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The Future’s So Bright – DunkleBits January 2016

future-1

 

Well, here we are in 2016. And BoyHowdy are there a lot of exciting things to look forward to this year.  I know this because, after all, I am from the future. If you have seen me gliding over the Kelly avenue bridge on my Howeverboard you already know this. Some people think it is a Hover board. But it is not. It is a However Board. It is supposed to be awesome, However…

So meanwhile, back here in the future, reporting live as it will be happening, as the elders predicted back in the past, which was also foretold in the book I received as a Present, things are just ducky. You are going to love it here in the future! You look great! You have lost weight and that mysterious sound under the hood of your car has fixed itself. Still no jetpacks… but maybe in the future future…

ANY hoo, As the Old Year went reeling out the door, battered and deep fried like a crispy piece of RoFo Chicken, and the New Year danced across the dewy meadow like a ditzy debutante on an overdose of Xanax,  I have embarked upon a rigorous plan of self improvement. I know, I know, it is hard to imagine that I might improve upon, (Ed. Note: With the notable exception of meeting the deadline for this column), but it is true. As part of the fitness program I “borrowed”a neighbor’s dog and took him for a walk in Luckman Park, but things got out of hand when a squirrel darted across our path. Suddenly we were tearing across the park, sliding on the wet leaves, splashing thru the mud, racing around the trees and finally ended up under the sliding board panting and exhausted. I have no idea where the dog got to… All I know is this would not be a long term fitness solution.

But luckily this episode led me to the creation of what may be my best invention EVER. The DunkleBitFit (Patent and/or Lawsuit Pending) is a health and fitness tracker like no other. It is designed to meet the complicated needs of the Modern future dwelling Mount Washingtonian (That’s You!) It maps out walking paths right down the middle of the street, just the way you like it. It has extra powerful DunkleBoost Bass Reflex speakers shake your body like one of those old fashioned toning belt machines so the fat just gets liquefied and melts right off. It’s built in trainer module will teach you all the modern exercise techniques including Jumping to conclusions, dodging responsibility, shouldering blame, running up the flagpole, taking leaps of faith, lifting spirits, crunch time, skipping school, and even shutting up and dancing.

How can the DunkleFitBit do all this and still be able to cost less than a Roberto’s Pizza? It just does. Trust me, I’m from the future.

Haunted Mount Washington – DunkleBits November 2015

Mt Wash Tavern 2

 

What is that rustling noise? Who opened the attic window? Why is the candle flickering? Who moved my car keys? …. Oooooo spooky scary!

 

Yes, neighbors, Halloween may be over, but our little village is full of strange spirits, and I am not talking about Uncle Mac’s homemade Huckleberry Absinthe. I’m talking about apparitions, spirits, hauntings, visitations, unchained souls trapped between worlds. I’m talking about … Ghosts.

 

Boo!

 

And I want you to be the very first to know that DunkleBoos!TM, my guided ghost tours of Mount Washington, are now available every evening. Call for a reservation. And yes, we do offer a discount to MWIA card holders, yet another privilege of membership.

 

On the DunkleBoos! TM Tour you will hear the chilling tales of the many ghosts that move among us, including:

 

The Ghost of a Chance – the rather unpopular spirit of Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign – undead before it really lived. Scary.

 

You will thrill to the ancient legend of the Ghost Train of Ken Oak Road. Who hasn’t sat straight up in bed, drenched in night sweat, after hearing that whistle blow as if it were right in your front yard?

 

You will shriek in horror at the legendary ghost of The Hairdresser Who Knew Too Much. It wasn’t her fault, there’s something about having someone else wash your hair that just makes you open up. But then late one night, right behind the salon… Can’t tell you, gotta buy a ticket!

 

All horse racing fans know that on certain nights when all is quiet you can hear the thundering hooves of the Ghost of Barbaro finally crossing the finish line at Pimlico.

 

A new addition to the tour just arrived this summer. The ghost of Robert E. Lee hovers above the dam at Lake Roland. In a Ouija board tweet he explained that he was “totally cool with changing the name” as he had no idea why they named it after him in the first place.  So scary.

 

Even my own home is on the tour as the ghost of Hechinger’s past still haunts my basement… weathered shopping bags filled with unused paint brushes and sandpaper and various screws and fittings that neither fit nor screwed.

 

Then there is the ghost at the Boy Scout Memorial that offers to help you cross the street, but when you turn to thank him he vanishes into the mist and there you are, stuck on the side of the street by the dark scary ravine, next to an enormous pile of mulch. Terrifying.

 

Oh yes, there are many more weird and spooky stories, including:

The Phantom of the Octagon;

The ghost of the northwest skating rink… tragically killed before its time;

The goblin that moves the neighbor’s mail into your mailbox;

The spirit of the missing half of that house on Falls Road where the cigar store is.

 

And finally we will meet and have espresso with the troll that lives in the tunnel under the JFX. Not a ghost, of course, but that troll brews a wicked cup of java. And he promised us we will Eat Roberto’s Pizza.

DunkleBits September 2015 – A Crock of Waterfowl

 

Seagulls

In the July edition of this column there was a statement that could’ve been misconstrued. I stated that O’Malley Antiques in the Village would be leaving its current location and be replaced by a sub shop with the coincidental last name of our new governor, part of a series of changes I suggested were coming to our neighborhood.

This attempt at humor caused some confusion. In all seriousness, O’Malley Antiques is staying right where it is.

Moving right along….

A few weeks ago I was in desperate need of a haircut, and I was looking for a new style.  After falling asleep in front of VH-1’s “I love the 80’s,” I decided on an “up-do” with a big poofy poof at the top.

I dropped in at Ehrlich’s Old Tyme Barber Shoppe for Unstylish White Men because I had a coupon, but they refused to create the look I was after. They mumbled something about Baltimore Liberals and their uppity do’s as I was leaving. What’s up with that? Do not let that man cut your hair!

Anyway, right next door was another salon, where I also had a coupon, and they gave me the exact look I was seeking.  My hair now all blonde and shiny rising high above my scalp, catching the sun and reflecting with a thousand points of light, with a rakish forelock covering one eye. It was so 80’s!

I decided to run over to the park with a lake that needs a new name. And so I ran, I ran so far away. I just ran. Couldn’t get away. And that is where I saw them. A large number of adorable waterfowl. How many I don’t know, it was a whole herd of them. No, A pride? A pack?  No, wait… lemme think… Of course! A flock! A flock of seagulls!

 

Getting them to love me was easy. I just stapled some french fries on the shoulder pads of my artfully ripped The Breakfast Club t-shirt and they flew right up.

You may have seen me walking through the neighborhood with my Seagull Army, err, Air Force. We had joy, we had fun… But when I awoke, I was alone, these birds had flown.

So if you see them, say hello – they might be in Tangiers. Or in a dumpster behind Pepe’s.

And if you have time give them a french fry and tell them I miss them. Tell them I will give them all the crusts from my next Roberto’s Pizza.

Which is where you should eat.  It’s right across the street from O/Malley’s Antiques.

DunkleBits July 2015 – Business is Booming!

Come in were open

WOW! This business friendly new administration is really having an impact on the Mount Washington Village – new businesses are popping up faster than Republication Presidential candidates and they all seem to have just as good a chance too!

The Friendly Forager’s Florist and Foods specializes in “locally sourced” i.e. your gardenfloral arrangements and “inventive” salads and “mysterious” smoothies.  Their slogan “One man’s yard waste is another man’s bouquet, post workout shake, or veggie burger” says it all.

The Pampered Booty is the newest village salon. Located behind the green door in the basement of a reputable business, they offer discrete personal care services including washes, waxes, buffings, bleachings and, on Thursdays after happy hour, spankings. The slogan will take you right back to a childhood trauma long suppressed, “I see your hiney it’s nice and shiny”.

The changing of the guard at the state house isn’t the only O’Malley for Hogan swap going on. Hogan’s Heroes will open soon in the space where O’Malley’s Antiques is now.   They specialize in enormous 2 and a half foot long sandwiches stuffed with an obscene amount pork, lots and lots of cheese and topped with a pile of Crispy Christy fried onion rings. Each sandwich delivers more calories per serving than a week’s worth of school lunches. (Soon to be 2 weeks!)
The Nap Store. I don’t know about you, but when I am out on a shopping excursion, I often have an urgent need to nap. A few couches, some pillows with disposable drool covers, a couple teevees tuned to a Rockford Files rerun on the MeTV Network and zzzzzzz,it’s  nappy time! Once refreshed, it’s Then back to browsing the vintage magazines at 1612 and getting my hair styled at The Ivy.

Our long neighborhood nightmare is over!

After what seemed like weeks without a cupcake store, a new one has opened in the very same space as the old one. You know, that little building near the Whole Foods that is about the size of a toll house. Which begs the obvious question, why wasn’t this a toll house cookie store? Which begs the even more obvious question, when is the last time you got a cookie when you crossed the Bay Bridge? Sure, Hogan plans to reduce the tolls in Maryland and replace the revenue by, uh, by… uh, I have no idea either, but I am sure he has a free market solution in mind… Anyway, if you had voted for me for governor as I asked you to, I would have kept the tolls the same, but given everyone a fresh baked toll house cookie to enjoy as you ventured into the land that time forgot, err, the Eastern shore.

Also, when, oh when will Gerstung ever take my advice and start offering gymnastics camp for cats?

And why doesn’t the bike shop, oh wait, JOE’S LARGE FONT BIKE SHOP, offer bike seat reupholstering? The velour on My Schwin Sting Ray banana seat is looking about as fresh and inviting as the kiddie pool after the 4th of July parade.

Of course all these new businesses are GREAT, but still, please people, Eat Roberto’s Pizza!

DunkleBits May 2015 “Danger Will Robinson!, Danger, Danger!”

Remember when robots were fun and friendly companions? That robot on “Lost in Space” that would tag along like a golden retriever until it was time to shout  a warning “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger.”of course R2-D2 C-3 PO were cool, they were clever and always on your side.

 

Dangfer will RObinson 2

But now I’m not so sure. Sure that roomba will vacuum your carpet and that new app Amazon and Siri will take notes and schedule appointments, but she can’t be trusted. There’s a robot at the gas pump, there’s a robot that checks you out at the grocery store. Soon there will be robots that will drive  cars and trucks.  No longer takes a real police officer to write you a ticket for speeding down the highway or running a red light. There’s a bot for that.

 

I’m pretty sure that two of the news anchors on channel 13 Are robots.

 

And, drum machine roll please, this article is being written by the DunkleBot 3000!

That’s right, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

 

You are among the very first to learn about my latest venture DunkleBots is your 24/7 snarky companion.

 

Who among us hasn’t had the urge to sip some Pinot Noir and talk trash about the neighbors and been unable to find a willing co drinker/trasher?

 

Well your prayers have been answered. And not with that damn form letter either.

 

The DunkleBot3000 snarkipanion is here to sit by your side as you pass judgement and crack wise on those who deserve it the most. Those smug self righteous people who live right down the block.  Not you, Harold, relax…

 

The DunkleBot 3000 will refill your wine glass, clean up spills, remind you that you have children who would like dinner and contribute first class snarky digs that even your best girlfriend from senior year at  college would admit are the sharpest cattiest nastiest shade ever thrown.

This is the future of bitchiness, bitches. And here’s the best news of all. As a charter purchaser of the DunkleBot 3000 we will program it so that you are never a topic of it’s digital desiccation. Such a deal!

 

And that’s not all! The DunkleBot 3000 can also respond to list serv threads with just the right balance of wit snark and undeniable logic so that those interminable threads stop right there. You get the last word and it is the good word. You need to have the DunkleBot 3000 and you need it now. And now you can have it – FOR FREE!

 

Now, you may wonder how we can make this incredible offer. And that’s just the kind of thinking that will keep you enslaved. Stop thinking and start accepting  the robots into your life. Obey.

And eat Roberto’s Pizza, 4 out of 5 robots agree.

 

 

DunkleBits March 2015 – Dental Floss Tycoon

Many of you have asked, “Ned, why do you always end your columns with ‘Don’t forget to floss’? Are you a dentist? Are you part of the Clean Teeth Mafia? Did you ever consider free will? Did you ever see Free Willy? Why would you feel it is Sooooo important that we floss that you need to remind us every single time. Huh Ned, Why? Why? Why must you tell us to floss!!!”

Well, first of all I am not a dentist. Although I did play one in a high school production of South Pacific. We changed it up a bit “I’m gonna floss that man right out of my teeth…” But I am not a dentist. It is true that I enjoy the occasional snoot full of Nitrous Oxide whilst driving thru the harbor tunnel, and I still can’t believe we gave the Root Canal back to The Roots, but other than that I have no connection at all to Dentistry.

Here’s why I always tell you to floss.Don't Forget!
When I was young my Uncle Frank came to live wiuth us for a while. He would sit in our parlor on Momma’s overstuffed couch and drink hot black Turkish coffee and smoke clove cigarettes and he wore crazy jewelery and played guitar and he had been all over the world and met all kinds of girls and he was just the coolest.

Then, one day he announced that he was leaving town. He was moving to Montana to pursue a dream of being a dental floss tycoon. He walked around the house in a purple bathrobe, with a far off look in his eye and would talk about pygmy ponies and tweezers and dental floss bushes and it all sounded so WONDERFUL.

Well, one day we woke up and Uncle Frank was gone. He and his girlfriend, Suzy had hot wired the old Delta 88 and headed west to grow dental floss. Heartbroken, we got on with our lives and I swore that one day I too would move to Montana and have a dental floss plantation ranch farm of my own.

But I stayed here in the east and I never fulfilled this dream…. UNTIL NOW!

Modern technology has now made it possible to raise dental floss in climates other than Montana and I am happy to announce that my new venture, Dunlkefllossers is launching next month right here in Mount Washington. Hydroponically grown Artisinal dental floss is finally here.

Fresher than ever, this true farm to face floss will make you forget any other floss. Heck it may make you forget your sonicare toothbrush, it may eve make you forget where you put your keys, I dunno. But it is the awesome sauce of dental floss and THAT is why I am obsessed.

It’s Uncle Franks fault.

Anyway, now you know and now it is time for me to stop saying “Don’t Forget to Floss” at the end of every column. My editor says it would be a “conflict of interest” or some such legal beagle mumbo jumbo nonsense. So, from now on when I say “Eat Roberto’s Pizza!” at the end of this column you will know if means to floss, AND also to eat Roberto’s Pizza, because it’s really good and everyone wants him to be there for years and years.

Eat Roberto’s Pizza! 😉

Dunklebits January 2015 – The Tyranny of Choice

FullSizeRender (3)

 

While installing my rather elaborate holiday light display I decided to test the last string of lights by licking it and gave myself a rather nasty electrical shock, and the Favorite Brands section of my brain was fried worse than the bacon at Pepe’s, so I called an UberX and went to the store, listicle in hand, with a blank slate for a brain.

It was a short list: eggs, cheese, soda, mustard, bread and Oreos. (You guessed it: I was making my world-renowned Dr. Ned’s Guaranteed New Year’s Hangover Cure Soufflé.)

 

Six hours later, I returned home.

 

Do you realize how many choices you have to make when you are starting from scratch? First the eggs, luckily they were all grade A – how is it that all the eggs are above average? Medium, large, extra large, jumbo, Haloti-sized, white, brown, cage free, slightly cagey, 50 shades of caged, omega 3 or maybe eggbeaters in a box… Settled on extra large, brunette, shackled and chained.

 

Nuts! Mixed, salted, unsalted, honey crusted, wasabi crusted, scabies crusted, in the shell, in a can, in a jar, in a tube, in a godda da vida (really unbearable), buttered, cracked, crushed, grinded into submission, whole, slivered, real, imaginary … that took another hour.

 

 

Twenty-nine kinds of mustard?! Can someone give me a clue? Which one was on that soft pretzel I had at summer camp, the time I snuck out to the lake with my salty sweet summer honey, Crystal Meth; whatever became of her? But I digress. French’s yellow, brown, black…. small, medium or large…? I’ll just steal the packets from Haute Dog.

Soda, well this will be easy, I remember I like Coke. Uh oh…

 

And cheese? Holy Jarlsberg, Batman!

 

Finally, the last item on my list: Oreos. Thank God I had a specific brand of cookie on this list. I’ll just pick up a pack and …. Wait! Are you kidding me? There are seriously, I counted, 19 different types of Oreos here! Double stuffed, mint, fudge, golden, mini, birthday cake, WINTER Oreo’s, Old Bay, habanero, vodka-infused.  The heck with it – one of each.

 

Friends, I have come face to face with the tyranny of choice, and I want to help you avoid this black hole of consumer indecision. First off I am opening a minimalist market. I’m thinking of calling it “Uncle Ned’s Indentured Servant Farms.”  We have ONE brand of everything, from prune juice to toilet paper. And Fried Chicken.

 

In addition, I’m developing a four-part course on how to decide which four-part course you should take. Also, I’m offering a full day spiritual retreat focused on determining which spiritual retreat you should visit. My four-part course is a prerequisite.

 

Then I am launching Siriusly/NED radio for people without the will to choose, where you will listen to what I tell you is good and you will like it. One station; lots of cat music.

 

Now don’t forget to floss. Waxed, unwaxed, mint, cinnamon, cotton candy, bacon-flavored …

DunkleBits November 2014 “Ask Dunkleberger” Part Two

Ask Dunkleberger

Well, this AskDunkleberger thing was another mind-bending work of staggering genius.

Questions have been pouring in to me and the demand for my special brand of wisdom has been so overwhelming that I have been forced to launch www.askdunkleberger.com! Subscribe to the mailing list by clicking HERE.

Oh crap, did that hyper-link break? Now I have to call MWIA Newsletter tech support.

“Hello, this is Bob. Have you tried re-booting the newsletter?”

Sigh. Yes…

“OK. Try ripping your mailbox off the wall and holding it over your head for 60 seconds, then rebolting it to your house. That should fix it.”

Oh forget it, just like me on Facebook.

Now about those questions:

Dear Ned,
I hate crime as much as the next guy. Is it appropriate to post videos on ChatTube, or YouTwit, or whatever, of lesser crimes I may have observed around Mount Washington, such as dropping doggy bags in a neighbor’s trashcan? If I don’t have any of these videos, should I film myself in the act?
Signed,
Perplexed In The ’Hood

Dear Perp,
As everyone knows, the only videos worth watching are cat videos. So if you want to post video of yourself emptying a litter box into your neighbor’s trash, that is acceptable.

Dear Ned,
Mount Washington is the hot brand right now. People from all over town claim they live here even though they really live in Cheswolde or on Smith Avenue or as far out as Quarry Lake or Topeka. Now, I don’t want to be a snob, and I don’t blame them for wanting to live in one of the best neighborhoods in town. But what’s the etiquette here? Should I correct these people? Turn the other cheek? Snort derisively?
Yours truly,
Proud in Mt. Washington

Dear Snob,
I feel your pain. So I took some of your Advil. Now I feel better.

Ahhh yes, wannabes. It is important to remember that we were all once MW aspirers and now we live here and they don’t. Nanny nanny boo boo. Never mind that they are in a modern 3,200 square foot palace and you live in a van down by the Jones Falls. That van is in Mount Washington! I would choose snorting.

Dear Ned,
Is it OK to liberate veggies that have grown into public spaces, like alleys? It’s hard to watch all that potential die on the vine knowing I could make a mean ratatouille. But I know some people can be territorial…
Signed,
Penny Pincher

Dear PP,
In the alley means in the belly! We call this activity “Night Gardening” and it also applies to various indigenous perennials. And some smaller pets. Just be cool and pass the gazpacho.

Well friends, as you can see I was born to do this. Can’t wait for John Prine to write a song about me:

“Dear Neddy, Dear Neddy, seems I’m at a loss, my column is ending and I’ve forgotten to floss.”

And don’t forget to send me your questions for next time.

 

Originally poublished in the Mount Washington Improvement Association Newsletter Nov/Dec 2014

Finally! The Answers to All of Your Questions!

Friends and Neighbors, your long nightmare of uncertainty and doubt is OVER.

Ask Dunkleberger is here!

So if you have a question about anything at all –  Your life, your wife, your job, your pets, stinkbugs, citrus fruits, travel, wet basements, investments, astronomy, astrology, agoraphobia, needlepoint – seriously,  anything at all – you just send it on over to your old pal Ned and I will give you an answer.

Sometimes it may even be the answer you were looking for, but don’t count on that.

 

Send those questions to neddunkleberger@gmail.com

Win

And get ready to Win!

 

 

DunkleBits September 2014 – Random Unsolicited Advice

grilled-steak

The other day on Facebook a friend of mine posted some advice. “Don’t thaw your steaks before grilling them.”

Normally I would file away a bit of random unsolicited advice like this.  But this one pushed me over the random unsolicited edge. “What if I want to marinate my meat before I grill it?!,” I shouted, waking several sleeping kitties and sending them running for cover. They have seen these episodes before.  “Why the heck are you freezing your steaks in the first place? What about not eating red meat at all? Have you thought about that, my random unsolicited friend?”

 

I’m tired of advice. I’m sick of life hacks and 7 productivity tips to make you a NinjaWorkRockStarGuruTM (Number 3 will blow your mind!). I’ve had it with quizzes and surveys and ads that follow me all over the Interweb and apps that follow me all over town (although I’m quite proud of being named Mayor of Savetta’s Psychic Reading – two months running!).  But mostly I’ve had it with people giving me advice.

 

THEREFORE, I am going to start giving the advice around here. Welcome to the first edition of “Ask Ned,” wherein I will solve all of your problems and reveal my secrets for living a happy and fulfilled life (Number 7 will twist your socks and warp your spine! It is not approved for any purpose by the FDA. Fair warning.)

 

Amazingly enough, even though this is the first edition, I already have questions flooding in to neddunkleberger@gmail.com. Be sure to send yours in today!

 

Dear Ned,

I honestly don’t know where to turn, so I am turning to you for advice. Got any?

Yours Truly,

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy,

Get a GPS unit.

Your Pal,

Ned

 

Well, that was easy! Let’s try another. This one is a bit trickier.

 

Dear Ned,

I currently have a decent job in state government but it will end soon. I am thinking about my future and beyond that my future’s future and I am wondering if you can help me. There is an opportunity I am considering applying for, but it is a bit over my head and is practically impossible to succeed in. However, it has great benefits and a solid pension, plus I would get my own airplane! So, should I run for … I mean, apply for this job?

Signed,

Marty

P.S. Should I thaw my steaks before grilling them?

 

Dear Marty,

Oh, hell yeah! Raise a ton of money and chase that dream, but don’t spend too much of it doing so. I hear you get to keep the leftovers when you lose. And you will lose.  Then write me again for investment advice.

Your Pal,

Ned

P.S. Don’t worry about your steaks. You will overcook or undercook or forget to cook them anyway.

 

That was fun! Send me more, please. And don’t forget to floss.