Saturday, December 3, 2011


Nobody is more serious about shopping than women.

But now it's become a blood sport. I'm talking about no mercy, take no prisoners style of shopping. During a Black Friday shopping spree, some woman at a California Wal-Mart diminished the competition by pepper spraying her fellow shoppers.

Her assumption must have been that any woman who's coughing her guts out and blinded by the tears gushing from her eyes will be less inclined to shove her into a wall or elbow her in the ribs on the way to a 50% OFF SALE on bath towels.

Excitement generated by shoes and jewelry I can understand. I mean I do live and breathe, and I have watched numerous episodes of “Sex and the City.” But getting an adrenaline rush over stuff like sweaters, scarves, jeans and blouses still baffles me.

At stores in Ohio and Michigan, women shoved, threatened, screamed, and exchanged punches with other women over items like discounted sheets and pillow cases.

A marketing expert recently noted that once a woman decides she's in the mood to buy something, decorum is temporarily put on hold.

Every year at Filene's Basement, a clothing store in New York City, they have great deals on wedding dresses. The event is called, “The Running of the Brides.” It's something like “The Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona. Except you're slightly safer on the streets of Spain than in the basement where a major sale is taking place.

When an $8,000 wedding dress is selling for $400, terrible atrocities are committed by soon-to-be blushing brides. Some trampling, salty language, and a healthy dose of foul play is bound to occur when the doors are opened at 8 in the morning and the women are finally released.

While there are many wonderful things you can do with women, shopping with them during a sale isn't one of them.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


With revolts erupting in the Middle East, nuclear plant meltdowns, devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, oil spills, forest fires, home-grown terrorist threats, gang rapes of teenagers, and murders taking place in high schools and on our college campuses … it's a swift kick in our core values that Charlie Sheen has become Breaking News.

Sheen is in awe of Marlon Brando's character in “Apocalypse Now” and likes to quote his favorite line from the movie: “You have the right to kill me, but you do not have the right to judge me.” Of course this is a Charlie fave. It supports his lifestyle of engaging in destructive activities and never being called on it.

It's hard to comprehend the worldwide coverage and morbid fascination of Charlie Sheen, formerly known as Carlos Irwin Estevez. It's like watching an 8-car pileup on the highway. You want to look away, but can't. The ugliness is riveting and maybe, just maybe something will blow up and you'll be able to tell people you were there and saw it.

The long-term use of crack cocaine can cause severe mood swings, hostility, flitting from topic-to-topic, irrational irritability, extreme paranoia, and God-like behavior. Ring any bells, Charlie?

As for the constant reminder to his disciples that he has a mind of boggling brilliance, that same belief is also held by Moammar Kaddafi and Gary Busey.

If you have a serious drug problem, you can't cure it with the power of your mind, as Charlie insists he has done with his imposing and dominating thoughts. And if his brain had any juice left at all, he would certainly use it to remove the cigarettes that continually dangle from his lips.

Anyone watching his Ustream webcam videos will be struck by his manic delivery. He twitches, puffs away, bobs ups and down, runs his fingers through hair that looks like it's never been shampooed, all while spewing out chunks of gibberish masquerading as a highly evolved mind.

“They picked a fight with a warlock.” Charlie revels in this phrase about himself. Apparently the real warlocks of Salem have taken umbrage to his faulty claim and worry that Charlie has given them a bad name. Right now in some sinister and undisclosed location a powerful potion is no doubt being brewed to turn him into a warty toad.

The twits that tweet on Twitter have shown up in record numbers to put Charlie in the Guinness Book of Records. This unfortunate encouragement will not be helpful in bringing his drug-gorged brain back down here with the earthlings. BTW, there's a buzz on the street that Charlie's 140-character tweets are written by a ghost writer.

“DUH, WINNING!” Sheen's “winning streak” began a few weeks before graduating from Santa Monica high school when Charlie was kicked out of school for limited attendance and lousy grades.

Making frequent and increasingly disturbing appearances on his home-based Ustream webcam, Charlie did a hatchet job on the other man in “Two and a Half Men.” Jon Cryer, the excellent comic actor who starred in the movie, “Pretty In Pink,” was verbally assaulted on “Sheen's Korner” and branded a turncoat, a traitor, and a troll for not contacting Charlie in his hour of need.

Troubled that he might have gone overboard in his condemnation, Charlie later offered Jon a half-apology, an apol, as he playfully puts it.

My guess is that Jon didn't want to make a public spectacle of himself or add to the already humiliating circus that calls itself Charlie Sheen. Or maybe Jon wasn't comfortable chatting with a gaunt and blathering man who drinks from a bottle labeled “Tiger Blood” and climbs to the roof of an office building to wave a machete at the confused crowd gathered below.

Such conduct might make one wonder if the “high priest Vatican assassin warlock” had become completely unhinged.

They say that the first step toward self-healing is admitting that something is wrong, that your deck might be missing a few cards.

In a tiny cobwebbed corner of my mind, I like Charlie Sheen, find him amusing at times, and don't want to see him buried under the babble and rubble of his own making.

A series of interventions from family members and close friends could be his key to salvation and sanity.

But it's hard to imagine Charlie allowing such an invasive procedure when his brilliance is so dazzling and the rest of us are mere trolls that exist for his scorn and amusement. Charlie is a brain surgeon operating on himself. Which is why the cards in his diminished deck are so heavily stacked against him.

Sorry, Charlie, but the troll you so flagrantly slander and malign is you! You're the dwarfish dolt who should be residing under a bridge.

Your oafish behavior got you fired from the most lucrative job on television. You selfishly risked trashing the careers of other actors. You ruined three marriages and lost custody of children you claim to love. You beat up prostitutes. You menace ex-wives. You refuse therapeutic help, and believe for reasons that can't logically be defended, that you can cure yourself with a mind that is slowly but surely unraveling.

While wearing your silly hats, you defiantly utter nonsense like, “Firing me is the work of infants.” “I was banging seven-gram rocks because that's how I roll.” “Dying is for amateurs.” “I will cut your head off, put it in a box, and send it to your mom.” “The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards and all of 'em look like droopy-eyed armless children.” “I'm tired of pretending I'm not a freaking rock star from Mars.”

Whatever planet you're from must be happy you're not coming back. Face it, Charlie, it's time your tiger's blood had a transfusion.


Monday, February 14, 2011


Now we've got one more way to label and stigmatize people for looking or acting different from the rest of us.

It's those poor unfortunates who breathe through their mouth instead of their nose – the much maligned “mouth breathers.” This is a pejorative term suggesting that the unfairly ridiculed have IQ's in the single digits.

There's no denying that it's healthier to breathe through your nose, since the nose acts as a filter while warming the air before it enters the lungs. Maybe sucking in air through your mouth does make you look like a goober. But it's not an accurate indicator of a person's intelligence or ability to function at a higher level.

Unfortunately, some people – due to abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract – are unable to get enough air through the nose and are forced to breathe through the mouth so they don't feel like they're being suffocated.

And yet, there are people out there like IMUS, the sarcastic talk-show icon with his trademark cowboy hat sitting atop his horsey saddle-bag face, who rarely misses an opportunity to mock and pass judgment on those who would certainly take advantage of their noses if they could.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Charles McCord, his long-time sidekick, seeker of enlightenment and the show's “voice of reason” hasn't called him on it.

Every so often Charles, whose main job besides doing the news, is to support and pay homage to the Chief, will occasionally rant for a full minute at the top of his lungs when the crabby cowboy goes over the top on someone or something.

Whether it's real or contrived, it's a funny bit and I'd like to hear him sound off more often. Like maybe the next time Don tosses off a nasty dig about something he knows nothing about.

But since the Imus mantra is all about reveling in the agony of others, I guess I shouldn't expect too much from this whining collection of wrinkles neatly assembled under a big hat.


Sunday, January 9, 2011


While I'm constantly looking for things that add challenge and stimulation to my life, there is a tedious and growing collection of individuals who would rather discuss paper clips, tie collections, bus routes, or the patterns on their wallpaper.

In London, a group of boredom zealots recently attended a conference called, “Like Listening To Paint Dry.” The inert audience seemed listlessly transfixed as the tiresome narrator, a Mr. Barrett, droned on about the 415 colors in a paint catalog.

“It is quintessentially English to look at something dull as dishwater and find it interesting,” said a Mr. Thompson, who claimed to be mesmerized by the evening's lack of excitement.

For seven hours, surprisingly few nodded off as speaker after speaker covered a dreary range of subjects with just the right amount of apathy.

Included among the night's topics were: “Reflections on the English breakfast,” “The joy of warm beer,” and “Pondering doorknobs.”

Now the boredom craze has spread to America. In fact, there is currently a “Boring Institute” in South Orange, New Jersey. On opening night, pens, the letter x, and electric sockets were discussed at great length.

But the highlight of the evening occurred when a young woman brought in and shared photographs she had taken of random marks left on walls, and of chewing gum stuck under school desks and park benches.

It's quite obvious to me, and it should be to you, that the bores are satisfied with the life they've chosen. They can spend hours with a good friend without exchanging a syllable. And they are completely at ease in the peace and silence of a crowded elevator.

With an increasingly complex world that is changing gears at an alarming rate, the practitioners of boredom pride themselves on keeping things simple.

They don't obsess over Facebook, Twitter, crooked politicians, sobbing politicians, Wall Street avarice, Wikileak updates, airport pat-downs, lawbreaking athletes, escalating rudeness, unworkable diets, screaming commercials, or the absurdity of 5-day forecasts.

It just might be that the bores among us are onto something that the rest of us, in our ceaseless quest for information, have completely overlooked.

On the other hand, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that some marbles could be missing. Or that the marriage of first cousins might be a factor.


Sunday, December 12, 2010


It's that time of year when I look through the stuff I've written on behalf of my alter-ego and decide what's worth reading and what should be ripped to shreds and thrown into a roaring fire.

So here's my holiday list of Thistle gems posted from 2010.


I know almost nothing about horror films, since I rarely watch them. But this I know. A woman, being chased by a lunatic with a large knife or other weapon with life-taking potential, will always trip and fall.
(discover more annoying movie bromides in this post dated May 16th)


We all need to know what's going on in the news. What we don't need is some lamebrain reporter telling us in painstaking detail how to build a bomb to achieve the most devastating effect.
(learn how easy it is to blow stuff up in this post dated May 4th)


Instead of scouting colleges all over the country, scouts should spend time in prisons talking to wardens.
(a revealing update on football felons in a post dated April 30th)


The breaking news from the Middle East this year was that earthquakes are caused by promiscuous women. I had suspected this all along, but never had any hard evidence to confirm my beliefs until now.
(an Iranian cleric explains it all in this post dated April 23rd)


For reasons that defy explanations, we sometimes say things to people that make no sense and can't be retrieved once we spit them out.
(abandon all rational thought in this post dated March 16th)


Far too much effort and money is spent trying to think positively. And don't ask if I prefer a glass that's half full or half empty. If you're going to give me a glass of something, fill the damn thing up.
(look on the bright side of failure and incompetence – February 15th)


Planets are too distant to get emotionally involved with and most of them, as you're about to learn, are poorly named.
(why Earth is a lousy name for the place we live – February 6th)


Yolanda has a pimple on her nose … Meg takes long walks when she's upset … Clyde's favorite day is Wednesday … Larry enjoyed sausages for breakfast … Ed waxed his floor … Tim couldn't get a song out of his head.
(to explore a mecca for meaningless exchanges, check out January 6th)

To read these top Thistle stories in their unabridged and far more satisfying versions, just keep strolling down the page until you find the dates that match the stories.

If you write and leave a comment that's clever, funny, insightful, or charmingly insulting, I will write back acknowledging your astute remark.

CAUTION. There will be no cash prizes for the best comment. On the other hand, there will be no malevolent zingers for comments that are idiotic.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'm having trouble letting go of Daylight Saving Time. I can't help clinging to those long summer evenings that last until almost 9 at night. And who in their right mind could blame me.

The truth is, I don't like falling back, I like springing ahead. In fact, given the power, I would dump Standard Time and stick with Daylight Saving Time all year long. Don't just shrug your shoulders, think about it!

Our fall replacement, Standard Time, tries to justify itself by giving you one more hour of light in the morning. Big whoop!

According to my biased research, Ben Franklin introduced Daylight Saving Time way back in 1784. Now you have to admit, Ben had a lot of good ideas. This particular one floated around until World War 2, when Congress finally figured out that a fuel shortage could be offset by delaying darkness and adding another hour of natural light.

During the early rounds of negotiation, Congress argued that losing that hour of morning light would make it harder for people to wake up. Old Ben countered that we could ring church bells early every morning. And if that didn't work, we could fire off some cannons.

My additional research revealed that Daylight Saving Time is a big saver of energy – about 10,000 barrels of oil a day. Now I did look this up on the internet so it could be off by a few thousand barrels. But even so, I think a solid case is being built here.

Standard Time, also an act of Congress, was unleashed on this country in 1917 when we were too busy fighting the Germans to realize what was going on. Besides, it was no big deal when alarm clocks and pocket watches were all we had to mess with.

But today we've got all kinds of timepieces: wrist watches, car clocks, answering machines, coffee makers, oven timers, microwaves, DVD'S. And just be glad you're not the manager of a store like Tourneau Corner or Swatch Watches.

As for that extra hour of sleep, you can kiss that goodbye when you start changing 15 or 20 timing devices, depending on how techie you are.

It's bad enough we have to live with 8 time-zone changes. Let's at least get rid of one mindless chore we can all do without.

Now I'm not advocating a march on Washington, sending letters to your congressmen, or camping out on the White House lawn with signs that read: “SPRING AHEAD YES, FALL BACK NO!”

I'm just trying to rile you up and make you realize how your life is being manipulated and made needlessly complicated by creeps in Washington.

I'm betting you have better things to do than changing all those damn time pieces twice a year just because Congress, in their infinite wisdom, thinks it's a neat idea.

SPRING AHEAD is my story and I'm sticking with it. And I'm sure if Ben Franklin was still around, he'd back me up.


Monday, September 6, 2010


If predictions suddenly ceased to exist, the world wouldn't miss them. If not a total waste of time, they come as close to total waste as you can get.

In ancient Greece and Rome, military generals used to slaughter birds and chickens. Then with military precision and much deliberation, they would read the entrails. You know, intestines, guts, liver, bowels. Sickening stuff reminiscent of your typical medical series on TV.

The butchering was not done out of spite or total disregard for the lives of harmless animals. No, nothing savage like that from generals at war. The objective was simply to predict the outcome of an upcoming battle.

I'm sure you're all familiar with Nostradamus and his predictions. The only thing he did predict accurately was his own death. On the evening of July 1, 1556, he is said to have told his secretary, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” And true to his word, when the sun rose, he didn't.

For no reason that anyone can justify, we celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2nd every year. Legend has it that if the groggy groundhog emerges from hibernation and sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter weather. So the determining factor in this esteemed tradition is whether the day happens to be sunny or cloudy.

Supposedly this pagan ritual began in Pennsylvania in the 18th century in a town with the unlikely name of Punxsutawney. The groundhog, named “Punxsutawney Phil” usually performs his prediction before an audience of 40,000 people and plenty of media coverage. Food is served, speeches are made, and every so often someone handling the hog is bitten and requires a shot for rabies.

Fortune telling, often practiced by gypsies, is the profitable art of pretending to predict people's futures. You could also toss into this group palm readers, clairvoyants, psychics, mystics, financial brokers, and those who read palms, tea leaves, crystal balls, and the bumps on your head. The only prediction you could make when dealing with these people on a regular basis is that your bank account will mysteriously dwindle.

Even fortune cookies – those crisp little cookies with words of wisdom on a twisted piece of paper--get to play the prediction game.

A secret admirer will soon send you a sign of affection.

Plan for many pleasures ahead.

Something you lost will soon turn up.

Happy news is on its way.

Flattery will go far tonight.

Sometimes we even find ourselves relying on things like a rabbit's foot, horseshoes, and 4-leaf clovers to bring us good luck in the future. Or we avoid black cats crossing our paths and walking under ladders to make sure we don't jinx whatever good luck we might have.

Forecasting the weather most certainly comes under the heading of Thermal Lows. First of all, half of the Meteorologists have trouble pronouncing the word. Or sound like they're drunk when they say it. Instead of MEE-tee-ur-ol-uh-jist, it often comes out meaty-ol-uh-jist. Or they totally slur the word and it comes out ME-ur-ol-a-jist.

The least they can do is pick an occupation they can pronounce.

Speaking of weather, I don't need to know if the barometer is rising or falling or going sideways. I have no idea what it is and I don't want to be enlightened. If the weather man can correctly guess what the weather will be like tomorrow morning, I'm happy.

What makes me mad are those 5-day forecasts. Are they a joke or what? Has anybody ever accurately predicted 5 days of weather? And please get those weather guys a freaking window so they don't say, “Right now it's sunny in Manhattan” when it's been raining for the past two hours.

And let's not forget the guys who walk around with signs and grim faces predicting THE END OF THE WORLD! Judging from signs throughout the ages, the end could come in the form of wars, earthquakes, pestilences, tidal waves, famines, false prophets, deadly asteroids, and a calamitous abundance of loud advertising commercials.

Let's hope the world won't end on a Friday and spoil everyone's weekend.