Out of the Closet And Up Against A Jumbo Package

In a recent chapter of the gay-guy-playing-pro-football saga, an online article actually supplied me with so much material to write about, I barely knew where to start.

First, ex-football coach and Skeletor look-alike Tony Dungy said he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player.  Dungy said that he would not have wanted to have to deal with the complexities which Sam’s impeccably stylish, matching personal baggage might contain.  I haven’t spoken with Mr. Dungy personally, but I think I understand his logic.  Also, he didn’t actually talk about Mr. Sam’s luggage, that was just me using a cute metaphor.

He doesn't look too much like Dungy in this pic and in an ironic twist, Skeletor looks kind of effeminate here.  (Image from Cracked dot com)
He doesn’t look too much like Dungy in this pic.  In an ironic twist, Skeletor looks kind of fem in his signature lavender tights…and girlfriend, those nails! (Image from Cracked dot com)

The NFL is a tough place to do business, and potential players are put under intense scrutiny.  Teams want to avoid drafting anyone whose off-field behavior might sully the league’s reputation or distract fellow players from remembering blocking assignments and locker combinations.  Sports psychology experts will tell you that all it takes is one accused murderer, wife beater, dog fighter or date-rapist to disrupt the delicate balance of locker room morale.  Drafting a guy who already “plays for the other team” is just asking for trouble.

It appeared during the draft that many of the NFL’s talent scouts may have agreed with Dungy’s assessment of Michael Sam.  After all, it’s one thing to have pink accessories to show support for breast cancer awareness (and then donate pennies to the actual cause), but damn it man, the NFL doesn’t need players to start pushing for rainbows too!  You let gay men into the league and the next thing you know they’ll be having “Say Yes To The Dress” marathons on the jumbo-tron!

Boobies – 7  Judy Garland worship – 3

Oh hell no girl!  It's gonna take more than some pink ribbons to fix that dress.  Get your ass back in the limo!  (Image from xoxobook dot com)
Oh hell no girl! It’s gonna take more than some pink ribbons and wrist bands to fix that look!  (Image from xoxobook dot com)

Dungy’s quote did not get past sports commentator and arbiter of all-things politically correct Keith Olbermann, who promptly labelled  him “The Worst Person in the World“.  I’m not a close follower of Mr. Olbermann.  I’m hoping that he names a new worst person in the world every week or two and this is not a one-time thing.  While Dungy’s comment could certainly be construed as prejudicial, it’s hard to imagine that he beats out Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson or Donald Rumsfeld, just for uttering a few words.  In Olbermann’s defense, if he just labelled Dungy a jerk, he wouldn’t have likely gotten much mileage out of it.

If you let zee homos into zee league, zoon zee schwartzas vill follow, und before vee know it, zee Juden vill own zee teams und have access to zee zuperboxes und bunkers" (Image from dot net)
“If you let zee homos into zee league, zoon zee schwartzas vill follow, und before vee know it, zee Juden vill own zee teams mit access to zee zuperboxes und bunkers” (Image from taringa dot net)


Next in line was Tim Wildmon, the CEO of the American Family Association.  Wildmon discussed the PC media’s fervor over Dungy’s remark.  In addition, Wildmon volunteered that having spent quite a bit of time in locker rooms as a sports reporter himself, he felt that surrounding Michael Sam with all that naked “beefcake” was unfair to the players (Insert cheap “illegal contact”, “holding” or “too many men on the field” penalty joke here).  I’m reserving my opinion on anything else Wildmon wrote, and just taking some perverse thrill in his use of the term “beefcake” in discussing naked manly men.


Brutus the Barber Beefcake.  Honey, those stripes are just not working...and those tights!?  You need a make-over!  First, let's put some shoulder pads on you.  (Image from cakechooser dot com)
Honey, those stripes are just not working…and those tights!? You need a make-over! First, let’s put a jock strap and some shoulder pads on you. We’ll finish the look with a snazzy visor! (Image of Brutus The Barber Beefcake from cakechooser dot com)

As the keeper of my own blog, I’m entitled to give my two cents on this whole issue.  The thought of a gay man being anywhere around the hallowed ground of America’s most prized gladiators is simply too much for many of us to wrap our narrow minds around.  Clearly doing elaborate celebratory dances while wearing tight, colorful pants and eye make-up is no place for some kind of Nancy-boy.  If openly homosexual men are able to infiltrate the league, it’s only a matter of time before the F in NFL will stand for “Flaming”.  Players will start patting one another on the backside, displaying fancy footwork, wearing knee socks and gathering in “huddles” to talk about their plans.

Tony Dungy didn’t really elaborate on the risks of hiring a gay guy to do a straight man’s job.  Had he done so, he might have pondered how on earth anyone could expect a homosexual to use a spin move on a tight end while trying to get his hands on the ball.  In any case, the deed is done, and Sam is here to stay, at least for now.  It’s only a matter of time before homosexual men start showing up in other sports like figure skating and drag racing.  At least purists of heterosexuality in professional athletics can take comfort in the lack of any lesbians in women’s sports.








Does Anyone Else See This, Or Am I Hallucinating?

I went to look at a couple of my favorite blogs just a few minutes ago.  The first one had a photo early on, because successful writers know how important it is to give us pretty pictures before they bombard us with the wordy things.  There was some sort of ad which popped up on the image, but I ignored it, since I was already starting to read.

It's almost that time of year, so my old sketch of the Easter Bunny at the bar in the Florida panhandle seems timely enough.  With the bottom third covered by an ad for jerky dispensers, you won't see his deftly drawn feet or more importantly, MY NAME!
It’s almost that time of year, so my old sketch of the Easter Bunny at the bar in the Florida panhandle seems timely enough. With the bottom covered by an ad for jerky dispensers, you won’t see his deftly drawn feet or the checkerboard tiles of the bar.  Illustration by yours truly, and it better not be obscured!

When I started reading the second one, also with an early photo, I noticed the same ad popping up on the image.  This blogger, who writes wickedly funny posts, had gone to great lengths to find the perfect picture to lure us in.  Unbeknownst to her, the bottom third of the image was covered by an ad.

I looked at the ad this time, just to rule out it wasn’t some cool funny thing that people were putting over their blog illustrations.

In order to keep the WordPress Gods happy, I won’t discuss the actual name of the company, but I can’t help but describe the service it provides, because it’s quite possibly a harbinger of the end of days.  The ad is for an app which allows pet owners to watch their pets from anywhere, presumably with smart phones, tablets or pc’s and even dispense treats from afar.  Personally, I think this is ridiculous (However, if they come up with an app that picks up dog dookie from the back yard, they’ll have my attention).

Like many people, I sit around wishing I could come up with “the next big thing”.  I long to escape from beneath the giant thumbs of my work oppressors and bask in the glow of my creative genius.  Somehow though, the incredible breakthrough ideas never come.  Then again, if the notion of inventing a remote spy-cam for Labradoodles complete with liver-based treat dispenser ever popped into my head, I would have dismissed it immediately and vowed to give up spicy food before bed.

Maybe I’m just not the entrepreneurial sort.

I am, however, the creative sort.  I write these blogs and occasionally illustrate them.  I can’t begin to tell you how furious I’m going to be if the drawing I put in the beginning of this is partially obscured by an ad catering to people who are too busy to own pets.  I can only imagine how outraged Andy Warhol would have been if some website put an ad for Campbell’s Soup over the top of one of his masterpieces.

Please be good readers and let me know if there’s an ad over (part of) my original artwork.  Don’t lie and say there is even if there isn’t just to get me all riled up – it’ll take more than a crunchy meat flavored treat to turn that around.

You take the espadrilles out of this one and it's nothing but the shallow end of a pool.  You also lose my name, which I proudly stuck in the corner.  Gimme credit WP.
You take the espadrilles and dandelion out of this one and it’s nothing but the shallow end of a pool. You also lose my name, which I proudly stuck in the corner. Gimme credit WP!



“Polar Vortex” Is Sooo Last Apocalypse

Hurricane Bieber?  No one's going to worry about a hurricane with a pansy-assed name like that.  (Image from en dot wikipedia dot org)
Hurricane Bieber? No one’s going to worry about a hurricane with a candy-assed name like that. (Image from en dot wikipedia dot org)

In some ways the folks at the National Weather Service and local forecasters aren’t really too different from the marketing department at an ad agency.  They know that to keep everyone’s attention, it’s not enough to just predict the weather – after all, groundhogs routinely do that with 50% accuracy.  That’s probably why they started naming hurricanes all those years ago.  Assigning them human names gave us an identity to fear, hate or ignore.

After decades of limited success naming hurricanes, the weather experts have decided to start naming damn near every two-bit squall to form in the Gulf of Whatever.  As they’ve discovered, giving a storm a name doesn’t guarantee it’ll live up to the hype.  In addition, some names just don’t have the ominous ring to them which a big storm deserves.  Take for example the innocuously named Hurricane Sandy which kicked the crap out of much of the Northeast, versus the scary-named Tropical Storm Lucifer who’s only claim to fame was causing a ten minute rain delay at a Florida Marlins game.  When the weather people ended up amending Sandy from “Hurricane” to “Super-Storm”, it seemed they had stumbled onto something beyond playing the name game.

This year, they really hit a home run with The Polar Vortex.  The name really has it all; a reference to the frozen tundra of the north and the sexy technical term “vortex”.  For those of you too captivated by my writing to jump over to Google for a definition of vortex, I’ve provided one below.

Vortex; vor-teks, n .  1. A howling, unforgiving funnel of nastiness, often found in weather forecasts during the winter of 2014.  2. An antiquated term once used in weather forecasts in 2014 but rarely seen again outside of midterm exams in meteorology schools.  Origin:  From the Greek Fartecs, the God of mean %@#$*# weather.  Example: An equatorial vortex is expected to bring typhoon-strength winds and high temperatures in excess of 137 degrees to the greater Duluth region this April.

Go ahead, giver it a name, then run like hell.  (Image from birdsofeden dot za)
Go ahead, give it a name, then run like hell. (Image from birdsofeden dot za)

As we slip and plow through February, the weather gurus are already scrambling to come up with new names for the next big thing.  There are no definite winners yet, they’re still in the brain storming phase.

Here are a few of the front runners so far:

  • Polar Vortex II – Return with a Vengeance
  • Hurricane Miley
  • Shit Storm of Epic Proportions
  • End of Days – Ice Box of the Lord
  • Tropical Storm Christie (Expect Delays and a partial eclipse of the sun)
  • Adding “-mageddon” to the end of damn near any weather related term – Favorites so far include swamp-ass humidity-mageddon and ball lightning-mageddon.
  • Kelvin Kold Front – This aint your Daddy’s Fahrenheit
  • Trumpnado (Includes super-heated winds which will mess up nearly any hairstyle)
  • Broomhilda’s Bosoms
  • Deep Freez – (The Last “e” Froze Off)
  • Satan’s Sauna
  • Super-dupercells
  • Mr. and Mrs. Coldfront and the Twins
  • Oh Hail No!
On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if you get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando.  (Image from the nayshun dot com)
On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if they get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando. (Image from the nayshun dot com)

It’s obvious that some of these catch phrases will never see the light of day.  It’s likely that they have even better ones that they’re keeping secret under a blanket of 3-6 inches of snow (with higher totals north and west of the city).  In fact, you can fog-bank on it.

It took me longer than usual to even get the first draft of this dog done, due to my having to drop everything repeatedly to go out front and shovel snow.  They’re predicting another twelve inches tonight, so if you happen to comment and don’t get a prompt reply, it may be because I’m out front working on finding the pavement again.

Totally Klondike, Dude

He doesn't appear in Game of Thrones wearing a hat much either - not even a derby made of chain mail.  (Image from impawards dot com)
Richard Madden doesn’t appear in Game of Thrones wearing a hat much either – not even a derby made of chain mail. (Image from impawards dot com)

I was originally going to title this little rant “Nine Things I Learned During The First 28 Minutes of Ridley Scott’s ‘Klondike”.  Luckily, the most useful thing I learned from this six-hour dog of a show was how to avoid losing viewers or readers with too accurate of a title.  My guess is that the original title for “Klondike” might have been something along the lines of “Will and Epstein’s Excellent Gold Rush Adventure, Except The Part Where Epstein Gets Killed”

Less than a half hour into the mini-epic tale of gold mining in the 1890’s, I had to pause it and get my laptop out to record the many lessons already learned.  Here’s what I learned in the first twenty-eight minutes of the show:

  1. People in olden days spoke much the same we do now.  Case in point: As they board a train, Will says to Epstein, “If you get me killed on the first day of the rest of my life, I’m going to be seriously pissed off.”  The first part of the sentence is suspiciously close to a quote attributed to Charles Dederich in the 1960’s (“Today is the first day of the rest of your life”).  The last part of the sentence, wherein one can be described as “seriously pissed” can be ascribed to any number of cast members of MTV’s Real World series.  Lots of under 25-ers since then have reported being seriously high, seriously bored and seriously stoked while appearing seriously illiterate.  To add a little frosted whipped topping to my point, Epstein later refers to working as a gold miner as “shit-assed hard work”, proving that butchering salty language never goes out of style.
  2. One sure fire way to make a period piece look a little more authentic is to throw in some cultural stereotypes.  The boys, fresh from graduating college, are found in a dark smokey room, surrounded by inscrutable but vengeful Chinamen.  Like all foreigners people, they have strange customs, including partaking in some sort of exotic gambling involving dried beans.  When Epstein cannot pay up, the head Chinaman produces a large knife.  After a madcap dash through a labyrinth of rooms, including one where an old gentleman appeared to be smoking opium in bed, the boys narrowly escape.  Later, on the train, the boys can be seen winning a few bucks gambling with some of the colored folk who work on board.  This pair of adventurous young bucks seem hellbent on games of chance with minorities.
  3. Graduating from college was a guarantee of big bucks, even in ancient times.  Will reveals to Epstein that he has “$450 – every cent I got from graduation”.  I didn’t score that kind of cabbage when I graduated from college, over 80 years later, but I’m not complaining.  A little web research has revealed a website which gives a conversion factor to see what a buck was worth back then, compared to now.  According to those formulas, Will’s college graduation wad would be worth roughly $9000 in today’s currency.  It’s hard to believe with that kind of generosity that no one in the family appeared to attend the graduation ceremony (which Will left early to go find Epstein who was already gambling with the aforementioned Asians).
  4. Good looking people seldom wear hats.  Will and Epstein climb a snow covered mountain in a conga line of wannabee miners complaining that they’ve been at it for ten days.  Climbing through deep snow on a windy mountain, for a week and a half?  Nah, I don’t need a hat.  Later on the other side of the mountain, our boys meet an impossibly beautiful woman who remembered to pack her low cut gown with the satin bodice, but also apparently forgot to pack a hat.  My premise is confirmed.
  5. Even in the 1890’s, a catch phrase was critical.  Will and Epstein’s slogan was “Nothing in my pocket but a handful of hope”.  That’s a handful of hope?  I thought you were just glad to see me.
  6. When in doubt, cut to the aerial shot of the majestic mountains.  We’re constantly reminded of the fact that it’s another place in time where men were men and sled dogs were scared, but in case anyone loses track of the locale, every tenth shot or so is a breathtaking view of the rugged mountains.  Did I see a ski trail in the background just then?
  7. An avalanche is a minor inconvenience.  Following a massive avalanche which killed dozens of conga liners on the mountain, Will emerges from behind a boulder and shouts at the top of his lungs for Epstein, but no one answers.  He walks a few feet down the hill, grabs a boot or something and pulls his friend from what would have been a snowy grave.  In the next scene, Will and Epstein have miraculously also located their sled.  Apparently having people and belongings buried under a sea of snow coursing violently down a mountainside doesn’t make stuff hard to find afterwards.
  8. “Real stuff” is captivating.  Every time this massive dud came back from commercial there was a message on the bottom of the screen which said “Based on actual events”.  Since something happened in the Yukon over a hundred years ago, today’s TV viewers will just have to accept that real events sometimes result in implausible dialogue, giant holes in plots and men without hats.

You can rest assured, I learned tons more worthless stuff during the remaining 5 1/2 dreadful hours of this turkey.  Such lessons included how dangerous it can be to dance on thin ice while holding a sack of heavy gold bars.  I also learned that whenever a story needs to get philosophical, you can suddenly switch out the regular narrator for a Native American or other indigenous person who can shed light on the foolish greedy ways of the outsiders.  Most importantly, I learned how not to waste 6 hours of my life again watching a really sad example of bad TV.

Shia, We Hardly Knew Ye

It’s all over the interweb, Shia LeBeouf is quitting public life!  If you’re like me, there are two questions which immediately spring to mind: 1) Who the hell is Shia LeBeouf? and 2) Why should someone like myself give a rat’s ass that I may never find out who the hell he is?

This is what he looks like.  Still, not even a flicker of recognition in my brain, maybe he looks different when he's fighting robots.  (Image from Wikipedia dot org)
This is what he looks like. Still, not even a flicker of recognition in my brain, maybe he looks different when he’s surrounded by robots. (Image from Wikipedia dot org)

A quick Google search has revealed that Shia (we’re on a first name basis now) is an actor.  For your edification, Shia is pronounced SHY-uh, and essentially rhymes with Hi-ya.  It’s odd that I discovered this just in time to say goodbye-ah.  With that name, he was bound to end up a thespian or a temperamental chef.

No soup for paparazzi!  (Image from screencrush dot com)
No soup for paparazzi! (Image from screencrush dot com)

Lebeouf got his start in a show on the Disney channel – and somehow I missed it!  Later, he went on to featured roles in quite a few flicks I’ve never seen, including all three of the toy-based block buster “Transformers” movies.  As a self-proclaimed old codger, I’m more interested in getting enough fiber in my diet than I am in seeing films about tractor trailers which transform into giant flying killer-robots.  Lebeouf was also featured in one of the fourteen Indiana Jones movies.  Once again, my taste in movies kept me from dropping ten bucks to see what death defying hijinx Harrison Ford was up to this time.  I’m not really an Indiana Jones fan anyway, but I’m pretty sure Shia did not play the cute little Asian kid in the mining car.

See!?  He looks like a Camaro, but he transforms into this cool killer robot thing, right?  Okay, so how do we fill the other 89 minutes of the movie?  (Image from tfcool dot com)
See!? He looks like a Camaro, but he transforms into this cool killer robot thing, right? Okay, so how do we fill the remaining 89 minutes of the movie? (Image from tfcool dot com)

Like many young actors, Shia’s been in a few scrapes with the law.  At one point, a neighbor was chatting with someone in his car and blocking Shia from getting into his driveway.  According to a witness, Shia rammed the guy’s car and threatened him.  In another instance, Shia supposedly got into trouble for not leaving a Chicago Walgreen’s when asked to do so by management.

Both of these unfortunate incidents must have made good fodder for the gossip rags.  Though I have never spoken with Shia about these two stories, I’m entitled to my opinions.  As for the first one, I feel bad for Lebeouf; if you’re getting blocked from accessing your own driveway, it damn well better be for a good reason.  Such reasons might include firefighters getting a kitten out of a tree or perhaps vindictive staffers of a politician having jammed up a certain bridge to send somebody a little message.  One could also be expected to accept traffic issues if a piece of earth moving equipment from a nearby construction site had transformed into a massive automaton with death-ray capabilities and was terrorizing the neighborhood.  If that yahoo from across the street was sitting there in his mid-life crisis Porsche chatting it up with his 26 year old piece of eye candy, then a little bumper ramming might have been in order.  As for the Walgreen’s incident, you’re on your own, Shia.  I’ve been in a few Walgreen’s and I don’t understand why anyone would want to stay in there one second longer than necessary – just pick up your anti-fungal cream and get the hell out.

Sorry about your driveway access, Shia.  You shoulda thought of that before you bought a multimillion dollar home in a town whose mayor doesn't want to play ball, know what I mean?  (Image from freedomoutpost dot com)
Sorry about your driveway access, pal. You shoulda thought of that before you bought a multimillion dollar home in a town whose mayor doesn’t want to play ball, know what I mean?  How about some baked goods, show you I’m not such a bad guy?  (Image from freedomoutpost dot com)

In any case, that’s the life of a movie star.  People follow you around and everything you do is under a microscope.  I can’t believe that no one ever told Shia about that clause in the job description.  I’m not sure he’s going to continue acting while avoiding the public eye, or just quit the Hollywood rat race entirely.  The answer to that question is surely somewhere in his statement about quitting public life.  To find out more, I’d have to go read it, and my attention to Lebeouf’s headlines would only fan the flames he’s trying to extinguish.  As for the irony of someone who’s in the public eye using that very same fame and media access to announce that he’s retiring from public life, I’ll leave that for a more clever writer to discuss.  I don’t have the time to write that post, I’ve got to contact my cable provider to find out why I don’t get the Disney channel.

Just Kidding!

I came across a video recently.  The LG company, in an attempt to show how incredibly life-like their 84 inch HD TV is, decided to scare some innocent people half to death.  As pranks go, this one was deviously clever and well executed.

Frightening people and then laughing at their reactions is nothing new.  It’s been a staple of man’s entertainment since the beginning of time.  A Neanderthal named Toorah grunted to his cave neighbor Oog to watch out for that saber toothed tiger behind him.  Oog whirled around raising his club in defense, but found nothing.  He turned back to find Toorah and his buddy Chrok rolling in the dirt laughing at his startled reaction.  Oog swore to himself to never fall for it again.  Eventually the three of them got back to hunting giant ground squirrels and finding suitable mates – though as Toorah liked to point out, not necessarily in that order.

"Holy crap, Oog!  You shoulda seen yer face!  It was priceless!  I'm gonna draw a picture of it on my cave wall" (Image from humanevents dot com)
“Holy crap, Oog! You shoulda seen yer face! It was priceless! I’m gonna draw a picture of it on my cave wall” (Image from humanevents dot com)

LG, or more accurately, its ad agency, raised the bar significantly on the old “Look out behind you!” gag.  They put the horror behind the trickster and let the victims see for themselves.  Instead of a saber toothed tiger, they went with a meteor strike and apocalyptic explosion.  These poor people, who were there to apply for jobs, were then scared beyond their wildest nightmares while several cameras captured every second of it.  In the end, the lights came back on, and a troupe of behind-the-scenes pranksters came in and let them in on it.  It was all a joke!  It turns out that the city didn’t get leveled by a flaming rock from outer space.  By the way, there’s not really a job for you to apply for either.

I would have liked this commercial a whole lot more if the applicants actually received jobs.  They could have come into to work for a few months and under-performed.  When the bosses called them on their lack of productivity, they could shrug and tell them that they thought it was just an elaborate hoax and that no one was actually expecting them to finish the Rodriquez proposal.  The applicants might have been more productive, but they’d often spent their workdays sitting at their desks trying to come up with payback pranks for their employer.

I’m writing this blog to give fair warning to all of you.

I don’t consider myself a violent person.  Nor do I foresee myself applying for any jobs anytime soon.  In the event that you trick me into thinking the world is seconds away from total annihilation and that my death is imminent, it will not go well.  My relief will be brief, followed quickly by a violent backlash.  If your actions result in me crapping my finest interview suit, there will be consequences which will far exceed my bill from the dry cleaner.  In fact, I’m guessing that my reaction may result in some dental bills for you and your cohorts.  There’s not a judge in the world who’s going to find me guilty of assault.  I just hope you keep the cameras running while I pummel you.

You’ll rue the day you played a trick on David J. Oog.

More Tawdry Viewing

I didn’t see the MTV awards show this year.  Then again, I’ve never seen an MTV award show.

True to form, those preceding two facts will not deter me from weighing in on this year’s highly-hyped edition.  For those readers who actually saw the awards show, feel free to roll your eyes at the inaccuracies which will soon follow.  For the rest of you, take my word for it and try to enjoy my synopsis.  By reading my account and not actually watching the show, you’ll have saved yourself an hour or two, including roughly 23 minutes of Axe Body Spray commercials.

This isn't the MTV trophy, it's from Darwincountry dot org.  No one can deny the "evolution of outrageous" of MTV's award behavior.  I can't wait to read about what happens next year!
This isn’t the MTV trophy, it’s from Darwincountry dot org. No one can deny the “evolution of outrageous” of MTV’s award behavior. I can’t wait to read about what happens next year!

As a bit of background, MTV Music Television – which hasn’t aired music videos since who knows when – has an annual movie and music awards show.  The show has had its share of “outrageous” moments, all of which served to catapult someone further into the spotlight for a few more minutes.  This is the same venue where Madonna sucked face with Britney and Lady Gaga covered her loins with flank steaks (or maybe she covered her flanks with loins).  Howard Stern once flew in dressed as his own super hero, “Fartman”, and blew up part of the stage with an egger.

The Gagster had originally thought about wearing this tie with khakis and a sport jacket, but didn't think it was "outrageous" enough.  (Image from z a z z l e dot com
Lady Gagster had originally thought about wearing this tie with khakis and a sport jacket, but didn’t think it was “outrageous” enough. (Image from z a z z l e dot com

This year’s big story, if the internet is to be believed, is that Miley Cyrus did a naughty dance on stage.  To be honest, I wouldn’t recognize Miley if she was twerking right in front of my house.  It’s a safe bet that I’d yell at her to stay the hell off my grass though.  I’ve written about Miley before and if nothing else interesting happens in the future, I likely will again.  She’s constantly featured in gossip rags and we all know that’s where I get some of my best material.

Even more fun than Miley’s dancing is the feigned shocked reactions by the media to what they had all expected in the first place.  I don’t doubt that some of the talk-news types already had “outrage over something that was said or done at the MTV awards” penciled into the following week’s programming before the show even happened.

I sat in a doctor’s office waiting room on Monday, listening to one TV talking head after another yabber on and on about Miley’s performance, with one commentator making the suggestion that they should no longer call her by name.  Apparently, “She Who Will Not Be Named” is this knucklehead’s idea of a punishment for someone whose parents named her “Miley”.  It seemed something of an over-reaction to Miley’s antics to put her in the same category as Beetlejuice and Leona Helmsley.

She Who Shall Not Be Named (Image from content dot time dot com)
She Who Shall Not Be Named.  “Why so serious?” – so sayeth the Joker.  (Image from content dot time dot com)

On Tuesday I sat in another doctor’s waiting room and listened to more of the same.  I’m either getting old or I’ve changed careers and become a pharmaceutical sales rep.

At one point, they stopped talking about Miley having unsafe relations with a foam finger and discussed poison gas attacks and the likelihood of the US getting themselves into yet another no-win military clusterfuck in yet another middle eastern country.  There was a commercial break and then it was back to more in-depth debate over the outrageous behavior of former child stars.  Justin Beiber could not be reached for comment as he was busy killing a potted palm.

As the world teeters on the brink of absolute bedlam, I suppose it’s a perverse luxury to spend our time worrying about a skinny white girl shaking her moneymaker on a TV award show.  I can hardly wait to see what diversions next week will bring.

How Can You Give What You Don’t Have?

The guy clearly warned you not to take the brown acid.  Your mother told you to ease up on the sweet stuff.  Now you're having flashbacks and you're diabetic.  You have no one but yourself to blame, Mr. Blow.  (Image from play dot google dot com)
The guy clearly warned you not to take the brown acid. Your mother told you to ease up on the sweet stuff. Now you’re a diabetic and having flashbacks. You have no one but yourself to blame, Mr. Blow. (Image from play dot google dot com)

I admit that I spend too much time on this blog making fun of people on Facebook.  Obviously, I’m on FB myself, or I wouldn’t be privy to the treasure trove of idiocy which shows up magically every few minutes.  I might not feel feel like taking the time to maintain traditional relationships with most of the “friends” I have there, but I’m okay with spending the handful of minutes it takes to feel superior to many of them.

If there isn’t sufficient fodder for my cynicism in the main section of the page, my eyes wander to the upper right corner where some friend or acquaintance will have just “liked” someone else’s photo or status.  No matter what time it is or what day of the week, another one of my friends will post a status which is at once noble and yet indescribably trivial.  I refer of course, to the following Facebook status gem:

“Joe Blow gave Life in Candy Crush Saga.”

(For those of you who think I have an actual Facebook friend named Joe Blow, please return to almost any of my previous blog posts and consider that I might be making that name up.  For those of you who might actually be named Joe Blow, my apologies, but I’m pretty sure you’re used to being the brunt of jokes by this point in your lives – feel free to hate your parents for their lack of both creativity and foresight.)

We just celebrated Mother’s Day.  Memorials and salutations dominated the landscape of Facebook as old photos of mothers and grandmothers graced the digital pages.  People who despised their mothers when I knew them back in Mrs. Benedict’s Social Studies class now took great pains to try to make it up to them by posting dog-eared photos of dear old Mummsy.  They proclaimed their mothers were the best mothers ever.  Their own children may have even proclaimed them to be the best mothers ever, thus creating an umcomfortable tableau for the medals ceremony.  Contrary to everyone’s claims, my mother is actually the best.  No wait…I’m changing my vote to my wife, she’s the best…no, I mean my daughter…no…no, I’m going to stick with my wife as the world’s greatest mother of all time.  Irrespective of whose Mom is the best, they all have one thing in common: They gave life.

I ache to know if giving life in Candy Crush Saga is similar to doing so in a delivery room or in the backseat of a cab on the shoulder of the Cross Bronx Expressway.  As a man, I’m already relegated to the sidelines of the birthing process as it is.  Despite my desire to know, I can’t bring myself to actually go play CCS .  I live in fear of what people will think of me if my status says that I’ve given life in there.  My bosses will instantly know that I have entirely too much time on my hands.  My wife (Best mother – ever!) will realize that I did in fact have time to pick up dog dookie from the yard, but chose instead to dawdle on the computer.  My kids will know that at least I’m not looking at fetish porn.  The icing on my cake of shame will be that my friends from 7th grade will know that I’m every bit as pathetic as they are.

I know it’s just another addictive app on Facebook, taking its rightful place in the Pantheon of Time Wasters, among such legends as Farmville and Mafia Wars.  Though I’ve never played CCS,  I’m going to go out on a limb an guess that it has something to do with crushing candy.  I imagine there are different degrees of squashing sweets.  Certainly it’s one thing to step on a lint-covered Wint-O-Green Lifesaver, and entirely different to drop a freight car full of Necco Wafers off a bridge.

Regardless of what the game actually entails, I take exception with the app creator’s choice of names.  It takes balls to name any game a saga, let alone one which revolves around smashing Root Beer Barrels and Atomic Fireballs.  It may be fun, and you may waste years of your life playing it, but that doesn’t qualify it as a saga.

The word “saga” can apply to nearly any batch of books written by James Michener.  These thick-as-a-brick tomes often span multiple generations and pivotal eras in history.  They may also include some heavy mythical stuff, like “Beowulf”.  If a film is made, it should feature saga-friendly actors like Tom Selleck and Richard Chamberlain.  Sagas still in book form can be found holding up the one corner of the coffee table where the leg was broken off during your parents’ lone attempt at a get-away weekend back in your teenage years.  In a bizarre twist, that ill-fated get-away weekend was to celebrate Mothers Day.

Paralyzed by the fear of looking ridiculous and already over-booked in more meaningful free-time pursuits, I guess I’ll never know the joy and satisfaction of giving life in Candy Crush Saga.  True to most trends, CCS will eventually run its course and be replaced by some other time-sucking app with a goofy name.  In just a few short years, people’s status update will show the latest news:

“Joe Blow just gave flames to his candles and Iced Layer 147 on his Cake of Shame”

The French Toast Conspiracy

I'll just gobble down this pile of fat and sugar, then get going shoveling the driveway.  (Image from every day with honey cake dot blog spot dot com
I’ll just gobble down this pile of fat and sugar, then get going shoveling the driveway. (Image from every day with honey cake dot blog spot dot com)

A lot of people shrug their shoulders and say it was just the way these things go.  They figure that despite the best computer models and professional judgement, sometimes things don’t go the way the pretty geniuses said they would.  I choose not to blindly accept the sketchy excuses of these so-called experts.  I look at the bigger picture and try to see what’s really going on.

After careful consideration of all the factors, I’ve come to a conclusion, and it’s a doozie.

Let me step back and set the stage for you.  I live in the greater Philadelphia area.  We’re far enough north to get snow, yet far enough south to squeal like a little Nancy-pants every time there’s any of it predicted.

On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if you get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando.  (Image from the nayshun dot com)
Latin TV weathergirls are seldom bundled up in fleece jackets.  Too many jet streams like this one though, and it might be time to stop going commando. (Image from the nayshun dot com)

Earlier this week, that’s exactly what happened.  One after another, those oh-so-pretty weather people gestured seductively in front of their green screens, predicting snow all over the viewing area.  Gorgeous talking-heads with names like Cecily and Sheena showed wavy bands of color-coded snow-total predictions.  As far as my little corner of paradise went, all 17 local TV weather people agreed we’d be waking up to somewhere between 2 and 4 inches of the white stuff.  In case the specter of a few inches of snow wasn’t already big news, the weather spokesmodels labelled it “heart attack snow.”  These couple of inches would be so wet and heavy, there would surely be coronaries all across the region.  Shoveling would be lethal to all but highly conditioned athletes and people with really small shovels.

I’m sure readers in the midwest and upstate New York are snickering at those paultry totals, as well they should, but 2 to 4 inches in this area is big news.  As zero hour approached, otherwise rational people descended upon grocery stores as though the end-of-days was imminent.  I gazed in disbelief from the relative safety of the liquor aisle as milk, eggs and bread were snatched up by the locust-like hordes of panicked shoppers.

No Bread, no eggs, no milk.  Nothing left in this store but some badly wilted kale, a few gossip rags and some cans of stewed tomatoes.  (Image from standeyo dot com)
No Bread, no eggs, no milk. Nothing left in this store but a bin of badly wilted kale, a few gossip rags and some cans of stewed tomatoes. (Image from standeyo dot com)

When I awoke Wednesday morning I was prepared for the worst.  I’d set the alarm an hour early, giving myself enough time to shovel and eventually clutch my chest.  I could only hope my wife would see me lying in the driveway before rigor mortis set in.  I glimpsed between the blinds to see how bad it was.  There was no evidence that a single flake had fallen.  I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked again.  Every weed and dog turd in my yard was just as I’d seen it the day before, without so much as a crystal of frost to show for all the hype.

Out of bed and irritated by the piss-poor forecasting, it was futile to try to go back to sleep.  I went ahead and got ready for work, arriving at my job entirely too early.  All day long, the inaccuracy of the forecasts gnawed at me.  I tried calling several of the news stations to grill the weather people for answers.  Not one of them would take my calls.  A tickle of suspicion had begun in my mind by the time I’d gotten my fifth TV station rejection.

On my way home, I happened to swing by the supermarket again.  I’d decided to surprise my wife with a special dinner in celebration of my not having died of a heart attack earlier that morning.  As I strolled towards the dairy section, my heart sank as I recalled the swarm of shoppers there just a day before.  I wracked my mind trying to figure out how I’d make my beloved wife a fritatta without using any eggs.  I turned the corner and saw the shelves of eggs and milk were miraculously replenished.  I later noticed that the bread section was similarly restocked.

While checking out, I saw the manager through the open door of his office.  He was sitting with his feet up on his desk and talking happily.  His head was thrown back as he laughed and flirted with the caller.  I swore I heard him say “Oh Cecily!”.   Suddenly he became aware of my inquisitive gaze.  His face clouded as he swung his feet down and slammed the door.  The pieces were coming together as the gears and chains in my mind churned like a rusty snow blower.

The answer was just beyond my grasp.  Deep in thought, I pocketed my change and headed toward my car, almost running right into an employee pushing a cart loaded with boxes.  I apologized for the near collision and kept walking past the empty spot where the snow shovel and rock salt display had been just a day before.  In the cold air of the parking lot, I suddenly realized that the boxes on the cart weren’t just random stock.  The same smiling face mocked me from the cardboard front of each box.  Even without the doo-rag, there was no disputing that it was none other than Aunt Jemima!

I'd recognize you anywhere, you sweet vixen of maple goodness! (Image from under consideration dot com)
I’d recognize you anywhere, you sweet vixen of maple goodness! (Image from under consideration dot com)

The bread..the eggs…the milk…the syrup…I stood next to my car and it all finally made sense.  Of course!  I’d stumbled onto the French Toast Conspiracy.  In this clandestine operation, a powerful, intricate network of grocery magnates and meteorologists formed a deviously symbiotic relationship.  Unscrupulous media moguls used imaginary storms to build ratings on slow winter news days.  In so doing, they create a frenzy among the unwashed masses, who scramble to their local stores and eagerly buy the ingredients for French Toast.  The scary weather predictions are only interupted for commercials for grocery stores and SUV’s.  The grocers are thrilled to have unloaded the majority of their perishable dairy products.  The news media use their increased advertising profits and buy spiffy embroidered fleece jackets for taping remotes on the brisk fall days heading into next winter.

I had to get this story out, but how?  The mainstream news media couldn’t be trusted.  John Stossel was busy checking to see if “Made in America” really meant anything anymore.  Andy Rooney and Mike Wallace were both still dead.  I knew my only chance to get the facts out was right here, on this seemingly innocuous blog.  You readers have the truth now.  Get out there and spread the word!

Addendum:    I finally got a call back from one of those TV weather people.  She heard about my story and wants to interview me.  She’s requesting that I come alone to a remote corner of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.  I know this sounds a little shady, and I should be suspicious, but when I heard the voice of that lovely weathergirl on the phone, how could I not believe her?  I hope she doesn’t wear that embroidered fleecy thing, it really hides her stunning figure.

Follow Me On Twitter N C My Nu Bangs!

{I was recently Freshly Pressed here on WordPress.  For those of you who aren’t WordPress bloggers, just know it’s a big deal, with the most important by-product being the wholesale harvesting of new followers.  Lord knows, I grabbed my fair share of new disciples.

The big challenge now is not writing some disappointing piece of crap for my next offering.  After slaving like a dog for months to finally get a bunch of new followers, I don’t want to scare them away this soon.  Be that as it may, I’m going to write about the following topic anyway.}

When I was a kid, a hundred years ago, the news was not fun viewing.  The screen featured a very serious looking man, wearing a suit, sitting at a desk with some papers in front of him.  He’d tilt his head slightly at the camera, cock an eyebrow above the frame of his horn-rimmed glasses and tell America what had happened that day.

No screaming like a Banshee when these guys were on.  They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)
No screaming like a Banshee when Huntley and Brinkley were on. They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout-outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)

My brothers and I seldom stuck around to see what the anchorman had to say, as it wasn’t very entertaining in our estimation.  Our Dad would yell at us to “stop screaming like Banshees” so he could hear it.  Maybe if the news featured them, we would have sat down quietly and found out what the hell a Banshee was in the first place.  Instead, the only visual breaks in the action were usually maps of Southeast Asia or stock market graphs.

Of course, time changes ones tastes, and now I occasionally want to watch the news.  This was the case the other day.  The house was devoid of  Banshees, and the wife and I sat on our respective ends of the couch and watched Diane Sawyer on ABC.

Diane Sawyer is an attractive woman, not necessarily by TV standards, but certainly by news standards.  She also presents the news like a kinda-foxy aunt telling bedtime stories.  As the newscast wound down, a picture of Michelle Obama flashed on the screen behind her.

Can you see anything different about Michelle Obama?” Diane asked us viewers, her voice lilting and mischevious.  Then they cut to commercial.  Some guy in a khaki shirt was telling America about a quick and easy way to manage the tartar build-up on the teeth of our dogs.  I glanced over at my wife and made a wrinkled kind of face, as if to ask her about what had happened to Michelle Obama.  I got no reply to my non-verbal query.  My wife had looked back down at her Kindle as soon as the commercials started.  For the record, the non-verbal communication between my wife and me will be the focus of an upcoming post, in case you think I can’t top this one for dull topics.

I was annoyed at Diane Sawyer for teasing me and the rest of America with this First Lady topic.  I’m not worried about Mrs. Obama.  She seems like a strong woman and I’m certain there are plenty of staff eager to make sure she comes up with great healthy snack ideas for the kids and always has an outfit to wear that looks sassy yet refined.  Still, as the commercials for reverse mortgages and erectile dysfunction medications droned on, I wondered what it could be.  It’s funny that bullying is illegal in America, but teasing has been allowed to escalate into an art form.

Diane Sawyer doesn't mess around when it comes to the news.   Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson.  She was so glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher's shin guards - that would have been SO embarrassing!  (Image from bet.com)
Diane Sawyer doesn’t mess around when it comes to the news. Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson and Elvis’ daughter. She was glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher’s shin guards – that would have been SO embarrassing! (Image from bet.com)

After what seemed like an eternity, Diane Sawyer was back, smiling patiently, as if it were my idea to wait 4 minutes before finding out the answer.

She briefly recapped the question for those sleepy audience members in the back of the classroom who didn’t hear it the first time.  Then she dropped the bombshell.  Apparently there were two things different about Mrs. Obama.  The first was that she had started her own Twitter account and the second was that she had changed her hairstyle to one with bangs.  The first lady had bangs!

That’s NOT news!!” I screamed.

My wife’s attention was startled away from her Kindle and the dog quickly got up and slunked from the room, not sure if she was in trouble.  I could hear a low rumbling sound as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley spun in their graves like rotisserie chickens.  I turned to my wife to expound further on this travesty of news reporting only to discover that she had already found where she had left off and resumed reading her electronic romance novel.

I looked back at the screen as Diane gushed about the exciting topic of the wife of the leader of the free world having a Twitter account.  For the record, if my dog could type a little better, she’d have a Twitter account too.  If she did, she may well have left the room earlier to “follow” Mrs. Obama on Twitter and not because of her assumed guilt.  As for the guilt, I didn’t find that chewed up pair of boxer briefs behind the recliner for several more days.

I let it all sink in.  As if changing ones hairstyle isn’t upheaval enough, Michelle had started Tweeting at the same time.  Talk about a busy day!  Before I could wrap my big, bald head around it all, Diane moved onto the next story.  There was a scratchy recording of a little girl being interviewed on an old time radio show.

Do you recognize that voice?” Diane cooed.  Another question?  One tease after another!  This wasn’t the news, it was pop-culture trivia torture.  If she kept this up, Sawyer would make Pat Sajak look like a Nobel Prize laureate.  This time, she was kind enough to give us the answer without going to commercial first.  It turned out the little girl in the recording was none other than actress Betty White, who had turned 91 years old that day.

Betty White is in an American treasure (not to mention the last “Golden Girl” still standing).  Every birthday is a milestone, and the closer she gets to triple digits, the more newsworthy it becomes.

The standard format of any news show is that you start with the biggest story first, then work your way down to the filler and fluff.  By this framework we can deduce that Michelle Obama’s hairstyle/Twitter account story ranked higher than Betty White getting older.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I even took the time to consider this.

I guess I should be thankful that my kids are too old to have been in the house interupting my time watching the news.  What kind of father would I have been if I had shushed them so that I could properly hear this drivel?  Truthfully, I think I would have preferred screaming Banshees to listening to what Diane Sawyer had to say.  Oh well, at least she’s nice to look at.