Short Stack # 14

If your twin brother gets your wife pregnant … is it still your kid?

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I’m always one of the late adopters. Apparently eating people’s faces is all the rage in this week’s news, but I think I’m going to wait a few weeks. I’m trying to lose weight.

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Just saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again and I’m wondering … what would happen if you stabbed a Bible with a basilisk fang?

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Why are there no good blues songs about the Kuiper Belt, or the Oort Cloud? I suggest “Kuiper Belt Blues” and “Don’t Oort Me, Baby.”

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Just figured out something ugly. Or maybe nice.

Those of us who think for ourselves, who use independent reasoning and critical thinking, are the WILD type of human.

Those who buy into authority and conformity, such as the teabagger/conservative/Fox News audience, those are the domesticated variety.

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Commenter on my blog: “Hope a bird eats your eyes while countless leeches latch onto your genitalia and drain every drop of blood from your body …”

Whew.

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If you like and share this post, a starving zombie will get a coupon worth one free brain.

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When I got into politics, I was amazed to discover there were people I’d never even met who hated me. When I got into blogging, I was equally amazed to find that people I’d never met loved me.

The truth is, anytime you get out into the public sphere, you will hear from people who love you and other people who hate you. Sometimes for no reason you can detect.

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When Bruce Banner was a kid in elementary school, he got bullied … ONCE.

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Just went for a bike ride down along the Mohawk River (a half block away from where I live), saw a guy sitting on a park bench reading a Spider Robinson novel. I passed by him and said “You’re one of My People!”

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If Eve was cloned from Adam’s rib, she’d have been an almost-exact genetic match. Which would mean all their children, and all THEIR children, would also be genetically identical. If there’s no such thing as evolution, how do Christians account for modern-day genetic diversity among humans?

Silly me. I keep expecting REASON.

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Just got taken to task for my sense of humor by a (now-former) online friend. I thanked her for the input and told her gently to go away.

I’m not about to change — to guard my words or quash my sense of humor — for someone I’ve never met. It took me too long to become me, to risk giving it up for any one person.

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If we had an ethnic/cultural group in the U.S. that we treated like the Israelis treat the Palestinians … what would be the reaction?

And don’t go bringing up the Native Americans — occupying their lands, building settlements, breaking agreements, herding them together like cattle, killing them. We got away with that one, fair and square. And that slavery business with the African Americans? Don’t even start.

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Behind all this thanking of soldiers for their sacrifice, there’s a handful of nuances about war that aren’t getting equal time.

For instance: Anyone who remembers a soldier killed in Iraq without calling to mind the part played by Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, etc. in starting the war that killed them … well, they only half honoring the soldiers who died.

Even on Memorial Day, let’s never forget who started that war, or what it cost us.

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Idea Book: The American Energy Resource Protection Act. A 100% tax on any energy resource — coal, petroleum, natural gas, uranium — that is mined IN the U.S. but exported FROM it.

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Back when Adam and Eve had just left the Garden of Eden, when God was still paying attention to them, there was this embarrassing moment when they first had sex that isn’t recorded in Bible history.

At the point of maximum pleasure, both of them cried out “Oh God! Oh God!” and God, alarmed, looked down from Heaven, shouting “What? What? Jesus, I thought the two of you had burned yourselves or something. Don’t ever cry out My name like that again!”

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When I was a baby, my parents were so poor they couldn’t afford a bed for me.

I had to sleep in the box the color TV came in, using the bubble wrap from the stereo set as a blankie.

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America: I’d like to write a book in which someone gives me a million dollars, and I detail what I do, how I live, how it changes me. It will be an important contribution to understanding both poverty and wealth, and the mindsets of both, written from the viewpoint of a thoughtful, compassionate American man.

One of you nice billionaires, please help me in this important project by donating the million dollars. Thank you.

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That thing about the Pope’s butler being arrested in the leaking of Vatican documents detailing financial shenanigans … when I read the thing, the first question that comes to mind is “What right does the Vatican have to hold someone a prisoner?”

I mean, I get it that the Vatican is considered a “state” in international legal terms. But I don’t like the idea of a church being able to arrest someone and hold them prisoner, or to put them on trial. You think this man can get a fair trial in the VATICAN? I sure don’t.

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Waiting for the moment when everybody suddenly realizes that nobody believes in gods.

“Wait, I said I believed in it because I thought YOU believed in it!”

“No, I never believed in it. I was just afraid to say anything because I thought everybody else did, and they’d all hate me.”

“Well … shoot. Now what do we do? We wasted all this time pretending.”

“Not to mention the, you know, witches and gays and stuff. Boy, is my face red on all THAT.”

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Carrying on a conversation on Obama elsewhere. My latest comment:

NOBODY is going to make me totally happy. Hey, to ME, Obama having Bush and company arrested and shipped to the Hague for a war crimes trial would be a REAL start at a better world. But that’s not going to happen, is it? Just like a lot of other stuff isn’t going to happen, because if Obama tried ONE imaginative act, the haters would rake him over the fucking coals for the next 20 years.

I think there’s a bigger context in all this that some of us don’t see. One thing is that we’re talking in a never-before-in-history environment of openness about how much you can openly attack and hate a president. There’s also a level of furious stupidity about Obama coming out of the right wing like poison gas, and the media is continuing to act as if it’s all nothing more than a he-said-she-said situation. It’s affecting even those of us who would normally be avid supporters.

Once I make allowances for all that, no president since JFK has made me feel this good. This man is fucking LEGENDARY.

Yes, again, he’s doing some things I don’t like. But also, he’s NOT one of the ones actively trying to destroy the country … which you can’t say about the other side. They would rather see the country fail than Obama succeed.

Looks to me like he’s actively trying to fix the country. Until I learn different, I’ve got his back.

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If you’ve ever been to Washington DC, you know we have a LOT of war memorials. We even have this day, this weekend, devoted to the honoring of war and warriors.

What we do NOT have in Washington DC is a memorial to individual conscience, or to protest. We do not have a national day to honor peace.

Amid the honoring of warriors past and present, I’d like to take a moment to honor all those who stood up and opposed the declaring and conducting of wars.

I would like to see, right on the National Mall next to all the death monuments, a monument to life, a Statue of Conscience and Civil Disobedience.

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“Radio” telescope! Whoever heard of such a thing? How can it be both a telescope AND a radio? I think those so-called SCIENTISTS are once again trying to pull a fast one on us.

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Favorite sayings from East Texas teen years : “You ’bout to let your eagle beak overload your hummingbird ass.”

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Actual Facebook argument (original punctuation) supporting the assertion that the White House wants to steal away our guns:

“And if the current administration doesn’t care if we have guns. Then why have gun sales gone through the roof? Because people are afraid they will no longer be allowed to purchase them.”

When I read that, the lights in my room went a little dim.

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Gah. Coming up on 60! This is not the twilight of my life, but certainly it’s on the later edge of midafternoon.

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So why didn’t somebody on the Titanic think about using the iceberg as a lifeboat? It’s not like it was going to sink, and they would have had to be there for only a few hours.

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I saw two snakes today, about an hour apart, in different parts of the county. But it was the same kind of snake. What could Jesus be trying to tell me?

It must be one of them parables.

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I’m in that uncomfortable zone where I desire the company of close companions but mostly wish they would keep their goddamn mouths shut.

There’s an ap for that. It’s called “dog.”

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All my life, I’ve been reading and hearing that you should stretch and warm up before physical activity like a workout or run. (I have never yet done it, and have never suffered a workout injury, but I sort of assumed I was just lucky.)

Now I’m reading that you don’t necessarily have to stretch or warm up. Hah! Vindicated! Take that, low-level guilt!

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If there really is a Zombie Apocalypse, I’m sending all the Republican candidates a bottle of that new brain-scented cologne.

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I’m hoping I can find a millionaire “Harry Potter” believer, so I can get bankrolled for an expedition to England to search for Hogwarts.

Hey, it works for those Noah’s Ark scammers.

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For every handsome/beautiful comic book hero there were a whole bunch of others with the exact same powers but who didn’t look so good. We will never see the Superman who might have been, but who had big weird ears and no chin, and super-dandruff blowing behind him like a snowstorm. Or the might-have-been Wonder Woman with the slight hump on her back, the unibrow, buck teeth and big ugly feet. Not to mention the bald, fat Flash with the thick glasses and speech impediment.

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Just discovered one of my now-former Facebook friends is a complete idiot. Lauded an article that described the Obamas as ” … they are committed to the fundamental change of my/our country into what can only be regarded as a Communist state.”

WTF?? Jeezus. When I said something about it, she responded “I don’t understand how people in America cannot allow others to have differing opinions.”

Uh … I’m fine with the fact that people can have differing opinions. I’m more than fine with it. Opinion away! That doesn’t mean I’m going to agree. I might just conclude your opinion is malignantly stupid. I don’t have to prove my broadmindedness by sitting still and smiling while you bloviate.

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Number one in a series of phrases you should try to work into party conversation: ” … those shitty, unholy Transformer movies.”

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To a zombie, teabagger brains are like Chinese food. They’re so small, you’re hungry again half an hour later.

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Words to live by: Never lie to a child or a dog for any reason.

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Skateboarding, snowboarding, bellyboarding, I’m up for all of that. But when I saw a sign yesterday outside a kennel about dog boarding, I thought that was just about the meanest goddam thing I’d ever heard. I don’t even WANT to know how you do it. And no way am I leaving MY dog in that place.

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If there really is a god, I hope he’s a stickler for correct spelling and grammar. Because if so, a HELL of a lot of people who think they are devout Christians are going to get the surprise of their (after) lives.

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If you get addicted to reading, as I was when my age still registered in the single digits, there are entire buildings devoted to pandering to your sick habit. Besides which,  the only “support” groups are fellow addicts — young men and women, retired people, old women who have to have their daily hit of poetry or romance, children even — gleefully sharing the details of their own addiction.

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The thing about Rush Limbaugh is … can you imagine ANYBODY actually loving him? Sharing a tender moment with him? Maybe the attention he gets from all the rage and nastiness is all he has.

Well, sure, the hundreds of millions of dollars probably helps.

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Fellow atheists, freethinkers, liberals and activists for peace and justice, in case I miss your birthday, let me just say this now:

May you live many years, and sow disturbing truths and eye-opening epiphanies in your wake the entire time!

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Note to fellow bachelors: You might think that, in a pinch, you could wash and dry that new shirt in the dishwasher, using the same detergent tablets that give you such clean plates and sparkling glasses.

But you’d be wrong.

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I listen to satellite radio while I’m driving, and I hear a lot of ads for those “male enhancement” products. Oh, jeez, they make it sound like there’s going to be this explosion in your pants, and then radioactive pleasure is going to emanate out from you, driving every woman within two blocks to her knees.

Two of the products I’ve heard advertised are “Hero Tabs” and “Upright.” I’m usually pretty good at naming things, and I wonder if they’ve really hit on the most effective names. So I took a crack at new product names I’d like to suggest to the male enhancement industry. My suggestions are:

Bull-Shot
Naughty Nighty Thunder-Blaster Pills
Mr. Flagpole

I think that last one has real promise.

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Yes, I’ve done some bad things in my life, but on the Bush White House Scale of Pure Evil, I rate a surprisingly low 0.12 Cheneys. You have to get up to 0.35 Cheneys or so to really be a genuinely bad person.

Hell, even Nixon only got up to 0.32.

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If you strive to be a free individual, think of yourself as a fish. Your problem is that you live in a society of fishermen who sow your path with beautiful lures … filled with hidden hooks. The trick is to avoid as many of the hooks as possible.

But oh, some of those lures look tasty.

By the way, I’m thinking of taking up smoking. I might start buying lottery tickets too. And maybe get a tattoo. Start watching reality TV. And go to church every Sunday. You know, all the things that would help me be a really INDEPENDENT person.

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  • ‘Tis Himself

    Lauded an article that described the Obamas as ” … they are committed to the fundamental change of my/our country into what can only be regarded as a Communist state.”

    I really wish the Obama-haters would learn what socialism, fascism and Communism really entail so they would stop hanging labels on a center-right politician who thirty years ago would have been described as a Rockefeller Republican.

  • JoeBuddha

    Not a blues song, but a pretty good folk song: “Year of ’39″ by Queen.

    • http://www.kevland.com Johnny Vector

      To be precise, it’s entitled ’39. And it involves going a lot further out than the Oort cloud. Let’s see, the time dilation factor is 100, which puts the volunteers at within 1% of the speed of light. So they must have traveled out about 50 light years. Then turned around and came back, for some reason. Anyway, waaay past the Oort cloud.

      Your argument is invalid!

      • JoeBuddha

        I sit corrected. I still find the line, “In the land that our grandchildren knew” to be most killer, though.

        • http://www.kevland.com Johnny Vector

          Agreed. I have a tendency to get something in my eye when I hear that song.

  • machintelligence

    Just for jollies, I decided to check out an Evangelical Free Church. They lied, the place was crawling with evangelicals.

    Those of us who think for ourselves, who use independent reasoning and critical thinking, are the WILD type of human.

    Those who buy into authority and conformity, such as the teabagger/conservative/Fox News audience, those are the domesticated variety.

    I had a friend who believed that hunter-gatherers were, as a group, much brighter than farmers. He was right, of course, domestication causes your brain to shrink (if you don’t need it there is no evolutionary reason to keep it).

  • sqlrob

    Yes, again, he’s doing some things I don’t like. But also, he’s NOT one of the ones actively trying to destroy the country

    ACTA, TPP, overuse of state secrets over and above even Bush.

    He’s not as direct as the GOP, but he’s doing a damn good job of attempting to destroy the country.

    /never in my life voted for someone for president, always against
    //thought Obama was going to be first
    ///Nominated Biden. Knew then it was all BS.

  • Cathy W

    I read some of these off to my husband. Now he just has to know what happens when you run a shirt through the dishwasher…

    • ‘Tis Himself

      Aren’t you glad that Hank didn’t write about riding a motorcycle over a cliff?

  • http://wanderinweeta.blogspot.com Susannah

    Waiting for the moment when everybody suddenly realizes that nobody believes in gods.

    “Wait, I said I believed in it because I thought YOU believed in it!”

    “No, I never believed in it. I was just afraid to say anything because I thought everybody else did, and they’d all hate me.”

    “Well … shoot. Now what do we do? We wasted all this time pretending.”

    This.

  • c2t2

    I liked a whole bunch of these! Therefore, I’m going to leave a tl;dr comment.

    Just saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again and I’m wondering … what would happen if you stabbed a Bible with a basilisk fang?

    Pfft. Nothing. Riddle’s diary was intelligent

    When I was a baby, my parents were so poor they couldn’t afford a bed for me.

    I had to sleep in the box the color TV came in, using the bubble wrap from the stereo set as a blankie.

    Ha, priorities!

    America: I’d like to write a book in which someone gives me a million dollars, and I detail what I do, how I live, how it changes me…

    I’d like to try this too. But I’m afraid my story would be exceptionally boring: Pay my medical bills, buy a tiny two-bedroom house, buy a boring but dependable car, put myself and my brothers through college, donate the rest to a no-kill animal shelter.

    That thing about the Pope’s butler being arrested … You think this man can get a fair trial in the VATICAN? I sure don’t.

    Of course not. They’ll pay him $20k if he’ll quietly go away. But only if he was also a child rapist.

    Waiting for the moment when everybody suddenly realizes that nobody believes in gods.

    This is my new fantasy.

    I’m in that uncomfortable zone where I desire the company of close companions but mostly wish they would keep their goddamn mouths shut.

    There’s an ap for that. It’s called “dog.”

    I am ALWAYS in that state. Wish my crappy apartment allowed pets. I have to make do with the metaphorical cockroaches in this dump.

    All my life, I’ve been reading and hearing that you should stretch and warm up before physical activity like a workout or run…

    Warming up is kind of important, but stretching before exercise can actually hurt you. Stretch after.

    I’m hoping I can find a millionaire “Harry Potter” believer, so I can get bankrolled for an expedition to England to search for Hogwarts.

    Hey, it works for those Noah’s Ark scammers.

    And Atlantis, and Bigfoot, and (I’m sorry) SETI, and and and…

    Skateboarding, snowboarding, bellyboarding, I’m up for all of that. But when I saw a sign yesterday outside a kennel about dog boarding, I thought that was just about the meanest goddam thing I’d ever heard. I don’t even WANT to know how you do it. And no way am I leaving MY dog in that place.

    Even worse? Waterboarding.

    … wash and dry that new shirt in the dishwasher, using the same detergent tablets …

    I want to try this, but it occurs to me that I don’t know a SINGLE PERSON who has a dishwasher.

    I need some rich – or at least middle-class – friends.

  • Crudely Wrott

    Hank observes observantly:

    At the point of maximum pleasure, both of them cried out “Oh God! Oh God!” and God, alarmed, looked down from Heaven, shouting “What? What?. . .

    Ahh. That must be why so may prayers go unanswered. God gets distracted whenever someone calls out its name.

    Obviously, more people call its name “at the point of maximum pleasure” than at any other point in their lives. This must be so because in moments of impending disaster or immanent catastrophe or bungled interpretation of scriptural guidance, most people are so preoccupied that they only have the time and wit to call out, “Oh, shit”

    Now I get it.

  • Hbart

    Hank, I frickin love your short stacks. I’d like to use some as a jumping-off for some cartoons – would that be OK?

  • Cynthia

    “It took me too long to become me, to risk giving it up for any one person.”

    And you just added one more to the list of people who love your work without ever having met you.

    Thanks.

  • Dave

    Really?

    “When I was a baby, my parents were so poor they couldn’t afford a bed for me.

    I had to sleep in the box the color TV came in, using the bubble wrap from the stereo set as a blankie.”

    Who are you trying to kid Hank? There’s no way color TVs nor bubble wrap existed when you were a baby….

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