Category Archives: humor

Liberty

THE SCOURGE OF UNLAWFUL INFANTS

NOTES FROM THE HENGE
A baby just recently born
Was promptly the subject of scorn
He’d no skills and no job
And just sat like a blob
And his English? You’d think he was foreign!
Below is, I’m embarrassed to admit, kind of a “rerun” post. It’s actually an essay I wrote a few years back for Asinine Poetry, my friend’s awesome site. (Check it out!) I reprint it here partly because I still stand by these words 100%… and partly because there’s something on TV I want to watch.
Give me your swaddled masses
THE SCOURGE OF UNLAWFUL INFANTS
Okay. Those concerned about illegal aliens often cite the huge strain put on our social infrastructure by undocumented immigrants. They talk of schools, hospitals, welfare, etc. But they ignore the gargantuan elephant squatting dead-center in their parlor. The biggest strain put on the system is caused by our very own people making babies.


Here’s my point: Why should the offspring of Americans automatically be U.S. citizens? Why is that a basic ”given?” I don’t get it. What have these children done to earn this right? Some newborn Kyrgyzstanian, Belizean, or Upper-Voltan kid has done no less nor more to deserve being (or not being) an American.


Look, we’re supposed to be a meritocracy here, yes? Why should one get to be a citizen just because one’s parents were? If you really think about it, the concept is downright un-American. In fact, it smacks of the same kind of unjust birthright notion inherent to a monarchy,for goodness sake. And, lest we forget, our nation was created by wriggling free of just that kind of institutionalized nepotism.


You wanna talk merit? Some Mexican hiding in a sweltering Toyota Corolla’s wheel-well has arguable proven his grit — and his genuine desire to be part of our country — way more than some proto-RugRat who arbitrarily popped out of an American womb on NY’s Upper West Side. Truth is, being born of an American pudenda is a matter of sheer luck — no skill, talent, or basic worthiness is involved.


So here’s the deal. I say we ship every single newborn out of the USA immediately upon delivery. I know it sounds crazy, but please hear me out. Let’s use all the cash we regularly spend on education, childcare and, uh, playground-repair or whatnot, to immediately banish these infants to the far corners. Every newborn is henceforth instantly classified an illegal alien and deported to Siberia, Maruitania, or some-such-foreign-land. France, even. (We’ll pay off assorted random countries to take ’em.) And don’t worry, parents can travel off with their child if they so desire — but on their own dime. (I suspect many folks will choose this option.) We might even make a tidy profit if we play that part right.


Anyway, years later when the kid hits eighteen, he/she will have a right to go through the usual process of applying to become American, just like everyone else. Background/loyalty checks, U.S. history tests, health screenings, temporary provisional work visas — whatever hoops we typically make potential immigrants jump through.


And I suppose we could occasionally make exceptions about the age requirement. Sure. If a kid is a genuine prodigy — great at math or baking or karaoke — we might consider letting them apply sooner.


But the bottom line is we make everyone go through the same basic process, whether they were lucky enough to be the product of an all-American, red-white-and-blue egg/sperm combo, or happen to be from some Norwegian, Peruvian, or Ugandan set of, ahem, primary ingredients.


What could be fairer? Seriously. This way, within a few generations, we’ll be absolutely certain each U.S. citizen trulydeserves to be part of this great land of ours.


And, hey, here’s an awesome bonus to my plan: Very soon there’ll be nobody younger than eighteen living in our country! Things will be a lot quieter, and a lot less smelly (especially on airplanes).

There’ll be no Barney the Dinosaur. No gummy worms. No Chuck-E-Cheese.


And we won’t have to watch our language in public.


Or wear pants.



Please write your congressmen.
Elk-Head

FUNNY, HE DOESN’T LOOK ELKISH

NOTES FROM THE HENGE
An atheist hailing from Sweden
Was reviled in our land as a heathen
When aside, he’d confide,
He could never decide
Exactly whom not to believe in
The post below is a bit lazy. It’s actually a guest post I wrote on DANGERdanger’s blog a while ago.  I’d write something brand new, but I really need to floss. Hey – at least it’s semi controversial, subject-wise!

I’ve been stuffed but until now never mounted
Funny, He Doesn’t Look Elkish
So there’s this Elks lodge all my young buddies are joining. Partly because the beer is cheap and the steak dinners are apparently yummy, partly to have a funky, centrally-located gathering place to talk business and hang out, and partly, well, “ironically.”
The Elks Club is great. No joke. From the outside it could be a tool-and-die factory, but inside it’s an episode of Cheers as directed by David Lynch. There’s a meeting hall, a high-school-cafeteria-esque dining room, a cement courtyard for outdoor BBQs, and, of course: a bar. Ah, the bar. The bar rocks. The not-unpleasant, ever-so-slight smell of old beer & mildew lingers in the air. And under that wafts the familiar sweet/sour faint odor of Clorox-mixed-with-stale-sweat I’ll forever associate with 1980’s Time Square porn palaces (um, not that I ever frequented such places….). The lighting is dim and the décor is early Holiday Inn meets late Sizzler.
The TV behind the dingy bar is permanently set on Fox News, there’s a whiteboard tracking the progress of some on-going Elky golf tournament, and I think I caught a glimpse of a dusty pool table and maybe a dartboard somewhere along the boxcar-like rows of small back rooms.
The bartender has just enough of an “Overlook Hotel” creepiness to make ordering a three-buck Bud Lite interesting. All the male patrons look like white-haired Barney Rubbles, and most have that old-school, macho friendliness peculiar to veterans. A sturdy Semper Fi warmth. The few women bellying up to the bar mighta been beauty queens back in the day before their features & figures got weathered by hard knocks and even harder drinking.
In other words: the perfect place for a bunch of young (ish) dudes to hang out. “Ironically” or not. And, to add to the charm, in order to join up one must be interviewed, approved, voted on, and initiated. There’s even some kind of endless (and unintentionally humorous) old introductory film you have to sit through. Awesome.
Come on. How cool is all that? Two of my buddies have already passed though the process, a third is halfway there, and a forth will probably start the procedure when he’s back in town.
So here’s the rub. They tell me there are two “deal breaker” questions they ask during the interview. The first is: “Are you a communist?” No problem there. I can easily say “no” to that one (though, as a Democrat, some Fox News aficionados might think me almost there). Then there’s the “Do you believe in God” question. Uh-oh. Apparently you’ve got to answer “yes” to be considered for induction into the wonderful world of Elk-dom.
Crap.
I’m one of those “don’t ask/don’t tell” life-long atheists. (Though I suppose, technically I’m what they nowadays call a “Tooth-Fairy Agnostic,” but that’s another story.) The point is when people wax all spiritual or religious around me I tend to just smile and nod and try to politely change the subject. Since I realize my non-theistic position is unusual – even controversial (especially here in America) – I mostly keep my lack of belief to myself. But if asked directly, point-blank across a wobbly metal desk in some dark back office by some scrotal-skinned, white-haired Barney Rubble? I’d kinda have to tell the truth. No getting ‘round it.
So I guess I’m out of the game. No secret handshake, no initiation ceremony, no decoder ring for me.
And here’s the thing that just occurred to me today, and it’s why I’m writing this (perhaps too serious – sorry) blog. If, hypothetically, all my friends joined some social club but then subsequently discovered I couldn’t join along with them because I was black, or gay, for female, or Jewish, or Muslim, or some such – I think we’d all feel very different about the situation. Frankly, I think we’d be up in arms. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my friends didn’t instantly quit that fictitious club in angry, disgusted protest. Or maybe they’d stage a raucous, Norma-Rae-style poster-waving demonstration.
Horns of a dilemma
And, I – that hypothetical black/gay/female/Jewish/Muslim me – would probably be equally outraged and alert the media in squinty-eyed righteous indignation, bellowing war cries of “bigotry!” and “unfair!” and yadda yadda. But in this particular case, both myself and my buddies shrugged it off, joked about how quaint and goofy and sweet them-there old Elk rules are, and let it slide.
So I just won’t join and they will. Maybe I’ll attend occasional events there as a “guest.” No biggie.
But it’s an interesting issue, no? It’s as though “non-belief” is the last thing left on the list it’s still okay to be openly exclusionary about here in America. Recently I read an article about how — though we now have a black president and will one day soon probably have a female one, and though we have assorted Jewish, Hispanic, and “out” gay members of congress, etc, etc. — the way things are going it’ll probably be at least a hundred years before we in the U.S. are comfortable with openly non-religious politicians. It’s the final frontier of American, er, closet-leaving.
Ah well. If you need me I’ll be nestled back in the walk-in between my wrinkled Dockers and my pit-stained polo shirts.
With Godlessness,

A Closet-Dwelling Heathen
Babycarriage

AND BABY MAKES TOO MANY

NOTES FROM THE HENGE
A couple returning from Rome
Met some parents who couldn’t leave home.
As they cooed at the cradle
They were asked, “How’re ya able?”
 “Well, we chose not to share our genomes.”
Those of you who’ve read my old sf novel LEVELS: The Host(coming soon to an ebook reader near you), will perhaps recognize faint echoes of some of the book’s themes in this post.
Perambulate my perambulator!
AND BABY MAKES TOO MANY
So a lot of my friends are in their thirties and are suddenly having babies. Popping out puppies. Making new humans. And these friends are all wonderful moms and dads: quirky, artsy, vibrant, funny people with great attitudes. They’re awesome parents. And they’re raising great kids.
But… why?     
What’s the deal? It seems to me the time has long since passed we shoulda chucked the old tradition of “first you go to school, then you get a job, then you get married, and then you hunker down and have yourself a passel of kids.” Yet it’s still considered almost “mandatory” to reproduce this reproduction plan in many circles. WTF?
It’s particularly troubling considering how many bad parents there are out there. Why not create a society encouraging only those who have a very special “calling” for parenthood to breed? It’s one of the hardest, trickiest, most demanding jobs in the world, but we seem to believe everyone should do it. People who can barely operate a can opener think it’s just fine to go off and make themselves a person… and then try to raise that person on up… so it can then make other persons.     
As Doritos used to advertise: “Crunch all you want, we’ll make more.”
I won’t even touch on the population issues involved. Okay, so maybe I’ll touch on them a tad. Here I go: We have plenty of humans, Peeps. There’s barely a problem I can think of (climate change, disease, famine, war, pollution, etc) that wouldn’t be eased up quite a bit if there were far fewer Homo sapiens infesting our cute little planet. So automatically popping out more of them “because that’s what’s done” doesn’t make sense.
Just ‘cause your folks did it doesn’t mean you have to. Your folks also wore polyester jump suits and watched TV shows when they aired. Rest my case.
I believe being a parent should be something rare and treasured, like being a stunt man, brain surgeon, or sommelier. And those few who pursue it would get huge respect — especially considering all the strenuous training, testing, and licensing ideally involved in the process. It should be something that, at a cocktail party, draws a crowd. “Really? You’re a dad/mom? Wow! What’s it like? I went to school with someone who wanted to be that!”
I would like to live in a world were being a parent was kinda like being an astronaut. Cool as hell, but pretty darn rare, and only done by experts.
My point is, why not have yourself a gerbil, some sea monkeys, or one of those purse dogs? Leave parenting to the pros.

And, please, don’t get me wrong. I love kids. I really do. I always wanted to have my own, truth be told. (Fact is the only reason I didn’t have children was I thought I should wait until the day I felt like a “grown up” myself. Needless to say, that never happened.)
Blog222222long

CLOONEY ON CRUTCHES

NOTES FROM THE HENGE
A dancer with troublesome hips
Used some money collected from tips
To install a new joint
At his hip’s turning point
Now he’s able to kick just for kicks.
A limper who’s hip was a trickster
Found a doc through a medical tipster
No longer a “crip”
His titanium hip
Gives him newfound street cred as a Hipster
(You get two limericks for the price of one this time.  I felt a flood of PC guilt for using the expression “crip” and so wrote another.)
Yes, I have self-image issues.
CLOONEY ON CRUTCHES
This past February I went under the knife and had a new hip installed.  I wanted one with more bling.  Nothing ostentatious, just a little light bedazzling.  Pimp my hip out.  And if I could get one that doubled as a wifi hotspot, so much the better.
Getting a total hip replacement turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected.   Not the kind of thing you just walk away from.   Recovery takes a while, and there are complicated bathroom issues I’d rather not discuss here.  Trust me, you don’t want to read about them while you’re eating.  Or if you ever plan to eat.
I was rockin’ a walker for a while, then a pair of forearm crutches, then a single forearm crutch, and now I’m on a wobbly cane.  The cane is, I suppose, methadone to the crutch’s heroin, and I’m slowly being weaned off my addiction.  The surgeon, when he realized how long I’d been on crutchesbecause of various complications, cautioned me to be careful I didn’t start using the crutch as “a crutch.”  I was, uncharacteristically, speechless.
Physical therapy is a blast.  And by “a blast” I mean it hurts.  A lot.  However, as a heterosexual man, I confess the one nice thing about going to my physical therapy appointments is that my therapist happens to be a very attractive young woman.  If I’m going to be hurt by someone, it might as well be someone cute.  During each session I try to fantasize that we’re merely a couple experimenting with something kinky and I’ve forgotten the “safe word.”
Friends and family were particularly wonderful during the early, housebound stage of my recovery: bringing meals, keeping me company, or simply being sensitive to the fact that I’m an introvert and leaving me the f**k alone.  (Some people who know me really well left food on my doorstep, rang the bell, and ran like hell.)  Surprisingly, strangers have also been amazingly nice to me throughout this process.  They see crutches and start holding doors, offering up seats, helping with bags, etc.  Smiling, assisting, being extra patient and kind. They almost behave like I’m some big movie star simply because I’m semi-incapacitated. It’s very sweet, but also a little sad.  (And not just because I’m not a big movie star.  Yet.)
A month or so after the surgery my wife’s car broke down right in front of our house.  It’s a long story.  Actually it’s a very shortstory but I’m skipping it anyway.  Sue me.  The point is I loped my crutchy way outside to stand by her car door, lean in her window, and keep her company while she waited for Triple-A.   Since it was rush hour and she was blocking a lane on a narrow road, folks would race up behind her and slam on the brakes at the last minute.  Their faces were always horribly pinched and they all seemed about to yell something really nasty… until they caught sight of my forearm crutches.  Then they’d instead smile sweetly and wave like I was George Clooney or something.  “No worries!  Take your time!  I’ll just drive around you folks!  I didn’t realize you were differently abled and/or a superstar!” 
As I watched this happen over and over, I began to wonder why we can’t be nice anyway.  Why can’t we try to treat all people like they’re George Clooney on forearm crutches?
So next time you feel a bubble of rage rising within because some stranger inconvenienced or annoyed you, before your act on that feeling, picture them as George Clooney on forearm crutches. 
And, if it helps, pretend you and George are a couple and you forgot the “safe word.”
Blogtoon22

BLOG ME WITH A SPOON

NOTES FROM THE HENGE
A man who was luckless at snogging
Decided to try out this “blogging.”
And now he is known
(In the blogosphere zone)
For his snoring and comforter hogging.
BLOG ME WITH A SPOON
So I’m on top of this whole blog thing now.  This is me, blogging.  Doing it.  Yeah.  Going all bloggy on the internet’s ass.  Cutting edge, that’s me. 
I’m only, what, 15 years late?
My wife makes fun of me because I can’t even use the freakin’ expression properly.  If she makes a particularly cogent comment about pistachio gelato or Olympic curling or the like, instead of asking her, “Why don’t you post about that on your blog?” I’ll say, “Why don’t you write a blog about that?”  And I’ll get the “you’re sweet, but kind of an idiot” look I know so well after twenty-odd years of marriage. (And, yes, some of those years were very odd.  But I digress.)
No matter how often I misuse the B-word and am corrected with a loving glare, for some reason my frontal lobes refuse to stop making those kinds of old fart “blog me about it when you get to Reno” mistakes in usage.  Why?  Maybe the very same reason I’ve resisted starting a blog for so long.
The-thing-of-it-is is, is that I just don’t wanna.  Or at least just didn’t wanna until today.  Blogs, it seems to me, are mostly – let’s face it – about the comments section.  If you don’t get any comments, you suck.  You’re a friendless loser.  You threw a party and nobody showed up.  You built a baseball diamond and they didn’t come.  You held a parade and were left alone in the middle of Main Street, gripping your own sweaty baton.  On the other hand, if you get lots and lots and lots of comments, odds are they’re mostly spittle-freckled rants about how very wrong you are.  And how you should probably eat poop and pass away… or just head off somewhere and make sweet love to yourself.  Or words to that effect.
Look, I find I even run into this kind of “comment thread issue” on Facebook.  If you scroll down my Facebook homepage you’ll find years and years of daily status updates going back to when I first joined up in an era when computers were still hand cranked.  You’ll note that almost every one of those posts is a joke.  A silly attempt at humor.  No politics, no religion, no diet advice.  Nothing controversial.  Most of them, in fact, are safely self deprecating.  Yet invariably, someone will take the particular joke seriously in the comments section and try to argue with me.  “What matters is not why said chicken crossed the road, good Sir, but if it was humanely butchered.  Your callous disregard for the chicken’s welfare speaks of….”
So it’s a Catch 22.  (Or a Kobayashi Maru, depending how literary/nerdy you lean.) Either I write a blog that no one reads, or I deal with comments that make me want to open a vein (in myself or in someone a bit more veiny).   But I think I’ve figured out a viable third option.  I’m hiring a staff of twenty to read and pre-screen all the comments, shielding me from any undo pain and suffering.  (And by “staff of twenty” I mean my cat).
So here we go.  My first blog on my blogger page’s blog, all about blogging. Was it bloggy enough? 
In the end, all I can really hope for is that when I blog someone, they stay blogged.