Author Archives: Tippy Gnu

Stolen Quote: Cooking

My cooking is so bad, my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor. ~ Phyllis Diller

For some, may your Pearl Harbor Day be marked by solemn reflection, that you may figure out what went wrong. For everyone else, Happy Thanksgiving!

To Desert After Thanksgiving Dessert

I grew up back in the Vietnam War days, and I remember seeing the anti-war protests on TV, with hairy-headed hippies and other young folks shouting slogans against the war. The most popular slogan was, “Hell no, we won’t go!” But there were others just as good, such as:

A Vietnam War protestor offering a flower to military police.

“Dow shall not kill!”

“Stop the war, feed the poor!”

“Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the Viet Cong are gonna win!”

“Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?!”

“Girls say yes to men who say no!”

And the ever compelling, “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your fucking war!”

My siblings and I were all against the Vietnam War, but my mother was for it. She didn’t like commies, and she’s always been rather conservative.

Besides, her brother had been a Green Beret. He was among the original 400 Green Berets sent to Vietnam by President Kennedy in May, 1961, supposedly as “military advisors.” There he was wounded and awarded a purple heart, along with several other medals. One of his few comments on his experience was that we did things there that nobody would ever believe.

We lived in Oceanside, California in 1969, which is a town right next to the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. This was where many new conscripts were haplessly shipped off to Southeast Asia, to face the terror that was taking the lives of hundreds of fine, young American men per week.

My mother wanted to support our troops in the war effort. She was also 35, single, and looking for a man. So she signed up for a program to host two Marines from Camp Pendleton, for Thanksgiving dinner.

But the men in uniform who showed up were barely 20. Too young for my mom, but not too young for my two teenage sisters. They were enamored with these government issue specimens fresh out of boot camp.

And I, at the innocent age of ten, was also very impressed with them. They got my attention when they told us they were soon going to be shipped off to that war I’d been hearing about in the news. Wow!

My uncle had been a Green Beret, and this was the same war that I’d seen John Wayne fight in as Colonel Mike Kirby, in the movie, The Green Berets. In that flick was a horrifying scene where a soldier steps in a mantrap. His feet are caught in a snare that slings him through the air and impales him on a rack of spikes. It also impaled his bloody, punctured body onto my memory, and left me feeling shaken and anxious. I vowed that if I was ever in a war, I’d watch my step for sure.

A horrifying scene.

So this shit was exciting, to me. As we sat at the Thanksgiving table, gnawing on drumsticks and slurping down cranberry sauce, I wanted to talk about things like war, and killing people, and being shot at and pursued by the enemy, and of course, mantraps, with these frightened young men. But they kind of squirmed in their seats, and tried to change the subject. My sisters shushed me, and warned me I was being rude.

After dessert, my sisters managed to sneak these handsome young warriors up to the loft in our garage for the purpose of candid conversation. Or maybe they had some other purpose on their horny young minds. And that’s when something unexpected happened. The one named George broke some unsettling news. “We don’t want to go to Vietnam,” he announced.

“Yeah, we don’t like war. We think it’s immoral. We want peace,” his friend, Dave, added.

Both sisters felt sorry for them, but most especially my younger sister, Blue Wilder Gnu. Blue had run away from home over the summer, at age 14. She had hitchhiked across Canada, staying in communes, and cavorting like a flower child with draft-dodging refugees. She had returned home in September, after being hospitalized for an ectopic pregnancy. And now, at age 15, she was passionately sympathetic to the anti-Vietnam War cause.

“You don’t have to go to Vietnam,” Blue insisted. “You can stay in our loft. We won’t tell our mother. We’ll bring you food, and you can hide out here for as long as you want.”

It was just the break they’d been hoping for. They accepted the invitation. The two girls and two Marines then brought my brother and me into this conspiracy. I was sworn into secrecy by Dave. I liked Dave. He was a kind young man, and had a fun personality. But I wasn’t so sure about George. He was sharp-edged and impatient with kids like me. But because Dave had sworn me into secrecy, I kept my vow of silence like a secret agent with a cyanide capsule.

One day I was standing near the washing machine in the garage, shooting the bull with Dave, who was sitting at the edge of the loft with his legs dangling over. My mother suddenly walked in through the side door, carrying a basket of dirty clothes. We both fell into instant silence. My mother walked directly beneath Dave’s dangling legs and loaded the washing machine. “Whatcha doin’, son?” she inquired.

“Oh, just hanging out. Nuthin’,” I stared at the floor while my heart pounded like a kettledrum inside my ribcage.

“Well go out and play. It’s not good for you to stand around alone in a dark garage.” She then headed out the door, passing beneath Dave’s legs again. I followed after her. It was a close call.

The food and hospitality we supplied Dave and George was not enough. They were desperate to leave Oceanside and get as far away from the U.S. Marine Corps as they could. One evening they broke into a store and stole some goods for the purpose of pawning, so they could raise enough cash to travel. But stealing wasn’t enough for George. In his anger and pain, he also vandalized the store. Dave and George had a falling out after this.

A few days later, George was picked up by the police after breaking into a car and stealing an 8-track stereo system. That same day, Dave disappeared. He apparently had not been arrested. He just disappeared. To this day, we don’t know what happened to Dave.

I like to imagine that he made his way to Canada and found refuge in that nation that had wisely chosen to stay out of Vietnam. And hopefully he found some way to take advantage of President Ford’s or President Carter’s amnesty programs, so that he could eventually return home.

Or maybe he established Canadian citizenship and still lives in this great nation to our north. Whatever happened, I hope Dave found the peace he had longed for on that Thanksgiving Day in 1969.

When after dessert, he decided to desert.


Vic, at Cosmic Observation, has suggested that this blog needs a mascot. I thought a jackass named “Jack” would be an apt mascot, since we have so many smartasses that drop comments here. But then she suggested a female mascot. Perhaps a jackass named “Jenny.” She pointed out that Jenny is the animal husbandry term for a female jackass.

First of all, now that I know this, I feel sorry for any woman named Jenny. And I also feel sorry for any husband that has to marry an animal. But if I had to marry an animal, I think a jackass would be my first choice. They’re cute, and ornery, and funny, all at the same time. Just what I like in a spouse.

Back in the Old West days, many a lonely desert prospector considered their jackass to be their best friend. And who knows what went on between them, in the name of animal husbandry. So if a scruffy old desert prospector can marry a jackass, I think it’s only fitting that we smartasses choose the jackass as our mascot.

As Chancellor of Jackass University, I hereby make the choice, without objection, for all of us. I nominate our new mascots to be jackasses.

Only I’m calling them “masscots,” with two s’s. And their names are Jack Ass, and Jenny Ass, from the Ass family.

If anyone objects to this nomination, please leave your smartass comments, below. If necessary, we can hold an election. And then we can contest the results of the election. We might even take it all the way to the Supreme Court, and leave it up to its nine jackasses to decide the matter.

And now I introduce to you, our nominees. Our two prospective masscots. Our symbols of the hallowed craft of smartassery. Here, ladies and gentlemen, are Jack and Jenny Ass . . .

Code of the Smartass

I’m afraid this blog might get out of hand, with all the smartasses that comment here. I think we need a code. So the following is a new page I’m adding to my blog:


Just read the cheeky comments on this blog, and you’ll realize that those who follow me tend to be smartasses. It’s fun being a smartass, and everyone is invited to join in on all the good times. But please keep in mind that we follow a code. It’s called the Code of the Smartass:

Code of the Smartass

We’re smartasses, and proud of it. But smartasses can refer to each other by a variety of names, including: smart aleck (whatever an aleck is), smarty, smarty-pants, wise-ass, wise guy, wiseacre, wisenheimer, witling, brat, cheeky boy (or girl), malapert, rascal, saucebox, and troll. However none of these other names detract from the fact that we are all just smartasses.

Smartasses are not easily offended. But that doesn’t stop us from working hard at it.

Smartasses don’t take life too seriously. Nothing is sacred, including being a smartass.

Smartasses don’t care about convention, tradition, perdition, or any of the other shins.

Smartasses respect all religions, creeds, political beliefs, and cultures. Because without these things, there would be little left to make fun of.

Smartasses appreciate and respect wisdom. After all, wisdom is the fictile clay for creating wisecracks.

Smartasses are troublemakers, and also get into trouble a lot. We accept this as the risk one takes when acting like a smartass. We take full responsibility for the consequences of our smartassery, unless there’s a patsy nearby who we can conveniently blame.

Smartasses do not organize well. Such an organization would fall apart from internal ridicule. The only thing that keeps smartasses together is our love for smartassery.

Smartasses aren’t known for being profound or thought-provoking. But we’re commonly thought to be profane and provoking.

Even though we strive to be smartasses, sometimes we fall short and are dumbasses instead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pick ourselves up off of our dumbasses and keep striving to be the best smartasses in the whole world.

Smartasses chase unicorns, because unicorns are unique, novel, new, different, strange, weird, and thus, interesting. And that’s all smartasses really want. Relief from boredom. Otherwise we wouldn’t be such smartasses.

Stolen Quote: Within

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. ~ Jesus Christ-Gospel of St. Thomas

Just as long as you’re not talking to a cop.

Tale of Two Worlds

I woke up one morning and realized that I inhabit two worlds. I suppose that may be a good way to describe sleep. It’s like traveling to another world. My waking world belongs to the sublunary realm of humans. My sleep belongs to the superlunary world of the gods.

From the hypnagogic gates to the final hypnopompia, I wander through a strange ether. The gods guide me through scintillating scenery, regale me with mellifluous oratories and music, and surprise me with curious gifts, amorous women, and ambrosia.

I gambol with the spirits of lost loved ones, now denizens of kingdoms in Valhalla and the Islands of the Blessed. I rewrite histories and rehearse futures, like Shakespeare directing plays at the Globe. And I haunt familiar-seeming habitats that I’ve never actually habitated. Déjà vu in HD.

Sometimes wrathful gods attack me with minacious beasts or other malevolent beings, then pour lead into my legs. Or they assign me impossible tasks, as if I’m some kind of Sisyphean inmate. I bear these hagridden episodes by theorizing that they are auguries of misfortune that previse me of avoidable danger.

Sometimes I’m cognizant that this is an alternate reality, and fly lucidly through walls and roofs and sky and space, with a ration of conscious control. But usually it’s all harum-scarum, where I inhabit the only world I know of at the time, and the script is entirely written by a bunch of crazy gods. My input is not welcome.

Shall I tell you about my latest dream? No I shall not. My dreams are only profound to me, as yours are only to you. The dreams of others are boring. It’s hard to hear one without yawning and drifting away. Drifting away to that other world.

That fantastic world of sleep.

Zzzzzzzz . . .

Trouble sleeping? Try traveling through the infinite universe, where perhaps you may find your dreamworld.
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