Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New year

The holidays are the time of year when we take a hard look at all we have to be thankful for in the past 12 months. As someone trying to establish a writing career and using this blog as a stepping stone, I find myself thankful for all the people and things that give me subjects to write about.

Politicians—It’s a given that politicians are horrible people. They all claim to get into the profession because they want to help their country, county, city or municipality grow and progress. In fact, they are in the game to reap whatever spoils they can for themselves and their family while screwing over the people that elected them. At the same time, they have to appear to be doing “something” so they can continue to get elected and not lose all the graft they’ve accumulated. 2011 was a banner year for any humor writer as the Republicans put up not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 127 ill-qualified, mentally unbalanced, narcissistic, not-a-good-idea-between-them candidates for the 2012 presidential election. We laughed along with Herman Cain as he forgot what Libya was. We chuckled at Mitt Romney attempting to squeeze a personality out of his ass cheeks. We cringed every time Michelle Bachmann opened her mouth because we weren’t quite sure if she was just being ignorant or was truly delusional. We shook our heads when Donald Trump said he does very well with ‘the blacks’ because we knew the only thing black about Donald is his soul, which he obviously sold to the devil years ago somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. So I say thank you to the American politicians for another year of their idiocy.

Shopping—I’m a little different than most guys in that I like to shop to an extent. I was raised by my mother and I went shopping with her as a kid and now I enjoy it as an adult. My shopping trips in 2011 have given me plenty to write about, from inattentive clerks to bonus cards that are so difficult to attain the store franchise has gone out of business by the time you finish filling out the form, to one memorable shopper in a grocery store who said something to her child that found its way to my ears which led to my stomach and I almost vomited. Hopefully 2012 will lead me to more store adventures like Walmart before Christmas when I picked up a blanket from the site-to-store desk. I told the clerk my item was a blanket and she began her search for it in a drawer that only a comforter for a pixie would have fit in.

My own stupidity—Sad to say I have provided myself an abundance of material. I got a speeding ticket, met bigfoot in the woods of a local park, I found out I’m too old to exercise as parts of my body started to fall off and I found things in my medicine cabinet that had been expired for 7 years. I would like to say that I will do better in 2012, but I know me. My personal inanity will only grow and I will be forced to share it with you. I’m sure in the months to come I will injure part of my body, try to fix something and have it rebel against me with an attack reminiscent of a Roger Corman movie, or sight a UFO from my yard on a night when the moon is low and the swamp gas is rising.

Here’s hoping 2012 brings me many things to write about and publish on the world wide web of internet tubes. Hopefully you will all stick around to read my ramblings. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Rise of the Newt

America, what the hell? Newt Gingrich? Are you serious? The process for choosing a Republican nominee for President has already gone on longer than the director’s cut of a JRR Tolkien movie and now that we’ve finally gotten to the final act, we’ve moved the Newt to the top of the list?

For a while Mittens Romney was the front runner and I can see why. I mean, he’s an idiot with the thought processes of an amoeba, but I could see how he was ahead. First, he looks presidential. This should have nothing to do with it, but this is America, and let’s face it, we don’t elect people for the right reasons. Second, he changes his mind on issues with the frequency of a Disney tween star doing something scandalous, so when you listen to him he’s always saying just what you want to hear.

Then for a time Herman Cain was the popular choice. This didn’t bother me though, because I knew he would do something stupid and ruin his campaign. He just had that buffoonish, cartoon presence that made me say, “Oh yeah, this guy will immolate himself eventually. Let’s sit back with a cold beverage and watch.” Boom, Herman can’t remember what Libya is! Boom, one, two, three women accuse him of sexual harassment! Boom, another woman claims to have had an affair with Herman for over a decade! Goodbye Herman, you were good for some laughs. Infamy is calling, walk into the light.

But now. Now. Darkness has descended over our country. The Republican voters have been polled like members of a trailer park kidnapped by aliens, and they have spoken in percentage numbers. They have, for the moment, chosen Newt Gingrich.

Are you shitting me?

The same Newt Gingrich that was kicked out of congress 20 years ago by his own party? The same Newt that left his first wife while she was in the hospital to marry his mistress? The same Newton Gingrich who left his 2nd wife (the ex-mistress) to marry his new mistress (wife #3)? The same Newt who paid to have several companies create fake Twitter accounts for him so it looked like he had over a million followers? The SAME Newt whose entire campaign staff quit, en masse, because he went on vacation rather than campaign? This is the man Republicans would vote for if the election were held today?

Deep breath. Deep breath.

WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? How can you think . . . I mean what . . . he has never . . . morally bankrupt . . . a lifetime of bad ideas . . . how can you believe that he can . . . I mean . . . for God’s sake he’s Newt Gingrich!

All I can say is, I’m not a republican and bear no responsibility for this unholy choice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Day Tale

There once was a turkey named Larry who lived in a small wood next to a hunting shack. The shack was owned by a very bad hunter named Earl. For ten years Earl had been trying to shoot Larry to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, for the last ten Thanksgivings, Earl ate General Tso’s chicken and beef dumplings from Mr. Sing’s House of Chinese Delicacies and Non-Denominational Wedding Chapel. Also two years ago he married 3rd shift waitress Darlene Lumpholz in a ceremony presided over by Mr. Sing and witnessed by long haul trucker Darryl “Dirty Deeds” Hufnagel. They were divorced 6 days later.

Larry the turkey was worried this year. He was getting older and although he was smarter than Earl, Larry was afraid he would get caught. He had decided that it was time to make peace with his nemesis. He went to Earl’s door and was invited in where the two combatants shared in a feast of Frosted Mini-Wheats while Earl relayed the dream he had had the night before where he won the lottery, ran off with Katie Couric and then drove in the 24 hours of Lemans in a soap box derby car.

They spent hours discussing their differences like how much Earl wanted to eat Larry and how much Larry really did not want to be eaten. What they found in the end is that they were very much alike. They commiserated over stories of their domineering fathers. Earl’s wanted him to go into the family business of lard production while Larry’s repeatedly told him he was a bad gobbler and wouldn’t live past 6 months in the forest on his own. After a few ribald jokes and shots of . . . wait for it . . . Wild Turkey, Earl and Larry were friends. As offerings that signified their new trust, Larry gave Earl one of his tail feathers and Earl gave Larry his Dale Earnhardt commemorative flashlight.

Brimming with renewed hope and confidence Earl reconnected with Darlene at the Thanksgiving evening buffet at Mr. Sing’s and they were re-married with Darryl “Dirty Deeds” Hufnagel once again looking on and toasting them with a tall boy of Schlitz.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Herman Cain Falls Down the Rabbit Hole

Herman Cain is the latest of the Republican presidential nominees to distance himself from the pack, in a bad way. At least 3 women from his past have accused him of sexual harassment and while he was rope-a-doping his way around that problem, he gave an interview where he was asked his opinion about a pretty big news event of the past few weeks and he drew a blank. So I decided to imagine what it would be like to interview Mr. Cain.

CO: So, Herman, what the hell is up with you?
HC: I’m bloviatin’ as fast as I can.
CO: Uh huh. What I mean is: What is wrong with you?
HC: I guess its time I came clean. I used to snort pepperonis while running Godfather’s Pizza. That’s my dirty little secret.
CO: What do you think of Libya?
HC: Ah ha! A gotcha question! I’m ready for ya’. Libya is a country in northern Africa with a population of 5.6 million. Its main export is oil and its leader is Muammar Gaddafi.
CO: Gaddafi is gone. Dead. Rebels overthrew his oppressive regime after 40 years. Any of this ringing a bell?
HC: Right! Libya. Right . . . I just have so many pizza recipes twirling around in my head . . . let’s see Libya . . .
CO: Forget it.
HC: No! I want to answer. The truth is I’m not sure about the details of the Libyan coup, but whatever role Barack Obama played, it was wrong. He handled it wrong with a capital W.
CO: What exactly did he do wrong?
HC: Right . . . well, he didn’t do what I would have done . . . in the first place.
CO: Which is?
HC: First of all . . . the bombs . . . that . . . and secondly . . . Obama is just wrong . . . he did something, and I don’t agree . . . things would be different . . . if . . . no, that’s . . . Obama was wrong. End of story.
CO: I’m speechless.
HC: I do that to people. It’s my charisma.
CO: Is that another word for aneurysm because I think you’re giving me one.
HC: Herman Cain!
CO: Why do you sexually harass women Herman?
HC: Loves me some women! Wait, I mean . . . women are . . . women have . . . You know I have a tax plan based on the number 9. Did you now that? Could we . . . talk about that . . . maybe . . .
CO: I’d rather talk about the harassment claims.
HC: Falsified! Falsified claims made by gold diggers who want Herman Cain’s pizza money! Money that I will get to keep more of under my 9-9-9 tax plan.
CO: The one that you stole from a video game?
HC: Yes! No! I came up with that myself one night on the campaign trail. I do not play video games! 9-9-9! Libya! Gold diggers! Obama’s wrong! Thank you!
CO: Thank you Herman. I need a sedative.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adventures in Shopping

I have a cell phone mainly for emergency purposes. I don’t text, I don’t tweet, I don’t watch Israeli action movies on it, I don’t take pictures of every single thing I see and post it on Tumblr, I can’t land a Harrier jet on an aircraft carrier, I can’t control the route of a city bus, I can’t read John Grisham’s latest tome of good lawyer vs. bad lawyer. I carry the phone with me and occasionally make a call.

To save money I have a Tracphone. There is no $80/a month plan with so many conditions and provisions you need a major in accounting with a minor in international law to understand the contract you are signing in blood. To keep a Tracphone active you add a minimum of 20 minutes to the phone every 3 months at a cost of $20. If you miss your end date, however, then you have to call the company, talk to a man with a Pakistani accent named Steve and jump through hoops to get it reactivated. I believe the last time I had to purchase an elephant and teach it to use its trunk to blow “Melancholy Baby” on a trumpet before my service was restored.

Last Friday was my last day to get a new card to put minutes on before my phone deactivated. I went first to a local grocery store I knew sold the cards. The store was packed with what appeared to be lunatics from an asylum, wandering the aisles, gape-mouthed and drooling. I bobbed and weaved through the throng, got to the Tracphone display stand only to see the $20 cards sold out. Oh, they had plenty of the expensive cards: 200 minutes, a years worth of minutes, enough minutes to connect with the other side and call your dearly departed Aunt Gertrude to ask why Uncle Fred can’t stop farting when he walks. If I had wanted to take out a loan from the man named Murray who sat behind a desk snacking on oyster crackers, I could have had my card.

Instead I got back in my car, fought the traffic to drive through the intersection to the Rite Aid on the other side of route 24. I wandered the empty aisles until I found the display and . . . they were sold out of the $20 cards also. “What’s going on here?” I thought. Have I stumbled onto a vast, global conspiracy to deplete the stock of Tracphone cards? Were their men in black suits watching me, recording my thoughts and catching my skin flakes in tightly wrapped tin foil? Were the Lizard People using Soviet manufactured satellites to track the bar code imprinted on a computer chip that was embedded in my left nostril?

I decided it was all a coincidence and left the store in a huff, giving an odd glance to a man in a dark suit perusing a copy of Global Conspiracy Magazine. I drove to yet another grocery store where finally, I found my $20 phone card.

I should have ended my painful shopping trip right there but no, I made the fateful decision to buy a few groceries. It was during my time in the bread, egg and cheese aisle that I heard the thing that haunted the rest of my weekend. I was happily picking out a package of provolone cheese when a family passed behind me. It was a Norman Rockwellian scene: A mother with her three children in tow, shopping for the family’s basic needs. One of the children asked if they could buy a particular item. I couldn’t understand what the child said but the mother’s response flattened me.

“No,” she replied, “those always loosen you up too much.”

I have never vomited in a grocery store and I was determined to keep that streak alive. The bile that rose in my throat from the graphic image that popped into my head with a devious grin, stayed in my mouth. I choked on it. Choked hard. I ran to the check-out, barreling over an old woman trying to choose between extra-absorbent and super extra-absorbent paper towels. I showed the clerk the items in my hands, threw a wad of money at her and ran from the store.

Once in my car, I wept openly. The world was a darker, danker place and my innocence had been tossed into the trash. I hate shopping on a Friday night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Encounter in the Woods

I was taking a walk through a local state park, enjoying the turning fall leaves, when I almost caught Bigfoot. He tried to tell me he was just a hairy man on a mountain bike but you can’t fool me. After all, I see those Jack Links Jerky commercials almost every day. I think I know Sasquatch when I see him.

I was deep in the woods when I came upon a sylvan glen. A placid breeze wafted across my skin as a yellow-red leaf broke away from its home on a gnarled tree limb and drifted to the semi-hard ground in front of me. Suddenly the calm was shattered by a horrible huffing and puffing. Leaves on a nearby bush were swatted aside and he appeared: Bigfoot!

Huge and as wide as a barn door, only his head was covered in dark fur. I was surprised to see his body encased in blue and silver spandex. He rode a steed made of hardened aluminum with round rubber legs. I had never seen a creature like it. The Bigfoot species must have spent hundreds of years breeding and taming these beasts to use as transportation through the forest.

Knowing this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance I chased after him. He turned onto another path. I cut through some painful brambles to catch up, leaping and grabbing hold of one of his steed’s rubber legs. The creature dragged me twenty yards before stopping and then Bigfoot spoke!

“What the hell are you doing man?” he screamed at me. What a strange, guttural language! I tried to communicate back.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I reassured him.

“I’m going to hurt you if you don’t let go of my bike!” he bellowed back. I had no idea what he was saying but he was clearly upset. I tried reaching out and stroking his spandex skin.

“Good boy, good boy,” I said sweetly, in a sing-song voice. He looked down at me weirdly then through yellow, gritted teeth said:

“Dude, if you don’t move your hand right now, I will snap it off and SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR THROAT!”

He was roaring now, flailing his arms about like a mountain gorilla. Perhaps they’re related somehow physiologically? I backed off, not wanting to overexcite him.

“What is wrong with you?” he yelled at me in his odd language, spittle flying from his lips. I held out my hands in a gesture of fealty. Finally he calmed down, turned and got ready to ride off on his animal. I had to act fast, my moment was slipping away. I grabbed a hefty tree branch from the ground, swung and caught Bigfoot in the back of the head. He went down in a heap, tangled with pieces of his steed.

I dragged his carcass to my car. He’s in my garden shed for now. When I’m done studying him we will make our grand presentation to the International Sasquatch Convention in Belgium next summer. I have a lot of work to do between now and then. I’m still trying to decipher his language. Last night he said to me, “Let me out of here NOW, you *&6%&^* piece of $#@#. I’m going to kill you! When I get my hands on you I’ll break every %^$#@@&(* bone in your ^&%#@@#$% body, let them heal and start over again!”

If only I knew what that meant, I could be the first person to communicate with one of the great mysteries of the world. When I take him his dinner of dried leaves and stink bugs I will try again.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Billy Goat, Billy Goat, Get Off My Bridge

I have been occupied. I opened my blog up this morning and found four protesters eating corn muffins and drinking half fat, low foam lattes with just a whiff of cinnamon. When they saw me they lifted up home made signs and began shouting slogans through mouthfuls of crumbling baked goods. The slogan wasn’t very catchy:

“Irrelevant blogs clog the arteries of the internet thus making it more difficult for discerning readers to find blogs of more noteworthy content!”

I told the three young men and one woman that they sucked as protesters to which I received this retort:

“Yeah . . . well . . . you use too many big words.”

They then began chanting “No big words! No big words! No big words!”

I asked them what exactly the problem was.

“We don’t like your blog,” the tall skinny one who hadn’t bathed in a few days said smugly. “And we’re going to sit right here on the admin page until you delete it.”

“Yeah!” added the female whose lazy eye kept wandering to the donut I had sitting on my desk.

I asked what specifically they didn’t like about Cosmic Overdrive.

“You don’t write about what’s important to us. I don’t care if you go to Office Max or you don’t like grocery stores that sell lawn furniture. And these politicians you write about, who are they? I’ve never heard of these people.”

You mean the one’s who are running for the republican nomination for the office of president of the United States, I asked?

“Yeah, duh, who cares? We want to read blogs about video games and snowboarding and protesting.”

Just because you don’t like what I write doesn’t make it irrelevant or mean you have the right to demand it not exist anymore. If you don’t like it just don’t read it, I told them.

“You can’t tell us what to do!” they screamed indignantly. “Fascist! Fascist! Fascist!”

That’s it, I tried to be nice. I’m getting out the taser.


Too late, you pissed me off.


I didn’t want my blog to become a police state but they pushed me. All four are down, splayed out all over my admin page. Oddly enough the girl’s lazy eye is still dancing over my donut. I hope I don’t get any bad press from this incident.

Oh no. There’s already an article about it on Huffington Post. Damn it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Contractual Obligation Post

I didn’t really want to write a blog post today but then I was informed by myself that I was contractually obligated. Apparently sometime during the summer I made myself sign a contract I had written that forces me to write on certain days. I can be such a jerk sometimes.

I’m trying to figure out how I knew how to write a contract in the first place. I know me, and a law degree is something I don’t have. I have half a jar of peanut butter, a glass Snoopy bank filled with pennies, a lifetime supply of sarcasm and assorted notebooks filled with ideas, observations and knock-knock jokes but I don’t have a law degree.

Wanting to breach the agreement, I simply refused to write, but I was too smart for myself. I had had a clause put into the contract that if I refused to write a blog on this date that tomorrow I would be forced to write a sonnet about kittens sleeping on rainbows while John Denver songs play in the background. I didn’t know I could be so cruel.

It only got worse as I read further. If I don’t sit down and write a poem on Wednesday, I’ll force myself to watch Katy Perry videos on You Tube. By Thursday if I don’t have a short story started I will have to watch a marathon of Joey Lawrence’s sitcom on the Family Channel. Where did I come up with these heinous punishments? Why would I subject myself to these vile tortures if I don’t comply with my contract with myself?

I wanted to hire a lawyer to fight the contract, but I told myself I couldn’t afford one. I may have been lying, I don’t know if I can trust myself anymore. Feeling I had no choice I’ve taken a drastic measure. I’ve hired a hit man to kill me and make it look like an accident. I know it sounds crazy but I will not let me control myself with flimsy legal papers.

I have to go make my dinner now. Funny . . . I don’t remember that ottoman being right in front of the refrigerator where I could easily fall over it and hit my head on the kitchen counter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Governors

Coming this fall on Fox it’s the sitcom that puts politics where it belongs: under the banana peels and coffee grounds in the trash!

It’s The Governors starring Sarah Palin and Chris Christie

Opening scene: Sarah and Chris sit at the breakfast table in the apartment they share in a brownstone in New York City. Sarah is reading the paper while Chris eats breakfast.

Sarah: Can you believe this? Roger Ailes says that he only hired me on Fox News because I’m stacked. What about my intelectalizin’?
Chris: Your what?
Sarah: My analizin’ skills.
Chris: Huh?
Sarah: My smarts!
Chris: Oh. Mmmm.

Chris stuffs a pastrami sandwich into his mouth.

Sarah: Now Chris, how many sammiches are you goin’ to eat for breakfast?
Chris: As many as I need to stay in the news as a fat loudmouth.
Sarah: You got other things goin’ for ya.
Chris: Like what?

Sarah thinks for a moment, then gets up and walks to the refrigerator.

Sarah: Ham and cheese this time?
Chris: Wait. You’re right. I’m more than just a rapacious appetite and crude opinions. And you’re more than a pair of sweater kittens.
Sarah: I didn’t think ya noticed!
Chris: We need to do something big!
Sarah: I could shoot a moose!
Chris: And I could eat it! Wait, no. Don’t think about food, don’t think about food.
Sarah: And I won’t think about anything,
Chris: Good, now we’re getting somewhere.
Sarah: Where?
Chris: As God is my witness I don’t know.
Sarah: Hey, I know God too. He told me not to run for president in 2012
Chris: I thought it was because you’re a whore for money.
Sarah: Oh yeah.

They both walk into the living room and plop down on the couch.

Sarah: Do you really think I’m smart?
Chris: Do you think I’m thin?
Sarah: Next topic.
Chris: I want to do something that will change the world.
Sarah: That’s why you became governor, huh?
Chris: No, that’s why I became a boy scout. But they accused me of eating the scout master.
Sarah: Ookay. So then you became governor.
Chris: No, then I volunteered at the hospital, taking food trays to the patients.
Sarah: Hoo boy, I don’t like where this is goin’
Chris: I really loved the Jello.
Sarah: How much did you love it Chris?
Chris: They found me naked in one of the whirlpools covered in the strawberry flavor.
Sarah: Let’s fast forward through this story, ok? Why did you become governor?
Chris: Free sandwiches. You?
Sarah: Oh, free everything. I haven’t spent a dime of my own scratch in years don’t ya know.
Chris: What are we going to do?
Sarah: We’ll just keep bein’ ourselves.
Chris: You mean two stupid people who feel a sense of entitlement and have absolutely no frigging clue what we’re doing?
Sarah: Yeah . . . I guess, although it sounded better in my head.
Chris: Let’s go eat lunch.
Sarah: Its only 8:30 in the morning for Pete’s sake!

Chris drops his head sadly.

Sarah: Ok ya big lug. Let’s go.

Cue music

Tune in next week when Mitt Romney spends the night and can’t decide whether to sleep on the couch or in the spare room.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Politics Schmolitics

No matter what question each of the republican candidates are asked, or what subject they are giving a speech on, their thoughts can be crystallized with an interpretive sentence or two. So you don’t actually have to watch and listen to them. No matter what comes out of their mouths, this is what they mean:

Rick PerryTexas: we elect idiots.

Mitt Romney—I don’t like or agree with the tea party but I will pander to them to get their votes.

Ron Paul—I can’t win but I won’t shut up.

Herman Cain—Yeah, I sold pizza, now I’m running for president. Can you believe this shit?

Michelle Bachmann—I’m paranoid! Who said that?

Newt Gingrich—Yes! I’m still running. How many times do I have to say it?

On to the democrats who are still as spineless as jellyfish. President Obama this week has been giving a series of fiery speeches, being more animated and self-assured as well as smack talking some republicans. Now what could have caused this sudden surge of machismo? Why now, at this particular time, after he’s been president for 2 and ¾ years? Has his wife started giving him Flintstone vitamins? Unlikely. Maybe he’s been drinking 200 year old scotch found in Thomas Jefferson’s basement and he’s hammered when he’s giving these speeches? Possible. Hmm. You don’t suppose . . . no, it couldn’t be. You don’t think he’s like every other politician and he’s just trying to get re-elected? Crap.

Let’s check in with the Tea Party. Yep, still racist narcissists.

Did you know Fred Karger is still running for the republican nomination for president? Me neither. When I found out you could have knocked me over by hitting me with a heavy farm implement.

Tim Pawlenty tried to get a job with Fox News as a political commentator. Yeah, that’s who you want analyzing politics, someone who wasn’t self-aware enough to know no one wanted him to run for president. Someone whose only claim to fame is being so boring, viewers would rather watch an awards show telecast. Someone so dull it’s not worth my time to think of a third joke about him.

This was the week in politics schmolitics.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm Late, I'm Late, to a Very Impor . . . Nah, it's Just Work

I was late to work yesterday because of a minor car accident. A car decided to rear end an SUV right at the intersection of Springwood Road that I wanted to turn left onto. The line of traffic behind them stretched west to the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. There were tug boats pulling cars out into the water to their place in line. A mermaid was selling breakfast kippers to businessmen and a 92’ Dodge was boarded by pirates.

I made the sanity-saving decision to turn right instead. Rush Limbaugh congratulated me on his radio show and my cell phone was immediately robo-called by Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney and local candidate for garbage commissioner Earl “Mud Skipper” Delaney.

I had avoided the long line of stationery cars but now had to drive in a wide circle to get back onto Springwood Road about a mile east of the accident. At the first traffic light I was accosted by teenagers waiting for the school bus. A boy with dyed black hair thrust a geometry book through my open window and screamed:

a 2 + b 2 = c 2! What does it mean? Is it the meaning of life? Is it a secret code? Help me!”

Luckily I had won 5th place in a high school talent show with my impersonation of Pythagoras. I was able to calm him down and finish problems 12-15 and show my work. Then a short, angry-looking girl swore at me for being an adult on general principle. Finally the light turned green.

I turned left at the light and was welcomed back by a hearty “Huzzah” from Al Franken, Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin. I had to go up a very steep hill, like driving up the side of the Matterhorn. Halfway up I passed three Sherpas burying a dead hiker. My car engine whined like a Republican asking for tax cuts but made it up the hill.

I came to another traffic light and turned left again receiving a “Well done” from the Huffington Post. I drove about a half mile to the next traffic light and turned left again and received nothing from anyone because that joke has run its course.

I was now on a winding country lane which would lead me to the promised land of Springwood Road. As I drove past a wide open field I glanced over when I saw movement. A hawk the size of a passenger bus was swooping down over the field coming straight for my car. I watched as he rose in the air again and then dove at the hood of my Chevy Cavalier, wrapping his talons around my windshield wipers. Flapping his wings with the authority John Boehner only believes he has, I felt my car being lifted off the ground. I squeezed the lever for the wiper fluid and watched as a stream of the bluish liquid hit the bird in the eyes. He squawked loudly, shaking his head and finally loosened his grip. My car fell to earth twenty feet farther down the road. I accelerated leaving the dazed hawk flying in circles around a weather vane trying to pick a fight.

When I reached the intersection with Springwood Road I turned right receiving a congratulatory email from Fox News. Yes, I went there again. It’s referred to as a “callback”.

I reached work 10 minutes late. After telling my tale to my boss, exactly as I have recounted it for you here, she said she only believed a few words of it. She thought I was exaggerating. Me! I haven’t been so insulted since the ghost of Ernest Hemingway told me I use too many adjectives.

Anyway I had to stay an extra ten minutes to make up the time, but I got the last laugh. I didn’t do a lick of work; instead I played cards with a troll, a spider monkey and a Jimmy Stewart impersonator. Me exaggerate? Please.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Natto? No, No

There is a cartoon in my local paper that I glance at a few times a week. I’m not sure why I bother because it’s not funny and can be rather condescending but I guess that’s a topic for me and my therapist, Large Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza. Anyway, the other day they mentioned a food called “natto”. The cartoon alluded to the fact that natto was pungent in smell and an “acquired taste” even for the most ardent lover of food. I had never heard of it so I Googled it. It’s Japanese and is one of those foods that I would have loved to been there when the inventor came up with his brilliant idea.

Scene: inside Shinjo’s Saki Palace and Tofu Emporium,

The breakfast rush of one customer.

Cook: So, how are you enjoying the soybeans?
Customer: Meh. Plain beans just aren’t doing it for me anymore. They’re not bad, but something’s missing.
Cook: Like what? More seasoning? Sprinkle on some ginger or spread a little wasabi.
Customer: No, they’re not going to help.
Cook: A sauce perhaps.
Customer: No. Think differently. Something wild.
Cook: Fish oil?
Customer: Bleh, no.
Cook: A whale blubber reduction?
Customer: Interesting . . . but . . . no.
Cook: What then?
Customer: I’m thinking bacteria. Yeah, what these beans need is to be fermented in bacteria.
Cook: Hmm. What kind of bacteria?
Customer: Give me your hand towel.

The cook hands the dirty, wet towel to the customer who proceeds to bite down on one end of it and suck on the moisture. He swallows, retches and vomits.

Customer: That’s not it.

The customer then gets on his knees and licks the floor.

Customer: Oh crap. Doesn’t anyone ever wear shoes when they come in here? My tongue tastes like a foot now.
Cook: I didn’t tell you to lick the floor.

The customer walks outside and shoves a handful of dirt into his mouth. He swishes it around, chews a few times and swallows.

Customer: Oh yeah, this is it. This is what would make those beans sing. Bacteria straight from the bug-infested, radiated, sewage-soaked ground.
Cook: And what do you think the bacteria will do for the beans?
Customer: What will it do? It will cover them in sticky goo. They will be repulsive to look at, smell and eat!
Cook: I‘ve been looking for a signature dish to pull people in.
Customer: Oh no. This will drive people miles away. But you’ll be famous!
Cook: I’ll do it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

3 Things I Didn’t Understand Last Week

Why does your body attack you with a sudden pain? Then by the time the hypochondriac in you is convinced you’ve somehow picked up a fang-toothed, tape worm-like parasite from the Amazonian rain forest that’s eating your nerve fibers like cotton candy and carrying diseases heretofore only found in science fiction novels, it just as suddenly goes away. On my way to work the other day the inside of my right ear began to throb as if the Norse god Thor were in there pounding on my eardrum with his hammer Mjolnir. I’m pretty sure he was playing the solo from Zeppelin’s Moby Dick and much like Robert Plant I was about ready to shriek in a high-pitched voice. And then it was gone. I have no idea why the pain started, what caused it or why it stopped. Do our bodies contain gremlins? Are their little green creatures slithering through our veins, popping out occasionally to pinch a muscle or punch a kidney? This needs to be studied. I propose a telethon to raise money for research, hosted by Rob Schneider and Kathy Griffin and shown on cable access channels the world over. Wait, that would actually CAUSE pain. Forget it

This one is about the men’s room so if you are faint of heart, step away from the computer now. For those of you who remain, what is wrong with you? You like reading stories about the men’s room? I didn’t even like writing it. Anyway, on with the story! I was in stall #1 the other day at work, taking care of business and wondering what a cheese puff is exactly. I mean, it’s light and crunchy and cheesy and delicious, but WHAT is it? My important work was interrupted by whoever was in stall #2 tearing off what sounded like a full yard of paper. A few seconds passed and again I could hear the roll being maneuvered and A LOT more toilet paper being torn off. Another few seconds passed and MORE paper was unfurled. What in the hell was he doing with all that paper? Finally the toilet flushed and I thought all was well so I went back to pondering the provenance of cheese-based snacks. To my horror the roll of toilet paper began moving again: Foot after foot of thin, cheap paper being gathered for some nefarious purpose. There were sounds I couldn’t place which made me queasy, and then . . . more paper was unrolled. I audibly gasped. Did this man pass a ground hog? Was his rectum being used to test experimental suppositories? Did he clean out his cupboards over the weekend and find a 20 year old bag of olestra chips and figure ‘what the hell’? I put my head in my hands and wept as I knew I was going to die that day. I just wanted it to stop. I prayed and asked God what punishment he had wrought on this man. I was answered with spin after spin of the toilet paper roll. I watched the paper spool on the floor like a coiling snake. Then I heard the tear and saw the top of the paper mound peeking over the walls of the stall. Thirty seconds passed and the paper slowly disappeared, accompanied by sounds NASA scientists have yet to identify, followed by a second flush. When the man exited the stall I averted my eyes so as not to catch a glimpse between the stall door for fear I would turn to stone or worse yet, into a roll of Quilted Northern.

I work in a casual business environment. My department was recently moved to another of the company’s office buildings and we are now in the middle of a “cubicle farm” with members of another department. What I don’t understand is why they believe a cubicle provides privacy. They put up three metal and cloth “walls” and you’re supposed to be comfortable talking to your doctor to get the results of that test you drove three states away to get. There is someone in my office whose niece got married the other weekend. How do I know this? Because on Monday morning it was the first topic of conversation in every phone call she had and I can HEAR EVERY WORD SHE SAYS. I’m waiting for the day I get to hear about someone’s goiter or their step-son’s arrest for urinating on a cow. I think we should all get our own personal “hamster ball”. The plastic could be tinted so no one can see inside, it would be soundproofed so no one can hear your phone conversations and you could roll your way around the office in comfort.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recommended Reading

I was never really a blog reader, but since I started writing one a few years ago, I decided I needed to become one. Over the past months I’ve searched the internet high and low using hi-tech government tracking equipment, chain gang blood hounds and a private investigator named Lou who charges $50 a day plus meals. My intrepid methods have uncovered hundreds of blogs, written on different subjects and in varied tones. Politics is a popular subject and there is no middle ground. They are either liberal in view point or conservative or bat shit crazy. There are also numerous “humor” blogs such as mine. I dearly hope mine is funnier than most of the ones I’ve found because otherwise I’m deluding myself. There are a lot of really unfunny people out in the world who believe themselves to the height of hilarity.

Another popular motif is the “confessional” blog where the writer bares their life, every blessed square inch of it, in the posts. Every daily event and emotion that goes along with it is transcribed for an audience of voyeurs to either commiserate or pass judgment in the comment section.

The one type of blog I’ve never understood is the one that just re-posts news items and pictures from other sites. Its no wonder the internet resembles a house on Hoarders. The same objects are getting posted a hundred times, many times by people who seem to need the recognition as the one who brought it to their segment of the internet.

Enough rambling by me. The whole point of this post was to let you know about a few blogs I’ve been reading that I like and maybe you would like them to:

Mental Poo --

You can get a feeling for the tone of this humor blog just from the title. The writer’s name is Rodney, or you can refer to him by his nickname The Midget Man of Steel. The humor is adult oriented—swearing and sexual jokes abound—but Rodney is a very funny guy. He likes to Google odd word combination to see what it returns, he’s very fond of drawing crude pictures to get his point across, and he really enjoys screwing with people and posting the results on his blog.

The Hubby Diaries --

This is another humor blog written by a woman who got married sort of late in life (32 I believe) and has now been en matrimony for about 8 years. For some odd reason she finds the things her husband does and says worthy of writing about in a humorous way. It’s all done with respect and love even if she is a bit confused by his behavior. I don’t find his behavior odd at all, but then I’m a guy.

Personal blog for Christian Larsen --

Christian Larsen is a writer like me toiling in the obscure underworld of online zines and small presses. His blog is pretty new. He’s written some about his experiences writing (like dreaming the first page of a short story), done some movie reviews and also advertised a few of his stories with links to where they have been published. He’s a good writer in the speculative arena.

Brutalism --

Don’t let the title scare you (it’s named after a style of architecture), this is a humor blog. Written by a woman named Kathleen who also writes a column for a website with news and information about the town in Virginia she lives in and works in marketing. The posts are about her family and things that happen in daily life and she writes with a healthy dose of sarcasm and cynicism which I identify with.

Paranormal Utopia --

This one is obviously not going to be interesting to everyone, but I’m a fan. I love reading about UFOs, paranormal experiences and conspiracy theories. This site has all kinds of articles and links for UFO sightings, alien abductions, odd photographs, movie trailers and lots of conspiracy theories including one I read last week that had Bill Clinton’s clone refusing to sign a bill that would dismantle the IRS and give every citizen in the U.S $10 million to pay off their debts and start over. I love this stuff.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Too Old to Exercise

Last year I did the exercise program P90x for about 4 months. I lost 20 pounds and felt really good. But then on my way to losing another 20 pounds I started getting minor muscle strains which hindered my workouts: First my calf, then my forearm, then my back. The medical reason for these muscle strains is that I am old.

There’s a lot of warming up and stretching before each routine in P90x and I followed them and still hurt myself. I was thinking back to when I was a kid and there was no “warming up” or “stretching”. We rolled out of bed, got dressed in yesterday’s clothes, ran down the stairs like we were on fire, slammed the door open to leave the house and then proceeded to run around the neighborhood like maniacs on methamphetamines for approximately 23 hours before coming home to devour the contents of the refrigerator and fall into bed to go to sleep.

Fast forward to today at 46 years old and if I roll over in bed in middle of the night I pop a hamstring. Having to go to the bathroom at 2 a.m. is like maneuvering through a minefield. If, and it’s a BIG if, I manage not to stub a toe on the bed frame unleashing new and creative expletives that Webster’s is considering adding to their dictionary, I have to avoid the clothes hamper while making a sharp right turn to make it past the bedroom door without cracking a knee into it or raking my knuckles while reaching for the light switch. With eyes still glued shut as if I was sleeping in a bed of tree sap there is a narrow strip of wall in the hallway I have to avoid walking directly into then have the presence of mind to turn right again to enter the bathroom. I almost never run this gauntlet without free-flowing blood or a new, shiny bruise.

When I was 9 we were playing football 18 seconds after waking up. Tackle football. Without any protection. I never pulled a muscle. Yesterday I stood up at my desk at work and my kneecap popped so loud I thought I had been shot.

Eventually last year I stopped exercising. Not because of the never-ending muscle strains but because I got lazy. My couch made a persuasive argument as to why I should sit on it and watch Justified and Burn Notice on TV. I’m telling you my futon must have been on the debate team in college. I regained the 20 pounds plus a few more because that’s how I roll. Literally, I roll across the floor to the kitchen for another corn dog.

This week I re-started P90x. In some ways it feels good to be exercising again, in others, not so much. I am so sore every movement is like someone sticking a lit match under my skin. Friday’s workout contained a lot of lunges and squats and now my gluteus maximus is sore. Did you know there were muscles back there? I didn’t, and now they hurt. Apparently I am too old for exercise.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Adventures of Mr. Speed

Faster than a ’92 Honda Civic, more powerful than a diesel powered dump truck, able to leap the curb while making a turn, it’s . . . Mr. Speed!

Today’s episode: Death by Garbage

Our scene opens with Mr. Speed on his way to meet his super friends at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire for a day of fun and frolic. As he drives happily along in his mother’s 1999 Buick Century with working air conditioning and V6 engine, his mind is wandering to other of life’s problems.

“What do fish think about all day?” Mr. Speed asked himself thoughtfully. “How many times can I legally dream about Megan Fox before it’s considered stalking?” he wondered as he drove past the York County Landfill on Mt. Pisgah Road. “Why won’t Charlie Sheen just go away?” he pondered.

In the middle of his reverie Mr. Speed was suddenly jolted by flashing lights. Was it the aliens again, come back to finish their experiments? Had a disco opened in that empty field? Was it the opening of another Verizon store that no one would ever see anyone go into and yet it would somehow stay in business?

No! It was Mr. Speed’s sworn enemy, The Policeman from the planet York Township. Mr. Speed pulled over wondering what nefarious plan The Policeman had. He watched carefully through the side mirror as his nemesis approached.

“So, we meet face to face for the first time Mr. Speed,” The Policeman snickered, his voice as thick as olive oil and as nasally as Celine Dion’s awful singing. There was a long pause and then The Policeman leaned in with a sinister sneer, “Do you have license, registration and proof of insurance, and I hope the answer is no!” Mr. Speed thwarted the attack by peacefully handing his documentation to The Policeman. He growled with disapproval, snatching the papers from his hand. Mr. Speed smiled.

“Do you know why I have pulled you over?” The Policeman asked.

“Because you’re an interplanetary madman bent on human destruction and I am the one person that can stop your evil reign of terror against the innocent people of Earth.”

“Besides that.”


“You were . . . SPEEDING! Muahahahahahahahaha!”

Drat! Mr. Speed had thought that his atomic powered muon transference accelerator had blocked his true speed from land-based radar, but The Policeman had detected the extra velocity. He continued laughing as he went back to his patrol car, each chortle a slap to Mr. Speed’s already red face.

He knew The Policeman’s plan must be to give him a huge ticket, draining his bank account. Mr. Speed had to do something. Closing his eyes, he concentrated hard on the ticket The Policeman was writing. In his mind he saw the pen as it pressed down on the pad. It was writing down his address and phone number. Then it detailed his offense. Mr. Speed waited and when his mind’s eye saw the pen writing in the amount of the fine he sent a telepathic message for it to be the minimum. The pen shook in the Policeman’s hand, wanting to write down an absurdly large number. Mr. Speed drained himself of all his energy to force The Policeman to write the ticket for 45 in a 40 instead of charging him with his actual speed of Mach 3.

Mr. Speed collapsed back in his seat, sweating profusely. He saw the patrol car door open and The Policeman stride angrily toward him. The ticket was thrown at Mr. Speed’s face.

“I don’t know how you did it, but you ruined my plans Mr. Speed.”

“That’s because I fight on the side of good and not evil.”

“Whatever. Pay the fine in 10 days or I’ll swear out a galactic warrant on you and the Scarlax of Negron 5 will swallow you and divide you up between its 6 stomachs.”

The Policeman got in his patrol car and drove off. Mr. Speed sat in his mother’s car swearing softly to himself before continuing on his journey to the Renaissance Faire. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day. Until the torrential rain came.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Afternoon at the Movies

I don’t go to a lot of movies because the price to get in to see Michael Bay’s latest orgy of CGI and tin-eared dialog is usually more than the GNP of Paraguay. But last week I found out just how bad things had gotten at my local theater. My brother and I both wanted to see Cowboys and Aliens and I had a $25 gift card. We planned to go at a matinee time slot so I figured my card would get us both into the movie and get us something from the snack bar. I can hear you laughing.

I ordered our tickets and handed over my gift card. The girl behind the glass looked at it, chuckled and yelled to the girl next to her, “Hey Charlene, these guys think this gift card will get them into the movie.” Charlene replied, “Aww, that’s cute.” I felt something poke me in the back and when I turned there was a mountain standing behind me.

“This is Salvatore,” the girl behind the glass said. “He’ll take you to the Regal Cinemas Financing Room. Thank you and enjoy the movie.” Mt. Kilimanjaro led my brother and me into a small room that contained a desk and another swarthy gentleman with the name tag “Vincent”. Vincent dropped a brick of money onto the desk.

“Dis is da getting’ in money for da movie. Youse will pays it back in 24 hours plus da juice.”

“Juice?” I asked.

“17 percent. Five o’clock tomorra.”

I was still a little hazy on “juice” but before I could ask again, Salvatore picked us up like dolls and carried us to the snack bar. He dropped us and then returned to the theater entrance where three Sherpa’s we were waiting to lead an expedition up his south face to set up base camp at his knees.

Tentatively I approached the girl behind the counter. “I have $12, what can I get for that?” I asked. “Here you go,” she replied cheerfully while handing me a straw. I looked over at my brother who, for his money, had received a palm full of melted butter.

“If you want something to go with that,” the girl continued, “here is the Regal Cinemas Snack Bar Bartering List.” I took the paper and we read:

What You Want to Order // What you Have to Give

1 small soda and small popcorn – sperm
1 medium soda and medium popcorn – plasma
1 large soda and large popcorn – bone marrow
1 large soda and large popcorn with assorted candy – kidney

We were hooked up by a very nice nurse named Peggy and gave our pint of blood for which we received our medium soda and popcorn. As we left the Regal Cinemas Infirmary a man was being prepped for kidney removal. He looked at us and said, “I just can’t enjoy a movie without my Jujubes.” The on-call surgeon looked a lot like the guy I had seen sweeping up popcorn and rat feces from the lobby floor.

The movie was good, we both enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to the cinema for a while. I’m still feeling kind of lightheaded.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Newt Gingrich Keeps Rolling Along . . . Off a Cliff

Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign is the gift that just keeps on giving, like a bottomless bowl of fettuccine Alfredo. I don’t really want to keep writing about him because he’s such a narcissistic buffoon, but he keeps making news for the dumbest shit. His campaign went off the rails months ago. It’s lying in a ditch somewhere in Kentucky, the corpse being picked over by rangy, stray dogs and families of possums. But the Newtman will not give up.

His latest explanation of why his candidacy isn’t dead is that he has more Twitter followers than any of the other republican hopefuls thus proving his popularity. Now I’m already on record as believing that Twitter may be the stupidest invention ever. It tops even the Thigh Master and the Salad Shooter in my book. But celebrities, athletes and other people who can’t stop talking about themselves seem to enjoy it. Newt has 1.3 million followers and I guess the closest to him is Sarah Palin with 600,000. So you can see how this makes Newt a viable candidate. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Somewhere in Newt’s delusional cerebellum it all makes sense. It’s mixed up with memories of his mother telling him he’ll be the first amphibian to become president. This week, however, there was a story on the website Gawker that has thrown cold, bacteria-infested, New Jersey swamp water all over Newt’s specious logic.

A former Newt Gingrich campaign worker says that most of his twitter army . . . is fake. Much like thousands of voters in a Chicago mayoral election, they don’t exist. Newt paid a company to create thousands of false twitter accounts to fluff up his numbers and make it look like he was the populist candidate. Gawker rightfully pointed out that this hadn’t been proven yet; it was just the word of a former employee.

The next day though they had a follow-up story about a web site called PeekYou who had already investigated this claim and determined that indeed, 92% of Newt’s followers on Twitter had fake names or were inactive. This number coincides with my own findings that 92% of Newt’s ideas are worthless crap.

I’m assuming that Newt will continue his amoeba-like existence, re-forming his campaign around whatever new concept his plasticized wife whispers into his hirsute ear while he files corns off of her feet and Fox News plays in the background with the sound turned down. So while I’d rather write about my latest trip to Office Max or something else stupid I’ve done, Newt could make his triumphant return at any time. You’ve been warned.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear NFL

Professional football is my favorite sport. From August to February I live, eat and breathe football. For the past few months it looked like the 2011 NFL schedule of games might be cancelled as the players and owners were in a fight over who should get how much of the $9 billion the game makes every year in revenue. As you can imagine this left me in quite the emotional state until the stalemate ended this week. The aggrieved parties are friends again, awash in cash, and the season has been saved. It prompted me to write this letter:

Dear NFL,

So, you’re coming back to me after all. I was beginning to think our 40 year relationship was over. I know why you’re upset, but it didn’t have to come to this.

Yes, after the Super Bowl each year I have my affairs: college basketball and baseball. I’ve been with baseball nearly as long as you. College basketball is younger, but it’s not like that, don’t make it dirty.

I honestly thought you knew about my other sports, I’ve never tried to hide it. As much as you claim to need me, it’s you who leaves every February. One last blowout that’s supposed to just be for the two of us but you have to make it a party and invite millions of other people. By the end of the night I’ve hardly gotten to speak to you much less enjoy your company. Then I wake up the next morning and you’re gone. The house is eerily empty. No note, no apologies, no explanations, just a ticking clock amid the silence telling me it will be 6 months until you return.

Now you’ve found out about my dalliances and you’re angry. What did you expect from me? I’m only a sports fan. If you abandon me I’m going to turn elsewhere. I won’t just sit in front of the TV watching Law and Order reruns waiting for you to return. Besides, I’ve said all along that if you’d stay I wouldn’t need these other sports. You leave a gaping hole and think I won’t reach out to fill it?

Baseball and college basketball want to be with me. I know that shocks you, but it’s true. My fandom is attractive to other sports and they don’t take me for granted. If I stop watching their games, they notice and try to woo me back. You? You just keep counting your money while the cheerleaders dance for the drunks in the stands. I’m important to baseball, but to you I’m just another Sunday afternoon cheap trick that will sit and watch the Browns vs. the Redskins and think I’m being entertained.

So now you’re back and I’m excited just like you knew I would be. I guess our dysfunctional relationship will never change because I can’t let you go. Although I’m not going to just be available anytime you want to play a meaningless pre-season game in Buffalo. Baseball season is in full swing and my Phillies are in first place. I know a good thing when I have one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Republicans vs. The Economy

I don’t understand the economy. I’ve listened to talking heads on TV, read newspaper and magazine articles and its still over my head, much like understanding the popularity of Ugg boots. I will also admit that until recently I had never heard the term “debt ceiling”. I’m sure it’s been bandied about in previous years and I just didn’t pay attention. It took an about-to-be catastrophe to pull me away from my Hogan’s Heroes reruns and learn something about how our country pays its bills. I like learning new words and phrases so I guess I have to thank the Republican Party and their on-going stupidity for teaching me “debt ceiling”, although they could have just taught us “zugzwang” (a situation in which a player is limited to moves that have a damaging effect).

The main point I don’t understand is why Republicans won’t listen to the experts. Republican representatives don’t understand the economy either. They’re just people, like you and I, who we elected to represent us. The actual experts, economists and such, are screaming that not raising the debt ceiling would be a very bad thing. But the republicans keep desperately trying to appease the Tea Party wing nuts by sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you, la la la!” Ignoring people smarter than you on an important subject makes no sense.

Let’s say I woke up one morning with a toe growing out of my forehead. I get two opinions. First, I ask my friend Don, and his response is “Cool! You should get it pierced and tatted.” I ask my doctor and his response is: “Dear God! Do you live next to a nuclear facility? Why did you make a 2:15 appointment with me, go to the hospital you moron!” Hmmm, whose advice should I take? Don is a helluva nice guy, however, his only medical experience is watching “Dirty Nurses: volume 34” 116 times. My doctor on the other hand has degrees on the wall and has been practicing for 40 years.

The Tea Party boneheads are sitting in their offices yanking it to a video of a Reagan impersonator reading the constitution as God Bless America plays in the background while sending emails to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell threatening to have them replaced. With all this going on the Republicans can’t hear the economists bleating like lost lambs that there are Chinese wolves at the edge of the pasture, red saliva dripping from their fangs.

So, stay tuned. Either a deal will get done or on August 3rd you’ll see a lot of rickety card tables on the White House lawn and a hand-painted sign: Yard Sale, 8 am – 8 pm, rain or shine. I might swing by and pick up a moth-balled SR-71 Blackbird spy plane for 75 cents.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To the Max

I found myself at Office Max again over the weekend. The mythopoeic Joey was not being discussed on this day so the mood was understandably sedate. My whole experience was very relaxed. I found what I was looking for easily, debated with myself over which brand to purchase and then tripped giddily to the check-out counter. Ok, I wasn’t “giddy”. I only achieve that adjective when one of my favorite sports teams wins a championship, but darn it, I was happy.

As I approached the register the customer in front of me was just saying “thank you” and picking up his purchase so I was able to slide my ink cartridge and magazine holders onto the counter. Reaching for my wallet I was greeted by the forced cheeriness of a young man with a prepared speech that nothing except a blow to the head with a blunt object was going to stop him from reciting:

“Good morn . . . uh, after . . . yeah, afternoon, sir. Would you like to sign up for our new rewards program?

“I don’t . . .”

“You will receive a card which you can use with every purchase made at any Office Max store location . . .”

“That’s ok, I . . .”

“You can earn points towards discounted merchandise . . .”

“The thing is . . .

“Oh, and I see you are buying an ink cartridge. With the new rewards program . . .”

“Can we just . . .”

“. . . you can bring this back when it is empty and we will refill it for free. Also, by signing up you will ensure that I don’t lose my job.”

I still wasn’t biting so this is where I believe the kid started making things up:

“The Office Max rewards card is very valuable, sir. The edges are lined with gold flakes. You can also use it to gain entrance to any level 3 security government facility or your local Shur Fine Market after hours. And . . . that’s not all . . . here are some other points of interest.”

The lights dimmed and a Power Point presentation appeared on the front wall of the store. First up was a pie chart showing that 67% of Americans with a rewards card have lowered their blood pressure and lessened joint pain. Then a bar graph informed me that the only people farther down the evolutionary scale than people without a rewards card are Sean Hannity viewers and congress. The Aaron Copland score reached a crescendo with photos of smiling, happy families taking their rewards cards out for a walk, feeding it ice cream or teaching it to surf at the beach. The presentation ended with a video appeal from Willie Nelson:

When I’m on the road again, I’m usually on my way to any convenient Office Max location. They’re always on my mind when I need any type of paper, pen or other office product. You’d be crazy not to sign up for a rewards card today.

I still didn’t want one but finally said yes before my next birthday passed inside the Office Max store. I thought the saucer-eyed teenager behind the counter would ask me my email address, maybe a phone number: a few keystrokes later we’d be done. I was wrong. He reached under the counter and hefted up a binder with 64 pages of personal questions, a vial for my blood sample, a polyethylene bag for skin flakes and hair follicles, and a plastic case for nail clippings. He then took my picture for the Office Max Rewards Wall.

It was a little after midnight when I was finally permitted to leave the store, ushered out by a sleepy security guard and his geriatric cocker spaniel watch dog. My shiny new rewards card was tucked away in my bag yawning with indifference. I was yawning with exhaustion. I have got to start going to Staples.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Iowa Spawning Ground

I’ve spent the last 2 years chronicling the slow descent into madness of Michelle Bachmann. From her proclamation that congress was filled with Commies that needed to be weeded out by the ghost of Joe McCarthy to her fear that President Obama’s call for volunteerism among the nation’s youth was a thinly veiled program to get them into internment camps where they would be brain washed to become tie-dye wearing vegans living off of government assistance and growing pot out of empty buckets of spackling compound, I’ve mined Michelle’s pixilation for laughs all the while wondering how the voters of Minnesota couldn’t notice the twinkle of insanity in her eyes.

Recently Michelle has been threatening to run for president. Of course, as someone who uses her batshit crazy behavior for his benefit I was thrilled. Two years of debates, interviews, speeches and appearances: Michelle will be in the public eye constantly. There’s no telling when her mind will go off the rails and where that train of lunacy will end up. But today, I have to admit, Michelle surprised even me. She didn’t wait for an interview with Chris Matthews or a campaign stump speech. She hit the ground running and made her first gaffe on THE DAY SHE ANNOUNCED HER CANDIDACY. Yes! Michelle Bachmann ladies and gentlemen . . .

Today Michelle made the announcement that she was officially running for president in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa (insert your own Napoleonic reference here). Michelle said:

"Well, what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

Who doesn’t admire The Duke? A man who made movies that stood up for traditional American values, a man who beat cancer twice, a man who wasn’t born in Waterloo, Iowa. Yes, Michelle got her facts wrong once again. John Wayne the movie star was born in Winterset, Iowa. John Wayne Gacy was born in Waterloo. John Wayne Gacy, who went on to murder 33 people, hide the bodies under the floorboards of his home and eventually is executed by lethal injection.

So if Michelle has the spirit of John Wayne Gacy behind her campaign I have to assume that she will be murdering the other Republican candidates one by one and stashing the bodies under the rug of her congressional office. I can’t wait until she puts on the clown makeup and twists Mitt Romney’s intestines into the shape of a poodle.

Be proud Iowa. You’ve spawned a serial killer and the craziest woman in congress. I’m not sure which one you should be smacked for more.

I’m hoping in the next few days the other republican candidates take on the anima of their favorite killer. I think it would really enliven a dull process. Tim Pawlenty could become Ted Bundy, Newt Gingrich takes on the persona of Ed Gein while Ron Paul channels Charles Manson. Just think of the debates. While Newt is covering his podium with the skin of Fred Karger, Ron Paul will be carving swastikas into his own cheeks as Tim Pawlenty strangles Herman Cain.

Michelle has struck at the heart of American politics: every man/woman for themselves, hiding the bodies until the authorities catch up to them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Heal Thyself

I have a paper route. Boy it sounds stupid when I write it out, like I’m 12 again delivering the daily to get enough money to order some sea monkeys and x-ray specs from the back of the Daffy Duck comic book. Alas, I am not 12, I’m 46 and need the money so I deliver papers in the morning as a second job and the repetitive motion of wrapping the rubber bands around the papers is wearing the skin away from several of my fingers. They hurt enough I wrap them in first aid tape. I’ve grown really tired of having my fingers taped up so I went to my medicine cabinet and got out the Neosporin to hopefully heal things up.

After a few applications I inspected my dried out skin for progress and . . . nothing. They looked and felt the same. But then I noticed other changes. When I swore under my breath it was in Norwegian. I spoke louder, doing the soliloquy from Macbeth in a Scandinavian dialect and a voice deeper than Barry White. My brain was swirling with strange images I couldn’t explain nor deny. Picking up a sharpie I inexplicably began covering my walls with the multiplication tables and recipes for potato pancakes. I knew I was in serious trouble when I started not singing the songs of Tom Jones, but mooing them like a cow. Then in the middle of the bridge for “She’s a Lady” I called a friend and told them “I have superseded ultra-consciousness and passed on to the realm of the blue ocean sting ray dream.”

I must have passed out at some point because the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor under the end table having a conversation with a lamp cord that graduated from Dartmouth with a 3.5 GPA. The last sane thing I could recall was using the Neosporin so I looked at the tube to discover that it had expired in 2008. Note to self, clean out medicine cabinet once in a while.

I found another half-full tube of Neosporin and you would think that after my experience I would check the expiration date, but I didn’t. I lathered it onto my hurting fingers as though it were Lorenzo’s oil then sat back and waited for the healing to begin.

Now, I don’t know where the marching band came from, but I do know if they had played the Broadway medley one more time I was going to let the beavers out of the cage. There’s only so much “Pirates of Penzance” I can take. Also, the state of Kansas, get off my lawn, you’re tramping down my azaleas.

After applying the Neosporin, things got . . . hazy. Colors called out my name and asked me to dance. There was an antelope in my living room doing stand-up and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t a funny son-of-a-bitch. I found the end of the rainbow but instead of a leprechaun and a pot of gold it was Danny Devito and a cardboard box of tangelos. I’m not sure how or why but my living room was filled with water and I was playing Marco Polo with a basking shark. I called that same friend again to let them know that “the seventh dimension of free-falling dementia is a pale rider for the blowing breeze of Pluto’s ascendancy.”

Here’s the thing about waking up in a kimono with baling wire wrapped around your feet and wearing a necklace of Ritz crackers: You don’t want to remember how you got that way but man does the silk feel good against your skin. When I was fully sane again I checked that tube of Neosporin and it had expired in 2004. Yeah, that’s right. I had a tube of antiseptic cream lying in my medicine cabinet for over 7 years. Go ahead, top that. I dare you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rude Mood

It had been almost a year since I was in the Office Max store and now everything seemed different. The lights were brighter, the employee’s uniforms more colorful, the muzak jauntier. It all swirled together in my brain creating a miasma of sights and sounds that left me dizzy as though I had drugged my own Rice Krispies that morning. I was looking for a pack of heavy stock paper but inventory had been rearranged. I wasn’t sure where to go and for one of the few times in my life I wanted an associate to helpfully say “May I assist you?” Staff outnumbered customers 6 to 1. There were 4 female employees standing in a huddle in the middle of the store only feet away from the entrance but as I walked past them no one offered help. Instead what I heard was “I had to go, Joey was there, so you know.”

I almost stopped and inquired, “Do you mean THE Joey?” If JOEY was THERE, I understood why they had to stand in the middle of the store talking about him instead of helping customers. Joey is just . . . so . . . Joey. I wouldn’t wait on me either if it means not talking about Joey. You have to have your priorities straight and even the people at Staples know Joey comes first.

I swallowed my anger because of the beatific Joey and wandered the store like an orphan in search of a home. Aisle after aisle I cast my net for heavy stock paper. Each time I pulled my gear back it was filled with pens, manila envelopes, staplers, cork board, reams of 20 lb 92 brightness paper on sale, organizers and office chairs, but no heavy stock paper.

Then I thought, “What would Joey do?” and the answer came to me like a kidney punch. I doubled over in pain, spitting up a soupcon of blood but I was able to regain my balance before the referee counted me out. Then even though I was puzzling over why there was a boxing referee hanging out in the bubble wrap section of Office Max, I was still able to home in on my heavy stock paper as if it were emitting a beacon. A halo of light encircled my prize while a church choir descended from the rafters singing psalms set to the electronic, ambient music of Moby. I picked up a pack of paper, dropped a coupon for dryer sheets in the choir’s collection plate and headed east for the check-out register. My back was arched; my gait was strong as the choir faded out their serenade.

I approached the only open register but was immediately brushed away with a wave from a bony hand that resembled a chicken foot pointing to a register on the other side of the store. One of Joey’s harem had been dispatched to it, I guess because Chicken Foot couldn’t handle the throng of 2 customers all by himself. He was no Joey after all, as his gnarled appendage proved. So I walked back to from whence I came, laying my purchase down on the counter.

Obviously irritated at her reverie of Joey being broken, the girl worked to dispatch me quickly so as to return to the mid-store huddle before the other females made a territorial grab for her man. I held my hand out for my receipt but instead she lazily dropped it to the counter leaving me awkwardly looking like a panhandler, palm outstretched for ripple money.

As I left the store I tried to think calming thoughts of you-know-who, but my bitterness at the rude behavior of the employees made me restive. I needed to cleanse myself so I went home and used my precious heavy stock paper to make posters for Joeypallooza, a musical festival I will pretend to put on later in the summer. And employees of Office Max are not invited.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Checking in with the GOP

It's been a few weeks since I talked about the hopefuls for the Republican Party in the 2012 election so let's see where we stand:

Michelle Bachmann—undeclared

Sarah Palin—undeclared

Mitch Daniels—not running

Mike Huckabee—not running

Donald Trump—not running

Haley Barbour—not running

Mike Pence—not running

John Thune—not running

Newt Gingrich—running, but doing it poorly. Has already flip-flopped on issues; angered the republican base by decrying Paul Ryan’s destruction of Medicare; blamed everything on the media; branded David Gregory, one of the blandest newsmen on TV, as a bad guy; and has “befuddled” the republican’s Oracle at Delphi, Rush Limbaugh. Newt’s campaign has imploded with such alacrity that people like me have hardly had time to make fun of it.

Herman Cain—Sorry, but I still can’t see people voting for a guy who runs a chain of pizza shops and has nothing new to offer. Every time he talks all I hear is “Our special today is 2 one topping medium pizzas for $12.99. Can I take your order?”

Tim Pawlenty—Tim is desperately trying to position himself as “the man”. He’s puffing out his pale, sunken chest and raising his reedy voice beyond a squeak to proclaim that he knows how to lead this country. From the tundra of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, a hero rises on a cloud of carbon dioxide yawned out by his bored constituents. He sails over the red states, a cape made from his terrible ideas flowing behind him. Able to disagree with anything a democrat says in a single word, able to say with confidence “Michelle Bachmann and myself are both from Minnesota but I’m not crazy” and able to nimbly raise millions because there just isn’t anyone else, it’s The Only Palatable Republican Candidate Who Has No Chance of Winning!

Ron Paul—Ron has a lot of supporters if your definition of a lot is about 1-2 percent of the electorate. So, yeah, he’s not going to win.

Rick Santorum—From my home state of Pennsylvania which is truly embarrassing because Santorum is just the worst. Every time he talks he jams his foot ankle-deep into his mouth. Whether it’s equating homosexuality with incest, pedophilia and bestiality or saying that John McCain, who spent 5 years in a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp, doesn’t understand what torture is, Santorum searches for the worst thing he can say and then digs down one more layer to find something even worse.

That’s the crew: Bachmann is still crazy; Palin is still an idiot; Trump is, was, and always will be a joke; Huckabee is an arrogant clod; Pence, Thune and Daniels are too nondescript to even make a good joke about; Gingrich speaks like he’s smart until you actually think about what he said and you realize, “Oh, I get it, he’s a giant pantload”; Cain is full of meaningless bluster; Pawlenty is trying too hard; Paul is too out there and Santorum is a tool.

And think about this: it’s only May of 2011!

Friday, May 20, 2011

An Imaginary Interview with Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich has been in the news lately because for some reason he's declared he's running for president in 2012. The country has responded with a collective yawn. I've taken plenty of shots at Newt and always found it to be great fun so I'm going to fire a few more cannonballs over his bow with this imaginary interview:

CO: If I called you a swollen sack of racist narcissisms, what’s your response?
NG: This bag of ego was once speaker of the house, Bucko
CO: I remember. Dark, dark days for this country. Let’s talk about your Contract with America. Aside from this being a bullshit political stunt, can you point to the provision for leaving our wives to marry our mistresses which . . .
NG: Now look . . .
CO: . . . you’ve done twice
NG: I was absolved of those sins by the church.
CO: You mean a sexually repressed, guilt-riddled priest had you say a few Hail Marys and now you’re as pure as the Colombian coke Steven Tyler snorts for breakfast?
NG: I mean I’ve paid the price for my transgressions.
CO: You’re rich, powerful, have enough influence to run a semi-plausible campaign for president, your current wife’s plastic surgery seems to be holding up . . . what price have you paid?
NG: My political career was deflated. I resigned as SOH . . .
CO: Boo hoo. Let’s talk about why even the republican base isn’t going to vote for you this election.
NG: My exploratory committee showed great support throughout the United States which is why I decided to run. People have responded very positively to my ideas.
CO: Let’s look at those positives: You spoke out against Senator Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare and republican mascot Rush Limbaugh said he was “befuddled” by your position. In the same time period that a few of your opponents raised nearly $2 million you brought in $53,000 and a man threw glitter on you.
NG: I don’t need money, I have ideas. Rush and I are like sumo wrestlers: we’re both fat and sometimes butt heads but we’re also both revered and who doesn’t love glitter in all its sparkly goodness.
CO: All right, I’m going to give you the glitter, but come on, you need money to run a campaign and everyone knows the republican toadies salivate over every word Limbaugh chokes out between bites of salami and pork butt sandwiches.
NG: I have waited 20 years to run for president! You will not deny me!
CO: You’re right; I won’t, because I’m a democrat. I won’t be voting in the republican primary.
NG: A democrat? Then why am I talking to you?
CO: You’re not. I’m making it all up.
NG: Oh. Well, then I’m going to get on my giraffe and ride home to Neptune.

I will close with a recent quote from Bill Maher about Newt Gingrich: "he's an idiot who has always been wrong about every single thing he has ever talked about."