Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tell them to take a leap - By Mike Buzzelli


I hate leap year. Basically it is one of those astronomical concepts that hurts my head. Apparently, the Earth revolves around the sun 365 ¼ days. What the heck is a fourth of a day? Where does it go? Did I somehow misplace six hours somewhere? Technically it’s five hours, forty-nine minutes and twelve seconds. Take that, cast of “Rent”!

The average year is 365.2425 days. Those numbers behind the decimal point scare me. Where is my .2425th of a day? I looked in the car, on the credenza and under the bed. It’s not there. Where the heck is it?

I did some research so you don’t have to. Actually, it is pretty interesting if you can get through all this scientific gobbledygook.

The leap year is also known as a bissextile year. I urge you not to wish anyone “Happy Bissextile Year!” You’re likely to get slapped in the face.

Did you know the Gregorian calendar is actually named after some guy named Gregory? Gregory XIII, to be exact (don’t even get me started on people with Roman numerals after their names). He was a pope. If we revise it this year, we’d have the Franciscan calendar. I’d like to propose the idea of a John-Paulian calendar, because that’s just a great name for a calendar.

Anyway, Gregory XIII got some guys together and reinvented months, days and years. For now we’ll call them the Calendar Kids, because it sounds like a gang from the movies of the ’40s and ’50s, even though this all went down in October 1582. I imagine there must have been some confusion about the date, since they were reinventing the calendar! Think about it. Those people who didn’t have a calendar yet didn’t know it was called October 1582. I am glad I wasn’t around yet, because I would not have known when to celebrate my birthday before there was an October. See why this all hurts my head?

According to way-smarter people, the leap year is a necessary construct to match the seasonal year to the calendar year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time. Since I don’t want it to snow in July, I have to be fine with this fourth-of-a-day nonsense. To correct this seasonal drift, those Calendar Kids inserted the additional day every four years.


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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, February 25, 2016

Poll: Bernie Sanders Crushing Among White Dudes With Dreadlocks

By James J. Hamilton
Polls show that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is absolutely crushing among white dudes with dreadlocks. According to the most recent RealClearPolitics Average, Sanders has 96% support in that demographic.

“If this election were up to white dudes with dreadlocks,” said pollster Frank Luntz, “Bernie Sanders would win the presidency by a mile and a half.”

“This level of support is unprecedented,” said Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports. “Sanders’ 96% support among white dudes with dreadlocks is higher than Donald Trump's 92% support among assault rifle owners with at least three DUIs, or even Hillary Clinton's 94% support among unmarried women who have used the word 'mansplain' unironically within the past month.”

Among the 4% of white dudes with dreadlocks who didn’t say they support Sanders, the most popular poll response was “I’m literally too high to think right now, bro.”

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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 HERE on his website. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Place Your Bets: Which Members Of Our Party Will Die On The Oregon Trail?

by James J. Hamilton
It's 1849 and we're taking the Oregon Trail. It's an expensive journey, and we're poor folk, so we've decided to finance the trip by taking bets on which members of our party will die before we make it to the Oregon Territory. We're setting out from St. Louis tomorrow, so head down to the White Cloud steamboat casino and place your bets before it's too late.

Junior (Odds: 4/1)
Junior is a 12 year old boy who enjoys killing small animals and throwing rocks at girls. He has a hardy constitution, but somehow managed to contract dysentery and cholera before we even left home. Probably picked 'em up playing with them gutter children, which he was repeatedly told not to do, but the boy just plain don't listen.

Ma (Odds: 5/1)
Ma is 91 years old and has never been sick a day in her life. She can run the 40 yard dash in under 6 seconds and once killed an entire Indian warband with nothing but her cooking. She is known among the Comanche as Death Biscuit.

Pa (Odds: 3/1)
Pa is 92 years old and his only past medical issue was having both of his arms amputated at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Pa is wont to say George Washington was a personal friend of his, but everyone knows Washington thought Pa was annoying as hell and was just too nice to tell him to piss off, on account of Washington felt bad for Pa being without arms.

Cousin Eli (Odds: 7/1)
Cousin Eli is a farmer who's taken to drink after five consecutive years of crop failures. Rarely seen without a bottle in his hand, Eli is known for his amusing anecdotes, his affection for animals, and his deep-seated, unfathomable rage. Eli hopes the move to Oregon will enable him to evade his many creditors, as he recently borrowed thousands of dollars to finance an ill-fated scheme to grow "hydroponic" potatoes with whiskey instead of water. Eli's Hard Spuds, Inc. went under without successfully growing a single potato.
   
Auntie Sue (Odds: 6/1)
Auntie Sue is a four-time state knitting champion who don't take no guff and makes her living selling illegal potions to girls who are "in the family way."

Auntie Sue's boyfriend Paul (Odds: 6/1)
Paul and Auntie Sue have loud sex every night in the wagon, right next to where we all sleep. Judging by the noises Auntie Sue makes, Paul fucks good, but he's pretty much useless at everything else. Ma says "that fella ain't right in the head" and Doc Brown has diagnosed Paul as "plum retarded," but Auntie Sue says she don't give a hoot. She and Paul are living in sin, much to Ma's chagrin, because no priest will marry them on account of Paul's retardation.

Baby Jane (Odds: 1/1)
Baby Jane is 6 months old and will almost definitely die on this trip. Fragile and colicky, she will make an excellent feast for the wolf packs that roam the countryside around Fort Laramie.

Judge Holden (Odds: 666/1)
He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.

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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 HERE on his website. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Nation's Teenagers Probably Lying In A Ditch Somewhere, Say Nation's Moms

By James J. Hamilton
The nation's teenagers are probably lying unconscious in a ditch somewhere right now, say the nation's moms. 

According to the moms, the teenagers were supposed to be home by midnight, which was over a half hour ago, but there's no sign of them. They haven't answered multiple texts and phone calls, which isn't like them at all. Something must've happened.

The teenagers were reportedly going to a movie at eight o'clock and then maybe getting something to eat afterwards, but that leaves more than enough time to get home by midnight. And even if they were running late, they could still answer a simple text, right? Is that too much to ask?

The teenagers could've been in an accident, say the moms, who remembered hearing something on the news recently about a bunch of cars being recalled because the brakes were seizing up. It could be something like that. Or maybe they got a flat tire and asked someone for help, and then that person beat them up and robbed them. There are so many sick people out there.

Whatever's going on, it probably has something to do with that weird Jacob kid, say the moms. He's always up to no good. One thing's for sure, this is the last time anyone goes anywhere with that kid.

The moms report being so worried that they're not even mad anymore. Normally, the teenagers would be grounded for staying out past curfew, but at this point the moms would be too relieved to find out they're okay to even be able to think about punishing them. 

At press time, the moms were looking out the living room window but still didn't see anyone pulling into the driveway.

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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 HERE on his website. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Discovering my inner scaredy-cat - by Mike Buzzelli



I’ve been watching this show on the SyFy channel. It’s a crime story set in outer space. It’s called “The Expanse.” It sounds like it’s about my waistline after Christmas, but the only belt in the story is an asteroid belt (place rimshot here). It’s a murder mystery, and it could have been set anywhere. I think I’d like it even if it was set in a laundromat. Here’s my problem. I can’t watch the commercials. Every station break they have, SyFy runs an ad for their show “Ghost Hunters.” I’m terrified of that show.

Everyone is afraid of something, whether it’s spiders, snakes or the dentist.

I’m afraid of sharks, rats and ghosts. I’m especially afraid of finding any of them in my house. I suppose finding a rat or a ghost in your room after midnight is the scariest thing, but sharks are still at the top of the list. How scary would it be to find a shark at the foot of the bed? Yikes!

Fear isn’t always logical. I don’t believe in leprechauns, but if you want to be afraid of them, go for it! I will even hide the Lucky Charms when you visit. In other words, let me be afraid of ghosts. I believe.

“Ghost Hunters” gives me the heebie-jeebies. “Ghost Hunters” and/or any of their copycat shows.

I’m afraid of any shows where they run around in infrared light and yell, “Is someone there?” “Something just touched me!” and “Is your name Sally?”

It’s frightening when they call out to a particular ghost, especially some little girl ghost. I’m extremely afraid of little girl ghosts. They are the creepiest because they always have old-fashioned girl’s names like Sarah, Martha or Sally. The old-fashioned name ups the fear factor. There is never a Tiffany or a Jennifer. You can’t scare people if your name is Tiffany.

Though it would be frightening to hear a ghost say, “I think we’re alone now.”

Every single episode of these shows happens like this: “Here’s a creepy place.” It’s usually an old jail, hospital or mental institution.

Side note: Do we really have THAT many old jails, hospitals and mental institutions lying around?!

Then, the leader says, “We’re going to stay overnight here with our special ghost-hunting equipment. Let’s split up into groups.” He points to the biggest scaredy-cat and says, “Go down to the basement.”

For the record, I’m not going to the basement. That’s a rookie mistake.

I picture myself hanging out with the camera crew as they go into the bowels of some allegedly haunted hotel. That ear-shattering scream wouldn’t be a banshee. It’d be me. I’d be the one screaming as soon as I got a face full of cobweb, yelling “It’s on my face! It’s on my face!” and fleeing in terror.

I’d be walking behind someone clutching them like a human shield, a Will Robinson to my Dr. Zachary Smith, as it were.


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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 15, 2016

Another Chance at the New Year - By Mike Buzzelli



Gong Hey Fat Choy! No, that is not the name of a villain from the first season of “Hawaii Five-O.” It’s “Happy New Year!” in Cantonese. I thought I’d celebrate the Year of the Monkey.

Luckily, it’s not the year of the Puppy-Baby-Monkey. That thing just scares me. If you haven’t seen the strange creature from the Mountain Dew Super Bowl commercial, count your blessings. It is part pug with monkey arms and a baby bottom (diaper included). Frightening.

For the record, Mountain Dew has always scared me. It’s too yellow. I’m half convinced it’s a practical joke played by a teenage boy. I can almost hear some pimply-faced kid saying, “Drink this. No. It’s Mountain Dew.” Yeah. No thanks.

But I digress, like I do. I’m celebrating the Chinese New Year. Mostly, because I can’t remember the Western New Year. Thank you, champagne. Yes, I blame those tiny bubbles for not being able to recall an event that happened 40-something days ago.

Just like in Western astrology, the Chinese zodiac also has 12 characters. If you’ve ever been inside a cheap Chinese restaurant, you already know this. I’ve gotten most of my knowledge of the Chinese zodiac while waiting for egg rolls.

Disclaimer: If I pass out some bit of wisdom that later proves to be inaccurate, it’s probably because I spilled the soy sauce over the important parts.

The Chinese Zodiac has some colorful characters. My favorite is the dragon. I wanted to be a dragon, but, alas, I’m a rabbit. A rabbit!

Rabbits always treat people politely, with a gentle smile that makes people feel they are credible and sincere. When meeting trouble, rabbits can handle it in an orderly way. When encountering difficulties, they are never discouraged but are persistent to seek solutions. I think I was misdiagnosed.

I don’t want to be a rabbit, not when there are cool creatures like dragons and dogs on the calendar. I wanted to be a dragon, dog or monkey. It could be worse. I could be a rat.

Side note: Is it just me, or am I the only person who doesn’t appreciate staring at a picture of a rat before I eat my Moo Goo? I usually have to turn my placemat over because it makes me sick to see it there, looking up at me. In my head, I hear Paul Lynde as Templeton from “Charlotte’s Web.” He’s saying, “The rat rules!”


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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!

P.S. The Chinese New Year picture is supposed to be a picture of a monkey. I don't see a monkey. 


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Celebrating Punxsy Phil by Mike Buzzelli


On Feb. 2, 2016, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. I almost cried.

When I heard the words, “There is no shadow to be cast, an early spring is my forecast,” my eyes moistened, a smile crept across my face. Tears of joy!

For the record, Phil didn’t speak the actual prognostication. The words came from his handler at Gobbler’s Knob. Obviously, a talking, weather-predicting whistlepig would be ridiculous.

Staten Island Chuck agreed with Phil. Both rodents have predicted an early spring. Other lesser-known marmots chimed in, such as General Beau Lee in Georgia and Shubenacadie Sam in Canada. Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I realize not many groundhogs have degrees in meteorology. There must have not been a written portion of the test. They’d probably chew the pencils.

Around the country, it seems there is a repetition of groundhogs predicting the weather (repetition: the actual collective noun of groundhogs). Almost all of these woodchucks are banking on an early spring, including Chuckles, Jimmy the Groundhog and Balzac Billy. I swear I’m not making this up.

Just to be a contrarian, though, Buckeye Chuck disagreed. He’s an ornery little mammal. Dunkirk Dave sided with Chuck. Was there to be a Groundhog Civil War? If they did start throwing each other around, Buckeye Chuck would be outnumbered. I mean, “How many woodchucks can a woodchuck named Chuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck another woodchuck?” Got that? Good.

Most of the critters predicted an early spring. For the record, I’m throwing in with Phil. I trust that varmint to get me through the winter. It’s been a terrific season so far, unless you’re a skier. It’s definitely not such a great winter for those people who love winter. I know some of you weirdos. It’s cool. For the record, I’ve been loving it. I took a walk in the park last weekend, washed the car and stayed outside as much as I could.

Last Sunday, I had an improv class and I tried to persuade my instructor to take the class outside. Alas, there was nary a guitar or hacky sack in sight.

But I digress, like I do. My takeaway for this unsung holiday is that spring is coming. I suppose it’s inevitable, but it’s great to hear, even from a rodent who is usually afraid of his own shadow.


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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!