Perspective and the writer’s gift to another

A young man once sat on a bench, crying.  His life was shattered.  He had just divorced, had no job and barely was making ends meet with the meager jobs he landed.  It felt to him like life had abandoned him.  A woman sat next to him, dressed like an executive at a major company, and noticed his sadness.

“What’s wrong?”

The man looked at her, embarrassed, and admitted his issues. “I screwed up so bad.  I left my wife because I didn’t love her anymore, I left my job because it was destroying me. I left everything because I believed that my life was over.  My friends abandoned me.  Nobody talking to me anymore.  I have nothing.”

The woman looked at a book sitting the man’s bag, and it was familiar.  “You read this too?  I loved that book.”

Now the man was supremely embarrassed, pushing the book down into his bag out of sight.  The woman, realizing she had upset him further, attempted to apologize.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to make you feel bad.”

“It’s not that,” the man chuckled, then sighed.  “I wrote that book!”

The woman produced the same book from her briefcase and looked at the authors picture on the back cover.  Astonished, she was speechless for a moment.  “This is a great book!  What happened?”

“I didn’t sell but ten copies,” he sighed.  “I was a total failure at writing.”

She took his hand and hers and smiled at him.  “Look, you might be broke and poor, but let me give you some perspective.  I’m an executive at a Fortune 500 company, and I have high blood pressure, I’m on seven different medicines, been in a lot of empty relationships, been in a car wreck which left me with a messed up back, and nearly died when I drank a drink spiked with the date rape drug because a colleague I didn’t like wanted to have sex with me.  I don’t trust men, and barely trust women.  My parents are both dead, and I spent the last ten years taking off 100 lbs.  I only trust money because it never betrayed me.  I can use it as I need to and never questions me.  So let me ask you, who is the bigger failure?”

The man looked at her, sighed, and shook his head.  “I dunno.  I can’t imagine you being that cold.”

She shed a tear and kissed him on the cheek.  “You know, this book was written to inspire people to find their heart.  To beleive that there was more to life.  Now I know why it’s so believable – because the author is a real person and truly believes in it.  You can’t imagine me being cold and right now, i feel love for you.  I haven’t felt love in two decades.  My mom said God doesn’t let us have what we want unless it teaches us a greater lesson.  I got what I wanted and I got to meet my favorite author today.  The former taught me the price I had to pay for having it all.”

The man looked at her.  “What did I teach you?”

She smiled at him and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.  “The moral of my life story:   I used to think being happy was impossible, but you spoke out of true love of your fellow man and where true love exists, nothing is impossible.”

She finished “sometimes, our mission in life isn’t about being wealthy or having what we want, but helping someone who has it all see what they are missing.  Now, if you’ll join me, let me buy you some coffee and maybe I can inspire your next book.”

Time to put the nut-munching Pacu on Lochte-down?

Nothing in this world can beat the feeling of Americans figuring out ways to look like complete and total jackasses on the world stage.  The U.S. men’s swim team, led by Ryan Lochte, winner of the 100 meter freestyle douchebag, is now in serious hot water with Brazilian authorities for exposing the corrupt practices of gas station restroom vending machines.  The question on everyone’s mind should be whether Brazilian authorities make Lochte and others involved, as part of their punishment, swim in testicle-eating fish infested waters.

The Amazon-native Pacu, which is NOT, repeat, NOT a Brazilian fish!  We mean it, and will be at going to bank to await a wire transfer from the Brazil government now.  Thank you.  (Ryan Lochte’s nuts not included.)

According to an article published in the (London) Daily Mail, a fish named the Pacu (species:  Sarcastus Nuttus Chompum) has appeared to have made its way to northern European waters.  The reason it is being called a “testicle eater” is apparently the result of an off-the-cuff statement made by to CNN (Motto:  “We left our nuts at the office.”) by Dr. Peter Rask Moller of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark in which he references men keeping their “pants on” in the cold Baltic waters.  Unfortunately, in a case of fish-bites-man-near-Iceland-Phallic-Museum, Dr. Daniel Merrifield at UK’s Plymouth University, in a statement to the Daily Mail, suggested that the fish may have, indeed, developed an unintended taste (rim shot) for the human equivalent of Rocky Mountain Oysters.

“Until the discovery of the pacu in Denmark,” says Merrifield, “we didn’t realise that the fish had such a wide range of environmental tolerances, in terms of salinity or temperature. And whilst this ability is not unique to the pacu, and it is not an apex predator, there are several reports of men having their testicles bitten by these fish…”

Merrifield points out the Pacu is likely not actually carnivorous but, rather, mistaking the male reproductive region for its preferred food; Brazil nuts and seeds of similar size, proving that, at least in the undersea world, size matters.  What makes the Pacu all the move eerie is their human-like teeth, which are apparently designed to be able to crush and consume the nutty delicacies it prefers (the actual nuts, not the – never mind, this will never sound right!).  Since the Pacu is now being spotted in colder climates, the question now becomes clear – how does this relate to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.

Brazilian authorities are insisting the men’s team quartet, which played whack-a-mole with a restroom in Rio de Janiero, must be extradited back to Brazil to face trial.  According to Lochte, the video camera is missing several minutes of tape in which expletives were deleted, the Democratic Party’s plans to defeat Nixon were revealed, and the Roswell incident was captured.  Naturally, Brazilian officials are denying the fact that the games themselves cost over 10 billion dollars, and are instead reminding people the Pacu is not a Brazilian fish.  All this can mean only one thing – the American government must try the men on our soil, but their punishment must fit the crime.

JUDGE:  You have been found guilty of being complete douchebags, making America look stupid on a world stage, and crimes against human intelligence.  The penalty is life imprisonment watching reruns of “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

ATTORNEY:  Can’t we rather just let them swim the nut-biting fishes instead?

JUDGE (pondering):  That’s too easy!  Life watching the Kardashians it is, and weekend furloughs with Kanye West and Ben Affleck as Batman!

SWIMMERS (in unison):  We’re DOOOOOOMEED!

This would all have been avoided if the U.S. Swim Team had chosen to act like pro football players and actually patronized a known strip bar, rather than be cheapskates and go to a discount club.  After all, it’s those discount clubs which don’t include the basic amenities, like roadside prostitution.  Hey, don’t look at me like that – it is Brazil, after all!

A dozen years later, a hurricane season we can’t forget

It really wasn’t that far from the truth

A dozen years ago this week, an unprecedented run of hurricane and tropical storm activity affected Florida and the southeastern United States.  It began with Hurricane Charley taking aim at Tampa Bay, realizing it wasn’t tourist season, then altering course for Disney World.  This would be followed by Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances, which I believe actually square danced together across the Florida peninsula and, somewhere in this mix was Hurricane Ivan, which completed the “Devastate by Numbers” book on Florida which all baby tropical systems are given before hurricane season.  That year was also chock full of intense news stories, human interest stories, fish tales, folk songs, and about ten million calls to power companies about downed lines, and countless calls to 911 operators about alligators and snakes in swimming pools.  Here is a day-by-day account of all 40 days of the “Great Hurricane Throwdown of 2004.”

Day 1:  Hurricane Charley attacks Florida with 140 MPH winds and knocks 30 journalists on their asses and blows them across parking lots in Port Charlotte.  Charlotte County is devastated by the high winds and flooding, and homeowners living along US 17 begin to display festive blue tarps on rooftops.

Day 2:  Hurricane Charley stops at Disney World, jumps on the Thunder Mountain Railroad, and throws up.  Hurricane Frances begins forming the Atlantic Ocean, but is held back two classes when it’s revealed she can’t draw a straight line.  Governor Jeb Bush declares the State of Emergency to remain in effect and calls an emergency session of the General Assembly to consider declaring “Home Repair for Dummies” the Official State Book.

Day 3:  Officials for the Tampa Bay Times admit they could have handled Hurricane Charley “differently.”  Charley is unavailable for comment and refers future questions to Hurricane Frances, who taking a course on orientation aboard the USS Bermuda Triangle.

Day 4:  Governor Jeb Bush declares Day 4 to be the “Duct Tape Day,” and the General Assembly, while in Emergency Session, declares Duck Tape the Official State Adhesive.

Day 5:  Frances manages to achieve the minimum requirements to be certified as an actual Hurricane, and begins to turn away from the Florida coastline.  Home Depot futures plummet in heavy wood cutting.

Day 6:  Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner Vince Naimoli is reported to have sold his soul to the Satan in exchange for a World Series Ring, but the conversation is garbled on his cellphone, as sources report the deal was actually for “Two More Storms and a Corrupt Governor to be named later!”

Day 7:  Hurricane Frances nearly misses her exit in the Atlantic, and negotiates the tight turn back around to the Bee Line Expressway’s uncompleted part, which would connect Orlando to Atlantis.  Frances makes landfall near Titusville, devasting several dozen hot dog stands and alligators.

Day 8:  The Florida General Assembly, in an emergency meeting, passes a resolution that all residents are to cheer local power trucks as they come up to local apartment complexes.  Citizens across the state enthusiastically hail the new law as “redundant.”

Day 9:  Hurricane Frances, after hanging out too long at an Orlando nightclub, is tossed out unceremoniously, loses most of her power, and sputters offshore into the Gulf somewhere between Pinellas and Hernando Counties.  When asked if Pasco County sustained damage, Governor Bush said “where?”

Day 10:  Hurricane Ivan begins forming somewhere, but only people in Pensacola, Alabama, and southwest Georgia are really paying attention.  The rest of the state is suffering a massive hangover.

Day 11:  The University of Florida announces a new hurricane defense shield consisting of sticking the University of Georgia football team in the path of any storm, hoping their foul stench will repel anything Mother Nature throws at them.

Day 12:  President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush appear together somewhere in Florida, tour some houses, look at some blue tarps, and declare “Operation Enduring Hurricane Party.”  Tequila futures spike in heavy margarita mixing.

Day 13:  NASA sends Washington a message, but the message is lost when high winds knock down the CB antenna mounted on the back of the trailer.  No hurricane can be connected to this, but Mission Control asks where “Aquarius” is for some reason.

Day `14:  Hurricane Ivan begins bearing down on the Florida panhandle, and several thousand tourists are instructed to seek shelter in neighborhood bars and grills.  Emergency drinking beer and liquor is shipped in by the casks, all at “low, low, low, rockbottom prices.”

Day 15:  Governor Jeb Bush and the General Assembly, in a rare joint session, unanimously vote to play a round of “I Never.”

Day 16:  Hurricane Ivan serves formal notice to Pensacola, Mobile, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City of Intent to Make Landfall.  Similar notices are served to Eufaula, Alabama, Albany, Georgia and Alpha Centauri.

Day 17:  Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are stunned when they see a cloud pattern which closely resembles the University of Florida mascot forming over Athens, Georgia.  One forecaster said “This does not bode well for the college football season.”

Day 18:  Hurricane Ivan lashes the Florida panhandle, devastating bridges, roads, and beaches.  The Florida General Assembly, when asked what they would do to ensure that the panhandle counties are given adequate relief and rebuilding, respond with a confident “Huh?”

Day 19:  Governor Jeb Bush issues an executive order designating the Blue Tarp as the Official Florida Domicile Covering.  Tarp futures rise in heavy….ah, screw it!

Day 20:  Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition comes to Florida, looks around, and says “oh, hell no!

Day 21:  Hurricane Jeanne begins to form someplace, but nobody notices.  Tampa Bay music fans are devastated when Huey Lewis and the News are unable to perform their concert, and several threaten to begin singing Justin Timberlake songs to retaliate.  Their blue tarps are immediately confiscated.

Day 22:  News outlets across the state convened for the first ever Media Summit.  They then deny this summit happened and instead focus all their resources on covering the plight of blue tarp activists.

Day 23:  Governor Jeb Bush, in a stunning act of defiance, issues an executive order requiring insurance companies to actually pay claims.

Day 24:  Hurricane Jeanne makes landfall in Florida…we think.  Maybe not.

Day 25:  The General Assembly issues a joint resolution declaring “Whatever” to be the Official State Comeback.

Day 26-33:  Something happens involving blue tarps, people getting into fights with insurance companies and college football but, honestly, nobody really remembers or gives a damn.  In fact, most of us are simply drunk off our collective asses at this point.

Day 34:  A statewide crisis ensues when a rumor is floated of stores being completely out of duck tape.

Day 35:  The City of Zephyrhills announces it still exists.  Viagra futures spike in heavy yawning.

Day 36:  Hurricane Jeanne is spotted somewhere over Pasco County.  Police and first responders attempt to the coax the stubborn storm out using nude photographs of Jim Cantore, but the storm counters it’s just a photoshopped picture of Fat Bastard.

Day 37:  President George W. Bush declares Florida to be in a “State of Emergency.”  Florida residents everywhere shrug their shoulders and flip him off.

Day 38:  Hurricane Jeanne finally relents, leaves Pasco County, and treads off into the Gulf never to be heard from again.

Day 39:  News outlets across Tampa Bay hail the beginning of football season as the official end of Insane Hurricane Season.

Day 40:  Florida residents everywhere throw their hands up and scream in unison, ‘WE QUIT!”

Hello, it’s the halftime B list for the Big Game

Now performing in play of Adele – this guy.  Yeah, we’re upset too.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero are in full swing, and already important questions are being asked, such as “why do men have to wear t-shirts and women wear bikinis in beach volleyball?”  These critical, life altering, world changing questions are nothing compared to the most pressing issue our of time at this moment – yes, more important than what politicians in a certain south Georgia town whose name shall not be mentioned are doing to shift blame from one thing to another.

I am referring to the fact that Adele may be performing the Super Bowl halftime show in 2017.  Oh crap, I said “Super Bowl,” which means I should expect a royalty bill from the NFL within, oh, five nanoseconds.

Why is this important?  For starters, Adele is a major superstar; yes, even more so that the chicks who fight over the midget groom (he let me call him a “midget,” seriously!) on Jerry Springer.  This means we will likely hear all sorts of Adele songs before the big game as a warm up to the game itself.  I’m expecting to hear Hello played at least 900 times before the first week of the regular season, though Water Under the Bridge would be a good song for many teams to play after week on.  Send Your Love is a great song for ex coaches facing their own teams – or for St. Louis to send to Los Angeles.  There’s plenty of other songs to reference, but one cease and desist letter is bad enough – I don’t need to pile on.  That’s right, NFL – bring it!

That out of the way, there are some amusing alternatives for the halftime show which should be considered, including:

Weird Al Yankovic:  “Dare to be Stupid,” “Eat It,” and “Smells Like Nirvana” would be classics to hear played at the halftime show, though he would likely cook up a parody of Taylor Swift’s dating life.  Come on, you have to admit that would be way funnier than a parody about Haribo Sugar Free Gummi Bears.

Motley Crue:  Their music has been featured in Star Trek, so why not have the group who comedian Denis Leary once said could be in a room with ten tons of cocaine and never overdose in a stadium filled with executives whose nasal stimulant preferences are likely interesting?

Gary Johnson:  Okay, he’s a politician from a third party, but how juicy would it be to hear a speech about whoever wins in November.  Who knows, maybe HE will be the winner!

Snoop Dogg/Lion/Ferret/Whatever the hell he is:  Put Katy Perry next to him in a tight swimsuit and let the fun begin.

Orlando Bloom:  let him do a strip tease for the women.  Hell, Janet Jackson had the wardrobe malfunction, so why not the “equipment reveal?”  It would also be a great way to for the NFL to thank the ladies and give men a chance to get a beer and have an excuse.


Betty White:  Hey, if nothing else it’d be funny as hell!

Well, that’s my suggestions for the halftime show.  I’d offer up Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, the Walker County, Georgia government, or members for the Board of Commissioners of Sumter County, Georgia, but the league is looking for competent entertainers, not the Gong Show.


Characters and their campaign slogans

The Presidential campaign is in its final months, and there are joke shirts and memes everywhere.  It would remiss of us to ignore this prime opportunity to win the laugh vote, so here are the campaign slogans of some lesser known TV, movie and book characters:

Smokey from “Friday”:  We gonna win, and you know this, man!

Sonny Crockette:  Making Members Only jackets great again.

George Jetson:  Stop this crazy campaign.

Tim “Tool Man” Taylor:  America needs more power!

Montgomery Burns:  Yes, vote for me, fools!  Excellent!

Captain John Sheridan:  Nuke em!

Debra Barone:  Vote for me, idiot!

Taylor Swift:  I’m America’s Wildest Dream

Kylo Ren:  More Force, Less emo

Spock:  Making causality great again


Motley Crue:  We’ll rock America all night long.

Deadpool:  Eff the election.  Vote for Chimichangas!

A tribute song to Haribo Sugar Free Gummi Bears

There have been a great many reviews of the bane of intestinal existence for sweets lovers, Haribos Sugar Free Gummi Bears.  These little buggers use a combination of sugar substitutes which the makes of said confections stated have “laxative qualities.”  In “honor” of the hundreds of reviews of this product on Amazon (quite humorous, mind you) I offer this parody tribute set to the tune of Maddon Bros. hit single “We Are Done,” title Here It Comes.

I, want you to know

I gotta go, cause here it comes

I want you to see that I need

A chance to breath
Poop poop poop poop poop poop

Here it comes

Poop poop poop poop poop poop

Here it….

I ate Haribo’s Sugar Free Gummies

Boy was I such a big ass dummy

Noooooo I saw that warning ohhhh it didn’t matter

The sound of the farts and poop

here it comes!
Now, here’s the joke, saw what you wrote

On Amazon

They, they’re devil bears, Laxatives,

but I didn’t care.
Poop poop poop poop poop poop

Here it comes

Poop poop poop poop poop poop

Here it….

I ate Haribo’s Sugar Free Gummies

Oh my God they were so yummy

Noooooo I saw that warning ohhhh it didn’t matter

The sound of the farts and poop

Don’t eat the Haribo’s Sugar Free Gummies

They taste great but will cleanse you fully

Ohhhh that warning label doooon’t tell the whole story

The sound of the farts and poop

here it comes!

Now go out and buy some and see for yourself!

Jerry Doyle: The loss of a truly unique actor

Jerry Doyle, actor and broadcaster, passed away at 60.

One of my favorite actors ever, Jerry Doyle, best known for his role as Michael Garibaldi on Babylon 5, passed away at 60.  For several years, Doyle had been hosting a syndicated radio program, The Jerry Doyle Show, which was mostly political but, on occasion, veered off into entertainment and life.  In one memorable moment, Doyle touched on “the best advice” he ever received from the late Andreas Katsulas, with whom he worked alongside on Babylon 5.  When speaking about a short-lived failing marriage, Doyle said Katsulas told him to “go where you’re appreciated.”

Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski issued a statement on Doyle’s passing, published on Epic Times, with this beautiful close:

So dear sweet universe, if you are paying attention in the vastness of interstellar space, take a moment from plotting the trajectory of comets and designing new DNA in farflung cosmos, and spare a thought for those who you have plucked so untimely from our ranks…and knock it off for a while.

Because this isn’t fair.

And Jerry Doyle would be the first person to tell you that.  Right before he put a fist in your face.  Which is what I imagine he’s doing right now, on the other side of the veil.

– J. Michael Stracynski, creator of Babylon 5

Doyle, shown here as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi.  The joke among Babylon 5 fans from Season 4 on was the Garibaldi’s hair went “Beyond the Rim.”

JMS is right – this one, more than most, wasn’t fair.  Babylon 5 has a hardcore following, and many of its core cast has passed away already, many before their time.  It began with Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin), being felled by a brain aneurysm.  It continued with the passing of Tim Choate (Zathras), then came the sudden passing of Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar) from lung cancer, Jeff Conaway (Zack Allen) from complications from long-term drug addiction, and Michael O’Hare (Jeffrey Sinclair) who long battled depression and mental illness.  Unlike Star Trek, which lost much of its core cast gradually, Babylon 5 lost its cast in spurts, with Doyle’s passing being the latest to rock this series fandom.

What hurts most of all, however, isn’t just the fact that Doyle passed away so young (a mere 60 years old), but the fact that his loss is a massive crater from an ideological standpoint.  It was uncommon for a man of such conservative political ideology to actually succeed at any level in Hollywood, let alone become the prototypical “tough guy” on a science fiction series.  Doyle was something truly special – a actor who, despite his political differences with his director/producer, was able to find common ground with said producer and work well.  According to JMS’ statement, Doyle held guest stars to the same standards as the main cast, and made sure that said integrity was clearly communicated.  To use a hockey parlance, Doyle was the “enforcer” of the Babylon 5 cast, making sure everyone toed the line and holding everyone, including himself, accountable.  JMS admitted to donating to Doyle’s political campaign not out of ideological agreement, but respect; a greater measure of friendship and American idealism is hard to find in this day and age.

As a broadcaster, Doyle sounded the alarm about President Obama’s platforms and policies, but also was unafraid to call out the GOP on their own excesses and refusal to adhere to their own platforms and strategies.  He was a Libertarian at heart, and his portrayal of Garibaldi showed that as the story progressed.  The character dynamic portrayed between Doyle and Star Trek alum Walter Koenig (Alfred Bester), one in which a paranoid Security Chief had to go toe-to-toe with a “Psi Cop” (telepathic equivalent of internal affairs) brought a level of series intrigue rarely found anywhere in the science fiction world.  Doyle’s portrayal of Garibaldi remained consistent throughout the story arc, and fans knew what to expect, even when JMS threw plot twists about him at the audience.  If it involved Garibaldi, it wasn’t a matter of how he would react, but how his reaction would affect everyone around him.  This was what defined Doyle’s outstanding work as that of a predictable, rugged character with a fatal flaw to his own person.

Doyle’s accurate portrayal of the consequences of alcoholism in Babylon 5 was highly unusual for a science fiction series.

This, however, merely scratched the surface of Doyle’s commitment to storytelling integrity.  In a commentary, it was revealed that when the notion was floated of Garibaldi’s alcoholism returning after a run-in with Bester, Doyle himself insisted that plot point be done right.  The idea would be predicated on Garibaldi discovering he had no way to exact revenge on Bester because of a neural block put in his brain – known in science fiction as an “Asimov.”  Doyle insisted alcohol abuse be shown in all its ugliness in the story, and that the “rock bottom” phase not simply be glossed over, but that it also showed how it affected everyone else.  In “The Ragged Edge,” it was his overindulgence which caused him to pass out and not hear the assault which felled his longtime friend during an intelligence operation.  During “And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder,” Garibaldi was passed out drunk, unable to respond to an urgent message from the Ranger fleet, which led to the start of an interstellar war which eventually devastated the Centauri homeworld.  Finally, in “The Wheel of Fire,” he was forced to face his greatest demons when, upon arriving late and drunk for a briefing, he was placed on suspension and later came face-to-face with himself in the form of Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Tracey Scoggins), who herself admitted to him her own addiction issues as well as that of her late father.  Doyle’s insistence upon treating this illness with the respect it deserved earned the series the respect of the sci-fi universe the world over; it was highly unusual for a future-set series to address real-world problems, as they were often considered “taboo” and “solved” centuries later.  Doyle and JMS were realistic, and that is perhaps his greatest acting achievement; the ability to make real-life issues plausible in the distant future.

We will miss you, Jerry.  Your politics, your tough guy attitude, and your integrity.  You were a man who was not only rare, but also irreplaceable.  So I ask my readers, especially Babylon 5 fans, to indulge me this parlance-laden farewell tribute to Jerry Doyle.

Jerry, you’ve gone beyond the rim to the place where no shadows fall.  We hope to join you someday but until then, please get the inside of your eyelids tattooed, make sure your ghost comes back to swap out Claudia Christian’s breakfast for lunch, slap a certain blonde’s actress’ butt when she least expects it, pour the whiskey down the sink, drink plenty of orange juice and club soda, play plenty of tennis, smoke those good cigars, and slap Walter Koenig across the face so we can all laugh and say “Garibaldi was here.”  Most of all, have an epic journey and an epic time.  We shall miss you, but now you will finally understand this was what you were born for.  Also, please, say “hi” to Richard, Tim, Andreas, Jeff, and Michael for us.

Farewell, old friend.


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