Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A total eclipse of the brain

Desk clerk: Good morning, Buffalo Hilton. How may I help you?

Me: I'd like to make a reservation for April 7, 2024

Desk clerk: That would be our Eclipse Special

Me: Oh, there's an eclipse then? I was just looking for a place to celebrate my 103rd birthday.

Desk clerk: We have just one room left.

Me: Whew, just in time. And what's the rate?

Desk clerk: One thousand forty nine dollars and twenty-three cents.

Me: One thousand forty nine dollars? That's outrageous. I could get the presidential/honeymoon/royal suite  for half that.

Desk clerk: And twenty-three cents. But you get 20 percent off at our breakfast buffet.

Me: What will they be serving?

Desk clerk: Bacon, we have an omelette bar, croissants, biscuits with sausage gravy ...

Me: Thank you, but I'll just watch the eclipse, if like you say there is one, on TV

Desk clerk: The Eclipse Special room has a 44-inch flat screen LSD television.

Me: Why would I want to watch an eclipse on TV if I'm paying a thousand dollars to see it live?

Desk clerk: And forty nine dollars and twenty-three cents.

Me: I'm calling Motel 6.

Desk clerk: They've been booked solid for that date for the past three years. Perhaps you'd like our Lunar Eclipse package for January 30 2018.

Me: What's the difference between a solar and a lunar eclipse?

Desk clerk: About eight hundred dollars.

Me: And twenty-three cents? I meant what's the difference in viewing experience?

Desk clerk: A lunar eclipse is way more intense, because it only occurs when the sun comes between the moon and earth. If it happens at night, the moon disappears but the earth lights up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Me: Doesn't it get hot when the sun is that close to earth?

Desk clerk: During the last lunar eclipse, I was able to fry an egg on my forehead. But your room has solar powered air conditioning, and you still get 20 percent off our buffet breakfast.

Me: Why would I want a buffet breakfast when I can fry an egg on my forehead?

Desk clerk: Because your plastic cutlery is likely to melt.

Me: Are you in the path of totality for the lunar eclipse?

Desk clerk: According to Scientific Armenian, we'll have 99 and 44/100 percent totality.

Me: Are you sure of that?

Desk clerk: I'm 80 percent sure.

Me: If you're 80 percent sure it will be 99 and 44/100 percent totali -- oh heck, I'll take it.

Desk clerk: That will be two hundred twenty six dollars and 23 cents.

Me: What if it's cloudy when the moon gets 99 and 44/100 percent eclipsed? Do I get a refund?

Desk clerk: We're offering weather insurance.

Me: And how much is that?

Desk clerk: Eight hundred dollars and twenty-three cents.

Me: In other words I'm still out a thousand dollars if I want to see a lunar eclipse.

Desk clerk: And twenty three cents.

- - -

Saturday, August 12, 2017

47 reasons to stick your head inside the mouth of a saltwater crocodile

47) Take the picture, dammi -- ouch!

46) Your estate can collect the $5,000 reward for that missing chihuahua

45) Think how you'll look on the wall of Mr. Crocodile's croc cave

44) I'll bet this livestream goes viral. Now where's that darn record button . . .

43) Can you hear me now? I said there is only one tRuth!

42) What a great way to complete your bucket list

41) 5 bars, wow! Hello Mom, guess where I am ...

   We interrupt this list with a comment on headlines. Orange may be the new black, but in the world of headlines, 20, maybe 30, even 47 is the new 10. Back in the day when David Letterman made the Top 10 list popular, newspapers and the fledgling Internet were discovering the popularity of lists. But  whereas newspapers and magazines, where print, and in the case of magazines, glossy paper, were at a premium, 10, even 5, items on a list would suffice, web sites were learning to be sticky.
   I mention this because when I launched my first web site,, which contained a wealth of stories and interviews from my conversations with World War II veterans, sometimes I would get an email from a visitor saying he read everything on the site. Someone I told this to said my web site was sticky. That was a good thing, he said, because the stickier a site was, the longer visitors would stay on the site, and the more any advertising on the site would be in front of their eyes.
   A few years ago, most lists on the Internet were still at 10. But then when the list titles got more compelling, and the web sites on which they appeared grew more ad-centric, throwing a big ad for something in between every three slides, or popping a video or a big ad between every few paragraphs, ten just wasn't cutting it anymore.
   The result? A veritable slew of sticky sites ... "20 of the Most Terrifying Animals in Australia" ... "30 Rare Photos of North Korea" ... "120 Bald-Faced Lies Told By Donald Trump ... Make That 121" ...

40) Wait ... This isn't a plush toy?"

39) Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

38) This is sure to get you a promotion to Lieutenant in the Fail Army.

37) Maybe even to general.

Q. What does a baby crocodile like for breakfast?  A. Lady fingers
36) Double dog dare me, will you?

35) I'll find that White House leak if it's the last thing I do!

34) I said "Let them eat cake," I didn't say the chef at Mar-a-Lago was going to bake it.

33) I thought this was an animatronic crocodile, now where's the plug? Uh-oh ...

32) So this is where all those absentee ballots that voted for Gore wound up.

31) No I'm not a Packers fan. What do you mean you ordered a Cheesehead?

Listen to sample tracks

30) Did I say 47 reasons? Help me out here, #FrederickClemens

29) Your bff is filming it for the Croc Challenge

28) You can't wait to tag five of your Facebook friends

27) Think these are getting lame? You should see the first 40 of the 50 Scariest Scenes in "The Sound of Music" list.

26) This should greatly improve your chances of getting the starring role in Crocodile Dundee IV

25) A great way to protect your eyes during the solar eclipse?

24) You might become the first person to receive a head transplant.

23) Then again you might not.

Check out Aaron's Amazon author page
22) Are we there yet?

21) No I don't come with a side of bloomin' onions.

20) Stick your head inside the mouth of a saltwater crocodile and kiss your dandruff goodbye.

19) You could set the Guinness record for world's shortest reality TV show.

18) Cut! Okay, you've got that cameo on Game of Thrones. I said Cut! Cut! Uh-oh...

17) What do you mean tastes like chicken?

16) Michael Rockefeller, I presume?

15) I think I just found the remains of Malaysia Air Flight 370. What a meal that must have been.

14) So you think you're the toughest saltwater crocodile east of Australia? Bite me.

13) On second thought. . .

12) Or should that be west of Australia?

11) Just one more take, and I'll show those producers that "Saltwater Crocodile Lagoon" will make "Shark Tank" look like the SS Minnow.

10) The game warden says this fellow is a vegan crocodile and only eats non-GMO people ... wait a minute, I'm non-GMO ... thank you Monsanto.

9) Help! My head is stuck in a bucket of Country Crock.

8) Holy Molar Batman! This guy's got more choppers than a Harley franchise.

7) If I can make this sale I'll be the dental implant salesman of the year!

6) Look Ma, I'm on the cover of the National Geographic!

5) Help me out here, #FrederickClemens, finishing this list is like pulling teeth

4) Go ahead and laugh, but according to climatologists, these puppies will be roaming the streets of downtown Miami by 2050.

3) What do you mean, I bring out the wildebeest in you?

2) No, that's not a crowbar in my pocket, I'm happy to see you.

And the No. 1 reason to stick your head inside the mouth of a saltwater crocodile (like you haven't scrolled down already) . . .

1) Live, from Lake Okeechobee, it's Saturday Night!

Check out this free World War II oral history sampler from an earlier post