Butter Rum Cartoon

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Here's a little Halloween treat for you. It's my retelling of one of my favorite ghost stories.

The boys stood on the dirt road, staring at the graveyard. The sky was overcast, evening was beginning to come on, and things seemed gloomy. "Old Man Haskett" was buried in there a couple weeks ago," said Mark.

"Yeah," whispered Will, "and everyone says he was pure evil. He killed his own dog for barking, I heard, and he had a daughter who just disappeared. No one ever heard from her again."

"I bet he killed her, too," said Asher as he stared bug-eyed at the graveyard.

"Yeah, for barking," retorted Jimmy, and the boys let out a little laugh which was interrupted by the screech of a bird which made them all suddenly duck.

"They say," said Mark, "that if you stand on the grave of an evil man at midnight, he'll come up out of the dirt and grab you and won't let you go."

"Oh phooey," said Jimmy, "I don't believe it."

"It's true," Will insisted.

"Look here," Mark said to Jimmy, "I bet you don't have the guts to do it."

"I do too," said Jimmy.

"I dare you," said Mark, and all the others chimed in, "Yeah, we dare you, Jimmy."

Jimmy couldn't back down without making a fool of himself, and so said, "I'll do it. I'll do it tonight, at midnight."

"How can we be sure he does it?" asked Asher, "He might just say he did it."

Mark reached into his pocket and pulled out his big jackknife and handed it to Jimmy. "Here," he said, "when you're on it, you stick this knife into Haskett's grave. We'll come over here early in the morning and see if you were really there." At that, the boys walked back to town and each went his own way home.

Jimmy lay in bed that night, unable to sleep. When midnight came, he quietly slid his bedroom window open and slipped out into the darkness, with a flashlight in his hand and Mark's jackknife in his pocket. He ran up the street and down the road, darting behind a bush whenever he saw a car coming so no one would ask a nine-year-old boy what he was doing out in the middle of the night.

The graveyard looked a lot spookier in the moonlight, and he stood at the edge of it, almost chickening out, but then thought of how the boys would laugh and tease him for being a coward. He took the knife out of his pocket, opened the blade, and began walking between the graves, following the beam of his flashlight. He didn't know where Old Man Haskett was buried, so he shined his light on each tombstone as he passed. Some of the names were odd, even creepy, and he wondered how many evil persons were buried there besides Mr. Haskett, and he was careful not to step on any graves.

Finally there it was -- a small tombstone that said
Albert C. Haskett
May 12, 1885 - Oct. 14, 1964 
and the sod that covered the grave seemed a little lighter in color. Jimmy didn't want to linger, but he was afraid to step on the grave. The moon was behind trees now, and it was very dark. His flashlight was dimmer than when he left home, casting only a yellow glow, and, fearing it might go out and leave him in total darkness, Jimmy stepped onto the grave, stooped down and stuck the knife deep into the dirt, and turned to run.

But he couldn't! Old Man Haskett's hand had indeed reached out of the ground and grabbed his ankle! Jimmy screamed in terror.

Just after dawn the rest of the boys hurried out to the graveyard to see if Jimmy had really stuck the knife in the grave, and when they approached they found Jimmy's body lying there dead, with his eyes opened and blindly gazing, an expression of horror distorting his cold face. Mark's big jackknife was stuck through the cuff of Jimmy's pants and deep into the dirt, pinning him to the ground. Jimmy had died of fright.

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Since the last week of September, more Ukrainians than Americans (or anybody else) have been viewing the Butter Rum Cartoon, and it's been a mystery to me why. Finally today Tom Kouts, a friend of mine, helped solve the mystery.

October 22, 2014 tally of Butter Rum Cartoon views in the past month

Around the same time the Ukrainian views increased, so did the views of my post on How to Care for Your Pet Tarantula. And so I assumed that tarantulas must have recently become popular as pets in the Ukraine.

October 22, 2014 report of the top ten most popular posts in the Butter Rum Cartoon in the past month

I threw the idea out at Tom, and he found the following online article from the Ukraine News Portal at www.apeylqx.com, entitled  Main page: TARANTULAS MOVE TO the CITIES Because of climate change arthropods. The translation is bad enough to be funny, but even in Ukrainian it's filled with mistakes and false information. For your enjoyment, here's the translated article:

Because of climate change arthropods change habitats and lodge at people at dachas. 
If earlier to meet dangerous arthropods in Ukraine was possible for br only in the Crimea, in Hersonshchina and Nikolayevshchina, now dangerous individuals get over closer to the large cities and like to lodge at people at dachas. 
. In "The Dnepropetrovsk regional laboratory center" confirm that lately to them often bring unknown individuals, and that because of climate change arthropods often change habitats. 
As told br in SES, in Dnepropetrovshchina already saw and , and tarantulas. They meet while only in the south of the region: Nikopol, Ordzhonikidze, Manganese. However experts are called sometimes also by concerned dnepropetrovets with a request to check a spider. 

"The sting is very dangerous and can be deadly. However a sting absolutely not painful, its clinic often confuse to clinic of a sharp stomach. So, the ache in muscles begins, the abdominal tension is intense, in a mouth dryness is noted, temperature increases, at the person gases don`t depart. In hard cases confusion of consciousness, spasms, spasms, paralyzes, sensation of fear, an elevated pressure is added, on a face there is a death grimace, there is a hypostasis of lungs. But the person at the timely address can be rescued, the main thing after a sting of an unknown spider to ask at once for the help doctors", - Evgeny Smolin tells . 

However, assure of regional SES that, despite the numerous addresses, any sting of a poisonous spider among citizens wasn`t registered. 

Press & quot; To Share & quot; share with friends. 
News of Ukraine & #092; Novini Ukra§ni

Thank goodness many Ukrainians are now coming to the Butter Rum Cartoon for accurate and helpful information on tarantulas. After all, the last thing I'd want on my face is a death grimace! I heartily welcome our readers in the beautiful Ukraine; and hope that, after learning about tarantulas, they'll have fun perusing the rest of this blog's contents at http://oldelephantwings.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-writings-sort-of-organized-with.html

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


When I lived in Washington State, it seemed that people on the surface were nice enough, but it was common for people to divide up into opposing groups and cliques--conservatives  and liberals, pro-lifers and pro-abortionists, traditionalists and modernists, etc., and we'd find ourselves out protesting on the sidewalks, receiving violent and obscene responses. You could almost feel the vibrations of destructive politics in the otherwise clean air, yet people in general there would be polite and considerate. Political correctness was the norm...or else.

Then we moved to the Ozarks, where people are not only friendly, but will wave a howdy to you from across the street. When we first got here and went into a library and happened to tell the librarian our names and that we had just moved here from Washington, an overhearing man we hadn't noticed before went and opened the door for us when we walked out, and with a sincere smile said to my wife several feet in front of me, "Mrs. Lund, welcome to the Ozarks."

The people here are generally much friendlier than in the politically-correct Northwest, and it's not hard to get used to. And people are more honest here. If they don't like you, they're not afraid to tell you so; and if they do like you they're not too shy to tell you why. They're open and instantly familiar, and although the air here is swarming with allergy-producing pollen, the absence of destructive political vibrations makes it seem pure.

Enter Billy. I transferred here in the postal service, from a Washington workplace where things were relatively quiet, to an Ozark workplace where there was Billy and Brent. These two guys worked next to me and were constantly bickering and commenting back and forth and were a lot of fun to listen to. Things they said would have gotten them fired in Washington, and between times they'd come up with some great lines like, "He'd miss the water if he fell out of a boat." Frequently they'd turn their attention on me, and run me down with all sorts of criticisms in lines so clever that I'd get a kick out of it.

When I slid off our road in an ice storm, who should come with his truck and pull our car back up onto the road but Billy? Yelling at me between the kindnesses, he was always willing to help. When our bathtub drain got clogged up, Billy came over to fix it for us. While there, he cussed so much at me, calling me names, that my kids shot looks at me to see what my reaction would be, and were surprised that I only smiled. Once when a new supervisor transferred in, who didn't know Billy, he overheard Billy threatening me and so gave him a letter of warning, but this is another story.

What Billy did for me was to give me a tougher skin. Over the years I became very used to being
criticized, both seriously and in jest, and it's a healthy way to be. I'm not afraid to speak my mind, nor am I intimidated by others who do. And now, on Facebook or elsewhere, when I run into people so sensitive that they can't bear confronting any differing opinions, and advocate political correctness, they seem so wussy--adult cry-babies. What we need in our society is NOT sensitivity training, but Billy. We'd be strong enough to overcome political correctness if we could be blessed with some good, down-to-earth, Billy-goading.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014


Sugared lips and loopy mamas
Cringe at acts of Mighty Mouse,
As they hide with the Obamas
Deep within their whitewashed house.

Nevermore! the raven chatters,
On the floor! the S.S. cries;
They all run as if it matters,
As the oldest soul among them dies.

Crazy years and crazy seasons
Seasoned with the salt that rhymes;
Subway drivers give their reasons
At the very worst of times.

Stand erect around the fire,
Naked, only clothed by sweat;
Six years now we've heard the liar,
We're as hot as we can get.

Black silent birds seek out the raven,
Nevermore will he call out;
The fire dies, we seek the haven,
We're so sure we're all in doubt.

But then the voice calls from the sky,
Here I come to save the day;
And all the people wonder why
The mouse has only this to say.

Go to sleep my troubled child,
Have good dreams my little one;
Perhaps tomorrow you'll be wild
And this story will be done.

No, I'm not crazy. The above is a nonsense poem, intended to be nothing more than an exercise in meter and rhyme, but although the writing flows and it's fun, the result often ends up meaning more than we think. For instance, Obamas is in there only because it rhymes with mamas. But then, subconsciously they are referred to a couple more times in the poem. Try writing a nonsense poem and see what happens.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014


Nigger babies were a popular licorice candy when I was a kid. We were innocent then. There was nothing prejudice or corrupt about it. It was good candy.

Nathan, a black man, was a good friend of mine in college in the early 1970's -- a member of our clique of friends who hung around together. He was exceptionally intelligent and spoke as if he were. It was fun to listen to him. We usually ate together in the college cafeteria, and one day he was staring at me across the table and finally said, "When the word 'wistful' was coined, you must have been there."

The other members of the clique were doing others things one afternoon, and Nathan and I went into a corner grocery store together. We looked over the candy and I spotted some nigger babies. I hadn't seen those in years and remarked, "Oh boy," and started grabbing a bunch to buy. 

Nathan looked at me, mildly shocked, and said, "Do you know what those are?"

"Sure," I said, "they're good," piling more into my hand.

Nathan shrugged and we both bought our chosen candies at the counter and walked out, happily munching. Of course we remained the best of friends.

C'mon folks, lighten up. Enjoy the candy.

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