Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanks a little

NOTE: This column originally posted online in En Pointe Magazine. Check it out.  

The holiday season is upon us—like a Canadian mayor barreling down the aisle toward the crack buffet. It’s a time of fallen leaves and falling snow … a time when deities get our best regards and diets get disregarded. It’s a season when families travel all over this nation to get together to share a turkey and shoot the bull. But most important, it’s a time to give thanks.
While the patriarchs and matriarchs take stock to give thanks for the bounties laid before them … and for the folks arrayed around the table … and for their collective good health … and their collected good fortunes—and so on and so on—let’s not forget, however, to pay tribute to the little things that are often taken for granted.
For example, I am thankful for screw-off tops, take-out windows, and clap-on-clap-off lamps. We ought to be downright grateful for downloadable software and upholstered furniture. Just think where we’d be without can openers or spoons. Or kitty litter. Or modern plumbing.
This year, I’m thankful for customized ringtones and car chargers. I remain eternally indebted to spell Czech software. (See what I did there?) Hey, door knobs! Much obliged.  Insulated travel coffee mug, kudos! Microwaveable bowls, take a bow.
I ax you,  "Where would we be without doorknobs?"  
Cheers to sipping whisky, sipping rum, gulping beer, and wine that won’t give me a headache. And glory to the highest for acetaminophen, while we’re at it.
Thank you for the escape key and remote control. Moreover, thanks for “off” buttons everywhere. I appreciate paying at the pump, working at home, pop-up timers, and pop-up blockers.
Thanks to the techno-genius who made it possible to watch Red Sox games on the Internet. (The suits at Major League Baseball who demand I pay so dearly for that privilege can choke on a turkey bone.)
Am I thankful for bigger things, family, and friends? More than ever. And every damn day. And by all means, let your family and friends know your appreciation every day—not just the fourth Thursday in November.
But this Thanksgiving, before everyone stuffs their face with—well—stuffing, raise a glass and shout to the heavens, “Thank you, [INSERT GOD, GODDESS, SAINT, TREE, GALACTIC FORCE, SCIENTIFIC THEORY, TALKING DOG, OR ANTHROPOMORPHIC ELEPHANT OF CHOICE] for all the flushing toilets! Let’s drink to the toilets!”
Amen to that.
Sir John Harrington may have invented the flush toilet.
But apparently, he couldn't stop licking himself
so the vet put a big lacy cone on his head. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In space, no one can hear you twerk

NOTE: This column originally posted online in En Pointe Magazine. Check it out.  

In 1961, the French flung the first rat into space. His name was Hector; and nestled in the nosecone of a Veronique Rocket, he was shot 93 miles above the Sahara.  In 2014, a Boomtown Rat will join the club.

Bob Geldof has recently announced he has booked his seat with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) on a Lynx Mark II spacecraft  … because everyone knows the best way to launch a Rat into space is in the belly of a cat.

Launch date: 201WhoCares.   

For a cool $100,000—or the price of 100,000 McChicken sandwiches, Mr. Feed The World—you, too, can fly into the emptiness of space.

And chances are you’d board with other astro-celebrities who can afford to spend the $1,667 per minute it costs to go space trucking for an hour.

Clearly, the vacuum of space is not cheap. (And vacuuming space is not cheap either. $650 for a Dyson Vacuum? Talk about maximized sucking power. It’s hard to suck more than that.)

To be sure, sending celebrities into space is hard work. And it sucks. But returning celebrities from space sucks even more.  

And this is where SXC is missing a huge revenue opportunity. Sure, it seems there’s a constant stream of millionaires willing to pay a hefty fee just to go weightless for six minutes. But if one—just one—rocket blows up, the cash cow crashes, too.

However, if SXC marketed to us astro-not-celebrities, they’d have a steady revenue stream for decades to come. Not to go into space. But to send others into space. And this is the important part: not bring them back.  

You could easily get 1,000 people to pay $10 each to send Miley Cyrus to space. Permanently. Twerk your junk and you can become space junk. Blast off Bieber? You bet.  Let’s send all the Kardashians back to their home country of Kardash on the planet Bigpatootie. 

Could George Zimmerman stand his ground in zero gravity? No way. It’s called “The First Law of Motion,” futhermucker.

Let’s see how The Real Housewives of Anywhere function in a space as vacuous as their heads.

Moving to politics, there are 435 Congresspersons. That would be a cool $4.3 million for SCX. Launch chemical weapons and we’ll launch you.

Of course, it’s the celebrities we love to hate. And for every new boy band, every vapid hotel heiress, every mind-sucking reality show, there will always be a rocket-full of celebri-monkeys asked to make a cameo in near-Earth orbit.

Eventually, space celebrities’ orbits will degrade; and they’ll burn up in re-entry. But that’s OK.

After all, they’re called shooting stars, right? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

“My dog pants” is a double entendre.

A while back, I came across a weird and disturbing news item. At a Paris airport, French police arrested a man who was trying to smuggle through a snake hidden in his underpants.

According to an airport spokeswoman, “the 30-year-old Frenchman, who was trying to smuggle the 16-inch boa into Roissy airport from Colombia, was caught after a sniffer dog latched on to the reptile’s scent through the man’s bulging trousers.”

I don’t know much about the criminal mind. But I do know this: here’s une monsieur who really didn’t think through his plan.

First of all, he put a snake in his pants. That’s always a bad idea. 

Second, it was a boa constrictor. A CONSTRICTOR! And you thought your underwear was binding. Try putting in a boa.

Still, he might have gotten away with it if it had not been for that pesky hound. Let’s re-read the above: “… After a sniffer dog latched on to the reptile’s scent.”

That was cette misérable’s final mistake. Never smuggle anything in your pants in situations where crotch-sniffing border dogs can latch onto anything. That’s probably Chapter One in the Big Book of Smuggling.

Chapter Two: DO NOT PUT ANIMALS IN YOUR PANTS. This means no kittens, puppies, weasels, otters, marmosets, prairie dogs, and badgers. And no snakes.

Much to my surprise, a simple Google search revealed that this erstwhile snake smuggler wasn’t the only one to try the old’ Is-That-A-Snake-In-Your-Pants-Or-Are-You-Just-Happy-To-Be-Going-Through-Customs routine. A Swedish man tried it with cobras. COBRAS!

Even more to my astonishment, my Google search didn’t start and end with dumb crooks. To my horror, searching for information about animals in pants led me to a whole new category of web sites.

These weren’t sites dedicated to the joys and perversion of putting animals in your pants. I would have expected that. They were sites for retailers who sell pants for animals.

Apparently, it’s big business to create—for example—underpants for in-heat and incontinent dogs. Go to if you want to see a boxer in briefs. A boxer. In briefs. That’s funny; I don’t care who you are.

Funny. But haunting.

At Petco, they sell doggie diapers that, in their words, are “ideal for excitable urination.”

I assume they mean the dog’s.

Because if you see a Welsh corgi in a pink gingham thong, you might pee a bit, too.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cheetah Cheetah Peter Eater

Petie was speedy.
But the cheetah was fleeter.
Petie looked meaty
to the meat-seeking cheeter.

The cheetie got greedy and chased after Peter.

Petie got petered
just teetering ten meters.
Peter's poor feetie
were feverish bleaters.

Peter asked Rita, "Could I use your two-seater?"

Rita saw Cheetah
one meter behind Peter.
And sweetly gave Peter
her street-worthy two-seater.

The cheetah stopped neatly and leered long at Rita.

Ritly smiled sweetly
at the Pete-starved cheetah.
And gave the beat cheetly
two neat veggie pitas.

The cheetah thanked Rita and ate her for dinner.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Lesson in Probe-ability ... or It's Possible You've Already Been Abducted.

According to The Roper Poll: UFOs & Extraterrestrial Life, Americans' Beliefs and Personal Experiences, published a lifetime ago in 1991, as many as 3.7 million Americans may have been abducted by aliens (the kind who cross ozone layers, not borders).

Imagine. Nearly four million of us have been taken, beamed up, tossed in UFO trunks, prodded, poked, radio-tagged, and released back into the wild. And although that’s just a shade over 1 percent of the population, that’s a lot of folks tripping the light years fantastic.

Think of it. If you’re a typical American family, you have 2.3 children, 1.7 parents, 1.7 mother and father-in laws, 0.5 step parents, 2.6 brothers and sisters and their in-law counterparts, 5.9 nieces and nephews, 8.4 grandparents and grand-in-laws, 10.9 aunts and uncles, 1.0 Uncle Miltie, 1.0 Uncle Sam, 1.0 Aunt Jemima, and 62 hangers-on. Statistically speaking, one of them has already been abducted by aliens. (More if you’re from West Virginia.)

Several people from your office, your school, and your town have had close encounters.  If statistics hold true, then it’s safe to say one U.S. Senator and a handful of Congressmen have filibustered in oxygen-enriched holding tanks in the sky. … It shouldn’t be hard to figure out which ones, either. Search the congressional records for anal probe legislation. Those for it have probably been abducted. Those against are Republicans.

You’d need two hands to count how many Major League Baseball players have been bagged and strapped on the hood of a UFO. 
These aren't the steroids you're looking for. 
Put in these terms it’s easy to see why we all need to address the alien abduction issue … why we need to prepare ourselves for abduction.  How should we act?  What should we say?  What should we wear?  Can we bring anything—maybe a nice mustard-potato salad?

It’s important to note that, if four million Americans (and as many as 50 million humans worldwide) have been abducted by now, a good 150 million more have been considered for abduction and summarily rejected. What are we—chopped liver?

Unfortunately, to the aliens who are most likely to visit Earth, we probably are. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Assault with a deadly sugar

Can you outrun molasses? Don’t be too sure.

Ninety-four years ago, on January 15, 1919, Boston suffered the Great Molasses Flood, in which a large storage tank collapsed—releasing some two million gallons of the viscous goo upon the poor unsuspecting souls of the North End.

According to the Great Wizards of Wiki, the resulting gush created a 15-foot wave traveling 35 miles per hour! A plaque in the North End suggests the wave was 40 feet.

In 1919, there were not a lot of creatures who could outrun a 35-mph treacle tsunami. There were no cheetahs in the North End. (No doubt, in pre-Prohibition Boston, there were plenty of “cheatahs” ...  mischief-makahs, swindlahs, prankstahs, and whippah-snappahs, too. But no cheetahs.) And there were not many gnarly dudes prepared to go syrup surfing.

As a result, this was a tragedy. Twenty-one dead.  And that’s just counting the humans. Boy, talk about taking the bitter with the sweet.

I’m up to my glasses in a sea of molasses.
But I won’t complain.
Cuz’ under the grasses, lie vole and mole asses
Who drowned in sweet disdain …
Who drowned in sweet disdain.

So it’s time to reconsider our idioms. Slow as molasses? How about unforgiving as molasses? Deadly as molasses?  Guys don’t make passes at girls covered in molasses.

This sugary surge of yore, of course, serves as another example that sweets kill. Need another? Coca-Cola has launched an anti-obesity campaign. Coca-Cola! That’s like me launching an anti-sarcasm campaign. (Yeah, that’s a real super idea, dude. Sarcasm is soooo dangerous.) 

Coke wants you to count calories. So rather than making fizzy shit with better ingredients, they’re going to print the number of calories in a bigger font on the can.

The message here is clear: If you’re fat, it’s your own damn fault. Can’t you read? The calories are printed right there on the can!

Of course, never mind that high fructose corn syrup might be more addictive than cocaine. (Wow, I just wrapped my fat brain around that. I’m not saying it totally blew my mind, but it feels like my medulla oblongata just popped into a bowl’s worth of Sugar Puffs. … I like sugar. What can I say? I’d make a vampire pack insulin.)

So Coke wants me to not drink Coke? OK. I can live with that. 

At least I better try.