Author Archive: Christopher Waldrop

Inspired by a story based on…

July 3, 1998

Is it just me or are there fewer TV movies these days that are "based on a true story"? For a while there, whatever the social concern du jour was, there would be at least one TV movie "based on a true story" to make us feel better about it. That meant, of course, that the people suffering the crisis were nicer than real people, better looking than anyone who has not been through unnecessary surgery, and lived perfect lives up until the big ugly whatever disrupted everything, with dramatic developments right before the commercials, before finally the whole thing resolved itself with the family, child, or individual smiling as they took the witness stand in a court case that would mean the final triumph of good over evil. That was "based on". Then, apparently because of a shortage of true stories (due to all the evil being defeated in court cases in midwestern states across the country) there were several movies "inspired by actual events." That meant that the real endings weren’t happy, but we could be "inspired" by a slight exaggeration (plus they could use the courtroom set again). Then there was "taken from real events." Not necessarily taken from the same people, but you can bet someone ended up in court somewhere along the line. And they must have smiled while in there too. Well, let me reassure you that everything you read in Freethinker’s Anonymous is not inspired by, based on, or taken from real events.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


  1. Who lit the fuse on your tampon?

  2. Support Cannibalism-EAT ME!

  3. God is my co-pilot, but the Devil is my bombardier.

  4. I don’t have a license to kill. I have a learner’s permit.

  5. I wasn’t born a bitch. Men like you made me this way.

  6. Keep honking while I reload.

  7. Taxation WITH representation isn’t so hot, either!

  8. Who were the beta testers for Preparations A through G?

  9. 5 days a week my body is a temple. The other two, it’s an amusement park.

  10. Your child may be an honor student but you’re still an idiot.

  11. If you drink, don’t park. Accidents cause people.

  12. If you can read this, I can hit my brakes and sue you.

  13. Whitewater is over when the First Lady sings.

  14. Jack Kevorkian for White House physician.

  15. Just say no! to sex with pro-lifers.

  16. My wife keeps complaining I never listen to her …or something like that.

  17. Sure you can trust the government! Just ask an Indian!

  18. If we are what we eat; I’m cheap, fast, and easy.

  19. Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect them!


Norm Peterson’s Famous Quotes (from TV’s "Cheers")

"Can I draw you a beer Norm ?"
"No, I know what they look like. Just pour me one."

"How’s a beer sound Norm?"
"I dunno. I usually finish them before they get a word in."

"What’s shaking Norm?"
"All four cheeks & a couple of chins."

"What would you say to a nice beer Normie?"
"Going Down?"

"What’s new Normie?"
"Terrorists, Sam. They’ve taken over my stomach & they’re demanding beer."

"What’ll it be Normie?"
"Just the usual Coach. I’ll have a froth of beer & a snorkel."

"What would you say to a beer Normie?"
"Daddy wuvs you."

"What’d you like Normie?"
"A reason to live. Give me another beer."

"What’ll you have Normie?"
"Well, I’m in a gambling mood Sammy. I’ll take a glass of whatever comes out of that tap."

"Looks like beer, Norm."
"Call me Mister Lucky."

"What’d you say Norm?"
"Any cheap, tawdry thing that will get me a beer."

"What would you say to a beer Norm?"
"Hiya, sailor. New in town?"

(Coming in from the rain)
"Evening everybody."
Everybody: "Norm!"
"Still pouring Norm?"
"That’s funny, I was about to ask you the same thing."

"Whaddya say, Norm?"
"Well, I never met a beer I didn’t drink."

"Hey Norm, how’s the world been treating you?"
"Like a baby treats a diaper."

"Would you like a beer Mr. Peterson?"
"No, I’d like a dead cat in a glass."

"How’s life treating you?"
"It’s not, Sammy, but you can."

"What’s the story Mr. Peterson?"
"The Bobbsey twins go to the brewery. Let’s cut to the happy ending."

"Hey Mr. Peterson, there’s a cold one waiting for you."
"I know, if she calls, I’m not here."

"Beer, Norm?"
"Have I gotten that predictable? Good."

"What’s going on Mr. Peterson?"
"A flashing sign in my gut that says, ‘Insert beer here.’"

"Hey Mr. Peterson, Jack Frost nipping at your nose?"
"Yep, now let’s get Joe Beer nipping at my liver, huh?"

"What’s going on Mr. Peterson?"
"Another layer for the winter, Wood."

"What cha up to Norm?"
"My ideal weight if I were eleven feet tall."

"How’s it going Mr. Peterson?"
"Poor."
"I’m sorry to hear that."
"No, I mean pour."

"How’s life treating you Norm?"
"Like it caught me sleeping with its wife."

"Women. Can’t live with ’em….pass the beer nuts."

"What’s going down, Normie?"
"My butt cheeks on that bar stool."

"Pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?"
"Alright, but stop me at one….make that one-thirty."

"How’s it going Mr. Peterson?"
"It’s a dog eat dog world, Woody & I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear."

"What’s the story Norm?"
"Boy meets beer. Boy drinks beer. Boy meets another beer."

"How’s about a beer, Norm?"
"That’s that amber sudsy stuff, right? I’ve heard good things about it!"

"What’s going on Mr. Peterson?"
"The question is what’s going in Mr. Peterson? A beer please, Woody."

"Can I pour you a beer Mr. Peterson?"
"A little early isn’t it, Woody?"
"For a beer?"
"No, for stupid questions."

Don’t call me…

June 26, 1998

What I’m about to say is shocking, awful, and crude, but I feel it has to be said anyway. Call me anything you like, but I’m going to say it. Call me vain. Call me cruel. Call me naive. Call me self-centered. Call me shallow. Call me superficial. Call me lofty. Call me weak. Call me narrow. Call me maligned. Call me tuberous. Call me blighted. Call me abrogated. Call me purple. Call me Ishmael. Call me in the morning. Call my dog. Now…as soon as I remember what it was I was going to say, I’ll give you a call.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Some people are born losers! Check these out:

1. Trying to keep warm in freezing weather, a 50 year old Cypriot huddled over his paraffin heater. Accidentally overturning it, he set himself on fire, screaming in pain as his clothes were engulfed he ran out of his abode and jumped into a nearby reservoir, where he sunk like a stone and drowned.

2. The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later they were both eaten by a killer whale.

3. A psychology student rented out her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly and study his reactions. After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her repeatedly with an axe leaving her mentally retarded.

4. In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record. By the time he had come down, eight hours short of the 400 day record, his sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him and his phone and electricity had been cut off.

5. A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. A shame as he has merely been listening to his walkman.

6. Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.

And the last & best…….

7. Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on his letter bomb. It came back with "return to sender" stamped on it. You’ve guessed it, he opened it and said a fond farewell to his face.


SOFTWARE ENGINEERING GLOSSARY
or
DEFINING COMPUTER TERMS FROM A "MARKETING" POINT OF VIEW

ALL NEW — The software is not compatible with previous versions.
ADVANCED DESIGN — Upper management doesn’t understand it.
BREAKTHROUGH — It nearly booted on the first try.
NEW — It comes in different colors from the previous version.
DESIGN SIMPLICITY — It was developed on a shoe-string budget.
EXCLUSIVE — We’re the only ones who have the documentation.
FIELD TESTED — Manufacturing doesn’t have a test system.
FOOLPROOF OPERATION — All parameters are hard coded.
FUTURISTIC — It only runs on the next-generation supercomputer.
HIGH ACCURACY — All the directories compare.
IT’S HERE AT LAST — We’ve released a 26-week project in 48 weeks.
MAINTENANCE FREE — It’s impossible to fix.
MEETS QUALITY STANDARDS — It compiles without errors.
PERFORMANCE PROVEN — It works through beta test.
REVOLUTIONARY — The disk drives go round and round.
SATISFACTION GUARANTEED — We’ll send you another copy if it fails.
STOCK ITEM — We shipped it once before, and we can do it again, probably.
UNMATCHED — It’s almost as good as the competition.
UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE — Nothing ever ran this slow before.
YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT — We finally got one to work.

School’s out for summer!

June 19, 1998

Every year when school ends, I like to remember the caring, influential, and wonderful teachers I had growing up. Both of them. This year, though, I decided to remember some of the others. I figure that if the caring and influential people are really that great, they won’t mind sharing a little of the spotlight with the mindless clones and do-nothings. Though she falls in with them, I have to say that Mrs. Trowbridge had a profound influence on my life, as well as the lives of many other children. That is, before she was forced into retirement, became a bitter recluse, and spent her days on her porch threatening real estate agents with a shotgun. The last day of school, she gathered all of us around her and said, "Children, I want you to promise me that you’ll never do three things: smoke, drink, or gamble." This was in those innocent days of the seventies when only rock stars overdosed, and there was no reason to believe drugs were a problem. No one said anything, which is probably just as well–if we had, some of us might feel bad once in a while. I’d kind of like to go and visit her, and say, "Mrs. Ridgemore, I have never gambled much," and then go on to tell her about the profound impact she had on my life. How she prepared me for those years in college when I worked on assembly lines, how I think of her every time I see a wooden paddle with holes in it, and the way her spirit seems to be in the room every time I hear someone say, "It’s that way because I say so!" The bruises are gone, but thanks to modern psychology, memories like those will be with me always.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


WHY "SPORTS SCHOLARSHIP" IS AN OXYMORON

"You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle"
— Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

"That’s so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."
— Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker

"You guys line up alphabetically by height"
— Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

"I play football. I’m not trying to be a professor. The tests don’t seem to make sense to me, measuring your brain on stuff I haven’t been through in school."
— Clemson recruit Ray Forsythe, who was ineligible as a freshman because of academic requirements

"I know the Virginia players are smart because you need a 1500 SAT to get in. I have to drop bread crumbs to get our players to and from class"
— George Raveling, Washington State basketball coach

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."
— Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King

"I can’t really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
— Shaquille O’Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece

"The ballparks have gotten too crowded. That’s why nobody goes to see the game anymore."
— Yogi Berra

"I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."
— Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
— Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann


Top fifty-one Oxymorons

51. Friendly Fire
50. Act naturally
49. Found missing
48. Resident alien
47. Advanced BASIC
46. Genuine imitation
45. Airline Food
44. Good grief
43. Same difference
42. Almost exactly
41. Government organization
40. Sanitary landfill
39. Alone together
38. Legally drunk
37. Silent scream
36. British fashion
35. Living dead
34. Small crowd
33. Business ethics
32. Soft rock
30. Military Intelligence
29. Software documentation
28. New York culture
27. New classic
26. Sweet sorrow
25. Childproof
24. "Now, then …"
23. Synthetic natural gas
22. Christian Scientists
21. Passive aggression
20. Taped live
19. Clearly misunderstood
18. Peace force
17. Extinct Life
16. Temporary tax increase
14. Plastic glasses
13. Terribly pleased
12. Computer security
11. Political science
10. Tight slacks
9. Definite maybe
8. Pretty ugly
7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
6. Diet ice cream
5. Rap music
4. Working vacation
3. Exact estimate
2. Religious tolerance
And the Number one top OXY-Moron,
1. Microsoft Works

Oh, how far we’ve come!

June 12, 1998

Every once in a while I have to send a fax, and there’s one company out there that doesn’t seem yet to have grasped the fax concept. Now I don’t know whether it’s because they’re trying to keep their phone bills down (those 20-second transmissions really add up), whether it’s because they’re French, or whether it’s because they’re technologically illiterate (which pretty much goes along with being French). But every time I send them a fax, I wait for two or three months, and then a letter–a letter sent through regular mail!–shows up with what is probably an answer but looks more like one of the guys in shipping couldn’t find anything else for his two-year old to draw on. Now, this shouldn’t bother me. It is, after all, only work, but my neurotic need to at least look busy begins to take control of me. If I have to hold anything for more than a month, I start having visions of being suffocated in my office by piles of bad French paperbacks that were dragged along behind the boat that brought them over, and now smell like they’ve been sneezed on.

Finally, the day came. The company got e-mail. I got to try it immediately. And waited. And waited. Two months after I’d sent the e-mail, a letter arrived. They’d printed my e-mail, and Georges Jr. stopped inhaling from the marker he was holding long enough to scrawl, "Oui" across the bottom of it. I can’t add anything to that, so here’s a bit of history: on this day, June 11th, in 1929, the United States banned "Lady Chatterly’s Lover." Well, at least there is some progress.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


  1. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

  2. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

  3. I was once in a spelling bee, but I lost because the other contastents cheeted.

  4. Did ancient Roman doctors refer to IV’s as fours?

  5. Now I know why they call them trial lawyers. I tried one and I didn’t like him.

  6. Why get even when you can get odd?

  7. They say if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat down your door. But usually it’s just one neighbor, and he’ll probably quit once you stop throwing dead mice in his yard.

  8. Want to trace your family tree? Run for public office or win the sweepstakes.

  9. A fool and his money are soon partying.

  10. How come you never hear about GRUNTLED employees?

  11. I went to a strip mall the other day. Let me tell you, I was disappointed. Everybody else had on clothes.

  12. Do pediatricians play miniature golf on Wednesdays?

  13. There are two kinds of jokes-the ones people laugh at, and the ones where people say, "That’s funny."

  14. You say "tomato," I say "tomato.com."

  15. The reason that men pay for dates is because women have to pay for the wedding.

  16. I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t even know I’m alive. She thinks she got me with her long-range rifle.

  17. Just because it’s toxic doesn’t mean it’s not tasty.

  18. Why isn’t there an explosion when you pour gasoline on fire ants?

  19. Never let your willpower get the best of you.

  20. I thought learning to play the bagpipes was hard until I realized I was strangling an ostrich.

  21. There are three types of people: those who can count and those who can’t.


This year’s Bulwer-Lytton Prize winner

The Edward Bulwer-Lytton prize is awarded every year to the author of the worst possible opening line of a book. This has been so successful that Penguin now publishes five books-worth of entries.

Some recent winners:

"As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would never hear the end of it."

"Just beyond the Narrows the river widens."

"With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

"Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the east wall: "Andre creep . . . Andre creep . . .Andre creep."

"Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from seeking out a living at a local pet store."

"Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

"Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

"Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn’t know the meaning of the word "fear," a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death–in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.

AND THE WINNER (proof of the progress I was talking about-C.):

"The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog’s deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"

And a bottle of rum!

June 5, 1998

Years ago a comedian named Lenny Bruce said that the hippest disease you could possibly have was pellagara. Now, I hate to disagree with someone who used enough heroin to shore up the Asian economy for several decades, but I looked up pellagara, and, frankly, it doesn’t sound all that great. Pellagara’s main symptoms are dermatitis and brain dysfunction, and it was very common in the South during the Depression. Hmm–something that makes you ugly, stupid, and was common in the South. It sounds like pellagara has been replaced by country line dancing. Anyway, while I was looking that up, I decided I’d see what really were the cool diseases. Here’s what I found: First, there’s beri-beri, which has the advantage of sounding like a really hot all-girl rock band. Then there’s rickets which doesn’t sound great, but makes your legs bend so you could be a limbo champion. Finally, the greatest disease of all: scurvy. Scurvy not only has a funny sounding name, but you get to put on really wild clothes, stick a parrot on your shoulder, and walk around with an eyepatch on saying, "Har, ar, me matey." Now if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is! And I have a feeling you’re thinking the same thing right now.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Relationships are hard. It’s like a full-time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks notice. There should be severance pay, and before they leave you, they should have to find you a temp.
— Bob Ettinger

I voted for the Democrats because I didn’t like the way the Republicans were running the country. Which is turning out to be like shooting yourself in the head to stop your headache.
— Jack Mayberry

I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.
— Elayne Boosler

I’m half-Italian and half-Polish. So I’m always putting a hit out on myself.
— Judy Tenuta

Ever wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?
— John Mendoza

I don’t know what’s wrong with my television set. I was getting C-Span and the Home Shopping Network on the same station. I actually bought a congressman.
— Bruce Baum

I had a linguistics professor who said that it’s man’s ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be. But I think there’s one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren’t afraid of vacuum cleaners.
— Jeff Stilson

Did you ever walk in a room and forget why you walked in? I think that’s how dogs spend their lives.
— Sue Murphy

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it’s you.
— Rita Mae Brown

Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.
— Jerry Seinfeld

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
— Ellen DeGeneres

USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population.
— David Letterman

A lady came up to me on the street and pointed at my suede jacket. You know a cow was murdered for that jacket? she sneered. I replied in a psychotic tone, "I didn’t know there were any witnesses. Now I’ll have to kill you too."
— Jake Johansen

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
— Lily Tomlin

The Swiss have an interesting army. Five hundred years without a war. Pretty impressive. Also pretty lucky for them. Ever see that little Swiss Army knife they have to fight with? Not much of a weapon there. Corkscrews. Bottle openers. "Come on, buddy, let’s go. You get past me, the guy in back of me, he’s got a spoon. Back off. I’ve got the toe clippers right here."
— Jerry Seinfeld

Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I’m halfway through my fishburger and I realize, Oh my God….I could be eating a slow learner.
— Lynda Montgomery

Sometimes I think war is God’s way of teaching us geography.
— Paul Rodriguez

And always remember the last words of my grandfather, who said, A Truck!
— Emo Phillips


DOG PROVERBS

"The dog’s kennel is not the place to keep a sausage."
— Danish Proverb

"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man’s best friend, and inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read."
— Groucho Marx.

"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down."
— Robert Benchley

"I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers."
— Jack Handy

"I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves."
— August Strindberg

"No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation."
— Fran Lebowitz

"Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant."
— Unknown

"Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
— Ann Landers

"Women and cats will do as they please and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
— Robert A. Heinlein

"In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him."
— Dereke Bruce, Taipei, Taiwan

"When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."
–Edward Abbey

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
— Christopher Morley

"I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."
— John Steinbeck

What a dish!

May 29, 1998

The office where I work, like most others, has a kitchen, and contains pretty standard equipment: a microwave that is so old we all have to wear lead shielding anytime it’s turned on, a refrigerator that has smelled strange since 1986, and the only new item in the entire place: an institutional grade water heater guaranteed to brew coffee in an instant, sterilize surgical instruments, and take off at least two layers of skin. Whether it’s from habit or whether it’s because they just don’t realize other people use the same sink, there are some people who insist on leaving their used dishes in the sink, apparently in an attempt to soak off encrusted chili-cheese-ketchup concoctions or the fuzz on forgotten lunch dishes they’ve finally pulled out of the refrigerator. Obviously these people have no concept of basic biology. On high, the hot water coming out of the sink is about 2000 degrees Celsius. Almost nothing can survive at that temperature. The only organisms that can are found deep in the ocean around flatulent lava vents that boil the water and spew toxic chemicals. If they’ve got something like that growing on their dishes, it’s going to take a lot more than a good soak to remove them.


FOR CHILI CHEFS AND FANCIERS (AND PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN TEXAS

Notes From An Inexperienced Chili Taster Named FRANK

"Recently I was honored to be selected as an Outstanding Famous Celebrity in Texas, to be a judge at a chili cook-off because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you endure when you’re an internet writer and therefore known and adored by all." Here are the scorecards from the event:

Chili # 1: Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor Very mild.

FRANK: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that’s the worst one. These people are crazy.

Chili # 2: Arthur’s Afterburner Chili

JUDGE ONE: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer > line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated over my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.

Chili # 3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.

FRANK: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I’ve located a !?##?!?%?~?! uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her "Sally." Probably behind her back they call her "Forklift."

Chili# 4: Bubba’s Black Magic

JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn’t have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled … it’s kinda cute.

Chili # 5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Chili # 6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wants to go dancing later.

Chili # 7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress.

FRANK: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I wouldn’t feel it. I’ve lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good, at autopsy they’ll know what killed me. Go Sally, save yourself before it’s too late. Tell our children I’m sorry I was not there to conceive them. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful and I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I’ll just let it in through the hole in my stomach. Call the X-Files people and tell them I’ve found a super nova on my tongue.

Chili # 8: Helen’s Mount Saint Chili

JUDGE ONE: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself.

JUDGE TWO: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

FRANK: Momma??!!

Forecast: Hot and Buggy

May 22, 1998

Every 13 years Nashville gets infested, and I mean that in the most horrendous sense you can possibly imagine, with little red-eyed insects called cicadas. They fly around like drunk Russian airline pilots at a convention making an unbelievable amount of noise and, in some areas, blocking the sun for several hours a day. They come out of the ground at night as red-eyed wingless grubs, molt, and wait for the sun to come up so the festivities can begin. There are literally millions of them–I’m not exaggerating about this. And I consider it my sacred duty, as someone who as a child captured black widow spiders and even now is called in to pull snakes from gardens, to make sure everyone I know gets the full cicada experience. Cicadas in coffee cups, under desks, in chairs, down the backs of shirts…the possibilities for anyone who does not appreciate these creatures are endless.

But, the other night, something happened. I’ve heard that people who work calmly in reptile houses in zoos or handle huge numbers of roaches for horror films will, eventually, have a collective case of, well, the scientific term is "the willies". They’ll suddenly realize what they’re dealing with, and it will put them into a complete blind panic. I’ve always scoffed at these stories, but, the other night, having gotten up at midnight to take the dog out, I had my attack. The ground was moving, and as I stepped across the yard, I felt I was walking on what can only be described as stale potato chips and canned ravioli. Ugh. I was seized by a terrible fear and loathing. These things were DISGUSTING! Fortunately my weakness was only temporary, but it left me with a greater understanding of what some people feel. It made me sympathetic, tolerant, and deeply aware of how revolting insects can appear.

Yeah, and if you believe that, I’ll be more than happy to get you some coffee.


Ultimate Diet

Faintly Flabby Earthlings are always on the lookout for a new diet. The trouble with most diets is that you don’t get enough to eat (the starvation diet), or you don’t get enough variation (the liquid diet), or you go broke (the all-meat diet). Consequently, people tend to cheat on their diets, or quit after 3 days, or go right back to stuffing their faces after it is all over. Is there nothing you can do but give up and tell your friends you have a gland problem? Or is there a slim hope?

Such is the new Toddler Miracle Diet! Over the years you may have noticed, as I have, that most two-year-olds are trim. It came to me one day over a cup of black coffee and a carrot that perhaps their diet is the reason.

After consultation with pediatricians, X-ray technicians, and distraught moms, I was able to formulate this new diet. It is inexpensive, offering great variety and sufficient quantity. Before embarking on this diet, however, be sure to check with your doctor… otherwise you might have to see him afterward. Good luck!

DAY ONE

Breakfast – One scrambled egg, one piece of toast with grape jelly. Eat 2 bites of egg, using your fingers; dump the rest on the floor. Take 1 bite of toast, then smear the jelly over your face and clothes. Get some in your eyebrows too. It’ll give you something to pick at for several hours of satisfying appetite control.

Lunch – Four crayons (any color), a handful of potato chips, and a glass of milk (3 sips only, then spill the rest down your leg).

Dinner – A dry stick, two pennies and a nickel, 4 sips of stale beer.

Bedtime Snack – Toast piece of bread and toss it on the kitchen floor. Be sure to step on it and hear it go crunch!

DAY TWO

Breakfast – Pick up stale crunched toast from kitchen floor and eat it. Drink half bottle of vanilla extract or one vial of vegetable dye. Um. Yummy!

Lunch – Half a tube of "Pulsating Pink" lipstick and a cigarette (to be eaten, not smoked). One ice cube, if desired.

Afternoon Snack – Lick an all-day sucker until sticky, take outside, drop in dirt. Retrieve and continue slurping until it is clean again. Then bring inside and drop on the rug. Wander away without thought.

Dinner – A rock or an uncooked bean, which should be thrust up your left nostril. Pour iced tea over mashed potatoes; eat with a large strainer spoon, since taking your time is vital to your dieting success.

DAY THREE

Breakfast – Two pancakes with plenty of syrup, eat with fingers, rub in hair. Don’t pull it out later though. It hurts. Glass of milk: drink half, stuff remainder of picked over pancakes into glass. After breakfast, pick up yesterday’s sucker from rug, lick off fuzz, and put it on the cushion of your best chair. Wander away without direction.

Lunch – Three matches, peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. Spit several bites onto the floor. Pour glass of milk on table and slurp up. Smear a design on table with remaining milk. It’s good for your artistic expression.

Dinner – Dish of ice cream, handful of potato chips, some wine, and coffee.

FINAL DAY

Breakfast – A quarter-tube of toothpaste (any flavor), bit of soap, an olive. Pour a glass of milk over bowl of cornflakes, add a half-cup of sugar. Once cereal is soggy, drink milk and feed cereal to dog. Be sure to rub some in dog’s fur just for fun.

Lunch – Eat crumbs off kitchen floor and dining room carpet. Find that sucker and finish eating it.

Dinner – A glass of spaghetti and chocolate milk. Discard meatball on plate. Stick of mascara for dessert.


COMPETITIVE SALARY:
We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.

JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY:
We have no time to train you and you’ll have to introduce yourself to your co-workers.

SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING, PEOPLE:
…who still live with their parents and won’t mind our internship-level salaries.

CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE:
We don’t pay enough to expect that you’ll dress up; well, a couple of the real daring guys wear ear rings.

JOIN OUR DYNAMIC TEAM:
We all listen to nutty motivational tapes.

MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED:
You’ll be six months behind schedule on your first day.

SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED:
Some time each night and some time each weekend.

DUTIES WILL VARY:
Anyone in the office can boss you around.

MUST HAVE AN EYE FOR DETAIL:
We have no quality control.

COLLEGE DEGREE PREFERRED:
Unless you wasted those four years studying something useless like philosophy or English.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE:
We’ve filled the job; our call for resumes is just a legal formality.

SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE:
You’ll need it to replace three people who just left.

PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST:
You’re walking into a company in perpetual chaos.

REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS:
You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want, and then do it.

Freethinkers Anonymous May Have Side Effects

May 15, 1998

Thanks to a recent change in legislation, drug companies are now allowed not only to advertise their drugs, they’re allowed to tell you what they are for as well. Why they couldn’t do that before is a mystery to me, but it’s nice to finally understand that the giant hot air balloon carrying a piano player cures allergies, that putting your hand over your mouth when you burp may be a sign that you suffer from bizarre gastrointestinal disorders, and that attractive couples walking along the beach at sunset no longer need to worry about their genital herpes.

Then come the special disclaimers. First there’s "Consult your doctor or pharmacist." I don’t know about you, but my pharmacist thinks the number of times he failed his school exams is hilarious, and occasionally stares off into space then yells out, "Where did all these pills come from?" Then there’s my favorite part: "Side effects are generally mild, and may include headache, drowsiness, sneezing, skin rashes, muscle aches, watery eyes, ear wax drainage, difficulty concentrating, violent behavior, diziness, hallucinations, hair loss, and brain hemorrhages." My diagnosis is: the commercials are worse than the disease.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Interesting Trivia

  • In Cleveland, Ohio, it’s illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.

  • Dr. Seuss coined the word "nerd" in his 1950 book "If I Ran the Zoo"

  • It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs.

  • Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

  • There are an average of 178 sesame seeds on a McDonald’s Big Mac bun.

  • The world’s termites outweigh the world’s humans 10 to 1.

  • Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than new cars.

  • The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

  • When Heinz ketchup leaves the bottle, it travels at a rate of 25 miles per year.

  • It’s possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs.

  • The Bible has been translated into Klingon.

  • Humans are the only primates that don’t have pigment in the palms of their hands.

  • Ten percent of the Russian government’s income comes from the sale of vodka.

  • Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.

  • On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.

  • In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.

  • Reno, Nevada is west of Los Angeles, California.

  • Average lifespan of a major league baseball: 5 pitches.

  • Average age of top GM executives in 1994: 49.8 years. Average age of the Rolling Stones: 50.6.

  • Elephants can’t jump. Every other mammal can.

  • The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

  • Five Jell-O flavors that flopped: celery, coffee, cola, apple, and chocolate.

  • According to one study, 24% of Iawns have some sort of lawn ornament in their yard.

  • Internationally, Baywatch is the most popular TV show in history.


Disclaimer: Thinkers Anonymous is in no way affiliated with Freethinkers Anonymous, nor do we support that organization. In its long history, Freethinkers Anonymous has supported thinking, and studies have shown that thinking, even to excess, can be a very healthy activity. -CW

Are YOU a problem thinker?

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone – "to relax," I told myself – but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I’ve been thinking…"

"I know you’ve been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it’s not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won’t have any money!"

"That’s a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I’d had enough. "I’m going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors… they didn’t open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky’s." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed… easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Meteor?

May 8, 1998

The rumors aren’t true. Not that I ever believed them. I was suspicious from the first moment that I heard a small meteor had recently hit the Earth, and when I heard it hit in Titusville, I knew it wasn’t true. Titusville, for those of you who don’t know, is a small town in Tennessee, and is home to my infamous Uncle Rupert. The same one who tried to drive to Europe, repaired a neighbor’s air conditioning but blew up her house, and fertilized a kudzu vine, turning an annoying weed into a mutant menace. Actually Titusville is where he and my Aunt Vita live when they’re not hiding out–I mean doing missionary work in Florida. But while the meteor story isn’t true, there was an explosion and a small crater. Uncle Rupert recently overcame his fear of technology and bought a bug zapper. This was a big move for him, especially since he’d heard that bug zappers and six-packs of beer always went together, and Uncle Rupert is a teetotaller. He wouldn’t even take cough medicine until all the alcohol was taken out and replaced with a less sinful combination of morphine, assorted barbituates, and Vitamin K. So he and Aunt Vita were sitting out enjoying their new bug zapper, and Uncle Rupert noticed an earthworm on the ground. Always a curious fellow, he decided to see what would happen when an earthworm and a bug zapper came together. For some reason, the people who design bug zappers have decided that it’s necessary to put a protective metal mesh around the glowing center that electrocutes insects, in case people decide to do something silly, like putting earthworms in their bug zapper. After several attempts, Uncle Rupert realized that he just wasn’t going to be able to throw an earthworm just right and get it through that mesh. Now, with all his experiences with electricity, you would think that Uncle Rupert would use something other than a large piece of wire to move the earthworm into position. The bad news is that Uncle Rupert no longer has a bug zapper. The good news is that his experiment attracted the attention of both Hollywood and the FBI, and there are already large delegations following him to Florida.


THINGS YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW WITHOUT THE MOVIES

During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

Most dogs are immortal.

If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of the year.

All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets which reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French Bread.

It’s easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

Once applied, lipstick will never rub off – even while scuba diving.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No-one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

If you need to reload your gun, you will always have more ammunition – even if you haven’t been carrying any before now.

You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

If your town is threatened by an imminent natural disaster or killer beast, the mayor’s first concern will be the tourist trade or his forthcoming art exhibition.

The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

The Chief of Police is always black.

When paying for a taxi, don’t look at your wallet as you take out a bill – just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

Interbreeding is genetically possible with any creature from elsewhere in the universe.

Kitchens don’t have light switches. When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.

If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.

Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning even though their husband and children never have time to eat it.

Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.

The Chief of Police will always suspend his star detective – or give him 48 hours to finish the job.

A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of RFK Stadium.

Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

Although in the 20th century it is possible to fire weapons at an object out of our visual range, people of the 23rd century will have lost this technology.

Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations.

Even when driving down a perfectly straight road it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.

It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communication systems of any invading alien civilization.

It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts – your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

When a person is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, they will never suffer a concussion or brain damage.

No-one involved in a car chase, hijacking, explosion, volcanic eruption or alien invasion will ever go into shock.

Police Departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.

Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds – unless it’s the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.

An electric fence, powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight year old child.

Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at that precise moment.

What about hedgehogging?

May 1, 1998

Earlier this week there was a general strike in Denmark. It may still be going on – I’ve noticed that as far as countries outside the United States, the media here has the short attention span they accuse the rest of us of having. Anyway, this must happen a lot over there because people are preparing themselves for a long haul. Afraid that stores are going to run out of food, they’re buying vast quantities of food and storing it in their houses. In fact, this happens so often they have a term for this. They call it–I swear I’m not making this up–hamstering. It’s taken from the way hamsters store food by stuffing it into their cheeks, and while I have yet to meet a Dane who can put a whole side of smoked salmon into his face at once, it does explain why Victor Borge is sometimes more than a little hard to understand. Anyway, I started thinking that maybe we should start using other rodents as verbs as well. We already have "ferreting", which the Webster’s Dictionary defines as "to search diligently while smelling like cedar chips and musk". So why not say that digging through your friends’ refrigerator because you’re out of food is "ratting"? Actually we also already have ratting–it’s a slang term for giving the police information about someone who’s done something illegal. This comes from the way that a rat, when cornered, will insist that it was his brother Louie who’s been digging in your garbage all this time. Down in the South, we also have the expression "playing possum", which means lying down in front of a speeding car and hoping the driver has insurance. Finally, we come to my own contribution to rodent terms: Sitting in one place for days, shrieking occasionally, and trying to bite anyone who comes near you should be called "guinea pigging". Already you’re probably thinking of people to whom this applies.

Enjoy this week’s offering.


Children of the 80’s

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1980.

The Iranian hostage crisis occurred before they were conceived.

They have no memory of a time before MTV.

"New Wave" is their PARENTS musical generation.

Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, the Pretenders, the Kinks, the Sex Pistols — are all old music they have heard of, if they have heard of it at all.

They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era.

They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.

If they have heard the name "Oliver North," it was probably as a losing Congressional candidate, or perhaps in some obscure survey history text’s reference, such as might be made to Huey Long or Teapot Dome.

Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.

Their world has always included AIDS.

Having not lived through the Disco Scare, they can romanticize the 1970s.

They see "Family Ties" as something middle aged ladies watch.

They watched "Star Wars" years ago, when they were kids — on video.

Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums and cassette audiotapes; they may have heard of an 8-track, but probably never actually seen (or heard) one.

From their earliest years, a camera was something you used once and threw away.

As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 32 cents.

The oil crisis is history of which they probably know nothing — and why anyone WOULDN’T buy a Chevy Suburban is beyond them.

Most of them have probably never seen a real nun, even if they went to Catholic schools.

The Cold War, Perestroika and the Berlin Wall are all historical curiosities to them, as is being scared witless about nuclear attacks with something called "The Day After," which they remember hearing about vaguely.

Dallas is that weird re-run in among the line dancing shows in The Nashville Network.

So is the Dukes of Hazard.

Such a thing exists as "Classical Alternative."

Richard Petty is "Kyle’s dad."

Many of them probably never saw a filmstrip projector, let alone a filmstrip in grade school/preschool.

Sting was in The Police??

They don’t remember when Ahmad Rashad played football, and wasn’t even named Ahmad Rashad.

They never saw the films shown on Mystery Science Theater on late-night monster movie shows like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and such as serious horror films.

Catch phrases that might mean something: Herb, Where’s the Beef, New Coke.

Their parents had to lift them up to be part of Hands Across America.

They can’t identify most of the artists who performed on USA For Africa’s We are the World (let alone identify that Michael Jackson is INDEED the black guy singing the first chorus, since it looks nothing like him).

Their first computer experience was not on a Commodore 64.

Four words: CB Radio. What gives?

The explosion of the Challenger was not all that significant to their lives, nor do they remember where they were for it.

They’ve never experienced a live, understandable Bob Dylan (though Jakob is cute).

Some had hand-me-down Cabbage Patch Dolls.

It takes them a while to remember what Schoolhouse Rock and Afterschool Specials are.

Where did they watch things like Happy Days, Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, and other like shows? Nickelodeon.

Most of us remember TV announcers such as NBA analyst Bill Walton, football announcer Dan Dierdorf, NHL commentator John Davidson and baseball announcer Joe Morgan when they were still active players, and when there was only one series and one issue of sports cards – Topps.

Some of US are getting class reunion forms that have an optional listing for "grandchildren."

We’ve lived through Pac-Man fever – the album and the affliction – and fought to get those mini-arcade games from Coleco.

Zoom was not a verb, and the Electric Company is not where mom and dad pay bills.

We know why Hooper’s Grocery Store is named Hooper’s on Sesame Street.

Iron-ons were all over our clothes.

There was no such things as roller blades – there were roller skates, which were essentially tennis shows with shopping cart wheels flung on at random on a piece of sheet metal. There was also apparently no such thing as skating safety, apparently caused by all parents having a lifetime supply of peroxide and mercurochrome for our skinned knees. Well, except for the times we were at roller discos or dancing to organists instead of disc jockeys playing organ music. And skating in reverse.

These kids, unlike us, had those chic and stylish girl scout/boy scout uniforms, as our handbooks seemed to indicate we’d get merit badges for looking like complete dorks.

The Brat Pack movies – like Outsiders and The Breakfast Club – were the script and soundtrack to our lives. Unlike Pulp Fiction.


Basic Rules For Dogs

VISITORS: Quickly determine which guest is afraid of dogs. Charge across the room, barking loudly and leap playfully on this person. If the human falls down on the floor and starts crying, lick its face and growl gently to show your concern.

BARKING: Because you are a dog, you are expected to bark. So bark – a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting their house. Especially late at night while they are sleeping safely in their beds. There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night and hearing your protective bark, bark, bark…

LICKING: Always take a BIG drink from the toilet immediately before licking your human. Humans prefer clean tongues. Be ready to fetch your human a towel.

HOLES: Rather than digging a BIG hole in the middle of the yard and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes all over the yard so they won’t notice. If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, maybe they’ll hink it’s gophers. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do your part to help correct this problem.

DOORS: The area directly in front of a door is always reserved for the dog to sleep.

THE ART OF SNIFFING: Humans like to be sniffed. Everywhere. It is your duty, as the family dog, to accommodate them.

DINING ETIQUETTE: Always sit under the table at dinner, especially when there are guests, so you can clean up any food that falls on the floor. It’s also a good time to practice your sniffing.

HOUSEBREAKING: Housebreaking is very important to humans, so break as much of the house as possible.

GOING FOR WALKS: Rules of the road: When out for a walk with your master or mistress, never go to the bathroom on your own lawn.

COUCHES: It is perfectly permissible to lie on the new couch after all your humans have gone to bed.

PLAYING: If you lose your footing while chasing a ball or stick, use the flower bed to absorb your fall so you don’t injure yourself.

CHASING CATS: When chasing cats, make sure you never – quite – catch them. It spoils all the fun.

CHEWING: Make a contribution to the fashion industry. …Eat a shoe.

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