Image Signifying Humor

Image Signifying Humor

Friday, March 24, 2017

UPDATED TALES: Jack and the Beanstalk

Maybe there's a beanstalk in there somewhere.
Somewhere in Iowa lived a kid named Jack Dahg, who lived with his mother, Daisy Dahg, and two twin siblings, Harry Dahg and Emma Dahg.  They were the poorest family in the region.  Jack’s father, Digger (the one Daisy called “Dirty Dahg”), had died and left everything to his other family in Missouri.  The Iowa Dahgs and the Missouri Dahgs had not been aware of each other, but they had made each other’s acquaintance at the reading of the will.  The lawyer and the sheriff were still in therapy.  The two families hated each other.  Being related wasn’t their idea.

Jack was a teenager and his two siblings were in the Second Grade, so he had to help support the family.  Mrs. Dahg had a minimum wage job at a local Chick Fil-A, so the family needed a second income to keep them just below the poverty line.  Jack was allergic to work.  It gave him a rash.  He decided to help support his family by becoming a burglar.

After his fifth arrest, Jack started to believe that he had no talent for breaking and entering.  He fainted at the sight of blood, so becoming a professional assassin was not an option, either.  He was sitting on the front steps of his home one afternoon, when Old Man Caruthers walked by and saw him.

“Hey, Jack!  Why so glum?” said the old man.  Old Man Caruthers was the kind of perpetually cheerful guy who made everyone want to punch him in the throat.

“Oh, let’s see,” said Jack.  “My father died.  He left everything to his other family.  Harry and Emma need dental work.  We have had nothing but potatoes for dinner the last three nights.  I can’t make it as a burglar or a hitman.  Life sucks.”

“Ah, don’t feel bad,” said Old Man Caruthers.  “Tell ya what.  I been savin’ this, figurin’ I’d keep it myself, but you need it more ‘n I do.”  He reached into his coat pocket, pulled something out and showed it to Jack.

“That’s just three bean seeds,” said Jack.

“Yeah, but they been shot with Miracle Gro.  They’re guaranteed to grow taller and thicker than any others.  You and your family will have all the beans you can eat and you can sell the rest to schools and prisons.  You can use the gas created by the beans to power up an electric generator so you won’t get an electric bill.  Just make everybody fart into a vacuum cleaner bag, then attach the bag to your generator and let all the gas out into it.  You give me your Mom’s old genuine cow leather recliner chair and I’ll give you these.”

“Thanks,” said Jack.  He reached for the seeds.

Jack took out his cell phone, called a couple of friends and asked them to come over.  The friends moved the heavy recliner from the living room and carried it the two blocks to Old Man Caruthers’ house.[1]  Old Man Caruthers gave Jack the three seeds, then danced down the sidewalk after the two friends, anticipating a cozy evening of falling asleep in front of his big flat-screen TV[2], watching movies on Netflix.

Jack planted the three seeds in his mother’s flower garden, between the snapdragons and the bachelor buttons.

When Daisy came home from work she found her recliner chair missing.

“Okay.  What did you do with the recliner?” she demanded.

“You’re gonna be happy when I tell you,” said Jack.  He proceeded to tell her the whole story about the three bean seeds and Old Man Caruthers, including the suggestion of the use of bean gas to generate electricity.

“Are you insane?  You gave a genuine cow leather recliner for three bean seeds!”

“Well … yeah.  I thought you’d be thrilled.”

“Thrilled!  How’s this for thrilled?”  She slapped him on the back of his head, hard enough to make him stagger.


“Go rob a 711!  Get arrested again.  Give away all our furniture!  Break my heart and kill me!”

“Shit!  Try to do something nice and this is the thanks I get!”

“Watch your language, you little f**k!”

Jack went to his room, shut the door and stayed put all night without coming down for dinner.  The next morning, he went down to the kitchen and found his mother and two siblings sitting at the table, staring at him.

“You’re gonna get it!” said Harry.

“What did I do now?” asked Jack.

“Take a look out the back door,” said Daisy.  She was using her calm-before-the-storm voice, soft and monotone, which sent a tornado warning into Jack’s brain.

Jack opened the kitchen door and stepped outside.  There, among scattered and broken flowers, stood the biggest plant he had ever seen.  It was thick, and so tall he couldn’t see the top of it, which disappeared in a cloud.

“Whoa!” said Jack.

Daisy’s voice shot into his head from the kitchen and traveled down his body, paralyzing his nervous system.  “You have one hour to get rid of that monstrosity and get my chair back!”

Jack took a startled leap and landed in the back yard, on his butt.  He stood up, grabbed his sore buttocks and flew over to the massive beanstalk.  He grabbed a branch and scrambled up onto it, hoping to climb high enough to hide until he could come up with a plan to get out of trouble.  He kept climbing.  When he reached the top of the cloud he looked around.[3]

There was a long driveway leading to the biggest mansion he had ever seen, even in pictures.[4]  The grounds on either side of the driveway were well kept, and of such brilliant green that it hurt Jack’s eyes to look at them.

“I don’t think I’m in Iowa anymore,” he said.

He slid off the beanstalk, brushed himself off, slicked his hair down and straightened his clothes.  Then he started up the driveway.  He knew he should go back down and go home, but he figured that whatever was in that house up ahead was less dangerous than his mother right now.  He continued until he reached the front door.

He rang the doorbell, which played a phrase from “Big Bad John.”[5]  The door was opened by an enormous pair of red shoes – or, at least, that was how it appeared to Jack.  He looked up and saw that the shoes were attached to a 20-foot woman with bright red hair, dressed in a halter top and a pair of tight jeans.

“Whatever you’re sellin’, we already got some,” she said, and started to close the door.

“Wait!” said Jack.  “I’m not selling anything.  I’m hiding from my mother for a while and I wondered if you could give me a Pop Tart or something.  I haven’t had dinner or breakfast.”  After everything else that had happened, he wasn’t surprised to see a giant woman in a mansion above a cloud.

“Aw, poor kid!”  said the giant woman.  “Come in and have a nice breakfast.  But you gotta go back down that beanstalk before 1:00, ‘cause that’s when my husband comes down for lunch, and he gets real antisocial when he’s hungry.”

The lady giant picked Jack up and carried him into the house, where she deposited him on top of a 40-foot-long wooden table.  In a few moments, she returned with a box of Count Chocula cereal, a quart of milk, a spoon and a giant-sized shot glass, which was just small enough to serve as a bowl for Jack.

“Thanks,” said Jack.

“You’re welcome, you poor little thing,” said the lady giant.

While he was eating his cereal, Jack heard a guitar, followed by a bass voice spilling out what sounded like a good old down home country song.  The words went like this:

I knew I wasn’t the kind of man you like
That day you laughed and called me a dirty bum.
You broke my heart just like a steely spike.
Fee fie fo fum.

Jack stopped and listened to the song.  He liked it.  The voice sounded like a table being sanded, but it was interesting.  The second verse, the bridge and the third verse of the song were like the first, and the voice didn’t get any better, but Jack had tears in his eyes when the song ended.

“He sings real pretty, don’t he,” said the lady giant.  “That’s my husband.  He’s a singer-songwriter.  Trouble is, people take one look at him and run away ‘cause he’s a giant.  There’s lotsa prejudice against giants, even in the music industry.  Nobody wants us around.  We’re real nice people when you get to know us, but you can’t get to know someone when you’re runnin’ away so fast you’re makin’ a dust storm, like one guy done to me once.  All I was doin’ was askin’ directions.”

“If your husband can’t get work,” asked Jack, “How can you afford this huge mansion?”

“His father was a Wall Street giant,” she answered.  “My husband don’t hafta make a living ‘cause we’re pretty rich.”

Any mention of money and people who had it put Jack’s brain synapses into instant high gear.  A few ideas popped around, and he settled on one of them.

“Why doesn’t your husband form his own music company and put out his own songs with his own singing?  Then he wouldn’t have to worry about scaring everyone when he shows up for an audition.  And he could open his own club, right up here, and have a two-drink minimum and a cover charge and everything.”

The lady giant called her husband, who slammed the upstairs door and stomped downstairs.

“Bonnie June, what the hell do you want?” he bellowed.  “I told you never interrupt me when I’m creatin’!”

“Ashley, you behave yourself!  We got company!”

“You takin’ in stray humans again?  Don’t we have enough f***in’ trouble?”

“He’s our guest and he has a good idea for your music.  Shut your filthy mouth and listen!”

The giant glared at his wife for a few seconds, sat at the table with a huge thump that made the house rock back and forth, and looked at Jack.

“Well?” said the giant.  “I don’t have all day.”

Jack explained his idea, and the three of them wound up having a long, detailed conversation.  They worked out all the details of an agreement, with the help of the giant’s brother-in-law, who lived in their pool house and had a law degree from Cloud University.[6]  The contract was drawn up, handshakes were exchanged and Jack said good-bye and climbed back down the beanstalk, carrying his copy in his pocket.

Daisy was not angry when she saw him.  On the contrary, she hugged him, kissed him and cried about how she thought he was lost, how the police wouldn’t help because he hadn’t been gone that long, and how worried she had been.  She promised she would never yell at him or call him names again.  Jack cried, too, and promised he would behave like a saint from then on and make her proud of him.

That was the beginning of the ABJ Music Company and the stellar career of Ashley the Giant.  Jack started out as a simple agent, but ended up as CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company.  Daisy gave her boss the finger and never set foot in a Chick-Fil-A again.  She went to KFC instead.  Harry and Emma enjoyed being rich for a change.  Old Man Caruthers wished he hadn’t given up those bean seeds so easily.

There is probably a moral to this story, somewhere.

[1] Jack supervised the work, of course.

[2] The one he conned his brother-in-law into buying for him by giving him a fake stock tip

[3] I know.  This can’t be true because Jack would have frozen to death that high up.  This is a fairy tale.  Work with me on this.

[4] See footnote no. 3, above, except for that part about freezing to death.  I already covered that.

[5] Jimmy Dean and Roy Acuff, Big Bad John.  Recorded by Jimmy Dean and released in 1961.

[6] The only university that had dormitory facilities for giants.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Boomer Life 2

My father came home from World War II, and I was born shortly after.  I took the first of millions of breaths on February 22, 1946.  This made me a Pisces and a Baby Boomer, a lethal combination.
This was not our family, but it could have been almost any of our neighbors.
My mother was a European-American of multiple ethnic backgrounds.  She often referred to herself as a “duke’s mixture.”  That was better than calling yourself an “I don’t know.”  Mom grew up in a small town in Washington State.  Her family was best described as “genteel working class.”  They had the income of working class people, but they had good breeding.  They had better manners than a lot of the wealthier people in the area, a fact that I experienced first-hand more than once.

For example, there was a time in high school when my piano playing ability was called on to accompany a girl who studied with the same singing teacher I studied with.  She and I attended the same high school.  We would meet and work together after school, in the gym, where there was a piano.  We rehearsed together like that a couple of times a week, after which she gave me a ride home.  Her family were wealthy fruit growers.  In other words, she wasn’t going to have to work on campus when she went to college, and her family would probably set her up in something or other after she earned her degree.  My cash-poor family would send me out into the world after I finished college with, “Good-bye, good luck, write to us a lot and don’t get into trouble.”

One day Miss Richfamily didn’t show up after school.  I waited until it was obvious that she wasn’t just held up.  She wasn’t coming at all.  She could have sent a message to me by calling the school, but she didn’t think that making me wait for her and stranding me at school (when I could have taken the school bus home) was worth bothering about.  I was pissed off enough to confront her with this the next day.  She didn’t apologize; she gave me some lame excuse.  Nowadays, I would zing her between the eyes with well-placed retorts designed to drive my point of view into her brain.  Back then, though, I was just a timid, shy kid who couldn’t deal with confrontations.  I gave in.  I hated myself for it, but I gave in.  That didn’t change anything.  She was still wrong.

There was also the time when, while driving me home, she decided she was hungry.  To her credit, she asked me if I minded if she stopped at a drive-in restaurant for some food.  Of course, I said it was okay with me.  What was I supposed to say, “Yes, I do mind and I hope you starve to death in great agony?”  My mother would not have approved.  We stopped at the drive-in restaurant, where she ordered a hamburger and ate it in front of me.  She didn’t even offer me a pickle.  I either didn’t have any money with me or I didn’t want to eat before dinner, so I sat and watched her eat.  If I had treated her with such rudeness, and my mother had found out, I would have been chastised up and down for having no class and embarrassing my parents, who didn’t raise any slobs.

My father was a lively, boisterous Italian-American who had been born in Italy and raised on Long Island, New York.  He met my Mom when he was in the Army Air Corps during World War II.  He had been sent to Washington State for some training.  He and Mom met on a blind date.  She took one look at him and didn’t like him.  Fortunately for me and my siblings, she changed her opinion.  She quit high school to marry him, and went to live with his family on Long Island while he went overseas.  Despite her background, Mom took to Italian family life like a real paesana, and Dad’s family loved her.  After Dad returned from the war, they moved into their own home, and I was born.  I spent the first three years of my life surrounded by a gaggle of Italian aunts, an uncle, cousins, grandparents, family friends and neighbors.  Then my Dad fought with his Dad and decided to move himself, my Mom and me back to Mom’s home town, Union Gap, Washington.

I never found out what they fought about.  Nobody ever told me anything when I was a kid.  They still don’t.

Dad was gregarious, friendly, generous, tender hearted and loud.  He had a lot of friends, many of them drinking buddies.  Unfortunately, he became an alcoholic.  When he was sober, he was a good father.  When he was drinking, he was verbally abusive.  That’s a whole other story for another time.

When we first moved back west, we lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment behind my grandfather’s gas station.  Mom and Dad had to put me to bed in the bedroom, so they slept in the living room.  There was a kitchen, with room for a small table.  Living behind a gas station had its points.  I got to hang out in the gas station, play with the almost life-sized cardboard cutout of the Philip Morris bellboy (until I was told to stop doing that because it was there to help Grandpa sell cigarettes) and watch all the people who came in.  They were ordinary people, but I was just a little kid and I didn’t know that.  Sometimes, too, a drunk would come out of the tavern across the street.  This was always exciting, especially if the town cops came by and the drunk was arrested.  One time the drunk was a woman.  She managed to cross the street and stagger along our side of it until the cop car pulled up.

Our Police Department consisted of two cops and one car.  Our cops were more like Andy Taylor and Barney Fife than Briscoe and Logan.  Arresting drunks and giving out traffic tickets were the highlights of their week.  Of course, there was the time a couple of strangers tried to rob Snyder’s Market and Mr. Snyder took after them with a gun.  That was so exciting that it gave the town something to talk about for weeks afterward.  I think our two cops had to get help for that one from the Police Department in the nearest decent-sized city, Yakima.  An attempted robbery where the potential victim fought back with a firearm was a lot more complicated than giving out parking tickets.

Grandpa’s gas station and our apartment were located across the main highway, isolated from most of the town.  This was hard for me, since I had been used to being surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors.  I never quite adjusted.  Instead, I developed a terminal case of shyness that lasted all through my childhood and into some of my adult years.  I never had a social life when I was growing up.  Most kids don’t make it into the most popular clique, but I didn’t make it into ANY clique.  Instead, I made friends and had fun with a couple of the other outcasts, and was happy whenever any other kid would talk to me.  Most of the time they ignored me.

My younger sister was born after the big move, in 1950.  Suddenly, I wasn’t getting the attention I was accustomed to as an only child.  I developed a habit of acting out, which didn’t turn out to be as useful as I hoped.

One day, I decided that I was sick because I had a mosquito bite.  I refused to get out of bed, insisting that I was dying.  This went on until Dad decided to teach me a lesson.  He pulled the mattress off the bed and hung it from the clothesline outside.  He must have been pissed off as hell, because getting a mattress out the back door of a tiny apartment, then getting it to hang on a clothesline, isn’t easy.  He managed to do it, though.  I spent the rest of the day sitting in a chair, staring at the mosquito bite.  It didn’t do any good.

My family wasn’t the Cleavers or the Andersons.  The Bundys and the Conners wouldn’t be introduced to television until much, much later, so we didn’t have any dysfunctional family role models to compare ourselves with.

My little brother was born in 1953.  By this time, I was in First Grade at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Yakima.  I was too busy dealing with school bus rides, nuns, other kids and school subjects to act out over a new addition to the family.  I had become resigned to not being the center of my parents’ universe, anyway.

In First Grade, I was introduced to the 1950s Catholic school experience.  That is a subject for a later time.

If anyone could scare hell out of us, she could!

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Boomer Life

I never do anything the normal way if I can avoid it.  This includes living my life in the right order.

This could be me, back in the late 60s.  It isn't me,
though.  Sorry.
I was born on the leading edge of the Boomer generation.  I came of age in an exciting time.  My generation protested and demonstrated against racial discrimination, the Vietnam War, and the subjugation of women.  We studied ecology and warned people to protect the earth.  We even went overboard, declaring, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”  Reefers were passed around at wine and cheese parties, with the wine served in paper cups.  New forms of addictive drugs were developed and sold.  The more reckless among us dropped Acid and hoped they would survive with their brains intact.  Transcendental Meditation became a fad.  Brassieres were burned, boys and men grew long hair and beards.  Women and girls grew long hair, too, including me.  My hair is thick and coarse and it grows at the speed of light.  Growing it so long I could almost sit on it was easy.

Speaking of going overboard, there was easy, open sex.  This was hard for those of us who were still reeling from strong religious upbringings.  We felt like a starving person with Celiac Disease locked in a room with 200 loaves of bread.  It made us envy our friends who could be “spiritual” and wild at the same time without a twang of guilt.

Although I eagerly adopted a hippie look and a somewhat broader outlook than the one I had been raised with, I didn’t take part in any campus demonstrations, although there was plenty to demonstrate about.  I was busy studying music and theater, attempting to get my head together and breaking into an operatic singing career.  Anyone who has ever tried that knows how it sucks every bit of energy and attention from body and brain, especially when you have to work a 9 to 5 job at the same time, to support yourself.

Fast forward to the year 2016.  I was now a senior citizen, complete with AARP membership, senior discounts, arthritic knees, doctor visits and friends who worried about me, even when there was no need to worry.  Suddenly, a loony guy who, up until now, had been only known as a wealthy, obnoxious, egotistical real estate developer was the Republican candidate for President of the United States.  The loony guy proudly shouted his racism, xenophobia, misogyny and whatever other dangerous ideas came into his head.

In other words, this was the Mother of All Causes.

At age 70, I suddenly became what I could have been at age 21:  a protester.  I signed a gazillion online petitions and gave a lot of contributions, which were, by necessity, small.  I am not wealthy, and I would make a terrible bank robber.

When the loony guy was declared President, even though he didn’t win the popular vote, I geared myself to escalate the protesting – after I recovered from being sick over the whole mess.

So here I am, still signing online petitions, still giving small amounts of money, sending postcards, knitting “pussy hats” and trying to talk myself into calling members of Congress, which is something I have a half-phobia against (don’t ask me why).  The only reason I didn’t join the women’s march was that I knew I wouldn’t last more than about 30 minutes because: (1) I have arthritic knees (see above); and (2) we older ladies need accessible bathrooms, which can be hard to find in New York City.  On the other hand, I can yell as loud as I ever could, and I can certainly sing loud, so when the next opportunity to march comes, maybe I’ll go there and stay as long as possible.

Those 30 minutes might count for something.

The Mother of All Causes

For more of my humor, go here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

UPDATED TALES: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Trumpetian Countryside
Somewhere in Europe there was a country called Trumpetia.  Every year, the King of Trumpetia held a noisy argument on the floor of the Parliament with members of each of the two opposing parties:  the Richies and the Rest.  The Richies always agreed with the King and the Rest always disagreed with both the monarch and the Richies.  It made for a lively time, especially when the Rest held a filibuster, which they did every couple of years.  Local hospitals had ambulances ready to whisk the wounded to the nearest emergency rooms.  It had been years since any members of Parliament had been mortally wounded, which made everyone happy, because nobody liked to call the police.

Queen Bambi of Trumpetia was a former porn star who caught the eye of the King ten years earlier when he was playing adult videos on his flat screen TV.  He thought that her body parts would be up for grabs and that she could be kept in line.  He was right.  It never bothered the King when the Queen declined to attend state events, because he figured she was more useful back in the bedroom, anyway.

The King’s sister Roxane White was supposed to inherit the throne.  Roxane had plans for reforming all kinds of things that a lot of people thought needed reforming.  This made the Richies nervous.  They staged a coup and installed the younger brother as King.  Roxane escaped to some backwater town in Lower Moravia, where she changed her name and opened a Banana Republic store.  Her young daughter, Snow White, was left behind because she couldn’t fit into her mother’s suitcase.  The King kept Snow around, figuring he could always use her to seal an alliance or other lucrative deal by forcing her to marry some dictator’s son.

That’s enough backstory.  You get the idea.

Queen Bambi trying to go incognito
The Queen had a robot mirror that could talk.  Every day the mirror assured her that she was the most beautiful woman around.  The facelift, the workouts, and all those spa treatments, in addition to the fortune she spent on anti-aging creams, facials and makeup, were still paying off.  The royal treasury was paying for all of it, so nothing was lost, except some poverty-stricken taxpayers’ money, and everyone knew poverty-stricken taxpayers didn’t count because they didn’t have any money.

One day, Queen Bambi got a shock when the mirror told her Snow was better looking than she was.

“What?”  she screamed at the mirror.  “That’s impossible!”

“I am not programmed to lie,” said the mirror, “and that girl is hotter than a Manhattan sidewalk in 92-degree weather.  You’re beautiful, but, on a scale of 1 to 10, she’s a 15.”

“How did she become so beautiful overnight?”  asked the Queen.  “Just last month, you told me I was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom.”

“She got a makeover,” said the mirror.

The Queen was livid.  Didn’t that flat chested little upstart know anything about respecting the prerogatives of royal usurpers?  She called her friend Andrew the Assassin on his disposable cell phone and gave him an order.

“Kidnap Snow White, take her into the woods and whack her.”

“Any particular method you want I should use?”

“Just shoot the bitch, and don’t ask questions!”

Andrew the Assassin
Andrew the Assassin abducted Snow, bound her with duct tape, shoved her into the back seat of his SUV and took off for the woods.  Along the way, Andy fell in love with Snow.  He could kill anybody except people he was in love with.  He unbound the duct tape from Snow’s hands and mouth and let her go, after making her promise to meet him at his place whenever it was safe again.  He took a gold chain that she was wearing, to provide proof to the Queen that Snow was pushing up daisies.  He wanted to make sure he’d get his fee.  Then he took off in his SUV and left her there wondering where she was and if there were any wild animals nearby.  She had heard what happened to Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.

Snow started walking, and she soon came to a quaint rustic log house in a clearing.  She knocked on the door, but nobody answered.  The door was unlocked, so she went inside.  She found a light switch, and when she turned on the light she was surprised to find a neat little room with a Persian rug, a wooden table with seven places set, a La-Z-Boy recliner, a leather couch and a wooden rocker.  She wandered into the kitchen, where she found a refrigerator stocked with bottles of beer, three slices of pizza in a box and two gallons of Rocky Road ice cream.  The bathroom had a jacuzzi and a shelf with various expensive brands of shaving cream and men’s cologne on it.  The toilet seat was up.  In the bedrooms, she found three neatly made bunk beds and one twin-sized bed.  She was so exhausted that she lay down on top of the twin-sized bed and immediately fell asleep.

Meanwhile, back in the capital, the top executives of Dwarf Brothers Computers were preparing to go home to that little house in the woods.  There were seven of them, and they were, indeed, brothers.  They were even richer than the King, which was illegal, so they kept most of their money in the Cayman Islands.  Despite their surname, they were all more than six feet tall.  Their names were Dwayne, Darryl, Dan, Doug, David, Dorian and Ernie.  They were all in their 20s, which explains why none of them were married yet, although five of them were engaged.  The other two were gay.

Snow White at a costume ball
They took three helicopters home.  When they got to the house, Dwayne discovered that the door was unlocked but nothing was missing, and made a mental note to yell at the cleaning woman.  Dwayne was the first to go into the bedroom where Snow was sleeping on his twin bed.

“Whoa!”  said Dwayne.

“What?”  said the others, one by one.

“You gotta see this!”  said Dwayne

All of them came into the room and stared down at Snow.

“Holy cannoli!”  said Ernie.

The racket woke Snow, who slowly opened her eyes and screamed when she saw seven tall men staring at her.  It took them a minute to calm her down and assure her they weren’t degenerates, serial killers or gangsters.  They asked her how she got there, and Snow told them the whole story about how her aunt had hired Andrew the Assassin to bring her into the woods and rub her out, but he was in love with her, although she didn’t love him back, but she didn’t tell him that because he had a gun, and he had left her alive and driven off and she didn’t want to get eaten by a wolf so she started walking and ended up here.

The brothers felt sorry for Snow.  They arranged for her to stay hidden in their house in return for light housekeeping and cooking the meals.  Fortunately, there was a copy of “Cooking for People Who Can’t Boil Water” in the house, so Snow had a reference.  Dan, who was the compulsive neat freak of the group, taught Snow how to use a broom, a mop, a dishcloth and a feather duster.  Being a deposed princess, she had never had to do any work, but she enjoyed being useful for a change.  She discovered that work was easier if she did it while singing at the top of her lungs.  It was a good thing that there were no neighbors and the seven brothers were always at work when she was puttering around the house, because she couldn’t carry a tune.

This happy situation went on until the next time Queen Bambi consulted her robot mirror.  The mirror again told her that Snow White was more beautiful than she was.

“You lying pile of scrap!” she shouted.  “Snow White is dead!”

“If she’s dead, I’m George Clooney!” said the mirror.  It then explained to the Queen everything that had gone down.

After she was finished pounding the floor, Queen Bambi sat up and made a quick decision.  If you want anything done right, do it yourself.  Forget Andrew the Assassin.  She was Queen Bambi of Trumpetia, formerly Bambi Lovebox, originally Daisy Knodelbecker, of the Bronxtown Knodelbeckers.  Nobody messed with a Knodelbecker and got away with it.  Just ask any of their neighbors who still had a house to live in.

She had some designer drugs in her underwear drawer, left over from her days as a porn star.  The following afternoon, she took a load of stuff and injected it into one side of a big, juicy Red Delicious apple.  She marked the poisoned side of the fruit with a Magic Marker and put it into a basket, along with three normal apples, two tangerines and a kumquat.  She changed into a purple floral muumuu and put a blue cloak with a big hood over it.

The mirror had told Bambi exactly where Snow was staying, and she got clear directions on the GPS in the black Mercedes the King had given her last Valentine’s Day, after a particularly memorable session of uninhibited passion.  She parked the car a short distance from the house, put the hood up over her head and half her face and picked up the basket of fruit.  She walked to the house and knocked on the door.

When Snow answered the door, Bambi pretended to be a door-to-door fruit seller.  She offered Snow a taste of the spiked apple, just, she said, to show her how delicious it was.  To show that everything was alright, Bambi took a bite out of what she knew was the good side of the apple.  Snow took a bite out of the other side, made a comment about the apple not being ripe enough, declined to buy anything and started to go back into the house.  She suddenly stopped and began to wheeze very loudly, after which she passed out and lay in the doorway as if dead.

Bambi laughed long, hard and high.  She ran back to the Mercedes, turned on the ignition, gunned the gas pedal and sped away.  They found her later, glassy-eyed and incoherent, after she ran the car into the rear end of a truck full of live lobsters.  There were lobsters all over the street, and several of them were hanging from Bambi’s cloak.  She was taken to the emergency room of the Trumpetia Memorial Medical Center.  From there she was admitted to the hospital, where it took her two weeks to come out of a coma.

She had bitten the wrong side of the apple, and had taken her own overdose.

Meanwhile, the seven brothers returned home to find Snow on the floor by the front door, looking like she wasn’t breathing.  They had brought a potential client and his lawyer with them, to have a late meeting and finalize a deal.  The client, whose name was George Prince, was trained in CPR and First Aid, and he determined that Snow had a piece of apple stuck in her throat.  He gave her the Heimlich Maneuver and she began to breathe again.

Snow White and George Prince fell in love and got married.  She became Snow Prince.  They had a nice, big McMansion in the suburbs, had three children who only went to the best schools and lived in luxury.

The Dwarf Brothers retired from the computer business and moved to the Cayman Islands where their money was.  They all got married, including the two who were gay, and opened a beachcombing and gift shop business that made them twice as rich as they were before.

Queen Bambi went back to the palace, where the King took the robot mirror away from her once and for all, ordered her not to make any more trouble and made her wear a tracking device on her ankle.  Then he went over to the Parliament Building and had his yearly fight.

If any of this story seems improbable, it probably is.

For more of my funny writing, go here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


It was a country of  benumbed people.
Once upon a time, in a country nobody ever heard of, there was a prince whose name was Julio:  Julio Prince.  His parents were Marvin and Gertrude King, who were the constitutional monarchs of the country.  They had no power, but they looked good and they had nice manners.  Nobody wanted to get rid of them because, well, they were the king and queen, and you couldn’t get rid of a king or a queen unless you beheaded them.  Nobody wanted to do that.

Julio was the crown prince.  He was single and available.  This was a cause for concern, because Julio caused a new royal scandal every month with a different person.  The people loved him because his escapades made good tabloid reading, but the queen’s blood pressure was getting dangerously high and the king had started to drink large quantities of anisette.  Even the prime minister was not immune to the pressure.  She had taken up smoking Russian cigars again.

The king, the queen, the prime minister and the heads of all 10 parties in parliament held a meeting, after which the queen read the Riot Act to the prince.  Her voice was quivering and she was shaking pretty hard.

“If you don’t get married, settle down and give us some grandchildren, we are going to disown you.  Your idiot cousin Pippin Duke will become heir to the throne.  You won’t get a title.  You won’t even get an allowance.  You’ll have to go to work!  We mean it this time!”

Consideration of this horrible future caused Julio to agree to their demands.  He wasn’t about to marry just anyone, though.  He had standards.  The king had an idea.  They would throw a humungous party with an orchestra, a bar and a buffet, to which they would invite all the unmarried young women in the country.

It was a small country and they had a big ballroom.

In the meantime, on the other end of town, lived a family of women.  The father of the family had died, leaving behind his daughter, his wife and his two stepdaughters.  Neighbors called their house the Bitch Burrow.  Nobody could figure out why the man had married that old witch in the first place.  She looked like an orangutan and she had the personality of a Tasmanian devil on amphetamines.  Neighborhood gossip held that he had married her because she could bake a great double dark chocolate chip cake doused with rum.  Others theorized that she blackmailed him about a body in the cellar.  The cake story was the most popular.  The man had weighed 300 pounds.

The Wicked Stepmother’s two daughters, Zelda and Imelda, were even uglier than she was and almost as unpleasant.  The one sweet, pretty member of the family was the dead father’s daughter.  Nobody knew that she was pretty, though, because she was always covered with dirt and grime.  This was because the other three made her do all the work around the house.  They were too poor to hire a maid and too lazy and stuck up to do any housework themselves.

They called her Cinderella because she had ashes on her face most of the time from sleeping on the floor next to the fireplace.[1]  She didn’t mind the nickname.  Her real name was Ethelgard, and she hated it.  It reminded her of gasoline.  It was also a boy’s name.

One sunny day, a special delivery letter from the palace arrived at the house of the four poor women.  It was the king’s formal invitation to the party during which the crown prince was expected to pick out the woman he wouldn’t mind marrying to keep his parents off his back.

Zelda, Imelda and Wicked Stepmother made Cinderella’s life miserable in the days before the party.  The three of them had to take their formal dresses out of moth balls, and Cinderella had to hang them outside to make them smell better.  After she persuaded the thieving neighbors to return the dresses, Cinderella had to work like a slave doing alterations on all of them.  Cinderella had attended the Elite Beauty College for a couple of semesters while her father was still alive, so she also had to give everyone else a makeover on the day of the party.

She shyly mentioned how nice it would be if she could go to the party, too.  The others looked at her as if she had two heads, and Wicked Stepmother brought the subject to a crashing close with, “Don’t be ridiculous!  You’re filthy!”  Cinderella knew better than to argue.

After they had left, Cinderella sat in front of the fireplace and resigned herself to never going to a royal party and having to scrub floors and clean the bathroom for the rest of her life.  She sang a few verses of “Someday My Prince Will Come,”[2] then sighed and lay down on the floor in a fetal position.

Unbeknownst to Cinderella, she was being watched from above.  Three aliens from Planet Fair were hovering in an invisible ship above the house.  Because they were from Planet Fair, they called themselves Fairies.  They weren’t particularly bright, but they had magical powers.

One of them, who called herself Fairy Godmother, said to the others, “I want to go down there and help that poor loser.  I hate those other three bitches.”

Fairy Godmother transported herself down to Cinderella, who fainted in shock.  Fairy Godmother threw some water in Cinderella’s face.  After Cinderella stopped screaming, Fairy Godmother introduced herself and offered to help her get to the party.

“I can make you look like Angelina Jolie, Selena Gomez and Amber Heard together!”

This got Cinderella’s attention, and she agreed to be the subject of Fairy Godmother’s extreme makeover.  The whole process took about 10 minutes.  Cinderella ended up looking like a bridesmaid at a 1950s wedding, but that look was in fashion that season, so it was fine.  The outfit was accessorized with a pair of size 10 transparent ballet flats made to look like glass and an evening bag to match.
Not bad!
Cinderella couldn’t walk to the palace in those shoes, so Fairy Godmother turned a pumpkin into a fancy carriage with two horses and commandeered two frightened cats to drive it and ride shotgun.  She warned Cinderella that her spells never lasted very long, so if she was wise she would get out of the palace before midnight, unless she wanted to end up really embarrassed.

Cinderella made it to the palace around 10:00 PM, in time to get a drink at the bar and look for the prince.  She found him and he asked her to dance.  It turned out that she was the only woman in the room who knew how to do dirty dancing, and she and the prince had a fine time together.  All the other hopefuls thought it was disgusting, including Zelda and Imelda, who did not recognize the interloper but didn’t like her, anyway.

In the middle of some complicated erotic dance moves, Cinderella heard a big clock going bong, bong, bong.  She stopped short with one foot in the air, said, “Oops!” and charged out of the ballroom, elbowing people out of the way and knocking down several ornamental plants.  She lost one of her shoes at the front door, but didn’t stop to retrieve it.  She was only halfway to the street when she turned back into her regular self.  She had to walk home, because the carriage and its drivers also changed back, and the two cats sped away like torpedoes.
The Prince and His Dance Instructor
Prince Julio Prince was disturbed, to say the least.  He had made up his mind that this woman with size 10 feet who could dance like a stripper was the one he wanted to marry, even though he didn’t know her name or anything about her, except that she was hot.  He found her shoe at the front door and picked it up.  He was going to find the woman of his dreams if he had to try that shoe on the left foot of every female in the kingdom.  In the meantime, he figured he’d get a decent night’s sleep, to be fresh for the ambulatory excursions he would have to do the next day.

The prince got an early start at 11:00 AM the following day.  He made his way around every house in the capital city without finding any foot big enough to fit the shoe.  He finally came to the Bitch Burrow.  Wicked Stepmother, Zelda and Imelda let him in with a lot of bowing and scraping and flattery and any other kind of ass kissing they could think of.  By then he was tired and in no mood for stupidity, so he snapped, “Alright, already!  Take your freakin’ left shoes off and let’s get this over with!”

Zelda and Imelda had small, dainty feet, so it was obvious neither one of them was the woman of the prince’s daydreams.  The fact that they were both ugly as dirt sealed the verdict.

At that point, Cinderella, whose face was still clean after her magical makeover of the night before, came out of the kitchen and announced that she should try on the shoe, too.  Zelda and Imelda tried to push her back into the kitchen, apologizing to the prince and complaining about how hard it was to find decent help.

The prince looked at Cinderella and felt the same stirring he had felt the night before.  He handed the shoe to Cinderella, whose big foot fit it perfectly.  She then brought out the shoe’s mate and put IT on, too.  Fairy Godmother had decided to let her have it as a memento.

To make a long story short, Cinderella married the prince, who retained his right to be heir to the throne.  Zelda married a glazier.  Imelda married a shoemaker.  Wicked Stepmother became Wicked Mother-In-Law and made life miserable for a whole new set of people

Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after, or at least until they both reached middle age and he had a midlife crisis.  That’s a whole other story.

For more of my funny writing, go here.

[1] She usually got the ashes off her face with a good loofah scrubbing.  This isn’t important, so, if you don’t find it interesting, don’t bother reading this.

[2] Yes, I know.  That song is from the Disney movie “Snow White,” and has nothing to do with Cinderella.  So shoot me.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Stupid is as Smart Does, or How to Make an Ass of Yourself 101

I have a decent IQ.  No, I don’t know what it is.  Our elementary school wouldn’t tell us.  They didn’t even tell us they had given us an IQ test, although it was obvious to most of us what it was.  Before that test was given, my teachers had considered me pathetic.  Afterward, I became the Smart Kid Who Wouldn’t Apply Herself.  Neither appraisal made me popular with my instructors.

Now that I have established the fact that I am not stupid, I will begin my story.

I have two Kindle readers.  I bought one of them in December, 2010.  It is an older model with a keyboard, and it does not have a touch screen.  I bought the other one in March, 2015.  It is a Kindle Voyager, with a touch screen and no keyboard.  It is smaller than the other one.  In other words, they don’t look alike and I don’t operate them in the same way.

Until a few days ago, I had not used either Kindle for some time.  Instead, I have been going through a phase of buying printed, paperback books.  The two Kindles have languished where I put them.

A few days ago, I was browsing and found a few books that looked interesting.  This time, instead of paying for paperback copies and waiting for them to come in the mail, I decided to resurrect my Kindle Voyager.  I ordered the Kindle versions of the books.

You got that so far?  Good.  There’s more, and it’s more interesting than all that background information.

I couldn’t find my new books on the Kindle.  I went onto the website, looked for instructions, and tried a few times to download my new books.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I decided that contacting a real person was the only answer, so I started a chat with one of the representatives.  It only took a minute to connect with someone, which made me happy.

Here is a condensed version of the chat transcript:

09:37 PM PST S--(Amazon): Hello, my name is S--. I'm here to help you today.

09:37 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Can you help me download my new books to my Kindle Voyager?

09:38 PM PST S--: No worries. I'll help you in this regard.

09:39 PM PST S--: Are you referring to the books:
1. Den of Thieves
2. The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life
3. Snape: A Definitive Reading

09:39 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Yes.

09:39 PM PST S--: Thanks for confirming.

09:39 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Those are the ones I am not finding on my device.

09:40 PM PST S--: I have sent the books to your Kindle device from my end.  Please try to sync the Kindle device now.


09:49 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: No new items. Should I press the menu button and try to sync it again?

09:50 PM PST S--: Yes, you can try to sync the Kindle again.  Once the book is downloaded, it will appear on your Kindle home screen.

09:50 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: It said No New Items.

09:51 PM PST S--: Is your Kindle connected with your WiFi network?

09:52 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Yes. Wifi is on.

09:52 PM PST S--: Are you able to access the Kindle store?

09:53 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Yes.


09:59 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: I just did it.

09:59 PM PST S--: Thank you.  Now try to register your Kindle.

10:00 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: This will take me a couple of minutes. I have to look up my password!


10:01 PM PST S--: Just to confirm, have you deregistered the Kindle keyboard device or Kindle voyage device?

10:01 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Kindle Voyage. "Kathryn's 2nd Kindle"

10:02 PM PST S--: May I know the device serial number?


10:12 PM PST S--: I see that you have de-registered your Kindle keyboard device and not your Kindle voyage device.

10:14 PM PST Kathryn Minicozzi: Oy! I haven't used my Kindles in so long, I must have picked up the wrong one!

The patient rep downloaded two of the new books onto my OLD Kindle.  When the survey came up, I gave him 5 stars all the way through.

I am imagining a room somewhere, full of reps, who are passing around the transcript of this chat and pissing themselves laughing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Great Remote Control Conspiracy

Many people tell of socks that disappear into an undiscovered dimension of an automatic washing machine.  My socks do not abscond in the laundry room, for which my feet are grateful.

I can’t say the same thing for reading glasses and TV remote controls.  I am convinced that those items have formed a conspiracy designed to confuse and exasperate me.

In other words, my reading glasses and the TV remote control are in cahoots to drive me crazy.
I own several pairs of those cheap reading glasses from Walgreens.  They work well, and they don’t cost a lot.  I like to keep a pair in my purse, another pair by the computer and another pair near my bed, in case I want to read something or do close work, like knitting.

The TV remote control can end up anywhere in the living room of my little studio apartment.  It has even appeared in the kitchen once or twice, leaving me wondering how it got there.

I think the remote control is the mastermind of these plots, because it is by far the most accomplished when it comes to disappearing.  I think it has included the reading glasses because that way it has buddies to share a good laugh with when one of them has sent me all over the apartment trying to find it.

“Where is the remote?” has become almost a mantra in this apartment.  I look in the last place I am sure I was holding it in my hand, and it isn’t there.  It isn’t on the computer desk.  It isn’t on the daybed.  It isn’t on the ottoman.  I look under the daybed, under the chair, in the trash receptacle.  No remote control anywhere.  I check all the bookshelves.  I find two pairs of reading glasses that I have been looking for since last month, but no remote control.

I try calling it: “Here, Remote, Remote, Remote!”

Of course, it doesn’t answer me.  It can’t talk, and it’s hiding.

In desperation, I walk over to the television, turn it on and search the channels manually (using the cable box) until I find something reasonably entertaining.

I plop down in my armchair, despairing of ever finding the elusive device and wondering if I should call the cable company and order a new one – again.

I look down.  There it is, on the floor, peeking out from under the computer desk.  It’s laughing at me.

I reach down, pick it up, wipe off the dust with a Kleenex and put it on the ottoman, in front of the armchair.  I order it to stay there and not go anywhere unless I put it there.  I’m sure it will obey me, at least until tomorrow.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Legalizing Weed and Other Substances

After considerable thought (at least five minutes’ worth), I have come to the conclusion that it is a big mistake to legalize any presently controlled substances.  As we have all been told for generations, you start with Weed, and before you know it you are lying in the gutter with glassy, heroin-filled eyes, mumbling to yourself, scaring people and singing Puff the Magic Dragon and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, just before you die in agony from the best high you have ever experienced.
The Destroyer
Using that same logic, it stands to reason that making extreme pleasure-inducing agents legal will soon result in their becoming commonplace items of ingestion.  Imagine if you will, typical future family interactions:

“Henry, you have put enough cocaine on your cereal.  Leave some for your little sister.”

“Mom!  Johnny won’t share his opium with me.  Make him give me some!”

 “Okay.  I have one coca leaf for each of you.  That’s all you’re getting.  So shut up and stop pestering me.”

“If I told you once, I told you a thousand times!  Stop giving our heroin to the dog!”

“Honey, do we have any more Ecstasy or did the kids take it all?”

Are we headed for a future filled with stoned kids and pets and exasperated parents on speed?  It’s something to think about while passing the joint around.
This could be YOU!


In case you haven’t figured this out already, this is meant to be funny, and nobody should take it seriously.  There.  I said it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Want Christmas! -- Memories

Okay.  I already told everyone about my stage debut as Innkeeper No. 2 in the St. Joseph’s Elementary School annual Christmas pageant.  If you haven’t already read about it, you can find it here.  I won’t repeat that story again – not that it isn’t a good story, I just don’t want to go through all the trouble and I don’t want to bore you.

I didn’t tell you about the doll house, though.  That was one of those magical Christmases.  I was about 4 or 5 years old.  My parents and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment behind my maternal grandparents’ gas station, on our little town’s Main Street, which was part of a longer highway that extended to nearby towns and to the small city located about three miles away.  It was a noisy, busy highway and my parents and grandparents were always watching to make sure I didn’t venture onto it and get myself run over by some passing idiot driver motorist.  The little apartment was cramped and old.  A few years later, we would move across Main Street, into a much bigger house, but for the time being we were roughing it.

My parents didn’t have much money then.  My father was working seasonal jobs as a bricklayer.  My mother was not yet working outside the home.  Things were tight.  Of course, being a little kid, I didn’t know that.  My parents knew it because they were the ones who had to figure out how to live on peanuts.  There was never a thought, though, of not having Christmas.  Of course, we had a tree.  In my memory’s eye (which can be mistaken because, after all, I am now 70 years old and this happened back in the very early 1950s) it was a small tree.  To my young eyes, it was probably the most beautiful Christmas tree in the world.  I was easy to please.

That Christmas, I woke up, got up out of my bed in the apartment’s only bedroom and walked into the living room.  There, by the tree, was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  It was a doll house.  It was unwrapped, probably because it was too big to wrap with whatever Christmas paper my parents had.  There were other presents, too, but the doll house was the centerpiece.  Of course, it was just an inexpensive metal one, but to me it was a miniature palace.

I played with that doll house for years until, eventually, it became dented and worn out.  I don’t know how it met its end.  It was probably tossed out.  But that would be in the future.  On that Christmas morning, it was the best present ever.

Another thing I remember from around that time is that I was scared to death of sitting on Santa Claus’ lap.  Nobody could get me to do it.  I was a pathologically shy kid, anyway, and a big, bearded fat man in a red suit with a loud voice could send me hiding behind my Mom’s coat.  Finally, one day, someone (I think it was Mom) got me to sit on the lap of some Santa or other and tell him what I wanted for Christmas.  I did it very well, too.  I actually talked and I didn’t cry.  Word of my accomplishment got around the family and my parents’ friends, and they must have thought it was cute because some of them laughed.

Fast forward to my high school years.  By then, everyone knew I could sing and I had ambitions to become an opera singer.  One Christmas, I found myself part of a small choir rehearsing to sing at the Midnight Mass at our Catholic parish church.  The choir was being led by a man whose desire to serve far outweighed his musical ability.  He couldn’t even carry a tune, a real drawback in a choir director.  The choir consisted of two men and three females:  my younger sister, another soprano and myself.  We three females had good singing voices.  The two men, on the other hand, were at least as tone-deaf as the director.  This made for an interesting balance.  My sister was the youngest of the female participants, so the other soprano and I were the ones who ended up trying to make sure the whole thing wasn’t a disaster.

Somehow, we got through the mass, and that particular singing group disbanded for good.  Nobody was sorry about that.