Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don't Bug Me! (FF)

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.

“Well, this isn’t going to do much to add to my popularity,” Gregor thought. He hoisted himself on his painfully thin spindly legs and wobbled out toward his family.

“Boy, I’m not very coordinated,” he thought. “I used to be able to fairly well fly through the air.”

“Gregor!” screamed his mother,”you’re a bug!”

“Tell me what I don’t know,” replied Gregor.

“We’ll have to get you to a specialist,” said Gregor’s father. “Maybe they can turn you back into bacteria like all the rest of us.”


Poor Gregor’s plight is nothing to sneeze at. Turning a bug back into bacteria has got to be almost as difficult as being an executive at Sony Pictures these days.

My story based on the picture prompt above is just one of many such stories authored by the Friday Fictioneers which you can access by clicking here. I know you'll enjoy them.  

Now don't bug me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Environmentally Correct (FF)

copyright Sandra Crook

"What kind of people are these?" exclaimed Michele.  "To leave a beautiful site like this so disgusting and filthy!"

Michele and Billy were taking a walk on Sunday across Sutter's Bridge when they came upon the shameful scene.

"Who knows?" agreed Billy. "I can't imagine how anybody could be so malicious to heave anything and everything off the bridge like this!"

"Let's clean it up!" proclaimed Michele. 

Michele and Billy scrambled off the bridge and down to the site, eager to get started. "Here, Michele," said Billy, "hand me that rock and plot of grass and I'll start siphoning up all the water."

"Great, Billy!  In no time at all we'll have the rubbish, shit, and garbage looking as perfect and pristine as new!"

You've probably encountered sites like this too --- all those babbling brooks and waterfalls covering up beautiful car tires, beer cans, and dead bodies!  Well, I'm proud to say that my Friday Fictioneers story this week strikes a powerful call for the environment!

Please hug an abandoned tire today.

You may also want to hug one or all of the other Fictioneers (literally or figuratively) by clicking here. And then please help me and Billy siphon up all this disgusting water. Here's your straw.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Supermarket Sweep

Wanna speed through the supermarket?  
Follow these free and easy tips! 

I've never been the sort of person who likes to go shopping, whether it's shopping for clothes, home furnishings, or electronic power tools, were I ever to actually shop for electronic power tools. But there's one kind of shopping that I actually sort of like.

That one kind of shopping? Food shopping, of course.

Why? Because I like to eat!  And you can't eat a necktie, sleeper sofa, or band saw, were I ever to actually shop for electronic power tools and purchase a band saw.

I have even scoped out some of the secrets of successful food shopping over the years which I'm pleased to share with you now:   

1) The Cardinal Rule: Never go food shopping when you're hungry unless you want to come home with enough fruits and vegetables to feed the Philadelphia Zoo for a week and/or package of Mallomars in the economical and convenient Entire Neighborhood Size. 

2) To avoid this,  I generally purchase a bagel before I begin shopping  and eat it while I am going through the store. Frequently store personnel think I have stolen the bagel, and I am often savagely beaten  behind the meat counter. Aside from the occasional broken rib, however, I do save a  buck or two on eats. 

3) Selecting the proper shopping cart can be high art.  Make sure you don't choose one with rickety or wobbly wheels or by the time you reach the checkout counter you'll be vibrating like the tiny membranes posited to exist in string theory. Also don't pick a shopping cart with the kiddie car in front unless you actually plan on riding in it. 

4) When in doubt about anything, ask a friendly member of the supermarket staff. They can always be found almost anywhere ... that's funny, I saw one  of them a second ago.   I'll bet someone's in nearby aisle 4  ... no, not here.  I'll try Aisle 14.

5) A word on milk:  I remember the days when there was only one kind of milk - fresh whole milk.  Now there is whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, skim milk, lactose-free milk, milk mustache-free milk, and milk with tiny colored pieces of construction paper. Which should you buy? The only one that has ever been important - chocolate milk!

6) Many products are labeled "Better if used before January 13."  Were you to eat Cheerios on January 14, you would say to yourself " y'know, this isn't bad ... but yesterday it was better."

7) Some products are labeled  "Must Sell by January 13!"  Were you to eat a sirloin steak on January 14, you would say to yourself "y'know, this isn't bad ... but yesterday I was alive."

8) A word on bananas:  unless your house is immediately adjacent to Customer Service, a banana will fully ripen, become spotted and squishy, and be primed for the garbage disposal just as you arrive home.  Only buy bananas that are so incredibly green that if you were shopping with Superman, they would kill him.

9) This is odd. I saw two or three store employees right here in Aisle 14 a minute ago. Where could they be?  Okay, lemme try frozen foods....

10) Buying the store brand can save you money and often the quality is just as good as that of the name brand. You're paying for packaging and advertising when you buy the name brand and in some rare instances, the guarantee that nobody has spit in it.

11) Supermarkets have a tendency to put more popular products at eye level and less popular products on upper shelves. They don't expect many people to want to purchase the products on the higher shelves anyway.  The other day I was looking to purchase a heart-lung machine, and just my luck, nobody tall was around!  

12) Beware of cross-selling strategies. Take a stroll down the Mexican food aisle, and just beyond you find Nexium, Tums, and enough heartburn meds to turn your esophagus into a quivering street junkie. What do we find at the end of the ice cream aisle?  Diet aides. End of the Kosher food aisle? Greeting cards worded "Sorry I haven't written," "Sorry I missed your son's Bar Mitzvah," and "Sorry I swindled you out of our mutual business."  Yep. Selling Guilt.

13) Then there's the ages old controversy:  Should you feel free to look through Us Magazine and the National Enquirer while waiting in the check out line without ultimately purchasing them?  I dunno, but why on earth are you looking through Us Magazine and the National Enquire?  You know what?  I hope the cashier does yell at you! 

14) Hello, hello is anybody here?!!  I need help selecting pimentos, for God's sake!! Where is everybody?! Damn!!! That's supermarket clerks for you; they're just like cops.  

Never around when you need one.*

Just a step away!
Copyright Carol McCarthy 2014


*Note:  I don't really feel that way. Most supermarket employees are great! Especially the ones I'm going to need desperately when I'm food shopping later shopping today.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

NaNoWriMo, More or Less

NaNoWriMo?  We wouldn't miss it!

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an annual internet-based writing project that takes place each year during November and has just wrapped up for another year.  NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write an entire novel during the period from November 1 through November 30. 

All of which freaks me the hell out. 

I have never taken part in NaNoWriMo because for me to write a complete novel within a month would require the Gregorian Calendar to include months with a minimum of 8500 days, and last time I checked November falls a bit short of that. However many people do rise to the challenge, and I understand even some of our greatest novelists have gotten their start the NaNoWriMo way ....

James Joyce: Fyodor!  How are you?  

Fyodor Dostoyevsky:  Jimmy!  Why, I haven't seen you since the last time we got together in Paris. 

Joyce: That was so fun!  I don't think I've ever seen you that wasted.

Dostoyevsky:  Tell me, Jimmy, how did you make out with NaNoWriMo?

Joyce:  Not great, Fyodor.  Writing a novel in one month is tough, especially when it's 800 pages long, mostly stream of consciousness, and steeped in allusions to practically every cultural, religious, and literary concept and event in all of history.

Dostoyevsky: So? Didja finish? 

Joyce: Umm ... no.

Dostoyevsky: How far did you get?

Joyce:  Well, I got me this title here.

Dostoyevsky:  "Ulysses."  Okay, what's it mean?

Joyce:  Still working on that.

Dostoyevsky:   Well, Jimmy, it's a very cool title. 

Joyce:  What did you write for NaNoWriMo?

Dostoyevsky: A sprawling novel focusing on the mental anguish and moral delimma springing from the commission of a crime and the implications of individual punishment vs spiritual redemption set against the backdrop and turmoil of Pre-Revolutionary Russia.  It's called Crime and Punishment.

Joyce: Cool!  How's it come out?

Dostoyevsky: Who knows? I'm only up to Crime, nowhere near Punishment. Right now the crime's just a small traffic violation, but I may pump it up to a misdemeanor.

JoyceOh shit!  Look who's coming!

Dostoyevsky: Fuck!  Hemingway! He always finishes his novel by Thanksgiving and then lords it over us.

Hemingway:  Hiya, boys!  How's NaNoWriMo treating you?

Dostoyevsky and JoyceFine, Ernie, fine ... copacetic....super peachy .... thanks for asking!

Hemingway: Sure. Me, I just tossed out a little cupcake called The Old Man and the Sea.  Wanna see it?

Joyce:  Yeah, I wouldn't mind  ... wait a minute!  This book isn't even 100 pages long! 

Dostoyevsky:  And it's big print too!

Joyce:  And look at all these lame little sentences: 
 "The old man loved the fish." "The fish loved the old man." "The old man and the fish moved in together."

Hemingway:  Can I help it that you guys are verbose?  

Dostoyevsky and Joyce:  What?!!

Hemingway: James, a reworking of the Odyssey in modern times? The Coen Brother did that in O Brother, Where Art Thou and wrapped it up in under two hours. Fyodor, the moral and societal implications of crime and punishment? Ever seen Law and Order? They do it every week!

Dostoyevsky: That's it!  Let me at him!  I'm going to hold him down and force him to watch Hemingway & Gelhorn!

Joyce:  Fyodor, Fyodor, stop it stop it!

Dostoyevsky: Why?

JoyceFor one, he's a boxer.  For two,  he's run with the bulls in Pamplona. For three, Alice  B. Toklas won't give us hash brownies 
any more!

HemingwayC'mon, guys, let's all have a drink; tomorrow is another year. After all, The Sun Also Rises!  

Joyce:  Uh-oh.

Hemingway:  Which gets me thinking ....

Dostoyevsky: Oh, shit, Jimmy, I think we're screwed for next year too.