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    It became an all night serenade crusade

     

    I’m at the age when sleep, especially during the night, is a very fragile commodity. The least little noise arouses my body to full consciousness. I say my body, because I’m not sure my brain is ever conscious. Too much evidence exists to make one believe there aren’t any conscious gray cells in my cranium. At least, that is the opinion of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, which she has expressed on more than one occasion. The confusing thing about all of this is I have no trouble falling asleep during the day. Just let me sit down with a book in hand, and in no time I am in the world of Slumber-ella. To make matters even worse, the world could explode around me and I would never hear it. This brings me back to my nocturnal sleeping habits. Why I can sleep during the day no matter what noise is buzzing around me and why I cannot sleep at night when even the slightest noise arouses me is beyond my comprehension. I’ve tried all the remedies and still find myself unable to get a good night’s sleep. I once tried a nice hot cup of cocoa right before going to sleep, but I ended up spilling it on myself just when I dozed, which had the effect of reawakening me and alarming my wife. Someone suggested once I try some light reading in bed just before going to sleep. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of this before, but much to my delight it has worked. I can’t tell you how delighted I have been to overcome my sleeping problem. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning refreshed from proper sleep during the night. Then, my nocturnal world came to a crashing, chirping halt. Three weeks ago come next Thurs - day, an incident happened to reverse all of the progress I made to date. Just as I was putting my book away and snuggling under the covers for a good night’s rest, my wife bolted straight up in the bed and exclaimed, “What’s that noise?” We listened intently and sure enough, there was a foreign noise in the night. Whispering, for what reason I don’t know, my wife confided to me, “there is a cricket in our bedroom.” We both held our breath and listened. Chirp … chirp … chirp. ”It sure sounds like a cricket to me,” I agreed. Then she said those ominous words that began a nightmare of almost three weeks. “Find that cricket and get rid of it.” I got up, as any dutiful husband would, and tried locating where the noise was coming from. After 15 minutes of diligent searching I came to the conclusion that there was no cricket in our bedroom and that the noise was coming from outside. I carefully opened the window, so as to not disturb whatever was out there making that noise. Listening carefully it dawned on me that a new neighbor had moved in to our backyard, precisely the tree right outside our bedroom window. Chirp … chirp … chirp. Our new neighbor turned out to be a tree frog. I want it known right here and now that I have nothing against tree frogs. I love animals and critters of all kinds. And normally I’m a congenial, easy-to-get-along-with fellow. I harbor no animosity toward my fellow man, fellow frog, or any of God’s creatures. I do have one exception to this rule. Every rule has its exception. What would a rule be if it didn’t? The exception is the tree frog in the tree outside my bedroom window. I’ve tried reasoning with this creature, even issuing an ultimatum. But as to this date nothing has convinced this devilish creature to keep quiet during the night. All night long — chirp … chirp … chirp. I’m not sure exactly when it begins, this nocturnal serenade, but every morning at 6:11 he quits while it is still dark so I cannot locate him. I think this is a despicable trick. For almost three weeks this nightly noise has gone continuously without a break. Chirp … chirp … chirp. Along about Wednesday night I was finally getting accustomed to this irritating chirp and was finally able to fall asleep. Then the despicable monster changed his tactics. He chirp … chirp … chirped as usual and then paused. That silence was like a shotgun blast in the night and my eyes snapped open in full alert position. As suddenly as he stopped he began chirping again. He chirped long enough to lull me into a false sense of security and just as I was about to doze off again the little rascal stopped in mid-chirp, causing me to come to full alertness again. He now knows he has a captive audience for his chirp-chirp serenades and there is nothing I can do about it. Sleep, as I once knew it, has become but a fond memory. As usual, I turned to the Bible for some consolation. By chance I stumbled onto Psalms 127:1-2 (KJV.) “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Although many things can keep us awake, there is one sure way to a peaceful night’s sleep … resting in the Lord who promises to give “his beloved sleep.”

         
    It was lights out at the old ballgame

     

    Someone yelling, “Let’s play ball,” officially announces spring. Springtime and baseball seem to go together, as if God created springtime just for the national pastime. Something about that first baseball game seems to shake away all the gloomy aspects of the past winter. As soon as Old Man Winter strikes out for the last time, good old springtime steps up to the plate and a new game is afoot. Of course, baseball is for the young. One downside of growing older is the fact that you grow out of certain things. For example, as you grow older you grow out of wearing short pants. You can tell an old man is trying to act young when he puts away long pants and dons short pants. Somebody needs to tell these men that knobby knees are not in fashion this year and the less seen the better, I assure you. As you grow older, you also grow out of a lot of free time. There is nothing like trying to make a living to put a crimp in your lifestyle. Once a man puts on his hat, grabs a lunchbox and walks out the door, he is in for a lifetime of work. Free time as he once knew it now has a price tag. One final thought about growing older — as you grow older you also grow out of extra cash jingling in your pocket. No matter how much a person makes, there seems to be more outgo than income in the average home today. I remember getting a raise once and when the first paycheck came, my take-home was less than before the raise. My raise put me in a higher tax bracket and hence a lower income each payday. Only one thing I know that can put a temporary pause in all this nonsense — simply an afternoon at the ballpark. Nothing like a good old ballgame to take away all the anxiety of trying to make a living. When I was younger, I was out in the field, playing ball. But I have outgrown that part of my life and find myself sitting in the stands, cheering on my favorite team. One of the benefits of becoming a grandfather is attending your grandchildren’s ballgames. Now that my knees creak and my pitching elbow don’t work like it used to, I’m way out of shape to play even one inning of a ballgame. Baseball demands younger knees and elbows that are more pliable. Fortunately for grandfathers, God has bestowed upon them grandchildren who play baseball. Several weeks ago, it was my privilege to watch my granddaughter play her first softball game. With a good hot cup of coffee and a seat where I could survey the whole process, I settled down to watch a relaxed softball game. Then, the game took on a new status. My granddaughter came up to bat and I was on the edge of my seat. At that point, the whole game changed for me. Sitting next to me, a man began yelling at the pitcher. “Go ahead, pitcher,” he screamed, “burn one across the plate, the batter’s a bum, she can’t hit nothing.” I had been away so long from a good ballgame I completely forgot about this element of the game. I demurely turned to the gentleman next to me and opined, “You shouldn’t yell at the kiddies that way. They’re just having fun.” Without even looking at me, he shot, “Mind your own business, Buster.” I’m not easily roused, but this man, what should I say, irritated me. Yes, that’s the word, “irritated.” Then, still not looking at me, he snipped, “The pitcher’s my daughter.” With all the dignity I could muster under the circumstances I retorted with, “But the batter is my granddaughter. And granddaughters out - rank daughters every time.” I noticed the information stunned him a little. Old Bubba was trying to process this and I could see he was having a little bit of trouble. I didn’t mind because for a moment he couldn’t think of anything to say, which is good no matter which side you’re cheering for. At this point, the situation turned ugly. And when I say ugly, I mean Mrs. Bubba inserted herself into the tкte-а-tкte. Let me say, I was not afraid of good old Bubba; it was Mrs. Bubba who put the fear of God into me at the time. This only illustrates the vast difference between men and women. Men can have a loud, obnoxious, chest puffing argument and then when it’s all over, go and buy each other a cup of coffee and slap each other on the back celebrating the winning team. Women are not like that; at least Mrs. Bubba was not like that. As best I recollect the situation, Mrs. Bubba, who was sitting on the other side of Bubba, leaned forward and simply said, “Oh yeah?” It was not what she said, or even how she said it that bothered me. The last thing I remember was her left hook interfacing with my left eye. Driving home, I mused on what the Apostle Paul wrote. “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:21-22 KJV.) Sometimes, one strike and you’re out.

         
    Italian man asks wrong question about christ court agrees to hear case

     

    As you know, an Italian gentleman has challenged the Catholic Church to prove that Christ existed, and, while the case was, somewhat expectedly, tossed out in an Italian court, the plaintiff, undaunted, found a court in Strasbourg that has agreed to hear it. It remains to be revealed who the Catholic Church will designate to defend its historical foundation. Should we flinch from such a touchy subject and leave you to your own puzzlements? No, dear reader, rest assured that we will never abandon you out of fear to follow whatever the ever-surprising pageant of daily events may present to our fretted brow but smiling aspect. After all, how much more refreshingly salutary it is to realize we can share even the most subtle adumbrations that flit through our evanescent moments of self-awareness. So what is, in our opinion, the correct question? We prefer to ask whether belief in Christ, as the Son of God or in any relevant modification, helps people live better lives and deal with the trembling uncertainties that the enormous question mark in the sky about the why and wither of everything, including our mortal selves, still provokes in many a frail human being? Or is belief in Christ’s divinity more in use to devise liabilities against the natural potential for joy that life seems to be gifted with, while it provides less unshakable hope than one might wish for assured eternal bliss? What, pray tell, is the answer? Since the two can hardly be hefted into a balance scale, the decision is, agreeably enough, what you, as the decisive individual you undoubtedly are, have determined is your own estimable belief. Dare we proceed to the evidence for or against what is known as the historical Jesus? What else, ideational companion, would you expect? First, as you know, the Romans kept engagingly careful histories and prudent civic accounts. Yet there is little mention in the remnants of the Roman record of an existent called Jesus Christ, except one brief notation in a civic record, another in a Jewish history, or a line in a few letters. Some demanding historians, in their histrionics, suppose that, had Jesus performed the wonders He is reported to have accomplished, His existence would have enlarged into an invitingly more elaborate documentation. Consequentially considered Christian evidence begins with the man who has come to be known as Saint Paul. While he was, unfortunately, too young to have known Jesus in person, it seems he met with the extant personages Peter, James, and John. We must also come head to headline with the historically disquieting fact that the four Gospels were penned to paper at a later date than we might, in our ideal hopes, prefer: sometime between A. D. 60 and A. D. 120. The Book of Mark, considered the earliest of the four gospels, made its initial appearance about the year 150 AD. While the historic document may well have recorded an oral history or earlier written versions of the story of Jesus, obviously by the time it was penned the scribe never actually broke bread with the central inspiration of his Gospel. We have not, of course, invented any of the foregoing evidences. We have merely recorded, as accurately as we can in a brief space, what seems to have been passed down over the centuries. Now, we pass from our wandering deliberations to our initial point. In the very soul of our hopes and uncertainties, most of us are not excessively concerned about what is historically invariable. We more likely ask what in this wide and chancy world is more helpful, or useful, to us and our fellow uncertain human beings. While it may not be the most piercingly trenchant question, it is certainly the kindest and therefore, in many ways, the most invitingly wise. By the way, soul of light and wonder, there is also another wrong question we should deliberate with before we conclude. The questioning gentleman from Italy also proclaims that he is an atheist, and we grant him his predilection. But, one of the surprisingly incisive items the overly commended philosopher William James managed to utter, in his hopefulThe Will To Believe, is that we require just as much information not to believe as it takes to believe. Once again we must reach for the same handy harp and arpeggiate as follows: The right question, or so it seems us, is not whether God exists, but whether we can define God in a way we can, with scientific respect, consider valid? We can only share with you the invitingly unassuming definition that works for us and that, astonishingly, seems unassailably cogent. And here it is. Since we, being as logically exacting as we should, cannot dare infer with philosophical propriety that the universe has a “cause,” without the adherents of Davy Hume rushing to inform us that what we, as frequently but not ever fallible humans, perceive as cause and effect may, in fact, be more exactly explicated as usual but not unexceptionable sequence. So all we can credibly say is that all we behold must have a source – an original or, if you will, an ultimate source – and that we, as placidly accommodated inhabitants of finitude, are willing to consider that source God. As you might guess, whether or not such a carefully considered God partakes in our everyday lives or has decided we’ve been equipped well enough to manage things on our own – if we would only use the mental and spiritual resources we’ve been given – is, yet again, another question, undoubtedly to be ciphered, yet again, primarily by our own dispositions. So, interestingly enough, after our exceedingly perspicacious amble through the honed brambles of theological speculation, we arrive, to some extent, where our sometime intellectual companion, ancient Aristotle, left us, that is, with the concept of God as the “First Mover” or “Unmoved Mover.” While his description is obviously a bit more assumptive than ours, it’s reassuringly close enough to make us smile at the inadvertent paternity of his wisdom. So, lest we trouble you too long in your inquisitive surf of the worldwide Web, we will conclude as follows: While the daring Italian plaintiff gears up to challenge the divinity of Christ in a Strasbourg court, and the spokespeople of the Catholic Church present their most revered proofs, while the media kern the boiling pot as intemperately as they can, the entire host will all be overwrought about what is, at least to us, really neither the most practical nor spiritually consequential question. We realize we haven’t been especially humorous in this article, but, if you think about the high subject, such an achievement would have actually been inappropriate. We also cannot but realize you may be thinking, OK, smarty pants, so what do you think about matters infinite? Would we ever deny you the inviting knowledge? Never, me bonny lads and lasses! So here it is. We have a faith not shaken by such perturbations on the largely unmapped sea of certitude, because we have a comforting faith in life – faith that it is, after all, a logical evanescence and therefore an overall benevolence. As part of our faith in it, we believe that, if we take good are of it, we will not only have a much higher likelihood of realizing its resplendent possibilities, but also of helping save it from our own depredations, and, in accordance with our assumpiton of its supreme logic, that whatever made it will, if it takes good care of anyone, take good care of us, who, after all, live in the service of life, accepted as considerately free and capable of exultation. We call this moderate infinite extension of our enlightened commitment faith through life. Our only remaining hope is that we’ve been able to deconstruct the theological tempest that likely lies ahead into a venue you may observe as, in its inevitable confrontations and triangulations, your informed and wisely unruffled self.

         
    Jazzfest in new orleans kicks off without jazz

     

    The Jazzfest in New Orleans, intended to revive the sodden spirits of the land of legendary jazz greats, went off, oddly enough, with comparatively little jazz. There was, in conspicuous unlikelihood, Bruce Springsteen, who did manage a soulful rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In. Also on hand was the legendary jazz performer Elvis Costello. While all the misplaced rockers do come as a wakeup call to the people who expect the Jazzfest to feature jazz, the sad truth is that jazz hasn’t been the leading act in New Orleans, or anywhere else in the lower 48, since Bill Haley and the Comets strolled around Preservation Hall, thumping out Rock Around the Clock, ratcheting up that old backbeat rhythm in the first verifiable intrusion of rock and roll into the sensibilities of the former comparatively civilized ears of now extensively deaf humanity. Of course, there were some performers with a tad of credibility toward the appellation of jazz artist, such as verifiable regulars Dr. John and Allan Toussaint. It’s time deal with the indisputable encumbrance that we’re living in an age when the big music stars are not, despite their passing pretensions, exponents of the jazz mode, except perhaps in the persona of the skillful New Yorker trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. The giants of jazz, from raspy voiced trumpeter Louis Armstrong to smoothly elegant pianist Bill Evans, have long been sleeping in the arms of time. The truth of music in New Orleans has for many years been in the sound of music one hears when he or she strolls through the fabled French Quarter. They have been, not the lilting lines of jazz, but the raucous thumps of rock. Since popular music is unlikely to return to those golden days of yore, it seems that the least irritating way to return consonance to the Jazzfest is simply to rename it the Musicfest. Then, while our ears might be just as troubled, at least our minds could ease off the incongruity that persists in troubling them.

         
    Jimmy hoffa continues to evade fbi

     

    As the FBI, operating on a tip from a prisoner who reported witnessing suspicious activity on the night of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, continued to search for the former teamster leader, he was somehow still able to evade capture. Although Mr. Hoffa disappeared over fifty years ago, no sign of him or his remains have been detected, despite numerous tips of either’s possible whereabouts. Given the run-ins the teamster boss had with the FBI during the period when he was definitely alive, some observes say it is no wonder he refuses to be located. This week, the cement floor of the oldest barn on the property where the teamster boss of yore may be hiding out was dug up and, while at a certain depth a color change was noted in the soil, there was, at the end of the dig, still no sign of Jimmy. The small town near the farm where the search is ongoing has begun to deal with the excavation by treating it lightly. A local bakery has created a new hit, which it calls Jimmy Hoffa cupcakes. They consist of an earth-chocolate cupcake with a green hand reaching out of it and, according to the owners of the bakery, the new creation has become their hottest-selling item. Despite his obvious skill at evasion, Mr. Hoffa has not yet dared appear at the bakery to purchase one. Meanwhile, back at the farm, despite the efforts of diggers with heavy equipment, forensic experts, and search dogs, there was, at week’s end, still no sign of Mr. Hoffa. A forensic expert on the scene noted, "You'd think we'd find him. He was born in February of 1913, so by now he should have slowed down quite a lot." He added, "But, since he disappeared way back in 1975, you'd think the authorities would decide it's finally time to put the lid on the search.” However, as you know, the FBI always gets its man – a policy that should serve as a warning to Osama Bin Laden and his associates of evil. They may have evaded capture till now, but, with the feds on their trail, they should know that no cave is too deep, no mountain too high. The FBI never gives up, even after you’re out of circulation, one way or another.

         
    Jokes the world s best medicine

     

    What were the last jokes that made you roll around on the floor because you were laughing so hard? Did it involve a doctor, a priest, and a lawyer? Was it on a TV show, or part of a stand-up comedy routine, or part of a recent lecture? In any event, do you remember how it made you feel? More likely than not you can remember the last time, and if you took a minute you could probably tell me the jokes, and it probably made your day. It either gave you relief from the stress of taking your self or what you were doing so seriously, or it took your mind off of something that was causing you grief, or it just livened up an otherwise boring talk. Probably most importantly though, it allowed you to laugh which as we all know is "the world's best medicine." But have you ever thought more about why this was so? Is there actually something about jokes and the resulting laughter that can change our health in a beneficial way? What is it about laughter that we love so much? Why are comedies so popular? Why is there such a thing as comic relief and why is it so effective--even in the most serious of plays or dramas? Well you shouldn't be surprised to find out that scientists have been studying it but you may be surprised to find out that there is actually something about laughter that affects us more profoundly than we think. Basically there is good evidence now that laughter produced by jokes can change the chemical milieu that courses through our body on a second to second basis, and in profound degree. Laughter releases natural endorphins that act on the same receptors as morphine that produce the feelings of relaxation and heightened mood. Levels of Dopamine, serotonin, and Nor - epinephrine are altered as well that produce endogenous anti - depressant effect. Researchers then wondered about what action in particular was producing these changes--was it smiling, or the physical changes that take place in rate of breathing, in blood pressure, increased heart rate, etc. What they found was (as usual) that it most likely was a combination of physical changes in the body that occur with laughter. Each one of these changes by it self produced small effects but together were synergistic in producing these stress relieving, and mood improving results. It was interesting to note that spontaneous laughter was better than self produced laughs but not by as large a difference than you might think. Also merely smiling produced significant changes in the blood chemistry. So basically tell someone jokes, smile more, and laugh even if you have to fake it--it does the body good!

         
    Just horsing around

     

    1. What is the fear of horses called? A. Hippophobia B. Riddiophobia C. Sadlophobia D. Equiphobia A. Hippophobia TBD: Hey, you know we dosn't make this stuff up, right?!? 2. Which is NOT a form of horse racing? A. Flat racing B. Harness racing C. Steeplechasing D. Hop-scotching D. Hop-scotching TBD: Did you know that horse racing may well be the oldest sport? By the time humans began recording history it was already well established. Does that mean that book making may really be the oldest profession? 3. Which is NOT a breed of American saddle horse? A. Tennessee Walker B. Morgan C. Quarter Horse D. Kentucky Sprinter D. Kentucky Sprinter TBD: Although, it could be an unofficial breed! 4. The horse's single toe on each of its four feet is its most marked anatomical characteristic and makes it a perissodactyl or odd-toed ungulate. The horse shares this trait with which other animal? A. Rhinoceros B. Tapir C. Elephant D. Cow E. A and B F. C and D E. A and B TBD: Very curious, indeed. 5. Which is NOT one of the three classic American races that make up the Triple Crown? A. The Bluegrass Stakes B. The Belmont Stakes C. The Preakness Stakes D. The Kentucky Derby A. The Bluegrass Stakes TBD: Even though we live in Kentucky, we haven't attended the Kentucky Derby, but we have been to the Bluegrass Stakes (which is a precursor to the Derby) and won money! 6. How were horses introduced to the Americas? A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century. B. They crossed the land bridge with early man. C. They were always there. D. Leif Eriksson and his Viking crew brought them. A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century. TBD: Apparently a species of horse developed in America, but died out, possibly due to disease, so there was no native horse. 7. Is one of these NOT a breed of draft horse? A. Belgian heavy draft horse B. English shire C. Clydesdale D. Percheron E. They are all draft horses! E. They are all draft horses! TBD: As primarily a visual connoisseur of horses, The QuizQueen is partial to the Clydesdale. 8. The Roman Emperor Caligula is famous for many things, but he was also a horse lover, so maybe he wasn't all bad. What did he once want to do for his favorite horse, Incitatus? A. Name her his consort. B. Name him his successor as emperor. C. Appoint him consul of Rome. D. None of the above, he actually ate roasted horse for dinner every night. C. Appoint him consul of Rome. TBD: As if we needed still further proof of what a very bizarre person he was. 9. The moons of Mars are named for the mythical horses that drew the chariot of Mars, the god of war. Can you name them? A. There was only one horse, Pegasus. B. Phobos and Deimos C. Logos, Pathos, and Ethos D. Alpha, Beta, Sigma, and Theta. B. Phobos and Deimos TBD: Hey, that was hard, but you had a shot if you knew either your astrology or your Greek mythology, right? 10. One of the most famous horses in television history is Mr. Ed. Which is NOT a true Mr. Ed fact? A. His original name was Bamboo Harvester. B. He lived to be 30 years old and died Feb. 28, 1979. C. He was raised to be a parade and show horse. D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger. D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger. TBD: He was however owned by the president of the California Palomino Society. 11. What was man's earliest relationship with horses? A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse. B. Dinner: The formerly carnivorous horse hunted man. C. Transportation: Man used the horse for hauling and transporting himself and his goods. D. Security: The early horse helped keep watch for danger. A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse. TBD: Although by the Bronze Age man was using the domesticated horse, in the earlier Stone Age the relationship was strictly food chain. 12. How many horses have been Triple Crown winners? A. 11 B. 21 C. 31 D. 13 A. 11 TBD: They are Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. The last one was in 1978.

         
    Just say no to sex. dr. coburn shows you how

     

    (Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the third installment; previous ones are available on this site and presented below each new installment at NewsLaugh, in case you miss one or more.) He closed it, thought for a moment, and recomposed himself. Then he walked to the bookshelf, took down another copy of his work, autographed it, and headed for the den with it. “All signed up?” he asked. “Yes, sir,” Dan replied. “She took care of everything. Even gave me a copy of your book.” “Good,” he said. “But I have a special inspiration for you.” He held out the copy of the book he had signed. “An autographed copy.” “Gee, thanks, Doctor Coburn,” Dan said, and took it. He read the inscription aloud. "’To Dan Fox: I know you can do it, kid. Abstinently yours, Dr. Coburn.’ “Wow, dynamite!” Dan exclaimed. “I really appreciate this.” “My pleasure,” Doctor Coburn told him. “In the beginning, you and I will work one on one. Got it?” “Yes, sir. Sounds great.” “Good. Then, as you make progress, Melanie can lend a hand.” “But, Daddy!” she objected. “Please, dear. You’re my most accomplished pupil and, due to the volume of students I expect, I need an assistant. Are you OK with that?” “I suppose,” she conceded. “Good.” He turned his attention back to Dan. “Now, let's get started.” “I’m ready,” his new student said. “Can I leave now?” Melanie asked. “Of course, dear. Dan and I need to spend a lot of time together.” “Have fun,” she told the star athlete, and then she walked out with a bit more swagger in her hips than she usually allowed herself. Dr. Coburn turned to Dan. “During the first week, you’ll require almost total immersion.” “Let’s go for it.” He looked sternly at Dan. “Don't mind if I get ‘sexplicit,’ do you?” “I guess you have to,” his willing acolyte replied. “That’s exactly right. If we don't take the bull by the balls, we can’t hope to wrestle it to the ground. Have a seat.” He indicated the couch and Dan plopped down. “First things first. You must understand the transcendent importance of the lifestyle adjustment you’re about to commit to. Question: why must you learn how to say no to sex? Think before you answer.” “Well, sir – “ Dan pondered with indecision. “– I'll tell you why. Because, my son, you carry within your loins the potential destruction of the human race." “I do?” “Of course. Therein lie the sperm that can continue to overpopulate the world and the compulsions that could lead you to become infected with the AIDS virus or another STD. Get my meaning?” “Yes, sir. But can I say something?” “Go right ahead.” “I practice safe sex.” “My boy, you can practice all you want. But you'll never perfect it. There is no such thing as safe sex. It is, in fact, an outright contradiction in terms.” “I mean, I use condoms,” Dan told him. “Not safe by any stretch of the imagination! The only safe thing to do is, as the saying goes, to keep your pecker in your pants. Got it?” “Yes, sir. But can I say something else?” “What?” Doctor Coburn asked. “I don't call it names like that.” “What don’t you call names like what?” "My pecker. I guess I just have too much respect for it.” “Oh. Well, then, what do you call it?” “My love maker,” Dan confided. “Really? Where did you learn to call it that?” “Well, I thought about it for a long time and what I use it for. The name came to me and just stuck.” “I see. Well, it’s irrelevant. Call it whatever you want to. Just remember: the goal is to keep it in your pants. OK?” “Yes, doctor.” “Excellent. Now, let's move on. When I say the word ‘sex,’ tell me what you think of.” “You really want to know?” Dan asked. “Of course.” “I think of women.” “Ah, ha! And there we have it. The very root of the problem – and the fundamental association we must redefine.” “What am I supposed to think of?” “I'll demonstrate.” He walked to the door and called, “Melanie, can you come in here for a moment?” He headed back to Dan. “I think you’ll find this demonstration helpful.” Melanie poked her head in, a bit uneasily. “What is it, Daddy?” “I want to demonstrate something for Mr. Fox. When I say the word ‘sex,’ what do you think of?” “Tyrannosaurus Rex.” "Very good. And if that fails to take your mind completely off the usual meaning of the word, what do you think of as a reinforcement?” “Texaco.” “Excellent, Mel.” He turned to Dan. “See how the method works? Soon, you'll think like that, too.” “I can't wait.” He looked at her. “How do you do it, Melanie?” “Daddy will explain.” “Pure sound association,” he informed Dan, and went on with great fervor. “Once you’ve been properly trained, the word ‘sex’ will key off the word ‘Rex’ or the syllable ‘Tex.’” “You mean, like ‘sex-Tex?’” “Exactly! And that counter-association will, of course, immediately distract you from thinking about the word ‘sex.’ Notice also that there is no equally resonant association in the potentially disastrous conjunction of ‘sex-woman.’ Or, in Melanie's case, for the conjunction of ‘sex-man?’” “’Sex-man?’" Dan queried, glancing at Melanie. “Right,” Dr. Coburn assured him. And, since the sound association of ‘sex-Tex’ is much more resonant, she has virtually nothing to worry about.” “Oh, I see,” Dan said, catching on. “Sex-Rex, sex-Tex. Hey, it works for me.” “Great, Dan.” Dr. Coburn turned to Melanie. “See how quickly he’s catching on?” “Oh, he’s really brilliant,” she slightly scoffed. “But, doctor, what happens if someone goes on and on, really trying to break down your resistance?” Dan wanted to know. “Do you just keep saying the same two things to yourself?” “As long as your willpower remains unassailable. The moment you feel that your resistance may be weakening, you must turn to your tertiary line of defense.” “What's that?” "Mexico.” “You mean, like ‘sex-Mex?’” “Precisely. That is, in those very rare situations where you may require more than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Texaco. Got it?” “Yes, sir.” “Good. Now, once you've got these interruptive associations working, you can resist nearly any activity that the word ‘sex’ keys off.” “I can?” “Yes. Permit me to explain why. It’s a matter of having the enemy outnumbered. Here’s this person, making every effort to seduce you, but what does she have to work with in this elemental area of sound disassociation? One word: sex. Meanwhile, what do you have to work with? Three words. You’ve got her outnumbered three to one. So how can she defeat you?” “Say, that's good,” Dan admitted, and looked at Melanie out of the corner of his eye. “So let me get this straight. A girl says to me, ‘Let's have sex.’ And I think –“ “– Come on, come on, you can do it, kid!” “Tyrannosaurus Rex!” “Right! And then, if she persists?” “I switch to ‘Texaco.’" “Extraordinary. And then, should the occasion arise?” “I pull out Mexico!” “Come on! Come on!” “There’s more?” “You switch back and forth between the words, creating an impenetrable array of counter-associations, until finally the temptress abandons all hope.” “Great! I've got it now! ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico! Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico!’ And so forth." “Perfect, Dan. You’ll have my course knocked in no time. Right, Mel?” “I'm overwhelmed,” she said. “So am I,” Dan admitted. “Gee, I never thought learning how to say no could be so easy.” “Stick with me, son. We’ve only just begun your no-sex education.” “Daddy, can I speak with you a minute?” Melanie asked. “Of course, dear.” “Privately.” “Excuse me a moment, Dan.” He followed Melanie out of the den, while Dan stretched out on the couch, beaming with a curiously triumphant smile. “Daddy,” Melanie told her father, “he's not sincere at all.” “What on earth do you mean, Mel?” “I didn’t want to tell you this, but he's been chasing me all year.” “He has?” “Yes. I think it’s all about his ego. He wants to prove he can get me to have Tyrannosaurus Rex.” “Really? Glad you told me, dear. Now, don’t you worry your pretty little head. Soon, he'll be a changed man, and he won’t care a hoot about seducing you. I promise.” “If you say so,” Melanie said, with what perhaps might be described as marginal conviction. “Leave it to me, dear. Soon, he’ll be about as interested in sex as a castrated lion.” “Can I leave now? I have to continue with my own studies.” “Run right along, dear.” She headed up the stairs, and Dr. Coburn returned to his study. “Anything wrong?” Dan asked. “The craziest thing. She doesn't think you're sincere.” “Really? What makes her think that?” “She says you’ve been pursuing her?” Dr. Coburn dared to give voice to. “Really? Where did she ever get an idea like that?” “Then it’s not true?” “No way. I’d never try to do anything with her. I have too much respect for her and for your method. That’s why I’m here.” “Spoken like a true gentleman. Now, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. So let's keep going.” “Go for it,” Dan encouraged him. End Of Third Installment

         
     
         
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