Cupcake Diplomacy

Cupcake Diplomacy

Behold my ingenious solution for ending all wars: Put down the guns and missiles. Pick up a cupcake. Nobody can stay mad when they’re scarfing down a red velvet cupcake – except for Genghis Khan. He hated everybody – and was allergic to flour. So sad.

Behold my ingenious solution for ending all wars: Put down the guns and missiles. Pick up a cupcake. Nobody can stay mad when they’re scarfing down a red velvet cupcake – except for Genghis Khan. He hated everybody – and was allergic to flour. So sad.

As a retired five-star general in the US Air Force who served in both Gulf wars, and is occasionally accused of being mildly delusional, I consider myself an expert in military strategy, international diplomacy and the board game RISK.

In my youth, I sought power, prestige, and a dress uniform filled with shiny medals. With the wisdom of age, I now realize that what really matters in life are three things: Kindness, Compassion, Integrity and Meat Lovers’ Pizza. Okay, technically, that’s four things. Thankfully, throughout my prestigious Pentagon career, I was always surrounded by colonels who were better at math than I was.

Where am I going with this? Hell if I know. My ADHD medication hasn’t kicked in yet. But I think my point was that the world is falling apart. Tensions are ramping up along the Israel-Gaza border, in the streets of Venezuela, and among long-suffering Baltimore Orioles fans who bought season tickets this year. They chose poorly.

People are fearful that our country will get dragged into yet another armed conflict in the Middle East or North Korea. Fortunately, I have just the plan to de-escalate these hostilities. Two words: CUP CAKES! Okay, I’ve just been informed by one of my colonels that ‘cupcakes’ is, strictly speaking, one word. But who’s counting?

My point is: Nobody can resist cupcakes. Period. The End. When was the last time you saw people fight when cupcakes were being served (unless it was arguing over dibs on the last one)? If one of your co-workers brings cupcakes to the office to share, it is undeniably far and away the single best thing that will happen to you that entire day – unless you win the Pennsylvania $100 million lottery that day. Then, yeah, arguably that would be slightly better. I know your in-laws never approved of you marrying their daughter. But I guarantee if you bring cupcakes to the next family outing, they may even start calling you by your actual name.

Imagine if during the Civil War, the Union Generals thought to assault the Confederates with cupcakes instead of guns. The boys in grey, overjoyed at receiving cupcakes, would have put down their bayonets, embraced their brothers in blue, and the slaves would have been freed by dinner time. There is the remote possibility that the unarmed Union troops would have been annihilated, but they’d have died with a smile – and cupcake crumbs – on their faces.

Had Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat Cupcakes” instead of “Let them eat cake,” the peasants may well have stormed the bakeries instead of the Bastille, Marie would have saved her neck, and France would still be a monarchy today. Okay, that last consequence might not please everyone’s palette. And Marie would have no doubt been voted the most popular queen in French history in a Twitter insta-poll, had Twitter existed back in 1793.  #MarieAntoinette  #letthemeatcupcakes.

Think about how WW II could have ended years sooner if instead of dropping bombs on Germany, we dropped thousands of German Chocolate cupcakes instead – maybe with those cute little mini-parachutes. Admittedly that would have been quite the added expense. (Note: If you run out of cupcakes, free kittens is a great back-up plan. They can be airdropped as well, but with slightly bigger parachutes.) In my assessment, countless lives would have been spared – albeit shortened due to the serious spike in cholesterol from all that cupcake binging. But then, that’s how the cookie – or cupcake – crumbles when you start a war with the makers of Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cupcakes.

Imagine if in the Battle of Bunker Hill, the American cannons had fired cupcakes instead of cannonballs. The Revolutionary War would have been over in days, not years – and we’d still be pledging allegiance to the Queen. Maybe that would not be such a bad thing right now.

Imagine if in the Battle of Bunker Hill, the American cannons had fired cupcakes instead of cannonballs. The Revolutionary War would have been over in days, not years – and we’d still be pledging allegiance to the Queen. Maybe that would not be such a bad thing right now.

I have no doubt that the Iraq War could have been averted if we had used a carrot and stick approach – make that a carrot (cup)cake and stick approach:

“Saddam, you have a choice: Free your people now and step down from power, and we’ll give you a lifetime’s supply of carrot cupcakes, or we will erase that smarmy mustache off every single statue of you.”

I am convinced he would have jumped at the carrot cupcakes option – unless he was more of a  Snickerdoodle cupcake fan. But what are the odds of that? As for Desert Storm, had I been in charge of military strategy, I would have gone with Dessert Storm instead.

By the way, a lot of people worry that Donald Trump won’t leave the Oval Office even if he loses the 2020 election. But have you ever checked out his diet? Simply present him with a case of 24 Vanilla Salted Caramel cupcakes and a bucket of KFC (flanked by a contingent of 200 Marine Green Berets with assault rifles), and he’d be out the door before he could say, “I’m a very stable genius.”

In conclusion, as a highly respected military strategist and someone who has not lost at the board game Stratego in 20 years, I’m telling you, the key to achieving lasting global peace is through cupcake diplomacy.

There is one small risk, hardly worth mentioning. And that’s if Russian President Putin gets wind of this strategy. That devious dictator might manipulate Trump into ceding Alabama to Russia by giving him a gift basket of assorted cupcakes. That would be a serious tactical error on Trump’s part. If I were the President’s military advisor, I would counsel him to give up West Virginia instead.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Classmate Updates I’d Like to See

Classmate Updates I’d Like to See

This happy fellow dancing badly is my high school classmate Doug Stone. He partied all the time, was a total slacker and arrived late & drunk to graduation. He now manages a global hedge fund & earns $15 million/yr.

This happy fellow dancing badly is my high school classmate Doug Stone. He partied all the time, was a total slacker and arrived late & drunk to graduation. He now manages a global hedge fund & earns $15 million/yr.

Every three months, like clockwork, I suddenly experience an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. It happens when my high school alumni newsletter arrives. I went to a private all-boys’ military high school, the Albany Academy, founded in 1813. The school sends out a quarterly newsletter for three reasons:

  • to update alumni on programs they’ve initiated, like the incredible new state-of-the-art athletic complex
  • to not so subtly solicit generous donations to fund the incredible new state-of-the-art athletic complex
  • and most importantly, to invite alumni to send in updates about their booming careers (and invite them to share their riches to offset the cost of that incredible new state-of-the-art athletic complex)

I don’t normally suffer from poor self-esteem. I feel fairly good about most of my vocational moves – even my current ten-year gig as a humorist, despite the fact that it is a source of constant embarrassment to my wife and kids.

I generally avoid contact with most of my high school classmates because it invariably degrades into a rencounter among alpha males for top honors in career achievements. I’ll bump into someone from my graduating class who had been a stoner and slacker and barely eked by with a C- average. In the first minute of our encounter, he informs me that he’s now Chief of Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic. Or perhaps he invented GPS technology or won the Nobel Prize in Mathematics. Then comes that awkward moment when he asks what I’ve been up to and I am thrust into the awkward moral dilemma of whether to tell him I’m the CEO of a multinational technology firm or Ambassador to France. I usually just dodge the entire issue by vaguely alluding that he does not have the proper security clearance for me to divulge the details of my amazing story.  Continue reading “Classmate Updates I’d Like to See” »

A Story of Sex and Debauchery from My Youth

A Story of Sex and Debauchery from My Youth

This is the steamy story of Leonardo – and his many romantic conquests. His sexual desire was insatiable. The fairer sex was no match for his animal magnetism.

This is the steamy story of Leonardo – and his many romantic conquests. His sexual desire was insatiable. The fairer sex was no match for his animal magnetism.

When I was a young child, I had a very unusual friend who, how should I put this delicately – had some rather strong urges. His name was Leonardo. I met him when I was in seventh grade. Leonardo was the unemotional, quiet type. But there was one thing I noticed that was a bit odd about Leonardo. He seemed to have an unusual sexual appetite, particularly for someone so young. He fooled around a lot. When it came to romance, Leonardo was an animal.

He pursued sexual relationships with too many partners to recall. There were Lucy, Angel, Daisy, Chloe and Pepper, to name a few. But Leonardo didn’t always stay in his own lane. There were also Charlie, Toby and Max, and many others. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up with Leonardo’s endless series of objet’s d’amour.

His relationships never seemed to last very long. As soon as he got bored with one partner, Leo, as I called him, was off to his next roll in the hay. This went on for years. From what I could tell, he never gave these dalliances a moment’s reflection. Before long, Leonardo was off in search of his next Mona Lisa.

To be honest, I never said anything to Leo about my disapproval. I had no idea what his appeal was. What was his magnetic power over all these girls – and guys? What exactly did they see in him? Even at his youthful age, it was obvious to me that Leo had no discernable skills of any kind – other than his apparent sexual prowess. Not to be judgmental, he never came across to me as being very smart. It was not like he had six-pack abs or a killer smile. And he never cleaned up his place. It was always a total pigpen. But none of that seemed to matter in his relentless pursuit of sexual partners.

Then one day, a few years into our friendship, I introduced Leo to a new friend – Alexander. I thought they might hit it off as buddies. When I first saw them interact, I noticed that they just stared at each other, completely speechless, almost like they knew each other from somewhere but couldn’t place it. Then Leo whistled at Alexander. I have no idea why. But I could tell that they seemed to connect in some odd, almost intimate way.

As time went on, Alexander and Leo hung out together every day. They were almost inseparable. I never could quite figure out the nature of their friendship. Leo never talked about it – at least not with me. But it became clear that he had feelings for Alexander.

Then one day, I stopped by to find Leo and Alexander lying together – with a baby. And not just any baby. It turned out to be Leo’s baby! That’s when, to my shock, I discovered that Alexander was in fact Alexandra – a girl!  But she had never once corrected me when I called her Alexander. I had no idea. Leo was way too young to be a dad, I thought.

I am not one to judge, so I tried to be happy for Leo and Alexander, er, I mean Alexandra. But I wondered quietly, how long would it be before Leo abandoned Alexandra and their offspring? I was 18 when this happened. And it was time for me to head off to college.

I remember the day I finally said goodbye to Leo. I was at a loss for words. He couldn’t speak either. As I headed out the door, Leo just looked back at me, silently, with those impenetrable dark eyes. He too must have been sad because he couldn’t even muster up a smile. He just whistled and turned away. Then he started eating a carrot, something he always liked to do. Because Leo loved carrots, just like any other guinea pig.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Note: This is a true story. Leonardo was my guinea pig. I got him for my birthday in seventh grade. He routinely had sex with any guinea pig placed in the same cage with him, including Alexander, who I purchased (thinking it was a male) at the pet store to keep Leonardo company.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

My High School Commencement Address: “You’re All Whiners, I mean Winners!”

My High School Commencement Address: “You’re All Whiners, I mean Winners!”

[The following are excerpts from a recent high school graduation address given by Tim Jones. The name of affluent, private school has been withheld to spare the institution further shame and embarrassment for having selected Mr. Jones to deliver the address. – TEJ]

Recently I gave a high school commencement address. Mostly I just read out loud some old VFTB columns I’d written about Donald Trump. Not sure the kids could hear me over the rap music pounding in their ear buds. I must say, those three hours just flew by.

Recently I gave a high school commencement address. Mostly I just read out loud some old VFTB columns I’d written about Donald Trump. Not sure the kids could hear me over the rap music pounding in their ear buds. I must say, those three hours just flew by.

I would like to thank everyone who made today possible. The esteemed faculty, administrators, guidance counselors and even the disgraced former assistant coaches, for everything they’ve done to help all of you reach this important milestone.

I would also like to acknowledge the countless contributions of your self-sacrificing parental figures, by whom I mean your mom, dad, step-dad, other step-dad, and nannies.

Perhaps most importantly, I want to acknowledge the makers of Ritalin and Adderall for helping you kids stay focused enough to complete an impressive 37% of your assignments.

Congratulations, [REDACTED] High School class of 2019. As I look around this dimly lit auditorium and behold a sea of mortarboards atop designer sunglasses, I am struck by all the untapped potential.

I ask you, the co-leaders of tomorrow, to indulge me as I impart a few pearls of wisdom. First, though, I sincerely apologize if my musings distract you from the text messages about tonight’s rave party at Nate’s. I hear it will be “totally lit” because his parents just left for Italy.

You will soon leave the halls of this fine institution behind. Some of you will embark on the journey called “life- how to avoid it”, thanks to your parents’ untraceable bribe that got you into Stanford. Well done, mom and dad. You have four more years to avoid facing reality – that is, unless you are expelled freshman year for never attending class. You might want to rethink your longstanding policy of playing League of Legends till 4a.m. (LOL!)

For those of you not fortunate enough to possess incriminating photos of the Dean of Admissions at the college of your choice (or any college), no worries. There are countless other career options awaiting you after your graduate from [Fill in the blank] Technical College: Horse Inseminator, Sewage Diver, Deodorant Tester, Roadkill Removal Specialist… The world is your oyster, as in oyster shucker. Go for it.

Congratulations, proud high school graduates. You did it! Your future looks bright. I am sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that dream six-figure, 20-hour/week job as a cruise ship bartender that you richly deserve. Reach for the stars!

Congratulations, proud high school graduates. You did it! Your future looks bright. I am sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that dream six-figure, 20-hour/week job as a cruise ship bartender that you richly deserve. Reach for the stars!

Then there’s the rest of you – you know who you are. You decided college is not for you because you know everything already. Of course, you do. But three months from now, in the off chance your well-thought-out career plan is not unfolding as hoped, and your dreams of making millions as a day trader living in your parents’ basement are not panning out, please drop me a note when you apply for the coveted cashier position at McDonald’s or Burger King. Tough decision. My advice: Hold out for Mickey D’s. Better fries.

Soon into your university experience, you will be required to declare a major. The pressure is enormous, having to make a decision. So many enticing options: Medieval Astrological Studies, Auctioneering, Floral Management, Bagpiping…. One thing is certain: whatever you choose, it will be the wrong choice, which you will not discover until 3 semesters and $45,000 later. When you end up jobless with $100,000 in college loans due, don’t freak out. Remember, your parents co-signed the loans, so technically, they’re liable. Problem solved.

Graduates, I must forewarn you: there will be adjustments as you go forth. The biggest will be that there is no longer a helicopter pad for your parents. Your college professor will not take a call from your mommy explaining that your allergies were acting up and you could not finish the term paper. Your boss will not engage in a text dialogue with your daddy about why you deserve a raise for not missing a day of work in three weeks. You’re in the big leagues now.

I realize some of this might come as a disappointment, but out in the real world, things are a little different. By all means, congratulations on those trophies for Toddler T-ball participation and your 4th grade project on the planets (even though you left out three of them, including Earth). Cherish the Gold Star for picking up most of the crayons you threw across the classroom in 7th grade. And your cogent debate team argument that Lil Wayne is a greater influence in the music world than the Beatles, well, that’s one for yearbook.

I admit, the fact you’ve memorized the lyrics to every Ariana Grande song is pretty “dope” and should count for something. But then, I’m a fan. However, I’m here to tell you that the world out there may not value your incredible childhood “achievements” as much as your parents did.

There are no Smiley Stickers for showing up to work on time. And while it might not seem fair, you probably won’t get that corner office in Chicago with a view of the Pacific when they promote you from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Specialist. Be patient.

These are the proud parents of Joey Grimaldi. He graduated with a 2.3 GPA and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed – with the Babes.” He’s decided to forgo college for a gap year as he entertains his options – both stock and dating. To fund this venture, he plans to live at home and ask his parents for a raise in his allowance.

These are the proud parents of Joey Grimaldi. He graduated with a 2.3 GPA and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed – with the Babes.” He’s decided to forgo college for a gap year as he entertains his options – both stock and dating. To fund this venture, he plans to live at home and ask his parents for a raise in his allowance.

Your unlimited self-confidence is impressive. You can thank your parents for that, because ever since you were in the womb, they told you incessantly how amazing you were and how you could do anything you set your mind to.

I hate to break it to you, kids. Actually, you’re not quite as special as you think you are. And here is a word you’ll need to get used to hearing: No. As in, “No, we’re not going to install a hot tub in the employee lounge to inspire your creativity.” And “No, you can’t take four days off next week to attend Coachella with ‘your posse.’ We’re on deadline.”

The truth of the matter is, in the real world, not everyone is a winner. Some of us end up losing. If you don’t believe me, google “Gary Busey.” You’re not a real winner if you can’t handle losing. You need to learn how to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and push onward. (Readers, I apologize for the previous words of profound wisdom. They came from left field.)

Students, in closing, it’s time someone told you the truth about how life beyond your parents’ protective cocoon actually works. It isn’t always fair. Mom won’t be there to tell your boss to stop being so mean to you for assigning so much work. And success might take a little more effort, persistence, and time than it took for you to break your record score in Grand Theft Auto.

Hey, I could be wrong. Maybe you are every bit as perfect as your parents have protested for the past 18 years. But before you show up at that important interview for the killer job as a video game tester, you might want to remember to say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” give a firm handshake, and make direct eye contact. Oh, and take the ear buds out. 

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

We Interrupt This Breaking News for Breaking News

We Interrupt This Breaking News for Breaking News

This just in. In breaking news, a new study shows that almost every newscast starts with breaking news. We will have more details shortly, but first we turn to this new breaking news story….

This just in. In breaking news, a new study shows that almost every newscast starts with breaking news. We will have more details shortly, but first we turn to this new breaking news story….

Wolf Blitzer: This is Wolf Blitzer. Welcome to The Situation Room. We have important breaking news. The Wall Street Journal reports that Democrats in Congress are pushing back against President Trump’s plans to go to war with Iran. They are demanding to know why he is pushing for this when no other country is prepared to support such a – Excuse me, I understand my colleague Dana Bash has some breaking news. Dana?

Reporter Dana Bash: Thanks, Wolf. The New York Times is reporting that Attorney General William Barr wrote an internal memo stating that Donald Trump is not only innocent of all obstruction of justice charges but is also the greatest president in history – and probably would have won the Masters golf tournament had he entered it. This comes on the heels of reports that – I’m sorry. I’ve just been informed of a major development regarding the 2020 election. For more, we go to Zachary Cohen in Chicago. Zachary, what can you tell us?

Reporter Zachary Cohen: Thanks, Dana. A stunning rumor surfaced moments ago regarding the upcoming election. Sources have leaked that Oprah Winfrey plans to announce her candidacy for president at a press confer – wait… Folks, we have breaking news out of Moscow. For details, we turn to Rosa Flores. Rosa, what’s the scoop?

Reporter Rosa Flores: Thanks, Zach. In news that caught the State Department completely off guard, it appears that officials in Moscow, Idaho may have been involved in meddling in the 2016 elections. The State Department has issued a formal apology to President Putin for having doubted his integrity and accusing the wrong Moscow of interference. To make up for this embarrassing diplomatic blunder, the State Department has invited Putin to “get involved” in our 2020 – wait. We have a new development out of Chicago. For more we go to Jeff Simon.

Reporter Jeff Simon: Jeff Simon here. I’ve been told that previous reports of Oprah’s bid for the presidency are premature. She apparently has no intention of running, as she has her eyes set on a higher prize: the Papac –

Cohen: Jeff, we’ve just been told that several predominantly WASPs (Whites Against Spanish People) are up in arms about recent test results which reveal that Hispanic students tend to outscore non-Hispanics on Spanish-language AP tests. Calling this blatant discrimination against American students, a WASP spokesman has called for all high-scoring Hispanic students to be shipped to Guatemala, where they –

Bash: I hate to cut into your breaking news, but I’ve just been handed a screenshot of a Facebook post that claims a new study shows a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol people consume and their inability to remember their wife’s birthda –

Simon: Hold that thought, Dana. We’ve just received a potentially less premature report that Oprah has changed her mind about not running and will announce her candida–

Flores: Jeff, in riveting breaking news, it seems that President Trump is planning to go golfing this weekend at Mar-a-Lago, not Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., as had been previously disclosed –

Bash: We can now confirm this shocking story in the Waukesha Sentinel that a student, one Nathan Kowalski of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is expected to graduate from Pomona College in Claremont, CA with a 1.8 GPA and no debt. You heard that right. No debt. Sources say this is in part because his millionaire grandparents own majority shares of stock in Pomona College. Said Grandpa Kowalski, “We wanted to invest in our grandson’s future – “

Cohen: Sorry, Dana, but this astonishing bulletin just now crossed my desk. Apparently, many people have difficulty distinguishing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from a common tortoise when presented with side by side photographs. This comes after recent reports that Attorney General William Barr bears a surprising resemblance to a grumpy toad. As for what creature Stephen Miller looks like, there is no consensus other than that it’s terrifyin –

Flores: Great reporting, Zach. Hot off the press here: a recently completed congressional investigation concludes that vaccinations can in fact hurt you, especially if the needle is dull and being administered by a child. However, congressional Republicans still dispute findings that suggest assault weapons may cause widespread harm if discharged near people. And –

Bash: Rosa, I am almost speechless about the following breaking bulletin. Only moments ago, I received word that trash pickup for my neighborhood will be on Wednesday next week, not Tuesday, while recycling pickup has been pushed back to Thursday for reasons not yet provided. Local residents are advised to make a note of this on their refrigerator calend –

Cohen: I hate to cut into your breaking news, Dana, but we’ve just heard from an anonymous source that a new study shows a direct correlation between the amount of food people consume and their risk of gaining weight. It appears that food contains something experts refer to as “calories”, which, if ingested –

Simon: Police are bracing for mass demonstrations after the National Hurricane Center announced that this year’s first three hurricanes will be named Andrea, Barry and Chantal – not Stonewall, Scarlett, and Jedediah, as a vocal group of Civil War Reenactment activists had been lobbying for. In related news, climate change apparently is a Chinese hoax after all, according to an EPA Official who asked not to be identif  –

Flores: Jeff, I’ve just learned that researchers have discovered an obscure, previously unheard-of humor blog called Vista from the Cheap Seats. For more we go to our reporter, Tim Jones. Tim, what can you tell us?

Reporter Tim Jones: Rosa, it’s actually called View from the Bleachers, and it’s a hilarious collection of –

Simon: Sorry to cut in, Tim, but we have some breaking news. The Center for Obvious Statistics has just released its annual findings that kittens and puppies are still widely perceived to be more adorable than geckos or salamanders. We will have a full report next hour. Now back to Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019