful young virgin girl, sometimes a virile, handsome young man. Sometimes they had men fight to the death, and the winner was king until a younger man came along and dispatched him.”

“That’s stupid,” he said. “I don’t like that at all.”

“It’s good that you don’t like it,” I said.

“Are you making fun of me? I don’t like it when people make fun of me.” He pointed a small finger at me. “You’re a bad man, a very bad man, and your species is very bad.”

Seeking to divert his attention, I said, “Well, we don’t sacrifice virgins these days. We’re much too sophisticated for that. We don’t make men fight to the death, either. Why don’t you quit reading poetry for a while? Go talk to my wife about something.”

“She won’t talk to me,” he said. “She’s watching something on her television set about very young girls in something called a ‘beauty pageant,’ and she’s upset and angry. She said something about sending me to a place called 'the cornfield' if I bothered her.”
People who enjoy killing other
people are bad, very bad. - C.W.

See also
and click some ads, C.W. needs books.

“Oh,” I said. “Then maybe you can watch the one in here.”

“Good,” he said, “Let’s watch that show about wrestling.”

“I don’t like shows about wrestling.”

He turned on me and pointed. “I don’t like it when you won’t watch wrestling with me.”

“It’s good that we watch wrestling,” I said.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Explanations

C.W. and I were talking …

“Did you hear the latest from Sean Spicer,” his left head said.

“Oh yes,” I said. “About Adolph Hitler never using gas on his enemies?”

“That one," he said. "Do you have an explanation?”

“No,” I said, “I don’t. It is quite unbelievable that one human being, so incompetent, could have a job at all, much less one with national prominence.”

The right head started giggling.

“What’s with it?” I asked the other two.

The right one looked puzzled, and said. “Don’t you know?”

“Know what?”

“All the Nichtacraniems are like that.”

“The what?”

“After all,” left head said, “they are from the Farstonian Galaxy. It’s not like they are in what you would call the mainstream of cosmic society.”

“You mean …?” I tried to assemble my thoughts.

“You thought he was one of you?” Middle head looked at me in disbelief. Right head giggled again. "He certainly doesn't hold his species in high regard," he said to the other two. They both guffawed.

“But, but, how?” I said. “How did he get in with this new president?”

Right head shook back and forth. “Do you mean you don’t know?”

“Know what?”

“The Nichtacraniems and the Penceldikeons always hang out together. Nobody else in the Universe will have anything to do with them.”

Don't worry. I hear he is going home. - C.W.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

368. Ratings

 Sometimes C.W. likes to torment folks, on purpose. Take this morning. He shows up in the form of one of my least favorite people on the planet, Bill O'Reilly. I wasn't bothering a soul, just reading an article about my country’s entry into World War One. I looked up and there he sat.

“Mornin’ Sport,” he said. “Thought I’d stop by. Been a good week, eh?”


“I’ve felt real good this week,” he said. “You should have too. Your state, Arkansas, has made the world news. I’m even recommending it for a Fox News Civic Responsibility Award.”

“What for?”

“We’ll call the coverage, ‘Eight Empty Cells,’ and we expect a big sweep in the ratings. We’re working arm in arm with your governor.”

"Oh no. Are you referring to …?’

“You got it, your state is planning to whack eight condemned prisoners in ten days. ‘Eight In Ten,’ as your governor terms it. We plan to have that printed on souvenir fan hands, along with ‘Arkansas Is Number One In Somethng.’ Can't you just see all those big fingers poking toward the sky?”

“I hadn’t heard about that.”

“Just the thought of all those excited folks makes you feeling like grabbing for joy, doesn’t it?

“You can ask Joy about that, but eight executions in ten days doesn’t seem like a cause for celebration to me.”

“Are you kidding? There hasn’t been the chance for ‘pub’ like this since Hillary Clinton got caught in bed with that dead girl scout.”

“Hillary Clinton didn’t get caught in bed with a dead girl scout.”

“Did too.”

“Did not.”

“Did too. Our team covered it for over a month.”

“So, you see some chance for high ratings in this … this … this, ‘execution euphoria,’ as some are calling it? How will the people at your network contain their excitement?”


“Uh, … on what?”

“Your people.”

“My people?”

“Yes. We’ve heard that your governor is having trouble attracting enough fans for the show.”


“Oh, the liberals call them witnesses. On Fox, we call them fans. Anyway, last we heard, not enough people have signed up to watch, even with our inducement package.”

“Inducement package?”

“Oh yes. We’re offering chances to draw for souvenir cotton swabs. The ones they use to swab the condemned's skin with alcohol before they insert the needles.” He paused. “What’s the matter? You look pale.”

I said nothing.

“We’re also considering a ‘Seconds to Flat-Line’ pool. Big prize to the winner. We think this association between our network and your state will set a new, and a much higher standard, for public-private partnerships, in addition to helping me personally.”

“You? How?”

“Diverting attention away from some things and toward others.”

“How so?”

He seemed to be groping for an answer. “They tell me I’ve written a new book and it’s about to be published. Anyway, your state is on a roll publicity-wise.”

“The eight in ten isn’t enough?”
Franklin Graham is insisting that we
include some women in the next eight. - C.W.
“Oh, no, there’s the fellow who shot one of his balls off fiddling with his pistol while trying to walk down a hotel corridor. Oh, and don’t forget about Bill Clinton getting arrested for cashing hot checks.”

“Bill Clinton didn’t get arrested for anything."

"Did too.”

“Did not.”

“Did too. How many times do I have to tell you that you watch the wrong news channel? You missed our entire series about Barack Obama being a secret cross-dresser. And you didn’t even know about President Trump healing all those crippled children. What’s the matter?”

“Eight in ten.”

“Ain’t it great? Your state was it dire need of some favorable publicity since the Central High furor died down.”

Just then, a female voice roared from the kitchen and I turned toward it, “Tell that son-of-a-bitch I’m coming in there,” it said, “and, if he has any ideas, I have a ruler in my hand that I haven’t used since I taught grade school.”

When I turned around, he was gone.

Also check out

And buy Big Dope's book at Amazon

or .

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Distractions …

C.W. and I were talking …

“Amazing,” I said. “Simply amazing.”

He raised one of his heads from the newspaper it was reading and looked at me. It was the leftmost head, the one designed primarily for data retrieval. “What’s so amazing?”

“You’re reading the paper,” I said. “What do you see?”

“That your species has an uncommon fondness for handguns,” he said. The middle head, the one designed for logical analysis, nodded. “And PTSD.”


“Personal telecommunication screen devices,” he said. “What you do without them?”

“You could ask Albert Einstein that,” I said, “if he were still alive.”

“Oh,” said the head on the right. “I think they are so precious.” He, of course, follows the emotional path. He held up his own cell phone to show us a picture of a cat striding back and forth on a piano with the opening lines of “The Moonlight Sonata” patched in as a soundtrack. “Have you ever seen anything so cute in your life?”

“My point exactly,” I said. “What are you reading about this morning?” I asked Left Head.

“Murder, war, hatred, distrust, partisanship, anarchy, genocide, and the obstruction of all altruistic tendencies. Normal stuff for your species.”

“Analysis?” I said to Middle Head.

“Your species is on the eve of destruction.”

I turned to Right Head. “Other than cute cats, what does your PTSD tell you?”

“Most everybody is exercised over some basketball game, whatever that is. That has even pushed the waltzing kittens and the belching puppies off.”

“See,” I asked Left Head. “How amazing it is that, with all that’s going on, a basketball game is our chief topic of conversation?”

He shrugged. “I only report. You’re the decider.”

"I think we have our collective heads in the sand."

“I don’t agree with your conclusion,” Middle Head said. “With all the negativity, your species needs a distraction. Why not let them have a basketball game? Better than a human sacrifice. It sooths them and takes their minds away from fear and loathing, except for the other team and those men in striped shirts, whoever they are.”

“Not so fast,” said Right Head. “I think your species is on the verge of being distracted to death. Want to hear about an experiment I carried out the other day?”


“You know that college where you teach?”

“Of course.”

“I walked all the way across it in the shape of that wrestling man they call The Relatively Hard, Naturally Occurring Mineral.”

I thought. “Do you mean ‘The Rock?’”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

“Well,” he said with utmost gravity. “The Rock walked all the way across campus buck naked and how many students noticed, do you think?”

“I’d hate to guess.”

“One,” he said. “And he just looked up, sniffed, said ‘far out, man,’ and kept walking.”

“Maybe you should have tried BeyoncĂ©,” I said.

“Oh,” he said. “I bounced, wiggled, strutted, and skipped. Tried everything. Not a soul would look up. The PTSD was just too strong.”

“None of you are making me feel better.”

"We thought you would enjoy our 'Change the Shape' game," Middle Head said.

“I have a question,” Right Head said.”


“What’s the vapors?”

“The what?”

“The vapors. That’s what Mrs. Big Dope said she had when I walked in as Matthew McConaughey.”

That created a smile.

“That’s better,” Right Head said. “How’d you like to meet Charlize Theron?”

Hey! Maybe the day wouldn’t turn out so bad after all. After all, beauty trumps fear and loathing.

If he won't get your attention,
what will? - C.W.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

367. Questions

Oh no. It was going to be a “Why? Why? Why? day.” C.W. bounded in, having assumed the shape of Little Ricky, the troublesome ten-year old. I tried to sprint from the room but he blurted out, before I could escape, “Why do they want me to buy gifts on every day we celebrate something?”

“Have you been watching commercial television again?”

“Yeah, the UFO Channel.”

“I didn’t know there was a UFO Channel.”

“They used to call it the History Channel,” he said. “Why do so many of your species believe in aliens from outer space when they watch TV, but they don’t believe in me when they read your attempts at humor.”

“I don’t know.”

“Why do they think aliens would come to Earth and just fly around forever and not land?”

“Because they think the aliens know that we would kill them the moment they land.”

“Why don’t they understand that is impossible? Your species hasn’t invented the Cosmological Ossifying. Neutralizing, Desensitizing, and Unifying Mechanism yet?”

“I don’t understand why that is important.”

“Didn’t you know that CONDUMs are the only defense against unwanted aliens? Why doesn’t your species understand more about science?”

“We are busy with other things.”

“Such as creating bizarre television commercials?”



“To sell things.”

“Why do they make automobile commercials featuring men and women driving cars on public highways at two or three times the legal speed limits?”

“I think it satisfies some innate desire for mastery of the universe.”

“Your species wants to be master of the universe?”

“Quite so.”

“Why? It’s not a very manageable place. Your people could get drawn into endless conflicts that would drain your energy and resources.” He stopped, thought, shook his head, and said, “But that has never bothered you before. Why?”

“Why don’t we stick to television commercials?”

“Why don’t they make movie ads that make you want to see the movie?”

“To keep the crowds down?”


“I was kidding.”

“No, I think you might be right. Now, why do the food ads feature meals of two or three thousand calories when your country has such a profound obesity problem?”

“We love to eat.”

“Why? Species in other galaxies regard it as simply a refueling necessity.”

“We orient our lives around eating.”

“Why? It just makes you fat.”

“We don’t care.”

“Then why are all the models on TV commercials so thin?”

“We love diets, too.”

“So why do the diet commercials say you can eat all you want and lose weight? Why has your species abandoned any sense of understanding science?”

“So many of us believe in a higher truth than science.”

“Why? There's no such thing.”

“Just because. Maybe it makes us more manageable.”
This child just discovered how
you elect presidents. - C.W
He thought about this. Then he said, “That reminds me. You still haven’t answered my question about this gift-giving obsession that the marketing segment of your species has.”

“What got you off on that?”

“Your religious holiday called Easter is coming up.”


“I just saw this strange ad. Why would gift-giving be related to Easter?”

“You saw an ad for gift giving related to Easter?”


“What did it say?”

“It said, ‘While you wait to celebrate The Resurrection, why not resurrect your marriage with a gift from Jay’s Jewelers.’ You’ll be her savior forever, and remember, resurrection is contagious.’ Why?” He looked at me and waited for an answer.

I wasn’t sure what the question was, and could only offer, “It seems that our country is out to test the absolute lower limits of propriety and good taste.”


Also check out

And buy Big Dope's book at Amazon

or .