Category Archives: Humor

How to Shake the Shame of a Wallet Chain – or not

There are seven billion people on Earth, and not one of them has looked with greater disdain at people who wear wallet chains than me.  I have silently (okay, sometimes not so silently) condemned them as pathetic Neanderthals – insecure with themselves at best and very likely mentally ill.  This is why it was so painful for me to begin wearing one.

Naturally, this all began in Nebraska.  My wife and I and another couple from Oregon flew out to watch Oregon play football against Nebraska.  Friends of ours in Omaha were the quintessential hosts and even rented a minivan to haul us around.  I sat in the very back seat on the way to the game.  After we parked and made our way through approximately (this is a conservative estimate) one million tailgaters to the stadium, I realized my wallet was gone.  The van was too far away to check if it slipped out there.  Worrying about this, of course, allowed me to really relax and enjoy the game.

To my great relief, we found my wallet sitting on the back seat of the van.  I discovered that the angle of the back seat acted like a squeegee to extract wallets.  I’m not making this up.  When we got back to our friends’ house, David, also from Oregon, realized that his wallet had slipped out of his pocket!  (Don’t think for a moment this isn’t a maniacal scheme of the Chrysler Corporation.)

The next week, I went home early to pack for an out-of-town business trip and (and yes, this is beginning a theme) realized my wallet was missing.  Long story short, after neurotically turning my house upside down, and running late for my departure, I raced back to my office and found it perched on a chair where it had slipped out.  (No, Chrysler did not manufacture this chair, but perhaps it was made by a subsidiary.)

This was the fateful moment I first considered the painful indignity of a wallet chain.

As a result of painstaking research (i.e. wandering through a mall waiting for my wife to finish shopping), I stumble into a Harley Davidson shop.  Not the kind that sells the death bikes, the kind that sells t-shirts, jackets and key chains to make you LOOK like you’re the kind of wild and carefree guy who would ride a Harley (if your wife would let you).  And there they were – wallet chains as far as the eye could see.

Yes, I am a Neanderthal, and I am unquestionably insecure, but I am now an insecure Neanderthal who always knows exactly where to find my wallet.

Just How Much Pee Can One Dog Hold?

I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’m pretty sure that my daughter’s dog just set a world’s record in the pee department.  I’m contacting the Guinness Book of World Records to verify it.  I don’t know if Guinness has a category dedicated to dog urination, but if they don’t, they need to set one up – PRONTO!

I’ve been dog sitting my “grand-dog” Milo, so I decided to take him on a hike to the top of Spencer Butte.  When I get Milo out of the car at the trail head, two things happened.  First, Milo makes a b-line for the nearest tree.  And second, I notice a new warning sign –

My daughter hasn’t had Milo very long, but breaking the news that he died saying “howdy” to a rattlesnake wouldn’t have gone over too smoothly.  My concern about rattlesnake danger, however, quickly disappeared.  Here’s why.

Three feet up the trail, Milo began peeing on trees.  Yeah, I know, he’s a dog.  They pee on trees.  But that’s not what I mean.  Milo was peeing on every tree.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE.  This is western Oregon, friends.  We have trees.  If I had one of those little clickers that the lady at the Costco entrance uses to count shoppers, I would have counted.  My conservative estimate?  One thousand.  There have got to be one thousand trees between the trail head and the summit.  Here’s what it looks like –

It’s mostly Douglas Firs.  Milo hit every one like a World War II combat veteran taking the hill at Iwo Jima.  (In fact, if Milo were there, I am certain we would have taken the island much faster.  I doubt the Japanese soldiers could have sustained Milo’s unrelenting pee attack.)  But I digress…

It’s possible Milo missed a sapling or two, but let’s call it a 97% “P-rate.”  I grew up with dogs.  I know dogs.  They pee – A LOT.  But Milo is the Lebron James of canine urinaters.

I know he doesn’t look capable of holding the record.  He’s not a lab, or some other aircraft carrier sized dog with a bladder the size of a municipal water tank.  So I’m expected the team that comes out from Guinness to verify my claim to be suspicious.  Not to worry.  I’ll tell them to meet me at the trail head of Spencer Butte.

 

 

 

 

That Time I Accidentally Ate Seattle By Mistake

I’ve put on a pound or two, and by “two,” I mean two dozen.  I achieved this by strictly adhering to the “Fatkins” diet which I explained a couple of weeks ago.  If you remember the “food pyramid” from school, the Fatkins diet is different.  Fatkins is more of a “food circle,” like a pie.  A third of the pie represents sugar, a third is fats and the final third is highly processed starches.  Oh yeah, and another third is preservatives.  It’s an odd shaped pie.

Recently, my family visited Seattle for the weekend.  My accident happened that Saturday night.  We spent that afternoon eating a Russian delicacy called a “piroshky,” at a shop creatively called Piroshky Piroshky.  Piroshkies are a pastry stuffed with tasty fillings (for example, Potato and Cheese), inside a carbohydrate-based pocket.  So, if you like carbs stuffed inside carbs, this is your place.  If Dr. Atkins weren’t already dead, even showing him a piroshky would kill him.  Most of these delicacies have all the light and fluffy composition of your typical boat anchor.

You know how after an alligator swallows an unlucky creature it likes to flop down on a sandy beach for a nap?  That was us, but there weren’t any sandy beaches available, so we went back to the Embassy Suites.  This was a big mistake, because Embassy Suites offers a “Manager’s Reception” every evening – complementary drinks and a bowl of corn chips the size of Cuba.  It’s the “Bay of Pigs” every evening at Embassy Suites, and I mean this literally.

On my way back to the hotel I made a commitment that I wouldn’t touch the chips.  None.  Not a bite.  The emphasis I placed on this commitment made it all the more painful as I cleared all the empty chip containers from my table.  The problem with eating a cubic square foot of corn chips is that once they enter your stomach, they swell up like a sponge.  I had no choice but to head to my room in search of a sandy beach.

An hour later, my hip daughter Zoe suggested we go to a hip Seattle restaurant called Toulouse Petit Kitchen.  I don’t know who named this place, but I can assure you there was nothing petit about it.  I sat staring at the menu like a bloated whale.  I announced to my family that not only was I not hungry, I was absolutely stuffed to maximum capacity.  I couldn’t eat another thing.  As I struggled to polish off the last of my entrée 45 minutes later, I realized that I had officially eaten all recommended food groups of the Fatkins pie.  I had eaten all four thirds.

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“High” From Oregon , Oops, I Meant “Hi”

Whiplash is a “soft tissue injury” caused when your spine is suddenly, and without warning, slammed into the shape of a Wetzel’s Pretzel.  Usually when a car behind you decides to mate with your car.  Symptoms include throbbing pain, dizziness, and a sudden urge to call 1-800 Ambulance Chasing Lawyer.com.  I recently suffered a whiplash, but I wasn’t rear-ended.  It was because I live in Oregon.  Voters here recently decided to get their Bob Marley on.

Oregon went from a “Stop or we’ll shoot you” state to a “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” state, in the blink of an eye.  What was a felony is now a green thumb.  The photo above is the pot shop called Flowr Lyfe that opened around the corner from my office.  The same cops who would have Tasered, hogtied and thrown your behind into the hoosegow last year for growing marijuana, now protect both your ingress AND EGRESS as you travel openly to purchase your ganja.

A freeway billboard outside of town right now, in big, bold letters, asks:  “Got Weed?”

True story.  When I was in high school and lacked anything remotely suggesting marketable skills, I found a job washing dormitory windows at Oregon State University.  It was miserable, mind-numbing work.  The good news was that back then, states weren’t required to obey the federal minimum wage law.  So, not only was I slaving away day after day at this miserable task, I was enjoying the self-esteem building experience of earning a “sub-minimum” wage, as I recall, about $2.20 an hour.

In any event, one day when I was enduring another torturous shift in the gulag, I found a small plant growing wild on a rooftop outside one of the windows.  I smuggled it home.  My mother, who grew and regularly maintained just over one million potted plants, began watering it.  Yeah, my saintly mother, as law-abiding a person as you could ever find, was aiding and abetting a felony.  Frankly, I forget what happened to the plant.  I had no interest in its special powers, and neither did anyone else in my family.  I still don’t.

Perhaps my mother’s criminal past is why, when it came time to vote on whether to legalize marijuana, my 84-year-old mother unabashedly marked her ballot “Yes.”  So, I guess, when you get right down to it, it is my sweet mother who is actually the culprit responsible for my whiplash.

The New Fatkins Diet, Just Like Atkins, Only Greater Results

The new Fatkins diet is a piece of cake.  I mean this literally.  It is a piece of cake, as in, “Have a piece of cake.”  I have steadfastly maintained this innovative diet for the last two years, and I can tell you:  It gets results!

The Fatkins diet is a simple modification of the famous Atkins diet.  Atkins is that diet where you avoid carbohydrates by only eating cheddar cheese and bacon.  Fatkins blows Atkins away.

Here’s how Fatkins works-

Like the Atkins diet, go ahead and enjoy high fat and protein-based food.  However, supplement this with high carb, starchy, sugar-based items.  In fact, sugar-based items play an essential role in the Fatkins diet.  You are less likely to see the impressive results you might otherwise achieve without eating sufficient sugar-based foods (and tasty snacks).  Don’t hold back.  Dive in!  The results are startling.

You know a diet is working when others take notice.  My wife has been commenting almost daily.  Staring in disbelief at times.  Here is her most recent statement: “If you keep this up, people aren’t going to recognize you.”

My nephew, who for the purposes of this column I will refer to as “Joel,” because his name is Joel, has been on the Caveman diet.  Technically, the Caveman diet is called the Paleo diet.  The Caveman diet lets you eat anything that a caveman could back when men drug women around by their hair and pooped randomly about the campsite.  I am not a fan of the Caveman diet, because if getting a C- in Anthropology taught me anything, it taught me that cavemen only lived into their twenties.  In fact, a 25-year-old caveman was a toothless, arthritic codger.

Look folks, we are only allowed so many precious days on Earth, so we must use our time wisely.  We must focus our time on meaningful activities that bring true value to our lives.  That’s why I never miss an episode of Survivor.  A very “traditional” diet is extremely popular on Survivor.  It’s called the “Starvation” diet.  It works like magic.  Pounds melt off the contestants.  The contest only lasts 39 days, but many of these folks transform from roly-poly to beanstalks by the time they go to the final Tribal Council stinking of fermented coconut milk.  The Starvation diet is almost as effective as the Fatkins diet.

So for now, I’m sticking with the Fatkins diet.  Cake anyone?

The World’s Hairiest Baby

My daughter got married last summer.  I would have written a column about it, but after selling my extra kidney on the Chinese black market to pay for the nuptials, I didn’t have any money left for ink.  For the purposes of this column I will refer to my daughter as “Zoe” and her husband as “Will,” because their names happen to be Zoe and Will.  But I digress.  My newly impoverished state is not what this is about.  This is about what the parents of every young bride hope and pray will come next.  This is about the special gift that will fulfill their purpose in life.  I am referring, of course, to a minimum of five to ten years of ABSOLUTELY NO BABIES!  ZERO!  This is why my wife and I were thrilled to learn that we were the proud new grandparents, to their new dog – our “granddog.”

If anything can snap a starry-eyed couple back to the reality of caring for a newborn, it’s a puppy.  As everyone knows, having a puppy is exactly like having a baby, that is, if you could lock your baby in the garage for two or three hours while you went out to dinner.  In other words, the stark reality of caring for a demanding puppy is the most effective form of birth control.

Our granddog is a one-year old mongrel named Milo.  They “adopted” Milo from a humane society.  My daughter is pretty sure that his first owner was homeless.  This is because every time Milo spots a homeless person he makes a b-line for them.  Milo LOVES homeless people.  That, and he loves to dig through garbage.

If he was once homeless, Milo has hit the jackpot.  As my loyal readers know, I grew up in Alsea.  Years ago, one of my daughters asked me after visiting the orthodontist, “Dad, did you have braces?”  My answer, “Zoe, kids from Alsea don’t get braces.”  In fact, we were lucky to get a couple of off-brand jeans at the beginning of the school year.  Milo’s life is now like that prostitute from Pretty Woman after Richard Gere took her on that shopping spree on Rodeo Drive.  His wardrobe is enormous.  No off-brand attire for Milo.  Only the finest tweed coats and breathable rainwear.

Here is Milo sporting something stylish and catching some Z’s after an exhausting day of being spoiled –

As the old song goes, “Zoe and Will, kissing in the tree.  K-i-s-s-i-n-g.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Milo in the doggy carriage.”  Welcome to the family Milo!

My Pop-Up Potty Shark Tank Idea – Don’t Steal It!

There are three levels of personal discomfort of the bathroom variety.  The New England Journal of Medicine has given each a technical name, or “alert level.”  They are: Yellow Alert, Red Alert and Neon Flashing Orange Alert with Blaring Sirens.  Here are their formal definitions –

Yellow Alert:  A mild but noticeable sensation of pressure on the bladder or “lower GI.”  It is advisable to visit the lavatory to (I’ll use the technical, scientific terms) take a “leak,” or drop a “load.”

Red Alert: The enemy is fast approaching.  If you’re at a cocktail party, it’s time to wrap up the conversation, identify a target restroom and make haste.

Neon Flashing Orange Alert with Blaring Sirens:  The enemy is at the gate.  In thermonuclear terms, the threat level has reached DEFCON 1.  Something REALLY, REALLY BAD is about to happen.  Something of extreme danger, embarrassment, and above all, odor.

My new million dollar Shark Tank idea will eliminate this danger.  My product looks like a piece of flat plastic about 18 inches square.  It works by grabbing a tab on the top and giving it a quick shake.  It flips open into the shape of a small tent-like structure with a sling-like pocket suspended on the inside for single use restroom needs.  Privacy and relief with the snap of the wrist.  After taking a “relief,” simply fold it up, slide it back into its pouch, and drop it in the nearest waste receptacle (or on some deserving person’s door step).  It’s that easy.

Let’s say you’re enjoying a family trip heading east on I-84 with no rest area in sight and Johnny’s about to BLOW?  Pop-up Potty to the rescue!

Let’s say you’re hiking along a popular trail and the pasta primavera you had for lunch sets a land speed record to your colon?  YOU are about to BLOW!  Pop-up Potty!

You’re at a fundraiser at the La Vista Hotel and Conference Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and ALL the restrooms are out of order?  Simply snap open your Warren Buffett special edition, Pop-up Potty!  Relief in seconds!

I strongly suggest you get in early on my Pop-up Potty Kickstarter campaign and watch for it on Shark Tank.  Mark, Barbara and Robert will love it.  And while I’m sure that “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary will ______ all over it, isn’t that the point?

Next idea?  The Pocket Pooper!  It looks like a ziplock bag.  All the convenience and relief of the Pop-up Potty, minus any privacy.

Cards Against My Humanity

Peer pressure is the greatest challenge facing middle school children.  These kids know right from wrong.  They know when an idea is bad.  But the pressure is often too much to bear, so at the tender age of 12, they cave into it.  The need to belong overcomes their common sense.  So imagine how I felt caving into peer pressure at the tender age of 57.  In fact, not just caving in, but folding like a cheap card table.  Who were these culprits taking advantage of my youth and naivete?  They were a group of “well-oiled” friends.  (Clue: oil is code for the nectar squeezed from the precious agave plant.)

This tragedy began suddenly, and without warning.  Someone casually suggested, “Let’s play Cards Against Humanity.”  I had never heard of the game.  I opened the box and looked at an “answer” card.  The answer included a crude and overtly graphic description of a popular female body part.  I immediately knew this was wrong, very wrong, and voiced my opposition.  The crowd turned on me.  The word “prude” was mentioned.

Cards Against Humanity involves a player selecting a “question” card.  The player reads the question aloud, and then each of the other players chooses one of their answer cards to match it.  A player scores a point if the player who read the question picks their answer as the best.  To avoid being sued by the multinational corporation that owns this wholesome, family friendly game, I will make up a sample question: “Bill Clinton would like nothing better than to dive into to a vat of ___________.”  Answer cards might be as benign as “bar room peanuts,” to other answers involving excrement or sexual parts (Example: “A bag of [famous male body parts]”).  Note to legislators: Please pass a law outlawing this game for anyone under the age of 45.  This age limit is premised on the assumption that anyone older, at least those with a shred of dignity (a group which I have sadly demonstrated does not include me), would cringe at the notion of playing it.

Let me summarize the experience this way: Run!  If you see this game in a store, or someone even mentions it, get the “H – E – double toothpicks” out of there.  There is even a warning on the box-

It’s a game for horrible people!  It says so RIGHT ON THE BOX!

As someone always trying to keep an open mind, I must point out a possible exception: If you are a college fraternity freshman who has recently shot-gunned a six pack followed immediately by a “major” bong hit, this might be the game for you.  But even so, please refrain from putting peer pressure on any nearby 57-year-olds.

Is There A Mrs. God?

My confirmation into the Catholic Church occurred at the age of 12 by a priest who soon thereafter took off with a waitress from Newport, Oregon (or so I’m told).  So you have every reason to question my religious training.  In fact, I strongly suggest that you do.  My point is, we may be making a theological mistake.  An incorrect assumption of Biblical proportions.  That is: Does God have a wife?  Is there a Mrs. God?

The Bible is filled with clues supporting this conclusion (albeit taken slightly out of context).  First, in Genius 1:27, “So God created man in his own image….”  (Humm… a thought provoking clue.)  Second, in Genius 2:18, “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone….”  (Putting two and two together, the plot thickens.)  And finally, in Genius 2:25, “On the eighth day, God sayeth His first joke to Adam, and the punchline was, ‘Take thy wife… please!’ And then God slapped his knee and howled at His own joke.”  (Okay, this last quote was Fake Bible News, but my scriptural argument was running a little thin.)

If God has a wife, this creates a number of deep theological questions.  First, does she work outside the home?  Second, is Mary her mother-in-law?  Finally, wouldn’t her house be the universe?  Light travels at 186,000 miles per second.  We live in the Milky way galaxy which is 100,000 light years across.  There are 2 trillion galaxies in the universe.  And the universe is 93 billion light years across.  So my very technical and theological point is this: That’s a lot of dusting.  Mrs. God must be exhausted.  And before you call me sexist for suggesting that she is in charge of the cleaning, let me explain.  I’ve read the Old Testament.  I’ve watched God in action.  And let’s just say that he doesn’t exactly strike me as the type who spends a lot of time pushing the Hoover across the family room carpet.

I’m not saying that there is a Mrs. God.  I’m just tossing it out there.  I am a “Mrs. God agnostic.”  But, if there is a Mrs. God, my formative religious training makes me wonder.  Was she was once a waitress in Newport?

The $100 Calzone Showdown at the Steelhead Corral

Saying my wife has a “competitive nature” is an understatement equivalent to saying Donald Trump has a “bit of any ego.”  This is the woman who, whenever I step my fat butt onto an escalator, will routinely race up the stairs next to it and beat me to the top.  This is the woman who, if you are ever stupid enough to play poker with her, will bleed you of every penny, and smile sweetly while she does it.  If you ever find yourself thinking about competing with her in anything, I have three words for you: “Give up now.”  She is a human D10 Dozer that will crush your every hope of victory.

This leads us to last Saturday night.  It will live forever in infamy as “The Calzone Incident.”  It began so innocently, just five couples getting together for dinner.

My wife ordered a calzone.  When it arrived, everyone marveled at its enormity.  It was the size of a Buick Regal.  A discussion quickly ensued about whether she could ever finish it.  The group’s consensus:  Not in this lifetime.

Then it happened.  Someone I will refer to for the purposes of this column as “Skip,” because his name happens to be Skip Hanson (that’s with an s-o-n), of Omaha, Nebraska, lit the match that ignited The Calzone Incident.

“I’ll give you $100 if you can finish the whole thing,” he dared her, fanning out five $20 bills.  It was a red cape to the bull.

My wife gave his challenge careful consideration for about half a nanosecond, and quickly accepted.  She announced that she would donate her anticipated windfall to her favorite charity, Love Beyond the Orphanage.  Thus, the gastronomical marathon ensued.  And she did not simply accept the challenge.  Oh, no.  That would be too gentle on her victim, Skip.  No.  She would twist the knife.  We sat mesmerized as she cut each piece, dipped it into a cup of marinara sauce, picked up a tabasco bottle and gave it a few shakes, then slide it down the pipe.  Like a machine.  Bite, after bite, after bite.  The cutting.  The dipping.  The shaking.  The chewing.  The sliding.  By my estimate, about one-million times in a row.  And she smiled sweetly the whole time she did it, and especially as she held out her hand for the $100.