When is a foot not a foot? When it’s YOUR foot, that’s when.

Humor Post #57 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

We’ve been doing all this measuring at school in math, comparing the USA system to the metric system and stuff like that. I gotta say the metric system makes way more sense, but that’s not what this is about. This is about a real little thing, but I still think it’s important. To measure stuff we mostly use rulers and yardsticks and tape measures. Now tape measures make a lot of sense, especially the ones that are metal and curl up inside their case. Rulers are okay if you have a backpack but forget it if you only have pockets and don’t like being poked in the side. And yardsticks are just useless for carrying around, aren’t they? Well, you could put one down your pants leg, but that would probably slow you down just a little.

Anyway, here’s the small thing. We have a nice name for the stick that’s a yard long. Uh, it’s called a YARDSTICK. Makes sense, doesn’t it? We don’t use it a whole lot, but it does have a sensible name. So what do we call a stick that’s a foot long, you know, the one we use all the time. “A FOOTSTICK,” you yell out, “it’s gotta be a FOOTSTICK.” How sadly wrong you are, Paco. It’s called a RULER. What good does that do anybody? A ruler can be a foot or it can be six or eight inches. The word ruler doesn’t tell you anything. It certainly doesn’t rule.

Wouldn’t kids learn what a foot was better if we actually had something called a FOOTSTICK? The way it is now, a teacher has to explain that a ruler has 12 inches and, oh yeah, a ruler is usually a foot and a foot has 12 inches too. No wonder kids can’t do math right.

And why do they call it a FOOT anyway? Probably because the guy who invented it put a stick next to his foot and decided, “I think I’ll call this length of stick a foot. Yeah, that’ll make it easy for everyone for the rest of eternity.”

Thanks a lot, Bozo!

You want to see how good a reader you are? Try this test.

Humor Post #56 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

We had a great reading lesson today.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “What?? Where’s ol’ Crankenfuss’s usual rant, his whining, his complaining, his ‘I hate everything’ way of looking at the whole world?”

Well, I’ll tell you. That attitude is on hiatus for this blog post. (Yeah, it’s a new word I just learned. You can look it up.) Today I’m Mr. Happy Face cause my English teacher had this cool lesson. She brought out five of those mini-bags of popcorn and said the first five people to complete this silent reading contest she was ready to pass out would get a bag of popcorn. That got us hyped cause what’s not to like about popcorn? So she handed out this paper face down on everybody’s desk and when she was done, she said, “Okay, turn it over and you may begin. Bring it to me when you’re through. If you’re one of the first five to finish it, I have your prize right here.”

Now I consider myself a pretty good reader so I figured I’d have a pretty good shot at bringing home the bacon… uh, popcorn. So I tore into it like an alligator into a wildebeest. (I saw that happen on “Planet Earth.” One of the gruesomest things I’ve ever watched four or five times. So sad. For the wildebeest anyway.)

Here’s what was on the sheet of paper, starting right at the top:

This is a contest to see who can follow instructions the best. There are 20 tasks listed on this paper. The first one to finish them wins. But please read all the tasks before you start. When you have completed the assignment, bring it to the teacher and she’ll give you your prize.

1. Write your last name. ________________________________
2. Write the last name of this class’s teacher. ___________________________________
3. Put the current year on the line at the right. ___________________
4. Do not do anything on this line.
5. Write the name of the city we live in. __________________________________
6. Write the name of the state we live in. _________________________________
7. What is the name of our school? _____________________________________________
8. What is the last name of our President? ___________________________
9. Skip this line and go all the way to Number 15.
10. What is 72 + 8? _______
11. What is 3 multiplied by 3? ______
12. How many weeks are in a day? Circle the correct answer. A. 7   B. 30   C. 31   D. 1/7
13. What is the antonym of the word synonym? _________________________
14. What is the abbreviation for United States of America? __________________
15. Who was the USA’s first President? George _____________________
16. From which country did we win our independence? (Hint: It rhymes with Bingland.) ________________________
17. Go back and answer Number 10-14.
18. Write the alphabet backwards from G to A? ________________________________
19. Did you read all these tasks before you started? __________
20. Don’t write anything on this page. All you have to do is bring it to the teacher for your prize. Don’t tell anyone how you did it so fast. If you’re one of the first five, you WIN!


Man, after the first eight things to answer, I was in a groove. I figured I had a great chance of winning. My hands were flying like an F-18. And then it happened. The first person finished and brought up her paper. HUH?? How was that possible. I was only on Number 6. Then two more people came up. NO!! HOW HAD THEY FINISHED SO FAST?? After another two more minutes, two others had come up and the teacher was out of popcorn. The biggest mystery was the last two to come up weren’t even very good students. They were making like maybe C’s in the class. HOW COULD I BE LOSING TO THEM?

IT WASN’T FAIR! My mouth was sweating, almost drooling really, it was craving that popcorn so much, especially after the winners had opened their bags and were happily munching away. There were some grumbles about the test not being fair, so our teacher made us put our pens and pencils down and made us read the instructions at the top of the paper again. “This time read them very carefully,” she said. I did what she said and after a couple minutes, I saw why I’d lost. WHAT AN IDIOT I WAS! And the key to everything was in boldface. But I have to admit it was a cool reading test.

So here I’m offering it to you. Maybe you can print it out and have your teacher give it to your class. Of course, that means you’ll win, which is even better.

Just one more helpful suggestion from
The Dude Who was in the Mood for some Food,
Dr. Crankenfuss

Zombies got it bad. You gotta feel for them.

Humor Post #55 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Zombies. I gotta write about zombies. A couple days ago I mentioned them in my post about things that were sicker than a dog and I wrote, “a zombie with the flu.” Now that I’ve obssessed about it more and even lost some sleep over it, I’ve decided that zombies might have it worse than just about anybody. Yeah, they’re undead, which might be pretty cool depending on what death is like, but they’re definitely unloved. They’re almost sure to be the last ones chosen in a pick-up game. They’re underappreciated, underutilized, and underweared (I hope). (Yeah, yeah, another bad one, I know.)

But it’s easy to see why they are kind of repulsive.
1. They’re ugly with pale, gray skin, open sores and wounds and flesh falling off them. Not your first choice for a prom date, even if you’re really desperate.
2. They obviously stink since they’re rotting bodies. Who wants to be around someone who smells so bad? I worry just when I’ve had a fart or two. It must be just awful for them.
3. They don’t make for good conversationalists. Mostly they growl or moan. I don’t imagine they’d be much fun at a party. No jokes, no mimicking anyone, no “pull this finger” or “you’ve got a spot on your shirt” routines.
4. They all limp or shuffle along and they’re not much for rules so they’re lousy at sports. They’d be sure to lose at musical chairs. The Electric Slide? Forget it! Wait a minute. They might be good at King of the Mountain since the goal there is to keep control of the mountain. I think they’d be pretty good at that. (That’s the only plus I’ve come up with so far.)
5. They’re not too good at showing their emotions. Maybe a psychologist could help them loosen up a bit, but I doubt it.
6. They kinda have an OCD thing going on, at least the O part. They always seem to have exactly one thing on their “minds.”
7. Their hair and make-up are a joke. Not even goths would think they were cool in that regard.
8. All they want to do is eat everyone’s brains. Everyone who’s not yet dead, that is. Now once you’re bitten or eaten, you become a zombie too, which I guess means they’re not too exclusive. They welcome new members, which is another plus for them. But who wants to be a member of THAT club? No, when zombies come knockin’, the party stops rockin’. Everybody be walkin’, well, runnin’ really to get their bad booties outta there.

So let’s say you’re a zombie and you’re feeling sick. It’s bad, real bad. First, since you don’t really think much, it’s hard for you to know if you’re really sick or just feeling like a normal zombie. After all, you ARE a stinkin’, rotting corpse, aren’t you? But let’s say you get it together enough to see a doctor (or at least a nurse practitioner). You won’t be able to describe your symptoms and they probably won’t be able to take your blood pressure or temperature because you’ll eat their brains if they do. Now you’re right back to where you started. Sure, you can try another medical person, but the results will always be the same.

At least zombies have friends, some of you will probably say. Yeah, right. With friends like those, who needs enemies. A mob is not exactly a campfire circle singing “B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name-o.” No, it ain’t. More like, “Uh, uh, grunt,” arms flailing, stinky underarms, breath, and everything else, teeth ready to gnaw you apart. Sounds like the boys’ locker room at school, I know, but believe me, it’s way worse.

There is one other good thing about all this bad stuff. Zombies don’t care about it. It ‘s like everything is “no problema” with them. Just give ’em a nice very rare brain burger and they’re happy — well, okay, content anyway. And all those cool movie and television roles they get? Most of us would be like, “Hey, look at me, dudes. I’m on da big box, ya know?” Not zombies. Fame, money, chocolate, girl/boy friends, everything we all want — it’s all a big zero to them.

So here’s a shout out to zombies — little understood, but always feared and hated. They got almost nothing to live for (except the occasional snack) and absolutely nothing to die for, them being already dead and all.

Be glad you’re not one. Be very glad.

From your Dude with the ‘Tude,
Dr. Crankenfuss

I wish I was as sick as a dog! That would be some sweet action!

Humor Post #54 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Here’s another of those stupidissimo  expressions you hear all the time: sick as a dog. What’s with that piece of rot? Daniel has a dog, a collie named Lance. Talk about cool. You can see him doing a magic trick here. Now Lance is about as regular a dog as you can find and one thing that’s easy to say about Lance — he hardly ever gets sick. He goes to the vet like once or twice every year, once for his yearly checkup and shots and once to get shaved for the summer. Almost never for being sick. (Though he did have a bad case of fleas once, thanks to Daniel being too careless, or too cheap, to put flea stuff on him.) Anyway, I can safely say I wish I was as sick as Lance. Man, I’d put doctors out of business!

Now I know there will be a few of you who look up the phrase and you’ll write to say, “Oh, you stupid Crankenfuss, People say that because dogs will eat almost anything and then when they eat something bad for them, they throw up. That’s where the expression comes from.” And I’d fire right back at you, “Fair enough, Bullet Head, but it’s still a dumb expression because whenever I see a dog throw up, he’s over it in about 10 seconds. They get rid of the bad stuff inside and then they’re ready to go on with their walk. I’ve seen it many times. Usually when humans throw up, they call in sick and stay home, and lots of them moan and whine for hours. Not Lance. Within a few minutes, he’s ready to eat again. Sometimes he even wants to eat his own barf! Yeah, that’s pretty sick, I know, but it’s still a sign he’s got a positive attitude. A sure sign of good health, I’d say.”

And on top of all that, he can eat anything he likes and he never ever gets fat. How many of the rest of us can say that?

So here are a few alternatives I’ve come up with for “sick as a dog,” every one of them way more accurate. Feel free to use them. You don’t even have to give me credit.
— Sick as a guy with bubonic plague (Look it up. Those buboes were beyond y-e-c-c-h-h!)
— Sick as an asparagus eater
— Sick as someone who’s forced to listen to Justin Bieber for 5 hours
— Sick as a zombie with the flu (See, they’re already dead, ugly, and starving, and then they get the flu on top of that. That’s gotta hurt!)

And while we’re in this fascinating conversation about dog barf and other sicko stuff, how about that beaut “I’m feeling under the weather”? Hello! Aren’t we all under the weather? Okay maybe if you’re an astronaut or a space alien, you’re not, but by definition the rest of us are. So there’s another cliché to stay clear of.

That’s enough for today. More to come within two days.

From Your Dude with a ‘Tude,
your thinker who’s no stinker,
Dr. Crankenfuss

Hungry as a horse? Oh, we can do better than that!

Humor Post #53 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

This one’ll be kinda short so here goes.
What’s with these silly sayings we use all the time? I don’t know whether to call them clichés or expressions or whatever they are; all I know is a lot of them are — how shall I put this nicely? — DUMB, DUMB, DUMB! Like today, we’re on our way to lunch and Joe (someone you probably don’t know) says, “I gotta get to the cafeteria. I’m as hungry as a horse.” Now nothing against Joe or anything. He’s not dumb or anything, but why do people say “hungry as a horse”? Now I got nothing against horses either but are they hungrier than other animals? (Same question with “hungry as a bear”.) Why didn’t Joe say, “I’m as hungry as a teenager”? Now any parent will tell you that’s way more accurate cause they’re always complaining about how much their kids eat. We can’t help it; we’re having our growth spurt. (BTW, I wish mine would start spurting a lot more. Like a geyser would be nice. Then maybe I’d be better in basketball.)

I looked up which animals eat the most and there’s lots of stuff out there, but it seems that hummingbirds are definitely near the top of the list. One site says they eat 2/3 of their weight each day. Most of it is sugar. Wow, who wouldn’t go for that? But they’re also so hungry they eat lots of bugs. Now that’s HUNGRY with a capital H and a U and an N and … Oh, you get the picture. Another site, named Birdola, of all things, says hummingbirds eat TWICE their weight each day. And they eat every 10 minutes!! Now let’s see a horse do that! The horse would have to eat like 500 or 1000 pounds of food a day. Hay, that’s a lot! Ha, ha, get it? Okay, I know it’s dumb.

I spent some time thinking of other dumbissimo clichés like that one and it wasn’t too hard. If you feel like, you can even send me one and I’ll use it if I haven’t thought of it yet. So get ready for a barrage of bull hockey in the next week or two. There’s a lot of expressions that need to be 187ed. Okay, if that’s too strong for you, how about “put out to pasture”?

Thanks for listening and remember, I’m always out here, lookin’ out for ya’.

Note: You know the real reason I’m stopping right now? I have to raid the refrigerator cause I’m hungry as a hummingbird.

from Dr. Crankenfuss,
The Dude with the ‘Tude