Saturday, August 21, 2010


It had to happen. Blog-owner WCC, unlike Jim Bowie or Davy Crockett, is coming back (alive) from San Antonio tomorrow. I guess he saw the high prices of those Gila Monster-skin cowboy boots and can't wait to get back into his holey tennis shoes. Or perhaps those ten-gallon Stetson hats didn't fit. He only has a five-gallon head, y'know.

More likely WCC thought I wasn't able to match his wit and funniness. But he's hard to follow for anyone who is still partly SANE. So I'll try to cram in as many of my very own custom-created jokes for you so I'll leave you laughing. Does that mean you or I will be laughing to leave? We shall see. But this 'big ending' will let me jump into a role I created but never got to try: that of "Rapid-Fire Raker -- World's only standup comic who sits in a rocking chair." The jokes only SOUND old. I 'm the real thing. Try to imagine this, from a packed comedy club ...

After sweeping the stage I shuck the broom and drag out my wooden rocking chair. As I sit down, cries of "He's off his rocker" begin to die out. I begin...

"Hi folks! Anyone from Wisconsin? Well how about a guy from there that watches old Andy Hardy movies during lunch. I'd call that "Mickey Rooney and Cheese." (Drums: 'Kaboom, crash!') Thanks, drummer. Now pick up that cymbal before the waiter grabs it and starts serving drinks. (Silence) See, the cymbal is big and round sorta like a tray, and -- Hey, I need some laughs! Just cuz you're still sober you don't have to act it! What are you,an audience or one of those posters Hitler hung? Aw, that's OK cuz I don't need this job. Or any job. That's why I never vote for any of those presidents who wanna put everyone back to work. You call it a promise -- I call it a threat!

"Besides, I've been sick. Of all places I hadda eat HERE! But drink up if you did cuz the alcohol will kill anything. You too? Sure, but it'll get rid of those little tiny germs first. Oops! My shoes are worn out and the soles are flapping. If I walk real fast it sounds like clapping. So I keep these. Saves money plus the sound effects make me feel like a big success. I need the applause cuz I don't get as much respect as that Dangerfield guy. It's true. I bought one of those Memory Foam mattresses and it forgot who I was. For some reason it thought I was the wrong guy when I crawled in. Oh well, I can always oin this audience and sleep here." (Runs out -- of jokes and courage both.)

Just kidding. Thanks. You've been a great audience as I tried to fill in for my pal, WCC. At least I think you were a great audience. (In a blog you can think anything you want...until you read the comments - so I just won't read them.)

I hope our real blogger will be glad to be back. But it will be one of those bittersweet homecomings, like many parents will have as their kids go back to college. And each year they return less like kids than when they left. Takes awhile to realize that 'growing up' was your and their goal both all along. So cheer up!

Now it's time for me to say "I'll keep a song in my heart for all of you." Because nobody wants to hear my chest rattle! Now...

"Howdy WCC, and 'Bye Y'all." (I'm speaking Texan.) -- Raker

Friday, August 20, 2010

BUTTERED PARSECS -- Slipping into Astronomy

Hi. This is Raker again, not WCC, the STAR of this blog. He’s still a few light years, or heavy-footed miles away on his trip to Texas. But enough about Earth. Let’s talk about something even bigger than Texas: The rest of the Universe, whether Texans admit it or not.

Several years ago one summer my son and I signed up for an astronomy class at a nearby college. He did it for the high school credits that he could get. I did because I “just thought the stars were pretty.” I wonder how many others who figured on some easy credits of relaxing star-gazing got hit with wall-to-wall MATH instead! So that’s how “Parsecs” got into the title today. It’s an astronomy measurement, one of the few I remember, which is 3.2 light years. That’s 19.2 trillion miles, for you who tend to check the National Debt Clock on this page.(Don’t worry, because we are still in the lower trillion dollars of debt.)Things are still just fine, especially for whoever keeps selling printing presses to Washington, D.C.

Back to the class. I hadn’t had algebra for years, and avoided using or thinking about it, preferring to let those mechanical calculators do that for me. But I didn’t drop out like some of the disillusioned stargazer wimps. I plunged into the homework, partly as a good example for my son. He still had years (I hoped) of study ahead, and “Wise Responsible Dad” would show him what it took to succeed in a difficult subject. In fact I began to OVERdose on homework. Facts and figures regarding parsecs, astronomical units, kelvins, doppler effects, red shifts, temps of stars, dying, exploding and newborn from cosmic dust began to fill my world, and our home. Scribbly notes and numbers covered our desks, tables, bedsheets and any flat surface I could find with half-done and crossed-out graphs and problems. Anything ‘blank’ was in danger of getting a ‘number tattoo,' White and light-skinned people began to fear to visit, Fine, because I had no time to entertain anyone who preferred to talk about their babies or work instead of astrophysics. My marriage was in danger too. When I caught my wife trying to throw away a pile of my wrinkled paperwork and yelled “Drop that pitchfork!" it almost caused a supernova explosion.

Now for the happy ending. And any ending to that class would have been happy. I got a final grade of “A.” Wow! I must have had more math stowing away inside that UFO, which my mind had become than I thought! This proof of my Einsteinian brilliance had to be shared! I approached my son, lazing like a Basking Shark in our swimming pool. When you want to make a statement last longer and sound more important, you start with lots of prefaces: ”Ahem. Well, son, I notice you spent a lot of time out here this summer. And your astronomy book isn’t wet so I know you didn’t study. In fact, that bookmark is on the same page I saw it the first week of class!" (No reaction behind the sunglasses.) “But, in contrast, I worked like a dog myself and got an ‘A’ as my reward. But I won’t be angry as long as you learned your lesson about the worth of genuine study. Now what kind of grade did you end up with?"

He took another suck at his lemonade, somehow floating beside his rubber mattress. “Me? Aw, I just scanned that (slurp) book. Kinda lame. A lot the same as my old physics course. So I (slurp) only got a B plus.”

Today’s tip for a cleaner home:
When you tell someone to “Think outside the Box,” make sure your CAT isn’t listening. - RAKER

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Either Velcro is getting stronger or I am getting weaker! Lucky nobody saw my Tug O' War with my fabric case when I took my laptop computer to breakfast with me this morning. No, "IT" doesn't get brekkie, or eat -- except for some of my data. It chomps only bits and bytes while I eat the whole thing of whatever is on my plate. When people talk about 'having a full plate' I always wonder if they're talking about ME! Those of us who are truly guilty don't have to be paranoid to think people are talking behind their backs. Maybe that's why laptops and notebook computers are getting so thin while we are not.

But the Velcro closures on my new computer case are real Grabbers! They don't want anyone in, even to fighting their owner when he tries to win the Rip-Fest. It's as embarrassing as when you absent-mindedly try to tear up a stack of papers then realize you took more sheets than your out-of-tone muscles can handle. That happens when everyone else has nothing to do except stand around the copy machine staring and smirking. But the world has to stay in balance. It must apportion out its powers evenly enough so that we don't all end up sticking in big chunks to Velcro. Like a Black Hole might pull you in. Proof of this is how my old comfy tennis shoes can no longer keep their Velcro flaps flapped. I think their adhesive powers must have been reassigned to my laptop case. If you actually use your tennis shoes to play tennis, this could let your opponent win while you keep bending to refix your floppy-top shoes

But you might use a different term than 'tennis shoes' for the fabric/rubber/composite shoes that have captured yards of feet nowadays. Running shoes, walking shoes, whatever. Seinfeld's pals called them "Sneakers." I heard that term as a kid, but mostly from older people. Like themselves, it faded. Now I consider "Sneakers" as mainly a "New Yorkism", and they're welcome to it. Think about this: Would a great-looking, free-breathing, athletic Heartland-America girl be more attracted to a Tennis Pro in tennis shoes or a Sneaky guy in Sneakers? I rest my case.

And I'll rest the rest of me after typing on this machine which I finally freed from its voracious Velcro case. But I apologize if I seemed to stereotype all New Yorkers as some kind of Sneakers, like their shoes. Not true! I'm sure that at least half of them are just the VICTIMS of Sneakers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old Geezer recalls "The Daisy Air Rifle Handbook."

I'm feeling the POWER! You know, like the strange but exciting power of 'being in someone else's house and free to poke around, open all the cabinets and peek inside. Even rearrange things at my will.

No, I'm not a burglar. It's just me, Raker, the guy WCC trusted(maybe a bit naively) to take care of his PJ Monoblogs while he hit the road on a short bit of business.

But he didn't reckon on how lazy I am. If not, maybe I'd have my own blog. What's the diff if I do his or mine for nothing? Anyway, I know an old guy, call him "Geezer," who lived some funny stories. His motto is "Been There, Done That, Even CAUSED some of it." Here is one from right after World War II. His tale is in progress, as he is muttering to himself. Let's join him.

"...and in those days kids were thrilled that real toys had started to come back. So were makers of toys, like the famous Daisy brand of air rifles. Naturally I had to send 50 cents for a copy of an exciting fat little publication called "The Daisy Red Ryder Handbook." Or similarly titled. It featured the cartoon cowboy whom their best-selling rifle was named for. It was full of he-man outdoor lore like how to shoot safely, (so you don't put your eye out.) But Mom told you that, so it added all kinds of other neat stuff boys wonder about. Excluding girls.

We played in the alleys back in Denver, and I was sitting on the ashpit out back reading that book. I'd already learned from it how to lasso fenceposts, then moving objects riding bikes. I was so good at that I got into trouble roping a kid we called "The Shrimp". He was riding his new bike past me, and when he went down like a baby calf, he dented the fake gas tank and hurt himself a bit. I was sorry, and was MADE to 'treat him nice from now on or you're gonna git it!'

Then here came Shrimp that day, and taking advantage of my pledge to 'be his friend' said "Whatcha readin'?" So I showed him several pages. "Wow! Neat!" He seemed to sense its ability to rid any 'sissy tendencies' out of even kids like himself. "Tell me some of the good parts," he begged. In the back of the book Daisy must have realized that modern kids who like cowboys also crave info about modern the Atomic Bomb. It had exploded into reality recently, and how a thing so powerful was made was still a blank in peoples' minds. So, being proud of what I'd just learned about the awesome weapon's inner workings. I enjoyed playing teacher to a willing and impressionable subject like The Shrimp.

Then, down the alley kicking a can came Kenny. He was bigger,tougher, and tended to become a bully whenever his short attention span overcame his boredom of being civil. "What you doing on that ashpit? Readin' BOOKS?" spat Kenny. Actually spitting, and a bit too close to us. He always had lots of spit, and used it to make statements. Both the mental and wet kinds. We could see he was going straight into bullying that day. "I wanna see what yer readin'. Gimme that book." He grabbed it quick as a snake. He gave a fast flip through the pages. "Maybe I'll borrow this and take it home to read myself." Just as I thought "Goodbye book," The Shrimp stepped right up to Kenny. "Listen you," he said louder than we'd ever heard him, "You'd better not mess with us anymore!" "Oh yeah? Why?" said Kenny wearing a confident sneer. "Cuz WE know how to make an ATOM BOMB, that's why!"

Kenny stared for a second, then tossed the book back to me. "I was just kiddin' anyway." Then he turned and trotted a bit faster back up the alley. Poor guy must have thought he was intimidating enough to become the target of another Manhattan Project!

End of story. That's all from The Geezer. And me too this time. C.U. -- Raker

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


-- I mean those 'Ragazines' we scan while wating in line to pay at Walmart. Why die waiting until he's a Movie Star?

By now perhaps you know WCC's Monoblog has a guest host. That being yours truly, 'Raker.'

Hello again to those who are back for my second attempt at being Ghost Guestwriter, or whatever. I realize I don't do this as well as WCC, "The World's Weirdest Wordsmith." That's a title I gave him. He's far too modest to brag about his weirdness and prefers to let others do it. In fact, he used to be classed as a "Functional Illiterate". That is, until he stopped functioning.

But maybe you wonder how and why I was chosen out of the million or two who applied. (That's partly true -- TWO did apply.) I proudly came out as his top choice, being the one who wasn't jailed and agreed to work for nothing. How lucky I was that, for this blog, writing skills were not critical. Look how far he got without them! Just kidding, of course, because he confesses having to repeat so many English classes taught him a great deal. Though mostly about aeronautics. On the rare days he attended class he devoted his time to folding and testing many revolutionary types of paper airplanes. When the teacher would retrieve one sticking in her hair or cleavage, her scowl would soften as she'd find actual attempts at writing essays scrawled among the gum and doodles on the paper. WCC credits her, more than anyone, for truly PRAYING him to pass.

But, since today's issue seems to focus on inside stories about our once-again-truant blogger, and since he's not here to stop me,let me add something more. I remember visiting him in his newly-remodeled home in St. Louis. You know how all that newness makes you want to extend it to accessories, right? And that means sets of fluffy new towels in all the bathrooms. I was impressed that all of his and his wife's were monogrammed. Pretty classy, I thought.Then I noticed every towel had a scripted letter "H" on it. Nobody's name in that small family even has an "h" in any of their names! So when I asked about it, WCC told me that the H's were for "HIS" and "HERS." That led to the obvious question of how, since both initials are the same, how She and He can tell which is which. He stared at me like I was the only idiot standing there. "Easy," he said. "Her "H's" are on HER towels, and my "H's" are on MINE. How silly would it be the other way around?" I left soon after that, and washed up in a service station on the way out. I don't know whose paper towels I used, but I almost skipped drying my hands because I couldn't find any "H" on them. Now Adios from Raker. I'm doing the same as you faithful readers are: Counting the minutes 'til the landlord of this blog comes home riding a steer, (or maybe a steer horn,) back from Texas. Yee Haw, Y'all!

Monday, August 16, 2010

GHOST WRITER for the Spook Who writes this blog.

Hi friends and followers of PJ Monoblogs. I'm known as "Raker." Since our 'Roving Riter' is roving over the roads on a several-day trip to Texas, I will be Guest-Blogger until he comes back. So you could say I will be filling in for him while he fills himself in with "road food." Not the cheaper kind he finds (or causes) lying on the road, but the kind you buy from "America's Roadside Diners." If I know him, and I have for years, he will resume his lifelong quest for the elusive rarity of "An Unhealthful Food He Doesn't Love."

I prepared myself for this (unpaid) job by studying the comments he gets. I also linked to many of the blogs the commentators produce. Nice to find not only good sense but good senses of humor mixed in. Plus so many followers of this show themselves to be members of what WCC gets accused of: “WORDSMITHERY." And you count whether a creator or an appreciator of "writing that leaps and cavorts like a cage of demented, mischievous monkeys." Not always enlightening to read, won't earn you a college degree or a CEO job, but at least keeps you from falling asleep. Heck, I haven't been able to sleep ever since I started reading these PJ Monoblogs! (Or sometimes even EAT.) The PJM Diet?

Though this post is mainly to introduce myself and try to put you at ease that "HE SHALL RETURN, and SOON," I would feel remiss without leaving you with something of value. So I will mention some ideas or links that I've found handy or helpful. Or, if well-financed and actually put to use, will positively SAVE THE WORLD and VANQUISH ALL ITS PROBLEMS. (Just checking to see if you went to sleep with me doing the writing.)

So here is something small to start with for today. In case you might want to actually HEAR what people are saying about you in foreign languages, now you can. There is an excellent free online program where you can type in almost any word in any language, then wait a second. If you have your speakers on you will hear the word pronounced correctly. Now no more frowns from Frenchmen or corrections from Alex Trebeck when you use YOUR native pronunciation instead of THEIRS. Or maybe you'll just want to say "Thank you" in proper Chinese for the money they've loaned us. Or perhaps "You're welcome" for all the money we Americans have given to others in the world. Add that "There's more where that came from -- we print it by the bushel." Click HERE to give the "" site a try. Glad to meet you in our Pajama Monoblogs. Now get dressed! -- Raker.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I like animals of all kinds but I am not what you would call an ‘animal lover’. When I was a kid I had warm and fuzzy pets like two snails named Sydney and Tyrone, an occasional carnival goldfish, and a green baby aquatic turtle named after my favorite Jane Fonda movie, ‘Salmonella’. I had a couple of dogs over my life but in both cases, after getting to know me, they always seemed to want to run away from my underground electric fence; – so much for that ‘man’s best friend’ palaver.

Aside from a milieu of stray mangy cats over the years, I have preferred mostly noiseless pets so that when they expire, I can use them to flavor soup. I know REAL animal lovers would never ever, dare think about the last sentence much less put it in print, so that is how I am sure I am not one of your ‘ilk’. Now that does not mean I go out of my way to torture animals or avoid petting them. On the contrary on more than one occasion I have fantasized about having a pair of ferrets or maybe mink on the collar of my favorite ‘Mac Daddy’ coat, to go with my pointy-toed alligator boots.

Truly though, I am more of a ‘gatherer’ than a hunter. I am not against hunting warm-blooded food in a cold-blooded way for sport however. That’s why several times a week, I get lost in the local warehouse ‘fight’ club, searching for hot appetizers to sample. Yes, you’ve not seen true animal behavior, until you’ve witnessed first-hand, the white-knuckled pursuit of freebie hand-outs, while beating back legions of gaunt yet ravenous senior-geezers.

As a kid I tried to shoot squirrels but my camera jammed and I missed every time. As a teen in Yorkshire we would hunt for rabbit and pheasant but it was with a Ford Fiesta, not with a gun. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a plate of ‘Ye Olde’ English, skid-mark fiesta stew. Hmmm, I guess if I’m willing to eat road-kill, I must actually be an ‘animal lover’ after all? More likely though, I’m just a hillbilly gourmet, who just happens to live in mainstream Missouri!

** Afterword **

Hey speaking of ‘animals’, I sadly must return my own ‘daughter-unit’ to her college cage back in San Antonio this coming week. So being the charitable yet increasingly lazy, ‘big blog-dog‘ for the Monologues, I have arranged a guest-blogger for your light-hearted yet strangely hard-headed reading pleasure next week. Yes, I have asked my ‘liver-spotted’ and dearest mentor / landscaper (code-named ‘RAKER’) to fill-in during my absence.

If this guy could speak English he would have his own blog, but fortunately for you he learned to write highly elegant ransom notes while in a Cuban prison. The rehabilitation (as well as his victims) have paid off handsomely, so he now works cheap and I did not have to pay his normal 2.99 pesos per minute phone rate for ‘stimulating’ blog conversation. Please be on your best behavior for my ‘bloggy-guest’, because he surely won’t be on his. Don’t use too many ‘big and small’ words in your comments, because ‘Raker’ is highly sensitive about his enormous waistline and teensy tiny ‘pin head’. Consider yourself warned and now Deputized. I will see you in a week. – W.C.C.