Epic save


In the Epic Save department, also the Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids Before They Flew The Nest department…

I bought an exercise machine and couldn’t shut the trunk on it. First I hoped its own weight would hold it down but that didn’t work out. So I stopped at a 7-11, but they didn’t have anything resembling twine. The nice lady (she kept calling me “honey”) assured me she knew there wasn’t anything in the back, either.

Without batting an eyelash, I bought a roll of Hefty Cling Wrap and a muffin. I drew out about six feet of wrap, bunched it up widthwise into a rope, and lashed the hatch down with it. Worked brilliantly. Tensile strength to burn.

Oh, and the muffin? That’s for tomorrow’s breakfast.


My Son, Folks… (ba-dum ching)

Here’s another Christmas story from this year: my son Nevada got me good!

First, he texted me a few days before:

I don’t football a lot. Do you have any strong feelings either way on the 49ers?

Wanting to be helpful without being completely indiscreet, I replied:

I don’t know how to answer that. There’s Seahawks and there’s everyone else in no particular order. I was a big 49er fan in the glory years. If we’re talking about a windbreaker, I don’t care if it’s FC Barcelona.

Then on Christmas Day, I opened a present from Nevada and there was a beautiful, hooded, lined, LaCoste windbreaker. The only graphic was a tiny LaCoste alligator. He also gave me a bendable Ichiro doll. After thanking him profusely, I asked, “There’s one thing I don’t understand: what’s the 49er connection?”

And he grinned and said, “Exactly!”

Well done, son!

Essay: The Archetype of the Whore

The Archetype of the Whore

Queen Sheba journeyed to Judah bearing gifts and tribute to pay homage to King Solomon, and returned home bearing his child Menelek, who became the first king of the great Ethiopian dynasty.

Mary Magdalene carried Jesus’ child even as she watched her lover crucified for aspiring to the throne of David. Magdalene fled to Egypt with her daughter Sara disguised as a servant girl, but Peter shoved them off in a rudderless boat without oars, and they landed in the French Riviera where Sara’s descendants became the Merovingian line of kings.

Sarah could not give Abraham a child, so she gave to Abraham her slave, Hagar, who bore him Ishmael. Then God blessed Sarah, and to Abraham, Sarah bore Isaac.

It is a perilous thing being born to Abraham. Now Ishmael must not be allowed to inherit Abraham’s birthright, so Abraham banished Hagar and Ishmael to starve to death in the desert, Isaac being the one destined to be the ancestor of Jesus once he survives almost being sacrificed on his father’s altar. Continue reading

New Story: Shear Coincidence

Shear Coincidence


A Zen monk was bicycling through a residential neighborhood in East Vancouver, Washington. He was pedaling along a random side street, miles from home, as a consequence of meandering around checking out garage sales, when by chance he came upon a man pinned underneath his lawn tractor beside the curb in front of his home. The monk took in the scene and asked himself, “Is this really happening?” He raced up to the man and set his bicycle down.

“Are you all right?” he asked the man, a typically but not grossly overweight Caucasian man in his fifties or sixties, evidently the homeowner. The tractor was on its side, half off the curb; the man was lying on his side with his legs underneath the steering wheel. He was struggling with the tractor, but in his position, could not budge the tractor or slide out from under the steering column.

John Deere lawn tractor“I just need to lift this off me,” he replied. The monk lifted the tractor by the steering wheel and with some effort wrested it off the man’s legs.

“Are you okay?” the monk asked again, concerned the man’s legs might have gotten crushed or something.

“Yes, I’m fine,” the man said, “can you help me up?” The man extended his hand and the monk helped him to his feet. It took somewhat more effort than lifting the tractor, actually, but between the two of them, they managed it. “Thank you very much,” said the man. Continue reading

Never Cast Pearls Before Swine

My wife Carol’s response to the June 29 SunWinks! Priceless!


Casting pearls before swine.  I’m sure you’ve heard that expression. It basically means, to my understanding, that someone has presented something of great worth to someone who doesn’t appreciate it, or perhaps isn’t worthy of it, or wouldn’t know what to do with it.   You probably haven’t ever heard an Aesop fable explaining the origin of the phrase or a story that has a necklace and a pig in it. You haven’t heard anything like that because there is no such story.   Over the years, proverbs and fables get bastardized, morphed, mutated and mutilated, usually by changing or omitting a word or two.  For instance, we say, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” which means, be kind to the child and don’t spank  him.  But the original phrase was “Spare the rod and YOU WILL spoil the child”, which has just the opposite meaning.  Another one that has been…

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Excerpt: You Can Talk!

You Can Talk!

from The Golden Books
Copyright © 2012 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.

Now which way did she tell me to turn?…   Everything had been so surreal, Gus realized he wasn’t quite sure exactly what Gaia had said. Then his eyes fell upon a sign across the road. It looked like this:
To The Library
“Curiouser and curiouser…” Gus grinned, amused at his literary allusion. Then, addressing himself to no-one in particular, “Well, whaddya say, shall we go to the… library?” Continue reading

Humor: Our Living Language

Our Living Language

 You may have heard the expression “get a wild hair up your butt.” In current usage, it usually refers to a person who is particularly exercised over some problem. Why on earth, you probably thought to yourself, would a hair up one’s rectum cause maniacal behavior? After all, how aggravating can one little hair be? And while we’re about it, how did it get there?

The illogic of this has caused some modern writers to write “get a wild hare up one’s butt”—presumably because having a wild rodent lodged in one’s anus would indeed cause rather animated behavior. But this, of course, is ridiculous. The largest rodent ever lodged in a human rectum is a small hamster, as reported in the August, 1997, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by a physician at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Bugs BunnyThe reality is quite an interesting story, and illustrates how our language develops over time. The first thing that needs to be said is that “up your butt” is a typical crude accretion added for emphasis in recent times and has nothing to do with the origin of the phrase, which in no way involves a medical condition such as might be presented to a proctologist. Continue reading

Memoir: The Pacemaker

The Pacemaker

Ten years ago, Dad couldn’t get himself out of bed. Mom called the ambulance. One week and a quarter of a million dollars later, Dad had two bovine heart valves and a pacemaker courtesy of world-famous heart surgeon Albert Starr. Dad was not grateful. He continued to abuse my mother, push her around, lean on her, and make horrible jokes like “I’m a walking cadaver.” Five years later, Mom was thrown to the floor on a train and broke her hip and was taken to the hospital in Centralia, a hundred and some miles north. Dad never visited Mom in the hospital up in Centralia once. Any of us kids would have taken him from door to door. When she was transferred back to town to a convalescent center, where she stayed for two months, Dad visited one time. When she finally got home, Dad went right back to making her wait on him, even as she was trying to rehab from her hip replacement.

Continue reading

Story: The Honey Badger

The Honey Badger

from The Golden Books
Copyright © 2012 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.

Then Gus noticed something right behind Tucker. “Don’t move!” he whispered

Tucker heard the maraca sound. “It’s a rattlesnake, isn’t it?”

“Oh my God, Tucker, what do we do? I’ll get a stick.”

“Don’t you move either. Either one of us moves, I’m dead.”


A minute went by. Then two. It seems like hours. Then Gus noticed Tucker had moved imperceptibly. “You’re moving,” he whispered.

“Shh.” Tucker was moving so slowly, Gus couldn’t even see him moving. It was like watching grass grow. He could only tell Tucker was moving when he realized he was in a different position from a minute before. Slowly, infinitesimally, Tucker was turning to face the snake. Gus had never seen anything like it.

Then Tucker made his fatal mistake. His tail twitched. That was enough. The rattlesnake struck.

Kree-k-k-k-kree! Continue reading