When I am King: Nicer, Dumber Kids

When I am King...

Kids will only go to school through the 5th grade.

This is also known as my "Every Child Left Behind" program.

We learn bad habits from middle and high school that carry us through the rest of our lives. For example, are politicians any better than high school class presidents running in a popularity contest? And do they accomplish anything more than our class presidents did?

We seem to learn good habits in kindergarten and grade school, like sharing, talking through our problems, and closing the door when peeing. We learn bad habits later in life, like insulting, sucking up, and talking on a cellphone when we should be driving.

I propose simply pulling our kids out of school before all of that happens. That way, maybe our kids will grow up with the ethics they learn in grade school instead of the horrors they pick up after that.

Think about it:

  • Politicians would think that kickbacks are when you return the soccer ball to their friend
  • Celebrities would be popular by being nice to everyone
  • Clothing styles would be worn because they're practical
  • Disgruntled employees would only play with toy guns
  • Terrorists would cause fear and chaos by farting in public places

It's not clear yet what we do with the kids between 5th grade and adulthood, although the idea of simply sending them to work is appealing from both a daycare and a monetary standpoint. I know that some countries are condemned for their child labor practices. But perhaps that has all been a cultural misunderstanding, and they are just trying to keep their kids from becoming cheerleaders, jocks, and burnouts.


Thanksgiving: A Fowl Tradition

I am now in recovery from the Thanskgiving meal. I believe this holiday originally celebrated sharing between cultures and giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest. It has now come to symbolize binge eating and drinking to an awesome degree.

The turkey itself is almost irrelevant compared to all of the side dishes. You've got the stuffing, which is basically there to make sure that none of the grease from the turkey escapes. Then the gravy, which is nothing more than grease in a solid form. Every vegetable dish is more like vegetable particles held in a solution of cream and butter. The fruit is mixed with so much sugar or gelatin that you might as well call it Jello. And the alcohol keeps flowing, presumably to numb our nerves so our intestines don't hurt.

And after all of this food, you have dessert. You can just hear the stomach seams popping as everyone inhales the pie.

I envy the Romans with their socially acceptable vomitoriums. I think bulimics are probably the only people that are comfortable with their bodies this weekend.

In the meantime, I was wondering:
If wishbones really worked, don't you think the turkeys would have figured it out long ago and there'd be a lot less birds consumed every year?


When I am King: Banniversaries

When I am King...

There will be no more celebration of wedding anniversaries.

What is a wedding anniversary celebrating, exactly? That the couple is still together? In my mind, if you have to celebrate that you've survived another year of the marriage, it's probably better that you just end it. I mean, if a relationship is good, shouldn't getting through another year be a breeze? And if it's not, why are you still married?

Some might argue that an anniversary is celebrating simply being alive together each year. I agree that that is indeed an accomplishment, when simply surviving each day can be difficult. But I believe this is actually the purpose of birthdays. Or New Years Eve, if that holiday has any point at all.

It seems far better to try to have a relationship where getting through another year does not merit a celebration, but is instead a fact of life, like your body falling apart or the dentist scraping enough tartar off your teeth every six months to fill an ice cream cone.

Instead of being a society that celebrates the adequate, wouldn't we rather be a society that rejoices in knowing when to call it quits?

My regime will usher in a new concept, possibly even a national holiday, called Terminaries, which will commemorate the ending of truly horrific relationships.

Maybe, just maybe, we can then all live in a truly enlightened time of positive partnerships when I can finally stop feeling guilty about forgetting my anniversary. Every. Single. Year.


Do Nuns Have Filthy Habits?

Do nuns have filthy habits?

Do priests have summer frocks?

Why do they call it an altar if it never changes?

Do priests have collar ID?

If the church is God's House, does he ever forget his keys and get locked out?
And what kind of car does God drive?


My Philosophy on Life

I live each day as if it were my last.

This explains the wheezing and drooling.


When I am King: Mno nmore mnemonics

When I am King...

Words with silly silent letters will have their spelling changed.

Doesn't our education system have enough work to do teaching our kids not to kill each other without also having to teach how to spell words in completely ridiculous ways?

One of the first things I will do when I ascend to my throne will be to fix various egregious oversights in our spelling system. For example, I will change the spelling of “mnemonics” to remove the silent “m” at the beginning. The new word will have the more reasonable spelling “nemonics”.

Silent m? Who came up with that one? Was someone trying to fill out a crossword puzzle with a word that didn't quite fit so they added a letter? Or maybe a loved one had a speech impediment and they were trying to level the playing field. Or maybe they just really liked m's.

In its current spelling, the word typically takes about 30 keystrokes to type in, including all of the backspaces and re-types until it's right. My new version of the word will make it possible to type the word as it sounds and actually get it right the first time.

I will also mandate changes for various “silent p” words: pteradactyl, pneumonia, and ptarmigan, to name a few. Again, I fail to see how someone came up with these words; p has a very clear sound and it's not silent. Nor are we encouraged to simply throw the letter in wherever we like because we think a p would look pnice pthere.

My kids are learning how to write and, hence, they end up with some inventive spelling as they sound out the words in their sentences. But even they know not to simply throw in an m or a p in a place where there is no such sound. “thar” for “there”, sure. “bin” for “been”, well done. But “pdog” for “dog”? I think not.

While I'm at it, I'm going to strike all words of Welsh origin from the language; I think these words breed exactly the kind of confusion that I'm talking about. Double-l's simply don't belong at the beginning of a sentence. We have the l sound already; why add another one? To bulk it up a bit, make it appear more important?

Some readers may feel that this is hardly an important task, given some of the other priorities that will face the kingdom, such as parades and fancy dress balls; after all, the words cited above are hardly commonplace (except for ptarmigan, of course). But I would argue that their disuse comes directly from their impossible spelling; noone wants to go anywhere near these words because they know for a fact that they'll get them wrong. Just think of the vocabulary that would be accessible to us if we just had more words available.

Of course I do find many of these words quaint and attractive in a Olde Englishe kind of way, and I will miss them when they are gone. But to force words like this on a society that has a hard time graduating students that can manage to spell “cat” (without a silent p) is asking a bit much.


Chet Does an Open Mic

I did an open mic in San Francisco last weekend; my 5 minutes of fame (or fear and trepidation). The video is bad and the audio is sometimes hard to hear (it wasn't really taken with the teeming public in mind; it was taken with a compact digital camera (thanks Chris Campbell!)), but here it is:


Holiday Traditions

Halloween is over, but people are still living it. I was in San Francisco last night and saw plenty of folks still dressed in their hobo costumes.

My daughter went out last Tuesday dressed up as the invisible girl; I haven't seen her since.

When the kids say"trick or treat", I opt for the trick - I take their bags of candy and slam the door. We didn't get any kids coming to our house this year.

Halloween makes me think of the grand traditions we all have around holidays in the U.S.


First of all is the old tradition of eviscerating a bunch of inedible vegetables and leaving them on the porch to rot.

Then there's the tradition overdosing kids on candy right before bedtime, a tradition obviously not invented by parents.

There is also the tradition of this holiday being scary. But somehow the image of a 6 year old in a $9.99 plastic mask from Target doesn't quite do it. Maybe that's why some folks in the Castro decided to shoot a few people this year? It scared me, anyway.


Thanksgiving is coming up this month. This is a holiday where I guess we're celebrating stealing the other guys' land? Dead birds? Obesity?

And who thought up the idea of a holiday on a Thursday?


Christmas is a great celebration of single-motherhood, and God as a deadbeat Dad. I guess that means the presents are gifts in lieu of child support?

Of course there's nothing strange about Christmas traditions, with a fat man in a flying sleigh pulled by deer.

I personally love the tradition of spending an entire weekend putting up decorations that you have to spend another entire weekend taking back down next month. You're creating work for yourself as you're doing work. It's like raking leaves onto your lawn so that you will have something to rake off of it.

The best Christmas tradition, though, is the tree lights. We have these strings of lights that are very convenient, assuming you can untangle them, except that one single bulb always goes out somewhere and takes down the entire string, and you can never chase down the bulb and never have a replacement even if you do. But better than this tradition is the pre-electricity version of it, where people put lit candles on the branches. Who came up with that one? "Right - light the candle, put it on that branch under that other branch. It'll be fine! Let's go eat dinner. ... Your house burned down? How'd that happen?!"

New Years

This has to be the silliest holiday, simply celebrating one day turning into the next. Noone can figure out what else to do with the holiday, so we just drink heavily.


Passover is, from what I can figure out, celebrating bad food and hard times.


Easter is always a happy time, where we celebrate the original Dawn of the Dead.
I'm not sure how this got us to a bunny distributing eggs and candy.

Memorial Day and Labor Day

I can never keep these holidays straight; they're just the two generic Monday holidays.

July 4th, Independence Day

This is a wonderful holiday, celebrating that critical point in American history when we stood up to England and said, "We don't need your corrupt politicians anymore; we have enough of our own!"


When I am King: Common Scents

When I am King...

Overuse of cologne and perfume will be banned. They just stink too damn much.

What's with the guys that dump buckets of cologne on themselves? Can they not tell that they reek? Or that that they can't smell anything else in the entire environment? Or that people gag and plants wilt as they walk by?

I think that these scents dated from the age where showers and baths were not as easy to come by, and perfume was preferable to BO. But these people must have missed the memo about today's running water and soap.

Over-dosing is a growing problem as people grow older; I think their sense of smell starts to go and they have to really soak their skin to get the same effect in their nostrils as they used to get. (This is somewhat related to the way that I now have to have an IV drip delivering coffee directly into my system since I had developed a tolerance to all lesser measures.) You would think that when they change from using dabs to teaspoons it would be a giveway, but maybe they just assume that the manufacturers are watering down their product.

But this problem is not relegated to older people; many younger people suffer the same fate. Or rather, the rest of us suffer the same fate from younger people, too. There are just some folks that think that they need to bathe in the stuff to get any effect.

I'm particularly bothered by men overusing cologne, but I'm not excusing women; there are women that do the same thing with perfume. But somehow we are conditioned to expect perfume smells, even unnecessarily strong ones, or ones that smell like insect repellent, from women. However, the same sense of injustice, of odor intrusion, of nausea comes into play here; women should not be exempted from this law.

The root of the problem is not using cologne or perfume; used in moderate amounts, that is excusable. The real issue is the overdosing with the stuff, using amounts that cause large crowds to gag, small children to suffocate, and skunks to go into heat. Original plans for my proposed law required an outright ban, arguing that measuring the amount used would be too difficult, and outlawing all usage would be the only approach. But our clever scientists have come up with a system that should make it possible to only outlaw extreme use.

Enforcement for this new law will be easy. Detection and punishment will both be handled by the same mechanism; public places will have small, concealed pilot lights. Anyone using too much perfume or cologne near one of these units will spontaneously combust.

Sometimes extreme measures are called for. It may stink, but the punishment fits the crime.