Author Archive

Magazines for Micro-niche Markets

 

  1. Ultra-Marathon Runner – Voted best marathon magazine 5 years running

    Relics from an analogue age. Pardon my Gutenberg.

  2. Con Appetit – Eat just like a convict with this sister publication to Bon Appetit. Try all these gruel and unusual recipes and you’ll be asking for, “More Sir!” Recipes include:
    1. A Salted and Battered Chicken
    2. Prisoner Pot Pie
    3. Felonious Monk…Fish
    4. Perpetrator Pepper Sprayed Tater Tots
    5. Maybe It’s Peanut Butter, Maybe It’s Not
  3. Stair Master Magazine – Offers tips on mastering its sobering 32,000 Step Program. Remember, the first step to getting in shape is admitting you don’t have a Stair Master.
  4. Stare Master Monthly – Stare like nobody’s watching. Master the Stare Master’s no-step program. This Zen-like periodical deals with focusing on a single object so intently you become the object you’re staring at. A figure-ground reversal for the ages. Caution: Do not attempt this with Picasso paintings.
  5. Architects’ Digest – Sister publication to Architectural Digest. It’s more gastronomically oriented than design oriented. This high-gloss, 4-color publication endoscopically tracks the movement of foodstuffs through the alimentary canals of noted architects – from mastication to defecation, it’s all about the journey in this no holes barred gastrozine
  6. Vanity Good – A less literary version of Vanity Fair marketed to a “more better class of reader.”
  7. Advanced Web Design – Not for humans, but for spiders looking for new web-based layouts instead of the boring old preprogrammed genetic ones we’re all too familiar with. An advice column advises spiders how to cope with systemic arachnophobia.
  8. Popular Mechanics II – Celebrating well-liked laborers and other popular mechanics.
  9. Field & Stream II – Focuses on how Sally Field is coping with her streaming services.
  10. Chair Massage Monthly – For sedentary people who want to “give back” to their chairs. Why someone would want to massage their chair is beyond me, but, apparently many chairs yearn to have their arms, legs, chairbacks and even seats massaged. I know I like my seat massage, so I won’t sit in judgment of chairs. What’s next? Bread massage. Who kneads that?
  11. Who’s a Good Boy? magazine – Sister publication to Well Yes You Are. It’s a magazine claiming to be designed by dogs for dogs, but you can see the American Kennel Club’s paw prints all over this puppy. Dog POV articles include:
    1. If the Tables Were Turned I’d Gladly Scoop My Master’s Poop
    2. Overcoming the Stigma of Dog Shaming
    3. If Only Hitler was Given a Puppy Instead of a Swastika, Things Would’ve Been a Lot Different
  12. Slow Fly magazine – This very limited appeal periodical offers emotional support to sluggish flies who, through no fault of their own, fly very, very slowly and are likely doomed to a life of an early flattening. Phlegmatic flies are identified early (usually in the maggot stage) and told this publication is their last best hope to cope. Articles include: How I Survived a SWAT Team and the truculent So yeah, I’m in the buttermilk. Go shoo yourself.
  13. 4-Ply Toilet Paper Gazette – A magazine geared to rich assh*les. It bills itself as “Soft as a kittens belly.” At the Charmin Softness Awards Ceremony, 4-Ply Toilet Paper managed a clean sweep of all honors – and as we all know, a clean sweep is a rarity for this kind of thing.
  14. Recycled Towel Magazine – This old rag has been wiping up the competition for years with absorbing stories wrung from the fabric of society…OK. I’ll just stop there.
  15. Invisible People Magazine – A magazine for the faceless masses who subscribe to it – the Silent and Unseen Majority. This publication has a short shelf life because it’s written in disappearing ink. The cartoon page is boffo. Shows a busy doctor informing his nurse, “Tell the invisible man I can’t possibly see him today.” And the whole time the invisible patient is standing right there…completely naked.
  16. Bedsore Illustrated – Sports Illustrated rude attempt to parlay their success in the sporting field into the medical field. The February swimsuit edition was a disaster. And after many reader complaints, the scratch and sniff page was discontinued.
  17. Fine Print AficionadoFor people who think small
  18. AARP for Kids – For the pre-retirement demographic of ages 0-12. Prepares youngsters for a rigorous life of early bird dinners, entitlement programs, reverse mortgages and participation trophies in the form of senior discounts you’ve earned simply because you can still fog a mirror. Inaugural issue has Shawn Mendes on the cover. Yeah, I didn’t know who he was either till I Googled him.
  19. Microwave Aficionado – Again, not what you think. This specialized publication glorifies, celebrates and demonstrates methods of very tiny handwaving.
  20. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific Magazine – Originally published as: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Magazine. For some reason this publication melts in your mouth, not in your hands. Anyway if you’re considering subscribing – Just Do It.
  21. Playman…of a Certain Age – Playboy publication geared for older men. The centerfold is really hard to unfold, like those produce bags at the grocery store. Articles include: How do I Know if She’s Blonde or Brunette if All Her Hair is Gray? And Do Walk-in Bathtubs Ruin the Mood?
  22. Playlady…of a Certain Age – A Playboy publication for women who no longer have to worry about birth control. Features include: How to Gently Suggest to Your Partner It’s Time for a Scrotal Bra and What to Do When the Grandkids Find the Vibrator
  23. Highlights for Dull Normals – A simplified version of Highlights for Children. Sections include: Which Hand is Missing Thumb? and Should You Take It Personally When a Monkey Throws Feces at You?
  24. Better Huts and Gardens – For the paleo-man who prefers to party like it’s 22,000 BC. This instructive periodical informs natives how to make “grub sushi”, how to hollow out a trre trunk to create a very personal commode and what to do when a beaver overstays its welcome.
  25. Them – A semantic hybrid of Us and People, Them magazine focuses on social alienation because you’re you, and not Them. As always each issue of Them is printed in the 3rd person. 
  26. Tissue Magazine – I have every issue of Tissue ever issued, and if I have an issue with Tissue, it’s that I don’t know if it’s about Kleenex (tissue) or sinew (tissue).
  27. You’re Way Too Interested in My Armpits So Get the Hell Away From Me You Creep…Magazine – Whether your armpits are convex or concave this self-defense publication will keep them right where they belong; safely concealed under your shoulders and away from the prying eyes of armpit fetishists. Articles include:
    1. Vegas Pit Boss Tosses Oglers from Caesar’s Who Were Eyeing Women with Arms Akimbo
    2. Is that Museum Visitor Appreciating the Art or Just Staring at the Venus de Milo’s Armpits?
  28. Pharm Living – This Big Pharma publication highlights methods of improving crop yields through the use of non-FDA approved, Vegetable Enhancing Drugs (VEDs). Articles include:
    1. Garnish Industry Rocked by 80 lb. Radishes and 9-foot Parsley Sprigs
    2. Dwarf Fruit Trees Now Dwarf Regular Fruit Trees
    3. Auto Industry Reports a Bumper Crop of Bumpers
  29. Aviation Hour – Companion publication to Aviation Week. Why wait a whole week for aviation news when you can receive hourly updates stuffed directly into your mailbox? A lifeline for OCD pilots. Subscription comes with a complimentary hangar to store all your magazines delivered every hour 24/7. Largest carbon footprint of anything ever printed.
  30. Amish Life – Addresses such questions as:
    1. Amish Identity Crisis: Am I really “Am” or am I just Am-ish?
    2. Trying to Overcome Horse and Buggy Thinking
    3. Is it Morally Wrong to Eat Until You’re Satisfied?
    4. Amish Exorcisms in Southern Pennsylvania: Untainting a Taint
    5. Does God Want Us to Inhale?
    6. Is Gravity Just Holding Us Down, or is There More to It?
    7. If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, What’s Tidiness Near?
    8. Helga Participated in a Wet Bonnet Contest, We Must Stone Her?

Magazines That Went Bankrupt and the Reasons Thereof

  1. Origami Magazine – Folded
  2. Weight Watchers Digest – Went belly up
  3. 25% Quarterly – Too Redundant
  4. Modern Slavery – The Civil War
  5. Mad Magazine – The Internet
  6. Thyme Magazine – Herbal copycat never stood a chance
  7. Beast Magazine – Was beauty killed the Beast

Newly Discovered Elements Enter the Periodic Table

A table with no legs!
How does it stand?
It stands periodically.

As a college student I worked at a snooty little bistro called The Periodic Table – a restaurant renowned for its primordial soup and Big Bang Burgers. To say The Periodic Table caters to academia would be…ummm, the second sentence in this paragraph (sometimes I just don’t know how to finish a thought). But not only does The Periodic Table cater to academia, they also cater to people who…ummm want food supplied to an event they’re having. Again, sometimes I just don’t know how to finish a thought.

 

The Periodic Table has a superlative staff. Pastry chef Madame Kurie won a MacArthur Genius Award for twice baking half-baked ideas so they’d emerge from the oven as one fully formed idea. I probably could’ve used her help in the first paragraph. After all, she’s a stable genius. I’m just happy to be a wobbly virtuoso.  

 

Susan Williams, the sous chef, can be very argumentative. She often exclaims, “You don’t like my bouillabaisse? Sue me.” She’s shrewd. She knows no one will sue a sous chef named Sue?

 

With Covid-19 protocols in effect the social distancing between elements is a minimum of 6 atoms. It’s strictly enforced by nuclear bouncers carrying electron microscopes. The Periodic Table spun-off a restaurant called the Isotope. Managers mathematically determined the Isotope would last for 20 years, but signed a 10-year lease because they were smart enough to realize the unstable Isotope would have a half-life of 10 years.

 

The Periodic Table is a popular love nest for couples who are carbon dating. Chemistry majors love this semantic den of clever linguistics. For example, chem students can order their milk shakes in three states: solid, liquid or Massachusetts.

 

Most of the tips I received were of the “Hey, don’t do anything Einstein wouldn’t do,” variety. The fallout from working at the Periodic Table added gritty luster to my otherwise geek-dominated résumé (1st chair high school triangle, Chess Club equipment manager, foster home for orphaned light sabers). Unfortunately the money I earned had a half-life faster than radium and I spent money like an “unstable Cesium-137 atom decaying in a nuclear chain reaction” (I never get tired of that old expression). And even though I spent most of the money on ginkgo biloba, I could never quite remember where it all went.

 

I hope you enjoyed this overture to my list of newly discovered elements. Elements that all have one thing in common. They radiate humor:

  1. Shelium – Newly discovered sister element to Helium. Oddly enough when you inhale it, it makes your voice deeper. And even though Shelium is lighter than air, it always thinks it’s fat.
  2. Fartium – At first it was thought to be a Noble Gas. But after just one whiff you knew…it ain’t so noble.
  3. Cranium – This element is a head case
  4. Copper – Not that kind of copper. In fact, not really an element at all. It’s what gangsters called a policeman in the 1930s.
  5. Miseryium – Not much is known about this dark matter other than Miseryium loves company
  6. Moronium – An element that only seems to affect other people’s intelligence
  7. Acronymium – BTW, Scientists believe Acronymium stands for something, but FYI, they don’t know what…LOL
  8. Belgium – Not an element. Just a shout out to the country of Belgium.
  9. Tamponium – Tamponium will always have a seat at any Periodic Table – usually once a month.
  10. Yumyumium – What Chinese restaurants sprinkle on food to make it taste better
  11. Conundrum – Scientists are still trying to figure out just where this perplexing element fits in
  12. Viagrium – A lot like zirconium in that it’s not an authentic rock-hard diamond, but no one seems to mind and actually appreciate it nonetheless. Warning: If its half-life last longer than 8 hours – see a mechanic – a quantum mechanic.
  13. Blamium – It’s always somebody else’s element. Eventually decays into an Inferiority Complex.
  14. Blamium-238 – A rare isotope causes complainers to reassess their lives and admit “mea culpa
  15. Sherlockium – Elementary, my dear reader. Also available in the sarcastic isotope, No Sh*t Sherlockium
  16. Steakumms – Found in your refrigerator. At least that’s where I thaw it.
  17. Mormonium – The only element that thinks it’s acceptable to marry with the electrons of more than one atom
  18. Cofault – When cobalt decays and makes a mistake it becomes Cofault
  19. Cobalt – makes you feel blue
  20. Codependentbaltenables cobalt to make you feel blue
  21. Meme-ium – That thing where “We haz no cheezburgers”
  22. Virginium – An element of unblemished purity. High concentrations found in Ivory Soap and Promise Rings
  23. Tounguestun – When a taser accidentally hits your tongue
  24. Palladium – Amphitheater shaped element. The Beatles played there in 1964
  25. Homonymium – Sounds just like an element, but it isn’t. Prefers the orbits of its own kind, as opposed to Heteronymium.
  26. Synonymian – An element that can be substituted for any other element
  27. Cinemanium – What a drunk scientist calls a movie theater
  28. Sinamonium – Too much of this element and you won’t get into Heavenium
  29. Cinnamonium – Above a certain threshold and you develop and overwhelming desire to move to Cincinnati. Also tasty sprinkled on toast.
  30. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is your relationship with yourself. Not an element. Just wanted to send you a little preachy reminder in an Oprah kind of way. I zinc it’s important to remember this.

Lesser Known Catholic Saints (and a small lesson in parallel universes)

Maybe I’m attempting too much here, but I’ve only got so much time left and I’m determined to spend it like a drunken sailor.

~ Presenting 6 parallel introductions of the same topic. Each with its own inherent bias ~

  1. The Generous and Funny Introduction: In all of Christendom, the revered Catholic Church is far and away the most consequential. For millennia the resolute Church has provided a dependable sanctuary and a loving interpretation of Christ’s moral philosophy. And even in the darkest of ages, it has been a beacon of hope and a light unto the world. And I use the phrase “unto the world” instead of “in the world” because “unto the world” smacks of greater religious authority. In order to generate even more gravitas in the future, I might rollout out a “thee” or a “thou” and maybe even a few “thines” but I’ll try not to be holier than thou (see, it works). What can you say about an exemplary religion that’s spawned more copycat wannabees than Madonna did in her heyday (and here I’m referring to Madonna the singer, not to Madonna Jesus’s mom)? Sometimes spin-offs work (Doritos begat Nacho Doritos) and sometimes they don’t (Catholicism begat the Amish). Not to disparage the Amish, but my idea of horsepower and their idea of horse power are two very different things.

 

  1. The Damning with Faint Praise Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the glamorous Catholic Church is far and away the most Hollywood. Tinseltown’s glittery flair seems to have informed the Church’s practices and even decorated their Christmas trees. What can you say about a steadfast religion that’s resisted secular relativism and spawned more spinoffs than Fast and Furious? Sometimes spin-offs work (Chevrolet begat the Corvette) and sometimes they don’t (Chevy also begat the Chevette). Not to disparage Chevrolet, but my idea of horsepower and a Chevette’s idea of horsepower are two very different things.

 

  1. The Contemptuous Zoological Introduction that Goes Off the Rails: Of all the animals in the Christian Zoo, the outsized Catholic Church is the elephant in the room no one wants to clean-up after. In the menagerie of Christian denominations masquerading as the ultimate path to God, Catholicism has the biggest footprint – and why wouldn’t it? It’s the elephant in the room with 4 huge stamping feet that parishioners hope will walk softly and carry a big trunk. What can you say about a religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than an RC Cola accidentally set on a Tommy Dorsey record played at 78 rpms? Make that a Jimmy Dorsey record. In fact make that a reference from less than 80 years ago that people might possibly understand or appreciate. Clearly, I’ve got work to do and I implore you to stay with me and keep reading. You can get back to the familiar satisfaction of your iPhone in 10 minutes, I promise. Hmmmm…but what if you’re on your iPhone now reading this. Suddenly it’s Alice through the looking glass and a tsunami of anxiety overwhelms me. This is no time for a panic attack and yet this fretful, disjointed introduction is a panic attack just waiting to happen. Check that. Oh sh*t! It’s not waiting. It’s happening. Right now…to me. Jesus, where’s writer’s block when you need it. As I hyperventilate and begin rocking back and forth, a semantic question pierces my anxiety: Did writers who lived behind the Soviet’s Iron Curtain suffer from Writers’ Bloc?  

 

  1. The Vacuous, Out-to-Lunch Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the Catholic Church is one of them. It’s a big one. Elephant big. The Church knows it’s important to be good (or at least to not get caught doing anything bad). But if you are caught, you are invited to confess to a priest and all is forgiven. The idea of being good seems to have informed their practices and is somehow indirectly responsible for all the glorious decorations on their Church ceilings. What can you say about a legacy religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than Pepperidge Farm has with their cookies? Sometimes spin-offs work (Darth Vader begat Luke Skywalker) and sometimes they don’t (Hamburger Helper begat Pancreas Helper). Not to disparage all other religions, but…oh forget #4. I’m just relieved my panic attack is over.

 

  1. The Unforgiving Malevolent Introduction: Of all the Christian sex, the unpoliced Catholic Church has far and away screwed everybody the most. Unvetted priests have groomed and corrupted impressionable followers in the most irreligious ways imaginable. Self-serving silence seems to have informed their practices, even at the cost of millions in settlements and untold psychic harm. What can you say about a religion that spun-off a Hall of Fame to enshrine its most luminous players – they call it Sainthood? Sometimes spin-offs work (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and sometimes they don’t (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie). I guess it all depends on your perspective in judging whether something works or not. Not to disparage Johnny Depp, but his imitation of Keith Richards as Capt. Jack Sparrow gives no Satisfaction.

 

  1. The Even-Handed, Glossed Over Introduction (so we may finally get on with our entertaining little story): The Catholic Church has done its god damned best to attend to its needy flock. Sometimes they’ve fallen short, but not for a lack of good intentions. Whether Crusading through Europe, or just gently interrogating the Spanish to make sure they were really, truly Catholic, the Church always had its heart in the right place. Sometimes that heart had only 2 creaky chambers distributing the milk of human kindness stingily and unevenly, instead of 4 robust chambers pounding out truth and justice equally to all seekers. What can you say about an institution that’s produced more copycat religions than there are copycat Beatles tribute bands? Not to disparage these tribute bands, but my idea of revolution and their idea of Revolution are two very different things. At any rate, our evolution can only happen at a speed we can handle. Godspeed everyone!

And Now We Begin Our Story

Similar to the way Steven “Book of” Jobs founded Apple by tinkering in his dad’s garage, Jesus started writing code for his start-up cult in his dad’s stable. Sometimes Joseph would poke his head in and suspiciously inquire, “Jesus Christ, what’s going on in here?”

To which his exasperated son would reply, “Daaaad! I told you, I’m formulating a moral philosophy for mankind to live by.”

“Yeah sure son. Every night for 6 months?,” Joseph would huff in Aramaic. “I’m not sure what’s going on in here, but I smell frankincense.”

“I told you dad. I got that as a gift when I was born. It helps me to think.” Jesus explained. Read the rest of this entry »

Dave Takes a Deep See, Into the Deep Sea

“This is Really Beneath Me,” He Claims. “20,000 Leagues Beneath Me.”

The vanilla frosting covered North Pole in the movie Ice Station Zebra; conveniently relocated to sound stage 27 at 1225 La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. Really windy when the fans are turned on.

Because I’m not drawn to drink or drugs, I think I’m more susceptible to other less conventional intoxicants. Case in point – my current addiction to cheesy submarine movies. Whether you consider this peculiar predilection a harmless hobby or a nautical neurosis, I’ll leave to your consideration. I do believe these underwater cinematic spectacles trigger the same neurons in my brain’s pleasure center that are triggered by drugs and alcohol in normal people like you (this may be assuming a lot). I’m as happy as a clam, sitting at attention in my marine mancave, watching soldierly submariners behaving like dutiful amphibians. My life coach says these cheesy submarine movies are beneath me, and she’s right. In one movie they’re 20,000 leagues beneath me.  

Don’t you find the term “cheesy” to be a lactose intolerant word? Your cheese is my caviar and I’ve found great happiness in those little underwater fish ova. Underwater things speak to me. Maybe I’m all wet on this issue, but where computers see a binary world of ones and zeros, I see a binary world of submarine movies and not submarine movies. I cannot fathom anything deeper than 2 categories of things. To my way of thinking you’re either part of the submarine movie universe or you’re just…the rest of universe. In the former category you’re part of the solution. In the latter you’re part of the problem. I consider myself a high-functioning person, if only because my 7-layer dip does not contain mulch as one of its layers. However, when I initially encounter a person, place or thing to be categorized, the first question I ask myself is: Does this thing serve the cause of the submarine movie universe; or is it just part of the boring, everyday cosmos? I ponder this question while figuratively submerged beneath the waves in my marine-like mancave.

Don’t you find the term “mancave” to be a caveman intolerant word? It can sound so unkind to a Neanderthal’s hairy ear. In any event, my marine mancave is like a magical aquarium outfitted with artifacts to render my above-ground underwater experience arrestingly authentic. And true to my submarine ways, I’ve spent money on it like a drunken sailor. There’s a sunken treasure chest, bio-luminescent lighting, a little bubbling man in a diving suit and some fishnets. Not the kind of fishnets to catch fish, but the kind of fishnets women wear to catch men – I mean I am a male and this is my manspace I’ve outfitted to suit my interests. And I employ the word “outfitted” with great binary precision. You see women decorate. Men outfit.  

Don’t you find the term “outfitted” to be a female intolerant word. Alright, I’ll stop with this running “intolerant” trope. Even I can’t tolerate it anymore. I guess that makes me intolerant of intolerance. But as I claimed earlier, I am high-functioning. I know the difference between being entertaining, and being repetitive. As I said earlier, I know the difference between being entertaining and being repetitive.

 

Rules of the Sea

 In order to qualify as a submarine movie, the film must feature, present or promote the following mandatory items: 

  1. All sailors must have a visible arc of armpit sweat extending from the front of the shoulder to the back of the shoulder – even if they’re shirtless. 
  2. For reasons known only to the tobacco industry, smoking in this confined, underwater gas chamber is not only allowed, but is encouraged. Hence the slogan: Join the Navy and get 3 lifetimes of tar in just one 3-month deployment.
  3. All food is “chow” and served by a grizzled yet lovable mess cook, Sergeant Falco, who plates everything with a side of cigarettes and a dash of armpit sweat.
  4. There must be a fraught scene where perspiring midshipmen gaze anxiously at the ceiling for what seems like an eternity as they await the latest detonation in a barrage of enemy depth charges. And when they do explode, they must make sudden phony movements in one direction as the hull absorbs yet another powerfully bogus explosion.
  5. Smiling is prohibited (unless it’s ironic).
  6. There must be some recognizable, but out of place actor in it – like Don Rickles, Wally Cox or Trini Lopez (oh, what that man could do with a hammer).
  7. At some point an exasperated ensign exclaims, “I didn’t sign up for this sh*t.” He’s soon reminded he did indeed sign up for it. For a 4-year hitch.
  8. At some point the hull will be breached and there’ll be a containable, yet harrowing flood in which 2 superfluous seamen (they didn’t have speaking parts) drown.
  9. In the mandatory scene where the sub and its crew are plummeting to a potentially watery grave after taking one too many enemy depth charges, you realize it’s not their destiny to die yet. These men have got packs of unlit cigarettes to smoke and hampers of sweat-stained uniforms to launder.
  10. There’ll be a lot of eerie sonar pings indicating we’re underwater and it’s a submarine movie. No pongs, just pings.

 

What’s in a Name

All submarine movies except one are about high stakes, underwater peril in the midst of mortal conflict. I’ll give you a moment to think which one that is. OK. Times up. It’s Yellow Submarine. Other submarine movie titles (some real, some perhaps invented) include:

  1. Ice Station Zebra – A wondrously vague military moniker laid athwart a forbidding Arctic seascape. I’m swooning here. Calgon take me away – to the North Pole!  
  2. Run Silent, Run Deep – Starring Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable. My God, 10 minutes in, before Mr. Lancaster even issued the order to “Take ‘er down ensign,” Lancaster had completely chewed the scenery (not an easy thing to do on an all steel boat). His overacting is all too easily criticized, but we owe a great debt to Lancaster, for without his example, William Shatner may never have honed his acting chops. Some say the actual title should be Run Silent, Run Deep, Run as Far Away from Burt Lancaster’s Acting as You Can. Confession: I couldn’t stop watching this underwater thriller. Little known fact: Before there were talkies, there was another Run Silent, Run Deep movie. It told the story of a mute philosopher who pondered profoundly while he jogged – true to its title he would: run silent, run deep. That film fared poorly. Why? – No submarines.    
  3. Run Loudly, Run Shallow – This Mel Brooks parody of submarine movies belongs in the kiddie pool. Although the farting scene where, after a dinner of pork and beans the crew fills the submarine with so much noxious gas that they’re forced to surface, is hilarious. The rest of the movie stunk. Well, I guess that makes the entire movie a stinker.
  4. Ships Oy Vey! – In this all-Hebraic sequel to the gentile Ships Ahoy! the nascent Israeli Navy is out on patrol everyday but Saturday. Admiral Nimitzowitz insists each sailor trades in their traditional sailor’s hat for a little white yarmulke with a teeny-tiny brim. Trademark Yiddish humor is on display when each deployment to sea is dubbed a “Jews Cruise.” Burt Lancaster visited during filming, but orthodox Jews refused to allow him on the set because, “He’s just too hammy.”  
  5. Das Boot – German U-boat flick with plenty of surface tension as well as below surface tension. It starred venerable German actor Klaus Traphobic. Reports say Klaus Traphobic had trouble coping with the cramped quarters on the submarine.
  6. Yellow Submarine – This Beatles submarine cartoon was much more upbeat than the Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black Submarine.
  7. Up Periscope – This 1959 classic featured the impeccably well-groomed James Garner as Captain Morrel Rectitude. The line defining where Mr. Garner’s hair ended and his neck began is delineated with such expert tonsorial precision that the Navy is able to set their watch to it. In one scene the camera pans slowly over the bunks, and in the background I swore I saw a nude picture of Vivian Vance. Either that or it was a nude picture of Marilyn Monroe with Vivian Vance’s head taped over it. Being out to sea does something to a man’s head. Confession: Watched it twice back to back.
  8. Down Periscope – Kelsey Grammer at his pettifogging best in this uneven salmagundi of hijinks and lowjinks. Note: If your lowjinks last longer than 4 minutes, stop watching and call your doctor. Note to the note: The word hijinks is one of those rare words with 3 consecutive dotted letters – like iiicarumba! In Down Periscope, Kelsey Grammer speaks very clearly, but sometimes Kelsey’s grammar ain’t so good.
  9. Deep Periscope – Warning. Not a submarine movie, but a XXX sequel to Deep Throat.
  10. Gee Your Armpits Smell Terrific – Again, not the kind of movie you’d want to take the family to.
  11. The Hunt for Red October & Crimson Tide – 2 Cardinal-colored covert conflicts. Red-shifted wavelengths abound, proving the universe is still expanding. What is the proper length of a wave? Experts say about 3-4 seconds.
  12. The Hunt for Red Skelton – When famed comedian Red Skelton fails to show up for a rehearsal, his agent starts looking everywhere for him. He eventually finds him safe and dry at a deli eating a submarine sandwich.   

 

Leveling-Off at Periscope Depth, Secure Quarters, Insecure Dimes, All Ahead 1/3rd, Smok’em if Ya Got’em

Watching submarine movies…let me rephrase that, experiencing submarine movies brings me untold joy. I’d like to tell you about it, but then it wouldn’t be untold, would it? It would be “told joy.” And there are 2 things I promised myself early on: 1. I wouldn’t read Tolstoy and 2. I wouldn’t share “told joy.” No Tolstoy, no told joy (try saying that 3 times fast). And if that’s not high-functioning, I don’t know what is. You see in my long pioneering years of social distancing, well before it became popular, I discovered the importance of being scrupulously honest with my readers so I didn’t suffer their social ostracization. Unfortunately, due to my single-minded interest in submarine movies, social ostracization is something I’m all too familiar with. In any event, social ostracization is not to be confused with being oblivious to things by sticking your head in the sand. That’s called social ostrich-ization, and it’s for the birds. But I’m pleased to be able to differentiate the meaning between social ostracization from social ostrich-ization – even though it comes up infrequently. In fact it’s probably never come up until now. And once again I’ve gone overboard here, but going overboard might be appropriate given the nautical topic.   Read the rest of this entry »

COVID Curious? Personal Ads in the Time of the Coronavirus

Same as it ever was. The neverending urge to merge. 

Despite social distancing, quarantining and living every day like we’re in solitary confinement, we humans (and that’s most of you) remain desirous of intimate company. And although the invisibly menacing world of teeny-tiny viruses stand ready to devastate our dampest membranes (both in the lungs and in the loins), the sexual imperative will not be denied. The God-given urge to get naked with a loved one and perform the Heimlich maneuver is always in vogue – and in many other magazines too. And even though we are aware of the rational arguments against risky exposure, the absurd choreography of human love yearns to perform its irrational dance with a willing partner.

 

The underachieving and overbearing year of 2020 is driving us crazy. We were underprepared and overwhelmed by the Coronavirus, social injustices and the whole Aunt Jemima thing. By April, most of us were already asking for a “do over.” And as if 2020 hasn’t been cuckoo enough, you know what else drives us crazy? – the sex drive. It doesn’t so much drive us crazy as it drives us to distraction. You don’t even need a license to drive it – hormones will gladly steer the sex drive onto some very sketchy assfault. Since we all feel the urge to merge, it’s best to get a grip on yourself (or at least the steering wheel) and choose the merge lane that feels best for you.

BTW, I’ve never seen a hormone. I’ve heard one. But I’ve never seen one. Read the rest of this entry »

We asked 28 Socially Distant Grandchildren, “What name do you call your grandmother when she’s not around?” Their responses and explanations proved startling:

  1. 130 is the new 75. Former Fine Arts professor Agatha Cranston studied Cezanne – in person.

    Nana with the See-thru Hands – She’s the best, but at this point she’s like looking at an X-ray

  2. Insta-Gram – It’s what I called my new grandma when I was first adopted into the family
  3. My Inheritance – I love her and everything but c’mon, daddy needs a new Honda
  4. Crystal Methuselah – She’s very old and she used to have a little drug problem
  5. Prunella – Oh my sweet and shriveled Nana. Why must you age?
  6. Grammykins – My cuddly name for her. Especially if the Grammys are on that night.
  7. Glam-Ma – She’s still very good-looking. Some friends even tell me she’s a GMILF. Whatever that is.
  8. Milky-Eyed Matriarch – I mean whoa…”Got Grandma?”
  9. Smells like Geriatric Spirit – Just applying the Nirvana classic to Granny’s unique aroma
  10. Runs with Depends – What I call my active Navajo Indian grandmother who likes to jog
  11. GrAnnie Oakley – She’s a big 2nd amendment supporter. It’s like “Granny get your gun.”
  12. Still Life with a Heartbeat – She’s a former Fine Arts professor who once studied Cezanne – in person!
  13. Gramnesia – She sometimes forgets who I am.
  14. Grandmummy – It’s what I call my Egyptian grandma
  15. Make Nonni Great Again – She’s losing it and she loves Trump.
  16. Nonni Nonni Luftballoons – My German grandma’s whose last name is actually Luftballoon
  17. Gram Cracker – Grandma is from the deep South and she holds certain antiquated prejudices
  18. Ba-Nana – Her first name Barbara, and she’s a grandma…you do the math.
  19. Grandpa – You know how Grandmas tend to grow those chin hairs with age?
  20. Kombucha Babushka – My Russian Grandma who drinks healthy beverages
  21. ♫Hold Your Head Up, Woman♫ – What can I say? The dear woman’s head lolls to one side.
  22. Catena with the Flaring Nostrils – I wish it were different, but she ain’t exactly ♫Nancy with the Laughing Face♫
  23. Baba Ganoush – Well, her last name is actually Ganoush, and she likes the eggplant spread too.
  24. Drama Grama – She used to teach acting classes so I thought the name fitting
  25. My Favorite Neanderthal – She’s really old. Anthropologically old. She still calls the continents Pangea; and Jesus as, “That nice boy from Nazareth.”
  26. That musty old woman who once stuck her tongue down my throat – Thank God she was only a Step-Grandmother and not blood.
  27. Candy Dish of Interconnected Sweets – So what if she kept an old, dusty dish of hard candy around that, over the years, metastasized into one benign aggregate mass of candy. When she grew up, the woman had no candy.
  28. Blue Hair with Feathers – My Cherokee Indian grandmother after the beauty parlor

Are You a Genius?

Look at the jumble of letters below and see if you can find the hidden phrase so important in this age of the Coronavirus. Takes most people 10 minutes:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAAANETFLIXISYOURFRIENDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

It’s Getting a Little Crazy Out There (actually “in here”)

“Somehow I just cant get it through my head that today is Tuesday.”

It’s called Stir Crazy.
The following is based on surreal events:
So I called 9-1-1.
A machine answered and said, “If this is a medical emergency please hang-up and dial 9-1-1.”
What the…?
This went on for hours.
I mean, this went on 4 hours.

***Coronavirus Update*** Notes from Around the Globe

1. This whole social spacing thing is nothing new to me. People are always telling me to keep my distance.
2. Banks to relax “shoot to kill” order when people enter banks wearing masks
3. Some people have been cocooning so long they’ve emerged from their homes as butterflies
4. Most in demand job: Epitaph writers. And that’s my last word on the subject.
5. Andrew Cuomo has never been sexier – and that’s not an easy thing to do
6. Shortage of embalming fluid allows bottlers to finally empty warehouses of all that unsold Zima
7. Kissing Booth industry devastated by Coronavirus. Now using wax lips.
8. Dogs are Confused and Weary: “Even I don’t need this much attention,” growled Rover. “C’mon people. You’re walking me 6 times a day. Enough already I’m dry. I’m empty. I have no more contributions to offer the little sapling near the swing set. And another thing, take a lesson from me. Have you ever noticed how much toilet paper I use?”
9. Number 9 quarantined by the CDC
10. Cardiac Monitor industry is suffering. It’s now on life support. If it gets any worse they’ll flat line. But they won’t ever know it because there aren’t enough Cardiac Monitors to go around.
11. Rod Belcher of Overland Park, Kansas summarizes the enter Coronavirus pandemic from its genesis to its current state: “Some shopkeeper in an open air market in Wuhan, China decides to expand his unrefrigerated meat case to include wombat cutlets. The next thing you know I’m down to using 1 square of toilet paper per flush. Why can’t they just buy cellophane wrapped meat like the rest of us?”
12. Shortage of long johns creates longing for slim Jims. Makes no sense. Neither does our enforced incarceration. I mean at some point we’re going to be released from house arrest – and we won’t even have a prison record. Crazy.
13. At first they all laughed when I said I wanted to study in Antarctica. Now who’s laughing (and really, really cold)?
14. Hermits everywhere agree: “Welcome to our world. Where, what you call Social Distancing, we call Tuesday.”
15. Trump awards 2 Congressional Medals of Honor to Netflix. “They’re doing tremendous, tremendous work. Twice as good as I hoped and that’s why I’m giving them 2 medals.”
16. This just in: Jimmy Osmond, the youngest Osmond brother, has marked himself as safe even though he says, “Marie keeps bugging me.”
17. Business as Usual: Against federal orders XFL restarts season. Same amount of fans attending as before – none.
18. Adult Film Industry making little progress in trying to find ways of eroticizing people poking each other with 6 foot poles.
19. Comic Con convention suddenly doesn’t seem that important. And it wasn’t that important to begin with.
20. Even with all this time on my hands, I still can’t seem to get through “The Irishman”
21. This UFC Statement Went Viral: “Coronavirus thinks it’s so tough. Nah man. In a cage match, Spanish Influenza would kick Coronaviruses ass.”
22. Somehow Kellogg’s 23th new flavor formulation of the Cheez-It just doesn’t excite me right now. Who cares about Calvin Coolidge Ranch Cheez-Itz?
23. Not interested in seeing an Instagram of Vanilla Ice singing “Ice Ice Baby” to raise awareness of Vanilla Ice. Mango Ice Yes. Vanilla Ice, meh. Cardi B is the only one that speaks for me (when I have the Closed Captions on) otherwise I can’t understand her at all.
24. And finally, because you don’t waste things (even half-baked ideas like these) during these unnerving times, I’ve included the following: In a poll of Polish Pole Dancers most wanted to remain in Romania disguised as hungry Hungarians eating Greece-y Turkey on Laos-y China. Just Brazilliant!
25. Stay Safe. Much Love and Support to you all. If you think the Coronavirus connects us all, just wait till you/we experience the rapturous connectivity pervading the Cosmos – ineffable and just momentarily forgotten. Sounds good, but maybe that’s the hydroxychloroquine talking.

 

◊◊◊ Obituaries We’d Like to See ◊◊◊

1. Walt Disney – 65, Died peaceably and was cryogenically frozen thus making him a permanent member of Disney on Ice. In a cross-promo of epic proportions, Disney execs say they’ll thaw him out to coincide with the opening of Frozen 3, proving once again that Disney is no Mickey Mouse organization.
2. Giovanni Pietro – 54, designer of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which at that time was simply known as the Tower of Pisa. Always a favorite with the powerful Borgia and Medici families, he leaned slightly towards the Borgias. Mr. Pietro died from a fall at a job site in Verona. Doctors attended to him immediately, but it was too late. One eye was fixed and dilated and the other one read: TILT.
3. Detective John Shaft – 70, Beloved and respected fictional African-American detective. In Isaac Hayes theme song from the movie “Shaft,” he described Detective Shaft as ♫a complicated man♫. In fact Mr. Shaft died from complications of complications. His manager blamed the hospital for substandard care, saying, “He got Shafted.”
4. Jesus Christ – 33, Jewish preacher who developed quite a following in the Middle East (which at the time of his death was simply known as The East). Although paternity tests were inconclusive, his father is believed to be God. His mother Mary, while not quite as accomplished as his father, was no slouch herself and was considered immaculate by contemporaries. Jesus cause of death: Other people’s sins. Apparently he loved his flock so much, he chose to die for them in order to ease their burdens. Just like Shaft, Jesus was also a complicated man. Calling hours every Sunday, forever.
5. Jesus Christ – 33 and a few days. Well, we all thought he was dead the first time, but 3 days later he resurrects himself – like it was a miracle or something. Somehow he opens his tomb from the inside and rises straight up into the sky. It was a risk flying into the sky unmonitored and untracked, but fortunately there weren’t any airplanes back then so the only thing he had to worry about was a bird strike. The consensus was that if he can come back to life and ascend into heaven, bird avoidance might not be much of an issue. His obituary is open-ended pending a promised second tour.
6. Johnny Garza – 62, President of Garza Cement Products died, appropriately enough, from hardening of the arteries. His cardiologist said his arteries were soft and pliant when he came in, but by the time he got on the operating table they had hardened into rock. Attending Dr. Joe Gannon said, “I couldn’t even carve my initials in them – not that I was trying or anything.”
7. Adolph Hitler – 56, From self-inflicted wounds (mostly stupidity). His quaint attempt at sporting a little Charlie Chaplain moustache won him few friends. The decidedly non-Aryan looking and underachieving little corporal from Austria promised the Fatherland a restoration of national pride after his people were ravaged by hyperinflation and all those soft, smelly cheeses from France. He proposed a great network of roads for “People carriages” or “Volks Wagens” as he called them. Hitler also expanded the military as a bulwark against whatever it is you need “bulwarks” for.” All these malefactors were a recipe for calamity. And sure enough his other recipes included such favorites as Polish Blitzkrieg with Pogroms and Russian Blunder à la Napoleon. Not a complicated man – more a misanthropic loser who consolidated power by promising “2 bratwursts in every pot and a Volkswagen in every garage.” The potato farmers and beer-swilling peasants ate it up and the ruling class just couldn’t say no to this latter day charismatic Napoleon. In short order he established the invincible 1000 year Reich, whose invincibility lasted a full 12 years. He was also responsible for Germany’s second catastrophic defeat on the world stage in less than 27 years. As punishment for their bad behavior, the Allies told Germany, “You’re grounded” and sent it to 2 separate rooms for 44 years to reflect on just what they did. Eventually the bedroom Wall came a tumblin’ down and they were ♫reunited and it feels so good♫. Sure he built the autobahns, but Dr. Sigmund Freud believed his road-building scheme was really more Rage-paving than creating productive infrastructure. Dr. Freud thought the whole goose-stepping, Seig Heil thing was just his inner-Nazi acting out. He noted that the only healthy relationship the Fuhrer ever had with a female was with Brunhilde, his German Shepherd. Legend has it Hitler’s last words were, “I’d trade it all for just one more bite of mama’s spoon bread.” Years later Hogan’s Heroes and Mel Brooks would get their revenge on him and we’d all have a good laugh at this evil incarnate. Part of his legacy is that the least popular baby name for the last 80 years has been Adolph. And when was the last time you’ve seen a Hitler in the phone book? In fact when was the last time you’ve seen a phone book?
8. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – 46, Loved his life. Loved his wife. Loved heroin more. Heroin was his heroine. It happens. He’s not alone. Fans who miss him can still feel his presence by staring at his doppelgänger: Jim Gaffigan.
9. Thomas Sheldrake – 35, Died from complications of a bad business plan – owned and operated the Kissing Booth concessions at New Jersey nursing homes.
10. Kate Billups – 32, Pharmacist who enjoyed emptying prescriptions more than she enjoyed filling them. Only person ever to die from an overdose of Lipitor. Her blood became so thin, a paper cut caused her to bleed out. Never really liked her job stating she found, “all those little vials vile.” Strangely she enjoyed the music of Kurt Weill.
11. Wilma Parsons – 71, Ms. Parsons experienced serial gender dysphoria to such a degree, she underwent 4 gender reassignment surgeries. It died a Hermaphrodite attracted mostly to talk shows.
12. Chuck Norris – 80 and counting, Not gonna happen. Death is for mortals.
13. Generalissimo Francisco Franco – 82, Pompous ass. Being called Frank wasn’t good enough for him. Had to be called Generalissimo. Even by his wife while in bed. Well, this was before Viagra, so whatever hardens your arteries is your business. Led the conservative faction to victory in the Spanish Civil War in which thousands were killed including a guy who would’ve perfected Cold Fusion and another who would’ve made bickering obsolete. Thanks Frank.
14. Corey Blaine – 55, A COVID survivor. Ironically he died from suffocation when, after recovery, he put on his thickly protective breathing mask too snugly.
15. Harry Houdini – 52, Died from an overdose of semantics:
Who did?
Houdini did?
Who?
The guy in the trunk?
Harry?
I don’t know if he’s hairy or not, I just call him Houdini.
Who?
The guy in the trunk.
Oh, that’s Dini.
Who Dini?
Exactly.
What?
No, What’s the second baseman.
Well then who’s the guy that drew pictures of people extricating themselves from dangerous situations?
Oh, that’s the Escape Artist.
Who is?
Houdini is.
And I didn’t even know he could draw.