Thursday, March 31, 2022

March tweets o' the month!


Despite near zero evidence anyone reads these here, yet again, are my bestest, most razzle-dazzlest tweets of the month. Enjoy! Or don't ...

• It must have been difficult being married to Plato. As a big shot Greek philosopher, he must've attracted his share of female admirers. But if she ever busted him in a compromising position he could truthfully say, "Babe, I swear, it's purely Platonic.”

• With bloodthirsty Putin strafing innocents and rattling the nuclear saber, all my fears of the world ending with climate change and gently rising oceans suddenly seem charmingly quaint.

• For the record, I've authored 10 actual books, but 4 of them are so bad I refuse to acknowledge they exist. Do you know how bad a book has to be for its author to deny its existence? My parents weren't exactly bustin' with pride over having raised me, but they still kept a high school graduation picture of me on the mantel. And it wasn't like I was exactly setting the world on fire back then. Well, parts of it.

• Increasing noise pollution, both audible and sensical, will in the next 50 years lead the human ear to evolve and function like volume knobs. So if you hear some music or objectionable political opinions, you'll be able to spin your ears to the off position. I intend to keep mine set at 2.

• What would you make of it if you were driving down the streets of Moscow and saw an anti-Putin bumper sticker that said, "Don't blame me. I voted for Trump!"

• Being familiar with how inertia animates any bureaucracy, I have to imagine the Ukrainian equivalent of the CDC is today preparing to hold a press conference to announce new recommendations regarding public mask use.

• It should come as no surprise but, given our sedentary natures, most standstills have become sit stills.

• In my experience,  the people who give the worst advice are the ones most eager to give any advice. For example ... Me! I advise uninvited, post and have, in fact, written what could be called advice books. I've, thus, proven my point.

• If a bald man tells an annoyance to get out of his hair, is it an insult or a bold invitation to adventure time travel?

• I prophecy my demise will be violent. Not that I wouldn't prefer a peaceful passing. But if I say I'm going to die a violent death and I, in fact, do, the pain will be eased knowing my last mortal thought will be, "Ha! Right again!”

• Being in quality control in any spice processing plant must bestow workers with God-like feelings. Where else can you turn back thyme?

• Told the kids one of the best ways to get ahead is to ignore the advice of mediocre adults. They pretended not to hear me ... I know. I have only myself to blame. 

• I remember being surprised when I learned the root word of hospital was hospitality. Who thinks "hospitality!" when they're admitted to a hospital? It's like researching the roots of "politics" and finding it's derived from “polite."

• Every time I'm tempted to write "humorist" where it asks my occupation, I remind myself my core support comes from a handful of 60-yr-old men who still snicker when they hear the word, “titillate."

• We’ve reached a point where my capacity to be entertained is overwhelmed by an abundance of choice and mediocrity. Too many options, too little quality. I cut the cable. Now I feel like cutting my wrist.

• Sorry, Planet Fitness, you'll never truly be the "No Judgement Zone" until the place smells like one gigantic fart.

• I prophecy my demise will be violent. Not that I wouldn't prefer a peaceful passing. But if I say I'm going to die a violent death and I, in fact, do, the pain will be eased knowing my last mortal thought will be, "Ha! Right again!"

• In an apparently irony-free tweet, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stated on Twitter that the organization “does not condone violence of any form.” Leads me to believe the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences never goes to the movies.

• I used to be a free spirit. Now I charge by the hour.

• Some people avoid having friends with abrasive personalities. Not me. I seek out abrasive people. Some degree of abrasiveness is necessary to help smooth out the wood. And please do not extend the "smooth out the wood" metaphor to anatomical realms.

• Television, which has given me a lifetime of numbskulled pleasure, continues to find new ways to infuriate me. This time it's holding me hostage to commercials. Hulu forces its viewers to watch three 2-minute blocks of commercials for every 30 minutes of programming. Unless ... you pay an $11 ransom that allows you to skip the tedium. So solvent folks skip 'em while the poor endure 'em. Now, isn't the purpose of commercials to sell products. If you can't afford $11-a-month, you can't afford much of what the commercials are selling. I suggest it would make more sense to make the people with more money watch the commercials. That would give those of us without the means an extra 12-minutes every hour to do some productive wage earning. Or at lease watch more uninterrupted TV. 

This observation was brought to you by ... GEICO!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Stinkbug in my ear, Wordle on my mind


(697 words)

My first profanity of the day came roaring out of my mouth at about 5:30 a.m.

I was awakened by a stinkbug in my left ear. And when I say “in my left ear,” I’m not exaggerating.

It was deep in there. Like a half-inch from the brain. It was in where you’d expect a common sense stinkbug would go if there was a downpour in my bedroom and it needed to seek shelter in a cozy, waxy place away from the elements.

What it was doing there, I have no idea. Did it lose a bet?

Maybe a stinkbug prankster told it that a stinkbug kid had fallen in there the way human kids fall into prairie wells, and that there was an opportunity to be a stinkbug hero.

Maybe it was an explorer like Sir Ernest Shackleton who a century ago felt compelled to go to barren, desolate regions in search of intelligent life. He wound up disappointed.

Sir Stinkbug wound up dead.

As regular readers know, the stinkbug has no greater friend than I. My wife sees a stinkbug and, guaranteed, within 30 seconds you’ll hear the sound of a toilet flushing, signaling a stinkbug has gone to meet its maker.

I’m more compassionate. I imagine having “stink” as your first name can be difficult.

Hell, I’ve always been uncomfortable lugging around a unisex name that rhymes with “sissy,” so I empathize. My custom with any insect that can’t sting me is to incarcerate, reason with it, then liberate. I set it outside and warn it not to re—enter lest the missus sees it and gives the Tidy Bowl salute. 

But when it’s in your ear, you take no prisoners. I jammed my left index finger to about the second knuckle, destroying the tank-like intruder and, I think, leaving tiny stinkbug debris in my now-itchy ear. I’ll soon be doing a rinse.

So the first profanity was unusual and understandable. Stick a stinkbug in John Boy’s left ear and Walton’s Mountain will be reverberating with the F-bomb.

The second morning profanity came just two hours later and is less easy to defend, mostly because it’s clear evidence of ineptitude.

See, we’ve become a family of Wordlers.

If just the name leads you to believe Wordlers are some nerdy word cult, you are correct.

Wordler is an easily shared word game invented by a man conveniently named Josh Wardler.

The object is to guess that day’s 5-letter word in fewer than six tries. The game indicates correct letters in the correct space by highlighting them in green, and correct letters in the wrong space in yellow.

So if the word is SAUCE and your first guess is TEACH, the C will be green and the A and the E will be yellow.

Our one daughter usually makes her first guess ADIEU. It’s a savvy move because it gets four of the five essential vowels dispensed with right off the bat.

I take a more prosaic approach. My first word is always something either aspirational or inspirational. I do this, not for reasons of sound strategy, but because I never let a teachable moment pass unmolested. 

So when we powwow later on, I smugly inform them that my kick-off word was SMART or THINK or BRAVE.

I’ve found zero advantage to using words like that to using words like HORNY or PENIS, but the dirty words evade my self-righteous narrative, so why bother?

My problem is my incompetence keeps getting in the way of my role modeling.

I usually finish mine an hour or so before the girls are up and if I do well, I become impatient to brag.

Happened again today. I mistook one text chain for another and revealed the wordle before they could attempt. As there is only one per day, they were very angry.

I could tell because my phone started blowing up with 5-letter words like …

IDIOT … DUNCE … MORON … and in this case, the judges will allow, JERKK.

 I guess at least this morning I have an excuse.


And that SUCKS.

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Sunday, March 13, 2022

Some stuff I'm prayin' on


(648 words)

Just learned my older brother has been in and out of the hospital all week with severe abdominal pains that have, thus far, evaded diagnosis. We spoke, I empathized, and told him I’d pray for him.

And as I said so, it dawned on me that lately I’ve been doing a helluva lot of praying.

I probably pray for God to cure/heal/de-escalate on behalf of maybe two dozen or so friends/loved ones/drinkin’ buddies and/or luckless strangers in sovereign nations.

For those keeping score at home, on most days it seems like my prayer record is roughly 0-24.

It’s like my prayers are a lousy NFL franchise that’s given up on the season in the hopes it’ll get the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Is it possible to pray so ineptly the deity to which we pray says, “Ah, screw it. I’m going to divine the exact opposite of every one of this dumb bastard’s prayers.”

Here are just a few of my prayers these days:

I pray hard for the Ukrainians. Nothing in my life — now six decades! — has rattled me more than this vicious and pointless Russian war. Experts say it could destabilize all of Europe. I don’t know much about that but, let me tell you, it’s de-stabilizing the shit out of me. I pray that God will soften the heart of Vladimir Putin and he’ll pull out all his troops and say he’s sorry and that it won’t happen again.

Just in case that prayer is asking too much, I toss in a prayer that some brave Kremlin insider puts a bullet through Putin’s brain. And I pray that the heroic killer doesn’t turn out to be even worse than Putin.

I pray for the people of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the beleaguered Uyghur minorities in China. I pray that even though Ukraine has shoved them out of the news, they still know that — cheer up! — guys like me are still praying for ya!

I say prayers for friends who are grieving for recently deceased parents, and I pray their tears serve as a lesson to the living to love and respect their parents while they‘re still around. It’s a noble thought. What’s ignoble is I always ask God to direct that prayer to my own daughters for mocking their father for things like weight gain and hair loss.

I often declare the best line I’ve ever written is, “Be so at peace with the world, the only thing you have left to get off your chest are your nipples.”

It’s a very good line, marred only by the unruly mention of nipples, which I’m finding is very disturbing to otherwise friendly audiences. I pray the people who come to hear me speak come to peace with their nipples.

But a contender for best line is: “Fools pray for riches and get nothing. The wise pray for understanding and need nothing.”

It’s one of the only things I’ve written that I wouldn’t be ashamed to submit for inclusion in “Bible II: The Sequel.”

I pray for the planet. I fear that the Russian War will accelerate our deadly drift of ignoring the climate change issues, and the eventual winner of World War III will take a look around and say, “We fought to win this?

I pray that God will end poverty, injustice, hatred, greed and want.

I pray that one day it will be revealed why so many of God’s children are fated to live lives of desolation and misery. I pray I’ll one day be told why so many of our prayers seem to have been an utter waste of time.

And, yeah, even though it contradicts my second greatest line, I can’t help but pray for riches and influence undeserved by material fools like me.

Sorry. Just some things I had to get off my chest. 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Where is Mrs. Putin?


(708 words)

While global conflict experts are wondering how long Ukraine can hold on, if the Russian economy will collapse, and if nuclear nightmares are in play, I keep thinking of something more intimate.

That is, “What does Mrs. Putin have to say about all this?”

In mankind’s long and bloody history of pointless wars, this one strikes me as one of the bloodiest and most pointless. I’m sickened.

And I know I risk the wrath of our equality-minded friends by using the masculine pronoun “mankind” in the previous sentence, instead of an all-inclusive stunt pronoun like, say, “humanity.”

But in the war equality department, women are even farther behind than they are in seeking equal pay.

When many in the tabloid media talk about women at war it usually means a cat fight over something Joy Behar said to Meghan McCain about footwear.


There is nothing feminine about what’s happening in Ukraine. It’s pure testosterone — and most of it gushing from Vladimir Putin. 

It’s like he’s one of those hydrants city kids unscrew on hot summer days. Only what’s squirting out of this Putin hydrant doesn’t extinguish fires.

It starts them.

I didn’t see a horror of this magnitude coming. I thought he was a guy pretending to be a strongman. He’d have himself filmed playing rough hockey, rasslin’ bears, getting drunk and riding around shirtless atop a horse.

I could forgive him all this macho posturing because I used to do stuff like that when I was freelancing for National Enquirer.

Sure, I went off the rails a time or two. Let my ego run wild. Thought I could take on the world.

What saved me?

I was married to a good, strong women, who kept me in check. In fact, she’s the inspiration for “Use All The Crayons!” tip no. 763: “Understand, a long marriage is a terrific antidote to excessive ego.”

It’s not at all uncommon. There are men all around the planet who are fond of gazing into mirrors and self-affirming, “I am the greatest. Everyone loves me. I couldn’t possibly be wrong. I can take Ukraine in 7 days!”

Now most of us have a devoted woman either over our shoulders or in our heads saying, “No, you’re not. No, they don’t. Yes, you could. And, no, you can’t”.

Having that spousal governor is useful. I needed to find out where Putin’s was.

Turns out she’s 1,264 kms away in a town called Kaliningrad. And she’s married to another dude!

In deference to the four-times married Willie Nelson, I refuse to call her an ex-wife. It was Willie who declared, “There are no ex-wives. There are only additional wives.”

She and Putin divorced in 2013.

He’s not remarried, but is said to have a special friend in retired Russian gymnast/reporter/host/politician/masseuse Alina Kabaeva, 38. I cannot say if she was qualified for her other positions, but if she’s judged solely on her appearance, she must have been an appealing host.

I’m being coy, of course, and with good reason. Because in April 2008, the Moscow Korrespondent newspaper reported that she and the then-still married Putin were engaged. Putin denied the story.

Sort of.

He ordered the paper closed.

What? You thought he’d write a snippy letter to the editor?

I read that and felt pity for the newspaper staff. What happened to them was so cruel, so arbitrary and so unfair I was surprised I didn’t work there.

So it’s safe to say Putin has no one in his home or his head telling him that he’s making a horrific mistake. 

It certainly seems like he’s losing his mind. Have you seen his idea of social distancing (above)? 

Clearly, he’s worried about germs. If he isn’t already, he’d better start worrying about bullets. 

It’s a shame for the whole world that he doesn’t have any one telling him he’s wrong, and that this is bound to end badly.

Because women are from Venus, men from Mars.

I fear the longer this goes on, we’ll all together go to hell.

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