(AKA Betting Against the House)

Joker in the deck

by Joe Buonfiglio


Now before you have a knee-jerk reaction leading to your writing in the response-comment section something intimating that I should have unprotected sex with a member of a reptilian species, and then promptly “unfollowing” whilst vowing to bop me in the head with a rock sending me plummeting down the mountainside to my death a la Lord of the Flies without so much as a “poor Piggy” being muttered under your breath in fleeting remorse; let me explain.

After your initial “Go fuck yourself!” rejoinder to my original declaration in this post, you may have noticed the contradictory nature of my opening statement — my opening salvo, really — in that I started off my writing this week’s blog-post by announcing, in no uncertain terms, that I would not be writing a blog-post this week.

Now, if instead of stopping to calm the waters of audience opinion with an explanation or some form of mea culpa, I had simply continued to blog about how I would not be blogging even more vehemently than ever, that would be “doubling down.”

“Completely absurd!” you say. “The approach of an immature child.”

I couldn’t agree more … if it were any other time in politics.

However, as led by the example of a certain US presidential candidate at the time of this writing, we seem to have entered what I see as A NEW AGE OF DOUBLING DOWN.

If we are to follow the lead of such narcissistic fame-whores, not only should we never, EVER admit to even the smallest of mistakes; we should hammer you so badly about being so wrong at pointing out even our most blatant errors screaming “Unfair treatment!” until a throng of followers wants to run YOU out on a rail for having the elitist journalistic gall to bring it to light in the first place.

This approach used to make me furious as I saw it as evidence of the conspiratorial and purposeful dismantling of our education system in order to create an electorate of angry dumbasses that can be easily manipulated even within the confines of a free press and a democratic society. However, remembering the wisdom of the great huckster P. T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

So by God, you’d be nuts not to take advantage of the willfully dimwitted.

Now on my newfound quest to “join ’em” who double down in order to gain the upper hand, I, too, have entered the metaphoric temple of Narcissus.

You say it’s absurd that I wrote a blog-post this week stating that I will not be writing a blog-post this week. I simply respond, “I never wrote that.”

“But, it’s online,” you reply with that delightful expression of confusion on your face. “It has a ‘by Joe Buonfiglio’ byline. Now you say you didn’t write it?”

“I never said that. I never said that. You people say this stuff. I don’t know where you get it from.”

And should you accuse me of road rage or shooting my neighbor over his dog pooping on my lawn for the millionth time….

“I was not at all angry. And I don’t even own a car, let alone a gun.”

“But Joe,” you say, “your banged up car is in your driveway and your literally smoking gun is on the front seat.”

“I never did that. You’re really, really unfair to Joe Buonfiglio; I don’t know why. Somebody’s really doing some really bad fact-checking on your team.”

Or, perhaps I’ll shift the adverse focus to you by using the name-calling bully’s technique of negative labelling.

“Dad,” my disappointed progeny proclaims, “You ate all the ice cream again!”

“There he goes again, my lying son. He’s such a lyin’ son, isn’t he folks?”

“The ice cream was full before you entered the kitchen,” says my annoyed wife, “and now it’s empty.”

“There she goes, the crooked wife taking the lying son’s side. Crooked wife crooked wife crooked wife!”

She looks at me with a scowl, before uttering, “But you still have melted chocolate ice cream on your mustache.”

“No I don’t!”

“You took a selfie of it all smeared on your face and posted it online saying how delicious it was.”

“Where do you get this stuff? I don’t even like chocolate.”

“Chocolate has been your favorite since we were dating!”

“Vanilla has always been my favorite, crooked wifey.”

“We had to change our wedding cake from Italian rum cake to a chocolate cake, because you’re such a chocolate nut!”

“No we didn’t, crooked wife. Are you bleeding down there or something?”

I’m not going to be able to insult my way into the power position, you say? Just watch me, stupid reader.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking: This goes against the way it has always been done. It’s a big middle finger in the face of the power structure. It’s betting against the house, so to speak.

Betting against the house — be it in blackjack, politics or life — eventually goes against you, doesn’t it? What seems as if a winning streak goes sour if you don’t know when to abandon that strategy, if you stay in that game too long, no? Should I take pause in that I have lost damn near every time I have doubled down in a casino?

Not true, stupid reader. I ALWAYS win big.


Then again, maybe I should be content to simply remain the joker in the deck. Pretending to be a king comes at a price.

Certain of us on the national stage would do well to remember that.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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by Joe Buonfiglio

Guilt. Shame. Regrets. Ice cream brain-freeze. These are all things we have felt as individuals and as a collective society en masse. Most would concede that they tend to do us more harm than good. As for guilt, shame and brain freeze, I can offer no redeeming quality or value whatsoever in these. However, I believe that if we can publicly expose the source of our consternation that leads to regret in our lives, there is always a chance that we can defeat this monster emotion before that trip down the mortal coil reaches the finish line and it is too late.

Therefore, with this in mind, I give you…



Come on, admit it; Jell-O shots feel great sliding down the back of your throat. It’s as if an oyster laced with happy-time juice that can make you the life of the party. They’re silly and serious at the same time; how many opportunities in your life do you get to experience such a confusingly wonderful sensation as that?

Besides, what other activities can you engage in that are not only fun, but may potentially lead to a “false positive” that you are bleeding out of your ass?


Sure, this cold Spanish soup is a delicious summertime treat, but the real reason I wish I had consumed more of it in my life is that it looks as if an alien creature from Star Trek (the original, not Next Generation).

Okay, it’s possibly more akin to a comparably weird encounter from the show of which must not be mentioned by name (AKA Voyager); definitely not DS9 though. You might be able to talk me into a thing from Enterprise with Scott Bakula, but only if you can work through the issues with the more primitive technological nature of this prequel’s—

I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

Regretting not eating enough cold soup?

That makes no sense. Who the hell likes cold soup?


Yes, I wish I had terminated the lives of more spiders. Oh, please. Don’t give me that “All God’s creatures are beautiful!” bullshit. That fuckin’ pig should have ripped that bitch Charlotte down from that nasty web and stomped her good and you know it. Put on your muddy hiking boots for the first time after they’ve been sitting out in the garage for a few weeks, and then tell me how you still want to defend those ghastly arachnids after your big toe encounters the sleeping black widow that has taken up residence there.


I hate spiders.


God, I do wish I had put back more vodka martinis in my youth. No, I don’t have 007 delusions; I’m more the Bond villain type than an agent with MI6. However, unfortunately, during the swilling-beer period that is the hallmark of one’s youth, martinis aren’t even a consideration. It’s not until you reach a certain age — and a level of steady employment — that one feels compelled to sample from more sophisticated wells.

Fuck it. Give me a Pabst, bartender.

No, NOT a goddamn PBR, you prissy sumbitch!

And now, drumroll please…


You thought I was going to say “more sex,” didn’t you? I’m a guy, so sex has to be the numero uno on my list, right? Sorry, but I don’t want to be that damn predictable … and that’s my point.

I wish I had done more “on the fly,” “out of the blue,” completely unplanned and spontaneous acts as if on some sort of hair-trigger impulse drive. No, it didn’t have to be on the level of stripping down and running naked through Disneyland with an Ariel sock puppet strategically placed over my willy. However, it should be out of character for me; more impromptu.

I remember one time I was visiting Washington, DC, with my wife. We were taking in all the wonderful historic sites and landmarks, and having just a grand old time. As a writer, however, nothing thrilled me more than the prospect of my inaugural visit to the Library of Congress. The brochure showed a stairway ascending through that magnificent building to an observation deck where you can look down upon the library and enjoy the— CLOSED!

The damn stairway to the public viewing area was closed; roped off.

No signage offering a reason why was provided. Be it for repairs, security concerns, whatever; the public was not allowed to view the library that day.



Quickly checking to make sure the LOC cops were otherwise occupied, to my wife’s horror, I skirted around the stanchion ropes, darted up the stairs and dove into the observation-deck room.

To say this was “not like me” is an understatement. And while it may seem as if a minor accomplishment to you; to me it was one of the most satisfying, exhilarating moments of my life.

All I’m saying is that I wish I had done more of that kind of thing over the years.

By the way, had I included it, #6 would have probably involved tapioca pudding and a life-size model of the Hindenburg.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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by Joe Buonfiglio


Here at BU, the nation’s most successful— Uh, the nation’s most respected— Um, well, hmmmm… the nation’s oldest online university dedicated to developing your dream of becoming a career Absurdist, we strive to move beyond the basics of surreality.

At Buonfiglio University, you’ll take such universally esteemed courses as:

*Salvador Dali: Madman or Too Often Pantsed as a Child;

*Albert Camus: Father of Modern Absurdism or Unsavory Penguin Consort;

*Sisyphus: THIS TIME It’ll Stay Up the Goddamn Hill;

* Is an Absurdist Just a Nihilist’s Dream?

*Monkey-Fucker: Is It Better Than Cannibalism as a Lifestyle Choice?

*Are Dental Implants Ever Acceptable in the Anal Cavity?

*ABSURDISM 101 — The Absurdist’s Fallback Formula: “I wanted to be _______, but _______ were _______ in my _______.”

*The Three Things You Learn When Stuck in an Elevator with the Flatulent;

*Life Has No Inherent Value or Meaning: A Corndog’s Perspective (AKA If Satan Existed, Would He Create Mustard?)

*Time Travel: The ONLY Possible Reason Why Cotton Candy Exists;

* Søren Kierkegaard: Philosophy, Existentialism and the Pursuit of the Internal Combustion Hermaphrodite;

* Public Service: Not as Much Fun as it Sounds (AKA What Do You Mean It’s Stuck! My Husband Will Be Home at Any Minute!)

* Why the Box Office is Always Closed at the Theatre of the Absurd;

* Monday Says it All (AKA Perhaps the Nihilists are Right)

* The Meaningless State of the Universe (AKA Is This Booger God?)

* Social Media, the Downfall of Society and the Link Between Sex, Inanimate Objects and the 1984 Dodge Omni;

* Transcendentalism and the Absurdist: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places or How I Found My Spirituality in a Bowl of Gazpacho;

* Advanced Absurdity: Why Such a Thing as Los Angeles Exists;

*The Metaphilosophical Method: The Philosophy of Philosophy or de Facto Absurdism (AKA Standing Paralyzed as the Toilet Backs Up)

*The Illusion of Free Will: If Choice is Real, Then Why Does Plain Yogurt Exist?


We even offer advanced degrees in Théâtre de l’Absurde for those wishing to avoid mainstream society as long as humanly possible while continuing to live in their parents’ basement next to the excruciatingly ancient washing machine that incessantly spits soap bubbles as if it were sentient and determined to undermine your self-respect … as if you had any … which you don’t … which is why you’re studying Absurdism at Buonfiglio University.

So enroll now! Operators are standing by to take your six-question application. (Name? Social Security number? Credit card number? Credit card limit? Gamer username? Gamer password?)* **

*No one with an active (non-suspended) credit card and a credit limit of at least $300.27 will be turned down…. … … unless their gamer username lacks creative flair or their password contains the numbers 1234 in sequential order.

** Even we can only handle so many dullard dumbasses per year.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos/memes are © 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

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High_Plains_Drifterby Joe Buonfiglio

I’m a good writer. However, I am a TERRIBLE human being.

No, I’m not saying I’m a bad person; I’m just horrible at this whole “being human” thing. I wish there was one of those guidebooks for simpletons out there along the lines of Being Human for Dummies, because I really need to get a handle on this whole “life” thing.

Hell, it may already be too late! Here are some examples of what I mean:

I pick a restaurant not based on the quality of the food or the service or even the ambience, but rather if they precalculate the tip for me at the bottom of the check.

I seemingly don’t read and watch the news in order to be informed of local, state, national and world events; I apparently do it to refuel a perpetual state of being pissed off that has evolved over time into some warped kind of entertainment value coupled with an invited embrace of emotional immaturity.

And then there’s nutriment. Food isn’t just a device for necessary caloric sustenance; it’s a coping mechanism … that leads to bad habits … that leads to poor health … that leads to depression … that leads to needing more coping … that leads to more food … that leads to….

Strong drink, doubly so.

You know what else? I’d rather sit in the dark at three in the morning watching some B-movie from the Sixties that I’ve seen a hundred times than interact in “normal” functioning hours with “normal” functioning people in the “normal” activities that “normal” functioning people engage in … … … normally.

In my defense, those old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns are pretty cool.

Then there’s the world of vocational madness. Two words can send me into a rage faster than a giant-tired monster-truck wannabe pickup tailgating me on the interstate and laying into his The Dukes of Hazzard theme-song novelty horn the whole way: COMPANY PICNIC.

Take your sunbaked deviled-egg nightmare out of my face and get back to kissing the boss’ ass so that I can finish my Bud Light in peace and make it home before the game starts. And for the love of God, tell your fucking rugrat to stop sticking me in the ass with that holiday party-blower before I drop trou and introduce him to Uncle Smelly’s Private Wind Tunnel.

Here’s another gem. I’ll buy my gas at a service station not because they have the best price at the pump or even if they have good doughnuts inside the attached convenience store, but because their bathrooms are cleaner than a hotel’s. And this brings me to the coup de grâce of my quirks d’ persona…

I RATE GAS STATION BATHROOMS.  I’ve done it since I was a kid.

An “A” means a 5-star-resort quality of bathroom cleanliness; most certainly a rare find. “B” means I wouldn’t eat a Twinkie off the toilet seat, but after applying TP to it, I’d be willing to sit my ass down and do my business. A “C” is almost unbearably malodorous and engaging in an inadequate level of sanitary presentation, but I’ll still hold my nose and use the urinal — only! A “D” means that somewhere in the facility, there is actual feces smeared on the wall. I’ll hold my nose, close my eyes and pee, but I’m not touching the sink faucet. The bottle of hand sanitizer in the car will have to do. And then there’s “F.”

An “F” means that I’d rather shit my pants than step foot in that bathroom. An “F” means a stench so overwhelming, a revulsion factor so alarmingly disgusting; Satan himself would shield his eyes in despair.

Now, does the fact that I engage in this potty-critic activity, that I make purchasing decisions based on engaging in this activity, that I make those travelling with me deal with the unpleasant fallout that inevitably comes from engaging in this activity; does this make me a terrible person?

Does ANY of this really make me a bad person?

Okay, yes. Yes it does.

Now if you’ll excuse me, High Plains Drifter is on and I’ve got a Hot Pocket in the microwave.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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by Joe Buonfiglio

Brexit Tweet

The pic above is a selection from my Twitter page exorcized as if a demon needing to be expelled from a head-swiveling child spewing up projectile-vomited pea soup in alarming quantities.

BREXIT is an abbreviation of “British exit” that refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. By the time you read this, it will most likely be a done deal. However, at the time of this writing, the UK was just on the cusp of deciding if it should jettison itself from the EU and what many see as its burdensome economic anchor dragging Jolly Old and Associates down into the murky metaphoric waters of the Financial Abyss.

Is the European Union of countries and its tapestry of economic ties really harming the United Kingdom? I couldn’t care less.


Because even though any ripple effect from a poor choice by our former rulers of Stiff Upper Lippians could directly violate Uncle Sam’s wallet at some point, as an “Ugly American,” I tend not to concern myself with “all the way the fuck over there” unless our military has boots on the ground.

No, as a writer, what I am fascinated by is the term “Brexit” itself.

British. Exit.


It’s so delightfully simple that it’s downright sinful.

And that got me to wondering; are there issues I could distill down into more manageable bitesize morsels that would make my own life less complex by merely adding an “EXIT” sign to it?

Were the Brits onto something? Could it really be that simple?

If I didn’t want to pay my taxes, could I just IRSexit?

Instead of dealing with my night of binge burrito-eating horror, could I simply diarrhexit?

If you’re in an abusive relationship, can you just get the hell out of there? Seriously. There’s nothing funny about that. However, if don’t like where you were sent after death, just Helexit.

Don’t like spending Christmas with the in-laws? HoHoHexit.

Not a fan of Dr. Seuss? Ham and Greenexit.

Hate erotic romance novels? 50 Shades of Grexit.

Not enough beer at the party? Pony kexit.

Can’t stand ZZ Top songs? She’s Got Lexit.

You say that you don’t like that I sometimes use foul language in my blog posts. Then take your cue from the late George Carlin and: shexit, pexit, fexit, cexit, cocksexit, motherfexit and tits!

No, not texit. Who the hell wants to leave those. Don’t be silly.

So good luck, my British friends. Keep calm and carrexit.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

All photos are © 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

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Theater Stage Door

by Joe Buonfiglio

Americans twirl naked in the moonlight with a narcissistic madness as our dance partner; exhibitionists on the stage in a colossal Theatre of the Absurd.

Think that’s bullshit? Consider this…

We Americans live in a country where there is rampant, out-of-control gun violence and our solution to this widespread mayhem is that we need more guns.

Ponder that for a moment.

PROBLEM: Too much gun violence. SOLUTION: Pump more guns into the system.

We live in a country where fast-food products acquired via drive-thru lanes, stuff you’d struggle to barely call sustenance packaged in boxes and plastic-enveloped sugar-water targeted at children and the poor are equated with freedom and our rights, not identified as health hazards crashing our medical infrastructure with illness on a massive scale.

Americans live in a nation where giving even more to the wealthiest of us constitutes some sort of drip-drip-drip downward pathway of improving the wretched financial state of the poor and the evaporating middle class, while “entitling” said underprivileged with financial assistance of any kind is viewed as literally ruining the country.

PROBLEM: Too many of us can’t make ends meet. SOLUTION: Give even more to the richest of us.

We view clean, renewable energy as the enemy, and the dirty energy options as our friends.

Tell me again how Global Climate Change is a pile of horseshit, because your 1% of scientists bought and paid for by the petroleum industry says so and the other 99% of scientists are wrong. Tell me again how many earthquakes Oklahoma had per year before fracking and how many they have now. Explain to me why it’s illegal to disclose fracking chemicals that could track poisoned water back to fracking sites in North Carolina. Whose best interest does this serve?

Our children … or T. Boone Pickens and his ilk?

We see teachers and education as the bad guys creating evil herds of “elitist” pricks who don’t solve problems, but generate an intelligent mindset that is actually the source of our difficulties; and racist, misogynistic education-hating morons as “real” Americans that will cure all the serious dangers we face.

Think the attack on education is just politics; not a bigger conspiracy?

Ask yourself, “Who benefits from a stupid electorate?”

We live in a country where we express “God’s love” by denying rights we consider virtually “God-given” to others simply because they’re different from us, but scream bloody murder if others try to limit the intrusion of religion into the rights of the secular public.

Along those lines, we demand that the “separation of church and state” keep the people’s governmental fingers out of religion’s pie, but consider it a right that churches can place undue pressure on elected officials to shove church dogma and religious doctrine into legislation surrounding such things as what a woman can do with her body or where a transgender person gets to go to the bathroom.

It’s as if we’re okay casting the first stone, but don’t understand that the hurling of rocks, once started, is a two-way street.

We don’t have tunnel vision; we’re fucking myopic! We can’t see down the tunnel past the tollbooth.

It’s all a kind of perverted logic that makes as much sense as me purporting to like slapstick comedy, but thinking you don’t deserve to walk the Earth if you like rom-coms.

Okay, that’s a bad example. You actually don’t deserve the air in your lungs if you prefer romantic comedies to lowbrow humor, but you get the idea.


Now, putting aside the fact that all this would appear to render us a nation of dumbasses that the forces of evolution should have eliminated years ago; it left me considering the possibility that I could somehow personally benefit from being part of a society with this absurdly twisted form of rationale at its core.

For example, could I get away with punching a vegan in the face for not supporting the cattle industry by eating a hamburger at my Fourth of July picnic?

Could I cut the man-bun off a hipster in a show of solidarity for we follicly challenged Americans and not wind up spending the night in the county lockup?

Could I eat a triple-stuffed burrito and fart on all the members of Congress while blaming illegal Mexican immigration?

Could I—  Could I—

Sorry. The lights are flashing here in America’s lobby. The curtain is going up. Sure the show is getting negative reviews worldwide, but my ticket stub is good for one free drink at the local bar … … … or half-price admission to next week’s knife-and-gun show at the state fairgrounds.

Kids under 12 are free.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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Okay, NOW I’m worried!

tempermentally unfit

by Joe Buonfiglio

Some people say that the political atmosphere in which the current (at the time of this writing) presidential candidates battle is the stuff of terror dreams that keeps thousands of psychotherapists in a blissful state of rock-steady employment. However, I would contend that this metaphoric night-terror is not an aberration brought on by undue stress or even the overconsumption of deviled eggs left out in the sun too long at the company picnic, but rather an all-too real reflection of the state of the American people and their empire in decline. We’re merely getting the politics we, as a society, absolutely deserve for willfully shutting off our brains and welcoming the propagandizing, self-serving punditry to do our thinking for us. We are the Army of the Dumbasses and deserve to be treated as such.

Nevertheless, a new phrase has recently popped into the vernacular of the political arena within this current presidential campaign cycle:


Temperamentally. Unfit.

Okay, now I’m worried.

Look, I’ll leave it to those with cerebral abilities above my paygrade to decide whether the phrase is being properly applied as one candidate describes another as being “dangerously incoherent” and “temperamentally unfit” to be president of the United States of America. That’s not my concern at the moment. No, the more I heard the words “temperamentally unfit” come marching through my TV’s speakers; the more I was forced to ponder them in a blatantly egocentric fashion.

Am I … temperamentally unfit?

Now, I know I’m unfit in myriad other ways: physically unfit; psychologically unfit; hell, I’m even spiritually unfit. But temperamentally unfit?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has been around offering up the latest takes on the English language since 1828. It defines temperamental as being “likely to become upset or angry; unpredictable in behavior or performance; of or relating to someone’s usual attitude, mood, or behavior; marked by excessive sensitivity and impulsive mood changes.”

Holy shit! Is that me? I think that is me! It’s definitely me!

And with that deprecating epiphany looming over me as if a bucket of pig’s blood about to be dumped on Carrie, questions arise.

Am I temperamentally unfit to be a father? If leading by example is the pinnacle of parenting, will my son wind up being a professional slug?

Am I temperamentally unfit to be a husband? My wife might justifiably retort, “Do bears know how to wipe their asses with Charmin ultra-soft bath tissue?”

A writer? Oh my God, am I temperamentally unfit to be a writer?

No way! Sure, I wrote “Is that me?” earlier instead of “Is that I?” And while it calls into question my grammatical aptitude, it unequivocally has nothing to do with my fitness regarding my temperament as it relates to my literary abilities. Hell, being in a state of “temperamentally unfit” is almost the dictionary definition of “writer.” However, I am now stalked as if by Marshmallow Fluff crème in search of white bread slathered with peanut butter by one last question.

A human? Am I temperamentally unfit to be … human?

By the aforementioned dictionary definition of “temperamental,” I sure as shit should be declared unfit. However, as I look out across what passes for the sea of humanity adrift within its own wealth of personality inadequacies, all things considered, I’d say I’m doing just fine. In other words, I am no more “temperamentally unfit” than the rest of you emotionally unstable hairless apes, so fuck it; I’m doin’ okay in the “fit to be human” department…

… which is more than I can say for the politicians in this country.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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