The mowers had been idle in the shed for months, but they cranked right up.

There is a long list of maintenance rules for the mowers, which I ignore in much the same way I ignore everything that stands between me and noisy fun.

Oil? Check. Gas? Topped off. Let’s rock!

One must also believe the mower will start. It is very important to have faith in the machine. Do not assume there will be trouble. Do not let doubt cloud your mind. This angers the machine gods.

If you had to mow the Ponderosa every week, you would indulge in some magical realism, too.

Bob Johnson loves the riding mower. He stays about ten yards ahead of me in order to convince himself he is being chased, which is always more fun than not being chased.

This is not Thunderdome, Bob Johnson. I don’t ever catch you because I’m not chasing you. I am making the grass shorter, you dope. The only thing you are winning is best supporting goober.

I haven’t tilled the garden yet, because it won’t stop raining long enough for the topsoil to dry out. It’s a blooming, variegated, squishy world.

In August, when we really need it, it will not rain a single drop. This has been the cycle for about five years now. In August, everything will turn brown. The mowers will kick up clouds of hot, blinding dust, and we will still have to suffer through three more months of this idiotic presidential campaign.

Long-suffering readers know I’ve already called it for the incumbent. This isn’t a partisan opinion.

Romney once strapped the family dog to the roof of his car for a 12-hour ride. Unfortunately, many voters own dogs.

In America, Mitch, or whatever your name is, the dog goes inside the car.

Santorum will never be president. His eyes are too close together.

The incumbent, on the other hand, whacked Bin Laden and is good at show business. It will not be close.

Speaking of poorly-directed fantasies, am I the only one who loves it when a $350 million movie tanks?

Oh, I think not.

Let’s play Other Things You Could Have Done With ALL THAT MONEY!

Buy a tropical island.

Build a bowling alley in outer space.

Buy another tropical island.

Feed a multitude of starving human beings.

Make 400 interesting movies.

Here’s David Denby of The New Yorker on John Carter: “I wouldn’t trust the sanity of any critic who claimed to understand what goes on in this movie.”

Uh-oh! And Denby’s review is actually kind to director Andrew Stanton, the Pixar veteran who helmed Finding Nemo and WALL-E. The lesson here, I suppose, is to bank a lot of good will before you blow hundreds of millions of Disney dollars (Denby generously notes that John Carter will likely end up being rescued by overseas box-office receipts).

If I were going to blow $350 million making a work of art, I’d buy about $300 million worth of marbles. I’m guessing that’s, like, all the marbles in the world. Then I’d use the rest of the money to buy several square miles of desert, the kind with big sand dunes, and rent a fleet of dump trucks.

Then I’d spread marbles across the desert.

I’d call it All the Marbles. I’d have a big opening. Pitch a tent. Put out some chips and a few 2-liters of Fanta.

I would invite the media and answer the tough questions.

Reporter: How much did this cost?

JH: $350 million. Same as John Carter.

Reporter: Did it ever cross your mind that dumping millions of dollars worth of marbles in the desert might be an insane thing to do?

JH: Are you blind? It would have been insane not to do it. How’s that Fanta? It’s free, you know. Help yourself to the chips.

Reporter: How did you achieve the “carpet” effect?

JH: Finally, a good question. I employed squads of highly motivated chimpanzee interns. I provided them with rakes and blueprints.

Reporter: You did this with apes?

JH: I wanted robots. But as Abraham Lincoln once said, you can’t always get what you want.

Reporter: What will your next project be?

JH: I’ll be working with glue. I would like to glue the Mona Lisa to a grain silo in Nebraska. Way up high, facing west.

___________________________________________

John Hicks is bringing matches and a compass.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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