Humor During Lent? Of course!

 

lent 2

(Republishing this vintage blog because it’s Lent, ya’ll!)

In New Zealand, we’ve already begun Lent — 40 days of prayer, fasting and penance leading up to Easter.

Since this is mainly a humor blog, we will begin our Lent by republishing a favorite about two great priests who were incredibly funny in very different ways.

Archimandrite Stephen was bigger than life and perfect for his ministry in media and evangelization. He could PREACH UP A STORM. And he so loved to laugh. Heeheeheehee.

On his generous girth:

“I’m an Archimandrite in the Melkite Greek Catholic tradition. As you can see, we’re rather fluffy. Hahahaha.”

“As you know, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want a little ol’ prayer chapel when you could have a Grand Basilica with a Rotunda? Hohohoho.”

On being the only Catholic in a Louisiana family renown for producing more than 50 Assembly of God preachers:

“I’m the family black sheep. And I love to tell my cousins that I’m the favorite of our departed relatives because I’m the only one praying to get them out of Purgatory. Heeheeheehee.”

On Catholic teachings (when a New Zealand TV interviewer was beating him up because the Church won’t recognize gay marriages):

“I’ll tell you something even crazier. We won’t marry a man and a woman who are living together in sin unless the stop and go to confession. Can you believe THAT? Heh heh heh heh.”

On being a tad theatrical when speaking to our annual Auckland Eucharistic Convention:

“I need one of those lapel mikes. I want to be able to walk around the stage and show off for your Bishop.”

And then, there was Father Angland, 75, my first Parish Priest in Auckland.

He was half the size of Father Stephen, but equally hilarious in his no-nonsense, Kiwi way.

Once, when he asked me to distribute holy communion at Mass, I declined.

For you see, Catholics believe Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said His Flesh was true food, and His Blood true drink.

“I can’t. I’m not worthy,” I said, prompting Father Angland to respond with his wonderful dry wit:

“Don’t be stupid.

“Of course you’re not worthy.

“Nobody is.

“But somebody’s got to do it.”

Rest in Peace, Archimandrite Stephen and Father Angland.

And as for ya’ll?

Here’s wishing you the best Lent, ever.

 

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Zoo Review — Remembering Lincoln Park Zoo in the Sixties

LincolnParkZooHead

Way back when…

My niece in OKC frequently takes her chillens and their cousins to Lincoln Park Zoo.

Even though they were raised on Harry Potter and Disney World, they love going to the zoo.

I think that’s great, but, really, there is no way a zoo trip can be as awesome to them as it was to us in the Sixties.

I was probably nine years old when we made our first “expedition” all the way from Norman to Lincoln Park Zoo.  If memory serves, it was a 9,000 mile journey that took about three months.

I was either with my best friend Steve, or my cousins, or all of them, and possibly a sister or two.

What’s clear is that we were all psyched.

For years, we had been watching *Bob Jenni doing guest spots on Foreman Scotty.

He was always handling snakes and gila monsters and other animals that would kill you dead if you messed up.

We boys were GLUED to the television when Bob was on, quietly rooting for the snake to get lose and maybe bite somebody, just a little bit.

So when we went to the zoo, we were hoping to see some seriously dangerous critters, running wild and eating kids, if we were lucky.

My memories of the zoo are a bit faded and may not live up to the **99.99% accuracy that that blog has maintained for the last five years, but here we go.

I recall the Mothers or Aunties were dead keen on this being an EDUCATIONAL trip, so we were all armed with our Friends of the Zoo Key.

Zoo Key

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Obnoxious = NHS Grandstand Boozers & Alvan’s Army

Grandstand boozers

*Norman High School’s Grandstand Boozers

I was not much of a joiner at Norman High School.

I played football, and that was about it.

But I was a proud member of two organisations that will go down in infamy: the Grandstand Boozers and Alvan’s Army.

Both involved massive amounts of basketball, testosterone and adult beverages.

Not necessarily in that order.

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60 Ways To Know You’re Almost 60

 

 

60 not for the weeok

(Yes, I know there are formatting problems. I’m almost 60. I’m allowed.)

  1. You never pull anything out of your pocket without Panadol falling out
  2. You try to use the same *cup all day so that you don’t have to reach up into the cabinet and feel that hot-10-penny-nail-jabbing-into-your-shoulder-socket feeling
  3. You become the ultimate Christian hypocrite when you start wildly boogeying to the Stones, but then you think about what their lyrics actually say
  4. You know there are not many better things on Earth than watching a 2-year-old chase a pigeon in the park
  5. You find one day that you are wearing a shirt, at work, around important people. that has the kind of wide stripes that went out with the Rat Pack
  6. You had at least one “hippyish” item destroyed by a parent who went completely mental
  7. You realize that, right now, your kids or nieces and nephews have jobs that are way more important than yours
  8. You much prefer Facebooking about Shih-Tzus and cats than talking about work or politics
  9. You don’t go a day without praying for someone’s intentions, solicited or not
  10. When you wake up in the morning, it is a miracle if you can get to the bathroom without a cramp or stabbing pain or brain aneurysm
  11. When you were little, you and your cousins got up to mischief that no one, to this day, knows about
  12. When a Facebook friend mentions watching Johnny Carson reruns. for the next 10 minutes, you are laughing about the Carson clips airing in your head
  13. You have not bothered to properly get the last few back-up ‘dings’ in your car repaired because, really, what’s the point
  14. The most analytical you get these days is when you and your child watch the latest Star Wars or Avengers movie, and you really zoom in looking for plot holes
  15. Every time you see a Facebook mention of a soldier who has died or a child undergoing chemo, you pray for them; you really pray
  16. You get up from your computer and start walking down the hall, and everything looks blurry, so you wonder if you are having a heart attack, but then you realize you’re still wearing your computer glasses
  17. When you want to put on old Norman TBT photo on Facebook, and you realize there aren’t many in your family because film was expensive
  18. You remember the story about Narcissus, and you wonder whether this ‘selfie’ thing is a very bad deal
  19. You hear an old song by the Stones or Hendrix or Led Zep, so you CRANK IT UP, and then you wonder how you ever made it home alive from **parties
  20. The thought of winning the billion-dollar lottery scares you to death because you have personally seen how love of money truly is the root of all evil
  21.  You have recently opened a kitchen drawer, removed a utensil, and scratched an area of your old body that you don’t talk about
  22. When you see young lovers out in public, and your mind wanders, it usually grabs hold of a memory from a time when you were below the age of consent
  23. Pretty much every major new invention or government policy that you read about reminds you of George Orwell’s ‘1984’
  24. You still have a phone/fax machine on your desk even though the last fax you received was during the Bush Administration
  25. You see a guy driving down the road in a mint condition 1966 G.T.O. and you immediately want to be his best friend or kill him and steal his car.
  26. You need to hear a baby laugh every day, just to get you through the stuff, so you’ve watched this clip of Laughing Quadruplets about a hundred times
  27. You have figured out that vinegar and baking soda will clean or cure pretty much anything, and you wonder why you need all the crap in your cabinets
  28. You also wonder why stores don’t carry ‘fat guy’/’fat gal’ pants like they used to, back when you didn’t need them
  29. Other than your kids being born, your best memories are simple, and almost always involve laughing with old friends
  30. You realize that you are way closer to your death than your birth, and that’s OK
  31. Most of the major dental work you had in your 30’s is now falling to bits
  32. You realize that a John Wayne cowboy movie and a stiff drink with a really old Norman High School friend will fix any damn thing
  33. There are at least three times that you could have gotten really rich if you’d taken a moderate financial gamble, and that really annoys you
  34. Your new laptop comes with built-in software capable of landing a man on Mars, but you mainly use it to search for stuff that’s lost in your computer
  35. When you go to the mall, you always park in the same area. Always. Because, otherwise, you would never find your car. Never.
  36. The Groucho Marx glasses that you bought for 79 cents were the best single investment you ever made

 

[ File # csp7439653, License # 1401139 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Metsafile

37. You have OU jerseys that predate Barry Switzer.

38. If you had a dollar for every time someone in your family said, “if I had a dollar for every time…” you’d be rich

39. You are very clear about Saturday Night Live: there’s Belushi, Aykroyd, Murray, Gilda and Lilly, then a lump of ***everybody else

40. The only way you are ever going to lose 10 pounds is if tacos or DQ Blizzards somehow metabolize fat and scar tissue

41. About 20 years ago, you realized that elected officials in Washington, D.C. were not smarter than you, they were jut less ethical

42. You are pretty sure that if a man, or woman, cannot ride a horse, they should not be President

43. You or your spouse have had at least one operation that cost more than the house you grew up in

Ho-ho and Pokey

 

44. You know that Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters were really great at ad-libbing, but, truly, nobody was as good as KOCO’s Ho-Ho and Pokey

45. And, speaking of brilliant children’s programming, WKY TV’s Foreman Scotty and Xavier T. Willard were the best rootin-tootin’ cowboys of ****all time

46. You would love to go into the garage, find an old tire tool, and then wrap it around the head of the guy who said “60 is the new 40”

47. You’d then bend it over Jerry Jones’ big, fat head, just because

48. You are almost 60 if you’re a man who has at least one scar from the time:

… you pushed the neighbors normally good-natured dog too far, like maybe hitting her repeatedly with a rope because you were trying to be a cowboy and she simply refused to stampede

… opening a can of beans with your Dad’s U.S. Military issue can opener (just to see if you could do it which, turns out, you could but not without serious blood loss)

… pinched the fire out of your leg, arm or belly when you put the end stretcher board onto your Dad’s U.S. Navy issue cot

49. You are a woman who has at least one scar from:

… touching the metal ends of the electric hair curlers of death

… breathing in infinite clouds of Aqua-Net hairspray (active ingredient: DDT)

… saying once to often to your little brother, “I daaaaare you to throw that fork a me.”

50. You want to throw your computer RIGHT INTO THE DUCK POND when you write something on your blog late at night, and technology and formatting get all bitchy

51.  You have come to accept that you will never be able to properly back a trailer or use Excel

52. You remember baby chicks at Easter that were dyed all different colors, and they were cute, not something you feel compelled to report to the FBI

53. At least once a month, you would give just about anything to have a little more time with your Mom

54.  You wonder whether your kids would have benefited from having their mouths washed out with soap, at least once

brownie  55.  You spent hours and hours looking through the glass viewfinder of your Dad’s Brownie Instamatic camera, and taking thousands of no-film photos of your pets and siblings (extra points if they were in the bathroom)

56. Your wife or husband is right this minute wearing the exact same glasses that your aunt/uncle wore in 1966

57.  Your chest constricts and you can’t breath properly when you hear the theme from the *****The Twilight Zone

58. You frequently watched black-and-white TV shows in the bedroom, and at least one brother or sister had to hold the rabbit ears wrapped with aluminum foil just so

59. You believe that 70- or 80- or 90-year-old people must be tough as a boot full of barb wire, because their bodies must hurt like crap, since yours sure does

60. And, finally, you know you are almost 60 when you’re no longer embarrassed by those times when you open your mouth and your Mom comes out; in fact, those moments really make you smile.

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*Yes, you’ve been known to drink wine out of a coffee cup

** Don’t ask, don’t tell

*** OK, Wayne and Garth are close

**** Sorry Duke

***** Yeeeesh

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SPOILER ALERT — Top 10 Hogs Blogs from 2015

(Happy New Year from New Zealand!  Here are our favorites from 2015, with the more serious ones at the bottom. Cheers.)

 

 

Bobby and buddies from the Norman High School "Trail".

Bobby, left, and buddies, circa 1973 — NHS “Trail”.

The older you get, the more you understand how hard it is to find a “good man” in this life.

The outpouring of emotion this week in Oklahoma, following the premature death of TV sportscaster Bob Barry, Jr., proved that in spades.

I honestly encourage you to have a look at “BBJ’s” memorial service, which was televised live.  It is compelling, heart-rending and enlightening viewing.

Loving husband? Check.

Doting father? Check.

All round good guy? Check.

Even so, I’ve heard of many men who checked all these boxes.

But in my 35 years of working in or with (frequently “precious”) media types, I have never seen such a tidal wave of love from friends, colleagues, competitors and “plain, old, everyday people.”

Click here to continue.

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Junior on keys for the Rat Pack.

 

Junior emailed me this morning that he would go ashore in Ecuador and Skype us in the afternoon.

Which was great, except that he didn’t say whether this would be HIS afternoon in Ecuador or OUR afternoon in New Zealand.

As it turns out, it was both — his 6 p.m. and our noon.   Win!

Except that wi-fi had not come to Ecuador.

Everything would have been just fine if he’d been in Peru, which is where I thought he was and which has wi-fi.

Who knew there was any difference between Ecuador and Peru?  I mean, they are both somewhere in South America. Or possibly Africa.

I’m not totally sure about that.

Click here to continue.

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(WARNING: reading this blog could give you hypoglycemia)

bazooka-bubble-gum-box

I honestly don’t know why Mr. Uhles put up with us.

He ran the neighborhood store that was exactly 79 steps from my best friend Steve Madden’s front door on Nebraska Street.

We went there so often we wore a trail along Berry Road to Mr. Uhles’ store.

We loved his store, but we hated his old, asphalt parking lot.

It would heat up to about a billion degrees in Oklahoma summer.

Since we were always barefoot, we’d have to hot-foot it across the “lava”, trying not to get a stubbed toe or cut on glass or concussed by our buddy (because boys are always smashing each other just for fun).

Mrs. Uhles had let it be know that we had to smarten up before coming into her store.

That meant wiping the small stones and tar and glass and goatheads from our feet.

Once accomplished, we’d then storm into the store like the U.S. Marines.

At least 900 times every single summer day.

Click here to continue.

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Somebody posted a photo recently of a goat head, the evil nemesis of my youth.

I cannot hardly express how much I hated those things.

If you grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, you didn’t wear shoes during the summer.

Every now and again, you’d step on those suckers.

They’d stab you right in your heal, and bury the “horns” to the hilt.

When you tried to rip them out, half the time the “horn” would stay embedded in your heel, and blood would start trickling out.

That would cost you important play time, because you’d have to limp home so your Mom could perform surgery, using a needle, tweezers and Methiolate.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wound would ache for days, because the evil goat heads had some kind of poison in them.

It was sort of like getting finned by a catfish on your bare foot.

Click here to continue.

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My Great Grandma Ashley wasn’t big as a minute.

So when she threatened to whip me, I wasn’t scared, even at age three or four.

Besides, when she threatened to swat me, she was smiling that sweet old lady smile.

And brandishing her embroidered hankie — that’s what she was going to whip me with.

Click here to continue.

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Fightball

 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Writers are supposed to write 1,000 words a day.

Rain or shine.

Summer and winter.

In sickness and in health.

Or something like that.

But this blog has been on something of a hiatas  hiatias hieties break of late, especially from funny.  We have none.

We did manage to blog about Great Grandma Ashley, who was a pistol, and Millennial Douches, but we have no funny.

We blame it on Kris Wehrmeister, my butthead writer friend in Oregon.

Her insanely funny new book, Fightball: Dying of Suck, which YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW ON AMAZON!, has pretty much sucked all the available humor molecules right out of the whole entire universe.

Click here to continue.

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miracles happen

(Editor’s Note:  I wrote this and three other stories as part of what I’d hoped would be a book on miracles. That did not happen, so this will.)

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One of the hardest things I ever did was emigrate to New Zealand in 1993, but that’s what was required by my young family.

My Mom had a chronic, debilitating lung disease that not even the Centers for Disease Control could diagnose.  I knew she was not going to get better.  So moving halfway around the world was really hard.

Thankfully, we got to stay with Mom and my step-dad C.B. for about a month while waiting for NZ Immigration to give us the go-ahead.

The delays and red tape about drove my Missus crazy.  But I saw it as a time of grace that gave me precious extra time to spend with Mom.  This was enormously important to me, because I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again.

We made the most of our time, cherishing the simple things.  Mom and I would take short walks, talk, eat, play with my 4-year-old son, and laugh a lot.  Then at night, I would beat Mom.

Click here to continue.

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(Editor’s note: Part Two of Four Stories on My Miracles)

miracles happen part 2 version one fr rookey and our lade

Back in August, I wrote about the many miracles that surrounded my Mother’s death in 1996.  But, I never mentioned the related miracles that occurred in New Zealand … until now.

In 1994 or 1995, Mom was on oxygen 24/7 and had wasted away to 75 pounds. An undiagnosed spore had destroyed her lungs and was killing her. We were all praying for a miracle.

So when I was asked to organize a “healing Mass” in Auckland, New Zealand, by a miracle-worker named Father Peter Mary Rookey, I said ‘yes’! But only after I’d done a fair bit of homework to ensure his bonafides, as old reporters are wont to do.

My research included reading Man of Miracles, the book respected British journalist Heather Parsons wrote about “the famous healing priest from Chicago”, who himself had miraculously regained his sight as a young child.

Fr Peter Rookey

Heather had “embedded” herself in Fr Rookey’s healing ministry, following him across Ireland, and chronicling what she called “miracles of biblical proportion”.

Click here to continue

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Yesterday, I was shopping in our version of Walmart when I saw her.

The first thing I noticed was her short, purple hair.

Then the “circus tent” dress, her 350-pound bulk, and the painfully swollen feet that were somehow stuffed into brightly colored Crocs.

I thought to myself, “I bet Mom would’ve loved this lady.”

Click here to continue.

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(A very, very serious one about abortion)

Oh little baby, you’ll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullabye. 

Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin’ to do.

You’re still a-clingin’ to the tree of life, but soon you’ll be cut off before you get ripe.

When I was a senior at Norman High School, in 1974, I remember happily buying the new Seals & Crofts album, then getting really angry at the lyrics to the cover song.

It was the year after the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, five years after Woodstock’s “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”, and six years after Pope Paul VI released his encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life).

I was a heathen and a virgin.

The LAST thing I wanted was some “anti-abortion” musicians moralizing their way into my bedroom.

Turns out, nobody else did either.

We were Baby Boomers, and it was all about us, not some unborn child.

Sadly, that sweet song could do precious little to hold back the abortion tsunami.

So now, 42 years after Roe v Wade, these are the *facts:

Click here to continue.

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Marvelous Meadowlark

Meadowlark

“My leg, my leg!”

Poor Meadowlark Lemon would hold his leg and wail in agony.

So loud that everybody in the huge basketball arena could hear him.

And, somehow, as his teammates helped him limp around the court, in comedic agony, the magic would happen.

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An Attitude of Gratitude at Christmas

gratitude-journal-745x395

 

We are sitting here wearing our NHS 30th Anniversary t-shirt and our once-were-nice-until-we-got-yard-chemicals-on-them camo shorts, while drinking a $9 bottle of Heineken.

This means that: we have totally down-tooled for Christmas; we are as per always waiting for the Missus at the mall; and we’r getting gouged by this flashy new restaurant.

We have two hours up our sleeve while the Missus gets “just-a-few-things”, so we shall spend it writing this blog on GRATITUDE, because this is not something that comes naturally to Hogs but is a good think to think about.  Here goes:

We are grateful for:

  • Junior kicking ass and taking names this year musically, including his five-month, world-cruise gig on Crystal Serenity, writing some bodaciously awesome new tunes, gigging with some pretty awesome Kiwi muzos, and even scoping out the studio he wants to record in;

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