The Boogeyman

The other day, I was talking with my sister Caroline and we ended up on the subject of sprinting up the stairs.  Why would anyone sprint up the stairs?  From sheer terror of course.  Terror of the BOOGEY MAN.  As we laughed at ourselves for the individual quirks on this topic, I realized there a few versions of the Boogey Man that required sharing.

 

We’ll start at the top with the Fred also known as Dad, Richie, Poop A Doop and other words that are NSFW.  He didn’t share this story with us children until we were adults (which we’re not really) so we find it hilarious – now.

 

GremlinThe house he grew up in was, I’m going to say a Cape Cod?  The attic had been renovated into living quarters for, I want to say his parents?  To get up there required a steep climb ending at a landing with a window right in front of you.  Now I’ve never heard him say anything about sprinting up stairs from Boogey Man terror but when you hear his tale, you might wonder.

 

I’m going to flat out make some of this up because, ask anyone, I have a terrible memory.  But climbing those stairs as a small Richard, he would swear to seeing a tiny gremlin – outside the window – looking at him.  I don’t believe the gremlin ever came inside or chased Richie around – just looked at him.  But I’m getting creeped out just thinking about it.  I don’t see a crazed, gooey, monstrous goblin.  More of a small, weird, green thing with an unsettling smirk.  Whoa.

 

Caroline didn’t give me a specific Boogey Man or gremlin from her memory.  But we both share the deep seated need to race up the basement stairs with complete disregard for life or limb.  I’m not talking about taking 2 at a time or hustling.  This is flat out, terrorized BOLTING.  Heart POUNDING, get the EFF out of my way NOW.  Which ends with looking over your shoulder, verifying no one SAW what just happened.  And then laughing at how completely absurd it is to be over 30 years of age and running around like a maniac with a chainsaw is after you.

 

Now, in fairness to Caroline and myself, this ludicrous act has subsided some over the years.  And frankly, it’s not as common in our respective homes – today.  The same cannot be said, however, for ye olde homestead in unassuming, happy Fanwood, NJ – site of The Basement.  This is where we grew up.  Where we lived in fear of GOING INTO THE BASEMENT.  It is here that we both learned the art of going up 17 stairs in 0.3 seconds.

 

You see, this wasn’t any old basement.  THIS basement contained an old closet with a DOOR.  And this closet was in the far, back CORNER.  What little light there was in this terrifying space shone NOT in this corner. When you OPENED the door, there was an old, defunct TOILET.  Ok, ok, I may be overdoing it a HAIR but when you hear what else resided in this old bathroomy closet, you’ll be on my side.  A POSTER OF WALT WHITMAN!

 

Walt WhitmanNow, I can’t find the exact poster online but it was a profile of the MAD MAN you see here plus a poem running down it.  Just look at this guy!  He’s got Appalachian Cannibal written over his face. Which, based on my extensive research is not too far off the mark.  He is credited with some prose containing the words, and I quote “our very flesh shall be a great poem” – CANNIBAL!  Imagine, being around 6 years of age, opening a creaky old door and discovering this mug looking down at you.  SCARY. AS. SHIT.

 

Ok, I’ve caught my breath and am no longer writing this from inside a closet.  It’s now clear where this primal urge to bat-out-of-hell it up the steps originated.  Because Walt Whitman.  So what about the real, actual Boogeyman?  My vague memory of this scary fellow involved a guy with some kind of cloak rising out of a vacuum cleaner – which thanks to The Google is not so hard to find.  Because when you search The Boogeyman, one of the options is a movie from the 80’s.  Sounds about right.  Until you click on it and realize it’s some gruesome, supernatural fright fest.  Pretty sure we didn’t watch that at the age of 6.

 

A little more digging yielded this GEM – Mr. Boogedy.  I found some lengthy clips from this DISNEY film but the one below is far more entertaining.  I didn’t see anyone coming out of a vacuum cleaner but the absurd BOOGEDY! BOOGEDY! that everyone is saying rings a strong bell.  And I think the weirdo with a green force field is my vacuum guy memory.

Moral of the story?  It’s Walt Whitman and a gremlin that are at fault, not The Boogeyman.

photo credit: Inti via photopin cc

McDonalds Ran Out of Paper Towels

Paper TowelsMy cousin, Todd, shared this story with me a ways back and I would be remiss in not sharing it with anyone else.  It involves his mentor, we’ll call him Ned for now, and the famous restaurant McDonald’s.  Todd was on the phone with Ned talking about the pile of Mickey D’s hamburgers being smeared upon his face for lunch. He and Ned share a love for this king of fast food – or used to.

After Todd finished describing the melty goodness of his meal, Ned shared the details of a recent excursion to the Golden Arches.  He approached the counter and after ordering his burger was told to step aside and wait.  No smile, no thanks for your order – just wait until your order appears on the monitor and BEAT IT.  Ned also observed the awesome lack of intelligence required to operate the cash register.  Just press HAMBURGER – no thought, no math, nothing.

Finding this amusing Ned snarkily remarked “You’re losing your human touch.”  He was greeted with a blank stare – totally uncomprehending.  Realizing his humor was lost on this button punching goofball, he headed for some relief in the restroom.

After finishing up, Ned realized there were no paper towels.  It was at this point that he, and I quote, “went bananas.”  Walking back out to the counter, Ned proclaimed “There are no paper towels for me to wipe my penis!”  To which he was greeted with the same blank, intelligence free stare.

At this point in the conversation with my cousin, I am laying on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Todd required 3 tries to complete the sentence.  Naturally, he wanted to know WHY Ned needed to wipe his penis after visiting the urinal and was told “Once you get to my age, sometimes you need to clean up after using the john.”

A.      There is nothing more amusing than attempting humor with someone that is utterly incapable of understanding the humor.

B.      The only thing funnier is when it’s attempted an older gentleman that could not care less what the buffoon on the other end thinks of the whole situation.

photo credit: thousandshipz via photopin cc

How many ingredients does it take to make a cupcake?

I recently had the (dis)pleasure of eating some supermarket made cupcakes.  When I bit into it and thought “This tastes like shit”, I inspected the label to ensure there was not in fact, shit in my cupcake.  Unfortunately, I can’t really be sure as I cannot decipher the list of chemical compounds displayed.  But I was so shocked at the LENGTH of this list that I had to take a picture and compare this recipe to that of the Queen of Cooking and Fake Happiness – Martha Stewart.

So, here’s the label off the supermarket cupcakes with the full list, spelled out below, for visual impact.  I’ve included commentary on some of the extra special items. Beneath all this, you’ll find the ingredient list for Martha’s comparable cakes.

Supermarket Cupcakes

Fresh Made Finds but no shit

SUPERMARKET CUPCAKES

White Cake

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Enriched Wheat Flour Bleached
  • Soybean Oil
  • Dry Egg Whites
  • Propylene Glycol Mono & Diesters with BHT & Citric Acid as Preservatives
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Alumnium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Food Starch (Modified Dry Egg Yolk, Dextrose, Mono & Diglycerides, Salt, Nonfat Milk Solids, Sorbitan MonoStearate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Polysorbate 60, Xantham Gum, Wheat Starch, Propylene Glycol, Sulfites.092905 – D,L,J)
    • Polysorbate 60 “can cause detrimental reproductive effects, organ toxicity and cancer in high doses.  However, the FDA designated the chemical as safe for limited use in food.” More here.

Buttercreme Icing

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Palm Oil w/ Mono & Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Water, Food Starch Modified Guar Gum, Corn Syrup, Salt, Natural & Artificial Flavor)
    • Um, where’s the butter in the buttercreme?

When Decorated (which they are)

  • Corn Starch
  • Glucose
  • Alkalized Cocoa Powder
  • Soy Lecithin
  • FD&C Artificial Colors (Red #40, Yellow #5, Red #3, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Caranauba Wax)

When Decorated Colors (though written by Yoda, I think also applies this does)

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • FD&C Artificial Colors (Red #40, Yellow #5, Red #3, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Blue #2)
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Vegetable Gum and/or Guar Gum
  • Citric Acid
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate as Preservative
    • “When combined with…citric acid (which it is)…the preservative converts to benzene, a carcinogen reported to cause leukemia, DNA damage…” and the list goes on here. Hey, at least it’s less than 1/10 of a percent.

MARTHA STEWART CUPCAKES

White Cake

  • Cake Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg Whites

Buttercream Icing

  • Butter
    • Likely included because Martha knows how to spell ‘cream’
  • Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract

I imagine supermarkets use these weird ingredients to ensure extra long shelf life.  And maybe all of the items here are completely safe to consume.  Plus it’s likely cheaper to produce.  I’ve even heard, anecdotally, a sentiment of “why would you MAKE cupcakes, when you can just BUY them?”

Well, for one, if you can’t handle mixing 8 ingredients, there may be bigger fish to fry.  But two, the cheap ones taste just like what I’d imagine a stew of the above ingredients would – shit.

Squirrels Are Eating My Car

Squirrel Car

The little deviant

The other day, I popped the hood on my car to fill up the windshield washer fluid tank.  As I lifted it open, a squirrel blasted out like a jack in the box.  Needless to say, I swore like a sailor, almost had a heart attack and nearly fell off my driveway into the neighbor’s yard.  Mercifully no one was to around to bear witness.

The fuzzball had gathered several pounds of leaves and sticks into some kind of nest right on top of the motor.  Muttering curses, I grabbed the leaf blower and proceeded to jam it in every available opening to clean out the mess.  And was again grateful that no one was outside to see me in action.

I’ve been opening the hood every time I get in the car now to make sure it’s un-nested.  I also hold the garbage can lid in front of me like a medieval shield.  Wouldn’t want to get attacked by another murderous rodent.  Fortunately, there has not been a repeat offense but Richie, the father unit, made a good suggestion on checking out options for deterring this in the future; via some online searching.  And wow was I in luck.  Not only have other people had this issue, they’ve had the benefit of suggestions from every nitwit on the ‘net.   Here are some faves:

I have heard that ferret urine will deter squirrels. A local pest-control guy I know uses it on cotton balls and places them in spaces where squirrels have nested…He gets the used litter from ferret cages at the pet store. Maybe get some from your local pet store and seal it in a bag with a towel and let it marinate for a day or so. Then place the towel under the truck or wherever you think might be the fuzzer’s point of entry.

Ferret urine.  In a bag with a towel to marinate. Into the FUZZER’S point of entry.  Hmmm.

Rags soaked with ammonia are a good deterrent — stuff them in all the openings where the squirrel could be getting in.

Stuff ammonia soaked rags into ALL the openings a squirrel could get in.  I’m not a chemist but this one just reeks of Darwin award.

Set…mouse traps in the engine compartment and around the car. Bait them with peanut butter, cheese or bacon. Roast the bait with a match or lighter to increase its aroma.

I’m conflicted here.  What’s more absurd – mouse traps in your engine bay or ROASTING the peanut butter before setting them?

This might sound a bit daft, but if you have a cat and you can leave it under the bonnet for a night, that could frighten the squirrel away.

bit daft?  Stuff a cat under the hood for a night. See what happens to you when you re-open it.  Clearly, this clown has never been around cats.

Should have put the nest in a more respectable place. if you get a nest again have a cardboard box ready for it. don’t throw it away, or 2 boxes (one inside another) so it will appear warm for the thing. you can then feed it sometimes and use the trap once it has your trust.

I had to re-read this one a few times since it was written by a narcoleptic monkey on acid.  I’m gathering the writer was upset the poster had tossed the nest he found.  But these elements:  “warm for the thing” – “feed it sometimes” – “use the trap once it has your trust” leave me slightly afraid.

Have any experience in this arena? Got anything to add?  I’ll be sure to pass it along in response to this mind bender of an internet question.

photo credit: daveboudreau via photopin cc

Passive Aggressive Landlord v. Sarcastic Tenant

Passive Aggressive

Passive Aggressive : Defined

My brother, Tyler, is in the process of moving out of his present rental situation.  He shared a story regarding the who, what and why of his departure.  Having so thoroughly enjoyed it, I felt obligated to re-share it here.  Today, Tyler will be narrating so that you can really appreciate the absurdity of his situation.  Names are altered to protect the innocent.

Let me also add, Tyler has a unique ability to argue with people in such a way, that if they have the mental capacity to understand it, leaves them feeling like utter nitwits.

The Cast

  • Tyler – Sarcastic Tenant
  • Clyde – Passive Aggressive Landlord
  • Suzie – Girl Roommate A
  • Betty – Girl Roommate B

{as told by Tyler}

Last night, Suzie, Betty and I had a meeting with Clyde to discuss our current living arrangement.  “Clyde,” I said nicely “we simply cannot live with you anymore, consider this our 30 days’ notice to vacate.”

Clyde (with furrowed eyebrows and feigned misunderstanding)

“I asked Suzie to hand in her 30 days’ notice last month and she never did. So I just think that this is kind of funny.  Why do you want to leave?”

Tyler

“For starters, let’s dispense with the passive aggressive behavior. We can still all be friends, so let’s keep it civil.”

Clyde (displaying his immense lack of brain bandwidth)

“What does passive aggressive mean?”

Tyler

“It’s what you’re doing right now.”

Clyde

“Ooook, umm, anyway, I asked Suzie to leave because she always eats my food. And she didn’t leave.”

Tyler

“Last time I checked Clyde, America is a democracy.”

Clyde

“Well I’m the landlord and – ”

Tyler (cutting him off)

“You’re the LANDLORD? This is a RENTAL.  Your name is on the lease and we all pay RENT.  Do you OWN this place?” (the word ‘asshole’ was not said at the end of the sentence but was likely thought upon)

Clyde

“Well no, but I paid the security deposit – “

Tyler

“Clyde – we all paid a security deposit. You’re subletting the rooms to us.  We’re all renters here.”

Clyde

“I just don’t understand. I’ve been living on my own since I was 20 (going on 7) and this has never happened.  Whenever I’ve had a problem with a roommate, I just tell them to leave, and they do. But Suzie wouldn’t leave.”

Tyler

“Well, this is not a dictatorship Clyde.  Suzie didn’t feel it was fair to be excused by you.  Your claims of her eating your food and throwing your laundry in the garbage are ludicrous.  So, all 3 of us will be out of here not later than February 1.”

Clyde

“Hmmm, well..alright. So Tyler – I owe you $400 for the security deposit –“

Tyler

“NO, you owe me FIVE HUNDRED.”

Clyde

“Right.  Well, it would really be better for everyone if you didn’t move until March 1, you know, to ease your transition and all. And those security deposits you paid me, umm, well, the thing is…”

Tyler

“Did you spend the security deposits Clyde?”

Clyde

“Yes.”

Tyler

“Well I suggest you find a way to un-spend that money by February 1 Clyde.  Or you’ll find your truck has been sold to the hobo down the street.”

Clyde

“Ok, ok.  Well I hope there’s nothing amiss in your room Tyler.  You know, any extra cleaning I might need to do…”

Tyler

“Clyde, when I moved in, it looked like a drunken bear had tried to mate with the walls and floor before urinating all over the place.  I scrubbed that shit hole from top to bottom.  So any stains, or other things AMISS, you can chalk up to the last slob living in there.  You will not be taking anything out of my security deposit.”

Clyde

“…..(silence)….”

Tyler

“Good.  Suzie, Betty – all set?  Great.  Thanks Clyde, for being so understanding.”

Is there anything better than a conversation with an overtly passive aggressive individual?  Nope.

photo credit: wilbanks via photopin cc

Ode To: Twas the Night Before Christmas

Ham Balls

A tough choice

I stumbled upon these ludicrous packages of meat today and could not help but take a picture of it.  I thought I might just send it around via text to the more crude folks in my world but then was struck with the idea of turning it into a rhyme.  One of my favorite traditions from family get together’s was choosing a verse from a book titled The Dirty Limerick.  Packed with crude, lewd and otherwise rude rhymes, it never failed to leave everyone in stitches.

I sort of feel guilty associating dirty limericks with Twas the Night Before Christmas. Not only is this the original children’s poem for the holidays, it was also written in 1822 by the man that Dave Russ takes his middle name from – Clement Clarke Moore.  So I hope Monsieur Moore finds no folly in the limerick I’ve tied to his piece de resistance. Truth be told, I’m not sure if this is a limerick, a poem or a haiku but I was laughing while writing it and hope you do to.

———————————————————————————————————————–

Twas the night before next, when all through the house
Many critters were stirring, including a mouse
The garbage was stuffed by chapped hands with care
In hopes that the diapers soon would be fair

The children were sprawled all crazy in bed
While visions of cheerios danced in their heads
And mamma in her ‘kerchief and I fully nude
Had just settled our thoughts on becoming quite lewd

When out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what the hell was the matter
Away to the freezer I flew like a flash
Tore open the door and heard a loud smash

The sheen on the bag of the new fallen prize
Gave the lustre of gourmet to the objects inside
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a bag of ham balls and a bone for good cheer

With a handwritten note, so flourished and clear
I knew what the fuck I’d discovered right here
More rapid than hamsters I tore at the bag
And whistled and shouted and pranced with a wag

Now Ham Balls! Now Mustard! Now Ketchup and Jelly!
On Crock Pot! On Pot Top! On Drooling and Smelly!
To the roof of my mouth! To the top of the stall!
Now get in my belly!  Get in there all!

And then, in a twinkling, I thought with a harrow
There lies the ham bone all alone and with marrow
As I drew down my head and was unsure what to do
The moment of clarity hit home with a schmoo

He was wrapped all in foil, with duct tape for good measure
And his name was written as though with a feather
So laying my finger to the side of my nose
I gave him a nod and to the stovetop he rose

He plopped in the pot, and gave me a whistle
And to him I added split peas and some thistle
But I heard him exclaim, as he dropped under water
“Cook me on low, and enjoy with yer daughter!”

Online Security Questions Are Out Of Control

Security

I’m a security guard bro!

I recently opened a checking account with PNC Bank.  As with most online registrations today, there are a series of security questions to choose from.  Usually these questions are relatively simple and don’t require you to take copious notes; as you just know the info by heart.

PNC, however, has decided to take the security question game to a whole new level.  Here, I will share some of my favorite options.

What was your favorite toy when you were a child?
Huh?  I don’t even remember how old I am without being given 3 minutes to consider it.  NOBODY knows the answer to this stupid question.

What is the first and last name of your most memorable childhood babysitter/caregiver?
First of all, could you make the question any longer and stuffed with syllables?  Secondly, what the hell?  My parents probably don’t know the answer to this.

What was the first and last name of your first roommate during college?
Again with the first AND last names.  Girls probably know strange details like their roomie’s last name. Not me.  I had three roommates freshman year.  Why don’t they make it easier and ask this about the person sitting 4 rows from the front, 3 seats from the right in my first year of Geometry. I would fail this question EVERY SINGLE TIME.

What was the TV series you liked most as a child?
This should be ‘What was A TV series that you HAVE SEEN as a child?’  I mean, really, how can you choose between Thundercats, GI Joe and Punky Brewster?  This is worse than the SAT’s.

What were your wedding colors?
WHAT!?  Are you !*&#% kidding me!

On what street was the first address you lived in outside your parents’ home?
Here, let me add some more to this one in order to clarify.  “…outside your parents’ home during the summer solstice that occurred on the 3rd day of the 7th month of Year Theodus in the Tasmanian Orthodox calendar?”  I bet PNC had a special committee formed just to come up with these questions.

What was your favorite place to visit as a child?
Hmm, I’m stuck between the toilet, the refrigerator and the terrifying closet with a Woodrow Wilson poster in our basement.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Really?  Really?

I know nothing about hacking and identity theft.  But I bet when Neo found Morpheus in The Matrix, he didn’t care if the security questions were ‘My name is Fred’ or one of the ludicrous examples above.  But I was wrong once.

Bottom line – these questions are OUT of line.  I already chose a security image that looks like a cake made of hot dogs and named it Sausage Fingers.  No way that shit is getting hacked.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc