Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, MaryC!

By World O' Crap Special Birthday Correspondent Bill S.

Today we celebrate the birthday of MaryC, and, as always, search for that perfect gift. It's a bit different this year, with most of the country in quarantine. What do you get for the girl who's housebound?
Let's see what we can find in the Carol Wright Gifts catalogue

all sizes only $19.99
This slimming-look, zip-front lounger has lace trim and two roomy pockets.

Best of all, it's stylish!

DELUXE GOPHER Pickup and Reaching Tool
$9.99, additionals $7.99
E-x-t-e-n-d You Reach Nearly 3 Ft.!

Hey, this is a great idea if you have to shop for essentials, such as liquor. Get two of them, grip one with the other, and hold it in front of you to maintain social distancing (and SMACK! anyone who tries to violate your space.)

Why pay $11.99? Ours only $9.99
Your Own Personal Bidet

If the hoarding of toilet paper continues, this could be the biggest seller during the holidays. (A, um, stocking stuffer.)

But what about fun indoor activities? Perhaps we can find something in that other great catalogue, Things You Never Knew Existed

[Note from Scott: Sadly, Things You Never Knew Existed, which has been a part of Bill's birthday posts for many years now, has gone the way of the Steller's sea cow. When you click on the link above, this is what greets you:

So let this last appearance stand, not only as Bill's encomium to Mary's special day, but also as an epitaph for that great American institution, the Catalogue Full o' Bullshit.]

Great Low-impact workout! Tone up your arms and chest muscles without ever leaving your seat! Sturdy fitness device secures to virtually any chair with 21" Velcro straps. Elastic Power Chord bands with cushioned handles--

So basically you sit on a bungee chord and stretch it out? I said a fun activity. Moving on...

Perhaps some light reading...?

EXECUTIONS IN AMERICA Over 300 Years of Capital Punishment
Heavily illustrated with rare pictures of the condemned criminals, their executioners, the official instruments used to carry out the sentences, and in many cases, the actual execution.

300 years? So they're including future executions?

Jeff Dunham and his iconic creations (Achmed, Walter, Peanut, and Bubba J.) travel the world pushing the limits on 5 continents, in arenas few Americans have dared to perform!

Well, that's probably a little bit funnier than the "Executions" book.

[From Scott: Only if it includes photos of Bubba J. in the gas chamber.]

Electronic vinyl keyboard fits around the commode so you can tap out a tune with your toes while you tinkle!
Well, I'd refrain from doing a Jerry Lee Lewis impression, but apart from that, I think we've found our winner!

Happy Birthday, MaryC!

[From Scott: And what's a birthday around here without the traditional Sexy Birthday Lizard!]
This Parson's Chameleon wants you. Bad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Mary's Homeschooler Help Desk #2

Home economics lab at McKinley High School in Washington circa 1910

Okay! We are in our 2nd week (at least) of homeschooling. For this post, I'm going to suggest one of my favorite resources for teaching:

This resource has craft ideas, worksheets and lesson plans for almost all grade levels.

Here are my favorites for this week:

1. This class book project is sure to hatch students' interest in describing words. If desired, begin by reading aloud Easter Bugs by David A. Carter. Have each child decorate an egg cutout. Then give her a strip of paper with the question shown. Ask her to write in the blank a word that describes her egg.

Next, have each youngster glue her question near the top of a sheet of paper. Instruct her to trace her egg below it and to glue a small photo of herself in the middle of the tracing. Place her decorated egg on the tracing and staple it at the bottom. Compile students" completed work into a book. Have students look behind the eggs to discover the answers to the questions!

2. I love this one because it's all about decorating eggs:


What happens when you swirl an egg in tinted water and oil? Youngsters will be fascinated with the surprising results of this investigation!


food coloring
egg dipper
water in a clear
disposable cup
2 hard-boiled eggs
vegetable oil
paper towel
Mix a few drops of food coloring in the cup of water.

Display an egg. Ask, "What do you think will happen to this egg if we put it in the colored water?" After students share, immerse the egg. After a few moments, lift the egg and discuss the color of the shell. Then set the egg aside.

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the tinted water. Help students notice how the oil floats on the surface. Then stir the contents, directing youngsters' attention to the oily swirls.

Show the second egg. Ask, "What do you think will happen to the egg if we put it in this mixture?" After students respond, immerse the egg while swirling it and then remove it and pat it with the paper towel. Display the egg and discuss the marbleized results.

What Next?
Have students dye eggs in solid colors. Then have them marbleize the eggs with contrasting colors!

Marie E. Cecchini
West Dundee, IL

[Previous installments in this series: Quarantined Schoolhouse Rock!]

It's Twue, It's Twue, in Twends For You!

Twitter may have its uses beyond inducing daily panic attacks, but I've yet to discover them. Today I signed on and found this diabolical Trolley Problem waiting for me:


bye jackie chan??

Is he sick? Did he die? This is terrible! I grew up on Jackie Chan! Idolized him! He's a filmmaking legend! An international treasure! Why? WHY??

Fran Drescher

Huh. You know, I've met Fran. Worked with her even, and she's...definitely one of God's creatures. I mean, if you believe all human life has intrinsic value, then you'd certainly have to concede that hers meets that basic standard. No man is an island, and all that.


Yeah. Well...It's not exactly Sophie's Choice, is it?

[NOTE: They're both fine as of press time. The Jackie Chan trend is just about some asshole New Yorker being racist to an Asian cop, while Fran has evidently turned into Emma Goldman and is raging against the machine ("Capitalism has become another word for Ruling Class Elite!"). Fight the Power, Nanny.]

Friday, March 20, 2020

Slumgullion 75: Orson Welles' Lost Silent Film

New Slumgullion! It's a weirder than usual Unknown Movie Challenge as we take on Orson Welles' first film. No, not Citizen Kane, we mean the recently discovered Too Much Johnson, a 1938 silent flick (What?? IKR?) starring Joseph Cotton as Harold Lloyd and most of the Mercury Theatre as people who put on and take off hats.

A lot.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quarantined Schoolhouse Rock

By Mary Clevenger

As a former school teacher, here is my advice for parents finding themselves needing to homeschool their children during this stressful time.

1. Let them have their spring break. They need it. Let them play, do arts and crafts, watch movies, whatever they need to unwind.

2. Once spring break is over, get them back on their school schedule. Get them started with their online schooling ASAP.

3. If there is no online learning being offered from their schools, contact their teacher and find out what the daily schedule is for each child. Set up your child's day based on that.

4. If you have no materials to help with their lessons--improvise!

For example: Math: Bring them into the kitchen and have them help cook meals. That can teach them measuring and fractions. Play Store with them; that can help with money, adding and subtracting.

Reading: Pick a favorite book. Have discussions about their favorite characters; break down the plot-it can be as simple as identifying the beginning, middle and end. Have your child write a book report about the book (google for great looking book report forms)

Choose a book they haven't read, yet. Read it yourself, first. Identify words that they may not be familiar with- instant vocabulary lesson.

Make sure to have your child read aloud to you. Note words that were difficult for them to read and help them with the phonics of reading.

History and Science: First find out what the standards are for your child's grade level for those subjects (again google for your state standards) Then use the internet to help. National Geographic for Kids is a great resource.

Finally, have your child keep a journal of their learning. Ask them to write down what they learned that day, then list any questions they have about their learning and what more they would like to learn about the subject.

Wow! This was long. I hope it helps!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Johnny Got His Price Gun

When I was a little kid, several intersections in my hometown had service stations on every corner, each with a sandwich board declaring a "GAS WAR!" on their surrounding competitors with all the Prussian hubris of a Gro├čer Generalstab convinced Imperial Germany could prevail in a two front war. Failing to grasp the metaphorical nature of the taunt, I spent a lot of grammar school worried I would die as collateral damage in the coming conflict, never knowing love's first tender kiss, or even if the castaways ever got rescued from Gilligan's Island.

Later, after Omega Man came out, I was pretty sure I'd catch some biowarfare bacterium and become a crazed, mime-faced vampire who just wanted to kill Charlton Heston, even more than I already did after seeing Omega Man.

And even later still, when Ronald Reagan was president and Civil Defense tests of the Emergency Broadcast System suddenly returned to TV after a ten year hiatus, I became confident I'd end my existence toasted, like so many Lucky Strikes, in a nuclear conflagration.

I'm easily panicked, is what I'm saying.

But now that a genuine pandemic is finally here, I find I don't have the energy to panic. Fear is another matter; fear is on a pilot light and can be turned up at will, but panic requires a spike of freely available glucose that I can't seem to manage without sucking on a couple Pixy Stix. Instead, I'm filling the emotional gap with bafflement and disgust at humankind as I try to buy supplies for my invalid mother-in-law and confront aisles of denuded shelves at Ralphs and CVS. It makes me surprised that by this point God hasn't grabbed the earth, tucked it under his arm while angrily scrubbing away tears with the heel of his hand, and shouted, "Hoarding toilet paper? When it's a respiratory, not even an intestinal infection? Fine! FINE! If that's how you assholes wanna be--greedy and stupid--I'm taking my planet and going home!"

There doesn't seem to be much I can do to make things better, except sit here and not interact with the world more than I normally do, which is really only not making things worse. So I'm plowing through my Kindle library at a non-sustainable rate, and in looking around for fresh reading material I see a number of authors that I follow are cutting the cost of their books. I investigated how to do that, and now, armed with the knowledge and a mad sense of power...I'm declaring a "BOOK WAR!"

Until further notice, the ebook version of Better Living Through Bad Movies is 99¢. And unlike toilet paper, they can't run out of digital copies. Of course, unlike toilet paper you can't wipe your ass with it, but hey, that's what the Op-Ed page of the New York Times is for (and there's a new Bret Stephens column today, so eat plenty of roughage!).

Stay safe and sane everyone.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Slumgullion #74: The Abyss of BS Episode

Jeri Ryan goes on a killing spree! Disney convenes a Warren Commission to find out who killed Star Wars! While Jeff & Scott fill a half hour discussing fine, artisanal Bullshit, over a tureen of the rarest ruminant feces flown in at great expense from Stockyard City, Oklahoma!