David Raffin

Seattle Soup, Salad, and Ice Cream

The bathroom at the ice cream store features fine art on black velvet.

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I joined the Vegetarians of Washington and was handed a folder full of coupons. One was for Seattle Salads. Seattle Salads is a small place that serves Salad and Soup. Both the Salad and Soup were good. I had the Kale Lemon Tahini salad. It had carrots, avocado, and more in it. I also had the Curry Coconut Garbanzo soup with quinoa.

Kale Lemon TahiniCoconut Curry Garbanzo over Quinoa

Later in the day I used a coupon for Full Tilt Ice Cream, which has non-dairy  ice cream made from coconut milk.

Two Vegan Scoops: Chili Mango and Almond Joy.

Sexism, Arbitrary Ethnic Humor, and Science.

Three men walk into a bar…
At this point a lady asks me, “Why men?” And I say, “It’s a sexist joke.”

This art stolen from Richard F. Yates, C'mon, click it.

This art stolen from Richard F. Yates, C’mon, click it.

Three Swedes walk into a bar. It is full of leprechauns. It is the wrong bar. They are lost. “Who is lost, the Swedes or the leprechauns?”

The Finnish man asks the Irish man how it’s going. “Oh, could be worse. I still have the one leg.” Arbitrary Ethnic Humor.

Science is the cruelest discipline. Followed by comedy.
When science and comedy meet they intersect. And then they are dissected. It is cruel. Doubly so. Cutting.
Three scientists walk into a bar. It is the start of a cruel social experiment. The result is a matter of interpretation. Based on evidence.
One scientist says to the other, “I thought you were in control.”
“No,” says another, “I said I was the control.” Misinterpretation=comedy.
The role of the third scientist is observational. The humor in this needs no explanation, as it is universal.

Three bears walk into a bar. They argue about the relative coldness of the porridge. Then they start to make trouble.

Three Magi walk into a bar. It’s a setup. They are robbed of precious metals and fragrant oils.
Two thousand years later, three mobsters walk into a bar, only to discover that it’s a setup. They sit there, feeling foolish, waiting for the inevitable punchline.
The joke goes right over their heads. They are not the intended audience. No, this joke is not for them.

Three men walk into three different bars, simultaneously. Joke averted.

A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Laughing Hyena walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “Is this a joke?” There are many hurt feelings this day.

Perils of Free Thought: a book of no small danger [amazon asin=B0080AGLNC&template=iframe image]

Old Mr. Block

In the folklore of the IWW Mr. Block is a man who never does anything right. He stands up for all the wrong things and is disappointed with the outcomes.

When I was in the seventh grade Mr. Block was my woodshop teacher. Not only was he Mr. Block because he taught woodshop, he was Mr. Block because whenever something raised his ire he would throw a random wood block at students.

Wood blocks would whiz through the air, wobbly projectiles barely missing random student heads. Then, often, colliding or not colliding with their intended target. Mr. Block had terrible aim; which was just one of his many sins.

One day a random block whizzed within an inch or two of my ear. My left ear. One of my two favorites. The intended target/victim sitting behind me and to my left.

When the projectile hit him he shouted, “Hey, you can’t do that.”

Mr. Block was incensed. More incensed than he was when he decided to launch an attack.

He basically said that he could do anything he wanted to in his classroom. Wherein I said, “No, he’s right, you can’t throw things.”

This made him even angrier. Mr. Block was well known for throwing things at students in class. Everyone knew this. In retrospect I must wonder if anyone ever challenged him before.

He said, to me, “This is none of your business!”

I said, “You made it my business.”

He said, “How would you like to go explain yourself in the office?”

I said, “I’d love to.”

Later, in the administrative wing, and all schools have ever-expanding administration wings, the assistant vice principal tried to take the side of Mr. Block.

I pounded my fist on the table and demanded  justice.

The assistant vice principal said, “How would you like me to call your father?”

I told him I thought that was a terrific idea. The only good idea he had thus far that afternoon.

My father, a union representative, came into the office later that afternoon and chewed out the assistant vice principal. And told him that, in fact, teachers cannot throw projectiles at students in class. And that assistant vice principals could not attempt to punish third party students who voice opposition to the throwing of projectiles in class. This was expressed in a low voice but in no uncertain terms.

And I never again saw a piece of wood fly through the air at school. At least not in my presence.

I stole this image of an Easter Bunny from That Great Beast, Richard F. Yates.

 

Love, Rejected (from the book “Tragic Stories Disguised as Jokes”)

My petition for love was denied by the central authority which handles such petitions.
It used to be that these standard rejections came by certified mail and were printed in ornate script on fine paper. Today they all come by text message. Still, they carry with them the same tradition. They are summary rejections. And they are form letters.

If someone were to travel forward from 100 years in the past they would recognize them immediately. “That is a standard rejection of a petition for love, sent by the bureau which handles such,” they would say. But then they would add, “Where is the ornate script and fine paper?” And they would look sad. Because 100 years ago we were a more tactile people appreciative of ornate flourishes. Even if there was, as today, a shortage of love.
A traveler from 500 years earlier would not recognize either rejection. Modern love had not yet been invented. It is a bittersweet fact.

At least in the electronic age one need not stand in the terrible lines at the petition office. As early as a decade ago people still had to queue up in line for hours to qualify for the chance at rejection. People did this, as today, for the slim hope that their petition would be granted.

The form rejection lists a reason. The reason is never revealed outright but instead a reference is made to a number. The number corresponds to a large reference which holds all the reasons rejection may be made. There are 100 volumes in question. The reasons for rejection are, some say, innumerable, but in reality they mostly break down to endless variations on three reasons which no one likes to discuss. Most people do not bother to look up the reference number listed in their rejection.
Mine was V.21.12.91. “Rejected for tendency to look up and contemplate facts and figures.”

We all know people whose petitions for love have been, or seem to have been, granted. It is commonly thought that some petitions are granted only to make the system seem viable. In fact, these successful petitions have a high failure rate. There is a complaint bureau. It is housed on the top floor of the tallest building in the world. There is no elevator. When you arrive at the single window you find it empty with a sign which says: “No Returns.”

There has always been a shortage of love and that is why a system of rationing has been set up. To preserve love by careful denial.
The truth is there has been no new love manufactured since 1992. All the love in the world is used. And second-hand love has a resale value which can only be classified as pitiful.

[amazon asin=B00S481ULS&template=iframe image]