The REAL problem with ordering People magazine is that they start SENDING you People magazine

Every once in a while, I make the tragic mistake of subscribing to People magazine.  It isn’t that I WANT People magazine, it is that People magazine skillfully uses a sophisticated entrapment technique to coerce me into subscribing.  It happens at my work. 

It goes like this.  They send you a color flyer depicting a cover of People magazine with the sales pitch, “54 Weeks of People, Just $47!”  That catches your eye, and when you look closer, it says a two-year subscription is just $95.  And, get this, a three-year subscription is only $134!  And if you subscribe for five years, they actually pay YOU money to take it!  Okay, I’m just kidding. They don’t pay you money. They just give it to you for free. Just kidding, again!  The deal ends at three years.  But still, that’s about 85 cents an issue.  In a world where a cup of coffee is four bucks, that’s an amazing deal.  And I’m from Alsea, so you can imagine my internal struggle.  My cheapskate id starts wrasslin’ with my just-spotted-a-bargain id. 

The REAL problem with ordering People magazine is that they start sending you People magazine.  EVERY week.  Week after week, month after month.  It NEVER ends.  It’s relentless.  Issues start piling up.  Stacks of People magazines begin growing throughout the lobby.  The stacks sprout everywhere.  Pretty soon your office lobby is like a corn maze.  You find yourself trying to navigate through the unsteady stacks looking for the front door while desperately trying to avoid becoming the embarrassing victim of a People magazine avalanche.  (A tragedy People magazine would gleefully publish on it’s cover!)

What I’m trying to say is that when you are walking through the airport, and you see a copy of People magazine for sale at its standard cover price of $200 (or whatever its insane “cover price”), BUY IT.  Buy that ONE copy.  Covet it.  Alone.  It doesn’t need any brother or sister issues.  It’s fine being an only child. 

I implore you.  If you’re itching to do something crazy, go bungee jumping, or maybe skydiving.  Heck, sign up for a naked bull riding contest.  Just don’t ever, and I mean EVER, lose your mind and subscribe to People magazine.

Help! A Guy Named Bob Hacked Our Netflix Account!

Being the victim of a violent crime is life altering.  This is especially true if the offense is not only violent but invades your privacy.  I should know.  I am now tragically among the ranks of our nation’s faceless victims.  How?  A guy named “Bob” recently hacked my family’s Netflix account.  That’s him in the picture.  I had innocently enough opened our Netflix account to watch the next episode The Great British Baking Show, and BAM, there was Bob.  I immediately shot out a message to my family’s text thread asking who let Bob into our account.  Everybody denied it. 

The whole experience was harrowing.  From now on, whenever I point my tv remote to click on Netflix, my hand shakes with trepidation.  Who, I wonder, will I find lurking in there?  (It’s exactly like being the victim of an armed home invasion, except with no guns, and, of course, no ACTUAL invasion.)

I will now bravely tell the rest of my story of survival.

Throwing caution to the wind, I clicked on Bob’s account to see what he had been watching.  Low and behold, the last program he watched was the Gilmore Girls.  I have never seen the Gilmore Girls, but using my above-average deductive skills, I thought to myself, ‘Is Bob a girl?’

This prompted me to shift my effort back to lambasting my daughters on whether they let Bob into our account.  More blanket denials. 

After hitting the dead end with my daughters, I clicked back onto Netflix, only to find that Bob had now LOCKED US OUT OF HIS PROFILE!  (See the little lock symbol below his face in the picture?!)

This was the final straw. 

The saga ended somewhat unceremoniously.  Because I have all of the technological skills of a orangutan,  I told my tech-savvy daughter Zoe to eliminate Bob using any and all means necessary.  Nothing was off the table! 

Five seconds later, she did.

Bob is now gone. 

But a word to the wise:  Keep a sharp eye out.  Bob might be eyeballing YOUR Netflix account right now!  If you see him, tell him I said, “Hi.”

Today’s Taliban: Leading the Global Fight Against Climate Change One Flogging at a Time

Say what you will about the Taliban, those guys keep a low carbon footprint.  The West might even be able to learn a thing or two that could help us fight climate change.  That is, if we could only set aside our judgmental attitude toward their savagery for a moment and keep an open mind.

Personal Care

Have you ever seen a Taliban member use any personal skincare or haircare products?  Do you have any idea how many petroleum products that are required to produce, transport and market these “essentials?”  Not only that, but most combs and brushes are made almost entirely from petroleum products.  When is the last time you have EVER even seen a Taliban fighter use a comb?

Law Enforcement

The Taliban draws a wickedly sharp line on following Sharia Law.  Step out of line for a moment and Whack!  They’ll knock you into tomorrow.  And what do Taliban enforcers use? Canes, whips and rocks, that’s what.  Talk about an uncompromising commitment to sustainability. 

Transportation

Do Taliban fighters drive around in gas-guzzling Humvees?  Of course, not!  Taliban fighters drive fuel-efficient Tacoma pickups.  And, they ride eight or nine to a truck!  Now, that’s an HOV lane culture!

Perhaps if we weren’t so ethnocentric, we could open our minds and learn a little something from these backwards, heartless barbarians.  Maybe, we need to “slow our roll” and stop being so quick to superimpose OUR cultural values on them.  What makes OUR culture so much better?  Treating women as human beings?  Requiring due process?  Not referring to our leaders as “Warlords?” 

The next time you run into a member of the Taliban, perhaps you should take a moment to thank him and apologize for your cultural prejudice.  But do it quick, before he pulls out his cane.

Milo the Dog Graciously Donates His Poop to the Cause of Archaeological Research

Millions of years from now, archaeologists, perhaps from another planet, will be carefully digging through previously inhabited areas of Earth.  They will be looking for artifacts to help them understand the nature of the human experience.  During this process, they will discover thousands of little plastic bags containing organic matter.  They will wonder to themselves, “What was it about these little bags that was so important to humankind?”

I was thinking about all this last weekend when I was out walking Milo the Dog.  As I pulled out a bag to collect his most recent achievement, I wondered what an alien archaeologist might make out of all of this millions of years from now.

Three possibilities came to mind:

1. Perhaps these were snack bags.  We might have enjoyed snacking on whatever these little bags contained.  In fact, we might have found this snack so tasty that we were addicted to it, and we carried it wherever we went.

2. Perhaps these little bags had a deep religious meaning.  We were emotionally attached to them.  They helped us form a closer connection to our creator. 

3. Perhaps the contents of these bags had an intrinsic value, like gold or silver. 

Of course, with each of these possibilities, the alien archaeologists would be confused over why we kept tossing them in the dump.

By the time these archaeologically significant little bags are discovered, there is a good chance that they will be fossilized. 

I have several fossils displayed in my office.  My wife brought them back from South Dakota.  My clients often admire them and make positive comments. 

So, as I watched Milo drop another gem onto a neighbor’s manicured yard, I had to wonder.  Will this one-day be displayed in some alien archaeologist’s office?  If so, I hope that visitors will admire it and make positive comments.

Oliver in Repose

I Am Working Remotely This Afternoon, And By “Remotely,” I Mean Sleeping On My Couch

I am working remotely this afternoon, and by “remotely,” I mean sleeping on my couch.  Oliver the Cat is working remotely, too.  That’s him, above.  Oliver has been working remotely since 1997.  Just kidding!  He’s only three years old.  So, he’s been working remotely since 1897.  (I’m including his first eight lives.)  Oliver INVENTED working remotely. 

The greatest challenge I have faced working remotely is that my refrigerator is inconveniently located in the kitchen.  The problem is that my couch is in the family room.  Tragically, my arms are only 30 inches long.  This set of unfortunate circumstances requires me to actually stand up and embark on a harrowing 20-foot journey to the refrigerator.  But let it be known that I take my remote work seriously, so I embrace this challenge.  Doggonit, that’s just how I was raised. 

On a serious note, the pandemic has impacted all of our lives.  So, I think I can speak for my fellow remote workers when I say, “Please, God, let this pandemic continue.” 

No one is more grateful to Dr. Fauci for his helping to fund the creation of this virus.  I’m sure he wasn’t thinking it would kill millions, or that I would get to enjoy a midweek afternoon nap, but I’m grateful to the man, nevertheless.  And to do so at such great risk to himself.  The guy’s 80 years old!  It’s a miracle he didn’t drop dead in the first wave. 

While it’s not something we want to think about, sadly, one day the pandemic will come to and end.  We’ll all have to go back to our offices.  We’ll sit behind our computer screens and get to work.  What work?  Why, worrying about what crippling side effects these vaccines will hit us with down the road.  The suspense will kill us. 

Well, that or the vaccine. 

I’ve Been Binge Watching Amazing Race Reruns So Hard I Came Around the Corner This Morning and Thought I Saw a Clue Box

I have been binge watching “The Amazing Race” reruns so hard that I came around the corner this morning and thought I spotted a clue box.

Turned out, it was a utility pipe.

This made me take a hard look at how I’ve been spending my free time.  It was obvious I needed to reconsider my priorities.  I needed to do some soul searching.  Well, I’ve now done that. As a result, I’ve concluded that I need to spend much MORE time watching The Amazing Race.  I should NEVER have mistaken that pipe for a clue box.  Those are the types of mistakes that can cost you a million dollars!

If you’ve never seen the show, The Amazing Race is where 11 couples race around the world developing a deep-seated hatred for each other.  The winning couple gets one million dollars.  What truly is “amazing” is that none of the contestants has actually killed one another (so far).  

In all seriousness, though, it’s a truly heartwarming show.  Along the way, the relationships really do grow in a variety of ways.   Their appreciation for each other grows.  Their respect for each other grows.  But most of all, their loathing for each other grows.  I’m not kidding.  Watch the show.  A few couples manage to hold it together, but most crack under the pressure.  And, oh yeah, the cameras are right there to catch every nasty whispered slight and every tear drop.

I have announced to many people over the years that if I were ever in the race, by the end of the first episode, America would hate me.  It is somewhat concerning to me that every single person I have said this to has immediately agreed with me.

On the other hand, becoming public enemy #1 is a small price to pay for a shot at winning a million dollars. And I am sure I would win the race, as long as I didn’t mistake a utility pipe for a clue box.

My Barber Cut My Hair So Short That People Are Now Thanking Me For My Service

My barber recently cut my hair so short that people are now thanking me for my service.  Unfortunately, I have never served in the military.  So, I always feel a tinge of guilt when I tell them I did it for God and country, and that even though I was wounded in action, I’d do it again.  Just kidding!  I would never say that!  I only tell them I did it for God and country.

The closest I ever got to serving in the military was being in the Webelos when I was ten.  Don’t scoff!  I faced plenty of danger as a Webelo.  In fact, I was once injured.  My mother pricked me sewing on a merit badge.

But I digress…  Back to my hair.

Let me put it this way, a naked mole-rat has more hair than I do.  An eggplant has more hair than I do.  A Brazilian-waxed butt cheek has MUCH more hair than I do.

My wife is always horrified when I come home with my hair this short.  I always have to brace myself for her reaction.  By the look on her face, you’d think I walked in with a swastika tattooed on my forehead.  She should really blame my parents.  They were children of the Great Depression.  I was raised to make sure I always got my money’s worth.  That includes haircuts.  I’m not going to let some shyster barber get the better of me by allowing him to simply trim my mop into an attractive hairstyle.  Hair grows about half an inch a month.  I’ll be damned if don’t get at least two or three months’ worth out of a cut.  It just makes good economic sense. 

Plus, the overwhelming appreciation I receive from my fellow citizens is so richly rewarding.  It almost makes me wish I actually enlisted.

Do Not Let This Dog into Your House

My daughter and her husband had to take a quick trip to Oklahoma (State Motto: “We eat steak three times a day.”)  This meant we had to immediately implement our version of the “Pony Express.”  In our case, the “Doggy Express.”  Milo the Dog lives in Portland.  I live 100 miles south in The People’s Republic of Eugene.  The Doggy-Express works like this: My son-in-law drives Milo halfway down, and I drive halfway up.  We meet in Salem.  It’s just like divorced parents exchanging their spoiled pride and joy.  The only real difference is that in our case, the spoiled kid has a leash around his neck.  That, and we have him run around the parking lot peeing on everything.  On second thought, I guess that could  apply to either situation.

After another smooth exchange everything seems fine.  I drive Milo back to my place in Eugene.  I take him on late night walk and think everything is fine for the night.  The problem begins at 3:30 a.m.

I wake up in the middle of the night and realize Milo is outside my bedroom door whining like a fire detector.  I ride it out for a few minutes, but finally crawl out of bed. 

Now, it is important here to set the stage.  My wife was away for the weekend, but before leaving, she reminded me of her long-standing directive that Milo was not allowed in our bedroom, and under absolutely NO circumstances, was he allowed on our bed.  So, I open the door and tell him to jump on the bed.  In my defense, I’m like the exhausted parent who will do anything to make the baby stop crying.  It’s Marshall Law, peace time rules simply do not apply.

Milo dutifully hops up.  I retreat back to bed, and immediately begin willing myself back to sleep.  But an unsettling feeling washes over me.  I feel a presence.  When I peek my eyes open, a large dark figure is sitting bolt upright staring at me.  Unsettling, to say the least. 

Concerned Milo needs to go to the bathroom, I once again drag myself out of bed, get dressed, and take him for a walk.  IT IS 3:30 IN THE MORING!  No signs of life are visible.  The world hangs in dark immoveable silence as Milo contentedly trots down the sidewalk.  It is immediately clear he does not need to relieve himself.

The trip ends with a whimper, not a bang.  Milo contentedly walks back to his bed in the living room, and I go back to salvage what is left of the night.

I am telling you this story for two reasons.  First, NEVER GET A DOG.  Second, I need a referral.  If you can take a moment to shoot me a message, I am looking for an experienced canine psychiatrist.  One who specializes in EXTREMELY spoiled dogs.

Lazy Cows Demand First Class Air Travel

CNN  ̶  “Your first source for bovine news”  ̶  reports that milk cows are buzzing over the skies of Switzerland thicker than flies over an open latrine. 

Okay, MAYBE I’m exaggerating, but apparently Swiss dairy farmers routinely airlift about 1,000 cows down from summer grazing pastures each year.  If a farmer thinks a cow is too sick, injured or pregnant to navigate the walk down the mountain, they arrange first class airfare. (Seriously, Google it!)

I am appalled by this for two reasons:

First, I don’t buy that all these cows are disabled.  Half the people I see pulling into handicap parking spaces practically hop out of their car and skip into the Dollar Store.  If humans have a 50% fake rate, why would the bovine rate be any better?  Do cows possess a greater sense of self-worth and dignity than humans?  Of course, they do!  We’re pathetic!  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of lackadaisical, good-for-nothing cows.

Second, I’m concerned about safety.  I watched the CNN video of these cows being hitched up and sent shooting off into the heavens, and I didn’t see a single TSA agent screaming at it to take off its shoes OR remove its laptop from its briefcase.  The situation appeared to be ENTIRELY devoid of ANY preflight security screening.  For all we know, Al-Qaeda cows have already penetrated the Swiss dairy system.  Run the numbers, people!  At 1000 cows a year, if only ½ a percent of these “so-called” distressed milk cows are terrorists, that’s five improvised exploding cows per year.  And will these cows remain in Switzerland?  Who knows?  One could end up living RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!  Now, I have gotten your attention?

It’s high time that international authorities put a stop to this madness.  This luxurious first-class airfare for bovines must end. 

Or, heck, at least make them fly coach.

Who Are These People With No Shirt and No Shoes Who Get No Service?

I see the signs: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service!”  But I’ve never seen “them.”  I’ve never seen all the shirtless guys who are not wearing shoes yet are clamoring for service.  They must duck for cover whenever I approach.  But they can’t be too shy.  Apparently, they’re brazen enough to go waltzing into stores barefooted.

It’s perplexing.

Is it just an “ambience” thing?  Are high-end restaurants under siege from shirtless, shoeless people demanding steak tartare?  

Do strip clubs ever put these signs up?  That would seem a little hypocritical.

There’s a bar two doors down from my office in downtown Eugene with one of these signs, but they’ve put a twist on it –

In their defense, we do have a fair number of “disenfranchised” folks hanging around on that corner.  It might just be me, but when I hear someone use the term, “no dice,” I picture a seventies guy with a wide-open polyester shirt and enough exposed chest hair to choke a house cat. 

A pizza place down the street decided to put their own spin on it.  Here’s the sign in Sizzle Pie’s window —

I’ve been in Sizzle Pie.  I’ve seen their customer base.  Heck, I AM their customer base.  Trust me on this Mr. Sizzle Pie manager, people without shirts are the least of your problems.

I recently conducted a survey of downtown Eugene businesses (this is code for: I got bored and took a stroll).  At a bare minimum, 95% of businesses (as calculated by their lack of No Shirt / No shoes signs, welcome customers without shirts or shoes.  Some appeared to actually encourage it, like a body waxing place a couple of blocks away.  (The whole process is FAR more efficient if the customer arrives without a shirt.)  They should have a sign that says, “Shirt? Shoes? No Service.”

This makes me wonder whether, in a jail somewhere, some old, grizzled convict has ever turned to the inmate next to him and asked, “What are you in for?” And the guy answered, “No shirt, no shoes, but sadly, asked for service.”