Category Archives: Germany

Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

I’m all out of words today. I have a headache and I think I’m coming down with something which seems unlikely as  I don’t often leave the house, so where would I catch it? From Dumbcat? Probably cat scratch fever, then? Thanks a lot, Dumbcat. ZOMG, I just looked up the symptoms of cat scratch fever and headache and fatigue are TOTALLY SYMPTOMS. As is MALAISE. I have all the malaise! All of it! Oh, this is bad news. Or, wait, no, it isn’t, it just goes away on its own and I’ll be FINE. Well, I bet I have the WORST case of cat scratch fever EVER. That will probably KILL me. That’s just like this cat scratch fever to be the most deadly thing ever. JUST LIKE IT.

Listen, I was GOING to put in a real picture of cat scratch fever but YOWZA those photos were gross. This one’s pretty gross, too. but at least not swollen and inflamed.

Well, I suppose I’d better write SOMETHING before I succumb to this very deadly cat scratch fever. I mean, who knows if this will be my last ever post before you all hear that I’ve died and you’ll be donating to one of my favorite charities or possibly to Victims of Cat Scratch Fever, which would be VCSF and not a very good or memorable acronym for a charity of people like ME who have died of CAT SCRATCH FEVER.

Dumbcat would like you all to know he does not think he has cat scratch fever, and he feels fine, but I’m pretty sure that’s what victims of cat scratch fever all say. Or those who are TRANSMITTING cat scratch fever to their supposedly beloved owners. But, FINE DUMBCAT, I will go on WebMD and put in my symptoms and see what it says is wrong with me. I bet WebMD says I have cancer.

WedMD said I had 99 possible diseases, and a bitch ain’t one (but one of which *was* TOTALLY cat scratch fever) but also I could have post-partum depression (I’m depressed just thinking about that, because if I have that, WHERE IS MY BABY?), brain aneurysm, typhoid fever, or cocaine withdrawal. As you can see, I’m most likely dying and have only days, NAY MOMENTS, left to live. (Also, I was doing cocaine? Man, did I enjoy myself? I can’t imagine I did. Cocaine always scared the beejeebers out of me. I think we can all agree I don’t need a drug that makes me speedier.)

Heh! That dastardly typhoid fever. Leave them kids alone.

Because I am dying, I should probably leave you with some cheerful things to remember me by, right? I mean, that’s important.

Here are Anzac and Peggy, and they are the best of interspecies friends.

Aw, you GUYS! Even though I am DYING I can appreciate the cuteness of this magnitude! Look look look! A joey and a wee wombat! They have been sharing a pouch because they are both ORPHANS. Aw! This is like the beginning of every Disney movie ever. This is like the Fox and the Hound! Only it’s the kangaroo and the wombat! Also, apparently they get along very well because they have similar personalities: Anzac the kangaroo is “very social” and Peggy the wombat is “boisterous and cheeky.” Aw! CHEEKY! Cheeky is my favorite!

Here is what Peggy will grow up into. ZOMG, why didn’t you people tell me how adorable wombats are? Australia has the BEST animals!

The article goes on to say that the zookeepers don’t know if Anzac and Peggy will stay friends when they grow up, because they will differ wildly in size, and wombats are all waddly like little furry piggies. Aw! Poor Anzac and Peggy! I hope you stay friends FOREVER, you two! DAMN THE MAN! Don’t let ’em tell you who you can be friends with, you two crazy kids. Make it work! AGAINST ALL ODDS! Just like Phil Collins says!

Take a look at me nowwww…..

And if you thought THAT was cute, here is Orbit the owl and HER BFF. They’re not interspecies friends. They’re…um…interobject friends? I guess?

Aw, Orbit!

Baby Orbit was also orphaned, so the lady raising him gave him a cuddle object and he TOTALLY took to it. ZOMG, you GUYS! Could this be any cuter? Also, baby barn owls are ADORABLE. All little puffs of fluff. I mean, I love owls anyway, but when they’re babies, I want to snorgle them. (Also, why so many orphaned babies? This is very sad.)

Aw, look at Orbit here! All baby raptory. I love him.

Look what baby Orbit will look like when he grows up! Listen, I totally missed my calling and should have been a raptor rehabilitator because I love birds of prey more than almost anything, I swear.

I like how poker-faced and wise barn owls look. Like they have SECRETS.

Oh, this isn’t so much “cheerful” as it is something I’ve seen a billion times over the past week or so and it makes me laugh every time.

OK, so since I don’t ever leave the house, I watch more television than is probably healthy? And this one commercial keeps coming on. And I can’t find it online. It’s apparently TOO SHOCKING FOR THE INTERWEBS. Nah, probably no one uploaded it because no one finds it as humorous as I do. Anyway, it’s a back-to-school commercial. It’s either for Kmart or Walmart, I’m not sure which. I thought Walmart but then I started second-guessing myself and now that I WANT to see it, of COURSE it’s not on. Anyway, it’s this hidden-camera thing, where this SECRETIVE VOICE-OVER GUY is all “we invited these families over so their children can try on these clothes for back-to-school” and it shows these women and girls all laughing and smiling and the girls modeling their new clothes. You know. Like you do with your friends and their girlfriends. Then SECRETIVE VOICE-OVER GUY is all “what these people DON’T KNOW is that these clothes are ALL FROM WALMART!” (Or, like I said, it might be Kmart, because I can’t find it anywhere. They’re both kind of the same place anyway.) Then the adults and kids are all, “What? Hee hee hee! I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED! I will buy ALL of my clothes at Walmart (maybe Kmart, whatever) from now on!”


Every single time this commercial is on, I give it my OWN voice-over. “What? These clothes are from WALMART? Get ’em off. GET ‘EM OFF! Walmart clothes don’t touch my children’s skin! BURN THEM WITH FIRE! KILL THE CAMERAMAN! HOW DARE YOU!” Then I get the giggles. Because I’m effing hilarious, yo. Is it really so tricky? Kids are refusing to wear clothes from these places? Shit, when I was little, if I refused some of my back-to-school clothes, my mom would have just said, “Fine, wear last year’s shit, see if I care?” And then I’d be wearing the same clothes two years in a row and everyone would start calling me names. So I took what I was given whether I liked it or not, because that’s what poor people do.

This is where we used to get all of our back to school clothes. We’d order ’em through the catalog, get ’em at home, try ’em on, and send back what didn’t fit. We were classy. CLASSY!

(Please note my sarcasm, because I have nothing against either Walmart or Kmart clothing, as a rule. If it fits, I’ll wear it. If you came up to me wearing clothes from either place, I would have no idea where you’d purchased your clothing. Well, unless, I suppose, it said somewhere ON your clothing – say, on your shirt, “PURCHASED AT WALMART” or something. I have no eye for fashion. The closest I come to caring is watching Project Runway on a regular basis. Well, I don’t care much for t-shirts with wolves silk-screened on them. But does anyone? Does anyone, really? Wait, people do? Oh, ok, I’m sure they’re lovely on YOU. Carry on, then.)

Oh, well, I take it back. This one’s ok. I’d TOTALLY wear this one.

I had something else to tell you but I’ve clean forgotten it. I’m going to assume that’s because of the cat scratch fever, or maybe the cocaine withdrawal. GIMME MAH BLOW YO.

Off to watch a billion more episodes of Grimm so I can get caught up by Monday. I’m totally getting sucked into this show. Oh, guess what I learned on it? Listen, you know how I love love love all the German, right? Well, it’s all about fairy tales, so there’s lots of German in it. And in the episode I watched last night, I learned that the German for poison is – ready? Well, Ken already knows and I can sense him rolling his eyes with barely-controlled “OH AMY”-ness right now – the German for poison is gift. So if someone says they’re going to give you gift you, but they’re German, it might be wacky wordplay and they’re totally going to serve you an iocane powder smackdown. Gift, you guys! Could that BE any more wonderful? No, it could NOT, I won’t hear a single argument against it.

He’s about to get a gift. The German kind.

Alright, off to swoon and also malaise. SIGH SIGH SIGH DYING.*

(*Probably not at all dying)

Going for the gold! Or whatever, I’m not picky at all.

Welcome to Wednesday, where we will be having OLYMPIC NEWS. What’s best about this is that guess how much Olympics I’ve watched? If you guess zero, you are CORRECT. I haven’t even watched recaps. I’m not mad at the Olympics. I just don’t care. I mean, yay, Olympians! You are doing an amazing job! But I am not watching it. Even though I’m home all day and totally could do so.

Here you see a major reason I don’t want anything to do with the Olympics. Ryan Seacrest is a massive tool.

BUT, there is a lot of Olympic news all over the place, and I still read all of that. Of course I do. I like news.

I just checked the really real official site and apparently China has won more medals than the U.S. has. This is apparently what my dad was talking about when he was all crankety-pantsed the other night. He likes MERKA to win ALL THE MEDALS. He thinks if we don’t, then the games are rigged. I don’t know that they’re so much rigged as some Olympians are better than others, and therefore win more medals. At least, that’s what I’d like to think. If the answer is otherwise, don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know. So right now (which is days before you’ll read this, I’m sure by the time you read this, things will have changed) China is winning, and WHOO MERKA! is coming in second in overall total medals. I like to check up on the countries that the people I care about live in, so in news of countries that some of you live in (sorry if I miss some of you!) we have Great Britain currently (as of the writing of this, things change ALL THE TIME!) tied for third place, Germany in seventh place (you go, Ken’s country!), Canada in twelfth place, and poor Andreas’ Finland has one medal. One! That is NOT ENOUGH. I even researched what it’s in and the answer isn’t AWESOMENESS, like you’d expect, but sailing. (Sailing is an Olympic sport? Huh.) Listen, Finland needs more medals. Because that’s where my ANDREAS lives. So therefore it is FILLED with awesomeness. Also, why would it even NEED medals? IT HAS ANDREAS. He’s BETTER than medals.

Why aren’t you giving Andreas’ country enough medals? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

Anyway, here is Olympic news, and semi-Olympic news, and some Olympic cuteness, and things that are Olympic-related. Even though I’m not watching the Olympics. Yep. I know, right? I’m pretty fancy.

First, your dose of Olympic cuteness. Jim (you know Jim! He’s my Minister of Flynance!)……posted this post the other day. You should click on it, because it has adorableness about his daughter and her love of the Olympics. Or, in her parlance, the “Wimpics.” Which I love to death, and think it should be called forever and evermore. I decided she should be the official NBC Wimpic commentator, because I will tell you right now, if she was doing the commentary? I’d be watching those Olympics. I’d be watching those Olympics SO HARD.

Next: this is going to make you disgusted with me. I have excuses, but not many.

You know how at the Olympics in 1972 people got murdered by terrorists?

I’m glad you did. I didn’t. Not until recently.

I KNOW! How embarrassed am I? You can totally yell at me right now. It’s fine. Here are my excuses:

  • I wasn’t born yet;
  • Until probably 10 years or so ago, I didn’t pay attention to ANY news outside of the United States (I know, I know, I was terrible);
  • It was Olympics-related, and when Olympics happens, I immediately tune out;
  • Did I mention, I wasn’t even born yet? I did? OK. I’ve run out of excuses.

So a few weeks ago I read somewhere (I want to say in Ken’s paper, but it might have been elsewhere, I’m not sure, I read a lot of things in a lot of places) about how 11 people (athletes, coaches, and a police officer) were murdered by terrorists during the Munich Olympics in 1972. Here were my thoughts. 1. WHAT THE HELL? How did I now know about this? 2. People got MURDERED? During the OLYMPICS? Actual athletes that were there to compete? What a terrible thing, you know? You’d think someone would have mentioned this within my earshot in the last almost FORTY YEARS OF MY LIFE. Give or take a year or two. I’m not quite forty yet, jellybeans. I’m totally yelling at my dad for not thinking this would be something I would find interesting. He knows I like to hear about such things. Anyway, I spent like half an hour reading all the internet things about it. And crying. About something that happened 40 years ago. Because that’s how I roll. No, seriously, well, you all knew about this, so it probably won’t upset you as much, but think about it. You’re all minding your own business and sleeping or whatever, getting ready to represent your country at the Olympics the next day, and then terrorists show up and suddenly you’re being held hostage and then EVERYONE DIES? Also, how terrible for the city. You’re so excited, and you won the Olympic bid, and the Olympics are in your city, and then this happens? How heartbreaking would that be? This is the worst story, sincerely. How did I not know about this? I feel like maybe my public education failed me.

Then I found out there’s totally a movie about it so I got it from the library and THAT was exciting because I thought I could LEARN things plus I would get to see Ken’s city but the internet tells me that a., half of the movie is imaginary, and b., none of the movie was ACTUALLY FILMED IN MUNICH. And the movie is CALLED Munich. SIGH. Apparently I should have gotten the movie One Day in September instead. I was TAKEN IN by Steven Spielberg’s name, dammit.

Trickery, Spielberg. Trickery.

What, this is totally Olympics-related! Just HISTORICAL! I love history more than real-life, most of the time.

Anyway, since this is the fortieth anniversary of this situation, the widows of the athletes wanted a moment of silence at the current Olympic games, but the officials put the kibosh on it with no explanation. I don’t know why, either. Would a moment of silence have killed them? Were they afraid that it would show them as taking a stance, politically, and make them a target for terrorism? I think if you just said, “This is a moment of silence for murdered Olympians” the point would be made, but whatever.

Anyway, I’ll be watching this movie soon, and if you want to put money down on whether or not I’ll be crying, I’d bet on the tears. You’ll win that bet. Even if the second half is all imaginary imaginariness.

Oh, yeah, this looks better. Dammit. But also scary. Is it scary? I don’t know about scary. True-life scary is bad news.

OK, update. I totally watched Munich? And here are my thoughts.

  1. It was the longest movie in the history of the world.
  2. I am terrible at action movies; I had no idea who the people were, what was happening, or what was going on at any given time. I had to have the Wikipedia synopsis open the whole time so I could go back and forth between the two so I’d know what was happening. True story. This movie made me feel like an idiotic asshole.
  3. I kept waiting for Cillian Murphy to show up, because I’d read he was in it, but when over an hour and a half had passed and he wasn’t there, I looked up what the hell was happening, and realized it was Ciaran Hinds in the movie, not Cillian Murphy. Because apparently I have some sort of confusion with foreign C-names. And they look NOTHING like each other. Like, at ALL.

    Ciaran Hinds, who was ACTUALLY in the movie…

    …and Cillian Murphy, who I was expecting. As you can imagine, I was sorely disappointed.

  4. The first fifteen minutes or so were awesome and compelling and all about the Munich hostage situation and made me cry; the rest of the movie (the remaining TWO AND A HALF HOURS, you guys) was about Eric Bana and a band of ragtag misfits hunting down the terrorists. In the dark. With much shooting and shouting and bombs. I hate movies that are too dark and I hate shouting, shooting, and bombs. Also, everyone had an accent and everyone looked very similar, so I didn’t know who anyone was.
  5. There was like NO MUNICH. Ken, give me a movie to watch where I can see your pretty city, because it sure as hell isn’t THIS one.
  6. My review? Blergh, no thanks. Also, the explosions scared Dumbcat and made him leap up and claw my leg at one point. Spielberg, you owe me a Bandaid. A SOLID GOLD HOLLYWOOD BANDAID. Also, my library doesn’t have One Day in September. I am disappointed.

OK, wait, I totally have more Olympics news! No, I do!

Apparently (I wasn’t paying attention, not a surprise) there is a gymnast named Gabby Douglas. She recently was the first African-American to win the Olympic gymnastics women’s individual all-around competition. That’s exciting, right? And she’s as cute as a button, too.

So, what did everyone concentrate on, when she was competing? Her form? Her dismount? Her attitude? Her scores?

Nope. Her hair.

Apparently, it was some sort of SOCIAL MEDIA OUTRAGE that she didn’t have a better hairstyle? People took offense to the clips she used to hold her hair back?

OH NOES THE HORROR (except not at all the horror)

Um. I don’t want to be judgey, because as mentioned, the Olympics are totally not my thing, but I think there’s a chance we’re concentrating on the wrong thing, here? She’s not competing in the Olympic hairstyling event. It’s GYMNASTICS, for the love of Pete. Also, from what I can see, she had a ponytail, and, like me, she’s one of those people with flyaways, so she used little clips to hold those away from her face. I’m down with that. Are they they prettiest? Nope. But sometimes, when you’re doing something where you have to pay attention, it’s function over style. When I’m driving, I put my hair up, and then put a hat on it, because I don’t have air conditioning and my windows have to be cranked open and my little flyaways flop all over and tickle and annoy me. I would assume you’d want that hair to stay out of your face, were you going for A GOLD MEDAL AT THE OLYMPICS. Who cares what it looks like?

She is as cute as a damn button. She’s got a bucket of personality. I like her a lot.

Also, Gabby Douglas (who is 16, by the way, and what a kick-ass chica) responded to all of the kerfuffle with surprise.

“I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” Douglas, 16, said on Sunday in London. “I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair.”

Douglas says the gel, clips and ponytail holder are tools she has used to keep her hair in place for years and the debate about it doesn’t matter.

“Nothing is going to change,” she said. “I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”

I wish I’d been that self-possessed at 16. I probably would have gone out and gotten my hair styled so people would stop making fun of me. I used to have the self-esteem of a pet rock. No, wait. Pet rocks probably have very GOOD self-esteem. Um…of a bullied sugar glider? Better. They seem fragile. I mean, people used to make fun of something I wore, and I’d NEVER WEAR THAT THING AGAIN. Now, people say things about me (I mean, it doesn’t happen often now, but people still say things, it’s not like I live in a glass bubble) and I’m like, meh, is it comfy? Does it fit? I’m good, then, you can suck it.

Next: social media and Olympians.

Two different Olympians were barred from the Olympics (either from competing at all, or from continuing on) for tweeting sour-grapes, racist tweets to their followers in the past couple of weeks.

Social media: where you can say WHATEVER YOU WANT. Oh, wait, no? Oh, ok then. Sorry.

Listen, obviously, I’m not the person to talk to about how best to use social media, as I was kind of fired recently and one of the reasons had to do with my “overuse” of Twitter, and also blogging. Thing is, I didn’t care because I was at the end of my rope at that point. If you actually WANT to be where you are, I think it’s kind of important to be CAREFUL.

There was a Greek athlete who tweeted racist things about West Africans, and a Swiss soccer player who denigrated South Koreans after losing to them.

What’d I say? What’d I say?

If you have to be a racist, maybe you could, I don’t know, email a friend privately? Or write in your journal? At least until the Olympics are over? You trained probably your whole LIFE to get where you are, how stupid are you going to feel when you’re old and your grandchildren are all, “Grandpa, tell me about when you were in the Olympics!” and you have to say, “Well, I didn’t get to compete…because I went online and called someone on the other team an offensive term relating to the mentally handicapped because I was bitter they beat my team.” You’re going to feel like a massive tool. And your grandchildren are going to think you’re a massive tool. Well-played, you. Also, side-notey, but is the Olympics really a place for racism? I thought maybe you could just, I don’t know, compete? And be happy? You’re in the damn OLYMPICS! Those people also worked really hard to get there! Unless they’re throwing the elbow in your face in competition or something (in which case, take it to a ref, not your Twitter followers) then just be a good sport, you’re not 5 years old and on the kindergarten playground, here!

Finally: we have a hometown SCANDAL!

So everyone locally was all YAY YAY YAY because we had a local kid competing in the Olympics! He was going to be competing in judo and he was all over the news and all of us around here were all “YAY LOCAL PERSON!” (Well, I wasn’t. I was more like, huh, judo’s an Olympic sport? Who knew? and then giggling because it reminded me of the time Napoleon Dynamite’s brother went to take judo classes.)

Then he got kicked out of the Olympics for testing positive for drugs. What kind? Performance-enhancing, you’d think, right? Nope.  Weed, of course. You know. As you do, before competing IN THE DAMN OLYMPICS.

Ugh, MAN! No WAY!

His excuse? “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realise had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games,” said Delpopolo in a statement.

Huh. Well, this can go one of two ways.

  1. He’s a lying liar who lies, and he ate some pot brownies before taking off for London at a goodbye party.
  2. He went to a goodbye party, and his most good-time-Charlie friend was all, “Shhh! Hee hee! These brownies are DELICIOUS! There’s something in the brownies that will make you want MORE BROWNIES!” and was unwittingly dosed with marijuana that way.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I think either is equally likely. I knew a kid once who was all “I used to trick people into doing angel dust” and when I was like, “Um, what the hell?” he was like, “I used to lace weed with it, and then give the weed to people to smoke, and then ask them, ‘have you ever done angel dust?’ and they’d be like, ‘unh-uh’ and I’d be like ‘YEAH YOU HAVE!’ and it was HILARIOUS.” When I told him that didn’t seem so hilarious, he seemed befuddled. Honestly, it seems more likely he’d have been dosed without his knowledge, because I’m sure Olympians are aware of the drug-testing rules, aren’t they? And even I know that marijuana stays in your system for a while. (When I was young and making much less intelligent choices, the rumor was a month, but I have no idea if that’s true or not. We weren’t all that intelligent back then. Or, we WERE, but we were seeing the world through a smoky haze. The internet tells me that if you’re a heavy smoker, you can test positive for THC up to 90 days after quitting. WHOA DUDE. GNARLY.)


Either way, our local Olympic dreams are DASHED. Well, “our” meaning “everyone except me” because I didn’t really have any to begin with. I’m still gobsmacked judo’s a sport. I feel kind of bad for the kid, though. I think if the drug you did is proven to be DETRIMENTAL to your performance, you should still be allowed to compete. It’s not like those brownies gave him a leg up, you know? I bet if you asked his competitors, they’d be like, “SURE! Let him compete! I’ll fight the stoner! NO I WILL!”

OK, there you go, ladies and gentlemen and also Ding Dong Joe. All the Olympics news for you! Off to not watch more of the Olympics! As I do! Or…well…don’t, I guess!

In Pittsburgh they called us closed minded, but we know that’s simply not true.

I’m not 100% sure what’s going on, but apparently strange things are afoot in Pennsylvania. JIM. What’s going on in your state? It’s only just across the border from me and I’m kind of nervous about this situation, here. As our Minister of Fly-nance I think it’s on your shoulders to explain your state to us. Or maybe not. I’m not really sure what being the Minister of Fly-nance entails. I guess that’s the beauty of the position. The leeway it provides. 

Today in the “weird news” section of the paper (what, your paper doesn’t have that section? It’s my FAVORITE SECTION. I love weird things. And I love news. Put them together and it’s the best, just the best) there were SIX ARTICLES PERTAINING TO PENNSYLVANIA. Six! What the hell? One was the most boring and not at all weird (who cares about a guy who faked a seizure to go to the hospital and also escape prison? Meh meh meh, that’s not weird, newspaper, way to misrepresent your weirdnesses) but the others were SUPER-weird. And also awesome. JIMMMMM! Seriously, your state is a depository of weird, which makes me predisposed to love it a little, you know that, right? 

Whoo, this is bossy. I bet Jim yells “Don’t you tell me what to do!” whenever he sees one of these. Jim HATES bossiness.

OK, so we have starfucker deadbeat dads, we have pilfered wooden alligators, we have Hansel-and-Gretel-style thievery, we have patriotism in poor taste, and we have creative use of the interwebs. WHOO! You go, Pennsylvania. Who knows the state motto of Pennsylvania? Anyone? Anyone? The answer is “virtue, liberty and independence.” That’s totally upstanding, I’d feel about 76% more patriotic just stating that, I think. Here’s a tougher one. What’s the state INSECT? Ladybug. Heh. Or also firefly, which seems like you’re just bogarting all the good bugs for yourself, Pennsylvania, you mooch. Also, they have a state DOG, which is the Great Dane. Pennsylvania does NOT dick around when it comes to the size of its canine mascots. (Oh, PS, because I’m curious like a cat, I looked up what New York’s state insect is, and it’s ALSO a ladybug. Shit, Jim and I are totally at war for our state bugs now, this is bad news, yo. I don’t want to be at war with Jim in a Confederate war-between-the-states sort of scenario because I LIKE Jim. He makes me laugh and also then laugh AGAIN. He’s full of tomfoolery AND risibility.) 

Look at Pennsylvania’s state flag. There’s a LOT going on here. Scary HORSES! An EAGLE! A SHIP! um…bumpy yellow things that might be…sheaves of wheat? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THOSE ARE BUT THERE THEY ARE!

First, let’s talk about Hansel and Gretel. Ooh, or, if you’re GERMAN, you could totally call them Hansel UND Gretel and no one would even look twice at you. I mean, I guess they might if you were a weirdo with, I don’t know, a huge Cat-in-the-Hat hat on, or maybe if you were running around naked screaming “HANSEL UND GRETEL!” at the Wildpark Poing which I am still longingly dreaming of visiting with many a wistful sigh. 

Look! Muffelwild! Ponyhof! You can’t even imagine the power of nth with which I want to go to Wildpark Poing. CAN’T EVEN.

OK, so if you all recall, Hansel and Gretel were cast out of their home by their evil stepmother (just once, a story about an immensely likeable stepmother would be a breath of fresh air, wouldn’t it?) and set to fend for themselves in the wilderness, but they put a path of breadcrumbs behind them to lead them home because they were CRAFTY. But not crafty enough! Because the naughty ravenous forest-birds ate their crumbs so they were lost lost lost and then they stumbled upon the gingerbread house and then they barbecued the witch the end. What, other shit happened? SIGH FINE also other shit happened. 

Look, a creepy puppety production of Hansel and Gretel! With…um…adults as the children! And a huge owl-thing! I’m not going to lie, this is worrisome.

Anyway, so this guy in Pennsylvania was totally jonesing for a delicious meatball sub but it was after hours so he broke into a Subway restaurant with his hands as battering rams. But when he realized he couldn’t make himself a delicious meatball sub (I might be making this part up using my ARTISTIC LICENSE) he decided to rob the cash register. Only, THAT failed as well, because he was NOT VERY SMART. So he stole “nine bags of chips” and then hot-footed it out of there. Only, the cops were able to catch him. How? HE LEFT A TRAIL OF CHIPS FOR THEM TO FOLLOW AS IF THEY WERE THE BIRDS IN HANSEL AND GRETEL. 

They found him all munchin’ on chips. Also, bleeding from the hand and foot because he cut himself all up smashing into the Subway with his extremities. 

Om nom nom. OM NOM NOM I SAID.

You couldn’t wait until you got to wherever you were going to eat from those teeny-tiny bags of Subway chips? I mean, they do have Munchos there, which are DELICIOUS, but I’m thinking you didn’t need to break into them IMMEDIATELY, and then apparently eat them like Cookie Monster while running, leaving crumbs and a mess behind you. I hope part of his punishment is cleaning that shit up. Chips are greasy. 

Next: the way to a man’s arrest is through his…um…swimsuit area. Also, his desire to be a stahhhhhh. 

So this deadbeat dad in Pennsylvania owed over $32,000 in back child support, so, as you do, he ran off to Hawaii. Someone (this article doesn’t say who. The court? His wife?) hired a bounty hunter. (I am, of course, imagining it was Dog the Bounty Hunter because he has a SWEET HEAD OF HAIR.)

Look, sometimes he even wears FEATHERS in it! I had feathers like this in the early 80s. I bought them at the carnival. They came on a roach clip. Come to think of it, maybe they weren’t hair ornaments after all. Give me a break, I was probably 7.

The bounty hunter, who was obviously very cunning, told the deadbeat dad to come back to Philadelphia, because if he did, there was a role in an Jennifer Aniston movie waiting there for him! 

Oh, you silly boy, why’d you go all the way to Hawaii? Come home to MEEEEE.

So of course, deadbeat dad was all, “COUNT ME IN SUCKAS I LOVES ME SOME RACHEL GREEN!” and got on a plane to the City of Brotherly Love. Where they were waiting for him as he disembarked and he was arrested and now he has to pay his money like a good dad, not a deadbeat jerky jerk. 

I have relatives who live in Philadelphia. JIM! I don’t even think I ever told you that. I totally have relatives that live there. My great-aunt and my cousin and his wife live there. And maybe they have a dog or something, I think they do. They’re very smart and I don’t think would be as easily fooled by this ruse, which seems like, ironically, (don’t’cha think?) a plot FROM Friends, starring one of the cast members OF Friends. 

“The One With the Deadbeat Daddy”

Also, deadbeat parents who refuse to pay their fair share can bite me. You had that kid. If you can afford to pay it, you need to pay it. That’s your kid, douche. Way to make your kid feel like a burden on  you. 

Next: honoring our dead with FIRE. 

No, not this kind of honoring and fire, but this is kind of awesome, seriously. Pennsylvania should do things like this, Jim.

This one’s right next to Jim. JIM DID YOU GO TO THIS? 

In a Pittsburgh suburb, because the school where they usually did it was under construction and unavailable, the people who do such things (town fathers? I don’t know. Here it would probably be the mayor. He’s very orange, our Mayor. Sometimes people call him Mayor McCheese? Because he’s all orange like a slice of processed cheese food? This makes my dad laugh and laugh. “What’s your mayor’s name?” he’ll say, and I have to say, “Oh, Mayor McCheese” and he’ll laugh and laugh and laugh and say “Mayor McCHEESE!” and then laugh some more. It never gets old, that joke, apparently) decided the only place that would be appropriate to shoot off their fourth of July fireworks would be from the local cemetery. 

Jerry “Mayor McCheese” Jennings, the president of RPI (a lot of people hated her because she fired a lot of people a while back) and Governor Cuomo. Comparatively, look how orange! (He’s actually not a terrible mayor.)

Some people were all “GO MERKA WHO CARES ABOUT THE DEAD!” and some were all, “Um…my mom’s under there? You’re walking on my mom” and one old lady was all “I wanted to visit my loved ones but the cemetery was closed so they could set up the display and I am SO DISTRAUGHT” but it seems most people were all, “meh, you gotta do what you gotta do WE LIKE FIREWORKS.” 

WHOO FIREWORKS AND MERKA! Also, don’t throw trash on grampa’s final resting place, Jimmy. That’s rude.

I don’t know that I’d want to go to a cemetery to watch a fireworks display. It seems a little disrespectful to me. Also, didn’t you people see Carrie? HANDS come out of GRAVES at night. Fireworks displays? Are at NIGHT. Nuh-uh, count me out of this one. 


Next: kids who learned about BUSINESS! In SCHOOL! 

In a town outside of Philadelphia (lots of weirdness going on around there, right?) there is a school that is broke. So broke, they’re going to have to close unless they raise $600,000. So they decided to sell themselves on eBay. 

What do you get if you buy the school on eBay? “He or she will get a plethora of goodies, including a naming opportunity, a free large pizza, a personalized school coffee mug and the chance to deliver a speech at graduation.” 

Is it free if it costs you $600,000? Is it really?

Hmm. For $600,000? That…doesn’t seem like a very good deal at all, actually. For a large pizza and a mug, that runs you what, say $30? People are always bugging people to give speeches. They always want me to make speeches at my theater and I’m all NO NO NO I HATE THOSE. I could get a speech for free. And you aren’t even guaranteed the naming! It’s only a naming “opportunity!” That seems unlikely. 

Mostly the school is doing this because they need a benefactor and they think this is a good way to go about it. Well, listen, I think this won’t work. Rich people aren’t going to buy your school on eBay. Unless they want to set it on fire or put mini-cams in the girls’ bathroom toilets. This has “wrong on all the levels” written all over it. 

Finally: the CASE of the STOLEN ALLIGATOR. Subtitled: Got wood? 

This one happened about 100 miles from Jim so I’m not overly worried about Jim or his family right now. That’s pretty far and it’s really hot out. No one’s driving that far in this heat. 

Some dude walked into an unlocked mobile home and beat up the resident, then stole his wooden alligator. MORE shockingly, the wooden alligator was worth $175. A $175 wooden alligator?!?!? What’s it made out of, EBONY? Come on now. 

I am worth $175! I AM VERY EXPENSIVE! Don’t steal me! CHOMP!

Also, in “no no I’m totally serious IT’S NOT AN ALIAS” news, the robber’s name was Todd Pensyl. And the robbery happened in Pen(n)sylvania. I feel like SOMEONE (cough”ToddPensyl”cough) watched The Usual Suspects right before pulling this epic heist. “My name? It’s…um…well, it sure isn’t William Jenkins! Ha ha, I don’t know WHY that license was in my wallet! It’s…my name…um…oh, look, a rerun of Diff’rent Strokes…TODD. Todd…um…where…PENSYL. Yeah. Yeah, I’m Todd Pensyl, that’s me.” 


Don’t worry. Keyser Söze OH WAIT I MEAN TODD PENSYL has been arrested, and I’m sure Woody the Alligator is back to his rightful owner, who is probably no worse for wear for having been kicked in the face repeatedly for not turning over his wooden $175 alligator. Is anyone except me wondering if there was heroin stashed in that alligator or something? This seems totally shady to me. 

So, as you can see, something’s going on in Pennsylvania. JIM. Please explain. I am worried about this. Were you aware that there was so much crazy? What are you doing to protect yourself? I suggest nunchucks. Or maybe throwing stars.

Something for everyone in your family, Jim. ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

Putting the cart before the Helper Mule

Here we are at Saturday. That’s exciting, right? It’s the weekend and all is well in the world. Well, it will be at 6pm when work is done, I suppose. Right now, it’s still kind of blergh, because I’m toiling away. Toil toil toil. But Saturday night and Sunday will be ALL MINE! I mean, it’s not like I’m going to do anything with them but write, but they’re MINE to write WITH and that’s all that matters, really. I also have many books to read and write about and PLANS and SCHEMES and maybe a little chicanery, who knows. I don’t even know the depths my chicanery might plumb. DEPTHLESS CHICANERY. 

I’m currently at work being all multi-tasky and writing this DAYS IN ADVANCE, yo. Work has been nuts this week because my cohort who does the same job as I do has decided to take a plethora of days off. You thought I was going to say piñatas, didn’t you? I wish there was a plethora of piñatas here. Every day could be made better by a plethora of piñatas. (If you are confused or not getting the reference, you OBVIOUSLY are not as obsessed with the movie The Three Amigos as you should be; please go rectify that immediately. I’d say we’d wait for you to catch up, but I’m sure we’ll have moved on by then. Time waits for no man, especially not one who hasn’t seen The Three Amigos by now.)

Anyway, so my coworker and partner in crime is gone on average 3/5 days a week lately, so it’s just me, doing my little me-thing back here. Which is fine, it’s quiet, but also it’s a lot of work for just me. Don’t they know I have blogging to do, dammit? BE MORE CONSIDERATE, OFFICE. 

I have some Dad news for you all today, and I KNOW, I just had some Dad news, but this is ADDITIONAL Dad news. He’s all full of news lately.  

Dad: I talked to Rooster today.
Me: Ooh, did you get a Helper Mule update?
Dad: Yes. It’s not good.
Me: It never is. What’s up with my friend the mule?
Dad: He’s just not working out.
Me: Is Rooster going to send him to the glue factory?
Dad: Oh, no. He’ll keep the mule. But the mule’s not helping, plus he’s very expensive.
Me: How’s the horse? Did she have that baby yet?
Dad: Rooster still doesn’t know if she’s pregnant.
Me: What? I thought the vet was going to come over and punch her in the stomach to test for pregnancy.
Dad: He tried, but the mule was in a bad mood that day so the vet had to leave in a hurry.
Me: Ooh, did the mule think the vet was trying to sneak in on his territory?
Dad: No, the mule was all hopped up on grain. Rooster’s wife fed him grain. You’re NEVER supposed to do that.
Me: What? I thought horses and mules and those types of animals ate grain.
Dad: No. It makes them all hyper. It’s like giving a kid chocolate. It’s like concentrated energy.
Me: So it’s like Red Bull for mules?

Dad: I guess. You’re only supposed to feed him hay and water.
Me: It sounds like he’s in prison with that diet. “Helper Mule, for starting that riot in the cafeteria, HAY AND WATER DIET FOR YOU!”
Dad: So Helper Mule apparently was about to attack the vet so he didn’t get to punch the horse in the stomach, so the horse still may or may not be pregnant. No one knows. And the vet is too scared to come back.
Me: That’s a totally unprofessional vet. You’d think that was a job hazard, you know? Suck it up, vet.
Dad: Also Rooster underestimated how expensive it would be to have a mule, and a possibly pregnant horse. Those things cost money.
Me: Yeah, you can’t imagine that horses and mules would be free. Even Dumbcat costs money.
Dad: That stupid cat. You should get rid of him.
Me: You stop it. That’s your grandcat.
Dad: Don’t say that out loud. People will think you’re insane.
Me: They already do.
Dad: Yes, probably. Also, Rooster bought a cart for the mule and the horse.

Check out THIS helpful mule.

Me: What? Why?
Dad: I assume so they can pull things around? I don’t know.
Me: I hope he knows how to hook up that cart.
Dad: What do you mean?
Me: You don’t put the cart before the horse. There’s a saying about that and everything.


Dad: That’s not that funny. Sort of funny, but not really.
Me: I’ll try harder next time.
Dad: See that you do. Oh, and also, he is training the mule and the horse, so he hooks them up behind his four wheeler and then takes them running.
Me: Well, that must be a sight.
Dad: He told me he took them for a twenty-mile run the other day, but I told him to stop lying.
Me: Maybe he did, you don’t know. You don’t even go visit him anymore.
Dad: No, because he always wants me to shovel shit. I don’t want to shovel shit. I’m not a hired man.
Me: Did you tell him I’m coming to helper-mule-whisper Helper Mule this summer?
Dad: No. I’m sure he’ll be so excited, though.
Me: I think Rooster’s lonely. Poor Rooster. His mule’s not helpful and he doesn’t even know if his horse is pregnant.
Dad: And he bought an extra mule-saddle for his wife but she was like, “I’m not getting on that mule, even if he does eat carrots out of my hand.”
Me: Rooster is just the saddest. I feel terrible about this whole thing. I’ll tell him he’s internet-famous, I think that’ll help.
Dad: I don’t know if it will, but you’re welcome to try. 

Oh, also, then Dad solved an international mystery, which was nice. Remember how he thinks Ken is an assassin? So this happened the other night:

Dad: They caught him. THEY CAUGHT HIM. I told you they would, one of these days.
Me: What? Who? You’re being weird.
Dad: Your friend. I told you he couldn’t get away with all that crime with no repercussions.
Me: Dad. Whoa. What friend. What’s going on.
Dad: Your ASSASSIN friend. Don’t you even watch the news?
Me: OK, I assume we’re discussing Ken? He’s not caught. He tweeted me like five minutes ago.
Dad: Well, then they let him have his phone in lockup.
Me: I don’t think they did. It’s like midnight there. I think he’s probably in bed now. Not JAIL bed. KEN bed.
Dad: Of course he wouldn’t tell you if he’d been caught. He must be so embarrassed.
Me: OK, so what was Ken supposedly caught for?
Dad: Chopping someone up in Canada and then escaping to Germany. You SAID he was in Canada and then went to Germany. HE IS A KILLER.
Me: He had a layover in Canada on his way home to Germany. Like a WEEK ago. I heard about the guy who chopped someone up. I didn’t hear he’d been caught. He got caught in Germany? Where?
Me:…who lives in Munich.
Dad: Or so he wants you to believe.
Me: No, I’m pretty sure he does. Those two cities are pretty far apart, Dad.

Not even SORT OF near each other.

Dad: Listen, I don’t think you should talk to that guy anymore because that murder was really creepy. Plus there can’t be more than one assassin who was just in Canada and then Germany.
Me: I just looked it up on my phone. This psychokiller doesn’t even LOOK like Ken.

SO doesn’t look like Ken. Ken isn’t even a tiny bit shifty. This guy’s so shifty he might as well be a manual transmission.

Dad: People lie on the internet ALL THE TIME. I keep telling you that.
Me: So whose photo does he keep putting on his blog?
Dad: I don’t know. Someone he keeps in his basement?
Me: Good grief this is a tangled web he’s woven. And I don’t even know that he HAS a basement.
Dad: It’s a good thing they caught him. If a man will lie to the internet about having a basement, what else could he be capable of?

Then I read the story online (um…kitten murder? Mailing body parts to politicians? Eep) and let Ken know my dad thought he was some sort of horrible murderer. Ken replied with:

Well, that seems a good answer to me, so then I had to let Dad know the next night his theory didn’t hold water.

Me: Dad, Ken totally wasn’t the psychokiller. He’d never murder kittens.

I am totally not friends with any kitten-murderers.

Dad: You don’t know.
Me: Seriously, he would not murder kittens. I’d never be friends with a kitten-murderer. He likes animals a lot. He totally went to the Berlin zoo when I was annoying about it once and took all the photos without even complaining one time. Not even ONE TIME!
Dad: Maybe that was all to make up for the ONE TIME he kitten-murdered. Like penance.
Me: No. Also, this guy was a porn star. Ken’s totally not a porn star. I wouldn’t even be able to take any of my friends seriously if they were porn stars. Wouldn’t watching someone you knew in porn just be so awkward? You could never talk to them again without giggling and thinking, “I saw your schlong and also you saying things like ‘harder faster oh baby uh.'”
Dad: I don’t want to talk to you about porn. Also, you don’t know. I bet at least 35% of your internet people are porn stars.
Me: I don’t…OK. He wears BIRKENSTOCKS. He listens to NPR. He is not a KILLER. And a
lso, I talked to him TODAY. He’s not in JAIL.
Dad: Maybe in Germany they can have their phones in jail. Also, he wears man-sandals and listens to fake news on the radio? This guy’s a commie. You didn’t even tell me this guy was a commie. Were you hiding the fact he was not only an assassin, but a commie, from me?
Me: I don’t think they can have their phones in jail. You know someone would turn their phone into a shiv and ruin it for everyone. And, no. He’s not a commie. You think everyone’s a commie.
Dad: Because everyone probably is a commie. ANYWAY. Did he see that guy on the plane? You should ask him if he saw that killer on the plane. They probably did a secret handshake or something. A KILLER handshake.
Me: I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I would assume they were on different planes, since they were flying into different cities. I mean, if you were flying from Germany to San Francisco, would you see someone who was on a plane from Germany to New York? Probably not, unless you had high-powered binoculars and the timing was just right.
Dad: You think a lot.
Me: Constantly. It’s a curse.
Dad: So the assassin escapes to murder another day.
Me: Yes, that would seem to be the case.
Dad: He’s tricky, that friend of yours.
Me: Yep. That’s how I like ‘em. Tricky. Also, commies. Tricky damn commies. In man-sandals.
Dad: You would. You would have internet friends who are assassins and spies who wear suspicious footwear.
Me: Yes, I would. It’s how I advertise for internet friends, actually. “All assassins, spies, and international persons of mystery welcome here. Feel free to wear your most communist shoes.”
Dad: Don’t even joke about that, I think one in ten people is an assassin and you probably know like a million internet people so that’s a lot of assassin friends.
Me: That is QUITE a statistic. You’re all full of numbers today.
Dad: I think it was on the news.
Me: I don’t think it was. I think you made it up just now in your head.
Dad: Perhaps.
Me: You’ll be glad I have assassin friends someday, because they can protect me from killers. With their sharpshooting prowess. You just wait and see.
Dad: Just don’t piss them off.
Me: I’ll do my best not to.

And now…because tomorrow will be all about drawing the prize winner and geeking out about my actual Bloggiversary and such, here is my top most popular post of the entire year. By a landslide, actually. Which is funny, because I wasn’t going to write it and I wasn’t going to publish it. I stayed up for hours past my bedtime writing and re-writing this one, so worried that it wasn’t right, that it wasn’t saying what I wanted to say how I wanted to say it, that it was going to make me sound like an idiot, that people were going to judge, that you don’t air your dirty laundry in public. And then the comments and tweets and messages and emails started pouring in. I’ve never loved you all more than I did over those days, seriously. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I underestimated your awesomeness. I won’t do that again.

Sometimes, I guess there aren’t enough rocks.

And I am SO EXCITED about the drawing and the winner, I can’t even. Tonight after work I’m going to get all pretty and make you all a video. Won’t that be exciting? Sure it will. Well, you can’t look like a gross schlump on a Youtube video, that’d be embarrassing.

Happy Saturday! Enjoy the sun, if there is sun! I hope there’s sun. If you like such things. If you don’t, I hope it’s as gray as a stone. ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN.

The Continuing Adventures of Our Favorite Fancy World-Traveling Bon Vivant (yes, he still has those jaunty hats)

Now you all remember the story of Ken, the fancy world-traveling bon vivant, I hope. It was quite a hit, celebrated globally. If you don’t, or if you’re new here, you’re going to want to click that link, and catch up. It’s important you have the background information. Also, it’s kind of kickass. I mean, I don’t want to toot my own horn, or anything, but the person who wrote that was kind of irrationally proud of how it all came together, all-told. AND, I mean, you could do worse than a little bon vivantery in your day. Who doesn’t want more bon vivantery? Boring people and weirdos. Are you a boring person? Or a weirdo? I’d think not. Oh, wait, maybe you are. I’m sorry if you’re a boring person or a weirdo. You should still click that link, maybe it would cheer you up, or non-weirdo-ize you, I don’t know.

Anyway, in Ken’s last adventure, Ken saved the day. As Ken does. We also learned about Ken’s bon-vivanting ways, and his friends Fabio and Kate Winslet, and his wife Mrs. Ken, and his dogs, Ella and Louis. And his world-traveling ways. And his arch-nemesis, L. Ron Hubbard. But L. Ron Hubbard died when he fell off the top of the London Eye while attempting to steal all the tea in London. That’s what happens when you cross a world-traveling bon vivant. Oh, shit, I guess I totally just recapped that link. You STILL should click it, there are a lot of other good things in there. Photos and wackiness. It’s worth it. I promise.

But, were you all wondering, are there other Ken stories? The only story of the bon vivant can’t be the one about ALL THAT LONDON TEA. Right? Are there more? MORE STORIES?

Oh, yes. Yes, there are.

But which to tell? There are JUST SO MANY.

What’s that? You’d like to hear the story behind this tweet RIGHT HERE?

Ok. I can do that. All for you, all for you.

Without further ado:

The Mystery of the Missing Concertos (AKA Get Bach to Where You Once Belonged)

When we left Ken, our world traveling bon vivant, he had just saved London and all the tea, and won back the friendship with his BFF, Kate Winslet. All was well in Ken-land. Ken-nebunkport. Ken-ya. It was quite a big adventure.

In the meantime, he didn’t rest on his laurels. Oh, no no. He traveled to an archaeological dig in the desert and found an undiscovered cache of treasures that led to many new historical discoveries; he climbed Mount Everest, saved a Sherpa, and earned the love and approval of all of Nepal; and he drank tea. OH DID HE DRINK TEA. All the tea. Of all the nations.  And of course, Mrs. Ken and Ella and Louis came with him and played a large role in his adventures. His adventures wouldn’t be the same without Mrs. Ken and Ella and Louis. Whose would, really?

Doesn't your life feel more cheerful right now? Mine certainly does.

One day, Ken was reclining in a mountain chalet in Switzerland and reading his many, many newspapers from many exotic foreign lands, as keeping up with news from many locales is important when you are a bon vivant.

This is where bon vivants go to kick back and relax and drink much tea.

Ken noticed there would be a special performance of the Brandenburg concertos at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach had worked for a time in the 1700s. Ken had always wanted to visit the Thomaskirche. This seemed like an opportune time, and he did so love Bach’s music.

“Mrs. Ken!” he said. Only of course he did not call her Mrs. Ken. Don’t be absurd. That’s what WE’RE calling her, interwebs. Because we’re POLITE. “Would you like to go to the Thomaskirche with me to hear some Bach as no doubt the composer intended it to be heard?”

“Oh, Ken,” she replied. “That would be the best adventure, but I have been called away to Antarctica to help save an endangered penguin species. Can you take Ella and Louis with you to Germany? It’s much too cold for dogs in Antarctica. Plus they might frighten the penguins when they tried to play with them.”

Ken agreed. Anything for penguins. PENGUINS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. Bon vivants know that, too, you know. I mean, everyone does, but especially bon vivants.

Ella and Louis were very excited to go back to Germany. Well, Louis was very excited. Ella was much classier and reserved about the whole thing. Because Ella is a LADY.

Ken thought, you know who also loves Bach and would love to see the concert?

His BFF Kate Winslet.

So he called Kate Winslet.

“Ken!” she enthused. “Yes, I would LOVE to go to Germany with you! Let me just get my things together and I’ll meet you there soon. Oh, won’t we have a brilliant time? Can we nip over to the Zoological Garden while we’re in town?”

Ken laughed. “Of course we can, Kate Winslet. I wouldn’t possibly expect you to not visit a Zoological Garden if one were available to you. Plus, our favorite crazy-eyed New York blogger would never forgive us if we went to a city with a zoo and didn’t visit that zoo and take many animal photos, and at least one of us making animal-faces.”

So Ken and Mrs. Ken said their goodbyes, and Ken headed off for Germany, while Mrs. Ken headed off for penguin adventures. And now, listen, this story is not about Mrs. Ken? But let me just tell you, she had many adventures in Antarctica. Penguin-saving and dastardly nemeses and celebrity cameos and a TREASURE frozen in the ICE. I know, it’s all very exciting. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Mrs. Ken’s not also a bon vivant. She totally is. Also? PENGUINS. Whoo.

Ken arrived in Leipzig with Ella and Louis,  and decided to check out the church beforehand. He’d heard how beautiful it was. He also wanted to check out the organs. That is not a euphemism OR a metaphor. ACTUAL ORGANS. That play MUSIC. The church has TWO ORGANS. One that’s over 100 years old and one that’s more recent that’s made especially for playing Bach music. Minds out of gutters, you, with your assuming that organs meant something else. He called Kate Winslet and asked her to meet him there so they could investigate.

When Ken got to the church – and had a joyous reunion with his BFF Kate Winslet, who had brought a variety of the finest British teas for him, courtesy of the Queen, who loved Ken for saving all the tea from that evil L. Ron Hubbard – no one was there. The concert wasn’t for a couple of days. But the side door was open. Now, Ken’s pretty law-abiding. However, he really wanted to see those organs. And with no one there, he could bring Ella and Louis in. Yes, yes. It was a LITTLE naughty. But not TOTALLY naughty. He and Kate Winslet giggled a little, as you do when you’re doing something a little naughty, and snuck into the church.

Many oohs and aahs resulted. Ken checked out the organs. Both were quite grand. Ella and Louis were very well-behaved. Ella sat very prettily while Louis sniffed all the pews and was very excited about all the new scents and such.

“Ken, play the organ,” Kate Winslet whispered.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” he whispered back. “I’d be afraid they’d catch us.”

“Pish-posh,” Kate Winslet said. “There’s no one around. And you know you’re DYING to play the fancy organ. This one’s from over 100 years ago! How many people get this opportunity? Go go go.”

Ken peeked around and decided that yes, it was probably worth it to be able to play the Sauer organ. A little known fact about Ken, the bon vivant, is that he is also a musical virtuoso. Yeah, you were thinking he was just some yahoo, weren’t you? Shame on you.

Kate Winslet and Ella and Louis snuck upstairs with him to the organ, and he sat down and played a few bars of Chopin. The organ sounded stately and official. He was very pleased.

“Play some Bach,” Kate Winslet urged.

“This organ isn’t the best for Bach,” Ken said. “The other organ is better for Bach.” But he turned back to the keys and played the first few notes of the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, which had always been his favorite, if he had to choose.

Suddenly, Ken felt very woozy. The room started to swim. “Ken?” Kate Winslet said, but it sounded like it was coming from far away. He heard Ella and Louis barking. The organ started to fade in and out. But he could still hear the music, even though he wasn’t playing it anymore. What was going on? He closed his eyes to stop the spinning.

When he opened his eyes something was wrong. He wasn’t sure what it was at first. Then he realized – he wasn’t sitting at the organ anymore. He was on the floor. And the floor looked different. And something was wet against his face. He turned and realized it was Louis, who was assiduously licking his face clean, as Louis sometimes was wont to do. Ella was lying next to him, looking very worried in her intelligent dog-like way.

“Kate Winslet?” he said. “Where are you?”

“Over here. Ouch.” He lifted himself up from the floor, his head still spinning, and saw her a few yards away, also on the floor. Louis, of course, went over to clean her face off, too. It probably needed it. Louis always knew about such things.

“What happened?” she asked. “One minute you were playing the organ, the next minute – what?”

Ken looked around. The church looked different. Smaller. Darker. And the organ was gone. “I’m – not sure?”

Kate Winslet looked at him very sternly. “Ken. You have never been not sure of anything as long as I’ve known you. This is very bad news.”

Just then, Ken realized he could still hear the music he’d been playing when everything started to spin. The fifth Brandenburg Concerto. He looked around and saw a harpsichord, with a very stern-looking man wearing a wig playing it. A very stern-looking man who looked VERY FAMILIAR.

The music stopped abruptly. The man banged his hands on the keys. “Scheiße!” the man cursed.

Ken stood up gingerly and walked over to the harpsichord. Kate Winslet and the dogs watched with wide eyes. The man frowned at Ken.

“Guten Tag, Herr Bach,” Ken said.

Johann Sebastian Bach, who was MUCH scarier in person than he is in all of those busts you see on affected people’s pianos, glared at Ken, who was, obviously, NOT wearing a wig like people were supposed to.

“Ken?” Kate Winslet whispered. “Did you just call that man Mr. Bach? What the hell is going on?”

“I think…we’ve gone back in time somehow,” Ken said. “I’m guessing it’s because I played Bach in the church where he used to work? Stranger things have happened. I mean, remember the time we found the dinosaur in the abandoned Tube station, and trained it to fight the dragon that was terrorizing Dubai?”

Kate Winslet nodded sagely. “You’re right. You’ve very wise, as always, my world-traveling BFF. This is certainly something, isn’t it?”

Bach stalked over to Ken and Kate Winslet. “What are you two doing here?” he said, gruffly. Only, he said it in German, of course. And The Person Who is Writing This knows that you all don’t speak German. So she’s helpfully going to write it all in English. I know. She’s the best, isn’t she? And it’s not because her German skills are so awful that she can’t write it in German because Google translate always lies to her and then Ken laughs and laughs at the mangled German she comes up with. THAT IS NOT AT ALL WHY.

“We’re…um…visiting. From…another church. Sorry we’re dressed so oddly. That’s how we dress there, sir,” Ken said. He was very good at thinking on the fly. That’s what you get when you’re a bon vivant. Quick thinking. On the fly. All seat-of-your-pantsy.

“The church is closed. I’m trying to work,” Bach said. Ken noticed he had some crumpled papers in his hand with musical notes written on them.

“Sir, I couldn’t help but overhear. Are you working on the Brandenburg concertos?”

Bach glared at him in a most glowery way. “What? However could you know that? I haven’t even NAMED them yet. And no one has heard them. ARE YOU A SPY?”

Kate Winslet helpfully stepped in. “We’re acquainted with a mutual friend of yours, sir. You played some of the concertos for him recently, I believe?”

“Christian Ludwig?” Bach said, skeptically.

“Yes, of course, Mr. Ludwig,” Kate Winslet said, and gave him her most winning smile. Bach began to thaw. Kate Winslet is just about the  most disarming. It’s a fact.

Ella and Louis chose that moment to come over and check out the situation. Bach saw the happy red dogs and any reservations he had about these strangers dissolved. Listen, you can’t resist Ella and Louis. Just try. I dare you. You’ll lose. They’re purely joyous.

After they’d all spent some quality Ella and Louis time and drank some of the fine British tea together than Kate Winslet had brought for Ken and were therefore the best of friends, Ken broached the subject of the concertos once more.

“Johann, I noticed you were getting pretty frustrated with the concerto you were working on. What’s wrong?”

“Well, Ken, I had the concertos all written and ready to go. I left them on the harpsichord and ran off to take care of something. I was only gone for a few minutes. When I got back, they were gone. Now I have to recreate them from my mind, and they’re due to Christian soon. I can’t remember everything I’ve written, and I’m under the gun. And I’m worried whoever stole them will claim them as his or her own.”

This was worrisome. How would this impact the future if the Brandenburg concertos were not written the same way? Or if they were credited to another person? Ken didn’t like this at all. He’d been forced to watch that horrible Ashton Kutcher Butterfly Effect movie once while on a plane, and he knew this was SERIOUS BUSINESS YO.

“Do you have any ideas who could have stolen them, Johann?” Kate Winslet said, after sharing a worried look with Ken. She, too, had to watch the horrible movie. She knew about butterflies and effects and what a bad actor Douchebag Jesus Kutcher was.

“There was a man I didn’t recognize around the church for the past few days. I thought he was a cleaning person. I didn’t pay a lot of attention,” Bach said.

“What did he look like?” Ken asked.

“Very tall. Kind of gawky. His eyes were very intense and a little buggy. And he was talking to himself. He kept saying the oddest thing. ‘You got this, Goldblum. You can do this.’ What could that mean, do you think?”

Ken’s blood ran cold. He knew exactly what it meant. Kate Winslet looked at him, her eyes wide.

“You don’t think-” she said. Ken nodded slowly. Even Ella and Louis whimpered.

Evil. EEEEE-vil.

“It’s Jeff Goldblum,” Ken said. “Jeff Goldblum has stolen the Brandenburg concertos. The only man to ever best me. My nemesis. Dammit. Why did it have to be GOLDBLUM?”

“Who is this Jeff Goldblum?” Bach asked. At the repeated utterance of the ne’er-do-well’s name, Louis covered his muzzle with his paws. Ella simply looked worried, but in a stately way. As she does.

“Jeff Goldblum – it’s a long story,” Ken said, with a deep sigh. “HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID. Let’s just say it involved deception. And chicanery. And impersonation of high-ranking officials. And tea-smuggling. Not to mention the wearing of many false mustaches. And, to top it all off, one of my most jaunty hats was stolen in the escapade. Worst of all, he hides in plain sight. No one believed me when I told my tale, because Jeff Goldblum is one of the world’s most beloved actors. It’s like the old saying: the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist. If Goldblum is involved with the theft of the concertos, this is serious business. WE MUST GET THOSE CONCERTOS BACK, BACH.”

(I can assure you that “back, Bach” didn’t sound at all humorous in German, even though in English, it’s totally giggle-inducing. The Person Who is Writing This would prove that by showing it to you IN German but Google Translate is not being helpful. It’s a possibility it’s been taken over by that dastardly Jeff Goldblum.)

“Ken, how will we lure Jeff Goldblum to us? And once he’s here, how will we get the concertos back?” Kate Winslet asked, in a worried tone.

Ken thought. And thought. And thought some more. Bach brought him a fresh cup of tea, in a very helpful manner. The tea helped clear his head. A plan began to form. A very good plan indeed. A BON VIVANTY plan.

“I’m going to need a signboard, some paint, a brush, and a town crier. Kate Winslet, we’ll need your acting skills. You’ll have to find a costume so you’ll blend in. Bach, we’ll need you to play background music.”

(This is the point where, if this was a show or a movie, there would be a montage. It’s not, though. And The Person Who is Writing This JUST learned how to use her webcam. There’s no way she could cobble together a montage. Pretend this is montage-y. It’ll be better.)

Ken advised the town crier as to what he’d need to announce. As he didn’t have any currency of the day, he paid him in the excellent tea that Kate Winslet had brought. The town crier was happy to accept it, as usually people paid him in livestock and tea was easier to transport, and also much tastier. Ken painted a sign for the front of the church. Kate Winslet found some period-appropriate clothing in the donation bin in the back of the church that just about fit her. Bach quickly composed some music that would fit the scheme, and when he was done, Ken taught him one other tune that he’d need, if the plan worked as he hoped it would. Ella daintily checked out what was happening. Louis galumphed around being cheerful and at one point put his paw in a paint pot and then made painty pawprints all over the church floor.

Ella was less than amused at these antics and refused to look her brother in the eye because he was embarrassing her.

“I think that’s it,” Ken said, surveying the scene. “The trap is set. Now, to wait for Goldblum.”

“What will we do while we wait?” Kate Winslet asked, trying to clean paint off Louis’s paw while he gleefully licked her face.

“Drink tea,” Ken said, very seriously. “We will need all the fortitude we can get. This is the final showdown, and Goldblum is a worthy foe.”


“Hear ye hear ye!” the town crier, well, cried, I guess, what else would a town crier do? Don’t be silly. “Auditions for the world’s first crime procedural being held RIGHT NOW at the Thomaskirche! Looking to cast the lead actor, a tall, devilishly handsome man. Extra points given if the actor has ever worked in science fiction before and can act both quirky AND studious! HEAR YE HEAR YE!”

A man carrying a heavy satchel bulging with papers, wearing a jaunty hat that didn’t quite look right on his head – almost as if it belonged to someone else – and a long, dark coat, stopped to listen to the town crier. He listened to the announcement twice. He looked at the satchel of papers, then began walking briskly toward the Thomaskirche. Once in a lifetime experience, this. Yes, he had another caper he was involved in – but the world’s FIRST CRIME PROCEDURAL? It was too good to be true. He had to at least audition.

When he arrived at the church, he saw a sign outside. “AUDITIONS TODAY,” the sign said. It had a painty pawprint in the corner, which the man found a little perplexing, but he thought that maybe it was just there to provide panache. If there was one thing this man liked, it was panache. Also verve.

He entered the church and was met by a woman wearing clothes that were totally appropriate for the time period, if not a little large for her frame. “Hello! I’m so glad you’ve come to audition. What a jaunty hat!” the woman said. “You look perfect for the role. Would you like me to take your satchel? And is there any chance you’ve got experience in science fiction?”

“DO I?” the man said. “I’ve been in a number of science fiction movi…plays. Plays, I mean, of course. No, thank you. I never set down my satchel. Thieves abound, you see. Hey, you look familiar. Do I know you? For some reason, I have the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ in my head. Isn’t that weird?”

“Ha ha!” the woman laughed. “I of course do not know what you are speaking of because it is the early 1700s and that song does not exist yet! We are complete strangers, you and I! Please follow me, the director will see you now!”

The man followed the woman to a brightly-lit part of the church. A man at a harpsichord started playing mood-appropriate music. He saw a man wearing a similarly jaunty hat sitting in the shadows. When he started to greet the director, the woman stopped him. “The director doesn’t like to talk to the actors until after the audition. I’m sorry.” She handed him a script and said, “Whenever you’re ready, just introduce yourself and begin.”

The man did some vocal and physical warm-ups – LION FACE! LEMON FACE! And also The Geographical Fugue, which any good actor knows is very important. For example, The Person Who is Writing This is EXCELLENT at The Geographical Fugue, and could NOT be more excited that she just discovered from Wikipedia that it was originally in GERMAN and will now memorize it in German as well because that seems like a fun thing to do – and then began his audition.

“Hello! My name is Jeff Goldblum. I will be reading the part of Wolfgang in this scene from CSI: Leipzig. ‘YES! It was I who stole the concertos! And also your jaunty hat! And I’d do it again! I pretend to be everyone’s friend and a really nice man, but underneath it all my soul is BLACK AS PITCH and I am EVIL AS SIN! And I am no match for you, Ken, the World-Traveling Bon Vivant!’” Um, this doesn’t seem like a speech the lead in a procedural would give. Why is the lead in a procedural admitting a crime? HEY WAIT A MINUTE!” He glared in the director’s general direction. Hee. Director. Direction. Good one, Person Who is Writing This.

“Yes! We have CAUGHT YOU, Jeff Goldblum!” the director said, standing up and coming into the light. THE DIRECTOR WAS KEN ALL ALONG YOU GUYS CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE HOW TRICKY THAT WAS? “And I have your confession recorded with my phone, which I brought with me when I came through, and somehow still works DON’T ASK ME HOW I DON’T KNOW EITHER, so when I get back to Germany of the present, I can show people your TRUE COLORS! Also, GIVE ME BACK MY BEST JAUNTY HAT!”

“Ha ha!” Jeff Goldblum sneered. “You’ll have to CATCH me first, Ken! As I am very wily and also wiry! I WILL get away with these concertos, and then will present them as my own work – and then the name Jeff Goldblum will be as well-known as Bach! Throughout all of time, people will say my name with reverence and respect, not ‘oh, Goldblum, remember that time he was in The Fly and that was so effing gross, seriously?’ Did you know there is a meme called ‘Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop?'”


Jeff Goldblum darted to the left and to the right. Ken attempted to stop him but slipped on a painty pawprint. This cost him precious seconds. Goldblum cackled evilly and rushed toward the door.

Suddenly, Ella and Louis ran out from between the pews! They came at Jeff Goldblum from two directions, snarling and snapping. Jeff Goldblum didn’t know they were just the nicest dogs ever and just playing a role because Kate Winslet had coached them because she is the best actress ever and also so humble that you’d totally want to hang out with her in real life! He thought they were going to eat his face!

“NO NO YOU FERAL CURS! NOT MY FACE! NOT MY PRECIOUS FAACCCEEE!” Jeff Goldblum screeched. Ella grabbed the satchel with her teeth, daintily, while Louis continued to growl. Jeff Goldblum fought for the satchel. Ella stood her ground. Louis rushed over to help her. Two red dogs pulled the satchel one way. One crazed nemesis pulled the satchel the other way.

“NOW JOHANN!” Ken cried.

Bach began playing the orchestral theme from Jurassic Park on the harpsichord. Jeff Goldblum began to sway and spin. Ella and Louis kept their grip on the satchel – BUT SO DID GOLDBLUM.

Ooh, you guys. What will happen. WHAT WILL HAPPEN. I don’t know about you, but both myself AND The Person Who is Writing This are TOTALLY on the edge of our seats.

Suddenly, Jeff Goldblum disappeared with a “pop” and a disappearing cry of “I’ll get you next time Keeeennnnn”. There was a swirl of dust. Ken, Kate Winslet and Bach began to cough.

“Ella? Louis?” Ken called.


Then: a joyful bark. And Ella and Louis trotted out of the cloud of dust. Ella with the satchel gently in her teeth; Louis with something in his. What…

“My hat!” Ken said happily. “Louis, old boy! You got my hat away from him! What a good boy you are!”

Louis dropped the hat on the floor, only a little worse for wear having been worn by a ne’er-do-well and also carried in a joyful red dog’s mouth, and rolled around with glee.

“Oh, no, Ken!” Bach said, from his place on the floor where he’d sat with Ella to look over the concertos. “The concertos are all here, except the fifth concerto! It’s damaged beyond repair! It must have been torn in the melee, or when Goldblum disappeared! What will we do?”

This was grim news. Grim news indeed. The fifth concerto was Ken’s favorite.

“Can you remember enough of it to recreate it?” Ken asked.

“I’m not sure. Some of it, I think. But I had musicians to help me when I was writing. I don’t have any musicians now. What will I do? It’s too late to get anyone in here to help me. I can’t both write and play. It will take too long. And I have to get these to Christian right away!”

Ken thought a moment. “You need – what. A violin, flute, harpsichord, viola, cello, and a violone, correct? Do you have the instruments here?”

“How could you know…yes, but –”

“No time, my friend, no time. I can help you with most of those. I studied most of them in school, and the ones I didn’t, I can wing. But the cello. Damn! I can’t play the cello.”

“Oh, that’s not a problem,” Kate Winslet said. “I’ve been studying cello since I was a wee girl. I’d be happy to help with the cello bits.”

And that is how Johann Sebastian Bach, Kate Winslet, and Ken, the World Traveling Bon Vivant, recreated, from Bach and Ken’s memory, the fifth Brandenburg concerto, while Bach and Ken played, alternately, the violin, flute, harpsichord, viola, and violone, and Kate Winslet merrily helped with the cello (and very well, too, as she does everything well that she tries because, let’s face it, the woman’s kickass.) When Bach couldn’t remember what came next, Ken helped. When Ken couldn’t remember what came next, Bach helped. And Ella and Louis ate the roast beef that Bach had brought for lunch, because he was so pleased the jolly red dogs had saved the day he was happy to give them his lunch.

When they were done, and everyone was pleased all around, and they had many cups of tea to celebrate, Kate Winslet gave Ken a worried look.

“Ken, how will we get home? Sending Jeff Goldblum home with music from his greatest film triumph worked. But how will WE get home? Do you have any ideas?”

Ken smiled. “I do, Kate Winslet. Of course I do. Strangely enough, it’s Jeff Goldblum who gave me the idea.”

Ken quickly taught Bach a song, while Kate Winslet tidied up and gathered up their things.

“Johann, thank you. It’s been a pleasure,” Ken said. “I’ll never forget meeting you. This truly has been one of my most impressive adventures.”

“Thank you, Ken,” Bach said. “If you ever come back my way, please stop in. I’d love to see you and Kate Winslet and Ella and Louis again. I mean, we’re thick as thieves now! You’re welcome here anytime.”

Ken and Kate Winslet gripped each other’s hands, and each of them put a hand on a happy red dog. “Thank you, Johann! And goodbye!” Kate Winslet said. Johann was sad to see her go. He, like most people that interact with Kate Winslet, was a little in love with her.

As the strains of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” poured forth from the harpsichord, Ken closed his eyes and hoped that this worked. Although it was nice to bon vivant around all bon-vivantily in the 1700s, he missed Mrs. Ken, and wanted to know how the penguin adventure had turned out.

When Ken opened his eyes, he was in the loft with the organ. Kate Winslet, Ella, and Louis were by his side. In the music stand on the organ was the fifth Brandenburg concerto. And on his head? His jaunty, not-that-much-worse-for-wear hat, rightfully returned to his head.

“Ken! Did that really happen? Or were we dreaming?” Kate Winslet asked. Ken picked up the score. There, written in small letters, was the publication date – just as it should be, 1721 – and that they’d been written by Johann Sebastian Bach. And, what was that, written underneath the credits?

“With special thanks to Kate, Ken, Ella and Louis, without whose intrepid day-saving this concerto would not be possible.”

Ken showed the note to Kate Winslet, who laughed merrily. “Oh, Ken. You are the best BFF. Things are always an adventure with you! What should we do now?”

“Well, let’s do what we planned earlier, Kate Winslet.”

“What’s that?”

“Go to the Zoological Garden!”

So Ken, Kate Winslet, Ella, and Louis (because Ella and Louis were known far and wide as very special and happy red dogs and could often get into places like Zoological Gardens just on the sheer force of their joy alone) went to the Zoological Garden, and spent the rest of the day looking at all the animals, such as these happy playing tigers:

and, of course, the penguins:

and reminiscing about the time they saved the day from that evil Jeff Goldblum.

While Jeff Goldblum, back in Hollywood, waited. And watched. And bided his evil, evil time.

THE END. (For now.)

(The Person Who is Writing This would like to extend VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Ken, who gave permission for ALL THE PHOTOS of the most beautiful dogs in the world to be ganked from his Tumblr. So go check out his Tumblr, because on top of being a world traveling bon vivant and being able to play just about all the instruments and writing beautifully and answering bon-vivant related research questions on a moment’s notice without ever asking “why the hell would you need to know that?” and making people laugh like a moron on a regular basis, especially when they are having a horrendous day and really need that laugh, he takes amazing photos. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind that he is an character in a series of very exciting adventures on a somewhat overly-enthusiastic person’s blog. No, really. He doesn’t. The Person Who is Writing This ASKED HIM. And he gave his blessing. That is because he is the best. THANK YOU KEN.)

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