Gone vacationin’

VacationMy wife and I haven’t taken a vacation in years, decades actually. Not because we don’t want to go on one, or can’t afford to go on one, or even that we can’t decide where to go on one.

No, it’s because of the kids. You know, the pets. We’ve got too many to take with us, unless they rent rooms with a view and beachfront access at a kennel on some Caribbean island. Of course we can’t leave them home alone – we’d come back to find most of the house destroyed and probably a few of them missing. We can’t leave them with someone – we’d come back to find most of their house destroyed and probably our friends missing.

No, we’ve got too many animals and not enough disposable friends to go on vacation. Which leaves us one choice when we yearn to see the world beyond our backyard. We have to live vicariously through others’ vacations.

But not just any vacations. Just the bad ones. Looking in on someone’s great vacation would make us sad. But looking in on someone’s …
vacation from hell … now that’s a vicarious vacation that’s well worth the, uh, vicariousing.

For the best in worst awkward vacation moments, or anything awkward when it comes to families, there’s no better place to click than AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. Just possibly the most fun website on Earth. It’s so great, I love it. It’s so great, I hate it. With a passion. Because I didn’t think of it. Set up a website, let people from all over the world send you their awkward family photos and just post them for all to see. Wonderfully simple and wildly successful. I despise it.

Let’s see some “highlights” of what some fortunate families are doing with their paid-time-off and where they’re doing it, shall we? Yes, let’s shall.Drip Rock KentuckyWho needs a coast, or a beach, or even a sandbox, when you and your kin can get away from it all in Drip Rock, Kentucky? The only answer: “Ayup, damn straight … know whatimtalkinbout?” Bathing suits are optional. Beer, mandatory.
tree straddlersDear Charles Darwin: Hey Chuck, you were right. You just left off one part. It may have taken us tens of thousands of years to climb down out of trees, walk upright and become Man. But it only takes a week in Hawaii for us to get species-identical, scamper back up one and feel right at home. Evolutionarily yours, GW.
take a hikeAw, look honey – gotta take a picture here. We’ve got a couple of great girls, don’t we? I told you a couple of weeks hiking through the Cascades would be good for all of us. Not sure why they look like that kid on the porch in the Burt Reynolds’ movie, “Deliverance,” but it’s true – for a good time, get back to nature!
family squatIt’s said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That said, take a look at this happy brood and what can one conclude? There must be a popular vacation destination out there called Toilet, and the family that squats together … are just doing as the Toiletians do. Of course. Now this makes perfect common sense.

And lastly, my favorite place not to get away from it all.
lobster potLooks like a fun family all piled into the hot tub, right? Look more closely. At the much happier crowd, lined up in a ring ’round the tub’s rim.

Ayup, damn straight. A vacationing family of lobsters … having a cookout.


Farts in the news, Part 1

space_fartIf you’ve read this blog with any regularity, there’s a likely-good chance you’ve chuckled now and then. Maybe even snickered a time or two. Why, I might guess an occasional chortle or possibly a guffaw has erupted once or twice.

But I’m certain of one thing. In fact, I’m so confident about it I’m even willing to bet your house on it. At one time or another you’ve asked yourself, “Gee, I wonder just how low this guy will go for a laugh?”

fart showWell, now you know.

Truly, trying to write funny is an exhausting endeavor. Oh sure, you’re saying. How hard can it be? Conjure up a couple straight lines, plunk down a punch line after each and ipso facto – high hilarity shall ensue.

Notso fasto. It takes time. It takes a lot of wit. It takes mucho brainpower. And sometimes, it takes a ton of research.

Which is where I came up with this one. After months upon months of relentlessly rapping out the same keyword search, I have not found the cure for cancer. But I have found there are a lot of stories centered around the lowly-but-not-lovely … fart.

Hence, I bring you – Farts in the news. And why Part 1? Because while funny may come and go … flatulence is eternal.

And I’ll probably need to push out another blog like this sometime down the road.

E Pluribus Fartum

Thanks to our federal government there are not only civil rights, but now uncivil rights. In January the Washington Post reported that, after many of his co-workers complained, an unnamed Social Security Administration employee was slapped with a formal complaint. He was accused of creating a “hostile work environment” because of his non-stop ass-blasts. This even though he’d provided documentation of a medical condition that caused uncontrollable flatulence. But when senior management caught wind of the reprimand, “it was immediately rescinded,” an agency spokeswoman said.

“… with liberty and flatulence, for all …”

Breaking the wind limitno farting signThis might shock you. It turns out a lot of crime has something to do with passing gas. Not only in the commission of wrongdoing, but even in the fighting of it. Read on and don’t forget, as the Homeland Security Agency always says, “if you smell something, say something.”

Go ahead, fart my day

Last year in Teaneck, New Jersey, a man allegedly pulled a gun on his neighbor after hearing the man pass gas in front of his apartment door. Police in Teaneck say the aggrieved apartment-dweller had been having ongoing noise issues with this neighbor and when he let one rip, well, it was the last straw. However, turns out it was the victim who ended up on the wrong side of the law. He was charged with aggravated assault. As for the neighbor? Lucky for him there’s not yet DNA testing for air. He could have been facing aggravating assault charges.

And speaking of neighbors …

… a concerned woman in Detroit called 911 earlier this month after overhearing what sounded like a violent argument coming from her neighbors’ house, namely a woman’s screams of “Stop! No!,” each time followed by a loud noise. When officers arrived, they discovered that the woman was being terrorized by her boyfriend’s farts. The man apparently was answering every yell with earsplitting butt rebuttals. The officers in their report noted they “cleared the scene expeditiously.” Said Police Chief Harry Anderson: “It’s quite often that we respond to things that have a funny twist to them.”

Taking a fart out of crime

It would seem one bad smell led to another recently in Leicester, England. Back in June, two of three police officers in a patrol car were suffering, at the mercy of the gaseous results of the third officer’s high-protein diet. They rolled down the windows to bring in some fresh air, but then recognized the distinct odor of marijuana wafting in, which led them to a nearby house, a.k.a. pot-growing factory. Seven people were arrested and nearly $19,000 worth of crops was confiscated. A police source said, “It was a good collar, and it was all down to this officer and his flatulence.”

I wonder if there’s a commendation for that.

While it seems gas-powered crime may not pay, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a name for yourself using it. For it seems …

… thar’s gold in them thar toots!

Mr+Methane+trouser+trumpetMeet Paul Oldfield, I mean, Mr. Methane, who’s powered a career with his gas. Since the 1980s. After he discovered his gift while doing yoga as a teen, he perfected it and has since appeared on stage, television and radio. Yes, he’s that loud. And that … gifted. Like they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. No, make that – when life gives you gas … Mr. Methane … make money.

What did they do to my Twinkie?

magnifying glass guyIs nothing sacred anymore?

No Virginia, there is nothing sacred anymore.

Walking the aisles of my neighborhood supermarket, I came ’round a corner and there they were. A giant display of them. The only Made-in-Hollywood ingredients missing from this sudden, yet touching reunion scene were the heavenly warbling of an angelic choir and a hovering, golden halo-like hue.twinkiesHostess Twinkies. Hundreds of them. If only I could have run to them in slow motion. If only I could run, period.

But instead, I jammed my shopping cart into hyper-drive, swerved round some elder reaching for toilet paper and cut off some kid waving a box of Cocoa Puffs above his head and running after his mother. I grabbed a box of Twinkies and one of another resurrected dessert delight, Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. Then on to the dairy cooler, snatched a gallon of milk and headed straight away to the checkout.

The Hostess Powdered Donettes would be another day. Alas, I was already locked and overloaded.

In less time than it takes to stuff a wad of sugary white something into a yellow, sort of cake-like tube, cash changed hands, snacks were bagged – paper, not plastic – and I was out the door.

Of course I didn’t wait, not even long enough to start the truck. Ripped the box open, reached in and pulled out … an extra from the kitchen cupboard in the movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
twinkies-cartoon-hellerI was appalled. But not speechless.

“What have they done to my Twinkie!,” I yelled to no one. “Why, it’s no bigger than my pinky! In fact, it’s downright dinky! And why am I talking like this, Dr. Seuss is dead and this is beginning to feel creepy!”

What. The. Hell.

Later, at home, a little research provided me with a lot of answers. Like this, from a nydailynews.com article:

“Purists might notice a slight difference in this latest version of the beloved snack cake — it’s about 15 calories less than the traditional version, and weighs less too.

A single spongy treat now has 135 calories and weighs 38.5 grams, according to a Hostess spokesperson.

The traditional Twinkie weighed 42.5 grams and had 150 calories.”

Now, wait a minute. Granted, I can’t tell the difference between a diet book and kindling, but something tells me there’s not one diet plan that includes the Twinkie. No meal plan that recommends you pound down a couple of Twinkies with a glass of skim milk, then turn sideways and look in a mirror and proudly say, “Now that’s slim and trim.”

Nutrition, thy name is not Twinkie.

I’m not mad, just … disappointed. And I’m not giving up on my just-returned palatable pal. The shelf life of this smaller snack has been upped to 46 days, far greater than the old, bigger one’s 26. So I’m putting my box up on my shelf, way in the back, where it can’t be seen or touched. I won’t take it down for another 45, 46 days.

By then they should be full-grown.twinkies-cartoon-beeler

Bye-bye, slow mowtion

Yesterday: Grass grows. Man mows. Life sucks.mower today

Today: Grass grows. Man mows. Ain’t life grand?honda 1Post on FoxNews.com, July 18, 2013:

“Honda, in conjunction with Top Gear magazine and racing outfit Team Dynamics, has built a high performance ride-on lawn mower capable of reaching speeds up to 130 mph.

And, yes, it can still cut the grass.

The so-called Mean Mower started out as a production Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor before the team replaced its stock 20 horsepower motor with the 109 hp, 1,000 cc V-twin from a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm sport bike, along with its six-speed transmission, and re-engineered the suspension to handle a set of ATV wheels and tires.

A Scorpion exhaust system pumps up the volume to an ear-shattering 130 decibels … a Cobra racing seat was fitted to keep up with the bump in performance … good enough to accelerate the grass assassin to 60 mph in four seconds …”

As I write this, it’s Saturday, 8:08 a.m. Outside, it’s 82 degrees, humidity at 74 percent. Couple hours it’ll be hot enough to cook breakfast on the patio tiles and the atmosphere so moisture-laden one can water potted houseplants by holding them up and waving them around in the air.

Today’s old plan of attack: Grass grows. Man throws … himself down stairs, breaks a leg. Cries tears of joy.

Today’s new plan of attack: Grass grows …honda 2

“Hon, I’m going to mow the lawn.”

“Great, it sure needs it. Wait a minute, the baseball game’s about to start on TV. I thought you were going to watch it.”

“I am.”

Thirty-four seconds elapse.

“There … all done. Back in time for the first pitch.”

“But you just went out there. Lemme look … my God, it is.”

“New mower. No problem.”

“Uh, it looks great. Couple things, though. I don’t see the patio furniture, or the grill. And where’s our big elm tree?”

“Collateral damage. We got any beer?”

Look Ma, no can see my feet!

spanking 1I just weighed myself on my wife’s new handy-dandy Weight Watchers LED-lit digital bathroom scale. Damn – not only does the thing work well, it might work too well. I stood on it and watched my weight go up, and up, and up and then I stepped off. I’d seen enough.

I got the phone and called my mother.

“Hello, dear.”

“Hi Ma, I’ll only keep you a minute. I just want to say I’m teetering on the cusp of obesity and it’s your fault. I hope you’re happy now.”

There was a sigh on the other end of the line.

“As usual, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Which means, as usual, I have to ask you what you’re talking about.”

“I’m fat and just the other day I read about a study that reveals why I’m fat.”

“You’re eating too much?”

“Ha – nice try, but that old line’s not going to work anymore. I know better now. Researchers at Canada’s University of Manitoba did a study of more than 34,000 adults and the findings suggest that the harsh physical punishment they suffered as children has put them now at a higher risk of heart disease, arthritis and … obesity. Ergo, I’m fat because you spanked me.”

“What? I never spanked you.”

spanking cartoon“You must have spanked me. Why else would I be fat?”

“Allow me to repeat myself. You’re eating too much?”

“Ma, 34,000 Manitobians can’t be wrong.”

“Manitobians? What’s a Manitobian? And anyway, if I did spank you, why is it that you don’t remember it?”

hypnosis“Well, I could have suppressed it. Forced it deep, deep down into my dark subconscious, where only little albino shrimps with no eyes and all of my darkest memories can live. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll bet if I went to one of those hypnosis therapists they could put me in a trance and I’d recall all of the horrid details, as well as find out I was the King of Siam in a previous life.”

“More than likely, you’d cluck like a chicken. I never had to spank you, back then. As for the present moment, I plead the Fifth. Now, talk to your father. Dear, pick up the extension in there. Your son’s on the phone … says he’s gaining weight now because we spanked him way back when he was a child.”

“Spanked him? Not a chance – you wouldn’t let me. Tell him it’s probably because he’s eating too much.”

Staking a claim to fame

guinness-book-of-world-recordsOne of the kids I hung out with during recess in third grade would fold back both of his upper eyelids and then run around grossing out all the girls out on the playground. His little inside-out eyeball trick would send them running off in a screaming, squealing, frenzied stampede.

All of us guys thought he was a god. The girls were convinced he was a clod. Funny, even today in my mind I can replay him doing it, but I couldn’t tell you his name for a million bucks tax-free.

Such was his claim to fame, I guess. Such talent. Poor guy flamed out too soon. If only we’d known about the Guinness World Records back then. Not only would he have been a god, but today he might be an immortal.

You don’t think so? Not good enough? You ever actually look at some of the records in Guinness’ book? I thought not. Here’s a new one soon to be enshrined in its vault of odd human hallmarks.

Largest Human Playing Card

human-playing-card Six hundred people at the Oneida Indian tribe’s Turning Stone Resort in central New York last weekend donned red or white rain ponchos and were positioned to form a human version of the ace of diamonds. They had to remain in place for five minutes to qualify for the record.

Interesting but my bet’s on another world record – keeping 600 people in a casino away from the slot machines for five minutes.

Most Items Kicked Off People’s Heads in One Minute

kicked off heads The astounding benchmark is 43 and was achieved by Zara Phythian of the UK in 2009.

Sorry, Zara. Not impressed. But show me Most People’s Heads Kicked Off in One Minute … and now we’re talking impressive.

Heaviest Car Balanced on a Head

car balanced on head John Evans managed to balance a 352-pound Mini on his head for 33 seconds in London in 1999.

I’m told he probably could have gone longer but alas, he sneezed at 34 seconds. End of record. End of John. Even knocked the Mini out of alignment. Awarded posthumously.

World’s Oldest Cake

oldest wedding cake

A museum in England is displaying a 113-year-old wedding cake that’s being called the world’s oldest. The Willis Museum in Basingstoke, Hampshire, says the Victorian-era cake was baked in 1898. Oh sure, it’s browned over the years and suffered a crack after a World War II bomb blast, but what do you expect? For better or for worse, remember. Supposedly, a recent investigation with a syringe revealed that the fruitcake inside is still moist.

Take that, new Twinkies.

Most Naked Rollercoaster Riders

naked riders In 2004, 32 naked members of the public took a ride on the Nemesis rollercoaster at the UK’s Alton Towers.

Whoa, Guinness – just hold that ride for a minute. Those people aren’t naked. They’re wearing shoes.

Stupid human tricks

dumb-peopleLate-night TV talk show host David Letterman is being clever with his show’s “Stupid Pet Tricks” segments but the comedian’s actual message is really, it takes a stupid person to teach an animal a dumb trick.

But wait just a minute. Stupid people don’t need no stinking pets to be stupid! No, they just need to, well, all they’ve got to do is … breathe.
stupid_human_beings_08 Maybe this isn’t as stupid as it would initially appear. If you look closely, you see the man’s wearing rubber boots and is sitting on a plastic tarp. So that makes him insulated and protected, right? Right.
stupid woodFor some people, you can choose to be the handyman, or the brainyman. But ne’er the twain shall ever meet.
stupid_human_beings_18Yes sir, the guy with the hatchet is stupid. And the one on the right taking this exercise seriously is really stupid. But what about the soldier in the middle, who’s prepared for what may happen by clamping his eyes shut? Remarkably stupid.
Stupid-People-Doing-Unsafe-Things-11For the sake of this holy person, let’s all say a prayer that while he certainly was dumb, the tiger cub proved to be dumber. Or at the very least to possess the patience of a saint.
People-Doing-Stupid-Things4As in karate, there are degrees of stupid. One of these three stooges had to think this one up. Make him a black belt, first-degree. The other two had to go along with it. A black belt, second-degree, for each of them. And for all three, let’s award them honorary burns, third-degree. Oh, and the guy in the middle gets extra credit for willingly looking like Jim Carrey.
mowing the hedgesYou know, the more I look at this, the more I’m thinking … this isn’t so stupid.