Sunday, December 30, 2018

Patreon week

My column, about New Year's Eves I recall, is available this week to Patreon subscribers. Thank you for your support!

Monday, December 24, 2018

New Christmas Carols For These Times

There was a time when having a dark sense of humor just made you seem negative, and a little weird. I think a dark sense of humor has, in recent years, become a necessary coping superpower. 

"Zuckerberg Is Doubling Down" 

(To the tune of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town")

You better log out, you better comply
better bail out, I'm telling you why—
Zuckerberg is not backing down...

He's checking your history and it's nice
to sell it to Amazon for a price
Zuckerberg is doubling down

You might think that it's creepin'
Your IP address to take
He knows better than hackers could
all your pics of that beefcake

Oh! You could do without that Jeff Bezos guy
He and the Zuck don't need private eyes
Your priv'cy is gettin' shook down

"Awake In The White House"

(To the tune of "Away In A Manger")

Awake in the White House
No need to feel dread
The president (Jesus!)
won't worry his head

The stars from the movies
Can say what they say
The president (Jesus!!)
Is tweeting away

The blowhard is blowing
No spell-check he makes
As belly laughs seize us
He airs bellyaches

I love it when (Jesus!!!)
Crap flows from this guy
Please let me preside
When they declassify

Be near me, if (Jesus!!!!)
They let this putz stay
I'll hold forth forever
With wry play-by-play

Bless all the brown children
Encaged in despair
But don't judge me, Heaven,
I sent Trumpy Bears

"Frosty the Puddle
(To the tune of "Frosty the Snowman")

Frosty the Puddle
Melted down into a hole
Thanks to climate change, well now we all know
You can blame a lot on coal

Frosty the Puddle
Couldn't keep that heat at bay
So then Frosty cried when
He realized
He'd be mist by Christmas Day

His melting down was graphic
As his carrot hit the ground
We knew that he was almost dead
By the awful gurgling sound

Frosty the Puddle
Was as wet as he could be
And his dank bouquet
Kept the kids away
Plus his fate they could foresee

Frosty the Puddle
Tried to make his thoughts array
But his smarts had run
Like the setting sun
And his limbs had gone astray

So vast was the spillage
Drinking up, a thirsty band
Of some birds, a bear and a little hare
Then kersplash! a moving van

He looked around as the sun beat down
On that forlorn blacktop
Then a basset hound jumped into him—
a perfect belly flop!

Frosty the Puddle
Saw his doom as plain as day
He'd have waved goodbye
But his wet was dry
Raise a glass to him today

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Things too hard to toss

There are two things people are unable to bring themselves to throw away—old keys and National Geographic magazines. Well, three. Books. Most books. At my library, people donate to our used book store all manner of unsaleable gems. Computer textbooks from 1985, religious pamphlets, microwave oven manuals. This comes from the ancient human impulse which goes all the way back to when a caveman first set a meatless elk skeleton at a crossroads "just in case somebody can use it." 

Humans collect keys. They pile up in empty peanut cans in the garage or gather on key-rings hung in the kitchen cupboard. Why? BECAUSE THEY "GO TO" SOMETHING. How will I ever unlock the things these keys go to if I throw them away? Yet once the collection gets past five keys, no human on Earth has ever had the will to methodically take them around to items with keyholes and test them. We intend to. Some day, when there's time. We intend to see the Northern Lights some day too.

National Geographic magazines are the most beautifully produced things humans have managed to achieve thus far, plus they are ringed with a golden border. You can't just throw something ringed with a golden border in the trash! Each issue contains fascinating, surprising insights about our world which, before Facebook, could only be found within. And the pictures! They are art and science in one. A horde of very bright people put together each issue. And every human on Earth bought one, even in outer Mongolia, and then stored it in his garage or tool yurt. 

Once we have learned, from a golden-bordered copy, all there is to learn about, say, the radioactive reindeer of Chernobyl, we store it, and store the next issue and the next, until we have what is known, in scientific terms, as a "sh*t-ton." Then, in a rare fit of non-procrastination, we take this in boxes to the library, where maybe somebody can use them. People who have never seen them can use them, absolutely. These people do not exist on Earth.  

Everyone who has ever lived has dropped off three cases of pristine, golden-bordered beauties at the library, but the library already has bound copies, collected by year, going back to 1934. So that leaves the used book store, but they receive roughly four sh*t-tons every week, so they become your surrogate. They do the dirty deed. They toss them in the trash for you. You don't have to witness the discarding of a fellow human's hard intellectual efforts. I am not judging. I absolve you. It is a difficult thing to see. A lot of people, from the slaughterhouse to Congress, do things we need done but don't want to behold.

Come January 1st, a new show on Netflix debuts, starring Marie Kondo. She is the author of the wild best-seller from a few years ago, "The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up." Her clutter-reducing philosophy is basically hey, if it's not a functional item, a pot or steam iron or bath towel, and it doesn't bring you joy, toss it. Seriously. Joy. That is a high bar to get over. Kondo would toss your clump of old keys so fast. Sayonara, radioactive reindeer!

In the preview, she appears at people's doors like a tiny Japanese Mary Poppins, and commences kicking clutter's ass. I will be all over that show. What's more fun than watching other people make hard, mature decisions without making them yourself? Is "clutter porn" a term? There's a lot to unpack here. I wonder where I left those keys.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Letters to Santa in this political climate / exclusive this week

My column this week, letters to Santa which reveal the toxic political climate we are living in, is available only to my Patreon subscribers. Also a vintage column about the things, in middle age, that I have in common with my dog Skipper, and sound recordings of my columns from the last month. Thanks again for your support.