December 22, 2013

10 Ways to Mess With Kids on Christmas

When you dine next to little ones and are served any meat dish, jump back from the table and say "WHAT??! This is REINDEER meat!! How COULD you?? Santa won't be able to deliver presents now!"

Explain to kids that something terrible has happened to Santa, it's the same thing that happened to Grandpa before he died, he's gone crazy and he's not wearing his Santa suit anymore, and he's mad and yelling all the time, and there's something REALLY wrong with all the elves, they've turned evil and mean and they're fighting with everybody, it's just really, really bad. Then show them footage of Saruman and the orcs from Lord of the Rings.

December 11, 2013

World's Worst Gifts, Part 2

(continued from Exposé: Behind the World's Worst Gifts)

Don't Forget Your Kids!!

For your youngster lacking fine motor control of his hands, there's... THE DIPR™!!!

via the dipr

Says Founder and Inventor Robert Haleluk,
My favorite snack as a kid was Oreos and milk, but they would always break and fall into the milk if I dunked them for too long! As an adult, I still had the same problem so I set out to solve the issue and created the dipr. Now, all ages can enjoy the dunking experience without losing their cookies!
That's right, even if you're an ADULT who has this serious problem, the dipr™ is for you! Plus... best of all, you can eat right off of it*, so no more sticky fingers!

*Probably. Clinical trials show the probability of stabbing yourself in the mouth with the hook when eating right off it to be no more than 47%.

December 10, 2013

Exposé: Behind the World's Worst Gifts

Read of the intern who created a lotion called AAAHHH!, the Playmobil Security Checkpoint, shampoo with food in it, Tanner the Dog Who Eats His Own Poop, the bizarre Japanese Watermelon Refridgerator Stroller, and much more!

At TempleSpa Headquarters

via TempleSpa
BOSS: Well, lackey, you've been working at TempleSpa™ for two weeks now. What've you got to show for it?
INTERN: Boss, I've got it. It's gonna be a hit. Get this: it's a soothing balm for aching feet and limbs.
BOSS: What's it called?
BOSS: AAH!! Jesus Christ! What's the matter??
INTERN: No, sir, that's what it's called.
BOSS: What?
INTERN: It's called AAAHHH!
BOSS: Aah!! Mother of God, stop saying that!!
INTERN: That's the name of the balm, sir. No need to blaspheme.
BOSS: Let me get this straight. You named a soothing balm... "Aaaaaahhhh!!!"?!?
INTERN: Exactly. And here's the tagline: leaves tired legs, feet & limbs feeling "tingling and alive." Isn't that great?
BOSS: "Tingling and alive"? It makes your limbs feel tingling? Like nerve damage?
INTERN: Tingling... and alive.
BOSS: Instead of dead and numb?
INTERN: Yes. The tingling means it's working.

November 26, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Fuck Up Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks, Part II (Part I)
Sail across the seas, meet native peoples, lie, steal land, plunder and pillage, desecrate women and children, decimate animal populations that have coexisted in delicate balance for centuries, pollute earth and sky and water, generally destroy whole ways of life.

Decline supping at the table in favor of efficiency! Scrape all the food and liquid from your plate into the blender, and prepare your very own "It's All Gonna Mix Together in Your Stomach Anyway" holiday shake. Plop down to watch football or some shit like that and never have to move again! (Note: make sure your straw is jumbo-size, and not a crazy straw. Meat tends to get backed up in the curves.)

Speaking of football, find a recording of last year's holiday game. At each crucial moment in the game, replace ten seconds of game footage with a commercial for laxatives or fiber cereals. Play from the beginning, hide all the remotes, and insist "there must be something wrong at the station." After the third commercial, stand up, saying "That reminds me," and head for the bathroom.

November 24, 2013

How to Mess With Kids on Turkey Day

Giving Thanks, Part I
"I mean - ha - you've heard of the Thansgiving Turkey, right kids? He was around when I was little, kind of like the Easter Bunny, but even better. He would bring baskets full of pumpkins and wonderful things to all the good little boys and girls Thanksgiving morning. But then, I don't remember quite when, he got lazy. He didn't do his chores at home. He didn't do his homework. He didn't listen to his parents and go to bed on time. He whined a lot. And finally, he lost his job as the Thanksgiving Turkey, and there hasn't been one ever since. Now every year on Thanksgiving we catch, slaughter, and eat his friends and children as revenge.
...Boy, it's a good thing you're not anything like the Thanksgiving Turkey, huh?"

"I'll tell you something. You know about recycling, right? Did you know that nowadays all our Halloween jack-o-lanterns are recycled to make all this pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pudding? It's pretty great. The only problem is, you know, those jack-o-lanterns stayed outside on the ground for a long time. A lot of bugs and worms and flies and maybe some BIG spiders probably crawled inside them. When we recycle those jack-o-lanterns we always forget to check inside - haha! We just grind everything up. Here - you want a piece?"

November 13, 2013

Disturbing Patterns

Slow down. Take it easy! Take time to smell the flowers. Smile! Look at the clouds! Don't miss the forest for the trees. In today's world, it isn't surprising we have so many disposable phrases that are essentially variations of: wake up from your stupor and look the fuck around you (this means you, tourist with face buried in map, friend obsessed with cell phone, guy sexting and driving). When we do emerge from our cyber- or other-cocoons, what we notice can range from the mundane to the highly amazing or disturbing, depending on the depth and breadth of our attention. Focused attention over time, in particular, can lead to the awareness of large trends.

For example, now, as I'm writing this, it's Wednesday. As I type, I notice Wednesday has two Es in it. Yesterday, Tuesday had only one E. Then, thinking back, Monday had none. Do you realize what is going on here? If I were a beast, even a domesticated animal, I might wait around to see what comes next, but as an intelligent human being, I can forecast and learn - I can use what I've seen before, recognize the trend, and extrapolate the future! What comes next? Obviously the day with three Es!

(click any picture to enlarge)

Clearly, this is a case of pure linear growth. 0, 1, 2, and next, tomorrow must have 3 Es. Theeresday? The day after that, which I've heard typically pronounced 'Fry Day' must be spelled with four Es: Freeeeday, Freedaeey, or perhaps Feereeday. Although I've heard talk of 'Satyr Day' and 'Sun Day' following Feereeday, I'm not really sure how to spell those with 5 and 6 Es respectively. No doubt some of you readers have had more schooling than me and will be able to offer corrections.

November 1, 2013

Slutty and Difficult Halloween Costumes

Advice to the wary: If your sensibilities are easily offended by hypothetical thought experiments meant to amuse, skip this post. Groups and peoples which may be offended herein include but are not limited to: Christians, athiests, Catholics, feminists, chauvinists, healthcare workers, WWII veterans, small children, old people, fans of Boris Karloff, French people, hospitalized patients, politicians, emergency relief workers, marine biologists, civil engineers, chefs, economists, little old ladies, costume designers, cat people, people with any moral dignity.

Difficult Halloween costumes are nothing new - witness last night, which saw this author pass such topical costumes as 'Closed National Park' and 'Debt Ceiling'; or think back to that one guy explaining his costume over and over again since it's based on a weak pun; or consider conceptual challenges such as 'nepotism,' 'infant mortality,' and similar phrases gleefully submitted by sadistic charades gamers. Meanwhile, slutty (or 'sexy' if you're being less offensive, which I'm not) costumes have been a staple for longer than sorority girls can remember - a tried and true formula for instant costume brainstorming: take anything, and make it slutty. Ta-da!! Related idea generators include of course transvestitism (applied to any strongly gender-associated outfit) and zombification (of anything).

September 15, 2013

Swing Out New Hampshire 2013 Skit

AKA "The Completely True Story Behind This Year's Musicality Clinics"

Swing Out New Hampshire is a week-long swing dance event held at Camp Wicosuta each fall. Here was my contribution to the camp talent show, in which I somehow convinced the organizers and other key people involved (Mark Kapner, Gordon Au, Gordon Webster, and Mike Thibault) to mercilessly mock themselves. Thanks to them for being such good sports about it, to Josh and Cassidy for the video (see it HERE), to Kelsey for brainstorming, and to the wonderful cast:


AS THEMSELVES...Mark Kapner, Mike Thibault, Gordon Webster, Gordon Au, Emily Vanston
NARRATOR...Gordon Au
DR. LIVINGSTON...Nathan Bugh
DOCTORS...Walter, Cassidy Holden
HEAD MONK...Aurora Nealand
MONKS...Kari, Rob Adkins, Natalie D, Isabel Hagen

 *     *     *

NARRATOR: We are now proud to present our reënactment of the absolutely TRUE story behind this year's musicality clinics. The following are the COMPLETELY true events of exactly one week ago. Our first tableau is somewhere in the jungles of Africa...

September 12, 2013

Socially Awkward Aardvark!

by Gordon & special guest contributor Ms. Kelsey

illustrations by Kelsey
...So we had this funny little idea. As an experiment, we decided to develop it independently at first, and see what our respective warped minds would birth. So here are two+ angles, a mere two surfaces of the multifaceted wonky gemstone that is Awkward Aardvark.

Our little friend may become the leading man in an ongoing series of a Much-Maligned Menagerie, so please do let us know if you think that should be the case.

Alright folks, enough chat... if awkward is the new sexy, get ready to change your underpants, cuz now it's time for... SOCIALLY... AWKWARD... AAAAARDVARK!!!

Gordonian Dialogues

PANTHER: Sup, Aard.
PANTHER: Aardvark, are you mocking me?
AARDVARK: No... my brother!
AARDVARK: OK... dude. Roger... dog.
PANTHER: I will cut you.

August 5, 2013

Morph Man Reads 'Morph Man II'

aka Comics By 12-Year-Olds: Morph Man II: The Dawn of Omicron
(Read first: The Amazing Adventures of Morph Man!)

HOSTESS: Well, everyone, welcome to this very special panel reading of Morph Man II. For those of you following along at home, don't forget you can click on any page to see a larger, more legible version. So... we have with us today none other than... the green gooey crusader, that versatile variform victor himself, our fine feathered flatulent freedom fighter MORPH MAAAAN!!!!

July 26, 2013

Revised 'Compound Curse Words' Network Graph

by Gordon

Dear readers: Clearly, I should've done more market research on the 'Compound Curse Words' network graph from my last post. Many people have graced me since with utterly correct additions and thoughtful questions - many more than regarding my usual posts (I must say I'm impressed with everyone's passion and strong opinions about profanity). Below are some contributions.

To clarify, this was supposed to encompass compound words that are used as derogatory curses. I am omitting other 'bad words' that aren't usually directed at people, such as bullshit and jackshit (shithole, on the other hand, I believe is in the vernacular).

July 24, 2013

All Your Base Are Belong to Bell Curve: Graphing the World

by Gordon

And now, a return to sciencey goodness: the endless joy of graphing. Or rather, the joy of graphing that peaks at a certain optimal number of graphs, and drops off with increasing rapidity below or above that number. This is tricky business! - in essence, semantic calculus: extrapolating the relationship of two dynamic variables, at least one of which is usually complex and problematic (e.g. your happiness, your chance of being a circus performer). I hope my high school math teachers will appreciate this.

First up, some newer graphs (since some of these already appeared on spacebook). Let's start with improvising musicians:

That dip at the left is because if you play a solo with only one or two notes, you're either Wayne Shorter, or at least someone with overwhelming musical cojones.

July 20, 2013

Comics by 9-Year-Olds: Morph Man is Not Funny

by Gordon

The inaugural Comic by 9-Year-Olds, The Adventures of Robotron, could be called a work of a pure stage of childhood - untainted wonder, action, desperation, sci-fi grandeur, or at least the imitation of all that. Whereas The Amazing Adventure of Morph Man, which followed by perhaps only a year or two, seems to come from a wholly different place: the exceedingly awkward stage at which a child discovers humor, wields it clumsily, and thinks, almost exclusively mistakenly, that (s)he is hilarious. Cue mountains of poop jokes, fake burps, and armpit farts. In that spirit, I rather unproudly present:

July 17, 2013

Creepy Crawlies!

by Gordon
originally published as "Meet Your Neighbors: Bugs of Japan" in The Hyogo Times, 2003

Of the many wonders of Japan [or the American eastern seaboard], you may count the host of creepy-crawly, blood-sucking, gigantic poisonous insects as among your least favorite. Perhaps the likes of the semi, at least, you can tolerate - so long as they hum their unearthly serenade at a respectful distance from you; however, the moment a six-legged guest turns up at home, the standard aisatsu for most of us is AAAA SHIT, WHERE'S THE BUGSPRAY??? But, in your next encounter, why not stay your shoe for a moment, and reflect on what we can learn from these strange denizens of the East?

Asian Tiger Mosquito - link
The Mosquito

First honors go to the ka, Japanese for "blood-sucking fiend from Hell." It's really a summertime invader... but, nonetheless: shortly after I came to Japan, one of these somehow crept into my bedroom; that night, I woke up again and again, batting it away from my face (sort of like a really, really bad date). Around the sixth time, I finally dragged myself out of bed, turned on the light, rolled up a newspaper... but it had simply disappeared. The next night, I was attacked again and tried to find the culprit, and even used a paper fan to clear all the walls and ceiling (sleep-delirium, I suppose)... but to no avail. Prior to night #3, I searched the bedroom again - and... nothing. At that point I quarantined the room and slept elsewhere.

July 6, 2013

Comics by 9-Year-Olds: Conversations with Robotron

Time for another treasure from the attic boxes... this time, the homemade comic book that started it all, yes: the legendary ROBOTRON #1, circa 1990. I think the Robotron series went up to #5 or 6, before giving way to the 'Morph Man' series and its spinoffs, and various superhero fan comics. Robotron had a companion / friend in a parallel galaxy named Robobot (penned by my best friend Doug), with whom he joins forces in the sequel.

Anyway, please enjoy....

AKA, Adventures in (Poor) Space(ing of Letters)

July 1, 2013

Rejected Stories By First-Graders

by Gordon

N. Hardwell
Editor, ABC Publishing

Mrs. Thompson
Dill Elementary School

July 1, 1987

Mrs. Thompson:

I recently received your submission "A Witch: a Collection of Creative Stories by Mrs. Thompson's First Grade Class" (facsimile below), along with the similarly-subtitled anthologies "I Am the Easter Bunny" and "Ladybugs." As I was between major editing projects, I was able to read through them rather quickly.

I should say start reading through them, because I was unable to make it all the way through any one submission. Frankly, your writers cannot be called 'First Grade' in any sense. Despite being somewhat inured to bad writing (thanks to decades in this cesspool of an industry), after reading "A Witch," I felt so nauseous I had to lay down to avoid vomiting. I had to restore my faith in human language by recalling Dr. Seuss rhymes and reading from a recipe book. I am now reconsidering my life.

June 30, 2013

A New York Moment

A True Story, as poorly recalled by Gordon

Times Square, around 1AM

GUY: Ohh sorry can I bother you to take a picture please? Of me and my dog.
GIRL: Sure!
ME: Of course.
GUY: It's actually for my boyfriend. He's relaxing at home and making me walk his dog.
GIRL: Haha.
GUY: He's just sitting there and I'm out... walking his dog... in the middle of the night.
ME: Haha...the things we'll do for love!
GIRL: So where do you want it?
GUY: Here is fine. [Strikes multiple butt-centric modelesque poses]

June 21, 2013

Papers Recovered From the 2nd Death Star

by Gordon

Hello and Welcome to the

We strive to offer you the freshest, healthiest, tastiest cuisine possible... while staying true to our Lord Vader's call of death to all who resist the Glorious Empire! Don't tell us "I find your lack of options... disturbing!" since all-mineral diet and zablorx-free options are available upon request. Please present any Star of Death coupons to your server before ordering.

~ Seasonal Specials ~

Tender young vegetable shoots that taste just like they were freshly gathered on a distant jungle moon somewhere beyond the reach of the Glorious Empire, where laughter and singing and dancing and anarchy filled the air... do you remember that? DO you? Are you actually considering ordering this? Then prepare to DIE, REBEL SCUM and TRAITOR to the EMPIRE!! (Torture droids have been alerted.)

June 19, 2013

Just Another Subway Ride (As Dreamt By an MTA Employee)

by Gordon

(Anyone know the photographer??)

CONDUCTOR: This is a Brooklyn-bound L train. Because of no construction, track maintenance, signal malfunction, or disruption, it will be making all scheduled stops. Next stop... Bedford Avenue.
GIRL: (Exiting) Oh, excuse me.
MAN: (Stepping aside) No, excuse me! Please exit the train before I get on. I find it's logical and much easier for everyone that way.
TANNOY: Please stand clear of the closing doors.
BOY NOT RUNNING OUTSIDE TRAIN: Oh, don't hold the doors; I'll catch the next one.
(Train moves)
MAN: (Standing up) Oh, miss? Would you like to sit down?
WOMAN: Thank you.
MAN: No problem. I would happily give up my seat to a pregnant senior citizen war veteran quadriplegic any day! ...Wait? What am I talking about? Even though it's rush hour, there are plenty of small but comfortable seats still available in this car. I'll sit back down.
GIRL: Pardon me, would you mind if I took this seat in the middle of you two?
CLEAN-SMELLING GENTLEMEN OF AVERAGE SIZE: (Shifting stone statue of Buddha from seat to lap) Of course not.

June 16, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Train Boy!


MOTHER: Do you know who loves you, little boy?
BOY: Goo-goo ga-ga choo-choo.
MOTHER: Of course you do. Mommy loves you, and Daddy loves you! And who do you love, my little angel?
BOY: Chugga chugga.


BOY: Daddy goes here.
FATHER: OK. Now you're gonna... you're gonna sit on me? OK, time for a horsey ride!
BOY: No. Train ride!
FATHER: Oh. OK. Well here we go - vroom, vrooom, vrooom! -
BOY: No! Chugga chugga chugga chugga.
FATHER: Oh, right. OK. Chugga chugga toot toot!
BOY: Noo! Woo-wooooo!
FATHER: OK, OK, I got it already. Chugga chugga woo-hoo.
BOY: No! Woo-WOOOO!!
FATHER: Woo-woo, boo-hoo, what's the difference anyway -

June 13, 2013

Maybe in the next lifetime !!

AKA, Darnell Learns a Valuable Lesson

Well, this post is a bit of a topical departure, but simply HAS to be shared, as you'll see. If you must find a connexion to techno-sciency things, I'll share that at the very end. In any case, here's the long story slightly shorter...

A week ago, on tour, during break in the middle of a show, I notice this text from an unknown number on my phone:

I don't know a Darnell, my name is not Boo, and what is tagged? I figure it's a wrong number, and ignore it.

On the next break, I open my phone to see:

Ooooh shit. This guy has clearly not double-checked the number and this is some kind of incredibly awkward, desperate booty call text. I show my friends, and we discuss in amazement. Darnell likes what he sees, wants to get to know me "up close and personal!!" and "would really enjoyed" me, since he's no longer in a relationship. But a mere 13 minutes after his first message, it's "guess u don't have time for me."

May 12, 2013

When Mothers Ruled the Earth...

In honor of mothers everywhere, I'd like to take this day to point out something you may not have noticed before.

Do you see the pattern here (aside from the cartoonist getting lazier and lazier)? Everyone alive today has one mother, two grandmothers, four great grandmothers, and so forth: in each subsequent generation we trace backwards, there is twice the number of motherly ancestors. And this number grows quite rapidly: if we go back 7 generations, or about 175 years, we can extrapolate 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers living around the 1830s for anyone alive today. How about around the time of the birth of the USA? In 1776, 237 years ago, or about 10 generations back, 512 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers could be claimed by anyone today. That's a lot of Mother's Day cards.

April 17, 2013

You Autocomplete Me!

Or, A Second Paean to Google's Autocomplete
Earlier this year, we examined what little boys and girls in (or out of) love can learn from the mysterious, miraculous cupid that is Google Autocomplete (see that Valentine's Day post here). As we saw, in a creepy but hilarious way, Autocomplete knows us as a populace, as a culture, perhaps even better than we know ourselves.

Now in a significantly less educational but more bewildering exposé, I present some other gems brought to you by Autocomplete. This will be more of a grab bag, including some examples of pure inscrutable weirdness. But, after all, when we dump a few trillion searches into the black box of google's artificial hive brain, stir it around, stick in a spoon, and try a random taste, who knows what to expect?

Part the First: You Answered Your Own Question
In which one of your questions answers another. For example:
I'd like to see a double-blind study that compares the elephant-lifting diet to the Atkins.

"Oh, that's why."

April 9, 2013

Is 'Dopey' an Unfair Name? An Analysis of Dwarf-Naming Practices

On the auspicious occasion of the approaching 86th anniversary (it's a big one!) of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney's first feature-length animated film, I present a discourse on the appellation of dwarves.

March 31, 2013

How to Mess With Kids on Easter

The Easter Bunny's seen better days.
by Gordon (portions originally published 2012)

1) If you have a dog that destroys his toys: buy a stuffed animal white rabbit. Early Easter morning, bring your dog out to the back porch, give him the rabbit and allow him to rip it to shreds, scattering bits of fur and fluff far and wide. Maybe take a wicker basket and step on it and throw it nearby; break a few eggs on the ground. When the kids wake up, wonder aloud why there are no Easter baskets to be seen yet. Let the dog in and say, "Hey boy, what's that you got there? What's that piece of white fur in your mou - oh no. Oh NO. WHAT DID YOU DO???? WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE EASTER BUNNY??? Oh no, kids, whatever you do, do NOT LOOK IN THE BACKYARD!!!"

2) Corner some children at a small egg hunt: "OK, kids, make sure you find all 446 eggs!"
An hour later, say "Still not yet? Oh boy... it's gonna be a lot harder to find them once it gets dark. And it's gonna be so cold, and raining... Come on, hurry up!"

March 21, 2013

The Translation Which Does Not Endeavor! (aka Effortless Translation)

A Review of Altavista's Babel Fish Translation Service (formerly at
an oldie-but-goodie originally published in The Hyogo Times, Japan, 2003

The English-Japanese implementation of Babelfish produces some fairly odd yet mostly comprehensible sentences. Of course, the simpler the input, the better. Translations with colloquialisms or phrases with multiple meanings generally come out as Engrish or Nihonglish (or whatever you call the Japanese equivalent). Indeed, as suggested by, if you use Babel Fish to translate and then un-translate an English phrase, the result reads like just so many Japanese T-shirts. For example:

Don't get mad - get even! *becomes* The stomach does not have to be raised, - profit do!

Don't get your panties in a bunch. *becomes* Your panties of the bundle you do not have to obtain.

Give me a break! *becomes* Be broken in me and give the eye!

March 19, 2013

Today's My Birthday!

(From The Perry Bible Fellowship)

The insults that wound us most deeply, and the jokes that amuse us most profoundly, are those that are true. Then in the rare outstanding case, something simultaneously wounds AND amuses us with its truth - and that explains why I love this comic, and sometimes share it with friends on their birthdays (c. now, Monica, Chris, Peter, Emily!). I do it not only to play the devil's advocate, and not only because of my devious streak, but because I think such memento mori are valuable.

We all know people who do their best work when faced with a deadline (ha). 'Limited time only' sales catch our eye. Scarcity suggests value. Yet so many people go about their lives as if their days were unlimited... until one day, they'll be (wait for it)... dead wrong.

I say, keep a healthy awareness of death! Celebrate and dance on your bed now (while you still can). Do what matters to you today. After all, it's your birthday.

February 14, 2013

Autocomplete Your Love Life This Valentine's Day!

Google search's Autocomplete is like the nerdy cousin of Autocorrect. The latter is more popular, partly because he knows you personally - via your typing habits - and partly because what he wreaks can be hilariously disastrous. Autocomplete, on the other hand, is seldom as funny, seldom gets as much attention, but he knows  - via your searching habits - not only you, but a few other BILLION people.

The latter is the guy we want on board today, St. Valentine's Day. The nerdy but vast wisdom of Autocomplete has so much to teach us: not only in the actual search results, but also in seeing what people search for - what they're curious about, what they don't know.

And the number one thing men and women don't know about? EACH OTHER. So now it's Autocomplete to the rescue! - For a crash course in men, women... and looove.