Wednesday, February 26, 2020

School Officials in Our (Hot) Pocket

This just in from the news desk, heiress to the billion-dollar Hot Pockets fortune, Michelle Janavs, has just been sentenced to five months in jail for attempting to get her two daughters into college by paying now infamous William “Rick” Singer, the Newport Beach “college admissions consultant,” over three hundred thousand dollars in cash and frozen food.

Janavs paid Singer one hundred thousand dollars to facilitate the bribing of a high school testing official and two hundred thousand dollars to buy a USC administrator’s approval of a bogus sports admission.

Police were already investigating Singer and his phony foundation, but may not have found out about his dealings with Janavs, had it not been for the eighteen-wheeler of Hot Pockets that backed up to his office one afternoon. Apparently, he had requested a portion of his illegal compensation in the form of the delicious microwavable frozen snack food.

Initially, authorities feared the worst when the surveillance teams reporting Singer buying twenty full-size chest freezers over the course of week. Thankfully, he had not graduated to mass murder and body storage, and the police simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief and had a new lead to follow when the Hot Pockets truck arrived.

The trail to the Janavs family’s huge front door was a short one. Conspicuously missing from the tests allegedly taken by the Janavs girls were the tell-tale ever-present greasy fingerprints and marinara stains. And authorities were immediately suspicious about the USC admission under the guise of being an elite beach volleyball player, since both daughters, having been raised from a babies on nothing but Hot Pockets and ranch dipping sauce, each weigh close to seven hundred pounds.

Facing five months in jail, Michelle Janavs’ legal team has worked out a special arrangement with the California Institution for Women and Day Spa in Corona, California, where she will be housed. Michelle’s team of personal physicians submitted a three-thousand-page document to the courts detailing her fragile health condition.

Essentially, due to a lifetime of eating nothing but Hot Pockets, she could die almost instantly if she consumes anything else, other than diet soda, of course. “We need to maintain her saturated fat and sodium levels at their normal six thousand percent of the recommended daily value,” said her lead doctor, “or the consequences could be dire. Hot Pockets, and Hot Pockets alone are the best way to do that.”

“Prior to arriving here in Corona, Mrs. Janavs will have a minimum of four hundred sixty-five boxes of Hot Pockets delivered for her personal consumption, plus any she plans to trade for cigarettes and shivs,” CIWDS warden Janet Stevens told us. “We are having to add a second walk-in freezer here to accommodate her special dietary restrictions.”

“We’re excited about her coming here,” an anonymous guard at the prison shared with us. “Given her history, we figured she’d be up for bribing us, which she totally was. She’s bringing in an additional four full trucks worth to take care of all the guards’ families. It’s going to be amazing. We love Hot Pockets!”

Happily, not all clouds have a silver lining. Some are lined with a crispy crust and seven thousand-degree mozzarella cheese.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

This Column is Going Downhill

Our regularly scheduled column has been rudely preempted by Ski Week.

Yes, that’s right, I said Ski Week. Instead of celebrating the glorious birthdays of Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison on two separate Mondays in February, like we all did when we were young, our school district changed things up. Apparently, they think we’re all rich.

They tacked on three extra president’s days to the previous two, and lined them all up in a row this week. This phenomenon is nicknamed “Ski Week,” so the idea, apparently, is that we’re all supposed to head up to the slopes and spend the education-free week on a ski vacation. I guess I forgot to let our school district know that we don’t have thirty-eight thousand dollars lying around for just such an occasion.

And our school district failed to check with any of the surrounding districts to see if they were also populated by the idle rich and doing the same thing. Turns out they’re not. Since my wife teaches in a neighboring district, our ski week, could we afford it, would be momless.

Sure, we might be able to shave a few thousand bucks off the total cost with one less lift ticket and no overpriced ski lodge chardonnay, but if you think I’m taking these three monkeys skiing by myself, you’ve obviously been drinking something a lot stronger than wine.

So, what I’m telling you is, the kids in Rocklin, which unfortunately includes MY kids, have the ENTIRE damn week off. And not only that, but this particular week has weekends on BOTH sides of it! Do you know what that means? It means my three boys have been here at home with me now for five whole days in a row already, and we still have four more whole days, also in that row, left before they go back to school.

Those of you with kids, or those of you who have met kids before, should now understand the fact that I’ve got nothing done in the last five days, and that trend will continue for the next four. In particular, I haven’t been able to write this column. I haven’t been able to do anything useful. (Author’s note to aspiring writers: Take notice of how I deftly implied that this column is actually useful through the trickery of italics, even though there is absolutely no historical evidence that would support that claim.)

So, to all of you who are not currently on a weeks-long ski vacation, I apologize for not having a column for you today. I don’t know why our school district is choosing not to celebrate the President’s Days as our forefathers intended, but one thing is certain – our distinguished eighth and ninth presidents are rolling over in their ornate, gold and diamond-encrusted graves.

As for you folks who are swooshing down the slopes this week and sipping expensive ski lodge cocktails in plush leather chairs in front of magnificent fireplaces while I spend another day eating cold pizza and refereeing at the World Brothers Wrestling Federation, I’ll say this:

I am NOT sorry that I don’t have a column for you this week. You’re probably too busy to read it anyway, what with all your swooshing, and expensive sipping, and plush fireplace sitting, and stacking gold coins in your Rolls Royce, and snorting caviar, and whatever else it is you people do.

But I’m not bitter. I would never wish for you to have a skiing accident and break a bone or anything like that. That’s just not right.

But I do kinda wish you’d fall off your wallet in the lodge and get a mild sprain.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Snacking Dangerously

Son Number Three brought this permission slip home from his sixth-grade cooking elective class the other day:

Over the next few weeks we will be working on a unit focused on making healthy after-school snacks. We will be learning knife skills in class so that the students can prepare fruits and vegetables. Students will be placed in small groups of 4-5 and will work directly with me to learn how to properly hold and handle a knife, as well as how to slice, chop, and dice. In order to participate in the hands-on knife skills training, all students must bring a signed permission slip.

   ___   I would like my child to participate in knife skills training.
   ___   I do NOT want my child to participate in knife skills at this time.

I have a lot of issues with this permission slip, starting with the fact that someone in our school district thought that a permission slip was needed in the first place. My son is in the sixth grade. He’s eleven years old. He has his own monogrammed folding pocketknife that he carries around with him (off campus, of course). If he doesn’t know how to slice a cucumber without hurting himself by now, then let’s just let the natural learning and selection process run its course.

I checked the yes box, and added a note asking if they would also be learning proper knife throwing techniques. I mean, if you’re going to make me sign a permission slip before my kid is allowed to do something as crazy as chop a bell pepper, then let’s really use the parental permission to its fullest. This could be a combination cooking and bladed weapon self-defense class, for example. Appetizers and axe throwing? Brunch and bayonets? I just feel like we’re missing a real opportunity for some higher learning, here.

You know, it wasn’t too long ago that sixth graders were running the radial arm saw in woodshop, and no permission slip ever went home for that. Of course, the radial arm saw gets its name from the fact that it’s great at removing your arm, just above the radius. (The original name, “ulnar arm saw,” didn’t work because everyone thought you were saying “underarm saw,” which obviously refers to a gas-powered thirty-inch-bar chainsaw.)

We have drifted a long way from the days of being taught woodworking skills by an eight-fingered man, but it’s very clear that we’ve gone over the edge the wrong way in the name of safety. That being said, my biggest problem with this permission slip has nothing to do with the knives.

Apparently, the only “healthy after-school snacks” being presented as options to my impressionable young son are fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables!? This is a travesty. I ask you, Rocklin Unified School District, what about the Totino’s Pizza Rolls? You call this a responsible and informed education??

And you want to talk about safety concerns? Let’s talk about a pizza roll that just came out of the oven. The potential for third- or even sixth-degree burns from the explosive molten-lava-marinara and cheese filling cannot be understated. If our military could somehow develop a rapid delivery system to effectively weaponize hot Totino’s pizza rolls, conflicts around the globe could be ended tomorrow. Try to say that about fruits and vegetables.

Pizza rolls - now that’s a situation that should require a permission slip!

And safety goggles.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Miami Pop Rocks

The Super Bowl was in Miami this year. I don’t want to talk about the game. As a lifelong Forty-Niners fan, it was far too painful to watch the fourth quarter, a quarter in which, traditionally, both teams play. My team decided not to play the fourth quarter for some reason, and I still don’t want to talk about it, so please, just let it go.

Let’s talk about the halftime show, instead. J Lo’s butt joined Shakira’s butt on stage at the fifty-yard-line to entertain us for fourteen minutes. The butts wore skimpy outfits and danced around the stage. The butts swayed. The butts hung on tight to poles and spun down to the stage again. At the end of the show, the swinging butts even knocked all the rest of the dancers off their feet with two powerful sideways butt moves. The butts put on a pretty good show.

Not many people are aware of this, but the owners of the butts, J Lo and Shakira, are actually fairly talented singers. The NFL consented to let them have microphones as long as their butts were constantly visible to the cameras, as per the butt contract, and the two ladies were even allowed to sing a little during the show.

It is not a shock that the NFL would put on a halftime show centered around butts. We’re not exactly talking about America’s moral compass here. Let’s not forget the halftime show centered around Janet Jackson’s boobs. The NFL has a low bar, family entertainment-wise, and they continue to sneak under it to pick up all the dollar bills on the stage.

So, the butts weren’t surprising. Shakira is from Colombia, which also makes perfect sense, since the Super Bowl was in Miami, Florida, a town that operates completely under Colombian national law. I assume J Lo was invited because she is from New York - a nod to where the state of Florida imports the rest of its citizens from.

There were two male performers invited up on stage as well. J Balvin is another Colombian pop star, so he was probably required to be on stage under Colombian entertainment law, as a chaperone for Shakira’s butt.

The other choice for male entertainment was baffling. A guy in a diamond-encrusted silver trench coat wearing a silk dinner napkin as a hat showed up on stage with a microphone, as if he was a legitimate entertainer. It was bad enough until I was informed he goes by the name Bad Bunny. I am not making that up.

He crept around the stage, squatting down in his matching diamond-encrusted sneakers, doing a half-rap song in Spanish. Apparently, Bad Bunny is from Puerto Rico, where I guess you are not required to have any talent in order to become a famous singer, or a famous outerwear BeDazzler, or whatever it is he’s famous for.

I’m not sure why the Colombian government of Miami agreed to have a Puerto Rican join the show. They literally, and I’m using literally correctly here, could have gone outside the stadium right before the show, thrown a churro blindfolded, and hit someone better to be on stage than Bad Bunny.

Bad Bunny, however, was not my problem with the halftime show. My problem was the whole thing took place inside Hard Rock Stadium.

Hard Rock.

Not Hard Butts Stadium. Not Easy-Listening Latin Rap Stadium. Not Whatever-the-Hell Bad Bunny Does Stadium.

Hard Rock Stadium. You have one clear choice for a halftime show at Hard Rock Stadium: AC/DC.

They blew it.

If AC/DC had played, the Niners would have won. I blame Bad Bunny. I don’t want to talk about it.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!