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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another Day at Amalgamated Monster

Though I’m convinced that my natural state is unemployed (though not necessarily penniless in spite of the paltry compensation I get from Go Figure Reads,) I just recently celebrated my 6 month anniversary working for Amalgamated Monster LLC.
To commemorate, they allowed us two hours of radio by their wholly owned subsidiary WEVL (all evil – all the time.)
Beetle customarily sits next to me in his Papa John’s Pizza shirt. Wearing it each day saves him time for three games of Galaga between his shift at Amalgamated Monster and his delivery job.
 Apparently Beetle also saves time by not doing laundry, showering, or perhaps even brushing his teeth.
“Aren’t you embarrassed wearing a Papa John’s shirt when you’re not delivering pizza?” I asked him.
“Why?” said Beetle. “It’s not Little Caesars.”
Word around the Pepsi machine is that Beetle is true Amalgamated Monster material. Everybody figures he’s on the fast-track for promotion. I’d be tempted to ride on his coat-tails if they weren’t slimed with long-dead anchovies.
I might not have seen Helga Hofstra again if not for Amalgamated Monster. She was my childhood sweetheart and I’d lost track of her nearly forty years ago. One day I spotted Helga working on a machine with so many blaring lights and creepy sounds that everyone in my work-group was afraid to even ask what it does. As I gazed upon my lost love, I reflected on how she grew up to look much like my High School chemistry teacher.
And he was not a good looking man.
WEVL announced a Milli Vanilli countdown as the afternoon project came in. We were each issued a stack of 8 ½ x 11 sheets and told to tri-fold them to fit in a business envelope. When asked why they didn’t use the paper folder machine in the office, Pam, our middle manager just shuddered and walked away briskly.
 The writing on each sheet was in some foreign language, so we didn't know what we were doing. The most popular theories among my co-workers were 1) we were packaging biological weapon infused paper for enemies of the NSA, 2) the sheets were fold-n-sniff samples for the cologne eau-de-skunk cabbage, and 3) that we were sending out Amway propaganda to third world nations.
I hoped it was one of the first two – third world nations have enough trouble without sicking Amway on them.
Just as we were about to pass out from the great cloud of skunk cabbage flavored anthrax, Helga’s scary machine gave out a flatulent sounding fanfare that either announced our imminent deaths, or the end of the work-day. Our response to either possibility was the same. We packed up our belongings and headed for the exit except for Beetle who made a decayed pizza smelling bee-line for the Galaga machine.

Yup, that was another day at Amalgamated Monster. I still say that my natural state is unemployment, but if I have to work – this is the best job I've ever had.
Speaking of tough work - here's one of my favorite movie openings.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Miscellaneous Quips I Didn't Write.

The wonderful thing about the internet is that we can steal clever things, post them on social media, and be thought witty and original.  Not only are we not original in thinking up the clever things - we're not even original in the way we steal them, because billions of people are doing the exact same thing!
   I can do that.  How about...
Did you hear about the Buddhist monk who refused Novocain during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
Remember you heard it from this thought thief first. 
Heard that one?  How about these?
I'll claim it.  Most of the world's population is too young to remember these guys.
No worries about claiming this one - Crocodiles don't sue - they don't get along with sharks.
I'm pretty sure Schultz didn't write this - so even the originator was ripping off.
I've met both these characters a dozen times at least - their arms and legs looked thicker.
A little more risk on this one - we all recognize who this is.
No problem - Patrick Stewart is a sport, and thankfully, Wil Wheaton fell off the edge of the universe shortly after leaving Star Trek.
Guys have tells.
But not for plagiarism...  Thanks to Facebook, that's no longer a crime.
Here's a couple from north of the boarder.
They're all bundled up that far north, so it's hard to tell anyway - except for their elite forces...

Here's a vid I didn't write either.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


In third grade, Howard B. Headland and I became friends because our names seemed to fit together. He invited me to his house one day. It was three streets behind mine in the swirling non-grid that the suburban planners laid out to prevent outsiders from cutting through. At first, there wasn’t much about the house different from mine. They had the same plastic, snap-together napkin holder we had. I’d seen the same two Scotties doorstop at the Roger’s house.
Then I walked into Howie’s room.
It was clean.
That was surprising enough, but sitting atop a line of low, immaculately dust-bunny free cabinets was his very own 13 inch black and white television.
 I had had a TV in my room a few times in my life – always when I was sick enough to stay home from school, which I tried to do at least 10 weeks a year with varied success.
But Howie wasn’t sick. This was HIS TV!
“You wanna a soda?” he asked nonchalantly.
“Your Mom lets you drink soda?”
“Sure,” he said with a shrug and opened the cabinet below his personal vacuum tube powered viewing screen. There in sparkling carton-packed splendor were orderly ranks of twelve once glass bottles of Pepsi-Cola. 
Each spiraled glass beauty rose to meet a pristine tin (maybe steel?) bottle cap. There wasn’t a hint of Hi C or Kool-Aid to be seen. Howie opened a drawer and pulled out his personal bottle opener and reached for two bottles of Pepsi. These were the same glorious bottles that on rare occasions made an appearance (with great fanfare) on a Sunday evening TV night between Lassie and the Wonderful World of Disney.
“Have the kids been that good?” my father would asked, surprised.
“Yes they have,” my mother would answer – also surprised. Into my sister’s and my hands would be pressed our 8 once Quick Draw McGraw juice glasses. 
 We sat in angelic stillness as Mom placed a stale cube of ice in each glass, making a clacking thud against the hard plastic that sounded like a festive tinkle to our rapt ears. With appropriate ceremony, a single bottle of the caramel-colored, sucrose-intensive, gaseous elixir was opened and split between us.
It was such a holy cap-crowned grail that Howie now handed me like it was nothing more than a mimeographed math worksheet passed through the rows at the direction of mean old Miss Lambash. “Take one, and pass the rest along.”

I watched in awe as Howie expertly applied the proper pressure to pop the cap on his bottle without spilling a precious drop. Deep within the bottle, the voices of a thousand bubbles chorused together a heavenly refrain from Fiddler on the Roof – “as if to say here lives a wealthy man!”
Had he shown me the S.S. Minnow reconstituted into a backyard tree fort, I could not have been more impressed.

Alright – some of you recognized that I was ripping off a style here (it’s my style to rip off other styles.) Here’s a clip by the master of the art form.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Bear Is Back

For those of you under 30, the tensions between the Russia of Vladimir Putin (who I call Vlad the Impaler RasPutin)

 and the western world might be disconcerting.
For those of us a generation older, it’s more like coming home again. It’s been an uncomfortable two and a half decades not worrying about the Russian bear sending missiles – or remote-controlled robot zombie men across the bearing straight (through that inconsequential country to our north,) and into the American heartland. The only thing more troubling than anxiety caused by a present danger is free-floating anxiety with no discernable cause.
So in celebration of having a name and face to put to our bogie-man, I thought I would bring back one of my favorite Russian (Soviet) jokes.
Things weren’t going so well for Nikita Khrushchev back in 1963. The Soviet economy was experiencing shortages in everything except waiting lines. One line experiencing growing popularity was at the glass mausoleum of Joseph Stalin where Russians waited hours to gaze on the decaying features of one the world’s most popular mass-murderers.
Khrushchev was nervous. People were starting to talk about the good old days.
He needed to bury Stalin – underground, where nobody could see him anymore, but he knew that the Russian people would never let him get away with it. If he was going to bury Stalin, he had to do it overseas.
His first attempt was Great Britain, but Prime Minister Harold MacMillan wasn’t sanguine.
You know we have Marx and Engels buried here, and I lead the conservatives who are already raising a ruckus about our socialist policies. I’ll have to decline.”
Next Khrushchev tried the U.S., but that didn’t work out either.
We just had the Cuban Missile crisis last fall,” said President Kennedy. 
 “You’ll have to wait until things calm down.”
When Khrushchev called Charles de Gaulle,
 he hadn’t even finished describing the problem when de Gaulle shouted, “It would not be for the glory of France!” and hung up.
Nowhere else to turn, he called Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
 “David,” said Khrushchev, “I know we've had our problems, but I need to bury the body of Stalin. Can I bury it in Israel?”
There was silence at the other end of the line for a while until Ben-Gurion finally spoke. “All right,” he said, “You can bury Stalin here. But I gotta warn you. We have the highest resurrection rate in the world.”

So Vlad, welcome to Evil Empire status. I wish you as much success as that great Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov (who rose to power, but then dropped off.)
November 12, 1982 - February 9, 1984
 Watch out for guys with big birthmarks on their heads.
Is that a treasure map? link
Oh, and feel free to send us a political dissident from time to time. Do you have anything in a Solzhenitsyn?

Ah - the good old days...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Alley Oop

Somewhere around 1996, I purchased my first real PC. It had Windows 95 on it which included Microsoft Word (In the days when MS cared.) I began a series of columns which evolved eventually into the blog you are reading now. Below is the third such columns I started which I originally titled A3 (no idea why.) I never released it – so I’m doing it now. If it makes no sense to you, transport your mind back 18 years.
Alley Oop was a man for prehistory, a man for the 1950s and early 60's.
Or is he a man for today?
As we contort ourselves in our conform/disgust dance with political correctness, sometimes it’s the perspective of the distant past that can help us deal with the never-changing/constantly re-discovered issues of our day.
Was Alley’s existence consistent with the tenants of proper behavior that we perceive from our lofty perspective? Clubbing animals into submission and then eating them as well as wearing their skins evokes in us visions of baby seals and whales named Willie. Indeed, if the tales are to be believed, Mr. Oop was personally responsible for diminishing several now-extinct animals (saber tooth tiger comes to mind).
He was not above the enslavement of dinosaurs to meet his selfish need for transportation. Did he actually believe that a brontosaurus (or whatever Dinny, that he rode was,) wouldn’t rather be grazing on succulent leaves and hanging out at the dino-disco than schlepping a smelly, dead-animal-wearing human?
Reports imply his domestic life to have been less than tranquil. Why didn’t he ever marry his faithful girlfriend, Ooola? Did he have no empathy? no connection to his feminine side? Nowhere in any Alley Oop comic are the phrases, inner child, beneficial fiber, or voluntary civic service to be found. If, indeed this man was measured on the yardstick of Alan Alda, or Phil Donahue one can only presume that our poor prehistoric person of the male persuasion would be found “correctness-challenged”.

In spite of his connection with Dr. Albert Wonmug, Oop never had the advantages of our modern educational system where he might have been taught to rebel against all notions taught to him by his parents. In so doing he might achieve his level of individuality (in lock-step uniformity with his teachers and peers.)
No – Alley Oop is not a man for today. He lacks that pressure-formed character imposed upon our increasingly politically correct society.
But like all societies that get uptight about the trivial, and neglect the important, barbarians will soon storm the gates, burn our houses, and drag us into slavery.

Perhaps then his time will come.

Monday, July 14, 2014

T-Shirt coverage from shoulder to shoulder

  So I'm looking up pictures of all the T-Shirts I wanted to include in this post and I found everyone but, - Intelligence is Key! Apparently you're locked out...
I can't help wondering if there's a message in that.
Starting out with some iconic figures.
I knew Tolkien got it somewhere.
And they thought it was just a typo
Che Chimp
And make sure the horse is sober too.
Okay - it's not a t-shirt... yet.
Here's a couple that made me hungry
How did that slip by?
And how did I miss that!
Oh... That's how
And speaking of brain failure
End of the dino reign (spelling?)
I'm so old now, that I don't even recognize it.

Some folks ask when I'll ever get around to being funny
I'm getting tired of the crabby whiners.
I was wondering why cats are more popular than dogs these days
Can't argue with that.
It might work
Okay - some jobs you should hate.
I forgot what point I was trying to make, but I hope that clears it all up.

Speaking of clarity issues - this was a popular short 80 years ago.  Can anyone tell me why?