Einstein explains the Economic Stimulus Package...

Stimulus Relativity...
Stimulus Relativity...

...This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

* * *

Here's my own question...

I need some body bags, pronto...

Dynamo's Rising Body Count...
The body count continues to rise...

This post had its roots in an e-mail I got last week from Bridget, someone I've known since we were both teens. In a nutshell, she asked: "What's with all the @#$%^ dead wives in your fiction?"

She'd noticed a trend...there's a widower in No Cognitive Defect, and another in Water's Edge.

I told her she'd forgotten the widower in Tears of Saint Lawrence.

I decided to see how many other bodies I could unearth. It ain't pretty kids. Here we go:

Falling in Love with Loredana (work in progress): 1 widow
July 27: 1 widower
The Eternal Mayor: 1 widower
No Cognitive Defect: 1 widower
The Tears of Saint Lawrence: 1 widower
Joseph Plum and the Panic of 2000 (in re-write): 1 widower
Water's Edge: 1 widower

Dead wives: 6
Dead husbands: 1

It's not over...a new piece with a working title of From the Sky originally had no dead spouses. But hell, I'm on a roll. I'm throwing in a pair of dead wives. Maybe a husband or two as well.

Go for the gusto, that's what I say.

The price of freedom in Wilkes-Barre...

What would they think of this?
What would they think of this?

I try not to get too political on this site, and try to keep it tongue-in-cheek when I do. I am plenty active politically, and I have other forums to express my personal political views.

In this case, I am making an exception because of yet another attack on our rights here in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Within the past year, residents of my county learned that there are two types of citizens here: Property owners and unwashed peasants. You just may have a voice against county government if you own property in my county. If you don't...well, in these parts, yer outta luck pal.

Today, I've learned of another attack on our rights. It is an assault underway in many cities and towns across our nation...possibly even yours: Using fees and other economic weapons to muzzle free speech.

Here's what has my shorts in a bunch:

Wanted: Charter Bus Driver. Position available immediately.

A GRAND WHAM at Denny's in Wilkes-Barre...
...Saturday special at Denny's in Wilkes-Barre...the GRAND WHAM!

Another washout from the Ralph Kramden Bus Driving School ...

* * *

Worth the wait...

For every season except spring, I recognize clear lines of demarcation. Summer starts on a specific day. So does fall, and also winter.

Rules of celestial mechanics aside, I refuse to acknowledge the arrival of spring simply because the calendar says it is so. Perhaps it is because spring "officially" begins while things still appear gray and lifeless here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Our air is too cool, snow is still a threat, the tree branches are bare, and our hedges and shrubs look dead, gnarly and naked. In the earliest days of spring, you simply can't tell if winter is coming or going. It feels too much like November

It is not till the first hints of color emerge from this black and white dead zone that I allow myself to think of spring at all. It starts with flashes of green in a few scattered, low-lying shrubs as I zip by them in my car. Next, buds begin appearing on trees, promises of spring's palette of colors soon to come. Dogwoods and cherry blossoms begin to bloom. Colors explode from the landscape.

But does all this new life mean spring has arrived?

Nope. Not for me. In my book, it's not officially spring until I'm hanging out with 70,000 friends in a sea of blue and white at the annual Penn State Blue-White Game.

Vernal equinox my fanny. It's not spring till JoePa says it is.

I feel SOOOO guilty....

Making every dollar count...
Making every dollar count...

...I nearly made the guy at Comcast cry.

Let me back up.

Long before most folks in America started "cutting back" on their spending, I was already scrambling to make the "outgo" less then the the "income." Without going into gory details, let me just say that amongst the many lessons I've learned over the past five years or so, perhaps the most important one was: Never trust a contractor with immaculate footwear. If the workboots aren't dirty and dinged, it's a red flag, folks.

For the past year or two, I've been looking for ways to save money. When the dollars dwindle, it gets easier and easier to figure out what goes over the side, and what stays.

I started with the newspaper. I loved my local paper, but I realized I could get most of what I needed online. If I really needed to look at the paper itself, I could read one of the copies floating around the lunchroom at work.

Newspaper: Gone. Over the side.

The Dung Heap...

I've come for Charles Henry...
I've come for Charles Henry ...

It was a dark and stormy night...

When folks talk about really bad fiction, that line is often cited as an example of just how bad bad can get. Say that line around a writer or editor, and eyes will roll or heads will nod. Every writer has probably written a clunker or two that never should have seen the light of day. We've all got a few lines...or entire stories...we regret writing.

In my case, I've got Charles Henry.

I wrote that story in a hurry. I was probably more concerned with meeting a contest deadline than I was with the quality of the work. I'd also just gotten a favorable response in a contest with another piece of fiction, and that likely clouded my judgement. The good showing made me a bit cocky. I was sure my days of writing drivel were finally gone.

When I submit something I know in my heart is a good piece of work, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm proud of what I've just sent out to an editor.

The second I finished submitting Charles Henry to a fiction contest, I felt nothing but regret. I'd made the deadline, but I was worried the story just wasn't quite up to snuff.


Rejected by the judicial system...

Rejected by the judicial system...

A few weeks back, I got a notice to report to jury duty. I was summoned just a year or so ago for county court. This time around, it was the United Stated District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania.

If you recall my last adventure as a potential juror, the county folks pretty much heaved me over the side when they realized I couldn't hear the dinner bell.

This time I wanted to avoid reporting at all. I detailed my hearing impairment on the form and sent it back to the court, hoping to be "excused."

I like that word...excused.

Sort of sounds like asking to get up from the dinner table, doesn't it? "...Yer honor, may I be excused?"

It also reminds me of asking permission to pee in elementary school: "...Please, ma'am, dear Lord, please...may I be excused? I can't keep my legs crossed much longer!"

I was mildly annoyed to learn that I wouldn't be notified by mail. I had to call a telephone number and deal with an automated phone system to learn my fate. Worse, I had to call after 5:15 P.M. on a Friday (when all civil servants are fleeing their desks at nearly the speed of light).

Tagged...Who's Next??

Master of Physics...
My Tag? Stephen Hawking...

I got tagged by Kahlik.

The rules of the game go like so:
1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages long.)
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog.
5. Tag 5 friends to do the same!

Kahlik (one of my two dear, sweet adorable sisters) tagged me with this sentence:

"The State had a coroner's office and the coroner had a medical examiner available to him."

From the book:

Girls of a Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Here's my sentence:

"The best explanation for this phenomenon is that matter has been blown off the surface of the visible star."

From the book:

The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

My five victims?


* * *

'NUFF SAID......

Up the old gas pipe...

Notice the proximity of the nozzle to the wallet...

* * *

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