To Be Enlightened

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“I don’t understand,” Hal said. “It’s just a handgun and I got it to protect our home and family.”

“Okay, fine. I’ll enlighten you,” Rosemary said. “Statistics show that a gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used for self-defense.”

“Oh come on,” Hal responded. “That’s fake news.”

“No, it’s not. It’s true,” Rosemary said. “Having a gun in the home is eleven times more likely to be used for attempted or successful suicides than for self-defense. It’s seven times more likely to be used in criminal assaults and homicides, and four times more likely in unintentional shooting deaths or injuries.”

“But we’d use the gun exclusively for self-defense,” Hal objected.

Rosemary sighed. “Did you know that, on average, nearly 5,000 children in the United States receive medical treatment in an emergency room each year for a gun-related injury? And about 21% of those injuries are unintentional. Almost 1,300 children die annually from a gun-related injury in this country.”

“Really?” asked Hal, genuinely surprised by the statistics.

“Yes, and in just the first nine months of this year, almost 3,000 teens and kids have been shot,” Rosemary said. “Now do you understand why I don’t want you to bring a gun into our home?”

“But….”

“But nothing. Either that gun goes, or the kids and I go.”

It was Hal’s turn to sigh. “Yes, fine, you’ve enlightened me.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “enlighten.”

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How Did He Know What To Expect?

When I wrote my earlier post today in response to today’s one-word prompt, I quoted Abraham Lincoln, who famously said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

After publishing that post, I remembered something said by Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken, a prominent newspaperman and political commentator during the first half of the 20th century. His quote, featured in the image at the top of this post, was published in the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 26, 1920.

Well, old H. L. was quite prescient, wasn’t he? It took 96 years, but in 2016the plain folks of the land” would elect a moron as their president.

How did he know what to expect?

Oh right, the emails

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“What did you expect?” Blake asked his co-worker, Aaron.

“I really thought he’d change after the election. You know, become more presidential.”

“Oh, for crissake,” Blake said. “He’s a 71 year old man. He is who he is. He’s nothing but a loud, obnoxious carnival barker. And he’s a conman. Everyone who voted for him fell for his con.”

“But I honestly thought he’d grow into the role,” Aaron responded. “I figured that the things he said and the way he behaved during the campaign was just a bunch of  bravado and that if he won the election, he’d become a serious president, maybe even a great one.”

“A man that age doesn’t ‘grow into the job.’ And that old man, the one who is now the most powerful man on the planet, grows more senile with each passing day. Thanks to people like you, Aaron, who ate up all of  his bullshit, our country is being destroyed from within. It’s like what Abraham Lincoln said. He said, ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.'”

“Yeah, well, Blake, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for his opponent,” Aaron said. “You know, man. The emails and all.”

“Oh right. The emails.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “expect.”

Release the Kraken

FD42DB0C-BAE6-4D36-9303-F9521258F2E2When I woke up this morning, turned on my iPhone, and saw today’s one-word prompt, “release,” the phrase “release the kraken” popped into my still half asleep head. I knew that the phrase came from either a book or a movie I had read or seen, but I couldn’t remember the source or even what the hell a kraken is. So I Googled it.

According to Wikipedia, the kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. Authors over the years have postulated that the legend originated from sightings of giant squids that may grow to 40–50 feet in length. The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works. It was first described by the Dane Erik Pontoppidan in 1752.

Never having read anything written by Erik Pontoppidan, I knew that he was not the source for the “release the kraken” phrase I was remembering. So I dug deeper.

And that’s when I learned that I recalled the phrase “release the kraken” from the 1981 movie, “Clash of the Titans.” In that movie, the kraken is the pet of Poseidon, and Zeus orders it to destroy Argos to punish Acrisius, the king of Argos, from casting his wife and Perseus into the sea.

I don’t specifically remember seeing that movie, nor it’s remake in 2010. But somehow the phrase etched itself into my brain. It basically means to let all hell break loose. The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as “to own, to kick the ass of whomever it is that you’re releasing the kraken on.

So today I am going to totally release the kraken on you, my readers. Enjoy.

Another One of Those Days

Jason was getting pissed. He looked at his watch. The bus was running ten minutes late, based upon the schedule. Samantha, Jason’s wife, could sense his irritation. “Don’t worry,” she said, we’ll get to the theater in plenty of time.”

Jason and Samantha lived in a fairly large city. One of the advantages of being urban dwellers is that the city has a well-developed intra-city bus system. They owned a car, but it spent most of the time languishing in their garage. They mostly took buses because they had their pick of bus routes within a few blocks from their home that could get them to and from just about anywhere within the city. So there wasn’t much of a need to use their car unless they wanted to head out into the countryside.

“Finally,” Jason said, spotting a bus several blocks up the street. But as it got closer, Jason realized that it was a local bus, not the express bus he preferred. When the bus pulled up to the stop, Samantha started to get on, but Jason pulled her back. “Let’s wait for the R.”

The “R” label was for “rapid.” It meant that the bus would bypass those stops not designated as rapid bus stops. These express buses stopped at only about a third as many stops as the local buses.

“Oh please,” said Samantha. “The buses are running late, so let’s grab this one while we can. This way you’ll have plenty of time to get popcorn and we won’t miss the coming attractions.”

Jason looked at his watch once again. “Fine,” he said. “But I hate taking the local bus.” They boarded the bus, found their seats, and sat down. After reaching the third stop on the local route, Jason saw the “R” bus passing them by.

Jason’s face turned a deep shade of red and Samantha knew that he’d be blaming her for not agreeing to wait for the express bus.

It’s going to be another one of those days, she thought.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “express.”