Sunday, December 27, 2015



a person who is involved with something in a petty or contemptible way (usually used in combination):
a gossipmonger.

Chiefly British. a dealer in or trader of a commodity (usually used in combination):

verb (used with object)
to sell; hawk.

Monger is an excellent word that should be used more frequently—in my opinion, of course—because I certainly wouldn’t want to foist my beliefs on others because that would make me an opinionmonger and since opinions are personal and protected speech under the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, we are all free to believe what we want about words like monger. 

I like it. The word. Monger. I’m kind of partial to the first amendment as well.

In this coming new year of anticipated happiness, I am making a resolution to use the word, monger, more frequently. It’s good to be a goalmonger. Here’s a few possible uses of the word . . . monger . . .

Anti-free speech mongers: Those that object to my opinions when my opinions oppose their opinions. These people include most of my professors on the first day of class, especially the one who said, pointing to the class, “Anyone out there a conservative?” 

I watched several students in the class cringe, which prompted me to think of them as pansymongers.

Or my Comp I professor who enjoyed wasting class time quizzing the students on the best spots to procure drugs or discussing various student's plans to get rich by producing Internet porn on their webcams. I then became a gripemonger when I went to the head of the English department to complain, only to be told by the department chair that “creepmonger” professor was quite popular with the students. No doubt. No doubt.

I tried to get my money back, making me a gypmonger.

When security marched my Introduction to Computers professor off the campus under guard, having been accused of sexual harassment so severe they had to fire him, I became bittermonger. 

I paid good money for Doctor Race Bannon (he swore it was his real name) to waste my time. He was a real slickmonger.

I have seven classes to finish my degree. I’m trying to gird up my loins to be able to justify the cost. 

Seriously, when I paid $1,600.00 for an “advanced” creative writing class at a very fine local institution, I thought I’d be able to get help with writing point of view. I even asked, “Can we please talk about writing point of view?”

Sorry. Wasn’t on the syllabus. Thankfully, I found a little book on Amazon called “Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View” by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Cost: Six Bucks. Here’s to Amazon Prime and capitalism. 

And that makes me a POVmonger.

Linda (Get Real) Zern


MERRY:  1843 was the date of the publication of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and it was around that time, in the early part of the reign of Queen Victoria, that Christmas as we now know it was largely invented. The word merry was then beginning to take on its current meaning of 'jovial, and outgoing' (and, let's face it, probably mildly intoxicated). Prior to that, in the times when other 'merry' phrases were coined, for example, make merry (circa 1300), Merry England (circa 1400) and the merry month of May (1560s), merry had a different meaning, that is, 'pleasant, peaceful and agreeable'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I live in a small town. There is one game in our town when it comes to grocery shopping and buying cheap fire ant killer. It’s a box store of highly recognizable signage. I shop there. After all, it’s the only game in town, and now that I’m older and closer to death, I find that driving to other towns to shop at their only game in town is a lot less interesting. 

I don’t waste time sorting my silverware either. I figure if the only way you can tell the difference between a fork and a spoon is to have them sorted into specially shaped plastic slots, I’m not sure I want you eating at my house anyway. 

The Walmart in my town keeps my family in cooking oil and silverware. Amazon and the Internet do the rest.

The problem is that I can’t seem to get out of the only-game-in-town without causing some kind of scene. I don’t know why. It’s like being the town dunce. I always wind up embarrassed and feeling like it would be better if I were sitting in a corner, wearing a pointy hat. 

I think it’s because I buy a lot of cooking oil. Because . . . well . . . I’m pretty sure that our government has sold all America’s surplus cooking oil to Iceland. I have no proof. But I really like home cooked fried chicken, so I worry, and I tend to stock up. I don’t buy good cooking oil, but I buy a lot.

And I drop it after I pay for it. Twice. It’s happened twice. 

The first time, cheap cooking oil, bottled in cheap plastic, slipped through my fingers like oily sand. Well . . . actually . . . the bottle dropped right out through one of those plastic shopping bags that had started to bio-degrade before I’d finished paying for the cheap crap in the bags.

The cheap green cap on the bottle of cheap cooking oil exploded off the top like a bullet, and oil glugged out onto the floor—everywhere. 

I screamed, “Hurry. It’s oil.” 

Walmart employees screamed, back, “Don’t touch it. Do. Not. Touch. It. Get back. Get back.”

They acted like I’d spilled a bottle of sarin gas. It made me wonder what they’re putting in the cooking oil at Walmart.

I just wanted to fry some chicken—not overthrow Iceland. 

Anyway . . . that was the first time.

Today, I did it again: same cheap oil, same crazy plastic cap bullet, same yowling employees acting like I’d just dropped a canister of mustard gas, same giant pool of spreading, smeary canola oil.

That’s it. I can’t take another oil bomb incident. 

I’ve got to look into Amazon’s cooking oil shipping policy or maybe Ali Baba. 

Linda (Fry Cook) Zern 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


What a great year learning about making books and the business of making books. Thank you, for your encouragement, support, and enthusiasm.  Happy New Year of Books!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Some time ago, I was watching an Elvis impersonator get arrested, interrogated, searched, accused, and observed for possibly whipping up a batch of Ricin in his kitchen. 

It made me wonder. What would our neighbors say about us on cable TV, if we were hauled off for cooking up crazy crap in a crock-pot? 


See something. Say something. 

I’ve been trying to imagine what the neighbors are “seeing” at our place when they peek over our wire field fence, realizing if I said something every time I saw something at my neighbor’s house, I’d have the See-Something-Say-Something folks on speed dial.

I mean how weird does it have to be to qualify as something?

It’s not hard to imagine one of those breathless, throaty cable reporters stuffing a microphone in my next-door neighbor’s face and asking, “So, is it true that the Zern family had some unusual weekend rituals? Allegedly?”

“Rituals, no, but they seemed to be overly found of circling.”

Reporter nods and asks, “Satanic symbols? Hex signs? Crop circles?”

“No. Nothing like that, but when they sit outside in their crappy lawn chairs they always wind up in a circle. But it migrates.”

“What does?” The reporter will look perplexed but intrigued. 

“The yard circle. In the summer they circle under that big maple tree, but in the winter they land on the septic tank.” At this point our neighbor gets tired of pointing and drops his hand. 

“And did you see that as an indication that they were cooking up crazy crap in a crock-pot.”

Hesitating, my neighbor will scratch his head. “No. But those grandkids are constantly peeing on stuff.”

There it is. Public urination and yard circles. Our family would be good for at least one charge of felony mischief.

But that’s not as bad as what goes on at our next-door neighbor’s house. Allegedly.

Our neighbor’s eight-year old son informed my daughter that on Sundays his family likes to practice “knifing.” 

She asked, “What’s knifing?”

“You know,” he said, “when you make a target and practice throwing knives at it.”

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that our family is way behind on its knifing practice. Don’t tell.

Linda (Don’t Look. Don’t Tell.) Zern 

Thursday, December 3, 2015


In our church we believe we have a duty to look after each other. Once a month, we try to visit or call each other, by assignment, to make sure everyone is okay, find out if anyone is in need, or try to get free baby-sitting . . . oops . . . umm . . . I’m just kidding. I don’t have little kids. I don’t need free babysitting; I need someone to feed my horses and rub lotion in Charlie’s ears. But I digress.

Anyway, it’s called visiting teaching. I have two sisters (yes, we call each other brother and sister for deeply meaningful reasons having to do with being spiritually related in that big family in the sky sense—but I digress) that I “visit teach.”

One of my dear sisters has hit a rough patch that has put her in a rehabilitation center following some health issues.

Off I went to check on her. 

She’s in room 600 plus. I stood at the first rehab center I cleverly thought of visiting, checking the room numbers. They went up to 200 plus. I stood puzzling and puzzling until my puzzler was sore. The lovely, gentle woman, who runs the joint, recognized a stumped puzzler when she saw one.

“Are you lost?” she said.

“You don’t have six hundred rooms here do you?”

With a knowing twinkle she gave me the number to the other rehabilitation center in town. I called. Ahhhh . . . they had a room with 600 plus on it and my friend.

Laughing, waving, and blowing kisses, I sped off to the next rehabilitation center. 

And found . . . my friend. 

We chatted. We read scriptures. We laughed over this and that. We caught up. We discussed her possible release date.

I met my friend’s lovely roommate.

We had visited for an hour when my friend’s roommate, a lovely woman recovering from a little of this and a little of that, pointed at my tie-dyed motorcycle vest. 

“Sweetheart,” she began, gently. “You have your vest on inside out. Your buttons are on the inside and the tag is out.”

I looked down and realized that I had—for about two hours—been wearing my vest inside out to two different establishments where people are tutored in the fine art of dressing themselves properly and re-learning to walk.

“Right you are,” I said. “You know something.” I pulled my vest off so I could re-dress myself in the manner of a two-year old. “Every time I get to thinking I’m hot stuff my shoe falls in the toilet.” True story. 

Everyone in the room nodded their head at my obvious grasp of my own dopiness and understanding of humiliation.

Laughing, waving, and blowing kisses, I made my exit.

On the way out, I’m pretty sure I heard an occupational therapist say, “She’ll be back.”

Linda (Buttoned Down) Zern 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...