Major Ashpole


    A lot of people eat cereal for breakfast and I wonder why.

    It’s called “Breakfast Cereal” but that seems redundant to me.

    Have you ever heard of “Lunch Cereal” or “Dinner Cereal”?

    How about “Brunch Cereal”?

    Brunch used to be for people who were up partying all night, slept past breakfast, woke up with a hangover, washed down a couple of aspirin with a Bloody Mary, and had an omelet because it’s easy on the stomach and it’s about the only thing that really goes with a Bloody Mary.

    Now brunch is a destination for families, and that means kids who should never be seen eating in public are left unattended around buffet tables, where they touch things and sneeze and spread diseases that put unsuspecting old people into coffins.

    Boxes of cereal look like coffins to me, and I feel like a cannibal if I open one.

    At my age, a lot of things look like coffins.

    Vegetarians feel like cannibals when they even look at meat.

    I like vegetables, and bread, but I’ve never been to a farm, because I don’t want to see people killing what I’m going to eat.

    When a stalk of wheat is cut, or an ear of corn or a tomato or a cucumber is pulled from its stalk, there’s a scream, but at a frequency that human beings can’t hear.

    You didn't know that?

    And digging potatoes out of the ground…that’s like harvesting the living dead.

    If my position on killing plants seems extreme to you, imagine how you sound to me if you’re a vegan.

    Speaking of the living dead, I don’t get as many birthday cards as I used to.

    They put all kinds of things in cereal boxes these days: almonds, cranberries, honey, dates, prune juice concentrate, caramel toffee pecan clusters...

    When I was a boy you got a secret decoder ring in your Frosted Flakes, and other than that, you didn’t have to keep looking at your spoon to see if you had a proper mix of ingredients.

    You mindlessly shoveled in load after load of sugar and highly processed flour and liked it.

    But today’s cereal industry acts as if all they’ve ever wanted to do is provide healthy eating for families.

    Remember this one? “Oh, the pops are sweeter and the taste is new, they’re shot with sugar, through and through! Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops, Sugar Pops are tops!”

    My teeth hurt.

    I saw an old magazine ad that said, “Post Toasties Double Thick Corn Flakes Stay Crisp in Cream” and that reminded me of an old friend who actually uses cream instead of milk on his cereal.

    I send him a heart transplant every year for Christmas.

    I have to admit that there are cereals that taste good straight out of the coffin, that is, the box.

    Shredded wheat isn’t one of them. 

    Shredded wheat seems like a healthy concept, but when you first eat it, it tastes and feels like straw that’s having a bad hair day, and if you pour milk over it, three seconds later it turns to mush.

    I’ve never heard of a “new and improved” shredded wheat, and that surprises me.

    If a bear ate Joy Behar in the forest while she was eating shredded wheat and there was no one there to hear it, she’d probably fire her publicist.

    My wife is big on cereal for breakfast.  She eats a mixture of Grape Nuts and Bran Flakes every morning, and she says it keeps her regular.

    I eat a mixture of bacon, eggs fried in a pool of butter, hash browns, English muffins with bacon drippings, and strong black coffee, and if you don’t think I’m regular, try blocking the hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom at my house around seven tomorrow morning and see if you can remember the license number on the truck that runs you down.


Dear Major Ashpole,

  Why did you decide to pick on Joy Behar yet again?

  She is a warm and wonderful personality who brightens the days of millions of people.

Joy Behar

New York, NY

Dear Joy,

  Love your work. 

  No, I didn’t wink when I said that. 


  Okay, maybe I did wink, but you can’t blame me.

  If you ever think of anything funny to say...oh, never mind.

Dear Major Ashpole:

  I don’t think your bowel habits are a proper topic for a family newspaper, and I’m sure others feel the same way.

  I hope you’ll refrain from such subject matter in the future.

Sten Krasnanski

Lake Simile

Walden Pond, Massachusetts

Dear Sten:

  I’m reading your letter as I’m sitting on the john, and, frankly, I’m wondering how you’re sure that others agree with you.

  Have you conducted a poll?

  If you did, judging by your last name, you would be a Pole conducting a poll, which could be confusing to some, who might wonder if you’d be publishing Pole results or poll results, and if they’d be the same thing if you did, which raises questions about ethnicity and opinion well beyond the scope of this journal.

  That said: If the Proctor & Gamble Company can run commercials on family television featuring animated bears who are clearly making number two and cleaning up afterwards while we watch: as far as I’m concerned, the bathroom door is open for business…as it were.

TO: Mr. Major Ashpole

        The Five Lakes Heron

FROM: The Kellogg Company

Dear Mr. Ashpole:

  Your use of a lyric from a Kellogg’s commercial without prior permission is a violation of copyright law, and you are hereby ordered to cease and desist from using such lyric, or any other

copyrighted material of the Kellogg Company, without first obtaining such prior permission.

  Thank you for your immediate compliance with this order.

  In closing, I would state for the record that the product name in question is now “Corn Pops,” there is no “sugar” in the name.

Yours truly,

Furman Purfeerst

Senior Counsel

Kellogg Company

Dear Mr. Purfeerst:

  As you’ll notice, I’ve used a colon instead of my usual comma, just so you’ll know that I, too, mean business, and considering the effect your sugared products have on the intestines, a colon seems more than appropriate in any event.

  I would offer the observation that the allegedly copyrighted material you refer to isn’t a lyric, it is a hypnotic suggestion, and, therefore, is not covered by copyright law.

  If you’d like to begin a legal action, it will be my pleasure to enter into the public record a stark reminder of how your company has prospered over the past many decades by pushing avalanches of sugar onto America’s defenseless young.

  Your move.

  As for the "Corn Pops" name and the removal of “Sugar” therefrom: I would remind you that the current product box states “Crispy Glazed, Crunchy Sweet,” and that the second, third and fourth ingredients are: sugar, corn syrup, molasses.

  A rose is a rose, Mr. Purfeerst, and is no less so when shot with sugar through and through.

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