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Monday, September 16, 2013

Maniacal Mascots

It all started out when I got wind of the existence of a William Wiley Elementary School in the state of Washington. Naturally I had to Google it and go to their web page. When I told Other Bill about it, he naturally and unsurprisingly went immediately to the cafeteria menu page. I, however was intrigued to find out that William R. Wiley Elementary is home to the Wiley Coyotes. Since when do elementary schools have sports teams that compete?

This led to a Facebook post that stirred up a comment from my friend Mary who knew of someone whose high school mascot was a canary. My natural sense of curiosity made me seek out other lame school mascots. Bear in mind the following are all real, honest-to-God school mascots that actually exist. The best list I found at this website: Worse Than Canaries. And here is a cut and paste from there.

Montgomery, Alabama: Sidney Lanier HS - Poets
Los Olivos, California: Dunn HS - Earwigs
Yuba City, California - Honkers
Fort Collins, Colorado - Lambkins
Avon, Connecticut: Avon Old Farms - Winged Beavers
Tarpon Springs, Florida - Spongers
Centralia, Illinios - Orphans/ Orphan Annies
Cobden, Illinois - Appleknockers
Fisher, Illinois - Bunnies
Freeburg, Illinois - Midgets
New Berlin, Illinois - Pretzels
Frankfort, Indiana - Hot Dogs
Vincennes, Indiana: Lincoln - Alices
Watersmeet, Michigan - Nimrods
Chinook, Montana - Sugar Beeters
Fairbury, Nebraska - Jeffs
Johnstown, Ohio: Johnstown-Monroe - Johnnies
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: St. Hubert - Bambies
Houston, Texas: Morris Academy - Praying Hands
San Antonio, Texas: Central Catholic - Buttons
Poca, West Virginia - Dots

Another favorite website: Grosser than Canaries
The #2 team from the Rhode Island School of Design has a hockey team called the Nads (as in "Go, Nads!"), and they have a guy who dresses up in a penis costume (I have done the same for Halloween. Twice.) with a very droopy scrotum. He is known affectionately as Scrotie (see above photo).

Others I’ve found or have had given to me:

Scottsdale, AZ Community College - Artichokes.
University of California, Santa Cruz - Banana Slugs
Arkansas School for the Deaf - Leopards
Williamsport, Pennsylvania - Millionaires
And what started it all: William Allen High School - Allentown Pa, Canaries

In an effort to support these teams, I have written cheers for a few of them. As anyone in my high school will tell you I have always been a huge supporter of high school sports, cheerleaders, and the whole romantic notion of the captain of the football team dating the head cheerleader, thus guaranteeing them the position of king and queen of the prom. So here we go.

Montgomery, Alabama: Sidney Lanier High Poets:
Whitman, cummings, Angelou, Poe,
We’re the mighty Poets, GO!
Browning, Kipling, Keats and Plath
We will beat this team by half!
Byron, Tennyson, Sappho, Twain
Our school mascot, what a pain!

Centralia, Illinois Orphans:
Got no Mom to bring us down
We are from Centralia town.
Not once turned over our dad’s knee,
We’re as tough as we can be.
Got no cousins, uncles, aunts,
In our house, we wear the pants.
Mess with us, you’ll get what’s due
Cuz we got no one to report to!
Goooooo Orphans!

Arkansas School for the Deaf Leopards:

Poca, West Virginia Dots:
Colons, periods, ellipsis, not!
We’re the mighty Poca Dots.
We’re not rich like those from Boca.
We’re just simple folk from Poca.
We’re not stains, and we’re not spots
We’re tough as nails; we’re Poca Dots!

Scottsdale, Arizona Community College Artichokes:
Try like hell to get us clean
You will fail cuz we are keen
Boil us, make us tender leafs
You’ll still get sand between your teefs.
Try so hard to rip us apart
But you just can’t, cuz we’ve got heart.
Gooooooooo Chokes!

Williamsport, PA, Millionaires:
Williamsport, Williamsport, tried and true.
Beat us never; our blood is blue.
Manners perfect with rudeness nil,
Don’t you dare to call us Bill.
We will win, cuz we’ve got money.
We’ll pay your QB to drop the ball, honey!

William Allen High School, Allentown, PA, Canaries:
William Allen, you’re our hero
But our GPA is zero
Our idle brainwave seldom varies      
Cuz we named our mascot the Fighting Canaries.
Yes, Allen High School, we’re all that.
I taught I taw a Puddy Tat!

Frankfort, Indiana Hot Dogs:
We’re Hot Dogs; don’t call us weenies
Cuz we’re not nerds, we don’t wear beanies.
Frankfort, Frankfort, we are first
Don’t you ever call us wurst.
We know how to take a compliment
And we go well with any condiment.
We’re here forever; we’ve got it made
Cuz we will never biodegrade.
Goooooooooo Dogs!

New Berlin, Illinois Pretzels:
We may be twisted but we’re all right
We’re the Pretzels, fight, fight fight!
We’re built hard, not soft like custard
And we taste great with a side of mustard.
We’re determined and never get flustered.
If you like us unsalted, you’re maladjustered.

Tarpon Springs Spongers:
We’re the Spongers, we wipe your dishes
But on the field, we’re quite malicious.
We sure can kick and know how to block
And we can aptly clean your clock.
We live with our parents at home forever
Ask if they like it and they’ll say never.
We never get jobs cuz that’s our mission.
Cuz we’re the spongers with no ambition.

(photo credit:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How Not To Kill Your Husband

Just eight days after her wedding, Jordan Linn Graham was having second thoughts about being married.

To resolve these feelings, she pushed her husband off a cliff in Glacier National Park in Montana on July 7. Allegedly.

I don’t know about you, but if I’d attended that wedding, I’d sure want my blender back that I gave the semi-happy couple. It was probably still in the box, and I would have my receipt from the Missoula Walmart, so I could get my $20.88 plus tax back.

On July 8, Cody Johnson, the victim, was reported missing when he failed to show for work, according to the Associated Press.

When questioned on July 9, Jordan told investigators that her husband had sent her a text, saying he was going for a drive with a friend, and that’s the last she’d heard from him.

Two days later, she told a park ranger she had found the body.

Okay, look, this is Montana, the fourth largest state, but it takes position 48 in population density. I did the math. According to the 2000 census, there are 6.2 people per square mile of the state. By comparison, New York City’s population density is 26,000 people per square mile. Glacier National Park encompasses over one million acres, after all. That’s 1,562 square miles.  That’s about 1.3 Rhode Islands.

Finding his body in a million acre national park known for its cliffs and rugged terrain is more than a needle in a haystack. It’s a split-end pubic hair in a waste treatment plant of a major metropolitan area.

“The park ranger commented that it was unusual that she found it,” according to the AP. Ya think? Also in the report: “…his body was found in an area of the park so steep and rugged that a helicopter had to be used in the recovery.”

In other words, if Mensa member Jordan Linn Graham had just kept her mouth shut, she would probably be a free widow today. And she’d be making glacial smoothies for herself with my blender.

In my head, here’s what I picture. She leads law enforcement officers to the edge of a cliff and hands the investigator a pair of binoculars.

“See that spot down there, the tiny speck that looks like a flattened Wile E. Coyote? That’s my husband.”

She later admitted pushing him over, and after a two month FBI investigation, she was finally arraigned in federal court on second degree murder charges.

According to a local newspaper, online at, a family friend was quoted as saying that Genius Jordan was going around telling people that she “never wanted to be married, she just wanted to have a wedding.”

If that’s true, that Jordan was just in it for the gifts and ceremony, then I want two blenders from her. Make that a blender and a quesadilla maker.

Read more:

Push Me!                    

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


So word comes down the pike from fast food workers who are demanding their salary to be $15 an hour. I fully understand that it is impossible to feed a family on minimum wage. But the average age of a fast food employee is 28, which indicates to me that there are a lot of teenagers flipping burgers that want more money for the newest iPhone. I can’t find the percentage of fast food employees who are under 20, but it is to them I would like to dedicate this essay, and especially the following paragraph.
Suck it. Or suck it up. Take your pick.

Take your $8 an hour and be happy with it and go home and live under your parents’ roof. Be aware that you have to start somewhere, and if it is a gross, greasy job, then those are your dues. Pay ’em, shut up, put down your picket signs and go back to work.

I know I am sounding Limbaughesque with this, but I can’t help it. $15 an hour is outrageous hourly wage for someone who scoops fries into a bag and runs a cash register.  In a few years your job will be automated, so enjoy it while you can.

I started my first job at a restaurant when I was 15. I was put in front of a sink with a 25 pound block of frozen shrimp in it. As water ran over the shrimp, I dislodged them from the ice block, peeled them, which included removing that nasty black “mud vein” that runs down a shrimp’s back. I would throw the shells in a garbage can where all the uneaten food was scraped. The cook would take that can home with her and feed it to her pigs. The peeled shrimp I placed into a pail, and when all 25 pounds of shrimp were peeled and deveined, another block was put in front of me until that was done. By then the shrimp had been cooked in some meals, and plates and glasses were brought back for me to wash, rinse, and sanitize by hand in practically boiling hot water.

For this I was paid $1.35 an hour. And I was damned glad to have that job, because I was saving my money to buy a car when I turned 16, and this was the only legal way to get it.  I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 4 until the restaurant closed, and I got on my hands and knees with a spray bottle and a rag at the end of the night and cleaned the floor before I left. Some Sundays I worked a double shift, getting there at 7 in the morning to start working the brunch, which lasted until 2 pm. We’d have a couple hours off, and then come back and work from 4 to closing, which could be as late as 1 AM. And I came home smelling of dead shrimp and cigarettes every night, because smoking was allowed in the kitchen and in the restaurant.

And I was happy as a piss clam at high tide when I got promoted to busboy and didn’t have to work in that steamy hot kitchen so much. Plus I got 10% of the three waiters’ tips.

And a few months after I turned 16, I had saved a thousand dollars and bought a two-year-old Volkswagen Super Beetle with an 8-track player in it. And I was in heaven, because I could grab my keys and leave the House of Crazy Mother anytime I wanted, because I paid for my car insurance, gas, and maintenance. And after the restaurant was sold, I got a job in a nice, cool library shelving books, also for minimum wage, and I have been working ever since.

So, you teenagers flipping burgers for minimum wage, if you think your job is gross and disgusting, then there are plenty of other minimum wage jobs you can get. Go stock shelves in a drug store. Bag groceries. Be a cashier at Walmart or Target. Shelve books at a library. You are a teenager; you are not CEO material. Be happy you are able bodied and can work. Life is hard when you are a teenager, and even harder if you have to work and go to school and maintain a good GPA. Those are just facts of life. You are young and energetic. One day you will be old and weak if you’re lucky. Go out and expend that energy and realize that life isn’t fair. The CEO of your company is a billionaire, and you’re making minimum wage. Boo-hoo. The CEO could be nicer and give up some of his millions in bonus money to make your life easier. But with wealth comes greed, not responsibility, as some people tend to think. They more you get, the more you want. That is also a fact of life, unless you are lucky enough to work for a CEO who has a sense of social responsibility, and good luck finding that, unless you want to go work in China. See: Mr. Nice Guy

On the other hand, I empathize with low wage earning fast food workers who are older, and these are the only jobs they can find, and they are having trouble making ends meet. They have paid their dues over and over again and just can’t seem to get a break in life. Maybe they are worth $15 an hour just because they have somehow failed at the American Dream, for whatever reason. If I were King of the Minimum Wage, I would decree that anyone over 40 who is down on their luck and can only find work in the fast food industry, then they get $15 an hour and paid healthcare, while their younger constituents get minimum wage and no benefits. 

So if you’re in middle school or high school and are working to save for a car or the latest techno-gadget, go ye forth and flip. Go ye forth and scoop and bag and press buttons and make change for minimum wage and smile and thank the customer. It builds character. And when at long last that techno-gadget or pre-owned Mini Cooper is in your possession, you’ll enjoy it more than if it had been handed to you on a silver platter. Because it is a symbol, not a gift. And symbols like that are always more valuable than any gift that anyone will give you.

(photo credit:
Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Messages from the Dead

Are you waiting in eager anticipation for someone to die? Perhaps there’s someone in your life who might be leaving you a small fortune, but it’s not a person you want to have contact with.  Or it just might be someone that you just simply detest so much that you don’t want to miss the opportunity to attend their funeral, even though it may mean going in disguise because his family hates you just as much, if not more than you hate him. Did I say “him?” I meant to say “him/her.”

You could spend time on the Internet every day searching online obituaries to see if he/she has dropped dead overnight, causing you relentless joy and mirth, or you could just make it easy on yourself and sign up with All you do is give them your e-mail address and the first and last name (actually last name is all that’s required) of the person you are hoping to see dead, and if there is a match, you wake up to a lovely surprise sitting in your inbox, and you start to make your travel and costume plans for the funeral of your despised one.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not the sweet, charming, generous and comforting person people somehow make me out to be. These traits all get boiled down and confused with introversion. The truth is I am a bitter, spiteful, grudge-holding shrew, even though it is a side of me that rarely shows itself, and actually hasn’t surfaced in over two decades, but I suspect it could once again, once I get a notification from  Or it could happen before this column is finished. But yes, I am ObitMessenger’s latest free member.  It’s not a very well-known website, and after doing a little bit of research I discovered that it gets less than 300 hits a month from inquiring members, so even though it isn’t well known, it’s doing better than my blog.

But there is this person. We’ll give him/her a fictitious name. Let’s make him male and call him “Blob”, whose death is going to one day make me quite happy.  There won’t be any cash inheritance after his death. I suspect he has little left to divest himself of, and he probably doesn’t even have a will. The benefit I receive is just the joy that he will no longer walk the same planet I do. You see, I spent more than 100 but less than 200 months with “Blob”, months of misery, wasted time, abuse, and unhappiness. I should have left “Blob” three months after I moved in with him, the first time he cheated on me, but I was young and na├»ve, and he promised he would never do it again. Anyone who has ever lived with a cheater knows they always do it again. And men always cheat if they are 50% sure they can get away with it. But it’s hard to get away with it when they come home with gonorrhea and tell you that you should go get tested for it.

As the older one in the relationship (17 years older in fact), the alleged mature one, this “Blob” was supposed to be the one to take care of us, to be the father figure, the provider. HA! Kids, don’t try this at home. In the end he ended up calling himself an “antique dealer,” which meant he went around to yard sales and bought old plastic toys and tried to sell them off in an overpriced rented building as “Disneyana.”  He did this in a town of less than 5000 people who struggled to keep their heads above water and had no excess funds to spend on the crap they sold at the flea market for 900% less the previous week. He drove us into financial ruin, and when our joint bank account was down to $4000, and that was all the money we had left in the world, I closed the account and opened a new one in my name.  So while I worked a full time job and bred dogs to sell their puppies and wrote porn to make ends meet, he sat around the house and tried to think of million-dollar ideas he could sell to McDonald’s, or he would drive to Massachusetts to try to convince the Paul Revere Museum that he had, in one of his “antique” buying sprees, discovered soldering irons that belonged to Paul Revere. The Paul Revere. True, they did have the word “Revere” stamped on them, but so does the skillet in my kitchen. And a couple of matching saucepans as well. Sadly, he never got that big break that he just knew would make him rich and comfortable for life. And he never figured out who to approach at McDonald’s for the McDeviled Crab. It wasn’t the 19 year old assistant manager of the McDonalds in the small town where he sold his “Disneyana”, that’s for sure.

See? Bitter, spiteful, grudge-holding shrew.

But now, thanks to, I don’t have to worry about missing his death, and I can make a decision as to whether or not I want to go to his funeral, rather than be sad that I missed it.

I doubt that I would go. First, I don’t know if there would even be one. Secondly, it would involve traveling a couple hundred miles, and I don’t really want to make any more financial or time investments in “Blob”. Plus I don’t think I would be very welcome at the funeral. I am sure he has convinced what’s left of his family that I was the bad one. He probably told them I’m the one who came home with gonorrhea, because that’s just the kind of guy “Blob” is. 

On the other hand, it would be kind of fun to dance/pee/spit on his grave while the dirt is still loose on it and his body is still warm. But that would be out of line and beyond my bitter, spiteful, grudge-holding shrew reputation. That is just plain juvenile.

So I will just wait for my e-mail from ObitMessenger. If this grudge-holding shrew has nothing else, he has patience. Lots and lots of patience. Maybe “Blob” has discovered ObitMessenger and has put me on his hit list. But I have the age advantage.

So after I get my confirmation from ObitMessenger of his demise, the next time I am in the town where he’s buried, assuming he’s not scattered at sea, I could stop by and drop off a little plastic piece of “Disneyana” on his grave in memory. A rubber Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse perhaps.

And then pee on it.


Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.