Tuesday, April 14, 2020

There’s Bird On My Window Sill



I have a bird
It will not leave
It is stupid
I can relate
It’s eating something
I’d like to know what
When I tap on the glass it looks the other way
Stupid bird
But these times make for strange bedfellows.
I lost a fish and gained a bird.
What do I name him?

Friday, April 03, 2020

Moisturizing for Dummies



This is an article I wrote a little while back for a newspaper, that was never picked up. So I figured somebody should get to read it anyway!. Names have been changed to protect the ashy.

I’m guilty, I admit it.  I’m ashamed, but I’m ready to admit my mistake and move forward.

I have recently been informed that I’ve been slacking far too much on my lotion game. In that I don’t moisturize and I really should, considering that I’m only growing older. Now, that’s not to say that I have skin the texture of 40 grit sandpaper, but time and gravity make fools of us all. A friend of mine took great pains in telling me all this.

“You need to lotion up every day!” Dana said, emphasizing each word with a clap of her hands.

“But I’m a guy! Like, every day?” I uttered.

“Every. Single. Day.” She said. “Even guys.”

“What parts?” I asked squeamishly.

“Your entire body,” she replied, eyes rolling in surprise at my ignorance.

And that’s when it hit me: I was entirely ignorant of the world of lotioning. So I decided to do some research. I needed to delve deeper into the viscous, goopy, velvety world of lotions. The first thing to do was to figure out why using lotion is important for men as well as women.

“Lotion is of critical importance to prevent that uncomfortable itchy feeling that comes from dry skin,” said Reed. “In my youth I had a skin condition where if my skin was dry, it was really pronounced. It looked like leopard spots.”

“I think it’s part of normal hygiene and from that perspective it’s important,” Kim said.

“Ash is whack!” proclaimed Kristen. “Who wants to get scratched holding hands on a romantic stroll through the park, or cut by sandpaper feet under the covers?”

There is no shortage of lotions on the market available to guys. A short jaunt down the lotion aisle of your local drug store will introduce you to a plethora of lotion options. There are lotions to rejuvenate, balms to tighten skin, ointments to get rid of dark spots, creams to moisturize, salves to make wrinkles disappear, preparations for pimples and palliatives for your pallor.
And if that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, then you have to sort through scented and unscented creams. As a guy, I felt that I needed to defer to the fairer sex for the best way to tackle this situation.

“I prefer light, manly scents. Something that doesn’t conflict with his cologne,” Nicole said. “My opinion is it’s better to be unscented than to smell like a cheap man.”

“Light, neutral scents are fine (on a man) but overly-scented or floral are definitely out. I’m prone to very simple and basic ones, like shea butter or soap,” Kim said. “I find that heavy scents make my head hurt, I think it’s a sinus trigger. I don’t like scents that linger.”

It seemed that lightly perfumed, manly-scented lotions were the way to go. Smells like pine, or cocoa butter, or fir, or leather, perhaps evergreen or even conifer, were preferable. But nothing that smelled fruity or flowery. Next, I needed to learn where and when men typically apply, or should apply, lotion.

“I do mostly upper body. In the winter, I make a more concerted effort to get my legs, “Reed said.

“Lotion application is following a shower and once I’m completely dry. Or in most cases, I use lotion at work.”

“My ex usually applied to his face, head, arms and hands every morning after he showed.” Cherry said.

“Jeremiah uses lotion daily, usually after his shower and he applies to his arms and legs most of the time,” Nicole said.

“It’s typically after a shower. Ryan does lotion his hands more often during the winter months.” 

Kristen said. “There should be some pride in general appearance.”

“I use it when I need it,” said Juan. “After a shower or before I get dressed. Face lotion after I shave, hand lotion whenever I need it.”

On the other, unlotioned hand, some people see the lotion industry as a trap they refuse to fall into.

“Lotion is important for most people, but for all the wrong reasons in my opinion. The personal hygiene industry has been telling us that no one will be with you if you don’t smell like an Irish spring or some other nonsense most of our lives,” Mike offered. “The human body usually produces the oil it needs to stay healthy. If you’re always washing away the natural oils that your body secretes, you’re going to need lotion more often.”

After exhaustive research, I discovered that guys, regardless of age, race or geographical location, should invest in a bottle or tube of lotion. Something that invigorates the skin with essential oils and nutrients. Something lightly-scented that smells like you just rubbed a Christmas tree all over your body. A heavier cream in the winter to combat dry skin and the always annoying winter itch that people get, and a lighter cream in other seasons.

Guys should attempt to moisturize after showers, while still damp. Also, the lotion should be rubbed in deeply so that it doesn’t end up being too greasy or slippery. Nobody likes a person with the faint sheen of lubricant all over them.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I vow to go forth to live a moister, more smooth life and to spread the good word of lotion to other men, like some sort of Johnny Lotionseed.






Thursday, April 02, 2020

When This Is All Over, I’m Gonna…


Hey, you guys wanna hear a secret? I’m jumping on this hawt new craze called “social distancing”. It’s pretty new, so you probably haven’t heard about it yet. It’s okay, don’t feel bad, not all of us have our fingers on the pulse of society and things that are cool like I do.

So, from what I understand this social distancing means to stay away from people. Fair enough, that just means I don’t have to bother with showers anymore (thank Jesus!) and I get to hang out at home all day watching cartoons and repeats of Psych. I think it also means that I’ve got to do this for at least the month of April. No biggie.
But the question arises: what am I gonna do when this is all over? Well, the sky’s the limit!

I can tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to any restaurants. Them shits’ll be packed full of people tired of having cooked for themselves for a month (God forbid!) or ordering delivery from GrubHub or FoodDood or ChowCow? I feel bad for restaurant servers and cooks. They’re going to be up to their elbows to whinny, self-entitled twats for at least two weeks following this ordeal.

Likewise, I’m not going to the movies. Not only will the theaters be packed for every movie, including Veggie Tales 5 The Veggining, or whatever, but most good movies have already been released on VOD or streaming services. The rest have been pushed back, some up to a year! I gotta wait a year to see Dom and Lettie and figure out how the hell Han is still alive!

And that’s a no go on Disney World or any other amusement park. I can’t stand people at the best of times, put me in a crowded venue full of shirtless, sweaty people with red, sun-burned skin and I’ll pull my impression of a 90s postal employee.* In fact, anything that involves large groups of people is a hard pass for me.
Instead, I’m going to do a nice little tradition of mine, the Aimless Road Trip. This is where I hop in my car, pick a cardinal direction and just drive that way for a few days, always staying off major highways, always sleeping in crappy motels that probably have dead hookers stashed in the mattresses. No actual destination, so no rush to get there. Cruise the vistas. That’s the life for me! I once got lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a week! I loved it.
You really get to see rural, small-town America in all its racist glory that way. So historic! So educational! I drive down quaint little main streets and eat at diners run by guys named Mel with waitresses (not servers) named Flo and shit like that.

It will be interesting to see what happens when this is all over. The country is going to go apeshit. So many people have to get their jobs back, or get new ones. Some companies are just going to fold completely. Speaking of hookers,(and who wouldn't want to?) do they follow the quarantine? Is business slow for them, or even better? Do they test each john before a session?

All very important questions.

Anyway, I gotta go now. I’m up to two and a half naps per day and I’m trying to hit four before Easter gets here. What are you going to do when this is all over?

*Remember that? Remember when going “postal” was a thing? What happened to that?

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Playthings


Since time immemorial, children (and some adults) have entertained the many boring hours of their lives with toys. From tin cans to Back to The Future style hoverboards, (They’re out there, believe me. But only the rich have access to them) kids love toys! And with out current sequestration, I have ample time to look at toys, both from my past and historical past. Let’s play!

Toys are old. They’re as ancient as your mom’s pubes, (which have been carbon-dated to the dawn of man). Even early cavemen had stick dolls and rock Nintendos. The oldest known doll is dated at 4,000 years old.

In fact, dolls were the most prevalent form of early toys. This is most likely because girls were actually the ones who played with toys and dolls, while the boys were out hunting woolly mammoths and growing hair on their elbows. Early materials for dolls included wood, rock, clay and poly-carbonate plastic if you were lucky.

Early toys weren’t just used for playing, they were also tools for development. They helped children understand how to interact with others, both children and adults and how to interpret the world around them. As well as what Barbie looks like when you cut off her hair.
The word “toy” can be traced as far back as the 14th century, although nobody knows its origins. It’s shrouded in mystery and intrigue, many archeologists with whips have attempted to hunt down the source of the word, only to disappear into the void on the Island of Misfit Toys, never to be seen again.

Toys have been unearthed in Ancient Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Typically, these toys were small wagons, dolls, whistles and (no joke) yo-yos. The first mechanical puzzle appeared in 3rd Century BCE Greece. I’m not entirely sure what a mechanical puzzle is, but that sounds kinda neat, right?

Fast forward to the 1700s. Toy making was becoming a booming business, but only for the hoity-toity. Toymakers catered to the rich, because all of their toys were custom made and very intricate. Just like the ones that bastard Herr Drosselmeier* used to make. Their dolls would often be made of porcelain, with the highest quality fabrics for dresses, horse hair, glass eyes and HUMAN HEARTS! Well, maybe not that last part, but the dolls were, to a degree, a status symbol.
Other ye olde timey toys that our ancestors played with include, but are not limited to: jigsaw puzzles, models, board games, hoops(?) bows and arrows, kites, rocking horses, kaleidoscopes, puppets(!), toy soldiers and that ever popular horror movie staple, the zoetrope. And this was all before the 20th century, those luck bastards!

Early 20th century brought us those classics we know and sometimes vaguely remember: silly putty, Play-Doh, slinky, Legos, Barbie, G.I. Joe, lawn darts, Red Rider BB Guns, toy cars, rubber balls, jacks and other boring shit like that.

Toys can be divided into 8 major categories and to be honest, I wonder whose job it was to do that. You’ve got Construction Sets, like your Legos, your Erector Sets, models, Lincoln Logs, piles of baloney slices, etc. Then there’s Dolls and Miniatures, this includes stuffed animals, actions figures, voodoo dolls and the like. Next there’s Vehicles. That’s where you’ll find Hot Wheels, remote controlled vehicles, wind-up toys and model trains, which, to be honest are more for adult men than children.

Then there’re Puzzles, like Rubik’s Cubes, mazes, Chinese Finger Cuffs (you know what I’m talking about!) and so on. Next is Collectibles. These aren’t for playing with as much as just…collecting. I want you to take five minutes right now and go up to the nearest person you know who collected Beanie Babies and laugh in their stupid faces! A wise investment is to do what I did and collect all your Happy Meal toys from the 80s, them shits have value. Up next is Promotional Merchandise. These are toys that are usually tie-ins to events, movies, sporting teams or cross-promotional, synergetic blah blah blah. For some reason, lunch boxes also count in this category, although I’ll be damned if somebody is going to convince me that a lunch box is a toy.
Moving on, there’s Digital Toys. This one explains itself. You either need to plug it in or insert batteries. Tamagotchis need not apply. Lastly there’s Physical Activity. We’re talking BALLS! All types of balls. Big balls, small balls, red balls, blue balls. Round balls, ovoid balls. Smooth balls and rough balls. Also, frisbees, pucks, jump ropes, skates and if you are a true loser, hackey sacks.**

By the way, the secret ninth category is cardboard boxes.

As a child of the 80s, I consisted almost entirely on action figures and all of my action figures were tie-ins with Saturday morning cartoons. In fact, some of them had the toy come first and the cartoon was based around them. The most famous of these is, of course, the Man of Hes. The quintessential 80s boy cartoon/action figure. There’s no quicker way to make a young boy question his nascent sexuality than by handing him a shirtless dude in a loin cloth for him to play with.

The Hasbro toy company ruled the 80s with an iron fist. From He-Man and She-Ra, to G.I. Joe to Transformers, there’s no small pieces of plastic they saw that they couldn’t make obscene amounts of money from. And God bless them for it! They made me who I am today.  
As I sit here in isolation, I take the time to ponder the history of toys and what they mean to me and my formation as a grown ass man-child. I enjoy toys. Always have, always will. Kind of like Robin William in the movie…Toys. I have many favorites and many happy memories of creating giant action figure wars on Saturday mornings, cartoons running in the background as I run around yelling “Pew! Pew! Pew!” and making figures fall over. The halcyon days indeed.

So what are your favorite toys?

*Deep cut!
**But mostly BALLS!


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Shut-in Workout You Didn’t Know You Needed!


What’s up fellow prisoners! Broceps here, lead trainer at Club Torquemada, and I’m pumped today to share an exciting workout that I have personally developed that you can do from within your very own domicile, or wherever you happen to be currently trapped. It’s easy!

Using the latest in core training, while incorporating Yoga, (including Bikram) as well as Mongolian contortionism, Inuit whale-stalking, Seminole pole-dancing and French leg-crossing, I have created a spectacular routine that will get the blood flowing, the muscles moving and the heart pumping. It’s easy!

Before we get started, you’ll have to gather some tools. While some of you may have weights and the proper equipment, some of you may not. So I decided to simplify things as much as possible. He’s what you’re going to need set up in front of you for this INSANE! Workout. It’s easy!

1.Four cement blocks
2.Two two-gallon milk jugs. One filled with water. One filled with milk that you left outside overnight.
3. A cactus
4. One Jenga set, already set up
5. One large pizza, the works
6. A goat (if you don’t have a goat, three cats will do)
7. 6’x2’ worth of sandpaper

Ok, are we ready? Let’s get started. It’s easy!

First, you’re going to clear enough space on the ground to put the sand paper down. That will be your workout matt. Then, it’s time to get naked. This way you can better see the muscles and tendons flex during the workout. Let’s start with some stretches. It’s easy!
The Corpse: Lay down on your back. Now, with you hands down by your sides, palms down, I want you to lay there, counting to 50. Turn onto your stomach and repeat.

The Snow Angel: While still on your stomach, spread your arms and legs outward, while keeping as much of the surface of your body in contact with the floor as possible, count to 47. Flip over and repeat. Can’t you feel your muscles contracting and loosening?

The Angsty Teen: This stretch requires a wall or some other vertical surface. Approach the surface and lean your back against it to whatever degree feels comfortable to you. As you lean against the wall begin to ponder how mean your parents are to you, how much school sucks and you can’t wait to move out! Relax, take a deep breath and repeat. Leg up optional.

Alright, warm up complete! How’d that feel? Get a nice sweat going? Good, time to work out! It’s easy!

!. Grab two of those cinder blocks place them approx. three feet apart. You’re going to sit on one and rest your feet on the other, so pick whatever distance is comfortable for you. Bring over the cactus and the other two blocks, place a block on either side of you. Sit down on the first block, resting your feet on the second. Take the cactus and place it on your lap. Take cinder blocks three and four in each hand. Now do as many block lifts as you can, with the cactus on your crotch until you collect at least a teaspoon of blood from the punctures wounds. Be sure to keep your arms straight the whole time! You should be able to do a quick and easy 250 lifts with this. It’s easy!

2. Alright, set all that stuff aside and shake it off. Next go up to the assembled Jenga set. With one leg, proceed to give that shit the mightiest kick you’ve ever mustered in your life. Send those pieces flying everywhere! With a stopwatch (I forgot that you’ll need a stopwatch) time yourself going around the room collecting every piece. I hope you counted the number of pieces before you kicked! If it takes you longer than 2 minutes to collect every piece, then set it back up and do it again. Feel the burn!

3. You’re doing great so far! Going into the homestretch, gotta get a little cardio in. Take the two milk containers and walk up to the goat, (or cats) and proceed to dump the jug full of water all over it while insulting its mother. Get it enraged. Get it steaming mad enough to chase you. Then proceed to run for your life, because goat skulls are notoriously thick and they will break bones if they headbutt you to the ground. As you run for your life, be sure to chug thirstily from the jug of spoiled milk. This will fortify your stomach and guts from any future under cooked Peruvian chicken you may get at a restaurant one day (I’m looking at you Limon!). See, the key is to not just make your outside strong, but your inside as well. This workout is all encompassing!

The same applies to the cats, although insulting their mothers probably won’t work. You may have to find insults that work for your particular situation and feline companions. It’s easy!

4. Alright boys and girls! The final step of the workout is to lay the pizza on the ground and just stomp all over it. Treat it like a redheaded stepchild. This is done for two reasons: 1. Because I’ve always just wanted to do that, you know? Just waste a pizza! 2. It’s a symbolic gesture to show that heavy, fatty, delicious foods no longer have any power over you. You have the control and the willpower to rise above their tasty, tasty siren calls! You are the master! It’s easy!

Okay boys and girls, that’s it. You did a great job today! Just follow this workout four times a day during this quarantine and in no time, you’ll be as swole and as cut as your boy Broceps. It’s that easy!