Pine Cones

We have a bombing range in our front yard. The bombers are two large pine trees, and the bombs are pine cones. Luckily, no one has yet been conked over the head by any coniferous ordnance that has dropped from the towering heights of these trees. But it’s only a matter of time.

Meanwhile, dozens of cones per week are shed, populating the grounds with ankle turners for those who perambulate in the dark. So once in awhile some poor schlub is tasked with the chore of raking up these invading cones.

It occurred to me one day, as I rested while leaning against the rake, that these damned trees must have already produced tens of thousands of pine cones over the course of their lives. And what do they have to show for it? Nothing. The hundreds of thousands of seeds of the tens of thousands of cones that have dropped from these evergreens have yet to produce a single new pine tree.

And that’s because schlemiels like me religiously rake the cones up, before the seeds get a chance to fall out. Then again, I must also give credit to the squirrels and birds and such, that harvest the pine nuts before I show up with my gardening tools.

But I’m not perfect, and neither are squirrels and birds. One of these days we’re gonna screw up. And then one of those pine nuts will get its chance. It will take root and sprout a brand new pine tree. And then, finally, it will be mission accomplished for our mammoth pine trees. They’ll have something to show for their efforts.

It only takes one success for a pine tree to complete its job at reproduction.

I think it’s the same with humans and their opinions. Opinions come from opining, so I think it’s safe to compare an opinion to a pine cone. Some humans try to be helpful, and are full of all kinds of opinions and advice. We are constantly bombarded, every single day, with messages of persuasion from each other. Sometimes it’s all we can do to rake through the muck of all this information, and uncover a grounded sense of reality.

We usually mean well with all our opinions. But so often they’re only half-regarded, if not ignored altogether. Rare is the occasion when something we say makes a real difference in someone else’s life.

But like the pine trees, it only takes once. If only one time in your life an opinion, or observation, or piece of advice helps change a life for the better for some ignominious, benighted person wallowing in the mire of a life run poorly, then you will have done your job. You will have fulfilled your mission at helping life to go on.

DISCLAIMER: If you’ve ever given bad advice, you may have to help more than one person, to countervail the harm you’ve inflicted on others. Past performance may not be a reliable indicator of future returns. Consult physician before using internally.

Chasing New Unicorns

Life is change, so if I want to keep this blog alive I need to change things up now and then. So I’ve found some new unicorns to chase.

Over the past few years I’ve been stealing quotes, and using them on days when I don’t have any other bullshit to post about. Which is most days. But too many stolen quotes can get about as old as the people I often steal from. So I’ve decided to create several new categories of filler posts, just to break things up and add variety to my bullshit.

This is all a work in progress. I believe in evolution, because I’m too lazy to be creative. So I’ll just let things evolve over time. But for now, here are some additional types of filler posts I’m considering, for your amusement:

Dumb Joke Day.
My Stupid Thought For the Day.
Cheeseburger Grilling Tips.
Weird Word Day.
Conversation Starters for Hitchhikers.
And maybe I’ll throw in a “Who the Hell Am I” game a little more often.

If you have any ideas you can add to this, please let me know. My legs get tired when I’m the only one who catches unicorns around here.

I’m not planning these new posts for any particular day of the week, such as something like, “Weird Word Wednesday.” No, that would be too weird. Besides, it would require too much commitment for a lazy blogger like me. These posts will just happen when they happen, appearing as if from thin air, with no rhyme or reason as to why. After all, that’s the nature of unicorns.

By the way, don’t worry, you quote lovers, Stolen Quote has not gone away completely. I love stealing quotes. I love it when someone else does the work and all I have to do is exercise my light fingers. So I’ll still be fencing purloined quotes on this blog every now and then. Just less often.

If you don’t like these changes, go ahead and pelt me with rotten eggs and tomatoes. You could catch me at a hungry moment.

But in the meantime, let’s jump out of a rut. Let’s turn over a new leaf. Let’s shake things up and blaze a new trail. Yes, let’s stop being so hackneyed and predictable. We must if we want to stay alive. Never forget that the real test for us unicorn chasers is how well we can handle change.

So starting tomorrow we’ll be putting on our running shoes, grabbing a lasso, and chasing after some new, one-horned beasts of an unfamiliar color, that have wandered into our forest.

Unicorns of an unfamiliar color are coming our way.

Who the Hell Am I?

Feeling bored? How about we play another fun and exciting game of Who the Hell Am I?

The last time we played this game, last November, the big winner was Jason Frels, who guessed “Marty Robbins” on the tenth clue. In the game before that, the big winner was Carolyn, at joyroses13, who got half a point by half-cheating and guessing “W.C. Fields” after the last clue.

Hmm, maybe I’ve been making this game too difficult. With that in mind, I’ve tried to make the clues a little easier this go-around, so hopefully someone will get the right answer before the last clue.

In this game you get 10 clues to guess the name of a famous person. These clues are numbered countdown-style, 10 to 1, with the first clue numbered 10. Your score is determined by the highest numbered clue that evokes the correct answer.

At the end of the clues you can click a link for the answer. However, the link is numbered zero, so if you haven’t figured out the answer by the time you click it, you get no points.

Who the hell am I?

10. I was the lead singer for my band, and we were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

9. My stage performance was influenced by Van Morrison, whom my band fronted in 1966.

8. I was estranged from my father. He was a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. He was in command of the Carrier Division during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, that escalated U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

7. My band’s debut album, with me on the cover, was released on January 4, 1967. When my father first heard it, he wrote me a letter telling me “to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I consider to be a complete lack of talent in this direction.” This album went on to sell over 7 million copies worldwide, went 4 times platinum in the United States, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and has often been hailed by critics as the greatest album of all time.

6. My first smash single came from my band’s debut album. It spent three weeks in the #1 slot, on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, in 1967. The success of this song really lit me on fire. But after I performed it on the Ed Sullivan Show, I was banned from future appearances on his show for refusing to comply with a censor’s request to change the lyrics.

5. My father later softened his attitude toward me, and after I got into legal trouble he wrote a letter to the Florida Probation and Parole Commission, stating that he was proud of me. In 1990 my father had a flat stone placed upon my grave, with a Greek inscription that translates to, “True to his own spirit.”

4. In March 1969, I allegedly exposed my penis and shouted obscenities while performing a concert in Miami. For this I was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity, and sentenced to six months in jail. But I never served time because I died before my appeal was completed. In 2010 I was pardoned posthumously by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

3. I belong to the 27 Club, which is an ill-starred grouping of famous celebrities who died at the age of 27. Other members of this club include Brian Jones (co-founder of the Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse.

2. On July 3, 1971, my girlfriend, Pamela Courson, found me dead from heart failure in a bathtub in Paris. Pam died three years later from a heroin overdose, also at the age of 27. I was an alcoholic and this probably contributed to my death, but no autopsy was performed so nobody really knows the exact cause of my untimely demise.

1. The name of my rock band was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception. This book title was derived from the William Blake quotation, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

0.5. Give up? Click this link to watch the performance of my band’s first smash hit, on the Ed Sullivan Show.

0. Still can’t recall my name? Geesh! Alright then, you can click on this link and read all about me on Wikipedia. But you get zero points. And I’m turning over in my grave.

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