Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Looking back: Best tweets of '19

I’m obsessive about tending these wildly excessive Tweet lists because I suspect I’ll one day mine them for another “Crayons!” book update. But I have to be honest, I don’t know which I’d rather avoid more: Having to assemble the list or having to read it …

 • It could be damaging to a woman's reputation if she gets off on too many tangents with too many tan gents.

• It should be in the Constitution that nobody should be allowed to hold elective office unless he or she can prove they once held a job that required them to wear a name tag.

• Optimists understand phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" is not absolute. Often is the case that familiarity breeds family.

• I’d like to see how a Geiger counter reacts if you take one to a Geiger family reunion.

• I’m intelligent enough to appreciate the contradiction of being a man who fancies himself an intellectual while simultaneously becoming furious at the failure to successfully complete the marshmallow maze on the back of the Lucky Charms cereal box.

• I find some lies too soul-enriching to resist. For instance: Carly Simon told me I was the inspiration for her hit, "Nobody Does It Better." But that's not a lie. It really happened. It did! Right @CarlySimonHQ? Right?

• Teaching your children to seek out the insights of interesting people is easy. The challenge is teaching them that EVERY person is in some way interesting.

• I’m on the verge of proving once and for all my office plants are talking to one another. But every time I get close enough to record the conversation the bully ficus says, "Shut up! Here he comes again!" I'll not rest until I get conclusive evidence. Won't work either.

• I remember seeing a story that asked prominent writers to name works they wish they'd written. Answers included "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Grapes of Wrath," etc. Me? I wish I'd coined the phrase "Butt dial.”

• Astronomers calculate Earth is 92,960,000 miles from the sun. I stepped outside today and I swear it feels more like 92,960,002.

• I vow to continue saying 'Happy New Year!' right up thru July 5 when it'll once again become seasonally appropriate to resume saying, "Merry Christmas!”

• I hate it when I fake a mild cold to get out of some petty obligation and people look and me and say, "Yeah, you look terrible! I'll call 911. There's something really wrong with you. You oughta be quarantined! Medic! Medic!" Makes me sick.

• Just because I think it would be super fun to mess with 'em, I'm thinking of sending the SuperMax warden a sexy Rita Hayworth poster and asking him to give it to El Chapo.

• On this chilly winter day I just saw a man at the bus stop wearing nothing but a  musical bellows. He was dressed accordioningly.

• The American Flag: Three colors, countless threads.

• Huge faux pas with a friend I hadn't seen in years. Asked when the baby was due. So embarrassing. Not sure Burt'll ever speak to me again.

• What would happen to the criminal justice system if it was declared that from now on a "jury of our peers" was comprised entirely of the cheerful lunatics drawn from "The Price Is Right" studio audience?

• I’m going to name our next dog "Gusto" so I can spend my days lounging on my couch drinking beer and still contend I'm living with Gusto.

• My daughter, HS senior, is assigned a story on the best person in history. She asked my opinion. I told her Jesus Christ and August Anheuser Busch Sr. were too obvious. Best person in history? Jonas Salk.

• I hate it when my foot falls asleep and the stubborn rest of me refuses to take the hint.

• There are evident novelty advantages to riding a magic carpet, but until they provide some necessary lumbar support the concept will always be flawed.

• We live in a time when being right or being wrong matters less than always having someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

• Many of the people who are opposed to building physical walls along the Mexican border are more than happy to construct truly ugly mental ones between themselves and the neighbors they see every day.

• Who wants to bet that once/if we get to heaven, one of the most popular rec spots is a combo zoo/waterpark run by the Biblical Noah?

• Time, it is said with admiring wonder, can heal all wounds, a statement that seems to bestow time with god-like powers. Oh, yeah? I'd like to see time fix a busted watch.

• My wife is an editor. I am a writer. When I asked her to turn my comma into an exclamation point, she corrected me.

• With your typical polygamist, it's the more the marry-her.

• Momentarily wondered if Don Cheadle was nominated or had won before realizing my folly. Cheadles never win. 

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

• Many men experience what is known as a mid-life crisis at about age 50. Math question: In heaven our souls are supposed to live for eternity. If there's such a thing as a mid-Afterlife crisis, when would it strike?

•  I’ve never once heard someone say, "I'm not a racist, but ..." without following up with something unbelievably racist. It would be like me saying, "Now, I'm not lazy ..." and immediately taking a nap.

• I may be wrong, but I have to believe there's at least one impostor '80's tribute band out there performing under the name, "Huey Lewis & The Fake News.”

• I used to dream I would become a great writer. And I ofter hear from readers who declare I am, indeed, a great writer. Advice to aspiring writers: Dream not of becoming a great writer. Instead dream of becoming a successful writer. 

• Questions I'm glad I never felt compelled to ask Arnold Palmer: "So what's Michael Jackson really like?”

• "Use All The Crayons!" Colorful Living tip no. 973: "Spend a weekend willing yourself to blink more slowly. That way you’ll be better prepared to savor all the wonders everyone says go by in the blink of an eye.”

• As a student of history, I'm aware man has throughout time gone to war over land, women, pride, minerals and all manner of perceived injustice. As a student of breakfast, I am confounded man has yet to feel a need to go to war over bacon.

• My understanding of human nature tells me that many of the people striving to get to the land of milk and honey will once they arrive immediately begin complaining everything is too sticky.

• Proof of our collective child-raising failure is apparent in that if you ask 100 children what he or she would like to be when they grow up, not one will say, "I just want to be happy!”

• Because the angry word has the potential to be useful during this time of so much neighborly hostility, I propose today every one tries to create a situation where it makes perfect sense to shout "Nottafinga!" at someone with whom you disagree.

• Negative: Projections indicate entire planet will soon be 20-feet deep in discarded styrofoam. Positive: Airplane crash fatalities will be reduced to zero.

• Because it could make for riveting TV, I hope to one day hear a talk host announce to a panel of windy blabbermouths, "A landmark study reveals conclusively that the fewer words a person says on TV talk shows the more likely that they're a bonafide genius. Discuss.”

• The older I get the more appreciative I become of the wisdom of one old bartender who said, "Kid, count yourself lucky if the people who say they like you actually like you and the people who say they love you at least put up with all your bullshit.”

• Which seems sillier: a child believing in Santa Claus or an adult believing that Jesus Christ, a man whose ancestors were uniformly Middle Easterners, was a lily white dude. And would it hurt your faith if scholars revealed Jesus looked more like bin Laden than Ryan Seacrest?

• Pundits saying Trump entitled to a victory lap; Fitness experts advise he take it on a very short track.

• How much more challenging would it be for Christian believers to convince skeptics about the Resurrection if Scripture said it happened on April 1?

• How come I can eat 50 regular Peeps in one sitting, but the thought of sitting down to eat a steak-sized Peep turns my stomach?

• It's good to know your limits in life. It's better to high-five them as you sail right on past. 

• Yes, I'm aware that Sing Sing is a maximum security prison that incarcerates many of New York's most vicious cut throats, but every time I hear Sing Sing I convince myself that Sing Sing is populated entirely by wrongly convicted Muppets.

• 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.

• How did cavemen and women get around that whole no-doors thingie when they wanted to tell a good prehistoric knock-knock joke?

• My jokes must not be very funny. I told one to some linked steel and didn't get any chain reaction.

• Problem: plastics clogging the ocean; fish eat the plastics and we eat the fish. This may sound naive, but is anyone looking into the possibilities of making plastic out of fish food?

• The concept may sound difficult to grasp, but there once was a time before anyone, anywhere had ever pointed out there's a first time for everything.

• Spring is when Mother Nature puts on her make-up!

• The problem for many of us is that every time our careers seem to turn a real corner the first thing we see down the road is another real corner.

• Bad news: plastic waste clogging the oceans. Good news: Airfare to Europe will plummet as money-minded tourists increasingly opt to drive.

• It doesn’t happen often, but I’m not ungrateful when a man or woman hands me a breath mint. My fear is how I’ll react when one day some stranger trying to be helpful says, "Psst, try this.” And hands me a stick of Old Spice.

• What do they call earthquakes on other planets?

• Little known fact: Prior to construction of the 859-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral, the Parisian location was the site of the first French McDonald’s.

• The phrase “You only live once!” is pure fraud. In fact, you only die once. You’re graced with the option to live every single day.

• I consider it yet another degradation of once-proud men, but I'm upset how what I once called "the family jewels" somehow became "my junk." From jewels to junk in three short decades. SAD!

• It’s a triumph of Biblical marketing that the day known for the cruel beating and bloody crucifixion of the holy man many of us consider to be our Savior is called "Good" Friday. I wonder what Jesus calls it.

• I don't teach my kids how to live. I live and let them watch (so far, so good). 

• My favorite part of the #NFLDraft is watching Roger Goodell excessively celebrate with players who he'll in just five months begin to fine for excessive celebrations.

• The assumption may be based on a flawed premise, but I have to believe if Moses had had to deal with fan selfie demands today we'd only be concerned with The Five Commandments.

• Agoraphobia is the fear of crowded places. I suffer from a-bore-aphobia, a fear of places crowded with dull people.

• Call me crazy, but the first chef to put a credible "Italian Hoagie Soup" on the menu is going to make a fortune.

• I have to think it depresses shoe factory morale that maybe a quarter of the employees report to a department under a sign that reads “HEELS.”

• Bible says our bodies are temples. On Friday nights, mine is more like a honky tonk. Some beer's been spilled, some of the furniture is busted & it smells kinda funny. But the folks are friendly, the peanuts are free and the good music never ends.

• The older I get the more convinced I become that the whole sum of life is equivalent to the pointless milling about we do for the 3 or 4 hours we have to kill until the front desk tells us our room is ready.

• I admire spouses who pull off the physically contradictory trick of standing beside someone who is flat on the floor.

• I’ve back-burnered so many important projects my fears are the stove will soon catch fire and I'll be unable to recognize the blaze as a priority before it consumes the whole building.

• Weed” is today a $55 billion business. "Weed" is cultivated, sheltered, nurtured and cared for more lovingly than some rare orchids. My point: Nothing about "weed" suggests weed so let's all stop calling "weed" weed.

• It flips language logic on its head, but being self-employed ain't working for me.

• How did the phrase "pigeon hole" ever evolve into such common usage when I know of not one person who can affirm they are familiar with even one pigeon's hole?

• It is my contention that one of the most devastating aspects of climate change -- catastrophic rise in sea levels -- could be eliminated if all these massive water displacing cargo ships were simultaneously removed from the water. 

• Spent yesterday seeking to confirm intimacy studies that contend 90 percent of adult men/women enjoy being hugged. My results were exact opposite. People were furious at my cheerful embrace. I'll try again today but with a slightly different approach. Today I'm wearing pants!

• The only thing that today exceeds our national inarticulateness is the number of megaphones possessed by all those who have nothing to say.

• If an affluent person is well-to-do, does that make me well-to-don’t?

• The biggest difference between men and women is women look in the mirror and see flaws ... no one else can detect. Men look in those same mirrors and see perfection ... no one else can detect.

• The people who think writing is easy are the same ones who think reading is hard. Trying to explain to them the value of books is like trying to explain to fish the value of air.

• I wonder what kind of pushy sales tactics a prosthetic salesman would have to produce to end the month up in arms.

• Mother Teresa came from a large family with three sisters, all of whom had large families themselves.
Q: Did her nieces/nephews call her Aunt Mother Teresa? Aunt Teresa?

• Worry not about being popular today. Worry instead about being yourself EVERYDAY and you'll soon appreciate the meaninglessness of popularity.

• If you were following yourself in a car how many times a day would you give yourself the finger?

• People getting all worked up over White House orders the Navy cover USS John McCain identifiers with tarps. Big whoop. I'm preserving my outrage for when White House orders the McCain sunk.

• Fear not death. Fear instead the death-bed realization that you never really lived. Insinuate yourself into enough hearts and you won’t just live to be 100. You’ll live forever.

• I agree with the shrill MAGA voices who say in America today minorities need to “know their place.” Well, my dark-skinned brothers and sisters, your place is right beside me. Unfortunately for both of us, we’re both way back in line behind a bunch of much richer white guys.

• Those who rest assured digital will replace print can take heart that when we see the writing on the wall it's still writing on the wall.

• When you break it all down, life is about deciding if you'd rather walk in someone else's shoes or seize them by their throats. Most bowlers choose the former. 

• Last night, it almost happened. My self-betrayal was nearly complete. I almost used the word "amazeballs" in a sentence.

• Otherwise great Chincoteague beach vacation marred only by incident initiated when kids asked if they could bury me in sand. Sure. 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.

• Family opted to sleep in on last day of beach vacation rather than get up early to see sun rise. I can't blame them. Popularity of watching sun rise will increase when it doesn't involve getting up at the crack of dawn.

• Trends in population increase coupled with saturation electronic device usage convinces me one day soon we'll all become our own area codes.

• I’m not necessarily opposed to buying settled nations, but the bargain shopper in me figures we could get at least a dozen shit hole countries for the price of one Greenland.

• I believe 50 percent of the women and 80 percent of the men we encounter in our daily lives are simply older, less cheerful versions of the juvenile spastic morons we all were in high school. Proceed accordingly.

• Thinking of re-writing my history to say the reason I'm not more successful is I made a conscious decision in 2000 to de-prioritize income to be a stay-at-home Dad. Now if I can only convince wife, 2 daughters and dozens of eyewitness bartenders to back me up …

• Love going to the county fair to visit the rabbit exhibit and sing, ”Cannnn any BUNNY find meeee some BUNNY to love? Some BUNNY! Some bunny! Some BUNNY! Find me some BUNNY to love!”

• Call me a snob, but I'll always prefer eating at restaurants that sell me food that gives me gas to places that offer food and sell me gas.

• Someone letting the cat out of the bag will become more impactful to me as soon as I start seeing more instances of bagged cats.

• I was 50 years old before it finally began to sink in that, gee, I was drunk wouldn't cut it as an excuse for showing up in church nude.

• For future reference, it's unnecessary for you to say, "Have fun!" after asking where I'm going or what I'm doing. Look, if it ain't fun I ain't going.

• It may be a vast over-simplication, but couldn’t global warming be eased if we simply moved Earth farther from the sun? I think if we synchronized our pushups on one side of the globe while everyone on the other side jumped up in the air …

• Do Flat Earthers believe there are upside down people on the flip side or that it's just a bunch of roots and shit?

• I’ve never experienced love at first sight, but 5 or 6 times a day I'll catch the eye of some stranger and know -- just know -- we're destined to become drinking buddies.
• 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.

• Proper grammar is the math of writing.

• You’d have to think Danish Haz-Mat teams would eventually lose their edge from responding to too many there's-something-rotten-in-Denmark false alarms.

• As monumental they were as a band, they couldn't have come up with a more fraudulent name. The never toured, never gigged a local bar. Hell, they never left the studio. Traveling Wilburys? Right. They were the Stationary Wilburys.

• It doesn't exactly equate to a Rosa Parks moment, but if I were a person of color I'd ask the podiatrist to think up another less Caucasian-sounding name for my littlest brown toe instead of “pinky."

• When I'm drinkin' dahntahn, I like a place with fries and slaw on the bread, HOF Stiller jerseys on the wall, etc. I want the full yinzer. Yes, I want n’atmosphere.

• I wonder if he ever went through a serious phase and told folks he was now going by Bill Wonka.

• I wonder if there was any confusion in the Swingin' '70s when Evel Knievel approached a pretty girl and asked if she'd let him jump her bones.

• The literalist in me becomes furious whenever he visits the National Museum of Air & Space and sees a building with walls and ceilings.

• That which does not kill you only makes you stronger and if this process is repeated enough eventually age and time combine to make you so frail you can die in your kitchen tripping over a kitten.

• From a purely fashion sense, is it accurate to refer to Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud as the "crown" prince of Saudi Arabia when his head gear appears to be some form of hanky?

• Because most people only listen to 50 percent of what we're saying, I try and omit every other word so theoretically I'll have their full attention.

• Being "left to their own devices," once a stinging form of social abandonment, is now the preferred human activity.

• I admit to feelings of wistfulness over not having sired a son. These feelings pass when I realize a son would by now be asking me, "Daddy, would you help me secure my man bun?" And to my everlasting shame I'd feel obliged to assist.

• Halloween is the season when fundamentalists question the propriety of so much pagan idolatry. It's also the season when I question how come the words "evil" and "devil" don't rhyme.

• NASA probes continue to scan the cosmos for evidence of planets with life-sustaining water. Life-sustaining? Listen, I'm not going anywhere until they find a planet with life-sustaining pizza.

• I’m vowing my next book will be a hand’s-on guide to adhesives full of sticky samples so every honest review would have to say, "Couldn't put it down!”

  • This is the time of year when the most avid baseball fans brag to other baseball fans they were able to stay awake for an entire baseball game. 

• Because I remain an optimist about my longevity,  I will henceforth list my age with a prefacing zero: i.e., 056.

• Who won Game 7? Don't tell me! I'm such a baseball fan I always tape the last game and watch 2 pitches a night until spring training. Let's go ‘stros!

• My aim is not to be controversial and please don't read too much into this, but I feel compelled to point out the simple truth: cat naps are for pussies.

Chang and Eng (Siamese twins), originators of the #MeTwo Movement.

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

• How different would rock and comedy histories be if instead of John of The Beatles, Yoko had fallen for Moe of The Stooges.

• I wonder if parents of children named Hunter are disappointed if Hunter grows up to be vegan, and if vegan parents have ever dared a statement name by calling a child Gatherer.

• I wonder what they told instead of knock-knock jokes before the advent of doors.

• I remain naive in the ways of high finance, but aren't most trust funds really don't-trust funds?

• I for years referred to myself as a struggling writer. I now realize that's wrong. Writing's never been a struggle. What am I? I'm a struggling earner. I'm sure many of you can relate.

• It’s borderline sacrilegious but I request you include in your Thanksgiving blessing a prayer that God mention to Tom Petty that we really miss him.

• I’ve decided to call my next book, "The Big Book of Thanks to Everyone Who's Supported, Cheered & Encouraged the Release of My Self-Published Fred/Latrobe Book," and it's going to be 14,001 pages long. #gratitude

• Bible says my body is a temple. Could it still be so if it's absent of any devoted worshippers?

• 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.

• Knock knock.
Who's there?
Javier who?
Javier-self a Merry little Christmas!

• Back when I was growing up, a love triangle was typically scandalous behavior between a trio of consenting adults. Times change. People are less coy about their gender identities and promiscuities. Isn't it about time someone started a love rhombus?

• I’m putting together a troupe of tiny side-burned toymakers to head to Vegas and sing, "Jailhouse Rock," "Burnin' Love," etc. "Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Elves Presley!”

• All you fun gals beware: You're all just one missed tap of the spacebar away from being fungal.

• I contend the story of the Christ birth would be impossible today because we'd be hard pressed to find in the entire world three wise men.

• All my life I've never had a pot to piss in. Never cared. I wonder if I'd be more ambitious if I didn't live in the woods.

• Reading a real newspaper is like an intellectual stroll through a garden where you pause to hear interesting people tell you their stories. Reading most anything on-line, with all the pop-up ads/links/click bait, is like being forced to run an obstacle course. You're harried, distracted and end up wondering if it was worth all the aggravation.

• 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!

• 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!”

• Reading is maybe the one passion that’ll ensure you’ll never need friends while assuring you’ll always have as many friends as you wish.

And with that, I thank you all, my friends, for reading, sharing and buying my books. May 2020 bring you all joy, prosperity and the time and soulful motivation to help those who have neither.

Happy New Year!

Chris R.

Monday, December 30, 2019

My 2,000th blog post

A friend once asked me the longest I’d ever gone without blogging.

“That’d be from 1963 through 2008,” I’d say

It was a smart ass answer which was fine because blogging is a realm dominated by smart asses, not to be confused with intelligent ones.

I used to say blogging was the literary equivalent of running a lemonade stand. Then it dawned on me even 8 year olds know to charge a quarter for a Dixie cup of weak lemonade.

If I’d have charged 25-cents per blog and you’d have read every one you would have owed me $500.

This is, gulp, my 2,000 blog post.

Let’s conservatively say that 500 readers would have paid a mere $50-a-year to enjoy the blog for the past 11 years. That’s $250 K, what most people would call serious scratch.

I’d call it something else.

I’d call it beer money!

So this is no. 2,000 — that is optimistically assuming I finish and post, which is no sure thing. It’s taken me 42 days to write this much, which is the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I began blogging seriously in May of 2008.

And when I say serious blogging, I mean concerted. I’m never really serious. I was once and a devoted reader — she’s an old friend — said that was not my role. “Don’t you understand your role is to provide an escape to all the serious shit?”

I was unaware I’d even had a role and it involved silly shit.

It was for me a watershed moment. I realized I didn’t have to weigh in on fiscal cliffs, race relations or pending trade wars. There was already plenty of that.

And I had a blast. I truly loved being a court jester blog, even for the times I wound up in court.

But there was one problem and operating in an economic system based on Capitalism, it was a doozy. I couldn’t get people to pay for what they said they couldn’t live without.

The system based on The Invisible Hand was giving me The Invisible Finger. 

Understand during this time I was busy crafting and pitching various book ideas I was sure would vault me to prestige, notoriety and professional stability. I never stopped striving for conventional success.

Alas, it never happened. Did I pursue prudent alternatives?

No, in fact, I defiantly ignored them. Sure, I was like most fathers in that I told my kids there was nothing I wouldn’t do for them. But I differed from nearly all of the others in that I’d hastily add ..

“ ‘cept get a real job.”

I remain stubbornly convinced the universe has erred when it comes to dishing out my just rewards and I’m perfectly willing to patiently wait for the cosmic correction to kick in. I’m hopeful it’ll happen by the Friday Happy Hour.

A reason the blog has been so sparse recently — other than sound economic priorities — is the true success of the Fred book, which, by the way, is almost half old blog items masquerading as “Life Lessons.” Enthusiastic reactions to these parts of the book emboldens me and I think justifies all the pro bono time I’d spent on the blog.

The sales, talks & signings have made this the most fun and fruitful stretch of what I for lack of a better word call my “career.”

Ideally, I’ll find a better balance that will allow steadfast blog readers to enjoy what many of them have been missing and I’ll be able to earn decent money as a writer, one who’s somehow managed to avoid getting a real job since 1992.

So here’s to looking forward to a great 2020.

I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a great 2,001.

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