Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Slapstick Comedy

Did anyone watch the Academy Awards on Sunday night? Yeah, me neither, but I’ll bet a lot of money you’ve seen some footage from it by now. You know what I’m talking about.

The slap.

That’s right, the slap in the face received by Nadia Stacey, when her masterful work in Cruella lost out in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category to that no-talent hack, Linda Dowds, from The Eyes of Tammy Faye. What a travesty.

Oh, also when Will Smith walked up onstage when he wasn’t supposed to be there and slapped Chris Rock across the face.

Here’s what happened, in case you somehow, inexplicably missed it. Chris Rock, a professional comedian, was hired to be onstage at an event where Hollywood gets together to congratulate itself. Not surprisingly, he made some jokes. In order to keep with the theme of the evening, the jokes were about actors and movies.

One of the jokes was about how Will Smith’s wife, Jada, could be cast in G.I. Jane 2.

Will Smith laughed. He laughed out loud. Then he happened to look over at his wife.

You see, the joke revolves around the fact that Demi Moore’s character in G.I. Jane, and so, by default, Demi Moore herself, shaved her head in the movie. Jada Smith is currently bald, because of a medical condition called onomatopoeia, which makes the hair go whoosh, right off your head.

Jada’s facial expression after the joke clearly indicated one of the following:

a) she didn’t think the joke was funny

b) she didn’t think her husband should be laughing about it on national television

c) both a and b

Which answer is correct? We may never know, but what we do know is that upon seeing his wife’s face, Will Smith then decided that he actually hated the joke so much he was willing to make a complete ass out of himself in front of the world by acting like a middle-schooler with hurt feelings.

Chris Rock didn’t get smacked because Will Smith was angry about the joke. Chris Rock got smacked because Will Smith was in trouble with his wife, and took it out on him, like a spoiled heiress who didn’t approve of the temperature of her lobster thermidor. (And to his absolute credit, Chris took the slap like it actually came from a spoiled, limp-wristed heiress.)

If Jada Smith had walked up on stage and slapped Chris Rock, it would have still been petty and sad, but completely believable. It might have even been funny, and Chris could have played it off even more masterfully than he did with Will’s slap.

But when Will chose to attempt to get out of hot water with the missus by slapping a comedian, that was just plain pathetic.

But never mind all that. Here’s the real issue: What kind of dude slaps another dude? Come on, man. You must have had extensive fight training for your roles over the years. I mean, you played Muhammad Ali, for goodness sake. Muhammad Ali!

If you’re going to resort to violence to try to get out of trouble with your wife, at least punch the guy.

And to both Will and Jada - If you’re going to choose to be a public figure, your skin has to be thick.

Even if your hair isn’t.

(It’s cool, Jada. I have onomatopoeia too, so we can “ha ha” about it together.)

No, still too soon?

OK, my bad. Please don’t send Will over.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Theft is Finally Illegal

Great news out of Sacramento recently for all you Californians who own cars. So, basically, all of you.

It took ten separate Senate and Assembly bills to get it done (I wish I was making that up), but stealing things is once again illegal.

It is possible that with these ten important new laws, someone hacksawing your catalytic converter out from under your car in the middle of the night could, in fact, be breaking some sort of law now, punishable by some sort of punishment of some kind.

That’s exciting news! For those of you unfamiliar with how the modern automobile works, allow me to explain. The catalytic converter is a metal box in the middle of the exhaust emissions tubular tailpipe system of your car that, in layman’s terms, converts the unwanted and poisonous gas, catalyte, present in your car’s exhaust, into water and pure oxygen using an interior grid filter mesh system made out of platinum, mink fur, and diamonds.

As you can imagine, these devices, about the size of an insurance executive’s wallet, are quite valuable. Roughly seven-eighths of the total cost of your car is the catalytic converter, based on data from top insurance companies and repair shops. The other three-quarters of your car’s value is any other part that gets dented.

Up until the distinguished ladies and gentlemen in Sacramento sprung into action, if a cop pulled over a meth tweaker out cruising the town at two in the morning, and said upstanding citizen happened to have one, two, or even a dozen catalytic converters riding shotgun, the police officer was forced to assume that those very specific and valuable car parts rightfully belonged to this man with no discernable access to personal hygiene products or logical itinerary for his evening.

Having in your possession a grand total of thirty-five cents, six cigarette butts, a hacksaw, and nine thousand dollars-worth of the same loose car part that is commonly stolen due to its value just wasn’t enough probable cause under the old laws.

Apparently too many legitimate catalytic converter supply house drivers on their way to the Chevrolet assembly plant in Antioch were being unfairly hassled by the cops when they got pulled over with nine grimy catalytic converters strewn across the back seat of their crappy ’97 Nissan Sentra with the donut spare on the right front wheel.

Oh, wait, that’s not how catalytic converters are delivered to the auto manufacturers? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Who could have known? Thank God we have ten new laws to sort all this out.

And never mind the cops’ hands being tied. I mean, the recycling companies that purchase catalytic converters with hacksawed tailpipe remnants on both ends from scabby, strung-out meth heads were obviously powerless to stop this crime wave. How could they have known these things full of precious metals were stolen and not the legitimate property of this skinny, toothless, itchy weasel who apparently owns twelve cars but doesn’t want any of them to ever pass smog again because he needs money to complete the cabinet renovations and granite countertops in his two thousand-square-foot sunroom?

It's just impossible to figure out some sort of system or enforcement that could have stopped that. What a puzzler!

Anyway, with these ten innovative new laws, Sacramento has come through for us big time. Crime is finally illegal again. Catalytic converter theft should stop any second now.

Now if we could just think of some innovative way to make drugs illegal… oh, never mind, I forgot. We’re going the other way on that one.

That should help.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

No Time to Change

It is entirely possible that the federal government is about to do something that I will like. That rarely happens. And by rarely, I mean never.

I have been saying for my entire adult life that we have enough laws. We have far too many, actually, since there are laws about what kind of light bulbs I can have in my house and how much water is allowed to be in my toilet.

I have also been saying that the federal government should be part time and be paid accordingly. Career politicians are THE problem with any government, and if we could just make it so the lawmakers had to have two or three jobs to support themselves and their families, we would actually get some hardworking, sensible people in there. But alas, no such luck.

There is one more law that needs to be written however, before we drastically revamp how Washington works, and it appears as if it might just be happening now. I am, of course, referring to the abolition of twice-yearly “Daylight Savings” time changes.

No one likes changing the clocks. Whomever came up with the idea was a complete psycho, and we were (and are) complete morons for continuing to go along it. Our kids get up waaaay too early in November and we need a pneumatic jackhammer to get them out of bed in March. It’s a gigantic pain in my ass having to remember how many clocks I own (garage sprinkler timer, I’m looking at you), not to mention trying to remember how to set the clock on our overly complicated car stereo. But most notably, it messes with my wife’s sleepy time, which is hazardous to everyone’s health.

In short, it’s dangerous and it sucks.

But now, there might be an “extra” hour of sunlight at the end of the long, dark time change tunnel. An unprecedentedly bipartisan bill has passed through the senate this week that would get rid of clock changes nationwide. Currently, it’s a state-by-state decision whether or not to change the clocks, which makes even less sense than changing the clocks in the first place.

I mean, we already have time zones, which although obviously necessary, are still confusing. Just think about those poor people who live and work near the time zone line. If you lived right on the line, how would you ever know store hours, or what time practice starts. How would you ever plan anything?

“I’ll see you at three o’clock.”

“Which three o’clock?”

What if you lived in one time zone and worked in another? That’s my idea of what hell would be like. So, why have we allowed individual states to further complicate things by not changing their clocks when the rest of us had to? It’s absolute madness.

The madness could be coming to an end on November 20, 2023. The bill – which in true government megalomaniac fashion, they have named the “Sunshine Protection Act,” as if our benevolent leaders on Capitol Hill are somehow actually shepherding the sun for us – would keep the entire country on what we just changed to – Daylight Savings Time.

We can’t just stay on DST now and never touch the clocks again, because airlines and other transportation entities apparently don’t know how to use computers. But if the bill passes – and so help me, House of Representatives, it better – we would only have to endure one more set of ridiculous clock manipulations before everything will finally be logical again.

That is, unless the Association of Early Morning Winter Joggers or some other such group has a powerful, monied lobby. Then the career politicians may be swayed by a series of generous donations to their wife’s brother’s non-profit organizations, and vote poorly.

I mean, no politician in Washington is dumb enough to actually want to continue changing our clocks, right?


I’ll be here holding my breath.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Now Accepting Network Offers

I was lucky enough to be asked last year to help with the public address announcing at our high school lacrosse games. Son Number Two was a freshman on the team last spring, and since I know virtually nothing about lacrosse, I immediately agreed to help.

This was back when healthy, mask-wearing kids were being quarantined from school and sports for two weeks at a time because someone in their class may or may not have had COVID symptoms. It’s fine. I’m over it, mostly.

One of our good friends on the team was forced to hang out on his couch while perfectly healthy and miss the game.

I was in the booth when I got a text from them at home saying they could hear me. My immediate response was, wow, I must have this microphone turned up waaay too loud, because your house is like three or four miles from here.

No, they told me, not on the P.A. system. They were watching the game on something called the NFHS Network. Come to find out, the National Federation of State High School Associations has a network where member schools can provide a camera feed so that subscribers can watch the games – usually with no sound.

I had the windows open on the front of the stadium press box so that I could see, and the NFHS Network cameras turned out to be mounted right above my head on the front of the building. They apparently had microphones that were picking up my voice, ever so faintly, from inside the booth, when I wasn’t talking on the P.A. system.

Since I am always the consummate professional, I only had a minor heart attack about what I might have unknowingly said. Our friends assured me that I was OK, then informed me that there were two cameras, one for each side of the field, and the scoreboard side camera was not working. So, they were only seeing half the action and didn’t know the score or the time.

They asked me to please speak up about four or five notches and provide a running play-by-play for that side of the field. I was happy to do so, which most certainly annoyed anyone sitting in the bleachers directly below my booth, but I didn’t care because they were mostly the visitors’ fans anyway.

When I got home that night, I looked up the NFHS Network website to see how the whole thing worked, and made a startling discovery. In small print at the bottom of the website it read, “NFHS Network is part of the CBS Digital Network.”

Yes, that’s right. For about seventy-five minutes on a glorious spring evening last year, I was a national sports play-by-play announcer for CBS.

I had no idea.

We are back in business this spring with a full team on the field, and I am announcing a game tonight. But make no mistake, CBS, I will not be providing any free play-by-play to the cameras above my head this time without a substantial contract offer from you.

I’m serious, fellas. No free rides. That offer needs to have at least one or two zeros behind it. Let’s make it happen.

And look, I know you obviously want more of the microphone magic, but I understand how things are going these days, I really do. Not to show my cards too early in the negotiations, but if things are tight over there at the network right now, I would be willing to talk about accepting some sort of snack bar voucher in lieu of a salary.

Seriously, call me.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

An Open Letter to the $%*#@ Government

Dear Federal and State Government Yahoos,

I was finally able to complete our tax returns the other day. I would have been done with them much earlier, but I had to wait for you folks from the California Franchise Tax Board to finalize a form. You know the one – the Passive Activity Loss Limitation form.

That makes a ton of sense, since that form in no way applies to the activity that was in question – our rental property. On my taxes I told you that we were active participants in the managing of the rental and we didn’t have losses. So naturally, we needed to delay our filing by two weeks while you let the ink dry on the form that is for people who had losses from a rental they weren’t actively managing.

Once we were able to fill in that handy form with a long column of zeros and N/A’s, we finally e-filed our state and federal returns. As you are aware, I don’t like giving you interest-free loans, but I also don’t like having to send you money at the end of the year either, so we adjust our withholdings accordingly to get a small return back from both of you.

As you federal government whackos might recall, you attempted to buy my love this year with my own money. You sent us six separate paper checks in the mail, totaling half of our sizeable child tax credit we get for being foolish enough to let our three large teenage boys live in our house and eat our food.

Again, I’m not sure how sending me money early that was going to be a credit on my taxes changes my net financial situation, other than certainly causing me a financial hardship if I was foolish enough to spend it.

I was not that foolish.

Since you took it upon yourself to send me a tax credit early, in a turn of events that no one could have seen coming, I actually owed you money with my tax return. I know you can’t see it right now, but rest assured I’m making my shocked face.

I, unfoolishly, kept all the money you sent me, so sending you what I “owe” will be no problem. What was a problem, however, was your tone at the end of my return. You printed me four quarterly tax pre-payment coupons for next year with my return, each one for a fourth of what I “owe” you this year.

OK, that’s one idiotic thing, but what really was even more ridiculous was the stern warning you included with my useless payment vouchers:

If you expect to owe more than $1000 next year, you may be subject to underpayment penalties if you fail to send adequate quarterly payments.

Um, excuse me? If I EXPECT to owe more than $1000?? I expected YOU to owe ME $1000, not the other way around. The only reason I “owe” you money this year is because you chose to send me a bunch of it early! How the hell am I supposed to expect anything from now on?

I have no idea what you’re planning to do, and you sure as hell didn’t ask me if I wanted your pretty green “please love us” checks to be mailed to my house. I might owe you twice as much next year if you get a wild hair and send me ALL of my child tax credit early.

Or are you only planning on sending me a quarter of it, due to budget cuts? Or maybe the whole early child tax credit thing is too passé and you’re planning to attempt to endear yourselves to me some other way?

Maybe you’ll send me a puppy this year instead of checks? I would then have to figure out the street value of the puppy to decide if I should be sending quarterly payments, and how much they should be.

What if you decide to go a little more exotic than a puppy and you send me something like a baby giraffe? That could really seal the deal on gaining my trust and affection, but it would be much harder to gauge its value.

You can see my dilemma here…

In conclusion, I will not be sending you any estimated tax payments over the course of this year, and I wish you would all resign.

With my sincerest disapproval,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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