Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Look, I don’t want to alarm anyone, but we may have a catastrophic situation brewing here. My sleepy little town of Rocklin, California – elevation 249 feet above sea level – is about to get hit with a sizeable weather event.

We are currently bracing for a major winter storm. The grim forecast is calling for as many as fifteen, to possibly even twenty, minutes of snow, scheduled to slam into our unsuspecting hamlet tomorrow morning at 7:00 am.

Do you have any idea what that means? This has the potential for total chaos. We would be staring down the barrel of massive school closures, if we were in school right now. Ironically, the kids are currently off for “ski week.” They’ll probably be skiing down main street tomorrow morning.

Stores may or may not be selling out of Gatorade and AAA batteries as we speak. All I can tell you is the one I went to the other day had very questionable stocking levels.

Hundreds of families probably Googled “Tesla Solar Batteries” in just the last few hours, all of them coming to the same conclusion – they still don’t make financial sense.

But what does it matter? Our solar panels will soon be covered with God-only-knows how many individual flakes of snow, possibly even forming a layer. How in the hell are those things supposed to produce energy for us when they’re virtually frozen solid??

How will we get to work? How will we get our expensive drive-thru coffee? How will we even get out of our houses? Not a single one of us owns a snow shovel.

On the plus side, hundreds of family pets will see snow for the first time. Some children may even get to make snowmen in their front yards. They could be up to five or maybe even six inches in height. (The snowmen, not the children.)

By the way, is it still snowman? I mean, it’s 2023, so is it officially snowperson now? Or snowfigure? I’m really not sure, but I guess it might all depend on where you put the carrot?

Anyway… Amid the ensuing chaos, at least the kids and their pets will be having a good time. That is, if they can even make it from the front door to the lawn through the blowing drifts of sno… Oh, wait, hang on. Nope. The forecast has changed. Looks like it’s just going to be just rain now instead of snow.

Well, that’s a relief. Do you think I can return all this Gatorade and these AAA’s? Or maybe I should donate them to the folks up in the Sierras, about an hour east of here. They’re scheduled for three feet of snow and 70 mph winds.

Nah, they’ll be fine. They’re used to that sort of thing…

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Super Surprising

Well, the Super Bowl was this past Sunday, and as usual, we all learned a ton of surprising facts. For instance, we learned that musician Dave Grohl is not a Canadian. Who knew? He did however star in a Crown Royal ad during the game where he thanked Canada for a bunch of good stuff they produced or invented. The list was often shocking.

Dave, while not on the list himself, revealed that musicians from Canada include the band Rush, folk singer Joni Mitchell, and international superstar Celine Dion – a fact Ms. Dion managed to keep hidden until just this past weekend.

Canadian-born actors included Martin Short, Seth Rogen, and Michael Cera, best known for always being the weird kid in everything. Canada has also given us Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, co-stars of the hit show Schitt’s Creek. In fact, most of the cast was Canadian, which brings up some collusion and possible tax evasion questions about the show, but we’re willing to overlook everything if Canada will agree to take Chris Elliot and never give him back.

The list of foods that Canada can take credit for was equally surprising. Poutine, while delicious, was not a shock, but peanut butter was. I always thought it was invented by George Washington Carver, based solely on an Eddie Murphy SNL skit from my youth, but as it turns out some Canadian named Marcellus Gilmore Edson was the first to make peanut paste, way back in 1884. American Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of the Cheerio, later patented a process to make peanut butter from flakes of corn, if I have read Wikipedia correctly.

Canada also blessed the world with instant potatoes, canola oil, and amazingly, the Hawaiian pizza. I think they should only get one-quarter credit on that, though, since they used our pineapple, our state name, and pizza is obviously Italian. The only thing they provided, besides a pizza topping combination that divides the human race into unwavering camps, is the Canadian bacon.

Canada’s list of products they can take credit for was impressive. If it was not for our friendly neighbors to the north, we apparently wouldn’t have the paint roller, plastic trash bags, the ironing board, egg cartons, or the whoopee cushion. If you are somehow unfamiliar, Wikipedia provides the most sterile, textbook description ever: A whoopee cushion is a practical joke device involving flatulence humor, which produces a noise resembling human flatulence. Thank you, Canada, for 90+ years of hilarious flatulence-related humor!

In the electricity department, Canada has provided us with the electric wheelchair and the walkie talkie – or hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver, if you’re Wikipedia. Coincidently, no child, American or Canadian, has ever picked up a walkie talkie without providing the person on the other end with free flatulence humor.

Canada also gave us portable electricity itself, in the form of the battery. The first true battery was of course invented by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta in 1800.  He also later invented the Chevy Volt. It was Canadian Lewis Frederick Urry, however, in 1927, that perfected Volta’s work in the form of the first long-lasting alkaline battery, six hundred AAA’s of which now power the Chevy Volt.

It was the sports category that really took us all by surprise, however. Canada is responsible for inventing the instant replay, which Eagles fans all wish was used on a certain holding call on Sunday. Hockey came as no shock to anyone, but basketball was unexpected. I give Canada half credit on this one as well, since basketball was invented here in the United States by a Canadian-born gym teacher, who had nothing more than a bouncy ball, two peach baskets, and a dream.

But, bar-none, the most shocking, surprising, unexpectedly mind-blowing revelation of the night was finding out how much money the National Football League is willing to spend on a baby announcement for a singer not even affiliated with their organization.

This year’s game forwent the traditional musical halftime show performance to instead spend countless millions of dollars to announce Rihanna’s new pregnancy and feature a dramatic reenactment of the human biology behind her conception.

Rihanna, dressed in red, played the part of the egg, and all of her backup dancers were dressed in white with big hoods. They played the sperm. It was as riveting as it was educational.

Oh, there was one other surprising fact from Dave Grohl – Canada invented American football.

Thanks, eh?

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

An Open Letter to China's Weather Research Guys

Dear Chinese Weather Scientists,

Sorry about accidentally shooting down your giant weather balloon! That was our bad, and totally accidental, just like it was an accident that your weather research balloon veered off course and traveled across the entire length of the United States, passing over each one of our states that happen to have missile silos. We get it. Accidents happen.

That being the case, I’m sure you guys understand that Andy feels really bad about shooting it out of the sky. He was the guy flying our F-22 Raptor Weather Research Plane near your weather research balloon. As you know, accidents happen, and he shot one of our AIM-9X Supersonic, Heat-Seeking, Air-to-Air Weather Research Missiles into what he thought was a 200-foot, perfectly round cloud. Turns out it was your balloon. Whoopsie.

You see, we regularly fly our F-22 Raptor Weather Research Planes around and shoot our AIM-9X Supersonic, Heat-Seeking, Air-to-Air Weather Research Missiles at clouds, for weather research purposes. We want to know if the clouds contain any heat. If the missile goes for the cloud, we alert our weather researchers that we’ve got a hot cloud coming. If the missile goes around the cloud, it’s a cold cloud and there’s probably nothing to worry about.

Funny story: Steve, another F-22 Raptor Weather Research Plane pilot, saw what we now know was your innocent weather balloon over Montana, but he saw all your weather surveillance equipment underneath it and didn’t know what it was, so he shot at a different cloud instead.

Good thing, because we now know your sophisticated weather sensing camera equipment under your weather balloon was the length of two or three school busses, and weighed more than a ton. Our government officials gave Steve an “atta boy” for not dropping that stuff on Montana, for fear of hitting someone.

The residents of Montana disagree however, because they know the truth: You could drop the state of Wyoming onto the state of Montana and not hit anyone. There’s only one person per six trillion square miles in Montana. There’s also a couple missile silos. You might have seen those when you were looking downward for all the weather.

Incidentally, great job on building such an impressive weather research balloon! Our Statue of Liberty is only 151 feet tall. Your 200-foot-tall balloon would have looked almost 49 feet taller than Lady Liberty if you’d accidentally veered it a couple hundred miles north. But then it wouldn’t have accidentally flown over all the missile states.

Some good news, though. Our Navy is currently fishing your innocent weather surveillance balloon out of the ocean as we speak, so I’m sure we’ll get all your important weather data back to you in a jiffy.

But if the data happens to be too wet and damaged to be useful, we assume you can just default to all the weather research data you’ve been collecting on TikTok as a good backup source.

Stay awesome,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Happy New Year?

It’s February 1st today, and I think we should review our standard nationwide protocols when it comes to saying, “Happy New Year.”

As a general rule, you’re pretty safe just shotgunning “Happy New Year” out into the world until the 10th of January or so. With friends and family, you’ve got a much more relaxed timeline, depending on the first time you see or talk to them after New Year’s Eve. A close family member or a really good friend can comfortably receive a HNY well into January.

With work, you’ll want to keep the 10th in mind as a good guideline. Even before the 10th, however, you’ll need to exercise caution in the workplace.

It can be a major business faux pas to wish the same colleague a HNY more than once in the office. Similarly, wishing a client or vendor a HNY for a second time over the phone can lead to awkwardness. You’ll either want to keep a list of all the people you’ve wished a HNY to, or have an earlier cut-off date.

I would suggest the earlier cut-off date, since someone else finding your list can lead to more awkwardness during your embarrassing explanation, or a trip to HR if you refuse to give a plausible one. It makes people nervous when Bob in accounting has an unexplained list of officemates with some of the names crossed off.

Wishing a HNY to the clerk at the grocery store, the person behind the counter at the coffee place, or your server at a restaurant needs to end right around the 4th or so. You might still be in the holiday mood and want to be friendly and wish them a HNY, but they’ve had the HNY exchange six thousand times by then and they’re just done with it, so have a heart and let them off the hook.

If you’re a friendly sort, and like to wish random passersby on the street a HNY, stick with the 10th as your guideline. Anything past that and it’s getting weird. If you want to say HNY at the end of January, it better be to your immediate family members, and even then they’re going to think you’re being weird.

And for the love of Pete, under no circumstances should a HNY come out of your mouth or land in a text or email after January has ended. This is the official, 100%, no wiggle room, cease and desist, cut-off day.

It’s February now. No one wants to hear it. It’s cold, some of us have started our taxes, and pretty soon we all have to figure out what to do about Valentine’s Day.

Happy February,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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