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Shop ’til you drop

December 17, 1999

Online shopping has risen dramatically this year, yet it hasn’t really had much effect on shopping the old-fashioned way. Although it would seem obvious that shopping online is easier, faster, more convenient, and sometimes even cheaper, here are a few reasons why people are continuing to shop the old-fashioned way:

The parking

There’s nothing more fun than walking four and a half miles across solid blacktop to get to the store entrance. And what better way to sharpen your reflexes than by outmaneuvering people for a parking space that’s only four miles away from the entrance?

The store clerks

Most store clerks at this time of year were just hired fifteen minutes before you arrived. They don’t know any better than you do where the salad bowls are. And remember: nametags are deceiving. The girl who’s checking you out really isn’t named Jim. Jim walked out an hour ago, and she’s wearing his nametag until she gets one of her own.

The other customers

Some store clerks are naturally obnoxious morons. It’s why they’re working as store clerks in the first place. A few, however, are intelligent, reasonable people who have been turned into obnoxious morons by customers who ask, "Where are the salad bowls?" in a tone that suggests the clerk is responsible for the salad bowls not being at the front of the store under a huge sign that says, "SALAD BOWLS". And of course it’s the other customers who bring…

The children

Follow the cartoonish splat, bang, and yip noises in any large store and you’ll find a herd of small children staring vapidly at the latest straight-to-video cartoon release playing on a strategically placed monitor. The smart parents are the ones who drag their children along with them. The resulting screams and wails effectively drown out the dumb questions of other customers, and the even dumber answers of the store clerks.

Freethinkers Anonymous will be going on vacation until December 31sh, when I will present my year-end wrap up just before Armageddon. Until then, enjoy this week’s offerings.


How To Wrap Presents With a Puppy

1. Gather presents, boxes, paper, etc. in middle of living room floor.

2. Get tape back from puppy.

3. Remove scissors from older dog’s mouth.

4. Open box.

5. Take puppy out of box.

6. Remove tape from older dog’s mouth.

7. Take scissors away from puppy.

8. Put present in box.

9. Remove present from puppy’s mouth.

10. Put present back in box after removing puppy from box.

11. Take scissors from older dog & sit on them.

12. Remove puppy from box & put on lid.

13. Take tape away from older dog.

14. Unroll paper.

15. Take puppy OFF box.

16. Cut paper being careful not to cut puppy’s foot or nose that is getting in the way as she "helps".

17. Let puppy tear paper remaining to be cut.

18. Take puppy off box.

19. Wrap paper around box

20. Remove puppy from box & take wrapping paper from her mouth.

21. Tell older dog to hold tape so he will stop stealing it.

22. Take scissors away from puppy.

23. Take tape the older dog is holding.

24. Quickly tape one spot before taking scissors from older dog & sitting on them again.

25. Fend off puppy trying to steal tape & tape another spot.

26. Take bow from older dog.

27. Go get roll of wrapping paper puppy ran off with.

28. Take scissors from older dog who took them when you got up.

29. Give pen to older dog to hold so he stops licking your face.

30. Remove puppy from present & hurriedly slap tape on to hold the paper on.

31. Take now soggy bow from puppy & tape on since the sticky stuff no longer sticks.

32. Take pen from older dog, address tag & affix while puppy tries to eat pen.

33. Grab present before puppy opens it & put away.

34. Clean up mess puppy & older dog made playing tug-of-war with roll of wrapping paper.

35. Put away rest of wrapping supplies & tell dogs what good helpers they are.


Christmas is just around the corner so here are some gift ideas for those special men in your life! Buying gifts for men is not nearly as complicated as it is for women. Follow these rules and you should have no problems.

Rule #1:
When in doubt – buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

Rule #2:
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word ratchet or socket in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?" "OK. Bye-the-way, are you through with my 3/8-inch socket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of deicer or something to hang from hhis ear view mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.

Rule #4:
Do not buy men socks. Do notbuy men ties. And never buy men bathrobes. I was told that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, he wouldn’t have invented Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:
You can buy men new remote controls toreplace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money buy your man a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips, and flips.

Rule #6:
Do not buy a man any of thosefancy liqueurs. If you do, it will sit in a cupboard for 23 years. Real men drink whiskey or beer.

Rule #7:
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of after shave or deodorant. I’m told they do not stink – they are earthy.

Rule #8:
Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. "Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink." You get the idea. No one knows why.

Rule #9:
Never buy a man anything that says "some assembly required" on the box. It will ruin his Special Day and he will always have parts left over.

Rule #10:
Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, Parr Lumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire. (NAPA Auto Parts and Sear’s Clearance Centers are also excellent men’s stores. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know what it is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn’t this a starter for a ’68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks.")

Rule #11:
Men enjoy danger. That’s why they never cook – but they will barbecue. Get him a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. "Oh the thrill! The challenge! Who wants a hamburger?"

Rule #12:
Tickets to a Vikings game are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to "A Retrospective of 19th Century Quilts." everyone knows why.

Rule #13:
Men love chainsaws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chainsaw. If you don’t know why – please refer to Rule #8 and what happens when he gets a label maker.

Rule #14:
It’s hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Never buy a real man a step ladder. It must be an extension ladder. No one knows why.

Rule #15:
Rope. Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, or at least The Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8" manilla rope. No one knows why.

Mass Consumption

December 10, 1999

It’s been said that tragedy and disaster build character, and make a person more aware and more appreciative of life. Then again, my parents told me eating my brussels sprouts would build character, when all it really did was make me sick. I can’t think of any successful person who has credited their strength of character and determination to brussels sprouts.

But I digress. Tragedy may build character, but experiencing so many disasters it becomes part of life can actually make a person more superficial. As an example of this I hold up Southern California. Ever since the settlers set their tents up in the shadows of those big white letters, Southern California has had so many earthquakes, riots, floods, and fires they’re not even newsworthy anymore. But what is the biggest concern, according to various commentators, among the beleaguered residents of the West Coast? Holiday pounds. Yes, the warm climate means that affluent Angelinos have to put in extra time on their stair-steppers because they can’t put on bulky clothes to hide their holiday bulk. Those that can either go skiing or visit relatives back East, but for the clumsy and the ones who just don’t like their families, there’s no hope. Actually there’s no hope for anyone who’s so obsessed with their own bodies. Please take my blessing this holiday season and binge. Remember: everything taken to excess is bad for you, and that includes moderation.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


To: All Parents
CC: Good little boys and girls
From: Santa Claus
Subject: Contract Negotiations, NORTH POLE

I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve the Southern United States on Christmas Eve. Due to the overwhelming population of the earth, my contract was renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local #209. I now serve only certain areas of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. As part of the new and better contract, I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies, so keep that in mind. However, I am certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls.

However, there are a few differences between us, such as:

  1. There is no danger of The Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."

  2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave RC cola and pork rinds (or a moon pie) on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn’t smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an empty spit can handy.

  3. Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin’ coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen’s head now overlooks Bubba’s fireplace.

  4. You won’t hear "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen…" when Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you’ll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Wallace, on Martin and Labonte. On Rudd, on Jarrett, on Elliott and Petty."

  5. "Ho, ho, ho!" has been replaced by "Yee Haw!" And you also are likely to hear Bubba’s elves respond, "I her’d dat!"

  6. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus’ sleigh does have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back off". The last I heard it also had other decorations on the sleigh as well. One is a Ford logo with lights that race through the letters.

  7. The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It’s a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you’ll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.

  8. Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. If I were you, I’d make sure the wife and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.

  9. And finally, lovely Christmas songs have been sung about me like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and Bing Crosby’s "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." This year songs about Bubba Claus will be played on all the AM radio stations in the South. Those song titles will be Mark Chesnutt’s "Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox" and Cledus T. Judd’s "All I Want for Christmas Is My Wife and My Trailer Back."

Sincerely Yours,
Santa Claus
(Member)
North American Fairies and Elves Local #209


MERGER NEWS!

Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Chanukah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works for about 1300 years, ever since the rise of the Muslim Empire. While details were not available at press time, it is believed that the overhead cost of having twelve days of Christmas and eight days of Chanukah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. By combining forces, a spokesperson said, "The world will be able to enjoy consistently high-quality service during the Fifteen Days of Christmukah, as the new holiday is being called." On the downside, massive layoffs are expected, with lords a-leaping and maids a-milking being the hardest hit. 

As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreydl, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thus becoming unintelligible to a wider audience. Also, instead of translating to "A great miracle happened there," the message on the dreydl will be the more generic "Miraculous stuff happens." In exchange, it is believed that Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vast merchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts. One of the sticking points holding up the agreement for at least three hundred years was the question of whether Jewish children could leave milk and cookies for Santa even after having eaten meat for dinner. A breakthrough came last year, when Oreos were finally declared to be Kosher. All sides appeared happy about this. A spokesman for Christmas, Inc., declined to say whether a takeover of Kwanzaa might not be in the works as well. He merely pointed out that, "Were it not for the independent existence of Kwanzaa, the merger between Christmas and Chanukah might indeed be seen as an unfair cornering of the holiday market." "Fortunately for all concerned," he said, "Kwanzaa will help to maintain the competitive balance. He then closed the press conference by leading all present in a rousing rendition of "Oy, Come All Ye Faithful."

Do You Hear What I Hear?

December 3, 1999

Now that Thanksgiving is past (in Canada it was past about a month ago, whereas here in the U.S. it’s just gone by, and of course most other countries don’t celebrate it at all, mainly due to the lack of turkeys) the holiday season is officially upon us. Actually it’s just the Christmas season that is officially upon us, and that is celebrated outside the North American continent. Thanksgiving has never been a popular export, mainly because it doesn’t have any catchy songs like Christmas. Christmas, in fact, has a complete monopoly on catchy seasonal songs, even though there are only about five decent ones. The monopoly is maintained by saturating the culture with these songs. Just browsing through a few small record shops, I found that you can buy 435 different copies of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas". Each one is the same recording. In fact most probably have the hiss and crackle of the original. They’re just in different packages, different compilation albums, and a few, due to bad editing, have been attributed to Bing Cosby.

More recent holiday songs, including "Workin’ Two Jobs", "There’s No Better Time To Convert Than The Holidays", and "Silver Credit Cards" for some reason have failed to catch on. The most popular music in stores this season, though, isn’t related to Christmas at all. Songs from "Jesus Christ Superstar" in both original and muzak versions can be heard everywhere this time of year. As you know, this magnificent rock opera is about a group of hippie tourists who sing and disco dance their way to Golgotha. It’s got religious hypocrisy, riots, violence, and lots of catchy music. In other words, it’s exactly like holiday shopping.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Dear Santa from the world’s women

Dear Santa:

I rarely ask for much. This year is no exception. I don’t need diamond earrings, handy slicer-dicers or comfy slippers. I only want one little thing, and I want it deeply.

I want to slap Martha Stewart!!

Now, hear me out, Santa. I won’t scar her or draw blood or anything. Just one good smack, right across her smug little cheek. I get all cozy inside just thinking about it.

Don’t grant this wish just for me, do it for thousands of women across the country.

Through sheer vicarious satisfaction, you’ll be giving a gift to us all. Those of us leading average, garden variety lives aren’t concerned with gracious living.

We feel pretty good about ourselves if our paper plates match when we stack them on the counter, buffet-style for dinner.

We’re tired of Martha showing us how to make centerpieces from hollyhock dipped in 18 carat gold. We’re plumb out of liquid gold. Unless it’s of the furniture polish variety.

We can’t whip up Martha’s creamy holiday sauce, spiced with turmeric. Most of us can’t even say turmeric, let alone figure out what to do with it.

OK, Santa, maybe you think I’m being a little harsh. But I’ll bet with all the holiday rush you didn’t catch that interview with Martha in last week’s USA Weekend. I’m surprised there was enough room on the page for her ego. We discovered that not only does Martha avoid take-out pizza (she’s only ordered it once), she refuses to eat it cold (No cold pizza? Is Martha Stewart Living?) When it was pointed out that she could microwave it,she replied, "I don’t have a microwave."

The reporter, Jeffrey Zaslow, noted that she said this "in a tone that suggests you shouldn’t either." Well, lah-dee-dah. Imagine that, Santa!

That lovely microwave you brought me years ago, in which I’ve learned to make complicated dishes like popcorn and hot chocolate, has been declared undesirable by Queen Martha. What next? The coffee maker?

In the article, we learned that Martha has 40 sets of dishes adorning an entire wall in her home. Forty sets. Can you spell "overkill"? And neatly put away, no less. If my dishes make it to the dishwasher, that qualifies as "put away" in my house!

Martha tells us she’s already making homemade holiday gifts for friends.

"Last year, I made amazing silk-lined scarves for everyone," she boasts.

Not just scarves, mind you. Amazing scarves. Martha’s obviously not shy about giving herself a little pat on the back. In fact, she does so with such frequency that one has to wonder if her back is black and blue.

She goes on to tell us that "homemaking is glamour for the 90s," and says her most glamorous friends are "interested in stain removal, how to iron a monogram, and how to fold a towel." I have one piece of advice, Martha:

"Get new friends."

Glamorous friends fly to Paris on a whim. They drift past the Greek Islands on yachts, sipping champagne from crystal goblets. They step out for the evening in shimmering satin gowns, whisked away by tuxedoed chauffeurs.

They do not spend their days pondering the finer art of toilet bowl sanitation.

Zaslow notes that Martha was named one of America’s 25 most influential people by Time magazine (nosing out Mother Theresa, Madeline Albright and Maya Angelou, no doubt).

The proof of Martha’s influence: after she bought white-fleshed peaches in the supermarket, Martha says, "People saw me buy them. In an instant, they were all gone." I hope Martha never decides to jump off a bridge. (Actually this might not be such a bad thing if she’ll take all her "glamorous friends" with her.)

A guest in Martha’s home told Zaslow how Martha gets up early to rollerblade with her dogs and to pick fresh wild blackberries for breakfast. This confirms what I’ve suspected about Martha all along: She’s obviously got too much time on her hands. Teaching the dogs to rollerblade. What a show off!

If you think the dogs are spoiled, listen to how Martha treats her friends:

She gave one friend all 272 books from the Knopf Everyman Library. It didn’t cost much. Pocket change, really. Just $5,000. But what price friendship, right?

When asked if others should envy her, Martha replies, "Don’t envy me. I’m doing this because I’m a natural teacher. You shouldn’t envy teachers. You should listen to them." Zaslow must have slit a seam in Martha’s ego at this point, because once the hot air came hissing out, it couldn’t be held back.

"Being an overachiever is nothing despicable. It is only admirable. Never lower your standards," says Martha. And of her Web Page on the Internet, Martha declares herself an "important presence" as she graciously helps people organize their sad, tacky little lives.

There you have it, Santa. If there was ever someone who deserved a good smack, it’s Martha Stewart. But I bet I won’t get my gift this year.

(You probably want to smack her yourself!! 🙂

Take My Advice: You Don’t Need It

November 19, 1999

I don’t know why I started reading advice columns exactly. Maybe it was because they’re on the same page as the horoscopes. (I read the horoscopes to know exactly how my week ISN’T going to go–so far I’ve failed to have celestially scheduled spiritual insights, haven’t come into sudden wealth, and have no idea how to take a vacation from myself. But hey, maybe I’m reading the wrong horoscope.) As real advice, these columns are useless, but as entertainment, they’re pretty fun. For example, a woman who was having trouble fending off an admirer was advised to"show a little less cleavage." Where the hell did this come from? All the woman said was that she had a potential stalker, never mentioned her clothing, but somehow the keen insight of an advice columnist was able to tell from her handwriting that she dresses like a slut. What would a man with a similar problem be told to do? Stop wearing that thong out in public, regardless of whether or not you actually own one. Speaking of men, a man who felt down, listless, and unhappy with his life was told to get out more, spend some time in the sunshine, and meet new people. Manic depressives, throw your lithium away! Suffering from clinical depression? Put those sleeping pills and alcohol back in the cabinet–all you need is a trip to the beach. But for some real advice, the best thing is to switch on the radio. Just the other day I heard a"doctor" tell a woman that if she converted to her boyfriend’s religion, God would strike her dead. How the boyfriend avoided being struck dead is a mystery. How the"doctor" has avoided being struck dead is an even bigger mystery.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Bill Gates stated: "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."

In response toBills comment’s, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

  1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

  2. Every time they paint new lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

  3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway and you would accept this, restart and drive on.

  4. Occasionally, while making a left turn, your car would shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would reinstall a new engine.

  5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT", but you would have to buy more seats.

  6. Macintosh would make a car powered by the sun,reliable, five times as fast, but would only run on 3% of the roads.

  7. The oil, alternator, and temperature warning lights would all be replaced by a single "general car fault" beep.

  8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butts.

  9. The airbag would ask "are you sure" before deploying.

  10. GM would require everyone to purchase a complete set of deluxe Rand Mcnally road maps (now a division of GM), even though they neither need nor want them. TO refuse this option reduces the performance of the car by 50%.

  11. Every time you buy a new car, you have to learn how to drive all over again because the controls operate nothing like the old ones.

  12. You’d press "start" to shut off the car.


"Never trust a dog to watch your food." Patrick, age 10

"When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer." Hannah, 9

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

"Stay away from prunes." Randy, 9

"Never pee on an electric fence." Robert, 13

"Don’t squat with your spurs on." Noronha, 13

"Don’t pull dad’s finger when he tells you to." Emily, 10

"When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair." Taylia,11

"Never allow your three-year old brother in the same room as your school assignment." Traci, 14

"Don’t sneeze in front of mom when you’re eating crackers." Mitchell,12

"Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a Tic-Tac." Andrew, 9

"Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time." Kyoyo, 9

"You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk." Armir, 9

"Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts." Kellie, 11

"If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse." Naomi, 15

"Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick." Lauren, 9

"Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat." Joel,10

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

"Never try to baptize a cat." Eileen, 8

Christmas is Coming

November 12, 1999

One thing that drives me absolutely nuts is the fact that most stores insist on putting out Christmas decorations before Halloween has even arrived. People stand around and laugh and say, "Christmas comes earlier every year!", When I hear that, I want to hit them with the stuff you pull from the inside of a pumpkin and say, "No it doesn’t! Christmas comes at the same time every year, December 25th. Check your calendars!" I then eagerly grab up the Halloween candy that’s been put on discount because stores are trying to make people ignore Thanksgiving and start thinking about picking out an aluminum tree. But there is one part of Christmas that I can never start too early, and that’s the shopping. I’m not a big fan of shopping, and I’m the sort of guy who sometimes procrastinates even on things I enjoy, so I always get started later than I’d like. This year, however, I’ve been going through the assorted junk mail and picking out things for those hard-to-buy-for people on my list. Here are a few things I’ve found:

  • A submarine. I’m not kidding. In two separate catalogs I found a submarine that, for the amazingly economical price of $30,000, will take two people to a maximum depth of 200 feet. A valid scuba license is required. Apparently the designers overlooked the fact that, with the proper safety precautions, a scuba diver can dive to 300 feet, but I guess the submarine is for scuba divers who don’t want to mess up their hair.

  • A wearable computer. You carry a CPU in a backpack, keep the keyboard in one hand, and wear an eyepiece over your right eye to see the screen. According to the designer, you can check your e-mail while talking to your friends. Actually this isn’t for anyone on my list. Anyone who checks their e-mail while talking to friends soon doesn’t have any friends.

  • Chewing tobacco. Hey, it’s economical, and, for those friends and relatives of mine who smoke, it’s the perfect solution. Non-smokers complain that smoking is filthy, disgusting, and rude. Besides, there are a lot of places where smoking isn’t allowed. I figure after a few weeks of watching smokers chew and spit, intolerant non-smokers will be begging them to light up. And if not, I can always get them one of those handy wearable computers.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


"Posterior Automotive Safety Bar Adhesive Papyrus Reflectionary Notations"
(…again….and STILL dern funny!)

41. Could you drive any better if I shoved that cell phone up your ASS?

40. If you can read this – I can slam on my brakes and sue you!

39. Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.

38. 100,000 sperm and YOU were the fastest?

37. Your gene pool needs a little chlorine.

36. You’re just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you!

35. DON’T PISS ME OFF! I’M RUNNING OUT OF PLACES TO HIDE THE BODIES.

34. JESUS SAVES..Then Passes it To Gretzky..He Shoots..He..Scores!

33. Jesus is coming! Look busy!

32. You are depriving some poor village of its IDIOT

31. Save Your Breath … You’ll need it to blow up your date!

30. Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signal.

29. My Hockey Mom Can Beat Up Your Soccer Mom

28. GROW YOUR OWN DOPE, PLANT A MAN

27. All Men Are Animals, Some Just Make Better Pets

26. Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.

25. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

24. WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship.

23. BEER: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

22. So you’re a feminist…Isn’t that cute.

21. I need someone really bad…Are you really bad?

20. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

19. All men are idiots….I married their king.

18. The more you complain, the longer God makes you live.

17. IRS: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.

16. Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.

15. Reality is a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.

14. Out of my mind…Back in five minutes.

13. Hang up and drive.

12. Smile, it’s the second best thing you can do with your lips.

11. I took an IQ test and the results were negative.

10. Where there’s a will…I want to be on it.

9. It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

8. Don’t drink and drive…You might hit a bump and spill your drink.

7. We are born naked, wet, and hungry….Then things get worse.

6. Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.

5. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

4. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

3. Be nice to your kids…They will pick out your nursing home.

2. Always remember you’re unique…Just like everyone else.

and the #1 bumper sticker of the week…………..

1. Honk If You Want To See My Finger

No Hyenas Were Harmed

November 5, 1999

Ever heard the one about the lawyer and the sharks? Or the one about what you call a thousand lawyers chained to the bottom of the ocean? Or the one about the lawyer who got hit by the ambulance he was chasing? The funny thing about these jokes, aside from their punchlines, is that everyone knows lawyers aren’t all bad. That’s probably why lawyers sometimes tell these jokes to each other, and even those of us who laugh at the jokes know some decent lawyers, people we hope we’ll have by us if we ever have to have a day in court. The jokes really aren’t told about these people, they’re told about the exceptions–the ones who advertise in the bathrooms of restaurants and bars. These days a lot of restaurants and bars make a little extra money by putting advertising in the bathrooms.

Amazingly, every time I go into one of these places, I see the same sign. In very small, black letters, it reads, "Don’t drive drunk." Below that, in huge red letters, is: "DUI? LET ME HELP YOU!" I could wonder why a place that serves alcohol and has no advertising for taxi companies instead gives space to a guy who helps drunk drivers wriggle out of their sentences, but instead I have to wonder why "DUI Dan" and his ilk aren’t doing something more respectable. Aren’t there enough emergency rooms for them to hang out in? Is the job market for pimps so tight that these guys can’t find a place in it? One can only wonder. In the meantime, let’s stop making jokes about lawyers, and for that matter, let’s stop dragging comparatively decent animals like ticks, hyenas, and vultures into it. They don’t deserve to be classed with "DUI Dan", who is of the species homo gluttonous.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


A tourist walked into a pet shop and was looking at the animals on display. While he was there, another customer walked in and said to the shop keeper, "I’ll have a ‘BASIC’ monkey please".

The shopkeeper nodded, went over to a cage at the side of the shop and took out a monkey. He fit a collar and leash, handed it to the customer, saying, "That’ll be $5000." The customer paid and walked out with his monkey.

Startled, the tourist went over to the shopkeeper and said, "That was a very expensive monkey. Most of them are only a few hundred dollars. Why did it cost so much?"

The shopkeeper answered, "Ah, that monkey can program in ‘BASIC’. Very fast, tight code, no bugs, well worth the money."

The tourist looked at the monkey in another cage. "That one’s even more expensive – $10,000! What does it do?"

"Oh, that one’s a ‘C++’ monkey; it can manage ‘object- oriented’ programming, ‘Visual C++’, even some ‘Java’. All the really useful stuff," said the shopkeeper.

The tourist looked around for a little longer and saw a third monkey in a cage of its own. The price tag around its neck read $50,000. He gasped to the shopkeeper, "That one costs more than all the others put together! What on earth does it do?"

The shopkeeper replied, "Well, I haven’t actually seen it do anything, but it says it’s a ‘consultant’."


Children’s Books That Didn’t Make the Cut

  1. You Are Different and That’s Bad

  2. The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables

  3. Dad’s New Wife Robert

  4. Fun four-letter Words to Know and Share

  5. Hammers, Screwdrivers and Scissors: An I-Can-Do-It Book

  6. The Kids’ Guide to Hitchhiking

  7. Kathie Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her

  8. Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence

  9. The Little Sissy Who Snitched

  10. That’s it, I’m Putting You Up for Adoption

  11. Grandpa Gets a Casket

  12. The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator

  13. The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy

  14. Strangers Have the Best Candy

  15. Whining, Kicking and Crying to Get Your Way

  16. You Were an Accident

  17. Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will

  18. Pop! Goes The Hamster…And Other Great Microwave Games

  19. The Man in the Moon Is Actually Satan

  20. Your Nightmares Are Real

  21. Where Would You Like to Be Buried?

  22. Eggs, Toilet Paper, and Your School

  23. Why Can’t Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?

  24. Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things

  25. Daddy Drinks Because You Cry

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

October 29, 1999

There are several ways of creating terror. One of the most popular seems to be to take a group of people (including at least one token minority, one person wearing glasses, and at least one beautiful woman with an aversion to clothes) and put them in a physically claustrophobic situation. (In the United States alone, every twenty minutes there’s a storm that knocks out all the phone lines and washes away all the roads to a house where a murder has just taken place.) Or you could take a small town and let it be overrun by killer rats, bats, birds, bees, fleas, ticks, ants, or aardvarks. Or you could just celebrate Halloween in Tennessee. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Halloween is an annual harvest ritual during which children dress up as characters from last summer’s hit movies and go around harvesting candy. It’s essentially a Christian idea, which is why it’s associated with strange rituals, monstrous creatures, and general lunacy. Although Halloween has become largely secular, its original intent was to supplant the more interesting but less commercially successful pagan harvest rituals. Because Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, the local legislature had a long and heated debate about whether or not Halloween would be celebrated on Saturday, which has the advantage of being a night when children are traditionally left on their own anyway, or Sunday. Since a large number of people attend church services Sunday night, this meant a potential loss of revenue for candy vendors. Fortunately the matter was resolved, and in the final minutes of the session some unimportant stuff about taxes or something like that managed to get through. I’m not sure what exactly the final decision was, even though it was right on the front page of the local paper (under "National News", which is the local paper’s way of saying that the South really did win the Civil War). However, I’ve been told that this year Halloween will actually be celebrated on Saturday night. Anyone seen wearing a strange costume on Sunday night will, of course, be shot on sight. This is a vast improvement for Tennessee. Thirty years ago anyone seen wearing a strange costume would be shot on sight regardless of what night it was.

Enjoy this week’s terrifying offerings.


ACTUAL SENTENCES FOUND IN PATIENTS’ MEDICAL CHARTS

  1. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

  2. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

  3. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

  4. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

  5. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

  6. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

  7. Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

  8. The patient refused autopsy.

  9. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

  10. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

  11. Patient’s medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

  12. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

  13. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

  14. Since she can’t get pregnant with her husband, I thought you might like to work her up.

  15. She is numb from her toes down.

  16. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

  17. The skin was moist and dry.

  18. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

  19. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

  20. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

  21. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

  22. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

  23. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

  24. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

  25. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

  26. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

  27. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

  28. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

  29. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.


(In case anyone thinks I’m being hard on the South, here’s a little equal-opportunity ribbing.-CW)

Only in America…can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America…are there handicapped parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America…do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America…do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America…do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counter.

Only in America…do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America…do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

Only in America…do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America…do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well. "Poll" in Latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "bloodsucking creatures."

Only in America…do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Doctor Strangelove

October 22, 1999

This is true: a British professor at the University of Reading is linking himself together with a computer, but, unlike Stephen Hawking, he’s actually doing it voluntarily. The professor first designed and became an implant recipient for computer chips last year so that his computer, as well as computerized security systems in the university’s buildings, will recognize him. And after their next upgrade, the computers will be advanced enough to recognize that he’s completely insane. The advantage of the computer chips is that his secretary can find him no matter where he is on the university grounds. The disadvantage of the computer chips is that his secretary can find him no matter where he is on the university grounds. His next big plan is to directly hardwire his own brain to his computer.

In explaining his reasoning for this, the professor said that too many scientists believe a computer program will do exactly what it’s expected to do. (The only scientists who actually believe this are ones who aren’t using computers yet.) The professor claims that such connections will enhance human brainpower and allow us to sidestep a possible takeover by machines, rather than being blindsided by it like him. Of course, if machines do take over the world, it goes without saying that they’ll start with people who are "computer friendly" and, even more important, "compatible".

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


TODAY’S COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAM

1. What language is spoken in France?

2. Give a dissertation on the Ancient Babylonian Empire with particular reference to architecture, literature, law and social conditions – or – give the first name of Pierre Trudeau.

3. Would you ask William Shakespeare to:
a. Build a bridge
b. Sail the ocean
c. Lead an army
d. WRITE A PLAY

4. What religion is the Pope?
a. Jewish
b. Catholic
c. Hindu
d. Polish
e. Agnostic (check only one)

5. Metric conversion – how many feet are in 0.0 meters?

6. What time is it when the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 5?

7. How many commandments was Moses given? (APPROX.)

8. What are the people in America’s far north called?
a. Westerners
b. Southerners
c. Easterners
d. Northerners

9. Spell – Bush, Carter, and Clinton.

10. Six kings of England have been called George, the last one being called George the Sixth. Name the previous five.

11. Where does the rain come from?
a. Macy’s
b. 7-11
c. Canada
d. The Sky

12. Can you explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?
a. Yes
b. No

13. What are coat hangers used for?

14. The Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem for what country?

15. Explain Le Chateliers principle of Dynamic equilibrium – or – spell your name in block letters.

16. Where is the basement in a 3 story building located?

17. Which part of America produces the most oranges?
a. New York
b. FLORIDA
c. Canada
d. Wisconsin

18. Advanced math, If you have 3 apples, how many apples do you have?

19. What does NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) stand for?

* You must answer three(3) or more questions correctly to qualify

The Blithe Nineties

October 15, 1999

Although some may think it’s a little premature, I think it’s time to start saying farewell to the nineties. Overall it’s been a good decade, if you like social, political, and natural disasters. But it’s the little things I’m going to miss. Here’s a short list of things that should go away with the nineties, and probably will:

  • Piercings, tattoos, and other body art. Once upon a time getting a tattoo was something sailors and Harley owners did. Then it became a sign of distinctive individuality (or a sign that you were drinking with the wrong sort of people). Getting a tattoo made you stand out in a crowd–at least until everyone else started doing it. The same goes for piercings. As for other "body art", including the insertion of hemispherical pieces of plastic under the skin in the forehead and cheeks (no, I’m not making this up), that seemed to fade out once people realized they looked like aliens from "Star Trek".

  • The word "virtual" I thought I could wait until next year, but I can’t. I’m virtually sick of the word "virtual". I virtually want to throw up every time I hear it now. As long as it was a word for computer geeks, that was okay. Most of those guys live in virtual reality anyway–at least when they’re not hanging out at any fast food restaurant that provides free refills. But when I hear someone in a car accident say, "That other driver was virtually out of his mind!" I virtually think taking the bus would be a good idea.

  • Lists. So far I’ve seen the Greatest Sports Players of the Century, the 100 Most Overstocked Classic Books, the 100 Greatest People of the Millenium, and the 50 Television Characters Whose Shows Are Still Profitable. Please, if you’re even remotely thinking of putting together yet another list, ask yourself whether it’s really necessary, or whether it’s only virtually necessary. I’ll set an example by stopping this one right here.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Dear Mom and Dad,

Our scout master told us all to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning.

Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it.

We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.

Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken, he said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and become our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.

I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets.

Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

love, Your Son

Everybody’s A Critic

October 8, 1999

After several years of slogging along in this job, I have finally made an important decision. I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a movie critic. After reviewing all the possible options, and after reading a rant in which a movie critic complained that the movie critic field is overstuffed with no-talent hacks, I realized it’s the perfect job for me. Since, according to the collective wisdom of movie critics, 99% of the planet’s population is composed of no-talent hacks, and since the critics can’t agree which hacks are really talented, I figure I’m either a no-talent hack myself (which would make me perfect for the job) or I’m a moving target (which is a good thing for a movie critic to be, since all the stars of explosive action films are, in real life, completely incapable of hitting moving targets).

Other qualifications include the fact that I can use words like "insouciant", I’ve seen a few movies in my life, and I was frequently beaten up on the playground as a child. I also have perfect vision, although even if I didn’t, I could still be a film critic. Many film critics, you may have noticed, wear glasses, and they use their thumbs to rate movies because those little stars are just too darn hard to see. The advantages of being a film critic include free popcorn, being able to write for a newspaper but never having to dig deeply into complex issues (actually this is an advantage of working for most newspapers), and being part of show business without ever having to worry about being caught in the back of a corvette with a large halibut wrapped in leather. In fact, movie critics are involved in bizarre scandals all the time, but you never hear about them because, well, no one cares.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


An Engineering Tribute

The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?

Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English people build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So who built these old rutted roads?

The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts?

The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.

Specs and Bureaucracies live forever.

So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what "Horse’s Rear"came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the backends of two war horses.

Now, there’s even more…

There’s an interesting extension of the story about railroad gauge and horses’ behinds.

When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on the launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are the solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at a factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line to the factory runs through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than a railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So a major design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined by the width of a horse’s rear!

Now you know what’s "behind" it all


Many of you have heard Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others speak of the "Homosexual Agenda," but no one has ever seen a copy of it. Here is a copy obtained directly from the Homosexual Headquarters. It reads as follows:

The Homosexual Agenda

6:00 am Gym

8:00 am Breakfast (oatmeal and egg whites)

9:00 am Hair appointment

10:00 am Shopping (preferably at Neiman Marcus or Nordstom)

12:00 PM Brunch

2:00 PM 1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State, and Local Government, as well as all other national governments, 2) Destroy all healthy marriages, 3) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with militant homosexuals who seek to recruit children for the homosexual lifestyle, 4) Bulldoze all houses of worship, 5) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media, and, 6) Be utterly fabulous

2:30 PM Get forty winks of beauty rest to prevent facial wrinkles from the stress of world conquest; aroma therapy

4:00 PM Cocktails

6:00 PM Light Dinner (soup, salad [arugula & balsamic vinegar dressing], Chardonnay.

8:00 PM Theater

10:30 PM Cocktails in a charming neighborhood bistro.

12:00 am Bed (dujour)

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