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”.