The First Rule of Self-Installing Laminate Flooring: Do Not Self-Install Laminate Flooring!

The last thing I want to do is decimate the entire DYI home improvement industry.  So, I feel compelled to clarify the title of this column.  It should read, “Do not self-install laminate flooring UNLESS you a licensed professional contractor with decades of experience specializing in installing laminate flooring.”  There, I feel better now.

Unfortunately, I decided to self-install my laminate flooring.  Here are a few tips I learned as a result of this enormous mistake –

Tip #1: Installing flooring is a young man’s game.  If you’re older than 16, forget it.  There is one exception to this rule: If you are under 25, exercise three to four times a day and regularly compete in triathlons, go for it.

Tip #2: I am probably being too kind to myself here, but I’ll throw out this number – I’m roughly 20 pounds overweight.  So, each time I climb up off the floor, it’s like someone put a 10-pound bag of sugar on each of my shoulders before I stand up.  (The good news is that during the installation process, you’ll only have to climb up off the floor about one million times.)

Tip #3: Buy a pair of the best knee pads you can find.  If a division of the Rolex company makes knee pads, take out a bank loan and buy a pair.  If they cost $10,000, they’re a bargain.  I’m not kidding.  Kneel down on a hard floor without knee pads and scoot around for thirty seconds.  You’ll be reeling in pain. 

Tip #4: Give up now.  Do not consider, even for another moment, continuing down this tragic path.  Heed my words!  I’m speaking to you from the future!

Sadly, no one gave ME this golden advice. The good news is that I only had to spend eight days crawling around on my knees. The added good news is that I only shaved 10 to 12 years off my life. On the bright side, I do get the self-satisfaction of admiring all the mistakes I made along the way. Mistakes that shine up like beacons to me from every vantage point in the house.

If you do proceed with your ill-conceived plan, and you manage to navigate the painful path to self-installing your new laminate flooring, yet another daunting challenge awaits – Self-installing the floor trim.

I’m speaking from the heart here, people.  Let me pass along the first step to self-installing your floor trim: 

Do NOT self-install your floor trim!

New Federal Regulations to Limit Toilet Paper Consumption

BREAKING NEWS —

Washington DC:

The Administration is now considering sweeping new regulations limiting the number of toilet paper squares allowed per bathroom visit. This is the next phase of the Administration’s aggressive effort to combat climate change.  The square limit has not yet been determined.

Anonymous sources close to the administration have disclosed that the they are awaiting the release of a Yale University study to determine the acceptable number of squares.  It is still unknown whether the Yale study employed the use of two-ply tissue, or the less popular single-ply.  According to one source, the current draft of the regulations does not specify any particular ply or thickness. 

The Administration is bracing for anticipated backlash over the progressive new law.  It is also sensitive to whether the new law should differentiate the number of squares allowed by gender.

Lobbyists for the paper products’ industry have expressed alarm.  The paper conglomerates immediately initiated a campaign to encourage customers to call their representatives to oppose the new regulations.  The new, “Hands Off My Bottom!” initiative is scheduled to launch later this week.

Hard line progressives are urging the administration to stand strong.  One progressive New York House Representative proclaimed, “They use bidets in France and Japan.  Why are we allowing people to use any toilet paper at all?  The earth will be uninhabitable in 8.5 years unless we take this bold step.”

The President was asked about this issue at today’s press conference and stated emphatically, “Look, if you like your toilet paper, you’ll get to keep your toilet paper.”  A young female in the back of the conference room was heard yelling over the crowd, “How dare you!”  Secret Service agents swiftly escorted her out, and reportedly, back to her sailboat.

When stopped for comment on the Washington Mall and asked about the proposed regulations, Wally Carmichael, a tourist from Eugene, Oregon, responded in surprise. “Seriously?,” he said. “The number of squares I can use to wipe my a**? And I bet they’re going to create a new federal department to enforce it.”

“Oh well,” Carmichael added, shrugging in resignation, “if this saves the life of even one polar bear cub, I guess it’ll be worth the sacrifice.”

Later in the day, the Administration announced the creation of the new, “Bathroom Monitor Administration.”  The new BMA will be the government’s ‘boots on ground.’ “However,” the announcement continued, “it will be patriotic Americans who we are counting on to really put the BM in the BMA.”

Nothing Says Society is Reopening Quite Like a Bite on the Ass by an Unsocialized “Pandemic Puppy”

Things are finally opening up!  We can resume our lives!  We can stroll through shops.  We can host cocktail parties.  And, most refreshingly, we can flee from all the “pandemic puppies” who’ve been raised in isolation.  Puppies who have developed all the social skills of Jeffrey Dahmer. 

I don’t know much about training puppies.  What little I know I learned from Cesar Millan’s book, Cesar’s Way.  I read it cover to cover, and I came away from it convinced of one thing: There’s a real possibility that Cesar is actually a dog. Okay, what I really learned was that the best thing you can do for a puppy is to let him meet as many people as possible.  Take him to the park.  Let people fawn all over him.  Introduce him to everyone you know.  Even people who do not want to meet him, people who hate dogs, people who are allergic to dogs.  Especially, people who are allergic to dogs.  (Just kidding – do NOT introduce him to people who are allergic to dogs, only people who hate dogs.)  (Just kidding, again! – A little canine humor.)

These pandemic puppies have NOT been fawned over by hordes of dog lovers.  They have not been paraded about town to meet friends, relatives and unwilling strangers.  Let’s put it this way, remember that old movie from the 70’s about the “Bubble Boy” who couldn’t have human contact because he lacked an immune system?  Well, Bubble Boy was practically a socialite compared to these pandemic puppies. 

My daughter got a pandemic puppy.  His name is Melvin.  That’s him holding the ball in the picture.  Melvin spent the first six months of his life growling at anyone who that the temerity to walk past her apartment.  Melvin developed all the warm and welcoming qualities one might expect from your average wildebeest.

If I were a doctor who really wanted to cash in on my four years of medical school where I spent 16 hours a day learning how to listen to pharmaceutical representatives tell me what pills to prescribe, I would immediately open a dog bite reconstructive surgery clinic.  (I’m not even kidding. Brace yourself. It’s going to be Dog Bite City all over this country.)

The point I’m trying to make is that if you spot one of these adorable puppies walking down the street and think for even a moment about bending down to pet it, stop and ask yourself how much you really value the first two digits of your index finger.  Unless, of course, your name is Cesar Millan. 

Good News for Those Bothered by Nasal Covid Tests – The New Anal Test is Now Available

As a “survivor” of multiple colonoscopies, I feel qualified to chime in on the new Anal Covid Swab Test that is supposed to be more accurate than the far less exciting nasal swab test.  Yeah, I know we’re supposed to reserve the term “survivor” to use in “cancer survivor,” “military battle survivor,” and the hit CBS reality show, “Survivor.”  However, as a veteran of multiple “incursions” by trained medical professionals into my southern corridor, I feel entitled.

While most Americans are aghast at the idea of undergoing the Anal Swab procedure, you might be surprised to learn that within the Chinese culture, those asked to submit to this test are AGHAST at the idea of undergoing an Anal Swab Test!  But, hey, it’s China!  Bend over, or you might wake up in a Uyghur summer camp, if you get my drift. 

I can tell you right now that there are people in the US who would jump at the chance to take an Anal Swab Test.  For example –

1. People who wear their mask while walking alone in a one hundred acre park. 

2. People who wear their mask while driving alone.  (Yes, I know sometimes people forget to take them off when they leave the store.  Not those people.  Those people are normal.)

3. People who march up to strangers to announce that their face shields are killing people.  (True story – I saw a guy driving his “Little Rascal” scooter up to a lady in a BiMart parking lot.  Boy, did he let her have it.  What a hero.)

The name of this test might give you the impression that the procedure would be awkward and humiliating.  However, your first impression would be wrong.  In actuality, the procedure is awkward, humiliating and INVASIVE!  Take a look at this quote from an article published in The Hill, titled, “China Uses Anal Swabs to Test for Covid-19.” The procedure is described as follows:

“The test can involve inserting a swab about one to two inches into the (you know what) to gather a sample.” 

For the sake of journalistic accuracy and integrity, I must clarify that the article did not use the term, “you know what.”  It was far more medically accurate.

If this test ever hits the US, I think the only way Americans will accept it is if the CDC comes up with a catchy theme song to promote it.  Here’s my suggestion.  It’s an oldie but a goodie, and it goes something like this –

“Head… shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes.  Head… shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes!”

But in the version that the CDC uses, the song would freeze on the last word, “toes,” and a voice over would announce in a friendly tone, “And… hold.”

An Introduction to the Shocking and Mysteriously Dangerous World of Bible Study

In my youth, it seems like I was always doing something dangerous.  I climbed to the tippy top of tall trees.  I drove jalopies with shiny bald tires and paper-thin brake pads down steep mountain roads.  And perhaps most dangerously, I would tell women who asked me whether a dress made them look fat – THE TRUTH!  However, I have long since settled into a far more sedate lifestyle.  Now, my idea of “living on the edge” is eating week-old pizza.

Recently, this all came to a crashing end.  Before I explain, let me say that I am someone who believes people should take responsibility for their own actions.  And I like to practice what I preach.  So, let me be the first to say that the only person I have to blame for my current circumstance … is my pastor.

For the purposes of this column, I will refer to my pastor as “Steve.”  Because his name is Steve Hill. 

Steve’s been encouraging our congregation to read the Bible on a daily basis. 

Don’t get me wrong, I lie about reading the Bible as well as the next guy.  But Steve’s really been on a roll lately.  So, I decided to step it up. 

I have read the Bible before, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read the beginning.  In fact, it’s been so long that I’d forgotten how super X-rated it is.

If you haven’t read the Old Testament, brace for impact!  But, like all those pharmaceutical commercials advise – consult with your doctor before you begin.  Only read it while sitting in a chair where you can safely faint.  And keep a cold beverage within reach – an ADULT beverage.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about (and this is just at the beginning!) –

Example 1.  A man named Lot has a wife who disobeys some angels.  As a result, she TURNS INTO A PILLAR OF SALT! (Can you even imagine what her doctor told her about her sodium level?)

Example 2.  God commands Abraham to KILL his son Isaac, AND Abraham comes within a NANOSECOND of actually doing it!  The kid is already tied up and laying on a pile of wood!  (Try explaining THAT to Child Protective Services!)

Example 3.  Noah gets hammered on wine and passes out naked as a jaybird!  (They didn’t put THAT in the movie!) And I’m not even going to tell you what Noah does when he wakes up the next day, no doubt sporting a killer hangover.

And, because this is a PG column (unlike the Bible), I will spare you all the SEXUAL escapades!

Yes, the stories are riveting, but exercise caution.  And like I said before, be sure to check with your doctor before suddenly diving in.

How to Understand the GameStop Stock Market Scandal

Many average Americans, perhaps you, are confused about the GameStop financial scandal.  You may be asking, ‘What does this all mean?’ And, ‘Will it affect me and my family’s financial stability?’

The short answers to these important questions are:

Number 1.  It’s complicated.

And,

Number 2.  Yes, it means certain financial devastation for you and your family.

Just kidding! 

It is complicated, but with a brief lesson on US security law, you should have a solid handle on it in no time.

First, you need to understand some of the fancy Wall Street terminology.  Here are the two most important words you need to know:

“Short Selling.”  Short selling sounds really complicated, but it isn’t at all.  Short selling is when anyone under 5 feet, 5 inches tall, sells something.  For example, I’m 5 feet, ten inches.  So, while I can buy, and I can sell, I cannot “short sell.”  On the other hand, my wife Julie, is an expert at short selling (but mostly, at short buying).

“Hedge fund.”  A hedge fund is a sophisticated group of investors who pool their financial resources to create a “monetary fund” with which to invest and amass even greater wealth by purchasing and maintaining tall, and very impressive, lawn hedges.  I have often considered participating in a hedge fund, but since it requires climbing up tall ladders with an electric trimmer, I’m afraid that by the end of my first day, I would qualify as a “short seller.”

The important thing for you, the average American, to remember, is that while it may appear that your political representatives in Washington DC are spending all their time bloviating about how hard they’re working for you (i.e., scarfing down expensive steak dinners with fat cat lobbyists), they are actually laser focused on making sure that Wall Street works to create a steady and secure stream of revenue for our society’s most vulnerable and important members  ̶ themselves.

If You’re Going To Attack The Capitol, At Least Respect The Institution Enough To Wear Horns

Authorities are investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol to determine whether it was a coordinated attack.  I have no formal training in crime scene reconstruction or political terrorism investigation.  However, my youngest daughter, Emma, and I have watched several seasons of Project Runway.  So, I am in a position to offer an opinion on the subject.

Here is my conclusion:  These people can’t coordinate their outfits, let alone a raid on the Capitol.

I should also add a warning for the Assistant U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the intruders.  If you put me on your jury for one of these misguided souls, I’m already heavily biased in your favor (i.e., I’m as close to hanging juror as you’re likely to find).  As prosecutors, solely interested in justice, I know you love a biased juror. But hold your horses.  Big… BIG… exception here:  If you put me on the jury for the guy with the horns, be on notice.  I’ve got to let that guy go.  Nothing against you, America or apple pie, but I’ve got to cut him loose purely on style points.  He demonstrated a level of respect for our sacred institution that deserves credit.  I heard a couple of things about this guy through the biased media.  (I can’t remember which biased media.  It doesn’t matter – They’re all biased.)  In any event, apparently, Mr. Horns is 33 years old, and he lives with his mother.  As you can imagine, when I heard this, I was SHOCKED!  (No word yet on whether his bedroom is in the basement.)

On a personal note, I need to mention one thing.  A couple of years ago, my wife and I spent a week touring Washington D.C.  During the trip, we visited the Capitol.  We had to make a reservation.  We had to be on time.  We had to wear clean underwear for the security inspection.  (Okay, I didn’t wear clean underwear.)  My point is this – If anyone had only told me that at the Capitol, a Viking helmet was the equivalent of a Disneyland “FastPass,” I would have slapped one on in an instant.  And, LOVED IT!  Talk about epic selfies! 

So, in closing, with the average, unwashed, mass of intruders – Off with their heads!  But I gotta send the Viking back to his mother.  Lord help the woman (or man) who marries him.

Oliver in Repose

Oliver the Cat Explains Why He Refuses to Drink Snapple

Oliver in Repose

Like most patriotic Americans, I only have a select number of trusted information sources.  The first is the Bible.  The second is the Encyclopedia Britannica.  And the third, of course, is Snapple.   

Snapple always puts a “Real Facts” note underneath their bottle caps.  The following is a sample of real “Real Facts.”  (Sadly, I had to fix a glaring Snapple grammatical error.  In that Snapple writer’s defense, however, I must point out that this writer does work for Snapple.)  Here they are-

“A jiffy is an actual time measurement equaling 1/100th of a second.”

“Slugs have 4 noses.”

“An albatross can sleep while it flies.”

“Humor writers are smarter and better looking than other writers.”  (Okay, I made the last one up.  We are NOT better looking.)

Oliver the Cat and I have always enjoyed attending the College of Snapple and improving ourselves one artificially sweetened beverage at a time.  Disturbingly, this recently came to a screeching halt. 

The English language has any number of words to describe a group of particular animals.  A group of ants, for example, is called an “army.”  A group of owls is called a “parliament.”  A group of scratch-off lottery ticket players is called an “army of idiots.”  (The old saying is true – lotteries are taxation on stupidity.)  Hey, while we’re on the subject, does anyone know what the PowerBall pot is up to this week?  (Just kidding.)  (Not really!)

In any event, Oliver the Cat took one look at today’s Snapple cap and turned his face up to me with an expression of utter distain.  He looked like he just ate a sour mouse.  Here’s the cap-

Clowder? 

We went straight to Dictionary.com, and it was true!  A bunch of cats is, indeed, called a “clowder.”

Not many people can interpret “cat talk,” but I can. 

“Clowder?  Seriously?” Oliver asked me.  “Why not ‘chowder?’  I love chowder.” 

I had to agree with Oliver.  I love chowder too. 

It seems to me that a term like “clowder” should best be reserved for use in a monastery.    Jocularious “Real Fact”: A group of nuns is called a “superfluity.”  Really.  Google it. 

I can picture in my mind’s eye a superfluity of nuns feeding a large can of tuna to a clowder of monastery cats.  The word just feels right in the Catholic context.  And by “Catholic context,” I mean an overwhelming sense of guilt and a good ruler whack on the knuckles. 

But Oliver the Cat is a protestant.  This whole “clowder” thing just didn’t sit right with him.  In the end, and after much consideration, Oliver decided his best course of action.  Oliver now “identifies” as a crow.  Why?  Because a group of crows is called a “murder.”

“That’s right,” says Oliver the Cat, “I’m part of a murder.”

How You Can Achieve 100% Success With Your New Year’s Resolution (No kidding)

Virtually every American, (99.6%), make a New Year’s resolution, and 99.5% of those resolutions are about their weight.  Sadly, a mere 36 hours later, 99.4% of these doe-eyed hopefuls are plopped on a couch polishing off a quart of Ben and Jerry’s “Chubby Hubby” ice cream.

Lucky for you, I’m here to help.  Why?  Because the Jocularious official motto is: “Practical advice on matters that matter in matters important to its loyal readers.”  (All three of them.)

The key to a good New Year’s resolution is to make sure it is one you can achieve.  When it comes to resolutions related to weight, go with the percentages.  For example, ask yourself, am I better at losing weight, or gaining weight?  Ask yourself, am I better at planning to exercise, or actually exercising?  Be honest with yourself.  Focus.  Where have you demonstrated a consistent and longstanding record of success?  Where have you excelled?  It’s that simple. 

I have used this formula for years, and based on my record of success, here are my New Year’s resolutions:

1. Gain between five and 10 pounds by Thanksgiving of 2021.

2. Complete, at a minimum, three network television reality series.

3. Tell myself at least once of week, that I should get my fat a** off the couch and go exercise (and really mean it… at that moment).

I don’t want to brag, but I have maintained an impeccable 100% success rate using this formula.  I’m even thinking about writing a book titled, New Year’s Resolutions: Your Path to Success, If Not Longevity.

I understand that many of you may be skeptical of this method.  But here is the real test – where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  I don’t just talk the talk.  I walk the walk.  So, I will take all comers.  Put your three New Year’s resolutions up against mine, and on Thanksgiving Day, 2021, we’ll compare.  Here is my prediction:

There is a 99.4% chance that when we meet to compare our success, I’ll be sitting on my couch polishing off a quart of Chubby Hubby and raising my spoon in victory.

The Final Sign That The World Is Ending Has Arrived

The final sign that the world is ending has arrived.  The first sign, of course, was World War II.  The second sign was the “Great Plague,” which we call the Coronavirus Pandemic.  And now, at long last, the final sign is here.  You have seen this sign all around you, both in print and on television.  It says:

“The McRIB is Back!”

It seems fitting that a soulless multinational corporation is the one to break the news.  As it turns out, the world will not end in one triumphant explosion of light and energy, but rather, incrementally – one heart attack at a time.

Speaking of heart failure, what is that goop-coated cylinder inside the McRIB bun?  It’s not a rib.  Just what part of the pig is it?  Do they really use ALL parts of the pig?

While we’re on the subject, have you noticed that the media has announced the end of the Coronavirus Pandemic?  Of course, they didn’t come right out and say it exactly like that.  They were more subtle.  They simply moved on to begin warning us of a new “world ending” crisis.  In this case, for example, CNN announced the Coronavirus Pandemic is over with the headline (this is a REAL headline): “An invasive species of giant lizard has been making its way through the Southeast.”  Below this headline, they added a picture of a creature that looks like it starred in Jurassic Park.  Here it is racing toward your doorstep:

The tagline below the picture reads: “The black and white tegu lizard has few predators and can reproduce quickly.”

According to the crack CNN investigative journalist, the lizard can grow up to four feet long.  To prevent the reader from becoming too alarmed (I mean who wants a four-foot-long lizard quickly reproducing in their backyard), the article includes the consoling statement, “Tegus do not pose a large threat to humans, but they can bite.” 

Since CNN loves to “fact check” everything these days, I felt the need to fact check their “do not pose a large threat” statement.  Here it is:

Doesn’t whether this giant lizard pose a large threat depend on where it bites a person?  For example, I’m sure we can all agree that it does pose a “large threat” if it bites a guy directly on his McRIB.