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Showing posts from October, 2011

The Hazards of Halloween

This is a humor column I wrote back in the late 1990s. In honor of the 2nd most commercial holiday of the year, I'm republishing it here.

As October draws to a close, there is an excitement in the air. The leaves are changing color, the days are getting shorter, and parents are racing around, helping their kids through another annual identity crisis. That can only mean one thing:

Halloween is coming!

Or, as Uncle Albert called it, Dress Up Like A Goofball And Go Begging For Candy Day.

For children, this is one of the most exciting holidays of the year. What other time can a kid boldly march up to someone's house and demand candy? Sure, they can do it the other 364 days of the year, but this is the only time the police won't be called.

But for parents, Halloween is one of the least enjoyable holidays. They're constantly bombarded by their children's demands about what they want to be for Halloween, and it's usually the latest, hippest, trendiest, and most expensive c…

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Campers

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be CampersI think I hate camping.

I say that after having spent one night — 16 hours — camping with my brother this past weekend. I haven't been camping in years, and have been wanting to go for some time, so we scheduled a night in the Moraine View State Park in Illinois.

We figured the fall would be the best time to go, because we would avoid the mosquitoes of summer and the rains of spring. Plus, snakes are out more in the spring and summer, and I hate snakes with a white-hot passion.

We arrived at the park at 4:30, two hours before sunset. I had my sleeping bag, a couple extra shirts and heavy socks. It had been in the 60s, so I figured I was overpacking, especially when Andrew showed up with a big giant backpack and an extra change of everything, plus thermal underwear.

"Oh crap, I forgot my sleeping pad," he said when we got to the campsite.

"Wuss," I thought. Who brings thermal underwear and a change of clothes, let…

A One-Sided Homecoming Conversation

A One-Sided Homecoming Conversation"Quit whining. I know it's early."

"We needed to find a spot for the parade."

"Because otherwise we would be stuck behind a bunch of people and you wouldn't be able to see anything."

"It's when all the alumni 'come home' to their school. I always try to come to Ball State's Homecoming every year. And I try to bring you kids to the parade too."

"Because everyone loves a parade."

"You don't mean that. You're just tired."


"It'll be here in a few more minutes."

"Look, Honey, I didn't want to get up at 6:00 either, but that was the only way we were going to get to Muncie in time."

"It started at 8:00."

"Because they started a couple miles away, in the high school parking lot."

"It will be here in about 30 minutes."

"There's no where else you can gather an entire parade all at once."


Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand Released From Hospital [RELEASE]


A statement from IndyCar:

LAS VEGAS (Monday, Oct. 17, 2011) -- IZOD IndyCar Series drivers JR Hildebrand and Pippa Mann were released from University Medical Center in Las Vegas on Oct. 17.

Mann had surgery last night to clean and assess a severe burn injury to the little finger of her right hand sustained in an accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. She will need a subsequent surgery in 2-3 weeks to fully repair the injury but is expected to make a full recovery.

Hildebrand had a severely bruised sternum in the same accident and was held overnight for observation.


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A Small Dan Wheldon Tribute — 2011 Post-Indy 500 Press Conference

I had the chance to sit in the post Indy 500 press conference, after Dan Wheldon won his 2nd race. He sat with team owner Brian Herta and crew chief Steve Newey, and I loved their stunned surprise that they put together a victory out of a team that was only coming together for one, maybe two rides.

I remember being annoyed that such a fine young driver couldn't find a regular team to give him a full-time ride. I was also more than a little pleased that the one-off rider won the entire race, beating the two Death Star teams of Penske Racing and Target Ganassi. I always cheer for the underdog, and this was one of the underdoggiest stories of the year.

So when I saw that Dan Wheldon died doing what he loved, I remembered this footage. I think it represents him at his very best and shows him after the biggest win of his career, achieving the one thing that most of us would never even dream of doing: winning the Indianapolis 500.

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Australian Clothing Chain GASP Hates You

Australian Clothing Chain GASP Hates YouGASP Clothing hates normal-sized people. They hate you so much, they don't want you shopping at their stores ever. Unless you're a size six or smaller and have more money than brains, then GASP doesn't even want you setting foot in their store.

(We'll forget for the moment that they're in Australia, and you're probably here in the United States. If they were an American company, they would still hate you.)

GASP has made international news after Keara O'Neil, who wears a size 12, was insulted about her size by a male sales assistant, Chris, after saying she wanted to think about whether to buy her bridesmaids dresses at the retail chain.

Keara was in the store last month looking at a particular dress, when Chris said "With your figure, I really think you should buy it." After that, she decided to leave, so Chris called after her, "Have fun shopping at Supre. I knew you were a joke the minute you walked in.&…

Goofus and Gallant: Where Are They Now?

Goofus and Gallant: Where Are They Now?

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from way back in 1999.

Anyone who visited a doctor's office as a child knows "Highlights" magazine, and the zany moralistic adventures of Goofus and Gallant. Just mention their names to any adult, and they will smile in remembrance, even if they haven't read it in 30 years.

Goofus and Gallant are two boys who provide moral and ethical lessons on how to, or how not to, live life. In the everyday events they found themselves in, Gallant would do the kind, noble, and right things, while Goofus was a total screwup.

"Goofus leaves a pile of clothes on the floor," and "Gallant offers to help his mother fold the laundry." Or "Goofus grabs the remote so he can watch his favorite television program; Gallant says 'That's alright, Mother, I like Lawrence Welk too.'" or "Goofus takes 30 minute showers and uses all the hot water/Ga…

Beloit College Makes You Feel Old?

After I wrote the Beloit College Makes Me Feel Old column, Phil and Ted from the High School Humor Blog contacted me to see if they could write a followup response to my post.

Always the supportive mentor to budding humorists, I thought, "Sure, why not." Here's their response, Beloit College Makes You Feel Old?

The semi-recent release of Beloit College’s Mindset list, listing many interesting facts about this year’s college freshman, raised a few issues with the general public.  For instance, apparently, it made some of you feel old.

That’s the whole purpose, though, isn’t it? Let’s see what the website says:

“[The list] was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.”

Oh, that makes sense, because it’s really important to avoid dated references.  To the point where it becomes worth the amount of effort needed to actually compile the list in the first place…