Am I the meanest?


Am I the prettiest?


Am I the baddest mofo, low-down around this town?


Well, who am I?


Who am I?


I can’t hear you!


–This message proudly brought to you by Shogun of Harlem productions.

No Comments | Category: Life

In 1986, a man cried out in pain, and the world was introduced to an unsolvable mystery unlike anything ever seen before.

Twenty-two years ago, in a courtroom drama unparalleled to this day, a man in a vertically-striped suit sat in the witness stand and tried to explain to the nosy prosecutor how his life had been destroyed by passion-gone-wrong.  Although the witness tried to keep his cool under the baleful gaze of the judge and voyeuristic curiosity of the jurors, he eventually broke down under questioning and started darting around the courtroom yelling at the judge (emulating a gun with his fingers as an implied threat) and sliding back and forth in front of the jury box.  Later, as the transcripts were studied to find out just what went wrong, it was discovered that the witness had acted out under repeat pressure from the prosecutor to answer one simple question.

“Who is Johnny?”

The prosecutor, however, was playing her own game that day, one that still puzzles law historians.  According to one witness, an Ally S., the prosecutor asked about Johnny’s identity and then tried to look the other way.  “But,” added Ally S., “her eyes gave her away.”

The witness, El D., was enraged by this behavior and yelled out, “My heart’s in overdrive, and it’s great to be alive!”

Stunned silence.  What did he mean, the jury wondered.  The jury foreman, a Steve G., recalled his attempt to be emphatic.  “I tried to understand because I’m people, too.  And playing games is part of human nature.”

But the prosecutor was having no part of it; she continued to question El D. by repeating over and over again, “Who’s Johnny?”

“It was horrible,” said Steve G.  “Each time she brought up the question, she tried to look the other way, still pretending.  Is that any way for an official of the court to act?

Apparently, El D.’s frail body couldn’t withstand the mental pressure, and he started flailing wildly about the courtroom, shouting out that he was in pain. After the prosecutor asked about Johnny for the fourteenth time, El D. gasped aloud, “There she goes and knows I’m dying when she says ‘Who is-who-who is-Who’s Johnny?'”  It was obvious he was in medical danger, evidenced by his sudden issues with stuttering.

In a peculiar moment one could only assume was strategy,  the prosecutor inserted a videotape into a VCR and started watching television, completely ignoring the witness.

“I was astounded,” Ally S. remembered.  “I know this girl was only teasing.”

Sadly, a fire started near the judge’s desk and in the ensuing confusion, the witness snuck out of the courtroom, never to be seen again.  Twenty-two years later, no one knows just who Johnny is.  But thanks to a recently discovered canister of film, we can now take a peek at the events of that obscure day in legal history.  Special thanks go to the History Channel for allowing us to show this clip:

No Comments | Category: Life

… if you miss the muses of Softee this Friday.

Plus, buy a CD while you’re there.  Or two.  Or, three hundred. (A true fan of art will buy three hundred because he–or she–knows it’s the right thing to do.  Should you actually have a life-ending experience (say, being eaten by an alligator) and go to meet your maker, he–or she–will stare at you with those accusing eyes of holiness and demand whether you supported the ladies of Softee three hundred times.  And if you answer in the negative, you will be cast down.  Down!  So, I guess what I’m saying is that Softee is a religious experience.  Except, without the touching of the altar boys.)

No Comments | Category: Live A Little, Wiggy

“Oh, Skippy–do you love me?” she asked.

“Of course,” I replied.  “I’m wearing my best bow-tie and suspenders.  Not everyone rates such snazzy duds.”

“But, Skippy, I need more.  You’re dashing in the tie, and no one, not even Mork, could shoulder snappy suspenders like you can, but it’s not enough.  I crave… something.”

What was it, I wondered.  Diamonds?  Rubies? Leather gear?  A socket wrench or a bowl of cereal or a cute chipmunk or the smell of a ringing phone or the cat’s meow sans cat or a mime’s vocal cords on a silver platter (the mime objected, but it was a mute point) or maybe a rhubarb pie?  “Maybe some pie?” I suggested.

“No, Darling, not pie.  Not even rhubarb trimmed by mime bits.  Something else, something that says you love me, but says it in neon, in flashy, in shoo-bop, shoo-wadda-wadda, yipitty-boom-de-boom.  I need–”


“–a mix CD.”

And so, I made one for her.  Filled with the cheesy goodness I listened to back in the days before I turned into an old grump.  And if you want one, it’s yours.  Just shoot me your name and mailing address to this address (click me!) Want to know what’s on it?  Too bad! (If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise.  Plus, you know, you might not want it.  Let’s take things slowly, you and I, so that our passion doesn’t burn out so quickly.)

I’ll also send you one of our cats. (Not really.)  And one of our dogs. (Very possible.)  But mostly, the CD. (This one’s true.)  ‘Cause I’m giving like that.  Look at me: I give.  I’m a giver.

No Comments | Category: Live A Little

If you wasted at least part of your youth in Kansas City during the ’80s, there’s a good chance you might have spent a few late nights watching Kansas City’s very own Maven of the Macabre, Crematia Mortem.  Haunting our televisions from 1981 until 1988, Crematia was the ghoulish hostess of KSHB-TV 41’s Creature Feature.  During most of this period, KSHB was not yet a network affiliate, so they had much more control over their programming; they owned the movies they presented, and could schedule blocks of time devoted to original local programs. (Kansas City even had its own morning show with AM Live–a disappointing discovery for kids who stayed home sick, yet within the range of a television.  After the morning cartoons were over, you were forced to watch AM Live, soap operas, or trucking commercials.  Oddly enough, I think I miss the trucking commercials.)

KSHB handed the reins of its late-night Saturday horror program to Roberta Solomon, a successful voice personality across the nation.  Roberta, after visiting a lingerie shop to pick out the corset for her Vampira-like character, introduced the world to Crematia Mortem, deadly hostess of Creature Feature.  Crematia’s mastery of the darkness was helped along by her loyal companions, Rasputin and Dweeb.  (You never saw them, but you could hear them off-camera.  Dweeb, a stand-in for Fortunato from The Cask of Amontillado, was forever walled up in Crematia’s house due to some often-alluded-to, but never-expounded-upon, vague offense buried in the past.)

During those years I spent a number of weekends at my grandparents’ house in Shawnee, Kansas.  Each weekend night, my grandma pulled out her convertible couch and made it ready for our late-night theater.  (It happened Friday evenings, too, with a competing channel’s Friday Fright Night show.  But, except for an evil laugh and reoccurring image of a malevolent skull flashing on-screen between commercials, it wasn’t as memorable as Crematia’s world.)  I was ecstatic to stay up late into the wee hours of the morning, and I was thrilled to be watching movies about werewolves, vampires, mummies and other bump-in-the-night nasties.  More often than not I cowered when the scary came on screen; other times I slipped into dreamland before the movie was finished.  But, thanks to my grandmother’s willingness to spend time with her grandson, I learned the joy of watching Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and a huge list of other assorted characters from the heyday of Universal Pictures’ horror films.  Special mention goes to Christoper Lee in his menacing role as Dracula in the Hammer films.  To this day Lee is still frightening no matter the part he plays.

So, really, I thank my grandma and Crematia for making Saturday evenings entirely too much fun.  My grandma passed away a few years back, but the memories of coming in from her backyard with a jar filled with either crawdads or fireflies (you caught what you could), letting them loose in her living room (fireflies, only), and then crawling into bed to wait for Crematia to grace the screen with her unforgettable appearance and forgettable cheesy jokes, they’re all still fresh.

These days such a show probably isn’t possible.  Stations, being network affiliates, whore themselves out to infomericals and re-runs of painfully unfunny shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The King of Queens.  They are, indeed, their own brand of horror, but they don’t quite create the lasting memories the way Crematia did.


3 Comments | Category: Live A Little, ya' know?

From Joss Whedon (and others)–Creator of Buffy, Angel (fangs, not wings) and Firely–starring Doogie Howser and Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day and Not Me Which Is A Pity Because I Think I’m Like Excellent And Stuff:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

No Comments | Category: Life

… or, more accurately, ours.  Happy 5th Anniversary to the esteemed Insta-Princess, the best wife I’ve ever had. (And the prettiest, too.)

No Comments | Category: Life

My last post indicated my recent seduction into the addictive world of Apple games.  First, it was an innocent, nostalgic game of Oregon Trail.  But then, soon after, I was sucked into the crime-filled world of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? (Turns out she was hiding along the Oregon Trail.  The bitch died of a snake bite.)  Now I’m stuck playing Fraction Munchers–quite possibly the first Apple IIe/gs game I can remember playing.  For those of you who don’t know the game, it’s exactly like Pac-Man.  Only, you don’t collect any dots, there are no power-ups, you don’t get chased by ghosts, there are fractions (lots of ’em–but don’t get them confused with whole numbers), and you’re not a little, yellow, half-eaten pizza pie.

So, while I’m busy doing that, here’s a couple of photos.  One of me, and the other of Auggy.  People say he looks more like me than he does his Ma, but I think they’re saying that only because we’re both white and we’re both the cutest people, evah.

Next post: The Harrowing World of  Fraction Munchers.

2 Comments | Category: Le Photo, Wiggy

Oh, BOB II, we hardly knew ya:

And this after your brother, BOB III, died in our first attempt to cross a river.  Damn you, Oregon Trail, damn your uncaring ways!

Oh, hey, look, I got into the top ten!

I may have been a little excited.  But I’m proud to say that BOB (me), BOB IV and BOB V made it through in poor health.  Plus, as a carpenter, my points were doubled. (Beat that, Jesus.)

No Comments | Category: Live A Little

Kaiser, get it? Its etymology traces back to Cæsar (not his entomology, which just bugs people), the greatest of whom was Imperator Caesar Augustus (to his friends, “Bob”; to his enemies, slaves, traitors and to whomever he lost his weekly Scrabble game, “Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrap, is that a writ of execution? Seriously? Fine, you get a triple word score on that last one!”). He was also declared a god by the Roman Senate, which is a nice job if you can get it. But there you go: our son, Auggy, is one step closer to his life on top of Mount Olympus.

Because now he’s semi-mobile:

No Comments | Category: Wiggy

Does everyone know Flora?  You should.

‘Cause she doodles.

“So what?” you ask.  “I doodle, too.  I doodled just last night after some righteous pizza.”

Yeah, well… see, you cretin, it’s not that type of doodle (that’s a doody).  What Flora does is some hardcore doodling. (Stop your snickering.  It’s not diddling.)  This is the type of doodling best left to the professionals lest someone puts his eye out with a random swipe of a doodle-dilly.  Not only that, but it’s Happy doodling, which puts to shame all the rest of the doodles out there, clearly in the need of some major Paxil.

Here in Skippy Land our doodles are not so happy.  In fact, here’s one I did during a meeting today because I was bored:

It truly shows the lighter side of me, doesn’t it?  Plus, bonus, it was quite a surprise to my boss I was doodling in the first place.  Considering we were the only two people in the meeting at the time and all.

Flora’s doodles beam down to us from a more positive planet, so be sure to check out a much more optimistic blog over at Happy Doodle Land.  (Seriously.  Go right now.)

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By SKIPFITZ, Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY – In a surprise development–happening between the hours of 9:00 Sunday evening, and 5:00 Monday morning–Lil’ Auggy Doggy found his feet.

“It’s such a relief,” his feet said. “We thought we’d be lost for his entire life, but he came through for us even though we doubted.”

The Insta-Princess was equally happy. “He was making noises throughout the night, so I knew he was awake. But I had no idea when I walked in that he’d be holding his feet. His feet. There they were. Poof! Like magic.” Like magic, indeed. Although Mr. Doggy has been in possession of his feet for three months, he had been unaware of them the entire time. He’d occasionally curl his toes and look annoyed when SkipFitz tickled his feet, but Mr. Doggy refused to look in their direction, a sure sign of what many leading psychologists call “Not Knowing What The Hell Is Going On”.

“I was terrified,” admitted Mr. Feet. “We saw him, but he didn’t seem to notice us. Did he hate us? Did we smell? I’ve heard we’re supposed to smell, but that bastard, Mr. Nose, wouldn’t share any information. How are we supposed to know if the nasal passages don’t communicate? HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?!”

“I’m sorry,” said Mr. Feet after he calmed down. “I’m just so sensitive.”

When asked for comment, SkipFitz responded with a shrug. “I don’t see what’s so special about finding feet. I never found mine, and here I am.”

The Insta-Princess rolled her eyes. “Yes, but he couldn’t find his own… my, I shouldn’t say that, should I? That’s naughty.”

“Listen,” said Mr. Feet, “We’re just thrilled to have been found. Have you ever seen feet that haven’t been found?” Using a toe, he pointed at SkipFitz’s feet. “They’re cracked and dried and alone. So alone. No one wants feet to be like that, least of all the feet.”

Mr. Doggy was no available to comment as he spit up and went back to sleep, but his feet are confident that a celebration is in the works. “Now that we’re part of the family, I think a party is in order. All the body parts will be invited.”

“Except for that asshole, Mr. Nose.”

2 Comments | Category: Wiggy

You might make a Faustian bargain for power, for youth, for wealth, for a sweet ride with a million horsepower, leather seats, and enough room in the back to stow away two kids, a dog, and any ancillary animals hanging around your pad.

And you may rule your kingdom with a velvet glove of justice and peace for a thousand years; and your subjects may adore you for your wisdom and mercy; and they may celebrate you for your unattainability tempered by sweet familiarity.

And all this may be threatened by the end as Mephistopheles comes to collect your soul as per your demonic agreement; and there might be one way to save it all, to retain your riches; a guaranteed way to void your deal and eventually find your way to heaven (halo and harp supplied); and a good angel may float in from above, flaming sword in hand as he holds off Mephistopheles to give you time to perform this one task; and they’d fight as the midnight hour draws nearer; and then lo, the angel will say to you, “Sweet Child, now is your chance, take it and save your soul, your kingdom, and indeed, the world.”

And he will point to a comfy recliner in front of a grandiose entertainment center; and he will motion for you to pop in Meet the Spartans and watch it as your final task, your saving grace, your defeat of the devil.

That’s when you R-U-N!

It still wouldn’t be worth it.

No Comments | Category: Live A Little

See that thar, Charlie Brown? That’s my baby pumpkin vine, Mortimer. As implied, he’s new to this world, so let’s all take a moment and make him feel welcome. He’s going to be pumpkins, lots of them, even going so far as to be the pumpkin.

Yes, that’s right. The Great Pumpkin. (Suck it, Linus.)

See, I’ve planted pumpkins three times this year. The first time, I was full of hope; I’d started my new gourd-awful hobby with a vegetable medley in my heart and an extra kick to my step. Unfortunately, a wild pack of dogs (which looked absolutely nothing like the three we own… nothing) trampled both the patch and my hopes. So, a week later, after shedding tears, hair and dignity, The Insta-Princess soothed my emotional wounds and convinced me to try again.

But the pack came back.

Despite my fiendishly clever fencing system of small stakes and nylon string, the dogs actually had the audacity to jump over my makeshift barrier and trample my pumpkins again. I reached for my gun. (I have two… both of which I’ve never fired–much less loaded–and both of which are kept because they’re antiques.) The Insta-Princess stopped me in my rage when she pointed out I was inserting the bullets from the wrong end. “And I’m pretty sure that’s not even the rifle. It looks like a curtain rod.”

Week Three: I plant new seeds. But do I stick with one kind? Oh, no, in a shout-out to my desperation, I planted regular field pumpkins, the namby-pamby French kind (“Kids! It’s just like the pumpkin from Cinderella!”), and the really frickin’ huge kind that can grow to over 500 pounds. See, what you’re supposed to do is to whittle down the growing pumpkin sprouts to three to a hill. Not me, I’m leaving all twenty of them in. They can fight their way to the top, even Mortimer; it’ll teach him to be strong, to not take life for granted, to be the best goddamned pumpkin he can be.

And the dogs, like Linus, can suck it.

2 Comments | Category: Le Photo, Live A Little

I’m not sure I ever really planned to turn this blog into a repository of baby photos and videos, but I realized something last night about the old saw of inviting people over to your house for dinner and boring them with slides of your vacation: With the Internet and whatnot, the power to bore has been increased a billionfold as your audience has grown to limitless numbers.

It’d be irresponsible to not use that power.  And me, you know me, I’m anything but irresponsible. I mean, I couldn’t tell you where my son is at this exact moment, no, but I do know where his latest YouTube video is:

No Comments | Category: Video, Wiggy