Category Archives: Humor

Living With A Yogi

The great baseball player and Hindu philosopher, Yogi Berra, is known for his whacky word ways. He’s attributed with saying  “It’s déjà vu all over again.”“If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”;  and “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

I married another Yogi with this talent. Though she doesn’t try to copy the original, my wife really did, well, say everything she said. Using her brand of invented words and mixed metaphors, here are her classics.

Kristine once proclaimed she was ferenzic, which was her way of combining frenzy and frenetic.  It's used to describe wildly frantic court evidence.

Do you need more kick for the word truly? How about adding in reality to form her new creation in truality.

Kristine exclaimed, “I’m adamnant about that!”, not content with merely being adamant. I think having damn in the middle of a word always makes it better.

When fixing to fry bacon she asked, “Do we have a skiddle?” You guessed it—on the fry she had combined skillet and griddle. Who knows why she didn’t say grillet instead.

"You need a thermomostat," she told me while feeling my forehead. I guess she wanted to measure my temperature and then reset it to a more comfortable level. I proudly replied, "I'll have to renumerate on that", which is Kristine's word for ruminating while enumerating.

She also mixes metaphors, which is as easy as (and more fun than) shooting fish in a barrel of monkeys. In Kristine’s world, sometimes things can turn on a nutshell, which I guess is what happens if you didn’t fall far from the acorn as she once said of me. I consider myself fortunate that I did not just fall off the turnip tree like some other bloke she described, for then I would be a weak link and need to be plowed-under. Kristine's brain is packed with nut and edible root references.

Do you want to smooth things over after an argument? In Kristine-speak, that’s called mending bridges, which is much better than burning fences I suppose.

Then there was the time she advised me how I could solve my problems: "You could kill all those stones at one blow!" Yikes! It seems there's an old German fairy tale about a tailor who's preparing to eat some jam just as seven flies land on it, and he manages to kill them all. Right. Even I don’t get it, and I didn't just fall off the turnip tree.

With my added commentary, here are some of her other misappropriated malapropisms:

When you toot your own horn too much, you get egg on your face.

     This is why I don’t eat while driving.

I’m overscheduling my plate.

     The downside of having too much food on your calendar.

We’re living on thin ice here.

     It's better than walking on borrowed time.

You gotta make hay while the getting’s good.

     Then we must get while the sun shines.

(Incredulously, about a TV show): It’s beginning to get near the edge of the valley of no return.

     (I’ve got nothing.  Just.  Nothing.)

If you’re afraid of doing something new, just get the virgin out of it!

     Why men will sometimes, under the right circumstances, make an effort at newness.

When it comes to not wasting water, I’m a conversationist.

     Talking about conserving water speaks louder than actually not wasting it.

He talked your foot off!

     Then he stepped on my ear.

Don’t be putting me in a peg hole with a square knot!

     Awkward misuse of geometrically incompatible resources.

You came through that with shining colors!

     I guess I'm just a flying example of shining colors.

I love your perspection on that subject.

     I have perspective AND reflection on many subjects.

It’s always good to get rid of dead baggage.

     And it's healthier than carrying around extra weight.

He has good language-ing skills.

     Yogi would agree.

Brigham Young was a philandthroper.

     As both a philanthropist and a philanderer, he wasn’t afraid to get the virgin out of it.

Did you leave your tea in the kitchen undrinken?

     Yes, sorry.  I have bad language-ing skills.

We have to live our lives while we’re alive.

     Or be plowed-under early if we're weak links.

They get the bloody seconds.

     Some movie theaters don’t rate the first-run slasher shows.

That’s not worth a pot to piss in.

     Even if we had one.

It's like the Alaskan outbush in here!

     Or the Australian bushback.

I could have gone off half-cocked. By the way, that’s not a euphemism; it’s just an expression.

     One man’s euphemism is another’s substitution of a more vague expression.

(Regarding the light snowfall):  It hasn't been very precipitous this year.

     Thank God for the lack of steep and dangerous snow depths, huh?

You know, God speaks in metaphors, so I’m in like Flint.

     At the end of my head, I’m still trying to get the day around that one.

I guess now you’re on the other edge of your coin, wise guy.

     Before that I was on the flip-side of my seat.

I tend to over-extenuate myself.

     I tend to under-valueize my less serious circumstances.

That's extrenuous!

     Extraneous AND strenuous!

That's feckle!

     Feckless AND fickled!

Would you please numb-out the TV?

     Yes, if you'd kindly mute my toothache.

When you work for a real estate title company, you get bombasted by everybody!

     Damn those pretentious bombastards!

It's not worth beating our heads against a bush.

     Or in beating them around a wall.

This show really separates the ones who will get through the crisis from the ones who will not get through.

     Not exactly succinct, yet satisfyingly mutually-exclusive.

I don't like to press the envelope.

     And I don't like to push the outside of the issue.

Look at her!  She's a nemesis of her own self!

     Plus, she's like a weird caricature of her many rivals.

We turned over a new lease on life!

     It's better than continuing to rent that old leaf.

My brain doesn't work as well as it used to.  My thinking comes in spits and farts.

     Just yesterday my own drool and flatulence came in fits and starts.

I don't like to purge on TV series.

     And I regret binging on burritos.  It gives me spits and farts.

I'm going to get up now.  If the coffee is ready, that'll be a point in your direction.

     And if you let me sleep-in, that'd be a move in your favor.

I didn't wake up with much vim and vinegar today.

     It's better than waking up with a strong vigor to piss.

If you don't do your Yoga and walking excercises, you're asking for fire!

     So if a Guru lights a candle, is he playing with trouble?

I got a $400 Christmas bonus!  It was an unexpected downfall!

     So would paying taxes be an expected windfall?

I took a page out of your book and ran with it.

     Or you could just get a ball and learn a valuable lesson from it.

If you keep on that way, you'll be cooking like oil!

     As long as I'm not burning with the midnight fire.

You're almost 60.  It's my job to wean you into the next decade.

     Yes, and please also help me ease off the ice cream.

I've got some Hyper-Metaphines you could take for your headache.

     Not yet approved by the FDA, but you can get highly-active Hyper-Metaphines from Mexico off the internet.

You can't take both Cold Pills and Ibuprofen unless they both don't have AnaCetaPhetamine in them.

     Although a dangerous cocktail that can elicit a side effect of grammatical negatives, you can also get AnaCetaPhetamines from the same website.

I don't feel right today.  I think my electrolytes can't even be off by a microscop.

     Take a teeny tiny dose of AnaCetaPhetamine dissolved in Gatorade twice daily.

We could get Streptatosis from that filthy sink!

     Every new disease has to start somewhere.

Let's get some of that good artesian bread.

     Or some of that sub-surface sourdough under its own natural pressure, freshly baked by skilled artisans.

I love my new phone; I can attach those cute emotiums to my texts!

     Yes, but remember that a few emotive words speak louder than 1000 smiley icons.

I think I have some hereditarial defects.

     Well, as long as we're making up words, I'm sure you also have some defectual relatives.  Looks like you didn't fall far from the acorn your own self.

Can you encapsulize that for me?

     No, but let me summulate it in a neat little microscop.

She really let the ball fall apart.

     And on top of that she let the things drop.

This storm's going to be bad because there's so much wind in the air today.

     And the weatherman also said there would be a large chance of scattered water in the rain.

In these Presidential debates the Media is just fanning the fumes.

     And wouldn't we all prefer that the candidates were quickly overcome by the flames!

You'll just have to see if I'm up to the mustard.

     I've also been wondering if you could cut the task.

(Remarking after brain surgery): This extra hole in my skull causes a lot of subterfusion in my head.

     A natural consequence of an expedient and evasive surgical technique that leaves one not quite up to the mustard, subterfuse-wise.

Hey, don't share stuff you write about me.  I don't want to be defaced again.

     Excellent advice: we should all think twice before posting disfiguring words on deFacebook.

Even though I never met the great Berra, I feel like I know him well, that he speaks to me every day, and that I can’t escape his paradoxical influences.  Or as Kristine put it, “It’s a Catch-22 all over again!”

The Whirly Gig*

It’s the holiday season and time to consider gift ideas! Again! Instead of giving him a subscription to Jelly-Of-The-Month-Club, why not send Cousin Eddie to a cultural event? Because the Monster Truck Rally is sold-out, you choose nosebleed seats to—a BALLET! And that means he’ll be attending The Nutcracker, a beloved (hated) family holiday tradition.

French for “whirligig”, a ballet is a story set to music, choreographed by anorexic retired ballerinas, and danced by little Whoville “Whos” who later audition for So You Think You Can Dance With The Stars, Idiot?!   The Nutcracker is based on a fairy tale set to music by the Russian Pyotr Ilyich (“Itchy”) Tchaikovsky, who also wrote the music for A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone 12, Bad Santa, and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Written in 1892, The Nutcracker was instantly popular until its debut later that year at Christmas, and has been thrilling (horrifying) the parents of young dance recital participants ever since.

The story opens at a Christmas party at the Stalebum home in a small 1950’s Indiana town. The Stalebum children Ralphie and CindyLoo Who (adopted) decorate the house and greet the guests. CindyLoo’s godfather, Dr. Droesselmeyer Griswold, arrives with gifts: a Red Ryder BB gun for Ralphie, an Italian leg lamp for Mr. Stalebum, and a little man toy nutcracker for CindyLoo. When the conflicted Ralphie decides he’d rather have the nutcracker, there’s a struggle and the toy is purloined and broken. Not to be outdone purloin-wise, Griswold quickly fixes the nutcracker for Cindyloo and staggers back to the eggnog bowl.

After the party ends, the Stalebums retire. A scampering mouse awakens CindyLoo who discovers her boy toy is missing. Off she goes to find it as giant rats attack her. Then, appearing as if from a fantasy scene out of some story dance, life-sized toy soldiers led by her valiant Nutcracker come to CindyLoo’s rescue. The Rat King attacks the Nutcracker, but CindyLoo distracts him with a present (iPhone) from under the tree and the Nutcracker wins the battle. Afterwards, the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince (balding Jewish house painter from New York). He leads CindyLoo through the magical Land of Snow because he has the urge to gather a few chestnuts, but he soon discovers that CindyLoo is a tough nut to crack, metaphorically speaking.

In Act 2 the Nutcracker and CindyLoo go to the Land of Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy (stage name) honors CindyLoo with dances performed by the inhabitants of her kingdom. There is the Spanish Dance, (representing Chocolate and Nutella), an Arabian Dance for coffee (Decaf Sumatra, full-bodied, with a smooth mouthfeel and hints of camel hump fur), a Chinese Dance for tea (Panda Dung—yes, it’s a real tea), a Russian Dance (representing evil repression in the form of a shirtless Vladimir Putin), the Dance of Madam Ginger (also smooth mouthfeel) and her Clowns, the Waltz of the Flowers (Monkey Face Orchid, The Happy Alien, Hooker’s Lips. Go ahead, Google it), and the Dance of the Mirlitons (stuffed squash casserole often served at drunken Cajun Christmas parties). Then the Sugar Plum Fairy performs her dance solo to the tune of My Boyfriend’s Back.

To conclude the evening CindyLoo and her Nutcracker Cavalier perform a final dance together, the Pas de Deux (pass the dip). The dance has four parts: Andante Maestoso (slow, majestic barn dance), The Nutella (fast dance by the Nutcracker covered in chocolate hazelnut spread), the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (danced by CindyLoo, with a famous melody also made memorable for modern music lovers in Muppets Most Wanted and The Simpsons), and Boot Scootin’ Boogie, a traditional line dance with audience participation.

Finally, in a homographic epiphany CindyLoo realizes her Nutcracker Cavalier might not be so cavalier had she been more forthcoming with her chestnuts. Much to the Nutcracker’s dismay, the music ends with a climax for the TROMBONES! He briefly considers jumping off a bridge until an angel (Clarence Odbody) does his own special dance and they run away together. As for the audience, everyone leaves with new tunes in their heads as memorable as the theme to Gilligan’s Island.

So if you’re searching for the just right Christmas presence this holiday season, grab a hot cuppa Panda Dung and — I triple-dog-dare you — take someone to The Nutcracker. It’s a real ball-buster.

*Another edition in the irritating series "Play Synopses for Modern Readers Ignorant of the Classics".

Something Fractious About Sylvia

I’ve noticed something mathematically irritating about my mother-in-law Sylvia.

When I was born, she was 23 years old and I had lived exactly none of the time she had already lived.

10 years later when I was 10 she was 33, and I had already lived 3/10 of the time she had lived.

It only took another 5 years for my 15 years of age to equal 4/10 of Sylvia’s 38 years.

Then after only another 8 years I had become 23 to Sylvia’s 46, and I had lived 5/10 or exaclty one-half of her time.

Twelve years later I celebrated 35 and Sylvia had reached 58, about the age I am today and I am shocked to learn that I had reached 6/10 of her time spent here.

Now even if you don’t really understand fractions I can assure you that this is a disturbing trend because it appears that I’m aging faster than Sylvia.

Now move ahead 17 years to 2009 when I first met Sylvia.  I was all happy-go-lucky at age 52 and Sylvia was 75, and I had lived damn near 7/10 of her age!

I don’t think this is at all fair, and I can report that meeting Sylvia was therefore a disturbing milestone for me.

Today, 5 years after I met Sylvia, it’s 2014, I am 57, and Sylvia celebrates her 80th year.  The math tells me that I’ve firmly passed 7/10 of her age and I can say that I’ve gotten over it, and I’m now okay with her having lived so long.

And 23 years from now when I find myself at the age Sylvia is today, and when she has become 103, my only consolation will be that I still will not have reached 8/10 of her age!

All of this proves why we don’t live forever: we’d all be the same age, and then birthdays (and math) wouldn’t be any fun at all.

Happy birthday to Sylvia on October 18, and for both our sakes I hope our ages never meet.

You Can’t Control Blue

It’s that time of year when we teach our youth the critical lessons needed for success in life:

1) adults make the rules

2) adults are nuts

Yes, it’s a new season of little league baseball! And it’s not the game we played as kids.

After a long winter practicing team chants, inventing new insults, reliving last summer’s great plays, and playing pitch and catch at the neighbors, the adults return to their own houses to prepare 10 year-olds for the hard life of baseball and the hardball of life.

Teams are assembled, uniforms are purchased, and beer and sunflower seeds are stockpiled. Treat-Mom schedules are emailed and immediately lost. Team names are chosen to convey the power, the influence, and the ruthless nature of the sport and to intimidate opponents and entertain the fans. Common monikers are Yankees, Cardinals, Swamp People, Dynasty Ducks, Magic Mikes, Congressional Oversighters, Middleclass Income Gappers, Mortgage Derivative Regulators, and Common Monikers.

A great metaphor for life, baseball has many pertinent lessons expressed as pithy sayings like “GOOD EYE!” This one is used when a pitcher throws a fastball which careens off the batter’s ankle resulting in shouts at the pitcher from angry Dads, the third base coach sarcastically yelling “GOOD EYE!”, and many tears shed when the umpire detects that the ricocheting ball somehow got past his own crotch guard. A parent then yells, “WALK IT OFF, BLUE!” and everyone laughs at the apt, yet oddly ironic, conventional nickname for the home plate umpire.

Today’s season-opener is between the Dirtbags and the visiting Turdbuckets. After the first throw, chants begin immediately:

You can’t CATCH

You can’t PITCH

Yo’ Mamma is a lousy…COOK!

This irritates a team mother who complains to the local league officer who admonishes Blue to quit taunting the batter.

Every little league game is a ruthless and fun battle between umpires, opposing teams, parents, coaches, fans, and frequently the concession stand attendee. These battles are often fraught with innings, idiots, and idioms:

  • GOOD SWING! Encouragement for a batter with no chance of hitting a ball. Ever.
  • BIG STICK. A successful team Dad who is very popular.
  • PLAY DEEP. Team Dad expanding his horizons and anticipating opportunity.
  • FIRST BASE. Opposing-teams parents exchanging greetings.
  • SECOND BASE. Opposing-teams parents exchanging phone numbers.
  • THIRD BASE. Opposing-teams parents sharing Fierce Grape Gatorade, unconcerned about cross-contaminating fluids.
  • OK, YOU’VE SEEN IT; NOW GIVE IT A RIDE! Player encouraged to hit the ball hard. (Also used by some team parents during off-season “strategy sessions”. (See HOME RUN and SCREWBALL).
  • SWITCH-HITTER. Mom who alternates coaching girls and boys teams.
  • PLAYING FOR OTHER TEAM. Curious Dad wanders onto adjacent ballfield to see if that game is more fun.

At many games you can hear those expressions used in polite adult conversation near the restrooms:



“Good swing!”


“Big stick!”


Wanna play deep sometime?”

“Sorry. I play for the other team.”

Back at the game, four innings elapse with these stats: three Dirtbags homeruns, seven Turdbuckets RBIs, and one black eye when the left fielder is hit in the ear by a wild pitch, and a team Dad punches the first base coach who neglects to contest Blue’s strike call.

In the game’s best play, the Dirtbags’ shortstop, “Long” O. Verdue, fields a “skupper”, which takes a nasty “philben” near second base. Meanwhile, the Turdbuckets player on first base starts running but neglects to tag-up on First first. This results in a technical “infield fly” ruling by Blue who was still adjusting his own infield fly from the earlier incident. The third base coach, way off base himself due to untreated bi-polar disorder, sadistically “waves-on” the hitter who rounds second base. A massive collision happens between Third and Home involving Blue, the runner, and two Dirtbags parents who were “playing the field” near the foul line. A brief timeout is called to sort-out the carnage, five runs are awarded to the Turdbuckets, and the offending parents are ejected from the game for “taking one for the team” behind the bleachers.

When the infield dust clears, the treats are distributed, the post-game critiques are delivered, and the Ump has iced his groin, everyone looks forward to the next matchup. A Turdbuckets Mom taunts a team Dad, “You can’t control Blue; you can only control YOU!”, and in true game spirit fists fly while the kids amusedly watch the enfolding “sportsmanship lesson”, munch Ding Dongs, and discuss the alarming increase in Major League steroid use.

It’s a whole new ballgame, folks!

A Tale of Christmas Past in Two Cities, by Oliver Twist*

Setting: The English Channel, between Paris and London, at the start of the French Revolution, Saturday around 5:30.

The Americans, having finished their own revolution and a light supper, sail for Paris and the French Revolution, while the French sip lattes at the Café Rue de Les Misérables (“a miserable street deli”).

Doctor Victor Hugo Hackenbush is released from his front row Paris prison theater seat after 17 years of repairing shoes as a hobby. He is deranged and wonders how he will get back to London to start his new life. But while in the care of his servant Ernest “Borgnine” Defarge (“of the farges”) and his wife Madame “Large Bosoms” Defarge, Hackenbush is reunited with his fetching daughter, Lucy, who fetches him to England.

On their voyage to London, Lucy and Hackenbush befriend the nephew of the French Marquis Jean (“Bastille Day”) Valjean. The nephew, Charles (“lite”) Mayonnaise, who renounced his inheritance, was banished from France by the Marquis who with the help of his spy, John “Threeleg” Barstool, secrets in Mayonnaise’s pants a false letter accusing him of spying on England. Unbeknownstingly of this plot, Mayonnaise falls in love with Lucy, who, not knowing about the letter, simply thought he was happy to see her.

Later in London, while Lucy is sleeping, the implicating treasonous letter is found by a whore in Mayonnaise’s pants. The letter was also in there. Constables throw Mayonnaise in jail.

Mayonnaise is tried as an English traitor. He is then rescued by a drunken but brilliant lawyer, Sydney Carte Blanche, an oddly Frenchy name for an Englishman. Sydney falls in love with Lucy too, but she doesn’t give him Carte Blanche as with Mayonnaise. Everyone lets the senile Dr. Hackenbush decide who loves Lucy, and he chooses the real Frenchman, Lite Mayonnaise, not knowing that Mayonnaise is the nephew of the despised Marquis. Soon Mayonnaise and Lucy have a daughter, Little Lucy. Carte Blanche continues to love both Lucys while remaining drunken and lawyerly.

Back in France the evil Marquis, sensing things are going awry, rides into Paris in a carriage pulled by a horse that runs over the street urchin Oliver Twist, who was a real little dickens, but not a very artful dodger. Paralyzed by the horse in one leg (left front), Oliver rides on the shoulders of his uncle Ebenezer Scrooge, while the horse manages to get by with a limp and eye patch.

Then the Marquis is murdered just as the Americans arrive in Paris for the Revolution. Mayonnaise decides to go back to Paris to investigate, and he is promptly arrested in Paris and charged by the mob as the former big-shot nephew who fled France. He is thrown into La Force (“the force”) Prison where he is forced (LOL) to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns.

Hearing of the impending trial, the Lucy’s, Dr. Hackenbush and their friends, the Mertzes, use their frequent carriage miles to travel back to Paris. Speaking at the trial in defense of his son-in-law Mayonnaise, the Doctor wins Mayonnaise’s freedom.

At the party celebrating Mayonnaise’s acquittal, Madame Defarge produces a letter from her bosoms that Hackenbush had written years ago in the Bastille Theater. It explains why he was imprisoned and ends with a curse on the Marquis, his descendents and their horses: years earlier Hackenbush went to the Marquis’ country estate to treat a horse. In a rage, the Marquis’ brother shot the horse, not realizing that horse’s descendent would later trample Oliver Twist, the brother of Madame Defarge! Thoroughly confused about whom they should support, the partiers change sides and denounced Mayonnaise on the advice of the letter written by Defarge’s bosoms.

The Finale: Carte Blanche, willingly taking the place of Mayonnaise, is transferred to prison by guards who think he is the newly-accused Mayonnaise. At the last minute, the real Mayonnaise (har!), Hackenbush and the Lucy’s escape to London in a submersible carriage, while the innocent Oliver agrees to stand-in for the person who everyone thinks is the real Mayonnaise (but who really is Carte Blanche)! Sydney slips out the back and later stars as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music”.

The play ends when Oliver, lured by a Christmas pudding, ascends to the guillotine proclaiming, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, and God bless us, every one”. The curtain falls on the neck of the Marquis’ horse, which spends the rest of its life in a wheelchair.

*Another edition in the irritating series “Play Synopses for Modern Readers Ignorant of the Classics”. You may also enjoy “Rigoletto Comes to Utah” by the same author.

The Colonoscopy

Author’s Note:   One of the kindest (yet still unprofitable) things ever said about me was, “His writing is a good as anything Dave Barry wrote.”  Wow.  At the time I didn’t know who Dave Barry was, but I’ve learned that he wrote an article about his colonoscopy.

I’m proud to say that my article on this subject (written years before Dave’s) is eerily similar to his article, except that I used my own colon.  I also want to reiterate Dave’s challenge to get yourself a colonoscopy.  It’s easy and it’s good, clean fun, and it may save your life as it did mine.  Here then is a reprisal of my original article.

April 20, 2013 Another Author’s Note:  This article won First Place in the First Quarter 2013 Humor Contest.  See it here: The Colonoscopy.

 The Colonoscopy

The colonoscopy is the butt of many jokes, yet the colon is full of laughing matter. The facts:  A normal adult colon is five feet long.  Abnormal adults have different colons, usually in fuchsia. The colon has four sections.  The Ascending Colon connects the small intestine to the duodenum then travels past the liver to the Transverse Colon.  This is called the Transverse Site because male colons dressed as female colons loiter here.  The Transverse Colon swings around the left kidney, dips below the pancreas and becomes the Descending Colon, where it speeds up to complete a double vertical loop inside the pelvis.  This is where injuries happen because people haven’t kept their arms inside the ride at all times.  The whole thing slows down on the flat section called the Sigmoid Colon, first discovered by Dr. Sigmoid Freud when he was developing his Sexual Theory of Colon Dreams, the pervert.

You need a colonoscopy if you’re over 50 or have a family history of problems,  including a colon that’s been abusing alcohol or has declared bankruptcy.  If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, it can be troubling.  But he’ll relax when he realizes he’s done it many times and that it pays well.

At the start of the procedure you’re given drugs to make you sleepy, yet talkative.  Many family secrets are told while on these drugs, allowing the doctor to write a funny book.  For my contribution, I had rehearsed this riddle:

Only one other word can be found by rearranging the letters in POLYPS.  Similarly for SUTURE.  The two new words describe an unwanted body part.*

I told my riddle to the nurse after I was given the drugs.  It sounded like this:

Suture your colon to a bunch of Polynesians and rearrange them into two words meaning PANTS.

She slapped me hard, then laughed and gave me her phone number.

After you’re sedated, the inspection begins with a lot of frightening terminology.  An “endoscopist” does the dirty work.  He uses a “colonoscope”, which is also known as an “end-o-scope” (LMFAO).  The scope must be positioned “very near” the colon, which the doctor accomplishes while you’re distracted by the cute nurse.

The doctor manipulates the other end of the scope, which contains these features:

  • A tiny video camera which displays images on a large external (thank God) monitor
  • An adapter to play the doctor’s rare Betamax videotapes
  • A blower for pumping your colon full of air
  • A tiny vacuum cleaner with gall bladder attachment
  • A laser for burning polyps
  • A broiler for reheating undigested prime rib and potatoes

These devices fit in the endoscope’s long tube, which resembles a wide rusty beer can with sharp edges.

The doctor looks into the endoscope and immediately sees a large disturbing dark mass—the lens cap.  The scope is de-rectalized, the cap is removed, and the doctor takes a smoke break to steady his hands and tell Accounting to add an “emergency lens cap removal” line item on your bill.

The drugs begin to wear off as the inspection resumes.  The doctor needs help threading the scope around your colon’s S-turns.  This is the job of a male nurse with large biceps named Bruno.  Why he named his biceps Bruno we don’t know.  He pushes on your stomach when the doctor orders, “Ok, now take a hard left.  No, LEFT!  And watch out for that spleen!”  But because objects in the endoscope are closer than they appear, it’s just the bladder.  Bruno anticipates this and carefully taps the brakes.

If colon polyps are found, the doctor will remove them with a “polypectomy” procedure.  I only had one polyp, so the colonoscopy was stopped and the doctor again consulted with Accounting.  They decided to perform the procedure anyway but to double-bill it as two molar fillings and a femur removal.  I approved this change quickly because it was nearing dinner time and I didn’t want the doctor to use the broiler.

Finally it’s over.  The whole thing takes only 30 minutes, but it seems like 2 hours filled with screaming.

While you’re recovering, the doctor talks to your wife, and they laugh about all the funny things you said and will later deny.  He gives you a “Polypectomy Dozen” punch card (the 13th is free with purchase of a vasectomy!) and a souvenir video.  Mine showed one polyp screaming down the Descending Colon, happily waiving its arms.


Becoming a Realtor®

I'll describe how to be a Real Estate Agent, but first let me clear up any pronunciation confusion.  Realtor® is pronounced with as many extra syllables as you can cram in, like “Real-a-tor” or “Real-ly-a-tor”, or if you live in Alabama, “Dammit Thelma, get the gun. Them sales people's over yonder again”.

Realtor® is the official designation of people who are licensed to help others buy and sell homes they can’t afford, their never having even remembered seeing the ugly green wallpaper in the basement, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered so much money. A Realtor® belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, an organization dating back to medieval England during the reign of Caveat Emptor®.  In those times when land was cheap, plentiful and offered for sale at extreme prices by landlords, there were many "for sale" signs on telephone poles around the countryside.  Eventually some enterprising individual who was starting a national organization of salespersons noticed that the signs' letters "RARE LOTS" could be rearranged, and the name "REALTORS" was born.  The trademark symbol ® was added later when Shakespeare invented fonts.

Becoming a Realtor® is easy:

• Take internet real estate licensing courses on ignoring deadlines, miscalculating square footage, and the irritating and repetitive use of ®

• Take self-administered tests and receive a passing grade

• Register with your state, but neglect to report that you are a convicted drug felon

• Find a broker to supervise you and "share" your commissions with

• Perform costly yet ineffective marketing to get clients (people who let you demonstrate how not to sell their houses)

• Finally sell a house by accident to the seller's uncle

• Pay a fine to the state for selling real estate without a convicted-felon's license

• Use the last of your commission to pay dues and buy a keybox, signs, and a congressman who will ensure laws remain favorable to Realtors®

Disclaimer: This summary [   ] SHALL [   ] MAY [   ] BOTH (check one) be subject to arbitration should a dispute arise.  If BOTH is/are (sic) checked, the next paragraph applies; otherwise it's Tuesday.

Now that you've completed your first transaction, you need ethics training.  Held to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, many Realtors® nevertheless sometimes abide by a written Code of Ethics.  Written in code, this is like a bible of allowed conduct when Realtors® deal with other Realtors®, the Public, their Clients and their Pets.  Here's an excerpt from the Code: “We Realtors® agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, the "Fairness and Equality" White Paper on the "Handling of Rezoning Requests by Ice Cream Street Vendors in New York City, Circa 1925", the "Non-Discrimination Pact of Pre-war Poland", and all of the terms of the Louisiana Purchase.  We further agree to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, the countries people come from, possession of negative whole numbers, source of whiskey bottle collections, Lady Gaga, or shoe size.”

As you might imagine, Realtors®’ adherence to this Code of Ethics prevents less than 2% of the conceivable disputes in real estate transactions. The remaining disputes are distributed among several categories: frozen pipes, the smell of dog poop in the heat vents, and women’s rude comments about other women’s shoes during open houses.  Any one of these can stop a sale cold.  For example, I was involved in a transaction in which I represented the Seller (the person who owned the house).  I told him he should accept the offer from the Buyer (the person who didn’t have enough money to buy the house).  The Seller (let’s call him Manny), (his real name), (told me), “Dave, did you see the latest “Survivor” episode where Martha loses her bikini top?  Ha, that was a good one!”  While I was listening, the contractual “Long Story Short Deadline” (contract section 5.3 (a), iii) expired, and the Seller lost the chance to sell to the Buyer, who quickly filed a grievance against me, claiming the pipes were frozen.  That’s exactly my point.

You have now learned everything you need to become a Realyater.  But, instead, you can always just use one of the kabillion real estate professionals already out of rehab to help you with buying, selling, or a drug transaction. You can find one of us anywhere.  Just ask any high school student.  But remember: don't hand over your earnest money until you first get a small taste sample.  And a copy of the Code of Ethics.

Author's Note: See the publication of "Becoming A Realtor®" 

“Rigoletto” Comes to Utah

I somehow attended the Utah Opera’s 2012 production of Rigoletto.  It reminded me of the New York Metropolitan Opera where I saw many performances as a boy.  Back then my favorite parts were prying six dollars out of my father for a soda and snack at intermission and pitching peanuts into the bassoonist’s bosoms in the orchestra pit.

Opera is rarely appreciated and never understood.  It can be fun, though, like when Rigoletto’s Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (“Joe Green” as he’s known here) said, “I conceived Rigoletto without arias, without finales, as an unbroken chain of duets, because I was convinced that that was most suitable.”  Rarely do you see an entertaining use of the word that twice in one sentence.

At any given night at the opera, you’ll see a dramatic text set to music, which is performed by musicians (harpos), sung by gigolos (chicos), acted by jesters (grouchos), housed in an ornate building, attended by patrons (drunk), and which attempts to highlight the foibles of the times, all while contriving the plot so that a beautiful soprano (fat) has a few chances to belt out some popular show tunes.

Rigoletto is based on a play by Victor Hugo called Le Roi S’Amuse (King Roy Amuses Himself).  (Seriously?)  You can read the libretto and not understand it for yourself.   However, here is a brief synopsis of the opera, which may be skipped entirely:

Act 1  The old Duke of Mantua flirts with a beautiful married Countess.  Rigoletto, the hunch-backed court jester, mocks the Count.  Then the Countess’ father denounces the Duke for seducing his daughter.  The father curses Rigoletto and the Duke, which scares the jest out of Rigoletto.

Later that evening the Duke, disguised as Madame Butterfly, sneaks up on Rigoletto’s presumed mistress, Gilda (who is really Rigoletto’s daughter), and declares his love for her, saying, “E il sol dell’anima” (“Let’s go out for Chinese, baby.”).  Gilda begs him to leave, which he does, but afterwards she wishes they had gotten takeout eggrolls and a movie.

Even later that evening, the Duke’s henchmen arrive at Rigoletto’s house to kidnap Gilda, thinking that’s what the Duke wanted.  But the henchmen, needing Rigoletto’s help to gain entry (to the house, not to Gilda), convince Rigoletto that he’s helping the Duke kidnap the Countess (remember her?) who lives nearby.  The henchmen tell Rigoletto that he must wear a blindfold for a more realistic kidnapping. (Seriously?) They capture Gilda, and when Rigoletto hears her voice he rips off the blindfold and famously cries, “Ah! La maledizione!” (“Surely, you jest!”).  Everyone laughs at the joke, including the audience, who saw the translation on the teleprompter above the stage.

Act 2  Harpo cuts up on the piano in a brief comic recitative (an Italian word meaning “Thank God for a break”).

Act 3  The Duke, now disguised as a soldier, having released Gilda from captivity because he learned she is the jester’s daughter, pursues yet another woman at a nearby inn, The Horndog.  The Duke sings a tune, “La donna e mobile”* (later made popular by the Tom and Jerry cartoon) in which he says women are “mobile”, a common slur at the time.

Meanwhile, Rigoletto has been plotting to kill the Duke, so he hires an assassin who is at the same inn.  But Gilda, now disguised as the orchestra conductor, stumbles upon the plot, and the assassin inadvertently stabs Gilda instead of the Duke.  Rigoletto, in perfect comedic timing, returns to the scene and finds the dying Gilda and realizes the curse of Act 1 has been fulfilled!  This is good because with the death of the conductor the music has suddenly come to a screeching halt anyway.

The curtain falls, and the audience realizes the main point of the entire opera: “Oh! Guisseppe Verdi really does mean Joe Green.  LOL!”

We have seen that opera combines many theatrical things like acting, scenery, props, costumes, magic flutes, jesters, barbers of seville, marriages of figaro, fidelios, infidelios, comedy, death, crescendos, pianissimos, cruelty, violence, vengeance, abduction, rape, coughing, throat lozenges, baritones and ringtones.  And all that’s just in the audience.

When the Utah Opera performance of Rigoletto was over, I was satisfied.  I had relived my enjoyment of a favorite opera, and I was able to misunderstand the entire story translated into English this time. Best of all, I had sunk two peanuts in the Bassoonist.

*Woman is flighty…Who on that bosom does not drink love (or feast on peanuts**)!

**Modern Interpretation

Wi-Fi Streaming with Barney and Andy

TV shows used to come with only a few black and white pixels, and they were broadcast through the air by carrier-wave pigeon, also known as “analog”. The only shows available were I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Lassie, Perry Mason, and Who Wants To Be A $64,000 Question? You can still get that programming on your old TV set, which sucks the pixels through your roof-top antenna, through a wire, under the carpet and directly into your toaster oven because you didn’t read the instructions first.  But why would you live with that?  Here’s how you can get the very best of new TV technology.

Since you’re too cheap to buy an expensive HD TV, you get an analog converter box so you can watch more pixels in those old shows. You don’t know why you need this box, except that home repair TV show guys said you do.  So you buy a converter, and you finally get it all hooked-up incorrectly to discover the picture is still fuzzy, so you give up and get a new HD, 60-inch, flat-screen, LED TV, with a built-in wi-fi internet streaming cappuccino machine. But you must also get “Cable” for the introductory new subscriber price that after six months increases to a mid-sized yacht payment.

Soon (12 days later) a guy with huge steel-toed shoes, a 1/8th mile ladder, and an Iraqi Security tool belt arrives and asks to use the bathroom. Twenty minutes later he leaves, without using the fragrance spritzer. The next day he arrives again to install your “Cable”. This happens in the middle of a winter snowstorm at 7:00 pm (dark), and he needs you to shine the flashlight (yours, which he borrowed) at the top of the telephone pole where he is working. Two hours later he has routed the “Cable” from the top of the pole to the place on your house’s exterior wall farthest from your new TV, drilled through most of the major load-bearing walls, used the bathroom again, tacked the “Cable” along several miles of baseboards, hooked the “Cable” into the new TV, programmed the remote control and left by retracing his muddy footprints.

You quickly discover you spent $2500 and committed to a year contract in order to get constant reruns of I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith , Lassie,  Perry Mason and Who Wants To Be A $64,000 Question?, along with the new “reality” hits like Ice Road Truckers, Orange County Choppers and Ice Chopping with the Kardashians in Orange County.

Now you can view 800 HD “Cable” channels on a large HD TV, and that’s okay for a few days until your 5 year-old tells you that you can use the TV’s wi-fi capability in a clever way!  You can “Stream” movies and old TV shows directly to your TV! All right over your “Cable” internet service! All you need is a subscription to a “Streaming Service” like Netflix, Blockbuster or Video Vern’s Streaming Movie and Cigar Shop. Then you can login to this service and “Stream” any of the 14 available episodes of Marcus Welby, MD directly to your new TV! You almost have it working but you get a funny feeling about something…damn…you don’t have wi-fi in your house! But that’s easily solved. All you need is a new fifty dollar “wireless router”, without wires, that you connect to your “cable modem” with a wire!  You test it out like this:

• make a scotch and soda

• turn on the TV and see snow on every channel

• fiddle with the TV for 20 minutes while cursing

• make another scotch and soda

• check that your cable modem and wi-fi boxes are on and all the lights are flashing

• fiddle with the TV for another 20 minutes

• make a double scotch and soda

• get a brain storm!

• turn on your computer and pay your already-delinquent “Cable” bill

• make another double scotch and soda

• notice the TV picture is even worse than before!

• because you’re drunk!

• finally access your “Streaming” service totally by accident

• watch Barney give orders to Goober while Andy is in Mount Pilot on Sheriff business

Success! Wasn’t it worth it? Admit it, you like it. Of course you do, with that much alcohol in your brain. Plus, you learned new swear words that you can use on your next project: enabling iPhone Kindle Tweets on your toaster oven.  Good luck!

Sometimes it Really IS Brain Surgery

Brain surgery is not very amusing.  It does have its moments, though, like when the CAT scan image of your brain looks like Daffy Duck’s face.  Then you realize someone will be cutting through your skull.  By “cut” I mean “ROTARY BONE SAW”, and by “skull” I mean “THE HELL YOU SAY!

I was the caregiver in charge of Daffy’s brain surgery to remove a tumor on her brain near her left ear.  A brain surgery caregiver does many things like researching brain tumors, helping to select surgeons, studying YouTube brain surgery videos in case the surgical team is shorthanded and you’re asked to help, and sending text messages to friends and family during the operation (“Hour 4: nurse says the team is a bit peckish, but otherwise doing fine.  Will resume after dinner.”).

In brain surgery there are almost always complications; for example, sometimes your cell phone doesn’t get coverage in the waiting room.  Daffy developed a spinal fluid leak.  We didn’t notice it for six weeks after surgery, and we figured it was just normal urine leakage that happens when you get older.  But no, the docs said it was brain fluid and scolded us for not noticing it was coming out of her nose instead of her…well…kidney areas.  Another surgery was immediately performed because the doc had his tools in his pocket.  This time they chased the leak path, which meandered around her inner ear, created a waterfall at the end of the eustachian tube, and finally ended in a warm pool near the hippocampus, where many small medical students were studying for anatomy finals in the courtyard.

Recovery from the second surgery took a few more days in the hospital.  Finally, Daffy was proclaimed cured and was readied for discharge when I—Super Caregiver— said, “Maybe we should make sure there’s still no brain fluid leak?”  That seemed reasonable to everyone, particular the janitors who have to mop the stuff up, so a new difficult and expensive procedure was devised in which Daffy had to bend over, and then everyone watched brain fluid drip out her nose into a bucket.

Doctors flooded into the room and planned a third surgery.  One said, “This time we should cut a bigger hole in front of her ear and dam the brain fluid at the source near the temporal lobe, hee hee.”  A second surgeon disagreed, “No, let’s go back through the first hole and use beeswax.  That stuff’s really sticky.”  The third surgeon said, “Somebody was sleeping in my patient’s hospital bed, and look!  She’s still there!”  Which was quickly followed by, “Let’s just sew her eustachian tube shut so the fluid can’t get out her nose!”  Relieved that we had not thought of such a stupid idea, we quickly agreed to the procedure.

During the recovery from the first two surgeries, every few hours of every day nurses came in to do various tests and measurements (not including checking for brain fluid leaks, which is left to the janitor).  On each visit, many questions are asked:  What’s your name?  What’s your birthday?  Where are you?  What year is it?   Eventually, every time Daffy saw a nurse, she preemptively yelled,


Daffy’s hearing had been damaged during the first surgery.  When she was waiting outside the operating room to be wheeled in for her last surgery, a nurse came by to make sure he knew which side of Daffy’s head was to be operated on.  He asked, “What ear is it?”   Mishearing, Daffy blasted away at the poor guy, “TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN!!!!”  We had a good laugh as I pointed out all the stitches and shaved hair on the left side as being a pretty good indication of where to operate.

Recovery from the third surgery was the worst of all.  It wasn’t fun for Daffy either. She was hooked to many tubes and for 10 days they had to keep her brain fluid a quart low to promote healing.  This is dangerous because of the risk of infection and tripping hazards.  Finally on discharge day they did one last test.  Daffy had to hold her breath, pressurize her brain and do her best to get fluid to leak from somewhere.  Imagine our happiness to discover there were no brain fluid leaks!  As we were leaving, though, we heard the janitor loudly wondering how so much pee got all over the walls.