Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weddings and japes.

It's almost June, or as the magazines tell us, wedding season! Much like hunting season, you have to get a license. You have to buy special clothes. You get to eat afterward. And also like hunting season, even if you think you know what you're shooting for, you may have some surprises when you bring it home.

If you're a wedding guest this season, you may think it's a great chance to pull some classic practical jokes. Think again, buster! Doing something destructive and ruining someone's special day just for a stupid joke is absolutely out of bounds. Don't even consider it!

Not unless you have a really, really funny idea.

So do not take any of these ideas to heart:

  • Bribe caterer to make exploding cake.
  • Wire up mother-of-the-bride's pew; when the minister asks if anyone has any objections, send enough of a jolt down the line to make her leap up like terrified pigeon.
  • Arrange big ball to drop from above altar right as the couple says "I do" so they can be chased out of the church Indiana Jones-style.
  • You know that special rug they unroll down the aisle for the bride? Get one reinforced so it snaps back like a slappy bracelet.
  • Sneak into groom's room the night before ceremony; raise hem on rental pants legs five inches.
  • Superglue on groom underpants also an option.
  • Secretly stuff softballs down every toilet in reception hall.
  • Replace all meat in catering kitchen with Spam.
  • Dance floor? WD-40!
  • For outdoor weddings, hire a biplane to seed the clouds. Or buzz the ceremony. Or at least to trail a banner casting aspersions on the virtues of the bride.
  • Beach weddings require flash mobs of spontaneous nude bathers.
  • Hire a hooker to come in during the ceremony, slap the groom, depart. Hilarious!
  • Find out if bride is allergic to any flowers and replace bouquet with bunch of that. Can you say gesundheit?
  • Replace DJ's music files with complete collection from 31 Years of the Lawrence Welk Show.
  • Band? Stuff cheese in the instruments like Lucy Ricardo did on the way back from Europe.
  • Secretly change the names on all the hotel reservations.
  • Call minster to reschedule wedding; get boozy bum off street dressed as minster; break into chapel before wedding; pay phony minister to perform ceremony. Tell couple 10 years later they get a do-over.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Snotty picture of the day.

Piles of garbage outside the High School for Environmental Studies. I'll bet you had no idea that New York City even had such a thing, did you?

The school, I mean. Not the garbage. I'm sure you knew New York City had garage.

Now, this is totally unfair of me, I know. Every enterprise has to make some garbage, and it's entirely possible that their flawless recycling program keeps the school from generating vast Dumpsters full of trash. Hell, this may not even be their garbage; it's outside the building, but it's not like there's a name on it.

But here's the thing: When graduates of schools like this decide to go on a crusade, do you think the fairness behind their "photographic evidence" matters? Because I don't. A school dedicated to a cause that does not itself include concepts of truth and fairness will subsume those virtues in pursuit of their main goal.*

And the next thing you know you are washing out pizza boxes under force of law.

*Hmm...might I be thinking about something like the École nationale d'administration? Could be!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lousy rotten birds.

I can't say I had high hopes for there when they appeared on the bargain rack at Walmart.

But like an idiot I bought them. I thought maybe the reason for the product limping into the Rack of Failure was that the bloom is off the Angry Birds rose, or at least the game has been crushed by Candy Crush and other newer games.

But the "Product of Mexico" label should have tipped me off. It could explain the weird, non-fruit-like flavors of some of these birds. Mexico has a large variety of produce that isn't popular or well-known north of the border, and for all I know the green ones (blech) were supposed to be plantain or avocado. I've had plantains and avocado, and they tasted nothing like the green ones. But you know how grape candy never really tastes like grapes? I figured the same dynamic might be in effect.

Here is the cast:

Sharp eyes immediately detect the main problem: None of these actually look much like the characters. The green ones should be pigs, but they look like blobs of phlegm. The yellow ones and red ones don't look like anything but each other, and they should not look the same anyway; they should look like Chuck or Red.

The Bomb ones look most similar to the character, but are still obviously poor:

Nope---weird flavor, bad character resemblance, product fail.

Now, why has it taken so long for Candy Crush candy to be widely available? Last Christmas the craze was in full swing and I didn't see any of it in stores. Maybe I got there too late. That sometimes happens, even with candy. Not often, but sometimes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Talk Like Slip Mahoney Day gets a landswell of popular support.

Yes, despite the move, we're all busy at Fred Central making our plans for the first annual Talk Like Slip Mahoney Day, to be celebrated on June 2, the day Leo Gorcey passed away. (Earlier reports had him born on that date, but he was actually born June 3 and died on June 2.) So get the Slip-shaped cakes and parade floats ready.
Celebrate or I'll punch yez.

You know who would be a great spokesman for the holiday? The great Norm Crosby, that's who. You kids won't remember, but back in the 1970's you could not turn on the television without seeing Norm Crosby on it. And we watched him. Why? No Internet, that's why! And we only had three channels---two if we ran out of tinfoil. (Ask your grandma to explain that joke.)

Norm Crosby is still around, glad to say, 86 years old and still working. His schtick was a streetwise kind of guy with a constant stream of malapropisms, just like Slip. He might thank an audience for giving him "a standing ovulation." He'll insist on "decapitated coffee." As Mr. C said in this interview, "I used proper words that didn't belong in the sentence. It was close enough that it sounded like the proper word. 'Women need love and affliction.'"

But the interview also reveals that Mr. C has only a passing professional connection to Slip Mahoney:
Kliph Nesteroff: Were you familiar with Leo Gorcey's character in the Bowery Boys films? He did a lot with malapropisms. 
Norm Crosby: Oh, right. No, I was not familiar with him, but a lot of people have told me about that. I narrated once a whole tribute to them. I think it was for HBO.
Well, maybe he'd like to jump in anyway. If he's not otherwise engraved.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day.

When a man like me reads about D-Day, or the Battle of Midway, or Gettysburg, or the Hundred Days Offensive, he cannot help but be astonished by the courage shown by the Americans involved, courage I have never needed or probably ever will need. The worst injury one person has ever inflicted on me was a kick to the solar plexus in sixth grade. It hurt. But no one has ever shot at me.

Not yet, anyway -- you never know -- but if they do it will be one insane person who got mad at wasting time with my knock-knock jokes, not hundreds of thousands of them.

I have a number of veterans among my acquaintances, and they rarely talk about their war experiences. Not to me, anyway. Why would they? Some people have experiences so outside our ordinary day-to-day blah that to describe them would be like speaking Latin to an Aleut. (An Aleut who doesn't speak Latin -- yes, don't be funny.)

It's almost hard to be properly grateful when you can't even understand the sacrifice. It ties in with my old Wonderama Theory of Human Sympathies.

You zygotes don't remember Wonderama, but it was a kids' TV show that ran for more than 20 years on Sunday mornings. There was one segment where kids from the audience would get up and sound off on things they hated. I remember one kid talking about getting bitten by an animal and having to go through rabies shots, something like eight big needles in the stomach in those days, very painful and quite frightening. The audience just looked at him. The next kid complained about how much he hated peas, and everyone went crazy cheering. No one had had rabies. Everyone hated peas.

When Hollywood wants to make a film about the military these days, the guys are either madmen, victims, or jerks. Hollywoodites have to filter everything through the lens given them by their Vietnam-dodging college professors. When so many of us were in the military or lived with people who had served or buried loved ones who had sacrificed everything, we could understand it. Now it's like a lost culture to us, mysterious as the early Etruscans.

I'm glad that I never had to serve. I'm glad most of us don't have to. But by abandoning our knowledge of war, we have lost something crucial in the understanding of those whose sacrifice allows us to be so ignorant. I often pray that our country may be more worthy of that sacrifice.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Welcome to the new place.

Come in, sit down, make yourself at home. Yes, I had to move the ol' bloggeroo. Why? Because my previous host sucks harder than a nuclear powered Dyson, that's why. Six days ago they severed my sign-on from the blog itself, so I could log in, but not access my blog. That's helpful! Every day I sent an e-mail (no other way to contact them) and every day there was no reply. So, the hell with it.

Not that I want to name names. Okay, it was; you beat it out of me.

I really, really wanted to like because they seemed to be small and plucky and personable compared to the big boys, but their ability to keep the site afloat was, shall we say, lacking, and their customer service was virtually nonexistent. So, here I am, Google!

If you're new to the wonder that is Fred, just note that I have been writing and editing for a long time, and had I known it was going to be like this, I might have gone into a real job. Well, it's too late now. I have novels, available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, available at quite reasonable rates. I also have grit and determination. I also have a pounding headache, but that's not important right now.

I solemnly promise: No cat videos.

On this page you will continue to get daily updates on all things Fred. I will probably retire some of the features of the old blog, like the dollar store reviews -- I think I've bought about as many different things from the dollar store as I ever need to. We'll see about the others.

The old blog will be up for a while, but remember to change your bookmarks, all of you! (Looking at you, Mr. Philbin.) Meanwhile, I hope to see you around here.

I hate moving, I really do. Everything is in boxes and I can't find anything. And who put the toilet brush in the kitchen box? It clearly says KITCHEN on the side. Come on, people, work with me.