Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He's Pundificent!

I was watching MSNBC the other day on TV and I noticed the proliferation of election year "Pundits". I thought, "What in the name of Walter Cronkite is a pundit?" It seems they make millions of dollars giving their opinions (usually wrong) about everything politically and otherwise. It seems the only qualification to being a pundit is to stand up and say "I'm a pundit!" Then you hire an agent to let everyone know that you are indeed a pundit and are ready to share your opinion with everyone else. It is my opinion that a pundit's success is more because of a good agent than his superior knowledge. How else could an "Access Hollywood" reject like Bill O'Reilly succeed? So, in order to let the world access my great intellect, I humbly and honorably declare "I am a pundit!"

For you politics junkies cheering about having another pundit to drone on about who McCain will pick to be a Federal Judge or what Obama's free throw percentage is, I have bad news. I am not going to be a political pundit. Heck, you can't spit in Washington without hitting at least one. No, I'm going to be a non-political pundit. Its what I call being a pundit for everyday life. I will give my opinion on any and every subject I'm asked about (and some I'm not). Whether I know anything about that topic is immaterial. The lack of knowledge never stopped O'Reilly! Ask me any question and I'll give you an answer that you can dedicate your life to. If I don't know anything about it, I'll fake it and give you an answer anyway!

Now I know you're asking yourself "Can he really do it?" or more likely "Can that Bozo with the hair growing out of his forehead answer the most perplexing questions in our time?" You bet! I'm ready to dedicate my entire being for a couple minutes every so often to be the pundit America, no, the world needs.

I know it won't be easy. No landmark accomplishment ever is. But with my family behind me (taking advantage of the shade) and little Jaden whispering guidance in my ear, I'm ready. I know I'm going to face naysayers who don't know the depth of my intellect or my ability to spread the bull. So, I'll give my opinion on the defining question of our day. The question, never before answered definitively, will be the first one I punderize. Should the toilet paper hang over the roll or under it? I know you are saying "That's too hard a question!" and "Answer that and our lives turn insignificant!" Yeah, yeah, but when I pundit, I P-U-N-D-I-T!

Here goes. I know that half of you do it one way and the other half do it the other. Read my explanation and you will heartily agree with me. The answer: OVER the roll. Why? Because when the paper hangs under the roll, it lays right against the wall and hands that grab for it will also leave dirt marks on the wall that you will have to clean off. When draped over the roll, the paper stays away from the wall, keeping those grubby hands off the wall and saving you precious cleaning time. You may be asking yourself "Why didn't I think of that?" Because you aren't a pundit!

I'm here to answer your most vexing questions. Say you are expecting a baby girl and want to know whether to name her Rumer, Scout or Tallulah. I'll give you the answer! (None of them, you bonehead! Try Maxine.) If you're the type of person who sold their Atlanta Braves tickets when you heard that Russia invaded Georgia, then you're the type who needs my opinion on your most important matters.

For the time being, my pundit skills will be yours to access FREE of CHARGE! Of course, I'll have to charge the news channels and newspapers for my services. But for Joe or Jane America, I'm free. As a person who has a hard time making even the easiest decision, I'm ready to make your toughest ones. You can reach me at 1-800 UH-DUHHH or at www.noskinoffmyass.duh. If worse comes to worse, leave a comment on the blog.

Another very important function for a pundit is to give the unwarranted and unwanted opinion on just about everything. I can do that. Some of them are just too easy. Hey Brittney, lose the junk in the trunk! Male or female, gray hair looks like crap in a pony tail. I know that spiky, pointy hair is in vogue with guys but if you're over 50, forget it! Gray hair that's all spiky makes you look like some loser who thinks he's cool. Abolish the death penalty and bring back life at hard labor to replace it. Punks today don't fear death nearly as much as they hate hard work! At tax time, when corporations have figured up all their deductions, only let them take the percentage of them equal to the percentage of their products produced in the U.S. It seems to me, when skinny people host cooking shows, the food usually sucks: Crap like pickled herring and sushi tacos with broccoli sprouts and shredded tofu. You know those barbed wire tattoos that are so popular around the upper arms? It gives me the impression that the whole person should be behind barbed wire. Might as well have EEEWWW tattooed on their plumber's butt.

There ought to be an age limit for plastic surgery. Jeez, if Joan Rivers farts, her eyelids flutter! When you're 70, no one expects you to look like a nympho, just act like one. Likewise, when you reach retirement age, you're excused from being fashionable. You never see runway models with walkers for a reason.

Two words that would've given Hillary the nomination: Tanning booth! Presidential candidates should be required to tell how they got their nicknames. Mitt Romney's real first name is Willard. I realize that with a name like Willard, only his family would've voted for him. But Mitt? "Bill" would've gotten him the nomination.

Finally, as I wait for the networks to clamor for my pundit services, I realize that as a pundit, I have an increased self-importance. My farts no longer stink and my opinions are the only ones that count. Isn't that right, Dorothy?"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Next time, bring your friends!

This morning, as I was shaving at the motel in Chicago, I noticed that an old friend was back. I haven't seen him for at least 5 years and thought that he would never return. Of course, I'm talking about that hair that grows out of the middle of my forehead. The hair that gives Jenny so much joy to pull out. The hair, by its presence only, legitimizes my claim of uniqueness. It also performs other functions. It helps balance out a head that's losing its hair much too quickly. It proves that Jenny hasn't been gazing longingly into my eyes lately because it hangs down above them. If she had seen it, she would have plucked it! Lastly, it says something about my powers of perception when a hair can grow out of the middle of my forehead to a length of over and inch without me noticing it.

Before you start thinking that I'm not very perceptive, hear (read?) me out. I am not a narcissistic person. I've seen my face often enough, I don't make much of an effort to examine it very often. When I shave, my glasses are off. Also, I'm looking under my nose, not over it. When I comb my hair, I'm standing far enough away that single hairs are invisible. As a matter of fact, more of them become invisible every day! (That is, except for all the ones that started growing in and on my ears!)

Some of you are probably thinking that this bozo must live such a mundane life that a hair growing out of the middle of his forehead is a big deal. Well, you're probably right. I better show it off while I can because when Jenny reads this blog, she'll run in here and pluck it!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Similes make me smile!

Grammar has never been my strong suit. I use ain't way too much and say don't when I should be saying doesn't. Therefore, it won't come as much of a surprise to many folks that the part of the grammar book that I read first was the chapter about similes. A simile is a phrase that is used to describe something instead of adjectives. Instead of saying that some guy has a white, pasty face, I'd say that ol' Casper is whiter'n a nun's rear end. Might not be very couth, but that's never been a burden for me either.

Now, I didn't just wake up one summer day and say "Wow, its hotter'n two rats screwin' in a wool sock!" No, my dad had a saying for just about everything. That's what they're called in our family, sayings. Dad's were sometimes normal and predictable, ("Its hotter'n hell!), so I tried to branch out a little with new sayings. After all, dad had a 30 year head start on me and everyone knew his "sayings".

There are two of dad's sayings that I continue to use that have always confounded Jenny and the kids. The first is "Now you're stepping in tall cotton!" He came up with this because everyone, and I mean everyone, else were saying "Now you're cooking with gas" and "Now you're cooking on the front burner!" It means that, somehow, you're managing to do something the correct way. The other saying is "Show 'em how the hog ate the cabbage!" or "We showed 'em how the hog ate the cabbage". It means "Show 'em how its done" or "We showed them". Everything could always use a little spicing up. Last week, I told Jenny that I ought to get GET 'ER DONE tattooed in big letters on the bottom of my gut and start wearing those shirts that are too small on me. She knew that I wasn't serious, was I? After all, I work with a lot of Appalacian/Americans who would think that is a great idea!

Some of my sayings show my railroad background, like "Its blacker than a trainmaster's heart." A trainmaster is a bottom level supervisor. They usually know very little about the railroad life and are concerned only with being a hard ass so they will get promoted. Some other ones are: "Rougher than a trainmaster's kiss" and "Dumber than a trainmaster's kid." For a railroader, trainmasters make great dupes.

Usually when you decide to live the "saying" lifestyle, you fall into some bad habits. You find a good saying and you beat it to death. I have a few of them. They are my "answer" sayings and I tend to give the same answer every time. You say "How's it going" and I'll answer "Its going. I just don't know how yet!" You say "Have a nice day" and I'll answer "I'll make the heroic effort!" As I go to work, you say "Have a good trip" and I'll answer "Last time I had a good trip was in '86 and I was off work 8 months!" (That's when I dislocated my ankle at work.) You say "Have a safe trip" and I say "Seems to me, any time you trip, how safe can you be?" I have a snappy answer for just about every tired line that people automatically say when they think they're being polite.

I try not to be offensive. I don't say "Colder'n a witch's tit" or anything like that. If I had to come up with a saying, I probably could. As for cold, I'd probably say something like "As cold as a nun's stare at a farting contest." (That's for Fuzzie) I would never mention a well digger's rear end or a brass monkey. You might think that coming up with a good saying is difficult. Its actually pretty easy. I thought of my best lines on the spur of the moment.

I have a number of sayings that can't be shared here. People are just too sensitive now-a-days. You can't tell someone "If my dog looked like you, I'd shave his ass and make him walk backwards" or "Your face could gag a maggot off a meat truck" or "Your pits could make a buzzard puke!" or "You're so ugly, when you were born, the doctor slapped your mom!" Must be that thin skin I was talking about in my last posting. Now its "You're dumber than Bush's energy policy" or "That's scarier than Hillary without her make-up on!" Those are obvious no-brainers!

Old sayings are tired sayings. I believe in modernizing them. Old: "Stiff as a board." New: "Stiffer'n Hef's yard boy." Old: "Dead as a doornail." New: "Dead as a gay Texas gym teacher." Old: "Green as grass." New: "Green as pneumonia snot." Old: "Cold as ice." New: "As cold as Laura Bush at a booger eating contest." and Old: "As slick as snot on an onion." New: "As slick as Monica Lewinsky's cigar."

I'm aware that my use of "sayings" can be rough on my loved ones. After all, how many times can you hear the same old stuff before you want to barf. I've been blessed with a wonderful family who chuckle each time like the first time. That's as rare as a Republican at an NAACP convention, or rarer than Arabs at a hogroast or rarer than front teeth on a hockey team, or...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"You want cheese with that whine?"

John Mc Clain's now-ex economic advisor, Phil Gramm, said a little while back that the U.S. is not in a recession, we are all just a bunch of whiners. I totally disagree with his first assertion but have to go along with the second.

Our culture had developed two disturbing traits the last ten years or so. First, Americans have developed microscopically thin skin. The cat farts and four strangers demand an apology! This blog posting will probably make alot of people mad. (I'm struggling to write this without saying "P...ed off" or "".) Jeez, Phil Gramm himself has probably already filed a lawsuit. If its O.K. with everyone, I'll leave this topic for a later date and go on with my rant about the second disturbing trait, whining.

If you read my last posting, then you'll remember about the engineer I used to work with named Bobby. Well, Bobby was a pathelogical whiner. He whined about everything. He was so bad and whined so much that after working with him for a round trip, I fealt like going home and opening my wrists. He makes Dick Cheney seem like Chuckles the Clown!

Let's not confuse whining with complaining. Complaining is O.K. because you are airing out legitimate gripes to the responsible people. Discussing with your neighbor about his dog's habit of crapping in your flower bed isn't whining. Its complaining. Moaning about it to your pastor is whining. Lets say little Shane has a bad habit of, not only cutting some really grizzly farts in public, but he stands on one leg, bending the other leg and cranks the fart out with his arm like an uppercut swing. The initial reaction would be to kick the kid in the butt and whine to his dad. The correct answer should be to whine at the kid and kick his dad in the butt!

I really don't suffer whiners very well. On the railroad, when you have to go somewhere to get a train or need a ride from the train to the motel, they send you a van to haul you around. I had a van driver in Chicago once who whined the whole hour-long trip about how his girlfriend (?) was screwing around behind his back and on and on. She didn't cook. She didn't clean. She didn't work. She didn't recognize his brilliance. He wouldn't even shut up when I faked sleeping! The next day we get the same loser and he starts right in about "the bitch". I interupted him right there. I told him that is obvious that he thinks his pitiful sex life is exciting and interesting but I'm sick of hearing about it and will he please shut up! He whined. I complained. Complaining trumps whining so I won and he shut up. I've learned that you need to be painfully blunt to shut up a serial whiner. "I don't give a f..." will not do the trick. The theory behind my defense against panhandlers works here too. When I see a panhandler coming (in Chicago, I attract them like flies), I'm ready. Just as he's ready to open his mouth, I say "Hey buddy, could you spare a buck for my blind mother?" They'll usually say "F... you" and go on. I'll meet a serial whiner with a "Hey, did I tell you about that shanker on my ass?" He'll just turn around and whine to someone else. My usual line about whiners is "He'd if someone s..t on his plate!" I'm not quite sure what it means but dad used to say it and if it was good enough for him, its good enough for me.

It seems that in the campaign, Mc Clain has been whining alot lately. "He won't go overseas." "He's overseas too much." "He's flip-flopping." Its his all-out push for the whiner vote!

At work I do a lot of fake whining. Its all a part of my main endeavor at work: Lowering my engineer's expectations. I don't care if I've sat on my rear end for 11 and a half hours and finally have to go out and throw a switch, I grumble "Rawhide the poor conductor" as I go out the engine door. My standard fake whine when the railroad screws something up used to be "Ain't seen nothing like it in 30 years!". After realizing that they make the same mistakes every day, I changed my signature whine to "Ain't seen nothing like it in 2 days!" Some guys I work with have some pretty good signature whines. One that stands out is Brad's. He says "I've been to 2 World Fairs and a goat f..king and I ain't seen nothin' like this before!" All this fake whining has a purpose. In explaining it to a trainee one time, I told him that when you lower your engineer's expectations real low and perform your job at a normal level, he'll be happy with your job performance. But, if you blow off about being the best conductor on the railroad and work at a normal level, he'll be disappointed. Either way, you work normally. One instance has him happy with you and the other not. I'll always leave them happy.

Now that I'm an important blogger and read by a couple of Americans (and Germans looking for compression stockings) every day, I want to use my elevated position in American culture to establish a moratorium on whining! AND, there will be a $1.00 fine for every time you whine. This has a chance to bankrupt some people. Since I outlawed it, then the fines must be paid to my favorite charity, Kate's Cart. Visit to pay your fines. Take your medicine like a man (or woman) and pay up. Our motto could be "We whine so sick kids can read!" or "Bitching for Books!" I can see it now. Bobby will have a new wing named after him at Mitchell's Books!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dumbo? He has big ears!

For personal reasons, I'm not much of a Mel Gibson fan. Its got nothing to do with that Jesus movie or the one about the Aztecs. Its those dang Mad Max movies he made. He didn't even look like a Max. A longhair he-man hero named Max? NOT LIKELY! Maybe his smart sidekick or his pet dingo, yeah. By using the name Mad Max, he has labeled all us Maxes as being mad. Whenever anyone refers to me as Mad Max, I say "No, that's happy Max!" Doesn't work. Before Gibson came around, Maxes were thought of as dependable, hard working and fun-loving brains. Smart and honest. Warm and loving. After all, Max is the most common name for dogs. You know, the friendliest, most loyal species of animals. Not anymore. There's a reason no Saint Max has been proclaimed lately. Can't be both holy and mad.

As I've said before, I don't have a viable nickname. My family members have the normal ones. James is Jim (Not Jimmy!), Gene is Gene and Gerald is Jerry. Linda doesn't have a nickname either. An intelligent one for Linda would be LIN. You know, Linda without the duh! My brother-in-law, Jim, can easily be called James to remove confusion between him and my brother Jim. No one would ever think of calling my brother James.

Some nicknames rescue a kid from a dweeby name. Frances becomes Frank, Melvin is Mel and Alfred and Albert is Al. Delbert is Del or Bert and Maynard is Nards (Shane will get this one!). Some names have no help. Names like Marian (Mary?), Nelson (Nellie?), Abner (Ab?), Percy (Perk?) or Fuzbukt (Fuzzie?). To get a nickname for these guys, see the next paragraph. They alone won't be stigmatized. After all, when you start with Mortimer, ANYTHING is an improvement!

I have around 50 first cousins and as far as I can determine, not one of them has ever had one of those cutesy nicknames that some guys give their sons because they hate children and want to ruin their lives. These are nicknames like Chip or Chipper, Bud (I've got an Uncle Bud but he fits the stereotype!), Junior, Pal, Toots, Punk, Skip, Skipper or Skippy. You may as well tattoo "Hit Me!" on their foreheads.

Even though they aren't nicknames, one thing really gets me. That's when people name a child a kid's name never realizing that the kid will grow up. About 10 years ago I worked on a train with 2 guys. The engineer was 61 and named Bobby and the Conductor was 62 and named Billy. For strike 2, the conductor's middle name was Clinton. No kidding. My niece Cathy had 2 classmates in school who were twins and their first names were Lemonjello and Orangejello. We still have the program with their names on it somewhere at home. Bet they don't turn into Nobel Prize winners!

One way to receive a nickname is to have an unfortunate or embarrassing event in your life. Have a car wreck, you're crash. Have a fat girlfriend, you're Jack Sprat, or fall in the lake and you're Bob. I work with a guy, known by his initials, J.J., who had a problem. He was on a train and was sorta tired. When he yawned, his jaw locked and had to go to the hospital with his mouth wide open! After that, he has been known as Lockjaw. (I call him L.J. instead of J.J.) We had another guy who used to have eyebrow and nose rings with a tongue stud. He's known as tacklebox. One guy got into an arguement with a working girl in front of the hotel in Chicago. Word is he shorted her on her fee. He is quite a bonehead. He ended up slapping her and ended up earning himself the nickname of Chief. Chief? Yeah, he's an Indian now and the Chief of the Slap-a-Ho tribe. One guy is known as Buffy because he has buffalo breath. One guy is an American Indian whose relative is a chief in the Miami tribe. He's known a Chief Short Lance.

I hate it when someone goes by his initials. Jenny wanted to name Shane-o Andrew Joseph and call him A.J. I liked the name. Call him Andy or Drew, but not A.J. I work on the railroad where everyone is referred to by their initials and if you are unfortunate enough to have initials like B.J. or D.M.F. or O.J. you learn to hate initials. I may change my mind about it, though. Ask me in 6 years.

Another lazy nickname that some people are given is a shortening of their last names. Names like Smitty, Jonesy or Teets. Not too fond of that either.

Descriptive nicknames can be cruel. Names like fats, shorty, tubby, tank, slats, lumpy, Dumbo, pokey, bull, one-eye and beanpole. Even worse is using nicknames that are opposite of reality, like shorty for a tall guy, tiny for a fat one or Einstein for an idiot.

Actually, I must admit that one guy at work has a nickname for me (He's the one who came up with Tacklebox). He calls me professor because I'm smart. Compared to him, professor would be a good nickname for my cat.