Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Correctall. Your School's Answer to Anti Social Behavior

Little Filmore will think twice before dropping
a bar of soap into the school's aquarium. Thank you Correctall.

Fernwood on the Moor's Primary School in the Confederacy of Dunces is reporting a marked decrease in school unpleasantness since the installation of the 'Correctall Slide' a new discipline tool brought to you by the good folks at Gerber Educational Services, the same company that produces the SEPTiC (State Educational Performance Test of the Instructional Core) the Confederacy's Comprehensive State Exams.

Let the Correctall Slide become a part of your school wide discipline program. We guarantee a nearly perfect child after one trip down the slide or your money back. No more teacher's dirty looks. No more hours of extra time after school proctoring your naughty student as he copies dictionary pages. Instructional time will increase as fewer and fewer of 'those' children are sent to the Head Master's Office. Just mention the word "Correctall" in class and watch your students sit erect in their chairs, feet still, and mouths closed with forced smiles. It is a teacher's dream.

Contact our sales team for a demonstration. We will bring a portable version of the slide directly to your school. All we ask is that you supply the children. You see.... you already have just the students in mind. See how easy that was?

Call us at Fernwood 3256.
Talk to one of our friendly sales representatives - all former problem children
whose anti social behaviors were corrected by the Correctall.

The Confederacy of Dunces National PTA proudly supports this product.
A portion of all sales will benefit our PTA programs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dakota Daring: The Shopping Cart Kid. A Hero's Tale.

Dakota Daring taking a newly repaired cart for a test drive. His parents
stand behind beaming with pride. Denver is in the cart with his animal crackers.

The Darings live at 533 Maple Tree Lane in Cloverdale. It was Thursday afternoon. Mrs. Daring was on the phone with her mother. Her mother was upset over a family quarrel and needed to vent. Mrs. Daring knew the discussion would take at least an hour. The shopping needed done and the Daring's twelve year old son Dakota needed collecting from Confederacy Elementary School. She couldn't take care of her mother and pick up Dakota and go shopping at the same time so she sent her very reluctant husband, Mr. Daring. She insisted he take Denver as well. Denver was their youngest child. He was in her face all day and she needed a break. Besides it was good for Mr. Daring to spend quality time with his sons.

Mr. Daring waited outside Confederacy Elementary School for Dakota. The bell rang and a stampede of half crazed, half starved children poured out of the school like water storming out an open spillway. The sound of screaming, yelling, laughing and occasional crying could be heard nearly one block from the school.

Dakota never had a problem finding his family’s PVan (People’s Van from Confederacy Motors) in the maze of cars filling the school’s parking lot and lining up and down the street. It was pea green with a bright yellow smiley face Styrofoam ball crowning the top of the radio antenna.
“Let’s Go,” Dakota shouted as he jumped into the front seat and slammed the door behind him.
“Gurgle Gurgle, Belch......drool,” was little Denver’s reply. Denver was the baby. He was happy when his face was stuffed with food and a nightmare when it wasn't. Mrs. Daring understood and kept plenty of animals crackers within his reach. The plan worked most of the time except on days he had to ride in the van. Baby Denver got car sick. The more he had in his stomach the more there was to find its way out half way to your destination. The Daring tried to keep their trips relatively short. Denver was strapped into his ‘Child Locker’ safety seat. It resembled a miniature straight jacket that attached to the back of the car seat. Denver was drooling over a half chewed, spongy and entirely gross animal cracker. One fourth of the cracker was spread over his face. One fourth covered both hands, one fourth was on the car seat and strangely enough, the last fourth was on the van’s ceiling. How it got there, nobody knew.

Mr. Daring moved out into the flow of traffic, careful not to hit the hundred or so children ignoring the crosswalk and the shouting and cursing of the crossing guard to cross the street anywhere they saw an opening between the exiting cars. Mr. Daring always bit his lip on a Thursday afternoon pick up. He was sure some day he would hit someone. He had one of his premonitions. He came close last year. He nearly ran over Dakota’s teacher as he attempted to make an early escape without the principal’s knowledge. He slammed on his brakes. Dakota was thrown forward and got a real close look at the van’s front dashboard. Mr. Daring cursed while blowing the horn. He was always careful to blow the horn while he cursed. He didn’t want his choice of words to get back to Mrs. Daring or their would be heck to pay. Of course the principal heard the horn, looked out his window and saw the teacher.

Ten minutes after leaving the school the Darings navigated the PVan into a narrow parking place at their local Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store. Dakota opened the van door and promptly dented the door of the car next to the them. Mr. Daring saw what happened and blew the Van’s horn. Ten seconds later the horn went silent. He was done describing his feelings on the accident. They got back into the Van, pulled out, and parked in another section of the parking lot. It wasn't proper to leave the scene of a mini accident but it was all he could handle that day.

Once in the store, Dakota carefully hoisted Denver up into the shopping cart making sure not to get animal cracker goo on his skin or shirt. Mr. Daring began pushing the cart while attempting to decipher his wife's handwritting on the shopping list. Dakota walked ahead to select all the delicious goodies his mom would never buy but his dad would because dad didn't pay attention to anything Dakota put into the cart. For this reason alone Dakota loved going grocery shopping with dad. Half way down the bakery isle Dakota heard a horrible crash. He spun around in time to witness his little brother spill out of the overturned shopping cart and roll across the isle slamming into a Wonder Bread display, which teetered for a moment and collapsed onto his little brother. He saw his father’s face. It was turning various shades of violet. He knew he was nearing the edge of the abyss. He saw it in his face. He was holding in a violent string of cursing that would darken the entire store. There was no horn to sound so he held it in while Denver filled his lungs with enough air to nearly burst the eardrums of every onlooker with a shrill scream. Denver was properly inflated. Mr. Daring was nearing a stroke. Then Denver screamed. Dakota covered his ears to block the worst of the sound. He watched his father’s mouth as the words blew out like cannon balls. He couldn’t hear what he said but he knew from the slight frothing at the mouth they were good.

Little Denver. What a Mess!
Thirty minutes later calm returned to the store. The Daring’s were in the manager’s office. Denver had four boxes of animal crackers ripped to shreds around him. His face was stuffed with them. The others would be found here and there in the manager’s office for the next four years. The manager apologized to Mr. Daring for the accident clearly caused by the wobbling wheel of the shopping cart. Evidently the wheel began wobbling violently as they started through the bakery. Mr. Daring thought he had run over a bit of chewing gum on the tile floor and decided to push his way through it. That decision to push harder upset the cart sending Denver crashing to the floor.

While the manager and Mr. Daring discussed how many weeks of free groceries he would need to be convinced not to sue, Dakota crept out of the office and down the stairs to inspect the cart with the wobbly wheel. Dakota prided himself on his mechanical skills. After all, he spent much of his free time in the family garage with his dad working on the PVan.

Dakota looked at the wheel. He saw the problem and searched the store for the tools he needed to make the repair. He found a toothbrush from the pharmacy and a can of WD40 from automotive. Within five minutes the wobble was corrected. The cart pushed perfectly.

Dakota pulled the manager and his father from their meeting and showed them what he accomplished. Mr. Daring was impressed. The manager saw a possible way to solve his problem.
“Dakota, we have several carts with wobbly legs. Do you feel you could fix them?” he asked.
“Sure mister,” Dakota replied. Dakota was a shrewd businessman and saw a chance for some real money. “Five dollars for each cart I repair plus an hourly wage for doing monthly maintenance on every cart in your fleet.”
The manager noticed a smile grow across Mr. Daring face. He could see he was impressed with his son’s impressive aptitude for a quick buck. That might get him off his back.
“Deal,” said the manager.
“Deal,” replied Dakota.
“Deal,” added Mr. Daring.
“Gurgle belch and spit up,” was Denver’s contribution.

Today Dakota Daring is the King of Shopping Carts in Cloverdale. For a 12 year old he makes a good living repairing and maintaining shopping carts. His clients include Piggly Wiggly, the Red Owl and the Food Amazatorium.

Dakota’s next project is to design a new shopping cart with safety restraints and roll bars. He just needs to spend more time learning how to weld. He nearly burned the Daring home down a few days ago.

And so the sun sets on another day in the Confederacy of Dunces. A cool breeze brings the smell of rain and steaks on a nearby grill. Somewhere a dog is barking. A perfect evening is forming from the departing light of day. Time slows as it passes through our village on the edge of forever.

Remember, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - its called Cloverdale.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You're Not a Bird. That's Absurd. You're A Cat. What's Wrong with That?

Let’s be honest. There are some things in life you’ll never have. There are some things in life you will never be. Try as you might you’ll never fly like a bird. Try as you might you’ll never be able to breath under water and swim like a fish.

So, you start each day saying, “ I am what I am”. Once said you move on. You can change what you can change if it needs changing. You can improve it you need to improve. You can work hard to be all that you can be but realize that the key is ‘what you can be’. You can’t be everything. You can’t do everything but you can do some things. And you know, you can be happy living with that realization.

Realize who and what you are and who and what you will never be. Now go take on the day. Be the Best You Can Be!
We are all in this together.

Today’s Thought Brought To You By The Confederacy of Dunces Half Empty Society.
Yes, the glass is half empty. Get over it. If you want a full glass get up, pick up the glass and do something about it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

News from the Shire

Moss Bakery in Cloverdale unveiled its new birthday cake for the video game addicted child - The Mario Brothers Mario Cart Cake. Be the first to surprise your darling with a birthday kiss and his very own Mario Cake. Won't you be the most popular and coolest mother on the block. Won't all your son's friends say they wish their own moms were like you. Imagine how you'll feel when every child in the neighborhood asks your child if they can move in. Think of how the other mothers will look at you with envy at the next PTA meeting. Why, you'll blush with pride and thank Maruice Moss and his Wonderland Bakery.

Don't Forget, a popular mom always has a Moss Bakery creation on the kitchen table. Stop by Moss Bakery today. Your children will thank you for it.

A Confederacy Wide Recall and a Product Banned.

The Confederacy of Dunces Ministry of Health and Asylums has banned the production and distribution of Candy Cigarettes produced by the Marlboro Tobacco Company. The candy cigarettes appeared nation wide last month on the store shelves next to bubble gum and Cracker Jacks. Each confection cigarette is a hollow sugar tube resembling a cigarette. The center of the tube is filled with powdered sugar. You place the object in your mouth and blow. The powdered sugar fills the air resembling smoke.
Parents are outraged. Schools have banned them. Protests are erupting nation wide. Poison control centers are reporting a rash of phone calls from very angry mothers who may have gone too far by washing their children's mouths out with soap.
Something had to be done. The government understood and decisive action was taken.

The Product is banned.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Battle of the Cathedral Choirs.

The battle lines were drawn in the Battle of the Cathedral Choirs. For the past three years St. Thomas won the competition. The Confederacy of Dunces's St. Bartholomews came in second. Would the tide turn?

St. Thomas Choir arrived in Cloverdale by train after spending the day preparing for competition at the Comprehensive School in Fernwood on the Moor. No one was allowed to enter the school's auditorium while they rehearsed. The windows were sealed shut to eliminate sound leakage. St. Thomas's Choirmaster was afraid St. Bartholomew's choir spies were afoot and ordered a search of the bushes under the windows. The competition was approaching and every choir sought some kind of tactical advantage.

The day of the competition brought twelve Cathedral choirs together at St. Bartholomews in Cloverdale. St. Bartholomew's was the host choir and therefore performed last. The defending champions, St. Thomas, performed right before St. Bartholomew. The choir master raised his baton and stabbed into the air. The battle began. The music started. The melody was recognized. It was Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion! Who would dare drag such young voices into this tangled web of notes and chords? St. Bartholomew's Choirmaster squirmed in his chair. If St. Thomas pulled this off they would become legend. If they failed, they faced ridicule for attempting to climb such dizzying heights. The audience was still.

Now, you may hear a portion of what the audience heard that night. St. Thomas's Choir attacked and took no prisoners!

Needless to say, St. Thomas took home the trophy. St. Bartholomew took second but with a renewed determination to destroy their arch enemy on next year's battle ground.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saint Bartholomew's School. Chapter 2. John Paul Fitzgerald. Future Saint and Dispenser of Indulgences.

John Paul Fitzgerald in Class at Saint Bartholomew's Primary School.
Your sins Can Be Forgiven. For a price.

John Paul Fitzgerald took first prize in the annual fundraiser for St. Bartholomew's School (St. Barfs as many of the older students call it). John Paul is a student in Sister Elizabeth Mary Schowl’s Third Class. His favorite subject is Latin. His favorite book is The Path of the Pilgrim by Saint Augustine. His favorite movie is Joan of Arc. He is a favorite son of the school and teacher’s pet in every class since he started at St. Bartholomews at age three. He was admitted early because of his keen intellect and the Bishop’s urging. It appears John Paul was more than his mother’s sanity could endure. “Its like living with the Pope underfoot,” she cried to the Bishop. John Paul was very critical of his mother's religious shortcomings.

Unfortunately the other students in John Paul’s class aren’t so fond of him. He comes across as an overly pious chap. Once, when the fire alarm was set off by a student in the upper school trying to get out of a Latin exam, John Paul remained in the school long after everyone else was outside. He stayed at his post with fire extinguisher at the ready. If needed he was willing to die a martyr just like the saints of old to save Old Saint Barfs.

John Paul Fitzgerald was excited on the first day of the fund raiser. He was finally old enough to participate. He knew the first place prize had to be his. He saw it every day in the school’s lobby - a beautiful white three speed bike emblazoned with the School's Crest on the neck of the handle bars.

Girls Scouts sell cookies. The State schools sell wrapping paper, cookie dough, and worthless trinkets. And lets not forget to add multiple bake sales. If the wind changed direction you could bet the state schools were having bake sales. Saint Bartholomew's fund raiser was more 'Catholic'. The students sold simulated Papal Indulgences. Yes, that’s right - Simulated Papal Indulgences. Replicas of the real ones the church sold during the Middle Ages to raise money to build St. Peter’s in Rome. The heading at the top of each St. Bartholomew Indulgence read: "This is a replica of the Indulgences sold during the Middle Ages. These indulgences are for fund raising only and carry no religious authority to absolve you from your sins. That is the purpose of confession." In the Middle Ages an indulgence was a document stating that for donating a certain amount of money certain types of sins would be forgiven thus saving you precious eternal time in purgatory.

The selling of Indulgences was one of the 95 items that drove Martin Luther into a serious dispute with the old Catholic Church. He wrote his grievances on a paper and nailed it to his local Cathedral's doors. Later he broke from the Catholic church to start the Reformation. Every year many of the older students love giving the Lutherans a taste of their own medicine and chip in to purchase one Indulgence. They nail it to the door of the local Lutheran Church. Every year the Lutheran Pastor turns right around and mails the same Indulgence right back to the school with a rather colorful rejection letter containing language one would find shocking from someone in his profession.

The students took the fake Indulgences home and sold them to their friends, family and neighbors. Each indulgence had a place for the buyers name, the amount donated and the category of sin waived for such a donation. Doorstep confessions were not encouraged. Instead, the student checked the general category of sin listed at the bottom of the Indulgence. Of course each category had a suggested donation written beside it. That gave the student a chance to ‘up sell’ the indulgence. For instance, if you paid 5 Dunces to purchase an Indulgence for swearing the student would say, “Sir, for an additional 5 Dunces you could have one sin of theft removed from your record and that alone would save you ten additional years in Purgatory.” John Paul was an excellent salesman and knew how to up sale thus guaranteeing his place as top seller this year.

John Paul had a special way to convince his neighbors to purchase an Indulgence. He knelt down on their door step, rang the bell and started praying. When they came to the door he broke into his pitch.
“Sir or Ma’am, there is sin in this home. Sins that could damn your souls to that dark place. I’m here to save you. I’m selling fake Indulgences as a fund raiser for St. Bartholomew's School. They are exact replicas of the ones the Church used to sell in the Middle Ages. Buy one and I leave knowing you’re saved from hell. Don’t buy one and I stay here praying for you right here on your door step and my prayers will get much louder because in additional to praying for the sins you’ve already committed I’ll be forced to pray for the sin of greed you committed by not purchasing one.”

The pitch worked every time, even with his next door neighbor Joseph Greltch, Cloverdale's Mormon Branch President. "I had to buy one to cover my sin of sincerely disliking this boy," President Greltch said. It seems John Paul doesn't think Mormons are Christians. He keeps leaving Christian tracts in the Greltch door and preaches Christianity across the backyard fence to little 4 year old Maeybe Greltch.

John Paul sold more than any other student in the school and won the bike. He rides it to school every day and, for 25 cents, will let you touch it as a special blessing.

The other boys in his class are not happy and have decided on another honor for John Paul. They’ve secretly chosen him to be their classes contribution to the school’s annual “Tossing of the Corpses” coming up in two weeks. Won’t John Paul get a surprise when the death cart stops in front of their classroom and his name is called out. At least they know the pleasure they’ll receive seeing John Paul's face when he discovers he is the one that gets to simulate death by Bubonic Plague and is tossed out the school's front doors and onto a pile of other boys to be 'buried' outside the city's walls.