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The Last Word

Issue #481

October 2014

America’s least wanted
On dark and stormy nights—when the bubble gum is inaccessible and the canker sores are expanding—
cool people like to spend hours on the Intertubes browsing the websites of prisons and jails in their region to look
up old schoolmates. Lately, I’ve noticed that the number of my former schoolmates peopling local jails has
declined precipitously—probably because they tend to die off before they turn 41. I did notice that one of my
grade school teachers appears to have been busted for domestic violence—which isn’t surprising, considering the
obvious incompetence she displayed when I was in her class—but other than that, there haven’t been many
discoveries lately of criminality by past school villains.
Or maybe they all moved to a town in California that has a straaaaange way of fighting crime.
Once, maybe 15 years ago, I saw a segment on America’s
Most Wanted about this town. Seems there was a shopping center
that kept getting robbed. So the local police said, “Stop! Or we’ll
say ‘stop’ again!”
More specifically, authorities fought the robberies by
placing a life-sized cardboard cutout of a police officer on the roof
of the shopping center. The decoy cop was designed to be visible
to anyone entering the shopping center, in the hopes that
lawbreakers would be scared away. An old, beat-up police cruiser
was stationed on the parking lot just below. The only time the
statue wasn’t posted was during rainy weather, when police took it
down to keep it from getting (keek!) ruined.
Why did the police department even want this technique
revealed on America’s Most Wanted? That was a very popular
show at the time, so most criminals in town probably saw that
episode, and the cops’ cover was blown. Once the criminal
element knew the policeman was just a decoy, surely they figured
the coast was clear to resume their crime wave. But wasn’t it
already strange that the cop was able to stand perfectly still 100%
of the time and that his facial expression never changed?
One police official said this crime-fighting strategy
worked because “most crooks don’t read the newspaper” so they’ll
never learn that the police officer was just a statue. But America’s Most Wanted wasn’t a newspaper.
Later, for no apparent reason, the department began dressing up the decoy cop in a Superman cape—like
they expected robbers to believe Superman was actually on the store’s roof.
Several years after all this, this FBI reported that this town had the highest rate of property crime of any
municipality in the entire state of California. Gee, I wonder why.
I guess that’s where my former classmates have gone—after learning about the town’s ineffective crimefighting methods. It appears that having a school district in Kentucky that intentionally encouraged their crime
was no longer necessary—as long as there was a whole city in California that encouraged it accidentally.

The incredible shrinking toilet lid cover
Toilets need a proper fluffy-wuffy. Toilet lid covers aren’t merely decorative. They help contain the
inevitable stink.
Toilet lid covers were a big deal when I was growing up. And they were funny little monsters. But they
must fit right, or they’re useless. So one day, my folks were disappointed to buy a new toilet lid cover only to find
out that it didn’t fit. It was too small for our johnnypooper.
My mom kept complaining that the toilet lid cover should be taken plumb back to the store. But that was
before I actually saw the toilet lid in an open position with this cover on it. That was after we ultimately decided
to keep the cover, but it looked absolutely ridiculous...

Since it was the ‘80s, you’d think the toilet lid cover would have had the new wave thing going...

Or perhaps a Ronald Reagan noflet...

Because we’re working people, we didn’t return this defective item; we simply let it run its course. I
suspect that if we had returned the toilet lid cover, people would think we were just being snobbish, so it’s better
that we didn’t.
Toilet lids are usually of a standard size and shape. So how is it possible that a store got away with selling

a toilet lid cover that didn’t even fit?
The incredible shrinking toilet lid cover was simultaneously incredible, shrinking, and a toilet lid cover.

Weren’t you a little hard on the Beaver last night, Ponch?
I’m in a nostalgic mood again, and one thing that I’ve found interesting for years is when a TV show slips
something past the censors on what is otherwise the tame medium of over-the-air television.
I guarantee you it’s been going on since the early days of the American TV industry—maybe even as far
back as early radio. Guarantee you! One of the most famous TV examples is the line from Leave It To Beaver in
which June Cleaver declared, “Weren’t you a little hard on the Beaver last night, Ward?” That flew right by the
censors. They just didn’t get it. But one of the writers for Leave It To Beaver later admitted slipping that line into
the show just to pull one over on the censors.
The creatively dirty minds of TV writers broadened from there. Later, in the ‘70s, TV became much
edgier. Audiences were more sophisticated, and there were many more shows that were more topical and
grownup. But when R-rated banter was smuggled past the censors and into shows that otherwise seemed
relatively clean, that was a different story. Take the police drama CHiPs, for instance. I regularly watched CHiPs
when I was growing up—but that was when I was much too young to realize what a risque show it was. Recently,
I discovered CHiPs reruns on one of the newfangled digital subchannels for an over-the-air station, so I can
attempt to watch it through a pixellated signal. I noticed there was one exchange in a CHiPs episode that bipped
right by the censors without anyone even noticing. In this scene, Ponch had taken some woman to a fancy
restaurant. The server brang a bottle of wine and noted that it had been aged since 1969.
Then Ponch began making a big issue about “69.” Imagine Erik Estrada with his trademark grin going on
and on about “69”—in a show that aired on network TV, no less! I’m certain that either the show’s writers or Mr.
Estrada himself slipped this in there just to get by the censors.
You may remember how CHiPs usually ended each episode by having a fade-in to the closing music that
sounded like a beer commercial, while the video kept freezing and unfreezing on the cast members engaging in
some whimsical chitchat. But the restaurant scene wasn’t at the end of the show after all the 5-year-olds had gone
nighty-night. It was right in the middle of the show! Children were watching.
(Incidentally, CHiPs originally aired on NBC—not ABC. Several years ago, I had a protracted argument
with a family member about what network showed it. I knew it was NBC, because I remember a long stretch
when they kept preempting it every week, and Wikipedia promptly proved me right. I’ll also never forget how the
yellow lettering in the credits kept turning green because our TV set when I was growing up barely worked.)
Even Sesame Street—that’s right, Sesame Street—wasn’t above tweaking the censors back in the amazing
‘70s. In one series of episodes, the Sesame Street kick-ass crew went on a fact-finding mission to Hawaii. Oscar
the Grouch had a rather interesting encounter
with the woman working at the metal
detector at the airport. You can tell right
away the ol’ Osk wants to be frisked by her.
Then, as Oscar is standing in his garbage
can, the scene shows the woman grabbing a
chain from the trash can and tugging on it
furiously. Oscar observes with a laugh, “Wait
‘til she gets to the anvil at the other end!”
Then Oscar smiles widely at the woman.
After the program cuts to an
animated skit about a bee, we return to the
airport. In this airport segment, we see an
apparently naked Oscar strolling past a sign
that says “ENTER HERE”, while the other
characters cheer him.
Yes, Oscar the Grouch got laid on
the way to get leied!
These airport scenes are included in
this YouTube clip...
The naughty bits at the airport were for adults viewing Sesame Street with their kids, I’m sure. I have no
doubt whatsoever about that. But there’s no “agenda.” It’s art, and it is to be admired.

In more recent times, a lot of TV writers aren’t creative enough to be that subtle. But the censors are so
dumb and naive that a lot of stuff gets past them anyway. It’s like they were never even allowed out of their
houses until they were 30. In the mid-’90s, Charles Barkley appeared in a memorable commercial for Right Guard
deodorant. This commersh was memorable because it seemed to advertise condoms just as much as it did
deodorant. Near the end of the ad, the basketball legend said, “When it comes to protection, one shouldn’t mess
around,” as the camera turned to an attractive woman, who then smiled.
Remember, this commercial was on network TV, and the networks have always been petrified of any
reference whatsoever to condoms. But any grownup viewer—except the censors, who didn’t understand it—knew
that line in the ad wasn’t necessarily about deodorant. If it was something the censors actually understood but let
it go, I wouldn’t even be mentioning it here.
But nope. They’re dumb.

What bunker blasts do
Flatulence usually isn’t considered high art. Farts make a stupid sound, they smell bad, and they don’t
perform any actual work. So why does everyone love bunker blasts so much?
Because they’re so damn funny.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Internet chat rooms, where the gospel of fart jokes has been spread
far and wide. Whenever someone detects an air biscuit—whether they overhear their neighbors in an apartment
next door to them, or if they muster it up themselves—it’s customary to announce it in the chat room. There’s a
zillion ways of doing this. Here’s some of the sayings to that effect, and these can all be used in various
combinations, depending on the type of fart, or if it’s of an unspecified
variety (leaving folks to guess)...

“A bunkeroo now wafts.”
“An SBD now looms.”
“An LAP now hovers.”
“A one-cheek squeak just escaped from the zoo.”
“A Quiet Riot just flew the coop.”
“A trouser sneeze just got elected Vice-President.”
“A loominsky just ruined baseball.”
“A stinker now rules the airwaves.”
“A pooteroony just topped the charts.”
“A pop bunk just appeared on Tic Tac Dough.”
“A wafto just got arrested for receiving stolen property.”

It’s also common to make observations such as, “It smells like poopstink in here,” which may or may not
signify a bunker blast—or it could just be the scent of someone soiling their pants.

Someone blew up a toilet and it looked funny
To close out this abbreviated ish, I’ve found another uproarious video on YouTube. In this clip, a person
threw fireworks in their toilet, which blowed it to smithereens. Supposedly it was by accident, but you’d have to
be a real idiot to have an accident like that. What’s particularly amusing is the sound of breaking porcelain and the
toilet bowl shattering while the seat and lid miraculously remain intact...
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