Category Archives: angry rant

Spitzen Sparkin’ Daze

My old laptop is not happy…

It’s seen much better days,

It growls and grumbles, snorts and fumbles…

And gets revenge in many ways.

Now it thinks a tiny font…

Is funny next to this

And zooms the screen five-hundred percent

To make the next rhyme miss!

And hopefully, I can afford//#%& a new c om pu ter soon

Because this one is veery weiiird

And totally out of tune.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies, poetry

The Essential Law of Consent

It is a magic word for the Wizards in White to use, and failure to acquire it before you do what you do makes you an evil sorcerer without a soul. The word is consent.



  1. permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. “no change may be made without the consent of all the partners” Similar: agreement, assent, concurrence, accord, permission, authorization, sanction, leave, clearance, acquiescence, acceptance, approval, seal of approval, stamp of approval. imprimatur, backing, endorsement, confirmation, support, favor, good wishes, go-ahead, thumbs up, green light, OK, approbation Opposite: dissent


  1. give permission for something to happen. “he consented to a search by a detective” Similar: agree, to assent, to allow, give permission for, sanction, accept

Hopefully, she is getting permission to draw the people she is putting in her pictures before sharing them with the world. If the person you are drawing is a real person, you have to have their consent to use their image. If I am drawing a real person, I am careful to get consent. Of course, if I am drawing out of my head, using one of those little wooden pose models, or just making it up straight out of my head, imaginary consent is pretty much superfluous. (Superfluous… a very good word. But you should look it up before you use it so that you use it correctly. Much as this article does with the word consent.)

Both of the characters in the cartoon are made up. The first lady, the pirate Zorah the Seawitch, is a re-interpretation of a George Perez comic-book character (being an altered image that looks like the original only in pose and proportions, it essentially becomes my own creation.)

The portrait at the left of Naomi, was made from a photograph given to me by the girl herself, asking me to draw her as I saw her. This was consent. I not only gave her the first original, she expressly knew that I have a blog where I have posted such pictures before.

Of course, Naomi herself told me it doesn’t look enough like her that her friends would recognize her without help. And she did not give me permission to reveal her actual name. I made the name Naomi up for the portrait, using one letter that is the same as the first letter of her last name, and I will not reveal which letter that is. Thus, I have a sort of consent for calling the portrait by the name I call it.

This young lady consented to her boyfriend about having this picture drawn before she consented to posing.

Being a naturist or nudist requires a good deal of knowledge about consent. If you carry a camera around on your phone in a nudist park or naturist club, you have to understand you don’t have consent to take pictures of anybody without express permission… or written permission if you are in any way planning to publish it or put it on the internet. You also don’t have permission to stand around and stare at other nudists, just as they don’t have automatic consent to stare at you. Or laugh at you, unless you give consent by laughing about yourself first.

But the thing that makes the word consent a powerful magic word, is when somebody realizes using a little bit of common sense (which is actually an oxymoron because sense is not common and what the common man believes is true is rarely good sense) that this word needs to be taught in sex education classes (another oxymoron because nobody can teach sex education anymore due to the fact that the average ox who votes for the school board members is a moron and never had sex education himself but has a religion that tells him that he should reject any attempts to make his kids smarter as loudly as possible.)

In my own case, as a victim of a sexual assault by an older boy at the age of ten, I did not know about consent. And neither did my attacker. I did not give any consent to having my testicles twisted at the same time I was forbidden to scream in pain. And because I did not give consent, it was a crime, even for someone who wasn’t yet legally an adult, like him. Neither of us knew that I could say no legally and he had to stop. I was too traumatized to let myself remember what he did to me for another twelve years so he got away with it completely. It would’ve helped if I had known a little bit about what he was doing to me and why. And what my rights were supposed to be. And it wouldn’t have hurt if somebody had told him that what he was doing was wrong.

Kids need to know at a really early age more than just about bees pollinating flowers and birds singing to attract a mate for some serious egg laying. They need to know about consent. And what people should not do without consent. Or even with consent if it is forced, coerced, achieved through trickery, or not valued in court because you were under-aged when he did what he did.

Teaching consent as a part of sex education is an important enough idea that I will need to come back to it again later.

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Filed under angry rant, artwork, education, feeling sorry for myself, mental health, nudes, Paffooney

From an Alternative Point of View

These are not my two sons. The picture was drawn fifteen and ninteen years before they were born. Yet they were my two sons in the cartoon story this picture was lifted from.

Am I literally able to fortell the future? Of course not. But as an overly-sensitive artistical type one could argue that there is evidence in my art and writings that my reality now was at least partially embedded in my consciousness many years ago.

Estellia the Demoness

And truthfully, looking at the truth of things based on empirical evidence is what this point-of-view post is all about. We cannot always rely on the traditional concepts of good and evil as they have been taught to us. Sometimes you have to look at how the evidence stacks up properly, and just plain intuit a new way of seeing the whole picture. Yes, this is a portrait of a fifteen-year-old former student of mine. And she was definitely evil and difficult to deal with. But she went into nursing after high school. She works in the ER where her decisive ways and ferocious insistence on having things work out in her favor because that’s the way the established rules say it must be done turn into positive qualities that are probably saving lives in a Texas hospital as we speak. It is all in how you perceive the truth of a situation and then apply it.

Comedy, of course, depends greatly on rearranging your point of view. If you are going to make a joke about something, you have to re-mix and un-match the details in ways that still make a sort of sense to the reader or the hearer of the joke. I have taught at schools like Dudwhittler’s. If you are a teacher, you recognize that that school bus carries not only that which is funny, but also that which is very true. The teacher driving the bus is a tin man who easily rusts and cries too much, thus rusting further, but you can see he has earned his heart, even if he has to drive the bus on top of teaching so he will have enough money to buy food.

But probably the most anticipated thing from a new perspective that you were expecting since reading the title is a new perspective on the Coronavirus shut-down and economic depression. That alternative take is simply this… the pandemic, though extremely hard and painful, is a good thing that happened at the right time.

I am willing to say this, even though the way the virus has been mishandled in this country is going to very likely be the death of me, because there are benefits that we simply don’t recognize without a thorough punch to the gut and another to loose teeth.

It is a good thing because it will make it harder for Herr Fuhrer Pumpkinhead to win the next election, and he will probably take a number of corrupt Republicans down to the bottom of the sea with him.

It is a good thing because it is proving to us that we can survive on less and still make our way out of the bad situation.

It is a good thing because kids get extra time off from school, and probably also the chance to spend more time with the people who really teach them things we need them to know… like parents, grandparents on Zoom, teachers who don’t fear distance-learning technology, and trolls on the internet (Yes, I know that last one is risky and mainly learning the hard way, but it is also true from before the virus hit).

It is a good thing because the air is cleaner. And we have proven that we can make radical adjustments when it is a matter of life and death. And the environmental crisis is actually a matter of life and death.

So, now I’ve had my twisted say about my pretzel-minded perspective. And so you can now trash it, or possibly learn to like pretzels.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, humor, Paffooney, satire

Old and Grumpy

Suppose being grumpy was a super power, and we could, as a grumpy old brotherhood of geezers, coots, and conservative uncles, could change things just by complaining about them.

No woman would ever leave a toilet seat down again. The Dunkin’ Donuts on Frankford Road would magically reopen and never run out of donuts again. And liver spots and wrinkles would suddenly be attractive to beautiful young women whether they were linked to fortunes or not.

But what if, in order to make better use of this unexplainable super power, we start telling old coots like the fool in the picture that they have to prove they will use this super power only for good, or we will raise their taxes? Or we would forbid them from ever eating bacon again? Either of those things would definitely motivate them.

Of course, the biggest problem with geezers, old coots, and conservative uncles that no one wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving is that they don’t generally get smarter and nicer with age. It is probably not wise to give them a super power that can alter reality. Yes, they are generally quite literally mean-spirited and unqualifiably dumb. And it isn’t really a matter of whether they could ever actually have a super power like that. The real problem is that they already have it. They proved it in 2016 when they elected a gigantic orange-faced Pillsbury Doughboy with mental flatulence to lead our government. And it wasn’t the dumb part that did it. It was the literally mean part. Trump is a walking, talking old coot-complaint given to us by mean old men to tell us, “We are unhappy geezers, coots, and conservative uncles who would rather blow up the government than lift a single tax dollar (especially from a rich dude) to try and fix it”.

What we truly need to do is harness a bit of that grumpy-old-man complaining power, a truly misunderstood and misused super power, to tackle problems like making public schools better, cleaning the environment, and electing smarter leaders (not the stupid ones who actually represent the majority of us). But of course, we will first have to turn off the spigots in the brewery of prejudice and ignorance that is Fox News, and brand all the greedy and stupid people with a red letter “R” for Trumpian Republican. That way, knowing who to vote for to make things better will become easier to the point that even us geezers, old coots, and conservative uncles can do it right.

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Politics Are Doodoo, not Voodoo

President Ronny Ray-Gun

In the Republican primaries in 1980 it was Republican candidate George HW Bush who gave the old Gipper’s economic policy the accurate nickname of “Voodoo Economics.” Then when the Gipper defeated the last American President to have an administration without a war in it, that Voodoo became the things we do.

Banks became predatory, using credit card ploys to turn us into a nation of debtors where wealth defies gravity and trickles upward instead of down. To help that along, Republicans deregulated things, killed off the Savings-and-Loan industry through scandal to reduce competition. Wall Street learned to make greed good by building bubbles that allow profits to inflate them and eventually explode them. When the business moguls at the top of economic food chain went through the Great Depression (the ones who didn’t jump out of windows) they learned there are ways to turn recessions into profitable ventures for the wealthy elite. Income inequality grew fat on the raw meat of recession after recession.

And wars became a popular pastime again. Every president from Reagan onward had to manage a war they either started or inherited from their predecessor.

Gorbachev became the Premiere of the USSR. He attempted to modify Russia with Glasnost, opening up about the Russian past and the contemporary state of Russia’s economy. By opening up the ban on criticism, he caused the USSR to fall and the Cold War basically ended when they fell. Still, Republicans managed to always increase military spending, and use any excuse (in fact, making up some excuses) to declare war on somebody, especially little guys who were easy to beat up and bully. The Gipper did his happy dance and declared that Republicans had defeated evil. And stupid people gave him so much credit that two of the next three Republican Presidents got there with fewer popular votes than their opponents. And this was all okay because some voters count bigger than the rest of us.

And so the era of elections being decided by angry people and stupid people who want to punish the rest of us began.

Somehow a rodeo clown from Texas who dodged serving in combat during the Vietnam War became a war President, starting two wars, one against the wrong country. The Republicans deregulated more. Corporations cut down trees in National Forests more. They burned more coal. They fracked up the place and got more oil. And they looted and polluted more and more during the time when we could’ve done something to reverse the worst of climate change. They crashed the economy again. They made more money. They left a mess in the economy for Obama to clean up. And when he cleaned it up, they blamed him for not doing it right, and even for causing it all somehow before he took the oath of office.

And when Obama was done, and we were hoping we could return to breathing safely in the atmosphere that was quickly overheating and being filled with doodoo smells, the angry and stupid people elected an orange guy (seen above with the green guy he tried to help destroy the world.)

And now I cannot watch the news without getting steamed, or crying over pictures of dead children in Ukraine. And all of this Voodoo doodoo is deep-rooted in the Republican poopoo, growing in horrific power and doodoo smells since the time of Ronny Ray-gun. (Why can’t Star Wars Anti-Missile Systems take out Russian missiles over Ukraine? Did we not pay enough for them?)

If you are wondering why I do less and less political humor anymore, well… It really stopped being funny.

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Recovering from Chaos

I was forced to retire from my career as a teacher by ill health, caused by years of juggling the chaos of a classroom (24 years of it in the middle-school monkey house. Aargh! Seventh graders!) I went into a school in 1981 as a rookie teacher for $11,000 a year. I was expected to take over a class that chased the previous teacher out of teaching permanently with firecrackers under her chair and nearly destroyed the school. The principal and half the teachers were new that year at Frank Newman Junior High. And I was on my own with discipline that year as everybody was scrambling to do their own jobs. The other English teacher was also a rookie.

As a group, we organized an effective faculty. Most of us were there for years as we stabilized the chaos. I personally broke up more than 35 fist fights in my teaching career, more than half of them at that middle school, and more than half of those by myself. I got punched in the back of the head twice, faced down a kid with actual razor-sharp throwing stars as a concealed weapon, and had my car tires slashed twice and car window broken once all because I was a teacher who wanted them to learn how to read and write better.

I built the English department, writing curriculum for three different grade levels to respond to three different State Tests. I was the department head for eight years, in charge of the gifted and talented program, and I helped us achieve a commendation for writing skills on the TAAS Test in the late 90’s. Of course, what I built was torn down and rebuilt more than twice because, well, Education is all about managing chaos.

A typical Texas school bus.

People often say that teachers don”t really earn their pay.because all they do is talk to kids all day and then get three months off in the summer. But I never heard a fellow teacher make that claim.

So, now I am retired, working hard at just staying alive. Retirement is supposed to be a quiet, calm, and restful time of life. But in my now-going-on eight year retirement, I have had a heart problem complete with a week in the hospital with no diagnosis, a five-year Chapter Thirteen Bankruptcy which I finished paying off in November of 2021, a two-year-going-on-three-year Covid 19 pandemic, the loss of both of my parents (neither one because of the pandemic,) and now, a war in Ukraine that could turn into nuclear Armageddon.

So, what am I supposed to do to recover from the chaos?

Maybe stuff hollyhocks in my checkerboard baggy pants. Or maybe just be satisfied with fictional worlds and living in my head.

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Filed under angry rant, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching

Writer’s Block

I have always contended that I don’t have writer’s block. But some days, especially if I am not feeling well, I have writer’s lethargy. I can be slow to come up with the next thing. Writing can become bogged down and I am easily distracted or lose focus and have to return to what I was trying to do previously.

There is evidence that I have often had that kind of problem frequently on this blog. One thing I do to overcome writer’s lethargy is suddenly start thinking about how you can overcome writer’s block. What are the strategies that help me overcome it?

I often resort to “kickstart statements.” These are surprising or deep-left-field items that give the old brain a shot of adrenaline. The picture of the girl with the message blackboard is that kind of kickstarter. I never could have used that thing in any kind of social-media post when I was still employed as a teacher. It has the potential to generate parent complaints and administrative thoughts about evaluations and contract cancellations. But there really are kids who have thoughts like that in your classroom, and I know because not only was I a kid like that myself, I used it as an optional journal topic for writing practice, and, boy! do they ever catch fire when they can write about something like that and they know only the teacher is ever going to read it. It is the way I learned how many of my students had ever been to a nude beach in Corpus Christi or Lake Travis (Hippy Hollow.)

I can also look around the room, or scroll through my media library on WordPress and find an image or an item that generates ideas, responses, and even stories. I scrolled through to find this image of the Gummi Bear, who was a brief internet sensation on YouTube a few years ago coming from German CGI cartoons that illustrated earworm music with dancing green gummy bears. There’s a lot a goofy writer like me can run away with inspired by a nonsense thing like that.

It is also possible to generate new ideas by deconstructing a metaphor in as humorous and convoluted a way as possible. This word-food thing is the result of writer’s lethargy of a while back.

Of course, there is always the ranting factor. This, I think, is a go-to method used by stand-up comedians. They will pick something that is deeply bugging them, like the rats that inhabit my attic and walls during a winter that hasn’t yet completely gone. And they start listing all the ways they can make funny stories about the time the rat appeared on the bathroom floor tiles while my daughter was on the toilet, or the time the dog killed a rat that was in the trap already, but not dead enough not to bite back with the dog’s nose conveniently within the reach of rat teeth. And then they can rant onward about how disgusting rats are. And how can anyone look at a rat face and think they are cute? You look at that evil, beady-eyed face and you don’t think Mickey Mouse, you think plague, disease, the Black Death, and how much the Bank of America lawyer who sued you looks just like that.

So, you can see that generating ideas is easy. And you can write something interesting even on days when you can’t think of anything … quickly. When you have, not writer’s block, but writer’s lethargy.

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Filed under angry rant, autobiography, comedians, humor, insight, inspiration, Paffooney, writing, writing humor, writing teacher

The Doofus Divide


I am trying to cut down on political notions and noodling in this blog.  It is like sugar to a humor writer.  The easy laughs are sweet, but if you are diabetic, they will eventually build up and kill you.

But between Twitter-tweeting twit-wits and Facebook false-fact fools, I keep getting drawn back in.  The gang of kids I grew up with in Iowa are seriously infected with Tea Party propaganda now that they are old coots like me, and continue to vote for Teabagger trolls (And I mean literal trolls.  Steve King, Congressman from Iowa, has green skin and lives under a bridge… and maybe eats foolish children when they try to cross) for public office.  And of course, I live now in Texas where gun-toting cowboys look at you intently to find any possible reason to shoot you and then thank Jesus if you are fool enough to give them one (like admitting to be mostly a Democrat in your political persuasion).  They want to argue anything and everything I post on Facebook.  Apparently even my bird pictures and cat videos politically offend them.


Oooh!  This one really offends Teabaggers… especially the ones who make $25/hr or less.


Can you pick out the Trump voters in this line?  All of them maybe?

And I am not suggesting that people who voted Republican in the last election aren’t as smart as my side.  I waited until now in this essay to say that, because the childhood friends and family members in that group who read my blog will have all stopped reading by this point.  I really don’t need to give them any more ammunition for Facebook and dinner table arguments.

But my side of the table are not wholly guilt free.


I regularly tweet or post things like these, innocently believing these heroes of the heart and mind have universal appeal because they champion truth and science and facts.  But I become alarmed when I learn how much Bill Nye offends them.  They tell me, “That guy is not a scientist!  He has no right to argue for climate change issues or the non-existence of God.  He’s just a TV guy.”  And, I suppose they have a point.  I mean, his extensive education and background in engineering, or his years in television promoting science to kids in research-based creative ways, doesn’t necessarily make him an expert on all science.  And Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist.  He doesn’t have a degree in EVERYTHING.  And when I point out that their so-called experts on climate-change denial from Fox News cannot even claim to be TV weathermen, they are further put out by my brain-bashing bullying way of using my superior knowledge of science to put them down.  Okay, I get it.  I am not being careful enough of your feelings.  (Oh, I forgot, you stopped reading this a while back.)

But the point of this is, we have to stop listening to and electing stupid people, while at the same time being a bit nicer to each other.  We have to approach the discussion with the notion that you yourself may not be totally right about everything, and you may actually learn something by talking about it.  (Which is, of course, no problem for me since I really don’t know anything for certain and need to learn practically everything as if I were still four years old.)


Okay, Bill, I get it.  I am probably wrong about that too.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, forgiveness, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, humor, Liberal ideas, memes, politics, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Surviving Death and Taxes

Life is filled with impossible things.  Doing my taxes is definitely one of them.


I once owned a copy of this Will Eisner comic and got a good barrel of laughs out of it back in the day when I was young and full of life and the grim reaper wasn’t standing just outside the kitchen door like he is now.

It had a bunch of useful suggestions on what to do in the face of the two most unavoidable things in life.  I wish I could find it once again, but I fear it disappeared when my parents moved from Texas back to the farm in Iowa in the 1990’s.  It was probably stolen by someone who wanted to learn the valuable secrets it contained.  I accuse Donald Trump.  Surely that would explain all those years he paid zero dollars in taxes.  And I believe I spotted something with pale orange hair lurking behind the trash bin when my parents were loading the moving van.   Of course, it may have been only a dried out tumble weed.


Now, I am not saying that I don’t want to pay my taxes.  I have always felt that it was an important part of being a citizen to pay my fair share.  And if you want the benefits of government services like schools, fire departments, police forces, court systems, garbage collection, and all those other things we really can’t do without… well, somebody has to pay for them.scan0017

But it often seems to me that the whole matter could become considerably more equitable if those people to whom life and the economy have been more generous could see their way clear to pay a little of that good fortune towards common goals.  And I am not referring to the Koch brothers spending a billion dollars on elections, either.  That’s a transaction where they come out ahead, making more money back than they put in.  After all, they got the whole State of Kansas to pour their State funds directly into Koch Industries pocketbooks via tax breaks, effectively allowing them to rob all of Kansas’s public school children of their textbooks and lunch money.  How is that equitable and fair?

And paying taxes this year means probably paying far more than my fair share.  I recently completed a debt-reduction program to get out from under two decades worth of maxed-out credit cards at 25% to 29% interest rates.  And as a further punishment for trying to get free of the burden, credit card banks get to report the forgiven debt as income for me to the IRS.  And all of the banks decided this was the year for me to pay that off.  Well, except for Bank of America who are petulantly suing me for more money than I owe them.  I will probably end up mired back in credit card debt in order to survive the IRS.  So how does that square with Mitt Romney paying less than 15%?  Or Donald Trump paying nothing?

Copy (2) of B_WE.DEATHTAX.B

The only out for me, it seems, is to shake hands and make a deal with old Grimmy.  He has patiently waited for me for sixty years, through times when my six incurable diseases definitely gave him hope.  The only way to really escape the tax man is to take the really long dirt nap.  But I shall scrape funds together and give it one more try.  I just wish I could find that book.

(Note *** All the illustrations in this essay except for Mr. Flagg’s Uncle Sam were provided by the late great Will Eisner, the cartoonist so grand that the highest award for cartoonists is named after him.  But I am not paying any royalties for these images since I owe my soul to the IRS.)

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Filed under angry rant, artists I admire, artwork, autobiography, Depression, grumpiness, humor, politics, strange and wonderful ideas about life

How Computers Actually Work


This is how computers actually work.  I swear that it is true.  I know, I know… I have on occasion stretched the truth just a bit… like down the block and around the corner where I tied it around a lamp post.  But in my defense, I write fiction.  This is not fiction.  This is a narrative of actual experiences that I managed to live through and learn from.

You see, as I was working on my writing, I underwent a plethora of computer malfunctions that made me really, really mad.  I took my rubber stress ball and threw it at the far wall.  It bounced back directly into my left temple, making me see stars, and then, apparently, summoning a genii.  He was standing there grinning at me.

“How can I be of service, master?” he said with magical sparkles in his white teeth.

“Oh, I just wish I could see inside the computer to know why it does these terrible things to me every time I press a key.”

“Your wish is my command, master.”  He poofed me in a pink and blue cloud of genii magic, and suddenly I was tiny and digital, able to walk inside my computer and take a look.”


“What makes you the most mad, master?” the genii, whose name I learned was Computus, asked me.

“When it deletes stuff for no apparent reason…” I began.

“Ahh!  You need to see the Desert of the Deletion Dervishes.”

So he took me to a digital field of file flowers, where all the files that contained my best saved work were growing peacefully.  There were all the maniacal digital dervishes on digital horses, busy slashing the stems of my file flowers with their digital scimitars.

“Aagh!  No!” I cried.  “Why are they deleting my stuff?”

“Oh, do not worry.  They are focusing on the files you use most and deleting only those.  They are very efficient in carrying out their orders.”

“And who gives them these orders?”

“Why you do, sir.  When you give the computer orders from a drop down menu, you are rarely clicking on the order you intended to.  And “Save” is close enough to “Delete” to make our work simple.”

“And why do I keep having new windows opening up randomly where I don’t want them to?”

“Ah, the Public Pool of Pop-up Peris!  Let us go see that too!”


So he poofed me into a pit of electrical fire filled with electrical fire beings who were busy crafting evil pop-up windows to plague me.

“So, these creatures are filling my screen with ads for hemorrhoid creams and Asian dating sites?”

“Yes, and surveys about why you love President Trump and thought Obama was terrible.”

“And why when I click on the X’s to get rid of them, do two more appear?”

“Oh that’s simple.  They purposefully make the X’s so tiny and the surrounding area so sensitive that if you don’t hit the exact center of the X precisely, then it knows you want to see two more ads chosen specifically for you by the mind-reading genii.”

“But the ads are always the opposite of what I actually want to see!”

“Well, of course they are.  Computer genii are the kind made entirely of fire.  We call them Efrits, and they are the most powerful evil jinn we have available.”

So then I awoke with a painful knot on my forehead and a new understanding of why this post was so difficult to write.   The computer treats me so evilly because that is precisely what it was designed to do.

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