Monday, October 31, 2016

A Halloween Tale

    So this is a repost.  But, it's a repost from 2014, not last year. Meaning, I was even too lazy to inflict leftovers on you in 2015.  Still, it's one of the favorite stories in my family.  
    Besides, I don't have time to write anything new.  I've got candy to pass out.  Or eat.  Probably eat.    Okay, definitely eat.

NOTE:  As you can tell by the following, I have repeated this in the past.  Who knows how long it's been since I wrote the stupid thing? Just keep those royalties flying in.*

Even though this is another dreadful repost, it's my favorite Halloween story.  One of the advantages of growing up in my family is that I have plenty of stories to tell.  While this is not a "growing up" story, it does involve them.  

I promise you, this is 99% true.  


    The young wife pulled her sweater tight as a sudden gust whipped a handful of dead leaves past her ankles.  Sure was starting to get cold, she thought.

    Glancing down at the half-empty candy jar at her feet, she was thankful she’d bought enough goodies for the hordes of trick-or-treaters which continued to rampage through her neighborhood. 

    With only an hour to go, she breathed a sigh of relief.  At least she wouldn’t have to break into last year’s stash of petrified candy corn.  Or, worse, the spare change lodged in the back of the sofa.

    In a pinch, she wondered whether she’d be able to get away with handing out those ketchup packets stashed in the cupboard over the stove.    

    For some reason, she doubted the kids would buy her assurances that ketchup was “nature’s candy.”

    So, mercifully, her house would be spared the ravages wrought by pint-sized wrecking crews denied their sugar fixes.

    With a break in the action, she picked up a Fun-Size Milky Way bar.  No, check that.  TWO fun-size Milky Ways-more fun that way.  With a weary sigh and mouth full of chocolaty goodness, she plopped into the chair set by her open door.

    No sooner had she sat down then four miniature super heroes-Batman, Spiderman, and the unfortunately-named Captain Incontinence and his sidekick, Wet Nap Boy, came trooping up her driveway.

    Quickly hiding the empty candy wrappers in the pocket of her sweater, she stood to welcome her visitors.  They looked harmless enough, even the one kid-Captain Incontinence?-who held his trousers up with one hand while dragging a sack full of tooth decay with the other.

    Greeted by a cheery chorus of “Trick or Treats,” she smiled, extending the candy jar to the tiny defenders of truth, justice, the American way, and proper hygiene.

    Their needs sated, the junior crime fighters excitedly scampered towards her neighbor’s house.  Relieved her home continued to be spared, she noticed a lone figure standing at the end of her driveway.

    Her visitor was fairly large.  She figured he was one of those kids from the middle school-the kind who refused to let go of his childhood.  Usually those kids just grabbed a pillowcase and headed door-to-door, their menace masked only by a surly, “I’m an egg-thrower” when asked what their costume was.

    This kid was dressed up, though, but he gave her the willies.  He was sporting blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, which were innocuous enough.  But, what really creeped her out was that hockey mask he wore and...was that a knife in his right hand?  He looked just like that...Freddy?  Michael?  No, he looked like Jason!  Yeeks!

    With a trembling hand, she presented the jar to the motionless figure.  “Hey, there.  Do you want some candy?” 

    No answer.

    Hmm, she thought, not too crazy about this.  Why doesn’t he just toss a couple rolls of toilet paper in my trees and be done with it?

    She closed her door, frantically trying to figure out what to do.

    At that moment, her husband’s car pulled into the driveway.

    “Oh, look,” he thought as he parked, “one of those Halloween trick-or-treaters.  Kinda big, though.”

    He got out of his car and cheerfully called out to the kid, “Hey, howzit goin’?”


    “That’s weird,” he thought.

    Quickly turning his back, he entered the side-door and saw his wife.  She looked a little freaked-out.  “Hey, you see that nut out there?  What’s going on?”

    Wide-eyed, she shrugged her shoulders and whispered, “You got me.  He’s just been standing there for the past ten minutes. didn’t see if he had a knife or anything, did you?”

    His eyes went wide and he stepped to the closed door.  Glancing through the curtains, he said, “Yeah, sure looks like one.  Man, I don’t like this.  I’m turning off the outside light.”

    Casting the porch in darkness, he motioned for her to join him.  Together, they peered at the motionless form bathed in the yellow light of the streetlamp.

    “Maybe he’ll get the idea we’re done for the night,” she hoped.

    “Yeah, I-hey!  He’s starting to walk this way.”

    His wife shrieked.  Clapping her hands to the side of her head, she dropped to the kitchen floor.  “Oh, my God!  What’re we going to do!?”

    He joined her.  “I don’t know.  I’d better call the cops!”

    They heard shuffling footsteps as their visitor scraped along the loose rocks of their driveway.

    Starting to lose it, she begged, “No, don’t leave me!”

    Her husband scrambled on his knees to the kitchen island.  Maybe he’d find a knife or....ladle!!??  What the-that won’t do!  He kept rifling through the drawer.  Cheese grater...potato peeler...garlic press...ah, here was a knife!

    As he turned toward his almost-catatonic wife, he heard the footsteps suddenly stop.

    And the doorbell ring.

    The two of them inched their way to the window and gingerly peeked through the bottom of the curtain.

    They heard low snickers of laughter behind a hockey mask which bounced up and down.

    Standing bolt upright, the husband flung open the door and shouted, “You idiot!  You gave us both heart attacks!”

    The Moral of the Story:  It’s a good thing my brother has a sense of humor.  Otherwise, I mighta got stabbed that night. Or bludgeoned with a cheese grater.

Happy Halloween!

"And, don't be forgetting that tomorrow is All Saints Day, you cheeky little bastard.
I'd best be seeing you in church tomorrow, Penwasser.
By the way, I'm loving me some Milky Ways."

*There ARE no royalities.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

'R' is for 'Reunion'

Yes, I realize this is a repost.  And not the type of repost you've come to loathe love.  This time of year, you expect me to blow off writing original posts in favor of leftover holiday treats, so no surprises there (I'm lazy that way.  Who the hell do you think I am?  Pat Hatt????).

But this weekend, I'll finally be going to my high school's 40th reunion.  I'm looking forward to it and, to be honest, I'm a little nervous.  Hopefully, I won't cause too many people to hurl when they see what's happened to me since the last time we saw each other, decades ago.

On the other hand, more than a few folks probably won't even remember me.  In that case, I'm prepared to bus tables or help the staff clean up.

I have experience, after all.

In any case, ready or not, here I go.  Wish me luck.  Especially that I don't get pantsed.

Oh, by the way, there'll be a Halloween repost on Monday.

You're welcome.


Found out, via Facebook (how else does anyone find out anything
Plus, Facebook has neat 
Bill Murray memes.
anymore?) that my high school class will be holding its 40 (yeah, huh?) year reunion at the end of October.  

    Thank goodness I have over six months to prepare.  Gotta start working on my six-pack abs, you know.

Since the reunion is before the election,
this will give us the opportunity to
discuss political science
 with Trump supporters.
NOTE:  For those who may have difficulty with math concepts or are products of Philadelphia public schools, a 40 year reunion means I am part of the Class of 1976.  You're welcome.  And I said I wanted large fries with my order.
"Six-pak abs!"
    Since this may be the last time we can all get together while still being able to move under our own power, I think I'll be going.  Even though it's a three and a half hour car ride away.  And I need to take frequent pee breaks.  And I'm afraid to drive in the dark.

    Remember, I graduated forty years ago.  Which makes me...come on, you can do the math.

    This will be only the second one I've attended.  Our first, a five year reunion, happened in 1981 (Because Math).  

    While fun, it wasn't as much fun as I had hoped.  After only a few years, there was still a "high school" feel to it.  Meaning, I didn't think it was necessary for the jocks to pants me and stuff me in a tree.

If you're interested in that whole story,
you can find it in my books.
I've changed her name, but she'd know.
If she read them.  Which she wouldn't.  So...
Not the shag carpet one, though.
Although, it does have a toilet in it.
If you're into that kind of thing.
    Plus, since I had just gotten married only a few months prior, I thought Mrs. Penwasser #1 would have a great time at a picnic with total strangers.  That she ended up being my ex-wife may or may not be related.

    What's more, the "Girl Who Broke My Heart" was also there.  Even though I (okay, I admit it) flaunted my new wife in front of my old girlfriend, it was still kind of awkward.  Especially when I punched her boyfriend.*

    A lot has happened since that time.  Mrs. Penwasser #1 came to her senses.  I got out of the Navy.  I met Mrs. Penwasser #2.  She apparently lost her mind when she consented to be Mrs. Penwasser #2.   I went back into the Navy when my dream of being a wealthy Italian Food Transportation Representative (at Dominos) didn't bear fruit.  I raised two wonderful children (who, remarkably, are attractive and well-adjusted).  I retired from the Navy.
And now clean sixteen toilets a night, five nights a week.
Yep, I'm an American success story living the dream.
Wonder if that pizza gig is still available?

    In all that time, though, I wondered about my former classmates.  Sure, I was able to grab snippets of information about them here or there.  But, for the most part, I lost touch with them.  Or they lost touch with me.  Smart folks, that Class of '76.

This is probably the Al Penwasser they remember.
    Happily, I've reestablished contact with a few of them via Facebook ( else?).  In this way, I hope to become more of a "known" individual again which is a bit challenging given that it's been 40 years (hopefully, you got that part in the beginning) since I've seen them. 


    After looking at their profile pictures, I see that they're all looking great.  In fact, I know of only one who looks quite a bit worse for wear.
Meaning I'd better hit the gym and
get some of that Grecian formula stuff.
Captain of the football team has seen better days, though**

    I don't know whether the "Girl Who Broke My Heart" will be in
"He's still on that 'abs' thing."
attendance.  If she is, fine.  She may or not bring her husband (the boyfriend she left me for...meaning I came in second place.  Yay me).  If so, I'll flaunt my six-pak abs to make him jealous.  

    You may be surprised that I've taken to adding snarky little comments whenever my former classmates post something.  On the other hand, what am I saying?  You can't possibly be surprised.  In this way, I hope they think, "Hey, remember that nerdy Penwasser guy?  He sounds so hip and with it.  And what a scream!  He'll be the life of the party!"

    Meaning:  I bet I get stuffed in a tree.

EPILOGUE:  When I mentioned I was going to the reunion for the Class of '76, one of my Facebook friends (once again, where else?) made what I thought was an outstanding comment: "That's fantastic!  Now you'll be able to see each other in color!"
    Young punk.  I am so gonna head to his house and kick his ass.
    After my nap.  

*Yeah, this is completely false.  He wasn't even there.  Plus, he was bigger than me.
**JUST KIDDING, JUST KIDDING!  I don't even remember who it was.  But, I guarantee he's bigger than me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Captain Caption CXXVI

Election Day is just under two weeks away.
I'd rather just look at a picture of puppies.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wrath of Ken Pot Porry

Seriously, I had planned to write something original, but ran out of time.

For you sharp-eyed folks out there, notice that in the last few seconds, it's dark.  When I started filming this, it was still afternoon. Well, I was called away for dinner, during which I had a couple beers.  This explains why my cheeks are rosy in the last scene.  See, you're getting much more background than the Facebook people.

You're welcome.

Bottom line, it's almost eight o'clock.  Time to put on my jammies, sit in front of the television, and scratch my ba relax before going to bed.  Where I'll just sleep.

You did catch that part about me being 58 years old, right?

Who do you think I am?  Madonna?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Captain Caption CXXV

Hey, kids!
Get this year's scariest Halloween costume,
the Ruth Bader Ginsberg!
Act now while supplies last!

"I'd hit it...I mean buy it!"

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Captain Caption CXXIV

"You know what really hacks me off?
The news is putting a super crimp in the genuine creepy clown business."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Well, I'm Back

There's a lot of places to eat and drink in Texas.

I did both.

Which is one of the reasons little daggers are piercing my brain.

I'll be back soon.

On the bright side, we had a chance to set a spell with Bones' southern kinfolk.

Goodbye Columbus

Huzzah!  Presenting the first in a series of holiday reposts!
Since I still have a bit of a hangover from my weekend in Austin, the daggers in my skull are preventing me from writing anything new (except these couple sentences, of course).  At any rate, even though you may have read this before, I hope you enjoy.  Or, if you want something new, head over to Pat Hatt's place. He never repeats himself.  He's got talent that way.
See you when the headache and voices in my head go away.

NOTE:  With today's post, I begin a series of repeats which will culminate with the Christmas/New Years extravaganza.  Oh, sure, there'll be original bits along the way, but this time of year gives me a chance to trot out some retreads.  If you've read these already, hey, sorry about that.  If you haven' no attention to the fact that I just said these were repeats.

Christopher Columbus
Explorer, Exploiter, Rogue
Or man who looks like he just shat himself

   I love October.  The air is redolent with the sweet aroma of burning leaves, high school gridirons thunder with the sound of fiercely-waged contests to push that pigskin across the goal line, Christmas lights-incredibly-start going up, and early-morning frosts whisper of the coming winter.

    October also gives us a chance to celebrate the exploits of an intrepid band of explorers who set sail from Barcelona in search of a western route to the fabulous wealth of the East (yeah, I know, going west to get east doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, either.).

    As an added bonus, the tenth month also gives us a chance to bemoan the rape and pillage of a pristine wilderness by evil, white, European males.

    So, in honor of their accomplishments, mailmen get the day off and shopping malls trot out their very best Columbus Day displays of new bed linen (“Buy now!  Just think how comfy the ‘Santa Maria’ would have been if they had only had these sheets!!”).

    As a holiday, though, Columbus Day really doesn’t rank up there with the Big Four of Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and Canadian Thanksgiving.  It doesn’t draw in the romantics like Valentines Day, the patriots like the 4th of July, or even the corned beef and Guinness crowd like St. Patrick’s Day.

    More times than not, we hardly even know it’s happened until the evening news greets us with, “Happy Columbus Day!  Too bad you hadda go to work!  Ha, ha, ha!”

    My family has for many years celebrated each holiday, no matter how innocuous.  For example, on Presidents’ Day, we used to dress up as our favorite Commanders in Chief until my brother spoiled it for everyone a few years ago when, dressed as Bill Clinton, he got arrested for having his pants down in front of a convent.
"For the glory of Spain and
in the name of Our L...hey!
I said 'SIT THE EFF DOWN!!'"
For some reason, though, we never did much to commemorate the day in 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella’s favorite Genoan set foot in the New World and proclaimed, “I claim this land for the King and Queen of Spain.  And Wal-Mart.”   

    In order to make it easier for everyone to properly observe one of the most significant accomplishments in world history (right behind invention of “The Clapper”), might I offer the following ways to celebrate Columbus Day:

That may be.
But, Northern Indians were
apparently more bad-ass than Southern ones.
10.  Slash the tires of the obnoxious, know-it-all “Vikings were here first!” punks at the Leif Eiriksson Community Center.

9.   Try to convince anyone that parrots, corn, and coconuts are just as valuable as jewels, gold, and silk.

8.   Go to the local tribal casino, extend a heartfelt apology, drop a bundle at the craps table.

7.   Put on a wrinkled raincoat, chew on a cigar, try to figure out who put the poison in Miss Van Dyver’s highball...oh, I’m sorry, that’s how to celebrate COLUMBO Day.

6.   Gather together all the history books at the library, cross out all references to ‘America’ and replace them with ‘Chrisville.’  Draw moustaches on any pictures of Amerigo Vespucci.

"No! No!  Mike Huckabee
won't be born for another 450 years or so.
Here.  Have a blanket."
5.   Bring Christianity to your neighbors, claim your street for your family, pass out blankets riddled with smallpox to the homeless, and shake down passers-by, insisting they tell you where their gold is.

4.   Go to the local All-You-Can-Eat Chinese restaurant dressed as Columbus, walk in, and shout, “So, HERE’s where you people were all hiding!”
"White people!
Party of millions!"
3.   Forward a petition to the city council demanding equal time with Labor Day.

2.   With your friends, build a scaled-down replica of Columbus’s
Get all the fat guys away
from the left side of the ship!"
fleet, drift aimlessly on the town pond, claim YWCA summer camp for Spain.

1.   Once more dressed as Columbus, visit a deforested national park (or strip mine), issue “Ooops, my bad!” statement to the press.

    There now, I hope this list inspires you to do something other than complain when you can’t use the drive-up window at the bank. 

    It’s a shame Columbus Day has been deemphasized so much over the course of the past few years in the misguided spirit of politically-correct revisionism. 

    Or revulsion at guys who wore tights.  I’m not sure.

    I’m sad to say that it’s now little more than an excuse to blow up some balloons, get a guy up on stilts, and shill away last year’s automobiles (“Buy an SUV.  It’s what Chris would’ve wanted!”).

    As for me, I plan on doing the day up right.

    I’m gonna go get me a cannoli.    


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't wish my friends up north (no, not Massachusetts) a very Happy Thanksgiving!

My original intent was to write something...uh...original in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, but I'm up against a deadline to finish my book, so I gave you the warmed-over Columbus Day offering instead.

Anyhow, enjoy your day.  

And be thankful that Justin Bieber lives here.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Captain Caption CXXIII

Okay, not your regular caption.
But, the Penwassers are heading to Austin for a wedding.
"See" you when we get back.

Or, as Davy Crockett said, "You may all go to Hell, 
and I will go to Texas."

Of course, we all know what happened to him.  So, I'd better come back. Probably be best not to tick off any Mexicans when I'm down there, either.

You guys can forget about that whole "go to Hell" thing, too,

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

    Yes, yes, I know.  Rosh Hashanah began at sundown last night.  But, I was out partying as me and my homies bid farewell to the year 5776.  A little slack is in order, I would think.

"Let's party like it's 5777!"
NOTE:  Prince.  Not Jewish.
Not alive, either.

"Too soon!  You insensitive bastard!!!!"

"Tell me about it."
-G. Coleman

    Okay, you got me.  I'm not Jewish so there was no carousing to be had.  I just wanted to give you an extra day to enjoy Saturday's post, that's all.

    No worries, though, because it's still the Jewish New Year.  And Monday.  Boy, for being the Chosen People, you guys really get screwed, huh?
"Actually, we like Danny Williams instead."
"Uh huh, book me Dan-O."
    Anyhow, if you don't know (and, seriously, how could you not?), Rosh Hashanah, which literally means "head of the year," is the Jewish New Year.  Its biblical name is "Yom Teruah."  PFFFT, yeah like how could you know the difference?  I mean, it's like when I used to see the credits roll for Hawaii Five-O (the Jack Lord Hawaii Five-O, not the new Hawaii Five-O with that hot Kono chick):  "Kim Fong starring as Chin Ho."  I mean, why bother?

    Anyway, before I so rudely interrupted myself, Rosh Hashanah begins on the 1st day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  The seventh not the first?  What's all this new year jazz about then?

    The 1st day of Tishrei is the traditional date given to the creation of Adam and Eve, the world's first nudists.  So, you may want to run out and get a card.  Those Jewish women have lonnnnggggg memories.
"Really, Adam, really?
Our anniversary and the best you can do are these stupid fig leaves?
I'll tell you what.  I'm gonna go talk to that snake.  That's what I'm going to do.  Putz."

    Oh, I forgot to mention that "Yom Teruah" literally means "day of shouting/blasting."  I suppose I could have changed the whole post to include this above, but it's Saturday as I'm writing and I don't have a lot of time.  I need to go watch some porn television.  This racket is most exemplified by the daily blowing of the shofar, every day of the month prior.

Herschel Shofar.
Hoping for good things.
"Hey, I'll change my name, do whatever I need to do.
Keep kosher, blow off Christmas,
listen to Neil Diamond, get circumcis...whoa, let's not get carried away."

    Sorry guys, it's the horn from a slow, probably dimwitted, ram.
"Man, I knew I shouldn't have
 trusted those dudes at Beth Sammy Davis, Jr."
"Mine's bigger than yours."
"Hey, do they always bend like that?"
    In addition to shofar blowing, Rosh Hashanah celebrants enjoy many sweet delicacies, most notably apples dipped in honey.  

    Hey, hang on a minute.  Apples?  Isn't it tradition that Eve ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge (not to be confused with the Book of Knowledge*).

    An apple that was given to her by a snake?
Wrong snake
    Or is that just a conspiracy invented by the Catholic Church?

"You got us.  Knuckles, if you please, boyo."

    Well, addition, the day features many readings from the Jewish scriptures, also known as the Torah.  Or they'll just use any Woody Allen screenplay.
"Hey, well whaddya know?  Those Muslim guys were right.
There aren't any pictures in Fifty Shades of Grey."

    After the day finally ends and Jews throughout the world have let it all hang out, they can enjoy the upcoming year.  And get ready for Yom Kippur the following week.

    Also known as the Day of Atonement, I guess Yom Kippur is when everybody can come clean from overdosing on all those apples.
"I'd say dip it in chocolate, but it hasn't been invented yet."

    Happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish friends!

You know who you are.

*Obscure reference to a 1960s/1970s set of encyclopedias.  If you're not older than dirt, you may not get the reference.  If you do get the reference, you need to get to bed, Gramps.

"A lot of people don't know that Rosh Hashanah also means 'Feast of Trump,' can I be honest?  Frankly, I can't think of a better description for the Jewish New Year.  I love the Jews, all the Jews, especially their food, although I could really do without the gefilte fish, to tell you the truth.  When I get going in the kitchen or really a five-star restaurant which I own, by the way, because, honestly, it's terribly difficult for me to cook.  Terribly difficult.  I mean, after all, have you gotten a good look at these hands?  The way I think it's good that I go out to restaurants and get great, great Jewish food.  It gives people jobs because that's what it's really all about.  Crooked Hillary wouldn't even know a good bagel if it hit her in the head.  But, I wouldn't want anything to hit her in the head because she doesn't need a knock in her noggin, to be honest.  Still, all she gets are those disgraceful, disgraceful Thomas' bagels which aren't really bagels.  They're more like bagel-shaped bread, to tell you the truth.  And she gets, what?, a schmear of Fat-Free Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  Nothing but all fat for me, let me tell you.  Like my head.  And Philadelphia?  A lovely, lovely city which is more than just cheese.  Not that I have anything against bread, let me tell you.  Some of my best friends come in loaves.  Or interns.  Oops, that's what some people say about Bill Clinton.  Not me, you understand, but some people.  Why, I was just telling Ivanka that...what?  Rosh Hashanah means 'Feast of TrumpETS?' Oh, leave it to those f**king Jews.  They always...hey, is the microphone off?