Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Voodoo Economics

The last time I bought a Powerball lottery ticket was back at the beginning of this year. In my January 20, 2021 column, Power Mega Super Smidge Lotto Ball Bucks, I discussed the phenomenon of the nearly exponential increase in the jackpots of these big lotteries when they get above a certain threshold.

It’s because many, many folks like myself will never buy a ticket for one of these big lotteries until the jackpot gets so ridiculously large that you just have to. And once you do, you won’t stop buying them again until someone wins. (Spoiler alert: it won’t be you or me, but we’re going to do it anyway, just in case.)

Well, we are there once again, with the current jackpot for tonight’s Powerball drawing estimated at $570 million. So today I bought a ticket again, and I’m feeling pretty good about it because I just got a major sign from the universe.

You see, just a few short days ago, while that jackpot was skyrocketing upward, a recent lottery number winner, Hidago Daniel, whose name was the first among winners, was leaving a comment on my January 20 column:

I never use to believe in lottery winning spell until i met Lord Zuma who help me to win the lottery number, This is a great testimony on how i won $100,000 in my play lottery in the mega million lottery jackpot , I took an advice from someone called Wilson the person who talked about this great voodoo spell caster called Lord Zuma the person placed a testimonies on a blog also on a facebook saying how Lord Zuma helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning number i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work cause i have spend a lot buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary thing that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 2days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the first among winners. He told me (my son all i need you to do for me is make sure that you share this testimonies to others so that they can also win the lottery cause i do not have much time to spell on the internet) so that is why i am sharing this testimony with you that if you want to win the lottery this is the way online tips can not help you,, i will forever be grateful to you, Email him for your own winning lottery numbers, He alone have the winning numbers to win the lottery, Because he is a gifted human being who is fully blessed to help other who are in need, All you need to do is to contact this man and make your life easy and wealthy. His email address: and whatsapp number +15068001746 For all problems and pains to be over i win my game.

There’s $570 million on the line and I now have a Canadian voodoo spiritual healing herbalist short-term internet spell caster named Lord Zuma on my side, ready to help me win!

I’m not sure how my man Voodoo Zuma makes a living if he doesn’t use his extraordinary powers to win the lottery for himself, but it sounds like this service is completely free, which is sweet!

I’m going to get a hold of him right now and check my numbers. If they’re no good, I’ll be sure to get a second ticket with the correct ones.

What could possibly go wrong?

Do me a favor, though, and find your own guy. I call dibs on the Lotto Lord.

I don’t want to share.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Hoarding Failure

My wife went to Costco the other day. We don’t do a Costco run more than once a month, max, so we always buy a couple packs of toilet paper and a couple packs of paper towels whenever we’re there.

She was stopped by the Costco toilet paper police and told she could only have one pack, because people are hoarding again.

C’mon, people! Are we really going to do this again? Didn’t we all learn the lesson in early 2020? COVID does not require more toilet paper! What is the matter with you?

Speaking from recent personal experience, having spent eighteen magical days inside my house while COVID kept me glued to our horizontal furniture, I can say without question that toilet paper is not what you need when you have the Vid.

In fact, I needed far less toilet paper than a normal 2+ week period, because I didn’t eat anything for about a week and a half. So, America, if you are finding yourselves once again concerned about the current state of COVID, I have a few suggestions for things to hoard, if hoarding is what makes you feel better.

Buy all the cough syrup you can find. It doesn’t help, but it makes you feel like you’re at least doing something to fight off the hellacious coughing fits.

Hoard Advil. You are going to have some serious all-over body aches. A little Advil will not be enough Advil, trust me.

Stock up on chicken noodle soup. It was about all I could eat for a week when I finally decided that I needed to eat something. And as your grandmother will tell you, chicken noodle soup is every bit as good as antibiotics in its healing powers.

If you want to spend your money, spend it on streaming services. You’re going to need to subscribe to all of them to have enough shows to watch while you melt into your couch from the fatigue.

Buy extra sheets. I was a feverish sweaty mess for the first week. You don’t want to be doing laundry when you have COVID. You don’t want to be doing anything. Make it as easy on yourself as possible.

While you’re at it, buy more pajamas. Same reason as the sheets.

And lastly, you should buy all the Gatorade you can find. Hoard the crap out of that magical sports drink. I’m pretty sure it kept me alive.

Just please stop hoarding the toilet paper. You don’t need more than normal, I promise, and your hoarding is making it difficult for those of us with teenagers that actually need those big Costco packs.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Property Mismanagement - Repost

This month marks the second anniversary of us living in a meth-free neighborhood (as far as we know). We were unable to celebrate the first anniversary due to COVID restrictions, but we’re partying this year! Here’s the account of what went down two years ago:


We had a neighborhood barbecue a while back. It was on a sunny Sunday afternoon this past March, and it was the kind of day just tailor-made for an impromptu get-together out on the street.

We didn’t grill burgers or dogs, though. We cooked a Prius.

Well, I shouldn’t say “we” cooked a Prius, so much as, the meth addict felon who lives down the street cooked his Prius. We just all came out to watch.

That fine afternoon, Sir Meths-a-Lot had somehow caught something in the middle of his driveway on fire. He remedied that situation by intentionally kicking over a large can of gasoline at the top of his driveway, which ran down into the fire and strangely enough, started a much, much larger fire.

By the time I saw the giant plume of black smoke rising above the rooftops, the entire driveway was burning, his Prius, which was parked at the curb in front of the driveway, was ablaze, and a flaming river of gasoline was running down the gutter toward two of his neighbor’s cars.

Good times.

His also-a-meth-head-but-so-far-only-committed-misdemeanors brother managed to get the fiery river put out before any more cars caught on fire, and it wasn’t too much longer before a couple garden hoses had the entire barbecue extinguished and Captain Felony Meth could concentrate on shouting at one of his neighbors to – and I’m not making this up – “mind your own business, bro.”

This fun Sunday afternoon get-together came after at least a year of other amusing antics and shenanigans over at Methtopia, including, but not limited to the following (and keep in mind, I am not making any of this up):

Fights on the front lawn

Homeless lady living in her truck out front and using their potty

Power washing the house/driveway/street at midnight

Throwing two dozen eggs from the side yard onto the neighbor’s house at 3 A.M.

Vacuuming the street with a Hoover upright

Mowing the street with an electric lawnmower

Power washing the lawn

Oh, and a full guns-drawn SWAT team raid on the house

That was all just neighborly fun and games, but apparently I have a limit, and as we found out, that limit is lighting the street on fire.

After the barbecue that no one was invited to, I did some internet research and came up with a few phone numbers. I texted around until I found the property owner and told him that his renters just lit his entire driveway on fire and it was time for them to find other, more suitable accommodations.

He then told me he only managed the property for his son, who owned it, but he would go check things out that day.

When I inquired back about the property visit, he texted back, “Everything looked fine. No problems.”

I decided at that point that an in-person meeting might be appropriate.

At the meeting, which took place at my kitchen table, I informed Roy of all the silly things that have been going on over at his son’s rental property, and that it was definitely time for the renters to fire up the old Prius, as it were, and head on out.

He amazingly tried to make the case that they were really quite nice, but I finally convinced him to give them notice. We settled on a charitable thirty days’ notice, even though three days were all that was required by law, given the many, many drug arrests that had occurred in the home. We shook on it.

He texted me later that week to tell me he changed his mind and they could stay until the lease ran out on August 31st.

I texted him back and told him how small claims court works for a landlord operating a nuisance property.

He ignored me.

During the dedicated public servant portion of the barbecue, Mr. Amphetamines-R-Us got popped for felony possession of a weapon while on parole (parole in this case, I’m assuming, meaning the entirety of his twenties and thirties), so he went back to his home away from home.

My first-ever incarceration report search (God bless the internet) turned up the fact that Doctor Now-I-Have-To-Do-Crappy-Jail-Toilet-Meth was scheduled to be in the slammer until after the lease expired, so I let it go.

A For Sale sign went up on the lawn in July, and things were looking promising until Future Eagle Scout Time-Off-For-Good-Behavior came home in mid-August to resume his standard routine of basically living in the front yard and doing absolutely nothing even remotely productive with his life.

I texted Roy. Here’s how that went.

Me: When will they be out?


[August 31st ]


Me, On August 31st: Will your tenants be gone by the end of today?


[They will start moving tomorrow hopefully . but not later than Tuesday

They are moving to my other house, other house’s tenant be out till midnight,so don’t worry PL try to help me find a nice buyer]

September 2nd: [Because holiday,may be we are running behind ( one day)]


Me: So, will they be out by Wednesday?


[Yes sir (OK hand emoji)]

September 4th: [They are moving since last night sir]


Me on September 5th: Your tenants are still at the house tonight.


[They are moving it may take 3 days to finish,sir]


Me on September 10th: It is Sept 10th. Your tenants were supposed to be out on August 31st. They are still in the house, with no signs of being out any time soon. What is your plan to get the felon drug addict who nearly burned your house to the ground out of our neighborhood?


At this point, I received a text from the second number I had, which I thought belonged to the owner, Roy’s son.

[This is Bea. Im Roy's daughter. I cant help but get your texts everyday. Are you renting the house or buying the house on plum? Whats really going on?]


Me: Sorry to have included you on the text string. I thought you were one of the owners. I'm a neighbor with kids, on a street full of people with children. The tenant is a meth addict, a felon, and the definition of a nuisance. He nearly burned down the house one day, which was when I contacted your dad and told him they needed to go. And I am honestly amazed that he didn't come to that decision on his own! This was after the SWAT team raided the house with guns drawn while my kids were playing in the street, and I don't know how many fights on the front lawn between the felon and his drug addict associates. I met with your dad and he told me in person he would evict them in 30 days. He then went back on that and told me they would be allowed to stay until August 31st. It is now Sept 10th. They need to leave this neighborhood, and I need to know an actual day they will be gone. They are wholly unacceptable, and suing your father for running a nuisance property is the only next step. I already made him aware that each affected family can sue for $5000 per person, including children, which adds up to a conservatively estimated $100,000 lawsuit. Time for them to go, now. That's what's really going on.


[First, I d like to thank you for being a concerned neighbor.

Second, if my dad says he will do something. You can mark my words. He is a man of his word.

3rd, My dad raised 3 kids in the same neighborhood. I want you to know things are being taken care of.

I just need to step off the gas pedal a lil bit and know you have been respectfully heard and my family is making it happen.

My dad stays unwell. Please be respectful. Nobody is ignoring you. We are all families in this community

Contact me directly from now on.

The new family thats moving in has their trucks outside being loaded.]


Me: I was not aware your dad was unwell. I will contact you from now on, but hopefully that won't be necessary. What do you mean when you say the new family moving in has trucks outside being loaded? As of this minute, the Plum house is still occupied by the old tenants.


[Again Marc, I want you to know my dad is under doctor's care and is very fragile. He is a good man. You will be taken care of at any cost. Period.

Have faith and some patience. M working on it too from Chicago as well.

You have our utmost respect n attention. I will personally contact you soon.

I m looking out 4 my dad and his health too. I only got 1 old man.

He dont need threats, your request is enough 4 all of us to step in.

My name is Bea. M his oldest kid. I invite you to be patient with serene calm mind. Universe will return the favor in 10 folds.

Namaste! (prayer hand emoji)]


Umm… say what?

Me: I am nice and serene. You didn't answer the question. What do you mean when you say the new family moving in has trucks outside being loaded? Outside where? As of this minute, the Plum house is still occupied by the old tenants.


[We have new tenants moving in very soon. Be patient, be kind. Everytime u look towards the house, inhale love n exhale love. Right now, you may not be perceiving things as they are, rather how you see!

No need to be on pins n needles. Cuz I got chu! Relax.

Your request has been received, approved, accepted, sealed, stamped!]


What in the actual hell is this idiot talking about? Are there three different people on the other end just grabbing the phone to text random crap at me? Can someone throw the phone to an adult?

Me: What actual date on the calendar will your current tenants be gone?


[I will call you tomorrow with that. Im sending my own tenants from my house to shift over there.]


Me: Text me. I like to have things in writing. It brings me peace and harmony.


[Blessings (double pink and red heart emoji)]


They did finally move out, but it took another week. I spent that week wondering if I was perceiving things as they really were, and concentrating on inhaling n exhaling love.

I’m fairly certain I was communicating with Bea’s idiot boyfriend more than half the time during that week, and I’m positive he was inhaling n exhaling something entirely different.


See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Group Text Hell

“I’ve never been held hostage, but I have been on a group text.”

If you own a smartphone, I’m sure that rings true for you. And if it doesn’t, then I’m terribly sorry that you were held hostage at some point in your life. I hope that’s not still going on!

I, unfortunately, have found the fourth level of group text hell. I am currently on a GroupMe with the seventh- and eighth-grade flag football teams. Not the parents. The actual seventh- and eighth-graders.

Like his brothers before him, Son Number Three won’t get a cell phones until high school, but I’m pretty sure every other kid on both teams has a phone and is on the GroupMe. The coach is young enough that he just set up the GroupMe and added the kids. I’m not even sure he was planning to communicate at all with the parents. For the first week of practice, I had no actual written or verbal proof that my son was even on the team.

I guess the coach is too young to realize that it used to be just the parents on the group communication, because we’re the ones that actually need to know the practice and game schedule.

Now, since all the kids have phones, they’re on, too. Here’s the first reason why that’s dumb: the parents still need to be on, because the last person you can trust to relay information correctly is an eighth-grade boy. My son cannot accurately explain to me a single solitary event of his entire day.

The second reason it’s dumb is that now the coach and whatever parents are unfortunate enough to be on the chat are stuck there with forty middle schoolers.

Allow me to illustrate the situation with a recent text string:


Coach: Our game this Thursday the 2nd is an away game. Please arrive at Johnson Middle School by 3:30pm for our 4:00 game time. Remember to wear your red away jersey.

Player 1: cool who are we playing

Player 2: johnson idiot

Player 3: hahaha

Player 4: ok

Player 4: are we home or away?

Player 1: coach said red jersey so were home

Player 2: we are away dude  we are only home when we playat our field idiot

Player 4: So white jersey?

Player 3: white jersey is home coach said red for away

Player 2: ya

Player 5: yep

Player 4: ok what time is the game? i need to find a ride. my mom is working i think

Player 1: the game is at 3:30 idiot you have to read coachs text

Player 2: the game is at 4 idiot we have to be their at 330 you have to learn to read hahahaha

Player 5: cool

Player 6: ok

Player 7: coach I dont want to play center I want to play a catching position I can catch you just have to see me

Player 2: dude you cant catch

Player 7: shut up

Player 4: hahahaha

Player 8: coach am I allowed to play in the game if I haven’t been to practice because I was sick but im not sick anymore?

Player 1: ya you should come. you can play

Player 9: What time is the game? who we playin?

[And on and on for another 24 texts]

Parent who didn’t start at the top of the 48-text string: Hi Coach, can you let us know the location and arrival time for this Thursday’s game, please?

Me on the couch listening to my phone beep like it’s a bomb about to go off: *just shoot me*


I’m starting to think it might be less of a headache if I just gave Son Number Three a cell phone and the car keys. Being off this GroupMe would probably be worth it.

I mean, he’s already thirteen. What could go wrong?

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Hot Dog Diet Plan

From time to time, I try to provide a public service with this column, since you receive basically zero useful information from me for a vast majority of the year. I’m here today to tell you I have solved the mystery of weight loss once and for all. You’re welcome.

Like almost every guy over forty, I am constantly waging a half-assed attempt at losing a little weight. Deep in the back of my brain, I know exactly what I need to do to shed unwanted pounds, but pizza and chocolate covered almonds exist, and that’s where the problems arise. My portion controls usually revolve around how big my plate is, and if there are seconds available.

There was one specific time in my life when I actually needed to lose weight in order to be allowed to go on vacation. We were scheduled to ride the mules down into the Grand Canyon, which is a thrilling, spine-chilling, hair-raising, intensely painful, once-in-a-lifetime adventure that I would highly recommend to anyone with a large life insurance policy.

You had to be under 200 pounds in order to ride, which was a bit of a challenge for me, to say the least. I came up with a diet plan that worked, mustered the willpower to pull it off over many months, and climbed the little step ladder onto Lucy the Gigantic Mule’s back at 196 pounds.

That was five years ago, and back then I lost the weight by cutting out excess sugar and eating a Mule Salad for lunch every day. If you are unfamiliar, and Mule Salad is a large bowl of lettuce topped with lite Italian dressing and despair.

I have since searched the burger joints of North America and found all that weight I lost, re-lost some of it, and re-found most of it again. This last month, however, has been a different story. I have cracked the code on efficient, no-nonsense weight loss, and thankfully for all of us, the Mule Salad is not in the equation. I have replaced it with a pastrami-wrapped hot dog covered in cheese.

You heard me. I have invented the pastrami cheese dog diet, and it works like a charm. You still have to cut out excess sugar, unfortunately, but you get to eat hot dogs instead of salad! Like I said, you’re welcome.

Here’s the entire diet plan, free of charge, that helped me drop more than ten pounds in the month of August:


Breakfast: Fruit smoothie and maybe some sourdough toast with butter and jam if you’re in the mood.

Daily Hydration: Coffee and LaCroix

Lunch: Nathan’s bun-length hot dog, wrapped in pastrami, with melted cheddar cheese, sliced dill pickle, ketchup, and mustard on a standard-length regular hot dog bun.

Afternoon snack: Nuts (not coated in chocolate) or a piece of fruit, if required.

Dinner: Whatever is for dinner, in a sensible portion.

COVID: Eighteen days of COVID, insane cough, crazy fatigue, becoming a completely worthless heap on the couch, sleeping all the time, not eating anything for a week and then only soup for five days, lots of Gatorade.

Dessert: Only on special occasions, no more than twice a week.


There you have it, folks. It’s a simple diet plan with amazing results. The only problem is, I’m not sure I would wish it on my worst enemy.

Except for the pastrami cheese dogs, that is. Those come with my highest recommendation.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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