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!


(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.


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 …


“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.


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.


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 …

May 082013

So we went to see Iron Man 3 the other night—a very fun summer blockbuster (make sure to stay through the credits)—and it got me to thinking, as most films tend to do.

Don’t worry—no real spoilers ahead.

If you saw the first two movies (or even the commercials for the new one), you know that Tony Stark (the character that Robert Downey Jr. plays) is an inveterate inventor, and as such, likes to make multiple versions of his Iron Man suits, such as War Machine, which is used by his buddy Col. James Rhodes (brought to life the last two times by Don Cheadle) or robotic ones he just keeps around for convenient plot purposes …

Wait, that wasn't a spoiler, right?

So you can already see where this is going—I need to make multiple versions of myself, although not to fight off comic book villains. (Although I do reserve the right to do so if I’m attacked by some unforeseen nemesis—say like Cannibal J. Clown and his Fright-Wigged Gang of Grease Paint Goons.) No, what I need is more of me to try and do all the things I want to do in my life.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog—or even an irregular one—you may have noticed it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. The culprit is a simple lack of time as I’ve been extraordinarily busy with the myriad tasks involved with being a father, husband, homeowner, friend, neighbor, magazine editor and all-around swell guy. Obviously, if there were more versions of me, I could keep up with all the demands on my time, right? Of course.

And let’s be honest—cloning me really sounds like the GREATEST. IDEA. EVER. Really. I’m pretty sure more of me is the answer to most of the world’s problems.

But I’d like to do something other than simply making more carbon copies of me. What would be great would be if somehow I could split out the various aspects of Original Ray into different versions of me, but then somehow merge them back together so I can actually experience everything. Because I really don’t want to miss anything—I just want the opportunity to Do It All.

So based on my calculations, what I’d need is:

Writer Ray – This version of me would be doing the heavy lifting in terms of keeping my various blogs updated and working on that brilliant manuscript of mine that I started last year and that will make me a household name (like Charmin or Cottenelle) as well as a bajillion dollars. He’d also get cracking on that screenplay based on the life of my all-time favorite jerk.

Now that I think about it, I might need two of these guys—one dedicated to futzing about on the intrawebs and the other who handles the quasi-professional long-term projects.

Worker Ray – Hey, someone has to go out and make the big bucks, right? Actually, that person is my wife, so this version will at least try to bring home enough pay to cover groceries.

Home Improvement Ray – Although I have two groundskeepers-in-training to help me out now, there are a few shrubs in the yard that … uh, let’s say, “have gotten away from me.” Also plenty of little projects around the house that apparently won’t take care of themselves—no matter how many times I walk past the attic door, apparently it won’t replace its own doorknob.

Social Ray – Obviously, I want to participate in the fun stuff (like going to see Iron Man 3 or roller derby), but there’s plenty of other more mundane [*cough cough* boring *cough*] events—back-to-school nights, funerals, recitals, doctor’s appointments, shopping mall openings, cat-naming parties, etc.—that it would be great to send a proper representative.

This version of me would also be a trophy piece/eye candy for my wife for all her social functions. (Might have to polish that one up *a bit* more than the others.)

Romantic Ray – To be used by my lovely wife as she sees fit.

X Ray – You know, the superhero version of me who fights for right, justice and the American way!

Altruistic Ray – This one will be in charge of helping friends move, driving family to the airport and covering volunteer activities like feeding the homeless and giving blood. Or bleeding the homeless, if necessary.

Fit Ray – This poor sucker has to be the one who gets in shape for the rest of us—he doesn’t have to run triathlons or work out with such enthusiasm that it’d make for an awesome Rocky montage (although it would be cool), but if he could keep our cardio up and our weight down, that’d be acceptable.

This version would also get be charged with fixing the slice in our golf swing, getting our 5K time under 24 minutes and learning to shred the half pipe.

Medical Bag Ray – In addition to taking all inoculations and medications, this one gets to have our teeth cleaned, vision checked (I think we need reading glasses, by the way) and our colons scoped. Also, enjoys the privilege of passing any remaining kidney stones.

This one would also probably be the one subjected to the medical tests and cell harvesting required to create the other ones.

Dad Ray – Actually, the true me will take this gig full time (along with the romantic one) if I can get the other versions to do their parts.

Soo …. now that I have that all sorted out, all I need to do is somehow make it happen.

Hmmm …. maybe I need a Brainstorm Ray, too.

Mar 312013

So this isn’t usually the place to find world exclusives or breaking news, but that’s about to change …

For reasons I don’t understand and you probably don’t want to think about too much, I was contacted by none other than Kim Jong Un, the leader of the Republic of North Korea—apparently, he searched the web (it is “world wide,” after all) and found my site to be “most typically American.”


Hey, if you have followed anything that North Korea has done in the past few years, that happening makes as much sense as having Dennis Rodman be the unofficial ambassador to that country. Birds of a feather, I suppose.

Anyway, in light of recent tensions, Un asked if I would post this message from him … so in the spirit of world peace and the betterment of Man, I agreed.


Dear Soon-to-Be Party Members,

Now that the glorious nation of Korea has repeatedly demonstrated its military might and superiority, it is only a matter of time before your false leaders are forced to see the weakness of their spirit, and bow down to Korea in disgraced surrender. The government of the America of United States will then be no more, and I will be installed as your supreme commander.

Do not fear, however—I do not hold the people of America responsible for the actions of their cowardly politicians, and will not be looking to punish or eradicate all of you from the globe. Instead, once your feeble leaders have been whipped like the lying dogs they are, you all will be assimilated into the Best Korea way of life.

As such, here are some of the great and wonderful changes that you can expect to now bring happiness into your sad lives as your follow along in your transformation from weaklings to super humans, much like my fellow members of the Korean’s People’s Party have done.

I will list these in a proper numerical order so that your improved education will start on the most fundamental level—with learning to count the Korean way.

Kim Jong-1: No more obesity – Here in Korea, our people are not dimpled, oversized bags of fat like Americans because they do not enjoy the obscene amounts of choice when it comes to nourishment. Koreans are lean, always-hungry people—and not only hungry for actual food, which the majority don’t have, but for my spiritual guidance.

The severe lack of available sustenance has also helped the people of Korea become something Americans are not: resourceful and imaginative. Tell me, in America, do you take advantage of the decadent nutritional options around you, such as the grass that grows in your ample yards or the bark off of the many trees? Here in Korea we do, and soon you will be thin and unencumbered by such diseases as Type 2 diabetes, as we are.

As for my personal r0bust physique—I am nourished solely by the love and affection of my people. It is only through my rigorous exercise program that I am not a jellied ham-bear like most Americans are (for now).

Kim Jong-2: No more gun murders or mass shootings – There will be no more deadly school murders in America or any other type of gun violence because only members of my military will have guns, and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ELSE. Period.

This system has worked without flaw in Korea, so I know it will also be met with success in the America of United States. Those who do not willingly give up their firearms immediately will be compelled to do so WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Those who resist will be dealt with severely.

This change also means that your diminishing energies will also not be wasted on silly things like gun-control debates.

Speaking of which …

Kim Jong-3: No more debates of any kind – There will be no more conflict brought about by expressions of free speech because free speech will not exist. Going forward, I, as you supreme commander, will do all the thinking and have all the opinions that you will ever need. Public policy and thought will be dictated by me as it has been done here in Korea, first by my grandfather, and then by my father, before me.

Again, this system has worked without flaw, so I expect nothing but complete cooperation. For those who do not feel compelled to oblige voluntarily, they will be persuaded to do so in a manner that might not be described as “pleasant” or “one that you will live through.”

Kim Jong-4: No more distractions such as Facebook, Twitter or the Internet – We have severely limited and heavily restricted internet access in Korea, and it has served our people well. With more than 99 percent of the population off-line, they have not been corrupted by ridiculous mind-weakening American ideas like democracy, freedom of speech or expression, or the pursuit of unfettered happiness.

Again, the perfect model of Korea stands as a shining beacon to all. Join our flame or be extinguished like a moth.

Kim Jong-5: No more traffic jams – As Korea has successfully eschewed the sins of material wealth that have plagued the weaklings of the West, we have been able to create a utopia where the wide, abundant and beautiful streets of our cities are not clogged with unwanted personal vehicles.

Rather than becoming physically and mentally weak by relying on mechanized methods of transportation, Korea is a bastion of self-reliance, in every sense of the term. Unless it is for the direct use of our military, party members are expected to make their way about either by public transportation, which fosters better togetherness, or by foot, which fosters great health.

Kim Jong-6: No more reliance on fossil fuels – An example to all of mankind, Korea is striving to become a more green nation, as many of you Americans profess to aspire to. We are moving away from powering our nation with planet-destroying energies such as oil, gas or coal—and the infidels who profit from that consumption—and have instead eagerly embraced the clean and mighty fuel of the future.

Apparently, it also works in weapons—who knew?

Kim Jong-7: No more energy wasted on trying to emulate false reality-show TV idols – As in Korea, all television and radio stations will be run by my ministry of communications, and will ONLY feature state-approved programming. Thus, there will be no more keeping up with any fat-bottomed American media whores, no watching of the irresponsible spouses of various vile locations, no enjoying the capricious activities of inbred hill folk or their mentally impaired, beauty pageant-loving offspring.

This ban will also extend to all so-called American entertainment including fictional programs and movies, non-fictional programs and movies, professional sports endeavors, historical or informational programming and all pornography. Cooking shows will remain as your population learns to assimilate to their new Korean diet of occasional rice, grasses, bugs and tree bark.

Your new entertainment will reflect Korean values and interests, which means plenty of shows about me, my father and grandfather. (But mostly me.)

Kim Jong-8: No more concerns about funding independent artistic expression – To fashion a more-focused and cohesive society like the one we enjoy in Korea, all new art in every medium will focus on one subject, and one subject only—your supreme commander. No exceptions!

All the old art filling your museums and galleries will be destroyed immediately to make way for all the new art that specially designated party members will be allowed to create. If it is not obvious already, every side of me is my best side, but I will leave it to my hand-picked artists to show me in ways that even the many, many ignorant Americans should be able to appreciate.

Kim Jong-9: No more arguments about the growing divide between American social classes – As it is in Korea, it will be here in America—only two social classes: me and the rest of you.

This is good news for all of those who do not possess much, as their lives should not change all that dramatically, if at all. Those who currently possess great wealth, however, may find their lives somewhat impacted as every bit of their money and possessions will be immediately taken and added to my personal accounts until I can best decide how to use those assets in pursuit of even more military might and everlasting Korean glory.

Again, this model has powered Korea to much success, so to do anything less than take all of your riches would be madness. And I am clearly not mad.

Kim Jong-10: No more arguments regarding religion or faith – There is only ONE true form of worship, and that is of ME!

And the sooner you learn to bow down and accept it, the better it will be for you.




P.S. Remember, we will always be watching …