A Halloween Tale

  Introduction:  The following story is a true one.  Happening more than ten years ago, those in my family have retold it over and over.  I've changed it somewhat (author's prerogative, don'tcha know?) and have updated it slightly, but the basic bits remain the same.  Most of you have already read it, so if you want to give it a pass, I won't tell anyone (mostly because I'll never know).  But, if you haven't read it, why not do so now?  There's a fun-size Snickers in it for you*.


"'Updated it slightly'?  Eff, I know what that means!

*no, there isn't

A Halloween Tale

    The young wife pulled her sweater tight.  Starting to get cold, she thought.

    Looking down at the half empty candy jar, she was relieved she’d bought just enough goodies for the hordes of trick-or-treaters which continued to rampage through her neighborhood. 

    With only an hour to go, she breathed a sigh of relief, confident she wouldn’t have to break into last year’s stash of petrified candy corn.  Or worse, ketchup packets (somehow, she just knew the kids wouldn’t buy her story that ketchup was “nature’s candy.”).

    So, her house was safe from the ravages wrought by pint-sized wrecking crews denied their sugar fixes.

    With a break in the action, she picked up a “Fun-Size” Snickers bar-no, make that TWO fun-size Snickers bars (more fun that way) and plopped in a chair set by her open door.

    No sooner had she sat down then she saw four miniature super heroes-Batman, Spiderman, and the unfortunately-named Captain Continence and his sidekick, Mr. President-come trooping down her driveway.

"I knew it! 
Drop a load in your britches in the Vatican
just once and they never leave you alone!"

    Hiding the empty candy wrappers, she stood to greet her visitors, who looked harmless enough (although, you never could be too sure-especially with that Biden one).

    Greeted by a chorus of cheery “Trick or Treats,” she smiled and extended the candy jar to the tiny defenders of truth, justice, the American way, and proper hygiene.

    Their needs sated, the little heroes scampered towards her neighbor.  Thankful her house continued to be spared, she noticed a lone figure standing at the end of her driveway.

    Fairly large, she figured that he-or she-was one of those kids from the junior high who refused to let go of their youth.  Usually, they just grabbed a pillowcase off their bed and headed door-to-door, their menace masked only by a surly, “I’m an egg-thrower” when asked what their costume was.

    This kid was dressed up, though, although it gave her the willies.  He was dressed in blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, all innocuous enough.  But what creeped her out was that hockey mask and-was that a knife in his right hand?  He looked like that...Freddy?  Michael?  No, he looked like Jason!  Yeeks!

    “Hi, young man, do you want some candy?”  She timidly held out her candy jar to the motionless figure.

    No answer.

    Hmm, she thought, not too crazy about this.  I’d rather he’d just toss toilet paper in my trees and be done with it.

    She closed her door, desperately trying to figure out what to do.

    At that moment, her husband’s car pulled into the driveway.

    “Oh, great,” he thought as he parked, “one of those trick-or-treaters.  Hmmm, kinda big, though.”

    He got out of his car and cheerfully called out to the kid, “Hey, howzit goin’?”

    Still nothing.

    “That’s weird,” he thought.

    Quickly turning his back, he stepped through his side-door and saw his wife, who looked a little freaked-out.  “Hey, you see that nut out there?  What’s going on?”

    She shrugged her shoulders and replied, “You got me.  He’s just been standing there.  Uh...did you see if he had a knife or something?”

    His eyes went wide and he stepped to the closed door.  Peering through the curtains, he said, “Yeah, sure looks like one.  I don’t like this.  I’m turning off the porch light.”

    Casting the porch in darkness, the two gathered at their curtains and peered at the still motionless form bathed in the light of the streetlamp.

    “Maybe he’ll get the idea we’re done for the night,” she hoped.

    “Yeah, I-hey! He’s starting to walk this way!”

    His wife shrieked and dropped to the kitchen floor.  “Oh, my God!  What’re we going to do!?”

    He joined her and squealed, “I don’t know.  I’d better call the cops!”

    Now, they heard shuffling footsteps as their visitor scraped along the loose rocks of their driveway.

    Starting to lose it, she begged, “No, don’t leave me!”  She put her hands to her ears.

    The husband scrambled over to the kitchen island.  Maybe, he’ll find a knife or....ladle!!??  That won’t do!  He kept rifling through the drawer.  Cheese grater...potato peeler... garlic press...ah, here was a knife!

    As he turned toward his wife, he heard the footsteps suddenly stop.

    And, the doorbell ring.

    The two of them inched their way to the window and, on their knees, peeked through the bottom of the curtain.

    They saw the hockey mask bouncing up and down in laughter.

    Standing bolt upright, the husband flung open the door, and shouted, “You idiot!  You gave us both heart attacks!”

     The Moral of the Story:  It’s a good thing my brother has a sense of humor.  Otherwise, someone might have gotten shot that night.



Ignorance and Hatred

 Attention:  Some of you (yes, I'm talking to you, Gerry) may recognize this from my Nit Nats website.  Please feel free to read it again, but no hard feelings if you want to give it a pass.  Still, I may insert some fresh material here, so you never know.  Since I'm effin' lazy Dancing With the Stars is on, I won't have a lot of time to craft anything new.  After all, to my followers on Blogger, this is new.  Don't feel bad, though.  I still have some History of the World posts to...uh...post.  Meaning, they will be new to you while old hat to the Blogger folks.  Hey, it's my small way of bringing all that I write to everyone while at the same time saving my brain from actually having to write.  Win-win, if you ask me.

But be forewarned, the following is serious stuff.

Thank you.

On with the show.


"Bags of lard."

                A good friend from Pennsylvania told me about a question a mutual friend asked, "What is the symbol of the Democratic Party, the elephant or the donkey?"

               He told me he said, "Well, naturally, it's the jackass."

                Then, our ignorant friend further asked, "Is George Stephanopolous a Republican or a Democrat?"

                NOTE:  This same person once asked whether we thought Hitler would have been a Republican.

                When told that the "non-partisan" journalist was an advisor to the Clintons and, therefore, a Democrat, the bonehead (I'm sorry.  He's a friend, but he's a boneheaded friend) huffed that must be a lie.

                Another friend from high school told me that her son completely blocked her after finding out she voted for Donald Trump.

                Ignorance and hatred.

                Ignorance I can deal with him.   Ignorance can be helped through education, although since my friend from the Keystone State is in his 60s, that kind of willful refusal to look at all sides is impervious to logic and common sense.

                There are those among us who will vote Democrat no matter who is running.  If Attila the Hun had a "D" after his name, it wouldn't matter.  If he (or she) was raised in a Democrat household, then he (or she) will vote Democrat.

"Victory, booty, and a Roman head in every pot!"

                This has been going on for quite some time.  There were people who idolized FDR, for example.  I guess I can see the logic in this.  After all, it was a Republican president, Hoover, who played a huge part in cocking things up, setting the wheels in motion for the Great Depression.

                We can argue about whether Roosevelt made things worse.  Maybe he did, maybe he didn't.  I personally think he did and that it was the Second World War that ended the Depression, but that is my opinion.

                However, when things looked grim as the world went to shit starting in the 30s, it was to Roosevelt a great many turned.  I can understand that.  I don't think I would have, but I understand.

                That said, few people doubted that the president was rooting for the team from the United States.  Whether you supported him or not, he put America first.

                So it was with Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, the incompetent Carter, and even the Boner-in-Chief, Clinton.  However, with the accession of Obama and now Biden, I'm not so sure.  My point is, they're Democrats and, if they're Democrats, and you're a committed Democrat, you're going to support the Democrats at all times.   In other words, if your father voted Democrat and his father voted Democrat, yadda, yadda, you get it. 

                "I may not know anything about the issues, but don't confuse me with logic and common sense.  I don't need to do any research or make up my own mind.  That's what I have CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times for."

"I like the Democrat.  The TV told me so."

                This makes me sad, but some people may be persuaded to use their own minds.  Some folks will do their research (for instance, even though I'm a Conservative, I haven't always voted Republican). I'm convinced that reasonable people exist (if you're reading this, you're one of those).  Don't get me wrong.  My friend is a good man.  Naive, perhaps, but a good man.  However, his psychological cement has been set.

                So no one thinks I think "my team" is blameless, there are also more than a few "My father voted Republican and his father voted Republican, so I'll always vote Republican" stubborn knuckleheads out there. too.  Ignorance isn't exclusive to one party.

                I so wish voters would judge candidates on their own merits and not from the letter which follows their name.

                That all said, I was most distressed by the tale of my high school friend and her son.  That you would cut anyone, especially your own mother, from your life because of differing political views is beyond belief.  What kind of hatred must you harbor in your heart that you would do that?

                As much as we enjoy sometimes teasing our ignorant friend, he is still our friend.  He's entitled to be wrong, but there is no way on this planet that I would cut him from my life.  Likewise, a man I've known for 56 years would make Alan Alda look like George Patton (we even debated the relative strengths/weaknesses of George McGovern against Richard Nixon when we were at summer camp!).  Yet, I love him like a brother and cherish him as my best friend.

    SECOND NOTE:  Probably goes without saying that my best friend had a field day with Tricky Dick's resignation.

                I would never cut him from my life.  Also, there are those in my family who "swing Liberal."  Their politics do not define our the love we feel for each other.  Our political differences should never be the cause of a permanent rift.  After all, how unbelievably ridiculous would that be?

                It is impossible that this is the only familial relationship thus destroyed.  The news is full of similar anecdotal information.  Doubtless that there are Conservative mouth-breathers out there who have also severed connections with their Liberal family or friends.  Luckily, I also believe (hope) that those instances are in the minority.

                What I'm trying to say is, I believe we can co-exist with the ignorant among us.  Sadly, I don't believe that we can co-exist with those who think obliterating a bond with family and friends or deprogramming those with whom they disagree are appropriate responses.

    Those folks should be banished to a deserted island.  Or New Jersey.

                Despite Joe Biden's soaring rhetoric in his inauguration speech (personally, I thought it insincere), as long as there exist among us hateful people who see nothing wrong with excising half the nation-including your mother-from your life, we will never achieve "unity."

                Put that in your pipe and sniff it, Joe

Stuff, but Mostly Nonsense


  My original intention for this evening's post was that it be serious stuff. Goodness knows there's plenty upon which to pontificate. And, even though I know that nothing I write will have any sort of impact on the world, it's still somewhat cathartic to get things off my chest.

    I realize that some of the viewpoints that I will express will rub some of you the wrong way. In essence, more than a few won't see eye-to-eye with me. While I'm convinced I'm right on many things, so it is with you. 

    I like to think I'm open minded, though, especially if presented an argument which is cogent and well thought-out (which is pretty much the same thing). So it is with a mutual debate among friends.

    If you are following me, and especially if I'm following you, we like each other. We may disagree, but there's mutual respect (at least I hope so-don't hurt me). After all, our opinions are merely that... opinions. I doubt there are too many people on Blogger who are society's movers and shakers. 

    Bottom line, I'm a Conservative, not a Republican. In fact, during the last election, I...aw, heck, I didn't want to go all serious tonight. There's plenty of time for that. Maybe next week.

"Cancel that shipment of MAGA hats."

"Read that again.  Don't get cocky."

    For now, though...

"Ooh, I know where I'll do my shopping next time."
"Tightey-whiteys 100% off, honey."

Until next time...

Like a Bad Penny


    I'm back.

    Oh, I'd love to say I've been busy.  Mind you, I have been since the last time I posted here.  In fact, since then, I moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia.  Virginia Beach, to be specific.  I think everyone knows I'm divorced now, right?  It was as amicable as those kind of things can be, but she just got sick of me, I guess.  Maybe it was my penchant for latex, who knows?  The odd thing is that she remained in Pennsylvania while I moved to where she grew up.  Our kids live in Virginia, too, so there's that. 

    But, I've been a little lazy, too.

    My eventual plan is to eventually move to North Carolina.  In fact, I'd be there now, but plans changed somewhat along the way (yes, it has to do with a woman.  We've decide to...none of your business).  A few more years and I'll be in the Tar Heel State.  Unless I die first.  Since I'm 63, that isn't totally out of the question.

    Sidebar, your honor?  Isn't it funny how things change?  If, for some reason, you plotz when you're in your 50s, people comment how young you were..."What a tragedy!  He went so young." Well, when you're in your 60s, it's more like, "Well, sure, he was kinda young, but he was in his 60s."  Yep, that's where I'm at.  What this all means is, that if I disappear from this blog again, it's a good chance I've gone on to meet my make.

    Bottom line, though, I'm in a happy place and am in a happy state of mind.  All without the help of pharmaceuticals, too.

    Last year, I started my own website called Nit Nats.  It was a fun little diversion, if for nothing else than I could post duplicates of the same posts I did here (specifically, the history of the world series...not "The History of the World Series," but "History of the World" series...just in case I didn't make myself clear).

Although it would have been fascinating to
learn the fitness tips of early baseball players

    Like I said, it was fun, but I didn't have near the interaction there that I had here.  After all, it was on Blogger that I got to meet people from all over the world (and New Jersey).  For instance, if it wasn't for Blogger, I would have never met people such as Pat Hatt or Bouncing Barb from Florida, to name a couple (I don't mean they're a couple...you know what I mean...sheesh).  They even became Facebook/Instagram friends.  I think that's kinda cool.

    So, it will be nice to return to that give and take.  The only comments I got on Nit Nats were spam comments, although I was intrigued by that one from a Russian lady and her monkey.

"You and me both, brother."

    Anyway, when it came time to renew my subscription to keep the domain, I decided against it.  It wasn't expensive in the least, but I didn't want to just write in a vacuum anymore.  Hopefully, the couple of people who followed me there will show up here.  I hope so, but who knows?

   A slight change (especially noticed by some of you cagey Blogger veterans who may remember Penwasser Place) is that I will be mixing in some serious posts in addition to the silly nonsense.  That, I hope will explain the title of this blog, Stuff and Nonsense.  Most of
the time I'll post nonsense.  Every so often, I'll post items of a more serious nature:  stuff.  Let's face it, the world sucks and sometimes I just want to blow off steam about it.  Some of you may agree with me, some of you may not.  That's okay.  In that case, I hope we can have a civil debate about the state of the world.  

"Oh, boy, I know where this is going."

     After all, we're all in this together and none of us are going to get out alive.

    I just hope that I'm older than 63 when it happens.

"I suppose you'll be wanting me to come back, too."

Happy Independence Day!

     Or "Fourth of July" to the rest of the world.     Yes, yes, sigh, I know.  Many other countries, other than the United State...