Went to buy a pumpkin. Picked one out, hauled it to the cashier and was told that my pumpkin would cost three times as much as I expected. When I asked her why that was, she said certain pumpkins had treasures hidden inside them and mine might be one. I told her I didn't want a treasure pumpkin, just a regular pumpkin. She frowned and told me that the treasure pumpkin idea was from her recently deceased father and they were carrying out his deathbed wishes (what, to charge 3 times the normal price for a regular pumpkin?). Disgusted at this tuberous extortion, I declined her attempt to both rip me off and use her dead father to sell pumpkins. Obviously, the colour of greed is now orange.
November 2, 2013
My horoscope for November said I should expect the unexpected, which is a useless thing to say because it's impossible to expect something you can't expect, which is exactly what unexpected means. So what kind of crappy horoscope is that? Hey astrologers, I want a month where everything is announced ahead of time and there will be ample time for everything. Is that so hard?
November 3, 2013
God, our new neighbours Barry and Liz are so dramatic.
You go over to watch a football game, have a beer, and they turn it into La traviata. Here is Liz asking my wife to join her in the kitchen to help with the snacks, while Barry is "on the lookout for anything that could harm us during the watching of this game". WTF is that? And why are they wearing pajamas?
I told my wife we have to stop visiting them. I find the whole family stressful.
November 4, 2013
Let me ask you something. If you had the chance to be anything or do anything, regardless of the money involved or the seeming impossibility of it, would you already have something in mind? Do you have a big goal, a long range outlook, a master plan? Have you thought much beyond your present circumstances? No? Here's something to do. Get quiet, close your eyes and imagine yourself 5 years in the future. Who is that person? Get familiar with them, in your mind's eye shape them. Then jump ahead and see yourself 10 years from now. Who is that? Will you be happy to be on your way to that? If you flesh that person out and create a detailed vision of who you'd like to become, you now have a goal, an outlook, a master plan. Wallah! That's what I'm talking about.
November 5, 2013
This big, hairy, pretty fearsome guy has a My Little Pony tattoo on his arm. Because of his large size and intimidating presence, the ink stands out one, because it's pink, and two, because it's a My Little Pony on an animal's arm! When an old lady asks him about it, he says the tat is to honour his daughter who died young. Then he thanked the woman, saying that he loves it when people ask him about it because every time it happens, he gets to warmly remember his little girl. He smiled at the thought and walked on.
November 6, 2013
Got this cake in the mail. Darla, honey, I'm not sure you understand what frost my cake means. It means you're mad at something I said, not pleased at something I said. Was that your intention? Is this a cake of hate? If so, then why sign it with love? Or were you just being sarcastic? Maybe you thought the frosting coupled with frosts my cake was, I dunno, clever? Maybe even a little playful? You know, hey hey, frosts your cake, ohh la la, that sort of thing? Darla Darla Darla. Then there's the whole matter of the question mark. Oh my god. Well look, either way, professing your love or bringing the hate, thanks for thinking of me in that way. I think.
(We here at Keith Ryan Publishing will no longer be accepting unsolicited cakes in the mail. Even with return postage. Thank you for your restraint.)
November 7, 2013
Went down to the barn to get the tractor ready for winter. I put on the snow plow, flushed the fluids and changed the oil. The only thing left was to put on the tire chains. Off season, I keep them in a wooden box in a dark corner of the barn. I go to retrieve them when something in the box moves. Whoa, I step back, then slowly lean in for a closer look. There, nestled in the sets of heavy duty tractor chains were a handful of sleeping bats. It's been well below freezing, so these guys were already in hibernation. I didn't want to wake them but I need those chains. We have always had bats around here and I had even put up a couple of bat houses but they had always remained empty. So I pulled one of the bat houses off the pole it was on, got some heavy duty gloves, put on safety glasses just to be, you know, safe, and went to move the bats into their new home. I slowly picked up the first bat and placed it at the entrance to the bat house. It woke enough to crawl up into the house. Amazingly, I was able to pluck up each and every bat, without any of them really waking up until they crawled up into the bat house. I then gently screwed the house back on its pole and finished up winterizing the tractor by putting on the chains. Ah, the rural life.
November 8, 2013
On the bus a couple are making out. A guy in the next seat over starts videoing them with his phone. The girl sees they are being filmed and tells her snogging partner. This guy grabs the other guy's phone and throws it down on the floor of the bus. Then he goes back to making out with the girl. The phone owner picks it up off the floor, examines it, sees that it still works and starts filming the couple again. Unfortunately, my stop was next. What happened on the bus after that, I can't say.
November 9, 2013
I got an invoice from a service I cancelled eight months ago. I wrote 'This account has been terminated' on the bill and sent it back to them. A few days later I receive a phone call from the company threatening to turn over my unpaid bill to a collection agency. I explain that I cancelled their service and didn't owe them anything. They insisted that I pay or else. I hung up. The next day I get another call from them and they again demand I pay the bill. Once again I explain the termination and the guy says to me, "We will keep calling you over and over until you pay what you owe us." Oh really? Again I hung up, but this time I immediately changed our answering machine message to: "You have reached the provincial police hotline. All calls are recorded and all incoming phone numbers logged. Prank calls or solicitations will be fined at $1,000 per instance. Please leave your message after the tone and a police officer will get back to you immediately." Never heard from the shakedown jerks again.
-- See, all you have to do to let the air out is push this little valve in with a stick.
-- Dad will kill you when he finds out you flatted the tire.
-- No he won't. He'll be impressed that a little kid like me could bring down such a massive machine.
-- You're delusional, Bobby. He's going to kill you. You're a bad seed. Mom was right. Ok, I think that's flat enough, Bobby.
-- You're not the boss of me, Little Pete. Anyway, if Dad's mad, I always have my ace in the hole.
-- Yup. I'll just tell him you did it.
-- But I'm too little.
-- I'll tell him something is wrong with you. That you're not right in the head. I'll say that Little Pete has been acting funny lately and that he might be better off in an institution. Dad will agree with me. Then it's bye bye Little Pete.
-- You're an idiot, Bobby.
-- Listen up, Little Pete, this is the most important thing you will ever hear. I am the first born. That means that you have to do what I say - forever. I own you little brother. You keep your mouth shut and do everything I tell you, then everything will be just fine.
-- You're power mad!
-- May be, Little Pete, may be. Now let's go see if we can't gum up the transmission.
November 12, 2013
I listened to a pompous writer talking about "his method" and his "precious routine" and how he preaches his "golden fundamentals" to all his adoring students. I watched his feigned horror at the notion that if either his routine or method were ever altered, why he'd probably dry up like a raisin and have writer's block forever, never writing another word - depriving his fans of...him! Hooey. His "method" and "precious routine" are just constraints he has placed upon himself. His "golden fundamentals" are artifice, wall decoration, arbitrary rules for subjective reasons, nothing universal and certainly nothing noteworthy about them. They, like writer's block, are all inside this dude's head. You don't need any of that. So I say, you're not so special, pompous writer. You should quit telling everyone you are.
November 13, 2013
The fact that a smartphone can titillate both a 50 year old and a 12 year old, shows just how nascent this technology is. And captivating though they may be, smartphones are just the beginning of what's next. So are we doomed or blessed?
November 14, 2013
As the years pass, at what point do you realize they are finite? At what point do thoughts about this (the Earth, your life, reality), take a back seat to thoughts about that (death, the afterlife, immortality)? And who's to say that death is an ending? Why is it not a new beginning?
In this picture, Bill is amused and pleased. That's easy. Mary is pleased and hopeful. That's obvious. They're flirting. We can plainly see that. Only Eduardo seems, well, put off by the steamy couples sexy time, miffed, unable to hide his disapproval and disgust, pretending to look the other way but totally watching them through his peripheral vision. And why is Eduardo so uptight? It's because he clearly has a secret crush on either Mary or Bill. But now there's this other person. So Eduardo grows cold. He makes that face. Yes, it's that simple. That's how you do it. Oh, and when reading people, don't worry about making mistakes. Heck, Eduardo could be a contract killer for all I know, just walking by, caught in a photobomb, the only known existing picture of the bloodthirsty monster they call Eduardo. Heck, who knows. Ok, I hope everyone has learned some valuable stuff here today.
November 16, 2013
Overheard two geezers in line.
-- Yeah, I started wearing my pants high up about 50 years ago. I made it my trademark.
-- Everybody knows you as High Pants Howie.
-- You got that right. See, I realized a man needs an identifying feature about himself. Something that will announce him. If you know what I mean.
-- I know what you mean.
-- There's a lot of competition out there. The ladies are always looking for differentiation. If you don't have a 'thing' you got nothing.
-- You can say that again.
-- So me, I picked high pants, and I haven't ever looked back once.
-- Not even once?
-- Well, there was this one ol' gal who said that my high pants made me look like a young, out of shape grandpa.
-- Damn! What'd you do?
-- Hell, I dumped her. High pants were already my trademark. I had too much invested.
-- Well we all know you as High Pants Howie. Never heard you called by any other name. It's always been High Pants Howie.
-- You got that right. That's my thing, see.
November 18, 2013
It's -1C, there's snow and mud on the ground, yet a neighbour is out riding his bicycle. With little traction, the fenderless back tire has flung a powerful strip of mud and slush up his back. He looks miserable and off balance. His struggles are enormous. From here, there's little reason to be doing what he's doing. Yet there he is.
November 19, 2013
Sunning out by her backyard pool, Willa, a conservative mother of three and devoted wife of Allan, caught a glimpse of her neighbor Fred watching her through binoculars from his kitchen window. Willa was at first shocked that anybody would want to spy on her, then got excited that somebody wanted to spy on her. The fact that Fred was twice her age, overweight and somewhat crude, wasn't enough to deter Willa from fantasizing about a whole other sexy, free, adventurous life with Fred. Alas, when her kids came home from school, Fred became just another neighbor.
Word is, he played the ring toss for his girlfriend, lost, got embarrassed, fell back on his natural weight and size and demanded that the scrawny carny running the "crooked" game hand over "the big ass Snoopy" or else. The carny had seen this before. It's life under the big top. The carny also knew it had fleas, so he let it go. Everyone was happy. A good night at the fair?
November 21, 2013
I get a call at 6:00 this morning.
-- Mr. Essa, please stand by for Mr. Khouri.
-- What? Hello?
-- Akbar, hello, it's good to hear your voice again. I hope you are doing well.
-- I think you have the wrong number.
-- Wrong number?
-- You are not Akbar Essa?
-- No, Mr. Khouri, I'm not.
-- But you know my name!
-- Yes, but I am not Akbar.
-- And yet you sound like Akbar!
-- Mr. Khouri-
-- Please, call me Salman. We have been doing business together now many years.
-- Akbar, let me ask you this: Can we move the delivery date up by a month?
-- Salman, my name is Keith. I don't know you. I don't know Akbar. Frankly, I should hang up, but this is kind of entertaining.
-- Obviously there has been a mistake.
-- You say you don't know who I am.
-- I don't.
-- And who are you?
-- I am Keith.
-- What is your business?
-- I'm not at liberty to say.
-- What is your business, Salman?
-- I am talking to you from the cabin of my private Gulfstream 6, currently over the Gulf of Oman. Where are you?
-- In my pajamas, in Canada.
-- Ok, goodbye, Keith.
-- Goodbye, Salman.
November 22, 2013
Watching a movie with improbable plot twist after improbable plot twist. It's tiring trying to connect all the dots. Soon, I want to strangle both the writer and director. I thought movies were supposed to be entertaining? How come I want to kill two people I don't even know?
November 23, 2013
It's the Day Of The Doctor. Today is the 50th year anniversary show of the smashing BBC TV series Doctor Who. They are finally going to deal with the epic Time War. And Rose is back. And number 10 as well. There will be Daleks yelling "Exterminate!", and there will be both loose ends tied up and new narratives introduced. Oh! boy! If you don't know what I'm talking about, suffice it to say it's one of the best shows on television. Ever. You scream. I scream. We all scream.
November 24, 2013
It's said that we have about 70,000 thoughts per day. You'd think one or two of them would be gold, eh? But when was the last time you had a good idea? Are you using your thoughts to rail about the guy in front of you driving 50 in a 90, pondering some celebrity's new hair cut, worrying about why some person hasn't texted you back, followed by 69,997 other mundane thoughts? If so, maybe that's why you're not an astrophysicist. I'm just sayin'...
I heard a spokesman for a pharmaceutical company talking about their new wonder drug and when asked about the side effects, brushed them off as inconsequential compared to the benefit derived from ingesting their pills. The side effects? Skin lesions, heart palpitations that can lead to arrhythmia and cardiac arrest, loss of hair, loss of hearing, kidney damage and bone degeneration. The benefits? A person will be able to sleep through the night without the need to get up and pee three times during it. Now Johnny you can sleep all night or die trying! So wonderful. In the immortal words of the Queen of Hearts, Off with their heads!
November 27, 2013
I wrote a letter to someone who I'm pretty sure will not respond. Why did I do it? Well, I wrote with good intentions, I wrote with a plausible reason for doing so, and I wrote because it was really the only way to contact them. Since I feel good about my execution, should they never respond, it's their loss, not mine.
November 29, 2013
Drove passed a shoe store with a lone protestor marching in front of it with a sign that read,
SHOE MURDERERS! SHOES ARE PEOPLE TOO!
I wondered, apocryphal warning or just a small life?
November 30, 2013
Not that anyone will care, but all my Christmas shopping is finished. That`s right, I`m done, caput, finito, stick a fork in it, over and out. So next month while all of you are running around stressed and harried, making your lists and checking them twice, I will merely be stressed and harried over the bills that have come in for my November shopping spree. Hey, wait a minute...