My Musings

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No vacation to the Jersey Shore is complete without having your hand at Skee-ball. I start this post knowing little about the history of bowling’s humble cousin, but having recently encountered a bank of Skee-ball lanes in Hull, MA at one of Nantasket Beach’s old-fashioned arcades (where one of the machines stole 50 cents from me), several vivid flashbacks to my youth in upstate New York were aroused (can I say “aroused” or has Viagra trademarked that word yet?).


Skee ball in Cape Ma


A more recent visit to the southern New Jersey town of Cape May informed me that maybe I was wrong about Skee-ball in my home region of Syracuse, NY. I spent many a summer on the Jersey Shore in the greater Atlantic City area when I was a youth imprisoned by the family vacation. Maybe that’s where I first rolled a Skee-ball up a lane at an area of variously sized and located circle targets valued between 0 and 50 points (although I'm trying to verify if the target values have changed over the years).

It always helps to orient yourself relative to kitschy Americana by calling up Wikipedia or seeing if the kitschy Americana in question has its own website, and I wasn’t surprised to find that exists and is active.

Not only that, but the game was invented in Philadelphia, a Pennsylvania city that practically lies in Chris Christie’s New Jersey, and furthermore the very first national Skee-ball tournament was held in none other than Atlantic City way back in 1932. So, yeah, Skee-ball has some serious New Jersey street-cred.

As with every arcade game, Skee-ball pays out in paper tickets called scrip. Once you accumulate a million scrip, you can buy a piece of bubble gum.

Rather than waste my quarters on accumulating scrip, I hereby challenge Chris Christie to a Skee-ball tournament anywhere along the Jersey Shore. Winner gets to drop the presidential candidate of their choice into icewater via dunk tank.

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I made a beer recently that was great in every way except one: it was lacking in carbonation. This is the first time I’ve made a beer that was deficient in this regard, and to my surprise it’s become something of a scandal.

Why should anyone care that it’s a little low on carbs? Do people really believe that my beer’s flatness, carbon-wise, and its low percentage of something called “dioxide,” has given me an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace?

What a laugh! Who likes flat beer?

Until now. That’s because my new Belgian Flat Dubbel is going to blow you away. You’ll be able to let the flavors wash over your mouth without all that unnecessary carbonara getting in the way.

Want to try one of my tasty flat beers? Be prepared to shell out big time, buddy.

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Highly Questionable

When was the last time you used two question marks to end a sentence when only one was needed??

Some may argue that the vast majority of interrogatives never need more than one question mark, but aren’t those people simply unwilling to get out of their comfort zones vis-à-vis using question marks??? Or are you of the opinion that using several question marks makes it seem like you're exasperated with someone????

Also for people who’ve been told by their lawyer that they are in danger of insufficiently punctuating their writing maybe because they just don’t know when to use commas to set off phrases or parenthesis to indicate asides using multiple exclamation points is a great way to get your punctuation count up!!!!

Here’s what I think; don’t use a semicolon in place of a colon.

And never add a couple of extra dots to a period unless you want the reader to think that your thought is unfished or something…

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Accepting The Award...

I’m toying with the idea of having a contest in which people ghostwrite a short story for me about a talentless film enthusiast who spends his whole life in a struggle to become a successful movie actor but is ultimately disappointed. Oh, sure, he gets a teeny bit of work here and there – appearing as recurring characters in various commercials, sneaking into a handful of major motion pictures in the unsung role as extra – but by and large his career is a pathetic failure.

Eventually he dies in some kind of freak urinal accident and his body is donated to science. That seems like the last we’ll see of him, except, wait, the story goes on for another 2,500 words, so either it hasn’t ended even though our protagonist is toast, or you and I (actual writer, and guy who gets byline credit, respectively) are wasting everyone’s time with padding well-after the story’s climax.

But here’s the kicker: this dead man actually gets post-mortem work in a major feature film called “Anatomy!” in the role of “Cadaver number 3.” It seems that the producers of the movie, trying to make the film as realistic as possible, use real cadavers, and a couple of friends of our deceased central character watch the movie and notice that their buddy is in it, which prompts them to start a campaign to get him paid for the role ("what, just because you're dead you don't get paid?"). They have ulterior motives for the campaign to get their pal paid posthumously, as he had spent his entire life hitting them up for money because of his failure to secure a good day job while he was failing at his acting career, and they intend to sue his estate down the road to recoup their losses, once the producers pay the estate for his performance as a dead guy on a slab in a medical school lab.

Well, wouldn’t you know it but the Academy feels sufficiently wowed by the cadaver’s performance (“transcendent!”) that he is nominated for an Oscar. And he wins!

Give it a go! What do you have to lose?

Please include $100 with each submission (and submit as many versions as you like).

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The New Look, Feel, and Smell

Suddenly, just when you were finally getting comfortable with my website, I go and reorganize information into 3 columns instead of just two, add links to other sites (right hand column, scroll down a bit), and install a tag cloud (just below it) that's claims to be unused. Why?! “The next thing you know he’ll be running ads!” Read On

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Produce This Audio Play!

Ever wanted to produce a radio play?  Think you have the mettle?  Read on!