Fun with Horrible Violence

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 28 1996

Our sports review of the Richmond Renegades hockey team, including lots of praise for Frozen Walt Disney, “Funky Town,” compressed-Uranium bowling balls, and “Ice-Cold Hot Dogs.” Nothing says “timeless, universal comedy” like starting your column out with a shot across the bow of a short-lived word processing software release. It’s the kind of thing everyone can identify with and really get behind.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul, continuing our crusade against Evil, Non-Alcoholic Beer and Microsoft Word 6.0 for Macintosh.

Last week, we were given a Special Assignment, which generally means that the State is trying to send us somewhere where we’ll get killed so we won’t write anymore. Jason Roop, dressed in ceremonial robes, escorted us into the office of the Lord High Editor, and after we bowed and made the customary salutations and ritual sacrifices, we were told our mission: “To investigate the terrible violence problem in the city.” We said that was fine, and asked could it be the violence problem in the city of Acapulco? “No,” we were told, “in Richmond.”

So we went to the most violent part of the city at night and wrote about what we saw.

We went to the Coliseum for a hockey game between the Richmond Renegades and the Charlotte Checkers. The Renegades (not affiliated with Lorenzo Lamas) are Richmond’s premier sports franchise, except, of course, for the Richmond Braves, the VCU Rams basketball team, the University of Richmond synchronized judo team and the Dallas Cowboys.

For those of you who are woefully ignorant, or French, hockey is a sport wherein players put on ice skates and attempt to kill each other. The players skate around and hit a “puck” with big “sticks,” then hit “each other.” Also, people score “goals” or something.

When we arrived, our press passes were ready and waiting for us, probably because we told them we worked for the Times-Dispatch. We wandered around the Coliseum, which they call “The Freezer” during Renegades games because that’s where they keep all the leftovers, searching for the Press Room, hoping that there would be journalism supplies, like free beer. The basement was strewn with threatening signs indicating horrible things behind locked doors: “No Admittance!” “Warning: Poisonous Ice Snakes!” and “NewsChannel 6: Coverage You Can Count On!” When we found it, the Press Room’s doors were chained shut – either to keep unauthorized people out, or to keep reporters in – and when we finally got inside, all they had was soda and pizza left over from the Ford administration. 

The game began and several fans immediately stood up and yelled that various other people sucked.. While the quality of the Richmond booing was not quite up to the high standards of, say, Philadelphia (where Paul once loudly booed an eight-year-old boy for missing a pop-fly at a Phillies game), the booing was consistent and had good tonal variation.

The game itself was pivotal: the Renegades had the best record in the “Eastern Division” standings, but the Checkers were in first place in the all-important “Alphabetical” standings. The tension was not only palpable, it was palatable and sort of minty-flavored.

When the Renegades made a good play (usually involving a member of the opposition losing at least three fingers), the fans — many of whom were eating “Rold Gold” pretzels, just in case Richmond needed an extra goalie — would cheer and tell people they sucked.

We took a seat in the lowest level, which we figured improved our chances of catching a puck in the teeth. Hockey pucks, we are told, are made of rubber. This is a lie. Jeff knows from his high-school hockey days as a goalie that pucks are made of compressed uranium bowling balls. Furthermore, pucks are just angry about life, and actually want to smack people in the face if they get the chance.

Eventually, we wandered down to ice-level and interviewed Channel 12 sports guy Jeff Taylor. The sides of the rink were ringed with advertisements from “ice-” or “deep freeze-” themed products, like Icehouse Beer, Walt Disney, et cetera. We stared through the glass while, inches away, players slammed into the boards and began wrestling and biting each other. It looked like the shark cage in the Baltimore Aquarium, except the sharks wore uniforms, had legs and knew how to ice skate. Taylor remarked about how violent it was – not the players, but drunken fans, who had (True Fact!) threatened to plug certain of his bodily orifices with his video camera. Paul nodded in agreement, then grabbed an elderly usher and punched her in the face. 

The Renegades work hard to keep the spectators amused during the 20-minute intermissions, because otherwise the fans would go sack and burn the city. So while players had their limbs reattached in the locker room, the Colorful, Whimsical, Theoretically-Amusing Mascots skated out onto the ice. Paul’s favorite was “Sport,” which looks like a carnivorous version of Big Bird. Its primary purpose was to dance around amusingly, and give children horrible nightmares. Jeff’s favorite was “Zamboni Driver,” who is, incidentally, one half of the Richmond Snow Removal Road Crew. The mascots skated out again and hurled free frisbees and beer bottles.

The mascots left and a little girl came out to figure skate to “Swan Lake” or “Funky Town” or something. After a few minutes of politely graceful swoops and turns, she fell down and exploded, which earned great applause. Then, a small radio-controlled blimp descended from the rafters and flew around, while fans happily tried to shoot it down with blow darts.

During the second intermission, two Pee-Wee League hockey teams skated out onto the ice, looking like eighth-grade football teams, but much less graceful. They played for six minutes, and all the goals were scored by one really big kid who just hurled the other kids out of his way. It was refreshing to see the childrens’ enthusiastic smiles and hear their tiny skulls cracking like walnuts. After the game, the winning team celebrated by (True Fact!) beating the crap out of the mascot.

When the game resumed, two Renegades collided, sending bone shards everywhere. Many fans to rose to their feet in sincere concern over which team had the puck. With five minutes left in the game, the score was tied and some fans began to get nervous. In the Eastern Coast Hockey League, if a game ends in a tie, its victor is decided by a “shoot-out,” where members of both teams line up and spray the audience with bullets. It never accomplishes anything, but it gives the survivors something extra to cheer about.

By this point, the players has lost interest in the puck and had taken to swinging their sticks exclusively at each others’ shins. One player argued a call, and two referees held him down while the timekeeper pulled his last three teeth out with pliers. A vendor, yelling “Get-yer-ice-cold-hot-dogs,” leaped into the penalty box and began bludgeoning Checkers players with his payload of Reprocessed Bun-Encased Meat-Ish Products. Fans in the balcony celebrated the scoring of a goal by heaving live Cub Scouts on to the ice. Then, at the buzzer, a fat guy with an air horn spontaneously combusted, setting off an explosive chain reaction that vaporized the entire Coliseum, laying waste to several city blocks and scattering mascot-bits for miles. 

This earned a large round of applause.

Well, not really. Nobody died, or was even hurt that badly, except for Jeff, who got trichinosis from one of the hot dogs. It was a good game — the ‘Gades lost 3-2 after a third-period Charlotte power-play goal — and everybody had a lot of fun.

Except for the dead Cub Scouts.

Howard’s End … Or Not

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 20 1996

At the time, there was a Very Moral campaign to get the Howard Stern Show kicked off of the radio station in Richmond that carried it. We bravely faced down the “advertisers’ boycott” against Howard Stern and spoke out against it. Mainly because nobody was advertising in The Richmond State anyway. We gave out our actual real phone numbers in the column, but for some reason nobody – not one single person – called to complain. We chose not to apply Occam’s Razor to this conundrum.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. You’re listening to WARP 101.8, “The Sounds of Crap!”

If you listen to the radio, or are just not dead, then you know that radio station 106.5 “Wheel of Formats” WVGO recently brought wildly popular and also tall morning radio personality Howard “Wheel of ‘Penis’ Jokes” Stern to Richmond. The move ranked just above the At-Large Mayor Issue and just below the Whether-Cream-of-Wheat-and-Grits-are-the-Same-Thing Controversy on the Official News Media Controversy-O-Meter.

In response, a group called The Citizens for Better Broadcasting (“CBB”) (Or possibly “CFBB,” or “TCFBB,” or “TCBY” or maybe just “Kim”) declared war on WVGO and set about getting Stern removed from Richmond airwaves.  How?  By lobbying businesses to stop advertising on Stern’s show, or else. Or else all three people in the organization were not buying lunch at Dominic’s of New York.  WVGO retaliated by airing the phone number of the CBB and asking listeners to call and lobby the CBB to go bite themselves.  Then the CBB stopped answering the phone.

So whence the controversy?  Howard Stern, most famous of the “Shock Jocks,” does a radio show from (True Fact!) New York City, which is listened to, according to Stern, by more than 300 trillion people daily, several of whom have IQs.  Here is an actual transcript (Blatant Lie!) of Howard and his co-host Robin Quivers:

HOWARD: Penis.


(Repeat.  Rinse.)

This seems bad until you consider the other morning personalities, like John Boy and Billy, on 96.5 WLEE:





JOHN BOY: Well, if mah family tree don’t fork, we got us a caller on the TELLY-PHONE!

BILLY: Yer on the air!



So what makes a few people, namely the CBB, risk their lives (or whatever) just to get one morning radio deejay off the air?  We don’t know.  Probably something. 

We decided to investigate. We divvied up the work, approaching the story using the classic “Pincers Movement”: Jeff would contact the CBB and Paul would contact WVGO.  Then we would both contact Ukrop’s and ask to have “Hugh Jass” paged over the P.A. system.

Jeff called the CBB and got an answering machine that said, to paraphrase cheerfully, “This is the Citizens for Better Broadcasting and you can rot in Hell.” Jeff left a message explaining that we are serious columnists for a serious newspaper. We just hoped they had never read the State.  Anyway, Jeff called back later and got the same message.  Then he called again and got a recorded message saying that the line was “being checked for trouble.” 

Meanwhile, Paul violated the International Newspaper Columnist Code (“Don’t do any work”) and interviewed WVGO program director Bill “Cheerful On-Air Personality with a Different Name” Glasser about the Howard Stern controversy. Glasser explained that the CBB was “harrassing” Richmond businesses that advertise during Stern’s show by calling them and threatening a boycott. However, none of the Richmond businesses was forced to disconnect its phones and put signs on its doors saying “Go Away!  Lots of Plague Here!” Which is poignant, because that’s exactly what the CBB did.

Why?  Try this: Move to Germany and establish an organization dedicated to banning David Hasselhoff. Keep in mind that all Germans are fanatical lunatics who would sell their own mothers to get a “Knight Rider” T-shirt. Now advertise your home phone number on the nightly “David Hasselhoff Worship Hour” in Düsseldorf and put a big sign on your house that says “Please Riot Here.”

This is around about how it must have felt to be a CBB staffer.  Either of them.

Jeff called the CBB again and got a message saying that the number had been changed.  In fact, it had been changed into Japanese so nobody could call it.

Paul got bored and interviewed social commentator and Channel 12 reporter Vince Maddox about the issue. 

“No way,” Maddox said (True Fact!). “Unh-uh. I don’t want to be in that newspaper. You’ll misquote me. You’ll have me saying something stupid.”

His fears proved to be justified.

Meanwhile, Jeff, getting desperate, was going house-to-house in the Richmond Metro Area, knocking on doors at random and asking, “Are you the CBB?”

At long last, Paul received the phone message we had been waiting for. “Mr. Caputo,” it said. “This is the University of Richmond calling to remind you that you have not officially graduated until you pay your campus parking tickets.” 

Also, a woman from the CBB called. She said that she “appreciated our interest” but that the media “continues to slant the story toward the big money.” She said — to paraphrase — that she wouldn’t wrap dead fish with a rag like The Richmond State and that we were going to have to do our story without a comment from the CBB.  Oh, and by the way, she hoped we would be fair and objective.

There are certain things you just don’t do if you want fair coverage from the media.  Refusing to talk to reporters is about eight of them.

Actually, we thought it was great. We figured that since they wouldn’t deny it, we could assume the CBB’s real purpose was to start a fast-food restaurant that specialized in Clubbed-Baby-Seal Burgers.

The sad thing is that we were actually prepared to like the CBB, since they are private citizens attempting to affect censorship, rather than getting the government to do it.  That’s the sort of free-enterprise spirit that we, being mean people anyway, admire.  But if you can’t be bothered to explain yourself, be prepared for others to do it for you, and to mention Clubbed Baby Seal Burgers while they’re doing it.           

But, all petty spitefulness aside, the CBB maintains that it is trying to bring a standard of common decency to Richmond radio. This is fine in theory, but is actually quite stupid.

Many modern radios include a wonderful device, called the “Off Switch,” which allows you to turn them off if you don’t like what you’re hearing. Other, deluxe-model radios sometimes even allow you to change stations, too.

If the CBB were truly interested in decency, it would have formed years ago, attempting to outlaw fat men who wear bikini briefs as swim-suits, girls who don’t shave their legs and the senior citizens’ home in Chesterfield called (True Fact!) “The Happy Woodpecker.”

We truly were disappointed that the CBB would not talk with us. We understand that Stern’s show is “slightly offensive” (a term derived from the latin Offens, meaning “this guy” and Ive, meaning “who is a total jerkface”), but so is just about anything on television except for tests of the Emergency Broadcasting System. 

It all comes down to this: People who get outraged about something like Howard Stern should get a sense of humor, or at least lease one with attractive financing.  Neither of us agrees with much that Stern has to say, but we still think he’s funny.  Mind you, he’s not witty like “Mad Dog,” but he isgood for a chuckle.  This is more than the CBB can say.

And if the CBB wants our phone numbers, they are 355-3981 and 672-8529.  But please be fair.

Give a Hoot, Pass the Wings

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 11 1996

I think The Richmond State may have teased this above the fold on A1 as a “Hooters expose.” We didn’t actually expose anything at Hooters, except the fact that Hooters waitresses only made $2.13 an hour and depended on the tips of loser guys like ourselves to make a living, which made the whole thing more sad than funny. At least the wings were good.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. Some folks say we’re the “Pongo Twistleton of the ‘90s!”

If you have never heard the expression, “A city is made by its food,” it’s because that’s a rotten expression and no one would ever use it. However, it remains true that one must look at a city’s restaurants before one can really understand a city, and authoritatively say, for example, “This city sucks.” It is for this reason that we, Jeff and Paul, visited each of Richmond’s finest restaurants last week just to run up our lavish Richmond State expense account. 

Well, actually, that’s a lie. The Richmond State couldn’t afford Jeff’s bar tab.  But we did drive past a lot of restaurants on our way to “Hooters.”

Writing about our visit to Hooters is risky, not only because of its controversial nature, but also because of the possiblity that our girlfriends might read this column. It wasn’t easy to write, because, let’s face it, it’s just hard to think when you’re waist-deep in cleavage.

But since the mayoral election idea was deep-sixed, we needed something important and thought-provoking to write about besides David Hasselhoff.  In a bizarre coincidence, we just happened to decide to write about something that had a large quotient of scantily-clad girls with large breasts.  Pure coincidence, really.

Before we go on, we should mention that many people — most of them do-gooder-liberals and other derelicts — do not like Hooters restaurants. The Real Truth is that every word the restaurant chain’s critics have ever uttered has been absolutely 100 percent true. 

The wings really are not that good.

Furthermore, in a blatant case of false advertising, owls were nowhere to be found on the menu.  So why do people go there?  We had to investigate.

We arrived late one night at the restaurant on Broad Street (which we’ve heard was named after Hooters).  As we opened the door, a strong gust of cold air blew in on the scantily-clad greeter.  

It was a sight that every 15-year-old boy on earth figures Heaven looks like. 

The greeter, who we are sure is a wonderful person and a sensitive intellectual, was, through no fault of her own, EXTREMELY attractive. She was wearing an outfit that could only be properly described by males through a series of guttural sounds and mildly obscene hand gestures.

We, of course, deplore this nonsense. 

We paused a moment and deplored from a couple of different angles, then followed the extremely attractive hostess (Making sure to deplore some more along the way!) to our table.  As we looked around the dining room, we noticed that Hooters was filled with celebrities and other important people. In a booth to the left, we saw Associate Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Then, on the right, we saw hick superstar comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and several other people who were also Jeff Foxworthy.  Also, unsurprisingly, Elvis was there.

The actual building reflected the spirit of the restaurant. The architecture was sort of Post-Colonial Lincoln Logs, designed by Fisher-Price and decorated by Beavis and Butthead, but without the AC-DC posters. On the walls, which were lined with large multi-colored Christmas lights, there was a series of humorous but obviously fake signs: “Caution: Blondes Thinking,” “Look Out!  There are Many Large Breasts Here!” and “NewsChannel 6 — Coverage You Can Count On.”

As we sat down, we noticed that one of the waitresses was using the intercom system (a megaphone inside an enormous tin can)  had organized a trivia game for the customers, which they were all actively engaged in ignoring.  An actual quotation follows:

SCANTILY CLAD HOSTESS: Who discovered the electric light?


(five minute pause)


SCANTILY CLAD HOSTESS: Um, okay, that was, uh, Miles Standish.  Next question!

We would have preferred an informal version of “The $20,000 Pyramid.” involving her and several of the restaurant’s patrons. The exchange would go something like this:

“Umm … these are things on your chest …”

“Things which are minty?”

“You put them in a bra…”

“Uhhh … toilet paper?”

“No … they have nipples …”

“Newt Gingrich?”

“No … OK … ‘Everybody has seen Madonna’s …”

“The TV show Sheriff Lobo?”

“No, no, uh … PASS!”

At any rate, when the food eventually came, it was kinda okay.

So whither the Hooters Controversy?  Recently, the ACLU vowed to fight for men’s rights to work as waitresses at Hooters. The controversy culminated in a Washington D.C. rally that featured many (“eight”) Hooters waitresses chanting catchy slogans (“Hey, ho! Having men as waiters would suck because guys go there to look at our enormous breasts and since guys don’t have enormous breasts — most of them, anyway — we think they should not be waitresses at Hooters!” … um, OK, maybe the slogans weren’t that catchy) outside the White House until Al Gore had the Secret Service bring them in for “questioning.”

As semi-responsible journalists, we took a moment to interview our waitress about the male waitress controversy.

Paul: So, have you had any men come in here to apply for jobs?

Waitress: You want a job here?

Paul: No no no. We’re doing an interview for The Richmond State.

Waitress: The what? You can’t work here, you know.

Jeff: Will you go out with me?

During the course of the interview, we discovered some disturbing facts. First, it was revealed that a Hooters waitress earns an hourly wage of $2.13, plus tips, which consist of roughly pocket change and half a pack of chiclets per night.

The second, even more disturbing fact revealed during the interview was that we had been ogling somebody’s mom.  In fact, our waitress talked about her child at length.  This really brought it home, because Paul and Jeff, oddly enough, both have moms – neither of whom we could imagine working at Hooters.  

In reality, it’s very difficult to look at the whole Hooters Male Waitresses Controversy and see the restaurant and its current female (very female, we might add) waitresses as the villains.  At least the restaurant is upfront about its purposes: it is designed for guys – who obviously need girlfriends – to come there and feel cool, staring at the surroundings (or, as Paul remarked at one point, nearly spitting out his Ultra Mild Menthol Chicken wing, “There’s … there’s just ass everywhere!”)  Male waitresses simply don’t fit in.  Every job should be open to both sexes as long as both sexes are qualified.  The qualifications for being a Hooters waitress/waiter are something like this:

Y   N   1. I have large, floppy breasts.

Y   N   2. I can fit into really tight shorts that were OBVIOUSLY not designed with the male anatomy in mind.

Y   N   3. I am suitable to be stared at by guys who aren’t “getting any” but need to prove their manhood while eating chicken wings.

We’re guessing that most guys would have to answer “no.”  And we don’t want to meet the guys who answered “yes.”

Richmond Gets a Snow Job

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 1 1996

For some reason, whenever there was even a 5% chance of snow, the entire City of Richmond would go apes**t and start driving into trees and hoarding 2 percent milk. So, we made fun of them. Oh, and on the unlikely chance that anyone ever reads this, Paul Dipasquale was the designer of the widely panned Arthur Ashe statute on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. Pongo Twistleton was a fellow Richmond State columnist with an outlandish persona that in retrospect I recognize as a modern Bertie Wooster homage but at the time I just thought he was a nerd. So if you harbored any illusions that this would be funny if only you understood the references, that’s one more myth dispelled.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. This week, we will be your kooky Eskimo pals, Nanook and Elvis.

If you turned on your TV last week-end, you undoubtedly saw your normally-calm local weather person (Biff or Bunny McGargle) in an all-out panic. His or her hair was disheveled, articles of clothing were buttoned wrong and he or she grabbed hold of the camera with both hands and stared at you with bloodshot eyes, imploring you, for the sake of God, to get to a grocery store AND PLEASE, PLEASE PURCHASE MILK before you had to spend the next month eating insects or old lampshades.

You should be getting used to this by now. Of course, at the beginning of the month, we experienced what the newsmedia called “The Blizzard of ‘96,” which was followed a week later by what the newsmedia called “Also The Blizzard of ‘96” (or “Blizzard Lite”). Then, just this past weekend, Richmond was subjected to the “The Blizzard of the First Week of February,” which was followed by Monday’s “Blizzard From 2 O’Clock until Three-ish.”

That’s right, folks, it’s been snowing in Richmond lately. First, it snowed in history-making droves, prompting this concerned headline from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Sources Reveal Clinton Has Fat Butt;” and this this story on the fourteenth page of the Science section: “Richmond Attacked by Very Cold Water.” Then, this last weekend, it just seemed blasé, and TV weatherpeople pleaded for milk-purchasing frenzy in a much calmer, detached way.

As Richmond Mayoral candidates, we hereby Announce that We Are in Favor of Snow, not only because it allows us to throw snowballs through Paul Dipasquale and “Pongo Twistleton”’s car windows, but also because when people ask us, “How did you find the roads?” we get to say, “We just went outside and there they were.”

From the first mention of the word snow, every single person in the Tri-State area (Virginia, New Mexio, North Dakota? We’re not sure.) descended upon area grocery stores, apparently to stock up on vaseline to lather up their car tires.

While most people stock up on canned goods before a snow storm in case, say, Summer is canceled, it is our civic responsibility to point out this Actual News Item from just days before The Big Storm. According to the news story, a young woman whom we will call “Jabba” (although her real name is Carmella Sheets) was eating canned spaghetti straight from the can and almost choked to death on a plastic cheese-slice wrapper that somehow got into the can. So: what does this tell us? This tells us that “Jabba” had enough spaghetti on her fork to hide an entire cheese slice wrapper and that she chewed it little enough not to realize that she was swallowing plastic.

In the story (True Fact!), “Jabba” said, “I like spaghetti, but I don’t think I’ll be able to eat it the same way.”

Well, we hope not.

So if you must eat canned goods during the snow storm, make sure to remember the golden rule of canned food: There are probably at least two forkfuls in every can. (Another rule to keep in mind: “Just don’t be that person.”)

The entire East Coast was seized in the grip of panic, fear, mild nausea and cramps. It was a typical winter scene: people in Boston put on snow tires (we mean on their cars). Pennsylvanians got drunk and threw snowballs at the Philadelphia Eagles and little children. People in New York shot each other. Richmond-area road crews (two guys named “Buck” and a shovel) were out in force, laminating area roadways and covering them with ball bearings, so that even if it didn’t snow, Richmonders could still participate in the Southern winter ritual of crashing into things with their cars.

Whenever it snows, Richmonders join together in the sort of collective mindblock that can really bring a community together. Literally. As soon as it even smelled like snow, cars started skidding into telephone poles, houses, other cars and dairy farms. As Paul drove around after the Big Storm (which he can do because he’s originally from the North), he saw – strewn among the corpses of TV Weatherpeople committing suicide – abandoned cars in snowbanks, on rooftops and in the branches of tall trees.

Meanwhile, Jeff was busy being a Journalist. The first rule of journalism is that whenever anything happens, you have to interview somebody about it, even if that somebody is the Nigerian Under-Secretary for Fish Processing. So Jeff had gone to a grocery store to “take the pulse” of the city (it turned out to be 130 over 90). There, he interviewed an Actual Richmond Shopper. The interview went something like this:

JEFF: Hello, ma’am, how do you…


JEFF: Is snow affecting…

WOMAN: Oh, the Snow Gods are angry at us! We are doomed! Milk! MILK!

JEFF: Are you…

WOMAN: I must buy it before snow falls! You should NEVER allow milk to get cold!

JEFF: Can I just ask…

WOMAN: God help me, I’ll even drink skim!!!!

GROCERY CLERK WITH SHOTGUN: Freeze!!! Are you a Valued Customer?

Or something.

At this point you may be asking, “So what’s good about snow? 

Snow is “neat” because it makes dogs — already somewhat dim — go totally insane. Also, it makes most Richmonders act like they’ve been snorting motor oil.

Furthermore, snow is neat because it is responsible for creating a situation in which Paul felt totally justified leaving his car right in the middle of Grove Avenue for almost half an hour. People could have parked their cars in George Allen’s bathroom and they wouldn’t have gotten towed. 

Snow also creates jobs in the booming Shovel Manufacturing and “Snoopy Snow Cone Machine-Operator” industries. We “dig” – as the kids these days say – snow because it reminds Jeff of his childhood in the last Ice Age, when mammoth were plentiful, and skiing conditions were always bitchin’. Most importantly, we are in favor of snow because it keeps The Richmond State’s editors from panhandling in the streets like ususal.

The Big Question is, why don’t we get snow more often? Because the short-sighted current management of this city simply has not appropriated enough funding for it. 

We are flexible candidates, meaning that Paul can sometimes touch his toes. More importantly, this means that if you’re against snow, we can change our minds. We would outlaw clouds, and make snow illegal. Police Chief Jerry Oliver would be authorized to execute people for humming “White Christmas.” We would invite disaster by ordering the construction of a giant Snow Shield over the city, which would eventually collapse under its own weight, killing thousands.

So, what have we learned?

1. Wrapping snow chains around your children will not give them additional traction.

2. The Snow Gods DEMAND that Leonidas Young be sacrificed to them, or they will DESTROY this city with another light-to-medium snowfall.

3. Anything that gets us off work for a day can’t be that bad.

© 1996 Puff Carpluto

Hey! “Dig “Jeff and Paul on the Internet at!

The Choice of a Weird Generation

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 1 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1996 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul … Tonight, on a very special episode of “Blossom.”


Paul was driving on the Powhite Parkway (“Like the Road to Hell, but With Tolls”) when a song by a band called “Sponge Monkeys” or something came on the radio. Simultaneously, miles away, Jeff, sitting in a meeting at work, suddenly reached without thinking to change the station, accidentally twisting off the nose of the person next to him. “Psychic connection” … or “total crap?” Perhaps. But think about this: “Medium heat for 15 minutes, then stir in frozen weasel extract. Serves twelve.” 

Wait … no, no, no. Don’t think about that. We meant think about this: Immediately afterwards, the same mysterious thought occured to both of them at exactly the same time.

This SUCKS, they thought. I hate work … wait a second!

We’ll run for MAYOR!

And so with that thought and this column, we, Jeff and Paul, Officially Announce Our Candidacy for the Mayorship of the City of Richmond. We would also like to announce that a new study reveals that improper use of rubber cement can cause hair loss or, in some cases, mild death.

Many of you are no doubt wondering, “But what do geese think about this?” Well, you people are sick.

The rest of you are probably wondering, “Why should I vote for two people when it’s only half the calories to vote for one?” or “Wouldn’t two mayors cause problems with easily-confused TV news reporters, who might not know whom to interview and end up talking to a chair?” Or even “What?”

These questions are all valid, albeit incoherent. But consider the benefits of having two mayors:

• Always on call: If one of us were sick and could not lead the city that day, the other one would always be there to say, “Who cares?” and get drunk.

• It would be like having your mayor “Super-Sized.”

• One of us could actually attend City Council meetings instead of (like some mayors we know) sending a life-size cardboard cut-out.

• We would almost certainly get to be in one of those “double your pleasure” chewing gum commercials with the really cute twins in green bathing suits.

We cannot fully explain our platform because 1.) there are bubbles in the Magic 8-Ball right now; and 2.) boy, are we making this up as we go along. But here for you – Good and Wise State Reader – is a sneak peek.

If elected, we promise the following immediate changes:

• We would officially change the spelling of “Richmond” to “Funky Tøwn,” although it would still be pronounced the same. “Henrico” would be spelled “Hönkyville,” but pronounced “Toad Suck, Arkansas.”

• “The Mosque” would be renamed “The Diamond.” “The Diamond” would be renamed “What The HELL Is That Thing With An Indian Stickin’ Out The Side?” 

• Monument Avenue, as a compromise, would feature a statue of Andre Agassi on a horse.

•To demonstrate how much our city RULES!, we would declare war on Amelia County and beat all of its inhabitants with hockey sticks. After the invasion, we would give out free “We Invaded Amelia! We RULE!” bumper stickers and T-Shirts to everyone in the city.

• We would eliminate the “four-by-four” versus “seven-period” school scheduling controversy by ignoring it completely. Students, instead of saying the Pledge of Allegiance, would recite the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” Metal detectors in schools would be replaced with Snickers candy bar detectors. To improve saftey, we would then personally eat all the Snickers bars.

• We would hold a contest to decide what kind of facial hair Police Chief Jerry Oliver should have.

• The Baltimore Stallions of the “Canadian Football League” – currently (True Fact!) considering moving here – would officially be told to “Bite us.” We want nothing to do with any league that has an annual (True Fact!) Most “Valuable” “Canadian” Award.

• So that you don’t have to remember two long, expensive, time-consuming names, we would shorten “Jeff Carl” and “Paul Caputo” into one name, like “Puff Carpluto.”

• As mayors, we promise never to appear on local TV news commenting at length on “what a horrible tragedy this shooting was, or how awful that hurricane was, blah blah blah.” We know that actual news has NO PLACE in local television and it only interferes with the stories you really want to see, like the one about the surfing kitten, the Radical Lesbian Transvestite Chapter of “Jews for Jesus” or the 83-year-old nun who plays for the Renegades. Therefore, we promise to spend our entire tenure doing nothing but going to events with free food.

• Just for the heck of it, we would add to Monument Avenue a statue of Kermit the Frog. On horseback. With a tennis racket.

• Our City cabinet would comprise entirely newspaper columnists. For example, Dave Barry would be our Secretary of Booger Jokes. George Will would be our Official Long-Words-Talkin’-Guy. Ross Mackenzie of the Times-Dispatch would be our Footstool.

• VCU students with pierced noses would have them filled with Silly Putty. Anyone found in coffeeshops wearing black talking about angst (German for “fish?” We don’t know.) would be burned at the stake.

• To improve their disposition and efficiency, City Hall and DMV workers would be replaced by Cocker Spaniels.

• We would eliminate the City Meals Tax, Personal Property Tax, Thumb Tax, etc. We would make up the money by declaring a Civil War Reconstruction Tax, paid for by giving $800 speeding tickets to everybody who drove through town on I-95 with a Yankee license plate, claiming that “We need the money to fix all the damage you guys did the last time you were here.”

• To further establish our position as the Bitchin’-est City in the State, we would beat up Charlottesville and take its lunch money.

• City council decisions would all be decided by a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, or possibly Twister. Council members would be required to take drugs so we could win.

• We would cut Richmond electric bills by sneaking over at night and plugging an enormous extension cord into Norfolk. If they complained, we would retaliate by claiming that they were trying to siphon the energy out of OUR appliances and INTO their walls. That’ll confuse ‘em.

• The Richmond Symphony would be forced at gunpoint to play nothing but “Def Leppard” songs.

• K-9 Police units would be equipped with Small Yipping Poodles, to make criminals giggle hysterically until they wet themselves and surrender.

• We would change the confusing street address numbering system in the city back (?) to the Dewey Decimal System.

• You, the Average Taxpayer, could always have an appoinment with the Mayor, as long as you brought the beer.

Best of all – we’re not kidding – if enough people send in contributions to The State earmarked for our campaign fund to pay for the filing fee, we will ACTUALLY REGISTER TO RUN FOR MAYOR! No jive! For real! Call the State and ask about it! Also, stop by and pick up your Amelia Invasion bumper sticker! 

And if we win, we will personally mow the lawn of everyone who sent us money.

Can anyone else promise that? Besides your yard guy, if he’s running, too.

And so we proudly proclaim some of our campaign slogans: “We’ll paint any car for just $99.95!” or “Vote for us or you’ll learn a new meaning of Pain as you are slowly digested in the Belly of the Great Sarlacc for a Thousand Years!” Or “Or whatever!”

© 1995 Puff Carpluto