Daily Archives: May 22, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – Part 10 – Dying With Your Boots On

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Blythe has loaded his vile army of the undead aboard a train headed East, schemes to backstab his furry friends and enlists the aid of a strange vampire colleague for some sinister doings.

The vampire lawyer makes Slade an offer he can refuse, but in turn, the counselor refuses to take no for an answer.

Blythe separates Slade’s women.  Will our hero be able to save them both before it is too late?

Gunther wishes his boots were off.

Chapter 95       Chapter 96       Chapter 97

Chapter 98      Chapter 99       Chapter 100

Chapter 101     Chapter 102

 

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 96

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“Fuck those werewolves,” Blythe said. “Once we take D.C. I ought to have the whole lot of them shot.”

Blythe sat on a red velvet couch in a small, cozy cabin. Devoid of any windows, the only light came from a few lit candles sitting on a table.

Sounds of lip smacking filled the room.

“Without humans to contend with, those hairy bastards will no doubt start strutting about in their werewolf forms all day long,” Blythe said. “And before you know it, they’ll be challenging us.”

Blythe waited for a response.  Upon hearing none, he kept talking.

“I’ll be damned if everything I’ve worked for is going to be lost to a bunch of smelly dog men,” Blythe said.

The lip smacking continued.

“I say we as soon as we don’t need them anymore we line them up and shoot the whole lot of them in their ugly heads,” Blythe said. “Silver bullets all around.”

Blythe patiently waited for a response. Hearing none, he continued. “Oh, but I suppose the board will get their knickers in a twist over that idea too. They’ll tell me we need to make nicey-nice with our furry compatriots.”

The room grew quiet…and then…more lip smacking.

“Lamont?” Blythe asked. “Lamont, are you evening listening to me?”

From the other side of the couch, a response came in the form of a male with a cockney British accent.

“Sorry Guvnah,” the voice said. “A bit indisposed I is.”

The lifeless body of young woman dropped to the floor. Blythe took a candle and inspected her face. Pale. Drained of all color. Two holes in her neck.

Blythe looked to his right to see Lamar wiping his blood drenched lips on his shirt sleeve.

Lamont was big and brooding. Broad shouldered and muscular, with little more than black stubble covering his head.

“I didn’t offer you no gravy,” Lamar said as he retracted his fangs. “Was that wicked?”

“A trifle rude but I’m not hungry,” Blythe replied. “Did you hear a word I said?”
“Bob’s your Uncle, I did, I did,” Lamont replied. “Bit of a sticky wicket that business. A fluffy dog be a vamp’s best mate today but it could bite the hand wot feed it tomorrow, yeah? ‘Aint not use for a bollocks dodger but you might  bide your ticks till it do the biting err right’s on your side, wot wot?”

“I have no idea what you’re saying half the time, Lamont,” Blythe replied. “But no matter. I need you to do a job for me.”

“A bit o’ the cat o’ nine tails, is it?” Lamont asked. “Flog your gullivah? Get down to brass tacks and make some brown bread, ay? Butcher’s hook for the ducks and geese. Might make me a bit knackered I nose but who is I to Barnaby Rudge?”

Blythe’s eyes widened with confusion. “Will you just grab your tool kit already?”

“Right-o,” Lamont said as he opened a closet. He removed a large tin box, set it up on the table and opened it.

Knives of all different shapes and sizes. Corkscrews. Surgical tools.

“Blood bags it is?” Lamont inquired.

That question, Blythe understood. “Blood bags it is,” he replied.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What Advice Do You Have for the Class of 2016?

Hey 3.5 Readers.1398459277

Wow. Uncle Hardass was kind of hard on the graduates, wasn’t he?

Oh well. That’s what he does.

My main achievement in life is being the proprietor of a blog with 3.5 readers, so I don’t want to hold myself out as an esteemed example for the graduates to follow.

But, here are my thoughts:

WHAT SHOULD I STUDY? WHAT SHOULD BE MY MAJOR? (DO YOUR RESEARCH)

If you’re a college graduate, you’ve already answered this question yourself.

If you’re a high school graduate, you’re about to.

This is a tough one.  The whole college process is very odd.  We take very young people who (I don’t want to say all) but many haven’t experienced the hard knocks of life yet, aren’t aware of who they are or what their strengths and weaknesses are…

…and then we ask them at age 18 to sign up for a course of study that will dictate their profession for the rest of their lives.

Part of me wonders if maybe there shouldn’t be a post high-school period where high school graduates just work for a little while. Save up some money. Get some entry level experience in fields you are interested in to see if you like those fields or not.

Figure out a) which profession holds your interest and b) which profession you’re able to do without feeling like you want to jump out of a window because as it turns out, you don’t like it.

Youngsters are bright eyed and busy tailed.  They believe things will always work out. The roughest thing to go with is spending a long time (and a lot of money) on a course study that either a) doesn’t lead to any viable job opportunities for you or b) you just plain hate it after you learn more about what the job actually entails.

I don’t want to be one of those adults that says “you kids have it good” but you know what? You kids have it good.

The Internet was in its infancy when I went to college.  Back then, there wasn’t a lot of information about various career options.

Today, there’s a vast wealth of online knowledge about the various occupational tracks you can take.

Back in my day, as in your day today, when you went to some kind of informational recruiting event at a college, the faculty members in charge of the program will give you a stellar pitch. That’s their job. They’re not in the business of telling you why you shouldn’t be coming to their school to study in their department.

Now, you can go online and look up all the info.  How much can people in a certain job expect to make? How much crap will they have to go through? What is the competition for jobs like? Are there a lot of graduates in that field who have been twiddling their thumbs for years who aren’t able to find a job in that field? Have their been a lot of cutbacks meaning freshly minted grads will find themselves competing against older, more experienced workers with lots of training under their belts?

What are the pros and cons?  Are there stories from people who are glad they chose this path?  Are there people who wish they’d never heard of this particular course of study and would gladly go back in time and change majors if they could?

Kids, you do have it better than any previous generation when it comes to researching potential majors and career paths, so whatever you do, don’t go into this blind. Take advantage of the plethora of information that is out there.

Whatever you pick, you’ll be stuck with, so research, research, research.  Be honest with yourself, who you are, what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, and ultimately, if you think a certain profession is something you’d enjoy doing.

KNOWLEDGE VS. SKILLS

I have to be honest. I’ve been through a lot of school, but I don’t really feel like any of my professors passed any worthwhile, employable skills to me.

College and grad school made me smart. It made me intelligent. It filled my head with knowledge that I can crack out at parties.

But like a junkyard dog, I still had to scramble for anything good that came my way.

I don’t necessarily want to generalize, but on the whole, say in the Baby Boomers’ day, getting a college degree meant you were set for life.

Today, getting a college degree is like getting a high school degree because so many people have them.

Many majors focus on thinking and specifically, the thought processes that apply to a particular occupation.

But, if you can get some actual hands-on skills, that’d be great. If you can actually DO something, that would be awesome.

If you leave college being able to fix a computer or something that’d be awesome.

This does bring up the whole debate about colleges vs. vocational skills and I’ll just reiterate that I do think we need to move towards not making the kid that picks plumbing or HVAC repair feel like they’re dummies.

Sigh. There were so many kids I graduated with that I thought were dummies who got trade jobs because I thought, that’s the best those dummies could do and ironically, many of them do much better than this nerd today.

PIE IN THE SKY PROFESSIONS

If you want to be an actor, singer, dancer, musician, writer, or something else equally unlikely, I don’t want to be the one who stifles your dream and/or creativity.

Chances are, you know about the odds already.

The argument against pursuing these dreams is that you’ll one day find you are thirty years old, that you spent a lot of time chasing a dream that didn’t happen, it’s starting to look like your dream will never happen and you don’t really have any skills that can land you a job where you can make a decent living.

You’ll end up crying, “Oh, if only I’d become a Certified Public Accountant or a Dental Hygienist” or something.

Here’s my take on it.

I don’t want to tell you to go all out, balls to wall, after your dream because hey, the odds are against you making it.

But, in my case, I dropped my pie in the sky dream of being a writer to pursue a more traditional career path.

As of today, it worked out well, but for many years pretty hellacious.

I know what it is like to send out resumes with no responses.

I know what it is like to want to just drop to your knees and beg a potential employer to give you a chance.

I know what it is like to get that form letter in the mail telling you thanks for applying but we can’t hire you at this time.

Ultimately, all the time I spent until I finally was accepted into a traditional career path – there’s a part of me that feels like I probably would have had more fun had I just moved out to LA, waited tables by day and worked on movie scripts at night.

Where am I going with this?

If you pursue a pie in the sky dream, the odds are overwhelmingly against you.

But, the economy does suck, so you’re also going to have to fight for a traditional job too.

That’s not necessarily an invite to ignore tradition and embrace pie on the sky.

You still have a much, much better chance at becoming an accountant or a dentist than you do an actor or a gainfully employed writer.

What you have to ask yourself is how much failure will you be able to accept?

If you can honestly say that at age thirty, you won’t regret spending ten years waiting tables and going to acting auditions.  If you can look at it as an enjoyable experience, that you’re glad you gave your all to your dream, then go for it.

If you think that you’ll reach age thirty and if nothing ever came of your auditioning efforts, that you won’t totally hate yourself and be horribly mean to yourself and start yelling at yourself for not becoming a dentist when you were younger, then just seek that traditional occupation now.

That’s why I sought the traditional path.  I knew if it didn’t work out, I’d be very critical of myself.  I’m still very critical of myself anyway but that’s just who I am.  I am very mean and rude to myself.

My other thoughts:

  • If you get accepted to say, Julliard, or some other big city/big name acting/performance program, you’ll definitely want to go. In that case, you’ll be making contacts in “the business.”  However, if you go to college in Buttwatter, Nowheresville, I’m not sure what you gain from majoring in Theater Arts under the direction of some wannabe actor living in Buttwater, Nowheresville.  If you’re in that situation, major in something useful and then explore your dream if you so desire.
  • If you want to split the difference, you might consider some professions you could do where you’d earn more money, develop a good career path, and still pursue your big dream.  Just off the top of my head, I feel like there are many jobs that require you to work days, nights, weekends and are very unforgiving if you take time off.  On the other hand, there are many jobs where you’ll be allowed a certain number of days off per year and all you need do is tell your boss when you need to take one and boom you have a day off to go to your audition or whatever.
  • I am, yet again, going to tell you kids how much better you have it than I do.  “When I was your age” there was no YouTube, so I wasn’t able to make funny videos.  There was no Facebook or Twitter for me to promote them.  Blogging? Schmogging.  That wasn’t around either.  I can tell you unequivocally, 110% I firmly believe that had all this stuff been around when I was 20, I would have gotten myself on Saturday Night Live and would be enjoying my movie career today.  That’s not bravado, that’s just me feeling I have skill but alas, lacked opportunity when I was in my prime. (Pssst – it’s bravado.  I’m not totally sure I’d of ended up on SNL, but I can tell you I would have had a fun ass time making YouTube videos had it been around when I was young.)
  • The good news for you youngsters is that all this technology could very well help you in that you don’t necessarily always HAVE to choose between traditional jobs and pie in the sky dreams.  Want to be a writer? Get a traditional job in a traditional occupation.  Then write your ass off on the nights and weekends and self publish.  Want to be an actor? Make some videos and post them on YouTube. (Ah the rub with all this though is if you’re posting anything out to the public, you’ll probably want to be cool and tone it down somewhat because potential employers of your traditional field will be squares, beholden to the man and wary if you’re posting salacious stuff.)  At any rate, keep pursuing both and either a) your dream will materialize and you can quit your day job or b) your dream will sink like a stone but at least you’ve put a lot of time and effort into a traditional job so you can move up the ranks in that profession, put food on your table, bank money, go on trips and vacations, live in a decent house, start a family, all that good stuff.

YOU GUYS DON’T COMPLETELY HAVE IT BETTER THAN I DID

The tech you have available to you at a time when you’re young and can really do something with it is amazing.  Of that, I’m envious.

But, on the flip side, the world is getting scarier.  The country is getting more and more divided. The economy’s worse than ever.  College costs more than ever yet a degree is less likely to secure you a job than ever.

Sooo…I get it.  In many ways, the world is a rough place for you.

(But seriously, I wish I grew up in a time when you could buy all the shit you need to start your own Internet TV show from Best Buy for a couple hundred bucks, you lucky, lucky bastards.)

FINALLY…

I am a dumbass who just writes a blog for 3.5 readers.  Do not take anything I said above as advice.  You should in no way rely on any of it. Do your own research.  Make your own plans.  Make your own choices.  Just don’t make decisions based on statements made on blogs that only have 3.5 readers, like this blog, for example.

Oh that leads me to my…

DISCUSSION QUESTION – 3.5 readers, what advice do you have for the Class of 2016?

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 95

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Blythe pointed to an open box car and a swarm of zombies crawled inside. They filled it to capacity, climbing on top of each other like animals, unconcerned about the tight quarters.

Loading operations dragged on for quite some time. Once every car was filled with the undead, there were a few hundred zombies left.

“Go free,” Blythe told them.

The few zombies closest to Blythe emitted groans of confusion. “Uggh?”

“I release you,” Blythe said. “You’re free range zombies now. Go West, young zombies. Eat many brains. Murder many humans. Make more zombies to spread the chaos.”

The zombies looked at each other and exchanged “Ugghs.”

“Shoo,” Blythe said as he waved goodbye to them. “Off you go.”

Slowly, the undead turned and trudged away.

Blythe watched until he sensed the presence of a werewolf standing next to him. This particular werewolf was wearing a large grey and white striped engineer’s cap.

“I trust everything’s in order, Mr. Cobb?”

The werewolf snorted. Together, Blythe and Mr. Cobb walked past the line of cars towards the locomotive.

“Very precious cargo we’re carrying here,” Blythe said. “You’re certain you’re up to the challenge of transporting our grand army safely?”

Another snort.

The pair kept walking. Mr. Cobb showed Blythe into the engine room, where a team of werewolves busily pulled levers, turned cranks and tended to various gadgets.

Three more werewolves entered, each carrying a bag of coal, which they stacked next to a large iron furnace.

Mr. Cobb roared and all the werewolves stopped what they were doing and snapped to attention.

“A fine operation you’re running here, Mr. Cobb,” Blythe said.

The vampire walked past each werewolf, inspecting them as a general would his troops.

“You know werewolves,” Blythe said. “I have given it some consideration and in light of your great contributions to the Legion Corporation’s imminent hostile takeover of the U.S. government, I have decided that if this train crosses over the Mississippi River and successfully into Eastern territory I’ll double…”

Blythe scratched his chin. “Nay, triple! I will triple your salaries from hereon.”

The werewolves barked and woofed their joy.

“Now, now,” Blythe said. “Think nothing of it. Let it never be said that vampires do not appreciate the werewolves’ loyalty to the cause.”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 94.5 and 95.6

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Yup.  We’re in decimal points because I decided that more stuff needed to be added prior to Gunther’s untimely demise.

Channelling Boyz II Men – “It’s so harrrd, to say goodbyyyye….to Gunther.”

Namely, we needed a zombies being loaded into the train scene.  Can’t have a zombie train without zombies being loaded into it.

And if Blythe is taking one of Slade’s women on his train, another baddie will have to take custody of Slade’s other woman, right?

Mo women mo problems.

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Things That Really Frost My Ass – Class of 2016, Please Welcome Your Graduation Speaker

Hello 3.5 readers.

It’s graduation season and for those of you about to matriculate from any kind of school of higher learning, you’ll probably have to sit through a well-thought out speech delivered by a distinguished scholar.

No offense, but F%&K that guy. Pop on your phone and read Uncle Hardass’ graduation speech instead.

Class of 2016, please join me in welcoming your graduation speaker Uncle Hardass, a retired employee of Salt Mines, Inc. and esteemed grumpy old man correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

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Uncle Hardass, Your Distinguished Graduation Speaker

Hello graduates.  OK. Yes. Thank you. Stop the clapping please. Some of us have more important things to do than bake in the hot sun like an asshole on a perfectly good Sunday afternoon, so let’s get down to business already.

First thing’s first.  GET A JOB!

Seriously. The Salt Mines are always hiring. Sure, finish up with your silly little ceremony, drink some juice and toss a piece of cake in your cake hole but if you don’t have a job by the time your head hits the pillow tonight then you’re an utter failure and you always will be for the rest of your miserable pathetic lives.

What? Why’s everyone giving me the stink eye?  Oh.  Right. I’m supposed to be upbeat and encouraging.

Sorry graduates.  I meant to say that while you’re failing miserably at life, you’ll do an excellent job of keeping your parents’ couch from spontaneously floating off into outer space because you’ll be on it for most of the day watching Ellen and old reruns of TV shows that were made before your grandparents were even born.

Look, if you want encouraging and upbeat, you should have invited…I don’t know…some guy who had his arms and legs blown off but he still competes in marathons by bouncing up and down on custom built metal springs or something.

If you want to be told how it is, then I’m your man.  And frankly kids, between your parents, your teachers, and every other adult in your lives, you’ve all had way too much smoke blown up your asses for your own good.

So it’s time to gather ’round, take a knee, and let your old Uncle Hardass give you the first dose of reality you’ve ever had.

GRADUATES: UNCLE HARDASS, WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH OUR LIVES?

Graduates, a lot of goody two shoes folk are going to tell you things like “save the whales” or “save the environment” or “end poverty” or some such hullabaloo.

These thoughts are all very nice but alas, I have the misfortune of being the first adult to tell you that if you set out on a mission to save the world at 20, the world will still be the big garbage heap that it is when you’re 30 (except trashier) and you’ll be ten years older with no savings, no job, no employable skills and your parents will probably hate your guts because they had to spend the money they saved to travel the world in their old age on subsidizing your bullshit.

Poor people will always be fucked. Whales and the environment will always be fucked.  They were fucked when I was your age and they’ll still be fucked when your kids are your age.

The world is new to you kids so every time you hear about someone or something getting fucked, you automatically assume it’s the first time a fucking has ever gone down.

Trust me kids. It’s all been fucked up before and it will all get fucked up again.

Stop wasting your time on nonsense that you can’t change.

Get a job.  Make the money. Clock the grip. Stack the cheddar cheese.  Cash money bling dolla dolla bill make you sing y’all.

Get a job doing something important to you if you can’t cure yourself of that do-gooder nonsense. Find some organization that will pay you to clean oil out of whale blowholes or some bullshit.

Whatever you do, and here’s the important thing here, GET A JOB THAT PAYS.

Volunteering isn’t free, kids. For as long as you volunteer your time to dopey causes for free, Mom and Dad are spending the the money they would have spent on visiting Hawaii one time before they get tossed into a pine box on feeding, clothing, and sheltering you.

Bye bye Mommy and Daddy’s retirement dreams.  Bye bye. Mommy and Daddy can’t go to the luau because little Billy and little Suzy want to change the world one oily manatee dong at a time.

GRADUATES: UNCLE HARDASS, WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH OUR MONEY?

Graduates, have you seen the news lately? The world is fucked and it’s only going downhill from here.  You think the economy is bad today? There may not even be an economy tomorrow.

Like a miserly hermit, horde every cent you can and never lend anything to anyone. I don’t care if your own mother is short one penny for a life saving operation, no deal! Sure it’s only a penny today but pretty soon the word gets out that you’re a softy and before you know it you won’t be able to walk three feet down the street without every jackass in the neighborhood treating you like you’re their own personal ATM.

Avoid spending your money on useless nonsense like bubblegum, comic books, and Miley Cyrus records.

Bank that scrilla. Invest it wisely and when you hit your first “What is the meaning of my life?” crisis in your 30s, you’ll have the dough you need to travel the world.

Hell, when you have enough money banked up, you might even dabble in that “save the world bullshit” that you’re all so interested in.  Don’t worry, kids. The world will still be fucked by then.  The fucked-ness won’t be going anywhere.  If anything, the longer you wait, the more fucked there will be for all you do-gooder bleeding hearts to remove.  Plenty of fucked, no waiting.

Save enough money today and when you’re older, you can spend your time pulling plastic soda can rings out of walrus butt holes or whatever gibberish your professors have been getting paid over $100K to spout into your mushy little brains.

Point? Mom and Dad can’t take care of you forever and the older you get, the less acceptable it will be for you to be broke as hell.

Make the fat green wads today and you’ll be able to polish all the oily otter testicles you want tomorrow, two at a time if need be.

GRADUATES: BUT UNCLE HARDASS, WE WANT TO BE WRITERS, ACTORS, POLITICIANS OR INSERT OTHER PIE IN THE SKY HIGHLY UNLIKELY PROFESSION HERE

Oh Jesus H. Christ.  Are you guys sure you graduated? Because that’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.

What?  Who is this lady trying to get my attention?  No ma’am, I will not stop using profanity in front of the graduates. I have a constitutional right to swear in public.  George Washington did not karate chop the King of England’s scrotum so that I could NOT swear in front of young adults, I’ll have you know.

Where was I?  Oh right.  The terrible, terrible choices you have made about your future professions.

First of all, let me talk to the wannabe writers. You know who else wants to be a writer?

My dumbass nephew, Bookshelf Q. Battler. He just entered year three on his blog and he only has 3.5 readers.

Do you want to end up as a blogger with only 3.5 readers? I don’t think so.

What happened, wannabe writers? Your English teacher slapped a sticker on your report about Hamlet and you’re already polishing your Pulitzer in your mind?

Forget about it. “Oh look at me I’m a writer. I’ll change the world by publishing a record of my thoughts and feelings!”

Sorry.  The world was fucked before writers started writing.  The world be fucked after writers stop writing.

Where are my wannabe actors?  Hello there.  Look at you.  You’re the kids in the drama club that starred in an off-off-off way off broadway production of Rent.

Look kids, your parents only told you that you did a good job because they didn’t want to hurt your feelings. In actuality, your performance was so awful that by the end of the second act they started praying to catch AIDS just so they wouldn’t have to listen to any more of your horrible singing.

What?  What? Why’s everyone booing?  You can’t make AIDS jokes still?  Jesus, what’s it been, like 35 years?

Fine.  Fine. Have it your way, PC police. No AIDS jokes until 2050.

My point is, you wannabe actors might think you are hot shit because you gave a lukewarm performance in your school play, but Hollywood will crush your soul and all your dreams.  Just take it from me and assume your soul will be crushed and report to the Salt Mines for a nice, steady minimum wage job instead.

What else do you kids want to be?  Politicians? Eh, I suppose that’s somewhat doable but remember, only run for office if you’re doing it for the money.  If you’re doing it to change the world, don’t waste your time.

The world is a whore, kids.  It enjoys the deep fucking that it has been getting for many, many years. It obviously does because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be so difficult to stop it.

So remember graduates, only run for office for all the fancy perks and underhanded graft opportunities. If you want to change the world, you’ll have a better shot at it by signing up to wash oily polar bear gonads.

IN SUMMATION

Graduates, I see my time is up, not just by the clock, but by the sight of the security officers headed my way to throw me off the stage and that’s understandable, because no one likes getting a truth bomb dropped on them.

But that’s just what I do.  I’m Uncle Hardass and I keeps it real, playa.

If you forget everything else I said, remember:

  • Always, always, ALWAYS sell out your dreams in exchange for the most easily obtainable job you can find, then desperately cling to that job for thirty years because believe you me, you’ll never do any better.
  • Horde your money as if the world’s financial system is about to be thrown into complete and utter chaos and disarray at any moment because, let’s face it, that’s not that far fetched, is it?
  • Assume the worst about everyone and everything and you’ll never be disappointed.
  • Odds are that one of you might end up doing something remotely interesting and worthwhile with your lives.  The rest of you will be lucky if you end up selling boat insurance at a strip mall.
  • Never forget that not a single one of you is special.  Had none of you ever been born, there would have been no noticeable effect on the world whatsoever.  The world turned before you got here. It will keep turning long after you’re gone.
  • When you’re feeling stopped up, there’s nothing like a cool glass of prune juice with a bran muffin chaser to get the old turd factory going again.

Finally, I’d just like to say this whole experience of speaking to you today was a complete disaster.  A real misuse of my precious time.  Time that I will never get back because I spent it talking to a bunch of losers like yourselves.

Let me drop the mic.  OK it’s been dropped. Uncle Hardass out.

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