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Showing posts from December, 2009

Colts Complainers Are Nothing More Than Fair-Weather Fans

So many people were pissed off yesterday about the Indianapolis Colts loss that 2nd string QB Curtis Painter was one of Twitter's top trending topics.

For those of you who missed the game, head coach Jim Caldwell pulled the starters after the first half and put in the 2nd string players.

They promptly lost to the New York Jets, 29 - 15.

The Colts were on the verge of achieving a perfect season, and they lost it with their 2nd team. To the freaking New York Jets, a team so bad that, you know what, make your own "sucks out loud" joke. We should have won, we should have had the perfect season, and we certainly should have beat the New York "What're YOU Lookin' Ats?!"

But frankly, I don't care. It didn't matter. This was a meaningless game, and I don't care if we got a perfect record.

But I'm in the minority. So much so, that some of the other Twitter trending topics were probably "f---ing #Colts" and "f---ing Caldwell."

After …

A One-Sided Christmas Tree

A One-Sided Christmas Tree
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

"No, I don't want an artificial tree this year."

"Because we had an artificial tree for 14 years."

"We didn't have the room for it, that's why. We stored it in a giant tub, and we couldn't fit it in the garage last year. It had to go."

"I want a real tree again this year. We had them when I was a kid. And I missed the smell and look of a real tree the whole time we had that plastic piece of crap."

"I liked last year's tree a lot. It was real, and a whole lot nicer than our fake one."

"That's because it was a small tree, and we've got some heavy ornaments."

"Nothing important broke."

"Neither of us liked that one anyway. Who makes plaster of Paris ornaments anymore?"

"But you didn't like your great-aunt Greta."

"I'll make sure we get a stronger tree this time."

"It was weak because …

My Video Submission to Mr. Hollic's Video Contest

This is my submission to Sean "that's Mr. Hollick to you" Hollick's video contest. If he chooses my video, I could win an awesome new Kodak digital camera.



I posted it here so I wouldn't have to write anything for today's humor post.

It would have been easier to just write the post.

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Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.

Wayback Wednesday: I Don't Beleive in the Little Drummer Boy

I Don't Believe In The Little Drummer BoyErik Deckers

Rather than writing a new post, on Wednesdays I republish some of my old columns. Since it's 2 days before Christmas, I'm publishing one of my favorite Christmas columns, my complaint about the song, "The Little Drummer Boy."

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. My birthday, my anniversary, and any other occasion where people give me presents are also big favorites.

To get myself into the Christmas spirit, I listen to Christmas music. I hit the department stores around August to hear "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bell Rock." But it's a wonder most sales clerks don't go postal on their customers by mid-November.

I love the classics -- "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night" or the Sex Pistols' "Have Yourself a Merry $%@&! Christmas." But the new songs are awful, and I've been known to run my radio through with a pitchfork when…

British Health & Safety Officials Cancel Reindeer Appearance Over Concern of Snow

The Grinch is alive and well, and working as a health and safety officer in East Midlands, Britain.

These geniuses of biology seem to not understand basic animal physiology or how they work.

According to the London Daily Mail, they canceled an appearance of 12 reindeer for a Christmas display, "because it might snow."

The reindeer were supposed to parade around the town square, but the officers were worried that the reindeer — natives of the Arctic Circle, you know, where it snows a lot – might slip on the snow and ice. There were several hundred shoppers who showed up to watch the parade, but the morons officials canceled the show just three hours before the parade was supposed to start.

The officials said they were concerned about the risk of falling to pedestrians, but didn't make any changes to the street.

"The council said there was a risk of snow and ice to pedestrians but with or without the reindeer the streets were still icy. None of the town centre was cordoned…

Greek Man Shot While Hunting Because He Was Dressed Like Animal

I've always thought hunting wasn't very sporting, at least the way most serious hunters do it. They sit up in tree stands, wearing cammo, and spraying themselves with deer urine to hide their scent. Meanwhile a deer just meanders along unaware of the danger and — BANG! — they're dead before they even knew it. Throw in a barrel and some fish, and you can make a day of it.

Hunting should give the animals a sporting chance. It shouldn't just be about a guy up in a sniper's stand; the hunters should be moving around on the ground, which would level the playing field for the deer quite a bit.

However, the hunters should never, ever wear deer skins as a form of camoflauge.

Christos Constantinou of Nemea, Greece found that out the hard way, when he was shot during a boar hunt. He was wearing dark goat skins to confuse the boars.

It confused his hunting party too.

According to an article in the London Daily Mail, Constantinou was part of a large hunting group that had split up …

Top 10 Phrases to Eliminate From Business

Top 10 Phrases to Eliminate From BusinessErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

As a writer, I don't like trite phrases, marketing jargon, or clichés. So I was pleased to see a piece by Frances Cole Jones on CNN.com talking about her 10 worst business sayings.

In my work as a marketer, I hear a lot of these phrases a lot, and I really want to see these eliminated from business use completely. I love Jones' list, and want to do my best to make sure her choices are struck from daily usage.

I'm glad she's taking this stance against appalling language. I'm definitely on her side on this, because she has managed to pick most of my pet peeves.

Apparently the language "crisis" is becoming "urgent" to language mavens like Jones. At least it would be, if she didn't say "urgent" and "its frequent companion 'crisis'" need to be eliminated.
I am asked a lot of questions about blogging and social media. People who want…

Wayback Wednesday: Shopping Daycare for Guys

Shopping Daycare for GuysErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2004

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. This one is from December 2004.

You know, sometimes you just have to envy England. Not only are they famous for their warm, sunny climate -- oh wait, sorry. . . Not only are they renowned for their superb gourmet food like black pudding or -- um, sorry. Let me try again. . . Not only are they known for their exciting spectator sports like Cricket and Lawn Bowling -- dangit!

Okay, here it is. England is known for its shopping. That's all, just shopping (and the Queen). Anyone who knows anything about English retail knows that Harrod's is the best place to shop.

Harrod's is a huge world famous department store on Brompton Road in London, and it's known for its quality and selection. Think of Neiman-Marcus but without all the pretentious snottiness -- crap!. . .

So Harrod's management was probably a little disappoin…

British School Student Suspended for "Dealing" Potato Chips in School

Joel Bradley is in big trouble at school. He was suspended for a day selling black market contraband.

A packet of potato chips (also called "crisps" in England).

According to an article in the Liverpool, Joel sold the chips — Discos — for 50p ($.80) He would often earn £15 ($24.50) per day doing it.

This was the second time Joel had been caught, so he was suspended from Liverpool's Cardinal Heenan High School. Because nothing helps a kid's education better than removing him from school.

Of course, by only suspending Joel for a day sends a message to all the other kids about the easiest way to get a school-sanctioned one-day vacation.

The last time Joel was caught, the school stole confiscated £20 from the budding entrepreneur.

"I think the school has made a beeline for him because of what I've done," his father, Joe, told the Liverpool Echo.

Joe Bradley said he had been caught selling soda, candy bars, and chips he had bought from Iceland, from a van outside t…

British Schools Don't Challenge Top Students Because They Don't Want to Promote Elitism

British schools are failing their smartest students, by dumbing them down, and refusing to give them more challenging assignments.

An Ofsted study that was released this week said as many as 75% of the state schools are not pushing their brightest students, because the teachers are afraid they are promoting "elitism."

An article in the London Daily Mail said that "(m)any teachers are not convinced of the importance of providing more challenging tasks for their gifted and talented pupils."

It's gotten so bad, said the report, that some some students have been forced to ask for more challenging assignments, and other students resented being forced to mentor weaker students.

The report studied 26 schools, and said the gifted students were not considered a priority by teachers or administrators. Teachers were afraid that by focusing on the brightest pupils, instead of the average ones would "undermine the school's efforts to improve the attainment and progress…

How I Get Most of My Column Ideas

How I Get Most of My Column IdeasErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

"I need a topic to write about," said Karl the Curmudgeon, plonking his beer on the bar, and picking up a pen. He held it over a small notebook, ready to write down whatever I said.

How about European agrarian societies in the Middle Ages? I asked.

"Seriously, Kid," Karl scowled. We were sitting in Rhys Cadwaladr's, a Welsh bar named after the Welsh poet and scholar. We were there to see the finals of the Rounders (Welsh baseball) Premier championship between Grange Albion and Grange Catholic.

I wiped the smile from my face, lowered my voice, and tried again. One of the greatest achievements of European agrarian societies in the Middle Ages was the advent of the single family farm.

"Shut it, Kid," Karl said. "I meant, be serious."

Why, what are you working on?

"I need something to write about for my blog." I stared, open-mouthed, at Karl. He took a drink o…

Another Florida Food-Related Assault: I Accuse Mrs. Plum in the Kitchen With the Steak

Another Florida food-related attack just days after another hamburger-to-the-face attack in Port St. Lucie. This one was in Dunnellon, Florida, which is west of Ocala.

Elsie Egan was arrested for allegedly slapping her boyfriend, Peter Schabhuttl, in the head several times with a raw steak. It was a tenderizer moment for both of them.

Schabhuttl is 49 years old, disabled, speaks with an electronic voicebox, and is terminally ill with cancer. Egan was arguing with Schabhuttl about the bread he wanted to eat at dinner. He wanted a roll, she wanted him to eat sliced bread. (I'm sure there's a joke in here about "best thing since sliced bread," but it's 1:00 am, I'm watching Craig Ferguson, and I can't come up with anything.)

That's when things got all steaky.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Carmen Gallup wrote in her report that when Schabhuttl refused to eat the sliced bread, Egan "attacked him with the steak."

While Egan denied she smacked him …

Food-Related Assault: Man Jailed for Smashing Hamburger in Wife's Face. Yeah, it's Florida

Another Florida man was jailed on Monday for smashing a hamburger in his wife's face following an argument.

Regular readers of the Laughing Stalk column will no doubt recognize that this makes at least the 9th food-related assault in a year, and the 12th in the last 13 months.

More staggering however, is that its the fifth food-related attack from Florida, and the third in Port St. Lucie in less than a year.

According to the story on the WTSP website, Daniel Boss, 25, began arguing this past Thursday night, and started calling each other names. Then, Mrs. Boss poured pop on Boss' burger, so he rubbed it on her face and started throwing food at her.

Boss then left, and his wife reported the attack to the police. He was arrested three hours later on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.

This is getting serious, people. This is the 8th food-related assault in Florida alone. And while we've seen a few copycat crimes in Iowa, Illinois, and Idaho (something else to give us pause. . …

British Train Service Won't Sell Sandwiches Because Passengers Might Choke to Death

I think sometimes the British use "health and safety" as an excuse for their laziness. That's the only reason I can think of for a First Great Western train steward refusing to sell a passenger an egg sandwich.

He said he was afraid the passenger might choke on it.

According to a story in the London Daily Mail, passenger Chris Haynes went to the dining car after the train broke down. The crew had promised everyone a free soft drink.

Haynes was feeling a little peckish (that's British for "hungry"), and he saw some egg sandwiches that were on sale behind the bar, so he ordered one.

That's when the steward saved Haynes life, and told him he couldn't sell him a sandwich because Haynes might choke on it.

"When I asked the man why not he said it was for health and safety reasons," Haynes told the Daily Mail. "I told him I didn't understand how health and safety came into selling a hungry stranded passenger an egg sandwich on a broken-down t…

What is a Christian Side Hug? Does it Hurt?

People have been staring at their computers in an open-mouthed gape, at the latest Internet video, the Christian Side Hug.

I've got three words for this: WTF?

Is this a real thing, or a very clever satire? Part of me — a really big part of me — hopes it's just a joke, and that I, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, have been tricked.




Nothing makes kids want to do something faster than telling them not to. Tell kids WHY they shouldn't "front hug" and they'll want to do it more.
There are several lines, as well as sound effects, that really make this video seem violent. That is, why are they all getting shot at the end of the video? The message is "hugging is not okay with Jesus, shooting huggers is."
These guys can't rap.

Update: It turns out, this really IS a joke. Steve Johnson at the Chicago Tribune writes that this is self-deprecating of the real Christian side hug, which some Christians really do practice.

Johnson says "even some…

Canadian Man Sues Over His Service "Dog"

Canadian Man Sues Over His Service "Dog"Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Note: This column originally appeared as a blog post. However, the story deserved to be shared on a larger scale, so I deleted the old version, expanded this one to 750+ words, and sent it out to my regular syndication network.

Believe it or not, there's a controversy brewing within the blindness community about service dogs (also called Leader Dogs, Guide Dogs, Seeing Eye Dogs, and Pilot Dogs — named after the school where they're trained). One organization, the American Council of the Blind, loves them. They believe service dogs are a valuable help to people who are blind or visually impaired.

The National Federation of the Blind, on the other hand, doesn't approve of them. They believe blind people should be totally independent and not need any help from anyone, including dogs.

However, both organizations agree that service dogs need to be rather large, solid, and smart dogs…

Wayback Wednesday: Learning to Fly

Learning to FlyErik 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 December 2005.

I often ask people: "Would you rather have the power to fly or become invisible?" Your answer is supposed to provide some insight about who you are as a person.

I've noticed a lot of people who choose invisibility do so for less than ethical reasons. They would spy, sneak, and do mischief if they could do it unseen. But the flyers talk about saving time, saving gas, and avoiding traffic.

I'm a flyer.

Not in a plane though. I've never had the dream of flying my own plane or becoming a pilot. That's just not the same. Flying on a plane isn't like flying through the air like Superman. There's no sense of motion or movement, t…

British Council Replaces Christmas Tree With Giant Traffic Cone

You wouldn't think anyone could screw up a Christmas tree. Even Charlie Brown and his friends took a spindly, nearly-dead Christmas tree and made it the best looking tree ever.

But the Council in Poole, Dorset, England managed to do it somehow. They basically spent £14,000 ($22,979) to replace a normally £500 ($820) Norway fir with a giant green traffic cone.

Officials were worried that for the first time ever, the tree might topple over in high winds. So instead, they purchased the 33 foot traffic cone that has embedded lights and music speakers.

According to an article in The Sun (official motto: who needs news, we have Page 3 Girls!), the council made this decision on the heels of cutting back on other Christmas lights.

Shop owner Trish Glover told The Sun: "This health and safety lark has gone far enough."

Poole's Town Centre Management Board, said this would somehow save money, since a real tree costs about £4,000 ($6,500) to put up.

Town centre manager Richard Randal…