Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Poem

I was waiting around
for Santa to come,
hoping my presents were better
than last year’s Fruit Stripe gum.

I heard shouting
out in my driveway
and thought now I have to go
give someone five the hard way.

I opened my door too quick
scaring the fur off my cat.
I saw a man staggering,
he looked drunk, dirty and fat.

“Hey”, I yelled,
making him jump.
“Holy shit!” he exclaimed
before falling in a lump.

“Santa? Is that you?”
I asked carefully.
“Of course it is you idiot,”
he shouted back, scaring me.

I helped him to his feet
and brushed off his coat.
“That’s not for you,” he said
after seeing me staring at his goat.

“What happened?” I asked.
“You look awful.”
He started swearing in 5 languages
giving me an earful.

“Some lunatic shot at me
with a rifle I gave him.
He was drinking peach schnapps
and snorting cinnamon.”

“What’s wrong with people,” he continued.
“Why can’t they be grateful?
I don’t want to give out coal,
That’s hateful.”

“I try to be fat and jolly,
laughing and grinning,
but people piss me off
and I want to send them spinning.”

“Thanks for letting me spout off,”
Santa said tiredly.
Then he whistled and his reindeer
leapt from the tree they were caught in.

“I have something for you,” he said to me
reaching into the back of his sleigh.
He handed me a package
as big as a bale of hay.

“Wait until I’m gone to unwrap it,
Enjoy and thanks for your help.”
With that he yelled “Onward”
and the reindeer were off with a jump.

When he was gone
I opened my shiny new box.
Inside I found
A year’s worth of underwear and socks.

“What the hell?”
I exclaimed.
“This is what I get
for putting out your flames?”

Then I heard Santa’s voice,
loud and booming,
“You’re lucky you got anything.
I see what you do when no one is looking.”

“Damn,” I muttered,
wishing I had a stick of gum.
I went back inside
feeling kind of glum.

I put on my new socks
and felt better.
If only I also had
an ugly Christmas sweater.

Merry Christmas 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Silly, Stupid Poems

I found a web site that publishes funny, silly, stupid poetry. It just so happens I sometimes write funny, silly, stupid poems so I submitted 3 of mine. The editor didn't think they were funny, silly or stupid enough I guess as they were rejected. I decided to present them to my half dozen readers and let you decide just how stupid they really are.

I have no idea what my inspiration was for this one, it was a stream of consciousness exercise and this was the result:

It’s a Long Story

Rubbing the sleep
from my eyes
I accidentally
popped an eyeball out.
It plopped onto the table
rolling through
spilled salt and
bread crumbs.
I made a grab for it
but it fell
off the edge to the floor
with a thud,
glancing off my foot,
sliding across the linoleum
and under the refrigerator.
I heard chattering
and a mouse
ran past me
carrying my eye
in its mouth.
I chased it
around the kitchen
but eventually
the mouse disappeared
behind the cabinets.
Frantically I threw open
every door,
saw the vermin drop
behind the sink
and out through
a hole in the floor.
So if you see me
please don’t ask
about the golf ball
in my right socket.
It’s a long story.

This next one started with the title. I overheard someone say this and it struck my ear as interesting. I wrote it down and then created this poem based on that title:

Interview as Conversation

So tell me, why did you leave your last job?
     The pending criminal charges made it awkward around the office.

I bet. Do you have experience in accounting?
     Sure, I’ve been a counting all my life: 1, 2, 3, I’m good at it.

Excellent. Hmmm. We’ve covered your arrest, was that a misdemeanor or a felony?
     Oh felony. I don’t do things halfway.

I like that spirit. Tell me, why do you think you would fit in here?
     Your ad says this is only a temporary position . . . and in 3 months I’ll be working in
     the Pennsylvania penal system.

Another good point. You are a sharp one.
     Thank you. So do I get the job?

Oh no. No, no. Not a chance.
     Huh. Well I’ve already got one felony on my record . . .

This last one I wrote a long time ago. I've always loved it for some reason although no one else seems to. It's been rejected probably a dozen times. No matter, I still love it:

In for a Penny

Three blind mice
carrying plague-infected fleas
with a seeing-eye cat
who owed them a favor,
on the prowl
for the farmer’s wife.
They find instead, a crowded pub
and go in for a drink.
The fleas scatter.
Within days
dozens are sick                                               
and officials blame the pickled eggs.

So, tell me. Just how funny, silly, or stupid are these poems?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shakespeare’s Lost Song Lyrics

I bought a box of junk at a yard sale and at the bottom I found a batch of parchment being held together by paper clips and rubber bands. When I unfolded them I discovered they were song lyrics written by the bard himself, William Shakespeare. It turns out Shakespeare was ahead of his time musically as well as with the written word. He wrote songs in many different genres. Check these lyrics out:

Heavy Metal

Devil, Steal My Life

Death, thy sting produces mortal wounds
upon my flesh.
Off this blackened coil I must flee,
a rose in my hand for you.
Where art thou, devil, a hoof for my soul,
and horn for my all-seeing eye.
Dost thou allow thyself humor at my expense,
for there is my might.

By another name blood still flows in ribbons.
Any other name bespoke is still blood.
Beyond my countenance, devil, steal my life.


What Dost Thou Say?

What dost thou say, woman of low quality?
What dost thou say?
What dost thou say, man of uncoupled birth?
What dost thou say?

These are my words arranged in a rhyme
I am a troubadour lost out of time
Say what name is thou low-formed female
I am a ram of power, bull of spirit, a high born he-male

Hear me, see me, allow me room to move
My especial dreams bring you to hove
Feel me, lest all the world break me down
My name is a taste on your tongue that I own


The Baying of the Hounds

I dost lost my hound today,
yea, and a woman too.
I dost lost my best hound today,
verily my woman has gone as well.
I rue this day and the sun that rose because of it.

Where have mine coins gone?
I am bereft.
Where, oh where, didst mine coins go?
I am lost.
I wish to return to whence I had value.

Keep these dogs of violent refrain.
I shout to the abraded heavens to
keep thou dogs for work of the devil’s hand
and leave me to mine own council.

Now if I could just get Patrick Stewart to record these songs . . .

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Dog Days of Politics

Welcome to the John P. Finkbinder Community Center, tri-county dumping ground and meat processing plant for tonight’s debate between the candidates for dog catcher in this year’s election. On my right we have the democratic candidate Troy Melatonin and on my left the tea party Republican challenger Balthazar Ham. Now let’s go to the moderator for the first question.

The building that the stray dogs are now housed in is inadequate. How do you propose to fix this problem? We’ll start with Mr. Melatonin

TM: Thank you. I am proposing to build a brand new $45 million building where each stray pup will have their own private room, a daily massage and relaxing music will be piped in through an overhead stereo system. To pay for this I am proposing a new tax on rawhide chews and squeak toys.

Mr. Ham?

BH: The current building is fine, all it needs is a coat of paint. The real problem is that these dogs need to start earning their keep. I am proposing a work-release program where during the day the dogs will be driven to local farms, schools and senior centers to help out with menial chores such as pulling wagons, rodent eradication and acting as pack animals carrying groceries and supplies.

One of the county’s big problems is stray dogs reproducing more unwanted pups. What are your plans for spaying and neutering?

TM: As part of the new building we will be constructing a clinic staffed by the best veterinarians we can find. All stray dogs brought to the facility will be spayed or neutered free of charge. To pay for this I am proposing a tax on the air you breathe.

Mr. Ham?

BH: That’s the trouble with this country: everyone is cutting off their balls. Let ‘em be. Let the doggies go at it as God intended. Stop trying to mess with nature.

And one last question: How do you plan to catch the inordinate amount of stray dogs this county seems to have?

TM: I will purchase a fleet of vans equipped with state of the art tracking equipment including GPS, radar and sonar. It will all be tuned to a satellite we will put into orbit from my backyard. Porterhouse steaks will be used as bait. To pay for all of this I am proposing a tax on the marrow in your bones.

And Mr. Ham.

BH: My cousin Mel has a 1995 Ford F-150. I figure once a week we’ll drive around and see what we see. If we find a dog we’ll lure him with beef jerky and put him in the back of the truck.

That’s it everyone, thanks again for coming to the John P. Finkbinder brain injury research institute, flatulence containment area and community senior center for tonight’s debate. Join us on Saturday for the Divorced Mother Anger Management Group’s semi-annual bake sale to raise money for an operation to get Delilah Hoffman’s foot out of her ex’s ass. Good night!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Feng Shui Falderal

I was trying to do a little feng shui on my cubicle at work. I have a shelf with a bunch of personal items on it to make it feel a little more like home than a day time prison cell. One of the toys is a 4 inch high Viking warrior complete with sword raised in battle-readiness and a shield in the other hand.  Another item is a framed picture of Linda Carter as Wonder Woman, a gift from a female co-worker to all the men in the department after we mooned over Linda one day. Today I made the mistake of moving Wonder Woman and the Viking too close together.

I heard WW say to the Viking sarcastically, “Nice sword. What are you compensating for?”

I wasn’t sure he even knew what she meant but he replied, “Shut your dragon mouth woman or I’ll put out your fire.”

The next thing I know WW’s golden lasso is out and she’s trying to hog tie the Viking. He countered with some nice sword cuts and took her legs out with his shield. As I’m trying to separate the two of them all hell breaks loose in my booth.

I have a wooden pencil holder that was made in India with a golden elephant on the side of it. The elephant charges, trunk high in the air trumpeting loudly. I’m a fan of the North Carolina basketball team and their mascot is a ram so I have a wooden tchotchke of the mascot. He sees the elephant coming and goes into his own charge. They crash together shaking the walls of my cubicle. Meanwhile WW has gotten in to her invisible plane and is flying above my head with the Viking hanging on to the tail slicing at the wings with his sword.

Another toy I have is an old style steam train engine. After getting buzzed by WW he takes off doing laps around the shelf, blowing his whistle and shouting, “Tommy the train doesn’t like fighting! Tommy doesn’t like fighting! All aboard the 10 a.m. shuttle from Santa Fe to San Diego. ALL ABOOOOOARD! TOOT TOOT! TOOT TOOT!

The train took out the ram but the elephant jumped on board. He’s trumpeting, the train whistle is blowing and WW crashed her plane into my notebooks. She has the Viking in a headlock and he’s smacking her ass with the flat if his sword. The plane debris was laying over the train tracks and as Tommy rounded the bend . . .

TOOT! TOOT! The 3 p.m. from Tuscaloosa to Talladega is now leaving from gate 4. ALL ABOOOOOARD! LOOK OUT! TOMMY THE TRAIN DOESN’T LIKE CRASHING!!!!!

This was the result:

I don’t think I’m ready for feng shui.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Bane of the GOP

Here is my completely fabricated, and yet still more factual than Fox News, interview with a random member of the GOP.

CO: Tell me about the Affordable Care Act.
Random GOP member of congress: It’s a screed writ by the devil himself. End times prophecy it is, worse than a beast with 3 heads or a female goat who lactates sulphuric acid.
CO: That’s a little much don’t you think?
Random GOP member of congress: No! That document was produced in a dark room by fingerless thugs who printed it with iron nails dipped in raccoon blood on a parchment of stretched whale blubber! It’s evil!
CO: It’s the law.
Random GOP member of congress: Unconstitutional!
CO: Not according to the Supreme Court.
Random GOP member of congress: Damn it!
CO: Honestly, what is so bad about the Affordable Care Act?
Random GOP member of congress: It’s Obamacare.
CO: The name is the Affordable Care Act.
Random GOP member of congress: Obamacare!
CO: Affordable Care Act.
Random GOP member of congress: Obitsacod!
CO: Affordable Care Act.
Random GOP member of congress: Obungeecord!
CO: Affordable Care . . . wait, what?

Random GOP member of congress: Osamabincrap!
CO: Sir, your speaking gibberish.
Random GOP member of congress: I’m confusing you with my GOP mind tricks.
CO: I’m not confused; you’re definitely spouting nonsense instead of answering my question.
Random GOP member of congress: I am not the droid you seek.
CO: Sir, stop it.
Random GOP member of congress: Fine. The “Affordable Care Act”, or, Obamacare, puts too much financial burden on small businesses and forces people to buy insurance they may not be able to afford.
CO: Fair points, so what’s your solution?
Random GOP member of congress: We don’t have one.
CO: So why not try this plan out and see what happens? Neither republican nor democrat actually knows whether this will work. You can’t know until you let it go into effect and work through the problems.
Random GOP member of congress: I can’t get re-elected on thinking like that. Loud foofarawing and fear mongering, that’s how you get elected in the GOP.
CO: Final thought?
Random GOP member of congress: It’s the work of the many-horned beast! Obamacare is worse than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot rolled together in a terrible excrement stew! Repeal! Defund! Treason! 9/11! Buzzwords! Talking points! Complete and utter bullshit!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Boy and his Bike

I bought a bike. A used, blue mountain bike that I wanted to ride to enjoy being outside in the sun and get some exercise. We made a good team out on the trail, my legs pumping and growing stronger, the bike gleaming proudly in the sun.

This is the story of how the bike turned on me.

On only my second ride on the trail, I was going through a railroad tunnel. When you hit the middle, its pitch black. The light from in front of you and behind you has all dissipated and you are alone in the darkness, just the sound of the bike tires rolling through the dirt and if you’re like me, your heavy breathing because you’re fat and out of shape.

After about thirty seconds of just me and the invisible things in the dark, a faint trace of light illuminated my front tire and I saw a ridge at the edge of the path. Then I saw the tire smile: A deep, snake-like grin. A licorice-black tongue snapped out, grasping the edge of the path. The bike slid out from under me and I went down, dragging my left leg through a morass of mud, gravel and dirt. When I stood up I was filthy and bleeding from the palm of my hand, my knee and from scratches all over my lower leg.

It didn’t make me “mean mad” as Ma Joad asked in the Grapes of Wrath. I felt stupid: An adult who can’t go on a simple bike ride. I did have questions about the bike though. I had the whole damn tunnel to ride in so how did the tire catch the only place that would send me to the ground? I didn’t want to believe the bike was bad, didn’t want to make the obvious “Christine” comparisons, but then it got worse. The bike lulled me into a false sense of security. I continued to ride it for weeks with no problems. On the road, on the trail, took it on vacation with me to the shore. I put dozens of miles on the bike without incident. Except for one thing.

I had a cut on my knee, a remnant of the crash, that wouldn’t heal properly. It started bothering me again on vacation and continued in the weeks after until last week when my own knee joined forces with the bike in a diptych of evil. Pus-filled blisters started appearing around the original cut. I drained them, put on ointment. But then, in a move straight out of the necronomicon, the demonic pairing created a blister on the back of my knee. Of course I didn’t notice it because who the hell looks at the back of their knee except for deviants and the Dutch? The abscess soon swelled to the size of a golf ball. By the next day my knee and ankle were swollen and hot and I knew. I knew that my bike had corrupted my own body against me. In the libertine smoke of the early morning hours, I had been infected.

I had to alight to the hospital where I was put on nefarious drugs which broke my skin out in hives. I was tortured by a tall man in a blue smock who resembled the angel of death. With metal instruments he cut and poked at the bulbous growth on the back of my knee, delighting a contingent of Dutch residents there to observe and squeezing out tainted, hellish pus. By the next day, immobile and itching, mercy was relayed to me by an angel with better drugs. I spent the next 4 days sitting on the end of my couch, my leg propped up and hurting. My cat used me as a bed and cleaning station. And all the while, from my spare room, I could hear the bike laughing, low and wet.

And the moral of the story comes from my brother: “It never pays to exercise. Put the bike away and forget it exists.”

Sage advice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Adventures of Johnny Douche

I was following a car yesterday with the license plate “Po’ Johnny”. Seemed like an odd personalization until I looked at the car: rag top Mercedes sports car. “Oh”, I said out loud to myself. “I get it. You’re a dick.” I can see him now with his friends. “I just got this baby for $60,000. And look at my new license plate: Po’ Johnny. Damn I’m funny.” He’s perfect for the new sitcom I’m developing for Fox called “Johnny Douche”.

Johnny Douche
Johnny Douche
Treats everyone like their a fool
Johnny Douche
Johnny Douche
He’s the world’s biggest tool
He white
He’s rich
He’s a greasy, entitled
Son of a bitch
Look out world, it’s Johnny D

This week’s episode: Johnny goes on a Date

Johnny: What do you think of my car?
Laura: It’s nice.
Johnny: Damn right it’s nice. I laid down 60g for it.
Laura: Oh, ok.
Johnny: Where would you like to eat tonight?
Laura: I really like . . .
Johnny: That’s ok, I made reservations at The Amberwine Inn. They know me there.
Laura: Ok, sure.
Johnny: You seem upset.
Laura: Well, you . . .
Johnny: Why are chicks like that anyway? Why can’t you relax, you know what I mean?
Laura: Look . . .
Johnny: Oh wait, my phone’s ringing. This is a prototype a buddy of mine built. Gonna be bigger than the iPhone. I’m going to make a fortune.
Laura: Good for you.
Johnny: Damn right good for me. Hey Chuck, you got Johnny D, what’s up? Right now? I’m driving to dinner. Uh huh. Really?
Laura: Can you just let me out at the corner?
Johnny: Hang on sweetheart, Johnny’s on the phone.
Laura: No, really, I want out.
Johnny: Anxious, huh? Johnny likes that in a woman. Why don’t we just skip dinner?
Laura: If you just slow down I’ll drop and roll.
Johnny: “Drop and roll”? Is that some kinky sexual position? I thought I knew them all.
Laura: I’m going to throw up.
Johnny: Whoa, not on the new leather seats sweetheart.
Laura: Don’t bother stopping, I’ll be fine.
(Laura opens the car door and leaps out)
Johnny: Hey, where are you going? Oh well. Hey Chuck, you want a ride in my new car? Yeah, it cost me 60g. And you need to see the license plate.

Johnny goes on vacation, next week on Fox!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Tale of the Tome

I buy most of my paperback novels at flea markets, yard sales and charity book sales, because they’ve just become too expensive to purchase new. The other day I picked one up to read, The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor, a thriller I got at a yard sale. As I was flipping through it I saw something between the pages that turned out to be the receipt from when the book was initially purchased. This copy of The Lions of Lucerne was bought at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in November of 2002. This got me to wondering who bought it and how did it end up at a yard sale in York County Pennsylvania:

Milton Prube was bored as his flight home was delayed for 3 hours so he took a walk through the book store in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport hoping to find a distraction. He settled on a paperback novel called The Lions of Lucerne. He sat down and started to read, but he hadn’t gotten far when there was a commotion across the room. Milton joined dozens of others at the window to watch a cage carrying circus monkeys break open and send the creatures running in every direction.

As Milton pressed his face flat against the glass saying “Look at the pretty monkeys. I’ll name that one Larry and that one Ferdinand and that one Pippi and that one Milli Vanilli and that one Uncle Flopper and that one Big Steve . . .” Darren Czak stole the book. Tall and blond with movie star good looks, Darren was also a kleptomaniac. Before taking the book he had stolen gummi bears from a 9 year old girl, shoelaces from a 93 year old army veteran and a roll of toilet paper form the men’s room. Darren strolled happily past gate 38 where he tried to pick pocket former Canadian football star Alfonse Verlieu. At 6’4” and 320 pounds, Alfonse was not amused. He chased Darren through the airport shouting very nasty things in French that all sounded like “Ooh la la.” As Darren turned a corner, the book slipped from his jacket pocket.

The Lions of Lucerne was found by security guard Lonny St. Marchand who started reading it on his break. Lonny couldn’t put the book down and missed going back on the clock so he got fired. With a lot of free time he started a Lions of Lucerne fan club, passing the book around to all his friends and family. Unfortunately after 4 years of hearing about the book Lonny’s wife Charlene packed it up with a dozen other paperback novels and a jar of mango/ghost chili tapenade to send to her cousin Felicia in Lancaster Pennsylvania.

Felicia Schussler is a housewife who loves to read but she believed by the title that the book was about actual lions and she’s not a fan of any cat larger than an ocelot. Felicia gave the book to her friend Marsha Twip. Marsha read it, enjoyed it, and informed Felicia that it was not about lions after all, but Felicia was already involved in a 12 book series on the life of Terky Tuttle, the first astronaut from Guam. Felicia instead gave it to a local second-hand store in exchange for a box of safety pins.

The owner of the second-hand store, Hank’s Junk and Stuff, was Desmond Tuttle-Smythe, a British transplant to the United States. He read ten pages of the book and hated it calling it “bloody fogmagog”. Desmond sold the book for 25 cents to Janet Bandicoot, a registered nurse and part time sky diver from my hometown. Janet read the book and thought it was ok. She slid it onto a shelf where it was forgotten for nearly four years until the family decided to have a yard sale.

I don’t know if this is really how it all happened but I’d like to think there is a monkey named Milli Vanilli running around the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Monday, August 5, 2013

One Magazine to Rule Them All

I was at the grocery store the other day when I saw it: The Special Collector’s Edition of People Magazine’s coverage of the birth of William and Kate’s son. Oh. My. God. I got so excited I was shaking.

First I bought a pair of rubber gloves and put them on so when I handled the magazine none of my body’s oils would transfer to the heavy gloss paper. I pulled the magazine out of its holder slowly. Unfortunately I grazed the right side on the metal casing as I pulled it out so I let it drop back into place. I had to go to the second magazine in the stack. This time I achieved a clean pull from the container, gingerly holding my treasure in the palms of my latex-covered hands.

Not trusting the cashiers, I went through one of the self-checkout lines. After scanning my masterpiece I laid it gently onto a scented towel I had put down on the aluminum shelf. I paid, and rather than using one of the store’s plastic bags I carefully slid my prized possession into a steel-encased strong box lined with three layers of velvet topped with a satin sheet. I locked the box and was finally ready for the trip home.

In the car I sat the strong box on the passenger seat on top of several goose-down pillows, strapping it in place with a dozen bungee cords. I then covered this whole structure in an enclosure I had constructed of PVC pipe and sheets of raw iron ore. Finally it was time to go home. I signaled the lead car in my procession and after he pulled into traffic I followed along with our trail car.

Once in my driveway I was quickly transported from my car into a hermetically sealed Plexiglas tunnel I had built by engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The tunnel kept germs and bacteria off of my collector’s edition between the car and my front door. When I walked through the door a local exterminating company had erected plastic sheeting over my walls, floors and ceiling. Walking forward at approximately 10 microns per second so I didn’t jostle the magazine in the strong box, it was about 4:30 a.m. when I arrived at my bedroom.

I sat the box on the bed surrounded by a contingent of Australian black-ops mercenaries armed with Beretta LTLX7000 shotguns. While they stood guard I unlocked my cherry wood cabinet that was specially built by Norm Abrams and Bob Vila to house my entire collection of People Magazine Special Editions. I opened one of the glass shadow boxes in preparation. Back over to the bed, I unlocked the strong box and removed the magazine using a pair of tungsten tongs covered in anti-bacterial cloth. I moved carefully to the display case to lay the newest addition to my collection in its new home. Then I locked the shadow box and turned on the spotlight. Finally, I locked the display case door, engaged the motion detectors and 120 decibel alarm siren and stationed two armed guards at either side of the case. 

I haven’t slept in days. I just keep staring at my new collector’s edition. It’s nestled snugly between People’s Collector’s Edition #345 detailing the practical jokes George Clooney played on Julia Roberts during the filming of Ocean’s 11 including farting onto her head during a pivotal scene, and edition #403 in honor of James Cameron’s marriage to him enormous ego complete with pictures of the $300 million chapel he had built for the occasion.

People Magazine Collector’s Editions: perfect for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, Christmas presents, starting fires in the wilderness, wiping your ass after a large dump, rolling home-made cigarettes, stupid blog entries . . .

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Economy of Memory

On my walk the other evening I passed by the Economy Store in my small town. It’s a place where people donate their old clothes and kid’s toys, books and pretty much whatever they don’t want anymore. The store employees go through it all, throwing out the stuff that’s dirty or torn or broken; all the things people should have had the good sense not to “donate” in the first place. What is still usable or wearable they sell for a small price. Walking past I remembered back to when I was a kid, like 10 years old, and the thrift store was on Main Street. I didn’t go in a lot but every now and then I would walk in and look around. I’m sure I spent quite a bit of my allowance there but for some reason my memory is only holding onto two purchases.

The first was a drinking glass with a vertical design of the American flag. I paid a dime for it and can remember being quite taken with the design and colors, but as I think about it now, I’m not sure why. I’ve never been overtly patriotic. I’m grateful for where I was born and the things that are possible living here, but I don’t fly a flag at my home, I don’t wear t-shirts with a flag on it. It’s an important symbol, I’ve just never been “Rah! Rah! Rah! USA! USA! USA!” For some reason this glass caught my eye. I bought it and believe I drank out of it nearly every day for the rest of the summer (hopefully I washed it occasionally, but I was a dumb kid so . . .) I think I eventually broke the glass but I got my 10 cents worth.

The second purchase I remember was a paperback book, “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton. Jim Bouton was a major league baseball pitcher so I figured it was about baseball, which it ostensibly was. It was also about the players’ off-field activities: excessive drinking, rampant drug use, and chasing women. I read a little of the book when I got it home, but as a ten year old most of it went over my head. Bored, I set it aside and forgot about it. A few days later my brother who is ten years older than me, handed me “Ball Four” and said “Cool book.” I asked when he had read it and he told me he had started it the night before and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it. With his endorsement I tried to restart it but it still flew way over my head.

I haven’t been in the thrift store since I was a kid but I’m glad it still exists. They help a lot of people and work very hard to do it, not to mention providing me with two lasting memories.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Truth about Number 2

On my walk last evening I passed a group of teenagers (Is “group” the right term? Or is it “gaggle” or “pride” or “passel”, maybe its “annoyance”? Yeah, that’s it). I passed an annoyance of teenagers and one was breathlessly telling a story that was obviously utter bullshit.

“The car was going 100 miles an hour and suddenly he opens the door and jumps out, I shit you not.”

The line that got my attention was “I shit you not.” Where exactly did we come up with this phrase as English speakers? We use the word “shit” in many different ways as brilliantly chronicled by George Carlin on his FM/AM album in 1972. 

But why do we say things like “Are you shitting me?” as a way of questioning someone’s truthfulness? If you think about it logically, “shitting” someone sounds like you’re giving them an enema. Now, you can pay $9.99 a month on a plethora of websites and watch all of those videos you want and none of it explains why we use it in the context we do.

Back to “I shit you not.” This version is the most interesting because it sounds so Shakespearean:

King Henry: Dost thou shittest me?
Exeter: I shit thee not my liege.

Romeo: By the light of a Janus moon I believe you shitteth me
Juliet: No my love, I swear on the beating of my full heart I shit thee not.

So basically we have a phrase, “I shit you not”, that sounds like a denial of an old English fecal extracting colon cleanse that we as modern English speakers are using to mean “I am not lying to you or exaggerating the circumstances”.

How about some alternatives:

“I am not trying to de-turd you.”
“I’m not going anywhere near your ass with a rubber tube.”
“My veracity can be proven by your lack of anal leakage.”

Uh, yeah, I guess we’d better stick with “I shit you not” no matter where we came up with it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Christmas in July

A friend gave me these two books recently that she found at a relative’s yard sale. To say I was happy is an understatement along the lines of saying most politicians are a little corrupt. I have collected Peanuts memorabilia since I was 6 or 7 years old. I wish I still had all the things I had as a kid but much of it was thrown out or broken or misplaced over the years and many moves. The one thing I still have is my collection of several dozen of these paperback books. They were published by Fawcett and were reprints of daily and Sunday strips that had already been collected in larger, more expensive books. This was a budget alternative to have all the Peanuts strips in your possession. They collected all the daily strips from 1952-1988 when publishing was stopped.

One of my fondest childhood memories is after church on Sunday afternoon, my mom and sister and I going to the Bookland on Edgar Street in York to look around. My first stop was the humor section to look for a new Peanuts collection. If all they had were old ones I was palpably disappointed. If there was a new one I didn’t have it was like Christmas morning. If we hadn’t been there in a while and there were 2 new books, I became Homer Simpson drooling over a box of donuts.

The rest of my Sunday afternoon would be spent on the floor reading through the cartoon strips contained in the books. They didn’t take long to go through so I would re-read them several times until my favorites were memorized.

Back to the books my friend gave me. I took them home figuring I already had them in my collection. I certainly don’t have all the volumes that were published but I have several dozen. What were the odds she had found one or two I didn’t have? So I took them over to the book shelf that holds my treasured Peanuts books. One by one I went through my titles. When I was done I had 2 brand new books to read. I didn’t have either one in my collection. It was Christmas morning on a July afternoon and my cat wanted to know why I was so excited about something that clearly had nothing to do with her.

People ask me why I like Peanuts and there are several reasons. First and foremost they make me laugh. I know not everyone thinks they’re funny but they consistently give me at least a chuckle. Being a writer myself I am in awe of Charles Schulz’s use of language and loving words I was always excited to learn a new one. I still remember learning the word perspicacity from Linus when talking about his teacher.

Everyone can relate to Snoopy and his cool demeanor. His ability to morph into anything from a World War I flying ace to a vulture sitting in a tree would make any kid jealous. It works on adults too who have boring jobs and need to pretend to make it through the day. But one of the big reasons I love the Peanuts is I can relate to Charlie Brown. I’m wishy-washy just like him, loved sports but wasn’t that good at them like Charlie and as a kid nothing ever seemed to go right for me. Now that I’m older and my hairline has receded and my bald spot grows exponentially larger every day I’m starting to resemble Charlie Brown as well.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to lie on the couch and read my books.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bodily Functions

I’ve been eating healthier the past few months, a lot more fruit and vegetables. My body has noticed and is none too happy. When I woke up a few days ago I found this note duct taped to my forehead:

Dear Traitor,

What the hell? We, your body parts, have noticed some changes recently that we were not consulted on. The pancreas has outlined our complaints which we will discuss one at a time.

What happened to the pizza? Pizza, of all flavors and varieties from Roma’s Pizzeria to generic store $.99 cardboard-and-ketchup, has been a staple of our diet for decades. Now it can go 7 or even up to 10 days without a single slice. This is unacceptable. We demand that pizza be brought back as a 3-time-a-week food pyramid building block of our diet. The cheese alone was holding the body together like a sturdy mortar. Now there’s too much room in the veins. The blood is sloshing all over the place. It’s a complete mess.

Where are the chocolate chip cookies? Oh sure, sometimes on the weekend when you reward yourself we get to delight in the sugary goodness of the most amazing food ever invented. But what about the rest of the week? We used to feel the jittery high of cookies several times a week. Sometimes every day! We need that feeling back man! The heart is constantly sending search parties out for any milligram of sugar. When he doesn’t get it, he gets angry and abusive to the other organs. How many times do the lungs have to be slapped? How often does the liver have to be told it’s worthless and should just pack a bag to move to Montana? When does it stop?

Two words: Coke and Pepsi Look, we understand that drinking Coke and Pepsi is the equivalent of slurping battery acid through a crazy straw but you made that choice for years. Day after day we absorbed the chemical cocktail known as cola and did we complain? Ok, the kidneys sent a stone through every few years for a while which could be viewed as a complaint. Sure, the heart sometimes thought it was the drummer of a thrash metal band. But for the most part we went along. Now you cut down your consumption to just a day on the weekend? What are we supposed to do? We need the stuff man! Where’s out shit, our stash, fix, medicine, juice, liquid happiness, black gold, Atlanta buzz water, Grandpappy’s magic elixir, that which is not for mortal man, heaven in a plastic bottle, the red can of freedom, the river that makes you shiver, high fructose nirvana!

These are our top 3 concerns, but there are others. Green beans? Green beans? That’s what we’re eating for lunch now? And celery? It’s 90% water and has no flavor. Why bother? Drink a glass of water and eat a cookie. And what is with the walking? Twice a day; 4, sometimes 5 miles total? You have a perfectly good car you could drive to any destination. You had better take our complaints seriously or we’re outta here. We haven’t determined the logistics of leaving yet, but we will.


Your Body

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My My My My My Michelle

Michelle Bachmann has announced that she is serving her last term in congress. She will not seek re-election in 2014. I can only assume it’s because her mother race of aliens will be entering earth’s atmosphere to pick Michelle up and take her back home for debriefing: Her job here as an extraterrestrial spy will be done. It’s time to use the information Michelle has gathered.

The people of Minnesota should be relieved that the hallucinogenic drugs that have laced their drinking water the last 8 years tricking them to continue to vote for Michelle will now be weaned out of the state’s water supply. Also, I believe the Amazing Kreskin will be appearing on local television to do a mass hypnosis event to help bring the populace back to normalcy.

Fellow Republicans should also be relieved that they won’t have to answer questions any longer like “What’s wrong with Michelle Bachmann?”, “What the hell is wrong with Michelle Bachmann?” and “Holy God, what in the shitting hell is wrong with Michelle Bachmann?”

Democrats I’m sure are a little concerned. When questioned about Minnesota politics they will now need more substantive answers than making a cuckoo sound and twirling a finger at the side of their heads.

As for me, I have made fun of Michelle in this blog repeatedly because she is a lunatic. I think I once called her “bat-shit crazy” but even that doesn’t do her psychosis justice. I’ll never forget the day she mixed up the actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacey. How I laughed that day: Such a sweet, fulfilling memory. I remember my introduction to Michelle was an interview with Chris Matthews where she tried to channel Joe McCarthy and call for an investigation into congress for representatives that hated America. When the media contacted McCarthy’s ghost he just sighed and lit up a Kent. No, Michelle was no Joe McCarthy.

Michelle is more of a paranoid schizophrenic. When she walks down the street conspiracies, hulking and sweating liberalism, jump out at her from every doorway. She tries to fight them off with her crazy eyes and rambling speeches blaming Democrats for everything from swine flu to teenagers wanting to volunteer. But no matter how fast she runs the mass, always leaning to the left, catches Michelle in its globular arms, bleating in her ear “Obamacare! Obamacare! Obamacare!”

I’m going to miss Michelle.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On the Run

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone I’m here. I’m hiding out from the IRS. About a year ago I joined a group called Big Dave’s Tea Parties for Manly Men and now the IRS has targeted us. Doesn’t make sense though, we only have $8.19 in our checking account. The last fund raiser was a disaster. I told Dave if you’re going to sell chicken on the side of the road it has to be cooked. He was just tossing roasters at passing cars hoping someone would stop.

The whole point of the group was for men who like to watch football but also like to drink Earl Grey tea. Now that the IRS is leaning on any group with “tea party” in their name, we’re being audited. We haven’t exactly kept “books” of our financial activity either. Dirty Sam is the club treasurer and he has already admitted to embezzling $22 and all the Twizzlers. On top of that he only kept track of about half of our expenditures and those he wrote down inside his shoe on his Dr. Scholl’s odor-eating footpad.

We were visited the other day by Special Agent William Allamericanboy. I’ve never seen a haircut so precise. He grilled us for 3 hours with questions about our activities. The first strike against us came when we offered him a cup of tea. We only drink Earl Grey but the agent was a chamomile man.

We’re on the run now. Agent Allamericanboy is leading a search party from inside a hermetically sealed Chevy Tahoe so he doesn’t sweat. They’ve already caught Dirty Sam. He was trying to get to his brother’s place in the Jersey swamps but couldn’t read the directions he had written down on his toenails. Bear Bob and Earl the Republican hopped a freight train. They made it as far as the Maryland line before being found in a box car filled with mannequins. Earl gave up quietly but Bear Bob insisted he was legally married to “Barb”, one of the mannequins, and they were on their honeymoon.

I’m not going to say where I’m at because there’s a bounty on my head. I want to trust you but I know the lure of generic grocery store coupons is too strong.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lunch is On Me

There’s a market near where I work that’s open 2 days a week and I sometimes go there to get lunch. One of the stands sells a wonderful burrito but it can be a chore to buy from them because all of the employees are high. Just placing an order becomes a Cheech and Chong skit.

“I’d like the bar-b-cue chicken burrito.”

“We’re out of chicken, dude.”

“How can you be out of chicken two hours from closing?”


“This is the second time you’ve been out of chicken in the past two weeks.”


“At the start of the day why don’t you order more chicken?”

“We’re out of chicken, man.”

“I get that, but why do you keep running out?”

“Out of what?”


“We’re out of chicken, man.”

If you stay sane long enough to order your food then you get the joy of watching a carnival sideshow freak make your food. There’s Metalhead with flathead screws through his lips and screen door handles dangling from his ears. Maybe you’ll get the Hepatitis Chef. He’s getting another tattoo as he cooks your food, this one on the only piece of unadorned skin he has, between his toes. My last trip I was lucky enough to get Grizzly Adams, a trucker hat sitting precariously atop a mound of unkempt hair that crept into a copious beard growing like kudzu vine. And he’s working without a net. That’s right, nine and half quintillion hairs that could fall into your food and no hairnet! At one point I saw him pull a spatula from behind his ear and rake his beard to get the black beans for my burrito. I didn’t see where the guacamole came from and I don’t want to know.

When the burrito was finished it was passed off to Slacker Dude #365 who shoved it into a bag and sleepily called out my name while simultaneously selling a tab of acid to a lawyer who wanted to know when his nachos would be ready.

The burrito was good as always and I survived although I did hack up a hairball during a meeting later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

These Feet Were Made for Blistering

I went to Washington D.C. a few Fridays ago and saw the monuments and a couple of museums. I did A LOT of walking. Everything is in one area but it’s all so big you have walk and walk and walk to get anywhere. By the end of the day I had developed a very large blister on the bottom of my right foot. It’s getting better . . . but it’s not going away entirely and I’m afraid it’s taken up permanent residence.

I searched the internet for precedence and found the case of Larry Brickman from Sioux City Iowa who developed a blister on his heel in 1997. The repeated use of antibiotic cream (which I have been using as well) resulted in the blister gaining sentience. Before Larry knew it the blister, who was now going by the name Whitey Hardskin, had built a permanent home on his heel complete with indoor plumbing and rattan furniture on the deck overlooking Larry’s calf.

Feeling nervous, last night I tried talking to my blister:

“So, when were thinking about leaving?”

“Nerty efidof dfogg.”


“Joued nmmkjsdh nnndfff”

“I gotta go. Nice talking to you.”


Ok, so good news and bad news. The bad news, the blister talked back so it’s self-aware. The good news is it’s apparently a blithering idiot. I decided to cover it up with a bandage and hope that without light and air, the blister would pack up and move on. But before I could place the bandage I was handed a tiny piece of paper. Putting it under a bright light and using an electron microscope I built myself from empty Chef Boy-Ar-Dee cans and Fruit Stripe gum, I read a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter. The blister has retained counsel.

So for now I’m stuck with my foot blister. It talks while I’m trying to sleep, cries during episodes of Duck Dynasty and yells out wrong answers during Jeopardy. The answer was “He led the roughriders in the Spanish-American War” and the blister says “What is peanut butter?” Come on: If you’re not even going to try . . .

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m being inundated with legal briefs from the lawyer. The blister is suing me for everything from defamation of character to creating an unsafe work environment. He’s also applied for a permit to build a townhouse. The borough inspected my foot last night and will issue a ruling late next week.

All this to see the Washington Monument . . .