Once You Pop…

While visiting his mother’s sister and her husband, Keat and Morris Dekhart, John challenged them both to a Pringles eating contest. After one round, John had eaten 9, and Uncle Morris 16, and the lady, 1. Morris pushed back from the table and said to his nephew, “Well boy, looks like we can’t eat just one, so Aunt Keat just won.”

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I found this scratched on the hand dryer of a convenience store bathroom. Mixed in with the gang tags and phone numbers for a variety of services, sat this little gem.

Above The Fruited Plain: Vandals Bolster American Sentiment

Lincoln, NE – A new fad has taken root in the graveyard enthusiast community; tired old headstones are getting a facelift.  Volunteers with a local group are sneaking into cemeteries all over the city in the dead of night to paint the monuments with bright colors and add cheerful decorations.

“We just feel that the grey monolith has run its course.” says Lemonn Gentworth, president of Graveyard Rejuvenators International: Midwest, otherwise known as GRIM.  “There’s no reason people looking at a cemetery should ever be reminded of death, and nothing says “death” like ugly grey rocks sticking up out of the ground.  With a little paint and maybe some tasteful dolphin figurines, cemeteries might become a place so removed from the awful stigma of death that you could host a toddler’s birthday party, or have a badminton tourney, or sell puppies to homeless people, or whatever.  The possibilities are really endless.”   To date, Gentworth and his volunteers have “colorfied” (the official GRIM term) about 100 graves in and around Lincoln, with plans to move on about 250 more.

While it should be noted that these activities are viewed as vandalism under the law (punishable by death in North Korea) and there has been some outcry from concerned citizens.  Local resident Jarvis Wayne II voiced his concerns on the back porch of his humble farmhouse on the outskirts of town, overlooking his neighbor’s fields, and the family graveyard that lies just beyond the white picket fence.  “Well I was actually pretty shocked at first.”  he said. “I just woke up one morning and saw all of my ancestors had a coat of yellow paint on the headstones.  I called my preacher just to make sure you know, there wasn’t anything untoward about it, you know with the dead and all that.  And then I called the hospital to make sure they would tell those ambulance helicopter pilots that I did not have a landing pad in my back yard, what with the yellow and all.  After that, the more I thought about it, I guess it was really OK.  I think Grandpa Jarvis might even have liked it, you know with the yellow and all.”

Despite the controversy, one would be hard pressed to recreate a more idyllic scene of Americana .  A salt-o-the-earth midwesterner, sipping tea on his porch, the sun setting on the horizon, illuminating the Amber Graves of Wayne.

A Tale of Two Randy’s

Randy was the captain of a pirate ship, just like his father, Randy Sr. had been, before he retired.  In his younger days, Sr. could buckle those swashes with the best of them, but now he prefered to rest in his waning years, giving the family business to the new Cap’n Randy.  The old captain had always wanted to learn how to bake, and now with Jr. on the high seas, he had plenty of time to pursue his hobbies.

On a particular day, Young Randy eyed a storm brewing.  This would not be the day that the good ship Sandwich Wednesday turned to a mass of broken timber, to drift for a few hundred years, acquiring “authenticity,” only to be turned into a coffee table by a hipster carpenter and sold for $9,000.  No sir, not today!  He started shouting orders to the crew, “Avast ye lads, [do this nautical thing], [do that nautical thing], and fer Davey Jones’s sake, batten down them hatches!”

Little did he know, that his father was facing a crisis of equal magnitude at that very moment.  Old Randy had spent all day baking cookies, and there were pans cooling all over the kitchen.  Just as he was closing the oven for the last time of the day, he saw it.  A small black cloud was moving quickly across an open field, and toward his kitchen.  Such a sight would strike fear into the heart of the saltiest of sea dogs.  “Flies ho!” he yelled, and falling back into his old captain’s habits, he began to bark our orders, though only to himself.  “Look lively now mate, look lively.  We ain’t loosin’ these macaroons to no flies today me hearties, nay not a one!  Aye, Grab the tricorn!  Grab the derby!  Grab the fedora and the deerstalker even!  Fer the love o’ booty lad, hatten down them batches!”

It’s for the Birds

The most obvious fact in the world of avian politics, is the eternal rivalry between Mocking Birds and Robins.

On a particular day, one philosophizing young mocking bird was musing on the laws of nature, teetering on the edge of becoming a vegan.  Looking down at a worm, he wondered what right he had to take the life of another living creature.  Letting his thoughts wander outside his mind and into the open air, he suddenly cried out, “To kill, or not to kill?  That is the question.”

As it happened, a member of the robin press corpse was nearby, and heard exactly what he needed to hear.  The next day, every red-breasted reader of the daily, who was sure that most mockingbirds would just as soon peck out the eyes of a robin as look at them, had their suspicions confirmed by the headline, right there at the breakfast table.

“I knew it Martha.  I knew it!  It’s just like I’ve always said, you can’t trust’em.  They sing the song they think you wanna hear, but you never can know what song they’re really singin’.  All yous gotta do is catch one off guard and this is what you’ll hear.  It’s right here Martha, plain as the beak on my face!”

The sensationalized paraphrase included a little punctuational levity that tried to better understand what that ne’er do well really meant.

“To kill or not?  To kill!” – A Mockingbird.