Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Don't Have Anything Personal Against Hemingway; I'm Just Not A Big Fan (Which Is As Good A Title As Anything Else For This)

Item of note: I am tentatively scheduled to have another appearance in the Boston Herald. I would normally tell you all about it (and then some) on the day it actually appeared, but I am going to be otherwise engaged for the next week or so. I will not be posting here. Therefore, you should go to their website (here's a convenient link) and check every day to see if I'm there (and, if you're really insane, complain if I'm not.)

All of the above might lead you to believe that I consider my writing on par with Hemingway or Twain. Hemingway, maybe, but not Twain. Comparing me to Twain is like comparing a bunch of knock-knock jokes to... well, Twain.

And, with that feeble excuse of an introduction, I now present a whole bunch of knock-knock jokes. I made up some of them, but no prizes for guessing which.

(The reason for my assaulting your senses in this fashion is because I have been told that I am going to be the featured blogger/writer/jerk at on Thursday and Friday. They have a whole section of knock-knock jokes. Some of them are even good! Between that honor and possibly being in the Herald again, I have to believe my future as a writer of note is now secured. Send me twenty bucks and I'll mail you an autographed photo inscribed "To my dear friend [your name], without whom I never would have surpassed Hemingway.")

So, let's make sure we have the agenda firmed up:

1 - You're going to visit the Boston Herald every day to see if I'm there.

2 - You'll go to the GoodRiddlesNow site on Thursday or Friday and gaze at my name in virtual lights.

3 - You'll read all of the knock-knock jokes below and assume I wrote the best ones.

4 - You'll be here, waiting patiently, for my return next week.

I think that covers it. Here come the knock-knocks!

[This photo has nothing to do with knock-knock jokes, but I don't believe I've used it before, I like it, I'm planning on having breakfast with this man and his lovely wife on Sunday, and I needed something to separate the knock-knocks from the drivel above. You're free to scroll down now.]


Who's There?


Boo Who?

Aw, don't cry. It's not as bad as you think.


Who's There?


Woo Who?

See? You're feeling better already!


Who's There?


Arch Who?



Who's There?


Chooch Who?

OK, we can play trains, but I get to be the engineer.


Who's There?

The Interrupting Cow.

The Interrup...



Who's There?


Jesus Who?

OK, you go to hell. Next!


Who's There?


Owlgo Who?

Yes, and dog go "Woof".


Who's There?

The Jehovah's Witnesses.



Who's There?

Pee Cup.

Pee Cup Who?

I see you!


Who's There?


Panther Who?

Panther no panth, I'm goin' thwimmin'..


Who's There?

The Libertarian Candidate For State Rep From The 13th Suffolk District.

I can't sign your petition. I'm a Democrat.

But... (slam)


Who's There?

Harold Pinter.

Eugene Ionesco Who?

Wash 'n Wear Giraffe Radios.


Who's There?


Suldog Who?

Suldog who soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shot Rock In My Heart

MY WIFE - who, if she acted on every good idea she's ever had, would be a millionaire many times over, but we're both a bit lacking in the get 'er done gene - has come up with another one. She says we should write a curling song and be ready to cash in for the 2018 Winter Olympics. So, without further ado (I don't understand what people have against ado; most of my life has consisted of it, and I'm happy) here it is.

(As you'll see, this should be sung by a female for greatest effect. If a male wishes to sing it, he'll come off a bit swishy. If he doesn't care, then neither do I.)

Shot Rock In My Heart (LaRue/WIFE)

When I saw him, he was sliding on a sheet at Labrador
I knew from that first look at him I wanted to see more
He threw hack weight with an out-turn; he was peeling off a guard
As his teammates swept the pebble, he was yelling "Hard! Hard! Hard!"
The brier was a burner and I squirmed within my seat
The ice was frozen solid, but that man was bringing heat
Throw an in-turn to my button and then say we'll never part!
You've got the hammer, skip, and you've got shot rock in my heart!

At the 5th end break, I tried so hard to make him look my way
I jumped up from my seat and hollered, "Hey, way to go, eh?"
He just leaned upon his broom; he was discussing strategy
He was talking to his mate, but I wanted his mate to be me!
I tried again to make him look, but he ignored my moans
He squatted by the end line polishing his big red stones
Oh, put my hand upon your handle and then say we'll never part!
You've got the hammer, skip, and you've got shot rock in my heart!

In my tournament of hearts, he'd always have LSFE
But I can't even get him to be my friend
I tried to draw, but threw a flash; it sailed right by the tee
I needed one coming home, but I blanked the end

With broken heart, I watched him laying broom instead of laying me
I started crying loudly because he just wouldn't see
His eye off of the rock, he looked at me in the first row
The rock slid in; it was a biter on his pinkie toe
He fell to the sheet and then the idea came to me!
I ran down to the ice and hollered, "I'm an EMT!"
Oh, I gave him mouth-to-mouth and I knew we would never part!
He's got the hammer, yes, and he's got shot rock in my heart!

If there are any idioms with which you are unfamiliar, here's a glossary of curling terms.

If you know anyone in the Canadian music biz who might be willing to split the profits, send her this way. I have a melody line in mind, but I'm flexible if there's money in it.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Curlers Have Big Stones

This is a rerun. I originally published it in April of 2006 when I had about 20 truly loyal readers. If you're one of that group, God bless you (and go have your head examined.)

The subject matter is the game played on ice that Canadians adore. No, the other one. And since it is being played in the now-current Winter Olympics - and since people seem to either love the sport or find it (as my good buddy, Robbie Costello, put it) as entertaining as watching hernia surgery - I figure there may never be a better time to put this piece in your eye again.

(Even if I hadn't decided to tell you this was a rerun, I'd be willing to bet most of you would have figured it out from the first sentence. See if you agree. Here comes the old stuff!)

Last night, MY WIFE and I went to the 2006 World Mens Curling Championship at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.

I'll give you a chance to let that sink in and then give you the opportunity to crack a few jokes about watching paint dry. Go ahead. I'll wait.

(*taps foot, while whistling tunelessly*)

Ready to go on now? Good.

We really like this sport. Really. Yes, it's a bit like shuffleboard on ice (actually, I'd say billiards on ice is a more apt comparison) but there is athletic skill involved, as well as deep strategy. You need a keen eye, flexibility, strong nerves, coordination and, above all, you can't be susceptible to chilblains.

(*rim shot*)

Thank you. I'll be here through Sunday, eh?


It's almost impossible not to make curling jokes. Even someone who really - really! - likes the sport, and admires the athletes involved, can see the absurdity of sliding big hunks of granite down a sheet of ice while two guys run along in front of the rock feverishly pushing brooms.

(I wonder if janitors would make really good curlers?)

There actually is a point to that sweeping, you know. If you sweep hard enough, it accomplishes two things. First, the stone will travel farther. Second, it will continue toward the target in a straighter line than if you didn't sweep.

And it keeps the ice tidy.


We arrived at the venue a couple of hours before the start of the matches. We wanted to grab something to eat and then take a look around. This was the first time either of us had ever seen a live curling match, so we wanted a chance to soak in whatever atmosphere might have been available.

(It was mostly the smell of Molson's. Ha-CHAH!)

Just outside of the arena there was a hospitality tent set up. It was called "The Rock Garden" and there were a number of food vendors, as well as folks selling curling-related merchandise. Aside from the usual souvenir-type items (coffee mugs, hats, pins, etc.) there was one vendor selling curling jewelry.

Yup. Curling jewelry. The stuff was actually quite pretty. Stick pins, earrings, necklaces and all the rest, in the shape of brooms. There was an 18ct. gold and diamond brooch in the shape of a curling stone. Goes for about $4,000.

You think I'm kidding? Check it out.

You could also buy all sorts of curling apparel, from casual wear for the fan - turtlenecks, polo shirts and t-shirts, emblazoned in your country's colors - to things meant to be worn in competition, such as special sliding shoes and rubber pads to put on your shoes so that they won't slide. About the only thing you couldn't buy was an actual competition stone, but that's probably only because the damned things weigh 42 pounds, so how in hell would you carry it around with you all night and then get it home to Finland after the matches?

Yes, the stones weigh 42 pounds. Not so much like shuffleboard-on-ice now, is it, tough guy? More like tenpin-bowling-on-ice. So there!


I'm being way too snotty for someone who really (really) likes this sport. It's not at all fair to the people involved. And from what I saw last night, this sport is followed by some of the nicest people on the planet. Everybody roots hard for their team, but everybody also gives a fair round of applause to the opposition and nobody taunts anyone except in a polite way. For example, during last night's USA vs. Canada match, there was one woman holding up a pro-USA sign. You know what it said? "U.S. - Eh?" It got a big laugh from both the Canadian and American fans.

There is also no "in your face" crap from the athletes themselves. As a matter of fact, they are the least demonstrative bunch of competitors I've ever seen. And the fans never boo anybody.

Well, almost never. Last night, during a particularly tense point in the Sweden - Denmark match, one of the Swedish players slammed his broom on the concrete behind the rink, upset at his team having basically lost any shot at making the medals round. The sharp sound made by the handle of the broom striking the hard surface was followed by the sound of a gasp - a sharp intake of breath by many in the crowd - and then there was one lone "Booooooo!" from somewhere behind us. As many people turned to look at the fellow who was booing as were now looking at the Swedish kid who had slammed down his broom.


If you have any interest at all in the sport, I'd highly recommend getting out to see a match. As sports go, it's one of the easiest to watch. No matter where you're sitting in the arena, you can clearly see everything that's going on. The folks who follow it closely are very nice and will not belittle you in any way if you ask them a stupid question. They're more than willing to teach you about their passion, and will do so with a smile. All in all, it's a very agreeable night out.

And I guess that's it. I could rack my brain for something clever and snarky to end with, but I won't. It was fun and we enjoyed it. Bravo to the curlers. See you Monday.


Welcome back to 2014. I think the game isn't likely to have a big breakthrough in America this year. That's because the USA teams have been less than stunning. As I write this, the women are 0 and 4. The men are 1 and 3 (and, for my money, have seemed intent on killing themselves via poor shot selection, but this is from a guy who has never actually played the game and whose knowledge of the sport comes strictly from watching it, so that probably tells you the worth of my commentary.) If the teams were doing well, there'd be new curling centers popping up all over like mushrooms after a spring rain. Americans like winners. Only the truly weird want to be identified with a sport most people consider a bit odd and which we as a nation don't play very well.

Given the relative lack of curlers in this country, I now find myself able to entertain notions of taking up the sport and maybe making the Olympic team in 2018 or 2022. For that farfetched dream alone, curling is now my favorite sport at the Winter Olympics.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Carnival of the Insane

I was on a hillside in Russia, having decided to take a short hike in the snow, and that's when I saw him. He was dressed in a skin-tight orange and green leotard and he was carrying two long skinny boards. I had never seen his like before, so I just had to find out what his story was. I walked up to him and engaged him in conversation.

"Hello! Is the circus in town?"

"Excuse me?"

"I was just... um... admiring your outfit and I was wondering if you might be with the circus."

"The circus? No. I'm with the Estonians."

Ah, a religious cult! That explained the odd clothes. I continued my enquiry.

"What are you going to do with those boards?"

"Well, do you see that ramp over there?"

"The one that ends in mid-air, some fifty feet above the ground?"

"Exactly. I'm going to strap these boards to the bottom of my feet and then propel myself down that ramp as fast as possible. When I reach the end of the ramp, I'm going to jump."

"What! Don't do it, man! Think of your wife and children!"

"My wife and children? They're down there at the bottom of the hill."

"Well, then, you just turn around right now and walk back down to them, then thank your lucky stars someone came along and stopped you from killing yourself."

"Killing myself? What are you, insane? This is what I do for a living!"

"Not if I have anything to say about it! Where's your keeper?"

"My what?"

"The man who feeds you and gives you your medication and makes sure you get back to the home safely whenever you escape."

"Feeds me? Medication? Oh, you must mean my trainer. He's over watching the skeletons."

"Skeletons! Where are they?"

"The next hill over."

I raced as fast as I could through the snow. I had to find this man's doctor before he could carry out his suicidal plan. I came upon a long stretch of frozen ice and told the first person I saw what had happened. I asked him where I could find the Estonian's doctor.

"Oh, do you mean the trainer? I'm him."

"Oh, thank God! I was just over at that hill and..."


"Good Lord! I think that was a man!"

"Well, yes, it's the skeleton."

"No, no. That was a living person with a horrible grimace on his face and he must have gone by us at 80 miles per hour!"

"79.6, actually. Too bad. He's out of it."

"If he did that on purpose, he certainly is! Aren't you going to do someth..."


"There goes another one!"

"Ah, much better. 83.2 miles per hour! He's got a good chance."

"I don't think so! You say you're a doctor?"


"And you're just standing here watching these poor souls go hurtling by and you're doing nothing more than timing their hellish descent with a stopwatch? Your name wouldn't be Mengele, would it?"

"What are you jabbering about? This is the skeleton run."


"I suppose so! The bones must be piling up gruesomely! You fiend! I've got to find the police!"

I ran as fast as I could, looking for a sane person to direct me towards the nearest police station. I came upon a lovely young girl of perhaps 15 or 16.

"Excuse me, miss. Where is the nearest police sta..."

I then noticed that she was only half-dressed. The poor child. She was obviously indigent and had had to wear the same clothes for many years and had outgrown them.

"Um, I don't mean to be indelicate, miss, but your panties are showing. Here, take my jacket and wrap it around your waist."

"Get away from me, you pervert."


"I don't have time for this. I have to get to the show."

"Show? What sort of show?"

"The ice show, of course."

"Ice show? What's going to happen there?"

"See these boots I'm carrying, with the skinny iron rods attached to the soles? I'm going to put them on and attempt to maneuver around a sheet of ice."

"Uh-huh. Wouldn't it be easier if you didn't have the metal rods on your shoes?"

"Duh! I don't have time for this, Grampa. I have to meet my partner."

"Oh, you have a partner?"

"Yes, he helps me around the ice."

I wanted to say, "Wouldn't he be more of a gentleman if he helped you home, where you could put on some decent clothes and a sensible pair of shoes?" However, she seemed rather determined. I asked her what else her partner did with her on the ice.

"He picks me up and spins me around and then he throws me in the air with all of his might."

"What?!? The brigand! I'll brain him! Where is he?"

She pointed off to her left, but the only person there was a rather slight fellow dressed in an ill-fitting sky-blue waiter's outfit. Not to be too indelicate, but he appeared to be the sort of man who wouldn't find touching a woman especially pleasing, so perhaps this explained his aggression towards the waif. I went to have a word with him.

"Excuse me, sir, but do you intend to forcefully lift that young lady, twirl her in the air, and then toss her away like yesterday's rubbish? I swear I'll not see it happen!"

With that, I raised my walking stick, fully intending to bring it down upon the top of the rascal's skull. However, as he started to run away screaming, someone grabbed my cane from behind. I turned and saw a member of the local constabulary. Thank goodness! Now I could finally get someone to stop these many asylum escapees from doing harm to themselves and others!

"Come along, sir. There'll be no more of this from you."

He placed a pair of handcuffs on me!

"Wha.. What are you doing?!? There's a man over there throwing himself off the side of a cliff while his wife and children watch! A madman with a stopwatch clocking how long it takes for a living human to slide down an icy mountain! A poor defenseless underdressed urchin being forced to undergo physical trauma at the hands of a deranged waiter! Let me go! Let me go!"

As the policeman was dragging me away, I heard large crowds cheering. The last thing I remember seeing was a man sliding a large rock down a sheet of ice while two other men with floor mops feverishly swept a path in front of the rock. The man who had slid the rock was yelling, "Hard! Hard!"


"And that's when I awoke, doctor. I fear I may have gone insane. No one in his right mind should have the sort of dreams I'm having. What's wrong with me? What should I do?"

"Shut off your TV before you go to sleep, Jim. Or, at least, don't leave it on NBC all night."

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

You Are Reading SULDOG

Caution: The following blog contains graphic language and may not be suitable for all members of the family. Reader discretion is advised.

I am sick to death of the way television is being fucked up these days.

You are reading SULDOG

(Not dumbed down for the mentally impaired.)

It's not that the shows being produced and shown are all bad. Sure, some of them are hideous, but there have always been bad shows and there always will be bad shows. This generation's Wife Swap was the previous generation's Queen For A Day and the next generation's How Many Things Are You Willing To Shove Up Your Rectum To Win A Refrigerator? No, bad shows are always bad, but they are avoidable. All you have to do is change the channel or shut off the TV.

You are reading SULDOG

(Possibly available en Espanol where disponible, but I doubt it.)

Also, the good shows being made today are better than ever. A great show like Sherlock could not have been made 20 years ago. House would have been unthinkable to the past generation of programmers. And Curb Your Enthusiasm? Get real.

You are reading SULDOG

So, the problem is not with the programming. I suppose I should end the suspense and just tell you what the problem is.


You are reading SULDOG

The problem is that there is always something appearing on the screen that isn't part of the program you're watching.

You are reading SULDOG


Television today does not allow even a single moment's total suspension of disbelief. If it isn't the omnipresent network logo in the lower right corner of your screen, it is the inevitable pop-up advertisement for some other show annoyingly appearing in the lower left corner or the rating thingy that blocks out everything on the upper left or the Closed Captioned symbol on the upper right.

You are reading SULDOG

You're sitting there enjoying a good show. You're immersed in the drama of the moment. The producers of the show have done a wonderful job of creating a gripping production, transporting your mind to another world and you are wondering how the protagonist will ever resolve his dilemma.


And then the little racing car burns rubber and disappears. And so does any hope of recapturing the emotion you were feeling before its appearance.

You are reading SULDOG

And do I really need to be continually reminded of which network or channel I'm watching? Am I so dumb that I will forget...

You are reading SULDOG

...if I'm not shown the logo at all times?

You are reading SULDOG

Well, either you hate it as much as I do or you're utterly indifferent about it. I can't imagine that anybody with an IQ above 60 actually finds it useful, entertaining, or otherwise enjoyable in any way.

If you're like me - that is, ready to blast your TV with a shotgun the next time you see one of these pieces of crap appear on your screen - then perhaps you'd be willing to sit down and write a letter of complaint. Here is a helpful template.

Dear Network:

I tremendously enjoy your show Funny Hip Gay Guy And Three Bitchily Sarcastic Women Who Can't Get A Date. However, I'm afraid I simply can't endure your pop-up advertisements. They ruin the show for me and I am infuriated every time one appears.

Do you not understand that the main idea in entertainment of this sort is for the viewer to be able to suspend his or her disbelief? There is not one fan of the show, in the entire country, who wants to have the show interrupted by anything - let alone some hideous bit of animation in the lower left corner of the screen advertising a show that will be appearing on your network tomorrow or next week. What could possibly have led you to believe that anyone finds this to be a good thing?

I am going to stop watching Funny Hip Gay Guy And Three Bitchily Sarcastic Women Who Can't Get A Date, which in turn means that I will not be seeing the actual paid advertising for which The Gigantical Multinational Corporation That Pays Your Bills has ponied up millions of dollars. If and when you stop putting infuriating crap on my screen in the middle of this show, I will gladly start watching again. Let me know if you plan to do this. Otherwise, blow me.

I have sent a copy of this letter to The Gigantical Multinational Corporation That Pays Your Bills.

Yours Most Sincerely,

Someone Who Is Probably Outside Of Your Demographic Range Anyway

(The preceding was a presentation of SULDOG, the official blog of decrepit old farts who think the modern world bites the big one.)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

It Doesn't Get Much Worse Than That

When a game starts with the first snap going over the quarterback's head, into the end zone, resulting in a safety being scored by the defense, you know immediately that anything you predicted concerning that game is in danger.

My betting advice, given last time we were here, was dead wrong. It happens. The Denver Broncos played one of the worst games I've ever witnessed in the Super Bowl. Seattle kicked their asses from pillar to post. My performance - my prediction concerning a close game - was as putrid as anything the Broncos did.

Final tally for the day was minus $550.

The good news (or the bad news, since it means I'll be back next year with more advice) is that, for the four years I've been giving betting advice on the Super Bowl, we're still ahead $555.

Four Years, Total Risk - $8,710
Return = +6.37%

Yesterday's travesty was just one of those things that will eventually happen to every investor. Nobody gets it right every time. I hope nobody was hurt too badly. If I don't make it up to you next year, you'll have every right to hunt me down and shoot me full of as many holes as Denver displayed in the game.

Soon, with something that probably won't cost you anything.