Emmons Klein Ratliff

          ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️



I used to Facebook post crowing items about my sons’ stuff to help communicate what was going to my mother regarding her grandchildren. She almost demanded I do it. That way, she could get photos and stuff in one place. Yet such a post gets a little addicting to a guy who identifies mostly as a dad. So, in Nonie’s honor, I commence bragging about my son.

I’m attending Emmons’s graduation ceremony in a few hours. His class, which he will be graduating in the top 4%, is large enough to be held in Dickies Arena, the same place we saw some grand champion rodeo thingy. He’s graduating with a butt load of honors. And my pride might be sinfully bursting at the seams. This has nothing to do with parenting, and I will abjure any utterance to the contrary. He did all the work and had a natural scholar’s acumen. He received many honors and awards for his attitude and spirit throughout his education, which shows he just naturally strived for academic excellence. His grade point average was something like 104%! Well done, Emmons. Nonie would be as obnoxiously proud as I am.

Proud Dad Moment – Emmons’s Senior Awards and Honors include:

Honor Graduate – Top 10% of the class
UIL Scholar Award – Top 10% Seniors, based on participation in UIL Sponsored event
President’s Education Award – a cumulative GPA of 96 or better with two commend STARR test or two AP test scores 3 or higher
Pioneer Excellence Award for AP Physics II
NASA High School Aerospace Scholar

He also qualified for AP Scholar honors and an AP Capstone Diploma, but that happened after students’ honors were printed.

PS. I had to use a thesaurus to discover the word “gasconade.” I have never heard it before this morning—many apologies (especially to  Wayne) for the smarmy writing.

PS. PS. Wayne might have his own Proud Dad Moment as became a GRAND-DAD, which is as fantastic as mine, but he would never stoop to smarmy writing.

PS. PS. PS. Photos to follow
a mosh pit at a Joan Baez concert

My 2020 One-Liners

I’ve been writing a joke a day for over 2 years now.  It’s been an antidepression skill.  So, I thought to share some of my better one-liners from the past year.  I had a nice explanation and introduction planned about humor and treating depression, but that was a buzz kill.  We can talk about that at another time.  Here are my one-liners:

Visual 2020 One-Liners:

— An interpretive display of emoji in the form of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words:

?, ??, ??, ???, ??, ?‍?‍???, & ?  Do better!


That really needs to go on a T-shirt!

Standard 2020 One-Liners:

— My memory so good I remember things that didn’t even happen.

— In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “That was some weird shit.”

— You know, ABBA’s song Fernando really holds up. It sucks as much today as it did in 1976.

— I remember my junior year at Purdue, I was so upset that I couldn’t attend my Psychology 403 final, went to the bar, and got blotto drunk because my mom had told me the truth about Santa.

— Saying “we need to think outside the box” is a very in-the-box type of thinking.

— I was very fond of the music in the ‘80s. I especially like it when Madonna left the Beatles and formed Wheezer with Willie Nelson and Dean Martin.

— Hello, welcome to the poetry hotline; examples of onomatopoeia are Aaaaaaa, ohuuuuu, and Thrupppppp. 

— My hypnagogic audio hallucinations have a broader vocabulary than I do. Man; that’s really weird.

— You know it’s going to be a good day when after the morning constitutional your bidet is straight on target?

— Tonight I grilled some steaks, it was rare enough that a good Purdue veterinarian could have it back on its feet in 15 minutes

Elias’ 2020 One-Liners

— if our velocity stays at 0 miles an hour, we will arrive in an infinite number of hours.

Pandemic 2020 One-Liners

— I just looked in the mirror and my soul shuddered like an epileptic experiencing a piss shiver.

— The pandemic’s treating me like it caught me sleeping with his wife.

— Don’t hurt yourself, I don’t want to have to put on pants and a mask just to go to the ER.

— Do you ever think we’re living in some satanic version of Matryoshka dolls with disasters and crises nested inside disasters and crises?

Rock and Roll Advice 2020 One-Liners

— I did listen to John Mellencamp… partially. I forgot all about that macho shit, but I forgot to learn how to play guitar.

— I also didn’t really heed the Rolling Stones. I know I can’t always get what I want. Yet, I didn’t really try as Mick suggested, so I have also not gotten what I need.

— I just out and out ignored Kenny Rogers. I have never known when to hold ’em, never known when to fold ’em, never known when to walk away, and never known when to run. And somehow, I’ve always counted my money when I sat at the table.

— And for Christ’s Sake, do not tell Aerosmith that I have not dreamt until my dreams came true.

— Alas, Idina Mendel told me to, “Let It Go.” I didn’t.

— Finally, 2020 made me Stop Believin’, even though Journey told me not to.

— Is Bobby Sue from Take The Money and Run the same person as Bobby McGee? I have never seen Steve Miller and Kris Kristofferson; they might be the same person.

Simile 2020 One-Liners

— My ears buzz more than a tipsy bumblebee ? trying to hump his reflection on the tip of y’all’s grand momma’s stainless-steel “massager.” (I have wicked Tinnitus)

— … like the self-righteousness of a small-town cop pulling over a tie-dye clad driver of a VW bus.


Lalochezia Producing 2020 One-Liners

(Coming soon to a Subscribers only content)

Okay, a Lalochezia inducing teaser:

— In the Lalochezia reboot of I Love Lucy, the twin beds are replaced by a king-sized waterbed and I would LOVE Lucy.

Political One-Liners

—What this country needs is just for Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Ted Cruz to sit down to have dinner together and a good heart to -heart attack.

— I am starting to view my political perspective as an anarchist. Not the type of anarchy proposed by punk rockers with studded leather and military surplus boots, but the classical form of anarchy espoused by Ronald Reagan.

— Anyone else gets RuPaul and Rand Paul mixed up?

~ Uh… No more; we don’t know each other well enough yet.





Note: I really wanted to have some kind of voting or rating for each joke.  Does anyone know of a WordPress Plugin for that?


Now, Your Turn in the Comments!



We might have gotten some shit in our water, as a side effect of the botched rolling blackouts during this Texas Big Freeze. Our water trickled out along with the power but remained off quite a bit longer. I don’t know how much our lack of water was based on frozen pipes in the apartment complex or if Fort Worth turned off our water. It matters not; what does matter is we didn’t have water for about 36 hours. That in itself was a trite inconvenience (we can always drink Bourbon). What mattered is three men in one apartment, didn’t connect the real problem of a waterless lifestyle until it was way too late. Viewing the preverbal optimistic silver lining, our olfactory discomfort triggered an amazing use of all those STEM classes so espoused by our school district.

Emmons will leave for Texas A&M next Fall. He wants to double major in Physics and Engineering. Standing in front of the microwave, he quipped, “Fun Fact: a ½ gallon Mason Jar full of snow takes 00:06:00 in the microwave to meltdown to about a pint of water.” He continued, “We’ve got the math and can now figure anything out. Let’s see… it’s going to take a little over 21 minutes to flush the commode.” 

I started to poke a little fun with optimization questions. “Does it have to be fully melted to flush?” “Can you overheat a smaller amount of water to expedite the melting process?” and “Can you alter the chemical makeup of the solution to expedite the melting/flushing process (I.e., add salt)?”

I got some eye-rolling, and he recruited his young brother to follow him outside to fill 6 of said Mason Jars with snow.

I tried to help ? and accidentally moved the tank stopper a little when I tried to speed things up by dumping in a whole popcorn bowl of snow straight into the tank. I was immediately removed from the project, sent back to this keyboard, and told I can’t leave until I think about what I have done. I was also asked to do the math because I set the project back, “Damn near 18 minutes.”

Gotta love those STEM classes! 

What’s been your biggest problem during this Declared State of Emergency? I hope everyone is safe, warm, and well. After that, I hope you are having fun with your kids!


The boys wanted me to try to raise a little Disaster Relief. So, we're selling Fun T-shirts that I just overdesigned.

The boys wanted me to try to raise a little “Disaster Relief.” So, we’re selling Fun T-shirts, Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts.

You’ve “Been There! Done That State of Emergency!” but, don’t have the T-Shirt yet? Or maybe you just want to show solidarity for us frozen ones in Texas!

<—– There is your chance!  All proceeds help the Ratliff Boyz do something cool!

We’re Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts

Oh! Bless all y’all.

(the quaint Southern-style greetings don’t really disguise my Yankeeness like I think it does, right?)

Emmons and Elias before the Texas Blizzard of '21
Emmons and Elias at the Start of the Texas Blizzard of ’21

As I woke this morning, my iPhone notifications barked out alarm after alarm, like a beagle discovering a fox’s scent trail and howling, “Oooveeer Heeereee!” My usual guardian angels were seeking to check-in on my welfare. Those angels bless me. I sometimes don’t know how to express my gratitude for these folks without sounding maudlin.  



Timeline of the Past 48 Hours
Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts

    •  Sunday
      • Snow and Rowdy Outdoor Play
      • Family Mood Bright and Social! – Happy!
    • Monday
      • 2:45 AM – The Power Went-Off for The First Time
      • 5:50 AM – The Power Came Back-On
      • 6:45 AM – The Power Went Off Again
        • Apartment Temperatures in The Lower 60°’s
        • Everyone Stayed in Bed – Family Mood Tired and Starting to Show Irritability!
      • 8:30 AM – Dad Notes No One Has Showered and the Power is Off.
      • 9:00 AM – Dad is Drying Off from a Steaming Hot Shower and Has a Big Smile
      • 9:30 AM – Family Mood is Chipper, Sons Confused About Dad’s Smile
      • 10:00 AM – Emmons Contemplates a Shower and Yells, “Hay!”
      • 11:00 AM – More Rowdy Snow Play
        • Outdoor Temp High 15° F
        • Apartment Temperatures in the Upper 50°’s
        • Family Mood Brightened, Social, and Getting a Little More Tired!
      • 4:00 PM – Grocery Run with Plan to Use 60-Year-Old Coleman Camp Stove.
      • Family Mood Pleasant and Anticipating A Glorious Meal of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
      • 4:30 PM – Home and Discovered 60-Year-Old Coleman Camp Stove Wouldn’t Start for the First Time in 60 Years
        • Family Mood Disappointed, but Resilient – Problem-solving Dinner!
      • 4:40 PM – Found a 6 lbs. Bag of Charcoal
        • Family Mood Quickly Rebounds.
        • Elias Volunteers to Cook on Grill
        • Outdoor Temp High 12° F
        • Apartment Thermostat Reads 54° F
        • Dad Coaches and Assists Elias with Starting Charcoal and Dinner
        • Lots of In and Out “‘Cause It’s F’ing Cold!”
      • 6:00 PM – Elias’ Meat Sauce is Done and Tastes Great!
        • Even After Setting Pot Directly on Coals, Elias can not get Water to Boil
        • Dad and Elias Decide Spaghetti cannot be Cooked
        • Family Mood Disappointed and Grouchy
      • 6:15 PM – Elias’ Renames His Meat Sauce to “Grilled Chili.”
        • Family Mood Brightens as All Scarf Down Grilled Chili
        • After Dinner Family Notices Water is Only Trickling
        • Every Other Apartment’s Family in the Building has Left for Hotel Rooms
        •  One Family Returns Stating Every Hotel Room is Full
      • 7:00 PM – Family Warm Selves in the car, Charges Electronics, and Texts Friends
      • 8:00 PM – The Apartment is Now in the Mid 40°’s
        • Emmons Gathers All Blankets, Sleeping Bags, and Pillows in Living Room 
        • Dire Scenarios Run in Dad’s Head as the Water Completely Stops – Paranoid Kicks-in
      • 9:00 PM – Dad Announces He Must Run A Late-Night Errand and Leaves in The Car
        • Dad Drives to Three Hotels – All Have No Vacancies
        • Dad About Loses It Alone in the Car, Papa calls and Everyone Regains Perspective
        • Just as Dad Strikes Out at Fourth Hotel, Elias Calls to Report the Power is Back
      • 10:00 PM – Everyone is Back Doing Usual Night-Time Stuff and the Apartment Temp is in the 50’s and Rising
    • Tuesday
      • 8:00 PM – The Apartment is a Toasty 72° – Everyone is Well Rested
        • The Family Collectively Notices the Aroma Coming from the Bathroom
        • The Water is Completely Off – but We’re Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts

We’re in a Declaration of Emergency!

I’m sorry for just now being able to respond. We just want to let you know we’re Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts. Our ability to use the internet has waxed and wained. Whenever we had it, I tried to put on a joyful face – which was easy as sitting in the car and warming ourselves and charging our electronics has been the joy.

However, the rest of the last 48 hours have tried me (we still have some more to go). I’ve been able to maintain my cool (pun intended) through most of it. At one point last night, I was cussing everything in creation, but at that very moment, Dad was finally able to get a phone call through and slapped me back to reality. This morning many have reached out to check on us, which makes me feel amazing and bolstered.

I know the news has reported on the rolling power outages during single digits temperatures in a state entirely unprepared for such. What the national news isn’t telling all y’all, some of those rolling blackouts are not rolling along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds. In several areas, the “switch” controlling those rolling blackouts froze and broke; our part of Fort Worth was one. We and the surrounding areas went without electricity from 7 a.m. yesterday till 9:30 PM. That was on top of already having only two hours with electricity the night before. Now, I know I’m a Yankee in the deep South and got winter skills these here Texans can’t even imagine. But I had allowed myself to become as unprepared as a bloated Texas ego during a blizzard (I always look for a good simile, but in this case, the truth will do). The unprepared Texan kind of is funny; 50% of the state’s wind turbines have frozen and can no longer add to the electric grid.

Last evening, Elias earned a cosmic Karma merit badge; he tried to cook spaghetti and meat sauce on a charcoal grill in single-digit temperatures for us. He couldn’t get the water to boil, so he turned the meat sauce into barbecued Chili.

We’re the only ones left in the building, along with one other apartment, because water has frozen throughout. It did get down to 42° in our apartment last night. We kept our water running full blast in our apartment, but as Kenny Rogers sang, “somewhere in the darkness the water, it broke even.” We are preparing for a shower of problems once the pipes thaw.

As time gives me a broader perspective, I know there is enough comedy gold in these experiences to fuel a plethora of blog posts. I’m pondering posts titled “The Untimely Death of a 60-Year-Old Coleman Stove” and “A Three-Man-Bathroom’s Smell During a Water Outage,” to name only two.


The boys wanted me to try to raise a little Disaster Relief. So, we're selling Fun T-shirts that I just overdesigned.
The boys wanted me to try to raise a little Disaster Relief. So, we’re selling Fun T-shirts, Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts.

We feel your prayers!
Thank you for your concerns.
Love y’all!