Morning birds sing, waking me slowly.
Cool breezes blow, cooling me lowly.
Life is so wonderful, almost nearly holy.
Unless you’re extinct.
Running through fields filled with flowers.
Feeling the rain, soft gentle showers.
Holding the hand of a lover for hours
Unless she wants to talk about feelings then forget it.
Each day is a gift, giving for giving.
Each sin is a chance to be so forgiving.
Each year is another time for real living
Unless you died that year then nevermind.
Seeing the world as a place full of wonder
Can make your life joyful, never torn asunder.
Playing with kangaroos, way down under.
Unless you prefer giraffes.
These lines of poetry are me being silly.
They joke and they jest, going all willy-nilly
Written while drinking moonshine, made by a hillbilly.

Unless you’re my pastor reading this then it was lemonade.

Top Five Times NOT to be Funny

Warning: before you read this, please know that this is darker humor than usual. I got a rejection letter from an agent and am crabby. I have posted many blogs which are meant to make you laugh. Some of them may have actually achieved chuckle-hood. But there are times when you should be serious and jokes might not be the most appropriate. Since you probably already know these times, I am just going to share my top five times when I found trying to be funny was NOT the best idea.
5. You know that time when you are on a date and it just isn’t going well? It is wise to just shake hands and walk away instead of making a joke. Explaining to her that you have to go home and wax your nose hair instead of staying on this date can lead her to grabbing a handful of the aforementioned nostril plumage and yank really hard. The blood will eventually stop after an entire roll of toilet paper is shoved up there. Also, a guy crying on a first date under any circumstances is just wrong.
4. When your friends are explaining that their son has the rare disease known as Proton-McDonald Syndrome (before you get mad, I totally made that up), you need to sit still and listen intently, nodding with a sad look of understanding on your face. It is not appropriate to wait for a lull in the conversation to point out that Proton-McDonald Syndrome’s initials are PMS and their son could be famous as the first three-year-old boy who could say he had that. You really need to wait until he is twelve and then use that joke while handing him some cramp medicine and taking him to get fries.
3. Funerals are tricky when it comes to humor. Sometime you can say something that is incredibly funny, but laughing is just wrong. For example, my grandfather’s funeral was a sober affair due to the nature of his passing. He was shot at the age of eighty-three. It was tragic, really. He lived to be that age and a jealous husband caught him climbing out of the window of a twenty-eight year-old newlywed. Grandma said if he had missed, she was a good shot, too. That was really funny but I restrained my laughter. I’ve seen her shoot and she’s terrible.
2. I discovered that making jokes with someone right after major surgery is frequently not met with the hysterical laughter you were hoping. Hysteria can happen must more frequently followed by a mania that is not unlike a type of murderous psychosis that can be used as a viable defense at their murder trial. You make one joke about the doctor removing the wrong leg and people tend to get cranky.
1. Last, but not least, when your friend is telling you about catching his wife in bed with Enrique, the Columbian gardener, that is not the moment for levity. Trying to lighten the mood by discussing him “plowing her field” can get you punched in the throat. Later, after the divorce, you can make all the jokes you want about him grinding her coffee. But, save that for times when he is mad at her, which will be every moment for the first two years after the divorce. On an unrelated note, has anyone seen a young Columbian guy named Enrique? I have a joke to tell him. Yeah, a joke. Just a joke. Pay no attention to the cattle prod behind my back.

Well, I hope those will help you realize when you make jokes and when not to make jokes. Even if it hasn’t, let me know if you see Enrique.

Facebook Lessons

It has become apparent that there are many people out there who are blissfully ignorant of some of the basic rules when using social media. Since I hate it when someone has more bliss than me, I want to help remove your ignorance. Please don’t thank me. It’s the least I can do to improve the social quality of your social interactions with people you most likely never see in person.
A few mistakes have been made by yours truly that would be best not repeated by you or anyone else on Facebook. I made a list of basic Facebook Rules for you to follow as if your life depended on it… well, your cyber-life does depend on it. You can only change your name so many times on there before people wise up that you are the same doofus who made the comment on the Black-Eyed Peas fan page about preferring snow peas.
Rule #1: If you are chatting with a buddy about women in one window and your mom about her grandson’s grades in another, DO NOT MIX UP THE WINDOWS! The Oedipal issues aside, if either one is deserving of the title “buddy” or “mom”, neither one will EVER let you forget that.
Rule #2: Facebook is a great place to socialize sober. A bar is a great place to socialize over a few drinks. Facebooking while having too many drinks is a disaster waiting to happen. If you’re like most people, your inhibitions tend to be drown quickly in alcohol. Some of the things you say after a few too many shots of Jack may not be appropriate for the tender eyes of the kids who lie about their age to get a Facebook account. Plus, there is a good chance your mom is stalking your Facebook page. Some things you just can’t explain away.
Rule #3: Some posts sound much better in your head than on the screen. I saw one post that said, “BLANK is a total BLANK for BLANKING my BLANKING boyfriend in our BLANKING BLANKING BLANK BLANK!!!” As you can clearly see there were several missing commas and three exclamation points are not grammatically proper. Please consult a grammar checker before posting something like this.
Rule #4: If you are chatting with a member of the opposite sex, do not confuse the chat window with the status window. Or worse, do not confuse those windows if you are sending a picture you do not want your dad to see. It was so embarrassing for a buddy of mine that I will NEVER let him forget.
Rule #5: If you receive a friend request from a woman/man who is way too hot to be friending you, just say no. She/he is either a) after money; b) a fake pic and profile from your girlfriend/boyfriend to see if you are being good; c) a fake pic and profile from your buddy who is trying to make you look really stupid; or d) a sting operation by the cyber-crime branch of the FBI who think you are a pedophile thanks to the websites your buddy visited while using your computer to “pay some bills”.

I hope these rules are helpful.

Progress Verses Congress

I have finally figured it out. You have considered this very question as well, perhaps losing some sleep over it. It has been pondered by some of the greatest minds of the previous three centuries as well as many from our Twenty-First Century. Countless pundits and philosophers have asked the question, debating it over and over without coming to any conclusions, yet never seeming to exhaust the possibilities. The question that has plagued American life from the beginning of American life is: Why do we have Congress?

Don’t believe that we have had issues for a while? Let’s look back. Waaay back. Thomas Jefferson asked, “If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?” Can you tell he was a farmer? He was also the man who wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” I think that last quote made it into some kind of governmental document. Yes, I know I took them both out of context to make a point. This is supposed to be funny in a sad, pathetic kind of way.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at the Nineteenth Century with a quote by Samuel Clemens. Mr. Twain wrote: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” A thought that was first penned over one hundred years ago seems like it could – or should – have been written today. Just the other day I was half listening to the news when someone was referred to as “one of the smartest people in Congress”. That does not seem like much of an accomplishment.

Here is one more for you from the Twentieth Century. Humorist Will Rogers asked the question, “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of Congress?” You would think he was writing in this century, wouldn’t you? Now, to be fair, I have seen that Congress has been very quick to act on matters of fiduciary importance. When it is time to vote themselves a raise, they seem to be very prompt. Raising the minimum wage for millions of Americans takes a lot more time and committee meetings.

Larry Hardiman (why couldn’t I have been born with that last name?) explained politics in an excellent way: “The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’ meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.” Truer words have never been spoken. That applied to business as well as government in my not so humble opinion.

In my lifetime, Carson and Letterman, Leno and Conan, Fallon and Kimmel, have all made very good livings poking fun at the antics and attitudes of our politicians. That is essentially my point. The purpose of Congress is not to pass laws and investigate things that are going wrong in the government. They are not really there to provide a system of checks and balances for the Executive and Judicial Branches. They are not even there to control the purse strings of the United States. Their job, their role, their sole purpose to exist – to make us laugh and realize that no matter how bad we screw up, Congress will do something even worse. They do their job frighteningly well.  Thank your Congressperson today for all they do to make us feel better about ourselves.

Illegal Impersonation

While driving my son to school, I heard on the radio about a hardened criminal who had escaped from prison and was on the lam, hiding from the vicious bloodhounds who had caught his scent as he struggled against all odds to reach freedom across the border into the wilds of Georgia. Well, to be honest, it was a guy who escaped from the county lockup who was in for 30-days for possessing drug paraphernalia (I had to Google how to spell that word – I wasn’t even close enough for spell check to guess) and illegal impersonation. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t even know it was illegal to do a bad impersonation. The image I have is of a man who was jailed for being stoned and doing a bad Jimmy Stewart monologue, not unlike most Jimmy Stewart impressions. Who knew it was illegal in Tennessee? This is one weird law that I think should be everywhere.

There are some amazing impressions by various people including Dana Carvey doing Jimmy Stewart that made me laugh so hard I almost passed out. Lack of oxygen will do that to you. I enjoy impressions by Rich Little, Jimmy Fallon and Bubba Johnson (my Sasquatch neighbor who does a great impersonation of a human being) as well. But I have also heard some of the worst impressions in the world by those attempting to do impressions, usually after several rum and Cokes. I will admit to trying to do my impression of Jimmy in Philadelphia Story where he is drunk and talking to Cary Grant. It seems the more drinks I have, the better I think it sounds. But, that guy who got arrested must have been doing the worst impressions ever! The drug paraphernalia may have had something to do with it.
You know what? That guy may have been trying to sound English. In East Tennessee, that can be challenging. I can see it happening: “Top of the mornin’ to ya’ll!” Let’s hope he didn’t try Australian, Scottish or Irish. Those accents sound amazing unless they are done by an American butchering it. No, I am not referring any actor in particular. (Insert your own favorite worst accent by an actor here. There are way too many for me to choose.) Now, being half Scottish, I should have the natural ability to portray a flawless Scottish tone that would make David Tennet believe I was his long lost brother. Sadly, that is not the case. It is something about those R’s and the general tone, plus the vocabulary mixed with the guttural sounds that make mine sound like a man trying to do a really bad Irish accent. I can’t even do a good Tennessee accent and I live here. People are always looking at me and saying, “You weren’t born here, were ya?”
It is time for me to lay low. If the cops are out arresting people for illegal impersonations, then I need to stop doing my Sean Connery while drinking mojitos. That is so stupid. Everyone knows you drink Scotch while walking up to people claiming to be Sean’s son.

The Mentos Treatment

I’m sure you have all seen all kinds of videos on YouTube about the wonders of combining Mentos with Diet Coke. They create the most amazing geysers. Check out this link if you have been missing out on this cultural phenomenon.

Those guys really need to get girlfriends.
Anyway, one morning while trying to wake up with some carbonated caffeine, I decided to freshen my breath at the same time. Please remember, I was half asleep at that moment. I had just dropped off my son at school – yes, I drive half asleep – and stopped for a drink and some mints. I had not had Mentos is such a long time, I thought it was high time I ate a few. As with so many other moments of monumental stupidity in my life, the soundtrack should be the music from Jaws. Without going into detail, let me tell you I discovered a new and rather dramatic way of cleaning out ones sinuses. Did you know that you can shoot Mentos-charged Diet Coke twenty-seven feet… through your nose! I am kidding of course. It was impossible to measure distance since I was in my car at the time. The guys at Simonize passed out when they saw the interior of my car.
After that incident, I considered marketing my Diet Coke-Mentos sinus treatment to the masses. Other than the mild side effects like the excessive burning of nasal passages, the loss of the ability to smell anything but Diet Coke and Mentos for three days, ringing ears (I have no idea why that happened), and the doubling the size of nostrils, I felt this could be a very effective treatment for those who suffer from stuffy noses. Then again, people can be so picky about ringing ears.
My oldest son suggested next time I swallow the Mentos first and then add the Diet Coke. He is studying to be an engineer and those engineers are methodical in their problem solving techniques. Plus, my son has a twisted sense of humor. I think he got it from his mom because I still have mine. That idea got me thinking about a new, cost-effective, highly-entertaining-for-everyone-who-hears-the-story, way to prepare for a colonoscopy. Yes, I am going there.
Consider, if you will, a man faced with the unwelcome (or perhaps enjoyable if he is into that kind of thing) prospect of having a camera take a rather unflattering movie of his lower intestine. A man who lives in fear, knowing that the prep is worse than the procedure where he will be in la-la land. You are now entering the Where-the-Sun-Don’t-Shine-Zone. Da da daaaam. (That’s as close as I can get to Twilight Zone music.) Many writers have written on the joys of taking the plutonium-enriched laxatives used to clean out their systems prior to this lovely experience. I yield to the master, Dave Barry, whose description in the Miami Herald is amazing! Check it out: http://www.miamiherald.com/2009/02/11/427603/dave-barry-a-journey-into-my-colon.html
But let’s consider another possibility. What if we could harness the power of Diet Coke and Mentos as a means to help clean out a stubborn colon? The prep would involve swallowing a tube of Mentos and a two-liter of Diet Coke. Jump up and down twice. Sit down in on the commode. Use a five-point harness system that is used by pilots of the F-22 Raptor for supersonic flight. Start flushing and don’t stop! It is my belief that your entire digestive tract will be clean as a whistle – although I’m not sure it will sound like a whistle, but you never know – in no time at all. Bonus, your butt will have a minty freshness for your proctologist the next day. It’s the least you can do for him for what he will be doing to you.

The Joy of Socks

This blog is PG rated… I cannot be held responsible for things you infer.

Everyone loves socks. Everyone needs socks. If you don’t have enough socks you will find yourself in a world of trouble. There was one time when I didn’t have any socks at all for the longest time. I’m not sure why I let things get so out of hand. The last time I had socks was hard to remember. I couldn’t find any clean socks so – in desperation – I found some dirty socks. I felt nasty all day long!
It doesn’t really matter your gender. Both men and women need socks. Some people think that men need socks more than women, but that is just a myth. When you look at the socks women like, they tend to be longer than men’s socks. Men seem to like the short socks. No one knows why. That’s just the way it seems to be. Now don’t send me any nasty comments about you guys who like longer socks and ladies who prefer short socks. Let’s just all agree that we all need socks regardless of length.

There is some debate concerning the frequency we need socks. There are those who feel that once a week is often enough for their socks needs. There are even some who claim that once a month is frequent enough to meet their desire for socks. On the other end of the spectrum, some feel the need for socks every single day. In the interest of full disclosure and honesty, it is only fair to tell you that I fall into that last category. In fact, there are days when socks one time just isn’t enough. But that is just me. 
Please, dear reader, don’t go without socks for too long. It is so wrong. It is not natural. It is not right for you to not have any socks. In this day and age of all kinds of socks and many opportunities for socks, there is no reason you should not have some. Your feet will thank you. And if you were thinking about something other than foot wear, get your mind out of the gutter!