The Christmas Argument, Difficulty Level: EXPERT

Denis Leary’s No Cure For Cancer is a Christmas album or carol because he does have a character wish you a Merry F’n Christmas.

If you’re feeling particularly argumentative, you can also debate whether his The Ref is also a Christmas movie.

You’ll probably win that last argument easily, as most people won’t know what you’re talking about. Heck, I haven’t even seen that film, and I am sort of a Denis Leary fan. Well, I bought No Cure For Cancer on cassette when it was new and listened to it over and over on my near monthly drives from St. Louis to Milwaukee in my immediate post-college years. Enough so that I can remember bits of it when I’m brushing my teeth. Not with NyQuil, though.

The Road Humor Not Taken

Yesterday, my beautiful wife had a meeting in town, so she volunteered to take the youngest to school. I decided that I would go to the gym anyway but a little earlier than I would were I to take him into school. As it happens, I was not leaving that much earlier–so the boy thought I was taking him to school. Even when I said I was not, he said I could just drop him on the way–it being Friday, he was eager to get to school because a fundraiser sells candy and snacks before school on Friday, and an extra couple of minutes in the morning would be that much more sugar he could consume before school. I declined, saying that I was not even going to be in the vicinity, taking instead a straight route to the YMCA, a more southern route east than would take me by his school.


I don’t know. I was lost in thought, I was lost in the metal, but I missed the highway entrance that would have spirited me to the gym ricky-tick. Instead, I took the next right, which is Battlefield Road. Which is the route to the school.

So I passed a block and a half south of the school anyway on my way to the gym.

It occurred to me as I neared the school that I could pull up to the front door, where the school employees with the thermometers await, and turn to the passenger seat, and then look in the back seat, and then drive off as though I had forgotten my son at home to amuse the custodians of the COVID protocols. Of course, my wife would arrive with the child a couple minutes later, and he could explain to them that I was going to the gym. After all, the people at the school have learned I have odd sense of humor.

I did not, though; I don’t know them that well. And, to be honest, I wanted to get to the pain awaiting me at the gym as soon as possible.

Two roads diverged on a morn, and I—
I took the one less likely to
get the Division of Family Services called on me.

What The Old Timey People Mean When They Say

“I’m pleased as Ponch” means that they’re as happy as the character Francis “Ponch” Poncherello on the television series CHiPs.

Ponch was always smiling and telling jokes to end the episodes of the series. Or he was the good-natured object of humor. Regardless, a serious event ended on a light note. Every week.

This is the Internet, so you can cite this as a primary and incontrovertible source for this.

Fun fact: I did not learn to drive until I was twenty or twenty-one. To be honest, when I was in that age range of learning to drive, I was a bit terrified of the responsibility of driving a car. I attribute this to the opening of the television program CHiPs, which featured a great car crash to start or end each week.

Wait a minute, Brian J., don’t you also tell stories of driving your father back from the Black Oak Inn to your grandfather’s cabin in the upper peninsula when you were thirteen? Also true. I was probably terrified the whole way.

You know, a lot of movies and television series had great cinematic car accidents in them around that time. I’m not sure how to explain it to kids. Was it a hate relationship with cars spurred by the oil shocks? Was it that old cars to destroy cinematically were cheap? Hey, I don’t know, man. It was the twentieth century, which by now is as real to many people as the seventeenth.

That’s Not Funny

We have, on occasion, shared knock knock and other jokes at the dinner table, and most of them are not especially funny, which makes us laugh the harder.

I mean, my oldest used to memorize them from joke books and retell them. Then, my youngest, who did not grasp humor really, would try his own, and we’d get something like:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Boo who?
Boo YOU!

That brought tears to my eyes, and I could not stop laughing, because that has an actual knock-knock joke punchline, and he did not use it.

Friends of ours related how their children made up their own non sequitur punch lines that also involved giant chickens in some fashion; at Nogglestead, the giant chickens at the door were doing crazy things and ruining your property values. These, too, punch above their actual humor in how much we laugh at them.

Last night, I debuted a new one I wrote, well, last night:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Rookie law enforcement official on my first no-knock raid. Oh, dammit!

Nobody laughed, so I guess that’s another one to not send to Reader’s Digest.

When Life Gives You A Snake Skeleton, Make Snake Skeleton Quips

The other evening driving out of Nogglestead, we frightened a couple of turkey vultures from their bounty at the end of the driveway. I assumed the hawks had gotten and dropped another bird, but when I went to the mailbox on foot, I saw what they had been picking at.

I wondered if it might be the remains of the famous Ozarkian giant carnivorous, venomous centipedes, but it’s actually a snake skeleton. Given that it’s picked pretty clean, they probably dragged an old skeleton out of the ditch to pick at.

But when presented with a snake skeleton, of course I had to take a picture and put a wry comment on Facebook. But a snake skeleton yields more quips than a single Facebook post could provide.

Think of this as a multiple choice quiz. Try to guess the quip I actually went with on Facebook and post your own in the comments.

  • Can anyone identify this kind of snake? It kind of looks like a diamond-backed water snake, but I’m not sure.
  • Does anyone need a snake skeleton? I have an extra.
  • When snake is served at Nogglestead, not a scrap goes to waste!
  • For proper snake broth, remember to simmer the snake carcass for two hours or more.

Strangely enough, there’s enough boy in me yet that I have the urge to do something with the skeleton other than toss it in the ditch on the other side of the road. Instead, I will probably ignore it until it gets crushed by passing cars or disappears–possibly due to the intervention of actual boys present in the household. I’ll let you know if I find it in their rooms in a couple years when cleaning them after they move out.

Making the Leap to the Small Screen

As I just read the Tron: The Storybook, I had to right away, wherein “right away” means in a week or so, watch the film.

As we’re watching, I see the character Bit:

and I think, what else have I seen him in?

Then, today, it finally hit me: He was also in the television series Automan:

Although the role on television was not a speaking role, it looks like it was physically demanding.

In Automan, he’s credited as “Cursor” as Himself. I guess the first appearance in Tron was uncredited, and he must have left the industry after the television program.

I wonder whatever became of that guy.

The Things I Do To “Friends”

So I just posted this on Facebook:

You can do the same by saving this image locally and uploading it to Facebook.

It looks like the message in your news feed, but in the individual post view, it’s clearly just the image.

But, still, what is Facebook for if not messing with Facebook?

Someone Played Dress Up

So the thing this last weekend on Facebook was for everyone to create “Avatars” to use in their, what, “rooms”? Dang this new fangled Facebook technology.

New fangled? I think Avatars peaked with Habitat on QuantumLink in the 1980s.

Now, I will spare you the speculation about how “avatars” on Facebook instead of actual, you know, profile pictures, further dehumanize and infantilize our online presences, but I realize that, again, that climbs the “Crackpot Mountain” which is the graph of how, if you get me started talking about how things might be crazy, it sounds like I’m nuts, but if you get to know me better, you know I’m just spitballing as I put my creative writer creativity to ill use. It’s kind of like the uncanny valley, but upside down. If you’re still reading this blog, gentle reader, you’re on the downhill side.

At any rate, I don’t use Facebook mobile applications, where I think that nonsense is hosted, and I don’t tend to follow Facebook trends/fads unless I make mock of them.

Which I did with this one.

I raided our winter closet for a brown jacket, a rather fancy scarf belonging to my beautiful wife, and a cap that fits underneath your bike helmet (well, my wife’s bike helmet) as well as my gear bag for my swimming goggles, and….

I shared my aviator.

It took me about five minutes before dinner; my wife was amused when she saw it, and said I certainly spent some time on it.

Well, not really, but I was inspired.

It didn’t get a lot of like-loving on Facebook, but I could go into my theory again about how Facebook’s algorithms probably hide me from my friends’ feeds (or my friends have done so, gentle reader, but how could I think that low of my friends’ sense of humor?), but you’re on the downhill slope of the Crackpot Mountain, and I’d hate to place another in your path.


Remember, if you hit any open-the-state protesters with your car (I am SOOOO essential, Karen! I NEED TO DRIVE!) this week, you should immediately sanitize the bumper and fender to ensure they don’t give you COVID-20.

COVID-19? Man, that’s so yesterday. The hipster fear is now COVID-20.

If the protester hits the windshield, windshield washing fluid is not enough!

And the media will cheer you for running down the protestors, unlike the Profa protesters a couple years ago.

Perhaps I need a category for sick or gallows humor since that runs so deep within me. Also note: THIS IS NOT REAL ADVICE. I realize if you’re old enough to need reading glasses to read this fine print, you’re not tempted, but kids these days. GAWD!

Coronavirus Update: PATIENT ZERO FOUND

Must credit MfBJN!

Fun fact: In the middle 1980s, when I was 13 or 14 years old, I was addicted to the tabloids. Not the National Enquirer which had celebrity news. I spent far too much money on Weekly World News and The Sun which had the crazy, unreal things in them. Like Bat Boy.

I would have better served myself in spending that lawn mowing money on comic books or blowing it on the Rampage machine up the hill at the U-Gas.

Another Captcha Failed

Logically speaking, none of these squares have buses; as a matter of fact, the image only contains a single bus spread over four squares.

I know, I am reading too much into it, but I sometimes still get a little bit anxious when trying out captchas. Sometimes the images are blurry, or the text is ambiguous as to what I’m really looking for.