Schadenfreude Smackdown

avenueq5Photo: Cinemablographer

Schadenfreude-noun. From German Schaden-damage and Freude-joy.  Happiness at the misfortune of others.

Until I heard the lyrics of the song “Schandenfreude” from the musical Avenue Q, I was not familiar with the word. If you haven’t seen the musical written by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty, puppets (which are visually operated by actors), and a character named Gary Coleman sing:

“Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy, and when I see how sad you are it sort of makes me…Happy!”

It depends on the misfortune, of course, but we here at the Buffer Zone have to honestly admit we have been known to snort diet soda out of our nose after someone shares their dysfunctional relative story. Not only do these stories make us happy, they also make us feel like we are not alone, a member of a community of crazies, if you will.

Check out our survey here or cut to the chase and e-mail your answer this question:

6. Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? What incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

The contest will end March 15, 2014. A few sneak peaks will be posted in the next week, and the surveys will be posted at the end of March, with a link to your blog if you wish. If you don’t care to share your dysfunctional DNA, our lips are sealed.

“Wait Up All Night To Get Lucky”


We are taking a break from reading the first-rate Buffer Zone Contest entries that are starting to come in by catching some of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

I have always found Olympic spirit, dedication and talent of the athletes awe-inspiring, so this performance of “Get Lucky” by the Russian Police choir at the opening ceremony seems kind of out of place.

Out of place and hilarious. First, the song choice is questionable at best. Second, could the choir members, other than a few singers, look more uncomfortable?

Watch the NBC video in all of it’s fantasticalness here:

You are welcome.

Don’t miss out on our dysfunctional relative contest!

It’s All Good Till Someone Loses An Ear


Another day, another brotherly scuffle.

According to Huffington Post ( and an article in the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, police say that 27-year-old Sean Fallon-Nebbia, pictured above, ending up biting part of his brother’s ear off, punching him several times in the face, and knocking him out just to make sure he got the message.

But what started this brotherly brouhaha at the Super Bowl Party Fallon-Nebbia hosted? Sure, they drank a whole bottle of whiskey before the incident, but I’m guessing that is not unusual.

Based on a trend I’m are seeing, it was not about the outcome of the game, or whether Peyton Manning is still the man, it was something about the food ( Lord knows that people are passionate about their food. Were the chips stale? Not enough bean burrito dip to go around? Was it an issue that the pigs-in-a-blanket weren’t gluten free?

Maybe the issue that ignited the fight will come out during the trial. Meanwhile, the younger brother has a Buffer Zone, a restraining order, and a good shot at winning our Most Dysfunctional Family Contest.(

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours


This past September, I was one of 120 people worldwide that participated in a Harsh Reality (http://www.aopinionatedman.comsurvey on the right to have an opinion. It was interesting to see the demographics of the bloggers, and how their family and culture affected their views. 

Which led me to consider whether other cultures have the same asinine, dysfunctional family issues we have here in the United States, and who would win the contest of the crazies. I don’t mean the heartbreaking family issues we, unfortunately, hear about all too often, but the ones that make us chuckle and glad we are not you. 

Everyone has one. Whenever the subject of dysfunctional families is brought up in conversation, I never fail to hear “You think that’s bad! Wait until I tell you about my bonehead family!” Then they proceed to tell me, usually using a lot of “descriptive” language, and hand motions.

Here’s your chance to lay out your family dysfunctions, and roll around on them like our dog on a dead frog.  E-mail the survey below to either by cutting and pasting the questions, or just send us the numbered answers, and we will publish the best ones.

Tell us about the loony/loonies in your family.  We are all ears eyes.


1. “Who Are You, Who, Who, Who, Who?” (I can’t ask that question without singing The Who Song in my head.) Male or female? Approximate age? If desired, you can add your alias, blog link, and/or twitter name here.

2. Please provide your country of origin. Where do you reside currently?

3. Are you from a large or small family? If applicable, what size family do you have now?

4. Do you have a large or small extended family? Did you grow up surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? Are you still surrounded by them or live in close proximity to them?

5. How frequent are your family get-togethers? Do you have a standing invitation to Sunday dinner? Are holidays one big family reunion?

Now the question that has us giddy in anticipation….

6. Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family? Was it the time your great aunt slurped up the spaghetti she spilled down her blouse at your engagement party? When your grandfather got arrested after the family reunion for writing “The McMurtry’s Rule!” in black spray paint on the rented hall, and then punching the security guard? Or the holiday your cousin showed up drunk, did a semi-strip tease interpretive dance, and then slept with your husband?  

If you have more than one relative in your extended family that makes you flee from family gatherings, you are welcome to send in an entry for each of them, because we feel sorry  for you, and it adds to our amusement.

This contest ends March 15, 2014, and while there is no cash prize, you do have bragging rights as having the most dysfunctional family ever in the history of the world. If any of my lovely blog readers know of someone who might want to vent participate, please share this with them. After all, misery loves company.