A Very Scary Fairy Tale – The Angry Orange Ogre

Tim Jones: Hey kids. Wanna hear a bedtime story?

Several young children: Yes, Mr. Tim! Please tell us a story!

Tim: Okay, but I should warn you. It’s a scary tale!

Johnny (age 9): I love scary stories, Mr. Tim!

Tim: Well, if you insist. But this is a very, VERY scary story!

Kevin (age 8): You can’t scare me, Mr. Tim!

Tim: We’ll see about that, Kevin.

Once upon a time there lived a mean and angry ogre called the TRUMP. The TRUMP was YUGE. He had an ugly orange face, like the scariest Jack-o’-lantern you’ve ever seen. His hair was made of golden straw. He lived in a fancy palace built of gold. And every few years, when the TRUMP tired of his latest wife slave, he would trade her in for a younger, prettier mail-order bride.

The TRUMP was feared by all. If anyone dared speak ill of him, his orange face would turn red and his straw hair would stand on end and he would threaten to destroy them – or worse, sue them for all the pennies in their piggy bank. Oh, he was a very mean ogre!

The TRUMP hungered for fame and power and palaces. So, one day, he declared he wanted to become ruler over the entire kingdom. He told the simple folk that their lives were miserable and that ONLY HE could make them happy again. They believed him – especially the ones living in the red villages.

The peasants gathered throughout the land in record-breaking crowds, wearing his red cap, chanting his name and singing his praises. The TRUMP grew wild with power. He spread lies to incite his followers into hating foreigners and he warned them only to watch Fox News. Before long, all the simple folk believed that the TRUMP would MAKE THE KINGDOM GREAT AGAIN and they chose him to become their ruler.

On the day the TRUMP took the throne, little did the simple folk know that the only creature he cared about was himself. He insisted that his servants only tell him good news about how his subjects loved him. And he banished anyone who questioned his wisdom, with these frightful words: YOU’RE FIRED!

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  • Now you have gone to "FAR" .... covfefe
    TerryC
  • Published On Oct. 12, 2017 by TEJ
  • Things My Father Taught Me

    My father was an extraordinary man. He was an attorney who won 99% of his cases. He played piano like a virtuoso even though he couldn’t read a note of music. He was extremely well-read. That is, I assume he was since we had a room the size of an apartment devoted to his book collection.

    He also was a perfectionist with a serious case of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I remember the time he admonished me for placing the tape dispenser in the drawer on its side rather than upright. I believe that was the moment my father realized that my education was sorely lacking. I was 15 at the time. For, in the years that followed, my father took it upon himself to teach me the “proper” way to handle many different challenges that life presented.

    Let me explain with an example. Say you’re alone in the house and you hear a scary noise that sounds like it might be coming from inside the house. You’re in total darkness. Should you:

    1. Grab a crowbar for protection against a possible home invader.
    2. Yell loudly to scare away any wild animals that may have strayed into your house. Or…
    3. Use the back of your hand to switch on the light.

    The correct answer, according to my father, was, of course, C. One should always flip on a light switch with the back of one’s hand. The reason is obvious – to a crazy person: To avoid leaving messy, oily finger prints on the light switch plate. Evidently, that should be your primary concern when you suspect burglars may be breaking into your house in the middle of the night.

    My dad died in 1979. In the 24 years that I shared this planet with him, he taught me scores of similar life lessons. Most of these were things I thought I had mastered by the third grade. Apparently, I was wrong. I might be performing a mundane task, such as brushing my teeth, when I’d notice in the mirror that objects were closer than they appeared. Specifically, my father, who would be standing in the doorway, quietly studying my technique, shaking his head in dismay. He would then deliver a lengthy dissertation on the correct procedure for a routine that I was evidently still mangling after all these years.

    If it weren’t for my dad, I never would have realized the cutlery hazards that awaited me at the dinner table. Do you know the proper way to put a spoon in your mouth? Is it:

    1. Open your mouth BEFORE inserting the spoon. Then close said mouth and suck in the food.
    2. Fill the spoon only halfway; gently insert the spoon into your mouth, avoiding a slurping sound. Or…
    3. A gentleman NEVER puts a spoon into his mouth. He brings it to his lips and gently tips the soup onto his palate without the spoon ever crossing the threshold of his lips. Where ARE your manners!?!

    According to my father the correct answer is C. But technically there was no correct answer – because whatever I did, it would have been wrong. Because, my dear father was (how can I put it gently?) flippin’ crazy.

    I have so many fond memories of those bonding moments with my dad. I even (surreptitiously) kept a list of every life skill he dadsplained to me: How to use a bottle opener; How to make toast; How to bite my tongue when he routinely insulted my intelligence. I gave my private list a snarky title: “Things My Father Taught Me.”

    I feel morally obligated to pass this wisdom onto you, my readers, so that you too may prepare your children for the harsh world that awaits them.

    Thank you, dad, for teaching me:

    How to water a plant

    How to toss something into a trash can

    How to lift a suitcase

    How to unpack a suitcase efficiently (I didn’t know that was a thing)

    How to adjust the angle of a table lamp for optimal reading lighting

    How to dry dishes

    How to walk properly

    How to chew food properly

    How to hang a shirt on a hanger (don’t forget to button the collar button and the third button down)

    How to open a shower curtain

    How to fold a towel and put it on a towel rack (make sure the width at the top is the same as the bottom)

    How to hold a sharp knife (this would have come in handy, had I opted to pursue a career as a mugger)

    How to close a door behind me

    How to buy low and sell high (I really should have paid closer attention to that lesson)

    How to pour soda into a glass

    How to hide the body and not leave prints (Okay, I made that one up. Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention)

    How to hold the steering wheel (always at 11 and 1, never 10 & 2. My Driver’s Ed instructor was apparently a charlatan)

    How to sit at a table (your back should NEVER touch the back of the chair)

    How to say hello properly when answering the phone

    How to dial a rotary phone (Always use your middle finger. To this day, I still use my middle finger for all sorts of situations.)

    And yes, the proper position of a scotch tape dispenser when placed back in a drawer: upright.

    One day, my father discovered my incriminating list hidden in my bottom dresser drawer, underneath my pajamas. Surprisingly, he did not take it as a tribute. Go figure. On that very memorable occasion, he taught me another valuable life lesson: Never hide in your pajama drawer something you don’t want your crazed father to find.

    As misguided as his lessons were, I know my dad meant well. I think about that list every now and then. Occasionally, it makes me cringe slightly – usually at the moment I catch myself telling my 21-year-old daughter the proper way to hold the steering wheel.

    That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

    PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

    Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

    ©Tim Jones Betsy Jones, View from the Bleachers 2017 (Betsy Jones is my sister and my editor. In fairness, she actually re-wrote most of this piece).


    • Sounds so much like my own father that it's scary - we could have almost been brothers! My…
      Anonymous
  • Published On Oct. 05, 2017 by TEJ
  • The Upside of Getting Old

    I recently turned 45. Even more recently, I turned 62. This old body is starting to show signs of wear and tear. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure it’s way out of warranty. When I was a teenager, I thought anyone in their sixties was ancient. But now that I’m one of those people, I realize that as a naive 17-year-old, I was … 100% correct. If you’re one of those youthful people still in your teens, twenties, thirties or even forties, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve discovered many advantages to getting old.

    For example, at my age, I’ve stopped worrying about what other people think of my appearance. It’s so liberating. Sure, my body will never regain the six-pack abs I never had in my youth. And yes, my waistline is not quite as svelte as it once wasn’t. That’s okay. That’s the great thing about getting to this point in life: you can look back and finally accept that most of your hopes and dreams have passed you by. Nobody expects you to do any great new thing in your next chapter – because there is no next chapter. So, you can kick back and read the latest John Grisham novel – on the couch – in your boxers – scarfing down peanut butter from the jar.

    I’ll admit that I don’t have quite as much hair as I used to. But, full disclosure, I still have way more than my three brothers. Trust me, by comparison to them, I look like a member of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. Besides, now I’m finding hair in exciting new places, like my ears, my nostrils and the knuckles of my left hand. (But not my right hand, for some reason. Should I be worried about that?)

    Another benefit of aging is that I no longer worry about all the embarrassing things I did the previous day – because I usually can’t remember doing them. My recall skills have declined a bit in recent years. For example, last weekend, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the name of that gifted group who sang Let It Be and Hey Jude. Then hours later, BAM, it hit me: Of course! The Grateful Dead.

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    • Tim, one of your best and I am right there with you! If I were a facebook participant,…
      Thomas Owen
  • Published On Sep. 27, 2017 by TEJ
  • What You Need to Know Before You Remodel

    Right now, we’re far, far along in a major remodeling project – by which I mean we’re almost 15% through. On the off chance you’re foolishly thinking of doing something just as bone-headed, let me pass along some valuable advice.

    People who have survived the ordeal of a home makeover will use words like “exhausting”, “overwhelming” and “it was entirely my wife’s idea.” But there are countless others who tackled the same project who don’t have a single negative word to say about their experience. That’s because they’re all dead. It killed them. But if they could return from the grave, they’d totally concur with the survivors.

    Before you begin your long, arduous journey into this Hell hole, ask yourself a few salient questions: “Why on earth would you take on such a lengthy, expensive, frustrating endeavor?” and “Is your life raising teenagers not stressful enough already?” and “How do you feel about living in the garage for the next six months?” These are all excellent questions I wish someone had posed to me before we took the plunge. Actually, my sister raised all these points, but what does my sister know about home improvements? (I can’t believe you wrote that! – Betsy, your editor and SISTER!)

    My best counsel would be to forget about a remodel. Buy a nice hot tub instead. Way less hassle. But once you’ve decided to ignore my advice, the first thing to consider is how extensive of an upgrade? Are you simply looking to retile the bathroom? Or is it a bit more wall to wall, like ripping out the carpeting and replacing it with hardwood floors? Or have you gone completely off the rails and decided to gut the entire main level down to the studs and start over? Only an idiot would think such a massive undertaking was a good idea, and by idiot, I am, of course, referring to my wife’s husband.

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    • Good one Tim! Especially loved how the dead people kept their advice to themselves! :)
      Dorothy Rosby
  • Published On Sep. 19, 2017 by TEJ
  • Vancouver? – Ya’ Can’t Get There from Here

    [The following is a true story.]

    Here’s a tip you might want to jot down: When your guests from Argentina want to hit the rails to Vancouver departing from Stanwood, Washington, the closest town to my home with a train station, you might want to make reservations. I didn’t – which caused the following chain of events…

    It was the end of a very nice visit with Monique and Manuel. (Not their real names. Their real names are Maria and Jose.) I had already mapped out my day: Drop them off at the station to catch the 9:15 train. Get back home by 9:30. At 9:35 commence sleeping in the hammock. A perfect plan.

    Except for one small miscalculation. I failed to make train reservations for my friends. I wanted to wave “Goodbye” from my car, but decided that might be rude. So, I walked them to the platform. That’s when I heard the conductor announce, “Passengers with reservations only! All Aboard!” Reservations? It’s a ten-car train hailing from tiny Stanwood. Who needs reservations? I immediately had my own reservations – something was not right.

    There is a quaint saying: “The journey is the destination.” Except for that day when the destination was everything: Vancouver, CANADA – on CANADA DAY, the nation’s Independence Day – their biggest annual holiday after National Apology Day.

    No biggie. We’ll just make reservations for the next train, right? Nope. It didn’t leave for another 10 hours. What about a bus? Sorry. The sole Vancouver-bound bus left 15 minutes ago. How about a taxi or Uber? Great suggestion, Tim. Problem solved – so long as my guests were willing to shell out 400 bucks (American) for a 178-mile drive.

    I researched every transportation option I could think of: ferry, rental car, crop duster, Pony Express, you name it. None of them was feasible. And I had a gut feeling that my guests were not the hitchhiking type.

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    • LOL National Apology Day. Good one. Though I'm sorry you see fit to mock our…
      Rob McCarrol
  • Published On Sep. 14, 2017 by TEJ
  • A Day at the Races

    I was not sure what to expect when a buddy of mine invited me to join him for drag racing. Contrary to my assumptions, there were very few men sprinting in high heels, makeup and wigs. No, it turns out that drag racing is a completely different genre of entertainment. If you’re not familiar with this sport, let me cover the basics.

    The average race takes less time to finish than it takes to finish the sentence, “the average race takes less time to finish than it takes to finish this sentence.” The fastest dragsters hurtle down a 1,000-foot track in under four seconds. When I told my wife this, her response was, “That’s barely enough time to make it to the first turn.” During one heat I sneezed, causing me to completely miss the race.

    My wife does not understand drag racing at all – in the same way that I usually don’t understand my wife. You see, this sport is all about three things: insanely fast cars, thunderously loud engines that could burst your ear drums, and sexy young women in hot pants and knee-high kinky boots, hanging around the starting line, pretending to serve a purpose.

    When we sat down for the first heat, I almost had a heart attack at the explosion of noise. Imagine the heavy metal rock band Spinal Tap, with their speakers cranked up to 11. Now multiple that by 11 gazillion and you have a rough approximation of how loud these engines are.

    Typically, two racers are pitted against each other in a sprint. Sadly, I did not witness a single car veer off the track into the wall. The closest any car came to disaster was when one dragster’s engine caught fire, causing him to lose the race. My buddy informed me that replacing the engine would cost upwards of $250,000. Given that the average income for a drag racer is $75,000 – well, you do the math.

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    • I'm with your wife. I just don't get it. The noise, the need for speed and, especially, the young,…
      Scoundrel
  • Published On Sep. 06, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Visit to Authentic Scotland (Sort of)

    Recently, my wife and I spent a day exploring Scotland. Okay, technically we didn’t actually travel all the way to the land of Braveheart. But we did the next best thing: We went to a traditional Scottish Highland Games. If you’ve never been to a Highland Games before, it’s a lot like Game of Thrones, but with seriously overweight people who can’t get dates and have no business wearing kilts, along with booths selling Haggis, meat pies, and funnel cakes. But unlike Game of Thrones, I’m happy to report there were very few fatalities.

    My wife is Canadian. Her grandmother immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland with quite a set of pipes – bagpipes, that is. Every visit to Grandma’s included a concert of bagpipe music, complete with Amazing Grace as the grand finale. Apparently, this is how they punish children for misbehaving in Canada.

    It turns out I too have some Scottish ancestry – 1/8th – which qualified me for 10% off on a raspberry scone at MacGregor’s Scones ‘n Cones at the fair. My lineage is through the Hanna clan and can be traced all the way back to the year 1215, to a tiny town in southwestern Scotland called Sorbie. (True!) There is even a 15th century castle there that belongs to my clan, but it’s largely a ruin now. It figures. My ancestors never took good care of their stuff.

    To venture into the Games, we traversed a rickety drawbridge through towering castle walls all made from traditional Scottish plywood, reinforced with authentic Scotch Tape. I could smell the earthiness of moors as we passed the Honey Bucket porta potties. I started to tear up as the strains of a tartan-clad marching band wafted through the air. I could imagine my ancestors trading their wares as I meandered past vendors hawking t-shirts and mugs with expressions like “If it’s not Scottish, it’s Crap.” 

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    • Hoot Mon, Timothy! Ye gee us a great read. I'm thinkin' ye'd look real posh in a kilt…
      Eleanor Rushworh
  • Published On Aug. 05, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Personal War with a Backyard Mole

    I’m not a violent man. But everyone has their breaking point. And I’ve reached mine. If you’re a homeowner, there are three certainties in life: your property taxes will go up, the roof will need to be replaced SOON, and with the first blossoms of Spring, moles will arrive in your yard.

    I’ve lived in three different houses over the past 28 years. I’ve had a mole problem in every location. Not to sound paranoid, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same mole in each place. He’s following me. I’ve named him Henry – because I hate the name Henry. He probably crawls onto my covers at night just to glare at me with those nasty, vengeful pinhole eyes of his, daring me to try to defeat him.

    My never-ending war with Henry started up again this spring after a wintertime truce. At first it was just a skirmish. A mound of dirt discreetly left at the corner of my backyard. Barely noticeable. I stomped it down and that was that. There were no other mounds for several days. Relieved, I concluded that Henry had moved on to my neighbors’ yard. I concluded wrong.

    One week later, there were two fresh mole hills. The following week, four more. We’re now up to over 40 dirt pyramids. It’s possible Henry’s brought in reinforcements. Looks like my nemesis was going to make a mountain out of this after all.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not taking this lying down. I get off my hammock every morning to resume my personal battle with the furry face of evil. I’ve made countless trips to ACE Hardware to stock up on defenses and ammo. First, I tried sprinkling fox urine powder around my yard. Supposedly, moles are afraid of foxes, so the urine is a humane way to coax them to move next door. Apparently, my neighbors use a more powerful concentration of fox urine powder because Henry has decided to stay here and keep on digging. I can just see the smirk on Henry’s obnoxious squinty face right now.

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    • one word...pavement. yup just pave the backyard. It will settle the little bugger and you can wax nostalgic for…
      mark
  • Published On Jul. 29, 2017 by TEJ
  • Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Oil Rig Piston Corers and Drill Strings I Learned from My Dry Cleaner

    Did you know that on a deep-water oil rig, the crew cements casings between drillings and that when the rock cuttings reveal the oil sand from the reservoir rock, they then remove the drilling apparatus from the hole and perform a logging test to retrieve a core sampling before lowering a perforating gun into the well to set off explosive charges in order to create holes in the casing through which the oil can flow? Neither did I – that is, until this past Tuesday, when I stopped at my local dry cleaner to drop off a pair of pants.

    It was a routine trip to my local dry cleaners. All I wanted was to get my trousers pressed. In and out in three minutes, right? Not quite. The owner, an elderly Korean man, was feeling particularly chatty, so it took me almost a half hour to get out of there – and I was the only victim, I mean, customer. This is the honest (significantly abbreviated) retelling of the day time stood still.

    As I was wrapping things up, the proprietor, Mr. Ho, asked me my name – so he could write it down on the claim check. In retrospect, revealing that information was an egregious error.

    Mr. Ho: You name Jones? You know Keith Jones?

    Me: No, can’t say that I do. Who is Keith Jones?

    Mr. Ho: He very nice man. He live London, England.

    Me: You don’t say? And to think we’ve never met.

    Mr. Ho: He very smart. He manage oil rigs all over world.

    Me: Very impressive. Well, thank you. Have a nice day.

    Mr. Ho: He in charge of oil rigs in Africa and Asia. But not South America.

    Me: Fascinating. So, you say my pants will be ready on Friday afternoon? See you then.

    Mr. Ho: Keith Jones. He Welsh. You Welsh?

    Me: Um, yeah, I have Welsh ancestors – and Scottish and German.

    Mr. Ho: Keith no German. He Welsh. He very smart. Was my boss. He work in oil business for years. Manage rigs. I work on rigs for career.

    Now I SHOULD have just ignored that last comment, smiled, turned and marched out the door. But No! I had to be polite and ask, So, you worked on an oil rig, you say? I immediately paid for this blunder.

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      No Recent Comments
  • Published On Jul. 15, 2017 by TEJ
  • Meet the Likely Next President of My Alma Mater – ME

    I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but, begrudgingly, I may have to put my island life retirement on pause and return to work. That’s because odds are I will be selected as the next president of my alma mater, the prestigious University of Virginia.

    You see, I received this email from some guy named Louis something-or-other, whose title is “Rector”, whatever that means. Sounds important. So, Louis informs me the University of Virginia is seeking my input as an esteemed alumnus as to who should be the school’s next head honcho. He even included a survey. I love surveys.

    Naturally, I was deeply honored by this personal invitation he sent to me and 27,000 other alumni. I sure hope he overlooks that my last donation to UVa was in 1985. I was short on cash then, so I sent a $25 Starbucks gift card regifted to me for Christmas.

    The more I looked at Louis’s questions, the more obvious it became that I was the perfect candidate. Check out the survey and my responses below.

    Dear University of Virginia alumnus: Identifying the right leader for our future will depend upon the collective wisdom of the University community, so we appreciate you sharing your thoughts via this survey. 

    When you think of the University of Virginia, what sort of community do you envision the next president fostering?  

    MY RESPONSE: As your next university president, I envision a community that believes in effective communication. That’s why I would give special funding to Speech Communication, my extremely lame major, which only qualified me to flip burgers for a living or go on to grad school. It’s time we make Speech Communication the major of the future.

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    • You will definitely get the job. The problem is that you'll then be faced with turning it down unless it's…
      Rey Carr
  • Published On Jul. 02, 2017 by TEJ