A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

15 September 2010

Time Travel and the Grandfather Paradox aka My Theory of Non-Relativity

I do not claim to be the greatest thinker of all time. I also do not profess to be in the top one million. When I think lately it's more or less about how my headache is never "just a headache"...it has to be brain cancer...and that not finding the mouth ulcer thingy on my tongue this time (even with a lighted magnifying mirror and a long-handed teaspoon in one hand and a Q-tip in the other) is highly indicative of me having tongue/mouth/throat cancer (thank you - neurotic tendencies). The fact that I've been abstaining from all alcohol for absolutely no reason whatsoever this past week...is again, in my clinical opinion...probably directly related to my tongue/mouth/throat cancer.

So when I thought the other day of a thought I've frequently thought, as I talked to someone whose name I can't even remember...on the phone - for hours and hours (Jimmy Stewart's filibuster scene in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is nothing compared to my ability to talk endlessly)...I decided I would type this out to get it out of my system.

Time travel as we know it has been the thing many movies have been built on. And I always find fault with them all - basically because I'm anal like that and I like to compare notes after the film is over with other anal people who, likewise, feel compelled to share their insight via the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

We all know "Back to the Future", "The Time Machine" (don't bother watching the remake I didn't even know was remade until I watched it the other day), "Terminator" (and the four or seven sequels), "The Time Traveler's Wife" (horrid, simply horrid), and so on and so on...with "Twelve Monkeys" probably being the best in my opinion along with "12:01 PM.", a short film which is absolutely brilliant...but not true "time traveling of your own free will"...but I thought I'd mention it as it really is great. And then there's "Doctor Who"...who could forget him?

But I'm rambling...kinda like I do on the telephone...

Basically, when I'm not talking on the telephone, I sit and I watch television - mainly old films, very old films...or documentaries.

Some of these documentaries are about time travel...and I tend to uber-analyze them as much as I do the films of the same "genre".

Typically, if you've seen any of these shows...they are way over the average person's head, yet they get the guy with the PhD in Astro-Biological-Time-Quantum Physics to explain to us "little people" about theories we've gullibly bought in above said movies. To do this they resort to convoluted things like bending pieces of paper (marked "A" and "B") over and there's usually a ball and a trampoline employed somehow (think MacGyver as the prop man) and always a flashlight.

Well, one of these theories in time travel is the "Grandfather Paradox". In a nutshell, if you aren't familiar, it's where you theoretically can't go back in time and kill your own grandfather as you wouldn't be able to go back in time as you weren't born if you killed him. It's loads of fun to think about...especially if you've drank enough alcohol to get loaded or taken an Ambien...but never at the same time.

So, people with IQs in the tens of the power of 2 or 20 (or some other such mathematical rot) have concluded their own conclusions and summarily tossed time traveling back to commit such an act -- as impossible. Some have further theorized you can't go back in time prior to the invention of the time machine...as you'd have to wait X years after the invention and then can only go back in time as far as the invention was invented.

Eh...whatever. If I'm going to invent a time machine...it darn well better go back to point one and go in the future and sideways and longways and all the ways that Willy Wonka glass elevator can go.

Now, I've paid as much attention to these programs as one can (given the circumstances)...and they never bring up MY theory:

(clears throat) This theory, which belongs to me, is as follows... (more throat clearing) This is how it goes... (clears throat) The next thing that I am about to say is my theory. (clears throat) Ready? (Oh, lookie there...I time traveled back to Monty Python days.)

Seriously, here it is:

Okay, but first...you know that question which anyone with a child answers the same? The "If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life...would you?" And they get all "George Bailey" on you and say, "Well, I wouldn't because that would mean my child/children wouldn't have been born."

Well, I claim bull crap on that generic answer...which happens to be my theory.

IF you could go back in time...how do you know you wouldn't have the same children? Sure, you can speculate they'd be different...but you wouldn't really know it as you wouldn't know any differently as you don't have a time machine. Perhaps they were destined to be born anyway...and they aren't so much a strand of DNA as they are some cosmic entity that is yours alone...and no matter how many years or dimensions you could possibly travel through...they'd still end up getting here.

So, in principle, you could go back and kill your own grandfather as he wouldn't necessarily have to be related to you.

Or...something like that.

Hey, I'm still working on it...sheesh!

It's a theory in the making...and if Hollywood can get away with a few liberties, well, so can I, right?

(A side note: I am neurotic and always think the worst...I can't tell you how many times over the years it was brain cancer or throat cancer...so I meant absolutely no offense to Michael Douglas...and would never ever joke about something like that. Michael Douglas is doing the brave and right thing to tell people about his throat and mouth cancer...and because of his celebrity...many people will listen...and be saved by early intervention due to what he's been sharing. I applaud him and I hope he wins his battle.)

10 September 2010

Who Says Women Are Inferior?

So, the other day I was rambling on about going to the library when I went off on a tangent and talked about my girlhood days of summer ending instead. This is the bit which was the blog that wasn't...until now.

"The world's greatest cooks are men."

"While there are many women cooks who can prepare a fairly presentable bouillabaisse the dish reaches the heights only in the hands of a man."

"After suffering steam-table tastelessness or misplaced house-wifely economy, any palate will perk up at the taste of fresh fish, properly prepared -- by a man. (Women don't seem to understand fish -- and, we suppose, vice versa.)"

"Game can be cooked in a spick-and-span tiled kitchen, of course, and even exceptionally by some women (who usually are good shots as well); but a log cabin or an open grill is the logical place -- and a man's the proper cook."

Aside from those being "fighting words" for Julia Child, female chefs, and women in general -- these quotes, and countless others along the same line, can be found in a book which I found and bought at the library over the summer. Most libraries, by the way, earn a little extra income taking in donated books (or ridding their shelves of old or outdated ones) and selling them for less than the average late fee. I love going into libraries for nothing else but this...so, when my daughter had to read three books off a designated reading list during the summer, I hit the "selling alcove" to scour their designated "throw-aways".

I have, if you are not aware, a fondness, nay, a love of cooking, and as such own quite a growing, towering mass of these cookbooks and magazines. So, it wasn't much of a surprise when I ran across a pristine 1949 copy of "Esquire's Handbook for Hosts", I ripped it off the shelf as madly as those women you see parodied in movies battling it out over the "to die for" on sale sweater at the end of season sale at Neiman's.

I opened it up and delighted to see it probably had never been opened up once in its very long shelf life. Well, things were about to change...so I grabbed some change, plunked it down, and proud as a peacock (remember men, that's "peacock" not "peahen" as those are SOOOOOOOOO terribly inferior to the male of the species), exited the library with it, my daughter, and a few more books I bought, in tow.

But it wasn't until I got home and perused this uber-snob delight, because, seriously, that IS what this book is: A guidebook for the "well-appointed, well-to-do, well-dressed, and well-inherited" self-made bachelor. It's also a play-by-play guide for any self-respecting man's man who uses words like "buttle" and "canapes".

Hoity-toity men of the late 1940s apparently also had a profound affectation to banter about the word "Esky" when referring to Esquire Magazine. "Esky" undoubtedly felt the need to ram that fact along with some food and drink recipes peppered with assorted other host-related milieu of the impeccably refined...down my throat...and down my throat often.

While I found that little tidbit [I'll never use] out, I also found out this is a genuine time-traveling trip into the "very condescending to women" male-dominant society of...well, mid-1900s high-society. In a word, this is not something you are going to run across every day...nowadays.

Call me an anti-libber, but I thoroughly enjoyed the "James Bondishness" this book had. You know...the circa 1960s Bond, where women were just eye-candy ready to be unwrapped and then tossed aside like the cellophane wrapper you'd have to peel off packs of unfiltered Camels (you know, back when you could smoke in pleasant company without getting arrested) before you tapped the pack and plucked one out.

Yes, this book has everything for the dapper misogynist: Nude cartoons of women (yeah, it's a wonder it was allowed to be sold IN Alabama -- yes, I will never let this state live that 'wine label fiasco' down), hints and tips on how to get a woman...and which woman to choose who won't embarrass your family or bring you down a few notches in the social standings, and how women, themselves, know if they are indeed attractive to a man...or just a homely bore.

Seriously, it does. All that and much, much more!

So, when you are in need of knowing the proper way to shut up a tipsy vulgarian (lure him to a back bedroom and give him a "potent stiff one" to ensure he is rendered totally unconscious), what cures a morning hangover (absolutely NOTHING), or how to cook snipe...you'll find those -- plus a hefty dollop of brain teasers to impress even the most discerning of your Yale compatriots -- in this book.

And, as the writers of this prestigious bit of persnickety pomp would say, "Get out your gourmet viands and let the gay times commence!"

"My, my...how times HAVE changed, haven't they, Jeeves?"


Now where the devil could he have run off to? I tell you...good help is sooooooooooo hard to come by these days.

05 September 2010

What I Dread Most About Summer Ending

(My fourth grade report card. In case you are wondering what my teacher, Mrs. Zoltanski [who had to be 105 if she was a day], wrote -- see bottom of blog.)

A couple months ago I went to the library here in town because my daughter needed to do some book reports to fulfill her summer reading requirement. Personally, I always thought the summer reading list was inherently the same as "homework during the summer" and, had I been given that chore during my vacations growing up instead of the obligatory "What I Did During Summer Vacation" thematic report, I would have been an even more bitter person than I am now. Or at least a different one.

For some people, who took vacations, the "What I Did During Summer Vacation" paper probably was a nice little way for little Jimmy or Becky to show off how much money their families had. "We went to Disneyworld in our brand new car that daddy bought with his summer vacation bonus at the law firm."

Oh, well, I had to be more inventive than that because we never went anywhere and back when my father was a welder, they made pretty much minimum wage...hence the "never went anywhere" comment prior.

This is where I am 99.8 percent certain teachers only doled out this busy work for us the first day of school so that they could recover from their alcohol induced "last-day-of-my-sanity" hurrahs. Undoubtedly, years and years ago some brilliant teacher, who probably had a massive hangover, invented this task as a subterfuge while he took refuge napping at...or under...his desk for a good 40 minutes.

I am also convinced teachers don't read this drivel because, Number 1...who wants to read about some kid whose father just bought a brand new Mercedes when your 1972 Nova with the passenger door's window trashbagged over...is sitting out in your designated teacher's parking spot? And, Number 2..."inventive" kids like me never got the "Can I see you after class?" shout-out.

Having "first day jitters" is not an uncommon occurrence for kids returning to school following a three-month long hiatus/reprieve...I got my jitters for one reason and one reason only: That dreaded "What I Did During Summer Vacation" paper. I knew it was coming...it was inevitable, and inevitably I didn't have anything, yet again, to write about. Nothing...that really happened...that is.

And here's the proof of why I'm so certain not one teacher ever read those reports: I always made up things bordering on the near impossible and of the "highly improbable" genre. My vacation destinations made a trip to Oz and Wonderland seem commonplace. My head was filled with more insanity than the combined episodes of "H.R. Pufnstuf".

In a nutshell, I was a nutjob.

And, not once...not one single time did a teacher ever ask me what I had been sipping, snorting, smoking, or injecting. Not once.

All of us kids sitting there could have (and seriously, we should have) put the exact same vacation story on our papers...and I'm convinced we all would have had varying degrees of grades. I am, again, 99.8 percent certain of this because one year I wrote about taking an out of body experience to Mars during the summer and got "Excellent! -- A+ -- I wish I could have gone along!" inscribed upon it, in red ink no less.

While this all actually happened...and I credit having to resort to my imagination much, much more of a learning tool than any mouse-laden tour of Disneyland ever could have been...this wasn't the original "theme" of this blog. This was all just an elaborate set-up for my next one, which is all about my "find" at my local library a couple months ago.

So, stay tuned for Part 2 - in a day or two.

For those of you who are curious as to what the first two marking period comments shown say...here you go:

First Marking Period: I gave Mariann a B in conduct because I did not want to keep her off the honor roll with a C. However, she must refrain from talking as much as she has been doing to maintain that mark.

Second Marking Period: Mariann is a very good student but she has handed in papers carelessly written. This is probably due to the fact that she is trying to write as fast as thoughts come into her mind. It is an asset to be a speed-reader but not a speed-writer.

(Also, I don't imply all teachers get drunk on the eve of the first day of school...but I do have my suspicions about a couple of the ones I had.)

03 September 2010

My Incredibly Wickedly Brilliant (Albeit Disgusting in a Way) Plan to Get Rich!

I just walked into my son's room and, like the Grinch himself, got an idea! An awful idea! I got a wonderful, awful idea!

Hear me out here...

My son has a gorgeous head of curly hair. If you remember Roger Daltrey of "The Who"...think of him in "Tommy". Now think of Shirley Temple. Then quick...think of my son again.

Do you see what I'm getting at?


Haven't gotten it yet?

I'll tell ya!

I snip off a curl...and put it up on eBay. I claim it's a curl from Roger Daltrey when he was filming "Tommy"...or played at Woodstock...or some other such made up rot. Then someone bids some astronomical price...and I snip off another.

Rinse and repeat.


And when people get suspicious...I start selling them off as Shirley Temple curls. And, heaven forbid it's anytime soon...but when she...you know...um...dies...I take my bag of snipped off ringlets I've been saving...you know -- for kinda like "just such an occasion"...and become a "poor little rich girl".

I mean, c'mon...who there is going to run a DNA test on it? It would probably cost more than what they paid, right? I highly doubt Roger Daltrey is trolling eBay for the occasional odd chunk o'hair...and seriously, I bet a lot of girls he had "been with" took a few for mementos.

Well, there you have it...my "get-rich not so quick" scheme. And, as long as my son doesn't go prematurely bald...well, these little dividends will continue to grow and grow and grow...