Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All Thumbs

Why, yes, blow-up dolls are on aisle 5.

    I love the hardware store. 
    It is there where I am at one with my guyness.  Blissfully adrift amongst pressure treated lumber, parquet flooring, and stainless steel widgets, I feel much more at home than at, say, Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
    It’s impossible for me to emerge empty-handed from one of these do-it-yourself nirvanas.  Sure, it may be an item I’ll only use once (like that PVC saw...which I only used...once) or a “you never know” purchase like that 4X4 sheet of fiberglass-reinforced sheetrock, but I feel it’s my solemn duty to contribute to the local economy...and to the myth that I actually know what I’m doing.   
That bastard, Bob, stole my idea for velcro!
    While I’m not the Inspector Clouseau of Handymen, I’m not exactly Bob Vila, either (or, for that matter, Lou Vila, who lives in a box under the overpass).
    Through painful trial and error, I’ve learned that water conducts electricity, pipes freeze in the winter, it’s not a good idea to “slide” a console TV down a flight of stairs, and it ain’t real smart to burn plastic wood in the fireplace.
    I guess you could say that my motto is, “If it’s still smoking after you turn the power on, get the hell out of the house!”
    Since we live in the country, you can imagine how out of control our crime rate is.  After all, those rabbits can’t possibly be up to any good, the owls give me the creeps, and I just don’t trust those damn crickets.
I said extra cheese!
    Still, Mrs. Penwasser thought it would be a swell idea to get a motion detector.  If only to prevent raccoons from stealing our empty pizza boxes or the gophers from hot-wiring the cars.
    Well, since any excuse to go to Home Depot (or Lowes, in a pinch) is a good one, off I went in search of one of those modern marvels of home security.
    Three hours later, I returned with a wood-burning set, an extension ladder, a rubber mallet, the “Family Pack” bungee cord set (incidentally, what kind of “family” shops for bungee cords-the Mansons?), six cans of Fix-A-Flat, a gallon of Gorilla Glue, and 20 rolls of electrical tape. 
    And a motion detector.
    Minutes later, its contents were spread out all over my kitchen table.  I meticulously cross-checked the master inventory:  four 2” metal screw thingies-check, three plastic wire nut whoozits-check, one metal plate gizfotchy-check, one rubber gasket thingamajig-check, two lamp holders-uh, oh...
    Back to the store.
Also a favorite among proctologists
    Two hours later, I returned with the parts I needed.  And some anti-freeze, Monkey Grip, and something called Crack Filler.
    After pulling my new extension ladder out of the garage, up I went to start wiring in the motion detector.
    Minutes later, after getting up from the ground, I went downstairs to pull the outdoor lighting circuit breaker.
    After several hours of twisting this, wiring that, and filling the air with all sorts of Anglo-Saxon expressions of goodwill, I finally achieved success.
    Restoring power, I ran back and forth under its sensor, making chipmunk sounds for effect.   After noticing the light coming on when called for, I pronounced it a job well done. 

To be continued...

Next: Job well done is relative.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the Season

Sent in from my brother (Phil from the "Once Upon a Time" stories):

Who says Christmas is just for children?
Price per unit or for the pair?

I'm just wondering though:

Would that be from Mrs. Claus?



Yule Log, indeed

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Every One!

So, you go to Walmart, but you're too good for meatloaf?
    In homes across the nation, the giving of thanks will be played out anew (during halftime).  In the true spirit of the holiday, millions of family members will likewise be grilled or have their pumpkin pie withheld.
    This year, though, in a break from tradition, I plan on regaling my family with a list of things I’d be thankful for if they actually happened.
Suck, not blow. It's a figure of speech!
1.  That Michael Phelps gets the munchies so bad, he ends up looking like how that Jared guy from Subway used to look.
2.  My doctor ordered me to eat at Hooters.
3.  My dentist told me flossing was overrated.
4.  My wife thought the Three Stooges were hilarious.
5.  The French thought Jerry Lewis was not.
Yeah, this one.
I can't get the skeevy thing out of my head.
6.  They would take that creepy Halls’ commercial off the air.  You know the one I mean.  That college kid and Mom checking each other out while sucking on cough drops just skeeves me.
(NOTE:  This commercial no longer exists, thank God.  I told you it was a repost.  I’ll switch this for the one where those dumbasses talk their coworker into taking his car to AAMCO). 
7.  My golf and bowling scores were reversed.
8.  Man boobs were considered sexy.
9.  Christmas ads didn’t start on Labor Day weekend.
"Have a nice day!"
"Up yours.  And I say that with love."
10.  Cashiers didn’t insist I “Have a nice day.”  That’s pressure I can do without.
11.  Once, just once, my order at the drive-thru wasn’t hopelessly screwed up.
12.  McDonalds dropped all the coy pretense.  Honestly, what kid would prefer carrots over French Fries?
13.  Speaking of McDonalds, I’d be thankful if the world was devoid of idiots who needed to be reminded, “Caution:  Coffee is hot.”
14.  I had the option of taking a written prostate exam.
15.  Congress would forget to set their alarm clocks.  For the next 50 years.
16.  Michael Moore would just shut the F up.
17.  Halloween wasn’t the “Fall Festival”, Christmas wasn’t the “Winter Festival”, Columbus Day wasn’t the “European Pillage and Rape Festival”, and Hanukkah wasn’t the “Festival of Lights.”  Oh...wait a minute...keep that one.
"I said 'Happy HANNukah!
Now who's up for some dreidel?"
18.  Hannikoh...Chonikuh...Harmonica.  I just wish it was easier to spell.  And, pronouncing it didn’t sound like you had some phlegm thing going on.
19.  Cranberry Sauce was ALWAYS sold in cans with those neat little rings.  I never trusted the looks of the fresh stuff.
20.  They used exploding footballs at Thanksgiving Day games.
21.  Those damn squirrels weren’t plotting against me.

I'll call them Charlie I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VII
22.  That Octo-Mom and Charlie Sheen could have a half-dozen babies together.  Because they’re just so damn cute!
23.  Erectile dysfunction was only seen at construction sites.
(NOTE:  As I re-read this, I’m not even sure what the hell this means).
24.  Donald Duck would just put on a pair of pants.  And, while we’re at it, Mr. Peanut could use a set of britches, too.
25.  Kim Kardashian would just find real love, dammit!
26.  Drinking beer and eating Doritos while watching football was an Olympic sport. 
"Pardon me, darling.
But, could I pass you my penis?
I only have four hours."
27.  If we could stop all those Viagra and Cialis commercials.  Ok, ok, I know, I officially qualify for membership in AARP, but that doesn’t mean I want to see codgers leering at each other.  Speaking of Cialis, I find it funny that the man and woman are in separate bath tubs.  Kinda defeats the purpose, if you ask me.
28.  Size didn’t matter.  I just can’t get a job in the NBA.  Oh, you thought I meant something else?
29.  That, following the death of Qaddafy, there will finally be peace in the Middle East.    
30.  Being politically correct consisted only of knowing:  Elephant-Republican, Donkey-Democrat, Jackass-Al Franken.
31. BONUS SINCERE THANKS-If you made it this far, I'm very thankful for all my followers who...um...made it this far (Thanksgiving 2011).  You make writing all this crap worthwhile.  And I hope we can laugh our way into 2012 (we'll have to read other blogs to make that happen, though). Plus, hang on there, Speed Racer (NOTE: Obscure Japanese animation reference.  HA! HA!), 2011 ain't over yet, either. I still have some Christmas reruns to foist upon you. But, we'll need to get back here by the end of next year.  The Mayans said the world will end then.  Then again, they're all dead.  So, what the hell do they all know?

    That's it for me until probably the first of December (or the last day of November.  Who knows?)  I plan on taking the next several days off to introduce myself to my family.
    Until then, save the drumstick for me!
    God, that so "Folksy Local Evening News"-sorry!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Part II

Anyone else have to pee after that long-ass boat ride?
    Oh, what a day it must have been!
    The brightly colored leaves swirling madly amongst the trees, a chill autumn wind blowing briskly over freshly-harvested fields, and the forest animals bustling crazily about in preparation for winter (NOTE:  No money wasted on that Creative Writing correspondence course, huh?).
    And nobody fighting over the remote.
    So it was in 1621 that Governor Bradford of Plimouth (that’s how they spelled it back then, smart guy) Colony thought it was high time to celebrate a day of thanksgiving.
    Frantically scurrying to find a suitable venue at which to hold their celebration, the Pilgrim fathers were disappointed to learn they were too late; all the good days in October and early November had been reserved months ago for the Pequot/Schwartz wedding reception, the Jamestown “We Were First” Commemoration, and the last of the Mohican family reunions.
    And, wouldn’t you know it, those smarty-pants Canadians with their hockey and wool hats decided to have their own harvest celebration on Columbus Day weekend.  This, despite a fierce ad campaign by the “Sons of the Santa Maria” fraternal organization.   
    Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some rogue Hurons stole their loincloths.  So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast held at the local Moose lodge picnic pavilion (with real moose.  Or, would that be ‘mooses?’  Or ‘meese?’  Sheesh.  English). 
Seriously, people, it's not that hard.
More than one deer is 'deer.'  More than one moose is 'moose.'
Now, can anyone tell me why this dude in the orange vest is butt-pumping me?
    A grateful people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet.  After all, the tribe was essential to their gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets. 
"Eels, Sleeps With Raccoons? Really?
Couldn't just make a simple green bean casserole
like a normal person, could you?"
    Imagine what would have happened had Squanto not taught the Pilgrims to plant dead fish with their corn (“Behold, I bring you the gift of maize!  As long as you don’t mind the smell of dead fish”). 
    Prior to that, they just stuck them in their trousers.
    Plus, the tribe brought the eel pies.  Hmmmmmm....eel.
After dinner, Mrs. Baker's 2nd grade class
handed out smallpox-riddled blankets to
their unfortunate classmates dressed as Indians.
    Many customs today hearken back to this coming together of disparate peoples.  The feast, the fellowship, two-hand touch game of lacrosse after supper, and everyone falling asleep in front of the fire while the women cleaned up all laid the foundation of that which identifies us as a nation.
And just for that, no Thanksgiving.
Or the Super Bowl, NASCAR, and the X-Factor.
What, you people started that?  Nuts!
But, American Idol is ours. Crap, that's yours, too?
All right, then, we'll take The Office.
    NOTE:  By us, I mean the United States.  Canada, you have your own Thanksgiving.  England, you coulda had a piece of this, but noooooooooo.  Everyone else, hey we’ve got Thanksgiving and Jessica Alba.  Well, and Mel Gibson because Australia gave him back.  Thanks, mates.
    Luckily, some aspects of that first thanksgiving have not survived.  For instance, few people realize that, while turkey was indeed one of the dishes, the main course consisted primarily of venison, cod, squirrels, and SPAM. 
    And, as much fun as scalping captive fur trappers from New France was, I don’t think it would go over that big today.  Then again, they were French.    
Thankful he only lasted four years
    Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured throughout peace, war, and the Carter Administration.  No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day:  putting relatives on the spot to state what they’re thankful for (or ‘that for which they are thankful.’  Happy now, grammar snobs?).  If they didn’t come clean, they wouldn’t be allowed to eat food they wouldn’t normally eat any other time of year (think ‘eels’).

To be concluded...

Next:  We give thanks.  Mostly, thank God this post is almost over.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today's Vocabulary

Nutcracker:  1. (n) Newest event for the 2016 Olympics-Male Balance Beam
"Aw, F!!! I knew I shouldn't have made that bet
that Chastity Bono wouldn't go through with it."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cars II

    While trying to come up with an idea today, I read my last post, Cars, inspired by Dawn at Lighten Up!
Making the Amish look like
the Rolling Stones
    NOTE:  We now pause for a bit of indignant outrage.  Have you paid Dawn a call?  If so, thank you!  If not, why not?  Is it because you haven’t gotten around to it?  Is it because you think you’re too good to visit a blog written by someone from Iowa, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, or one of those places south of Canada, north of Mexico, west of Pennsylvania, and east of those deserts you see in John Ford movies and disaster specials on the History Channel?  Hey, the good folks from “the middle” have much more to talk about than corn, you know.  Like wheat.  Or is it because you think that Penwasser Place is just too damn good to leave?  Well...uh...all right, then.  Carry on.
Sure, it had Chevy Chase.
But, Jackie Mason?  Really??
    Anyway, I saw that my list of vehicles lacked some details.  Sure, you know what happened with my first car.  But, what about my 1983 Sentra?  I’ll just bet you don’t care know.
    So, I decided to reward you with particulars you so richly deserve-and give me some more mileage from an idea I’ve already covered (hey, it worked for Caddyshack II.  Oh, wait a minute.  No, it didn’t).
    After all, you took the trouble of visiting.

1978 Monza
Maybe you can buff that out?
OK, this isn't my car. But, it is upside down.
And in a ditch.
What you know:  I totaled it coming home from a latenight run to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
What you didn’t know:  I was with two other guys from my ship.  I didn’t tell you this because it sounded kinda gay.  Which is wasn’t.  Just pitiful and sad.
Bonus quote:  “Just a couple, officer.”

1980 Monza
What you know:  Mrs. Penwasser #1 got it in the divorce.  And it blew up (the car, not the divorce).
What you didn’t know:  Didn’t get laid in this car, either.
1983 Sentra
What you know:  Had a bad headlight.  And it had a standard transmission which I didn’t know how to drive.
What you didn’t know (but, maybe you did):  I got this in the divorce.  Which is kinda ironic.  Sold it for $1,000 because I thought I was going to get a new car.
Bonus quote:  “A new car?  Are you frikkin’ nuts?”
1984 Camaro
What you know:  Blonde hair, big boobs.  Sold the car in Maine.  Kept the boobs.  Mine and hers.
What you didn’t know:  Can’t say because I’m still married to her.
1988 Ranger
And it was driven by a giant, too.
What you know:  It didn’t have an extended cab.
What you didn’t know:  It got hit by a snowplow while parked in front of my sister’s house.  Which was funny, because it was August.

1991 Camry
Like the French French.
Only without the culture, pastries,
and the German Army.
What you know:  My son tried to eat it.
What you didn’t know:  Who cares?  Although we took it to Quebec.  Saw a lot of French people there.  Traded it in for...
1992 Mazda MPV
What you know:  The beginning of my “Mini-Van” stage.
What you didn’t know:  The beginning of my “Testicles in a Jar” stage (remember: Mini-Van).  Traded it in a few years later for another Mini-Van.
1995 Explorer
What you know:  It was an SUV.
What you didn’t know:  Wow, now that I think about it, there really isn’t all that much interesting to say about it.
2000 Quest
What you know:  Still another van.
What you didn’t know:  Testicles remained in the jar.  We donated it to the Purple Heart for some beads, blankets, and whiskey.
"Hey, Al, can I borrow the car?
 I need to pick up some smokes."
2005 Subaru/2005 Dakota
What you know:  we still own them
What you don’t know:  The Subaru is haunted by Japanese ghosts.
2000 Cavalier/2003 Sentra
What you know:  Even though they're the kids’ cars, we still own them, too (the cars not the kids.  Golly, does that joke ever get old?).
What you don’t know:  They’re my kids’ cars.  I don’t think I even want to know.

    Well, there you have it, two posts for the price of one.  Don’t worry, though, I didn’t strain myself writing this.  After all, I want to keep myself fresh for the upcoming week.
    When I’ll treat you to my three-part Thanksgiving extravaganza!!
    Which, come to think of it, is a repost.
    Oh, well, it’s probably better than another “Today’s Vocabulary.”
    Or a “Tying My Shoe” picture.
    Maybe next time.
    I’ve got things to do, you know.  The Mentalist is on. 
He's actually English. Which is pretty darn nice of England.
Considering we sent them Madonna.

Monday, November 14, 2011


NOTE:   NOT Toto.
    No, I don’t mean the rock group.  Although I do like Hold the Line.  It’s a catchy little tune with great guitar riffs which....uh, what’s that?  Toto sang that song?  Aw...crap.
    Well, Just What I Needed is okay, too.  If you’re a chick.
    Actually, this post is inspired by Dawn’s latest from Lighten Up! (NOTE:  As of this writing, it’s still her latest.  If it’s not, then you’ll just have to select “Older Post” to read it.  Geez, do I have to do everything?). 
    Dawn told us about the time she owned a Ford Ranger pickup truck.  You should check it out.  After you read this, though.  I don't want you to read Lighten Up! and never come back ("Golly, that Penwasser dude sucks!").
    It made me think of all the cars I’ve owned before (NOTE:  Willie Nelson's first choice for a song title.  Google it to get the joke).  Thinking that Dawn would care, I listed each one of them just in case someone showed up at her door, with a “Life of Al Penwasser” quiz in their hand. 
    Don’t laugh, it could happen.  Yeah, and Chaz Bono could model skinny jeans on QVC.  Okay, I get it.  Probably nobody cares what cars I’ve owned.
    Still, I thought my list of cars would stand on its own at Penwasser Place, the funniest thing this side of a prostate exam.  At first, I was concerned that I was “piling on” (aka “ripping off”) Dawn’s idea.  Then, I realized that, quite often, what we thought was original was actually inspired by something just as wonderful. 
    After all, we can thank an amusement park ride for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Civil War for Gone With the Wind, Goldie Hawn for Kate Hudson, and Happy Days for Joanie Loves Chachi.
    Okay, so maybe it doesn’t work out all the time.
    Anyway, I’ve listed them all here.   Dawn:  if you’d like to give this a pass since you’ve seen it before, I understand.  Seriously, though, if you’ve gotten this far, you may as well finish.  After all, I’ve included pictures (WARNING:  One of them is of me with my shirt off, so you may not want to eat just yet.  I’m just sayin’...).    
Looked much different upside-down
in a North Carolina ditch
1978 Chevy Monza:  I totaled it during an ill-advised post-midnight run to the Outer Banks.  Sadly, my Snoopy “Joe Cool” air freshener did not survive.

Because nothing screams the 70s like knee socks, cut-off shorts,
aviator sunglasses, blue sneakers, and a keffiyeh before it was
politically incorrect to wear one.
Oh, yeah.  The car's behind me.
NOTE:  Check out the chest and belly hair implants.

1980 Chevy Monza:  What do you mean it's the same kind of car? No way. It was a different shade of brown.  Mrs. Penwasser #1 (aka “Bug-Eyed Ugly Woman”) got it in the divorce settlement.  The engine blew up six months after we split up.  Karma (or should that be...CARma?  I know, I crack myself up).

This one really wasn't my fault, officer.
1983 Nissan Sentra:  Japanese.  Engine didn't blow up, but dinosaurs kept following me.  Since it had a manual transmission and I didn’t know how to drive a stick, it made the test drive an adventure.  Plus, it didn’t have air-conditioning and we lived in Virginia.  Didn’t really think that one through.

Hot blonde with blue eyes
and big boobs extra.
1984 Chevy Camaro:  Well, technically it wasn't mine.  It was my girlfriend's, but it was one of the things which attracted me to the woman who became Mrs. Penwasser II (the other two were her boobs).  Had to sell it when we moved to Maine.  Didn't like the snow.  Or the seafood (I know, that doesn't make any sense to me, either).

I think I'm the only idiot who bought a Ranger
without an extended cab.
1988 Ford Ranger!  Yep, I owned one, too.  Little man in a little truck.  Didn't have a back seat, though.  Which became a drag after Mrs. Penwasser and I reproduced.

My son hated the car so much he tried to eat it.
Or maybe I should have fed him that morning.
1991 Toyota Camry: Took it to Quebec. Sold it the next year.  I don't think the two were related.

Yep, it was cool to be me.
1992 Mazda MPV:  Had a rotary engine.  I think.  Or maybe not. Who the F knows?  Suffice to say I had now entered the "Mini-Van" stage.  Chicks no longer dug me (NOTE:  It’s a fiction I held that they ever did).

Screw the planet.  It had cruise control.
1998 Ford Explorer:  To make up for the fact that Mrs. Penwasser sold the Ranger while I was at sea, she bought me this cool vehicle.  Since it was an SUV, I guess I was now destroying the planet.  I started receiving hate mail from Al Gore.
How To Tell Who the Americans Were in Iceland:
Gas cans (aka: "bombs") on top of their cars.

2000 Nissan Quest:  Another Japanese car!  Another mini-van!  We took this one to Iceland.  It came back with us.  We got a dog, too (these two events aren't related, either).

It's still not paid for.  Be kind.
2005 Subaru Forester:  As the kids have gotten older, we've started to downscale our mini-van purchases.  This was our first used-car and we really like it.  But, the ghosts from the previous owners really creep us out when they want to drive.
Wait...are those boots under the right front tire??  Uh, oh.
2005 Dodge Dakota:  Little Man in a Bigger Truck.  No, I'm not compensating for anything.  Much.

The next two are my kids' cars.  Despite that, I still own them (the cars, not the kids).
The difference between this Sentra and my old Sentra?
It still runs and it has both headlights.

2003 Nissan Sentra:  The "ghetto sled", this car has well over a 100K miles on it.  But, it runs like a top.
That's what I'm talking about.
2000 Chevy Cavalier:  This also has well over a 100K miles on it.  It's an American car so you can guess how well this runs.

    Since I’m still relatively young (compared to the pyramids and Joan Rivers), I’m sure my car-buying days aren’t over.  I’m confident that, before everything is said and done (and I’m eating nothing but soft foods), I’ll be updating this list.
    Who knows?  We may have flying cars by then.
    I just hope there’s room for my new Snoopy “Joe Cool” air freshener.

   Epilogue:  I’d like to thank Dawn and the internet.  Without them, I wouldn’t have been inspired to bore you with the cars I’ve owned.  And I wouldn’t have known that the Cars also sang I Like the Nightlife, Baby.
You're welcome, Al!
Thanks for getting rid of that Explorer, too!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well, Whaddayaknow?

  I don't normally post "single-shot" frames.  That modus operandi (NOTE: Latin for "Way of Doing Crap") is normally done in hilarious fashion by my good friend who I haven't met, Dr. Heckle.  If you haven't checked his site out, do yourself a favor and do so now.  Really.  His stuff is really funny and a quick read.  You'll be in and out before you know it, I promise.  It's a lot like me and Mrs. Penwasser that way.  In fact, sometimes I can "seal the deal" before she falls asleep.
  So, go ahead, I'll wait......
  Everyone back?  Good.
  The good Doctor Heckle (if that's his real name.  But, that's okay.  It's not like Al Penwasser is my real name) has a real talent for spotting the mundane and turning it into something that will leave you chuckling to yourself, commenting, "Really, that small?"...oh, crap, that's what Mrs. Penwasser #1 said on our wedding night.
  Well, let's put it this way:  you'll laugh so hard, your sides will ache, your heart will go pitter-pat (anyone know from which cartoon I stole that line?).

  Okay, where was I?  Oh, yeah, this is about me.  And bathroom tissue.

  Apparently, bears do shit in the woods.

Really, Dr. Heckle is better.