Stinky Football Fan Creates Chaos


Dear Abby,

I am at my whit’s end.  I requested a change in the location of my college football season tickets, and couldn’t be happier with the new view; however, my wife and I quickly realized why these seats became available.  The guy to our left smells like a dead possum.  The stink fumes rising off this guy are actually visible.  I have visited landfills on hot August days that were less offensive.  After considerable thought, we have identified the following options:

Option 1.  The stadium has a “jumbotron,” an enormous video screen visible to all 60,000 people in attendance.  For an immodest fee, fans can post announcements during breaks in the game.  Birthday wishes.  Anniversaries.  An occasional marriage proposal.  (This is the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium – but delete this comment before you publish this, I don’t need to get dragged out to the parking lot by the athletic department’s henchmen and put through a little “Spring Training” if you get my drift.  Let’s just say they don’t tolerate criticism of their program very kindly, even if it is just one smelly guy in Section 32.  I repeat, DELETE THIS COMMENT BEFORE PUBLICATION!) Anyway, my idea is to surreptitiously take a photo of my neighbor using my iPhone, and then posting the photo with an anonymous message on the jumbotron.  Something subtle.  I’m thinking, something like, “When even your dog won’t sit next to you, it’s probably time for a shower!”  This option could also include hiring one of those planes that fly over the stadium before the game pulling a banner.

Option 2.  I watch my share of law enforcement dramas on television.  So I have seen my fair share of fake autopsies.  The pathologists and cops are always smearing some sort of gel beneath their noses to dull the odor of the corpse.  (Sometimes the tv detectives smear this stuff on before they enter a home where some poor sap of a beat cop has discovered a decomposed body; so you know it’s got to be good.)  If that stuff is real, I could get some of it.  Of course, it would take away from the “crisp fall day” experience, but the air isn’t too crisp as it stands now.  Right now, it’s the “ripe fall air.”

Option 3.  I could confront him.  Tactfully.  Now keep in mind, I don’t know this fellow.  He is a complete stranger.  And this would take something of which I am in desperately short supply.  Courage.  This is the Achilles heel of Option 3.  I floated the idea by my wife that she might engineer this little social intervention.  She explained her position on my request as follows, and I quote, “No.”

So, Dear Abby, I implore you.  Help!  If you are kind enough to respond to my plea for advice, I can use Option 4:  Taping your column to his seat prior to the next game.  So, please, in your answer, refer to us as “Sitting behind him.”



“Victims of the stinker in front of us!”

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NSA Saves Billions Converting to “Buddy System”

Buddy System

The NSA announced yesterday it would significantly change the way it spies on the intimate personal details of Americans.  This change is expected to save billions of dollars.  Traditionally, the agency has used high-tech eavesdropping electronics to sweep through trillions of phone calls, emails and other electronic communications and store the data in enormous “data farms” in places where no one lives, like Iowa and New Mexico.  That will change.  Borrowing from the tried and true system developed by the Boy Scouts over a hundred years ago, the agency will now convert to the Buddy System, or “BS” for short.

The new BS system works on a voluntary basis which will be mandatory.  The NSA will randomly pair United States residents with one another.  Those residents in turn keep an eye on their assigned partner, or in BS parlance, “Buddy.”  They read each of their buddy’s emails, text messages and listen in on telephone calls.  And if they happen to be passing near their buddy’s home, they are encouraged to drop by unannounced to just say “hi,” and poke around a bit.  See what’s on the bookshelf, check the medicine cabinet, or if they get a chance, the underwear drawer.  And if a buddy is unwilling to share his or her passwords, they are instructed to immediately submit Form BS-99 to NSA headquarters.  That will “red flag” the person, and automatically place the non-compliant buddy on the no-fly list.

“Patriotic Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of the new system,” announced Frank Eavesdorper, NSA Chief of Homeland Operations.  “Citizens are willing to pay any price to keep the liberty their forefathers died to obtain.  I hear it again and again: ‘I have nothing to hide!  Come into my house.  Search through my family’s photographs.  Copy my computer’s hard drive.’  It brings a tear to my eye.”

The system isn’t perfected yet.  During testing, a few glitches arose.  Ricky, a 19-year-old from Newark complained to his NSA minder about having to read too many emails of his buddy, Betty, a 53-year-old from Houston, about her on-going menopausal issues, in particular, her continual hot flashes.  Bob, a 63-year-old long haul trucker from Seattle, likewise complained about his buddy, Candi, a 13-year-old middle school student from Omaha.  Apparently, Bob was having to sift through upwards of 100 text messages a day from Candi to her BFF Kathi, about their “dreamy” classmate Jack, and in particular, how Jack’s attention had recently been turned toward Charlene.  Of great concern was the fact that Jack had already eaten lunch with Charlene three times this week.  Then there was the unfortunate pairing of two Russian immigrants, one of whom, unbeknownst to the NSA, had been a bank robber back in the Ukraine (No fault to the NSA; he had “expunged” his record prior to immigrating via a wheelbarrow of rubles to a guy named Gladov at the Central Office).  One thing led to the next, and before authorities caught up to them at a Hooters in New Orleans, the two had gone on a three-state robbery spree.

“The new system is a work in progress,” explained CHO Eavesdorper.  “There are bound to be problems when you are stepping up to the herculean task of cataloging and storing the most private details of people’s lives.  But we’ll prevail.  Americans aren’t quitters.  We’ll ‘getter done.’

Note from Jack Edwards:  If you enjoyed this week’s column, please consider using the various “share” buttons 🙂  Also consider “subscribing,” and we’ll email you the column each week.  Just click on the menu symbol in the upper right hand corner of this page if you’re on a desktop (the three horizontal lines), or scroll down if you’re on a cell phone.  It’s free, and we promise not to do anything with your email address other than send you the column. Thank you!

The Vegan Vampires of Beverly Hills

Vegan Vampire

I have an idea for a television series.  It will be next season’s biggest hit, and probably the biggest hit of the next decade.  It’s called The Vegan Vampires of Beverly Hills.  Let’s face it, everybody wants three things.  First, deep down, everybody wants to be a vegan.  Being a vegan is cool.  It’s post-millennium.  Even I was a vegan for two months.  Actually, I referred to myself as a ‘casual vegan,’ because occasionally a trace element of an animal-based product might slip into one of my meals.  For example, I might be enjoying a vegan meal composed of, say, a baked potato and side of broccoli, and a low and behold, perhaps unconsciously from habit, a 24 ounce porterhouse might slip onto my plate.  Second, everybody wants to be a vampire.  That’s because vampires are extremely attractive and exciting to be around – you’ve seen the recent movies.  Or if you’re old like me and don’t go to the movies, you’ve certainly seen the movie trailers depicting all the attractive and super hip young vampires.  I’m not telling you anything new.  So don’t’ argue with me about wanting to be a vampire; it only means that you really do want to be a vampire.  And finally, everybody wants to live in Beverly Hills.

My show is about a brood of young upwardly mobile and trendy vampires who are too cool to eat animal-based products.  You might think that ‘vegan vampires’ is a contradiction in terms.  You would be wrong.  You see, my vampires convince a naive USC Biology student to help them grow blood cells in petri dishes.  That’s what they eat.  Of course it’s blended into soy lattes and vegan scones and other very tasty and trendy consumables.  Now, before you start with, ‘yeah, blood in petri dishes is technically derived from animals,’ just stop it.  No one cares.  This is television.  Gilligan and his friends got stranded on a non-existent island for ten years after going on a three hour tour.

I haven’t quite figured out how they’ll spend their time.  They’ll either sit around talking ad nauseam about their relationships, or fight crime in the hills of Beverly.  Not sure which.  Although I hear the crime rate in Beverly Hills is pretty low.  Or maybe they could be like Robin Hood Vegan Vampires who shoplift disturbingly overpriced clothing and accessories from those snobby boutiques on Rodeo Drive and donate them to the poor.  Yeah.  It could be the Robin Hood Vegan Vampires of Beverly Hills, bringing couture to the homeless.

Now, you’re my witnesses.  I expect you, my millions of loyal readers to attest that this was my idea.  Because that’s how Hollywood people work.  They steal ideas.  (No, I didn’t steal this idea after reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.)  But I’m quite confident, with any luck, that a producer will steal my idea.  That’s where you come in.  I’m counting on you.  You see, I’m putting Greta Van Susteren on retainer.  She keeps saying she’s a lawyer, so I’m holding her to it.  But the real reason I’m retaining her is that she is a Scientologist.  (Yeah!  I know!  She looks so normal.)  A Scientologist lawyer is just what I need.  You simply don’t mess with Scientologists.  (Not unless you want Tom Cruise stopping by your bedroom at 3:00 in the morning armed with a sap.)  So I figure Greta can put these copyright violators in a headlock and twist some serious Hollywood money out of them.  That way I don’t have to actually write this inane script.

So, if Greta calls you, don’t be alarmed.  It’s probably not because she’s going to recruit you into her crazy church.  (Don’t flatter yourself.  You don’t have that kind of money.)  It’s because I put your name down on my witness list.  Now, knock those dollar signs out of your eyes.  You’re only getting the statutory witness fee and mileage.  But don’t worry, I’ll donate a portion of my profit to help bring couture to the homeless of Beverly Hills.

Note from Jack Edwards:  If you enjoyed this week’s column, please consider using the various “share” buttons 🙂  Also consider “subscribing,” and we’ll email you the column each week.  Just click on the menu symbol in the upper right hand corner of this page if you’re on a desktop (the three horizontal lines), or scroll down if you’re on a cell phone.  It’s free, and we promise not to do anything with your email address other than send you the column. Thank you!

Five Reasons Miley Cyrus Should Adopt Justin Bieber

Miley and Bieber Child

The hoopla surrounding Miley Cyrus’ artistic performance at the Video Music Awards show is quickly dissipating.  Experienced media experts predict her foam finger will stop making headlines in only three to five more years.  Unfortunately, I missed the VMA show.  A scheduling conflict prevented me from enjoying this year’s program — I had to clean the lint from my dryer.  But like Michigan mosquitoes in July, Miley’s spectacle was impossible to ignore as it swamped the mainstream media.  I was practically forced to watch it at gun point.  Having now seen it, and as a marginally responsible adult, I call on all other marginally responsible adults to step up and assist this wayward young woman.  And by this, I mean encouraging her to adopt a child.  But not just any child.  Justin Bieber.  There are five reasons.

First, it would provide both Miley and Justin with much needed media attention.  Each has been “acting out” as of late.  This may be due to their wallowing in the shadows of less talented musical performers for too long.  Living in the shadows with pent up talent is a recipe for disaster.  Justin’s adoption could prevent another explosion… of bad taste.

Second, Justin could use positive guidance.  According to the tabloid headlines I am forced to march past when I buy my groceries, it appears that the fresh-face tike has gotten irascibly sassy as of late.  He could use the solid grounding that someone like Grandpa Billy Ray could provide.  They say that the proof of the pudding is in the making, and all you have to do is look at how Miley turned out…. ummm.  Okay.  So, let me switch to another tired phrase: Second time’s the charm!

Third, being a single mom has done wonders for so many millions of American girls, and there is no reason it wouldn’t have the same character-building effect on Miley.  It’s unlikely that she’d have the energy to offend millions of viewers after helping Justin with his homework and overseeing his household chores.  In no time at all, we’d be enjoying a performance of “Miley Unplugged.”  As a side note, I think I speak for America when I thank MTV for giving us “16 and Pregnant” to help promote the benefits of teenage single parenthood.

Fourth, it is unlikely to require the display of very much nudity.  It’s not even likely to require the faux nudity that the 13-year-old producers of this year’s VMA show hoisted upon Miley.

And last, the arrangement would finally allow television producers to make good on creating that semi-retro comedy series they’ve bantered about for years: “Leave it to Bieber.”  Oh, the jocularious hijinks those two could present given 30 minutes a week (well, 20 minutes after commercials).  We’d all be lapping it up like hogs at the trough.

I’m not saying that Miley shouldn’t first consult with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, to make sure he was “cool” with being a grandfather.  It would be a big change for him, what with all the little league practices and fishing trips.  But it would be something that Billy Ray and Miley could enjoy together.  It would strengthen their bond.

So there you have it.

Is it too early to set the TiVo for next year’s VMA show?  I fear the lint in my dryer is building up again.

Note from Jack Edwards:  If you enjoyed this week’s column, please consider using the various “share” buttons 🙂  Also consider “subscribing,” and we’ll email you the column each week.  Just click on the menu symbol in the upper right hand corner of this page if you’re on a desktop (the three horizontal lines), or scroll down if you’re on a cell phone.  It’s free, and we promise not to do anything with your email address other than send you the column. Thank you!

John Grisham was Right

Final Fresh Nectarine!

I offer Exhibit “A.”  Proof positive that most people don’t choose their jobs as much as their jobs choose them.  Exhibit “A” is a vocation smack atop the ‘Who in the world would chose that job?’ employment pyramid.  No, not portable toilet cleaner.  No, not North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un’s food taster.  It’s a job no high school student on this planet has dreamt of holding (yes, even the ones smoking dope behind the gym).  The job is prestigious; nonetheless, it’s often quite literally the butt of the joke.  Bingo.  You got it.  I speak of the lonely, and much maligned, proctologist.

On the first day of medical school, when the professor asks for a show of hands on the interest in various specialties – neurology, pediatrics, dermatology, do you see any hands rising for proctology?  Do you see one hand?  Is it even on the list?  Do you see one brave soul raising his hand for “other” and announcing, “Proctology, Sir”?  (Remember, each of these students is going to choose a lab partner to share a cadaver.  First impressions count.)

So when exactly does someone take the sharp bend in the road that leads to the glamour of proctology?  I have a theory.  It’s actually one I stole from John Grisham’s book, The Rainmaker.  I would like to say it was based on careful peer-reviewed research, but that would violate my policy against doing research.  I avoid this drudgery with my own brand of “research,” which I refer to as “Research-lite.”  (Yes, maybe I have been drinking too much Miller beer).  My policy is that if I can’t find an answer on my iPhone in under eight seconds (I was going to say ten, but who’s kidding whom?)  I make it up.  Try it.  It’s great.  Example – 38% of all professional baseball players drive American made cars.  (Sounds authoritative, doesn’t it?)  For all I know, 90% of them drive Yugos.  Back to my John Grisham inspired theory.  In Grisham’s The Rainmaker, a doctor tells the protagonist that one of the reasons he went into oncology was that there wasn’t much competition.  I mean how many people want to drop the Big News on one poor soul after another?  So I figure the same goes for proctology.  I’ve heard that the process of trying to land a residency in neurosurgery is practically a knife fight.  On the other hand, the proctology department is no doubt serving tea and cookies to coax students into their program.  The waiting room during interviews is probably a ghost town.

Think about it.  There are only a couple of ways for a proctologist to view the “subject” or “target” as it were, and they both require that the doctor either sit on one of those little stainless steel stools, or crouch down for a good look.  (And to think that I once quit a job because I didn’t like the view.)  Amazing.  After sweating the grades through primary, middle and high school, and then skipping all the parties in college to get the grades for medical school, this is your reward.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure it’s deeply fulfilling in its own way.  I’m serious about that.  I SAID I’m serious about that.

That said, while some folks are able to steer their vocational ship in the general direction of their interests, the wind blows where the wind blows.  (And most proctologists hope the wind doesn’t blow, if you catch my drift).  We’re all along for the ride.  So there you have it.  Exhibit “A.”  Game.  Set.  Match.  Edwards.

Note from Jack Edwards:  If you enjoyed this week’s column, please consider using the various “share” buttons 🙂  Also consider “subscribing,” and we’ll email you the column each week.  Just click on the menu symbol in the upper right hand corner of this page if you’re on a desktop (the three horizontal lines), or scroll down if you’re on a cell phone.  It’s free, and we promise not to do anything with your email address other than send you the column. Thank you!

Nike Targets Pot-Bellied Husbands

Nike+ Fuelband

It’s called the Nike+ Fuelband.  It’s a plastic electronic bracelet that wives buy to slap onto their pot-bellied husbands’ wrists to humiliate them into climbing off the couch once a week or so.  It’s like one of those little research bands that Marlin Perkin’s had Jim Fowler attach to the legs of rare African birds.  I am one of those rare birds.  I have been tagged.

It tracks my every movement.  The number of steps I take.  The number of calories I burn.  The number of donuts I eat.  My life is no longer my own.  I have considered a number of plots to “game” the system.  Don’t think for a moment I haven’t thought of attaching this thing to a toddler.  The only reason I haven’t is that according to my iPhone, toddlers burn about 10,000 calories an hour.  The Nike+ Police Force would bust me by lunch.

My wife slyly presented it to me as an unassuming special birthday present.  I received it in a beautifully wrapped box.  My wife beamed as I tore through the paper toward what I assumed was an assortment of chocolates.   Imagine experiencing that whiplash.

I am increasingly convinced that this high tech catch and release system was the brain child of my wife and Phil Knight.  Go ahead and scoff, but we only live 100 miles from him, and both he and my wife are rabid Oregon Duck fans.  Do I need to paint you a picture?  I do?  Okay, let me explain:

The athletic market is tapped out.  How many $200 pairs of gym shoes can you sell?  So, with what I imagine as the helpful prodding of my wife, Nike decided to focus on a yet untapped demographic – wives with pot-bellied husbands.  This demographic has historically been a tough nut for Nike to crack.  These portly fellows have resisted the flashy $300 neon track suits.  They’ve turned up their noses at the $100 wicking undershirts.  Sure, Nike has sold them 100 million Just Do It! t-shirts (usually from bargain bins), but these guys are just not doing it.  They are lying on the couch eating chips and scratching their bulbous bellies.

My wife no doubt wrote the script Nike gives to wives to use in conjunction with these little plastic ball-and-chains:

“Honey, you look like you’ve been losing weight.  This will help you keep track of the calories you’re burning each day.”

Or perhaps:

“This looks great on you.  Very athletic!  Much better than that stogy $8,000 Rolex I got you for Christmas.”  (Did I forget to tell you that for the $150 price, in addition to reminding you how sedentary you are, it tells you the time?)

Then there’s the name Nike+ Fuelband.  The name itself bursting with energy and motivational influence.  Some skinny marketing geek got a big fat bonus for coming up with that one.  No question.  They’re probably still howling about it in the lunch room of the marketing firm.

Meanwhile, as for me, the experiments continue.  I haven’t quite yet perfected it, but it appears that if I eat an entire half gallon of ice cream, scooping vigorously with the same hand as my Nike+ Fuelband, the little computer thinks I’ve run a marathon.  Rock on, Nike+ Fuelband.  Rock on, Rocky Road!

Confessions of a Global Warming Agnostic

My Icy 1973 Future

True story.

It’s 1973 and I’m sitting in Mr. Scherberhorn’s seventh grade Social Studies class.  He’s rambling on about something, and I’m doing my best to tune him out.  That’s because I’m busy pondering whether I could pull off wearing a pair of plaid bell bottoms.  I wasn’t what you’d call a cool kid.  Bell bottoms would have been a stretch for me, plus, I was broke.  And I had just as much chance convincing my mother to buy me a pair as I did convincing her to buy me a Porsche Carrera.  Then Scherberhorn says something that snaps me to attention.  It snaps every other little spaz to attention as well.  It sat us up in our seats straight as washboards.

“Studies show that the Earth is cooling rapidly,” he says.  “Temperatures are steadily declining, and we are heading into another ice age.  We are moving toward worldwide glaciation.”

Glaciation?  Suddenly I’m picturing myself walking through high school commencement wearing a fur lined jumper.  The Beach Boys were going to need to come up with some new songs.

Eventually, this whole “coming ice age” hysteria passed into media lore.  (This really happened – all you whippersnappers under 50 can pull out your iPhones and Wikipedia it if you don’t believe me.)  In the end, we didn’t move into a new ice age; we moved into something far more frightening – the disco age.

This is why I am a global warming agnostic.  To make matters worse, the “established scientific community” recently did a cagey change-up.  Now, instead of calling it global warming, they’re calling it “climate change.”  Suspicious?  You tell me.  Talk about making every hail storm, drought or hurricane proof of your theory.

Let me be clear, I desperately want to believe in global warming (climate change – whatever).  I want to hang with the cool kids.  I want to snicker and roll my eyes with the others at the Neanderthal on the elevator who has the audacity to question the wisdom of the established scientific community.  In short, I want to be wearing the twenty-first century version of bell bottoms.

But I can’t.  I can’t because Mr. Schermerhorn told me we’d all be living in igloos by now.  And, the little dope that I was, I believed him.  We all did.  It scared the hell out of us.  I have enough personal insecurities as it is.  I don’t need to be the “fool me twice, shame on me” guy.

It doesn’t help my skepticism that we have all these 24/7 news channels that need something to talk about.  And weather always makes a compelling story.  That’s why television stations love to send their pretty blondes to the beach whenever they’re expecting the annual “storm of the century.”  Add a worldwide cataclysmic twist to a story like that and you’re in Neilsen heaven.  Back in the day, we just had old worn-out Walter Cronkite, and when you subtracted commercials, we only gave him 20 minutes a night.  And remember, he and the other two television journalists working then had their hands full playing musical chairs with Richard Nixon.  They didn’t have time to hype the ice age thing.  They simply didn’t have time during their stingy 20 minute allotment to make it hip.

Mr. Schermerhorn, if you’re out there, thank you for that heart-stopping alert back in 1973.  I’m sure you meant well, and I appreciated the warning.

A three minute vacation for your brain.