Norman Rockwell, We Ain’t, and a Most Pragmatic Christmas


I actually thought that when the POMC’s male DNA contributor signed off his rights that I would be done with the snarky, vindictive antics that always seem to go down with “broken” families when children and holidays are involved.  Yeah, right.  I had no idea just how vindictive and snarky my granddaughter’s baby mama can get.  Far be it from her that her child’s dad just might want to spend time with his daughter on Christmas too, eh?

Of course she can’t know his plans, or work with him for a compromise acceptable to both sides- if she turns off her phone and ignores all his calls and texts, right?


I’m trying really hard to avoid the very natural Mother of the POMC tendency to unsheathe the claws and protect the Precious Cub at all costs.  After all, the POMC’s male DNA contributor was only good for his small contribution of biological material, and that’s the nicest thing I can say about the male DNA contributor.  I don’t want to think that my granddaughter’s mother is being spiteful and vindictive without cause…but…Steve-o actually does care about his little girl and actually is involved in her life (unlike his male DNA contributor) so I figure, what the hell’s her problem?  Lack of maturity, desire to get her own way, and the Opportunity to Make a Scene, are all things one does at age twelve to get attention, but when a 20 year old woman’s doing it, it just looks stupid and sad.


It’s a shame when they carry over into adulthood.

I can understand that mother’s desire to have one’s child all to herself.  I can understand the instinct to protect one’s child from psychos (my ex in-laws, for example) or even from the indifference of the other parent -should the other parent be apathetic and simply consign the offspring to the caprice of said psycho in-laws, but Steve-o is anything but indifferent, and I might be wired a bit differently than most, but I’m not a psycho.  Yet.

I think what was truly at work here was a vindictive, spoiled brat trying to inflict pain on someone who didn’t go along with her fantasy.


Guess what happens when you let your kid have everything he/she wants!

Now if I had known I would have spent most of Christmas Day between trying to calm down my son, traipsing in and out of Walgreen’s, Speedway and McDonald’s, and had I known Christmas dinner would have been a cheeseburger and McNuggets (thankfully they did not forget the hot mustard sauce or I probably would have lost what little bit of sanity I thought I had left,) I’d have stayed home with Tipsy McNumbnuts and saved the gasoline.


I normally don’t eat this kind of stuff but when it’s all there is other than Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and beef jerky, I guess- any port in a storm.

We were supposed to leave for my sister’s house at 12 noon.  It was 3 PM before we were able to pick up the Precious One’s offspring and get going.  Other than the insanely (stupid) late start, the day was lovely for the kids.  Lots and lots of presents and toys and candy and food.

ugly scarf

It was a more dismal picture for the adults. Mom somehow got it in her head that I and my illustrious siblings would just love, love, love these fugly scarves that some lady who lives next to the retirement home makes in her spare time.  So we had to pretend that we were going to just adore the fugly scarf that (to me) looks like something Lucy mutilated, shredded, and then crapped out.  But Mom doesn’t know any better.  One year she got Jerry these:

slipper socks

With nice, slick vinyl soles!

Mom’s intentions are always good.  She doesn’t see anything malicious or funny or even dimly inappropriate in stuff like this.  So it’s best to just play along.  Why hurt her feelings by telling her Jerry’s going to break his neck wandering around shitfaced wearing extra-slick soled slippers, or that if I wore that scarf in public people might think I started believing it fashionable to run around wearing trash bags and roadkill?

At least Mom doesn’t have any friends who know how to make those creepy doll-head faux fur Kleenex box holders.  Grandma eventually got tired of making them and moved on to more sensible kitsch, such as crocheted afghans and toaster cozies.

doll head kleenex holder

She’d twerk- if she had a butt, that is.

Dark and Pensive, Infomercial Madness, and Outside of the Sphere

sunset trees

Winter can be beautiful as well as dark and lonely.

I can’t say that I’m sad or even melancholy.  I’m more in a sort of dark and pensive mode, which for me is a familiar, almost comfortable place to be.  My deep preference for solitude and quiet might be hard to explain to those with an extraverted personality, but for me it’s the mental equivalent of a warm fire and a relaxing easy chair.  The gardens of memory, like real gardens this time of year, are subdued and don’t appear to be as active on the surface.  Dormant, maybe, but not dead.

Of course it’s not as easy to turn off the world as it probably should be.  I am better at it than most, but I still have to deal with the practicalities of living and communicating with other people.  It would be nice to be able to tell a few people to go hang (or to just plain get bent) but I can’t shut down completely.  I’m afraid if I do that I won’t be able (nor will I want) to turn back on.

paper nighties

For me, every day is an act of the will to choose to interact with the world beyond my very restrictive sphere.  I don’t want to most of the time.   Today I would much rather prefer to take a trip to the Main Library in downtown Columbus and peruse and read and think in the quiet.  Unfortunately I don’t see a day coming where I can do that, unless I stop off there for a bit on my way to the Paper Nightie Appointment tomorrow.  I scheduled tomorrow and Friday off (I will pay for that one, but I need a little time away and I have the vacation time) so tomorrow I don’t have to scramble about and then have to endure the Paper Nightie Appointment.  I dread it enough as it is.  Friday I hope to finish getting Steve-o whatever Christmas gifts I want to get him- or better yet, meet him somewhere so he can pick out what he wants.

angry birds pants

Dad’s getting Angry Birds jammies.

Most of my relatives have way too much crap to begin with, so I have to be creative.  Dad is quite enamored of the Angry Birds game, and he likes those men’s lounge pants that geezers wear around the house.  It should work.  What else can you buy for the man with the taxidermied squirrel on a skateboard?

squirrel skateboard

Yes, Dad really does have a taxidermied squirrel on a skateboard.

I learned a new word from the infomercials that pollute the airwaves from 2-4 AM.  Insomnia must have some advantages, if only to enlighten me to the wonderful world of such invaluable products such as the Pos-T-Vac, the Nu Wave, and the No-No.

I always thought that area that’s not your neck, not your tits and not your shoulders was simply the not-neck-not-tits-not-shoulders area.  Then I discovered the French actually have a word for the not-neck-not-tits-not-shoulders area.  It’s always good for me to expand my vocabulary.   They call it the décolletage or décolleté- meaning “sort of around the neck area,” and you’re supposed to slather expensive cream on it so it doesn’t end up looking all wrinkled and birdy.  One infomercial suggests you should blast this area with a radio frequency device you can also use on your face to ward away the birdy wrinkles.   ‘Kay….

All I could think of when I came upon this device was Oh. Holy. Shit.

face blaster

If I feel the need to hook my face up to this, I have deeper issues than a few birdy wrinkles.

I can just imagine if I’d found this when I was five years old and had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night at Grandma’s.  Seeing Grandma’s and Grandpa’s dentures sitting next to the sink, glaring out at me from their soaking cups of Polident as I was taking a midnight whiz was enough to give me nightmares for a month.  It was bad enough that Grandma could remove her teeth at night. I could just imagine the insane terror my five year old mind would have gone through if I thought Grandma took her face off at night.

At first glance I thought the above alien face mask was some kind of device intended to turn someone into Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek:


You never know.

Of course women have been doing bizarre things to themselves to attempt to stem the inevitable tide of aging since the beginning of time. The truth is that entropy is always going to win.  Live long enough and your tits will bounce off your knees.

At least most women don’t still wear these awful things:


I bet they itched, too.

I have discovered many interesting things online that I can’t imagine anyone would have any sort of real practical use for, but people will buy anything on Amazon. Even this: It’s a model to practice doing prostate exams.  And you can have it in time for Christmas if you order it by December 23!

prostate exam thing

I have an idea for a new party game based on this: “Pin the Prostate on Bob”?

A Change In Trajectory, and Don’t Mess With the Almighty Matrix

free throw

Try as I might, my free throw attempts usually ended up somewhere in the next county.

I can aim a pistol reasonably well (within 15 yards,) a shotgun moderately well, but a basketball, not at all.

When the weather in beautiful central Ohio bites (so I can’t take a road trip) and (when he’s not screaming at the dogs for their loud breathing) Tipsy Mc NumbNuts  is sleeping off his hangover, I have time to read.  I finally had time to read 11/22/63.  I almost didn’t buy it because I thought I’d heard all the JFK conspiracy theories, and I’m not much of a fiction reader to begin with.  I did buy it because it was written by Stephen King, and, as is the case with most of his books, (liberal political bent aside) it was worth reading.

If anything it was sort of a sad story, and in a perverse way it shared the same moral of the story as Pet SemataryFor those who have yet to experience that particular tome, it ends on an interesting (if not deliciously macabre) note and reflects a pervasive theme in a number of King’s books.


Dead is better.  At least if you’re supposed to be dead, that is.

Not “dead is better” in the serial killer sense or in the jilted lover sense, (or even in the John Hinckley Jr. sense) but in the sense that screwing around with the natural circle of life can have unintended repercussions.  As much as I miss my grandparents, for instance, I wouldn’t wish any of them to be alive today.  All of them were ill and had lived out long lives before they died natural deaths.  Wishing people to live beyond the time of natural death seems a bit sadistic, especially considering that if my grandfather had lived (he died in 2006) he would be 99 this year.  He had heart failure and kidney failure, neuropathy from diabetes (couldn’t feel his feet) and was almost completely deaf when he died.

Being healthy and active at 99 would be another matter, as we humans will cling tenaciously to life when we can, but today it seems as our longer lifespans bring more illness, infirmity and misery than anything else.  The technology can keep one alive, but most of the time it doesn’t do much for your quality of life.  Sometimes the disease- and the end it brings- is better than prolonging the inevitable.

Science can keep people alive that should have long since been dead (and yes, I belong in that category at least three times over) and in the case of the young that might be a good thing, but it’s a mixed bag.  Science can keep your vital signs going on, but at what cost?

What ends up being missing?  When do we break the boundary of the matrix and then really start screwing things up?  How far can we screw up before the process necessarily leads to an end or a reset?

space time pee wee

I wonder what this thing does?

A big part of me believes it’s the hubris of humanity that believes that every little popcorn fart can change the world.  I mean, you have the global warming crowd going off about cow farts.  I can imagine a cow can put off quite a bit of methane, but in the grand scheme of things?   A cow is big, and it farts a lot, but really?  How much authority and how much leeway do we have to screw things up when we really try?  And how long have cattle been domesticated and processed into tasty meat?


If cows fart like that, then why aren’t they powering our cars?

The Butterfly Effect is an intriguing concept in physics in which it is implied that every slight change of trajectory- even the gentle flap of a butterfly’s wings- can change the course of the weather or otherwise alter events to come in the future.  There’s no mistaking me for a physicist, but I can see how it can work.   How can anyone know ahead of time what the consequence of just a slight change in trajectory might be?  It seems sort of rogue.

Perhaps a better question is (and I am assuming that the universe has an order, that it was created, and necessarily has a Creator) what exactly is within our power to change?

What do we risk when we try?