Tuesday, April 28, 2020

8 Advertisements We Really Need to See During the Pandemic

Why let the pandemic stand in the way of a great advertising campaign? 

"Never Waste a Crisis," the new catch phrase of a Very Large Company we know (and which is always delivered in a bubbly, buoyant tone during all-team briefings), should now serve as words of wisdom for savvy brands seeking to influence stay-at-home shoppers everywhere!

Here are 8 advertisements we really need to see during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, August 30, 2019

I'm Turning My Tiny Greenhouse Into a She-Shed!

So, we rent a house in our charming Connecticut town. It's a very sweet house, if a bit cozy.

"Cozy" is ALWAYS a euphemism for "this house is so damned small that I can feel your hot breath on my neck at all times" and "if you EVER check your texts while blocking a communal passageway again your phone is soon going to become one with your duodenum."

Our sweet, wee boys of blog entries past are now hairy teens (one of whom who jokingly dubbed himself "Massif Boi" the other day). They have horrid long limbs that are either flailing about, flung haphazardly over furniture, stuffed deep inside the fridge in an effort to extract ever more orange juice (legs may be included), or frozen in a gorilla-like clutch in homage to an electronic device.

(The 11-year-old gets a pass, as he is still comparatively small—much to his chagrin. "Why am I the shortest person in our family?!" he complained recently. "This is not fair. Is this to be my eternal fate?" He was encouraged by the promise of something called "puberty," which has yet to arrive.)

Our rental house has very little privacy. It has a truly awful basement that isn't even worthy of exploration, which is really saying something given that our former basement in Mamaroneck was lousy with man-sized hopping crickets and I still ventured down there.

There is basically nowhere to hide, except for inside a few closets that are stuffed with all the crap that doesn't fit anywhere else in this cozy house. The property is large and pleasant, with a bunch of trees and shrubberies in the lower half, bordered by a babbling brook. So one could wander down there and hide behind a tree, I suppose.

This wasn't quite what I was looking for when it came to a private oasis in which to seek my muse. I decided I wanted a "she-shed!" Nay, I coveted one.

She-sheds are mystical little places that are either converted out of old gardening sheds and abandoned kids' playhouses on one's property, built by hand, delivered in a clever kit, or constructed by lucrative she-shed carpenters. They are like "man caves" except they are absolutely riddled with whimsy and feminine creativity and "quaint details." Plus, they are out in nature and blend into their natural surroundings. I never heard of any damned she-shed stuck down in an old basement.

Here are some adorable examples.

Being a renter, I didn't think asking my landlord for a building permit would be a very smart choice.

But it just so happens that right off the living room of this tiny, really tiny, way too small, cozy little house is an unused greenhouse. There is literally a door from the living room that opens right into it! (Note: It is not a large greenhouse. You could not swing a cat in it without damaging the glass. You might be able to swing Schtinky Teddy, but that is another story.)

Of course, we noticed it when we toured the property. "How charming!" I thought. "I'll grow herbs in there!" I planted a few in pots and forgot about them. They died peacefully, unwatered and unattended. 

I forgot about the greenhouse. Until today.

I had an entirely new vision. I would clean the damned thing and make it into MY she-shed: An art studio and greenery which would be MINE MINE ALL MINE. My NEW greenhouse would be awash with vines and winter-loving plants. Cucumbers would dangle fatly from the ceiling, and I could just lean up and bite one while I sat there! A mobile made out of origami unicorns and flying fish and magical sea turtles would swing gently over my old drafting table, soon to be rescued from the garage! I would fill plastic tubs with art supplies! Plug in an aromatherapy diffuser! Play super awesome music and maybe hang some sweet-ass curtains and start to do macrame and all that shit! I might even meditate in there!


(Kidding. Seriously! But some GIANT pot plants growing right inside the big glass windows of this greenhouse would look really enticing to all those joggers and bikers and dog walkers and stressed-out moms that pass by my home, methinks. I could make some cash, methinks. I could afford a BIGGER she-shed with all that cash, made by reputable she-shed builders. Maybe I could even live in it full-time with my whole family in an adjunct "shed" built off the lucre of my Pot Empire, and I could also purchase a yacht.... NO NO NO never mind!)

So today I began scrubbing the green funk of 40,000 years off this little greenhouse. Brushing out the cobwebs and the long-leggedy beasties that have made it their home. (Good thing I am not scared of spiders. Hello, Charlotte!) I got up on a ladder with some Windex and some scrubbies and paper towels and went to work.

Then I went up to the 11-year-old's room (remember him? He's still cute and he doesn't even smell bad!) and we opened his window together. It looks right down on the greenhouse.

I said: "I am going to do something very ill-advised and dangerous soon and clamber out your window, stand on this ledge here, and scrub green funk off the skylights on this here greenhouse. Now, if you hear a scream and/or a loud thump, please do come out and check on me, okay?"

He checked out the scene and nodded at me very sagely. Then he grinned. "Yup," he said. "Okay. Okay, Mom. Got it!" He never even said, "What the HELL are you thinking, mother?!"

Yes, he shall be invited into the she-shed! Especially because cucumbers are the ONLY vegetable that he will eat. Also, he is still little enough to fit inside.

Updates to be posted. Here are the early photographs of this project:

View from the living room into the greenhouse.

After cleaning some of the glass.

Green Funk!
Green Funk begone!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Really, Really Bad Valentine's Day Gifts for 2019

First of all, I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. It's a Hallmark holiday designed to psychically wound the single, the lovelorn, the dumped, and all the depressed losers who are clearly unworthy of love.

But it's really much more dreadful if you are actually in a relationship, and your dumbass sweetie decides to purchase a last-minute Valentine's Day gift for you at the local drugstore. Because then you know your significant other is a psychopathic asshole.

An amputated Valentine sloth in a cup. His expression pretty much affirms that your loved one is a cheating bag o' dicks.
Here is this year's crop of creepy, unromantic, and soul-crushing gifts that will make you question JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING about that cheap-ass bum who used his CVS "ExtraCare" bucks to buy you a deflated, phallic stuffie that was made in a factory by weeping orphans.

I think this thing is intended to be a sex toy of some kind, with nubby stubs for "her pleasure." Honestly, you should not want to feel it even touching your neck, let alone your vulva. Plus, it has been manhandled by every germy-handed kid that came into the store, and probably gnawed on by a teething baby. 
This puppy's heartbreaking sadness speaks volumes about the person who gave this gift to you.  The flowery quote on the back reads: "Not even the noblest of poets has measured what the human heart can bear. I, too, have sought in vain for my soulmate, my love, my other self, only to end weeping on the shores of life's bitter mysteries. I have felt pain. I have felt sorrow. I have loved more magnificently than one will ever fathom. By the way, this huge box of chocolates will make your ass even fatter than it currently is. Which is a difficult thought to endure."
Nuff said.
Let me say this once, and once only. THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT THIS. Nor does the giraffe look "wild." He looks like he needs to redirect the Viagra from the neck to the nethers. And that bow-tie? Break up with whomever gave this to you ASAP. You do not want to grow old with that motherfucker. 
There something vaguely penile about this. Maybe it's just me. 
Seriously, this is even better than Mr. Romance of a few years past, because this dildo is EDIBLE. Did I say that out loud? No, I typed it! However, one has to wonder who gives this gift. If it's a decrepit old auntie, you might forgive her. But if your lover gives you this gift, he has an offshore bank account and is likely screwing the neighbor's cockapoodle.
Yes, if "love" means sitting on the toilet for a few hours after the 'Love Bandit" has made its way through your colon.

Seriously, WHY would you ever think this is a good idea? What he really means is "If you try to leave me I will KILL YOU and feed you to my pet hogs." The man who gives you this is secretly into German Scheisse Videos. 
Speaking of Scheisse. Maybe this is supposed to be a Hershey's Kiss, but it looks an awful lot like a shiny, space-age turd. Like that emoji turd, maybe, but with a twist and a dollop of extra turd on the top? But it LUVS you.
Woodstock, drunk in the gutter and consumed with existential angst. If I got this I would cry for about 5 days over the cruel, cruel nature of this terrible world. Then I would call my attorney.
When I visited Walgreen's, I noticed a store employee arranging the terrible panoply of stuffed horrors on the shelves. He did not seem to notice the casual way in which he flung this spank-ass Mickey Mouse into the shelf, but I did. Titillating! Inviting, even!

For more Valentine's Day fun on this blog, you might like:

22 Awesomely Terrible Valentine's Day Gifts
Terrifying and Dismal Valentine's Day Gifts

Subliminal Messages Behind Common Valentine's Day Gifts

All the Beautiful Ways to Say I Love You

Thursday, January 31, 2019

I Made a Pet Out of My House Mouse

I now have a pet mouse. In the absence of any other pets, I have decided to adopt the only other female in the household, who happens to be vermin. In fact, I am not sure "she" is even a female. It has been suggested that "she" is a male who has a wife and litter behind the stove, and is thieving crumbs and goodies to fatten his family.

I resent these accusations, for I have a spiritual bond with "Avomato," whom I have named due to her obvious loves of avocados and tomatoes. She has destroyed many such items.

Avomato requires a balanced diet. Including CHEE-TOS!

Bloodthirsty members of my household have many things to say:

"Mom, are you really putting a plate out with snack for a MOUSE?"

"What is WRONG with you?"

"This mouse must die."

Why do I have such a soft spot for wee Avomato? Is it because when I am typing away, lonely as a monk, I hear her stirrings in the kitchen as she drags away a glorious orange Chee-to that I have left for her?

Others have suggested that Avomato will leave "poo." All I have to say is that she is very cleanly thus far, and has left only 1-2 small turds. Or maybe 3-7. Or 8-15. I vacuum them up with the Dustbuster and all is good.

Who can say this for their cats? Cats leave large and horrible turds in litter boxes, which must be pulled out daily, lest the cats get snarky. Dogs are worse. Who hasn't seen a happy dog walker, swinging a hot bag o' turd as they stroll along, having wrenched that very turd from its clutches in some neighbor's grassy sod? I have had the pleasure to walk a dog, and the experience of tearing the turd from the grass blades nearly made me wretch.

Avomato's wee turds are tiny. And there is no scent. The fact that they are on MY KITCHEN COUNTER is troubling, but as long as they don't mingle with anything similar (e.g. chia seeds) and I disinfect the counter regularly, what's the trouble?

I have stepped into dog turds in neighbor's lawns, unawares, in sandals. Just saying. This was disturbing.

The only problem with Avomato is her lack of true love. I give, and she receives. She never cuddles with me. She is rather heartless, after all. She hides whenever I come to greet her with a hearty "Avomato, my love!" Just earlier, I spied her from the outside window, head into a bowl of gnocchi. I rushed inside to have a heart-to-heart, but she had vanished behind the stove. It is a one-sided relationship, but I don't mind.

She is perhaps faithless, and cruel. She is perhaps a male mouse. She is nothing I imagined, but I feed her all the same. I leave small things out for her, because it is brutally cold outside. Where would she go now? What would she find to eat? What if a plethora of Avomatos invade my kitchen, come the spring?

She found me. She found my warm kitchen. She found my expectant heart, open to a creature we normally would rather extinguish from our lives. Many would have purchased a trap. Please, for goodness sake, don't ever use one of these sticky traps. They couldn't be crueler. In college, my friend and I found a passel of tiny, stuck mice on a "Mr. Sticky" mousetrap. The custodial staff had put them down, unbeknownst to us. Heartbroken, we thought about peeling the mice off, before we realized that to do so we would have to tear their limbs off. The glue was that strong. I don't want to tell the end to that story; it has haunted me to this day.

If you must use a trap, use a humane one: See Me and the Mouse in the Night.

Who is to say who should be lucky, and who unlucky? What differentiates you from the mother mouse who climbs frantically from the broom which has dislodged her from her nest in the garage? What makes you better? Do you care for your children more? Would you climb down walls with your children clinging to your back, knowing that there is no savior waiting for you? I've seen a frantic mother mouse doing just that. A group of mice is called a "mischief." A mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of half a dime.

Are you that amazing? I think not.

I will choose to be kind—senselessly, stupidly—even for the smallest and meanest among us. I would rather make the mouse a heroine in a children's bedtime story. May there still be little boys listening to that story. Boys who would make a mouse sentient, and allow her a name. She will have a story to tell. This heroine mouse might become a memory when you are old and jaded, and will awaken a small spark of empathy.

But if cockroaches ever rear their heads, they ain't welcome. Kindness has its limits.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Same 10 Questions I Always Ask Myself, November 2018

It's been a dreadful long time since I posted on this blog, so I decided to resurrect this recurring feature from the distant past.

1. What are you wearing?
A "schwag" fleece given to me by a former employer, which is too embarrassing to wear because of the logo, but is awful warm. It makes me feel like a "Best Buy" employee who is forced to wear the company uniform. So I will wear it around the house in a lurking fashion.  I think I may have to sew a patch over the company logo. Then it will be acceptable.

2. What's the nature of today's hypochondria?
The theme of 2018 is definitely mental illness. My WebMD searches reveal such terms as "How do you know you're going crazy?" and "Signs you have Schizophrenia." I even took a quiz that asked me  if I heard voices and saw things that "obviously aren't there." Obviously? How do I know that they are "obviously" not there? I see nothing and hear nothing, obviously. Unfortunately, this means I am mentally well. Is there a pill for this condition?

3. What was today's workout?
I sat my ass in a chair and typed. I'm angry about it. Note to the wise: Work out in the morning, lest the day escape you.

4. How do you do what you do and stay so sweet?
I use the phrase "bless his/her heart" whenever appropriate.  I learned this from my Texas friends. It's a phrase that really means "Fuck this asshole," but it sounds so much nicer.

5. What's that burning smell?
The house mouse ran into the fireplace and extinguished itself.

6. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
Today I should be a turkey vulture, and settle upon a still-warm carcass. I actually enacted this role last summer, with some campers. Digging out their entrails was good fun.

7. What are you drinking, and why?
I am drinking down the angst of too many days wasted and ignored. Nights there are when I sip a sullen hunger.

8. In what ways hast thou offended?
I failed to plan for dinner tonight and thus hast ordered many pizzas, which feed my hungry sons but provide no real pleasure in the cooking arena. I opted for Blue Apron as a test. It will be delivered this Saturday. Bring it on.

9. What's the next big thing?
Summer camps for adults. S'Mores and cocktails. Slip 'n' Slides followed by rabid dance parties. Arts & Crafts with body painting. That sort of thing.

10. Music selection?
Camera Obscura: My Maudlin Career. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Netflix Presents: The Caged Orangutan

I've been watching The Crown on Netflix. Although the Queen is rather priggish and tweedy, the series has many merits. Among them are the chance to practice one's parade wave (it's really quite dismissive, without any sort of real effort—it's just a wiggle, without any jazz sauce thrown in) and one's accent ("Why, thenk ewe—best delivered after the children have inadvertently put the dishes in the actual dishwasher just because it was open and blocked their path to the sink.)

It has given me cause to think about what Netflix might produce next, and I do believe I have the answer, thenk eww. My series shall be entitled: The Caged Orangutan. It will cover the all-too-brief presidential reign of Donald J. Trump, and ooh, it'll be a goody.

Focusing on the truth rather than the facts, The Caged Orangutan will present a sympathetic story of a beast too noble for the chains and limitations of public office. The series will offer viewers a rare glimpse of behind-the-scenes triumph as the titular Orangutan handily escapes a fetid, burbling swamp of his enemies' making and, instead, rises to glory.

Herewith, I present Season One's list of episodes. All shall be directed with the utmost attention to historical and period detail, but may be altered as regards the facts, for facts are alternative. I await the day when we can hearken back to this timeless era! Oh, do I.

Episode One: "A Thrice-Married, Incoherent Fool, Say You?"
The Donald unites the nation with a soaring, eloquent inaugural address, which draws crowds larger than ever imagined by man or beast. The mall, fouled with many human footprints and empty fast-food wrappers, becomes a symbol of a nation soiled by too many liberal Democrats. Chuck and Nancy engage in a plot to kidnap orphans and sell their spleens to pay for Medicare.

Episode Two: "Alternative Facts"
Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway stuns and awes the populace with a newly-coined phrase. The Donald chastises Spicey over his poor wardrobe choices. Eric shoots a magnificent lion. Melania engages in fisticuffs with a rogue WH staff member, and upsets the tea service. Barron retires unto a closet where he still awaits for someone to come get him out.

Episode Three: "Rise, Frederick, Rise!"
The Donald invokes the spirit of long-dead Frederick Douglass, inspiring a nation of young African-American men and women to don MAGA hats and follow his Twitter feed with acclaim. Jared makes progress with the Kremlin, and Mitch McConnell's face grows 73% droopier. Paul Ryan gets an unexpected handjob.

Episode Four: "Your Ratings Are Rather Poor"
During a prayer breakfast, the Donald demonstrates his Christian values while he simultaneously savages the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nordstrom drops Ivanka's clothing line, leading to a massive boycott and an almost-complete shutdown of the economy and the train lines. Conway saves the day with a selfless ethics violation. Spicey renews investors' faith in Wrigley's gum products by gnawing 56 sticks in as many minutes.

Episode Five: "Tapp This!"
Notorious foreign-born black dude, Obama, is caught red-handed tapping Trump's phone lines, and is excluplutated to Mexico, homes of rapists and a few good folk. Donald Jr. wrassles a snake. Hillary is caught mangling multiple email accounts. Eric shoots a giraffe. Tiffany makes a surprise appearance. The economy comes to a halt due to Obama's prior machinations. As a result, we are now 1.4 trillion dollars more in debt! "Thank eww, Democrats, for doing nothink but badnesses in the name of poor and sadly uninformed and ill-dressed poeples," says Ivanka. "Thenks to the dreary democrats."

Episode Six: "The Mooch"
The Donald obstructs justice, but with jazz hands. James Comey perfects his ice-skating routine. Anthony Scaramucci delivers a searing and uplifting speech, and is subsequently fired for poor footwear. Ivanka tries on new shoes. Melania is fitted for a new outfit. Don Jr. and Eric work on their collusion strategy, and attempt a high-five, with poor results. Several national monuments become limited, due to their unfortunate life choices.

Episode Seven: "It's Mueller Time!"
The Donald visits storm-battered Puerto Rico, where he tosses cans of tuna, cartons of eggs, and rolls of napkins at the poor, to much acclaim and some head injuries. Mueller closes in and indicts Flynn, Manafort, and Papadopoulus. The latter is recognized as a "very brief little wee piddling underling and perhaps coffee boy in his Majesty's court." "He perhaps once brought us an herring," says Ivanka. "'Twas a very small herring."

Episode Eight:"Rocket Boy"
Regretting his early  months as being "soft," the Donald engages in a war of words with North Korea. "Little Rocket Man" responds by firing a payload of nuclear weapons at an unnamed place in the ocean. Eric bets on a horse. Don Jr. retains new attorneys. Melania purchases new real estate, banking on the planned tax bill to come. Obama windsurfs and sports new board shorts.

Episode Nine: "God Bless the United Schstateshsh"
After the Donald's dentures come unhinged during a speech, his dentist is brought in for a routine waterboarding. Melania researches vacation spots. The IRS continues their unjust audit of Trump's taxes. but promise to keep the audit going "as long as you are King, mine seigneur." Don Jr. and Eric shoot an infirm water buffalo. Melania adjusts Barron's bowtie. Kellyanne retains a new math tutor for brothers Eric and Don Jr.

So much is to come in Season Two, so stay tuned!

The all-star cast of The Caged Orangutan:
Douche-Schwister McFister as "Steve Bannon"
Gloriana "Jennie" Boobaster as "Kellyanne Conway'

Jonny Dirtdover as "The man with the face of the turtle"
Gen'l Dirk Fistfihéter as "Mike Flynn"

Wendy Smith as "the Swamp Rat"
Homer Gorphins as "Paul Ryan"

Judy Lovephin as the voice of "Jared Kushner"

Lyle and Erik Menendez as Eric and Don Jr.

(c) Bricklayers Union of America. 

Whoever she is. Dude, I would date her if she were not my daughter.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dear President Trump, I Demand My Pony

Dear President Trump,

You may not remember me, but we met at one of your rallies. I approached you and expressed my need for a pony. I said: "I am one of your sorrowful and fragrant forgotten people, and you need to do me a SOLID. I am a 'Party Pony,' yet I possess no pony. Sad!"

I got your signature on my #MAGA hat but you didn't notice the fine print stitched inside the hat, which reads: "You will be getting a pony from me, Donald J. Trump." Because you don't like to read I did not bother you with it.

Without a pony, I am like Obamacare in its "death spiral." Without my promised pony, I can no more hold my head up proudly than you can count on KellyAnne not to rattle her chains in the "Black Hole of Calcutta" which is another term for the SUB SUB BASEMENT of the White House.

Is my pony down there, Mister President? Because I would very much like to claim him!

Does KellyAnne have my pony??!!

My pony will need a wall. A large wall. This wall will protect him from DRUGS and PONY TRAFFICKING.

I would like my wall to be 85 feet in circumference plus 8 feet in height to protect from marauding deer and pony rapists and peddlers of biblical literature. I would also like the wall to have the name TRUMP in giant gilt lettering so the animals know to be scared. I would like a separate bathroom for each type of animal, excepting the queer ones. They can piddle in the woods.

Can I get the name "Trump" tattooed onto my actual pony, Mister President? I would like the tattoo to be in gold. Can you please make the tail end of the "p" in "Trump" look like a flowing mane and the top part of the "p" look like a pony's face? Here is a sketch so that you get it perfect:

If I don't get my pony, which I will, then more DRUGS and bad hombres will liberally drown my pony in offal. This is what my pony would look like on drugs and do I need to tell you that this is bad?!! No, I do not. I drew this picture of my pony while on so many drugs it's ridiculous! Unbelievable!

I want my pony to be a handsome animal, President Trump. He should be bedecked and beblazoned with COAL DUST and other detritus of planet-destroying badness. He should wear a collar of plastic bags from the Great Plastic Garbage Patch! Which is a hoax! I shall call him: TRUMPLETTE, and he will be mighty among very small horses.

My pony will shit into the beautiful streams of our great country! Its farts will cause the ozone layer to COMPLETELY DECAY! Ha, ha—that's fake news because THERE IS NO OZONE LAYER. My pony will belch forth great witticisms and strategies and (unintelligible)!

I would like my pony to be delivered by military aircraft. And I get to keep the aircraft. No, wait. I would actually like my pony delivered by ARMADA. Use MapQuest, please. I will also be keeping the armada. Send the aircraft too, at a discreet distance so my neighbors don't get alarmed.

My pony needs to be super-duper, higher, better, better. In fact, this will be its middle name! Actually, find me a pony whose middle name is ALREADY "Super-Duper, Higher, Better, Better." I want this documented and I want to see its birth certificate. Make sure the "higher" part is figurative because I don't want any stoned-ass, pot-smoking pony.

The pony's last name should be "Unintelligible" because I see that you used this word maybe EIGHTY-FIVE TIMES in your latest interview so it must be a word that you love very much! I will also love my pony very much!!!

Make sure that you find me a pony whose last name is ALREADY "Unintelligible." I do not want to have a pony who has changed his surname, because that pony might be Mexican, which means the pony is a gang member. Gang members are impalatable to me and to many others, including youth.

My pony will be the greatest pony in the history of, but you know what, I'll take that also, but that you could be. He will be the greatest pony but I will also accept the other. You know what I mean. Just get me my pony.

You promised me a PONY. I am not yet weary of winning. I have much energy!

Eagerly awaiting delivery of my pony, "Trumplette Super-Duper, Higher, Better, Better Unintelligible,"
The Party Pony