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

Monday, August 31, 2009

How to Play Pedestrian Polo

In the spirit of the wildly successful game Traffic, we give you it's evil twin, Pedestrian Polo.


To score as many points as possible by fulfilling achievements that involve impacting your car against pedestrians at a speed of no less than 15 MPH (unless otherwise noted).


- A car.
- Bumper protectors (like the ones you see on cop cars) are recommended but optional.


Pedestrian Polo is like making car payments: it never ends. The moment you get behind the wheel, the game is on; you have a chance to score fresh achievements and get ahead of your friends. The ongoing, honor-based point system keeps drivers constantly on the lookout for new pedestrians.

As a rule of thumb, double your point value for striking two pedestrians simultaneously; triple for three, and so on. Also, double all your points if you are a professional driver (bus, taxi, race car, etc).


Little White Man Indeed. Stop at a crosswalk on a red light. When pedestrians pass in front of you, ram them.

2 points: The pedestrian squeaks on impact.
4 points: The pedestrian has a cane or walker.
5 points: The pedestrian attempts to leap out of the way but fails.
8 points: The pedestrian hesitates, and you wave that it's okay to pass.
10 points: The pedestrian is your landlord.

Fresh Air. Without slowing down, cross to the left side of the road and take out a pedestrian with your door.

3 points: The pedestrian is just exiting a building.
4 points: The pedestrian is holding no less than two bags of groceries.
6 points: Close the door just before striking a telephone pole or other object.
8 points: The pedestrian is on a crosswalk.
13 points: Use the passenger side door.

Collateral Suicide. Impact a pedestrian as you go off a bridge.

2 points: The pedestrian was considering suicide already.
6 points: The pedestrian had considered suicide and had just decided life was worth living.
8 points: Leap out of the car just before it goes over the edge.
15 points: Stay in the car and survive.

No Safe Haven. Impact a pedestrian indoors.

5 points: Shopping mall.
8 points: A spa.
13 points: Traffic school.
18 points: The top of a sky scraper.
35 points: A basement.
39 points: A legislative building.

Part of the Plan. Impact someone to whom you have just given a ride.

1 point: Pick up a hitch hiker, drive him at least a quarter mile, then have him get out and ram him.
3 points: Drive your friend to school.
7 points: Carpool with a coworker.
14 points: Carpool with your boss.

Mesmerizing. Approach the pedestrian slowly for at least twenty seconds, then accelerate and ram.

3 points: The pedestrian never saw you coming.
9 points: The pedestrian watched, stupefied.
27 points: The pedestrian had a gun pulled on you and was yelling at you to halt.

Ambush. Impact a pedestrian who is between you and the road.

4 points: Hide in an alley until the opportune moment.
7 points: Conceal your car in trees and bushes.
16 points: Wait in a building, and crash through a large window on your way to the target.
29 points: Crash through a large window on a story other than the ground level and land on the target.

That was Deliberate. Impact a famous or dangerous person.

1 point: Registered sex offender.
3 points: Politician.
6 points: Actor.
8 points: Simon Cowell.
9 points: Barack Obama.
14 points: Bruce Willis.
15 points: A wanted terrorist.
40 points: Chuck Norris.

Only Yourself to Blame. Impact without turning on your engine.

3 points: Push your car down a hill.
10 points: Push your car along a flat plane.
12 points: Tow your car behind another, then disengage the tow line and slingshot into your target.

Karma. Impact another pedestrian polo player.

20 points.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trying to Write a Post

Every so many days or so, it is my turn to write a post for FCN. Sometimes I forget and nothing gets posted, sometimes I have something ready, and other times I don't have anything prepared and my mind is a blank slate. Today is one of those times.

Trying to come up with a post when you've got nothing is like trying to rip off your own toenails. It's like being interrogated by Jack Bauer. It's like trying to get your younger siblings to do their chores. And it's like having your innards ripped out of you and set on fire before your very eyes.

So here I sit at midnight on a Thursday, trying to write something funny, or at least clever, to post on Friday morning. But, I've got nothing.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to Pandora and watching espionage shows on hulu. Suddenly, an idea comes to me. Why not write a post about a musician who is an undercover spy for the Russian secret service? It would go something like this:

Vladimir was having a long day. He had already eliminated five spies from three different foreign agencies and he was ready to get some sleep. Unfortunately, his coffee was only 1 hour into his system and he'd be awake for at least another four hours.

"Oh well," he thought. "I guess I'll just try to arrange a meeting with Banov."

After that, it's pretty fuzzy. I suppose I'd finish off with an explosion and Vladimir's death or something (anything to prevent having to continue a series), but I really don't know. This post, at any rate, is over.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Awkward Situation #8

Note: This is a true story.

Picture this.

You're checking into a 4-star hotel.

There is a long line, and several people are in front of you.

The girl at the front desk is apologizing because apparently a group of about 60 soldiers checked in unexpectedly and she's having to re-arrange the accommodations.

She checks a lady into the hotel and sends her to her room. Lady seems glad to be out of the line and makes her way toward her room.

The desk girl starts checking in the man in front of you. The process takes a while. You begin to tap your foot impatiently.

A few minutes later, the lady who was checked in comes back to the desk. She doesn't look as happy as she was when she left. "Miss," she hisses through clenched teeth, "there's a problem with the room?"

"A problem?" the desk girl cries, "What seems to be the problem?"

"Miss, I used my key to get into the room you gave me, and... there was a troop of soldiers in there. Let's just say that after a long day they had apparently been excited to get out of their uniforms and make themselves comfortable."

The flustered desk girl tried to make amends, but you don't remember what they were because you were trying very hard to conceal the laughter brought on by this entertaining occurrence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drouble dropping first date

Heather was a cute girl from a part of town that just appeared in the last ten years. You know, middle class track homes with pastel stucco and 1/8 acre backyards. There's probably a neighborhood like that in your town, in in a suburb of your town. Her house looks exactly like the one you conjured up in your mental image. Exactly.

Heather's dad worked an office job in the Bay Area and commuted a lot. Her mom worked a part time office position about thirty minutes from home, mostly to pay taxes. When I picked up Heather at 6:00 on a Thursday evening, my first thought was that maybe the family was carrying an upside-down mortgage. It just seemed like that kind of situation. My second thought was that the neighborhood's irrigation policy was lax. I'd arrived during a peak time, but at least three houses on her block were using their front yard sprinklers. I also wondered about air conditioning use. My third thought was that Heather was a pretty cute girl and that her blouse carried itself well on her.

I selected a quaint, out-of-the way eatery on the north side of town. I'd checked the location on Google Maps and knew it was only a few minutes from her house. Yum Yum's Chinese Grill seemed a good choice for a first date with a middle class white girl and I was ready to make a good impression.

Restaurants do a weird thing when you enter and ask for a seat. A "host" asks the number in your party and, if there's a wait, for a name they can call when a seat is available. Then a "seating assistant" guides you go your seat and, depending on how expensive the food is, pulls back your chair for you. Soon a "server," which is the politically correct term for a "waitress," comes and takes your order. If you eat for long enough, another waitress comes along to spell the first one while she's on break. If something goes wrong, you see a "manager" or, if the food is cheap, a "shift supervisor." Finally a "bus boy" (note the lack of a politically correct, gender-neutral alternative) comes along to clean up the mess and ready the table for the next diners.

Heather and I took our seats and I was relieved that the seating assistant did not pull back our chairs. I might be able to get out of the evening for less than thirty bucks! Conversation before the order was casual. Heather was starting at school again next week at community college. She didn't like her classes and wasn't sure what she was going to do with herself. I nodded and feigned interest, but the whole time I wondered at the pattern of our waitress' table assignments.

Normally serve staff are responsible for tables in a particular region. If five waitresses are working a shift, they will split their assignments geographically. I'd noticed this pattern before and was expecting it again. At Yum Yums, I could not make any sense of the table assignments.

Marissa finally came to take our order. I had seen her at three corners of the restaurant and was immediately suspicious. I ordered a beverage and so did my date. We ordered our food at the time. I had the pasta and she had the Macadamia nut chicken and shrimp. I remember because I'm allergic to Macademia nuts and I made a mental note not to try her food. This recounting is tedious but hang on, there's a point.

The date went well. Heather talked. A lot. I listened. And watched the wait staff. And laughed when Heather laughed. I was working well. We were having a good date.

Then Marissa dropped the bill. I waited a second, hoping Heather would reach for it. When she didn't, I grabbed the bill slowly. The leather cover felt heavy in my hand. Again, I waited for Heather to protest. Again she stayed silent.

Oh well, I thought, and opened the mini-binder.

Jumping bullfrogs, I thought, making a mental Mark Twain reference as I looked down at the itemization. This wasn't the right bill. The items were listed wrong. There was no "Macadamia" next to the chicken reference, my pasta was titled "angel hair" (as if I would order angel hair pasta on a date!), and the beverages were not labeled. Ice tea is always a labeled beverage.

My suspicions about Marissa were confirmed. She had given us the wrong bill. Maybe she had even double dropped us, giving us the same bill as another table and pocketing the difference. I knew she was manipulating the restaurant's geography to get non-adjacent tables. She had the suspicious eyes of someone hiding something other than a deep hurt. I should have trusted my gut and requested a different waitress!

"C, is everything okay?" Apparently my brow had furled and I was staring at the bill like a poker player holding a low pocket pair after an all-in call.

I had a major dilemma on my hands. I could announce Marissa's error in front of Heather and let her know I was on my game. But doing so would betray the fact that I had been restaurant watching for the last hour instead of engaging her in meaningful conversation. And what if Marissa argued? I could end up looking like a cheap date who didn't want to pay for the drinks. I would that guy, the one who stiffs his girlfriend with the bill whenever the pay arrangement is pre-arranged.

"Is everything all right?" It was Marissa asking the painfully obvious waitressing question. Ironically, it was the same question Heather had asked moments earlier. Marissa and Heather both expected answers. The moment of truth:

"This isn't our bill. The food items are inaccurate the beverage items are listed incorrectly. Also the total is a good fifteen dollars off what this meal should shave cost, given menu-advertised prices." Heather looked at me, obviously surprised by my show of restaurant genius.

Marissa didn't look at the bill. "You must be mistaken, this has to be your bill. There is no way it isn't." Manager arrived. I asked to speak to the manager alone and told her my suspicions about Marissa. She nodded wisely, weighing the evidence about the non-sequential seat placing and bill inaccuracy. It took me about five minutes to lay out all the evidence, but the manager listened to me attentively the entire time. I think she blinked three times.

When I was finished, she nodded again. Apparently Yum Yums had suspected Marissa of double dropping bills for a few weeks, my observations were enough to put together the case. Marissa was fired on the spot and Heather and I got our meal for free.

In the car on the way back to her house, Heather seemed unimpressed. "You saw that on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, right?" she asked. She caught me. That's where I'd heard about double dropping, but how in the world did she connect the dots? I thought briefly about lying but instead gave a truthful "yes."

"That is so cool!" Came Heather's unexpected answer. Apparently the brash sit-com is her favorite TV show and Sweet Dee's double dropping escapade was her favorite episode. And, Heather wants to see me again before she leaves for school. I think I am going to keep being attentive at restaurants!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Re: Mushy Date

FCN received the following email about a recent post. Have you got a witty response to one of our tomes? Send it in here!

Dearest C,

As a human I must comment on your date. As a man I must give you some
pointers. As a friend I MUST speak to you and teach you how to REALLY
be romantic.

C...you miss the point. You are trying to mushy, not romantic. Mushy
has no place in relationships. It is not an objective. The objective
is love. Your goal is to communicate how much you love her with every
word, deed, thought, everything. Here are your mistakes.

A) "Did it hurt?" As if pain is in any way related to Grethel?!?
Grethel is not pain. She does not make you think of pain. There is
absolutely no link in the whole wide world between Grethel and pain.
This explains Grethel's surprised "Did what hurt?" response. You lose
1 point.

B) Grethel did not fall out of heaven. This implies that she was cast
out the same way Satan was. If there is no link between pain and
No! Linking Grethel with Satan was a colossal error. You lose 5

A better way to handle this situation would be to say as a more
appropriate greeting: I am glad heaven sent you to me. This statement
has numerous advantages. It sends all the messages of your attempted
line without any negative connotations. It also implies that she was
picked by heaven specifically for you. Good. Avoid the temptation to
add the word 'tonight' at the end of the sentence though. If you do
you will be stating that this is only a temporary arrangement at best.

C) YOU ZONED OUT WATCHING SPORTS?!? You can zone out staring into her
eyes, that's fine. But do not zone out looking anywhere other than her
eyes on a date. Ever. Mistake. You lose 1 point.

D) Nice save. You realize your sports zone out mistake and cover it
with the old 'getting lost in your eyes line' Good cover up. You gain
1 point.

E) "your eyes are blue like the ocean and I just keep getting lost at
sea" Lost at sea? What? You are NEVER lost with Grethel. When you are
with her you are found. She has the key to your heart. Getting lost
implies that you are unable to find your objective. Grethel is your
objective. If you are lost it means you aren't with Grethel. You lose
2 points.

F) There is no need to rearrange the alphabet. That implies that the
natural order needs to be changed to accommodate your relationship.
Instead of moving U and I together. Talk about how your alphabet runs
from 'A' to 'G' because once you hit Grethel there is no need to move
on. You lose 1 point.

G) "thorn by a rose" would be a nice line if it wasn't so close to
thorn in your side. Also, thorns are bad. You may be inferior (all
guys are right?) but you are not bad. Say that she is the rose and you
are the lowly leaf which supports and give nutrients to the rose. This
shows the two of you working together. That is a good thing. Thorns
are not. You lose 1 point.

H) Her smile was in your back pocket?!? You lose 10 points!!!
- If her smile was in your back pocket that means you were sitting on
it the whole meal!
- Anything, and I mean ANYTHING that Grethel gives you or you find
from her is near (or in) your heart (much less something so precious
as a smile) You have the key to her heart on a chain around your neck.
Her smile is in your heart. Near your heart you always carry the first
picture the two of you took together etc.

I) 3 points for the wonderful way to hold hands. Brilliant. I applaud
you. However you lose 1 point for wasting her time. You tell a long
story that ultimately leads to nothing? NO! Again I say NO! Say that
there is a rabbit who wants to get across the river and the rabbit is
named 'C' Then say that a bunnyrabbit, 'Grethel', comes along, you
build a raft together and happily sail down the river of life
together. After telling this story shrug and say "Maybe I'm silly. I
don't know, I just wanted to hold your hand."

J) Excellent afternoon is a very noncommittal response. No points
gained or lost. A better response would have been to say: "May the God
who gave you to me guide my steps to you again in the near future.
Until then may he watch over you and give you a wonderful day." THAT
is a farewell.

Those are just a few of the thoughts I had as I glanced over your
limited commentary on your meal. Please consider these comments in the
same friendly spirit in which they were given.

Your total score is: -17

I doubt you will see Grethel ever again.

Remember C...love. Not mushy. Just: Love.


Randy Hawthorn

Friday, August 07, 2009

Snakes On a Plane Are the Least of My Worries

Even with all the post 9-11 efforts made by the TSA to crack down on terrorism involving aircraft, I'm surprised no one has tried something and succeeded in doing something treacherous. Not that I condone terrorism, nor do I like danger. I'm not even saying someone HAS in fact tried something yet failed. Surely there have been many foiled attempts. And rightly so. I'm glad to be protected by airport security.

I was reminded of that security recently when I packed to fly across the United States. Packing to fly is... well it's a pain in the neck. I decided to liven up the process by letting my mind wander. It went places no peaceful, innocent mind should go. My thoughts were dedicated to figuring out ways people could turn permitted carry-on items into harmful, or even lethal weapons. It was unsettling. Suddenly my pencil wasn't just an ordinary pencil. It was a ice-pick-like stabbing utensil. My broken hand mirror became several sharp blades, useful for cutting throats. A harmless bobby pin could be used to put an eye out. My book could knock someone out cold if I hit them hard enough. And honestly... why even call a safety razor by such a deceiving name. Does security believe no terrorist would be smart enough to de-safety a safety razor? Geez. Wake up and smell the scalding hot, disable-the-flight-attendant coffee.

So why does the TSA still allow carry on baggage that consists of anything other than some socks, a magazine, and a snickers bar? Seems like they're taking a huge leap of faith by trusting people (and potential terrorists, no doubt) to use their belongings in the way they're supposed to be used. I for one am glad carry-on baggage is still allowed. I don't personally want to fork over $30 bucks round-trip to check my bags. Assuming I had $30 dollars after buying that plane ticket. Sure, my idea of creative weaponry may be a bit far-fetched. But if someone eventually uses a pencil, mirror, bobby pin, book, razor, and a cup of coffee to disable a flight crew and hijack a plane... don't say you weren't warned.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Life #96

Be a nice boss.

If you aren't a nice boss, don't bring two bb guns, a shotgun, and a handgun to work.

If you do become agitated with an employee for sarcasm, don't threaten him with a gun.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The problem with lady contributors

A year ago this August, Funny Class Notes invited Chip to join our writing staff. His impeccable wit, coupled with a double chin that, if unified into one jaw, would make Jay Leno jealous, drew him instantly into our good recognizance.

It wasn't long after he joined that Chip was a favorite at the FCN headquarters. One look at his full figure striding toward us in his singularly jocular way and we would know something fun was about to happen.

Chip is just the sort of vivacious personality you can rely on for a good chuckle or even a tawdry laugh. If you have never engaged in a tawdry laugh, by the way, they come highly recommended. TLs, as we call them around here, are exceptionally pleasant and very good for the tonsils, if you still have yours.

As a contributor, Chip was anything but a disappointment. He brought his A game to FCN and we are exceptionally proud to have him as contributeur extraordinaire. In the interest of full disclosure, Chip is going to use this post as a letter of recommendation.

I wish I could say the same nice things about our lady contributors. A few weeks ago, FCN hosted an article about image consciousness at the gym. The article was written by one of our writers from the female persuasion and was, admittedly, full of well-considered prose.

But guys and girls do not talk about the gym the same way. When guys write about the gym, they write like this. When they talk about the gym, guys talk like this.

Females do not have the same way of expressing themselves. For one thing, females have a completely different reason for going to the gym. Most want to stay or become slender and work on their "tone," whatever that is.

Guys want to bulk. Adding weight is something they do to dumbells and their biceps.

Most guys I know are happy when they make a new weight (meaning a higher one). They announce their weight to everyone in the locker room and make sure all in earshot are aware of their accomplishment.

When guys ask each other about their weight, it isn't an insult. Guys ask perfect strangers, other guys they just met and their spotter about their weight and when guys lie about their three digit number (and it's always a three digit number), it's usually to inflate the truth, not lighten it.

I know some girls who get ecstatic about changes in their weight, but it's usually because they're seeing a lower number on the scales, not because they added a few pounds over the weekend.

But back to our lady contributors. Every post published on this auspicious webpage is automatically republished on my facebook. My facebook feed is terribly lonely without the regular spice of FCN content and I hate to leave my followers (or is that twitter?) without some kind of update about my life and times.

The gymvisiblity post -- the one that brought an estrogen-filled perspective to your local fitness center -- received some interesting reactions on my facebook:

My friend Katie, who I don't see very much, said "oh...my." She thought I was growing into a woman.

Samantha, from the swim team, tried to encourage me to work out harder to impress people instead of hiding.

My buddy Phillip called me an ox. Try calling a woman that, Phil!

Nick from school said I was a total spaz. Or a genius.

And Jeremy completely understood my plight. Apparently he, too, thinks like a woman when he goes to the gym.

So I'm stuck with whatever the ladies on the team write. You gals are awesome, but sometimes I wish you were more...manly.