Wednesday, May 29, 2013

El Paso! Part Two!

Don Draper, an advertising executive for the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, once told me, “If you want to sell someone something, it helps to be as good-looking as I am.”
     I bring this up because of all the recent criticism over my “El Paso! (Insert Slogan HERE!)” column from Monday of last week (5-19-13). 
     “How DARE you take credit for our city’s slogan du jour!” said one.
     “How DARE you besmirch the reputation of the people involved!” said another.
     “How DARE you be so good-looking!” was the general consensus. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, besides, I don’t know what the word “besmirch” even means.
     I’ll leave it to Chris Lopez, my old friend and former editor of the El Paso Times newspaper, to put things in perspective: “Who are you and why do you keep sending me these stories about El Paso? Security!
     Okay, maybe I should have left that out, but my point remains that as far as new advertising slogans  for our city go, “El Paso. It’s all good,” is certainly another one.
     I’ve given great thought about how to properly sell our fair city to people looking to move, tourists looking to travel, and businesses looking to relocate, and I’ve also written at great length about just how to accomplish this goal. These writings were so impressive, I had no choice but to award myself the Legend Award for Achievements in Self-Promotion. The same award Reverend Wright, President Obama’s pastor and mentor for the last thirty years, awarded himself.
     In fact, one of those fictitious humor columns was even published in the local newspaper. This was one or two years back, and I’m still waiting for my check. The column dealt with the concept of using guilt to sell El Paso to the rest of the world.
Come To El Paso! Or You’ll Make Your Mother Cry!
     Unfortunately, that fictitious humor column was later determined to be, ahem, fictitious, and I was given Double-Secret Probation and banned from ever being published again in the newspaper. The last time I received a Double-Secret Probation, I was in the Delta Tau Chi fraternity in Faber College in the 60’s.
     Personally, I think it was Robert Moore, the current editor of the newspaper, who was behind this sordid chapter in my sordid life, and all because I told him he was my least-favorite James Bond.
     “That’s Roger Moore!” he clarifyingly clarified. "Security!"
     But I digress…
     My first thought about selling El Paso was to keep it simple. The city’s name, followed by a clever slogan, and with a few exclamation points thrown in to make it sound more exciting than it actually is.
El Paso! When You’ve Got Nothing Better To Do!
     I felt that our advertising slogan could be a living document, constantly changing and growing and evolving to accommodate the facts, like Obama’s explanation of what happened in Benghazi.
     (“Ben who?”)
     These slogans could be used to fight all these negative lists we seem to constantly find ourselves at the top of, like, for example, Fattest City,
El Paso! We’re Not Fat, We’re Big-Boned!
     Or to put a positive spin on a local problem that’s made national news, like the drug war just across the border in Juarez, Mexico.
El Paso! You’ll Never Feel More Alive Than When You’re Being Shot At By Mexican Drug Lords!
     I also felt that there’s nothing wrong with lying to someone to get something you want. If it weren’t for lies, I wouldn’t have gotten lucky half as often as I did, if you get my drift. The law, however, looks unkindly on blatantly lying to the public (unless you’re in politics, that is), so you have to talk your way around the lie, in a sort of verbal gymnastics along the quality of Olympic Gold Medal winning Gabby I-Don’t-Remember-What-Her-Last-Name-Is.
Who Killed Kennedy? Find Out In El Paso!
Come See Where Kennedy Was Shot! El Paso!
     First off, I hope you see what a masterful innovation I made to my original sales pitch by putting our city’s name at the end of the slogan, all the while keeping the hugely popular exclamation points. Secondly, I’m not actually saying you’ll accomplish either of those two goals if you visit El Paso. What I’m saying is, hey, we have books, and in those books you can read that it was Oswald who shot President Kennedy, and see pictures of the book suppository where he shot him from.
     You can also talk your way around a lie by making a claim that can neither be proved nor disproved.
El Paso! The Paris Of The Southwest!
El Paso! Heaven By The Rio Grande
     A personal opinion goes a long way toward stretching the truth.
     People, for the most part, like to be told what to do. After a night of heavy drinking, I’ve found that I only need to get into a stranger’s car when it’s stopped at a red light, and, if that stranger is a female, she’ll be more than happy to take me home when I tell her to.
Where Are The Friendliest, Most Helpful People? In El Paso!
     Knowing that people will respond to an order led me to come up with my “Come To El Paso!” series of slogans.
Come To El Paso! Don’t Make Me Get The Belt!
Come To El Paso! Where Prices Are Cheap, And So Are The Women!
     That third slogan is the one that got me in trouble with Ms. Lingus, president of NOW, the Natural Organization of Women. It was the final straw for Connie, who broke off our seriously frivolous relationship and swore to never see me again, unless she was drunk and in the mood for a late-night booty-call.
     From those late-night calls I learned that a little begging never hurt nobody, so I came up with my “Why Not El Paso?” slogan (To get the full effect of the slogan, try saying “Why Not El Paso?” in a high-pitched, whiny voice. You can first try practicing with the phrase: "That's Roger Moore!").
You’ve Got The Money! Why Not El Paso?
You’ve Gotta Go Somewhere! Why Not El Paso?
     To wrap this up, if you were to ask me which slogan, of all the ones I’ve written, was my personal favorite, I’d have to admit that it’s the one that was inspired by something my bookie, Frankie “Three-Fingers,” once told me:
El Paso! We Know Where You Live!
     And I'm not just saying that because he has a gun pointed to my head.
American Chimpanzee

Friday, May 24, 2013

Your Horoscope

Today's Birthday:
This year will prove to be a very prosperous one for you, unless it isn't.

(March 21-April 19):
You might begin the day feeling sluggish, but don't worry, things will soon turn around, and you'll find you have the energy to accomplish everything on your To-Do List. Then again, why bother?

(April 20-May 20):
That big project you have brewing in the back of your mind, THIS is the day to do it. But I could be wrong.

(May 21-June 20):
The stars say NOW'S the time for you to put your plan in action! Or you could just stay in bed and sleep.

(June 21-July 22):
Your persistence finally pays off at your job, and today's the day all your hard work gets acknowledged and rewarded. For your boss, that is, since he took all the credit.

(July 23-August 22):
You'll want to understand your wife before you respond to her. When will that be? When pigs fly.

(August 23-September 22):
You may feel confident, but deep down you're still just an insecure little baby making poopoo in your pants. Still, things will work out. For everybody but you.

(September 23-October 22):
That person you've had your eye on? It's time to make your move. But it doesn't look good.

(October 23-November 21):
You finally will feel ready to make that important decision you've been putting off. But it'll be too late.

(November 22-December 21):
Take a break from all the activity. You will be happiest when you're working by yourself in the handling of an important issue. Because nobody likes you.

(December 22-January 19):
You might want to rethink a decision involving a long-term goal. But no matter what you decision you make, it'll still be the wrong one.

(January 20-February 18):
Your spouse will come up with a solution to your marital problems. It's called d-i-v-o-r-c-e.

(February 19-March 20):
Your ability to empathize with others emerges. Yeah, empathizing with others sure does stink, doesn't it?

Take a friend out for dinner. Be sure to skip out before the check comes.

American Chimpanzee

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear John (5-22-13)

Hard Core Advice From
Hard Core's Hardest Core... John Leslie

Dear John,
     Do you have any ticks for keeping ants and bugs away from an outdoor picnic? How about keeping bugs away from a BBQ? Thanks!

Dear Hungry,
     Invite Ron Jeremy. Unfortunately, he'll also keep away your guests.

Dear John,
     Do you have a go-to dessert to serve at outdoor parties? Maybe something that doesn't melt in the heat?

Dear Hot,
     In my business we call it The Popsicle That Doesn't Melt.

Dear John,
     With a small outdoor party, how important is a seating arrangement versus an open seating plan? Do guests want to have a proper seat?

Dear Unsure,
     I generally let my guests sit on whomever they want.

Dear John,
     Is there a theme party in existence that isn't cheesy? Do you personally ever throw them? Do you have an idea for a theme that might actually be... classy? Or at least not cheesy?

Dear Cheesy,
     No, so be sure to have plenty of alcohol. With enough booze, even Ron Jeremy looks classy.

Dear John,
     My friends and I are hosting a pink-themed party in June. We want the cocktails to be pink, as well. Do you have any recipes for light, refreshing summer cocktails that are pink in color?

Dear Bob,
     I do, but this is a family humor blog.

Dear John,
     What's the most ladylike way to eat watermelon?
     --Missy Manners

Dear Missy,
     You might try asking Ginger Lynn that, although her personal expertise is with a differently shaped fruit.

Dear John,
     Do you use evite or paperless post for your invitations?
     --In A Quandary

Dear Quandary,
     I just leave my front door open and hope for the best.

The Aw, Nuts! Humor Blog

Monday, May 20, 2013

El Paso! (Insert Slogan HERE!)

Well, El Paso has a new slogan.
     After weeks of teasing billboards (er... I mean, billboards teasing us, not us teasing them), it was revealed that the two words, "" was actually a tease for the slogan, "El Paso. It's all good."
     I hate to bring this up. but it sounds an awful lot like a slogan I came up with four years ago (See My El Paso [Parts One, Two, and Three], posted way back in 6-22-11 and 6-19-11.)
El Paso! (Insert Slogan Here!)
     The only difference being, where they put a period at the end of the words "El Paso," I put an exclamation point, and, let me tell you, that little exclamation point makes all the difference in the world. It takes El Paso from being a ho-hum destination, to a place where the movers and shakers congregate to do whatever it is that movers and shakers do. I'm guessing what they do looks an awful lot like Pys's dancing in Gangnam Style.
     I sent hard copies to then-editor Chris Lopez of the El Paso Times. We had a friendly correspondence going on that consisted of me sending him my humor columns, and him ignoring them... but I'm not one who holds grudges. I'll leave that to my angry gaggle of ex-wives I don't know why they're so mad. I was always a good husband. I was even good to my in-laws. I think the following lyric from a country song says it best:
Ain't I always good to your sister?
Don't I take her driving every night?
So put another log on the fire,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.
     But to get back to my main point, I can think of no other city I'd rather have my ideas stolen by. I'll leave it at that, because I don't want to be sued for Defecation of Character.
     Along with the billboards and new slogan, there's also a game to find out who the city's most loyal ambassador is. Oh, goody... I like games.
     McMann & Tate, the advertising agency in charge of this new advertising strategy for our fair city, held a news conference at the El Paso convention center to reveal their original work of genius.
     "This is a positive phrase," Darrin Stevens--v.p., s.d., and l.m.n.o.p.--told the audience. "Unlike our last slogan: El Paso... Better Than A Poke In The Eye With A Sharp Stick. I don't know what we were thinking when we came up with that one. Our new slogan is like when your buddy asks, 'How's it going?' And you say, 'Hey, man... it's all good.' And he says, 'What the heck does that mean? That doesn't even make sense.' And you say, 'I heard it on a Bob Dylan CD. The one he released before he released Tempest. I thought it sounded like a pretty cool thing to say.' And he says, 'Bob Dylan's like a hundred years-old! You're taking lessons in being cool from some guy who served in the Civil War?' And you don't know what to say to that, so you start dancing like Psy from Gangnam Style. It's something like that."
     All told, the four billboards emblazoned with the words, "" emptied out El Paso taxpayer's wallets to the tune of about $14,000, maybe more. The maybe more I'm talking about is the additional fundage necessary for the movers and shakers to "fari vagnari a pizzu," if you get my drift.
     Darrin Stevens also said that El Pasoans, like Jesus' apostles, are encouraged to "go out and spread the good news" about El Paso. In other words, they expect us to do their advertising for them.
     "It's a way for other people to do the work, while we're the ones who get paid," Larry Tate, also from McMann & Tate, said as he twirled one end of his mustache between his thumb and forefinger. "Heh, heh, heh."
     But what about the game that everybody can play? Well, as it turns out several people were already "entered" even before the news conference had even started. However,  Mr. Tate personally assured me that it was "merely a coincidence that they're related to me." He then quickly changed the subject and told me that the campaign is about "building confidence in El Pasoans. If you don't believe in yourself, then you can't expect anyone else to believe in you. Because, as we all know, in addition to being fat, ugly, and sweaty, El Pasoans also suffer from low self-esteem, scabies, and the heartbreak of psoriasis."
     At that time, Darrin Stevens cut in to point out that more than forty representatives from different El Paso organizations are working on the campaign.
     "Why," he said, "we have seven people alone in charge of the word it's, and three of those people are there to keep an eye on the apostrophe. He's a tricky little bugger."
     "Isn't that an awful lot of people for what seems like a simple bit of advertising?" I asked him.
     "What do you mean?" he asked me back.
     "I mean, jeez, forty people. Isn't that expensive?"
     "What do you mean?"
     "Where are you going to get the money?"
     ""We'll just raise taxes," he said.
     And then he started dancing like Psy in Gangnam Style.
American Chimpanzee

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dear John (5-17-13)

Hard Core Advice From
Hard Core's Hardest Core... John Leslie
Dear John,
     I have been married to "Dennis" for eight years. Early on, Dennis couldn't do enough for me.
     Now, if my car won't start, he yells at me and says to call a tow truck. If I asked to spend time with me, always has other things to do.
     On the rare occasion when we attend a social event together, he abandons me so he can "work the room" and have a great time with everyone else. We arrive together and leave together, and the rest of the time, I sit alone. Miserable and forgotten.
     Dennis will go above beyond for others. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night, raining, snowing, spending money we don't have, missing meals, birthdays, holidays, and our daughter's school programs. If it's a chance to make himself look good, he's there with a smile and compassion. I get the repairman to take care of me with a handshake and a bill. If I ask him to treat his family with the same enthusiasm, he calls me a selfish nag.
     Yes, I resent all the people he helps, because they get the side of my husband that belongs to me. I'm told to take care of myself, because he's too busy helping others and inflating his ego. I get whatever's left over.
     I love Dennis, but I'm starting to feel that he only gave me his adoration and helpfulness because he was trying to win my heart.
     What can I do to win him back?
Dear Desperate,
     You could lose weight.
Dear John,
     I am an adopted 18 year-old and an only child. I would like to get in touch with my biological family. From what my adopted mom tells me, I have an older brother. I was also told that my parents tried to find my biological father, but out of the five names listed on the adoption papers, none of them matched.
     Is there any way to contact my family?
Dear Desperate,
     Pretend I'M your father.
     Come to papa.
Dear John,
     I'm 26 years-old, happily married, and have a beautiful 2 year-old daughter.
     My oldest brother is an alcoholic. He was in a terrible auto accident last year and nearly died. I don't want to enable him by continuing to welcome him into my life.
     I've tried to explain this to my parents and my sister, but my words fall on deaf ears. Last month, my brother and I got into an argument at my parent's house, because he is jealous that I have a better relationship with his children than he does. It ended with me telling him, "Stay out of my life!"
     Now I'm the black sheep of the family, while the others still welcome my alcoholic brother with open arms. I'm all alone now. Where can I go? What can I do?
Dear Desperate,
     You need to walk away... and over to the nearest bar. Let me tell you what your brother already knows: Drinking Solves EVERYTHING!
Dear John,
     I am a 44 year-old guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. I met "Lisa" two years ago. I was just divorced, and Lisa was in terrible shape. Her mother had just died, and, shortly after that, she lost her fiancé in a traffic accident. Then she moved back home to take care of her ailing father.
     It was love at first sight for me, but Lisa never full grieved over her fiancé. She told me he was her "soul mate," and that she would never love another man the way she loved him. I told her I have all the patience in the world, and would be there for her through her grief and sorrow.
     I knew she needed to deal with this in her own way, which included getting his name tattooed on her back in a kind of "tramp stamp" memorial. Again, I was patient and understanding. She even calls me by his name in our intimate moments. I told her I understood.
     Lisa's family began inviting me to their home, but her family had been exceptionally close to her fiancé, and began posting things on Facebook to remind Lisa of him. It finally reached the point where I had to say something, and I talked to a friend of Lisa's cousin. I said posting such things keeps the fiancé's memory fresh in Lisa's mind, which doesn't help her heal. I asked the friend of Lisa's cousin to please get the family to stop doing this. He told me, "Dude, I don't even know you."
     Well, my request got back to Lisa, who became hostile and negative toward me. She broke things off. I love Lisa with every ounce of my being.
     Was I wrong to speak up?
Dear Desperate,
     You make me sick.
American Chimpanzee

Monday, May 13, 2013

20 Signs Your Divorce Lawyer Isn't Working Out

1) When you ask him which law school he went to, he tells you, "Law school, schmaw school."
2) When you show him a picture of your wife, he asks to borrow it, and then spends the next half hour in the bathroom with it.
3) He picks the jury using "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo."
4) He keeps updating his Facebook during the trial.
5) He really believes Elvis is still alive.
6) Every time your wife walks into the courtroom, he goes, "Man, I'd sure like some of that."
7) He keeps borrowing five bucks from you "for lunch."
8) That white powder under his nose? Well, it's not from eating a powdered donut.
9) You look over at the legal pad he keeps writing on, and it's a drawing of your wife.
10) He confides in you, "Man, I sure hope the judge doesn't remember I slept with his wife.
11) Bad News: He has nine different personalities.  Good News: One of them thinks you're cute...
12) ...and keeps playing "footsies" with you under the table.
13) He keeps asking you to set him up with your wife.
14) His mother is in the courtroom to cheer her baby on.
15) He hides behind you whenever he sees a cop.
16) He keeps throwing fingers at the judge.
17) He tells you to wake him up "if something important happens."
18) He can't explain the blood on his hands.
19) He has to leave court early, because "I have a hot date."
20) He shows up to court with lipstick on his collar. Your wife's!
American Chimpanzee

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Town Of Desperadoes (Part Two)

I find it interesting, and more than a little amusing, that whenever I refer to El Paso's Mayor John Cook as El Paso's first honorary gay mayor, I get a ton of mail that usually begins, "I'm not gay, but..." and then they go on to say how offended they are that I would insult the mayor with such a derogatory reference. (Interestingly enough, I don't receive the same kind of response from the gay community. They're too busy with other concerns... like being gay. [I've always thought that it would be nice to be bi-sexual. That way I'd have twice the chance of finding a date for Saturday night. But I digress...])
     Obviously, the people who write me are unaware of the vote that went on at one of the local Downtown gay bars, but, more than that, if you're offended by the term "honorary gay mayor," then you must find the term "gay" pejorative, and the act of being gay offensive.
     I think these responses are an interesting window into the content of these people's character and gives us a glimpse into what's really in their hearts, because if I refer to someone as a good athlete, I don't get grief from people offended that I'm insulting that person's intellect.
     I remember one time at work, a customer came in asking for a co-worker of mine who happens to be black (I don't say African-American, because the actress Charlize Theron is an African-American, and she's whiter than Michael Jackson.). My co-worker happens to do a particular job, so when the customer asked for him I knew exactly who he was asking for.
     "Is the other guy here?"
     "What other guy?"
     "The other guy who works here."
     "There's a lot of guys who work here."
     "He's about this tall," he said, lifting his hand to just a few inches shy of my height."
     "That doesn't narrow it down."
     "I don't remember his name."
     "That doesn't help."
     "He's always wearing jeans."
     "That describes most of us."
     "Um... ah..."
     It went on like this for a few minutes. He went on using every adjective to describe my friend except the most obvious one: he was black. Like I said, I knew who he was asking for, but I refused to let him off the hook because it was more fun to watch him squirm and do his verbal acrobatics.
     When did it become an insult to state the obvious? I, myself, am a Hispanic who enjoys eating tacos, rice, and beans, so if a white man was to say that Hispanics like Mexican food, why would I be offended by that? As far as my life experience has been, that's exactly true, although I would put it this way: Hispanics like good food, and Mexican food is good food.
     There are no stereotypes of Jewish or Asian men dominating the NBA, because that would be laughable. Is it better to lie, and be politically correct, or to tell the truth? The truth may be uncomfortable, but it's still the truth. For example...
     Who are the main people complaining about the name of the Cleveland Indians? White people! Native-Americans are too busy being screwed by the United States government, than to worry about what a baseball team's mascot is.
     I remember a road trip I took to the Navajo nation (a story you'll eventually find at my other blog, Raising My Father--My life after my 94 year-old father moves in with me). Two things in particular stick out in my mind. One is the little old Indian lady I saw selling jewelry by the side of the road. I stopped, looked at what she had. It was nothing I wanted, but it was pretty cheap. I tried to talk with her, but she wasn't the talkative type, so I left without buying anything. I stopped at a hole-in-the-wall to grab a bite to eat, and as I sat there ordering a piece of pie for dessert, I thought about that old lady. My well-fed conscience was bugging me. I should have bought something. A few bucks from my wallet would mean more to her than it would to me. When I finished, I went back to where that old lady was, but she had already packed up and left. It taught me something: If you have an opportunity to do a good deed, do it. Good intentions are nice, but they don't feed an empty belly.
     The second thing that stands out in my memory is my talking with a young Indian man who was also selling knick-knacks by the road. He was in his twenties, and was more talkative than the old lady, although that's not saying much.
     "Do you mind being called an Indian?" I asked. I was always curious about that.
     "Buy something, and you can call me whatever you want," he answered, bluntly. He may have had the time, but he didn't have the desire to put up with any crap from me.
     I didn't let opportunity pass me by a second time, so I bought something, and he tolerated me standing there talking with him for a little longer. I found out that Indians were the ward of the United States government, and they're not able to own the land they live on. If, for whatever reason, the government wants them to move, they move. They have no say in the matter. Wal-Mart tried to open a store there once, but was unable to negotiate any kind of long-term lease that would have made such an investment financially worthwhile. That's why you only see rinky-dink stores on an Indian reservation, and not much else. Who's going to invest when the government can take it all away from you at any time?
     "That's funny," I told him, "because I was always under the impression that the government was very generous with you."
     "If the government was so generous with us, do you think I'd be out here selling these knick-knacks?"
     Point well-taken, my friend.
     And, speaking of points, let me get back to my original one:
     "El Paso's first gay mayor." If you find that phrase offensive, I recommend that you look into your own heart, my friend, but be careful...
     You might find your true self there.

American Chimpanzee

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Town Of Desperadoes (Part One)

Not since the Civil War have conflicting beliefs torn families and friendships apart, pitting brother against brother in battle.
     "Should the slaves be freed?"
     "Can the states secede from the Union?"
     "Will El Paso have Triple-A baseball?"
     The answer, my fellow El Pasoans, is YES! Well, except for that second question there.
     Hearts were broken, voters were ignored, and a perfectly good City Hall building was torn down, but the movers and shakers of our fine city got their way and were successful in bringing to our town a sport that nobody wanted.
     I don't blame the powers-that-be for ignoring the voters of El Paso. There's a guy I work with who claims that aliens abduct him every Friday and Saturday night (at least that's what he tells his wife), and HE votes. Every election. But now, El Pasoans will finally have a chance to have their voices heard. We will finally be able to vote... for the name of the Triple-A baseball team. Thank you, powers-that-be. Thank you for being so good to us.
     "We want all El Pasoans to vote," the team owners said, "so they feel like they have a voice. And then we'll just do what we want like we always do. You know, like our City Council."
     They were of course referring to El Paso's first honorary gay Mayor, who, along with the City Council, overturned the voter's will by giving city benefits to non-married straight and gay couples. Personally, I think the brave thing to have done would have been to first legalize gay marriage, and then granting them benefits.
     You see, I'm for granting non-married couples benefits, because if I had to pay for my vieja's health insurance, I wouldn't be able to afford my iPhone.
     As for gay marriage, I'm for that, too. I see gay marriage as a boon to the economy. Can you imagine how much money they'll spend on their weddings alone? My daughter's wedding dress--a dress, I might remind you, that she'll only wear once--cost me fifty THOUSAND dollars. Can you imagine having to buy two of those suckers? On a national level, it would be a way to increase tax revenue without raising taxes. How? you might ask. Well, by the time those married gay couples find out there's an IRS marriage penalty, it'll be too late.
     Be careful what you wish for, my friends. Be careful what you wish for.
     I have a few suggestions for the name of our new baseball team. Inspiration comes in many forms. From a muse, from a light bulb going off above your head, and sometimes from the front page of the El Paso Times. Mine comes from an empty wallet.
     "What'll I win?"
     "That's right."
     "How about a free parking space if I win?"
     "The new hundred million dollar stadium isn't going to have any parking."
     "Where will the baseball fans park?"
     "That's their problem."
     At first I thought about names like The Yellow Jackets, The Black Widows, The Red Robins, The Buster Browns, but then I was told names that had a color in them that match the skin pigment of a particular race was racist, and would be immediately take off the Associated Press list of words that won't be used.
     The Republicans? Even though we're a city that votes blue in a red state, I thought we might be able to convince the party in power in Austin to send us more money by naming our baseball team after them.
     Maybe we could call the team The Bad Choices. Even when we get the party right, we still back the losing candidate. Like when we supported Hilary Clinton in her bid for a presidency that Barack Obama eventually won.
     The Ostriches? Every election* El Paso voters bury their heads in the sand and vote the usual suspects back into office. Same people, same problems. Maybe, along the same line, we could name the team The Alzheimers. Our motto could be: "We NEVER remember. We ALWAYS forget."
     The Red-Headed Step-Childs. Because that's the way we're treated by the rest of Texas.
     The Bridesmaids. As in, we're "always a bridesmaid, never a bride."
     We could call the team The Blind Dates or The Nice Personalities, because every time we turn around our fair city always seems to be voted fattest this, ugliest that, or sweatiest the other.
     The Sand Surfers? We can use the name of our baseball team to trick tourists into thinking we're by a beach near an ocean. "Just Add Water," can be our motto.
     The Terminators? This name is inspired by our City Council's ability to terminate votes and enact whatever legislation they want without fear of their own positions being terminated.
     The Gauchos? I'm partial to this one only because I like the border saying, "Que gaucho."
     The Chaps? That should attract baseball fans from San Francisco.
     The Unwanted. Because that's what El Paso is. Unwanted. By Texas. By New Mexico. We're only wanted by the United Sates because they think we're part of Mexico.
     I think the best name for El Paso's new Triple-A baseball team should be The Desperadoes. Not because I can make a joke about it, but because I think it's a good description of El Paso and El Pasoans. We're a town of desperadoes, of outlaws. We do things our own way, even if it means we get a baseball team we don't want. We complain that there's nothing to do here, and then don't support something when it does show up.
     We love this town, but it's a dysfunctional kind of love.
     But it's love, nonetheless.

American Chimpanzee
*Speaking of elections, I'm constantly asked what's happened to my campaign for El Paso Mayor.
Well, my friends, I'm still in the fund raising stage of my campaign. Trust me, when election day gets close enough, you're going to see me run for it faster than Monica Lewinski running after a donut rolling downhill.
What? What do you mean the election's today? TODAY?
Man, what am I going to do with all that money I raised?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dear John: Special Even-The-Bible-Says Edition!

Hard Core Advice From
Hard Core's Hardest Core...
John Leslie!

Dear John,
     I am a 31 year-old Jewish-American woman who has been studying veterinary medicine and working in London for the past several years. I am ready to settle down and start a family. I recently ended a casual relationship with a man I desperately loved, but who wasn't ready to commit.
     Enter David, a tall, blue-eyed Jewish doctor I would be proud to introduce to my family (the antithesis of the dark, hipster man I still think about). David is sweet and kind and everything I could ask for... on paper. We are a couple of months into our relationship, and he wants to meet my mom, but I'm scared my family will love him so much I will be pressured into marrying him.
     Here's my problem: He's bald!
     When we have sex, it just sometimes feels like I'm with an infant or grandpa, and I get weirded out. I have never imagined being with a bald man for the rest of my life. I'd also like him to work out more than what he does, because I'm a workout junkie.
     These are all superficial things, I know, but isn't passion and attraction an essential ingredient to a happy relationship? How do I improve a man without demoralizing his ego? How do I get past the baldness without resorting to asking him to wear a hat?

Dear Princess,
You're Jewish?

Dear John,
     My 17 year-old daughter, "Kylie," has had behavioral problems since she was 14. I am a single mother, I work full time, and also have two sons, one of whom lives with his dad.
     Kylie was in a hospital for three months for various evaluations, and she recently lived in a residential home. She was released in October, on the condition that she follow the house rules, obey curfew, finish high school, and start looking at colleges. Well, she broke the parole conditions constantly. During this time, we had a family counseling, and an individual clinician saw Kylie. They offered to help with resumes, job applications, and social activities.
     In December, Kylie met a 24 year-old man and ran off with him. This young man was discharged from the military because of psychiatric issues.
     This scares me to no end. Kylie is now considered a missing person, although she's been in contact with me via text, and telling me to leave her alone, and to "send money." There is a warrant out to take them into custody. Since then, my home has been robbed of clothing, food, and jewelry. I am sick over this.
     Kylie will be 18 in two weeks. She has no remorse. Meanwhile, I'm a mess. I'm desperate to see her.

Dear Help,
If you want to see your daughter, just rent my latest XXX classic Electric Donkey Bottom Biter.

Dear John,
     I have been dating my girlfriend for three years, and I am mostly sure that this is the woman I will marry... except for on thing: Her cat.
     The only time we have any real disagreement, it's about our cat. She thinks it is just fine to kiss it right on the nose or on the mouth, repeatedly. She basically kisses it and makes an "om nom nom" noise while doing so. I think it's gross. She thinks it's funny.
     I honestly feel ill when she does this, and can't stand the thought of kissing her afterward, unless she washes up and brushes her teeth first. She thinks this makes me a wuss, and yet, I can't help the ick! factor.
     She has begun to wonder why we aren't engaged yet, and while it is quite true that I don't want to deal with wedding plans until I am done with grad school, the true reason is I can't decide if this is a deal-breaker, or if I'm being overly squeamish. So, please tell me, am I over-reacting, or is she just being gross?

Dear Disgusted,
Using a synonym for the word "cat," I could make a joke about "kissing the kitty,"  but that would be beneath me.

Confidential To Crazy:
I feel that both gay marriage AND marijuana should be legalized.
Even the Bible says, "If two men should lay together, they must be stoned."

American Chimpanzee

Monday, May 6, 2013

20 Signs Your Marriage Isn't Working Out

1) You've been happily married for five years. She's only been happily married for two.
2) President Obama didn't offer the furloughed air traffic controllers money to get back to work, he   offered them your wife.
3) Your "His" and "Hers" towels now say "I'm With Stupid."
4) She reports you to the police for tearing off the "Under Penalty of Law/Do Not Remove" tag from  your mattress.
5) She taped over your wedding video with Ron Jeremy's greatest hits.
6) She goes outside "for a smoke," and comes back smelling like your best friend's cologne.
7) She tells you, "Why can't you be more like your dad?" while you're at your dad's funeral.
8) She assures you that auto-erotic asphyxiation is a perfectly safe alternative to a healthy sex life.
9) If you fall asleep in the car on the trip home, she's nice enough to let you sleep. In the garage. With the car still running.
10) She always tells people, "My first husband died," and you're her first husband.
11) When you ask her, "Honey, if I were to die, would you ever re-marry?" she says, "Why don't we find out?"
12) She keeps wanting to find out if your face will leave an impression in a frying pan "just like the cartoons."
13) Gives you an "I Hate Muslims" t-shirt for Christmas.
14) She bakes you a pie using a recipe she got from The Help.
15) Takes you target shooting... and you're the target!
16) When you tell her, "Can you imagine if you and I never met?" she says, "Yes, I can."
17) In a hotel, she's always quick to hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door... BEFORE you have a chance to enter the room.
18) When you go skydiving, she tells you, "Real men don't need parachutes."
19) On your vacation to Palestine, she tells everyone you're Jewish.
20) She never cleans all that nasty, black hair that collects around the shower drain.
You're both blonde.

American Chimpanzee

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fifty Shades Of George Bush

I was honored, to say the least, when former President and WWE champion George W. Bush called me personally to invite me for a personal tour of his new George W. Bush Library and Car Wash.
     Bush and I go back a long way. He even gave me my nickname, Jimmy the Saint. We first met during Spring Break in Pensacola, Florida. I was a sophomore at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, and he was, ahem, on leave from the National Guard. I beat him in a tequila drinking contest, and a life-long friendship was born.
     "Come on down and we'll have a good time," he told me, "and whatever you do, don't tell my momma about the man we killed down in Biloxi, Mississippi."
     It was a more innocent time. I was chowing down on a plate of beer-boiled shrimp in some dive-bar by the beach. It was a ton of shrimp piled on a paper plate, and it was only 25 cents on Mondays. Living close to the Gulf had its advantages.
     Bush strutted up to me. On his arm was a cute little co-ed in an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini. A librarian, he told me later.
     "You're at my table, buddy," he told me, as cocky then as he is now.
     I looked at him. He was taller than I was, but one nice thing about tall guys is that they count on their size to do their fighting for them.
     POW! I punched him right in the sniffer.
     He stumbled backward, but didn't fall. He was up and on me faster than a Benghazi cover-story from the White House. The fight itself was a draw, so when he challenged me to a tequila-drinking contest, I couldn't resist.
     "Loser pays, rich boy?" I taunted.
     "Loser pays, muchacho," he taunted back. "Now get ready to lose."
     Two and a half bottles of Jose Cuervo later, he was on the floor and I was leading his pretty little librarian back to my room at the Motel 6.
     The last time I saw Bush was during Hurricane Frederick. I was heading back to El Paso, Texas, because I discovered that the one thing I required from weather is that it doesn't kill me. Bush? He was heading to the beach for some bodacious surfing.
     We kept in touch off and on throughout the years, but getting together never seemed to materialized. His mother had warned him to stay away from me. She thought I was a bad influence. She was especially mad at me for, when he asked me to write his Presidential memoir Decision Points, I sent him my first draft of Fifty Shades of Gray.
     "I don't remember doing any of this," he said, shaking his head.
     So, when he flew me out to his library, I was more excited than Rosie O'Donnell at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
     When I got there, he was sitting behind the desk in his office. Just as cocky as I remembered.
     "Hey, Duchene!"
     "Yes, Mr. President?"
     He pulled out a bottle of Jose Cuervo.
     "Get ready to lose!"

American Chimpanzee

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear John (5-1-13)

Hard Core Advice From
Hard Core's Hardest Core... John Leslie

Dear John,
     Recently, I invited my best friend (I'll call him Barry, since that's his name) and his family of four to join my family at a popular out-of-state theme park, whose name rhymes with Bisneyland. Our children are similar ages, and we have always gotten along well, even though we live in different states.
     My wife and I are members of a vacation program and offered to use our hotel points to save Barry a great deal of money. We didn't expect anything in return, but we had discussed how much fun we'd have together.
     This didn't happen. Barry and his family ignored us, made no effort to interact with my wife or children, and had other friends and family join them at the resort and in our shared rooms. They frequently went their own way in the theme park, hogged all the Bisneyland characters, and were distant during the rare times we were together. The final insult occurred on the last day, when they simply left the resort without saying goodbye or even thanking us for the stay.
     Clearly, Barry took advantage of our kindness and generosity, and interactions since indicate that they don't think they did anything wrong, and can't wait for us to pay for their next vacation.
     Are we wrong to have expected them to spend time with us? Barry and I have a long history together, and I want to preserve the friendship. I prefer to drop the issue, while my wife wants nothing to do with them ever again.
     Is there a tactful way to address this and salvage the friendship.

Dear Torn,
If there is, I don't know what it is.
Dear John,
     I've always had a problem with my mother and sister. When I was a child, I often stayed with my grandfather. I loved this man fiercely. He died recently, and the last ten years of his life were terrible. My mother and aunts rescinded his DNR and disregarded his wishes about life support, forcing him to remain in a partly vegetative state for years.
     My sister (let's call her Amy, since that's her name) inserted herself into this drama at every opportunity. She had to be removed from his bedside when she became hysterical and lashed out at the nurses. Amy submitted the death notice to the local paper without checking with anyone. She left out many family members, who are furious and are taking it out on me. My aunt (the executor of the will) has made it clear that I won't get the small tokens my grandfather left me unless I pick a side.
     I doubt Amy's grief is genuine. When I moved away, my aunts paid her to stay with Grandpa, and she told me she was only doing it for the money. My mother and aunts won't set the date for a memorial because they're all so busy trying to hurt each other. Every family function becomes a three-ring circus.
     How can I grieve for a grandparent who meant the world to me when I'm busy refereeing?

Dear Brokenhearted,
Let me think about it for a moment. Nope, I got nothing.
Dear John,
     My father, my brother, and I all served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Only my father and I deployed to combat areas.
     Dad retired five years ago, and is showing drastic symptoms of PTSD. He is stockpiling food and medical supplies and keeps trying to get my wife and I to "prepare" for when "it all hits the fan." He spends hours a day obsessively watching the news and getting angry at the television.
     Our children used to spend unsupervised time with my parents, but that stopped when I found a loaded handgun in his bathroom cabinet.
     My mother has broached the topic of therapy, and I've offered to go with him, as I've been wrestling with some mild PTSD issues myself, but my brothers intercede every time, and say Dad's fine, and it's no big deal. Ultimately, they've convinced him not to go.
     I believe this is dangerous, but I've been unable to find any home counseling services, and even our pastor says this is out of his realm of expertise.
     What other options are out there?

Dear Concerned,
I don't know, and thank you for your service.

Confidential to Desperate:
Sorry, but I can't help you.

American Chimpanzee