Lighting Of Giant Jack O’ Lanterns Kicks Off Halloween Season In Maine!

jack oAt the stroke of midnight, Modern Philosophers, Halloween Season officially began in Maine.

As always, the state’s busiest month of tourism kicked off with the simultaneous lighting of giant Jack O’ Lanterns in Portland and Bangor.

In Portland, the giant pumpkin was lit by  Mayor McCheese.  By asking the challenger, rather than Governor Paul LePage, to jump start the festivities, Maine’s powerful All Hallows Society made it clear who they hoped to see win the Gubernatorial Election.

The Bangor Jack O’ Lantern, which was carved in the likeness of Jack Skellington, was lit by Stephen King and Maine’s three most powerful Witches (and my dear friends!).  My pals became even more beloved when they insisted that everyone who had gathered for the lighting ceremony join them at Three Toads & A Wicked Lady for a drink on the house!

maine tourismThe Maine Tourism Association estimates that the 31 Days of the Halloween Season will bring in more tourism dollars than the other eleven months of the year combined.

“Mainers are especially grateful to the Otherworldly Beings who choose to haunt our state for the month, making it both the scariest and the coolest place to spend October,” an MTA spokesperson told this Modern Philosopher.

Otherworldly Beings from across the world and the universe, flock to Maine in astounding numbers to take part in the month long celebration of Halloween.  “Maine in October is THE place to be if you are an Otherworldly Being,” a group of Vampires from Transylvania told his Modern Philosopher as we enjoyed a drink together after the lighting ceremony.

Things that one can enjoy during the month include: corn mazes, haunted houses, cemetery tours given by the spirits of those buried there, Ghost stories told by actual Ghosts, pumpkin carving contests, broom races, UFO rides, runs with Werewolves, parades, concerts, fireworks, trick or treating, costume contests, displays of Magic by Maine Witches, Zombie tracking, Gargoyle rides and so much more…

All HallowsThe All Hallows Society issued the following statement: Welcome to Maine for the celebration of the Halloween Season.  May you be warmed by the glow of love, friendship, and acceptance that will follow you everywhere.  You may be an outsider when not in Maine, but here, you are our brothers and sisters.  Thank you for  celebrating the season with us!

You haven’t really experienced Halloween, Modern Philosophers, until you have spent the month of October in Maine.  I will do my best this month to make you feel like you are a part of the festivities, but I really wish you would just come and join the fun.

hauntedThere’s plenty of room at The House on the Hill, so just bring your sense of adventure, a costume, some Gargoyle treats, and warm clothes.  It is Autumn in Maine after all…

Wishing you all an early Happy Halloween!


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Nap Debate Might Be Swing Issue In Maine Gubernatorial Election

cheeseThe calendar turns to October tomorrow, Modern Philosophers, which means that Election Day is a lot closer than we realize.

The Maine Gubernatorial Race has given us some very entertaining headlines, and spirited back and forth between the two main candidates, Governor Paul LePage and challenger Mayor McCheese.

While McCheese continues to enjoy a double digit lead in the polls, a new issue has come to the forefront that could be the Haily Mary LePage has been needing.

“The Sleep, Nap, & Other Relaxation Endeavors (SNORE) Initiative is the most important issue up for debate as we approach Election Day,” Eliza van Winkle, President of the activist group SNORE NOW, told this Modern Philosopher.  “We want to make nap breaks a mandatory part of the work day in Maine, and the candidate that supports SNORE is going to win this election.”

Not everyone agrees with van Winkle’s assessment of SNORE’s power to control the outcome.  “I think that SNORE is a hot button topic, but it’s not going to swing the election,” Zeus, Father of the Greek Gods and McCheese’s Campaign Manager, countered.  “I say that because Mayor McCheese is going to be the next Governor of Maine, and he does not endorse the SNORE Initiative.”

ZeusZeus was happy to expand on his comment.  “You know that Mayor McCheese supports hardworking Mainers, Austin, and he comes from a blue collar background.  He worked his way up the ladder at McDonald’s, starting out as a fry guy while in high school.   In all his years working there, he has never been the beneficiary of a nap break.”

“While he can see why it would appeal to Mainers, Mayor McCheese fears that adding naps to the work day will only promote an environment of slackerdom.    In the long run, that would be very bad for Maine.”

Of course, the people at SNORE NOW don’t agree with this.  “If Maine workers were able to take a couple of power naps a day, production would increase and Maine’s economy would get a solid boost,” van Winkle assured me.

The big question is: Will Governor LePage back the SNORE Initiative in a last minute attempt to steal this election, and earn a second term in The Blaine House?

Paul LePageLePage, who is infamous for being a total crank when he is tired, has yet to take a stance on the hot button topic.

“We have been begging him to back SNORE, but he won’t,” one frustrated LePage staffer told this Modern Philosopher.  “The Governor has taken such a strong stance against Welfare, MaineCare, and pretty much doing anything to help people that he doesn’t think work hard enough, so he doesn’t feel like he can support SNORE without looking like a hypocrite.”

“But we point out that he constantly contradicts himself, and takes a stance that best reflects his mood on any given day, so why not just support SNORE?” a second LePage staffer volunteered.  “He’s getting thumped in the polls by a giant Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  He needs to do whatever it takes to win!”

It will be interesting to see where the frontrunners end up going with this issue, Modern Philosophers.  Zeus assures me that Mayor McCheese will not change his stance, and I believe him.

napGovernor LePage, however, is the wildcard.  As always.  If he wants to win badly enough, he might very well decide that napping at work is a right that our Forefathers fought for back in the Revolutionary War.

Where do you stand on the SNORE Initiative, Modern Philosophers?

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Why Are There So Many Fingers In My Mouth?

Dentist“Why do you hate going to the dentist so much?” Ana asked when she finally looked up from the tattered book she was reading.

My gorgeous Vampire friend and self confessed bookworm, had made herself comfortable on the couch, and was curled up with one of the many books she had brought to The House on the Hill from the used bookstore she owned.

“Didn’t you ever watch Alias?” I countered with my knowledge of television.  “The dentist torture guy creeped the hell out of me.”

Ana gave me a look over the top of her glasses, rolled her eyes, and went back to reading.  “That’s not a serious answer, Austin.”

“I just don’t like having all those fingers in my mouth,” I told her as I grabbed a book from the pile on the table and sat down on the other end of the couch.  “I don’t like to have my fingers in there, so having several foreign digits in there really freaks me out.”

cavity“Don’t you realize that if you don’t let those fingers in, the Cavity Creeps will take control of your mouth?” Ana queried as she turned the page.  “Think of all the fingers an army of Cavity Creeps would have.”

I was glad she was caught up in her book, because I did not want her to see the face of disgust I made in reaction to her comment.

“I’m just afraid that one of those medieval torture devices they use as if scraping barnacles off the bottom of a boat, is going to break and leave a piece of metal forever wedged between my chompers.”

“You worry about the weirdest things,” she told me as she pushed her glasses back up on her nose.  “That even beats the reason why you won’t wear contacts.”

glassesAna gave me a look like she was challenging me to dispute her statement.

“My fear of contacts is not ridiculous!” I came back at her, way too defensively.  “There is a very good chance that one could slide up my eyeball and become lodged in my brain.  Look that up in one of your backs, Ana.  It’s a known fact!”

“You need to get out of this house more,” she hurled back at me with a chuckle.

“I know!” I answered without dispute.

After a few minutes of silence, where we both got really into our books, and I blocked out all thoughts of Cavity Creeps’ fingers, Ana finally stated, “I was really proud of you for going on TV the other night.  You might me a wimp about the dentist, but you certainly had the manliness going on to pull of the acting gig.  Good work.”

I blushed a little and grinned ear to ear.  I don’t have anyone special around to say things like that to me, so I was grateful that Ana had taken over the task at least this once.

“Thanks,” I replied as my cheeks continued to glow red.  “That means a lot to me.”

“As a Vampire, I need to tell you that taking care of your teeth should always be a top priority,” she said as she quickly flashed me her fangs.  “As your friend, who accepts that you’re more than a little odd, I get why you’d have some trepidation about spending time in the dentist’s chair.”

sydneyI was glad my best Witch buddies had introduced me to Ana.  Everyone needs a cool, attractive Vampire in his life, and when Ana was around, great books and stimulating conversation always followed.

I bet she could really kick ass, too, just like Sydney Bristow, my all-time favorite TV crush.  You really didn’t think I was going to bring up Alias and not mention Jennifer Garner’s super spy, did you?

And I’m certainly going to show a picture of her to end this post on a high note.  I’d trust Sydney to fight off the Cavity Creeps anytime…

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Monday Morning Coffee Club: 9/29/14

Cofee signUGH!  UGH!  UGH!

That’s right, Modern Philosophers, it’s a Triple UGH! kind of day.  They are very rare, especially in the United States (definitely more of a European thing!), but they obviously do occur.

The first UGH! is because it’s Monday.  We all know how I feel about that day of the week, and my constant pleadings to The Calendar Commission to wipe the day off of the calendar continue to fall on deaf ears.

It was such a gorgeous, Summer weekend, but I’m sure that Monday has no intention of continuing this warm weather trend.  Did you know it was so hot last night that I had to sleep with the fan on?  Such a rare occurrence for this time of year in Maine.

The second UGH! is because I have a 7:30am dentist appointment.  I fear the dentist like he is the antagonist in a series of 80s slasher flicks.  Don’t get me wrong, my dentist is a great guy, but my phobia lies in what he represents, the constant scraping in my mouth, the fear that one of those medieval torture tools is going to snap off between my teeth, and all the pain I remember from having teeth yanked when I was younger to accommodate my braces (and more pain).

It’s just my semi-annual cleaning, so it shouldn’t be that painful, but trying telling that to the part of my brain that controls unbridled fear.  Over the past few years, I’ve developed a coping mechanism to get me through my appointments, but it involves The Girl Who Moved Away, and I’m not sure I want to go there right now.

So if this is my final blog post, you’ll know that the dentist finally got me…

The third UGH! is because of the horrible nightmare I had last night.  Once again, because of my exceptional imagination, the dream was so vivid and real.  Names and facts were revealed within the dream that corresponded with reality.  It felt like the real deal.

MondayIn my nightmare, I discovered that I was adopted.  Neither of my parents are still alive to ask about this, so I had to take the word of the person revealing the secret.  She had photos, birth certificates, adoption paperwork, and the works.

It made sense because it finally explained why there’s a 16 year gap in ages between my older sister and I, but only a year and a half difference between me and my little sister (who in the dream, was also adopted).

The real kicker was that the person spilling the beans told me that I had a little sister, but my parents chose not to adopt her as well and keep us together.  They decided to adopt another little girl and raise her as my sister.

I hope you now understand why this nightmare earned an UGH!

Well, I have awakened from one nightmare, but another awaits me in the dentist’s office.  Say a little prayer for me, Modern Philosophers.

In the meantime, enjoy the coffee and remember that there’s only 17 hours left in this horrible day…

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I’ve Got To Make Room For The Ice Cream!

ice creamIt’s another gorgeous Summer’s day in Maine, Modern Philosophers, despite the fact that it is September 28.

It’s currently 84 degrees, I’ve got the windows open, I’m wearing shorts, and the sun is filling The House on the Hill with natural heat, which I’m sure is not making the heating oil companies happy.

I went on my Morning Run, eager to take advantage of the Summer weather, and couldn’t believe there weren’t more runners out on my route.  Then I remembered that Bangor was hosting the Color Run today, and I had, once again, not signed up for it.  To not feel left out, I brought cans of paint out on the road with me, and begged passersby to hurl the various colors at me as I ran past.

I’m thrilled to report that I now have an awesome Running Toga that looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.  I’ll be the envy of running Modern Philosophers all over the world!

Maybe it was the Summer heat, but I had the oddest Deep Thoughts on this morning’s run.  For almost the entirety of my 3 mile scamper, I kept thinking “I’ve got to burn calories to make room for ice cream”.

Yes, it was a strange thing to be obsessing over while engaged in a healthy activity, but like I said, it’s damn hot and I’ve got that half gallon of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream in my freezer, screaming out my name.  The ice cream was screaming so loudly, in fact, that I could hear it out on the road.

run the dayThe thing we need to focus on, of course, Modern Philosophers, is that I ran.  I didn’t sleep in, didn’t go up onto the roof with Gary the Gargoyle to work on my tan, and didn’t go directly to the freezer and set up an IV to have the ice cream pumped into my body.

I put on my Running Toga, laced up my  sneakers, and went out to burn enough calories to make room for the ice cream.

While I assure you that I will not eat enough ice cream tonight to rival that kitchen sink concoction in the opening photo, I do intend to enjoy my dessert.  It’s been a rough day with the Jets losing, Derek Jeter playing his last game, and my still not having found anyone to hold my hand again at The House on the Hill.

I deserve ice cream, Modern Philosophers, and I’m going to have it.

I don’t think this heat wave is supposed to last much beyond today, so I’m not worried that crazy ice cream cravings will be a problem in the immediate future.  Sometimes, one needs to just feed a craving rather than fight it.

Now that I think about it, I have my six month check up at the dentist in the morning, so yet another excuse to treat myself well tonight.

Just go runAnd speaking of treating yourself well, I hope you have done something athletic this weekend to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  I need you all to stay healthy so that you’re around forever to read my blog.

If you do something healthy now, I’ll give you the okay to have ice cream later…

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Like Zombies, The Rejects Shall Rise Again!

RejectionHappy Sunday, Modern Philosophers!

Last night was the Season Premiere of The Nite Show With Danny Cashman, which means that today, I can share some of my jokes that did not make it into Danny’s monologue.

Sadly, none of my jokes made it onto the air this week, but the monologue was shorter because of all the special guests who made an appearance at the first show taped at The Gracie Theatre.

I wasn’t upset about being shutout because I knew that later in the evening, I would be making my TV acting debut in a sketch that I’d written.  In fact, I was in the back of the theater, nervously studying my lines, and hardly noticed what was happening on stage.

Like the Zombies that plague Maine, the Rejects shall rise again.  Here as some of my jokes that didn’t get to be on TV last night…

Husson University is so happy to have The Nite Show on its campus, that the school is making a special offer to everyone at tonight’s taping.  Simply present your ticket stub at the Bursar’s Office any time in the next week, and you will receive two free credits towards the Fall Semester!

Due to all the recent off the field problems, “NFL” will now stand for National Felons League…

Nite Show New SetThis is our first show at the beautiful Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University.  Most of our budget went into the construction of this gorgeous new set, so there was no money left to hire writers.  Our motto for this season is: “Gorgeous new set, same lame jokes…”

Governor Paul LePage was supposed to be our first guest of the season, but it turns out that he is banned from Husson University by Campus Security.  Apparently, the Governor got a little wild at a campus party back in the day, and he is now persona non grata around here.  And by “back in the day”, I mean this past June…

We’re headed into week #4 of the NFL season, which as those of you who follow football know, means that the New York Jets have been officially eliminated from playoff contention…

Nutritionists recently released a study stating that brown rice is healthier for you than white rice, and that Ray Rice should simply be avoided at all cost…

In celebrity birthdays, singer and actor Meatloaf turns 67 today, making him one year younger than the meatloaf served tonight in the Husson University Dining Hall…

So what did you think of these jokes, Modern Philosophers?  Did any of the Rejects make you chuckle?  I hope so, because I worked hard on them, and they deserve to know that they inspired some laughter.

nite logoI have been sharing photos from the set on my Twitter feed, so if you don’t follow me on Twitter, there’s another reason to take the plunge.  You’ll find me @Austin_Hodgens.

If you live in Maine, I hope you’re watching The Nite Show every Saturday.  If you don’t live here,  you can like the show’s Facebook page, or follow it on Twitter @TheNiteShowME.

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Television, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

I Advise You To Never Try To Replace #2

BlutoDear Modern Philosopher,

I am one of the owners of a well known, storied, Major League Baseball Franchise.  Today, one of our more recognizable players is retiring from the game, and I have no idea how we are going to replace him.

He is not only an amazing player, but he is also one of the “good guys”.  He’s never been involved in any sort of scandal, which is a rarity with pro athletes these days.  He is a proven winner, the team’s Captain, pretty much the face of the sport, and is beloved even at the stadium of our fiercest rival.

We’ve got to trot someone out onto the field next year to play his position and take his spot in the batting order, but how do you replace an icon?

Any help you could give would not only be greatly appreciated, but could also lead to a spot for you in our front office.  Thanks!

Anonymous Baseball Owner

JeterDear Anonymous,

It’s pretty obvious that you are talking about Derek Jeter, the Captain of my beloved New York Yankees.

You’re correct in thinking that it will be impossible to replace Derek, so I advise you to never try to replace #2.

Retire his number and then play for eternity without a shortstop.  Utilize one of those wacky shifts that Joe Girardi loves so much, and just have the third baseman patrol that entire side of the diamond.  Or just use two second baseman, maybe calling the other player the second second baseman, and never allow him to roam past the first base side of second base.  Or just use a fourth outfielder like they do in softball.

There is no way you are ever going to replace Derek Jeter, and it would be completely unfair to call some poor player the new shortstop of the New York Yankees.  He would spend the rest of his career being compared to the man who held the position before him, and I think that would lead to a lot of stress and poor play.

Maybe you cold just put a cardboard cutout of Derek out at shortstop.  That way his teammates and the fans can be reassured when they look over to the position and see his smiling face patrolling that spot.

I hear science has made some major strides in cloning over the past year…

Just don’t ever try to replace someone who is irreplaceable.

We’re going to miss #2, who will always be #1 in our hearts…


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