Feb 212020
 

As you read this, I am on a plane to Vietnam.  The most important thing I learned during my recent “Visiting Vietnam Orientation” was that under no circumstances should I ever visit Vietnam.  Just kidding!  (If you read the previous sentence backwards, it spells – “Help!  They’re taking me to Vietnam!”)  Okay, now I’m REALLY kidding!  (Please, I’m begging you!  Read the last sentence backwards and call the FBI.)

My orientation on visiting Vietnam was conducted by someone, who for the purpose of this column, I will refer to as “Tina.”  This is because her name is Tina. 

Tina is marrying my fake nephew Kian.  Our families have been friends long before any of us had kids, so I have been Kian’s fake uncle since his birth.  Not to brag, but I’m about as legit a “Fake Uncle” as you can get. 

Anyway, Tina and Kian are getting married in her home country of Vietnam, and so everybody’s packing up and heading to Vietnam.  Tina and Kian wisely invited us to Vietnam BEFORE Tina presented her orientation on Vietnam.  We have decided to show them how much we love them by agreeing to contract the Coronavirus.

The three most important things I learned during Tina’s orientation were:

First, Vietnamese mosquitoes are the size of carrier pigeons.  She recommended we carry a small telescoping baton to beat the creatures away.  However, this is only effective if we are assaulted by a single mosquito.  If we are assaulted by a pack or “herd” of Vietnamese mosquitoes, we are supposed to lay down and “play dead” – like you’re supposed to do when you confront a bear.  (I think.) 

Second, there is a 75% chance we will be struck and killed trying to cross the street.  Tina showed us a YouTube video on how to cross the street.  The video showed a skinny white guy slowly step out into a stream of moving traffic – and here is the critical fact – the traffic DOES NOT STOP.  He steps out into the stream, and the cars, motorcycles, camels and all other means of conveyance just keep moving forward and dodging him as he slowly creeps across. 

They say that there is a significant difference between being a “traveler” and being a “tourist.”  Let me be clear, I am a “tourist.”  Travelers eat locally roasted bugs.  Tourists eat Big Macs.

Third, in a cunning move to get revenge on Americans’ failed imperialist attempt to conquer their country, the Vietnamese government adds a chemical to its drinking water.  One sip, and this special additive makes every American as sick as a goose that’s overdosed on Metamucil.  It starts pouring out of both ends.  Welcome to Vietnam!  It’s Dee-lightful!

By now, I am curled up in a fetal position in seat 33A heading to Saigon.  I’m clutching a baton, a nuclear grade water filtration bottle and an industrial sized bottle of Xanax (to help me cross the street).  I’m also wearing a set of dog tags so they can identify my body.

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Feb 172020
 

Iowa recently had a caucus, and now Nevada is getting ready to have one.  I’m not exactly sure what a caucus is, but I think it might be what got Harvey Weinstein into all that trouble.  I’ve been told that it’s when strangers get together somewhere like a school gym, or maybe in Weinstein’s case, a steam room.  Once assembled, there’s a lot of aggressive stating of personal preference and demanding that other people change their position. 

Thankfully, I live in Oregon.  Oregon is a “motor voter” state.  The state mails EVERYBODY a ballot.  You get mailed a ballot; your spouse gets mailed a ballot.  Your Uncle Igor, visiting from the Czech Republic, gets a ballot.  (It’s the law.) 

As a result, we don’t have to worry about Harry Weinstein trying to adjust our position.  We just mail back the ballots.  So essentially, the first person to the mailbox gets to vote five or six times.  (Just kidding – That would be a felony!)  In all seriousness, Oregonians rarely vote more than two or three times.

(Humorous Oregon “vote-by-mail” historical note: In the last election, a clerk named Gloria in the mailroom of a large retirement home single-handedly decided the governor’s race.)

I wish all the citizens of Nevada good luck this week.  Sadly, as a non-Oregonian, your vote will only count once, but do the best you can with it.  If you don’t mind some advice from a friendly Oregonian, keep in mind that I’m just spit-balling here, you might consider taking ventriloquist lessons.  I don’t know what types of security measures Nevada uses in its caucuses, but you might get to vote twice that way.  I hear this technique was extremely effective in the Iowa caucus – especially with people visiting from out of state.    

At least those of us outside of New Hampshire don’t have to wait up until midnight to vote.  New Hampshire State Motto: “The exhausted voter state!”

And I have no idea what the folks in Guam and the US Virgin Islands do.  Do they vote?  I’m pretty sure they’re US citizens.  Right?  Well, whatever they are, at least they’ve got that sunny weather.  I’d trade them that for my three Oregon votes in a heartbeat. 

Well, I need to wrap this up.  My Uncle Igor is calling me from the back room.  He says he needs help filling out his ballot.   

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Feb 152020
 

I live in Oregon.  Our state’s proud motto: “Shivering in the rain ‘til the Big One hits!”  It could be an earthquake.  It could be a volcano.  Whatever it is, it’s going to be BIG.  According to all the super smart eggheads at Oregon State University (the kind of people who only laugh at calculous jokes), the Pacific Northwest gets a major earthquake every 350 years.  And guess what?  Yeah, it’s been 350 years! 

Lucky for me, I work in a 100-year-old building that is about as earthquake proof as my Aunt Betty’s china cabinet.

But hey, we could get lucky.  We might only suffer the cataclysmic effects of a Volcanic eruption shooting out molten lava raining down on our melting faces.  We’ve got a string of gigantic mountains running up from California all the way to British Columbia.  These mountains have been percolating like coffee pots since the 1950s.  Any one of them could blow at any moment. 

True narcissistically important fact: I am a volcano survivor.  When Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980, I lived about 100 miles south.  I personally dusted volcanic ash off my Datsun B210 hatchback the next morning.  I’m not trying to say that you should consider me a hero, but if you insist….

The government keeps telling us we each need a survival plan.  But I’ve been too busy watching critically acclaimed programing such as Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent to ACTUALLY create a survival plan.  So, imagine my luck when employees of Farmers Insurance recently moved into my building. 

Guess what?  Yeah, leave it to an insurance company to have a survival plan.  A REAL, honest to goodness survival plan!

But brace yourself, because it’s a little weird. Here it is –

You got it!  Survival buckets!  This NOT a joke.  I am NOT making this up.  They moved in with their survival buckets.   

Every bucket contains the following –

When I discovered the Farmer’s Survival Buckets, I didn’t hide my intentions.  I am NOT the kind of guy who would hide my intentions.  However, I am the kind of guy who would steal someone else’s bucket.  I told the Farmers employees, “Look, I’m going to be honest with you.  At the first sign of trouble, I’m going to yell, ‘Everybody for themselves,’ and I’m going to grab one of your survival buckets and get the “H” “E” double toothpicks out of here.  So, you need to modify your survival plan and prepare to be one bucket short.”

As a result of finally having a survival plan, I have found that I am much more relaxed.  My blood pressure is down.  I feel less anxious.  I’ve regained a spring in my step.  Although, I must say, my newfound friends from Farmers Insurance suddenly seem a little on edge.

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Feb 082020
 

I superglued myself.  I’m not exactly sure it was Super Glue.  It could have been Gorilla Glue.  Or “Krazy Glue.”  We’ve got a closet full of them.    

The reason I superglued myself is because, as my loyal readers know, I am a very sensitive guy.  I am a “put the toilet seat back down” kind of guy.  A “take the garbage out only the third time I’m asked” kind of guy.  The kind of guy that doesn’t leave his clothes lying all over the bedroom floor – I politely pile them into a large heap at the foot of the bed.  Yes, I am that sensitive. 

Anyway, I woke up very sensitively, and went downstairs to feed my boss, Oliver the Cat, and make coffee – in that order.  (Oliver doesn’t tolerate insubordination.)

When I walked into the kitchen, on the counter sat one of my wife’s precious Christmas decorations broken into two pieces.  This really hit me hard – emotionally speaking – because my wife only has a limited number of decorations.  Albeit, that number is 1,355.  In fact (this is true), it takes 33 large boxes to store my wife’s limited number of decorations.  Each is very precious to her in its own special (did I say precious?) way. 

The victim was a small, plastic Christmas tree.  Here it is in its full glory –

Like a firefighter racing for the pole, I jumped into action.  I grabbed the sandwich bag full of super glues and went to work.  Yes, I did give passing thought to using plastic gloves.  However, that would have taken an extra 30 seconds, and I was on a mission. 

After EXPERTLY gluing the two halves together, I realized that I had also EXPERTLY glued my fingertips together.  My left index finger was now permanent affixed to my left thumb.

This is when my supergluing experience kicked in.  Like a jet pilot making a split-second decision after years of running emergency drills, I snapped into action.  I knew the longer I allowed the glue to hold my fingers together the stronger the adhesive would “set.”  So, with Herculean effort, I managed to pull them apart.  (Yes, I was very scared.)  They popped apart.  It actually made a loud POP!  It was such a loud POP that I was more than a little relieved to confirm that my fingers were still attached to their bodily appendages.  

I was so relieved my fingers were now separated that the coating of dried glue on their tips didn’t immediately concern me.  But after trying to wash, peel and then scrape the glue off – with ZERO success, I resigned myself to letting it simply wear off. 

However, when I got to my office and started to type, I learned a critical superglue-related disturbing, yet fun fact.  The coating of glue on the end of my index finger left me unable to feel the keyboard.  It was like the end of my finger had fallen to sleep.  It felt completely numb.

This is when I realized the full irony of my situation:

My sensitivity, had left me without any sensitivity.

In short, although I had superglued myself, I didn’t feel so super (glued).

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Feb 012020
 
Official Disclaimer: Not the ACTUAL Fish that Swallowed Jonah

WARNING: I am not a certified Bible Historian.  But I DO know my way around a stone tablet.  In fact, one of my claims to fame is that I read the entire Idiot’s Guide to the Bible.  (Seriously, I have).  When I mentioned this to my minister, he got one of those sour looks on this face like he just ate a rotten peanut M&M.  It was clearly not on his seminary’s required reading list.    

Fortunately for you, my loyal readers, I have never let my ignorance on a topic stop me from offering my expert opinion, and I certainly have no intention of doing so now. 

My church is doing a sermon series on the Book of Jonah.  For the purposes of this column, I will refer to the name of my church as “Grace,” because its real name is Grace Community Fellowship, located at 989 Country Club Road in Eugene, Oregon, 97401.

There are two things I love about the Book of Jonah –

First, it’s not a book.  It’s about the length of a People Magazine article on the benefits of Botox.  The only thing shorter in the Bible than the Book of Jonah is the disclaimer on the inside cover that warns eager readers not to attempt to part the Red Sea at home. 

Second, it contains one the greatest verses in the entire Bible.  Here it is:

“And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”

I’m quoting the King James version so I can throw in the “spake unto” part.  That’s what we call “icing on the (vomit) cake.”

I don’t want to spoil it for you, in case you attend a church that is sinfully NOT currently studying Jonah.  Suffice it to say, however, that after three days in that fish, Jonah couldn’t have been happier to get vomited.  In fact, getting vomited was probably one of the best days of his life.  He probably remembered it fondly.  Perhaps even called it “V-Day.”

Picture it –

Jonah’s grandson, sitting at his grandfather’s knee, “Grandpa, tell me a story from when you were young.” 

Grandpa Jonah, “Have you eaten dinner yet, kid?  Maybe we should wait.”

So, that’s my Bible lesson for today.  In my expert opinion, the vomit verse is perhaps the most vivid (and certainly the most fun) verse in the entire Bible.  And I should know.  Remember, I’ve read the entire Idiot’s Guide to the Bible.

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Jan 252020
 
Screenshot

Finally, our long national nightmare is almost over.  I am speaking, of course, of being forced to hear Official Cable News impeachment commentators tell us 1,000 times a day that the only beverages allowed on the Senate floor are water and milk.  For the record, I don’t buy that load of FAKE NEWS for a nanosecond.  If you think that there aren’t A MINIMUM of two dozen whisky flasks stashed throughout the Senate chamber, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona I’d like to sell you.

Whether you think this “historic” snooze-fest is a Galant Effort or a Witch Hunt, hopefully, we can join together to celebrate the new consumer product inadvertently discovered as a result of this impeachment trial.  Many successful consumer goods were discovered by accident.  Rogaine was invented as a heart medication.  Play-Doh was invented as a wall-paper cleaner.  Post-It Notes resulted from a scientist’s failed attempt to create a strong adhesive.  And now, thanks to the steadfast determination to keep the Russians from Stealing our Democracy (Oh, sorry, that was last week) … I meant, To Keep President Trump from Buying the Next Election, we now have one of the strongest sleep aids known to mankind.  One of these godless multinational companies needs to trademark the term, “Impeachment Strength” – and pronto. 

All of sudden, EVERYTHING is impeachment.

I overheard Oliver the Cat yesterday telling a neighborhood stray that he’s thinking about impeaching his political enemy, Milo the Dog.  From the bits and pieces, I could understand, Oliver thinks he has the votes in the House.  But he’s worried about the Senate.  Here he is looking worried (that or hungry – I’m not sure) – 

Meanwhile, I’m worried about one of my senators.  Ron Wyden has been representing Oregon since the Paleozoic Age.  I met him, and he’s a super nice guy.  But he’s got to be at least 110 years old.  These marathon impeachment sessions are brutal.  I can only hope that he’s keeping one of the approved Senate beverages close at hand, and by “approved,” I mean a whisky. 

Hang in there, Ron!

Screenshot

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Jan 192020
 

I’m NOT the only one pondering this critical question.  So is Oliver the Cat.  Here is Oliver doing some serious pondering (shortly before heading off to victimize a helpless bird) –

Whether you think the Democrats or the Republicans have gone off the deep end and are [insert your choice: 1. Evil, 2. Insane, 3. Dumb as a Bunch of Rocks, 4. Commies, 5. Nazis, or, my favorite, 6. Shameless Jacka**es], please pause and take time to laugh at our THIRD branch of government.  Why only laugh at the hijinks of the executive and legislative branches, when you can laugh at all three?

Case in point:

For the first one-million years of our republic, Supreme Court justices have worn plain, standard issue, black robes.  Tasteful, yes, but lacking that special panache.  That ended in 1995. 

That year, then Chief Justice William Rehnquist walked into the courtroom wearing four gold stripes on each of his sleeves.  I stole the photograph above from photographer Mark Wilson and Getty Images.  (If I’m prosecuted for this, I’ll claim some sort of journalist privilege, and as a backup plan – I’ll pray it’s only a misdemeanor.) 

Why did Chief Justice Rehnquist do this?  Where did he get such a notion?  Was it from his research into Western European judicial traditions?  Was it from a desire to inspire litigants as to the sacred role of the judiciary?  Not quite.  According to Adam K. Raymond’s article in the New York Intelligencer, “The embellishments were inspired by the ‘one worn by the Lord Chancellor in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.’”

So, to be clear, Rehnquist went out to see a local play.  At the play, the head of the most powerful court IN THE WORLD, decided that he liked the cut of the Lord Chancellor’s jib, and the next morning he had his wife sew four gold bars on his sleeves.  The next time you hear the fancy legal term, “judicial discretion,” this is what they’re talking about. 

So, the BIG QUESTION?  Will our current Chief Justice John Roberts don the stripes when he enters the Senate chambers to preside over President Trump’s impeachment?  Is he too a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan?  Sadly, according to Adam Raymond’s article, the answer is, “no.”  But Roberts has surprised us before!  After all, he WAS the swing vote that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare. 

Absolutely ANYTHING is possible!  For example, if you’re bored enough to watch the impeachment trial, and your mind begins to wander, you might keep yourself focused on the proceedings by speculating, what, if anything, is Roberts wearing under his robe?

So, stay tuned, and enjoy the show!

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Jan 182020
 

Following extensive research into 20th Century military tactics, Oliver the Cat has adopted Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through strength” policy.  Oliver would like you to know that he is NOT a Republican.  He is a card-carrying Libertarian.  (Well, if he had pockets, he WOULD be a card-carrying member.)  This policy is in keeping with one of Oliver’s favorite sayings – the old adage that, “The best defense is a good set of sharp claws.” 

Oliver is adopting this in direct reaction to occasionally having to share his home with his nemesis, Milo the Dog.  Oliver is convinced that Milo is looking for the first opportunity to wolf him down like a Taco Bell Chalupa. 

Oliver employs a three-step defense –

Step one: When he sees Milo, he immediately “puffs up.”  This is that technique that you’re supposed to use when you see a bear.  You lift you coat and raise your hands to making yourself look bigger.  In Oliver’s case, he shoots his back up into an arch that would make St. Louis jealous.  If he does this one more time, we’re going to have to take him to a cat chiropractor.   

Step two: He fires a “hiss” louder than an eighteen-wheeler releasing its air brakes.  (Seriously, Freightliner would be impressed.)

Step three: He charges at his enemy like a rocket.  I’m not sure what Oliver would do if he ever caught Milo, but I’m not interested in finding out.  And I’m quite sure that Milo’s “mom” (my daughter) is not.

Poor Milo, on the other hand, is outmatched on every front.  Milo is curious about Oliver, but he doesn’t seem to hold any grudges. 

Milo only has one true enemy: Skateboarders.

My daughter warned me that Milo “goes nuts” when he sees a skateboarder.  Even so, I was completely unprepared for the level of insanity when he spots one.  He saw a skateboarder half a block away while I was walking him, and (I am not exaggerating) he almost jerked my arm out of its socket lunging toward him. 

It is my fervent hope that one day these two furry knuckleheads we be able to achieve a lasting Détente.  In the meantime, (and I cannot stress this enough), it is critical to the safety of all mankind that we keep the launch codes away from Oliver.

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Jan 042020
 

My sister-in-law recently told me she liked to buy grocery items in bulk. You know – pasta, flour, rice, et cetera – from those big bins.  I told her that those bulk bins were dangerous because members of the “general public” had direct access.  It simply wasn’t sanitary.  I asked her why she was wasting time.  I suggested that she just have some snot-nosed kid sneeze directly into her mouth.  She told me I was an idiot, and pointed out that the bins were sealed. 

It is true that some bulk containers are sealed.  Those are the bins that have a lever at the bottom.  The lever is designed so that when you lift it, three times what you want shoots out like [redacted] from a goose.  Here is an example (of the bins, not the goose) –

Most bins, however, have lids designed to lift and expose their contents to the diseased ridden “general public.”  Here they are –

You might think that my comment to my sister-in-law was just an effort to get under her skin and, in general, be a jerk.  I want you to know that I am deeply offended by this.  Anyone who’s been reading my columns should know that, OF COURSE, this was my intention.    But I also said it because of something I witnessed the week before.  It happened in a natural food store near my office.  (I was there because it is near my office, not because it caters to women who last shaved their armpits during the Eisenhower Administration.)

Anyway, I was headed back toward the deli, and this took me right past the bulk food section.  A kid was lifting the lid from one of the bins.  He looked about seven or eight.  He stood for a moment pondering the contents.  Then, suddenly, he reared back and sneezed right into the bin with the blunt force of a Cat 5 hurricane.  Then he nonchalantly shut the lid …  and OPENED ANOTHER LID!

This got me thinking about lid height and the chances a kid might sneeze into a particular bin.  (The FDA really should pay me for this valuable research.)  Let’s take a look at this display for our research purposes –

These bins are positioned three rows high.  The lowest one is the perfect height for a communicably ill child to lift the lid and unleash a spray of virus thicker than a crop duster. 

My tireless research has resulting in the follow scientific findings: 

You should only buy food from containers positioned high enough so that children cannot access them.  By employing this important safety measure, you will only be eating food which has been sneezed on by adults. 

Bon appetite!

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Dec 312019
 
This Picture Used Completely Without Permission from UPI

I’ll begin by apologizing for this udderly ridiculous story.

I recently stumbled upon a scientific breakthrough in veterinarian medicine.  Sadly, the tsunami of fake news flooding recent headlines has practically drowned out this important, Pulitzer Prize worthy story written by Ben Hooper for UPI.  My regular readers know that I believe strongly that writers must stand behind the accuracy of their stories.  I will not attempt to dodge that responsibility here.  However, because I stole all this information from Mr. Hopper’s article, the SOLE blame for any and all errors should, of course, fall on his shoulders.    

A surprisingly little-known fact is that New Zealand sheep are particularly well-endowed.  You may be familiar with the various breeds of sheep.  There are wool sheep, “rack of lamb” sheep, and “Mary had a little lamb” sheep (bred specifically for counting).  In New Zealand, however, unbeknownst to the rest of us in the civilized world, debauched sheep ranchers have been breeding a line of sheep called Marilyn Monroe sheep.  I’m just kidding!  They’re called Dolly Parton sheep. 

Anyway, Mr. Hopper’s story explains that there is an unfortunate sheep condition that can cause a sheep’s udder (SUPER GROSS WARNING! You should really stop reading here) to hang so low that, “it can be traumatized on the ground.”  (Ouch!  Even my nipples are hurting at this point!)

I know what you’re thinking.  This is a ripe opportunity for some creative soul to rip off that classic song that goes, “Do your ears hang low?  Do they wobble to and fro?  Can you tie them in a knot?  Can you tie them in a bow?”  People discover meaning in life by finding a need and then filling it.  (Do the world a favor.  Fill this void.)

The name of the sheep in the risqué lingerie photo above is Rose.  She’s sporting a maternity bra size 24J.  The vet cut holes in Rose’s bra so she could nurse her three lambs.  (Mr. Hopper’s story insinuates that the third lamb is the one guilty of injuring Rose’s “sheep bosom.”)  During her pregnancy, it apparently, and without warning, dropped like a fat man from the gallows.

Rose’s plight has inspired me to begin manufacturing a line of bras for domesticated animals.  Why stop at sheep?  Have you ever taken a good look at the udder on a Holstein cow?  Talk about one of God’s creatures in need of a little support!  And don’t think for a moment that nanny goats couldn’t use a little relief.

I’m going to see if Victoria’s Secret wants to partner with me to start a dairy line.  We’ll give the new company a seductive name – “Victoria Secret’s Udderly Fabulous.”

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