Saturday, December 27, 2008

How the Gridz Stole Hanukkah

Every Hoochik in Hooburg loved Hanukkah a lot
But the Gridz, who lived on Mount Bubkes, did not.
The Gridz hated Hanukkah, each day and night of it
But please don’t ask why he hated the sight of it.

It could be his yarmulke was on much too tight.
It could be his shmatas didn’t fit him quite right.
But I think the Gridz about Hanukkah was fooled
Because he did not know the meaning, he had not been to shul.

But whatever the reason, his education or fashion,
The Gridz on Mount Bubkes hated Hanukkah with a passion.

Staring down through the darkness, with a sour Gridz punim,
At the warm, lighted windows of the Hoochiks below him,
He saw every Hoochik in Hooburg down lower
Was busy now polishing a Hanukkah menorah.

“And they’re stocking up candles!” he said with a sneer,
“The first night of Hanukkah must be very near!”
“I must stop Hanukkah from coming but, nu,
Just when does it come? I haven’t a clue.”

It’s the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, the Hoochiks remember,
Which is sometimes in the winter, but could fall in November.

“But”, The Gridz said, “the thing which makes me much sorer
Is the lighting of all the Hanukkah menorahs.
Because then! Oy the lights! Oy the Lights! Lights! Lights! Lights!
The thing I hate most! Oy, those eight nights of lights!

And the Hoochiks of Hooburg will sit down for a feast
With big plates full of latkes fried up in hot grease.
They will eat mounds of latkes. They’ll eat soufganiot,
So sweet it would make the Gridz gag in his throat.

And THEN they’ll do something that is as bad as the light.
Each Hoochik in Hooburg will proudly recite.
They’ll recite the whole story of the Maccabees war.
They’ll recite how the Temple was finally restored.

Then Hanukkah songs! Every Hoochik will be singing.
They’ll sing ‘til the old Gridz’s eardrums are ringing.
All the songs at loud decibels. All the lights’ kilowatts.
All THIS made the old Gridz so mad he could plotz!

And then the more the Gridz thought of this Hanukkah shtik,
The more the Gridz thought, “This whole thing makes me sick!”
Why for hundreds of years they’ve been doing it now!
I must stop Hanukkah from coming!----But HOW!?

Then the Gridz got a plan. It’s a plan that just suits ya,
If you’re a Gridz, ‘cause this plan takes a whole lot of chutzpah.
If I find a nice robe and a tallis to grab, I
Can sneak into Hooburg dressed up as a rabbi.

When he looked in the mirror, he stared and he kvelled,
“I look so much like a rabbi that no one can tell.”
Then from up on Mount Bubkes, he started on down
Toward the homes where the Hoochiks lay a-snooze in their town.

When he came to the first little house on the square,
He paused, wondering how he could get inside there.
Then he found he could easily open the lock
For the Hoochiks are trusting and their locks are just shlock.

Then around the whole house he stole and he shlepped
And he found where all of the presents were kept.

He took presents and dreidels and Hanukkah gelt,
Chocolate Maccabees, matches and, he certainly felt,
That the one thing he must be sure to accomplish
Was stealing the candles, including the Shamash.

Then he shlepped to the fridge and he stole every nosh.
He stole all the latkes. He stole applesauce.
He stole sour cream. He stole oil. Oy, gevault!
He stole ALL the ingredients for soufganiot.

Then he packed all these things and he carried his bundles
And tossed them outside to cart home on his trundle.
And then that shlepping, gridzhidiker shnorrer
Said, “Just one more thing. I will steal the menorah.”

And he thought he would get away so easy and slick,
When he heard the small voice of a little Hoochik.
Then he turned around fast and saw a girl about sixish.
It was Sadie Leigh Hoochik, who started to kibbitz.

”Lift with your knees, Rabbi. Don’t strain your back.
Say, why are you taking our things in that sack?”
She stared at the Gridz and said, “Rabbi, gee whiz,
Why did you take our Menorah? What gives?”

But you know that old Gridz was so smart and so slick
He thought up an answer and he thought it up quick.

“Why you see, Sadieleh, this menorah’s no good.
The candle holders are broken, the thing is kaput.
So, I’ll get you a new one that was brought here from Israel.
But don’t worry your head. I can get it for wholesale.”

Sadie thought that this was a cockamamie reason
But it was too cold to stand there, her feet were just freezin’
So she crawled under the covers of her warm little bed,
The Gridz grabbed the menorah, then, quickly, he fled.

He had emptied the house and emptied it quick,
Except for one drop of oil, not enough for one wick.
He went to each Hoochik’s house, playing his dirty tricks
Leaving oil drops too small for their candlewicks.

Before the Hoochiks had wakened, he had everything bundled.
Then back to the top of mount Bupkes he trundled.

And he sat there with shpilkes and wearing a frown,
Waiting all day for the sun to go down.
For sundown would signal the start of the day,
And all of the Hoochiks would be shouting, “Oy vey!”

“For, just about now,” he was Gridzily hissing,
“The Hoochiks are discovering that Hanukkah’s missing.
There’ll be such a tsimis, so much tsuris this night
That, just this one time, I wish there was light.”

He wished he could see all the Hoochiks’ sad faces
When they found Hanukkah gone without any traces.
“But at least I can put up my hand to my ear;
For, when they start crying, THAT I want to hear.”

And he did hear a noise, but it was NOT sad.
He heard people singing and they sounded glad.
They told the Hanukkah story, which they could recite
To the children, without even candles to light.

They recited and sang. They sang and they prayed.
Hanukkah seemed to have come, and it stayed.
He hadn’t stopped Hanukkah from coming! It came!
Some how or other, it came just the same.

What’s more, the Hoochiks worked and they toiled
And gathered up all of those small bits of oil.
They gathered the oil, all those small little bits,
Which made only enough to light one of the wicks.

And the Gridz just watched them and sat there amazed,
For, believe it or not, the oil burned eight days.
And all of those days, the Gridz sat there and pondered
The miracle happening in Hooburg down yonder.

As the Gridz sat there, as the oil was burning,
Finally, finally, the Gridz did some learning.

At sundown, beginning the last Hanukkah day,
The Gridz stood up and smiled a strange way.
“Hanukkah’s not about presents,” he said.
“It’s about freedom to enjoy your religion instead.”

The Gridz learned something important that night.
You might say, finally, the Gridz SAW the light.
So with one final day of Hanukkah to go,
The Gridz took back their stuff to the Hoochiks below.

He too back menorahs and presents and dreidels,
He took back the fry pans, utensils and ladles.
He took back the food and (now this thing may shock ya)
The Gridz, he himself, fried up the first latke.

(Note: This was written about 15 years ago, before "The Putz Who Stole Hanukkah" or Gridz software was written.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's Like Life, Only Different

Yesterday (Christmas) was in the 40s, bright and sunny and clear. I went outside to enjoy it, expecting to see the neighborhood children rolling on new skates, riding new bikes, tossing new footballs to friends, or new basketballs into new hoops or new baseballs into new genuine imitation leather baseball gloves, or grooming new ponies. But no. The front lawns and streets were empty. All the kids were inside playing John Madden simulated video football or Wiiing on their TVs. One little girl (I found out later) was feeding plastic carrots to a "life-like" robotic pony. I am not writing this as a wizened old curmudgeon decrying the new technologies. I am jealous that their new toys allow children to enjoy playing at any time, in any weather. Though we did not have a white Christmas, children anywhere were simulating the thrill of employing new sleds, new snowboards or new hockey gear without even having to put on new snowsuits and other winter couture and undeterred by the undependable and inconsistent nature of sunlight and air that we had to deal with when I was growing up. Ain't simulated life virually grand?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Grandmother of 6 Causes Blog Rant

CHICAGO - The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
It is not clear from that sentence if the shakedown artists were wearing the wire or the grandmother was, but I’m going to assume it was the latter. Besides, I can leave the discussion of modifier placement to Bill; I’m more interested in why there is a journalistic requirement to identify a woman’s grandparental status. You will never see any of these stories in the news:
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a mother of 4 walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of a father of two got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown grandfathers of one each, wearing an FBI wire.
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when an older, childless woman walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
Great-grandmothers get the same standing in the press:
Great-Grandmother Uses Gasoline to Fight Off Purse Snatcher
No newsworthy status is conferred by being a mere grandfather, a meager mother, or even just a measly old woman. As near as I can determine, when a woman’s child gives birth, the woman becomes pitiably frail to the point where we are astounded that she can leave the house, let alone fight crime. No matter that a grandmother could be a healthy 40-year-old who could whip my ass if I crossed her - not that anything like that ever happened outside a bar somewhere in Cincinnati. Even if it did, grandmas get a pass. A grandma’s lack of strength and mental ability is assumed to render her immune to prosecution for crime:
A 64-year-old grandmother convicted of obstructing official business by feeding parking meters for strangers is suing the city of Cincinnati.
If an old man obstructs justice, by god, book him, Danno – and beat him up if you want, we don’t care. Just don’t hassle our grannies or we will make it public knowledge and shame you.
My wife is the mother of a childless (so far as we know) girl. Until my daughter has her own kid, my wife cannot get away with crime or even get recognized if she thwarts a bank robbery or busts a political corruption ring.
If Chelsea Clinton had a child, last month would have brought us this headline: "Obama Nominates Grandmother as Secretary of State".
Why do I care about this aura attached to grandmotheriness? Because “Elderly Woman Got Run Over By A Reindeer” would not be considered funny and that song would never have gotten on the radio and the world would be a better place.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mr. Potter Would Love It

If you read today’s Dinette Set comic, you have dismissed it as not one of the best. If so, you missed the joke. On the surface, Julie Larson has led you to believe that the humor is to be found in contrasting Dale’s idiotic purchase of a large Christmas tree with Timmy sagacious selection of “one big present … or the cash equivalent”. However, thinking a little deeper, you realize that Timmy’s grandma knows it is Santa who determines what the present is, not Timmy; she is cruelly exploiting the boy’s genetically underdeveloped intellect and trauma induced retardation for her own amusement. Though the habitual child abuse by Timmy’s grandparents, which undermines his mental development, is a continuing theme of Larson’s “humor”, that is not the real joke today. You may have noticed Burl’s holiday sweatshirt, which reads: “I stole LuLu’s petals”, making reference to the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, in which the Bailey family waif has a beloved rose that has lost two petals. The petals become the talisman providing George Bailey his tenuous connection back to his real life. The idea of stealing the poor child’s petals and, moreover, her father’s life, extends the hilarious child abuse theme, but, again, that is not the real joke. If you remember the movie, or read the information in the link, you know that the girl’s name is Zuzu, not Lulu. You may think that Larson has made an error but, no, the wrong name is intentional. Burl obviously bought the sweatshirt at the Crustwood WalMart, who purchased their stock of holiday sweatshirts from China. You know this because you know that the impoverished, exploited factory workers in China do not celebrate Christmas, they don’t know what “It’s a Wonderful Life” is or who Zuzu is and they wouldn’t know that the American name “Lulu” has only one capital “L”, not two. What Burl has done is help WalMart take away American jobs, destroy our economy and lead us to the point where Timmy will be lucky to get even one small present. So, it is not Timmy, it is not Dale, it is Burl who is the real “blockhead” and THAT is the joke in today’s strip. I laugh every time I look at it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All In the Family

Obama Names Blagojevich Secretary of Protection

Barack Obama has not only made another controversial cabinet appointment, he has created an entirely new cabinet post to do it.
“Today I am announcing my plan to develop a Department of Protection and to appoint Governor Ron Blagojevich of Illinois to head it up as Secretary,” the President Elect announced during a family picnic in Chicago’s Gangland Park.
Obama was asked why he would appoint someone being indicted for federal crimes as Secretary, Obama shrugged off the controversy. “Look…there is a fine line between politics and crime. We should be able to find a common ground between them.“
Obama created controversy most recently by inviting the homophobic ignoramus pastor, Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation. The President Elect defended that choice by saying that “…what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Similarly he defended his choice of Blagojevich saying that “we need to open our minds and understand that, what to you and me is corruption and graft … is to others just tradition and family values.”
When asked what the Department of Protection would do, Obama described it as “somewhere between the Department of Commerce and Homeland Security. Look, the United States has many friends out there who we wouldn’t want to see … nuthin’ happen to ‘em. We are in a position to … help some people. If these people show … appreciation … everything is jake. Secretary Blagojevich will be responsible for … seeing that his people visit these friends and … collect such well wishes and appreciation as they care to give ... on a regular basis. The Secretary would hate to… see something happen to them or their families … if you get my drift.”
Blagojevich then took the microphone and promised that, “whatever charges were brought about whatever I done as Secretary of Protection, I assure you I will be vindicated and totally cleared of them.” When it was pointed out that he is not yet Secretary and there are no charges, he responded, “Hey, you know, I’m just sayin’.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy New Year, Everybody

No, I'm not getting the jump on anything; 2008 is over. Just as I wrote about last year, the lists of what happened in 2008 are already coming out (MSNBC has the dead celebrity lineup on their front page today - last year it didn't come out until after Christmas). Just like everything else in this economy, 2008 has been marked down from 365 days to 350. Hey, the sooner we get past 2008, the sooner George W leaves and Barack takes over, so let's move it.
Seeing as I'm done for 2008, let's just go into reruns; here's another entry I wrote at the end of last year.
Oh, and what was the best thing about 2008 in your opinion?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holding His Seat

Governor Blagojevich got out on bail last week. A short time later he was seen on the streets of Washington DC, outside the Capitol, holding a cardboard sign saying "Need a seat?" He was heard shouting to passers by:
"Hey, I got one seat! Who needs one seat?

Who wants to buy this Senate seat?
I took it off Obama and I put it on the street
This Senate seat could be my chance to really score
And this Senate seat could bring me jobs and cash galore
So if you offer me what I am due
I’m listening to you

My state is Illinois. We do these kinds of things.
Our sys-TEM of politics, runs like A machine
This Senate seat could help me and my wife retire
It could be yours --- hey, you better not have on a wire
If there’s tapes and the federal men should find them:
Prison bars – I’ll be behind them

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Make Your Own Jokes

Mets acquire Putz in three-team deal

I have no room to make fun of anyone's name and I am sure J.J. and his family have endured all the jokes. But.....I don't know if the guy has been in the majors long enough to be able to approve or reject a trade, but.... if he has, is it wise to move to the major league metropolis where there is the largest concentration of Jewish people in America with a name like Putz? I think not - just as he would not be wise to name his son Harry.
Anyway, feel free to make your own "Putz traded to Mets" jokes in the comments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby You Can Drive iCar

While lawmakers in the ancient, outdated Washington DC Capitol building struggle to save the prehistoric, monolith that is the auto industry, innovators in Apple’s virtual technology world are creating cars that will save the Earth and make the Big 3, and even their foreign competition, obsolete.
Next month Steve Jobs will unveil the iCar, a virtual transportation device that carries people via the internet to any destinations they choose. An iCar owner can get up in the morning and direct her iCar to the nearest iJava shop for a morning pick-me-up and then zoom off to her tele-commuter job. After work, she can make a quick stop at iTunes to pick up some new music and then drop by eBay or any on-line iCatalog store to shop. Then she can visit the iGrocery and get some iFood for dinner or just hit the iHop for a restaurant meal.
Each trip in the iCar costs only 99 cents or a whole package of regular daily travel can be purchased for $9.99, regardless of the virtual distance to be traveled. The iCar also functions as an mp3 player, a GPS device, and a phone. Within months of rolling out the first version of the iCar, Apple will add features making the device a iMac laptop computer. Initially consumers will have to buy the iMac separately to make the iCar work. Jobs hopes to eventually develop an iFlight function that will allow iCar users to travel overseas.
So while GM, Ford and Chrysler are virtually bankrupt, their executives seem unaware or uninterested in the virtual reality of iCars. Congress also should be aware of plans for the iCongress already being visualized that will enable citizens to download their own personally selected laws for just 99 cents per act of Congress. Each of us will then live in our own virtual world that we create in the isolation of our own iHome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Under Rated

What is the movie ratings system hang up with “language”. I watched a movie yesterday that was rated PG because it had “some language” (“some language” is not as bad as “language”, which might have earned it an R rating).
Every other movie element that we desire has a more descriptive term or at least some modifier to tell you what great stuff you will find. They don’t say “rated R for action, situations, use, bodies and language.” They list violent action, sexual situations, drug use, nudity and language. Yes, they occasionally modify the last one as some language.
I wonder in what sense they mean “some”. In the movie I saw, two people spoke a few lines of French; possibly the ratings board was unsure what language that was (“just some weird language or other”) or they just meant it was only a few lines (“just some foreign words, not enough to be annoying”).
Why not just use “profanity”, “obscene language”, “dirty frickin’ words” or something like that? The people who came up with that non-descriptive term are rated L7 for "some vocabulary".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Every Breath You Take, Every Movement You Make.."

Pushing my cart through the produce section of Kroger yesterday, maybe I should have been prepared for a romantic proposition. But I was preoccupied, merely looking for a bag of salad mix, not a date. The woman came up from behind me and I was slightly startled when, from just over my right shoulder, she said, “I’d better go home with you; I need some of that.” She caught up with me just as she finished her sentence so I was able to see her indicate exactly what she needed. She was nodding her head toward toward my lower torso – no, no, it was toward the two bottles of Kroger brand “Fiber Laxative Caplets” I had in the child seat section of the cart.
The woman was a Kroger employee, about my age, looking a little worse for wear and not very concerned about her appearance for someone spouting pickup lines by the packaged fresh herbs. She was hunched over her own cart filled with random items she was restocking to the shelves. I didn’t know quite how to respond to her seductive offer to split some fiber caps at my pad. I was buying them for my wife (I don’t use them…I have Metamucil powder) and they were on sale. So, to explain that I had good reason for mass laxative quantities, I said, “They’re buy one get one free.”
“Well, you buy the first one and I’ll take the free one,” she said with a cackle. Oh god, was that a wink she threw at me there?
The incident had me so unsettled that I forgot to get the honey-roasted almonds and the pecans I wanted from the produce shelves. I hurried on to the next aisle and there she was, rounding the corner and coming the other way, stocking boxed dinners. I saw her smiling up at me as I accelerated past her.
Later I remembered my almonds and pecans, but only one at a time, so I had to return to produce twice. My stocker was there both times, still trolling for love among the vegetables. The second time I returned she said, with a knowing smile, “ I see you’re only shopping for things in the first two aisles.” She straightened up slightly as if to say, "See anything you like?" I grabbed my nuts and went to check out without looking back.
This odd incident reminded me of one that occurred at a different grocery store some 20 years ago. A much younger woman, actually a girl, probably 16, who also was a store employee, kept appearing in various spots around the store. Each time I saw her, she was looking intently at me and smiling in a way that suggested she wanted to speak to me but was too shy, or perhaps intimidated by me good looks. I had no inclination to strike up a flirtation with a teenager, but it was nice to know I still had some appeal at twice her age. Finally, the girl followed me out of the store and as I was putting my sacks in the trunk, she came boldly up to me under pretence of collecting my cart and asked the question she’d been longing to put to me: “Are you Greg Meyer’s dad?”
So maybe today I misunderstood a woman’s intentions again. And maybe I should ask my wife to go with me to the grocery for protection.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

YY U R, YY U B, I C U R YY 4 me

Alec MacGillis of the Washington Post has found a serious problem with Barack Obama's choices for the team that will help him govern:
"While Obama's picks have been lauded for their ethnic and ideological mix, they lack diversity in one regard: They are almost exclusively products of the nation's elite institutions and generally share a more intellectual outlook than is often the norm in government."
I agree. I know some smart people; some of my friends are intellectuals. But I wouldn't want one to marry my sister or be a Presidential advisor. Consider this telling point: "skeptics say Obama's predilection for big thinkers with dazzling résumés carries risks, noting, for one, that several of President John F. Kennedy's 'best and brightest' led the country into the Vietnam War." Yes, I prefer the C students and drop outs who led us into the glorious war in Iraq (which according to 5th-from-the-bottom-in-his-class John McCain, we are winning). "Douglas Baird, ...noted that whizzes can also have too much faith in their answers." That won't happen if we stick to imbeciles like Cheney and Bush who, when they decided to invade Iraq were open to listening to any advice that agreed with their determined goal.
Come on, please remember that the "failure of intelligence" which doomed Bush does not refer to some Ivy League smart guys making mistakes.

Women Are From Mars

I am NOT turning this into the Dinette Set Curmudgeon but I couldn't ignore today's comic. Even more uncomfortable than Dale's dislocated elbow yesterday is weightlifter guy's dislocated head today. In the second panel he turns his head all the way to the left to look at the "chicks" standing to his right. More awkward than Burl accosting the man in yesterday's comic is the chicks possessiveness today toward the exercise ball and their creepy demand that Jerry "hop off and spray it off." Ewwwww...I think. But the real problem I have with today's comic is the women have no reflection in the mirror in the second panel. The joke is based on the fact that Jerry can not see them in the mirror, which makes no sense...unless the women are actually vampire women from Mars. I suggest this because Earth vampires never have a reflection but Martians can appear and disappear at will*, suggesting that Martian vampires can control their reflections.
*(I base this on my knowledge of "Uncle Martin", a Martian who crashed on Earth and lived among us with his secret known only Tim O'Hara. Based on TV shows of my childhood, half the people in the 60s were living with someone "different-from-us" - a Martian, a witch, a talking horse, a woman reincarnated as a car - and hiding that condition from everyone. Hilarity always ensued. This formula was copied later by Mork and Mindy and then by the Laura Bush sitcom where she lives in the White House with a man comically attempting to hide the fact he has no brain.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Awesomeness from Scarletvirago. Hilarity from Dave Barry.

Dining Out

I enjoy the Comics Curmudgeon but he tends to focus on comics which are consistently worthy of mocking and misses the flawed exceptions to generally funny comics. In today's "Dinette Set", the joke is confounding and the artwork is disturbing. Has Dale interlocked elbows with a strange man who is peeved by that action or has Dale merely dislocated his own elbow? Is Burl hugging the strange man or merely putting his arm down the man's pants? I am grateful to Julie Larson for having Burl and Dale state each other's name in the conversation. I am am sure the charcters are often as uncertain of who is who in this strip as I am. I do like the strip, especially the signs and memos in the backgrounds of the frames. But I don't get the joke at all today. I guess I am a ding-a-ling! Huh, reader? Can someone please explain it to me?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Please Stay Home For Christmas

Note to the Eagles, Harry Connick, Jr. or anyone else thinking of doing a cover of the classic "Please Come Home for Christmas" by the immortal Charles Brown: Please don't. If you feel the need to play this song at a concert, just play a recording of the original and sit back.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Right Notion?

I received this email yesterday:
Dear Fellow Blogger,
It is my distinct pleasure, as the president of Americans for Limited Government, to invite you today to become a key member of the exciting new conservative “bloggers central,”
At ALG, we recognize the critical role you as a blogger play in gathering, assimilating, and disseminating news and commentary. And I, personally, am deeply grateful to you for taking the lead in fighting some of the most important battles our country has faced over the past decade, and more.
"Me?" I asked aloud as I turned around to see if they were addressing someone behind me, "invited to 'conservative bloggers central'?
Have they read my blog? Have they read this conservative view? Well, come to think of it, that is about limiting government - limiting their intrusion into someone's personal life. And I am all about limiting government by prohibiting participation by anyone named Bush, Cheney, Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld......
So I guess my "fellow bloggers" at NetRightNation are hitting their target market with the email.