Friday, March 29, 2013

Stories # 40 & # 41: "Jalapeño Honeymoon" & "Psychic Friends"


I've come up with and acted on a lot of bad ideas in my life, but arguably the worst idea I've ever had was eating genuine Mexican cuisine on the first night of our honeymoon in Acapulco. I knew that spicy food didn't always agree with my system, but I never knew why. Janie, on the other hand, had lived all twenty-three years of her life prior to that night having never even tried Mexican cuisine. They say you learn something new about your spouse every day, and we proved it true very early on. Apparently, my lovely bride and I are both highly allergic to jalapeños. While spending our first night as a married couple in a hospital thousands of miles from home was far from ideal, at least we were side by side, albeit in separate hospital beds. Oh, how romantic!


"I'm glad we had this talk, Margaret. Even though I knew exactly what you were going to say before you even started speaking."

"I'm glad we did, too, Stacy. Although we already know how we feel about each other, it was good to get it out in the open, and not just lurking in the back of our minds all the time."

"I know what you mean – of course – I mean, you've been wanting to strangle the life out of me for six months now for all the nasty stunts I pulled on you, but you just couldn't put it into words. Although, you know, I had heard you say it plenty of times without you actually saying it."

"Stacy, I think this could be the start of a wonderful friendship. We don't have to be enemies anymore."

"Come on, Margaret. You and I both know better than that. We'll be nice to each other for a month, tops, then we'll be at each other's throats like nobody's business all over again."

"Yeah, I see that, too. I guess I was just trying to be optimistic."

"Hard to do when you see everything coming, eh, Margaret?"

"Yeah. Stace, can I be honest with you just one more time?"

"Whether you can or can't doesn't make any difference, Marge. I know what you're going to say anyway."

"Right. Well, I'll just say it then. Stacy, deep-down you're a genuinely nice person, you just hide behind this witchy persona because it gets you the attention you've always craved."

"You're right, Margaret. I know that, and I knew you know that, too. But as long as we're being real here, you've had a crush on my husband for the past three years and you're thinking about putting your feelings into action, and if you do, please understand that I will put you in a full body cast."

"Yeah, I know. September 21st is when you were thinking, isn't it?"

"Yeah, or thereabouts. But knowing is half the battle. You can avoid future broken bones by giving up on this crazy fantasy of yours now."

"No, I can't, Stacy. I'm going to make my move on your hubby, and I am going to be hospitalized for a month."

"Well, Margaret, don't say I didn't warn you. Even though you already saw it coming anyway."

"Oh, I won't, Stacy. Anyway, I've gotta get going."

"Me too, Marge. I'm surprising my husband – eat your heart out, witch! – with a special dinner tonight."

"I wonder what those are like – surprises, I mean."

"I don't know. But I'll bet they're a lot of fun."

"Goodbye, Stacy."

"Tata, Margaret."

Story # 39: "Brand-Name Popcorn"

I've been sitting on this intriguing potential title for awhile, trying to figure out what kind of story might come from it, and I finally came up with something that I liked. Hope you'll enjoy reading it at least half as much as I did writing it.  ~  JH


This is what you've reduced me to. Scavenging the couch for spare change, clipping coupons, and shopping at Sav-A-Bunch.

What other choice do I have? When I lost my job and you called me a loser who didn't deserve to have a job much less you and kicked me to the curb like yesterday's milk carton I had nowhere else to turn.

I can barely afford this rat-infested hole of an apartment – I had to borrow from my last-and-soon-to-be-ex-friend to pay the deposit – and even if I could afford better, I'd probably still live here, because you were right all along. I am dirt.

I don't make grocery lists anymore, which saves some time but makes me miss the way it was. There's no point in making a list when the only things I can afford are the deep discounts (closeouts are a Godsend), even if the components don't always gel so well. Last night, I had frozen peas (mostly thawed) with a side of pork rinds and half a can of Ocean Feast cat food. Really. I know I'm dirt, but dirt gets better scraps than these.

I wish I could say I miss you as much as I do real food, but that would be a lie. Sometimes I think about your laugh and I laugh to myself; then I think about bacon and start to cry. Every now and then I think about your smile and it makes me sad; then I think about Orville Redenbacher and it makes me even sadder. I'm lucky to get Pop-Time popcorn these days, and only then if I have a coupon.

Congratulations! You won the heart of a loser, stuck with me through the good times, and when I was proven to be less than stellar in the Everything Department, you dropped me like a hot plate of fajitas. I miss fajitas, too.

They say you are what you eat, and I guess that's true. For breakfast this morning, I had a dirt sandwich – the dirt was free, the bread was on closeout.

I hope you're happy, because I'm not. I wonder now if I ever was. So here's to a long and happy life for you and whomever you choose to spend it with, and all the popcorn you can eat. Brand-name, of course.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

25 Funny T-Shirts (That I Would Actually Wear!)

"Always Give 100%...Unless You're Donating Blood."  Good advice!

"Bigfoot Is Blurry...That's The Problem."  This explains everything!

"Keep The Change Ya Filthy Animal!"
(Insert obnoxiously evil laugh here.)

"Keep The Dream Alive."  The Alarm Clock: My
Mortal Enemy. The Snooze Button: My Best Friend.

"Dear Algebra, Stop asking us to find your X. She's not
 coming back."  While you're at it, stop asking me Y also.

"I Am Disappointment In You're Grammar."  You're Spelling Ain't Great, Ether.

"Dress For The Job You Want."  I don't think if I could get away with that.

"Either You Like Bacon Or You're Wrong."  Well said. 'Nuff said, in fact.

"With Great Moustache Comes Great Responsibility."  So true, so true. 

"Hello, My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father; Prepare
To Die."  From one of the best comedic fairy tales ever!

"Hold Your Horses. Even Horses Need To Be Held Sometimes."
Hyenas (or Hyena, or Hyenae, or Hyenœ), Do Too, For That Matter.

"Hugz?"  No love for the cactus. Why so prickly?

"If Live Gives You Melons, You May Be Dyslexic."  Or you
may have just scored some free melons. So don't complain!

"If You Believe In Telekinesis, Please Raise My Hand."  Genius!

"Imposter!"  Will the real mouse please stand up? Thank you.

"Kids Today Have No Idea What This Is."  Or why it was ever called
"floppy."  For that matter, I never knew why it was called "floppy."

"I Only Like NY As A Friend."  Until it's "Facebook
official," it means nothing anyway, right?

"Misuse Of 'Literally' Makes Me Figuratively Insane."  Couldn't agree more.

"Moo...I'm A Goat."  And by the time they've figured out
that it's not supposed to make sense, you're long gone!

"My Butt Hurts."  "What?"  Priceless!

"Piñatas: Victims Of Child Abuse."  Are we really teaching our kids that it's OK
to beat someone senseless as long as their insides are filled with candy? #smh

"It's Okay, Pluto. I'm Not A Planet Either."  Heck, I'm not even a dwarf planet!

"Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I Hate Rhyming...Zebra."
If only the shirt had a picture of a zebra, it'd be a sure-fire winner!

"I'm Fine."  It's just a flesh wound.

"The Following Statement Is True. The Previous Statement Is False."
Think about that for a while until your brain explodes. Kaboom!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stories # 36, # 37, & #38: "Conditional Expendability," "Walter Under The Bridge," & "Lunchtime For Lardbutt"

These are pretty random, I have to admit. I don't want to give too much away, but the first story involves the alien abduction of children, the second one's about being mean to homeless people, and the third one sings the praises of a not-so-balanced diet. Don't think too much – just read 'em and enjoy!  ~  JH


First things first, I am a liar. So anything that comes after this could possibly be untrue. Secondly, I'm an alien life form from the planet Paziwonganum, and I'm here to steal your children. Not all of your children, mind you – just the fussy ones. I'm conducting a series of experiments to determine why children cry so much. I'm sure you won't miss them – after all, you only love them when they aren't crying. When they're calm they're angels, and when they scream you wish them gone. The fact that your love is conditional proves they are expendable to you. Don't worry, I won't keep them forever. I'll return them safe and sound by the time they are ready to enroll in college. You're welcome.


The other day when I was doing the environmental thing and bicycling to work, I pedaled past a homeless guy crouched beneath the Third Street Bridge. Doing the humanitarian thing, I circled back in his direction and stopped beside the man, and asked if he needed any help. He said he was hungry, and that it'd been three days since he'd had a decent meal. I said, "What's your name, Mister?" He said it was Walter. I said, "Well, Walter, hold tight and I will be right back, alright?" Walter looked a little confused, like I was doing the typical thing and offering help that I didn't intend to follow through on giving. But I'm not like that – I'm all about doing the humble thing and serving people in need. So I biked over to McDonald's up the street, picked up a Big Mac, large fries, and a large soda, and raced back to Walter. He was still sitting there under the bridge, not surprisingly, and it warmed my heart to see his face light up a little, realizing I'd actually returned with food. Then he saw the McDonald's bag and his smile turned into a frown. "I did mention," said Walter, "that I hadn't had a decent meal, right?" And I said, "Yeah." And Walter said, "Then why'd you bring me this crap?" Then I did the wrong thing. I rode away with the food and ate it myself once I got to work.


I'm all about eating healthy. It just depends on your definition of healthy. Mine is "consuming large quantities of your favorite foods." By that definition, I'm one of the healthiest people on the planet. Take my lunch, for example. I start off with a nice bunch of bananas – never less than three, but never more than six. Then I have a pre-meal snack of potato chips – though I do limit myself to a strict nine servings. After that, there's the main course: six juicy pieces of fried chicken with a generous dollop of mashed potatoes and gravy, a couple of servings of macaroni and cheese, a heap of French fries, and four buttermilk biscuits. Of course, no meal would be complete without a nice dessert or three. I like to start with something fruity like apple pie, follow that up with a slice of triple-layer chocolate cake, and then finish it off with a half dozen or so eclairs. Mmm, mmm, delicious! You should join me sometime. It takes awhile to finish off everything, and you won't feel so great for a few hours afterwards, but boy oh boy is it fun!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Songs With "Easy" In The Title

Some scientific smartypants said that for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, for every "Songs With 'Hard' In The Title" blog post, there must be also be a "Songs With 'Easy' In The Title." And here it is...  ~  JH

1)  Engelbert Humperdinck  ~  "Am I That Easy To Forget?"

2)  Commodores  ~  "Easy"

3)  Rascal Flatts & Natasha Bedingfield  ~  "Easy"

4)  Bobby Sherman  ~  "Easy Come, Easy Go"

5)  Elvis Presley  ~  "Such An Easy Question"

6)  Three Dog Night  ~  "Easy To Be Hard"

7)  Willie Nelson & Johnny Rodriguez  ~  "Forgiving You Was Easy"

8)  Dierks Bentley  ~  "Free And Easy (Down The Road I Go)"

9)  Keith Carradine  ~  "I'm Easy"

10)  Ringo Starr  ~  "It Don't Come Easy"

11)  The Eagles  ~  "Take It Easy"

12)  ABBA  ~  "Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)"

13)  Sarah McLachlan  ~  "Loving You Is Easy"

14)  Cleopatra  ~  "Life Ain't Easy"

15)  Buddy Holly  ~  "It's So Easy"

Songs With "Hard" In The Title

There's nothing dirty to be heard here. Just songs which, coincidentally, all contain the word "Hard" in their titles. Next time, to keep things balanced, I'll post songs all containing the word "Easy." Enjoy!  ~  JH

1)  Brandon Flowers  ~  "Hard Enough"

2)  Black Crowes  ~  "Hard To Handle"

3)  Chicago  ~  "Hard Habit To Break"

4)  Emmylou Harris  ~  "Hard Bargain"

5)  Lee Brice  ~  "Hard To Love"

6)  Alan Jackson  ~  "Hard Hat And A Hammer"

7)  Quarterflash  ~  "Harden My Heart"

8)  Brandi Carlile  ~  "Hard Way Home"

9)  Jimmy Cliff  ~  "The Harder They Come"

10)  Maroon 5  ~  "Harder To Breathe"

11)  Sheryl Crow  ~  "Hard To Make A Stand"

12)  Five Finger Death Punch  ~  "Hard To See"

13)  Elton John  ~  "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"

14)  Boyz II Men  ~  "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday"

15)  The Beatles  ~  "A Hard Day's Night"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Story # 35: "35"

And...this one is about me... Isn't it? Well, I'll just let you figure that out. Enjoy!  ~  JH


35 years old, and what is he? A husband, but hardly a hopeless romantic – that man's still inside but rarely emerges. A father, but green and rough around the edges, learning but failing as a matter of course. A son who doesn't call much, and when he does, doesn't listen closely enough. A so-called servant who gets caught up in himself far too often and questions his motives regularly. A writer of stories and poems and essays that no one wants to read unless amusing pictures are involved. A describer of clothing by profession, having nearly perfected the gentle art of literary persuasion as a method of salesmanship, yet still wondering how he ended up with this dubious expertise. A dirty, rotten sinner who practices his trade daily and repents and practices and repents and so on and so on. A man who isn't ashamed to admit his failures, who's often too prideful in flaunting his successes, yet is deathly afraid of letting anyone in for fear of rejection over either. This is what 35 years looks like. Old enough to know some things, but still too young to comprehend others. Halfway to dead, out of sight of the finish line, but far too far to hear the starting gun.

Story # 34: "Go Ahead, It's My Birthday"

No, this isn't about me, although today is my birthday. That's what originally gave me the idea, but I'm not this guy in the story. At least I hope I'm not... Enjoy!  ~  JH


Take your best shot – I deserve it. The fact that I'm breathing is reason enough. Today commemorates an injustice to humanity, some fifty-odd years post-trauma. Rail on me, wail on me, decry my existence – I can handle it, and I won't crumble. I understand your position and I'll support your decision. It's my birthday and it may well be my last, for all I know or all you care. Punish me for my crimes as they are numerous, not the least of which is being. I'm no longer fit – if ever I was – to share space on earth with you or others like you. Better yet, bind me, confine me, contain me, and forget me forever – your apathy is more apt a chastisement. But by no means do nothing – I cannot continue burdening my peers. Go ahead and do what you must. I won't fight back. Not anymore.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Interesting Quotes By Famous Guys Named Larry

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."
~  Larry Elder, journalist

"I've been in therapy. I know enough about myself now 
to know that I really don't need to know anymore."
~  Larry David, comedian

"I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to
be anywhere. I'm not kidding."
 ~  Larry Hagman, actor

"What's better? Dogs or broomsticks? 
I mean, will the world really ever know?"
~  Larry Bird, basketball player

"Treat your life like something to be sculpted."
~  Larry Niven, novelist

"I remind myself every morning: Nothing 
I say this day will teach me anything. So if
I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
~  Larry King, television host

"The two most misused words in the entire English 
vocabulary are love and friendship. A true friend
would die for you, so when you start trying to count 
them on one hand, you don't need any fingers."
~  Larry Flynt, publisher

"It's hard being black. You ever been black? 
I was black once – when I was poor."
~  Larry Holmes, boxer

"Self-parody is the first portent of age."
~  Larry McMurtry, novelist

"If two people were exactly alike, 
one of them would be unnecessary."
~  Larry Dixon, racecar driver

 "Hi, I'm Larry. This is my brother Darryl.
And this is my other brother Darryl."
~  Larry, Darryl and Darryl's brother

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Interesting Quotes By Famous Ladies Named Lisa

"I'm strong, I'm tough, I still wear my eyeliner."
~  Lisa Leslie, basketball player

"It's okay to be a freak."
~  Lisa Bonet, actress

"Watching a person lose their dignity used to be
uncomfortable, and now it's an expected part of the
program that we're becoming comfortable with."
~  Lisa Kudrow, actress

"I don't hold it against somebody if they don't know
who I am – I don't know who a lot of people are."
~  Lisa Loeb, singer-songwriter

"Freedom comes from strength and self-reliance."
~  Lisa Murkowski, politician

"One of the most interesting things about
bound feet is that they never age."
~  Lisa See, writer

"I'll say it loud and say it 
proud. I'm completely insane."
~  Lisa Marie Presley, singer-songwriter

"Life is a full meal."
~  Lisa Nicole Carson, actress

"Even if it's not what you planned, you can make
a life for yourself on your own and be happy."
~  Lisa Scottoline, novelist

"My reflection tells one story, my 
heart a different one. The difference 
is, hearts don't lie. Mirrors do."
~  Lisa Schroeder, writer

Story # 33: "Just You, Shirley"

This one started out as a slightly rambling prose poem, but I decided to break it up into paragraphs for easier reading. Not sure what inspired this, but it's written nonetheless and I rather like it. Hope you will too.  ~  JH


Surely you jest!, you state surreptitiously.

I assure you I'm telling the truth, and you know it but won't admit it.

The only one left alive?, you incredulously inquire.

I nod and, solely to be redundant, say "yes" just loud enough for you to hear me.

How did I survive?, you achingly ask.

It wasn't your time, or other such nonsense, I suppose – maybe you're just lucky.

I don't believe in it, you coyly counter.

In survival or luck?


Then chalk it up to Providence and thank your...blessed...stars, then.

I do everyday, you proudly proclaim.

Good for you, but I don't need a crutch.

Do I look broken to you?, you chidingly challenge.

No. I know it, but don't want to admit it.

How many people do you know –, you pleadingly persist.

But I interrupt you with a question of my own: Are you changing the subject now?

I'm making a point, you plainly point out.

Continue then.

How many people do you know personally who could go through what I went through and come out on the other side smiling like a fool?, you pointedly propose.

Outside of actual fools?

Yes, you nod knowingly.

Just you, Shirley.

And why do you think that is?, you strongly suggest.

Strength, fortitude, character?

Faith, you defiantly declare.

Simple as that?

Simple as that.

I'm speechless, pondering.