Saturday, October 30, 2021

Twick or Tweet? October's best


• 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 ..."

• 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 ...

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Arnold Palmer's ghost is haunting The Tin Lizzy (wink, wink)


(597 words)

First off, it says something about the quality of our dead regulars that if I could summon their spirits, Arnold Palmer would come in fourth.

He’d be behind Zack, Wayne and Dave. All three were fixtures here at The Tin Lizzy, the place where the good times never die …

But some of the regulars do!

As upbeat promotional slogans go, that one’s probably a non-starter. But it shows the kind of outside-the-pine box thinking I bring to the brainstorming table. 

I’ve been thinking about dead regulars ever since I belatedly learned a documentary film crew had been here to determine whether the historic tavern is haunted or not. There were interviews, B-roll shots and assorted skullduggery.

Amazingly, all this took place without me. I have one of those massive egos that leads me to believe I should be consulted on all big issues.

Heck, I think I should be consulted on who’s allowed to drive motor vehicles and who’s not.

See, I think it would be good for business if we could convince people that, yes, the bar is haunted, haunted by the ghost of Arnold Palmer.

Talk about your friendly ghosts.

It’d be a very believable lie — my favorite kind!

It’s a somewhat quaint turn of phrase, but Palmer used to “haunt” The Tin when he was still alive. He was in here all the time. And the man could really light up a room.

For years there was a robust rumor going around that he was actually born in the building back when the upperfloors were apartments for various tenants, including, in fact, Palmer’s father, Deacon.

The rumor was so persistent, I one day felt compelled to ask Palmer about it.

“What do you think, we were pioneer folk?” he said, leaving the unsaid “jackass” hanging in the air. “I was born in a hospital just like you.”

And, alas, that was about the last thing me and multi-millionaire legend ever had in common.

Note: When I tried to convince one of the more stubborn-rumor spreaders of the fiction, he said, “Well, then he was conceived in The Tin.”

I told him we don’t have the technology to determine that one.

Today the 2nd floor is Flappers (a bar, the one Zack managed) and the 3rd is an after hours corn hole court and the shabby office of one oft-behind-on-the-rent tenant.


But think of the fun if Palmer’s ghost came back. The warped floors would provide a putting challenge as monumental as anything found at Augusta. 

Really, we don’t even need to make up any stories. It’d be fine if we just told all our old Palmer stories from when he still had a pulse. He died Sept. 25, 2016.

Just because Palmer couldn’t live forever doesn’t mean our best Palmer stories can’t. People would come from all over to hear the stories and — cross your fingers — see his ghost (or some hoaky facsimile for themselves).

Still, I’m feeling an odd melancholy over the still-fresh deaths of our friends. Zack, Wayne and Dave all died in the last year or so. I miss them all.

I’d summon them if I could. I’d have them meet me right here for the Friday Happy Hour, but I’m fearful they’d all be pissed off at me for extricating their blessed souls from the Land of Milk and Honey and directing them to the place known for giving away canned Spam on games of chance.

But what do I know?

It's Halloween and I’m just spookulating. 

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Our, oh, so sinister nipples


(617 words)

One of the most brutal situations a public speaker must endure is to persevere through his or her presentation when he or she knows they’ve lost the audience.

You’ve said something offensive. Your jokes fall flat. They hate you.

Sure, being a married father of young daughters, I’m in a better position to deal with this than most. I lose the audience at the breakfast table when I ask if someone can please pass Daddy the milk.

But last week I felt the air rush out of the room and the audience turn on me when I raised a topic that crossed a line — one just below the neck.

Yes, I went for the nipple.

Rhetorically, speaking.

I was going for edgy and wound up afoul of audience sensitivities.

Or should I say abreast.

In attendance were about 100 members of a popular civic group; about 25 adults and 75 high school seniors. The students were mature, focused, ambitious, proper — nothing like I was back then. 

I was lazy, shiftless, a real entitled little prick. And I don’t mean like I was in high school.

I mean like I was last Thursday.

And I just can’t help myself. It was like I dared myself to tell the nipple joke. Picture me at the podium looking smug and, oh, so self-satisfied.

Ready? Here goes …

“Be so at peace with the world, the only thing you have left to get off your chest are your nipples.”


It’s just a great line. Only 21 words. Easy to remember. Packs a punch. And it includes the word that still cracks up those of us whose sense of humor remains anchored in the 8th grade.

Every time I deliver a line like that I expect a balloon drop, followed by a ticker-tape parade and a bi-partisan Congressional declaration that my February 15 birthday shall be a national holiday.

What happened?

It was like I told them I was going to deliver the rest of my talk in my underwear. There was a disgust so palpable it felt like I’d been hit in the face with a sloppy old bar rag.

From my perch I could see girls and some of the more sensitive fellas begin exchanging nervous glances. They began shutting down. I’d lost them. It happened that quick. There would be no recovery.

Done in by 6-letter “n-word” that isn’t THE 6-letter n-word.

Why in our breast-obsessed society is the humble little nipple so radioactive, alluring yet repellent. Wholesome yet sinister. Both innocent and corrupt.

I could understand it if the duality played out atop the breasts themselves, a mammary equivalent of the old good cop/bad cop routine.

Or if nipples were exclusive to one sex. But we all got ‘em.

I guess the anatomical description just has a way of, well, titillating.

I remember in 2004 when a split second viewing of Janet Jackson’s lovely nipple brought the nation to its knees. Her wardrobe malfunction infuriated Super Bowl fans who’d tuned in for what to them is the patriotic pastime of watching over-sized multi-millionaires give one another chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 

Me, I’d to this day pay more attention to every snoozer NFL game if Roger Goodell announced each broadcast would henceforth include a split-screen nipple montage every time a referee’s flag falls to the turf.

So cancel culture be damned. I’ll not let them take my nipples from me.  Or you.

Now, all together …


I hope I haven’t upset you. No one knows better than I that nipples can be a real touchy subject.

Sorry. Just had to get that one off my chest.

Note: I’ll be speaking Wednesday, Oct. 20, 6 pm, at the Ligonier library; come for the camaraderie, stay for the nipple jokes (pre-talk cocktails from 4:30 to 5:30 at the Wicked Googly).

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Repeating myself over and over and ...


(622 words)

People say I repeat myself when I’m drunk.

People say I repeat myself when I’m drunk.

Or maybe you’ve already heard?

If you read this blog, live with me or have spent any time in a bar with me then you probably have.

I’m fond of saying it. If I’ve consumed a couple of straight up Wild Turkeys — and talk about your evening redundancies — I’ll usually start to crack myself up and begin laughing like I’m being tickled by a giant invisible feather.

More and more, I’m the only one who’s laughing. 

The increasingly common reactions to my jokes are eye rolls so extravagant it seems like I’m looking at a casino poker machine that is stuck on spin. This reaction from the family, I get. I’m not at all funny to them. 

But getting eye rolls from bar folk? It’s a disturbing development. 

“I enjoy hanging with drunks ‘cuz you can tell same joke same way five times in one night and it’s always hilarious. Not so w/sober wife.”

I came up with this line in, oh, 2016, and have probably said or typed it close to 500 times. It’s funny because it’s true. Drunk guys will laugh at the same line dozens of times. It never gets old.

It’s why I can walk into any bar full of guys and say, “Who own the Chiefs?” and be hailed as a friend. More over, I’ll unite the whole bar because every real guy knows to respond, “Owns! Owns!”

It’s the exact dialogue from the 1976 hockey comedy epic, “Slapshot,” when French-Canadian goalie Denis Lemieux tries to sleuth out secret information from GM Joe McGrath.

Every guy knows it. And every drunk guy thinks it’s so funny he will laugh at its recitation all night long.

I wonder if I’m spending too much time around sober folk. 

I’ve always counted on a certain level of listener inebriation to ensure my popularity. 

But I noticed some eyes tumble weeding over the weekend from people who’d already heard my go-tos.

Some of this was unavoidable. I spoke Friday to about 70 members of the Golf Heritage Society. They were in town for their national convention.

Many of the members heard me speak on an August Zoom call. I tried to change things up a bit when I spoke Friday afternoon, but the talks were similar, for sure. First of all, I’m not going to sit on good line on the chance someone’s already heard it.

The Stones performed in Pittsburgh last night. What are the chances Keith said to Mick, “Let’s not play ‘Satisfaction’ tonight. We played it here last time.”

And the talk went great. Spoke for an hour and then spent the next half hour greeting smiling strangers who stood in line to hand me $20 bills and say they thought I was great.

Boy, have I missed that!

But as I was making chit chat while simultaneously trying to write something witty in each book, a man said I was lucky to have been friends with Mr. Palmer.

Out of respect for his true friends, I always demur by saying, “It was more like I was lucky to be in his orbit. But for perspective, it was like I was Pluto … and some experts argue whether Pluto’s even a planet.”

It’s a funny line, very self-deprecating.

He said, “And that’s the third time I’ve heard that.”


Is it wrong to serve leftovers when seeking to make a good first impression?

I sure hope not. Still, I vow to continue to strive for pure originality.

Because some people are starting to say I repeat myself when I’m sober.

Because some people are starting to say I repeat myself when I’m sober.

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