Monday, August 28, 2006

This court is now in session...

As strange as it may sound, in the past animals were often accused of crimes and brought to trial. In 16th century France a lawyer by the name of Bartholomew Chassenee became well known for a case in which he defended a group of rats.

So I started wondering what it might be like if this practice had continued to this day. It seems like a perfect fit for the current reality TV craze and the attack on Roy (from Siegfried & Roy) by that tiger during one of their shows back in 2003 is a good place to start…

Judge: Call your next witness counselor.

Prosecutor: The prosecution calls to the stand Mrs. Ruth Hoyle. Now Mrs. Hoyle, you were sitting in the front row when the attack occurred, could you describe what happened?

Mrs. Hoyle: Well, everything had been going just fine until the tiger started moving towards the audience. Roy tried to stop it, but then the tiger turned on Roy, grabbed him by the neck and started shaking him like a gaudily dressed, well coifed rag doll…there was blood and sequins everywhere!

Prosecutor: And is it fair to say that you were traumatized by this horrific incident?

Mrs. Hoyle: Oh yes! To this day I can’t attend a magic show, go to a zoo or even eat Frosted Flakes.

Prosecutor: No further questions your honor.

Judge: Does the defense wish to question the witness?

Defense attorney: Yes, your honor. Mrs. Hoyle isn’t true that you’ve always hated tigers…that you are afraid of any strong and independent animal. Isn’t it true that in order to win your affection an animal has to be cute, cuddly and harmless…

Prosecutor: I object, your honor! The defense is merely trying to spark an emotional response in the jury by playing the species card.

Judge: Objection sustained. The jury will disregard the possibility that the witness is a hate filled bigot.

Defense attorney: Fine, in that case your honor, with the court’s permission I would like to call to the stand as our final witness, the illustrious pet psychic Mr. Edward Shelton. Now, Mr.Shelton have you conducted an "interview" with the defendant? (He points to a caged tiger on the other side of the courtroom)

Mr. Shelton: Yes, I spoke to the tiger.

Defense attorney: What did you find out?

Mr. Shelton: Well, first of all, he feels terrible about what happened. It was all just a misunderstanding. You see, he thinks of Roy as another male tiger and this was just a challenge.

Defense attorney: A challenge over what?

Mr. Shelton: Not what…whom. It turns out that the tiger has a thing for Siegfried.

Judge: (mumbles) Join the club.

Defense attorney: And did you inform him that Siegfried is also a male?

Mr.Shelton: Yes, he seemed quite surprised by that, but he thought about it for a while and said he’s try anything once.

Defense attorney: So you’re saying that this was a crime of passion, an unfortunate consequence of powerful natural instincts and not a cold blooded attempt at murder!

Mr. Shelton: Absolutely…can I go now? There’s a beached whale dying about two miles from here and I’m supposed to take its last confession.

Judge: You may step down. The jury will now retire to render its verdict.

(Ten minutes later)

Jury foreman: We the jury find the defendant… not guilty! Can we go too? We want to see that psychic dude talk to that whale.

Judge: OK, everybody pile into my Hummer and let’s get going.

Defense attorney: Shotgun! I called it!

Justice triumphs again…I don’t know about you, but I get all goose pimply just thinking about it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Does anyone have a stamp...

The rather unappealing creature in the photograph is called a geoduck (pronounced gooey duck). It is a large clam that is said to be edible. Hard to believe, I know, but it was an even stranger fact about this critter that prompted me to write the following letter to Mother Nature:

Dear Mother Nature…or do you prefer to be called Mrs.Nature? Ms. Nature? How about Mom? No…probably not. Look, I’ll get right to the point, I’ve got a complaint regarding one of your creations, namely the geoduck.

It had recently come to my attention that the average life span of this animal is 100 years and that it has been known to reach an age of 160.

Now, what I would like to know is…WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?! Sorry, sorry…I didn’t mean to lose my temper Mother Nature. Please don’t smite me with a swarm of killer bees or send a tornado my way. Surely you can understand my feelings in this matter.

To human beings, who possess thoughts, emotions and an awareness of their own mortality, you give an average life expectancy of about 70 years. But to this mindless, unfeeling blob of snot in a shell you give an average life span of 100 years!

Human beings have created art, language, music and science, while the geoduck spends it’s entire life buried in sand filtering out plankton…and you let it out live us! Not cool MN, not cool. It was bad enough knowing how long tortoises can live, but at least they are vertebrates! Not like that precious pet bivalve of yours.

Seriously Mother Nature, I hope you can see how grossly unfair this is and that you will soon make things right. I’m not saying you have let humans live longer…just shorten the life span of that ugly refugee from a sushi bar.

Love always,
The Drive-by Blogger

I know I’ve been slacking up with that whole recycling thing…it’s been kind of hectic lately, but I’m going to get right on that…I swear.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My newspaper days...

While going through some of my old stuff, I found some copies of an advice column I used to write for the now defunct newspaper the Global Herald Weekly. The column was called "Ask Mr. WiseGuy" and the fact that the editor was unconcerned by my complete lack of qualifications to give advice to anyone on any subject might explain why the paper is no more, but I’ll let you decide for yourself:

Dear Mr.WiseGuy,
I’m beginning to suspect that my husband is cheating on me, but I have no proof…what should I do?

Worried in Tacoma.

Dear Worried,
Well, since you have no real proof, perhaps a gentle reminder to your husband about the possible consequences of cheating is in order. Start keeping your largest pair of gardening shears on the night table next to your bed and have the words "Thou shall not commit adultery" engraved on the handle.

Also, every once in a while when your husband thinks you’re sleeping, mumble something like "The price of betrayal is blood". This should keep him on the straight and narrow.

Dear Mr. WiseGuy,
My wife and I are at our wit’s end. Our three year-old son is so hyperactive that we’ve had to resort to using one of those kiddy harness things, but we’ve gotten a lot of negative reactions from family and friends. Are we wrong on this?

Confused in Peoria

Dear Confused,
Don’t listen to any of them! You’ve got to get that little delinquent of yours under control. Use the harness, a cage or even a stun gun if necessary. And since we all know that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I’ve advised your local police department that they may want to keep an eye on you…so watch your step.

Dear Mr.WiseGuy,
Homo says what?

Your dad in the basement.

Very funny dad. You do know that I still have the telephone number to the old folk’s home?

I don’t know why I included that last letter in my column... it got me fired and I still get nasty letters from old people on a regular basis.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A conversation with a legend...

Recently, I was lucky enough to get an interview with Dennis "The Gypsy" McCorkle, who at 112 years of age is the oldest living former major league baseball player. McCorkle began his career in 1912 and played until 1929 and was given his nickname because he never stayed with any team for very long. Here is some of what he had to say:

TDB: Mr. McCorkle, looking at baseball today, you must be glad that steroids weren’t a problem during your playing days.

DM: What? You’ll have to speak up sonny…my hearing aid fades in and out.

TDB: I said, steroids, not a problem in your day!

DM: Oh…not really, no. I think Ty Cobb might have had em’, probably why he was so mean. We didn’t have Preparation H back then.

TDB: No, steroids…never mind. Is it true that you knew the great Babe Ruth.

DM: Yeah, that was during the half season I spent with the Red Sox. In fact I’m the one who talked the owner to trade the fat bastard. I said look, all he cares about is beer and hookers…you’ll never hear about him again. The rest as they say is history.

TDB: So you were responsible for the curse of the Bambino that hung over Boston for so long?

DM: The curse of the who?

TDB: Er…Babe Ruth…we were talking…

DM: I knew him, don't ya know! It was during the half season I spent with the Red Sox. In fact I’m the one who…

TDB: OK, moving on. Mr. McCorkle your career was interrupted by World War One… is that correct?

DM: Yeah, I went over to France, that’s where I met Fifi. I tried to teach those Frenchies about baseball using a stale loaf of bread and a wadded up ball of Gruyere cheese, but all they cared about was soccer…or was it sodomy…no, it was soccer.
(Fifi, a one-eyed artist’s model well known in Paris for her weekly suicide attempts was the first of McCorkle’s four wives)

TDB: So after the war, you return to the states and start playing again. Is it true that in those days a lot of players had to find other kinds of work during the off season?

DM: Hell yeah, that’s true! We didn’t get paid the bazillions of dollars these young fellas get today.

TDB: What were some of the jobs you had?

DM: Well, in the early days, I was a lifeguard at a public pool…until that time that kid almost drowned. I told that whipper snapper to quit the horseplay, but he wouldn’t listen. So when he hit his head and went under, I said "Serves you right" and didn’t move from my chair.
Oh, I was gonna pull him out at the last minute, but his Ma started making a big fuss and I got fired. Women…always coddling their kids…tough love is what they need.

TDB: I guess love doesn’t get any tougher that death by drowning.

DM: Damn right! Anyway, later on during prohibition, I made some money working for some small time gangsters…delivering bootleg gin and beating the crap out of people who didn’t pay their tabs at the speakeasy.

TDB: A regular role model weren’t you? And to think you were never put on the Wheaties box.

DM: What?

TDB: Nothing, Mr. McCorkle, it’s been an honor. Do you have any final words of wisdom?

DM: Does this foot look infected?

(Two weeks after this interview Dennis "The Gypsy" McCorkle slipped into a deep coma. After lingering on for another month, his family finally pulled the plug…and strangled him with it)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Drive-by Blues...

For as long as I can remember, I have harbored a secret desire to be a blues singer/guitarist. The fact that this dream endures despite my complete inability to sing or play an instrument of any kind is a testament to the power of self-delusion.

Anyway, since most of the great blues singers had great nicknames like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lead Belly, I thought I’d better come up with one for myself. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

"Silky Drawers" Thompson

"Ol’ Fuzzy Foot"

"Melon Head" Wilson

"Spastic Sam"

"Nightlight" Johnson

"Squealin’ Ferret"

"Dill Pickle" Dave

"Lil’ Otis" Flatbottom

"Swollen Glands" Mackelroy

"Nine Fingered Louie"

Wait…I think that last one is actually from my mobster wannabe phase.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Science friction...

Generally speaking, I like science. Oh, I admit that when it comes to things like quantum physics, I haven’t got a clue. But I enjoy a good documentary about microscopic parasites or killer asteroids headed towards earth as much as the next morbid weirdo.

However, this Pluto situation has gotten on my nerves. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to (i.e. those of you with lives) it seems that scientists have been debating whether or not Pluto should be classified as planet since 1930!

You see, some scientists think that it’s too small to be called a planet, while others not only disagree, but also want a recently discovered rock to be add to the list as the tenth planet. By the way, the man who discovered this would be planet has nicknamed it Xena…after the warrior princess…anyone else find that a little creepy?

Anyway, a twelve-day conference is being held in Prague to try to resolve this issue. All I know is, if they decide to strip Pluto of it’s planetary status I’m going to file a massive lawsuit, seeking compensation for the unnecessary mental anguish I suffered in school from being forced to memorize all NINE planets. I figure fifty million dollars should cover it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Deeper into the past...

Well, my curiosity finally got the better of me, so I went ahead and had one of those genealogy websites look up my family tree. The price was a little steep, but they turned up some interesting tidbits about my forebears.

For example, the earliest of my ancestors that could be found, dates to the 12th century and was connected to Royalty…sort of. Actually, his title was "Keeper of the Chamber Pot" for the Duke of Mumpshire. A position he held for fifteen years until he was discovered selling vials of the Duke’s urine to the local peasants.

Apparently, they considered them good luck. For this he was first hanged, then beheaded and finally thrown into the dungeon, a punishment considered harsh even by the brutal standards of the time.

The fortunes of my family only went downhill from there. Which can be seen by the fate of another of my hapless ancestors who was a mushroom picker and part time poacher in the forests of Strokingham, during an unusually wet period in the 15th century. As a result of which, he came down with a terminal case of "foot rot" and died at the ripe old age of twenty-four.

I’ll conclude with the case of one of my female ancestors, who as a young woman in the 17th century, followed various traveling troubadours around Europe and was possibly one of history's first groupies. Later in life she wound up running what was then known as a "house of ill repute" in London, with a clientele that consisted mostly of retired boot polishers.

I may be biased of course, but it all sounds like first rate History Channel material to me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

All the wee beasties...

For some unknown reason (well, unknown to me anyway) groups of animals are sometimes given very strange names. For example, a group of crows is called a murder, then there’s a quiver of cobras, a parliament of owls, a troubling of goldfish and last but not least…an ostentation of peacocks.

I don’t know who decides these things, but I want in on it, so here is a list of names for various groups of animals that I would like to see put in to everyday use:

An orgy of slugs

A potpourri of dust mites

An accordion of marmosets

A clog of wombats

A bureau of sea cucumbers

A jackpot of koala bears

An administration of earthworms

A crescent wrench of boll weevils

An apology of spiders

A thermos of iguanas

Believe me when I say that there are perfectly logical reasons for the names I have assigned to each animal group…I just haven’t thought of them yet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Seek and ye shall find...

Today I thought that we would take a quick look at some of the more interesting search engine queries, that according to my stat counter, have led a few wanderers in cyberspace to this humble blog:

Seaweed enema

Overdose on laxatives (appeared twice)

Blowup doll dwarf

Phantom fudge packer

Performs deep throat

Symbolism of stove

Put the fun back in funeral (appeared no less than four times)

Bernadette Peters kissing


Woman sumo wrestler

Bayonne gossip

This guy had wild hair

Hmm…seaweed enemas, blowup dwarf dolls and women sumo wrestlers…sounds like a party to me.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rest in peace...

The rich are different than you and me and that includes what they want done with their remains after they have shuffled off this mortal coil. Have a look at the final arrangements desired by these notable figures…

Dick Cheney: wants to be freeze-dried, turned into pellets and shot into Michael Moore’s face.

Bill Gates: in case his plan to have his brain transplanted into a robot doesn’t workout, the privacy obsessed billionaire is looking to buy the moon to use as his own personal burial site.

Donald Trump: classy as ever, Donald’s body is to be gold plated, mounted on a diamond encrusted marble pedestal and placed on top of his casino. It’s rumored that Trump has turned down requests to leave his hair to science.

Martha Stewart: wishes to have her bones bleached to a pearly white, festooned with tinsel and shaped into a lovely Christmas wreath.

Richard Simmons: the fitness guru has stated that all of his pallbearers must weigh at least three hundred pounds and everyone who attends his funeral must jog, not walk or drive, from the church to the cemetery.

Madonna: inspired by her belief in the kabbala, Madge would like to be buried in a secret tomb somewhere on Mount Sinai with all of her former backup dancers. She is apparently under the impression this is what Moses had done.

If I ever become rich I think I’ll try to get the Tupperware people to make my casket…who knows it might catch on and their slogan could be “freshness for eternity”.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Truth is stranger than fiction...

The real name of the man in the photograph was Joseph Pujol, but most of the world knew him as Le Pétomane. He was the most eminent "Flatulist" of his day (although I’ve no idea how many of them there actually were).

You’re probably asking yourselves “Flatulist? Does that mean what I think it means?” Yes, yes…he farted for a living, but to say that Le Pétomane could break wind is like saying Enrico Caruso could carry a tune. It simply doesn’t do justice to the man’s artistry.

Yet today he is all but forgotten, his genius unrecognized. So saddened was I by this injustice that I’m writing a play that I’m hoping will revive the reputation of the great Le Pétomane:

Setting: Le Pétomane has been in Paris for a year and is the toast of the town. He is meeting with Toulouse- Lautrec at the Moulin Rouge to discuss having a poster made for his upcoming tour.

Le Pétomane: Thank you for agreeing to do this Henri

Lautrec: Think nothing of it. You know, coming over here I was thinking about how we met. Remember… I was sitting right over there and you blew my hat off from ten feet away, ah good times, good times. It’s too bad Van Gogh isn’t around anymore. That crazy Dutchman really appreciated robust flatulence and I’m sure he would have admired your work.

Le Pétomane: You are much too kind Henri. I give all credit to the Supreme Being. I am just the instrument through which he plays.

Lautrec: Nonsense, you are a national treasure, like the Eiffel Tower…or the croissant. Long after the world has forgotten about Napoleon, France will still be remembered for having produced Le Pétomane, the great Fartiste!

Now about the poster, I had wanted to depict you during that part of your show where you “play” a flute, but I’ve been told there may be trouble with the censors…what’s wrong mon ami, you seem troubled?

Le Pétomane: Well, just between us Henri, I have a doctor’s appointment later today. I’m afraid something might be seriously wrong…for three days now I’ve not been able to make a sound. Not even the slightest toot, my whole European tour could be in jeopardy!

Lautrec: Mon dieu!

Now that’s drama…that’s suspense…that’s all I’ve written so far. I’m hoping the French government will give me a grant so that I can continue working on my tribute to this lost maestro of the sphincter.