ASK THE CAP’N: THE BEAN, THE PICASSO AND DEEP DISH PIZZA

Back about a gazillion years ago when I was a kid growing up in the Cretaceous Period, when mighty dinosaurs still roamed the Earth and people were, well, Cretaceous, I lived in Northern Illinois, about 45 minutes southwest of Chicago. (It’s 45 minutes or so now, but back then, since we had to go by wagon train, it was more like a road trip of a couple of days, and there was always the fear of Indian attacks, although nowadays they wouldn’t be called “Indian” attacks, they’d be called “Native American” attacks. Of course, there was also the fear of being attacked by roving gangs of crazed midgets, which these days would be referred to as people who are “vertically challenged“.)

Even though my parents were mostly moderate Republicans, at least as I recall, they subscribed to and read the daily Democratic newspaper, which was the Chicago Sun-Times…I have never understood that, but there you are. (I also thought until I was about six that my first name was “goddammit”…that I do understand.) In those days, the dominant Republican newspaper in the Midwest was the mighty Chicago Tribune, a paper founded back in the 1850s and closely aligned in those days with Illinois’ favorite son, Abraham Lincoln; in later years, the “Trib” stayed predominantly conservative under the guidance of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the grandson of the original founder and the namesake of the eponymous exhibition center in Chicago, and was a staunch supporter of everything GOP through those ensuing years until in 2008 when they shocked the right-wing, Tea Party world and endorsed another native son, Barrack Obama, for President.

One of the things that the Sun Times had going for it back then that the Trib didn’t, although I’m fairly sure it wasn’t why my parents took the paper, was an “advice columnist” who wrote a daily column under the heading “Ask Ann Landers”. Yeah, that’s right, exhaust fans, the Ann Landers franchise was originated in my home town of Chicago, a town also renowned for its toddling. (Chicago is further well known as being the home of deep-dish pizza, Al Capone, the worst team in MLB, the Chicago Cubs, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, topless turret lathe operators, “the Bean” and as having one of the finest art museums in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago, which the city fathers were originally going to name the “Art Institute of Hoboken”, but since it was located on Michigan Avenue, just south of Chicago’s famous “Loop”, they decided that AIC was a lot better, one of the few things the city fathers ever did that made any sense.)

“Ask Ann Landers” (you thought I forgot, didn’t you?) was started by a lady named Ruth Crowley back in 1943, and was eventually taken over in the mid-50s by the woman who put it on the map, Esther Pauline “Eppie” Lederer; I never read the Crowley version, but even as a kid, I thought “Ann” rocked.

                                            FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!                                          

…dit-da-dit-dit-da-dit-dit-da-dit-dit-dit (that’s supposed to be the sound of a telegraph, which gives you an idea just how friggin’ old I am)

We interrupt this column for breaking news from the RUKME News Desk…

-Dateline Washington D.C.

“President Declares War On Planet Zatox”

President Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump today announced that he was declaring war on the planet Zatox and as Commander in Chief would direct the Joint Chiefs of Staff to immediately mobilize the Space Farce Corps for a direct invasion of that planet. President “Tweety Bird”, in explaining this extraordinary move, said the Zatoxians were guilty of “many bad things, terrible things that some experts, and these are great experts, believe me, have said were terrible, like, well, the Zaproxians are originally Yo Semites, and many, many years ago they denigrated from Earth to a new planet and, you know, they’ve done these terrible things like doing experiments on people they’re abdicated and taken up in their spaceships. And the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi have let them do this, ever since the Civil War ended back in 1926, and Kamala Harris is a Zahoxian by birth, according to some other well-known and really great, great experts.”

More on this breaking story as it becomes available…

…and now back to our regularly scheduled blogpost, like it or not.

“Ask Ann” wasn’t just an “advice for the lovelorn” column, although she did give plenty of pointers to people who wrote in about having problems with their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, pet llama or that special Zatoxian in their life. No, “Eppie” was a non-discriminating advice columnist…if you had a problem or a concern or a beef with whomever, whatever, “Ann” probably had an answer.

A lot of what people wrote in about (yeah, WROTE, you know, like pen and paper, a typewriter, crayons on construction paper, WRITING, none of this sissy texting or emailing or Skypeing or any of that other digital bullshit) was “relational”, i.e., I have a problem with someone I know, live with, go to school with, play Uno with, got abdicated by aliens with, whatever, things like…

“Dear Ann:

               My Aunt Tillie has halitosis really bad and she insists on French kissing me every time she and Uncle Ferdinand visit. How can I get her to stop…I don’t want to insult her, because she and my uncle are worth about a quadrillion dollars and she might write me out of her will. Any ideas?

                Overcome by Bad Breath in Bermuda (onions)”

Dear “Bermuda”:

                Next time she visits, hand her a bottle of Scope, point her to the bathroom and tell her to have at it.

Stuff like that, and believe me, she was just that blunt; “Eppie” pulled no punches.

Now I get all kinds of those bullshit digital communications I alluded to above on a frequent basis, and occasionally even an actual written letter from some reader who is as old as a tortoise, asking me for, like “Ann”, not just advice about their love lives, but just tips on getting by in general in this fast-paced, Internet dominated, crazy ass world we live in these days.

So I decided to start my own “advice column” (not to be confused with the posts I write regularly giving help to the love challenged), and I’ve also decided to call it “Ask The Cap’n”…catchy, huh?

And so…

 “Dear Cap’n:

                My sister-in-law has recently become a dyed-in-the-wool, right-wing conservative, Bible-thumping supporter of President Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump, and these days, family get-togethers have become really ugly, since the rest of us in the family are decent, sane Democrats. Is there any way we can politely shut her up whenever we meet?

                Tired of Trump in Toledo”

Dear “Toledo”:

                Next time your family congregates, give your sis-in-law a BIG glass of Clorox and tell her “Tweety Bird” recommends it as a way to prevent being infected by Covid-19…then “accidentally” forget the emergency number for your local fire rescue department.

“Dear Cap’n:

               My neighbor is vertically challenged and we can never see him behind the fence that separates our two yards. Should I use a left-handed scullery wrench to remove the arboreal nuts from the tailpipe on my ’58 Edsel, or should we have Chicago-style hot dogs from Portillos for dinner tonight?

                Perplexed in Palatine”

Dear “Perplexed”:

                Yes, I definitely recommend wool, as opposed to cotton, parts for the intake manifold on your Edsel.

“Dear Cap’n:

                I’m planning a trip to Chicago next month, and I’m wondering what the hell this thing they call “the Bean” is all about. It doesn’t involve being a right-wing, goofball follower of Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump, does it? Because if it does, I think I’ll visit Hoboken instead…I hear they have an outstanding art museum there.

                Why Is It Called A “Vacation” When I’m Not Vacating Anything

Dear “Vacation”:

                That shit about New Jersey being the “Garden State”? Don’t believe it, I’ve been there…all they have is Newark, Bruce Springsteen, a bajillion petro-chemical facilities where they make Clorox, and the Nets, who suck. No “Bean”, no Art Institute, no deep-dish pizza and no really ugly metal sculptures in the downtown Plaza.

“Dear Cap’n:

                Is it true that the square root of the hypotenuse angle is nominally abstruse and fully concentrated in the statement, “I take no responsibility at all”?

                Don’t Blame New Jersey, We Voted For Hillary in ‘16”

Dear “Voted”:

                The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides, unless it’s the second Tuesday of the last week of the Winter Solstice, then the quadrangle of the cretonne is considered to be the dominant aspect.

“Dear Cap’n:

                I’m told that the majority of the voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania possess the IQ level of a doorknob; is that the case, or is it a vicious, dirty rumor being circulated by Tess Tosterone, the Libertarian candidate for President in 2020?

                They Asked Me If I Came By Greyhound and I Said No, I Rhode Island”

Dear “Rhode”:

                Are you asking me that just because Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump carried those three states in ’16? If so, what a terrible thing to insinuate, even if it is fundamentally true.

That’s all the time we have for questions today, boys and girls, and I assume that covers most of you, but please tune in next week when we hope our special guest will be President Abraham Lincoln, assuming we can stop him from spinning long enough to do an interview.

Love and “Da Bears”,

Cap’n John

Post Script…I always took the pickle off and ate it by itself. And never ketchup.

And oh, this is “the Bean”.

THE USPS…ON THE JOB, LIKE IT OR NOT

Unlike today’s younger generation, the so-called “millennials” in particular, I grasp the arcane concept of a “newspaper” in the old-fashioned sense of a news organ that has a form (ink on paper) other than digital pixels on a screen; I have been an inveterate daily newspaper reader since back in my college days.

(Full disclosure…these days I read the online version of the daily Tampa Bay Times; I miss the tactile feel of the paper in my hands, but I got sick of walking out in the morning to find it drenched and unreadable from the overnight rain.)

Back then, living in the medium-sized town of Joliet IL (yes, the same Joliet made famous in the original Blues Brothers movie, population approximately 75,000 in the 1970’s), I read the local paper, the Joliet Herald News. Most of the residents of the area read the “Snooze”, as we called it, along with one of the Chicago dailies, either the Chicago Sun Times, which was the Democratic, more liberal news source, or the mighty Chicago Tribune, a Republican powerhouse of international scope and national prominence and influence.

It was the Tribune for me, from back in the mid-70’s through the mid-90’s when I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, where I then got the daily Los Angeles Times, which in those days was owned by the Tribune Company and considered a “sister” paper to the Trib, all the way through to this morning’s TB Times; I read it all, every morning, the front page, the national news, the local news, the sports section, the “funnies” (still my fave part of the paper) and of course, the editorial page, or “op-ed” page as we savvy media veterans refer to it.

Pretty much all the papers I’ve ever seen in this country print, alongside the opinions of the editors on the “op-ed” page, letters they receive from readers, allowing the authors of said letters the opportunity to sound off about this, that and the other subject; it’s been my experience that the “Letters To The Editor”, along with the opinions contained therein, are much like assholes…a) everyone seems to have one and b) most of them stink.

As the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, as well as the editor of this blog, like newspapers, I often receive letters from my readers, either complaining that I have in one of my posts maligned one of their personal sacred cows or that I have made some comment to which they feel compelled to respond. Since the only things I was contemplating doing this evening were either a) watching reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies in Burmese (with subtitles), b) rewriting Article Two of the United States Constitution and reducing the term of the Presidency down to one week, retroactive back to January 19th, 2017 or c) publishing some of the letters I mentioned above, I decided to take the high road and share some of the more colorful and sophomoric, excuse me, interesting missives that I have received here at the WATRUK blog.

To wit, here are some excerpts that I thought you might enjoy (or that might make you yark into your azaleas)…

“As President of the Society for the Lovers of Pond Scum (SLOPS), I must take serious umbrage with your post of 4/12/18 (IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?) in which you compare President Donald Trump to one of nature’s most misunderstood substances, the great American pond scum. It is a grievous and uncalled-for malignment of this most precious of our native algaes to make this invidious comparison, and I can assure you that, should you continue this foul defamation in future columns, SLOPS will be compelled to mount a boycott of your blog and to suggest to your readers that they not only discontinue their readership, but to also seek you out and whack your peenie. This vile durance will not be tolerated.”

                                                Dan DeLyon, President, SLOPS”

“In your post of 11/29/18 (THOUGHTS ON THE BLOGGER AS AUTHOR) you mention the cruel and frankly sick act of the shaving of a gerbil, perpetrated by a character in one of your sick, twisted stories, and we here at the Society for the Prevention of Animal Zoomorphism (SPAZ) are sickened and angered by this disgusting mistreatment of one of these adorable little rodents. You are a repulsive, sick, despicable, degenerate, twisted, sick, repulsive, gross, nasty, deplorable, twisted, reprehensible, disgusting, sick individual and we most sincerely hope that you contract an advanced case of crotch lice and then die from sclerosis of the blowhole, a lonely and broken man. Thank you.”

                                                Patty Melt, Secretary, SPAZ

“Re your column of 11/14/18 (ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY (AND I DON’T MEAN ADVICE)_VERSION 5.0) wherein you state that you and your daughter were “doing disgusting things to our cat with a salad fork”; this is the kind of flagrant abuse of an innocent feline that sick, disgusting, perverted, gross, horrible, degenerate, filthy, lying, sick, degenerate, perverted asswipes such as yourself find amusing. You are disgusting and perverted.”

                                                Laurel Enhardy, Hippo KY

“As the President of the 1910 FruitGum Company Fan Club, and their Number One Fan, I want to thank you for mentioning this most influential and yet sadly now mostly forgotten American rock band in your recent post of 11/14/18 (ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY (AND I DON’T MEAN ADVICE)_VERSION 5.0). “Simon Says” rock on, and we “Gummers” agree!”

                                                April Showers, Butt (excuse me) Butte MT

“People here in Idaho (home of the great Grown In Idaho® potato and sister state to Wisconsin, home of sour cream) are frankly damn sick and tired of being made fun of by disgusting, gross, lying, despicable, lying, nasty, gross, disgusting shitwads such as yourself just because we appear russet, sorry, rustic and backwards to you. To imply that Idaho has no universities or institutions of higher learning, as you did in your post of 5/11/18 (A YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA-THE SAGA OF LEAK POHLUPS, BABY SAILOR) is an au graten, excuse me, rotten thing to say, and I think you should be French fried, damn it, vilified for saying it. You are sick, disgusting and reprehensible, and you obviously have no respect for the peelings, shit, feelings of others.”

                                                Jack Cheese, Idaho Falls (down) ID

“I can’t believe you ordered your First Mate Tammie Wetzel thrown overboard 4/1/18 (HOW LONG? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). You are really a sick, repulsive, gross, unfeeling swine. But hey, I loved your post about the mule who wouldn’t plow (ANYBODY GOT A 2X4 I CAN BORROW 4/24/18). Keep up the good work, you freak.”

                                                Sue Perficial, Pee Pee OH

“Cap’n John, you rock. Love your blog.”

                                                The Behind Bars Reading Group, Stateville                                                                  Penitentiary, Joliet IL

“Cap’n John Krissongs, your application to become a resident of the Home for the Chronically Bewildered has been processed and we are happy to let you know that you have been accepted. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of your residency.”

                                                Juan Atatime, Director

And a big thank you goes out to our Founding Fathers for the wisdom and foresight to ensure that Americans have a free press and freedom of expression…Ben and James and Thomas and all the guys must be spinning in their graves these days.

Love and newsprint,

Cap’n John