SPORTS, HISTORY AND WHY SOCCER IS REALLY “STOOPID”

(Editor’s note: this week’s post is dedicated to my newest fan, although I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know she’s a fan just yet, my buddy and co-worker at Publix, Ms. Sarah. Even though we all keep telling her what a crappy attitude she has, she’s really a good kid and hard worker, both in school and at the store. Happy summer, sweetie.)

As I mentioned in last week’s column, and have mentioned numerous times in the past here on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog, your Cap’n (that would be me) is a major sports fan, which is not to be confused with ceiling, exhaust, circulating or radiator. I’m also a bit of a history buff, and find the origins of sports to be quite interesting.

(And just for the sake of saying it, “interesting” has to be one of the most boring, mundane and uninteresting words in the English language, much like “yarn” or “Congress”.)

Anyway, as a PSA for all my loyal readers (all several of you), I thought I would take a moment today and discuss the origins and inventors of the various major sports. (The creators of the board game “Clue” were going to name one of the suspects “Major Sports”, but upon further deflection, decided on “Colonel Mustard” instead, who of course not only outranked the Major but did it in the Conservatory with the Revolver.)

Since I’m an enormous baseball fan, I thought I would start with America’s Pastime. (Actually, I’m pretty sure America’s Pastime is sex, but back in 1916, boring, mundane and uninteresting Congress passed the Make Baseball America’s Official Pastime Since Sex Is Dirty, Messy and Disgusting and Makes Americans Sound Like Pervs Act, a bill that was introduced in the House by Congressman Twono Trump, a distant relative of our current President and alleged serial woman abuser, Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump. The legislation passed both houses by overwhelming votes.)

(Phone rings in the background)

Excuse me…

“Cap’n John…”

“Yes, First Mate.”

“I said what?”

“Oh, I hadn’t noticed. I’ll correct that right away. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

That was my First Mate Taffie Wetzel; she monitors my posts in real-time to assist me and to keep me from stepping on my crank too often. Apparently, the word I wanted above was “reflection”. (She’s a snot.)

Baseball was allegedly invented by a man named Abner Doubleday, WAY back in the late 1800s, and as the myth goes, this was done in the small upstate New York town of Cooperstown, which back in those days was about as for off the beaten path as you could get. Recently however, historical documents have come to light challenging Doubleday’s claim to fame, and in fact suggest that rules for and the general organization of the game were written by a man named Daniel “Doc” Adams back in 1857, and that the L.A. Dodgers immediately tanked that season and blew the World Series by being swept by the Effingham Mudbutts, 4 games to 0. And what I meant by saying that I’m “an enormous baseball fan” back there in Paragraph 5 was that I really enjoy baseball a lot…I didn’t mean that I’m enormous, I mean, I’m a little overweight but, well shit, never mind.

We know for sure, since it happened more recently, that American football, or “gridiron” football for the way that the batter, which is also a term used in baseball, is poured on the “iron” and then baked into pancakes with treads, thus greatly improving the player’s traction on the field, was invented back in the late 1800s by a Yale undergrad named Walter Camp. Mr. Camp had a brother named Caleb “Training” Camp who, in 1920, went on to become the head coach of the Rockdale Snorkels in the then newly formed National Football League, who immediately trounced the L.A. Dodgers in Super Bowl –LLLXXXIII, 85-0. The League was formed in just-as-far-off-the-beaten-path-as-Cooperstown-NY Canton OH, which besides being the home of the NFL Hall Of Fame, was also the home of our 25th President, William McKinley, who as far as anyone knows was not a serial abuser of women like some guys in the White House, as well as the site of the National First Ladies’ Library, another one of those ambiguous phrases like “an enormous baseball fan” that could mean it was the first library for ladies or was the First Lady’s Library, since McKinley was a married man, therefore having a First Lady, who could have had a library, I suppose.

(Phone rings in background)

Shit…excuse me again.

“Cap’n John…”

“Yes, First Mate Wetzel…”

“I’m sorry, I said what?”

“Yes, Ms. Wetzel, I’ll correct that right away. Thank you.”

Apparently I confused “waffle iron” with “gridiron” in the last paragraph…it’s called a gridiron because of the lines on the field. (You know that word that rhymes with “witch”? Yeah.)

Another Major Sport that is followed by many people here in America, as well as around the globe, is basketball, which was created by a guy named James Naismith back in 1891, using peach baskets and a “soccer-type” ball. Naismith was a physical education instructor and peach farmer, as well as being the founder of the basketball program at the University of Kansas, who annihilated the L.A. Dodgers in the Final Four Championship in 1911 by a score of 119-23. The game evolved from a collegiate sport to a professional one with the formation of the National Basketball Association in 1936, which only seventeen people in America had ever heard of prior to 1984, when the Chicago Bulls drafted a guy named Michael Jordan from the University of North Carolina, and the rest, as they say, is geography. (Jordan went on the become the Greatest Player Of All Time, won a bajillion titles, scored several gazillion points , won the MVP trophy 47 times and had a shoe named after him…anybody ever hear of Air LeBron? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)

Then there’s hockey, which was invented back in 1917 by a bunch of prize fighters from Canada, who had very few teeth, no brains, said “yah, hey dere” a lot and decided that staging prize fights while ice-skating simultaneously would be interesting (there’s that word again), proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all Canadians are dweebs.

Another “sport”, using the term loosely, that has gotten a great deal of attention in this country in recent years is soccer, which is not to be confused with the word “succor”, which means “any game that has the players run back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth on a huge field for over an hour without anything happening is boring and stoopid”. No one knows when soccer was invented because no one with an IQ above that of a doorknob gives a crap. At least hockey is “interesting”.

(Phone rings in the background)

Shit…excuse me again.

“Cap’n John…”

“What is it, First Mate?”

“Thank you.” (I really don’t like that woman.)

According to my extremely irritating First Mate, the word “succor” actually means “to give assistance in time of need or distress; to help, aid or relieve.” Consider me corrected.

Modern tennis has evolved from a game called “paume”, which is French for “snot-wad”, and was played as far back as the 12th century BCE by cavemen using peach baskets and “soccer-type” balls on a covered indoor court, into the fast-paced, tirade-laced game it has become today. Sadly, the inventors of “tennis” didn’t have the good sense to put the freakin’ net AROUND the court rather than across the middle where’s its smack in the way…stoopid. “Real tennis” or royal tennis was much loved by kings and nobles, who would begin games by yelling the word “tenez”, which is Swahili for “You people REALLY elected Donald Trump President? Really?”. Today’s version of tennis is referred to as “lawn tennis”, since it is now played on a grass or clay court outdoors by players in skimpy outfits with crappy attitudes. (The players have crappy attitudes, not the outfits.)

(Phone rings in the background)

I’m going to kill her…

“Cap’n John…”

“YES, First Mate, what is it now?”

“Fine, I’ll correct those errors right away. But Ms. Wetzel, if you interrupt me again, I’ll have you thrown in the brig, drawn and halved and then force you to watch Major League Soccer (boy, THERE’S an oxymoron for you) for the next 48 hours non-stop.”

According to Ms. Know-It-All, the word “paume” means “palm” in French, since tennis was originally played bare-handed without rackets, plus it wasn’t played with “peach baskets and a soccer-type ball”, and the word “tenez” is French for “play”.

(Phone rings in the background)

“WHAT?!?”

“Fine.”

Excuse me, its “drawn and quartered”, not “drawn and halved”.

I’m gonna’ go watch the Dodgers…they’re playing a Little League team from the San Fernando Valley, which is the home of former Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela. They might be able to beat these guys…but don’t count on it.

Love and jockstraps,

Cap’n John

Post Script…(phone rings in the background several times…answering machine voice says to leave a message)…”Cap’n John, this is First Mate Wetzel again. Fernando Valenzuela was from Mexico, sir.”

SPORTS REPORTING, AND OTHER SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES

I am a huge baseball/sports fan, like many in my family.

I was thinking of my Uncle Ed recently, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day; although he fought in the Pacific, he and my Dad, who was in the ETO, and so many other incredibly courageous men and women went overseas to fight Fascism, and I admired both of them greatly.

My uncle was a character, an optometrist, a sports fan and a fabulous story-teller, not in that order.

Ed grew up in a little town in Southern Indiana back in the Depression, and had the usual cast of characters most of us have as friends growing up. The following story involves two of them, Benjamin Turley, known to all as Benny, and the local bully, Roger Askholt.

According to UE, as he told the story one afternoon on the front porch of their home in Seymour IN to my cousins Eddie and Jimmy and myself (we were 12, 10 and 9 respectively), nobody liked Roger; everyone called him Asshole (behind his back) a) because of his last name and b) because he apparently was a rather large one.

Even though Roger routinely beat the snot out of Benny, the beatee followed the beater around like a small puppy dog. Their friendship was of mutual isolation; nobody liked Roger, and Benny was a nervous, highly excitable nerd-sickle who stuttered when he talked and picked his nose when he didn’t.

One hot summer day, the boys decided to go fishing; they gathered up their poles, a couple of sammichs each, some worms (in case the sammichs weren’t enough) and headed for their fave fishing hole, about a three mile walk out from town.

The boys arrived at the spot, baited their hooks, threw them in the water and sat down to wait.

“I suh-sure hope we ca-catch su-sumpin’, Roger,” Benny stuttered. Benny never, ever called his friend by the nickname all the other boys used.

“Shut up, Benny,” said Roger, a/k/a Asshole.

After a while they ate their sammichs, and after another while, Roger had to take an enormous dump. Telling Benny to watch his pole, Roger ambled off behind some bushes at the edge of the pond, dropped trou and let fly.

Now there’s only a few poisonous snakes indigenous to Southern Indiana, the copperhead being one; it’s only found in the southern part of the state, and then rarely, but that fateful day, Roger managed to stumble onto one. Just as he was finishing his business, the only copperhead snake in a 10 mile radius found him, decided he looked likely and proceeded to bite him.

Right on the scrotum.

Now the bite of a copperhead is painful yet seldom fatal, unless left untreated for a long period of time. Of course, the boys didn’t know this.

Roger let out a humongous yell, fell to his side (away from his recent excretory effort, fortunately), cupped his balls with his hands and started writhing wildly. Benny ran into the weeds to his friend, who screamed that he had been “bit by a rattler”, which was highly improbable, given their non-existence in Indiana.

Benny began to run about wildly, waving his arms and shaking his head, not knowing how to help his friend. Roger screamed again, this time telling Benny to run into town to fetch Doc Soames. Since Benny had no better plan, he immediately set off at a run. Now Benny was a nerd, a stutterer and a nose-picker, but he was also the school track and field guy; he could run like the wind.

He ran the three miles back to town, directly to the office of the only doctor in the county, that of old Dr. Soames. As he rushed into the waiting room, he was astonished to find it empty; no nurse, no waiting patients, no one. He frantically rang the bell on the reception desk, and after a few moments, Doc Soames’ nurse charged out the back room and informed Benny, who managed to stammer out the emergency, failing to mention where Roger had been bitten, that Doc was in the back delivering a baby and would not be able to come to help for some time.

She told Benny to wait, disappeared through the door, came back a moment later and informed Benny that “Doc says to clean the bite and then suck the venom out, otherwise he might die”, then turned abruptly and disappeared again into the delivery room. (She apparently thought the boys were goofin’ on her.)

Benny stood for a minute, digesting what he had been told. He then proceeded to run back to where he left Roger, worrying all the way about how he was going to perform the necessary procedure on his bullying friend. He fretted and stewed, shaking his head as he ran, and couldn’t think of any way he could avoid the inevitable.

When he finally got back to his friend, he found Roger still writhing in pain on the ground.

“Where’s Doc Soames? What did he say?” screamed Roger.

And poor Benny, overexcited, overloaded and overwhelmed by it all, screamed back, “He says you’re gonna’ duh-die, Asshole.”

My loyal readers (all a couple of you) will recall that the WATRUK blog launched the RUKME News Service recently (that’s RUKME, pronounced as one word…think Scooby Do). We are now happy to announce the…

                         

                               ***TOTALLY NEW RUKME SPORTS LINE***

 …with all the latest from the world of sporting events.

Full coverage will begin in a few weeks, but here’s some headlines of recent events to give you a taste of what’s to come…

~Dateline Boston MA February 2060:

                “NE Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady Announces Retirement After 59 Seasons In The NFL!”

After 59 regular seasons, umpty-gazillion Super Bowls, several dozen MVP awards for both regular season and the Super Bowl play, enough mileage from passing yards to make it to the Moon and having outlived six coaches, Patriots venerable and ancient quarterback Tom Brady has FINALLY announced his retirement, effective immediately. The 83-year old QB told RUKME correspondent Laurel Enhardy, “I really felt I could play another season or two, but Giselle has been after me to spend more time with our grandkids, so after much thought and discussion with my family and also my gerontologist, Dr. R. U. Serious, I’ve decided to hang up my cleats and call it a career.” As a result of his extended stay in the NFL plus his endorsements and other financial dealings, Brady’s net worth now exceeds that of Canada and Lower Botswana combined.

~Dateline Tampa Bay FL:

“Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston Diagnosed With Career-Ending “Dumbfuck Disease”!”

Spokesman for the inept and completely useless Tampa Bay QB announced today that Winston, 25, which is his age and IQ as well, has been diagnosed with the crippling “Dumbfuck Disease”, which at this time has no known cure or treatment. Although Winston will continue to play, his long-term expectations and hope by fans and the TB organization that he will ever amount to a cup of warm spit are pretty much nil. Winston also confirmed his participation in this year’s Ty-D-Bol Toilet Bowl game, which is where his career has been headed all along, and then went out and threw another interception.

~Dateline Melbourne Australia:

                “Cricket Squad Named Pres Fave and Gets New Sponsor In Same Day!”

                The Victorian Bushrangers Cricket Squad of the Australian Cricket League, whose mascot is Jiminy, was named as the fave team of world-class ass-wad and long-time cricket fan Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump today, and just as soon as the American President made his announcement, the team chose as its newest sponsor Dulcolax Suppositories, naming them their Official Suppository. The General Manger of the VBCS, Justin Tyme, said the twin announcements were merely coincidental, but team insiders who were not authorized to speak said the Bushrangers reached out to Dulcolax the minute they heard of Trump’s endorsement. Players on the team were said to be gagging on their wickets.

~Dateline Las Vegas NV:

                “Rodman Claims Alien Abduction, Aliens Say No!”

               Dennis Rodman, former NBA player, cross-dresser, 5-time NBA Champion and major league dweeb, speaking to RUKME correspondent Bud Light today, claimed that he was abducted by aliens from the planet Zatox when he was a child, and then escaped back to Earth via one of the subsequent return flights of the marauding space creatures. When reached for comment, planetary spokesman Wq56HH{rt} YYYY<>95hj refuted Rodman’s claim and said that the Zatoxians had in fact abducted him, but had returned him immediately when they saw how he looked. “Sure,” said YYYY<>95hj, who is also known as Rupert, “we’re green, have two noses with six nostrils each, a cerise-colored eyeball and three-pronged genitalia hanging from the back of our heads, but we’re beautiful compared to that goofy-looking freak. He was scaring the baby fangor beasts, for crissake.”

~Dateline Los Angeles CA:

                “!!!DODGERS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!”

                Not.

Well, according to the word-counter thingie down in the bottom of my computer screen, it’s half-past June and I need to get going. Stay tuned to this channel for more sports updates as I make them up.

Love and hockey pucks,

Cap’n John

IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?

A few years ago, on a warm, breezy early summer afternoon up in Northern Illinois where I was visiting at the time, on one of those rare and brief vacations I periodically take from my duties as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, I was at my youngest grandson’s Little League baseball game, along with some family members and friends, and as we were standing around at the concession stand in between innings the subject of then President Obama somehow came up in the conversation.

Not a good topic of discussion with that group…sadly, many of my relatives are God-fearing, 2nd Amendment supporting, right-wing Christian Republicans whose disdain for Mr. Obama was deep and abiding. Much like the Dude from The Big Lebowski.

When I made a comment that was critical of the President, (as I recall, it was about his lack of a strong foreign policy), one of them turned to me and said, “Well, you voted for him”, in a tone of voice that implied that they equated a vote for Obama with having regular anal intercourse with a llama.

Now it just so happens that I hadn’t, (voted for the man that is…who I have anal sex with is my business) but they all consider me to be a far-left wing liberal, which I’m not, based on my avocation for sensible gun control laws and their belief that I’m a Devil-worshipping heathen due to my lack of attendance of any church, and as a group they all turned to me and gave me the ol’ stink eye, as if to say “llama defiler”.

They had just made, in their world, the absolute worst accusation they could make against a person (the vote, not the llama thing), and I stood before them, in their minds and eyes a condemned Cap’n.

So I quietly told them, although I was loathe to say for whom I had voted, since like the llama thing it wasn’t any of their business, that I hadn’t, and then further told them all to go and perform an unnatural act upon themselves with a trumpet and walked off to go back to my seat.

Barrack Obama is a fine and decent man, a man with whom I would be proud to sit down and hoist a few adult beverages, although I thought him to have been at best a mediocre President. But I have to tell you, to me, the accusation of having voted for him, true or not, pales in comparison to some citizen with a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker on his/her car, right next to the Jesus fish.

President Tweety Bird is going to screw things up in a major fashion at the rate he’s stepping on his johnson recently, to put it mildly…the man is a blight on this country.

The phone rang here at my place yesterday, and since I wasn’t home at the time I didn’t answer it; later on, after I had returned it rang again, so since I was there this time I picked it up…the caller ID said “His Eminence, 202-456-1111”.

The White House.

“Is this Cap’n John Krissongs?” a women’s voice inquired.

“Well, that depends on who wants to know,” I replied, thinking this was a giant hoax, and that it was actually Visa calling, using some kind of new “masking” devise so you wouldn’t know who was really calling; I tried to remember if I had paid last month’s bill on time, or at all.

With no other response, the voice said, “Please hold for the President”, and the first thing that went through my mind was, why would that horse’s backside Mark Zuckerberg be calling me?

Wrong guy. (Zuckerberg just thinks he’s President.)

I heard someone pick up the phone on the other end, and in that goofy, high-pitched voice of his, holy Hail To The Chief, Batman, none other than PTB came on the line.

“Cap’n John, may I call you Cap’n John, this is President Trump, how are you today?” he said.

I was at once shocked and wanted to hurl at the sound of that voice, but I regrouped quickly and said, “Sure, if I can call you President Tweety Bird.”

“Well,” says PTB, “that’s a little rude, don’t you think? I am the President, after all.”

“Okay, out of respect for your office, how about if I call you Mister President Tweety Bird?”

“How about if we make it ‘Cap’n John’ and ‘Your Eminence’?” he replied, with a rather snotty tone in his voice. This is the Great Negotiator? I thought to myself.

“Here, let’s go with ‘Cap’n John’ and ‘Pres’; how’s that sound?” He grudgingly agreed, and away we went.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m calling you this afternoon,” said Pres, and I told him that was the understatement of the century, to say the least.

“Well, I wanted to reach out to a number of journalists and bloggers like yourself, people with a yuge number of readers who I hope will be unbiased and assist me in spreading my message of bullshit, sorry, of making America great again. As you probably know, I’m having some trouble with all the “fake news” media people like CNN and those lyin’ bastards at the Washington Post and the New York Times always misrepresenting what I’m saying and the things I’m trying to do as the Supreme High Commander of the World, excuse me, as President, and I was hoping you would help me out.”

Fat chance, Orange Boy, I thought to myself.

“Pres, I didn’t vote for you in ’16 and on top of that, I pretty much think you’re pond scum and a miserable excuse for a human being; I can’t imagine why you chose me to speak with about this.”

“You voted for Crooked Hillary?” he exclaimed indignantly. 

“No, Pres, I wrote my own name in for President on my ballot; I wanted the best person for the office, which is why I’m going to challenge you in ’20, assuming you’re still around then, which is looking more and more unlikely every day.”

Given how easy it is to distract PTB from whatever topic he’s supposed to be addressing once he feels insulted, which is most of the time, the conversation took a hard left turn here, sans the benefit of the appropriate turn-signal.

The Dodgers have started the ’18 baseball season at a blistering 4-7 pace, and so far look like they could contend for the NL West Division crown only if there’s some kind of Divine intervention, which would obviously have to come from the depths of Hades, given that I’m a devil-worshipping liberal to my relatives up in NoIL.

Oh, the rest of my conversation with President Tweety Bird? That’s continued until next time.

What, you guys never heard of a cliff-hanger?

Love and Presidential seals,

Cap’n John

 

THE MAYOR OF NORTH VERNON COULD PLAY

That’s Grandpa Howard, first row, far left, and my great-uncle Cliff immediately next to him, 2nd from the left. Circa 1905ish.

The 2018 baseball season starts on Saturday, 3/31, and with that momentous occasion, another year of joy and frustration, of soaring highs and withering lows, of pitching changes and pop-flies, legging out a double and midnight-to-six curveballs, of watching the effin’ Dodgers most likely choke another one away, begins.

Baseball, still and always the national pastime to me, is in my blood; my maternal grandfather, Howard Daringer, as well as his two brothers, my great-uncles Clifford and Rolla, played professional baseball; he played in the old Three I League (Iowa, Illinois and Indiana), and later managed the North Vernon IN Reds, a Federal League team. Grandpa played for 12 seasons, having his best year in 1913, while playing for the Dubuque (IA) Dubs; he batted .343 that year, with 36 2B, 8 3B and 8 HRs, had a .494 slugging percentage and amassed 173 hits in 137 games. He won the III League batting crown that year, for which he received a gold-plated baseball bat with his name and stats etched prominently on the barrel. Uncle Cliff played for the old St. Louis Browns (later the Baltimore Orioles) for two seasons and Uncle “Roll” as we called him (pronounced “Raal”) played for the Cincinnati Reds for several years as well.

Howard, back row far right, as manager of the North Vernon Reds, 1922.

After he retired from playing in 1920, Grandpa went on to manage the NV Reds team for a number of seasons, occasionally filling in for one of his players on the field as well; sadly, I haven’t been able to find any record of how long he managed, but after a very successful career, he went on to run the biggest department store in Jennings County IN (the “biggest” being a somewhat dubious distinction, given the sparse population of rural southern Indiana back in those days) as well as being elected County Clerk for Jennings, holding the position for 8 years before he moved on to become Mayor of North Vernon for another 8 years.

My fave memory of Howard was playing catch with him out in the front yard of the NV home where he and his bride, my grandmother Margaret, who everyone called Maggie, lived for nearly 70 years, a man well into his 70s by then but still with some pop in his arm. Maggie died back in 1975 and Howard followed her in 1981, and I still miss them both today.

I remember Grandpa telling the story of a friend of his there in North Vernon who was the editor of the North Vernon Plain-Dealer, and the three-legged pig.

The editor, so the story goes, had heard accounts of a farmer whose life had been saved by a pig, said animal being something of a pet to the farmer and his family, and Ed decided to drive out to the man’s farm, which was way out to hell and gone in the eastern part of the county, and get the whole story.

He pulled up to the farmhouse in his Model T that day and sure enough, there was Farmer Fred out by the barn, feeding the hyenas or milking the horses or doing some kind of farm animal-related activity.

The men greeted each other, chatted about the weather for a few minutes and then Ed asked Fred, hey, what’s this I hear about you having an accident recently; he could see where Fred still had some scrapes and bandages on his hands and arms, and he was walking with a discernable limp. Fred says, yep, just two weeks ago (apparently news traveled REAL slow in rural Indiana in those days) it happened. Yeah, says the newspaper guy, what was that?

Well, says Fred the Farmer, I hitched ol’ Jake to the plow that morning and headed out of the yard to go break the middles out in the north 40, and we was comin’ through that little patch of meadow right over there, when I reckon it was a black snake, you know we got a lot of them out here, wriggled out into the path in front of Jake, spooked him so bad he reared right up, knocked me off the plow on my back and then ran me over when he turned and charged off down the path. Knocked me out cold.

In the meantime while the men were talking, a three-legged pig ambled out of the barn and sat down there in the barnyard. Yeah, says Fred, ol’ Porky there, he saw what happened, ran over to me, couldn’t get me to move, so he runs in the house and somehow gets Bessie and my oldest, Horace, to come out to where I was layin’ in the road. Meanwhiles, I stopped breathing for a few moments, and I tell you, Ed, if that durn pig hadn’t dragged my Bessie out to me, I woulda’ died right there I’m pretty sure. They got me goin’ agin, her and the boy, and here I am today, ‘cause of Porky. That pig is a hero, believe me.

Wow, says Ed, that’s a helluva story…sure glad you’re okay. Say, Fred, uh, how did Porky lose his leg?

We durn near have adopted him since the accident…he’s a family pet now, says FF. He eats with us, and sleeps on the floor in the boy’s room at night. Yessir, that’s one very special animal, let me tell you.

Yeah, okay Fred, but you didn’t answer my question…how did the pig lose its front leg?

Yep, he lays on the floor next to my chair at night when we’re listenin’ to the radio, just like a dog almost, comes up and nuzzles your hand if he wants attention, drinks beer out of a bowl just like Bessie does, he’s a corker all right.

Fred, how did Porky lose his leg?

Why, we even took him to church with us last Sunday, dressed him up with a little bow on his tail and one around each ear, looked as cute as a button. ‘Course, the preacher was a little put-out, told us it wasn’t fit to have a pig in the Lord’s House, but I wasn’t havin’ none of it, tole that Reverend Gantry that Porky is my new hero, and had as much right to be there as Missy Albright’s pet llama, which she drags into Sunday service just about every week, for gosh sakes. I’m telling you, Porky is a member of the family now in my mind. He’s a great pig.

By now Editor Ed is getting pretty exasperated with the farmer. Fred, he exclaims, for goodness sake, HOW DID PORKY LOSE HIS FRONT LEG?!?

Oh, says Fred the Farmer, Porky is special, and you don’t eat a great pig like that all at once.

According to my grandfather, the story never ran in the paper, and Editor Ed retired the following year and moved to Cleveland, became an Indians fan and was never heard of again in Jennings County.

I think the Dodgers have a good chance of winning the NL West again this year, but seeing as how all the other teams in the division seemed to have improved over the off-season, they could easily step on their johnsons and disappoint me once again.

Well, it’s time for dinner…I was thinking about having ham.

Love you Gramps…miss you a million.

Love and porcines,

Cap’n John

I LIED

The entire theme for my post on October 14th called “Dream Police” was that I would never, ever write anything serious…several days later, I’m now going to make a liar of myself, and write something serious. Please note this on your calendars…I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again soon.

I wrote a post earlier today (“A Milestone”, see below), which covered several topics, not the least of which was how glad we Floridians are that we have managed to go another whole 24 hours without a hurricane.

Lucky us.

There is one thing that bothers me greatly though, when I’m in the midst of “writing” (using the word guardedly, for with no false humility, no self-deprecation, I still cannot see myself as a “writer”) something that is humorous (hopefully), lighthearted or even just silly…I hate to be thought of as indifferent or oblivious or callous towards all the awful things that take place, daily, in our world. 

This thought passed through my mind, as it often has, when, for example, I was making light of our lack of hurricanes here in FL, all the while the people of Puerto Rico are suffering untold hardships. I managed to survive about 40 hours without electricity…I had water (I had beer too, although it was getting kinda’ warm towards the end), I had my cellphone, I had a car that ran (although there weren’t many places to go) and in general it was an annoyance, not a tragedy. I suspect the residents of Puerto Rico are well past annoyed. 

I urge you all to please, do a little, each of you, if you would. Donate a couple of bucks, go give blood (hey, I’m Mr. Fixed Income, giving blood doesn’t cost a penny), go volunteer to get stuff prepared to be shipped to the island, do whatever you can. If everyone does a little…

I know that there are those of you reading this who consider my nonsense humorous and, wow, here’s a shocker, entertaining…from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I don’t have much in the way of treasure, enough, but not a lot, and I can’t go myself to the places where the awful things happen to lend a hand, so I do what I can, and more important, what I know.

I believe, and from what you good folks tell me, I’m right about this, that I know how to make people laugh…I’m not indifferent, or calloused or oblivious to the horrors around us, I’m just doing my small part to hopefully, make your day a little less stressful, or a little lighter.

Laugh with me, please…it’s what we do to keep from crying.

Love and joy,

Cap’n John

Post Script…In keeping with the “serious” theme of this post, I will refrain from adding one my usual ostentatious and totally tasteless displays of support for my favorite team, the L.A. Dodgers, who are playing the Chicago Cubs tonight in Game 2 of the 2017 NLCS.

Post Post Script…Not.

Enrique Hernandez and the Rally Banana…

                                    !!!!! GO DODGERS !!!!!

There, now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

 

 

A MILESTONE…

HOLY CALENDARS, BATMAN…

I stand before you (symbolically only, I always write in my underwear), a vindicated man…I have risen above, triumphant! Where are the critics now, the so-called pundits (FYI, the word “pundit” comes from the Ancient Greek word, “pundidelios”, which means “a person who believes that they are an expert in some field or another and further believes he/she is REALLY cool when everyone else thinks they’re pretty much an asshole”), the detractors, the “nay-sayers” if you will, all those who were so quick to judge, so quick to say “it will never happen”, where are they now, I ask?

I am pumped…I could schedule a 15-rounder with Ali in his prime right now, knowing I would last just long enough for The Champ to uncork a hard right to my jaw and knock me spang on my ass.

Right.

(Now, the question at this juncture…should I get on with the explanation or draw out the “suspense” a little longer? Cuttin’ to the chase, baby.)

Despite all of the distractions, I am happy to report to you, my loyal crew, that as of today, Sunday, October 15th, the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog celebrates its…

…TWO WEEK ANNIVERSARY!

That’s right, K-Mart shoppers (and how many of you remember that little bit of retail history?), it was two weeks ago today, on a day that will live in infamy, that the WATRUK blog was launched.

I could just plotz…I won’t, but I could. (Not sure how.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8aL-Yfl9ek

(Check out Was/Not Was…”K-Mart Wardrobe”, above)

(In fact, here’s another great Was/Not Was tune…just because I feel like it.)

Did I mention I was going camping? I didn’t? Good, because I’m not.

With all due respect to camping enthusiasts, what a truly monumental waste of time…oh good, let’s haul our fat butts out to the woods, pitch an effin’ tent, which, I am quick to point out, has no hot/cold running anything, roll around in the poison ivy searching for the effin’ Frisbee, eat half-cooked or burnt food cooked over an effin’ campfire, sleep on the effin’ ground and hope against hope that we will not be a) zipped inside a sleeping bag with a young coral snake or b) sprayed by an annoyed skunk that was in the midst of an amorous interlude that we interrupted or c) eaten by a effin’ bear. (The idea of exiting this life coming out of the south end of a northbound bear is just too depressing. And yes, a bear does that in the woods.)

Staying with the “celebration” theme, in other news this evening, residents of Florida were jubilant today over the fact that another 24 hours had passed without a fucking hurricane. (We’re STILL digging out down here, to one degree or another, from Irma…it’s like a plague from the Bible, Floridians chapter 20, verse 17.)

Hey, I know my Bible, lemme’ tell you…here, check this out, off the top of my head:

-Amphibians chapter 10, verse 25…”Verily, I say unto you that Amos begat Tobias, who begat Phineas, who then begat Ursal, who did the begat boogie and brought us Joshua, who followed with a great begat to bring about Ezekial, who, after a failed attempt to begat with Sheila and tired of all the begetting in general, said piss on it and moved to Damascus, where he got a job as a mattress tag inspector.”

-Excretions 10, Giants 6…”And there was a great rending sound, and an enormous abyss was opened, deep into the very bowels of the Earth, with fire and brimstone, and flames of great size leapt up at the walls of the abyss, a conflagration of immense heat, and a voice came out of the black, fiery night and said, “YES, DODGERS UP ONE ZIP OVER THE CUBS, YES!”

I’ll admit to some paraphrasing.

Love and cathedrals,

Cap’n John

Post Script…Cubs/Dodgers, Game 2, 2017 NLCS, tonight, from Dodger Stadium in L.A.

Post Post Script…Did I mention the Dodgers beat the Cubs last night to take a 1-0 lead in the NLCS? Oh, okay, sorry, just wasn’t sure I had brought it up.

Post Toasties…and per Emily Ratajkowski (I assume she’s Irish)…

End of transmission.

 

 

DREAM POLICE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjMCaw4qzjg

(“Dream Police” by Cheap Trick, above)

The headline in the local paper read like this…

“NPR PD raids home of local blogger”

Oh, the ignominy of it all…raided by the fuzz.

Apparently someone who read some of the things I’ve written here over the first (and possibly last) two weeks of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog took exception with my lack of seriousness and turned me into the New Port Richey Police Department, Lack of Seriousness Div. The LSD dispatched two agents, who promptly showed up on my doorstep to ask (question) me about the allegations.

They were an unlikely pair, one taller at about 5’11’, with an athlete’s build, short, short blond hair, sunglasses, uniform shirt tight over his biceps, of which he had three, a gun the size of a bazooka on his belt and an attitude the size of Montana in his eye.

His partner was shorter, much shorter, no more than 3 feet tall, with big teal blue eyes, huge ears, an off-purple floppy hat, a belted lime green tunic that hung to the tops of his shoes, no gun, no badge…OMFG, it’s Detective Dopey, accompanied by his side-kick, Officer Hardgun. 

It was the classic good cop/bad dwarf…or bad cop/good dwarf, or maybe good dwarf/bad mechanical engineer…hell, I have no idea.

I had answered the knock on my door and found the two of them standing there, poised to pursue justice to any lengths. The big cop flipped his badge open, and snapped it closed before I could look at it. “Are you John Krissongs?” he asked.

“Yeah”, I responded, “and it’s Cap’n John Krissongs to you, sir.”

“Cap’n?” said Detective D, as he jumped up and down so OH and I would notice him. “What sea-going barge are you the captain of, barfbag?” His belligerence was already becoming intense; he seemed primed for violence. As I stood in my doorway, offended by being called a barfbag, despite acknowledging the fundamental truth of the allegation, the little policeman reached up under his tunic and grabbed his baton.

OH, YOU GUYS ARE DISGUSTING…I KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT. SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. HE HAD HIS POLICEMAN’S BATON IN A SHOULDER HOLSTER UNDER HIS TUNIC. SHAME ON YOU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dvpi6t4PEI

(Watch Cleavon Little as Sheriff Bart “whip this out” in Blazing Saddles, above.)

Baton in hand, Detective Dopey advanced on me, intent on punishing me for a crime he had no way of knowing if I had committed, and in fact of which I was not guilty. Okay, maybe a little guilty. A little.

R U KIDDING ME? I’M NEVER SERIOUS…THESE GUYS HAD ME NAILED. I’M NOT JUST GUILTY, I’M DOUBLE-SECRET PROBATION GUILTY.

GEEZ.

As the tiny detective moved in, OH began to reach for his handcuffs (thank goodness he wasn’t reaching for his baton…or mine either for that matter). Just then, the lowing of a moo-cow could be heard, just outside the entrance to my building. I was confused…we have moo-cows grazing out on the lawn here in the complex? When did that happen? Where did they come from? Whose incredibly stoopid idea was this, anyway? The sound continued, becoming a little louder now, a little more insistent.

“You have a permit for that moo-cow, douchebag?” the diminutive officer screamed at me, the baton raised above and behind his head. (Shit, DOUCHEbag, it was bad enough being a barfbag.)

“That’s Cap’n Douchebag to you, pal.” I’d had enough of his tough guy act, and I was pretty sure that my baton was bigger than his.

OKAY, I GOT THE BATON FROM A FRIEND WHO’S A COP…I KEEP IN MY CAR FOR PROTECTION. YOU PEOPLE ARE HORRIBLE.

The lowing was reaching a crescendo, a wave of sound washing over me…

…and I woke up.

Yes, I do have an alarm clock that sounds like a moo-cow…don’t you? They’re all the thing in NYC, don’t you know?

I promise, cross my heart, that someday, someday I’ll write a serious post…honest to goodness.

I will.

Honest.

BWA-HA-HA-HA, YOU DUMMIES, I LIED. I’LL NEVER WRITE A SERIOUS POST, NEVER, NEVER, DO YOU HEAR ME? NEVER!

Too much caffeine, you think?

Love and Herefords,

Cap’n John

Post Script…no, that is NOT an allusion (above) to the running joke in the POTC about “CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow”…I would never plagiarize another’s work, nor so blatantly steal what I didn’t create.

Post Post Script…not.

Post Toasties…

!!!! GO DODGERS !!!!

BAGGING GROCERIES AND FEEDING BABIES: A MOMENT IN THE LIFE OF AN “FSC”

I have a call into Todd Jones, the President and CEO of Publix Supermarkets, the company I’m employed by part-time here in the wilds of Central Florida; as soon as T.J. returns my call, I’m going to nominate myself for “Employee Of The Month” (and I’m not even sure if Pubics has such a thing, but if they do, I think I ought be in the running for this month’s award); I strongly believe I should be eligible for some kind of corporate recognition for my superior day-to-day performance. 

I mean, I am an exemplary employee…just ask me. (Please insert “winky face” here.) 

Back in April of last year, I decided that I had had enough of sitting around my apartment in my underwear, listening to old Byrds and Allman Brothers CDs on YouTube, watching baseball on TV, belching (farting) periodically, shaving every third day or so, and generally accomplishing little if anything of any import. (I did manage to win the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, but I blew all the money on strippers and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream…it was a Pyrrhic victory at best; once you’ve had that much ice cream and seen that many naked women, it begins to pale. (Well, the ice cream did.)

So I figured, nothing from nothing leaves nothing (and thank you, Billy Preston), and that, considering sanity and good taste, two things I have in small quantity, it was time to go find a part-time job.

I was recently retired at the time, and after 45+ years of getting my brains beat in at various and sundry management jobs over my “career”, including being self-employed for the last 13 years before I hung it up, any part-time work I sought would have to have several “perks” (I hate that word), beyond just a paycheck.

Generally the work would have to be low-stress (i.e. mostly brainless…hey, after “getting my brains beat in”, what’s left after that, the spleen?), honest (relatively), close to home and pay me enough to make it worth my while to come to work. Based on that criteria, I’m surprised I didn’t wind up President. (I heard rumors that the position of Pres was filled last November by an incompetent moron, so I figured that job was no longer available anyway.)

Did you guys know that Zimbabwe has an average annual rainfall of just over 33 inches (that’s roughly 83 centimeters for you metric freaks)…I just thought you might want that info for future reference.

So Pubics was nice enough to offer me a job as a “FSC”, which as I said in a previous post, is a 200 pound title for a 27 pound job. “Bagger” is the proper nomenclature.

I don’t love my job…I like it as a means to an end. I’m pretty sure my ex-wife had the same point of view towards our relationship; I just never knew what the “end” was supposed to be.

In a rare moment of brevity, a concept that I’m not likely to ever be accused of embracing, I’ll skip all the other heart-warming stories of my various encounters with our customers, and move on to the topic of today’s post, another heart-warming story. (You figured there was going to be one SOMEWHERE in here, right?)

I was walking back into the store one day last week, after 10 minutes of chasing grocery carts out on the sweltering asphalt, and as I came into the cash register area (“the front end”), I was presented with this tableaux…a nice young lady, a recurring customer whose name I do not know, but whose face was familiar to me from coming in the store, a conveyor belt full of groceries, a shopping cart sitting at the end of the queue, empty other than for the baby seat strapped across the front half, said seat being full of small baby at the time, Gertrude, one of our tireless cashiers and Amos, one of my fellow FSCs, checking and bagging respectively; since it was still rather early in the day, this was the only register running, and the only customer being checked out.

The young lady was in the midst of attempting something that all mothers do, every day…handling two tasks at once. Sometimes it’s for convenience, and sometimes it’s for sanity.

As I approached, I could immediately see the looming problem…the customer, at once, had her wallet in her left hand to pay the bill and was holding the baby’s bottle in her right for the little guy, while he happily sucked away. As far as I could see, no matter which task she decided to undertake, at the moment, she was a least one hand too short to achieve any degree of success in either endeavor.

So I walked over, said to the lady, here, please let me help you, and put my hand under the bottle so I could support it while Junior continued to feed. Mom, after a brief look of mistrust, recognized me and gave me a smile of relief. She was very happy for the assistance. 

Baby, on the other hand, had stopped sucking and was still making his own evaluations of this new development; he didn’t seem completely comfortable with the substitution. From his seat, all he could see was this big, ugly stranger, holding the non-business end of his bottle, staring back at him. After Mom took her hand off, he scrutinized me for a moment, and after I assured him that I was nothing more than a temporary replacement for the Mom Unit, he apparently came to the conclusion that I was harmless (I swear, a look passed over his little face, which contained two big amazingly blue eyes, as if he thought, oh well, the formula is still coming, who cares who’s holding the bottle) and got back to his breakfast.

As the others around us concluded their business, Baby and I discussed the baseball playoffs, the chances of the Dodgers reaching the World Series, and whether or not banana oatmeal cereal is better-tasting than strained jalapenos.

So Gertrude got Baby’s Mom checked out, Amos got her things bagged up, the nice lady paid the bill, Baby got fed and the world continued on its path, moving around the sun with what sometimes seems like reckless abandon.

(Okay, now here comes the part where we fast-forward a bunch of years, and the baby is now an adult and comes upon a car-wreck late at night and I’m in one of the cars and he recognizes me (sure, he was an 4-month old baby, he’ll remember the incident) and is so moved to see me again that he risks life and limb to save me from the burning auto.)

I think we need to call the author in and have him rewrite that paragraph.

There are no morals to this tale of which I’m aware, no compelling under-story of greed and betrayal, just a fleeting “nice moment” in a day filled with all of life’s usual bullshit.

Oh, Baby thought the Indians were going all the way this year…little did he know.

Love and pacifiers,

Cap’n John

!!!!GO DODGERS!!!!

 

AS AMERICAN AS BASEBALL, MOM, APPLE FRITTERS AND WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE GUY ON FIRST

Well, I am happy to report that the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog is, as of today, Sunday, October 8th, 2017 CE, officially one week old. 

Please commence with the obligatory celebration, with all the attendant frivolity thereto included.

Our next goal here at the WATRUK blog is to make it through another week, and then reassess our position.

By now most of you who have been following my adventures this past week have probably figured out that I am, in no particular order, a) a BIG baseball fan; b) a RABID Los Angeles Dodgers fan; c) a huge believer in both sex and apple fritters; d) a BIG baseball fan and e) all or none of the above.

If you chose “e”, you’re probably a Republican.

Now I am extremely fortunate with regards to apple fritters; as I mentioned in a recent post I am currently employed part-time as a “Front Service Clerk” for Publix Supermarkets here in jolly ol’ New Port Richey FL. (When anybody asks what I do, I tell them I’m in the Publix “CEO-in-training” program. I figure, with my skill set, experience, talents and all-around “good guyness”, I should be ready to ascend to the President’s office in about 35 years, making me a youthful 101 when I take over the reins. Hey, by then, 101 will the new 93.)

What I really am is a “bagger”, and of course, Captain and Master of the Kidding, thank you.

I’ve been there almost a year-and-a-half now, and so far no one has ventured an explanation as to what duties accrue to the “Rear Service Clerk”, assuming the existence of such a position, and I’m fairly sure I don’t want to know either way.

The bakery at Publix 420 in Chelsea Place (sounds like a fashionable London address) makes the absolute best apple fritters ever, in the history of flour. I never buy them, mind you…too much sugar, and sugar and I have a long-standing mutual animosity; when I eat too much, I get fat. It’s ugly.

And it’s a damn shame too, because I  apple fritters…even more than sex even. (Okay, about as much…well, maybe not quite as much but sort of close to as much. Practically but not quite as much. But close.)

So the apple fritters are covered, should a sudden craving for fried flour, sugar and apples overcome me someday as I stand, busily bagging our customer’s groceries, smiling, happy in my duties, content in my existence.

Rather gives you a strong desire to yark, doesn’t it?

Sex on the other hand (you’ll pardon the completely unintentional pun) is a little more difficult…let’s just say that in the two years I have been living here in bucolic NPR, I apparently haven’t overwhelmed the ladies with my charms, such as they are…if you can find the path that they’ve beaten to my door, you’ve got better eyes than I have. (Insert large sigh of resignation here.) I just hope it doesn’t have anything to do with my little peculiarity…(see pic below).

I was watching the opening game of the L.A. Dodgers/Arizona Diamondbacks Divisional Playoff series the other night, and during the game, they trained a camera on the VIP seating section, where Vin Scully, the legendary announcer for the Dodgers for almost 70 years before his retirement after last season, was sitting with his wife.

If you know anything about baseball, you know who Vin Scully is, and if you know who he is, you probably have a favorite story about him…here’s mine.

Back in ’07, the Dodgers brought up from the minors, during the September expansion of the roster, a player from Taiwan that they had signed several years earlier, to give him some “big league” experience during the waning days of the season.

His name was Chin-Lung Hu.

I was watching the Dodgers/Padres game the day this young man debuted, and as soon as he stepped into the batter’s box for his first at-bat in the majors, and Vin said his name, I was already on the floor, laughing my ass off…I could see what was coming, and what made it even funnier was that you could tell, by the smirk in his voice, that Vin could see it coming as well.

Sure enough, Chin-Lung takes a couple of pitches, gets a fastball he can handle and lines it into left field. As he stands on first base, and after the ball he hit had been thrown into the dugout for him to have as a keepsake, Vin did it.

I don’t remember his exact words, but it went something like this…in his famous Southern California drawl, the Vinster says, “Well, everyone, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but here goes…”

“Hu’s on first.”

By now I’m in tears and there’s a wet spot starting on the front of my shorts…then it got better.

Because all I could think, as I sat there, literally on the floor next to my chair where I have landed, laughing hysterically, is that if Vin says Chin-Lung is married, and his wife’s name is Betty Lou, I’ll need CPR before I’ll able to get my breath again.

Love and sacrifice bunts,

Cap’n John

Post Script…Cap’n John now has an email address (yeah, I know, 1990s technology, what can I say, I’m working on the other shit), so if you want to communicate directly with the Master of the Kidding, I can be reached now at capnjohn@krissongs.com. All good-looking women are encouraged to send messages, and pics if available.

Post Post Script…here, this will make your day a little better… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWZpOsUq_BI

Post Toasties…Dodgers up 2-0 on the hated Arizona DBacks as of last night’s win…next stop the NLCS.

!!!!GO DODGERS!!!!