Friday, January 29, 2016

El Nino No-Go

There really was no easy way to break it to the Snow Miser. We lured him in with the promise of peppermint tea and chocolate chip cookies (his favourites - who knew? We did, that's who), sat him down and tried to explain as best we could, given that we didn't fully understand the complexities of it all ourselves. 

"There's this thing called climate change," I offered. 

"Climate change?" replied the Miser.

"Yes," interjected Clark. (He does like to interject. Oh, he's a right bugger for interjections, interruptions, ructions, contradictions and um... congratulations. But I digress.) "You see, the earth's ocean currents are messed up due to the increased man-made carbon emissions. More emissions means a buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, trapping warmth in like a greenhouse and causing the polar icecaps and glaciers to melt. This affects the weather too. So while you like to swoop in and make it all snowy and icy for a while, these climatic events make any weather more unpredictable and a lot worse each time."

"Yes, thank you, Dr. Science, " I said. "So you see, you've got to tone it down a bit."

"I see," said Snow Miser. "I'll have to see what I can do. But I make no promises! I just love pratfalls and slip-ups! Oh, and you might want to talk to Mr. Heat Miser too or you'll have sunbathers blackened to a crisp on the beaches of Southern Alaska. Now, where's that steaming peppermint tea I was promised?"

After a plate of Toll House and a mug of his favourite brew, he was away.

"Remember what we talked about!" Michael called after him. "Tone it down a skosh."

But he was long gone. Whether he heard or not is debatable, so I guess we'll find out the same time next year. 

Now to find Heat Miser's phone number...

I believe he's Mr. Hundred and One.

P.S. Michael and Clark did actually try to catch up with him, but after an hour of waiting for their return, I peeked out the window to see if I could spot them coming back. Here's what I saw.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Unbelievables, The Formative Years

When I came across this photo, I originally thought it was Clark.

But, no ... it's me. Well on my way to becoming one of the pivotal members of The Unbelievables

Dapper. Tight. Suave beyond my years. (It didn't really matter that I was in grade school. When you're suave, you know it.)

This "Throwback Thursday" keeper was taken during one of my "let's experiment with eyeglasses" phases. Because everyone knows chicks dig that sophisticated look. (No, I didn't need glasses then. It's like I said: The chicks dug'em.)

World? You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

El Niño Had Help (pt 2)

Poor Snow Miser. Poor, poor Snow Miser.
He's just a guy who appreciates a good pratfall, a taste he figured everybody shares. And what lends itself better to pratfalls than the naturally slippery and hypothermia-inducing conditions produced by a severe winter storm?
He was sure that his attempt at tickling funnybones via the bruising of tailbones would be accepted in the spirit in which it was offered.

Poor, poor, poorly-informed Snow Miser.

Somebody needed to set him straight. Three of those somebodies were us.

Monday, January 25, 2016

El Niño Had Help

So the east was pretty much paralyzed over the weekend.

Oh, they're digging out of it. In fact, Monday was set aside as "East Coast Dig Out" Day with government buildings, schools, local business and more closed so everyone could gather their wits about them and try and make semblance of the snowed-covered roads, front walk pathways and threatening overhangs ready to bury unsuspecting passersby.

Which all leads to the question: Just who is responsible for all this?

Well ... we all know the answer to that: The El Niño weather system, of course. (Some say it's a "Godzilla El Niño" which makes perfect sense depending on what part of the eastern United States is affected. The west is getting its much-needed rain. The east? Well ...)

But The Unbelievables know it's not simply a quirk of atmosphere or completely the fault of carbon emissions floating above us aimlessly, just waiting for an opportunity to come together and wreck havoc. There's much more to it than a random act of nature. You simply don't toss a few pollutants skyward, have one too many BBQs throughout the year, produce enough manufactured foreign air particles from textile and processing plants and the like mixing it up skyward and think "Mother Nature will have her say and do the rest." Thinking such is thinking obtusely.

There's a more qualified, more logical answer to it all.

The reason for such weather has a name. And its name (HIS name, rather) is ... Snow Miser. (Yep. The same Snow Miser from the
1974 stop-motion animated Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus.)

You have to understand: He's Mr. Icicle, he's Mr. Ten Below ...

Now ... we have an inkling the crippling weather in the east isn't a result of Snow Miser's malicious intent. After all, the dude exudes gregarious mannerisms, enthusiasm and, deep down, a willingness to help. 

We're sure of it.

It's just that he exhibited a little too much eagerness along with his good intentions. 

Clark and Jeff will explain ...

Friday, January 22, 2016

A return to an interrupted brunch

The reason we weren't worried about being "confined" in the little bus is because we weren't so much "confined" as we were concealed and covered. Because we knew what was coming next and how generally un-pretty and disembowel-y it was going to be. You see, very few have seen The Ronald (how he refers to himself) in his true form. Some of the League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots were familiar and justifiably terrified. Those who weren't...learned quickly.
We had come up against The Ronald before on the rare, awful occasions that we have had to work with him, and let's just say that it's always an uneasy alliance. You know, since The Ronald is something that would give Pablo Escobar bed-wetting nightmares. Behold...
Good with the kids? Not so much.

Not at all, really.

Oh no. No, that's downright awful.

Still, he does have a way with the ladies...

But yeah, just generally a bad, bad guy.

So we sat back in relative safety and comfort and let him do to the League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots what he generally does to any group of individuals unfortunate enough to cross his path...
Pictured: Jollibee and Little Chef, I think, although it's hard to be sure. Viscera is viscera.
He then grabbed Big Boy with the intent of using him as a human shield and escaping...

But with the help of some local law enforcement agents, we were able to subdue him...

And send him back to the maximum security holding facility from which we had temporarily sprung him...
Until we meet again, vile fiend.
We then turned Big Boy over to Adam Sandler (standard operating procedure).

Really, the whole thing was resolved so quickly that the maple syrup for our waffles was still warm when we returned to our brunching. Say what will you will about Ronald McDonald, that he's a raging hellspawn who promotes genocide via the promotion of poison-as-food, but he's very good at what he does.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Directly After Brunch Was Interrupted

Truth be told, I was welcome to the diversion. (And I don't even like The International House of Pancakes. I went along with the venture because Jeff was obviously on a mission.)

Besides: Who was I to argue? The previous week had been one of nothing but crap-tastickness and I was still in mourning mode over The Thin White Duke's demise. Diversions of any kind were welcome.

Being accosted by the so-called League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots? Even more diversion. So why not?

Of course, these knuckleheads didn't have anything on The Unbelievables. Headlocks? Full nelsons? And, if these guys knew anything about pushing Clark around, they'd've known that's a pet peeve of his. NO ONE physically pushes Clark around. That's taking your life in your hands.

A pretty close approximation of the minibus
The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots had us confined.

Confined* to the minibus, I drummed up conversation:

"You know," I began, "Burger King's mascot? The King? He's not a clown ..."

"Shut up! Sure he is! Because he's a joke to us!" Cookie snapped back. I'd obviously pushed a button.

I formed a slow smile and Clark stifled a chuckle.

We arrived at some nondescript building in the middle of an equally nondescript industrial park and Jollibee ground the minibus to a halt. The back doors opened and we got out. We were shuttled through a door, down a couple hallways and into a cavernous, high-ceilinged open space filled with boxes and crates.

Another close approximation:
The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots' warehouse.

"Big Boy! We're here!" Der Wienerdog barked, a little too eagerly.

"Be right there" came a response.

Down a corridor behind some crates we saw what looked to be a plate with a double-deck burger rise. Then, sure enough, out popped The Big Boy, burger aloft in one hand, the other on his suspender strap.

That devious look. Unsettling ... isn't it?

He was stocky, thick. He walked funny. Those disarming, doll-like eyes shifted uncomfortably from Clark to Jeff to me and back again as he approached. And when he spoke that smirky smile never left his puss. His lips never parted. Nothing but that disarming smile. His eyebrows furrowed at us, though.

"Well, well, well ... the vaunted, globe-trotting Unbelievables. In the flesh at last ...

I perked up: "Is this going to take long? The three of us were looking forward to a second breakfast - brunch, actually - when your goon squad interrupted it ..."

"Quiet, fool! You three have no idea what's in store for you!"

"And what would that be?" Jeff asked.

The Big Boy kept smiling. "The crates and boxes behind me? They contain costumes of every size and shape and color to rile the imagination. I've picked some special ones specifically for you. Clown costumes, to be exact. You three? You're now my very own personal clown contingent!"

Clark chimed in. "But ... I thought you guys hated clowns? That's what 'Dork QueenerDawg' told us earlier ..."

"Der Wienerdog!" Der Wienerdog corrected loudly.

The Big Boy continued. "Ah ... then, you see the irony! Yes, we hate clowns with a passion! And you, the three of you, will be paraded in the streets to fulfill our every whim, subject to our bidding 24/7, dressed as clowns! Bwah-ha-ha ... BWAAAAH-HAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA ... !!!"

The three of us looked at each other knowingly.

"Now?" Clark asked.

"Do it." Jeff and I said in unison.

Unbeknownst to The Big Boy and his contingent, Clark pressed a secret button in his crocheted sweatpants. Inwardly, I winced a little knowing what was coming.

But ... it was necessary. I steeled my nerves.

With The Big Boy still chuckling, the doors behind us flew open, banged against the wall noisily ... and in bound The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots' absolute worst nightmare:

"HIGH, GUYS!" blurted Ronald McDonald cheerfully.

*Confined in the vehicle, I gave Jeff and Clark a wink to play along; they were privy and knew The League had nothing on us. And when I say "confined" it was really "confined, such that it was" because escape, as I'm sure all our readers know, would have been a cakewalk. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Brunch, Interrupted

Interior, Unbelievabase. Morning. Jeff, Clark and Michael are in various states of post-breakfast undress - sweat pants, velour tracksuit tops, smoking jackets and pajamas ahoy. A big platter of scrambled eggs and bacon is on the table, semi-demolished. The Kona coffee maker has a few drops left in the bottom. The guys are in mourning. Last week, the world was robbed of two amazing people. One, David Bowie, a multi-talented musician, actor and mime artist. The other, veteran actor and all-round good guy Alan Rickman. Both friends of the Unbelievables and members of our global network of moles and informants. The guys are seriously hung over after a marathon weekend dedicated to drinking, watching Rickman and Bowie movies and videos, and listening to Bowie records. And drinking.

MICHAEL: So, whose turn is it today? I sure hope it's not mine, I don't think I can deal with it today. 

CLARK: Well, I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking Jeff has today. What are you planning on writing about, ol' British buddy o'mine?

JEFF: Who's up for brunch?

CLARK, MICHAEL (both desperate to do anything to take their minds off work): Wha...? Sure!

Later that morning, entering the local IHOP, the guys are accosted by a crowd of costume-wearing mascot types.

MASCOTS: Hey, Unbelieva-Fools! 

JEFF: Who are you guys?

MASCOTS: Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are...

Der Wienerdog...


Little Chef...

Scoop and Cookie, and we are...
The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots!

MICHAEL: The what?!

CLARK: The who?!

JEFF: No Clark, it's definitely not The Who. Roger Daltrey wouldn't be seen dead in a bee outfit.

CLARK: Okay, so what do you clowns want?

DER WIENERDOG: Clowns? Did you say CLOWNS!? NEVER call us the C-word. We hate them!

MICHAEL: Actually, you're not alone. 

JOLLIBEE: What my canine friend means is we hate one in particular. That.... McDonald guy.

JEFF: Ah, I see. You guys hate Ronald McDonald --

COOKIE: And the Burger King, and Jack In The Box - 

CLARK: But why?

DER WIENERDOG: Come with us and we'll explain the whole thing to you.

MICHAEL: If it's all the same to you, I've got a date with a spinach and mushroom omelette, hash browns, links, and a short stack. And all six syrups.

DER WIENERDOG: You don't really have a choice. (Jollibee puts Michael in a headlock, Scoop puts Jeff in a full nelson, and Little Chef shoves Clark and the rest of the guys into a minibus.)

CLARK: Where are we going?

DER WIENERDOG: To see the boss - the Big Boy!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Leap Of The Lame

"Perhaps Michael can unearth some more info about them on Friday."

And "unearth" some more info I did. Reluctantly.

Let me explain ...

The Leapers aren't your ordinary ne'er do wells as you've read. Leaping about? Appearing only every 4 years as Leap Year's Day approaches? What idiocy is that, anyway?

And, truth be told, they're not that adept at thievery or as baddies. As Clark stated, they're "more a gaggle of annoying boobs" than anything else.

But, pain that it may be, we're called upon to quash their antics every election year like clockwork. It's really not that hard.

We find them, they get excited at our appearance, they get more agitated than usual, they do more leaping than usual and we nab them in mid leap. There's not much they can do about it. Easy, peasy.

But ... that "unearthing" I mentioned above ...

It seems the lot of them are from Down Under, I discovered. We didn't know this until recently. They neatly and effectively masked their Aussie accents for some reason -- we just assumed they were from somewhere in the states.

Anyway, some of my sleuthiness revealed they almost worship the Sony PlayStation character Crash Bandicoot. Their logic? Crash was continuously leaping about and crashing into stuff. In the case of the original game he was developed for, Crash "crashed" into crates releasing puzzle pieces to solve puzzles. There was more crashing than leaping, but the leaping part of the character stuck with The Leapers. (Because ... would you believe a gang of sub-par villains named "The Crashers" ... ??? Sounds more like they break into residences and pass out cold 'til morning.)

Thus, the somewhat perplexing origin of The Leapers, such that it is. I know, pretty lame. But what are you going to do? We don't give bad guys their names, they didn't give us ours. (Which, incidentally, is a pretty badass moniker for a top-notch crime fighting team.)

In many ways? The Leapers are a sad, sorry excuse for thugs. Dumb as Henri Petit is, at least he's got some skills. As "nice" as Negative Charge ("Master Of Electricity") is, he sports a menacing computer monitor for a head. The Leapers? They leap. And commit simple thievery, what they believe is the condolence prize for their inability to make it as premiere athletes. Wow.

And there you have it. *yawn* Now? We need to skedaddle and go monitor what those dolts are up to. Life may not always be glamorous as an Unbelievable ... but ...

Wait ... what? Am I goofy?!? Life as an Unbelievable is kick ass! We wouldn't want it any other way!

Weekend? And Unbelieva-Babes? Here we come ... !!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Failure To Leap

The big problem I have with the Leapers is that their activities, while named after the Leap Year, have nothing to do with the calendar event at all, save the fact that they only start their mini crime waves around the time of the Leap Month (February) and more specifically, the Leap Day (Feb. 29th). 

Similarly, the Leap Year (or, as I prefer to call it, the bissextile year) has nothing to do with leaping per se. The name springs from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in a leap year will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the extra day added at the end of February (thus "leaping over" one of the days in the week. 

So basically, the Leapers are just a bunch of criminals who like to jump around, and are only active once every four years.

What else happens only once every four years?

The Olympic Games.

On a Leap Year, in fact.

So could it be that the Leapers are in fact a group of disgruntled ex-Olympians? 


They are a group of disgruntled ex-athletes who never quite made the cut for their country's Olympic team, and have been seething about it ever since.

So deep is their anger over being snubbed by their coaches and Olympic selectors, they have decided to wreak revenge in Olympic years only.

After doing a little digging, I discovered some of their identities.

Larry McGarrigle, failed hurdler...

Lester Square, high jump pratfalls his speciality.

Lewis N. Hyland, not much cop at high jump either.

Lionel Flair, equally talented.

Louis Banzai, long jump cock-ups on request.
As you can see from the file photos I have been able to find, the Leapers were clearly passed over by their country's Team Selection Committees with good reason. It seems, however, that the Leapers themselves are clearly deluded as to the extent of their abilities and now hold a grudge. 

However, why they choose Olympic Years to commit small-time larceny is still a mystery. Perhaps Michael can unearth some more info about them on Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2016

(Don't) Fear... The Leapers!

Every four years, we experience what is known as Leap Year: the insertion of an extra day into the calendar so that over time, Halloween doesn't eventually fall on Valentines Day, baseball season doesn't begin in November and volcanoes don't explode in Manhattan.
Also, every four years, we deal with these clowns...
The Leapers
Less a gang of criminals and more a gaggle of annoying boobs, The Leapers are dormant for four years between crime waves. It's not like we don't know (and dread) their arrival, but because of what is obviously a deep-seated desire for attention, they always feel the need to warn us anyway.
"Dear Unbelievables,The time of The Leapers is almost nigh! Try to stop us if you dare!! Or if you feel like it (please try to stop us; we bought new outfits and everything this year).Leapity leap leap leap!Sincerely,Larry, Louis, Leonard, Lewis, Lester, Larry (a different one) and Lionel"
Their thing is that they run around and leap. That's it. They leap while robbing banks. They leap when they kidnap an heiress. They leap when they jaywalk (see illustration above). That's it. Standard, garden variety criminals who jump up and down. As such, they're very easy to capture; just let them launch themselves upward and wait for them to come back down, because of gravity. Still, they are criminals. Relatively harmless and silly criminals, but criminals none the less. As such, we're obligated to stop them.

They won't start really acting up until February (Leap Month) 29th (Leap Day), but we need to get ready for them.

Jeff and Michael will share more info later this week.

Friday, January 8, 2016


How does one celebrate 500 adventures? How does one celebrate 500 anything?

Well, Hampton Court Palace in England celebrated its 500-year anniversary by knocking together a few fake coaches and sticking them on the lawn...

Adam Richman celebrated his 500-pound weight loss by, um, getting naked.

Perez Hilton celebrated his 500 kilo weight loss by opening his mouth really wide. (Nothing unusual there).

So what did I do?

First, I hopped into my Galaxie 500...

where I listened to Peter, Paul and Mary singing 500 Miles.

Then I switched gears a little by getting into my Fiat 500...

and listening to some Galaxie 500.

Then, I went into the kitchen and perused one of my Christmas presents,

after which I went and sat in the lounge to read another good book.

Then it was time for some more music.

and one more for luck.

Five x 100 Years = 500 Years.

Then I went to bed. All that math is exhausting!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Flying high over and past 500

The celebration of the Fantastic 500 was/is one to behold, if not experience. Michael observed the occasion at 30,000 feet. Jeff did his thing, which he will tell you about on Friday. And I marked it, as well as the incoming New Year, with a night of quiet contemplation and introspection. Yes, 500 is quite an impressive milestone. But what does one do when they reach a milestone? Does one stop? Perhaps, briefly, to take note of what has come before and what may lie ahead, but no, nobody actually stops at a milestone.
"Well, we're here. I guess."

No! One continues onward and upward! or outward or down or wherever it is they're headed.

And so that's we did/do/are doing/done. As such, you can look forward to more...

Nefarious ne'er-do-wells

Fabulous femme fatales

Varoom-y vehicles (sometimes, alliteration is hard)

And the annoying little twerp Henri Petit will undoubtedly stick his misshapen malignant melon (ah, I'm back!) into things at some point.
"Ah yes, I have grand, twisted, evil plans indeed for The Unbelievables in 2016! And finally, they will pay me the respect to which I am... Hey, put me down! What are you doing? Do NOT buckle me into a car seat, place me in the back seat of a minivan and turn on 'Finding Nemo'! I keep telling you that I am an adult and I... " 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mai-Tai In The Sky: Oh ... Might I? Might I?

Time really does fly, you know.

For example, all of a sudden you look up, the New Year has unfolded before you and it just so happens The Unbelievables have committed 500 crime-fighting adventures and other acts of derring-do.

Realizing this marker of our sometimes wild history, I knew I needed to mark the occasion. I was flying from one exotic locale to another after 2016 broke and decided a little impromptu shindig was in order. Where better than way far up in the air? Who doesn't like a surprise party at 30,000 feet? And, of course, it had to be a cocktail party ...

I made some hasty but exacting arrangements with the airline and told them of my plans. "It has to be very hush-hush so as not to spoil the surprise," I told the plane's crew after getting the okay from head honchos. (I even got a replacement captain and co-pilot so the main fliers of the ship could join in on the festivities.)

The best glassware was busted out ...

... it just so happened I had nondescript handouts to pass to everyone after we took off ...

... and I set my sites on making the official announcement.

The passengers, the entire lot, were giddy with excitement. There was almost a stampede as everyone got on the plane.

A grand time was had by all. I made it known I would be documenting the event for publication on The Unbelievables' website so there was no lack of tales to tell during the couple hour flight time. Laughter was in the air, numbers were exchanged, there was dancing in the aisles and future dates set (Airline! Matchmaking!) from start to finish.

The substitute flight crew was a little suspect: 

We did experience a few drops and barrel rolls during our flight. But when those came around everyone had comfortably knocked back a second highball and the giddiness evident all around superseded note of anything being amiss in the cockpit. (It did benefit that one couple doing a few break dance moves on the fly. Please pardon the pun.)

On arrival, there was backslaps and ear-to-ear grins from the front of the plane to the back. Everyone personally wished me a Happy New Year, thanked me profusely for the hospitality and made sure I planned on conveying their heartfelt sincerities to my missing colleagues.

Cocktails and non-stop laughter with a couple hundred of your (new) closest friends: Not a bad way to spend a couple hours' time from destination "A" to destination "B" ... eh? (Bonus: I recruited a few possible Unbelieva-Babes while schmoozing, too. They'll be stopping by the Unbelieva-Base  in the next week or so to fill out applications.)

If there's one thing The Unbelievables can't be limited to, it's quashing the evil plans of ne'er-do-wells 24/7. There's got to be a little give and take to break up the day, if you know what I mean.

Clark? Jeff? Take it away ...