Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Twist

Where I work we have some inspirational posters. Not these cheesy ones or these parody ones; we have our own cheesy posters illustrated in-house by our own graphics people, featuring cheesy quotes researched by our in-house Chief Inspirational Officer.
There is one such poster I see often because it is on my floor, between my office and both the kitchen and the bathroom – the two places I spend most of the day. This poster has a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes: “The human mind, once stretched to a new idea, never returns to its former dimensions.” (The actual quote is "Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.") Either way, this is a good thought poorly stated. The image I get is a brain being stretched like a favorite t-shirt that has been mauled in the washing machine, rendering it misshapen and twisted, never to be un-stretched back the way you liked it. (“A brain, once washed, never returns to its former dimensions”?)
Instead of “stretched”, which implies an asymmetrical change in shape, Ollie should have used “expanded”, which implies growth in all directions: “The human mind, once expanded by a new idea, never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
Of course, if the human, mind, once expanded, never shrinks back, then why did I need to take LSD repeatedly?
To my comparison of ‘stretched’ and ‘expanded’, Ollie said: “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.” Which circles back to the LSD issue. Righteous, dude.
Whatever mind expansion he had going on, it was freaking him out: “It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corporeal frames... We all do things both awake and asleep which surprise us. Perhaps we have co tenants in this house we live in." How’s that bipolar thing working out for you? Ollie had some issues, yo.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If You Need a V. P. From the Confederacy, Vote Kaine

I hid a microphone at Obama headquarters because I am a Fox News kind of guy, adhering to the journalistic credo that “your right to know supersedes your right to exist.”*
This is the discussion I overheard among Obama’s advisors:

MOHAMMED: So, Akmed, who is on the short list for V.P.?
AKMED: The name at the top today is Tim Kaine.
AKMED: The Governor of Virginia.
MOHAMMED: Never heard of him. What happened to Clinton, or Biden, or Hagel, even?
AKMED: Kaine has one thing those guys will never have.
MOHAMMED: What’s that?
AKMED: The confusion factor. People go in to vote for McCain, they see Obama/Kaine and they accidentally vote for our guy.
MOHAMMED: Come on! Nobody is that brain dead.
AKMED: Oh yeah? I got one word for ya.
AKMED: Florida, 2000.
MOHAMMED: Oh yeeeeaaah. It could happen.
AKMED: It could happen!
MOHAMMED: You know, Akmed, that’s a nice “I’m a life-long Christian, not a Muslim terrorist, I swear to Allah” lapel pin you have on.
AKMED: Huh? I don’t have a…what is this?
TOGETHER: That’s not a “I’m a life-long Christian, not a Muslim terrorist, I swear to Allah” lapel pin, that’s a hidden microph…..

That’s where I lost the transmission.

*(that credo © 1980 by Gary Burbank as is the hidden microphone premise I ripped off)

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Bird's Eye View

In the past couple of weeks four birds have smashed into the same window on the 4th floor of our office building. When that happens, I walk past their broken, lifeless bodies in the parking lot in the morning and I have to wonder, “when is someone going to clean that up?”
I also wonder why that happens so often. The folks at Wild Birds Unlimited offer these explanations:
“Some birds bang into windows because they think they see another bird in their territory, some birds fly into windows because they don’t see the window. Other birds fly into windows because they are being chased by predators.”
The “don’t see the window” theory is plausible if you use Windex. Our windows at work usually have some amount of dirt/pollutants on them such that, when the birds smack into them, there is a clear bird outline, similar to a snow angel, imprinted in the shmutz. In fact, the most recent ex-bird was flying so fast he added some of its own essence to the imprint. So I question the transparent window idea in these cases.
I can believe that a bird could meet its demise this was when being chased by predators. Some bird is out-racing a hawk, turns and sticks its tongue out and WHAM! The hawk is laughing so hard, he fails to stop and WHAM! So, why don’t I find two birds in the parking lot?
The idea that a bird sees its reflection, mistakes it for another bird and tries to attack, only to perish as it runs into “itself” seems logical at first. However, have you ever seen two birds fly headfirst into each other? If rivals attacked each other this way, wouldn’t that happen all the time. Birds don’t play “chicken” (but if they did, what would they call it?)
The absolute worst suggestion is from, who suggest:
“Typically birds fly into windows (because) they have terrible depth perception and cannot tell how far away the window actually is."
So the bird is thinking, “I’m going to fly full tilt toward this window and pull out at the last second which is ri….WHAM! oh, shit.” If birds’ depth perception is that bad, they would be flying smack into tree trunks and sides of houses, not just windows. How would they land on those little perches on bird feeders? The expressions, “hawk eye”, and “eagle eye” would be applied to Mr. Magoo, not to Indian guides.
How can we really know if any of these theories are correct; we don’t know what the bird is thinking. What is the last thing that goes through a bird’s mind when it hits a window? Its beak.
I don’t know why the birds fly into windows but I know why the caged bird bangs:
Baretta: (to the Judge)” But if you try to put him in a cage, he's gonna bang up against that cage, and bang up against it and gonna die your honor. That's what's gonna happen to Willie. You take him away from us, and you're gonna kill him, and if he dies, we are all gonna die a little bit. Please save him your honor, please save all of us.” Keep your eye on the sparrow, son.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Morning Fail

I woke up this morning, went outside to my garden and picked two jalapenos, a serrano and a few tomatoes. I washed the vegetables, washed my hands. I went back out and played with the neighbors dog that we are pet-sitting. I washed my hands. I roasted the peppers and chopped the tomatoes and some onion. I washed my hands. I peeled and chopped the peppers and washed my hands. I combined the chopped ingredients in a bowl, added salt, pepper and lime juice and washed my hands. I took the rest of my limes and made lime ade. I washed my hands. I went into the bathroom, washed my hands, brushed my teeth, washed my hands and put my contacts in.
Find the mistake in the preceding paragraph. Would you say
  1. You wrote "serrano" peppers when it should have been "cerano"
  2. Both "woke up this morning" and "went outside to my garden" contain redundancies and too many extra, superfluous words
  3. You left the cilantro and garlic out of the salsa
  4. You forgot to take your medicine to treat your OCD hand washing problem
  5. You left the gin (or tequila) out of the lime ade
  6. You used tomatoes and peppers which have been linked to salmonella
  7. Peppers and tomatoes are the fruits of their plants, not vegetables.
  8. You put your contacts in after handling peppers and limes instead of before.

If you answered
  1. Wrong - even if I made a mistake, I wrote what I meant
  2. You are reading the wrong blog. You meant to go here.
  3. No, cilantro tastes like soap and garlic muddies the fresh taste of the vegetables
  4. Wrong only because the voices have stopped me from getting diagnosed and getting the prescriptions yet
  5. No, the booze is added later
  6. Are you blond? I grew my own ingredients to protect my family from the terrorists attacking our salsa supply.
  7. Shut up, you pedantic imbecile. The food category "vegetables" includes fruits such as cucumber, tomato etc.
  8. This would be my answer. Having washed my hands, the residue on my finger made my eyes burn slightly less than if I had applied the peppers and limes directly to me eyes.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Mitt Romney is Her Dad, I Bet

UPDATED - see below
Yesterday’s post has a comment from a young woman named Cali. She implored me not to read her blog, so, naturally, I did. Cali is married to Geoff and they live in Orem, Utah, far away from where I live, so I’ve decided stalking them would be awkward and I’m not going to do it, for now. Since I haven’t done the stalking research, I am going to go ahead and assume, because they live in Utah and I need to stereotype them for purposes of this blog, that they are Mormons, which presents a problem for me.
I already have a reader who is an ordained minister. When I mock religious wingnuts or write about God and Jeez, I always worry: WWJT, What Will Jenny Think? Now I have the added burden of worrying about the Mormons. I hope I haven’t written any rude things about Mormons in the past, like comparing them to Scientologists or lawyers or something. Cali, if it helps, one of my best friends from college is a Mormon, so, you know, I’m okay with it.
On second thought, I don’t know why I’m worried. I do wonder what Jenny thinks about my evangelist bashing or irreverent discussions with God, but it doesn’t stop me from writing them. Heck - no, not “Heck” – Hell, (be bold!) I worry that my conservative, right-wing, Republican, straight, white, American father must get madder than a wet Ted Stevens when I bash Bush or write pro-Obama prose like some left-winging, peace-loving, pro-choicing, bare-footing, lazy-ass hippie, but it never actually stops me. Trying to make someone laugh is more important than trying to coddle his or her overly-sensitive, whiney-butt feelings.
So I’m not going to worry about the Mormons, but I am curious. Cali seems like a nice young woman who loves her husband and family and has a very nice life in Orem, Utah. How did she stumble into this dive? Furthermore, what possessed her to actually link to it on her blog? I’m thinking maybe she and Geoff found it while on a mission and they are displaying it on her blog in order to say to the world, “Look! This - this “Late for the Sky” is proof of what happens to you when you drink coffee and beer, you have only one wife and you don’t go to church! Read it. Read it, and then wash your hands and pray that you shall not become like this.”

UPDATE - It seems that Cali was referred to my blog by Geoff. This is his blog. Okay, so Cali does not see my blog as a morality lesson, it is something to distract the children with if they happen to accidently open panchobizzaro's blahg. But how did Geoff find this place?

All my wives drink scotch and read and vote for my entries.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Legally Bland

Many people find it contradictory that a CPA can write humor for the radio and do standup. Yet it is this disassociative identity disorder which got me my current job; comedy writing came up during my interview and the CEO said, "you will fit right in with the sick people we have here" (I may be paraphrasing, but I'm not kidding). If you don’t think a CPA/CFO can be funny, you haven’t seen the financial statements I prepare.
For some reason, when a writer needs a character to be really boring, the character is an accountant. But the fact is that the most boring. Professionals. Ever. Are lawyers.
I know of a few accountants that have become comedians: Fred MacAuley, Gary Gulman, Bob Newhart and me. I can’t name one lawyer who became a comic…because I didn’t Google it (so don’t fill the comments with examples).
Comedians aside, the only reason people don’t identify lawyers as boring is that the stench of scum-sucking and bottom-feeding repels us before we ever detect the eau d’ennui that clings to them. When the Stereotype Board was handing out assignments, lawyers had their hands so full with “Shady”, “Shyster”, “Ambulance Chaser” and similar plaques and certificates that when “Boring” was bestowed to them, they turned to the accountants and said, “here, hold this”, and we did.
Accountants are people who wanted to be lawyers but didn’t want to deal with the three years of law school. We spent too much time partying and being fun guys to qualify for law school anyway. And it must be that Law School has courses on Advanced Boring.
My “lawyer = boring” theory was confirmed today when I attended a seminar on “The Legalities of Doing Business in China”. You probably fell asleep just reading the title of that. The seminar was given by lawyers, for lawyers. I was there because my company does business in China and I needed to know something about the taxes and regulations. It was one long day of legal terms: “forbearance”, “binding” and “regulatory”; I thought I was at a gastro-interology seminar.
The guy who was put in to bat cleanup (speaking after lunch and trying to keep us all awake) was the most boring of all. What’s more, he kept losing his place in his notes. He droned on about, “to secure…uh…, uh, intellectual property is….uh…paramount and…you, uh, need to do due diligence on…uh... your trading partner and….uh….blah, blah, blah….uh….blah, er, I mean, blah.”
Ben Stein! That’s who! Ben Stein is a lawyer who became a comedian. And what sort of character does this lawyer/actor play? He’s the boring guy. (This is the only video of Ben's most famous role I could find. It is obnoxious, so just watch the first part.)

Lawyers don't get but they vote for my entries.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Little Bit of Soap

Daniel Radosh, in his book Rapture Ready*, writes about Steeple Hill (a publisher of “inspirational”, i.e. Christian based, romance novels) issuing to its writers a list of taboo terms, including, “Geez/Jeez (can use ‘Sheesh’ instead)”. The reason for the taboo is obviously that those exclamations amount to taking the Lord’s name in vain; “Jeez” (sometimes spelled with a “G” when they messed up chiseling in a stone tablet) was the nickname favored for Jesus by his crew. His boy, P-Dog (later “Rock”) gave him that one, though P-Dog denied it thrice. This bit of Christian pop history was overlooked by Radosh in his book.
But I digress. The “Jeez – Sheesh” reference took me back to childhood. We lived in a neighborhood with several Catholic families. One of them, two doors down from us, had a girl and a boy near the age of my sister and me. Their mom would baby sit us while our mom was at work. This would later be known as “daycare”, though if this woman had been running an actual service, I would not have been (at 4 and 5 years old) running around loose with Jimmy Fox, the bad kid down the street. I would not have been on unsupervised excursions to smash Christmas lights in the street (the old-fashioned, big ones made a tremendous “pop”), steal playing cards from the drug store or poop in the backyard because we were locked out of the house.
But I digress; those stories can be told another day.
The dad in the Catholic babysitter family was at work most of the time, which was a blessing, because he was one angry, scary dude. If we were all eating together and one of the kids, his own or us, did or said something he didn’t like, he sucked the food off his fork, then used that saliva-laden utensil to whack the offending kid on top of the head. Occasionally he would get exasperated and utter some twisted command like “don’t chew with your mouth full” or “don’t talk with your mouth open.” Woe be unto the child that laughed at this, for the spit-washed fork would be upon his head! That’s not the scary part, though. When his kids did something really bad, there would be beatings – I can’t remember if he used a belt, a hairbrush, a stick or all three, I just remember the trembling fear that one day he might forget I was not his son and do the same to me, because he threatened exactly that.
Somewhere in between the semi-harmless spit-fork and the fierce beatings was the classic washing-the-mouth-out-with-soap. This was not reserved for their own kids; I tasted the business end of a bar of Ivory when I bit my sister in the back one day (I don’t remember what inspired that bite, but I remember the consequence still).
One day the four of us children were talking and laughing about something and their boy, Ray, said, “Sheesh.” Then he froze. The atmosphere that had been light and airy became dense and shrouded – suddenly his dad filled the room, dark and rumbling like a storm cloud. Ray was hustled away to chew on some soap and receive a whipping while his sister, Jeanne, explained to us that “sheesh” was just a substitute for “Jesus” and uttering it in vain merited the same damnation as using the Lord’s actual name (or his nickname, “Jeez”). I watched my mouth after that, and kept it closed. I assumed "Gosh” was forbidden but I wondered about “golly” and “goodness”, since “good” is derived from “God”. (Right, Bill?).
The whole thing has stuck in my mind all these years and was retriggered when Rapture Ready informed me that “sheesh” was allowed by the strict guidelines of Steeple Hill and not equivalent to "Jesus". I wish Ray’s dad were still alive and I could take that book and show him …. And whack him on the head with it, then make him EAT the goddamn thing whole. Jeez!

*Rapture Ready is a well-written, well-researched examination of Christian pop culture, both amusing and enlightening. Sheesh, it’s good!

Geez, please guide people to and make them vote for my bloggings.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How To Eat At Maggiano's

If you don’t have a Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant near you, you may have a similar Italian restaurant that serves family style meals. (I see there are no Maggiano’s in Maine, which is probably because they are satisfied with all Dunkin Donuts, all the time).
The family style dinner, for one price per person, includes two items from each category: appetizers, salads, pasta, entrees and desserts and is served to groups of four or more. (The reason Maggiano’s is not in Montana is that you can’t get four or more unibomber loners to gather together at one table). You can also add two vegetable servings to the meal for $2 per person. (This is the reason Maggiano’s is in Texas: death by gluttony is an acceptable form of capital punishment there).
This concept may seem simple; you order the meal and share it, right? Wrong. You see, if you eat all of any of the items on the meal, they will bring you more. Whatever is left after you are all satiated and/or comatose, you can take home. So the strategy is all about optimizing the leftovers quantity. We once had a 50-person potluck to attend and we were able to supply the entire potluck group with what we carried home from Maggiano’s the night before. No one else brought anything. And my wife and I still had lunch for a week on what remained.
The key to leftover maximization is to understand that the quantity of food in each course is apportioned to feed multiples of four. Granted, the portions are generous, but, if you go with four people, you will eat the food they bring and have little, if any left to take home – usually no more than would serve the offensive line of a football team. If your group is six people, however, they will bring you food for eight. Now you’re getting somewhere.
That was our MO for the first few times we ate there. One time we had only one other couple to go with, so we co-opted a young couple at a nearby table who were on a prom date. “But I can only afford the cheap pasta dinners,” the young man whined. “Shut up and help push these tables together,” we shouted as we relieved him of the money he was holding back to buy condoms and Mike’s Hard Lemonade after the prom. We kept their share of the leftovers just to compensate for the aggravation. One time my in-laws didn’t want to go along with the other four’s choice of appetizer, so we traded them to another table for Joe and Rita, an elderly couple whom we have now convinced that they are our parents; we take them to the restaurant whenever we need added ordering power.
After a while, we learned a better strategy than using one odd couple to get extra food, and all you need is four people in your party. What you do is, when each course comes, instead of eating both and being satisfied, you all agree to eat just one of the items, then order more of that one, then eat parts of the two dishes. Now you have one full serving of each course leftover, equivalent to the average amount of food served on a Carnival Cruise ship each week.
I sold this secret strategy to some young men who attend college south of the Ohio border. This is why there is no Maggiano’s in Kentucky; those guys put them out of business.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spam, Spam, Eggs, Spam and Watches

I was just looking at my gmail and found that there were 20 new messages in my spam folder. They seem to arrive in groups by topic. One day last week a group of people must have met and agreed my anatomy is inadequate because I got several ENLARGEMENT offers at the same time, all from different senders. One day I got several offers of EQUIPMENT to enhance my sexual experience. Today, my equipment and supply needs must have been determined to be satisfied. I received one offer for "GROUP SEX - hot lesbian slut gets punished by her girlfriend for f-ing another boy". I was confused by the reference to "another" boy. Another in addition to whom? And there doesn't seem to really be a "group" having sex. Am I to infer, by virtue (and I use that term loosely) of having received the email, that I am invited to be the other boy, as part of the group? I don't intend to respond because I don't want the slut to get in further trouble.
The main need they seem to have identified for me this week is watches: REPLICA WATCHes and FAKE ROLEX WATCHes. There are 5 of those offers in the last few hours. Oh, I see I have three spams with the subject "Angelina Jolie Naked" (one of them is from "Kahlil Sue-Elle", whom I believe is from Krypton). I'm not sure I'm interested in Angelina Jolie Naked right after she gave birth to twins. Wait, there's another word there that is not in bold. What it says in full is, "Angelina Jolie Naked - WATCH." Another watch offer? Well, if it's an authentic FAKE ROLEX WATCH, with Angelina Jolie Naked on it, I'll think about it.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

No Pun Intended

If you look at some of the blogs that I have links to, you might think that I like words. My sister does too. She reminded me about our family’s oft repeated line, “What’s that up the road, a head?” which never failed to amuse us. In our family you could do that – for one, you could use phrases like “oft repeated” – and you could reuse a word related joke or, dare I say it, a pun over and over. If I told my mother I was going to get a haircut, she would say, “Why don’t you get them all cut?” She would say it every time. It was her “Freebird”, her “Who’s On First”; she had to say it - and I waited to hear it.
Now that I’m the parent, with a routine full of witty wordplay, my daughter, who is otherwise very intelligent and well-educated, does not like puns and would surely never tolerate serial punning. (“Yes I would, and don’t call me Shirley” – sorry, had to say it.) If my wife asks me to “put strawberry jam on the grocery list,” I want to say “But that will make the list sticky.” I want to say that every time. When I was a kid I would have; now I bite my tongue. I don’t even say it the first time because that is just asking for abuse.
Puns are like mathematics: people claim to hate them and then use them without realizing it. I had a friend in college who hated puns, but told this joke: “There are three guys. One is running into a room, one is in the room, in bed with a woman, and one guy is running out of the room. What nationality are the men? --- The guy running in, him Russian. The guy in bed, Himalayan, the guy running out, him Finnish.” So, forget whether “Himalayan” is a nationality, that joke is funny (to me) and it is all puns. If you are making genital-related jokes about George “Bush” and “Dick” Cheney, those are puns. I know, “and Barack Obama is half Caucasian but no one is going to call him whitey”. And no one is going to say my puns are funny if they are not grounded in sex or crude humor.
Which gives me an idea: A new service that is like phone sex - but with puns. For example, you might call up and a woman answers:
“Hello, this is Anita.”
“Anita who?”
“Anita Betterjob.”
“Anita, did you hear about the woman who is suing Victoria’s Secret because she was injured by a thong?”
“No. Is she okay?”
“Well, she got rid of the underwear, of course, but the scar hasn’t healed. So, the thong is ended, but the malady lingers on.”
And Anita would laugh. Every time.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Know I Wish That I Had Jesse's Gall

Jesse Jackson, in one of the rare moments that he was not seeking attention, remarked that he wants to remove Barack Obama's testicles because Barack is "talking down to black people." Jackson later apologised, saying he did not know that a nearby mic was "hot" and that his remarks could be overheard. "Had I known, I would have made some disingenuous remarks and hidden my true feelings as I always do when speaking publicly," Jackson insisted. Okay, that last quote was made up and I apologize to Reverend Jackson. I didn't know my computer was connected to the internet.
Jackson is the guy who called New York "Hymie Town" and then tried to tell us he doesn't actually believe the things he says. Jesse tells us, "I am...somebody. Sometimes...I'm nutty."
"If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it but if it'll peeve you, I'll try to deceive you"
Fox news, being run by old white guys, totally lost the spirit of Jackson's "Nutty" remarks yesterday in their version of what he said. The actual quote, in Jackson inimitable style was:
"Obama's speeches are high and mighty
that black man speaks too much like a whitey
His appearances outshine my embarrassing spectacles
I might have to cut him, and remove his testicles."

Yeah, I made that up, and I apologize, I didn't realize you could read.
If you have a better interpretation of what Jesse might have said, leave it in the comments. I will select the best one. The winner gets Obama's testicles.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know

Friends are hinting that the in-utero romance between Maddie Spears and Max Lopez-Anthony is over. The couple, Maddie and Max, referred to as MadMax by the paparazzi, have been romantically linked on the internets for several months. However, last week Max was reportedly spotted with Sunday Urban at a swanky nap spot, causing Maddie to break into tears. A spokesperson for Maddie says, "the tears resulted from being slapped by the doctor", but Hollywood gossip mongers aren't buying it.
Baby Maddie could not be reached for comment as she was busy being optioned off to Nickelodean for the sitcom "Zoey 201" slated to premier sometime around the year 2020.
Next month Maddie is rumored to be off to Africa to adopt a baby. This is possibly her way of dealing with the MadMax breakup, though friends have hinted that she's been coping by hitting the bottle pretty hard.
This reporter has exclusively spread the rumor that Maddie actually dropped Max for his sister, Emma, in an attempt to support her Aunt Britney's ongoing competition in headline-grabbing with newly gay Lindsay Lohan. Bottom-feeding newshounds are still debating how to combine Emma and Maddie's names: "Emmama"? is Maddie's love child

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

And Then There Were None

Left-Wing Liberal nutjob, Julie Gerberding displays the results of her research on how many amendments there were in the Bill of Rights prior to the Bush administration taking office in 2001.

A Congressional Hearing is being held to determine if Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in secretly excising the Bill of Rights from the Constitution.

A spokesperson for the Vice President’s office said, “That is ridiculous, both amendments in the Bill of Rights are intact. The First Amendment still grants all of us the right to bear arms, and we in the White House have made extensive use of the Second one about the right not to incriminate one's self. Are you sure there were ten to start with? Some Liberals have testified that the Founding Fathers called for Freedom of Speech the right to a fair trial and other ‘tripe’. The Vice President asserts that such claims are the result of faulty research and poor schooling that will be corrected by our ‘No Child Left a Mind’ program.”

Reportedly Nicholas Cage has managed to retrieve the original Constitution and says it appears not to have been tampered with, although the duct tape is a little wrinkled where the two amendments are attached. is unconstitutional

Words Are In Style (and a contest?)

If you like words, your friends have undoubtedly received a certain email from several friends repeatedly over the years. It starts out with "Each year the Washington Post asks its readers to take a word from the English language and by adding, removing or changing only one letter create a new word..". Oddly enough, the same words win every year. (click here for the longest list I found.) The Washington Post does indeed have writing contests and undoubtedly had this one at some point, but they don't do it every year. People are better at creating emails and urban myths than at creating new words. The Post still has writing contests in their weekly "Style Invitational". The current contest asks you to "Translate a sentence or two of literature or other good writing so that "Los Angeles residents under 40" can appreciate it." You have to read the contest to see why they ask that. (You have to register to read the Wash. Post online, but it's free and easy).
I know the Bills (Brohaugh and my dad) and Susan (word whores all) will be right on this.
My first entry is already in, so I can reveal a bit of it here. I took "A Tale of Two Cities": It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair . . ." becomes "Times were good, the LA Times sucked....we thought the Dodgers could win, we knew they'd be out of the playoffs".
When you are done entering that contest I have one for you here. I invite all 5 of my readers to take a word from the English language and by adding, removing or changing only one letter create a new word and define it. I would add a space to "contest" to make it "con test", an email or a blogger contest that you can't decide whether is real or fake. The winner of my contest gets a copy of Everything You Know About English Is Wrong. are winners.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Focus on the Funnies

Evangelical Christian leaders are calling for the King Feature Syndicate to cease publication of the semi-popular comic strip, “Hi and Lois” which they say is promoting an anti-Christian, secular view of how the world began. The July 4th cartoon shows Hi telling his children, “Every year Americans try to recreate the birth of our nation …based on the Big Bang Theory.” James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, stated, ”This is a clear repudiation of Christian Faith and the Biblical teaching of Creation. If King Features does not cease publication of the strip, we will call upon all Christians to boycott newspapers that publish the comic.” Pastor John Hagee remarked, "Damn it, you know this means another hurricane."
Cartoonist Dik Browne, who draws the strip said he had no intention of offending anyone and that his joke was about the birth of the United States, not the creation of the universe. Dobson responded, “The United States is a Christian nation and Dik Browne has used us as a metaphor for the Universe and can’t deny that.” Dobson went on to outline how Focus on the Family has long suspected the comic strip of being anti-religion. “What do expect from a man who dropped the ‘c’, which stands for ‘Christian’ from his name? The strip’s name, ‘Hi and Lois’, an obvious play on ‘high and lowest’, represents the struggle between the highest and lowest beings, God and Satan. This is further reflected in Dot and Ditto, the good and evil twins. And Mr. Browne clearly supports the dark side: The older son, Chip, displays unrepentant disrespect for his parents and he promotes Satanist rock and roll music. The most egregious symbol of Godless heathenism is the baby, Trixie, who openly worships the Sun god, which she calls ‘Sunbeam’. King Features, named for Jesus the King, should be ashamed of distributing this vile attempt to brainwash our young people.”
Commenting on the July 4th Big Bang reference in the comic, TV evangelist Pat Robertson remarked solemnly, "I expect that God will smite Hi. Don't be surprised if he and Lois meet a horrible fate in a future strip, probably a Sunday funnies edition."
King Features has not had any comment on Dobson’s remarks. take no position on this controversy. (click there to vote for me)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And David’s Battle With Goliath Does Not Qualify Him To Be King

Retired General Wesley Clark remarked that John McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war does not make him qualified to be President. From the reaction,you would have thought he said Mother Theresa’a work with lepers does not qualify her to be the CEO of Humana Insurance, which, well, it doesn’t; but she is a sacrosanct icon, like McCain The War Hero.
Clark’s statement was basically true. As Bill Brohaugh says, “McCain's sacrifice is unquestioned. And may no human being have to endure what he endured. But to translate that experience into presidential leadership is about the same as saying Patty Hearst hould now be running Bank of America.” My comment to Bill was, “Clark's words are particularly true because the isolation, beatings and interrogation that McCain endured in no way prepare him for the much more punishing media abuse one must endure during a Presidential campaign.” Accordingly, for Clark now, there has been a media frenzy, a rush to repudiation and, the inevitable apology. (It was stupid of Clark anyway: Obama’s non-experience in the military does not qualify him either. And do they want to start comparing quantity of Senate experience? General, just stick to the issues and talk about “Bush’s 3rd term”).
Now even Alanis Morissette has chimed in with a new song about Clark’s “gaffe”:

An old man turned ninety-eight
Had been in Viet Nam and was locked away
He was tortured in ways I cannot say
Doesn’t mean he can lead the free world today
But isn't he iconic... don't you think?

John McCain’s military dossier
Is a free ride, so watch out what you say
That's gen'ral advice Wesley just didn't take
And he got news wars

Wesley Clarks’ not afraid to die
He served in war and almost went bye-bye
Believes that John McCain is a damn brave guy
But ‘cause his plane crashed down doesn’t
make his Prez bid fly
But isn't he iconic... don't you think?

John McCain’s military dossier
Is a free ride, so watch out what you say
That's gen'ral advice Wesley just didn't take
And he got news wars

No matter how much the Viet Cong tortured you
Or beat you, interrogated you or shot you through and through
Does not prepare you for what the press can do
You think you said something true and everything blows up
In your face

They’ll jump on you for the least mistake
They twist your words, won’t give you a break
Demand apologies, though what you said is right
But give McCain a pass when he insults his wife
’Cause isn't he iconic...don't you think?
A little too iconic...and, yeah, I really do think...

John McCain’s military dossier
Is a free ride, so watch out what you say
That's gen'ral advice Wesley just didn't take
And he got news wars
The press has a way of beating up on you
Press has a funny, funny way of calling you out
Calling you out

Humor Blogs are iconic. click here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis

My sister's birthday was yesterday. For the next several months she will be 3 years OLDER than I am. We have no other siblings and, growing up, we were like Lucy and Linus: big sister and little brother with no actual parents around. Our parents were divorced and we lived with Mom, who worked - sometimes at second shift. We were the original latchkey kids, letting ourselves in the house after school and making our own Kraft Macaroni and Cheese - this was BEFORE microwaves and Easy Mac. We had to use a STOVE. We were trailblazers and now there is a statue of us in the Latchkey Kid museum in Hawthorne, California. Sure, over 100% of kids in the LA area are children of But we were kids a loooong time ago. (It's over 100% of children because of the children of remarriages and twice-broken homes).
Sue and I got along and took care of each other most of the time, other than the incident where I bit her in the back and got my mouth washed out with soap and the time she kicked (GASP) me (SOB) in the (GASP) stomach (SOB) and I cried and I got in trouble for being a sissy.
Now we live way too far apart; I'm in Cincinnati and she's in Las Vegas. She lives with cats. Sadly one of her two passed away; but at least that puts a couple cats from crazy lady for now. If you go to Las Vegas, you can find her sitting amongst the slots, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a terrycloth visor, drinking some free wine and slamming her members card into a penny Monopoly machine.
I hope your day was great, Big Sister!

Humor Blogs is like family to me.