|"Hey, wait a minute, something's not right. Aren't I supposed to be on The King of Queens now? And when did I get breasts?"|
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
NOTE: This is a repost. But, it's a repost with a few new pictures. And maybe a couple new jokes. Basically, it's a warmed over Thanksgiving feast. If you haven't read it already, it's new to you. If you have read it, I hope you like the new stuff. If you've read it already, but can't remember that you did, congratulations. The Republican Party has a spot for you.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It’s the first of the year-end celebrations, the others being Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. And, by New Years, I mean New Years Eve. January 1st is really only meant for watching college football and making resolutions to not act like a jackass at the next New Years Eve party.
Provided you even get invited back.
You could make the case that Veterans Day kicks it off. But, as evidenced by the dismal ratings of the short-lived It’s the War to End All Wars, Charlie Brown special, the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month just doesn’t make for a merry start of the holiday season.
So, it’s really the 4th Thursday of November which gets the festivities rolling (hey, it’s easier than trying to figure out when the frik Easter is).
After all, what evokes the holiday spirit more than getting trampled at Wal-Mart by frenzied harpies in bathrobes and curlers on Black Friday?
|Proclaimed a federal holiday |
in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.
Not surprisingly, the Confederacy said,
"Ya'll can take your Yankee Holiday and shove it."
Which was a shame. Because they
were supposed to bring the sweet potato souffle.
Oh, sure, even though there are parades, football games, and enough food to sink the Mayflower, Thanksgiving is thankfully (pardon the pun) devoid of the commercialism of Christmas and the bacchanalian excess of New Year’s Eve.
|On December 26, 1941, signed a resolution |
from the last Thursday in November to the fourth.
"Hey, get off my ass, it's all I had time to do.
There's a frikkin' war going on, you know."
No, it’s a calming prelude to the mania which paralyzes every December. It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve been given.
As the day draws nearer, I think back to that very first day of thanks held almost four hundred years ago...
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.
And nobody fighting over the remote.
|"Hey, does anyone else |
have to pee after that long ass boat ride?"
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.
Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some Hurons stole their loincloths. So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast at the local Elks Lodge picnic pavilion (with real elk).
A deeply devout people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “Godless heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet. After all, the tribe was essential to gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets.
|"Behold, for 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.
|"Seriously, Sleeps With Chickens? Eels?? |
Couldn't bring a French Bean casserole
like a normal person, could ya?"
Many customs today hearken back to this coming together: the feast, the fellowship, the two-hand touch lacrosse game after supper, and the men falling asleep in front of the fire with their hands down their pants while the women cleaned up all laid the foundation of our nation.
|"Okay, then, we get to keep Thanksgiving. |
And NASCAR, the Super Bowl,
All-You-Can-Eat hot dog contests,
stuffed crust pizzas, Madonna....hey!!!!
Didn't we give her to you? Ohhh, crap."
Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured through peace, war, and disco. No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day: putting relatives on the spot to state that for which they were thankful.
In homes across the nation, this scene will be played out anew during halftime. In the true spirit of the holiday, millions of family members will likewise be grilled.
This year, though, in addition to joyful thanks for family, friends, and the feelings of warmth which come from both, one will resonate above all:
That Great-Aunt Mildred was able to buy the last case of Twinkies from that guy in the back of his van at the Stop N Shop.
Because the alternative was the Eel Pies.
And I don’t care how much Cool Whip you put on them, they’re still eels.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
For those of you who read Just Be Thankful You're Not Having Eel Pies, my humble apologies. As I warned, I was planning on regurgitating some posts for the next few weeks while I demolish my living quarters.
In an effort to rerun my take on Thanksgiving from last year, I tried something different (NOTE: When I see the results of trying something "different," I worry about my home repair endeavors). I thought I had copied my post from 2011 (and 2010...you get the picture) and was planning on returning to it sometime tonight to polish it up a little.
Little did I know it posted while I was at work. This prompted a curious Powdered Toast Man to wonder what the hell kind of ending I was trying to pawn off on you, my faithful followers.
Let me assure you, I try to take great care here at Penwasser Place. At no time will I attempt something willy-nilly, herky-jerky, righty-tightey, or crappy-lappy (ok, I made that last one up. But...I think it fits here).
Believe it or not, I read my posts several times to make sure I get it wright.
NOTE: Yeah, I did that on porpoise.
So, I deleted that post and will try to give you something a little better. I'll probably include parts of Just Be Thankful... because I'm still pretty
And it ain't eel.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Which I sincerely hope doesn't result in a Home Repair Hiatal Hernia.
|Hmm...for some reason, I thought a hernia involved the testicles. |
And a diaphragm had something to do with birth control.
|Probably not a good idea to stand downwind |
when you're using spray paint.
Mrs. Penwasser has me confused with someone named “Trump” (without the bad hair). She apparently thinks we have a ton of money. As a result, we’ve donated thousands of dollars to our local home improvement superstore (does it really matter which one?) to finance a number of projects this fall: paint the garage, install a new vanity and ceramic tile floor in the bathroom, and completely renovate the kitchen.
A lot of the work will be done by contractors (aka “people with skills”) because I would totally F things up. However, we’ll (and by “we’ll,” I mean “I”) be tackling a lot of the tasks ourselves to save a little money to, you know, eat.
What this means is that, what would take a rhesus monkey a week, will probably take me into 2013 to finish.
NOTE: Unless the Mayans are proved right. Then all bets are off. Bottom line, who gives a crap about a new toilet if the world ends?
NOTE, PART DOS: Please note that I used “crap,” “toilet,” and “end” in the same sentence. Aren’t I the clever dickens?
NOTE, PART TRES: Hee...hee...hee. I said “DICKens.”
Because of this, I won’t be on Blogger nearly as much as I’d like. Somehow, I think Mrs. Penwasser would look askance at me telling penis jokes when I should be laying tile (which would be painful. Hey, I made a funny).
|"Oh, yeah? |
Well, you try writing anything
with a bullet in your head."
I’ll do my very best to read your posts and give you a witty comment (because isn’t that why we all post? To receive vindication of our writing by complete strangers?).
I won’t disappear. But, like winning seasons by the New York Jets, you won’t see a lot of me.
And that may be a good thing.
Don’t worry, though. Like herpes, I’ll be back.
Oh, that’s an unfortunate phrase. How’s this, instead:
Wish me luck.
|"So, it doesn't have anything to do with my nuts? |
Whew, well thank God for that.
Still, I'll bet it hurts like a bitch."
Friday, November 16, 2012
Mal Penwasser died two years ago today.
Finally succumbing to a lifetime of bad habits, he lived to 76, which isn’t all that bad. If nothing else, he surpassed the average life expectancy of a man in the Middle Ages.
It may have been diabetes, a heart condition, or the combined effects of “morbid obesity” (as I later learned was the official cause of death) which did him in.
I really don’t know.
You see, my brothers, sister, and I hadn’t spoken to him since 1995. Although I remember the general cause of our estrangement, the specific details had disappeared over the last fifteen years. What made it even sadder is that, in the intervening years, my father had three more grandchildren whom he would never meet.
As I watched the calendar turn over and assorted parts of my body stretch to the floor, I knew the clock was ticking on Mal just like the rest of us. I wondered how I’d react when I learned he had finally passed. Even though my siblings and I joked that the only way we would find out would be via the Social Security Death Index, I was still curious.
Would I be sad?
I got my answer on November 17th, 2010 when the funeral director in the town in which he lived called. As she told me that I was now an orphan (Mom had gone at the criminally young age of 44 in 1983), I just answered, “Huh.”
As in, “Huh, well, whaddya know?”
Hanging up the phone, I wasn’t overwhelmed (or even “whelmed”) with grief. Instead, I kept going back to “Huh.”
In phone calls with my family, we all pretty much had the same reaction. Neither poignant reflections nor melancholy.
The more I thought about it, though, I started to grow a little morose. I’m sad that wrongs (or perceived wrongs) can never be righted. A father and grandfather will never be a part of a family who rejoices in each other, warts and all.
All because of pigheaded stubbornness.
Instead, a sad, bitter man was cremated alone, his ashes then spread over Long Island Sound.
As I consider our family tragedy, I made a vow to myself.
When I pass on to whatever awaits me (I just hope God isn’t French. If so, I'll have a real problem), I swear I'll do whatever I can to ensure my son and daughter are by my side.
And they’ll never have a reason to say, “Huh.”
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Okay, this is a repost of a repost. But...I think it’s an important repost. As opposed to what you’ll see on Thanksgiving. And don’t get me started on what I’ll throw your way in December. I’ll have chocolate marshmallow snowmen to eat then. And you'll expect new stuff?
Happy Veterans Day!
I know most of you are expecting my typical wise-guy approach (for those of who aren’t, what have you been reading?). Most of the time I oblige because there’s a lot of the ludicrous in our lives (if you think I’m wrong, just remember: Snooki).
This one time, though, no wisecracks, no innuendos, no witty asides. In a break from my usual “shtick,” I’m going to play it straight and briefly speak on the significance of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
On November 11th, 1918, the Germans surrendered to the Allied powers in the Forest of Compiegne, ending what was then known as the Great War. Little did they know there would be a sequel nearly 21 years later.
But that’s another story.
The following November, President Woodrow Wilson declared that “Armistice Day” would henceforth be observed in honor of those who had fallen during the “war to end all wars” (kinda dropped the ball with THAT one, didn’t we?).
Following the Second World War (the “good” war, an oxymoron if I ever heard one), the town of Emporia, Kansas changed “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day. The idea was to honor everyone who had served in the armed forces rather than only those who’d fought against the Kaiser.
As the years went by, the idea of setting a special day aside for veterans took hold throughout the nation. In 1954, Congress made the name change official while President Eisenhower called on all Americans to observe the day. But, surprisingly, it took until 1971 for Richard Nixon to declare it a federal holiday.
In the years since, it’s become little more than an excuse to hold blowout sales on everything from bed linen to used cars (“Buy this Chevy because Patton would have wanted you to.”). Ceremonies marking the day have been lost in the madcap frenzy of pre-Christmas commercialism. In fact, what was once a universal day off has turned into pretty much a “federal government employees only” respite.
I don’t have a problem with this, per se, if it was still recognized for the solemn event that it is. After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your pajamas while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about. While at work last November 11th, I was flabbergasted when the morning announcements proclaimed Veterans Day merely as a “day to recognize older people who had a lot of experience.”
What!? Now, I don’t wish to denigrate Grandpa’s fly-fishing prowess and, boy howdy, ain’t it cool that Great-Aunt Tilly can knit a quilt with her feet, but c’mon! Since when is bowling a perfect game the same as convoy duty in Afghanistan? Quick answer-it’s not.
As a result, I spent the balance of the day quizzing my coworkers on whether they knew what put the “veteran” in Veterans Day. Sadly, I was depressed by their appalling lack of knowledge, as very few of them actually understood what all the fuss was about. But, you can bet your bottom dollar they knew who the frontrunners were on “The Amazing Race.”
Shocking as it was, I know they weren’t the only ones who had no clue that the 11th of November was different than any other day. It goes without saying there’s a need to set a few things straight.
So, I call on all of us who know better to teach others about Veterans Day. Urge those around you to take a moment to remember our veterans and those who are still in harm’s way.
You don’t have to go to a flag-raising ceremony, attend a parade, or even buy one of those “Buddy Poppies” (although I do, because I enjoy talking to those guys). You don’t have to agree on this war or that war and you certainly don’t have to watch The Sands of Iwo Jima at attention.
If nothing else, reflect on the service of all those who have worn, and continue to wear, our nation’s uniform. From Lexington to Kabul, they deserve our respect and our thanks.
As a veteran myself, I salute them all.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Matthew, you said you'd like a picture of a chimp smoking a cigar. Well, here ya go:
But, now that I think of it...while funny, this is kind of sad and exploitive.
So, how about a baboon smoking a cigar, instead?
FULL DISCLOSURE: I like Rush Limbaugh. But, I like comedy more. And this was too good to pass up.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Mina Lobo, from Some Dark Romantic, in celebration of her 1st year of blogging, is hosting a Resurrection Blogfest (which, I would think, goes a long way towards explaining what that creepy badge to the right is-and you thought it was Keith Richards). For this competition, those who agreed to participate agreed (damn! couldn't think of a synonym for 'agreed') to repost something from our first year of blogging.
I selected "Is It Art?" from December, 2009. After I saw the comments, I noticed that even Sherilin didn't read it. And, after a cursory glance at my posts, I didn't think I reposted it ever.
As I re-read this offering, I've seen that my style has undergone some changes. First, even though I used pictures, I didn't caption them. So, even though I really enjoy doing that, I resisted the urge to put them in. Neither did I edit it because I wanted it to appear as it was three years ago.
Finally, and most importantly, IT IS BEASTLY LONG (that's what she said). From personal experience, I know that short posts are the best. So, I apologize for its length (that's what he said).
To make up for it, I've rescheduled tomorrow's "Facebook Funnies" for Saturday.
Okay, I'll stop blathering on and on now. You have a lot of reading to do.
Scanning the newspapers recently, I’ve noticed a most unusual art exhibit is once more making the rounds.
Touted as a cutting edge celebration of the human condition, it consists of skinned human bodies (oh, did I mention they were dead?) frozen in various activities such as dribbling basketballs, riding bicycles, or juggling pizzas. To prevent them from stinking like French longshoremen, they’ve been injected with some sort of Super Glue resin to keep them as stiff as Al Gore at the Senior Prom.
The whole shebang is the brainchild of a German scientist (insert inevitable, tasteless joke here).
Even though it strikes me as something of a freak show, it does a pretty good job of showing us what we actually look like on the inside (um, that would be pretty yucky).
But, is it art?
Fine art has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Whether it’s an impressionist rendering of man’s inhumanity to circus peanuts or a Flintstones jelly glass, most art to me looks like it belongs in the Monkey Flings Poo genre.
poker. Or anything with Elvis on it. Now, those I like!
I’ve visited a buttload (caution: not to be confused with the eminently larger “shitload”) of museums in my day from the finest New York galleries to what you generally find scrawled on bathroom walls. I distinctly remember my first such experience. There I stood, transfixed by what was before me, lost in deep thought. Pompously stroking my chin, I waxed eloquent to fellow museum mavens on what creative message the artist was trying to convey with his bold, dynamic blend of colors juxtaposed against the tragedies of our daily lives.
Until I realized I was looking at a “CAUTION-Piso Mojado-Wet Floor” sign.
Since then, I’ve learned it’s better to just keep my mouth shut.
It’s not just paintings, either. Unless it’s a Greek or Roman statue (identified primarily by missing arms or genitalia), most sculptures to me look like something a kid whipped up with his Play-Doh Fun Factory.
Take THIS ball of clay, smash it into another, differently-colored ball of clay, toss it into an oven and-voila!-we have the Creation of Man. Or Oprah.
Even the masters leave me cold: Whistler’s Mother (Get a good TV), The Thinker (I’M thinking he should put some clothes on), Michelangelo’s David (I feel sooooo inadequate), The Last Supper (Separate checks?), and ANYTHING by Picasso (“Hey, didja get the license plate of the truck that hit ya?”) cause me to look at them and gasp, “Huh?”
OK, maybe I’m not the most sophisticated guy. To me, one of those velvet sad clown paintings, a Beers of the World jigsaw puzzle, or a statue of the Virgin Mary made of elbow macaroni are mucho classy.
Several years ago, I took a trip to Paris with some friends. The City of Lights was nothing like I expected. Clean and well-organized, its citizens were as friendly as can be (oops, sorry-that’s Epcot).
Actually, though, we were treated extremely well, despite the sneezing powder in our escargot and the Jerry Lewis Marathon on the hotel TV. At any rate, we were treated better than we probably deserved, given our propensity to amuse the unamuseable (CAUTION: NOT a real word) with our Pepe Le Pew impressions and our complaints of “You call THIS French Toast!?”
While there, we did all the goofy things tourists are supposed to do: gawk at the Eiffel Tower, marvel at the Arc d’Triomphe, sashay (or is that mosey?) down the Champs Elysee, and take in a show at the Moulin Rouge (YOU know what type of show I mean).
After nearly a week of carousing around the city, we grew tired of idling away in tourist traps and cheesy trinket shops-“Hey look! A statue of Napoleon made of butter!” Drawing upon the cultural aspect of our natures, we thought it would be a good idea to stroll through the Louvre.
Even though my distaste for artsy stuff was well-known, I still thought I should give the most famous museum in the world a try. What could it hurt?
Plus, I might get to see some dinosaur bones or a mummy. Cool.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t allotted enough time to adequately tour the joint, as it is truly the mother of all museums. We were practically forced to run through each of the galleries and didn’t even have time to see any caveman exhibits.
Despite the seemingly endless assortment of objects d’arte, we were dead set on viewing DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, the Louvre’s biggest draw.
Like a pack of bloodhounds fixed on the scent of a fleeing bank robber, we dashed through the museum, stopping only scant seconds to view anything which remotely caught our eye.
Thank goodness there were signs leading us to our destination because, without them, we would have gotten hopelessly lost. Still, I’d really like to catch that joker who swapped some of the signs around. We wasted a half hour in the Men’s Room trying to find which stall was hiding the Mona Lisa.
Finally, as we smacked into the back of a huge queue (Fun with English Tip: a snooty, ten dollar word for “line”), we knew we’d arrived at our destination. Somewhere up ahead was arguably the most famous painting in the world. Even I was moved by the experience as we prepared to view history.
As we drew up to the head of the line, though, we couldn’t help but feel disillusioned. Rather than some huge production or jaw-dropping masterpiece, our Holy Grail came across as a bust (which, incidentally, can also be a ‘sculpture’ for you art aficionados. It’s also a much more sophisticated term for boobs.).
Not much bigger than a postage stamp, the Mona Lisa was safely segregated from the crowd by Plexiglas and looked no more impressive than some kid’s paint-by-numbers set. We felt that all the hype amounted to little more than a P.T. Barnum sham.
Of course, we took the obligatory photographs, if for nothing else than to prove to our families we actually did more in Paris than drink cheap wine and wolf down cheese which smelled like feet.
Once done, we proceeded to look for an exit, our thirst for culture dashed and our feet weary from our madcap race through the labyrinth which is the Louvre.
Shuffling into a huge gallery, we were startled by the many tapestries covering the walls. An ancient smell of must hung in the air. We knew we were in the presence of masterpieces which were several hundred years old.
One tapestry, in particular, held our interest. Despite being dulled from the passage of centuries, it excited our senses through its riotous display of colors and imaginative themes.
Depicting the pomp and majesty of a king holding court, the tapestry illustrated dozens of courtiers (strangely, NONE of whom wore pants-except the king) and their ladies paying homage to their noble sovereign. Interestingly enough, it also showed quite a few animals cavorting about with each other and half-men/half-goats chasing chickens.
The thing was massive, as it fully covered an entire wall. At a good ten by twenty yards, we knew it would never hang in somebody’s trailer or rec room.
Craning our necks to the ceiling in an effort to take in its full scope, we felt our visit to the Louvre was vindicated by this wonderful expression of some unknown artist’s muse. We each stood, enthralled, knowing we were in the presence of something larger than ourselves.
My awed concentration was quietly broken by one of my companions. In one brief instant, he gave voice to a heartfelt sentiment. A sentiment which shook me out of my revelry and brought me back to the role for which I am best suited: Art Non-Snob. A sentiment I identified as my own.
“Gee, I wonder if you buy a couch to match it or buy it to match your couch?”
Or your collection of plastic dead guys?
Epilogue: I hope you had time to catch your breath. Good golly, I was verbose back then! Now I are no make posts with am verb absence, yes, but short. Before I forget, Mina asked for my email. So, here you are, Mina: firstname.lastname@example.org
But, if you going to send me something, I already have lots of pictures of chimps smoking cigars.