We wish you …

Mom and Rocky kiss … a merry Christmas …
Merry Wilbur 1 … We wish you …
Merry Zoe … a merry Christmas!

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy neeeew … Merry Rocky Whatever. Give me the damn treat you promised me.

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Life: Time to dumb it down

mad_scientistI never had much use for science when I was in school. At the time I thought it was because I was too dumb. Now I know better.

Science is stupid. And worse, it’s making our lives more stupid every day. Why? Because they do stupid studies that come up with stupid conclusions. And a lot of people stupidly believe them because they’re living with the stupid impression that science is all about being smart.

And that’s really stupid.

Take, for instance, a group of scientists in the U.K., “leading experts on food safety,” who decided to find out how clean and sanitary is the average backyard grill in the Land of Brits. They released their findings over there on Friday, just in time for the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend over here. The headline on the story posted on one U.S. news website, theweek.com, sums it up pretty well.

“Happy Memorial Day: Your BBQ grill may have more germs than a toilet seat.”

I knew there was more than one reason to wage war on that country.

Let me introduce you to the Three Bringers of Your Apocalypse: Sam Onella. E. Coli and Les Teria.

Allow me introduce the Three Bringers of Your Apocalypse: From left, Sam Onella, E. Coli and Les Teria.

Seems the average home BBQ grilling surface is a magnet for harmful bacteria like salmonella, e-coli and listeria. Because most of our backyard grills aren’t kept clean enough to … well, to eat off of.

Interesting. Now, wait just a minute. Before you, me, and every barbecuing person in this country runs out into the streets and falls on our long-handled meat forks, let’s recall one little-bitty, silly thing that seems to be missing in this whole conversation here.

I see cavemen. I see meat. I see dirt. Whoa now - I DON'T see any Handi-Wipes! How the hell did we ever freakin' evolve!?!

I see cavemen. I see cavemen cooking meat. I see dirt. Whoa now – I DON’T see any Handi-Wipes! How the hell did we ever freakin’ evolve!?!

Fire.

Fire is enlightening. Fire is even somewhat pretty. But fire also is hot. Fire burns things. Like houses, paper, trees. Why, fire’s even been known to burn people’s beating hearts … with a hunka-hunka burning love. Oh, and also quite a few hamburgs and hot dogs too.

Grill, meet fire. Fire, meet grill. Bacteria? Meet your destruction.

Grill, meet fire. Fire, meet grill. Bacteria? Meet your destruction.

But before it ever puts a sear on a steak, I’ll bet it burns up every single bad ol’ bacteria that might be hanging on to that grilling surface as it burns and brings up the temperature to the necessary sizzling point – hot enough to grill those hunksa-hunksa barbecue food items.

But what if they don’t all die? The bacteria, I mean. What if a few get through and into your disgestive innards?

I’ve already thought of that, got it figured out. And I’m not even one of those smart scientists. Remember, I flunked science.

A bottle a day keeps the bacteria away.

A bottle a day keeps the bacteria away.

Beer – cold, sparkling, refreshing … and alcoholically antiseptic.

Hello muddah …

mom-tattoo1Gee, Mom – remember when you told me that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, I do. Even to this day. Especially today because frankly, I haven’t got a thousand words in me.

But never fear, your loving son still is here. I’m going to take your wise words to heart and let a bunch of pictures tell you how much I cherish everything you’ve done for me. Of course it starts with giving birth to me … and still not trading me to the door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman for a shiny new Lint-o-matic gadget.

Appreciate it. I knew it was tempting.

Looking back, man did you have a lot of great ideas at your disposal. No wonder I turned out so, so, much like me!

Mom V-8First off, thanks for not making me drink this stuff. You just knew eating vegetables would make me look just like these people.

Mom's Blatz beerAnd second, now this was more like it. I guess it is true that “Mother knows best, and it’s better with a Blatz.”

Mom babysitterAnd thanks so much for keeping me safe and away from danger. Like runaway trains, stampeding buffalo, roving bands of marauding Avon ladies and most of all … myself.

Mom trimmerAnd let’s not forget all of the good grooming tips you taught me. And how understanding you were, no matter what I did.

Mom MarlborosGee, Mom … you are swell!

Brown Friday is the new Black Friday

If you’re an American consumer who is consumed by “the deal” and you’re reading this, evidently you survived Black Friday. Congratulations. There were many who ventured out into the morass along with you who were not so fortunate – they didn’t make it through those dark and dastardly 24 hours.

Many left their homes as their friends and loved ones soundly slept in their beds, and have never been seen again. And the only tangible memory they’ve left behind to be remembered by? It will arrive in a few weeks when their final credit card bill shows up, listing the stores where they were last seen alive and charging.

But if you’re reading this while sitting on the commode in your bathroom and you’re not up to your ankles in brackish water, you may not know this but you’ve also made it through Brown Friday. Congratulations. Your local Roto-Rooter plumber tips his cap and plunger to you.

While many Americans spent the better part of Friday slugging and slashing, and scratching and clawing at each other to get ahold of the last 387-inch (diagonal) LED-LCD-HD-3D TV on sale for only $7.97 (plus tax), it’s likely that none of them were Roto-Rooter plumbers, or any brand-name plumber.

I’d bet the homestead if you were standing in line outside a Wal-Mart at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, you didn’t see anything like this in front of you. However, if you did, you’ve got to ask yourself: Couldn’t I possibly have found something better to do at this ungodly hour?

It isn’t because plumbers are more mentally competent than all the other kinds of working stiffs in this country. It’s just that while most people were spending money, plumbers were making it. Best day of the year for them, evidently.

On second thought, that does make them more mentally competent.

In a story posted this week in the online newspaper, The Huffington Post, incoming calls for service to the largest plumbing services company in North America are 50 percent above average on Black Friday.

That’s a lot more clogged drains, jammed kitchen garbage disposals, and upchucking toilets.

Oh-oh say can you see? By my john’s early light …

And that’s a lot more moolah for your friendly neighborhood plumber. Which leaves him absolutely no time to be standing around in a crowded shopping mall or big-box retail outlet battling for sale items. They answer to a higher calling.

According to a Roto-Rooter press release, plumbers often put in 18-hour days to help customers through this time. “The day after Thanksgiving is the toughest day of the year to get a day off from work. We’ll answer every call until the work is done and as late as necessary,” the release states.

But why? What makes the day after Turkey Day so special for these specialists of your pipes and sanitary appliances?

As usual, you can blame it on … the relatives. It seems the addition of all of those visiting, eating and personally-relieving humans can put a real strain on a home’s internal waste management system.

Even if you’re a Republican, putting more butts on the pot can strain even the toughest household plumbing system.

Add to that an “unusual buildup of Thanksgiving-related wastes.” That includes pumpkin entrails, turkey dressing and bones. And all those potato and onion peelings are the worst, a veteran plumber told the story’s writer.

“They’re slippery and can form a paste. The things can swell up in a pipe.”

Yummy. Or gummy. Speaking of gums, plumbers say they often find everything from diamond rings to false teeth in toilets during the holiday, according to the article. Seems you just never know what’s going to be spinning around in the bowl.

“Cousin Eunice, where did you put Aunt Thelma’s scalloped-potato-rhubarb-feta-tuna casserole? I don’t see it here on the table.”

“I flushed it.”

“You did what?”

“You heard me. Something I’ve always wanted to do every Thanksgiving for years. Better to dump it now rather than for me to dump it later, if you know what I mean.”

“But what about the crock it was in, the one she made with her own gnarled and arthritic hands? Formed from the clay she pulled from the banks of the brook behind her house, fired in her very own kiln? She even hand-decorated it with a minimalist-folk art-cubist interpretation of the first Pilgrim-native American soiree. Where’s that?”

“Ditto on the flusho. It went down with the shit, I mean, ship.”

Turkey, schmurkey

I am not one of the children in this photograph. In fact, I don’t know any of these once-youngsters – not their names, their present life status or residential location in the world.

What I do know is if any of them are looking at this picture, they’re probably putting a bag over their heads. Not to worry people – you were young, impressionable and at the mercy of one of your parents armed with a loaded Instamatic. Who for some reason thought it would be really cute to have the kids pose with an uncooked turkey.

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t the turkey’s fault either. I would hope though, that one of you thought to mention to Pops that “Gee-golly Dad, you never ask us to line up and smile behind Mom’s pot roast … why is that?”

This being Thanksgiving and all, I’ll say right upfront that I’m not a big fan of turkey.  I could say it’s nothing personal, but unfortunately, it is. For most of my childhood, turkeys were my neighbors. And eating the neighbors, well, it just never seemed right somehow. I guess it might have if I’d been an extra in the old “Dracula” films or did zombie dietary research as a child. I plead not guilty to both counts.

Even so, that doesn’t mean I’m very fond of them either. Growing up with a diary farm next door and a turkey farm on the other side, I had the rare opportunity to directly compare the two and decide which agricultural establishment the average American boy would most like to live near during their formative years. After a very short period of time, it wasn’t difficult to form an opinion.

Moo.

You see, domestic cows are dumb but lovable. Domestic turkeys are just dumb. I remember our neighbor, the woman who ran the turkey farm, once telling me that turkeys were so stupid, if they all got scared and one of them went crazy and ran into the wall of the barn the rest would follow and do the same thing – until there was a giant pile of dead turkeys up against the wall.

“And that ain’t the worst of it, Glenn. You know turkey crap, don’t you? Sure you do, I see you got some stuck on the side of your sneaker there. Well, when them turkeys get all in a panic, not only do they start running, they start crapping. All of them. Running, piling up and crapping, boy. Imagine that.”

These are domestic turkeys on a farm. Notice the photographer is not standing up against the barn to take this photo and all of the turkeys are facing him. If he had done that, all these turkeys would be toast and he’d be swimming in turkey crap.

That seemed pretty dumb to me. Pretty horrible too, since I couldn’t scrap that damn crap off my sneaker, no matter how hard I tried. Stuff had to be a prototype of Super Glue. But notice I said domestic. Not all turkeys are dumb. Wild turkeys aren’t dumb, in fact they are some of the most cagey, forest-smart fowl around. Wild turkeys have to be that way, since a lot of people always seem to be trying to shoot them.

These are wild turkeys. Notice they are looking around in all directions. Smart. They’re keeping watch for any camouflaged people doing gobble-gobble impressions to lure and shoot them with a gun, not a camera.

That seems pretty smart to me. So I have nothing against wild turkeys. Admire them even. I’m told they even make a pretty darn good bourbon.

So, on this Thanksgiving, as I have on all of them, I’ll reach for the platter of turkey and take a small piece or two for my plate and then pass it to the next person. Just to be polite. And every Turkey Day holiday and then, that person or someone else at the table will notice this and ask: Whatsamattayou, you don’t like turkey or something?

If I’m in a good mood, I’ll say: “No, not at all. It’s just that I’m on a diet.” If I’m in a less-good mood, I’ll say: “Not so much, you don’t know turkeys like I know turkeys.” I’ll leave it at that and ask for the turnips. And if I’m in a fowl (sic) mood, I’ll say:

“Let me tell you a little story about a bunch of turkeys and a barn …”

Only in America …

… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness … and the inexplicable yet irrefutable freedom to consume 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes …

Joey Chestnut doing the National nasty earlier today.

God bless the red, white and blue. And Nathan’s.