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." 

. . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Inspected by WHO?

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Utensil Wars

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How fast will your country dissolve? Take this quiz!

It is widely understood that our country is at its most divided since, well, since the Patriots’ win last February. Take the quiz below to find out if you know as much as you think you know about your country’s pending descent into idiocracy. 

1. Which divides faster? 

a)      Cancer cells
b)      Party guests discussing taking a knee
c)      Party guests discussing Starbucks holiday cups
d)      A house divided against itself 

2. The word “Kaepernick” refers to: 

a)      Santa’s cousin
b)      A demon sent from the Underworld to dig up our forefathers’ babies and spit on them
c)      Shooting yourself in the foot in order to help stop others from getting shot higher up
d)      A subject more toxic to friendships than the electoral college 

3. Niger is: 

a)      The new Benghazi!
b)      Misspelled
c)      A rare American ally against Islamic militants in Africa
d)      Now hiring! 

4. The recent story that Hillary Clinton sold uranium to Russia for millions in personal profit strikes me as: 

a)      Unassailable truth
b)      Demonstrably false
c)      A laughably transparent attempt by Canada to attract U.S. immigrants
d)      A good excuse to splurge on that lead-lined Hello Kitty raincoat I’ve had my eye on 

5. Assault weapons should be: 

a)      Banned
b)      Mounted on vehicles, for purely defensive purposes, I swear
c)      Paired with grenades, ideally, for a nice finish
d)      Cheaper 

6. The purported “genocide on white people” in the U.S. is: 

a)      A good start
b)      A comically thin premise for the next “Fifty Shades” book
c)      Totally foreshadowed (see: Crazy Horse v. George Custer, 1876)
d)      A term only being used because “White Lives Matter” was already trademarked 

7. Global warming is: 

a)      Great news for Speedo salesmen
b)      Part of a natural cycle the Earth goes through every 12,000 years, which it calls its “mammal squeegee”
c)      A hoax perpetuated by the Clintons and their ilk, and if you didn’t think there was an ilk, oh, there’s an ilk
d)      Not as bad as that last “Pirates” movie 

8. Complete the sentence. “I think America needs to be...” 

a)      Made great again
b)      More open to Cosby’s side of things
c)      Renamed AMelania
d)      More like a fruitcake—nauseating, impervious, eternal  

If most of your answers were: 

a, You miss George McGovern
b, You watch Fox News even while you  sleep
c, You think Libertarian is a race horse
d, You realize this quiz is as bogus as everything you think you know 

. . .

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Patience is its own reward

Sheesh. And after I had been holding it all day in anticipation, too...

 . . .

Guest Wa Pic courtesy of Kelso Greg.

Thank you!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Overpopulation's upside

 You knew eventually once the market was glutted they'd just start giving them away.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Dude, who stole my hygiene?

 Because for dudes too lazy to apply deodorant, biodegradability is a key selling point.

 . . .

Guest Wa pic courtesy of Elana & Emily. 

"When we see things like this, we think of you..." Yeah, a lot of people do. 

Thank you!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - The fix is in. But it doesn't have to be...

 When you have had it up to HERE with repairs. Join the resistance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Delicious after a few snorts at the bar bar

Reportedly a favorite snack of Jar Jar.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Viewing total eclipse in Wyoming a profound experience

In Wyoming last Monday morning I stood amongst sweet-smelling sagebrush on a high promontory and watched the sun totally get its hiney handed to it. 

The moon just floated up in there at exactly the right angle and, shoomp, the world around me became dark, cool and so quiet you could almost hear my friend Bob refilling his cup from the boxed wine. 

I am joking, of course. There was whooping. Near-religious spectacles call for whooping. 

I filmed myself, just in case I wept, which I hear people do at a total eclipse, or fell to my knees, or was converted on the spot to the Republican party. It turns out that in the face of once-in-a-lifetime, awe-inspiring views, I tend to look like I am watching a really high altitude documentary about adjustable rate mortgages. 

I did choke up a bit, then became aware I was choking up, then thought “why are you choking up?” Right there is the history of my people. 

Apparently, any given spot on Earth will have a total solar eclipse every 350 years or so. Not patient enough for that kind of wait, my other friend Greg is an eclipse chaser. This was his fifth. A professor of physics, he brought two big telescopes and filmed the thing. 

In contrast, the other two dozen of us mostly sat in camp chairs drinking Arnold Palmers and munching banana bread. Each of us channels his inner scientist in his own way. 

I will never forget the perfect black sphere of the moon silhouetted by the wispy white corona of the sun, but mainly I will remember the way the dark fell. In a span of five seconds day became night, and the primal fear which each of us has inside, going all the way back, was triggered and just as quickly countered. Some whooped, some wowed, some sat slack-jawed, but all, I am sure, felt the same thing—we are tiny. We…are…tiny.

The drive back to the airport, hundreds of miles from the viewing, was a traffic jam of L.A.-on-Thanksgiving-morning proportions, extended the entire day. One little girl in a small town, trying to capitalize on the massive flow of potential customers, paced the sidewalk holding up a sign: “Shave Ice.” 

I wanted to get home, everybody did, but if she had just flipped the sign around, revealing the words, “See you in 350 years,” I would have been her first customer. 

. . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Guess they were ready for their closeup

That feeling when they steal your security camera. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A road trip to the Great American Eclipse

Not since the Civil War has the country been so completely split, so upheaved, so divided into two camps—going to the eclipse, and not going. 

Going to the totality, I mean, the total eclipse experience in which half the U.S. population tries to cram itself into a 75-mile wide swath of land 2800 miles long. It is deeply appropriate that this rare spectacle on the American continent will result in the most American of pastimes—massive traffic jams and novelty t-shirt sales. 

My friends have been planning their trip to the totality zone for years, but I did not commit. I figured it would occur around the time school started back up for my wife and son, and I should be around for support. Then I caught eclipse fever, and support be damned. 

I caught it late, with less than three weeks to spare, and when I checked, lodgings for one night in the area I wanted to visit cost $1000. For that kind of money, I had better be seeing “Hamilton” get between me and the sun.

Luckily my long-planning friend said just come out and we’ll find a place for you, so as you read this, I am driving across Wyoming. To get in the mood, I wanted to get an audio book with a story set in the state, but “Brokeback Mountain” was not owned by any of my libraries. 

Others, like “Savage Thunder” and “Trailer Trash” were already checked out. I finally settled on “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There is no Wyoming connection, but it involves people being awed by an incredible spectacle, so close enough.

I have watched several videos online of people experiencing a total solar eclipse, so I can observe proper eclipse etiquette. Evidently, to fit in, I should do this:

As the moon starts to blot out the sun, say “Whoa, it’s getting darker.”

When the eclipse is in full effect, express my awe by whooping like I am at a football game, perhaps my first ever football game, after drinking my first ever beer.

That pretty much covers it.

Since we are spending the night outside the totality zone, then driving 80 or 90 miles into it on eclipse morning, a monster traffic jam is my greatest fear. That, and there is currently a 20% chance of rain. But whatever happens, the t-shirt is going to be epic. 

. . .

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Getting Faced

Half off this month for politicians looking to save.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Niche Market

Not only do they block UV rays, they live-stream C-SPAN. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Tree advice

  Normally I don't listen to trees, but...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

“What a panda thinks when you tap on his window glass”

When I go to the zoo I like to imagine what the animals think of us humans, because I already know what I think. I picture a panda sitting on the ground clearing bamboo branch after bamboo branch like corn on the cob. He stares idly at the crowd pressed up against the observation window and he ponders:

Who on Earth told her that blouse was attractive?

Yeah, just keep tapping on that glass, kid. We’ll see what happens.

I wonder what evil curse caused such widespread hairlessness.

I wish I had a mate I could nudge and then head-gesture at the guy in the short-shorts.

Kid, seriously. Pandas are not known for throwing their poo, but you are moving it waaay up my to-do list.

Sriracha bamboo. Somebody send me a scientist who can teach me how to hand-sign that, stat.

Dude, I literally spend 12 hours a day eating, but you look like you've got me beat.

You people act like you've never seen adorable before.

I am coming for you in your dreams, tapping boy.

Take the glass from the window and this whole scene would have a very different vibe.

They say there are only a couple thousand of us left on Earth, but the world is peopled with sunscreened yokels from sea to sea. Need I explain further my atheism?

That little girl! Her eyes so full of love and wonder. Now I feel guilty.

My “keepers” are not bad guys, but would it kill them to “accidentally” drop a burger in this mofo now and then?

You know what creeps me out? Giraffes. Oh man. Weird. 

Stop eyeballing my bamboo, dude. The churro cart’s behind you.

Why is it you all have words on your clothing but you still talk so much?

I know your parents dragged you here and you really just want to see the kangaroos, but could you at least fake looking fascinated?

You are looking at my opposable sixth finger, aren’t you? Just a nub, really. Not legit enough to call a thumb, but it works. Some say it’s proof of evolution, but let’s not open a can of worms. Ooh, is that a rainbow sno-cone?

Bamboo. Seriously, you kale freaks should come on board. 

Aaaand we’re closed. Good. Maybe now I can finish that haiku. Let’s see.

Panda in the zoo
Mating once every two years
Hey, no pressure, right?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My father's balled socks, and other things I miss

It's funny the things you remember about your dad once he is gone. 
He had this sock drawer. In it, his socks were balled together like little fruits, different colors, so alien to my own socks, all white, which got folded in half in long flat lines by my mother. 
He did a lot of domestic chores differently than she, who was eight years his junior. "I was balling socks when you were still in diapers," he would say, or "I was already making beds when you were..." 

He had hankies in the drawer too, those red patterned ones like cowboys wore, or white for when he might need to blow his nose in church. Hankies were from a time when men wore hats. Gone, like my dad. 
Hankies and hats seem like vestiges from another era, when the planet was still cooling, maybe, and men had a lot more head colds. These days, aside from hipsters, the only hats men wear are ball caps, as if we are all inexplicably, as a gender, off-season outfielders. 

My dad never wore a ball cap in his life, but he did have a "rain hat," an old brown Indiana Jones style fedora he wore doing outdoor work in bad weather. It looked like rats had made an appetizer of the brim, then realized they could do better. 
In the summer he would wear his "fun hat," one of those floppy cloth fishing hats into which you are supposed to stick your fly fishing lures. Before leaving on a family road trip, he would appear in it. Without it, the fun could not officially begin.

My dad did a lot of physical labor, and eventually his work shirts would get thin and begin to have holes and rips in them. Maybe we kids grabbed him once and accidentally made one of the holes bigger, and then he said go for it; I can't remember. But my sister and I ripped the old shirt right off him, tore it to shreds, as if he were some geriatric Incredible Hulk, too infirm to bust out of it himself. Ever after, whenever one of his work shirts got threadbare he would don it so we kids could rip it off him. 
I am going to assume your family had this tradition too.

The saddest day I know of is the day you go without once thinking about your old man. This is not one of those days. 
. . .


Sunday, June 11, 2017

So much to know; so little time

I am in my fifties, and I am just beginning to realize that I may not be able to know everything before I kick off. If I see a new book on genetics I think, "That would be a fascinating field," before I remember I am on a rather short actuarial leash. 

The Centers for Disease Control say I only have another decade, while the government says expect 25 more years, probably just so they can keep collecting my taxes. Uncle Sam deals in hope, but he deals from the bottom of the deck.

I guess it is true what they say. Actually, my memory is starting to go, so I can't remember what they say, but you probably can. It's pithy. I remember that it's pithy. 

When I was 18, I was proudest when I won a track race. Now I am proudest in that moment when a person I know is approaching me but their name has evaporated from my brain pan, and I only have two seconds, and I'm toast, and then it pops into my head and I deliver. Small victories. 

My cuticles are fantastic too.

I thought memory problems were supposed to come later in life, but I forget where I heard that. 

I know people my age who sometimes refer to themselves as in the "second half" of their lives, and I would love to source that math. We are down to the final third, kiddos, and that's if we're lucky; that's if the Grim Reaper treats his gig like government work.

There is so much I still want to know about red pandas and kinkajous and the Byzantine Empire. Manatees. The films of Julie Christie. String Theory, fennec foxes, all 10 plays in Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle. All of Dostoevsky and Twain. Fabergé eggs, dark matter, the composition of the Earth's core, why nature made naked mole rats nudists, the Fermi Paradox, why a whiff of my first girlfriend's shampoo on a total stranger can still put my heart in my throat. 

I know 25 years sounds like a lot, but not when you want to know everything. I may even have just enough time to come around to jazz, but I am cutting it awfully close. 

I mostly want to know why, since there is so little time, I spend so much of it checking whether anybody "liked" my post about that puppy chasing fireflies. Shouldn't I BE that puppy, aloft, reaching, gobsmacked with wonder?

. . .