Tag Archives: Musings

Calling All Phone Monkeys

by timo cerantola

Telephone solicitations have become a problem at our house as we’ve been getting far too many of them lately, especially at supper time. As a result, we have now instituted a house rule on all telephone solicitations. The answer is always no. We do not do business with telemarketers and we don’t care whether they’re calling to save us money or give us money.

I even wrote a little poem for when telemarketers call.

“Our carpets are clean, our ducts are sucked and our lawn we never spray. Our driveway is sealed, we’re eating right now so please, just go away.”

So, the other night at supper, when the phone rang as per usual, I answered.

“Good evening Mr. Seranantaranoli, my name is Wilma Flintstone and I’m with “yada-yada” (name withheld to protect the guilty) incorporated. I’m calling to offer you something ‘special’. Do you feel you have enough insurance?”

I used my poem on her. She called me a nut and hung up. So I guess the poem works.

Last night I should have used the poem again but I broke our telephone solicitation rule when I heard her voice. When asked if I had the time, I said, with my mouth full, “(crunch, munch) sure, I guess so (munch, crunch). What can I do for you? She had a really nice voice. It kind of felt like I was talking to Angelina Jolie (whom I’ve had a crush on since I was 43).

“Could you answer a few questions for our survey?” She began with her sexy Angelina Jolie voice.

“I guess so Angelina, uh, I mean, sure, absolutely.” I gushed.

Question # 1 “Do you own or rent?” She asked.

“Are you selling home improvements?” I queried. “No, it’s just a survey.” She said.

“We own.” I replied.

#2. “Do you have area or wall to wall carpeting?”

“Wall to wall.” I replied. “Are you selling carpet cleaning?”

“No!” She said. “It’s just a marketing survey.

# 3. What type of vacuum do you own, upright or canister?”

“Ah ha!” I bursted. “Vacuum cleaners. You’re selling vacuum cleaners.” I exclaimed triumphantly.

“No!!!” She said.

“Canister.” I sputtered.

#4. What brand name is your lawn mower?”

You’re oddly curious, I thought. “The Sears brand.” I answered. “What in God’s name are you selling?” I blurted.

If she wasn’t trying to sell me something, maybe she was surreptitiously trying to indoctrinate me into some weird telephone sales cult. She was trying to turn me into some kind of mindless marketing moonie!

“Hurry up and tell me what it is I’m not buying!” I demanded.

She wouldn’t, so I politely said good night and put the phone down. I never did find out what it was that I didn’t want.

Oh well, the next time some phone monkey calls me, I have a new plan. Next time I’m going to say, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now but give me your home number and I’ll call you back when I’m free. By the way, what time do you usually have supper?


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Advice for the Historically Challenged

Dear Abby,

I don’t want to give my identity away so let’s just say I’m the former leader of a very powerful North American country. I’m writing you because I have a very serious legacy problem. I thought you might be able to help me out.

You see Abby, for most of my tenure as president, I was basically what they call a lame duck leader – not like a real duck that is actually lame like from having a bad leg or being shot by Dick Turdblossom (not his real name), but a lame duck like in the way they call presidents who are merely figureheads without any real power. I don’t really know why they call us that, they just do. Anyways, I am real concerned with how history will remember me.

Now early on, I used to be a pretty popular leader with huge approval ratings. Heck, everyone wanted to have a beer with me. But after a year or so, everyone just thought of me as the village idiot, and my popularity dropped faster than a mob informant in the Hudson River. Anyway, I was hoping y’all could help me out with some advice regarding my historical legacy.

I always wanted to be a leader. My daddy was a leader. I thought it would make me very happy. The leader before me, “Bill Klinton” (name changed to protect his identity) always looked so calm, cool and collected that is, until he got caught with his pants down a few years back.

Seems a lot of those intern girls really went for Billy, though if you ask me, that Veronica Brewinski girl (not her real name either) was easier than microwave popcorn. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, heh-heh-heh, get it?

Anyway, I’ve been out of work for 5 years and I’ve got nothing going on. Ol’ Bill has been out of office for 13 years and he still gets no end of invites to big time universities, fancy dinners and TV interviews.

Now it’s true, my leadership did have a few problems. The people saw me as a witless moron just because I couldn’t pronounciate some words so good. So what, if my vocabulary is as bad as, uh, whatever?

And so what if I got my country mixed up in a couple of really dumb wars – and then declared victory – and then screwed up a hurricane disaster relief thing – and messed up my country’s finances, turning the wealthiest nation on the planet into a economic basket case.

OK, so I made a couple of mistakes.

If only I got an easy ride like another former leader of my nation, “Donald Deagan” (not his real name). Now “Donald” had quite a few laughs, he met the Pope, attacked Grenada, sang some old Irish tunes with a few heads of state and got a ton of free airplane rides. That ol’ geezer was a real character and the people really loved him. Heck, history already remembers him as one of the greats.

But hey, being president in good times isn’t exactly rocket surgery. When my turn came to lead, I had it tough. Really, if it wasn’t one thing, it was two things. I got confused.

People started getting critical of me, going on about how dumb I was and making fun of the way I pronounciated ‘new-cue-lar.’ So I screwed up a few times. Maybe I should never have run for president in the first place. True, I was totally unprepared – except for having a whole lot of alcohol in me.

Now, there’s this new fella, Barney O’Bama (name changed to protect his identity) – just elected for his second term. Everyone’s always going on about how good lookin’ he is, how nice he is and how he’s a hundred times smarter than me! OK, maybe he’s fifty times smarter than me, but not a hundred.

Needless to say, lately, with that O’Bama fella getting all the attention, when I go out in public, I feel about as useful as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

So Abby, if you can, help me. I want to get me some of those real good write-ups in the history books. I won’t make a move till I hear from you.

Signed, Historically challenged.

Dear Historically Challenged,

Like most people, I too find you astonishingly stupid. The best advice I have for you is, for the rest of your life, remember; you have two eyes and one mouth. Keep two of them open and the other shut – and I’m not talking about winking.

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The World Ends This Friday by Timo Cerantola

According to the Mayan calendar, many psychics, some religious fundamentalists and most doomsday enthusiasts, the end of the world is at hand – this Friday, around 6:12 am to be more specific.

For years now, this Mayan apocalyptic prediction has been taken so seriously by so many, an “end times” industry has emerged to service a growing and gullible group of people willing to pay for their daily dosage of doom and gloom.

Granted, in view of many recent world events, our collective demise doesn’t seem as much of a stretch as it used to, especially when fear-mongering media types cheer from the sidelines with their regular daily offerings of disaster, disease and pestilence.

Still, despite all of this prophetic pretentiousness and marketing of doom, as far as I’m concerned, any talk of the end of the world is nothing more than mindless nonsense and Nostradamus is just a great name for a new sinus medication.

However, just in case I’m completely off the mark and global annihilation is on Friday, perhaps you might want to prepare yourself with a little end times knowledge with this Apocalypse 2012 quiz.

Question #1

1. Complete this next sentence. The end of the world will occur…

a) In 2012, coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar.
b) When the “fat lady” sings.
c) When the Dow drops below 5,000.
d) Due to unprecedented levels of stupidity in Washington, Moscow, Beijing and lately, Pyongyang (North Korea) just to mention a few.

2. When the end of the world occurs, what is the most important thing to remember?

a) Your absolute faith in God’s love.
b) The pledge of allegiance.
c) Your eternal soul.
d) To bring clean underwear.

3. When looking for sure signs of the end times, we are told to look for…

a) Great signs in the heavens.
b) “www.endtimes.com” on the internet.
c) An increase in global disasters
d) an increase in homeowner insurance premiums.


4. In the end, according to Jesus’ Beatitudes sermon, who will inherit the earth?

a) Donald Trump
b) Joe Biden
c) Bill Gates Jr.
d) The “meek” (minus the usual 15% in lawyers fees).

5. What is meant by “the rapture?”
a) It’s something that can happen when you pick up a really heavy object.
b) A Toronto basketball player.
c) It’s when God will rescue His faithful before the battle of Armageddon.
d) It’s the feeling I’ll get when the Toronto Maple Leafs win
the Stanley Cup again.

6. It is said that when Jesus returns, He will set up his earthly kingdom in…

a) New Jersey
b) New Hampshire
c) Orlando, Florida
d) The New Jerusalem

7. Which of the following 2 characters did NOT help Dorothy find her way to the Emerald City?

a) The Scarecrow
b) The Anti-Christ
c) The Tin Man
d) The False Prophet
e) The Cowardly Lion

8. In the 11th century, the Irish Bishop Malachy made a series of predictions, meticulously listing and describing each of the remaining 112 Popes leading up to the final battle of Armageddon. According to Malachi’s predictions, only one Pope remains after our present Pope Benedict.

Pick the correct one
a) Pope Justin, the Bieber
b) Peter, the Roman.
c) Arnold, the Schwartzenegger
d) Pope Obama, the flipflopper

9. Which of the following is NOT an Edgar Cayce prophecy?

a) Atlantis will rise from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
b) In North America, a cataclysmic change will cause the Great Lakes
to drain into the Gulf of Mexico.
c) Both California and Japan will sink into the Pacific Ocean.
d) Pizza will be delivered within 30 minutes – or it’s free.

And finally…

10. What have the prophets really been trying to warn mankind of for centuries?
a) Of the many earth changes to come.
b) That the mark of “the Beast” is just a bad haircut.
c) That the words prophet and profit are surprisingly similar.
d) That like P.T. Barnum once said, there’s a sucker born every minute.


YOUR QUIZ SCORE: Who cares? The end is near for Pete’s sake. For once in
your life stop trying to be such a smarty-pants!

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The Asshole Quiz: Are you one?

By Timo Cerantola

Am I an asshole?

Don’t answer that yet (though I think I know what your response will be).

It’s a question we all should ask ourselves for, at times we are all guilty of a little shameful if not disgraceful behaviour – though for some, it has become their life’s purpose, their modus-operandi if you will.

Indeed, in this selfish, greedy, dog-eat-dog world, the asshole population seems to be increasing exponentially – and not just on Wall Street with its many miscreant money traders or in the halls of government that overflow with a gangrenous, noxious filth that pretends at public service.

No, “the asshole” phenomenon now permeates society at every level – at work, school, church, the grocery store, drive-thru restaurants and, especially, whilst driving on the freeway.

And so, I have devised a quiz that will help you determine where the assholes are in your life and perhaps, determine what your friends and relatives have suspected about you for many years.

Remember, if you answer too many of these questions correctly; you are a prime candidate for membership in ARSE (Association of Repugnant Swine and Evil-bastards). This is nothing to be proud of.

Question #1.

You are driving in the passing lane on the freeway at 45 mph. Traffic is piling up behind you but hey, you can’t go any faster because you’re text messaging your wife, typing on your laptop, having a nice sip of your coffee latte supremo and picking your nose all at the same time. There you are, just cruising along the highway in all your macho splendour with your Global Positioning System bleeping out road directions and your stereo blaring WHEN, all of a sudden some impatient road weasel has the temerity to honk his horn at you, trying to get you to pull over so that he can pass. Do you…

a)   Get out your cell phone and call a buddy to set up a golf date.

b)   You’d like to help him out but you’re too busy doing everything but driving responsibly.

c)   Flip him “the bird.”

If you answered “c” you are an asshole – if you answered “a” – smooth move road warrior.

Question #2.

You are in a large department store when, over the public address system they announce a “blue light” half-price special on the toy “Mr. Poopy Bear” – a toy that you know your kid would kill for. Do you…

a) Immediately proceed to the sale area and courteously look for the end of the line, conducting yourself in a civilized manner.

b)   Dash to the sale area and quickly scoop up only a couple of the sale items so that others will also have a chance.

c)   You grab a football helmet and shoulder pads from the sports department and then, whilst running full speed with your head down and pushing your grocery cart, crash the line screaming “Move or die, road kill!” – and then proceed to empty the entire “poopy” display into your shopping cart.

If you answered “c” you are starting to exhibit some ‘back passage’ type behaviour.

Question #3.

You are out dining out at an all-you-can-eat food buffet, it is extremely busy and you’re not sure there will be enough food left for your seconds, thirds and fourths, do you…

a)   When confronted with only one dinner roll left on the buffet table, politely offer to split it with the next person in line.

b)   Fill your plate with a modest sampling of each of the many offerings so that others may have a chance.

c)   Defy the laws of gravity by piling food three and a half feet above your plate, grab an entire apple pie from the dessert tray and then stuff the remaining bread roll down your pants.

If you answered “c”, you must be an asshole. If you answered “a” – that’s almost creepy, you wuss. Congratulations. You’ve just been awarded the “Mama’s Boy” award for 2009.

Question #4.

You are in the grocery store and you have too many items for the “8 items or less” line, do you…

a)   Fair-mindedly move to the regular line because you have 14 items.

b)   Politely ask the cashier if you can sneak in an extra item or 6. Or…

c)   You throw your jacket over the 8 items or less sign and then pile a weeks worth of groceries on the conveyer belt.

If you answered “C” – even if you are someone’s grandma, you are in hemorrhoid territory.

Question #5.

An Alien spacecraft has landed in your backyard and you are the first human they encounter. In an attempt to promote intergalactic friendship, do you…

a) Offer them a refreshing earth beverage (they enjoy transmission fluid).

b) Raise your hand in a gesture of friendship and say, “Greetings and peace intergalactic traveler. Welcome to Earth!”

c) Tell them to get the hell off your lawn and start spraying them with your garden hose.

If you answered c, way to go. You’ve set intergalactic diplomacy back a few millennia asshole!

Question #6.

Whilst standing at the back of a long line up at a popular restaurant do you…

a)   Happily chat about the weather with the other people at the back of the line.

b)   Patiently and quietly wait while you read a book you brought for just such an occasion.

c)   To discourage other diners and secure a more favourable position in line, loudly discuss, in excruciating detail, the severe nauseating cramps and diarrhea you experienced last time you ate at this restaurant.

If you answered “c” – swift move butt plug.

Question #7.

You are in the cinema and the movie has just begun. This is the time when most people sit back and relax, but not you. Do you…

a)  Immediately start to talk with the person next to you and tell them what happens at the end of the movie.

b)  Decide you need a snack at that very moment, get up and disturb an entire row of people and leave to buy a meal sized snack which you will noisily chomp, snort and slurp on throughout the entire movie.

c)  Stand up and try to start “the Wave.”

If you answered a, b or c – that pretty much describes my last movie going experience you assholes.

Question #8.

When you are high up on the top floor balcony of an apartment or on an observation deck do you…

a)   Look to see if you can see your house from such a high vantage point.

b)   Break some seriously nasty wind and hope that no one notices.

c)   Check the wind speed and direction, and then try to see if you can spit on the people in the next town.

If you answered “c” cool move asshole. If you answered “b,” watch the fibre in your diet.

Question #9.

You’re at a company meeting in the boardroom. Your boss, a seriously fat-assed fifty-something banal incubus of a guy whose been going through a very wacky mid-life crisis walks into the Monday morning meeting sporting a new toupee, an earring and a tattoo that says “Pimpin”.

Do you…

a)   Start by sucking up to the boss with compliments about how natural his new toupee looks.

b)   Ask him if he’s lost weight.

c)   Offer to wash his car.

d)   Offer to lick his boots.

OK, a, b, c or d – no matter your answer, we’re all assholes in this situation. Hopefully we get to keep our jobs.


Question #10.

You are out driving along the freeway when, all of a sudden, someone zooms passed you and flashes a silly “Ha ha, I passed you” grin at you as they fly by, do you…

a)   Slow down and cower in the slow lane and feeling impotent and ashamed.

b)   Ignore the silly road dork and continue singing along to the Broadway show tune playing on your stereo.

c)   Floor it until you pull in close behind them, tailing them so close they can see you mouth the words “DIE ROAD SCUM!” in their rear view mirror. Then, putting the pedal to the metal, you pull out on to the shoulder of the road kicking up voluminous quantities of dust and gravel and zoom past them at twice the legal limit whilst displaying your “special finger” – the one most associated with acrimony.

If you answered “c” you probably already know you are an asshole and you don’t care. Your membership to ARSE is in the mail.


Your score: Who gives a shit? It’s all about you anyway, isn’t it?


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