Monday, January 3, 2022

Checkin' in on New Year's: Was there a Year Zero?


(620 words)

As other revelers were nursing hangovers, making resolutions and game-planning for a new year’s worth of unpredictables, I did what on New Year’s Day I customarily do.

I got out my checkbook.

I wasn’t feeling philanthropic. I was feeling Gregorian. 

On each of the 40 checks, beside the half-blank “20   ” in the upper right corner, I wrote the double deuce, the “22” that designates the now-current year, 2022. 

I do so because it usually takes me till May before it sinks in that the year has rolled over. Before, I would for months thoughtlessly scribble the previous year in on checks and other documents, revealing myself to be a moron. So one day I, with Yoda-like wisdom, figured I could write them in all at once and — Voila! — never worry again about the petty nuisance.

At least until the next Dec. 31.

And when I’d conclude this little exercise, I’d always think the same thing: if this gives me so much trouble how would I have survived Year 1 BC to Year 1 AD? 

Thus, I’d start each new year swathed in confusion and pointless speculation about Year Zero. Didn’t there have to be a Year Zero?

I imagine it would have been cool to have been born in the Year Zero. But how would it have felt to be born in Year 20 B.C. only to learn you’ve been living in reverse? Just as you were about to reach what I assume was the legal drinking age, they tell you, boom, you’re 4!

I wonder if people were as crabby back then as we are now. Food was scarce. Disease and injustice rampant. Now factor in how discontented the populace would be if the Nazareth Steelers were out of the playoff picture.

And into this malicious milieu comes word that that, oh, by the way, we’re changing what year it is. Changing the calendar would have likely been controversial.

What was wrong with the old calendar?

It’s as confounding as the anecdote a mysterious old drunk told me in a San Antonio honky tonk as he was explaining to me the illusory charms of desolate West Texas.

“There’s a place out near Lubbock that is so flat that on a clear day you can see the back of your own head.”

Of course, the year conundrum dates back to a charismatic leader who was worshipped as god-like by devoted followers who’d swear he was capable of walking on water.

Shame on you if you think I’m talking about Trump.

It was Jesus. Believe or not, but there was a man whose time on Earth was so consequential they changed the entire calendar.

It’s complicated so here’s the jiffy Wikipedia version: 

“There is no "zero" year -- in this system, the year Christ was born is 1 A.D., and the year preceding it is 1 B.C. This practice was first suggested in the sixth century A.D., and was adopted by the pope of that time. It took quite a while for it to become a worldwide standard, however.”

B.C. stands for “Before Christ;” A.D. for “anno domini,” Latin for “in the year of our Lord.”

That’s just some of the things that ricochet around my noggin as I’m making sure my checks are properly dated.

Call it the ABCs of the A.D/B.C.s

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Best Tweets of '21!


Yes, it's time once again for my annual exercise in ego and tedium; a compilation of nearly every tweet from the entire year. There's no clamor for this service, but there is personal utility in having them all in one place in case I want to throw them all into a book or something. So I invite you to browse, but won't hold it against you if you decline.

Happy New Year!

• News reports of a local home being ransacked always make me wonder if the suspect is Santa, a man who runs with sacks.

• It’s not uncommon in a stale marriage for a spouse to contend he/she has his/her partner's back while wanting nothing to do with his/her front.

• I can't believe I'll -- knock on wood! -- be 58 next month and I still haven't sucked face with Madonna. And don't get me started on Betty White …

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

• I hate to say so, but every day this year something awful has happened to  make me nostalgic for simpler, less complicated times. The good ol’ days. You know ... 2020!

• Can it still be a get-rich-quick scheme if I've been working on it since 1992 and have been flat broke the whole time?

• Being in line next to another person is an example of juxtaposition. Being in line next to a gross person is an example of yuckxtaposition.

• ”Frostalgia" is the glazed half smile that freezes your friend's face whenever you try and show them treasured family photos from your last vacation and out of politeness they feel compelled to act like they care.

• I’m fully on board with masks, social distancing and strategic isolation, but admit to being fearful that me and tens of million Americans are beginning to feel a kinship with the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.

• Next time you have occasion to heartily sing "God Bless America" which groups will you in your mind parenthetically ask God to exclude? White bigots? Welfare moms? Pro-Trumpers? Immigrants? Former FB friends you can no longer stand for political reasons? 'cause we're all in there.

• Because I enjoy seeing the fundamentalists get all excited, I hope I live to see the day when America has a First Lady named Eve.

• Some nights I lay awake because I'm troubled over global injustice. Some nights personal challenges seem daunting & some nights I toss and turn fretting about a future over which I have no control. Tonight promises to be sleepless 'cause I can't fathom why nasal is not nosel.

• We live in an age when people who are most insistent about speaking their mind reveal how little mind they have mostly every time they speak. I wish they would mind their own business, but fear the same formula would apply.

• Woke up to sheets of ice on a bed of snow. My fear is obviously I'll tonight put my head down onto a pillow of slush.

• I wonder how many people have died choking on a Life Saver furiously aware of the irony.

• It’s been said our character is the sum character of the five people with whom we most associate. If that's so, then I'm about 60 percent upstanding citizen and 40 percent pure sleazeball.

• News reports say man suffering from gunshot to the knee in "stable condition." Not if he tries to stand up!

• Until shoes come with individual toe sleeves, you'll never hear the phrase, "Shoes that fit like gloves." Really, if we were at all precise about language we'd call shoes foot mittens.

• I’ve been counseled that coming straight out and asking readers for money never works. You know what I've learned through experience also never works? Sitting here quietly and never asking for money.

• The admission belittles all my pretensions of superior intellect, but I still wake up some mornings wondering if this'll be the day when, for the good of the kids, Jon & Kate reunite.

• If you could literally "laugh your ass off," boy, that's one fitness craze jokers could really get behind.

• I’m writing a book on eternity. It's taking me forever.

•Any person who obsessively disinfects the same clean surface over and over is a wipe-o-chondriac.

• How come sportswriters insist on referring to the vast parts of our arenas and stadium where everybody sits as the stands?

• The doctor walked into the examination room and said, “Chris, how do you feel?' I said, “Doc, I just use my hands."

• I wonder how in heaven they deal with the whole smoking/non-smoking thing.

• Product placement gone horribly wrong:  "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Peanut."

• The loud, jarring phenomenon that occurs when that evening’s meal preparer tries to remove the 13th pan from the bottom of a drawer designed to hold not more than 10 is "Panvalanche." Panvalanche activity also common in sinks stacked with too many dirty dishes.

• At some point in every human life, the physical body is revealed to be the most preposterous, burdensome, inept and smelly vehicle to transport a divine soul from pre-birth oblivion to afterlife infinity anyone could ever imagine. My old Plymouth Horizon was more reliable. Less farty, too.

• I once found myself admiring the men I knew who disdained recommended Covid vaccines on the grounds that they weren't "afraid of dying." Then it dawned I was misreading the mindset. No, they weren't afraid of dying. But what truly terrifies them is living.

• How lackadaisical am I becoming? I now consider the act of me pouring milk on Lucky Charms meal prep. Anyone want to take a wild guess what's for dinner?

• An elaborate beard is one of the few traits that can grow on you even as it grows on me.

• It’s a linguistic pity the gangster flicks have so indelibly linked the words "rat" and "fink." Our descriptions could use more different types of finks. I'm thinking goat fink, ass fink, etc. I'd like to be a monkey fink!

• Families are God's way of proving we can't help the ones we love the very most.

• I wonder if God, whenever He needs a good laugh, goes back and checks out my youthful prayers for fame and fortune and marvels at my mortal simplemindedness. 

• You don't have to be a raging environmentalist to agree that any country that seeks prosperity through intensive mining is an in-dig nation.

• I wonder if the 1st caveman to shave his beard was teased by other cavemen or if they were frustrated by the understanding that it would be thousands of years before the word "metrosexual" would be coined. And I wonder if the shave drove the cavebabes wild, thus sparking a trend.

• You’d have to think being a nymphomaniac with a willing harem would take a lot out of you even as you put a lot into them.

• Which unnecessary innovation will come first: A toaster that can make phone calls or a phone that can make toast?

• Am becoming nervous about upcoming toe surgery. Told podiatrist I was getting cold feet. He said, "I can fix that," and billed me another $1,500.

• Life’s a crap shoot and here in America we’re not happy unless we're constitutionally assured everyone everywhere is entitled to shoot the crap of anything.

• Being a thoughtful dermatologist is inherent with cruel frustrations. No matter how careful one is, he or she must still make rash decisions.

• The stores we used to call "convenience" marts are now built with drive-thru windows to spare us the inconvenience of having to leave our vehicles to enter the convenience mart. Should we still be calling them convenience marts or has that become anachronistic?

• You used to be able to count on all-news networks to present you with fact-based reports on a wide range of stories. Now the major networks seem to devote most of their time to convincing viewers their competitors are involved in dark conspiracies that serve Satan's purposes. We've gone from cable news to cabal news.

• I was stuck in such a long bank line today I actually began twiddling my thumbs. It was a good long twiddle, a fine twiddle. And while in mid-twiddle, it occurred to me my thumbs are the only things I've ever twiddled. Seems a waste. Any suggestions for something else that'd be fun to twiddle? And I mean while I'm in line at the bank.

• The word "astute" means shrewd or mentally sharp. Had the people who coined a word that's pronounced ass-TOOT been shrewd or mentally sharp then astute would mean something entirely different.

• I know so few people who sleep, I propose we stop calling sleep sleep and instead call it, "(Mostly) stationary time where we recline in darkened rooms and ignore one another but the television/devices are (mostly) NOT on." Too cumbersome? I can do better. Let me sleep on it ….

• A horologist (sounds just like it looks) is expert at making watches and clocks and is consumed with all the elements of time. A whoreologist's study is built around mostly hourly increments.

• France is populated by creative, artistic and passionate men and women. So how come in my entire life I’ve never heard anyone say, “You gotta hear this really kickass French rock band!” France: Where mimes matter more than music.

• If the love of money is truly the root of all evil then I must be one of the world's most virtuous men. Money and me, we're barely on speaking terms.

• The term “psychological warfare” was coined by Nazi strategists in 1939 to describe mental manipulations meant to undermine morale, faith and allegiances. In the intervening years, countless wars have killed millions of humans and yet psychological peace isn’t even a term, much less a custom. 

• Bible says the "meek shall inherit the earth." My fear is that once all the Type-A aggressors conclude  their greedy plunder the only thing left for the meek to inherit will be an uninhabitable cinder where earth used to spin.

• Every one declaring "Justice has been served!" Has me wondering if justice left a tip …

• I’m so convinced I'll one day die of random gunfire I'm thinking of getting a bullseye chest tattoo just to give the morgue folks a good story.

• I always feel like I'm really gettin' away with something when I watch a "Mature Audiences Only" program and the smart TV doesn't explode.

•The signs were all there: Newspaper readership plunging; Magazines folding; Libraries ditching books in favor of vids. I saw all this &  what did I say: "I know, I'll become a writer!" Now we're left w/ irony of a writer who didn't read signs complaining ab't willful illiteracy.

• Call me paranoid, but I'm psuspicious any time a pso-called pspokesperson pstoops to including psilent letters in their name. It just pseems psneaky. pSo what else are you trying to hide, Jen Psaki?

• I never really thought about being a podiatrist, but I once repaired an Apple music device. I guess that makes me an iPodiatrist. 

• I’d like to see a sensational trial where a Samsonite exec is accused of killing her boyfriend, a VP at Away luggage, just to hear crime pundits say, "There's still a lot to unpack, but I think we're looking at a real open 'n' shut case here.”

• Someone will one day identify an exclusively male condition in which men convince themselves they  alone possess the virility and sex appeal to, if needed, re-populate the entire planet. These men are “egoTESTicle."

• It was a long time ago, but I still recall being a promising young writer and hearing a wise mentor say, "Kid, you're really going to go places." Some 30 years later, the only place I ever go is The Tin Lizzy. I wonder if that's what he meant. It is quite a place.

• If the love of money is truly the root of all evil then I must be one of the world's most virtuous men. Money and me, we're barely on speaking terms.

• I guess it's because the name seems both generic yet familiar, but Rolls-Royce was founded by Henry Royce & Charles Rolls. Who knew? It's like learning my favorite music genre was founded by William Rock & Todd Roll.

• Many of us try & include some exercise to keep firm & appealing. But as we age, gravity & disposition lead to key muscles we rely on to be appealing to atrophy. Abs? Butt? No ... face! Try smiling without provocation. It's not easy. There oughtta be an exercise. Now, gimme 10!

• Not sure I even heard this right, but it sounded to me like ol' Doc Fauci said those of us who've been vaccinated have been liberated. We're now free to go anywhere -- indoor or out --pantsless! I'm guessing the Freedom Caucus is "behind" this. Yippee! See you tomorrow!

• I advise everyone to dream big. Outlandish, colossal, preposterous big. Not because big dreams will all come true. Dream big because with big dreams even the falls are more fun.

• Admitting to someone you spent the day writing is akin to admitting you spent the day masturbating: Saying so feels dirty, the results may be messy and when it's all said & done the pleasure may be a solitary affair.

• We live in an era where many men and women boast they say what they think. They fail to realize the real virtue is to think what they say.

• Today I'd like to complain about the misuse of the term "movie star." With all due respect to guys like Brad, Leo & Johnny Depp, they do not star in movies. They appear in them. Now, Burt Reynolds. There's a man who starred in movies.

• This will betray my warped priorities, but if my house is ever in an earthquake how long will it be before I can safely open a beer?

• It wasn't done by design but my go-to bourbon has become the one that best describes me. I'm not a Jack or a Daniel, a Jim or a Beam. What am I? I'm a turkey who on occasion still gets a little wild. #WildTurkey

• Do you think cavemen and women were emotionally developed enough to mourn the passing of a mate or they just fired up the grill, sprinkled on some seasonings and started inviting cave neighbors to the picnic.

• With so many superhero movies based on the mingling of DNA, I'm surprised they've yet to sketch an insect hybrid adept at calming Opie's fears, winning the Mayberry bake-off and putting the sting on Moonshiners. All hail Ant Bee!

• A toe nail is a uniform part of the human anatomy. It is perfectly acceptable to discuss a toe nail in polite conversation. A toe nail is not to be confused with a toe screw.

• Mulch! Mow! Plant! Prune! Repeat! If we devoted as much time to understanding one another as we do to lawn care things like checking out opposing Facebook views wouldn't be so nerve-wracking.

• Practicing Catholics who car pool to worship are engaged in Mass transit.

• If all the people who so casually remark to relative strangers, "Now, I'm not racist, but ..." suddenly and inexplicably become racist, man, I fear America could be in for some real problems over race. 

• It’s discouraging to see how many old friends have toiled at lucrative careers and are now one-by-one leaving the rat race, while I slog on, in many ways a bottom line failure. The good news I’ll one day soon have the track all to myself and every day will feel like a victory lap.

• The most significant stressor we face in our daily lives involves giving the false impression we remain stress-free in a world that is full to bursting with people who are absolutely stressed out of their minds.

• Ham & eggs. Bacon & eggs. Steak & eggs. They roll right off -- and on -- the tongue. How come you never see a menu offering chicken & eggs? Chicken is one of our most popular & versatile dishes. Is there a squeamishness about about consuming a species' circle of life on 1 plate?

• I’m at an age (58) where if I call an old friend just to say hello, it ruins their night because they presume my call really means either I'm dying or I've heard they're dying.

• After a party weekend spent in the company of many born & bred Latrobeans, I'm convinced natives can detail with perfect clarity the comprehensive romantic histories of all fellow natives dating back to the 1600s. Further, they can pinpoint which cheerleader got her boobs enhanced down to the day and how that worked out at the corresponding GLHS class reunion.

• Given our indifference to irony, I'm surprised we've yet to hear of a Blue Lives Matter gathering that had the audacity to hire a Police tribute band to play the band's 1983 hit "Every Breath You Take.”

• I’d like to see them take all the statues of canceled historic figures (Lee, Paterno, ect.) And put 'em all on a really, really big chess board in some national park and let MAGAs vs progs compete and learn ways to constructively deal with all our their withering animosities.

• I have to think the other Great Lakes resent the Hell out of Lake Superior. I just imagine them sitting around BSing. “Who does he think he is? ‘Oooh, being a Great Lake isn’t good enough for me. I have to be Lake SUPERIOR!’”

• I’m mostly cool with the concept of God creating man in his own image. At least until you get down to the toenails. That's when it all starts to fall apart. What kind of Supreme Being would endure the awkward nuisance of having toenails He'd need to trim Himself?

• The male erection is the ultimate re-gift. Someone gives any man an erection and his instinct is to give it right back.

• Death Valley forecasts call for high temps of 132 degrees. How long before we hear news reports of 1st chef in history baking cookies in mid-air?

• Being a busy podiatrist must at times be demoralizing. Their patients would never dream of putting their best foot forward.

• Any man who is tossing around lots of BS in the hopes it'll get romance to bloom with a seedy woman is engaged in an act of flertilization.

• The pleasant morning sound of wire hangers clinking against other wire hangers is a momentary delight and sonically superior to most popular music released since 1986.

• There are 7.8 billion Earthlings. Experts say it took 2 million years to reach 1 billion, but just 200 years for the next 6.8. Pessimists fret we can't sustain such growth. I say why worry? We're so advanced I can think of a dozen ways we can lose billions of people overnight.

• 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 was an admirer of Pope John Paul and am surprised that although he died in 2005 we've yet to see a Pope George Ringo.

The very thought to me is rock blasphemy, but I can pretty much guarantee some kid somewhere thinks it'll be a cool tribute to modernize the Bob Seger classic "Turn The Page," with a 2021 version he's calling "Swipe The Screen.”

• If a couple sets out to get hitched and guests agree it went off without a hitch, did it ever really happen?

• I’ve been a complete idiot for so long the adjective has lost all its meaningfulness. I now consider myself a mature idiot

• When Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, did Lazarus's father have to go through the whole buy-cigars-for-your-buddies custom and if so, did he try and get Jesus to pitch in on the cost?

• It’s going to take a lot of commitment I fear we cannot summon, but if we all become less intent on such mass agitation, the calm before the storm will one day become the calm before the calm.

• I sometimes wonder if Earth has antagonistic feelings towards its inhabitants, like if 2,000 or 3,000 of us get wiped out in some natural disaster, Earth doesn't sigh and say, "Ohhh ... now THAT feels better!”

• I never bother following orders when ever someone sassy tells me to go to Hell. I'm not being defiant. Just efficient. I know in this life sooner or later Hell comes to you.

• Women who purse their lips put their mouth where their money is.

• We live during a time when there is so much emphasis on visuals that the people who'd rather face the music now outnumber those of us who prefer just listening to it.

• I like that you can't spell the word "hear" without the word “ear."

• Exploding toilets may cause plumbers' lives to flush before their eyes.

• One of the most challenging aspects of fatherhood for  me has been to with a straight face extol the twin virtues of chastity and sobriety without ever once acknowledging some of the best times I've had on the planet involved gettin' drunk and making out with total strangers.

• Much is known about Sir Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table. Less so about their unheralded contemporaries, Sir Lanceafew and the Knights of the Rhombus Table.

• As we perch on the cusp of the bewitching season, I know I'll every day be fated to wonder why beer and mirror rhyme yet devil and evil don’t.

• That a prairie state like Iowa can send to Washington a Senator named Grassley gives me hope that one day Wisconsin voters will be represented by a Senator Cheesey.

• Most TV shows feature people I don’t like doing things I don’t care about arriving at plot conclusions that make me think the writers are distracted by opportunities to produce more pointless drivel about people I don’t like doing things I don’t …

• It had a handsome leading man, an earnest sidekick and international intrigue, but there was something about Ohio Five-O that never caught on. Oh, and Ohio Five-O had scenic corn locales.

• I’m not really sure they bought it the first time, but I sense my family is after 6 consecutive days losing patience with me walking in and saying, "You're not going to believe what just happened ..." and then just standing there with two fall leaves sticking out of my ears. 

• Most TV shows feature people I don’t like doing things I don’t care about arriving at plot conclusions that make me think the writers are distracted by opportunities to produce more pointless drivel about people I don’t like doing things I don’t …

• I’m fearful for the souls of the people dying of Covid while furiously denying the existence of Covid. They have so much surplus anger they're not at all prepared to rest in peace. Tell them instead to FIA -- Fidget in Agitation. These things take time.

• We live at a time where those people we most suspect are being brainwashed are the ones we're convinced have no brains.

• I’m becoming highly suspicious of the word "ascend." How did a word that's pronounced "ASS-END" come to mean "Rise up?" Something cheeky is going on here. I vow to get to the bottom of this …

• The outcome of your days will begin to make more sense when you realize that things like happiness and sadness aren’t emotions. They’re mindsets. Today I’m setting my mind to “Procrastinate.”

• If money is truly the root of all evil then the lack of it is the weedy stem with a rancid fruit that must be consumed every 15th of the month when the Comcast bill comes due.

• Although I'm a big believer in proper etiquette I can't see myself ever saying, "God bless you!" to a sneezing supermodel. I mean, isn't asking a God to bless a supermodel awfully redundant?

• Nero is historically decried for fiddling while Rome burned. That'll never happen to today's leaders in regards to climate crisis. They think the solution is … fireproof fiddles!

• We’re so used to them being linked in Biblical sinfulness but Sodom and Gomorrah were two wicked cities. They must have been fierce rivals. Imagine having to ref a high school football game between Sodom and Gomorrah. Talk about having to throw out the rule book.                     

• You can roughly calculate your character as a person by dividing the average number of people with whom you interact each day by the frequency any of them gives you the finger. If it’s been six months since anyone’s flipped you the bird, you’re probably a quality person. If it happens weekly you might want to change some of your behaviors. I exclude myself from the formula because I’m raising daughters, ages 21 & 15, so it’s rare that I go more than 4 or 5 hours without enduring the insult.

• I believe there are few writers with a shelf as eclectic as mine. I have authored offbeat biographies on two distinct icons, published one madcap satire, a collection of hopeful essays, and a self-help book on colorful living. Now, that’s diversity. In fact, the only thing my books have in common is none of them make any money.

• It must be a cinch to make a fortune manufacturing fenders for auto industry. Nothing but bumper crops.

• We all wonder about our purpose in life. Why are we here? What does it all mean? Take me, for instance. The Lord has blessed me with a life full of fascinating characters, remarkable experiences and a storytelling ability that lends itself to lively conversation. Why am I here? As near as I can figure, the purpose of my life is to give you an hour or two of interesting company when you sit down next to me in a bar.

• Although I'm a big believer in proper etiquette, I can't see myself ever saying, "God bless you!" to a sneezing supermodel. I mean, isn't asking a God to bless a supermodel awfully redundant? Fortunately, I'll likely be spared the moral predicament because I don't foresee any circumstance that would put me in the same room with a sneezing supermodel.

• Most medical professionals take great pains to ensure their offices are pristine, orderly, overly neat. But it takes a proctologist to be truly anal.

• Catastrophic rise in ocean depth due to climate change will in the future be offset by UN mandate that every home in every developed nation have a backyard saltwater pool that's at least 500 feet deep.

• News that Congress may go after 10 richest individuals in America has me thinking, "Whew! Who knew coming in no. 11 would be so sweet?" And my accountant said being a writer would never pay off ...

• I understand we're all hyper-sensitive about race issues these days, but I hope we never get to the point where my black brothers and sisters become blind to the humanity of my empathetic ice-breaker/greeting of "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

• On this Cyber Monday, I’d like to pay homage to our computer overlords by vowing to never again use the phrase “command” when it comes to me and computers. It’s more accurate for me to from now on call “commands” “suggestions.” #SuggAltDel

• I’m lately finding myself getting angry at my car. Its insatiable thirst for fossil fuel means it consumes gas even when it's not in motion. I foresee a future where "smart" cars only run when the accelerator is depressed. You know, like stupid golf carts have been for 60 years!

• It’s not uncommon for me to hear friends confide they believe I'll one day become a famous writer, but it won't happen until after I'm dead. I share this around the supper table and I can tell my dear loved ones are thinking, "Should we kill him now or just hope for the best?”

• Had an embarrassing lunch with an old friend last week. He wouldn't quit putting his hands on my knees. Everyone was staring. It got so bad I nearly felt compelled to put pants on.

• I’ll be speaking today to Ligonier Valley HS students about how to succeed in life ... and you thought mask mandates were controversial.

• On this day we as a nation should vow to never again say Happy Veteran's Day until we're certain we've done everything we can to ensure every veteran is happy.

• French police close highway after random pig stops traffic. #RogueHog

• Reuters headline -- "Russia/West in row over climate change solutions" -- has me worried ill-timed bickering over rising seas will result in all of us dealing with a different kind of row. (Picture of couple in boat rowing)

• One was one of history's most bloodthirsty tyrants. The other a humble tender of ovens. But they both bore the same name so there had to be a way to differentiate the two. That's how one became Atilla the Hun while the other Atilla the Baker.

• It’s been said hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe. It was created in the Big Bang. Don't believe it. From my observations, the most abundant substance in the universe is cardboard. It was created by Jeff Bezos.

• Spent a frantic 30 minutes this morning searching for misplaced car keys. Was so elated when I found them I'm vowing to lose them at least once a week.

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

• Red & blue states are behaving like conjoined twins fighting over whose turn it is to use the penis they share.  They tolerate no compromise and revel in scorched-earth tactics that guarantee the only one who's getting screwed is one another.

• This Jake Gyllenhaall/TaylorSwift dust-up brings back some painful memories of my youth. To my everlasting shame, I once mistreated a beautiful young songwriter and without mentioning my name, she bashed the hell out of me in chart-topping song. It was 1973. The singer is Carly Simon. The song is "You're So Vain." And I was 10. But c'mon! Being 10 and dating Carly Simon! It was bound to go to my head.

• I suspect it’s universal for every region to have a neighborly punching bag to make fun of for perceived or obvious stupidity. It’s why N. Dakotans make fun of S. Dakotans, Ohioans mock West Virginians, etc. But is it truly universal?  And if so how often are we the butt of the jokes? Like is some alien wise guy on Kepler-23b entertaining his friends by saying, “Three Earthlings walk into a bar …”

• Here’s one the best brains at #COP26, guaranteed, won't think of: Hook every treadmill and exercise bike up on the planet to generators to produce the cleanest & greenest alternative energy known to man.

• Fuddy-Daddy: A male parent who wishes, goldarnit, TVs would go back to just 13 channels, that phones were still phone-shaped and that his adult kids still looked up to him the way they did when he was 32 and they were 4.

• When the end is near I believe it'll still be possible to buy time, but I'm pretty sure payment will involve an unforgiving sort of lay-away plan best described as “grave.”

• Many struggling young couples see marriage counselors because they're determined to "make it work." They have it all wrong. Marriage is already work. The goal should be to make it play!

• I wonder if linguistic confusion is one of the reasons that keep young single heteros from ever getting together. Many single men lust for women who'll "put out" when what they're really after are women who'll put in.

• I like sitting on a porch whittling a stick and leaving all the young'uns gobsmacked when I say, “You know, I remember when Twitter was just 140 characters …”

• I remember as a boy my parents taking me to a candy store and being overwhelmed by row after row of nutrition-free treats. Today, every store we enter is a candy store with the only difference is these adult candy stores also sell gas, jerky, beer, cigs and lottery tickets.

• Doing pointless research on Pluto for today's blog and learned Pluto has five moons named Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos. We have one lousy moon and it's named "Moon." What gives? It's like having a dog and naming it "Dog."

• Another unforeseen Climate Change will be the renaming of the seasons to more accurately describe the prevailing meteorological conditions. Goodbye Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall! Hello Summer, Summerer, Summerest and Fall (But We Can’t Get Back Up)

• In one of history's most savage ironies, it was 41 years ago today that a man who became famous singing "All you need is love," died when what he on that day really needed was a bullet-proof vest.

• Had Lennon been killed in '21, guaranteed, within two hours there'd be multiple conspiracy theories including one asserting Ringo was behind the murder so he could get to Yoko. And Tucker Carlson would say Lennon was a disgusting hippie who had it coming.

• It would take a solar powered golf cart traveling 36,400 mph about 9.5 years to reach Pluto -- 9.7 years if you stopped for pee breaks.

• At 7 hrs. 48 mins I'm finding The Beatles "Get Back" a bit of a slog. My mind wanders and I feel myself wishing for the sake of deliberate irony some enterprising documentarian would produce a film that was this earnest, this reverential and this devoted to memorializing every conversation about lunch, laundry and nasal obstructions and have the docu be about the making of "Debbie Does Dallas.”

• ”Hell to pay" is an expression that hints at eternal damnation. It is not to be confused with an absurd looking hair piece that becomes affixed to a bald scalp, also known as a "Hell Toupee."

• When the end is near I believe it'll be possible to buy time, but I'm pretty sure payment will involve an unforgiving sort of lay-away plan best described as “grave.”

• I wonder how long it'll be before the whole world is on fire and if there's some extra-terrestrial volunteer fire department that is right now racing across the universe to save Planet Earth. And I wonder how much they're going to charge and if they take Discover.

• One unforeseen consequence of global warming will be the demise of the jolly weatherman/woman. Catastrophic weather is becoming too common place to permit 12-minute chucklefests involving Aunt Minnie and her rutabaga that looks like Abe Lincoln.

• Overheard some bellyachers complaining about the length of time they spent at the red light at Rt. 30 and Arnold Palmer Airport. I've timed it and they're right. It's 90 seconds. Outrageous. It should take much longer. I believe in the future typical red lights will last at least 20 minutes. That would give stressed out motorists time to nap, safely respond to texts and calls, or maybe download some stress-easing porn. Plus, it would allow road ragers time to thoughtfully lay out the ground rules for a gentleman's duel that would be beneficial in reducing future traffic concerns by at least one. 

• Anytime anyone gives me a hundred dollar bill, it feels to me like POTUS has just tossed me the nuclear football and said, “Here, you take it!” I feel like there’s been a huge mistake. I fear I’ll lose it or that evil doers will beat me up and take it away from me. I worry I’ll do something careless that’ll lead to a future that holds nothing but sorrow and desolation. So I wind up blowing a big chunk of it on nearby booze just to get familiar twenties back in my wallet. Now if somebody gives me two $100 bills AND buys me a drink, well, now you’re talking Mutually Assured Destruction.

• They seem like they’d be impossible to confuse one for the other, but Satan and Santa are one and the same to the careless typist.

• I never dreamed I'd enlist in the War on Christmas, but a line has been crossed and I'm now on a mission to cancel a traditional Christmas carol for its blatant assault on heterosexuality. "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas ... Make the Yuletide gay?" Make it gay? The only sexual orientation Y.T  should be coerced into adopting is the one with which it feels most comfortable. If Yuletide were my kid, I'd encourage it to make up its own mind on such a personal issue. And I'd remind it, gay, straight, L or B, G or Q, T or 2, it will always be welcome in our home. Yule see!

• A wise man thinks long and hard before accepting a hungry cannibal's offer of oral sex.

• That tears come in only one flavor -- salty -- is a design flaw useful only to those who feel a profound sadness over things like pretzels. In the future we'll all be able to select tear flavors like we do at the movie theater soda dispensers. There will be champagne for tears of joy, ginger ale for tears of chronic pain, root beer for tears of nostalgia and sour grapes for when your political candidate tanks and you feel the only constructive solution is to vandalize the Capitol.

• Dolly Parton will turn 76 in just 22 days. I'd love to see her live to be, oh, maybe 150, but I can't help but thinking of all the souls in heaven who are complaining, "Yeah, yeah, it's Heaven all right -- but when's Dolly gettin' here?"