The Usual Eccentric from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 11 Jul 2020 10:31:41 -0700 The Usual Eccentric from Creators Syndicate 7c7debcd962281f9a424cf24635ac829 A One-Way War of Words for 09/26/2014 Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>My mother led most of her middle-aged life under the distinct impression that her small fleet of household appliances had the ability to understand the things she cursed at them when they didn't function properly. Toasters, vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers all felt the wrath of her bleepity-bleep tongue-lashings.</p> <p>Thankfully, she passed along that family trait to me, which is why I found myself having a grand debate with my broken coffee machine just the other morning. Unlike my mother, however, I take it a tad further than simply scolding my can openers, remote controls and so forth. I actually hold sarcastic conversations aloud with my various pieces of malfunctioning machinery as I coax them with clever barbs in a shrill voice my girlfriend, Christine, never fully appreciates.</p> <p>"Have you ever had tea?" I asked Maxwell, my coffee machine. "I assure you it's terrible. That's why I own a coffee machine instead of a tea machine. Is it too much to ask for a warm cup of Joe without using a pair of pliers, or are you just playing hard to get?<p>Updated: Fri Sep 26, 2014</p> 109bcf8ddba64394d5a909f2482b1cc6 Cutting in Line at my Uncle Teeny's Funeral for 09/19/2014 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I've done some pretty uncouth things in my day, but cutting in line at a funeral, even by my standards, pretty much takes the cake. We've all fallen victim to someone cutting in front of us while in line. Now, imagine you're at a funeral, patiently waiting like everyone else and up comes me. And I cut you!</p> <p>Oh, sure, it was purely unintentional, but that hardly justifies it. I think you'll find cutting is universally unacceptable behavior. No matter where you travel in the world, the core social structure of line-cutting is strictly adhered to and its punishment carefully administered. During the Middle Ages, line-cutting would get a fellow hung, drawn and quartered &#8212; probably.</p> <p>However, line-cutting dates back much further than that. When Noah rounded up two of every animal and lined them up to board the ark, the dinosaurs &#8212; because they were such prima donnas &#8212; tried cutting in line. As punishment, Noah killed all of them, and that's what really happened to the dinosaurs. So there, I've just settled the age-old debate: God is real, and science is a complete waste of time.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 19, 2014</p> aa588d35d6e36c03c31823f66a8f3b2b Another Grim Diagnosis from Dr. KevorkiMom for 09/12/2014 Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Normally, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, the question of his or her mortality arises. That is, unless the person diagnosing you is your mother. Oh yeah, Dr. Mom. Give her an old-school thermometer, the vast expanse of the Internet and an overactive, hypochondriac imagination, and my mother will find out what's ailin' ya'. I believe over the years that she has diagnosed any one of her three boys with a wide variety of medical afflictions yet to be documented by the actual medical community.</p> <p>But that shouldn't cloud the legitimacy of her work, should it? Or the fact she's absent a medical license. Medical license, sh-medical license. She doesn't need no stinking medical license. She got a full ride at Web MD University; graduated with full honors if memory serves correctly. Now, none of this would be that bad if but for one thing: She thinks everything is cancer.</p> <p>Got a busted lip? Cancer. Stomach giving you fits? Yep, that's cancer. Breathing perfectly normal? Sounds like the cancer all right. Something interrupting your normally-scheduled television programming? Somebody must have cancer.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 12, 2014</p> ffdf9e46752971c63a4c33e8e9b3ae98 The Genesis of Owning a Dog Began with God for 09/05/2014 Fri, 05 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all of his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.</p> <p>But on the eighth day, God awoke from a deep slumber in his bed and found his feet cold, not warm, and God lacked the companionship he so desired. God thought long and hard about how to remedy this occurrence and created a gentle beast. And God named this four-legged mongrel Dog, the reverse spelling of his own name, and God chuckled at his own cleverness.</p> <p>And God, having made man in his own image and, too, creating woman, wanted man to have companionship outside of woman, despite her good looks and sway over man; a companion that neither nagged, nor groaned and belly-ached, or complained of the lava lamp in the living room and how it made such living quarters appear tacky. And so God created Dog. And tennis balls. And it was so, and shall always be. And God was happy.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 05, 2014</p> 9c469c24e8ec2343e661de2c83ee0d32 Pet-Sitting Can Be a Real Pet Peeve for 08/29/2014 Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Pulling the rapture in tow behind their weary steeds, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse crashed over the clouds of Laura, Ohio, stopped and peered down, as though vacationing at the Grand Canyon. Clearly, these stone-cold heavy-hitters straight outta Revelations had gained knowledge that yours truly agreed to pet-sit for his boogie-boarding parents, who'd gone on sabbatical in Myrtle Beach &#8212; and his girlfriend's parents, who were judging a local dog show.</p> <p>The Four Horsemen cackled. They weren't there perched upon high merely to sightsee. Where's the fun in that?</p> <p>For those just tuning in, I was recently charged with the task of watching after several thoroughbred dogs, reformed alley cats and dozens of exotic fish belonging to my parents and my future in-laws. In sum, I was responsible for feeding, watering and &#8212; this is most important &#8212; not killing six dogs, 17 cats and too many fish to keep track of.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 29, 2014</p> 6cdb56b8988c9b97cb5463e34a9b0673 We All Scream for Ice Cream for 08/15/2014 Fri, 15 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>After a few unsuccessful attempts in the last week, I finally got a really good look at the ice cream truck man the other day. Maybe I am being extra precautious or hyper-vigilant, but I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'll be asked to pick him out of a photo line-up someday.</p> <p>It wouldn't surprise me if in the near future I am standing out in my front lawn being interviewed by a newswoman about the infamous Ice Cream Kid Murders, which is what I envision the national media would dub the unfortunate incident. There I would be, standing on the sidewalk, wearing pajama pants with a cigarette dangling from my lips like every other slack-jawed yokel on the news. </p> <p>"Well, he mostly kept to himself, but he seemed like a nice enough guy," I would say. "It's a shame about all those kids though."<p>Updated: Fri Aug 15, 2014</p> 810fd35c6aabd9ccce6958fdb9776f49 Stirring Up a Hornet Nest for 08/08/2014 Fri, 08 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Here is a piece of life advice from me to you for free: Don't let a hornet sting you. There is no nice, comfortable or soothing way to get stung by a hornet.</p> <p>There is of course that old idiom of being as mad as a hornet, because hornets are quite mad, you see. The only thing madder than a hornet is a hornet being sprayed with insecticide by a grown man in a ski mask and goggles on a Wednesday evening.</p> <p>See not just any old insecticide will get the job done. Off-brand ant killer will not kill hornets. Aqua Net hair spray will not kill hornets. Wildly swinging a Wiffleball bat will not kill hornets.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 08, 2014</p> d3c09987103fd24007041e16eb072aaf In Defense of Killing the Clematis for 08/01/2014 Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you have heard a lot of evidence throughout the course of this trial that my client allegedly killed his wife's clematis plant.</p> <p>You have heard testimony that he, and he alone, was placed solely with the responsibility of watching over and watering that now befallen clematis plant. A clematis plant that each and every expert my client's wife could parade up on the witness stand testified died from water intoxication.</p> <p>Water intoxication? That's an awfully fancy pants word, if you ask me. <p>Updated: Fri Aug 01, 2014</p> 61a6ab285b480677841895cc5d251cf4 The Guitar Case Over in the Corner for 07/25/2014 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There was an old, soft vinyl guitar case that sat over in the corner of my father-in-law's house for as long as anyone could remember. It was covered with a telling amount of dust and cobwebs and the once vibrant brass hinges were now stained with tobacco residue. </p> <p>Two feet away from the guitar case rested my father-in-law, Bruce, in a Hospice hospital bed. An 18-month battle against cancer was simply too much for even this Vietnam veteran to endure.</p> <p>There were a multitude of pumps pushing oxygen and electronic medical boxes beeping; the sounds were leading up to the crescendo that was to be his final day here on Earth.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 25, 2014</p> 04430971a88ad059e6f580c96a26bc03 The Hayloft and the Horse Resurrection for 07/18/2014 Fri, 18 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There are two certainties about life I have accepted.</p> <p>One is at some point in July I will be up in a miserably hot hayloft maneuvering and lifting hundreds of bales of hay that are half my body weight.</p> <p>The other certainty is if I don't get right with the big man upstairs, then my afterlife will consist of lugging around and stacking bales of hay in Hades.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 18, 2014</p> 63b8ce98589680972c6b898d6cdf517e It's Nice to Meet You for 07/11/2014 Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There is nothing I find more unpleasant than shaking a person's hand.</p> <p>There can be a lot of psychology at play with a handshake. Most guys overcompensate for their lackluster size and masculinity by squeezing as absolutely hard as they can. </p> <p>Other guys of impressive size and masculine quality also present a problem because they squeeze as hard as they possibly can, too, but they tend to jerk your arm practically out of socket.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 11, 2014</p> 98febf16837adc55a0280a0f2262cf22 How (Not) to Cure a Headache for 07/04/2014 Fri, 04 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I ran into my good friend Nick Brubaker last weekend. I only get to see him about once a year, so there were a lot of benign topics we wanted to cover. But the first words out of his mouth went beyond the simple courteous remarks most old friends deliver after the passage of time.</p> <p>Nick cared not to tell me where he works, where he was living, or some other notable achievement in his life. He didn't ask me how I was, what I was doing these days, or how my two-year stint in prison went.</p> <p>In fact, when Nick spotted me he charged me like a stampeding bull and his lips quivered in anticipation of telling me something he knew I would find peculiar.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 04, 2014</p> 6bebbbfbc97466d55f6674759d02dedd The Cheat Sheet for Life for 06/27/2014 Fri, 27 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I am not a big fan of most teachers, and certainly a screaming majority of the ones I had growing up. Teachers only stood in the way of my desire to grow up and become the person I wanted to be. So even from an early age I worked against them in every grade I miraculously managed to pass.</p> <p>In the 13 years I traveled through the congested bowels of the education system, I honed the unique and distinct ability of subverting and sabotaging the aims of teachers. My more formidable years were more like an apprenticeship in dirty tactics, half-baked schemes that somehow always worked like a charm and last, but certainly not least, cheating.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 27, 2014</p> fe862943cbab3ed08a0b886c6e9e194a Raining on My Own Parade for 06/20/2014 Fri, 20 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I don't like umbrellas and I don't use umbrellas. I'll take it another step further. I don't like or trust people that use or carry umbrellas. </p> <p>Please don't mistake this as the ramblings of a madman on the verge of a psychotic break, but I have never used an umbrella before &#8212; ever.</p> <p>I am actually not a big fan of preparing for the weather. I get my weather report and forecast every morning when I wake up, draw back the curtains and make a cursory glance out the window. I do not rely on the sooth-saying, verbal acrobatics of some silver-tongued weatherman moron to dictate the course of the items on my daily agenda. The day I do is the day I draw my last breath.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 20, 2014</p> fab5e3a222ff1501e4b155ac80e87e44 Life: It Happens for 06/13/2014 Fri, 13 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>My cats have the run of the house when I am at work. I tend to think it serves as a criminal deterrent to any potential burglars in the general vicinity. After all, I have trained the four of them to do my bidding, and they are well-trained in mob tactics. Some people might think that's silly, but all I know is my house has yet to be burglarized.</p> <p>When I let my cats out of the cat room each morning my cat Thumper is always the most excited to greet me. Thumper is under the delusion that he is a spirited and feisty Jack Russell terrier, but instead he is merely a Maine coon, which means he has long hair. </p> <p>So excited &#8212; too excited, actually &#8212; to see me, Thumper will drop what he is doing to run out and say hello to me. He could be batting a fly in an attempt to eat it or hanging from the other side of the door like a monkey, but when I open the door he comes sailing my way. <p>Updated: Fri Jun 13, 2014</p> 8bcb92bddaad982c7b11d3ecfd56da7d Planet Earth's Inevitable Swan Song for 06/06/2014 Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There are two ticking time bombs floating around out there in space and traveling at breakneck speeds. They are called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 and at night I lie awake in bed too afraid to close my eyes because of their mere existence.</p> <p>Commissioned in 1977, Voyagers 1 and 2 were sent into space by NASA with the optimistic hopes that they would be discovered by an unidentified alien life form. Contained on each space probe is a gold record that, essentially, would reveal a slice of our life on this planet when played. For all intents and purposes the records should be titled the Cliff Notes on Planet Earth.</p> <p>Never mind the fact that a 1970s era record is an atrocious first impression to make with someone &#8212; or something. What I really worry about is how those records could quite literally endanger all of humanity in the near or distant future if they fall into the wrong, three-fingered hands<p>Updated: Fri Jun 06, 2014</p> a3d838db377f1511091b774f7814a7d5 A Deluxe Apartment in the Sky for 05/30/2014 Fri, 30 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Christine sat nervously on the couch as a look of concern washed over her face. Finally, a question rolled off her lips. She wanted to know if I wanted a free Kitty Castle for our cats.</p> <p>While she had me at the word "free," no sweeter words in combination of one another have ever been said by Christine than Kitty and Castle, including the words "I do."</p> <p>Did I want a Kitty Castle? Of course I did!<p>Updated: Fri May 30, 2014</p> e22c42f0fd06b6b147acbab0f8e4fd61 A Recall Letter from General Motors for 05/23/2014 Fri, 23 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I received a recall letter for my wife Christine's vehicle, a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt. The General Motors letter is printed below with slightly dramatic modifications:</p> <p>You have received this letter because we are conducting a mass recall on your vehicle and several vehicles like it that we have manufactured. Some of these defective vehicles have killed people. </p> <p>How many people? That's a tricky question. Thirteen that we will actually admit to. However, an independent consumer watchdog group claims we are responsible for as many as 303 motorist deaths. That might sound like a large number, but it isn't. It's barely enough for the federal government to force us to recall our faulty vehicles.<p>Updated: Fri May 23, 2014</p> 631239d8c778a31c39fca589e8bef058 And the Community Survey Says ... for 05/16/2014 Fri, 16 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I got this parcel of mail called the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau the other day. On the envelope, in big bold letters, were the words "Your response is required by law." In other words mandatory, and should my compliance not be complete some stint in a federal prison awaited me in the near future.</p> <p>I knew almost immediately I wasn't filling out the survey. I don't respond well to threatening articles of mail. I can't say that's a good approach to capturing my cooperation. Do this &#8212; or else.</p> <p>The only thing I have to do in this country is die and pay taxes. I am not wasting my time with this administration's equivalent of a girly survey you would find in the back of a copy of Seventeen. I filled the Census paperwork out four years ago, and that's all the government needs to know about little old me for one decade.<p>Updated: Fri May 16, 2014</p> e2a5e47f2546b5808dc9cd83d44d231e Kevin Steen and Me for 05/09/2014 Fri, 09 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Life is funny and we choose the people we admire. A lot of people put stock in A-list celebrities, sports stars and talentless hacks that somehow get reality shows. But for the last four years I have admired a man that only a small subculture of humanity is even aware of. </p> <p>His name is Kevin Steen.</p> <p>Steen is an independent professional wrestler who weighs in at 240 pounds, is billed from Marieville, Quebec, Canada, and has a body type that best resembles a panda bear. As a showing of support I own a number of Steen's wrestling shirts and I talk about him more to my wife than I do important household decisions. <p>Updated: Fri May 09, 2014</p>