"Humor Me" says Robert S. "Bob" Wieder

Friday, December 31, 2004


So, let me get this straight. PresBush is sending his brother Jeb to Indonesia or Thailand or Sri Lanka or whatever the media's geographical shorthand is for this stupefying human calamity, in order to supervise or at least observe the mammoth social and economic resuscitation procedures, because, and note the quotes, "He has had experience with disasters."
Yeah, well, if that's your basic hiring requirement, then let's flesh out the team with such disaster vets as Don Rumsfeld, whoever currently heads the DEA, the lame duck Democratic Party brass, Joe Torre, the York family (and 49ers beat reporters), and the head of NBC programming. Give this team six months, and the tidal wave will start to look beneficial by comparison.
Clearly, W engineered the sending of Jeb to tsunami ground zero for the obvious reason: that Georgie might move up one seat toward Bar the Impaler at the New Year's Day Dinner Table. Who, after all, are we kidding?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


There was an item on the news debunking what had, unbeknownst to me, become a widespread Urban Myth: that insurance company operatives were releasing coyotes into the woods in the northeastern US in order to (1) reduce, in a natural and presumably PETA-proof manner, the number of footloose deer romping on the hoof and, thereby, (2) reduce proportionately the number of claims filed each year--a soaring number, according to the rumor meisters--due to collisions between deer and cars.
Insurance companies have issued press releases by the fistful swearing unanimously that such allegations rank somewhere between nonsense and poppycock. Which I find thoroughly discouraging. Indeed, I find myself cursing the insurance companies not for the usual reasons, i.e. their very existence, etc., but for being uncharacteristically squeamish and soft-hearted.
I am an enthusiastic and proselytizing member of the TLGD,TBA, or The Less Goddam Deer, The Better Association. Our position--or to be strictly and numerically accurate, my position--on the deer versus predators controversy is simple: We (that is, I) would happily introduce coyotes, mountain lions, great white sharks, Bubonic plague, or Huey gunships into deer country if that’s what it took to thin Rudolph and his ruminant brethren down to some manageable number, such as, say, 3. Per county.
I have been driven to this admittedly ruthless and unapologetic anti-deer position not due to any tragic encounter with the species on the roadway. Although I drive a local deer-car collision corridor--Arlington Boulevard in the Berkeley - El Cerrito hills--on a regular basis, I’ve only had a half dozen encounters, and only one or two close calls, with Dasher and Dancer et.al., in some 23 years of driving.
No, my issue is agricultural.
There have been deer in my neighborhood since long before I arrived. They are still around. Some say that we humans have invaded their turf. My position on this is that we humans have clearly not been all that victorious. If the Allied invasion on D-Day had gone like our invasion of deerville, homeowners all across Europe would routinely awaken to find that all the roses in their yard had been eaten during the night by rogue families of SS men.
I thought the deer and I had reached an understanding. The roses, they could have. But they were not to touch my special Refuse To Incriminate Myself plants. That was the deal: they would spare my little fun flora, and I would not stay up all night waiting on the roof with a shotgun.
And then they violated our truce most horribly. I mean, eaten right down to the stump. And if you mean to suggest that deer don’t clip shrubbery right down to the topsoil, and that this sounds to you more like a harvesting by human thieves, and that maybe those day workers that the contractor hired to dig that backyard drainage system could have noticed the little garden behind the trellis and later returned in the dead of night...but don’t bother, because it’s just this simple:
You drive your car into a deer, the worst you get is a car repair bill and maybe a fine. You drive your car over some guy from Jalisco, however, and even if he’s undocumented you’re in for months of grief.
So I’ve picked my nemesis, and it’s Bambi & Company. And if you didn’t already despise the American insurance industry for one of any number of reasons, you now have this to hold against it:
No damn coyotes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The following is an absolutely genuine item off today's AP wire. As near as I can tell from the last line of the story, this product was penalized for being TOO biochemically realistic. It certainly sounds like the effects of the real thing to me. Anyway, I am blogging the item just for its sheer Christmasy tone. --BW

'Fart Bomb' toys yanked over dangerous fumes
Associated Press Dec. 22, 2004 08:45 AM

HONG KONG - Some "Fart Bomb" toys are producing more than a bad smell. Officials are pulling the toys from shelves because the gag gift - a metallic bag that gives off a stench - produces a dangerous chemical reaction, the government said.
Customs officers have seized 263 bags and are urging parents to hand in any of the unused toys to a consumer protection bureau, a government statement said Tuesday.
The toy includes a silver-colored bag labeled "Fart Bomb." The bag contains sulfur compound powder and an inner plastic bag of diluted acid, the government said. "When players press the package to break the inner plastic bag, the sulfur compound powder will then come in contact with the acid," the statement said. "The package will be inflated and then burst, giving off a disgusting smell," it said. The sulfur-acid mixture produces hydrogen sulfide, which can cause nausea, headaches and eye irritation, the government said.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Have you noticed that the trend in holiday songs lately is away from traditional hearth-and-home nostalgia stuff--the aural Kinkaid paintings about chestnuts roasting and winter wonderland strolls--or even romantic ballads. Contemporary yuletide music seems to have a kind of gritty disconsolation to it. The phrase "trailer park carols" comes to mind, but I make it go away.
I think it started with "Blue Christmas," but it has progressed to the point where the subtext to these lyrics is that somebody would like to celebrate the holidays by hanging their Christmas stocking around someone else's neck and slowly strangling them. There is one song--and I apologizing for not knowing the titles--whose repeated refrain is "I gave myself to you last Christmas, and you gave me away the next day," which sounds more like the religious observance of some bizarre Mormon sect than mainstream holiday cheer. Another one, pure country and western, depicts the reality of the family Christmas Eve get-together where toasts are raised with Budweiser and somebody gets drunk and obnoxious and after dinner somebody else has to go out to the 7-11 for a pack of Marlboro Lights and some Midol.
This got me thinking that certain classical carols would, if written today, probably take on a much more realistic note. "The Twelve Days of Christmas," for example. Relationships being as perishable these days as they are, the composer would likely have taken into account the possibility that after twelve days, one's "true love" might have become bored with one and gone wandering, perhaps with one of those obviously well-off, eminent, and physically fit Lords a-leaping. A few more stanzas would most likely have been added. Just noodling, here, but...

On the 13th day of Christmas, my ex-love gave to me
An interlocutory decree.

On the 14th day of Christmas, my ex-love gave to me
Two restraining orders,
And an interlocutory decree.

On the 15th day of Christmas, my ex-love gave to me
Our kids for the weekend,
Two restraining orders,
And an interlocutory decree.

On the 16th day of Christmas, my ex-love gave to me
Four nasty notes,
Our kids for the weekend,
Two restraining orders,
And an interlocutory decree.

On the 17th day of Christmas, my ex-love gave to me
My stolen bling--
Four nasty notes,
Our kids for the weekend,
Two restraining orders,
And an interlocutory decree.

Hmm. It clearly needs more work. Ah, but I see by the clock on the wall that it won't be by me. No more on this subject tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2004


That ol’ time religion sho do seem to be bustin’ along under a mighty head o’ steam. Or, in other words, can you believe how the snake handlers and tongue-speakers have taken the U.S. Government by the nape and flung it headlong into the 16th century? Well, I can.
This week the hot button has been the increasing encroachment onto the intellectual battlefield known as the American High School Curriculum by intelligent design (AKA the Book of Genesis), at the expense of Darwinism (the other 200,000 or so other books).
My primary argument against Intelligent Design is that if it existed, it would have produced something better than Tom DeLay, Starbucks, lung cancer and rap music.
Design? Possibly. Intelligent? Ho ho ho.
Still and all, local politics must, and will, be served. By local politics, we mean the same people who run your local State Farm Agency, teach Sunday School, and believe that if God had wanted us to think, he wouldn’t have given us TV.
In any case, step with me into the satirically imagined future...maybe...



Welcome freshmen!
To accommodate recent changes in the curricula of a number of state high school districts (mandated by local school boards) the following classes have been added to your State University’s academic schedule for the coming semester.
Marine Biology 363: Cetacean Digestive Anomalies. Investigating the unique and remarkable ability of a whale’s gastrointestinal process to distinguish between zooplankton and marine creatures, which it chemically dissolves, and the randomly swallowed human being, which it merely bleaches. Field trip: Scuba equipment and certification required.
Physics 290A: Modified Entropy Theory: In which certain scientific assumptions regarding thermodynamics and the decay of matter are revised so as to take into account a bush that burns but is not consumed. And talks.
Physics 290B: Elemental Table. Study and memorization of a simplified Table of Elements, which includes only those elements commonly and abundantly found in nature. This course explores the question, “If you can’t see it without a microscope, were you really meant to know about it?”
Archaeology 110: Carbon Dating, Shmarbon Dating. Raises the intriguing scientific hypothesis, “Could not an all-powerful God make rocks appear to be billions of years older than they actually are?” Guest lecturer: Joan Rivers.
Agricultural Economics 140B: Crop Storage and Nocturnal Divination. The art of employing traditional methods of dream interpretation to foresee and plan for years of extended famine and/or plenty. Emphasis on the significance of “devouring.” Also, why everything happens in sevens.
Chemistry 301: Oil on Troubled Waters. The figure of speech as a basis for scientific inquiry.
Astrophysics 191: Acoustic Influences on Planetary Motion. A study of subatomic particle resonance and how it may be manipulated by the repeated blowing of trumpets in order to halt the rotation of the Earth. How playing reveille starts it turning again.
Zoology 103: Introduction to Kine (Cows, archaic). What they are. Their proper care and feeding. Their selective breeding. Their particular suitability as sacrificial offerings to an Angry God. (Not for the squeamish.)
Health Science 402: Morality and Etiology. Understanding the causal relationships between fornication and AIDS, masturbation and leprosy, pornography and insanity, secular humanism and cancer, and abortion and death by lightning.
Health Science 404: Passover Epidemiology. Analyzing the properties of lamb’s blood that makes it an effective preventive and prophylactic measure against certain pediatric plagues. Also, how to remove stains from door frames.
Mathematics 300A: Non-Satanic Numerical Systems. A pure math course in which all textbooks, handouts and board-written problems will exclude the number 666 (the sign of the Beast) or use in its place the symbol Ω. In lectures and presentations, that number will be referred to as “the numerals formerly known as Prince of Darkness.”
Food Service Science 120: Large-Scale Meal Preparation and Management Techniques. The challenge of feeding multitudes. Creative use of loaf- and fish-extenders. The nutritional properties of milk and honey. Manna explained. (At the conclusion of the term, each student will be required to plan and prepare a final supper for twelve.)
Law 901: Introduction to Higher Law: Resolving questions of priority when confronted with conflicts between state or municipal statutes on the one hand, and direct commands from the almighty creator of the entire universe on the other. Why George W. Bush is God’s personal emissary. Why gays and ACLU lawyers are going to hell. Why you still have to pay parking tickets, even when the end is nigh.

[Caveat: The above appeared in Playboy a while ago, and although because I wrote it, I can probably get away with blogging it, anyone who wanted to forward it, alas, would probably attract the attention of their lawyers. Just a heads up in case.]

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Today's official "cute/oddball" story running rampant through all known media is about a family in Deltona, Florida, the parents of which have moved into a tent in the front yard and gone On Strike against the two kids, girl 12 and boy 17, who are said to be incorrigibly lazy and sloppy and unhelpful and who have clearly not felt the enlightening sting of a firmly-swung car aerial. Amazing. Your kids show you absolutely no respect or consideration...and YOU move out of the house. Jesus, this was my personal DREAM when I was a teenager: the house all to myself, no rules, my parents having abjectly surrendered and hightailed it. As it was, I had to wait until they were both well into their 70s, and too feeble to physically resist. If these kids have a brain in their heads, they will change the locks. And since mom and dad are living on the lawn, let them mow the damn thing. Once again the point is made: Kids today don't know how good they've got it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Christmas Carol Chessman


It struck me, as I was listening to some music of the holiday, that so many of our very favorite versions of beloved Christmas carols were sung by performers who are no longer with us. Bing Crosby (White Christmas), dead on a golf course. Elvis Presley (Blue Christmas), dead on a toilet. Burl Ives (Holly Jolly Christmas), just dead. And The Chipmunks (Christmas Time Is Here): Simon, dead of a heroin overdose; Theodore, cut down by gunfire on a Las Vegas street; and Alvin, eaten by Dick Clark's cat. It all lends such a poignant note to the holiday cheer.

By the way, since we have a "White Christmas" and a "Blue Christmas," why has nobody come out with a "Red(blooded/neck/state) Christmas"?

Vaguely apropos of that, here is a bit of seasonal satire that I was unable to sell to several notable publications. Fancy that.



To the tune of “Away In A Manger”

Beware! There’s great danger! The threat is intense!
It’s huge and it’s growing! We’ll beef up defense
By hiring more jerks who will make life a pain
For anyone who tries to get on a plane.

I promise to not let the bad guys hurt you,
But don’t ask just how, ‘cause I haven’t a clue.
There’s car bombs and shoe bombs...and bombs in a sleigh?
If Santa looks fishy, hell, blow him away.


To the tune of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)”

Christians roasting on an open fire!
Jews and Hindus dead in heaps!
(Thus do I rave in the dark in my cave--
I even give Hamas guys the creeps.)

Death to every infidel on earth!
Every Buddhist, Jane and Druid!
(I’m no kill-crazed troll; the truth is, I control
Over half the world’s embalming fluid.)

I don’t look like I love holidays,
But deep down I really do.
So I wish--no put on--for a great Ramadan
(And of course, death) for you.


To the tune of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”

They came, all the faithful
Viewed my Bible story!
I’d made it so gory--
Kind of “Braveheart” meets God.

“No English? Crazy!”
Some said; didn’t faze me.
And to each carping critic
Who cried “Anti-semitic”:
Don’t be so analytic!
(Jews do that so well.)

But how do I follow
That flick? How to top it?
“The Wars of Mohamet”?
“Lethal Buddha”? No way.

No, someone bigger,
A brave, heroic figure!
No “peace and love” hand-wringer.
Instead, a far-right winger
Who gave filmtown the finger:
“The Passion of Mel!”


To the tune of “What Child Is This”

What child is this who makes me cry
By coming forward to testify?
The first of many, it seems. Oh my.
And my chimp’s on the phone to his lawyers

Please, bring me some Christmas joy!
(Unless you’re underage and a boy.
The court’s order is clear, not coy:
I don’t dare let you in past the foyer.)


To the tune of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”

Oh town of old Manhattan, I’m
Your prime celebrity.
I’ve bought up half your buildings and
Named each one after me.
I’m sleek and rich and famous--
It makes most people sick.
They hate The Donald! (I’m just glad
Mom didn’t name me Dick.)

No gifts for me this Christmas, thanks;
I’ve all I need in life:
A ton of dough, a TV show,
A brand new trophy wife.
And if you “want it all” too,
Take my advice, young lad.
Just do like I did: Be set up
In business by your dad.


To the tune of “The Little Drummer Boy”

“Exit strategy,”
That concept’s Greek to me,
I trusted Chalabi
How stupid could I be?
I knew it all smelled,
Should have rebelled,

What a huge mistake,
But we can’t bend or break,
We dare not pull up stakes,
For Halliburton’s sake,
Our foes must be felled,
Killed or dispelled,
So says Rums-feld.

Until then I wish you joyous Noel,
And Powell, go to hell.


To the tune of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

I shot Bonnie like I’d planned because
No one else would kill the bitch for me.
That’s what the cops contend,
But I’m innocent, my friend.
(I’d say she had it coming, but
I don’t want to offend.)

Hope your Christmas joy’s as great as mine,
Even though the state wants me to fry.
Just because you do the crime,
Don’t mean you’ll do the time.
Hell, if O.J. walked then so can I.