Archive for October, 2016

Construction Halted as Berkeley Council Decides to Save the Spotted Hobo

The Berkeley City Council will not rest until all the world's karma is balanced out. Only then will its work be done.

The Berkeley City Council will not rest until all the world’s karma is balanced out. Only then will its work be done.

The Berkeley City Council served an immediate cease and desist order to Bechtel Corporation in an effort to preserve the Spotted Hobo’s habitat. The council claimed the construction site, located at the Ashby Avenue underpass, is a natural spawning ground for the Spotted Hobo (Polka-dot vagranti) and its alteration could bring about the extinction of the group. The United Nations Commission on Compromised Wildlife has placed the Spotted Hobo on the endangered species list; one notch below the Goiter-Necked Parakeet (Magnum-thoraxed dinkus), but several notches above Syrian Refugees (Syrian refugees).

The Council believes that disturbing the Spotted Hobo’s biosphere would force the species to abandon their natural habitat and move to less accommodating grounds in the urban center where they’d encroach on stairwells already strained by populations of unemployed raccoons (Loafus mascara). The Spotted Hobo is a rare sub-species of vagranti who’ve developed their trademark “spots” by eating from doggy bags “gifted” to them by predatory capitalists exiting the many fine bistros of Berkeley. And while the well-heeled foodie set embraces the Spotted Hobo, other groups are quite fearful of the breed and are what we term “hobophobic.”

Lawyers for Bechtel Construction pleaded with the Berkeley City Council to reconsider their order and reminded them that the project was designed as a 400-bed homeless shelter and as such could absorb 8 times the number of displaced Spotted Hobos. The council refused the request and had the site re-zoned as an Indigenous Spotted Persons’ Habitat. Antioch (whose city has an open borders policy) offered to take in the Spotted Hobos, but Berkeley refused the offer stating, “The forced eviction of any species from their natural hunting and gathering grounds only serves to strengthen the oppressors and weaken the oppressed.”

When Bechtel Construction reiterated that the project was designed to house the very people they were so concerned about displacing, Berkeley Gender-neutral Council Entity, Trax Hillman remarked, “Logic has nothing to do with our decision. This is a reparation for Andrew Jackson’s forced removal of the Cherokee people along the ‘Trail of Tears’ in the late 1830’s. And if you don’t understand that you’re just one of the oppressors. We at the Council know why the caged Goiter-necked Parakeet sings. And as long as we have something to say about it, the Spotted Hobo will continue to live unmolested ‘neath, the bridges of Ashby Avenue where they’ll be protected by rapacious capitalists like Bechtel Corporation. Yes they’ll continue to thrive in their natural biota provided they’re fed by the doggy-bag toting restaurant patrons they’ve become dependent on as a primary food source.”  

Next week the Council takes up an application by Whole Foods for a store on Telegraph Avenue. Already the application is meeting strong headwinds as some members are calling for the Whole Foods to first open a Half Foods for one week and then the open other half the next week, so that by the end of 2 weeks they’d have a Whole Foods. Council member Hemp Wurther (who puts the “Q” in LGBTQ) explained, “Whole Foods is an admirable grocer and we’d be pleased to have them as a part of our nation. It is our intention however to have them showcase some of the less popular or disadvantaged food one week and then display the more adaptive mainstream foods the next week. Additionally, no matter which week a patron shops, all shall receive a participation trophy. And in case it isn’t abundantly clear already, we are doing this as a reparation for Andrew Jackson’s forced removal of the Cherokee people along the ‘Trail of Tears’ in the late 1830’s.”

Things One Should Not Wonder About: Rolling Stones Songs Translated from Chinese

Rolling Stones at height of Popularity - about 5'10" or 5'11"

The Rolling Stones at their height of popularity – about 5’10” or 5’11”

What if the Rolling Stones had been a Chinese band and their Mandarin Chinese publicist was tasked with translating their Chinese song names into the American idiom? This is what those song titles might look like alongside their more familiar title:

  1. Gratification (I am Unable to Obtain) No, No, No           Satisfaction
  2. Copulation and Pharmaceuticals and Sway & Twist      Sex and Drugs and Rock & Roll
  3. Impress Upon the Authorities, I’m an Alienated Youth   Virtually any Stones song           
  4. Ignite Me (I’ll Continue Ceaselessly)                              Start Me Up
  5. Chronology is a Champion of My Cause                        Time is on My Side
  6. Beneath My Opposable Digit                                          Under My Thumb
  7. We Celebrate Our Boorish Behavior                              Any Stones song
  8. I’m Aware of our Music (And I Enjoy It)                          It’s only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)
  9. Tiny Matriarchal Abettor                                                 Mother’s Little Helper        
  10. We Choose to Rebel in an Anti-social Manner              Any Stones Song
  11. A Sleepover – For Us, You Think?                                Let’s Spend the Night Together
  12. Yu-Lin                                                                            Angie
  13. Darkness for All to Share                                              Paint it Black and Sympathy for the Devil
  14. Many Numerous Anxieties Deconstruct Me                  19th Nervous Breakdown
  15. Hoochie Koochie Lady Girl                                            Honky Tonk Woman
  16. Chevaux Sauvages                                                       Wild Horses (Sung in French)
  17. Jumpin’ Jack Flash                                                       Jumpin’ Jack Flash
  18. Thank God It’s Friday                                                    Ruby Tuesday
  19. Sweet, Sweet and Almost Black                                   Brown Sugar
  20. Altocumulus Standing Lenticular Banishment               Get Off of My Cloud
  21. The Mighty Oxen Doth Plow for Us                               Beast of Burden
  22. I Demand Quarters                                                        Gimme Shelter
  23. Your Choice, Sometime No Can Do                              You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Thank you masses of fans. And these Cascading Down Pebbles of Various Sizes (The Rolling Stones) have played music for you long time. Over 50 years now. I am being enjoying them too. We hope to visit your walled cities soon and perhaps group sing without hypo-allergenic face mask. All goodness to you ~ Yao Zhen-Foo, Publicist for Cascading Down Pebbles of Various Sizes.


Look for my next installment in the Things One Should Not Wonder About, when I discuss people who speak sign language with an accent. All Goodness to You ~ David Hardiman

Flush with Unity

Let a smile be your umbrella. Especially with all the crap raining down.

Let a smile be your umbrella. Especially with all the crap raining down this election cycle.

In a rare show of bipartisan goodwill, the Clinton and Trump campaigns issued a joint statement today saying: “Indoor plumbing is the bomb.” The two camps were quick to paper over what few differences remained. For example, Clinton supporters tended to sit on the pot longer, brooding about global warming, while Trump supporters had a penchant for gold-plated seats and tweeting about how unfair the media are. The unanimity displayed in appreciation of the great porcelain altar was striking. Usually cracks appear early in these agreement, but the few cracks that did appear were quickly obscured by a great darkness that descended over the offending split as it eclipsed the seat.

Clinton Bathroom Fixture Liaison, Maria Higginbotham explained, “Bathroom activities are the kinds of things that bring us together and bind the country – not so we’re constipated, but you know what I mean. People need to be in a position (usually sitting down) to freely express themselves in the privacy of their own little booth where citizens do their duty and then pull the lever to send their choice into the public domain. And, in the absence of webcams, no one is watching whether you pulled the lever for #1 or #2.

“Morning evacuation is a universal ritual we all share in and have an equal stake in. Speaking of steak, it doesn’t matter that our supporter’s contributions tend to contain more ethically-sourced and sustainably-farmed organic matter and theirs is practically all Cheetos (It’s why they’re so orange). In the end though, it all goes to the same place. Just like our souls do. It’s a perfect metaphor for life.”

Trump Hair Wrangler, Katie Hallmark agreed, “While it’s true our constituency tends to admire our work for a moment longer before flushing and the other side would prefer to compost theirs, we recognize that both camps – no matter how deplorable we are or how uppity they are – quietly celebrate the vortex-siphon action of watching our morning contribution to the water treatment plant spin merrily down the drain till it disappears forever.

“Obviously we have more in common than we have in dispute. And while polling has shown our supporters tend to “bunch” and their supporters prefer to “fold”, in the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s of no consequence to the sewer.”  

Supporters of both camps briefly held hands and bowed their heads in appreciation of the non-discriminatory policies of toilets. They’ll take on anyone regardless of SAT score or whether or not they use their turn signal. They don’t discriminate, although I’m sure it wouldn’t be their chosen profession if they had a choice. They’re just built that way.

In a further sign of unity, both the Clinton and Trump campaigns were said to be preparing a joint statement on the virtues of baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.



Alfred Nobel’s Irony, Featuring Me

What hath Nobel wrought? A deft recovery from a sordid situation.

What hath Nobel wrought? A deft recovery from a sordid situation.

The reason Nobel Prizes exist is found in the guilt-ridden remorse of Alfred Nobel. Mr. Nobel (1833-1896) was a Swedish arms merchant who invented dynamite. Unlike nitroglycerin which can explode merely by jostling it, dynamite is a very stable compound – at least until it’s detonated. And for the record, TNT (despite AC/DC’s lyrics to the contrary) is not dynamite. Nobel invented dynamite a few years after the less stable and less powerful TNT came to market. OK, so much for a crash course in mid-19th Century explosives. The question is, how did we get from a rapacious arms merchant in Sweden to the revered Nobel Prizes we have today? Read the rest of this entry »

Make-Believe Fiction

The real fictional characters.

The real fictional characters: Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Living in the shadow of a more illustrious brother is never easy. Just ask Jesus’s baby brother James of Nazareth. Sibling rivalry is one thing but try being in competition when your brother is the Son of God – “Hey mom, here’s an ashtray I made at school.” “That’s very good Jimmy.” vs “Behold Mother Mary, here are 5000 loaves of bread I made out of thin air.” A brother could develop an inferiority complex living in the shadow of such an overachiever.

Sibling rivalries run deep – sometimes even into the lives of fictional brothers. Case in point; Harry Potter’s younger and less publicized brother, Clarence. This black sheep wizard of the family was no miracle worker. The best he could do was transform a loaf of bread into 15 pieces of toast. It was difficult following in the broom exhaust of his high-flying brother Harry. For example Clarence was not admitted to Hogwarts due to low test scores on his WAT (Wizard Aptitude Test), so instead of Hogwarts, he attended Hogwash. Whereas Harry took advanced classes in Charms and Potions, Clarence took remedial classes in Pull-my-finger and Got-your-nose. It was very demeaning. At one point he even blew-up the Alchemy Lab trying to transform ice into water. This kid was limited. He couldn’t get a Bunsen burner straight. Some even suspected he was a Muggle and had no magical powers at all except for writing his name in the snow with his magic wand. Read the rest of this entry »

Death and Other Grave Situations

This is what the unseen looks like

This is what the unseen looks like.

Growing old is a contradiction in terms. It’s more like “shrinking” old. Aging is like doing the bad kind of pucker-up. But before I pile on and make growing old sound like a death sentence (which it is), let’s remember it’s perfectly natural and obviously part of our architecture. Reaching one’s expiration date might seem unpalatable, but it can actually be quite tasty when we sugar-coat our terms and serve it up with a dollop of perspective. What’s actually being destroyed here? It’s the body and not the spirit. In fact they’re 2 completely different animals – one really is an animal (the body) and the other is eternal (the spirit). Isn’t that comforting? Maybe it’s cold comfort, but I find great solace in the natural rhythms of the universe. Of course I might not revel in the virtues of nature if I’m attached to a morphine drip because my self-driving car decided to drive myself off a cliff. But that’s another story (Note to self: Make next story about a suicidal self-driving car.).
Read the rest of this entry »