80’s Sitcoms: 5 Ways Every Problem in Life Can be Resolved in 30 Minutes.

eightiesgreatamerican

If 80’s sitcoms have taught us anything, it’s that all of life’s difficulties can be solved in just 30 minutes. Every problem, from finding a prom date, to battling anorexia, can be remedied by highly predictable plot lines, ending with really trite and overly simplified dialogue, from a well meaning parent or teacher. Having watched countless 80’s shows and wasting precious hours of my life that I can never get back, I’ve come up with five things that must be present, in order for you to learn a valuable life lesson.

The Cable Knit Sweater. Yes, they’re itchy and make you as unattractive as possible, but goddamit, they solve problems! When some authority figure, usually a father, who doesn’t have a steady job, yet his family is middle class, has one of these bad boys on, it means it’s time to cut the shit. Whether it’s braided lattice in gaudy neon colors, or a Christmas sweater in July, you are about to get a stern talking to my friend, using every blunt and unsophisticated means at their disposal. The recipients of these pearls of wisdom, also wearing their own miniature version of this brash and unappealing garment, sit on their beds, with their heads down, hoping the show will hurry up and get canceled. After what feels like a painfully long time, but only thirty minutes have gone by, your teen pregnancy has been dealt with and you no longer have dyslexia. How do we know the issues have really been resolved? We know, because dad’s bulky, mock-neck cable knit sweater said so.

The Catch Phrase. In order for things to run along smoothly, to reach it’s anticlimactic zenith, it’s very helpful if one or more characters has a catch phrase. The catch phrase is reliable and oddly comforting, like your grandmother. The phrase could be a question, “whatcha talkin’ about Willis?” or just a two-word phrase, “have mercy.” Every episode, you’re lying on the couch, staring dead-eyed into a wooden behemoth, with antenna that can reach Mars and waiting to hear, “kiss my grits!” When one of the Olsen twins (you didn’t know there were two of them at the time and now you somehow feel betrayed) utters, “you got it dude,” you feel like your life of never solving that Rubik’s Cube and crying into your pillow, while the Smiths are playing, can now proceed. GI Joe taught us that, “knowing is half the battle” and we just assumed the other half, was how to accessorize urban warfare couture. Sometimes we knew precisely when the catch phrase was going to be spoken, because it signified the end of the show like Hannibals, “I love it when a plan comes together.” The catch phrase was essential, because take away that and you’re just left with an absurd premise about aliens who like to eat cats.

The Stereotype. If there is one thing that 80’s sitcoms had no shortage of, it was stereotypes. How can problems get resolved, if there aren’t slightly racist and homophobic token characters. The wise cracker, the square, the very gay man, the fat funny girl, the bully…ad nauseam. Every Asian American had to speak like Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid. Any non-Murcian, had to speak in broken English, otherwise, how would we know they’re foreign. The Spanish American from Fantasy Island shouting, “De plane! de plane!” It was essential that the disabled person have down syndrome, to be the representative for the entire disabled community. Every show hired a bunch of lazy writers to compete for the best, one-dimensional character they could contrive. (Fuck character arc!) You simply can’t get to that all important resolution, unless your show has major and ancillary characters that we can predict.  I’m sorry, but if you’re overweight, you better be funny or at least mildly amusing, because what else have you got.

The Wacky Neighbor. It can’t all properly come together, without the crazy, but lovable (not really) neighbor like Steve Urkel, Kimie Gibbler, or the man we only new as, “Wilson” from Home Improvement, who apparently never worked, ate or went to the bathroom, because he was always in his yard and available to dispense advice, to all of Tim’s, macho bullshit problems. The wacky neighbor never knocked, because that would be for normal human beings. Oh no, this neighbor burst into your house unannounced, without knocking, made a few wise cracks that were funny, as indicated by the laugh track and then left, as unceremoniously as they came. They could only come in while you were talking, vacuuming or doing some other inconsequential thing, never while you were doing something embarrassing. Can you imagine if Mr. Roper burst in, while they were having a menage a trois on Three’s Company! Well, you can now, in fact that’s probably all you’ll think about from now on. There was nothing untoward about male neighbors like Lenny and Squiggy, walking right into a females apartment, without knocking. It’s not predatory behavior; it’s quaint damn it!

The Single Dad. Whether it’s a divorce, or mom died in a freak accident involving leg warmers, no one cares, as long as this attractive dad is available. Typically, it’s a  stay at home dad, who is always and I do mean always, on hand to be the voice of reason. This great dad tackles all of the kids problems, even if the problem is, that their dad never leaves the house, except to go on a date. Single dad, did we mention that he was single, can be preachy or a jokester, as long as he uses sarcasm as part of his parenting style. Danny Tanner, from Full House, might be a narcissistic control freak, but he cares about the well-being, of the fifty extended family members that live in his house. Only single dad, can elicit the background elevator music in those tender loving family moments.

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Me, circa 1988

Look at it! Do not avert your eyes! Stare into the geometric patterns, of my heinous sweater, until you become hypnotized or feel mildly nauseous.

Do Republicans Dream of Electric Sheeple?

sheepel

Sci-Fi fans might remember that the Voight Kampff test, was a test that was administered in Philip K. Dicks’ novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and also in the movie, Blade Runner. The test was designed, to determine if a person was real or a replicant, by eliciting empathetic responses, which a human would give and detect replicants, because they were supposed to be incapable of discerning emotions. The Voight Kampff test has now been redesigned, but instead of detecting replicants, it can now detect Republican officials. Here are a list of sample questions taken from the new test.

A poor person comes to you, explaining she is a single mom working two jobs. She can barely make ends meet and relies on food stamps to feed her family. She begs you, not to cut the food stamps program from the Federal budget. What do you say to her?

  • Don’t worry, I won’t cut the funding for the program.
  • Food stamps? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • Offer her an Arby’s coupon for a free curly fry.

A man’s son was just killed in a mass shooting. He asks you what you are going to do about assault weapons. What do you say to the man?

  • Pull out a gun and shoot him.
  • I’m going to propose legislation to ban assault weapons.
  • Give everyone a gun, including monkeys and babies.

A teenage boy comes to you and tells you that his parents are illegal immigrants and are about to be deported. How do you respond to the teenager?

  • Invite the parents to work in your sweat shop for below minimum wage.
  • Propose an immigration reform bill that, would allow his parents to stay.
  • Start to offer him an Arby’s coupon, but then don’t, because you remember that you wanted to use it later.

A gay couple invite you to the bakery they own, where they make wedding cakes. What do you say to the couple?

  • I would love too!
  • Ask them if they have a minute to talk about Jesus.
  • Pretend to be dead.

A family has lost everything they own, because of a hurricane.  They want to know what you will do to help them and others like them. How do you respond to this family in need?

  • Give no fucks.
  • Give them food and water and tell them about the emergency services that are available.
  • Assault them with a paper towel roll.

An actual flaming turd, is a Republican candidate running for the Senate. It eats kittens, sells crack to kids in your neighborhood and judo chops old people. Do you give your support to this candidate?

  • Absolutely not!
  • If these allegations are true, then you might think about reconsidering.
  • Give money to its Super PAC.

The results of this test are supposed to be kept confidential, but I will share them anyway. Mitch McConnell’s results were inconclusive, because he passed out during the first question, at the mention of, “poor person.” Steve Mnuchin’s results were also inclusive, because he had to stop midway through, to count his bars of gold. However, two-thirds of our government have now been retired.

 

 

 

 

 

Smokey the Bear: Advocate for Forest Fire Prevention? Not so Much, Experts Say

smokeybear

His name is Smokey Bear; there isn’t a, ‘the’ in the middle. Smokey, although one of the most recognizable figures in forest fire prevention, is not a God; he’s just a bear and he puts his jeans on the same as everyone else, one leg at a time. It’s always just been Smokey Bear, people began to add, ‘the’ in middle of his name, after a song that was written about him, by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. There was also a children’s story by the same title.

Smokey, an American Black Bear, has insisted, “that only you can prevent forest fires,” for nearly 70 years now, and has recently come under fire by wildfire policy experts. Scientist from the Food and Agriculture Organization, claim that he knows nothing about the ecology of trees & shrubs, biodiversity, and the role of fire as an ecosystem process.  In a computerized, modern age, Smokey is behind the times. Only recently, did he change his slogan from preventing, “forest fires” to preventing, “wildfires,” to include the many other kinds of habitats.

One agroforestry scientist said about Smokey, “He didn’t even know about grasslands.  He’s still talking about campfire safety and how to safely burn your lawn care debris.” Another scientist was more severe on the bear, “It’s a joke really. Nobody goes camping anymore and who the hell is still burning shit in their yard?” Smokey, when asked to comment on the scientific advancements said, “I’m a fucking bear.”

Smokey got his start as a mascot, for the United States Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. His first slogan was, “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires.” The forest fire prevention campaign first began during WWII, when the Japanese military set fire to the coastal forests in southwest Oregon. Since then, Smokey has become synonymous with forest fire safety. How much does he really know though, about wildfires and what is the actual success rate using his safety tips? Has he ever personally prevented a forest fire? Botanists have been clamoring for answers to these questions. Some recent investigating revealed, that his claim, “care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires,” is simply unfounded. The scientific data taken from one recent poll, said that care only prevented 1 out of 10 forest fires at best. Ecologists from the Nature Conservancy have called for Smokey’s resignation saying, he isn’t equipped to deal with modern fire ecology and that he is out of touch. “He doesn’t even have a Twitter page,” said one member.

The Sierra Club has gone even further and has called for an investigation by the EPA. They allege, that he’s even started some of the recent fires out in California, to stay relevant, keep his position and maintain his status. Smokey, was unable to be reached to comment on the allegation, because he was on his cigarette break in between shooting commercials.

Whether you see him as the voice of fire safety, or part of an old-fashioned campaign that needs to be overhauled, one thing is certain, those broad shoulders and hairy chest are way too provocative not to be covered with a shirt.

Funny People Tell the True Meaning of Halloween II: This Time It’s Personal

halloween candy corn

It’s Halloween time again, a time when your neighbor puts out his giant inflatable pumpkin and you let a little air out of it each day, so it can die a slow death. It’s a time when pumpkin spice invades every corner of the Earth and Rob Zombie gets scarier than his movies, with each passing year. Here today are some very funny people of Twitter, to tell you about the true meaning of Halloween.

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed their tweets and non-vital organs. Please visit these talented individuals:

@ObscureGent –  www.theobscuregentlemen.com
https://www.patreon.com/theobscuregentlemen

http://apple.co/1NUoOjl

@bourgeoisalien – http://amzn.to/2xTbU3O

https://elizabethargyropoulos.com/

@lanceburson –  https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Lance+Burson&type=

http://thomaslburson.wixsite.com/lanceburson

@Bob_Janke – https://t.co/NngAxGi8qp

@yonewt – https://t.co/rFf7GAVK9L

@bornmiserable – https://www.youtube.com/theblackoutchoir

@Chyld – https://mariettarodgers.com/category/bacon-saves-the-world/

@rccromwell4 – thefederalist.com/author/richcro…

@HatfieldAnne – http://www.annehatfieldvo.com

@distracted_monk – http://amzn.to/2gwd1nk

@singwithTaffy – https://t.co/9aO38SuOr2

@gmatt63 – http://lupo.net/

https://gmlupo.com/

@PlainTravis – http://www.plainzero.com/

You can find these very funny people on their Twitter page & down at your local disco car wash:

@Mr._Kapowski  @4SLars  @Jake_Vig  @caseytduncan  @Mardigroan  @seamussaid  @ThePocketJustin  @2tickytacky  @Henry_3000  @wittwitbarista  @FuckabillyRex  @underchilde  @bananagrvyrd  @skullpuppy11

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I’m just updating my farmersonly.com profile pic.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death, Be Not Proud…Not Proud at All

diemart

I dwell on death a lot; it’s a morbid hobby of mine. Here are my 16 hilarious thoughts about death. I’m available for eulogies and birthday parties.

 

The Circumlocution Office

Monocle_Man

Welcome to the Circumlocution Office. Please fill out these ten pointless forms, so we can throw them in the trash and then set it on fire.

If you know your Dickens, the Circumlocution Office was a fictitious office in the novel, Little Dorrit. The CO is a bureaucracy, where nothing gets done and is in a state of endless confusion. It’s a ridiculous place, where forms need to be filled out in order to request more forms. Everything goes round and round in a circle, always ending with nothing getting done and the CO office commending themselves for what a great job they did. The office has no public accountability, uses no critical thinking and is run purely for the benefit of its incompetent and obstructive officials. It’s an office that seems likely to either destroy or cave in on itself in the end. The CO is primarily run by a family named Barnacle. No doubt a joke on Dickens’ part, because barnacles attach themselves to things like a leach and are very hard to remove.

The office is never, on any account to give a straight answer and they get indignant at being questioned. An example, is when the youngest Barnacle points out someone to his friend saying, “He walked in without an appointment and said he wanted to know, you know.” Knowledge can be so tiresome. The most important thing about the Circumlocution Office is their unofficial motto, something they take great pride in, and that is, the art of, “how not to do something.” Whatever it is, whatever needs to be done, you can bet the CO will not do it with great gusto.

Here in the United States, we have our own Circumlocution Office; it’s called the United States government and just like the CO has the Barnacle family, we have the Trump family. The head of our CO is Donald Trump, a guy who, had he not inherited money, would currently be outside your car window cleaning it with a squeegee. Another Barnacle is Jared Kushner, a German villain from a 1920’s silent film. He is literally in charge of everything. He is in charge of being in charge. By being in charge of so many things, he has just enough time to accomplish nothing at any of them. Where Jared is in charge of everything, his wife and counterpart is in charge of nothing, thereby completing the pointless circle. She does have security clearance, which is very important when you have no real interest in politics.

The spokesperson, who has to translate for our CO, making indiscernible words discernible, is Sarah Huckabee Sanders. A woman whose facial expression always says, “I’m mortified, but I’m getting paid a lot of money.” Her most recent conference, was defending Trump’s use of the phrase, “many sides,” like it was some kind of white supremacist origami. It’s all about defending the indefensible and drawing moral equivalencies, that should not be drawn. This is what protects the Circumlocution Office and keeps the crazy train running on time. When we want to know things, like what was in the initial top secret Republican healthcare bill, we were met with scorn and indignation. We needed to know what was in this bill that affects millions of people and is matter of life or death for some. In other words we wanted, “to know, you know.” As it stands, the bill wants to cut Medicaid, bring back preexisting conditions, get rid of the individual mandate and give a massive tax break to those less fortunate than us…the wealthiest one percent.

Like in pure CO fashion, it is constantly praising itself for doing nothing. After only seven months, Trump claims he has done more in his presidency that any other president, including FDR. Remember the president FDR, who only served 13 years? LOL! In reality, the only thing Trump has done so far, is play golf, tweet, fire 8 senior officials, including the head of the FBI, shared intelligence with Russia, played more golf, pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and blame Obama, Congress and the Loch Ness monster for everything wrong. He did however, bring back some coal mining jobs to the early 19th century. His babbling in front of the podium, can only be described, by what Dickens said about the CO. “One of two things always happened, namely, either that the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had something to say, of which someone blundered one half of it and forgot the other.”

One of the reoccurring themes at the CO office was the importance of filling out forms that ultimately had no meaning. At our CO office, we have similar forms, namely an SF-86. A form, that lets the rest of government know, that you will have no conflicts of interest at your new post and can get security clearance. Mike Flynn, former National Security Adviser, failed to report payments from foreign governments, and his consulting firms promoted US/Russia join efforts, to build a nuclear power plant in the Middle East. All of this, made Flynn a potential target for Russian blackmail. Jared Kushner failed to disclose 12 meetings with foreign officials, one of which was with Russian ambassadors and had a meeting with a bank specifically sanctioned by the US, for its role, in propping up corrupt oligarchs. It’s the kind of thing we need to know, if your unofficial title is, “Errand Boy.”

The Circumlocution Office is alive and well in the United States, and it will ultimately, “shipwreck everyone” as one character put it in Little Dorrit, and like the Titanic, there won’t be enough lifeboats for everyone.

 

Review of, But Did You Die?: Setting the Parenting Bar Low

But Did You Die

This is the 5th book in the, I Just Want to Pee Alone series and it did not disappoint. BDYD, is a series of essays written by some very funny people, about the rigors of being a parent. You always have anxieties as a parent, no matter how much experience you have, but when you’re a new parent, the prospects of doing or saying the wrong thing, that results in your child losing the power of speech, so they just point to a picture of you to their therapist for the rest of their lives, is palpable. What if I raise a serial killer? What if my child joins a ska band? These are legitimate fears, especially the latter.

Before the birth of my first child, I read everything from Penelope Leach, to yes, Dr. Spock. (not the one from Star Trek unfortunately) Most of the information in these books, although informative, either isn’t practical, or doesn’t fit your situation. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read books on parenting, because some facts come in handy, like in the essay, “Me, My Inferior Boobs and My Green Baby,” where the author, Elizabeth Argyropoulos, notices when her water breaks, that it’s tinted green, which is a sign the baby might be in distress. Overall though, the information in the books, isn’t going to help you at 3:30 in the morning, when your baby is projectile vomiting and has diarrhea. Most parenting books are, ‘how to’ books, where as BDYD, is more of a, ‘how the hell?” type of a book.

I grew up back in the days before safety was invented. Like most of us, I didn’t wear a helmet riding my bike and seat belts were optional. I managed to live through it all, which is also the premise of this book and the title comes from a response, that author Jen Mann, gets from her mom, after criticizing her parenting methods, mainly not putting sunscreen on her at the beach, and stuffing her under a beach chair instead. Her mom’s reply was, “Well, but did you die?” And there you have it, this was the gold standard of parenting when we were growing up. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

What I love most about this book, is that not only is it funny, it’s totally relatable, because I have faced similar mortifying situations. Granted, I never caught my baby’s shit in my hands, so that the couch doesn’t get stained, as author Mike Cruse did in, “Parents Catch ALL the Shit,” but that’s because I would catch scorpions being hurled at me, before I’d catch shit in my hands. These essays, let you know that you’re not alone in your parental faux pas. You’re not going to do everything right; you’re probably going to nod off at your daughter’s dance recital, after watching 80 kids before it’s her turn. All parents dread children’s birthday parties, because if you check under their fingernails, they will be bloody, from their attempt at trying to claw their way out of a Chuck E. Cheese, like some kind of Edgar Allan Poe character, whose been buried alive. You are not by yourself, things happen and life doesn’t exist in a vacuum, even though it may seem like it from that one (or two or three) annoying friend on FB, whose family seems perfect and is always posting how her kid is a prodigy and can whittle a house out of a block of wood. Meanwhile, your kid is poking the cat with a stick. Just take a deep breath, because chances are, even if your friend’s kid can whittle a house out of a block of wood, they are probably also poking the cat with a stick.

But Did You Die? is a wonderfully hilarious book, filled with truisms, that kept me entertained at every turn of the page. I highly recommend buying the book for yourself or as a gift to a friend, who has kids. It’s a book that every parent can appreciate.

But Did You Die?: Setting the Parenting Bar Low is available on Amazon. http://amzn.to/2fP2Lpj