Sunday, June 30, 2013


There’s a PAC (political action committee) that is already preparing for the 2016 Presidential election. If you see anybody preparing for the 2016 Presidential election, it is not against the law to punch that person in the nose.

Take a wild guess who this PAC is pushing: Former First Lady Senator Secretary of State (FFLSSOS) Hillary Clinton. They have come up with a nifty marketing campaign for Mrs. Clinton. Like a certain current President who used one word to describe his campaign (“Hope”; “Change”; “Forward”; “Notmyfault”)  they have one word to describe Hillary. No, it is not a word commonly used at the veterinarian’s office. It is this: “Ready”.

The “Ready for Hillary” people have an online store and it sells t-shirts that has a likeness of Hillary with the word “Ready” underneath. It is very hard to describe this shirt in anything other than this objective way: it is creepy and should not be seen by small children or those with a medical condition. (“What happened to him?” “He got sick when he saw that Ready for Hillary shirt”.)

When I saw the shirt, I was trying to think where I had seen something like this before. Then it hit me: Spongebob Squarepants.

For those of you that have not been around any children in the past 20 years, Spongebob Squarepants is a cartoon made by people who obviously have taken LSD in both a research and recreational manner. It can be quite funny and has a neat little theme song. With a little work, this song could be used by FFLSSOS Clinton.

Who is next in line for the presidency?
Hil-lary Clin-ton!
Smart, tested, and wonderful is she!
Hil-lary Clin-ton!
If back with Bubba is something you wish!
Hil-lary Clin-ton!
She’ll make the Republicans flop like a fish!
Hil-lary Clin-ton

Back in 2008, Clinton was supposed to be the nominee of the Democratic Party because we were finally ready for a woman president. Turns out we were not quite ready for a woman because there was another historic choice offered. And I’m not talking about the first major candidate in either party that is mentally challenged (Joe Biden).

No, Clinton was beaten by the first major candidate that possibly could have been born in Hawaii (NOTE: this is a joke). Then instead of choosing Clinton to be his running mate, this candidate chose Joe Biden.

Well, that candidate was Barack Obama and when he defeated his GOP opponent, he selected Clinton to be the Secretary of State. She accepted this task by traveling the world and not washing her hair.

Let’s look at the positives of Hillary Clinton. She has already lived in The White House. She is smart. She has the largest collection of pant suits outside of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She would probably bring all of the old President Bill people with her like James Carville, who I think is from another planet.

She’s been around for over twenty years on the national stage. It seems like just yesterday she was telling us that she wasn’t going to make cookies and she wasn’t Tammy Wynette standing by her man. Then her husband got caught almost Don Draper-like with an intern. This led to the President of The United States taking up valuable prime time television  to tell us he had an “inappropriate relationship” with this intern. This led to many conversations at work, the park, and with friends about what sex was and wasn’t and did he really have sex if he just did this or that. The nation, with the help of the media, which let's face it, has its share of perverts, concluded what the President of The United States does in his private life with another consenting adult is his business even if it involves cigars.  It was a great time to raise a seven year old.

Bengahzi was an obvious lie from the get go. It was such an obvious lie that only a Clinton could have gotten away with it.  First it was due to a video. We’re going to get this guy who made that video (and do what, I never understood). When it was clear that even someone as dense as Joe Biden wouldn’t buy this story, Clinton calmly explained that she can’t be expected to read everything that comes into her office. On top of that, what difference does it make?

If Hillary is ready to be President, I’m ready to be depressed.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Cost of College

Please open your syllabus and note today’s topic: “The Cost of  College”.  This will be on the test and it will make up 78.9 per cent of your grade. If you would like to discuss this topic with me, my office hours are 11:00 am -11:05 am.  Feel free to e-mail me but just be aware that I will probably ignore it.

First of all, it is important for the parent of a college student to know where they rank in the eyes of the college administration and faculty.

The Ranking of Important People to The Average College Administration and Faculty

1)     The Football Team
2)     The Federal Government
3)     The State Government
4)     Corporations that give grants
5)     Politically liberal organizations
6)     President Obama
7)     ESPN
8)     Students
9)      The parents of the students

Your job, as a parent, is to ask yourself this question: Do I have lots of money to flush down the toilet or am I willing to borrow lots of money to send my children to college, even if they want to major in Russian Psychology?  Colleges see parents as one big wallet because it costs money to run a college. For example, there is some sort of law that says you have to pay professors "to teach". Even one like this one (from the Rate My Professors website):

Grading is not on any scale I’ve ever seen. Talking to him is useless. He is arrogant and is trying to teach a legal writing class with no legal background. He is also biased in his grading. If you are cute and stare at him with awe, you might get an A. That's about the only way in his class."

                               The Problem? This is an English Class

It also costs money to buy books. A text book at the average college and/or university can cost up to a million dollars (and that’s for the used books). When I was in college,  I always bought used books and they were all previously owned by the same person-the person who uses a yellow highlighter to highlight the important information, which was always every single word in the book

                     The cost of these books: $425,000.00

Another additional cost to college is the Greek system, otherwise known as the fraternity/sorority system. The purpose of a fraternity/sorority is to bind men and women together in a brotherhood/sisterhood based on the eternal and immutable principles like binge drinking.  Ha, ha. Just a little parent humor.  

The future leaders of America. (Note to self: sell my bonds)

Yet still another cost is room and board. Back when I was in college, students lived in something called a "dormitory"  It was a building of several floors that had many rooms that featured two beds, two desks and two closets. Each floor had a shared bathroom. The bathroom usually had three toilets with only one ever containing toilet paper. The bathrooms had a communal shower where you soon learned all men are not created equal.

 Once in college, me and a friend (who is now the pastor of a very large church) were walking down the hall of our dorm when the center of the college's basketball team stepped out of his room, naked except for a towel that he strategically placed on his shoulder. This young man was seven feet tall. My friend said, "I have never seen so much skin in my life". 

     This is where I saw the seven foot tall naked man.  For real.

I don't know if you have ever seen a seven foot tall naked man, but it was my own personal Apocalypse Now. For days afterwards people would see me uttering  "The horror, the horror". Needless to say, there were costs involved due to this incident, most of them psychiatric. It might have been cheaper if I had just joined a fraternity.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What Robert Had

Do yourself a favor: run-don’t walk-to the bookstore and buy Dad is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan. Gaffigan is an “observational” comedian who makes a living observing that bacon  tastes good.

Gaffigan is a married, to a woman, and has, now get this, five children, all of which he sired and none which came out of a country he just happened to be visiting for The United Nations. In my Evangelical circles, we would say Mr. Gaffigan is blessed with a full quiver.

The family Gaffigan lives in Manhattan in a two bed room apartment. For this alone, I think we can all make the clinical assessment that Mr. and Mrs. Gaffigan are insane. Oh yeah, it has one bathroom too. Here at Casa de Manis,  we have two and half bathrooms and sometimes it feels crowded in our house with three people.

Gaffigan makes the important point that he feels totally inadequate to be a father and really received no training. Which is true. None of us receive any training to be fathers. He says, "Aside from my physiology, nothing in my childhood, teenage years, or early adulthood indicated to me that I would someday have children. Obviously many, many things indicated I would likely be an astronaut. Well, okay, I drank Tang once."  I can relate. I was the youngest child in my immediate family and my mother's family and the kin my Dad claimed. I had no idea what came with having a child.

My son Ben is really a great kid. No felony arrests at this time. When he was born, I just wanted him to be happy, to date girls, and to somehow become a professional baseball player that would buy his parents a house.  So far: he is happy,  he has a steady girlfriend and will not become a professional baseball player that buys his parents a house. Two out of three ain't bad, to quote a poet (Meatloaf).

When he was younger, he had this thing that the doctor called, “A queasy stomach”. Since he was a toddler, when he would get really upset and cry, he would throw up. Therefore, we were trapped in a predicament because we did not want to cave in to his every whim, but we didn’t want to clean up the car, house, earth, etc, every twenty seconds either. It was a challenging time.

On top of that, if he smelled something or saw something that was gross, it would make him throw up. He was in daycare which is almost an hourly gross-out factory. Fortunately, it got to the point where the daycare knew when to remove Ben from a PU (Possible Upchuck) situation and we didn’t have to field calls to come pick up Ben because he was sick.

However, there was this one day.

This particular day, I was working at the insurance company. The insurance company was rolling right along in powerful insurance land when it decided to merge with another insurance company and create a brand new insurance company that was run by morons. In addition to this, our largest client decided to pull their business from us and give it to a competitor. This caused the Mother of All Massive Lay-Offs and the survivors, which included me, all feared for our jobs.

The phone rang on my desk. “Mr. Manis, Ben is throwing up and is very sick. You need to come pick him up.”  I asked if they were sure because Ben was known to throw up a lot if he saw, smelled, or ate something he didn’t like. “I’m sorry, but you have to come get him. He is a very sick little boy. We tried to contact Mrs. Manis but we couldn’t get a hold of her”.

Two historical points. One: this was in 1995 right before everyone had a cell phone. In fact, the idea that someone had a cell phone meant that they were rich or a Kennedy. Two: Mrs. Manis had left her office for a half-day break from the insanity that was her company to go shopping.  At this point in time, there was no way I could contact her.

So I went to my boss and explained the situation. It just happened to be at the busiest time of the day and things were just wacky at the office. My boss let me go but honestly I expected my desk to be boxed up when I got back to work the next day.

When I got to the daycare and they brought Ben to me, I could tell he was a sick little boy. He was green in the gills. He slept in the car all the way home. Throwing up takes a lot out of a kid.

When we got home, I placed him on the couch. “What happened?” I asked. “I got sick” was the reply. “What made you sick”?  Robert……had…a ….booger”.  What?”  Robert had a booger and it made me throw up”.  

I sat back and saw my future. “Tell me Mr. Manis, why were you asked to leave your position at the insurance company?” a potential employer would ask. “Well, Robert had a booger…” 

When my wife got home, she was surprised to see us. I explained about Robert and tried to prepare her for a life living in a van down by the river.

Well, things have worked out. I didn’t get fired. We went out and got a pager that we discarded as soon as cell phones became affordable for us non-Kennedys.  Ben outgrew his tummy troubles and hasn't had a PU situation in a long time.  I still wish he would buy me a house.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bury My Finger At Fall Creek Falls

One of the ways you can tell you are getting old is when you tell people about your health issues past and present. It is no exaggeration to say the most bizarre things have happened to me health-wise. Like the time the optometrist said I “blinked wrong”. By the way, I can verify that if you go to a Colon-Rectal specialist and during the examination he says “Whoa!” your life will have some unpleasant weeks.

So gather around children and let me tell you about the time I broke my finger.  I learned a deep spiritual lesson from broken finger:  it hurts really bad.  I wish I could say I came up with a new hymn or praise song or at least a saying you could put on a magnet.  (Although I am proud that in this incident I did not say any swear words. Out loud. Internally I was Marine Drill Instructor.)

It was July 4, 1998 and we went to visit our friends, The Wades, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  The plan was to take us on a picnic and catch the fireworks at Middle Tennessee State University. This was the exact same plan that we had the year before in something I call “The 1997 Diarrhea Death March”.  Our pal, Bill, took us on a 6 mile hike and I developed what physicians refer to as “tummy troubles”. How I did not ruin our vacation is still a mystery to me.

This particular time was different. I had prepared with the proper tummy medicine.  We got a bunch of wings from "Slick Pig Bar B Q" and went to a Tennessee state park called Fall Creek Falls.  The picnic part of the story was very, very pleasant because my finger was not yet broken. 

The attraction at Fall Creek Falls is a waterfall called Fall Creek Falls. I’m not sure how long they spent coming up with that name, but hey, it is Tennessee so you take what you can get.  It was a pretty little waterfall and there is a trail that you could walk behind the falling water. This seemed like a good idea seeing it was July 4th and very steamy. 


So Lori and I took our seven year old son to walk behind the waterfall. It was a half-mile walk to get to the trail to go behind the waterfall.  We get behind the waterfall and realized that although it cooled us off, it wasn’t very interesting and I’m sure I wanted a couple of more wings, so we headed back to where we came.

It is important to note that I had taken my shoes off to keep them from getting wet. So, I was walking on hot, pointy rocks barefoot.  My feet were not in good shape. The end of the trail was near but there was a little creek which separated one side from the other. Instead of trying to jump across, I stepped into the creek.

When I stepped into the creek I stepped on to a moss covered rock which caused me to slip and fall backwards. Instinctively I used my left hand to break (no pun intended) my fall. I heard a snap and I thought I broke my wrist.

I didn’t break my wrist. However, my index finger had turned black and was already swollen.  I was nauseous.

When I got over to the other side, I was in pretty bad shape for somebody with a broken finger. I showed it to Bill. He said, “I think you just jammed it”.  I replied  that the finger was black and swollen and I was about ready to heave some Slick Pig wings which all are signs of a fracture. We decided to go the Park Ranger’s office because surely they would have a first aid kit. So we walked a half mile back to the Park Ranger’s office with my finger throbbing, my stomach churning, and my feet hurting. Oh yeah, it was still only about 100 degrees in the shade.

Bill and I went into the office. Three Tennessee State Park lady employees are behind the counter. “Kann ah hep yew?” (Can I help you?). “Yes, I think I broke my finger and I need a splint”.  Lawd, ah donno if way half tat.” (Lord, I don’t know  if we have that). Somehow, they all harnessed their massive gray matter together and called the Park Ranger.

The Park Ranger came and disagreed with Bill’s “jammed” diagnosis and concluded that the finger was probably broken. However, Fall Creek Falls State Park did not have a first aid kit. Hence, they did not have a splint.

He did have a plastic spoon. He broke off the spoon part and put the stem on my finger and wrapped it in gauze which was the only medical supply he had available. He did not have any tape except for Scotch Tape.  So my emergency first aid treatment was a spoon splint wrapped with Scotch Tape.

We walked outside of the Ranger’s office and Bill’s fourteen year old son is there waiting on us. He asked to see my finger. I show it to him and he laughs. He had never seen a spoon splint before wrapped with Scotch Tape

Then, out of a whirlwind, an electrical storm comes out of nowhere and it has air to ground lightning. I have a belief about lightning. It will make you walk and talk with Jesus. At the time, I would have welcomed it.

I never did go to the doctor about my finger. It healed nicely and you can’t tell anything ever happened to it. It only hurts when I’m around waterfalls in Tennessee.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mea Culpa

Confession is good for the soul.  In the December 11, 2012 Humor Me titled “Comfort and Joy”, I said this about doctors:

I’ve always been interested in how physicians decide on what to specialize in. I mean, what makes a person go into proctology, considering it is such a narrow field?  Does a proctologist ever wake up at night realizing his profession isn’t what it’s cracked up to be?  By the way, doesn’t the phrase, “getting a little behind in your work” take on a whole meaning in a proctology clinic?

Imagine my surprise when I read Bob Newhart’s interview in the February 11, 2013 Huffington Post when he said this:

“I don't know how doctors pick one specialty over another. Some you can understand. Pediatricians. Or gynecologists delivering babies, bringing a new life into the world, but how does someone want to be a proctologist? How can you fall in love with proctology? It's like you talk to a pediatrician who says he can't wait to get in the office on Monday and look at those little faces, but a proctologist -- what does he have to look forward to? There are no smiling little faces.”

I know the moment when I became an adult. It was the day I found Bob Newhart funny. When I was a kid, I thought Newhart was okay but I never remember actually laughing at anything he said or did. Then I grew to be a man and I thought everything he said was hilarious. He was an "adult" comic in the finest sense of the word.  He wasn’t crude, lewd or scatological. He was a grown up.

So, after witnessing the Twitter War against Sammy Rhodes, I thought I could get into trouble with one of my humor heroes.

Sammy Rhodes is a campus minister for the Presbyterian Church of America at The University of South Carolina and  has a Twitter following of almost twelve thousand. That's pretty good for anybody on Twitter, much less a Presbyterian. He has been favorably reviewed in The Huffington Post. Here are some of his tweets:

“One fun way to describe Facebook is “imagine you are a mind reader in Walmart.”

There are only two kinds of hotels: incredible and someone was probably murdered there.”

Poured my cat some almond milk today and now she has bangs and drives a Prius.”

In my Twitter feed, I always looked forward to a Sammy Rhodes tweet simply because it meets the one criteria I have in comedy: make me laugh.  However, it seems Rhodes has been using other peoples'
tweets-there’s a blog called “Borrowing Sam” which shows Rhodes Tweets along side some other tweets and it looks like they have been “reframed”. One blogger said Rhodes was a “scum-sucking piece of (feces) who should die of a lingering disease.”  That is kind of a harsh wish for someone that didn’t footnote a joke. I thought it was Twitter, not a term paper.

So before I get into trouble, let me advise that I had no idea that Bob Newhart felt the same way about Proctologists as I did.  But, I want to make it clear that I was not reframing a joke from Bob Newhart. (Although, if you were reframing a joke, a Bob Newhart joke wouldn’t be a bad one, but it would be wrong)

I did, however, steal the joke. I stole it from my wife. She told it to me one time when telling me what her funny friend, Kim the Nurse said about proctologists. She also told me this one: a Jamaican proctologist is a “Pokemon”.  She’ll be here all week, be sure to try the veal.