Punctuation is important, people.

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Cool beans.

Whoa. The Star-Nosed Mole looks like he had a sneeze backfire or something. Seriously though, look at that nose, man. It uses those 22-appendages to feel around for stuff. Oh, and the Star-Nosed Mole is water repellent, which comes in handy when you live underground and it rains. And get this – these little dudes are also able to smell underwater. They do this by exhaling air bubbles onto objects or scent trails and then inhaling the bubbles to carry scents back through the nose. That’s a cool trick right there. And get a load of those claws, man. Yikes. Nature, doin’ it up big per usual. Anywho, Star-Nosed Mole.

astarnosedmole

I have no idea if the story I’m about to tell you is true or not. It was told to me years ago, and I have zero clue regarding names or other pertinent details. Perhaps somebody will recognize the story and help me clarify. Hell, it could be an urban legend for all I know. That said, it’s simply too good not to share. Believe it or not, it’s the story of a little boy’s thumb . . .

Not Joe’s thumb.

As the story goes, back in the late 60’s a little 8-year old boy in Bainbridge named Joe had an ugly accident and lost his thumb. It may have had something to do with sharpening lawnmower blades, though I can’t be sure. In any event, he was rushed to the local physician, a gentlemen named Doc Cutright (this I know is true – we had an elderly doctor in our town with the awesomely appropriate name of Cutright).  Long story short, Joe’s thumb couldn’t be reattached and somehow ended up in a jar of formaldehyde in the good doctor’s office. I guess he kept that sort of stuff, and I know not why. However, it’s important to note that young Joe nor his parents had any idea the thumb had been preserved for posterity.

Anyway, a couple of years later Joe moved away to parts unknown but his thumb remained, forgotten by the thumbless kid and the mists of time.

Well, not quite.

Years after, Dr. Cutright passed away and an auction was held to sell of various pieces of furniture, glassware, physician equipment . . . and apparently various body parts in jars. On a whim, or perhaps because he had a weird sense of humor or was maybe just a sick mofo, a former classmate of Joe’s named Tim bought his thumb. I believe the asking price was $5.00 but was negotiated down to $3.00. How do you put a value on a human body part anyway? But that’s neither here nor there. In the end the thumb was put on a shelf in Tim’s basement bar as a curiosity piece. If you didn’t know, disconnected human thumbs are great conversation starters.

While that’s interesting enough in itself, our story doesn’t end there. In fact, this is where our story begins . . .

Decades later, Joe returned to our small town, if only briefly. We have a yearly festival that a lot of people come back for, and this is why Joe was in town. Keep in mind this was 30-years after the 8-year old Joe had become separated from his thumb. As he was walking down the sidewalk with his wife, he heard his name being called . . .

“Joe! Hey Joe!”

It was Tim, across the street.

Joe: “Hey! Timmy! What’s up?”

Tim: “Dude! I have your thumb!”

Joe, nothing registering: “Uh, wh-u-u-u-t?”

Tim: “I HAVE YOUR THUMB!”

Well, there’s something you don’t hear everyday.

It was then that Joe walked across the street and heard the story of how Tim had, in fact, come into possession of Joe’s long lost thumb. This was, as you might imagine, quite the surprise since Joe had no idea it was still in existence and intact.

As the story goes, Joe then walked over to Tim’s house to be reunited with his 35-year old, but actually 8-year old, thumb. Incidentally, you can say that last sentence the other way around and it will still make sense.

So Joe arrives at the house and is handed the jar with his thumb in it. Think about this, if you will, for just a second. Here is Joe, looking at his little thumb that was last in action way back in 1968. It was his thumb from when he was 8-years old. How surreal must this have been?

I can’t begin to fathom how that must have felt.

So there you have it. The Legend of Joe’s Thumb. Can I verify the details? I cannot. Did this actually happen in Bainbridge, Ohio? No idea.

But is it one helluva story?

Oh, yeah.

Note: Just a heads-up here. While looking for a photo to accompany this story, I typed “amputated thumb” into Google Images and hit the search button. Don’t ever do that.

So they had this little kerfuffle in Vegas yesterday, and it ends with some bro getting the living hell tased out of him. Anyway, I see these things on the YouTube all the time and it always strikes me how the rules of fighting have basically disappeared since I was a youngblood. Here are my thoughts, with the video to follow:

1. Sucker punches were rare back in the day. Nowadays it’s commonplace. Cowardly, man. Fight a guy face-to-face.

2. Nobody ever kicked a guy when he was down, especially in the head. Just an assclown move. If a guy was incapacitated, you walked away. You won.

3. Nobody ever jumped in to help. If it was one on one, everyone stepped back and let the two guys involved settle it.

Seems to me that fighting etiquette has gone down the toilet. Anyway, here’s the video that got me thinking about this whole national epidemic. By the way, that tased dude goes down like a bag of hammers, man.

Gotta be a broken hip at least, don’tcha think?

So I took the first photo myself the other night, and it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go ever there and let the air out of this assclown’s tires. I mean really? You’re afraid of dents? It’s a Dodge Dakota, dumbass. As for the second photo, well, there’s a special place in hell reserved for people who do this. That’s just spitting in the face of all that is holy.

Whew. I feel better already.

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Man, look at the snout on the Elephant Shrew. Dude had a beak like you read about. Anyway, get this – Elephant Shrews are not even shrews and in fact are more closely related to elephants. They also make a series of cleared pathways through the undergrowth and spend their day patrolling them for insect life. If disturbed, the pathway provides an obstacle-free escape route. Elephant shrews be smart. They also are monogamous and live in pairs, but the partners do not care much for each other and their sole purpose of even associating with the opposite sex is for reproduction. Sounds like some couples I know. Anywho, Elephant Shrew.

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aelephantshrew

The idea here is to type in a state’s name and see what pops up with autocomplete. Washington has to be terribly disappointed since a newspaper 3000-miles away comes up. Oh, and Ohio is no surprise, eh?

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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — An 11-year-old boy receiving three 1degrees became the youngest graduate at American River College this year, by far.

Tanishq Abraham graduated from high school at age 10, and now has his sights set on a medical degrees.  He told KCRA he wasn’t intimidated by taking classes with students twice his age.

“Even on the first time I came to a college class, I wasn’t really nervous, so, this isn’t much of a big thing to me,” Abraham said.

Abraham graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA, which didn’t come as a surprise to his mother.

“Even in kindergarten he was pretty ahead, two years ahead, and just went from there,” she said.

Look at Tanishq Abraham up there, just holding his degree like he owns the place, looking all smug and whatnot. Dude has prick written all over him. “Oh, it wasn’t a big thing to me“, bah-blah-blah. Oooh, he was 2-years ahead of everyone in kindergarten. Big deal.

And hey, the fact that I graduated high school at 18 and college at 28 has nothing to do with my resentment either. Nothing at all.

PS: Where the hell is American River College? Sounds shady as hell, man.

Note: Seriously, I’ve never understood parents who move their kids up even one grade in school. Do they do it so they can brag to their friends? Honestly, what’s the rush? What’s the advantage of graduating college at 20 or 21 rather than 23? Who wants to enter the workforce earlier than everyone else? Enjoy your childhood, man.

The Unicode Consortium is an actual organization that is in charge of those little emojis folks use when texting and whatnot. Seriously, it’s a consortium. It has announced that there’ll be 38, count ’em, 38 new emojis unleashed on the public next year.

Here are a few of them, along with my snarkily witty observations . . .

Face with Cowboy Hat

Well, of course we have to have a face with a cowboy hat. We can use it when texting words like “howdy” or “yeehaw.”  Makes sense to me.

Clown Face

Damn it! That’s all I need, more clowns. I’m betting it’s terrifying. I hate clowns and they hate me.

Nauseated Face

Well, dur. Of course we need a nauseated face. I shall us this one without prejudice or regard for human life. You know, because I’m nauseated by people a lot.

Rolling on the Floor Laughing

Seriously? We’re that lazy? We can’t type ROFL? Good grief.

Drooling Face

G-r-e-a-t. Just what the perverts need. A girl posts a photo of herself and boom, Drooling Face appears. Beware the Drooling Face, ladies.

Lying Face

What? What’s the lying face going to look like? Wait. This?

Yep. That’s gotta be it.

“Call me” Hand

Ah, the “Call me” hand. Of course. I see a need for the “Call me” hand. Everyone needs a “Call me” hand emoji. On a related note, I will never use the “Call me” hand.

Selfie

Why would anyone ever use a selfie emoji? Seriously? I can’t think of any context in which it would be used. Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

Raised Back of Hand

Also known as the Chris Brown, Ike Turner or Ray Rice emoji. Seriously, a raised back of the hand? What’s next, a black eye emoji?

Pregnant Woman

Really ladies? This is how you’re going to let us know? Good God a’mighty.

Face Palm

I actually sort of like the Face Palm. Like when some idiot really does something dumb you whip out the face palm emoji. I can see myself face palming like a boss.

Shrug

Finally, the long awaited “I don’t give a shit” emoji. And it’s about time, amirite?

Man Dancing

I suppose this can be used to replace all the happy faces? OK.

Prince

Huh? Prince? Like “Little Red Corvette” Prince? Or just a regular prince? And under what circumstances would you use a prince emoji? I’m going to go lay down.

Mother Christmas

Oh, Gawd. Really? Is this a women’s rights thing or something? Gotta have a female Santa Claus? This is an example of political emoji correctness run amok if I ever saw one.

Wilted Flower

Ain’t gonna lie. I’ll use the wilted flower emoji. You ask your girlfriend out, she responds that she has other plans, boom, wilted flower comin’ right back at her. No doubt about it. On a related note, a deflating balloon would work too.

Black Heart

Oh, how I’ll use the black heart. I practically invented the black heart. I accuse people of having a black heart almost daily. Black hearts abound in this dark world, and the black heart emoji has arrived to let them know about it.

The last few new emojis are all food, and why most of these foods were chosen is a mystery to me. Here they are:

Croissant  – Seriously? A croissant? Where are we, France? Gimme a donut, baby.
Avocado – I swear to God, the Unicode Consortium folks must be batshit crazy. Avocados?
Cucumber – Boy, this one could go sideways in a hurry. No comment.
Bacon – Yessir! No we’ll talkin! I shall use the bacon emoji liberally and whenever I want to express happiness. Bacon!

Seriously, other than the magnificent bacon the other three foods are noteworthy only for their high level of boringness.

Without further ado, I heretofore present my suggestions for new emojis. Unicode Consortium, read and learn:

Cheez-It

‘Nuff said.

The Finger

Yes, that finger. It would undoubtedly be the #1 most-used emoji in existence. You don’t think I’m right, you know I am.

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The men in the photos below are bonafide American badasses, the men who looked the Nazis in the eye, whipped them into submission and made them quit. These particular photos are from D-Day, the day the United States launched the largest seaborne invasion in history and faced Hitler’s minions head-on. The men you see in these photos, my friends, were the real deal.

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Not my pants.

Note: That title is a little melodramatic. This story isn’t that crazy, at least by my standards. In reality I just wanted to use the word “awry” in a title. “Awry” is a cool word.

So I made a run up to Macy’s yesterday to do some shopping. I’m probably the quickest shopper you’ve ever known, folks, and I take great pride in it. I arrived at 10:11 and was back in the car at 10:55. And yes, I actually time myself.

My 44-minute excursion included trying on 5-pairs of pants, 3-shirts, a coat, a hat, and frightening a little middle-eastern sales clerk who was negligent in assisting me. But more on him shortly.

I usually walk in, go straight to what I’m looking for, try it on, buy it, and I’m gone. What can I say? I’m decisive when I know what I want. Oh, every once in awhile I’ll feign interest in something if an attractive lady is working that department. I once looked at a collection Hermes Man Purses that I had no intention of buying for 15-minutes because the female clerk was cute, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anywho, I could have been out of there in less time yesterday had I not run into a bit of a problem. You see, when I shop I need a little help. As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I’m color blind. That’s why I usually stick to black pants, because I can wear about any color shirt with them. On a related note, I’ll wear any color shirt – pink doesn’t bother me in the least. I hate people who are judgmental about colors, even though I can’t see them. But I digress.

Anyway, when I first arrived at the men’s department there was nobody around to help, but I thought what the hell, the store just opened, no big deal. After a few minutes though, I noticed a couple gentlemen at the checkout counter glancing over at me as if considering helping me but discarding the thought, even after I’d caught their eye a couple of times.

Eh, no matter. How could I possibly screw up black, anyway?

Turns out it’s possible.

I’m not one of those people who try on one pair of a certain brand of pants and then assume they’ll all fit, because sometimes they don’t. Because I know this I try on every pair to be sure. So, after trying on all 5-pair I gather them up and head to checkout, where the two male clerks were still there, talking about the physical attributes of the ass of Neil Patrick Harris. Seriously.

After completely ignoring me for 30-seconds (remember, the store was practically empty), one of the clerks, the aforementioned little middle eastern gentleman, noticed me and walked over. His name tag said his name was Hadji.

So Hadji starts ringing me up, and just before I swipe my credit card I ask, just in case . . .

Me: “Hey, I need to check. These pants are black, aren’t they?”

Hadji just stared at me.

Me: “I’m color blind. But they are black, right?”

At this point he was still staring and I almost waved my hand in front of his face to snap him out of it, but I fought off the urge. Then he finally spoke:

“No, sir, they’re navy blue.”

Well, hell. I don’t know if it was the smug attitude of Hadji and his buddy, the fact that they hadn’t come over in the first place to help, or that I’d spent 20-minutes trying on the wrong color pants, but I snapped.

Kinda.

I swiftly grabbed all 5-pairs of pants out of Hadji’s hands and stormed off to do the whole process again, but only after letting both clerks know exactly what I thought of their job performances, in no uncertain or gentlemanly terms.

After a few seconds of stunned silence, Hadji then proceeded to scurry behind me and kindly (although somewhat skittishly) take the navy blue pants and help me switch them all out for black ones, so he did redeem himself somewhat. In addition, he may or may not have wet his pants. Bottom line, I got what I wanted.

But damn it, I could’ve been out of there by 10:30.

1aaAs I was re-posting some stories about my late friend and brother-in-law Jigger the other day I was reminded of something that happened years ago. It’s really sort of indicative of how he raised his children, which was  to enjoy every day and to recognize and appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Here’s the story . . .

I was at a little league baseball game at the field by the old Twin School, which actually sort of makes me sad to even write. The historic and beautiful Twin School was unceremoniously torn down a few years ago, thanks to a school superintendent who apparently didn’t give a rat’s ass if anybody cared or not.

But back to my story. I was there to watch Jigger’s son Josh play. Josh was 11 or 12-years old at the time. It was late in the day, dusk really, and it was a really pretty evening. It was also a close game and Josh was in the on-deck circle taking some practice swings. Then he looked over and waved his hand at me, beckoning me over.

At this point I’m a proud uncle, certain that I’m going to be asked my sage advice regarding hitting or baseball strategy of some sort. After all, it was a close game and Josh was the next batter. I got up from my lawn chair and walked over to the fence, where Josh met me. The following conversation then ensued:

Me: “Hey Josh. What’s up?”

Josh, pointing westward: “Look over there at the sunset, man. Check out the clouds and how the sun is reflecting off of them. Isn’t it pretty?”

I was taken aback for a second, and I almost told him he should be focused on the game. But then I looked at the sunset, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t really pretty.

That, my friends, was a kid with his priorities in order.

Like I said, life’s simple pleasures . . .

 

Note: It should come as no surprise to you that Josh is now an amazing nature photographer. You can take a look at his work by clicking here. I highly recommend it.

The future is now.

Because how many times have we seen one guy working, 5-guys sitting on the guardrail, and one supervisor standing there watching? Exactly. Sorry ODOT workers.

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Wow.

Listen, I don’t claim to have all the answers. In fact, I know for a fact that I’ve screwed up more Life-is-what-happens-to-Chris-Zeligthan most of you. Well, they say you learn from your mistakes, so perhaps that gives me a little advantage. Either way, take what follows for what it’s worth.

I jotted down about 20 pieces of advice but narrowed down my list to just 10 that I deem most important. Let’s get right to it:

  1. Don’t let high school be the highlight of your life. Be proud of everything you accomplished, but don’t be one of those people that, when they’re 45-years old, realize the highlight of their life was something they did in high school. Hey, be proud of that state wrestling appearance, football playoff berth or basketball appearance in The Convo, but you’re just starting baby! Keep moving up and keep doing great things.
  2. Find something you like to do and do it. Don’t settle for anything less. Don’t start a job you hate just for the paycheck and get weighed down by bills until you can’t afford to quit and do something you actually enjoy doing. And watch this video. I couldn’t agree with it more.
  3. Money isn’t everything and ultimately won’t make you happy. People disagree with me all the time regarding this, but I couldn’t believe it anymore than I do. Sure, money helps, you have to pay the bills and all that. But ultimately it’s family and loved ones that make you happy. Trust me on this one.
  4. For God’s sake, if you use credit cards pay them off monthly. I know, more money advice. But damn it, don’t get sucked in by the credit card companies. It’s way too easy to pull that card out and run up debt on the thing. If you must use credit cards, I implore you to pay them off every month. Believe me, if there’s anything on this list I wish somebody had told me, this is it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail. Remember, it’s not the things you do in life you’ll regret – it’s the things you don’t do. Fear of failure has stopped way too many people from going for what they really want in life. Don’t be one of those people.
  6. You are who your friends are. Look around you. Who do you hang out with? Because that’s you. Take an honest look, and if you don’t like what you see some changes are in order.
  7. You’re either on your way up or your way down. There’s no in-between. Constantly ask yourself which direction you’re going.
  8. Give. Remember that, ultimately, giving is more satisfying than receiving. It’s an old adage but it is absolutely true. If you really want to have a fulfilling life, GIVE.
  9. Always have a goal. Always be working towards something. Enjoy every day but always have something you’re working towards. When you lose focus and wander aimlessly, bad things happen. Keep moving forward.
  10. Get out of here. At least for awhile. Whether it be to go to college or something else, leave your hometown and experience living somewhere else. Sure, it’s OK to come back, but living elsewhere for at least awhile will give you a better perspective on life. Do it. Leave for awhile. You’ll appreciate and understand the world much better, and that’s a great thing.

So grads, that’s all I got. Simple, I know. But guess what? Life is pretty simple. Enjoy every day. And 2015 grads, you’re too young to remember this but your parents probably do. There was once a wonderful man who was the principal at Paint Valley. He loved our school and every single student in it. Every year at graduation he would quote John Lennon, and that quote holds as true today as it did back then:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 

Don’t ever forget it.

So I ran across this “authentic” rebel flag for sale and it got me to thinking, which oftentimes gets me into trouble. This is sure to be one of those times.

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Yeehaw!

First off bro, that ain’t authentic. I’m pretty sure the originals didn’t have a rabid dog with a “dixie” necklace around its neck. I’m also fairly certain it didn’t have the words “Rebel blood in my veins, Yankee blood in my yard” written on it. Sorry to get all historically correct on you.

Secondly, can someone explain to me the fascination with rebel flags, especially here in the north? I mean, everyone knows what that flag represented, right? Do people who fly these things on their trucks really want it to be 1850 again? I mean, those were good times for sure but only for, you know, us white folks.

And I understand that you should be proud you’re from the south, but is that really the best way to express it? By waving a symbol of racist ignorance in everyone’s faces? Just to refresh everyone’s memories, we’re talking about the official national flag that was used to represent the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. You know, that awkward time period when the South was vehemently fighting to keep slavery around as a means of economic prosperity for white plantation owners. Again, just a little history refresher for y’all.

And I’ve heard the arguments about how the Confederate flag is no longer representative of slavery, and how it’s now indicative of “Southern pride and heritage.” Sorry, but is that really the heritage you want to celebrate? How about celebrating the stuff that doesn’t include the enslavement of a race of people based on the color of their skin?

Ah, I can hear some of my southern friends now – the war was not about slavery! It was about states’ rights! And you are exactly right. It was fought over what the southern states saw as their right to continue, uh, slavery.

So stop it.

And that still doesn’t explain why a guy who grew up in Ohio would proudly display a flag representing the Confederate States of America. You know, like I said, unless they’re telling us they want to bring back the 1860’s.

One more thing before I go. I spend a lot of time down south, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been referred to as a Yankee. To a lot of folks down south, anyone north of Tennessee or Virginia is a Yankee. But you know something? In my entire life I’ve never heard one of my northerner friends refer to a southerner as a Rebel. Not once. What do you suppose that is? Is it because some people are not over the fact that they lost a war that took place 150-years ago?

Honestly, these are serious questions. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PS: Please leave the death threats out of the comments section. I laugh at them and, after all, they just make you look dumb.

PSS: Please don’t think I’m categorizing all southerners into one group. I’m mainly talking about the dudes with the Confederate Flags on their trucks, so chillax.

For the record she’s laughing at you, not with you.

That curtain has a family, man.

[unmute the vine in the bottom right corner]

Gotta love Maine’s result. Oh, and sorry Georgia.

MapWhyisthisstateso

Truth.

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Sorta sounds like something you’d buy at Victoria’s Secret for your sweetie, amirite? The Pink See-through Fantasia is a sea cucumber, found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific, east of Borneo. Check it out, man. It’s transparent like you read about. It was only recently discovered at a depth of 8,200 feet, which is deep for you non-scientists out there. Anywho, Pink See-Through Fantasia.

apinksee-throughfantasia

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Deadly, man.

(Source)On May 8, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 5th grader Aarin Moody reached into his pocket to retrieve a “late note” from his mother and a Nerf gun foam “bullet” fell out. Officials at the Atlantic City School District categorized the toy bullet as a “self-constructed weapon” because “it had a toothpick stuck in it.” As a result, Moody received “a five-day, in-school suspension and a notation on his permanent record stating that he brought a makeshift weapon to school.” According to Fox News, the 5th grader put toothpicks in the Nerf bullets “so they would stick to the ground when he fired them from his Nerf gun.” Moody said he did not put the toothpicks in to cause mischief.

Yeah, you could do some damage with that thing, amirite? Imagine the throats he could have slit. Just a diabolical creation if I ever saw one. Aarin Moody should probably have received life in prison, man. Had the Atlantic City School District not heroically stepped in countless live could have been lost.

Seriously, here’s a great example of the ridiculousness of zero tolerance policies in schools. They’re simply a crutch for administrators who don’t want to make a decision. Where’s the common sense? Here’s how I would have handled it:

“Aarin, what the heck is this, buddy?”

“Uh, I forgot it was in there. I put a toothpick in my nerf bullet so it will stick in the ground when I shoot it.”

“Oh, OK. Better let me keep it in my office. You could accidentally stick someone with this thing.”

Then I would have probably kept it in my pocket and threw it at kids all day. Good times.

C’mon America. You’re better’n at.