Town to immigrants: you can't kill women

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Immigrants wishing to live in the small Canadian town of Herouxville, Quebec, must not stone women to death in public, burn them alive or throw acid on them, according to an extraordinary set of rules released by the local council.

They can, however, stone them into a coma. You know, to teach them a lesson. Or for exercise. Whatever. Just no killing.


Cookie-chipped tooth ruled work-related

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A salesman who chipped a tooth on a cookie while visiting a customer is entitled to compensation for his dental work after a court ruled it a work-related injury.

"I'm very happy," Montell, 50, said Wednesday. "Everyone who is out on a job can have a snack knowing that they are covered by occupational safety laws."

More evidence that the Swedes really have their priorities in order.


Herpes outbreak triggers wrestling ban in Minnesota

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An outbreak of a contagious rash called herpes gladiatorum among Minnesota high school wrestlers led the state to suspend matches and halt contact practices, authorities said on Wednesday.

This one's funny all on its own.

The eight-day suspension affecting 7,500 wrestlers on 262 teams was the first time a U.S. state's entire high school program in a sport has been shut down, authorities said.

7,500 wrestlers. Wow. They sure get around. If you know what I mean.


Funeral home uses dead critters to cheer guests


MADISON, Wis., Jan 31 (Reuters Life!) - A stuffed squirrel clutching a fishing rod. A dead badger hefting a football for a winning pass. Other ex-rodents enjoying a carousel ride.

Sounds like our family Christmas.

"This is to show kids when they come for a funeral and they cry," said Sanfillippo, 86, the semi-retired director of the Cress Funeral Home in Wisconsin's capital city, Madison.

The sheer terror puts a quick stop to the whining.

In one room here stuffed squirrels drink and carouse in a warmly-lit saloon, while over at "The Woodland Fair," families of dead animals enjoy fair rides and three squirrels dance on stage in grass skirts in the "Topless Girlie Show."

How perfect for children.

I had a dream the other night. My brothers and I formed a vigilante justice gang.

It started with a road trip. Somewhere in the middle of Texas, we stopped for the night. Or maybe for a couple days. I wasn't paying much attention at first. I had walked out of the hotel to get something from the car when I saw a dude chainsaw another dude through the chest. Once the killer finished introducing himself to the other guy's spleen, he spotted me. And, as chainsaw murderers are wont to do, he came over to say hi and, I imagine, collect my spleen for the little tea party he'd started. Not exactly thrilled about dying, I took out my trust soldering iron (which I guess I always carry in my pocket when on a road trip with my bros) and stabbed him in the chest. I was pretty happy about the whole thing until I realized that the soldering iron was still hot (I guess from building microprocessors in the car?) that the killer's wound was immediately cauterized. It must have still hurt like the dickens, though, 'cause he sprinted off into the woods.

Then came the part where we formed the vigilante justice gang. We hunted that fool down. In the process, we also collected a sweet arsenal of more traditional weapons (I couldn't find another soldering iron), ate some delicious burgers, went swimming, and set the entire town ablaze. And there may or may not have been some collateral damage. I'm pretty sure that those school kids were just sleeping.


Random House, Inc.
Children's Publishing
1745 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019

January 23, 2007

Mr. Mark Smithson
125 Blantamsham Lane
Omaha, Nebraska, 47568

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your recent submission to Random House, Inc. While it is true that our Children's Publishing offices have been at work on a series of "life and times" themes, we regret to inform you that your work is not in line with the division's standards and has been rejected.

The basic premise of your short story, as you state in your cover letter, aligns itself nicely with the goal of the series: educating children in regards to the everyday objects which surround us. However, our goal is to present material that is at once both informational and age appropriate. Your story, The Life and Times of Timmy the Toilet Paper Roll, is unquestionably inappropriate for children. In addition, the sketches you sent are far too graphic for any work outside the adult entertainment industry (on that topic: attached you will find a bill for carpet cleaning which I expect you to pay, as the review of your drawings made my intern vomit twice).

If possible, consider another subject for your story. Your personalization of the roll of toilet paper was excellent. Some of the best I've seen in a children's novel. The rather moving vignette on page three regarding Timmy's departure from the factory and his "parents" was especially moving. That said, cursing is never acceptable within children's literature.

If you're stuck on the toilet paper idea, consider contacting the folks over at Penguin. It's my understanding that they're attempting to pull together a competing series for their children's line, and I'm sure that your work is right up their alley (which, incidentally, I found to be an excellent turn of phrase for your subject matter and the usage of which I commend you for).


Donovan James
Random House, Inc.

Enclosures: One bill (carpet cleaning) for the amount of $267.38

The Jack Bauer School of Negotiations

1. Don't. That's right. Jack Bauer doesn't negotiate with anyone. Not his mother. Not his dog. Not even himself. One time he couldn't decide between pizza and a burger, so he ate both. Halfway through, a part of him wanted to stop and throw the rest away, so Jack tied himself to a chair and forced the rest of the food down his own throat. It's safe to say that Jack taught his insolence a lesson.

2. In the process of not negotiating, it might take some convincing to get people to give you what you want. Jack advises to begin with harsh tones. If you must, yell. Also, breathe heavily. It helps convey how serious you are about the whole thing.

3. If yelling doesn't work, begin torture. If you need specific tips on torture, please enroll in Jack Bauer's School of Information Gathering and Coercion Through Alternative Means While the Government Looks the Other Way. If torture doesn't work or you're indisposed (e.g.; you're tied up in a chair or your best friend has your former-enemy-turned-ally at gunpoint) proceed with step four.

4. Kill. Get creative. Use the tools at your disposal, no matter how "unconventional" they may be. In a hospital? A pair of surgical scissors will get the job done. In an office? Try stabbing the other party with a pen. Outdoors? Use your hands. They work great in a pinch. Tied up? Just bite that dude's neck off.

5. Just do whatever the hell you want. Damn the consequences. This usually works great when you just can't get the President of the United States to see things your way. He usually comes around once you've saved the nation from complete chaos/chemical attack/total decimation.


Sweet baby Moses.

Today, Apple unveiled the new iPhone. It does, well, just about everything. Phone calls (of course), internet access, emails, SMS, Google maps, photo taking and organization, video, music and much, much more.

We'll know more about its full capabilities when it's a little closer to the launch date in June, but from what I understand, it will even carry your baby to term and make the tastiest baked potatoes known to man.

Dear Buckeyes,

It's my fault, really. And I'm very sorry. I forgot to tell Troy this morning that he was playing for the National Championship.

I know that he won the Heisman and all, but every once in a while he just needs a little reminder before the really important games.

Sorry, boys. Maybe next year.

Momma Smith


Dear Team,

While I admire Momma Smith's candor and the bravery it requires to take the blame for such a disappointing loss, I can't let her apology stand. It's not her fault. It's mine. For hiring an offensive coordinator who forgot to bring his playbook to the game. Jerk.

Coach Tressel

a movie review by my grandfather


Comfortable seats. Warm theater. Dim lighting. I was asleep in the first ten minutes.

Seven stars. One for every nap I took.

a movie review by my grandmother

First, why did it have to be so dark? All the directors these days think that you have to make these movies with no light. It's preposterous. You can't see a damn thing. Half the time you don't even know who's who, much less what they're doing.

And why does everyone whisper? You can't hear what they're saying.

Matt Damon is such a handsome young man. He has a nice haircut, but those glasses were terrible. Someone should have given him some contacts instead so we could see his face.

And it's no wonder his son couldn't keep a secret. Matt Damon couldn't keep his pants on for five minutes. That's no kind of example for a young man.

Also, I found the timeline convoluted and the use of flashbacks remarkably trite.

oh, six

a year in review

A lot happened. Here's a recap.

• Shot my fifth wedding and sixth weddings on consecutive weekends. Started to think about taking on less business.
• Got paid for the weddings. Started thinking about taking on more business.
• Went through my oatmeal phase. And changed my life forever.
• Went to the barber. Got a mohawk. My wife didn't look me in the face again until I lost it.
• Wrote some scripts that got me noticed by the creative directors in Austin, who took me out there to pitch a new account.

• Worked in our Austin office for a couple weeks. Took a lot of pictures. Missed my flight home.
• Threw my little girl's first birthday party. Pancakes. Pajamas. Pure insanity.
• Ran over a cat. Realized I had a taste for it.

• Wrestled with the morality of advertising.
• Got a raise.
• Stopped wrestling.
• Celebrated the one year anniversary of this blog, a thing that has caused me both unequivocable joy and pain.

• Discovered the plight of the Mexican Zebra.
• Adopted Poncho as my own.
• Felt like punching a client in the face. Not for the first time, but with the most intense anger.
• Went back to Austin for another pitch. Won the business this time.

• Sold the first car I'd ever bought new. Cried for a week.
• In a move that either madness or genius, I bought a truck off the internet, not seeing it in person until my little brother drove it home from Austin.
• Shot my first out-of-town wedding in Denver, Colorado. Nearly maimed and murdered several representatives of Frontier Airlines in a rage-inspired killing spree.

• Participated in a memorial skydive for D Day paratroopers. Learned more about D Day than any book could teach.
• Went to Vegas. Remained unimpressed.

• Nothing significant. Nothing I remember, anyway.

• Went to California on vacation. Inadvertently taught my daughter the phrase "animal sex".
• Drove across town in the middle of national disaster-level flooding because, hey, it's not so bad.
• Got so busy at work that I looked up the symptoms of a brain hemorrhage.
• Drove Jim back to Austin for the new semester. Ended up staying for two weeks. Working.

• Went to Florida for work. Probably would have like it more had I slept more than an hour a night. My only memory: Miami is slutty.

• Went back to Florida for a cruise with my wife's family. As my father-in-law reads this, I'll just say that it was culturally educational, mind-blowingly fun, fantastically relaxing, remarkably frustration and the most amazing experience of my life. Aside from the day I married his daughter, of course.

• Found out that my lungs had been harboring pneumonia for at least two months and that, as a matter of fact, not being able to breathe is a sign of something bad.

• Was asked by the creative director in Austin to head things up on our side of the work for a major creative pitch. Ruled the team with an iron fist and a basket of muffins. Mine was an administration of unchecked power and confusion.

Happy New Year, everybody. Thanks for hanging out.

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