How You Can Win at Powerball

Most of us have dreamed of winning PowerBall.  We’ve dreamed of luxury automobiles.  We’ve dreamed of palatial estates.  We’ve dreamed of first-class travel to exotic locations.  And, of course, we’ve dreamed of changing our names to hide from our shyster relatives.

By the way, I just discovered Microsoft Word drank the “woke” Kool-Aid.  I found this out a moment ago when I typed the word “shyster.”  When I typed that word, here’s what popped up on the screen –

Take a pill, Microsoft Word!  All I want from YOU is Spellcheck!  (And, by the way, let me take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for Spellcheck, because, as many of my readers know, I am a product of Alsea Elementary School System.)

But I digress… back to PowerBall.

Believe it or not, there is a surefire method to win.  This method takes intelligence, focus, and most importantly, self-control.  SO, PAY ATTENTION IN THE BACK ROW! 

Here is the fundamental question: Do you have a burning desire to win at PowerBall?  I mean deep down – into the marrow of your bones?

If the answer is “yes,” keep reading.

Memorize this three-stop process:

(Do not, under any circumstances, skip any of the following steps.)

Step One: Locate a PowerBall vending machine.  If you can, find one at a small “mom and pop” grocery.  (If the store has a bin at the front counter filled with beef jerky that’s been sitting there fossilizing since WWII, you’ve found the right place.)

Step Two: Pull two one-dollar bills out of your pocket.  Snap them a couple of times to get the wrinkles out. 

(The final step is critical.  Pay strict attention!)

Step Three: Carefully, oh so carefully, slide the two one-dollar bills BACK INTO YOUR POCKET. 

The odds of winning PowerBall are 1 in 300 million.

By comparison, the odds of getting attacked by an alligator are 1 in 3 million – and that’s only if you live in Florida!  Who knows how astronomical the odds are for those of you in Butt Pimple, Michigan!

You have a 100 times better chance of getting attacked by an alligator than winning PowerBall.  One hundred times!

Here’s what I’m trying to say –

You are better off being attacked by an alligator with two dollars in your pocket than giving those two dollars to PowerBall.  (Unfortunately, in the event you are killed by the alligator, those two bucks will be divvyed up by your shyster relatives.)

And, YES, Microsoft Word, I’m well aware that “the use of this word may be offensive to [my] reader.”

My Wife Announced She Had Arranged A Vacation For Us To Chicago To Get Murdered

Okay, my wife didn’t tell me we were going to Chicago to get murdered.  What she actually said was, “I planned a trip for us to Chicago.”  My brain added the “to get murdered” part. 

There are “vacation people” and “non-vacation people.”  I am a non-vacation person.  So, I was immediately irritated that I had to arrange time in my busy schedule to go to Chicago and get murdered.

Before I know it, I’m butt cheek to butt check with my fellow coach passengers, waiting patiently for my tiny packet of Fiesta Mix, jetting east to Chicago.

We land at O’Hare and head directly for The Drake.  I immediately realized I have no business staying at this historic hotel once I stepped into the elevator.  La-di-da!  Every elevator is equipped with its very own couch.  I’m not kidding, take a look –

The next day, to celebrate that we made it to our hotel without getting murdered, we decided to visit the Field Museum.  You know a museum is ginormous when they put life-sized elephants in the lobby as an “accent piece.” 

The Field Museum is so large that I recommend that you carry one of those gps devices that mountain climbers use to help the rescue team find their frozen bodies. 

We spent the next day exploring the “Magnificent Mile.”  This is a long stretch of Michigan Avenue peppered with name-brand, flagship stores.  Since we live in Oregon, which does not have a sales tax, it was important for us to take advantage of this opportunity to not only pay full retail for things we could buy at home, but sales tax on top of it.  Why?  Because we’re tourists, that why!

Amazingly, as we sauntered up and down the avenue, not only did we not get murdered, we didn’t even see anyone get murdered!

Of course, since we were in Chicago, we had to visit the Art Institute of Chicago.  Not because it’s one of the world’s most prominent art museums, but because it was featured in that classic movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  That, and because it has giant lions in front –

We got to see famous paintings, including the grumpy farmer and his wife –

For some reason, I thought this painting would be bigger.

It also has a whole wing devoted to modern art.  I discovered that “modern art” is code for “something you can construct out of scraps in your garage in 30 minutes or less.”  I’m not kidding.  Here’s a very important piece that I named, “Picture Frame with a Wire Sticking Out of It.”

I’m sure it has a real name, but there is no way that name is more accurate than mine.

In the end, I highly recommend you visit the Windy City.  You’ll have a blast.  And, I can now say with complete confidence that there is far less than a 70% chance you’ll get murdered. 

Scientists Announce Amazing New Diet Called: “Stop eating like a pig!”

After a new “double-blind” study, scientists have announced that their “control group” of individuals who did not “eat like a pig,” lost significantly greater weight than the, “ate like a pig” group (who actually gained 7% over the three-month study).

This announcement has already sparked intense controversy in the food industry.  Scientists from Nabisco, Kellogg’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Cinnabon have sharply criticized the study’s methodology.  Specially, they questioned why the study took 12 years to complete.

The study’s scientists have acknowledged that the delay in conducting the study may raise questions, but they explained that they ran into difficultly finding study participants.  While they found no difficulty finding volunteers willing to “eat like a pig”.  They struggled to find sufficient participants willing to forgo “eating like a pig,” for the three-month study period. 

In full humor-journalist disclosure, the author of the article, me – Jack Edwards, might be biased in reporting this study.  I have been strictly adhering to the “eat like a pig” diet for years, and now, only after my careful analysis of the underlying data from this shocking study, am I asking myself whether I’ve been gravely mistaken. 

Let’s just say, it’s a real “wake-up” call.

However, because my role as a humor journalist is no laughing matter (sadly), I have decided to reserve my final opinion on this study.

And it’s a good thing, too! 

Nabisco, in conjunction with Cinnabon, just announced their own, “eat like a pig” study.  They’ve even hired a Harvard trained nutritionist (who had, coincidently, been on the brink of personal bankruptcy) to lead the effort. 

They have already started signing up volunteers.  So far, I am very impressed with their transparency and professionalism.  They have agreed to let me act as an “embedded” journalist in one of the two study groups. They even let me pick which one.

So, I’ll see you in three months!  (And when I return, you might just find me 7% funnier!)

There’s Nothing Like Having Your Chair Collapse at a Restaurant to Make You Take a Hard Look in the Mirror

The Killer Chair

I consider myself overweight, but I do not consider myself “fat.”  I suffer from the same psychological affliction as drivers who travel 8 mph over the speed limit who look with distrain at those maniacs going 12 mph over the limit.

That was until last night, when my world came crashing down – along with my fat a**.

As my loyal readers know, I make it a point to take personal responsibly for all of my actions.  This is a character trait I guard with my life.  There are no exceptions.  Absolutely none.  Except this time.  This time, I have to blame my wife, Julie.  Yesterday was her birthday.  Because our family was in Bend attending the Bend Film Festival, we had both a birthday lunch AND a birthday dinner. 

Until yesterday, I was on a hardcore dieting streak.  I was only eating one meal a day for as long as I can remember.  Okay, since Monday.  But three days is three days!  I was down 2½ pounds.  Or, as I like to put it, one good visit to the “reading room.” 

So, things were going along just fine, until out of the blue… Julie decided to have a birthday! 

Lunch was at the 10 Barrel Brewing Company.  Yes, I reviewed the salad options.  But here was the problem – none of the salads came with fries.  Yes, I could order a side of fries with my salad – if I were a weirdo!  So, as I am sure you understand, I was forced to order a ginormous burger, with a side of ranch to dip my fries in.  So… It wasn’t ME.  It was SOCIETY, telling me I had to mow down that (extremely tasty) burger! 

Then, just as I’m pondering the possibility of skipping dinner, I find out we have a dinner reservation at Yoli, a Korean fusion restaurant.  Little did I know that “Yoli” is Korean for “Broken Tailbone.”

So, I’m sitting there at Yoli, tossing appetizers down my gullet like Shamu the Whale at Sea World, when IT happened.

The back right leg of my chair snapped like a dogwood sapling in a Cat 5 hurricane. 

Down I went. Full collapse.

I was lying there on my back like a stranded turtle.

The worst part was the look on everyone’s faces.  They clearly thought that was the end of me.  One old guy grabbed my arm and kept insisting on helping me to my feet.  He wouldn’t let go.  I was finally able to shake him off. 

In the end, the waitress told me my dinner was free.  I’m not saying I’m a cheapskate, but I had ordered an expensive salmon dinner.  Truth be told, I’d take two falls to get that for free.

So, the point of my story is this –

If you see me walk into a restaurant, and I stand at the entrance looking around for a moment, you’ll know what I’m doing.  I’m scanning the room for a chair with a shaky leg. 

I Just Kicked a Woman Out of the Men’s Bathroom, Only It Wasn’t the Men’s Bathroom

I just kicked a woman and her two young children out of the men’s bathroom at the Fred Meyer’s Department Store in downtown Portland.  Only… it wasn’t the men’s bathroom.

Because I can’t blame myself, I’ll blame the store for its poor bathroom labeling practices.  (I should sue them.)

Here’s how the whole thing went down.

I walk into the Fred Meyers with my wife and promptly announce to her that I need to go hit the can.

I march upstairs to where the bathrooms are, and I see the “Men” sign.  I hit a hard right and push through the door.

There, standing smack dab in the middle of the bathroom is this short Latino woman with a young child right next to her.  Another small child is just emerging from one of the stalls.

Needless to say, she sees me and looks shocked. 

I’m a little startled myself.

I say to her something to the effect of, “Hey, this is the men’s bathroom.”

She quickly gathers up her kids and marches for the door.

Because I’m a super sensitive guy, and I feel sorry for her embarrassing error, I say to her, “It’s no big deal.  Don’t worry about it.”

This whole thing would have gone unnoticed, but just then, my wife comes marching into the room, sees me and says, “What are you doing in here?”

(I feel compelled to note that I didn’t appreciate her accusatory tone, but I decided not to make an issue of it.)

I reply to her, “This is the men’s room.”  (Although, at this point, my confidence is beginning to wane.)

We all walk out, and to my great disappointment – Yes, as unbelievable as it was, someone had switched the bathroom signs in the mere moments I was in the bathroom.

What are the odds?

How You Can Be a Big Fat Hero in Three Easy Steps

According to Mr. Google, 71.6% of Americans are overweight.  I am one of those proud Americans.  However, I am currently on a diet.  My diet works like this:

Step 1. Wake up in the morning vowing to only eat freshly picked lettuce and cucumbers until I have lost 40 pounds.

Step 2. End the day polishing off a quart of Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Okay.  So, it might not be the best diet.

In the meantime, I have discovered a new technique which enables me to enjoy the admiration of others.  It’s very simple, and I urge my fellow 71.6% fat friends to follow my lead.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Place yourself in a social setting where you are surrounded by total strangers.  (This is critical – You must be around COMPLETE strangers.)

Step 2. Mingle until you find someone who looks like he or she bench presses Dusseldorfs three times a day and whose diet consists entirely of protein powder. 

Step 3. Engage this person in small talk, and when the opportunity arises, casually mention something like, “You certainly look like you know your way around the gym.” 

Here is where the magic happens.

Mr. or Ms. Athletic will answer with something along the lines of, “Yeah, I do put in a little time.”  (They’ll do this while casually sizing up your physique with thinly veiled distain.)

This is when you volunteer, “I’ve been putting some time in the gym myself lately.”

“Good for you,” they’ll say encouragingly, like a parent praising the mess of a fingerpainting their five-year-old just drug home.”

Here is where, like a bullfighter sliding his sword into the heart of an 800-pound beast, you deliver your coup de grace.

In your most casual tone, you say, “Yeah.  So far this year, I’ve lost 119 pounds.” 

Then bask in the glory as the person’s face transforms into total awe.

Here, feel free to shrug modestly.  

At this point, your next move is critical:

Get the H-E-double-toothpicks out of there and hope you never see this person again. 

I Just Watched Top Gun, and Now, at a Youthful 61, I Must Join the Navy

The last thing I want to do is make military service OR saving the world from rogue third-world counties ALL ABOUT ME.  But let’s take a moment and make it all about me.

I just watched the new Top Gun movie, and after nearly two hours of powering down a fifty-gallon drum of buttered popcorn, and feeling adrenaline coursing through my veins, I have officially decided to join the Navy. 

There is only one problem.  According to the Navy’s website, the oldest you can join the Navy is 39, or 42 as an officer candidate.  This blatant age discrimination stands in the way of my piloting a F-18 fighter jet.  Yes, the exact plane that Tom Cruise uses to save the world from an ambiguous, yet unnamed, rogue nation trying to develop a nuclear weapon. 

My niece, who for purposes of the column I will refer to as “Elise,” because her name is Elise Erickson, is currently a US Marine officer.  Her service brings tremendous pride to our family, and by all accounts, she exemplifies the best that the US Marines has to offer.  However, I fear that not even Elise can pull the “right strings” to convince the bureaucrats in Washington to waive the mere 19-year gap between their arbitrarily established “so called” maximum age of 42, and my very youthful, and may I say SPRY, age of 61. 

My only chance to serve my country is if I use the technique employed by so many teenagers at the beginning of World War II.  That’s right.  I’m going to lie about my age.  In 1942, any number of 17-year-olds claimed to be 18 to join the military.  AND they got away with it. 

I’m going to do the same thing, only in reverse.  I’m going to wipe a full tube of Grecian Formula through what’s left of my hair, and then I’m going to rehearse saying into the mirror, “Hello, I’m Jack Edwards, and I’m 42.”

It is only then that I will finally be able to achieve my destiny:

Flying a Navy jet to save our country from the dangers of ambiguous, yet unnamed, rogue nations. 

And in my spare time, of course, I’ll buzz the tower.

I’ve Decided to Start Living Dangerously – I’m Drinking Tap Water

I recently entered a new phase of my midlife crisis. 

No, I’m not buying a motorcycle.  (I think you have to be an organ donor for that.)

No, I’m not jumping out of a plane.

NO, I’m not appearing on Naked and Afraid. 

Those things are pedestrian, even mundane.

I’m throwing caution to the wind –

I am drinking TAP water! 

(I should point out that I do not live in Flint…  Hey, I’m not suicidal.)

Let me now shift back to reality –

Who came up with this bottled water insanity?  My guess is the Evil Nestle Corporation, but keep in mind that my guess is always the Evil Nestle Corporation.  I blame them for nearly everything.  Everything, that is, except those tasty Toll House Cookies.  God bless you, Evil Nestle Corporation.

Yes, there are places where the water tastes like crap (like Los Angeles).  But it’s perfectly fine over most of this Great Land we call the good ‘ole US of A.  Be that as it may, if you dare raise a glass of tap water to your lips, you risk a concerned citizen diving on you to save you from that liquid poison like a war hero diving on a grenade.

And we don’t just drink bottled water.  We drink bottled water from Fiji! 

            and Italy –

          and France –

            And Iceland –

            It has to be “perfectly” pH balanced –

            It’s got to be Zen –

It hit me if that if we’re importing all this fancy water from around the world, we should start exporting ours back.

[Drumroll]

Introducing: Lewis and Clark pH Balanced Water!  Bottled straight from the source!  (We won’t mention “the source” is the Portland Municipal Water District.)  They’re going absolutely LOVE it in France!

If You’re Alarmed By The Millions Of Tons Of Carbon Released Every Day In India and China By All Those Smoke Spewing Jalopies, Relax, I Just Bought An E-Bike

If you’re someone concerned about global warming, I’ve got good news.  You know all those millions of three-wheeled jalopies spewing plumes of black smoke into the air each day?  Zillions of them?  Throughout Asia? Pouring millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.  You can stop worrying!

I bought an e-bike!

What I’m trying to say is this:  I’ve saved the earth.

With the rise in the earth’s temperature, and concern about the future of our planet, you might have already guessed the main reason I bought an e-bike.  And that reason is, of course-

I’m lazy.

After researching e-bikes for months, I learned a lot.  First off, there are three basic categories of electric bikes:

“Category 1” e-bikes.  These bikes require that you pedal, but they help you pedal with a feature creatively called, “pedal assist.” 

“Category 2” e-bikes.  These bikes, like Category 1 e-bikes, can help you with “pedal assist.”  However, they also have a throttle! These bikes can zip you along at up to 20 miles per hour without your feet ever touching the pedals!  So, if you’re a wise e-bike consumer, and by wise, I mean lazy, you can just twist the throttle and off you go! 

Finally, the “Category 3” e-bike.  These bikes also have a throttle, and they can speed you along up to 28 miles per hour.  But sadly, most jurisdictions require that you have a license and insurance to ride them.  AND, you can’t ride them on the bike paths. 

So, if you’re too lazy to pedal, and you also happen to be cheap, the Category 2 e-bike is the one for you.  That’s my Category 2 e-bike in the picture.  It’s a Lectric bike.  No, that’s not a typo.  The company just left the “e” off the word electric and named their company “Lectric.”  Their creative team must have spent the better part of three seconds coming up with that marketing gem.

So, if you see me zipping along the bike paths of the greater Eugene, Oregon area, feel free to give me a wave and thank me. Remember, I saved the planet.

I’ve Decided To Start Using The Word “Adroit” To Make People Think I’m Smarter Than I Am

I just watched Shark Tank, and someone used the word “adroit.”  The word caught my attention.  I immediately stopped trying to confabulate some contraption to appear on Shark Tank and make my fortune.  I thought to myself, ‘I need to start using that word.  It’ll make me sound smart.’

So, that’s my new plan. 

First, I had to do some research, and by “research,” I mean, I had to find out what the word meant.  I was surprised to discover that that word has nothing to do with droits.  (Which is, believe it or not, a REAL word!  I immediately ruled out ever using the word, “droit,” because I didn’t think using it would make me sound smart.  A “droit” sounds like a creature that lives under a bridge.

But I digress.  Back to adroit.

It turns out that the word “adroit” has French origins.  It’s actually the French word for bunion, as in, “I need to see the podiatrist about removing this enormous adroit.”  Just kidding!

I asked Google to tell me what it meant, and it said: skillful, nimble, clever. 

Not to shock anyone, but Alsea Elementary School never got around to adroit.  Our teachers were all too busy threatening us with extreme bodily harm.  That or I missed that day. 

I’m now in the planning stage of using my fancy new word. Here’s what I have chambered so far:

On my next visit to the podiatrist, I’m going to casually say, “Doctor,” (Yeah, I know he’s not a real doctor, but he likes it when I call him that), “Doctor,” I’ll say, “I’m hoping you can use your adroit skills to remove this bunion.”

If things go smoothly, I’ll move on from there, maybe to my optometrist, and then on to real doctors.  If things DON’T go well, I know one thing –

I’ll feel like a complete droid.