Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Friday Edition

Poor Biif Featured

I made it to another Friday!

Every Monday morning when the alarm goes off at the unnatural hour of 6 a.m. and one of my eyes opens (I can’t ever get both eyes to work as a team until about 10 a.m. Monday morning), Friday seems like some mythical event foretold in some ancient prophecy no one really believes in any more.  As I shave and brush my teeth (with the difficulty level set at 10, because of the aforementioned non-cooperation of my eyes) I am giving myself my usual Monday morning pep talk.

Friday is a real thing,” I tell myself.  “It will be here in a mere five days.  Just five days.  I can do this!  I got this!

This is followed almost immediately by, “Aw, who am I kidding?  We all know that by the time Wednesday gets here, time will have slowed down so much that it will actually begin to go backwards and we will have to reset our calendars to be the day before.

And yet, somehow Friday always arrives and I am always surprised and amazed, as if it were a surprise birthday party that my friends planned so cunningly that it was actually a surprise.  On Friday mornings, when the alarm goes off at the unnatural hour of 6 a.m., I always jump, surprised, and then smile and I feel like I should say, “Oh!  You guys!  You really got me good!

I then jump out of bed and reenact the “Good Morning!” song from the 1952 hit musical film “Singin’ in the Rain”.  I play the part of Donald O’Connor since I look better in light gray than dark gray.  Besides, everyone wants to be Gene Kelly.  I don’t have to fight to be Donald O’Connor.  Plus this is St. Patrick’s Day, so I thought it was more appropriate to pick the more Irish-sounding name.

I then wake up and realize that Debbie Reynolds is really the rack I hang my robe on.  And that I’m not Donald O’Connor.  And that I can’t sing.  Or dance.

But I don’t care, because it’s Friday!





Poor Biff’s Almanac — Today’s Rejected Blog Post Ideas

Poor Biif Featured

Okay … here we go.  Dinner’s out of the way.  The pajamas are on … which is perfectly acceptable because I have to wear business casual all day long (don’t judge me!).  A hot cup of coffee sits beside the computer.  Basia is playing through my headphones (which is what happens when you put your iPod on shuffle).  The mental list of all the things I should be doing have been pushed to the back of my brain where they won’t pose a danger to anyone (especially me).  Now comes the search for something to write about.

I went back through the game tape of the day looking for anything at all that’s worthy of being written about.  Here’s the list of what I came up with after thinking about it for a few minutes.

  1.  That guy who cut me off in traffic on the way to work.
  2. The person I accidentally cut off on the way to work because they were driving in my blind spot.  Leviathan (my truck) is very unforgiving of people who hover in my blind spots (of which there are many).
  3. How the weather is very similar to what it was yesterday.  And the day before that.  And the day before that.  (Repeat that about 20 more times in your head; my fingers are tired.)
  4. An essay on whether or not I should be concerned about how, every time an organizational announcement comes down via blast email from on high (i.e. from Corporate … and you can’t see me, but I’m genuflecting towards our corporate headquarters), I don’t recognize the names of any of the people they mention.  Or their titles.  Or their organizations.  Or anything, really.  Am I that far down on the org chart?  Who are these people?  Am I somehow inadvertently working for a different company than the one I think I am?
  5. Another essay (or perhaps a haiku) about how, when I went to the vending machine for a snack, I saw a Zagnut candy bar hanging precariously from the dispensing screw.  Obviously someone had been deprived of their much-needed Zagnut.  So I was faced with a moral dilemma.  If I put in my money and pushed C7, I would get two Zagnuts for the price of one.  But would that be ethical?  Perhaps the victim of the Zagnut vending mishap had run back their their desk for some more change.   I would be depriving them of the opportunity to retrieve what they had already paid for.  But what if I walked away with a different snack, but someone else came along and did what I was thinking about doing?  Then two out of three people would have been screwed out of double snacks.  I finally decided on Peanut M&Ms.  I can’t stand coconut and so I don’t even like Zagnut bars.  But it’s hard to turn down a two-fer deal.
  6. My musings about whether or not, if someone were to quietly die during a typical meeting, if anyone would notice.  And if someone DID notice … would they envy the dead person?  They’d be like, “Wow, Bob doesn’t have to have his financial reports in by COB Friday.  Lucky!”   (For those of you who don’t speak Corporate Acronym fluently, COB = Close of Business)
  7. My contemplations while sitting at a red light on the way home about whether cities deliberately mis-time their traffic lights to maximize fuel consumption so as to increase revenues from gasoline taxes.  (Biff can be very cynical while sitting in traffic.)
  8. And now I’m wondering if Basia understood English enough to know  what the songs were about that she was singing.  I love her voice and her accent but I always wonder what people think about when they’re singing songs in a different language.  I mean, their managers could have them sing a song that’s wildly inappropriate and the singer would never know.  It doesn’t matter.  Basia is awesome.  Even if she didn’t  understand a word of the songs she sings, she still sings them as if she does.

Well, now you can see why it is so hard for me to write blogs that attract readers.



Have This Blog Back Before Midnight

Writer Cartoon

Okay … here we go.  It’s blog time!

[Stares slack-jawed at computer screen for 45 minutes.]

Oh, who am I kidding?  Blogs are for people with interesting lives.  There are only so many ways I can re-package and re-sell this lump of beige … lumpy … insipidity.  It’s like I’m trying to sell you a Pet Rock™, except that I’ve already sold you the same one 55 times before.  Oh, sure, you make a pretty good gift face, but in your head you’re thinking, “Wow … this is the exact same rock this guy gave me yesterday, except this one has not the same rock written on it in purple Sharpie.™

I should just give up.


Hey!  Who are you?

Why, I’m your Fairy Blog Mother.

Oh cool!  Can we sing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”?  I love that song!”

No … Blog.  Blogmother!  Try to focus.

Ow!  Hey!  You whacked me with your wand.  That wasn’t very nice.  And it hurt!

Oh, suck it up, you big baby!  I only have a minute.  I have 759 more disillusioned bloggers to visit tonight.

Wow!  That many?

Yes, and that’s just tonight.  Tomorrow I’m pulling a double shift to try to clear up the backlog a little.  You think you’re the only blogger who lives a bland, vapid, nugatory life?

Hey!  I’m standing right here!

Like I said, I’m a little pressed for time tonight.  I don’t have time to come up with euphemisms.

So how does this work?  Are you going to cast a spell on me or something?  Make me interesting?  Make my life glamorous and fascinating?

Again, I am a fairy blogmother.  You keep confusing me with that other company that has a much bigger budget.  And that gives their employees benefits.

So … no magic?  I’m not suddenly going to be interesting?


So … what?  Do I get like a pep talk or something?  Where you convince me that my life really is interesting and that I just need to look deeper inside myself?

No, I’m not going to lie to you.  You’re life is pretty dull. I was watching the tape to prepare for this visit and I nodded off three times.  One time I even hit my head on the monitor.

So I guess I’m at a loss as to what exactly you’re doing here.  No magic.  No pep talk.  What exactly does a fairly blogmother do?

You’re looking at it.  You got this fine post out of it.

What?  This?  This is all I get?

What did you have before I got here?

Good point.  So what’s the wand for then, if you don’t do magic?

This?  This isn’t a wand.  It’s a chopstick.  I was having chop suey before I got here, but I must have dropped the other one when I poofed.

Well, thank you fairy Blogmother.  I couldn’t have done this post without you.  I may never forgive you for that.

Think nothing of it.

Oh, don’t worry.  I won’t!

Hasta la vista, Baby.

Yeah … ciao.

I won’t be back.

Don’t let the door …


Ah well … that’s that then.  It’s not as cool as a glass slipper … but it’s something.






Poor Biff’s Almanac — Sarcastic Edition

Poor Biif Featured

Okay, WordPress … I’ve learned my lesson.   Again.

I learned (again) that fiction posts are the moles and skin tags of WordPress posts.  Point well taken (again), WordPress.  I shall concentrate on other, more popular, types of posts.

Hey, how about those Kardashians, huh?  (Did I spell that correctly?  Spellcheck doesn’t seem to like it.)  I liked them on Star Trek, but haven’t really kept up with them since then.

Hey, how about that weather, eh?  That is some kind of … um … weather … event.  We’re having.  Pretty much.

Hey, how about that big sports thing that happened today?  You know … that one with the … um … thing.  Where that sports person … you know … did that sports thing.

And … oh my gosh!  Politics!  What in the world is up with that?  It’s like … politicians are all like …. whoa!  And stuff.  Am I right?

I was going to post a picture of what I had for dinner, but I forgot to save the box.  They call it “Salisbury Steak”, but I’m pretty sure there are no cows on the Salisbury plain.  It just isn’t economically feasible.  Plus they’d be grazing in Stonehenge and and that thing’s not a suitable pen.  They can walk right between the posts.

And hey … speaking of posts … here’s another one!






Cracks in the Clay

Short Fiction by Biff


The Texas sun beat down on my old faded red Ford F-250 like rain on a tin roof, but instead of water, it was heat.  I just sat there sideways on the driver’s seat with the door open, one foot resting on the stepside, waiting for the inside of the truck to cool off a little, but there weren’t enough of a breeze to do much coolin’ off.  The cicadas wailed so loud I couldn’t hear myself think and the sound made it feel 15 degrees hotter’n it probably was.  It was already 110 if it was a degree.

I adjusted my cowboy hat to keep the sun out of my eyes.  I wanted to smoke, but I had give ’em up just about a month ago and I didn’t want to start back.  That was why Amy had left, because I couldn’t seem to stop smoking.  I did finally quit, but by then she had done left and took up with somebody else.  So here I was.

I felt the sweat trickle down my back as I stared out over the acre of waist high weeds that was smack in the middle of nowhere, smack in the middle of the 16 acres my granddaddy left me right before he died.

I reached over and pulled a beer out of the Styrofoam cooler I had sitting in the passenger seat, popped the top, and sat contemplating the field of weeds.  The tall grasses were already brown and raspy from the heat and no rain.  The devil’s tongues were tall and green with red blushes and stickers that’d go right through jeans and into your hide like a pincushion full of hot needles.  Devil’s tongues always grow where nothin’ else will.  Yellow sunflowers stretched up over it all, having clamored up over the fray, curious to see what was up there.  It was as if they had give it all just to see what was going on, but then were disappointed at the view of all the mess and chaos and so just give up, their heads drooping a little

Grandaddy would be spinning in his grave if he knew this field looked like this.  When I was just a young’n, Mama would bring me here and there was always a field of corn or beans or peas or okra, every row as straight as if he’d planted them using a plumb line, everything tall and green and lush.  He always had a bushel of something for Mama, even before Daddy ran off, but he sho nuff did after Daddy up and left.  We never went hungry, even if it was just snap beans or okra.  We may not have ‘et high on the hog, but we for sho didn’t starve neither.

And now look at it.  A goat would starve in this field.  Or get ‘et.  Grandaddy used to try to teach me how to farm, how to grow things, how to make the land give up something to be ‘et, even if that old black clay was as stingy as the devil himself.  I think he was hoping I’d take over and keep this patch turning out food someday, but I was 12 way back then and thought farming was for suckers.  Then Grandaddy died and his land all went to hell, but ‘specially while I was locked up down in Huntsville.  But I’m out now.  I give up smoking.  But not before Amy give up on me.

I looked at the beer in my hand.  I done very nearly give up alcohol too, but not quite.  It was the one thing I inherited from Daddy, other than being worthless.  Mama used to tell me I wasn’t, but all you had to do was look at Daddy to know he was about as worthless as they come.  And ever’body says I’m the spittin’ image of him.  His worthlessness is in my blood as sure as this beer is in my blood or these cracks are in this clay.

I slid out of the truck and down on to the ground and I could feel even through my ol’ wore out boots that the ground was hard as concrete.  It was covered over here and there with thin pads of dead grass, bleached nearly white from the sun.  Two inch wide cracks spread out all over the black clay, like a windshield shattered by a rock, before getting’ swallered up by the weeds.   I’m sick and damn tired of being worthless, but I’ll be damned if I know how to go about turning this patch of weeds into a field of anything anybody’d want.

How barren can a man be?  Baked by the sun of his own worthlessness, the weeds of his lesser self flourishing, while the bounty of what he could be withering and passing away into the nothingness of baked clay.  Cigarettes and alcohol and foolishness growing and crowding out what should be there instead; the love of a woman, that look in her eye when she looks at you proudly, that way she touches your arm when you’re too tired to even get up off the front porch step, all your strength laying out there in that field you just plowed or seeded or harvested.  But that little touch … that little look … the way she tucks her hair behind her ear and just sits next to you on the step, waiting for you to have enough strength to talk again.  She doesn’t realize that that IS what gives you the strength.  It is that touch, that look, that smile that keeps you moving forward, keeps you getting up after getting knocked down, keeps you taming a field that the devil is hell bent on taking away from you.

But Amy’s gone now.  She got tired of the foolishness. She got tired of me.

And now it’s hard to get back up after being knocked down.



©2017 by



I Sprang Forward … Now What?

Spring Forward

No doubt there will be millions upon millions of blog posts today describing the effects of this past weekend’s time change.  We sprang forward, which on the surface of it seems as if we should be better off.  We’re springing forward.  We’re pouncing.  We are aggressively seizing the day.  We’re moving forward at a rapid clip.

And yet, it is just the opposite.  It is actually the clocks that spring forward and leave us poor humans an hour behind, feeling bewildered, somewhat sleepy, and more than a little perturbed.  How dare something come along and rob us of a precious hour’s sleep!

On the other hand, this is probably as close as we’ll ever get to time travel.  For awhile, before we get around to resetting all our clocks, we can move back and forth through time just by going into different rooms in our house.

Hey!  It’s 3:00.   Now it’s 2:00.  Back to 3:00.  Whew!  What a trip!   I am completely wiped out.  I hope I didn’t inadvertently alter the timeline.

[That clever little vignette was brought to you by Burt’s School o’ Writing in beautiful downtown Mesquite, Texas.]

The time change had little effect on me.  I already don’t like getting up early in the morning, so this morning I was every bit as groggy, disoriented, and disheveled as I am every morning, time change or no.

If they really want to come up with something useful, they could invent Month-light Savings Time.  That’s where we set the calendar back a month in order to give us a chance to get caught up on all the stuff we didn’t get done last month.




Alistair and Alexis Go to an Antique Shoppe


vintage_silhouette_elegant_man_woman (v1)

“I say, Old Thing,” I said, addressing my better half.  “Take a look at this.”

“First off,” said Alexis (aka my better half), her hand on her hip, “Don’t ever call me Old Thing again.  And secondly, I am not going to keep reminding you that you’re not British.  You’re as American as drive-ins, monster trucks, and urban sprawl.”

“My apologies, Old … I mean, Sweetheart.  It’s British comedy week on PBS during their pledge drive and I’m afraid I immersed myself in it.”

“A bit too much, I’d say,” she said.

“Can one have too much British comedy?” I asked, stroking my van dyke beard thoughtfully.

“Given the poor quality of your faux British accent, I’d say the answer is a resounding yes.”

I drew myself up to my full height, to protest.  However, drawing myself up to my full height around Alexis is usually pointless, given her diminutive stature.  I tower over her no matter how I am standing (or even slouching).  But what she lacks in height, she makes up for in intractability and fractiousness.  In fact, it was her willful personality which first drew me to her back when we were mere fledglings on the playground at school.

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ Wavy, out-of-focus lines indicating a flashback sequence … ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

She walked right up to me on the playground and said, “I bet you can’t push me on the swing.”

Of course, I could not turn away from a challenge and so I drew myself up to my full height then, too, though it was much less dramatic back then than it is now, and I said, “Is that so?  Well I’ll bet you I can.”

And she said, “I bet you my milk money that you can’t.”

And I said, “You’re on” and soon I was pushing her on the swing victoriously.

She was obviously delighted that I had proven her wrong.  She gladly gave me her milk money afterwards.  Later that same day I bumped into her in the lunchroom (not surprising inasmuch as we were in the same grade and were both students of Mrs. Stern) and she asked me if I could buy her a milk since she was a bit short. I was nothing if not chivalrous and so I bit my tongue and did not utter the obvious joke and loaned her enough money to buy milk.

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ Wavy, out-of-focus lines indicating end of the flashback sequence … ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

I shook my head and came back to the present since nothing that was in the flashback is germane to the current story, other than to point out that over time I came to tower over her in height and she came to tower over me in treasons, stratagems and spoils.

“My accent is just fine,” I said.  “The lady who answered the phone at the pledge drive complimented me on it.”

She just looked at me dubiously and then seemed to realize something that gave her a start.  “Oh no!” she said.   “Are we about to receive a truck load of tote bags and coffee mugs and DVD sets of things you can watch online for free?”

“We may receive the odd coffee cup,” I mentioned blithely, “But I was assured they were of the highest quality.  But the really amazing part is that when you pour a hot liquid in to them they magically display the phrase ‘What ho!’, which is, I believe, something they say a lot in Britain.”

“You know what else they say a lot in Britain?” she asked.

“No,” I said.  “What?”

“Are you completely barmy!?”

“Ah, yes,” I nodded knowingly.  “I believe I have heard that uttered once or twice during the marathon.”

“Well, anyway,” she said, seeming to tire of our discussion of the subtle brilliance of British comedy, “What is it you want to show me?”  I have noticed throughout our life together, that Alexis seems to have a very short attention span when it comes to certain topics.  Apparently, British comedy is one of those things.

“Simply this,” I said with a flourish as I pulled the object from behind my back where I’d been holding it this entire time.

“What on earth is that?” she asked, plainly appalled.

“A walking stick,” I said, proudly.

“I can see it is a walking stick,” she said.  “Why are you showing it to me?”

“It’s British,” I said proudly.  She still did not seem to understand and was just staring at me like a flounder.

“Are you telling me you drug me to this dusty old antique shop to show me some beat up old walking stick?”

“But it’s British,” I said again, since she had not seemed to grasp the import of that the first time I said it.

“So’s my Uncle Bob,” she said, “But you don’t see him hobbling around on some old stick.”

“Bob’s your uncle?” I asked, a little surprised.  “I always thought he was Dutch.”

“Can we focus on this gawd-awful stick you are waving around?” she asked.  “What on earth do you need a walking stick for?  Do you have a janky knee you haven’t told me about?”

“No, my knee is fine, my dainty little delphinium.  Thank you for asking.  But this stick is more about fashion than convalescence.”

“Fashion?  That old thing?”

“Yes,” I said.  “See this?  This is black ebonized malacca.”

“Fascinating,” she said, though I could see she was far from fascinated.

“And the handle … that is genuine buffalo horn.”

“Is it?  I was thinking it was complete bull.”

“Nope.  Pure buffalo.  And this collar?  That is solid silver.  See that intricate design?  AND … it is hallmarked.  It says right on it, 1887.  Can you imagine?  This beautiful walking stick is nearly a hundred and fifty years old!”

“Amazing!” she said.  “Just think, it was built right around the time this conversation started.”

I chose to ignore her sarcasm.

“And here is the best part,” I said.

“Oh my god!” she exclaimed, putting her hands to her cheeks.  “It gets better?”

I tugged on the handle, pulling the U-channel epee blade from the malacca shaft.

This time she said “oh my god!” with much more emotion and much less sarcasm.

I nodded appreciatively at her appreciation.  “I know!” I said enthusiastically.  “Isn’t it great?”

“Great?” she said.  “It’s insane!  Why do you need a sword in a cane?”

“It’s not a sword, my petite little flower.  It is an epee.”

“I don’t care if it is a butter knife.  Why on earth would you need it in a walking stick?”

“Oh, you know,” I said, matter-of-factly.  “One never knows.  Just in case.”

“Just in case what?  A fencing competition breaks out at the theater?”

I pondered her words.  “I suppose it’s not out of the realm of ….”

“Put it back,” she said.  “I won’t have such a thing around the children.  What if Edmonton …”

“Edrington, Darling.”

“Yes, Edrington.  Of course.  What if he were to find it?”

My resolve faltered at bit.

“Or little Eveline,” she continued in order to drive her point home.


“Yes, what if our little Evangeline were to find it?”

“Well, a walking stick is hardly appropriate with a lady’s attire.”

“I think you’re missing the point,” she said, a little perturbed.

“This point?” I asked, touching her arm ever so lightly with the blunt tip of the epee.  “Touché, eh, what?”  I smiled at my own joke.

“Oh my god,” she said, exasperated.  “You are not British!  Please put the walking stick back.”

“And the monocle, too?” I asked, somewhat crestfallen.

“Especially the monocle.”

“And the spats?”

She eyed me briefly and I could see her patience was wearing thin.  “I will wait for you in the car,” she said.  She turned and exited the store in something of a huff.

There was a moment of silence as I slowly slid the epee back into the black ebonized malacca walking stick.

“So, you won’t be purchasing the walking stick?” asked Evan, the proprietor of Evan’s English Antiques.”

“No, Evan.  I am afraid not.  The missus has quite put her foot down.”

“Or the monocle?”

“No.  I’m afraid not,” I said, a bit downheartedly.

“Or the top hat?”

I perked up.  “Oh, no.  I am definitely keeping the top hat.  I think it’s smashing.”

“And your lovely wife did not specifically say for you to put it back,” he said, picking it up off of the counter where it had been sitting.

“You are quite right, Evan,” I said.  “She did not.”

“Shall I wrap it up for you, Mr. Callington?”

“No,” I said, thoughtfully.  “Just have it shipped to my office.”

“Very good, Mr. Callington,” he said, smiling.

“What ho,” I said, and turned to go join my lovely little rose bloom in the car.



©2017 by

Haircut Roulette


Barber 02aThe guy who has been cutting my hair for the past 25 years up and moved away.  Thus began the adventure that everyone dreads and hates: finding someone else to cut my hair.

I should explain that I don’t have normal man’s hair.  My hair is fine and tends to curl like crazy at the slightest hint of humidity.  In high school, in spite of being an incredibly Caucasian guy, I had a full-blown afro the size of a beach-ball.  I think my hair is of Irish descent, but I don’t have any evidence to back that up other than when I see Irish people in the movies or on TV, they have similar hair.  Or I just secretly wish to be Irish.  I think that last one is more accurate.

Most hair stylists I’ve been to have no idea what to do with my hair.  They end up either scalping me while trying to cut off all the curly parts (Hey!  It’s all curly!  Leave me some hair!).  Or they try to give me a “normal guy’s” haircut and then trying to hold in place long enough for me to leave the salon by putting half a bottle of “product” on it.  (“Product” is salon-speak for “overpriced goop in a bottle”.)  I don’t use product.  Ever.  I never have that much time in the morning.  But that doesn’t stop them from cutting it and shellacking it and say, “Hey look!  You have hair just like Tom Cruise!”  And I say, “Ummm … nooo.  Not unless Tom Cruise is playing the part of an escaped mental patient.”

So, I have been searching for over a year for a place that can cut my hair the way I like it.  After a series of bad haircuts, I finally said, “Hey, if I don’t like the way anyone cuts my hair, why am I paying them $50 to do it?”.  So I’ve been going to one of those “quickie cut” places.  I’ve been there 3 times in the past 3 months.  I’ve had 3 different stylists cut my hair.  I’ve had 3 radically different haircuts in 3 months.

It is like playing Haircut Roulette, but without the hope of a big payout at the end.

But at least it has made getting a haircut an adventure!  I never know what I’m going to get.

This time I got a good haircut.  Next month?  Who knows.  I’ll just spin the “Wheel o’ Hair” and see what comes up.


Writing While Uninspired

gray clouds

Friends don’t let friends write while uninspired.

But as there is no one here to stop me, I’m going to do it anyway.

If I had to pick a color for today, it would be gray.  I suffered from low energy all day long and could not seem to stay focused on anything for more than a few minutes.  The weather was kind of gray, and even during those moments when the sun would peer timidly between the clouds, it did so in a sort of bland, colorless way.  There was nothing about today that was inspirational or motivating.

These are the days that try writer’s souls.  It is easy enough to dash off a few lines when a day is vibrant and exciting and chock full of activities.  But on days when it seems as if the whole world is one great big sensory deprivation chamber, it is hard to write anything at all except a post about how un-inspirational the day has been.

There.  Mission accomplished.

(Insert mic drop here)



Drive-by Blogging #2


Ahh!  The sounds of spring!

Not birds singing …

nor new leaves rustling in the trees …

nor rabbits rustling in the hedges.

But leaf blowers, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, mulchers, dethatchers, tree trimmers.

All power driven, all noisy, all consuming.

I cannot hear spring over all the din of spring cleaning!


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