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My 2013 Anti Resolutions January 1, 2013

Posted by Rob Diaz in Humorous, Unedited.
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I posted my anti-resolutions over on the new site. Check them out!

My 2013 Anti Resolutions

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The Iliad (in about a Page) September 13, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction, Humorous, One Page Classics, Unedited.
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I have ranted about my hatred of summer reading programs many times in the past, specifically zeroing in on how they focus solely on “The Classics”, a term which is defined as “The Stuff Most People Would Never Read If They Had a Choice.” A friend of mine recently lamented needing to write a one-page summary of “The Iliad” and how hard it was to condense everything down to just one page. It has been a long, long time since I read The Iliad but I decided to take a stab at it.  The following is what I came up with — it fits on one letter-sized Microsoft Word page (.5 inch margins on all sides). My daughter enjoyed it and thought I should share it with the world.  Since I live only to make her happy, I’ve posted this, the first in what looks like will be a series of approximately one-page summaries of The Classics (and other things).  Enjoy!

This one time, at Battle Camp, there were these beautiful maidens. The maidens, Chryseis and Briseis, had been captured from the town of Chryse by the Greek army because that’s what armies are meant to do when they finish sacking their enemies. Chryseis of Chryse, cried out to her daddy. Her dad, Chryses, was all too familiar with his daughter’s many crises, but she had him wrapped around her finger so he knew he had to help. Seeing as he was a two-faced priest of Apollo (the god, not the lunar mission) he kindly offered a huge ransom for his daughter’s safe return while also viciously praying for Apollo to destroy the Greek army. Apollo, being a compassionate god, complied and sent a terrible plague into the camp. When Agamemnon, a more important Greek army dude than I am, learned that the plague decimating his people was due to the beautiful maiden, he reluctantly agreed to send Chryseis back to her daddy. (more…)

No Fun! or, The Forgotten Tale of Harvey S. Whombaker June 30, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction, Humorous, Unedited.
3 comments

Author’s Note: 

Since my kids were first born, I’ve been telling them that one of our family’s primary rules is:  No Fun! The reason for this rule is simple:  Fun, invariably, leads to head injuries.  They are certainly allowed to have a pleasant, good experience. They are welcome to have an enjoyable time. In fact I encourage it. But they may not, under any circumstances, have fun

This has become somewhat of a running thing with my family and friends — neices and nephews know the rule and make sure to tell me what they think of it all the time.  Most recently my nephew, who is also my Godson, gave me a homemade card for Father’s Day which was entirely made up of attempts to prove, once and for all, that fun is acceptable. Well, for his fifteenth birthday this past week, I felt I needed to give him a heartfelt reply to his thoughtful Father’s Day gift.  Fifteen minutes before it was time to leave to go to his party, I came up with the idea.  And here it is in its pure, unedited form.

Eh? What’s that you say, Sonny?  You want to have fun?  Fun? Really, now…

You think fun is okay? You think fun is nothing particularly dangerous, just another run-of-the-mill three-letter-word that implies frolicking and laughs and giggles? Really? Well, my boy, you should consider rethinking your opinion about this evil, dangerous little word. Especially now that you are fifteen and are reaching an age where, soon enough, you’ll be telling stories about the good old days whilst lecturing youngsters about how things were when you were their age…

Now, recite for me the sad, sad tale of Harvey S. Whombaker.

What’s that you say? You don’t know who Harvey S. Whombaker was? Eh? Don’t you pay attention in school?

What? You do pay attention in school and they’ve never mentioned Harvey S. Whombaker? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle… what are our tax dollars paying for if schools don’t talk about Harvey S. Whombaker and his tragic tale anymore. When I was your age, all we did was talk about Harvey S. Whombaker! Yes, it’s a terrible tale, but it’s a lesson everybody should learn by the time they reach their teens. I’ll bet they don’t talk about Harvey S. Whombaker anymore because someone decided that it was too much trauma to kids’ “delicate, fragile, little minds” to hear such tales of reality. I’ll bet someone in charge—probably the same person who decided that everyone who plays a sport deserves a trophy for “trying hard” when, back in my day, you only got a trophy for winning!— I bet that person said in their tiny, whiney voice: “Oh, no, we can’t talk about Harvey S. Whombaker anymore! It’s not a fun story and kids today need fun stories in order to keep them engaged and enthusiastic for school and life and playing their rock and roll and other children’s music on their wax cylinders and their EyePogs and their whosits and whatnots.”

Aww, look. I’m so upset about this, I just spilled my coffee!

Kids today need fun stories? Really? I’ll tell you what kids today need! They need a swift kick in the butt, that’s what they need! They don’t need trophies for finishing last! They need to be told, in no uncertain terms: “You lost! Get over it! If you want a trophy, WIN next time!” That’s what Harvey S. Whombaker would have said and that’s why it is so tragic that his tale is not being taught in our over-priced, underperforming schools.

But I digress….

Where was I?

Oh, Harvey S. Whombaker. Right. So, since you know not of the tale, nor of the origin of the National Organization Fighting Unlawful Nonsense (NOFUN), I will briefly describe the tale to you.

Harvey S. Whombaker was a mild-mannered 15 year old boy from the town of Squaresvillingtonton. He was a boy like any other—he enjoyed vegetables, rocks, trees, pulling weeds and mowing the lawns of his neighbors. And, really, what else is there for a teenaged boy to do or think about?

Well, one day, Harvey S. Whombaker was out in the field, working to cut down some invasive bindweeds that had taken root in Sally Fally’s broccoli garden in the valley. Sally Fally was the smartest, prettiest girl in all of Squaresvillingtonton and Harvey S. Whombaker was sweet on her. He didn’t realize it–though the rest of the town did–but she was kind of sweet on him, too. The fact that he didn’t realize this should not be a surprise, even to you kids of today, because, as I said, there were few things that could invade a boy’s mind when it was full of rocks (and trees and vegetables and mowing and bindweeds).

But on this fateful day, so long ago, Harvey S. Whombaker was in the field on a blazing hot afternoon, covered in dirt and mud, his arms and hands ripped apart by the bindweeds he was pulling. Some of the other boys from the neighborhood came out and they started playing fieldball (Since you don’t know the story of Harvey S. Whombaker, you certainly don’t know that fieldball is an ancient predecessor for today’s football, played with large boulders and, of course, beets.). They convinced Harvey to leave the bindweeds for later and join them.

Harvey turned out to be a natural at fieldball. He was tossing and catching the boulders, dodging and weaving past the whizzing beets, scoring goal after goal. After his thirteenth goal, he looked up and saw her – Sally Fally, standing there with the sun right behind her, making her beautiful hair shimmer and shine with a brightness he had never seen. She offered him a jug of fresh water from the well and he started walking toward her. Suddenly, a giant boulder, tossed by one of the other fieldball players who assumed Harvey was paying attention, came down from the sky – seemingly from out of nowhere – and hit Harvey square on the head.

And that, my friend, is when Harvey S. Whombaker discovered gravity.

What’s that you say?

Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity?

Yes, yes, I have heard that tale, too.  I wasn’t born yesterday after all. But, you see, Harvey S. Whombaker discovered gravity first – a full thirteen years before Sir Isaac Newton did. But nobody remembers Harvey or acknowledges his amazing accomplishment and I’ll tell you why: Harvey S. Whombaker was busy having fun for the first time in his 15 years on the planet when he discovered gravity. Sadly, the fun he was having led, as fun always does, to a head injury.

And thanks to the head injury, Harvey S. Whombaker could not remember his discovery of gravity.

So why do we remember Sir Isaac Newton? Well, I’ll tell you – he was sitting by a tree, his mind filled with pleasant, good, experiences with things such as calculus and physics, when an apple fell, seemingly out of nowhere and hit him on the head. He could have been severely injured, of course, for that was back in the day when an apple was a good, healthy product, not some expensive, disposable music thingamajig. But that’s not the point.  The point, my boy, is that since Sir Isaac Newton was not out frolicking and having fun, he sustained no injury. Instead, he picked up the apple, looked at it and said, “Groovy, man, that apple fell on my head as if it was acted upon by an unseen force. Clearly, that unseen force needed the tiny apple to come nearer to my head, which is much larger. Though I dare say that my head wanted to be near that apple as well for I can feel that it did! This unexpected and superbly enjoyable experience has taught me that an object must attract every other object in the universe with a force proportional to the product of their masses… and, also, inversely proportional to the distance between them. I shall call this unseen force ‘gravity’.”

Sir Isaac Newton wrote all of this down and the rest, as they say, is history.

I can see that you are sad about the tragic tale of Harvey S. Whombaker but let me finish with this thought. All was not lost for Harvey. He kept on working in the fields, toiling away at ripping out bindweeds in Sally Fally’s broccoli fields in the valley. Sally Fally, for her part, bringing him water when it was hot out. They shared many seasons of glorious, wonderful broccoli together, but Sally’s father would not allow her to marry Harvey because, as he said, “Any boy who would choose to have  fun over pulling out bindweeds, even just once, is not worthy of my daughter’s love.”

Harvey went on to found NOFUN in hopes that future generations would learn from his mistake. I hope you will learn from him and heed this advice:

Fun is not funny.

Learn this, and remember Harvey. Before it is too late.

My 2012 Anti Resolutions December 30, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Fiction Friday, Humorous.
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written based on the [Fiction] Friday prompt on December 30, 2011: “What are your Anti-Resolutions for the coming year?”)

 

  1. I will not petition the USDA to make them add a coffee section to the ChooseMyPlate dietary guidelines, despite the fact that coffee is an important part of a balanced diet.  I will, however, continue to pursue all avenues while attempting to ensure that coffee is identified as a vegetable, just like ketchup.
  2. I will not bedazzle my cellphone, my sneakers, my eyeglasses or my laptop bag, no matter how much my wife and daughter think I should or how much my son triple-dog-dares me to do so.
  3. I will not go quietly the next time the aliens come to get me.
  4. I will not sit and eat pizza and donuts while my son does planks, pushups, sit-ups, wind sprints and other strengthening activities in preparation for the upcoming baseball season, mostly because he can now throw a baseball hard enough to hurt me. I might chance some nice, hot coffee, though. Coffee is worth a few baseball-induced bruises.
  5. I will not spend all of my time reminding my daughter that no one likes teenagers– at least half of my time will be spent reminding my son that no one likes pre-teens, either.
  6. I will not buy a Clean Step Mat just because it resembles the magical cleaning properties of the Sisal Carpet from my play, “The Good Old Days”.
  7. I will not tell the Little Neighbor Girl that every time she freaks out about a spider, mosquito or stink bug, and every time she leaves her doll, iPod, game system or homework at my house an angel loses its wings.
  8. I will not make up a whole bunch of fake email addresses with which I then comment on my own blog posts with opposing arguments and opinions just to make it feel like my posts are powerful and edgy.
  9. I will not divorce Kim Kardashian, Sinead O’Conner, Drew Barrymore, Ali Landry, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Carmen Electra, Jennifer Lopez, Renee Zellweger, Lisa Marie Presley, Katy Perry or Ashton Kutcher this year.  Well, probably
  10. If I grow a tomato that looks like the Virgin Mary, I will not put it up for sale on eBay. If, however, there’s one that looks like it has Justin Bieber’s hair… well, that one will be up for grabs.
  11. I will not fall prey to the complacency that comes from everyone saying that December 21, 2012 is going to be the end of the world – my vegetable-based religion will be ready to take over the world and I will be named Prime Potato of the First Couch of Veganomicalism at the Most High Holy Time of 13:13 on December 22, 2012.
  12. I will not try to convince the kids that if they watch the cats play with balls of yarn they will be on the road to an easy PhD in physics as they solve all of the mysteries of String Theory.
  13. I will not sprinkle catnip into my wife’s pillowcase and blankets just so the cat will bother her enough to make her wake up. Well, at least not on the weekends.

My 2011 Anti-Resolutions January 5, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Fiction Friday, Humorous.
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(written based on the [Fiction] Friday prompt on December 31, 2010: “What are your Anti-Resolutions for the coming year?”)

Note:  Most people put in 5 or 10 of these… but somehow, 13 seemed more appropriate for me.

  1. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee investments as a business expense, even though I drink most of it during business hours.
  2. I will not blame Microsoft for everything that is wrong with technology in the world; clearly, most of the blame belongs on Apple.
  3. I will not blame the cats or the dog for smells that most certainly came from my daughter.
  4. I will not sing about compost and pig slop at my next audition for a role in a musical; clearly, it’s better to sing about gang violence and infidelity instead.
  5. I will not continue to float the idea of coffee-flavored cigarettes and coffee-flavored alcohol products because I am completely against supporting such addictive behaviors as smoking and drinking.
  6. I will not go into local steak houses just to place “Meat is Murder” stickers on all of the tables, chairs, menus and light fixtures; I will make sure to order a blooming onion and use the “For Customer Use Only” restroom first.
  7. I will not allow my son to blame the cats, the dog, his sister or his mother for smells that most certainly came from him.
  8. I will not continue my lobbying efforts to make March 30 a national holiday in honor of the glorious day in 1971 when Starbucks opened its first store in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
  9. I will not continue to blame science for letting me down by not having invented flying cars and teleportation devices yet when it is obvious that these technologies do exist and have been suppressed and hidden by a little-known, right-wing government conspiracy.
  10. I will not make my apocalypse story be about December 21, 2012 because the world doesn’t need another story about that specific apocalypse on that specific day; clearly, the real apocalyptic event would be due to a shortage of broccoli and garlic on December 22, 2012 and will take everyone by surprise because of the media’s focus on December 21. (Multi-million dollar movie contract for this unique idea… here I come!)
  11. I will not goad my wife into breaking her anti-resolutions by bringing Caxton or the Great Vowel Shift up in otherwise ordinary conversations, even though it would be a lot of fun to watch her try to avoid her inevitable rant about the subjects.
  12. I will not make fun of the dog for wearing the ridiculous outfits my wife puts on him; I’m sure that if he had opposable thumbs, he’d change out of that stuff and into ripped jeans and spiked studded collars as soon as he got out of her line of sight, just like any self-respecting dog would do.
  13. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee purchases and intake as a healthcare expense, even though I drink it for the health of those around me and I once had it prescribed by a doctor (No lie! This happened on November 9, 2010 – along with a slip for antibiotics and codeine-laced cough medicine, I got a slip for a cup of coffee).

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe: An Autobiography Written Especially for the People of Earth December 28, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
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Some people say that I’m pretty special.

I just laugh. Me? I’m nothing! I’m just like any other guy of superior intelligence, better than average looks and awe‑inspiring charm, imagination and athletic ability.

Really.

Yet, there are still some people who insist on calling me “special.”

I hear you and I know what you are asking.

You’re asking, “What is the reason for all this hype over a seemingly average Joe?”

You’re thinking there must be something about me that causes everyone to stare at me with that glazy look in their eyes, some reason why people step aside out of respect whenever they see me enter their vicinity. “What could it possibly be?” you wonder.

(more…)

A Birthday Wish March 16, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Humorous.
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Yep, that’s right – today is my birthday!  And you know what that means… it means the second most famous dude to be born on the 16th of March is livin’ large and partyin’ down.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Eric Estrada is or if I am the first most famous dude born on this splendid day after the Ides of March.  I know where my money is.

But seriously, it’s not really a competition.  I’ve got no beef with the California Highway Patrols or the most famous man amongst those boys.  But I find it silly that everyone else on the planet has decided that The Big E — that’s what I call my man Eric — that The Big E and I spend all of our time worrying about which of us is bigger, meaner and, quite frankly, manlier.  The reality is that we have a mutual respect for each other, a cornucopia of admiration for one another.  All we really want is some peace and quiet so that we can enjoy our birthdays outside of the glare of the paparazzo’s flashbulbs.  All we want is to kick back, enjoy an ice cold root beer or mellow yellow and watch a little Grapefruit League ball on the telly…

But people keep bringing it up.  Every thirteen minutes, my celly’s blowin’ up with people talk-talk-talkin’ at me, trying to drive a wedge where there’s nothing to separate.  People keep wanting to see the gloves dropped and the bikes and helmets all spread around the steaming hot asphalt as we men in shiny sunglasses settle this Birthday Battle as men do.  It’s not right, I tell you.  I, for one, am tired of living in this den of hatred and anger that has been thrust upon us and I will not fight any more!

Can’t we all just get along?  The Big E and me and you and my dog?  Please?  For my birthday?

The Unauthorized Biography of the Tooth Fairy April 10, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, Humorous, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday prompt on April 10, 2009, which was “A dentist is stabbed while he waits in line at the movies”.)

Dr. Richard P. Hanning, III stood in line outside of his favorite MovieMax Theater on the dreary gray autumn day, watching as the crowd continued to swell in anticipation of the opening of the ticket window. Only thirteen minutes until opening, he thought, excitedly. He had been waiting for three years for this movie to come out and it was clear that he was not alone in his excitement. The crowd was growing more quickly now as the opening time approached, but the real hardcore fans had gotten to the theater’s parking lot several hours early with Richard arriving at 3:30 AM and finding that he was already the fiftieth person in line. But now, thirteen minutes ahead of the special 11:00 AM opening, the crowd had grown to nearly two thousand people waiting to see the movie on one of the twenty-four screens in the theater that were dedicated to showing it. (more…)

Broken Promises January 2, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday  prompt on January 2, 2009:  write about a New Year’s resolution that’s broken in the first 24 hours)

 

“I am so disappointed in you,” she said in her most disappointed voice and with That Look on her face. 

Oh no, not That Look, Fred thought.  I hate That Look. He shuffled his feet and looked away, then he said, “Oh, not That Look, SaraYou know how much I hate That Look.”

“I’ll give you whatever look I feel like giving you Fred,” she said.  “You blew it, dude, not me.”

“I told you,” Fred said with a touch of pleading in his voice.  “It was totally not what you think and not what it looked like.  It’s not my fault, either.”

(more…)

Squirrels are Cute… December 15, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Humorous, Non-fiction, Real Life.
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… no, really! They are.

See? Look. Here’s a nice picture of Sciurus carolinensis, the Eastern Gray Squirrel:
clip_image001

Cute, right?

(more…)

A Holiday to Remember December 6, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction Friday, General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday  prompt on December 5, 2008:  Invent a holiday for which your character is a big fan)

 

Sally walked down the sidewalk that lined the quiet street, chatting happily with the five fellow carolers she had come out with this year.  They were talking about work, the kids and what they were going to do for the rest of the holiday. 

“Did you watch the tree lighting on TV the other day?” she asked the man, Bill, walking next to her? 

(more…)

Two Short Stories that Stink October 9, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
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Author’s note:  The following two very-short stories are in response to two simple thoughts.  The first story, Richard Reeks, is from me sitting around and suddenly thinking I should write something about cats.  The second story, School Days, came from listening to my daughter describe — in detail — her dislike of the stupid names companies give to air fresheners.

(more…)

A Toasted Proposal August 8, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
10 comments

(written for the Friday Fiction “A Failed Proposal” prompt)

“I’d like to propose a toast,” said Greg as he watched the reception attendees stepping and twirling their way around the dance floor.

(more…)