MSP News – In a shocking break with 24-hour news channel protocol, MSNBC reported on the capture of Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam. An actual story, not a moving ticker tape along the bottom of the screen. Live coverage with Richard Engel. The word Trump wasn’t uttered for over 34 minutes in a row.
Calls to MSNBC executives were not returned, but at least one insider confided that the brief news leak was a relief. “To cover something related to terror, as opposed to politics. It’s uplifting. I had no idea how depressed I’d become. I’ve learned to find my joy where I can.”
A Trump employee shared that the billionaire “is baffled.” However, Trump released the following statement: “MSNBC thought Salah Who-The-Hell-Is-He-Anyway was more important than the front runner for the Presidency. This is HUGE. You hear me? HUGE. If this keeps up, there could be riots.The people love me, you know, they love me. They’ll riot.”
Reports indicate that despite the 34+ minute lull in Trump news, nothing bad happened. No riots are planned at this time.
Yesterday, I found out that my former professor and mentor, Dr. Andrew Dillon, had passed away after a long battle with cancer. The news slammed me with steel door heft, although I’d begun mourning Dr. Dillon weeks ago, when I first heard that he was terminally ill. Recalling all his wit, insight, advice and encouragement over the years, I was driven to tears.
I’d planned to write him a letter, expressing how much he’d meant to me as an English professor, and detailing the impact his instruction and support had on my life. But the only words that would come were Shakespeare’s words of mourning: “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” Poems of lamentation followed, but the praise, the gratitude, the marrow of all he meant to me were drowned out by my grief.
And then, weeks later, there was no letter written. No time left. The final exam was over. The blue book was closed.
There were just these words:
For Dr. Andrew Dillon
frosted in strangled light,
of that day you stood in the bricked breezeway
shaped like a gravestone,
your fine white hair set ablaze
by the waning sun.
Even then, you seemed fragile, as if your bones
bore the weight of all tragic literature.
Still, you leaped like a mullet at the sight of the moon,
back arched, knees bent,
until your feet planted on the desktop
and Lear rolled off your tongue,
dripping the loss of Cordelia.
Now, cancer, guiltier than Regan and Goneril,
plots your demise and the chemo, follows suit
making promises it can’t keep,
in the sappy declarations you, our King Lear, long to hear.
And I fear I shall never again see the flames
that lit you from within:
Bill Stafford verse that made the vein in your temple dance;
the fictional, chicken-knuckled words you encouraged;
first stanzas you excised in bloody ballpoint;
their words trampled in a mad dash for the meat of it all.
Because, today, my constant star is dying.
I still see you there, a raging silhouette,
fists balled against the supernova,
and I clamp my eyes shut,
so as not to see the cruel moment,
when you become that strangled light
frosting the grass.
One by one, as states legalize medical marijuana and/or decriminalize the possession of weed, more and more studies are being conducted and published which support the argument that pot is the very least of our worries, particularly when compared to the scions of legal addiction: alcohol, tobacco and Game of Thrones. In fact, a recent study published in Scientific Reports found that alcohol, in particular, is more lethal than heroin, cocaine, MDMA and crystal meth. This doesn’t mean you should stock up on Sudafed, don your Walter White hat and whip up a batch of Blue Sky. Meth still makes you look like this:
However, you may want to consider a move to, oh, I don’t know, Denver. Why? Because in states like Chillin’ Colorado and Wasted Washington, both of which legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2014, the crime rates have plummeted; in fact, Denver has seen violent crimes like homicide, rape and assault steadily decline since Colorado legalized marijuana and not a single case of “reefer madness” has yet to be diagnosed. Nor have the residents of the country’s thinnest state been overcome by the munchies and succumbed to double digit dress sizes. What has increased is Colorado’s tax revenue – to the tune of $53 million in less than a year.
Alcohol, the big winner when it comes to killing its users, causes approximately 88,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Tobacco use buries another 48,000 Americans every year. Weed, on the other hand, is only responsible for…well, no documented deaths. Ever. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nein. In fact, a 1998 DEA report states that the lethal dose of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is between 20,000 and 40,000 times the amount of THC contained your average joint. There are much easier ways to kill yourself. Snoop Dogg smokes a self-professed “81 blunts a day” and he’s still here. Physically, anyway.
So if weed isn’t the problem, with its non-existent death rate and low addiction potential – only 4% to 9% of users may become dependent vs. 15% of Happy Hour fans – what is? What seemingly harmless activities or possessions lurk in your life, lulling you into a sense of security, only to kill you when you least expect it?
1. Bed sheets
In 2009, 717 people died in the U.S. after being strangled by their bed sheets while they slept. Terrifying, huh? It is until you consider that, the year before, over 800 people in the U.S. were murdered by their bed linens. No word on if the suspect bed sheets were of a lower thread count or merely infused with the rage that comes with being left unmade for days at a time. These numbers also don’t take into account those who have been killed by someone wearing a bed sheet – as a hood.
2. Fishing boats
For those who brazenly partake in the act of angling while in a fishing boat, playing Captain Ahab could be a deadly pursuit. With 108 deaths attributed to drowning after falling overboard between 1999 and 2010, those who endeavor to catch Moby Dick might consider donning a life jacket, learning to swim, or, smartest of all, engaging in a safer hobby like, say, selling sketches of Mohammed in Texas. The worst part about the menace that are fishing boats is that you don’t even have to be fishing. You could be a hapless passenger, vomiting up chum for God-knows-what swimming in the depths below you, and fall over the side of the boat because of these unpredictable, bumpy things called waves.
Hence the mantra: A bad day fishing is better than a good day working. Unless you drown. In which case, a bad day binge-watching House of Cards is better than a good day working.
I know, I know. It’s not fair to include wheelchairs when many of their owners aren’t just knocking at Death’s door, but are complaining that there isn’t a ramp leading up to it. However, I’m not talking about people who die in their wheelchairs, but as a direct result of falling out of their wheelchairs, and the numbers are pandemic-worthy. With wheelchairs slaughtering their owners at a rate of over 4,000 per year in the U.S. alone, it’s surprising that wheelchair seat belts and airbags aren’t required by law. Hell, the wheelchair-bound would be better off scooting around in Smart cars; at least they’re kitten-licking-a-sleeping-dog-cute and come with air conditioning. And considering Smart cars don’t even make the Top Ten Cars Most Likely To Kill You List, they’re a much safer, albeit obviously hipster, alternative. Grow a beard and start drinking craft beer, Grandpa.
With flat panel televisions exponentially increasing in size every few months and dominating American living rooms like monobrowed moais on Easter Island, it’s not surprising to discover they often tip and fall over, particularly if you’re raising a budding gymnast, own a cat, or your husband didn’t know what to do with all those “extra screws” that came with the wall mount kit. Despite the pervasive belief that “TV rots your brain,” the 215 folks who were killed by boob tubes between 2000 and 2011 didn’t kick the bucket as a result of cerebral deterioration caused by binge-watching too many episodes of House of Cards (when they should have been working), but were, for the most part, flattened by their idiot boxes, which, as it turns out, were aptly named.
5. Your Feet
When tripping is involved, LSD needn’t be. In fact, your feet are usually the guilty culprits, if not conspirators with uneven sidewalks and yappy dogs on leashes. Statistics indicate that a whopping 7,160 deaths are attributed to people toppling over their own feet. Perhaps your feet have it out for you, ladies – you who insist on squeezing your bunioned toes into pointy stilettos and trotting around like Lipizzan stallions, all while complaining that your feet are killing you. Can you blame your Louboutins for living up to the nasty reputation you’ve spread about them? Bitches, the red on those soles ain’t paint – it’s your blood.
Note to self: Buy some Birkenstocks, get a pedicure and tell my toesies woesies how much I love them.
Twenty Americans are moodered by bovines each year, but let’s not milk this statistic to death. Cows are large, sturdy and, apparently, udderly dense, animals. In fact, an adult cow can weigh more than two sides of beef. There’s a reason no one goes cow tipping alone. It’s a three frat boy job, easy. And, sometimes, those drunken, beefed-up collegiates confuse the words push and pull. And left and right. And yes and get off of me, you scumbag!
And if you’re thinking, “Wait, I’m smarter than a frat boy. Cows only kill trashed young men with privileged backgrounds and a fondness for beer pong and Greek letters,” you’re wrong. In 2013, a Brazilian man was killed when a cow wandered onto the roof of his home, courtesy of an adjacent steep hill, causing the roof to collapse. Clarabelle plummeted eight feet onto the sleeping Joao Maria de Souza, who later died of internal injuries. Neither de Souza’s wife, who was in bed next to him, nor the cow, sustained any harm.
Approximately 15 people are killed – and thousands injured – each year by falling icicles. Ever open your crowded freezer, only to have a package of frozen chicken breasts slip out and land on your bare foot? If you have, you know from that point forward, chicken breasts will be forever known in the future as Motherclucker! If you haven’t, you either have an incredibly well-organized freezer or your feet are always encased in steel-toed combat boots. Now imagine that the chicken weighs up to a hundred pounds or more, is falling from a tremendous height and is shaped like a dagger. Oh, and there’s an entire row of these frozen bayonets and they’re all pointed at your skull. I suggest a helmet or a move to Florida.
If you insist on remaining in the Land of Sharp, Dangling Objects, be careful around those little fuckers. They’ll poke your eye out, kid.
Southwestern Vermont Healthcare thinks lawnmowers are so dangerous, they dedicated an entire web page to an article entitled, Cutting the Lawn: Don’t Become An Injury Statistic. The piece, written by an orthopedic physician, cites an average of 75 deaths attributed to the Spinning Blades of Death on Wheels each year. Apparently, lawnmower blades rotate with the force of a .357 magnum. What’s more, those blades won’t just eat through your bones like butter, they’ll leave a lot of bacteria-laden crap behind: dirt, grass, insect parts, and some gum I dropped. Yes, save a couple seats at the hospital bar for E. coli and salmonella.
Major league pitchers look like wusses when compared to a lawnmower, which can shoot debris like stones, twigs, and dried dog poop at speeds of up to 200 m.p.h. Considering the fastest pitchers clock in at around half that speed, I’d say it’s best to go inside while Hubby’s cutting the grass. Someone’s gotta be there for the children.
Worse is that approximately 800 kids get mowed down every year. Again, another good reason to allow your children to become addicted to cable television (just don’t let ’em sit too close to that wobbly telly). Outside is dangerous. For those of you who have combed your yard for potential projectiles and locked the kiddies in their rooms, don’t get too comfortable. Remember, lawnmowers are filled with gasoline. They can randomly overheat and explode. Now go inside and start dialing lawn services – like any sane person.
While new studies indicate a promising future for the use of cannabis in treating myriad diseases and health conditions – the NIH has already patented cannabinoids as potential neuroprotectants – one thing is relatively certain: Marijuana + Adolescent Brains = One Hot Mess. Studies suggest that regular marijuana use prior to one’s 21rst year can permanently affect brain development, impacting memory, impulse control, balance and coordination. Yes, marijuana can affect a growing boy’s Legend of Zelda score – and not in a good way. What’s more, teens who regularly hang with Mary Jane may see up to an 8 point drop in their I.Q. Forever. Yes, pot can also make you stupid. So, kids, if you’re reading this, wait until you’re 21. As Forrest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
And let’s face it, some of you can’t afford to get any dumber.
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog. And no, I don’t sell weed, so no creepy comments asking if I can score you some wicked herb. Okay?
One night, after I’d fallen asleep, my husband landed on a horror site and spent hours devouring short stories. For some reason, he immediately wrote an über brief horror story that went like this:
I returned home from work. My wife was not in her usual spot, which was strange because she’s been dead for two years.
That’s it. I know. I know. It’s not half bad.
My question to you is: Should I be worried?
Think about it. My husband’s sitting in bed, reading on his laptop in the middle of the night, when he, a non-writer by trade or hobby, suddenly decides to pen a horror story – one in which he could feature any number of vapid or unsympathetic victims – but I, his devoted, albeit it snoring, wife, ends up as the corpse. Dead for two years, already. Like he’d been thinking about it for awhile.
I’m starting to understand why Edgar Allen Poe died alone on a park bench.
After all, we have three cats. At least two of them are jerks. Couldn’t the story have gone something like:
I returned home from work. Magellan, my cat, was not in his usual spot, which was strange because I put his ashes in that urn on the fireplace two years ago.
Okay, so Stephen King already covered that territory in Pet Semetary, but there were other options. For example, bosses. Lots of people despise their bosses. My husband, for one, does not, but, as far as I know, he doesn’t despise me either, so why not take this approach:
I returned to work. Mr. Jetson was not in his usual spot, which was strange because I bricked up that wall myself two years ago.
Or Hubby could have envisioned a situation in which we had a child. Dead kids are super creepy. And imagined spawn – well, you can write almost anything about them without scarring them for life or being arrested.
I returned home from work. My young daughter, Ashley, was not in her usual spot, which was strange because her corpse has been chained to a pipe in the basement for two years now.
Am I wrong? Way spookier than the dead wife scenario. By focusing on the daughter, we’re allowed to imagine that little girl from Poltergeist – all precious and blonde talking to her television – just before her eyes turn black, her mouth stretches into a Edvard Munch scream and thousands of spiders rush over her lips in a black river of legs and bodies. And no one freaks out because everyone knows it’s not about our rugrat; we’d never name a child, Ashley. Not when we could call her ShatnerGallifrey Pants.
How about a neighbor? One of ours revs motors for hours on end in our shared, echoing, back alley as a hobby. Why not him? Is there a better way to vent your frustration about slowly going deaf without anyone getting hurt?
I returned home from work. My neighbor was not in his usual spot, which was strange because I buried him and that damn Corvette engine under the rose garden two years ago.
It’s been a few months now. I try not to worry. I avoid those shows watched by suburban, middle-aged women about suburban, middle-aged women who are murdered by their suburban, middle-aged husbands, who have twenty-one year old mistresses named Bambi. I bought Mace. Magellan is my now my food taster.
Hubby hasn’t written any more horror stories.
But I have.
I returned home from work. My husband was seated in his favorite chair, which was strange, I explained to the hit man, because I thought you offed him two years ago.
MSP Press – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that if Mexico agrees to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, at their own expense, Canada will insist that the United States erect a wall along the its northern border – at the U.S. taxpayer’s expense.
Citing the draw of socialized medicine and lower prescription costs, Canada has long been tormented by ill Americans, sneaking across the border and wooing Canadians into marriage, only to become eligible for free cancer treatments, surgeries and/or pharmaceuticals, all of which are not affordable for many U.S. citizens.
The tension between the two nations reached its highest peak when two convicted murderers escaped prison and were believed to be headed for the Canadian border. One was later arrested only two miles from an unguarded, border crossing. Angered, Prime Minister Harper alleged that America “doesn’t send Canada their best. The U.S. sends us their cheap drug seekers, murderers, gun runners, and tourists who giggle at us every time we say ‘eh.'”
Canada, on the other hand, sends the U.S. friendly, albeit pale, visitors with a strong dollar. Over the years, they’ve stocked the annals of American theater and film with Canucks like Ryan Gosling, Dan Akyroyd, Ryan Reynolds, Rachel McAdams, Seth Rogan and Michael J. Fox, to name just a few. The failure of many of these celebrities to return to Canada after achieving success in the U.S. has long been the cystic acne on the face of U.S/Canadian relations; everyone saw it, but no one talked about it. Until now. “The rampant and illegal migration of Canada’s most talented performers to the United States must be stopped. Ryan Gosling, alone, merits the building of a wall, ” the prime minister continued, “along with a gazing pool.”
In response to Prime Minister Harper’s demands, the White House issued the following statement: “The U.S. has one word for you: Bieber. Build your own damn wall.”
I’ll admit it. When I was a teen, I used to be a bit of a gossip. My own self-esteem was so fractured after my merciless stint in middle school, I felt less “different” when I learned of others’ flaws, weaknesses and mistakes. A good gossip-mongering session made me feel included because everyone was doing it. Face it, most teenage girls are prattlers – vicious, fanged creatures who can tweet a libelous story about a frenemy faster than they can flip their hair and roll their eyes.
Thus, in high school, joining circles of prattling, adolescent girls while they shared secrets, rumors, and, frankly, big ass lies, seemed like a brilliant idea. After all, if the vipers were hissing about other people, they weren’t throwing shade in my direction. Nothing like the logic of the recently estrogen-infused.
Fortunately, I got older and, eventually, wiser, and learned that words can hurt, rumors can maim and lies can destroy lives. Talk about a paradigm shift for a blogger who calls herself Miss Snarky Pants. I could have been Perez Hilton if not for that pesky conscience of mine. Now granted, I make generalizations about people and take stabs at celebrities who deserve it because IT’S A HUMOR BLOG. Yes. That’s how humor blogs work. If it’s too edgy for you, please feel free to get your funny on by reading the “Laughter Is the Best Medicine” section of Reader’s Digest. Or, may I suggest, Breaking Amish.
And for every crack I make about Kanye “Officially-As-Narcissistic-As-Trump” West – who’ll become President when gravity turns out to be just a prank (What? The GOP thinks climate change is a Chinese conspiracy.) – I make at least ten digs about myself. After all, I’m uber-comfortable with the whole self-deprecation thing. Why? Because when I poke fun at myself, I’m not hurting anyone else. And with my muffin top, I barely feel the stick, anyway.
As I grow as a writer and a person, I sometimes wonder if I’ll outgrow snark. Then I slap myself and come to my senses. Still, I continue to learn from others’ behavior and, predominantly, my own mistakes. I note what hurts, who it hurts and why it hurts. Each day, I find myself a hair more compassionate and a freckle more thoughtful.
Very recently, I ached for someone else because of gossip. A tidbit, anyway.
After all, let’s not be ridiculous. I still luuuuurvve me some gossip. I won’t lie. I often kid, “I don’t repeat gossip, so listen carefully the first time.” However, in reality, when it comes to the rumor-mongering game, I’m a catcher, not a pitcher. I don’t like to spread gossip and I despise the idea of disseminating lies, but I love information. Information is, well, information. I thrive on knowledge, even if it’s just the ingredients in my cereal. I will, sometimes, share my personal stories about a person with another because, to me, it’s not gossip; it’s part my experience and may have impacted the person I am – or was. It may explain why I like or dislike a person. Or it may be something the recipient of the information really should know.
For example, If Gary Busey tries to chat you up at a film festival…run. Fast. Here’s why. Trust me, this is info a person needs if he or she going to be within a 50-mile radius of that lunatic. However, the older I get, the more carefully I choose the stories and with whom I share them. I often leave out gossipy tidbits, that while juicy or lascivious, aren’t necessary, because the harm they could do outweighs their benefit.
Recently, I wish someone had done the same. I was talking with an acquaintance – we’ll call her, Blair – who shared some, erm, intimate information with me about a mutual friend, whom we’ll call, Serena. Unsolicited, I might add. I can say without fingers crossed that I neither expected the salacious detail, nor particularly enjoyed it, but I made a joke…because that’s what I do. Particularly, when I’m uncomfortable. Blair wasn’t gossiping, at first. She simply shared a personal story about her relationship with Serena. Then an opinion. And then came, the tidbit. Oh, the tidbit. I could have done without that tidbit in the same way I could have done without peritonitis after my gallbladder surgery.
The problem with that snatch of private information is that it was like butt implants on Kim Kardashian – completely unnecessary. It didn’t enhance the story, nor did it garner Blair any empathy from me. Instead, it made me sad. Sad for Serena – who is a person I care about. Sad that I now know something I can’t forget, but I feel is wrong for me to know. It’s the information a pervert gains while peeking through a hole in your blinds. The car accident you can’t unsee, even years later. It’s a tidbit that I know would embarrass Serena – if she knew that I knew. And it’s not a shameful thing. Not at all. However, it’s a personal one. And I made a joke because I didn’t know what to do, in that moment.
That was shameful.
In retrospect, I should have said something, like, “Hey, didn’t need to know that!” or “That’s uncool.” In the jumble of it all, I didn’t. No, I spurted out a pithy statement that summed up the whole thing and elicited a laugh. The problem with my behavior is that I inadvertently encouraged Blair’s tattling. I rewarded her indiscretion with a quip, when I should have discouraged her revelation, because its harm most definitely outweighed its benefit. The tidbit changed nothing about Blair’s truth. It didn’t encourage me to upgrade her from acquaintance to friend status. If anything, I knew then that my words would forever be guarded in her presence.
It also made me want to apologize to Serena and give her a big hug. But I can’t do that because I know something I shouldn’t know. And it would be totally weird if I suddenly showed up on her doorstep and gave her a bear hug just because it’s Tuesday. So I’m sending this embrace out into the universe and hoping it lands, warm and tight, around Serena.
Blogging about yourself can be a freeing experience. You’re shedding your mistakes, your embarrassing moments – and your shameful ones – in front of the entire world. You’re coming clean. You feel honest. Still, honesty has a price. It’s not fair when someone else has to pay it, in the blogsphere or in real life.
So, today, I learned something. And while I’m a hair more compassionate and a freckle more thoughtful, I’m still sad – and I don’t feel the slightest bit wiser.
Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a daily,weekly, completely random series for people who have the attention span of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s. People who have to cram their verse in between tweezing and waxing. Or mowing, as the case may be. There’s no judgment here; after all, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines. You, your monobrow, or whatever your situation may be are welcome.
Read, enjoy, share and contribute your own four-liner in the Comments below. Do it or I’ll give you a noogie. I triple dog dare you. C’mon, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines!
Follow Miss Snarky Pants on Instagram at dinsworth or on Twitter @CristyCLewis.
Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a poetry series by Miss Snarky Pants devoted to people who prefer to read Donald Trump’s speech – announcing his run for the presidency – on the toilet. Now before you say, Hey, wait a minute! That’s not Just Four Friggin’ Lines, please note that I never indicated how long the lines would be. Details, folks.
Exceptions must be made for exceptional people like Donald Trump. I admit, the third line is a tad long, – okay, it’s Allen Ginsburg’s Howl long – but how else could I fully encapsulate in verse, a candidate who, whilst humble and well-coiffed, is a loquacious man. A garrulous fellow. Let’s face it, he wouldn’t shut up. Miss Snarky Pants has condensed the highlights, low blows and bold-faced bigotry into Just Four Friggin’ Lines #6 – The Trump Edition.
Groucho Marx once quipped, Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies – a philosophy which Trump has clearly taken to heart. Along with unfiltered braggadocio, unfettered by pesky things like logic and facts. And the kind of aplomb reserved exclusively for narcissistic sociopaths.
Enjoy! And don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re finished.
Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a poetry series for people who insist on listening with their eyes. And in honor of those who scribble verses like sleezy phone numbers on their palms and wrists, I bleed Just Four Friggin’ Lines of ink. Are you hemorrhaging words? Share your four lines in the Comments below and stop spurting all over your keyboard.
Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a new poetry series by Miss Snarky Pants – okay, it’s the only poetry series, unless you count my Big Bang Theory Haiku– written especially for people who like their poetry the way they like their flu shots: fast and painless. This might not be Shakespeare, but it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines.