Express Train To Hell

Yankees expressThe Devil returned to the living room with a tray of his famous Hellfire Wings straight from the oven.  Never had The House on the Hill smelled so good.

“I knew these would be the perfect snack for the rubber game of the Subway Series,” he told me as he sat next to me on the couch.

“I didn’t realize you were so into baseball,” I commented as I passed him a Snapple from the cooler.

Lucifer pointed to the Yankees pin on the lapel of his $2,000 tailored Italian suit.  “I don’t blemish perfection for just anything,” he informed me with a wink as he took a sip of his Snapple.  “I am a fan of baseball, but even more so, I am a fan of the Subway Series.”

“Why is that?  I never took you for a New Yorker,” I quipped as I grabbed a wing, no longer able to resist the delicious scent emanating from the table in front of me.

“I love the subway,” Satan explained.  “It’s underground, it’s hot and cramped, people are completely miserable and don’t want to be there.  It’s Hell on Earth.”

I’d never thought of the NYC Subway that way, but now that the Prince of Darkness had made the connection for me, it was totally obvious.  I’d started taking the subway when I was thirteen and got accepted to a high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  The most efficient way to get there from Brooklyn was by subway.

Mets expressAnd it was Hell.  I had heard all the horror stories, and I was scared.  The subway was sweaty, packed with strangers, and it was an underground maze into which a kid with no sense of direction could vanish forever.

“It’s been a lifetime since I was last on the subway,” I finally said when I snapped out of my dark and frightening flashback.

“I rode it yesterday,” The Devil countered.  “They’ve cleaned it up so much, but it was still delightful.”

I couldn’t believe that Lucifer had just been to my hometown, a place I hadn’t returned to since I left for California a year after I got married.  I was jealous.

“I miss New York,” I admitted.  “Every day that I have to drive to work in the snow, I long for the simple subway ride that was rarely affected by weather.”

“I was there when they broke ground on the subway,” Satan told me nonchalantly as he grabbed a Hellfire Wing.  “I posed as a worker and helped to dig the very first tunnels.  I had a sense, even back then, that the subway was going to be my home away from home.  I was also able to deal for the souls of the frightened workers who just wanted enough money so they wouldn’t have to dig in darkness to support their families.”

I was appalled and intrigued at the same time.  The game had started, but The Prince of Darkness had my full attention.

Devil“I’d deal for a man’s soul one day, and the next, he’d be replaced by another, who would trade me his soul after just a day or two in those scary tunnels,” he continued.  “The city was rampant with tales of the Devil and his demons running loose because the planned subway had broken through the outer circle of Hell.  Priests were dispatched to the tunnels with Holy Water and Bibles, and I just continued to dig.  They had no idea how close they were to me.”

This former Catholic School student was mesmerized.  The Nuns and Jesuits had never told me such tales.  I’d just thought this was going to be a night of chicken wings and baseball, but I was getting a first hand account of the creation of the New York City Subway system.

“So you helped to build the subway?” I asked in astonishment.

Lucifer nodded.  “I’d take different forms so as not to arouse suspicion, and just kept coming back over the years.  I had a hand in digging tunnels in every borough through which the subway travels.  How could I stay away when business was so good?”

“But why do you keep riding it today?” I questioned after I finally took a sip of Snapple.  I’d been so focused on his story that I’d forgotten about food, drink, and the Yankees.

“Like I said, it reminds me of Hell,” Satan answered with a smile.  “Plus, there are so many fond memories in those tunnels.  I don’t know why people complain about the subway.  I think it’s enchanting.”

subway packedThat had to be the first time anyone had every called the NYC Subway enchanting.

The Devil was a trendsetter, as well as a master with a shovel and a chicken wing.

Now it was time for baseball.

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Sports, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Total Eclipse Of The Rejects

Nite Show North Woods LawHappy Sunday, Modern Philosophers!

I’ve been so busy writing new monologue jokes for this week’s taping of The Nite Show With Danny Cashman, that I almost forgot the Sunday Rejects post!

The whole point of the post is to ensure that the unused jokes aren’t forgotten, so that would’ve been a real blunder on my part.

A new episode of The Nite Show aired last evening, so now I can share some of my monologue jokes that didn’t end up on TV.  Can you find it in your hearts to show the Sunday Rejects a little love?

The Age of Adeline, starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, opened in theaters last night.  Lively plays a woman who never ages, while Ford plays a man who seems to put his life in danger every time he steps out of his trailer…  

May Day is on Friday.  Send help!

Ben Folds performed at the State Theater on Thursday night.  Not to be confused with Ben Fluff and Folds, who performs at the State Street Laundromat every weekend…

The Shrine Circus is at the Augusta Civic Center this weekend, making it the one time of year that the members of the State Legislature aren’t the only clowns in Augusta…

Austin sketchThe Shrine Circus is at the Augusta Civic Center this weekend so for once, “the big top” might not necessarily be a reference to the shirt Governor LePage is wearing…

Bangor Comic Con is this weekend.  Nerds will emerge from their parents’ basements to attend, and if one sees a bully’s shadow, it means six more weeks of wedgies…

Bangor Comic Con is this weekend, so don’t be surprised if you see people wandering around Downtown Bangor dressed as their favorite standup comics…

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so if you see Karl Malone or John Stockton, show them a little love…

April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so every time you take a selfie this month, remember to say “Grilled Cheese!”

Arbor Day was yesterday.  Trees across the state celebrated by chasing lumberjacks around with chainsaws…

Nite Show ChamberlainArbor Day was yesterday.  I celebrated by being a real sap and telling people to leave me alone…

Did any of the Sunday Rejects make you laugh, Modern Philosophers?

The next taping of The Nite Show is this Wednesday.  I’d love to see you there, so let me know if you plan to attend.

The Nite Show airs on Saturday nights in Maine.  You can support the show by liking its Facebook page, checking out clips on its YouTube channel, or by following it on Twitter @TheNiteShowME.

Posted in Humor, Philosophy, musings, Writing, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

I Advise You To Run Towards The Light

BlutoDear Modern Philosophers,

Happy Sunday!  I thought I’d mix it up a little today and use the Sunday advice column to write a letter to you.  Who doesn’t love getting mail?

Yesterday, I wrote about being in a funk, and I appreciated all the suggestions you sent for defunkifying my life.  I’m going to turn the tables, and give you some advice on the topic now.

I advise you to run towards the light!

Put on your running toga, lace up your sneakers, and hit the road.  Run in the direction of the Sun, and think of it as the glowing hope that the future holds for you.  Let it warm you, envelope you, and light the way towards happiness.

And even if none of that works, you’ll still get a decent workout and the runner’s high will chase away the funk for a little while.

It’s a win/win situation.

That’s exactly what I did this morning.  It was grey and gloomy, but I knew the Sun had to be out there somewhere.  Otherwise, life as we know it would’ve ended already.

I’ll admit, I have not been running much lately.  In my defense, it has been cold and rainy much of the past week.  However, I think the real reason was that my personal forecast has been mostly lazy, with a high probability of serious slacker storms.

Austin SundayI got out there and ran towards the light.  Sure, it was a bit of a struggle as it had been a week since my last run, but I know how to survive on the mean, sweaty streets of Bangor.

I kept myself distracted.  I had the Foo Fighters Pandora station blasting in my ears, and in my head, I had Deep Thoughts about writing projects knocking around to set the pace.

Danny sent the list of Nite Show monologue joke topics this morning, so I spent the first couple of miles coming up with some jokes.

For the last mile, I mentally outlined the e-book idea that has been simmering on the back burner of my brain for the past couple of days.  I think that one might finally be ready to be moved onto the page.  I’m excited about that.

To my surprise, I made it to the last leg of my run without stopping.  As you can see from the above photo, however, I was pretty woozy.  I’d left a river of sweat behind me, and the serious loss of bodily fluids had my check engine light flashing as I approached that last, harrowing hill on my route.

Thankfully, Pandora sensed my troubles and selected Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” just as I hit that last incline.  With Dave Grohl growling about how he hoped someone was getting the best of me, I reached deep down and found just enough will power and lung capacity to get up that hill and coast home to The House on the Hill.

The timing of it was perfect because the song ended just as I collapsed on the porch, and the station played a couple of commercials.  I never would’ve made it that last quarter of a mile if I only had an ad for some local medical practice to spur me forward.

I finished the 3 mile adventure in 29:00.  That was a pleasant surprise.

just runSo the lesson in all this, Modern Philosophers, is to fight the funk by running towards the bright sunlight.  Leave the doom and gloom in your rear view, and let the sweat and muscular mayhem move you to a better place.

I’ve got some serious writing to do now.  Actually it’s monologue joke writing, so I mean “serious” in another sense of the word.

Regardless, I’m pumped now and confident about cranking out some great jokes.  Why don’t you see what a good run can do for you?

Posted in Fitness, Humor, musings, Philosophy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Boombox Romeo

MSDSAAN EC012Driving home

Last night,

In Your Eyes

Came on

The radio.

Peter Gabriel,

Live version.

My thoughts

Immediately

Went to

My boy,

Lloyd Dobler,

The Boombox Romeo.

Standing there

In his trench coat,

Arms raised,

Look of confidence

On his face,

Letting the song

Speak

For

Him.

Diane Court

Never knew

What hit her.

She was

His Boombox Juliet,

Unsure

Of her feelings,

Until Lloyd

Went big

With his

Grand

Romantic

Gesture.

How could

She ever consider

Another guy

After that?

Lloyd Dobler

Kicked in

The door

For average guys,

Who had always

Loved their

Dream Girls

From afar.

The Boombox Romeo

Put everyone

On notice.

No one

Is out of

Your league.

Everyone

Has a chance

To win

The heart

Of their

True love.

Just

Go

For

It!

If she

Can see it

In your eyes,

Then she will

Feel it

In her heart.

Thank you,

Lloyd Dobler,

The Boombox Romeo.

Posted in Humor, Love, Movies, Philosophy, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Jump Start Your Brain: Blogging Road Show

JumpstartIt’s Saturday, Modern Philosophers, and I had a very difficult time getting out of bed this morning.

And that wasn’t just because Dr. Jekyll had my house staff strap me in a little too tightly last night.  Rather, it was because I’m in a bit of a funk.

Life has been a tad like Groundhog Day lately, in that the exact same thing seems to be happening over and over again, and I am incapable of breaking the cycle.  Then the day always ends with Bill Murray kicking me in the junk.

What’s the deal with that, Bill?  What did I ever do to deserve such treatment?  And why the hell haven’t I smartened up yet and put on a cup since I know that kick is coming?

I thought I’d mix things up a little this morning, and take the blog out on the road.  There’s nothing like a road trip to bust a slump, and I’m happy to leave the funk back at The House on the Hill while I seek out new adventures.

So this morning, my Jump Start post is coming to you live from The Brewer Public Library.  That’s right, Modern Philosophers, I am at the library, soaking up the silence, and surrounding myself with books.

libraryIf any of you are in the area, why don’t you drop in for a visit?  I’ll happily autograph your favorite blog post, chat with you about blogging, and see if I can get some of your favorite characters from the blog to come down and visit as well.

Things are pretty quiet here right now, which leads me to believe that the library needs a jump start.  Perhaps by tapping out these Deep Thoughts from the reading room, I’ll will get things humming throughout the entire building.

And like Magic, this jump start has made the library come to life.  There are three other people at the table with me now, and a little old lady just came in who is quite the live wire.  I think she’s hard of hearing because she is speaking very loudly while engaging the librarians in conversation.

I’ve just learned that she used to run a nursery school for 35 years, and she seems to know everyone in the place except for me.  I hope when I’m her age, I can walk into the library and have everyone know my name.

It’s like Cheers for the book crowd…but you still get carded.

Now another patron is engaging the librarians in a conversation on Autism, and they are discussing their favorite books on the subject.

I knew coming to the library would give my day the jump start it needed.  Hope this post has given your Saturday a proper jump start.  I’ll be here for a little while longer if you want to come down and share some Deep Thoughts live and in person.

Thank you, Brewer Public Library, for hosting this live blogging experience!

What do you do, Modern Philosophers, when you find yourself in a funk and life seems to be rerunning the same day over and over?  What do you use as a slump buster?  Has Bill Murray ever kicked you in the privates? 

Posted in Funny, Humor, musings, Philosophy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Friday Night Think Tank: Survivor (Time Travel Edition)

Doc BrownHappy Friday, Modern Philosophers!

Your reward for surviving this week is a very special edition of the Friday Night Think Tank, with “surviving” being the key term.

I was watching Survivor last night (I recorded it as I hate to watch TV live and have to deal with the commercials), and it got the Deep Thoughts flowing about my favorite reality TV show’s connection to this blog.

As most of you know, the now infamous Survivor: Maine post is the highest viewed in this blog’s history, and has gone viral on the internet on multiple occasions.

I feel like Jeff Probst and I have a special connection ever since he retweeted the post, and commented on the prospect of Survivor ever shooting in Maine.  As a result, I wanted to pitch him a great new version of Survivor that we will debut here tonight.

While this edition of the show does not take place in Maine, it does involve Time Travel.  In order to make it work, we are going to need Doc’s help, and I hope Jeff will reward him by making him his co-host.

Are you ready for this week’s journey to the Think Tank?  Cue the Survivor theme music…

This week’s topic: Congratulations!  You are the first contestant on Survivor: Time Travel.  Are you ready to outwit, outplay, and outlast various versions of yourself from across the Space/Time Continuum?  Your opponents on the remote tropical island are: You on Prom Night, You on the First Day of College, You at 21, You at Your First Post-College Job, You on the Best Day of Your Professional Life, You on the Lowest Day of Your Personal Life, You on the Day You First Kissed Your True Love, You on Your Wedding Day, You at 30, You at 40, You at 50, and You at 65.  What is your strategy?  Who do you see as your toughest opponent?  Who do you want as allies?  Who would you want to get rid of right off the bat?  Could Present Day You win?

JeffI really thought this would be a wicked interesting Philosophical Exercise, Modern Philosophers.  Yes, I threw that “wicked” in there to give this post a little Maine flavor.

It was a fun challenge just to come up with the list of competitors.  Take a minute to size up the rest of the tribe, and then form some Deep Thoughts on strategy.

The first thing that popped into my head is that I would have a definite advantage over the versions of me who are from a time before Survivor was on the air.  Those Austins will not have any clue as to the strategy that goes into winning on Survivor, so I would look to take advantage of that, manipulate them, and use their naivete against them.

I’m also aware that younger versions of me were extremely shy and not at all outgoing, so I wouldn’t see them as threats in the social aspect of the game.  I don’t see the 21 and younger versions of me being any threat in the physical challenges, either.

I would definitely want to avoid me on the lowest day of my personal life, because that guy was a wreck, he was pathetic, and he would be very likely to lash out at the others.  So I wouldn’t want to be blacklisted by association by the rest of the tribe.

I’d also be wary of me on my Wedding Day.  While that Austin was confident, happy, and madly in love, he was also a naive idiot, who believed he was about to exchange vows with the woman who would love him forever.  Someone who would make such a strategic error is not going to win Survivor, so I don’t want an alliance with him.

I’d definitely want to buddy up to 50 year old and 65 year old me because they know what the future holds.  They’d have insight that I would need to defeat earlier versions of me.

I’d be most afraid of me on the day I first kissed my True Love and me on the best day of my professional life.  Those Austins would be confident, cocky, and feeling invincible.  Even though they are about a decade apart in age, they were both in excellent physical condition, and I know how formidable I can be when I am confident.

My strategy would be to act as a leader to the younger versions of me, using Jedi mind tricks, a knowledge of the game, and years of experience at being me to bend them to my will and earn their loyalty.

I would treat the older versions of me as equals, trying to convince them that we are best buddies, and that if we form an alliance, we can get rid of the younger, cockier, more athletic versions of me.

I’d let the more intimidating versions of me see me as a wise adviser, a joker, and a storyteller.  I’d prove myself to be a hard worker, someone who can be counted on around the camp, and not a serious threat in the immunity challenges.

Slowly, I’d pick off the real threats, letting the other versions of me think that they were the ones making the decisions and setting the strategy.

survivorEventually,  I’d be the Sole Survivor after the other versions of me voted me the winner of Survivor: Time Travel because they were so impressed at how well I outplayed them.

At that point, Jeff Probst would have no choice but to insist that the next season of Survivor be set in Maine.

What’s your Survivor: Time Travel strategy?

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Television, time travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

“Smart” Ice Cream Offers Faster Fix For Sadness And Broken Hearts

ice creamThe next time life has you down, Modern Philosophers, and you reach for that quart of ice cream to make it all better, expect much quicker results!

Scientists at Maine’s prestigious Chamberlain Laboratories have created a Smart Ice Cream, which they claim will turn that frown upside down and mend a broken heart at incredible speeds.

“We can’t divulge our secret formula, but suffice it to say that the ingredients will send messages to your brain convincing it that you are happier than you’ve ever been,” Chamberlain Labs spokesman Robin Breyer informed this Modern Philosopher.

According to Breyer, the quest to create a Smart Ice Cream, began as a joke.

“A few of the scientists were commiserating about recent break ups, and they all admitted to turning to ice cream to help mend their broken hearts.  Then another talked about how he had gone on an ice cream bender after the death of his grandfather,” she explained.

scientists“Someone joked that if they created a super ice cream, they could wipe out depression.  A light bulb went off, and the next thing we knew, Chamberlain Labs was one of the largest ice cream makers in Maine.”

Normally, the lab has to pay people to participate in experiments.  In the case of the Smart Ice Cream development, however, they actually had to use a lottery system because so many people wanted to be a part of the product testing.  Who wouldn’t want free ice cream that makes you super happy?

According to the data Chamberlain Labs filed when when applying for their patents, the first batches of the Smart Ice Cream tasted great, but didn’t do much for the participants’ psyche.  All it really did was add to their waistline, as the caloric count was off the charts in the early stages.

ice cream cry“We are proud to say that our Smart Ice Cream tastes delicious and is less fattening than most other ice creams,” Breyer boasted.  “So now when you eat your feelings, you’re going to make yourself feel better, and not have to worry about your figure in the process.”

While the USFDA has given the Smart Ice Cream its seal of approval, there are still detractors out there.

Dr. Xavier Philes, a leading psychiatrist, says it’s not right to tell people to use food as a crutch.  “Society should rely on therapy and pharmaceuticals to help them with depression and heartbreak.  Not food!”

Then there’s self proclaimed “Food Purist” Mikayla Font who told this Modern Philosopher:  “Food is meant to be pure, natural, and of the earth.  It should never be tinkered with by nerds in lab coats, who only care about the bottom line, rather than our delicate palates.”

Even the religious foodies got in on this one.  “God created food, and we should eat it as He intended it.  Anyone who worships at the altar of smart food is committing idolatry, no matter how good it tastes.”

I was worried that the Smart Ice Cream contained some drug to induce such euphoria, but Breyer assured me that was not the case.

“It’s just science,” she promised as she offered me a giant bowl of chocolate peanut butter Smart Ice Cream.  “The only thing addicting about it is the taste.”

ice cream smileSmart Ice Cream is available in sixteen flavors, and will hit stores on May 1.  For more information, you can check out the Smart Ice Cream website, which is located at: ChamberlainLaboratories.com/SmartIceCream.

Chamberlain Labs advises you to seek medical help for ice cream headaches lasting more than four hours.

You should not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery when under the influence of Smart Ice Cream.

Side effects include chills, brain cramps, ice cream mustaches, and diabetes.  Enjoy responsibly!

Posted in Funny, Humor, Love, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments