Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Meritocracy

Hey, Scouts! We know that there's dwindling interest in our activities of late, what with all those bloodthirsty video games and such.

Heck, sometimes we Scoutmasters find ourselves engaging in a little Resident Evil™ every now and again--just to blow off steam after the most recent Jamboree.

Still, we must compete in order to maintain some sort of relevancy in today's world. So, we're offering a handful of exciting, new badges for you to shoot for.

So put down that game controller, take an extra dose of Ritalin, and let's get crackin'!


Overview: Got some new electronic equipment sitting around the house, still in its original packaging? Or maybe you just happen to "know a guy" (perhaps an industrious, higher-ranking scout). Well, get that merch together and start selling it out of your garage, back porch, bedroom--or anywhere else out of direct line of sight.

Requirements for badge: Obtain, rebox and sell $2,000 worth of merchandise in 2 consecutive weeks' time. Then dismantle your "store", move to another location and sell $2, 000 more. No badge awarded if caught. However, feel free to contact the Scout Bail-Bond Posting division if you do.


Overview: Sports are fun and gambling is addictive--let's parlay that relationship into some income. Help those who are interested in sports get more (or better yet, less) out of the experience. Just field a few phone calls, keep an up-to-date spreadsheet and make sure the cash flows mostly "up-stream", if you know what we mean.

Requirements for badge: Obtain unlisted phone number only to be known to others by word-of-mouth. Establish and manage database of at least 50 "clients". Use elementary math to derive a ratio of chance-of-losing to chance-of-winning (e.g., 5 to 1). Create favorable terms to assist those who need to pay over time (favorable to you , that is). Having difficulty retrieving what is owed to you? You may want to sign up for our next merit badge,


Overview: What's yours is yours. It was rightfully acquired (well, rightfully might not be the proper word in this situation...). Hey, you have a business to run; don't let the welchers bring it down.

Requirements for badge: Establish a "team" of willing "players" who enjoy challenges, particularly physical ones. Although intelligence is not crucial (or even desirable) for these agents of your fortune, some knowledge of the human anatomy (particularly which parts of it break both easily and painfully) is recommended. Then, have your henchmen recoup 110% of what is owed to you. The extra 10% is the "convenience fee" for your "services".

Saturday, October 24, 2009

College Football Pre-Game

Biff: Hey, college football fans!  Welcome to the big game between State and Tech.  And you don't need me to tell you--this one's for all the marbles.

But first, I'd like to introduce you to my partner in the booth, former State standout, Bonecrusher Smith.  Bonecrusher...

Bonecrusher:  Thanks, Biff.  And you're right, this IS for all the marbles.  There will be no sharing of marbles at this game.

Biff:  No, indeedy-doo!  So how do you handicap this game, Bonecrusher?

Bonecrusher:  Well, Biff.  As you know, they don't allow handicapped people to play in college football.  Actually, I think it's rather discrimina--

Biff:  No, B.C.  I mean, what pre-game analysis do you have for us?

Bonecrusher:  I told you never to mention my years in therapy, Biff.

Biff:  Too many games without a helmet, B.C.?

Bonecrusher:  How did you know?

Biff:  Moving on.  What do you see as the single biggest issue facing these teams prior to the game?

Bonecrusher:  Well.  I think that the team who scores the most points before the end of the game has the greatest chance of winning it.

Biff:  Great insight, B.C.  And just who do you think has the greatest chance of doing THAT?

Bonecrusher:  How should I know, Biff?  The game hasn't even started yet.  What do you think I am, prescient?

Biff:  Big word, B.C.  I see someone showed up to class one day.

Bonecrusher:  You bet; I remember that day well.  And speaking of which, why didn't you get me a prescient for my birthday?  It was last month, you know.

Biff:  Which brings me back to that helmet.  Was it made out of cardboard or something?  Oh dear, our pre-game discussion has extended itself into the game proper--and we seemed to have missed a few plays.  State currently leads Tech by a score of 73-0.

Bonecrusher:  You know, Biff, that if the game ended right now, State probably would have the greatest chance of winning it.  Is that what you needed before?

Biff:  I really need for you to shut up now, B.C.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sheer Lunacy

America often takes a unique approach to some of the problems that exist outside its borders; i.e., when in doubt, launch missiles at it.  Take for example those annoying high tides and pesky lunar eclipses.  Well, apparently, we weren't gonna stand for that anymore!

Of course I jest.

However, if my in-depth perusal of newspaper headlines was correct, NASA recently did fire a missile at the moon.  However, this was done because our moon seemed to be hoarding water that we most certainly need here on earth.  Apparently, the assertion that our planet is already comprised of 67.8% water is just something the liberal media wants us to believe.

(Regardless, most of that so-called "water" on earth is salty, which only does us good for the purposes of gargling.)

So NASA, who has not had any good press since the Apollo 13 landing, decided to get out of the exploration biz and into the detonation biz.  Good move.  Since 67.8% of the movie-viewing public now thinks that Michael Bay is a talented director, this could only have served to improve their reputation with the masses.

But what to do with the resulting moon water?  Well, obviously celebrities in Hollywood and princes in Saudi Arabia will want to wash their Hummers with it.  But what about the common folk?  Word on the street is that, when combined with the right shampoo, moon water makes your hair ultra shiny and manageable.  And possibly, radioactive.

This is good news indeed.

At the same time however, the moon does give off the astronomical impression of a very old and tired man. Eager to be left alone, but unable to keep his annoying little grandchildren at bay.  Had he been able to talk, the moon actually might have gone on to say:

"Look guys, I really appreciated all the romantic notions about me through the years.  The movies, TV shows, myths, books, songs and poetry.  Very nice.  But then came the all the landings.  And the scrapings.  Oh, those scrapings!  What did you expect to find?  Like a toddler proudly holding up his very first poop done in the potty, you exclaimed, "We've discovered dust!"
Hey, even a toddler could have told you that's what you'd end up with.  Scientists?  Pffft.

And now missiles?  Listen, you can't fire any missiles until you put your toys away first.  Like that moon rover.  You've left it out for quite some time now and people are really getting tired of tripping over it.  And those flags.  Come on.  Is there even a square inch of me that hasn't been claimed for some country or Rotary Club?  And don't get me started on those footprints.  It's taken some time, but I finally was able to get THOSE cleaned up.

But alas, like the aforementioned toddler, you now seek to break that with which you once previously played.  Go ahead.  Mommy will most certainly buy you another one."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Faster, Faster

A couple of weeks ago was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It was when Jews all over the world begged God and each other for forgiveness for the sins they had committed during the previous year.

Now I must take this opportunity to explain that I have remained sin-free since 2006.  Don't ask.  Suffice to say that it takes more than a modicum of sound judgment and self-control to pull off successfully.  In any event, the results limit my perspective on most of the traditions surrounding Yom Kippur to that of an outsider.

The only exception to this is the tradition of fasting, in which I participate enthusiastically.  This is not one of those namby-pamby, no-meat-on-Fridays or let's-give-up-raspberry-cheescake-for-40-days "fast" either.  Nay, this is a don't-let-a-single-morsel-of-food-touch-your-lips sort of deal.  It is not for the faint-of-heart. Or stomach, for that matter.

Why then do I fast?  The main reason is to express solidarity with the sinners.  Similar motivation had me being supportive of the Lech Walesa-led strikes in Poland during the 1980s.  I did not live in Poland at the time, nor was I able to find it on a World Map.  However, this did not stop me from declaring, "I'm with Lech!" at the various parties I attended.  Surprisingly, my statement of conviction did not help me find dates.  Or even be invited to more parties.  But that is for another blog post (likely titled, "The Lonely Years").

But I digress.

Fasting needs to be a well-planned endeavor.  The key to a successful fast actually goes back to the night before; i.e., "The Binge".  It is important, like the Great Grizzly, to adequately stuff yourself so full of food that you easily can survive the actual fasting period without having your body attempt to digest itself.  Some care is needed, however.  Gorge yourself too much and you will wind up with what I like to call, "The Purge"--in effect, starting your fast some 12 hours too early.

Then comes the easiest part of the fast; i.e., "The Sleeping Hours".  This is self-explanatory.

The next interval, and also the biggest challenge, is what I like to call, "The Normal Eating Hours".  For some reason, this is always the part of the day when I begin to question my desire to support the sinners and even Lech Walesa.  Making fasting an even more difficult endeavor is TV's desire to multiply food commercials ten-fold.  Clearly, TV programmers and Ad execs are not Jewish.

(However, for those who have sinned extra hard the previous year, there is always The Cooking Channel and The Food Network for your self-flagellating pleasure.)

Not eating would be an unpleasant enough experience.  Compounding the difficulty, however, is the chronic bad breath that seems to accompany it--no matter how many times you brush your teeth.  I imagine it could be akin to having an ocelot decay in your mouth, although I cannot be sure.  Ocelots are notoriously difficult to find in these parts and even fewer would actually agree to participate in this kind of experiment.

Later on come both the headaches and the irritability.  This combination often leads others (not me--see above) to commit a whole slew of new sins, mostly directed against spouses and small children.  Thus providing fodder for next year's Day of Atonement, and in some people's cases, a lifetime of Yom Kippurs to come.

Talk about self-fulfilling prophesies.  There's a religious joke in there somewhere, but I am too pious to look for it.

See?  That is how I remain on the outside.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Journal: What I Did On My September Vacation

Many of you have been wondering (OK, one of you...Mom) what I was doing during in the month of September instead of updating this award-winning blog. Not that it has already won any awards, but I do not know how to conjugate verbs into the hopeful tense.

But I digress.

In short, I decided to pursue some of my other interests. And since you asked (again...Mom), I thought that I might present a journal of my "other-than-blogging" experiences.

I finally cashed in on the opportunity to make an important speech on a topic I knew absolutely nothing about.

I finally ran in the far lesser-known, "Chasing of the Bulls" in Pamplona.

I finally realized my dream of jumping out of an airplane with nothing more than an anvil. You can't see me in this picture as I fell much faster than the others in my group.

[At this point, I was forced to take 2 weeks off to heal. Who knew?]

I finally found out if an XBOX 360 controller can fit down an 11-year-old's mouth after an unsuccessful, marathon tournament of Super Mario Kart.


I finally built a machine that has no practical use. Or way to turn it on.

I finally succeeded in my quest to conquer time travel. I closed my eyes one afternoon, and when I reopened them, it was 20 minutes later. The Future!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adult Edukation

The addage is “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. But this begs the question, “Why don’t we just leave old dogs alone—aren’t they tired?”

Older people, on the other hand, need mental stimulation. If only to stave off Oatmeal-On-The-Chin syndrome. But a figurative taser to the synapses does not have to wait until one is “old”. Nay, education for adults can begin even a few short hours after the college mortarboard is flung into the air.

Or sooner, if the registration check clears quickly enough.

A recent perusal through an Adult Education Catalog turned up several worthwhile courses. Feel free to copy down the course codes and send the aforementioned registration check to my off-shore bank account. Consider that your first life lesson.

Humanities H35—Introduction to Introductions

6 sessions; Sunday 8-9am; $250

Do you know what to say first when you encounter your spouse’s boy/girlfriend of the opposite/same sex? Or when meeting the evil dictator of a 3rd World Nation? Or the polkadot elephant after taking 1 too many of the pink pills? In this course, we will help you through those awkward first few minutes and have you embarrassing yourself during the “meat” of the conversation in no time.

Computer Science C53—Hacking without Coughing

6 sessions; Friday 1-2:30am; $500

Large corporations are inherently evil. The evil nature of the average shmo at home is vastly underestimated. Bring them all to their knees and gain access to their private data. Like user databases, credit card numbers and pictures of their trips to the Grand Canyon. Due to the clandestine nature of this course, classes will be held in the dark in an undisclosed location. Good Luck!

Mathematics M71—What’s Your Angle?

6 sessions; Tuesday 4:15-6:15pm; $180°

Applying geometry and trigonometry in the everyday world. For example, how do you distinguish between right and wrong angles? Where in the city can you find the best pi? How do you use a compass to find your way in the woods; i.e., in which direction do you place the steel, pointy thing? How do you avoid going off on a tangent during presentations? All of these questions will be addressed. Some of them will actually be answered.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blistering Pines

Are you burnt out? Stressed out? Have you been thrown out? Then you, my friend, are entitled to the vacation of a lifetime--here at Blistering Pines. Centrally located, it is an hour’s drive from anywhere.

When we say, “centrally located”, we obviously mean it.

The Rooms.
We here at Blistering Pines understand that some of our patrons have, er, active imaginations. So we present our newly renovated “Fantasy Rooms”. Not only does this one come with a safe; it also comes with its own safe word:"Holy Bejeebus, that hurts!". Good thing our Medic is on call 24/7.

The Ammenities.
The restorative, nay preservative, benefits of hot tar has been well documented since about 10,000 BC.

So, don’t be a weenie, jump right in! Of this we are sure, once you decide to take the plunge—you're gonna have a tough time leaving!

The Activities.
Blistering Pines specializes in all of your favorite forms of extreme sports—including but not limited to—summer skiing, javelin catching (left), and the ever-popular Swimming With The Sharks.

One proviso: if you should decide to partake of the last-named, please listen carefully to all instructions given to you by our shark wrangler, “Lefty”.

The Food.
Sample our local cuisine here at Blistering Pines—it’s next to none!

Really, who would want to be next to it?

The Staff.
A friendly staff at Blistering Pines is waiting to attend to your every need. Around the clock. Sometimes at night. In your room. Silently. Staring.

Bet you never received attention like that! (Takes a while getting used to, doesn’t it?)

So make that call today! Remember what we here at Blistering Pines always say:

Reservations? Oh, you’ll definitely have those!