Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Husband Makes Dip of Himself

Husbands can be real dips sometimes. My wife was reminded of this recently while dining out with me at a new downtown grill.

The ambiance was very impressive, thanks to a truckload of money spent on renovations. But the speed of the wait staff's service was reminiscent of a snail with a limp. The menu looked interesting though, featuring several wood-grilled items.

"Mmmmm, mushroom dip," I gurgled like Homer Simpson while reviewing the choices on the menu.

My wife thought it was a little odd at first that I was considering mushroom dip for a meal, but she also kept in mind that this was her husband. She knew I could make a meal out of anything.

About an hour later, the waitress finally brought the food out. From what I've been told, I looked a bit like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi. The food looked good, but something was wrong.

"What do you think so far?" I mumbled, obviously a bit irritated.

"Ummm, it's good I guess," my wife shrugged. "Why do you ask?"

"Why?" I replied. "Isn't it obvious? What the hell is this?"

My wife looked down at my piping hot vat of mushroom dip. Nothing appeared to be wrong or out of place.

"What is it?" she asked. "Is there a hair in it or something?"

"No," I said. "I'll tell you what's wrong: I ordered a mushroom dip."

"Yeah?" my wife asked. "And?"

"Those bastards," I said. "I thought I had ordered a sandwich."

"A sandwich?" my wife choked, starting to laugh hysterically.

"Yeah, you know, a mushroom dip," I said. "I thought it would be like a French dip."

After laughing for 20 minutes, my wife was finally able to regain her composure enough to resume the conversation.

"You thought mushroom dip was going to be a sandwich?" my wife snorted. "A bunch of mushrooms on a bun that you'd dip in au jus? C'mon! You're kidding, right? Don't tell me you think artichoke dip is a sandwich, too!"

I then explained how I'd envisioned either a regular mushroom sandwich that you'd dip in cream of mushroom soup, or a huge portobello mushroom sandwich that you'd dip in marinara. But all I got was a vat of mushroom dip and a piece of flat bread. Oh, and a side of fries that would have been much better with a sandwich.

After this incident, my wife now thinks I might be high on mushrooms of a different sort.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Christmas Story For The Dogs

One of the best stories out of my family's Christmas past involves my sister Bubbles. It's a classic that's truly for the dogs.

For those of you who don't know, one of the biggest traditions in my family is to get other family members to fall for bogus stories we make up. Dad and I are usually the storytellers while Mom and Bubbles are usually the gullible victims.

It's more fun than riding in a one-horse open sleigh, if you ask Dad or me.

Anyway, Bubbles' dog day afternoon started when she came back to Fargo for Christmas break in 1995. As soon as she walked in the door, Dad decided to have a little fun with her.

He told her that Mom finally broke down and let him bring home the Christmas present he always wanted: A bulldog named "Shorty."

Of course, Bubbles fell in love with the bulldog she hadn't seen yet. But the story got better.

"Where is he?" Bubbles squeaked. "I wanna pet him. Ooohhhh, Shoooorrrrrrttttyyyyy!"

Then Dad got a look of deep sorrow on his face like he had just witnessed the Hindenberg disaster.

"No... he's not here anymore," Dad sniffed. "We couldn't keep him."

Bubbles' jaw dropped. "Oh, no! But why? Was he sick?"

How Dad kept a straight face for his reply I'll never know.

"Well, we had to bring him back because he was snoring and farting all the time," Dad said. "Mom just didn't want him around the house."

"But you guys do that stuff around the house all the time," Bubbles giggled. "Why hasn't she gotten rid of you and Rocky, too?"

Dad chuckled a little, and even imitated how Shorty walked when he had gas. "Yeah, I know. I guess I thought Mom would kind of get used to him after a while like she did with Rocky and me. But it didn't work... we didn't have Shorty long enough..."

"Waitaminute," Bubbles snapped. "You're pulling my leg, right?"

Dad just rolled his eyes and threw his arms up in the air.

"Made it up?" Dad said. "Now who the hell would make up a story that we couldn't keep a dog because it farted too much?"

Bubbles though for a moment. "OK, I believe you," she said. "Well, what did you have to do... give him away?"

"Well, we tried..." Dad choked. "But... no one wanted a dog like that."

Bubbles really started looking concerned now. "Well, did you have to give him to the humane society, then?"

"Well... even they wouldn't take a dog like that," Dad said. "We had no choice but to put him to sleep."

"WHAT??!!!" Bubbles yelled. "You put Shorty to sleep just because he farted and snored?!!!!"

"No! Gotcha!" Dad laughed. "And Merry Christmas!"

Monday, December 12, 2005

Breakfast of Champions My Ass

The pro athletes that have been featured on the cereal box cover all seemed to confirm the same thing: If you eat Wheaties before a big sporting event, you will be a winner.

Breakfast of Champions my ass!

Every time I've eaten Wheaties hoping it will enhance my athletic abilities, it ends up being the shittiest performance of my life. Literally. I end up spending more time in the bathroom than I do participating in the sporting event.

How do these pro athletes do it? If they're eating their Wheaties as much as they say they do, they must have soiled themselves multiple times by the time they're hoisting up those championship trophies.

I'm surprised the Wheaties box cover folks don't get double endorsement deals and have their pictures plastered on Depends packages, too.

Take Sunday. I was going bowling with some buddies of mine later that afternoon. Granted, none of us are professional bowlers like those guys in the movie Kingpin. But still, we're somewhat competitive and do have beer frames, so it's important to bring a little game.

I figured three or four bowls of Wheaties in the morning would whip my game into shape quickly. After all, it helped Bruce Jenner win the gold medal in the 1976 Olympic decathlon. It probably also helped him father six kids.

Well, the Wheaties whipped my ass into shape all right. I was doing pretty good for the first five frames. A strike, three spares and an open 9 put me at an 86 after my first roll in the sixth. Unfortunately, my first roll in that frame also left me with a 7-10 split. Could my Wheaties consumption help me pick up the spare?

Not even close, although I did manage to "split the uprights." Coincidentally, that 7-10 split also marked the beginning of a 7-10 shit. I had to run to the bathroom so much during the seventh through 10th frames, my game literally went down the toilet. I ended with a 123, easily clinching last place.

This butt blugeoning made me wonder: How did Jenner make it through the decathlon without changing shorts at least 10 times? Surely, he would have lost control of his bowels during some of the events, especially the triple jump. Hop, skip and jump my ass. More like hop, skip and dump!

How did Tom Brady lead his team to three Super Bowl victories in four years when he should have been struggling to "win" the Tidy Bowl after every offensive series?

Something tells me that if Michael Jordan really ate Wheaties before gametime, he still would have been hanging on the rim with his tongue hanging out. The only problem is, he'd be on the toilet, not the basketball court.

Somehow these athletes battled through high fiber intake and still became champions. After what I went through in a comparatively meaningless bowling outing, they truly have my respect and admiration.

When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and the Chicago White Sox did it in 2005, there's no doubt a lot of people thought "No shit?!" Well, now I think we all know the answer to that question.

And those brown stains on their pants? Don't let them fool you into thinking they came from sliding into second base!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cat Scratch Fever

Ted Nugent's famous song has been stuck in my head for the last couple of days.

It all started when I brought some junk upstairs to the attic Sunday. Some day, I'd like to make the attic into a master suite, but now it's a dumping ground for shit we don't know what to do with (that comes in handy when company is coming).

Anyway, I lugged some things up there and was in its only "room." I was supposed to be alone, but felt like someone or something was watching me. I turned and saw one of our cats, Ringo, sniffing around.

Shit! I had to get him out of there. The attic has a lot of exposed insulation and even worse, I'm not sure what kinds of nooks and crannies my spelunker kitty could fall into.

I rushed out to grab him, then saw Frankie, our female kitty (pictured at left). She's older and is supposed to know better. Not this day.

So I tried to nudge her down the steps with my foot while carrying Ringo, figuring the overly curious male needed the most restraint. I got about halfway down the stairs, which are so steep, they are almost like climbing a ladder. Frankie all of a sudden started getting sneaky and was trying to scoot by my leg. I realized she was now more trouble than Ringo, so I ditched him on the steps, and nabbed Frankie just as she had almost made it to the top.

Ringo started heading up the stairs again and at this point I realized I wasn't going to be able to juggle kitties for long. I called out to my wife who was on the main floor watching TV. Somehow she heard me yell for something and started running up the stairs, shouting "What?!!" All of the commotion got Frankie tensed up. I felt her muscles flex and her kitty claws come out. Her transformation into hellcat was almost complete. All she needed was one more noise to put her over the edge. I tried to creep down the stairs as if I was carrying feline nitroglycerin.

My wife opened the attic door very quickly, which made an unfamiliar sound. The last nail in the kitty coffin had just been hammered in. Frankie dumped a payload of piss on her unsuspecting brother below with a little bit nailing my hands and shirt. It was a lot of piss. It was like she was one of those helicopters that picks up a big load of water and then dumps it on a forest fire.

Ringo (pictured at left) just froze on the steps, trying to figure out why he was the recipient of this golden shower. Meanwhile, Frankie was totally freaking out and started to claw her way up my shoulder. She practically peeled my T-shirt off, but it just bunched up around my neck. I was more worried that she might fall and get hurt on the stairs than what damage her claws would do to me, so I just kind of let nature take its course.

Next thing I know, Frankie is clawing at me like Wolverine turning an enemy into a scratching post. It's like my back was a slippery floor and she had those claws dancing all over looking for traction. When she did find her paws, she tore up my back a bit more and gained about 3-4 inches. Finally she was able to jump off my back and up onto the third story floor.

When it was over it looked like I tried to break up a fight between Roy and his tiger, Montecore. The scratches were so deep I doubt even Siegfried would have been able to make them disappear.

My wife turned into a nurse, cleaning my wounds and applying an immense amount of neosporin. She also told me Frankie spared Blue, the affectionate name I gave to the bull tattoo I got about 13 years ago. She then gave Ringo a bath and settled Frankie's nerves. Soon all was back to normal at Rocky's residence.

Luckily, my wife saw the incident happen, so she wouldn't suspect the following: 1) The scratches came from the hands of some pussycat doll from St. Paul's Frogtown area; or 2) Halle Berry went slumming in her Catwoman outfit and found me.

As far as the back attack, I forgave and forgot. Frankie didn't mean it, she was just a "fraidy cat." The bottom line is I'd rather have a pain in the back pet than a pain in the ass pet any day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Jackass

My parents recently celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary. To commemorate the event, I thought I'd share a story I wrote about them three years ago with the blogosphere...

The lovebirds began their 39th wedding anniversary like many other couples do. It's how they ended it that left me scratching my head.

Dad started off the day by leaving a dozen roses for Mom to find in the refrigerator. Later that evening, they shared a romantic candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant, exchanged cards and gifts. They were well on their way to a perfect evening.

Then they went to see the movie Jackass.

"We didn't even know it was a TV show," Dad said. "We'd never heard of Jackass."

Added Mom: "I thought it might be a heart-warming movie about a mule, kind of like Walt Disney's Gus. But I should have known it was trouble when the ticket seller laughed that a 58-year-old woman said 'Two for Jackass, please.'"

For others who don't know, or live in a Footloose-esque town that doesn't allow dancing, Jackass started out and still is a half-hour stunt comedy show on MTV. The movie featured stuff that was too gross to show on regular TV.

The craziest stunts performed by Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the creative yet demented Jackass cast included:

1. A guy going into a hardware store and taking a dump in one of the floor model display toilets.

2. A guy who shoved a matchbox car up his colon, then went to the doctor for X-rays (a T-shirt of the X-ray is one of the many movie collectibles available).

3. Countless stunts that involved trauma to the testicles.

Not the type of movie people with senior citizen discount privileges tend to go see in general, let alone on their anniversary. But leave it to my Mom and Dad to mistake Jackass for a romantic comedy.

They were fish out of water in the theatre and wanted to bail, but Mom didn't want to be impolite and leave while others were trying to enjoy the flick. So she spent most of the 87 minutes with her eyes covered like a kid in a horror movie, occasionally asking Dad "Is it OK to look yet?"

"We had no idea it was going to be that kind of movie," Mom said. "We just heard some critic on the radio give it a really good review."

Apparently it was some local jackass critic from Fargo, not Roger Ebert. Mom didn't know the critic's name, but chances are he wouldn't like Citizen Kane or Casablanca because no one got kicked in the nuts, threw up, or drove toy cars up their asshole.

"What made it so awful was the fact they weren't acting," Mom said, trembling. "It was real. They did such terrible things to their bodies, I couldn't stand to watch. I spent most of the time with my coat over my head."

Dad said the anti-chick flick probably wouldn't receive any Oscar consideration with the exception of maybe a best supporting actor nod to the guy who pinched a loaf in the plumbing section.

"Guys crapping, barfing and kicking each other in the balls - they call that a movie?" Dad asked. "When's the last time you saw Paul Newman take a shit in public or Robert Redford try to stick a Tonka truck up his ass, then try to make a movie out of it?"

I'd never seen it, but chances are Mom would want to see it if the macabre movie actually starred those two actors. She still thinks they're hotties. Knoxville, Steve O and the rest of the Jackass gang were a different story.

"Did you at least like Wee Man?" I asked, thinking the cast's little person might have been a tiny bright spot to the ordeal.

"Wee Man?" Dad wondered. "I don't remember him. Why do they call him that? He must have pissed on someone and I missed it."

Mom was particularly horrified when the Jackass cast stuffed fireworks up their rear ends and detonated them. Equally disturbing to her were the guys who tied "bottle rockets to their dongs."

"They call those things bottle rockets for a reason," Mom said. "The ass isn't meant to be a launching pad, and a dong can't head into space without the rest of the astronaut!"

Dad summed up the whole event nicely: "We've seen a lot of shit in 39 years together. Jackass ranked right up there. But if we can make it through that movie, we can make it through anything."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Give My Wife a Hand (Turkey)

I ate enough yesterday to feed a third world country. I didn't mean to, but my wife and mother-in-law made such a spectacular Thanksgiving Day meal, it just sort of happened. I felt like that anaconda that swallowed the alligator most of the night. Thankfully, I haven't met the same fate and burst open yet.

I do have one other worry. They say eating turkey makes you tired. If that's the case, I may end up being a real-life Rip Van Winkle. If I don't post for 20 years, you'll know why.

Besides feasting and frolicking with family, Thanksgiving brings out another tradition in me. I'm a pretty crafty fella and every time the holidays roll around, I get flashbacks of doing grade school projects. I usually perform these tasks for fun and to surprise my wife. She loves it when I make her handmade cards, and doing one would keep me out of the potential food coma for a little while longer.

I only met her when I was 28, so she never knew me as little Rocky. But I'm still a big kid at heart, so I make her warm and fuzzy handmade stuff (usually out of construction paper) on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc., so she knows what she would have gotten from me on those holidays if we had known each other in grade school. Hopefully she would have loved me back then no matter how many cooties I had.

This year, I made her a "Hand Turkey" again. If you are unfamiliar with these, it is where a first or second grade teacher would have you place your hand on a brown piece of construction paper and spread out your fingers. Then you would draw an outline of your hand before cutting it out.

The spread fingers are supposed to be the turkey's feathers. The thumb is supposed to be the head. Then you decorate your Hand Turkey according to kiddie fashion sense.

Check out my 2005 creation. And you know what they say about guys who make big-ass hand turkeys. ;-D

I gave it to my wife and excitedly told her I made it all by myself with no help from my parents. She was so proud of it; she hung it up on our refrigerator. She was also impressed that I used safety scissors, cleaned up my mess from the dining room table and hadn't eaten any paste (it would have spoiled my appetite).

I like making cards for my wife because I usually don't fare well in trips to the Hallmark store. I can't ever seem to find cards that tell her what I want to say. Then again, maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. I say some pretty goofy shit.

I've made some other construction paper masterpieces for her since we've been together. Two of her other favorites follow...

First, I present this lovely Valentine I made for her in 2003. It is a big bumblebee that features the punny phrase "Bee Mine." That one really gave her a buzz.

I'd like to go into Martha Stewart's office and throw that card on her desk and say "You don't need your Apprentice TV show to recruit talent for your company. I think my bumblebee resume speaks for itself. I wrote 'Bee Mine' with Egyptian crayons and the paper is yellow-dyed papyrus. I am one crafty fucker. Hire me."

Second, there's the Valentine I made for my wife last February. It marked our seventh year together, and I was "itching" to do nothing but make her this card to show my love. I fashioned a heart to look like a shovel with the phrase "Seven years later and I still dig ya." She dug it.

She's a great sport, and she definitely tops my "What I'm Most Thankful For" list. I'm glad she appreciates my sense of humor and style.

She also always encourages me to keep pursuing my dream to write for a living some day (I actually did this as a journalist once - now I'm hoping for more of a David Sedaris or Chuck Klosterman type career). She suggested I start a blog, which has been a tremendous creative outlet for me. I'm so lucky she supports my dream and my attempts at humor writing.

So besides love her to death, the least I can do is make her a few silly little cards.

I'm also thankful to have an audience. In all honesty, when I started writing this blog, I figured only family and friends would read it. I never would have imagined I'd "meet" so many through this blog.

I have been truly stunned by the number of people who have visited my blog, and am even more surprised by the people who come back to read more. It is such a humbling compliment and at the same time a wonderful source of motivation to get this kind of support from people I have never met in person.

It really means the world to me to make people laugh or put a smile on faces through my writing. That is such a rewarding feeling. Especially when these same people are such talented artists of the written word themselves, and hook me on a daily basis with their work. If you can't tell, I really enjoy the blogosphere.

Thank you for reading, and commenting. I'm not sure how long it will take for me to "make it" as an author and get published, but I am certainly enjoying the journey so far.

Belated disclaimer: OK, sorry, I should have warned you that sometimes I am just like a maple tree. Big and sappy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Follow That Bird Flu, Part 2

Part one explored what would happen if Sesame Street aired a gloom and doom message about "Big Bird Flu," which could potentially ravage the globe and kill thousands (mostly children).

Due to Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop's uncanny ability to put their kiddie audience in the throng of real-life crisis issues, I thought of some additional character tie-ins to other actual health issues. Here's 10 more:

Kermit the Frog Warts - Despite what the tabloids claim, Kermit insists the warts around his mouth and on his tongue are just a skin condition caused by a "food allergy" and not the result of a tryst with a tainted toad in the swamp.

"I eat pigs in a blanket every morning before I get out of bed, so maybe it's that," Kermit admitted. "What can I say, it ain't easy bein' green."

Sesame Street News gossip columnists have pointed the finger at Miss Piggy, claiming promiscuous porking on the Pigs in Space set may have led to Kermit's ailment, which the couple vehemently denies.

No matter where the pesky pimples came from, they sure are a hassle. Luckily for Kermit, there's Valtrex. And it's gonna' be a brand new day once they figure out how to formulate that shit for frogs.

Guy Smiley Game Show Face - This illness only affects game-show hosts. It involves being such a work-aholic that you take your work home with you and that personality takes over your life. Smiley has it so bad he will introduce anyone he sees to the "studio audience" that is no longer there. He will yell "Yayyy!" and spew a lot of fake energy, all the while keeping a clownish grin permanently planted on his mug.

He tells his muppet friends to "come on down" rather than "come here" and he makes them answer stupid trivia questions for "points." When out shopping, he hands a store clerk a check for $1,000 and tells them he'll "take the ceramic dalmatian for $280 and put the rest on a gift certificate."

Instead of asking his muppet wife what she wants for dinner, he forces her to make a choice for what's behind door #1, door #2 or door #3. Then when she finally picks something, he tries to make her trade it for what's behind a curtain or a box. There is no known cure.

Typewriter Guy Typing - This is similar to "cutting," but even more macabre because the typewriter guy actually types messages onto himself. It starts out as depression, but eventually the paper is not enough to type on, so the machine alters himself so he can peck out messages on his arms or eyeballs. If he really wants to get a message across he'll type on the same spot over and over again for a bold statement. Therapy and white-out are usually enough to erase this illness.

Elmo Speech Impediment - This little red furball speaks in a falsetto voice and constantly refers to himself in the third person, as if he's a professional athlete. The need to sound squeaky gives him the compulsive need to spend the last 15 minutes every hour babbling bullshit about a place called Elmo's World. He is wildly popular despite these annoying traits.

He could be cured easily by working with a voice coach and a grammar teacher, but that would mean losing all the money from whoring himself out as any type of stuffed animal imaginable from Tickle Me to Chicken Dance.

Two-Headed Monster Split Personality Disorder - This is pretty much a freak of nature. It is much more complicated than a split personality within one mind. This monstrosity seems to have one body yet has two heads - possibly the result of some muppet inbreeding (does Sesame Street Unpaved mean up the dirt roads to Muppet Hillbilly Country?).

Each head has its own thoughts and agendas, which means the two heads have to work together to accomplish anything. This is easier said than done because the two heads can be bull-headed at times (they even have the horns to prove it). Both heads agree on one thing - Stuck on You with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear sucked.

Beetlemania - This was a term coined for the mass music fan hysteria caused from the "insect invasion" and their hit songs "Letter B", "Thinking of U", and "Hey Food." Eventually, some Japanese muppet hooked up with one of the members and broke up the band.

Each of the quartet went on to have successful solo projects. The Lennonesque bug was eventually assassinated (stepped on, actually) by a crazed fan, but his music and the band's legend lives on.

Yip, Yip Men's Syndrome - This is 10 times worse than the ass-kissing ailment at the workplace known as "The Yes Man." The muppet version of this overly positive mental state had its name shortened because instead of just telling management a simple "Yes," the muppet martians go to the extreme and say "Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip, Uh-huuhhh, Uh-huuuhhh."

No matter how asinine the task, the "Yip Yip Men" will swear the task will be completed on time, even when they know damn well it won't. They do have one thing going for them: They can't be fired or these Martian muppets would tattle to the government about their "illegal alien" status.

Harvey Kneeslapper Injury - This obscure character was famous for his practical jokes, especially when he'd ask others if they "wanted one." When they said yes, he would slap a #1 on them and then laugh himself into a waterfall of tears, many times even soiling himself.

He laughed at his own jokes incessantly, and over-exuberant knee slapping led to complete tears of his ACL and MCL before the 1978 PBS season, ending his prankster career. Tragically, he pulled the same #1 gag on his surgeon and then died laughing in the operating room.

Forgetful Jones Muppet Alzheimer's - They called this clumsy cowboy "forgetful" because he usually forgot everything he wanted to do or say. That's putting it nicely. Too young for muppet senility, Jones is obviously showing symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease.

Maybe they'll finally get him the treatment he needs when he gets "forgetful" one morning, kissing his horse Buster goodbye before throwing a saddle on his girlfriend Clementine to take her for a ride.

Fat Blue Muppet-Pattern Baldness - It's bad enough that Fat Blue can't seem to get a decent waiter, taxi driver or other service employees to adequately serve his needs on Sesame Street. He's usually in a hurry and in a bad mood. To top it all off, he's bald - a rarity in the muppet world. Most bald humans had hair at some point. Fat Blue is bald because that's how he was made.

There's no Hair Club For Muppets to help him out, and he doesn't have enough hair of his own to perform radical hair replacement surgery. A monster or grouch would probably be willing to lend him a few tufts, but the problem is, Fat Blue has become a bald icon, like the Mr. Clean of muppetdom and is pretty much stuck as is.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Follow That Bird Flu, Part 1

While the rest of the planet is worrying about the spread of the bird flu epidemic, all's quiet over on Sesame Street. This is surprising to me because usually Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop are not afraid to put their characters through real-life situations as learning tools for their kiddie audience (example: death of Mr. Hooper). I think it's time to get the youngest generation worried sick about bird flu and other potential plagues, and what better show than Sesame Street to deliver the message for us?

The show can tell kids about the even more dreaded Big Bird flu. It starts out with just the sniffles, but the next thing you know, you've broken out in yellow feathers. If you grow a beak and stretch out to over 8 feet tall, big bird is definitely the word. The fever that follows can make one hallucinate that they have imaginary hairy elephant friends, who later on turn into real-life friends. Freaky shit.

Kids will naturally ask their parents about Big Bird flu, and then parents can do one of two things: A) Spill the beans about the actual bird flu epidemic and be open about any and all diseases and effects; or B) Lie and say the only way to avoid Big Bird flu is to brush your teeth, clean up your room, eat your vegetables, take baths and do all the shit that they never seem to want to do without parental intervention. Most parents will probably go with Plan B.

If Big Bird flu is not enough, it's up to Sesame Street to bring many more muppet strains of diseases and ailments to the forefront. You can start out by telling them about Barkley's Bad Case of Worms, Buster the Horse's Hoof and Mouth Disease, and even worse, Gladys' Mad Cow Disease. If that doesn't get their little hearts beating a little faster, I doubt they'll still be singing "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street" after hearing about the following:

Mammoth Morbid Obesity - This is 100 times worse than morbid obesity because the sheer size of the victim can swell to over 3,000 pounds. It is not uncommon for him to have unsightly, scraggly body hair and sometimes dental hygiene can spiral out of control with the growth of tusks. The victim breathes heavily and can't seem to speak a sentence without the words "Gee, bird" in it. Strangely, the biggest cause of death is not complications from diabetes, heart disease or other disorders of the heavy-set, but rather walking into tar pits and becoming hopelessly trapped, then suffocating after sinking below the bubbly black surface.

Cookie Monster Bulimia - Tragically, this is not an intentional eating disorder, but rather is the act of eating cookies so fast that it makes one toss his cookies. Just the sight of a cookie sends the Cookie Monster into a psychotic feeding frenzy where he turns his tonsils into a punching bag, pulverizing the cookie(s) into crumby shrapnel by cramming them into his mouth repeatedly without chewing.

PBS spokesmen have said Cookie Monster has turned over a new leaf and is not as crazy about cookies any longer. Give me a break. His name is Cookie Monster, and he ain't gonna be singing "C is for celery." Don't buy any bullshit that he's in a 12-step program called Cookies Anonymous, either.

"Me eat healthy foods because cookies are only a sometimes food," Cookie Monster would lie to the camera before breaking down. "Oh, who me kidding? Me not vitamin C monster. Me get cookie bouquets from fans all the time. Me have 10-pack-a-day habit that includes Oreos, Chips A'hoy, and Mrs. Fields. Cooooooookiiieeeeeeeee!!! Mmmunchmmmunchh!"

Oscar the Grouch Dysentery - This sad disease evolves when you not only live in your own filth, but in the filth of others. Like Oscar, the worst cases actually live in trash cans, and are against recycling programs of any sort. They are the cliff divers of dumpster diving. They accept any type of garbage to be thrown at or on them, including dangerous household cleaners and animal carci. Hair eventually becomes green and matted, but the victims are usually busy making up lyrics and then singing delusional songs about how happy they are to be living in such a dump (example: I Love Trash!).

Count OCD - Even vampires with obsessive compulsive disorder crave counting more than sucking blood out of victims or turning into a bat. They may start out counting to 10 or 12 to show off, but eventually it escalates to 20. Once that is mastered, counting becomes an obsession, counting everything and anything, driving all of those around them to put in earplugs, or in more severe cases, drive a wooden stake through his muppet heart to shut his purple ass up. Typically finishes any counting with a slow, methodical laugh. The Count almost died when he tried to keep up with counting how many stockholder dollars were lost during the Enron scandal.

Bert Beastiality - A constant case of jaundice is the least of our unibrowed friend's worries. When he started going "birding" without binoculars, this was the first sign of trouble. I guess one can become pretty sexually "confused" when you have some puppeteer's hand up your ass for your whole life. It might not even be Bert's fault - he may be guided by that unseen hand. Eventually the disturbingly fowl behavior was accepted by Bert, who was so overcome with denial at first, he made up a song - "Doin' the Pigeon" - to try and masquerade that the act was innocently about dancing like a bird, not deviant dirty dancing. Once he tires of pigeons, new song and dance numbers will follow, possibly including "Chokin the Chicken", "Rockin the Robin", "Poppin' the Penguin", and "Bangin the Blue-Footed Booby."

Ernie Rubber Duckie Allergy - The good news is Ernie is not allergic to condoms. The bad news is, this is an allergy to solely the latex used to make rubber duckies, by far Ernie's favorite tub toy and song subject matter. It was difficult to detect at first because it causes the skin to look wrinkly like a raisin, much like one would look after soaking in the tub for a long period of time. Prolonged exposure to the latex is not fatal, but it can cause one's laugh to be reduced to a spitty gurgle.

Grover Vertigo - This terrible dizziness disorder all starts with a demonstration of far and near. If the running back and forth isn't enough to cause extreme exhaustion, the yo-yo effect of it all takes its toll on the optic nerve and creates light-headedness, nausea and sometimes hysteria. This can also happen to muppets in the service industry - like Grover the waiter - who are too dense and high-strung to realize that the fly in the diner's soup is not an actual insect, but the diner is simply showing off his spelling abilities with alphabet soup. By the time Grover finally realizes this, he faints from utter exhaustion.

Telly-phone Sex Addiction - This is the affliction of being obsessed with muppet phone sex lines with a twist. "Telly-phone" addicts typically make their calls in the dark and just want to hear monsters heavy breathing. They long to be frightened into an orgasm. Hardcore addicts usually only have their freakiest fantasies satisfied by requesting a few toots from the Honkers.

This post was brought to you by the number 4 and the letter Q. 4Q. Get it? Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon.