Discovering My Incredible Genetic History

Discovering My Incredible Genetic History

[The following article contains no factual information of any kind. Not a scintilla of truth. We felt a journalistic responsibility to thus inform our readers. We fear Mr. Jones is starting to lose it. – The Staff at VFTB]

This is a map of the areas of the world where, according to my DNA report, I may have had distant ancestors. Pay particular attention to that island off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar – the one spot with which I appear to have no connection.

This is a map of the areas of the world where, according to my DNA report, I may have had distant ancestors. Pay particular attention to that island off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar – the one spot with which I appear to have no connection.

If you are inclined to research your genealogy, be forewarned. There’s a lot of misinformation and hype out there. Learn from my mistakes. Not long ago I signed up for a service called Ancestree.com. The report came back concluding that my roots trace back to a ficus. Turns out the company was a rip-off luring bad spellers who were looking for Ancestry.com. I’ll never make that misteak agian.

That’s why I decided to sign up with 22andMe. I know what you’re thinking: Don’t you mean 23andMe? Turns out I’m also bad at math. Anyway, 22andMe offered results in less than a week, for half the cost of the more reputable service.

On the plus side, unlike the more well-known genealogy outfits, which typically require a saliva sample, this company did not ask for any of that fuss. I only had to send in a toenail clipping, a 16-ounce urine sample, fifteen strands of hair, and a photo of me dressed like a pirate. In retrospect, that probably should have been a tip-off.

When I received my results, they were somewhat disappointing. Not quite the kind of information I was hoping for. The analysis said I’m 99.995% Caucasian (what a shocker) and fit the profile of an under-achiever with self-esteem issues around my career choices. (I have to give them points for accuracy there.) They also concluded that I have a proclivity towards making impulsive online purchases about my ancestral background without doing adequate research. Perhaps most surprisingly, it also evaluated, “You’re not as funny a writer as you think you are.” I found that oddly critical for a DNA report.

The data indicated that my lineage originated from one of the following very narrow regions: Northern Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Tonga. So I know once and for all that none of my distant relatives originated in Antarctica. That is such a relief to know.

My DNA profile indicates that my most direct relative from the Middle Ages was probably this guy in the hoodie, second from the right, plowing a field. He could neither read nor write. Thus began a succession of low achievers.

My DNA profile indicates that my most direct relative from the Middle Ages was probably this guy in the hoodie, second from the right, plowing a field. He could neither read nor write. Thus began a succession of low achievers.

The summary went on to say – and I know this may astound you – that many of my forebearers had extensive facial hair, although slightly more so on the males’ side. Even more precisely, the report determined that my mother had always hoped I would become a doctor and my father never really loved me. Wow, this DNA stuff can get incredibly specific.

I had hoped for a bit more illumination about my actual genetic history. Fortunately, I learned that for an additional investment of a mere $250 – accompanied by a nose hair sample plus a photo of me in drag – 22andMe could furnish a much more in-depth DNA analysis. The hardest part was explaining to my wife why I needed to borrow her sun dress.

Two weeks later, I received a more exhaustive assessment – I mean, it went on and on! It provided a fascinating portrait of my primogenitors. It appears they are 42% less likely to have sweaty feet; 39% more likely to have a craving for sweets; 53% more likely to have owned a cat; and 85% more likely to make poorly timed investments in the stock market.

My distant relatives more than likely included Celts, Germans, Slovaks, and people who were afraid of the moon. They were at least 70% likely to have had one or more black acquaintances. Among my Scottish lineage, they were 75% likely to have had the snot beaten out of them by Vikings. (I know what you’re thinking: Did the report actually say, “snot beaten out of them by Vikings?” Yes, it did. I would never make up something so personal – because I’m a professional humor writer.)

The findings went on to disclose that a closer review of my genealogical bloodline indicates I may have been related to European royalty, like a past King of France or a Danish prince. In fact, and I found this part particularly intriguing, it appears that some pretty famous and powerful people, including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, King Richard the Lionheart, Queen Victoria, Leonardo da Vinci and even Cleopatra were all people who my ancestors were perhaps marginally aware of.

If you go back far enough in my genealogical history, I’m related to this dude. Now that I look more closely, I totally think I have his eyes. Handsome critter.

If you go back far enough in my genealogical history, I’m related to this dude. Now that I look more closely, I totally think I have his eyes. Handsome critter.

This narrative also listed the last names of people who were likely to be my second, third, fourth and even fifth cousins – who, for an extra fee, 22andMe will invite to connect with me and exchange our genealogical profiles. I was intrigued to see unusual names from countries all over the world, such as Latvia, Spain, New Zealand, and, surprisingly, Tonga.

In retrospect, I’m still not sure this was worth the expense, not to mention the hassle my wife gave me for cutting up her dress so it would fit me. I don’t think I acquired many insights into my heritage, although I feel painfully more aware of my genetic baggage.

I just received another email from 22andMe. In this offer, they claim that for just another $500 – along with a copy of the deed to our house – they’ll provide an even more detailed report. Maybe with these findings, once and for all, I will be able to relocate my long lost relatives from Tonga. I miss them so much.

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 2020

According to Google, I am a Terrible Person

According to Google, I am a Terrible Person

Google Tim - magnifying glassUntil about twenty minutes ago, I thought I was a decent person, a loving father and all in all, a fairly responsible citizen. But I am starting to have my doubts. You see, I recently published a humor book on parenting called YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE – Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time.

I sent out press releases and then did a quick online search to see whether any of my promotional activities were paying off. So, I googled my name – TIM JONES. Uh oh. The results were rather surprising.

On the positive side, I found several search results about the book and recent VFTB articles I’d written. But that’s not all I discovered. Turns out I’ve lived a far more interesting and varied life than I’d ever realized. And I have a dark side. A disturbingly dark side.

Apparently, despite what my kids have been saying about me for the past ten years, I am “highly intelligent.”Google Tim - IntelligentSo intelligent, in fact, that I earned a Ph.D. and joined the ranks of the faculty at Cardiff University in Wales.Google Tim - Cardiff UAccording to my profile in the Faculty Directory, my interests include “airborne particulate pollution” and “remote sensing in resource exploitation.” I have no idea what any of this means. I must have been drunk when I wrote my faculty profile. Had you asked me before today what my interests are, I would have listed football, sleeping and bacon.

Continue reading “According to Google, I am a Terrible Person” »

WARNING: IMPROPER USE OF THIS PRODUCT COULD INDICATE YOU’RE AN IDIOT

WARNING: IMPROPER USE OF THIS PRODUCT COULD INDICATE YOU’RE AN IDIOT

American idiots - hangerAmerica is the greatest melting pot on earth, welcoming people of all backgrounds and beliefs. It does not matter if you’re black or white, Christian or Jew, tall or short, young or old, wealthy or poor. And all of these groups have something in common: None of them has any shortage of idiots.

Based on my extensive research on the explosive growth of knuckleheads in our country, I’ve concluded that our great nation leads the world in idiots per capita. If you don’t believe we live in a nation of nitwits, how else can you explain some of the warning labels our manufacturers feel compelled to put on their products?

For example, there is actually a warning label on an iPod shuffle that reads, and I quote: “Do not eat iPod Shuffle.” (Honest to God.)  I, for one, am so glad they added that warning because, I was just about to spread jam on mine and eat it with scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.

In fairness, companies are only adding these product warning labels because they don’t want to get sued for millions in bogus liability lawsuits, as might happen if, say, a large gathering of people came together for an iPod Shuffle pot luck dinner party and failed to heed this important safety warning. God knows how many panicked trips to the emergency room this warning has helped to avoid over the last decade. I’m guessing zero (but I am just rounding).

The more research I’ve done on warning labels, the more I’ve become convinced that half the people in this country probably should not be allowed to use electrical appliances of any kind – or vote – or date my daughters. Here is a tiny sampling of actual warning labels for the American consumer (I swear I am not making any of this up):

On an iron: Caution: Do not iron while wearing article of clothing. I will remind my wife the next time she irons my dress shirt that she needs to do it in the nude – because I worry about her safety.  (Why is my wife doing my ironing?  That’s a blog for another day). Continue reading “WARNING: IMPROPER USE OF THIS PRODUCT COULD INDICATE YOU’RE AN IDIOT” »

In Defense of Facebook – by Barney Likezitt

In Defense of Facebook – by Barney Likezitt

This week’s View From The Bleachers guest commentator is Barney Likezitt, from Dayton, Ohio. Barney loves America and he really loves Facebook – oh, and beer!

This week’s View From The Bleachers guest commentator is Barney Likezitt, from Dayton, Ohio. Barney loves America and he really loves Facebook – oh, and beer!

[Note from the Staff of VFTB: Tim Jones is on vacation this week, so in his place, we invite you to enjoy this guest commentary by Barney Likezitt, an ardent Facebook advocate who would like to defend this social media site against its detractors. The views expressed by Mr. Likezitt do not necessarily reflect the views of Tim Jones or the staff of VFTB or any of its readers.]

Sometimes, I wonder how I survived life prior to 2004 – the year that the modern world’s greatest invention was created. No, not the beer helmet. I’m talking about Facebook. It’s hard for me to recall how I spent those nine hours a day before Facebook entered my life. Oh, now I remember. I was raising a family.

Since its inception, the number of Facebook users has grown to 2.4 billion. That means on any given day, roughly one out of every three people on the planet is updating their Facebook status while pretending to work. Some Negative Nellies consider Facebook a waste of time. But if you ask me, showering, shaving and putting on pants are much bigger time wasters. Watching hilarious videos of people falling into wedding cakes makes me laugh. And we all know laughter is the best medicine. Besides, Facebook’s also a great way to keep tabs on my kids’ activities. Why should I put myself through the annoyance of interacting with my brooding, self-absorbed 15-year-old daughter Megan when I can covertly scroll down her Facebook timeline?

More importantly – oh wait…. Someone just uploaded the funniest GIF where Hilary’s face was CGI’d onto a donkey. LOL. I have to share that one….

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh, right, Facebook is a great way to reconnect with people. Talk about blasts from the past! This very morning, I received a friend invitation from Ned Lumpkin, who I vaguely recall might have been in my ninth grade algebra class. Or perhaps it was a bot (I am so hip with the FB lingo). So, naturally, I accepted his / its friend invitation. I also reconnected with a former college flame named Brenda. She has definitely NOT aged well. I have no idea how Brenda is doing these days, but her Schnauzer Butch posts the most hilarious cat videos.

Don’t try to argue that Facebook isn’t educational. That’s fake news. Why, in the last hour, I learned that most alien abductions occur in Bluff, Alaska, climate change is a hoax, Brexit is going to save Great Britain, Brexit is going to ruin Great Britain, and I can buy a cool new litter box that will solve all my pet’s excretory issues for only three easy payments of $19.95.

Sometimes I wonder: What if the Founding Fathers had had access to Facebook? They could have saved so much time – and parchment – if they’d merely shared the Declaration of Independence on Facebook.

And when it came to voting on the various Articles of the Constitution, each delegate to the Constitutional Convention could have simply indicated either  or . Admittedly, there would probably have been a few snarky comments from defenders of King George, but Madison, Jefferson and their cronies could have unfriended them. Easier and more targeted than a musket shot.

I’m very politically active on Facebook because I love my country. I will thoughtfully react with a  to all Fox News articles. And I have signed every petition to deport anyone with black hair (which covers most questionable minorities). Now you might say, “Hey, Barney, if you’re so concerned about our nation’s future, how about doing some fundraising calls to stop gun violence, or knocking on doors for signatures on a petition to end inequality in the workforce?” And of course I would, but It takes forever just to type “Send her back” in response to the latest insightful MAGA rant. I can’t do everything, ya’ know!

Unlike TV, where the commercials are constantly in your face, Facebook allows me to choose which intriguing teaser ads I want to look at, like “Famous Musicians who are Serving Time in Prison” and “5 Foods to Burn Away that Belly Fat” and ”Whatever Happened to Calista Flockhart?” and “Poll: What Would You Sell Your Soul to the Devil For?” There are life lessons to be learned here.

Some detractors express concern that Facebook is collecting tons of data about every user without their permission. Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg’s company makes billions by sharing this info with marketers, Russian hackers, and “attractive single women” in Turkmenistan who are looking to meet me. What’s wrong with that? Besides, did I mention I’m single?

Why all the fuss? If you ask me, sharing my most personal data about my political leanings, how I looked in 4th grade, and my online purchase history for the past six years (I can explain the inflatable doll if you’d give me a chance) is a small price to pay to find out the latest news in the celebrity feud between Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. Personally, I’m on Miley’s side. Taylor can be such a prima donna.

Thomas Jefferson’s latest Facebook status update: “Congrats to Luis and Clark on their awesome Exploration” – HA! Jefferson misspelled “Lewis.” LOL.

Thomas Jefferson’s latest Facebook status update: “Congrats to Luis and Clark on their awesome Exploration” – HA! Jefferson misspelled “Lewis.” LOL.

I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not addicted to Facebook. It’s not like I sit around all day compulsively checking my  feed. Sometimes I do it lying down. And I take plenty of walks – to the bathroom, the fridge (to get another beer) and back to the couch. So don’t tell me I’m missing out on life.

For you arrogant neo-luddites who self-righteously point out that you’ve never been on Facebook, you can wipe that smug, superior expression off your faces. Go walk in the park with your family or read that riveting new novel by J.K. Rowling, or…or… climb Mount Everest. Meanwhile, I’ll be checking out what my very dear old friend Ned Lumpkin is up to. Unlike me, you would have missed the video he shared of a golfer who drove his cart into a lake. LOL.

Well, I have to go. A moment ago, I noticed an important FB post: “Proof that Princess Meghan Markle isn’t a very nice person.” I always suspected…. – By Barney Likezitt*

[* VFTB Staff Note: You may be asking yourself, ‘Where did you guys find this Barney Likezitt fellow?’ Um, the photo above of Barney is a random stock photo. Barney is not a real person.]

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

If I Ruled the World

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.

Continue reading “If I Ruled the World” »

Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You

Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You

I apologize - Tim and PopeI want to apologize. Recently I’ve learned that remarks I’ve made in previous humor articles have offended some readers. To Mr. Arnold Halasz of Budapest, Hungary, whom I appear to have sent completely over the edge, I apologize for my snarky comment that in Hungary, the only three foods you’ll find are pickles, cabbage, and pickled cabbage. I completely failed to mention cauliflower, and that one is totally on me. Thank you, Mr. H., for all your letters. I should mention, however, that your most recent death threat came postage due. Don’t forget to use two 1st class stamps next time.

So if I have offended any of you the way I appear to have done to the entire nation of Hungary, let me extend an olive branch by way of apology in the hopes that someday you might find it in your heart to forgive me.

To Edna Weppler of Racine, WI, who was offended by my post A side by side comparison of our Savior vs. the Apple iPad, I apologize. I absolutely respect your deeply held religious convictions. I was not trying to imply the iPad is better than your Lord and Savior. I was simply trying to point out that it has a much faster operating system than Jesus, with more advanced graphics, comes with way more free apps, and has a more forgiving interface. 

To Maria Solbein of Hornbeck, LA, who was offended by my post Women, help end discrimination against men. Get struck by lightning, I apologize. I appreciate that from your perspective it seemed I was arguing that men face more discrimination than women in our society. Your exhaustive list of 342 studies documenting longstanding patterns of discrimination against women in the workforce, politics, and society was, I must say impressive – not to mention exhausting. But I stand by my claim that far more men than women suffer from male pattern baldness. So let’s just agree to call it a tie, okay? 

To Angus O’Shaughnessy of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was offended by my post Seven myths about our neighbors to the north, I apologize for my insensitivity to your great nation and for my callous stereotypes about your country being totally ice-covered for 10 months of the year, along with my egregiously flippant comment that most Canadians live in igloos and leave their elderly to die alone on ice floes. In doing some additional research, I realize now I meant to say Norway, not Canada. I promise to print a correction in the next issue. Continue reading “Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You” »