Archive for May, 2010

The Amityville House on which the book, then the movie was based.

Here in the impetuous offices of The Crusty Curmudgeon, we are often shooting off of figurative mouths about the latest PETA absurdity, with this caveat: we are pro-animal rights.  I do not want any more forests to be taken for wood, or the rainforest clear-cut so someone can try to grow potatoes, or any species should face extinction, etcetera, etcetera, but PETA is beyond the bounds of crazy behavior.

Much have I written about them, including their Florida billboards with pictures of fat humans and the slogan, “SAVE THE WHALES; Lose the Blubber – Go Vegetarian.”  Or their recent outrage over a destructive squirrel who was caught in a trap on a home’s roof and spent a little too long in the hot sun, or their supposed outrage over Puxatawney Phil, the famous shadow seeing ground hog. They thought Phil was abused performing for the cameras like that, and suggested an animatronic groundhog instead.

Now they’re at it again.  This time, they want to lease the Amityville house of horror (Currently up for sale for 1.15 million).  They want to turn it into a meat-eaters house of horror.  PETA vice-president Tracy Reiman wrote to the present owners, “In our horror house, the sound of slaughterhouse blades whirring while animals scream for their lives would play over loudspeakers.” And the letter went on: “Visitors would be able to see animatronic hens struggling for space inside tiny battery cages and lifelike “fish” gasping for air as they slowly suffocate on the deck of a fishing boat.”

You didn’t think the wackos would stop there, did you?  Oh no, not by a long shot.  Visitors would be subjected, er…treated to a smorgasbord of tasty visual delights, like branding irons and an electrified cow prod and the opportunity to be locked in a small pig crate.  And don’t leave without a special souvenir.  I suggest a doll that resembles a crazed,  knife-wielding Ronald MacDonald.  No kidding.

And you can’t leave without dining in the zero star Cruelty-Free Cafe, featuring delicious, mouth watering vegan food, such as protein-packed mock chicken and faux ribs.  See the irony of that?  Their so-called delicious food tries to resemble meat.  Why not just serve the vegetables instead of trying to pass it off as meat? Is it because meat is delicious and that’s what people like to eat?

Sounds like a lovely afternoon, and I’m booking my tickets as soon as it’s official.  My main beef is I love me some meat.  Steaks, chops, chicken, ribs, and fish, broiled, smoked, braised, baked, grilled, and roasted.  Don’t get in my way, PETA, I’m warning you.  I’ll mess you up, because your game is easy to play.
Of course, the neighbors are thrilled with the prospect of PETA moving into the home, which is best summed up by a neighbor way back in 1999, when he told the N.Y. Daily News that the movie “…screwed up the whole neighborhood.”  Well, just wait until PETA moves in.

Talk about screwed up.

(Information for this story came from the N.Y.Daily News.)

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Image created by Reilly Creative (reillycreative.com)

Here in the tolerant offices of The Curmudgeon, we get our share of letters from persons who appear to be nuts.  But sometimes, looking past the obvious reveals a diamond of insight and brilliance.  We recently received such a letter in response to our post,“Killer” Squirrel Traps Couple in House, located directly below this one, and reprint it here along with our reply.

Dear Mr Curmudgeon,

I think it’s such a shame that such a cute looking animal can have such a nasty side and a poor reputation. What an awful waste of visual cuteness.

Maybe someone somewhere could set up an internet course for squirrels on how they can improve their behavior. There are courses for everything online these days, so why not give squirrels a chance to turn themselves around. Or does that sound nuts?

Dear Esteemed Mr. Witto,

A shame indeed, because squirrels can be awfully cute.  I don’t think you’re nuts, and if you are, remember that some of the greatest minds in history were considered nuts.  Pasteur and his germ theory of disease, the Wright brothers and their flying machine, and myself and my theory that the first part of the second part equals the last part of the fourth part.  “Ridiculous!” they said.  “Indecipherable!” they wailed.  And now, Mr. Witto, your theory that squirrels can be rehabilitated with an Internet course on Squirrel Behavior Modification.

We all – you and me and other great minds – have been tagged with simple-minded analogies such as they/they’ve/they’re elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor; not the sharpest knife in the drawer; are not playing with a full deck: 1 slice short of a loaf; a sandwich short of a picnic; got only one oar in the water; a brick short of a load;  gone off their rocker; have a screw loose; goofy in the head, and labels like crazy, wacko, whack job, loony, insane, bonkers, lulu head, cuckoo, crackers, loopy, dunder head, nut job, nut case, nutty, and just plain nuts.

Another example – which I believe you are familiar with, Mr. Witto – was the recent notion that a site could be assembled with the wittiest minds of our generation from all over the world who are available for hire to those seeking the services of witty writers.  “It can’t be done,” and “impossible,” the naysayers said, and yet just such a site has been created.  If someone were to go to The Wittery and post their job, they would find these talented, funny individuals vying for the honor of performing these jobs, and one might even find myself there, though I go under a different name, a Christopher something or other, I forget.  They could read profiles of these writers and their samples, or visit the Wittery blog for a hearty laugh.

And now comes your brilliant idea to offer squirrels an Internet course for Behavior Modification.  I can picture it in my advanced mind and see it broken down into several courses designed to save the squirrel from mass loathing, shooting, hunting, skinning, and even being eaten by those so inclined to eat the disgusting little beasts.  The classes, as I initially envision them, would be broken down thusly.

1. Bird Seed Ain’t Squirrel Food: Stay Out of That Feeder
Explores the detrimental effect of squirrels breaking into bird feeders to stuff their greedy mouths.
2. Chewing Through Wood and Plastic Harms Squirrel Teeth
How chewing through items breaks buck teeth and leads to tooth decay.
3. Attics Are Horrible Places to Live
Attics are haunted and frightening and ghosts will eat your babies.
4. Trash Bins are Poison
Squirrels will suffer deformity if they venture into trash bins.
5. Chewing Through Wires: The Shocking Truth
Dangers of electrocution and fires.
6. Cartoon Behavior 101
Squirrels will study cartoons from Disney and Warner Bros. depicting cutesy, furry, loveable creatures and how to emulate this behavior.

As you can see, Mr. Witto, I have put no small amount of thought into your idea.  I think I’ll start the Internet course myself.  I can hear the tippy tapping of little squirrel paws typing away on their keyboards, and I hear the ringing of bells – the bells of the cash register as I rake in millions.  Naturally, you’ll receive full credit and a generous portion of the profits.

So thank you, Sir.  Together, we’ll create a new generation of squirrels, that are lovable, cute, and loved by men, women, and children everywhere.

With much gratitude and admiration,


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Picture of "Killer," the Super Squirrel

Here in the animal-loving offices of The Curmudgeon, we have a great respect for other creatures.  One notable exception is the common tree squirrel.  Oh sure, they’re cute and fuzzy as they prance across your lawn and into the tree, to the branch, to the electric line, to the roof of your house, and then chewing their mischievous way through the eaves and into your attic and…hey!  See?  That’s the problem with squirrels.  They’re just destructive, disgusting rodents.  Rats with fur.

I have had some epic battles with squirrels, but nothing like that experienced by a couple in Cleveland.  They were trapped in their house by a squirrel.  A particularly mean squirrel.  He was one bad motherfu (shut your mouth) jus’ talkin’ bout squirrel.  This squirrel – we’ll call him “Killer” –  was running full blast and hurling himself at the garage door, apparently intent on gaining entry.  Every time the couple tried to escape the house, Killer came charging at them, crashing into the door as they closed it just in time.

Killer was clearly nuts, so the police were summoned to free the couple.  No word on how this was accomplished.  If they summoned an animal control specialist to capture the squirrel humanely and release it in the local park, then why are they keeping it secret?  Perhaps Killer, upon being released, turned and attacked the handler, biting him on about the neck and face infecting him with rabies.  No, I think not.  My theory is that the police shot the squirrel, and then planted their “drop gun” at the scene to make it appear as though Killer were about to fire at them.  That is why it is secret, because if PETA got a hold of that story they’d be all over it like mange on a squirrel.

That would certainly be the fastest, most economical way to deal with the problem, and it’s a good deed too.

The world can always do with one less squirrel.

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Photo from litwc.com

Here in the sharp-witted offices of The Curmudgeon, we are no strangers to tattoos, having written about them and a few of the employees tattooed like something out of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. I personally am not a fan of tattoos (being borderline Aichmophobic), and have likened tattoos on a pretty woman to drawing on a beautiful painting with a sharpie. But this takes the cake: a man in Louisville is going to prison for tattooing a 19 month old child.

He tattooed the child late one night while a 17 year-old relative of the child held the child down across her lap. Heck, it was just a little tattoo; the outline of the letter “A”, the first letter in the child’s name.  The man was sentenced to 3 years in prison. What?  You think that’s too extreme a punishment?  Consider this: It wasn’t even his child. The assistant prosecutor said, “I don’t know who’s idea it was. It was late in the evening and apparently someone thought it was a good idea.”

He faced a possible 8 years in prison, but was given a reduced sentence due to his incomparable idiocy. When asked by the judge at his hearing if he wanted to say anything, the man said, “If I may make a point, your honor, I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. Normally I just poke around, but the child kept needling me…sticking it to me, you might say.” Okay, he didn’t say that.  Instead, he didn’t speak. I think he should have at least explained his shoddy work.

He won’t start serving his sentence right away because he’s got to complete his current prison sentence for domestic violence and a violating a protection order. What a loser.

See?  I’ve said it all along:

Tattoo bad

(Information from: CantonRep.com)

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Dog with halo

Pic from gabrielsangels.com

Here in the dog lovin’ offices of The Curmudgeon, writing about dogs is not uncommon.  We’ve written about hero dogs, abused dogs, well, lots of stuff about man’s best friend.  So we were tummy-tickled when the following news item came over the wire:  In Danvers, Mass, Calvary Episcopal Church will begin offering a mass for dogs.

It’s about time.  Now your heathen dog can be saved.  In fact, that’s the whole point.  The “Perfect Pet Paws Ministry” will give canine critters and their owners improved odds of getting into heaven.  That’s good, cause if my dog ain’t goin’, I ain’t showin’.  Reminds me of the “Do Dogs Get Into Heaven” church sign debate   I proved in that article that the whole thing was faked, but so darn funny it was worth publishing.  Now the Episcopalians have put it their two cents:  Dogs can go to heaven, but they gotta pray first.

The mass will offer communion for the humans, and doggie treats for the pooches.  Even the misbehaving dogs who for disciplinary purposes won’t be allowed in the mass can have their owners submit a paper requesting a special prayer to be said for their soul.  Owners can request prayers for any type of pet, so even evil cats have a chance at salvation.  And the dogs will actually have a say in the mass, since barking won’t be banned.  So, if the dogs really get into it, they can shout out things like, “Praise the Lord!” and “Amen!”  Though presumably they’ll cry out in doggie language.

My guess is the dog mass will be packed, because it will be hysterical, and the people will come. The church will rake in the holy dough in their collections baskets.  Heck, it could even get me back into a church, at least a couple of times, to view the spectacle.

I have just one question about the whole affair:

When the collection basket is being passed, what will the dogs leave as an offering?

(Information from: The Salem News http://www.salemnews.com/ )

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