At the races

Your Choice of Breasts — Choose Wisely

An aunt created a storm of controversy recently when she breastfed her sister’s baby. Talk about spoiling your kid.

How does that work? Does the mom give them a choice of breasts?

“Honey, who would you like today? Remember, the nutrients and nourishment you get from breast milk at this stage will play a major role in your success in life. Choose wisely. So today we have Aunt Jane, who has a bad habit of shoplifting after downing shots of 151 rum; Aunt Alice, who smokes 6 packs a day while lifting the family Jeep so Uncle Frank can change a tire; and finally Aunt Clara, she like to breast feed on the benches outside of Walmart while she sings country ditties for change from shoppers.”

Local Youth Learns Lesson the Hard Way

This kid thinks he can do whatever he wants.


The Warning

Image taken from page 24 of 'Funny Books for Boys and Girls. Struwelpeter. Good-for-nothing Boys and 11235980043
Courtesy The British Library

He gets a warning, but hey, he doesn’t care. He can lean back in the chair if he feels like it, right!


The Wake-Up

Image taken from page 25 of 'Funny Books for Boys and Girls. Struwelpeter. Good-for-nothing Boys and 11235748454
Courtesy The British Library

Woah, woah, well lookee here! Look who seems to be losing their balance.


The Final

Image taken from page 25 of 'Funny Books for Boys and Girls. Struwelpeter. Good-for-nothing Boys and 11048575456
Courtesy The British Library

Ha, ha! Serves you right kid. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.




Is There Royal Blood In Your Family? Here’s How To Tell

You might be related to royalty. Just think how much better people will treat you when they know you are related to kings and queens. Here are the signs you may have royal blood flowing through your veins.


Does anyone in your family walk around the house wearing a crown? It doesn’t even have to be made with valuable jewels. A crown of oily rags or celery sticks is just as good. Your family member is answering an ancient call; responding to their royal blood.


Do your pets stand guard outside your house, protecting your home and grounds from possible intruders or incoming hordes? This means they sense your royal blood, and are taking up the role as gatekeepers to the crown. Then again, they may just be hungry and are waiting for you to come home from work.


Do your children expect to be coronated on their 16th birthday, perhaps with a new drum set or even a car? They expect this because it is part of their royal heritage — also because you have spoiled them since they were little.


Normal people drive sensible cars. Royalty are driven around by footmen in royal coaches. If your spouse has purchased a used coach from Disneyland, and hired high school kids to hitch up horses to it and drive her around the park, you can be sure she has royal blood.


All royal families have a coat of arms, as yours should.  Have you ever come home to find artwork displayed on your refrigerator, perhaps made of macaroni or pencil shadings of leaves? Do not despair. This is your royal offspring attempting to summon the royal coat of arms. Let their knowledge flow, and soon they will reward you with a full-colored, magnificent coat of arms you can proudly hang in the foyer. Or your basement. Or garage.


Are your offspring riding bikes around the driveway and neighborhood, attempting to crash into each other at high speed? Don’t worry. For most children, this would be a sign of a future life of crime. For you, it means their royal blood is answering the call to play polo, galloping with great gusto and verve, holding off the competition as they wallop the winning goal.

These are just a few of the signs your family is indeed royalty, and you must do everything in your power to restore your kingdom.







He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

A few years ago, my brother and I watched a Blue Jackets game in Columbus. It was a warm night, so we found a nearby restaurant near the arena that had an open patio to sit and drink beers.

We had to wait for a hostess to seat us.

She slowed her walk as she approached us, giving each of us a long look up and down. We asked to sit outside.

Grabbing two menus, she said brightly, “Oh, I know a perfect table for the two of you!”

She walked out on to the empty patio, made her way to the back, and pulled some chairs from a secluded table near a hedge.

“Uh, cool,” I said, “But I think we’d rather sit out front where we can watch girls walk by,” I said. “I realize I’m too old for that, but it’s all I have at this age.”

She looked surprised. “Oh, of course! Girls!” she said, pausing before she said “girls.”

She sat us out front and started to walk away.

“He’s my brother,” I called out, smiling.

She didn’t turn around.

I could see the air quotes above her head: “Your ‘brother.’ Right.”

Mom Songs

Recently a video swept social media of a baby reacting emotionally to her mom’s singing. This story touched me because my mom would also sing to us, from the time we were babies through high school.

I remember when I was thirteen she used to sing these lyrics to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no fighting
It’s easy if you try
No hitting your brother
Just because he walks by

Imagine the whole family
Living in peace for one day
Aa haa

I always enjoyed her singing her version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”:

With the lights on, your rooms a mess
Here I am now, you have to clean up
I feel stupid I have to tell you son
Here I am now, you have to clean up

She always like the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”:

Hey Joe, I feel bad
Put some gas in my car to make it better
Remember to put the cap back on
Then I’ll start to feel better

Hey, Joe, don’t be afraid
You were made to take out the trash
Every minute you sit in front of the TV
You delay your allowance cash

She must have been a fan of the British invasion because she loved the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”:

I can’t get no reaction
I can’t get no reaction
I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m driving in our car
And you kids start fighting to and fro
And you’re screaming more and more
About some useless ideation
Supposed to drive my imagination
I can’t get no, no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no reaction
I try a car-stopping rear action
I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

I miss my mom. She died a long time ago. But I can still hear her telling us to shut up–to the beat of a Johnny Cash tune.

Joe Ditzel Gift Guide

For my birthday last year, a couple of relatives said to me, “I didn’t know what to get you, so here is a gift certificate.”

To eliminate any doubt about what to get me, I have created the Joe Ditzel Gift Guide. I welcome any of these great gifts:

* Ferrari F355 Spider Convertible- $140,000. If you buy this car for me I’ll thank you with a coupon for a free Jiffy Lube. Every body needs a good Jiffy Lube now and then.

* Tour of American Strip Clubs- forget the Bike Ride Across Iowa or the African Safari for adventure vacations. I want to tour America’s Finest Strip Clubs with a big stack of 20’s.

* I’ll start with the Cheetah III in Atlanta. Round of Golf with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nucleus and Alice Cooper – as a golfer it is my dream to play golf with Arena and Jack. As far as Alice, I want a chance to win back some of the money I spent from my paper route on “School’s Out” and “Billion Dollar Babies” in the 70’s.

* Case of Makers Mark Bourbon- Makers Mark has the greatest ad slogan ever: “Tastes expensive. And is.” Makes Jack Daniel taste like bourbon strained through old socks.

* Hair- my hair is receding from my temples and meeting in the middle, leaving an island of hair in the front. If you look close, you can see Gilligan and the Skipper waving. I look forward to your gift of a case of Rogaine.

* Heidi Klum.

I’ll add to the list as I think of things. However, you do not need to wait until my birthday to send me any of these items.

Crowded House

Courtesy Florida Memory
Courtesy Florida Memory

My father and mother were basking in the glow of their first year of marriage. They were sitting on the porch sipping lemonade when my mom announced lovingly, “I’m already sick of looking at you. Let’s have a kid.”

Dad answered, “Ditto.”

My mom wanted a girl. I know this because they originally wanted only one kid. It was a boy. The second one was a boy. The third was a boy. That was me. They should have stopped there because, well, they had achieved perfection. They kept going.

The fourth baby was a boy. After that, my mom acted like she was at the craps table, throwing the dice hard, yelling, “Come on, daddy, give momma an X chromosome!”

On the fifth try they conceived a beautiful girl. I showed my love for my new sister by dumping a box of blocks on her head. My dad was exhausted.

My mom immediately said, “I want another girl.”

After they brought my father out of his coma, he obliged with the proper chromosome delivery and my mom had another girl. I showed my love for my newest sister by dumping a box of blocks on her head.

A big family is a drain on resources. My dad made sure you took quick showers. As soon as he heard the water running he would get out his bullhorn and stand outside the door.

“Attention! You in the shower! Hurry up! In and out of the shower like a marine!”

In the 17 years I lived at home I never got a full rinse. It wasn’t until I went to college that I got all the shampoo out of my eyes.

We consumed more food than many small nations. Safeway delivered right to our house. Phil, the delivery guy, would back his eighteen wheeler right up to our garage. My brothers and I drove forklifts into the trailer and moved pallet after pallet of bread, cereal, hamburger, fish sticks (no meat on Friday) and lots and lots and lots of milk — one year we got a letter of thanks from the governor of Wisconsin.

One rule of surviving a big family — if food is being served, shut up. You talk, you don’t eat. Somehow I never learned this rule. I’m a comedian. I liked sitting down to dinner because there was a built-in audience. “You wouldn’t believe what I did today…blah, blah, blah.” But by the time I finished with my sit-down comedy there was no food left except 5 peas and some canned cranberry slices that looked like hockey pucks.

Everyone had left the table to watch Walt Disney. Kippur, our mutt dog, would put her head on my leg. And I’m still talking. The dog is thinking, “Shut up with the stupid stories. You think you have problems. I’m a dog and I’m begging for a lousy cranberry slice shaped like a hockey puck from a hack comedian.”

Many people think Catholics have big families. This is partly because Catholics have big families. In our parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Acne, the average family had five to seven kids. Once in a while you’d meet a kid with only one brother or sister and you’d feel sorry for them. God was probably mad at them- maybe they didn’t pay their Knights of Columbus dues.

The Feehans had 7 kids, all boys. If Mrs. Feehan didn’t earn a special place in heaven for trying to raise those delinquents, there is no God. The twins, Matthew and Tommy, were my age. One day in fourth grade we were on a school bus returning from a field trip. The Feehan twins talked me into helping them throw BB’s at our classmates. One of us beaned Mrs. Ferguson, the teacher.

She hauled us in to the principal. After a short tribunal, he proclaimed us guilty of “being stupid.” One at a time he smashed a thick rubber strap on our open palms, four times per hand. My hands were mangled.

I didn’t mind the corporal punishment — I was used to that at home. But he ruined the pro golf career I knew was my ultimate destiny. That is, if I didn’t get into the NHL.

I’m still waiting to be called up.