Posts Tagged With: HumorOutcasts

Spotlight on Cathy Sikorski, Esq. – Author of “Who Moved my Teeth?

Excerpt from Who Moved my Teeth?

 

CHAPTER ONEfuckingteeth

WHAT SHOULD I HAVE ALREADY DONE?

Here’s a list of things you should do if you haven’t done them already, either for your loved one that you are/or will be a caregiver for quite soon…OR FOR YOURSELF!

  1. GET A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY….ACTUALLY GET TWO OR THREE!

What is a Power of Attorney? This is a critical document that allows someone to take care of your healthcare and business affairs. And everyone in the healthcare and caregiving business will ask you if you have a POA (Power of Attorney).

A Power of Attorney document comes in a few flavors. There are generally two types of POAs and they need to be Durable, kind of like a good pair of Levi Jeans. Durable means that no matter what happens to you, as a living person, the POA stays in effect. That’s a good thing because what would be the whole point of a POA if it doesn’t work when you can’t.  Like my Nana’s orthopedic shoes, she was never without them because she needed them for her health. And, during your life, you should never be without your Durable POAs.

  1. Durable Health Care Power of Attorney

This document allows a person to make all major and minor healthcare decisions for their loved one. The person who signs the Power of Attorney is giving the power to you or someone else to act as if you are the signer. So, if your mom signs a Durable POA, and gives the power to you, she has made you her agent.  You now have the power to act as if you are your mom in all health care situations. If you sign a POA and make your spouse your ‘Agent,’ your spouse now has the power to act as if he is you in all health care decisions concerning you.

This does not prevent Mom from continuing to make her own decisions about her health care. It does allow the agent, the POA, to make decisions, if necessary. Or, at the very least, as the POA you now have the authority to talk to everyone about your mom’s health care.

Does this replace that damned HIPAA form? Yes and yes. There is nothing wrong with you also having your loved one sign a HIPAA form that gives you authority to discuss medical issues, but the Durable Healthcare POA is the best and most powerful document you can have. And it lasts forever, until the person who signed it cancels it in writing. That’s why you need 2 or 3 originals. I always gave my clients 3 originals. In case one gets lost, is never returned, or becomes lining for the cat litter box somehow.

An original Durable POA means it has all original signatures and it is signed and witnessed by a Notary Public. So, if you have three original Durable POAs, you will have to sign in all important places 3 times and the Notary will sign each one separately as well.

  1. Durable Financial Power of Attorney

This document is different from a Health Care Power of Attorney. The person who signs this type of Durable Power of Attorney is giving the power to you or someone else to act as if you are that person in all financial situations. So if your mom gives you a Durable Financial POA, you now have the power to act as if you are your mom in all financial situations. This too, is a very powerful document. Since the agent is in the shoes of the person who assigned the power. The agent can buy, sell, transfer, pay, not pay and clean out every penny and asset there is. It sounds bad and ominous.  And there is no doubt that checks and balances are a good thing when you give a Durable Financial POA to someone. But never underestimate the NEED for this document.

  1. Between Spouses

Unless you have a real problem with your spouse, and I’m pretty sure that’s a Dr. Phil book, or if your spouse is already suffering from mental incapacity or incapable of making financial decisions, you and your spouse under normal circumstances should give each other Durable Healthcare and Durable Financial POAs.

This is a protection in case anything unplanned would happen to either of you. You would already have these documents in place to handle any emergency. I’m talking to you. The healthy baby boomer who is reading this, or the Gen-Xer who suddenly realizes their mom and dad are getting older. Hey! We are all getting older! If you are over 18 years old, you should consider Durable POAs for yourself. When my children went to college, I had them sign Durable POAs. As adults living hours away from home, I did not want any nonsense from a hospital or a college administration saying they wouldn’t talk to me about my child’s condition, be it a health or financial condition.

Fast forward to your own life now. You are 30-something or 40-something. You have kids, a nice house, a couple of cars. You have an accident. You are disabled. You’re in a coma. Your husband can’t sell the house, car, or shares in Microsoft, because they belong to you. The hospital wants to put a shunt in your brain to stop the bleeding but no one has the authority to say “yay” or “nay.” That’s why everyone needs Durable POAs at every stage of their adult life. Not when you’re 85 years old and you think, “hey, something might happen to me.”

DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW.

No one even needs to know you have these documents. You can go to your local wonderful attorney, get the paperwork done, put it in your fireproof box in the basement, and when someone needs to find your important papers….Voila!! There it is. Just make sure someone knows you have important papers and where they are located.

 

  1. A Word on Durable POAs

Besides being the most important document you may not have yet and need to get, POA’s can also be like a Chinese menu. Any lawyer worth her salt will take you through a process where you need to decide exactly how much power you want to bestow. In Pennsylvania, for example, where I reside, there are very strict rules about things like how much money can the POA give as a gift and to whom. So please, find a lawyer. Ask your friends, neighbors, someone you know who has dealt with issues like this. Research lawyers, but find one, and get your affairs in order. It’s that important, because if you need this and you don’t have it, this is what happens next…………….

  1. Whom Do I Choose to be my POA?

 

This question is complicated. Usually, if you are healthy and happy as a couple, you would choose each other as your primary POA. You should always have an alternate POA in case something happens to both of you simultaneously.

If your spouse is unable to be your POA, or you don’t have a spouse, you need to choose a person you can trust completely. This person will have power over your money and your health. You need to choose wisely.

Normally, it would be best to choose a daughter or son or other relative who lives close by. Making these decisions, especially with hospitals and doctors usually needs a person who is available to go to those places or meet with those healthcare professionals.

 

When deciding who to choose as your POA ask yourself some questions:

  1. Do I trust this person completely with my money and/or my health?
  2. Will they be available to make decisions at a moment’s notice?
  3. Are they capable of making these decisions?
  4. Does this person know how to find and ask for help for me?
  5. Do I want to put all the financial or health care power with one person, or do I want to give joint or several powers?

Caution: It can be challenging to have joint POAs because if they disagree, there is no one to ‘break the tie.’ You can have ‘either or’ POA’s. So that if you name your son and daughter as joint POA’s, your son and daughter can make decisions jointly or by themselves (severally). Note that they need to be able to work together for the several powers as they can make decisions without the other’s input. If you don’t see that happening, then choose one decider and an alternate.

 

Bio

cathysikorskiphotoamazon

Author of Showering With Nana: Confessions of a Serial Caregiver, Cathy Sikorski has been a significant caregiver for the last 25 years for seven different family members and friends. A published humorist, Sikorski is also a practicing attorney who limits her practice to Elder Law issues. Her combined legal and humor expertise has made her a sought-after speaker where she tackles the Comedy of Caregiving and the legal issues that affect those who will one day be or need a caregiver (which is everyone). Sikorski is a frequent guest on radio programs and podcasts where she talks about the importance of using humor in caregiving. With more than 30 years of law behind her, she provides critical legal information for our aging population. Her latest endeavor is her humorous memoir Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (killer) Caregiver (HumorOutcasts Press 2015).  Sikorski has participated in memoir writing classes for two years at the prestigious Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She has also participated in the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference where she won a Humor Prize in 2014. Sikorski blogs for The Huffington Post and is a contributing author for HumorOutcasts.com and she can been seen on the West Chester Story Slam YouTube channel.  Known as a “Thought Leader,” her work can be found in the HappinessRecipe Anthology: The Best of Year One, published 2014.  Sikorski maintains an active blog “You just have to Laugh…where Caregiving is Comedy…” at www.cathysikorski.com  where she continues to post absurd yet true stories that continue today.Contact Cathy Sikorski at cathy.sikorski@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @cathy_sikorski.

 

**********************

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

 

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Xin Xim (chicken and shrimp stew)

Brazilian Entree

XIN XIM
(chicken and shrimp stew)

xinximINGREDIENTS

3 garlic cloves
⅓ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil (2 more tablespoons later)
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon palm oil (aka dende), annatto oil, or olive oil (2½ tablespoons more later)
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
3 plum tomatoes
1½ cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried shrimp or ground dried shrimp
1½ ounces gingerroot
¾ cup cashews
⅓ cup peanuts, roasted and unsalted
2½ tablespoons palm oil (aka dende), annatto oil, or olive oil
1¼ cups coconut milk
⅓ cup fresh cilantro
2 fresh malagueta peppers (These are really hot. Serrano and jalapeno peppers are milder and easier to find)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor
Dutch oven
sonic obliterator

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Add garlic cloves to food processor. Blend until you get garlic paste. Add garlic paste, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pepper, salt, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and shrimp to large mixing bowl. Turn the chicken and the shrimp until they are well coated. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Remove chicken pieces from marinade and pat dry with paper towel. (Keep marinade.) Add chicken pieces and 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total) or until chicken turns golden brown. Remove and set aside.

Remove shrimp from marinade. Add shrimp and 1 tablespoon palm oil to Dutch oven. Sauté shrimp using high heat for 2 minutes or until shrimp starts to turn pink. Stir frequently. Remove shrimp with its marinade and set aside.

Mince onion. Seed and dice green bell pepper and plum tomatoes. Add onion and bell pepper to Dutch oven. Sauté for 5 minutes using medium-high heat or until onion softens. Add tomato, chicken pieces, and chicken stock. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer stew for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While stew simmers, add dried shrimp, gingerroot, cashews, and peanuts to food processor. Grind using low setting until you get little bits. Stop before they become paste. Add bits to Dutch oven. Stir until bits blend into the chicken stock. Simmer stew for 5 minutes on low heat.

While stews simmers, dice cilantro. (If at this time guests ask when will the meal be ready, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that negativity in your kitchen.) Add cilantro, marinated shrimp, 2½ tablespoons palm oil, coconut milk, and malagueta peppers. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes and shrimp are pink and the chicken is tender. Serve with golden farofa (a Brazilian dish made from cassava flour) or rice.

TIDBITS

1) Xin xim is an anagram for Xi minx. My 1941 dictionary says a minx is a hussy or a wanton. Xi is something inconsequential and boring. Qi is a word that no one ever speaks because no one knows what it means. It’s worth a lot in ScrabbleTM, though.

2) However, the anagram for “Chicken and Shrimp Stew” is “Mr. Ken’s pecan witch dish.” Mr. Ken Appleby was an Englishman working in Madrid in 1587 for the Spanish Inquisition. He never learned Spanish. Didn’t make interrogating his prisoners difficult?

3) Yes, it did. While his fellow Spanish-speaking inquisitors we’re putting prisoners on racks and extorting confessions with assembly-line efficiency, Ken lagged behind something considerable. Because he couldn’t understand the anguished admissions of his heretics, he had to resort to charades to communicate.

4) Except a person tied down and stretched out to pro-basketball lengths made a poor charade partner. So, Ken never tied down his prisoners. He fed them his pecan pie. Ken’s pies were delicious. People would confess to anything to eat one and they did. His pies were to die for and they did. Especially witches, who as everyone knows, break out in hives when they eat pecans. Ken was able to find one witch after another. He began a rapid ascent up the inquisitor ladder.

5) Then Spain and England went to war in 1588. A death warrant was put out for Ken. His happy days over, Ken fled to Brazil. However, his fame as with pecan pies preceded him. His life was still in danger. Fortunately an anagramist said his dish was anagram for chicken and shrimp stew. The Brazilians called his new culinary creation, xin xim, because they have words for everything. There.

Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms?

 

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Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

 

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Spotlight on Donna Cavanagh – Author of “How to Write and Share Humor”

Excerpt From How to Write  and Share Humor:

 

PART I: CAN I WRITE FUNNY?HowToWriteHumor(final2

 

Some writers do not know they are funny. Some writers can’t put their funny into words, and some want to use humor to loosen up their audience. How hard is it to write funny?

 

Chapter I: Let’s Talk Humor

A few years ago, while surfing the net, I came across this great quote from author and literary analyst Michael Cart. I found Mr. Cart on LinkedIn and asked him to follow me, but I got no response. However, in his defense, and as anyone on LinkedIn knows, if a person you don’t know asks you to be a connection, that person is probably a stalker. Yep, LinkedIn is the most paranoid social media platform available, and it makes people crazy with suspicion, but I still like it.
Anyway, back to the quote from Michael Cart, which I assume is correct because I did read it on the internet and everything you read on the internet is true so…
“Humor is the Rodney Dangerfield of Literary genres. It gets no respect.”
That quote blew me away. It is so profound that it deserved to be centered, italicized and put in quotation marks. And it is one hundred percent true. We all know we like to laugh. We watch comedians, sitcoms and funny movies. Our Facebook feeds are saturated with funny pictures, headlines and witty sayings. While I have no scientific data to back this next statement up, I would guess that humor is the fourth most popular type of post on Facebook. Posts about puppies, kittens and, of course, the consumption of wine seem to grab the top three spots.
Despite its amazing popularity, humor still is the black sheep of the literary world. It’s a mystery as to why this is. My guess is that those in the “real writing and reading world” put down humor because they struggle writing humor, and that fact ticks them off.

HUMOR IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT GENRES TO WRITE

I don’t mean to burst your bubble so soon out of the starting gate, but a lot of people do NOT write humor well. And I’m not just talking about the ability to write jokes or humorous essays. I’m talking about possessing the ability to infuse humor into their work even a tiny bit. It’s a difficult task and not for the weak hearted. Humor, if not done well and even if done well, can be misconstrued, judged or viewed as offensive. So you have to be careful with your words and project how they will affect your life and those in your life.

Who should not write humor?
· Anyone who hates to laugh
· Anyone who finds no humor in everyday life
· Anyone who needs to be liked all the time
· Anyone who is afraid to be offensive
· Anyone who must declare out loud to the world as often as possible how hysterically funny he or she is (if you have to keep telling people you are hysterical, there’s a better than ninety percent chance you are not hysterical).
What are some of the major challenges to writing humor?
· It is hard to translate the cadence of spoken word to written word.
· It is hard to create descriptions that paint your story in a humorous way.
· It is hard to create dialogue that represents the tone of the story you want to tell.
· It is hard to let go of inhibitions that have plagued you since you left the womb.
· Don’t fret. In this book, we will cover many of these challenges for you. So take a deep breath and read on.

 

CHAPTER II: To Niche or Not Niche

I guess if we want to truly understand the humor genre, we should start at the beginning and ask “What is humor?” I could give you the dry dictionary definition, but that’s boring. Instead, I’m going to give you my definition. Humor makes us smile, chuckle or laugh so hard coffee shoots out our noses when we read and drink at the same time. Humor tickles our funny bones and transforms a bad mood into a good mood. Humor is powerful stuff. In case anyone is wondering, comedy is a category under humor and is defined as a humorous art form, which can be written or oral and results in physical laughter. There are also many sub-genres of humor. Some of the more popular include:
· Observational Humor – Finding comedy in everyday life from your neighbor’s habit of walking around outside in his underwear to funny road signs
· Situational Humor – From trips to the emergency room to getting pulled over for a ticket to finding snakes in your bed—sure they sound terrible, but if they are not happening to you, they can be pretty funny.
· Satire – Making fun of culture, society, politics, religion, etc.
· Bathroom Humor – Fart and poop jokes never to go out of style.
· Relationship and Family Humor – Spouse and kids and all that goes with these topics, plus dating and divorce
· Stage of Life Humor – This can sometimes overlap with relationship humor as it encompasses topics such as empty nest, middle age, mommy bloggers, widowhood and menopause.
· Caustic or Snarky Humor (takes no hostages) – No one is protected from witty barbs.
· Melting Pot Humor – In this category I include everything from silly or funny photos with captions to fictional essays.
Do I have to find a niche?
Let’s assume you have the gift for humor but you don’t know what to do with this gift. The number one question budding humorists ask is “What should I write about?” I might be a rebel here, but this is my take on this sensitive topic. From day one in classrooms, kids and adults are taught “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.” I’m not against this advice for beginners, but I am against that advice if two years down the road, you are still writing only what you know. Talk about boring. Writing is fluid; writing is a journey. Make sure you book the trip and take that journey to the unknown or else you might find yourself stuck in a pile of mediocrity with no hope of escape. That sounds so dramatic, right? Okay, you might not die in a pile of mediocrity, but you will be trapped until you get the guts to try some fresh material. Take some chances!
I hear what you are saying: “I need a niche; I need a niche.” And, yes, to an extent that is true. You are not going to write about being a single dad if you are a polygamist with twenty-two kids. You are not going to write medical humor if you vomit when you get a paper cut. However, recognize the limitation to your niche. You cannot still be a “mommy blogger” when your kids have received their own AARP cards. You cannot be known as the menopause maven when your hot flashes and dry vagina turned cold a decade ago. In other words, it’s the theory of Natural Selection: adapt or become extinct. Be creative, move on, push that envelope and find your funny elsewhere. It’s okay to leave a niche behind so you can grow as a writer.
One other point while we are talking about what to write. Humor does not mean your entire life has to be an open book. Sure, write about experiences, but be careful. Not everyone in your life will delight in the fact that they are put on public display. Learn the difference between writing about experiences in a humorous way and humiliating your friends, family and possibly yourself.

WRITING EXERCISE

Write down what makes you laugh. Why do you find these topics so funny? Can you come up with five subjects that tickle your funny bone? Turn that idea into five sentences.

 

Bio

Donna Cavanagh-2 (1)

Donna Cavanagh is founder of HumorOutcasts.com (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books (HOPress-Shorehousebooks.com).  Cavanagh launched HO as an outlet for writers to showcase their work in a world that offered few avenues for humor. HO now features the creative talents of more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors from all over the world. Known for its eclectic content, HumorOutcasts has something for everyone.  As a writer herself, Cavanagh is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine, USA Today and other national media.  She has taught the how-to lessons of humor, blogging and publishing at The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. Recently named Humor Writer of the Month by the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Cavanagh has penned four humor books Reality: Fantasy’s Evil Twin, Try and Avoid the Speed Bumps, A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life (which she wrote with her dogs Frankie and Lulu) and the USA Books Contest finalist Life On the Off Ramp. Cavanagh hopes her latest book How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

How to Write and Share Humor is available on amazon.

 

**********************

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

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Is Donald Trump Afraid to Debate Paul De Lancey? Contact him.

Voters of America,button2

A week ago,via Facebook, I cordially invited Mr. Trump, candidate for the Republican party, to engage me in open debate. So far, he has given no response, Is he afraid? I would like to think this is not the case. So, I am asking you, the American citizenry, to contact Mr. Trump and urge him, to debate me, Paul R. De Lancey, of the Bacon & Chocolate Party. It’ll be fun, Donald. Bacon and chocolate will be served. Oh, and grated cheese. Make America grate again.

Candidate Trump can be contacted at:

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/contact

Thank you for your concern in the democratic process.

Bacon & Chocolate Party

Information on Bacon & Chocolate Party thoughts and goals.

Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

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Paul De Lancey Dares Donald Trump to Debate

Mr. Donald Trump,

I am challenging you to a debate. Your path to the White House is through me and the Bacon & Chocolate Party. Since this vibrant expression of democracy is my idea, the debate will be at a button2Mexican restaurant within twenty miles of Poway. You, as my esteemed opponent get to choose which Mexican restaurant. The winner of this debate gets to debate Ms. Clinton.

The gauntlet has been thrown. I await your response.

Bacon & Chocolate Party

President: Paul R. De Lancey
Vice President: Candace C. Bowen

And now a message from Ms. Bowen,

 Candace C. Bowen's photo.

Information on Bacon & Chocolate Party thoughts and goals.

Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com and doesn’t involve any bankruptcies at all.

Categories: Bacon & Chocolate, humor, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bacon & Chocolate Party: A Landslide Victory for De Lancey & Bowen

button2
The polls are closed. The people have spoken. The final vote count is:

Paul De Lancey – 19.5 – 78.0%
Elmer Fudd – 5.5 – 22.0%

Paul De Lancey and Candace C. Bowen will represent the
Bacon & Chocolate Party in November. It is with a great
sense of humility that they accept the nomination.

Let the reconciliation between humans and cartoon characters begin. Tip of the hat to Elmer Fudd who ran a vewwy, vewwy civil campaign. Paul De Lancey and Candace Bowen are proud to say there victory came without cheating. Of any kind.

Carly Fiorina tried to be this great land’s first female VP, but the people saying loud and clear, it’s going to Candace C. Bowen

And now a message from Ms. Bowen,

 Candace C. Bowen's photo.

Information on Bacon & Chocolate Party thoughts and goals.

Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

 

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Democracy in the Balance! You Need to Vote in Bacon & Chocolate Party’s Primary

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Yes dear voter, the future is now. Support our republic. Support democracy with your vote. Vote in Bacon & Chocolate Party’s online primary. It’s open to everyone regardless of residence or citizenship. We are the world. We are democracy. We are change. We like Bacon. We like Chocolate. We like bees. We like naps. What more do you need? Vote!

Candidates are: Paul R. De Lancey for president, Candace C. Bowen for vice president.
Elmer Fudd for president, Bugs Bunny for vice president.

Click on the following link to vote.

Bacon & Chocolate Party’s Facebook primary. Now you can look totalitarianism in the eye and say, “I did my part to stop you.

Information on Bacon & Chocolate Party thoughts and goals.

– Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

Categories: Bacon & Chocolate, humor, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight on Keith Stewart, Author of “Bernadette Peters Hates Me”

Excerpt from Bernadette Peters Hates Me

 

Free Range BirdBernadettepetershatesmefinalcover

I am obsessed with food, and not in the way that immediately comes to mind when a fat man types those words. I am constantly reading labels and trying to find organic products on my quest to be a healthy person. My normal diet is mostly vegetarian, and I have even considered going vegan (ok, I have read about the vegan lifestyle). I am a member of a CSA—community supported agriculture—farm, which basically means I get large baskets of fresh, locally grown, organic fruit and vegetables each week without having to actually tend a farm.

Regardless of how much I support local farms, I still have to go the grocery store each week for a lot of my food, and even then, I still try to buy organic products. Living in the Appalachian Mountains in a rural Kentucky town seriously hinders this effort. You don’t find much locally grown baby bok choy in the produce aisle at the Sav-A-Lot or the Piggly Wiggly.

As a result, not only do I have to leave the local farms and mom-and-pop grocery stores behind, but I also have to shop at the giant mega-grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good outing to Sam’s Club or Costco and buying huge bulk items, usually large pallets of dog food to feed our normal sized Dudley and the horse-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog, Duke. Plus, there is a certain comfort in knowing that I will have enough olive oil to supply my entire cul-de-sac or that I will not run out of toilet paper should my entire household get stricken with a nasty stomach virus.

My main concern about these high-ceilinged superstores can be boiled down into two words: trapped birds. I am deathly afraid of these trapped birds. You all have noticed them. They are always there, lurking. You are minding your own business, trying to decide on which flavor of Hamburger Helper to buy when suddenly it does a fly by. You know the stupid bird is scared to death. He probably just flew into the Walmart supercenter to grab one of those bird-seed concoctions molded into the shape of a bell for dinner when he lost his bearings. He can’t find his way out of the store, and he is now in panic mode. The saying “bird brain” was invented for a reason: they have small ones, and they don’t use what they have that well.

Why be scared of such a tiny bird? Why be so bitter towards a poor, struggling animal? Perhaps I am overreacting, you say? I beg to differ. A couple of years ago, I was accosted by an angry, terrified bird in a Kroger MegaGrand Store. I honestly can say I will never be the same, and neither will that dumb bird. Here’s how it went down:

I ran into the grocery after work to pick up a few items. For convenience, I stopped at the store that was closer to work, so it was not my home Kroger. All the produce was placed in completely different places, and I walked around aimlessly trying to find the organic section, in particular, the celery. I was standing in front of a large display of carefully pyramided cantaloupe when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something dark and ominous. It was a bird, maybe a sparrow, flying at what appeared to be the speed of a fully engrossed Indy car. I stood there and thought to myself, “Huh, that bird looks like it’s flying directly toward me.” The next thing I know I feel something repeatedly beating me about the head and ear, and I hear the FLAP FLAP FLAP of bird wings. “OH GOD! HELP ME!” I yelled, flailing both arms up in the air trying to fight off the crazed bird. I was feeling around for a celery stalk to use as a sword, and in my panic, I jumped back directly into the large display of cantaloupe. At this point, the bird had tired of terrorizing me and had flown away to target its next victim over in the dairy section, but I was still flailing my arms, rolling in the floor with about fifty cantaloupes.

 

After I was sure I was bird-free, I looked around at the scene. Gasping and out of breath, I was on my knees surrounded by a sea of cantaloupe, some still whole but most cracked open and oozing. My hair was tousled, my shirt had come untucked, and I was clutching my organic celery sword as if my life depended on it. The lady who had been restocking the iceberg lettuce rushed over to me while all the other shoppers in the produce section stared as if I’d just decided to do a back flip into the cantaloupe for no reason at all, like I was some sort of freakish, produce trouble maker. “Sir, are you ok?!” the lady asked. I couldn’t respond. I was incredibly embarrassed and just wanted to get out of the store.

I tried to maintain some level of grace, and finally told the woman, “Someone ought to do something about that bird.” She looked around either trying to see the bird or to look for security. Regardless, I could tell she did not believe I had been attacked. “Did you not see it?” I asked incredulously.

“Um, yes sir, yes,” she said as she helped me to my feet.

I made my way to the check-out getting madder with each step. That stupid bird had totally punked me right there in the produce section. He had done it so quickly and stealth-like that no one else had apparently even seen it. Stupid bird. Everyone just thought I was a big goober who had attacked the fresh fruit. Argh, that bird! I knew he was somewhere in the rafters of the store looking at me and laughing. I decided to gather what was left of my dignity and pay for my celery (no cantaloupe) and go home. Thank goodness this was not my home Kroger store.

The entire time my items were being scanned and bagged, the clerk kept looking at my shirt. I thought she had a look on her face that said, “I really want to laugh right now, but I will wait until you leave.” I assumed she had seen the incident, so I just ignored her. When I looked down to swipe my debit card, I noticed it. That bird—that vile, evil bird—had pooped all over my maroon button down. The stark white mess went from my shoulder, down my arm, and glared like it would glow-in-the dark against the color of my shirt. I looked up immediately and scanned the ceiling. I think I said something like, “You people need to get your bird problem under control,” to the clerk and then marched out the door, horrified.

So heed my warning, when you see a bird trapped inside a large store, be very careful. Know that it is stupid. Know that it is vicious. Know that it is ticked off because it’s too dumb to find the exit, and it’s looking to make someone pay. You do not want to end up being on the security camera blooper reel at the Kroger Employee Christmas Party. I have been there, and it ain’t pretty.

Bio

keithphoto

Keith Stewart’s strange adventures usually occur near his Appalachian hometown of Hyden, Kentucky, although he can be just as easily found wandering the streets of nearby Lexington at any given moment. Before he shed his corporate identity, he worked as a certified public accountant for a multi-national company. He now enjoys less stressful work with much less pay, blogs at www.astrongmanscupoftea.com, and is as happy as a clam with his husband Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and been published in several anthologies, Kudzu, and Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel. He is contributor for HumorOutcasts.com and the GoodMedProject.com.

 

Bernadette Peters Hates Me is available on Amazon.

 

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Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

 

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The First Pope in the NBA?

We live in exciting times as the following headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune shows. The photograph shows Pope Francis in his early days. I wish him well in his tryout.

Pope

4409-112413

 

– Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Future president of the United States of America.

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xxx

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