Nov 132016
 

So I have a note on my desk: “CREATE!”

Gosh, even I annoy me.

Let’s try this …

The Morning After—

He: “I can’t believe I won. I actually won.”

She: “Yes, you did.”

He: “I saw the support at the campaign stops, heard the cheers, but I didn’t think enough people would actually cast their votes for me.”

She: “You said a lot of things a lot of people wanted to hear.”

He: “Yes, but there were so many who didn’t want to hear what I had to say. This nation is more divided now than it ever has been in its history. So much open anger and hostility.”

She: “True.”

He: “And as seemingly an impossible a task as getting elected was, the real work is just getting started. I think I’m just beginning to understand what an impossibly huge task is in front of me. Such an … awesome responsibility.”

She: “I believe in you.”

He: “Thank you. In spite of everything that has been said about me, about you, about us, about my campaign, I’ve never doubted that.”

She: “I know you are up to this.”

He: “But what if I’m not? What if it all is too big for me? America has put its faith in me … what if I don’t succeed? What if I fail everyone? What will history say about me?”

She: “They’re going to say, ‘He was the greatest president we ever had.'”

He: “They’ll say, ‘He was the greatest fool we ever elected, and he destroyed this country.’ What was I thinking? How could I even dare to compare myself to the likes of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson?”

She: “They were flawed men. No one, not even you, is perfect.”

He: “I appreciate that you don’t let me forget that. The press also enjoys pointing it out on a daily basis.”

She: “They don’t know you like I do.”

He: “Good thing, or we might not be where we find ourselves today. I am now president of the United States of America.”

She: “It’s truly amazing.”

He: “It’s truly terrifying. So much to do, even before I take office. I need to get my cabinet in order, find the best advisers . . . .”

She: “Come up with a plan on how to redecorate the White House!”

He: “Ha! I’ll leave that to you, of course.”

She: “Your first decision as president!”

He: “President. Of the United States of America. I can’t believe it. We actually won.”

She: “You have overcome so much to get here, such long odds, so many hardships. You have gotten up every time you’ve been knocked down. Now this moment is at hand. You will show them all why you were chosen, why you are absolutely the best person to lead this great nation.”

He: “I hope you’re right.”

She: “I know I am, Abraham. I know I am.”

May 152016
 

So I’m excited that I finally caught up to the rest of you and got a new smartphone.

Okay, I know most of you change smartphones like the New York Jets go through mediocre quarterbacks, but I had a loyal iPhone 4 for the past five years as it was enough “Most Amazing Device in the History of Humankind” for me. Like a mortally wounded antelope on the tech Serengeti, however, it was struggling to keep up with the newest and latest apps, operating systems, videos, porn, etc. It was done.

Which is kind of annoying—even though the basic electronics of the 4 worked perfectly (answered calls, allowed me to text, took pictures), in less than six years since it was introduced, it was essentially rendered useless by a combination of the world consuming electronic content like Mama June at an all-you-can-eat butter buffet, and the greed-driven mission of manufacturers to make tech obsolete quicker than  … well than Mama June at an all-you-can-eat butter buffet. (Keep your fingers inside the ride at all times!)

Of course, such rapid and fickle changes made me leery of investing big bucks in a new phone. I mean, I can’t match the wealth and disposable income of 1%ers like Senior Smoke, but then again, outside of a Winklevoss twin, who can? Still, it’s a bit of an investment for a man of modest means such as myself.

Luckily, there are about a jillion options, and I opted for an iPhone SE—which is totally unlike me as apparently this is the “gotta have it” toy du jour. The device has all the guts and power of the iPhone 6+ but with a smaller display … unless you’re “old school” like myself, in which case the SE is a step up! It’s more phone for “less” money, so to speak.

So even though I was a bit apprehensive going into the Apple Store (where the weakness of my tech fu is glaring) and then laying out that kind of cash (which isn’t easy for a happy miser like myself), I did it.

And then, I fell in love in about six seconds—ooh, soooooo shiny!

My precious!

myprecious

(You don’t want to know how ridiculously long it took to get a decent iPhone selfie—suffice to say I need more hobbies)

I keep randomly staring at it like someone who just got a flawless diamond engagement ring, sort of torn between “Oh my gawd, it’s soooo beautiful” and “I don’t want to look away because it may do something amazing.” I almost want to make (more) friends to get more texts so I can play with it more. Almost.

And the freaking speed! To lightning from what, in retrospect, was like a rolling brick.

Don’t worry—I’m not going full Her on you. Well, mostly because while trying to get Siri to curse or answer offbeat questions, I realized that Apple has sucked out some of the fun. And it sounds nothing like ScarJo. Boo!

Actually, I was a little underwhelmed with the voice choice. I am starting with the British bird but I really want it to sound like this:

So hot.

So anyway, as cool as my new phone is, I realize that it has limitations.

In fact, it can NOT

  • get Salma Hayek to come to her senses and leave her billionaire husband for a guy who can barely afford a new iPhone.
  • find two U.S. presidential candidates who don’t make three quarters of the voting populace throw up in their mouths when actually picturing pulling a lever for either one.
  • make Tyler Perry funny.
  • bring Abe Vigoda, Prince, Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling, David Bowie, Jon Lovitz, Patty Duke or Michelle McNamara back from the dead.
  • teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
  • break Kimmy Schmidt.
  • explain how some ignorant d-bag in North Carolina is going to determine the gender of a bathroom patron without violating their constitutional rights.
  • cook like my grandmother used to.
  • scrub the clan Kardashian from our collective conscious.
  • explain how Michael could just leave Kelly like that. (My parents are still in mourning in the morning.)
  • replace Charles Nelson Reilly on a rebooted version of “Match Game.” (Or in any way, really.)
  • clean the bathtub once a week.
  • rape the horses, ride off on the women or prune the hedges of many small villages.
  • make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.
  • do the impossible, and bring with it, unbridled joy, like this:

But hey, you never know … I’m not done pushing all the buttons.

Yet.

Apr 262016
 

As many of your know, I’m celebrating my like my 186th birthday this year, give or take a millennium—and yes, I don’t look a day over 500. Thanks!

And as my kids have heard over and over again, I’ve seen a lot in my time … the invention of fire … the first wheel … bread before it was sliced. Heck, I remember ol’ Abe Lincoln back when he was a wrassler! Them was the days, by cracky …

lincoln2

“I am appearing in this idiot’s blog against my will or knowledge.”

Actually, it was less than 200 years ago when Lincoln was tossing his fellow grapplers around Illinois, which still sounds like a long time ago to most of you. But consider this: Right now in 2016 we’re closer to the Civil War (1865) than the Civil War is to the Salem Witch Trials (1693)—and by one score and a few years, to use Lincoln math.

How about this for you pop culture fans: The birth of MTV (1981) is closer to the death of JFK (1963) than to the death of Michael Jackson (2009).

Speaking of dearly departed musical icons—the release of Prince’s “Purple Rain” (1984) is closer to Elvis’ first hit single “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956) than it is to the recent untimely death of Prince himself.

All shook up? Then let’s get crazy with some more time-bending fun, you know, like it was 1999! [*groan*]

Two epic poems, Homer’s “Odyssey” and Virgil’s “Aenid,” are often taught together, so you assume they’re both from the same general era, right? In fact, they were written nearly 800 years apart—or the distance between the typing of these words and the signing of the Magna Carta.

If there’s anything I know for sure (other than one measures a circle beginning anywhere), it’s that 800 years from now no damn dirty computer (or talking ape) will be contrasting and comparing this blog with the Magna Carta.

Okay, let me a-splode your grey matter a bit with this oft-quoted gem: We’re closer to the time of Tyrannosaurus Rex than Tyrannosaurus Rex is to Stegasaurus … by about 16 MILLION years.

smoking_dinosaurs_40

Possibly not historically accurate.

In fact, dinosaurs were the dominant form of life on Earth for 135 million years. By comparison, humans as we know us, have been around 200,000 years, or less than .1 percent of that time length. (Note the decimal point there.) Yikes.

And one more (to loop this back round a bit): Man landing on the moon and the New York Jets winning the Super Bowl (1969) are both closer to 9/11 than we are to the launch of MTV.

sb3namath

For one brief, shining moment …

Yeah, some of you are o-l-d.

So as Einstein generally theorized, time is all about perspective, right? Which is why I worry about our (or my) particular point in history.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery, and it’s clear to everyone alive right here right now that it was a horrible thing that none of us want to even be remotely associated with.

But in the year 3000 when someone (Skynet?) is teaching “ancient history,” will anyone be able to distinguish 1864 from 1964, or even 2016? Like how people now vaguely recall/jumble important facts from their edumakation, such as Alexander the Great fought the Spartans (he didn’t as the Battle of Thermopylae—famously and gratuitously portrayed in the movie 300—was more than a century-and-a-half before he was born). I worry that future ‘Muricans will be like, “The slaves were freed in 1864 and like a century or two later, they finally got equal rights when homosexuals were also allowed to vote and get married.”

Yeah, that seems like silly talk now, but my future brain floating in jar will not be surprised if our legacy gets all sorts of other mashed up. I can only imagine what they might be saying …

• “What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we say it is. It wasn’t over when Osama bin Laden bombed Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers!”

• “Today, I presented my women heroes of history report on Kim Kardashian-West-Bieber-Manziel-Timberlake-Minaj-Lovitz-West, who invented the intrawebz and photography.”

• “We’ll never forget how Hitler launched the Hollacaust to exterminate all the Jews in Hollawood, and then how Gwen Stefani led the fight against him.”

• “Today we learned how Walt Disney was looking for the Fountain of Youth when he discovered Florida, which is why he built an amusement park for kids on the spot.”

• “President Clinton was the first transgendered president to hold the office as both a man and a woman, and even married himself at one point.”

• “Wayne Brady won four championships as quarterback of the New England Patriots and after he retired, turned to improv musical comedy.”

• “President John F. Kennedy was shot by aliens dressed as men in black, who then hid at Area 51 with Bigfoot, Anne Frank and the first Carrot Top.”

• “I didn’t know that the ‘M’ in MTV stood for its founder, Michael Jackson, the King of Music, who was also the first man to walk on the moon (which is why they still call it ‘moonwalking’). His son The Prince taught doves how to cry.”

Party over, we’re out of time …

Mar 192016
 

The intrawebz is an interesting place.

Not because everything is literally here—well except good taste—but because of the bizarre and unusual and compelling stuff that constantly gets shifted to the front, sort of belched up into our consciousness for all of us to admire for a few moments before dissipating back into the morass.

It’s also an incredibly dangerous place. No, not because of the predators and conspiracy nuts and crazees who make this happen. Or the wingnuts who come up with crap like this—

wtf

(And yes the red text is not a formatting accident … thanks for noticing … I’ll explain in a bit)

No, this is a dangerous place because it can easily suck those precious allotted hours of your life away in a painless manner. Some days, opening your browser is like settling into a warm tub, slitting your wrists and slowly bleeding out while your consciousness drifts away …

Okay, maybe too dramatic there. But I can’t count the days where I’ve thought, “Oh look, I have a half hour before I have to go to work and I have an idea that might be amusing, maybe I can write a little something,” and I jump to my computer (not quite like Batman sliding down the Batpole, but I’m okay with the bataphor) and open my browser to get to the back-end tool (*insert Butthead like chortle here* “You said, ‘back end tool’ … heh heh*) that I use for this site and … “Oh hey look, I got an email. Oh look, I got a Facebook notification. Gee, I wonder what the Jets are up too? Hey, that looks like it’s going to hurt …”

… and then that precious 30 minutes of the one life I will ever have on this planet and that I will never get back is gone. Just. like. that.

(If you’re checking your watch, you’ve already lost about 8 minutes here depending on how much you clicked. Thanks for staying if you’re still here.)

But this isn’t new ground, right? “Down the rabbit hole” they call it, in honor of Alice in Wonderland (and if you choose to read a book rather than this right now, yay!) Let me enthusiastically suggest this one:

furhappy

Last season on South Park also addressed this too, where characters were trying to solve a mystery about internet ads becoming self-aware. They would go online to look for clues to solve the crime and then see an ad for 10 celebrities who use kale as an exfoliant, and then 15 minutes later, “regain consciousness” at the mall, where they would be buying sneakers and eating chicken nuggets, duped by the intrawebz.

Oh speaking of new sneakers, did you see that Inov8 has—

Damn! And nary a chicken nugget …

Okay, the funny part here is that I’ve written the entire first draft of this post in about 15 minutes on a morning before work—which is some sort of accomplishment/personal-record-that-no-one-in-their-right-mind-would-keep-but-we-all-do-like-how-we-all-know-the-day-we-got-to-work-the-quickest-or-took-the-biggest-dump. And it happened because I did NOT open my web browser to look for any of the examples, images, etc. that you’ve been reading that are in red. I went back and added all that later, and oddly enough, that took 68 minutes. (And in the original draft of this, I just wrote “xx time” and clocked it later.)

I guess my point here, if I have one, is that we’re all drifting into the Matrix, living vicariously living and defining our lives by how much social media, celebrity gossip, YouTube clips and other distractions we can find [*insert something worthless here—yes, that’s what I originally wrote in my first draft, and I wrote this too—it sort of feels like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they’re like, “Oh, and then later, we’ll use the time machine to get my father’s keys and put them … HERE!”*]. Okay here’s one of my favorite time-sucking distractions. (Okay, actually just wasted 12 minutes here … but got a all-time best high score of 2,562 feet!)

Oh wait, you want the creamy and sweet intrawebz fluff that we all now need to consume on a daily basis—here, try this:

6 Things To Do Rather Than Mindlessly Consume Online Content

1. Live in the real world.

2. Do something stupid with your kids.

3. Do something stupid with your parents.

4. Do something stupid with your kids and parents, although I don’t recommend “Cards Against Humanity” because it will scar you, mainly because your 14-year-old son keeps bringing up the phrase “Grandma’s Anal Beads.”

5. Dust your house because the universe hates you. Seriously, dust—and having to address it—may be the most insidious thing on the planet. How else do you explain being penalized for having done absolutely nothing at all. I mean, vacuuming, I get: you walk on the floor, you get dirt in the house, it needs to be cleaned. But that top book shelf? I have done nothing about it for the past year, haven’t even looked at it, but now I have to clean it simply because it exists. Somewhere, The Lethargians weep.

6. Run, walk, sit in the sun like a lizard or DO SOMETHING LIKE CHURN OUT A BLOG POST IN UNDER 30 MINUTES. Or as I now call it: soaking up a little of what’s left of your precious time by creating not consuming.

Because, you know, life.

Feb 152016
 

I used to do this a lot but . . . things happened. Not necessarily bad things or good things, just lots of distracting (in some cases) and random (in other cases) things that all came together in an unfortunate series of things that made it nearly impossible to sit down at a computer to poke my brain so it would spit out other things on a regular basis.

Suffice to say that cobbling together cohesive and arguably entertaining thoughts just wasn’t a thing.

But hey, now this is a thing—

belfie-stick

Good jorb, people.

Clearly, I can’t leave you all on your own for any amount of time. At least the universe had the decency to rain down a Sharknado or three to balance it out.

So in the relatively short time that I’ve been off dealing with my things, other things have changed. In particular, our culture, which is now fraught with “percolating outrage.” You know, that pent-up anger that seems to be simmering right below the surface and often manifests itself in a laser-focused and social media-guided torrent of politically correct backlash to any perceived slight or misstep.

It seems as though righteous indignation is now wielded like a Whac-a-mole mallet, ready to pound down on any vaguely non-PC comment or idea that has the temerity to pop up on the hyper-sensitive cultural landscape.

So I’ve hesitated diving back into our lovely cesspool of pop, intrawebz and things for fear of offending someone (either on purpose or inadvertently) and then losing my job, family, house, car, and/or collection of Joan Jett cassettes while I feverishly try to apologize to everyone on the planet, as well as every entity in the near parts of the Milky Way and their unborn anal-probing descendants. Because that’s the protocol now, right? Say/tweet/post something potentially provocative, apologize profusely, cross fingers and wait for the next distraction to come along . . . .

Unless you’re Bill Cosby, because, you know … rape.

Oops—I used the word “rape”! I preemptively apologize to all the victims of violent crimes, throughout history, now and forever, for using the actual word to describe a particular heinous act in regard to someone accused of repeatedly perpetrating that act. It was not my intention to offend. Mea culpa!

I also would like to apologize to anyone who has had an unfortunate incident with a grape, because that has “rape” in it—that apology also extends to anyone who has ever drank grape juice, eaten a sandwich with grape jelly or jam, or even considers themselves an oenophile. Better extend that to drinkers of grape Nehi, consumers of Grape-Nuts, the late Euell Gibbons, fans of Grape Ape and also the California Raisins, just to be sure.

Sorry if that’s not sorry enough for you.

So anywhoo, other than the possibility that Billy Eichner may now be my spirit animal, here’s what I’ve learned in our time apart:

1. The backstory for the virus that launches “The Walking Dead” and wipes out humanity most likely involves Charlie Sheen.

2. “Social” media is generally a misnomer.

3. If orange is the new black, that might explain why saying you’re going to vote for Donald Trump is so fashionable.

prezorangeDo not adjust your monitor for optimum oompaloompaliciousness

4. Continuing to get angry over the Kardashians is like being upset with the universe itself. Just accept that both are bigger than all of us, no one can really explain any of it, and that ultimately, it’s all mostly large expanses of cold nothing.

5. Speaking of space: Probes have reached Pluto, human missions are being planned for Mars, and you can no longer see John Goodman from the International Space Station.

goodmanNice job, Johnny!

6. Honey Boo Boo had the cultural staying power of … Honey Boo Boo. Who knew? And I think that we’ll continue to be okay as long as these two phrases don’t cross the streams anywhere but here: “Mama June” & “Dating Naked.” [*Although feel free to insert your own “Naked and Afraid” joke here*]

7. There is still no cure for AIDS, cancer or Bieber fever.

8. The fact that any discussion of Hillary Clinton starts with a disclaimer like, “I know she’s the most qualified candidate, but …” tells you she’s about as likeable as Caillou. (“I’m just a kid’s who’s four, each day I grow some more, people hope cancer’s in store … for Caillou!”)

9. Kanye—the Joffrey to Hillary’s Caillou, but without all the Purple Wedding laughs.

10. Playing Cards Against Humanity with your parents, your whore sister and teen-aged sons—all at the same time—will leave you only a little less scarred than Deadpool.

no-mask-deadpoolCards Against Humanity make me wanna shoop!

On the plus side, I’ve also become addicted to 5-Hour Energy and the glorious heart palpitations that come with it, so I’m not sure this is whole thing is going to work out well …

Oh well. What could possibly go wrong?

Jun 242014
 

So as will happen from time to time, I find myself in an unexpected moment catching something that we all take for granted for the absurdity it is.

Case in point: my shampoo.

market11

Yeah, it’s a bottle of Head & Shoulders. But somewhere between “rinse” and “repeat” it struck me—what *exactly* is “classic clean”?!

Obviously, every shampoo from the first one ever devised is designed to clean hair, so unless there’s a new hipster  trend out there featuring shampoos that make hair dirtier, greasier and more dandruffy (which there very well could be—you never know with them danged hipsters!), then what’s the point of saying “clean” at all?

And the “classic” part—is this some olde-timey reference that’s supposed to invoke an earlier era … you know, like say a century ago when personal hygiene was an afterthought? Or are there so many new-fangled shampoo formulations out there—such absolute hair-cleansing anarchy and utter madness—that we’ve lost ourselves as a species who bathes regularly and our only hope of achieving socially acceptable hygiene is by a return to the very first shampoo ever whipped up?!

Okay, I understand that it’s about marketing—trying to make a product sound more awesome or interesting than it may be without saying *anything* at all, just so we’ll purchase it in vast quantities. But when you start noticing it—really noticing it—it seems crazy. “Classic clean” = “Really nothing new here, but it’s CLASSIC nothing …”

I started going through my medicine cabinet and such extraneous nonsensical silliness is on almost every label …

market12

I draw your attention to “ARCTIC FRESH.” Let me first say that “fresh” is the most overused word in all of marketing—as soon as you show me the first product ANYWHERE that brags about being “rotten,” then I will allow that you need to distinguish something as “fresh.” Until then, I would hope to Don Draper that “fresh” is automatically implied with every single. product. EVAR.

Now how about “arctic.” Did I miss the memo where we all agreed that an inhospitable, barren, frozen region of the planet where no one lives and nothing grows is now synonymous with “especially fresh”? Seriously, the only thing “cool” about the arctic are the polar bears, and when I imagine their teeth, all I think of are jagged yellowy icepicks flecked with stanky decaying fleshy bits of seal. Better known as *not* what I’m hoping to achieve with my dental hygiene.

market10

Tecnu—”the original.” You know, because of the ferociously lucrative Tecnu knockoff market out there, which may or may not include ineffective phonies like “Tacmoo,” “Technew” or “Ticnoo,” you want to make sure to get the right one. Vishnu knows you don’t want to be stuck with a bottle of freakin’ generic Tarkboo when your ankles are bubbling over with poison ivy oils.

market9

We got a double dip on the cortizone—it’s both “MAXIMUM STRENGTH” and an “INTENSIVE HEALING FORMULA.” Like with “fresh,” as soon as someone starts peddling a “moderately weak” formula, or one that promotes “lackadaisical scarring,” I’m not convinced we need these distinctions.

market8

Careful, you’re brain may a-splode with this one. First off, it’s “classic,” which we’ve determined has about as much merit as describing a rock as being made with “genuine matter from this universe.” “Pacific Force Scent”—are we talking about something that smells like Marines landing on the shores of Iwo Jima? I mean, I wasn’t there for that event, but I’m pretty sure that it smelled like fear, sweat, vomit, blood, fire, smoke, mutilated and blown-apart bodies, melted faces and death … with a particularly heavy emphasis on death and its horrid stench. My chosen scent!

market7

Are there a lot of “impure sport” products available? And what does “sport” smell like exactly? Because after my years of playing ball and running track, I’m thinking of every locker room and gym bag I’ve ever known, and I’m not sure I’d be bottling it and selling it as a way to keep from putting out an offending scent. I’d even possibly go with b.o. over old sweat socks, but hey, I’m crazy like that.

market6

“FRESH” ALERT! “FRESH” ALERT! “FRESH” ALERT!

DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! THERE ARE COMPANIES OUT THERE TRYING TO SELL YOU “STEAMY-CRAP-ON-PUTREFIED-MONKEY-CORPSE-FLAVORED” MINT PRODUCT, THUS THE DISTINCTION NEEDS TO BE MADE! DON’T BE FOOLED! DANGER!

market5

“Dear Valued Customer,

We here at Annie’s Mac & Cheese want to assure you that, unlike our inferior competitors who like to create their products with unadulterated EVIL and unmitigated BADNESS, we take the time to make sure that we only source our ingredients from Officially certified GOOD suppliers. Thus, you will never inadvertently ingest a fork full of Satan-tinged, Hitler-influenced or Kim Jong Un-riffic horror. Remember, their products = bad, ours = good, and we’re not just saying that to cover up anything untoward. No, not us! Nothing to worry about here. Hahahahahaha. … hahaha … ha … uh. Enjoy!

Love, Annie.”

market4

I think I read about this somewhere on the intrawebz—the growing concern over the influx of unnatural lemon flavor, made on assembly lines from bionic lemons, or even worse, supernatural lemon flavor, culled during a seance in a graveyard from pressing a witch’s teat between two ouija boards. Pretty sure the Illuminati and Masons are involved. Gary Busey, too.

I’m also fairly confident that this is what the Tea Party is all about—stopping unnaturally and supernaturally lemon flavored iced tea from reaching market. Yay Al Sharpton!

market3

Hey look, my dishwashing liquid is not from a failed formula that was left behind in a laboratory! And unlike all those shallow, superficial cleaning products out there, this one will reach down to cleanse my dishes to their filthy cores, purifying them on subconscious levels that may affect their eternal souls! Which just might explain the random poetry I’m now finding on my cereal bowls.

market2

Okay, this may not be a silly marketing claim, but as I was going through the cabinets, this caught my attention.

I love the inherent cruelty in this one—the product that heinously kills other creatures by essentially melting their nervous systems is given an aroma that we might find appealing, just to mask the odor of death from our delicate noses!

If Raid had any soul, you’d think they might at least make an ant-killing pesticide with a “picnic” scent. “Oh damn, what is that big creature spitting all over us … oh, it’s wet and …  nasty and …  HOLY CRAP! It HURTS … OH DAMN! …. DAMN … it hurts … I’m dying … and … is that a fried chicken drumstick and a slice of watermelon? Hells yeah! Heaven here I come!”

Just remember to keep it fresh!

 

Feb 222014
 

Maybe like a number of you older folks, I can’t think of the Winter Olympics without this image going through my mind.

vinko

“… and the agony of defeat …”

Okay, I know Vinko Bogataj‘s ill-fated “agony of defeat” moment didn’t happen at the Olympics—it was actually at the 1970 Ski-Flying World Championships—but it was burned into our collective consciousness as part of the Olympic narrative because it became such a memorable part of the opening of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” which was the U.S. broadcast outlet of the Olympic games for a loooong time. (By the way, Vinko only sustained a concussion in the crash and although he never became a ski-jumping superstar, has gone on to have a fairly pleasant life.)

I suppose there’s that other Winter Olympic moment might be one that some of you may recall …

I remember watching that live as a kid and actually jumping around the room when the U.S. won …. you know, completely unlike what happened this year.

Oh well, 1980 was just a special moment that inspired me . . . not to dedicate countless hours training in the hopes of possibly becoming an elite athlete who might compete at a chance to win a gold medal. No, that’s too much work, and if you couldn’t tell by my choice of writing for a living, I’m a bit “work-averse,” to put it politely. (“Lazy” is not inaccurate, either.)

No, this year’s Olympics have inspired me to create ….

6 New Events That Should Be in the Winter Olympics

1. Snow Removal Slalom – I have been the chief snow removal engineer for the domiciles I’ve lived in pretty much my entire life, so I know my way around a snow shovel, to say the least. In this event, there would be a long downhill driveway that competitors have to clear—but wait, there are challenges that may or may not be inspired by my current driveway (and by that I mean they have totally been inspired by my current driveway): large bumpy sections of broken pavement; a barrier on one side (like a house) forcing snow to be tossed only in one direction only; a section so wide that that each shovelful has to be carried a ways before it can be tossed; and bitter cold wind that always blows into your face.

As a matter of fact, if the potential U.S. team in this sport wanted to train in my driveway, they would be welcome with open arms and hot cocoa—heck, I’ll even spring for the mini marshmallows!

(Obviously, I have a sneaking suspicion that I would medal in this specially designed one as I’ve already competed in it 14 times this winter alone.)

2. Full Contact Figure Skating – Why leave figure skating up to the judge’s discretion? Just let every competitor skate at the same time in a giant battle royale, and whoever is left standing wins the gold. Easy, peasy, Yamagucheesy!

Insert your favorite Tonya Harding joke here, I suppose.

I would say that they may be on the right track with Snowboard Cross, which I have become smitten with. Of course, there are no video highlights from the current Olympics, which had 6 competitors going at once, but this clip from 2010 gives you the idea.

3. Snow Sculpture – Considering the trend is that more and more Olympic medals are being decided by inexact and subjective (and not objective) judges, why not add a completely artistic event? I mean, if you can “judge” ice dancing, snowboard halfpipe and that prancing around with the giant ribbons on a stick, why not make a contest of the making of snowmen (like the work of this random talented artist I Googled)?

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“This is what happened to the East German judges who dared to give me a 4.8.”

And obviously, there would be individual and team competitions—I mean, who wouldn’t want to see what inspiration might spark up the Jamaican snow sculpture team?

4. Snow Diving – It’d be like the ski jump, but instead of a nicely inclined downhill landing zone, athletes would ski off a giant cliff, do all sorts of tricks and then just fall straight down into a “soft” cushion of snow. Picture a Wile E. Coyote sort of situation with points for style—just over and over again.

5. The Ultimate Snowball War – A combination of dodgeball, capture the flag and the Hunger Games (minus the gratuitous murder of children) this would be a unique event in that every team would compete at the same time! It’d be played over a snowy five-mile “field” on the side of a mountain or equally challenging landscape . . . officials would hide ONE flag somewhere, everyone would be sent in at the same time.

I’m thinking teams of five, at least. Get hit with a snowball, and you’re eliminated (or maybe just sent to a penalty box for an hour); if you’re holding the flag and get hit, you must relinquish the flag on the spot. Whoever can get in, find the flag and get out unscathed wins the gold medal! Points also might be awarded for finding the flag, number of “kills” or amount of time retaining the flag.

In order to succeed, there will have to be alliances and sacrifices; great stamina and athleticism will be needed to retrieve the flag, but strategy and guile would also be necessary. If done right, the game might go on for hours or even days! It’d make for great TV, sort of like “Survivor” meets “Knock Out” with a dash of “Ice Road Truckers.”

6. Killer Sled – My friends and I played this on the long downhill of Sassacus Drive, which often was not plowed because it was a dead end—essentially it’s The Road Warrior on sleds.

Simply: Each two-athlete team starts at the same time, the first one to the bottom wins and the rules are: there are no rules.

In our version, there was a “driver” and an “attacker.” Ideally, the driver went for the finish while the attacker went after other sleds to stop them by whatever means necessary (say like hopping aboard another sled to run it  into Mr. D’Aurelio’s parked Buick and abandoning ship just before impact). As you might imagine, the participants’ roles were often interchangeable during any run, and more than once, if you were fortunate enough to survive and limp across the finish line, it might not have been on the sled you started with. You also might end up with a frozen facial or slush down your back—it was snow-fueled anarchy!

And if the Olympics can’t get behind such glorious carnage, then I’m not sure we should participate any more! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!!

Jan 202014
 

So I was not really surprised to hear that New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s staff has been indulging in bully-like behavior, using their power to block lanes of the George Washington Bridge and cause enormous traffic issues for the good people of Fort Lee—all in alleged retaliation for the mayor of Fort Lee not supporting Christie’s last gubernatorial run …

Yes, another donut can solve any problem.

Yes, another donut can solve any problem.

By the way, something is rotten with this story right off the bat. Why would the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee be expected to support the Republican governor of New Jersey in his bid for re-election? Aside from political whores like Joe Lieberman, who endorses across party lines? No, my friends, there’s more to this that will eventually come out …

Now there are new allegations that Gov. Christie’s administration has threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy relief funds from towns that didn’t “play ball” with particular development plans. I think it’s appropriate to say when it rains, it pours.

Well, while we wait for the next revelation to present itself, here are:

The Top 10 Potential Chris Christie Scandals

1. The “accidental” public release of a Snooki sex tape.

2. Falsified the birth certificate of Jon Bon Jovi—who was actually born in Idaho.

3. Use sand imported from Connecticut to replenish the Jersey Shore.

4. Substituted frozen yogurt for frozen custard on the boardwalk.

5. Coordinate port-o-potty “issues” at the next Springsteen concerts in retaliation for this:

6. Blocked the delivery of god-damned snacks to the New York Jets practice facility.

7. Exorcised the Jersey Devil.

8. Banned “working girls” from entertaining during Super Bowl week.

9. Approved Atlantic City casino applications in exchange for illicit campaign contributions—and unlimited Brony merchandise.

10. Knows the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa and Donald Trump’s original hair.

 

Jan 012014
 

So the other night, I’m watching TV with my two sons when we notice that on one of our 2,304 channels is “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.”

“Did we ever see that one?” Zane asks.

“See it? I’ve never even heard of it!” I answer.

And with good reason—as it was one of the less memorable (read: more lame) Peanuts specials to come down the pike. Seriously, the main plot revolves around Charlie Brown having to read War and Peace over his holiday vacation for a book report! It’s like someone said, “Hmm … Peanuts specials are pretty slow moving in the first place, so what can we do to grind it to an absolute halt and suck all the joy out of it? I know! Let’s throw in one of the most dense works in the history of literature! It’ll be awesome—kids eat up Tolstoy!!!”

So we sit through it as a social experiment of sorts, and yeah, it’s as depressing as any Peanuts special—Charlie Brown doesn’t have any fun at the New Year’s Eve party because he’s stuck reading, and he misses out on his chance to hook up with The Little Red-Haired Girl. (Note: During the show, Charlie Brown calls her “Heather,” so at least that Eternal Mystery is solved.) Oh, and if Life—aka, the cruel hand of Charles M. Schultz—doesn’t slap down ol’ Chuck hard enough, he gets a D- on the book report.

After it’s over, we all sort of start joking about how sad it was. Zane asks if anyone has ever done something about when the Peanuts kids grow up, and I suggest that all you’d see is a tombstone for Charlie Brown after he ODs, which prompts the three of us, in our twisted way, to come up with—

The Top 15 Peanuts Specials That Should Be Made

(All illustrations by Zane)

1. It’s an Intervention, Charlie Brown!

2.

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3. Snoopy Has Rabies … And It’s Fatal, Charlie Brown!

4. It’s the Robot Uprising, Charlie Brown!

5.

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6. Balls, Charlie Brown!

7. It’s Called Lymphoma, Charlie Brown!

8.

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9. It’s the Great Gatsby, Charlie Brown!

10. Don’t Marry Your Cousin, Charlie Brown!

11.

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12. Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow, Charlie Brown!

13. I’m Gonna Kick You in the Peanuts, Charlie Brown!

14. It’s a Tsunami, Charlie Brown!

15. You’re Getting Mauled by a Bear, Charlie Brown!

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And now …. “We’re Waiting For a Letter from the Peanuts’ Attorneys, Charlie Brown!”

Nov 182013
 

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the intrawebz are abuzz with all sorts of content in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Although almost every aspect of this dark moment in U.S. history has seemingly been covered and endlessly speculated upon, it always seems that something new can be discovered. And it’s my job as a quasi-journalist to share some less-heralded—yet critical—bits of information …. they all may not seem that important, but are all parts in the grand mosaic of that historic moment in time.

Just how important, well, that has yet to be determined.

So my conspiracy-hungry friends, here are:

The Top 10 Little-Known Facts About the Kennedy Assassination
(and they are all really true!)

1. On that fateful day in November 1963, President Kennedy was, in fact, wearing a sock on each foot.

2. The limo that transported the President, the First Lady, Texas Governor John Connally and others—a specially modified 1961 Lincoln (named after another president felled by an assassin’s bullet) Continental—had four white wall tires, four headlights and was painted midnight blue. It ran on leaded gasoline.

3. At the time of the assassination, accounting for the Earth’s elliptical orbit, the Sun was 91,821,757 miles above Dealey Plaza. The Moon was a 6-day-old waxing crescent.

4. The population of the United States was 189,241,798 in November 1963. It included Abe Vigoda, Michael Jordan and Johnny Depp. It did not include poet Robert Frost, Nicolas Cage or current First Lady Michelle Obama.

5. Jacqueline Kennedy’s iconic pink Chanel suit was double-breasted with navy trim and two pockets on each side. It had six gold buttons. It was never cleaned after the shooting and is currently stored in a secret location in the National Archives, and by request of the Kennedy family, will not be displayed until 2103, at the earliest.

6. At the time of the shooting, Joe Namath was the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide, coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant. They finished the season 9-2 and defeated Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. It was the New York Jets inaugural season in the AFL under Weeb Ewbank; they would post a record of 5-8-1.

7. Elm Street, the stretch of Dealey Plaza on which Kennedy was shot, is a one-way street—and on November 22, 1963, JFK’s limo was traveling in a direction with what would normally be the regular flow of traffic. It is three lanes wide.

8. The Texas School Book Depository building is seven stories tall, and has seven rows of windows on the side facing Elm Street—but only three rows of windows on the side facing the Grassy Knoll. The original five-story structure was built in 1899, but was hit by lightning in 1901, causing it to burn down. It was rebuilt in 1903, when two more stories were added—including the sixth floor, from which Oswald shot Kennedy.

9. Lyndon B. Johnson, then Vice President—and someone that numerous conspiracy theorists have repeatedly try to implicate in the assassination—was riding two cars behind JFK in a four-door Lincoln convertible. In total there were 16 cars, 13 motorcycles and 3 buses in the motorcade. If you add up those numbers (16+13+3) you get 32, which is the same year (1932) that JFK started his sophomore campaign at Choate in Wallingford, Connecticut.

10. Dallas is 338 miles from Del Rio, Texas, and the U.S. border with Mexico. It is 1,102 miles from Havana, Cuba, and 5,753 miles to Moscow, Russia. Despite all the negative publicity from the assassination, Dallas has remained in Texas, even to this day.

Now that I’ve provided all this info, it’s up to you to weave the conspiracy from it. Please share—plenty of room in the comments!