Tag Archives: Humor

Who’ll Save the Princess?

Signature Princess telephone

Signature Princess telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1994 and a half-dozen AT&T executives are meeting in New York.

“Alright, people, let’s get started. You all know why we’re here,” the Chief stated. “We’ve been selling Princess phones for 35 years, and now the big boys want to discontinue production.

“So before we pull the plug, I want to ask each one of you for salvage ideas: Who’ll save the Princess?”

“Carlson, your thoughts!”

“Only one, Chief! How ‘bout we make a new base, shaped like shoe, and add a toe to the handset, so when the two are joined the toe sticks out like a misfit shoe, and everyone gets a big kick out of it, thinking Cinderella?”

“Too corny, Carlson, but nice try,” the Chief said.

“Hoglund! What’s your idea?”

“Clear plastic, Chief, so that all internal components are visible to the consumer. Sort of a glass slipper takeoff on Carlson’s idea! With even greater appeal to mechanical nerds! And women do like shoes!”

“I like the mechanical angle, Hoglund. But Jesus, everyone, enough with the Cinderella crap!

“Who’s next? Schwartzmiller?”

“Jewels, Sir. Precious stones imbedded in both the base and handset. We might not sell as many phones, but if we charge enough and target the elitist crowd, we could still make a bundle!”

“Not bad, Schwartzmiller. I like where that line of thinking is headed. But I don’t think it’s wise to price anyone out.

“Peterson, you’re a woman. What would the ladies want in a new Princess phone?”

“It vacuums, cooks and scrubs toilets!” Peterson quipped. “Just kidding, Sir,  but grab yourself and consider what I think is a bold new concept.

“The Princess is already small, streamline and marketed for bedroom use. Let’s put all our cards on the table and make the entire handset a massager/vibrator as well as a phone. In fact, scrap the ringer feature altogether and add a vibration adjuster for appropriate stimulation. And maybe,” she added with a raised eyebrow and knowing smile, “rethink the shape of the whole phone, making it longer and thicker.”

Nine seconds of deafening silence followed Peterson’s delivery before the Chief, sitting slack-jawed and owl-eyed, cleared his throat, blinked four times and said, “Jesus, Peterson, a fucking vibrator? My wife would never go for that. And I don’t think Carlson, Hoglund or Schwartzmiller’s wives would either. Would they?”

“Excuse me, Sir,” said Mr. Wu, the last of the seated executives waiting to be heard. “I think we might want to look at the new cordless technology and messaging feature we’re hearing about. And a smaller, hinged product along the lines of the communicator device on Star Trek. Maybe even think about some kind of viewing screen down the road for message reading and photo imaging or conferencing potential.”

“Crissakes, Wu,” the Chief said. “We’re looking for tangible concepts here, not Star Fleet mumbo jumbo. Let’s think plausible, shall we?

“Peterson, back to you. How long? How thick? And colors? Do we stick with pink? Talk to me, people!”

(This was written as a Writers Kickstart prompt, 500 words or less on the topic Who’ll Save the Princess.)

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Spirit Check

Still have turkey leftovers in my fridge, but, by God, my Christmas lights are already up.

I’m no Clark Griswald, and my cottage-style home is no castle. I’m talking one string (75 feet) of red and green bulbs along the eves on two sides of my house. And one short string of 6-inch penguins and another short string of 6-inch snowmen along the flower beds on each side of my front door.

I’m getting old and my wife doesn’t want me on the roof anymore, but that’s what daughter boyfriends are for, and mine (ours?) scaled the ladder and leaned over the peak to secure the lights in the area of highest risk. The kid is a foot taller than me and has the wingspan of a condor, so let’s just say that his skills are beyond my reach.

Penguin lightNot sure one string of lights is enough, however.

Wish I could afford to hire a guy to sit on my roof in a Santa suit and “Ho, Ho, Ho” everybody on cue, just to keep pace with the guy in the next block with the inflatable Santa on his roof. Of course, the other dude also has an inflatable sleigh and blow up reindeer on his roof, but I won’t have a live show that might leave reindeer poop in my rain gutters.

Wait! Wait! I could ground everything and rent some sheep, a donkey and maybe a cow or two and some actors for a live nativity scene in my front yard. Maybe find a nice homeless family to live in a makeshift stable. I could play the innkeeper. Maybe pay a woman to actually give birth right on my lawn!

Forget the house lights. I want moving spotlights that can be seen in space. And maybe a choir in white robes with wings singing Christmas carols.

Geez, am I feeling it here, or what? I’ll bet Walmart carries stable makings.

On second thought, maybe I’m getting carried away.

The Norwegian in me now has me thinking austerity and humility. May even pull back on the penguins.

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Paradise Blown

Turns out there’s more to the story of Mankind’s fall than what’s found in the Bible or what Milton described in “Paradise Lost.”

The revelation came to light with the recent discovery of a stained scroll containing graphic sexual images with Aramaic commentary that relatives of a 17th Century London cleaning woman claim was found under Milton’s mattress.

According to the scroll, after God created Adam and Eve, he gave the couple dominion over all the Earth and free rein to procreate. But like a lot of parents,  the Father was a bit vague in His birds-and-bees speech, leaving vital bits of knowledge to experimentation.

One day Satan appeared in the form of a penis-like Serpent, and Adam and Eve’s unbridled passion soon spread to oral and anal sex as well as masturbation, which went well beyond procreation. But God refrained from punishing his prized creations, realizing that he had not set any sexual boundaries nor left clear enough instructions.

He then explained the forbidden fruit, where Adam and Eve were not supposed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We know how that went, and the couple wound up booted from the Garden of Eden. But before the actual booting, God decided to give Adam and Even one last chance because, with the apple thing, neither understood the concept of sin before succumbing to temptation.

The scroll says God opened up a rainbow and showered the Garden with bits of candy in many colors, telling Adam and Eve that this was another gift because He loved them so much, and that they could eat all they wanted except for one stipulation: “Don’t eat the purple ones.”

Well, life in the Garden was a bowl of Skittles until one day, while Eve was smoking Adam’s sausage, the Serpent again appeared in penis form and said to Eve, “Hey, weren’t you forgiven for all this great sex that God never told you about?”

And Eve thought to herself, “That’s right.”

“And weren’t you given another chance after the misunderstanding about the apple?”

“Yes.”

Then the Serpent added, “When you get right down to it, are you certain that all these purple candies lying about are really purple? Wouldn’t you say that some might actually be more violet or mauve than true purple?”

“Well, yes,” Eve thought, “now that you mention it.”

“You can’t really tell the purple ones just by looking at them,” the Serpent said. “There’s only one way to tell the difference, and that’s by taste. The purple ones taste like grapes and turn to wine in your mouth, which will free your mind even more. Might even open up new avenues to sexual gratification.”

“Geez, I don’t know,” Eve hesitated.

“Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” an ecstatic Adam cried out.

“OK,” Eve decided. “I’ll try one!”

(Note: This was written as a Writers Kickstart prompt, 500 words on less, on the topic: Don’t Eat the Purple Ones.)

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Out Damned Spot!

A woman who cleaned with great zeal

peeled back her Good Housekeeping Seal

to find the damn thing left a telltale ring

that diminished the honor’s appeal.

(Note: This limerick was written as a Writers Kickstart prompt on the topic Good Housekeeping.)

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That’s Rich!

“Anything good?” Freeman asked, while dumpster diving behind a splendid restaurant with best friend Mo and acting as the lookout.

“Dunno yet,” Moe said from deep inside the dumpster, “but something smells good.”

The two men were once neighborhood regulars in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, but increased drug trafficking, political demonstrations and drunken crowds from pro sporting events had chased them north along Aurora Avenue to downtown Everett in the vicinity of Hewitt and Colby avenues.

“Check this,” Moe said, handing Freeman a remnant of steak. “I think it’s filet mignon.”

“What’s that brown stuff on it? Mustard?” Freeman asked.

“No, I think that’s foie gras.”

“What’s that?”

“Force-fed goose liver. Popular in France. Rich people like it slathered on meat. Or a cracker. Kinda like caviar.”

“Don’t care for caviar,” Freeman said. “Too salty.”

“Give it a lick, and tell me what you think,” Moe replied. “There’s more here if you like it.”

Freeman ran his finger over the meat and then over his tongue.

“Tastes kinda rich, but not bad!” he said, savoring the taste for only a moment before taking a full bite of steak. “I do believe it adds something to the meat. And the beef ain’t half-bad to begin with.”

“Think so?” said Moe, still deep inside the dumpster and talking through his own mouthful of food. “Gotta watch myself. Rich food doesn’t agree with me. Got a fussy gall bladder. Heartburn troubles, too.”

Freeman was about to concur when a door in the alley suddenly flew open and a dishwasher from restaurant emerged with a fresh can of refuse.

“Get outta here, bum,” the worker called out as Freeman dropped the dumpster lid and sped away on foot. The dishwasher then muttered something about needing a lock as he lifted the lid and dumped the contents of his can on Moe before going back inside.

“Moe, Moe, you all right,” Freeman said after slipping back.

“Yeah, great,” Moe replied. “He got me good. Covered in bisque, crab and some other shellfish . . . Oh, my god, its oysters Rockefeller!”

“Save me some.”

“Would you like bread with that, Sir? Some salad perhaps? We have what once looked like a lovely Caesar here. Or a house salad with blue cheese.”

“Gimme the blue cheese. You know I don’t like Caesar,” Freeman said. “All that raw egg. Can’t be too careful about what you eat.”

“I hear you, man,” Moe replied. “Bad enough just eating the stuff you recognize. Even at that, I’ve read some food nowadays has crushed up beaver anal gland – castoreum they call it – mixed in as a natural flavor additive.”

Stop,” Freeman said, “you’re making me sick.”

“It’s probably the foie gras,” Moe replied. “It’ll pass. Just have a cigarette – although I hear there’s castoreum in ciggies, too.”

“Great,” Freeman said. “Next time I see someone coming, I’ll just slap the pavement with my tail.”

(Note:  This was written as Writers Kickstart prompt (500 words or less) on the topic, That’s Rich.)

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A Haunting Image

Funny sometimes how easy it is to get your buttons pushed.

Walking my dogs the other day, I got slightly wigged, passing a yard with a Halloween chicken holding a human limb in its beak.

Chickens kinda weird me out, especially big ones. Like to eat ’em, but don’t care to mingle with live ones. Touched on this previously in a prompt called Squeamish Scouts.

I can thank my mom for this phobia. She put the fear of God into me about chickens when I was a toddler. My folks were tenant farmers in Fort Ransom, N.D., when I was born, and my mom kept a flock of chickens as egg-producers and occasional table fare. The birds would rush to her in the yard, and if I was with her she’d always scoop me up for fear the birds would peck me in the eyes.  She told me that story many times when I was growing up to explain my general uneasiness about handling birds.

My dad contributed to the mystique by saying Mom’s birds were like pets and a bit on the aggressive side. In my mind, my mother’s chickens were all monster-sized, as big as I was. Quick fuckers, too. Quicker and faster than I was. Never mind flying monkeys, these were winged nightmares with claws and bird brains tuned to only one station: peck-and-kill . . . peck-and-kill . . .  peck-and-kill.   The giant two-headed bird from “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” movie (1958) creeped me out worse than any snakes or spiders. All I could  do to sit through Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” too.

My Uncle Ole raised chickens in a big way and once took me into his bird barn that housed something like 600 birds in a single room.  Still haunted today by memories of the half-dozen birds in that room at the tail end of the pecking order.

Not so many years ago, a good friend  had a fighting cock as a pet, and no dog was ever a better watch guard than that feathered little fuck. He didn’t fly well, but he flew well enough to perch atop a swing set in the yard, and I swear that he laid for me every time I visited.  If he wasn’t on the swing set, he’d come a runnin’ when you drove up and try to peck your ankle as you stepped from the car.  I threatened to punt the little pecker into the next county on a number of occasions, by my pal always sided with his bird and made me behave.

Geese were also a bitch for me while growing up because I’d seen them chase people, bite them and beat them with their wings. Turkeys weren’t so bad, but peacocks always gave me the willies, and still do in stalking mode.  I don’t really mind birds so much any more. But let’s just say I’d be in the last in line to pet an emu or ostrich.

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Welcome to the Fun House

My greyhound BB has a recently adopted sister named Jane, who since leaving the Greyhound Pets, Inc. kennel  has started publishing a blog (crackerjacjane.com) about off-track living.

Now BB wants to write a blog, too, and I told her, “Cut out eating poop in the yard, and we’ll talk about it.”

So I have that going for me while addressing other behavioral issues.

Having raised one daughter and six other adopted greyhounds,  all girls,  I thought I knew a few things about females (not all of which pertain to my wife, who remains a wild card).

Here’s BB’s mug shot from the GPI lineup. Her racing name was Bouncing Body.

My credo:  Spoil ’em but try to keep ’em in the yard. I had just three responses to my daughter as she was growing up:  Yes! Hell, yes! And, well . . . OK!  Then again, I worked nights, so my wife did most of the hardcore parenting. Thank goodness my wife was there to blow the whistle and throw an occasional penalty flag. Can’t be so lenient with BB or I might wind up with another Goth phase on my hands. BB already is black, and so are her lips and nails. We met halfway on a black collar with red  polka dots. No spikes or chains allowed, and we don’t use the muzzle for a fashion statement.

BB, age 3,  came to us as a special needs girl with traits in the doggy autism spectrum, including social deficits, communication difficulties, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors.  She was useless as a racer and was farmed out for adoption with two of her sisters when they were just  one year old, about the time that most racers begin training.  Unlike most greyhounds, all three of the sisters were extremely timid with other dogs, combative with each other  and shied from any human contact. When I first brought her home, BB would  have nothing to do with anyone or my older dog Chatterbox and preferred the sanctuary of a dog crate in my living room.  I had to pull her from the crate to get her to go outside for turnouts, and when loose in the yard she’d pace the fence line incessantly and run from any human contact.

I think she knew her name. But come when you’d call? Not a chance. Unless you’re my wife, who could coax a nut from a squirrel. Squeak toys worked best to get BB’s attention and entice her back into the house.

We adopted BB because GPI needed to clear space for new dogs coming,  most other potential adopters prefer dogs they can at least touch, and my wife loves a greyhound challenge.

It’s taken several months, including three with BB living in the crate, but she’s made great strides in sociability.  My wife and I can pet her now, although BB remains easily spooked and skittish around other people, including my daughter and her boyfriend.  BB and Chatterbox get along just fine, and we now bring an occasional third dog into the mix by dog-sitting other greys.  BB and Chatterbox both prefer napping on our bed and both like to sleep with us at night, although we usually invoke the three-body, eight-leg rule in bed, unless there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks going off in the neighborhood.

Having Chatterbox in the house to speak dog and communicate telepathically has greatly aided BB’s adjustment. Still, the new dog is easily frightened by any strange noise or movement. My daughter equates BB’s existence to living in a carnival fun house, with a potential scary surprise lurking around every corner.  It’s a slow process with frequent tests of patience, but we’ve managed to gain trust. BB’s not much of a kisser, but nobody minds that because of the poop thing.

Who knows,  if BB gets past the poop eating and starts blogging, I might even soften up about the spiked collar.

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