My One Act Play About The Statue Of Liberty

Kinda in New York. Kinda in New Jersey. A proud symbol of the nation either way you look at it. (image public domain)

This week, I read quite a bit about the one-hundred-thirtieth anniversary of the Statue Of Liberty’s arrival in New York. One of the things I learned is that the statue is sort of in New York and sort of in New Jersey. Liberty Island is part of New York, but the waters surrounding the island are part of New Jersey.

As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I thought about how important the statue is to us as Americans. I considered how my relatives saw Lady Liberty as they came to the United States and what that meant to them. And I wondered why nations don’t seem to give each other cool gifts like that anymore.

But where the statue ended up…sort of in New Jersey, sort of in New York, got my imagination running on the idea of the statue being an over-the-top housewarming gift that a couple didn’t really know what to do with.

I tossed and turned. Eventually I got the idea far enough along that I could get some sleep. And this morning, I wrote a play about the statue as that outrageous housewarming present.

To paraphrase an old Army recruiting slogan – “I write more off the wall stuff before noon than most people write all day.”

Behold, my one-act play.

“The Gift”. Read the rest of this entry »

Trapped In My Own Body

Over the past few years, I’ve become healthier. I exercise and I make better food choices. My weight is down, I sleep well and I feel great. I’m going to live as close to forever as possible.

But I had a terrible experience this weekend.

My wife and I took a short road trip, but that wasn’t the terrible part. We checked in to a Bed and Breakfast and then walked in to town for dinner and drinks.

I Digress

Let me pause here to speak to those of you with the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive that inn-keeping requires.

This place would be a good Bed and Breakfast. It would be a better Soup and Snooze (image by AstaPro5 CCbySA4.0)

Bed and Breakfast isn’t a new idea. Everyone who lives in an old house in a quaint town has thought about opening an inn with this concept. Many of those who’ve thought about it followed through on the idea and have become successful. Places offering a good night’s sleep, followed by a breakfast of English muffins, hard-boiled eggs and orange juice are easy to find.

If you want to open an inn with a fresh idea, consider serving dinner instead of breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »

News Flash: Some Animals Don’t Mind Hurting You

Originally posted on The Nudge Wink Report:

The news media seems always eager to identify the latest “trends”. And yet they’ve missed a potentially dangerous one that has come up this week – animals have begun killing us at an alarming rate.

Hakuna Matataaaaauuuughh

“Dude, I will totally kill you” – every lion ever born (image by Robek CCbySA3.0)

A lion attacked and killed a woman as she toured a place called Lion Park in South Africa. Lion Park safety rules require visitors to tour in cars with their windows rolled up because, you know, lions.

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Let’s Do Fireball Shots! Bad Idea.

Originally posted on Long Awkward Pause:


Its name brings a smile to the faces bar owners who see their profits rising when they hear one of their unsuspecting patrons say “let’s do some Fireball!”. Why do I say unsuspecting patrons? Because as they’ve driven Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey from being a relatively unknown product to one of the top-ten liquors in the US market, few have taken note of Fireball’s dark secret.

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Wolfs Versus Wolves

I meet a lot of nice people. I’d take credit for that, but the truth is that I meet those nice people because of my wife. She is very social and a magnet for good people. I am not similarly gifted. I’m only good at speaking with people who are dangerously, criminally insane.

My gift isn’t as useful as it was before I retired. We don’t typically socialize with the criminally insane. That means that my skill set is wasted upon the non-hostage taking people we spend time with.

Meet The Wolfs Wolves These Nice People

What if these wolves last name is Wolf? (image by vargar CCbySA2.0)

So it was through my wife’s graces that we recently came to know yet another couple who are neither dangerous nor criminals. Their last name is Wolf. They’re friendly, older and we see them often at our favorite restaurants.

I’m trying to become better at talking to normal people while de-emphasizing my tendency to build rapport with angry, heavily armed folks. I’m seeing results from my efforts. I am getting a lot more comfortable in social situations. There have been times that I’ve held my own in a conversation. I’ve even introduced people to each other.

And introductions are where that nice, friendly, older couple whose last name is Wolf comes back in to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is A Rhizome?

My friends and family would tell you that I am a picky eater. There is some truth in that. But I’d contest the idea a little too. I just have a higher than average number of things I won’t eat.

But there are things that I will eat, to the surprise of everyone around me.

For instance, just the other night, my wife and I had dinner with another couple. We met at a Thai restaurant because I like Thai food. See? I’m not hard to get along with. I’m fine with different cuisines. If there are dishes without fish or mushrooms, I can find something that I’ll enjoy.

Do you think that’s free-range serpent? (image by Thomas Brown CCbySA2.0)

Our group sat, chatted and looked over the menu. The conversation turned to what everyone was having. I settled on a chicken dish with an unpronounceable name. Fortunately, it was also labeled D16 for people like me who don’t speak Thai.

I was a little concerned about my decision. Though Unpronounceable Chicken D16 didn’t have mushrooms or fish among its ingredients, it did have something called rhizomes.

“Do any of you know what a rhizome is?”, I asked my table mates, “I’m pretty sure I recall the word from fourth grade science class, but I don’t remember what it is.”

There was general agreement that we’d all experienced the word as part of vocabulary tests in our youth, but no one knew exactly what it meant. An opinion was advanced that is was somehow biological in nature. I found this last point reassuring because there was a good chance that I would be eating it.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine.

They’re Usually Good For Some Advice

“Let people eat what they want. It’s none of our business.” Clarence Darrow, 1926 (image public domain)

You know, I like attorneys. My wife is one.  So are both halves of the couple we ate with. Attorneys usually give great advice, like “don’t sign that” or “don’t say anything”. But none of the three lawyers I dined with said anything to dissuade me from ordering a dish with an ingredient we could not define. There are a lot of classes in law school about things folks should not do and how to advise them not to do those things. That education apparently does not extend to guiding others to a wise menu decision. Lawyers aren’t trained to say “don’t eat that”.

So I ordered Unpronounceable Chicken D16, rhizomes and all. We also ordered some appetizers, which gave me time to become more concerned about my order. I wondered if I’d made a mistake by being too adventurous. Where was that picky eater version of me when I needed him? How many rhizomes would there be and should I ask for an extra plate to push them off on to?

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

The Rise Of The Rhizomes

This is a rhizome. Not my rhizome. I wouldn’t have eaten this one. (image public domain)

So I was tense by the time our entrees arrived at the table. There, among the chicken and assorted chopped vegetables on my plate, were my rhizomes. At that moment, I learned that rhizomes are not any sort of animal.

These particular rhizomes were tiny, light-green spheres on little stalks.  There were about twenty spheres on each two-inch stalk. They put me in mind of grapes, if you had a whole stalk of those freakishly tiny grapes you sometimes find in a bunch of normal ones. I don’t know if mine were representative of all rhizomes; I’m going to assume that they were for the sake of this piece.

“So, these are my rhizomes. How do you suppose I should eat them?”, I asked. My wife said, “yeah, that’s probably them”. The other two at the table were equally helpful.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem.

Think I’m A Picky Eater? I Know A Rhizome That Would Disagree

We all started eating and continued chatting. The company was good and so was my Unpronounceable Chicken D16. But I avoided the rhizomes. I left them alone until I felt certain that I would not be noticed, and then I cut one of the little green spheres from the stem. It fit between the tines of my fork.

And when I bit into the rhizome sphere, it crunched. It was nothing like a grape, once I got past first impressions. It was neither sweet nor juicy. There will probably never be a market for rhizome wine, or jelly. In fact the overwhelming flavor of the rhizome was…nothing. It was a tiny, crunchy bite of nothing.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem. They are just like that tiny grape in a bunch of normal grapes, if that grape is hard and flavorless. So it is not like the tiny grape, because we all know the tiny grape is one of the best of the bunch.

And so the evening ended. I gained a little knowledge about people who practice law, and even less about rhizomes. I also proved that I am not a picky eater.

I apologize to my fourth grade teacher, if she is still alive, for not knowing if a rhizome is a plant or an animal. I was paying attention. No, I was not daydreaming, I probably just forgot what you told me. For what it is worth, I’m pretty sure that sharp kid who you were so sure was going to law school doesn’t remember either.

Did you find this page while you were looking for the real definition of rhizome? Sorry to have wasted your time, but you really should have figured out that I don’t know what I’m talking about long before you got down here. Anyhow, you can find that definition here.

Welcome to all who found this post through Freshly Pressed. Thanks for coming. Have a look around. Tomorrow, a complimentary continental breakfast will be served.

Five Routine Minutes: Sharing A Diet Coke With Omar

I haven’t run a Five Routine Minutes post in a while. For those who haven’t seen one before, this is the most poorly illustrated series on the net. Also, many times, what’s depicted doesn’t even add up to two minutes. But I like the idea as a goofy way to tell a story, so I’m resurrecting the series.

My wife has had to work a few recent weekends. That’s not typical and we’re taking it in stride. She’s done a lot of it at home. But this weekend she knew there was an event I wanted to attend.

Artist’s note: Despite what the drawing shows, my wife does not look like me. That would be creepy. Also, my goatee does not make my face look fat.


Read the rest of this entry »


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