Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dim Bulbs

Life is often stranger than fiction. Compiled from various sources over time, the following items are purported to be true stories. Obviously, we can’t all be the brightest bulb on the tree.

California, the land of fruit and nuts, always has more than its share of dim bulbs. In Modesto, a man attempted to hold up a bank using a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. In a typical dim bulb maneuver, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket, making his apprehension a laughing matter and an easy task.

In Los Angeles, police were conducting a lineup. They asked each of the men in the lineup to say, “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot.” One of the suspects shouted: “That’s not what I said!” Needless to say, another dim bulb bit the dust.

In San Francisco, a man walked into a Bank of America, wrote a robbery note on a deposit slip and stood in line waiting for his turn. He became impatient so he went across the street to rob a Wells Fargo Bank. The teller told him she couldn’t accept a note written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he’d either have to rewrite it on a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. So the dim bulb, a mighty dim bulb indeed, went back to the Bank of America and stood in line until some men in blue came along and escorted him to jail.

In Bakersfield, a young couple bought a brand new speedboat and went to a lake to take it for a spin. They got the motor started just fine but it seemed very sluggish. They eventually made it to a nearby marina and had it examined by a mechanic. Upon inspection it was discovered that the trailer was still securely strapped under the boat. Dim bulbs have been known to run in pairs too.

Dim bulbs aren’t restricted to California, although it would be helpful if they were. In Topeka, Kansas, a man attempted to hold up a convenience store. Finding the amount of cash on hand to be less than expected, he tied up the store clerk and began working the counter himself, hoping to accumulate more money in the process. He was arrested three hours later, still on duty behind the counter. He may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed but he had a good work ethic. Too bad he didn’t get a job in the convenience store in the first place.

In Atlantic City, an elderly woman won a bucket of quarters on the slot machines in one of the casino hotels. On the way up to her room, two black men joined her in the elevator. Suddenly, one of the men said, “Hit the floor” whereupon the woman threw her bucket of quarters up in the air and sprawled on the elevator floor. The man politely explained that he meant for her to push a button for her floor; then they both helped her gather the scattered coins. The following morning the woman received a dozen roses. The card read: “Thanks for the best laugh we’ve had in years.” It was signed: Eddie Murphy and Michael Jordan.

In Boston, a Catholic priest was standing on the sidewalk having a conversation with an older woman when a thug grabbed the woman’s purse, knocking her to the ground, and hit the priest with a club, rendering him unconscious. The woman had two sons – one was the priest she was talking to and the other was the top crime boss (Mafia) in the city. Somewhere in Boston is a dim bulb with the wrong purse and plenty of reason to avoid guys named Carmine, Vito or Big Tony. Relocating to somewhere beyond Jupiter might be a wise move.

In Finland, where taxes are among the highest in the world and the national pastime is depression, there is an office building full of dim bulbs. A tax official in his 60s died of a heart attack at his desk. Two days passed before any of his 30 co-workers noticed he had expired. Apparently accountants look like they’re still working even though the distance between their face and the top of their desk is zero.

Dim bulbs provide an important benefit to mankind -- they make the rest of us look fairly intelligent.


Quote for the Day – "Be alert, the world needs more lerts." Woody Paige

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and a dim bulb in his kitchen. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Skull and Bones and Geronimo

Goyathlay (one who yawns) was born in June of 1829 to the Bedonkohe band of Apache near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River, in New Mexico. He was raised according to Apache tradition and married a woman from the Chiricahua band of Apache when he was 17 years old. They had three children.

In 1832, a secret society known as Skull and Bones was founded by certain privileged male students at Yale University.

On March 5, 1851, 400 Mexican soldiers from Sonora attacked Goyathlay's camp, killing Goyathlay's mother, wife and children. Goyathlay and the other men were elsewhere at the time.

Although he was never a chief, Goyathlay soon became a ferocious military leader. In one battle, he repeatedly attacked Mexican soldiers with a knife, ignoring an onslaught of bullets.

The Mexicans gave him a nickname, after St. Jerome. They called him Geronimo.

Geronimo refused to acknowledge the United States Government. He fought U.S. and Mexican Armies for more than a decade.

To his people, he was renowned for his "power" because he was blessed with profound spiritual knowledge and protected by Usen, the Apache high-god. He had the ability to walk without leaving tracks and was metaphysically gifted (telepathy, telekinesis). Wounded many times by bullets, he always survived.

In 1886, Geronimo was finally captured after numerous daring escapes and sent to prison in Florida.

Later, he became famous in his old age. In 1904, he appeared at the World's Fair in St. Louis and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade the following year.

Geronimo died on February 17, 1909.

There is a windowless building on the campus of Yale University called the Tomb. It houses the secret society known as Skull and Bones. It's basically a private club for young men of privilege, many of whom go on to become captains of industry, Supreme Court justices, cabinet officers and presidents.

Only 15 new seniors, called Neophytes, are chosen each year to become Bonesmen. They are sworn to a lifetime of secrecy and must go through a series of rituals to become a member.

For example, they're required to stand naked in the presence of other Bonesmen and recount their entire sexual history. Upon acceptance, Neophytes are shoved to their knees and knighted by a Bonesman tapping a sword on the Neophyte's left shoulder and saying, "By the order of our order, I dub thee Knight of Euloga."

Outlandish ceremonies are commonplace in the Tomb. In one ritual, a woman holds a knife and pretends to slash the throat of another person lying down before her, as Bonesmen yell and scream at the Neophytes. In another ceremony, Bonesmen wear devil costumes and pretend to perform satanic acts of torture on Neophytes who are also required to lie in a coffin at various times.

Death seems to be one of the major themes in the Tomb. There are more than a dozen skulls and several coffins scattered throughout the premises. Wall paintings are replete with scenes of death and destruction.

Also on display is a glass case containing one of their sacred treasures -- a bloodied knife and the skull of Geronimo.

Prescott Bush was a Bonesman. He and other members of Skull and Bones dug up Geronimo's grave at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, when stationed there in 1918 during World War I, removing the skull and some other bones.

Prescott Bush is the father of former president George H. W. Bush and grandfather of former president George W. Bush, both of whom were also Bonesmen at Yale.

On February 17, 2009, the hundredth anniversary of Geronimo's death, his great-grandson, Harlyn Geronimo, filed a lawsuit in Washington DC claiming that members of Skull and Bones stole the remains of Geronimo decades ago. The descendants want the remains turned over to the family so he can be reburied near his birthplace in New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.
Bonesmen are young men from wealthy and powerful families. In their circle, they can do no wrong. They have a lofty opinion of their position in society and strive to keep it that way. They refer to the rest of society as "barbarians." In their elite world, you're either a Bonesman or a barbarian.

Their antics are infantile, sadomasochistic and downright disgusting. It's a secret society that lusts for dominance and worships death. Its members are ambitious men of wealth and power who help other members reach positions of wealth and power.

The purpose of their satanic behavior within Skull and Bones, no doubt, is to compromise the dignity of its members to ensure a lifetime of loyalty to the society. Once a Bonesman, always a Bonesman.

These are the true barbarians.

In 2004, George W. Bush and John Kerry were the two presidential candidates. Both had been members of Skull and Bones at Yale, although not at the same time. Neither would answer any questions about the secret society.

All 44 presidents of the United States are related by blood. For example, Obama is a distant cousin of George W. Bush. This bloodline of influential, wealthy families controls international banking, which in turn controls governments and the media.

The world is being methodically manipulated by a group of powerful people in high places whose ultimate goal is a One World Government with them in control. And the robotic masses go along with it because they buy into the programming of the educational system and the media. The greed-heads at the top, who want to control the world, feed off the greed-heads below, who always want more than they need or can reasonably afford.

Geronimo yearned to be free. It cost him the lives of his mother, his wife and his children, and eventually cost him his freedom.

In February of 2009, one hundred years after his death, Geronimo still yearns to be free.

The sordid fellows of Skull and Bones have chosen to display Geronimo's remains in their private meeting quarters. If there is any justice in this world, they will turn over Geronimo's remains to his family, offer an apology, disband their insidious secret society of human depravity and exorcise the Tomb of its demons, preferably by an Apache Holy Man.


Quote for the Day – "I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust." Geronimo

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the spirit of Black Elk. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Deadliest Animals

The Top Ten Deadliest Animals on Earth

1) Mosquito – Some mosquitoes carry parasites resulting in the deaths of two million people per year. They may cause malaria, encephalitis, dengue fever, West Nile virus and other diseases. Having type "O" blood makes you more susceptible to being bitten. Being naked in a swamp also makes you more susceptible.

2) Asian Cobra – 50,000 deaths per year are caused by venomous snakebites. While not the most venomous snake on the planet, the Asian cobra tops the list by causing the most deaths. On the positive side, they eat rodents and other reptiles. But they don't make very good pets unless you have lots of tattoos and a nose ring.

3) Australian Box Jellyfish – Also known as the sea wasp, it's about the size of a Buick hubcap and can have as many as 60 tentacles, up to 15 feet long each, with about 5,000 stinging cells per tentacle. It carries enough toxins to kill 60 people. So always go swimming in Australia with more than 60 people to narrow the odds.

4) Great White Shark – It has 3,000 teeth and will bite on anything that moves, especially if it is bleeding. By contrast, my ex-wife has 32 teeth and will eat just about anything that doesn't move and isn't bleeding, especially if it's the most costly thing on the menu, in which case moving and bleeding are optional.

5) African Lion – Fast, quick, powerful, giant fangs and sharp claws. They hunt in groups, with the females doing most of the work, and are not vegetarians. Female human beings often hunt in groups as well, usually seeking clothes, jewelry or men. They too are quick and have sharp claws but very few of them have giant fangs.

6) Australian Saltwater Crocodile – They lurk in the water, motionless, near shore, waiting for a morsel of food to wander by. They'll lunge at the prey, dragging it into the water, twisting as they're moving and drowning their victim. They will then dismember their catch and chow down, or secure it underwater for future dining. Being dismembered as you're drowning or drowning as you're being dismembered – either way, it's a bad hair day.

7) Elephant – A bull elephant can weigh up to 16,000 pounds. Although they have huge tusks, they prefer to stomp you to death. Over 500 people per year are killed by elephants worldwide. They don't make very good pets because they're very hard to house train and tend to break things. Plus being stomped to death is a rather unpleasant way to meet your maker, particularly if the first stomp doesn't get the job done.

8) Polar Bear – Males stand up to 11 feet tall and weigh up to 1400 pounds. They can outrun a human and are always hungry. To a polar bear, you are a tasty treat. If you run, they think you are prey and will run you down. If you look them in the eye, they become challenged and will put a swift end to your antics. The best defense against polar bears is to move south of Ft. Lauderdale and keep your doors locked.

9) Cape Buffalo – They weigh 1,500 pounds and have large, sharp horns. When faced with danger, their first response is to charge head on. This is usually accompanied by exciting the entire herd to charge head on. A stampede of a thousand Cape buffalo is not something you want to experience head on.

10) Poison Dart Frog – Their slimy backs ooze a neurotoxin meant to repel predators. Each frog produces enough toxins to kill 10 humans. So if your hobby is collecting frogs, avoid this brand. If your hobby is licking the slimy backs of frogs, check into the nearest psycho ward and have your head thoroughly examined.

Of course, the deadliest animals on this planet are the two-legged humanoids, also known as people. Some will kill, either legally or illegally, simply because of ignorance or anger or fear or greed or just for the thrill of it.

Humanoids have granted themselves dominion over all other creatures. When it comes to dominion over other humanoids, it's called government. When it comes to dominion over other animals, it's called selective harvesting.

We live in a harsh reality where the most intelligent creature on this planet also causes the most bloodshed. In a perfect world, those who live by the sword would die by the sword and the meek would inherit the earth.


Quote for the Day – "I'm at two with nature." Woody Allen

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives alone in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and a host of wild animals that allow him to coexist peacefully among them. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Left-Handed Universe

Two scientists from the University of Melbourne have announced they may have found evidence of a parallel universe of strange matter within our own solar system. Dr. Robert Foot and Dr. Saibal Mitra have coined their discovery “mirror matter.”

In October 2000, the Near-Shoemaker spacecraft touched down on the Eros asteroid, a mere 8 miles by 8 miles by 20 miles in dimension.

This was the first time a space probe has landed on an asteroid.

Observations indicate that small objects containing mirror matter could have struck the asteroid and created many strange features, such as a puzzling lack of small craters within large, flat-bottomed craters filled with a peculiar bluish dust. According to the theory advanced by Dr. Foot and Dr. Mitra, these odd surface features were created when small objects containing mirror matter struck the asteroid.

Unlike antimatter, which when mixed with normal matter would lead to the annihilation of both, mirror matter is somehow a “reflection” of normal matter.

In other words, it’s a sort of parallel series of particles required to restore the balance of the Universe.

And if ever a Universe needed balancing, it’s ours.

Laws of nature show a high degree of symmetry, except that some laws are not the same when reflected in a hypothetical mirror. Apparently, elementary particles display a preference for left over right.

Thus, the Universe can be said to be left-handed.

Believe it or not, five of the last seven Presidents of the USA were left-handed – Ford, Reagan, papa Bush, Clinton and Obama. Plus, polar bears and a disproportionately high number of writers, painters and Nobel Prize winners are also left-handed. But that's another story for another time.

Many physicists believe that in the initial moments of the Big Bang everything was perfectly symmetrical and when the cosmos eventually cooled down a difference emerged between left and right.

Dr. Foot and Dr. Mitra believe mirror matter would have been made in abundance in the Big Bang and is all around us but we can’t see it because mirror matter produces it’s own light and only interacts with our matter via gravity.

They further speculate that the so-called unseen “dark matter” of the Universe could actually be mirror matter.

As further proof of their hypothesis, Dr Foot and Dr. Mitra cite the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 deep space probes launched in 1972. Both probes are going in opposite directions and are being slowed down by a tiny, unexplained force. Dr. Foot and Dr. Mitra contend that mirror matter would explain this phenomenon.

Our solar system is indeed occupied by various forms of strange matter. Some that come to mind are:

1) My ex-wife
2) Michael Jackson
3) Aardvarks
4) Guys named Bubba
5) The U.S. Congress
6) Anything with more than four legs
7) Iacobucci art
8) Foo Fighters
9) Driving on parkways, parking on driveways
10) France


Quote for the Day – "Mankind is continually attempting to produce more idiot-proof gadgets, while the Universe is continually producing more idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." Bret

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an original Iacobucci painting. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Battling the Ice Beast

Life is like an unorthodox teacher -- you get the test first and the lesson comes later.

During the evening of January 26, 2009, my region of the country was having a severe ice storm. Ice was forming on trees, causing them to literally explode as large branches were falling, trees were splitting down the middle and some were toppling from the root.

Power lines in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky were ravaged. My utility company reported 32,000 out of 37,000 households were without electricity. The four utility poles in the line across the road from my property had been destroyed. In northern Arkansas, over 6,000 utility poles had to be replaced.

My driveway was blocked by three large fallen trees and a large branch had collapsed on my van rendering it stationary. I was without electricity (my only source of heat) and running water, and my phone lines were dead (for the first few days).

The temperatures dipped into the low 20s and teens over the next several days. The temperature in my place dropped into the high 30s at night. I had plenty of food and water on hand, but no alternative heating source.

I spent the first three days trying to stay warn under some quilts by candle light in my smallest room. My dog threw off some body heat as well. It was a time for staring at walls and contemplating your existence.

Then on day four I started thinking about my grandfather and Hugh Glass.

My grandfather was a very rugged, independent guy who had a plaque on his wall that read, "I felt sorry for myself when I had no shoes until the day I saw a man with no feet."

It was obvious the electricity would not be restored soon, so I decided to stop waiting for help and do something about it. Since my chainsaw was electric, I started sawing by hand on the fallen trees in my driveway. The wood was green and wet, making hand-sawing nearly impossible because it kept pinching the blade. It took two full days to clear a path, thanks to a guy who lives down the road and drove by and helped me with the big pieces toward the end with his chain saw.

Then I had to clear the hanging branch from my van and move to out of there. Unfortunately, the only place I could move it was where it got stuck in some deep mud with no room for maneuvering. I couldn't get it out for many more days until the mud dried.

After 17 days of struggling and hunkering down, my electricity was restored on February 11. It took another two days to repair my running water system because of frozen pipes that had cracked.

Hugh Glass was my inspiration through much of the ordeal. He was a mountain man, fur trader and honorary Pawnee in the early 1800s.

In 1823, Glass was with an expedition party of 13 mountain men in the Dakotas whereupon he was off by himself scouting for game and was attacked by a Grizzly bear. He fought it with his knife and the bear was eventually killed with the help of his partners, Jim Bridger and John Fitzgerald.

Glass was badly injured. He had a broken leg, gashes on his back exposing his ribs and remained unconscious.

The expedition party determined Glass would soon die. Bridger and Fitzgerald volunteered to remain behind and bury Glass when he expired, as the party moved on toward the valley of the Yellowstone.

While Fitzgerald and Bridger were digging the grave, a band of hostile Arikara Indians appeared. Fitzgerald and Bridger grabbed Glass's rifle, knife and equipment, and high-tailed it out of there. When they caught up with the expedition party, they reported that Glass had died.

At some point, Glass regained consciousness. No weapons, no equipment, abandoned by his partners.

He set his broken leg. All of his deep gashes were festering, potentially turning to gangrene, so he laid his wounded back on a rotting log allowing maggots to eat the dead flesh.

The nearest settlement was Fort Kiowa on the Missouri River, some 200 miles away. Glass wrapped himself in a bear hide that was intended to be his burial shroud and began crawling toward the south.

Glass survived on wild berries and roots. On one occasion he drove two wolves away from a dead animal carcass and consumed some meat. In six weeks, he reached the Cheyenne River, where he fashioned a raft and floated down the river, eventually reaching Fort Kiowa.

After a long recuperation, Glass set out to have an unfriendly chat with Bridger and Fitzgerald.

He eventually encountered Bridger near the mouth of the Bighorn River on the Yellowstone. But Bridger was only 17 years old at the time of the incident, thus Glass forgave him.

Later, he found Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald had joined the U.S. Army, so Glass refrained from killing him. Killing a soldier would lead to a death sentence. However, he did retrieve his lost rifle from Fitzgerald.

In the winter of 1833, Hugh Glass and two other mountain men were killed by Arikara Indians on the Yellowstone River. A few months later, some fur trappers recognized Hugh Glass's rifle in the hands of an Airkara Indian who was trying to pass himself off as a friendly Minitaris Indian, whereupon he was swiftly dispatched to the Happy Hunting Ground in the Sky.

So I figured if Hugh Glass could travel 200 miles by crawling overland wrapped in a bear skin for 6 weeks with a broken leg, building a raft and floating down a river that I could survive without electricity and running water for 17 days.

The glory of existence is not what happens to you, it's what you do when it happens.


Quote for the Day – "When you're going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and 8 acres of uncut firewood. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

February 14 is Valentine's Day.

According to legend, Valentine was a Roman priest during the third century. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he decreed that young men were forbidden to get married.

However, Valentine defied the ruling and continued to perform marriages of young couples in secret. His actions were eventually discovered compelling Claudius to order the priest's death.

While in prison awaiting death, Valentine fell in love with a young woman, believed to be the jailer's daughter, who visited him regularly. Before his execution, it is alleged that Valentine wrote the young woman a note which he signed "from your Valentine."

Thus, Valentine was put to death and Valentine's Day was born.

When I first started dating my ex-wife it never occurred to me to get her anything on Valentine's Day. She spent the next several weeks in a huff. On our second Valentine's Day together, I gave her a nice piece of jewelry and she gave me an oven mitt.

Needless to say, I never did figure her out. We were married the following year and divorced five years later. She got the house and I got to keep the oven mitt.

On Valentine's Day, or any other day, a woman may ask a seemingly innocent question. A correct answer will usually lead to temporary approval, at least until the next seemingly innocent question. But any dimwitted answer, of which there are many, will surely bring about long-term torment.

Question: "Do you love me?"
A) "I guess so."
B) "In what sense?"
C) "Most of the time."
D) "Who, me?"
X) Correct answer -- "Of course, dear."

Question: "What are you thinking about?"
A) "Football."
B) "My dog."
C) "I was wondering when the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was going to be available."
D) "If I wanted you to know, I'd be talking instead of thinking."
X) Correct answer -- "I was just thinking about what a wonderful, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful woman you are and what a lucky guy I am to be with you."

Question: "Do you think she's prettier than me?"
A) "You have a much better personality."
B) "Only from a certain angle."
C) "It's hard to say."
D) "She's just younger and thinner."
X) Correct answer -- "Absolutely not, dear."

Question: "Do I look fat in this dress?"
A) "I wouldn't exactly call it fat – I'd call it more like pleasantly plump."
B) "Nobody will notice."
C) "Compared to what?"
D) "Don't worry about it – a little extra weight looks good on you."
X) Correct answer -- "No, of course not, darling."

The key to a blissful relationship is sincerity. If you can fake sincerity, your relationship will endure.


Quote for the Day – "Love makes your soul crawl out of its hiding place." Zora Neale Hurston


Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives alone in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an oven mitt. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rodent Holidays

On January 27, 2009, I was in the process of posting my latest blog, titled BEING IT, on various websites when I lost my electricity. Northern Arkansas was in the middle of a nasty ice storm with trees falling down everywhere, creating a power outage over most of the region.

We had temperatures in the teens on many nights. I had now electricity or running water. I kept warm mostly with candles and whiskey—plus 4 quilts and a warm dog. On day 11, I managed to acquire a small propane heater.

Last night, February 11, my power was restored. I still don't have running water – broken water lines because of freezing temps.

I had planned to post a Groundhog Day blog on January 30 and had most of it written before the power outage. Pasted it below. Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on February 2 and proclaimed another 6 weeks of winter.

Just what I was hoping for – another 6 weeks of winter.

February 2nd is Groundhog Day. This is the day when grown men and women congregate outside of rodent burrows and wait patiently for a groundhog to emerge.

If the groundhog sees its shadow on this day, legend has it that there will be six more weeks of winter.

If the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, it either means it will be an early spring or the groundhog was too busy gawking at the people who were gawking at it to notice.

There are many other holidays involving rodents but few people pay much attention to them.

WOODCHUCK DAY. Woodchuck is another name for a groundhog. Lumberjacks celebrate this holiday exactly seven weeks after Groundhog Day, when enough time has passed for the woodchuck to get a bit frisky after a winter of hibernation. On this day, lumberjacks from Maine to Oregon stalk woodchucks to see how much wood a woodchuck chucks, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

SQUIRREL DAY. This is the first day of warm weather in the coming year when squirrels emerge from their nests to check on their nuts. Having spent much of the fall season squirreling away nuts by burying them in strategic places near their domicile, they must take an inventory every spring to make sure their nuts are all present and accounted for. This holiday is observed mostly by accountants, warehouse managers and store clerks by conducting a complete inventory on that day, then taking the rest of the week off to celebrate and cook the books.

GOPHER DAY. This holiday comes at the end of the college football season. Primarily observed by the alumni of the University of Minnesota, it only occurs if the Golden Gophers have a winning season and have managed to avoid NCAA probation for recruiting violations at the same time. Thus, this holiday is only celebrated once or twice a decade, making it a very special occasion for former Golden Gophers everywhere.

SEWER RAT DAY. This is strictly a local holiday for residents of New York City and Newark. Depending on the temperature and humidity, Sewer Rat Day can occur anytime in the late summer, usually in early August. This is the day when the highest concentration of rats emerges from the sewer systems to taunt the citizens of their respective cities. This is also a very special day for pest control companies and alley cats.

MUSKRAT DAY. A muskrat is basically a slippery rat that lives in or near water. Consequently, Muskrat Day is celebrated by slippery people who live clandestinely along rivers and pay no taxes. This holiday is observed on April 15, when federal taxes are due. The celebration includes drinking tax-free moonshine and taking an annual bath.

SWAMP RAT DAY. A swamp rat is basically a slippery rat that lives in a swamp. Consequently, Swamp Rat Day is observed by slippery people who live clandestinely in the middle of a swamp and pay no taxes. This holiday occurs after the first sign of frog mating season. It’s celebrated by drinking tax-free moonshine and kissing a loved one or a frog, whichever croaks the loudest.

BEAVER DAY. Dam engineers across the nation celebrate this occasion, always the first day in the early winter when the beaver has completed construction of its dam for that year and goes into hibernation. Most dam engineers have been in hibernation since 1939, when construction of the last of the great dams was completed. Rumor has it that some of the more militant dam engineers have formed a secret society that is scheming to create another mighty river system in a secluded location where no one will notice until it has been completed, somewhere like North Dakota or behind the Dick Cheney Library.

MOUSE WEEK. Timid people everywhere celebrate this holiday that coincides with Mardi Gras. Although the festivities are always very quiet, it’s the only rodent holiday that lasts more than one day. Timid people have a hard time releasing their emotions but once they do it lasts for a whole week. They dine on crumbs and avoid cats for seven days. Then they apologize for their outburst, usually to a goldfish or a potted plant, and shrink back into their comfortable lives of silent despair, patiently waiting for the day when the meek shall inherit the earth.


Quote for the Day – "Into each life some rain must fall." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and the author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and a vague recollection of the miracle of plumbing. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111