30 April 2009

Ten Suitable Punishments for Your Disobedient Brat

I was reading an interesting story the other day about a mom who had given her son up for adoption at the age of 7 because the kid would not listen to her or do anything she told him to do. Wash the dishes, no. Clean up your room, nuh uh. Go to bed at a decent hour, not gonna happen. What happened next was especially sad, as the boy was adopted by an unsavory religious cult in the Everglades and was soon eaten by an alligator as part of a bizarre ceremony. Even sadder, the alligator turned out to be allergic to brat, and died subsequently. Adding to the misfortune, the alligator's rotting corpse polluted a small section of the swamp, causing myriad wildlife to die or relocate.

Okay, I'm not sure if I really read that story somewhere or I dreamed it, but the point remains the same. Many parents are unable to get their kids to listen, and the results can be horrifying. As the Shark Tank is due for a judicial review next week, I thought it would be nice to once again give freely of my wise advice. Here, for struggling parents everywhere, are my top ten punishments to dole out to misbehaving children, so that they may avoid causing a minor ecological disaster in the future.

#10: Refuse to allow the child to wear his or her seatbelt for a three week period.

#9: Take away Playstation 3. Replace with Atari 2600.

#8: For teenagers: Drop child off in front of school each day for a week. Make big production out of kissing and hugging them before letting them go inside.

#7: For small child: Read them the classic children's book,
The Invisible Bees Who Are Everywhere. Do not alert them to its fictional nature.

#6: Gently remind them that they are the reason Dad left.

#5: Threaten to pull car over.

#4: Friend them on Facebook. Immediately post brutally honest
25 Things About Me meme.

#3: Continue regimen of haphazard, rage-driven corporal punishment.

#2: Write a starkly inappropriate love note to his teacher, signed with his name. Instruct child to give to teacher.

#1: Pay neighborhood bully $5 to teach em a lesson.

28 April 2009

My Japanese Job Interview

Friday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Takiyama Inc., one of the world's largest suppliers of affordable corn syrup (as well as a moderately successful greeting card exporter) called me in for a job interview. I had submitted my resume to them on a lark a few months back, never really expecting to hear back. Still, I had gone to great lengths to emphasize my two and a half year-long employment with a telemarketing firm that had used as their "hook" free tickets to the Japanese game show, "Crazy Crazy Happy Time". Though this bit of employment history had never done me any favors in the past, I thought this time might be different. Not only had I gained a passing familiarity with the Japanese spoken language, I had enveloped myself in the spirit of their culture. What do you know? Turned out that Shep Yin, the HR director for Takiyama was a big fan of that old show, and was eager to have a look at a bright young American who could speak Japanese.

I arrived at Takiyama's West Palm Beach American headquarters a little past three in the afternoon, and was immediately whisked through the lobby and invited to sit in a rather small office, which looked out onto the back lot of Lion Country Safari. I politely declined a cup of blueberry Slusho and tried to quell my nerves. Before I had a chance to collect my thoughts, she walked into the room.

She was a Japanese woman of about 40 years of age, dressed in smart business attire. Without needing to be introduced, I recognized this lady as Michiko Suzuki, Takiyama's North American president. I stood and shook her hand and bowed a little, as I had read on the internet to do.

We both took our seats. Suzuki folded her hands on her desk and the interview commenced.

Suzuki: So glad you could come to be interviewed on such short notice.

: Not a problem. I wasn't really doing any--I mean--I had to move some things around in my schedule, but I was more than happy to do that for such a great opportunity.

: I'm very impressed with your work history, particularly your time with [consults resume]. . .Tel-Ling?

: Yes, it was a great learning experience. It was actually a privilege to learn Japanese and immerse myself in the ways of the Orient.

in Japanese): We are pleased to have fish and pigs with our beds.

: Uhh...huh. Come again?

in Japanese): We are pleased to have fish and pigs with our candle sex?

: duuuummm...yes?

in English): Your resume states that you are fluent in Japanese?

: Well, I wouldn't say
fluent. I know quite a bit. Maybe I'm a little rusty.

in English): The position we're considering you for requires extensive knowledge of the language. I certainly can't have one of my reps "ummming" and "huh-ing" through a conference call.

: No, I get that, I get that. Let me give it another go. It's been a few years.

in Japanese): Cradle muffin can see the soul of telephone.

: Okay. So, did you just say, "Cradle muffin can see the soul of telephone"? Because it really just sounded like that's what you said.

(in English): I said, "Perhaps you learned Japanese from a retarded baby."

: Oh. Heh ... that's not what I heard. Wow.


: Sooo. . .I'm guessing that's a no on the job then?


: I'll just let myself out.

Walking back to my car, I remembered something Jim Jenkins, my boss and Japanese language instructor at Tel-Ling Telemarketing had said. He had told me the Japanese dialect I was learning was only used in 1% of the world. And it wasn't even in Japan. It was a little town in southern Maine. I drove home, really wishing I had remembered that before the interview.

25 April 2009

The HBDC Story Meme

Today's post is going to be a little different, boys and girls. Today, I'll be participating in the Humor Bloggers First Annual Story Meme, created and conceived by none other than Spaz over at The Mind of Spaz. The deal is this: There's a story. Each of the participants in the meme will contribute a small amount to the story and then pass it on. The resulting gelatinous mess will then be hoisted high in the middle of the town square and subsequently hanged for indecency and witchcraft. I think that's the basic gist of it. Ok, no, I've been told that's incorrect. The final story will be published on HumorBloggers.com. Without further ado, here is the story's humble beginnings, as written by Spaz himself:

Wanda was always confused. Not about work, because she loved what she was doing. Not about her friends or her hobbies,because her social life was great. It wasn't her looks either, because she was tall, lean and had an absolutely perfect rack, the best money could buy. No, Wanda was confused because she has a penis.

And so here we go.

It had come wrapped in several layers of newspaper, stuffed into a tube typically reserved for delivering posters. It wasn't just any penis, either. Judging from its length (11.2 inches), scent (formaldahyde and tree sap), and coloring (burnt sienna), it had belonged to T. horridus and dated back to the late Cretaceous. In layman's terms, it was the penis of a Triceratops. Standing in her driveway, watching as the UPS guy hopped back into his truck and flipped down the visor, Wanda said something she'd thought many times before, but never said aloud.

"It's smaller than I thought it would be."

Venom, of Venom, Secrets, & Lies is next up, so make sure you head over to her blog to see how she continues this timeless tale.

24 April 2009

You WILL Acknowledge Me, Wal-Mart Greeter

Well, here I go again, on my way into Wal-Mart. Oh look, a penny. It's turned with the tail facing up. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I can't remember. I'm pretty sure it's a bad thing. I better leave it alone.

Besides, what do I need with a penny? What can you even begin to buy with a penny these days? When was the last time the penny was worth a shit? Even the motto from the Great Depression was "Brother, can you spare a dime?" A dime! Even eighty years ago, people weren't lowering themselves to ask for a penny.

Okay, I'm approaching the doors. What the hell is that lady wearing? She looks like an American buffalo stuffed into footie pajamas. Oh wait, that's exactly what it is. Fun. I wonder what a buffalo is doing outside Wal-Mart on a day like this. Did you know that "Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo." is a complete sentence? It is.

Oh crap, someone's out here asking for money for some charity or another. Avert eyes! What's that shiny thing up there? Well, there I went and looked directly at the sun again, explicitly against my eye doctor's instructions.

All right, I've passed through the gateway. I'm no longer on municipal property. I'm in the Mart. I can't see shit. It smells like a curious mixture of popcorn and grape Bubble Tape in here. Not altogether unpleasant. Do I need a cart? Why am I even here? I completely forget. Maybe I should just go back to the car before I wind up buying something I don't need. But no, I've parked too far away. Might as well trek on.

Oh boy, here we go. The Wal-Mart greeter lies ahead. The last three times I came here, he not only didn't greet me, he failed to smile or even acknowledge my existence. He just stood there, his ancient eyes looking off at some faint point in the distance. If he doesn't greet me this time, I'm going to make a scene. That's his only job, to greet me. Am I not good enough to receive a greeting? Do I need to peacock myself in order to deserve his fleeting attention? Is it not enough that I'm wearing this halter top and a multicolored beanie?

Walking, walking, walking ....



All right, Wal-Mart greeter, you're about to get a piece of my mind. Depending on your reaction to my angry tirade, we'll see if we need to get the manager involved. I don't want to have to do that--you're probably underpaid, even considering your job and your performance at said job--but I will do what I must. There's only so much disrespect one person---


That's what I need. I better go get them before I forget again. But I won't forget this, Wal-Mart Greeter.

I won't forget this.

22 April 2009

Ouija: Let The Right One In

If you grew up in my generation, you may well have been warned about the dangers of the Ouija board when you were young. You may have been told that attempting to contact the spirit world through this Parker Brothers game was simply asking for trouble. Even inviting the possibility of demonic possession. If you were anything like me, all of this warning of foreboding meant that you would not--could not--rest until you had purchased one and tried it yourself. After all, what would liven up your dull teenage life more than suddenly being possessed by the devil?

As I've mentioned before, I know I have a lot of elementary school readers. Pre-K, even (which is why I use only the most basic of words. Yes it is too.). I'm here to tell any of my younger readers, and even some of my older ones, DO NOT MESS WITH THE POWER OF THE OUIJA! This is serious, my friends. Here is my story. After reading it, you too will know that the Ouija board is not a joke. It is not cool. It is an instrument of evil, and by using it, you are endangering your very soul.

My friend Brian and I were fourteen and sitting Indian-style (that's criss-cross-applesauce to my younger readers) on the floor. Before us on the carpet was the freshly purchased Ouija. I was looking forward to asking it a whole host of questions. When will I die? When will Brian die? What was the name of that guy who played on Greatest American Hero? Keep in mind this was before the age of the Internet. After I explained once again that it wasn't pronounced "Oy-juh", Brian and I gave each other a hesitant look and then placed our fingers on the planchette.

I took a deep breath and uttered, "Spirit world, we have urgent business with you. If you are there, please respond with 'yes'."

We waited, deep in concentration. After a moment, the planchette began to move slowly towards the big "YES" at the top of the board. I looked at Brian, immediately suspicious.

"You moved it," I said.

"No way, man," Brian said. "I think we should put it away."

I looked back at the board, the planchette resting quietly on the big YES at the top. "Hmm, maybe you're right."

I started to put the board back in the box, and that's when it leaped out of my hands. It spun itself three times on the carpet and then laid itself flat again. The planchette jumped into the air, righted itself, and then began to make words entirely independent of us. We both cowered in the corner, but unable to turn away from the horror. We watched as the words began to spell out on the board.

G-E-T ... O-F-F ... M-Y ... L-A-W-N

"Holy shit, dude, we need to get out of here," Brian said.

"Hold on," I muttered, slowly moving back towards the board. I stopped in my tracks as the planchette began to move again.

Y-O-U ... S-T-O-L-E ... M-Y ... L-A-W-N-M-O-W-E-R

"Oh for Christ's sake," I said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. "Mrs. Opplestein? Is that you?"

"No...way..." Brian said, finally coming away from the corner.

Mrs. Opplestein was an old hag from next door. She was always accusing us of being on her lawn and stealing her lawnmower, as well as a host of other minor infractions, none of which we were guilty of. It would be stretching it to say we threw a party when we found out she had died, but we didn't exactly mourn, either. Of all the interesting spirits we might have contacted, it figured that we would tune into her old ass frequency.

"How did you die, Mrs. Opplestein?" Brian asked, barely able to keep the tremor out of his voice.

The board came alive once again.


Brian nodded solemnly. "So ... are you in Hell?"

The pointer slowly moved to the YES.

"What's that like?" I asked.

L-I-K-E ... L-I-V-I-N-G ... N-E-X-T-D-O-O-R ... T-O ... Y-O-U

"Sick burn," Brian said.

"Well, this sucks," I said. "Let's go see what whiskey and grape soda tastes like."

Brian agreed and we put the Oujia board away, feeling both triumphant and deflated over our brief contact with the world beyond. If only we had known then what we came to know later.

Strange things started happening.

Prunes found their way into my parents' grocery bags without them having picked them out.

The television would go to static intermittently, only to suddenly change over to Murder, She Wrote.

The family car started to smell like a mixture of Chanel No. 5 and urine

It was happening. I was being haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Opplestein.

Three exorcisms later, we finally got rid of the poltergeist, but not without some casualties. No, no one died (well, other than Mrs. Opplestein), but Brian was never the same again. I would catch him walking down the hall at school muttering something about "should have never taken that lawnmower".

Don't play with the Ouija board kids.

And don't mix whiskey with grape soda.

20 April 2009

The Best Baby Shower Gifts EVER!

So I've been invited to my friend Kristen's baby shower. For those not in the know, what I've been invited to has nothing at all to do with cleaning a baby, and everything to do with a bunch of girls getting together and playing games and giving presents to the expecting mother. I'm not sure why I've even been invited. I'm not a girl, and I've been getting suspicious...I dare say, annoyed...glares from some of the other shower attendees. This could be because I'm a guy getting ready to traipse all over a distinctly feminine tradition, or it could be because of what happened at Lanie's birthday party last November. I can't really go into that, but suffice to say it involved a weed wacker, four Twix bars, a baby dolphin, and two concussions.

The invitation I got informs me not only of the shower's time and place, but that the mother is registered at Target. I went to Target yesterday and asked to see their registration book. This apparently does not exist, but they did refer me to a computer where I could see all of the gifts Kristen wants her guests to buy for her. What? Wait a minute. You not only want me to come to your stupid party, but you also want me to buy you a gift, and not only that, you're telling me what gifts to buy? Hmm, okay, not doing it. If I'm buying presents for a baby (which is a retarded concept to begin with), then I'll be deciding what to buy.

I decided right away that I not only wouldn't buy from the registry, but I would buy gifts that would make the other girls at the shower green with envy. I would show them what happens when you invite a guy to a girl party. You get the goods.

Because I knew Target wouldn't have the kinds of lovely, thoughtful gifts I had in mind, I immediately left and came back home. If you can't find a decent baby gift online, then the baby doesn't need it. That's my motto. And sure enough, $300 later, I had enough baby presents to turn this baby shower into a full on baby Jacuzzi.

If you're reading this, Kristen, you may want to stop now, or you'll ruin the surprise...


Okay, I warned you. Here's what you're getting on Sunday!

Baby's First Book--10 Things That Fit Right In The Wall Socket!

Ride That Doberman! Baby Saddle.

Tobacco Flavored Pacifiers--with real nicotine!

Soul Eater Doll, now with backwards Hell-speak!

Broken Glass Crib Moat.

I think you'll agree that my gifts will make this baby shower one to remember!

17 April 2009

Larry Whitson Needs Work

[Note to readers: The Shark Tank is happy to give up some space today for a friend. Larry Whitson has been hit hard by the downturn in the economy. Normally this isn't a charity blog, but Larry is a good guy and he's willing to work for his dollar. The floor is yours, my friend.]

I appreciate being given the time to write directly to you fine people. I won't lie. It took a fair bit of pride swallowing to ask for this opportunity. Normally I wouldn't come to anyone, hat in hand, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And these are desperate times. You see, about a month ago, I was laid off. I've worked at the Speak n Spell factory in downtown Houston for about 25 years. I can't say it came as a shock. A bunch of us had a feeling something was going down, on account of the economy being so bad, and on account of us not having made a single Speak n Spell since 1990. But, of course, the real problem hit when Odamna got elected. That's right, you call him Obama, but I call him Odamna. Because O damn (a), what the hell happened to my job?

I had some savings. Not much. The wife...well she doesn't work. She's pretty well got her hands full with the 6 kids. Together, they've just about eaten through the savings (and then some). So, yeah, I'm in a bit of a pickle. The job market...christ, don't even get me going. Anyway, this is my last stop before heading out to the side of Highway 92 with a cardboard sign. I hope at least a few of you have a heart and I also hope you understand that I'm not asking for any handouts. Not in the least bit. I refuse to take so much as a single dollar without earning it. I want to be a man of service. A contributor to society, not a drain.

With that spirit in mind, I want to lay out some monetary figures. Don't get ruffled or step back with your hands in the air...these are just off the top of my head. I'm in a real jam here so trust me, these amounts are negotiable.

For $1: I'll write you a nice little poem and have my 3 year old son Tristan put his tiny little thumbprint on it.

For $15: I'll come out to your house and walk your dogs morning, noon, and night. Limit 3 dogs.

For $25: I'll come take your trash out. Every room in the house. I'll even do it for a moderately sized business, if you don't employ a janitor.

For $30: I'll come out and mow your lawn. Front, back, and sides.

For $37: I'll come out and mow your lawn. Front, back, and sides. I'll also eat the grass clippings and any yard varmints that get caught up in the mower.

For $49: I'll put on a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume and whistle the theme from Doogie Howser M.D. and then sleep under your bed for a month.

For $55: I'll paint a picture of Adolf Hitler riding a carousel at an amusement park.

For $76: I'll put a virus on your computer (PC only), remove it, and replace your current wallpaper with a picture of myself wearing a blue Best Buy shirt and no pants.

For $85: I will smoke the latest issue of US magazine.

For $101: I'll do a book report on Huckleberry Finn, written on Hello Kitty stationary.

For $125: I'll slap you so hard you'll see stars and possibly pass out for a few moments. Then I'll put my fingers in your ears.

Again, please note that these figures are merely meant as a starting point. If you'd like to negotiate, or if you have any other tasks or services that you require, please let me know. I am very open minded and very, very broke.

15 April 2009

Fold This!

I don't know what it's like now, but middle school/junior high for me seemed like an endless array of intricately folded paper.

First there were the notes. If passed from one to the other during class, a simple fold down the middle would typically suffice. However, if being saved to pass on at a later time, the amount of tricky folding the girls engaged in was beyond the level of most--if not all--amateur origamists. Many times I found it difficult to even open these masterworks, much less duplicate the system myself. You would be walking through the halls and all of a sudden this small triangle or square would be pressed into your hand, your name written in flowery scrawl across the front. These notes, by and large, had one purpose and one purpose only: to find out who you "liked". Sometimes the question would be direct. Sometimes it would be hinted. Sometimes it came with a convenient check box to minimize labor and conserve paper and was written to you straight from your admirer. (On a side note, what kind of a bastard did you have to be to just check "no" and give it back? Did anyone ever do that?) I remember trying to create some of these fold-a-thons, but it never worked out. After a while I gave up and just started balling up my notes and throwing them at their intended target.

Then, of course, there were the paper planes. Never figured those out either. I had friends who could have hired stewardesses and started full scale airlines with their paper jets. My feeble attempts nearly landed me in the special education classes.

The paper footballs. These could be found at each and every table in the lunchroom where sat two or more guys. Not only could I not make one of these, I was also terrible at the game itself. I was much more accomplished at the "pencil breaking" game, where one person holds a pencil horizontally between their fists, and the other person attempts to break it with another pencil. Was there strategy that involved removing the eraser and pressing the metal endpiece into a flat, sharp weapon? Yes, there was. If this is the first time you've heard of this game, you're probably thinking it's the most retarded thing you've ever heard of. You would be correct.

Finally, there were those paper games seemingly every girl in the country knew how to make. Internet research reveals they are sometimes called "Fortune Tellers" or "Cootie Catchers", but I don't remember anyone ever calling them either of those things. They were these little folded triangle contraptions that fit on your fingers, and the player would choose a color, then a number, then another number (or something, jesus, it's been a while, all right?) and then a tab would be lifted and some sort of something else would be said.

I never even tried to make one of those. One, it would have been impossible, and two, it didn't seem like the kind of achievement likely to improve my social life.

14 April 2009

An Open Letter to Myself, 10 Minutes Before Writing First "Open Letter" Post

Dear Past Shawn,

1 out of 4 bloggers are already doing the "Open Letter" gimmick. Please reconsider.

Future Shawn

P.S. Saturday's winning Lotto numbers are 12-19-26-39-41-49

13 April 2009

The Beautiful, Tragic Life of Mossman

The unexamined life is not worth living

They say that a man's life is but a collection of memories, to be treasured at a later time, and wholly misunderstood as they happen. If this is the case, then it is only in retrospect that we can appreciate not only our own lives, but the lives of others. If there are truly lessons to be learned in this life, those lessons will come not from the pages of a book or the images on a silver screen, but from examining the lives of brave men, of cowardly men, and of people who have lived and walked and dreamed. People like and unlike yourself. In that spirit, we present to you one such life. The life of Mossman.

The Early Years

Mossman hatched out of his plastic clamshell in Freehold, NJ in 1985. Not moments later, he was dropped on the floor by then 7-yr-old Billy Springer, thus acquiring the first piece of carpet lint on his otherwise green, pristine, mossy body. The young Springer rectified his mistake at once, retrieved Mossman from the lush carpeting, but failed to remove the lint from the upper right portion of Mossman's back. There it would stay for the next six months, until Springer's mom happened upon Mossman resting in the mop bucket underneath the kitchen sink. She took it upon herself to clean him and return him to the eclectic toybox which was his usual residence.

"That was the best time of my life," says Mossman, now 24 (equivalent to 147 in human years). "God, the times I had."

These times included fierce battles with Hordak, the evil overlord of the Netherrealm, as well as some shaky alliances with Yoda and a penguin named Burtok. Mossman found himself the victor more often than not, using his magical staff to lead his troops to their triumphs. However, it was the loss of that magical staff that ultimately led to a new chapter in Mossman's life.

The Great Emigration of 1989

Shortly after losing the Magical Staff of Magical Powers, Mossman found his life taking a decided turn for the worse.

"I didn't get called up as often for the really important missions," Mossman says. "I spent a lot of time in the toybox, becoming intimately familiar with some of One-Armed He-Man's more outlandish religious theories."

Mossman's decline in popularity culminated in late 1988, when he was extended a rare invite to join the newly formed TWF, or Toy Wrestling Federation. Having an extended background in hand-to-hand combat, Mossman thought the new career path would be his ticket out of the toybox and back into a productive life. He even had designs on the Federation's World Championship, held by Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Alas, it was not to be. Mossman found himself mired in a neverending feud with a minor character from the Smurfs, engaged in short but violent battles that typically opened the card, rather than being featured in the main event. During this time, his Mossy fur suffered more wear and tear than he would have liked, and dog hair began to accumulate on his body at an alarming rate.

The TWF folded after only six months. Shortly thereafter, Mossman was sold to a young Korean boy named Lin Kim for $3.50 at the Springer's annual yard sale.

"To me, it was an egregious breach of trust," Mossman says, unable to hide the bitterness that has festered inside for two decades. "A slap in the face."

Bill Springer, now an independent contractor for Direct TV, declined to be interviewed for this story.

The Lin Years

Though he felt betrayed, Mossman was determined to make the most out of this new opportunity. With a new owner in place, new figures surrounding him, he dreamed of spending more time out of the toybox and less time worrying that his prime years were being wasted in meaningless existential conversations.

Unfortunately, he describes his time in the Lin kingdom as the worst years of his life.

"Things weren't so bad at first," he admits. "There was no violence of any kind in this new kingdom, but I wasn't terribly disappointed. I had prided myself in developing my mind as well as my body, and looked forward to challenges that were not purely physical."

These challenges included extensive spelling bees and math decathlons with the Elite Squadron, a group of figures who were almost exclusively from the GI Joe universe. Mossman felt out of place from the very beginning. Not only was he twice as tall as his fellow academics, but he found himself disengaged from the endless practices. Still, nothing could have prepared him for what was to come.

"I knew she was bad news from the moment I laid eyes on her," Mossman says, staring wistfully into his own past. "I just didn't know how bad."

Mossman is speaking of Choi, Lin's 9 year old sister. Growing tired of waiting for Mossman to find his niche in the academic world, Lin traded Mossman to his sister for a Nintendo game called "Excitebike". Though Mossman had never been exposed to the female world in detail, he knew instinctively that he had no business in the pink-and-black land to which he was transported.

Gone, now, was any chance of reliving his past glory on the battlefield, or even retaining a modicum of dignity as a marathon speller. He was relegated to spending exactly three days on a windowsill, having the sun fade his mossy exterior, while waiting for some sort of horror to come out of Choi's dedicated time at the sewing machine. Though Mossman had often wished for a fine cloak or even a robe, the ruffled dress that he was forced to wear while in Choi's possession was not what he'd had in mind.

"I spent the next year and a half going on 'dates' with the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak," Mossman laments. "It was beyond humiliating. It was emasculating."

The Interim and The Present

When the Kim siblings grew too old for action figures, Mossman once again found himself up for sale. He was purchased by rabid toy collector Hank Garrison of Santa Barbara, California for the princely sum of $.49. Though Garrison was an appreciator of the art that was modern day toymaking, and had more than a passing interest in the mythology behind the various cartoons and backstories that came with each character, at 38, Garrison was long past staging battles or even academic challenges with his toys. Mossman thus found himself alternatively displayed or "put away" for the next 20 years.

"I wouldn't say he's the prize piece of my collection by any means," Garrison, now 55, says. "The years have not been terribly kind to him. He's lost most of his refreshing pine scent. And, of course, any toy out of its original packaging is not nearly as valuable. Still, he's a decent example of the mid-80's Mattel workmanship."

"All I do is wish for death," Mossman says before returning to his current home in a box in Garrison's attic. "Sweet, merciful Plant Lord, take me now."

12 April 2009

Easter On The Moon

Sometimes, I like to stand in the middle of an open field and stare up at the moon. Wonder what it would be like to go there. Sit on a moon rock and think quiet thoughts. Scream as loud as I could and marvel at the fact that no sound was coming out. Plant a little flag that said "United States of the Moon" and declare myself President of this new, Moonish country, of which I was the sole citizen.

Then I remember there are flesh eating roaches on the moon and they would kill me before I ever had the chance to do any of that.

Happy Easter, Earthlings.

10 April 2009

Greg Duberson's Easter Sale

[Even the Shark Tank has to pay the bills somehow, so for today's entry I'm turning the wheel over to Greg Duberson. Duberson is the "undisputed king of Easter and also every holiday" and is here to tell you about some of the wonderful products he's selling this year. Take it away, Greg!]

Greg Duberson's Easter Extravaganza!!

It's such an honor and a privelege that Shawn and The Shark Tank are letting me come here and tell you all about the great and COOL stuff I have to sell to you on this great Easter holiday! As you know, Easter is all about the coming of the Jesus and how he died for our SINS! But it's not the least bit of a sin for you to come out to my shop and take a look at some of the great Easter PRESENTS that will make your loved ones stand up and shout "The Easter Holiday is the best in the WORLD!"

No more talking about it! More Getting to the PROGRAM!


This card is RARE! I don't think it has anything to do with the real Jesus in the Bible but it sure would be a funny gift for someone in your family if they liked baseball and they also liked the Bible! One time I was at a baseball game on EASTER day and I bought a bag of peanuts from that guy who's always going around yelling about peanuts and beer. He threw the bag at me and I wasn't even looking. It hit me in the face! I started laughing but I really didn't think it was funny and later I tried to sue them but I didn't really know how to do that so nothing ever happened. $9.50.


I don't know if you go to church or not but if you don't then you should because you won't be saved if you just go around thinking mean thoughts and stealing mail from other people's mailboxes. Anyway, sometimes at church they have comunionn, which is where you drink some grape juice and eat a cracker. Now you can do this yourself or you can take it to church and save the church from having to use up so much of their own grape juice! $1.00


A lot of times people get eggs at Easter and they HIDE them around the yard or around the house. But then maybe the kids find the eggs and don't have any place to put them because eggs roll around and sometimes they get lost FOREVER! If you get this little egg home, your kids can put their eggs inside and then they wont loose them before its time to find the candy or paint them or whatveer! I had some real EGGS in the home before, but they started to smell really bad like when you poop so I had to get rid of them. The egg home still smells a little like that. $3.00.


I almost dont even want to sell this pack of rabbit JERKY because it's so delishhh! It says on the front of the package that its supposed to be just for dogs but I can tell you from my own opinion that you shouldn't even THINK about giving it to your dog. It's way too good for that! Also every time I talk about rabbit jerky or beef jerky I think about the JERKY BOYS! Remember them from back in the day? They were so funny when they would call people up and be like, "Ha, what's up, jerky!" $5.50

Well that's all I'm going to tell you about because if I keep showing you all the stuff I have you won't even have any surprises when you come out to see me! I didn't even tell you about the best thing because Shawn said that it might be illegal to put it up on the Internet. But it's not I'm pretty sure. It's just kinda weird. Anyway, the sale is open Saturday and Sunday, sun or rain! Just go back behind the Freevale Trailer Park in Ybor City, FL, and you'll see a van with the words "EASTER EASTER COME GET YOUR EASTER" on the side and that'll be me!

09 April 2009

Things Found In Our Easter Eggs

Easter is just around the corner, peering at us lasciviously when it thinks we aren't looking. So it goes with a holiday that is great for kids and those with kids, is great for those who are religious in nature, and means almost nothing for adults who don't go to church. Still, since the majority of the Shark Tank's readership is under the age of 11 (we promote heavily in area elementary schools), I decided it wouldn't be right to ignore the whole deal. So without further ado, the culmination of almost a half hour's worth of research:

08 April 2009

5 Entrecard Ads I Had To Reject

For those not in the know, Entrecard is a blogging network. It allows you an easy way to interact with other bloggers, find blogs that interest you, and earn credits that let you advertise on other blogs. Recently, Entrecard decided that they could make some money outta this deal by letting paid advertisers put their ads on member blogs. This caused a bit of an uproar in the community, and caused some concern. I can't say I cared too much one way or the other, particularly when it came to what types of advertising would suddenly show up on my widget (that's that little box on the side with the gold bar underneath it). I figured Entrecard would do a good enough job ferreting out the appropriate advertisements from the inappropriate. For the most part they have, but what follows are five ads I had to reject. As I don't like rejecting ads without giving a reason, I figured the least I could do was post them up today and explain to Entrecard and these paying advertisers why their ads didn't make the cut.

Reason for Rejection: I used this service for over two months with no results. I can't pass on scams to my readers, who expect the most out of their inter-family dating services.

Reason for Rejection: While the logo is nice to look at, I swear I've seen it somewhere before. This makes me wonder if these designs are truly original or if they've been copied from the Web.

Reason for Rejection: This blog's name is called "The Trigger". Not to give advice where it's unwanted, but you may want to rethink your design.

Reason for Rejection: It seems like a fine product, but I had to really question the first-person testimonials on the website.

Reason for Rejection: Was forced to reject on advice of legal counsel. Otherwise, would have given you a permanent slot.

06 April 2009

The Shark Tank's Guide to a Successful First Date

A first date, according to a study I read somewhere a few months ago, is one of the most stressful situations for a human being to put themselves in. Many have simply not mastered the fine art of mating. Well, I'm here to help. Follow these tips and you'll have a great first date and be on your way to the kind of relationship most people (most other people) can only dream about.

Early and often. This may go against your modest and polite nature, but you know what? Your polite and modest nature is going to leave you alone and desperate, drinking bacteria-infested water out of some creek in the middle of a Michigan forest.

Now some will complain, "But I don't have anything worth bragging about!" To this, I say "Nonsense!" Everyone can brag. Sit down and make a list of all your accomplishments, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential. Did you graduate college? There you go. Only high school? Brag about it! Less than high school? Let's find something else to talk about!

"I can beat Super Mario Bros. in less than eight minutes."

"I was voted MVP of my T-ball team."

"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard."

All of these make fine and decent brags, certain to impress your date and set the stage for a wonderful evening.

Tell an Uncomfortable Truth
Most people go out on a first date with the idea of "putting their best foot forward". Well, if you keep putting your best foot forward, you're going to wind up at a home for retired circus clowns, sucking down Jamaican ginger extract and slathering greasepaint on your old, wrinkled face. Not only is honesty the best policy on a first date, uncomfortably frank honesty will show your date you trust them and will engender a deeper connection. Some examples:

"I have an incurable foot fungus."

"Sometimes I poop in my cat's litter box."

"I have an unopened bottle of Crystal Pepsi I'm planning to drink when I lose my virginity."

Feel free to improvise with your own.

Forge a Bond
You might think it's impossible to forge a real bond on a first date. You might also find yourself sifting through camel dung in your later years, looking for something edible and moist as you make your way across the vast Arabian desert.

One of the easiest ways to make an instant connection is through the use of magic. Invite your date to think of a two-digit number between 1 and 50. When they have the number, do a little wave of your hand and guess, "37." Most of the time you'll be right, and your date will be utterly taken aback by the psychic connection you share. If the number was not 37, grumble, "Well, the trick only works with smart people." This will leave your date feeling ignorant and defenseless, possibly bringing them down to your league.

Gender Specific Advice
You're probably saying, "Come on, Shawn, isn't this enough? How am I going to remember all this?" You'll also probably be saying, "Hear ye, hear ye," as you accept a job as a town crier at Colonial Williamsburg just a few days shy of your 80th birthday, you sad, pathetic loser.

Guys: Flip a coin to see who pays for dinner. If you win, lucky you! If she wins, tough break, sucker.

Girls: Take off a shoe and place it on the dinner table just before dessert. Say, "I'll be your Cinderella."

Guys: Research one topic for a week straight before your date. You can then talk over your date's head for most of the meal, which will subconsciously remind her that, as a man, you are naturally smarter than her.

Girls: Spend at least 1/3 of the meal repeating the phrase, "I could have made all of this at home for much less money." Increase percentage to 1/2 if the dinner costs more than $100.

Guys: Place a condom in your wallet. "Accidentally" let her glimpse it when you pay the bill. If she's not looking, mention it directly.

Girls: Casually mention that you've had sex with so many guys this month that you're sure your AIDS test results are no longer valid. Guys like a sense of risk and adventure.

Getting a Second Date
Truthfully, I don't have a lot of experience in this area. Feel free to offer your own suggestions.

03 April 2009

My Girlfriend Is The Best

They say Valentine's Day is just a corporate holiday, built up by the greeting card industry, with very little to do with real love. That's why I wanted to take this time, far removed from the pressures of a commercialized holiday, to pay tribute to my girlfriend. She is the love of my life and, as you'll see, she's the greatest girl a guy could possibly wish for.

All right, so you don't believe me. You're sitting there, smugly thinking, yeah, this guy is full of it. No girl is this awesome. Well, allow me to retort. Here are just a few examples of why my girlfriend is beyond awesome.

Just last week I was looking through her dresser trying to find a pen. What do I see but a receipt from Frederick's of Hollywood for three items of lingerie. The receipt was dated for December, but I had yet to see any of the new lingerie! That's what I love about her. She has the greatest ability to buy something like that, and then wait for just the right time to show it off! It could be months down the road! She loves to surprise me!

Or wait, how about this. For the last five weekends, she's had to stay at a friend's house because of various apartment problems (spraying for termites, fire inspection, Daylight Savings Time, etc.). Unfortunately, her friend doesn't have a phone and my girlfriend's cell phone can't get reception in that area. And because this friend works in the CIA, I can't come visit her on these weekends. You would think that something like that would put undue stress on a relationship, but no! It doesn't because she is so thoughtful. She always remembers to send me a little smiley face text message on Friday afternoon, and then lets me come over and nap with her on Sundays when she's able to return home. The last part is really nice, because she always seem so tired after staying over at her friend's house. I guess the beds there are really stiff.

Pictured: Our unbreakable bond

Those are two of the big examples, but there's just so many I could name. How about when she bought me that new button down Ralph Lauren shirt? She didn't even tell me about it, I just found it hanging in her closet. She had even sprayed some cologne on it so it wouldn't have that weird out-of-the-store smell. Unfortunately it was way too big for me (I guess she's not the greatest judge of sizes), but it was the thought that counted.

Or the time I got so angry when I saw the last twenty calls on her phone were from some dude named Jason. But then I felt like a complete ass when she explained that Jason was a girl. She didn't even get mad at my outburst, or my ignorance that Jason could be a girl's name. It was like I was instantly forgiven. She's such an angel.

I guess it's kinda sappy to dedicate a whole blog post to my girlfriend, but that's just the sappy kind of guy I am. Anyway, I gotta run. Sometimes my girlfriend has to work until late (almost 3:00 A.M. some nights!), and I like to bring her breakfast the next morning. It's the least she deserves!

01 April 2009

The Greatest April Fool's Day Prank EVER

Today, on this, the first day of April, 2009, I would like to share with you the greatest April Fool's Day prank that has ever been played. Your foolmaster is me, and my exploits have been talked about from here to L.A. They have been rapped about by some of the world's premier hip hop artists. A painting of my greatest prank was rendered by a London artist whose name escapes me. Never mind!

I have been the mastermind of many April Fool's jokes over the years. I once convinced a friend of mine that he had been visited by aliens by making "crop circles" in the finish of his Honda with a can of paint stripper. LOLZ!

One time I replaced all the batteries in my family's open pack with dead batteries I had saved over the previous year. Wouldn't you know it, my brother needed a couple of batteries that very day! Oh, reader. You should have been there.

But I'm not here to talk about those pranks. Those pranks were merely sprinkles in the ocean compared to the joke I am about to share with you. The greatest April Fool's Prank of all time.

I was zero years old at the time. Lying in a hospital crib. The lights! They were bright beyond what you could possibly imagine. Particularly if you're blind. I don't know if you remember or not (I've found that most people do not recall their babyhood with as much accuracy as I recall mine), but being a baby is extraordinarily boring. You have little to do but lie around and think. But this can be productive, as it was for me on that fateful October night. It was then and there that I decided that I would play a little prank on my mom. Simultaneously, I would play a prank on someone else's mom.

When no one was looking, I rappelled out of my crib, crawled across the cold tiles of the floor, and climbed up into a crib that had been temporarily abandoned. Monstrously exhausted from this labor, I settled in to my new crib and fell promptly asleep, positively beaming from my own genius.

Well, as the hospital was understaffed, and most newborns look almost exactly alike, my plan went just as I'd hoped. I had baby switched myself! Neither mother was the wiser!

I was pretty pleased with the family I wound up with. They treated me well, bought me nice things. I even felt guilty once in a while when they referred to me as their first born. I wondered what my real mother and father were like. I sometimes thought about blowing the whole deal wide open, so great was my curiosity. But I remained steadfast. To blow it early would ruin the joke.

Finally, on the April Fool's Day following my 18th birthday, I let it fly. "I'm not your real son!" I exclaimed, barely able to control my laughter. "I babyswitched myself when I was zero!"

I won't lie to you, dear reader. I had some trepidation going into my revelation. I knew my parents' reaction could be bad. They had a sense of humor, but it wasn't always quite in line with my sense of humor. But, to my welcome surprise, they laughed right along with me.

"Great joke," my dad admitted, holding out his hand. I shook it with pride. "One for the history books."

My mom nodded in agreement.

"Just one thing," my dad continued, stepping back.

I sat down on the couch to bask in my own prankful glory. "What's that, 'dad'?"

"Well, you see," he said. "We knew you tried to babyswitch yourself that night. As a matter of fact, we were watching through the glass as you did it."

"Yeah, right," I said, but my smile began to falter.

"Yep," he said. "The joke is on you, I'm afraid. All this time. We are your real parents."

BAM! If I had been standing, I would have fallen down. What a twist ending. In that moment, I had to tip my hat to them.

They pulled off the greatest April Fool's Joke of all time. Kudos, Mom and Dad!