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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ISIS claims responsibility for video purportedly showing ISIS leader claiming responsibility

Associated Press- An ISIS propaganda video released Monday purports to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claiming responsibility for last week's mosque bombing in Pakistan; ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the video with a video released several hours later purporting to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claiming responsibility for the earlier video.

"Just in case any infidels thought it was another inferior jihad group that released the video earlier today, well, it was us. Not Al-Qaeda. Not Boko Haram. Not Al-Shubba babala something or the Revolutionary Freedom Crusaders of Allah or whatever. Okay?" the ISIS leader stated in a 30-minute long recording that also included warnings that more videos would "soon be unleashed upon the Zionist crusaders in a fiery sea of videos." Al-Qaeda immediately claimed responsibility for the video with a video released an hour later, throwing the whole world of terrorist video-making into chaos.

"Death to America! Also, we made that last video!" a masked man wielding an AK-47 stated in the video. Within minutes, a video was released purportedly from al-Baghdadi, who stated, "Allahu akbar! Don't listen to him, that's ridiculous. Why would they make a video with me claiming responsibility?" The authenticity of that video could not be immediately verified. Several more videos were released in the following hour, each one criticizing the previous video and calling down curses from Allah on their wives, flocks, herds, and their "video-making equipment."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How Grampy Saved Christmas

Ah, my first vacation in years! What a thrill! What a delight! Anxiously, I board the flight, shoving other passengers out of my way, shoving people off the airstair, shoving children into the overhead storage, just shoving shoving shoving.
But all of this changes when I take my seat and meet the guy sitting next to me. He immediately launches into some boring story, a story about murder, deceit, sabotage, and betrayal, a story of the risks one is willing to take to make it to the top, a story that shows that with hope, faith, and guts, even one ordinary man can change the world of small-town politics... forever.
“Boy, that’s pretty wild!” I say, and then I instantly fall asleep, because face it… when you’re running on no sleep, well… you go to sleep eventually. Right? AM I RIGHT?! And how are all these thoughts coming out of my head when I’m clearly asleep? I mean, I just said that I fell asleep. But did I really fall asleep? Or am I bluffing? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am bluffing! I’ve always been a good bluffer, especially at sleeping. In fact, it looks like I’m sleeping, but I’m not. I’m just sick of this yahoo next to me blabbing on about some terribly dull story, so I shut my eyes. But I am actually very tired, so after about 30 seconds, I really do fall asleep.
I wake up sometime later (not sometime before). The sky is black outside the window, the lights on the wing flashing intermittently. A little… too intermittently. Something is wrong. No, it’s not. I don’t know what got into me there.
My neighbor to the left of me, the one who was blabbing on about something or other earlier, is fast asleep, his tongue lolling out of his mouth (LOL!). Just then, the flight attendant walks up. “Peanuts?” she asks. “Oh boy, peanuts!” I reply, and this means that I want some, so she dumps a bag of peanuts on my lap. “By the way,” I ask her, since I have really been wondering. “Where is this plane going?”
“DOWN!” she yells, and then pulls a detonator out of her pocket. I can tell it’s a detonator. I’ve owned a few.
“I knew it!” I cry, pointing at her with my crooked finger. By this point, many of the other passengers have awoken from their slumbers, and they are mumbling in a worried manner. “I knew it! I knew it all along! I knew you were a terrorist! From the moment you pulled out that detonator! I knew it!”
My neighbor to the left of me marvels at my deductions.
“Well,” says the flight attendant. “You may have guessed correctly this time, but that doesn’t matter anymore! You’re all going to die!”
Many passengers scream. There are a variety of screams. Some high, some low. Some fast, some slow. Some guy screaming who has no idea what’s going on, demanding to know why the beverage service is late and if he could get some V8. Another lady screaming at her 6-year-old who keeps complaining because his iPod died and he wants to play Pokeyman Crush Saga or Flappy Crush or some such ridiculous vidiot game on her phone. The flight attendant screaming as she’s waving the detonator up in the air, with a crazed look in her eyes. I’ve had enough of this madness.
I pull out my ear-buds and crank up Destiny’s Child, then settle back and relax. They’re my favorite band. My neighbor to the left of me nudges me. “Hey, we shoulda booked first class,” he says, and then we have a good laugh. Well, mostly just him because I’ve got Destiny’s Child on full blast, so I don’t really hear him. But I think that’s what he may have said. Or something along those lines. He may have said something completely different. But we both laugh, me a little bit, him a whole lot, tears streaming down his cheeks. Eventually, others join in the laughter too, including the flight attendant, who did NOT DIE. Then the pilots come and join in, and everybody holds hands, and sings “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and a more heartwarming and inspiring scene I have never known, in all my days.
“And that’s how your old grampy saved Christmas,” I say, shutting the book, a large tome of thousands of gilded pages and a mysterious seal of a snake on the cover.
“Wow Grampy, that was a really great story! Can we read it again?” my grandson Billy says, his eyes gleaming like only a child’s eyes gleam.
“Maybe tomorrow kid,” I reply, in my thick raspy Ukrainian accent. “Now be at peace.”
At this point, I pull his blanket up to his chin, then reach up and shut his eyelids for him, since he’s not able to do it himself, having a very rare form of eyelid paralysis.

The End

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION (to be discussed as a loving family unit):

1) Why does Grampy feel the need to share his incredible true story with Billy? Who does Billy even think he is anyway, taking up Grampy's valuable time?
2) Describe the influence that Destiny's Child has had on the modern-day libertarian movement.
3) Name 3 events that occur in the story that are critical to understanding the psychological motivation of the passenger who demands his V8.
4) Does anybody still drink V8? Why did anybody ever drink V8 in the first place? Explain.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I am sitting here feeling a little inspired. Inspired... with air, that is. Because isn't that really what inspiration is? Taking in oxygen? Well I'm inspired. Every second of every day, I'm being inspired. I'm sitting here on my couch. Every 2-3 minutes, I feel something crawling on me, and I look down, and there it is. A little itty bitty ant, lurking around on my skin. So I smash him in a fit of rage, and then repeat the process in a couple minutes, as some other little ant decides to go traipsing around on me. We've sprayed inside and outside for bugs. I've vacuumed up hordes of them in our bathroom. I've drowned them with RAID and HOT SHOT and all those fun things. They just don't know when to stop. What are they doing? What are they looking for? What is on my skin that they want, whether I'm sitting on the couch enjoying the tubeflix, or laying in my bed peacefully asleep? What do you want, little ants? Is it food you desire? Would you like me to put a little food bowl outside next to Juno's bowl? I will even label it "ANTS" so you know which one to eat out of. I'll put all the tasty things in there you love. The beef jerky. The jelly bellies. It can be all yours. We don't have to keep fighting like this. Or do you enjoy the fighting? Do you enjoy being vacuumed up? Do you enjoy being doused in chemicals that fry your nervous systems? Do you enjoy being smashed by my fist? Do you enjoy being washed down the shower drain? Do you feel somehow victorious in death, like some sort of ant martyrs, perishing in the valiant cause of ant jihad? Is that what this is? Have you declared ant jihad against my family? Do you serve Ant Allah? I just smashed another one. This one was on my ankle. That's a pretty popular place to go, I've noticed.

School is a delight these days. Genetics seems to be giving me the most problems, as I recently did poorly on an exam. College is weird. Everyone looks at me like they want to hurt me. But I look forward to going each day. I don't look forward to working. I have never looked forward to going to work at this job. In the beginning, I thought the day would come sometime... sometime... the day when I would enjoy working, would look forward to another day of interacting with injured and sick old people and getting them to exercise to help them heal from their maladies. But the day has never come. There is one exception, and that is when, very occasionally, I know I am going to be scheduled and working with patients who I have already worked with and who I don't stress out about having to lift their dead body weight out of their bed due to severe muscle weakness and/or obesity. But a day where I don't have any idea who I'm going to be working with, just a plethora of old people, several of which may be very grumpy, several of which may require significant assistance to get them to move, and probably resulting in my own strained back muscles... these are days I do not enjoy. Some people I've talked to have disapproved of my decision to go back to school. And I don't blame them. I'm giving up (well, working PRN) a pretty stable income, a job that probably has a lot of opportunity if I had any desire to get better and make more money. But I'm not happy. Is that an important thing to have in a job? Or is it just about stability and making money? I don't know. I want to be happy working. I want to look forward to going to work. I want to not hate Sundays anymore (they are hated by the simple reason that I dread going into work the next day). Most of all, I want to do something I'm passionate about. I think everyone does, probably. And there's a whole host of reasons why they don't, many of which are probably pretty logical.

Beau and I hiked out by Leeds the other day. What a beautiful area. We searched high and low for the Babylon Arch, which was supposed to be out in the desert wilderness somewhere, but we failed. Also, we saw a sign indicating that HISTORIC BABYLON was directly to the south of us. Can you believe that? This whole time, we thought Babylon was somewhere in Iraq. Nope. It's right here in Washington County. We didn't go see it though. We were too tired after fruitlessly hunting for the Arch of Babylon. Someday, we will go to Historic Babylon and join in the wickedness and debauchery.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Deadly Car Bomb Attack: "We're Sorry."

BAGHDAD- The Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a car bomb explosion in central Baghdad on Monday morning that killed several people and injured dozens more, apologizing profusely for the incident. "We're sorry," the online message said. "We swear we didn't know the bomb would do that. We were just trying to have a little fun, trying to scare some people. We take full responsibility for today's tragic attack. Allahu Akbar! Death to the Great Satan!" The Iranian Parliament and U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee condemned the attack, but accepted the apology. "By taking responsibility for this terrible attack, ISIS has demonstrated the caring and responsible nature that we have come to expect from them," Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, citing numerous examples of ISIS humbly claiming responsibility for dozens of brutal attacks throughout the world. He urged young people of Iraq to follow the example of ISIS and to "take responsibility for your actions."

Two Arrested Following Midnight Bar Fight; ISIS Claims Responsibility

ST. GEORGE- Two St. George men are in police custody following a dispute at a local bar that turned ugly Saturday night. 

The Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) immediately claimed responsibility.

Witnesses reported that the two men began arguing loudly sometime around midnight, followed by punches and "one of the men being tossed over the bar." One report also stated one of the men was thrown down the bar and slid down it from end to end, comically smashing other patrons' beer glasses, and then crashing through the wall, "like in all those saloon fights from Western films." 

In the statement that appeared online just hours following the assault, a group claiming to be ISIS condoned the incident and encouraged its followers around the world to commit similar attacks in Western alcohol establishments. "Allah's wrath is kindled against His enemies," it read. "Let those who profess His great name show their loyalty by throwing punches and instigating bar brawls wherever drunken discord can be found. Allahu Akbar!" State officials could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the message.

One man suffered facial lacerations and bruising while the other broke a finger, but otherwise no serious injuries were reported. The two men have been booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on $1000 bail. The bar's owner stated he would likely press charges due to damage caused to his wall and expensive beer glasses.

Following the attack, U.S. federal authorities warned all bars, beer gardens, pubs, dives, honky tonks, lounges, roadhouses, taverns, drinkeries, and taphouses to be on high alert for more drunken brawls inspired by ISIS's "call to brawl." Authorities also noted that the Islamic State, whose calls to violence in the past two years have led to devastating terror attacks, seems to be shifting its focus to more "domestic" incidents.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a string of local incidents lately, including a recent hike in city water rates, the malfunctioning city carousel that injured a woman in February, two cases of shoplifting at Target and Family Dollar, a local outbreak of influenza, and in general, any negative thing that has ever happened, to anyone, anywhere, at any given time.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Price I Have Paid

The Price I Have Paid 

by Holman Greenmanstein

Somewhere, off in the distance, a gun fired.

Martin Chesters heard the blast and sighed. "Sigh," he said.

As it turned out, the blast came from Martin Chester's own gun, as he riddled his sick cancerous pet skunk Macklehiney with bullets.

"Goodbye Macklehiney," he sobbed. "May your foul stench fill every corner of skunk heaven, eternally! Amen and amen!"

Following the burial, which took place in Martin's driveway and was attended by more than 500 people who had been touched in some way by the life of Macklehiney, Martin retired to his living quarters. Many of his old friends had desired to spend the evening with him, but he declined. Alone time was what he needed this night. This darkest of nights.

Supper consisted of a piece of cornbread and a cup of milk. It was simple, but it was sustenance. "I am sustained," he muttered to himself.

After supper, he wept for the loss of his friend. The only friend he had ever known.


Was it only 5 days ago that Martin had come across young Macklehiney, traipsing through his watermelon patch, spewing stench in every direction for the pure thrill of stench spewing? Ah, he thought. How quickly time had passed!

Was it only 5 days ago that Martin had taken Macklehiney in, to care for and nourish the young skunk as a new mother would nourish a youngling at her bosom?

Was it only 5 days ago that Martin had raised the skunkling above his head and proclaimed, "He shall be called after the name of my grandfather, the famed Macklehiney Chesters!"

In the midst of his weeping and reminiscing, a vision opened to him. A vision of the most glorious scene! Martin stared in awe at it. Before him lay a vast meadow, surrounded by towering blue snow-capped mountains. Wildflowers dotted the meadow, among which leapt... skunks! Dozens of skunks! Big skunks, little skunks, red skunks, blue skunks, yellow skunks, green skunks, black skunks, and white skunks are all at a skunk party! What a skunk party! "I like it! I like this skunk party!" shouted Martin.

Then the vision took a terrible turn.

One of the skunks, who only moments before had been prancing about gaily and spewing stench in all directions, now stopped and looked at Martin. No, thought Martin. It couldn't be. It just couldn't.


"Oh Macklehiney!" cried Martin, weeping into the feet of his only friend. "I'm so sorry! I swear I shall find the one who murdered you and make him pay with blood!"

"BUT MR. CHESTERS..." bellowed Macklehiney. His voice was deep and sorrowful.

"Yes, yes, what is it my friend?" queried Martin, staring up into the face of Macklehiney. "Do tell! Who is it that committed this terrible deed? Tell me so that I may seek vengeance!"

"MR. CHESTERS... IT WAS... YOUUUUUUUUU..." And he raised his little skunk paw and pointed it at Martin.

"It was?" asked Martin. "Me? I did this?" And then a sudden realization came to him.

It WAS him. It had apparently slipped his mind. You see, Martin Chesters suffered from a very severe form of short term memory loss.

"Well bust my buttons!" he chortled.

Then, without warning, Macklehiney spun around and blasted him with stench! "Curse your fetid anal glands!" cried Martin as he clutched his face in agony and crumpled to the ground. "I thought we were friends!"

Then all went black.

What seemed like an eternity later, Martin Chesters opened his eyes. To his delight, he was back in his quarters, sprawled out upon the floor. 

Martin Chesters was a changed man that day. For the worse, that is. He spent the rest of his days as a bitter recluse. He would chase passersby off his lawn with his shotgun, shout vile profanities at Christmas carolers when they would come knocking on his door, and would spit in the money buckets of Salvation Army people outside Wal-Mart. Not just little spits. Big nasty hawkers, the kind you would expect from a crazy hick with a pet skunk. Thus passed the days of Martin Chesters.

The End 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Gigantic List of Random Memories

I wrote this list in my journal, really on a whim. Let's take a journey through my brain's temporal lobe and see what memories I can just pull out.

Do not overanalyze this list. These memories are not listed in any order of importance or priority.

Good memory: Playing "Deafening Darkness" at the Gish house in high school. This game was basically hide-and-seek, with one person as "it" and having to find everyone else. The "it" person had to wear noise-canceling head phones and sunglasses, with the lights out.

Bad memory: 5th grade, Doug Schmutz telling me all the other kids in class have told him not to play with me because I'm a freak.

Good memory: Emily and I holding hands for the first time at St. George Town Square.

Bad memory: Any time spent at the swimming merit badge in 1999 at Sand Hollow Aquatic Center (I was a terrible swimmer). A guy who looked like John Ritter was the instructor.

Good memory: Writing "Justice Adventures" with Kenner at my house in high school.

Bad memory: Hitting Isaac in the face for some reason at Ariane's house and then storming out and walking through a rainstorm.

Good memory: Jamming together with Isaac and David in high school trying to play either "Piano Man" or "Don't Panic."

Bad memory: Finding out Rivers, in utero, had CDH.

Good memory: Rivers being born.

Bad memory: Hitting Heidi Bringhurst with a Bruce Lee VHS tape, in high school.

Good memory: Sundiata Gaines hitting a buzzer-beating 3 pointer to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then Steve breaking our chair in excitement.

Bad memory: Alesha Christensen, in 6th grade, telling me how her friend Jodie Green saw my picture in the yearbook, and thought I was the ugliest person she had ever seen.

Good memory: Recording Beau's immortal phrase "No. I'll throw it away for myself."on my Pocket PC at Chris's house in 10th grade.

Bad memory: Slapping David Bartlett in the face.

                     Yes, I realize I have many memories of hitting people. I don't like these memories. Although they are kinda funny in hindsight, they just remind me of the angry young man I used to be and all the amygdala hijacks I used to have [Amygdala hijack: a term I learned reading a book entitled "Emotional Intelligence" that refers to your brain's frontal lobe (the center of judgement and inhibition) losing control and ceding this control to your amygdala, resulting in a fight-or-flight response].

Good memory: The filming of "Murder Mansion" on January 1st, 2003 (and everything else that came from that first rendezvous of new friends).

Bad memory: Everything associated  with the filming of my senior class president video in 11th grade. Everything. What an awful film. No wonder I didn't win.

Good memory: Playing Final Fantasy 6 during summer 2004 with Steve and Isaac.

Bad memory: Continuing with the last bad memory, the Exec Council Interview during my senior class president campaign.

Good memory: Putting on the shirt I'm currently wearing earlier this morning (an American Eagle polo) and realizing how nice it fit me.

Bad memory: Punching Chris on the top of his head in 10th grade and the resulting painful sensation that had me thinking I broke my hand. (That's Hitting Memory #4)

Good memory: The day I tried the "Turkey Cheddar Jalapeno" soup at Harmon's... like, three weeks ago. Man, it was good! Holy cow!

Bad memory: Cameron Call getting hit by a car.

Good memory: Cameron Call ending up being all right after getting hit by a car.

Bad memory: Some girl (a married girl in her 20s) in one of my wards on my mission, telling me that I am "very awkward when I talk to people."

Good memory: A lady attempting to cast Elder Call and I out of her driveway in the name of Jesus by raising her arm to the square (obviously, I am thinking through my mission at the moment).

Bad memory: Elder Walker and I getting our faces bashed in (metaphorically) by an angry British guy.

Good memory: Giving a priesthood blessing to Jericho Messer, 2-year-old son of a very nice gentleman we met named Kevin, in Shelbyville, TN.

Bad memory: The moment in November 2008 when I learned that my very first baptism left the church.

Good memory: Getting up on waterskis for the first time.

Bad memory: Botching musical number on the piano at my brother Sheridan's mission farewell.

Good memory: Friends singing "How Great Thou Art" at my mission farewell.

Bad memory: Ambushing random kids on the playground with supersoakers with Nick Austen in either 1st or 2nd grade. Why is this a bad memory? It actually sound really fun, right? Well, at the time, it was, in a real demented twisted sort of way, like any memory involving Nick Austen. But I'm ashamed of the mean kid I was whenever I was with him.

Good memory: Talking to Isaac through the schoolyard fence in 1st grade. For some reason, he always had ketchup and mustard stains on his face. This is my first memory of Isaac the Gish.

Bad memory: The end of Christmas break (more specifically, the first morning back) in 6th grade, feeling, seriously feeling, that Matt Matthison was going to bring a gun to school and carry out a mass shooting and that I was going to die. Man that kid was a psycho.

Good memory: Finding out I passed Chemistry I. On that same note, finding out I passed Chemistry II.

Bad memory: The day in middle school when I found out I had not made the cut to be on the "Fresh Trash" squad, you know, that dorky little percussion ensemble with the garbage cans. Also, the day in middle school when I found out I had not made the cut to play the quad toms in marching band. At some point though, I did end up playing both of these things. So no harm done, right? Although I was very very very angry at Master, I mean, Mr. Bateman.

Good memory: Isaac, Beau, and I running around Isaac's house for hours shooting each other with an airsoft gun. Yes, one airsoft gun.

Bad memory: Getting pulled over and ticketed by Officer Grumpy McGrump on January 30th, 2006, for rolling through a stop sign. Aw, first ticket!

Good memory: 9th grade luau at Sand Hollow Aquatic and eating a Goldhart hamburger that made me sick (so called because it was cooked by Principal Goldhart). Yes, I know being sick should not go in the good memory list. But it was pretty funny. By the way, does anyone else remember Principal Goldhart's Words of Wisdom from the daily announcements in middle school? That Goldhart, he was pretty inspiring.

Bad memory: Probably slapping Nick or Sheridan in the face multiple times. Or is that a good memory? By the way, my brother Nick just reminded me a few weeks ago that I slapped him in the face the day I got my mission call. I don't even recall. All these slappings just blend together.

Good memory: Throwing macaroni salad (or was it tuna casserole?) at Ben's face.

Bad memory: Getting rebuked by President Lords for being a crappy missionary in Murfreesboro, TN.

Good memory: Playing in the snow with Emily, sometime in December 2008, when we had just started dating.

Bad memory: Getting rebuked by President Lords for still being a crappy missionary, in Shelbyville, TN.

Good memory: Surprise birthday party in 2006, involving Isaac taking me to Wal-Mart to buy me a present, and then coming home and not finding it odd that Kerrah Kelly was at my house, not finding it odd that there were snacks and beverages everywhere, and not finding it odd that Kerrah wanted to go downstairs and play foosball. SURPRISE!!!!

Bad memory: Combined memories of all experiences in high school being rejected by girls I liked.

Good memory: First kiss with Emily atop airport hill.

Bad memory: Slapping Eric Gibson after Angel's Landing hike, June 10th, 2006, not long after I spit on Ariane's backpack from atop a bridge. (I've lost track of which "slapping" this is.) This was a bad amygdala hijack.

Good memory: Running through sprinklers as a regular summertime activity when I was younger. Oh, dear summer.

Bad memory: Losing to Cody Stewart in 6th grade talent show. Apparently, 6th graders prefer Blink 182 to Ludwig Beethoven. Imagine that!

Good memory: The day in summer 2000 when Brady Pallas helped populate my MSN Messenger contact list with actual people and gave me the opportunity to make friends.

Bad memory: The time in 7th grade Home Economics class when Amanda Leal and Kristen Edwards mocked me and bulled me during a cooking course.

Good memory: All times spent at Emily's Aunt Susan's house in San Diego, first of all because of how nice the Wilcox's are, but also because of HOW GOOD THEIR HOUSE SMELLS. HOLY COW.

Bad memory: The time I wrote a mean thing about my mom on the computer and she found it (I forgot the time with this, likely pre-teen to early teenage years).

Good memory: Going to Santa Clara Merc with Nick on Saturdays as a youngliing to buy candy. On that same note, the day I was running down the hill behind our house and I fell face first into a thorn bush, and then Nick pulled me out and we just laughed. HEH! THORN PAIN!

Bad memory: The Jazz losing to the Blazers in the 2000 NBA playoffs 4-1, and Hornacek retiring, also me crying a lot. I suppose anytime the Jazz lost, but I think this is the only time I ever cried.

Good memory: Running 6 minute mile in 7th grade P.E.

Bad memory: Failing to catch football multiple times in 8th grade P.E. and getting yelled at by Lee Erickson.

Good memory: Playing "Flying Pen of Death" with Justin Olsen and Jeff Knowlton during 11th grade pre-calculus class.

Bad memory: Throwing tantrum after dying in game of "BANG!" at Isaac's house about 3 years ago. This was the last time I ever threw a tantrum over a game. I was embarrassed after this and vowed to "mellow out," which I have done a pretty good job with ever since.

And ending on a good note.

Good memory: The day Emily and Rivers came home from Salt Lake.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Huggins, M.D.

Bill Huggins emerged from his bomb shelter, like some great emerging thing. He had emerged from many things in his life. From a swimming pool. From his house. From his basement. Victorious, from a backyard wrestling match. It was no wonder that his friends often called him Bill The Emergent. 

But now, Bill had no friends. They were all dead, all victims of this senseless brutal war.

"What a senseless brutal war," Bill said to himself as he wandered his street, surveying the devastation. The nuclear bombs had turned the city into a skeleton of its former self. Dead trees were scattered here and there, an occasional house still standing. No life was to be found anywhere. Not on his street. Not in the neighborhood Chevron. Not at the local discotheque. Not at Jim's Tire and Oil on 17th street. 

Overcome with grief, Bill Huggins collapsed on the ground in front of the Crudville discotheque and sobbed. 

"Why?!" he shouted, shaking his fist at the sky. "WHY?!"

Well, I'll tell you why Bill Huggins. Because this world is just a sick place! Back in the olden days, people had to settle their disputes like men! And that meant a good ol' fashioned fish fight! 

"Oh, surely there's some mistake," said Bill to me, whoever I am. "You must be referring to a fist fight."

No, you read it right Bill. You read it more right than you've ever read anything in your life. A fish fight. Slapping each other around with fish. Trout. Salmon. Mackerel. Catfish. White Tipped Reef Sharks. It happened all the time. You may not think you ever saw a guy slapping another guy with a fish, but it happened. Oh boy howdy, did it ever happen. Especially in Arizona. And the western slopes of Bulgaria. And it was a very effective method of dispute-resolving. But times have changed. Nowadays, it's just "Oh, I'm mad at my neighbor Bob for not returning my hedge trimmer, guess I'll type in my super secret launch codes and push the big red button and nuke his house," followed by all of these actions and the ensuing total destruction of a small city. We've become so spoiled, so reliant on our nuclear missiles for resolving our disputes. Well Bill, I'm here to tell you, no more! 

"But..." asked Bill. "How else am I supposed to get revenge on that guy who didn't clean his dog poop off my lawn?" 

Good question Bill. Before this situation gets out of control and your hand inches for your launch codes, let's just take a step back, gather our senses, and analyze. Is this issue big enough that it's worth leveling the entire city for, and in fact, vaporizing yourself?

"I'll be okay, I've got a bomb shelter!" Bill responded. 

Well, I'm just telling you, there may be more civil options that you're not considering.

Bill scoffed, like the scoffer that he was. It was no wonder that his friends often called him Bill the Scoffer.

"I've no need for you!" Bill yelled at me, whoever I am. "I can settle my own problems!"

Yes, sure you can, Bill. 

With that, Bill Huggins got up off the ground and ran. Just ran and ran. 

You can't run away from me Bill. I'm all around you.

"No!" cried Bill, as he ran. "Get away from me!" At this point, he hopped a pretty tall fence that had the fortune to still be standing. The fence was pretty happy about this. 

There is no escape, Bill. 

At some point in his running, Bill found a nice bush, and he tried to hide in it. He just sat in the bush, hiding, for several seconds. 

I can see you, Bill. 

Bill flung a curse word, then scampered out of the bush and resumed running. This went on for awhile. A couple minutes later, he found a nice dilapidated barn that matched his shirt color pretty nicely. He stood still in front of the barn in an attempt to blend in.

Nice try, Bill. You're by the barn.

Bill swore again and resumed running.

But Bill couldn't keep up the charade forever. Soon, he began to grow weary, and within minutes, was bent over gasping for air. 

"I...can't...beat you," he said between lungfuls of air. 

Well Bill, I applaud the effort. 

Bill was cheered immensely by the praise.

And so it came to pass that Bill and I became friends. Bill Huggins, the Emergent, the Scoffer, that lovable old coot, and I, an unembodied mystical intelligence who enjoyed narrating Bill's life and always popping in to offer a treatise or two about various political topics, much to Bill's annoyance. And Bill continued to scoff, and to emerge from things, and we generally managed to get along pretty well surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of death. 

The End

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Flaming Norge

I got sick of the anti-phone updates, they were pretty boring. Also, I started to fail around Tuesday or Wednesday, so... I went about a week. I think. Meh.

I've been reading "Congo" this week. There's a lot of psycho killer gorillas. If you like that kind of thing... then you should definitely give it a read. GIVE IT ONE. NOW.

The weekend was spent watching home videos with the family. I watched my childhood from age 3 - age 12 in the course of a few hours. It was weird. There was one part where we were doing a school play in my 1st grade class, and I was able to name probably 90% of the other kids in the video footage. Which is crazy, right? I haven't seen any of these kids or really thought about them at all in many years, but their names are right there in the temporal lobe of my cerebral cortex, matched up with a profile picture. Good job brain!

In primary today, we watched "The Restoration." This was a film that I managed to memorize, word for word, from beginning to end, on my mission. It's actually a really good church movie, as much as I have enjoyed making fun of it for many years. So many good one-liners that entertained my mission companions and I. "He overcometh all..." "HALLELUJAH!" "Beware of pride, boy! Your eternal soul is at stake!" "THERE IS... NO... MESSIAH!" Oh wait, that last one is from another film, The Testaments. Also filled with a plethora of one liners.

"In your new kingdom, I cannot be your father! But wherever you go... you will always be... my son!"

The End

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Update on Breaking Phone Addiction

Here's a review of my goals in attempting to break a phone addiction.

1) Five minutes of Facebooking per day.
            - I have actually been doing real well with this. I deleted the Facebook app on my phone so it's not quite as readily accessible (just using Safari). Five minutes seems like plenty per day, although if I have to write a comment or reply to someone, this eats up time. I don't really miss it at all. There was never a whole lot of worthwhile stuff to read on Facebook anyway, although I do enjoy the posts of Mike Nelson (from MST3K) who is quite humorous, and anybody else that has something worthwhile to say (that means something that makes me laugh or piques my interest in some way).

2) Tucking phone away in drawer at work and getting a watch
            - I ended up not doing this because I don't have a working watch. But I haven't been tempted to use it when working, besides checking time, and occasionally using it with patients to show family pictures, look up stuff online, etc. The constant checking of Facebook is no longer a problem.

3) No checking the "trending" page on Facebook
            - No problem whatsoever. I HATE the trending section. It usually has a couple important news stories, and then the rest is just absolute garbage, like how some new stupid hashtag has "surfaced" or some innocent quote by somebody that has been taken out of context to be homophobic or something, and then sparked riots in front of the White House.

4) No checking Facebook first thing in the morning
            - While I have succeeded at this, it has been hard. I don't know why. I suppose it's the fact that I've gone 8+ hours without looking at it and I'm afraid I may have missed something, like a noteworthy post from someone, or some important news in the trending page.

5) No phone use before bed, to improve sleep
             - Done pretty well, although my sleep still sucks.

Also, I turned the colors on my phone to "grayscale." I don't know if this will accomplish anything. But the colors are apparently kind of stimulating.

It's gonna be cold... it's gonna be grayscale... and
it's gonna last you for the rest of your life!

I know this all sounds like baloney. Like, is it really worth it for me to post all this? Do I sound like Anti-Yoga Pants Lady? I don't want to sound like Anti-Yoga Pants Lady. I am not Anti-Yoga Pants Lady. For anybody that doesn't know who Anti-Yoga Pants Lady is, well, she's some lady that wrote a blog several months ago entitled something along the lines of "Why I Don't Wear Leggings Anymore," or some such crap. It was the most self-righteous thing I've ever read in my life. But that's a story for another time. Oh boy, what a story.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Breaking a Phone Addiction

I'm taking a break from my usual quirky silly blogs to write something serious. Well, there may even be high amounts of quirk in this blog (hard to go quirkless in a Holden "The Plant" Green blog), but this is something I've been thinking about today a lot.

I am an addict.

I'm an addict to a lot of things actually. Picking my fingernails and toenails (EWWWWW, you surely must be ewwwing). My phone. Facebook. Okay, that's pretty much all. I guess that's not a lot of things. But I am taking this opportunity to confess that I have these addictions, and I want to do something about my smartphone addiction.

Seriously... every spare moment I have, my hand reaches for my phone in my pocket, to check Facebook or new emails or some such lame thing that I really don't care about, but boy, just seeing that little red number one makes me SO EXCITED. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning after I silence my alarm is to check Facebook, and see what's trending in the news section. I spend far too much time staring at my phone while Rivers is running around being cute and I'm too busy to pay attention. Guys, what's wrong with me? What am I looking for?

Me staring with unbridled joy, excitement, and lusty
passion as my phone alerts me to the latest and greatest Facebook notification, which is
probably some person inviting me to play Candy Crush Saga. And boy, WHAT A

So right now, it's Wednesday night at 8:55 PM. I will make a plan for the next seven days that will include five elements:

1) Five minutes of Facebooking per day
2) With my spare moments of free time at work, my phone will be tucked away in a drawer, necessitating the need for me to wear a watch to keep track of time. I need a watch.
3) Absolutely NO checking the trending section on Facebook. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!
4) Absolutely NO checking Facebook first thing in the morning.
5) No phone use before bed (up to 1 hour) to improve sleep.

I will report every night in a really enthralling exciting blog post. ENTHRALLING.

I swear... I am not doing this to be up on a high horse. I HATE HATE HATE all those blogs that are so self-righteous and expect you to do some ridiculous thing to be as righteous as the blogger (like the stupid yoga pants lady). However, this seems like a good idea, and I'm sure a lot of people feel similarly, that phone addiction is a real thing and they want to take back control of their time. Anywho, we'll see if this works. Wish me luck. No. Wish me skill. And I love you all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beers On Me Guys

Saturday is a special day!

Here’s a recap of Saturn’s Day. So I had to go work at the Templum this morning for a few hours as a sub for my dad, who was laid up in the hospital yesterday and today. It was just a delight. I got to push the laundry cart around, take cards to the front desk 100 times to get them stamped, and just in general milling around the templum like the little Normans are prone to do. I also confirmed a lot of people members of the church as proxy, which, when you think about it, is kinda weird. But not really. But it still is, you know? Like, all the little dead people are just floating around waiting to be confirmed members of the church. Anywho, I was thinking about astronomy a lot as I was sitting around waiting for things to do. Just pondering the vastness of the universe, the great interstellar distances that we cannot fathom. And yet, this, this temple, this holy edifice, is the most sacred place in God’s universe. This little white building on this infinitesimally tiny planet floating around in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy amongst billions and billions of other stars and planets. COMMENCE HEAD EXPLOSION.

Anywho, then I visited my dad at the hospital, who is considered a fall risk for, apparently, a recent procedure he had in which he received a heart stent. The only thing is, this never happened. He has never had a stent put in. But that doesn’t matter. FALL RISK. So he had a sandwich for lunch, and he gave me half, and it was one of the BEST sandwiches I’ve ever had. Turkey, cranberry, and cream cheese. Oh, what a delight. Then Emily and Rivers came, and Rivers started screaming his head off, as he is prone to do. Then we left at some point, and went to a wedding, and there was a lot of wedding going on, the end, I’m tired of this post.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thanatos, Demon of the Underworld

          What mood should this post carry today? Funny? Quirky? Informative? Entertaining? Depressing? A combination of any of those? Well, let’s write some crap down and see how it pans out, eh? First, I would like to talk to you about… space. Space really is amazing. It’s just amazing, isn’t it? The vast distances and sizes that are associated with space make my head want to explode like a supernova. I have recently become convinced that human brains are somehow connected in some weird way to stars, and every time someone ponders the meaning of the universe, or the length of time it takes to get across the Milky Way, or how much bigger the star Betelgeuse is compared to our own sun, or how hot the Big Bang was, or how long everything has been floating around up there, their head figuratively explodes, causing a 5 million solar-mass star to literally explode somewhere. I call it the “Head Explode Star Explode” Theory, and I’ve already proven it in my world famous lavatory.

          What is the mood now? A good mood? A goody moody? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Let’s discuss one other thing that’s really gross. So in 10th grade, I was in a German class. We had some foreign language festival, and for some reason, I was assigned to be a butcher. My idea of being a good butcher was taking hot dogs (that hadn’t been cooked or anything), stuffing them in hats in the shape of chickens, and then ripping them out of the hats when people walked by our booth, pretending that it was supposed to be chicken meat. This was followed by cutting up the hot dogs, dipping them in a puddle of ketchup, and then offering them to people. You may think I was trying to be funny, but in fact, I wasn’t, I thought it was just a great idea. Not a lot of people ate the hot dogs. I don’t know how many health codes I violated with this despicable behavior, but no one got mad at me, so whatever man. No one ever gets mad at me for anything.

          Especially you.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10th, 2016 - SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY

[Names of certain individuals have been changed, namely, the one in the first paragraph]

QUICK! MUST WRITE. NOW. FAST. Before desire to write vanishes in a twinkling of an eye! Uh, uh, what happened today? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? SWEAR! Well, I worked. Like the apostate scum I am. Not too bad of a day. Von Hydramelladink (yes, that's a name) yelled "HELP! HELP ME! HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME!" a hundred times, from her room. It's a tradition! HEEEEELP!
It rained a lot this morning and yesterday. Would you like to know why? Well, we had a "low pressure system" move in, made up of warm moist air. Warm air is lighter and less dense than cooler air (HENCE: LOW PRESSURE), so this particular warm air ascended to the stratosphere (or one of those spheres up there), then cooled and condensed (moving from a gaseous state to a more liquidy state), forming lots of puffy pink clouds, which promptly exploded all over us, spilling their wet rainy contents all over my face, and all over inside Emily's Miata, and at the same time, soaking my copy of "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson, which, incidentally, is the book that taught me how this all occurs. If you're wondering how this was allowed to happen, well, I left the top down when I went in to work, not thinking in the slightest that a Rainstorm Massacre was ahead. The only thing I think about at these times is OH PLEASE, DON'T LET ME HAVE TO WIPE UP POO TODAY. PLEEEEEASE. HEEEEELP! NOT THE POO!
When I can't think of anything to write, I just number the pages in this journal. It feels productive. Like a productive cough, spewing up phlegm. Whoever decided that there is a letter "G" in "phlegm?" There is clearly no "G" sound. Why not just FLEM? In my opinion, "phlegm" is the most unnecessarily complicated spelled word in the English language. You know what would be gross? If it rained phlegm. PHLEGMSTORM MASSACRE. Can you believe this is all being written by a person who will soon be studying "molecular genetics" and "comparative vertebrate anatomy" and "biostatistics and the scientific method" in the coming months in his triumphal return to the Dixie State School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? SCIENCE. Gosh I hope I don't have to buy a lab coat again. Those things cost a lot. For what? So I can PRETEND to be a scientist? I LOVE TO PLAY PRETEND. I don't think that lab coat is going to protect you from a shot of carbonic acid to the eyes. Is carbonic acid a thing? I don't know. It sounded deadly. And acidic. And SCIENCE. No, for real, I couldn't think of another deadly killer acid. Just imagine some chemistry lab safety video where some idiot decides to conduct an experiment involving HYDROFLOURIDEXAMETHOZONIC ACID (that's the most deadly sounding made-up acid I could come up with) and he's WAY too cool for his safety goggles, and it EXPLODES ALL OVER HIS FACE. Why are we imagining this again? I forgot. I'm sorry. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Randall's Wild Adventures in the Town Where He Resides

[writing prompt] You start training to run a marathon. Things are going well and you’ve developed a route that you like to run. One day you notice someone peeking out the window of one of the houses you pass, though you think nothing of it. But then the next day the peeper is back again. And the next day. Finally you decide to confront the peeper and knock on the door. But when the door opens, you are shocked to find out it’s someone from your past—who you thought was dead.

"Harry?!" I cry out in amazement. "Harry Jensen?! You're alive?"

"No," replies Harry, who I last saw sometime yesterday afternoon, and then he just kind of... disappeared. Well, we were just at my apartment, having a beer, and then he said he needed to go home. And so he did. And I never saw him again. Until now. At his house. "And neither are you."

"Whaaaa???" I say, as this new shocking revelation begins to sink in. Me? Dead? Preposterous! But deep down, deep inside my ascending colon and about halfway through my sigmoid colon, I know the truth. 

"Think about it Randall," says Harry, in that style in which Harry often says things. "All along, you've known this. All along, no one in your entire life has noticed you or said anything to you. No one has ever associated with you in any manner."

Part of me wants to shout at him NO! No no no no! That's impossible! 

"But what about that girl I took out on a date last week?" I reply. "You know, Stacy Hutchinson! I thought we had a really good time!"

Harry smiles, lowers his eyes to the ground, and shakes his head. 

"Randall, Randall, Randall," he says. "Didn't you notice that she was actually talking to another man the entire date? I know it sounds crazy... but there was another guy, right behind you, the whole date. I know the guy, he works down at Lipperman Draperies, a real nice guy. But you only thought she was on date with you. She was actually on a date with him!" 

"Okay, well, what about that job interview I went to a few days ago?" I reply. "I was the only one in the room there besides CEO Jimmy McBranahan! We had a conversation! He asked me about my family, about my past experience, really specific things actually. You're not telling me there's some crazy explanation for that, are you?"

"Oh, there's definitely an explanation!" replies Harry, and he immediately reaches up and pulls off his face, revealing... no... it couldn't be... 

"CEO Jimmy McBranahan?!" I cry. 

"Yes, Randall," he says, and puts his hand upon my shoulder, giving it one nice squeeze. "It was me all along."

"Boy, this is one crazy turn of events!" I yell. "Well, better finish my marathon training!"

"Yes," he replies, with a twinkle of his eye and a tip of his hat. Hey, where did he get that hat anyway? "Go forth Randall. Finish your marathon training. Then we'll get coffee."

"Oh boy!" I cry, and I'm actually crying this time, tears of the most intense joy, because... well... coffee?! With CEO Jimmy McBranahan? None of my marathon friends are gonna believe this! 

The End

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nighttime in the Tunnel

Rivers and I went on a walk together the other night. We often do this. I chronicled our journey with some photos.

A really weird jet contrail. LOOK AT IT. IT'S WEIRD.

We found this on the ground. I didn't have the willpower
to take it home and listen to it. I'm sorry Flex. Maybe next time.

Riba G!

Riba G!

Rivers correctly identified this straw wrapper
as a "9." 

Rivers: "Stop sign!"

Rivers: "A circle!"

Here, we have arrived at the Trail of Death, so
called because it resembles a trail.

In front of the Tunnel of Doom! #TUNNELOFDOOM

Rivers peers into the void of the Tunnel of Doom.
He likes to ask if it's nighttime in the tunnel.

Rivers' favorite stop sign in the world, for some
reason, at the corner of 540 N. and Dixie Drive.

In other news... there was this old guy in the Gospel Doctrine class at church today who must've thought he was at a comedy club or something. Every time the teacher said something that was even remotely funny, this old guy would laugh SO LOUD and clap a couple times. I found it humorous, in a humorous sort of way. You know the particular way? Well, that way.

I can't think of anything else funny right now. I'm sorry. Normally my mind is brimming with silly things. Did anything else funny happen this week? Guys, help me out. Something funny must've happened.