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Showing posts from October, 2009

Southwest Airlines Removes Crying Baby From Plane, Millions Cheer

"I am sick of these motherf---ing kids on this motherf---ing plane!"

Southwest Airlines just endeared itself to the millions of adults who ride airplanes and know how to control their children. They booted Pamela Root and her 2-year-old son Adam off their flight in Amarillo, Texas, after he continually screams "Go! Plane! Go!" and "I want Daddy!"

In a story on MSNBC, Pamela said she believed her son would finally stop when the plane took off, but rather than take off, the plane returned to the gate, and they were escorted off the plane.

Root wants an apology and to be repaid for the portable crib and diapers she had to buy. Southwest Airlines should ask for compensation for the extra fuel and wasted time they spent in doing what Root was not able to do: make her kid shut up.

Before anyone accuses me of being heartless or not understanding children, let me say that I'm a father of three. And my wife and I never put up with wailing and screaming from ou…

The Dangers of the Couples Skate

The Dangers of the Couples SkateErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

I recently read a column by fellow humor columnist, Jenny Isenman, about one of her most humiliating experiences as a young girl. Since she doesn't have the global reach I do, I thought I would relate the story for her.

During a skating party in 1984, little Jenny was rolling around the rink during a Girls Skate, leg warmers pulled up over her jeans — no, that's not the most humiliating part. I know, that surprised me too! — when she tried to slap hands with an older boy.

Apparently this was a signal. During a Girls Skate, they would slap the outstretched hands of the boys they wanted to Couples Skate with. The boys would stand along the side and stretch out their hands to the girls they wanted to skate with, while the girls hoped the boys they liked had their hands out.

It was an exercise of mutually assured destruction in the self-esteem department.

If a boy stuck his hand out, he could be i…

British Police Can't Say "Evenin' All" Anymore; Might Confuse People

British police, the enforcement arm of the Nanny State, are now victims of the Nanny State. They have been told not to use certain everyday phrases, because they could cause confusion for some.

An article in the (London) Daily Mail says the Warwickshire Police handbook, Policing Our Communities, says the phrase "Evenin' All" could confuse people from different cultural backgrounds.

"Don't assume those words for the time of day, such as afternoon or evening, have the same meaning," says the handbook.

Right, because people have different diurnal clocks, and so don't tell time like the rest of the country? Because they're still operating on the time zone from home?

A Warwickshire police spokesman told the Daily Mail, "Terms such as afternoon and evening are somewhat subjective in meaning and can vary according to a person's culture or nationality. In many cultures the term evening is linked to time of day when people have their main meal of th…

Is this a 'Misguided Column?'

Is this a 'Misguided Column?'Erik 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.

We're nearing the end of 2005, and I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Wintervale.

What's that? You don't know what Wintervale is? That's what some schools in the United Kingdom are calling Christmas. Apparently, "happy holiday" and "season's greetings" weren't soulless and sterile enough, so they came up with that little winter winner instead.

Apparently, the PC simps didn't like the fact that "holiday" stems from "holy day," and they didn't want to be "greeted" by anyone either. So school administrators kowtowed to them in an attempt to be inclusi…

British Cemetery Officials Won't Let Man Put Too Many Flowers on Wife's Grave

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Not only are the bureaucrats stupid in England, it appears the landscaping people are not much better off. At least that's what we're led to believe.

That's because the staff at Gorstage Cemetery in Weverham, Cheshire told Stanley Brown he could not put more than one bunch of flowers on his wife's grave, because they're obstructions.

Staff told Stanley that the flowers kept the landscapers from cutting the grass, and might cause them to trip.

Good old Health and Safety. We knew you could protect us from overly sensitive displays of lifelong love.

Brown was married for 57 years, and his wife died last December. He has tended her grave four times a day, every day.

"This has really upset me and the whole family. They all live within a three-mile radius and they all want to lay flowers at Violet's grave," Stanley told The (London) Times. "If I lay flowers, and one of my children or grandchildren also want to pay their respects and lay flowers, they can…

Nanny State Takes Newborn Baby, 2 Children Away From Mother Because She's Obese

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I didn't think it was possible, but Scottish social workers have brought the Nanny State to a whole new level of jack-booted interfering, hereto unseen except for books like 1984 or movies like THX 1138.

That's because they want to take away the newborn baby of an obese mother (300 pounds), and have already taken away her two youngest, because they were afraid the kids were at risk of becoming obese themselves.

According to a story in The (London) Times, the unnamed mother was told less than 24 hours of giving birth that she would not be allowed to keep the baby.

It's good to see the Scottish authorities acting for the welfare of the country's children, what with having solved the country's history of alcoholism, spousal abuse, drug abuse, and unemployment.

Apparently, the parents created their own problem when they asked social workers for some help managing their children. Rather than helping, the social workers found that two of the kids were already overweight. So …

Phone It In Sunday: Pixar Intro Parody from CollegeHumor.com

If you've ever seen any of the Disney/Pixar movies, you've seen the intro with the lamp that just stomps the bejeezus out of the letter 'I' in Pixar.

But do you know what really happened?



Then, Phil Collins sent the lamp front row tickets to a concert in the lamp's hometown, and put the spotlight on him, and sang "In the Air Tonight."


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High School Student Uses Video Camera to Catch Locker Thief, Snags Surprising Culprit

Tiana Rapp, a senior at Newfield High School in Long Island, had lost $190 in theft from her locker on two different occasions. After complaining to the high school administration, who believed it was a student, and said they couldn't do anything.

So Rapp took matters into her own hands. She and a classmate put a video camera in another locker and pointed it at her own.

That's when they caught Linda Cubano, an adult hall monitor, opening Rapp's locker and searching through her purse.

"They said there was nothing they could do and they were convinced that a student was doing it," Rapp told Newsday.com

Turns out Rapp is a big fan of CSI, and wants to be a forensic scientist when she graduates from college.

The school district said they had accepted Cubano's resignation, but they were not going to comment on the case. Cubano was also charged with three counts of petty larceny.

Rapp said several other students have said they were losing things from their lockers as wel…

Family Fun Night is not Always Fun

Family Fun Night Not Always FunErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

"Okay kids, sit down. It's family night. We're going to play a game. "

"Sweetie, come back here."

"No, we're not watching a movie tonight."

"No, we're not watching TV either. We're going to play a game."

"Not a video game, Buddy."

"No, Honey, we're not playing a computer game."

"Yes, I'll tell them. You need to respect the process. I'm trying to build suspense."

"Fine. We're playing Uno."

"It's a card game."

"Can you read the name here, Buddy?"

"No Buddy, oo-no, not you-know."

"Yes, Honey, that's it."

"Right, Sweetie, it's Spanish for one."

"You lay down a card that has the same number or color as the one in the discard pile. If you have one of the battle cards, you can make someone pick up two or four cards, skip their turn, or reverse t…

Jon Stewart Hammers on Fox News for Not Covering Gay Rights Protest

My favorite line in the whole clip?

"Gay people aren't vampires. They show up on camera."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cQueer and Loathing in D.C.www.thedailyshow.comDaily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


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My Kingdom for a Curmudgeon

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My Kingdom for a CurmudgeonErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2006

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 August 2006. If you have enjoyed my Karl the Curmudgeon columns, this is his introductory column.

Regular readers of former Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko will remember Slats Grobnik, a curmudgeonly character who espoused less-than-popular views on certain controversial issues. These views were somewhat, but not too far, out in left or right field, depending on which side Grobnik supported. He gave voice to the viewpoints you secretly agreed with, but knew better than to espouse in polite company.

Like non-smokers who secretly believe militant anti-smokers are taking things a bit too far. Democrats who think the Teachers' Union is whiny. Republica…

British Teen Forced to Give DNA Sample for Throwing Ketchup

Zach Cameron is in for it now. The 15-year-old British schoolboy was fingerprinted and forced to give a DNA sample for assault.

Assault with ketchup.

According to an article in the Daily Sun (official motto: "More boobs than the Times, Mail, and Express combined!"), Zach was out with the daughter of his pastor, when a 14-year-old girl was making "nasty" comments about the daughter. So he took matters into his own hands, and lobbed a small container of ketchup at the girl.

A few days later, Zach received a letter from the Medway Police, which summoned him and his father to the station. Zach went, expecting to be lectured by police. Instead, he was fingerprinted and had a DNA swab taken from inside his mouth.

Zach told the Sun, "It was crazy. I know I should not have thrown the sauce but it was only a tiny bit."

Dawn Cameron, Zach's mom, said, "This all started when Zach was defending the daughter of his church pastor who was being abused by this girl. …

BBC Changes "Humpty Dumpty" to Make It Less Violent

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The British Broadcasting Corporation, the world's most trusted source to not jack around with the news is now facing some controversy after jacking around with Humpty Dumpty.

They changed the end of the nursery rhyme for the CBeebies channel so it said all the King's horses "made Humpty happy again."

According to the story in the Daily Express, the Beeb said they made the changes for "creative reasons rather than trying to give a soft version of the rhyme for children."

An unnamed spokeswoman told the Express, "We play nursery rhymes with their original lyrics all the time and the small change to Humpty Dumpty was done for no other reason than being creative and entertaining."

Tom Harris, the Labour MP for Glasgow South, told the London Independent (official motto: "I can do it by myself!"), that this was "pathetic" that CBeebies rewrote Humpty Dumpty not to upset children. He believed CBeebies has begun sanitizing a lot of their c…

Phone It In Sunday: That's Gay: Commercials

From Al "I invented cable TV too" Gore's Current cable station, the same forward thinking progressives that brought us Sarah Haskins (Target Women), Brian Safi produces the "That's Gay" segment on Current. A few weeks ago, he showed us the difference between straight versus gay commercials on regular TV stations versus LOGO and the other LOGOBravo. And he's nearly as funny as Sarah Haskins.



With offerings like Sarah Haskins and Brian Safi, I really think I need to start watching Current once in a while.


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At Least I Didn't Pick a Tuba

At Least I Didn't Pick a Tuba
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting an article from 2002. That'll teach him.

Every kid should learn to play a musical instrument.

I realize that's difficult, with all the education funding being viciously slashed by nearly every state in an effort to improve their students' abilities to take standardized tests. However, if we're not careful, this next generation of students will become musical illiterates.

Presidential Aide: "Bad news, Mr. President. We've just received the World Culture Report from the United Nations. It seems our country's orchestra is currently ranked below the Tarawa Symphony Orchestra of the island nation of Kiribati.

President: Who'd we beat?

Presidential Aide: It's a tie, sir. We are currently ranked higher than an Australian jug band and some crazy guy with two sticks and a toy xylophone.

President: Wow, that's a shame. Le…

Food-Related Assault Epidemic Continues. Yes, It's In Florida

And the food related assault epidemic continues to grow. In fact, if it wasn't for an attack in Iowa this past July, all the attacks would have been in Florida.

This time, it was in Hernando Beach, Florida, where a South Carolina teen was arrested for hurling a deadly missile at a moving vehicle.

A burrito.

According to the story on WFTS ABC News website, John Addie — the victim — was driving his car when someone leaned out of a car and threw something.

"The next thing Addie knew his front windshield was cracked and he was covered in refried beans," said the WFTS website.

So Addie did what anyone covered in discarded Mexican food would do: he followed the car, and called the police.

Police arrested the unnamed burrito bomber, who confessed to hurling the burrito as a prank, and released him to his father's custody. He was charged with hurling a deadly missile, which is a felony.

Apparently burrito-related assault is a felony, as opposed to pelting your girlfriend with a ham…

Will You... Uhh... Do You Want To...

Will You... Uhh... Do You Want To...Erik 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.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always the suave, sophisticated, debonair guy I am now. So it's not too surprising that I never dated much in high school. It wasn't for lack of interest or even lack of trying. Believe me, I was very interested. And I tried as much, if not more, than any normal teenage boy did at that age.

I just didn't know the appropriate way to go about it. That, and I was a bit of a geek back then.

I know, I know, you're totally surprised to hear that. But it's true.

Apparently — and I wish I had known this back then — playing in sports nobody has heard of and being in the marching band can pretty…

6-Year-Old Boy Suspended for Bringing Fork/Spoon/Knife Tool to School

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Zachary Christie, a 6-year-old Newark, Delaware boy, was excited about joining the Cub Scouts. So excited that he brought a camping utensil — a knife, fork, spoon three-in-one combo — to school to use at lunch.

Under the school's Zero Sense Zero Tolerance policy, Zachary's tool qualifies as a weapon, and so he was suspended, and may have to spend 45 days in the Newark's reform school, said a story in the New York Times.

“It just seems unfair,” Zachary told the Times. He is currently home-schooling with his mom while they appeal the Draconian punishment.

The Christina School District said they had to suspend him, "regardless of (the) possessor's intent," knives are banned in school. Even ones that school-sanctioned organizations provide to their youngest members.

There was no word about why forks, which are equally stabby, are given out every day to all the children at lunch time.

Many residents, says the Times, are wondering why school officials can't/won'…

Phone It In Sunday: Brad Meltzer Responds to the Critics

Kudos to mystery-thriller writer Brad Meltzer for having a positive outlook on the bad reviews he's gotten from the various failed authors book reviewers, panning his New York Times best-selling books (official motto: suck on THAT, haters!)

Brad produced this video, having kids from the Little League team he coaches, plus residents from his grandmother's nursing home read the high points from his reviews.



Although I have a friend who is soon wending her way to Oxford to get a Master's degree in literature and literary criticism, I don't think much of the form when it's nothing more than petty book reviewers who get sadistic delight in driving a dagger through the heart of an author, just to make himself or herself sound smarter. It's too easy to bitch and whine about why you think something sucks, like it's supposed to make you sound cool.

It doesn't. It makes you sound like an asshole.

Several years ago, when my dad was writing his college textbook,Motivat…

"Whatever" Is the Most Annoying Word

"Whatever" Is the Most Annoying WordErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Anyway, at the end of the day, someone found, you know, the most annoying word in the world, and it is what it is.

Surprisingly, I didn't use the offending word at all in that sentence. Just all the others.

Turns out more people hate the word "whatever" than any other word.

According to a survey by Marist College (official motto: "Yeah, we've never heard of you either"), 47 percent of all Americans think the word "whatever" is the most annoying word out there. It beats the second place word by 22 percent.

I actually like "whatever." I wouldn't say it was the most annoying. In fact, there are times that it actually gives me pleasure to use.

If a friend is being snarky with me, I can easily reject their attitude with a derisive "whatever." Throw in a dismissive wave of the hand, and the word takes on a whole new meaning. One that symbol…

If the Name Fits, Brew It

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England is often called the Nanny State because of the short-sighted, often inane decisions they make under the guise of "health and safety." So, it should come as no surprise that someone decided to make some money off this reputation, as well as rub the country's nose in it.

Scottish brewer, BrewDog, was recently criticized and branded as irresponsible for making a limited edition beer called "Tokyo," which has an 18.2% alcohol content, making it the strongest alcohol in all of Great Britain.

In response, BrewDog created a 1.1% alcohol beer called Nanny State.

While campaigners welcomed the beer, they said it showed a lack of appreciation of the problem.

I think it shows a complete waste of beer bottles and the brewing process. Dude, just relabel some water bottles and call it Budweiser.

BrewDog said they had created the high alcohol brew because it would help tackle Scotland's binge drinking culture, because they would drink it in smaller quantities.

Jack Law…

Wayback Wednesday: Have You Tried a Plunger?

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Have You Tried a Plunger?
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 5 years ago.

Some days I hate being a writer. Days like today. Not one of those "oh crap it's two hours before deadline, and I don't have a topic" day. That's the story of my nearly-ten more than 15 (updated for 2009 -- Erik) year writing career. It's also how I got through college.

No, I mean the days where I get an overwhelming sense of writer's block. Only it's not writer's block. Writer's block is where a writer can't think of anything to write. They are literally stuck for an idea. Entire books have been written about overcoming writer's block. But that's not what I have.

I have Writer's Overflow.

W…

13-Year-Old Boy Survives Brain Tumor, Cut From Traveling Basketball League

Conor Smith of Eagan, Minnesota beat the odds, and beat cancer two years ago. Twice.

Despite his victory over both a brain tumor and Leukemia, Conor was cut from the "C" team of the Eagan Traveling Basketball league, the lowest team in the league.

"I had no idea this was coming at all. I was completely shocked," Tim Smith, Conor's dad, told KARE 11, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In March 2007, doctors found that Conor had a brain tumor. Six months later, they found Leukemia. Needless to say, all the chemotherapy kept him out of basketball for 2007, but he managed to find the strength to play in 2008.

However, he developed some stiff calf muscles as a result of his chemo, so he was forced to wear casts to help ease them. Even though the casts are supposed to be off this week, Conor missed the tryouts with the Eagan Traveling Basketball league.

And since Conor couldn't try out, the Eagan Traveling Basketball league could only use his performance from …

British Supermarket Asks for Proof of Age for Buying Teaspoons

Tesco's, the store Britons seem to love to hate, is back in the news again. The giant supermarket recently asked 21-year-old Emma Sheppard for ID when she was trying to buy a 5-pack of teaspoons. She was then wrestled to the ground by agents from MI-5 who were assigned to anti-terrorism duties in British supermarkets.

Unfortunately, only one of those things is not true.

I wish this was the only time this ever happened in England. Unfortunately it happened back in May 2009 at an ASDA store.

Emma went to Tesco's to pick up a few things, including the value pack of teaspoons, and she was caught in the web of England's "Think 25" campaign, which means the cashiers have to check the ID of anyone who wants to buy alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, DVDs and computer games, weapons including knives, axes, and razor blades, and fireworks. The idea is that you have to prove that you're over 18 if you look under 25.

The problem was Emma Sheppard didn't have her ID, so s…

Why Can't Indianapolis Support the Indiana Fever?

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What do you want, Indiana? What's it going to take for our state, or at least our city, to support a professional women's basketball team? I've taken my family to four different games this year, thanks to some free ticket love from my new BFF Julie Graue, the VP of Business Operations of the Fever.

My family are Fever fans through and through. As the father of two little girls, I want them to have athletes they can look up to as role models. Hell, as the father of three kids, I want my kids to have positive role models regardless of gender and sports.

We love the Fever because they play clean, they don't get arrested, and they don't start brawls with fans in the stands, unlike some local Men-B-A teams I could name.

And unlike our Pacers, they're actually in the finals this year. I haven't seen the Pacers in the finals since Shaq and Kobe were still on speaking terms.

Tonight, the stands are full, so I brought my family to the local Buffalo Wild Wings just a mil…

Phone It In Sunday: Stoning Scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian

I had a tough time deciding last week whether this scene or the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail was my favorite. I'm still not entirely sure, but both of these are my two all-time favorite comedy scenes from any movie, and they're the ones that made me a Python fan.



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Honey, It's Over. Burma Shave!

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Honey, It's Over. Burma Shave!Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

It's been the talk of the town around Bilgola, New South Wales, Australia. A series of romantic signs from some unnamed bloke to his girlfriend Jennifer takes a nasty turn just 40 percent of the way through the message, like some sort of emotionally-sadistic Burma Shave campaign. Five signs along the Barrenjoey Road that start out promising a lifetime of happiness but end in embarrassment.

"Jennifer/Will you marry me/Just kidding/I'm breaking up with you/You have 6 days to move out."

The signs have been taped to telephone poles along the road, which is the busiest road in Bilgola.

Of course, that's not saying much, since the population is only slightly more than 3,000. It's like being the highest point in Rhode Island (812 feet above sea level), the world's fastest turtle, or the smartest person on Jay Leno's Jay Walking. Sure you stand out, but the bar's set pretty l…

British Watchdog Group Won't Let Two Mothers Exchange Childcare Favors

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Motherhood is the world's oldest profession. Our moms have been taking care of us since time immemorial. They've taken care of our friends. They understand that what is good for my child is good for that child.

Unless you live in England.

Apparently, while you may know what's best for your child, you need certification to do simple childcare things, like help a friend out by watching her kid while she goes to work.

A recent story in the London Daily Mail said two working mums are not allowed to watch each other's children, because they are not "registered childminders." These two friends work for the same company, and had made arrangements with each other to watch the other's child while they took turns going to work.

But some officious jerk ratted the two out to the education advocacy group Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, which said that the two were breaking the law.

Apparently, if you watch a child for more than two hours outside the child's …