Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Candidates Line Up for Illinois Election

With Democratic leaders calling for indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagovich to resign, it seems clear that a runoff election will soon be coming to the Land of Lincoln. As such, numerous would-be Governors are flooding the state with applications to make sure that they can get a shot at being governor of the incoming president's home state.

The current leading candidate is former NFL star OJ Simpson, who hopes his experience outrunning federal prosecutors will allow him to avoid the fate of the last two governors.

Also expressing interest is longtime Democratic standard-bearer Al Gore, who feels that the state's proximity to the water and several fine all-you-can-eat buffets makes it the optimum location to continue hectoring citizens about the coming global apocalypse.

A popular dark horse candidate is California Governor and Republican Arnold Swartzenegger, although he would like to churn out a few more wretched movies before driving another state into the ground.

Bill Clinton has been mentioned as a possible successor, but politely declined, saying he's holding out for something more prestigious than a mere governorship, perhaps working with young, ambitious men and women, helping them learn vital skills that will help them succeed in business and politics in the future.

Most surprising of all, though, is that former Illinois senator Barack Obama has tossed his hat into the ring, saying that not only does he love campaigning, but he also hopes to burnish his meager credentials with some executive experience before trying to make the jump "to prime time."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plebian and the Mysterious Missing Classmate

I received the strangest call the other day. It was round about 7, and I was drying my daughter's hair, when the phone rang. Like a good homeowner, I answered it, and for my troubles I was met by static.

After a few moments, I was able to discern just a few things:

*The person on the other line knew me (they did, after all, refer to me by name).

*They were calling from the International Space Station, evidently deep within the Van Allen belt, because all I could hear was massive static.

So I instructed them to wait and call me back in a few minutes, to see if that would alleviate the problem. They did indeed call back a few minuets later, and I was able to figure out a few more things:

*They had gone to high school with me (they did, I think, refer to the proper high school)

*Their name was either Tom Simpson, Pete Krugerand, or Funky Winkerbean, I'm not sure which, and I couldn't understand through the scratching when I asked him to spell it out for me what the name should be.

At this point, and despite my protestations, Funky insisted on asking "So…SCRATCH-HISS-SCRATCH…do you…SCRATCH…ember…HISS…me?...SCRATCH"

"No, but I might if I knew who you were!" I insisted. The first two I'd never heard of, and I never cared for Funky Winkerbean anyways. Stupid band geek.

"Oh," the dude sounded really disappointed. "Oh, I see...SCRATCH! HISS!"

"HEY!" I yelled. "I'd probably know who you were if I could understand you! You've gotta call me back on a different line so I can understand you!"

And at this point, the line went dead.

Great. Just great. This is going to bother me for the rest of my life, you know?

And I can just see the headlines now:

"Beloved local businessman Funky Winkerbean committed suicide this evening, leaving a note behind saying that he's tired of going unnoticed in this faceless society. Funky was despondent because his dearest childhood friend forgot all about him and hung up on him earlier in the evening."

The funny thing is, Wifey has gone certifiably around the bend over this. Listen, it's no real hair off my ass if I reconnect with Funky one way or the other. Sure, it'd be nice to know who it was that called me, but he probably was just trying to trap me into buying him dinner so he could have me drugged and extract my liver to sell it to an organ trafficking ring.

Because that happens to me all the time.

But for Wifey this has become a quest. She's hunted down all the people we still keep in touch with from high school and asked both of them if they'd handed our number out. Which they hotly deny, but I swear one of them has beady eyes and I never trusted her anyways and she probably put us up on the bathroom wall under the line "for a good time call…"

So, on the off chance that one of my 40 readers is either my old friend Pete Simpson or Tom Krugerand, please be sure to call me back, because I'd really like to talk to you and catch up about old times, and I'm sure I'll fake remembering you better once we get off of a terribly staticy line.

If it's Funky, though, well; lose my number. And don't bother asking why, you know the answer!

Monday, December 1, 2008

On Teenage Values

Over the past forty years, some groups have gone to great pains to “liberate” women and convince them that they are equal to men in every way, most importantly by freeing them from ancient constraints on having liberal amounts of sex with any toothy metrosexual of their choosing.

Naturally, this liberated attitude has spread from the 20-something set, and now we are not only suffering from the stories of saggy-breasted swingin’ grandmas going to key parties, but more and more we learn that there is a veritable army of trampy bimbos in high schools across the land eager to outdo each other in proving that they are eager to bed any jagoff with an earring and pants whose seat drags the ground.

This is wrong, and it threatens to destroy the very fabric of society.

It used to be that, if you wanted to get a polite kiss on the cheek, you had to take a girl out to dinner, then some sort of amusement, such as a movie, paying spectacle, or any number of fine miniature golf/bowling establishments. After you’d done this every other week for 3 to 6 months, you could arrange to have “car trouble” and, after a heavy petting session, perhaps convince her to have negotiations with your “silent partner.”

As you can imagine, this did not come cheap: there was food to buy, gas to purchase, diversions to arrange and pay for, and angry parents to dodge. And we won’t even begin to discuss the investment necessary to “go all the way”, up to and including purchasing the plastic diving bell for your little Nemo before he goes twenty thousand leagues under the girl, one of the more humiliating life experiences for a seventeen-year-old.

However, as the grainy health film they’d shown us in sixth grade drove home, the next time you had unprotected sex a bacteria known as Penus Falloffus would infest your testicles causing, among other things, jock itch and erectile dysfunction.

And having no penis will be difficult to explain in a locker room of wiser boys, all of whom spend an inordinate amount of time staring at each other’s genitals and going “how did you get that festering welt in your Johnson area?”

In order to meet the economic needs of high-class ladies (the ones that didn’t smoke nor go with boys much larger than you), you needed to make money. And since time immemorial, during the fall teenage boys have made money via the most noble of professions: leaf raking.

Here’s how it works: you pick a big house owned by an elderly widow, you take your rake, and you show up one morning and offer to rake the entire yard for ten bucks. She agrees, and an hour or two later you’re ten bucks richer, you’ve eaten some cookies and lemonade, and if she’s a particularly desperate widow you’ve received an offer which you politely declined but which you wonder about during dark nights of the soul for the rest of your life.

[If you accepted the offer, you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting it, unless you enjoyed it, in which case you’ve just discovered your true calling: gigolo.]

Of course, ten bucks isn’t much, so you have to do this over and over. And eventually you run out of widows, so you move down to the elderly, then simply the lazy, and eventually (if there are enough teenagers in town) you’ll rake leaves for anybody who pays you ten bucks.

This does not happen, of course, if there are sluttily-writhing teenage girls under every other section of bleachers. In this case every zit-farmer just goes dragging his tool kit through the dirt, and eventually he finds some girl who’s just desperate to look cool, and that’s it. And what with “hip” parents and these giveaway clinics, you don’t even have to buy the latex spacesuit before you send Buck Rogers down to check out Planet Hooch.

And this is wrong.

Worse, this irresponsible behavior is responsible for hundreds of deaths in the North and Midwest every year, because these same teenage boys used to fill up their Nookie Fund in the winter by shoveling driveways.

But without them, fat old men are dying by the droves as they try, desperately, to get the driveway cleared so they can make their weekly run down to the VFW to complain about kids nowadays. And the complaints aren’t going to make themselves, you know.

So I implore all teenage girls out there to just cross their legs and hold out for dinner and a show. Really, it’s not too much to ask.

If you won’t do it for the elderly widows who need their yard raked, then at least do it for the fat, old men who are keeling over just because you couldn’t hold out for dinner and a show before you turned into Sharon Stone, minus the icepick, but probably plus better acting skills, because let’s face it, your paramours don’t have the benefits of being trained by an elderly widow.

In the end, you’ll be getting something, too. Trust me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pleb the Builder!

One of the chief disagreements that Wifey and I have had regarding our charming European home is the lighting in the living space on the ground floor. This common area houses both our living and our dining room, and in the past we have illuminated it via several Ikea pole lamps.

I like Ikea pole lams. They’re cheap, which is nice. They’re portable, which is also nice. And when your spouse turns them off, if she does it slowly you can imagine that you’re at an upscale gentleman’s club and she’s about to give you a private dance, particularly if you choose that moment to jam a fiver in her panties and grope her.

Or maybe that’s just me. Okay, I don’t use the fiver, but I do grope. It’s one of the best non-verbal ways to say “I love you”, right?

Wifey, however, does not like the pole lamps. In fact, she finds the bottom level of our house much like a dungeon: dark, cold, and filled with people that she really doesn’t care for.

Some time ago, I accidentally installed a new wall lamp in one corner of the room. This unit has been operating now for a month without either burning the house down or going on the fritz, so Wifey decided to give me a little more challenge: she bought a chandelier.

I came home from work one evening to discover the thing in a box on the table, and her proudly telling me that she’d gotten it on sale: only sixty euros. That’s a hundred bucks in non-Monopoly money, which is actually pretty good for lamps here.

Needless to say, I was terribly excited with the thought of climbing atop a ladder, drilling holes in the ceiling, and hanging a forty-pound mass of metal and glass directly overhead. So I did what any husband does when faced with a similar situation: I procrastinated.

Weeks passed, and although eating around the box with the chandelier posed some problems, it eventually got to where we viewed it as one of the family. It was a lot less trouble than the kids, I can tell you that.

All that changed Friday . Wifey went out with friends, and I had to cut out of work early to pick up our children. Plus the two children of her friend. Plus the daughter of a woman that we don’t particularly care for but whom Wifey shuttles around sometimes. Other than the times that she gets so annoying you want to toss her in a creek in a burlap sack, this kid’s not so bad. So I hear; I spend all my time with her looking for burlap sacks.

Well, we got home, and the children went upstairs to play. I was a little disgruntled with Wifey, so I decided that the best way to take it out on her was to finally hang this stupid chandelier.

No, I hadn’t been drinking, but I do suspect mental illness played a strongly contributing role here.

I got the mounting bracket up, then hung the thing up, then realized it was time to go again, in order to get all the children ferried to their varying activities. “I’ll be back,” I said to the unwired chandelier waiting for me.

Jokingly, I told the children I was going to leave it hanging a few hours to see if it fell down.

Several hours later, we returned, to find not only Wifey but also the chandelier, right where they should be. Wifey was somewhat less than impressed, as the chandelier didn’t yet work, but did appropriately ooh and aah that I’d gotten it hung.

She did not ooh and aah when I said “if you think it’s hung well, come check me out.”

Come Saturday morning, I jumped on the task with both feet: Operation Light-the-damn-dining-room had begun! I spent some time swearing, splicing wires, and getting everything just so. My shoulders aching, I prepared to make the final tie-in of wires to chandelier.

“Do you want me to do anything?” Wifey asked.

Since children were present, I couldn’t say what I was thinking, so instead I opted for “just sit there and look pretty. I’ve got it all under control.”

Just as I said this, the house leapt six feet into the air. Either that, or the chandelier fell six feet as I knocked it off its hanger. The net effect was the same: with a loud crash, glass went everywhere, Wifey’s table, which she loves, was brutally scratched, and I had just payed a sixty-euro dumbass handyman tax to stimulate the local economy.

Wifey’s chandelier, whom I had eaten dinner next to every night for the past three weeks, was utterly destroyed.

Have you ever done something stupid, and just after, wished that you’d be injured so that you’d get some sympathy instead of blame? I felt just like that. In fact, I leapt off the ladder, hoping to break my leg or shove a shard of glass through my foot, but instead I ended up just smashing more glass flat.

If you thought the house was cold before, it was nothing compared to how cold it was gonna be, trust me.

“Never mind,” I said. “We’ll just pop out and get another lamp, right?”

“Wha?” Wifey had lost all capacity for rational speech. “Guh?”

“Great! Let’s go!”

So off we went. Turns out, though, the lamps were on sale for a limited time only, and now cost 120 euros. Well, not so bad: almost 200 euros for a lamp. Still less than I expected to pay. Right? Right?

“Hey,” I joked. “You wanna get two for when I smash this one also?”

This joke did not pan out as I had hoped.
Upon return to the house, I did what I should have done in the first place: I punished the children and sent them to their rooms. Helps me focus. Then, with a degree of skill that would make any home-improvement Bob from Vila to Thebuilder jealous, I wired up and hung my very own lamp.

And lo and behold, there was light. Lots of light. The bottom floor is now no longer dark. It’s still cold and full of objectionable people, but I’ll be darned if I’m moving out or paying exorbitant heating rates.

I have, however, moved all those Ikea stripper-pole lamps up to the bedroom, where they belong.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cultists, the NFL, and you

Some people worry about foreign strife, while others are kept up at night by a tanking economy. But unlike such ephemeral concerns, the thing that worries me is that a current NFL personality will start up a cult of personality that will end up making the Manson Family look like the Simpsons.

Okay, that was a bad analogy, because the Simpsons are awful, and just watching them will make you want to gouge your eyes out. How about they make the Manson Family look like the Osmond Family?

You're probably thinking to yourself: there goes Plebian, being crazy and worrying about something that could never possibly happen, and making up exaggerated scenarios for comedic effect.

Well, you've got some nerve, you know that?

Anyways, think about all the cult-like leaders currently roaming the landscape in the NFL right now. Think about the disproportionate influence that previous NFL personalities have held over this country's culture in the past. Why, Jim Brown alone was responsible for 23% of all Blaxploitation films in the early 70's.

Here are the guys I'm keeping an eye on:

Brett Favre

I once had a sportswriter friend who criticized Brett Favre at a Sports Illustrated Christmas party, saying that he threw too many interceptions and his personality was essentially Terrell Owens, only without the charm. They never found the guy's body.

Really, has anybody ever enjoyed the free pass from criticism that Favre has enjoyed throughout his career? From flagrantly mispronouncing his name to screwing his former team (in a plethora of ways), Favre can do no wrong for fans and the media bobbleheads.

How can I get to be Favrian? "Well, you cost the company six gagillion dollars, but it was a gutsy move to gamble all our money on 00 on the roulette wheel, so I'll let it pass. Just try to be more careful in the future, okay?"

Cult-O-Meter Risk: LOW. If he did start a cult, it'd probably get intercepted by the Feds pretty quickly.

Norv Turner

Everybody knows Norv Turner's downsides: he looks like a creepy neighbor you expect to turn up on one of those "Wanted" posters in the post office, his only claim to coaching genius is being lucky enough to have Troy Aikman, Emmet Smith, and Michael Irvin on his offense, and his teams are perennially tagged as "underachieving" without anyone ever pausing to think that maybe it reflects on him.

The potential upside to having Norv Turner as your coach? You'll get a new coach within a few years who can rebuild the shattered husk of a team he leaves behind. Note that this didn't work out so well for Oakland, though.

One amusing thing is watching sportswriters and bloggers continue to labor to find excuses for why San Diego "underachieves" without throwing up their hands and saying "look, obviously, the guy sucks as a coach."

Cult-O-Meter Risk: NEGATIVE. Turner would probably take over a successful cult, but then run it into the ground and end up turning all the members Presbyterian or something. Any chance we can get him into Scientology?

Heath Shuler

How is it that an average college quarterback for Tennessee got so heavily drafted, deep-sixed his own career with an ill-advised holdout, flamed out in the NFL, then got elected as a Representative for North Carolina, and is now being touted for the Senate?

I dunno, but it doesn't happen without some really creepy explanation involving either pictures, fraud, or mass hysteria. And great cults are built on all of those things.

Plus, the chant factor for his name is pretty high: "Shuuuuulllleeeeer." Go on, say it. Just not while smoking dope, or you'll end up peeling him grapes in your underwear. And trust me, that's no picnic.

Cult-O-Meter Risk: MEDIUM. Did you know that he has a realty business based in Tennessee, yet is a Representative from North Carolina? If he starts nosing around Guyana, we'll bump him up to SEVERE immediately.

Tony Romo

Not only does he have Favrian-level apologists who never point out that he chokes in big games, and not only does he have movie-star good looks, and not only does he have hagiographic media coverage, he has the praise of Jessica Simpson, saying that he's "calmed her down."

Anybody who can calm down a Hollywood Starlet has Rasputian powers beyond wildest imaginings.

And that's without starting to discuss T.O. shedding great big tears over him.

Cult-O-Meter Risk: BE AFRAID. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why I Love Toyota's 'Saved By Zero'

And why you should, too. Let us count the ways:

1) It's from a car company that's not begging for billions of dollars in tax money so it can continue to hemmorhage cash.

2) Anything that keeps The Fixx off the streets is a good thing. It's been a long time since "One Thing Leads to Another", you know? They could use the residuals. Either you let Toyota pay them, or next thing you know they'll be in the bailout line, too. And next you'll have Thomas Dolby and Rockwell asking for a handout to boot. Are you ready for that?

3) Peter King hates it (point 8b). And if it gets under the skin of an odius hypocrite like King, then it must be for the good of society.

4) ESPN's Sportsguy hates it too (point 17)! It's like garlic for Boston Red Sox fans or something! And Lord knows we need something to repel them. Somebody start playing this outside Ben Affleck's latest movie set, stat, and save us from another Fever Pitch debacle.

5) Anything that sets off those two I back whole-heartedly, in an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of way. If I still read Dr. Z, I bet I'd find the trifecta of evil are united against this commercial, making it the new James Bond.

6) I live in Europe, so I don't see US commercials, so quite frankly, even if it's awful I don't have to suffer.

7) The song pretty much sums up the Democrats this year.

8) Come to think of it, it sums up the Republicans, too, except they lost. Sunk with Zero might be more appropriate.

9) Quick: name another memorable car commercial. Just one. Can't think of one? That's because now you've been...Saved by Zero!

10) Because I hate the dancing transformer car commercial, that's why. See? I could name one, because I haven't been...SAVED BY ZERO!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

IBMS: Oil Companies No Longer Evil

The International Bureau of Moral Standards today announced that oil companies were no longer evil, owing the precipitous drop in oil prices, and that their executives would no longer be considered undesirable people and their profits considered excessive. They have instead been downgraded to “greedy”, in line with most other capitalistic enterprises.

IBMS head Doris Grey-Sterling told reporters that “this is truly an exciting time to be alive, what with oil companies no longer headed by evil, devilish men devoted to destroying the poor, and Americans finally proving that they’re not racist. In fact, everything is beautiful, and we look forward to four years of peace and harmony now. I can’t remember a time when things were possibly better, except perhaps the halcyon days of 1925 to 1928.”

In other actions, struggling artists and journeyman infielders were continued listed as “noble” while all lawyers outside of the public defense and community organizer roles maintained their “soulless” status.

Political Dictionary

Ageist: (??) This word has no apparent meaning.

Candidate: (n) The least worst person from each political party who is put forward in an election. “I couldn’t decide if I thought the candidates this year were more pathetic than the ones in 2004 or not.”

Columnist: (n) Someone who wants to see the Democrat win. “Even though I am a conservative opinion columnist, I must say I like the cut of Obama’s jib, and recommend him as our next president.”

Discredit: (v) To destroy all shred of respectability; note that this does not appear to be possible in most places. “You’d think that airing ignorant conspiracy theories about major public figures would discredit certain highly popular writers, but somehow they keep their job.”

Harpy: (n) See Entertainment Dictionary entry on The View

Hick: (n) Non-Washington Republican. “The hicks might enjoy all that aw-shucks stuff, but to those of us in the know, it seems so dreadfully hoi polloi.”

Host: (n) Someone who wants to see the Democrat win. “It might have been short-sighted for some talk-show hosts to go so overboard endorsing Obama.”

Inevitable: (adv) Doomed to failure. “Hillary Clinton will inevitably be the next president of the United States” or “A far more conservative Romney will inevitably win over the maverick John McCain.”

Integrity: (n) Quality which may never be questioned. “Nobody doubted his integrity, they just said he was misleading about a whole lot of things.”

Journalist: (n) Someone who wants to see the Democrat win. “I question Chris Matthews’ objectivity as a journalist.”

Libertarian: (n) Wonkish oaf who is never happy, despite probable rampant drug use. “As a libertarian, I hate every candidate, yet am too incoherent to form a political party of my own.”

Presidential Election: (n) Quadrennial Event where America comes together to vote for the president of the entire world, who will give hope to the hopeless, champion international justice, fix problems at home and abroad, and manufacture a diet soda that makes your farts smell like rainbows. “I just hope those dodgy Americans get their presidential election right this time.”

Recount: (v) Process whereby votes are added to one candidate or another until the desired party gains victory. “Hey, Dave, recount those votes until Franken’s up by a hundred, would you?”

Sportswriter: (n) Someone who wants to see the Democrat win. “I know I pledged to be only a sportswriter this year, but can’t you just feel the betterness of everything now that Obama has won?”

Vice-President: (n) Single most important position in the government which must never be handed over to someone who is not an expert on every single subject known to mankind, up to and including who is the current Miss Djibouti and what the name of the Prime Minister of Fiji’s cat is. “The best thing about having Biden as vice president is it means his idiocy is out of the Senate, where it can do real harm.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

McCain Eager to Return to Regular Job

With the presidential campaign finally over, Republican nominee John McCain told reporters today that he is eager to return to his true job in the Senate, where he hopes to be able to pick up again right where he left off.

"I love the Senate," said McCain in a relaxed interview Wednesday, his first after losing the presidency to Barack Obama. "I have a lot of old friends there, I like working on new legislation, and it's the only place where I can really indulge in my favorite hobby: sticking my thumb in the eyes of conservatives."

McCain said he didn't expect there to be any repercussions for his heated rhetoric on the stump. "I think that most of my Democrat friends understand what politics is about and won't hold it against me. Anyway, all of the worst stuff came from that crazy Alaska woman I was forced to saddle myself with in order to appeal to my base. I always thought that we needed more bipartisanship, which is to say, Democrats in charge of just about everything."

He said that his first priority would be "forming gangs in the Senate to find compromise on any and every issue of importance: energy, defense, the second amendment, whatever. The important thing is that we centrists gang together and meet our far-left opponents halfway, because that's what democracy is all about."

Scientific Community Excommunicates Heretic

Spokesmen for the UN's IPGM (International Panel on Giant Monsters) today announced that they had delivered their harshest sanction yet on a former internationally-renowned scientist who had begun to question their conclusions on Giant Monsters.

Guy Renauld-Fourtier, spokesman for the IPGM, said in a press conference that "further dissent shall not be tolerated, and those who speak out against the pre-drawn conclusions shall be cast out, harried, and ultimately forced to either recant their heresy or spend their lives without ever having a government grant again. And this is for the good. No data will even be considered which might go against our preconceived hypotheses."

The condemned scientist, Michael Crayton, had recently issued a controversial paper titled "Attack of the Boondoggle: how fake giant monsters are causing real economic hardship." In it, he not only questioned the efficiency of the Kong Protocol, which calls for installing giant cyborg monkeys across the globe as an anti-GMA system, but he further questioned whether or not giant monsters are real at all.

"How do we know that there are hundred-foot, fire-breathing reptiles just below the surface of the ocean waiting to destroy us? Just because somebody claims there are?" he wrote in an editorial in noted right-wing crank newspaper The Wall Street Journal. "This whole thing could just be a way to enrich alarmists, while ignoring the very real problems of water shortages, traffic congestion, and the continual fouling of the air by rising burrito consumption."

Self-appointed GMA spokesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner John K. Mondale, in London for the opening of the shadow puppet version of his groundbreaking film An Uninvited Guest, said from Zuirch that he felt the punishment was too lenient.

"Ostracization isn't enough for him, in my opinion," said the former US Vice President. "He should be stoned, or drawn and quartered, or at the very least have his tongue cut out to prevent him spreading this vicious, foul lie that there aren't any giant monsters about to devour us all. If you want more of a quote than that, you have to give me an award."

Closer to home, the ACLU said that they weren't concerned with the silencing of the scientist because "free speech only applies to that speech which conforms to the government-regulated perception of truth."

(Editor's Note: It's been a while since I did one of these. The first one is here.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's next for Ted Stevens?

With a possible conviction hanging over his re-election, Ted Stevens may be persona non grata in most places. But at least one town in Alaska has already started a "Stevens for Mayor" drive, and said that regardless of his pending legal troubles he will always be welcome there.

Stevensville, Alaska, is a small town located forty miles outside of Fairbanks. The main employer of the 1400-person town is the nearby Ted Stevens Prison, which is where the embattled Republican Senator may end up serving any jail time if he fails to win his appeals. The town is also home to the Ted Stevens Moose Museum and a VECO construction office.

From his house just off the Ted Stevens Expressway, resident Johnny Mackerson says that Stevens' experience would help the locals to "maximize the benefit of our great infrastructure here, from the Stevens Snowmobile School to the Stevensville Arena, home of the Stevensville Bagmen, four-time ice football champions. And with the soon-to-open Tedbridge over Stevens Gorge, we hope to be able to add lots of exciting outdoors activities."

Spokesmen for Stevens said that while the senator was originally not interested in the post, he has changed his opinion since discovering that the town, a primary recipient of both state and federal funds, has "little to no budget oversight."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Early Election Polling Results

Top-rated pollster John Zigby, who successfully predicted not only the 2004 George Bush victory but also accurately forecast Al Gore's ultimate eating problems, has released his early data from the 2008 presidential race.

As expected, Obama is showing a commanding lead (70% or more) among starry-eyed youth, gun-toting lowlifes, and welfare/drama queens. However, what is also surprising is his good showing among pencil-necks (60%), arugula fanciers (58%), and cigar aficionados (52%), all traditional Republican supporters.

McCain, meanwhile, has seen his support among minorities more than double George Bush, capturing 4% of their vote so far. He also has a commanding lead (80% or more) with bluehairs, gun-clinging bible thumpers, and bitter angry women who despise the patriarchy.

Especially noteworthy was the two-hour line near polling stations in West Virginia to apply for temporary work permits for coal miners to work outside the United States in the event of an Obama victory.

Based on the surveys, MSNBC declared Obama the winner with "seventy million billion" electoral votes. The logic for this was explained by Keith Olbermann:

"McCain is a violent psychopath who will destroy the world. IMPEACH BUSH!"

First Space Votes Make History

In a historical first for any election, astronauts aboard the International Space Station today cast their ballots for president. The voting, widely hailed as "taking Democracy to the stars," went smoothly despite the obvious logistical problems attendant with taking votes from people thousands of miles away from their home states.

"It makes Dixville Notch look like the pompous, backwards jackasses they really are," said spokeswoman Helen Thomas-Crudump from ACORN, which had spearheaded the charge to register the astronauts. "And with seven hundred and forty-five people in the space station, most of them registered Democrats from the state of Pennsylvania, it's clear that we need to make sure that their votes are counted."

She noted that "it's just like Fort Penguin, Antarctica, where over two thousand soldiers from the Third Ohio Infantry are currently serving, who ACORN helped to vote early. We're committed to getting every vote to count, in our zeal even sending the same vote to two or three different precincts."

Not everyone was pleased with the move, however. Joe Biden warned that he felt "this might be the first step on the road to a war with the Klingons, or the Russians, whichever one of them it was that had those big ears and drooled a lot. Oh, yeah, that was Laura Bush!"

When no one laughed Biden promised to "throw your asses all in prison once I'm in the White House."

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Fly Hunter

I hate flies.

What's more, I don't feel at all bad about it. I love all of God's creatures equally, and believe that they should be allowed to live in their own environmental niche without any provocation or torture beyond what is necessary to render them useful or tasty.

But flies are not one of God's creatures. They are the creation of the devil, and deserve to be treated as such.

Proof #1: flies like to eat poop. Lots of you will protest that dogs do as well, but dogs don't land on the poop, get it all over their multiple feet, then take back off, only to land on the honey bun that you were about to eat, wipe off six very poopy little feet, and then fly off to go land on some more poop.

"Oh, come on, it's a microscopic amount of poop!" some of you are saying right now.

You know what else is microscopic? Ebola. And I bet you don't want to eat any of that, do you? I don't know about you, but my personal daily allowance for feces is 0.0 grams.

Proof #2: They make an annoying buzzing sound and smack themselves, over and over, against your window, your lights, and you, yet never just drop dead to the ground.

Proof #3: I'm pretty sure that flies cause erectile dysfunction.

Unfortunately for my sanity, we're having a fly infestation at work. Yesterday, when I came in, there was a very large, very ugly fly buzzing around the hallway. Our ceilings are about eight feet here, so it's out of the question to whack it with a magazine, and the damn thing wouldn't land on the ground to get a good swat at it.

My European colleagues had resorted to what Europeans do best: bitching about it.

"It's very annoying!" my seven-foot-tall colleague complained. "There's no way to hit it!"

"That sound is driving me mad!" said another.

"I'm going to have to take a personal day!" complained a third.

And on and on and on.

Finally, I did what every American does when confronted with this kind of issue: I decided to take matters into my own hand. I took a large piece of paper, rolled it up, and fabricated the three-foot Fly Swatter Deluxe.

When I came out into the hall, they simply goggled at me.

"What are you going to do?" asked one.

"I'm going to kill that damned thing," I said. "And keep it's body as a trophy."

So I took a big swat at it with my FSD, managing to stun it and drop it to the ground. As it lay there, twitching its little fly legs, I stomped on it and turned it from fly to smear in a matter of seconds.

"What have you done?" asked an aghast colleague.

"You killed it!"

"Why did you do that?" asked a third. "You could have let it go!"

"It deserved to die," I said. "Stupid fly."

One shook her head sadly at me. "Barbaric."

"No," I said. "Barbaric is to sit with the flies and accept that they are swarming all over you. Civilized is to kill the damn thing, realize there are another ten waiting to take its place, and going on with your work."

Needless to say, I didn't win any popularity points on that one. Nor did I win any points by insisting that everyone call me "Fly Killer" for the rest of the day.

But what cinched up my reputation as a barbaric American was what happened next.

I was sitting in my office the next day, minding my own business, when I heard a buzzing against my window. I looked up to see another fly, slightly smaller than the one that I'd smeared the day before, sitting at ease.

So I slowly took a plastic cup, crept over, and caught the fly inside. Then, sliding a piece of paper under the rim, I created my fly prison: an overturned clear cup with a fly inside. I let out a whoop of joy which brought my coworkers running.

"What have you done?" asked one.

"I caught a fly," I said. "I am no longer the Fly Killer. I am the Supreme Fly Hunter in All the World!"

"The poor thing," said one. "Will you let it go?"

"No," I said.

"Are you going to keep it?"

"No," I said. "I'm going to leave it here as a warning to the other flies until it dies, and then I'm going to have it stuffed and mounted and put up on my wall as a trophy to remember my glorious victory. And I'll have my Fly Swatter Deluxe bronzed, as well."

They all looked at me in shock for a moment. Finally, one said "how much does it cost to have a fly stuffed?"

In my shock, I dropped my fly prison, losing my victim. It took off into the air, buzzing around my office.

In retrospect, I should have simply let it get away, but in my urge to kill, I began laying about with the Fly Swatter Deluxe, attempting to knock it out of the air. Unfortunately, sensing sympathy from my coworkers, it headed towards the door, and I followed, bellowing and thrashing.

And I proceeded to hit at least four of my coworkers about the head and shoulders with the Fly Swatter Deluxe.

One of them went down in a heap, one beat a hasty retreat, one spilled coffee all over herself, and the other surrendered Monaco and most of France. On and on I surged, only dimly aware of the pleas for mercy from my coworkers, coffee and tears mixing beneath my feet as I lunged, striving to kill the buzzing speck which had befouled my morning.

It zipped, upwards, through a crack in the ceiling tile and was gone. It had escaped. I stopped, suddenly aware of the sobbing forms lying around me and the growing smear of coffee, tears, and now urine that was slowly oozing down the hallway.

The fire alarm shrieked and doors up and down the hallway slammed shut as my colleagues, terrified that I would turn the Fly Swatter Deluxe on them, huddled under their desks and called their spouses for a tearful goodbye.

I stood, conquering barbarian, in the destroyed wreckage of my once-calm office. At my feet lay a coworker, clutching at my ankle, pleading for mercy.

At that very moment, the elevator dinged, and the boss stepped out. He cast an eye over the scene: the red siren throbbing angrily, two employees face-down, me panting and holding a snot-stained roll of paper, my tie askew, every other office door cracked open just a touch to allow those inside to peer out and see what was going to happen.

He cocked an eyebrow at me, waiting for an explanation.

"Don't worry, sir, I killed the fly. It won't be troubling us any more."

He nodded. "Good job. I hate those things." Then he walked on by and down to his office.

There's a reason why my boss only keeps one American around.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Moral Delimma?

Let's say you're on a crowded bus in a foreign country, waiting to be shuttled fifty meters over to the plane, when onto the bus steps a person who, you are quite certain, is a transvestite.

How much staring is *too much*? I mean, can you take a glance, think to yourself "geez those five-inch stiletto heels look awkward on shim" and no more? Can you stare longer at the long, bleach-blond hair cascading awkwardly down the shoulders and wonder why shim didn't pick a more less-glaring hairstyle?

Is it okay to search in vain for an Adam's Apple, or is that considered gauche?

I feel that the social auspices of this situation are currently poorly-defined. I know all the rules about looking down a woman's blouse, or having a chick try to stare up your shorts. But with people pushing the boundaries, it's time we began to establish societal rules of conduct for those of us who are square and not sure how to deal with these situations.

Could somebody write Dear Abby on this?

"Dear Abby: how long can you stare at a potential transvestite in a public setting before you've crossed over from stunned onlooker to obnoxious gawker? And is it ever okay to just straight-out ask 'hey, you were once a dude, right?' Signed, Rubbernecker

"Dear Rubbernecker: The rule for transvestites is the same for trying to catch a glimpse of panties on a woman sitting in a too-short skirt: one to three seconds is allowed, but anything over five and you're leering. And unless you plan on buying him/her/it a drink, you may never ask what was the original tool kit. "

That seems like a decent rule, doesn't it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Editorial: McCain Should Concede

[In the interest of early compliance with the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine, we are bringing you this special editorial from the New York Times.]

On the eve of this historic presidential election, instead of focusing on the historic transformation of the United States from a racist backwater into a leading nation for progressive values, the entire world is captivated by one question: what is John McCain thinking?

The aged senator, whose Panamanian birth certificate admits to at least 72 years, insists on holding a vote on November 4th. Worse, he and his running mate, the nattily-dressed siren from Alaska, insist that they actually may win a victory in the election, inflaming passions around the country and dividing an already-fragmented electorate.

We ask why McCain insists on maintaining this fantasy, and the answer is that, deep within his crusty heart, he must hate this cradle of liberty. Why else would he force voters to the polls to choose between the future and his benighted version of the past?

Doubtless there are some holdouts, locked away in their mountain-top cabins, who will take a break from polishing their automatic weapons and writing their six-hundred-page manifesto against society, and turn out to vote for the worst-prepared vice presidential candidate in the history of the republic and her fossilized running mate.

Regardless of that, though, Obama will surely sweep through the polls like a breath of fresh air after passing an open-air sewer, and the country will be woken from the nightmare of the Bush presidency into a new dream of cooperation and sharing that will lift our spirits to new heights of glory.

One for all, and all for one, just like the musketeers of old!

After the pain of the 2000 stolen election, and the unseemly Swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004, it is only right that we unify the country by acclaiming, not voting, for the next president. Obama needs to know that he has the full support of every citizen of this nation, and that we will not tolerate any form of dissent of any kind.

If John McCain were half the honorable man he claims to be, he would concede now, before the election, and allow Obama to sweep into office unanimously, with the full backing of an all-Democratic congress to allow them to do the repairs to this leaky country that it so sorely needs.

To do otherwise is, dare we say it, unpatriotic.

Friday, October 24, 2008

How I Lost My Jacket

One of the most endearing things about Wifey is that she takes great pains to ensure that everyone in the family is always outfitted in clothing which is in good condition and adequate for the weather, yet never purchases anything new for herself without outside intervention.

I once lost the entire contents of my underwear drawer, many of which were collectible, because she decided that when the fabric of your tightie whities becomes transparent, that means that it's time for them to go. I had been wearing some of those pairs since I was in high school. Meanwhile, she wears T-shirts whose designs have literally been washed off over the years.

Two months ago, when temperatures started to regularly drop below 80° in the morning, she pulled out her light jacket. It's a gray hoodie zip-front sweatshirt jacket, and she's been wearing it for the last seventeen years, ever since somebody left it at my parent's house after a Christmas party and she rescued it from being trashed by promising to give it a good home.

So last weekend we were preparing to go out, and she said to me "some of my friends said that it's time for me to get a new jacket. What do you think?"

"There's nothing wrong with that jacket." I said. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with any of her clothing. I'm not Mr. Blackwell, god rest his bitchy soul, so I generally don't venture any opinion on any textiles whatsoever.

"That's what I think," she said.

See, I should have stopped there. Probably would have gotten laid. But instead, I decided to freelance.

"I've always liked that jacket," I went on. "It's sort of a retro-hobo look that has equal facility at keeping away both panhandlers and religious fanatics. Even winos in the throes of alcohol withdrawal would think twice about trying to bum change off of somebody whose jacket cuffs have load-bearing grunge on them."

After that, not only was I not getting laid, but she'd likely revoke my groping privileges for the foreseeable future. Undeterred, and not noticing the look on her face, I continued to riff on the jacket.

"Forget those knife-proof jackets popular with UK school children, that jacket just oozes security," I said. "Whose gonna mug somebody who can't afford anything better than that piece of crap? Not to mention the very real risk of serious infection from the layer upon layer of grimy stains and…"

It finally dawned on me that my mouth continued to run off of the teleprompter in my head. I guess this is what Joe Biden feels like.

A silence hung between us, as if to say if you think you're seeing her naked any time soon you'd best have pictures, only you never took any, and if you suggested it now they'd never find your body.

"You're not finding this humorous, are you?"

"Thank you for your opinion," she said. And that was that.

Well, this morning, lo and behold the temperature has reached "chilly" for me (less than 50), and so I decided that I needed to get my light jacket out. Unlike Wifey, my light jacket is new, and has the benefit of being waterproof with a hide-away hood and an internal pocket for important documents, like the stupid European ID that is too large for a conventional wallet.

Only, my jacket wasn't there. I was rooting through the closet when I heard Wifey in the other room.

"How do you like my new jacket? I didn't even know we had it. I found it in the closet yesterday, and since you hate my hobo jacket, and nobody was using this one, I decided that this is my new light jacket. All my friends just love it."

I found her standing in my jacket. Now, you have to understand two things about Wifey:

1) She's on brain medication, so there's every possibility that she does not, in fact, remember that this is my jacket.

2) I'm more than a little bit afraid of her.

What could I do? I could protest, of course, but that would certainly mean extending the nudity ban that has chilled our bedroom relations. So I did what I should have done in the first place.

"That jacket looks great on you," I said. "Really chic and sexy."

She gave me a hug and walked out to take the kids to school, with a mysterious smile on her face.
Damn her! Fortunately, though, I have a backup jacket from Carlsbad Caverns.

Stupid hobo jacket. I'd burn it, only I'm afraid that I'd catch bubonic plague from the fumes. Or worse, erectile dysfunction.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boring Math Stuff

Mrs. Peel has a post on Monty Haul and how it doesn't apply to Deal or No Deal. It's boring math stuff, but is just the kind of thing I like. I understand and concur exactly with her conclusions.

Now, here's the situation on DoND: you have picked a case, eliminated the rest, and now you are down to two cases. You know one has the million, and the other has one dollar. Should you switch, or stick with the case you picked?

It makes no difference what you do. Here's my thinking:

If there are 30 cases, your chance of picking the million at the outset is 1 in 30. So the chance the million is in one of the other cases is 29/30.

You eliminate a case. The chance it was the million case is 1/29. There are now 28 cases left.

In fact, there are 28*27*26... ways to eliminate the remaining cases to get to having just two cases, the 1 and the 1 million. That's a lot of potential paths. The chance that you follow one of these paths is about 28!/29!, or 1/29.

So it seems to me that when you get to two cases, there's a 1/30 chance the million is in case 1, and a 29/30*1/29 = 1/30 in case 2.

Ergo, do what you want, since the odds are even now.

I'm not enough of a math stud to be sure this logic is correct, though. Anybody else out there who is?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wherein I Meet Someone Important

Today on the bus in Rome, I met a very important personage: the Bahaman Ambassador to Europe. So while the rest of you were trying to break through your employer's adult content filter to download bootleg pictures of Scarlett Johansen kissing Penelope Cruz, I was hobnobbing with international movers and shakers.

It happened like this:

The first thing you do when you get on a plane in Rome is you wait on a bus for about fifteen minutes. They do this in order to save valuable jet fuel by parking far away from the airport, and to provide gainful employment for surly bus drivers.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. We'd been waiting for about ten minutes when one woman asked the lady standing next to me "You're going to Brussels?"

"Yes," the lady responded.

"Oh, no!" said the woman, and she jumped off the bus and ran away.

There was a moment of stunned silence from everyone in the bus. "You know," I said to the lady next to me. "She just assumed you were correct."

"I guess I look like I know what I'm doing," she said.

"I believe I'd have asked somebody else if they were also going to Belgium. It's entirely possible that you were the one on the wrong bus."

Well, we got a big laugh out of that, and then proceeded to discuss what had brought us to Rome. I mistakenly assumed she was American, but she told me she was from the Bahamas. When I asked her what she was doing in Rome, she said:

"I'm on an ambassador's visit to Rome."

"Wow! You're an ambassador?"

"No," she admitted. She pointed to a very nicely-dressed man standing nearby. "He's the ambassador. I'm the political officer."

I would now describe what a political officer did, only she didn't describe it to me all that well, and admitted that it's kind of vague. I got the feeling it involved doing a lot of stuff for the ambassador that he didn't feel like doing, and attending boring meetings while he hobnobbed with monarchs.

She's actually the second political officer I've ever met, and the other one didn't describe the job nearly as well as she did. He just told me he has to work long hours, which was enough to let me know it's a job I never want to have. I'm still hoping to replace George Jetson someday soon.

However, I can share with you these facts about the ambassador of the Bahamas to Europe:

1) He has a very nice political officer, since she introduced me to him while we were waiting to board the plane. I didn't think much of her taste in shoes, though, and I told her that three inch heels were probably not appropriate for travel. She admitted as much, but said it's a risk of the job. And to think, I complain because I have to wear a tie to work sometimes!

2) He wears bitchin' suspenders. I didn't tell him this, although I did mention it to his political officer, and she said he'd be delighted to hear that. When she introduced me, she mentioned that I liked his suspenders, and I then complimented him on them, although without the expletive. I'm a moron, not an imbecile. He took it as graciously as you can.

3) He wears cufflinks, and they are quite nice. Why don't more men wear cufflinks? It's a little bit of extra bling that you can stick on your shirts to personalize them, and it opens up a whole new non-tie avenue of gift-giving. I'm thinking a cufflink revival is overdue. Why did we stop wearing them? Plus, wearing cufflinks means that fewer buttons will be harvested every year, which will probably be good for the environment, unless we buy cufflinks from China or something, in which case they'd be made of tri-methyl-ethyl-lead and lead to a worldwide clubfoot pandemic or something.

4) He's very nice. Even though he was forced to shake hands with some idiot on the tarmac in Rome, he handled it with grace, and laughed, and chatted with me a little bit. He's the third most important person I have ever shaken hands with. The first is a US ambassador, and the second is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

5) He wears a Bahamas flag pin on the lapel of his suit. I didn't even know these existed. Do you suppose that a lapel flag pin exists for every country? Probably so, except for maybe Canada, where the natives are embarrassed and wearing them is probably illegal.

What Not to Do

Here's a piece of gastronomical advice: if you ever find yourself in Italy and suffering from intestinal distress, don't order the seafood kabobs.

It only makes things worse.

I'll spare you the gory details, other than to say that I have spent the entire flight in prayer that I don't need to change seats. And underwear.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I work in a soap opera?

I have become convinced over the past few days that I am working in a soap opera. The only thing we're missing is a guy with a black mustache who screws all the secretaries and ends up getting promoted because he has incriminating evidence about the boss.

Oh, wait, I forgot that he left the department about six months ago, and now he's a Vice President with a Secretarial Grotto instead of a pool.

For one thing, the guy with the office near the coffee machine is often crying. I'll go down to get a cup of joe, and there he'll be, watery eyes rimmed with red, quietly sobbing at his desk. I swear it's like he's either a heroin junkie who needs a fix or he just found out that his girlfriend ran off with his sister.

Worse, they just changed out the coffee machine, so now it takes practically forever to get your drink. So there I am for forty-five seconds while he quietly sobs, without even the basic dignity to close the door to his office.

I have to say something, right? But at the same time, I don't want to hear his tale of woe, and I don't really know him, because I make it a rule not to socialize with anyone whose office is more than two doors away. Too much walking.

So I've decided to do the only thing that is both masculine and allows us both to keep our dignity: I punch him in the crotch and say "there, now you've got something to cry about!"

Then I leave. Hey, I'm the only American; they expect me to be nuts.

Then there's this other guy who spends about half the day in the only toilet in the men's room. I don't know what he's doing in there, but when he comes out he has a big smile on his face and is practically singing.

All I know is I don't shake his hand. Ever. I figure it's better that way.

Add in the haunted water fountain, the fact that every other week somebody goes to the hospital, and the guy that looks like a hobo who nobody knows and who seemingly sleeps in the abandoned office at the end of the hall, and you have a very strange work environment, indeed.

At least all is going well with me, except that I've become addicted to the tomato soup from the new coffee machine. I don't even like tomato soup, either; it's just that this stuff is 25% salt, and I don't eat salt anywhere else, because it leads to hypertension, which can cause heart attack, stroke, and more serious problems like erectile dysfunction.

So I'm drinking ten cups of tomato soup a day, which when you factor in coffee means that I'm crotch-punching crybaby like twenty times a day, which HR has warned me I need to limit to five times a day or face a verbal reprimand.

Which is okay, because my knuckles are killing me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Improvement, Plebian Style

Like most women, Wifey doesn’t understand home repair.

Men know that every home project has three phases: the first phase, where you grossly overestimate what it is you are capable of doing, the second phase, where you spend vast amounts of money purchasing items which are directly or indirectly related to the task at hand, like getting a new cordless drill for a painting job on the logic that something might need to be re-hung, and the third phase, where you bleed and swear at the job in question until your wife is afraid to ask you to do any further work on it for fear of your health and/or sanity.

That’s home improvement, in a nutshell.

Women always think that home repair should be like This Old House, where people whisper expletive-free phrases, the fat guy with the beard never bleeds, and the antique table ends up in better shape than when you started.

I’ve got news for you: around my house, if a table needs some finishing work done on it, we call it kindling.

This weekend, though, we took on a fairly routine home task: we bought Ikea furniture. I like Ikea furniture, because it has directions with no words inside and the pressed wood smells like a Swedish forest. Fortunately, it doesn’t smell like the Swedes who assembled it, who often remind you of the hind end of a moose just after a meal of baked beans and chili.

The girl needed a new armoire. Since houses in Europe have the delightfully quant custom of being totally closet-free, we all have our hanging items in armoires, and the girl had outgrown hers. But it was nothing that Ikea couldn’t handle. We dutifully measured the space available: 105 centimeters.

Yes, I do everything in metric. If you don’t like that, go furlong yourself.

At Ikea, though, Wifey fell in love with an armoire that was 135 centimeters long. Being a good husband, what did I say?

“If you like it, get it. We’ll figure out how to make it fit.”

Now entering Phase 1. Since we were in Ikea, we also decided to get glass curio cabinets and a new baker’s rack to replace our current baker’s rack, which is in perfectly good condition but only weighs about fifteen pounds and can be easily folded down.

The new rack weighs eighty-four pounds and is slightly smaller than a Yugo. But it does smell of Swedish pines, which is a major upside.

Phase 2 was now accomplished.

We lugged all this out to the car, and Wifey did what she always does when it’s time to lift up something heavy: she batted her eyes at me and thrust out her chest and said “how can I help?”

With testosterone coursing through my veins and machismo now flooding my brain, I was not about to let Wifey help me fill the car up with cheap, imported pressed wood furniture, so I wrestled it into the car myself. In the process I herniated myself in several places, but I forgot to swear.

On the way home I made several jokes about stopping suddenly and having the boxes come hurtling forward to decapitate her. For some reason, she found this less than humorous.

Having learned my lesson, I kept my eyes north of the border and insisted that she help me lug the boxes upstairs. She tried me the time-honored woman’s trick of explaining that if we broke the boxes open we could carry everything upstairs easily in several trips.

Like I’m gonna fall for that. You know who makes the trips? Me, because she’ll end up unbuttoning the collar on her shirt or something and using cleavage to make me stupid. I insisted that we carry everything up, in boxes, because otherwise “we might scratch the wood.”

Yeah, right. Like that’d ever happen. Pressed wood’s indestructible, isn’t it?

After wrestling with them for the better part of half an hour, we got the boxes upstairs. We hadn’t sweat that much together since our wedding night, and only then because we discovered that the Chinese condoms I’d bought were expired.

Then we each took up our positions, ordained by the cosmos to be Wifey reading the directions, and me dutifully ignoring them to put it together “the way that seems right.”

We have put together most of our furniture this way, and in fact it works quite well. In all the time we’ve done this, we’ve never broken a piece.

What’s new, though, is that the children now “help” us. Mostly, they do this by running off with pieces and tools, or sticking dowel rods so far into their holes that they are lost forever.

And I’m strictly forbidden from swearing at the children, for reasons not entirely clear to me. Sometimes they deserve it, you know?

Two hours later, as something resembling an armoire began to take shape, I smashed my thumb with a hammer. I emitted a string of vile curses, because everybody knows that swearing at a smashed thumb makes you feel better.

“Are you bleeding?” asked Wifey.

“No, doesn’t count.” I said. Then I turned and, because I was preoccupied by the smashed thumb, I tore the top cross bar in half just by brushing it with my leg.

Stupid pressed wood. There goes our perfect record! Why don’t they just build the shitty thing out of balsa next time? At least then it’d be light.

Wifey gasped, the girl cried, and the boy just shook his head at me as if to say “I thought you were a man!”

I emitted another string of curses. “Get the tape,” I said.

“What? You’re going to tape it?”

“You have some other magical pixie dust way to stick the damn thing back together?” I asked.

Note to self: this is not conducive to intimacy.

When I’d finished taping it together, Wifey said “We’ll just stick a bow on it or something.”

“I’ll tell you where I’d like to stick it,” I muttered.

“What?” she asked me. “What did you say?”

“I love you sooooo much,” I responded.

Then we finally got it together. It only took us three hours and a minor squabble. Not bad, I say.

Next up: the all-glass curio case.

This was a bit trickier, if only because glass is often sharp, breaks easily, and is heavier than all get out. Midway through the job, I managed to slash myself and started bleeding. Not on the glass; it was actually on a Canada Dry can that I decided to crush with my bare hands before tossing it into the garbage.

Phase 3 was now complete.

As I was trying to get the darn thing together, Wifey was cautioning me all the while “don’t get blood on the glass! Don’t get blood on the glass!”

Finally it was ready to put into place, and the hang the door on it. “Just hold it there a second,” Wifey said. “I wanna clean it off before you put it in the corner.”

She left to go get the glass cleaner, the boy going along with her, and I took a moment to rest and revel in a job well done.

That, and I farted. Listen, at this point, it was one of the few bodily functions I still felt chippy enough to go through with. I could barely walk, I’d herniated everything, all my digits were throbbing from being hit with a hammer, and I’d cut myself on a drink can.

It’s amazing I was still upright.

Well, Wifey comes back, and she launches into this sniffing dry-heave, where she bobs her head, wrinkles up her nose, looks around the room, shakes it off, then starts it all over again. Every third one, she looks suspiciously at me.

“It smells like rancid moose toots in here,” Wifey said. “What happened?”

“Fine!” I finally admit. “I did it! I farted! I cut the cheese! That rancid smell is me! Me! There! Are you happy?”

“Daddy!” the boy said. “That’s awful! And in MY ROOM!”

“Good lord!” she said. “I thought there was a sewer leak or something.”

“Is this the thanks I get for putting together all this furniture all day?” I said.

“Well, you’re hardly finished with it, are you?”

Sigh. I should have bought that cordless belt sander.

The King Code

Many of you probably read Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column today and totally missed the hidden subtext of his political denouncement of John McCain.

That's because many of you are dimwitted cretins. Fortunately for you, I am here to spell it out for you.

The background is this: King has sworn off political commentary this year in order to avoid alienating his readers, as he did during the 2004 and 2000 elections by his rampant boosterism of Democratic candidates. He made this vow two weeks ago.

Last week King came under fire by readers for re-airing a Chris Rock quote about Sarah Palin, where he said her choice for VP was so bad he expected it to have come from Al Davis. Many equated this to political commentary and let King know how displeased they were for violating his promise.

King renewed his vow, declared to be apolitical, and closed up his column by noting that he could listen to Keith Olbermann talk all day.

Translation: from now on, King will send his shout-outs via coded message.

So what were his coded messages this week? They are on this page. Just after praising Spike Lee's new film (calling into question King's tastes in movies), he tells us that:

l. Finally got to see the premiere of Family Guy, and if I had to pick, I'm not sure which TV character I'd chose as the best in history -- George Costanza, Barney Fife, James West or Brian the dog. Brian's quite a maverick.

We know from the use of the word "maverick" that King is referring to John McCain. And look at the list of characters that come before: loser Costanza, incompetent Fife, womanizing West, and Brian, who is an alcoholic dog.

What King's really saying: John McCain is a dying racist who plans on turning this country over to a crazed Christianist who will drive the Zionist agenda and lead us all to destruction, where we will be forced to eat dogs to survive.

I see through your ruse very clearly, Mr. King. Shame on you for violating the sacred trust between coffee-breathed sports journalist and reader!

King ends with this point:

m. Best pizza in New York, if you like thin crust similar to the best pizza in Italy: Fiorello's, on Broadway, between 63rd and 64th.

Which, as you no doubt realize, is a tacit admission that he likes to dress up in ballerina costumes and drink camel urine in hopes that they will help rejuvenate his waning libido. Oh, and he's frustrated because the only thing he's gotten by consuming up to 64 cases of penis-enlarging pills is massive flatulence.

Any idiot can see that in the subtext.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wherein Wifey Lets Me Down

Today Wifey received this call straight out of the blue:

"Hello," said the kind woman on the other end. "My name is Barbara, and I'd like to invite you to an elite, high-level fundraiser for Barack Obama."

What do you suppose Wifey said?

You'd expect that, given that her husband is an anonymous blogger with at least three readers, she'd leap at the chance to attend an elite, high-level overseas fundraiser for Barack Obama that was stooping to cold-calling any Americans they could find the number for.

It's the very definition of a target-rich environment for a master satirist such as myself!

But she just said "No, thank you."

And she hung up the phone!

Just thirty minutes at that affair would've written my blog for a week. A couple of hours would have kept me blogging up through the election! And can you imagine the fun I'd have had making an ass of myself?

Plus, I never get invited to any kind of elite, high-level events. Oh, sure, I got thrown out of an elite gentleman's club one time, but that was hardly my fault. I still maintain that it was her boob groping me, not the other way around, but the bouncer saw things differently. So did I, after he broke my glasses.

So I'll have to make do without whatever wisdom gets dispensed at these events. I must really have arrived, though, because four years ago nobody asked me to any kind of fundraisers for John Kerry.

But in 2008, Europe is apparently a swing state. Or a failed state. I can't ever remember the difference.

Being a good husband, though, I'm not going to hold a grudge or demand remunerations from my wife. She was, after all, trying to spare us the horrors of having a campaign flush with cash hit us up for money just after a Wall Street crash put another five years onto my career. For this, I will thank her.

But she better not complain about being groped again, I can tell you that. Because this time the bouncer's not there to save her.

Monday, September 29, 2008

California to Export Energy by 2015

After a long battle between faux Republican governor Arnold Swartzenegger and the California Legislature, which is mostly communist with a green garnish, the government of the largest state has committed itself to developing its vast resources of smug for the production of clean energy, which it hopes to provide to the rest of the nation.

“Just the smug from San Francisco alone could power the Eastern seaboard!” said Green Party chairman Karl Lenin. “And if we can get even one of the smug generators in West Hollywood or Beverly Hills operating, we’d be able to power every state west of the Rockies! Except for Wyoming, home of Dick Cheney and a festering hellhole that should be depopulated.”

A spokesman for the governor called it “yet another nail in the coffin of Arnold’s political career and a clear sign that the constitutional ban on non-citizens running for president was a very good thing.”

Scientists pointed out that there is no known way to turn smug into anything other than annoyance, but other than global warming they are typically wrong about everything, so they may be ignored.

Millionaire investor T. Boone Pickens said he looked forward to selling the Smug Collectors, because “whether or not they work I’ll get my millions selling them.”

Al Gore said that while encouraging, the step didn’t go far enough. “We’ve reached a tipping point, a veritable point of no return, where we are over the knife edge and past the event horizon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m out of trite phrases, and I have to go now because I just got word that another one of my houses has been burned to the ground.”

Gore Mansion Destroyed in a Fire

Angry youths wearing green masks today stormed the Gore compound and burned it into the ground, declaring it “a hazard to children and other living creatures” because of its massive consumption of electricity, natural gas, and Ho-Hos. The rioters also overturned a Twinkie truck that was making a delivery.

There were no reported injuries.

The move comes just after Gore exhorted his followers to act with “civil disobedience” against any organization which might be harming the earth by carbon emissions. It was not clear at press time whether or not Mr. Gore had intended himself to be a target, and he was unavailable for comment due to being en route to Swaziland via private jet to collect the 2008 “Good Citizen’s Award for Fossil Fuel Avoidance.”

A spokesman for the protestors said that they intended to find Gore’s boat, which they had christened “The Goreitania”, and sink it as well.

“Al won’t mind,” he said. “He’s cool with us tearing stuff up and breaking windows to slake our thirst for environmental justice. After all, we’re just helping him live more simply, like when George Bush beat him in 2000 and retired him from politics. That’s why from now on, I’m voting Republican, to give our messiahs more time to concentrate on their vision!”

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Day in Hell

Greetings from hell!

Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong. But I spent the day in at least Purgatory, or Dulles Airport, whichever is less pleasant. Okay, Purgatory.

Anyways, I’m in Italy right now on business. Trust me: this is less exciting than it sounds. Quite frankly, Italy is strange. Very strange.

First of all, the men carry purses. I’m sorry, there’s just no way to take a guy seriously who’s carrying a purse. Maybe that’s sexist of me, but that’s just how I feel. I also feel that women who wear too-tight T-Shirts and insist that they be appreciated for their brains are morons.

This is Plebian, and I approve that message.

So I spent part of the day in meetings going over some stuff with guys who carry purses. Not tough-looking camo purses, either; some of these were beaded. They were men carrying beaded purses!

And I’m not implying these guys are gay, either: every calendar featured a naked woman and the screensaver would have made Larry Flint pause for thought. If they were gay, the did the worst cover-up job in the world.

Worst of all, though, was the purse-wearing dude who thought so much of his underwear that he wore his pants around his ankles. And his collar flipped up. Instead of looking cool, he looked like my five-year-old getting dressed in the morning asking me for help.

Except my five-year-old doesn’t carry a sequined yellow purse to go with his outfit.

Then, in the afternoon, having been totally bemused by the Italian men, I got to experience the joy of working with Italian women. It was enough to make me long for the men.

One woman had decided that business casual included a tight white t-shirt that fit her about twelve years ago, when she was fourteen. Now, though, she’s grown some, plus hit puberty, so the shirt is very stretched. No problem: underneath this she wore her hypno-bra, a swirling black-and-white patterned thing that was virtually guaranteed to call attention to the fact that her T-Shirt was too small.

It was like she was trying to hypnotize people with her breasts. Personally, I always thought that only worked when the woman wore those tassled pasties and made them swirl in opposite directions.

The other woman forced me to reflect upon this business etiquette question:

You’re in a meeting with four colleagues, all of whom are more or less the same level as you. One of them is sitting across from you, and for reasons unknown to the cosmos doesn’t realize that her right breast has escaped its bra and the low-cut shirt and is now resting on the table, with the nipple staring at you like the worm in the bottom of a tequila bottle.

What do you do?

Say “Geez, it’s nippy in here. Would you please open a window?”

Or something else?

I’m open to suggestions, because I never did figure out how to manage that situation in a suave and elegant way.

I finally gave up, left the meeting, and went purse shopping so I could fit in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why not copy this show?

I’ll say this much for the Germans: they may smell bad, be rude, and start worldwide wars with abandon, but they know how to make a good news show.

Here in Italy, of course, the German news shows are very popular, mostly because it’s German law that every news show must include some thin pretense for nudity. Whether it’s a hard-hitting investigation of a couple who performs striptease, or an in-depth report of the life and times of the strip club G-String, you can count on full-frontal nudity when you tune in to the German news.

Or, as they call it, Hetnewsiulkriekenstreegerstargenfartbus.

Tonight’s thinly-veiled excuse for skin was a hard-hitting expose on whether women rated themselves equal to the way that men rated them. In order to do this, they collected five women and then had a panel of three men rate them on the attractiveness of their face, their butt, their breasts, and their outfits, then compared it to how the women rate themselves. As you can guess, some nudity on the part of the women was required.

What was funny was the disparate women they chose. It was like they decided to do a boxing contest, only in one corner they had Evander Holyfield, and in the other corner, Andy Dick. We all know that Andy Dick could be beaten up by pretty much any other celebrity, up to and including pop stars.

I mean, even Miley Cyrus could kick his ass, no question.

Their version of this was to have one beautiful woman with gravity-defying breasts up against two normal-looking women, one homely woman, and one woman who had a really nice personality, according to all her friends.

Honestly, which one are three horny doofuses going to vote for, given this sorry lot? Not the girl with the nose ring, and not the fresh-faced girl with as many curves as a Kansas highway.

They’re gonna go for the beauty queen whose breasts rupture forth from whatever outfit she wrestles them into. She could have worn a burlap sack and still won the “Outfit” competition, which in fact is what she did.

Why don’t we get treated to in-depth news studies like this, instead of survey after survey about the differences between liberals and conservatives?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Open Letter to David Blaine

I hate to break this to you, but your continuous attempts to shock and amaze us are sort of bordering on lame. Hanging upside down? Really? That’s the best you could come up with? You could have at least hung upside down suspended by your nipples, like something Kris Angel might do. Now that would be freaky!

While you want to shock and amaze us all with your “endurance magic”, the reality is that you’d struggle to be the coolest guy at a Guinness Book of Records Reunion. I mean, that dude that can fit pool balls in his mouth? That’s impressive and dangerous, plus it’s a perfect party trick. How many homes just happen to have a thirty-foot-boom crane and a glass cage in the backyard?

Outside of Las Vegas, I mean.

I’ve got more news for you: the ladies don’t love magicians any more; that boat sailed when Claudia Schiffer found out that David Copperfield was both gay and a pervert. All the supermodels are dating fat comedians now. You were born in the wrong decade: should have been born in the 80’s. Then you, too, could have had a nasty divorce from Christy Brinkley.

Come to think of it, she’s available. You know what would be a magical feat of endurance? Stay married to her longer than two weeks and not have it end in a bitter tabloid divorce.
Do that, and we’ll all be true believers.

How Golf Could be Better

Golf sucks, and it’s boring, and I’m not at all sorry to be the one to tell you that.

If by some inconceivable chance you’re one of the people who finds watching golf exciting, you’re weird, and I hate to tell you that everybody you know thinks that you’re weird. “He likes golf!” they whisper behind your back, laughing at you.

Many sports writers recently struggled with a way to dress up the US Ryder Cup victory, and settled on “US Finally Reclaims Ryder Cup.” But about 90% of those headlines started out as “Guys you Never Heard Of Win Trophy You Don’t Care About in Sport You Don’t Watch.”

The other 10% started out “Why I Love Golf Again” but the stories were never finished because their families, out of love, held an intervention and got treatment for the affected person.

Some people love golf because it’s a struggle of man against ball. Listen, not disappointing your wife by finishing in ten seconds is a struggle of man against ball. Golf is more a struggle of caddy against hanging himself out of boredom.

But, being the helpful guy I am, I’ll offer some suggestions for how we can improve golf.

Make it a Biathalon
How about this: throw a couple of rifles in the old golf bag, and between holes you have to hit a target at five hundred yards? Then, when your opponent tees off, you can try to shoot his ball out of the air to give him a five-stroke penalty. People might actually watch that, plus the errant shot would be great for ratings.

Dinosaurs and Pirates on Every Green
There’s a reason Putt-Putt is so popular, and it’s not because the fat guy behind the counter sells beer to minors. Okay, that’s about half of it, but the other half is because people love trying to knock the ball between Abraham Lincoln’s legs.

More Bob Barker
Everybody loves Bob Barker, even if his presence does sometimes unfortunately lead to more Drew Carey.

I haven’t yet figured out what we’d do with them, but don’t we all agree that at least one sport should involve catapults? Maybe we could shoot the clubs out of them, or the golfers who don’t make the cut, or the rejects that fill the galleries. But it’d certainly dress up the game.

Exploding Balls
Not every one, but imagine if, before the game began, they knew that one ball in 50 was explosive. Every time they wound up, you’d be hanging on the edge of your seat to see if this was the one that blew up. Every golfer would hesitate just a little, knowing that the next tee shot might send him hurtling forty feet backwards.

And send golf ratings hurtling to the moon!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Alitalia is Bakrupt

I flew Alitalia today. If you didn’t know, they’re losing three million dollars a day and any moment now they’re going to stop flying altogether, because that’s the best way for them to stop wasting taxpayer money.

Oh, sure, you quibble that it’d be easier for them not to hemorrhage taxpayer money by not being subsidized by the government. But come on: it’s not like they’re an investment bank or something.

First, let’s look at what Alitalia does right:

Attractive Stewardesses
With the exception of Qantas, Alitalia has the best-looking stewardesses in the air. They’re all young, fetching, and fond of wearing their blouses with the top five buttons undone. This makes drink service not only easy on the eyes, but a nice erotic diversion from the fact that you’re hurtling through the air at six hundred miles per hour piloted by a guy that can’t pronounce the letter “r” correctly.

Every male working for Alitalia has a beard.

That’s pretty much it for what they got right. Now, let’s examine some of the problems with Alitalia:

Socialist Work Ethic
It takes, literally, three people to do the work of one in Alitalia. This might be connected to the attractive stewardesses, because you have two baggage handlers ogling the attractive stewardess while the third, whose beard is too sparse to compete with the two hirsute oglers, is forced to do all the work by himself.

Color Scheme
Alitalia’s colors are green, red, and white, just like the Italian flag. Which are also the colors of the Mexican flag. I’m not saying that Italy and Mexico are essentially failed states with nothing to show for 100+ years of existence, but I can’t think of a polite way to end this sentence. Everybody knows that you go red, white and blue, or you’re screwed.

Plane Hygiene
I can say, without a trace of hyperbole, that the plane smelled like Rosie O’Donnell’s armpit after she finished wrestling Roseanne Barr for the last piece of chicken. If Rosie just ran a mile. While being pelted with expired yogurt. In Summer. I don’t think the plane was originally sold in this delightful scent. Yes, it was a four-hour-flight, and yes, I do have a headache. Thanks for asking.

I opened the little box to find this: a plastic-sealed bucket of pasta and chicken, and an open container of chocolate custard that had left a big doodie ring on the box top because it had no covering at all. The pasta tasted like it’d be marinated in Crazy Death Seasoning, so I was left with Signori Turdy’s Chocolate Boom-Boom. I ate it, of course, but I didn’t like the thought that chemicals from the box probably leached into it and will give me erectile dysfunction.

So there you have it: a hard-hitting and thorough report of why Alitalia is bankrupt. And they say blogs don’t do "real" news and analysis. Nertz to them, I say!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ride 'Em Cowboy

I decided to seduce my wife last night.

The problem is, there are precious little avenues open for me to attempt this. We've been married for fifteen years, and I've shot almost every bullet in the chamber, so to speak. So whatever I try, it has to be original enough to catch her attention, but not so original that she wants a divorce.

If you know what I mean, and I think that you do.

I eventually settled on the only logical choice: dressing up like a naked cowboy. After all, it’s well-known that she can’t resist a sexy cowboy.

We had a cowboy costume left over from earlier this year, so about ten minutes before she usually goes to bed, I snuck upstairs to prepare a surprise for her.

The excuse that I gave her was that I was going to turn on the electric blanket and get the bed ready. We keep the house at a balmy 50° F in order to save on our energy bill, which in turn cuts down on the amount of money that we send to Vladimir Putin and his goons at Gazprom.

See what sacrifices I make for world harmony?

She stayed downstairs, working on writing something out. I didn't know what it was; I mean, she tells me these things, but I don't focus on them.

The costume was leather chaps, boots, a vest, a cowboy belt, and a hat. That's it. Once I had it all on, I like to think that I had the "erotic cowboy" look down. Yes, I looked obscene. That was kind of the point, you know?

However, I was a little concerned about the full-on nudity aspect of it. So I took a red bandana and fashioned a sort of "junk pouch" out of it to keep it from being completely lewd. I was tastefully lewd, I like to think.

I was ready. I imagined that she'd come in, be completely wowed by my sexy costume, become aroused, and we'd make passionate love and then pass out in each other's arms.

Don't laugh. It's the audacity of hope.

I head her downstairs, working on whatever it was. And so I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Twenty minutes passed with me standing upstairs, unable to move because the boots would make too much noise, in my 50° F house, buck naked except for leather chaps, a vest, and a bandana that was rapidly deflating.

I went from "erotic cowboy" to Viagra ad within the first five minutes.

Finally, I heard her moving around downstairs, shutting off lights and getting ready to come up to bed. When she switched on the light to the bedroom, I came swaggering out of the bathroom.

"Somebody call for a cowboy telegram?" I said it in my sexiest cowboy voice.

"Oh my God!" She started laughing. "You look ridiculous!"

This is not conducive to intimacy.

"I don't look ridiculous!" I protested. "I look sexy!"

She shook her head, tears running down her face. "No you don't," she said. "You look like a reject from the Village People."

Needless to say, whatever bandana boost I had maintained through the cold winter night was pretty much killed off by that comment. So, dejected, I changed out of my cowboy costume and got ready for bed.

At about twelve thirty, she shook me awake. I was immediately awake, hopeful that she'd reassessed my offer.

"Hey, Hopalong Assidy," she said. "You're snoring. Go sleep on the couch."

Happy Trails, indeed.

AAPS Condemns "New Crusade"

A leading civil-rights organization spoke out today against "the ongoing crusade" in the United States and warned that unless corrective actions are immediately taken "the future will be bleaker than at any time in the past two hundred years."

The American Association for the Protection of Strawmen (AAPS) issued a statement today that they were very concerned about the direction of the presidential election.

"Things usually get heated around this time of year," the statement said. "But since the conventions, our offices have seen a surge in attacks on Strawmen. Since John McCain announced his VP nominee, over six thousand strawmen per day have been tortured and murdered. We are particularly concerned by reports that both campaigns have been caught abducting strawmen from their homes."

The AAPS took the unusual step of naming several leading suspects in the ongoing attacks on Strawmen. "Particularly reprehensible has been the behavior of some so-called 'Mainstream Media' figures, who have killed four or five strawmen per show over the past few weeks. We estimate that Keith Olbermann, Daily Kos, and Time magazine are responsible for at least 40% of all Strawman-related violence."

A spokeswoman for the AAPS urged Americans of all political stripes to set aside their hostility for strawmen. "It's time that we realize that strawmen are just like us, with hopes and dreams for the future, and we should allow them to realize those dreams without living for fear that someone will jerk them up and destroy them in front of a howling, frenzied crowd without any regard for logic or reason."

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Untold Story of the Hadron Collider

CERN, Switzerland: A group of physicists decided to play God las week and almost doomed humanity in the process. Thankfully, a latter-day Hercules was on site to prevent the experiment from going out of control and news reports are that, for the moment, the world is safe.

As the pencil-necked geeks looked on in horror, a cascade of reactions led to the creation of thirty black holes, each more ravenous than the last. They quickly forced their way through the isolation chamber and menaced not only the scientists but the stability of the Earth itself.

Because all present were physicists, and even worse European, they were unable to do anything except beg for their lives and offer anti-American rhetoric in a desperate attempt to placate the subatomic threat.

Fortunately for humanity, Chuck Norris and his family were vacationing in Switzerland last week as well, as Mr. Norris had anticipated that there might be a problem when the scientists opened the Pandora's box of particle collision. Norris acted quickly, penetrating deep within the fortress-like installation, and after a series of throat kicks and crotch punches the black holes were dissipated into their component particles.

Early reports indicated that Norris was slightly injured when scratched by a pencil from a swooning scientist, but later it was revealed that when Chuck Norris wants to sharpen a pencil he just rubs it against his diamond-like skin and it was in fact the pencil which was injured.

Is This Argument Really Necessary?

So at church yesterday, I heard one of the reliably Democrat parishioners hectoring one of the reliably Republican parishioners that "Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor!"

Let me say right here that I don't feel it's ever appropriate to interject party affiliation into religious discussion and claim one party is more "Christian" than the other. They're both highly flawed vessels, from a spiritual point of view. But this is the one lady that inevitably wants to inject Democratic talking points into any religious discussion, so I like to needle her when I can.

For parity's sake I do the same with the Republicans. Okay, it's really because I'm a butthead and I enjoy needling people. Anyways, I decided to get my two cents in.

"Ooh, ooh, can I play?" I butted into their conversation. "I've got one: Ronald Reagan was a governor, Joseph Stalin was a community organizer. Your turn!"

She goggled at me a moment, lost for speech. Apparently she'd only planned one move in advance, just like Barack Obama.

"I've got another one! How about Franklin Roosevelt was a governor, but Nathan Bedford Forrest was a community organizer?"

"Who?" said the Republican. Apparently history's not his strong suit.

"He founded the KKK," I said.

"Um, uh," she continued to founder.

"I can come up with another one!" I said. "How about Thomas Jefferson was a governor, Pol Pot was a community organizer? Does that one count?"

"Oh yeah?" she finally shot back. "Well, Martin Luther King was a community organizer, but Jimmy Carter was a governor!"

"Yeah, but Jimmy Carter was a Democrat," I said. "And so was Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot. Are you sure you wanna play this game any more? Or can we just say that I win?"

She just gave up and went away. Which was too bad, because I hadn't even broken out "Julius Caesar was a governor, Hitler was a community organizer" yet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

World To End?

Scientists are warning the public that there is a very good chance that the world will end tomorrow, Wednesday, September 10, 2009. Sometime in the morning, two highly-charged particles will slam into each other, with implications that are impossible to precisely predict.

"We're expecting the end of life as we know it," said spokesman for the scientific group ALARM. "Worst-case scenarios include a black hole that sucks everything into it and Hell freezing over. Best-case is that Clinton agrees to help with the campaign, but since we don't have any early indications that Obama has hired a bunch of nubile interns we're pessimistic that this will be the outcome."

While many scientists have expressed confidence that the reaction will be fine, ALARM experts have been flooding the Internet with speculation that the situation is much less rosy.

"Obama is running out of steam, and he's forced to make a deal with the devil, only he just got finished beating the devil's wife, calling the devil a racist, and has a reputation for casting people aside the moment he's finished with them. You think Clinton will forgive and forget all that? If so, you're fooling yourself.

"That's why we expect disaster tomorrow. So eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we re-enter the Clinton Zone. It's like a black hole, only much, much more annoying."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mountains and Molehills

There are approximately 345 days of rain where I live, about half of them during the summer (the other half are on weekends). It is not unusual to have 25+ days of rain in July, August, or both, as was the case this year.

So when the sun comes for one its rare visits, everyone enjoys it, even if it means dressing wildly inappropriately. Such was the case today when, after a spectacularly shitty Sunday, we were treated to one of the 14 blue skies which we see every year.

Naturally, here in health-conscious Europe, everyone was eager to produce as much Vitamin D as possible. For the men, this means short-sleeved shirts with a tie to produce the dorkiest faux professional look possible. For the women, this means low v-necked tops, since a woman can display a shocking amount of skin and still be professionally dressed.

I suppose that's because strippers are a type of professional, but I can't say for certain.

Thus it happened that as I purchased my sandwich today, I found myself standing in a line that was 20 people long and offered ample opportunity to check out the lay of the land, so to speak.

Almost everyone was observing the "Blue Sky Rules" accordingly, myself included. Sure, there was one woman wearing what looked to be toga made from old 70's curtains, but everyone else was going for the short sleeve/low top casual look.

My attention was drawn to one particular woman in a light blue top with the V in her shirt that came to just above her navel. In addition to the typical riddle of "what's holding up her breasts?" that one always asks when presented with this type of shirt, her mammaries presented an additional puzzle:

Is that a third nipple?

Listen, for an observer of the bizarre like myself, this is not a question asked lightly. I consider myself cut from the mold of Ripley: I find the strange and bizarre and blog about it here for your amusement. This is why I often find myself in life-threatening situations involving teenagers or burying dead animals.

It was with that spirit in mind that I examined, in detail, the third nipple perched between her breasts. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, a mole with another mole on it, the entire package placed inartfully between her boobs.

Unfortunately, her problems extend far beyond a moley nipple (or a nipply mole)and troubles with her mirrors. Turns out she's touchy, too.

"What the hell are you looking at?" she asks me.

It's amazing how well her voice carried in the packed sandwich shop full of work acquaintances who were now staring at me like I'd order a turd sandwich and a bottle of piss.

What could I say? A number of responses flew through my head:

"I dunno, but you better take it to a dermatologist."

"Is that a tattoo or a birthmark?"

"Did you know your mole's perkier than your boobs?"

"Paradise by the dashboard lights!"


"I'm sorry, I've been blind since the accident."

However, I immediately discarded all those responses because they're against my religion (Puss-Fu). I settled for a mumbled "um, sorry" and prayed that the line would move faster.

Of course, it didn't, and everyone stared at me for twenty minutes like I was a pervert simply because I'd gotten caught staring at the moley boob (boobey mole?) of a woman twenty years my senior.

I hope you all appreciate the humiliation that I go through for you.