Archive for August, 2011


i thought she was calling me ‘turbo lover’, but she just meant ‘terrible lover’

The story of Howard Huge is one as old as time itself: a rise to stardom from humble beginnings, a fall from grace, and ultimately, redemption. Born to St. Bernard parents, the charcoal gray puppy named Howard was not only the runt of the litter, but also the only one born in two dimensions, making him a perfect fit for the cartoon Hoest family. Howard didn’t stay small for long, however, growing to the terrifying size of a black bear, though with the gentle heart of a lamb. Before long, tales of Howard’s exploits had become a fixture in the local papers and newscasts, so it was perhaps inevitable that Parade magazine would come calling to adapt Howard’s adventures into a weekly single-panel cartoon. The attendant fame and riches that followed provided an opportunity for the Hoests to replenish their nameless children’s college funds, which had been depleted to pay the family’s skyrocketing dog food bills, but would prove to be a double edged sword as Howard’s success soon got to his already colossal head.

Howard’s attempts to keep up with the lavish lifestyles of the professional basketball players he had befriended over the years as prep stars named to Parade’s All-America basketball team placed considerable financial strain on the Hoest household. Efforts to get Howard to live within his means by contrasting his salary side-by-side with those of heart surgeons and hedge fund managers in the How Much Do They Make? issue of Parade magazine proved futile, but soon his money woes would prove to be just the beginning of his problems. Howard’s temper around the Parade magazine office became difficult to control, culminating in a tirade against the late James Brady, calling his insistence on using personal identifiers from the New York Times stylebook in his weekly interview column, In Step With James Brady, “pretentious as fuck”, then overturning a table full of delicious pies which had been waiting to be photographed for a cover story on the Fourth of July cookout recipes, sending bits of cherry filling and wrecked lattice crust flying. It was during his suspension without pay for this incident that Howard hit rock bottom, when he was banned from the Viper Room as rumors swirled that his “accidents” in the club had been caused not by inadequate housebreaking, but a growing substance abuse problem.

After a lengthy rehab stint, Howard rejoined the Hoest family, continuing to produce the exact same quality of work readers have come to expect every week from Howard Huge. He credits the grueling 52-Sundays-a-year schedule with keeping him focused, as well as the support of his sponsor, Heathcliff, with whom he shares a bond forged by both having been derided by critics as being too derivative of a more commercially successful cartoon counterpart (Garfield in Heathcliff’s case, Marmaduke in Howard’s). Howard’s longstanding romantic relationship with Marilyn vos Savant remains a subject of speculation. Walter Scott’s Personality Parade reported in 2008 that the two were engaged to be married, but had not announced a date. Meanwhile, the couple reside happily in rural Oregon, raising their two young sons, child prodigies who made headlines by joining Buckminster Fuller as the only members of Mensa with the ability to lick their crotches.

thanks again to professional-grade brainstormer rebecca. if you’re in her geographical area, do something nice for her, would you?


bury me in my ‘bowling grandma’ sweatshirt

Okay, Kyle, now be careful not to hit your thumb with the hammer on that last nail… Perfect! Wow, this looks great- coupla nice coats of paint and you’ll have a birdhouse that’s sure to get an A in that shop class you’ve been struggling in. For me, of course, the best part was getting to finally spend some quality time with you and seeing what a great kid you are. To be honest, I was a little nervous after your dad asked me to give you a hand with this project. Guess I was worried about the potential for awkwardness in this situation. But hey, we’re off to a great start, and hopefully someday I’d like you to think of me as a friend first, and not just the married guy that’s been secretly banging your gay dad.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, but your dad brags about you all the time. He’s so proud of you, and it’s great to see for myself that all those terrific things he says about you are true. And listen, I really appreciate how understanding you’ve been regarding the sensitivity of the position I’m in here as a successful but closeted businessman with a lot to lose professionally if word ever got out about me banging your dad. Plus, there’s no easy way to say this, but I know that my kid has been bullying you in school lately. When he threw you in that garbage can during 4th period lunch last week, I cannot imagine how tempting it must have been for you to tell him his dad was banging out smoking hot dudes on the down low, but thank you so much for not doing that. I’m planning to talk to him about his aggressive behavior soon, I promise, but if he gets in trouble during the season, he could miss some district games and lose his chance at a football scholarship. Although I’m sure it doesn’t provide much comfort, please know that it was so disappointing for me personally to hear him bragging about it at the dinner table all week. He could stand to learn a few things from a kid like you, you know?

Well, I’d better get home to my family now. I’ve been over here almost three hours, so I’m gonna have to come up with a really elaborate story explaining why it took so long to play nine holes of golf- time flies, huh? Well, I guess we’ll probably run into each other next time I’m trying to discreetly leave your house after a weekday afternoon spent banging your dad while my wife thinks the reason my phone is off is because I have a really important meeting. But in the meantime, if there’s anything you need, whether it’s help with another shop class homework assignment, or maybe you just want someone to rap with about what’s going on in your life, my door is open.


tv time machine

Welcome back to Turning Points, the show where we discuss the pertinent issues of the day. Once again, I’m your host, Thom Rolfhoulk. I’d like to thank my co-hosts Klaus Illimianstonson and Marcia Slecckpfeldt for their insightful reporting on President Gerald Ford’s re-election campaign, and the lighter side of the women’s lib movement, respectively. I’d also like to remind our viewing audience that we will return to our usual roundtable panel format next week, and to assure you that our program will air in its entirety after the conclusion of the football game between the Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Rams.

Our final segment tonight concerns a topic that this program has thus far avoided commenting upon, out of concern that it may have been merely a passing trend. But it appears as though the civil rights advances of the past two decades are here to stay, and that warrants acknowledgement and recognition. Just as innovations such as quaaludes, toaster-ready pastries and suburban key parties have greatly improved our lifestyles, our rapidly changing society stands to benefit from the integration of other cultures and ethnicities into the mainstream. If we continue apace, soon people of color could be in your living room as guests, instead of in your kitchen on a bottle of pancake syrup.

Studies show that the swiftly approaching end of racism, as well as the cessation of discriminatory home and small business lending practices, will make it easier for ethnic minorities to amass and pass on generational wealth, just as we whites have done for the last two centuries. As soon as 1992, the resulting racially mixed neighborhoods will be as common as this ashtray, making the need for busing and affirmative action policies a thing of the past. It’s a change we should all be eager to embrace, like flying cars or the pills we’ll all be taking as meals by then. And if the viewing audience will forgive my use of a few Chicano slang terms I overheard from the caddies at my country club, this “jive turkey” in particular thinks a future of increased access to affordable higher education, better jobs and reduced incarceration rates is one that could prove to be quite “outta sight,” indeed.

Who knows- before long, our forward-looking nation’s face of leadership could look quite different. So here’s a message to our country’s enterprising young black men: work hard, stay in school and follow your dreams, and one day you could be occupying the Oval Office, unburdened by the possibility that a major political party will question your citizenship, obsess over your unusual-sounding name or accuse you of palling around with terrorists, so aim high. That’s all for this edition of Turning Points. Please join us next week, when we’ll be discussing pet rocks or lava lamps or some shit.


haircut for hire

New from ToyCo© – here come the AstroBots®! Part Man and Part Machine™, the AstroBots® fight to protect the Sword of Mystics™ from their sworn enemies, the RoboLords®! Centuries ago, a mad scientist on the planet Circuitonia™ built two armored androids to drill for a new energy source at the core of their dying world. The scientist favored one android over the other, and from their rivalry two clashing factions of metal warriors were born!

Now they’ve come to earth to continue their struggle for supremacy over the universe, and it’s up to you to keep them from destroying humanity in their quest for the planet’s energy! The courageous ValianTron© needs your help as the Astrobots® fight the RoboLords®, led by Sinistarr™, who is maybe not evil so much as merely misunderstood, and perhaps having a lot of unanswered questions as to why he could never measure up to ValianTron© in the eyes of his creator, who inexplicably gave him the face of a skeleton and claws for hands, as well as a pretty unflattering name. It’s almost like he never even wanted him to succeed!

Build your collection of all the characters in each opposing army: from ValianTron’s© loyal first mate Braveblade®, a robot who has mastered the power of flight, but also internally grapples with the guilt of having taken so many of his enemies’ lives; to SiniStarr’s™ henchman Megalok®, now with Spinning Action™, who refuses to come to terms with a substance abuse problem that has been affecting his work more and more lately! Complete the set with ValianTron’s© daughter Princess Chromata™, a fearless heroine whose strength is evident not only on the battlefield, but in dealing with the private, silent agony of carrying the child of RoboLord® Squadron Commander PhaseZone®!

Have your parents assemble the AstroBot® MegaFortress™, with spring-loaded missiles that really shoot! Transport them into battle from their secret hidden bases with the Titani-Copter™, which holds up to eight AstroBot® or RoboLord® characters! Help your Astrobots® cope with the horrors of combat as they become all too acquainted with war’s great irony: that no matter how much damage you might inflict upon your enemies, it will never compare to the suffering visited on your own psyche! AstroBots®! Collect them all!


the sugar ants are back and this time they brought a gun

Hello, and welcome to the television soundstage cleverly designed to look like my living room. I know you’re all anxious to get back to Channel 11’s Million Dollar Matinee presentation of Benji the Hunted, so I’ll keep this paid commercial announcement brief. Look, gang, these are complicated times we’re living in, am I right? You’re unsure of whether you should take your kids to the new Smurfs movie and risk exposing them to the sexist message that while boys can aspire to any of a diverse array of characteristics, the only valid role for females is that of boner material. You no longer have a voice in Washington because all your elected representatives are in the pocket of the powerful cat food lobby, which has spent the last decade engineering an escalating series of financial crises in order to get more people to eat their product, which admittedly, is delicious. And if all that weren’t enough, you’ve begun to suspect you aren’t getting the compensation your plasma should command on the open market. And that, friends, is where I come in.

I’m Osiris Niedenfuer, from the law offices of Niedenfuer, Sukarnoputri & Associates, here to represent you in negotiations once the time inevitably comes to supplement your income by selling your blood. For evidence that I was born to practice law, please direct your attention to this gavel-shaped birthmark on my back, which when viewed from another angle could also look like a hand extending a middle finger to those heartless plasma brokers that want to pay less than every dollar you have coming for your hard-earned plasma. Ever since our nation’s ruling class of wealthy elites developed the technology to fully unlock the potential of human plasma as a youth serum that keeps their old, white skin glowing and looking taut as they absorb the vitality of the unwashed masses by literally drinking their living essence, the plasma market has become a competitive, sophisticated set of traps and snares designed to get the most plasma out of you for the least amount of money- don’t be caught trying to navigate it without a qualified attorney to help you obtain top dollar for that sweet liquid gold running through your veins. I spent six years at Julliard perfecting the homespun accent and folksy mannerisms that had sympathetic juries eating out of the palm of my hand during my halcyon days as a high-powered trial attorney, when I was winning big cash settlements on behalf of the cat food industry. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the southern gentleman with the bolo tie on your side of the negotiating table this time?

I’m so confident in my abilities that should I fail to get you the highest selling price for your nutrient-rich plasma (pending a preliminary battery of tests to make sure your plasma is of sufficient quality), our well-trained staff of crime scene specialists will, at no extra charge, help make sure your death looks like an accident, thereby securing the full benefit from your life insurance policy and making access to potable water for your children more than just a dream. So pick up the phone and make that call, before you spend another long winter warming yourself with the scant radiant heat given off by the electrical transmission lines at your municipality’s now-privately owned utility substation.

August 2011