Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best tweets of 2014


Happy New Year! Thanks for checking in. You can follow my daily tweets here @8days2Amish.com.


• If our bodies are, indeed, temples then how come everything that comes out of them is so disgusting?

• A sordid affair is 2 people engaged in illicit behavior. Two people busted before they can start having any naughty fun is a sordud one.

• Someday I’m going to enter a house with a “Welcome!” mat, sit on the couch, grab the remote and ask the homeowner to bring me a beer. 

• Bumbastic people are prone to talking out of their asses. 

• I have to think giraffe parents take it far more seriously than human counterparts when they catch giraffe teenagers necking.

• Very productive morning. I killed so many birds with so few stones I'm expecting PETA to protest.

• The difference between a mad scientist and a merely angry one is all in the haircut.

• Five years ago tonight someone we'll never hear of lost out to Capt. Sully Sullenberger for USAirways Employee of the Month. 

• Saw a man on this bone-chilling morning standing at the bus stop wearing nothing but a musical bellows. He was dressed accordioningly.

• Little noticed reg in ObamaCare requires docs mimic Billy Joel when they tell patients they've had a heart attack-ack-ack-ack

• If you're livin' in New Orleans and yer nickname ain't "Fats" then you just ain't livin' right.

• Most discriminatory club in America is Groundhog Phil's Inner Circle. Still, America will overlook Phil's bigotry cause he's so darn cute.

• I admit it. I was a goofball when I was kid. But I’ve changed. I’ve hardened. I guess that means today I’m more of a goofpuck.
• I predict milk will be the next common food staple to get the luxury boutique treatment. People will have milk orgies in moo saloons: Cowligula! 

• I wonder if anyone watched the historic U.S. Beatles TV debut and said, "When I grow up I want to be just like Ed Sullivan!”

• Many people flirt with disaster. Me, I slip it some Ecstasy, a made-up phone number and just let chips fall where they may.

• The best prosthetic salesmen and women are blessed with disarming personalities. 

• Ambitious tailors who work exclusively on 3-piece suits have vested interests.

• Two days too late it just occurred to me: Women's Figure Skating no longer involves women with figures.

• Really popular all-you-can-eat buffets are places where the crowd never thins.

• Call me reactionary, but I have to figure they use one hell of a lot of hand sanitizer in Germany.

• If I ever have money burning a hole in my pocket the first thing- I'm gonna do is rush out and buy some flame retardant pants.

• I’m so cheap I wish Latrobe had a Dutch restaurant so I could invite my wife to dinner and say, "Let's go Dutch!" and get out of paying.

• True dreamers fly kites with no strings attached.

• Remember, it's okay to cook on a spit, but never spit on your cook.

• I hope someday to persuade Derek Jeter to draw me a little stick figure cartoon just so I can justifiably call it a Dandy Yankee doodle.

• I told a friend that careful mimes can be safe, but never sound. He accused me of thinking inside the box.

• A clear, sharp mind is a brute impediment to enjoying so much of life's wonder and whimsy. I'm glad that's not one of my problems.

• I’m always surprised when I hear how much roofers earn. I always thought they worked on the house.

• Can’t prove it and I'd never dream of trying it, but I'll bet I'm friends with many 50 year old men who'd fall for the "Got yer nose!" gag.

• New prisons are the only structures that require occupants break in before they can break out. 

• I’m proud to say I've spent past 22 years living by my wits, but acknowledge I'm often so broke I've come to believe I'm not all that witty. 

• Shakespeare succeeded without the services of a press agent. Go ahead and check the history books. There's no such thing as Bard publicity. 

• I wish no ill on any being but I hope for the sake of Earth's collective cool that Paul outlives Ringo.

• It would be deliciously news to ironic historians if Joan of Arc ordered steak for her last meal.

• I sometimes fear my Odor Eaters will forget their benign mission and begin consuming parts of me I’m casual about washing.

• I’m going to spend the weekend developing a fruity superhero who shoots apple juice out his wrists. Yes, watch out! It's CiderMan!

• Shrewd fortune tellers probably greet every new customer with, “I've been expecting you.”

• No excess yeast is used in the making of pita bread. No animals were harmed in the making of PETA bread. 

• If marriage is so great then how come there isn't a Mrs. God? 

• If we've learned anything from watching today's "Three Stooges," it is to never say, "Here! Take mine!" whenever Moe asks for a hammer.

• For a guy who became famous singing "Born To Run," I'll wager Bruce Springsteen doesn't even own a pair track shoes.
• Sometimes when I'm pumping gas and feeling really naughty I remove my credit card really, really slowly just to stick it to The Man.

• Given publishing trends, I can envision a day when angry judges bent on bestowing severe punishment will throw the Nook at miscreants.

• News says Springsteen flies home on a private jet after every show. Tramps like him, baby, they were born to skip long TSA security checkpoints.

• John Lennon imagined a world at peace. I imagine how different people's faces would look if our eyeballs were squares.

• I’m thinking of forming a really shitty Fab Four tribute band. "Ladies and gentleman, please give a warm welcome to ... The Dung Beatles!”

• Daughter, 13, just texted me she is bored spending time at grandpa's. I advised her to set something on fire.

• When Kris Kristofferson sings about Bobby McGee, it's about a woman. When Janis does, it's a dude. Question: Is Bobby McGee a hermaphrodite?

• 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. 

• Physicians who share waiting rooms often try each others' patients.

• Americans Against Stupid Silent Letters unite! It's no longer Wednesday. Let's all make it Wensday! (this message brought to you by AASSL)

• I hope tonight Roger Goodell greets one top draftee so exuberantly he has to fine himself for an excessive celebration. 

• Technological advances combined with desperate bookkeeping mean many people today rob Peter to PayPal.

• A good, warm shower is about as close to returning to the womb as we can get without inconveniencing Mom.

• I’d vow to never have more fun than a barrel of monkeys if I can be assured it'll never result in the inhumane cruelty of barreled monkeys.

• I so enjoy it I don't want sticks of butter, I want butter on a stick.

• In her restless quest to determine who has more omnipotence, daughter, 7, asked who has more elves: God or Santa?

• Men are from Mars, women from Venus, but Venus Williams is from Lynwood, California.

• I’d like to see Bruno Mars and Venus Williams get together and have a kid who could be described as earthy.

• The greatest lie we tell to one another is, “Hate to say I told you so, but ...” Saying, “I told you so,” is one of life’s greatest joys.

• Told 7-year-old if she squeeze a piece of coal hard enough she’ll make a diamond. She squeezed so hard she almost made a turd.

• If Jeremiah was, indeed, a bullfrog, who drove him to the liquor store to get his mighty fine wine? So much of the story remains untold.

• I wonder how guys like Bach and Beethoven reacted when during meltdowns someone told them to compose themselves.

• Chickens have breasts. Women have breasts. Women have nipples. Do chicken have nipples? Are chicken nipples some kind of delicacy?

• Don Cheadle was nominated for a 2004 Oscar for his role in "Hotel Rwanda." I love Cheadle but he didn't stand chance. Cheadles never win

• Many of us used to live lives of quiet desperation. Now, thanks to Twitter, all our desperation is at full blast. Let's turn it up to 11!

• Don’t take this wrong, but if you know more quotes from “Art of War” author Sun Tzu than you do Fred Rogers you’re probably an asshole.

• Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to be forever berated over their failure by those of us who do. 

• How come there isn't an '80s tribute band called Roberto Duran Duran?

• I’m thinking of opening fast food restaurant that uses really seasoned vegetable oils for fried chicken, etc. I'll call it "Ancient Grease” 

• I wonder how many times pretentious erotic film makers have re-done porno "Moby Dick" just to use the line, "Thar she blows!”

 • I’m inexperienced in either endeavor, but I imagine a tame goose chase would be just as exhilarating as a wild one.

• Palindrome should be spelled “palindromemordnilap”

• Someday I’m going to enter a house with “Welcome!” mat, sit on the couch, grab the remote & ask homeowner to bring me a beer and some chips

• Scientists will in 10 yrs figure way to harness hate as renewable energy. Good: it's green. Bad: Driving someone crazy will be civic minded. 

• Chicken fingers are one of America's most popular meals. Yet, chickens have no arms or hands. Something strange happens between farm & table.

• I’m going to stand in dimly lit room, extend video cam & spin ‘til I’m dizzy. Then I’ll post & boast I spent 2 mins in eye of a tornado.

• Your typical pessimist suffers from pre-traumatic stress disorder.

• Daughter, 8, surprised me by saying she dreams of going to Amsterdam. Why? She said she thought it'd be cute. She thought it was Hamsterdam.

• Being a world class juggler takes real balls. Or clubs, pins, etc.

• I plan on devoting tomorrow to conducting comprehensive study on marketing breath mints. I'll call it, "The Tactics of Tic Tacs.”

• I’m curious about the net worth of people who make nets.

• Wonder how much money I could make if I told people I could sell 'em skinny pills & sold 'em bottles full of pills with really slim waists. 

• If people who revere the Grateful Dead are called “Deadheads,” what does that make those of us who revere “Moby Dick?”

• Some might consider putting fancy prosthetics on injured animals faux paw.

• Cynics who do nothing but predict gloom and doom are misfortune tellers.

• I know it's going to lead to trouble, but I can't resist putting lit matches under ears of strangers and asking, "Are your ears burning?”

• I wonder if alpha walruses every get into beach shoving matches shouting, "I am the walrus!" "No, I am the walrus!" #coocookachu

• I think it's time we rename Buffalo to Uninhabitable. Humans can't live there. Heck, buffalo can't live in Buffalo.

• Porcine puppeteers pull hamstrings.

• Anytime I hear anyone saying "cooler heads will prevail," I keep hoping one of the cooler heads is wacky snowman Olaf from “Frozen.” 





Tweets of the months & what I think that @PiedPiper has more followers than me


I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise, but @PiedPiper has about 10 times more followers than @8days2amish.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it, too.

Rats.



• I wonder if alpha walruses every get into beach shoving matches shouting, "I am the walrus!" "No, I am the walrus!” #CooCooKaChu

• I wish more black and white people would stop looking at all race issues like everything was so black and white. 

• Gas prices below $3 a gallon can only mean the Middle East has become a bastion of stability and peace.

• All my life people have been telling me, "Chris, you can't do this," or "Chris, you can't do that." Can't. Can’t. Can’t. Know something? They've been mostly right.

• The term "penniless" has lost all value for describing an impoverished individual. Probably been 30 years since Trump's even seen a penny.

• Conservative whites livid when wished Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas think blacks over-reacting about unarmed blacks getting killed by conservative whites.

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

• During this season of joy and family togetherness do you ever wonder if Madonna and Dennis Rodman ever look back and lament how it all went so wrong?

• Porcine puppeteers pull hamstrings.

• Mood rings are cool, but I’m holding out for mood underwear.

• I’m all for a color-blind society, but am fearful what the results'll mean to our nation's sock drawers.

• Store receipts getting so long it is now be possible to wrap new toaster in new toaster receipts.

• Geography-studying daughter, 8, thinks pronunciation of European is hilarious. Can't wait to tell her about Africa's Lake Titicaca.

• I believe in a vengeful God who every time I say something sarcastic or snarky to my 82-year-old mother adds another 18 months to her life.

• Who else loves psilent letters!

• Because it lasted from 1337 to 1453 I propose we rename the 100 Years War, the Most Inaccurately Named War.

• I’d like to be a fly on the wall when flies on the wall discuss their bafflement over why any human would ever want to be a fly on the wall

• Hysterical insider reaction to Sony hacking scandal is funniest thing they've done since '97 Jack Nicholson film, "As Good As It Gets.”

• I should be awarded Nobel Peace Prize every year for never saying exactly what pops into my mind the instant my jerk-detector goes “Ding!”

• Just because Adolph Hitler's book is ranked 8,839 and mine is ranked 399,009 doesn't mean "Mein Kampf"is better than "Use All The Crayons!”

• Do other animals in nature use their tails to wipe their tears or is that behavior exclusive to the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz?

• Anytime I hear anyone saying "cooler heads will prevail," I keep hoping one of the cooler heads is wacky snowman Olaf from “Frozen.” Truly, all snowmen have cooler heads.

• I fear when I conclude this journey of self-discovery we call life I'll discover my true self's still in 7th grade shooting spitballs at the stupid math sub.

• The only continent incapable of  supporting the world’s most prolific species -- the ant -- is the one that begins with the letters A-N-T.

• Know what it means when you hear "Hoo! Hoo!" in the trees this week? Owl be home for Christmas!

• “Godspell” is a popular theatrical production. “Spell God” is a question that will get public school teachers into trouble with the ACLU

• Do you think it ever bugged Jesus that His birthday was on Christmas? 

• This will be the Christmas I'll be remembered for yelling "Blucher!" just before the horsey sound on "Sleigh Bells.”

• I’m the kind of pacifist who adores slapstick comedy but is offended by the idea of anyone getting slapped with a stick.

• I wonder if veteran ladder salesmen think they're being funny when they ask customers if they want the former ladder or the latter ladder.

• Just saw the name “Christian” is 34th most #PopularBoyName. I’ll let you know when I get to the name “Atheist.”

• My gut reaction anytime I see a car with "Liberty or Death" bumper sticker is to enslave then execute the demanding driver.

• I miss the days when airline security meant someone asked if you were carrying a bomb and really didn't care much about your answer.

• Rainy days and Mondays always gets me thinking about the song "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters. 

• Wish for '15: May you one day be as happy as all your Facebook friends mistakenly think you are based on your pics and posts.


• My great contradiction is telling daughters how unimportant it is to be cool while desperately clinging to the meager cool I have left.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blog year in review: 36 "best" to share with friends

This is the time of year when it’s customary for traditional media outlets to publish Top 10 best/worst of lists.

The official “Eight Days To Amish” 2014 list touts 36 of the 230 essays I’ve posted throughout the year.

Why 36?

Because 10 is way too few and 230 would have taken way too long. Really, I think they’re all worthy.

I think eventually I’ll look back on 2014 as the year I began to shed my default self-deprecation.

I’m being forced to. I am becoming overwhelmed by the diverse number of people who tell me just how much they love “Eight DaysTo Amish.” I think it shows in the writing. It’s becoming more assertive, a bit cocky, even. It tackles even difficult topics with relish and gusto. Even when it’s embarrassing to its author, the blog insists on being forever genuine.

Yes, the humble little blog is losing its humility.

I now know that a lot of people feel the same way about the blog as they do about “Use All The Crayons!” They love it, look forward to it four- to five-times a week and are bummed when I miss even a day.

The reaction warms my heart.

So I thought if you’re one of those people I’d give you a year-end overview you can share with friends who might enjoy it. It has a really healthy sampling of what I think works here on the blog.

Thank you for all your encouragement and cheer. It means the world to me.

I’m optimistic interesting things are in store for 2015.

Yes, by this time next year I might be — who knows? — a full 11 or 12 days to Amish!

(Why this blog is called what it is . . .)


Bark Up/Bark down: A neighbor’s dog left out in the cold, January 7 — “I instinctively knew if I was shot dead, Wayne LaPierre would in 48 hours be holding a press conference saying I’d had it coming.”

On HBO’s “Girls:” Being naked vs. being nekkid , January 13 — “I learned a game of 8 ball played by two naked men is still called 8 ball.”

Flakey thoughts on Atlanta snow traffic nightmare, January 31 — “I thought, ‘Gee, how come it took us four whole years to whip their Rebel butts in the Civil War?’ You’d think a people paralyzed by two inches of snow would flee crying from a battlefield if you stood up and yelled, ‘Boo!’”

Everyone hates Patrice King Brown; here’s why,  February 19 — “And UPMC runs ad nauseam commercials featuring the once-beloved Patrice King Brown. I’m unsure of the precise Latin meaning of ad nauseam, but if it means ‘ads that make people nauseous,’ I won’t be surprised.”

Wouldn’t it be great if Flight 370 were found with everyone alive? March 17 — “I’ll never forget his answer. He said, ‘I thought if I ever make it out of this hole alive I’m going to spend the rest of my life getting stoned immaculate.’ He’d been back above ground for just 24 hours and he was well on his merry way.”

I have no middle initial (and how F. Murray Abraham got his),  April 2 —“But now I’ll never, ever forget that the F. in F. Murray Abraham is meaningless and that the dude was born in Pittsburgh, the F. City of F. Champions.”

Obama hater spoils my breakfast then my windshield, May 23 — “As he was leaving, I said, ‘Well, Happy Easter.’ He said. ‘That’s a pagan holiday. It’s Resurrection Day.’ It’s in our interests to accommodate everyone, but I hope he never comes back.”

RIP Maya Angelou & world’s greatest poem, May 30 — “I tend to think of poets as being lyricists too lazy to learn guitar.”

Sing me a song, you’re the bartender! June 30 — “I don’t tell her that Dave doesn’t want wild men in his bar and that, really, there are usually about four or five guys who eat lunch there who have bigger tits than she does and nobody really cares.”

Cheers! My bartending stint is over, July 11 — “Even though it’d been 27 years since I’d lasted tended bar, I said yes right away because saying no to Dave in that situation would have been like Rudolph saying no to Santa.”

Drawing warmth & cheer from the pain & suffering of idiots, July 12 — “The explosion caused an impromptu Three Stooges skit to break out right there next to the bar dumpster. They each put their hands to their faces and began bouncing into one another. The Bronco engine was fully engulfed. And it was all hilarious.”

A back ’n’ forth on palindromes, July 15 — “I’ve said previously that for the sake of clarity, “palindrome” should be spelled palindromemordnilap.”

On chicken fingers, chicken breasts & chicken nipples, July 17 — “I always make a point anytime we’re out at some family restaurant to ask the waitress if she has chicken fingers. As the answer is always yes, I say, ‘Oh, you’re being too hard on yourself.  Your fingers are ugly, but they still appear human!’”

Pittsburgh mom gambles on locking kid in car, August 8 — “Yes, Valerie E. Snyder made a terrible mistake. She should never have locked her son in the car. She should have locked him in the trunk where no one would have seen him.”

Brownie points: Confessions of a bad son, August 11 — “And let’s see you try not to sound too awfully condescending when saying something so awfully condescending. It’s not easy.”

Many vexing world problems: at least chips are great!, August 18 — “It’s a pity we can’t be as appreciative of the diversity of races and religious beliefs of people as we are about the chips we consume.”

“The Simpsons” will live forever; Sam Simon won’t, August 21 — “But I’ll instead divert and tell you about what might be my favorite Simpson’s story. It’s the story of Sam Simon.”

Rebuild Napa: Drink more wine! August 26 — “Together with more wine we can all make America whine less!”

Stop buying Rolling Rock! It’s made in New Jersey! August 29 — “The brewery went idle and 70 of my buddies were out of work. Some in Latrobe turned to prayer. Me, I turned to Yuengling, a fine Pennsylvania beer brewed in Pottsville.”

A celebration of food & death row last meals, September 12 — “And while I have no fear of death I absolutely dread the idea I might either die hungry or with a belly full of pedestrian crap.”

Why do so many things suck so bad? September 24 — “Right then all I had was a growing desire to complete my transaction and vacate the store before any of my neighbors saw I was a grown man who likes to lick lollipops.”

I cry over commercials (farewell, Cap’n Jeter!), September 26 — “I had nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, what grown man doesn’t cry at Gatorade commercials?”

My advice to tomorrow’s critics, October 2 — “When I think of good critics, I think of words that involve light and vision. They’re insightful, enlightening, illuminating. They take something I’ve yet to see or understand and bestow it with clarity.”

See Jennifer Lawrence naked! (Just pay before ya peek!) Oct. 13 — “I made that mistake once and, I swear, it was the last time I’ll ever click on links to sites promising sexy Betty White shots.”

Why I always give trusting strangers wrong directions, October 15 — “Because I’d never heard of a Beechview Avenue, I decided to send her down a long country road. It can be very unsettling being lost in an unfamiliar town. I thought on this beautiful fall day it would be far better for her if she could at least be lost someplace more scenic.”

Isn’t it time we resurrected another Carpenter? October 30 — “Karen Carpenter was 32 in 1983 when she died from complications stemming from anorexia, or about the same age as Jesus when He died from complications stemming from crucifixion.”

Results of my first physical in 18 years, November 7 — “‘You’re a miracle,’ she said. ‘The doctor’s going to get a kick out of meeting you.’ All this giddy stir and I’d yet to even remove my pants!”

I buy books, November 14 — “As a father of daughters, I’ve probably seen ‘Frozen’ hundreds of times, once 100 consecutive times on the same school snow day.”

Renaming Buffalo & other snow-bound cities, November 21 — “The last few days prove humans aren’t meant to live in Buffalo. Heck, buffalo aren’t meant to live in Buffalo.”

It was a very Zombie Thanksgiving, December 1 — “It won’t be truly authentic to me until you hear one of the cast utter the obvious line, ‘Dammit. I just stepped in a huge pile of zombie poop!’”

RIP Bobby Keys: Is this his last song? December 4 — “This wasn’t parting ways with Brian Jones over creative differences. This was Jagger saying, ‘The bloke’s jus’ too much! When ‘e’s inna next room, ‘e’s so loud I can’t even enjoy me orgy!’”

The Pond is for sale! Anybody wanna buy a bar? December 19 — “I’m sure years from now they’ll remember Friday nights we’d eat pizza in the Pond dining room and then walk the mile to the stadium to watch the high school football games. Ain’t that America?”


At Christmas, wondering about the Teenage Jesus, December 24 — “Did Jesus ever get in trouble for acting like a real know-it-all in Sunday school?”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday encore! "Ahoy, Heisenberg!" When "Breaking Bad" collides with "Love Boat"

“Breaking Bad” marathon on today. Here’s the ’13 story about the night when our favorite show got swamped by, yep, “The Love Boat!” Come aboard, they're expecting you! Such great campy fun.


It was 9 p.m. Sunday and Val and I were sitting down to watch the fourth to last episode of “Breaking Bad,” the AMC show that is dividing America.

The half of us who are watching can’t quit talking about what we believe is the best TV show ever; the half that couldn’t care less wishes the rest of us would just shut the hell up. 

As I said, it was 9 p.m. and savvy viewers know that is not the time to sit down and and watch quality programming. It’s a time that means we’d be subjected to about 20 minutes of momentum-busting commercials.

So we needed at least 21 minutes to let the DVR do its magic.

What to do? Meaningful conversation between married parents of two vital children being, of course, out of the question.

Val seized the remote and deftly found a recorded program about the only premise more compelling than trainloads full of methylamine being hijacked in the desert.

Yes, it was love!

“Love, exciting and new! Come aboard! We’re expecting you!”

Fans of cornball TV will recognize that as the opening line from the theme from “The Love Boat.”

She’d taped Season 1/Episode 1 of the glorious ABC cheese-fest that debuted Sept. 24, 1977. It’s now rerunning on the indispensable ME (Memorable Entertainment) TV network.

With line-ups that now include “Gilligan’s Island,” “F-Troop,’ and the original “Hawaii Five-O,” it’s becoming my go-to station whenever the other 999 channels in my Comcast package are offering unwatchable crap. 

She’d taped “Love Boat” for nostalgia sake, thinking we’d watch the intro, have a smug giggle and then move on to something cerebral.

But something surprising happened just after Capt. Merrill Stubing weighed anchor.

We were hooked.

In fact, we hadn’t felt this compelled to watch a TV show since the first time we saw Walter White’s empty khakis sailing through the New Mexico skies.

We were so enjoying the show that within minutes we were asking one another a question unique in the annals of TV debate:

Is “Love Boat” a better show than “Breaking Bad?”

First a little perspective. I’d had a really bad day -- and when I say “really bad day” I apologize to anyone in Damascus who might be taking a break from ducking bombs to read this blog.

But, geez, the Steelers lost their opener and the Pirates got blown out by the Cardinals for the third time in a row.

And I’m feeling melancholy about the conclusion of “Breaking Bad.” So all day as my teams are getting thumped I’m realizing that one or two of the characters about whom we care is bound to soon meet a violent end.

Yes, on “Breaking Bad” it’s guaranteed someone is going to get killed.

On “Love Boat” it’s guaranteed someone’s gonna get laid!

Maiden voyage guest stars included Bonnie Franklin, J.J. Walker, Meredith Baxter Birney, Suzanne Somers and Brenda Sykes.

What’s great about this show is at that moment, many of these stars were at the peak of their fame. Now, nearly 40 years later we can enjoy making cracks about the crazy Hollywood turns their lives have taken.

There was the lovely Baxter Birney playing a coquettish centerfold in love with a promising young politician. It was entertaining watching her act like a teasing heterosexual sex kitten knowing that about 30 years later after raising her family she’d become in real life a staunch lesbian.

It’s funny because back then no man could have ever pegged her for a lesbian and today she’s a lesbian no man could peg.

Then there was J.J. Walker playing an erratic ladies’ man trying to win the fair hand of sexy Brenda Sykes. Walker, as you may remember, played an erratic ladies’ man on the mid-‘70s show “Good Times,” where sexy Sykes guest starred as his girlfriend whose fair hand he was trying to win.

I tell you, “Love Boat” casting was Dy-No-Mite!

The show’s galaxy of guest stars included Sonny Bono, Loni Anderson, Tom Hanks, Barbi Benton, Andy Warhol, Gina Lollabrigida, Ernie Borgnine and Charo! Charo! Charo!

Charo, in fact, was the show’s most frequent guest star, having boarded The Boat eight times over the show’s eight-year run.

(Gratuitous Charo trivia: Legal documents in three different international venues indicate she was born alternatively in 1951, 1941 and 1931.)

So now we’re hooked. I’m sure we’ll watch regularly to monitor the guest stars, the ludicrous plots and try and discern if Adam Bricker, the four-times married ship’s doctor, ever once needed the eye chart on conspicious display in his examination room.

We watched about 30 minutes before switching to watch “Breaking Bad,” which left us absolutely devastated.

So we rebounded by immediately watching the rest of “Love Boat!” It was great!

I can’t tell you how euphoric it felt to watch a show about a cruise ship where every single passenger left happy -- and not just because it didn’t sink and managed to make it back to port under its own power.

So which show’s better?

On this Monday morning, it’s difficult to say.

All I know this, the greatest show ever would be one where the cast of “Breaking Bad” set sail on “The Love Boat.” That cast is due for a little lovin’ and levity.

I wonder if Charo’s free.



Related . . .







Wednesday, December 24, 2014

At Christmas, wondering about the Teenage Jesus


This is the season when Christian believers celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus. I love the idea that God incarnate came to earth, not as a fully formed King or warrior, but in our most vulnerable and precious form.

It’s such a joyful counterpoint to the crucifixion.

What chagrins me is the biographical void of all those years in between. We know almost nothing about how He became who He was.

I’ve spent a good deal of the past year reading the monumental Robert A. Caro biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson. Over the past 32 years Caro’s published epics — the four books range from 522 to 1,167 pages — about the man who was president of the United States from 1963-68.

I know how Johnson did in school, what tests he cheated on, how he fell in love, what scared him and who he screwed (spoiler alert: Eventually he screwed all of us).

So I know way more about LBJ than I do about JHC.

And that “JHC” is pure conjecture. I don’t know if his middle name is Harold or Henry, but I’ve heard lots of people exclaim “Jesus H. Christ!” when they’re exasperated so let’s just go with that.

Specifically, I’d like to read a scholarly book titled, “The Teenage Jesus: How The Man Who Became Savior Got Through Puberty.”

It’s bound to be a swell guide on how to raise successful and well-adjusted kids.

Here’s my entire fatherhood playbook boiled down to just five words:

“Try not to raise morons.”

There’s a whole lot of wiggle room in that skimpy prospectus.

I believe I’ll be considered a great father if my daughters become pleasant, informed individuals who make it through life without sending annoying ALL CAP texts or staying too long in the passing lane after they’ve safely passed parkway slowpokes.

And if despite my best efforts they become common morons I can say, well, at least I tried and, really, it was more their Mom’s fault.

Imagine how different it would be if my virgin wife had told me she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and that together we’d been chosen to raise the Son of God.

Assuming for a moment I didn’t just throw her trampy ass out — and in this instance I’m not referring to the four-legged beast of burden — imagine how my fathering responsibilities would be altered

The differences would be, well, Biblical.

Remember, Joseph was the de facto God father, the kind without a Luca Brasi to do all his dirty work.

The stakes were huge. How do you react if your kid’s being bullied? Do you make him eat dates and figs when he gets home from school or do you risk mankind’s salvation by letting him chub up on chips and Oreos?

And how do you discipline a child who you know is destined for omnipotence?

I have trouble discipling my daughters for refusing to take the dog out when he’s scratching at the door and those two are powerless to send my soul to hell, something I’m sure they’ve at times prayed they could do.

As a sassy teen, He must have reacted with reflexive scorn when Joseph would ask Him to take out the trash.
“Oh, yeah? Or else you’ll what?”

And how do you raise a holy prophet without asking Him if the Steelers are going to beat the Bengals on Sunday? 

I just don’t think Joseph gets enough credit for his role in helping to raise what turned out to be a really good kid. I’m mean a really, really, really good kid.

That’s why I’d like to read a book about the teenage Jesus.

What was it that made Him, a creative sort, become a carpenter instead of, say, a lute player in the local band?

Did He ever get in trouble for acting like a real know-it-all in Sunday school?

And, geez, did it ever bug Him that His birthday was the same day as Christmas?


That’s as good a place as any to stop and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!