Monthly Archives: September 2015

Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers (and Other Oaths but Wind)


On all grounds, legal and ethical, I should have been murdered for the Rubber Baby Joke.

The Rubber Baby Joke was borne of a documentary I saw as a kid on sharks. The show said that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, the sinewy gristle that comprises our noses and ears. Human baby bones, the show said, begin as cartilage until morphing into bone to cover vital organs like the lungs and heart.

Because I’m a genetic asshole, I immediately trotted to my sister, who would have been a Littler Kid, to tell her that babies were born of cartilage. If fact, I pontificated like a drunk Jon Levitz, if you dropped a baby from a three-story window with the right amount of backspin, it would bounce unhurt up to the window ledge of a first-floor apartment. Er, why that’s why they’re called bouncing babies. That’s the ticket. lovitz

Caroline, who would have made a far better reporter than I, did the smart thing. She never forgot the lie. If ever I windbag a story that begins to wax unlikely — I estimate 137% of the time — she will ask “Is this a bouncing baby story?”

I’ve always wondered from where that jackass humor sprang. I’d like to blame it on a parent. But mom presented me with strong evidence recently that there may be a sonofabitch  gene: The Carbonaro Effect. It’s a show featuring a second-rate magician with first-rate props, a Candid Camera in which subjects are lured on stage, which in the show’s case is anything from a fake crafts shop to a lumber yard.

There, Carbonaro will perform hilarious jokes: floating coffee cups, taxidermy turning real; a great hardware store skit where he suggests he’s been magnetized by an electric mishap; that’s why bikes keep sticking to him. Unlike my sister, suspicion is checked at the door. This, even though 90% of studies are 70% fake, statistics say. People need to believe. People need to know there’s a reason, however unreasonable the reason may be.carb

Like all good reality TV shows, the series works not for the jokes, but the subjects. When played correctly, reality show participants underscore a larger zeitgeist (Tosh 2.0 the prime example). In Carbonarao’s case,  just just a little bit of rubber-baby logic does the trick: The coffee floated because, duh, heat rises. Water a dehydrated mouse, and it will no longer be snake food. He’s discovered: add a little logic, however skewed, and an audience will do the rest.

Perhaps that’s why magic is back. Carbonaro has gone syndicated; Penn & Teller’s Fool Us crossed the pond to American prime time; Now You See Me, an awful Morgan Freeman flick, was one of 2014’s biggest box office surprises.

The opposite should be true. Magic works best up close, without camera editing. Does anyone believe David Copperfield vanishes the statue of liberty?

Then again, perhaps it makes sense. About a third of Americans go to regular religious service, the lowest in history. Politics have become an As Seen on TV minstrel show. Perhaps, unlike pastors and politicians, a magician will tell you a lie is coming.

But, trust me on this, Mike, for your own health. Do not turn a baby to rubber.

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Everything That Can Be


In 1899, Charles Duell, the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, was famously quoted as saying that the office could be closed because “Everything that can be invented  has been invented.”

Turns out the quote belonged to a clerk at the office. And, despite the hypocrisy (after all, I’d be dead without inventions), I’m beginning to see kid’s point. Inventions of late seem awfully one-tracked: To get ads in front of people. It’s made for a new generation of oxymorons, like personal computers and smartphones.

But Teddy and Esme have shown me the upside of technology. Recently, the HB hit a benchmark; more than 10,000 page views.

Of course, 10,000 people haven’t looked at the website. But thanks to spam emails hoping to inundate the inbox with diet pill and webcam ads, the number spiked. Which is why the site has no inbox. Or feedback forum, Contact Me link, About Us section or anything else that would approach commercial website success. She is the closest thing I can get to paper and real.

But automation, at least, has given the hounds their 15 minutes.

When you Google “Teddy and Esme,” not only are they the first reference to appear on on the Big Brother site; they’re the first two, competing with each other for the top spot. Sometimes it’s Ted. Sometimes it’s Ezzie. Even their movies sit atop Google Videos.

So, while they’re gassy and indifferent to the fame, let me serve as their talent manager in saying:

Thank you, spambots!

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To: Ingram, Michael (


Hey bro,

It’s been too long since I’ve written you, but not a day’s length since I’ve thought of you.

I can’t imagine you’d tolerate any place without Wifi, but, just in case reception is spotty, a quick update:

I thought of you this weekend, kickoff of the NFL season. Why did we know so much about every sport, regardless of whether we played it? But you would have loved the U.S. Open. Federer is still great. Serena is still great. As good, dare I say, as when we marveled them on those courts in Westwood. Every time I drive down there, I think of your apartment, and how those neighbors must have considered us pervs, the adult men who gathered every Sunday night to giggle at a cartoon.

That, by the way, is still on, too. And dude, I gotta say, Homer is still damn funny. So, uncle: funniest. show. ever. homer

Maybe that’s why you were on my mind. Sunday nights in fall were always pretty cool: football and Simpsons. And a Futurama should we need further geeking.

Oh, I began the arduous process of applying to be a Big Brother. I need someone to endure my magic. Why not force a child? Hell, they’re already being fed Halloween costumes and candy  in August. Seriously. They don’t celebrate it like D.C. did, though, and no one makes a better member of the Village People.


Man, you’d go ape shit over all the Steve Jobs movies. Seriously, at least five this year. This is mythology in the making. You think history ultimately sees him as visionary or PT Barnum? If you see him, tell him the new iphone sucks.

Well, that’s about it. I miss hell out of you, dude. See ya.

Your idol,



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