iPad and Kindle Workers Don’t Make Enough, But That’s Also True For a Lot of our Stuff

Humor Post #115 from the world’s Awesomest & Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School and YA Blog –

Whew, I’ve had a kind of rough time since I put out that BOOKS ARE EVIL post. See I was arguing that Kindles and iPads made more sense for kids than paper books. You can go back and read it if you want. Some people agreed with me, but some got kind of mad at me. I guess I need a thicker skin. Now how do I grow one of those and if I do, will I look more like an elephant?

That was supposed to be a joke. Pretty bad, huh? Okay, you don’t have to agree so loudly.

But I am willing to admit one big problem with our tablets that I didn’t know much about when I wrote that article. They all seem to be made in China or some country in Asia where workers make like, if they’re lucky, a dollar a day. That’s bad. And I checked out some of my books and they’re all printed in the USA. So I’m ready to say we should be willing to pay a bit more for tablets if they could be made here. But then I figured out something else. Most everything we buy that’s not food comes from Asia. And our food is mostly picked by workers from Mexico and Central America. And I’m not exaggerating. Look at my house. I mean we have a Samsung television and an Hitachi TV. Asia. Our refrigerator and washer/dryer are all LG. Asia.

Then I went through my clothes. Guess how many brands were made in the USA. Guess. No, I really mean Guess. My Guess shirt was practically the only thing I could find made in the USA. I have New Balance sneaks made in China, shirts made in Pakistan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India. And I just saw on the news tonight about a clothes factory in Bangladesh where they have girls as young as 12 working there and another building fell down a month or two ago nearby and over 1000 people died. Over 1000 and they were all making clothes!! Imagine if something like that happened here. I think it would take up quite a bit of news time, don’t you? And tonight they showed the labels of the clothes those people in Bangladesh were making. The labels said ASICs and Wrangler and WalMart. (I’m sure there were other brands at other factories, but that’s what they showed tonight.)

So I gotta say it. And I’ll say it in a poem. Natch.

by Dr. Crankenfuss

I don’t understand it,
What can I say?
Almost nothing I own’s
Made in the US of A.

My shoes come from Vietnam or China,
Calvin Klein’s made in Hong Kong,
Almost the only thing I have not from the far East
Is a polyester shirt from Oman.

India, Korea, Pakistan,
Don’t matter if it’s for a woman or a man,
I don’t know what happened to all the US workers,
Must be they’re all frying fast food burgers.

So I guess to be fair I should give up my iPad,
Its workers are exploited and somehow that’s my bad,
I could read paper books printed here I suppose
But shouldn’t I also learn to live without clothes?

Just sayin’.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude (who’s still learning, ya know),
Dr. Crankenfuss
P.S. And thanks to everybody who gave me your ideas here or at LinkedIn, Facebook, and GoodReads. It’s cool to get mail from you.

“BOOKS ARE EVIL. LET’S BAN BOOKS!” — a follow-up reply to my critics

Humor Post #114 from the world’s Awesomest & Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School and YA Blog –

Oh, I just found out something in the last week. I kind of knew it already but now I’m sure about it. Here’s what I learned: IF YOU WANT TO GET ATTENTION, SAY SOMETHING CONTROVERSIAL. What I’m talking about is my post — and BTW, it’s called a HUMOR POST and every one of my posts out of the last 90 or so has those two words right at the top — entitled “BOOKS ARE EVIL. THEY’RE KILLING US. LET’S BAN BOOKS!” It’s gotten some fan mail, but it’s also gotten some  me-not-like-you-very-much-at-all mail. (Daniel put it up at LinkedIn too.) Now I like the fan mail of course. And I gotta admit I’m hurt a bit by the other kind. I have feelings too, believe it or not. Now I know that I give off a pretty arrogant attitude on this blog. It’s on purpose. Hey, I call myself DR. CRANKENFUSS. Whaddya expect with a name like that? Look at my t-shirt. Look at that portrait that goes at the top of my posts. Hey, in real life I’m nicer looking than that. I don’t really have steam coming out of my ears. And I’m not nearly as bald as that guy is. Dr. Crankenfuss is my persona. And yes, I do know what a persona is. And I know what irony is too. Dr. C is exaggerized (that’s half exaggerated and half aggrandized).

I went back to my very first post at Freaky Dude Books and it says the squeaky wheel gets the grease and I’m going to be that squeaky wheel. I called myself a “cranky curmudgeon” and said I’m a know-it-all. That’s the way I act online. I already wrote posts about how in real life, I’m kind of shy — see Handshake Horror, for example — and that I don’t have a girlfriend. Ooh, that hurts to admit. But here on the web, I get to act like I want. I’m Dr. Crankenfuss.

But I also found out I’m getting the most response from that BOOKS ARE EVIL post. Ever since then, I’ve had one really complimentary post about this 91-year-old Sy Perlis and called him my hero, and just a few days ago, I had this very serious essay about bullying in schools. They both took me a long time. Guess how many responses I’ve gotten from them. Practically none. What good is it to write stuff if no one cares? Lots of people say they like hearing good news. Well, my Sy Perlis post was totally good news and my bullying post was not good news, because bullying isn’t good, but I did say for people to hang in there and things would get better. That’s very positive coming from Crankenfuss.

And Crankenfuss knows how to be ironic. On May 31, I wrote a post called WHAT’S WITH THE WAY WE USE FORKS AND KNIVES AT THE TABLE. IT’S CRA-A-A-Z-Z-Y! Now I know it’s not CRAZY! I was exaggerizing again.

So I’ll put this post up but I already have two more reasons why Kindles and iPads and Nooks are the way to go in the future instead of books, but I don’t want to get too off-topic here so come back in a few days for those.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude,
Dr. Crankenfuss


Humor Post #113 from the world’s Awesomest & Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School and YA Blog –

No humor today, people. I’m going to talk about a problem that bothers me a lot: bullying. It’s lucky that I’m not a big victim of bullying. Probably a matter of luck in some way. My humor and being a wise**s in class probably makes some people think I’m not too much of a dweeb. I get myself in trouble by being called down by the teacher so maybe the bullies think I’m something like them. Plus I never say no if someone asks me for help on a problem or their homework (if it’s not too long) so maybe I’m considered a bit valuable. And maybe it’s partly ’cause I like sports so much though I’m not good enough to make the school teams. (On a scale of 10, I’m probably around a 6.) But I can talk sports as well as anybody and that makes me seem more “normal,” I guess. Also I wear the same type clothes most everyone does. Nothing hurts you worse than looking like you don’t have a clue about how to dress. People pick up on that fast.

But I do see bullying. I see kids getting their books knocked out of their hands or being called names. And no, I don’t get up in the bully’s face and tell him to stop. (And I’m not talking about girl bullying. Some of those girls are even meaner than the guys.) The most I’ve ever done is get kind of close so maybe the bully can see there’s a witness. I think that’s helped a few times, but I don’t take much credit for it. A few times I’ve gone in a teacher’s room (if I knew the teacher) and quietly let them know there was a problem outside. But only a few. I don’t want to be called a snitch. For some people, that’s the worst thing there is.

I know what the right thing to do is. Stand up for people. Easy to say, not easy to do ’cause it’s so dangerous. (If I have to explain why, you’re probably not smart enough to be reading this.) Let’s face it: there are some mean people in this world. And they’re not the type to change just because someone tells them they’re not being nice. Maybe they had a hard life and they’re angry. Doesn’t matter. They still can hurt you.

So I’ve done what I always like to do: write a poem. I don’t know if it’ll do any good and I know I’m no hero. But here it is.

by Dr. Crankenfuss

Bullying is bad,
Most people agree.
You see encouraging ads
They put on TV.

There’s a nationwide program
Do-Gooders share,
But there’s one little problem:
Bullies don’t care.

They don’t ever feel
Their job is finished,
And if they get caught,
They’re hardly ever punished.

If they’re called to the office,
Their parents usually whine.
See, lots of bad fruit
Comes from the same vine.

The best plan is clear:
Stay out of their sight.
If they don’t notice you,
You’ll be all right.

Sometimes someone
Stands up and fights back.
But it’s then that bullies’ friends
Join the attack.

And school’s not the end,
There’s a monster combine,
If they miss you in class,
They can get you online.

Bullies are dictators,
They award themselves crowns.
They feel like kings
If they can hold you down.

But nature can be cruel,
And there are bullies in history.
That there are bullies in school
Should be no mystery.

Sometimes you can take comfort
That school’s just a stage
‘Cause many bullies grow up
To make minimum wage.

But others are rewarded,
They make the big bucks.
It’s a sad piece of evidence
That life sometimes sucks.

The public likes bad boys
And it’s not subliminal.
Look how Hollywood
Practically worships the criminal.

Look how we idolize
Athletes beating their chests.
Some fans think they’re cool
If their team is the best.

My only advice
Is to look for connection.
Find your own kind,
Stick together for protection.

Believe in yourself,
Work hard and in time
You’ll see being different
Is in no way a crime.

Pursue what you love,
Find out where you’re best,
‘Cause nobody’s special
If they’re exactly like the rest.

Don’t ever give up,
Life’s one long fight.
Give ’em your best shot
And you might be all right.

From Your Dude with the ‘Tude (who wishes he was braver),
Dr. Crankenfuss


Humor Post #112 from the world’s Awesomest & Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School and YA Blog –

How many times have you seen some little bitty old person driving a car, the kind where you can hardly see their head, and you made some mean comment about it? How many times have you thought that being over 40 was really old, not to mention 90?

90?? Why at that age, you’re probably thinking, it’s an adventure to see if someone can sit on a toilet without crashing. Well, I admit to having such thoughts. Negative thoughts are never far from the head of Dr. Crankenfuss. But ol’ Dr. C sure learned something today. He read about this guy in Arizona named Sy Perlis, who bench pressed 187 pounds. That’s very good. I don’t think I could bench press 40 or 50. But here’s the kicker: Sy Perlis is 91 years old. 91?? I know a few kids who can’t even count that high.

So I learned my lesson. Not all people are washed up because they’re old. Some old people can do a lot of cool things. (And Daniel, don’t get all pleased with yourself ’cause you think I’m talking about you. You’re old, but you can’t do what Sy Perlis can.)

Anyway, I got inspired to write this poem about Sy. He deserves all the praise he gets. He certainly changed the way I think. (I’ll put a link to the original article at the bottom of my poem.)

by Dr. Crankenfuss

There’s this man, aged 94,
He lives in the desert.
He lifts up such heavy loads
They hardly can be measured.

Okay, I lie a little bit
But he bench pressed one eighty!
Any way you look at it
That’s still pretty weighty.

Me, I’m a young smart aleck
But muscles? I ain’t got many.
How much could I bench press?
In ounces? Maybe twenty.

Middle school can be tricky,
Staying safe can be hard,
So I’m writing this dude to ask him
If he’ll be my bodyguard.

I can see it all so nice and clear:
Some bully will challenge me
And my wing man, Sy, with one punch
Will send him to eternity.

Being old’s no picnic,
Some kids will make fun of you.
The jokes can be pretty thoughtless,
I’m sure I’ve told one or two…
                                          (at the least!)

But this praise comes from a dude
Who can barely bench press zero,
Sy Perlis of Arizona,
You’re definitely my hero!

Click here to read the original article from NBC Sports about Sy Perlis.

From Your Dude with the Corrected ‘Tude (where it comes to old people),
Dr. Crankenfuss

P.S. And don’t forget to always check the Freaky Dude Books Facebook Page. Daniel mentions my posts there, but there will be other stuff about his books and book giveaways and more comments by him about all kinds of things.


Humor Post #111 from the world’s Awesomest & Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School and YA Blog –

Yes, I know what many of you are saying. You’re saying, “Crankendoofus, if I want to see saw, I can do that in hundreds of playgrounds all over the USA.”

Nice try, dudes (and dudettes)! That’s not exactly what I’m talking about. See, my incredibly clever title got you all stumped, flummoxed, and discombobulated. Go to the link below and you’ll see what my headline meant. But be sure to come back when you’re done reading about it.

Click here and prepare to be shocked.

Like wha….?? That guy showed that movie to a class of sixth graders? If someone did that at my school, sure some people would cheer — mainly the boys — but a lot of others would chuck, as in upchuck. And parents would be coming in with tar and feathers and pitchforks (like in Frankenstein kinds of movies). But hey, look at how he got punished. A one day suspension! Like whoooo, they sure are strict over in France!

I guess ol’ Crankenfuss could put it like this (if he wanted to do a rap about it):


By Dr. Crankenfuss

If you want a cool anatomy class
That’ll put you in awe
You can’t do much better
Than seeing Saw.

It’s got lots of body parts,
And crimes against the law.
It’s kind of gross watching
Kids turned to cole slaw.

The teacher would get in trouble
But his punishment would be lame
‘Cause after one day of suspension
He can show you more of the same.

Most kids would probably hate it,
They’d barf their guts all out,
But horror fans would love it,
They’d scream and cheer and shout.

I don’t know about you
But if I get the chance
I’m sayin’ good-bye to my school
And moving to Paris, France.

From your Dude with the ‘Tude (and the totally sicko sense of humor),
Dr. Crankenfuss