The Top 10 Humor Columnist Stories of 2013

The top 10 stories on The Humor Columnist in 2013.

Unlike the United States, 2013 was a pretty good year for The Humor Columnist. I published two ebooks, the site received about 50,000 page views and a few of my posts got passed around on Facebook and Reddit, which is always a nice thing. The biggest change was that I started publishing stories with a specific audience in mind–people in Los Angeles or Cleveland, for example. It helped. I probably should have figured this out years ago, but I’m not “smart.”

Google, Facebook and Reddit drove most of the traffic to this site in that order. Surprisingly, joedonatelli.com, Bing and Cracked.com drove more traffic than Twitter, which I post links to often, with Yahoo and Google+ behind Twitter. Takeaway: Twitter is a giant waste of time in terms of attracting mass traffic and is probably more effective if you are targeting specific individuals such as editors or Richard Simmons.

What were the top 10 stories on The Humor Columnist in 2013? Here they are, based on total number of page views. Some of them are from years past and continue to receive traffic.

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1. The One Thing No One Tells You About Living in Los Angeles

2. 11 Reasons Why Miami of Ohio is the Worst

3. The Junction: A Eulogy

4. Pre-Cana

5. Flying is Awful

6. How I Did on Those ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 6 Predictions

7. Yes, Our Dog Has Her Own Theme Song

8. What Makes a Good Podcast? 

9. Mattress Heights, Ohio

10. Talking Points for the Impromptu High School Reunion That Happens at the Bar the Night Before Thanksgiving

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Christmas 2013 Talking Points

Afraid you’ll get stuck in a dead-end conversation this Christmas season? Just follow these Christmas 2013 Talking Points to avoid awkward pauses.

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I’m going to be seeing friends and family members in Cleveland over the next few days, and there will be much talk about news, politics, weather and local sports. There is nothing I dread more than a lull in the conversation, so I’ve created these Christmas 2013 Talking Points to get me through the holiday party season with a minimum of awkward pauses. You are welcome to add your own.

POLITICS

“These Democrats—can you believe the nerve of these guys?”

“Republicans just don’t get it.”

“It’s all because of gridlock we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of gerrymandering we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of money in politics we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of lobbyists we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of the unions we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of low-information voters we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of ivory tower elites we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of the media we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of Congress we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of the Supreme Court we can’t get nothing done.”

“It’s all because of the president we can’t get nothing done.”

“And meanwhile the president is on vacation!”

CROWD PLEASER #1

What’s wrong with Miley Cyrus? That girl’s got a screw loose somewhere, I think. Can someone explain twerking to me? I don’t get it!

LOCAL SPORTS

“The Browns stink.”

“The Cavs stink.”

“The Indians were good last year, but they’re gonna stink.”

“I’m looking forward to the draft.”

NEWS

“I don’t like what this ‘Duck Dynasty’ guy said, but come on, you know?”

“Hey, how about this Obamacare?”

“Snowden broke the law, but is he a bad guy? Or is he a good guy? You could make a case.”

“I don’t know why the gays would want to get married, but hey, OK, go for it.”

“It’s all because of this frickin’ war on Christmas.”

CROWD PLEASER #2

“Shhh, quiet down. The NSA is listening.”

WEATHER

“I cannot believe how warm/cold it is for this time of year. It must be all that global warming.” (OPTIONAL LOL)

“The big blizzard was in ’78. Nine months later all your uncles and aunts were born. Ask your parents why.”

“Not a good night to drink and drive.”

CROWD PLEASER #3

“This Amazon.com is crazy. They deliver the packages as I’m typing the order on the keyboard.”

SMALL TALK

“Good, good. How about you?”

“Can’t complain.”

“Alright. Not as bad as the Browns/Cavs.” (WHOEVER LOST MOST RECENTLY)

THE YEAR IN POPULAR CULTURE

“Man, that ‘Breaking Bad’ ending had everything I wanted.”

“Geez, Sandra Bullock was something else in that space movie.”

“If I have to hear that ‘Blurred Lines’ song one more time I’m gonna stick a fork on my ear, ya know?”

“We saw Robin Swoboda at Legacy Village. True story.”

HYPER-LOCAL

“What’s up with all these mattress stores?

WORK

“Another day, another dollar.”

“They haven’t thrown me out of the building yet.”

“Be better if I didn’t have to take 480 every dang day, but whadda ya gonna do?”

“It’s because of my manager we can’t get nothing done.”

Joe Donatelli is the author of Full Griswold: Stories from a Honeymoon in Italy.

Photo by taylorsevens

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Mattress Heights, Ohio

What’s up with all the mattress stores in Mayfield Heights, Ohio? Joe Donatelli examines this important question.

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Last week my friend Sammy posted a tongue-in-cheek joke on his Facebook page: “I think we need another mattress store in Mayfield Heights.” So I had to laugh when my dad picked me up from the airport, and when we got off the freeway the first thing I saw was a new mattress store on Mayfield Road.

Today I took a drive down to the Buffet House (which I was disappointed to learn was closed, even though from Mayfield Road it looked like it was decorated for Christmas, which is strange, like, “Have a Merry Christmas…as if that’s even possible now without our ridiculously affordable Kung Pao chicken!”)

While I drove down Mayfield Road I spotted five more mattress stores, all within a quarter-mile stretch, bringing the grand total of mattress stores in Mayfield Heights (population 18,974) to six mattress stores that I know of, plus Walmart and Fish Furniture, which makes eight total stores in which you can buy a mattress in Mayfield Heights. (If anyone has a scientific study of Mayfield Road mattress store clusters they can send me to clarify these data points, I would appreciate it.)

While the sheer volume of mattress stores in Mayfield Heights no doubt guarantees great deals for customers, I fear that my hometown may be encroaching upon peak mattress, the point upon which the supply of mattresses arcs perilously upwards and then crashes back down to earth.

We’ve seen it before in Mayfield Heights.

In the 1980s Mayfield achieved peak hamburger before fading back to a more natural ratio of humans-to-meat-patties.

In the 1990s Mayfield experienced peak pizza. It was, I can tell you, a glorious time to be a fat teenager.

The 2000s have born witness to peak drug store, peak sub shop and now peak mattress.

If one were to drive through Mayfield Heights today without ever talking to the people, one might deduce, “Here is a group of suburbanites who really like eating meatball subs, taking Nyquil and hitting the sack.”

What does it all mean?

Mattress stores would not locate on Mayfield Road unless there was a demand. Residents in Mayfield Heights are older (42.9), on average, than Ohio residents (39.3). And almost half of the city’s residents are married, which is a key factor. If you’ve ever shared a bed with a spouse, you know that a large bed in which comfortable sleep can be had is the main key to avoiding divorce.

Also, most mattress stores deliver, so being near I-271 is no doubt a large advantage in the eyes of mattress sellers delivering mattresses to other communities. In fact, it’s probably the real reason there are so many mattress stores in Mayfield Heights—great freeway access to the eastside, and it’s not far from Lake and Geauga Counties.

What I’m saying is that Mayfield may be a sleepy community, but it’s not eight-mattress-stores sleepy.

It’s wonderful to be home for Christmas. Even though Mayfield Road is insane during the shopping season and the stores are often nuts and when it snows everything turns slushy gray, this city is still home, because unlike the boom-and-bust pizza and mattress industries, the supply of wonderful people in Mayfield remains constant.

It’s good to be back.

Merry Christmas, all.

UPDATE 1: My friend Andrew offers this theory: “Other fads come and go, but sleeping has remained popular for decades. I think I read somewhere that most people spend 95% of their lives either sleeping or dragging their old mattresses to their tree lawns. It’s the perfect business.  The other five percent is spent working and eating submarine sandwiches.” Strong take, Andrew.

And now Reddit is chiming in. Here are some of the responses, which are pretty great:

– Bedford has autos…we get the Mayfield Mattress Mile!

– Author writes about mattress shops… what about sub shops? There are sooo freaking many.
Subway
PotBelly’s
Dibella’s
Jimmy Johns
5th Ave
Penn Station
Firehouse
Cafe 56

Author’s Note: I mention sub shops!

– I’ve noticed this ever since moving to Mayfield. If you expand a little more and just go for sandwiches you can also add the gyro place, 5 guys, McD’s and Burger King to the list. And there are 2 subways if you count the one in Walmart.

– It’s unreal. They just opened ANOTHER at the corner of Lander and Mayfield. I bet it’s money laundering for the Russian and Italian mobs. There can’t be enough people buying mattresses to make these all profitable ventures.

– Yeah WTF is with the Mattress Firm Opening up DOWN THE STREET from ANOTHER MATTRESS FIRM!? The one by the highway was a Remodel! And they are literally across the street AND Next to TWO other Mattress stores, its unreal.

– We live nearby and were just having this conversation on Wednesday. Couple that with the one near Piada on Cedar and we live in the middle of Mattress Universe. And they all look super shady, too. I like that they’re all basically named “A Really Awesome Mattress Store For Real Guys.”

– I think part of it is the combination of colleges, others in higher ed, and new staff at the Clinic and UH. They’ll buy new or a larger mattress more often than someone older who is more stable and move households less.

– But really? How many mattresses does the average person buy in a lifetime? Maybe three?

– Hank Scorpio: There’s Hammocks-R-Us, that’s on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.
Homer: Mm-Hmm.
Hank Scorpio: That’s on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot… Matter of fact, they’re all in the same complex; it’s the hammock complex on third.
Homer: Oh, the hammock district!
Hank Scorpio: That’s right.

Anyone else have a theory?

UPDATE 2: I found some intel that could explain Mayfield’s mattress store explosion.

Joe Donatelli is the author of Full Griswold: Stories from a Honeymoon in Italy.

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How I Did on Those Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Predictions

Joe Donatelli reviews the smart, bold and idiotic predictions he made for Sons of Anarchy Season 6.

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A few months ago I made predictions about “Sons of Anarchy” for the website Mandatory. Unlike some people (I am looking in your direction, Washington, DC), I believe in a little thing called accountability.

So let’s see how full of it I was with my “Sons of Anarchy” Season 6 predictions.

Spoilers galore.

Prediction: Clay Will Not Die in Prison
The Verdict: I was right. Clay died, but not in prison. He died the way we all expected him to–in an airplane hangar surrounded by Irish thugs during the second-to-last season and not even in the final episode of that season. Wait. No. That’s exactly how no one expected him to die. It was a surprise but not the good kind like in “Game of Thrones” where you go, “I can’t believe they randomly killed Sir Goldenchest of Joustshire” or whatever. Clay’s death was a letdown. Jax now has no great enemy to fight in the final season. It’s like if Luke Skywalker had killed Darth Vader in “Empire Strikes Back.” I’m afraid we could be in for Ewoks next season.
Record: 1-for-1

Prediction: Lee Toric Will Become a Cruel Pain in SAMCRO’s Ass
The Verdict: It is frightening how literally correct I was on this one. And that’s enough about that.
Record 2-for-2

Prediction: Prison Will Hasten Tara’s Evolution Into Gemma 2.0
The Verdict: I’m giving myself a yes on this one. What Tara did with the fake pregnancy was a Machiavellian Gemma move. You could even see it in Gemma’s face. Oooh, this girl’s good. That’s what I would have done.
Record: 3-for-3

Prediction: Lincoln Potter Will Return
The Verdict: No, and I really hope that the sheriff’s death at the end of Season 6 is what brings him back. He’s no Clay, but he’s a good nemesis, and if anyone can take down the Sons, it’s this lunatic lawman.
Record: 3-for-4

Prediction: Nero Will Die
The Verdict: He lived. This was a shocker because anyone who sleeps with Gemma’s days are numbered. I still think it’s coming for Nero. Just didn’t happen in Season 6. Will it be Jax or Gemma who does him in? Or will the street get him? That’s a big question to be answered in Season 7. And how good is Jimmy Smits? Hollywood, put him in everything, please. (My friend Victor just wrote me and said: “How badass is Jimmy Smits? He can convincingly play a cholo while wearing a cardigan and holding a coffee mug.” Exactly.)

Record: 3-for-5

Prediction: Bobby Will Be Forced to Do Some Shit He Doesn’t Want to Do
The Verdict: Wrong on this one, too. He was on board with Jax this season. And he didn’t exactly say no to the crown when Jax handed it to him. Safe to say, Bobby mainly liked the shit he had to do this season. Also, actor Mark Boone Junior is now one of those guys I never want to see in any other TV shows, kind of like every actor from “The Wire” and “The Shield.” I know these guys are entitled to their careers, but please don’t do a two-episode arc on “Modern Family” or whatever because I selfishly need Mark Boone Junior to be Bobby Munson forever.
Record: 3-for-6

Prediction: More of the Same Old, Same Old
The Verdict: Oh, they blundered. They always blunder. Looking in your direction, Juice. And Jax for handing the Irish a loaded machine gun in front of the Chinese. How these guys are not all dead or in prison I will never know. They really are the worst criminals ever. It would not shock me if Dignan from “Bottle Rocket” became chapter president next season.
Record: 4-for-7

Prediction: Gemma Will Die
The Verdict: I thought Gemma would get it, not Tara. That Gemma would violently confront Tara was inevitable, but I was still shocked and surprised that it did happen and how it happened. You never want to think a human being — even a fictional character — is capable of such horrible, awful treachery. This was the most memorable and bloody moment of the season, and there were many of them. Credit the writers with supplying a grisly, memorable and sort of perfect moment for how Gemma vs. Tara had to end.
Record: 4-for-8

Prediction: Jax Will Get Tara Back But Lose Control of the MC
The Verdict: Nailed it. Before Tara died, I had the thought that maybe these two will keep in touch while he is in prison, and maybe by laying down his freedom for their boys she will find a way to forgive him and they will reunite in Oregon where she will work as a doctor and he will read from his man journal to hipsters in independent bookstores. It was a longshot, but there was a shot they would work it out. They did sleep together one last time. And, of course, he had to give up control of the motorcycle club to free his boys.
Final Record: 5-for-9

Next season will be interesting.  If Jax is arrested, how long will Juice and Gemma hold onto the truth? Jax will find out Gemma killed Tara, then what? How does the DA avenge the death of the sheriff? Does she go gangster? Does she bring in Lincoln Potter? Does she put her trust in The Strike Team? (Oops. Wrong Kurt Sutter Show.) I don’t know, but I’ll be watching to find out.

No Ewoks, please. Real foes. This show deserves a spectacular ending.

Joe Donatelli is the author of Full Griswold: Stories from a Honeymoon in Italy.

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