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If I Ruled the World

If I ruled the world - misspelled namesThe world is falling apart. People are oblivious to the needs of others. It seems nobody ever holds the door open for the next person anymore. We’re all in a rush. We blame others for our problems. Politicians talk about building 50-foot walls to keep out Mexicans. North Korea is launching missiles at South Korea. And my Mariners are on another five-game losing streak. What has this world come to?

If I’m ever given the chance to rule the world, things will be different. Way different. I’d implement long-overdue legislation that will make life way better for everyone (well, at least the people I like). When I rule the world…

  • I’ll declare Cookie Dough ice cream the official junk food of the United States – and I will use my presidential authority to veto any attempt by Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment changing it to Pistachio.
  • People will get ticketed for being obnoxiously rude. Failure to hold the door open for the person behind you will be subject to a $25 fine. Talk on your cell phone in a movie theater? That’ll be a mandatory 10-day jail sentence – with no cell phone privileges.
  • People who nab my parking space, even though they could clearly see I was there first, waiting for the other car to leave, will lose all driving privileges for a year. Enjoy taking the bus, dude.
  • I will ban Twitter. It’s been ten years now, and I still don’t get the appeal. #banTwitter.
  • If my computer becomes infected with malware simply because I clicked on a Facebook link that reads “25 celebrities who have aged badly”, the perpetrator of that malware will be sentenced to six months in jail – and their job 16 hours a day will be to remove malware and viruses on laptops worldwide.

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  • Published On Apr. 16, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Fifty First Dates

    first-date-young-manWhen I look back at my youth, I sometimes cringe about all those first dates and how awkward I was. A lot of men worry about making a bad first impression, fearing they might do something stupid like forget to bring their wallet or accidentally show their date pictures of their wife and kids. Bad form.

    I’ve been out of the dating scene for a few decades, but I doubt it’s changed much. The last time I asked out a woman other than my wife, Margaret Thatcher was the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain, Christopher Cross had just topped the music charts with Sailing, and a surefire way to pick up chicks was to impress them by riding the bar’s mechanical bull. Um, okay, maybe things have changed a bit since I was making my moves.

    I’ve had lots of experience with first dates – and even a few isolated experiences with second dates. I won’t sit here and brag that I’m God’s gift to women – and I’m pretty confident neither would any of my first dates. But I can vividly recall how some of those entrées into the dating world went. I’d like to share my wisdom around this important mating ritual, in the hopes it may help some of you single guys out there have a better chance at a second date. (I swear I’m not making up any of the following examples).

    If you’re in say, middle school, and you’re on the very first date of your life, don’t put your arm around the girl during the movie unless you pick up clear signals she’s into you. Subtle signs she may not be into you include:

    • She stares at the screen the entire time, refusing to make eye contact with you
    • After five minutes, she discreetly removes your arm from her shoulder – and does it again five minutes later
    • When your older brother picks you up after the movie, she asks you to sit in the front seat instead of the back seat with her
    • When you attempt to walk her to her door (as your father told you was the gentlemanly thing to do), she sprints

    These all happened to me on my very first date. I felt so crushed that I briefly considered the merits of changing my sexual orientation.

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  • Published On Dec. 04, 2016 by TEJ
  • A Night at the Opera

    opera-viking-ladyMy wife always complains we don’t do enough things to expand our cultural awareness. Somehow she does not consider The Big Bang Theory enough of an expansion – I keep telling her she’d learn some interesting factoids about particle physics if she just listened to a few Sheldon Cooper rants. Her needling me about my lack of cultural curiosity offends me deeply because I’m an extremely sophisticated, erudite person. As proof, I would point out my usage of the word “erudite” in the previous sentence (which I found on a Google search of obscure, smart-sounding words).

    Last summer, my wife and I went to one of those fancy pants, highbrow movie theaters where we saw a Danish film with English sub-titles. Not trying to brag, but I made it almost two thirds of the way through. I even went to a snobby, avant-garde modern art gallery opening once for an exhibit that turned out to be a collection of wooden furniture covered in thousands of nails (I’m not making this up, I swear).

    I can endure boring, elitist, over-priced entertainment as well as the next beaten down husband. I’ve gone to the ballet. I’ve stayed awake through several Shakespeare plays – and had a vague idea of who the bad guys were in a couple of them. I even survived a modern dance recital my wife roped me into in which each dancer represented a different vegetable. (I’m pretty sure the guy in the green leotards was a zucchini, but he might have been a cucumber.)

    So, don’t tell me I’m not willing to expand my artistic horizons. But every man has a line he won’t cross. And for me, that line is OPERA – that is, until last night, when my wife told me, “Turn off CSI Miami. We’re going to the opera tonight.” Fortunately, I was already wearing my dress shorts.

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    • Bobblehead night sounds perfect, let me know and I'll be there.
      Bob
  • Published On Nov. 14, 2016 by TEJ
  • You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

    [The following is an approximate re-telling of a recent traffic stop I had with local law enforcement for a moving violation. The events of my run-in all happened exactly as described below. Well, almost exactly.]

    traffic-stop-speed-limit-signIt was 7:22 am on a Wednesday. I was driving northbound on Main Highway like I always did this time of week. But this time, there was a problem. I was running late for my regular Wednesday meet-up with a buddy of mine. Let’s call him Terry, because, well, that’s his name. Terry was waiting for me at our regular rendezvous, a place called Terry’s Corner (honest). My buddy Terry is a big deal in this small town. But Terry was going to have to wait. Because, like I said, I was running late.

    I knew I shouldn’t have downed half a six-pack of Mountain Dew Live Wire first thing in the morning. My heart rate was through the roof as I raced down the highway in my silver Toyota minivan, desperately trying to make up time. I saw the speed limit sign. It read 50 mph, just like it always read this time of day. Some things never change. I looked in my rear view mirror. Drivers were climbing up on my tail. Okay, not literally my tail. I don’t have a tail. It’s just a figure of speech. Maybe I was just imagining things, but it looked like the guy behind me wanted to run me over. My heart started pounding. My palms got clammy. I could barely hold onto the steering wheel.

    My mind buzzed with all the things I had to do today. Little did I know that my agenda was about to take a major U-turn – because just as I was writing the previous sentence, I zoomed past a parked trooper. In that instant, the cop pulled onto the highway, flashed his lights, and started in hot pursuit.

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    • Re: Funny Times Oct. column Of course the paper goes over the top, no doubt about…
      Patrick McKearnan
  • Published On Sep. 23, 2016 by TEJ
  • Flying Coach vs. First Class

    first class vs coach - seatingI have flown all over the world – to Europe, to China, and against my better judgment, once to Scranton, PA. But I’ve never flown first class. I had a boss who flew first class all the time. Recently we exchanged notes about our passenger experiences on a flight to Dallas – hers in first class versus mine in cargo, er, I mean coach (same difference). Here is a side-by-side comparison, as documented by the flight attendant announcements.

    FIRST CLASS FLIGHT ATTENDANT PASSENGER ANNOUNCEMENT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard Delta Airlines Flight #427 for Dallas. It will be our pleasure to serve you this morning. You will all receive a case of Omaha Steaks simply for listening to this announcement.

    COACH CLASS FLIGHT ATTENDANT PASSENGER ANNOUNCEMENT: This is Delta Flight #427 for Dallas. Everybody, listen up. If you weren’t planning to fly to Dallas today, then you’re on the wrong plane. You’ve got sixty seconds to get the heck off. Hey, bald guy in the third row, listen to me when I’m talking to you!

    First Class: As you take your seat, if you have any difficulty stowing your carry-on luggage, we’ll be more than happy to assist. Ma’am, let me help you with your ostrich. No trouble at all.

    Coach:  As you take your seat, put your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you that your knees are currently pressed up against. Anything larger than a child’s backpack will be confiscated and tossed into a pile of luggage bound for Saskatchewan.

    first class vs coach - diningFirst Class: Now that you’re comfortably seated, please note that your seat can recline a full 180 degrees. If you do not prefer a cotton eye pillow, we’re happy to provide a silk one. Can I interest you in a free Apple Watch? Read More…


    • Here's an option, Tim: I'm working my way up to First Class. The first time I got married,…
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Jun. 20, 2016 by TEJ
  • Small Town Crime

    Small town crime - MayberryI’ve lived in major metro areas my entire life – Albany, NY, Columbus, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and most recently, Seattle. They all had one disturbing characteristic in common – high levels of crime. Every year, it seems, the rates of homicides, drug-related incidents, home break-ins, road rage, and jaywalking go up. I hate to admit it, but even I eventually succumbed to my base criminal instincts. Last summer, I paid for three hours of parking in downtown Seattle, but left my car in the spot for three hours and 12 minutes. I know I should have turned myself in. It’s something that will eat away at my conscience for the rest of my life.

    So when my wife and I moved to a small, idyllic community (population ~ 15,000), I was relieved that we’d finally escaped the urban world of unbridled crime. Or had we? We now live on Camano Island, a seemingly tranquil, semi-rural community with rolling farmland, rugged beaches, and views of snow-capped mountains. But lurking underneath this deceptive façade of serenity, I’ve discovered an insidious underbelly of rampant crime.

    The island’s longtime elderly residents remember nostalgically a more peaceful era, when the main activities were crab fishing and sitting. The island only had one stop light, one gas station, and almost nobody with a last name that was hard to pronounce. But now the island has four stop lights and three gas stations. Thankfully, with the exception of Lucjan and Konstantyna Chmielowski, who were born in Poland, we can still pronounce most people’s names. However, along with this community’s spiraling urbanization (recently they even opened a drive-through espresso stand, can you imagine!) has come previously unheard of levels of crime and disorderly behavior.

    The following is a list of infractions reported for the month of March. (All of the following items are based on actual police reports found in the local paper, the Camano Island Hopper.)

    March 4: Mail was stolen from 115 Paradise Lane. The homeowner is only asking the perpetrator to please return the Wednesday Flyer section of the paper. There was a two-for-one coupon on flank steak she had planned to use. Read More…


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  • Published On Apr. 11, 2016 by TEJ
  • I Have Discovered the Fountain of Youth

    Fountain of Youth - bottleI’m 61 years old. You can’t fool me with platitudes like “60 is the new 45.”  Let’s face it. The man in the mirror is looking very rough around the edges – and frankly, he’s looking pretty rough everywhere inside the edges, too.

    In recent years, I’ve become increasingly aware that my body is starting to falter. Nowadays my knees creak melodiously. When I get out of a chair, I have to think about how much thrust will be needed to propel me to a vertical posture. I’m losing my hair where I want it and gaining it in places I don’t. And my eyebrows grow in every direction but straight. When did that start happening?

    In a series of futile efforts to stave off getting old, I’ve employed a variety of desperate measures. I can’t recall how many times I’ve tried dieting – mainly because my memory isn’t that good anymore. Every diet I try seems to end at the bottom of a guilt-ridden bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream at 11 o’clock at night, with me swearing I’ll start my diet tomorrow. I’ve tried working out on the treadmill, swimming and cycling, but these all suffer from a major drawback: they all require effort. I’ve tried herbal supplements like ginkgo biloba to improve my memory, but I always forget whether I took the pills that day or not. I’ve even tried self-proclaimed miracle drugs like Dyzastra. You name it. I’ve tried it. None of them have worked. I still feel like I am aging by the minute.

    I have searched for the Fountain of Youth for years with no success – until now. I’m excited to share that I’ve finally found the secret to feeling instantly 20 years younger. And it did not require any expensive cosmetic surgery, painful ab crunches, uncomfortable fat-burning, vibrating belt, or Australian-method Pilates classes. I didn’t have to drink Kale smoothies, which, no matter how many blueberries you add, still taste like, well, Kale smoothies. No hair transplants. No hip replacement. Nothing that my doctor has been nagging me to change about my daily fitness habits for the past fifteen years. No, my solution was far simpler and pain-free.

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  • Published On Feb. 22, 2016 by TEJ
  • I Recently Joined a Health Club. Eventually, I Might Even Try Using It.

    health club - buff guyI’m a little discouraged. You see, about six months ago, I joined a health club with all the latest fitness equipment. But in all that time, I have hardly lost any weight. And by “hardly” more specifically I mean I’ve gained five pounds. I have seen no improvement in my strength, flexibility or endurance since joining the club.

    There are several possible explanations for these disappointing results… most notably perhaps the fact that I’ve only gone to the club five times – and three of those visits were to catch the game on their large screen TV in the juice bar.

    But in my defense, there are many perfectly valid reasons for my slow start. First, I had to re-organize the Christmas decorations in the garage in alphabetical order. Then there was that project to restore several dozen art projects our kids made in elementary school, some of which were missing buttons and sparkles in critical places. And most recently, Downton Abbey started Season 6. It’s a serious time commitment, keeping abreast of whether the Earl of Grantham is going to lay off the under butler or the senior lady’s maid. I would not want to have to make that difficult decision.

    My point is, I’ve been extremely busy lately.

    Make no mistake. I’m not lazy. I love the idea of getting in shape. I’m just not particularly fond of the “working out” part. I love my health club’s many amenities, like the hot tub, sauna, and juice bar, which they call the “Barbell Bar.” Catchy name, eh? I’m just not crazy about the club’s complex fitness machines, some of which were clearly inspired by medieval torture instruments.

    Oh, sure, we all may like the results of doing 50 chin-ups or skipping rope for 30 minutes. But no honest person can look you in the eye and truthfully claim they have fun doing it. If they say that, they are lying – either that or they may be having a brain aneurism, in which case call 911 immediately.

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  • Published On Feb. 08, 2016 by TEJ
  • Don’t Let Email and Facebook Take Over Your Life

    Email addiction - GrouponThere is a growing problem in this country. It’s the bombardment of messages we receive virtually nonstop every single day, thanks to the increasing omnipresence of email, text messaging and social media in our lives.

    Today I want to tell you how you can break free from the distraction of – hey look! An email from Ace Hardware. They’re offering 15% off hammers today only. How’d they know I needed a new hammer? Where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about the importance of staying in the moment and not letting outside email distractions cause us to get – Wow! My team is up by 10 at the half.  Thanks for the text, Sis. Go, Buckeyes!

    My point is, we need to take back control of our lives and not let our laptops and smart phones dictate how we spend our time. There is nothing more important in life than – Adele’s latest tweet announcing, “I’m back with a brand new single. Watch the video now: http://trib.al/utC***z”.  Wow, that was awesome. She sure has a set of pipes….

    As I was saying, too often we bounce from one distraction to the next when what we really should be doing is using our time to appreciate – this important email I just got from Donald Trump claiming that Ted Cruz is an idiot….

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    • How true, Tim! Just the other night my daughter Eva and I were talking about Facebook as we waited at…
      Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
  • Published On Feb. 02, 2016 by TEJ
  • My Plan to Donate My Powerball Jackpot Winnings to the Kids in Africa

    Powerball jackpot - Tim with kidsI was really bummed to learn that I did not win the recent $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot. I was so close to winning it all. I was only off by four or five numbers. Drat! It took me a while to overcome the shock and disappointment of my razor-thin loss. But after a week of eating nothing but cookie dough ice cream and Double Stuff Oreos by the sleeve, I was able to get out of bed and face the reality that my near-term future would not include a castle surrounded by an alligator-filled moat after all.

    My deep despair got me to thinking: What would I do if I actually won the billion dollar jackpot? I reflected on this question for what seemed like hours but was actually the duration of a TV commercial about hemorrhoid cream. I wrote down a list of things that I would do with the money if I were lucky enough to win. I’m not hinting that my incredible list of philanthropic plans makes me a better person than you. I’m not hinting anything at all. Let me spell it out for you. I’m a way better person than you – at least I will be, once I get my hands on that money.

    As someone who is profoundly deep and constantly reflects on the meaning of life whenever I’m not hungry, I realize I have been given a great amount over the course of my life – starting with two (occasionally) wonderful daughters. But there are so many others who have been given far less. So, if I were to win the Powerball jackpot, it would be my heartfelt desire to travel to Africa to provide food and clothing to all the starving children of that great nation. (I’m pretty sure Africa is a nation.) And I would build them a modern school with clean, safe running water, and give each child their very own iPad, pre-loaded with both Minecraft and Candy Crush – for educational purposes only. I would do this because, let’s face it, it’s all about the kids. And I already have everything I need….

    Except for a private jet. Yeah, I would love to get me one of those babies – um, so that I could transport food and clothing to the starving kids in Africa, of course. And my jet would come with a scantily clad female flight attendant with a sexy British accent, and she’d serve me martinis. I don’t even like martinis, but who cares? And just as soon as I got my private jet, I would immediately get to work on helping those starving, shabbily dressed kids in Africa….

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  • Published On Jan. 18, 2016 by TEJ