I may never eat another potato.

You know that plastic drawer in the bottom of your fridge? The one General Electric calls "The Crisper" and the one my wife and I call "The Rotter?" Yeah, that one. My advice to you is to never, ever go in there for any reason whatsoever.

I wanted a baked potato to go with my dinner the other day, and so I yelled upstairs to my wife (who knows the location of All Things in the house), "Hey, do we have any potatoes?" She yelled down, "I think there's a few in the rotter."

So I looked, and she was sort of right. There was one potato left. After seeing it, however, I firmly believe that we originally had more. My theory is that some time in the past week or so, each one had expertly planned and executed its escape. I base this theory on the fact that this last one appeared very close to making a run for it:

I think they were using the paper towels to disguise themselves.

And no, I didn't eat it. I stabbed it a few times, though, just to be on the safe side.


Of Lumps and Monkeys.

It was an interesting couple of weeks, and I'm glad to say I can share some good news with you. It appears that I'm going to be around for a while longer, which is very good news for me, if not for my Arch Nemesi. What can you do -- you can't please everybody all of the time.

I had a bit of a health scare last week. This resulted in me learning way too much about the things in your throat and what can go wrong with them. You would not believe all of the nasty possibilities. Here's some unsolicited advice for you - never search Google for these terms: throat, bone, bump, lump, larynx, esophagus, Adam's apple, lymph nodes. If you do, you will be utterly convinced you are going to die within 6 months, and then you will freak out a little bit and rent the movie "The Bucket List" before you realize you don't have the money to actually do any of that stuff because you aren't Morgan Freeman or Jack Nicholson.

Long story short, I ended up in my GP's office getting my neck felt up. Being the ever-cautious fellow that he is, he sent me for a CAT-Scan of my head and neck, and set me up with an ENT specialist, which did nothing to allay my fears. Since the appointment was the day after the scan, they gave me a CD of the scan results to bring with me, which meant I had approximately 14 hours to become an expert at reading CAT scans, which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

Even though I was easily able to locate the area in question, and learn a lot about bone density, contrast dyes and all 257 slices of my own head, I lacked other potentially useful things such as a medical degree and any clue as to what the fuck I was looking for. I saw some lumps and bumps of bone that I couldn't interpret, then I went to bed and slept like a stone, by which I mean a stone that happened to be sleeping in a clothes dryer for 8 hours.

The next morning, I sat in a waiting room with my wife, listening to people talking through holes in their throats that were far south of where their mouths were, which also did nothing to calm our respective nerves.

The doctor was great -- he showed me the CAT-Scan and how to interpret what was there, and then said the magic words: It's nothing to worry about. I think we both wanted to kiss him. I don't know about my wife, but I was totally going to use tongue. Basically it came down to me having a slightly irregular hyoid bone, which is something that, until two weeks ago, I never knew resided in my neck. After doing the research however, I discovered that it's the only bone in your body that isn't connected to any other bone, and it helps provide structure to your breathing tube and anchors your tongue. Go figure.

We have a dear friend who is currently fighting breast cancer, and I can't even imagine how hard it is to face down something like that every morning. I only had to think about it for a week or so, and the experience was eye-opening enough for me to see how truly brave she and others like her are. (If you pray to a god, or even if you don't, please send her some positive vibes.)

The down side of this whole thing was being scared out of my mind for a week. The upside was a slap to the side of the head that reminded me of what's really important. I suddenly had a fresh, new appreciation of my life and everything and everyone in it. Call me crazy, but I'm going to try to hang on to that feeling for as long as I can.

There was another upside of course, and that was I got to see some pretty wild pictures of what my head would look like if you brought it to the local deli and sliced it up with a meat saw. Let me tell you, there are parts of my skull that would keep Marilyn Manson awake at night. If I ever start a Death Metal band, I'm going to use this particular slice and call my band HYOID.

Here's our debut album cover:

In other news, I finally have a new roof on my house, courtesy of four drunk monkeys with nail guns. OK, they weren't really drunk monkeys, but that visual is funnier than if I just said "guys." Seriously, just once in my life, I would like to have contractors at the house that I didn't want to immediately kill and bury in the backyard. If I ever get laid off from my job, I think I'm going to become a general contractor. I will differentiate myself from the others in this business by (a) doing what I say I'm going to do, (b) doing it when I say I'm going to do it, (c) doing it for the price I initially agreed to, and (d) severely limiting customer exposure to my ass-crack. I am pretty sure I will retire a wealthy man.

I think my main problem with contractors is that I know how things are supposed to be done, even though I've never done them. Unfortunately for me, I know the difference between shoddy workmanship and a good, solid mastery of a skill-set. Also unfortunately for me, I am not always able to pay top-dollar for good, solid mastery of a skill set. Perhaps I have an inflated sense of my own abilities, but I am pretty sure that, given enough time, I could have done a much better job than they did, even considering the fact that it would have been my first time.

Luckily, I was able to work from home for a few days so I could keep an eye on their progress and say things like "Hey, you're going to have to rip off the first 3 feet of shingles and redo them because you forgot to peel the backing off the ice-and-water shield." Or: "Did you happen to notice that the line of shingles that form the transition between the front porch and the main house roof looks like it was nailed down by a drunk monkey?"

So they ripped that out and did it over, too. Sigh. Thousands of dollars later, I have very little confidence this roof isn't going to leak come spring, but I guess we'll see. At least they're gone now and temporarily out of my life. He signed a 5-year warranty against leaks, which I realize means almost nothing, especially coming from a contractor.

On the plus side, I know where he lives and I have plenty of room left in my back yard. Anyone want to help me dig? You can even toss in a contractor or two of your own if you need to free up some space in your freezer. Seriously, I don't mind.

Feed my self-esteem at humor-blogs.com.

Update! Warranty claim number one: It's been raining all day, and I now have water dripping from my soffit onto my porch. I have a feeling this isn't going to end well.


A bargain at any price.

I was reading the news the other day, and this headline caught my eye:

LAGOS (Reuters) -A Nigerian court has granted temporary reprieve to an 84-year-old Muslim preacher with 86 wives after local leaders threatened to force him to leave the area unless he divorced all but four of them.

One, that's a shitload of wives by any religion's standards. Two, how do you bargain it down to four as an acceptable number?

"You may only have one wife!"

"I will accept no less than 20!"

"You may have two! That is all!"

"I will have ten! That is my final offer!"

"You are a good preacher. Because of that, we will go as high as three!"

"I am a great preacher. I deserve no less than eight!"

"Four, or we cut off your balls and feed them to a camel."


Apparently, Sharia Law says 4 is the magic number. I'm willing to bet he followed the FIFO accounting method, because let's face it -- wives 83 through 86 have to be way hotter than wives 1-4 at this point. Although if he were smart, he'd go with at least one wife in the high 50's because every wife after 80 is probably like 12 years old, and not really that great at cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry.

I don't know about this Sharia law stuff. Even four sounds like a lot to me. I only have the one wife and frankly, I don't think I have the energy for any number higher than that.

vote for me at humor-blogs.com -- if you can.


Electronics and Exercise

Before I show you some neato 1977 electronics, I just want to share these two living room sets with you:

So if you'd like to turn your living room into the waiting room of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman or some sort of moon-bounce/opium den, JC Penney has you covered.

Ground-breaking Electronics

Let's take a quick look at their Finest Stereo System:

Ah, 8-track tape. Who doesn't love hearing their favorite songs interrupted by a fade-out, a loud KA-CHUNK, and a fade in? And after paying almost 300 bucks for this 'quality' audio equipment, you'd still end up needing to jam something on one side of the tape after a while so it didn't sound like the music was being played in slow motion underwater. In 1977 I was building a kick-ass Beatles collection on 8-track that I was going to have forever. I'm sure you can figure out how that went.

By '77, the video game PONG had been out for a few years. There were a half-dozen clones of it for sale, and JC Pennney wanted a piece of the hot video game action. They called it 'tv fun' and claimed it never lost its challenge. Also, it was 4 games in one:

The games were Pong, Doubles Pong, Only-Child Pong, and Handball. I imagine it lost its challenge pretty quickly.

At our house, we actually had the real PONG game. My father would only let us play it on the old, crappy TV because after about the first month or so, your TV looked like this:

For some reason he wasn't crazy about a score box and black line permanently burned into his screen.

I guess the late 70's CB radio craze was responsible for this monstrosity:

With that clamped to your handlebars, you probably couldn't see the road. Not to mention the fact that the first time you crashed your bike you were almost guaranteed to be pulling a whip antenna out of your ruined eye socket.

I still remember when I got my first one of these:

Due to the wonders of modern science, you now needed both hands to tell the time at night instead of just one. Nobody gave a shit that they were massively inconvenient. Seriously. It was like magic on your wrist. Remember the first time you saw an iPhone? Yeah. Like that.

Keeping in Shape in 1977

How did people melt away fat 31 years ago? The same way they do now. By purchasing home gym equipment that they hang their laundry on, and drinking Slim Fast.

No, I kid. They did it with these fantastical implements of torture:

Yes, it's the old vibrating belt machine. The big improvement here over the model they had in the 50's? TWO belts. That's some serious fucking innovation right there.

This interesting looking thing is called a roller massager:

I really have no idea what this would do for you besides leave welts on your fat. She looks pretty intrigued sitting on it though. It's probably better than the washing machine on spin cycle.

For only 300 bucks you could have your own personal sauna:

Remember, one beep means yes and two means no. And don't be surprised when the pulsing ass-heads from Talos IV show up.

Right now, a bunch of you reading this are thinking, "Huh?" but that's OK. If only one person out there gets the joke, it's totally worth it.

This next contraption?

I have no idea what it is, but I'm getting one for the bedroom.

Lastly, don't forget your fancy sports footwear, like these 'JuiceMobiles':

What a difference 17 years makes:


So once upon a time, I found this catalog in the rafters...

I actually got a chance to go through the rest of the JC Penney's catalog, and there's still some funny shit in there. I know there's no way to duplicate the success of the first entry -- so I'm not even going to try. But I still wanted to share some of the fantastic 1977 goodness with you all.

Let's take a look at childrens' fashions first:

With the black bow tie and the arm just itching for a white linen towel, I can almost guarantee this kid grew up to be a butler or a maƮtre d'. And could that suit be any thicker?

This next kid thinks he looks pretty smooth in his tangerine duds. Who said checks and polka dots don't mix? I also love the fact that he may actually be holding his own missing tooth.

As you can see from his expression, this next kid knows exactly what's going to happen to him if he steps outside his own front door. I mean, he has big bird and cookie monster in his pockets. The haircut alone will most likely get him a beat down, but the outfit and hair combo? You can almost see the thought-bubble over his head that says, "I am so fucked."

This is the kid they modeled Eric Foreman after on That 70's Show:

I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the photo below. That is one seriously effed-up hat. I believe this whole ensemble is some sort of cookie-selling uniform. It says "For Brownies" in very small letters next to the picture and if I remember correctly, a Brownie is just a boobless Girl Scout.

For this next one, I'll let you all make up your own jail-bait jokes:

They also had themed bedsheets for kids, and this one caught my eye:

These sheets were clearly designed by someone not familiar with the show, and I'm betting most of the geeks reading this right now know why. I've taken the liberty of pointing out the flaw below:

For those of you not up on your Trek, it's always the unknown guys in red that buy the farm. I think having sheets covered in dead guys would have given me recurring nightmares that always included the following bit of dialogue: "Spock, Bones, McCoy, Sulu, and uh...you there, in the red. Ensign...Virgil, is it? OK. Meet me in the transporter room. Chekhov, you have the Conn." 15 seconds after we beam down, I'm dead.

Here are some of my other favorites from the mens' and womens' sections:

The last time I saw a beard like that was on my Adventure Team GI Joe:

Billy Bob and Dubya look pretty virile:

These next two guys, I'm not so sure about:

I think the white cutoffs are assless.

f you've ever wondered about the inspiration for the Brawny paper towel guy, here you go:

The other guy is just thinking "I will do you right now."

Here's the contents of my dad's underwear drawer in 1977:

That old saying he shared with me about vertical stripes making you look longer must be true.

Wait, that was taller. Never mind.

If you really wanted to get ready for sexy time, you'd go to bed wearing one of these bad boys:

You just know he's gettin' some tonight.

The women's underwear was pretty hot back then too:

I think this particular line was called "Flat Irish Ass - by JC Penney"

The bras weren't very supportive back then:

I love how the name is "Comfort Hours." Does anything at all about that look comfortable to you? I am pretty sure it could deflect bullets.

These night gowns aren't too bad, except for Crazy Sally over there on the left who will obviously stab you to death while you sleep:

OK, I'm running out of steam, so I'll leave the exercise equipment, electronics and home furnishings for the next time. Until then, I leave you with these:

I have giant novelty sunglasses smaller than those.

Small children could hide inside her bell bottoms.

Have fun, I'm off on vacation for a few days. Enjoy what's left of the summer, and for god's sake, try not to dress like a wood-elf: