Sunday, April 27, 2014


Did I ever tell you about the famous "Diarrhea Death March of 1997"?

In 1997, we went to see our friends, Bill and Dianne Wade for the Fourth of July. They had just moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee from Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Since it was a holiday, Bill took us to a local state park for a picnic. Sounds good, right?

Wrong and it was not Bill's fault. I had just developed a condition (embarrassing medical confession in Three..Two..One) called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is just as fun as it sounds.  I'm not going to describe the symptoms, but they involve the bathroom.

We had our picnic with wings from the local BBQ joint, "The Slick Pig". The "Pig" is famous in the South. I have heard reviews that range all the way from "Great" to "Yuck". I thought the wings were good as were the potato chips and Cokes. By the way, wings, potato chips and Cokes are not the way to treat the symptoms of IBS.

Bill had the great idea that we should go on a hike. Off we go on the hike: Bill, Dianne, their ten year daughter Katy, my wife Lori, our six year son, and me. I asked Bill about two hundred yards into the hike how far we are going. Bill's answer: "Six miles".

About three hundred yards into our six mile hike, I felt the rumblings.  Even though Dianne and Katy are like family to me, I did not want them to hear "The Alan IBS Experience". Thankfully Dianne, Katy and Lori decided to take a shorter path. In retrospect, I should have stayed in the car and let everybody else go on the hike.

Deep into the hike, I asked Bill if there were any bathrooms around. It is important to note that we are on a trail in a state park. Bill told me that there were plenty of trees around. I gave him the numeric description of my problem. He laughed and told me I could use a leaf.  That did not sound very pleasant.

So I held it and continued hiking. It was hot. It was muggy. I had bad stomach cramps.

Finally, through much prayer and grace, we came to the end of our hike. The girls had already beat us the finish and were waiting for us. About 50 yards behind the love of my life, a woman that is like a sister to me and her daughter were THE PUBLIC BATHROOMS !  I ran past them hoping I could make it to the bathroom before disaster strikes.

One minor detail. An African-American family reunion was being held at this park at the same time. If you don't know, this can be a large gathering and this family used three enormous buses to bring them to the park.  The picnic tables for this park were in front of the public bathrooms and the whole dang family were at the picnic tables.

I sprint past all of the people in this family, however there was four young adults (two men, two women) standing right in front of the Men's bathroom.  One bad sign: the window for the Men's bathroom was open.

I make it to the bathroom. The floors of the bathroom were concrete and the bathroom had an echo. I'm not going to describe what happened next, but imagine just hearing the Normady Beach scene of Saving Private Ryan. It was horrible.

After the fireworks were over, I heard the voice of a young woman say this: "Damn".

We have laughed over the years about the story. I thought about it again when I heard that Bill was in the hospital. He had some confusion. The doctors had to rule out a brain tumor. The doctors thought he may have had an aneurysm or a TIA ( "mini stroke").  I was very worried about my friend.

We've had a rough couple of months, friend-wise. One friend of ours had a massive stroke and was in a rehab facility for two months.

Another friend of ours had an accident cutting down a tree and fracture his skull. Lori and I saw him at the grocery store shortly before the accident. This guy was a remarkable man-always friendly and always laughed at my stupid jokes. I never told him that I thought he was a great person and I wished there were more people like him. He passed away a few weeks ago.

Bill's diagnosis was Transient Global Amnesia. It sounds serious and it is disconcerting, but it was the best of all possible diagnosis. It was just one of those weird things.

But it gives me the opportunity to thank Bill for his friendship over the years. He has made me laugh. He drove down from Murfreesboro to Marietta to help us move. That should tell you all you need to know about him. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he donated a kidney to another friend of his (some of his friends get kidneys; others get help with moving).

One of the ways I have kept out of trouble is thinking "What would Bill think of me doing this?". He has listened to me over the years. He helped Lori and me raise our son. I can't tell you how many times Lori has said, "Why don't you ask Bill about this?"

I'm thankful that Bill's condition is not serious because I've never told him what a great person he is and how much I value our friendship. Until now.


Sunday, April 20, 2014


Big News: The Georgia Senatorial Primary is only a few weeks away! Can't you feel the excitement?

Already, we have had a couple of months worth of television commercials from the candidates running to replace Saxby Chambliss. This is a transcript of me watching television one night last week.

"Hi, I'm Jack Kingston and I think the gubment needs to use more coupins to save money. I'm here driving my old rusty station wagon to remind you that I know how to save money. I don't have air conditioning in it, I just roll down the winders. None of that fancy audio junk either. Just AM radio and an eight track. I still listen to the same Doobie Brothers tape (The Captain and Me). I'm talking about China Grove, y'all. I'm Jack Kingston and I approved this message because I think the U.S.Senate needs to use more coupins"


"Jack Kingston says he is a conservative but he is a bedwetting liberal that voted himself 4000 pay raises and raised the debt ceiling 2 billion times. Jack Kingston, Conservative in Georgia-Liberal Bedwetter in Washington. Paid for By The People You Always End Up Sitting Beside At A Dinner Party."


[Scene: Man standing in a field wearing a sharp jacket. Hair barely blowing in the wind] "I'm David Perdue and I'm not a professional politician. I was the CEO of every major corporation on earth and I got things done. I'm also a college graduate unlike one of my opponents whose name rhymes with Baren Bandle. She just hung out with the potheads in the smoke hole at  high school smoking cigarettes . We don't need people smoking cigarettes in the smoke hole in Washington and as a businessman who is bringing a fresh pair of eyes to Washington I pledge never to smoke cigarettes in the smoke hole."


[2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin standing with Karen Handle]. "You're darn tootin' I'm throwing my support to Karen Handle. You know, a lot of those boys think they are so tough because they figure out when to run a sale of juice boxes at Dollar General. Have you ever been to a Dollar General? My Lord, you want to brag about running that? Karen was you guys, I mean, y'alls [eyes rolled up-looking slightly embarrassed] Secretary of State, where she worked and nobody asked for her diploma then. You know, some men try to hide their short comings by attacking others. I wonder what that other candidate's, I can't remember his name but he used to sell shoes, short comings are?"


"Hi, I'm Sam Nunn's homely daughter Michelle and I'm running this ad because I went to be a Senator just like my daddy, Sam Nunn. Here's a picture of me talking to some people. Here's a picture of me talking to my first African-American ever. Here's a picture of me with one of the Bush Presidents. Here's a picture of me speaking when my hair was sort of curly. Here's a picture of me talking to a man in front of a church to show we Democrats are not anti-faith although I'm not sure if this is one of those Holy Roller-Jump The Pew-Snake Handling churches. Here's a picture of me with my kids and husband to give hope to ugly people that they will find someone to have sex with and procreate. I'm Sam Nunn's homely daughter Michelle and I approved this message."


"My name is Paul Broun and I am the one Senate candidate that looks the most like Boomer Esiason. The most important issue in this election is The Earth.  The second most important issue is which translation of The Bible you like."


"I'm Phil Gingrey and I used to be a doctor. I also used to have a mustache, which I rocked for years. As your next Senator, I promise to stab Obamacare, douse it with gasoline, set it on fire, douse it with more gasoline, set it on fire again. If it is still living after all of that, I promise to kick it and step on it.  I'm Phil Gingrey and I approved this message because I want to stab, douse with gasoline and set on fire Obamacare."


"Phil Gingrey. Voted himself pay raises while complaining he couldn't live on a House salary. Voted for Cash For Clunkers. Voted to raise the debt ceiling. As an Ob-Gyn, he has seen a lot of women naked. Phil Gingrey. My God.  Paid for By People Who Think Nobody Is Conservative Enough" 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Following "24"

In case you haven't been paying attention, 24, the story of how Jack Bauer saves the world in 24 hours, is coming back to TV and it couldn't come a moment too soon for me.

I've missed hearing Jack Bauer bark out that a "perimeter" needs to be set. I've missed seeing Jack Bauer shooting people in the thigh.

The closet thing to Jack Bauer is Ryan Hardy on The Following.

If you haven't seen The Following, here is a brief plot synopsis. There is a charismatic English professor, an expert on Edgar Allen Poe, who is also a mass murderer and enjoys cutting the eyes out of his victims before they die. I know what you are thinking: there is no such thing as a charismatic college English professor.

This English professor (Joe Carroll) is so charismatic, he has his own "following" of young people that he has trained to mass murder.  Somehow, you never hear this phrase on the show: "Is this going to be on the test?"

Ryan Hardy (played by Kevin Bacon , who is the punchline of the great joke: "15 years ago we had Bob Hope and Johnny Cash; now we have No Hope and No Cash. Lord, protect Kevin Bacon") is the FBI agent that put Joe Carroll behind bars. Hardy wrote a book about Joe Carroll. He also has a pace maker.

Oh yeah, he is the lover of Joe Carroll's ex-wife.

The show is extremely violent for network TV. Someone is always getting stabbed or having their throat sliced. Last year, before the network renewed The Following, Ryan Hardy saw Joe Carroll blow up in a building and we all thought Joe Carroll was dead.

It turns out Joe Carroll somehow survived the explosion and ended up in Arkansas. He was living incognito with the local small town prostitute and her racially mixed daughter who has a comical Southern accent that comes and goes. Carroll was all "The prostitute and me and the daughter with the accent that comes and goes makes three" until a copy-cat multimillionaire art dealer draws him out of hiding by going on a mass murder spree of her own.

This art dealer is clearly Nutsy Fagan and she has twin boys that are the creepiest things on television besides  Bill Maher. 

Ryan Hardy knows that Carroll is still alive but he is missing things like, er, facts. Everybody in the FBI, NYPD, Buzzfeed, etc is telling him to let it go-live in the now. This is a new mass murderer that has nothing to do with Joe Carroll, so back off Hardy. Meanwhile more people are getting sliced and diced.

Carroll kills his prostitute friend and takes the daughter and goes to meet up with one of his "favorite" followers, if you catch my drift. She was a co-ed that liked stabbing people too and would always ask Carroll for "extra credit".  Together, they all end up at a "real" cult headquarters, which is deep in the countryside somewhere about 10 minutes outside of Manhattan, which I think is Queens if I know any New York geography

Carroll tries to conform to the ways of this cult, but they are too crazy even for him. So instead of leaving the cult, he kills the leader and takes over. He begins to train to the cult to kill, too, just like he did his college class.  Soon more people are dying and the world finds out that Joe Carroll is indeed alive.

Add to all of this, Ryan Hardy has fallen in love with a reporter who is reporting on the mass murders and Joe Carroll. You can't say they don't have anything in common. Plus, Joe Carroll's ex-wife, who Hardy thought was dead when they both were stabbed before they knew the show was going to be renewed, has returned after being in protective custody. (She complains about the time she ordered spaghetti with marinara sauce and got egg noodles and ketchup instead.)

If you find this confusing, you have to remember that this is nowhere near as confusing as 24.  Be prepared for more confusion from 24 this year. So far, it has been leaked that Chole has dyed her hair black, because, well, you know, that's what rebels do. Jack is in London, setting up perimeters in the the Underground. Jack's old girlfriend, Audrey has returned and her daddy has taken time off from selling gold on Fox News to become President of The United States.

Welcome back, Jack.

**Humor Me will be doing a weekly recap of the 24 episodes. However, and this is important, I may not be able to do the recap until a couple of days after the episode airs. I have this thing, called a JOB, and it takes time away from my recaps.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shut Up, They Explained (Part 2)

You have heard the jokes about the most common lies: "The check is in the mail", "We can still be friends" (I used to hear that one a lot) and  "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you".

We have to add another one: "We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public."

The above statement was made by Mitchell Baker, the executive Chairperson of the Mozilla Corporation after Brendan Eich was forced to resign as the CEO of Mozilla for giving a contribution to an anti Same-Sex marriage political group in 2008. It is important to note a Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, was anti Same-Sex marriage in 2008.

No, Ms Baker, you don't have a culture of openness and what happened to Eich does not "encourage" anyone to "share their beliefs and opinions in public".  If Ms Baker actually believes that it does, I have bridge in Brooklyn she might be interested in.

Speaking of that Senator from Illinois, what was The White House reaction to this?  A lot of whistling and staring up at the ceiling. Other than that, nothing from the man who in January of 2011 said, "But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."

It was a time we needed a Profile in Courage-a President standing up to an interest group that supports him and standing up for the Constitution that he is supposedly an expert in. But as typical for this administration, we got more Profile than Courage. He's got to crow about the great Affordable Care Act as if the volume will change people's minds.

By the way, Eich was not just your run-of-the-mill CEO hack. He was a co-founder of the Mozilla Corporation. They are makers of the Firefox web browser. How a person makes money off of a web browser is beyond me, but it makes a ton. Eich also invented something called Javascript, which makes him a big deal.

But, as we now realize, that stuff is not important. The kids at the cool table in the lunchroom (The Twitterverse) have decided that Same-Sex Marriage is okay and if you don't think that way, you're a combination of a Bull Connor/Adolph Hitler knuckle-dragging mouth breather that doesn't deserve a salary much less a seven figure one.

One of the things I noticed during my long college career was that the people who championed "open expression" and  "diversity of opinions"  were neither interested in open expression or diverse opinions. They claimed to want "a dialogue" but actually they wanted a "monologue". Guess who they wanted talking in the "monologue"? It wasn't you if you had any other opinion.

Here's the skinny: they don't care about your opinion. They got an argument to win and people to marginalize.

It is not all gloom and doom out there. Yitz Jordan, a developer at Quartz (a "digital" news outlet) and a gay global hip-hop artist, said,  "One does not simply let Pablo Picasso go from the art school faculty—Eich’s talent alone makes him indispensable."  Jordan goes on to say,  "Brendan Eich ... should not have his life’s work invalidated by bygone donations."

There was even encouraging common sense from The Daily Kos and from Bill Maher (!) that maybe this whacking of people with different views isn't the right way to make a point.

Lord knows what would happen if you respected somebody's opinion that disagrees with yours. You might actually see them as people. That would be terrible.

Hopefully, all of this blows up in Mozilla's face because they deserve it.