(This morning I’m over at Long Awkward Pause, where I just finished interviewing the U.S. Surgeon General about America’s obesity problem — which, like many Americans, continues to get bigger…)
Like many of you, I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the shocking news that obesity had officially become the No. 1 preventable health crisis in the nation. In fact, I can even tell you which super-sized meal I was eating.
With millions of Americans resolved to lose weight for the New Year, now is the perfect time for us to make changes in our eating habits before the unthinkable happens, and we’re forced to apologize to the French for throwing the Earth off its axis.
With that in mind, we at Long Awkward Pause scheduled a special Q&A session with the U.S. Surgeon General to explain America’s obesity problem, and how we can get back to living healthy lives cut short by smoking and drinking… (More at LAP)
Like millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective. At my wife’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds. Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?
I immediately brought this to the attention of my editor, who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of her candy drawer.
The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a KFC right across the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles. Continue reading
Over the last several weeks I’ve had a lot of bloggers asking how I got started as a columnist. Perhaps it’s because of the new year and resolutions made by writers to persue their goals of publication. Or perhaps they have been drinking and, in a moment of weakness, stumbled onto my blog. Which might explain why most of the messages I received asking for advice went something like this:
“Are you drunk or sober when you write? And how do I get started?”
Because I’m assuming they already know how to get started drinking, I thought I’d share the process I went through in becoming a syndicated columnist. Because this is a PG-rated site, I will leave out the extreme nudity, profanity and gratutitous violence that accompanied my rise to the somewhat moderately wellknown columnist (within a seven-mile radius) that you see today.
Let me begin by saying that when I first started querying newspapers about carrying my column, I was getting one or two rejections in my email box every week. In frustration, I turned to the Internet and discovered, with a little planning and organization, I could be rejected by every newspaper in the state of Louisiana all in one afternoon. Continue reading
I have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to carnival rides: If the person running a ride, such as the Squirrel Cages, keeps a garden hose available for spraying out the seats, I stay away. That’s because this person’s sole ambition is to make me — and others like me — vomit. I realize this person may be a trained professional who, on a daily basis, makes countless split-second decisions on whether to push the red or green button to stop the ride.
And, yes, I realize this individual has nothing but the safety of his passengers in mind when he secures a safety latch by removing his boot and whacking it until his arm gets tired, at which point, being a trained professional, he bolsters the confidence of his nervous riders by hacking up a cheekful of phlegm and shrugging his shoulders before walking off. Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned before, I lived in the South for 10 years, with six of those years spent in the suburbs of Atlanta. In the early 1990s, I was a restaurant chef operating in one of Georgia’s largest shopping malls — three stories of glass, sale banners and merchants spanning six football fields’ worth of mall space.
As you can imagine, I’ve dealt with as many personalities as there are seats in a 280-capacity dining room. The fact that Rufus Valentine dug such a deep groove in my memory should tell you a little something about the man’s character.
I’d like to tell you more.
The first time I saw Rufus Valentine was during the Braves’ heyday in February of 1992, when all of Atlanta was anticipating the spring — and a run at the World Series. Essentially, you could be completely naked; but as long as you had a Braves cap on you were considered properly attired by most Atlantans.
So, when Rufus appeared in his red tights, heart-shaped wings, and Braves cap at the west entrance of the Lenox Square mall, most assumed he was there to express his love for Atlanta’s baseball team. Continue reading
For most of us, there comes a time in our lives when we must face the truth, and accept the fact we will never actually possess any type of super-human powers. This includes the ability to fly, shoot laser beams out of our eyes, or look good in a skin-tight costume.
As a child, I spent countless hours thumbing through comic books and dreaming of the day I would be bitten by a radioactive insect — and knowing full well that, with my luck, it would probably be something stupid like a moth:
“Curses! It’s Moth Man, here to foil my evil plans! HOW CAN I STOP HIM! Hey… maybe I’ll try this porch light…”
In fact, I was so sure that I would end up as a lame super hero that, with the help of my friends, we came up with a plan to MAKE me into “Spider-man” before there was any chance of me being bitten by a radioactive moth, ear wig, silverfish or stink bug.
Our plan was simple.
Step one: Find a spider (preferably a small one) and expose it to high levels of radiation.
Step two: Make it bite me. Continue reading
Twenty-one years ago today it was Friday the 13th. The reason I know this isn’t because I’m a savant, but because it was the day my oldest daughter was born — and everything seemed to be going wrong. The monitors were glitching, causing her vitals to disappear and the nurses’ faces to tighten into a fixed expression of forced calm. When I asked if things were ok, I was met with tight-lipped smiles of reassurance that made my stomach queasy. She wasn’t positioned right, with one arm extended above her head, as if caught in the middle of a backstroke swimming out of the womb. Eventually, her clavicle had to be broken in order to deliver her into the world.
When I held her for the first time and watched her tiny fingers wrapped around mine, I looked into her big brown eyes and saw an old soul looking back at me. It was a look that said, “I’ll make this as easy as I can for you, and I’ll forgive you when you screw up. Because we both know you will from time to time.” Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned before, because of our home’s proximity to the local wharf, from time to time we have a problem with rodents. Now, when I say “rodents,” I mean rats.
And when I say “problem,” I mean finding mysterious entries scrawled on our grocery list that read:
Git mor cheeez
However, I know that we aren’t alone in this, and that our neighbors undoubtedly have the same rodent problem. I know this because 1) They are our neighbors, and therefore live as close to the wharf as we do, and 2) Because we routinely lob assorted cheese curds into their yards before going to bed.
[Note to neighbors: We are NOT trying to entice the rats from our house into yours; we’re simply trying to entice you to eat more cheese.]
That said, some recent discoveries could change the way we go about solving our rat problem. According to a recent article in the journal Nature, researchers at the State University of New York have created the world’s first living remote-controlled rat. By implanting tiny electrodes in rats’ brains, scientists can command the rats to turn left or right, climb trees, navigate mazes, and, in some cases, stage dramatic light saber duels while dressed as tiny Star Wars characters. Continue reading
Yes, this is an honest, unaltered view of the current state of our refrigerator. It’s exactly how it looked when I opened it this morning. If I were a scientist, I would call this my “control subject.” I would also probably be wearing a Haz-Mat suit complete with breathing apparatus. Maybe even a caged canary. Not that our refrigerator itself is a bio-hazard. It’s actually pretty clean. It’s the stuff inside the small containers somewhere in the back, tucked behind the Christmas dinner leftovers (Hey, from 2015!) that pose the biggest threat should their air-locked containers be accidentally breached.
Me: Hey, what’s in this Tupperware container? [Pffffffft!]
My wife: WAIT! No, you fool!
Me: My GOD! I’ve KILLED US ALL!
My wife: Hey, maybe the boys will eat it?
Me: Oh, right…
However, the potential threat my refrigerator poses to anyone within a three-mile radius is not the point of this post. It’s actually to provide official documentation a phenomenon I am calling Gender-vision®, which is: The viewing of the same image by two individuals, but with different points of interest depending on their gender. Continue reading
(I’m over at Long Awkward Pause today with a Special Live News Report for LAP-TV, which I should clarify has nothing to do with a lap-mounted camera…)
ALBERTA, Canada — In an unprecedented move aimed at easing tensions between the U.S. and Canada following Justin Bieber’s request for permanent U.S. citizenship, Canadian officials have agreed to what they are calling a “mutually offensive compromise” by granting temporary citizenship to one staff member from Long Awkward Pause.
“We think allowing anyone from LAP citizenship in our country for 24 hours is more than enough to make up for 10 years of Justin Bieber,” said Pierre Bidet, a spokesman who helped broker the decision. “However, if there is an attempt to extend the citizenship beyond 24 hours, we are prepared to jettison Rob Ford across the channel and into Seattle.”
After hours of closed-door deliberation, LAP announced it had selected a representative and, coincidentally, run out of beer. “From what we remember from the meeting, the two aren’t related,” said LAP staff member Jack DeVoss. “But we chose Ned because he was the most qualified. Plus he got there late and was sober.” (More at LAP…)