Saturday, February 9, 2013

Selfless Promotion


There are any number of things I can see being promoted by people waving, flipping and tossing around signs by the side of the road.  Condos come to mind although I’m not sure how many people window shop for a new home that way.  Oil changes I’ve seen as well, usually with a ten dollar discount offer tagged on because you know it makes good business sense to sell a service below cost, AND pay your labor instead of just taking the labor hit.

There is one thing I never thought I would see promoted by these guys tossing the signs around on the sidewalk – the grand opening of an urgent care facility.  Those just scream walk in traffic.  What was the rational?  “Hurry, get out on the sidewalk and advertise our grand opening.  You never know when someone will be driving around with a sucking chest wound looking for just the right care provider.  And be sure to let them know about our two-for-one special!”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Toilet Humor


I’ll just say this much, the guy who invented the automatic flushing toilet does not get a cookie.  A kick to the side of the head, possibly but a cookie?  No.

There are any number of things that one can criticize about regarding public restrooms but I will only address this one simple subject.  Of all the decisions in my life that I need taken away from me, flushing the toilet is NOT one of them.  Ever.  At all.  Under any circumstance.  Even if a tidal wave is coming, I can handle it.

It’s not that I’m worried about being outsmarted by an irrigated ceramic thrown.  I just don’t want the damn things flushing all the time.  I would have thought that the purpose for having one of these masterpieces of modern science would be to save water.  That doesn’t seem to be the case at all.  Everyone of these idiotic things seems to be trying to erode itself out of existence from the inside.

You walk in, it flushes.  You look at it, it flushes.  You turn around, it flushes.  You look at it after turning around to figure why it just flushed, and it flushes.  You put that paper thingy down and it flushes, taking the paper thingy with it.  You use another paper thingy and sit down . . . AND IT FLUSHES! It would be like a bidet but a bidet never tried to suck you inside it.

Then, when you’ve finished and you are ready to depart you step away and . . . nothing.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why am I having this arguement?

So, is there any sane reason that you would argue with a two year old over whose cracker is on the plate?  Seriously, I was putting as much energy into this discussion as she was.

And by now, I don't remember whose cracker it was.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Liz the Kitty

Just a test with Liz in the cat stand.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fatherhood, Who Woulda Thought?


I kinda feel like this kid.  I’m just wondering if there is a primal scream thing going on.


Let’s talk about this fatherhood thing for a moment.  First words for instance.  It may have been, “Mommy.”  Possibly.  I didn’t hear that one.

“Daddy?”  Are you kidding!?  I’m the guy who holds the book and fills the bathtub.  I came with the house.

To be honest I don’t remember what her first words were.  I had to check.  It was, “Bye.”  Not the greatest one, not the one you dream about.  But not bad.  The kid isn’t screaming.  I believe she knows you will be coming back.  And she says it to EVERYONE.  Waves her hand and blows kisses too.

But there are memorable ones.  At least from my point of view.  Here’s an incomplete list – it’s always growing.

  1. “No.” – gotta love this one.  Let’s assert ourselves and be cute about it at the same time.  There are probably a hundred different ways she can say this and I just melt.  Then there’s the one way . . . moving on.
  2. “Dees” (This) – Not possessive, just indicating what she would like.  Even if there are three hundred things one the table, or nothing at all.  “What is it you want, Sweety?  This?  This?  How about This?  Maybe This? Or this?  Please!?  What do you want?  How about . . . hey, where did you go?”
  3. “Peese” (Please or Peas) – This could go both ways so you gotta watch your context here.  Watch for the sign language, that’ll help.  Unless she’s asking for peas and being polite about it, which she is a lot.  Then I just stare at her like an idiot.
  4. “Cookie” – Ah man, it’s so cute.  Don’t tell Mommy but you can have another.  In ten years I bet I get ratted out.
  5. “Again” – You wouldn’t think it but this is a dangerous one.  For example, would you like to know how many times I have read “Tumble Bumble” in one sitting?  You probably don’t want to ask me in person.  Email might be best.  Secondly, leg lift rides where she is sitting on my legs and I bounce her up and down and up and down and up and down and down and “Again.”  I’ve had less painful “near misses” in Tae Kwon Do.  And my Pappa didn’t give his son the greatest of knees in the first place.
  6. “Yes” – FINALLY!  Confirmation.  Validation.  A hint that we’re going in the right direction.  Or so we think. We’re probably fooling ourselves.

Notice how I subtly brought Mommy in on that last one?  I’m clever that way.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Introduction to “The last Seconds of Planet Earth

This is just a short piece of fiction I wrote a little while ago.  Originally I was going to enter a contest with it but that slipped away.  It’s been shopped a bit but I really wanted to present it with the photo.  The photo was taken several years ago in Kalaloch, Washington in January or February.  I had this image in mind when I wrote the short story.

The Last Seconds of Planet Earth




     The car’s engine burned the last drops of gasoline and then slipped into silence. I shifted into neutral and let it coast the last few feet before it rolled to a final stop. I opened the door and slid out quietly. Just over the dunes to my right I could hear the Oregon Coast, the sounds of the ocean the only ones filling the air. I found it odd that it was deserted here. This would be the type of place I would spend my last moments, and so I was.


100 days ago.

     They came via television signal. They were everywhere, all the broadcast channels and cable networks. We couldn’t be rid of them, even if we wanted to. Scene after scene of the worlds they inhabited. The Abancans: thirty worlds strong and they were coming to us.


     I reached into the car to get my jacket and thought better of it. The beach was full of life and I wanted to feel all of it. I shut the car door for no real reason and made my way to the dunes and beaches beyond. I didn’t bother locking it. I did pull my collar tight and jammed my hands into my pockets. I crested the dunes, looking at the ocean beyond.


95 days ago.

     They were the Abancans. That was the only word, the only phrase we could decipher from the multitude of footage we received. We later realized that the rest had been deliberately distorted.

     They were somewhat like us, but with far more variety. Ruby red in color they were much more varied in height, weight - every aspect you could think of.

     Except for the color.

     We should have known then.


     I walked towards the water, watching little birds scurry at water’s edge, dashing in and out with the waves. In the past I may have thought it futile, now at least they had something to do.

     I started to walk down the beach. I glanced at my watch. I still had a little time, a lifetime really. I didn’t know what exactly I was looking for, just that I would know when I found it.


75 days ago.

     Then they let us know what to expect. Out of the sky would come great spheres, a quarter mile in diameter and the same ruby red as the Abancans themselves. They would show no obvious signs of propulsion but throbbed with energy, boundless energy. The spheres would approach slowly, defying almost every law of physics we knew, flaunting their power as they slowly descended from the sky. Then they would slow to a stop at roughly a kilometer and wait.

     We waited in anticipation and wonder.


     I had been walking for just a few moments when I came upon a large tree trunk that had been washed up on the shore. I sat down for a moment to rest. The last days had been draining in many ways, emotionally most of all. Another group of dashing birds waged a battle with the crashing waves as gulls flew overhead. The sky was spotted with white puffs of clouds but otherwise it was a clear, beautiful day.

     This was the place. This would be where I would breathe my last.


50 days ago.

     The truth.

     When the scenes on the televisions changed, they changed without warning. The time for acclimation was over. It was time for reality.

     On each of the thirty worlds we were now seeing what life had been before the Abancans arrived. Up until now we had seen only worlds teaming with happy, smiling Abancan life. Now we saw the worlds as they had been, teaming with their own awe inspiring diversity of life. Two caught the public eye. One race we nicknamed the Elephants, large and solid they seemed at piece with their world. The others were the Peacocks, a beautiful race devoted to art.

     They were all gone after the Abancans came, just stepping stones from one world to the next.

     That was when the riots started.


     I sat and watched the waves come in and out. They seemed to play with the birds, taunting them as they came and went. I was becoming quite attached to those little birds.

     The sounds of the ocean were invaded by something new and at first I thought that my final moment had come. It grew louder and I realized it was a plane, a single engine plane flying just above the tree tops. It passed over me and sped into the distance.

     In its wake a stream of thousands upon thousands of sheets of paper in all sizes fluttered to the ground. The little dashing birds ran in a fit of panic, the gulls pecked at them in hope that they were something to eat. I got up and walked a few feet to the nearest one and picked it up. I studied it as I walked back to my log. There was printing on both sides, plain and to the point. On one side was the number “31" with a “no” symbol on top of it. The other side was even simpler - a mushroom cloud.


25 days ago.

     During the broadcasts the Abancans made it quite clear what was going to happen. They also made it quite clear that resistance was pointless. On world after world they showed the Abancans being attacked with all manner of weapons, many of which man has not even dreamed.

     And nothing happened. The Abancan defenses were perfect.

     On the one hundredth day the spheres would then open and a bright, red cloud would pour forth. Whether it was a living virus or nanotechnology was meaningless. Shortly after the Abancans began their campaign things would begin to change. On most of the worlds the dominant life would transform into a new version of the Abancan people. On less fortunate worlds, the Peacock’s for example, the dominant form was somehow not compatible with the Abancan. They simply died.

     On those worlds another native species would then become Abancan. Then the Abancan would move to the next world, thirty so far.

     The loss of the Peacocks stunned and horrified the Earth. The riots faded until there was nothing left.


     I sat on my log and felt, more than anything else the end come. And I have to admit it made me smile.

     On the horizon great white plumes rose from the oceans. I knew that behind me the same was happening inland from silos in the ground. Above, aircraft from all nations of the world let loose their arsenals. Even in space, where we had lied to each other about their very existence, we turned the weapons upon ourselves.

     And on the Abancans.

     There would be no thirty-first Abancan world, and I could live with that.

copyright 2010 Daniel Berg