Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Confessions of a Channel Surfer - By Michael Buzzelli

It was supposed to be a relaxing night in front of the TV. It started out that way. I was a little too relaxed and dozed off with the remote on my lap. A loud bang on screen jolted me back awake. Did they shoot that guy? Alas, I will never know. Apparently, when I jolted up, I knocked the remote from my lap. When it fell, it landed on some unknown button and the picture went away. My TV monitor went blue, and the words “No Signal” playfully romped across the screen.

I started pressing buttons haphazardly, frantically. I did all the usual things. Made sure it was set to channel three. I made sure the box was on. I made sure the cable was screwed in tight. I pressed buttons I’d never used before. Some of them seem decorative. What does the green one do? Nothing?

I needed to know a couple of (literally and figuratively) pressing questions: What button got pressed? How do I fix this? Did they kill Agent Fitz? Was he replaced by a robot?

I spent several days without the television, on my own little island of the uninformed. I was the Robinson Crusoe of pop culture. A conversation at work went like this:

“Did you catch ‘Modern Family’ last night?”

“No. I am not watching television these days.”

“Did you give it up for Lent?”

“Nope. I hit a button.”

Several days later, my brother guided me through the problem over the phone. I had to click on the main menu, scroll down and activate the HDMI. It took several steps. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how the television got so lost on its own. That must have been some wicked fall from my lap to the floor. I’m not that tall, especially when sitting.

I never thought this would happen. Televisions have gotten too complicated for me. Suddenly, you need a remote to turn it on, a remote to change the channel, a remote for the DVD and a remote for the Roku.

I wanted to connect the living room TV and the bedroom TV to the Roku and was told, “You need a Fire Stick from Amazon.”

I replied, “An Amazonian fire stick? Why does it sound like I’m trying to overthrow the tribe’s shaman? I just want to watch Netflix in the bedroom.”

For the rest of the column, click here

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Disney's Hall Of Presidents Selling Unneeded Animatronic Hillary Clinton On eBay As A Sex Robot

By James J. Hamilton
ORLANDO—Amid recent news that realistic sex robots are hitting markets across the globe, Disney World's Hall of Presidents is reportedly selling its now-useless animatronic Hillary Clinton on eBay as a sex robot.

Disney, which grossed $2 billion at the box office on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, refuses to simply throw the robot in the trash. Disney CEO Bob Iger said "Look, we wouldn't be a $150 billion dollar company if we passed up opportunities to make a buck."

Though the minimum bid was initially set at one dollar, Iger expects bidding to skyrocket once news of the auction reaches the alt-right, whose members' inability to attract real women makes it the ideal market for sex robots.

If the Hillary robot fetches a good price, Disney may dust off its superfluous John McCain and Mitt Romney animatronics and put them on the sex robot auction block next. "There's definitely someone out there," Iger said, "who would pay to be tag-teamed by McCain and Romney."

James J. Hamilton (@jamesjhamilton) is a comedian from Pittsburgh whose awesome genius is matched only by his incredible humility. Check out more of his writing and stand-up on his website jamesjhamilton.net.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Loud Talkers and Lane Jumpers - By Michael A. Buzzelli

I have been swimming at the gym. Actually, it’s more like swim-walking. I joined the gym at the end of August, and I sprained my AC joint in September. I still can’t lift my hand all the way above my head. Luckily, I don’t really lift my hand over my head very often. It only hurts when I’m swimming, or when I’m dancing to “YMCA.” I can do the “MCA” parts, but I can’t make the “Y.”

Instead of swimming, I walk in the water. Back and forth for one hour. It’s low-impact fun.

While I was doing my laps, a woman came in and sat in the Jacuzzi. This woman, however, brought her cellphone with her and was carrying on a loud conversation in the whirlpool. Sound in the pool area reverberates. Everyone heard her conversation.

P.S. It’s not eavesdropping if the person is obnoxiously loud in an echo chamber.

It was a pretty scandalous conversation. I would bet money that her Facebook relationship status was “complicated,” because her love life sounded like a math problem. Many people are in love triangles, but she was in some sort of love dodecahedron.

I spent most of my time trying not to listen. Then, at one point, I had to solve the equation. I started listening intently.

Just then, this guy gets into the pool and he starts swimming in my lane. To be polite, I moved to the next lane over. That’s when he started swimming toward me again. For a minute, I thought he was a heat-seeking missile disguised as a person, much like they make drones look like little birdies (see “Eye in the Sky” with Helen Mirren).

It took me several seconds to realize he was not locked and loaded. It turns out he just swam crooked. I picked up the lane buoys and moved over to yet another lane, just so he could joyously flop around in both lanes.

The lifeguard and I exchanged glances. I expected the lifeguard to say, “Hey, dude. You’re in that guy’s lane.” In my head, lifeguards pepper all their conversations with the word “dude.”

The lifeguard looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I shouldn’t have expected this spindly little boy with a whistle to fight my battles, and, frankly, it wasn’t worth fighting about. There were plenty of open lanes.

This is the part where people normally say things like, “This is the problem with the world today. Everyone is so self-absorbed. They don’t pay attention to other people. They talk too loud, and they swim in your lanes.” Granted, that’s pretty specific, but you get the gist.

For the rest of the story, click here

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump Enjoys 95% Approval Rating With Nation's Fastest Growing Demographic: Dudes Who Leave Comments On Porn Sites

By James J. Hamilton
WASHINGTON—Pollsters say President Trump's approval rating has soared to an astonishing 95% among the nation’s fastest growing demographic: Dudes who leave comments on porn sites.

"Comment sections didn't really exist on porn sites when President Obama first took office," said Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports, "but the percentage of Americans leaving comments on porn videos has skyrocketed in the last few years." Pollster Frank Luntz warned: "Dudes who comment on porn videos are now a substantial voting bloc that can't be ignored. If Democrats can't break into that demographic, they're going to be in the minority for a long time."

PornHub user Hard_Cock_69, who commented that a video entitled "18 Year Old Slut Who Loves Anal" was "so hot i just jacked it twice in a porta potty at work lol," said he supports Trump's travel ban and believes the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals misapplied the standard of review for temporary restraining orders when it struck down the policy. 

"OMG I came so hard I almost jizzed in my own face," commented YouPorn user Epic69Boner420 in response to "Squirting Asian Schoolgirls Spanked Hard In Detention." Saying he voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson but has warmed up to Trump somewhat since the election, Epic69Boner420 praised Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and expressed excitement about Gorsuch's record of skepticism toward the Chevron doctrine, a precedent requiring courts to defer to executive agencies' interpretations of ambiguous statutes. 

Rasmussen and Luntz said Trump's approval rating hits 99% when the polling sample is narrowed to dudes who leave racist comments on interracial porn videos. PornTube user BigDicKKK1933, a rare member of that sampling group who does not support Trump, explained his opposition to the president by saying: "He let his daughter marry a Jew." BigDicKKK1933 added that the video "White MILF Takes Two Giant Black Cocks" is "a perfect example of why 9/11 happened." 
James J. Hamilton (@jamesjhamilton) is a comedian from Pittsburgh whose awesome genius is matched only by his incredible humility. Check out more of his writing and stand-up on his website jamesjhamilton.net.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Funny Valentine - By Michael Buzzelli

Happy Valentine’s Day! Warning: If you call it Valentime’s or VD, I will smack you in the mouth. Hard. With a snow shovel.

I will not be celebrating this year. I am neither giving nor receiving. I am sans companion this year. Shakespeare would say I was unstruck by Cupid’s arrow. The politically correct term is Romantically Challenged. I’m not even sad about it. It’s saving me a small fortune. February is a terrible time to promise someone you will take them out to dinner. This year, it’s on a Tuesday. I don’t want to go out on a Tuesday. Personally, I’d ask for a raincheck and take you out on Thursday or Friday. I’m in a much better mood by then anyway.

But I’m not here for me. I’m here for you. I have some great Valentine’s Day gift ideas. I’m like a priest who doles out marriage advice. Skip the flowers and chocolate. Skip the fancy-schmancy restaurant (they’re all crowded anyway).

Skip the sexy lingerie, and give the object of your affection flannel pajamas. The weather in Western Pennsylvania is erratic. We’ve been pretty lucky this year, but it’s cold up here in these hills. Be sensible and buy something warm and snuggly. Let’s face it, unless you’re married to Sofia Vergara or Channing Tatum, it’s unlikely your partner looks good in sexy underthings. At least you can keep them warm and comfy instead.

Gentlemen, get your lady a basket of wine. Here’s an easy way to get the right one. Take an empty bottle out of her trash, take it to the store and say, “I need a dozen of these.” Replicate it exactly, down to the vintage year. If you buy merlot for a pinot grigio girl, there will be hell to pay. Brand names are important. If you buy a bottle of Barefoot when they drink Chateau Montelena, you will be sleeping in the wine cellar.

P.S. If you met your lady-love at an AA meeting, consider getting her a brand-new coffee maker. Think back, did you meet in a smoky church basement? It could have been AA or bingo. Get the coffee maker just in case.

Ladies, you don’t have to be clever and handcraft something. You don’t have to make an artsy decoupage box with hearts and flowers on it. You don’t even have to browse Etsy for something romantic. You can score a win on Valentine’s Day with a “I will not talk during sports and/or your favorite television show” card. All your man really wants is for you to shut your yap during his show. Never tell him about your aunt’s bursitis during the Super Bowl. Never say, “How can you watch that crap?” when someone’s eye gets gouged out on “The Walking Dead.” You will keep your man forever. For the rest of the story, click here

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Popping the Pop Quiz - by Mike Buzzelli

I just scored really high in a quiz on social media. This, however, was not a proud moment. You got extra points for having life experience. Basically, I scored extra points for living this long.

For example, one question was, “Did you ever ride in a limousine?” Yes. Clearly, the test was designed by a young person; someone who didn’t get invited to the prom.

Side note: This one time I rented a limo to tour the California wine country with a group of friends. At one point, I was sitting in the limo talking to the driver and a few fellow passengers, while we were waiting for the others to return to the car. The driver had parked the car on the side of the road so we could take pictures of the view. I assumed I was drunk, because I thought we were moving. We were. The driver, whose head was turned to the back seat looking at us (the passengers without cameras), had accidentally taken his foot off the brake. We drifted backward. He backed into a sign that read, “Welcome to Napa Valley.” It was hard to feel safe in his limo after that. I stopped drinking for the rest of the trip. Later, he backed into a fence. I could have saved a few bucks driving my friends around Napa, because if I wrecked, at least it would have just been my crappy 1995 Saturn and not a long, white limousine.

But I digress, like I do. Here’s another question: “Did you ever lock your keys in your car?” Um … Yes. A few times. One time, I was in Virginia at a strip mall and I locked my keys in my car. Some dude I didn’t know ran into the dry cleaners, got a coat hanger and unlocked it. I know it was a long time ago, because it was the kind of car you could unlock with a coat hanger.

In December 2016, I locked my keys in my car again while it was running. It had just snowed on a random Saturday. I was going to the movies. I was almost done shoveling the driveway when I decided to warm my car up. I turned it on, revved it up and jumped out. I slammed the door shut. Then, I remembered the door locked automatically, and I only had one set of keys. There was only a fourth of a tank of gas in the car at the time. I kept wondering if I was going to run out of gas before the AAA guy showed up. It was a race against time, my own version of an action movie.

There were a few other questions on the quiz. For the rest of the story, click here

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cultured Butter - by Michael Buzzelli

Earlier this month in Harrisburg, a unique tribute to Pennsylvania dairy farmers was unveiled. “The Culture of Stewardship” is art crafted in butter. Yes, I said butter. A half ton of butter, to be precise. The sculpture depicts farms, rolling hillsides, forests and hills and premiered at the 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

I have heard of artists who work in oils, but not butter. I didn’t realize that butter could be art. I only work with butter in the medium of toast, and by “medium” I’m strictly referring to the setting on the toaster.

I couldn’t help but think “The Culture of Stewardship” would have looked perfect next to Roy Neary’s “Devil’s Tower,” constructed completely out of mashed potatoes (in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”). Don’t you think they would have looked delicious together?

Side note: There are several mashed potato sculpting contests around the country, including one at the Long Island Potato Festival. It seems to me mashed potatoes would be easier to make into things, unless they’re lumpy. You can’t carve out a smooth bust of Venus with lumpy mashed potatoes.

But I digress, like I do. The husband and wife team of Jim Victor and Marie Pelton built the panoramic butter tableau. Victor and Pelton are artists who work in butter, chocolate, cheese and mixed-food media. Their work is quite astonishing. They’ve made sculptures of children at play, motorcycles and, of course, cows. They even did Michelangelo’s David, but gave him a surfboard and dressed him in board shorts. Since it was beach-themed, they should have used cocoa butter.

Sculpting art from butter sounds like laborious and messy work, especially with a thousand pounds of the yellow goop. Victor and Pelton work in frigid temperatures to maintain the consistency of their medium.

I wonder if they’d get in trouble for using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! or other margarines? By the way, the exclamation point is actually part of the butter substitute’s name. It’s a very dramatic margarine.

Not to go off on another tangent, but I can’t think of any other item at the grocery store that is both a product and a sentence. Please write in, if you can think of one.

But I digress, again. I grew up loving art, but I don’t believe in wasting food. You can see my dilemma. While I marvel at the sand sculptures at the Three Rivers Regatta, I turn my nose up at food art; literally and figuratively, as it probably stinks after a while. You could never have a permanent collection.

For the rest of the column, click here

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.