Tag Archives: Laugh

Gold Rush: Living Room Couch Edition

By Jack Edwards

I’m not going to point fingers, but there are people who think there is no difference between men and women (aside from a little plumbing).  To these people, I have two words: Are you completely insane?  Wait, that’s four words.  My error.  I meant these two words: Gold Rush.

Gold Rush is a reality television show that airs Friday nights on the Discovery Channel.  It follows a group of daring individuals who aggressively compete for the affections of a handsome young man.  Wait.  My mistake again.  That’s The Bachelor.  Gold Rush is slightly different.  Yes, there are bachelors on the show, but many lack certain social refinements, like basic hygiene.  These guys spend their summers working on three gold mining crews in the Alaskan Yukon.

The only people who watch Gold Rush are guys.  No women, and by this, I mean absolutely NO women, watch Gold Rush.  I know this because I conducted a scientific survey.  As you may know, the key to a valid survey is selecting a statistically proportionate sample of the public, in this case, the female public.  I employed the following “empirical” study protocol:  I asked my mom, my wife, both of my daughters and a lady in the grocery store line buying a box of Franzia wine, and none of them liked Gold Rush.

Guys love Gold Rush for three reasons:

  1. It shows a bunch of rugged adventurous guys (not unlike themselves, they imagine), operating heavy equipment in the wilderness mining gold, while super loud music pounds away in the background.
  2. …Hmmmm…

Okay, there’s only one reason.  Guys like Gold Rush for one reason.

These are the mining crews-

The Beets Crew.  Tony Beets owns this outfit.  To picture Tony, imagine one of those troll dolls from the 1970s, except imagine it a lot hairier and screaming the F word at everybody.  Tony drops the F-Bomb at least 1000 times per episode.  And that’s just when he’s talking to his children.

The Schnabel Crew.  Parker Schnabel runs this outfit.  Parker is 22 years old and spent his off season last year in Australia.  He must have misunderstood when he heard about the Gold Coast.  He didn’t come back with any gold, but he did come back with a blonde bombshell who he put to work driving a rock truck.  (And I bet even she doesn’t watch the show).

The Hoffman Crew.  Todd Hoffman leads this bunch.  If his business had a mission statement, it would read:  We seek to locate the richest and most profitable gold mining ground available, and then avoid it at all cost.  He’s currently navigating Chapter 7 bankruptcy (Just kidding, Todd!)

I wholeheartedly recommend the show.  But I have one warning for the guys:  Don’t even think about watching it unless you’re willing to commit to the show 100%.  It’s like crack cocaine.  Tell your family that your Fridays nights from here on out are booked.  (You might want to consider recording The Bachelor to keep them occupied.)

My Stupid Column

Micro Final

By Jack Edwards

This week’s Jocularious.com column takes on a very sensitive subject. A subject that many readers may lack the emotional fortitude to digest. No, the subject is not obesity. (I felt the need to point this out because I was concerned the word digest might mislead you in a gastrological direction.) This week’s topic is far more serious than obesity. This week’s column takes on a new epidemic that threatens our nation’s security: Stupid people.

Now, before you go getting all Oprah on me, consider this. Formal psychological IQ classifications before 1970 included, in increasing levels of intelligence: idiots, imbeciles and morons (to clarify, prior to 1970, if you called an idiot a moron, you were paying him a compliment). Nowhere on this list was the classification of “stupid.” Anyone can be stupid. You can be a genius and be stupid. Case in point, 43% of all Ivy League professors purchased the “Protection Plan” the last time they bought a television at Best Buy.

To protect you, the reader, from the danger of being traumatized, I have devised a simple test to determine whether you should read this week’s column.

A few months ago, I mentioned that the nutritional wave of the future might be roadkill. This may not have been exactly what I said, but please don’t expect me to keep track of all the intellectual gems I shower on you each week. Anyway, in my roadkill column, I mentioned a bumper sticker I plan to market. (My patent is still pending.) It reads: “I brake for small animals,” and then immediately beneath that line in smaller print it reads, “taller than my bumper.” Here’s the test. Ask yourself this question: If you came across this bumper sticker and considered buying it (not buy – just considered buying it), then you may safely proceed.

[Official beginning of this week’s column – PROCEED WITH CAUTION!]

We have all found ourselves sitting in a classroom or in meeting of some sort when the speaker ends his presentation by asking if anyone has a question. This is immediately followed up with, “Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.” And you immediately think, ‘Of course there is. And I think we’re about to hear a few.” This is obviously intended to encourage questions from the audience. Side note: You’d think the speaker would want to discourage questions. Wouldn’t a lack of questions mean that he had given a full and complete presentation? Covered all the bases so to speak? It should be a goal – an aspiration even – to give a presentation where no one in the audience had a single stupid question. But I digress.

My wife will tell you that I have dubbed this portion of any meeting: “Stupid Question Time.” She will say this in a mildly irritated voice. And she might also tell you that if you are unfortunate enough to be sitting next to me, I will feel the need to lean over and whisper, “Stupid Question Time.”

You can only imagine how I then feel when I inevitably ask a question during stupid question time. In my defense, my question is often prompted by a previous stupid question.

This is why I am leading a revolution to ban all meetings. Meetings became obsolete the day they invented the mimeograph machine. Remember mimeographs? Remember strapping the original to the drum and then hand cranking copies while getting high off that chemical it used? (Note to self – look up the name of that chemical and buy a bottle.) Now we have email. We even have group emails allowing people to ask stupid questions to their hearts galore. It’s a regular “reply all” nirvana.

This concludes my presentation for the week. If any of you have a question, I’d be happy to answer it. Just click on the “comment” button and send it to me. Remember, there’s no such thing….

The Guy’s Guide to the Perfect Wedding

Wedding

By Jack Edwards

The wedding season is rapidly approaching, and as I’m sure you ladies have noticed, all us guys are DEFCON 5 excited. This is, of course, because it signals the beginning of trout season. Recent Harvard studies show that 97% of guys would rather spend a Saturday trout fishing than going within 100 miles of a wedding – including their own. (The last three percent want to play the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”)

Let’s put it this way. The circulation of Wedding Style magazine is roughly ONE BILLION. While this number may be off by a copy or two, I am confident of this: No guy has ever voluntarily opened a cover of Wedding Style magazine. A copy of Wedding Style magazine could be sitting in the barbershop surrounded by nothing but Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets. Guys will leave the shop with a fresh haircut and a little wiser in the area of Jehovah’s Witness theology.

Ladies, here are a few tips-

1. A new wedding ritual is in order. It’s called a “Pre-Wedding.” If you’ve ever attended a college football game, it’s similar to a tailgater. A Pre-Wedding can be held in the church parking lot, or in the reception hall. The actual location will be, by new tradition, “bride’s choice” (remember, it is her special day).

2. A full forty-three percent of guys have gotten engaged, married, and finished their honeymoons without knowing there was such a thing as “wedding colors.” The other fifty-seven percent consider those guys lucky. This is because they had the subject of wedding colors beat into them like a Russian Babushka beats a rug. New tradition: The bride keeps the groom “in suspense” of her wedding colors until they are revealed at the Pre-Wedding.

3. Halfway through the wedding, the minister will blow a whistle, and everyone will march back out to the Pre-Wedding for a few stale pizza bites and cold drinks. At the thirty minute mark, the minister will blow his whistle to signal a five minute warning to the start of the second half. The second half will always begin with a song. This allows stragglers to get back to their seats before anything important happens, like the “Does anybody object?” part. Guys love this part because we get to glance around the room and pray that just this once someone will stand up and make a huge scene – really blow it out – maybe march up and physically intervene. I’ve been to my share of tailgaters, so trust me on this, a good Pre-Wedding will dramatically increase the odds of this happening.

4. Speaking of the post-halftime song, let’s pick up the tempo a beat or two. Look folks, it’s not a funeral…. (Hummm. Editor: Please cut #4 from the column. This line of humor appears to be heading toward a punchline that might endanger my marital bliss.)

5. Following the happy “You may kiss the bride” conclusion, it’s back out to the Pre-Wedding area, only, Big Surprise. New tradition: The groom then officially lifts the lid on the smoker and reveals his choice of BBQ which has been slow cooking for a minimum of 36 hours.

It is with this advice in mind that I now announce my new business partnership with Wedding Style magazine.

Drum-roll please!

It’s called Pre-Wedding Style magazine. The first copies hit the shelves next week, and the inaugural issue will include the following articles:

1. “Lobster Bibs: The Key to Avoiding Pizza Stains on Your Tuxedo.”

2. “Ambiance: Selecting the Right Portable Lawn Furniture for your Parking Lot Pre-Wedding.”

3. “Wedding Smokers: Size vs. Portability.”

4. “How to a Defuse a Police Response to Your Pre-Wedding.”

I will, of course, write a column for each issue. The name of it will be: “Call of Duty: Pre-Wedding Ops.”

No Alibi

Alibi

By Jack Edwards

If I ever rob a bank, I’m not sure how I’ll go about it, but I am sure of one thing. After my getaway, I will not be stopping by the Alibi Tavern for a cold one.

Recently, I was away on a business trip. I drove by a joint called the Alibi Tavern. This caught my attention because there is also an “Alibi Tavern” in my home town. I am quite confident this is not a franchise. Unless the franchise model is to build a chain of questionable looking establishments bearing no resemblance to one another, other than the name, the Alibi Tavern. (Point of unnecessary clarification: I am not sure if the word “the” is part of the name. My Google search of Alibi Taverns leads me to believe the “the” is optional. And FYI, there is an epidemic of Alibi Taverns littering the western hemisphere.)

As a consumer, I see no benefit in stepping through the door of a business called the Alibi Tavern.  Consider this scenario-

Prosecutor: “Mr. Edwards, at 3:45 p.m. on the day the First Security Bank of Usurious ATM Fees was robbed, where were you?”

Me (Shaking in the witness chair, and very possibly peeing myself a little, answer with a quivering voice): “At the Alibi Tavern.”

You walk into the Alibi Tavern, and you’re taking your chances:

Example 1. Your nitwit uncle drowns under mysterious circumstances, and your wife is the beneficiary of his $1,000,000 life insurance policy. While attempting to fain sympathy for your wife while controlling your inner jubilation, police detectives show up to question you. The police ask where you were the afternoon of the tragic accident. You cringe and reply, “At the Alibi Tavern.”

Example 2. Your failing business burns to the ground netting you insurance proceeds which allow you to finally retire comfortably in Boca Raton. After investigators become suspicious of the fire’s origin, they ask you where you were the night of the fire. You hesitate and answer, “At the Alibi Tavern.”

Example 3. Your wife notices something that appears to be a strange lipstick stain on your shirt collar and asks you where you spent the evening. You pause in deciding whether to tell her the truth, “At the Alibi Tavern.”

Yes, I am well aware that this name would put your business up near the front of the yellow pages. But here’s some free business advice: No one uses the yellow pages anymore. And when I say “no one,” what I mean is “no one.” There is a reason that the typical yellow page sale’s agent is driving a 1997 Yugo. Yellow page companies are now in the business of producing pre-landfill-filler. (It’s such a waste of resources that I had to invent a new term just to describe it.)

But I digress.

Naming a bar the Alibi Tavern is entrepreneurial suicide. Customers can’t frequent it if they’re guilty, and they can’t go there if they’re innocent.

I can only envision one scenario where I would visit a place called the Alibi Tavern:

I had just committed the perfect crime. My neighbor’s cat, for the one millionth time, had marched across the hood of my freshly washed car leaving its filthy little paw prints. After dark, I slip quietly over to the cat owner’s driveway and use my homemade sponge dinosaur footprints dipped in pink tapioca pudding to decorate the hood of his Cadillac Escalade. No witnesses. No security footage. No physical evidence tying me to the scene of the crime. (The sponges have gone the way of the yellow page books.) When my neighbor storms over to confront me about the karma on his hood, and demands to know where I was the night before, I’ll smile and answer, “At the Alibi Tavern.”

Rent a Chicken

By Jack Edwards

I’ve heard of rented mules. In fact, rented mules are quite famous. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Beat it like a rented mule.” I have never, however, heard of a rented chicken…until now.

Kathy Matheson, with the Associated Press (an organization heralded for its cutting-edge investigative reporting in the field of poultry science), wrote an article titled, “Entrepreneurs hatch hen-rental idea for fans of fresh eggs.” This urban chicken rental concept is taking off faster than a Saturn 5 rocket.

Pennsylvania-based Rent-the-Chicken has branched out into several states. According to Matheson’s article, everyone (so far, no exceptions have been identified) wants to rent a chicken.

Urban farming is booming. In my city, the council recently passed an ordinance permitting people to keep a combination of up to six chickens, six rabbits, three miniature goats, one miniature pig and up to three bee hives. (No. I don’t know how the miniature pigs got the short end of the stick.) If Rent-the-Chicken moves to town, I have no doubt our city council will immediately schedule 28 meetings to begin drafting regulations to provide proper oversight of the new chicken rental program. There will be a tremendous amount of work to do. Rental licensing fees must be assessed. Urban chicken inspectors must be hired. A chicken registry must be created (complete with the name and photograph of each chicken).

The article cites a source saying that chickens can live seven to 10 years. One theory for the success of the business is that people have difficulty making that type of commitment. This leads me to ask, “Haven’t these people heard of chicken soup?”

The article includes the following: “Prices depend on the company, location and lease duration but start around $150 month. Most basic packages include two hens, a coop, feed and phone availability to answer questions.”

Three things:

1. I just checked Craigslist, and you can buy a basic chicken coop for $150. This would allow your chicken to be a homeowner. And I think that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind that. In fact, they might be willing to provide these chickens with low interest loans.

2. How much could these chickens possibly eat? Haven’t these people heard of term, “That’s chicken feed?”

3. I’m not sure of what type of emergency response questions these people need to ask about their chickens, but I’m sure that the answers provided in response to questions posed to Google beginning with, “My chicken keeps…” will suffice. If it doesn’t, please refer to my earlier comment, and type in the question, “What is the best recipe for chicken soup?”

What is not included in the rental package is a calculator. This is because Ms. Matheson’s article (which I almost read in its entirely), says, “Two chickens collectively produce about a dozen eggs each week.” I do not profess to have a Nobel Prize in the field of mathematics, but there are roughly four weeks in a month. So my Rent-the-Two-Chickens is costing me $37.50 per week, or $37.50 per dozen of eggs. I am aware that the people who are renting these chickens are doing so because they are concerned about the source of their food, but paying three dollars per egg is best described by one word. And that word is INSANE. For that price, I can hire an armored car to deliver a dozen eggs from Old MacDonald’s Certifiable Organic Free-range Chicken Paradise. And as bonus, I don’t have shovel organic chicken poop.

My analysis:
There is only one phrase that describes the business model of Rent-the-Chicken. And it’s this: Rent-the-Chicken is beating their customers like a rental mule.

A Billion Here, A Billion There

By Jack Edwards

I hate it when I misplace my keys, so imagine how the Pentagon must have felt when it misplaced $1.3 billion. As in, “Hey guys, where in the heck did we put that $1.3 billion?” You know how you put 20 bucks in your wallet, and then a few days later you look in it and all that’s staring back at you is a lonely dollar bill, and then you start trying to remember where you spent it? That’s what the Pentagon did – except for $1.3 billion.

My reaction was less shock and more “there they go again,” when I read the headline, “Report: Pentagon can’t account for $1.3 billion.” The article was written by James Rosen for the McClatchy Washington Bureau. Mr. Rosen’s article included the following: “A yearlong investigation by John Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found that the Pentagon couldn’t — or wouldn’t — provide basic information about what happened to 6 in 10 dollars of $2.26 billion it had spent over the course of a decade on the Commander’s Emergency Response Program.”

There are roughly 60 million families in the United States who pay federal income tax. Each family coughed up about $22 of the $1.3 billion that the Pentagon turned around and lost at the craps table in Kandahar. I think I can say with confidence that each of these families would much rather have enjoyed that popular 2 for $20 deal at Applebee’s. (Who can resist that boneless chicken wing appetizer?)

Sadly, in a country where tycoons light cigars with $100 bills to celebrate another round of federal subsidy checks for their backbreaking work of NOT growing soybeans, it is unlikely that such a modest accounting error is going to cause any crazed disbelief within the upper echelon of Washington’s political circles.  They are focused on far more important issues, like how to expand the tycoon subsidy program to include paying them to Not grow Applebee’s boneless chicken wings.

But back to the Pentagon’s $1.3 billion, or more accurately, what used to be the Pentagon’s $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, I must speak for all of us who are currently Not being paid to Not work (yes, this is a very awkward phrase. That’s because it includes what we call a “double negative,” another example is “sugar-free, fat-free ice cream”). Back to the Pentagon, I have a suggestion. It’s a popular computer program called QuickBooks. It keeps track of all your income and expenditures. Customers love it. It only costs about $139. But because the Pentagon’s budget is several times larger than most families of four, it might want to consider paying a little extra for the QuickBooks Pro version. And good news for the Pentagon, QuickBooks Pro is on sale right now for only $199.95 (but they need to buy it right away – I don’t know how long this sale is going to last).

If you’ve never used QuickBooks, it’s really simple. It comes with preset categories of expenditures, and all you do is enter things as you go. The best part for the Pentagon, is that you can add specialized categories. So, for example, you can add a category for cash payments to Afghan warlords to cut off the heads of the bad guys instead of our guys (both of whom appear to be pretty interchangeable to your average warlord). This category might be titled, “Warlord Cash Bribes.” As an aside, I don’t have many travel rules that I always follow, but I do have one: Any time I stumble into a country where the term “Warlord” is still part of the common lexicon, I IMMEDIATELY get the H-E-double-toothpicks out of there pronto.

But I digress… Oh yeah, $1.3 billion. Look, it’s the Pentagon. We’re probably making too big a deal out of this. I think that we can all agree that they’ll find it soon.

Finding My Inner Bird Brain

Birdfeeder

By Jack Edwards

You have heard the adage, “Try walking a mile in his shoes.”  Recently, I have tried to use this advice to repair a rift that has developed between me and my local bird community.  I enjoy birds, but I do not claim to be an expert at Ornithology.  You may recall from high school that “Ornithology” is Latin for “the study of ornery things.”  I assume this includes ornery birds.  In short, the birds and I are currently not of a feather.

We used to live in a house with a birdfeeder in the front yard.  This feeder looked like downtown Bombay at rush hour, except for birds.  I kept a book near the window with photographs of every bird known to man, so I could identify them.  Except only three species ever showed up: black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, and (please excuse my language) bushtits.  Sadly, these three species are the most boring looking birds on the planet.

Once in a blue moon, some exotic, colorful bird showed up.  I logically assumed that my usual boring birds got him all liquored up the night before, and he was still languishing in a drunken bird stupor, unable quite yet to fly home.  When this lucky happenstance occurred, I’d race to identify the visitor.  I would quickly study its coloring and note the shape of its beak.  Then I would hurriedly flip through the pages of my book and quickly narrow it down to about twenty different species – none of which lived on my continent.

I have a friend who is a “birder.”  For the purposes of this story I will refer to him as “Jim,” because his name happens to be Jim.  Jim is not just a birder, he is a proud birder.  You might even describe him as a (no pun intended) mildly cocky birder.  He’s crazy about the birds.  He keeps an Oregon list.  And he keeps a lifetime list.  He even travels to other parts of the world to look at birds and excitedly jot their names down on his list.  (And you thought stamp collecting was exciting.)  Even with the advent of nature programs available on high definition TV viewable from cushy lounge chairs, he still actually goes out “into the field” to look at birds.

But I digress.  Back to my main point, which is my ongoing problem with the bird community.

When I moved to my new house, I brought my experienced birdfeeder.  Only, big problem, the birds are completely ignoring it.  I know they’re around.  I hear them in the bushes, but they are snubbing me and my birdfeeder.  And, yes, I am taking this personally.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions or cast undeserved aspersions on my new bird neighbors, but I did some research on my gigantic mistake of a cell phone – the iPhone 6 plus (if a salesperson even looks like he’s going to suggest you purchase this phone, shove him into the nearest iPad display and run for your life).

I found the following key tips:

  1. Place the feeder in a quiet area. Check – It’s quiet as a monastery’s library.
  2. Place the feeder near shrubs or other shelter. Double check – There are enough bushes to start a commercial nursery.
  3. Place a birdbath nearby. Uh, no – I’m not running a day spa here.

So it turns out I was right all along.  It’s not me.  It is the birds – They’ve copped an attitude.  My battle plan is simple.  I’ll wait.  Sooner or later a lightbulb will go off above one of their little bird brains.  He’ll turn to his bird friends and say, “You know what guys?  We should change our attitude toward the new guy.  He’s obviously trying to meet us half way.  Look, he’s even wearing wingtips.  In fact, we should try walking a mile in his shoes.”

Black Monday

Clock

By Jack Edwards

“Life is hard, and then you die.”  This is today’s inspirational topic.  While I tend to be a cockeyed optimist, there is a certain amount of truth to this worn-out statement.  Life is filled with difficulties – death, unfair taxes, but worst of all, a little something called “Spring Forward.”  This is a hellish government plot to steal an hour of our lives each March.  And this, of course, leads to  “Black Monday.”

Why, we ask, does the government heap this misery on us when we already face so many other hardships?  For example, take “Suggested Posts” on Facebook.  Where is the government to protect us from those?  “Suggested Posts” are like the Facebook version of that irritating neighbor who keeps dropping by uninvited.  (Related side note: This grief does not apply to Jocularious.com.  In fact, now would be a great time to share this post on Facebook.  And by “now,” I’m referring to “right now” as in, “this very moment.”  We thank you for your cooperation.)

I don’t spring well.  Never have.  Back in my high school PE class (which should really be called “PA” for “physical activity” – and very little of that) my less than energetic PE teacher (read that: worked on crossword puzzles on his clipboard while we physically educated ourselves) would have these “units” on various sports.  I don’t recall a unit on gymnastics, but during gymnastics season we’d horse around on the equipment which the gymnastic people so kindly left out in the open so that we could engage in what I must emphatically describe as Completely Unsupervised life threatening activities.  The good news is that no one ever sustained permanent paralysis.  Talk about a lesson.  This whole “pommel horse” thing is about two light years harder than it looks.  It’s like running full speed into the side of a midsized Toyota.  But I digress.  My fascinating original point is that this was when I first realized I didn’t spring well.  I lack a penchant for springing.

On a related topic, not only don’t I spring, I don’t even like to use a ladder.  I have slowly come to agree with my sister, who I will refer to as “Sandie” because her real name is Alicia, but she goes by Sandie.  My sister Alicia who goes by Sandie takes a very vocal position that middle-aged men don’t belong on ladders because they don’t have the same agility they had in their younger years, but they are sadly too stupid to know it.  Having learned this lesson the hard way, I am now one of her “anti middle-aged men on ladders” disciples.  In fact, I’m thinking of picketing Home Depot with a sign that depicts the outline of a potbellied man placing his foot on the first rung of a ladder with one of those circles with a line slashed through it.

As much as I abhor “Spring Forward,” I’m a huge fan of “Fall Back.”  Love, love , LOVE the “Fall Back.”  And, I have never met anyone who feels differently.

So here’s my idea.  We repeal the stupid “Spring Forward – Fall Back” law, and replace it with a new MODIFIED “Fall Back” law.  Every weekend, we would set the clock back one hour.  We’ll head off to work each Monday as refreshed as if we’d spent the weekend at a spa.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, ‘Wait, doesn’t that mean during part of the year it would be dark all day?’  Yes.  But hey, most of us are inside all day anyway.

And I have a great plan to promote my idea.  We’ll all pool our money and purchase “Suggested Posts” on Facebook.  People will love them.

Handcrafted Humor

Handcrafted

By Jack Edwards

There is a popular book titled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. That’s my policy too. I don’t let petty annoyances bother me which might irritate a less erudite man. (As you may recall from Sunday school, the Erudites were a tribe of short, barrel-chested people who were famous for their calm demeanor. For example, they rarely smote anyone with the jawbone of an ass. In fact, they rarely did any smoting at all, even with other donkey appendages.) This is also my mantra. It’s a rule I never violate. Except for today. Today, I am irritated. If, for example, I went to a donkey byproducts shop and tried to buy a jawbone, a responsible proprietor should delay the sale for a three-day cooling off period. Let me explain.

Our society likes to take a word, an otherwise perfectly good word that’s just standing around the dictionary minding its own beeswax not bothering anybody, and then proceed to beat that word to within an inch of its life. It kicks that poor word in the ribs. It leaves that word squirming on the ground in a dark alley to die. This crime is often perpetrated for the most time-honored of reasons: Money.

The most recent unsuspecting victim of this phenomenon is the word “handcrafted.” You can’t turn on your television, drive down the street or walk down the aisle of your grocery store without repeatedly tripping over this abused adjective. Manufactures are now slapping the term “handcrafted” on common everyday products, and then jacking the price up fifty percent.

We now have “handcrafted”: pizza, beer, ice cream, cocktails.  We even have handcrafted soap.  But the one that has me tempted to reach for a jawbone is this: Handcrafted Sandwiches.

Can someone please show me a sandwich slapped together at any time in history, going all the way back to the day the Earl of Sandwich sliced a loaf of bread in half with his sword and then smothered it with a thick layer of Nutella, that wasn’t handcrafted? It’s a sandwich. It’s made by hand. Do you really want to eat a sandwich made by someone’s feet?

“Handcrafted” used to mean something. It denoted using a skill to create a product that could otherwise have been mass produced – think of ornate furniture or a piece of fine clothing.

Today, every guy hocking ice cream at a crowded tourist trap is serving “handcrafted ice cream.” Yeah, I know, ice cream and beer are mass produced – but get this – so is this “handcrafted ice cream.” He didn’t put on his apron and whip up a cone just for you. There’s a tub of it sitting somewhere. He mass produced it. Believe me, he would have mixed up a bigger batch if his meager equipment allowed it.

Well, one might say, “handcrafted” pizzas are uniquely made – one at a time. Really? Have you watched them slap one together? Here’s my rule: If you can “handcraft” anything in under 30 seconds, you don’t get to call it “handcrafted.” Hear that Mr. Bartender serving drinks at an overpriced bar and calling them “handcrafted?” This means you.
And the worst of it is people buying into this baloney. You can spot them the moment the word leaves their mouths. They say it like this: “Doesn’t a HAND (grinding the ‘nd’ and pausing before completing the word) –CRAFTED (rolling the last half of the word in their mouth) beer sound delicious? Uhhh… “No.”

But I’m fighting a losing war. I’m tilting my lance at a handcrafted windmill.

There’s only one thing for me to do. It will take humility. It will take courage. It will take adding 11 strokes to the keyboard each week from here out. I will now be publishing a handcrafted humor column each week on Jocularious.com.

The Hugging Prescription

 

 

Hugging 

By Jack Edwards

I’ve been hugging like a maniac lately.  In fact, in the last month alone, I’ve have two people threaten to file restraining orders against me for my serial hugging.  But the fear of civil litigation is the least of my worries.  After all, this is the cold and flu season.  What’s a little litigation expense compared to a 105 degree temperature and the dry heaves for four to seven days?

In case you’re wondering, this is all Jill Daly’s fault.  She wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explaining that hugging produces a myriad of health benefits.  Apparently, hugging can battle heart disease, diabetes, depression and improve one’s immune system.  I don’t think I need to remind my regular readers that my own research on this topic began and ended with a cursory review of Ms. Daly’s article while I waited for the caffeine in my morning coffee to fully engage, but in my defense, the article seemed quite complete (it was certainly very long).

Ms. Daly’s hugging article discusses, and I am not making this up (Google it if you don’t believe me) work done at an outfit called the “Touch Research Institute” at the University of Miami.  Mind you, southern Florida already has all that great weather, and now they’re getting paid to touch each other.  (I’m not so sure this type of research is completely legal in the other 49 states and the Territory of Guam – I assume, just from general observation, that it is perfectly legal, even encouraged, in the District of Columbia). While I urge to you look up the Touch Research Institute, do not, I repeat, Do Not, Google “Hugging Workshops.”  First of all, I’m not quite sure how most computer filters work, but if you are going to ignore my advice, I suggest that you crank your filter up to DEFCON 1, before you hit the search key.   Yes, there are such things as hugging workshops, and if you ever come across someone who has attended one, and you would like to ask him about the experience, Don’t.  Run like your life depended on it.  Avoid that person like the plague.  Here’s a little insight from someone who has hit the “enter” key on this himself:  The word “cuddle” will fill your screen.  And no, these not necessarily one-on-one cuddles. Yes, it gets pretty gross, pretty quick.

My research into the health benefits of hugging failed to identify whether the nature and quality of the hug plays a significant role.  Perhaps the Touch Research Institute could jump on this.  For example, does the length of the hug correlate to the level of health benefit?  How about how tightly you hug the other person?  Is a two arm hug quantitatively better at reducing your stress?  I smell a federal research grant percolating as I type.  It appears that Jill Daly and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have plenty more work on their hands.  These are important questions about important work that deserves our federal research dollars.  In fact, it’s the type of important work that just about any desperate, burned-out congressperson in a tight race and looking to grease a few palms would unquestionably find deserving, and might motivate him to do “the people’s work” of slapping a two million dollar rider onto a soybean subsidy bill to once and for all get to the bottom of these important, lifesaving questions.  I think that every American who values health and home would agree that if this research – and the federal money driving it – only saves the life of one single hapless soul (perhaps a small defenseless child – or more likely, one of us pudgy couch potatoes) from a stress related disease, such as watching March Madness, then it would be worth it.

In the meantime, I feel my blood sugar rising from that batch of donut holes I just polished off.  I’ve got to go find someone to hug.