Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't Let the Storm Door Hit You in the Ass

Well, you’re packed up and ready to go. So leave already. See if I care.

Usually, I’m hanging onto your ankles begging you to stay for one more cigar on the patio, one more warm evening on the river with the katydids and crickets. Sometimes I even lay a guilt trip on you, whining that I might not even be here when you get back.

Not this time. So go already. To put it politely, as summers go, you’ve been an underachiever.

Twenty five days of rain in June? What was that all about? You ruined everyone’s tomatoes. I hope you’re happy. Oh, by the way, you stepped on autumn’s toes by spreading your blight to the pumpkins as well. I read that Smashing Pumpkins is changing their name to Squishing Pumpkins.

I schlep two enormous air conditioners from the garage to the third floor to create a little island of coolness for when you are pumping up the old heat and humidity index. Did I get to use them even once? Not. Now I have to take them out and haul them back to the garage. I’m not getting any younger, you know.

I don’t think I ever broke a sweat during your term in office. I blame you for my water retention problem. I like nothing better than digging in the yard and working up a good, stinky sweat in the heat of the August day and then settling down with an icy cold beer. You even took the fun out of beer and that takes party pooping to a new level. Oh, and thanks. Did I get out of one single back-breaking project because it was too hot to work?
I don’t think so.

Speaking of pooping on parties, I went to exactly one barbecue and got eaten alive by the horde of mosquitoes you brought with you.

Who told you people like mosquitoes? When was the last time you saw a mosquito feeder in someone’s front yard? I even got a bite on my ass this year and embarrassed Kathie by scratching it all through church. How could you be so inconsiderate of that good woman?

Well, get moving and light out for Argentina or wherever the hell you go next. Crank up Nat King Cole’s “Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer” and think about how you can be a better season next year.

Now go. I have to stack firewood on the porch.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Cliche

It is what it is.

I am sick to death of hearing this. One hears it twenty times a day, and enough already. In the first place, as Sister Helen would point out with a crisp whack of her ruler, it is bad form to end a sentence with is. Although, she would have phrased it in such a way that it didn’t end in is.

In addition, this poorly structured sentence has virtually become the national catch phrase in these trouble times, and a poor reflection indeed of our can-do spirit.

My research has also revealed that it was authored by the Bush administration in an effort to justify its unfettered free-market policies: “We can’t rein in those crazy bankers because it is what it is.”

Once it entered the national lingo, it lulled us into a passive acceptance of their contemptible policies:

Dick Cheney: “We can only keep America safe by plucking out prisoners’ fingernails and wringing their nuts.”
American People: “Oh, well. It is what it is.”

Which raises another point: frequently it is not what it is, and it never was. A more appropriate national catch phrase for the Bush years would have been “You’re a lying bastard.”

Bush: “We have to invade Iraq because Saddam caused 9/11.”
American People: “You’re a lying bastard.”

Hear the difference?

I would like to propose a new catch phrase that reflects the new administration’s crisis mentality and interventionist policies: “Holy shit. We better do something about that.”

Now I know what you are thinking: the use of the S word in the national cliché will lose the religious right. Guess what? They are already lost. Let them go shit in their hats, as my Uncle Vinnie used to say. Come to think of it, this could also be the new national catch phrase as it totally reflects the level of bi-partisanship in the land.

However, I concede the point and now am prepared to offer a compromise: “Holy Barrack. We better do something about that.” This captures the near Gandhian status the president has achieved, particularly with the younger voters.

Or at least that’s how it was as of last January when Kathie cancelled my subscription to the New York Times. Now the only news I get is from my web browser. So while I know what Gavin MacCloud has been doing since the Love Boat sank, I am a little sketchy on political developments.

Kathie: “I am canceling your Times subscription because reading it only makes you depressed.”
Jerry: “Oh well. It is what it is.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dear Jerry

In another cheap and brazen ploy to boost this blog’s readership, I am starting an advice column. I will be answering questions on all topics including finance, garage maintenance, closet organization, and, of course S-E-X. Since I am more of a Dark Ages Man than a Renaissance one, readers should take it from whence it comes.

Dear Jerry,
I just broke my left arm. Now what?

Hire a left handed Mexican.

Dear Jerry,
I love George Clooney’s hair. How does he achieve that look?

George is actually bald. The look is achieved with plaster of paris and Martha Stewart’s Ebony Passion low luster house paint. By the way, for the rest of you pathetic souls who keep Googling these pages seeking info on Clooney’s hair style, he admits he copied it from Demi Moore. Does that make you feel gay, or what?

Dear Jerry,
I tried to trade my boy friend in for a Camaro under the Cash for Clunkers program.
Now he is mad at me. What can I do?

Tell him you would have missed his tail pipe.

Dear Jerry,
Our only daughter just eloped with a homeless septuagenarian. We are heartbroken.

Heartbroken, my ass. You just saved 50 big ones on the wedding.

Dear Jerry,
If the Chinese are so smart, how come they didn’t invent “Dancing with the Stars”?

They did. It was called “Clogging with the Eunuchs.” In Chinese, of course.

Dear Jerry,
Is love a two way street?

Yes. That's why there are so many head on collisions.

Should I buy cheap and sell dear?

Don’t call me dear. We hardly know each other. Badda-Boom.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Percy and Me

There has always been a tradition in my family that we are descended from Percy Bysshe Shelley on my mother’s side.

I have never taken much interest in pursuing this or asking what the connection might be. Unfortunately, anyone who might have had such information has passed.

As a child, I was embarrassed at the possibility of having anyone named Percy in my family tree, much less a poet. Of course, my only point of reference was Percy Dovetonsils, Ernie Kovacs characterization of a lisping poet with Coke-bottle thick glasses who read doggerel while sipping martinis.

My maternal grandfather was big poetry fan. I can remember sitting on his lap and playing with his pocket watch while he read from the works of the Irish poets. This, of course, proves nothing, but may be where the story arose.

His mother’s name was Mary Shelly (I’m not sure of the spelling), but who her antecedents were, I do not yet know. To my knowledge, both of his parents were Irish-Americans whose parents came over in the first potato famine. Shelley the poet was English and a peer to boot. So on the surface, at least, the connection seems unlikely.

After watching a program that made reference to Shelley and his wife, Mary, I decided to see what I could find out on the internet.

I signed up for a trial membership at and punched in what names I knew. So far, I have not been able to push past my great grandparents. This type of research is not my cup of tea. As my wife will attest, keeping names and relationships straight is a challenge for me in the here and now, never mind the long ago.

Here is another daunting thought: If you just trace your family back 10 generations, you will find you have 1024 ancestors, since the number doubles each generation. This sounds like too much work for me to establish my relationship to the author of Prometheus Unbound. Try slogging through that little ditty some time.

I just looked at a Percy Dovetonsils skit on YouTube and think there is a better chance of my being related to him. The quality of the writing has a familiar ring:

The Moon
By Percy Dovetonsils

The moon is full of craters
It has some mountains too,
But because there are no people,
No one goes to the Zoo.

Ah, Granddad!