Thinking in Tens

The Top Ten Dumb Things Internet lists have made me do (one is a lie):

10. “Like” things that merely interest me
9. Assess the duplicity of others
8. Avoid work, especially writing
7. Scroll while driving
6. Scroll while biking
5. Groan aloud in public
4. Puzzle over others’ music interests
3. Read lists
2. Make lists

And… The number one dumb thing Internet lists have made me do is:

Think in tens

100 Days? 1300 More? I Surrender!

As POTUS appears on the verge of surrender this week in the tired battle over his border wall idea and a spending bill  to fund it, I wanted to draw attention to a lesser  known capitulation from America’s past.

For 35 years the good citizens of Key West have beaten back fascism and demagoguery with humor and booze to celebrate their 1982 secession from the United States. The newly founded Conch Republic declared war on the former Homeland, quickly waved a white flag of surrender, then submitted a request for foreign aid—which naturally never arrived.

The 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration is in full swing this week, ending Saturday with an event far more significant than anyone’s 100 despicable days of Making America Gag Absolutely #MAGA.

In fact, the bed races on Duvall St. in Key West this weekend might be just what the country needs after waking up bleary-eyed each day since the start of this four-year national nightmare.

History of the Conch Republic 

Established April 23, 1982 as a rebuke to the U.S. Border blockade of the Florida Keys, The Conch Republic has as its stated Foreign Policy:

“The Mitigation of World Tension through the Exercise of Humor.”

When the U.S. Government installed a Border Patrol checkpoint at the head of the island chain, treating the Keys like a foreign country, Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow seceded from the Union. Non-reaction by the U.S. to this assertion of the rights of man, according to international law, resulted in sovereignty

The Conch Republic was born!

On its home page the proud Conch Republic notes it has its own passports and has had “citizens and Diplomats received by thirteen Caribbean countries, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, France, Spain, Ireland and Germany.” The Republic even maintains what it calls ‘Conch-sulates’ in Switzerland, Havana, Maine, and New Orleans.

The Conch Republic calls itself the world’s first fifth world country and exists as a State of Mind. “We aspire only to bring more Warmth, Humor and Respect to a planet we find in sore need of all three.”

It’s former home to renowned patriot, WWII German submarine hunter, and erstwhile writer Ernest Hemingway (there he wrote Death in the Afternoon, The Green Hills of Africa, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and parts of A Farewell to Arms), playwright Tennessee Williams, and many other notorious writers and artists. My publisher is located there.

The Conch Republic calls itself “The world’s first functioning Meritocracy whereby anyone that sees a job that needs doing can do it, and be recognized in that position.” They recognize the “World Principle of Human Rights and Ambitions”—because what are rights without the ability to realize ambitions?

Their annual Independence celebration is carried out in a “public and notorious manner” over a ten day period in April of every year. It concludes on Sunday, a day after Saturday’s Duvall St. Bed Races, and the 101st day of the current effort to Make All Greed Awesome #(MAGA!)


Earth Day for Dummies

What I plan to do for Earth day is drive a gas guzzler up the road tossing hamburger wrappers out the window and blasting Metallica’s “Blackened” ’til Johnny Law hunts me down in his fuel sucking hot rod and hands me a ticket for speeding, littering, and noise pollution.

Earth Day? What a scam! We should treat Earth Day like the Mardi Gras of pollution. Don’t celebrate Earth Day by riding your bike to work in a green shirt and re-using your dental floss. That’s shallow and disgusting.

Walk or bike to work the other 364 days a year; also properly dispose of your batteries and engine oil; eat eco-friendly vegetables; turn off the lights and turn down the A.C.; reduce, re-use, recycle! That’s the 364-day plan!

Earth Day is a day for flushing the toilet twice instead of not at all. Take long, hot showers and eat meals that require an abundance of grassland and disgraceful amounts of irrigation to produce. Water your lawn and wash your car! Add noise pollution to this mix of insanity and blast your favorite big hair aerosol band from 1988! Rock on! Live free or die. It’s Earth Day!

Then wake up and treat the next 364 days like Lent, pious and observant. We have only one Mother Earth.

* And don’t get me started on all the other International Days of This and That!

Tinfoiled Again

Flying out early tomorrow for Papa’s haunt, Key West.

A question he never considered on his many travels. My flight spans breakfast and lunch (DC-Buffalo-Ft. Lauderdale… don’t ask, it was cheapest). The airlines have decided they can hide value by disappearing a reasonable meal from the fare.

If it were me alone I’d tighten the belt and just go, swallow my spit to keep hydrated and reward myself with lime-soaked mojitos on arrival. But I can’t tell the six-year-old to do that. So I made him up a whole grain, cheese-mustard-apple sandwich.

Now—how to wrap it?

Will the goons at TSA object to tinfoil? Will they consider my son a threat with his foil wrapper? Will they eat his lunch?

I decided not to risk it. There I am with my tired end-of-week hands quartering sandwiches and wrestling with ClingWrap, which clings to everything it shouldn’t and fails where it’s needed most. I hope it’s worth it. I hope the sandwich holds up.

I hope TSA doesn’t torture us tomorrow. Will a tinfoil hat help?

33 Inches for Kerouac

At CVS today I bought one item. One. Doesn’t matter what. When the purchase was finalized, the cashier handed me the receipt.

Guess how long that sucker was.

Some of this is necessary, perhaps. Now I know I was served by a person named Reina. Hi Reina. Phone number, store address, price paid plus taxes (the total came to $9.32).

If I were a modern day Jack Kerouac I suppose I’d cook my Sudaphedrine into something more exciting, wind the fresh 33 inches of scroll into my portable Underwood Royal Standard and bang out the next great road-novel-as-jazz-symphony, then die an early death wrinkled, fat, and forgotten ’til years hence.

I’m not Jack. Instead I scrutinized this fascinating 3-foot evidence of my purchase. Turns out its a list of admonitions and rules:

Pick up your Easter Essentials!
Returns with receipt before 6/5/17.
Try this gentle mist for powerful allergy relief today.
$12 off your next $60 purchase (pseudo ephedrine and milk excluded).
$1 of $7 coffee & tea (excludes beverages)????!
Extra Care card required.
$1.50 off Greeting Cards—make someone’s day!

Holy shit.

At Giant next door I bought 3 items and the receipt was only 22 inches long.

Pass the typewriter. I’ve got work to do. The world’s gone mad and there’s only one way to escape.

HTML for Fake News

Recent changes to Wordpress eliminated the center justify button. This is more inconvenience than improvement, but it did lead to one decent discovery.

Bloggers can still keep the left and right margins clean with a little change to the HTML code. It’s easy:

1. Select the text you want to justify.
2. Hit the left justify button.
3. Switch to Text view.
4. Change all text-align: left code to read text-align: justify.
5. Voila! Clean edges again.

Another neat problem this trick handles is the creation of fake news. Here’s how.

Take any news item you want—wiretapping allegations, say. Select a quote or story on that topic. Paste it into your WordPress template. Then follow steps 1-4 above replacing justify with falsify.

Andrew Napolitano on Fox News seems to have followed this practice to come up with allegations that the Obama administration asked British intelligence to wiretap Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The technique is also useful for Breitbart writers, who can now copy and paste whole articles from the liberal media and alter facts to their satisfaction simply by hitting Control-V in HTML.

D. W. Hitman

Warning: the reading police, disguised as the media, have infiltrated the State Department.

Based on a stroll through the Harry Truman building cafeteria, one journalist for The Atlantic pretends to understand our present condition: “As the staffer and I walked among the tables and chairs, people with badges chatted over coffee; one was reading his Kindle.”

Forgive me for not pausing to gasp at the news.

Federal workers everywhere hang badges, like nooses, around their necks. Continue reading D. W. Hitman

The Run

My son’s offering his services as my campaign manager. More than the trappings of power, I think the third grader’s hooked on creating slogans.

‘Want the Best?
Vote the Beast.’

Beast is a nickname I picked up in Jr. High. It was my sister’s fault. A clever P.E. teacher pegged her first initial against her last name, and the Beast was born. When I started climbing rope two years later, the name was passed down to me and I became the Beast myself. Continue reading The Run

Calling Mr. Robot

If the leadership really wants to improve our healthcare insurance, they should start with a phone call to Blue Cross Blue Shield. In 12 seconds or less they’ll learn that legislating insurance can only make America great again if it kills the robots taking our calls.

I’m sorry, I did not understand your response.
‘That’s because you’re a robot.’
I’m sorry, I did not understand your response.

Even the privileged elite in congress should recognize the futility of this conversation. Continue reading Calling Mr. Robot

Writing Prompts, Spellcheck, and Academic Advice

51mb7-k9ztl-_sx331_bo1204203200_There are many, many reasons not to read Flash Fiction Funny while riding public transportation. The first and perhaps best reason is Taylor Mali’s The the Impotence of Proofreading, which will leave you bent over double and wheezing for breath, the workaday passengers all around contemplating the emergency brake at the back of the train.

In examining the pros and cons—mostly the cons—of relying on spell-check, Mali’s story reminds readers that ‘It only does what you tell it to douche. You’re the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit. It just goes to show you how embargo one careless clit of the mouth can be.’ Continue reading Writing Prompts, Spellcheck, and Academic Advice