So, Sewer Me

Pal Astroray writes:

"Subject: I found your Halloween costume

"The perfect side-kick, Ed Norton is waiting for you. Ed's shirt and vest are made of polyester. also included a hat and an IC voice box with famous phrases from the TV show, 'Hello Ball' and more. Buddy up with Ralph Kramden-Bus Driver for something really different. This is an officially licensed The Honeymooners™ product."

Gee, I couldn't make that one on my own. Thank you.

I do like this outfit, though, especially if you think it will make me look 60 pounds lighter.

I don't have a proper hat from the Raccoon Lodge, so I'll just wear Morty.


Dutch and Such

The reaction to my interview with the Netherlands' Web site, Planet.nl, continues to flood in from every far and wide corner of my neighborhood.

School chum Bill writes of the Dutch-to-English translation:

"Ah, those golden memories of the clown of the class and the drang get people to laughing."

The caring Frank sends his regards to the phenomenon:

"Well, I always knew you were popular with the dikes. Hey! Did I just go there? Yes, I went there!"

Frank [Witness Protection Program name] adds further comfort, citing this interview quote from apparently me: "At present I am terrible in my nopjes with the mechanical T.M.X. Elmo headstock, from Sesamstraat."

"I have said that about you so many times. At last, I'm vindicated!"

My young friend Randy, who looks up to me as a benevolent grumbling codger figure, says:


"Way cool!

"Love the translation! =P

"But when, oh when, are you going to include your World Yo-Yo Championship title in your biography!?!? The Dutch love their yo-yos ya know!"

Darn it. I forgot about the yo-yos! Perhaps I can get a follow-up interview. Or save it for Belgium.

One correction: I wasn't the world yo-yo champion. I was the Atlanta yo-yo champion and pretty handy at flinging and stringing them around.

I'm still known in these parts for my prowess. There ain't a store in miles that will let me anywhere near a tampon section.


I Am Now Beloved in the Netherlands

I am happy to announce my interview, "Mike Durrett: de Humor Gids," conducted by Wouter E. Nieuwenhuis of the news portal Planet.nl, has been posted -- in Dutch!

I don't speak Dutch. I am bilingual, however, an English and Baby Talk fellow.

And -- I may have mentioned it before -- I itch fluently in seven languages.

The nice Mr. Nieuwenhuis volunteered to translate my responses into the voice of his land. I had no problem with this method, but I am undergoing a bit of culture shock not knowing how precise my words translate into another language. I mean, I can't even get the guy at McDonalds to hold the croutons on my McFlurry.

Plugging the Dutch article into AltaVista's Babel Fish translator and rendering the text back to English makes for very strange reading, but I am happy to announce I have finally found my epitaph -- and in my own words.

Sort of....

"At present I am terrible in my nopjes with the mechanical T.M.X. Elmo headstock, from Sesamstraat."

Nopjes, of course, is a licorice.

Chew on that.


Fall Foliage Photos IN COLOR

I risked my life, going outside into the yard to snap some shots. I saw no evidence of my evil nemesis, The Black Bear™ -- although our The Welcome Bear™ (lower right) was cordial, as usual.

We pay scale.

Here's a pretty view overlooking the creek (lower right) from our deck, where the snakes come to sun.

There was no dastardly The Black Bear™ to confront when I strolled down to walk along the shore. And no stingray jumped out of the water to pierce my chest with its barb, either. Numbers one and three on My List for a Good Day™.

Two is piping hot dryer lint.

Four: Flip-flops on Mute.

This shady drive borders our property, ending at the creekside. I recommend the oasis to local teenagers to adopt as Lovers Lane.

I'm there most nights operating my Clorets and Sen-Sen Breath Perfume Stand™.

Not to worry, I am security conscious. I do set out warm Listerine and a plate of huckleberry and bee larvae cookies™ for The Black Bear™.


Gosh, I Miss The Big City

This photo only begins to convey the colors from our countryside porch today. It was cloudy at the time, but the world was surprisingly golden this morning.

I emailed the snapshot to my friend. Frank Thompson writes:

"Hey, autumn in North Hollywood is much like that, except instead of yellow and red leaves we have fake-boobed starlets and bums puking in the gutter. Otherwise, identical!"



I want a high definition DVD player. So, before I purchase one, I'm following the format war between Toshiba's HD DVD and Sony's Blu-ray with interest, as is "The New Yorker."

"Blu-ray’s technology, which allows you to pack fifty gigabytes of data on a disk, is theoretically superior to that of HD DVD, which manages thirty. But for most users the differences in quality will probably seem negligible—movies look extraordinarily good on both machines—and Toshiba is offering its products at cheaper prices.

"...The obvious solution to this impasse is negotiation. That’s what happened with the original DVD—in the nineteen-nineties, a consortium of companies pooled patents and adopted a single standard. Sony and Toshiba did talk last year, but there’s no sign that any kind of deal is in the works."

Here's my firm position: Somebody win already! Or we won't buy.

Or let the two formats merge into one format with a cup holder. I need more cup holders.


100 Things About Me #84

Mikey's Vids

I've been involved with charities for years. You know those little signs in gas stations?


I got this cool new TV!

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Another Wal-Mart Bites the Dust and the One Up the Street Just Bites

Hooray! Our ghost Wal-Mart is daid!

The desolate, abandoned eyesore was demolished yesterday and good riddance!

As much as we hated to change our shopping habits, my wife and I have been boycotting the newer Wal-Mart location for months due to their arrogant, kick-in-the-groin painful, customer disservice. That is some sorry, incompetent management in that place.

Nevertheless, the Wal-Mart can continue to insult their customers' intelligence and goodwill without us -- and without the THOUSANDS of accumulated dollars we've spent with competitors recently.

It would be above board to note we have continued to patronize the Wal-Mart's pharmacy, by necessity, and have no complaints there, a tiny tropical island in the sea of Hell.

We've even overheard the pharmacy's personnel openly bitching -- and that is the proper term to use, bitching -- about the gross mismanagement elsewhere in the operation.

So, we're glad to see the old building leveled and trucked away, following the 3½ years of vacant gloominess since the store closed.

I do pray the wrecking crew first made certain no shoppers remained inside awaiting their turn at the check-out counter.

That wouldn't surprise me, not one bit. Business as usual.


100 Things About Me #76-83

Eight Things About Me I Didn't Know About Me
My long-term memory loss must be boundless or my folks didn't share the family secrets. I dunno.

Thank goodness, the Internet knows all, reveals all. I looked up my personal history at The Mechanical Trivium and gleaned some startling information!

You may be seated.

1. Mike Durrett can be found on a Clue board between the Library and the Conservatory.

2. Mike Durrett can give birth 10 days after being born, and is born pregnant!

3. A Mike Durrettometer is used to measure Mike Durrett!

4. If you lace Mike Durrett from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe.

5. In Japan, Mike Durrett can only be prepared by chefs specially trained and certified by the government.

6. Moles are able to tunnel through 300 feet of Mike Durrett in a day.

7. Ninety-nine percent of the pumpkins sold in the U.S. end up as Mike Durrett!

8. Mike Durrett was the first Tsar of Russia.

This uneasy feeling I'm getting is not good. Perhaps I'm the sequel to "The Da Vinci Code," too?

You may rise.

I gotta run....

The Mechanical Contrivium, via About Humor

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100 Things About Me #75

I Lead a Charmed Life
Moments ago, I caught a previously missed episode of "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" with special elderly guest stars Rose Marie and Jack Carter as bickering apartment cleaners. They got caught naked, having sex on the sofa.

I'm ready to become a nun.

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"Sing a Song of Six Pants"

"Sing a Song of Six Pants" is a 1947 visit with Shemp Howard and his brother, Moe, plus their pal, Larry Fine. These gentlemen were the original The Three Stooges before the movie stardom spurred by the team's Columbia Pictures shorts, beginning in 1934.

Shemp had left the act in '31, due to the behavior of their abusive straight man, Ted Healy. Shemp did well in pictures as a solo character actor. He was called back to the bumbling trio when his other brother, Jerry, better known as Curly, suffered a stroke in 1946, never to return as a Stooge.

I've always had a fondness for Mr. Howard's work, and I long ago promised, if ever called on to serve, I would be proudly anointed as the first Pope Shemp.


Cartoon Carnival

Daffy Duck in "Plane Daffy" (Frank Tashlin, 1944)
Can't see the cartoon? Try here.

Woody Woodpecker in "Pantry Panic" (Walter Lantz, 1941)
Can't see the cartoon? Try here.

"Bad Luck Blackie" (Tex Avery, 1948)
Can't see the cartoon? Try here.


Merry Catmas!

The first Friday in October, of course, is Catmas, the day we trendy hipster blogniks are required under penalty of claws to post a photo or three featuring our family felines.

Here's a little montage I like to call "Morty and the Hummingbirds," and it goes a little something like this....

More Morty:
Christmas, 2003
More Catmas: via About Humor


Meet My Pen Pal, "Weird Al" Yankovic!

It was good fortune to swap emails with "Weird Al" this past week, as we Q&A-ed for an article on About.com Humor, which I posted a short while ago. After a self-directed refresher course on his career and comedy, plus repeated listens to the new album, I have nothing but total respect for the fellow. He's quite a story -- and gracious.

"Weird Al" Yankovic: An Interview About Humor
In an exclusive, Humor Boy asks the comic musician about Straight Outta Lynwood, the creative process, laughing, and a certain body part.


I Didn't See That Coming

One day, last October, around 5 o'clock, I grabbed my jacket, soon to depart for an engagement.


I know people.

I peeked through the kitchen window, where I saw a pair of deer feeding themselves, a few paces outside the door. I went for my camera.

When I returned, one of the animals had vanished. The other remained behind to eat for an additional 20 minutes. I didn't dare disturb the meal.

The deer strolled down our driveway, skipping out on the check. The animal exited through the open gate, which is odd since there is no fence on the property, only a gate. As the deer disappeared from my sight, I turned my head to the left to see a fully-grown black bear approach the feeding place where the deer had been moments before.

Bear visitors aren't common in these parts, although we're always on alert for them and them darn fool revenuers, dagnabbit.

My friends, relatives, and neighbors love to point out that Mikey is Special of the Day on the bear food chain.

That's why I had "BEST IF EATEN BEFORE AUG. 1998" tattooed on my butt.

Actually, I've received conflicting information on black bears' dietary preferences, although my general impression is most of them are herbivores. They will kill humans, nevertheless, if they feel threatened or mistake ear hair for parsley sprigs.

In six years of residence, I had only seen bears on our property four times, including that evening. Three incidents were mere walk-throughs. This particular day was the first occasion I ever saw one stop to eat. He stayed for 20-30 minutes, casually munching, while he pawed hard corn kernels to himself, as if he were collecting poker chips at a gambling table.

Think Bob Hoskins in Vegas.

My cat, Morty, hopped into the window to receive a big surprise. I don't know if he is state-of-the-art on bears, but he was definitely alarmed at the dark, ominous hulk 15 feet away.

I removed Morty from the window. He didn't know whether to bolt and hide under the stairs, or jump back into the window. He jumped. I extracted him again.

I didn't know whether to bolt and hide under the stairs, or jump back into the window. I jumped, but the bear didn't see me, having moved beyond the building. Morty extracted me.

The bear sauntered into the drive and headed towards an old picnic table. It was the pic-a-nik basket cliche in real life, Boo Boo.

In this photo, the beast is sniffing exactly where Donna parks her car. This is also exactly where I resist a comment about a "taxi cub."

He chose to lounge by the well house, near our ironic, wooden welcoming bear. I think the real bear was eyeing my car to see if I might come outside dressed as dessert.

I'm no after-dinner Mike. I ventured out in January, when hibernation season was underway. Sure, I was sleepy, but at least the bear was gone.


100 Things About Me #74

I Live in a Zoo
We relocated to the country to get away from the concrete and noise of metropolitan civilization -- and those guys that spit on our windshields at traffic stops, wiping the glass with their elbows.

There are no windshield spitters in the wilderness. We have pine sap. My car is covered in what the untrained eye would call "Mumps in Rubber Cement."

But that's another story.

We anticipated wildlife in the area when we moved to our simple cabin in the woods -- a few extra rabbits, perhaps, and the sporadic rooster and cow on nearby farmland.

Instead, add many more to those species. We've had a non-stop parade of unannounced visitors in our yard: deer, flying squirrels, owls, vultures, s-s-s-snakes, possums, raccoons, hummingbirds, peacocks, turtles, mice, frogs, ducks, turkeys, lizards, toads, and Jehovah's Witnesses to name a few from Thursdays.

I've heard coyotes howling in the dark. We've spotted bears on the lawn. And my neighbor nearly drove his truck into a mountain lion on his way to the mailbox. These situations not only disturb me for safety reasons, but also because giant cats get superior service down at The UPS Store.

There is a steady tangled mess of flying insects, too, none of which, apparently, received a memo on the purpose of our big city bug lights.

They wing in nightly for a bright, warm swarm around the yellow porch bulbs. With arms a-flailing, we must clear a path through the air in order to enter the house. On several occasions, I've mistaken my wife for the actress 'Tippi' Hedren, confusing her with similar images from "The Birds."

For some reason, the insects in this rural forest are larger than any we experienced in suburbia. As I type these words, pet Morty eyeballs a moth the size of Seth Green on the windowpane.

Quite a coincidence, considering Morty reminds me of Greg the Bunny.

But that's another story.

As soon as The GEICO Gecko appears, our Nature Lotto cards will be filled.

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Bedrock's Smoking

Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone make some of that lucrative celebrity endorsement cash in this 1961 commercial for their "The Flintstones'" sponsor, Winston.

Although tasting "good like a cigarette should," Mr. Rubble and Mr. Flintstone are presently deceased.

via "Video Vault Vintage TV Commercials," About Humor
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