Monday, March 1, 2021

Yup. I'm a quitter.

I was walking the dogs (walking the dogs is basically all I do anymore) and I saw that one of my neighbors was having some work done and that the contractor had put up some promotional signage. It said, “I’ll never have to clean my gutters again!” And I thought to myself, “That’s what I want on my tombstone.” Because, for me, the cessation of an obligation or irritant is actually life’s greatest pleasure. With a mindset like mine, even a devastating global pandemic has its upside. A guy with a mask on doesn’t need to trim his nose hairs.

Monday, February 22, 2021

A Clarification

This is embarrassing, but let’s set the record straight. I was relating an anecdote and somehow attributed a bon mot to Allen Ludden when of course I meant Bill Cullen. Neither should be confused with Bud Collyer, the radio voice of Superman, nor with Buddy Holly although the latter sported horn-rimmed glasses of the type associated with Ludden (and Cullen as well) when actually it was the onscreen persona of Harold Lloyd that inspired the appearance of Superman’s mild-mannered alter-ego Clark Kent, specifically the spectacles, which, ironically, of the persons mentioned above, only Collyer did not wear a pair of.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Instant Life!

Harold von Braunhut was a New York Jew. He was the person who put those ads for Sea Monkeys in the comic books. (Also X-Ray Specs. Plus, he was a White Supremacist, a Klan supporter, and an Aryan Nations devotee. Really, this guy had it all.) Sea Monkeys are brine shrimp, which hatch from dried-out eggs called cysts. In no way do they resemble monkeys. More like swimming centipedes about the size of a grain of rice. Von Braunhut provided a valuable service to American children who needed, during a time of confidence and plenty, to be deceived and disappointed.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Evil or not, you still need to budget.

So you’re an up-and-coming villain and you’re thinking of putting in one of those rooms where the walls close in and crush your hapless victims. Here’s two things you should seriously consider before making the investment. First, those things never work. Think of all the times you’ve seen them deployed. Now ask yourself, “ Has it ever happened that the smashy smashy room has killed the hero?” The answer is no; there’s always some last-minute glitch. And then, be honest, how often will you actually use it? And don’t say “all the time.” You said that about the hot tub.

Monday, February 1, 2021

a maintenance tip

Today’s savvy motorist knows the dashboard of their typical modern auto can send fairly comprehensive messages about the general health of the vehicle through an internal sensor network that monitors every aspect of their car’s operation, including the diagnostic system itself. So, you may occasionally see an illuminated message advising you to “check check engine light.” “So, what, as a driver,” you may be wondering, “ am I to do when I observe the check check engine light light lit?” The good news is, there’s no need to check the engine itself. Just the check engine light. Get that checked.

Monday, January 25, 2021

cold comfort

I think I’m like a lot of people in that I talk about Tastee-Freez all the time without really knowing much about it. Join me as we find out more – Learning Can Be Fun! I checked Wikipedia and here’s the deal:  Founded in 1950 in Joliet, Illinois, Tastee-Freez had grown to almost 1,800 stores by 1957. There were only 48 states at that time, so that’s an average of 37.5 per state. (Those half stores are troubling until you realize that many locations must have straddled state lines.) Today they have eight locations. Eight. Dear God. What have we become?

Monday, January 18, 2021

I weep for our future

One of the tragedies of today’s plugged-in world and its many distractions is that our young people grow up without a solid grounding in the key touchpoints of our shared heritage and ignorant of the contributions of the great people who have gone before us. I am referring of course to Tarzan. He is largely forgotten now, his early accomplishments dimmed by a series of disastrous business decisions, shady underworld connections, and a final decade as an embittered Tastee-Freez proprietor. His portrayal in the media as a shirtless goon who habitually stabs lions to death has further tarnished his legacy.