Sunday, June 30, 2013


I think Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe are trying to kill me. I have no idea why, or how they ever found out that I even exist. I certainly don't remember ever doing anything bad to either of them, much less anything that would rate revenge. In fact, not surprisingly, I don't even know them. And I've seen so many of their movies over the years, including the somewhat crappier ones, that it seems as though they should be thanking me instead of trying to kill me.

I've noticed them taking turns keeping my house under surveillance. They hide in my neighbor's bushes across the street and peer through them, and when I come out to feed my dog they tiptoe surreptitiously from tree to tree. I pretend I don't notice them, but it gets to be pretty creepy after awhile. Of course, I've thought about calling the police, but what would I tell them? "Hello, I'd like to report that famous Hollywood actors Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe are trying to kill me."

Yesterday I was getting in my car, and I checked underneath it to make sure there weren't any kitty cats under there. I found a bomb, wired to my ignition. I looked up real quick and saw Christopher Walken duck behind the bushes again.

Later on at the mall I was sitting in the bathroom, and suddenly a large, poisonous-looking snake began to slither under the stall door. In one of those brave moments that occur sometimes in life-or-death situations, I quickly grabbed the deadly serpent and hurled it over the stall. I jumped up and opened the door just in time to see a frantic Willem Dafoe running out of the bathroom with the snake wrapped around his neck.

When I got home that night there was a package on my doorstep with the words "Urgent! Open Immediately!" scrawled on it. It had no return address. I shot a glance across the street, and there they were, peering out from the bushes again -- Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe. I am afraid to open the package. I am afraid, period.    

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I remember this TV commercial I used to see in which a guy opened up his refrigerator and a sandwich started talking to him. I can't remember what the conversation was about. Maybe the sandwich was griping at the guy for not spreading the good brand of mustard on it or something.

Anyway, I always found this image highly disturbing in a number of ways. First of all, the guy is just standing there talking back to this sandwich, listening to its gripes (whatever gripes a sandwich might have, besides the most obvious one, of course, which would be that it exists only to be eaten), and actually being apologetic to the sandwich. Hey, dumbass--it's a SANDWICH. You're a human being. If you feel the need to apologize to two slices of bread with some cold cuts between them, you might as well shoot yourself.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," this total loss whines to the comically indignant sandwich with the googly eyeballs. "I'll be sure to buy the good [i.e. MOST EXPENSIVE] brand of mustard next time."

"Well, see that you do!" the sandwich snaps back.

Here's the thing--why is this guy not totally freaking out? If you opened your refrigerator one day and a ham sandwich with googly eyeballs started flapping open and shut as though it had a big, gaping mouth and was yapping at you, with a piece of lettuce or Swiss cheese flicking around in some ghastly approximation of a "tongue", would you just stand there calmly weighing the validity of its complaints? No, you'd go instantly insane and run around the house ripping your clothes off and screaming "YAAAAAAA!!!" at the top of your lungs. Eventually you'd end up on the local news being dragged into a nut wagon while your neighbors stood around saying, "Well, I saw this coming."

And why the hell does the sandwich want to be slathered with the tastier brand of mustard anyway? Are we to believe that it WANTS to be eaten? That its main goal in "life" is to be as delicious as possible while being devoured alive, suffering the supreme agony of getting ripped apart and gnashed into mush by giant teeth, bathed in corrosive stomach fluids, and then processed through some guy's digestive system?

Are these suicide sandwiches? Have they made some vile pact with the mustard company in which they push some particular brand right up until the moment of their horrendous demise, in return for the promise that their families will be well taken care of? The implications of this are too revolting to contemplate. For one thing, I doubt very much if the mustard company executives are going to honor their end of this hellish bargain after the sandwich has been eaten. They're not about to let the rest of these ungodly living sandwiches which constitute its "family" run around loose while subsisting on some company trust fund.

Why should they? No judge in his right mind is going to entertain a lawsuit where a mustard company is being sued for breach of contract by a bunch of sandwiches. His honor would probably vomit all over his bench as soon as one of these hideous creatures took the witness stand. And can you imagine flicking over to Court TV one day and hearing the words, "The court now calls salami-and-cheese on whole wheat to the stand." The only good that might come from the resulting muppet-show-from-hell would be getting to see Nancy Grace and Alan Dershowitz blow massive chunks all over each other back in the studio.

But the supreme horror of all this is the idea of the guy opening his refrigerator, engaging in conversation with this bizarre talking sandwich, dutifully spreading the good brand of mustard on it as it so stridently insists, and then--heaven help us--eating it. Would he kill it first? It seems the only humane thing to do. I guess grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing it several times as it screams in agony might do the trick, or maybe frying it to death in the microwave. But just think--if the cow, pig, or chicken was slaughtered and turned into lunch meat, and the lunch meat now lives again as part of this sandwich, doesn't that make it zombie lunch meat? How the hell would one kill reanimated, zombie lunch meat?

And what about the googly eyeballs? Would the guy rip them off first, or just eat them along with the rest of the sandwich? And if the sandwich can talk, would it not also have vocal cords, muscles, tendons, cartilage, a circulatory system, internal organs, a brain, and various other organic components too ghastly to contemplate? Why the hell would anybody want to eat THAT?

I's just supposed to be a "cute" and "funny" idea for a commercial. But ideas have consequences. And as far as we know, every idea creates an alternate reality in which such outlandish concepts actually occur. We simply happen to live in the one where people DON'T eat horrible zombie sandwiches. But for all we know, our own reality was created when some advertising genius in another reality came up with a goofy idea for a commercial in which people actually go to David Hasselhoff concerts and have sex with Carrot Top.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I was walking down the street one day, when suddenly the entire world was destroyed in a horrendous, horrifying, exploding fireball of horrible, annihilating horror. At least, that's what I thought at the time. Actually, it was just my neighbor Bill blowing his nose. The sudden, sharp report of his aggressively urgent nasal expulsion startled me out of my reverie about corn dogs.

"And so I languidly squirted a creamy trail of tart, mustardy goodness down the golden brown shaft, and then oh boy, ha-ha," I was mumbling to myself, pretending I was being interviewed for Playboy. FRRRT!!! FRRRRRRRT!!! came the sound of Bill blowing his nose in rapid bursts, alternating from one nostril to the other in quick succession. I stopped in front of his house and glared at him as he stood there in his undershirt and boxer shorts, oblivious of everything around him including the fact that he'd gone out to get the morning paper in his underwear again.

"You're in your underwear, idiot!" I called out.

"Huh?" he said, looking up. "Is that you, God?"

"Oh, for Pete's sake," I muttered wearily, continuing on my way. The last thing I wanted at the time was to devote any more of this beautiful morning to a nose-blowing moron like my neighbor, Bill. The continuous FRRRT!!! FRRRRRRT!!! noises gradually began to fade away as I walked farther away from his house, enjoying the warmth of the bright sunshine on my face and inhaling the fragrant aroma of the many colorful flowers that were springing up all over people's lawns. The squirrels were out in full force, too, and I laughed softly to myself as I observed their playful scamperings.

"Mmm, corn dogs," I thought. I stopped in mid-stride while images of giant corn dogs, dripping with mustard, began to drift like blimps across my mental landscape. I imagined these huge corn-dog blimps in formation over my neighborhood, casting dark, creeping shadows over the houses as they loomed ominously overhead. Something felt wrong. I suddenly began to get the impression that these enormous aerial corn dogs were really an invading force of enemy zeppelins disguised as giant corn dogs in order to avert suspicion. But then, in a brief, extremely rare flash of coherent logic, I shook off the thought as being utterly ridiculous. Which, of course, it was.

When I looked up, the sky was clear. "Ha ha," I thought. "The giant corn dogs were just a figment of my imagination. Ha, ha." I continued to stand there thinking "Ha, ha" until I gradually realized that I was mentally laughing my head off. Every time the image of those ridiculous giant corn dogs popped into my head again, I mentally laughed harder and louder.

Squirrels scampered around my feet, their numbers growing. Finally they began to run straight up my motionless body and dive off the top of my head, spreading their arms and flying down the street like tiny stealth bombers.

Wave after wave of squirrels darted up my body and launched themselves from my head for the next two or three hours, flying down the street toward whatever future awaited them there. I barely noticed them since my mind was still filled with non-stop laughter--roaring, hysterical laughter that bordered upon frenzied psychosis--as my consciousness zoomed headlong through a mind-bending stargate of giant corn dogs surrounded by strobing, swirling colors and brilliant yellow flashes of mustard.

I seemed to live an entire lifetime in that short time. I won't go into all the details of what happened, but it all ended up with me being transformed into a giant corn dog starbaby, orbiting the Earth.

FRRRRRRT!!! The sound of my neighbor Bill blowing his nose jolted me out of my reverie. I turned around to find him behind me with his dog Jocko on a leash. Bill had decided to walk Jocko, which he did once a month or so, and had caught up with me. Jocko barked as the final squirrel sailed off the top of my head and flew down the street. The strange, unexplained aerial migration was over. There were no more squirrels on our street and never would be again.

Bill, I then noticed, had devised a hands-free noseblowing device similar to that thing Bob Dylan wears on his head so he can play the harmonica and the guitar at the same time. Only instead of a harmonica, Bill's device held a large handkerchief which was positioned in front of his nose. FRRRRRT!!! came the horrid sound once again as the handkerchief fluttered obscenely.

His hands no longer occupied with the task of blowing his nose, Bill reached down and petted Jocko to calm him down after his squirrel-induced excitement. With his other free hand, he was flying a kite.

"Guess what? God spoke to me today," said Bill. FRRRRRRRT!!! "He called me an idiot." Absently, Bill had begun to twirl Jocko up and down on his leash like a yo-yo. Jocko was a pretty small dog.

"That was me, dumbass," I informed him.

"Oh," said Bill. FRRRRRRT!!! "Well, I was going to write another book about it to put in the Bible. You know, right after 'Revelations.' I was going to call it 'The Epistle of Bill to the Texans' or something. But now...well, now I guess that wouldn't be such a great idea." Jocko seemed to bark in agreement as he twirled up and down.

"No, Bill, I guess it wouldn't," I said, no longer wishing to continue the conversation. I was still hungry for corn dogs, and suddenly wished to wrap up this stinking morning walk as soon as possible. Bill's presence had ruined everything. The flowers now smelled like an open sewer. The warm sunshine on my face now felt as though Rosie O'Donnell were sitting on it. My hair felt all squirrely. And the laughter in my mind had turned bitter, as though thousands of television weathermen were smugly mocking me.

"Bill..." I started to say. Suddenly, Jocko sprang from Bill's grasp, darted straight up my body, and launched himself off the top of my head. Silently, we watched him fly down the street and sail around the corner, barking. The sound of car horns, screeching tires, and high-speed collisions wafted toward us. A moment later, Bill's kite abruptly appeared and speared itself on his head.

"I have some frozen corn dogs at home," he said at last. "Want one?" FRRRRRRRT!!!

"Sure," I said with a resigned sigh. We walked back to his house and went inside. Bill microwaved a couple of corn dogs and gave me one. He didn't have any mustard, though. We sat in his livingroom and ate our corn dogs in silence. I felt uncomfortable because it seemed as though the last surviving goldfish in Bill's fishtank was staring at me.

The corn dog tasted bland. I finally hid the rest of it behind an autographed picture of Willard Scott that Bill kept on his lamp table. Bill finished his and put the stick aside for when he finally had enough to build a wooden replica of Fort Apache. Then he sat back in his recliner and stared dejectedly at his feet.

"I was really excited today when I thought God had spoken to me," he said. "I felt sorta like...well, like I was the 'chosen one.' It gave me a special feeling that God had taken the time to come down and remind me that I was walking around outside in my underwear." FRRRRRRT!!!

I winced at the sound of Bill blowing his nose for the millionth time that day. "But He called you an idiot," I reminded him.

"Yeah," Bill said thoughtfully. "But I am an idiot. And God always tells the truth." His face brightened. "Hey! Maybe I'm the new patron saint of idiots!" He whipped out his Big Chief tablet and started writing his epistle again.

I got up without a word and went home. I never ate another corn dog. And I never spoke to Bill ever, ever again, except to call him an idiot. And whenever I do, he gazes upward and gets this goofy, beatific look on his face.

Friday, June 21, 2013


One evening I fixed one of my favorite specialty dishes for dinner, which I like to call my "Beantastic Bean Surprise." I can't tell you the secret recipe, but it has lots of beans in it. I was really hungry that night and ate the whole thing instead of saving half of it for leftovers like I usually do.

Well, it didn't take long for all those beans to start going to work, and as I sat in my favorite swivel recliner later on, watching a "Lone Ranger" DVD, I felt the initial rumblings of the most-colossal-fart-ever coming on like gassy gangbusters. Fearing internal injury if I tried to hold it in or release it in short, measured bursts, I rared back and let go. And suddenly, in one mighty, thunderous blast of noxious gas, Mike Myers came flying out of my ass.

He landed on his feet and held up his arms with that big, trademark grin on his face. "TA-DAAAAAH!" he said grandly.

I blinked my eyes in amazement, and suddenly Mike Myers was gone. Then I realized that he'd never really been there, and my hallucination had been caused by the trememdous pressure of my impending fart, which hadn't even occurred yet. Or had it?

It was at that moment that I realized I was in a time warp, and that my gigantic fart had somehow been caught in a temporal loop that was destined to replay itself over and over--perhaps for eternity--but with a different outcome each time, and with each variance creating its own separate timeline!

With the pressure reaching its apex once again, I let go with yet another fart of tremendous magnitude. This time, a 1957 Buick Skylark came blasting out of my ass with a terrified Katie Couric at the wheel. "How did I get here?" I heard her scream as the car crashed through the front wall of my house and went careening down the street.

The gaping hole in my wall disappeared as the time loop reset itself for another go. Again my bowels roiled. Again I felt myself helplessly swept away in an impending gastric maelstrom of horrific proportions.

Suddenly the phone rang. Staggering to my feet, thus creating yet another variable in this latest timeline of terror, I lurched toward the phone. Too late! The fart exploded out of my ass with the force of a nuclear blast and was ignited by a decorative raspberry-scented candle that I'd lit earlier that evening, propelling me through the roof of my house with a thunderous crash. Flames spewing from my rear end, I flew like a skyrocket halfway across town and plunged through the front window of a Chuck-E-Cheese, colliding with a guy in a Bozo costume and killing us both instantly. The children who were there attending Timmy Wilson's birthday party squealed with delight and applauded.

Again I reappeared in my recliner at the start of the time loop. As the evening dragged on, the temporal fart-warp replayed itself again and again. I lost count of the seemingly endless variations. In one of them, I interrupted Al Gore's latest global warming speech in front of the U.N. general assembly by fart-blasting him through a brick wall. In another, the Lone Ranger actually froze dead in his tracks on my TV screen and screamed, "Holy buffalo sh**, Tonto! What the flying fu** is that godawful stench?" And in one amazing instance, my fart actually went back in time and knocked Christopher Columbus over the rail of his ship.

Finally, at the start of yet another time variation, I remembered a bottle of Beano that I'd been keeping in the kitchen cabinet in case of emergencies. Frantically I leapt to my feet and dashed to the kitchen before the next fart could incapacitate me, grabbed the bottle of Beano, and downed its entire contents. An eternity seemed to elapse as I stood there waiting to see if this would do the trick. I farted one last time--a high-pitched, harmless fart that sounded similar to David Lee Roth getting kneed in the balls--and drew a long sigh of relief. The nightmare was over.

I still make my Beantastic Bean Surprise every now and then, but I never eat it all at one time--and I always keep a very large bottle of Beano handy just in case. And now, whenever someone accidentally farts in my presence and acts embarrassed, I comfort them by saying, "Hey--just be glad Katie Couric didn't come screaming out of your ass in a 1957 Buick Skylark!" Then I wink and throw back my head and laugh heartily, and there's a freeze-frame, and the end credits roll. I don't know why, but since I started doing that hardly anyone ever comes around me anymore. I guess my greatness intimidates them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


(NOTE: This is an older story I'm reprinting in honor of the recent passing of James Gandolfini.)

Not too long ago, I thought that my house had rats running around in it. I'd hear faint rustling underneath the cabinets or the sound of footsteps skittering across the floor, and now and then I'd find food missing. My cat, Kitteny, was constantly on edge and spent most of her time watching the kitchen, as though keeping a silent vigil. Finally, during one fateful day of consternation and terror, I found out that it wasn't rats that had infested my house. It was the cast of HBO's "The Sopranos."

I made this discovery one day when I opened the cabinet door under the kitchen sink to get a trash bag, and there he was--James "Tony Soprano" Gandolfini, huddled against the back corner. His beady eyes darted from side to side, seeking an escape route, and then settled on the piece of cheese I happened to be holding in my hand. Naked hunger contorted his face into a frightening visage of pure, unadulterated cheese lust. He peered back at me from the darkness and bared his front teeth, making a chilling "fffrrrfrrfff" sound.

This sent an icy tingle up my spine and I ran into the other room to get a broom. There was a loud scurrying noise from the kitchen, and when I returned James Gandolfini was gone. In my haste, I had dropped the piece of cheese. It was also gone. I could imagine him hunched over somewhere in the dark recesses of my house, perhaps behind a wall somewhere, gnawing away hideously at his ill-gotten prize. Finally, it dawned on me to wonder: "What the hell is James Gandolfini doing infesting my house?"

This led me to suspect that he might not be alone--after all, they say that if you see one, there are always others lurking unseen. And just as the thought occurred to me, my heightened senses detected a slight noise from the other side of the stove. Racing to the source, I arrived just in time to catch Edie Falco, who portrayed "Carmela Soprano" on the hit TV series, gnawing on a chicken leg that I'd left on the stove the night before. Her eyes were a mixture of feral rage and paralyzing fear as she froze stock-still, her animal mind reasoning that I wouldn't see her if she didn't move. Well, she was wrong.

Swinging the broom, I just missed her head and whacked my Flintstones salt and pepper shakers off the stove. The ceramic Fred and Wilma clattered loudly across the floor and banged into the refrigerator, causing something on top of it to sharply recoil. I looked up and was shocked to find Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler--otherwise known as teen Sopranos "A.J." and "Meadow"--cowering there amidst the cereal boxes they'd chewed open, with Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops still horribly decorating their frantic, almost fiendish faces.

I turned my attention back to the stove, but Edie Falco had disappeared. Playing a hunch, I dragged the stove away from the wall, and sure enough--there was a gaping hole, large enough for any one of the "Sopranos" castmembers to wriggle in and out of at will. I knew then that I had a full-blown infestation on my hands, one which was beyond my ability to handle. Grabbing the phone book, I hastily picked out a reputable-sounding pest control business and dialed their number.

"We-Nukem-Good Pest Control," came a confident voice. "May I be of assistance?"

"Yes! I have a terrible infestation and I need help immediately!"

"What is it?" he asked. "Rats? Mice? Cockroaches?"

"No, it's the cast of HBO's 'The Sopranos'!" I shot back, breathless.

The man on the other end of the line paused thoughtfully. "Hmm. 'The Sopranos', eh? I was afraid of that. We've had a rash of TV-show cast infestations recently. Just yesterday, I had to go up against CNN's 'The Capitol Gang' in a chicken feed warehouse. Robert Novak bit me in the left foot. Had to get shots. And my assistant...he's still on medical leave after taking on 'The View.' Nasty bunch. So, is it the entire cast or what?"

I yelped in terror as something brushed past my legs. "A.J. and Meadow just shot by me and scurried into a big hole behind the stove!" I screamed. "Tony and Carmela are in there, too, and--oh my god, I can hear them moving behind the walls!"

"Calm down, sir. Do you have a cat?"

"Well, yes. But I hardly think she's capable of killing and eating James Gandolfini."

"Okay, we'll send someone out," he promised. "But if Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie Walnuts show up, it's going to cost you at least thirty percent extra."

Well, a guy in an official-looking pest control uniform showed up later that afternoon. I spent the hours waiting for him huddled in a chair with my feet off the floor. He suggested I go outside, then took a few moments to steel himself for the task ahead and entered the kitchen. From the front yard I could hear a seemingly endless succession of horrible screams, banging noises, gunshots, what sounded to me like giraffes mating, and other things too disturbing to imagine.

Finally, the pest control man reappeared at the front door and nodded confidently. "I don't think they'll be bothering you anymore, sir," he said.

"Did you...kill them?" I asked nervously.

"Oh, no," he said. "I just reminded them that they're people, not rats. Ha, ha. Sometimes these Hollywood actors get it into their heads that they're rats, and they need someone to remind them that they aren't."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "So that's it? They're all gone, just like that?"

He was silent for a moment. "Well," he finally said, "they're almost all gone. But at the last minute, Vincent Pastore showed up."

"Big Pussy?" I asked.

"I'm afraid so, sir. He likes your house, says he's going to stay for a couple of months. I told him he's a human being, you know, instead of a rat. He says he doesn't care, he likes it under the kitchen sink where it's warm and dank." He shrugged. "You get this sometimes in my business. He shouldn't be too much trouble, though, as long as you set out some cheese every now and then. Maybe a few beers."

And so, everything's back to normal in my house now, except that the guy who played Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero on "The Sopranos" is living under my kitchen sink. My cat still keeps watch as much as she can, but things continue to come up missing out of my refrigerator. I lost a full-sized smoked ham just the other day. Honey glaze, pineapple slices, the whole works. So instead of stocking up on groceries, I've started eating out a lot. Maybe after a while the fat bastard will get the message and scram back to Hollywood. After all, I'm not running a human rat hotel here.

Friday, June 7, 2013


"...and in the fullness of time, I myself became the leader...the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe," I intoned in a solemn voice, holding my listeners in rapt attention as they hung upon my every word. "And the 'Road Warrior'? He lives now...only in my memories."

You could hear a pin drop in the laundrymat. Finally, one of the children said, "Wow..." and another looked at him and said, "Yeah, wow..." and yet another looked at them and said, "Yeah, me too--I also meant to say wow..." Before long they were all going "wow...", regarding me with awe and admiration.

A bell went DING! and I opened the dryer door and started pulling out my nice toasty laundry and depositing it in a plastic basket.

At that point one of the children, a bratty-looking little girl with freckles, glasses, and pigtails, crossed her arms petulantly and scoffed. "You got all that out of a movie!" she accused in a high-pitched squeal. "I saw it on teevee last night!"

"A movie?" I retorted, affecting a blithe attitude as I pulled some underwear out of the machine and made a show of enjoying its "dryer fresh" aroma. "Why, that's preposterous, little girl. All of the things I just told you about were entirely 100% true, based on my real-life experiences." I threw in a "hmmmph" for emphasis, which was echoed by some of the other children.

The little girl was undeterred. "Your stupid story was post-apocalyptic! We haven't even had an apocalypse yet, so how in the world could you have had post-apocalyptic life experiences, you big fibber!"

This was getting serious. Apparently the irritating little girl had actually seen THE ROAD WARRIOR on teevee the night before, just as she'd claimed, and was putting my own claims in grave jeopardy. The other children eyed each other with uncertainty, then looked to me for reassurance. I regarded the little girl with a condescending smile and chuckled.

"My," I said smugly. "Aren't you a big, fat, stinky know-it-all. Hey everybody, look at the big, fat, stinky know-it-all!" I pointed at her and started laughing, and the other children did the same. "And for your information," I added, "the big apocalypse happened before you were even BORN! That's why you don't REMEMBER it, you SMELLY, HORSE-FACED, DOG-BUTT-KISSING RETARDO!!!"

My voice must've carried a bit farther than intended, because the little girl's mother peeked out from the hair dryer under which she was sitting, reading a copy of "Martha Stewart Living" and eating a beef-and-bean burrito. "How dare you talk to my little girl that way!" she blathered.

"HOW DARE YOU not teach your stupid little brat to keep her big, festering CAKEHOLE SHUT!" I countered, trembling with rage. Then I extended my hands to the heavens and proclaimed passionately, "I AM THE LEADER OF THE GREAT NORTHERN TRIBE!!! AND THE ROAD WARRIOR LIVES NOW, ONLY IN MY MEMORY, YOU BUTT-UGLY COW!!! YAAAAAAAAA!!!"

My rampage was sudden and unexpected. With a feral scream of utter, animalistic ferocity, I grabbed the woman's feet and pulled her out from under the hair dryer. Then I yanked off her shoes and threw them out the front door and into the street. A truck ran over them.

She lay on the floor, aghast, her bare feet still sticking straight up in the air. I looked down at her and smirked. "That's how me 'n' the Road Warrior used to take care of Humungus and Wez and the rest of their dastardly bunch," I said airily.

"And there I was, clinging to that huge tanker truck with the whole insane lot of 'em roaring up behind us in their blazing death-mobiles as me and Max thundered down the highway, basking in a heavenly incandescent kaleidescope of raw courageous glory, baptised in utter greatness, and then--"

The little girl stomped on my left foot. "OWWWWW!!!" I screamed, hopping up and down. "OWWWWW-WOWWWWWW!!! YOWWWWWWW!!! MY FOOT!!!"

"Serves ya right!" she sneered. "Those were my mom's brand new Keds! And you're nothin' but the WORLD'S BIGGEST FIBBER!!!"

"SHUT UP!!!" I shrieked, still hopping up and down. So righteously upset was I that I barely noticed that the manager of the laundrymat was already hoisting me off my feet and throwing me out the front door, flinging my laundry after me in great fluttering clumps that draped themselves haphazardly across my prone body. The other kids rushed to the front window and looked out at me, shaking their heads in disappointment and disgust.

"YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS INSECTS!!!" I screamed. "CLOWNS!!! SHEEP!!! IGNORANT PAWNS OF THE ILLUMINATI!!!" I realized that I was wearing a pair of my underwear as a hat and snatched them off. Insouciantly, I pretended once again to appreciate their "dryer fresh" aroma and then stuck my tongue out at everyone. "NYAAAAAAHHH!!!"

"I'll bet that part about the Gyro Captain wasn't true either," said one little boy.

"SHUT UP!!!"

Gracefully gathering up my laundry, I retreated in a dignified manner. As soon as I turned the corner, I grabbed up the nearest pay phone and called the fire department, reporting that the laundrymat was on fire. Minutes later several firetrucks with sirens blaring descended upon the small building and drenched it with huge, thundering gouts of water as everyone inside scrambled out screaming for their lives like a bunch of wet rats.

That night, I watched Tim Burton's BATMAN and memorized all the dialogue so that I could recount the entire story verbatim to another group of unsuspecting admirers. This time, however, I would have to pick a different laundrymat--preferably on the other side of town.

After I climbed into bed later on, I practiced saying "I'm Batman" in a growly voice until I fell into a peaceful slumber, dreaming of the looks of amazement and delight on the children's faces, and supremely confident in the knowledge that whatever you might say about Tim Burton's BATMAN, it most definitely isn't post-apocalytic.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Cows are really starting to tick me off. Some may think it merely coincidence, while others might suspect it to be part of some strange, organized conspiracy, but lately cows have been doing everything in their power to make my life miserable.

Last week I go into Johnny Ozark's for some chicken-stuffed jalapenos, and when I get my tray and my large Pepsi I start looking for a place to sit down. All the tables are full, and all the little old-fashioned school desks lining the walls are full, too. And then I notice it--there's a cow sitting in one of them.

Of course, fair's fair, and I'm happy to concede to all the other diners who got there before I did, but this freakin' cow isn't eating anything. In fact, it isn't even reading a newspaper or talking on a cell phone. It's just sitting there...sitting there occupying that last seat just so I won't have a place to sit down. And the thing that made me really mad was that it wouldn't even look at me. It just stared off into space with a dull look, as though I didn't even exist.

So, a couple of days ago my car refuses to start while I'm downtown shopping for a pair of shorts. Usually I never take a taxicab, but this day I finally have to because it's the only way I'm going to get home. Now, every other time I'm walking around downtown there's an empty cab toodling by every minute or so, but today? No. They're all occupied. By cows.

Cab goes by--there's a cow sitting in the back seat. Another cab goes by--there's a cow in it. Cab--cow. Cab--cow. My mind starts to reel. Where the hell are they going? How do they tell the cab driver where to go? Does he just assume they're going to the nearest cow pasture, start the meter, and take off? And how the hell does he expect to be paid--by a cow? It just doesn't make sense.

Okay, so this is really starting to bug me, but I'm all like, "Okay, it's just a coincidence. Cows aren't plotting against you, ha ha. These things happen. Just be cool, and pretty soon you'll be looking back and laughing about this whole thing." Uh-huh. At least, I thought so until yesterday.

Long story short--some personal business crops up that urgently requires my presence in Cincinatti, Ohio within the next few hours. So I call the airport and ask the lady for a seat on the next thing smoking. She informs me:

"I'm sorry, sir, but I just sold the last one five minutes ago."

"The last one? Five minutes ago?"

"Yes, sir."

"You didn' any chance...sell it to a cow, did you?"


"A cow! A cow! What are you, deaf?"

"Sir, I--"


So now I'm, like, banned for life from ever setting foot in the airport ever again, or ever calling a Mrs. Edna P. Flonase on the phone again, which is pretty inconvenient as well as being rather embarrassing. And that's just what those cow bastards wanted.

Of course, I may have overreacted a tad--but I was under a strain, as you can surely understand. Anyway, I decided that it was time to confront these cow bastards once and for all, so I drove out to the nearest pasture and stood at the barbed-wire fence, surveying the dozens of cows that were standing around eating grass or whatever it is that they do in order to lull people into a false sense of security.


Some of the cows looked at me--sizing me up, I sensed, and assessing me as a foe--while the others pretended not to notice me. This stoked my rage even further.


At this, some of the cows began to move away slowly, warily. Others joined them, until most of them were retreating like the cowards they were. A few remained behind, probably the self-appointed military wing of the herd. Single cows, I'd imagine... reckless, expendable... eager for glory. I welcomed their attack. Pushed beyond all normal limits, I was ready to rumble.

But it was not to be, not that day at least. After a tense, two-hour "Mexican standoff", the last cows finally drifted away and wandered out of sight. I stood there, drenched--it had started to rain rather heavily at some point--and relished my victory. A temporary one, to be sure, but satisfying all the same.

I had faced my foes, these overconfident cow bastards who thought I'd be an easy prey--a "pushover"--and I had forced them to back down by sheer will power alone. And somewhere, I don't know where, but somewhere, a "Mrs. Edna P. Flonase" just might be lying awake in bed, agonizing over whether or not she picked the wrong side in this war.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


If you ever go into a McDonald's or a Wendy's or whatever and there are Eskimos in there, get out as fast as you can. I'm not just talking about people of the Eskimo persuasion in general, I'm talking about your classic stereotypical Eskimos with the huge furry parkas and the husky-drawn sleds and igloos and stuff. They have no business in a fast food restaurant and if they're in there when you walk in, something's dreadfully wrong.

Sorry if this sounds "un-PC", but Eskimos are the worst-ever fast-food employees, especially the ones that don't like to speak English. Oh, they KNOW how to speak English. They just don't LIKE to. They'd rather speak Eskimo, and they actually look at you like you were a dope for not being able to understand it. Whenever such an occasion pops up, I feel like responding angrily, "Well, excuuuuse me for not being an Eskimo!", but I don't because I'm afraid one of them might throw a harpoon at me or something.

Just trying to order a quarter-pounder and fries from a singleminded, hardcore Eskimo is like trying to kill a plastic lawn chair with an egg-beater. "I'd like a quarter-pounder and fries," you might cheerily announce, unaware of the anguish ahead. The Eskimo behind the counter, peering suspiciously out at you from within his parka's enormous hood, will ask, "You want fries with that?" An honest mistake, you think, before answering blithely, "Ha ha, well, I did say I wanted a quarter-pounder 'with fries', so, of course, I don't want fries WITH the quarter-pounder and fries. But...I do want the fries."

"You want Full Meal Deal?" he asks, unswerving in his rigid, vaguely-intimidating demeanor.

"No, I'm taking this straight home to eat," you respond. "So I don't need a drink. I'll, uhh, just drink water with it when I get home., I don't need to order the entire...err, Full Meal Deal."

The Eskimo peers straight into your eyes, unblinking. "This for here or to-go?"

Gradually, the tension rises. "It's to-go. Remember? I said I was going to take it home. Heh, uhh..."

"Would you like fried pie?"

"Uh, no."

Now the tension is thick enough to poke with a picnic fork. The Eskimo rings up the order without taking his steely gaze off of you. He glances down at the total. "That will be five dollars and sixty-five cents."

It's been a while since you ate in one of these places, and you expected it to come to a couple of bucks, tops. You reconsider the necessity of the fries, then worry that if you tell the Eskimo that you changed your mind and all you want is the quarter-pounder, he'll ask, "You want fries with that?"

"Uhh," you finally say aloud as you take out your wallet. "I think I'll just have the quarter-pounder by itself, then."

"You want fries with that?"

"No, because that would defeat the purpose of my specifically not ordering the fries! How the hell can you not order fries if you have fries with them?"

You blurt it out before you can stop yourself. Expecting the worst, you prepare to be harpooned. Then you discover that somewhere in the sentence "How the hell can you not order fries if you have fries with them?" is the secret password that the Eskimo has been on the alert for all along. Motioning you behind the counter, he then gives you the secret hand sign. You respond by throwing up your hands in confusion, which is the exact response he was looking for. Silently, he leads you back into the kitchen.

Sound familiar so far? If so, you've been waited on by an Eskimo at a fast food restaurant, too. (The last time it happened to me was day before yesterday.)

As I walked hesitantly behind the counter, the Eskimo opened the kitchen door. To my surprise, there were banks of video monitors and computer keyboards amidst the grills and deep-fryers, with Eskimos at every monitoring station. It was at that moment that I realized these Eskimos were actually agents of E.S.K.I.M.O., which stands for "Eternal Surveillance K-something (couldn't think of anything that began with a K) And (needed an "and" there, sorry) Massive Observation. Of People. (We needed the "of people" at the end but we cut it off the abbreviation or it would've been "ESKIMOOP.")"

This insidious organization monitored the entire population of the world 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, they didn't know why they were doing it, because the mysterious mastermind behind the organization was run over by a streetcar one day while out walking his giant rabbits.

Okay, I'm making some of that up. Actually, Eskimos secretly run mission control for NASA via satellite out of various fast food restaurants across the United States. The nerdy guys we're used to seeing in mission control during space flights just show up whenever they're going to be on TV. The rest of the time they enjoy white-water rafting, snorkling, aquatic ballroom dancing, skipping merrily, Olympic-level synchronized skipping merrily, marathon gargling competitions, being chased through the woods by timber wolves, re-enacting "Brady Bunch" episodes dressed as S.S. officers, and passing out ham sandwiches to anyone wearing a sombrero.

And so, Eskimos are running our space program in-between cooking hamburgers and making non-dairy "shakes." When they SHOULD be concentrating on cooking and preparing the best food possible for their paying customers, and doing so in a timely manner. Which you simply can't do if you're coordinating a shuttle mission or overseeing the construction of a new module on the international space station. Which, by the way, is infested with gophers.

I don't wonder that NASA would try to pull something like this, but the question that keeps nagging me is "Why Eskimos?" I once had the opportunity to pose this question to presidential candidate Fred Dalton Thompson on one of those radio call-in shows, and his response was to go instantly, irrevocably insane. Well, I just don't know if I can support a candidate for President who goes instantly, irrevocably insane whenever someone asks him about Eskimos. Anyway, Fred Dalton Thompson has just been cast as Tarzan in the upcoming film, TARZAN DRIVES A MAC TRUCK INTO A BRICK WALL AT EIGHTY MILES AN HOUR FOR NO APPARENT REASON WHATSOEVER.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I've been a "Star Trek" fanatic for longer than a lot of people have been alive--especially babies. I started out with the original series, back when that was the only Trek there was (unless you count "Oyster Trek" with Regis Philbin, which wasn't a very exciting show at all), and there wasn't much about the series that I didn't like.

I liked the low-budget special effects. I liked Yeoman Janice Rand's stupid basket-weave wig that looked like it should have a jug of wine and a loaf of French bread sticking out of it. I liked the way Captain Kirk's ass used to explode whenever someone threw flaming hamsters at him. There just wasn't anything about the show that I didn't wholeheartedly like. Except for one thing. One really annoying thing. One really, really annoying, horrible, smelly, vomit-inducing, egg-sucking, crab-infested, donkey-raping thing...

Ensign Pavel Chekov.

And the way Bones used to pooch his bottom lip out like a bloated slug whenever he was concerned about something. Okay, two things. But mainly Ensign Pavel Chekov.

The character of Ensign Chekov was created when Paramount realized that "Star Trek" needed to compete with "The Monkees" for all those young teenyboppers out in TV land. So they hired Walter Koenig, slapped a wig on him to make him look like a space Monkee with a small, furry animal on his head, and introduced him, fittingly, during a comedy episode called "The Trouble With Tribbles." This gave him a chance to showcase the funny aspects of his character right away, the main one being that Chekov, being a Russian, thinks that everything was invented by Russians. Pardon me, in-WENT-ed by Russians.

That's another fascinating thing about Chekov--due to his incredibly fake Russian accent, he cannot pronounce the letter "V." Which makes him sound like the big, stupid idiot that he is. "Keptain, the alien wessel is approaching," he might say during a tense moment, causing Kirk to waste valuable seconds trying to figure out what the hell he's talking about. It's a good thing Sulu knew how to handle that sort of stuff because Chekov was about as useful behind the navigator's console as having a bunch of retarded turnip farmers humping goats all over the bridge. "Keptain, the alien wessel is weering off," he might add later on, which Kirk could totally ignore since Sulu had already handled the shit ten seconds ago. Message to Chekov: you've got a friggin' "V" in your NAME--DUMBASS! Learn how to SAY it!

With that stupid hair-mop shoved onto his head, Chekov was supposed to look like, I don't know, Davey Jones or Mickey Dolenz or something. He actually looks more like actress Elaine Giftos, or a larger version of "Mikey" from the Life cereal commercials. Teenybopper-wise, he's a train wreck. I would hate to see how any young girl who ever sighed dreamily over a picture of Walter Koenig as "Chekov" turned out. Maybe that's where lesbians come from.

Later, when they decided Chekov was so universally adored that he could get along without the wig, Koenig sported what may be television's first teenybopper-idol comb-over. Suddenly, it was like having one of the Dave Clark Five or Gerry and the Pacemakers on the bridge. You know, vaguely Monkee-like, only ugly. So now, "Star Trek" was stuck with this incredibly lame major character who was about as appealing as a huge pair of hairy titties on Tommy Lee Jones. And what happens then? George Takei goes off to be in THE GREEN BERETS with John Wayne, so all of Sulu's lines during the next several episodes are given to Chekov. My god, it's like a nightmare you can't wake up from. And it just gets worse.

You see, Chekov did have one unique, outstanding talent that he was allowed to show off week after week--whenever he was frightened or in pain, he would scream like a girl. Chekov stumbles across a dead body: "YAAAAAAAAA!!!" Chekov hurts his widdle hand: "YAAAAAAAAA!!!" It finally reached a point where the red alert siren was no longer necessary, because whenever anything bad happened, the rest of the crew could hear Chekov screaming all over the ship. The only time this wasn't incomprehensibly irritating was in the "Mirror, Mirror" episode, in which Chekov is placed into something called the "agony booth." Just think...Chekov, in intense agony, for hours and hours on end, screaming his head off. "YAAAAAAAAA!!!" to my ears.

When the series made the leap onto the big screen, Chekov was still stuck to it like a leech. He was just as useless as ever, but for some reason kept getting major parts in the stories. In the first one, there's a scene in which he burns his hand during a life-or-death situation, and everything comes to a screeching halt as he lurches around the bridge screaming until Dr. Chapel races in and sprays some soothing medicine on the big baby's boo-boo.

In STAR TREK:THE WRATH OF KHAN, a loathesome creature burrows its way into his ear canal, allowing him to scream yet again, and he screams some more when the thing comes back out. And to make sure we haven't forgotten what an idiot he is, he spends half the running time of STAR TREK:THE VOYAGE HOME running around San Francisco dressed like the little Sherwin-Williams Dutch boy, doggedly asking people where the "nuclear wessels" are. I swear, you just want to strangle the goofy little shit.

Anyway, the original cast of "Star Trek" has been put out to pasture now, including Ensign Pavel Chekov, thank god. And with "Star Trek:The Next Generation" came a whole new cast of cool characters, and we were just positive that good ol' Gene Roddenberry would do everything right this time and not stick us with somebody as incredibly lame as Chekov, and then, right there in the first freakin' episode, is Wil Wheaton as "Wesley Crusher." And grateful "Star Trek" fans everywhere could be heard saying in unison: "Thanks, Gene. I hope your dick falls off."