Author Archive: Christopher Waldrop

What’s Next, the Circus?

April 30, 1999

Recently a ban on ice cream trucks in a small community outside Boston was lifted. I first heard about this several months ago, and apparently the people who first crammed it down the throats of the community are already trying to get it restored. What do they have against the ice cream man? Here are their reported complaints:

1. The drivers of the ice cream trucks could be complete strangers, and there’s no way to know what sort of people they are.

Okay, this is a legitimate concern, but rather than banning the ice cream truck, as much a staple of summertime as going barefoot and playing baseball, why don’t parents get out and meet the ice cream delivery person? Maybe things have changed since I was a kid, but when my friends and I would go to buy ice cream, we were always accompanied by an adult. If the parents can’t be there, then how about setting down a few simple rules? Here’s one: The ice cream man never gets out of his truck, and no one else ever goes in. That should prevent a lot of problems.

2. They’re concerned about the lack of nutritional value in fudgesicles and nutty buddies.

Here’s a radical idea: if parents don’t want their kids eating the ice cream, they should say no. If nobody buys the ice cream, the trucks will stop coming. With the ice cream truck, anyway, a boycott is just as effective as clogging up the local legislature with unnecessary laws.

3. Children could get hurt by traffic when they’re chasing after the ice cream trucks.

Children could also get hurt climbing trees, but when have you ever heard of them being denounced as a safety hazard? And although I’d rather not see anyone get hit by a car, is it fair to blame the ice cream truck when some other driver is the one at fault?

4. The music they play is annoying.

The music my hillbilly neighbors play is annoying too. It’s also a lot louder, and goes on for hours, but there’s nothing I can do about it unless it’s after 9PM. Compared to the twangs of "Erlene Done Left Me For A Mule", a few minutes of "Pop Goes the Weasel" is pleasant, and brings back some happy memories of summers long ago.

The ban, by the way, was lifted because of the efforts of a six-year old girl who wrote to law enforcement officials in surrounding areas. She found no evidence of kidnapping, drug peddling, abuse, or injury associated with ice cream delivery trucks. Look for it on an upcoming episode of "Kids Repeal The Darnedest Laws."

Enjoy this week’s offerings guaranteed not to rot your teeth.


Learn all about your personality…

Pick your favorite flavor of ice cream from the following:
1) Vanilla
2) Chocolate
3) Butter pecan
4) Banana
5) Strawberry
6) Chocolate chip

Pick your flavor before you continue…

Don’t peek! Are you ready to learn about your personality? A national manufacturer of ice cream, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, commissioned an ice cream flavorology study to determine how ice cream preferences relate to personality. The study, conducted by Dr.Alan R. Hirsch (MD), Neurological Director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, revealed that distinct personalities correspond with ice cream flavors.

If you like vanilla, you are colorful, impulsive, a risk taker who sets high goals and has high expectations of yourself. You also enjoy close family relationships.

If you like chocolate, you are lively, creative, dramatic, charming, enthusiastic, and the life of the party. Chocolate fans enjoy being at the center of attention and can become bored with the usual routine.

If you like butter pecan, you are orderly, perfectionistic, careful, detail-oriented, conscientious, ethical, and fiscally conservative. You are also competitive, aggressive in sports, and the take-charge type of personality.

If you like banana, you are easy going, well adjusted, generous, honest, and empathetic.

If you like strawberry, you are shy, yet emotionally robust, skeptical, detail oriented, opinionated, introverted, and self critical.

If you like chocolate chip, you are generous, competitive, and accomplished. You are charming in social situations, ambitious, and competent.

The flavorology research compatibility chart for ice cream lovers:

If your favorite flavor is:

Vanilla – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is vanilla.

Chocolate – compatible with butter pecan or chocolate chip.

Butter Pecan – compatible with butter pecan, chocolate and chocolate chip.

Banana – compatible with all flavors.

Strawberry – compatible with chocolate chip.

Chocolate Chip – compatible with butter pecan, strawberry or chocolate.

Never trust a dog to watch your food.
–Patrick, Age 10

When you want something expensive, ask your grandparents.
–Matthew, Age 12

Never smart off to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching.
–Andrew, Age 9

Wear a hat when feeding seagulls.
–Rocky, Age 9

Sleep in your clothes so you’ll be dressed in the morning.
–Stephanie, Age 8

Never try to hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
–Rosemary, Age 7

Don’t flush the toilet when you dad’s in the shower.
–Lamar, Age 10

Never ask for anything that costs more than five dollars when your parents are doing taxes.
–Carrol, Age 9

Never bug a pregnant mom.
–Nicholas, Age 11

Don’t ever be too full for dessert.
–Kelly, Age 10

When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.
–Heather, Age 16

Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.
–Michael, Age 14

Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.
–Joel, Age 12

When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she’s on the phone.
–Alyesha, Age 13

Never try to baptize a cat.
–Laura, Age 13

Never spit when on a roller coaster.
–Scott, Age 11

Never do pranks at a police station.
–Sam, Age 10

Beware of cafeteria food when it looks like it’s moving.
–Rob, Age 10

Never tell your little brother that you’re not going to do what your mom told you to do.
–Hank, Age 12

Remember you’re never too old to hold your father’s hand.
–Molly, Age 11

Listen to your brain. It has lots of information.
–Chelsey, Age 7

Stay away from prunes.
–Randy, Age 9

Never dare your little brother to paint the family car.
–Phillip, Age 13

Forget the cake. Go for the icing!
–Cynthia, Age 8

You Want To Do WHAT With My Credit Card?

April 23, 1999

Recently some very wise bureaucrats in San Francisco decided to take on the problem of homelessness by (I’m not kidding here) giving homeless people credit card machines. That way if you want to give a homeless guy a sizeable (and presumably tax-deductible) donation, you no longer have to fumble around in your wallet and hope he doesn’t see that embarassing twenty while you’re pulling out the torn and stained single. Now you can just whip out your credit card, let him run it through his machine, and preferably use your own pen to sign the receipt. Now the credit card that’s "everywhere you want to be" is also going to be everywhere you don’t want to be.The one that allows you to "discover the possibilities" will now also help you discover the origin of that strange smell.

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea, though. Let’s say every homeless person in the San Francisco area gets his or her own credit card machine. The main reason the majority of homeless people are homeless in the first place is because they have mental problems but, for various reasons, cannot be institutionalized. They can’t hold steady or even temporary jobs because of a severe lack of social skills. With credit card machines, however, they’ll learn a very important, very marketable skill, and at the same time they’ll forget how to handle regular money. Put these things together: impaired mental function, no social skills, and the ability to only handle credit card transactions. Yes, today’s homeless are tomorrow’s retail workers. And what will become of the current retail workers? They’ll probably end up homeless until someone comes up with a plan to give them their own credit card machines.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

1 MAN, 7 WOMAN HOT TUB — $850/offer
1 5-finger, 1 3-finger, PAIR: $15
89 cents
89 cents lb.
GROUND BEAST: 99 cents lb.

The Washington Post’s "Style Invitational" asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some recent winners (1998):

Foreploy: any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of obtaining sex.

Tatyr: a lecherous Mr. Potato Head.

Doltergeist: a spirit that decides to haunt someplace stupid, such as your septic tank.

Sarchasm: the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn’t get it.

Contratemps: the resentment permanent workers feel toward the fill-in workers.

Reintarnation: coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Inoculatte: to take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: terminal coolness.

Taterfamilias: the head of the Potato Head family.

Guillozine: a magazine for executioners.

Osteopornosis: a degenerate disease.

Burglesque: a poorly planned break-in. (See: Watergate)

Giraffiti: vandalism spray-painted very, very high, such as the famous "Surrender Dorothy" on the Beltway overpass.

Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like a serious bummer

Glibido: all talk and no action.

Deifenestration: to throw all talk of God out the window.

Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Intaxication: euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Abs Of Steel, Nerves of Glass

April 16, 1999

Last week after I celebrated just a few of the reasons April is such a joyous month, someone wrote to tell me that, along with all the other things, April is Belly Awareness Month. Personally I thought belly awareness was a year-round thing, but apparently someone decided that April, when people begin shedding their thick winter clothes and working off the last of the holiday pounds, should be a special time to think about our bellies. Of course you can’t think about your belly without thinking of your belly button. Excuse me. I meant to say navel there. The phrase "belly button" makes me very uncomfortable. See, I’m extremely ticklish, and "belly button" sounds like something that you poke. It’s bad enough that the stupid thing is a repository for sweater lint and who knows what else, forcing me to do an occasional but excruciating baton act in it with an alcohol loaded cotton swab, but to imagine having it poked drives me up the wall. Who thought of the expression belly button anyway? Probably the same person who first divided them into "innies" and "outies", the latter being the only ones that really look like buttons. What happens when you press one of those? Maybe you get a prerecorded message requesting that you insert food for further information. I’d better stop this. Belly button contemplation was a big fad in the sixties, and it’s widely believed to have led to the mass insanity known as the seventies. Enjoy this week’s offerings.

"An Ode To Melissa"
(from "Sonnets from the Pentium")

How do I love thee ? Let me count the ways.
I love thee with every disc and gigabyte
My PC holds, though my friends exclaim in fright
And flee thy messages through cyberspace.
I love thee by my monitor’s steady glow,
As thou lurk through the web like a spider.
I love freely, though thou crash my provider,
And make my surfing so difficult and slow.
I love thee for thy subtlety, and thy speed,
For thou dost come disguised as friendly mail,
Then through the address book thou quickly sail,
And like a living thing thou dost then breed.
Laughing, I have read how thou now mutate!
Virus! We are forever wed! ‘Tis our fate.

You’re just jealous because the voices are talking to me

I have the body of a God……………………Buddha

This would be really funny if it weren’t happening to me

So many pedestrians, so little time

I used to be disgusted, now I’m just amused

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

If we quit voting will they all go away?

Politics – from the words "poly," meaning "many," and "ticks," as in small, blood-sucking parasites"

The face is familiar but I can’t quite remember my name

He who dies with the most toys…still dies

Eat right, exercise, die anyway

Illiterate? Write for help

Honk if anything falls off

Cover me – I’m changing lanes

He who laughs last thinks slowest

He who hesitates is not only lost but miles from the next exit

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person

This isn’t my idea of a good time

It’s been lovely but I have to scream now

Uniquely maladjusted but fun

This bumpersticker exploits illiterates

Minimum wage for politicians

Visualize using your turn signals

Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

I haven’t lost my mind – it’s backed up on disk somewhere

Oh, evolve!

You! Out of the gene pool!

Gone crazy be back shortly

If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention

I do whatever my Rice Krispies tell me to

Dyslexics of the world – untie!

Celebrate this!

April 9, 1999

April is National Poetry Month. It’s also Earthquake Preparedness Month, which in itself explains why it’s Stress Awareness Month. Or maybe that’s because it’s Mathematics Education Month. It’s certainly got nothing to do with April being National Lawn and Garden Month. In case you’re keeping track, April also contains Ocean Week (12-17th), Corn Week (also the 12th-17th), End of Prohibition Day (April 7th), Professional Secretaries Day (21st), Earth Day (21st), Anzac Day (25th), Togo’s Independence Day (27th), National Day of Mourning (28th), and Arbor Day (30th). It’s also the month of Easter and Passover. Rome was founded in the month of April, the Titanic went down in April, and on April 10th, 1924, the first book of crosswords was introduced. We’ve become so weighed down by history and the need to celebrate various things that there’s no day, week, or month, that isn’t overloaded with significance. With all these things to celebrate, or, if you’re firmly anti-ocean, hate secretaries, or think Prohibition was a good idea, not celebrate, is it any wonder that now riots are a way people celebrate AND protest? Well, I’ve had enough. I say it’s about time we set aside a World Nothing Day, a day when absolutely nothing happened, happens, or will happen. Ever. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a day that’s free. But at least all this explains April Fools’ Day.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Dept. of the Army
Regulations For Operation Of Aircraft
Commencing January 1920

1. Don’t take the machine into the air unless you are satisfied it will fly.

2. Never leave the ground with the motor leaking.

3. Don’t turn sharply when taxiing. Instead of turning sharp, have someone lift the tail around.

4. In taking off, look at the ground and the air.

5. Never get out of the machine with the motor running until the pilot relieving you can reach the motor controls.

6. Pilots should carry hankies in a handy place to wipe off goggles.

7. Riding on the steps, wings, or rail of the machine is prohibited.

8. In case the engine fails on takeoff, land straight ahead regardless of obstacles.

9. No machine must taxi faster than a man can walk.

10. Never run motor so that blast will blow on other machines.

11. Learn to gauge altitude, especially on landing.

12. If you see another machine near you, get out of the way.

13. No two cadets should ever ride together in the same machine.

14. Do not trust altitude instruments.

15. Before you begin a landing glide, see that no machines are under you.

16. Hedge-hopping will not be tolerated.

17. No spins on back or tail sides will be indulged in as they unnecessarily strain the machines.

18. If flying against the wind and you wish to fly with the wind, don’t make a sharp turn near the ground. You may crash.

19. Motors have been known to stop during a long glide. If pilot wishes to use motor for landing, he should open the throttle.

20. Don’t attempt to force the machine onto the ground with more than flying speed. The result is bounding and ricocheting.

21. Pilots will not wear spurs while flying.

22. Do not use aeronautical gasoline in cars or motorcycles.

23. You must not take off or land closer than 50 feet to the hanger.

24. Never take a machine into the air until you are familiar with it’s controls and instruments.

25. If an emergency occurs while flying, land as soon as possible.

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like, night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

7. I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

8. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

9. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

10. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

11. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

12. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

13. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

14. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

15. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

16. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

17. I intend to live forever — so far, so good.

18. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

19. My mind Like A Steel Trap – Rusty And Illegal In 37 States.

20. Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.

21. The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.

22. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane and going the wrong way.

23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

24. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

25. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

26. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

27. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

28. Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.

29. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

30. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.

31. The hardness of the butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.

32. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.

33. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

34. To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.

35. Two wrongs are only the beginning.

36. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

37. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.

38. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

39. Plan to be spontaneous — tomorrow.

40. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hands …

41. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.

April is the cruellest month…

April 2, 1999

I’ve been had. I’ve been conned, duped, hornswaggled, deceived, bamboozled, and a victim of ledgerdemain. I’m a rube, a mark, a bumpkin, a yokel, an easy target, a swain. Why am I all these things? Because I, like so many others, have tried one of the currently popular herbal remedies. Specifically I’ve been taking gingko which, according to the literature on the side of the bottle, is supposed to make you smarter. I’ve been taking the stuff two and three times a day for over a week, and I have yet to see any real effect. I certainly don’t feel any smarter. The sad thing is I should have known better. When I was first offered gingko with the promise that it would make me more intelligent, I should have remembered the old local joke about the city kid and the country kid. The city kid and the country kid, so the joke goes, were walking through the forest when they found a pile a rabbit pellets (for those of you who live exclusively in urban areas, these are droppings, and, as in urban areas, they’re left everywhere and no one’s required to clean them up). The city kid asked, "What are those?" The country kid replied, "Those are smart pills. Go ahead and try one." So, after eating five or six, the city kid said, "These taste like s–t!" The country kid said, "You’re getting smarter already." Well, at least I have enough intelligence to figure out that an herb can’t make someone smarter.

Hey, maybe it’s working after all!

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


* * * HOLY GRAIL * * *

As is.
$50 or best offer.

I got it cheap at a flea market. It’s the real McCoy, and I thought I was getting a great deal. But it turned out not to be so hot from my point of view. I’ll explain, because I don’t want anyone saying how I cheated them if it wasn’t what they expected.

First, the Grail sheds a pure and holy light. That’s okay, and it’s quite a conversation piece, but it’s damn annoying when you’re trying to sleep or watch TV. Covering the grail with a cloth does not seem to help for some reason. (We have been using white samite; perhaps this is the source of the problem?)

Second, only the pure of heart can touch or even look upon the Grail. Needless to say I do not qualify. This means that we haven’t been able to dust behind it on the mantel since we put it in there. Therefore anyone who wants to purchase the Grail will have to come and carry it away themselves; we will not deliver it.

Third, every month or so since we have had the Grail, three white-clothed women have made a silent and eerie procession through our house. They also glow with a pure and holy light, and they have no consideration for any guests who happen to be living in the downstairs room. It sure is a good thing that they are silent, because I think otherwise the neighbors would surely have complained. We got enough weird glances as it is. To top it off, one of the glowing babes is carrying a spear which continually drips blood. True, the blood vanishes ere it touches the floor, but nevertheless I get queasy at the sight of blood and these women traipsing through my house with their cloth and blood and light and stuff at all hours of the day and night are really getting on my nerves.

Anyway that’s the scoop. Perhaps someone else out there knows how to deal with these problems and would like to take the abominable cup off my hands?

Sister Mary Barbie: This spiritual Barbie comes with jointed knees and neck for genuflecting and praying, mini rosary beads, a mini bible and a black sequinned nun’s habit (after all, she’s still Barbie). Pull the string on her back and she says nothing because she has taken a vow of silence.

Rabbi Barbie: So, why not? Women rabbis are on the cutting edge in Judaism. Rabbi Barbie comes with tiny satin yarmulke, prayer shawl, Teflon, silver kaddish cup, Torah scrolls. Optional: tiny mezuzah for doorway of Barbie Townhouse.

Admin Barbie: Works twenty hour days for little pay (80% of Admin Ken’s salary), and is the lowest on the totem pole despite being the one that actually runs the group. Comes with mini laptop. Pull the string on her back and she’ll schedule a meeting with your other dolls, replace the toner cartridge in the laser printer, co-ordinate a re-org and a move, and order airline tickets for Admin Ken.

Temp Barbie: This smartly dressed, intelligent, hardworking and enthusiastic Barbie is ready to go right out of the box, but usually goes untouched for at least a day while everyone tries to figure out why they bought her. Pull the string on her back and she’ll stuff envelopes indefinitely, all the while wondering why she got a liberal arts degree. Comes with mini resume and mini filing cabinet filled with the past five years worth of US Tax Code revisions which need to be collated.

Ripped-Off-In-The-Divorce-Settlement Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she unloads a torrent of insults and death threats for her ex’s new wife. Comes with a hatred for all men, and a Malibu Barbie tan (except for a white band on the ring finger of her left hand).

Twelve-Step Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she says, "Hi, I’m Barbie and I’m an alcoholic." Comes with a "One Day at a Time" bumper sticker, a 30-day chip and a pack of smokes.

Birkenstock Barbie: Finally, a Barbie doll with horizontal feet and comfortable, if ugly, sandals. Made from recycled materials.

Bite-The-Bullet Barbie: An anthropologist Barbie with pith helmet, camera, detachable limbs, fake blood and the ability to perform surgery on her-self in the Outback.

Blue Collar Barbie: Comes with overalls, protective goggles, lunch pail, UAW membership, pamphlet on union-organizing and pay scales for women as compared to men. Waitressing outfits and cashier’s aprons may be purchased separately for Barbies who are holding down second jobs in order to make ends meet.

Homegirl Barbie: Truly a fly Barbie in midriff-bearing shirt and baggy jeans. Comes with gold jewellery, hip-hop accessories and plenty of attitude. Pull cord and says things like "I don’t think so," "Dang, get outta my face," and "You go, girl." Teaches girls not to take crap from men.

Transgender Barbie: Formerly known as G.I. Joe.

Robotic Barbie: Hey, kids, experiment with an autonomous two-legged walking machine! After falling over she says "Control theory is hard. Damn these spike heels anyway!"

Dinner Roll Barbie: A Barbie with multiple love handles, double chin, a real curvy belly, and voluminous thighs to show girls that voluptuousness is also beautiful. Comes with a miniature basket of dinner rolls, bucket o’ fried chicken, tiny Entenmann’s walnut ring, a brick of Dreyer’s ice cream, three bags of potato chips, a T-shirt reading "Only the Weak Don’t Eat", and, of course, an appetite.

Mobile Home Park Barbie: Comes complete with hair in rollers and pregnant. Accessories include two toddlers. When you pull the string on her back she asks where her gov’t support check is. Some Mobile Home Barbies come with surprise Ken or G.I. Joe since they often give her surprise visits when they come into town.


" March 26, 1999

Right now Shakespeare is the hottest writer in Hollywood. This isn’t the first time a writer who’s been dead long enough for his works to be public domain has become the toast of Tinseltown, and with good ideas in short supply, there’s going to be even more grave digging over the next few years in an attempt to appeal to jaded audiences made up of mostly teenagers. Who’s expected to be the next author whose books no teenager will read but whose movies will be more popular than baggy jeans and nose piercings? According to some, it’s going to be Kafka. I have no idea why, and, frankly, I don’t think it’s going to work. In addition to the film that was vaguely about Kafka’s life that bombed at the box office a few years ago, some Kafka story scenarios will show why he’ll never by a Hollywood darling:

The Metamorphosis: Okay, the "troubling dreams" of Gregor Samsa mentioned in the first sentence could make for a really cool opening sequence, but the story goes rapidly downhill from there. The main character, as you know, finds that during the night he’s been mysteriously transformed into a giant dung beetle. It might be popular with some, but every male out there remembers that, sometime between the age of twelve and fifteen, this happened to him. He went to sleep one night a normal kid and woke up hairy, gangly, and with the ability to consume anything. No wonder everyone thinks the story’s actually about a cockroach.

Address To The Academy: A talking orangutan tells the scientists who gave him human intelligence what’s wrong with the human race. Everyone who is or has been a teenager knows what it’s like to know everything and have to stay in school anyway. Besides, smart-assed simians are already a dime a dozen in movies these days. Josephine the Singer, Or, The Mouse Folk: The mysterious popularity of a mouse who is just like every other mouse is examined. The only thing the examiner is able to conclude about her is that she contributes absolutely nothing to society. With its present conclusions it won’t go over well with prom queens, rock stars, or CEOs, but with a completely different ending and some catchy songs Disney might make a go at it.

The Penal Colony: A sadistic madman has created the ultimate torture device. This is one scenario Hollywood has done and redone for years. It’s called Oscar Night.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Advancement opportunity:
Crap job.

Entry level:
Really crap job.

No experience necessary:
The mother of all crap jobs.

Administrative assistant:
Crap job with a title.

Ground floor opportunity:
Crap job with a company that will file bankruptcy within a year.

Progressive company:
Employees get to wear jeans every other Friday.

Team player:
Must deal with dangerously territorial co-workers with rabid

Upbeat personality:
Must neither threaten us with any kind of lawsuit nor use the drug and alcohol rehab benefit within the first year.

Word processing skills essential:
There’s a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome in your future.

Public relations:

Professional appearance important:
$20K/yr job that requires a $100K/yr wardrobe

Pleasant telephone manner:
Be the voice of 1-900-HOT-TIME

Salary range $24,000 to $32,00:
The salary is $24,000

Jeans job!
Minimum wage temp job in concentration camp conditions.

Will train:
Prior conviction of a felony or two no problem.

B.A. required, master’s preferred:
Must be an M.A. willing to work on a B.A.’s salary

Civil service:
This job was filled from the inside six months ago.

Women & minorities encouraged to apply:
White males need not waste the stamp.

Outstanding benefits package:
Health insurance.

Tons of variety!
We took all the heinous tasks no other employee would do & rolled them into one job.

Top-notch communication skills:

Beautiful offices in attractive location:
Brand new ticky-tacky windowless building where the picture frames all match the carpeting.

Woman-only job with the responsibilities of management & wages of a migrant worker.

Executive secretary:
The most powerful position in the company

You’re looking at a minimum of 80 hours a week from now until we force you into early retirement.

Salary commensurate:
We’ll pay you whatever the hell we feel like.

Salary negotiable
We’ll take the lowest bidder.

Competitive salary:
We’ll pay you up to 10% more than your last job and not one penny more.

Competitive starting salary:
Ten cents above minimum wage.

Pleasant atmosphere:
A staff of pod people.

Professional atmosphere:
Zombie pod people.

Fun, creative atmosphere:
Pod people from hell.

Dynamic atmosphere:
Zombie pod people from hell.

Gal Friday:
Anyone who actually applies for this job deserves it.

Open to very broad interpretation since no one really knows what this means.

An Anagram, as we all know, is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following are quite clever. Someone out there either has way too much time to waste, or is really deadly competition at Scrabble.

Dormitory: Dirty Room
Evangelist: Evil’s Agent
Desperation: A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code: Here Come Dots
Slot Machines: Cash Lost in ’em
Animosity: Is No Amity
Mother-in-law: Woman Hitler
Snooze Alarms :Alas! No More Z’s
Alec Guinness: Genuine Class
Semolina: Is No Meal
The Public Art Galleries: Large Picture Halls, I Bet
A Decimal Point: I’m a Dot in Place
The Earthquakes: That Queer Shake
Eleven plus two: Twelve plus one
Contradiction: Accord not in it

This one’s amazing:
"To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in
the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

In one of the Bard’s best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent
hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.

And the grand finale:
"That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." –
Neil A. Armstrong

A thin man ran; makes a large stride, left planet, pins flag on moon!
On to Mars!

We Don’t Need No Education

March 19, 1999

Recently I was reading some short essays by people remembering teachers who changed their lives, and decided it was time I should stand up for the teachers who, with their extraordinary lack of dedication and ineptitude, make absolutely no difference in the lives of everyone. Coach Tiddle was just such a teacher. I have no idea what he was a coach of–maybe it was an honorary title. At my high school, male teachers seemed uncomfortable with the title "Mister", so after the school day was over they would all go stand around by the football field and become honorary coaches. During the day, Coach Tiddle taught geometry, which is appropriate, since he was an almost perfect sphere. Coach Tiddle only taught geometry in the sense that he guided us through what was in the textbook. Questions were to be directed to Miss Arkham down the hall who helped the Math Team win a Good Effort award every year at the local Math Mania Marathon. It was in the spouting of peculiar bits of wisdom that Coach Tiddle really excelled. The first day he explained to us why we had a dress code using himself as an example. "I’m a big hairy man. If I came in wearing just shorts and sneakers, it would be kind of distracting." I kept this and other aphorisms in a thick notebook under the title "Tiddle’s Tidbits". Unfortunately most of these pearls are lost now, along with what little I learned about geometry, but here are a few I still remember:

"Leonard, would you please close the window? The air conditioner isn’t big enough to cool the outside. Maybe we can get a bigger one to do that."

"You’ll notice that this is an isosceles triangle. Those are really hard to climb."

"How do we measure from Point A to Point B? We could have somebody walk it, but there’s probably a river with piranhas, alligators, and sewage in the way."

"The best thing you can do with a cone is fill it up with ice cream. I like strawberry, chocolate, and homemade peach. My favorite is pralines and cream."

"Why do we even have obtuse angles? If I were an angle, I’d want to be right, or acute. Obtuse sounds like something nasty."

"I’m 43. That’s a prime number. I thought about getting a t-shirt that said, ‘Proud To Be Prime’, but in three months I won’t be able to wear it."

Maybe Coach Tidwell didn’t teach me much about geometry, but he taught me a bigger, much more important lesson. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that lesson was.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Don’t squat with your spurs on.

Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.

It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning.

Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothing when your mouth’s a-jawin’.

Tellin’ a man to git lost and makin’ him do it are two entirely different propositions.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.

When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back.

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s sure crucial to know what it was.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

ON TESCO’S TIRAMISU DESERT – Do not turn upside down. (Printed on the bottom of the box.)

ON MARKS & SPENCER BREAD PUDDING – Product will be hot after heating

ON PACKAGING FOR A ROWENTA IRON – Do not Iron clothes on body

ON BOOTS CHILDREN’S COUGH MEDICINE – Do not drive car or operate machinery

ON NYTOL (A SLEEP AID) – Warning: may cause drowsiness

ON A KOREAN KITCHEN KNIFE – Warning: keep out of children

ON A STRING OF CHINESE MADE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS – For indoor or outdoor use only.

ON A JAPANESE FOOD PROCESSOR – Not to be used for the other use.

ON SAINSBURY’S PEANUTS – Warning: contains nuts

ON AN AMERICAN AIRLINES PACKET OF NUTS – Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.

ON A SWEDISH CHAINSAW – Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.

ON A PACKET OF SUNMAID RAISINS – Why not try tossing over your favorite breakfast cereal?

The Frugal Gourmet–Southern Style!

March 5, 1999

Despite my occasional jokes at the expense of Tennessee, the great state in which I live, I try to remember that, for the most part, it’s not in a backward place that deserves to be a laughingstock of the rest of the country (or at least most of it). But sometimes I hear things that make it almost impossible to think Tennessee as anything but the reason redneck jokes are based on actual events and people. Right now the Tennessee state legislature, which is normally occupied with more important matters like making it illegal to teach evolution, or hunting for Native American burial grounds to cover with megamalls, is considering legislation that will make it legal for people to take home animals they hit with their cars and eat them. I’m not kidding. This is known as the "roadkill bill". Honestly, I didn’t know it was illegal to do this, but for reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, it’s never been a big concern for me, or anyone else I know. The bad news is traffic is really going to slow down when Tennessee’s highways become the country’s biggest takeout restaurant. The good news is I just bought stock in a company that makes snow shovels. Before I share this week’s offerings with you, here are a few subject lines for this week that I decided were just too–excuse the pun–tasteless:

Badgers? You Bet We Need Some Stinking Badgers!

Hey, It Really Does Taste Like Chicken.

Cooking With Uncle Rupert

Fire Up The Pickup, Granny, An Elephant’s Done Escaped From The Zoo!


It has become obvious to us Southerners that our present astrological signs have served their purpose and that we should get rid of them.

When I’m out driving around I’ll see bulls, and once in a great while I suppose I’ll even see a ram. Up the street from me there’s some twins, but I don’t see them much. The rest of these things are just too obscure. You only see crabs on vacation. There are no lions or scorpions, not many archers and no damn water bearers. Virgins? The neighborhood’s not crawling with them either. SO, what we need here is some relevance. We need things we can recognize up there in the night sky.

Dec 22-Jan 20
Although you appear crude, you are actually very slick on the inside. Okra have tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and see the seeds of his influence everywhere. Stay away from Moon Pies.

Jan 21-Feb 19
Chitlins often come from humble backgrounds. Many times they’re uncomfortable talking about just where they came from. A chitlin, however, can make something of himself if he’s motivated and has plenty of seasoning. When it comes to dealing with Chitlins, be very careful. Chitlins can burn and then erupt like Vesuvius, and this can make for a really terrible mess. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra. Remember that when marriagetime rolls around.

Boll Weevil
Feb 20-Mar 20
You have an overwhelming curiosity. You’re unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don’t worry about it.

Moon Pie
Mar 21-Apr 20
You’re the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. It’s a cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. "Big" and "round" are the key words here. You should marry anybody who you can get remotely interested in the idea. It’s not going to be easy. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Maybe not.

Apr 21-May 21
When confronted with life’s difficulties, possums have a marked tendency to withdraw and develop a "don’t-bother-me-about-it" attitude. Sometimes you become so withdrawn, people actually think you’re dead. This strategy is probably not psychologically healthy, but seems to work for you. One day, however, it won’t work, and you may find your problems actually running youover.

May 22-Jun 21
Crawfish is a water sign. If you work in an office, you’re always hanging around the water cooler. Crawfish prefer the beach to the mountains, the pool to the golf course, the bathtub to the living room. You tend not to be particularly attractive physically, but you have very, very good heads.

Jun 22- Jul 23
Collards have a genius for communication. They love to get in the "melting pot" of life and share their essence with the essences of those around them. Collards make good social workers, psychologists, and baseball managers. As far as your personal life goes, if you are Collards, stay away from Moon Pies. It just won’t work. Save yourself a lot of heartache.

Jul 24-Aug 23
Catfish are traditionalists in matters of the heart, with one exception: Whiskers may cause problems for loved ones. You catfish are never easy people to understand. You prefer the muddy bottoms to the clear surface of life. Above all else, Catfish should stay away from Moon Pies.

Aug 24-Sep 23
Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other Grits. You love to travel, though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese or gravy or bacon or butter or eggs. If you can go somewhere where they have all these things, that serves you well.

Boiled Peanuts
Sep 24-Oct 23
You have a passionate desire to help yourfellow man. Unfortunately, those who know you best-your friends and loved ones-may find that your personality is much too salty, and their criticism will probably affect you deeply because you are really much softer than you appear. You should go right ahead and marry anybody you want to because in a certain way, yours is a charmed life. On the road of life, you can be sure that people will always pull over and stop for you.

Butter Bean
Oct 24-Nov 22
Always invite a Butter Bean because Butter Beans get along well with everybody. You, as a Butter Bean, should be proud. You’ve grown on the vine of life and you feel at home no matter what the setting. You can sit next to anybody. However, you, too, shouldn’t have anything to do with Moon Pies.

Nov 23-Dec 21
You have a tendency to develop a tough exterior, but you are actually quite gentle. A good evening for you? Old friends, a fire, some roots, fruit, worms and insects. You are a throwback. You’re not concerned with today’s fashions and trends. You’re not concerned with anything about today. You’re really almost prehistoric in your interests and behavior patterns. You probably want to marry another Armadillo, but Possum is another, somewhat kinky, mating possibility.

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients.

The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second surgeon responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers…. those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: "You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. They have no guts, no heart, no spine, and their head and butt are interchangeable."

Jurassic Stock

February 26, 1999

Some people used to collect antiques, but the obsession with the past has reached a new height now as more and more people are collecting REALLY old stuff. Fossils and meteors have become the biggest collecting fad of the decade, and maybe even for a few decades to come because, let’s face it, ten more years isn’t going to add a lot of value to something that’s ten million years old. I heard someone on the radio claiming that $50,000 meteor they owned was "older than the solar system." If I’d been there, I could have pointed out that particles of hydrogen gas in our atmosphere are also older than the solar system. That lump of dirt stuck to your shoe is also older than the solar system, it’s just been recycled a few more times. And while we’re looking at old things, I’ve got an old picture of my grandfather taken during the Great Depression, another time when only a few people could afford to spend obscene amounts of money on things they had absolutely no use for. But I have to admit that fossils fascinate me just as much as the next guy, so I checked around to see how much, say, a complete tyrannosaurus rex would set me back, with shipping and handling. I didn’t find one, but I did find some lovely coprolites for between three and five thousand dollars. Coprolites are, of course, fossilized dung, and, at least according to what I’ve read, they’re "prized for their aesthetic value". The poet Charles Baudelaire found a lot of "aesthetic value" in rotting mammal corpes,but he didn’t put one in his living room, much less pay gobs of money to do so. The sad thing is that most of this stuff belongs in museums but ends up on coffee tables. Between the collectors and budget cuts, museums may soon be a thing of the past. Hey, maybe they’ll become collectors’ items.

Enjoy this week’s very old offerings.

Signs the 80’s Crowd Is Getting Older

The music that was so hip and cutting edge when we were in school is now played on "Adult Contemporary" (old fart) radio.

We’ve traded in our ultra cool spandex and tight jeans for something more comfortable and ELASTIC.

You watch teen movies from the 80s and think "I don’t remember this film looking so grainy.

That computer we thought was so high tech in "Wargames" is nothing compared to what kids are being taught with in elementary school today. (This applies both to the hacker’s computer and the computers in the missile tracking room.-CW)

Your friends can’t party like it’s 1999 anymore. They can now only party until it’s like somewhere around 9 P.M. because they have to get their kids ready for school in the morning.

We are starting to be able to identify with the lyrics to the Kenny Rogers song "Twenty Years Ago."

This ones for us guys who played guitar in bands in the 80s–Now when we try to jump up in the air while playing guitar like Eddie Van Halen, our bones pop louder than our amps.

When your niece/nephew (or child) points to one of your old 45s and asks "What is this?" (You probably get the same feeling when they point to a typewriter and say, "Where’s the screen?"-CW)

You can REALLY identify with that song by the Pursuit of Happiness "I’m An Adult Now".

Middle Age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.

Then: Killer Weed
Now: Weed Killer

Then: The Grateful Dead
Now: Dr. Kevorkian

Then: Finding a new, hip joint
Now: Getting a new hip joint

Then: Moving to California because it’s cool
Now: Moving to California because it’s warm

Then: Being called into the principal’s office
Now: Storming into the principal’s office

Then: Peace Sign
Now: Mercedes Logo

Then: OJ, cutting & slashing
Now: OJ, cutting & slashing

Then: Getting your head stoned
Now: Getting your headstone

Then: "The Making of the President"
Now: The making of the President

Then: Long hair
Now: Longing for hair

Then: Acid rock
Now: Acid reflux

Then: Worrying about no one coming to your party
Now: Worrying about no one coming to your funeral

Then: Fighting to get rid of the lying President
Now: Fighting to keep the lying President

Then: The perfect high
Now: The perfect high-yield mutual fund

Then: Elvis in the army
Now: Elvis in a UFO

Then: Keg
Now: EKG

Then: Swallowing acid
Now: Swallowing antacid

Then: pothead
Now: potbelly

Then: Passing the driving test
Now: Passing the vision test

Then: Seeds and stems
Now: Roughage

Then: Popping pills, smoking joints
Now: Popping joints

Then: Our president’s struggle with Fidel
Now: Our president’s struggle with fidelity.

Then: Watching John Glenn’s historic flight with your parents
Now: Watching John Glenn’s historic flight with your kids

Then: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor
Now: Trying not to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor

Give Me That Old Time Religion

February 19, 1999

One of the nice things about living in the South is religion. Unlike other more cosmpolitan places like Los Angeles, where one has the option of belonging to a splinter group of the Unitarian Pantheistic Neo-Manichean Ascetic Protestant Buddhists, or any other of about ten thousand different splinter groups, or, for that matter, not practicing any sort of religion at all, the choices are considerably narrow. In the South, you’re one of two things: a raving lunatic fundamentalist, or going to Hell.

Speaking for the faction that is going to Hell, large and diverse group though it is, I have to say that going to Hell is not as bad as it might sound. You can smoke, drink, swear, watch cable TV late at night, read horoscopes, get a tattoo, cross-breed animals, covet your neighbor’s ass, covet your neighbor’s wife, covet your neighbor’s wife’s ass, or just sit around wishing your neighbor would get some hideous terminal disease and give you his Corvette. Amazingly, this is as close as most of us who are going to Hell will come to killing anyone. Killing people seems to be a special privelege reserved for those who have complete assurance that they’re not going to Hell, but they can only do it special situations, such as when they meet someone who disagrees with them. And as for going to Hell, having seen some lists of what is required for membership, I can honestly say that all the really interesting people are either already there or are headed that way, so it can’t be that bad. Besides, according to those who seem to be "in the know", a lot of really interesting books, magazines, musical groups, movies, videos, and different religious groups came to us straight from Hell, so maybe what they really mean is that we’re just going to Los Angeles.


FACT: A lite beer has between 70 and 100 calories, is almost all water, and the part that isn’t water is almost pure carbohydrates.

FACT: The average diet recommends a daily caloric intake of 1,200 calories for women, 1,500 for men, if you want to lose the medically safe two to three pounds a week. On the "Beer-Me" diet, that equates to at least 12 beverages a day for women, and 15 for men. A measurable goal.

FACT: The alcohol in beer is a diuretic, which causes the water to flush out almost immediately, leading to a consistent workout regimen including deep knee bends (getting out of the chair), fast walking (very good for your heart) and squats (as the case may be).

FACT: Drinking beer actually helps you sleep-even when you aren’t necessarily tired. All that added rest is certain to help any problems you may have experienced in sleep deprivation, counting calories on those other fad diets. In addition, you may experience the occasional "How did I get here?" when you wake up, which always makes for lively conversation, and possibly additional exercise if you have to sneak out and run home.

FACT: The "Beer-Me" diet is good for your heart. After just one day of consuming your required 12-15 beers, you will certainly want to consume some aspirin, which is medically proven to help prevent heart attacks.

FACT: On the "Beer-Me" diet you can eat anything you want. The only rule is that you cannot consume any food until you have consumed at least half of the day’s required beers. This way the food will probably only stay in your body a short time, until you again exercise the deep knee bends, quick walk and, this time, the "lean-over-and-hurl" stomach crunches.

FACT: Beer drinking is often done in bars, where other forms of exercise are common. Dancing, for example, is a good way to build up a thirst, as is chasing members of the opposite sex. If you really want to maximize your workout, try actually walking up to the bar, versus using a waitress. To take this to the extreme, you could even get up and get someone else a beer-perhaps someone who is newer to the diet plan than yourself.

FACT: Beer is cheaper than Jenny Craig. Based on these facts, let’s run through a given scenario for diet implementation.

CAUTION: This is a weekend diet plan, and should be attempted during the work week by only the staunchest of dieters.

MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: Eat junk food and basically be a slob.

FRIDAY: Feeling "huge," swing by the liquor store and stock up. Go to favorite place of beer drinking and begin the consumption process (remember 12 for women, 15 for men).

SATURDAY: Wake up (as required) and lounge around all day, feeling slightly smaller after expunging any food that you may have accidentally consumed (particularly if it involved beef jerky from 7-11). Take aspirin. Notice that you have absolutely no interest in food, anyway.

SATURDAY (p.m.): Restart cycle, noticing that your appetite has still not returned. Perhaps only meet half of your consumption goal due to an ongoing discussion with "the dog that bit you." This is a good thing, as only half-consumption means less than 1,000 calories for the day, and you still don’t feel hungry.

SUNDAY (a.m.): Wake up for mandatory sports day. This is a very convenient diet during football season, but it can be successfully implemented year-round. There is some major professional sport being played every day of the year except the day before and the day after the Major League All-Star game (fact–look it up). Consumption on this day should be paced to cover the entire day-you don’t want to peak too soon. Again you notice a lack of appetite, and are feeling thinner all the time. Don’t forget the aspirin.

MONDAY: Return to work, feeling thinner, well rested, and surprisingly mellow. Mark your log book, and begin preparation for the upcoming weekend.

Happy dieting!!!

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