Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Pool of Cruz Oil

Human oil slick Ted Cruz has been oozing his way up the polls, his opponents slipping on the industrial grade grease dripping from his hair. Cruz’s reedy, unctuous voice has also taken its toll on the ears of his fellow politicians, causing a pain not unlike having a peppercorn stuck in your auditory canal.

Cruz is running on a platform of being a terrible human being who is completely untrustworthy. Iowans have recently taken to his utter lack of charm, grace, or competence. Ted Cruz is to republican voters what Donald Trump is to republican voters, only with more unguent.

Ted Cruz thinks it’s funny to tell demeaning jokes at the beginning of his speeches. You may say that I’m doing the same thing with Cruz as the target. True. The difference is I’m nobody, writing words that 11 people will read and he wants to be President of the United States. The office calls for dignity. I can write in my pajamas with cereal dust in my beard and no one will be the wiser.

No one in his own party likes him. More to the point, they loathe him. Cruz calls himself “a Washington outsider” and someone “who sticks to his principals”. Other Republicans call him an “asshole” and someone “with a rod so far up his ass he can taste his own shit”.

Cruz is a climate change denier. He’s done interviews where he presents what he calls “facts”. Leading climate scientists call them “lies”. So he lies to push his own pre-conceived agenda and gain votes from like-minded non-thinkers. Does that sound like a Washington outsider? No, it sounds like every politician.

Be careful where you walk, you might step in a pool of Cruz oil.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lindsey Can't Win

Did you know that Lindsey Graham is still running for the Republican nomination for president?

Even though others like Bobby Jindal and Lincoln Chaffee have seen the gigantic writing on the Brobdingnagian wall and dropped out of the race, Lindsey soldiers on. His supporters say he is a fighter.

Others use the word “delusional”.

There are days when his polling statistics are so low he doesn’t register as existing. The pundits need to use Newtonian calculus to create an imaginary number for him. On these days Lindsey begins to fade away like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Lindsey is polling around 2% on average. To put that in perspective I have a pair of Reebok running shoes that are polling at 3.5%. Doing really well with pipe fitters and longshoremen.

TV news programs regularly interview Donald Trump and Ben Carson, even climbing down into a hole to speak to talking stalagmite Ted Cruz. They don’t speak to Lindsey. They don’t show Lindsey’s latest campaign stop, his speeches, or his photo ops. They don’t take his calls, read his texts or sign for his registered letters. Like frustrated but patient parents who are trying to teach their child a lesson, the networks don’t pay attention to Lindsey when he’s jumping up and down behind them holding a sign reading: “I’m Lindsey Graham and I’m running for President. Can I get a Hell Yeah?!”

Lindsey likes to start sentences with “When I’m President . . .” or “The first thing I’ll do when I’m President . . .” Oh Lindsey. That’s never going to happen. There are 117 Republican candidates and only 3 of them have caught at least 10% of the public’s interest. The rest of you are a bouillabaisse of ennui, bad ideas and cheap suits.

Find a hobby Mr. Graham. Do crossword puzzles, take a spin class, find a buddy to get drunk with on cheap bourbon and pickled eggs. Just stop running for president because you can’t win.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust

Another presidential candidate has bitten the dust. Bobby Jindal ended his bid for the republican nomination.

Bobby Jindal. Do you know who I’m talking about? Governor of Louisiana. Indian descent. Will use any political talking point to get attention but never actually DO anything.

It’s not surprising you can’t place him. He was polling just behind a garden rake from Tuscaloosa that was running on a platform of branding leaf blowers as terrorists.

During the debates Bobby was like the last child seated at the kid’s dinner table at Thanksgiving. He was that cousin that no one really knew because the family lived 2000 miles away and only visited over the Holidays. The kid that used the mashed potatoes as paste to glue his turkey and ham together in an abominable hybrid of two beloved meats and then smiled with palpable evil as he flung it at the 16 year old daughter of the host who just missed making the cut for the adult’s table. If only great Aunt Lorraine hadn’t shown up at the last minute.

This was Bobby Jindal. The desperate wanna-be, the never-was, never-had-a-chance, the why-bother money-waster, the time-stealer, the zero-excitement-generating no-new-ideas-bringing no one listens when he talks dictionary definition of just one more politician with no self-awareness.

Bobby Jindal whose campaign slogan could have been:

Bobby Jindal: I’m a Real Person!

Bobby Jindal, who, while talking to any crowd, always had a look on his face that said “Is this mike on?”

Bobby Jindal, who announced his candidacy by surreptitiously filming his family’s befuddled reaction when he told them he was running and then showed it to the world like he was Ashton Kutcher punking his own children. Parenting with a twist of assholishness.

To the 811 people who were supporting Bobby’s run, seek help immediately. You have deep, troubling problems that can only be solved with group therapy and pharmaceutical grade hallucinogens. Godspeed.

Bye bye Bobby.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Jeb Bush, America’s 1997 southeast district manager of the year is running for president. His main reasons of course are unresolved daddy issues and that his brother George won’t stop teasing him about being governor of Florida, the state voted the most likely to be jettisoned into the Atlantic Ocean.

Jeb’s first attempt at a campaign slogan was “Jeb!” which sounded like an 80’s sitcom on Fox where by season 2 his dopey brother George was getting all the attention by saying his catchphrase “mission accomplished” after one of his hilarious high jinks. The voting public was less than enthusiastic about Jeb! preferring racist persimmon Donald Trump and his catchphrase, “Make America Pure Again”.

In a rare mid-campaign change, Jeb and his crack team of middle managers came up with: “Jeb Can Fix It”

Uh huh.

Jeb can’t go a week without saying something stupid so I think your underlying logic for this statement is flawed. Here are some suggestions that fit better with Jeb’s strengths:

Jeb: You Voted for My Brother Twice!
Jeb Kind of Looks like Your Uncle
Jeb: Tell me what I Need to Say

I also think his campaign staff is not helping so it’s time to recruit new blood. I’ve put this ad on Craig’s List for Jeb:

Republican Presidential candidate seeks a competent direction for rudderless campaign. Also need a new slogan, a better platform and some personality. Billionaires welcome, Caucasian a plus. No chicks.

I’m sure with these changes Jeb’s campaign will lead him to stay in the race until at least March when he’ll finally see the writing on the wall of the Holiday Inn men’s room and drop out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wrong Turn

A couple of co-workers and I have been running over our lunch break for a few weeks. I know your first question is “Why would anyone do that?” I don’t have a good answer so let’s just move on.

Today we had to alter our route because our usual path was blocked by a road crew. So we turned right and took a way that led deeper into the city. Here are a few of the sights we encountered:

A woman wearing shorts that were WAY too short, a shirt that was WAY too tight and to top the ensemble off, fuzzy bedroom slippers. The color of the slippers did match her hair, so, there’s that.

A couple standing veryclose to each other and then suddenly walking in opposite directions. Pretty sure something illegal changed hands.

See above several more times.

Two obviously high individuals attempting to have a conversation about getting high. It wasn’t going well because they were already high. Way up there.

A photo shoot taking place in the parking lot of a small corner grocery store. I’m sure those pictures taken on a phone with a giant yellow-as-the-sun concrete wall as a backdrop will get the subject the job/date/blackmail victim she’s looking for.

Possibly saw a woman snort cocaine from her finger while driving.

Ran past a building that may have contained 1 or more dead bodies. All we know is a smell emanated from this structure that was indescribable. There was no oxygen available to breath that didn’t contain this odor that seared our nostrils and burned the tears from our eyes. Demons swept from the building and harassed us down the block carrying the smell with them like a burlap sack of rotting badgers.

We made it back to work and decided the next time we turn left.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Old Man Running

I was never a runner. Even in school I hated running laps in practice. During track season my friend Kenny and I used to cheat on our warm up laps because we didn't want to run. Until we got caught. Our argument was we throw shot and disc, doesn't require the ability to run, so why should we? We were prepared to debate this with the coach in standard debate league format: 3 minute opening statement, 1 minute for rebuttal, impartial judge makes the ruling. The coach decided we should run the full laps or not be on the team.

So it was odd last summer when I decided to try running at 49 years old. It was more accurately plodding or lumbering. A friend was training for a half marathon and it inspired me to see if I could run a half mile before having a stroke. I did it, barely, so the next night I went out again to see if I could go further.

It became a challenge for me to increase how far I could go each time I ran. Eventually I also saw it helping my blood pressure. Last November I ran my first 5K, I just recently ran my second.

The thing is, running isn't easy for me. I'm not a natural runner, I'm overweight and to be frank, I'm lazy. Sitting on the couch reading a book or watching a movie is my natural state of being. I do enjoy the challenge, but not the pain. This is what my body sounds like when I get up in the morning to run:

"Oh great the alarm is going off. Crap, another morning to go to work. This is a little earlier than usual . . . and hey, we're not getting into the shower. Why are we getting dressed already? These aren't work clothes either. Wait a minute. Shorts, t-shirt, running shoes . . . NO!!! Don't you do it! Don't do it! Oh no we're outside. Too early, it's still dark. Wait, we're moving. Ahh! Running! The legs hurt already, lungs are burning for air. What is wrong with you? You dirty, rotten traitor. Back to bed! To the couch! Please sit down and watch TV."

This goes on for the first mile. After that I fall into slow, steady rhythm and my body gives up complaining. At least until later in the day.

"Oh, you feel a little tendinitis in your foot? That's from running! Your knee is sore? Running! All your problems are from running! Stop! Repent! Pray at the altar of laziness and immobility."

Man, my body is annoying.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Game Show of the Future

It's 2:30 p.m.; do you know where your Chihuahua is?

Hi, I'm Dan Filibuster, host of "You're Too Old to Remember Shit". Our opening line tonight came from a famous sitcom. OK, contestants, ring in if you know the answer.

Yes, Judy, you got in first.

Judy: That line is from Whiskey Pete and the Dipsy Doodle Twins.

That's right! 100 points for Judy Spermatozoa from Belair Maryland. Whiskey Pete was of course played by lovable curmudgeon Howard Thudbaum who sadly died of extreme boredom 6 months after the show was cancelled.

Our other contestants tonight are Larry Finley of Hamster Crack Iowa and our returning champion with a 61 day prize total of $543 and 16 55-gallon drums of Turtle Wax; please welcome Marge Merge from a small cave in Arkansas!

All right contestants, our next golden oldie is from a song:

I gave you my heart
but all you did was fart


Marge: That is from "Your Love is Like a Gas Fire" by Hank Hurlyburly.

Correct! 100 points. Ironically Hank was killed when he held in a fart too long during a blind date and his colon exploded. The other patrons at the restaurant were covered in feces but because it belonged to the legendary country singer they refused to bathe.

Our next category is News. Who said this?

"If I knew I was going to lose I wouldn't have spent my tater money on the campaign."


Larry: That was 1932 presidential candidate Elmer "Mr. Potato Head" Tubbs

Correct, 100 points! Elmer spent all of the money used to work his potato farm to run for president where he finished a disappointing 67th in the Republican primary. He ran again in 1936 on the platform "Give me back my tater money."

Now for 300 points and the game, what movie is this from?

"I believe I can fly now that I have bionic elbows!"


Marge: Danny Twilight said that in the movie "Robots, Robots, Everyone is a Robot"

Yes! Marge remains our champion.

Now for the Bonus question for Marge to win the grand prize of $36.28 and a claw-foot tub filled with scrap plywood: What TV show is this from:

"Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies.”

Marge: Oh my God, I loved that show. It’s from Farmer Larry’s Festival of Frolic and Fun!

Yes! Marge is a winner again.

Thanks for watching everyone, join us next week for another edition of “You’re Too Old to Remember Shit ".

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kelly Osbourne is not a Racist, says Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne, the colostomy bag of the entertainment world, opened her gaping maw the other day allowing a stream of bile to emerge and form what she considers a thought. Most of humanity would have considered it a turd made from an evening of too many turkey sausage tacos and flushed it into the sewer.

Kelly gave her thought the pet name Mr. Duh and then set him loose on The View:

If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”

The 8 loyal viewers of The View quickly put down their morning bacon and egg croissant to text, tweet and post about the insensitive thing that the famous-for-no-reason British twat had just said.

Kelly quickly sent Mr. Duh into seclusion while she dealt with the press, releasing a statement, NOT an apology: “I will take responsibility for my poor choice of words but I will not apologize for being a racist, as I am NOT.”

Miss Osbourne did not elaborate on what words would have been a better choice to say that all Latinos clean toilets for a living. The world waits with Cheetos-laced breath for her final dissertation on not being a racist bag of English gravy.

Kelly Osbourne also noted in her statement that she cleans her own toilets. This isn’t that surprising considering she is a toilet.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Glaciers Must be Watched

I was reading a news article today about how much the glaciers around the world have melted in the past year. The report was gathered by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). This is a real organization; I’m not making it up.

Right under our noses, WGMS has been gathering and disseminating glacier news for almost 100 years. Where have we been for a century? What have we been doing while some guy named Brett has been staring at glaciers all day, writing down pertinent numbers and such? I don’t know for sure, I’m only guessing, but I see Brett having a thick, wiry beard and married to a lovely woman named Debbie.

But wait, there’s more.

The WGMS works closely with The United States National Snow and Ice Data Center and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space initiative.

These are real things people!

Monty Python had the Ministry of Silly Walks and the Society of Putting Things on Top of Other Things, but they were products of fertile imaginations, and again I’m only guessing, mounds of colorful, dried opiates.

The organizations I read about actually exist. Grown men and women work for and draw paychecks from them. They have health insurance and company picnics. Brett and Debbie bring her world famous organic deviled eggs with pimento and avoid Darryl from level 3 who collects ceramic birch tree figurines.

It begs the question, “How many more of these clandestine, arcane organizations are there?” Are people being paid to watch formations of sedimentary rock to measure how many micrometers it moves in a year? Do we keep track of the domestic take of all Tom Hanks movies to compare it to the overseas numbers for Morgan Freeman, looking for a correlation that would explain the continued popularity of Alec Baldwin? Is someone watching the growth rate of the mold in my shower? Because I’m sure as hell not.

Watch yourself my loyal readers (Cathy, Steve, Woody, Sylvia, Bernard, Larry). I’m not positive, I’m only guessing, but I think Brett has friends in middle-of-the-road places and they’re watching. And recording. And collaborating. And disseminating.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Run Jim Run

That was a close one people. We almost had this election cycle without him. I know, I know, you’re saying to yourself “How could we have had a presidential election without HIM?” The simple answer is: we couldn’t. This whole enterprise was going to fall like a house of cards eventually.

The announcement was made yesterday and the party has just begun. The bunting is still being hung, cheese platters are being constructed, bands of questionable ability and provenance are tuning guitars, and crisply dressed college-age voters are sharing drinks and salutations.

Jim Gilmore has announced his candidacy for president.

“Who is Jim Gilmore?” you ask.

I have no fucking clue.

But make no mistake he’s the one we’ve been waiting for. The other 21 num-nuts running can’t do the job. Hilary Clinton was first lady and later the secretary of state. Pah! What kind of qualifications are they? Bernie Sanders has been in congress for 24 years. So? Lindsey Graham has been in congress for 20 years. Yeah, and?

Jim Gilmore used to be governor.

Of Virginia.

I’ll now quote from the Book of Republican, 8th chapter, verses 5 and 6:

5 “And the day will come when he walks the land of strife and discord, and lo he will know he has been called. Called to be “the one”, the candidate to end all candidates, the lambda and the epsilon. 6 And he will heed the call of the stricken sheep and announce his presence with authority.

The celebration has started well and true. Mandy Patinkin is drunkenly singing “Over the Rainbow”. A conga line of elderly women are risking broken hips to dance up and down the street. Socially conscious teenagers are furiously scrolling Wikipedia to learn who this latest old white man is whose running for president. It’s a glorious day here in the United States of America.

Jim Gilmore is here to run the country and stay relevant, and he’s all out of relevance.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Glaze of Truth

Ariana Grande is a mythical pixie in flesh form who sings unoriginal, derivative songs in a tone only schnauzers can hear. For reasons that elude me and cats throughout the world, some people like her music, enough so she was set to head a concert in Pittsburg this weekend for Major League Baseball.

Yesterday a video surfaced of the lighter than hydrogen singer in a donut shop with her boyfriend, one of her back up dancers (unoriginal and derivative in romance as well). Ariana pretended to lick a donut that was on the counter. Then when an employee brought out a new tray of fresh donuts she said, “What the fuck is this? I hate Americans. I hate America.”

Hmmm. I don’t . . . I don’t know where to start. How . . . how do you explain . . . this?

If you don’t like donuts, GET OUT! This country does not need you. Donuts are sacred!

If you don’t like donuts, why are you in a donut shop? Surely there was some Shakespearian forest you could have been prancing around in with Puck and the sprites.

Why would you pretend to lick a donut? That innocent pastry did nothing to harm you. That sugary glaze was not meant for a mouth as bitter as yours, but as a sweet delight for a hard-working American. Joe the construction worker deserved that donut. Instead a mincing show pony ruined it.

When they brought out the tray of donuts why did you hiss at it like your boy-toy had just slid his finger in your ass? They weren’t going to hurt you. They’re donuts, not cobras.

My research says you were born in Boca Raton Florida which makes you an American. Self-loathing can be an enjoyable hobby, but most of us keep it quiet, we don’t announce it out loud to a camera,

Grande is no longer playing the baseball concert. She says it’s because she is recovering from having her wisdom teeth pulled.

(cough)(cough)bullshit(cough)  (cough)bullshit(cough)

The box of 10X sugar with a microphone has also apologized and explained she was just concerned about childhood obesity and she naïvely thought she could help by going to Dunkin Donuts, making out with someone on her payroll and then cursing 300,000,000 people.

Narcissism is great, huh?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

First Impressions

With so many candidates running for president I thought it was about time I got a feel for what people thought of this motley crew of skin and plasma. So I pretended to do a series of man-on-the-street interviews. Here are the responses I believe I would have gotten if I had actually done said interviews.

Democratic candidates

Hillary Clinton—“Another Clinton? God help us.”
Joe Biden—“He’s like a thousand years old, no.”
Bernie Sandersa very small group of people-“Woohoo!” The rest of the country-“I. Don’t. Think. So.”
Martin O’Malleypeople who live in Maryland-“Uh, no.” The rest of the country-“Who?”

Republican candidates

Jeb Bush—“Wait, is he related to the other Bush’s? Aw, hell no!”
Ben Carson—“Hmm, he’s a neurosurgeon so he has to be smart. He said what? He compared people who voted for Obama to Nazis and thinks the affordable care act is worse than 9/11? Never mind.”
Ted Cruz—“No, no, no, no, no, no, no.”
Rand Paul—“We get our bourbon from Kentucky, not our presidents.”
Bobbie Jindal—“You can’t be serious.”
Donald Trump—“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That’s a good one. Donald Trump running for president. Ha! You got me.”
Chris Christie—“Oh I remember him, the idiot from New Jersey.”
Rick Perry—“Oh I remember him, the idiot from Texas.”
Scott Walker—“Oh I remember him, the idiot from Wisconsin.”
Mike Huckabee—“Oh I remember him, the idiot from Arkansas. No, not that idiot, the Republican one.”
Carly Fiorina— “Worst. CEO. Ever.”
Lindsay Graham—“I’ve heard the name, but I thought it was an actress on a soap opera.”
George Pataki —“I can’t vote for someone whose skin looks like it’s melting off his skull.”
Marco Rubio—“Is this the guy who sang Living la Vida Loca?”
Rick Santorum—“Ewwww.”
Lincoln Chafee—“If I never heard of Martin O’Malley what makes you think I’ve heard of Lakeland Chafing?”
Jim Webb—“This is getting silly.”
Bob Ehrlich—“Really, who are these people?”
Mark Everson—“Now you’re just making names up.”
Jim Gilmore—“This game stopped being fun 10 candidates ago.”
John Kasich —“I’m not playing anymore.”
Pete King—“Seriously, stop it.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Following the Crowd

I realized the other day that I may be the only person left in the world that doesn’t have his own podcast and is also not running for president in 2016. I’m not sure what this means about myself. Am I lazy? Not ambitious enough? Don’t care?

If I had a podcast what would my subject be? My love of cream-filled donuts? I don’t know if I can fill an hour a week about donuts. Who would my guests be, the Dunkin Donuts lady?

“Good afternoon. Today I welcome Mindy Nussbaum, donut chef at Dunkin Donuts store #435 in charge of glazed, sprinkles and crullers.”

Once we got past the fact that she has a dream job though, I’m not sure where that interview goes. Each week I would need another guest. They would get progressively worse until around week 8 where it would be just me drooling in a sugar coma after eating a half dozen angel creams.

About running for president, I guess this would be the year to do it. There are already 119 candidates combined with the two parties and that doesn’t even count the fringe parties like communist, libertarian, Duck Dynasty enthusiasts, Duggar apologists, the Hipster Beard party and Johnny Depp in his worst role yet.

And let’s not forget that all proclaimed candidates suck. I may be the breath of fresh air this country needs. Well, maybe not fresh air. More like the slightly stale air that escapes when you open a closet door for the first time in months, which is still better than the “just down the road from the industrial pig farm” air that the other candidates are giving off.

So I guess if I want to conform I need to get the “Donut Hole in My Soul” podcast started and fill out the paperwork to declare as a candidate for president. I will be my own guest one week on the show so I can lob softball questions at myself about my campaign. I’ll lay out the tenets of my job creation program that is essentially building more donut factories. As podcast host I will warn myself about the health implications of this plan and as a presidential candidate I will speak eloquently for 20 minutes without coming close to the subject at hand. I will then kiss my own ass, sign off for the day and take a nap.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Story's Title's Blog's Post

“It was Jessie’s cousin’s girlfriend’s babysitter, that’s who gave me this recipe. I knew I’d think of it eventually.”

Matilda went back to mixing her ingredients in her favorite ceramic bowl, a tune humming between her lips. Her husband Lionel sat at the dinner table sipping a beer, looking confused. He turned to his wife.

“Where did you meet this woman?”

“At the carnival last week, remember? You were working late so I went with Sheryl, Dan, Hank and his wife’s nephew’s chiropodist’s daughter’s vet.”

“Ok,” Lionel muttered. “But . . . but how did you meet the woman with the recipe?”

“We were on the merry-go-round talking when I was tapped on the shoulder by an elderly lady who turned out to be my great-Aunt Sylvia’s second husband’s granddaughter’s best friend’s niece’s step-brother’s dance instructor’s mother.”

“Wha . . .”

“Anyway, this woman, I think her name was Francine, knew your late Uncle Dave’s mechanic’s girlfriend’s ex-husband’s son’s golden retriever’s groomer’s wife’s insurance agent, Gabe Frinkelman.”

“Sure,” Lionel muttered. “Who doesn’t know Gabe Frinkelman?”

“She was telling us a story about when Gabe got out of the army. He went to Vegas with some friends and met Wayne Newton’s manicurist’s daughter’s teacher’s third wife’s second ex-husband’s pastor’s great-Uncle’s flying instructor’s girl-friend’s high-school classmate’s cellmate’s sister’s pot dealer’s brother. Can you imagine meeting a celebrity like that?”

“Yeah, sure. But what about . . .”

“Oh, right, the recipe. It turns out the pot dealer’s brother moved here a few years ago. He met my friend Jessie’s cousin and they started a band together, The Neighbor’s Squirrel’s Nuts. One night while playing at that bar on route 46, Gary’s Guns, Groupies and Guacamole, Jessie’s cousin’s girlfriend brought along the woman who babysits for her and also Mrs. Thompson’s son’s shop teacher’s on-line girlfriend’s psychologist’s heavily medicated soon-to-be ex-wife.”

“I need another beer.”

“The pot dealer’s brother and the babysitter hit it off and started dating. That night I went to the carnival they had intended to stay in and watch a movie on Netflix but the babysitter got a phone call from her sister’s brother-in-law’s step-daughter’s nephew’s volleyball coach’s private detective’s father’s bookie’s wife’s neighbor’s goddaughter’s fiancé’s mother’s dentist’s dominatrix’s son’s classmate’s brother’s parole officer’s boss’s mistress’s nanny’s ex-con ex-husband’s ex-wife’s ex-best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and were invited to the carnival.”

“Holy shit,” Lionel said, his hand slapping his forehead.

“We met them in front of the fried pickle stand, got to talking and I mentioned I was looking for a good casserole recipe.”

“Don’t care anymore,” Lionel said.

“She put my email address into her phone and a few days later sent me this recipe.”

“Beer. Need beer.”

“She told me she found it in a magazine from a high school classmate’s brother’s daughter’s son’s cat’s vet’s office. She also said . . .”

Monday, May 11, 2015

Goose Down

Taking a bike ride on the local rail trail I met the Goose family out for a late-day swim. That’s dad Walter and mom Henrietta along with the kids Donna, Tammy, Skeeter, Stewart, David, Shaniqua, Tanya, Blind Lemon, Larry, Latrell, Hazel, Ann Marie and D-Train.

I thought they were in the creek just for a family outing. Unfortunately after a conversation with Walter I found out they were living in the high grass at the base of the bridge.

Walter used to be a line manager at a pillow factory until everyone’s job was lost. The plant closed up and moved overseas where the pillows are now stuffed by robots with down imported from Indonesia. Walter’s severance kept them for a while but it wasn’t long before they couldn’t pay the mortgage on the split level rancher, Henrietta’s dream home. If things weren’t bad enough with no job, bills piling up, and 356 children spread all over North America that still needed help from time to time, Henrietta found out she was pregnant again. Walter admits he didn’t handle the news well.

“How did she expect me to react?” Walter said to me. “I can’t pay the water bill and soon there will be 5-15 more mouths to feed? I thought we were being careful, but . . .”

Counting himself, Walter now had 15 geese to support. There was a ray of hope when he was offered a line cook’s job at Arby’s but at the last minute assistant manager Lonny Hornberg gave the position to his nephew Darryl instead. Walter lost his temper throwing a squawking fit and flapping his wings wildly. It would have been much ado over nothing had he not also pooped in the French fry grease and stuck his beak into a customer’s strawberry shake. That earned Walter a fine he couldn’t afford.

After that Walter took any odd job he could find to earn money but it wasn’t enough to save the house. For a month following they stayed with Henrietta’s cousin Sharon until her own 11 goslings hatched. Twenty eight honking geese was just too much for one townhouse so Walter and Henrietta took their brood on the road. They’ve been staying near any creek or lake where they can lay low in the weeds. During the day Henrietta raises her kids as best she can while Walter sends his resume to anyone who will take it.

“We were living the Canadian-American dream for a little while,” Henrietta said in a hushed voice. “Now we’re just trying to survive.”

I wished Walter and Henrietta good luck and got back on my bike. I watched as they swam under the bridge to get out of the Sun, the goslings blissfully unaware of anything except their immediate surroundings. Walter put a supportive wing around his wife before they drifted out of sight.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Shh, I'm Trying to Sleep

I'm not a morning person.
The alarm going off is like screw driver plunging into my ear.

The alarm is jarring like when I was married and the wife would pop a peaceful moment with a safety pin by asking, "What are you thinking about?" and I had to catch myself before I said "Elle McPherson".

It's like I'm a baby seal and the alarm is a hunter with a club.

The alarm going off some mornings frightens me. I slap at the clock while my heart beats with the rhythm of a Motorhead song. By the time I finally get the alarm off by dropping it into an industrial grinder, I'm halfway on the floor with my heart in my throat like an undigested piece of pork chop from supper the night before.

I am not a morning person.

When the sky is still dark then I should be staring at the inside of my eyelids, not at my bedroom ceiling wondering if that spot just moved.

I should not have to look at my clock until the first number is at least an 8. If I'm seeing a 6 or less my brain is still a soup of half-remembered dreams, lyrics from that song I heard at lunch time yesterday and the invention I came up with when I was 23 for a car whose glove box is refrigerated to hold a selection of cheeses and Italian luncheon meats.

Morning and I are not friends. I don't go to its birthday parties and it doesn't come to my poker night. When the clock strikes noon morning sneers one last look of contempt at me and I flip it the bird. We are in our neutral corners for the rest of the day.

I am not a morning person and morning is not me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Where has Spring Gone?

Breaking News!

This is Bill Everyman for Generic Internet News Channel. We have just learned that Spring is missing. Authorities have been looking for Spring since it didn't show up for work on March 20th as scheduled. Summer, close friends with Spring, has not heard from the season since the evening of the 19th.

"She texted me the night before," Summer said, her voice breaking. "She was really excited, you know. Winter has been a bastard this year and she was really looking forward to brightening things up with colors and warmer weather."

A spokesman for the Council of Seasons released this statement:

"We are cooperating with authorities in every way possible to bring Spring back safely. Any resources they need we are willing to provide. We want the new seasons to take over as scheduled. There has been speculation that Winter has had something to do with Spring's disappearance. We have talked to Winter extensively and are satisfied that he had nothing to do with the current situation. Winter has pledged to not take advantage and to cooperate with Federal authorities."

As to the final part of the statement, the FBI, along with Interpol, today conducted a search of Winter's home in Antarctica well as his summer cabin in Turtle Lake, North Dakota. No trace of Spring was found although they did confiscate personal photographs and videos stolen from Autumn when her iPhone was hacked last October.

Lead Interpol investigator Lieutenant Rand McTavish held a press conference directly after the search:

"We have several solid leads to follow. Interpol is coordinating with law enforcement from around the globe and we will find Spring. We have set up a hotline for any citizen to contact with information if they have anything viable to share. And no, seeing a robin is not a helpful lead. Do you understand Mrs. Lee Throckmeyer of Nashville Tennessee? Please stop calling. The number is 1-800-867-5309. Thank you."

This has been Bill Everyman. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, the season 2 finale of World's Greatest Police Chases on Unicycles.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

One for the Coughers

A friend at work has a cold and the other day she coughed but it sounded sort of like a sneeze. I said "I'm not sure if that was a sneeze or a cough so I'll give you a 'bless you' just in case."

It got me to thinking, why do we say 'God bless you' when someone sneezes but if they cough we're more like "Will you please shut your pie hole, I'm trying to work." If the coughing continues throughout the day it accelerates to "I swear to God if you give me your cold I am going to lose my mind."

As soon as you sneeze, "Bless you."

Cough again, “Will you just go home!”

Sneeze. “God bless you.”

Cough cough cough. “I can’t take this. I’m working in the conference room.”

Achoo! “Gesundheit.”

Cough! “I don’t hate you, but I will kill you.”

I think we need a blessing for the coughers in our offices other than “shut up”. Something that says “I’m sorry you’re a germ-infested bowl of bacteria and I hope you feel better.”

How about we combine ‘bless you’ and ‘gesundheit’?

Bless your undheit!
You gesund!

Ok, I’m still working on it, but I think it’s a good idea. The one exception? If you have a wet, phlegmy cough, you’re on your own. Get out and go home before you make us all puke. I mean it. No ‘GesBlessUnd’ for you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My 24 Hours in Hell

It was a normal Sunday morning. I was sleeping in because I was up late the night before. I could feel sunlight sneaking in around the edges of the closed curtain dappling my face with warmth.

At precisely 9 a.m., however, a portal to hell was opened. A demon named Murray took the form of bacteria and entered my body where he proceeded to slice my stomach lining with a rusty flat head screw for the next 9 hours. He also turned everything in my intestines into a swamp with only one drainage point.

My small bathroom became my home; sitting on the toilet was my low-paying job. As a hobby I took up violently vomiting into a garbage can. Things I would recommend ahead of it include wrestling badgers, wearing underwear made of cactus skin and calling Comcast customer support.

I threw up so hard at one point red blotches appeared on my face. I looked like a rose garden had bloomed under my skin. The repeated convulsions left my ribs so sore I can't breathe heavy to make my weekly perverted phone calls to the nursing college annex.

At about the 4 hour mark I was begging for death from any god that would take my call. Apparently they were all on a golf outing together at Pebble beach because I couldn't get through even though I let it ring 2,324,231 times. Come into the 21st century and get an answering machine!

In the middle of hour 6 I hallucinated an 8 foot tall Barry Goldwater telling me "Relax, the duckies are OK." I responded with "Well now I know how the Dalai Lama felt the day his camel was repossessed." Music started so we danced until I threw up on his shoes.

When the six o'clock hour hit I finally felt better. My stomach was now rumbling from hunger. Murray had left my body and transmogrified back into Taylor Swift. I ate some crackers and later when I still felt good I ate some leftovers from dinner on Saturday. When I went to bed a few hours later all was well.

3:30 a.m. Monday morning, Murray makes his triumphant return. I am awoken by a garden rake being pulled slowly across my insides. I moved back into my bathroom apartment, resuming my pleas to all known deities and even a few I made up on the spot in hopes they were real. In the quiet moments, when Murray was taking a break to smoke a clove cigarette and write a pop song about a kitten, I realized my day in hell must be caused by something I ate and then like an idiot, ate again. This realization didn't make me feel any better and caused Murray to recall an anecdote about the time he and John Mayer got Chinese food in Denver at Yung Tung's House of Hunan which resulted in a song called "The Night We Shared the Hershey Squirts". Look for it on an upcoming John Mayer CD.

Thankfully this second bout ended after only 3 hours. Murray was bored and I was close to unconscious. I was able to pull myself together and even get to work on time. I can barely talk because my throat is raw, my ribs hurt every time I laugh or cough and I'm kind of afraid every time I eat something, but other than that I'm good.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Commercials are Making Us Dumber

There is a series of commercials I’ve seen a few times that are in my opinion trying to turn the movie Idiocracy into a documentary. They take a picture of a man and put him in front of a car and then in front of a truck. Then they ask supposed “real” people questions like which guy is sexier, what kind of pet you think the car guy and truck guy would have, how would the car and truck guy shake hands, etc.

I don’t know if the “real” people are actually dumb or have been scripted and edited to look stupid, but it’s THE SAME GUY. The pictured dude in front of the car and the truck is the same guy.

“Oh, the guy with the truck would have a three headed dog that belches fire and answers to the name Kraxenhammer. The car guy would have a grub worm or possibly a Chihuahua-pygmy Spaniel mix.”


“My, oh my, the truck man is hot, hot, hot. My pelvis is thrusting toward the picture so hard I think my hip just popped out of the socket. But the car man, he looks like a jobless drifter who would take my grandmother on a cruise, leave her on an island, then come home and move into her rent controlled townhouse.”


Is this really the best concept they could come up with for a commercial: Complete stupidity wrapped up in a moronic tortilla shell and covered in a sauce that kills your brain cells? I don’t even know what kind of truck they’re advertising. The asininity of the commercial makes me yell at the TV like I’m trying to answer a Wheel of Fortune puzzle before the contestant. Besides, if they aren’t advertising a book, music or pizza I’m not buying it anyway.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Give Music back to the Musicians

I wish record companies would let bands be who they are instead of trying to change them. There are many examples of this but I ran into one recently that reminded me that creating music and the music business are two separate entities that should probably never interact.

I am a fan of a fairly obscure heavy metal band from the 80s called Raven. I wore out my cassette tape of their album All For One. Recently I was at a flea market and found this vinyl copy of their The Pack is Back album. I wasn’t familiar with this one and the cover is . . . disturbing, but it was the 80s and metal bands were wearing . . . well let’s forget what they wore in the 80s. Being a fan of the band and still having a vinyl collection I bought this for a few dollars. I was excited to get home and put it on my turntable. Yes, I’m old. I still like hearing the needle drop onto the grooves of a record.

The first song played while I cleaned up a bit and I wasn’t thrilled with it. It wasn’t horrible but there was something wrong. It didn’t sound like Raven. Second song, not much better. It was a cover of Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. By the time side one was over I had heard a horn section and way too many catchy melodies for this to be a heavy metal record.

After using Google to dig up some information I discovered that the record company wanted the band to make their sound more “commercial”. The result? A bad record followed by bad reviews and bad sales. Good job Atlantic Records.

Raven was not a pop band so why did you try to make them into one?  If you worked for Vertigo in the 70s would you have said to Black Sabbath, “You know lads, your records aren’t selling as well as they used to. We’d like you to do a cover of the Partridge Family’s I Think I Love You. You know, be a bit more commercial.” What if Columbia had said to Judas Priest, “Could you write a song about falling in love under a waterfall while holding a puppy? Three puppies would be even better.”

Let musicians be who they are. If they progress naturally into different genres they can make it work, but forcing them to play songs that aren’t their style never works. In this case, the pack was not back and Atlantic Records should refund my $4. Betty at customer relations said that’s not going to happen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A National Day of Mourning

This is hard news to report. I’ve hesitated typing these words because there’s so much sadness in the world already and I didn’t want to add to it, but I see other news outlets have already broken the story. Yes, it’s true: Kelly Osbourne has quit Fashion Police.

She threatened to do it, but we didn’t believe her. The Republicans begged the president to go to DEF CON 3 and send in a seal team to talk her out of it. The Democrats tried to pass an emergency bill through congress outlawing her ability to quit the show, however, several key senators screwed it up by adding provisions for getting health insurance for the indigent and job creation legislation. Why can’t our elected officials see the big picture? There meddling killed the bill and now Kelly is gone.

How will this nation survive someone like Kelly, who has no discernible talent, leaving a TV show no self-respecting person would ever watch? This is what Americans thrive on: Narcissistic plasma balls wearing birthday-party-clown make-up getting paid the gross national income of Paraguay to do nothing of value to society. If we let people like this quit their meaningless jobs how will we fill 24 hours of programming on fringe networks like E!, Bravo or NBC?

This is indeed a sad day, but one we should have seen coming. Vacuum hoses like Kelly Osbourne can only suck the life out of us for so long before they fill up and blow away like a Mylar balloon, fading into the ionosphere.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Anti-Dylan

You often see lyrics to classic songs analyzed to glean their every meaning. We want to know what the musical poets were trying to say with their words as much as feeling the notes of the music.

But what about bad song lyrics? No one ever analyzes those. Until now.

This is the chorus to "Everybody Wants Some" by Van Halen

Everybody wants some
I want some too
Everybody needs some
how 'bout you

Judging by the first verse what everyone wants is a sexual encounter on a subway and I don't think it means sloppy kisses between bites of a six inch sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub either. Why you'd want your junk touching bacteria-infested subway seats I don't know but in Van Halen's alcohol-induced haze it must be like a room at the Ritz Carlton. The narrator says "everybody" wants some, but follows it up with telling us he wants it also. The collective "everybody" would encompass the narrator as well so the entire second line is superfluous. He proceeds to tell us "everybody" needs some, but follows by asking us, the listeners, if we want some as well. Again, we would be included in the "everybody" of the previous line so why ask us? The answer of course is the band had the music written and then needed some words that rhymed to call them "lyrics". A few minutes later the song is done and David Lee Roth is combing his chest hair.

This is the chorus to "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy

Everybody's working for the weekend
Everybody needs a new romance
Everybody's going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance
You want a piece of my heart
You better start from the start
You want to be in the show
Come on baby let's go

I can't argue with the first line since I spend most work-days wool gathering about anything and everything. The second line uses the collective "everybody" but this discounts people who are happily married as well as those in common law marriages, long term relationships, civil unions or just blissfully "shacking up". None of these people are looking for a new romance. The next line is specious at best again because of the use of the collective "everybody". I know plenty of people who are losing it at any given time, but I also know many who are stable so don't lump them all in together like a Freud-Jung bouillabaisse. I won't argue with the ‘second chance’ line in general terms although what it has to do with working for the weekend, I don't know. A second chance to say no to overtime? Another shot at asking out the girl in accounting?

'You want a piece of my heart'? Is this literal or figurative? I need more context on whether the band is singing to a young lady or a serial killer with an internal organ fetish. 'You better start from the start'. Sorry, but where else would you start from except the 'start', which grammatically should be 'beginning'. Then some mythical show is mentioned and apparently all you have to do to be in it is 'go'. The take-away from all of this is much like Van Halen, Loverboy had written the music but needed lyrics so the singer had something to do. They threw darts at a dictionary and wound up with this hit song.

So there you have installment 1 of a 1,287 part series of bad song lyrics interpreted pedantically.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Wonder Woman Protection Agency

This picture sits on a shelf above my desk at work. It's Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman from the 70s. I have a male friend/co-worker the same age as me and one day we were discussing TV shows we used to watch as kids. We both agreed that we didn't watch Wonder Woman because of any interest in the comic book character but because Lynda Carter is, well, Lynda Carter, and she looked like this and we were 12 and you get the point. I got my picture from a female friend who made them up for all the men in department at the time as a "Fun Friday" gift.

The photo has been sitting on my desk for about 3 years now, although I don't notice it very often anymore. Sure, I might lean back to stretch and it enters my line of sight, those long legs speaking to me in a way . . . hmmm . . . I'm sorry, what was I saying?

Yes, I look at the picture occasionally but not every day. Usually it's someone who has never been at my desk before who sees it and with a quizzical expression asks "So, what's up with the picture of Wonder Woman?" My shelf is filled with little tchotchkes of my favorite sports teams or there's my pen shaped like a rocket or my plastic steam train engine I got at a yard sale for 25 cents.

They all sit on my shelf, a part of my personality, creating a comfortable pocket for me to exist in while at work. Even though I don't look at all of them every day they instill in me a sense of home. I am one of those people who like to be surrounded by my stuff. There is no minimalism when it comes to the areas I exist in every day. My walls at home are covered with photos of family and friends, paintings, posters, banners, anything that can be hung up and displayed. At work I have photos from vacations, pictures of co-workers when we were doing something silly rather than working. Oh, and a picture of the cast of The Loveboat. That's a story for another time.

I admit when I see someone's work area that is devoid of any pictures or memorabilia, that is simply a box for work, I view it as a prison. If it works for that person that's great but I can't make it through the day in a cold, antiseptic cubicle. If I have to be confined to a desk surrounded by three walls I need my Woodstock figurine, shells from the beach, and my sign proclaiming me a fan of the New York Jets so people can feel sad for me.

Wonder Woman watches over all of my things, a protector as well as a boyhood crush. If I could get her to ride the plastic toy tiger I'd have a Frank Frezetta painting come to life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

All the News That's Fit to Fake

Welcome to the daily news, I'm Brad Fluffymuffin, sitting in for the vacationing Brock Meatthreat who took the place of the retired Harry von Speedlemeister who was given this job after many late night drinks with network president Marilyn Marilyn Shapely. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In Florida today someone was arrested for doing something mind-bogglingly stupid involving meth or bath salts. The perpetrator was probably covered in profane tattoos and likely human excrement. Police expect to make more arrests tomorrow for similar crimes because it's Florida.

Shifting to world news now, in Belgium a satirical magazine called "Hey, Pay Attention to Us, We're Belgian" is being criticized by Hindus for a cartoon of the goddess Durga using her 8 arms to do such things as wash the dishes, change a baby's diaper, make dinner and other traditional women's household roles. The caption of the cartoon has Durga yelling to her husband "I can't get you a beer, I'm busy. What, you think I have 9 arms?" Hindu men are incensed that one of their gods has been caricatured while most Hindu women have not been allowed to read the cartoon.

In political news Mitt Romney has announced he will make another run at the White House. In response the Democrats have chosen a porcelain cup filled with green tea to run against Romney. Early polls show the cup with a 7 percentage point lead.

In the entertainment world the Oscars are coming up. A poll of 45 kittens at a local shelter show wide-spread support for Ratatouille. When told that film is actually 7 years old and not nominated this year, food bowls were overturned in anger and our reporter was hissed out of the room.

The weather tomorrow is scheduled to be ass-biting cold followed the next day by the brass monkey losing its balls.

The focus shifts to sports now where residents of Seattle still haven't come to grips with the Seahawks losing the Super Bowl. People are still walking the streets grabbing their crotches in solidarity with Marshawn Lynch. Others continue to make terrible decisions at work to show support for coach Pete Carroll and his last second bone-headed play call that lost some of us a great deal of money. What were you thinking Carroll? A pass when you have one of the best backs in the league against a weak goal line defense? My 8 year old made the correct play call from our living room! Big Tony is on my ass day and night. I don't have $20,000 Pete. I like the fingers on my left hand and want to keep them . . .

**The broadcast will be right back after this word from our sponsor "Dante's 5th Circle of Hell Gentleman's Club--now with human strippers"**

Ladies and gentlemen, Brad Fluffymuffin has taken a leave of absence to deal with some personal issues and spend more time with his family. I'm Dan Blunderbuss filling in.

Our last story of the night is a video submitted by a viewer from Montana. This beautiful grizzly bear decided their porch was the perfect place for a nap. Delilah Hoodle taped the sleeping giant for nearly twenty minutes before it woke up and mauled her into a bloody pulp. Isn't nature magnificent?

This has been the daily news. Good night.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Close Encounters of the Idiot Kind

Do you walk into a store and stop two steps inside the doorway so the man behind you trips himself trying not to run into you, falls to the side on his arm snapping the radius bone which breaks through the skin and stabs him in the eye leaving him blinded and unable to work so he has to move in with his daughter who is a vegan that does yoga for 3 hours each morning and doesn't own a TV? Do you drive 15 miles below the speed limit until the driver behind you falls asleep, runs their car off the road into a tree which collapses onto oncoming traffic blocking the road so an ambulance carrying a man who has fallen and broke his arm which stabbed him in the eye can't get through to the hospital? In general, do you behave as if the world revolves around you and no one else's life matters? Then you may have "You're a Fucking Idiot Syndrome".

Doctors have only recently done the first comprehensive studies on YAFIS but have already identified millions who suffer from it, including nearly every person you encounter on any given day.

The spread of YAFIS is alarming. Formerly normal people wake up one morning and have overnight become idiots. The day before they would never dream of standing in a grocery store aisle with their cart sideways thus taking up the entire lane. Then one morning they do it without even thinking and when asked politely to move aside they instead hire Gloria Allred who was in the next aisle buying granola and US Weekly. By Tuesday you're embroiled in a civil lawsuit when all you wanted was a box of Pop Tarts.

How do we combat YAFIS? Sadly there are no good alternatives at this time. Many have taken up arms and shot the idiots they encounter but when examined these people were found to have an alternate version of YAFIS called "Extremist Idiot Disorder" or "Republicanism". Others have tried reasoning with an idiot only to feel after as if their brains had melted and leaked out through their nose. A new study by the Harvard School of Psychology has identified these people as having yet another off-shoot of YAFIS, "Bleeding Heart Disease" or "Liberalism".

So where, as a society, do we go from here? Do we all build compounds, listen to Hank Williams Jr. records and eat meat-like products from a can? Do we bring back talk shows like Phil Donahue so we can work through our collective problems in daily televised therapy sessions paid for by male enhancement pills and diet supplements?

No. The solution lies within us. It isn't found in Eastern philosophy or Western nihilism. Each of us, as individuals, need to promise one another we will do better. We will be considerate of others and understand that we are not alone.

If that doesn't work there's always flippin' 'em the bird and shouting "What are ya, a fuckin’ idiot?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Foodie Fairytale

Dilly Dan was a pickle man, selling his gherkins and garlics on the corner of 1st avenue and 12th street. His cart was in the shape of a dill and he wore a uniform of all green, down to his socks and shoes. Dan lived for pickles. He ate them at every meal, canned them, sold them and slept on a green pillow.

All was green and briny in Dan’s world until the day a new food cart opened for business across the street.

Funnel Fran was a funnel cake girl, a fourth generation food cart vendor. Her great grandfather Penny Candy Stan the Cheap Candy Man opened a cart on 4th avenue in 1932 selling licorice, bubble gum and ribbon candy. Fran’s grandfather Corndog Bob operated his cart throughout Central Park. He passed the cart onto his son, Fran’s dad, who transformed into Apple Pie Peter whose pies were known all over the five boroughs.

Funnel Fran opened her cart across the street from Dilly Dan on a warm July morning. It only took until the afternoon for Funnel Fran to be out of ingredients. The local people were crazy for her cakes. Meanwhile, Dan had only sold one pickle, a Texas Dill to a small child who took a bite and dropped it down the storm drain.

That evening Dilly Dan concocted a plan to get his business back from Funnel Fran. Dilly Dan was a big fan of plans as well as cheese in a can, spray tans and ’64 Chevy oil pans. When Dan made his way to 1st avenue the next morning he was sans cans, tans or pans. In his mind he carried only his plan. And in his arms he carried a 5 gallon drum of pickle brine.

He found Fran hard at work inside her cart. She had four plastic containers each filled with her famous funnel cake batter. Dan needed to distract his rival so he set her cart on fire. While Fran sprayed the flames with an extinguisher, Dan snuck into the cart to pour his pickle brine into the funnel cake batter. Dan stirred the juice into the batter until you couldn’t tell it was there.

Dilly Dan snuck away to watch from the shadows as Fran’s business was ruined when she sold funnel cakes that tasted like pickles. However, to Dan’s astonishment, people loved them. Fran couldn’t make them fast enough. The line at her cart stretched across the road, blocking traffic. Drivers abandoned their cars to purchase a Funnel Fran funnel cake.

Dan got in line himself and purchased one of Fran’s confections. As he ate it he fell into a state of bliss he didn’t know existed. The combination of the sweetness of the sugar, the thickness of the dough and the tartness of the pickle juice made for a flavor that outshone pork rinds, fried Oreos and pheasant broiled in a white wine reduction and covered in mango hollandaise sauce.

Dan looked at Fran with her frizzy blond hair, crooked smile and giant, mannish hands and realized he was falling in love. As he ate his funnel cake he envisioned the two of them working side by side in their carts selling pickles, cakes, pickle flavored cakes, cake flavored pickles, and assorted souvenir hats, shirts, bumper stickers, iPad cases, nasal inhalers, lunch meats, lemon reamers, cutlery, hair clips, antiperspirant, window decals, combustion engines, flower vases, front end loaders, breakfast cereal, balloons, alpacas, finely crafted furniture, ceramic mugs, notebooks, pocket watches and sunglasses. Lots of sunglasses.

Dilly Dan wandered the streets until the end of the day. When Fran finally put out her closed sign, Dan approached the exhausted confectioner. He introduced himself as Dilly Dan the pickle man. Fran smiled shyly.

“I’ve seen you with your cart,” she said.

Dan smiled back and told her how much he loved her funnel cake. Fran thanked him but explained she didn’t even know how they got that flavor.

“I’d love to sell more,” she said, “but I don’t know how I did it.”

“I can help you with that,” Dan told Fran. “You could say it was my recipe.”

Dan explained how that morning he had been angry with Fran for taking his business. Using animated hand motions he described his love of plans, cans and tans and how he executed his plan at 8 a.m. by setting her cart on fire then sneaking in and pouring pickle juice in the batter. Dan continued his story and was at the point of the souvenir combustion engines when Fran punched him in the face. Repeatedly.

Dilly Dan was a pickle man until he lost all his teeth and his eyes swelled shut and that cut on the bridge of his nose wouldn’t stop bleeding and his ear drum perforated and his brain swelled inside his skull . . .