Poison Ivy.
What is this plant’s fucking problem man?

Its like this plant takes it personal!
This plant does not play. 

I mean, damn!
This plant is cold hearted.

I can understand–like, this plant don’t want you chopping it down…
or pullin’ on its roots and shit–but seriously: this is ridiculous.

Like I can understand if I kicked this plant and got all up in its leaves and just like
got on a lawnmower and made a Chef Salad outta its ass but dude!
I just like walked by it for like a second! On tippy toe.
Like I’m tip toeing by this goddammed plant like its Baby Jesus Hisself straight up whisperin’
Shhhh! Don’t wake Baby!” I mean, c’mon plant! Damn.

You can’t even abide by me gettin’ within arm’s reach?
Even Venus Fly Traps let a fly chill out for a hot minute up in its sticky ass mouth!
But you all bad and stuff. You all Hot Shit up in this woods huh?
Mister Big Stuff.

I can understand if you just said: “Nuh uh. You gently touched me and now I’m gonna make you pay
for five hours. Make you remember my ass.”
I could at least see where you’re coming from.

But damn! Three and a half weeks of kickin’ my nature-lovin’ ass cuz you Mister Hot Shit Poison Ivy?

This don’t even make evolutionary sense.
I can see like seven thousand years ago you being like: “Okay, no more messin’ with poison ivy, bitches!”
and being like a tenth of the potency and callin’ it a mutha fuckin’ day.
But no.
You just hadda go nuclear on this planet’s ass.
What animal was still gettin’ up in the poison ivy seven thousand years ago that necessitated it to go from “I will make you want to die” to “I will make you want to die for three and a half weeks”?

Sheeit. Evolution don’t work that way nowhere else!
Even sharks stopped with razor sharp teeth!
You don’t see no shark with horns, wings, venom and cannons outta they ass!  

C’mon plant!
I mean…Damn.


Assert your power! You have climbed to the top of the evolutionary doggy pile and
now its time to communicate effectively in the most passionate doggy style.

Give it all you got! Never stop talking and gesticulating. It will require a lubricated throat and sweaty hands to make sure you can keep your communication flow operating at Sam Kinnison levels. Get going! Now is your time to shine.

The aim of this instructional essay is to get you communicating like Koko the Gorilla can only dream of in her barely sentient noggin. So read these words with every ounce of strength you’ve got! The written word is still a valid form of communication and this blog entry, The Ten Commandments, the playlist taped to the stage by Iggy Pop’s microphone, and Battlefield Earth are all examples of this truism.

What is Passive Communication?
Great question!
Passive Communication allows others to make decisions for you which is really really stupid unless you are in a coma or horribly senile, in which case it would be a great idea.
Passive Communication means remaining silent even at the cost of your own best interests. Like when my ex-girlfriend Stephanie married that jerk Steve and the Priest asked the congregation “if there was any reason that they should not get married to speak now or forever hold your peace” and I just sat there in the pew literally biting my tongue. It wasn’t until much later at their reception at the Elk’s Lodge that I spoke my mind with the eloquence of five Jim Beams in me. But sometimes in communication, timing is just as important as volume and profanity.
Passive Communication utilizes sarcasm and proves that everyone loves passivity sometimes—at least when it is aimed at another co-worker in the office who intimidates the two of you. Then your sarcasm and coy backbiting will thrill and delight.
Passive Communication means you give in to others even when it means that you will be filled with resentment. And resentment’s Latin root is ‘resent’ like the word ‘present’ and resentment will be an everlasting present to you which you can open again and again while drinking beer sitting in front of a broken TV, watching your inky black reflection in its horrifying screen.
Passive Communication means that you are not honest with your desires and can be one of the last remaining reasons you have still not made out with your married cousin.

What is Aggressive Communication?
Aggressive Communication means you bottle up your feelings in a magical Genie lamp you bought at that creepy antique store in San Francisco’s Chinatown until they finally manifest themselves in the form of Bea Arthur and wrap their very long legs around your neck and make you drink of their hateful musk.
Aggressive Communication means interrupting the other person. This includes coitus interruptus or interrupting your grandmother’s 85th birthday party for coitus.
Aggressive Communication is when you shout, yell, or raise your voice. This is why aggressive communication is an absolutely necessary mode of communication for teachers, bullfighters, stage actors, and birthing coaches.

Aggressive Communication includes being inappropriately honest. Now, don’t get me wrong–honesty is the best policy and I myself have never told a lie. But it is important to choose your words wisely. Instead of ‘idiotic’ use ‘demonstrably moronic’ and you can replace ‘horse faced’ with “looks like a famous sports athelete…you know, like Seabiscuit.”

What is Assertive Communication?
This is the worst type of communication because you will be pretty much putting yourself at risk of emotional vulnerability.

We here at MindFlowers Communication Technologies hope that this has been helpful and all you readers out there that are currently in struggling marriages have found a few helpful hints on how to end your union in a spectacular and memorable way.

(scene is in a wide courtyard outside the palace striped with the shadows of arches. Emperor’s Spokesperson and Clipboard Assistant are addressing Rabble.)

Emperor’s Spokesperson: All right, settle down you rabble!
Rabble: (muttering)
Emperor’s Spokesperson: I’m going to count to ten. No three. I’m counting to three. Second to the last one to be quiet won’t be able to watch the next execution and the last one to be quiet will be executed! One, Two, Three…
Rabble: (still muttering)
ES: I don’t believe it! By Gods. Shatttup will you!
Clipboard Assistant: Maybe you could try a different approach.You know, sometimes you get more bees with honey.
ES: You mean pollen.
CA: Pardon?
ES: Bees make honey. But they want pollen.
CA: I’ve got your Epi-Pen in my fanny pack by the way.
ES: (to rabble) Look you mouth-breathing dirty-fingernail pyramid-making fly-gathering hoi polloi! Shut your mouths!
CA: You don’t understand these people. I grew up among them. All they hear all day is yelling and the snapping of whips. You’ve got to finesse the masses. Look, right here: rule number 4 of ‘Tyranny for Dummies’ (points at clipboard)
ES: (reads) “subtle coercion may not save you time, but it will save you your vocal chords.” Bah! That’s why we shoulda brought a bullhorn out here. Coercion.
CA: Think of them as a lovely person who’s eye your trying to catch at the supermarket.
ES: ….I buy a lot of baby food and diapers and tell them “I don’t have children yet”…and then stare at them as a conversation opener.
CA: Is that what you do?
ES: Well, I would if I shopped at supermarkets. I just have my servants place grapes in my mouth when I’m hungry.
CA: It is said that non-verbal communication is more important than anything you say.
ES: (pulls out a gun)
CA: Okay, you get points for trying, but watch….(gently puts down clipboard and tightens fanny pack and begins to strut back and forth like Mick Jagger in front of Rabble, after a couple of spins and high kicks Rabble’s attention is fully had.)
ES: Well done.
CA: (too out of breath to answer, just gasps and holds chest)
ES: (To CA) Maybe not their ‘attention’ so much as concern and sexual revulsion, but it worked! (To Rabble) Alright now you ragamuffins, gather ’round close. I’ve got an announcement to make here. Come on, that’s it you rabble!
Rabble: (shuffles within arm’s reach)
ES: Gah! Not lice-jumping close! Back up, Back up now! I’m not a horse whisperer. Can’t you see my assistant here needs air? (Rabble shuffles back a few steps) Alright. Now. I am the Emperor’s Chosen and Most Honorable…
Rabble: Which?
ES: Which what?
Rabble: Which whom, I mean. Which Emperor’s?
ES: Well, the new one of course! Emperor Glorious Sun…As I was saying…(to CA) what was I saying?
CA: You’re the Emperor’s Chosen and Most Honorable…
ES: Most Honorable Messenger.
Rabble: Like a carrier pigeon.
ES: (trying not to be flustered) A bit like that. But my cage is huge okay. Huge. And pretty ornate.
CA: And a lovely little swing in the corner. The envy of the court really–
ES: So I have here with me a royal pronouncement from your Emperor, the Great Glorious Sun! (holds out hand towards CA)
CA: (gives ES ‘five’)
ES: No, the pronouncement!
CA: (looks frantically through the clip board looks up frightened and shakes head ‘no’)
ES: (whispers) You forgot it?
CA: (whispers) I don’t know!
ES:  (whispers) A true answer I have no doubt. But our choices are A) you never brought it to begin with,or  B) you lost it between here and Starbucks.
CA: I may never have had it.
ES: Papyrus. Roll of it about six feet long and rolled up and tied in a silk ribbon. Ringing any bells?
CA: Sarcasm is an ineffectual teaching tool and a poor characteristic in leadership.
ES: Now I’m getting pointers from Captain Senility over here. Brilliant.
Rabble: (whispers) Sarcasm is the easiest form of comedy and an unflowered form of its superior relative, irony.
ES: (sarcastic) Good thought, that! Good. Yeah, thanks… Just you stay out of this, you scamp. (to CA in whisper) I’ll just do the bullet points. No problem. I got it up here. (points at head)
CA: remember: finesse!
Rabble: And a lyrical turn of phrase and some interjections of humor wouldn’t hurt. You know. To keep our interest. Lift our hearts a bit.
ES: (ignoring them) Rabble! Hear me and fear! Tremble and weep!….Garbage collection will not happen this Tuesday because of the Winged Serpent Holiday, but will occur as normal for everyone on Wednesday. So plan ahead for that. And also…Woe To Those Who Speak Ill Of The Dread Thunder God Morthax! Morthax Hears All and Sees All As Patron Deity Of Our Empire!…The Children’s Museum will be having  a special exhibit beginning this week and on through the month featuring the shrunken skulls of state prisoners. As always, children and seniors have free admission. And now a word from our sponsor….(to CA in whisper) who was it again?
CA: Wooden Shovels.
ES: Wooden Shovels!
Rabble: (in a sing song jingle) Wooden Shovels can’t be beat/They make your holes and piles look really neat/
ES: Holes and piles, really?
Rabble: They’ve got a wooden stick and a wooden scoop/you can use ’em for mud or most any kind of….
ES: Thank you Wooden Shovels! Alright, now on to the serious business….Look, we all know that in the reign of the last Emperor, whose name I won’t even waste my breath on–
CA: Humble Servant of The Socialist People’s Commune.
ES: (shoots CA an angry glance) During their reign, things around here got a little shall we say lax. Now. I know that you can do it. This work, this back breaking, slave driving, soul withering labor is what you were literally born and bred to do. So let’s do it. And let’s put a little pride in our work. When fanning a State Official with ostrich feathers would it kill you to smile?
Rabble: Its just I’ve lost most my teeth…
ES: Closed mouth, man. Closed mouth. (To CA) Show ’em.
CA: (smiles weakly with pursed lips)
ES: And let’s use you as an example. (points at Rabble) What do you do?
Rabble: I’m a tailor by trade but really, I’ve always thought of myself as a musician really. I’m classically trained.
ES: Okay, tailor. Ol’ Tailor here is making…
Rabble: Fitted undergarments, padded bras, crotchless underwear,
ES: That is specific. Got a niche market do we? Burlap in this season is it?
Rabble: Burlap was last season. Everything now is yak hide or nothing.
CA: He really is quite good. I’m wearing him right now.
ES: (flustered momentarily) Okay so Tailor here, perfect example of a patriot who is working hard for the Empire. Kudos to you. But!..You’re gonna have to work harder. I’m sorry! Hey! Don’t blame the messenger. Its just that right down the Nile river a ways, they’ve started work on wheel technology okay. Now we’re playing catch-up.
Rabble: You might say we were asleep at the wheel.
CA: That’s good.
ES: Puns are the worst form of humor and an unflowered form of their superior relative: the double entendre.
CA: Meow.
ES: The point is, in today’s economy we’re all going to have to pitch in and work a little harder.
Rabble: Easy for you to say.
ES: Pardon? Can you say that a bit louder? Or was it not that easy to say?
Rabble: You’re telling us to pull ourselves up by our boot straps but I broke my last pair of boot straps trying to hang myself with them. All you do is come out here every week and tell us what to do and how we’ll have to work harder because the rich don’t want to pay taxes anymore.
ES: You want to try? You want to try my job for a minute? I bet you won’t last a minute. 
Rabble: You got it! Let’s do it. (they switch positions and Rabble imitates the mannerisms of ES) Lift a rock! Dig a ditch! Hail whichever Emperor we have this week! Blah Blah!
ES: Ahh, beginner’s luck.
CA: You’re pretty good! (swats away something) Ah, a bee!
ES: A bee?
CA: (stabs Rabble with the Epi Pen)
Rabble: Gah!
ES: Not him, you idiot!
CA: Sorry, I got confused!
ES: Oh! (slaps at bee, its too late) Oh, cruel fate! (slumps to ground dead)
CA: I just wanted to say I really enjoy your work.
Rabble: My public speaking–
CA: Well that too, but your tailoring I mean. I’m wearing your Sleek Line Lift And Tuck series right now.
Rabble: Well, you look great in it. That’s not all my doing. A glass blower can’t make the delicious wine that’s poured into it, you see.
CA: (blushing) Well…
Rabble: That’s it for the news today?
CA: Well just that there’s maurading hordes at the gates.
Rabble: That’s going to be tough news to break to the rabble.
CA: Ahhh, they’re used to it. We’ll just outfit you with a war drum, a saber to rattle, a flag, and a copy of the ‘Us Versus Them’ speech.
Rabble: Say, about the Emperor…Do you think I could meet him? (excited)
CA: Oh, him? That’s just an image of a giant head projected on a screen that gets switched up every now and then. Keep things fresh.
Rabble: I have so much to learn.
CA: Its not easy controlling the masses. You think I want to wear a fanny pack?  

(the scene is in an office.)

One: Hey there. If you have a minute I would like to talk to you about this morning.
Two: Oh boy. Here we go. This is about how I was three hours late isn’t it.
The lateness is a good issue to some day discuss but I was going to actually encourage you.
Two: Encouragement? From you? That’s like believing that my dentist has good news.
One: Yes. I wanted to encourage you to to either clean up your blood in the bathroom or at least notify Jason in custodial services.
Two: Blood? Blood? Oh, you’re talking about my vomit.
One: Okay then. Your vomited blood.
Well, sure, but why splice hairs? The point is maybe you should get your facts straight before you start a witch hunt.
One: Well maybe I did get off on the wrong foot this morning. First things first. Happy Monday.
Two: Now we’re talking Stephanie! Yeah! Rock and Roll Monday! Friday is almost here. I can almost taste Friday now. And perhaps not surprisingly it tastes like blood.
One: You certainly seem excited. You must have had a good weekend.
Two: I had the best weekend ever! Las Vegas baby! Las Freaking Vegas mother freaking Nevada baby!
One: Las Vegas.
Yeah, you know. The City of Light.
One: That’s Paris.
Two: The Big Apple.
One: New York.
The Eternal City.
That’s Rome for Pete’s sake.
Look, I’m trying to tell you I was in Las Vegas.
One: How can you be going to Vegas when you owe me five hundred bucks?
I know! That’s why I went there. I went to get you your money back.
One: Good. Because I’ve run out of food and insulin so a little cash will help me out until the end of the month.
Two: Well, I don’t exactly have it for you now, Stephanie. But I’ve got three hundred bucks riding on a sure thing as we speak. A race horse with a hunger to win. A big hunger!
One: You bet three hundred on a horse?
Two: ell, the horse actually ate the three hundred. Its hungry! But I’ve been told I’ll get it back in full in about four days. And who knows? That’s a hungry horse! No telling what else he’ll pay out.
One: That’s some investment scheme.
Two: Well aren’t you judgmental? I happen to think that Vegas is an awesome way to spend a weekend. You’re just jealous Stephanie because your life is more boring than my seven year old daughter’s.
One: My weekends are very full I will have you know. I have my hobbies to keep me busy. You know. My smoking for instance.
Two: Smoking is not a hobby.
One: It is if you use your exhaled smoke to paint a charcoal likeness of prehistoric cave paintings on your kitchen wall.
Two: I’ll give you that.
One: But to tell you the truth, I would like to go to Las Vegas someday.
Two: Oh my god Stephanie! You’ve got to go! Its like the best place in the world! Imagine a city that’s magically appeared from the dream of a fifty year old man in a failed marriage who has given up on life. That’s Vegas!
One: The closest I’ve ever come to going to Las Vegas was a blind date I went on at Disneyland.
Two: I’m jealous! How’d it go?
One: Well, He never showed up, but I had a pretty good time any way.
Two: That guy doesn’t know what he’s missing Stephanie. You are a catch. I bet you were the best looking single woman at Dizz Knee Land by her self that day. I mean aside from the robotic drunk chicks on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
One: That’s awfully nice of you to say. So you were in Las Vegas all weekend?
Two: Well I was there for fifteen minutes.
One: Fifteen minutes? What were you doing with the rest of the weekend?
Two: Walking back here. I lost my car and then I lost my plane tickets and then I lost my bus tickets and then I lost my bicycle in poker games so I had to walk back. And I might mention, I ran the last eight miles so forgive me if I was three hours late. Its not like I didn’t try or anything.
One: You lost your car and let a horse eat your money?
Two: Its not like I wanted the horse to eat my money or I wanted to lose every thing I owned. I’m not an idiot you know. Its your fault I even went to Las Vegas! The way you’re always pestering me about your five hundred bucks and how I really should leave town.
One: I ask you to move out of town and never come back. Not take a vacation to Las Vegas! You moron!
Two: I’m not a moron Stephanie. But maybe I am a fool for loving you.
One: You are nothing but an irresponsible wreck! I should fire you right now.
Two: I bet you won’t.
One: Don’t be so sure, buddy. Why shouldn’t I?
Two: When I ran out of collateral, I bet Jimmy The Card Shark my life that you wouldn’t fire me.
One: So that’s why there’s six goons waiting in the parking lot with guns and shovels.
Two: That’s right. I used your good nature and compassion as leverage to keep my job and also by extension my life.
One: So by my not firing you, all you get is to stay alive?
Two: Well that, and you get to continue seeing me every day. Lucky you huh! (sings) Luck be a lady tonight!
One: So its a win lose proposition.
Two: Hey Stephanie, its like they say. The house always wins.

Its not unlike me to stare Death in the face, but usually its
in the guise of a busted condom, not a rainstorm!!

I know that God has been angry with southern California for a while now, and I definitely know that I’ve personally been tempting His wrath, but I just can’t believe the incessant raining He’s pounded down at us.

Of course, I’m no stranger to danger. I’ve been fighting off Death since the day I was born.
My doctor says I’m a “Statistical Anomaly”.

The last time I was at the doctor’s, getting some regular maintenence done,
you know: lancing, lasering, shaving, and freezing things off
when Dr. Hendt says, “Ryan, you’ve got one foot in the grave.”
And I says:
“Yeah? That’s what they said about Frankenstein and Jesus too!”
“Ryan, listen to me…”
“No, YOU listen to ME! You can’t tame a lion.”
“Sure you can. Liontamers?….At the circus?”
“……Whattabout Biggie Smalls?”
“He’s dead. What about him.”
“Right…Which is the one that’s coming back from the dead? Left Eye?”
“Right! I’m like Tupac, Dr. Hendt.”
“He died from being shot a bunch of times. Not from having the heart and colon of a 70 year old.”
“Touche, Dr. Hendt. Touche.”

But in the end, whether by earthquake or by not…I’m not scared of dying.
I’m no stranger to death.
I’ve eroticly asphyxiated myself to death 14 times,
but the light at the end of the tunnel keeps sending me back.
No prison can hold me!
Heaven won’t take me!
Hell is full!

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