Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Barnstorming strippers seeking Tin Lizzy gig

My brain was clouded with morning fog Monday at 6:30 a.m. when I unlocked the front door of the Tin Lizzy and gave it a little push. Only half awake, I barely noticed the business card flutter to the floor.

I picked it up and held it under the light. 

It read, “Bodies in Motion: PA’s only female traveling exotic dance company!” Beside it was a picture of a smiling young blonde with an inviting cleavage that appeared cavernous.

A tag line promised, “The most exciting show you’ll ever see!!”

There in the twilight I wondered if that could be true. The boast transported me right back to 2012. I’d taken the kids to the old Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. That was in the Dark (but entertaining) Ages when the Greatest Show on Earth featured trained elephants.

An elephant eats up to 600 pounds of salad fixings each day. In hindsight it would have been useful to know that fact prior to show time.

Because you can train an elephant to stand on its back legs, but you can’t train it to be discreet when it comes to purging itself of that enormous colon-cleansing intake. As it happened, we were directly behind the colossus when nature called.

Talk about hindsight.

The tail shot straight up and the massive sphincter began to pucker. I glanced down at the 6 year old. She looked up at me like she was waiting for a signal we flee to higher ground. The rear of the elephant looked like it was preparing to discharge a parade of anal Volkswagens.

Then out of nowhere appeared this slight black-clad woman with a snow shovel — and what a pity for a tool that grew up complacent it would only be used to shovel snow.  But it was like she’d rappelled from the rafters. She positioned herself directly in the danger zone. 

Now, I’ve seen the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and most of the great rock bands perform. I’ve seen the Steelers in their glory years and I was there the night Mario Lemieux split the Minnesota North Stars for a Stanly Cup goal that was immortalized into the statue that today is outside the arena.

But nothing was exciting as watching this heroic woman respond to what seemed like a HazMat event sure to devastate the Tri-State area.

I encourage you to read the first link below or ask either one of my daughters to relate the story of the elephant we on the spot named “Dumpo.”

So that was the most exciting show I’d ever seen. How four or five gypsy strippers could ever compete with that, I do not know. But who am I to argue with a little business card hyperbole?

I was curious about when they’d rambled by. It had to have been Sunday evening. Coincidentally, I was in my 3rd floor office most of the morning and afternoon. Had I been here when they stopped, it’s likely this post would have a far jauntier tone and wouldn’t include any mentions of elephant poop.

I didn’t know what to do with the sexy business card. I should have given it to Buck, the owner, who might assume his tenant has given up writing to manage a troupe of itinerant strippers. In the short-term, he’d likely have greater respect for me. But a lie like that might backfire.

So I instead scoured the building for a pen with whore-red ink and wrote: “Hi Buck! It’s Brandi.” And here I drew the little pulsing heart above the “i.” Then I put, “Call me! We miss ya, Stud!” and left it where all the bar gossips could find it.

I think a distinguished gent like Buck would enjoy a little scandal, and I know the rest of us would enjoy watching him try explaining it to his wife Louise. 

I reflexively assumed just because they took their clothes off for horny strangers they were women of loose morals. But that’s unfair. 

Maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe they’re motivated by the belief that there are underprivileged pockets of Pennsylvania where men don’t have access to naked women.

This would put the dancers more in the missionary tradition, not to be confused with the missionary position. 

Or it could be the wave of the future. Brick ’n’ mortar establishments are going away. Maybe instead of going to the strip joint, having the strip joint come to you makes sense.

I could see myself giving it a shot. I mean what red-blooded American male wouldn’t want to bring the most exciting show ever into his very own living room?

I just don’t see how four or five strippers are going to fit Dumpo through the front door. 

Related …

Monday, January 7, 2019

The day the Muzak died

Shared musical interests were one of the things that first drew me to the woman I was to marry.

Joe Ely, Todd Snider, Steve Earle, Delbert McClinton — we both reveled in the alt-country music that originated in mostly Texas and Nashville.

She eventually became the paper’s country music writer providing lively interviews with luminaries like Alan Jackson and George Strait under her picture and the generic “Country Connections” header.

I found the title uninspired and lacking the appealing zing of her column. I suggested they use something more provocative, something like … 

“Fiddlin’ ‘round with Val!”

So I always pay attention when ever she makes a point about music which is what I did when she wanted to know what happened to Muzak. “You used to hear it everywhere,” she said, “then it just disappeared.”

Careless readers will be confused by that last paragraph. Note: We’re not talking  music.

We’re talking Muzak.

Music of all forms is appreciated by someone, even if it’s the cheerleader moms or clueless groupies.

Despite being heard by tens of millions of people around the world each and every day, Muzak had no fans. It had no mothers, no groupies. It was utterly unloved. 

Queens College music professor Gary Gumpert described Muzak in a 1990 interview: “It’s a kind of amniotic fluid that surrounds us; and it never startles us, it is never too loud, it is never too silent; it’s always there.”

They’d take popular mainstream music — think “Ruby Tuesday” — play it with muted stringed instruments and record it through amplifiers that must have been deadened with three feet of wet Kleenex. The result was “Ruby Tuesday” sounding as distinctive as “Yesterday Once More” played at the bottom of one of the SeaWorld whale tanks.

It was, to me, an infuriating artistic affront to a band that included all-caps listening instructions on its monumental “Let It Bleed” album: “THIS RECORD SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD.”

While bands like The Stones, The Who and The Beatles were dominating FM radio, Muzak was in control of everything else. The service reached millions of unwitting listeners — aural hostages, really — each day. It was played in countless office buildings, waiting rooms and grocery stores. On the launch of Apollo 11, Mission Control piped Muzak into the capsule on the belief it would calm the astronauts.

Yes, Muzak was our national anesthesia. 

“Muzak fills the deadly silences,” went one of the company’s own promotional slogans.

And it was played almost with out exception in elevators, thus earning the widely repeated pejorative that Muzak was “elevator music.”

What happened to Muzak?

Clearly, I needed an expert on both music and elevators. Luckily, I’m pals with a two-fer. He’s Jim Beattie. I’ve known him almost 25 years. 

Or to be precise, I knew him for two hours in 1995, lost complete track of him until August and now spend three or four nights a week getting gooned up with him right here at The Tin Lizzy.

He in 1995 was running The Gaelic Shop in Ligonier. I was at the time doing wacky features for National Enquirer. That was the year Mel Gibson, then one of the sexiest men in the world, released “Braveheart.” Enquirer editors wanted to see how regular folks would react to a commoner (me) in a kilt.

Shopkeeper Beattie gave me the kilt off his, er, back.

It was a fun day as you can see here. Lots of people wanted to know if I was wearing anything under my kilt. I was told a gentleman would not dignify the question. But I will say this: If you had a list of the five people you’d most want to moon in Westmoreland County, I got three of them.

I returned the kilt and never expected to see Jim again. And for 24 years I was correct.

Then he out of the blue last summer called to tell me he had some Arnold Palmer stories that might be good for my book (he was correct). I asked if he could meet me here at the bar. He stopped by and now it’s like he never plans on leaving. I’m fine with that.

So what was he doing the previous 24 years?

He was an Otis elevator repair man! He was all over the country ensuring Otis lifts operated safely. And he and I share the same exquisite tastes in music, primarily deep appreciation for mostly both Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler.

Certainly, my buddy could give me a good blog-ending zinger on the fecklessness of elevator music.


“It was never on when I was in the elevators,” he said. “Never heard it. If it was on I just tuned it out.”

So, alas, in the end, this blog is like Muzak itself, cloying, innocuous and utterly pointless. Utterly pointless save for this final note. The company that ran Muzak buried the service February 5, 2013.

Sorry Don McLean, but that’s the day the Muzak died.

I suggest we all commemorate the upcoming date by playing some authentic rock ’n’ roll REALLY LOUD.

Because unlike sounds that pretend to be music, true silence isn’t deadly and it often beats the alternative.

Related …

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Escaping "Escape from Dannemora" & the joys of bustin' out

I’d never harbored any political aspirations until one day back, oh, in the mid- ‘90s when I heard one friend put down another more pathetic friend for his inability to secure female companionship.

“Man, you couldn’t get laid in a women’s prison with a fistful of pardons.”

I remember laughing at the funny line, but then becoming very quiet as I succumbed to a silent revery about how often I could get laid under those circumstances. My conclusion: 

A lot!

I’ve been thinking a lot about sex in prison because we just finally — finally — finished watching a Showtime production that featured lots of sex in prison.

It was “Escape at Dannemora,” which ran for seven episodes, but felt more 4 to 6.

Four to six years, that is. Parts of it really dragged. But there was enough sex that we hung on.

I wrote about the 2015 upstate New York prison break (link below) and how I was bewildered when one of the detectives told reporters that one of the escapees was had an extra-large penis. 

How did the detective know? What was his idea of “large?” And how many penises had the detective seen?

These are topics that never used to concern me when I watched Det. Joe Friday and old “Dragnet” reruns.

Size didn’t seem to matter to prison employee Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, played by Rosanna Arquette. She was having sex with both inmates as she aided their escape, a crime for which she’s still serving 7 years. She ran the prison tailor shop and was reported to have had sex hundreds of times in the back room.

Rascals at the New York Post dubbed her “Shaw-Skank.”

The usually svelte Arquette, already earning Emmy best actress buzz, gained 50 pounds to play the horny prison seamstress. The fact makes me feel pity for all the struggling Plus-Size actresses who I’m sure would have been as-is perfect for the role.

170-LB. ACTRESS: “Did I get the role of the 170-pound prison seamstress?”

AGENT: “No, they gave it to it to a 120-pound former anorexic.”

170-LB. ACTRESS: “It seems so unfair. What do you advise I do now?”

AGENT: “I’d say lose 50 pounds in two weeks and start auditioning for all the roles the 120-pound Rosanna Arquette is perfect for until she sheds the weight.”

Hollywood doesn’t cause eating disorders. Hollywood is one big eating disorder.

The show did reinforce my contention that breaking out of prison must be one of the greatest feelings in the whole world. I think it’s what makes any prison break so compelling.

To support my argument, I offer the story of golfer Fred Hamilton. 

He was serving life in prison in Moundsville W.V., for in 1977 killing a state trooper. He tunneled out in 1993 with what he told investigators was one goal in mind.

He wanted to play golf at one of the world’s most historic and magnificent golf courses. He wanted to play Pebble Beach. “He sounded quite serious,” said the arresting officer.

He made it as far as Oklahoma before being captured. It was his 13th escape attempt. I well remember the details as I covered the whole thing for National Enquirer. 

Hamilton said: "Some guys spend their whole sentence trying to get out legally with appeals. I have spent mine trying to get out illegally. I live life to the fullest, even inside this place. Escaping is the ultimate rush.”

I remember my barber at the time telling me broadcast interviews made Hamilton seem like a swell dude. “I knew he was a vicious killer, but he seemed like a great guy, the kind of guy you could enjoy a beer with and a day golfing.”

I’ve long wondered what would have happen had the convict made it to Pebble and secured a tee time. I know many officers would be more than happy to provide lethal ventilation to avenge a fallen brother. But I also knew many officers are avid golfers, a circumstance that could lead to conflict.

I imagined Hamilton surrounded by officers on the 18th green while the one with the bullhorn said, “Drop your club and put your hands behind your head!”

And I can’t help but think at least one officer would say, “Pipe down! Can’t you see the guy’s trying to putt?”

Related …

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year! Best tweets of '18 ...

No one’s ever said, man, I’ll be devastated if you don’t do the yearly round-up of twitter nonsense. Yet, I feel compelled to uphold the tradition that is now in its 6th year. It’s helpful to me to have them all gathered up in one place.

Thanks for reading my stuff and … Happy New Year!

• You shouldn't be allowed to demand U.S. impose order around the globe until you can prove you can impose order on your own family.

• Trump’s repeated declarations that "deep state" is out to get him lead me to believe he runs the shallow state.

The Stooges are to comedy what porn is to drama: it's still satisfying even when the plot's a little thin.

• That twilight -- a halfway point of solar illumination -- is one of my favorite words compels me to use "twi" prefix more. "I got twidrunk last night but the missus became twihomicidal when I told her I was feelin' twihorny.

• The cumulative weight of the '78 Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers starting offensive line was 1,277 pounds. The five starters in those same positions today weigh 1,604 pounds. Somewhere in this calculation is a solution to world hunger.

• For many, the advent of social media means our greatest fear is no longer death. It is the fear of appearing too ordinary.

• People say "not a snowball’s chance in hell,” like they know forecast. In my hell, there will be tons of snow.

• I have read that tribes native to Arctic climes have 47 words to describe snow. I have just as many to describe farts.

• If Monica Lewinsky was a consenting adult then I guess that makes porn star Stormy Davis a really, really consenting adult.

• World will be a better place when all those scheming to find the means to an end instead worked on finding an end to the means.

• We live in corrosive, often cruel times, but I'm grateful we don't live when the phrase, "There's more than one way to skin a cat," become part of the vernacular. I don't know of even one way to efficiently skin a cat.

• It was Robert Louis Stevenson who said, "There is no duty we so underrate as our duty to be happy." Clearly, RLS never spent a weekend in Athens, Ohio. 

• Every perfect parent understands the need to impart some daily imperfection lest their children grow up without someone to blame for their inevitable adult flaws.

• Martial Law is when a nation's military imposes its will on citizens. Marsha Law is when the oldest daughter on Brady Bunch imposes hers.

• Most people who think they have the world on a string realize too late what they're really holding is a lit fuse.

• I was born unaware, but immediately began paying attention and soon caring about the world and its people which means I've spent my entire life bewildered & devoutly wishing I'd just been born satisfied being stupid.

• I wonder if Biblical partisans complained about the blatant nepotism when God chose His only Son to be Savior.

• In America's tedious gun violence debate, the only thing that changes are the names on the tombstones.

• The future of mankind will be brighter when its history is graced by more kind men. And women!

• Your life will be more fun if you don't judge new friends on their virtues, but instead on their potential as compatible cellmates.

• Anytime you hear of anyone dying suddenly, it ought to reinforce the need to ALWAYS be living suddenly.

• If get to heaven before you, I promise to spend all my time stringing tacky party lights so heaven will feel more festive.

• It infuriates me when I realize I'm 55 and my idea of a really great day is one that involves me finding a quarter.

• Who’ll be the next player to enter the MLB Hall of Fame as a Pittsburgh Pirate and has he or she been born yet?

• The only thing that could make curling more oddly compelling is if were contested on a deep lake atop thin ice.

• Navajo Tribe tradition meant no child could be given a name until he or she enjoyed their first authentic burst of spontaneous laughter. Just dealt with a 50-something grocery clerk who, I swear if she were Navajo would be wearing a blank name tag.

• Grammarians rejoice! Due to unusual confluence of current events and Olympic punishments, this is the first time Russians can meddle, but not medal.

• If a diplomatic rooster tries to avert a cock fight is it fair to call him chicken? 

• The pious nudist will always feel conflicted about becoming a man of the cloth.

• I don't think people appreciate the ferocity of a nor'easter. It's the only weather system capable of blowing two of its letters into apostrophic oblivion.

• I used to read one competent newspaper for 30 minutes each morning and spend the whole day feeling informed and accomplished. Now, I read dozens of news sources all day long and live in a constant state of bewilderment. Thanks internet!

• Experts agree Parkland making a difference to adults in Washington sensing maybe -- just maybe -- our gun laws might need adjusting. So to you hundreds of victims from Sandy Hook, Orlando, Vegas, Columbine, Blacksburg, etc ... Thanks for nothing!

• Happy 142nd Birthday to the telephone! Imagine how different phones would have sounded if they'd have been invented by Alexander Graham Horn. Honk! Honk!

• Given trajectory of men's grooming standards I fully expect to within 2 years see ads advising me how to get a really close shave on my armpits.

• Nostradamus used his visionary mind to predict the future. A seer who does the same thing using only a keen sense of smell is Nostrildamus.

• A clear, sharp mind is a brute impediment to enjoying so much of life's wonder and whimsy. Not my problem!

• I’ve been drunk and I've been pretty and I've been pretty drunk, but never once when I've been drunk have I been considered pretty.

• One of the trickiest parts of being a father is advising teenagers about the virtues of abstinence and sobriety when some of my life's happiest memories involve being drunk and getting laid.

• Had I known how deeply having children would cut into my TV viewing time, my Facebook profile would today feature pictures of our hamsters, Josie & Lucy.

• I’ve read that turning the last page of a good book is like saying goodbye to a good friend. It's particularly jarring to me 'cause none of my good friends are ever book sober.

• How about this for a new rule? The only time you're allowed to show me pictures on your phone is when the pictures are of me and were taken in 1987 when for one week I looked sort of like this … (imagine a picture of Fabio)

• It’s becoming clear porn actresses and Playboy Playmates will have cheap sex with boorish and uncouth men as long as they're wealthy. Question: Will they have sex with a poor man if the compensation is intimacy with a gent of ample grace and wit? I'm, er, asking for a friend.

• I’m growing oddly nostalgic for the days when GOP leaders used to say, "Now, hold on. Let's wait to hear what Sarah thinks.”

• I’m such an optimist that I hope if I do go to hell, it's in a hand basket. We could picnic!

• The abundance of today's school activities for our daughters coupled with my habitual days of hooky means I'm now spending more time in high school than when I was in high school.

• It says something about American priorities that there are a plethora of erectile dysfunction ads, yet none proposing cures for the cerebral kind.

• With so many people seeking to carry concealed weapons, I tried to figure how many times I'd shoot myself each week if I carried. I figure 3.

• Greatest drag on US productivity could be reversed if docs said they were just jokin' when they said male masturbation was a health benefit.

• I propose they rename phone book "The Big Book of Names & Numbers of People You Don't Know, Will Never Meet & Will Never Call.”

• My next big money maker: Gonna start a tribute boy band of unruly young posers capable of performing credible versions of "Kashmir," "Whole Lotta Love," and "Stairway to Heaven." "Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for ... LAD ZEPPELIN!”

• I will devote part of the day to teaching my beloved daughter how to drive, the whole time feeling like a warden who's cheerfully teaching an inmate how to escape.

• I enjoy asking the waitress at the family restaurant if she has chicken fingers and when she says yes, saying, "Oh, you're being too hard on yourself. Sure, they're hideous, but they still appear human.”

• I may be misjudging the man, but I suspect every time Trump leaves the White House he steals a towel or two.

• Did your Mom ever write your name on your undershirt tag? She was years ahead of her time. Mom: inventor of the original Collar ID.

• People who want to appear more interesting get tattoos. People who want to become more interesting get library cards.

• Dressmakers who grow their own cotton sew what they reap.

• If I were a geologist, I'd become famous by writing a scholarly paper declaring precisely when Mother Nature lost her virginity and describing in detail all the earthly consequences.

• Trying to explain the value of books to someone who does not read is like trying to explain the value of air to fish. 

• I used to think I had a brain but it was all in my head.

• On this day in 1975, Steven Spielberg released "Jaws," thus marking for the first time in Hollywood history even marquee actors were happy to boast about having "bit" parts.

• Had a great family OBX vacation marred only by one incident initiated when kids asked if they could bury me in sand. Sure, I said. I'm game. But when they had me completely immobilized, the little bastards stole my shoes & wallet. I should've known better. They weren't my kids.

• It’s not uncommon to hear people say people suck. Don't you believe it. Try this: Walk down the street and smile at every stranger. Most every stranger will reflexively smile right back. They don't suck. Soon there won't be any strangers left and everyone will be smiling.

• It boggles my mind that in '96 multi-millionaires Johnny Cash and Tom Petty collaborated on an album called "Unchained." Imagine the cover possibilities had they called the obvious: "Petty Cash.”

• Saw angry parents running after a boy they'd named Chase and screaming for him to come back, oblivious to the irony.

• Because of the noisy commotion associated with the happy event, I propose we change "orgasm" to ‘ROARgasm."

• People say my career is really taking off. They're right. It is. It's just that the  damn runway is really, really long.

• Commentators keep pointing out how Aretha Franklin made President Obama cry during his inauguration. Big deal. I'll bet Trump does something twice a day that makes Obama cry.

• The literalist in me revels in the fact that the Great Plains state of Iowa has a senator named Grassley and yearns for the day when Wisconsin voters send to Washington their Senator Cheesey.

• Just enjoyed afternoon at @WestmdCountyPA Fair. The highlight? As always, walking through the rabbit exhibit singing, "Cannn ... any bunny ... find me ... some bunny to love? Some bunny! Some bunny! Find me some bunny to love!" 

• If a handwriting expert said analysis of your signature indicated it was likely that you're an obnoxious asshole, would you vow to become a better person or simply begin altering your signature?

• He’s such a fuddy-duddy I'm not sure it would even help, but if I were advising the VP, I'd tell him to hold a press conference and say, "It's time for me to come clean. My name isn't Mike Pence. It's Mike Pants!” Like “Mike pants when Mother bends over in the garden.”

• One of the great oddities of the human existence is that many otherwise mature adults will answer in the affirmative when asked, "Do you want to see something disgusting?”

• Paleontologists dedicate themselves to working with dinosaur bones. Paleontologist is a difficult word to spell. Does anyone suppose paleontologists would object if we all started calling them boners?

• Some words have too many meanings. Like volume (a collection, bulk, strength); or record (recall, an album, etc.) & I'm not touching cock.

• I’m intent on volunteering for the Peace Corps in the hopes they’ll assign me to do hydro-electric work in third-world countries so one day I can say with concrete justification I once really gave a dam.

• Not saying local volunteer fire fighters join for purely social aspects, but it is suspicious the town whore house catches fire every Friday at 8 p.m.

• Ants eat sticks, dirt, decomposing bodies and even poop. My question: Which of their six arms do they use to comfort themselves when they get a tummy ache?

• I thought about taking my watch apart to count all the pieces, but just don't have the time to kill.

• My way to really stick it to the publishing industry. I'm calling my next work, "The Big Hands-On Book of Glues & Other Adhesives," so every review will have to include the words, "Could Not Put it Down!”

• I hope I never need the info, but because you just never know: what do you yell when you see a tall duck about to hit his head on a low branch and how badly confused would the hapless fowl be if you yelled, “Duck!"

• Dreamt I was involved in an immoral activity with a prominent female. Her lawyers offered a large sum of money to avoid a scandal. Dream me refused. Dream me has more character than wide-awake me.

• It’s difficult to believe, but there will come a day when the name Trump will not appear in any headline anywhere. It may be Tuesday and it may be because the world is destroyed, but it will happen. What can I say? I'm an optimist!

• I enjoy watching movies about people who would never dream of watching movies. I enjoy watching #CaptainFantastic

• On way to Greater Latrobe Senior High to address aspiring writers wondering how much time the kid I used to be would spend mocking the man he's bound to become.

• Watching far right conservatives argue with far left liberals about the direction of the country is like watching the Old Testament argue with the New Testament about the direction of the Bible.

• I wouldn't want to be involved in anything that would cause pain in others or certainly myself but I'd just once like to be part of a brave mission where our leader said, "Gentlemen, we now must synchronize our watches." I wonder if bowlers ever synchronize their watches.

• It’s unfathomable to imagine how much better off the world would be if every time we felt moved by a good intention we acted on it.

• The ones who profess to know all the answers are usually the same ones who never bother to ask any of the questions.

• The difference between my friends from church and my friends from the bar is my friends from church say they're sinners and they're really nice people and my friends from bars say they're sinners and brag about it.

• Because fickle publishing industry insists it is looking for timeless books, my next novel is going to be about a broken clock.

• On most days, happiness and sadness are not emotions. They're decisions. Now, being an asshole, that's different. It's a pre-existing condition.

• I admire vegans, but the chances of me giving up meat are about the same as me resuming my virginity.

• Would you find the Bible more or less compelling if back in Biblical times rudimentary selfie technology had existed? Imagine some of Noah's selfies. 

• On this day in 1969, Fantasy Records released the Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Proud Mary." She's been rollin' on the river ever since. This leads me to believe not only was Mary proud, she was also quite buoyant.

• I’d like to have been a fly on the wall to hear what His high school guidance counselor said when the teenage Jesus told him God said He was going to be the Savior.

• In striving to be all inclusive and non-confrontational during the War on Christmas I will henceforth wish people a Happy ALLidays. I want people of ALL beliefs to enjoy ALL holidays. Happy ALLidays!

• When Satan really gives someone hell does it torment the soul or is it just considered a standard real estate deal?

• The difference between being grounded and being buried is grave.

• The '17 death of Nana always hits particularly hard this time of year. Her death means I can no longer startle the kids by running into the room and somberly announcing, "I hate to be the one to tell you this  … but I have terrible news. Grandma (sniff) got run over by a reindeer!”

• I wholeheartedly endorse the liberal agenda of all my sisters/brothers/others in the LBGQT community, but if they absorb one more offbeat sexual orientation category into their movement their acronym is going to need an acronym.

• A single Faberge egg may be worth up to $33 million. Greedy collectors crave just one of the 43 known to survive. Not me. Couldn't care less. What do I covet? One Faberge chicken!

• Once again, I envision a gala Vegas lounge act composed of tiny sideburned toymakers singing "Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” etc. "Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Elves Presley!”

• Q: What does it mean when you hear, "Hoot! Hoot!" coming from a nearby tree this time of year? 
  A: Owl be home for Christmas.

• Recalling that The Beatles are from Liverpool is charming. Realizing the origins of the town name must involve an Olde English slaughterhouse and a pool of livers not so much.

• I’d like to get a job at Tomorrowland in Disney to see just how far they'll let me push the whole procrastination angle.

• When Jesus preached we need to stop hating everyone everywhere He wasn't including Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, was He? No way, right?

• People say I repeat myself when I'm drunk. People say I repeat myself when I'm drunk.

• I wonder if the chariots from ancient Roman times had drink holders. Or maybe the'd yet to invent the sized lid/straw combo ...

• Just saw "Bohemian Rhapsody." My thoughts: If all the popcorn spilled at all the theaters every day in America were gathered and distributed to starving people around the world then starving people around the world would get mighty sick of popcorn. 

• The greatest public misnomer involves announcers addressing crowds at things like NFL games as "Ladies and gentlemen." At any game of about 60,000 fans, there are probably no more than 120 ladies and 50 true gents. If they cared at all about accuracy, they'd say, "Welcome bitches, dudes and garden variety blowhards!"

Related …