Thursday, October 23, 2014

How You Know When Your Life Is Really Pretty Good.

You have complaints like Sweetie's:

"I'm a little bummed. I was trying to decide if I should get Ding Dongs or Fruit Pies and now that I'm home I think I made the wrong choice."

PS She went with "Ding Dongs."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Children Standing In Front Of God

These pictures are from Saturday, when we went to scatter my Mom's ashes at "Holy Hill," a monastery and church about an hour from us.  We used to go there a lot when I was a kid, and my Mom really liked the area.  

Mr Bunches and Mr F didn't really seem to understand why were there.  At one point, in front of one of the stations of the cross (the one where Jesus falls a second time) Mr Bunches looked at the statue and asked if Jesus was going to fix the tower and that's why he had the boards.

We told him "Yes."  

I'm not sure he's ready for the whole story of the Crucifixion.

Holy Hill:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A free excerpt from my new book "This Stupid Pineapple Is...", WHICH IS NOW ON SALE FOR FREE, TOO, SO WHY WOULD YOU READ THE COW FOR FREE WHEN YOU CAN TAKE IT HOME OR... wait, let me rethink that.

While waiting for my scifi novel to come out (probably next spring and now called Codes instead of Find Out Who You Are ), I've finally published the long-awaited sequel to my best-selling book Santa, Godzilla & Jesus Walk Into A Bar...:  This one's called "This Stupid Pineapple Is..." and you can read the first chapter below, if you want.  Or you can just go get the entire book for free on Amazon from Monday, 10/20 through Friday, 10/24.  


Part One: Wishes can come true, if only you believe hard enough. (And also own a pineapple.)

“This stupid pineapple is never going to shut up!" yelled Templeton Freeney in frustration, and although he fully expected it, he still got a little madder than he was already when the stupid pineapple said:
"Why don't you shut me up?"
Templeton Freeney sat down hard on the stool that he kept in the kitchen for just that purpose. It was not the first time the stupid pineapple had driven him to distraction, and he'd learned about a week before that it was best to have something to sit down on when that happened, or else he would simply fall on the floor when he was so driven to distraction that he had to sit down.
Tonight, the stupid pineapple had been telling knock-knock jokes in its loudest voice at 3:00 a.m., and he had gone down to the kitchen to tell the stupid pineapple to keep it down because people had to get up to go to work in the morning and the stupid pineapple had looked at him as he'd come in and said:
"You don't have any pants on," which had caused Templeton to look down at himself and then the pineapple said "Made you look," in that silly way it had which drove Templeton nuts and he'd decided that he was going to for once and for all throw away the stupid pineapple at that point but as he'd picked it up the stupid pineapple had said:
and Templeton had paused, and said:
"Why shouldn't I?"  He'd held the stupid pineapple by its green leaves over the recyclables bin in the kitchen.
"Because if you let me live, I will give you three wishes," the stupid pineapple had said.
"Liar," Templeton had said, and had tossed the stupid pineapple into the bin and started to walk away muttering. "No stupid pineapple has the power to grant wishes." He'd started back upstairs, checking only momentarily to ensure that he in fact did still have his pants on.
"I do," the stupid pineapple had said from inside the bin.
Templeton had stopped on the stairs and put his fingers to his temples, the way he always did when he was thinking very hard about something he did not want to be thinking about at all. Templeton did that a lot, in fact, as his job was Ponderer Of Things Nobody Wants To Ponder, a position he'd been appointed to by the CEO of the company the year before after a tiny wormhole in space and time had opened up in the men's washroom on the third floor.
The wormhole was too small to do much with. Nobody could even really get a finger inside it, except Rhonda from Accounting, and Rhonda from Accounting had thus far resisted everyone's entreaties to stick her finger into the tiny wormhole, steadfastly refusing to do so for the past year. The wormhole had, it must be pointed out, had many other things put into it, things like paperclips and push pins and tiny pull-off tabs from soda pop cans and the like, something that people had started doing when they realized they could, since often it is simply the realization that something can be done which prompts that thing to then be done.
Templeton had himself succumbed to the allure of the tiny wormhole, one day, while working late. He'd gone into the third floor washroom and there had been the tiny wormhole, between the stalls and the sinks, just as it always was. Templeton had a couple of pens with him, including his green marker that he used to mark things in green, and on an impulse he looked at the wormhole and put the green marker into it.
There was only the slightest hesitation, and then a zhhoooopo!
Templeton was very sure that it wasn't simply a zhoooop, that there was an o at the end of it, and he'd emphasized that on the Official Report he'd filed with Customer Relations. Customer Relations wasn't sure what to do about his green marker or the zhoooopo! or the tiny wormhole in general. Customer Relations, which had only three employees (Tim, Timothy, and Dan, who resented the bond that Tim and Timothy had), had only gotten jurisdiction over the tiny wormhole because nobody else wanted it. Building Services had been the natural department to handle it, but they'd pointed out that most wormholes lead to other dimensions and so the tiny wormhole wasn't a part of this building, per se, and the per se had convinced the few holdouts still pushing for the assignment, so then Human Resources had been assigned the job of dealing with the tiny wormhole, on the grounds that while the wormhole was not human so far as anyone knew, humans were doing things to it, but Human Resources all called in sick the next day and management, worried about losing an entire department, had instead assigned the tiny wormhole problem to Tim in Customer Relations. Tim had then requested authority to hire two other people to help deal with it, and he'd hired Timothy and Dan, and the three of them had set out to have an ongoing feud about whether Tim favored Timothy due to their sharing a name, while getting no work done, which was fine because the company had no customers, anyway, and as nobody knew what to do about the tiny wormhole, Customer Relations could hardly be blamed for doing nothing about it.
Just after the Zhoooopo!, there had been a slight tug on the green marker and Templeton had felt the green marker pulled from his hand. He'd had to fill out three different forms requesting a new one and although that was time-consuming, he'd felt that he should not have to pay for a new green marker on his own, as he'd lost it on company property.
While waiting for Requisitions to deliver the new green marker (Expect it in 6-42 weeks, barring wars, hurricanes, gravitational inversions and mist, the email had said) he'd gone back into the third-floor washroom and seen, of course, the tiny wormhole again.
He'd eyed it warily, the same way that he'd eyed warily the stupid pineapple which had already taken up residence in his house the first time he'd seen it.
Then he'd stepped up by the tiny wormhole and looked into it and put his mouth right next to it and said, in a voice he hoped was both friendly and authoritative:
"Send back my green marker, please, as I need it."
There had been a pause, and then from the tiny wormhole had come a voice, and that voice said:
Templeton had paused in shock, and before he could assess what that might mean, a voice behind him had said:
"What do you suppose that meant?"
And he'd turned to see the CEO of the company, a man everyone simply called "Gene," since "Gene" was the exact opposite of the CEO's actual name -- no, nobody got that joke, but Gene always chuckled at it and so everybody else did, and then wondered what Gene's actual name might be, and then wondered what the exact opposite of their own name might be
(Mathematicians over four years ago proved that for 56% of the population, the opposite of their name is "Tyler." The remaining 44% break down into three categories: those whose opposite-names are "Jerome” (12%), those whose are "Maria" (12.2%) and those whose opposite name can only be spoken in a long-forgotten Hindi dialect. (45.7%). After mathematicians released that report, they all went and enjoyed a large chicken dinner.)
 -- and Gene strode over to stand next to Templeton. Gene peered into the wormhole and said: "It talked."
Templeton, who by that time already had reason to be tired of things talking when they shouldn't ought to, sighed, and said "It did."
"That's amazing," Gene said.
"Is it?" Templeton asked.
Gene scratched his chin. "Now that I think of it, I'm not so sure it is. I mean, what do we really know about the tiny wormhole? Maybe all tiny wormholes talk."
Like stupid pineapples, Templeton thought, but he didn't say that because he wasn't entirely sure that all stupid pineapples talked.
Gene leaned down and put his mouth by the tiny wormhole.
"Do all tiny wormholes talk?" he asked it.
There was a lengthy silence, during which Templeton wondered if he could leave, as he was supposed to be home by now, and then the tiny wormhole said:
Gene and Templeton regarded each other, and then Gene said:
"Did it say Iort:?"
Templeton nodded. "Yes. Iort," he agreed.
"No, it didn't say Iort," Gene said. "It said Iort:? I heard it."
They stared at the tiny wormhole a moment longer.
"What does it mean?" Gene asked.
"I don't know," Templeton said.
"But someone could, if they wanted to, probably figure it out, what that meant," Gene said.
"I suppose," Templeton had said, and that had led Gene to on the spot promote him to Ponderer. ("It's not an official title, until now," Gene had explained. "You'll have to fill out the paperwork.")
Later, Templeton would put his fingers to his temples and rub them in the way that had earned him his name in the first place as he pondered the stupid pineapple's offer to grant him three wishes.
"You think I can't grant wishes because I'm just a stupid pineapple, but I bet three months ago you'd have thought that a stupid pineapple couldn't talk, and I proved you wrong about that, didn't I?" the stupid pineapple said from inside the bin.
Templeton sat down on the stairs and looked at the bin.
"Didn't I?" asked the stupid pineapple.
"I'm going to bed," Templeton said, and started up the stairs, wishing that the stupid pineapple had never woken him up in the first place and wishing that it was not Sunday evening because he didn't want to have the spend the entire night fighting with the stupid pineapple only to get up and begin a whole week of Pondering the tiny wormhole and other things nobody wanted to ponder.  He wished, in fact, that he could have a vacation, perhaps something on the beach.  That it was Saturday morning on the start of a beach vacation.  He paused, looking at a picture of his wife, and then went to bed.  He slept so soundly that when the team of commandoes stormed into his house two hours later, in the middle of the night, he completely missed all the windows breaking, lasers firing, boots kicking down doors, stupid pineapples being grabbed out of bins, and the other things that generally go along with a team of commandoes busting into one’s house late at night (e.g.: smashing up the place, etc.). 
            Templeton might have noticed the aftermath of all that happening when he woke abruptly the next morning, but he didn’t because he was too distracted by the sunlight beaming in through his bedroom window and the sound of a phone ringing. That and the steel drums playing somewhere, lilting just over the sound of the ocean surf.  Those things kept him from being aware that his house had been ransacked the night before.  Those things and a camel that stuck its head into the bedroom window.
            Before he could react to any of that – camel, ocean, phone, steel drums, or general ransacking of his home, a cry echoed out, one that shook him to his very core:
"Breakfast is ready!" he heard his wife yell.
To understand why Templeton was so bewildered, you must first know some things about Templeton beyond what you already have learned about him.
First, Templeton Freeney lives in Trenton, New Jersey, which is not the kind of place you find steel drums, oceans, tiki huts of the sort that Templeton found himself standing in, or camels.
Second, Templeton's wife Ana had left him several years before when she had fallen madly in love with a man who'd become a huge Hollywood screenwriter after a movie he'd written about a madman trying to take over the world only to be foiled by his brother-in-law had become a worldwide smash, leaving Templeton to raise the children himself.
Third, and this is not really about Templeton, but it is worth mentioning, it was no longer Sunday-night-leading-into-Monday-morning. A large calendar on the wall had days marked off in X's made in green marker, and the last day marked off was Friday, making this Saturday.
As he stared around him, Templeton realized the phone was still ringing. He picked it up.
"Hello?" he said.
"I told you so," he heard the stupid pineapple's voice. "I told you I could grant wishes. Now do you believe me?"
Templeton looked out the window, where some teenagers were getting ready to go surfing.
"I wished for this?" he said.
"Yep!" the stupid pineapple agreed heartily.
"All of this?" Templeton asked.
"Yessiree Bob," the stupid pineapple concurred.
"I guess you were right," Templeton said. The sound of surf outside made him feel like repeating it: "I guess you were right."
"Now that that's settled," the pineapple said, "Can you come rescue me?"
The phone line abruptly went dead.

READ THE REST by downloading the entire book.
“This Stupid Pineapple Is…” is available on Amazon by clicking here.  It’ll be free from October 20-24, so there’s really no reason for you NOT to read the second-best book about a wish-granting stupid pineapple starting an interstellar war.

Yes, I said second best. “Gone Girl” had more or less that same plot.  NOW GO READ MY BOOK.