R.I.P.

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What can you say about Uncle Jed that hasn’t been said before?

Okay, yes, that probably hasn’t been said before, Phil, but I was speaking rhetorically. What I was trying to get at is that Jed was a lot of things to a lot of people. Devoted father, dutiful husband, admired brother, faithful friend, consummate Rubik’s Cube enthusiast — he was all these things, and yet none of these things. Not even the Rubik’s Cube enthusiast. But that didn’t stop us from loving him. There was just something about Jed that put a smile on your face, whether it was his seemingly infinite collection of used celebrity Kleenex, or the casual way he flipped you the bird every time you asked him to pass the salt.

Yeah, ol’ Jed certainly had a rare sense of humor, but beneath that jocular exterior also lay a kind of genius. As many of you know, Jed was the sort of guy who could fix almost anything, from your car, to your computer, to your flamboyant nephew. Granted, it was usually Jed who broke these things in the first place (nephew included), but his inspired solutions were often nothing short of brilliant — and even legal, much of the time. You all remember cousin Gerald’s toupee? Ha ha, say it with me now: “AHHHHHH! OH MY GOD!! IT BURNS, IT BURNS!!!!!!!”

But there was more to Jed than just jokes and gin, and I would be remiss if I didn’t touch upon his warm heart, his compassionate nature, and his gently racist worldview. A peaceful man when he was sober, it could truly be said that Jed would never hurt a fly — unless that fly was slightly different from him in some superficial way beyond its control. But then, that’s Jed for you.

Of course, you’ve all heard the tales of heroism from his days fighting the Vietcong, how he once carried a wounded comrade through two miles of heavy sniper fire, only to discover that they had walked in exactly the wrong direction and had to travel four miles the other way to exit enemy territory. Private Benson may not have survived the return trip, but you can bet that Jed did his best to make his last few moments nearly tolerable.

Beyond Jed’s willingness to risk his life for his fellow soldier was his willingness to lay it down outright, as in the time he threw himself onto a live grenade to save an entire squadron from certain decimation. This act would ultimately earn Jed the Medal of Valor, even though the grenade in question turned out to be nothing more than an avocado that had rolled off a table in the mess hall. “Guess that’s why the uniform’s green!” Jed always joked after relating that particular chestnut.

Yes, Jed was something all right — something you couldn’t quite put a finger on and probably wouldn’t care to. But he’s gone now, and the world seems a little less interesting for it. A little less bright. A little more predictable. Yes, a world without Uncle Jed doesn’t quite seem possible.

…So, who’s up for Steak ‘n Shake? My treat!

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our national security is of the upmost importance. Of course home security is important too. And in that regard the best defense is a good offense. Just ask the Macomber siblings, Laura and Trevor.

My Wife Isn’t Crazy About Our New Home Security System

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Honey, I understand you’ve been nervous ever since the break-in at the McDuffersons. But you can finally relax now that I’ve personally installed our new home security system.

I know you wanted to hire a reputable company like ADT to set up the alarm equipment and provide 24/7 monitoring service, but once you hear how much money I saved by designing everything myself, I think you’ll come around.

Well, I don’t recall the exact figure, but remember that dress you fell in love with at Filene’s Basement? No, not that one — the one on clearance. Well, let’s just say that you can go ahead and put it on layaway, babe.

Let me show you how to navigate the security protocols. The first line of defense in my multi-tiered approach is a brand new screen door. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any wood screws handy to mount it to the actual door frame — nor do I know what wood screws look like — so I’ve sorta just leaned it against the front door for now. You’ve gotta figure that the confusion factor alone will give us a few extra seconds if anyone does manage to break in.

Now come around back with me. Since we can safely assume that few would-be intruders will be able to make it past the “screening process” — no, go ahead and chuckle, it’s a clever name! — they’ll obviously seek an alternate point of entry. Right: the basement. I figure that a padlock on the bulkhead door isn’t going to cut it, since any attempt to pick it or saw it off will only create a lot of ruckus and disturb the neighbors, so I’ve gone ahead and removed the hinges entirely. But get a load of those mousetraps! There are 223 altogether, which amounts to one mousetrap for every 11 square inches of step — a number I arrived at after aggregating the horizontal surface area of each stair in relation to the exponentially increasing likelihood for trap triggering as a function of the number of footsteps taken during descent (factoring in a mobile uncertainty constant to account for decreasing illumination and gratuitous leg movement), divided by the hypothetical X- and Y-axis coverage as derived from the relative snap-and-scatter plot of each mousetrap compared to the average size of a human foot…sorry, I know you’re not a numbers kind of gal, which is why I spent the afternoon making calculations and not you. Point is, no bad guy stands a chance against these babies! Plus, even if one manages to endure the multiple lacerations to his feet and ankles — depending on the quality of his footwear, of course — there’s no way in hell he’ll survive the overwhelming stench of rotting Gouda.

Here — use this empty planter.

Okay, on to the final and perhaps most important feature of our own personal Rikers. I thought I saw you eyeing the wood peelings in the driveway a few minutes ago, so let me show you what that’s all about. If you’ll just follow me through the woods a little ways…mind the prickers! Ah, here we are. The yurt. Welcome to your new sleeping chambers, sweetie! It’s brilliant, really. See, I’ve moved our bedroom out here so that we are entirely removed from danger should anyone penetrate the previous lines of defense. And I’ve brought all our valuables out here, too, so your mother’s Fabergé egg collection and your grandmother’s antique Russian nesting dolls and those tanzanite studs you spent far too much money on that time we went to the Poconos are all safe and sound in the yurt! Or, should I say, under the yurt. Don’t give me that look — you hardly wear those things. And while we’re being honest with each other, I might mention that if you’d been willing to pawn them like I’d suggested, then maybe we could have afforded a real home security system in the first place…although I suppose it would have been superfluous at that point, because really, beyond the eggs and the dolls, and maybe the flat-screen (which you can see I’ve also moved out to the yurt!), what else would a burglar have taken?

That? That’s the moat.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where fun is more than a way of life, it's an unfunded mandate! This week our good friend Trevor Macomber tells a sobering story (we hope he's sober now) about a theme park facing tough times.

Welcome To Grizzly World

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I’d like to thank the board of directors here at Grizzly World for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today in order to review some key points after our soft opening last weekend. With a few minor tweaks here and there, I have no doubt that we can put many of these incidents — and, in all likelihood, lawsuits — behind us and focus on making Grizzly World the most successful live grizzly-themed amusement park in the entire western United States.

Now, first of all, I know that some of you are wondering how a former Arabian horse breeder — well, okay, assistant breeder — came to be the CEO of a Fortune 500-owned establishment like Grizzly World, but let’s not forget our corporate philosophy: Always Look Forward. On a related note, to whoever added the phrase “(especially if you’re running for your life)” to the company-wide email distributed this morning, let the record show: I am not amused.

Moving on, I know how difficult it is to succeed in the highly competitive field of interactive carnivorous petting zoos. In fact, I was as surprised as anyone when I came up with the idea. I guess there’s just something about a fully shaved silvertip in a flowing pink ball gown that appeals to the little kid in me. I mean, think of the photo opportunities! Unfortunately, as I will readily concede, my penchant for the big picture occasionally causes me to overlook some of the finer details that create the foundation for any successful venture. For example, the fact that “carnivorous” means “meat eating.”

Of course, it’d be easy to stand here and point fingers (sorry Susan, bad choice of words — just try to keep pressure on it) as we attempt to determine who, for example, was responsible for the opening day promotion distributing genuine salmon hats to our first 100 visitors, but at least now we can finally put to rest our previous debate about whether the traditional methods of animal-human segregation like fences, ditches, etc., can ever truly be replaced by more progressive techniques like the honor system. (The answer, by the way, is “No.”) In a similar vein, I’m certain that whoever green-lighted the “Swimming with Grizzlies” wave pool is probably having second thoughts right about now. (Those waves were a little high, Frank.) But surely we can all admit that “Bear Bodies” was a brilliant name for the water park itself? And that “The Right to Bear Arms” souvenir stand probably would have become a real money-maker if only we’d remembered to store the inventory downwind from our free-roaming attractions?

— Yes, Susan, you have a question?

— Right, sorry. No, please keep it elevated. I’ll work around you.

As I was saying, the bottom line is that, no matter how you slice it, we got at least as much right as we got wrong. Of course, with their juvenile “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality, not a single media outlet is bothering to report that particular factoid. Honestly, can you name any other theme park in the world with enough chutzpah to completely reverse the age-old custom of humans dressing up as animal mascots? I don’t know about you, but before yesterday, I’d certainly never seen a bear in overalls driving a threshing machine. Of course, accidentally decimate one Girl Scout troop, and suddenly grizzlies driving diesel-powered farm equipment isn’t so much visionary as — and I’m quoting here — “astonishingly and unequivocally insane.”

Nonetheless, despite these and other setbacks, I’m certain that, had they survived the proof-of-concept phase of our collaboration, my late business partners would echo me in saying that the overall premise behind Grizzly World is still sound. If not for a few unforeseeable missteps, I’m positive that we would be well within our acceptable casualty limit. As it stands, the only thing preventing us from being the best Grizzly World we can be is our own fear of success. And, temporarily, a large number of disgruntled grizzly bears currently surrounding the building. In any case, I’m sure Animal Control will be here shortly with their promised supply of tranquilizer darts, so if anyone has any questions before we can attempt to flee the conference room, I’ll be happy to take them.

— Yes, Susan?

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+ Welcome to The Big Jewel, your fervent Apple evangelist. This week our good friend Trevor Macomber gives a shout out to some lesser known recent products of the mighty Mac factory.

A Review Of Some Of The Less Heralded Apple Products Debuting During Steve Jobs’ Leave Of Absence

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iMack Truck
Apple’s largest — and therefore most useful — portable media player is designed for extreme audio/videophiles who may already own multiple iPods and yet always seem to need just a little bit more when it comes to storing their collection. With 3,000 cubic feet of cargo space (not including cab), the iMack Truck is capable of accommodating 8 billion songs, 13 billion photos, and nine thousand years of video on 31 petabytes of storage. (Not all at the same time, of course; that would just be ridiculous.) Though the initial response has been positive, some analysts worry about the iMack’s potential market share, as it is necessarily restricted to consumers with a Class A commercial driver’s license and HazMat certification.

iSing
Billed as the world’s first truly edible musical instrument (whistle pops and the short-lived trom-bonbon not withstanding), iSing is a remarkable cake frosting engineered to play a different musical note with each ambrosial bite. In a revolutionary application of fledgling nanotechnology, Apple scientists have succeeded in trapping tonal vibrations within the rigid molecular structure of sugar crystals. When freed from their crystalline confines by a musician’s discerning bite, the vibrations are released into the atmosphere, where they form that bit of aural poetry collectively known as “music.” Of course, given the inherent scale of nanotechnology, it is more or less impossible to actually play any recognizable songs with iSing, as even the most delicate nibble results in an explosion of hundreds of discordant notes and chords—a veritable comestible cacophony! On the plus side, given each melody’s relative minutia and our eardrums’ relative gigantism, it would take approximately one thousand people eating iSing-covered cake at the same time in an enclosed space to produce any audible sounds anyway. Still though, the world’s first edible musical instrument. Wow!

iAtollah
Although not expected to do particularly high volume in the infidel-laden West, Apple hopes that this nifty little gizmo will jump-start flagging sales in the Mesopotamian region, particularly in Iran, where the Apple brand has suffered greatly from an unpopular biblical connotation. While no one is quite sure what the iAtollah is, exactly, inside sources confirm that it should fit easily in the pocket of any thobe, abaya, salwar kameez, or Jordanian Jilab while maintaining the ability to issue a nonnegotiable fatwa against the idolatrous heathen of your choice at a moment’s notice.

iSod
Created by the short-lived Apple spin-off, CrabApple, iSod was intended to make yard work more appealing to the 12-and-under crowd by proving that green wasn’t the only color that a lawn could look good in. However, a worldwide recall implemented after independent quality control agents discovered a massive infestation of African termites living in the inaugural batch led to CrabApple’s rapid dissolution. Chalk one up for the anti-outsourcing argument.

iBelieveiCanFly
George Foreman, eat your reduced-fat heart out. There’s a new minority celebrity pitchman in town, and his name is Robert Sylvester Kelly. Although originally marketed as another genre-busting, demographic-blurring R. Kelly/Celine Dion collaboration in the form of an iMYourAngel JetPack, a last minute contract dispute and Dion’s subsequent dismissal from the project led to a hasty rechristening just days before the propulsion unit’s premiere. Despite setbacks, there is no doubt that the newly dubbed iBelieveiCanFly (or iBiCF, for short) will set a new standard in personal aviation, providing reliable, self-controlled flight for aspiring R&B singers and micturating sex tape stars alike. With a five point cross-suspension safety harness, dual turbo CO2 compressors, and adjustable electro-kinetic wings, iBiCF is sure to be a big hit with anyone who’s been feeling trapped in the closet, not to mention any nine-to-fivers looking to circumvent the bump n’ grind of the daily commute. Plus, with an iBiCF jetpack, leery Lotharios will never have to worry about sharing the same girl again, not when they’ve got their very own pocket rocket to blast her into orgasmic orbit. And since you don’t need a pilot’s license to turn the ignition on this one, the fiesta can begin as soon as your credit card is approved. (Then again, if you’re a gigolo making lots of dough, you might want to strongly consider paying cash in this transaction, as any paper trail is bound to be regretted once the warranty expires and all iBiCF titleholders are automatically charged with 14 counts of soliciting a minor for sexual intercourse.)

iBall
In a surprising attempt to rapidly generate enough capital to fund deployment of its new 3H network, Apple is now charging existing iPhone customers a monthly service fee for each eyeball in their head at the time of purchase. Despite initial industry skepticism, consumer complaints have so far been kept to a minimum thanks to generous program features such as unlimited night vision and dilation, free rollover blinking, and 20/20 hindsight on weekends and national holidays. Can you see me now?

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New To The Internet, My Uncle Francis Naively Responds To Spam Comments Left On His Blog, “Frank Talk”

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Girish (erotic1mods@gmail.com): This post is awesome. I’m impressed by your style — experienced blogger, huh? Added your blog to my favs.

Hello Girish, thank you for your kind words! Hmm, “Girish” — is that Scottish, perchance? If so, let’s just say you’ve put my mood in the highlands! (Lol!) To answer your question: No, I am not an experienced blogger, but it’s very nice of you to ask. I’m also honored to hear that you’ve added my site to your “favs” (short for “favorites,” I assume, and not something weird like “fava beans” — not that fava beans would make sense in this context, of course, but you never know with some people!). Perhaps you can send me a link to this list of favs, since naturally I’m eager to see what other high-minded online venues I’ll be rubbing virtual elbows with! One question before I leave you: Where did you come up with your email address? It’s very chic, though slightly provocative, I must admit.

sohbet: Yeah, but never the less, I think this post is debatable.

Well sohbet, to quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her summation of Voltairian attitude toward free speech, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (You understand I don’t mean that literally, of course — I’ve never even met you! — but hopefully you get the idea.) You see sohbet, my whole motivation for creating Frank Talk was to allow friends and family to comment openly and, well, frankly (wink wink!) on any topic they wished, without fear of judgment or reprisal. Thus, while you may very well refuse to accept my declaration that, in real life, Bea Arthur from The Golden Girls is actually one year older than Estelle Getty — God rest her soul — who played her mother on the show, I think you’ll find that the “Wicked Pedia” (haha!) will back me up.

Also, you know what’s funny? Your “handle” (that’s what they called ’em in my CB radio days — a “handle”) sounds like someone trying to say “sorbet” while biting their tongue! Who are your parents, ith cleam and fozen yoguht?!?

Seriously though, thanks for reading.

butt head: Do you fairly think this is news? I like and read your blog to get necessary information, but sometimes melancholy kills me.

I’m sorry Mr., err, head, but I just have to ask: butt head? Is that really the name you’ve chosen to represent yourself here on Frank Talk? Honest to goodness? Because I’d feel terrible if that was merely a typo on your part and here I was insulting you by calling you a “butt head,” when really you’re just a “mutt head” (dog lover) or “butter head” (blonde haired) or some such silliness. I think, to be safe, I better call you Winslow. So Winslow, to answer your question, yes, I “fairly think this is news.” Heck, it should go without typing 😉 that I fairly think anything posted on Frank Talk is news! I’d be curious to hear what you have against a second Facts of Life reunion special though. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

P.S. I’m sorry to hear about your evident battle with depression. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I like to make some chamomile tea, throw on a Randy Newman record or three, and just relax with my Sudoku. You never know — maybe that will work for you, too. (And if it does, I think you know where you can come to talk about it!*)

*You can come to Frank Talk, if that wasn’t clear.

Cellulite therapy: Check out the cellulite remedies on this site.

I have to say, “Cellulite therapy,” that — although I appreciate your patronage — your recommendation that I “check out the cellulite remedies” on a certain website is a little out of place here on Frank Talk. First of all, I think some of my readers might take offense at the implications behind your comment — my sister Daphne, for one. I admit she’s had some success with her new RAW diet, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how repeatedly watching Eddie Murphy perform stand-up in a ridiculous leather suit can make someone lose weight. Anyhow, to get back to your comment, it shouldn’t really be news any more that those of us in the so-called bloggocircle (Is that the correct term? My nephew just taught it to me.) are prone to slightly heavier figures than our peers, given our natural passion for improving the world by commenting on it for hours on end while sitting in front of our computers eating Hostess Cup Cakes. To insinuate that we need a remedy for the battle scars (a.k.a., cellulite) we proudly bear from our keyboard war on depravity is not only thoughtless; it’s flat out rude.

Plus, the link to the website you’ve provided doesn’t even mention how you need to let the coffee grounds cool down before rubbing them into your skin. Do you know how hard it’s been having to blog standing up all week?

Shanda Dudley: duskish scandalmongering incremate presbytia rudderstock naphtha synchronizable rhine

Shanda, as the first person in my family to finish the unabridged version of Dr. Doolittle, I pride myself on being an educated man. However, I have to admit: your comment had me reaching for the dictionary more than once! Now, I’m not exactly sure how the spreading of darkly colored rumors might reduce the poor-sighted vertical member at the forward edge of a boat’s rudder to ashes, or how a colorless, volatile petroleum distillate might be coordinated in time with one of the most important rivers in Europe, but that’s not really the question here, is it? No, the question here is: Did you know your name is Yiddish for “shame” or “scandal”? Your parents must have had a weird sense of humor. Then again, I’m named for a Saint, and I think Susan Dunklemeyer, who sat in front of me in 7th grade study hall, would back me up when I say that I’m no saint! (Suzy, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry about your brother. But seven hamsters? What was he thinking!)

Penis Enlargement (sine@sinemale.com): Speech on the health of the male organ, exercises, male enlargement pills, anatomy of the woman, informations on sex, positions, health and much more. Visit: http://www.sinemale.com

I’m sorry Pe — uhh, Mr. Englargement, but you know the rules: Any gratuitous anatomical references in the Frank Talk forums must result in an immediate, automatic, and irreversible suspension from the site. Furthermore, I’m afraid I’m going to have to confiscate your speech too, so if you could go ahead and email that to me at your earliest convenience, we can end this unpleasantness as soon as possible. Also, if your speech has any photos or illustrations in it, you should probably highlight those pages in the table of contents, too.

God I’m lonely.

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