~~~  Sunday, Jack-O'Tober 15, 41 A.B.  ~~~

Busy times here as I've been going door-to-door reminding people to observe proper Halloween procedures.  It's a never-ending project that even at its best can't guarantee a safe and happy holiday season, of course, but I feel compelled to undertake it anyway simply because I'm the type of guy who'll seize upon any excuse for not doing the dishes.

As in years past, I'm once again amazed at the ignorance of the people who answer my knock.  The fact that they actually answer my knock is a bad sign in and of itself, and things tend to only get worse as I generously overlook the bad first impression they've made on me and offer them a chance to redeem themselves by proceeding to quiz them on Proper Halloween Procedures.  Most people just stand there with the stupidest looks on their faces and don't even attempt to answer the simple questions I put to them.  Many of the others end up muttering things which cannot be construed as even good guesses.  A few loudly request help from older, better armed relatives and law enforcement personnel despite my making it clear before I even knock on their door that I intend to test their personal knowledge of proper Halloween procedures and practices and am simply not in the mood to tolerate any cheating or other "outside assistance."

Tired as I am by now of such ignorant and inappropriate behavior, I've decided to post a few helpful hints and outright answers here today in the hopes that some of my neighbors will stumble upon them before I knock again on their doors and offer them a chance to re-take my little test and redeem themselves in my eyes and the eyes of my God (Carl).

1)  Is it appropriate to dispose of surplus gasoline by pouring it into the top of a lit jack-o'lantern?  Not very often.  It fact, it is almost always better to dispose of such gasoline by pouring it into a pumpkin pie after  that pie has cooled and just before taking that pie to a hazardous waste disposal center.

2)  Is it safe to call a woman a "witch" before you've actually determined she is a witch?  No!  You may as well call her a slut, a poor cook, or a lawyer if you value jumping to conclusions more than you value your life.

3)  Is candy corn really a vegetable? NO!  Despite the fact that the word "corn" makes up almost half of the term "candy corn" when measured by weight,  scientists have now determined that candy corn is, in fact, an escapee from the Reagan-era school lunch program and not really a member of the vegetable family at all.  If you store it in your pants pocket until Valentine's Day as I used to do, however, it magically becomes a member of the rock family and may be pressed into service as emergency slingshot ammunition.  (A handy fact to remember, given the number of people who fail to fork over the Valentines one is entitled to by virtue of one's extreme cuteness, kindness, and modesty.)

4)  Is it ever appropriate to ring the doorbell of a stranger and expect something for nothing?  Not after one has passed the age of 12 or left politics.

5)  Is it ever safe to leave candles burning unattended?  NO!  They tend to run up tremendous long-distance bills trying to get in touch with old flames.

6)  Last year I went to an afternoon Halloween party in New Mexico with a friend.  I dressed up as the Lone Ranger and my friend dressed up as Zorro. We had a great time but the next day we both had deep tans on our faces except for where our eye masks had been.  That didn't bother us too much, since we weren't really the Lone Ranger or Zorro and had few reasons to keep our identities secret.  Had we been the real Lone Ranger or Zorro, however, we might have been killed instead of merely teased a bit by women we unknowingly called "witches" before hearing your answer to question #2.  Question: Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that my wife was able to track me down and haul me into court for my failure to pay child support last March?  Or is it safe for me to dress up as the Lone Ranger again this year, even though I'm sure I'll end up with revealing tan lines again and three other wives are still looking for me? Although there are several good answers to this question, it is best to just change the subject by saying, "You think YOU'VE got problems?  Let me tell ya what happened to ME!"  I personally would then proceed to tell the tale of my latest faucet adventures.  You see, I've been waiting for my landlord to replace my defective laundry room faucets for days.  Well, he finally showed up on Thursday - but only to give me the new faucets and tell me to put 'em in myself.  I've been trying and trying and TRYING to do so every since, but I just can't seem to get it right.  HELP!  Does the black wire go to the hot faucet and the white wire to the cold or vice versa??

7)  What about your squirrel problems?  My squirrel problems?

8)  Yeah, your squirrel problems.  Didn't you have squirrels in your basement crawl space??  Oh!  Right!  Yeah, well... They seem to have disappeared.  But I put a trap outside by the hole they were using anyway.  Caught 3 chipmunks in 2 days!!  Or maybe the same chipmunk 3 different times.  Anyway, I released whatever I caught each time after giving the little guy a quick talking to.  "You don't really want to be in there!" I'd say.  "No shit, Sherlock!" the less-than-polite chipmunk would indicate by scampering like crazy and banging his head on the bars.  This just proves that while chipmunks may be cute, they aren't very good conversationalists.  I suspect any resemblance to fashion models is merely coincidental, but am putting the trap back out tonight with a big modeling contract in it as bait in hopes of being able to put my theory to the test first thing in the morning.


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(©Now by D. Birtcher in lieu of banging his little head against the bars of the trap he was lured into thanks to its being baited  with a Christie Brinkley doll)



Have you hugged your squash today?

Wanna have some fun AND have your name printed up in all the history books??  Well, here's your chance!!!  Just lean in towards your computer screen and blow Mr. Jack O. Lantern's flame out!  Yep - that's all there is to it!  Old Mr. Physics says you can't do it.  HA!  What does Old Mr. Physics know??  Let's prove him to be the fool he is while he's not looking, ok??  Let's blow and blow and BLOW until the entire world realizes that Mr. Flame is NO match for YOUR breath and perseverance - even if it takes days!  GOOD LUCK!  (Note: If Mr. Flame gets a call from a candle, it'd be sporting of you to stop blowing until he gets off the line.)