What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheering the home team on

It was the last home game of the season and I had managed to attend all but one of the team’s previous twelve home stands. After three conference championship seasons, our record through the year was abysmal – we had lost more games than we had won and were in fifth place in our conference – but my personal confidence in the ability of the team was undaunted.

The sport was college hoops, the school was a small private one, the venue was a loud stadium in NorCal and the fan (that’s me) was avid.

Through all the games thus far, I had cheered my team on by printing a copy of the opposing teams roster and shouting nasty insults at players (using their first names) as they attempted free throws. My friend, who, I gather, was somewhat amused by this practice had coaxed me into joining the “Orange Army,” a collection of students who ruin their singing voices by screaming very un-collegiate chants during the game.

But “coax” isn’t the right word. All my friend had to do was suggest that the Orange Army had an opening and I was ready and willing to step into the role.

The school’s colors are orange and black and every member of the army is required to sport these hues and no other. Some members wear orange helmets, others have fake (and goofy looking) orange afros; others just wear an orange shirt. Everyone contributes somehow and unless you do something radical, the existing members usually suspect newcomers of being spies for the visiting team.

The afternoon of the game, I entered Sally’s Beauty store in search of orange hair dye. As I opened the door to the well recommended cosmetics establishment (an aesthetic young woman at my local drug store said that’s where the gooiest hair coloring was sold), I was attacked by an overpowering smell of colognes and perfumes normally reserved for old people homes. I held my breath to avoid an attack of the hives and went to the back of the store to make my selection.

While I was waiting in line to check out -- and running out of breath -- I surveyed my surroundings and noted that I was the only guy in the whole store. Women were everywhere, trying on makeup, looking at hair color highlights, selecting a scent and gossiping, but there wasn’t a guy to be seen. I felt very uncomfortable; like the man in the Visa card ad who wants to pay with cash.

Just as I was leaving Sally’s, a male who can only be described as well coiffed and disturbingly San Franciscan entered the store and, with a very limp wrist, shouted a greeting to the store clerk. I ran away in record time.

I applied the hair dye liberally, lending my normally unremarkable mane neon characteristics and generally destroying my natural handsomeness. Then I slipped into an orange shirt, set aside for the occasion and appended a small tiger tail, a gift from my friend Natalie, to my rear belt loop. Thus equipped and, no doubt, looking very fanatic, I entered the stadium and marched to the Orange Army Hole.

Once there, I smelled the acrylic scent of facial paint. At the back of the hole one of the fans had filled a plastic cup with orange paint and was daubing the stuff liberally against any who requested it.

I requested it. And soon my entire upper body was a mass of orange color. One friend told me it looked as if my body was a giant Popsicle, dipped in sugary orange goo. Still another said I looked terribly sunburned.

The greatest part about cheering at a sporting event is the fans from the visiting school. Our opponents had brought a large contingent of very well organized students who spent the whole game singing and chanting things that were equally, if not more, incendiary than our own incantations.

When we said “offense” they said “defense.” When we praised a call, they shouted epithets at the referee. When we booed they applauded.

After forty minutes of play, when the throats of all parties were sufficiently leathered, the buzzer sounded and we all exited the stadium.

Several of us from the Orange Army tried to gloat over the victory as we passed the fans of the visitors on the way out (it was, afterall, one of few chances for such boasting), but our voices were so destroyed we could barely croak. We made squalid hand gestures, though, and our gesticulations made up for our lack of volume.

Next game, I think I may color my hair once again and join the cheering fans on the Hole. Only, I think I’ll steer clear of the face paint; that stuff is murder to remove.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Washington Seminar

The results of our “Did George Washington Really Exist” poll were very mixed. Apparently some of our readers saw the intellectual light and were persuaded to at least doubt the existence of our so-called “First President.” Others were, to use a Christian word, unconvinced. According to FCN's eminently respected survey, 48% believe everything about Washington is true, while 9% felt that he was never president but he did chop down the cherry tree. Still more, 18%, felt that he will “always live as an ideal in our hearts.”

Given the nebulous results and that we here at FCN are obsessed with truth, we have decided to put together a counsel of political, philosophical and intellectual leaders of varied ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds to investigate the allegations about this man’s “amazing” life to determine their veracity.

This counsel won’t interview original sources or read documents from the period of Washington’s life. Neither will it conduct a traditional historical inquest. No, that would be too obvious, too clichéd. Instead we will, as society has done for another great man, make colored beads that reflect our attitudes and feelings about Washington and lift them en mass as statements and life “facts” are read from the First President.

Each person will offer his opinion on a fact of Washington’s life by raising an appropriate colored bead, as follows:

Red: George undoubtedly did or said this or did or said something very like it.

Pink: George probably or might have done or said something like this.

Gray: George did not do or say this, but it is really close to something that he might have done or said.

Black: George did not do or say this; this action represents something that has been attributed to him after the fact, a later tradition.

An unbiased arbiter will act as the chair of this Washington Seminar and make a notation recording the color response to every statement read. The results will then be bound up and published in a seminal work titled The Cherry Tree: The Search for the Authentic George.

Given that it is impossible to actually know for sure what Washington did, said or even meant by is statements and actions, we can only measure our feelings about him. George is dead; his sole survivor is his legacy which lives on as his memory. Why give ourselves a hernia figuring out the arcane details of his life when we need only weigh our non-palpable emotions to determine the truth?

It is a lot of work to dig through letters, speech transcripts and personal statements. A lot of work for nothing, if you ask us.

The media and the general public tend to be gullible and naive about the actions of George Washington, but the faithful FCN few need not be intimidated. We can, via the Washington Seminar, divine a workable reality with which we can operate sans confusion and finger-pointing.

No longer will questions about Mount Vernon or Washington’s fatal battle with pneumonia haunt historians. No longer must we worry about the silly cherry tree or question the motives of a man who turns down the biggest promotion imaginable. The mythical Delaware crossing, the famed Martha and the dog (he did have a dog, didn't he?) will all be put to rest. Washington will once again be life size, not the legend that dodged Indian bullets and survived the brutal Valley Forge winter. And, as a human, he can be respected.

I don’t want to live my life in the dark anymore. I want to know what really happened, or at least come to some kind of consensus. The division is tearing me apart and the solution is so close. So who wants to start a Washington Seminar? Who is with me?

Way to Boost Your Evaluations.

Allright, everyone, listen up. Someone brought cookies to class today, so we're going to be handing them out to the students. Now I don't want you all just getting up and herding over here and trampling on each other - no, we don't want that. So here's how it's going to work.

You can see up here on my desk there are four plates. The first runs A to G, second H to M, third is N to S, and last T to Z. I will call you up by row. When I call your row, you will get up and pass my desk from left to right. When you reach the plate that corresponds to the first letter of your last name, initial your name on the paper next to the plate, take a cookie - just one cookie - and then go to the far wall. When the person in the back desk of your row has his cookie, follow him back to your seat in reverse of the order you were orignally seated. I will then call up the next row to repeat the process.

For those of you who are on diets or whatever - for crying out loud, this is just one cookie. It's not going to hurt you to eat it, but it will mess up the system if you don't get up and take one when I call your name. Once you have your cookie I don't care what you do with it. Feed it to your dog for all I care. But you better come up here and take your cookie, and if you don't, I'll be up here watching with the roll sheet, and your grade will reflect that.

For those of you who think you can get away with taking two or more cookies, think again. I have eyes that see all things. I've seen people trying to get away with that kind of thing before and I've stopped it. You will not be able to fool me, so don't bother trying. Taking multiple cookies is academic misconduct - cheating - and if I catch you cheating, which I will, the first thing I'll do is drop you from this class, and the second thing I'll do is I'll take a letter to Administration and get you suspended from the school. I've done it before and I'll do it again. I detest cheaters. I've gone in with suspension requests several times over the past few years and I've always gotten it. So if you take two cookies, you'll find yourself banned from this school for several years, and you'll have a blot on your record for trying to get into other schools. It's just not worth it, people. Take one cookie and only one - no exceptions - and we'll all get through this thing okay.

Any questions before we get started? None? Okay, let's go, row 1. Enjoy your cookie.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Steve has a new system sound!

I just wanted to update all of you on the Steve situation. My computer has a new system noise. I was really getting tired of the abrupt “beep” he always made when he wanted to express some kind of emotion (happy or sad), so I was elated to discover this morning that he also has a “swoosh” sound. It's quieter than the beep and demonstrates more subtle feeling.

Steve won't swoosh when he is really mad or his battery is getting dangerously low, but he might if he thinks the Internet connection is a tad slow or if he gets lonely. It's a 100% improvement in variety and will make my computer experience that much more gratifying.

If you're curious to hear the sound, simply turn off the sound on your system and press your Shift key five times quickly. If you want to hear it again, just press cancel and repeat.

NASA to Arm Astronauts

CAPE CANAVERAL FL -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced a plan yesterday to provide weapons and body armor to astronauts. In the wake of the “Diapered Lady who went NASA,” NASA officials lead are trying to repair the reputation of space exploration and deter future incidents.

“The new weapons will make me feel a lot safer in space,” said Gus Eisenhower, a veteran space traveler who, by his own account, almost went psycho once. “If some idiot comes at you swinging his oxygen tank or threatening to lift your visor, you just blast him to Hades with the plug headquarters provides.”

NASA headquarters maintains that the astronauts will be trained to shoot at non-vital areas. Sgt. Richard McNerney, a former Navy Seal who now does weapons training for the Marine Corps, explained that “most of the time a bullet to the arm or knee will shut up a 'tard.”

NASA Administrator John Griffin feels the armaments will make missions more secure. “Watching from Houston, it's impossible to stop a maniac intent on destroying a craft from killing and maiming others. We must give the astronauts the tools to defend themselves from the crazies,” he told a press conference yesterday. “Eventually our goal is to arm everyone in the International Space Station (ISS) so if a Ruskie goes sour or a Frenchie blows his top, we can take care of business, if you get my meaning.”

Astronauts will be allowed to pick their weapons from a list that includes Uzi sub-machine guns and AK-47s. Starting with the next shuttle launch, they will choose a primary and secondary weapon as well as any of three grenade types and body armor. Ammunition varies by weapon chosen.

To keep shuttle flights from becoming carnal blood baths, NASA is also going to equip each mission with an Army surgeon, trained in treating gunshot wounds and shrapnel injury.

Riley Finnegan, a long-time space observer and NASA critic feels good about the change. “One of the big problems I've had with NASA – besides, of course, the faked moon landing – is the whole unarmed exploration side of the agency. We can't be sending American citizens into alien territory without the weapons to defend themselves,” Finnegan said in a telephone conversation with FCN. “Lewis and Clark didn't explore the Louisiana territory without a musket did they?”

Griffin, meanwhile, maintains that the weapons are not for extra-terrestrial protection. “If we wanted to scare the green monsters away, we'd use ray guns and lasers. We just want our astronauts to keep their diapers on,” he said to press room chuckles.

A new weapons operation training facility is planned in Cape Canaveral to assist the space explorers on the operation of their new toys. Incoming astronauts will have to pass a rifle and sidearm certification and all existing staff – even the janitors and mechanics – must learn to fire an automatic weapon and pull the pin on a C4 grenade.

Eisenhower, who has been training for his next blast off by playing paint ball with his son, looks forward to his next mission. Said Eisenhower: “This is America. And Americans use big guns. So watch out universe!”

Friday, February 23, 2007

Welcome to Wal-Mart, can I help you?

Big carparations. They are the blight on America's future and the bane of our past. They are like poisoned peanut butter or Britney Spear's hair; better done without. Sure they employ millions of Americans and contribute the bulk of taxpayer dollars, funding welfare queens and bridges to nowhere, but they have gotten so big, so enormous, that I almost have a bout of vertiginousness just contemplating them.

Take Wal-Mart, for instance, which is the Elvis of them all. Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer, single handedly turning over zillions of dollars annually (FCN estimate) and providing for America's black and NASCAR populations. But don't get the idea that the Walton family is benevolent with all that wealth. No way, like so many Maloof brothers, they disc their income back into the business, “rolling back” prices and finding new ways to draw poor people to their stores.

A few years ago, Wal-Mart made the biggest step a big business can entertain; it filed the appropriate papers with the United Nations and became a recognized nation. As the 124th largest nation in the world, Wal-Mart ranks above Naru and Vatican City and among such esteemed body politics as Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia on the nation lists.

Secretary General Kofi Annan even issued Wal-Mart a flag (a vertically hanging red, white and blue monstrosity that you may see hanging in a store near you) and a national motto. Signs litter the stores globally, listing the nation's new creed:

The CIA World Factbook, the world's foremost authority on demographic and political data, has the following information about Wal-Mart:

The citizens of Wal-Mart are generally very friendly. They respect tourists, and tend to assimilate the customs of those who visit. They aren't impressed by celebrity, but will make time for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The climate in Wal-Mart is relatively stable at about 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer, although the temperature is known to drop in the frozen foods section and rise near the bakery.

Natural resources include paper and plastic bags and adhesive smiley faces.

Wal-Mart's government type is like many Banana Republics in that it relies on a promotion system to determine leaders instead of democratic votes. Carparate scandal is the most common coup method. A "Board of Directors" form a strong executive whose wishes must be enforced by a "Chief Executive Officer" (CEO). A series of "Vice Presidents" and other "Brass" make up the CEO's cabinet and must answer to his every whim. The most important officer is the "Vice President of Spills Cleanup."

Every month each store nominates an "Employee of the Month," a title that allows the bearer to have the snazziest parking spot. The Employee of the Month is determined by an arbitrary political paradigm.

Although the nation is known to be fairly secure, some natural hazards do exist. Be careful in the center of the country that you do not become disoriented by the size and expanse around you. Also be cautious near the checkout counters as scandalous magazines may scar you for life.

Politically, immigration has always been a key concern for Wal-Mart and, because of the nation's reliance on imports and exports to keep its thriving economy moving, a closed border has never been an option. Trained customs agents are assigned at every Wal-Mart port of entry – there are over 1,000 in the United States alone – to ensure that no goods are smuggled out.

Wal-Mart maintains a small army that usually assists the immigration officials in quelling export/import disturbances. However, if any large scale conflict erupts this nation relies on the force of its neighbors to survive. In past wars, Wal-Mart has avoided taking sides or aligning itself with a particular party, choosing a path of pacifism instead. Some critics claim this peace mongering is fiscally driven.

Wal-Mart has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

The nation's population growth rate is second only to China at 12% annually.

Wal-Mart's dependent areas include most of the southern United States, all of Iowa and the Midwest and half of Texas.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life Tip #13

Don’t steal a car from a car dealership.

If you do steal a car from a car dealership, find a more creative way of conducting the heist than falsely claiming to have a gun and forcing the keys from the dealership’s front office.

If you do lie about being armed and force the dealer to hand over the keys, make sure the proprietor isn’t a black belt in karate and that there are no extension cords handy.

Desperate Student, Episode 5: Drug Dealer

I'd lost my job(s), my girl, my house, my roomie, and most of my stuff. I found myself standing on the curb outside campus with a few college essentials and several trash bags of sticky dry goo that supposedly detoxified anything it touched.

At the time, I wasn't sure why drug dealers went around armed, but I knew they did, so I decided to follow suit. I wandered for a few hours into a really seedy section of town, then hopped into the nearest dumpster. Near the top of the putrid mess was a cartouche - a bullet belt you hang from one shoulder. I donned it and felt tougher immediately.

I kept digging. A few feet further, I found a doorag. That made me feel even tougher.

Finally, near the bottom of the heap, I hit paydirt. It was ancient gray assault weapon with a circular magazine attached to the top. I'd seen a few of them in movies being wielded by the Viet Cong. The clip was huge and bulky and didn't fit anywhere conveniently, but it held a lot of bullets. Think slide projector and you're on the right track.

I couldn't find any more clips for the gun, but I didn't plan on getting into a fight anyway so I didn't let it bother me. Dumpster diving destroys discrimination. I clambered back into the alley and examined my image in the reflection of a puddle. I didn't exactly look like a gangsta, but I did look like the kind of guy you stay away from. I smelled that way, too.

I meandered for awhile until I found a group of four guys sitting in the alley smoking.

"Hi," I said. "You guys want some crack?" They looked at me as one would look at a two-year-old in a tuxedo.

"Hey, bruh," One said. "Let's see the goods." I unlimbered a trash bag and opened it. The prospect's eyes grew wide at the prodigious amount of white stuff inside.

"This is stronger than anything you've ever tried," I warned, passing the leader a free sample handful.

He obviously didn't believe me. He leaned over and sniffed from my hand - hard. Then his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to the ground. A drop of blood trickled from his nose. Tears streamed down his face.

After several minutes of awkward waiting, he stumbled to his feet and exclaimed with a fuzzy tongue: "That's stronger than anything I've ever tried!"

I charged them two hundred dollars a gram, which made for a sale of ten thousand dollars. They promised they'd be back with more cash later.

So began one of the most prosperous days of my life. Druggies flocked from all over to buy my stuff. The product became known as "Crack on Crack" and then later as "Double Crack." I became known as "The Bad White Dude." That suited me fine. I had to go back to my roomie's house three times to collect more product. I also buried thousands of dollars cash in zip-lock bags in the front yard. By that night, I had scraped every bit of Double Crack off the walls. Not wanting to run out of a good thing, I called the HazMat team again and asked them to clean my house again. "I don't want a germ alive within fifty feet of the house," I said.

"You got it, good buddy," Said the HazMat captain. "We'll cater out tommorow morning."

"Sounds good," I said, and hung up.

For some reason, my roomie did not return that night, so I slept in my thoroughly sterile bedroom for the last time.

I awoke early (before my roomie returned) and headed out with the last shipment of Double Crack. I strolled lazily down the alleys, and suddenly realized that I was truly happy. I hadn't a care in the world. In fact, by college student standards, I was rich. My girl, my roomie - these people had all slowed me down and created stress in my life. Now, with money to pave the way and nothing to worry about but my own carcass, I was free.

This line of thinking was rudely interrupted by the sound of machine gun fire across the street. I turned to see what was going on and saw three Bad Dudes wielding gigantic weapons. The weapons were pointed at me and the muzzles were flashing. I heard richochets against the trash cans behind me. After a full three seconds of dumb staring, I realized I was in an ambush. I dove for cover behind a white van and unlibered the Vietnam-o-matic.

"Hey!" Shouted one of my attackers. "We have you surrounded! Give us the stuff and we'll let you out alive!" I answered with a burst from the slide projector. The bullets chunked out with bone-rattling violence. My aim was slightly off - by about forty degrees, give or take - but it was enough to make my attackers mad. They pelted the side of the van with enough lead to sink a tugboat. Then they all stopped to reload. I came around the corner and squeezed the trigger, not necessarily in that order. The gun clicked loudly and the magazine popped off. It clattered on the bullet-strewn pavement and rolled across the street.

"He's bingo!" Someone shouted. I'm not entirely clear on what happened after that, but I do know that it involved knives, baseball bats, fists, shouting, and a thick, wet cloud of Double Crack. The next thing I knew, I was lying face down in the middle of the road, alone. The hoodlums had taken everything of value, by which I mean to say everything but the Vietnam-o-matic.

I trundled home, sore and bruised, but confident in the earnings from the day before. I would quit the drug business, invest my thousands, and live on the interest. Life was still okay until I rounded the bend and saw four HazMat trucks loading up and heading out. The house was so sterile it glistened. The foliage had all been removed. But the part that really got my attention was the front lawn. It had been overturned and plowed. Bits of greenish paper fluttered through the air. I fell to my knees, hands extended to heaven, and composed a haiku.

Then my roomie showed up.

"Great idea calling those guys in," He said. "This place is better than ever!" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few coins. "There's still enough to split a kiddie meal. I'll buy if I get the toy. You coming?"

I looked up at him and wiped the tears from my eyes. Then I nodded.

"Yeah," I said. "I'm coming."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The “Handicap” Button

The community college I attend makes its devotion to and concern for the disabled well known. Everything from the video surveillance secured parking lot (“handicap” spaces) to the wheelchair friendly landscapes (rail protected ramp) is set up to ensure the physically challenged can have an equal chance at education.

Please understand that we here at FCN have nothing against the wheelchair bound. In fact we have devoted significant energy to Victim Issues; I have even recorded a song to honor the disadvantaged.

But our love for the less-blessed does have a limit.

One of the features the college employs to allow everyone equal access to campus facilities is a “‘handicap’ button” or small metallic sphere over an electronic control that uses a reasonably quiet motor to power open a door. The “handicap” buttons were originally painted with a blue handicap mark depicting a stick man sitting on an angled “C.” (below)

Despite its subtle sexism and the aesthetically unpleasing mental images conjured up by the "C," this graphic was deemed acceptable by the ACLU and PETA.

Metallic buttons adorned with this symbol, and heavily faded by years of use, litter the outside of practically every campus restroom. When pushed, they cause a gentle hum and the door they control to open painfully slowly. Sometimes the motor gets stuck; the button jams or the electricity fails altogether, making operation of the device impossible to mortal man. In such instances, the bathroom is inaccessible to anyone, especially the “handicapped,” until uniformed maintenance men arrive on the scene to repair the device, sometimes two or three days later.

Despite the fact that our campus boasts some 20,000 students, many of whom are suffering from “handicapping” ailments, I have never once seen a wheelchair bound victim use the button. I have, however, witnessed hundreds of folks who, in their hale state of health, are too lazy to use the doorknob and push the button instead.

Just the other morning, in fact, a college age youth looking very collegiate in his doorag and hoodie walked up to the restroom door and pushed the “handicap” button expectantly. Before you get the wrong idea, this man sported no cane or obscene body fat, was assisted by no walker and rode in no chair. He wasn’t a Muscle and Fitness model, but he looked healthy. He had, as far as I could ascertain, no medical reason to avoid using the door knob.

As is often the case, the “handicap” button was broken; a useless piece of painted metal attached to a busted motor. My fellow student, however, was unconvinced of this fact. He pushed the button again, harder this time, as if electricity responds to anger. He waited a few seconds starring expectantly at the door and I stopped to watch how the episode would conclude. Then he pushed the button again and again, beating it like a bongo.

Surely, I thought, reality would win out over desire and this man would stoop to enter the restroom by his own power. But no, after his repeated attempts at using the electric opener, the student walked away, leaving the button and the restroom behind. Thinking the best of the man, I thought that maybe he was a newly rehabilitated “handicap” who had lived his formative years entering the restroom by pushing metallic plates. Maybe his anger had reminded him of a scheduled appointment more important than the most pressing physiological need. Maybe he had relieved himself by pushing the button repeatedly and no longer needed the services the restroom offered.

Maybe. Or perhaps the use of finger technology, as my friend John would say, was below him. Maybe he is the kind of man who takes the elevator instead of the stairs; if the elevator is broken, it’s as if the second story doesn’t even exist.

Quite frankly, this man is the scum of the campus. His lecherous habits denigrate the noble institution of education and turn him into an open social sore. That’s right, the next time this student finds a broken button he shouldn’t move on to let an unsuspecting student solve the problem, he should pick up a free campus phone and call maintenance immediately.

That way, I can get into the restroom.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The post-meal burp

While watching the Chuck Heston classic Ben-Hur with some good friends the other day, I was reintroduced to the Islamic post-meal burp, a soft belch to tell the cook the meal was delicious. As a well read college student, I had, of course, already encountered the Muslim burp, but the significance and vulgarity of the act had been on my mind's back burner, so to speak, and the concept was only elevated to mental awareness in the scene where Hugh Griffith waited for Heston to “gush forth.”

That burp was so disturbing that it haunted me throughout a very violent chariot race. While horses and riders were crashing to the hard packed dirt of the circus, I tried to softly force a burp as the film's hero had done on screen. Fortunately for those sitting in my vicinity, my attempts were futile. Even during the climactic conclusion depicting Christ's Passion, my mind was distracted by thoughts of the mechanics of my gastrointestinal tract.

This would be a good time to tell you that if you are munching on taquitos while reading this, you would be well advised to lay the food aside until the post is concluded.

But I digress.

After a little experimentation at home and during class, I discovered that carbonated beverages like Root Beer and Coke are best at inducing oxygenated disgorgements. It took a little practice, but I was finally able to teach my esophagus the appropriate muscle memory to coax a long and loud belch at a moments notice. Oh, what skill!

But personal ability doesn't answer the Muslim burping question; why do the dudes in turbans and the girls in burquas always let it out after a hearty chow down?

In search of answers to the Islamic burping question, I discovered the International Dining Etiquette Guide (IDEG), which is one of the most respected authorities on post-meal burping. IDEG had the following revealing advice:

A natural phenomenon that occurs after filling up your insides, burping, is considered impolite in the modern West. But this used to signal, in certain corners of the world, that the host had provided enough food and if the guests didn't burp at least three times, they were clearly not satisfied and the host was poor, or just plain cheap.
As the Burger King advertisement reminds us, we mustn't “hold back.”

But three times? Who does the guide think we are? Tom Cruise? 

IDEG continues:

This [belching] idea comes from the religious reformer Martin Luther...who said:
Warum pfurzet und ruelpset ihr nicht, hat es euch nicht geschmecket?
Which roughly translates as:
Why don't you [pfurzet] and burpeth, didn't you fancy the meal?
IDEG is not able to explain how a concept supported by the Christian reformer Martin Luther has become so accepted within the Muslim community, but we can accept the assertion for the sake of argument.

The ancients, then, have long regarded a little gas as a sign of gratitude. To rhyme: “a little air down there gives the meal a flair.”

Apparently the good Luther was successful at propagating his belching concept in more lands than just the oil rich Middle East. As IDEG explains:

It is actually considered a compliment in some parts of the Southern United States to burp during a meal. For some reason, though, men are expected to give this compliment and not women.
How sexist! For the record, I like a woman who can rip off a good belch. 'Tis a sign of tranquility...except, of course, for the stomach for whom it is a sign of upset.

So the next time I visit a southern home or travel in a Muslim country, I will inconspicuously sip a carbonated beverage during the meal and hold back the little hicks for one giant post meal thanks.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Did George Washington really exist?

Hang on one cotton picking moment, or at least enough time for you to read through this post before continuing your President's Day festivities. The above question is a perfectly serious one and, although many have been indoctrinated by our “history, “government” and “civic” teachers to unflinchingly believe the opposite, there really isn't that much evidence for the so-called “First President's” existence.

I know, that was a lot of quotation marks for one paragraph, but keep tracking with me.

George Washington is a very popular man in today's economy. His Google rating is 168 million (168 million and one once this page gets indexed), which is more than Jesus Christ and Muslim prophet Mohammed combined. If old George were still alive today he would have trademarked his name and would be making a mint on sponsorships. His name recognition would be so strong and his heroism so unquestioned that he could be elected to any political office without even lifting a finger.

Washington has attained a position of virtuous prominence so puissant that students are marched through his etiquette guide as if it were scripture and told of his many luminary deeds, like being shot six times during a fight with Indians. His size is described as unnaturally large, several heads above anyone else and his strength, as the history books tell it, is paralleled only by today's juicing weight lifters. His physical characteristics are impeccable; the man is flawless.

But what if we are being scammed? What if, for the last two hundred odd years of American existence, the noble Washington of Valley Forge lore was just a legend intended to inspire weary colonists when it looked as if the war was a lost cause? What if history has been fooled by an elaborate hoax and we now celebrate a man who never existed and whose birthday, in remembrance of which federal employees take today off from work, is a total fabrication?

Let's start with the “Cherry Tree” episode, in which young George chopped down his father's prize Prunus Avium and then refused to lie about his actions. Despite the fact that young George held a (little) hatchet and his father was unarmed, Washington supposedly repented his sin veraciously. Now how likely is that? How many six year olds would own up to their mistakes immediately in front of a steamed parent? How many six year olds have the strength to cut down a large cherry tree? How many six year olds have a little hatchet?

And then there is Martha the supposed wife of George Washington. Despite the fact that we have no photographic evidence of her existence and the paintings that claim to portray her always vary in some key feature (compare this, this and this), we insist on believing in her existence. Anyone could have written the letters she allegedly shared with her contemporaries and her children could easily have been mothered by another. History paints Martha as a quiet saint, but so much of her life must be assumed and pieced together from Washington's “writings” that there is no way we can really know anything about her. If anything, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington is an argument for the hoax theory.

The testimonial evidence collected by historical clubs in Virginia is some of the strongest evidence cited by Washington believers. But these letters and census papers are so easy to fake and usually contain more hearsay than actual testimony.

If Dan Rather could fake Bush's National Guard documents, than Washington's contemporaries could fake those letters.

Consider Mount Vernon, arguably the only physical evidence of Washington's existence. The 5,000 acre estate has been well maintained since Washington's supposed “death” in 1799, but the property has brought the federal government significant revenues as millions of visitors, guided by the hoaxed life of a fake hero, make pilgrimage to the rustic property. Each year, through entry fees and concession stand revenues, Mount Vernon ushers financial resources to the equivalent of 1,257 taxpayers (FCN guesstimate) into treasury coffers.

The Washington scam is very profitable, indeed.

Mount Vernon, as a place, does nothing to support the existence of George Washington. No where did he make a distinctive mark or do something with the land that no other man could have done. Sure, the walls are a disgusting green and blue color, but the First President doesn't have a corner on eccentricity. Anyway, saying that a man's home is proof of his existence is paramount to saying that his used toothbrush proves he once had teeth. Anyone can make a home; anyone can use a toothbrush.

As far as testimonial evidence is concerned, to date, no live person has stepped forward claiming to have actually met George Washington. If someone actually knew the guy and could recount a conversation with him, don't you think he would be doing a perpetual talk show circuit?

Have any of you ever seen George Washington? Maybe a member of the faithful FCN few has first person proof of the man's life. Have you ever touched the man or do you blindly believe the word of your history textbook without really pursuing the truth? Have you actually researched the claims of those who believe in George or do you take their assertions for granted?

As Americans, we are given two options: 1) Believe that Washington really existed without sufficient evidence to prove that as fact or 2) Refuse to believe he really exists until the evidence satisfies the burden of proof.

Here at FCN, we are in the latter camp. You guys can go on gnostically believing in the “American Hero” who did the impossible during the Revolutionary War and was so humble that he rejected a position as king of America or you can see the light and reject baseless stories until they are proven true. You can allow yourself to wear the blinders of revisionist history or step out into the light and realize the truth.

Some folks need a Washington story, a tale of a strong political leader who valiantly beat the odds, in order to survive and face their own challenges. To even get up in the morning they must believe in the nonsense their culture feeds them. They believe that the moon is made of green cheese, they believe that gullible is not in the dictionary and they believe that George Washington really lived.

As sensitive Americans, we are, and ought to be, extremely sensitive to those who believe in Washington. The belief is made understandable by a culture that accepts it and we should be tolerant and sympathetic of the hoaxed, even if the data are overwhelmingly against them.

As far as today and President's Day celebration goes, maybe we can devote this day to John Adams, the second President. and thus grant the three-day weekend an aura of legitimacy. Although, the evidence for Adam's existence is pretty shaky as well...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Of Females and Football

We received the following in an email, accompanied by a quaint message reminding us that we have more female friends than just our moms. Thanks girls!

It was the day of the big game. Superbowl number XCBMLCZII or whatever had arrived at last. The room was divided into many factions, those rooting for the Bears, those cheering for the Colts, and those that were simply there to watch the commercials – ie, the females. Now don't think us to be utterly disinterested in the spirit of the event. We dove right in amongst our male counterparts and upped the bets about what we were about to see. Namely, which company would have the first advertisement after kick off. (I, a female, won with the bet of Budwiser against such lucrative entries as Pepsi and Miller.)

The thrills of the game had us all captivated (ok, so it was just that we had nothing better to do) as Peyton Manning lead the Colts to victory and earned the MVP award for himself. At least that's what the guys told me. I had long before escaped to the relaxing haven of my room with some softly playing music, cuddly stuffed animals, and a lovely novel. But something about that glorious day stayed with me (and I'm not talking about the smell the guys left after their own reenactment of the game.) And so today, not quite two weeks later, and right after the girliest holiday ever invented by Hallmark, I made a momentous decision.

I was tired of love, chocolates, delicate roses and mushy cards, and decided to demonstrate my inner guy. Ladies and gentlemen, today, I played football. ::cue Rocky theme::

Yes! It was glorious, it was painful, powerful, it was dirt-and-grass-stains, make-your-mother-wonder-what-in-heck-happened-to-you, overkill the use of the hyphen, downright manish. And then, when we females joined, it became a lovely time of intricate footwork as we played two-hand touch.

Soon the air was filled with the noises of groans (from the few guys who decided that tackling someone for making a touchdown was the appropriate formality to bestow), "hut-huts" and "hikes," with an occasional "blitz!," "hail-marys" and (slightly higher pitched) "what the heck is going on?"

Finally, after much patience and fortitude, we were able to understand this complex world of football. All you need to do (so the guys told us) is to catch the ball, and run either toward the trees on one side of the field, or the concrete sidewalk on the other which served as the end zones. After about 30 minutes of broken nails and sprained fingers, a talented girl was lucky enough to catch and, here's the shocker, hold onto the ball! "Pumped" (that's a manly term) by her success she bravely followed the directions to a T and sped her way to the side walk which resulted in highlighting a shortcoming of the what the males had told us. They had forgotten to mention which way to run with the ball. Thankfully, her own team was able to tackle her before she scored for the other team.

The males, being very gracious, time and time again passed the ball to us faltering females, never giving up on the hope that at least one time we would be able to dodge the opposition instead of running around in circles crying "I finally caught it!"

By the end of the game, we were tired, a little dusty, and had used up all of the memory on our digital cameras, but we had at long last learned the one essential of football – stick to the commercials.

Life Tip #12

Don't herd sheep into your neighbors house.

If you do heard sheep into your neighbors house and the sheep defecate on your neighbors carpets and damage his furniture, settle the matter out of court to avoid court costs.

If you do go to court after herding sheep into your neighbor's house, don't use the opportunity clean on all your other sins.

Friday, February 16, 2007

LLFCN Member Benifits

[Insert drumroll here]

Ladies and gentlemen, germs and aliens, FCN readers of all ages...

FCN is unofficially announcing an unofficial plan to unofficially release FCN products to LLFCN members. Our line of FCN personalized gear will include everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs - all with your favorite FCN quotes!

A recent study by the FCN lab revealed some tragic results. Of those who took the study, only a small handful (26%) are part of LLFCN. Many others (18%) don't even acknowledge the existence of LLFCN. Apparently they believe that the LLFCN is some sort of joke. A scam. An urban legend of sorts. But as LLFCN members ourselves, (after all, the three of us make up half the club) we can promise that LLFCN IS real. Even more distressing is the number of participants who know of the club and don't want to join (45%)! But we can give you an incentive to try to join.

Here's the bribe - we will not only wave the $50 registration fee for today only, we will release our products early to LLFCN members. Sure, it's sneaky. But it does give you an incentive to join LLFCN soon, as you do not know when we will start selling our products.

Remember, we are waving the $50 fee and joining comes with major benefits. Space is limited to 20,000 members. The quicker you sign up the better.

Just email us at funnyclassnotes@gmail.com.

Foolishness by Which Many Problems Arrive

This is an email we received from an address with no @ symbol. We can't, for the life of us, find anything funny in it, but we're so desperate for new content that we're going to post it anyway.

I who am called Za Zulu Za'agi have been watching you in your lives and have understood much but have also found many things which are not understood. Your lives in which you live have many problems which if you ponder over them can be solved. I have seen that pondering over them is something you do not do, so for the sake of your betterment I shall speak.

Your culture has a machine by which McDonald's it answers. It is a machine by which you eat, but the food it feeds causes much sadness and makes bellies to grow large. So I say to you: McDonald's is a machine from which you must not eat. It is a machine with many temptations by which the eater can be fooled into eating things which are not good, for instance, salads are sold on large posters for the eaters to see. But upon entering the machine, the eater no longer wishes after a salad, and only a hamburger is the thing the eater wishes. Hamburger is a dangerous machine by which much harm is caused.

I who am called Za Zulu Za'agi have been watching after you who write on the website called FunnyClassNotes.Com and have seen many things in which you have erred. Also I have found that wisdom is something you do not have, and that all that you do is foolishness by which sadness is caused. I have observed those after which you have pined and by this have been confused. I who am called Za Zulu Za'agi understand those who are called women and they are machines about which I can help.

You must speak to women like equal machines or much destruction will be caused. Whatever occurs to your mind, that is what you must speak. Instead of this, you who are called Cody and also you who are called Desperate Student choose to be subtle and the women flee. Women are not machines by which subtlety is appreciated. If you wish to capture them, bold is the thing you must be. Your thoughts at all times is what women must know.

Many other things also have I seen and understood, and in time my counsel on these matters will also be received. At this time, I leave you, so on these matters you can ponder. At another time, with more counsel will I return.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

“She has a ‘crush’ on you”

I am still shaking. Inside, my guts are trying desperately to find their proper position and realign themselves to the appropriate pipes. The class I am supposed to be attentive to is nothing but a blur and the teacher’s gesticulations are foreign to my traumatized psyche.

I think this is my philosophy class, but I might not be in the right room because my normal teacher is a bearded male. The professor in front of me now is an obese female. I think nothing of the error.

Ten minutes ago, I was calmly eating my paper sack lunch in the campus Canteen. Each bite of the savory turkey sandwich was slowly erasing the memories of a difficult science lab and my hunger was being pushed away by the spicy mustard sauce my mother prepared for me before I left.

My slice of heaven was interrupted by an attractive blonde girl’s approaching my empty table. I had my mouth full.

“Do you mind if I take your picture,” she asked with a smile.

“My pficture?” I was confused and the whole grain between my front teeth and lips didn’t help my diction. I was flattered nonetheless.

Taking my response as a “yes,” the newly arrived female pulled a pink razor cellular phone from her purse and pointed the camera lens in my direction. I tried to smile without revealing my crumb covered teeth.

The young woman turned around and would have walked away, had I not forced the remainder of my mouthful down the gullet (incidentally causing a painful dough lump) and asked politely why the picture was needed, besides, of course, the obvious advantage of having a super handsome guy as your desktop pic.

“Oh, my friend has a crush on you and she wants your picture.”

The dough lump got bigger. I tried to swallow but my mouth was so dry that my effort only made a gulping sound and probably caused me to look like a fish out of water. I felt a bead of sweat welling on my forehead, just below my hairline and willed myself keep looking worthy of a crush.

Crush. I’d heard the word before, thrown around, joked about and even used by friends. But what exactly did it mean? In agriculture, crush season is when all the wine grapes are harvested, but my intuition told me her comment had nothing to do with that. In society, crush means a juvenile infatuation with a member of the opposite gender that could, if both parties were more mature, lead to a short marriage. Maybe her friend was digging for a short marriage.

But why come over to my table? Was she suffering from a sever case of post Valentine’s Day depression and trying to assuage her feelings of abandonment with male companionship? Was she hungry for some chocolate and think I was hiding some leftover kisses in my pants pockets?

Ah, the questions that haunt the mind of the modern college student!

Coming from a family of guys, some of whom imagine themselves pretty hot stuff, I’d heard quite a bit of advice on how to handle female advances. I knew how to handle this one.

Stepping out of my chair, I extended my hand and introduced myself.

“I’m Lindsey.” She smiled as a response and looked expectant.

“So is your friend here? I’d love to meet her.” Note the adjective use. He-he!

“No, she’s not here today; she just wanted your picture.” With that last comment, Lindsay turned and walked back to her table.

That’s when I started shaking. In the course of a minute, as much time than it takes a collegiate sprinter to run 400 meters, I’d been informed of a girl’s interest (a boon to my now vibrant male ego) and been told that she just wanted my picture (can you hear the air coming out?).

If she simply desired my mug, she could have just visited any of the tens of singles sites I frequent. My picture (and several descriptive paragraphs) are pasted all over the web. I even have a profile on E-Harmony, where Lindsey’s friend and I could find compatibility on all twenty-nine levels.

No longer hungry, I packed up the remainder of my sandwich and walked to my class (or Miss Calorie's Calculus class as the case turned out).

Can there be any more nerve wracking realization than to be told that a girl has a crush on you? I don’t even know who this person is. She could be Katie Holmes in all her scientological glory or even the teacher with the cocaine wrinkles currently lecturing a sleepy audience in a monotone. She could even be the lovely Lindsey who came by to take the photo, but is playing a juvenile trick to obtain a pixilated representation of the man with whose image she has fallen in love.

Or the holder of the crush could be Anna Nicole Smith. Now there’s a scary thought.

That’s what makes this situation so redoubtable. Somewhere out there, in a world of 3 billion girls, there is one eligible candidate who actually likes me. The thought is so overwhelming, so groundbreaking, that it’s got part of me frightened. I don’t want to meet this mystery girl anymore. I want to go on imagining her as a Nancy Pelosi clone and never have to worry about living up to the image she’s made in her mind.

But then again, part of me is curious. Really curious, actually. Kinda tense, a little nervous and full of anticipation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day

To me, and probably 99% of all unpolluted guys out there, Valentine’s Day is just another 24 hour period. The chocolate, cheesy poetry and “magic” of the day is repelled by our testosterone fortified carcasses and, quite frankly, we’d rather it were our birthday or Christmas than have to suffer through the drama of February the 14th.

To women, however, this Valentine’s Day is the vicious culmination of a year of frustration. It is a license for chocolate, gossip and free dinners, the three vices of the modern woman. It’s their big chance to collect paper hearts, read plagiarized poetry and listen to coached odes. As my buddy Zack F. would say, it’s the real deal; the mastodonic moment. It’s romance on crack.

The true irony is that a male developed the concept of Valentine’s Day. While the holiday makes girls go crazier than Lindsay Lohan in an alcoholic beverage establishment, it makes guys calmer than Justin Timberlake at a Super Bowl Half Time performance.

Given its meaning and the customs associated with it, you’d think Valentine’s Day would be the product of a brainstorming session with Estrogen Awareness. Instead, the day of festivities is named after Saint Valentine, a Third Century male martyr who was named for the Latin word valens, meaning “being strong.”

Unfortunately, strength is the last thing that this holiday showcases, as lines of men turn into flower toting pansies who mouth “I love you” because custom and their girlfriends require them to do so.

364 days a year, expressing heartfelt emotion is difficult and only real men share what they really feel with their girlfriends. On Valentine’s Day, when the washouts of the world are making their play, the real man stays silent.

But we men are stuck, as it were, between a rock and a hard place (in saying that, I in no way intend to call women rocks). If we recognize the holiday and join in the chocolate orgy, we sacrifice our dignity. But if we refrain and hold back until our platonic limericks are significant and our paper hearts won’t join a multitude in the scratch pile, we deprive our girlfriends of the holiday they anticipate.

And you know what they say about scorned women. Oh yeah, steer clear of that.

Then there is the trouble of picking a Valentine. If you are like me, blissfully single and perpetually wanted, you will feel an intense pressure to ask someone to be your sweetheart (in the non-platonic sense). Whether you are “looking” or not doesn’t matter. If you are a guy, you need a Valentine on 2/14. If not, the lecherous rumor mongrels who make life difficult for any guy who makes a habit of saying no will eat you for lunch (tomorrow’s lunch, that is).

If you want to escape Valentine’s Day without injury, simply find someone unimaginative to ask (i.e. really young sibling of a friend, famous celebrity, the girl you chat with online that you’ve never met or you’ve met only once but the meeting was so brief that you can’t remember her face) and roll with that.

Don’t pick your mom. It’s too clichéd and won’t stop the mongrels.

If anyone asks you about your Valentine, respond positively with the girl’s name and an innocent smile. Also remember that you are taken and any guileful “be my valentine” tricks should be avoided.

As far as gender-specific advise goes…

Guys: The number one rule of thumb about Valentine’s Day is that you just can’t forget about it! Rustication is fine, encouraged in fact, but don’t lose sight of this all important holiday. A box of chocolates (you can eat the caramel ones before you send it over) or an inexpensive Hallmark card send the message that your brain at least fired a synapse and remembered the all important “her.”

If you do forget about it and are talking with your significant other tomorrow, don’t act like an aphonic-mooncalf bumbling over excuses to re-earn her respect. Point her back to this site and explain that real men have the guts to wait. Then get down on one knee and apologize until words stop giving your penitence credence.

Girls: Please, please, please go easy on the guy in your life. We know this is a big deal for you and that you will cherish the chocolates for the entire 35 days it takes to fully digest them. We understand that without your telling it to us through tears. Really we do. So when we mess up, please give us another chance.

If everyone (guys and girls) takes a deep breath and try to avoid personal and public embarrassment, the day should go off fine. If not, Valentine’s Day will continue to rest just below Tax Day on my least favorite holiday hierarchy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

North Korea problem solved.

Yesterday, diplomats of North Korea and the civilized world approved a first draft of a plan to disarm the country's nuclear weapons program. FCN was all over that one. We called up the North Korean embassy and managed to book an appointment with KimJongIl early this morning. A transcript of the interview follows.

FCN: Thanks so much for agreeing to talk to us.

KimJongIl: Been a long day.

FCN: I'm sure it has been. Let's talk about that. What was the tone of yesterday's negotiations?

KimJongIl: Desperate. I say desperate. We drop nuke from high place onto tiny village. Glow very big, but my sunglasses bigger. Now America say: we don't want to get spanked like tiny village. We want to keep San Fransisco, because it have tasty clam chowder!

FCN: So, you have the upper hand in these negotiations?

KimJongIl: Of course. Otherwise why talk at all? Build more nukes. Build, build, build! Boom!

FCN: Why did you start building nukes in the first place?

KimJongIl: American army ready to invade from south. So we build nukes. Now America too scared to attack.

FCN: So, nukes are just one part of the defenses?

KimJongIl: Oh, yes, many defenses all over Korea. I visionary leader. I work hard to save my starving people.

FCN: We're told that conscription and taxation are so heavy, they've caused economic collapse.

KimJongIl: Yes, yes! That how visionary I am. I do anything for my country - even starvation.

FCN: That's inspiring.

KimJongIl: You think? So do my concubines.

FCN: There have been diplomatic talks for decades about your nuke program. What makes you think this one will work?

KimJongIl: I never say it work. It up to America to make it work. Not my fault if it not work. My country do everything we say we do. We never lie to America. Not once. But America lie every day.

FCN: How effective are the sanctions being put on your country?

KimJongIl: They cause much starving, many poor people. But they not work. I visionary leader. My resolve not break!

FCN: I notice you keep talking about America. What about the other countries in the talks?

KimJongIl: Other countries?

FCN: Like China, South Korea ...

KimJongIl: That ridiculous. You Americans so funny! [laughs]

FCN: Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said: “Three yards, three yards, three yards — and then it’s always fourth and one.” Do you consider that an accurate evaluation of negotiations at this point?

K imJongIl: No! That American propaganda. America not make three yards. Korea blitz American quarterback! They lose three yards every time. Now it fourth and nineteen. They try make field goal, but it no good. Then it our ball. We build, build, build! Boom!

FCN: So, you're not optimistic about an agreement?

KimJongIl: I say I have message for San Fransisco clams.

[Awkward silence]

FCN: What is it?

KimJongIl: Boom!

FCN: Thanks so much for your time. We know you're busy.

KimJongIl: Yes, very busy. Build, build, build! I go now.

Congratulations are in order!

Last weekend brought success to a formerly spurned sect of American society, granting legitimacy to a long rejected worldview. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the political thought of America’s liberals was affirmed on Sunday the last, as the “Chicks of Dixie” took the top spots at the Granny Music Awards.

Looking frightfully anemic (and I thought Texans were big) in their maternity dresses, Emily Robinson, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire showed the world they were Not Ready to Make Nice (a clever pun, do you agree?) nor dress decently. They strutted across stage and collected their gaudy trophies with style completely unbefitting a Texan.

Actually the singers are ready to make nice, at least to hear lead singer Natalie “Ashamed of Bush” Maines tell it. She told the audience of grandmothers that she was prepared to take reconciliatory action, exclaiming: “I'm ready to make nice!”

When I read Maines explanation the day after the Granny back-scratching-orgy, there wasn’t a dry eye in the FCN house. How impeccably profound! Could Hemmingway have dreamed up such eloquence? This might be too recondite for Al Gore’s Internet!

Despite her remonstrations to the contrary, we are willing to bet Maines’ hair extensions that the Chicks of Dixie aren’t ready to make nice. They have “bad girl” written all over their mascara smeared faces and, quite frankly, this new act is making some serious mullah. The band, new persona and all, dominates Cindy Sheehan’s ipod playlists and, we have it on respectable report, the singers may have finagled a way into Anna Nicole Smith’s inheritance money.

But today is a day for congratulations, not derision. The “Chicks of Dixie” have taken one mighty leap towards their own personal eudaimonia. The band has swung on a mighty pendulum from fad to boycott and back again. The current position of the sultry voiced trio is, as is evidenced the Grandmother’s picks, on the popular side and we should rejoice with the group at this juncture.  And pray that no one is in the way when they go swinging back again.

Let’s enjoy the moment with the glib strumming, blonde talking, dumb singing trio who’s next album will, no doubt, be titled “Ne Ner Ne Ner Ne Ner" and be marketed to the wide variety of aficionados who like their music sans genre.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Desperate Student, Episode 4: Unemployed

Suzy, my girlfriend of six months, dumped me without warning when she finally realized I would never take her out on a date. I was devastated. For a week, I didn't get out of bed. I just lay in there and moped. Didn't get up to eat. Didn't get up to use the bathroom. I licked condensation off the walls for moisture. The room reeked. In fact ... well, you get the idea. I was down.

Fast forward to Monday morning. I way lying on my embattled mattress, staring blankly at the ghostly shadows of the tree being cast on the blinds. Then I heard pounding on the door. I rolled over and pulled a pillow over my head.

"Breach it!" Yelled a muffled voice. There was a pause, then a sharp bang and pounding footsteps. The door to my room was thrown open and I was instantly covered in a white, foamy powder.

"Sterilize him!" Someone shouted. A visored face flashed before my eyes.

"What's going on?" I groaned, staggering to my feet.

"Open your mouth and close your eyes." Said the voice. A hose was shoved down my throat and a puff of gas was pushed into my abdomen. Then everything was sucked out in about four seconds. My stomach shriveled and collapsed. I fell to my knees, gasping in agony.

"Dangerous levels of organic substrate A-4-10 detected," said a computer voice that sounded a great deal like Microsoft Sam. Then there was a flash of light and a dull boom. Ashes rained down and mixed with the dry white goo on the mattress.

"All clear," Said the first voice. "Let's go! Go, go, go!"

"Wait!" I wheezed. "Who are you?"

"City HazMat team," The voice replied quickly. "Your neighbor complained, and US spy satellites detected toxic levels of dangerous organic substrates in your bedroom. No worries. We cleaned it up for you."

"I ... thank you?" The team of four turned and ran, and my vision finally cleared enough to see that they were wearing full-body orange protective suits and thick black rubber gloves. A radiation symbol was stitched onto the back, and right below it ran the words: "We cater."

I heard the truck rev up, and the local HazMat team drove away. I heard their lusty rendition of I'm Proud to Be an American fade away down the street, leaving only the barking of a stray dog and the gushing hiss of a fire hydrant they'd plowed over. My life was ruined. Correction: my life was even more ruined.

I showered, though it was not enough to wash the salty-bitter smell off my body. Another look at my bedroom confirmed my worst fears: it would cost money to repair the damage, money which my roomie would expect me to pay (at least in part). I evaluated my options and quickly settled on the best one: run. A few minutes later, I was walking quickly downtown carrying a duffel bag with all my salvaged belongings: A toothbrush (well used), six textbooks, eight ballpoint pens, a five-subject notebook, a CD player, an old cell phone, a poster of Tom Cruise, and The Definitive Switchfoot Collection.

I had also stuffed my pockets with the white powder the HazMat people had sprayed on me. I had had a desperate but nonetheless inspired idea: to become a drug dealer.

I type this post from the computer lab at school. In mere minutes, I will hit the streets in search of stoned clients to rip off. Don't call me. Don't email me. Don't memo me. I've joined the dark side.

I hope you're happy, Suzy.

Cyrano de Bergerac

One pristine day last week, I rolled out of bed in my usual cumbersome fashion and attended to my morning routine; shower, shave and shine. Except that the last part, shine, had special meaning. As I looked over my ruggedly handsome visage in the bathroom mirror, I noticed a deformity, a slight coloration accompanied by a bulge on the front of my nose between my eyes. The protuberance was pregnant with a substance that resembled puss and every now and then it oozed some of its contents down my face. The body of the papule was blood red and on its tip were three individual whiteheads, all distinguishable from ten feet away.

Now, understand that acne has never been a huge problem for me. Sure, I have the occasional outbreak, but modern medicine and proper hygiene have kept the situation from getting out of hand. I’m not quite ready to audition as a Neutrogena model, but my face is usually pretty clear.
The shiner I was suffering from that day was a marked anomaly, one that would plague me for the next week.

If you have ever had an abnormal characteristic, especially with the nose, you’ll understand my frustration. The hands can be hidden in the pockets, the feet covered by socks, even the scalp can be obscured by hair. But the nose? What is there to protect this protruding organ from the penetrating eyes of others?

I sat in the bathroom, trying to gauge the extent of the aesthetic damage. I turned to look at my bump, which I’d named Jerry, in profile. The mirror confirmed my greatest fear as Jerry’s presence significantly altered the contour of my nose. My normally noble feature now sported an unnatural rise -- like the apex of a tent -- and all the beauty of my face seemed sucked, as if in a vortex or black hole, to Jerry. My countenance was one contorted battle centered on that one conspicuous mark.

Thinking of my social welfare, I tried to find some method of camouflage, some way of hiding the mark from others. How could I disguise my little Jerry without drawing further attention to its presence? Maybe a ski cap pulled low over my brow or a sweat band, positioned like a blindfold. Perhaps I could find a pair of glasses whose bridge would ensconce my embarrassment away from public view.

After discussing the matter over with my fashion consultants (my older brother and, yes, my mother), I decided to go to school with Jerry out in the open, unadorned and unhidden.

My brother’s parting words were encouraging: “Just try not to be ashamed of it.”

That was a week ago. The last seven days have been filled with agonizingly long stares, unstated questions, overly polite comments, small talk gone bad and curious comments from cute little kids who have yet to experience the joys of adolescent pustules. Teachers have stared, my own mother has reminded me incessantly not to “pick at ‘it,’” (“it” has a name, you know!), my friends have offered regular consolation and encouraging hugs and my enemies have laughed. Boy have they laughed.

One of my fellow students, a gentleman we’ll just call John Costa, even left me an Accutane (Isotretinoin) pill (complete with the anti-pregnancy warnings) as a joke. Ha-ha.

My love life, already a wreck, is in tatters. My male friends are frightened to spend time with me in case Jerry is contagious. The good folks in the men’s locker room, many of them well endowed with Jerry-esque protrusions, are downright cruel. Even the family dog barks funny when I approach our house.

Can dogs even get acne?

It’s as if my entire life, all I stand for, know, believe and desire, is condensed into one open comedone. I know I go through life nose first, but there is more to me than my nasal structure. Little Jerry doesn’t know the damage he’s caused, but all of you could be a lot more considerate.

My shiner will eventually expire and my nose will return to its former glory. And when it does, boy, I will be ready with some fast lines for anyone else who sports an embarrassing mark.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Life Tip #11

Don't snort cocaine in a public place.

If you must snort cocaine in a public place, do not do so on an elementary school campus.

If you must snort cocaine on an elementary school campus, do not do so in a class full of fourth graders.

If you must snort cocaine on an elementary school campus in a class full of fourth graders, make sure you are not the teacher.

Life Tip #10

If you are in second grade, don't bring packets of crack cocaine with you to school.

If you are in second grade and decide to bring packets of crack cocaine with you to school, don't bring the narcotics to share.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The XP Conspiracy

Yet another reason to switch to Vista?

We're all familiar with conspiracy theories about subtle messages in rock music or the Bible. But who would have guessed that these sneakyisms could be hiding under the noses of hundreds of millions of PC users for the last half-decade?

The folks here at the FCN Lab grew suspicious after a tragic but non-lethal spill of lemon juice on the non-glare coating of my not-so-new IBM Thinkpad T42. While carefully wiping it off with the back of my sleeve, I noticed an odd shape in the clouds of the classic Bliss wallpaper that has become a trademark for XP. Without removing any more lemon juice, I rushed my wounded computer to the FCN Lab. After several hours of testing, we managed to pull out the hidden image.

That's right, folks: There is a hidden image in the clouds of the windows XP desktop! What it means exactly is anyone's guess, but we think it's safe to say that Bill Gates has some explaining to do (if he didn't already after evidence of sweatshop cubicle conditions surfaced on the BSOD).

Further testing revealed other images hidden on other popular XP desktops. We would have done them all, but someone found us and kicked us out of the Science building with a warning. We have attached our limited but significant findings below for your objective analysis (click the thumbnails). The questions are many: how did these pictures get here? What do they mean? How could they appear on so many desktops without anyone noticing - until now?

We here at FCN will be lying awake at night cuddling our teddy bears for the rest of the week.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Men Are Just Happier People

For the record, I don't normally read Girl Talk, I just stumbled across this post via HoldFast. Enjoy the many reasons why Men Are Just Happier People.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Give Nancy her airplane!

As you may have heard, Nancy Pelosi, the lovely lady liberal from SF with the big eyes, has been seeking justice in the political transportation arena. While President Bush has a sweet pair of wings, to use the vernacular, and Vice President Dick Cheney flies in similar style, the person second in line for the Oval Office has been forced to fly in the puny plane Dennis Hastert used to ride in.

Nancy's current plane is so small it has to actually refuel (putting precious Muslim oil in the tank) during the flight. It's so petite she can't fully extend her Congressional legs to stretch them after a long day of political catering. The flight is so scrunched, the good Congresswoman has to watch the in-flight movies on a twelve inch flatscreen (Bush and Cheney get theirs on a 15 incher). The craft is so tiny, she can't fit Ron Artest's dogs in the no-feeding cargo compartment. It's so little, it's a flying bantam.

Since 2001, the White House has fulfilled the constitutional right of all big impact politicians to have their transportation subsidized in the name of security. This is, incidentally, the only constitutional right that terrorists have forced to be recognized. But, while Hastert was able to bunny hop from Washington to Illinois, the small commuter craft the former Speaker used must refuel (a very dangerous and terror attack prone behavior) in order to get from DC to Pelosi's home district.

Pelosi wants to be allowed to fly a C-32, the luxurious and specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner that seats 45 passengers with leather seats and has mechanical backrubs for the honored guests. The plane has a crew of up to 16, including her award winning dental hygienist and plastic surgeon. She also wants her friends to be able to fly free, a perfectly reasonable request given Pelosi's social status and position in Congress.

Think about how sagacious this request is for a minute. The top two most powerful political personas in America have their own personal chartered crafts. President Bush has Air Force One. Dick Cheney gets to ride in Air Force Two. Given her importance and the impact she will undoubtedly have on this country's undertrodden, shouldn't Pelosi have Air Force Zero?

Critics point out that the cost of operating the C-32 will run into almost $22,000 an hour (or $192,720,000 a year), a figure that is seriously overplayed given the size and misuse of the federal budget. I mean, how can we spend $640 on a toilet seat for a soft tushed General but hesitate to acquiesce to the request of Madam Speaker?

Frankly, we see this hesitance by the Pentagon to provide the craft to which Pelosi is entitled as discrimination against all left coast states(wo)men who must refuel between home and work. I bet Hastert, in his wicked anti-California bias, even had the controversy in mind when he first requested the smaller plane.

One other thing, as far as accommodations go on The Hill, if Pelosi wants to move into the White House and take advantage of her political position to get some nicer digs, we see no reason why she shouldn't.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


The other day a friend asked me to right down all the homonyms I could think of. I was holy unprepared for the task:

“Holly cow,” I said allowed. “Their a lot of these.”

“I know, that’s what I thought, two. You mussed do it though. But please try to be discrete about it,” my friend replied. “Its not as if I am going to prophet from this!”

He put so much pressure on me. It felt like I had a pistil pointed at my aye browse. No, it felt like he was pointing a canon at me. Even if I ducked quickly, I doubted the missal would have mist. My friend was going to seer fear into my mined. Maybe I would feel better if he offered me some cache for my work or sang a Christmas carrel.

I excepted his challenge and began creating an affective list. Sometimes its hard to find the rite homonym; just as you begin to wright it, you realize the word isn’t a homonym apteral.

I considered my options for a minute and than began scribbling. Than I got hungry, so I ordered some Chinese Wanton. The whether was good, good enough for a pyknic, so I putt on my shoo and went outside for some air. A large mousse walked by, causing a minor toxin and forcing a frightened creek from my friend.

“You’re running out of thyme,” my friend said, who had obviously been Sheik-en by the animal.

“Your so rued,” I told my friend as I staid put.

I tried to titan my concentration, focusing my cite on objects cloth and fair away. I tried not to steel anyone’s ideas and wait for the tide of thoughts to return. I eight some bytes of food to help my thoughts, butt not even that worked. I thought about bier, but I was underage and not aloud to drink boos.

I was getting frustrated. The energy was draining from my gored. I was a guerrilla without any hare. A loot without any strings.

I decided that was about enough and handed my page to my friend, who called me a succor. He said I was suite, though, and that he would make me an ice cream Sunday for my trouble.

“No problem,” I said before I tiered up, “good-buy.”

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We love you, Professor!

More FCN history: the first class note with primary focus on what happened in class.

The prof in this particular class is a busy woman. She does battle with the state. She made Arnold beg for mercy the day. She can talk faster and shriller than Nancy Pelosi and has a personality that would make even Samurai Jack run for cover.

The class is supposed to run from 2:30 to 3, but she had to leave at 3:30 for a personal duel with Barbara Boxer. She announced this at the start of class and we all shed crocodile tears.

At 3:30 sharp, she rose and pulled a key from her pocket. "You all need to stay here until 4," She said. "I'm giving you the master key so you can let yourselves out. Promise to be good, don't break anything ... other than that I don't care what you do."

We nodded studiously. The door closed behind our beloved prof. After several seconds of waiting to make sure she was truly gone, we all burst into dancing, song, and merriment. After a short, friendly scuffle (during which one student, clutching the key, was thrown out a fourth story window into oncoming traffic below), we broke into the prof's adjoining office and raided it. Papers, files, records, writing stuff ... we changed our grades to As and kept looking.

We broke open a locked file cabinet by putting the desk on it and smashing it several times. Inside, to our glee, we found a bottle of absolutely premium vodka.

After a short and friendly scuffle (during which four people, their bloody fingers wrapped around an empty bottle of vodka, were hurled out a fourth story window into oncoming traffic), we decided to settle down and be more civilized. Some ingenious geek hooked an iPod to a cell phone and put it on speakerphone. The sound was remarkably good - and loud.

We cleared the room of desks by pushing them out the window into oncoming traffic. Then we danced - and danced - and danced. When we finally stopped to catch our breath, we heard a furious pounding on the door.

"Who is it?" Asked Racquell, a go-getter in the class who knew I was going to be posting about this and insisted I put her name in.

"Professor Skinner," Answered Professor Skinner. "Here for the six o'clock class on Juvenile Delinquency."

The next few seconds were a blur. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but over the course of several seconds and a short scuffle, thirty college kids leapt from the fourth story window into oncoming traffic. I was lucky enough to land on the back of a semi-truck that had slowed to slog through the large pieces of desk littering the road. From there it was a short and painful hop to the ground. I sprained my ankle and kept running as if nothing had happened.

I was late for my Social Services class. In fact, all I had time to do was open the door, sit down, and catch my breath before class let out. I stood and confidently asked the professor: "Can you change my absent mark to a late mark?"

FCN Expands to Five Readers

It's a big day. A wonderful day. But it's also terrifying.

Ladies and gentlemen (mostly gentlemen, unless you count our moms): for the first time in history, Funny Class Notes has reached it's year-end goal of five unique readers.

We had a "Five Reader Scare" earlier last month when Cody logged on at the computer lab and sent a different IP address, but this error was corrected and the site meter went back down to the heart-breaking four within hours. This is not one of the moments. We have confirmed that the reader's internet signal does not originate from any computer lab. In fact, it does not originate anywhere in the United States. In fact, the signal does not come from this planet at all.

There's something vaguely disturbing about having an extra-terrestrial reader (and yes, you skeptics: we have confirmed that this reader is NOT Adrielle).

It's scary on every level. For instance: we may be the first contact in history between humankind and The Other Life Form(s). If we get it right, we may get access to all kinds of wonderful technology. If not, we may inadvertently plunge our tender species into extra-terrestrial war, only this time, there will be no Spartan-117 to save us.

So, here is our first official message to The Other Life Form(s), which we are making an open letter for the sake of transparency with our readers:

"Hello. We are humans, an innocent, harmless life form that wishes to have peace with you. We encourage you to join LLFCN - if you do so today, we will waive the $50 registration fee."

Of course, the alien nature of our fifth reader is ... challenging ... in other ways as well. It says something about this blog that we are unable to aquire a following without reaching for outside help. In a sense, we feel a bit crowded in the universe knowing there are other life forms out there. In another sense, however, we look at the site meter and suddenly feel very, very lonely.

It's a big day. A wonderful day. But it's also terrifying.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Blonde Joke

We don't normally link to jokes (the hyperlink process is so complex, it strains our minds just to ponder it), but this blonde joke was just too funny to pass up. Enjoy.

Bears, Colts, Dinosaurs, and Baboons, oh my!

We missed the Superbowl. There. It's out in the open. Now you know. The most significant sporting event of the week, and we plumb missed it. Totally forgot it was happening.

A few minutes after it ended, a friend collect-called us and asked us what we thought of Rex. We said we thought he had big sharp scary teeth and tiny arms.

Fortunately, this aforementioned friend had TiVoed the superbowl, and very graciously invited us to watch it that night at his house, provided we kept the volume down because he had a test the next day. Good enough, we said. We didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to soak up the manly superbowl goodness.

12 seconds after kick-off, we all remembered that we were staunch Bears fans. "Go Bears! Woohoo! That's what I'm talking about!" The Bears were what manliness was all about: big, fat, heavy, ugly, hairy ... actually, they were pretty much like the Colts, only they were winning, which was good enough for us.

Somewhere in the second quarter, CBS decided to run a very disturbing Snickers ad, which includes a Lady And The Tramp spoof - only this time, instead of two dogs of varying genders and a string of spaghetti, it was two men in a garage with a candy bar. The room fell deathly quiet when the lips on the screen met. Our manliness was offended. We had been violated and disturbed.

"Quick!" Shouted the man onscreen. "Do something manly!" I'm not sure what happened next in the ad, because the FCN staff immediately threw its collective self to the ground and writhed for the next five minutes, hooting and pounding bare chests.

When we finally revived, we watched a great ad from Coca-Cola (below) which demonstrates how Coke can turn your life around, even if you're Victor Vance. This made us happy inside and did not offend our manliness, and makes us want to drink more Coke (to the extent that this is possible, which, in at least one case, is very little).

After the half-time show, which starred the ugliest woman we've ever seen, the Colts started to take over. That was fine with us. We'd been die-hard Colts fans since the very beginning. We'd come out of the womb clutching horse shoes. That's just how die-hard we were.

Of course, no one on the team was more important or effective than Rex Grossman, who led the Colts defense to some football wizardry, including interceptions, fumbles, and sacks enough to make the testosterone pound in our ears. About midway through the last quarter, during another one of Rex's "moments", our gracious host came down and politely asked us to shut up or he'd pound us and then kick us out of the house. This offended our manliness, but this time we did nothing about it.

We ended up getting pounded and kicked out anyway, so we didn't get to watch the post-game show. But we're pretty sure we know who won the MVP award. Congratulations, Rex Grossman. You're an inspiration to us all.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Life Tip #9

Don't punch another student in class.

If you must punch another student in class, don't do it during a discussion of the death penalty.

If you must punch another student in class during a discussion of the death penalty, don't perform the act during a seminar titled Portraits of the Virtuous Life.

The Bourne Hotline

HOLLYWOOD, CA – In anticipation of the upcoming release of Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon, a collection of action movie enthusiasts and cinema psychiatrists are coming together to form a hotline to counsel heartbroken Bourne fans.

“So often cinema goers are shocked by what directors do with the books they love,” explained Erin Barron, a mental health expert with the Mayo clinic who joined the project. “Our role is to console supporters of the Robert Ludlum novels, maybe even give them a decent shoulder to cry on if the movie is really bad.”

Apparently some are expecting the action hero to die in the last film of the trilogy, a fate that would come as a heartbreak to Damon's legions of adoring fans.

“The hotline is a matter of social responsibility,” explains Spud Shaw, author of Stopping the Black: How Chick Flicks Turn Decent People Into Criminals. “Studies show that a traumatic movie can be as much of a risk factor for rash activity as a traumatic childhood.”

Shaw outlines a two step process to undo the damage of what he calls “mentally destructive” movies. “First, you need to acknowledge that the story on the screen isn't real. You need to come to terms with the story telling. Second, you need to find out the truth. Go out on the Internet and find out how many black ops people really die in gruesome five semi-truck pileups. This reinforces neuropsychiatrically therapeutic thoughts.”

Fans, meanwhile, are largely unaware of the hotline's existence. A survey of moviegoers in a small Northern California town revealed that over 96% had never even heard of the service. One viewer, who asked that his name not be given, even laughed at us and called us “fruity.”

Barron doesn't see the lack of recognition as an obstacle. “When people leave theaters in tears and realize their lives have completely collapsed in the course of an hour and a half movie, they'll call the hotline,” she said.