Life Needs A Laughtrack

A long time ago I was in therapy.  My shrink bore an uncanny resemblance to Frank Sinatra, the singer. (Disco is dead, Frank!)  I asked him his advice about whether or not I should stick it out with my girlfriend.  I still cared deeply about her, and I knew she loved me, but our sex life was on the fritz, proving that history does indeed repeat itself.

He looked at me over his clipboard of notes and said–no, sang:

“It’s up to you, you dork, you dork!” 


Have you ever seen that movie Alive!, about the Peruvian soccer team whose plane crashed in the Andes and they had to resort to eating their dead comrades?  According to one of the survivors, during one day of their desperate struggle to hang on, they were approached by a leprechaun.  He danced a merry jig and led them to a burst compartment near the rear of the plane’s fuselage, pointing out a bunch of severed arms among the scattered suitcases and duffel bags.

“What the hell do you expect us to do with those?”  one of the starving men asked.

“Why don’t you eat ’em, you silly bugger?”

They set about doing so, at first recoiling from the frozen meat before them.  But after awhile they found the morsels of human flesh downright savory.

“What can we do to repay you, sir?”

“Nothing a’tall!”  The leprechaun then sang a familiar tune from an old childhood TV commercial:

“Frosted luggage arms–they’re tragically nutritious!”


Jesus came to me in a dream.

I said, “Jesus?  Is that you?  You look just like Robert DeNiro.””

“Of course it’s me.  And if you don’t pay your monthly tithe when you get up, I’ll break your fucking legs.  Understand?”


When I was in college, I had a roommate who avoided cursing out of politeness.  It would have been endearing if he’d been five years old, but I decided to make the most of the situation.

“Gosh, man,” he said, “I had an exam this afternoon and had to miss lunch!”

“How dare you use the Lord’s nickname in vain!”


You can’t believe everything you read in the papers, can you?  For example, this morning I read the first line of a news story that read:  “Yesterday in the United States a black man was not shot by the police.”


U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert, recovering from his knife wounds at Seoul’s Severance Hospital (actual name–no pun intended), was visited by a Korean man who wanted to aid in his healing with a gift of dog meat.  Lippert, a dog-lover who intrepidly walks his beagle up and down the anarchic streets of Seoul, was magnanimous enough to accept the offer and reciprocated with a roll of Psy toilet paper, along with a Kim Yuna voodoo doll.


Is There A Doctor In The Madhouse?

Feisty firebrand and defender of the defenseless Chris Hedges wrote in his column on last week that ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas.  I’ve read that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the Eight Wonders of the World, is also as big as Texas.  So why don’t we just give ISIS sovereignty over the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?  Maybe they’ll take all the plastic and use it to erect a gigantic statue of Osama bin Laden.  Then non-Islamic terrorists could hijack jets and fly them into the monument, suicide-wise, melting the plastic and returning it to its original aquatic home.

Solving all the problems in the world, one crisis at a time.

My condolences to the loved ones of those two cops shot in Brooklyn the other day.  While I can understand to some extent (even though I’m a white guy who’s never been choked or shot to death by a white cop–hey, my life’s not over yet, and a man can always dream) the rage a lot of Americans feel towards the police these days, murdering them is not a solution.  Besides, the shooter murdered a Latino and a Chinese guy, not a Klansman in blue.  Duh, Shmuckarino.

According to one story I read yesterday on, the New York police department has decided to get tough in response, proving that nobody ever learns anything from whatever happens these days (myself included:  my wife and I still waste precious energy arguing about trifles even though we’ve been together for either ten years or four thousand centuries–I forget which).

Why don’t we get the NYPD, who’s now “declaring war” on peaceful protesters, to don military garb, fly to Iraq and Syria, and face off against ISIS?  Let the worst man lose.

I also read an article on Alternet with the provocative title “Put the Bastards on Trial,” referring to the mindless masterminds behind the Bush-Cheney torture program.  I’ve read a lot about the torture scandal over the years, including Jane Mayer’s excellent expose, The Dark Side.  Since I’ve gotten into the bad habit of bookmarking articles to read later, then failing to get around to them before my wife deletes the record, I’ve yet to peruse the one about how America has always tortured people.  And I still haven’t read the book I bought years ago by William Blum on the CIA entitled Killing Hope (although I did read his Rogue State, and it’s a doozy).

Call me Mr. Mutilated Attention Span.

One thing I was appalled by in the torture piece I read yesterday was that the interrogated suspects who were kept awake for 180 hours at a stretch, subjected to blaring heavy metal music, force-fed liquefied hummus up their assholes or through their nostrils, greeted by snarling German shepherds, made to shit in a bucket or stay in a brightly-lit room for days on end, thrown in a bath of freezing water, and much, much more at the glorious Guantanamo theme park, were often forced to give answers to questions the interrogators’ bosses knew were lies.

For example, “Is there a link between bin Laden and Saddam?”  “Does Saddam have weapons of mass destruction?”

This was all part of the propaganda campaign to sell the ever-so-constructive Iraq War to the American public, a majority of whom apparently now considers torture a legitimate practice in certain circumstances.  (Even Hitler’s rolling over in his grave.  Awful as they were to their Jewish captives, at least the Nazis never tortured their prisoners of war.)

To me, that’s the height of absolutely cynical evil, which means it must have sprung from the tightly coiled serpentine brain of Sir Dicholas Cheney.  (Did you catch Jon Stewart’s recent Cheney slam?  Priceless.)  Thanks, Dick!  I know we can always count on you to lower the bar in the limbo dance of depravity.

On the entertainment front, sad to see Stephen Colbert’s idiot-savant alter ego go, but I guess he couldn’t turn down the money he’ll be getting for replacing David Letterman, whom I’ll also miss (even though I don’t even know either of these guys personally).  Who’ll go head to head with the dislikable likes of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbergher, or Sean Hannity now?  I guess Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Bill Maher are on their own.

Did you see the closing number on The Colbert Report, with the all-star gathering singing “We’ll Meet Again”?  It was funny to see Randy Newman, George Lucas, Tom Friedman, Matt Taibbi (He’s an outspoken critic of Friedman’s prose and impenetrably obtuse “thought” processes), James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, and. . .

Henry Kissinger?. . .

all sharing the same stage.

Just one question.  Where were all the women?

They certainly weren’t with me.

Nothing new there.

If you see them, tell them I said hi.


Still Human After All These Years

You may have noticed that our species is the most neato bunch of creatures of all time.  In case you doubt this is true, consider scientists’ recent discovery that in the past forty years, good ol’ homo ignoramus–er, sapiens–has wiped out fifty-two percent of all invertebrates on earth.  Asteroids destroyed the dinosaurs.  This time, we’re the asteroid.

The funny thing about this story is that it’s already passed by like a blip on the radar screen.  We’re all too busy driving in our sleep to notice that we’ve got the rapacious tenacity of Captain Ahab when it comes to our PacMan-like relationship to the food chain.

“Oh, so in the course of making ourselves more comfortable and making the world safe for the mass-consumption of processed food and plastic shoes, we’ve managed to extinguish over half of all the backboned critters on earth in just forty years.  No biggie–carry on.”

It’s astonishing, our capacity to continue on our happily destructive course despite the interdependence and interconnectedness of all living creatures.  Granted, most of us aren’t deliberately going out of our way to slaughter the rest of our fellow mortal animals, but the way a lot of us live is so obnoxiously disconnected from nature and indifferent to our impact upon it–whether individual or collective–that we might as well be.

The problem is that if you start yelling and screaming in public about how stupid and suicidal it is for us to be vigorously sawing away at the branch we’re all sitting on as the tree it belongs to teeters over the edge of a cliff high above a valley of miscellaneous scattered bones, people will think you’re nuts.  In some places, you might even get locked up, shot, or at least teased by a bully who robs you of your lunch money.

So what do you do?  Carry on blindly going about your business day by day with the rest of the lemmings, wondering how much more time we’ve got before the hurricane of shit hits the mushroom cloud-sized fan.

What makes life even more absurd these days is that those of us who are shielded–at least for the time being–from the horrible consequences of our blithely oblivious actions–have the luxury of being able to follow it all in real time on our hand-held gadgets or while parked on our butts in front of our computers at home.  The great thing about being a mouse potato or a sofa spud is you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the downfall of nature along with civilization, or an amazing facsimile thereof provided by your creative friends in the Pentagon-approved branch of Hollywood.

Last night I went out and ate way too much dead cow with a few friends, one of whom defended our decision to eat meat, saying that’s what we have incisors for.  But, he pointed out, whereas most animals are slaughtered in a humane fashion (not that I’m sure that that’s always true), he’s opposed to eating dog meat not in principle–he said he tried it before and it was good, as God and Hemingway would say–but because the people who prepare this particular delicacy do it by beating the dog to death.  The reason for this barbaric approach to canine-based cuisine is that the agony the dogs suffer apparently raises their adrenaline levels and makes the meat taste better.

Ah, but of course.

And tiger-penis tea can give you a hard-on.  (Correction:  Drink tiger-penis tea and you are a hard-on.)

I got weepy when I watched the video on the New York Times website a few weeks ago about the Congolese park ranger who works to protect endangered mountain gorillas (there are only 800 left in the wild).  These majestic yet gentle creatures, orphaned by poachers and the crossfire of the ongoing civil war, soon will have no place left to go.  The narrator of the film said something like 150 park rangers have been killed in the course of trying to protect the gorillas.  The hero of the story talks about how his father taught him to love animals, and says how his dad would be happy to know of his son’s work if he were alive today.  (He, too, was killed in the crossfire of the wonderful war.)

A more recent story from the same website describes how vultures are able to eat decaying corpses and fecal matter without getting sick (hey, I’ve never been to a Taylor Swift concert, but I’ve heard that’s carrion worth consuming), which suggests that their immune systems must be out of this world.

Of course, poachers are helping matters by making sure to poison the vultures, since the scavengers’ presence alerts park rangers to the poachers’ shenanigans and interferes with these fine men’s altruistic attempts to eradicate all the rhinos and elephants before it’s too late.

Thanks, fellas!  You’re awful swell.  (Then again, I’m sure a lot of them resort to poaching out of desperation.  I confess that I myself have poached an egg before.  God, if you’re up there, please forgive me.  If not, I forgive you for not existing.)

Anyway, I’ve probably already depressed you enough.  I hope I didn’t interfere with your digestion.  I’ve still got a bit of a stomachache from last night, unless it’s just my guilty conscience trying to change my course of action.