Category: humor

Good News/Bad News: Grape Nuts Edition

One of the first things I do each morning is check my email. Usually it happens before I even roll out of bed. Is that healthy? Probably not. But I’m hooked on staying connected, so it is what it is. Typically, not much has happened in my email world over night. I mean, who all emails people at midnight? So it’s more of a quick check to see if all is right with the world.

As an author, perhaps some of you are under the mistaken assumption that I just get flooded with fan mail every day. Pages upon pages of people lauding my praises. Or maybe you think I just field complaints from the hordes of readers who are upset that I did X in a book when I really should have done Y.

The truth, I’m sad to report, is much simpler. I almost never get contacted about my writing. Ever. I will occasionally get a nice message from a reader or a teacher, and I’ve gotten some great thank you notes from classes I’ve done in-person or Zoom visits with. Those are always lovely. But despite the fact that my email is right here on my webpage, ready for anyone to see, I pretty much never get any correspondence through it.

Until this morning. When I got some good news/bad news first thing when I woke up.

The good news? I proved to myself once again that people can, indeed, write to me when they want to. A stranger reached out to contact me. Huzzah!

The bad news? It was in defense of Grape Nuts.

That’s right, folks. I’ve spent countless hours working on my craft as an author, and approximately 20 minutes of my life poking fun at Grape Nuts over the years, and I’ve had more emails about Grape Nuts in the past five years than I’ve had about my writing.

Maybe I really should start writing fiction about Grape Nuts. Maybe I’ll make Grape Nuts the main villain in my next book. Or it could just be the method of murder. Death by Grape Nuts would make a fantastic title, wouldn’t it? I wonder if I’d get sued for trademark infringement . . .

Really, when I made my pithy little post about the horrors of that “cereal” known as Grape Nuts, I didn’t know what a devoted legion of followers that excuse-for-a-pleasant-breakfast actually had. And reading it over again now, I have to admit that I’m still inordinately proud of the post. If I have to pick a hill to die on when it comes to the debate over morning repasts, I will gladly pick up my sword and go lay siege at the gates of Grape Nut fandom.

Any. Day. Of the Week.

I will not be silenced. I will not be cowed. I will stand boldly, nobly, and independent to declare to the world that most of its current troubles can likely be traced directly to the consumption of Grape Nuts. (Or at the bare minimum, that Grape Nuts are exacerbating the current troubles. I mean, name one thing that doesn’t automatically become worse if you’re eating Grape Nuts. Being sick is bad. Being sick and eating Grape Nuts? Worse. Riding a roller coaster is fun. Riding a roller coaster and eating Grape Nuts? Not nearly as pleasurable. This is basic logic, people.)

And let’s face it. Usually my Grape Nuts posts perform so much better than my other blog topics. Maybe I really need to have a nemesis, and I found mine sort of by accident.

Evil, thy name is Grape Nuts.

(The good news is that, despite its throngs of adorers, Grape Nuts is not sentient. (We believe. Scientists are still investigating a few bowls that were poured back in the early 1900s. They haven’t been finished yet (naturally), and the addition of milk to the solution might have had some strange side effects.) And as a non-sentient object, Grape Nuts (most likely) doesn’t mind my personal vendetta against it. Grape Nuts don’t care. They’re like the honey badger of the processed food world. And so, while it is true (as the email I received this morning pointed out) that my original post was “mean,” “nasty,” and “disparaging” to Grape Nuts, I’m not overly concerned about its feelings . . .)

If making fun of Grape Nuts is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

To the Backhoe Loader that Woke Me Up at 4:30 This Morning

Dear Backhoe Loader,

I know times are tough out there for a backhoe. It’s the winter, and it’s not like you can just go around digging trenches and scooping up dirt left and right. I understand that a backhoe gotta eat, and so you have to pay the bills somehow. So I just wanted to say how thankful I was to hear you stay so chipper about your work this morning.

Really, there’s nothing I’d like more than to be woken up by your persistent “beep beep beep”ing as you drive around my entire house in reverse. I mean, reverse is a much more fun direction to drive. I get it. Boring people drive forward, and you’re anything but boring, right?

Right.

And I expected nothing less from you than to keep that beeping going. Mustn’t let any of the woodland creatures out there at 4:30 in the morning somehow wander beneath one of your tires. We all know how air headed those squirrels can get, and I’ve always had a soft heart for groundhogs. I’m sure your OSHA mandated alerts did their job. Well done.

But of course, how could I focus simply on your backup blares? You took such care to put your front loader to use as well, using all the skill of a drunken three year old to move snow around. I could tell you took extra pleasure in thumping it to the ground over and over.

And over.

It was so thoughtful of you to do all of this well before the sun rose. I know only too well that it could have been done, say, at 9 in the morning. Or even 8. But I overslept yesterday, and so you were only thinking of me. Sadly, waking me up at 4:30 somehow made it more difficult for me to get a full night’s rest, but I’m sure that’s a flaw on my end. Don’t let it trouble your little mechanical heart.

You do you, backhoe loader. You do you. Don’t mind me for a moment, and definitely don’t feel bad about the bags under my eyes this morning. I prefer them there. Who needs a full night’s rest when he can listen to you gettin’ it done in the early AM?

You should really charge admission next time.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Awful Cereal Hall of Fame: Grape Nuts

I don’t know if there’s a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal. I get that typically halls of fame are reserved for honoring good things, not detracting from bad things. And I get that maybe it should be a Hall of Infamy, but at that point, we’re really overthinking this a bit too much, aren’t we?

Regardless of whether or not something like a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal (HFAC) should exist or not, I would like to think we could all agree on the simple fact that the first entry in the HFAC would be Grape Nuts.

I have had the misfortune of eating Grape Nuts twice in my life. The first time was at my brother’s. I was crashing there for the night, and when the morning came, it was time for breakfast. His supply left a fair bit to be desired. I can’t remember exactly what was there (Cheerios? Shredded wheat?) but whatever it was, it was missing my usual go-to dependables. Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Krispies. (If your cereal isn’t giving you chocolate milk when you’re through with it, it’s not pulling its weight.) There were, however, Grape Nuts.

“Aha!” I said to myself. “I’ve never tried those before. I like grapes. I like nuts. These are gonna be great.”

One bowlful later, I discovered it’s a miracle Grape Nuts haven’t been hit with a false advertisement suit years ago. They contain neither grapes nor nuts. In fact, they’re basically kitty litter, but I suppose “Kitty Litter” as a cereal name didn’t score as well in their consumer research tests, so they decided to lie instead.

Not that I’ve ever tasted kitty litter, in case you were beginning to have your doubts. I mean, I’ve tasted Grape Nuts now, which already makes me pretty suspect, so I wouldn’t blame you for being suspicious about my history with consuming kitty litter. But Grape Nuts look like kitty litter: small pellets. They smell pretty much odorless, which I believe is the point of kitty litter. And if you swapped them out with your cat’s kitty litter, I’m willing to bet Mr. Bigglesworth wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Needless to say, I didn’t have a second bowl.

And yet somehow I was suckered into trying Grape Nuts again. Years had gone by, and I was having ice cream at a friend’s house. The flavor? Grape Nuts. I stared at the flavor name in confusion. It was like calling something “Dog Vomit Ice Cream” and hoping that would somehow sell more cartons. Except my friend wasn’t just eating the ice cream. He was enjoying it. He even said it was his favorite flavor.

I am not above admitting when I am wrong, and what did I know? Maybe when you added cream and sugar to Grape Nuts and then froze them for a while, they turned into some kind of awesome flavorfest. Did I want to miss out on a thing like that? Maybe the batch of Grape Nuts I’d had was stale, or maybe my brother had accidentally put kitty litter into his Grape Nuts back in the day.

Reader, I tried the ice cream.

Again, I’ve never put kitty litter on top of my ice cream before, but if I were ever try such a thing, I’m fairly confident I couldn’t have a worse experience with that flavor than with what I put in my mouth that day.

Friends don’t let friends eat Grape Nuts. Period.

There are other cereal brands that belong in the HFAC. Original Cap’n Crunch has cut my mouth more times than I’d like to admit. Rice Krispies are borderline, because if you don’t literally inhale them the moment you add milk to the mixture, you’re left with Rice Mush. I’m not honestly sure what Apple Jacks are trying to accomplish, but whatever it is, they’re failing.

But they all pale before the horror that is Grape Nuts.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Doctor Evil for President 2020

I think it’s high time we injected some class and substance into our political rhetoric. I’ve been disappointed in our current administration, and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with someone we can all get behind. Someone who stands for something. Who will unite the country under one common goal. And that’s why I’ve chosen to officially endorse Dr. Evil for president.

True, he isn’t running yet. And true, he’s a fictional character, but I don’t think little things like “he doesn’t actually exist” should get in the way of a person’s dream of becoming president. I mean, I’m positive that he’d accept the nomination, if he were around to do so. He’s bent on global domination, and he’d probably do it for a million dollars. Maybe even less.

What does Dr. Evil have going for him? I’m glad you asked.

  1. He’s a family man. He’s spent years trying to understand how to relate to his son, Scott. But better yet, he knows there’s a line. A time and a place for family. I’m not worried Scott would suddenly pop up in some governmental position. Those would be reserved for true experts like Number Two and Frau Farbissina. Real go getters who stay on task. No need to worry about nepotism under Dr. Evil.
  2. He’s dealt with loss. Mini-Me passed away last year. While Dr. Evil didn’t make a public statement at the time (no doubt too overcome with grief to do so), I’m confident that brush with death has changed him for the better and made him understand the realities of normal people in a way our current president can never really comprehend.
  3. He learns from his mistakes. When things didn’t go his way, he was able to recognize it was time to try a different approach. For example, he once asked for a million dollar ransom when he had the world hostage. When he discovered (by listening to his aides) that he’d lowballed his estimate, he didn’t dig in and insist he was right. Instead, he acknowledged his error and increased the ransom instead. That ability to admit fault is something I haven’t seen in a president since 2016. It’s a key component to true leadership.
  4. He knows there’s a time and a place for cruel and unusual punishment, and he can recognize the best way to get that job done. Dr. Evil would never call for our southern border to be filled with snakes and alligators. Not even ill-tempered ones. He reserves those for elaborate schemes to defeat Austin Powers, not refugees fleeing for their lives. And if you’ve seen The Love Guru, I think we can all agree Austin Powers has earned a bit of cruel and unusual punishment.
  5. He loves animals. The constant way he cares for and attends to all of Mr. Bigglesworth’s needs makes me confident he has the compassion needed to actually care about some of the people who might not agree with him. That would be an infinite improvement over our current situation.
  6. He’s already had experience running government. True, it was as part of the Trump administration, but that at least means he has an idea what the job requires, and perhaps he’ll have learned from that experience

Actually, it seems like he’s already announced his candidacy. Zuckerberg was a strange choice, but I’m willing to run with it.

I’ll finish with a message direct from the candidate himself.

Dr. Evil 2020: It Can’t Be Any Worse than What We’ve Got Now.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

One Mop to Rule Them All

We’ve gone through various mopping solutions over the years. (Hey–it’s a busy day, and I don’t have a lot of time to think of topics. AND I think this one could help some of you out there. So if you’ve got any complaints, speak with my manager.) For a while, Denisa used this steam mop thing that I swore was going to explode any second. Then we switched to reusable Swiffer things. But the Swiffer was made for people who must be about three apples tall. My back would kill every time I used it.

And then it broke in half the last time I was mopping. I am literally too much man for that mop. I had to put it back together with duct tape just to finish the job.

So Denisa added “Mop” to her Christmas wishlist, because she’s entirely too practical. And she did a ton of research and settled on The Mop that was The One For Us. “It’s reusable. It’s big. It’s supposed to be great,” she told me.

“This is a mop, right?” I asked. But I am nothing if not dutiful when it comes to following lists. So I ordered the mop. I didn’t wrap it, though, because that thing was a beast, and there’s no way to wrap a mop in any way that doesn’t end up screaming “I AM A MOP” while it’s sitting under the Christmas tree. So I left it in the box, stuck a bow on it, and called it good.

Denisa used the mop. She said it was wonderful. She laughed. She cried. It was better than Cats.

I thought that was a bit of an extreme reaction, for a mop. Then I made the chores chart, and last week I had to mop again. This mop is like a grown up Swiffer. You get the microfiber pad, get it wet with plain water, wring it out, and then stick it on the end of the mop. Then you use it until it’s too dry to mop anymore, at which point you go back to step one and repeat.

Friends, this mop is awesome. It’s wide, so you get your mopping done wicked fast. It’s tough, so you can scrub through stains like a pro, and it has a handle that’s actually made for people of all sizes. My back didn’t even hurt. Plus, if ninjas ever invade our house again, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to use this mop to battle off at least three or four of them while Denisa takes out the rest with that steam mop thing.

In other words, if you’re looking for a mopping solution, you’ve come to the right place.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. It’s better than Cats.

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