In The Future!

In the future, busy on the go folk will be able to satisfy their hunger by eating a dinner pill and washing it down with an ice cold, electrically stimulated memory of spring water!

In the Future, all the TV you could possibly want will play on the inside of your eyelids twenty four hours a day, seven days a week! Don’t like the show? Blink twice and select ‘menu’!

In the Future, all religions will be replaced by a hologram of Santa on the Cross!


In the Future, acts of terrorism will be ‘virtual’! Lie down! A ‘car Bomb’ just went off next to you!

In the future, the President of the world will be an artificial commingling of the brain stems of Nobel Prize winning scientists, economists and Wink Martindale!

In the Future, vast ecologic collapse will reduce the human race by 82%! The rest of us will live in burnt out RV’s and beat each other with sticks when we get hungry or bored!

In the Future anyone can have sex whenever they want, just by pressing their sex button!

In the Future, if you want to find out that Winston ‘Wink’ Martindale was an American disc jockey and game show host best known as the host of ‘Tic Tac Dough’ all you’ll have to do is blink twice and select ‘Ask Jeeves’

In the Future there will be no more racism or intolerance because everyone will be filled with murderous hatred for everyone else all the time just because of who they are! But don’t worry! ‘Victory Milk’ will keep you calm enough to keep from screaming!

In the Future, anyone who wants a ‘Game Boy’ can just take one for free right off the Game Boy stack!

In the Future, everyone will have a Clone of themselves for blood transfusions, organ transplants and skin grafts, and everyone will get a set of those noise canceling earphones they use at airports so they don’t have to hear their Clone shrieking through the walls of it’s Clone Closet!

In the future, Aliens will use astounding technology to travel to Earth from all over the galaxy and eat us!

In the future, your McColostomy will come with a side of fries, a choice of anesthesia and a toy!

In the Future all news will be supplied personally by a tiny, genetically engineered Matt Lauer clinging to our privates and shouting through a doll sized megaphone!

In the Future, Dogs and Cats will develop opposable thumbs and a rudimentary intelligence, allowing them to perform the manual labor we now use immigrants for, until a month later they rise up and slaughter us!

In the Future, Goldfish will be mandatory!

In the Future, there will be theme parks where you can meet robot simulations of indigenous people and give them robot Smallpox!

In the Future, Nascar, Championship Bowling and Baseball will be combined in to a single sport! Participants will be chosen by involuntary compulsory lottery!

In the Future, it will be against the law to part your hair in the middle, wear ‘mutton chops’ or say ‘okey-dokey’.

In the Future, ‘The Internet’ will seem quaint and old fashioned. Instead, all information will be forbidden.

In the future, when you sneeze, instead of saying ‘Gezunteit’ or ‘God Bless you’ people will point at you and make that ‘EEEEEEEEE’ sound Donald Sutherland made in the 1978 remake of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’.

In the future if you want to know what the ‘EEEEEEEEE’ sound Donald Sutherland made in the 1978 remake of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ was like, you can hop in your time machine, go back to now and look it up on the ‘U Tube’. (for ‘you’!)

In the Future, dinosaurs will come back. When we ask what happened to them, they’ll pretend not to hear us.

In the Future, some children will have non functional wings and small, useless front claws, but be able to sing whole operas in a single breath out a blow hole on the back of their neck. We will call them ‘Chubbies’ and make them wear green, one piece jump suits and Tattoo the letter ”C” right on their faces!

In the future, the phrase ‘what’s up?’ will be replaced by ‘Twist ‘em, Mickey.’!

In the Future, the Bible will be forgotten, but people will make frequent literary reference to the complete works of V.C. Andrews. Blink twice and select ‘Flowers in the Attic’!

In the Future, ‘Take Out Chicken’ will be all we eat, but it will be made from Seaweed, Shaving Cream and Human Waste!

In the future everyone will be happy all the time because of the Joy wire laced into their skull at birth.

In the Future when you’re done living, all you have to do is blink twice and select “Jane, shut this crazy thing off.”

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Summer Fun!

Here’s a little essay from the Golden Age when my kids were small and I had a nine to five job with benefits.I think I can say with complete certainty that every single word of it is literally true.

Most days in August I try to catch the early train to work so I can leave a little sooner. My wife throws kids in the car, meets me at the station and we go straight to the beach. I scamper off to whatever poorly lit restroom they’ve left unlocked and change out of my work clothes. Something about balancing precariously on top of my shoes while I struggle to get a leg into my bathing suit without stepping in the pasty mix of urine and sand on the poured concrete floor, like Cirque du Soleil meets affordable competition for Chippendales, just says ‘Summer’ to me. It’s nice.



By the time I get out on the beach, the blanket is already spread, the chairs set up, the toys scattered and my kids have a layer of sand coating every inch of their body. They look like garden sculpture. Lurching, shrieking, garden sculpture come to life hell bent of getting sand on the blanket, in the food and in the babies case, up my nose, in my mouth and as close to my retinas as her pudgy little digits can get it.

My wife and I take shifts. For the first hour or so The girls and I wade in the water, build a sand castle, I tell them the identical rocks and bits of shell the keep showing me are beautiful and my Bride reads a mystery. Then as the sun begins to set, painting the sea a million different shades of Orange and Teal and an almost Thalocyanine Blue, she says “Say girls, why don’t we take a walk so your Dad can get some peace?” I watch them, my women, the tall one holding the hands of the two little ones, turning into silhouettes as they get smaller, smaller.

And then it’s my turn.



I like to start small. I look around for the nice, large group. Some days I go with an extended family, hopefully intergenerational, but if I’m in shape and feeling athletic, I enjoy groups of disaffected teens. I take the sack of stale bread I got from my cafeteria at work, roll it around a little to make crumbs and saunter over. When I dump out the bag, the alpha male invariably asks me what the hell I think I’m doing. “Don’t you recognize me?” I respond, “I’m Tippy Hedron” That sentence takes about three seconds to say, which is just about how long it takes the first Sea Gulls to arrive. In the unlikely event this doesn’t cause enough ruckus for me to get away unscathed, I’ve found pointing at the youngest child and shrieking “OH MY GOD, HIS EYES! HIS EYES!!!” usually gives me space to make a run for it.



I stop at my blanket just long enough to strip down to the undies I’ve left on under my bathing suit. I favor the old tighty whities. Colored drawers are too easily mistaken for some sort of French bathing suit, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have mud wasps lay their eggs in my spine than be taken for a Frenchman. Next I put on my suit socks, pull ‘em way up my calves, slip on my loafers and race off down the water line flailing my arms, weeping loudly and randomly shouting nonsense words like “Chunkies” and “Bulvula”. If you decide to try this, here’s an important tip: Don’t run in the same direction your wife and kids took. Catch up with them and the fun is over. Didn’t I learn that the hard way.

Once I’ve exhausted myself and/or attracted enough attention, I tumble to my knees in the surf, raise my fists to the sky, and gift my gathering public with a tribute to Charlton Heston’s classic star turn from the end of “Planet of the Apes”

Unless there’s an off duty Cop in the crowd that’s pretty much it for my act. You’d be surprised just how easy it is to walk away. Most beach goers have no real desire to interact with a sandy lunatic in nothing but soaked Fruit of the Loom’s. On the rare occasion that some Mental Health Professional, well meaning Christian or other Goody Goody pain in the ass does feel compelled to approach me, I can usually make them turn around by tearfully begging them to ‘Help me get the sand out of my creases’.



When the kids get back to our spot, I greet them with a heartfelt “Who’s ready for ice cream? I know I am!”

It’s amazing how a little exercise and some time to yourself makes the tensions of the workday melt away!

Oh, one last thing. This is strictly a beach bit, and does NOT translate well to Movie Theaters, Museums, Houses of Worship, or other enclosed spaces. Also, while you’d think performing this piece at the Actual Statue of Liberty would have really made the Planet of the Apes thing shine, it turns out our National Monuments have a lot of Security Personnel and they’re really kind of high strung these days. They didn’t even laugh at “That ain’t dynamite, I’m just glad to see ya!” Go figure.

How To Watch Fireworks

Well, the 4th has come and gone. Another year, another cookout, another set of colossal, inflamed insect bites accompanied by hypochondriacal imagined symptoms of East Nile Virus and Lymes disease, another day after spent nursing a violent hangover, screaming at the kids to ‘for Christ’s sake shut up, can’t you see Daddy’s sick?’, wishing like hell you could get their attention by whispering, knowing full well you might as well wish that the tears of rage were diamonds as big as hen’s eggs, and above all, another evening of fireworks.

So why write about it? What’s done is done, right? I like fireworks enough to put up with how much I hate other people and my intrinsic distrust of self-congratulatory spectacle in general and my government in particular, so what more is there to say?

First, it’s good to do a little wrap up analysis of any event you intend to repeat, and ‘B’, there’s always the chance that a year from now you’ll be mopping the floor in a Mexican tattoo parlor and asking La Tourista if they could help a fellow American out with any spare change they might have. Word is, they don’t have the 4th of July down there. Well, they have it, it’s hard to get to 5th of July without it, it’s just not a very big deal.

So. Having stretched my word count to 238 without even starting this essay, I give you…

HOW TO WATCH FIREWORKS; A PRIMER BY MAX BURBANK

1.) Arrive early. You want a good seat, and you never know. This could be the year they start shooting them off before sunset.

2.) Wait. This early stage waiting is an excellent time to start working toward being abusively drunk, although a seasoned fireworks pro begins this around noon in the privacy of their own backyard, or behind a neighborhood dumpster. Most public fireworks viewing spaces have a ‘no alcohol’ policy, but it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Do you think the founding fathers were sober for even an instant during the revolution? Let me tell you – small arms fire, Dysentery, Gangrene, starvation and all male companionship go down a lot easier with a buzz on.

3.) If you brought your kids with you, now’s the time to yell at them. You want to do this while it’s still light enough so that other families know you have your offspring under control. That way once it’s dark you can let them run wild and no one will guess they’re yours. If you don’t have kids, yell at somebody else’s. It’s a great way to break the ice with their parents who may well have better snacks than you.

4.) Speculate loudly about when the hell they’re gonna get this show on the road.

5.) Tell your kids it has to be good and dark for a pretty long time before they can start the fireworks. When they ask why that would be, see how many reasons you can come up with that make any sense at all.

6.) Wait. Silently question why you come so early every year as thousands of unsupervised teenagers crowd in, obscuring your view.

7.) Spend some time thinking about what the impact on Gay culture in America would have been if halfway through the filming of “The Wizard of Oz”, Judy Garland suffered a stroke and the only one who could take on her role and complete the filming was you. (not everyone does this step, but ask around. I think you’ll be surprised)

8.) Listen as the bovine herd around you wonders if the obviously cheap, privately owned fireworks being shot off by neighbors might be the start of the show, and if so why is this town always so damn stingy with it’s tax dollars. Chuckle knowingly while privately worrying if this actually might be the case this year, even though it never has been before, even once.

9.) When the privately owned fireworks end, see if you can be the first one to loudly joke that it’s now time to go home.

10.) Wait. To amuse your family, play waiting for fireworks bingo. How many different whining, complaining, crying children can you count? How many drunken fathers, hollowly threatening to take everyone home right now? Use your flashlight to pick out silently seething Mothers and Dates.

11.) The show begins. Everyone will want to know your expert opinion on each firework, so make sure you use your ‘outdoor voice’ when you tell them.

12.) Wonder about Aerial Bombs, those deafeningly loud, big white flashes. What’s the point, beyond reminding you that these lovely flashes of light are supposed to suggest wartime lethal bombardment? Does anyone actually like them? Does the Mayor own stock? Are they really cheap? Do you get them free when you order a certain amount of ordinance?

13.) Worry that the small collection of fireworks that just went off together might be a particularly lame grand finale. Recall wondering this every year of your whole life, even though it’s always quite clear when the grand finale takes place. But what if this time it really is a particularly lame grand finale? Allow yourself to experience crushing disappointment coupled with the kind of depression that will put your head in the oven in the instant before the show starts up again.

14.) This small collection of fireworks going off at the same time is a little bigger than the last one. Maybe this is the grand finale. Wouldn’t that be lame? What the hell is wrong with this town? It’s not like they spend the taxes on the school system. Think longingly of your oven again, and it’s soothing, open mouth.

15.) Stare in slack jawed wonder at what is unmistakably, obviously, the grand finale. So big! Pretty light go boom! Thank God for the inventive spirit of the ancient Chinese and this great, wonderful country of ours, its freedoms, the sacrifices of its brave sons and daughters! Then tell everyone around you last year was better.

16) Bitch about the crowds, the traffic and the failure of fat, complacent local cops to confiscate illegal fireworks from dangerous unsupervised teens. Rage bitterly against the triple overtime extorted from the town budget just so the local boys in blue can make vague, non committal hand gestures at the slow motion, Demolition Derby that just hours ago was a semi civilized parking facility.

17.) Tell your family that if this is how they want to spend the 4th next year they can damn well do it without you.

18) in 365 days, repeat these steps with as few variations as possible.