420.To Blog or not to Blog.

 

Why do I blog?  There is no fame or fortune, no status or glory in the blog business. I have refused all pay that has not yet been offered. So why do it?  Uh, why speak to the new barrista at the coffee shop?  Let’s see– because you want to connect, maybe share some of your presence with someone else. Tenderize a brain or two. Learn something in return maybe. Though I don’t know all three of my blog followers, I’m sure they are nice folks with great tolerance and compassion. Why? Because I write some odd things in this blog, mostly for my own entertainment. My devoted followers have not cut me off yet. Maybe this will do it. However, if I’m laughing while typing, that’s usually a good sign. Furthermore, if I find just the right picture on my Google search, that’s even better.

Blogging beats billing or getting my accounts in order. You see, I write on my office computer 90% of the time. Like right now as Leon Russell sings through his nose, “There’s a slow train comin’.” It’s an enjoyable distraction after a few intense therapy sessions. Some days clients don’t show so I click on Pandora and zoom along with Van Morrison, Lou Reed, Dylan, Neil Young, or any of the 100 artists on my shuffle. Music is a big deal for me; it seems to free up ideas and help my stream of consciousness flow. Good therapy needs good therapy, I think. Otherwise the therapist blows. Blogging is one of my coping strategies that ease my blood pressure and stress. I’m not a fan of stress though I willingly engage it daily. Therefore, I need an outlet after ferrying anxious folks across troubled waters.

It used to be running a few miles back when I was young enough to absorb all that pounding. Nowadays my back and hips cry out in protest to jogging. I still hunt groundhogs for fun in the warmer months. Cold-blooded murder of vermin, so it is. And I enjoy it. Every so often I will draw or paint something, usually in watercolors. Chess, too, is a beloved activity when I can find a willing and capable partner. These are all healthy distractions and stress relievers. We can all use more distractions these days, don’t you agree?

The new administration is whirling forward in a dizzying blur. Not sure how things are going to play out. I do find it fascinating and terrifying how the media have been demonized. Sure, some are prima donnas, but the biggest prima donna of all is the Prima Donald.  And sure, he is being demonized as well. There has never been another Prima Donald to my recollection. His panties are in a wad over the silliest and vainest items. Don, buddy, you won. It’s true. Why the conspiracy theory to suggest that not dozens, or scores, hundreds or thousands voted illegally for someone else. No, for a man of your stature, the fraud must be millions. And those millions must be illegal, brown, unwashed criminals loaded down with diseases, eager to rape white women.

If you have ever talked to someone who is delusional, you will find that the delusions are never mundane, garden variety issues. If someone is stalking them or tapping their phone, it can’t be a local marketer or traffic cop or a disgruntled neighbor. Nope. That’s just not good enough. Delusions of persecution need to be big– the Mafia, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, Interpol,  or the KGB. It doesn’t sound fierce enough if the delusionoid says, “The PTA are after me.” Or NASA. Or AARP. Or the SPCA.  These latter acronyms lack the dramatic serrated edge of the former referents. Go big, my schizophrenic friends, or don’t go at all.

So, why would a sane man want to entertain a conspiracy that undercuts the system that just elected him president? I can only speculate. The Donald has been a magician over the past two years. He has managed to toss firebombs  left, right and center that distract the public and media from his last firebombs. He’s good at this sleight of mouth. But even the Donald has to step back in awe of the verbal tornado woodpecker that is Kellyanne Conway. She is masterful at deflection and redirecting any narrative. She spews more cooked noodles than any Chinese restaurant ever could while breathing through her ears.  Please, folks, you were legally elected by the system . Believe it. No need to gild the outcome into something of an intergalactic victory of our species over the Death Star of the Leftist/ Media/ Demoproglibs.  Act like you believe in the outcome. It is impressive and historic. Stop talking like the prom king is a drag queen who needs an alibi. The new truth in our post factual world is that she looks fabulous, and that’s all that matters.

Oh, oh, oh. But controlling the truth is not the same thing as seeking and speaking truth. Whether that truth is your promised tax returns or climate change; emoluments or fraudulent universities; seeing jihadi Muslims dancing in Jersey City or millions of worshipful audience members on the national mall; there are ways of determining the truth via an abundance of proof. We do this in court and in science labs. But in the big stage of what was once known as news, our anchors, experts, and talking heads allow greasy soundbites to pose as truths. What results is a  paranoid environment of mythical beliefs and alternative facts. Hocus pocus hoaxes.

Instead of seeking and speaking truth, our society seems to have become allergic to truth. We break out in partisan rages rather than calmly putting forth the known relevant facts. So many tricks are used to move the tone over the substance. Today’s soundbite is that 3 million illegals voted not for Trump. Unidentified polling places all over this country were fooled three million times. And the evidence is… missing.

What will next week bring, I wonder? A new Sharknado that Kellyanne will explain away.

*** Please take a moment to rate this post. Thanks for reading.

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372. Time Management

My time management is weak, my chronic blogetrics. Heck, if I did manage my time well, I would not blog my almost daily drivel, and then where would you be? Don’t answer that question. It could put me out of business and ruin my fragile elf esteem. (Growing up as an elf was traumatic until I had my ears done and started on a blogesterone regimen.)  Instead of blogging I would do my billing and prepare my taxes and write checks to folks who are waiting to be paid on time. Hold on a second… I forgot to write a check to my bookkeeper. Where’s a pen that works?  Stamp. Envelope. Alrightee, back to The Velvet Underground’s Greatest Hits.

Okay, where was I?  Yes, noodling seems to preoccupy my hours. Now let me justify that with this:  I don't cruise porn sites all day. No addictions beyond blogging and groundhog hunting in season. Harmless activities unless you are a groundhog or a blog aficionado with no taste or standards, i.e., an intellectual groundhog. Who on earth insults his own readers?  A guy with too much time on his hands, thasswhoo. Remember those Salvador Dali surrealistic paintings of melted watches and clocks?  That's me, except my time waste portraits would be served over steaming pasta, timeless timepieces like grilled oysters dripping over a mountain of buttered linguine. Now you're hungry for my world, right?  Oh, but the crown of time mismanagement weighs heavily on the King's head. It can literally crush a man with a weak neck. I've been hospitalized for collapsed neck syndrome twice now. I know, I make blogging look mindlessly easy, even trite, but do not try it at home without adult supervision, kids. It's like lifting weights without a spotter. The wrong run-on sentence, bench pressed inches from your throat, could slip away from you and asphyxiate you. (There's a great Scrabble word.)

I remember my neighbor Michael had a pet boa constrictor that slithered around his bedroom while he slept. I wondered how that would be if the boa ever got hungry for a snack while Michael was asleep or just too stoned to put up a fight. You see, Michael supplemented his sewage treatment plant income back then by dispensing medical marijuana without a license. If Slithers had swallowed him whole, how long could Michael have lived without water and air? I suppose if the snake started at his feet, Michael could technically have carried on for hours as the snake ingested him, all the way up to the White Afro he sported. Hmm, would Slithers later share that recipe in Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooked Meals for Constrictors? And what would she call it? Miss Slithers’ Meat Stick with Curly Frosting. Perhaps. Baked Caucasian Cauliflower? Michael was very pale.

I am a be’er as opposed to a doer. Doers are all about action and task completion. They work off lists and manage time as if they were dying, or at least billing by the minute. They tell you things like, “You’ll never get this hour back.” While that is true, it is also true that we don’t get any time back, whether we cure cancer or smoke another cigarette.  Be’ers often drink beers, which is not cannibalistic, though the nearly identical spelling might lead you near that conclusion’s neighborhood. That tiny apostrophe separates a human being from a brewed adult beverage, just barely. What? Did I hear a gasp of amazement coming from the frozen tundra of Blogland? Possibly from Das Kapital city, Wreck Ya Vick.

In Wreck Ya Vick idlers rumba along the cobblestoned Groucho and Karl Marx Boulevards drinking beer beneath the melted Dali clock in the town rhombus. Some smoke cigars while others merely use them as props. They say things to each other that have no conviction or urgency. They sing Dean Martin songs…

“When Marimba Rhythms start to play

Dance with me, make me sway

Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore

Hold me close, sway me more.”

However, unlike drooling Trump drones, they are not easily swayed. In fact, they are quite  politically savvy. Some say they like a man with an open mind. Pressed for details a man who wanted to remain nameless stated, “Because you can feel the breeze better.”

Bloglanders bounce their thick eyebrows and say ridiculous and funny things to each other all the day long.

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Even the paramedics get into the swing of things in Wreck Ya Vick. Why the other day an EMT was witnessed taking a man’s pulse at an accident scene. He uttered the imbecilic line,

“Either this man is dead, or my watch has stopped.”

Because it lies above the Arctic Circle, Blogland had many pristine ski slopes. They are pure and perfectly groomed because in Blogland we ski uphill. It’s a great cardio work out, like a big frozen treadmill. But it’s all free thanks to a freed proletariat.

The Mayor of Wreck Ya Vick is Michael Iceberg, a big fan of Groucho’s work. In his acceptance speech he concluded his remarks with this line,

“Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.” On marriage law he opined,

“Despite what the pundits claim, marriage is the chief cause of divorce.”

His Vice Mayor, Anthony Weiner, was unbowed and defiant in front of the press. He was heard to say,

“Women should be obscene and not heard.”

When asked about women’s rights, Mr. Weiner said,

“I like both sides of women… Lefts and rights.”

Police Chief Dick Cheney was also asked for his thoughts. He shared his dreams for Wreck Ya Vick.

“Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

Attorney General Bush Limbaugh was flustered when asked for his credentials. He said,

“You’ll be hearing from my attorney as soon as he graduates from law school.”

Finally, Director of Voyeurism, Bill Clinton summarized what all Wreck Ya Vickians hold true,

“I’ll dance with you till the cows come home, Hillary. Better yet, I’ll dance with the cows till you come home.”

Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do.

 

360. 1461 [Days]

In case you were wondering, the title is not a phone number I found; it’s 4 years of days plus one day for leap year. That’s how long I’ve been at this blog business. Averaging 90 posts per year or one every 4 days. Whoa! If this wound up on paper, I could be sued for wasting trees and contributing to global warming. I could also be charged for corrupting miners, except I have never written for or about miners– coal, gold, salt, silver, copper, nada. Internet loitering is not a crime yet. But I plead guilty, my honorable blognoids. I have loitered in cyberland and wasted over a thousand hours in the passionate pursuit of purposelessness.  Yet, never has posting felt like forced duty at the gym or reluctant treadmill time. No, I find it therapeutic to blather into the blogisphere as my life sputters by.

It feels like I’ve been at this a lot longer, but my trusty WordPress stats confirm it– four years. Over 300,000 words easily since most of my posts come in around 1,000 words, my self imposed limit. Along  the way I learned how to import pictures that I scammed off the internet. What a difference that made. I’m a fairly visual guy and love finding images that seem to connect with my eccentric words. Some folks go about with metal detectors and find metallic treasures in fields and stream beds. I go about with my image detectors, my eyes, in search of connective visual tissue. But for me a tiny 8 watt bulb lights up when I find a picture that adds energy to my impoverished, eccentric words, caged in horizontal lines.

Centric means to be in the center or central. Ec & centric means to be off center or outside the circle of centeredness, often taken to mean ‘unconventional and slightly strange’. Outside the box, over the top, in one’s own orbit, marching to the beat of a different drum, etc. Yeah, no argument from me. Looking at my body of work, or is it play?, I’d have to conclude that it constitutes a strange stream of consciousness that sometimes flows uphill, backwards, nowhere, and everywhere; spiraling inward and outward across the limits of time and space. I have written about penguins, vodka, birds, flowers, dogs, gila monsters, coyotes, hitchhiking, God, prison, health, age, youth, music, art, innocence and experience, coffee nation, immigration, politics, love, faith, forgiveness, death, plumbing and the list goes on and on. Why?  Many reasons. I like language. I enjoy writing. I like to entertain, maybe even educate, folks

When I worked as a construction laborer in the early 70’s, I felt there was more to life than shoveling dirt and gravel all day long. I remember reading The Brothers Karamazov that dark winter and feeling deep intellectual and spiritual pings on my soul’s sonar. The messages were not acutely articulated. It was more like whales barking across the ocean. That was the same year I took my trip to England and Scotland, ’73-74, without a plan. I simply followed magnetic fields that drew me elsewhere. At the time I attributed my spontaneity to freedom and nonconformity. Looking back I give God credit for protecting me from my own arrogant stupidity.

Later on I went to college because my closest friends were going. I fell in love with learning and with my future wife, who had odd concepts like goals and structure and discipline. Whew!! I am still amazed and grateful that we continue to travel life’s path together. And still those sonar pings keep hitting my soul, telling me to be elsewhere, beyond this moment that I usually enjoy. Not alone necessarily but elsewhere. I guess it’s the same old wanderlust that led me away from safety and routine in the first place, deep into wooded acres and far across forbidden perimeter roads. Hearing my mother say, “Don’t….” often led to a desire to inhabit the prohibition, unsupervised by adults.

The Gravel Pit was fenced off from our ball field and elementary school yard. Of course older boys had created openings for us to pass through. When The Pit was operating, we’d sit on the surrounding banks and watch the big machines load dump trucks with orange sand and bank run gravel. Duly impressed by the diesel smoke, the loud thuds of a load, and the rumble in the earth as overloaded trucks ground gears across dusty roads. We’d ride out bikes across hillocks of hard clay and jump gullies eroded by years of heavy rains. Days had no numbers then, no end was imaginable beyond one setting sun. Watches and calendars were for adults to worry with. We pursued lizards and turtles and snakes, squirrels and possums, along with the secrets of becoming a young man. After the last employee left the Gravel Pit, we’d inch down like forest creatures and explore their vehicles and sit in backhoes and bull dozers. We were  in awe of the raw power they possessed. Yes, we trespassed but did not vandalize. It was more like going to a museum or an amusement park. We displayed boyish reverence for these enormous clanking monsters.

 They were huge and powerful, and we weren’t… yet.

Richard Cooper had a Suzuki 90 cc motorcycle that he’d ride like a bat out of hell up Dorset Drive and across the school grounds, down into the Gravel  Pit. No helmet. No license. No tags. It was the 60’s, man. I was often on the back of the overloaded machine, hanging on for dear life or any life at all. I have a vivid memory of chasing down a ground hog that was too far from its hole. I caught it under a basket and had no idea what to do next, so I let it go. The outcome did not matter so much. The wild chase, the breathless hunt, the exultant thrill were all that counted. We weren’t huge and powerful, yet.

At nearly 60 years of age I can roughly calculate how many more days I am likely to experience in this life. 7305 if I live to see 80. I’ve never calculated my expiration date before, but I can’t say that any more. So, happy anniversary to me, Burrito Man. Live big but practice humility. It’s easier to carry than shame.

 

355.The Dinner Party; The Force Awakens

You know how it goes at this time of year. Festive festivities pop up like mushrooms after a warm rain, given the necessary fungi enriching  ingredients. We were invited by our hosts to their house on the hill, which hovers above the Falling Spring like (may I say it out loud?) a Death Star. It was the Croquet Bunch from post #303. plus two, but for me it had a Star Wars sort of feel to it. I sensed almost from the get go that a power struggle between the Force and the Empire was about to unfold in the guise of a Christmas dinner party gathering amid gargoylish repartee. Over the hills and faraway I thought I heard Led Zepellin warning me not to cross that fateful threshold. I disregarded my Jedi intuitions and crossed over.

Image result for han solo picturesHan Solo (i.e. Jerry) greeted us at the decorated door. “Welcome. Let me take your coats.”

“Let me get it off, Jerry!! You are neither my tailor nor my urologist. Let go!!”

“I was just trying to be a good host.”

“Then get a good wooden hanger, and stop groping my leather jacket so fetishistically. Gosh!!”

I sensed cosmic tension and made a mental note to stay vigilant against being sucker punched. Time has not been good to Han, I noted. He is shorter than I recall, which is forgivable, but also more talkative, which is not. Also, he was wearing bright orange shorty socks without boots, shoes, or even flip flops. His mood was suspiciously upbeat. I wondered if Jimmy Buffet style free flowing pharmaceuticals had been ingested recently, not out of paranoia but from an over abundance of Jedi caution. I wondered, and still do.

As the other guests arrived, Princess Leia met them and whisked them off to the living room with the formal Christmas tree. Nerdy pictures were taken all around the Death Star as the ladies exchanged presents and pleasantries while the males drank solar brewed beer on leather couches. Han/Jerry demonstrated his dog’s mind control abilities by letting Sadie Dogstar in and out 17 times in 20 minutes, each time rewarding Sadie with a dog biscuit for coming back in the Death Star. Had I been training her, I would have given her the biscuit to leave and locked the door, but it was clear that the dog had Jedi mind meld skills and was Jerry/Han’s puppet master.Toward the end of the demonstration Sadie’s belly was dragging across the threshold and she could not continue, so Jerry went in and out at her almost intelligible bark commands. It was the most impressive set of animal skills I’ve ever witnessed outside of Sea World and Shamu playing chess while blindfolded.

Before we knew it, an intergalactic dinner was served (actually we did it buffet style since the robots and storm troopers had the night off) in the formal dining room. The eight of us ate, and ate eight servings of splendid choice chicken in a perky pineapple sauce brought by Barriss Offee, aka Snarky SueBeeDOOBeeDoo, and an almost too perfect salad presented by Toryn Farr/ SoosannNITRAM, who had been planning a clonespiracy for later in the evening. Not even their husbands knew that these dishes had been dastardly prepared by their brides to weaken the Force’s forces. Truly, we ate in a cloud of ignorance.

Much later, 8 pm on Pluto Central, the Plus Two arrived. By then we had descended into candlelight, setting the stage for what was to come. I sensed the conflict about to begin. My arm hair rose and sizzled with static electricity. It was Zoltran Magyar and his CoCounsel, Nancee WOnton Kenobi. The napkins were thrown down like gauntlets on the tablecloth as Princess Leia served decaf coffee all around.40. Sabe15. Darth Maul

Dan/ 3CPA and his droidmate SoosannNITRAM began the blog interrogation, as if we all did not know this moment was inevitable. Sure, help the hostess wash up and then post-apron kitchen duty throw down the real gauntlet. “So, how is the blog going, Burrito?” Not a hint of entrapment in his voice.

Around the table of ten it went, affably at first. You would not know a coup d’état was in progress. Princess Leia mentioned the Indian restaurant/ belly dancing episode post that she had orchestrated on planet Nasturtium. Hot nervous laughs snorted through clenched teeth and flared nostrils of droids and wookies alike.  Markbaccaman seemed confused at all the flustering. He bellowed baritone yeti growls, possibly trying to warn me of an ambush. Too late. We continued on with way too much interest in my blog and coffee nation world, a utopian land of unemployed men condemned to clean their navels all day. It was suggested that my real job does not exist and my wife simply allows me to live out my harmless delusions, which, like my snoring, I am unaware of. The laughs and guffaws built into cosmic thunder as the poisoned entrée and salad digested out of sight, trickling into neural synapses left unguarded.

I shared the inner workings of the blogiverse, which most attendees did not know well, or pretended so. There was an unnatural focus on my alternate universe. I knew something was wrong. I mentioned how many hits I’d recorded from countries all over the world, and gave examples of my Brains and Potatoes post that brought a lot of Russian traffic. That’s when Snarky SueBEEDooBeeDoo struck like a cobra. “Can you tell how long they stayed on?” she asked in such a way that it implied folks scurried away from Burritospecial as fast as roaches from light.

 SoosannNITRAM’s circuit board overloaded on comic input data and she spewed 12 cubic feet of laughter gas, while Dan 3CPA schnoozled next to her with his belt light blinking and blaring ” AMBER, AMBER. INTRUDER, INTRUDER!!” They were uncontainable disgraces to droidhood.

Image result for star wars characters pictures I pondered my chances of escape from the Death Star. I wanted to save my wife Queen Latifahspanx, but the rest would have to be sacrificed. As my bride got up to use the ladies room on my cue, I turned to Zoltran, who was at my right hand side, and gave him a Jimi Hendrix Jedi handshake at full voltage. The blue arc of cobalt vapor coursed around that unholy assemblage, expanding them for a second and then each one imploded, sucking the glass inward from the Death Star’s picture window. Only Sadie Dogstar and my Queen survived alongside me. We left behind only an incomplete set of Star War plastic figures as we exited the Death Star.

 

1. Prequellus

When I started writing this blog four years ago, I intuitively began with #2. I had a hunch that I’d want to come back and begin again, so I left a slot, headspace to expand if you will allow for the analogy. Now I’m editing and tweeking the occasional post, updating with pictures that I did not have originally.  I’m not sure if I can wedge this in the original place. I guess I’ll find out when I publish it. That’s as much of a plan as I had when I started the autobiographical blather I call eccentric self absorption. Currently I’m at post #344. At about three hours per post, I’ve racked up over a thousand hours blogging. Seems impossible, maybe shocking to my faithful three readers who often wonder if I simply typed a post while I slept or showered. I have not done that yet, but I appreciate a good challenge.

Sue B. asked me if I wrote under the influence. Well, how can I answer that?  I do not write or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, though you may not be able to tell by simple observation. I do write under the influence of eccentric urgency to spew out an anecdote or two. Why?  Maybe because I need to balance the overwhelming input I get from listening to clients all day. My brain’s inbox gets too full and I need to drain off some balderdash and baloney.  Here is some educated help…

“Bologna refers to a type of sausage made of finely ground meat that has been cooked and smoked. Baloney is nonsense. It is an early 20th-century American coinage derived from bologna. It may also be influenced by blarney, which in one of its definitions means nonsense or deceptive talk.”

So, for me, the highly emotional verbiage from others is psychological bologna input that I relieve by rendering it into baloney. The same analogy holds true for coffee and beer, but that output would be rude to exclaim. So there it is! I am guilty as charged:  baloney monger in the first degree. “Off with his head!”

Prequels are background stories made up after a certain story becomes popular. After The Godfather 1 & 2, someone figured out that making a pre- Godfather 1 might earn a boatload of money simply by brand association. Usually these obvious money grabs don’t hold up to scrutiny because they are contrived and must not contradict what is already known to the thinking audience. I, however, have no fear of contradiction or obvious contrivance. It’s what I do. My problem is not the prequel; it’s the fact that the rest of what I write has no marketable appeal beyond the inpatient mental health population. Again, Sue B. told me that hubby Mark has trouble following my bunny trails. No duh. I have trouble following my own bunny trails. As George Costanza said, “It’s not you; it’s me.”  It was his famous break up line that was used against him during one break up gone wrong. “I invented the ‘it’s not you; it’s me’ line,” he emphatically insisted. I would reiterate here but I’m already guilty of redundancy.

Shocking: An enormous python (pictured) descended from the ceiling into a family in Guangdong, ChinaYeah, that’s a python coming out of the ceiling.

 

“For the love of God, say something substantial!!” I want to yell at myself as I muddle around, cleaning my literary navel. Some days are like this– without beginning, middle, or end– and so we just muddle about wondering about time and gravitational pull; tides and whether pythons can live above dropped ceilings. If one did drop out of the ceiling, I’m sure it would be in order to feed on a warm mammal after crushing it/him/her. I mention this because the ceiling at the coffee shop is collapsing ever so slightly. I pointed this out to Andrea in my most proprietary manner. She dutifully took a picture of it with her phone and texted it to higher management. Meanwhile I am watching for monster snakes to slither out and around sleeping customers, slowly compacting their ribcage with each shorter breath.

“Dustin, wake up! A twelve foot python is crushing you to death.”

“Oh, I thought I was dreaming… I was in my ’88 Toyota Corolla and being compacted at the junkyard. Whew! That was really scary. I couldn’t move my arms or legs. It was horrible.”

“Uh, news flash, Buddy. This is not a fire hose wrapped around you. It’s a freakin’ python, snake, leviathan, soul less reptile.”

“Okay. No problem. I know how to deal with these critters.”

“Really.”

“Yeah. My girlfriend says I have dragon breath, so I’m just gonna breathe right in his face. He’ll lose his appetite. Just watch.”

The slimy beast just tightens up and Dustin’s complexion reddens.

“I’m watching. Nothing, man. They are descended from dragons, Dustin. It’s like mom’s home cooking when you breathe on it. Maybe I should call 911.”

“No, I’ll be dead by the time they show up. And there will be all that negative news coverage, you know. ‘Monster Snake devours local Saint’. We don’t want that kind of media hype in our coffee shop.”

“Okay. So what’s Plan B?”

“Try singing Cher songs. One time in the Amazon I was being crushed by an Anaconda, and all I could think of in my last moments were Cher songs. So I sang them and unbelievably the snake went limp and died.”

“Okay, Dustin. Tell me, I’m blank with fear. Name a Cher song.”

“Uh, what did I sing to that Anaconda?  Oh yeah, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”

In a husky alto…

“Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down”

“It’s working. He’s going slack. Hurry, sing ‘I got you, Babe.

“Sure,

‘They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Oh, look at that. The coward is slithering right back into the ceiling. Couldn’t stand a little Cher. huh? Some dragon descendant you are. You’re a disgrace to your race!”
‘They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
I guess that’s so, we don’t have a plot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Okay, he’s gone now. You can stop.”
 “Not till I finish the bridge. It’s my favorite part.”
‘I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around’
“Seriously, we’re good. Stop it!!”
“What’s the big hurry? You were almost dead a minute ago and now you’re Mr. Crankypants.”
‘Don’t let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb’
“Enough!! I appreciate your singing snake intervention, but a thinking man can only stand so much and no more. I will strangle you if you utter another Cher syllable.”
‘Babe’
“That’s it!! Argghhh.” Thrash. Wrestle. Strangle. “Oh, no. What have I done? I’ve choked out my only friend, my rescuer…. my. Oh, he’s coming back, say something, Buddy.”
‘I got you babe
I got you babe’
“No. Die you fiend!! I’ll plead self defense and insanity. Joel will understand.”
‘ I…….got…..you.”