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 

. . .

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dressing up as a frog almost makes writer croak

They say that when you are called you must answer, and so it came to be last Saturday that I dressed up in public as a frog. 

Full disclosure: it was not the first time I had worn a character costume. Decades ago as a theater major I decided that any summer job I took would have to involve performing, and so I found myself on Friday nights dressed as a chipmunk at a local amusement park. My job was to grab an unsuspecting tourist and force her to square dance with me. 

Heel-toe-heel-toe, slide-slide-slide-slide. This was in the days when characters had screen mesh eyes you could sort of see out of, before hard plastic eye technology came in. You got a bit of a breeze. You could smell the popcorn. I absolutely wish that kind of job on every 19 year old. 

In high school I had starred in “Fiddler On The Roof,” but out in the real world I sweated inside a barrel of fur and occasionally got my tail tugged by unsupervised brats. 

There are pictures. They are not on Facebook. 

Nowadays I partake in an outdoor hobby which has, as its mascot, a frog. Several times a year there are huge events in which my kind gathers under one roof and buys hobby-based merch, swaps trinkets and gets their picture taken with their beloved frog. It is kind of like I imagine Friday nights are at the Kremlin.

As Saturday’s event approached, the call went out for volunteers to man the registration tables, stock supplies and so on. I emailed the organizer and offered to help. 

“How tall are you?” came the reply. 

Thus arose the age-old quandary—the truth or what it says on my resumé?

I sent back the truth and evidently I fit the right range for a certain pond-themed costume. So I slid back into the saddle after 37 years. It was like riding a bicycle, except 400 degrees hotter. I could not see much. I heard people squeal, then hug me and pose. I found myself inexplicably smiling for each camera, unseen inside my giant green head. 

Afterwards, in the changing room, stripping off my sweat-soaked clothes, I was reminded of that joke; somebody asks the poop-scooper man who cleans up after the elephants in the circus why he doesn’t quit that job. 

“What,” he says, “and give up show business?”

. . .

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New species of sea sponge does not live in a pineapple

You may think you have it bad, but try living 13,000 feet under the ocean on a metallic nodule. Scientists recently discovered an entirely new species of tiny sponge which does just that. And it’s not even rent-controlled, so have some perspective, people. We are fortunate to have one of these sponges with us today. 

GW: Greetings, Plenaster craigi, as I understand they have designated you.

Sponge: Pfft! Scientists. Am I right? I prefer Larry.

GW: O.K., Larry, I understand that you were only recently discovered?

Sponge: Um, by people, yeah. The lady sponges discovered old Larry a long time ago.

GW: How did you get acquired by the scientists?

Sponge: From far off there was this pinprick of light which got bigger and bigger until the sea floor was glowing, and I was plucked up into a basket. Next thing I knew, I was in a lab on a ship.

GW: They named you Plenaster because your backbone is made up of stars, something we don’t see a lot of in the animal kingdom.

Sponge: Thanks for noticing. I’m not vain, though. My backbone is generally stuck up against a rock, so I don’t get a lot of red carpet moments. 

GW: Yes, I keep hearing you sponges live on “metal-rich nodules” down there. 

Sponge: Yeah, people are talking about mining them for their copper and manganese and stuff. You know what happens then. There goes the neighborhood. 

GW: It’s not clear if mining can even be done at that depth. The water pressure is more than 5600 pounds per square inch. How do you even survive?

Sponge: You think that’s pressure? Try opening a movie on Memorial Day.

GW: You follow the film business?

Sponge: A little. I met SpongeBob Squarepants. He’s real down to earth. Living in a pineapple, though. That is totally now my dream. 

GW: If it’s not too personal, how do sponges reproduce?

Sponge: Well, that’s not really known by scientists yet, but between you and me, let’s just say some Barry White music comes into play.

GW: You get Barry White down there?

Sponge: Haven’t you seen those documentaries? Everything eventually ends up down there. 

GW: How does a sponge eat?

Sponge: I’m a filter feeder, an inhaler. I suck more than an Adam Sandler double feature. 

GW: Well, I hope your options have opened up a bit.

Sponge: Two words for you. Fat. Burger.

GW: Larry, let me tell you about a little something we call pizza.

. . . .

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saudi women finally allowed to drive...sort of

Last week Saudi Arabia announced it would finally allow women to get drivers licenses, despite protests by nobody. 

Well, there was this one old conservative cleric who, true story, objected because women “only have a quarter of a brain.” To be fair, he meant women’s capacities are diminished while out excitedly shopping, and that driving in that state would be dangerous. He was then banned by the government from preaching henceforth, and will be running for Congress in Alabama.

Saudi Arabia was perhaps the last country which overtly kept women from getting drivers licenses. While technically legal in Afghanistan, culturally speaking, women driving is still seen by men as equivalent to doing a public pole dance slathered in infidel butter. 

In America women tempt an equally violent reaction by appearing on Fox News as brunettes. 

The new law will not take effect for another nine months. Nine. Months. The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. explained the delay; “We have to make sure our streets are ready for a potential doubling in traffic.” 

If I can read between the lines, I think he really meant “We hope the world comes to an end in the next nine months so we won’t actually have to deal.” 

Other things Saudi women still cannot do:

Try on clothes while shopping. The mere idea of a woman in her underwear under the same roof as men who are strangers is apparently too heady. 

This is the party line, but I suspect that men just don’t want to be stuck outside a changing room when the game is about to come on. 

Visit cemeteries. The argument against women driving used to be that it would “harm their ovaries.” Maybe the same goes for being in close proximity to dead bodies. My suspicion is that the average ovary goes through a lot worse each month.

Saudi women cannot swim in a public pool with men, exercise at a gym with men, sit in a Starbucks with men, or enter a bank through the same entrance as men. 

On the plus side, they can totally marry whoever their male guardian agrees to, or sign a contract with his approval, or get divorced if he gives the O.K. Recently a woman’s right to have surgery without a male guardian’s approval was legalized. 

Next June she will able to drive to the operation in a car, unchaperoned. Well, as long as her male guardian says it’s O.K. to leave the house. 

. . . . .

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Waters to world: stop making scents

We do not appreciate what we have until it’s gone, as they say, and this is certainly true of deodorant. Major retail stores seem to have gotten together to stop selling the scent which I identify as me. 

So for months now I have been smelling like some other guy, someone probably not as attractive but maybe with more hair. My arm pits currently evoke a guy who definitely drives something I don’t. I’ll never know what. 

It is surprising the power which scent has over us to evoke memories, people, moments. I did not notice scent, really, until my first girlfriend in high school. If I smelled her brand of shampoo on someone tomorrow, there is no doubt I would have flashbacks like they have in movies—first kiss, walking from Lit holding hands, slow dancing in the dark, begging her to take me back over the phone. 

I could not tell you the shampoo’s brand name, but they should have called it LoveStinks. 

I grew up using Prell shampoo, because that is what my mom bought. The TV ads for it showed them dropping a single fat pearl in the top of the bottle and watching it slowly sink to the bottom. This expressed, I guess, that Prell was wonderfully viscous. Or that elegant people had really simple tastes in visual entertainment. 

It was sold in glass bottles back then, because the world did not hold enough menace already. It smelled like mom, and Cold War.

It is hard to convince people that a little scent goes a long way. Teen boys are notorious for overdoing it. Stores should sell that teen stuff in tiny canisters like pepper spray, behind locked glass cases like spray paint. If you ever drive a carload of teen dudes somewhere, your upholstery is done. You might as well just Thelma and Louise that sucker. You’ll never resell it. 

I work at a public desk, so I am exposed to a lot of people’s fragrances. Perfume, skin lotion, pot smoke. It is surprising how few people understand that cigarettes are basically incense for your face. I guess we don’t smell ourselves, really, unless something seems off. 

Speaking of which, I found my old deodorant online, so after this other guy’s brand runs out I guess I will reclaim myself, olfactorally speaking. Not that you’ll notice. I hope.