Monday, July 30, 2012

Shart Profiteers

West of Winslow

It’s Hard Work To Simplify Life But It’s Cheaper.


Bed problems began hundreds of years ago, as people became too delicate, or arrogant, to sleep in dirt with bugs and other critters. As mankind grew more sensitive and superior, mattresses were raised off the ground altogether. This provides space for modern man to store dirty clothes and breed ‘dust bunnies’.

The underside of the mattress has long been a popular hiding spot for “French postcards,” the women’s underwear pages of the Sears catalog, and other printed pornography. With the advent of the Interzone, its only function now is as a place to wipe night-time boogers, for those too sleepy to get up and blow their nose. (Which is also what pajama pockets are secretly for.)

A broken weld on this bed’s old “frame” was efficiently fixed with a stack of books, but the owner wanted something sturdier. After much careful measuring, a stack of old lumber was sawed and screwed together, but didn’t fit. On the second try, the perfect fix, pictured above, was installed. This should hold indefinitely, unless Grandpa and Grandma really get rockin’ some night. Let us pray for them. Total project cost: zero.


In North America, life without an electrical food refrigeration device is considered barbaric and inferior. The rest of the world thinks we are idiots. Such luxury is convenient, expensive, and an indispensable component of our slow environmental suicide.

In my sons’ run-down trailer is a beat-up refrigerator. A water leak caused the kitchen floor to sag, which caused the “fridge” to lean slightly forward, which caused its door to regularly swing open on its own. Their solution was to prop it shut with a big water bottle. This worked well for weeks.

I fixed it properly for them, however. Cut two three-by-three inch squares of scrap plywood, and placed them under the front corners of the fridge. Now gravity shuts the door as god intended. Total project cost: zero.


Birth of a word: shart. A “shart” is when you inadvertently go “number two” (or “drop a deuce” in my sons’ vernacular,) when all you expected was a little gas. Shart studies show that statistically this is just as likely to happen while completely clothed.

The world needed such a word. Folks who choose to be offended by certain mouth sounds don’t know this one. You can use it like a cuss word and no one flinches. Eat shart and die, full of shart, and shart-head—see? Completely inoffensive! As in “The battle between races is fake bull-shart, the real war is the rich versus the rest of us.”

Also a perfect excuse for work tardiness: “Sorry I’m late, boss, but I had to go home and re-shower, ‘cause on the way to work I sharted.” They assume you would never tell such an embarrassing lie, and thus never suspect it was really a roll in the hay, an extra cup of coffee, and several bong hits. The dumb sharts.


Every other so-called “first world” nation uses some form of “single payer” health care system. A large majority of educated people favor it in these retarded States. No one should be without health care if we are still trying to be the Greatest Nation Ever.

Instead, it’s all about profit. Replacing compassion with capitalism helps rich people make lots more money off our accidents and sickness. They give a portion of their evil gains to congressmen, to make sure extortion from the ill and injured continues. Best system in the world, and the reason we are 49th in the world in infant mortality, while paying the most per capita. Cuba is 40th. (Afghanistan is dead last, 222nd; America’s road to hell is paved with good intentions.) (Statistics from our beloved KGB, oops I mean CIA.)

The fact that a common and successful system is never seriously considered by our “leaders” is a tribute to our corporate masters’ control of the dialogue. Our propaganda machine is the most efficient in history. Nice to be number one in something besides our war budget! Greatest Nation Ever!


Life Is A Giant Amusement Park But Most Of The Rides Suck. Also, the good rides cost more, and the best have long lines of unhappy people, sweating and waiting for their chance while the kids bawl.


From one of the pullouts at "Petrified Forest National Park," I forget which.



By George Carlin

(News ticker sound effect)

ANNOUNCER: (whispering)
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the Secret News.

(News ticker gets louder)


(Ticker lowers)

Here is the Secret News:
All people are afraid.
No one knows what they’re doing.
Everything is getting worse.
Some people deserve to die.
Your money is worthless.
No one is properly dressed.
At least one of your children will disappoint you.
The system is rigged.
Your house will never be completely clean.
All teachers are incompetent.
There are people who really dislike you.
Nothing is as good as it seems.
Things don’t last.
No one is paying attention.
The country is dying.
God doesn’t care.

(from “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” Hyperion, New York, 2004.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Money Can Always Buy Happiness

It is one of those bogus sayings that poor folks repeat until it becomes accepted wisdom. They burn their last $20 on lottery tickets and, of course, don’t win. Stuck eating peanut butter and stale marked-down bread another week, they sigh: “Ah well, money can’t buy happiness.” Really? Is that why you keep trying?

They say it again when another “celebrity” enters drug rehab. Money just took Blondie McDipp from a two year cocaine, booze, and wanton sex romp, to a luxurious “facility" with gourmet nutrition and socially acceptable replacement drugs from state-licensed drug lords. Put all that happiness on the celebrity moron’s bill.

Money may not always buy happiness, but it most certainly can. You just have to use it properly.

Doodads do not deliver delight. Your Cambodian Nose-Hair Trimmer, Dominican Lawn Ornament, or Ugandan Shoe Glitter Kit will not make you feel better beyond the joyous initial penetration of its unyielding plastic packaging. Be grateful instead, after sniffing a flame to remove stragglers, that you don’t inhale burning hair often. Be satisfied by decorating your yard with a big rock, knowing no one will bother to steal it or smash it with a baseball bat. And forget the glitter, it’s like a terminal disease: no matter how hard you scrub, it never quite goes away.

Buying life insurance will not bring “peace of mind” (the mellow version of happiness.) The problem with “life insurance” is that it only pays off when you are “dead.” What a scam! Pay money every month to make sure your angry wife and lazy offspring get it later? It is a miracle of salesmanship made possible by cultural death-denial. Better to use “insurance” money for a monthly party, thus “insuring” that you have an actual life. Mama will cheer up, and the kids can learn the traditional drug addictions (alcohol tobacco caffeine and sugar) in a warm and friendly environment. Or, if they see adults acting like drunken idiots, go “straight edge”, which may or may not be happier but is certainly cheaper than every addiction.

A new car won’t make you happy. The joy is shaken with the first depreciating bump out of the lot, and fades monthly. When you are still making payments on a fender-dented, spill-stained, stinky-juice-leaking, clattering at each bump like a cow-bell piece of mostly-plastic crap, your only emotion is anger.

Buying a house is worse. Sure, it looks nice, all empty and clean. But with all your crap moved in, it looks disappointingly the same. And due to EEFA rules (Everything Eventually Falls Apart), you will now spend most of your valuable spare time fixing broken stuff, or working a second job so you can pay someone else to fix it. How many people do you know who paid off their mortgage? Owning a home is part of the American Dream because it is, indeed, a dream. The American Reality is that the only legacy you will leave your surviving loved (or tolerated) ones, will be a crumbling shack and a monthly payment.

Would giving your money to a church make you happy? Maybe, if you’d like to help some fruity pastor, who may never have worked an honest day in his or her life, tell people what not to do. Churches want money for “missions,” to convince us heathens that no matter what we believe, it’s wrong, that their church alone is right, and that we will burn forever if we don’t agree. This brings us great joy and peace, and the pastor gets a new car. Suddenly, coke, booze, and wanton sex seem quite sensible.

It is never possible to purchase happiness by “investing.” Investors are nervous wrecks, trying to supernaturally predict bubbles and pops. Only a few lucky pricks, that “manage” the investments, manage to get rich, the rest lose. What a great system! Like casinos, with slightly better odds if you read a few thick books first.

Paying for a warm dry place to sleep, and enough food and drinkable water to stay alive, sets the stage for possible happiness. Spoiled North Americans may add heated water and a flush toilet for contentment optimization.

And if, through some accident of hard work, theft, or luck, you actually have extra money, simply give it to someone who hasn’t got any. Poor people given sums of money become instantly happy, no matter how fleetingly. See? Money can always buy happiness!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Carnal Fire Knowledge

Isn’t fire wonderful? Keeps you warm, cooks dinner, and fun to watch. Caveman technology, but it can still beat a computer in a fair fight. Fun to play with, too, right kids?

Many life-changing lessons are fire-related. Vividly I remember looking at the kitchen stove and wondering: is it still hot after the gas flame goes out? So I touched it, what more straightforward test could there be? My first blister, and my best tear duct work-out since infancy.

Soon thereafter, I dripped wax from a burning candle onto Grampa’s new Stetson (a “cowboy” hat popular with bogus cowboys since that’s all there are, really). Grampa never said a word, but mom administered my first serious bun-warming. The lesson here was “Don’t Piss Mom Off.” At five, probably not in those words.

A bottle cap at a campfire re-taught me the heat retention capability of metal. A melting plastic car, driven by a toy soldier, taught me that burning plastic sticks to you when you touch it--and keeps burning.

As a kid we used to go camping for weeks at a time. What a great place to play with fire, when the old farts weren’t looking! 
Then Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, bigger fires and far less supervision. Sometimes they had fire building contests!
The “Safety” part of the “Fire Safety” badge was just a smoke screen, you still got to play with fire. Most importantly: a can of beans, strategically placed in a campfire, will blast hot beans everywhere when it bursts.

Massive desert bonfires, of pallets swiped from behind supermarkets, lit our teen beer parties. Nothing draws folks together for drunken revelry like a 16 foot tower of flame.

Though none of us goodly youth were pierced or tattooed in those days, some have nice scars from hot coals and pain-tolerance one-upmanship. A contest usually won by the numbest. Afterwards, more beer was always the prescription for break-through pain.

To guarantee myself at least four camping trips a year, I took each of my four sons on an annual birthday camp-out. Being allowed to play in a fire is a fantastic gift for any eight-year-old! With me by their side, or a few feet away because of all the damned smoke, they could run their own field tests. Metals glow red after the paint burns off. Aluminum cans eventually melt into an ashy puddle. Plastics are best—what serious camper has not experienced the thrill of watching a plastic bread bag, impaled on a stick, in flames and dripping colorful little fireballs?

You can tell a kid over and over to “be careful or you’ll get burned.” After their first painful self-cooking, you never have to say it again, even to your stupidest.

For 17 years I have heated my home with a wood stove in the living room. It’s ashy, smoky, a danger to drunks, idiots, and babies--and dirt cheap ‘cause I burn scrap lumber and old pallets. We can connect with our prehistoric past by the glow of the fire, while watching untalented modern humans make asses of themselves in the glow of our electronic amusement device. I want to integrate the experience, but the TV won’t fit inside the stove. Might have to axe it.

(Note the duct-tape jacket repair)
The yearly “Burning Man” gathering in Nevada is just an excuse for adults to go play with, and around, fire. We have no need to go; we are still living that dream. Even now we fiddle in the flames when camping, how can anyone help it? Final life lesson: it’s OK to play with fire, as long as you don’t poke anyone’s eye with a burning stick. This has worked for us so far, anyway.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Department of Lame Projects

One advantage to living 30 miles from the "landfill" (the new nice word for "dump") is that folks dump lots of good stuff in the desert just outside town instead.

This shed floor, once home to pack rats and termites, ( is being rebuilt completely free of charge. Out running, walking, and occasionally stumbling, through yonder desert, I find stuff, and, if it’s good enough, fire up the Old Truck and get it. Often I force a son to help, under threat of video disconnect.

The sand for this project came from a nearby “wash,” a desert river that is completely dry 363/365ths of the time. The road is vicious and the sand inconsistent, but all you pay is gas and your labor. Get the kid to help again, he may still be angry and in need of an outlet. Making a kid do some work is not child abuse yet.

The cement was free too since I work at a cement plant. I took my found brick and a few rocks, and leveled them as best I could without any construction doo-dads. Walked on them a few months. Leveled them again. Too busy with other stuff, waited a few more months, good thing bricks and stuff don’t rot or mold. Then I had to wait for warm weather.

You mix the mortar dry and sweep it into all the gaps, then water it a few times. It’s not perfectly level but screw it.

My descendents will surely remember me someday, if only to curse me vociferously while trying to remove this detritus megalith.


This afternoon the swamp cooler started a rhythmic scraping noise, metal on metal. No way was it going to let me do anything else. Folks back east boo hoo about heat we endure routinely. But us bad-ass desert rats boo and hoo too without some sort of electrical home cooling device.

Yet another searing summer dance on the roof, greasing and checking stuff, made it worse. The second dance discovered a rusted part on the fan where it meets the axle or shaft or whatever. So the third rooftop flamenco was with wire and pliers, to tie the fan in place. Close enough, anyhow; the scraping ceased.

Home repair tip: By looking, and fiddling around, and thinking about it, you can solve more crap like this than you think. Fixed with an old piece of wire and pliers; it really happens folks.

How long it will last is another question. Which begs another: buy the part needed and fix it properly soon? Or have a nice afternoon and wait till it starts making a racket again? These are the decisions householders must make based on evidence and thought. Evidently I’m tired, 'cause I think I’ll take a nap.


Dept. of Projects Best Left Undone

This old folding church bench was almost free. One son sanded and varnished it for pay, back when the Cheap tribe had money for such nonsense. Soon three boards fell out as that seat split apart. I liberally glued them back and ‘clamped’ it with twine. In about a year that repair failed. There it sits. Behind it and to the right, a crossword puzzle magazine, speckled with fresh rain water, is delicately placed in a pie plate last used to feed the cat.


Hot Dog haiku

Sunshine, juicy meat
so wretched--eyelid, anus,
but so delicious!

Camping tip: When no camp fires are allowed, a cold pooch can be impaled on a spork, and heated over a backpacking stove inside your vehicle.