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Category: Humor

3 Things to be Thankful for During Construction Season

In the Northwest corner of the United States, we have four seasons. We love them all, almost. These are not the seasons you were taught in school. They are fall, winter, spring, and construction season.

That’s right. The fourth season, known in some places as summer, is marked by orange cones, hard-hat wearing shovel leaners, and flashing yellow lights that mean one simple thing: you’re not going anywhere fast.

From “Lane Closed Ahead” to “Flagman Ahead, Expect Delays” the signs decorate the sides of nearly every road. The winters are hard, and the time to repair the damage such a small window, it seems unavoidable. If the roads don’t get fixed, we complain. While they are being fixed, we complain just as much. Here are three things to be thankful for this Construction Season.

Modern Windshields

Okay, yeah. A rock chip in your window sucks, and you will get them during construction season. It is simply a matter of when not if. Carrying glass coverage on your vehicle in our area is like carrying water in the summer: you just have to do it.

Think of it this way though: cars did not always have the best windshields. Early ones would shatter if struck by even a small rock, cutting all the occupants inside. Henry Ford got sued a few times over tragic accidents, and then things changed.

 

The modern use of laminated glass similar to that of your cell phone screen means windshields are safer than they have ever been and even contribute a great deal to the structural integrity of your car.

So next time you curse a rock chip, just be thankful the whole windshield did not land in your lap and cut your arms to shreds. If you do get a chip or even small crack, find a local glass replacement dealer, and get it fixed. That’s what you pay all that money to your insurance company for.

 Air Conditioning

That same windshield that keeps out the road debris and doesn’t shatter in your lap holds in one important thing: air conditioning. We can control our climate even as we roll down the road at 70 miles an hour, but it becomes even more important when we are whizzing by orange pylons at 15.

It used to be that running your air conditioning when at a standstill was a death sentence for your car’s cooling system. Modern vehicles, if well maintained, can handle this task, although you should still be cautious in extreme temperature climates like Vegas, Phoenix, or the small desert towns in-between.

 

via GIPHY

 Air conditioning also used to be bad for the environment until we started using R-134a instead of R-12. Those systems have gotten better since their introduction, although idling in a construction zone is still not best for the trees around you, and you might want to save them. Otherwise, where will you run hide to use the restroom when you can’t wait any longer and traffic is still not moving.

Despite its limitations, air conditioning is better than rolled down windows and stealing ice from the cooler to put down your shirt (or elsewhere).

Digital Music

Remember when you would get out into the middle of nowhere, and your radio would get crackly and fuzzy? Or when you would reach the part of Wyoming where they had both kinds of music stations, country and western, and that was all? Unless you had an extensive collection of first 8 tracks, then cassettes, then CDs, you were sunk. It was either listen to the kids squabble, actually talk to each other (gasp!), or suffer in silence.

Now, all our music is digital, and we can transport thousands of songs, an actual music library on our phones or other devices. We can connect them to the car radio in several ways, even using an FM transmitter and creating our own radio station of sorts.

This means everyone can have their own device as well. Dad can put his tunes on the radio, and mom and the kids can listen to whatever they want using headphones or other devices in the passenger and back seats without argument.

With all the complaining we do about construction season, we need better roads, and we can also be thankful for those who fix them for us. While we hate the hours of sitting in line with other cars, we can count our blessings that we are not driving cars with dangerous glass (or worse, with none at all), we have air conditioning, and we can take our music with us rather than being at the mercy of local radio.

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Are You Ready for Some Football?

NFL training camps are ramping up, and everyone is ready for some football while at the same time baseball season is headed into the fall schedule.

In some ways, it is a slow time of year for sports, in other ways it is a time of anticipation. Fantasy leagues are forming, team names are being chosen, and those magical draft dates are being set.

In short, fans are ready for some football. Our Sunday afternoons will soon be marked “busy” on our calendars, and Monday Night will be reserved for social gatherings around the game of the week.

But are you really ready for the season? Here are five things you need to get settled in the next few weeks before the pre-season kickoff.

Your Fantasy Wish List

Okay, so it is a little early to actually make your fantasy team picks. Most drafts will take place around the end of August, and in large part because we need to get through training camps first. We don’t know who is going to start for sure, and what injuries or other things might happen.

However, you can make a fantasy list and start watching those players and their teams closely. A simple way to do this is to set up Google alerts for your favorite teams and players. You will get daily (or less often if you prefer) emails containing any news reports about them that Google considers significant.

You also need to come up with a team name, and this can be a daunting task. After all, the name you want may be taken by someone else in your league, and the Dayton Destroyers may be a popular choice.

Either way, it’s not too soon to do your research and start following the Fantasy experts, who will probably be wrong just as often as you are anyway.

Place Your Bets

While sports gambling in the United States is illegal in all but four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon) you can place bets on games in Vegas or in some cases with an online sportsbook.

The good news (for some of us at least) is that the Supreme Court is hearing a case that started in New Jersey about repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in October, which would leave legalizing sports betting up to the states rather than the Federal government.

What this means for you is that most states that have a lottery or casinos already will legalize sports betting, which will broaden your options significantly.

Either way, whether it is a friendly wager with a buddy or more serious gambling, it’s time to set your budget and gather your funds.

Decide How You’re Going to Watch

Since many people have “cut the cable cord” and transitioned to streaming most of their television content, the ratings for Monday Night Football have been low the last couple of seasons. Many think this also relates to the quality of the matchups and fact that the NFL has failed to connect with some younger fans.

Either way, if you have stopped using cable television, you need to determine how you will watch games this season. There are several ways, even if you are streaming content.

One way is using Sling TV on either an Apple TV or Roku device. Some smart TV’s even come with the Sling TV app. With it, you can watch ESPN and other channels for $20 a month (there are other options up to $40 a month that include even more channels).

You can also go to a sports bar, although doing so weekly might get expensive (unless you win some of the bets mentioned above). Alternatively, you can partner with a friend who has cable (or Sling TV) and watch games at their house. Since watching football is generally a social event anyway, this could be a good way to stay connected with friends during the season.

Snack it Up

Perhaps one of the hardest things about the football season is that as the weeks pass, your weight goes up as well. The reason? Snacks. We all love them during a game, and let’s face it, most of them are not really healthy.

Before the season even starts, make a snack plan: one that includes ways to limit your intake of carbs and sugar (including beer, sorry dudes) to reasonable levels. Of course, this does not mean you cannot snack at all. You can substitute healthy snacks instead.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have nachos, but that you might have to choose a healthier version with a little less cheese. And the popcorn? Sure, without all the butter and salt.

You don’t have to be miserable (or a rabbit) to enjoy healthy snacking, but be sure you plan ahead so the pounds on your waist don’t go up faster than a Goodyear blimp providing aerial coverage.

The Furniture

There is nothing more embarrassing or uncomfortable than having some of the bros over to watch the game and having them sit on a threadbare couch with the springs sticking through. It’s also much harder to check your eyelids for holes during the Brown’s game if your recliner is shot.

So look around your living room Does your furniture need an upgrade? Right before football season is a great time to do this. Not only will you feel better inviting friends over or napping, but if you are married you will also impress your spouse—which may alleviate the pain that they will not see you on Sundays for the next six months at least. Unless your spouse watches with you, in which case good for you. The family that cheers together stays together I always say.

This may (or may not, you be the judge) be a great time to bring up a new TV, but be careful with this one. Not all spouses agree that seeing games in 4K on a curved screen strengthens any relationship.

So are you ready for some football? I’m not. I still have a few things left to do, and I bet you do too. Get ready. Football season is coming.

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Becoming the Bertmores

It’s a simple thing that happens every day. People get married, and when they do, one party takes the other one’s last name, symbolizing their family unity. Sometimes people choose to do things differently though. Some women keep their maiden name, while others retain it while hyphenating it with their new last name.

My wife Abby and I decided to do something a little different and come up with an entirely new last name, The conversation went something like this:

H: “We should come up with a new last name, and combine ours.”

M: “That’s a great idea. What did you have in mind?”

H: “I don’t know. Let’s try some.”

Then the hilarity began. I mean, how do you combine Lambert and Morehouse without making something that sounds, well, awful?

H: “Lambhouse?  Nope, sounds like a slaughterhouse.”

slaughterhouse-5

M: “I like it.” (Thriller author, cool ass name, bro, Plus, Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut? What could be better?)

H: “No, our last name should not be scary. Morebert?”

M: “Just ew. How about Berthouse?”

berthouse

H: “Sounds like a Sesame Street spin off.”

M: “Morelamb. That one makes me hungry.”

H: “Our name is not going to be a dinner request. How about Bertmore?”

M: “Not too bad. Bertmore. I like it.”

So we kicked it around, and it stuck. However, life also happened. Our July wedding moved to March, Abby had an emergency surgery in February, and we were frazzled, financially strapped, and stressed out. So we really didn’t clearly research of think through HOW to change both of our names.

See, here’s the deal. Either party can change their last name to that of the person they are marrying, provided at least one of those names is on the marriage certificate. But you can’t both change your name to something else without going through the legal name change. Ideally one of us would have changed our names before the wedding, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know, and we certainly didn’t have the bandwidth or the finances to take care of it either.

So we discovered how much it would cost. Court filings, $160. Each. Running your ad in the legals to tell the world (and any creditors or anyone else who would object to the name change) that you are changing your name for good? $130. Each. Both of us having a new name all our own? Priceless.

On November 15th, we stood before a judge, and became officially the Bertmores, about 8 months after our wedding, which is perhaps another story for another day.

It’s a different feeling, having a new last name. Standing in front of the judge felt good, peaceful. We both feel even more united, more solid as a couple.

Or course now begins the process of changing our names on literally everything. Social Security Card, Driver’s License, debit cards, payroll, car registrations.

I’ll be keeping Lambert as my nom de plume for writing, so my books will not be changing, and you may see me sporting the hyphen some places, just so people are not confused too much.

We’ve become the Bertmores. The process started in March, and is now complete. So if you see us slowing down to sign our names that’s why.

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GUEST POST: Cool Story, Bro

This last week, a friend and humor hero of mine Kimmy Dee released her book of personal essays (and a couple of short stories thrown in for good measure) titled most appropriately Pussy Planet. Much like her blog, Turd Mountain, it is filled with irreverent toilet humor, dick jokes, and straight talk about her lady bits.

Not only is it a great book, but Kimmy is a great person. So I decided to let her take over my blog for a day. She shares with us a Cool Story, Bro.

Cool Story, Bro

My brain is a dick. Not literally, obviously, but much like those rascally male appendages my mind likes to fuck with me pretty much nonstop. It overwhelms me with anxiety one moment, only to drown me in depression the next. So when I set out to write a book of essays two years ago, I knew I was in for one hell of an uphill battle against a phallical foe. But of all the negative brain bytes force fed to me by my cockeyed mind during the conception of Pussy Planet and Other Endearing Tales, one recurring thought plagued me more than anything else: Who fucking cares?

You see, I’m no one special. I’m basically the girl next door, assuming that your neighbor is a reclusive cat lady with a plethora of mental health issues and a penchant for drunken outbursts, not to mention an unhealthy obsession with her own crotch. I haven’t seen the world and I’ve never done anything profound – so who the fuck would want to read about my stupid life? Even my therapist tends to nod off half way through each session, but that probably has more to do with my bargain basement insurance’s covered provider screening than my life’s lack of excitement. Still, I wrestled the entire two years with this question, and I think I can finally answer: no one. No one fucking cares.

No one gives two shits about my phobias, my family, or the misadventures of my unruly uterus. But everyone loves a well-told story. And that’s what I went for in Pussy Planet– tales from ordinary life told in a unique (and maybe even a kinda sorta extraordinary?) way.

This revelation came about during an online conversation with a good friend, in which I was chronicling in detail my failed attempt at masturbation. (Why, what do you and your friends talk about?)

“This needs to be in your book,” he said, after I finished laying out the sordid details of self-love gone awry. “Exactly as you just told it to me.”

You see, more power lies in the storytelling than in the story itself. My story could have been told much faster with, “I tried to get myself off, but it didn’t work. Bummer.” But where’s the fun in that? By going into humiliating detail I not only entertained the shit out of my friend, I also virgin-birthed the last essay in my collection, Anti-Climax. And it wasn’t a virgin birth for lack of trying, if you know what I mean.

Obviously, very few readers are emotionally invested in whether or not I can pleasure myself. If they are, well, I would gladly recommend them to my crappy shrink– he accepts scratch-off lotto tickets and Camel Cash in exchange for a mediocre mind fuck. But that doesn’t mean the average reader can’t cringe and chuckle a bit at my masturbatory ineptitude.

Since writing nonfiction for purely entertainment purposes isn’t as easy as it sounds (try it if you don’t believe me), I’ve decided to throw together a few pointers for those readers who yearn to reveal their own vaginal hijinks to the world. I’ve sold a few books now, so I’m basically an expert. If only I could say the same for my self-pleasuring prowess. Anyway, here’s how to tell stories good, by Kimmy:

-Don’t skimp on the dialogue. Reading an active conversation is way more enjoyable than a boring summary of what went down. Make the reader feel like they’re within bitch-slapping reach of your stupid ass.

-Give every character a unique voice. This one is especially important if you’re telling your story aloud, as no one wants to listen to the same mimicked “angry stroke survivor” inflection for all parties represented. We all know someone that adds a chromosome or two to their voice whenever mimicking someone else – if you don’t, then it’s you. Knock that shit off. It’s offensive and ungodly annoying. Every character deserves to be developed, especially in nonfiction. You know, because they are real fucking people.

-Be honest. You don’t have to be the hero in all of your stories. In fact, you’re probably much more relatable to readers when you fall on your stupid face. Or fail to locate, let alone stimulate, your clitoris. Nothing makes readers feel more connected to a story than realizing the writer is a bumbling dunderhead.

-Remember you are creating art. Whether you’re lamenting a tragic loss or reminiscing about the vibrator that got away, choose your words carefully. If you don’t love them, choose new ones. If you don’t know how to spell them and you’re so far off that even spellcheck can’t save you, scrap that sentence completely. You don’t need that kind of shit. It’s art, not rocket science. Get over yourself.

 -Mention your genitals whenever possible. Trust me on this; I’m an author.

So, there you have it… you’ve now been schooled in nonfiction creative writing by Kimmy Dee. Use this knowledge wisely and sparingly; with great storytelling power comes great accountability, especially on the internet.

Oh, and please buy my book.

xoxo

Thanks Kimmy. If you are so inclined to buy her book, here is the link. I got my copy, and so far I could not put it down. Maybe that is because of how sticky my Kindle is, but check it out for yourself. https://www.amazon.com/Pussy-Planet-Other-Endearing-Tales-ebook/dp/B01I1Y61J0

pussy planet cover_KDP

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Grande Tolerance, Hold the Whip

Starbucks. Despite controversy over how they treat employees, the company seems to have made big strides in many areas. No one who has ever worked as a barista for them or anyone else would say it’s an easy job. Hell, even hearing customer names and translating them into correct spelling, while a source of humor for the rest of us, does hold a certain amount of frustration for the person on the other side of the counter.

starvucksprotestSo when I saw the new red holiday cups, and the controversy it created within the “Christian” community, my hackles rose. What’s going on here?

Let me clarify. I grew up in a Christian household. My mom was a Christian school teacher, my grandfather a Baptist minister. I grew up hearing over and over “Keep Christ in Christmas” and was told to never abbreviate “x-mas” and certainly not to buy into the evil lie of “holiday cards.” We were taught never to lose sight of the “real meaning of Christmas.”

All of that fundamental bull s*@t fell apart when I turned eighteen, left home, and started to ask myself what Jesus would really do. The only time the Bible talks about him getting really pissed off was at people in a church, who had commercialized his message. That sounded oddly familiar to me.

So did the controversy over a red cup with no clear religious message. What evil did Starbucks really commit here? They broadened their message to wish  everyone good this Holiday season? Clearly, Jesus would take issue with this.

Not that I need to defend Starbucks at all, other than that several of my friends either make their living from the company  or have in the past, and their caffeinated nectar of the gods often fuels my morning, I think the Christian community has lost sight of some really important things.

Starbucks does good in the community. It’s not just about the jobs they provide, the educational benefits they offer their employees, including paid college tuition, the charitable donations they make, or the causes they are involved in. Free wifi and a comfortable atmosphere provide a great meeting spot and workspace for students and others. Stores are often a community gathering place, and if nothing else provide a friendly face in the morning for regular customers.

Remember Hobby Lobby? What happens when the tables are reversed, and customers boycott a business because they stick to religious beliefs despite the potential negative impact it could have on employees? Christian groups rally to support them, and decry the actions of the boycotters as persecution, even calling them “haters.” The message sent is clear: we want religious tolerance for our beliefs, but we don’t have to tolerate those of others. It’s hypocritical at best, a different form of persecution at worst.

Customers are free to choose. The beauty of a free market is customers are free to choose where they buy goods regardless of their reasons. Companies are not people, but they are made up of people who live and spend in the communities where they work. Don’t like the new Starbucks holiday cups? Go somewhere else for your coffee. Protest with your actions, but in the meantime shut up about it and let others make choices for themselves.

 

Love thy neighbor. Since I’ve reached adulthood I have said it over and over: loving your neighbor isn’t offered with conditions. You don’t get to pick your neighborhood. Diversity is simply a reality, and loving someone does not mean I agree with them. This means people of all religious, ethnic, and sexual groups deserve respect. So an inclusive simple wish of joy, or leaving out a message specifically directed to one group hardly can be classified as persecution. In fact, the opposite is true.

At a time when we should be preparing to give thanks for all we have rather than buying into the commercialism of the Christmas season, complaining about a red cup devoid of religious sentiment seems to be a waste of energy that could be channeled toward doing good. So no, I won’t be boycotting Starbucks.

I might skip a week of lattes and grande dark roast, and take that money and donate it to a shelter or to help feed a family in need this holiday season.

When I do order coffee though, I’ll do it at Starbucks, to applaud their Grande Tolerance. But hold the whip, boycotters. You’re free to make your own choices, but don’t punish the rest of us for ours.

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Ties and Lies

ropetieOften, business dress includes a tie, the only modern form of fashionable self-strangulation. The same guy is in Bermuda shorts and sandals on the weekend, if he dresses at all to leave the house. If not, he may lie around in boxers streaming episodes of Orange is the New Black, unless he’s one of those weirdos with a gym membership who actually goes on the weekends when no one important is there to see him.

Ties are also things we form with people. We call them relationships. Sometimes, ties are good, and sometimes not as healthy, like 50 Shades of Shitty Writing adapted to movie form, more commonly known as 50 Shades of Gray. When the ties are unhealthy, a time comes to cut those ties.

This can take many forms, from ending friendships, severing ties with family, or even divorce. These ties are often forms of self-strangulation as well, although in a more internal sense. Often the face we show to those around us says those ties are healthy, and everything is just fine, when we know they really aren’t. The ties are lies.

It’s much like the uniform we put on for a job. It looks good, but we can’t wait to get home, rip it off, and get back into boxers before cooking a pound of bacon and a burger for an afternoon snack. It’s not the real us. It’s just something we do.

The lies of the ties we wear to work are different. It’s just something we do, not who we are. When a relationship turns into something we do, and we are not free to be who we are, it’s time to evaluate whether it is a damaging lie, or just a job we’re willing to continue pretending makes us happy.

I went through a divorce recently. Is that the answer for everyone in a marriage that has become a job? No, hardly. Some people keep those appearances up for years, for many reasons. It was my answer though.

Some people judge that decision, but it wasn’t theirs to make. They weren’t wearing the tie, so to speak. It’s a lonely and hard decision, but in the end, shedding the ties of lies was the best thing for me.

Are there ties in your life that are lies? Have relationships that used to work for you become a job? There are two choices: find yourself inside that relationship, or shed the tie.

What has your experience been? I’d love to hear from you.

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Peed There to Be There

Introducing a new blog, and blog thread. My girlfriend and I sometimes disagree over things of dubious importance, and the only fair way to settle the argument is to let you, the people decide. So we’ve started a blog, titled That’s What S(he) said. Find it here, and leave us your comments. Be sure to take our surveys, like the one at the end of this post, because your opinion counts.

Peed there to Be There

Troy’s side

marking territoryI wanted to add another state to my visited list. But there’s only one way to make it count, at least by the rules I have been taught. You have to have peed there to have been there.

Since I have been back east this spring, I’ve added quite a few states to my list. They’re close together, (compared to those out west) and I stay well hydrated, so establishing my visits has never been problematic. But this weekend, my girlfriend Abby and I took a bus to New York from Philadelphia. I’ve never been to New Jersey, but the bus wasn’t stopping anywhere in the state. This was an issue for me, but I quickly thought of a solution.

I’d just pee in the bus restroom on the way through. Then I would have peed in New Jersey, right? That would mean I had been there. Suggesting as much to my partner, she immediately belittled my method, emphatically stating my plan was flawed, and my visit would not count.

Her points are outlined below.

Abby’s side

busSo, here is the deal.  As I don’t totally disagree with the ‘Peed there to have been there’ concept I completely reject the peeing on a bus to make it count!  I mean… come ON!  It makes no sense.

First of all, the bus is elevated off of the ground, moving through an area, where neither your feet nor anything stationary touch the ground.  How on earth can it count to be somewhere if your foot doesn’t even touch the ground?

Secondly, going to the bathroom on the bus makes even less sense as counting.  Your pee goes into a tank that doesn’t even go near the ground in that area.  I think the entire point of ‘peed there to be there’ is leaving your deposit in the land.  Since the sewage from the bus doesn’t actually GO into the land in Jersey for this case…. NO COUNT! If they pumped the sewage tank in Jersey I might be persuaded.

It is crystal clear my side is the logical one here.  If you stick your junk out the window and pee into the free wind leaving your deposit, that counts.  Your deposit has to actually go into the ground.  And that ladies and gentlemen is my side… the correct one.

Troy

In the end, I never used the bus restroom, so the point became moot. I am convinced it was due to Abby distracting me to foil my urination scheme. So even by my loose standards, I cannot cross Jersey off my list. I’ll just have to go back in a car, with a fuller bladder next time.

What do you think? What do you have to do in a state to make the visit count, so you can cross it off your list?

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