Fun With Telemarketers: Vegetable Oil Politics

It’s that time of year. I got a political call at home, and I’m always disappointed to discover that I’m talking to a robo-politician. So it was to my wondering joy that I discovered this one to be a real live, breathing, non-laughing human being! We had a nice conversation about the abuse of Vegetable Oil in our nation, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Enjoy the call!


The Prankateer General

A Response to Erma Bombeck’s Treat Friends, Kids the Same

If You’re Friends and Kids Acted the Same

I once read an interesting article by Erma Bombeck about how we should treat our children the same way we treat our friends—with love, respect, and kindness, rather than harshness. For some reason the disciplinarian has become the default mode for many parents, rather than the loving, understanding confidant. Here’s what Erma said:


On TV the other day, a leading child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friend…with courtesy, dignity and diplomacy.

“’I have never treated my children any other way,’ I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Did I really talk to my best friends like I talked to my children? Just suppose…..our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner one night and……

“’Well, it’s about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Leave those shoes outside, Fred. They’ve got mud on them. And shut the door. Were you born in a barn?’

“’So Eleanor, how have you been? I’ve been meaning to have you over for such a long time. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you’ll ruin your dinner. I didn’t work over a hot stove all day long to have you nibble like some bird.”

“’Heard from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins. Yes, they’re in Lauderdale again. They go every year to the same spot. What’s the matter with you, Fred? You’re fidgeting. Of course you have to go. It’s down the hall, first door on the left. And I don’t want to see a towel in the middle of the floor when you’re finished.

“’Did you wash your face before you came, Eleanor? I see a dark spot around your mouth. I guess it’s a shadow. How are your children? If you ask me I think summer school is great for them. Is everybody hungry? Then, why don’t we go into dinner? You all wash up and I’ll take up the food. Don’t tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor. I saw you playing with the dog.

“’Fred, you sit over there and Eleanor you can sit with the half glass of milk. You know you’re all elbows with it comes to milk. There now, your host will say grace.

“’Fred, I don’t see any cauliflower on your plate. Have you ever tried it? Well, try a spoonful. If you don’t like it I won’t make you finish it, but if you don’t try it, you can just forget dessert. And sit up straight or your spine will grow that way. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, the Gerbers. They sold their house. I mean they took a beating but….Eleanor, don’t talk with food in your mouth. I can’t understand a word you’re saying. And use your napkin.’”

“At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room. “How nice of you to come,” I said pleasantly.

“’Now what did I do?’ he sighed.”


Erma has a great point. We do need to treat our kids respectfully. But there’s something she’s missing. How many two year olds do you know that act like adults?

So let’s try reversing the fantasy. We’ll treat our friends like we normally would, but this time, think about what it would be like if our friends acted like kids.

Fred and Eleanor arrive at the door.

“Hello!” you say, “come inside, you’re just on time!”

Eleanor walks in, but Fred hasn’t noticed that you opened the door. He’s standing in your freshly watered flowerbed pulling the legs off a grasshopper. When he does come it, he leaves muddy Fred tracks from the door to the kitchen table.

“So Eleanor,” you say as you put the green beans on the table, “what did you think of the emergency preparedness fair last week?”

But Eleanor doesn’t hear you. She’s standing on a kitchen chair, leaning forward, banging her water glass on the table shouting, “Ducky! Ducky! Ducky! Ducky! Ducky!” heaven knows how many times.

With everyone around the table, you again thank the couple for coming. “Fred, would you do the honor of giving the blessing on the food?”

Fred wraps his hands around his face and begins chanting something utterly unintelligible that ends five seconds later with a victorious, arms raised shout of, “AMENNNNNNN!”

You start your meal, noticing that Eleanor is only taking potato chips. Grateful she’s enjoying herself, you say, “The chips were on sale today. I’m glad I picked them up. Could you pass them here?”

“NO!” Eleanor shouts, squeazing the bag to her side (you can hear the chips crushing beneath her elbow), “They’re MINE!”

“Uh… well, I just thought Fred might like some.”

You look at Fred, who is happily dropping bread pieces into his milk. At first you wonder where he got the bread, but then you see the bag of muffins from yesterday’s breakfast hanging wide open on the counter.

As you finish your meal, you pull out the cheesecake. “I hope you like cheesecake—I really shouldn’t indulge like this, but I couldn’t resist.”

You are about to scoop a slice straight onto their plates, but now you can see that Fred’s milky muffin concoction is now glopped onto his plate, and he’s pushing it off his plate with his hand.

“I want some!” he shouts.

“Certainly Fred, I hope you like cherry.”

He shoves the whole plate onto the floor, and before you have a chance to offer to clean it up, Eleanor is on the floor scooping the glop into her mouth.

Fred then screams like a girl and leaps off his chair and begins pounding his wife, saying, “It’s mine! No, Ellie! It’s MINE!”

You pull Eleanor away, and go with her into the other room to see if she wants to talk about the problem. Glop covers her hands, leaving brown and white streaks across her brow and eyes as she rubs tears and milk into her eyes.

When she finally calms enough to return to the kitchen, you discover Fred sprawled across the table, feet hanging off the edge.

He looks up and smiles at you with hands, clothes and face entirely saturated in Cherry cheesecake.

Unsure how to react, you just stare as Fred sweeps the last bit of dessert onto the floor. You look over at Eleanor, who simple says, “Uh, oh.”

But you realize she is not referring to Fred as you suddenly catch scent in Eleanor’s direction of a very unpleasant odor.


Three Part Stories: Bobby’s Startling Day

Bobby Blake was the smartest kid in the 3rd grade. He had even memorized all the works of Shakespeare. One day, the school bully cornered him on the playground.


“Get away from me!!!”, Bobby creamed. He closed his eyes and started flailing wildly, punching at the air. He felt his fist hit something, something soft…


Then, suddenly, a huge eagle swooped down and snatched him up in it’s sharp talons. Before he could even scream, they were soaring high in the air, The ground looked like a tiny moving picture far, far below. He screamed and the eagle screamed back. He knew he was finished. But then the eagle dropped back to the ground and set him down gently.

Three Part Story: The Flibbergibbet Affair

John Porktos was furious. After 40 years of successful business management, the CEO of Fester and Fester Insurance Company was kicking him to the streets. He crumpled the release notices and threw it at the door just as it opened.


For a moment, he stared blankly at the figure standing in the doorway. The massive white wig and festive floofy outfit looked vaguely familiar. Then he realized where he knew the man from. He was in a painting at the museum across the parking lot.

“Excuse me,” the painting-man said in a squeaky voice “do you happen to happen to have a flibbergibbet?”

John blinked. “Um… maybe…” he thought for a moment and opened a desk drawer. He pulled out a stapler and handed it to the painting-man. “Here.”

“Congratulathankifications!” The painting-man said, “Come to out party.”

So he did.


“Dong, Dong, Dong!!” The big clock struck 4am. The party was over. Everyone scrambled back to their own frames. Except for the little blue boy. Nobody noticed him sneaking out the door of the museum.

Three Part Story: Francis Hamster and the Fuzzy People

Once upon a time there was a hamster named Francis . Francis loved to eat cheese and toast sandwiches. One day he ran out of cheese and was very sad. He sat down and cried for a few minutes, he was walking down the street sniffing the air in the hopes of finding some cheese.,

when he suddenly fell into a small hole. Plunging nearly 100 feet into the sewer pipes, Francis splashed and swam desperately for his life. A moment later, the pipes gushed out into a waterfall. As he climbed out, Francis found that he was in a huge chamber full of buildings and small fuzzy people. “Hello!” a fuzzy person said, holding out a hand to help him up.”I’m Carrie! How did you find our secret kingdom?”

“I was just looking for cheese and…”


“Uh, yes, cheese.”

“There’s cheese in the world again?”

“Uh, yes, there’s lot’s of cheese in the world.” Carrie stared at him.

“There hasn’t been cheese in our world for 300 years.” Carrie turned and waved her hands to the city below her. “Everyone! There is cheese in the overworld!”

The word passed from one to another with shouts of elation, and within a day, the town had migrated to the overworld.

And thus ended the generation of the Fuzzy People. “Wow,” Carrie said, “That was an amazing era, but I’m glad it’s over!”

Three Part Story: The Car Demon

I’ve mentioned the three part story game before, well we played the game the other day, and I thought it would be fun to publish the results:

Ranaldo stepped out the front door and smiled. The glimmer of sunlight that sparkled off of his cherry red 1957 convertible Corvette dazzled his eyes. They joy that filled his heart at the sight of it overwhelmed him. As he gazed whimsically at it, he suddenly realized that someone was in the car. There was movement and he could hear a sort of a growling sound.

“Hey! What are you doing?” The growling suddenly stopped. Whoever was in his car looked up at Ralado. As he stared at the yellow eyes and furry face, he felt faint. The creature jabbed a hoof?!? at the dashboard.

“He’s stunned, but he’s liable to revive any moment,” The centaur stepped out of the car and Ranaldo fell to the ground. The car’s engine suddenly roared to life. Acting on instinct, the centaur unsheathed his sword. Barreling toward the car, he kicked the from of it, causing the hood to pop open. He stabbed the radiator with his sword.

“Big mistake!” Ecalibre moaned. The centaur didn’t respond, but continued stabbing various cars parts.

The centaur raised Ecalibre with the point of the sword to the sky and shouted, “To the Knights of the Twilight! May they live forever!”

Green Squeaker

I think Squeaker is a one-year old green freak – a pure product of the natural energy generation. How do I know? Because she’s working hard to build a compost pile next to our kitchen table. I was cleaning under her corner of the table yesterday with a back-hoe and realized that if I could find a way to sort and package what falls off her dinner plate, I could solve 1/3 of the world food shortage.

I think she may also have military aspirations, too, because against the backdrop of her compost hill, she’s mastered the art of camouflaging herself with the same foods.

We can usually tell when she’s finished eating, because we start hearing wails and squeals in the general direction of the compost. So we soak a rag and toss it at the pile. It stops just short of the pile in mid-air, and Squeaker commences sucking the life, water, and fibers out of the rag until all the camo is washed off. Then she tosses the dry rag to the floor and there sits our sweet Squeaker, sopping wet with a big 4-toothed grin, ready to get down.

I think come summer I’ll move the kitchen table into the backyard.