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At one time or another, we’ve all either called someone a “complete idiot” or been called one. Well, Herman Grange of Isola, Mississippi wants you to know he’s not a complete idiot.

“I can name the original cast members of Green Acres in less than 5 seconds,” Mr. Grange says with a chuckle and not a little pride. “So, I guess I ain’t a complete idiot. Maybe an incomplete one.”

On Monday, shortly after Mr. Grange filed his qualifying papers to run in the special election for mayor, we sat down with the candidate. Below are excerpts from the interview.

“Have you ever held political office before?”

“No, sir. I am what they call an unknown.” He uses air quotes for the word “unknown.”

“What are some of the things you’re doing to gain name recognition?”

“Well, one thing is I submitted my name to the sex offender registry.”

“Have you committed a sex crime? Do you think you stand a chance of winning with a criminal background?”

“Aw naw. I’ve never been convicted of anything. I just did it to get my name out there. Once I’m on the registry, they’ll have to put those yard signs up in everyone’s yard and people will see my name.”

“Mr. Grange, they don’t put “sex offender” signs up in everyone’s yard. Just yours.”

“Oh. Well, that ain’t going to work at all.”

“No. People will just think you’re a child molester.”

“Huh. This politickin’ is harder than I thought.”

Asked about Mr. Grange’s candidacy, Interim Mayor Hezekiah Williams said, “Frankly, I didn’t know we had mayoral elections. This town is so small, I thought we just took turns. But, I reckon, he’ll be as good as anyone else.”

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Running Errands

Below is a transcript of my thoughts as I bought groceries and then gas.

At the grocery store:

This is a great. Just a couple more things and I’ll be done. Excuse me, dear lady, I’ll be wrapping up a couple of these apples as I begin the launch of the New Me. The slim, fit New Me. New Me likes apples.

Why is she staring at my basket? Did something weird make its way into my basket? Water, Diet Coke, chips. There’s nothing weird there. Why is she still staring? That’s just downright rude. How would you like it if I stared at your basket? Let’s see. (I start staring at her basket.)

Crap, she can’t see me staring at her basket because she’s too busy staring at my basket. Lady, don’t give me the sad look. I don’t have a sad basket. If there was nothing in there but booze, lotion, and the latest Teen Beat that would be sad. And scary. I would never buy that combination of things. I’m moving over to the plums and get away from this lady.

Plums, plums, plums, I like plums. Oooo, there’s a weird looking guy. I wonder what his story is. He’s only buying peanuts. Freak!

Damn, there’s another lady staring at my basket. Jeez, do I have newly-divorced guy written on the side of the basket? Did I get a different looking basket from everyone else? If so, that’s discrimination. I AM NOT A FAILURE! Why aren’t you looking at that weird guy buying peanuts? I got to get out of here.

At the gas station:

Oh great, there’s a guy buying gas on the other side of the pump. Now we’ll have to stand here while the pumps are going facing off like a couple of middle-aged gunslingers. There’s nothing you can do to make this situation less uncomfortable.

No hope of small talk here.

“Gas sure is expensive.”

“No shit, asshole. It has been for about 3 years now.”

Or

“Sure is nice weather now that the heat and humidity are gone, huh?”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not gay.”

“What?!”

Yeah, I’ll just keep my trap shut and stand here with my sunglasses on pumping gas. God, we look like out-of-shape secret service guys.

Previously, I wrote about the worn out, but necessary, elements for a best-selling crime novel. Now I’m reading an international spy novel. I have no idea why; these things are so predictable.

The hero is always a former CIA, Secret Service, Seal, or Ranger named something horrible like Dirk Logan. As soon as you get to the main character’s name, you think, “Is this porn?”

Of course, the hero is smart, athletic, and can kill you in 20 different ways. You use a coffee filter to make a morning cup of joe, Dirk Logan uses it to navigate an Ebola field and defuse a nuclear bomb attached to the President’s scrotum. Boring.

I want to read this about our protagonist: “Homer Pips was a fat, stupid, lazy piece of shit. When he wasn’t jacking off to discarded Us magazines he snatched from the dumpster behind the local pharmacy, he was mulling around town under the pretense of being a deputy sheriff.

Until today, his greatest law enforcement achievement had been to break up Granger Forest’s still (and that was only because it was competing against his own still). But today, Al Qaeda’s newly minted leader Abdul Mohammed Abdul Mohammed Mohammed…Abdul would decide to pay a visit to quaint little Sim’s Holler, North Carolina.”

And instead of fate throwing the hero together with a supermodel turned research physicist, we should have this: “Myrtle Peacock graduated high school with the coveted title of Most Likely To Make A Man Gay. Many of her classmates described her as “slow,” but mainly she was stupid.

Myrtle was terribly shy and when asked a question, she would inexplicably end her answer by muttering in a high pitched voice that trailed down to a mutter, “Hiba diba fing fing.” It was the strangest thing anyone had ever seen. Her classmates often paid strangers to ask Myrtle questions just to lay witness to Myrtle’s inexplicable Turret’s-like outbursts.

“Hi there. Could you point me to the Sav-a-Lot department store?”

“Uh, uh, sure mister. It’s up Elm Street right past the gas station. Hiiiiba diba fing fing.”

And then Myrtle would give her head a shake and violently clear her throat as if her nonsensical phrase had merely been something in need of dislodging and that it would be all eloquence from here on out. But it never was.

“Do you mean the Shell station or the Exxon?”

“Ahem. I mean the Shell. Hiiiiba diba fing fing.”

Now, those are characters I want to read about. When Homer and Myrtle get to be the heroes, I’ll buy your book.

When Britney Cagle of Hot Springs, Alabama won first place in the individual meet of her kindergarten potato sack race, her father’s face beamed with pride.

“I thought the sky was the limit for my little Brit. I knew that her future in hopping-related sports was bright,” said Britney’s father Ralph Cagle as he choked back tears.

“We had already paid a substantial down payment on hopscotch camp and paid a retainer for a private coach to help her with her lemon-on-a-rope jump roping skills– you know, where you swing the lemon on the rope with one foot and jump over it with the other? She’s showed a lot of promise at that thing. But now, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Only hours after Britney took first place in a record shattering 7.2 seconds, the parents of her most bitter rival — Jamie McClellan — accused Britney of using a sugar-based dietary aid or, as it is more commonly known, candy.

“Did you see how that child was hopping? She looked like she’d been shot out of a cannon or had a family of fire ants stirred up in her pants. There ain’t been a 5-year old yet who could break 7.5 in the potato sack race. All of sudden we’re supposed to believe this Britney kid can do it in 7.2? Nah uh. Something’s up,” declared Earl McClellan, Jamie’s father.

Asked to provide evidence of his scandalous claim, Mr. McClellan pointed to numerous Jolly Rancher and Now And Later wrappers found in Britney’s cubby. “They ain’t allowed that many sweets during the day. Maybe an animal cracker or two, but nothing like this. The kid has definitely been dopin’.”

Mr. McClellan continued, “Another thing. Look at her form. She ain’t even a good hopper. She stands too far upright to be that fast. Throw in the fact that they was runnin’ into the wind and it’s clear — that kid was high as a kite.”

Mr. Cagle vehemently denies the doping allegations asserting that Mr. McClellan is behind the candy wrappers. “I think this is a plant. Not like a fern or a daffodil, but, I mean, I think he planted them candy wrappers. Brit don’t even like Jolly Ranchers. Not grape ones anyway.”

Mr. Cagle says he’ll fight any efforts to strip his girl of her first place ribbon. “If they want to take this up to the school district, we’ll see them there. My baby has worked too hard to give up that ribbon without a fight.”

The school district declined comment except to say, “The school district has a zero tolerance for doping. Candy-aided records are not recognized and the offending children are immediately disqualified from the race. Further, the guilty child is forced to write Bad Bunnies Don’t Win Races 1000 times.”

Mr. McClellan said the doping has to end now. “This here’s a slippery slope. Allow them to get all hocked up on Jolly Ranchers now and they’ll be free-basin’ Tootsie rolls and M&M’s before they hit second grade.”

“The only hocked up person here is Mr. McClellan. I ain’t gonna say he’s a meth head; I’ll just point out he’s a weird kind of skinny,” Mr. Cagle said in a parting shot. “And his little hyena better watch her back.”

Britney Cagle’s blue ribbon is safe for now even if it’s mired in scandal. Asked about the incident, 5-year-old Britney whispered in a sing-song voice, “I so love Justin Bieber. And purple butterflies.”

There’s nothing like a good cow story to get the week started right. Hat tip to Harmony for finding the article.

Reward Offered After Cattle Rustlers Hit The Northstate

Ranchers are beefing up security  after some cattle rustlers went to work in Tehama County.

This lead off sentence is quite telling. Not only is this journalist reporting the news, but he/she isn’t scared of a pun. Cows. Beef. “Beefing up security.” I get it. Witty. Go ahead and make room in your trophy case for that Pulitzer.

One Northstate family had more than a dozen calves stolen right from their property. A reward of up to $12,000 is being offered for information in the case.

Up to $12,000? You’re doling out partial payments for info? I assume crappy info won’t net you much:

“I think they’re male.”

“Great, thanks. Here’s 75 cents.”

Be careful or you’ll find yourself with only $3.82 to give to the person who positively IDs the thief.

Candace Owens and her husband John say that sometime between April 15th and now, someone stole 15 cows from their ranch west of Red Bluff.

You mean for a month you didn’t notice missing cows?

“Candace, it’s weird. Normally, when I’m out riding the range, I have to maneuver around these big blocks of living things that are moving around and taking up space.”

“You mean the cows, John?”

“Yeah, I guess so. But lately I’ve noticed that there are less of these things to maneuver around.”

“John, are you saying we now have less cows?”

“I guess so. You think I should count them?”

“I think there’s specialized fellas that are tying to make a quick buck,” said Candace Owens. “They’ve got to be knowledgeable at livestock in some fashion.”

Of course. “Specialized fellas.” That must be it. Generalized fellas couldn’t pull off a caper like this. Generalized fellas stick to stealing chickens and things of that sort; rabbits perhaps. Cows are no cakewalk. You have to be Tom Cruise dangling from a wire to pick off some bovine booty.

But why do you have to be “knowledgeable at livestock in some fashion” to be able to steal a cow? I’ll bet you can do it without knowing much at all about cows.

“Frank, let’s steal a cow.”

“Jimmy, you don’t know nuthin’ about cows.”

“So?”

“Well, you got to know yer subject matter before you haul off and start stealin’.”

“Uh, I disagree.”

“Do you know what kind of feed to give to a cow?”

“Besides grass, no.”

“Do you know how they came to be domesticated?”

“No.”

“Then you’re not qualified to be cow rustling.”

“I was going to put a rope around the cow’s neck, lead it into a stolen horse trailer, and then drive off. What’s wrong with that plan?”

Frank thinks for a while. “I guess nuthin’. Let’s go.”

John Suther is the senior special investigator for the Special Investigation Bureau of Livestock Identification. Suther said more than 1,800 cattle were stolen in California last year and they’ve already received 762 theft reports this year. Suther pinpoints ways to protect precious livestock. “Branding their cattle, that’s the number one thing,” said Suther. “And counting your cattle when you go through them when you’re missing them”

Special Investigator Suther inspires a great deal of confidence. When you’re missing cattle and you go through them, you should count them. Ah, so there’s where I keep messing up. [Hand to forehead] I had 4 cows. Now I just have this one staring at me. I couldn’t figure out what was awry. When I count them, I see that 3 are missing. I didn’t take them. Shazam! My cows have been rustled!

This morning I took my kids to school and then came home to get ready for work. It took me all of about 30 minutes to get ready and head out the door. As I walked the 5 steps from my side door to my car door, I ran through a spider web. We’ve all done it, I know, but here’s my question: what is it with these super-ambitious spiders? By encircling my carport, WTF is this spider trying to catch? A flipping condor?

I can’t even begin to understand the 1% of the spider population that decides the basic web isn’t good enough.

“Larry, where are you going?”

“I’m going to launch myself into the air and try to reach that car door.”

“Why?”

“I’m going to try to catch a flipping condor.”

“They’re practically extinct, dumbass. Plus, the owner is going to drive away any minute and there goes your web.”

“Maybe I’ll catch an owl before the owner goes anywhere.”

“An owl? A single strand is not going to catch an owl. You’re wasting your time.”

“Ha. What do you know?”

Five minutes later, I walk through the single strand and hear a tiny spider voice shriek, “Crap!”

This past weekend I was mowing my yard and 20 feet from the side of my house and another 20 feet from the nearest tree, I walked through another spider web strand. Was the bastard building a volley ball net? Did I just ruin the arachnid summer olympics?

_____________________

I have a kick it dog. What’s a kick it dog? It’s a little crap dog and it makes you want to kick it. Each morning, I sit on the stairs and put my socks and shoes on. Yesterday, kick it dog came up and licked me a single time on my 3rd toe, and then walked away as if nothing strange had just occurred. Explain that to me.

“I don’t want to lick him multiple times. That might send the wrong signal. You never know about these Southern boys. They say the sheep lie, but it sounded like they were telling the truth to me. On the other hand, he feeds me. I need to show some gratitude. I’ll just give a single lick. A single lick says, ‘Hey, thanks for the food, but I’m not coming on to you.’ Do I go for the big toe or one of those others? Shit, this is difficult. My brain is the size of a small orange. How the hell am I supposed to know which toe to give a single lick to? Screw it, I’ll just make contact, and walk off.”

Easter

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend, we Christians celebrate the risen Christ. Next to Christmas, it don’t get no holier than this weekend. Folks who haven’t thought about God since Christmas will break out their best, shiniest clothes and head out to be seen their local church.

Though none of the Gospels make note of it, Jesus, while suffering excruciating pain on the cross, thought to himself, “I hope my followers will remember me and celebrate this day by wearing lots and lots of pastels.”

Later, after awakening from a pain-induced lapse of consciousness, Jesus prayed, “Father, I know not what rabbits and hidden chicken eggs have to do with all this, but I bid my children well.”

As if on cue, Mary was heard to say, “I’m getting the hankering for a bit of chocolate. This seems to be a rather odd time for that, don’t you think? Jesus, son, guess what I’m fancying?”

John placed a reproachful hand on Mary. “Let us not worry Jesus with that right now. I’ll tell you what. In about 3 days, we take a walk in the garden.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “I’ll also hide some eggs from you and you can then try to find them. How about that,” he asked with a smile.

“Eggs? Why would you hide eggs from me?”

John looked genuinely puzzled. “Well, I don’t rightly know.”

“And what kind of eggs would you be hiding?”

John scratched his beard. “Chicken eggs. Yes, chicken eggs.”

“Yes, naturally. Ok, I look forward to it. Everyone, everyone gather round. In 3 days, we’re all going to eat chocolate and find chicken eggs that John will hide.”

Eggs

Image via Wikipedia

“Oh, fun. Can we make the chocolate in the shape of little chickens?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Chicken-shaped chocolate. That beats all I’ve ever heard. They’ll be in the shape of rabbits, you silly.”