Fuji Water and Body Wash- Do Not Use It! It Can Kill You!

I know most of you have led a sheltered life and you don’t have the faintest clue what Fuji Water is and I know you are not going to worry about it  because you feel sure that I am going to tell you whether you want to hear it or not.

Well don’t be so damned sarcastic. This is serious business. You can lose various body parts or your head and even your life just by wearing Fuji Water or any sweet-water in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It just happened to me yesterday. I’m lucky to be alive but let me tell you how it all happened. I have a cousin who lives far from civilization. Her name is Pearline Packard and she lives in Downtown Atlanta. Every year along about Christmas, Pearline sends me a gift. I never reciprocate because I am afraid this thing may escalate and ruin my reputation as a real man.

Pearline sent me a bottle of Fuji Water. It gets worse. Katie Mae insisted I use it! I would have flat refused to even open the bottle but Katie Mae is still pretty strong and I have aged a good bit. I’m pretty sure she can whup my ass. To tell the truth I think she always could. I just had her believing that I am a martial arts expert. I told her I know Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Karate and some more Oriental words like that. I had her water-buffaloed…… I thought.

Anyhow, being a survivalist, in my own small way, I took this bottle of venom into my shower. My son Paul had already sniffed the top of the open bottle and declared this stuff was too sweet and too loud. When I had first smelled it I decided it was a bit more subtle than I had thought it would be but once I got the shower hot and steamy I opened that bottle and a pure Satanic essence of hell floored me. I fell down in the shower. I was worried about using it but I was afraid not to. I finally overpowered my intense fear and washed my left leg with the body wash. Just my left leg and suddenly the bathroom smelled like a shuttle bus full of French whores. I fell again.

When I left the house I found my car wouldn’t start. Kay got me half-way to the Coumadin Clinic before the scent overwhelmed her and she made me get out of her car. I walked to the Coumadin Clinic where the pharmacy student who checks my blood made me move from one side of her desk to the other. Then she made me leave the room and sit in a hallway. She ran by my chair and threw the needle at my finger like a dart. It wasn’t as embarrassing in the hallway as you might think because everybody cleared the hall when I got out there.

I’m telling you, if you are a manly fellow, steer clear of Sweet Water, Loud Fuji Water and Body Washes. They can only get you killed unless you are a girly man and it’s expected you will wear pretty perfumes.

I tried to catch a bus back home but we had only gone a couple of blocks before the students on board kicked me off the bus and then they began to throw heavy volumes of scholarly books at me. I still have knots on my head. The sorry bus driver took advantage of my pathetic circumstances and tried to run me over with his bus. He ruined my right foot. It’s flatter and longer than the left one.

It took me three hours to hobble back to the house. I had to limp through the hood and I was apprehensive about my safety but I shouldn’t have worried.

Nobody came within fifty feet of me.

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This book should still be available at Amazon.com and I know you are dying to have a copy. Left click on the lady’s shawl and they should tell you how you can be so lucky as to own your very own copy.


Of a Christmas Past and a Charlie Brown New Year

North End of Mantle

The rocking horse has a music box which plays “Toyland” and as it plays the horse’s head and tail rise and fall while the clown on its back raises and lowers his legs. There must be something about riding a horse that tickles a clown’s bottom.

As we approach our 40th anniversary we gain a modicum of intelligence about how to pack away all this Christmas joy and paraphernalia. We are leaving the age of cardboard boxes behind us.

I was dispatched to Wal-Mart or any place that has plastic storage containers for sale. Somehow I do not feel alone.

AT Wal-Mart the brightly colored containers are everywhere. Not only Wal-Mart but Lowes and Home Depot have them and I think I even saw some street vendors carrying the things around on their backs.

So I drag the containers home and Katie Mae faithfully packs all the little Christmas people away for another year. Christmas is over and packing up all the participants gives me a sad, melancholy feeling not helped one bit by our hearing the last strains of “Toyland” from the little rocking horse that has carried that silly clown on his back for over 30 Christmases.

As I carry the containers to the basement, I can still hear the music box struggling to release a note or two but finally it is done and finished and the lights go off in the basement storage room.

And in a flash (it seems) the New Year is upon us. The holidays and all that food have done nothing to diminish my alacrity, adeptness and superior skill at surfing the channels. I hit a brick wall when I reach a channel showing, “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.” I’ve got to stop and watch Charlie and his assortment of weird friends. I’m a kid again.

I’ve started watching close to the end of the film but I can see Peppermint Patty is in an ice skating competition and she’s out on the big rink. Snoopy is providing music with a tape player (circa 1980) when all the tape suddenly turns into a huge can of worms (or so it seems) and poor Snoopy is keyless or clueless or tone deaf or anyhow, he ain’t got no music for the Peppermint Patty skating routine.

Patty is breaking into enough sweating, hot flashes (just her cheeks) and scared to death looks that I’m afraid the ice is going to melt. This is a desperate, desperate moment. Did I say this is a desperate moment?

But wouldn’t you know it, our main man, the incomparable canary of unlimited talents flies a couple of neat tight-looped back flips and lands solidly on his little bird legs right in front of Snoopy’s microphone.

He pursed his tiny lips for a whistle. I know. You didn’t know canaries had lips but they do. Chickens do too.

Anyhow, he pursed his little lips until they were about the size of a rhino’s mouth and you never heard such beautiful music even during the long Christmas celebration.

And just what was he whistling? “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh My Beloved Father”), an aria from a Puccini opera. I didn’t happen to know that. I had to Google it. I’m not sure how Woodstock knew about it.

Woodstock saved the day and Peppermint Patty skated on into glory and greatness. I think if a tiny canary can save the day in such a big way we can achieve anything we try (almost).

Charlie Brown and Woodstock have given me a great start to my New Year. You should have seen that canary blow. “The Voice,” “The X Factor” and “American Idol” combined cannot equal Woodstock’s ability to enliven an hour, an evening or a whole brand New Year.

I just Googled it again. This time I am listening to Maria Callas sing the aria. From now on, in this New Year, if I begin to feel sad, melancholy or a little down in the dumps, I will dial up Woodstock on YouTube and let him whistle me up that incredible Puccini aria.







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“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”


Virginia O’Hanlon, circa 1895

From The Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald – Tuesday December 24, 2013

In the fall of 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon sent a letter to the New York Sun asking, “Is there a Santa Claus?’’

She had been encouraged by her father, who had told her, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”

On Sept. 21, 1897, the Sun answered Virginia’s letter in a piece penned by editorial writer Francis Church, which has become one of the most famous editorials ever written.

As has become a tradition at the Athens Banner-Herald, we’re again sharing Virginia’s letter, followed by Church’s and the Sun’s answer to her.


Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be that is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love or generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! How dreary would be the world be if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We would have no enjoyment, except in the sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas to all from the Swilley household.


Francis Pharcellus Church – Author of editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” (1897)






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A Christmas Cat Home Invasion.

Sego on the deck

Sago from the bedroom window








Katie Mae is a short person and short persons often, like small children, can spot things those of us who are taller seem to overlook. I was not surprised then, when she opened the blinds to one of our bedroom windows that overlook the deck behind our house. She then questioned the presence there of a dark shadow against the far wall beneath a small potted Sago Palm.

The deck can be seen in the picture on the left. I took that picture on the same rainy day because I wanted you to see what Katie Mae saw when she opened those blinds. The picture does not show a dark shadow under the palm.

I also saw the shadow and told her it might be a cat. I went into the living room and opened blinds there so I could have a better look at the dark spot.

I then went back to the bedroom and told her it was not only a big black cat but it had more than one head and one set of ears. Even though it looked like a big black blob underneath the plant I could see a silhouette of more heads and ears than most cats usually carry around with them.

I carefully eased out the back door to the deck and the mama cat took off across the deck. As she ran down the deck steps she was followed by an agglomeration of little kitten ears, heads, tails and legs. Most astonishing of all is how thickly furred they were and all four of them were black as deep smut.

She led them through the thick woods behind the house and I guessed that was the last we would see of them. I was wrong. Later that night, I could hear a loud cry from a kitten coming from the back deck. Katie Mae said the cry was coming from the front porch and, once again, that short person’s perspective proved to be right.

I went to the front door and peeked through the panel windows on each side of the door and they were all there to greet me. Momma cat gave me what I would call “a warning smile” and a low guttural growl as she chased her brood from the porch. Her unpleasant greeting made me slightly hesitant to open the door so I didn’t.

I’ve seen her around the neighborhood before and I considered her a feral cat. It’s kind of odd to see any stray animals in our neighborhood but she has been around for a while. She is not completely black. She has orange markings on her side that look like a map of Tasmania. From the looks of her smile I suspect she could be a Tasmanian devil and apparently she has not been a totally single parent. So these kittens are not that kind of Christmas gift. I’m pretty sure she had help making them. If he’s anything like her I don’t want to meet him.

They stayed on the porch late into the night until they got caught up in a tangle that was more than they could handle. Katy Mae has tiny sentinel Christmas trees right outside the front door. They are lighted trees. You get my drift. That means they are electrified. They are about three feet tall and they have electric lights running all throughout their limbs or at least they did before those kittens Sego on the deck 2Order From Amazon.comgot to tussling, scuffling, tumbling and fighting amongst themselves and up under those little Christmas Trees.

I heard the loudest caterwauling I have heard in years coming from our front porch. The kittens were all wrapped up in the electric lights and they had taken to scratching and clawing and biting the wires. I jumped to get a remote control to turn off the lights before all those cats really got to smoking.

I turned off the lights and yanked open the front door just in time to see Mama Cat, kittens, trees, lights and all pass under a street light about a hundred yards down from our house.

I could still see dying flickers of colored lights going down the street and the smell of burning cat hair on the porch was strong enough to make me cough.

I’m sure it was the coughing that made me temporarily turn to strong drink.

The entire episode has been a “Bermuda Triangle” moment for me. I have seen no cats, no Christmas Trees and no lights since night before last.

They have completely and totally disappeared. That can’t all be bad. It makes me believe Santa Claus still loves me.


How to Shop With the Whackos- Christmas 2013 – Athens, Georgia

Russian MadmanAre you in the “last minute shoppers’ mode?” Is it driving you totally bonkers that there is something you meant to buy for somebody but you can’t remember what it is or who that person might be? If you answer no to both questions and you don’t seem to care anymore you can join my new “Bah Humbug” Club.

My club is different because I am saying “Bah, Humbug” to any additional, “Did I or did I not get the right present,” worry and I am not going to worry any more. I ain’t gonna worry no-mo, no-mo! Bah and Humbug to worries!!!

But if, unfortunately, you still have to venture into the shoppers’ world of paradisiacal perdition be watchful and aware you are not alone. Our exposure to whackos increases this time of year. Be careful.

Today I made a tactical mistake you should understand. I walked out of Wal-Mart and I made eye contact with this guy who was walking in beside a woman. Being a gentlemanly old Southern guy I stepped to one side so the man and the woman could easily pass by me.

That was my mistake. I looked dead in his eyes and he was not with the woman. He just happened to be walking beside her. I nodded and spoke to him. It got worse. He thrust 15 or 20 odd looking and different sized currency bills toward me and muttered, “Would you be interested in buying some valuable, antique, foreign, currency?”

The guy looked slightly more presentable than your usual Athens panhandler so I was still a little bit off guard when I returned his mutter with my own babble, “No thanks man, no, no, no, uh, oh no thank you, I don’t think so, thanks but no thanks, uh, thanks but not today,” and then I actually made a clean break of it and escaped.

But I did not escape as cleanly as I thought. I got home and I told Katie Mae about this strange encounter. She was not surprised. It seems to happen to us frequently.

Since it happens a lot to me I could not escape all these questions popping up in my feeble mind. Did this guy see the clear, honest, bright gleam of intelligence in my eyes and immediately know that I am wise in the spending habits of people all over the world? Did he think I could unhesitatingly pick out valuable bills from totally worthless funny money? He couldn’t have been more mistaken. I’m not even sure what American bills are worth. I am not the smart, unfailing, go-to-guy when it comes to purchasing foreign currency. I have a lot of trouble counting my own pennies. Once I count my money I count it again and I always come up with less on the second count.

The reverse side of that strange coin (or valuable foreign currency), is: What if the guy simply picked me out because I look like a straight damned dummy? I think he instinctively knew he had an old red-necked country boy yokel in his clutches. I believe this scenario of looking senseless may be good for me. It got me off the hook with him. He recognized the same brand of crazy in my eyes that he sees when he looks at himself in a mirror. He thought it best to find somebody with a brain and he quickly put some distance between us. He ran off through Wal-Mart with his crazy-dough spread out in his hand like a little fan.

Some how looking common and average and suitably stupid has always worked for me and since I can’t change that situation I might as well embrace the look and keep on saving myself from real whackos with my own set of natural talents.

I hope you have a wonderful and Merry Christmas and I hope you find your niche in life as I have done by looking so adorably dumb………… That probably just works for me. I realize most of you are smart and beautiful.

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The Death of the Christmas Mouse

This is a pretty sad story in that I have almost killed my old worn-out body taking all those crazy Halloween pumpkins back downstairs to a store room and then, closely obeying wifely instructions, hauling crates of lovely Christmas paraphernalia back up those same killer stairs.

The sad end result has not been my own death but the demise of the famous Christmas Mouse. He was not only an old Christmas pal but he was our tiniest holiday celebrant who joined us each year as we toasted untold thousands of people we never met or knew. There was a time when any name would do in a toast to the health of all. We would make the toast and then we would all lock arms and dance to “Zorba the Greek.”

These are the ornaments and decorations of Katie Mae, my lovely bride of nearly 40 years and to whom I have dedicated this little ditty about Christmas decorations and how much men love them:         


Resting Places for Tired Old Bones
Grow Scarce and Mighty Sparse.
No Place to Rest Your Elbows,
No Spot to Park Your Arse.

Santas Hang Out All Over
In Every Nanny and Crook
No Place to Put My Coffee Cup,
No Place to Hide My Book.

I’m Afraid I’ll Trip on a Reindeer,
Or Fall Out in the Hall.
I’m Afraid I’ll Rip Down Some Precious Thing
That is Taped to the Kitchen Wall.

So I keep a Very Low Profile
And I Head for My Favorite Chair.
But I’m Having Trouble Fitting In
Next to a Christmas Teddy Bear.

I Pray I Will Last Until January
When We Can Pack Them All Away.
And Move Them Deep Down in the Basement
Where They Will Stay and Stay and Stay.

P.S. – I lied about killing The Christmas Mouse. The truth is I have only dropped three books on him and he looked in pretty good shape until I spilled that hot cup of coffee down his back. He’s okay and I look forward to packing him up until next December

The "Plumbing Santa" or "The Santa of the Commode Tank Lid."

This one I call “Santa the Plumber” or “The Santa of the Commode Tank Top.” I have a feeling he would be worthless if we had a plumbing problem.

Snoopy in Sleigh

Once again we have a horseless sleigh. Snoopy really doesn’t care. He knows Santa has his own system of sleigh propellant.

Lamp Santa

This is the bodyless Santa. It’s just his head that hangs from a switch on the lamp. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Christmas Wreath on Pantry Door

The Pantry Door Wreath. The hanger for the wreath loves to do battle with you to see if you can get the door closed once you have been inside the pantry.

Fireplace Broom

This is the festive broom I’m forced to use as I perform charwoman duties about the old homestead. I cry a lot but no one listens.


Another angle of the fabulous sideboard smorgasbord.

Smorgasbord 1

And one more angle of the sideboard. I thought the small golden Christmas trees on the sideboard were interesting.










The Snowman Bookguard 2

This snowman also guards our books. His long legs come all the way up to his armpits.

The Snowman Teapot

The snowman teapot is custodian of the books. He has never had a cup of tea.

The Musical Bear

The musical bear plays ten carols. I can sing them all but I’ve been asked not to.

The Christmas Mouse

The famous Christmas Mouse. He has always been a snappy dresser even in the off season.

Santa in White - Best

The all-white (or cream colored) Santa is handsome but a little too stern for me.

Santa in Red Suit

This is my main man. He is the real deal. You can’t imagine all the gifts he has left me over the years.

The Candy Shoppe Teapot

This Candy Shoppe Teapot is one of many watching over our books. Very colorful isn’t it?

The Big Tree

This is the big tree. More to come about the decorations on this, the regulation sized tree.

Mantlepiece Snow Man

The Nutcracker is in charge but the Snowman spreads JOY. His bottom pieces seem to be from sea shells.

North End of Mantle

Another strange wide-eyed Nutcracker with one of our favorites, a clown on a horse.

The Snowman Teapot

Snowman Teapot. He  never has tea. Would hot tea melt him?

Another Reindeer on Katie Mae's Desk

A beautiful reindeer atop Katie Mae’s Desk. Her desk is covered in Christmas.

Christmas Sideboard Smorgasbord

The sideboard smorgasbord is no place for old men. It is a disaster waiting to happen when we get near.


Kay's Desktop

Kay’s desktop in its entirety. I never go near it for fear falling Christmas memorabilia will attack me.


The Backdoor Wreath

The Backdoor Wreath. There is also one on the front door and one on the pantry door?

Santa in Paul's Room

Paul’s bedroom Santa watches him Christmas Eve but Paul is not a peeper. He’s a sleeper.

Two Damsels in a Sleigh

These two damsels in bonnets and in a horseless sleigh seem to be covered up in holly and evergreens with no place to go.

Wise Men lost on Table Top

Not So Wise Men trapped on a tiny table between a bedroom and a bathroom.


Tree in North Bedroom

A lonesome pine on a dresser in a guest bedroom. Some nights I have to sing it to sleep.

Paul's Reindeer

Paul’s childhood rendition of Santa and his reindeer. I wonder if Paul is still fascinated with 40′ long whips?

Bathroom Santa With Bem in Mirror

I always thought this was a little Santa Claus. Now I see it’s a little girl and she’s been hanging out in Paul’s bathroom Christmas time for years.

Chrisatmas Clown and Pony

Kay’s Aunt, Mama Doris Poulos gave this to Paul when he was a baby. Probably our favorite the music box plays “Toyland.” The horse’s head and tail go up and down as does the arms and legs on the clown.

Dinette Table Wreath

This is Katie Mae’s center piece on the table in our kitchen breakfast nook. None of the contents taste very good. I have tried them all.

Santa and Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree

This is on an end table by our couch. Santa looks like he’s fleeing from the tiny Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree with the UGA pennant attached to it.

Santa Pillow

This Santa Pillow is one of two that decorates a bench in our breakfast area beside the kitchen.

Snowman Cookie Jar

This bad boy is a cookie jar that watches over the refrigerator and stove and keeps Bad Ben at bay. I guess I could turn up the stove heat and melt him down.

Christmas Reindeer

Another shot of Katie Mae’s watchful desktop reindeer. That’s an old antique (look-alike) lantern in the background.

Paul's Hand Prints

Not much guessing to know these are Paul’s hand prints back when he was so much fun. Now one of his hands will cover this entire cloth.


The Christmas Teddy Bear that guards the bench in the breakfast nook.

The other bench-warming pillow. The Christmas Teddy Bear that also guards the bench in the breakfast nook along with the Santa pillow..


































Beware of Deadly Diets – Feasting Season Is Upon Us

Funny-Pig on treadmillPumpkin PatchYou’re religiously examining your present diet closely. You are fasting because you know all bets are off starting soon. The odor of food as yet uncooked is already wafting through the cool, thin fall air because your powerless mind has willed it to be so. You are hungry now, Now, NOW! You are in basic training just so you can body slam any weight-watching do-gooder who attempts to save you by getting between you and the holiday feast and the next feast and the next feast.

You know you are unlimited. There are no controls on you once it begins. You can put large fat-laden sows to shame when the doors to the dining room are swung open to let your big fanny roll on in.  You’ll eat like a pig from the last week in November through the first week in the new year.

And it’s coming soon. There will be a month of unbridled mad-masticating beginning at the end of November and rushing unchecked through Christmas until the first of January. I’ll bet January is the best month of the year for dentists everywhere.

Now that we have all agreed on how we are going to run full-tilt to the dinner tables for days on end let me be the first to warn you:


Don’t be so reckless as to attempt to eat anything you can wrap your greasy fist around. Be aware of your food sources. Some of this might not apply to you but it never hurts to be on the alert for sour grits.

Back in July the Chinese Police raided a food storage site that had over 20 tons of rotten chicken feet smuggled in from Viet Nam. Some of this meat was 46 years old. It had been treated with bleach and chemicals to give it color and to mask the odor. Give up your intense craving for chicken feet. They are not good for you.

Also you should not live with your chickens in the same house as the Chinese do. There are more and more strains of deadly chicken flu propagating and floating around, especially in Egypt and China so stay out of those places and eat your chickens, don’t sleep with them.

Illegal imports of bear paws are booming. These too are rotten and cooking them covers up the odor. Give up your intense desire to devour bear paws. They are not good for you.

Another big health problem is MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus). It can kill you and they are not sure how it is transmitted but in the past other coronaviruses were found to be transmitted by bats. Right now it is centered near Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula. There is also a new flu virus found in Peruvian bats. Bat meat for the holidays is out of the question. Quell your yearning for bat meat. It is not good for you.

This MERS-CoV might also be contracted by eating spoiled dromedary camel meat. Spoiled camel meat has also been found to contain the Bubonic Plague disease. Ride your camels. Do not eat them. Subdue your longing for camel meat. It is not good for you.

Closer to home, be aware that the Bubonic plague is alive and well in the good old US of A. Do not eat any of the following meats. They may contain the Bubonic Plague: Mice, ground squirrels, Mexican Wood Rats, prairie dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets.

If you were keeping any of the above named varmints in fattening pens awaiting the big day when you can add them to your tasty holiday treats….forgeddaboutit!!

Now that you have been warned I can tell you Southerners it is safe to eat deer, gator, and frog legs. If you are a more traditional eater like the old fat boy here, eat your fill of turkey, ham and beef and have no regrets that we never even started a 2013 diet. We only promised we would begin dieting sometime in January of 2014.

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