Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Run Awaaaaaaaay

11 clever quips

Playing the waiting game on Banks o’ Carolina as Irene blows down in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, I’ve written a little back-to-school diddy for all of you moms and dads over on DadCentric today. While I contemplate evacuation route options, read how the piece starts and then maybe click to read a little more:

Meet the New Math

Remember when you climbed on the bus for the first day of a new school year then you'd turn your head to see your parents fighting back the tears?

Now, as a parent yourself, you know that feeling.


Pure, unfiltered, fully leaded joy.

As soon as that bus escapes view … (read more at DadCentric)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I’m Still With the Band

16 clever quips
I would have loved to been at BlogHer in San Diego today but, you know, I had a gig in the city last night.

Why, since this is my second time being plucked out of the audience to perform with the legendary Fountains of Wayne, do I look so determined and serious?

1. I had about 5 fewer Sierra Nevada Pale Ales under my belt this time.
2. I was trying hard to resist singing along since I know My Love was close enough to capture my vocal stylings or lack there of.
3. I’m trying very hard not to pay attention to what the woman in the skimpy outfit on my right has going on. Trying. Very. VERY. HARD.

I must have looked terrified coming off stage. The guy working security offered me and no one else a bottle of Poland Springs from the band’s private stash.

Which I took and finished.

I plan to convert it into my own FoW shaker for next time …

UPDATED: I stumbled upon this online recently. Famed rock critic Robert Christgau was at this show and I have the distinction of having my performance reviewed by him:

"Unbeknownst to their doubters, Fountains of Wayne write real love songs, too. On one of the perkiest, "Hey Julie," Schlesinger rounded up four audience members to play percussion, three of them women - the boy-girl ratio in FOW's audience is better than most. Rhythmically, let's say the four held their own. But what was more impressive is that without mikes they sang along as loud as they could. They sang along about the creep with the bad toupee who orders the narrator around all day. And they sang along about how Julie helps him make it through. No satire whatsoever, I swear.
-- MSN Music, August 13, 2011"

When I play with them on Letterman, naturally.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Goin’ Postal

16 clever quips

Call it emailer's remorse, but I feel partially responsible for the U.S. Postal Service's billions of dollars in annual losses, especially since it may now result in the closing of a post office in my hometown.

Yet I will carry on, like any real American, and blame the messenger.

A few Aprils ago, I stood in line with dozens of others to send our long forms and short hairs to the Internal Revenue Service. Behind the counter, a clerk became increasingly frustrated with explaining the difference between certified mail, registered mail and delivery confirmation to every single person who came up to her.

"When was the last time a letter you sent got lost?" she finally let loose to one patron. "It's going to get there. It gets there every other day of the year. Why do you think it's not going to get there today?"

The only such incident I recalled in my life was about 10 years earlier when a friend of mine never received a Christmas package I sent. I had addressed it to her house, so it was possible the mail carrier left it on her doorstep and a gang of seasonal thieves snatched it before she got home from work. All I need to prove that theory is to find a medium-build female crook wearing a powder blue "What the Duck?" novelty T-shirt while using a Signals' catalog star scope to locate the constellation Corona Borealis (literally, "boring Mexican beer").

Once I tried to frame the mail service. I told a college girlfriend I was trying to break up with over the summer that her letter to me never arrived. Turns out she knew something about postal operations and had the delivery traced to my mailbox.

We dated for another five months.

Meanwhile, back at the counter, here was an obviously loyal Postal Service worker -- one who believed in the competency and efficiency of her employer -- actually trying to talk people out of giving her employer money it desperately needed.

You had to admire her honesty if not her total lack of business savvy.

When my turn came, naturally she was my clerk.

"You've convinced me," I said. "Mail these tax forms and my check first-class, period. I trust you."

"That's what I'm talking about, baby," she said.

Then she asked if I wanted to purchase the latest commemorative stamp sheet of dead people.

I regretfully declined her offer, but today it has me thinking.

What else can the Postal Service do in its hour of need besides try to convince people to pay for services they usually don't need?

That's right: Capitalize on financially lucrative children's fads.

I don't know a single person who collects stamps, but the Things are always hounding me for the latest trendy "collectible" that they'll discard in six months.

WebKinz stuffed animals, then the WebKinz archrival, the NeoPets.

Pokemon cards and Bakugan tops.

Briefly, it was Silly Bandz, which are colorful rubber bracelets in the shape of animals or objects -- one of which, naturally, is a dollar sign. We have a few thousand of these regularly clogging up vacuum cleaners and plumbing (usually the dog’s).

Whatever the next Pet Rock is, the U.S. Postmaster General immediately needs to put its likeness onto postage stamps. Cha-CHING! Instant revenue in the USPS's coffers as parents and grandparents must fork it over or face ear-splitting tantrums.

Also, just think of the economic ripple effect it will have on our country's ailing tweezers and magnifying glass industries.


My Uncool Past