Sunday, December 31, 2017

Take this quiz on tax reform; you may already be a winner

1. The tax reform bill was created, in its entirety, by:
  1. The political party in power, holding many meetings with the minority party in order to come up with compromises which all sides may not love but can live with for the sake of a majority of Americans
  2. Bahahahahahahaha!
  3. 100 (completely bipartisan) monkeys with 100 typewriters
  4. Siri

2. The new tax law benefits:
  1. Unmarried corporations making more than $100 million a year
  2. This guy in Des Moines
  3. Hedge fund managers down on their luck
  4. Hillary Clinton. She always finds a way, you guys!

3. Reforming tax law is hard because:
  1. Having both hands in the cookie jar leaves very little room to maneuver
  2. It is hard to say the word “reform” unironically, without laughing so hard I accidentally legislate a little
  3. Anything worth doing is worth doing in a way that makes half the country explode
  4. It is not actually as hard as dying or comedy

4. If this tax law were a classic movie, what would it be entitled?
  1. “Sweet Smell of Success”
  2. “Touch of Evil”
  3. “It’s a Wonderful Life”
  4. “Pinocchio”

5. Why does the new tax law specifically stick it to homeowners in liberal-majority states like California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut?
  1. Well, frankly, it’s just fun

6. What is the best thing about this tax plan?
  1. The way it has brought our country together to rally behind millionaires.
  2. Social Security and Medicaid will be cut to pay for it, but I’m not old or poor!
  3. Really, if I’m honest? The odor
  4. Corporations can finally stop hiding their money offshore to avoid taxes and hide it right here onshore in the good ol’ USA

7. If the Democrats had total power in Congress, would they have voted on a tax reform bill late at night without allowing any input from Republicans, a tax bill which will, just as a fun tacked-on side effect, knock 13 million people off their health care and increase the federal deficit by more than a trillion dollars in the next decade?
  1. Yes, but there also would have been cage fighting

They say nothing is for sure except death and taxes, but that leaves out reboots of TV shows that don’t age so well, Betty White memes and the fact we won’t really know how all this affected us until 20 years from now when President Swift tells us. 

. . .

Sunday, December 24, 2017

New Christmas Carols for the times we’re living in

To the tune of "Joy To The World"

Boy, what a world! Accord is done
Let’s nuke the whole darn thing
We can't outsmart our certain doom
Aggression is on the wing
North Korea and mass shooting
Why not just wipe the slate of everything

Oy, where's the mirth in hurricanes?
The ice caps melt, oh joy
Now polar bears will take great pains
to eat our girls and boys
they'll eat our girls and boys
and then they will eat some of their favorite toys.

To the tune of “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer”

You know Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant
Then there’s Cortana, her queries persistent...
But do you recall...the most worthless help bot of all?
Snorkoo the hapless help bot had a very buggy code
And when you said “TV on!”
It triggered Snorkoo’s sleep mode
All of the other help bots made a pretty great soufflé
Snorkoo the hapless help bot turned it into egg flambé
Then, although you’d disbelieve, Congress called to say
Snorkoo, though you've no heartbeat, won't you fill this vacant seat?
Then all of Congress loved him, to a man they did agree
Legislating with no heartbeat's not a liability...

To the tune of "Away In A Manger"

He drives a Ford Ranger, pit bull in its bed
He fits many labels, including “skinhead”
You might think a Nazi’s a poor role to play
but he makes side dough as an alt-right DJ

He finds fertile soil as civility breaks
(If you’re a gay couple, good luck buying cakes)
Where this stops I can’t say, but this we can try:
If Gramps was against you, well hell, so am I

To the tune of "Do You Hear What I Hear"

Said the boss man to the new temp Pam,
“Want to see my wee wee?”
(She was thinking wow, should I scram?)
“Or how ‘bout you flash me?”

Bizarre, bizarre, that’s when Pam took flight
So his jailing she’d expedite
Yes, his jailing she’d expedite

Said the temp Pam now better employed:
“Let us not live in fear”
Emails to her friends she deployed:
“Am I right? This ends here."

So long, so long
she now says with ease
when a boss turns out to be a sleaze
All commend her new expertise

. . .

I, for one, cannot wait for the new year.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Classic literature made better with a 'Star Wars' plot

Every time a new “Star Wars” movie comes out, I am reminded of how much better every story ever written would be if it were about “Star Wars.” Some examples:

The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is not a rich bootlegger, but a quanya smuggler from the planet Corellia. He is hiding out in lavish style until George Wilson (a Mandalorian mercenary) lights him up with his blaster. Best line of the book: “So we beat on, boats against the tide, but still able to make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.”

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Finn is a boy who slips the constraints of polite society and his abusive father by going over to the Dark Side. With the Ondoronian slave he freed, Gyym, at his side, he wreaks havoc across the galaxy, yet is beloved. Best line: “You don’t know about me without you have seen a movie called ‘Episode XXV: Return of Aunt Polly.’”


The captain of the starship Pequod is obsessed with stalking and killing the giant white aiwha which once ate half his face. His sidekick, Queequeg, is manfully tattooed with images of bandoliers across his chest which are frustratingly useless in actual combat. Best line: “Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike a Blenjeel Sand Worm if it insulted me.”

The Scarlet Letter

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a Aldaraanian maiden cheated on her Gungan husband with a Keshiri minister. Upon discovery, she was forced to wear a bright scarlet Aurek on her blouse, which was fortunate for her, because nobody on her planet knew the Aurebesh alphabet, and so, in fact, often complimented her on her fashion sense. Best line: “A pure hand needs no glove to cover it, unless it has been disfigured by unark venom.”

To Kill A Mockingbird

Two young Jedi, having lost their mother to Tusken raiders, are raised by their wise father Attikuk, who teaches them things like when you see a rabid kimogila, you shoot it on sight. The kids fend off an attack by a drunken Chalactan, befriend a gentle Maujasi neighbor, and learn that justice is sometimes as far away as Zonju V is from Cholganna. Best line: "Shoot all the fynocks you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." 

. . .

Sunday, December 10, 2017

An interview with a well-traveled fruitcake

Every year around this time my interest turns, as it does for so many people, towards talking to inanimate objects. Today I have with me a fruitcake. 

GW: Greetings, Mr. Cake.

Fruitcake: Pleasure.

GW: Your season has arrived. Are you stoked?

FC: I am. It’s “go” time. I’m ready. I’ve been napping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth for a month.

GW: This is kind of personal. Feel free not to answer, but have you ever been re-gifted?

FC: Dude, re-gifting is my immortality. No one has ever even brandished cutlery in my presence. They always take one look at me, then kind of shudder, and back away.

GW: How many times would you say you have changed hands?

FC: Well, my first memory is the Summer of Love.

GW: O.K. That’s ‘67. So...50 years, 50 times?

FC: Oh, no, it’s more than once a season. Typically I am given by a boss to a secretary, who waits until he is gone and then laughs hysterically with her coworkers over something. Then they all stare at me in what I can only guess is awe, because a lot of them have their mouths open. Then the secretary takes me home and gives me to a cousin who gives me to a coworker and sometimes I end up with a boss again. In 50 years, I’d say I’ve changed hands, oh, 2,000 times. 

GW: And nobody’s taken so much as a nibble.

FC: We have a saying. If you make it through your first Christmas, you’re home free. 

GW: Can I ask you? What are those bright green and red chunks in you?

FC: An inside joke that went about a millennium too far. 

GW: Fruitcakes are known for their heft. I read somewhere that the ratio of the density of the average fruitcake to the density of mahogany is 1:1. 

FC: Don’t buy it. That’s got Little Debbie’s fingerprints all over it. That’s the sponge cake lobby talking right there.

GW: You do seem pretty solid.

FC: Solid does not mean dense. Although you couldn’t tell that from Congress. 

GW: So tell me. What makes a good fruitcake?

FC: Nobody knows. The good ones aren’t still around. In my business, the last thing you want to be is good. Good means gone.

GW: So I assume you’ll be doing some traveling this Christmas?

FC: Oh yeah. New cellophane on Friday, and at the office party I’m on my way to a new home. 

GW: Well, see you next year.

FC: Oh, count on it. 

. . .

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Our a very very very wired house

It is the 21st Century, people, so it is high time you had a Smart House. The key to success here is acquiring just enough smart appliances so that your house is smarter than your dog but still dumber than you. 

This is harder to pull off than it sounds. 

To walk that fine line, here is what you need:

Smart bulbs. Did you know there are smart, wifi-enabled light bulbs now, which respond to your voice commands? All those years growing up, I remember often thinking, “What I really want in a light bulb is more interactivity.” It’s here. These bulbs can sync up with a particular movie you are watching, or work with GPS so they can turn on right when you arrive home. Gone are the days when you might get home and your light bulbs would be all “Oh, honey, I expected you later,” and you’d hear muffled giggling from the closet as the other bulbs tried to hurriedly get dressed in the dark. 

Smart locks. Unlock your door hands-free with your app’s “automated proximity sensor.” Moses had one of these for the Red Sea. He would lift his arms—whoosh!—then drop them—sploosh—then lift them again. It was hours of fun. Smart locks also give you the power to grant home access to anybody you deem worthy, even if you are not home. When I was a kid, we used a similar system we called the “automated key under the mat lifter-upper,” which was our little brother.

Environment sensor. They have a little postage-stamp-sized doodad now which will monitor your home’s temp, humidity, light, CO2 levels, and probably general interpersonal tensions. It can tell you when your bath is full, laundry is done and, best of all, whether you forgot your wife’s birthday.

Grilling Assistant. Step one: Pop the little two-inch wifi-enabled thermometer into your steak and it notifies your phone when it is cooked to your specifications. Step two: Get in your car, drive to the Human Male Office, and hand in your man card. You’re done.

Your house can now text you if your washing machine is leaking, your smoke detector’s beeping, you left your garage door open and, probably, if the raccoons in your attic had babies. Embrace the Smart House, which exists only to make life easier and relaxing for you. 

Take a look at your dog. Now there is one dude who is already on board with the 21st Century. 

. . .

Sunday, November 26, 2017

You are a total original...demographic

You may be many things; a gardener, a food dehydrator, a Shar Pei advocate, but that also makes you a demographic. 

I looked in my Facebook settings and discovered that according to FB, I am an “engaged shopper.” I have never bought anything on there, so I have to wonder if my tendency to post kitten photos says something subliminal about my buying habits. 

FB also seems to know I am a parent, because it can see in my photos, I guess, the circles under my eyes. 

FB thinks I am the friend of “people who recently moved”; yes, in that I am an American and that I still draw breath. If you are reading this, and you do not know somebody who recently moved, you are in the “dead, but still able to read” demographic. You are hard to market to, but I bet a Scientologist on his third espresso could get it done. 

Politically, the FB categories are liberal, moderate and conservative, with “very” preceding the first and last of those. (I would love for there to be a “very moderate” category, the icon being a guy with his arms crossed and his chin raised in a resolute pout while wearing a “You both make some very valid points” t-shirt.) 

FB pegs me as “very liberal,” which I feel is an exaggeration, since I have never even “liked” a Lady Gaga video. I know extremists on both ends of the spectrum, and I feel like a centrist in comparison, but FB can’t sell a centrist a sports car, I guess. 

Even though she looks like she stepped out of a poster for Irish tourism, FB thinks my wife is African-American. Perhaps it is because she is “likely to engage in political content.” 

Unlike me, she is labeled a “commuter,” even though I actually drive a little farther to work than she does. Maybe she once “liked” somebody’s post about tires. 

She is also considered to be “close friends of women who have a birthday in the next week.” I love the specificity of that ad category. I imagine others, like “writers who doubt themselves more than twice a minute” and “men over 50 who like the idea of celery but not actual celery.” 

We like to think we are individuals, but we are really just walking demographics, just trying to get along in this crazy world without having to change brands. 

. . .

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Details of the top secret iPhone XX revealed!

Apple recently came out with its iPhone X to much fanfare (Slogan: “Now with 30% more price tag.”) Do not ask them why they went from the iPhone 8 to the 10 without a 9. It’s Apple Math. Start flipping beads on that particular abacus and you will find, upon visiting your closet, that all your shirts have inexplicably turned into black turtlenecks. 

It turns out it was all just misdirection, anyway, to keep us from discovering Apple’s secret project, the iPhone XX. I cannot tell you how I came to possess the plans for this amazing product; if I did, I wouldn’t have to kill you, I’d just have to explain how humor columns work.

iPhone XX (Slogan: “One X short of a very, very different product”)

Manufacturer: Keebler (yes, they made space in the tree)

Compatibility: GSM, IMHO, BFD, AAA & IHOP

Size: .275 cubits x .170 cubits (basically like half a panini)

Weight: .0026 Brads (fractions of Pitts)

Operating system: iOS 24.7.365

CPU: PU is right! C? Light a match

The iPhone XX (Code name: “Samsung Galaxy XX”) is the next generation of smart phone, so secret that Apple has told the employees working on it that they are actually building boats. Smart little boats, which can hold more music than the entire Library of Congress. When the more suspicious employees ask where the rudder goes, they are sent to Google for “reeducation.”

The XX is the first smart phone to have the patented XX port, affectionately known as the “Dos Equis” port. Just plug in the external iTap, twist the spigot and fill your mug with a frosty brew. In the mood for something European? There’s an app for that.

The XX is available in three colors—gold, silver and ‘70’s refrigerator green. This is apparently an inside joke.

Facial recognition, a major element of the iPhone X, takes a step further in the XX with French ID™. Just passionately make out with your XX’s screen and your unique style—you know, the one you learned freshman year—will instantly identify you. 

Wireless charging with the XX is also next-gen, requiring only to be in the presence of a celebrity, even, like, a Kirk Cameron level one, to completely refresh. 

In short, the iPhone XX (Slogan: “Please don’t show this column to Kirk Cameron”) is the most advanced piece of technology you will ever own, assuming, of course, you know somebody.

. . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Inspected by WHO?

 Like Groucho always said, the seltzer bottles were just a "gateway" spritzer.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hot new trends in holiday entertaining you should know about

You have probably heard of the holiday entree the “turducken,” a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. But turduckens are sooo 2008.

This year the trendiest dish is the “bimusteag,” a bison crammed tight with a mustang which itself contains an eagle.

“It does not get any more American than that,” said Mae Dupp, a fictitious chef at the Culinary Arts Institute of Boston. “Sure, it takes a long time to cook, but so did democracy.”

Traditionally a Thanksgiving table will have a centerpiece, perhaps a cornucopia, to symbolize just the freaking shameless truckload of calories you are about to consume. Yawn. Every year looks like every other year.

Why not make this year’s table memorable with something which specifically evokes “2017,” like, say, a small festive handmade statue of your p***y-grabbing boss in handcuffs?

Your fireplace mantel nativity scene is traditional, and that is fine, but updating it a little can also add a certain verve to your home. As the years pass, decorating can get a tad predictable and musty. I have always felt that weaving in the new with the old is very important.

This year, how about modernizing the characters in the crèche; one of the three wise men, perhaps, offering the precious babe not frankincense or myrrh but a box of ammo?

Wreaths have undergone creative transformations in recent years, and often now consist of Christmas ornaments, candy canes, autumn leaves or candied fruit.

This year, the hottest trend uses the traditional, fragrant pine boughs, but interwoven are capsules of Potassium Iodide to quickly grab and save your thyroid gland in case this North Korean nuke thing goes sideways.

Most everybody loves pumpkin pie, but updating such common fare with the times is never easy. Except this year. Thanks to the president’s pardoning of Arizona's famously "toughest" sheriff, 2017's trend-makers have brought us "Pumpkin Arpaio."

The recipe is unchanged from any standard pumpkin pie, with the one addition in a separate bowl of powdered sugar, butter and milk for the frosting, to make it white.

Holiday fads come and go, and following the crowd is not always the best call. Cranberry sauce is cranberry sauce, unless it is a political statement (write me for ideas.) The important thing is to remember that unless we decide to respect each other, as a country, like all the glitziest Christmas trees this year, we’re flocked.

. . .

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Utensil Wars

And then one day I fully realized the power of the chopsticks lobby.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

An October we won’t soon forget...unfortunately

This whole October’s been one for the books
Not much on charm and certainly not looks

It started with a Vegas killing spree
and stopped with Manafort’s “Not guilty” plea

And in between we had the Weinstein mess
an avalanche of “me too’s” to depress

the sunniest of upbeat forward-lookers
and overwhelm those late night talk show bookers

Halperin, Besh, Savino and Toback
So many creeps, you reach for the Prozac

“Alleged” creeps (my bad) yet who can say
if this will be the start of a new day?

Kevin Spacey's reputation's hurting
Chickens home to roost, it's disconcerting

Is there a man with power in this land
who won't be mounting soon some witness stand?

The Dodgers won the Series, that was great!
Enough to make me wish for a Game Eight

Or did they lose, and have to hit the bricks?
(My deadline here was just after Game Six)

Some serious ball was played, that is for sure
But please let’s fix Justin Turner’s coiffeur

Trim the beard too, dude, please take my tip, sir
Your best look is not called “Brooklyn hipster”

The Northern California fires wrought Hell
Like Satan rang some cosmic dinner bell

Almost four dozen dead, dreams at an end
Who needs a gunman when you’ve got the wind?

In Spain the Catalonians took a leap
declaring independence, their odds steep

We’d crack down too if Florida tried to bail
(Well, maybe not, just raise a tall cocktail)

The Chargers and the Rams are less than stunning
Combine their wins and we'd be in the running

The L.A. Kings are having a heyday
(All due respect, I don't know where they play)

The Galaxy's win column's rather tiny
A burg like San Jose's kicking its hiney?!

Bring up the Lakers and you might provoke
upon your snoot a sudden, painful poke

This month took from us the great Tom Petty
He’s swathed, I hope, in cosmic confetti

The Reaper showed Fats Domino the door
Ain’t that a shame, he’ll rock and roll no more

A truck blast in Somalia killed scores
How quick we move on past now-common horrors

Even Halloween, that sweet dress-up day
Could not quite keep our real world pains at bay

By any measure, this month’s truly blown
I only hope we never see its clone

. . .