Tuesday, March 27, 2018


(In honor of the recently released Mr. Rogers stamp.)

As a young child, I was just like any other rambunctious rapscallion. As the Terror of the Neighborhood, I was ready to get down and dirty with the best of them. There was nary an ant I wouldn’t burn with a magnifying glass, (by the way, who lets kids go around with magnifying lenses? We clearly aren’t looking for clues to solve murders, nothing good can come of it.) Nary a fly whose wings I wouldn’t pull off. Pushing kids into mud was a pastime of mine. Petty arson, light breaking and entering and vandalism? Sign me up!

But of course, all that is par for the course, and I’m sure you knew that stuff about me already. But I bet there’s something about me as a kid you didn’t know…

…I collected stamps!

In my youth I was an avid Philatelist.* My interest has died down over the last few decades, but there was a time when I’d go swimming in pools of stamps like Scrooge in his money bin. Of course, all of the stamps had been previously mailed, so they were absolutely worthless, but I always hoped that I’d get that one upside-down airplane stamp. You know, the one from Brewster’s Millions**. Literally the only stamp anybody thinks of when they think of valuable stamps, (except for that topless Harriet Tubman stamp, but those are really hard to find.)

I grew up at the bottom of a dead-end street. A few houses up from me was a nice old lady named Mrs. Smith. She was called Mrs., but she lived alone; her husband having died years earlier. I’m not sure why, but she had boxes and boxes, (and boxes) of stamps from all over the world. American stamps, French, British. Stamps from Greece, Italy, Oompa Loompa Land. It was a treasure trove of mostly valueless, but still very interesting, little pieces of paper. The interesting part was in imagining where the stamps had traveled, what they’d seen, what kind of letters they’d been involved in. Love letters? Dear John letters? Ransom demands? (I imagine a really dumb kidnapper who sends the note by mail and stupidly puts his*** return address on the envelope, making the entire police force piss themselves laughing.)

I’d go with my friend Alex and my sister. We’d sit on Mrs. Smith’s living room floor for hours, sifting through the boxes, taking whatever caught our little numskull eyes. I only collected American stamps, because I’m a goddamn patriot, through-and through; I bleed red, white and blue! But the other two Philistines took their collecting international. A pox on them, I say! Who needs a stamp of Queen Beatrice of South Hamptonbergshire or wherever, when you can have a Fat Elvis stamp? (he was actually “Young Elvis,” but I would draw his belly to the size I desired.)

I collected a lot of pointless stuff as a kid. I have hundreds of Garbage Pail Kid cards, MacDonald’s toys, Mad Magazines, Pauly Shore movies, morning stars, bellybutton lint. You know, the usual. But by far and away the most pointless thing that I collected was also a pastime for my entire family. The whole Hutcheson Clan got involved in this foolishness: collecting Kool Aid points.

Remember those? On the back of Kool Aid packages and containers were little parts of the label you’d cut out that’d say something like 1 Point, or 5 Points, or what-have-you. And then you could redeem for all types of “prizes” like a beanbag chair, or a Kool Aid Man stirring spoon or other vital sundries. What fun! For years, nay, decades! My family of Kool Aid junkies would collect and horde these points, just waiting for the day Kool aid would finally offer something good, like the Batmobile or (if I had my druthers) a Japanese hooker. Instead, Kool Aid just stopped doing the whole points thing entirely, thereby making our years of collecting incredibly pointless.

And don’t get me started on Pepsi Points and the Harrier Jet.

*Japanese for “He who fornicates with stamps.”
** Classic Richard Pryor!
***Or her. It’s the 21st century after all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Forgotten Heroes of Yore: President William “Laffy Taffy” Taft


Wow, I haven’t done one of these in many a year. But I can’t help it! Recent activities and words spewed out by our current president (Dr. Evil) have made me curious about past presidents, like President Allstate Insurance and President Pull Pullman. But more importantly, what about non-fictional presidents?

Today I picked to discuss our 27th, and girthiest president, William “The Incredible Bulk” Taft. A president whose achievements and accomplishments in U.S. politics are so well known that I’ll bet you $10 you can’t name a single damn thing!

Let’s do a brief overview of his life. Join me, won’t you?

William “Baba-Booey” Taft was born in Cincinnati, Oh, in 1857. Growing up, he invented Skyline chili, thereby making him popular and zaftig at the same time. Taft was born to Louis Torrey and Alphonso Taft. William was a twin, but his brother was eaten in utero.

Taft wasn’t a necessarily bright child; he once spent an entire day having a one-sided (but by all accounts, very productive) conversation with a scarecrow. But he was known for being hard-working and was able to graduate from high school and go to Yale, where he studied law under the famous professor Judge Dredd.

Taft also became a member of the secret society “Skull and Bones,” which meant that he was instrumental in having an effect on global markets, keeping the water-fueled car under wraps, making sure Reparations never happened, and lying about the existence of Squid Men from Beyond Venus.

Post-graduation, William “Big Willy Style” Taft, decided to run a bar down in Cancun. That’s where he met his future wife Helen Herron. After a lovely first date, where Taft woke up in the morning in a bathtub full of ice and no kidneys (man that guy has bad luck with bathtubs!) Taft an Herron were married in Vegas, by an anachronistic Elvis impersonator.

Anyway, after all this, Taft when on to work as a lawyer and judge in various capacities around Ohio, (making sure to stay away from Toledo.) His tenacity and anti-svelte build caught the eye of many prominent political figures, including Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland (who wasn’t even from Ohio, the big faker!) And Teddy Roosevelt.

In 1904, Roosevelt made Taft the Secretary of War, which was a pretty cushy gig, considering there wasn’t any war to secretarize. Which reminds me, vote Josh for Ambassador to Oz. Together we can build yellow-brick roads between our two great nations!

Over the next few decades a bunch of really boring stuff happened to this guy, which would only make historians wet. It’s all so boring that I can’t even properly make fun of him. Let’s just say we all have that friend or acquaintance who is so boring that you feel sorry for them and can’t even insult them to their boring, bland face, right? I know I do. I’m looking at you Bob.

Anywho, with Roosevelt’s backing, Taft won the 1908 presidential election as a Conservative Republican. During his four-year tenure as Mr. Potato Head-in-Chief, Taft Was pro-unions organizing, but not boycotting, maintaining the privatization railroads in the hands of Robber Barons, appointing various staff positions, setting up future interaction between our country and Latin American countries, did some shit with tariffs (good or bad, who cares?) something called the Ballinger-Pinchot Affair and…

…Ahhhh! Who cares? It’s so boring my brain just ran away. Damn it! I should have picked a more interesting president. Like that dude who got sick and died after five months. What was his name? I bet he did more stuff.

And you wanna know the worst part? Fool never got stuck in a bathtub. Sure he was 350 pounds, but he always made sure he had big ass bathtubs everywhere he went: on ships, various White House bathrooms (I guess he liked to switch up bathrooms to keep things interesting?) his vacation house, even his brother’s house. Next somebody will tell me that the story about Abraham Lincoln going to San Dimas High never happened!

I will leave you with this one true fact, make of it what you will. I don’t know who tracks this stuff or why, but it seems that William “I can’t feel my left arm” Taft was the last president to have facial hair.

Never let it be known that I don’t teach you guys stuff. And now, I haiku.

Our president Taft
Probably did a good job
Or not, I don’t care.

*By the way, that's his actual tub. Seven feet long and 41 inches wide. Even Wilson Fik couldn't get stuck in that!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Zombie Wave Has Broken

(This is gonna be a short one, I’m just flexing my writing muscles after a long hiatus. I’m a wee bit rusty in the old joke factory.)

I was lounging around my apartment the other day, doing my regular activities (watching cartoons in my underwear and scratching my balls) when my EUREKA! moment happened.

I really hate zombie movies and tv shows.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of zombies. I’m all for shuffling hordes of flesh-eating ghouls who are an allegory for the Communist menace. I delight in imagining scenarios wherein I kick in doors, waving various four-fours, rescuing damsels and killing the undead in imaginative ways, (I’m trying to figure out what I can do with a loaf of bread and a jar of chunky peanut butter. Zombies have allergies too, right?)

No, my problem is with zombie movies. Why? I’m glad you asked.

In vampire movies, people are aware of the existence of vampires. In werewolf movies, people have heard of werewolves before. Same goes for ghosts, Creatures from Black Lagoons and even Hellraisers. Even if the people in those movies don’t believe in those things, they at least have some passing knowledge on the subject.

In 99.5% of zombie movies, nobody has ever heard of zombies before. Nobody has any knowledge of how to deal with them. Hell, In The Walking Dead, they don’t even say “zombie,” they’re “Walkers.” What kind of bullshit is that? Some of them are missing legs and gotta crawl to get around. What are they called? Ankle-biters?

That means, practically every zombie movie or show has to always include the origin, and I’m tired of it. Each time, we have to follow a new set of dopes as they slowly discover the rules to dealing with zombies that we, as the audience, have known since we were in the womb. It’s the same damn tropes all the time. For example:

1. Somebody has to ask a friend or loved one what’s wrong at the very beginning. Which leads to said loved one turning around dramatically.

2. People eventually discover that zombies have to be killed by brain trauma.

3. They eventually discover that being bitten leads to infection. Which leads to…

4. …Somebody being bitten and hiding it from the rest of the group.

5. Somebody tearfully having to kill a loved one and refusing. Tearfully.

6. A character valiantly sacrificing themselves for the good of the group. Valiantly.

7. At least one joke about a zombie “losing their head.”

8. Decaying zombie bewbs.

I’m sick of it! Why are we subjected to seeing this mobius strip of stupidity? Why can’t more movies be like Zombieland? That movie starts after the zombie apocalypse and the story picks up with survivors who already know the rules. Or, if they insist on doing a generic zombie movie, throw in a zombie expert. Let’s get a Van Helsing in that piece! Somebody who knows something and can save us the trouble of the first 45 minutes of people stumbling around going “duh.”

I dunno. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much. Perhaps I should pursue more enlightened endeavors, such as finally getting those hoverboards invented, or solving world itchiness.