Yakety Sax Hasidim

I Know Why The Canned Tuna Sings



Sev­eral times a week I reen­act this won­der­ful Calvin & Hobbes strip with my two cell-mates, Tig­ger and Snag­gle­puss. Beside the enter­tain­ment value, I am reminded of how acute is their sense of hear­ing and smell.

First things first: I get it in my mind to have a tuna fish sand­wich. With mayo.

Yes, I know tuna has mer­cury and other nas­ties in it. I know mayo is fat­ten­ing. I know eat­ing a tuna fish sand­wich sev­eral times a week isn’t the health­i­est practice.

I don’t care – I like it. It tastes good and has pro­tein. It doesn’t kill any cows or chickens.


River-Dancing Geese and Itchy Dogs

I’ve always taken a some­what per­verse pride in the fact that I rarely get sick. I don’t think it’s my genetic pool, since my fam­ily his­tory is filled with all sorts of afflic­tions — dia­betes, strokes, high blood pres­sure, you name it, some­one in the Boni­fonte ances­try has prob­a­bly had it.


So it kind of bugged me (ha, ha) that for the last 4 weeks I’ve been laid low with … some­thing. Since I’m not a doc­tor– or hospital-kind of guy I didn’t get any diag­no­sis, but the clos­est I can come is that it was a strain of the cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing virus that every sec­ond or third per­son seems to have. Usu­ally I avoid these because of my monk­ish social habits, but I might have grabbed it from a door han­dle or something.


What­ever it was really did a num­ber on me. Extreme fatigue, dizzi­ness, nau­sea and mus­cle aches. Couldn’t keep much solid food down and could barely walk a straight line. For four weeks. But that’s how I’ve always rolled — I don’t get sick often, but when I do I make it a seri­ously lengthy affair.


But things really began to get funky when I looked out the kitchen win­dow and saw two white geese doing a chore­o­graphed river-dance piece.

River dance geese

I stared for a few sec­onds and then broke into a pro­longed laugh. I looked down for a moment to pour a glass of juice, then looked out again to see two white rocks sit­ting against the neighbor’s house.


But those danc­ing geese stayed on my mind for the rest of the night and gave me the occa­sional muted chuckle.


Not so with Tig­ger the Won­der Dog.


Tig­ger has a prob­lem — some­how a few fleas got into the car­pet and thence into his fur (and I sus­pect into his butt) and the poor beast spends 24/7 chew­ing, nib­bling, bit­ing and scratch­ing him­self, to the point of fever­ishly spin­ning around try­ing to chew his butt, an act I call The Spin of Death. Accom­pa­ny­ing these antics is a moist, sloppy sound of chew­ing, nor­mally some­thing I can put up with, but in my nau­se­ated state it caused me numer­ous grabs for my trusty lit­tle chuck bucket.

My dog has fleas

His mis­tress has tried many baths, sprays and comb­ings, all to no avail, and hap­pily this Thurs­day he’s going to a pro for a bath. That’s good as far as it goes, but it also means I have to vac­uum and steam-clean the car­pet. Ugh.


Fac­ing one’s lack of immor­tal­ity is disturbing.

Putin on the Ritz

Have you seen the sav­ior fare, up and down Dzerzhin­sky Square
On that famous thor­ough­fare, with their mis­siles in the air


Fur hats and act­ing bru­tal, white men with lots of ruble
Spend­ing every cent, for their Com­mu­nist foment


If you’re weak and you don’t know what help to seek
Why don’t you go where the fas­cist sits,
Putin on the Ritz.


Dif­fer­ent types who wear a great­coat, pants with stripes
And armored coat, per­fect fits,
Putin on the Ritz.


Dressed up like a Marx­ist para­trooper
Try­ing hard to look like Igor Cooper (super duper)
Come let’s mix where Com­mu­nists walk with sticks
Or Kalash­nikovs in their mitts
Putin on the Ritz


Wields his power like a royal daugh­ter
While he rides a bear across the water (to a slaugh­ter)
You’ll declare it’s sim­ply top­ping to be there
And see them map­ping smart-bomb hits
Putin on the Ritz!



Dear Florida

Dear Florida:

I know you have many good points — sun, sand, surf, weather — and they are why I want to move into your warm embrace. I know you also have a dark side; we all do, really, and I promise I won’t hold it against you if you exhibit the occa­sional hur­ri­cane. I won’t even mind if alli­ga­tors come gal­lumph­ing through my front yard or poi­so­nous snakes wrap them­selves around me once in a while.

It beats the 7-month-long win­ter we have here in Penn­syl­va­nia, and total lack of sun, sand, surf, etc.

But with­out seem­ing to be unap­pre­cia­tive, I have come up with a short list of things I would like to see you insti­tute before I move there. I’m not quite sure exactly when I’m going to be mov­ing — hope­fully within the next year or so — but I think that a year is enough time to get every­thing in place. Please feel free to con­tact me, dear Florida, if you need any help in under­stand­ing or exe­cut­ing any of these items.

Here we go …

Legal­ize med­i­c­i­nal and recre­ational mar­i­juana — I’ve been dry for sev­eral years now and I miss my old friend. Besides, what bet­ter way to spend my twi­light years than to be sur­rounded by the afore­men­tioned sun, sand, etc. while I am fully and truly baked? NOTE: This is a deal-breaker, sweetie. Don’t think I haven’t been check­ing out Col­orado on Craigslist … when it comes down to the wire, I’ll take weed over waves any day. I can always sprin­kle kitty lit­ter around the bath­tub and install a sun­lamp.

Bike lanes and bus routes — I’m not sure that I want to drive again, so I’m plan­ning on either bik­ing or bussing my way around town. I note from count­less close inspec­tions of Google Maps that many of the towns I’m con­sid­er­ing have bike lanes, which is good, but your bus ser­vice is a lit­tle more spotty. Try to up your game on pub­lic tran­sit, okay? P.S.: Mono­rails would be awesome.

Lan­guage — Look, I know you’re one of the lead­ing hosts of immi­grants, both legal and ille­gal, in the United States — what are you, #2 or #3 in the coun­try? Regard­less, let’s not get too crazy, okay? I mean like, to the point where every­thing is in an alien lan­guage. If I go to the library I won’t be happy if I find one lit­tle shelf labeled “Eng­lish Lan­guage Books” while the rest of the shelves con­tain only Span­ish lan­guage ones. Or if every sin­gle store’s name begins with “La” or “El”. And don’t think I’m a racist — I’m an Amer­i­can. There’s a small but impor­tant dis­tinc­tion there …

Old Retired Peo­ple — I am also aware that you have a rep as being the Grave­yard of the U.S. — that peo­ple flock to you when they real­ize they can no longer run faster than Father Time. I appre­ci­ate that you’ve set your­self up to serve these folks, but let’s not go over­board, okay? I don’t want to be wait­ing half an hour for some rick­ety for­mer Snow Bel­ter to pick up their dish of stewed prunes from the counter while I’m jonesing on a Cuban sand­wich, all right? How about we mark out an area some­where — maybe near Lake­land, or some­where down near the Ever­glades? — where all the old peo­ple have to go. As an adden­dum to that thought — I’ll let you know when I finally choose a place to move, and you can pass a law that only fit young ladies under 25 years old are allowed to wear bathing suits — I don’t want to spend my Golden Years gaz­ing at waves of cel­lulite and vari­cose veins.

Weird / Yucky / Deadly Sea LifeLook, it’s okay when Jacques Cousteau used to be around, fondling manta rays and eat­ing jel­ly­fish and stuff, but the shine is off by now, you dig? I’d like to go snor­kel­ing once in a while and I don’t par­tic­u­larly enjoy hav­ing those weird-ass crit­ters swim­ming up out of nowhere and bit­ing / sting­ing / eat­ing my ass whole. Get your poo-poo together — fig­ure out some way to catch them and put them in aquar­i­ums, throw a bunch of birth-control pills in the water, hell, pay cit­i­zen boaters to toss quar­ter sticks of dyna­mite over the side as they go fish­ing. I want to be able to enjoy my swim with­out hav­ing to con­stantly be look­ing over my shoulder.

Close Down North­ern Immi­gra­tion — there are WAY too many North­ern­ers flee­ing the colder climes and fill­ing up your beau­ti­ful shores. As soon as I move there I would like to see a mora­to­rium on Snow Bun­nies re-establishing them­selves there. 


Thank you, dear Florida. I hope to see you soon.



Of Charley Horses and Long Discourses

It is per­haps an axiom that oft times our actions can be mis­con­strued as being some­thing totally dif­fer­ent than what they are. The man who picks up the lost wal­let usu­ally does so in plain sight of the vic­tim, who is at that very moment telling the police­man what his wal­let looks like and where he lost it. The friendly peck on the cheek from a good-looking long-time acquain­tance always occurs just when your spouse comes walk­ing around the cor­ner. Of course, it’s always at church or an impor­tant busi­ness meet­ing that you dis­cover your imp­ish 5-year-old has cho­sen that day to sur­rep­ti­tiously place a Chiq­uita banana sticker on your hindquarters.


I have to admit that I have, not with­out some small sense of pride, con­tin­ued this ancient tra­di­tion just this very morn­ing. I have the some­what odd habit of sleep­ing not in a bed but in a recliner, one of those won­drous inven­tions that hold you, tilt you, rock and recline you, heat you and seat you and now even fea­ture mini-refrigerators and audio/visual con­trol sta­tions. Unfor­tu­nately I don’t own one of those – the one I have is an oldie, a sort of bland non-color mate­r­ial lib­er­ally clawed by the cat of the house, the kind of chair in the kind of con­di­tion that even the Sal­va­tion Army would turn their noses up at, squeaky and rick­ety and dirty and abused, but com­fort­able. The hole in the front of the seat cush­ion is start­ing to enlarge to the point where the yel­lowed foam inside is mak­ing its break for free­dom, yet still I wouldn’t trade-in this bat­tered old vet­eran for a dozen new models.


It has soul.


lounge-cat… and it’s super bad …


Another of my odd habits is that as a self-employed writer I tend to keep strange hours. I have no wife or chil­dren in the house, just a room-mate who believes in my lit­er­ary quest and had offered me inex­pen­sive lodg­ings when I most needed them (starving-artist syn­drome). As a result I often do not “hit the sheets” until 3 or 4 in the morn­ing, and cou­pled with my polypha­sic sleep­ing habits (devel­oped many years ago in col­lege) I am what is usu­ally known as a “nap­per” — I sleep for an hour or an hour and a half, 3 times a day, and find that this pro­vides me with enough energy to do what I need – and want – to do.


Unfor­tu­nately I am also get­ting older – I turned 56 a few months ago – and although I spent over 40 years prac­tic­ing and teach­ing mar­tial arts and con­se­quently was in pretty good phys­i­cal shape, I have allowed myself to fall into the dis­grace of unfit­ness these last 10 years or so since my retire­ment from the mar­tial world. I won’t say that I’m on the same level as your typ­i­cal Wal­mart shop­per or Chi­nese buf­fet attendee, but let’s face it – I’m not the man I used to be. No longer can I per­form those jump-spinning round­house kicks to my oppo­nents heads – now I just turn my lawyers loose on any­one fool­ish enough to chal­lenge me and use big-sounding words to defeat little-minded opponents.


So per­haps it was not entirely unthink­able, given my sleep habits, self-imposed work sched­ule and poor dietary habits (hint: pizza and cof­fee are two of my main food groups) that one day I would get a Charley horse.


Accord­ing to the National Insti­tutes of Health’s Med­line­Plus Ency­clo­pe­dia, a Charley horse -


… is the com­mon name for a mus­cle spasm. Mus­cle spasms can occur in any mus­cle in the body, but often hap­pen in the leg. When a mus­cle is in spasm, it con­tracts with­out your con­trol and does not relax.




 They go on to inform me that the cause of a Charley horse may be over-exertion (that’s not me), dehy­dra­tion (hey, I take in 5 pots of cof­fee every day) or the lack of cer­tain vit­a­mins such as cal­cium or potassium.


Med­line­Plus then gives me some fas­ci­nat­ing news, of which I would never have been aware had they not told me -

 When a mus­cle goes into spasm it feels very tight. It is some­times described as a knot. The pain can be severe.


Yes – VERY severe, as I found out this morning.


I had fin­ished up an arti­cle for a client at around 2am and made myself a lit­tle snack con­sist­ing of a banana (note – source of potas­sium!), a few nuts and my final mug of light and sweet cof­fee for the day. I col­lapsed into the recliner and kicked back to the “TV view­ing” posi­tion – only a slight recline angle and with the feet ele­vated. I started watch­ing one of my favorite oldies on the oldies net­work, The Hon­ey­moon­ers, and my final mem­ory of con­scious­ness was chuck­ling at Ralph and Norton’s antics before I fell off into my short-sleep mode.


Now after an hour and a half my inter­nal alarm clock usu­ally goes DING and I awake refreshed and ready for another 7-hour stint at the key­board, but this time some­thing went wrong. This time I was cat­a­pulted into wake­ful­ness by not one but TWO Charley horses, one in each calf. To call this pain “severe” is like call­ing the Titanic dis­as­ter “a lit­tle boat­ing mishap” — this level of pain is usu­ally reserved for masochists and vol­un­teers for polit­i­cal ral­lies. It felt as if Hulk Hogan had grabbed my left calf, Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger my right and then both pro­ceeded to squeeze for all they were worth.


A moan, long and low yet quite spir­ited, escaped my lips — “Ooooooooooooooooohh­h­h­h­h­hhh”. At the same time I rocked for­ward slightly in the recliner, which gave off its usual “SQUEEEEEEEK”. The pain in my legs less­ened by just a lit­tle and I fell back into the chair. That’s when the next wave of pain invaded my lower legs.


Once again — “Oooooooooooohh­h­h­h­h­hhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEEK” …


And again a third time … “Oooooooooohh­h­h­hhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEEK” …


By this time I couldn’t even get out of the recliner, the pain was so bad. Arnold and The Hulk­ster were hav­ing a grand old time wring­ing out what remained of my gas­troc­ne­mius and soleus mus­cle groups. It was then that I noticed that Tig­ger and Snag­gle­puss, the res­i­dent Pekingese and long-hair/short-hair mix cat, were sit­ting qui­etly together watch­ing me, fas­ci­nated by either my move­ments or, more likely, my sounds. Nor­mally they respond only to the sound of a work­ing can opener or of food being poured into a dish, so I can only imag­ine that some­how my preter­nat­ural moans closely imi­tated Kitty Chow being dumped into a small ceramic bowl.



 Arnold and The Hulk­ster not to scale

Tig­ger and Snaggs watched me for sev­eral more Oooohhhh-Squeeeek cycles before bore­dom over­took them both and they began chas­ing each other. Unfor­tu­nately they chose as their play area the space directly BENEATH the recliner’s footrest, so even if I HAD been able to get my feet down on the ground the move­ment would have been thwarted by sev­eral pounds of com­bined canine and feline bodies.


AAAHHHHH!” I man­aged to utter in my frus­tra­tion at this newest turn of events. Thus began the mantra of the morning -


“Ooooooohh­hhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEK” … “AAAHHHHH” … “SQUEEEEEEK” … “Oooooohhhhh” …



Talkin’ ’bout my generation …

That’s when my roommate’s head poked around the cor­ner slowly and care­fully, afraid to see what, once seen, could not be unseen. The look of relief on her face was price­less, but was then rapidly replaced by puz­zle­ment. The crit­ters mean­while ran under her legs for shel­ter from the moan­ing madman.


At the same time I heard our upstairs neigh­bor, a 40-ish main­te­nance man, actu­ally gig­gle and then walk rapidly away from a spot directly overhead.


After what seemed an eter­nity but was in actu­al­ity per­haps only three min­utes after I first woke up I was finally able to stand up and begin lurch­ing stiff-legged around the house like Frankenstein’s mon­ster, still giv­ing off gut­tural moans and the occa­sional “AHh­hhh!” when a mini-seizure would strike once again in my lower extrem­i­ties. After sev­eral more min­utes of thump-moan-thump-moan and the rapid devour­ing of 3 bananas and a gal­lon of Orange Crush drink the pain dis­ap­peared, leav­ing my legs feel­ing like I had just fin­ished a 30-mile forced march with a full pack on my back.


Remem­ber back at the begin­ning of this arti­cle, when I men­tioned how the most inno­cent of actions can be misconstrued?


I went to the store this morn­ing to pick up my daily rations of milk and bread, and as I approached the glass entry doors I saw my upstairs neigh­bors laugh­ing with the female clerk (our next-door neigh­bor), both sud­denly stop­ping their laugh­ter and find­ing things to be busy with when I walked through the door, still not being entirely able to wipe the smirks from their faces.


I paid for my sup­plies and left, and as I began walk­ing up the side­walk I heard behind me “Oooooohh­hhh … SQUEEEEEK …. AAAH­H­H­h­h­h­hhh”, fol­lowed by an erup­tion of laugh­ter. I would swear that sev­eral stray dogs grinned at me before I got back home. Lit­tle old ladies com­ing out of church spit at me.


Some­times life just isn’t fair, and things aren’t what they seem.



Great Presidential Erections

Great Presidential Erections

From a Face­book post­ing

Metrosexual Breast Holsters

Where would we be with­out Etsy? In addi­tion to sup­ply­ing our habits for lav­ish inte­rior design objects and wear­able art, they are the sole deal­ers in the highly-rated and vir­tu­ally unavail­able Met­ro­sex­ual Breast Holsters.


Lov­ingly hand-crafted in DMetro Bag Geekussel­dorf, Ger­many and retail­ing for a mere $165.99, the Met­ro­sex­ual Breast Hol­sters are made of the finest leatherette, ensur­ing that you can­not be held respon­si­ble for the sense­less slaugh­ter of any liv­ing animal. 

Now when faced with a self-defense sit­u­a­tion call­ing for some heavy guns, you can proudly say “Now you’re gonna’ get a look at my OTHER .44’s!

Ger­hardt, our model here, has only just begun breast aug­men­ta­tion surgery so he might not be show­ing the full use­ful­ness of this won­drous cre­ation. Know that even with the largest of man-boobs the Met­ro­sex­ual Breast Hol­sters can pack ‘em away neatly and dis­cretely. Flop­ping hither and yon? Not with THESE holsters!

In addi­tion to its velour-lined breast hold­ing cham­bers the Met­ro­sex­ual Breast Hol­ster also has out­side zip­pered pock­ets for your manly sup­plies — cell phone, pocket change, breast pumps, etc.

Machine-washable in cold water (line dry) and, as men­tioned in the Etsy ad, “Man is free to move and the times stuffed his pock­ets are on the way over.”

Hurry and grab a pair for your pair!



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