Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Lying Liars Who Lie

I've been thinking about lying a lot lately.  Not lying, like laying around, but lying, like when a guy tells his wife that he didn't even notice that girl walk by with the short-short shorts and cut-off shirt. But that's a necessary lie, one that is intended to make everyone feel better about the situation. And I'm just saying, I really didn't notice her, or the color of the pink shirt she was wearing.

But lying is becoming the norm in politics right now, so much that we're becoming numb to it. And most of this is caused by the guy who is supposedly the leader of our country. But a leader does just that, he leads, and if we want to be a moral country, then this leadership should demonstrate morality. Instead we have a guy who can't tell the truth about his crowd size, his financial worth, his fealty to his wife ... or Putin, the size of his hands, his...

Our country is built on holding our leaders accountable. One of the ways we do this is with a free press. Which we have, but this same press is under continued assault from this same leader.  If he doesn't like what they say, he shouts ... er, tweets, "fake news."  No matter that the news is almost always later proven correct. And they have a new name for his own lies, 'alternate facts.'  Um, yeah, I'm sure I could get the concept of 'alternate facts' by my wife.The first thing a dictator does is destroy any opposition, especially a free press.

The worse part is that his fanatic followers believe him, they believe everything he says.  They believe him when he says the guy that he put in charge of the EPA is going to clean up our country's air and water, even as he systematically dismantles all of the regulations that keep us safe and sound.  Even worse worse, he put someone in charge of banking who wants to destroy the regulations that went up after the last recession to keep our money safe, he put someone in charge of schools who wants to destroy public schools, he put someone in charge of ... well, every department. Meanwhile, his toady attorney is selling access to the President and selling us out to foreign interests and massive business interests.

And his faithful followers still somehow believe he's draining the swamp.

Here's what former Sec of State Rex Tillerson recently said, almost assuredly referring to his former boss, " "If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom."

I get that this isn't a funny column, but these aren't laughing matters.  We need a return to decency, to respecting a press that does a pretty damn good job of keeping our politicians accountable.

Meanwhile, the guy lies. Over and over again. He can't stop himself, even when his lies enable judges to overturn policies he tries to put into play.

Maybe when this guy is voted out or impeached, we can find funny again.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump

I recently taught a writing workshop for children at Elgin Community College, and learned that kids, or at least these kids in particular, were highly politically aware .. no, not aware.. charged.

The kids ran anywhere from 10-14 years of age, and they had been following Donald Trump's bigoted xenophobia with fear, anger and dislike. 

At one point, I had them write lyrics,and one of the girls (yes, Trump seems to have alienated girls in particular), wrote a song called,Trump. The lyrics went something like this: 


Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump

So as I read her lyrics out loud, the rest of the kids started 'singing' along, enthusiastically shouting,'Trump, Trump, Trump.'  College kids walking by the classroom looked inside, alarmed at a bunch of pre-teens boisterously chanting Trump's name.

Later I had them write a story where each person would write a single line, and pass to the next person to continue the story. Here's what they came up with, with absolutely no (I repeat, no) input from me:

I'm not as concerned about the future of our kids now as I was before this.



Monday, June 6, 2016

​The Repossessor
I'm not a big guy ... 6 ft, 180 lbs of fine tuned swimmer muscle surrounded by fat cells composed mostly of Fannie Mae Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. But I'm a lot bigger than I was in 1985, when I was .. the Repossessor.
Yep, I used to track down nefarious no-payers, and wrestle from them the car, boat, television set, motorcycle or even homes they used as security to borrow money from us at what I admit now were nearly usurious interest rates ... of course, they don't remotely compare to today's payday loans, which can carry rates as high as 700%.  These rates put the Mob rates to shame, but you can't get politicians to take action, because a bunch of this 700% goes towards buying said politicians.
(Norm, this post isn't remotely funny You're ranting about politics again.)
Ah, myself is right again. Moving on, I was rifling through my desk the other day and came across my repossessor license. Yep, it's a real thing, even though it does have way too many 's's in its spelling. Anyway, here's what it looked like:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

​I'd rather Pole Vault than Time Vault

Have you been reading about the movie John Malkovich made that no one alive will live to see? Just our grandkids, Cher, and cockroaches, and maybe Justin Bieber might stick around for a long time to torment mankind longer than we would like with his very punchable face.
But as far as the rest of us, unless we somehow stick around for 100 years, we're not going to see it. They're gonna premier it at the Cannes Festival, well, not premier, they sort going to say, "hey, we made a movie, and you can't watch it for 100 years. Neener, neener"   Of course this kind of genius means it will win some kind of award somewhere.
But I don't see what the big deal is. Authors do this all the time, writing a book (that quite likely took as long or longer than this movie to create) and no one reads it. Just jump on Kindle and browse through the self-published stuff. Plenty of them never get read, except by their mothers, brothers and wives.  Heck, my own book Helliburton has yet to get a single rating on Kindle, and I've been traditionally published five times and had several best selling authors blurb my books.
So for me, that movie I won't watch is as relevant as the lottery prize I won't win, the Justin Bieber music I won't listen to, and the pole vault over the Grand Canyon I won't attempt.  
Besides, in a hundred years, everyone's going to be underwater from the glaciers melting.



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hygiene Wars

When I went to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Conference last month, I thought I packed everything I might need. I had a brush, to help guide the four hairs that have stuck with me through what people laughingly call the 'balding' stage of life. I had a choice of warm weather and cold weather clothes, because, after all, it was in Ohio. 
God, I love that name, "Ohio." It's so friendly. It's like, "oh' and 'hi' and 'oooooh.'  What fun, and what a great place to have a humor conference.  That, and we were in Dayton, whose name didn't change to Nighton when the sun went down.
So I thought I had everything, that is, until it was time to brush my teeth, which, unlike my hair, have stuck with me through this adventure we call life. 
But that's when I learned I forgot my tooth brush, my rechargeable spinning 'startle-the-food-out-of-my-teeth' brush of wonder.  But I knew hotels like the Marriott would realize that forgetful people like me also travel occasionally, so I went down to the lobby to score myself a temporary replacement.
​Fortunately, I was right. And, because it was the Marriott, they had the Rolls Royce of dental hygiene ... the 'Deluxe Dental Kit."
Thanking my lucky stars I wasn't staying at one of those cheap ass hotels that only carry the 'Basic' Dental Kit, I scurried back to my room, where I soon discovered I had forgotten another essential of hygienic necessity, anti-perspirant.
What to do?  
I elevatored back down to the lobby where I checked their entire collection of arm-pit deodorizers. Which consisted of absolutely nothing. Nope, not a single one. No Right Guard, no gels, no sprays, nothing strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. Nothing.
And then I noticed the dryer sheets.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mom doesn't need no stinking flowers or candy

It’s nearly Mother’s Day!

Yep, time to reflect on the wonderful women who brought us into the world, wiped our snot, cleaned our diapers, broke up our fights with our siblings and always, always miraculously  had in her purse whatever was needed for whatever baby emergency we caused.

Even murderers have mothers, and to these mothers, the feral beast in incarceration is still her little boy. That’s why sports heroes always say, “Hi, Mom” when in front of cameras. That’s why sailors in the war had “Mom” tattoos.  

Yes, without mothers, we would not have been at all, and you wouldn’t be there not reading the words I would not have been here to write.

But we tend to forget important things, like anniversaries and birthdays, and this leads to hurt feelings and angst and consternation and other words that connote unhappiness and discontent.

This is where the advertisers come to our rescue.

So with Mother’s Day approaching, the airwaves are inundated with ads and commercials not just reminding us of this anointed day of wonderfulness, but suggesting ways we might show our love.  Flowers and candy, of course, lead the way, but here are two other suggestions making the airwaves:

The Squatty Potty: What a great way to show Mom you appreciate all those times she wiped your little chubby baby butt?  And it’s made in America! Just like you, unless you weren’t, in which case this sentence made no sense.

But everyone knows that a mother would fiercely defend her baby from danger or a dangerous attacker. So now that you’re grown up, it’s Mom that needs protection, so what better than the Tigerlady Self-Defense Claw. It’s like your Mom morphed into the family tabby with retractable claws, capable of capturing the DNA of the attacker, assuming your Mom left anything left of the attacker to prosecute.

Two lovely practical gifts to illustrate how much you truly appreciate and cherish the woman who brought you into this world.



Friday, April 29, 2016


I noticed the smudges on the wall in the warehouse restroom at work, but never really thought much of them ... or bothered to closely examine them. I figured it was normal warehouse dirt .. until this appeared: 

 I've been practicing my empathy lately, so I tried to imagine what would go through this guy's head ... wait, how do we know it was a guy?  It's entirely possible that one of the women from the office would come back here rather than use the cleaner, exclusively-for-women restroom in the office, but not willing to spread boogers in their lounge.  

So I looked around. If a woman was sitting on the toilet, mining for boogers and wiping them on the wall instead of using the very convenient toilet paper all rolled up and ready, all of the boogers would be within arm's length of the toilet while sitting.

Aha! There were many that were well out of reach! But definitely within reach of a standing guy, who, I forgot to mention, often doesn't bother to lift the toilet seat before peeing. But that's another post. 

Our culprit was definitely a guy. And someone who wants to show his disdain for either his employers, or his fellow employees. So what would motivate a person to be mad at his employers? Maybe he didn't think he made enough money. Who did I know that doesn't make enough money?  


Hmmm, was I the culprit?  I frowned, studying one of the boogers carefully. Nope, the smudges were much thicker than what I would make. I mean, my hands aren't like Donald Trump's, but they're the right size for me.

So I was ruled out. The women were ruled out. That left about fifty possible suspects.

I wondered, could it be the guy who never flushes the urinal? It was always a joy to show up to pee and see a frothy yellow stinky liquid pooled in the bottom of the urinal.

Or was it the guy who uses twenty paper towels every time instead of one of two, causing us to run out of towels near the end of the day. Nah, I'm sure booger-guy doesn't bother to wash his hands. He probably loads up a finger with booger, picks up some more toxic niceties when he wipes, and then just leaves with all of this on his hands.

Then he proceeds to go touch the coffee maker, the copy machine, the refrigerator door, maybe other people's lunches, the door ...

I looked at the door knob, all innocent and covered with feces, pee droplets and boogers.

My head snapped around to the paper towel holder. Empty. Twenty-papertowel guy beat me to it. And I realized...

I'm trapped!