Large-fruit paranoia

Into the tire shop, then, to pick up his car with its freshly rotated tires. He waits in the showroom, surrounded by hundreds of gleaming black tires hanging from the walls or poised in garish cardboard floor displays.

The place has one overpowering vibe: the singular reek of rubber gone mad. His eyes begin to glaze over. Boredom, thy name is Hankook Dyna Pro.

To be sure, there are those who rank tires just below (1) sex and (2) sex with tires. But this guy, he’s never been a car man: engines, cylinders, brake pads, four-on-the-floor, cup holders, valves, six lords a leapin’, plugs, glove compartment injectors, mud flaps. Couldn’t tell a tapit rod from a pretzel rod.

No, he is here at the tire-slash-repair shop for one reason: Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden of Eden.

To pay for their sin, everyone must spend Xteen hours/days/weeks in auto shops with a waiting-room TV permanently tuned to Fox news and a customer of questionable thinkity and smellity endlessly reciting an epic pome about the golden-haired Don Donaldo de la Casa Blanca.

The maître du garage, a man with Robespierre embroidered in red on a white patch just under his laughably over-penned pocket protector, enters from the repair shop.

“We must parlez-vous,” says M. Robespierre, “about your rear end.”

A number of WTF thoughts tumble invisibly from the folds of the customer’s gray cells onto the floor of his hippocampus. Fortunately, the hippo is off campus today on a job interview.

“My rear end?”

“Oui,” says the wrench monger (say moan-GARE). “Ze differential.”

He’s been dreading this day of heavenly retribution for years, ever since he lied in the confessional to Father “Holy Moley” Foley about missing his nightly prayers three times instead of the square of the hypotenuse times eleven.

How he wishes that, like other men, he could have an intelligent conversation with a mechanic about his differential.

But instead of drawing on a lifelong, free-will fascination with tires, motors, hoses and dual carbs, he recalls only the memorized-at-yardstick-point screed of an escaped warg rider disguised as a nun: do good (fat chance, bozo); avoid evil (fatter chance); have no fear (just kidding); feel no guilt (don’t make me laugh); have no fun (now we’re talking); I’m watching you (don’t try to hide behind that cardboard Michelin tire man).

His job, his hobby, his eau de cologne as a youth was all about toeing the line of righteousness and praying nightly against wrongteousness. Put another way, his life was ruled by the rigid duality of peanut butter v. jelly. To even hint at a curiosity about, say, cream cheese and jelly would trigger a visit from the Spanish Inquisition.

Ze moan-GARE begins talking about his customer’s differential. “Ze main symptom of ze bad rear end is ze noise. Ze noise in ze rear end is never ze good sign.”

While our man does wonder about the monstrously fake French-Spanish accent of ZmG, he decides getting an explanation might be more complicated than ze differential.

The Robester begins speaking in tongues, using words like clanking, clunking, clinking, clucking, clapper-clawing clod-hopping, Clytemnestra, and Cleveland, painting the picture of a missing gear tooth on, near or just very close friends with the pinion, (pronounced peen-yohn).

“If ze problem is on ze peen-yohn…” he begins, thrusting both arms upward like the pope waiting to catch a holy watermelon from on high…His voice drifts away, allowing time for his customer’s imagination and large-fruit paranoia to fill in ze blanks.

A problem on the pinion. The damned pinion. Whatever the hell that is.

Silently, he curses Adam. Then he curses Eve. He curses his Time-Life Book-of-the-Month Club guide to understanding the family automobile, still encased in its bolo-knife-proof, unopenable, Lubyanka-grade shrink-wrap from 1974.

“Look,” he says, knowing deep down that it is he who is morally responsible for his rear end, just as any man is responsible at the End of Days (of Our Lives) for the differential between heaven and hell. “How do I know if my problem is on the pinion?”

“Ho, ho, honh,” ze moan-GARE chuckles frenchly. “ze problaim, she is always on ze peen-yohn.”

Bottom line, the customer knows the differential is a tangible thing and not some moral abstraction. But he also admits to himself that tangling with a tangible rear-end can only lead to a most dangerous dalliance with fromage a la creme.

His only recourse is to send an urgent text to Madame X, known in the rear-end community as ze dame avec une grande hatpeen-yohn. When it comes to her rear end — so very tangible, but don’t distract her —  she never takes la merde from ze moan-GARE.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It will heal before your wedding

Q. Sometimes people call those who disagree with them communists. But then you’ll hear them calling the same people fascists. Can people be both communist and fascist?
A. Not if they hope to attend their respective balls.

Q. Don’t the views of one make it impossible to share the views of the other?
A. A normal person might think that. Anyone who has ever read a book might think that. Anyone who has ever vacationed on Neptune might not.

Q. So a fascist is a fascist and a communist is a communist and never the twains do meet?
A. Not quite. Google Stalingrad.

Q. I’m still confused. How do communists differ from fascists?
A. Okay. Write this down.

  • The star of communism is the shlub. Since communists believe everyone is equal, everyone is a shlub.
  • In a Communist society nobody owns anything. On the other hand everyone owns nothing.
  • Freed from the oppression of capitalism, shlubs are assigned cushy lifetime jobs at places like the Iron Cushion Factory or The Noose Works and the popular Polonium 210 Craft Beer Brewery (“The one beer to have when you’re having only one.”)
  • Under Communism, the government controls all production. Theoretically this guarantees material abundance unless some government shlub forgets to push the production button (which is why they have the Gulag).
  • Shlubs are paid in the finest grains of gravel which may be exchanged at the party’s commissariat, run by the proletariat (aka The Pro, who also does tricks with a lariat.)
  • The commissariat is closed Mondays through whatever other days are left that week. It provides everything shlubs need as long as it isn’t edible or nice, lest everything fall down and go boom.
  • In theory, the communist state controls nothing except for the number of breaths you may take, which can be as high as 167 on a good day.
  • Okay, I’m switching now to my fascist pants. The star of fascism is the state, sometimes known as the Glorious State, sometimes known as Strontium 90, sometimes as Whooping Cough.
  • The fascist state feeds on glory and pork rinds, usually through pork rind trade wars (very easy to win), bumper sticker sales and the annual conquest of Poland.
  • The fascist army consists of men of great impotence (sic) dressed in stylish black uniforms (sick) designed by a team of 12-year old hellboys.
  • While communism has no classes (or class), fascists live in a strict class structure:
    1. lower class working stiffs on the bottom;
    2. the educated petit bourgeoise class, co-opted by their bottomless need for not being on the bottom. (Cute note: the working stiffs call the petit bourgeoise teenie weenies.)
    3. Your wealthy business bottoms in first class
  • All are led by the self-installed, craziest bottom of all who inevitably falls head over heels in love with himself, slips on a reichsbanana peel and goes boom.
  • Fascists devote their lives to endlessly pimping the state’s massive glory jones. But since individuals have no value in fascist society, nobody ever gets any personal glory points. As fascists like to say “Whoever dies with the most glory is dead.”

Q. Can we go back to your comment about communists and fascists respecting their balls?
A. No.

Q. What exactly is the alt-right?
A. The alt in alt-right comes from the phrase “ ‘alt or I veel shooot.’”

Q. Is there an alt-left?
A. Yes, they’re known as “The left behind.” The alt in alt-left comes from an old Rooskie saying: Ваш локоть близко, но вы не можете укусить его. It can mean any or all of the following:*

• There is no truth in feet.
• Elder-berry is in the kitchen-garden, and the uncle is in Kiev.
• Nobody goes to Tula with one’s own samovar.
• I’d like to drink honey with your lips.
• That’s where the dog is buried.
• A goose is not a pig’s friend.
• It will heal before your wedding.
• Health leaves you in pounds, but comes in zolotniks.
• When the crawfish whistles on the mountain.
• Beware the goat from its front side, the horse from its back side, and the evil man from any side.
• It makes chicken laugh.
• A tomtit in your hand is better than a crane in the sky.
• Best is the enemy of good.
• A thief’s hat is burning.
• Не that has nо head needs no hat.

Q. I don’t get it.
A. Think of it this way: Your elbow is close, yet you can’t bite it.

Q. Wow. Now everything makes sense.

*Those silly Rooskies:

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in F.A.Q., News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | 2 Comments

Do they think we are stupid?

They want you to believe that the world is round and not flat for one simple reason: The world actually is flat, as more and more people here at the rubber plantation are beginning to find out.

Look,  when tens of people start saying the world is flat, the elitist macadamia nuts, by default, have to say the world is round – as they are now doing to mucho laughter in certain corners of the bouncy room.

We are always thinking about what they don’t want you to think about because it’s what we do here at the Balloon Animal Farm. But it’s not easy, because they never tell you that working up a good think can cause irreparable, male-pattern babboo.

You know, of course, they want you to believe the moon landings were real. Get this: they want you to believe that there were so-called scientists back then who somehow “did” all the ridiculously hard math and science and gym homework required to build a rocket ship to the moon. People watched the live TV video of man’s first steps on the moon and they bought it, hook, line and walleye.

But hold on a sec. Wouldn’t they have had to send a movie crew up there first to film the landing? So how did they get up there? What — they had their own space ship and they flew up there? And who filmed that landing? And how did that camera crew get up there? And so forth and so on and/or etc. The lies just keep on laying eggs. They don’t want you to think about that, but I can’t help myself, even though it’s against the rules here at Whispering Chipmunks, which is why I think about it very quietly.

Oh, and they want you to believe that there is a seed vault hidden on an island in Norway. It stores every kind of seed known to man and some women. When Armageddon happens, all the seed stores around the world will be nuked and farmers will be forced to raise  glow-in-the-dark Oreos.

But, hey, if you’re still alive and hungry, you can just drive over to Norway and get some tomato seeds and lettuce seeds and bacon seeds and have a BLT anytime you want. Or, that’s what they want you to believe.

Well, okay, let’s say you go to Norway (go ahead, use your “Big pain in the ass” sticker and park in a handicapped space.) You go in and ask for a six-pack of tomato seeds. And they say, “Oops, just sold the last one. How about some Brussels Sprouts seeds?”

And that, my friends, is how they finally get you to eat Brussels Sprouts. Jesus continues to weep.

They also want you to believe that the global is warming up, that Antarctica is like ice in a cooler five days after a barbecue, polar bears are waxing their legs, penguins are walking sillier than ever, there’s more rain, fewer umbrellas, the oceans are rising, sharks are putting sunblock on their fins, women are getting hotter, men are going behind burning bushes, footballs are wilting and not as pointy as they used to be, snowmen are getting prickly heat, men are transitioning into women who are getting downright sultry, baked Alaska is now fried Alaska, tuna are melting without benefit of cheese, spicy Indian food has been banned within six feet of a forest, baked beans are banned within six feet of anybody, and the president is six beans short of a three bean salad.

And who do they blame for global sweating? They want you to believe we did this to ourselves. What crap — pardon my Klingon. That’s like saying we’re all to blame for electing a sociopathic billionaire who got a wild hare up his northwest passage, then gave Canada the stink eye for being polite.

As long as I’m on auto think, they want you to believe baseballs are not juiced. They want you to believe we should be sneezing into our armpits – our firetrucking armpits! — and instead of saying “Gesundheit,” we should be saying “Gazebo.”

They want you to believe banjos are not cool. They want you to believe ukuleles are cool. They want you to believe that scientists are not making this up, not even the ones strumming “Ukulele lady” with all the peaches on the beaches under the moonlight on Honolulu bay.

Do they think we are stupid?

Actually, they do. But they want us to believe we are not stupid. Good luck with that.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

That is gross, man

Got a new dish-washing scrub brush, and boys, it is a beaut. It’s snub nosed, comes with a shoulder holster and fits my fist like a set of brass knuckles. We’re talking heft and the kind of authority any prison gang would respect.

Did I mention it has a very rugged handle — like what you’d find on a curling stone or the no frills flat iron that Mom used on my First Communion suit with nothing but elbow grease, unyielding battleship iron and the occasional hit from a cold Utica Club and/or an unfiltered Pall Mall.

The business end, though, that’s where the poetry meets the toad. Those bristles are as tough and mean as alligator teeth, so sharp and deadly that Mr. Geneva down at the Convention wept openly when he condemned them as inhumane. I’ve seen up close and personally what those bristly piranhas can do to a pan encrusted with your arrogant, baked-on ziti and I’ve almost been brought to tears myself.

Back in the day, if the cave man had had one of these pluperfect babes — especially after a Friday night mastodon feast on the good stoneware — well, let’s just say he could have saved an epoch of scrubbing and been able to join his Neanderthal guests playing Pictionary on the cave wall with the finger paints.

So, life is grand, eh? Well, in fact, the quality of my new scrubber (I like to call it My Glock) is so high that I am almost embarrassed to use it on your normal postprandial dinner goosh.

The first time I used it, I was stacking dinner plates and pans in the sink. They were not pretty. Marinara sauce everywhere, an errant pea rolling from one plate to the next, half-eaten sausage welded to the edge of a plate. The bottom of a sauce pan covered in burnt cheese, burnt alfredo sauce, burnt Moe Green, and burnt sienna.

I thought “Look at the goosh on that pan. I don’t want my new brush to see that. And where did that green pea come from?”

That is why God made sponges, of course. They do the real dirty work at the sink, leaving the Glock for those special hits that call for a cold-blooded pro. I mean, it could scrape the dub dub off a flubba.

And you know how they say never bring a scrub brush to a gun fight? This brush may be the exception to the rule. I know it would be perfect in a bar brawl. At the very least it could dig a bullet out of an arm or leg, scrape off all the blood and gore and make a perfect charm for a bracelet like one of those made of Swarovski elements.


©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It helps if your name isn’t Bob

There are two big things out there now. One of them is the constant need to assure everyone around you that you get it — usually when there are important things to be gotten and the reputation of your getfullness may be getting away from you.

Good news. You can ease the minds of colleagues by simply saying, after the colleagues shut up, “I get it.” Or sometimes, you can simply interrupt them to say “I get it, already.”

Remember, people just want to be certain that everyone is on the same page with it, leaving no lingering doubt. No longer is it sufficiently reassuring to tell people “I hear you.” Exactly what you hear may be ambiguous. It could be anything, from the accidental burrrrippofraaaack of a sudden adjustment way down there in one’s personal Tropic of Capricorn, to the sound of someone hitting someone else in the face with a sopping shower pouf.[1]

When you keep saying “I hear you,” or “I see your lips moving” it may cause others in the immediate got it community to wonder if you really do get it. It’s even worse when you say “I’m picking up what you’re laying down.” What will likely happen is that someone will say to you “See, I don’t think you do get it, Bob.”

It helps if your name isn’t Bob because then you can seize the initiative with “See, (or So,) my name isn’t Bob. That’s your name. I think. And you just don’t get it, do you…Bob…or whatever your name is?”

By the way, here’s a little known fact: You don’t actually have to get it to say you get it. Simply saying you get it is pretty much a prima facie case of simulating getting it or having gotten it. (Select only one.)

Sometimes you may find that someone got it in front of witnesses — who may or may not get it themselves, but who have removed suspicion from themselves as non-getters by bearing witness to the get of the previously mentioned getter who, in fact, may or may not actually get it, especially if someone is bearing false witness against their non-getting neighbor.

Got it?

I doubt it. Don’t you know you can’t bullshit a bullshitter? Go ahead, try it out in the field with any bull.

You still don’t get it, do you? You’re waiting for me to walk away so you can turn to that guy over there and say “Get a load of that biodegradable.” Only to hear that guy say “I didn’t bring my pickup truck. But if I did, I’d be picking up what you’re laying down and throwing you in with it.”

I guarantee that guy’s name might be Bob and he’s one of the ungettabulls of this land (not to be confused with deplorabulls or Ducks Without Lives.)

We live in dangerous times, when getting it is too often not got. Undoubtedly you’ve had the experience of mentioning it with discrete enunciation, only to hear someone say “Were you talking to moi? I missed that, silly. What was it again?” Or “I have beans in my ears and didn’t get that. Could you repeat it? Into my ear-trumpet?”[2]

And have you ever had to grit your teeth when you bleated it at the top of your lungs to the guy with beans in his ears, only to have him respond “That’s it? Duh! I got that years ago. By the way, would you like to buy a couple of magic beans?”

The second big thing out there today only makes sense if you get it. By it, I’m not talking about the it I was just talking about, i.e. the getting it it. I’m talking about the other big it. I do hope you’re getting this because my time is unvaluable.

So here’s the other big thing out there:


So, (or Look, or Dude, or So look dude) either you get it or you don’t get it. And if you don’t get it pretty soon, you may never get it. Just sayin’.[3]

1.Yes, sadly, that’s what it’s called. Don’t blame me. I would have called it a “Weird looking spongie thing.”
2. Confusing that with it is like confusing a horse with a llama of a different color.”
3.”If you’re slurping up what I’m ladling into your bowl.”

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Drinking Manhattans

People – usually men people — often ask me “When am I too old to float my boats in the tub?” Some will tell me their mother or their wife, or both of them together will say that any age over nine is TOO OLD! and 39 is, FOR CRIPES AND GOD’S SAKE, YOU LUNATIC.

My standard answer: age is irrelevant. If you’ve got boats, no matter how big or unbig, you float ‘em.

Remember, a boat-floater without flotation is pure sadness. Imagine having  a stack of pancakes in front of you, only to discover the maple syrup bottle is empty and your fork fell on the floor and embedded itself in a stink bug who heard there were pancakes.  Or what if you have a really gigantic bag of money — a duffel bag would be much too small — but inside it there is no money. How do you go on?

It’s hard, because the sadness takes hold of you like a foot (actually, your foot) getting caught in a bear trap left carelessly in your path. Sometimes with an unhappy—and very sad — bear still in it.  Oh, the dreadful wind and rain.*

The next time you find yourself walking down a busy street – on the sidewalk – take a close look at the people you pass, or those who seem to be giving you a wide berth, or who are hurrying across the street as you approach, not waiting for traffic to clear, sometimes in such a hurry they fall beneath the wheels of a runaway vegemite sandwich wagon or a self-driving weinermobile.

Count the faces of those who seem sad, angry, hopping mad or simply hopping. Ask yourself this (with your inside, non-lip moving, pretend voice): how many of these sad people could benefit from floating some boats in the upstairs tub?

Others ask the obvious follow-up: “Is it okay to float ‘em while you’re in the tub? As opposed to being on your knees on a throw rug or bath towel, outside the tub. And maybe singing ‘15 men on a dead man’s chest’ and sipping a Manhattan?”

I like to say it probably doesn’t matter. Although just imagine how you might feel if you were aboard one of those boats and the lookout suddenly spied a gigantic naked man coming up out of the water. And he screamed “Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man. Wearing a thong!”

I think that would be upsetting.

Once in a while someone will tell me they can’t float their boats because while they were in the House of Corrections, or at one of the padlocked cottages at Whispering Pines or mixing up a batch of meth in the garage, their mother (sometimes their wife) raced upstairs and pulled the plug in the tub, then hid the boats in the garbage can (usually stomping on them first.)

Sometimes the questions I am asked are so serious they give me paws (for example, the sad, rescue possum I got the other day.) Once, a caller said to me “Let’s say I have a friend who is president of a country-to-be-named-later, between, say, Canada and Mexico. And let’s say he is right now floating his boats off the coast of North Korea.”

I found this question very flippant and seditious. So much so that I phoned the Secret Service. The woman who answered said “Who is this?”

I said “Is this the Secret Service?”

She said “I’ll ask the questions, boyo.”

I said “Do you know the president is floating his boats off the coast of North Korea?”

“North Dakota,” she said. “A lot of people get them mixed up.”

“But it doesn’t have a coast.”

“We warned him but, as you know, he is very sad.”

I heard the crackle of a short wave radio in the background.

“Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man wearing a massive hairpiece!”

She said “Is it orange?”

That gave me such paws I punched out of the call and ran upstairs to fill the tub. Where I found – you guessed it — my sad possum, already in the tub, floating my boats and drinking Manhattans out of the soap dish. No signs of sadness or bubbles.

I mean, whatever floats your boat.

*Thank you, David. Such uplifting lyrics.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hating that

I would like to address all of the “that” haters in our land. Does that mean you? That depends. Take this little test: when you read the that in that first sentence above, did your head spin around on your neck at least twice, prior to projectile vomiting? Have you become disoriented, light-headed or perhaps a supply side or trickle-down economist (with or without the barfing)? Did you grab the nearest pencil, or sheet-rock screw or Dymo label maker or a delete button to excise that that?

If so, that is the mark of the true that hater. And yes, that means you.

For some reason, that-haters think that the Constitution has given them the right to lock and load their Glock de-thatters and to go marauding through other people’s sentences and paragraphs on their hunt for rogue thats.

To me this is trespassing on private usage with intent to show smugness (TOPUWITSS).  (Not to be confused with Sir Felix Topuwitz, the inventor of the tops to your garbagowitzes.)

BTW, in the sentence above I was going to say that is trespassing. But I knew I would hear only the spittle frothing shouts of “Fix bayonets!” or “Give no quarter or change of any kind!” And that would be that for another innocent that.

Not all that-haters are that-killers. But at the very least they want every that to be called out and made an example of. (This, even though sacred grammarians insist you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition.) (FYI: of is a preposition.)(Although how come you can end a sentence with the word “preposition?”) (That is ridiculous.) (!).

Often, those who would destroy that’s want to replace them with impotent its or boot-licking whiches. Oddly, the Salem Which trials began when people actually took umbrage with the word which — even though the Mayo clinic specifically warns that you never take umbrage when you’re also taking MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) or MAOBs (Mayon Aise On Burritos).

Anyway, after the Great Umbrage Drought, a mob of Salemonians gathered at the Salem Mob’s Club and decided which wasn’t so bad after all. There came an ominous pause. The piano player stopped playing. Everyone looked around this way and…

“Look at that!” somebody shouted.

With flames in their eyes, the whole lot of them charged out of that club after that that like a mess o’zombies. (Some stopped off at an Urgent Care for flaming eyeball syndrome.)

Meanwhile, captured thatters were dragged to the public square and placed into stocks—usually chicken stock, sometimes beef, sometimes plain old junk bonds. Affixed above them, a sign proclaimed their crime: “For Unlawful That Usage.”

Angry thatters picketed the scene, carrying signs that read “Unlawful schmunwaffle.” Hardly anybody noticed except the sticky-fingered CEO of the International House of Schmunwaffles.

The next day the signs were replaced with only the familiar initials of the crime. Over time, that became the quintessential insult to hurl at quintessential insult deservers:  Yes, I’m talking about Fut U.

Later, when horses asses were invented, the insult evolved into “Fut you and your horse whose rump bears a strong resemblance to your mother’s face.” But that insult fell flat when angry Moms countered with the paradox of Schrödinger’s Mother. It posited that while a mother inside a box (large) might have a face like a horse’s ass (usually the reason she was placed into the box), no law of quantum schmantum could state with certainty that she also had to be a horse’s ass. Although, as Schrödinger found out to his dismay, once the box is opened, all bets are off.

A more recent development in the that-which wars is the urban lingo corruption of that into dat. Hence, the popular urban youth phrase “True dat,” where “true” simply confirms the wisdom of a previously uttered, though not explicitly stated “dat.”

Pathetically, the whichers tried to one-up the thatters with their ludicrous “True ditch.” Hearing that, young, chillaxin’ datters from Kalamazoo to Timbuktu could only wonder aloud “Whut da fut?”*

* WDF?

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments