The Weekly Essay

It’s Another Story.

Friday, happy Friday!

June 7, 1996

My boss occasionally makes a huge urn of coffee, sometimes for special occasions, and sometimes just for the hell of it, and, although I don’t normally drink coffee, some strange urge possesses me and I end up being the one who makes sure that none of it goes to waste. Recently I took notes during the experience, so I proudly present to you Extracts from the Diary of a Caffeine Junkie:

8:31am-The first two cups were rather pale and watery, without a lot of coffee flavor. I asked somebody about this, and they explained that it’s usually a good idea to wait for the coffee to finish brewing before drinking it.

8:53am-My mouth is starting to taste like wet cardboard.

9:15am-The fifth cup really is as good as the first!

9:45am-In a panic I rush some outgoing materials to the mailbox where they’ll be picked up in only six hours. Whew! Nothing is as exhilarating as waiting until the last minute.

9:51am-The office seems to have suddenly become filled with mannequins who look like my co-workers.

9:53am-The mannequins all now have startled expressions as they slowly turn their heads to watch me go get another cup.

10:00am-I have changed the color scheme on my computer monitor seventeen times. It’s now an attractive combination of pink, yellow, orange, and fluorescent green. Come back to Jamaica!

10:15am-I’ve done more work this morning than I’ve done all week.

10:16am-My co-workers are out to get me. I’m sure of it.

10:22am-Seventh cup. I think that’s a record.

10:31am-My entire body is shaking uncontrollably. I’ve made a list of fifty-seven possible diseases this could be a symptom of. Topping the list are encephalitis, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, typhoid, and syphilis.

10:33am-I decide to get another cup to help me understand the company insurance policy.

10:34am-While reading my company insurance policy, I notice I’m bleeding from my pores.

10:35am-False alarm! It was just the glare from my monitor which is now bright red. It’s a good thing too because my company insurance policy doesn’t mention Congo fever anywhere.

10:47am-I get one last cup. I have to tilt the urn because the coffee is not coming out as rapidly as before. Some grounds have settled to the bottom of the cup. I swallow these down.

10:48am-Who let all these damn fireflies in here?

11:16am-A co-worker comes over and starts waving a can of Fresca in my face. I drive her away by shouting "Revive with Vivarin!"

11:22am-All my strength seems to have left me. I’d check my company insurance policy to see if apathy is covered, but I really don’t care.

11:30am-Lunch. Must…drag…self…to…drink…machine…get soda…

11:32am-One Coke later, I feel much better. Suddenly I’m surrounded by co-workers. I am put on the spot, and forced to promise that I’ll switch to decaf. Yeah, I will. Just let me take a couple of No-Doz tablets first…

I hope you enjoyed that, and now for something even more interesting–analogies that are extraordinarily creative, even if they’re not exactly literary. Pay attention, folks–these are the advertising executives of the future!


Worst Analogies (taken from High School papers)

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again. (Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup. (Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.comaaakk/ch@ung but gets T:flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. (Unknown)

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man." (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. (Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Telephones Revisted

May 31, 1996

We all know how I feel about telephones, but what about answering machines? Okay, I have to admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for certain technological devices, including answering machines. After all, they’re the ultimate form of personal expression, and not just for the people who have those clever personalised messages that say things like, "This is Richard Nixon. Leave your message and everybody will hear it." I once spent two hours making a series of calls to a friend’s answering machine and describing in painful, frequently graphic, terms how unbelievably bored I was. Amazingly, though, the machine acted as a sort of non-speaking therapist, letting me get all the angst out of my system until I left one final message: "This has given me a new outlook on life. I think I’m going to go fly a kite." At other times, answering machines have allowed me to take out my frustrations, like the time I took advantage of the call transfer capability of my college campus phones and filled someone’s answering machine tape with a busy signal, or even better, the time I transferred a call to someone at 2 am just as the answering machine was picking up, so it would sound like the machine itself was calling them. (Considering the delirium I’m usually in when jolted out of sleep by the phone, I can only imagine what surreal insults were sent to the owner of the answering machine.) The best part about answering machines, though, is that they’re the ultimate way of screening calls. Even though the machine starts howling like a hemorroidal banshee if you pick it up mid-message, it’s better than going into a phone call without knowing if it’s friend or foe. The trick is explaining why, every time you’re at home, you seem to be in the shower.

Enjoy the following warning to anyone who enjoys the uses of technology too much. Even though my operatives in Sri Lanka (who kindly refer to me as their road map to the Information Dirt Road) may not fully appreciate this, I have a feeling that technology will eventually penetrate even the darkest jungles. Would someone else mind going out to meet it? I’ll be in the shower.


Well, it’s been a very busy month, and looks to continue to be, unless I get cut off, since I’ve only got a couple of hours to go before I’m over my "deluxe" account’s 240 hours!

When you exceed 240 hours of Internet usage during one calendar month, Teleport will dispatch their crack squad of "Get a life" advocates in their customized RealWorldMobile directly to your home or business.

They break down the door, pull you outside, and quickly (before pork-rinds-and-cola-drink withdrawal symptoms kick in) begin giving you nutrition containing at least three major food groups, since you haven’t been getting that lately.

By this time, your eyes will be reacting the strange things you’re seeing. That bright yellow thing is the sun, although you’re not the only one who has trouble recognizing it around here. The blueness behind it is not a background image, it’s the "sky." Those people staring at you are your "loved ones"; don’t worry if they don’t seem familiar at first. They were much younger the last time you saw them.

Within minutes, you’ll be whisked to a special detox center, where you’ll remain for the several days or weeks that it takes for you to lose the constant impulses to read net news and search the web. Instead, you’ll be able to spend time reading books and magazines. (Hint: If you find that you’re having trouble reading beyond a certain point because you want to press a key to continue, ask one of the nurses for help.)

At first, you’ll feel cut off from everything that matters in life: e-mail, the web, Usenet. You’ll want to dial the phone just to hear the modem tones. You’ll be tempted to ask your friends to smuggle in contraband items such as memory chips, diskettes, even transcripts of IRC sessions. Some people have sunk so low as to beg just for a chance to ping or finger.

But you’ll be surrounded by trained counselors who can help you during those long nights. Rest assured that the cure rate is nearly 100 percent, although most people continue to attend periodic support meetings.

I’ve been there. I know.

It’s a three day weekend!

May 24, 1996

I’ve been a little lax about doing this, but some new Freethinkers have joined us in our little corner of the Indian Ocean, so everybody wave!

Now, what can I say about dentists that hasn’t already been said? How about: why do all dentists have turtle necks? I don’t mean the shirt–I mean necks like the ones you see on those giant Galapagos turtles. But of course you have to stare at their necks because if you turn your eyes any other way you risk burning them out by staring into that reflective light that can be moved to any angle but is always kept at the one you find most uncomfortable. The other alternative is staring into your dentist’s eyes, but this is even worse. (Actually it would be a mean trick you could play on your dentist, sort of like a laboratory rabbit giving a sad, pitifully human look to a sadistic Mary Kay cosmetics tester, but in either case the chances of evoking sympathy are low.) So, the other day my dentist was vivisecting my mouth and I was, as usual, drooling like Pavlov’s dog at a bell ringers’ choir. I’ve never understood why I do this–metal in my mouth is about as appetizing as a giant turtle, but my dentists have always had to keep their sharp iron hook in one hand and that vacuum tube in the other. Anyway, we were still at the scraping stage, and hadn’t moved on to the point when she would actually clean my teeth with mint-flavored acid paste glopped on the end of a rotating eraser, and she stuck her hook into one of my molars and couldn’t get it out. She jiggled it back and forth, twisted it around, and finally put her knee on my chest and yanked it loose. She then vacuumed all the moisture out of my mouth, flashed her little mirror on a stick around in there, and said, "Is that tooth sensitive?" Now, if I could have spoken, there are a variety of answers I could have given:

1. Yes, and I’m reporting you to Amnesty International.
2. I’m sorry, what did you say? I was trying to avoid being jabbed in the eye by that enormous black hair sticking out of your neck.
3. If I hear the tune "Singin’ In the Rain" on that scratchy LP repeat itself one more time, I’m going to kill myself!

As it was I had to content myself with a sad rabbit look, trying to evoke some sympathy, until I remembered that turtles don’t have teeth.


Donkey Racing in Texas

A priest wanted to raise money for his church and being told that there was a fortune in horse racing, decided to purchase one and enter him in the races. However, at the local auction the going prices for horses was so steep, the priest ended up buying a donkey instead.

He figured that since he had it, he might as well go ahead and enter it in the races and to his surprise the donkey came in third.

The next day, the racing form carried this headline, "PRIEST’S ASS SHOWS."

The priest was so pleased with the donkey that he entered him in the races again. This time he won. The form read, "PRIEST’S ASS OUT FRONT" The bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity he ordered the priest not to enter the donkey in another race.

The headline that day was, "BISHOP SCRATCHES PRIEST’S ASS."

This was too much for the Bishop and he ordered the priest to get rid of the animal. The priest decided to give the donkey to a nun in a nearby convent. The headline the next day read, "NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN." The bishop fainted. He informed the nun that she would have to dispose of the donkey. She finally found a farmer who was willing to buy the animal for $10.00. Next the paper stated, "NUN PEDDLES ASS FOR TEN BUCKS."

They buried the Bishop the next day.

What a long and weird week it’s been…

May 16, 1996

I have to make a special trip to Colombo tomorrow to check the final plans for the Freethinkers’ Institute (construction to begin sometime in 2020) so I’m coming to you a little early this week.

Is it just me or is there a world wide plot to kill pedestrians? I read in history class once about a man who hated pedestrians so much he invented a machine designed to eliminate them entirely, but very few people like to think of Henry Ford as a psychotic on a mission.

More and more, though, I’ve begun to think that cars do something to their owners that makes anyone crossing the street look like they have a giant bullseye painted right on them. And it’s getting worse.

Now they’ve started conspiring with each other. The other day, while waiting to cross a three-lane one-way street–at the crosswalk, by the way, although I’m proud to say I’ve exercised my pedestrian right to cross the street anywhere in eleven different countries–a car stopped in front of the crosswalk in the lane nearest me and the driver motioned to me to cross the street. He didn’t seem to notice that a mighty automobile river was flowing through the other two lanes at forty miles an hour. So, he and I looked at each other for about ten minutes, me keeping one eye on the still massive flood of traffic and he continuing to motion for me to cross. He was obviously getting frustrated that I was not taking advantage of his courteous offer to turn me into a streetburger, and I was getting worried that eventually he was going to get tired and drive up onto the sidewalk and come after me. Finally he drove off in a huff, and, with all three lanes now open, the flood turned into a trickle and I successfully slipped by an accelerating pickup truck.

The moral of this story is simple and obvious. It also eludes me at the moment. Enjoy this week’s offering.


Stupid Criminal Hall of Shame

Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home. With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle’s license plate still attached to the bumper.

South Carolina: A man walked into a local police station, dropped a bag of cocaine on the counter, informed the desk sergeant that it was substandard cut, and asked that the person who sold it to him be arrested immediately.

Indiana: A man walked up to a cashier at a grocery store and demanded all the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he fled–leaving his wallet on the counter.

England: A German "tourist," supposedly on a golf holiday, shows up at customs with his golf bag. While making idle chatter about golf, the customs official realizes that the tourist does not know what a "handicap" is. The customs official asks the tourist to demonstrate his swing, which he does–backward! A substantial amount of narcotics was found in the golf bag.

Arizona: A company called "Guns For Hire" stages gunfights for Western movies, etc. One day, they received a call from a 47-year- old woman, who wanted to have her husband killed. She got 4-1/2 years in jail.

Texas: A man convicted of robbery worked out a deal to pay $9600 in damages rather than serve a prison sentence. For payment, he provided the court a check–a *forged* check. He got 10 years.

(Location Unknown): A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery, and pulled a Hefty-bag face mask over his head–and realized that he’d forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.

(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole–are you ready for this?–the bank’s video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn’t get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)

(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank’s basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was,(2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help…

Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy. Banging up *more* walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the keys in the truck–so they abandoned it.

(Location Unknown): A man walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled– leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.

Phone-in Phriday

May 10, 1996

I hate telephones. Let me rephrase that. I despise telephones.

The other day I had to call a company, and I got one of those recordings that give you options. "If this is regarding an order, please press 1 now. If this is regarding a problem, please press 2 now." I pressed 2. "If this problem is regarding a single book, please press 1 now. If this is regarding a long-term order, please press 2 now." I pressed 1. "If you have the book in hand, please press 1 now. If you were expecting the book and it has not arrived, please press 2 now." I pressed 1. Silence. Then, another recording: "The person you need to speak with is not available at this time. You are being routed to voice mail." I guess it goes without saying that I’m not going to hear from this person now, but a recording will probably call me in a few days to tell me what to do. This was a work matter, though, and our home telephones are rapidly becoming a means of greater self-expression. There are phones that allow you to choose what kind of ring you want. There are phones that have a speaker connected that will play a pre-recorded message telling you who is calling. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, folks. What about videophones? If I were you, I’d get in on the ground floor of miniature interior design because people are going to want backgrounds for the little image of themselves that appears on the screen. Everything from beer can pyramids to swimming pools and sprawling conservatories that couldn’t possibly fit in a one bedroom apartment. The problem with videophones is that, although they’ll be a great boon to the cosmetic industry, they’re going to be hell for anybody in an emergency at 3AM trying to call someone for help, because the person they’re calling is not going to want to have their goblin-eyed fishbowl face broadcast to a monitor no matter what the emergency is. And what about video answering machines? There’s an interesting thought: a lovely scene of a person strolling through a sunny field saying, "I’m not home right now, but please leave a message after I pick the daisy." Or maybe even a television spin-off–"America’s Funniest Answering Machine Videos". I know a few people who would include a clip of their brother hitting their cousin in the crotch with a baseball bat on their answering a machine if they could. It all comes down to one thing: technology is not inherently evil. And anyone who believes that has never been put on hold and forced to listen to a repeating pizza commercial.

For an obscure reference to Sri Lanka, please press 1 now.


36 politically correct ways to say someone is stupid

A few clowns short of a circus.
A few fries short of a Happy Meal.
An experiment in Artificial Stupidity.
A few beers short of a six-pack.
Dumber than a box of hair.
A few peas short of a casserole.
Doesn’t have all his cornflakes in one box.
The wheel’s spinning, but the hamster’s dead.
One Fruit Loop shy of a full bowl.
One taco short of a combination plate.
A few feathers short of a whole duck.
All foam, no beer.
The cheese slid off his cracker.
Body by Fisher, brains by Mattel.
Has an IQ of 2, but it takes 3 to grunt.
Warning: Objects in mirror are dumber than they appear.
Couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel.
He fell out of the Stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
An intellect rivaled only by garden tools.
As smart as bait.
Chimney’s clogged.
Doesn’t have all his dogs on one leash.
Doesn’t know much but leads the league in nostril hair.
Elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
Forgot to pay his brain bill.
Her sewing machine’s out of thread.
His antenna doesn’t pick up all the channels.
His belt doesn’t go through all the loops.
If he had another brain, it would be lonely.
Missing a few buttons on his remote control.
No grain in the silo.
Proof that evolution CAN go in reverse.
Receiver is off the hook.
Several nuts short of a full pouch.
Skylight leaks a little.
Slinky’s kinked.
Surfing in Nebraska.
Too much yardage between the goal posts.
In the pinball game of life, his flippers were a little further apart than most.

Must Metriculate

May 3, 1996

Folks, Friday has come around again and it’s now the monsoon season.

We all know what that means, don’t we? It means it’s time for students all over the place, from kindergarten to college, to graduate. I’d like to say congratulations to all students out there, and I hope whatever plans you’ve made work out perfectly. If they don’t, just remember that the best laid plans of mice and men…uh…are…I can’t remember the rest. I think it’s something to do with cheese. For those of you who are departing, let me leave you with some real words of wisdom which I saw emblazoned on a water tower in white letters three feet high: DEFY MEDOCRITY. Defy medocrity. Right. I’m trying really hard to imagine the person who would climb forty feet in the air with several gallons of paint and who couldn’t bother to take a dictionary. Or even a piece of paper with the correct spelling. And it’s not like it would have been that hard to fix. It’s not as if this person were Michelangelo standing back to look at the Sistine Chapel and saying, "Damn, I forgot to paint God." No, a vertical line wouldn’t have been hard to insert, and it really says something about the artist (and I do use that term loosely) who couldn’t even be bothered to go back and fix a mistake like that.

Maybe I’m missing something, though. Maybe it was done intentionally–one of those flubs that’s done to catch people’s attention. Maybe the artist knew that people like me would rant on about spelling and other petty aspects of the work, rather than focusing on the real message. Maybe what the artist was trying to say was, Mispelling is a sign of gratness.

Enjoy this week’s snippet. As we say on our little island in the Indian Ocean, You can keep a dog, but fiberglass is bad for your teeth. That’s not right…let me go get my dictionary…


Actual headlines from various newspapers

1. Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
2. Milk drinkers are turning to powder
3. Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted
4. Quarter of a million Chinese live on water
5. Farmer Bill dies in House
6. Iraqi head seeks arms
7. Queen Mary having bottom scraped
8. Panda mating fails – veterinarian takes over
9. NJ judge to rule on nude beach
10. Childs stool great for use in garden
11. Dr. Ruth to talk about sex with newspaper editors
12. Soviet virgin lands short of goal again
13. Organ festival ends in smashing climax
14. Eye drops off shelf
15. Squad helps dog bite victim
16. Dealers will hear car talk at noon
17. Enraged cow injures farmer with ax
18. Lawmen from Mexico barbecue guests
19. Miners refuse to work after death
20. Two Soviet ships collide – one dies
21. Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter
22. Never withhold herpes from loved one
23. Nicaragua sets goal to wipe out literacy
24. Drunk drivers paid $1,000 in 1984
25. Autos killing 110 a day – let’s resolve to do better
26. If stike isn’t settled quickly it may last a while
27. War dims hope for peace
28. Smokers are productive, but death cuts efficiency
29. Cold wave linked to temperatures
30. Child’s death ruins couple’s holiday
31. Blind woman gets new kidney from daughter she hasn’t seen in years
32. Man is fatally slain
33. Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
34. Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation

From somewhere in the Indian ocean…

April 26, 1996

If you work in an office like I do, you probably know the joys of being able to transfer calls from one phone to another. I’d love to be able to do this at home, especially since yesterday I learned how effective it is for dealing with telemarketers. I answered the phone in my office the other day and a voice that could belong only to a used car salesman or a telemarketer said, "I’m Jim Hedson with Datamarket Information Providing Services of Wisconsin Incorporated and I’d like to talk to you about an exciting opportunity for you and your library. May I ask to whom I’m speaking?" Well, I was taken completely by surprise, so naturally I said, "Henry Miller." If he batted an eye, I didn’t see it. "Mr. Miller, I’m with Datamarket Information Providing Services of Wisconsin Incorporated and I’d like to talk to you about an exciting opportunity for you and your library." Why do telemarketers repeat themselves? They might as well be saying, "I’m not listening to a damn thing either one of us says now so you can hang up." It really didn’t matter because I had blocked him out anyway, especially when I realized it was somebody in another department he needed to be talking to. That’s when I saw the light.

I saw how to deal with confrontational telephone situations for the rest of my life: transfer them! I could bounce this guy over to someone in Security, and they’d never find me! By the time Jim Hedson got back to my department, if he ever did, he’d have forgotten whom he was talking to. I waited it out, though, mainly because of my sudden fascination with the number of small holes in the ceiling. I was so busy looking around for a rubber band to shoot at the person in the office behind me that I almost missed the end of his speech. "…and we can do it right over the phone! Now, Mr. Miller, doesn’t this sound like a deal you need to take?" I cleared my throat and said, "Could you please hold for one moment? There’s someone I’d like you to talk to."

The last I heard, Mr. Hedson was learning more than he ever wanted to know about Tamil separatists. Enjoy this week’s bit, which also has to do with telephones.


100 ZANY WAYS TO PHONE IN A PIZZA ORDER

1. If using a touch-tone, press random numbers while ordering. Ask the person taking the order to stop doing that.

2. Make up a charge-card name. Ask if they accept it.

3. Use CB lingo where applicable.

4. Order a Big Mac Extra Value Meal.

5. Terminate the call with, "Remember, we never had this conversation."

6. Tell the order taker a rival pizza place is on the other line and you’re going with the lowest bidder.

7. Give them your address, exclaim "Oh, just surprise me!" and hang up.

8. Answer their questions with questions.

9. In your breathiest voice, tell them to cut the crap about nutrition and ask if they have something outlandishly sinful.

10. Use these bonus words in the conversation: ROBUST FREE- SPIRITED COST-EFFICIENT UKRAINIAN PUCE.

11. Tell them to put the crust on top this time.

12. Sing the order to the tune of your favorite song from Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" CD.

13. Do not name the toppings you want. Rather, spell them out.

14. Put an extra edge in your voice when you say "crazy bread."

15. Stutter on the letter "p."

16. Ask for a deal available somewhere else. (e.g. If phoning Domino’s, ask for a Cheeser! Cheeser!)

17. Ask what the order taker is wearing.

18. Crack your knuckles into the receiver.

19. Say hello, act stunned for five seconds, then behave as if they called you.

20. Rattle off your order with a determined air. If they ask if you would like drinks with that, panic and become disoriented.

21. Tell the order taker you’re depressed. Get him/her to cheer you up.

22. Make a list of exotic cuisines. Order them as toppings.

23. Change your accent every three seconds.

24. Order 52 pepperoni slices prepared in a fractal pattern as follows from an equation you are about to dictate. Ask if they need paper.

25. Act like you know the order taker from somewhere. Say "Bed- Wetters’ Camp, right?"

26. Start your order with "I’d like. . . ". A little later, slap yourself and say "No, I don’t."

27. If they repeat the order to make sure they have it right, say "OK. That’ll be $10.99; please pull up to the first window."

28. Rent a pizza.

29. Order while using an electric knife sharpener.

30. Ask if you get to keep the pizza box. When they say yes, heave a sigh of relief.

31. Put the accent on the last syllable of "pepperoni." Use the long "i" sound.

32. Have your pizza "shaken, not stirred."

33. Say "Are you sure this is (Pizza Place)? When they say yes, say "Well, so is this! You’ve got some explaining to do!" When they finally offer proof that it is, in fact, (Pizza Place), start to cry and ask, "Do you know what it’s like to be lied to?"

34. Move the mouthpiece farther and farther from your lips as you speak. When the call ends, jerk the mouthpiece back into place and scream goodbye at the top of your lungs.

35. Tell them to double-check to make sure your pizza is, in fact, dead.

36. Imitate the order taker’s voice.

37. Eliminate verbs from your speech.

38. When they say "What would you like?" say, "Huh? Oh, you mean now."

39. Play a sitar in the background.

40. Say it’s your anniversary and you’d appreciate if the deliverer hid behind some furniture waiting for your spouse to arrive so you can surprise him/her.

41. Amuse the order taker with little-known facts about country music.

42. Ask to see a menu.

43. Quote Carl Sandberg.

43a. Quote Carl Sandberg translated into Spanish.

44. Say you’ll be able to pay for this when the movie people call back.

45. Ask if they have any idea what is at stake with this pizza.

46. Ask what topping goes best with well-aged Chardonnay.

47. Belch directly into the mouthpiece; then tell your dog it should be ashamed.

48. Order a slice, not a whole pizza.

49. Shout "I’m through with men/women! Send me a dozen of your best, Gaston!"

50. Doze off in the middle of the order, catch yourself, and say "Where was I? Who are you?"

51. Psychoanalyze the order taker.

52. Ask what their phone number is. Hang up, call them, and ask again.

53. Order two toppings, then say, "No, they’ll start fighting."

54. Learn to properly pronounce the ingredients of a Twinkie. Ask that these be included in the pizza.

55. Call to complain about service. Later, call to say you were drunk and didn’t mean it.

56. Tell the order taker to tell the manager to tell his supervisor he’s fired.

57. Report a petty theft to the order taker.

58. Use expletives like "Great Caesar’s Ghost" and "Jesus Joseph and Mary in Tinsel Town."

59. Ask for the guy who took your order last time.

60. If he/she suggests anything, adamantly declare, "I shall not be swayed by your sweet words."

61. Wonder aloud if you should trim those nose hairs.

62. Try to talk while drinking something.

63. Start the conversation with "My Call to (Pizza Place), Take 1, and. . . action!"

64. Ask if the pizza is organically grown.

65. Ask about pizza maintenance and repair.

66. Be vague in your order.

67. When they repeat your order, say "Again, with a little more OOMPH this time."

68. If using a touch-tone press 9-1-1 every 5 seconds throughout the order.

69. After ordering, say "I wonder what THIS button on the phone does." Simulate a cutoff.

70. Start the conversation by reciting today’s date and saying, "This may be my last entry."

71. State your order and say that’s as far as this relationship is going to get.

72. Ask if they’re familiar with the term "spanking a pizza." Make up a description to go with the term. Ask that this be done to your pizza.

73. Say "Kssssssssssssssht" rather loudly into the phone. Ask if they felt that.

74. Detect the order taker’s psychic aura. Use it to your advantage.

75. When listing toppings you want on your pizza, include another pizza.

76. Learn to play a blues riff on the harmonica. Stop talking at regular intervals to play it.

77. Ask if they would like to sample your pizza. Suggest an even trade.

78. Perfect a celebrity’s voice. Stress that you won’t take any crap from some two-bit can’t-hack-it pimple-faced gofer.

79. Put them on hold.

80. Teach the order taker a secret code. Use the code on all subsequent orders.

81. Mumble, "There’s a bomb under your seat." When asked to repeat that, say "I said ‘sauce smothered with meat’."

82. Make the first topping you order mushrooms. Make the last thing you say "No mushrooms, please." Hang up before they have a chance to respond.

83. When the order is repeated, change it slightly. When it is repeated again, change it again. On the third time, say "You just don’t get it, do you?"

84. When you’re given the price, say "Ooooooo, that sounds complicated. I hate math."

85. Haggle.

86. Order a one-inch pizza.

87. Order term life insurance.

88. When they say "Will that be all?", snicker and say "We’ll find out, won’t we?"

89. Order with a Speak-n-Spell where applicable.

90. Ask how many dolphins were killed to make that pizza.

91. While on the phone, fake entering puberty. Fluctuate pitch often; act embarrassed.

92. Engage in some serious swapping.

93. Dance all around the word "pizza." Avoid saying it at all costs.
If he/she says it, say "Please don’t mention that word."

94. Have a movie with a good car chase scene playing loudly in the background. Yell "OW!" when a bullet is fired.

95. If he/she suggests a side order, ask why he/she is punishing you.

96. Ask if the pizza has had its shots.

97. Order a steamed pizza.

98. Get taker’s name. Later, call exactly on the hour to say, "This is your (time of day) wake-up call, So-and-so." Hang up.

99. Offer to pay for the pizza with a public flogging.

If any of the above practices are rejected by the order taker:
100. Say, in your best pouty voice, "Last guy let me do it."

Fire burn and cauldron bubble…

April 19, 1996

Howdy folks. It’s Friday again, and a stormy, blustery Friday it is too. But the weather is probably different depending on where you are, so instead I’ll talk about something you find everywhere: grocery stores. Have you ever wondered who buys some of the stuff you see in grocery stores? I was in the meat section the other day looking for Pop Tarts, and I found this whole part of the meat section filled with stuff with had purple labels that said "Mature". Now, I don’t know anything about graphic design or anything like that, but if I had designed those labels, I probably would not have chosen a color that would accentuate so well the green tinge of the meat. Needless to say, I’ll leave the mature meat to the mature old men who wander the store talking to their eggs because I prefer hamburgers that have to be cooked instead of sterilized.

Oh, before I give you this week’s unrelated snippet, several of you noticed that last week went by without a single mention of Sri Lanka.

I was met in the parking lot by a couple of thugs named Romesh, and, to make a long story short, I did a special cleansing ritual in the jungle and everything’s all right now.


TOP TEN POLITICAL PICK-UP LINES

10. "I see the flat tax wouldn’t apply to you."

9. "Inflation isn’t the only thing going up around here."

8. "I’d like you to exercise my pocket veto."

7. "Could you give my voting lever a little pull?"

6. "I said I wanted to keep the governmetn out of the bedroom, but I didn’t mean this senator."

5. "Hello, my name is Sen. Bob Packwood…."

4. "…and hve you met my friend Sen. Ted Kennedy?"

3. "Would you like to import some fine foriegn salami?"

2. "Do you wanna go stuff the ballot box?"

1. "I’ve got an economic stimulus package right here in my pants…er, uh, pocket."

Finally Friday!

April 12, 1996

Yes, folks, it’s finally that time. I noticed the other day that there are more women on the Freethinker’s list than men. Naturally, this is something I’m proud of. I’m glad to be able to supply a gentler, kinder brand of humor that transcends boundaries of gender.

There are not going be any of those kind of jokes coming from me, especially about that frequent complaint from women that men never ask for directions. All right, on this one I do have to make a stand.

Women should realize that if they want men to ask for directions, they should take men some place that they want to go. No matter how secure in his manhood, no man is going to stop at a gas station and ask a redneck tobacco-chewing attendant, "Excuse me, is this the way to the Boutique de Satin?" On the other hand, put one of the macho types who supposedly never ask for directions in a slightly different situation. He’s got two tickets on the 50-yard line at the Superbowl and it’s ten minutes before kickoff. Do you think this guy is going to say, "Well, let’s just keep circling, that stadium has gotta be around here somewhere"? NO! He’s not going to be asking for directions–he’s going to be paying for them!

Just a little junk food for thought. And now for something completely different. Wait, that’s been taken. And now for something completely unrelated.


30 Ways to simulate being in the Navy when you’re at home

1. Lock all friends and family outside. Your only means of communication should be with letters that your neighbours have held for at least three weeks, discarding two of five.

2. Surround yourself with 200 people that you don’t really know or like: people who smoke, snore like Mack trucks going uphill,and use foul language like a child uses sugar on cereal.

3. Unplug all radios and TVs to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Have a neighbour bring you a Time, Newsweek, or Proceedings from five years ago to keep you abreast of current events.

4. Monitor all home appliances hourly, recording all vital information (ie: plugged in, lights come on when doors open, etc)

5. Do not flush the toilet for five days to simulate the smell of 40 people using the same commode.

6. Lock the bathroom twice a day for a four hour period.

7. Wear only military uniforms. Even though nobody cares, clean and press one dress uniform and wear it for 20 minutes.

8. Cut your hair weekly, making it shorter each time, until you look bald or look like you lost a fight with a demented sheep.

9. Work in 19-hour cycles, sleeping only four hours at a time, to ensure that your body does not know or even care if it is day or night.

10. Listen to your favourite CD 6 times a day for two weeks, then play music that causes acute nausea until you are glad to get back to your favourite CD.

11. Cut a twin mattress in half and enclose three sides of your bed. Add a roof that prevents you from sitting up (about 10 inches is a good distance) then place it on a platform that is four feet off the floor. Place a small dead animal under the bed to simulate the smell of your bunkmate’s socks.

12. Set your alarm to go off at 10 minute intervals for the first hour of sleep to simulate the various times the watchstanders and nightcrew bump around and wake you up. Place your bed on a rocking table to ensure you are tossed around the remaining three hours. Make use of a custom clock that randomly simulates fire alarms, police sirens, helicopter crash alarms, and a new-wave rock band.

13. Have week old fruit and vegetables delivered to your garage and wait two weeks before eating them.

14. Prepare all meals blindfolded using all the spices you can grope for, or none at all. Remove the blindfold and eat everything in three minutes.

15. Periodically, shut off all power at the main circuit breaker and run around shouting "fire, fire, fire" and then restore power.

16. At least once a month, force the commode to overflow to simulate a ‘black water system’ boo-boo.

17. Buy a gas mask and smear it with rancid animal fat. Scrub the faceshield with steel wool until you can no longer see out of it. Wear this for two hours every fifth day especially when you are in the bathroom.

18. Study the owner’s manual for all household appliances. Routinely take an appliance apart and put it back together.

19. Remove all plants, pictures and decorations. Paint everything gray, white, or the shade of hospital smocks.

20. Buy 50 cases of toilet paper and lock up all but two rolls. Ensure one of these two rolls is wet all the time.

21. Smash your forehead or shins with a hammer every two days to simulate collision injuries sustained onboard Navy ships.

22. When making sandwiches, leave the bread out for six days, or until it is hard and stale.

23. Every 10 weeks, simulate a visit to another port. Go directly to the city slums wearing your best clothes. Find the worst looking place, and ask for the most expensive beer that they carry. Drink as many as you can in four hours. Take a cab home taking the longest possible route. Tip the cabby after he charges you double because you dress funny and don’t speak right.

24. Use fresh milk for only two days after each port visit.

25. Keep the bedroom thermostat at 2 deg C and use only a thin blanket for warmth.

26. Ensure that the water heater is connected to a device that provides water at a flow rate that varies from a fast drip to a weak trickle, with the temperature alternating rapidly from -2 to 95 deg C.

27. Use only spoons which hold a minimum of 1/2 cup at a time.

28. Repaint the interior of your home every month, whether it needs it or not.

29. remind yourself every day: "it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure!"

30. mix kerosene with your water supply to simulate the de-sal plant on the ship picking up jp5 in the intake — if a lit match thrown into your coffee pot doesn’t ignite it, add more kerosene.

Friday at last!

April 5, 1996

Life rarely ever goes the way you want to, doesn’t it? Whether it’s Tamil rebels or bad drivers, there’s no telling what’s going to happen next. That’s why I take comfort in remembering that everything I ever needed to know in life I learned in college: When crossing the street, ignore oncoming traffic. When people ask your opinion, they really want to hear their own. If it’s an essay test, don’t copy anyone else’s answers. Cram. Warm pizza and cold beer are good for you. We all need to sleep, and that’s why they invented classes like Breathing 101. Be nice to your roommate–you never know when you’ll need a car. If you’re going to regret doing something, do it anyway, because later on you’ll regret not doing it. Life will be fine as long as you read some and talk some and drink some and stay up late and when life gives you lemons, make pineapple juice.

And now for some more profound thoughts that someone else wrote:


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

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

The Lord’s Prayer is 66 words, the Gettysburg Address is 286 words, there are 1,322 words in the Declaration of Independence, but government regulations on the sale of cabbage total 26,911 words.

Half of the people in the world are below average.

There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?

I still miss my ex-husband, but my aim is getting better.

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake when you make it again.

On a tombstone: "I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK"

Based on what you know about him in history books, what do you think Abraham Lincoln would be doing if he were alive today?
1. Writing his memoirs of the Civil War.
2. Advising the President.
3. Desperately clawing at the inside of his coffin.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. — Mark Twain

Calvin: People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.
Hobbes: Isn’t your pants’ zipper supposed to be in the front?

The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they’re going to be when you kill them. — William Clayton

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