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Showing posts from November, 2009

Danvers High School Students Put On "Free Meep" T-Shirts

Meep is not dead, despite what the Danvers High School principal would like to believe.

Two seniors — Mike Spiewak and Matt LaFleur — wore blue "Free meep" t-shirts to school last week, so they could sell them and raise money for a scholarship or grant.

Now, although the principal said the word "meep" was being used to disrupt the school, it's now being used to further their education.

Is that irony, or just poetic justice?

LaFleur and Spiewak told the Salem News that they weren't suspended, but some teachers asked them to cover the shirts up in class. LaFleur has already been suspended twice for meeping, including once for creating a Facebook page about the t-shirts.

He made the page "to show how stupid it is we are getting banned from saying 'meep.'"

Spiewak told the News that Principal Thomas Murray told him his actions were "inappropriate and unacceptable" and said he should have sought permission first.

Spiewak: Principal Murray, …

Some Tennesseans Don't Understand Which Finger is the Bad One

Some people in Tennessee are a little consternated by a billboard where a young woman is, at first glance, flipping off local drivers.

According to a story on WRCB TV's website, the billboard says "she's tired of waiting," with a picture of a woman showing her ring finger in a gesture every driver in the world is familiar with.

"If you look at it twice you ought to get a chuckle," Barry Schenck of M.M. Schenck Jeweler told WRCB. "That's what we are hoping for."

Some people are complaining that Schenck's marketing campaign is in bad taste, but he is sticking to his guns.

WRCB spoke to the woman in question, Carla Fernandez, who is a Schenk employee.

"All women I feel at one point in their life are going to want that question," said Fernandez, "and when they get tired of waiting, those fingers are going to fly up."

Schenk says that when they do fly up, he hopes it's his store the men will visit. He said that he needed to do…

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas 2009

‘Twas the Month Before ChristmasErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Ah, Black Friday. Nothing celebrates the birth of the Savior like getting 30% of the last plasma screen TV at 6:00 in the morning at Best Buy. And nothing commemorates that day like our own Laughing Stalk tradition, and running reader favorite “Month Before Christmas.”

'Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
Halloween decorations were just coming down.

I went to the mall for a weekend reprieve
And saw such a sight that I could not believe.

The place had gone crazy, the mall was just packed.
With new clothes and new toys and cheap plastic sacks
The store owners were praying and pulling their hair
Desperately hoping we'd spend money there.

When in one of the stores there arose such a clatter
I thought to myself "Now what's the matter?"
Away toward the noise the crowd flew like a flash
And knocked an old woman right on her caboose.

The cheesy green lights and the canned Christmas…

President Obama Pardons His First Turkey, PETA Manages to Stick Its Nose In

President Barack Obama just pardoned his first turkey of his administration, following the Thanksgiving presidential tradition started by President George H.W. Bush.

The turkey in question is named Courage, a 45-pound turkey that probably had drumsticks that could feed a family of four.

According to an Associated Press story, Sasha and Malia Obama accompanied their dad while he received the gift from the National Turkey Federation — a tradition started in 1947. (It was President Bush Sr. who first pardoned the bird.)

"I'm told Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys," Obama said. "You can't fault them for that; that's a good-looking bird."

"Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha — because I was planning to eat this sucker — Courage will also be spared this terrible and delicious fate," he said.

And because Malia and Sasha played an importa…

Wayback Wednesday: I Can Even Use a Power Saw

I Can Even Use a Power SawErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2005

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from September 2005.

Ever since we moved into our house 11 years ago, I've enjoyed working on it. Building and insulating the walls, putting up drywall, and watching my wife paint.

We finished off the upstairs and the basement with her parents' help, and I learned the manly art of bashing my own thumb with a hammer. In fact, I got so good at it that I find I enjoy working with my hands, beyond just typing on the computer.

Some days, I even fancy myself capable of doing this on a daily basis. I can just imagine what it would be like to earn a living, doing what I do on the weekends: drink beer, putter around in the garage, clean it a bit, drink more beer, a…

Food Finally Used in Self-Defense in Florida Bagel Robbery

It was bound to happen. Food has been used often enough to assault others. It was only a matter of time before it thwarted an assault.

In a move that made Second Amendment supporters fire their guns into the air and say, "See? Told you so," a bagel cart was used to stop two armed suspects from robbing an Einstein Bros. Bagels in College Park, Florida yesterday morning.

According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel, two suspects wearing masks and hoodies, and carrying a shotgun, entered Einstein Bros. They tried to rob the place, but one of the employees pushed a bagel cart at the suspects and they fled.

"Bagels protect our freedom, our families, and ourselves," said Murray Lender, president of the National Bagel Association. "You can have my bagel when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!" he shouted.

In the meantime, Einstein Bros. is considering putting some new lox on the doors.

Photo: gay.goy.gourmet
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Five More People Who Bug Me

I had so much fun with my last People Who Bug Me post, I decided to do another. This may become a regular thing, so if you can think of any suggestions, put them in the comments.

That costs money: Of course it costs money. Everything in life costs money. Unless you're sneaky, and/or have a fast getaway car, you're not going to get much in life for free. This was a common objection I heard when I worked for a company in the mid-2000s. It was their way of saying "we're too cheap." (Special thanks to Doug Karr for this one.)
I've slept since then: It was funny the first 10 times I heard it. The next 1,000, not so much. Just say "I don't know," or "I forgot." Considering we're talking about something we discussed six months ago, I would hope you've slept at least a little bit.
I haven't woken up yet: Commonly heard at morning meetings. You just drove a 3/4 ton vehicle across town to an 8 am meeting, and you're telling me yo…

This Old New House

This Old New HouseErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

I miss living in an old house.

I lived in an old mansion-turned-fraternity house when I was in college. My last day there was about 21 years, at Ball State University.

The thing was a dump. About what you'd expect a fraternity house to look like, sound like, and of course, smell like. There's nothing like the smell of stale beer in the basement carpet to smack you in the face on a hot summer day.

But it was our house, all the sights, sounds, and smells.

That house is gone now, the fraternity chapter closed down. Not too surprising: a house that smells like that tends to be a little more disreputable than the other houses on campus. (A reputation we were proud of.)

I have one of the few remaining bricks from the old plaec, having taken a few of them a few years before it was torn down. (Don't worry, no one was living in there at the time.)

Since that time, I have lived in four houses, all new. In fact, we just mo…

People Who Bug Me

I was inspired by Davezilla's "More People We Dislike" post to come up with my own list of people who bug me.

Left foot brakers: I can always recognize the left foot braker, because they're going down the highway at the same speed as everyone else, but their brake lights flicker on and off. Their brakes probably have a lifespan of 8 weeks.
Left lane drivers: Are you sensing a pattern here? I hate it when people drive in the left lane and they're going slower than the people in the right lane, and there's no one in front of them.
People who correct me with questions: If I am ever forced to go into a Starbucks, I order a medium latte. The barista always says, "Grande latte?" I say, "No, a medium." This is why I always go to independent coffee shops.
People who pull out in front of me, but go slower than me: You know who you are. (This didn't start out to be a driving rant, but so far, it's bad drivers who bug me the most.
People who say I…

ESPN Announcer Joe Morgan Says a Naughty on National TV

I was looking back through my Moleskine notebook today, and came across this little gem: On May 11, 2008, Joe Morgan, former second baseman for my beloved Cincinnati Reds was on ESPN doing color commentary for the Boston Red Sox - Minnesota Twins game.

A foul ball was hit into the stands, and it was caught by a fan wearing a baseball glove.

Joe Morgan said, "Anyone can catch a foul ball with a glove. I'm impressed by the guy who catches it with his hands. If I'm putting together a top ten list of catches, I want someone who catches it with his bare hands."

The same batter hit another foul ball into the stands. And Joe said, "Let's see if someone can get a bare hand job there."

Stay classy, Joe.

Photo: pvsbond

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Racist Philadelphia Swim Club Files For Bankruptcy

The Valley Swim club — the "private, exclusive" swim club that turned away 65 inner-city day care children — is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

But, they're quick to point out, it wasn't because of the allegations this past summer that they're all a bunch of racists and bigots who didn't want black and Hispanic kids in their pool.

(That's the same pool where some members said they just didn't want poor people, but race had nothing to do with it. "This has nothing to do with race. I paid my money for a private swim club…if they're gonna have it out to camps, then I want my money back," said one member.)

According to a story in the Philadelphia Daily News, Valley Swim Club president John Duesler emailed club members and said that the board of directors voted to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

But Duesler said that it wasn't the legal proceedings of defending themselves against several civil lawsuits. Rather, the rich, snooty members of the…

Phone It In Sunday: Target Women: Broadview Security

Sarah Haskins always makes me laugh. She's right on target with how Broadview Security uses fear as a way to get people to buy their security systems.

I recently wrote on my work blog about how marketers use fear and greed to motivate buyers. And Broadview is tapping into women's fear with laser-like accuracy.

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Zero Tolerance School Arrests Kids for a Food Fight

Just when I thought schools couldn't get any dumber, they did.

This week's "Dumbest School In The World" award goes to the Perspectives Charter Middle School in Chicago, which had police arrest more than 2 dozen children for reckless conduct.

Their horrible crime? A food fight.

According to a story on the ABC News website, there was a food fight at the school this past Thursday, and so the 25+ children were arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted, and took mugshots.

"Hey kid, what are you in for?"

"I threw a carrot at a another kid."

"Uh, I-I-I don't want any t-trouble. I'll just sit over h-h-here."

The students were then suspended, and will have to appear in court.

Erica Russell, mother of Cassandra and Aliyah, told ABC News that she's "stunned."

"Who does that? Lock children up for throwing a carrot, a biscuit, milk, Jello," Russell said. "Who does that?"

ABC News wanted to know why the kids weren't just…

What the Bleep is Wrong With Meep?

What the Bleep is Wrong With Meep?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

I hate it when people bleep themselves.

No, I'm not bleeping out a bad word. I mean, I really don't like it when people say "bleep." As in "what the bleep is wrong with you?!" (If I actually had to use a bad word, I would write %#@!, which is called a "grawlix" by cartoonists.)

Don't say "bleep." It makes you sound five, or like you're trying to be funny with a really old joke, like "let there be light!" whenever you flip a light switch. If you want to say a curse word, just say the damn word. If you don't want to say the word, then say another freakin' word. Say "dang," "darn," "golly," or "goldurn." Just don't bleep yourself.

My kids don't even say "bleep." They usually say, "uh, that word you, uh, don't want us to say." Then we spend the next five minutes con…

Food-Related Assault Frame-up in Florida. Yeah, Florida again.

It was only a matter of time before someone started faking food-related assaults. And of course, it happened in Florida, where most of these assaults have happened in the past.

According to a story in the St. Petersburg Times, Robert Turley, a 51-year-old man living in Largo, Florida, called police to report that a man was attacking a woman by smashing potatoes over her head. It was actually the second of three calls he made in two hours. The other two calls were first that a man was chasing a woman with a knife, and then third, that he was punching the woman in the face.

Dude, I think it needs to go the otherway. Escalate, don't de-escalate (is that even a word?) First fists, then potatoes, then knives.

After he made the call, Turley would hide in a neighbor's yard when the cops showed up.

Turley finally admitted that the incident never happened, and that he made the calls because he was drunk and pissed at his roommates, a man and woman.

You know things have gotten out of hand wh…

Good Wishes and Many Thanks to Our Veterans on Veterans Day

The Moon gives you light
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans
My heart gives you love.
Walt Whitman

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Wayback Wednesday: Stay Out of the Attic!

Stay Out of the Attic!Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2004

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from October 2004, but is actually a reprint from 2001.

Ever since I was a small boy, I've always had strong feelings when it comes to scary movies.

I hate them.

They scare the bejeezus out of me. Whenever I make the stupid mistake of watching one, I have nightmares, I jump at strange sounds, and all the monsters -- including the shark from "Jaws" -- are waiting for me under my bed. It doesn't matter whether I'm at home (the monsters are in my closet), at a friend's house (they're in his closet), or at the movie theater (they're hiding in the popcorn).

And yet no one takes me seriously. Just a few weeks ago, my wife, my sister-in-law, …

Britain Won't Air Sesame Street. Rest of the World Not Surprised

Sesame Street, the show that's responsible for nearly every American under 45 learning to read, is celebrating its 40th year in production.

It's a milestone so popular that Google has been running cute little graphics celebrating it.

It's also no surprise that the Nanny State won't air the program, believing it to be outdated, not very competitive in the pre-school market, and that puppets are just out of date, said an article on the BBC website.

Nick Wilson the know-nothing in charge of children's programming for a show called Over at Five, says there are other shows that have similar learning themes, so Sesame Street got squeezed out because of xenophobia in favor of having home made shows instead.

Because, says the BBC, "it's preferable to put British voices on imported programmes."

Oh really? So who's doing the overdub on BBC America then? I don't recall hearing Gordon Ramsay's F-Word show being redone so Ramsey sounds like a Texan. The…

Drunk Scotsman Challenges Lamppost to a Fight and Loses

Several years ago, I was driving in downtown Mishawaka, Indiana with my wife, sitting behind a car at a stoplight. The two passengers in the car started hassling a teenager who was walking on the sidewalk, because he held his arms wide and shouted, "you want a piece of me? You want a piece of me?!"

Because he was glaring at those people so intently, he completely missed the lamppost until he ran face first into it.

Nothing deflates an ego worse than a face plant into a lamppost. Unless you challenge it to a fight.

David Robinson of Crieff, Scotland had been drunk when he was shouting at passers-by and challenging him to a fight. However, Robinson must not have been that threatening, because they ignored him, which made him more angry.

According to an article on STV, the police showed up and watched as Robinson, tired of being ignored by real people, turned on the lamppost and shouted at it to "come and have a go."

When the police moved to arrest them, he yelled at …

Justice is Blind, Not Very Smart

Justice is Blind, Not Very SmartErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

I'm a big supporter of civil rights and personal liberties. In this country, we're all guaranteed certain inalienable rights, and are allowed certain dignities, even when facing criminal charges.

For example, if you're accused of a crime, you have a right to not have your name dragged through the mud during the investigation. Of course, if you're found guilty, all bets are off. Let the name dragging begin. But until then, people deserve the whole "innocent until proven guilty" benefit of the doubt.

Look what happened to Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved several people from being blown up during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Rather than being hailed as a hero, he was accused by the FBI of planting the bomb, and all but found guilty by the news media. Despite some nasty accusations and rumors in the news, he was exonerated. So he sued several media outlets for a kajillion do…

Food-Related Assault Epidemic Spreads to Idaho, Condiments

The food-related assault epidemic is continuing to spread. This past June, it reached Idaho, and has mutated from food-only items to condiments.

That's when 18-year-old Tiffany Wallace of Boise rammed her pickup truck into another car several times, after throwing plastic packets of ranch salad dressing at an unnamed male driver.

According to the Idaho Statesman website, Wallace rammed a Kia sedan during a road rage incident that ended in the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.
The male driver of the Kia told police the conflict began after he was cut off by a woman driving a pickup truck on Fairview Avenue near Orchard Street. The male driver told police that the woman driving the pickup then began driving aggressively — cutting him off, tailgating, and pulling the pickup next to him, where she yelled at him and threw coins and small plastic containers of ranch dressing at the car.According to the police report, not only had the rear bumper fallen off and taillights been smas…

Confessions of a Know-It-All

Confessions of a Know-It-AllErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2005

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from October 2005.

As a self-proclaimed Know-It-All, I am in the enviable position of being able to demonstrate my vast knowledge on a wide array of topics, like how Benjamin Frankton invented the kite, or how Ora and Wilfred Right were the first to fly an airplane across the Pacific Ocean to France.

And people enjoy hearing about these important facts. Oh sure, they may pretend to not be interested. But their eye rolling and shouts of "Would you just shut up?!" are really just good-natured jokes. I think they really appreciate it when I continue to lecture on about important fact that pops into my mind, like how Sir Isaac Newton invented the Apple co…

PETA Doesn't Want Wildlife Park Elephants Washing Cars

Animal rights joke organization PETA wants the Wildlife Safari in Oregon to stop using elephants to wash cars.

The group — which is also widely known for killing pets at its Norfolk, Virginia animal shelter — thinks the elephant carwash is "a gimmick that does nothing to foster respect for endangered species."

Gimmick? A gimmick?!

You're the same bozos who have started calling fish "sea kittens,"wanted to open a "chicken empathy museum" in Louisiana, and wanted to whack a 6-foot bottle of Canadian maple syrup in Vermont with a club to protest seal clubbing in Canada.

Meanwhile, PETA's little gimmicks do nothing to foster respect for painfully-thin, faux-leather-Birkenstock-wearing granola munchers, but yet they keep doing stupid stuff.

In a story in the Roseburg (Oregon) News-Review, the PETA whiners believe the bullhooks, more commonly called an ankus, are being used to threaten the elephants with harm if they don't do their jobs.

But Dan Bra…