They Can’t Agree on Anything!

Everyone knows the Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un have something of an adversarial relationship. From name-calling to quipping over whose nuclear button is bigger (no Freudian reference there!), they just don’t seem to be able to see eye to eye on anything!

Or do they? TTLA has uncovered a shocking revelation, but before we spill the beans, here are a couple of clues that might help you figure out just what the common bond might be:


Kim Jong Un
Have you figured it out yet? OK, here’s the big reveal:


That’s right! They both have the same insane barber! First spotted in a Monty Python sketch, this is the fellow who wanted to be a lumberjack, but was stuck being a barber. Some forty-odd years later his disposition hasn’t improved and now he’s taking it out on the heads of the Heads of State!

Remember to tell everyone that you heard it here first!

Three Year-End Ponderings

I’m not sure if anyone’s told you, but there are only a few days left in 2017. This is, generally, the time of year when your various news and entertainment venues like to present you with looks back on the year that was. But we at TTLA have more respect for you than that. We think you already know what happened in the past year. You were there, for crying out loud!

So instead we thought we’d yield our year-end summation time to CNN, and FOX News, so that they can tell you what you already know from the exact opposite point of view, and instead ponder some important issues, issues that are timeless, and not at all dependent upon a year coming to a close.

Let’s start with an item that should resonate with people who live in the little town of my birth, New York City.

The Tri-State Area

00Tri-State_Area_mapI don’t know if anyone other than advertisers really think of this little slice of heaven as being part of the “Tri-State Area.” But if you watch any of the New York-based television stations, specifically sports-related channels, you will see ads for your Tri-State Honda dealer. You’ll get to know about the best brick-face and stucco contractor in the Tri-State area. And you’ll learn that your Republican elected official is ranked #1 among givers of unwelcomed vagina gropings in the Tri-State region.

Yes, all of this will be familiar to fans of the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Mets, and Yankees. But here’s a little-known fact that not even most people in Metro New York and Northern New Jersey are aware of. The third state in the Tri-State area is not actually a state at all. It is, in fact, war-torn Bosnia.


00mathers_frecklesCan anyone explain to me the fact that no matter how green your bunch of bananas is when you purchase them at your neighborhood grocers, by the time you get them home their skin already has more freckles on it than little nine-year-old Jerry Mathers face?

You intentionally buy them in a state that appears to be months from being edible and after a fifteen-minute drive home, they are good for little more than making muffins or perhaps giving to your pet capuchin monkey, Sir Reginald.

On a related note has anyone ever said anything funnier than little 42-year-old Barbara Billingsly, when, with a deadpan expression she spoke these words into a 1950’s era telephone handset: “Ward, you need to come home right away. There’s something wrong with the Beaver.”

And they say television today is racy!

And Finally… Science Fiction

Scientists will tell you, and if you don’t stop them they will keep telling you, that space is a really big place. It is enormously, mind-bogglingly huge. Imagine the biggest thing you can think of, say Alaska or perhaps your Aunt Phyllis. Space is way bigger than that, even on those days when Aunt Phyllis is feeling bloated.

galactic_mashupWhat’s more, even though space is filled with billions of galaxies, which are in turn filled with billions of stars, around which most likely there are billions of planets, the distance between all this crap is brain-bashingly gargantuan. Everything is so far apart that in the distant future when our galaxy, depressingly called the Milky Way, (seriously? No wonder the other galaxies mock us), and our closest galactic neighbor, the Great Spiral Andromeda, (now there’s a cool galaxy name. I bet the girl galaxies all sigh when they think that maybe Andromeda looked at them at the pep rally), collide…

Wait. Did he just say our nerd galaxy is going to collide with the popular galaxy? Yes. Yes, he did. But don’t freak. Because everything is so cerebellum-mooshingly far from everything else, almost nothing will actually collide with anything. You’ll be fine! You’ll have been dead for 3.75 billion years, but aside from that, you won’t notice anything untoward. If your long-returned-to-dust head still had hair on it you wouldn’t even feel it get messed up. Certainly not like when Aunt Phyllis is around, that big old fat hair-messing bitch.

They also probably won’t look even this much like us. Most scientists agree we can’t probably even conceive their form because it will be so, well… alien.

So if everything is so far apart that there are stars we are looking at in the sky whose light left there a billion years ago and is just now reaching us, and if light is the fastest thing we know of, faster even than you heading out the back door as Aunt Phyllis waddles in through the front door, then how long would it take for an alien from a planet orbiting around that star to get to us?

It is impossible to travel at or above the speed of light. Unless you’re light, which you are not, and neither is E.T. Therefore the likelihood of extraterrestrial beings of reaching the Earth is pretty much zilch. I’m not saying they’re not out there. I’m just saying they’re not coming here. Especially not if they find out about Aunt You-Know-Who.

lLxCoWMHaving said all that, I love science-fiction. I love to read it, I love to write it, I love to watch the movies, and if it was a casserole, I’d even love to eat it.

It’s just not real, folks. So stop the nonsense. No one is being abducted, nor have they ever been. Anuses are being probed, but not by aliens… unless you count your proctologist from Bombay. Nothing was built by ancient aliens, except maybe that dude’s hair. (Because there is only one other explanation for hair that messed-up, and that would be Aunt Phyllis. And even that seems beyond the boundaries of plausibility.) No spaceships are going to blow up the White House, no matter how much I implore. Crop circles are formed by wise-ass kids, not Uncle Martin, wonderfully played by Ray Walston. Stonehenge was built by very intelligent people a long time ago with no help from the Great Gazoo, (which happens to be the title of a really great science-fiction story by S.J. Varengo, featured in his book Welcome Home. You should read it.)


In Summary…

I hope you’ve enjoyed these crucial ponderings, and have maybe had your eyes opened, ever so slightly, to the wonders of our world, and of the universe. And remember, we’ll be back in 2018 to bring you more intelligent humor… gack… cough…

Sorry. Choked a little bit there on the word “intelligent.” Occupational hazard.

But for real…


The Magic of Film

We, all of us, owe a lot to Hollywood. The hours of entertainment. The marriages that last such a short time that our elementary school crush on Suzie Spoto seems epic in comparison, the rampant sexual scandals which make we who our mothers assured us would go blind and or grow hair on our palms, seem pretty timid, downright Victorian.

So, yes. We definitely have to thank Tinseltown for all of this. But do you know who owes Hollywood an even bigger debt than you and I, Joe and Jane Ticketbuyer? The real-life people portrayed in the movies and on TV.

I’ll start with the example that came to mind as I was watching “Masters of Sex” on Showtime last night. I studied psychology in college, and I remembered seeing pictures of both William Masters and Virgina Johnson. Mrs. Johnson wasn’t the most hideous woman to ever walk the face of the earth, but she was no Lizzie Caplan.ginnylizziecompare

Clearly, the real Ginny got an upgrade, but that’s nothing compared to Bill Masters. Take a looks at this side by side:


Notice any difference? And, no, I am not referring to the pattern on the two bowties. If we’re being honest, the consistency of bowtie usage is just about the only thing between the two that isn’t in opposition!

After I made these comparisons I thought of a couple others. The 1963 movie “Cleopatra” had a star-studded cast of people who were all way better looking than the characters they played. Let’s start with Julius Caesar. Played in the film by the dashing Rex Harrison, the real J.C. does not appear to have had his counterpart’s charm and good looks.


Rex’s hairline extended down a little further, for one thing, and he just pulls being Caesar off a little better than Caesar did.

You know who did even better? Marc Antony. A few of the images of Marc Antony that I found weren’t half bad, but after finding the one below, which is said to be carved in his lifetime, Richard Burton’s portrayal makes the original pale when viewed next to one another.


Even if part of his nose hadn’t been broken off, it would seem to me that boxer Gerry Cooney looked a lot more like him than Burton. See for yourself:


Naturally, I’ve saved the best for last. Because the real Cleopatra was to Liz Taylor what toenail fungus is to a bed of roses.


Um, yeah.

Moving on to another film that tells the story of historical figures, let’s look at 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde.” Because it’s fun to romanticize murderers! We’ll start with Clyde Barrow.


If he isn’t still looking up from hell and thanking the gods of casting for letting him be played by Warren Beatty, then despite being brought down in a hail of gunfire, he still got off easy.

But once again, this disparity is nothing in comparison to the treatment Bonnie Parker got at the hands of Hollywood.


Could Fay Dunaway look any more sultry? Could the real Bonnie look any more like a cigar smoking pig-woman? Again I would suggest that had they been going for absolute realism, Gerry Cooney is your pick to play Bonnie.

In recent years we’ve seen this trend diminish somewhat. Think Charlize Theron playing Aieleen Wuornos  in “Monster.” I don’t remember if the makeup artists won an Oscar for doing that to Charlize, but I am pretty sure that when they die they will be in the furnace next to Clyde Barrow for destroying that kind of beauty, even temporarily.

Or of the upcoming biopic of my life, in which I’m to be played by Brad Pitt. Err, sorry. Typo. That was supposed to say “Brad’s Armpit.”

A Mother’s Wisdom

crazy-old-women-8My mom was a fountain of wisdom, all of which she attempted, vainly, to pass on to me. She was also stark raving mad. All in all, a pretty cool gal. But I now realize that many of the wise sayings she shared with me over the years are too good, too potentially beneficial to the world at large not to share them with you. So here then is a quick post containing some of the gems of the collected wisdom of my mom.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his sternum.”

“Too many chefs in the kitchen makes great TV.”

“Two wrongs don’t even raise an eyebrow if you’re talking politics.”

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.”

“Clouds gather before a storm, especially when you’re at a picnic.”

“Ambition is a good servant, but a bad master, and it absolutely sucks on harmonica.”

“Beauty is only skin deep. Under that things get pretty gross.”

“Stop and smell the roses. Most common side effects include itchy, swollen eyes and pain and redness around the smelling area. Do not stop and smell the roses if you are allergic to roses or any of their ingredients. Other, serious complications include seizures, blindness, death, and halitosis. Consult your doctor if you experience these or any other symptoms.”

“The eyes are the windows of the soul. Lasik is the Windex of the soul.”

“A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it does rock out on ‘Gimme Shelter.'”

“Let sleeping dogs lie because they’re not any more likely to tell the truth when they’re awake.”


Why change your spots?

“The leopard does not change his spots. And why would he? He looks fabulous in prints.”


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Two pounds, maybe, depending upon market fluctuation.”

And finally, the saying that she shared with me most often and with the most feeling:

“Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life. In your case tied around my ankles in the middle of the ocean.”

No Vice!

 I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”
– Barry Goldwater


President Trump, singing the metal version of “Deck The Halls,” and caught in mid “fa-la-la-la-la.”

A lot of people, myself included, feel that President Donald Trump may be a bit of an extremist when it comes to his policies. And his lifestyle. And his douchebaggery.


But I’ve been reflecting, and I think that in my case at least, my problem with him is that he is actually not extreme enough. I think I need more. I need him to go further off track, deeper of that proverbial deep end. I need him to be even crazier.

And as a patriotic American, I feel it my duty to help our First Citizen out in any way that I can. To that end, I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to make his extremism the extremest. You Presidentialness, feel free to adopt any and all of these. My only request is that when you announce them on Twitter, or as it will soon be renamed “The Real Press Secretary,” you include a #TTLA hashtag.

The Wall

One of the pipedream ideas Mr. Trump bandied around to appeal to the more base and paranoid of his followers was the border wall. He proposed that we build a wall between Mexico and the United States, apparently across the entire 1,960-mile span. And of course, in typical unscrupulous-business-practice, he proposed that Mexico pay for the construction. This would be the equivalent of you waking up one morning to find your house surrounded by twenty-foot-high prison walls through which you aren’t allowed to pass, and a fellow in coveralls holding a bill for you.

But is a wall between the two counties enough? After all, there are a lot of Mexicans already in the country. And, I’ve been told, they’re all rapists. Except for the ones that are both rapists and drug dealers. What are we going to do about them?

I suppose we could round them all up, and bring them to the wall, climb a ladder, and throw them back into Mexico. But is even this plan extreme enough? I don’t think so.


What I’m proposing is that we build individual walls around every Mexican currently in the country. This would include, just to be safe, naturalized citizens, persons of Mexican descent and anyone with a Mexican name or nickname, like “Paco,” “Pancho,” “José,” or “Donaldo.”

With each person having their own individual walls, it will mean less attention has to be paid to the big wall, and it may not have to be as well-guarded, freeing up valuable resources. Also, think in terms of jobs for real Americans. Millions of bricklayers will find themselves working as many hours as they chose to work, and of course, we’ll need to hire millions of people to make the Mexicans stand still while the wall is being built around them.

I am not a cruel man, and I understand that from time to time these Mexicans will want to move around, perhaps to attempt a new rape. (They will fail, of course, since their victims will be outside the wall.) But if the walls are built with wheels, the entire construct can be moved from place to place.

That should put the dire and constant threat from South of the Border to rest.

Killing Endangered Species/Nuking North Korea

Apparently, in order to be a Republican, it is mandatory to love killing things. And what’s more fun than hunting animals teetering on the edge of extinction? And while the president himself has not indicated that he’s planning on traveling to Zimbabwe or Zambia to his elephant murder on, he has done another of his favorite things, which is undoing anything good that his predecessor managed to do, in this case lifting a ban on bringing elephant trophies into the United States.


kim jong un
Kim Jong Un looks happy here, but imagine how much happier he’d be if there were elephants blowing up all over his country!

He has also talked quite a bit about launching a nuclear bomb or fifty on North Korea, in answer to that nation’s technologically impossible threats to do the same to us, going so far as to call the North Korean head of government, Kim Jong Un, “rocket man,” obviously insulting Elton John by doing so.


But are either of these policies extreme enough? I put it to you that they are not.

And so I propose hunting elephants in North Korea, using nuclear weapons.

Of course, before they can be hunted they will have to be brought into North Korea in great numbers, but again… jobs! All though unemployed elephant handlers who lost their livelihood when circuses, (a fraternity not really known for forward thinking, but are, in contrast to Trump, a prancing bunch of liberals), decided to stop keeping elephant acts in their shows, can now return to doing what they do best: herding elephants around with hooked pikes.

Then once they are in place, we allow wealthy Americans to take turns nuking them. The one downside to this is that there might not be much left in the way of trophies, and it may also kill millions of people, but with over 7 billions of us scampering across the face of the Earth, you can hardly call us endangered.

Endorsing Child Molesters


Judge Roy Moore not only speaking into the microphone but smiling as he describes what he plans to use it for later when he meets up with his 14-year-old girlfriend.

There is no way one can avoid hearing about sexual assault, or even outright rape, (in these cases not even done by Mexicans),  and in the case of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, the allegations are that he did what he did to underaged girls, many of whom feel their lives were ruined by the experience.


Lately, Trump has been sounding very much like he is supporting Moore, and while stopping short of actively campaigning for one of the most reprehensible humans to ever walk the planet, he’s pointing out that since Moore has denied the allegations, they’re probably not true, or at least are no big deal.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has heard Trump’s famous “grab ’em by the hoo-ha,” live mic faux pas. If the presidential candidate can admit to Billy Bush that he basically molests any woman he wants to, why the hell not let senators share the same mentality, as long as they’re Republicans. If a Dem., such as Al Franken, is accused, we need to have him resign immediately.

But is supporting a child-rapist candidate extreme enough? Not even close.

My proposal is to select all Republican candidates not based on their views and plans for the country but on their presence on the Registered-Sex-Offenders list. Let’s stop waiting for our candidates to be accused of committing sex crimes. Let’s selected them based on the fact that we know in advance they have actually been registered for being convicted of them.

Here then is your 2018 GOP ticket:


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Can’t you already hear the president explaining to us that having these guys in office would be infinitely preferable to having a horrible liberal in there?

Others, Too Numerable to List

There are so many other isolationist, white supremacist,  small-minded ideas coming out of the White House these days, that it’s impossible in the context of one web article, to point out, and then expand upon them. But here’s a few quickies:

Ban upon Muslims – Don’t just keep people from predominantly Muslim nations from immigrating to the United States. Reinstate the Crusades, and go hunt them down in their home countries.

Tax Reform – Don’t just allow the rich enormous tax breaks, allow companies that prey ruthlessly upon unsuspecting citizens all sorts of tax loopholes which will enable them to continue to rape the land and enslave their own employees. Bring back roving tax collectors, who go from door to door extracting what is owed the king, err, I mean the president. (Here again… jobs! Someone’s going to have to physically enforce these shakedowns).

Puppy Kicking – Once the every NFL player has been fired for kneeling during the National Anthem, people are going to need a new form of entertainment. And catering to the mentality of the average Trump supporter, I’m proposing the invention of a new sport. All those football stadiums will be filled again, as players attempt kick puppies through the goal post. What heroes will emerge in this dynamic new game?

Ultimately, I, as a private insane citizen, may not have the mental capacity to dream up ever more horrid things to do to the people of the United States and the world, but we can all thank our lucky stars than one has emerged who can continue to think this way.

maxresdefaultLet’s go crazy!


The Hard Questions

The Hard Questions: we ask them so that you don’t have to. Technically you don’t have to anyway, but… Oh, man. One sentence into this post and you’re already giving me a hard time. I can see how this is going to go. But no worries. I shall plod on.

In this post I’m going to pose some serious questions [not], the type that call for serious answers [don’t]. Of course, TTLA is not some fruity-do philosophical journal, which poses questions only to let them flutter off into the air with no intention of ever settling them. Nay, I say! And no, even. We will give you the responses to the questions that have [haven’t] been burning in your soul for so very long. So without further ado, let’s begin.

…for real.
The same dude…

Q: Did you ever notice that you never see Michael Myers of Halloween fame and Mike Myers of Austin Powers/Shrek/Wayne’s World fame in the same place?
A: No. You have never seen them together, for they are one in the same person.

Renfield_1931Q: Renfield is to flies as I am to…
A: …Sammiches. (Go watch the movie!)

Q: Where do babies come from?
A: When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, and decide they want to share their lives with a little child of their very own, they go online to Babys’R’Us and order one. You can tell how good they’re going to be as parents by whether or not they opt for one-day shipping.

Q: Who is going to win the Superbowl this year?
A: The answer to this depends upon who you ask and which way your politics lean. It will either be the kneelers or the non-kneelers. From what I can gather, it actually has very little to do with who plays football better anymore.

Q: So, which is it? Global warming or no global warming?
A: Again, don’t be sucked in by the science that appears to prove one point or the other. (Ed. note: only one point of view actually has any science backing it up.) (Conservative Ed note: Shut up, you liberal whack-job!) The answer to the question ultimately comes down to which side is better funded. And in general the “Everything is just fine, nothing to see here” people have the deeper pockets.

And finally…


Nothing says the holidays like “DICK.”

Q: Why would someone do this to a pefectly lovely display of Christmas socks?
A: Because there are still good people in the world. Take heart!


There now. Don’t you fill a little less lost? Slightly less confused about this crazy, mixed-up world? What’s that? You’re more confused than when you started?

I could tell you were going to be a problem.

Honors Heaped Upon Me

As a living-room famous author (there are stages to these things, you must realize: living-room famous, locally-famous, nationally-famous, world-famous, and from there it just gets silly), one of the things expected of me is to have an author biography. This is used in various places including, but not limited to, my living room. Other outlets, such as my website, my blog, my author’s page, my Facebook page, my site, etc. also use one version or another of the bio.
I’m not going to reproduce the existing bios here, you can hop around to the aforementioned places if you’d like to read them, although I can give you the highlights:

One version states I was born in New York City in 1960 and two years later formed a musical combo known as the Beatles. The bio might lead one to believe this is something I did on my own, but I’d like to use this forum to officially recognize the other guys involved, although I don’t recall any of their names now.

Another bio relates the episode which occurred when I was in first grade, wherein I uncovered a massive Soviet plot to copy sensitive nuclear documents by unwitting six-year-old students, using those oversized pencils without erasers that were so popular in the 1960’s. Mention is made of the class mascot, a nefarious hamster named Comrade Gibbles, who was used to spread fear among the children. I have nothing to add to or subtract from this story. It’s history. Deal with it.

But, in addition to relating important episodes in my life, I think it prudent to enumerate some of the honors I have accrued during my writing career, though I do so with great humility. So I’ve decided to use this forum, (this is a forum, right? I’m using the word correctly?) to explain a little bit about just how freaking awesome I am. (See? Humble!) You, therefore, get the first look at my new bio section…


S.J. Varengo has accumulated a literal roomful of awards over the years, having early on learned that the secret to doing so is to study the writers who have previously won those awards and break into their homes to steal them. Here is a partial list of his triumphs:

  • 00nobelErnest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize for Literature
  • A Hugo Award for Science Fiction, formerly in the possession of Isaac Asimov
  • A Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature, once proudly displayed by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Two Pulitzers, John Steinbeck’s for Grapes of Wrath and a recent acquisition, Harper Lee’s for To Kill A Mockingbird, which just became available during the confusion after her passing.
  • national_award_1118A National Book Award that William Faulkner wasn’t using anymore.
  • Of course, there are numerous others, some well-known, some lesser-known, and some that turned out to be absolute garbage, barely worth the risk involved in obtaining them.

EGOTOn the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s notable that Varengo was the first person ever to complete an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), completely through the use of larceny. Oh, and, in the case of the Oscar assault and battery; Sally Field is way tougher than she looks.

While his writing style has been characterized as “infused with humor and tenderness in an amalgam that makes it just shy of readable,” his B&E [Breaking and Entering] skills have been praised as “nearly flawless, leaving behind not so much as a teaspoonful of DNA in most cases.”
He has been invited to readings, usually of his rights, in the leading police stations of the U.S. and abroad.
His work has been featured on several popular television programs including “Unsolved Mysteries” and “America’s Most Wanted,” and he is a frequent contributor to the “6 O’clock News.”
When discussing his vast array of honors, Varengo is typically humble and gracious to those who no longer possess the awards, calling them “A great bunch of guys and gals who might want to consider updating their security systems.”

That’s it!

I think it captures the scope of my accomplishments while giving ample credit to the “little people,” which is what I call the race of tiny, two-headed quasi-humans who dwell in the mystical land of “Under My Bathroom Sink.”
But, ultimately, that is a story for another day.