Archive for the ‘The Stories’ Category

Evel Knevel: Reckless Daredevil or Closeted Vegan?

I’ve gotta believe he partied with Jerry Lee Lewis until Jerry said, “Enough. I can’t keep up with you.”

Answer: Reckless Daredevil of course.

Why anyone would suggest Evel Knevel secretly ate a plant-based diet is beyond me. Although since this suggestion came from me, how can it be beyond me? You think you’re puzzled, think how I feel. And furthermore, is this any way to begin an action-packed story about the daring exploits of Evel Knevel? Clearly I’ve got work to do. First I have to win you back, and secondly I’ve got to write an entertainingly white-knuckled story about Evel Knevel soaring above the earth, if only for a moment, while straddling a fulminating 50 horsepower engine between his legs in a dangerous yet delicate ballet of man and machine. So yeah, I get it. This story would be a whole lot better if it didn’t include my inner dialogue.


But the fact that I meander, digress and can’t seem to get out of my own way says more about the author of this story (me) than any of Mr. Knevel’s audacious feats. Sometimes I don’t know what I like more: Evel Knevel or the idea of Evel Knevel. At this point however, I believe the writer of this piece (again, that’s me) does a great disservice to the King of Motorcycle Jumping by continually inserting himself into a story that’s supposed to be about Evel Knevel. So I protest my own presence here (man vs. himself?) and will try to vector hard towards reigning in my ego and dedicating what’s left of this piece to a celebration of Evel’s daring motorcycle jumps – spectacular jumps in which the King shattered numerous records as well as numerous bones. Read the rest of this entry »

“Oh, We’ve Got Your Number Alright”

Just some of the faceless masses toiling at telemarketing call centers. Why not join us and lose your humanity too?

Telemarketers aren’t born. They’re made. But before their unwelcomed intrusions are visited upon our ears, these operators of a lesser God must first be identified and then guided into a hellish life of relentless robocalling. How hellish? Well, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that 40% of telemarketers have been infected with ATDs (Aurally Transmitted Diseases). ATDs are spread through the unhygienic practice of indiscriminate headset sharing – the predictable result of too few headsets for too many heads. This careless sharing of bodily ear wax, in which the gooey stuff is freely exchanged through unclean earpieces, has forced the CDC to mandate warning signs be posted in telemarketing bathrooms reading: “All Employees Must Wash Ears.” Even with the CDC’s hygienic guidelines, telemarketers continue to contract some very eerie diseases such as Earpes, Syphilears and Mononearcleosis. In some extreme cases, Vegan telemarketers who’ve share headsets with multiple partners, have displayed symptoms of Cauliflower Ear.   Read the rest of this entry »

Indiana Hardiman and the Caskets of Doom

Long before Harrison Ford set out on his swashbuckling adventures my lifelong buddy and neighbor, Gary DeBaise and I had a few of our own. The year was 1974. I was 12 and Gary about 14. We were very aware of our territory (Syracuse! I’m so aware of you!) to the extent that we perceived an opening, a portal to adventurous mischief that would eventually lead to an intriguing secret never revealed. Until now.


“Are these what I think they are?”

In the cold and snowy depths of yet another Syracuse winter there wasn’t a lot to do. So Gary and I sat on bar stools in his parents’ built-in basement lamenting our lot and playing 3-penny hockey. We discussed the usual topics and wondered what else we might do this drab Tuesday evening. We strategized and schemed to formulate some kind of meaningful activity to participate in. Nothing. Then we tried to formulate some kind of meaningless activity, but we were already doing that. I wouldn’t call it an Existential Quandary. I think you have to go to college first and have read A Catcher in the Rye to experience that level of alienation. Nah. Not us. We were just energized teenagers with a whole lotta nuthin’ to do. And as we ruminated, it slowly came to us:

Once upon a winter dreary, while we pondered, bored and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious talk to avoid this bore—
While we plotted, not besotted, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of something gently rapping, rapping at our inner core.
“‘Tis some visitor,” We muttered, tapping at our inner core—
Telling us thus and nothing more –
Go to the warehouse in the Mucklands.

Our winter was no longer dreary, and soon we embarked to the Mucklands, cold yet cheery


I could continue to tell the story borrowing from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, but me thinks the foreshadowing with such a dark and gloomy poem has already set the tone. Let me more commonly describe the chain of events for that evening’s adventure. This cool and clear night Gary and I had nothing to do as we sat in his basement exhausting the topics of girls, SU football and school dramas. And since we dare not steal any more Canadian Club from his parents’ bar, the idea of penetrating the old warehouses down by the swamp seemed mighty captivating. Plus it gave us something to do besides talking about penetrating Allison Belge. Penetrating the old warehouses we’d actually get to do. So we decided to heed our Muse, brave the cold to go down to the Mucklands where these buildings were located. The Mucklands was a dying swamp with random patches of reed-filled ponds and various drainage ditches leading to lagoons of standing water. It was located adjacent to an old Erie Canal route that newly built Interstate 690 and the old New York Central Railroad paralleled. Within this muddy wonderland stood a few abandoned World War II plants that were protected by a perimeter fence and stood as monuments to the newly developing “Rust Belt.” As we’ll see “protected” might not be the most accurate word to describe this fence.


Gary and I prepared for this vital mission like Seal Team 6 – warm coat, small penlight and a common screwdriver. Alright more like Seal Team ¼. Under cover of darkness we departed base camp (his house) at 1930 hours (about 7:30) and, not wanting to draw any undue attention to ourselves (even though nobody was paying any attention to us at all) we proceeded along usual routes to our target. So over the Midler Ave Bridge across 690 and down the steep embankment near the frozen pond we marched, taking great care to circumnavigate the pond just in case our collective 190 lbs. might cause us to break through the ice thereby forcing us to abort the mission. By thinking in military terms we knew we were deluding ourselves, but it made the endeavor so much more fun and purposeful – this was now meaningful activity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Extra Toasty Cheez-Its? Hardly. They’re Still a Whiter Shade of Orange.

Extra Toasty Cheez-its?
You had me at Cheez-it.
Now you’re just toasting the lily.

Some may find this Extra Toasty Cheez-It exposé a frivolous exegesis in subprime caramelization. Others, who already stopped reading at the word exegesis, will never know that as a teenager, a buddy and I broke into a casket warehouse and scared the living exegesis out of ourselves (more on that later*). In any event, this lifelong quest for a darker, toastier more caramelized Cheez-It never ends and I’m incredulous that Kellogg’s has the nerve to pass off these decidedly under-scorched cheese squares as Extra Toasty Cheez-Its. Extra Toasty Cheez-Its? Hardly. They’re still just a whiter shade of orange.


My plea for a darker cracker (seems a contradiction in terms both gastronomically and racially) goes out to all the bakers, cereal chemists and marketers at Kellogg’s who manufacturer this irresistible little quadrilateral known as a Cheez-It. When I use the word “manufacturer” of Cheez-Its it feels so cold, so distant, so mechanical. I prefer to believe my snack crackers are magically baked by benevolent little gnomes, or cherubic Keebler Elves or maybe even some Pips, that is, if Gladys Knight could ever spare them. In other words, if Disney had a Cheezitland I’d belong to the Frequent Eater’s Club.    Read the rest of this entry »

Trouble at 4 Corners


The lines for the 4 Corners experience are not especially long. The woman shown here is in all 4 states at once. One of them being sleep.

The underwhelming tourist attraction known as Four Corners, located where the 4 corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet, is widely regarded as a kitschy crossroad of analog charm. Lately, however, it has become a jammed junction of interstate squabbling. What normally should be a celebration of shared boundaries is now a crossroad these states must bear. A very cross road. A 90° cross of imaginary lines with real consequences.

Four Corners is a manmade boundary drawn up during the Civil War when territorial contours were out, and crisp military lines were in. A surveyor’s simple, crosshatched fashion statement designed to tame the unruly landscapes of the Wild West. Looking at these stodgy, block-shaped states today one thinks they could’ve used a dose of Queer Eye for the Straight Line. But stylizing the intersection of Four Corners in 1863 was perhaps asking too much of a preoccupied Army Corps of Engineers embroiled in another, more lethal intersection – as in this case the intersectional War Between the States.

Who doesn’t like tidy state boundaries all colored inside the lines?

Four Corners is an attraction (if you can call it that) of dubious novelty. While it’s true that visitors can brag they’ve been in four states in one day, that’s not really saying much. Heck, I’ve been in 8 states just doing laundry – the states of anxiety, serenity, denial, hostility, bliss, arousal, gratitude and Nevada. Of course that was before they adjusted my medication.

My emotional stability aside, Four Corners has always been regarded as a goofy and uninspiring destination – the most anti-climactic place on Earth. For some it’s a bucket list item to check off. For others it’s a cartographer’s wet dream that has of late become an interstate nightmare. What began as a friendly 4-state quadripartite agreement of mutual benefit, has devolved into a relationship of Holy Acrimony. But state-wise you can’t break the bonds of Holy Matrimony because, unlike people, states can’t get a divorce. They’re stuck with each other. I mean the last time some states tried a dis-union it didn’t work out too well for either party.  


The Grievances

So how did a series of 4 right angles generate so much acrimony? I know 3 rights make a left. What I didn’t know was, in this case, 4 rights made a wrong.

New Mexico in particular has grown indignant at being walked all over as a result of this stately agreement. “But that’s the point,” countered Utah. “We’re all being trampled on. You should be rejoicing. New Mexico just doesn’t get it. We’re trying to promote foot traffic.” New Mexico claims its foot traffic is disproportionate and that more people are spending time tramping all over their “Land of Enchantment” than any other state. New Mexico believes there’s more wear and tear on their little ¼ corner and consequently they want more than just the usual 25% cut of revenue for maintenance.

Some envy crept into New Mexico’s statement as they expressed displeasure with the agreement. A New Mexican official elaborated, “We want the same status and celebrity as other states. Take a state with great star power like New York. They’ve got their own cheesecake, steak and even their own minute – Damn Yankees! Georgia has its peaches, Iowa its corn and Mississippi has it’s…ummm sharecroppers? Maybe the less said about Mississippi the better. The point is, what do we get here in New Mexico? We get to be ‘enchanted.’ Enchanted. Well la-ti-da. And to add insult to injury our northwest corner is treated like a national Port-a-Potty.”

To redress their claims, New Mexico is proposing to withdraw from the Four Corners Union in what they call a “New Mexit.”

In reviewing New Mexico’s concerns, Utah spoke for the group saying, “I think New Mexico’s been smoking what Colorado’s been growing, and maybe they’ve gotten a little too enchanted.” Utah has their own issues with the Four Corners Union stemming from the fact they didn’t even want to be a state to begin with. No, their people had greater ambitions. They wanted their own country. The country of Deseret. Do you know what you call people from Utah? – Utes, Aggies, Utahans? Nope, you call them Mormons. Reports indicate that Utah vows to build a tabernacle around their 90° quadrant and make Arizona pay for it.

Arizona, on the other hand, plans on constructing a giant Koi Pond on their little corner of God’s arid acre. They also announced they’ll stock it with piranhas if Utah doesn’t withdraw their asinine proposal.

And that brings us to Colorado. Due to recent cannabis legislation, Colorado wasn’t even aware there was a problem. “We spaced it,” said Larry Stone, owner of the Stoner’s House of Herbs, a marijuana dispensary. “Really, I didn’t even know we bordered New Mexico till just now.” He paused, looked at his watch and said, “It is now isn’t it?”

These days Rocky Mountain high Coloradans are skittish about visiting New Mexico calling it “The Land of Entrapment.”


4 Corners Dissension Spawns Opportunity for Others in the Very Esoteric World of Shared Boundary Theme Parks

While 4 Corners is stymied by its fraternal spat, other states aren’t standing still in stoking the micro-appeal of shared boundary theme parks. And in doing so these states have managed to do what many thought impossible – to make a geographic theme park even less compelling than 4 Corners. For example Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have devised a geographic wonderland at their common boundary point called 3 Triangles – a place where reclusive tourists, who are unable to withstand the social pressures of birdwatching, can stand in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana all at the same time! Who wouldn’t want to do that? – I mean besides me and everybody else.

The 50th state of Hawaii has initiated a boundary-themed attraction where they encourage tourists to put one foot in the Pacific Ocean and one in Hawaii at the same time. They call it the Surf and Turf Experience. I call it wading.

The oddly shaped states of Florida and Oklahoma are trying to steal 4 Corners thunder by developing panhandle theme parks. I’m wary of a panhandle park. I think it will draw the wrong element. I mean who wants to visit a place filled with panhandlers.

Even the corporate-whoring state of Delaware has toyed with the idea of creating a fantasy tourist space where visitors can put their feet down, click their heels together and legitimately exclaim, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Del aware? No. Del unaware.


Binding Arbitration for Four Corners

To the great relief of Navajo Indians hawking trinkets and Fry Bread at 4 Corners, it appears a solution is on the horizon. The horizon being yet another shared boundary – this one between heaven and earth. To the surprise of many, it seems all parties have agreed to submit their grievances to binding arbitration – surprising because no one thought they were even into bondage. You don’t expect states whose boundaries are straight intersecting lines to be so kinky. But hey, if it offers a resolution, who am I to judge?  

It turns out this entire make-believe spat seems to be a fantasy of invented problems – a pretend tissue of made-up issues. A mere scaffolding for quips, asides and allegorical allusions. And I believe that’s altogether fitting and proper because, after all, these lines are imaginary – both the written ones and the cartographic ones. I believe the arbitration panel will find in favor of the author whose boundary dissolving essay demonstrates not that he is lost in a make-believe world of imaginary lines and pretend quarrels, but that he was merely suffering from March Madness.

 “What in Tarnation is a Helicopter Doing Here?”

This aircraft has all the aerodynamics of John Goodman, but manages to fly in spite of itself. Or is it just photoshopped? – the helicopter and not John Goodman

How Movies Signify Urgency

Y’ever (yes, y’ever is a word – it’s a contraction of “did you ever”). OK. Let’s start again shall we? J’ever, I mean, y’ever notice this dramatic plot device in movies? The template for this dramatic device operates thusly: In the middle of a rather sedate scene, off in the distance, you hear the whooping gyrations of a helicopter’s rotor blades. Soon this feathery whoosh becomes progressively more insistent as the clamorous decibel level combined with the helicopter’s formidable appearance eclipses whatever trifling activity was happening in the scene. All are transfixed upon the chopper’s thunderous arrival. And all is transformed when the whirlybird drops down from on high and rudely inserts itself into the middle of a fancy lawn party or some such other incongruous venue. We moviegoers wonder – “What in tarnation is a helicopter doing here?”


Depending on the movie’s storyline, sometimes the helicopter lands athwart the path of our soon-to-be hero while he’s jogging on a lonely beach (wow, they must really need him, we think). The incongruity of the helicopter in a decidedly un-helicopter-like setting renders the scene all the more critical and signifies a moment fraught with urgency as it foreshadows something pivotal about to take place. The yakking rotor blades herald the significance of this pivotal moment, and wily directors employ this aural technique to segue us into a scene of mounting anticipation, replete with surges of excitement and a heightened level of arousal. In real life you see this dynamic with enthusiastic lovers who try to generate similar feelings, but without a script and definitely without the rotor blades.     


In each movie the scene plays out a little differently. The good guy or gal (hey, why don’t I just call them the protagonist) is awakened rudely in the middle of the night by the vacuous flutter of counter-rotating helicopter blades. In these movies our protagonist is either a retired elite Navy Seal counterterrorist type or a brilliant professor (is there any other kind?) who holds unique knowledge in some esoteric field like electro-magnetic warfare or translating runic glyphs. As the helicopter comes into view, a crescendo of thunderous clucking fills the theater’s Surround Sound with enough vibratory alarm to wake the dead – or in this case to wake our protagonist from deep REM sleep. Who wouldn’t straighten up and fly right upon awakening to the other worldly roar of rotor blades slicing through the air with the ominous chop of 10,000 guillotines blades being released in deadly syncopation? OK Mr. Director, you’ve got my attention. Now what? Read the rest of this entry »

Help Me! I’m a Self-Loathing Media Influencer. I’m More Self-Absorbed than a Wet Paper Towel.

Confessions of a Materialistic Mercenary

Don’t look at me. I’m hideous. I peddle my idolized eminence all over social media because I’m deemmed a popular trendsetter. And as a savvy Media Influencer of guileless consumers who depend on me for guidance in arranging their lifestyle, I take great pride and money in directing their choices through ad-choked tweets and sly Instagram picto-promotions. Because of my innate grasp of the zeitgeist, I wield considerable clout when it comes to endorsing products. Corporations recognize this and pay me beaucoup bucks to prostitute myself in an unholy form of product trafficking. Where’s Liam Neeson when you need him?

Don’t be like me. Be your own influencer, otherwise you’ll suffer from Influenza.

Despite my propensity to throw shade on myself for my mercenary vocation, I’d never be so crass as to directly endorse any product. I will not deign to appear to be just a paid shill for any product even though these products are manufactured thousands of miles away from me and millions of miles away from my understanding of how they’re made or what they really are. The whole enterorise has to appear to be organic – a natural outgrowth of who I am. So my propaganda needs to be more circumspect and insidious in its methodology. I leave few overt fingerprints in leading my horses to water to let them drink deeply of Yoo-hoo or Monster or whatever the hell it is I’m being paid millions to unobtrusively insinuate into my Instagram or twitter account. And I’ll go to great lengths to present this product as a seamless part of my lifestyle and, by extension, one that should be part of yours. I hate my dishonesty more because I’m blind to its perfidy more than anything else. I need to reclaim me, and I beseech you to help.


Folks, I’m a long way from reflecting God’s radiance and understanding my humble place within the Cosmos. No this relativistic world causes me enough indigestion whereby I need plenty of Pepto-Bismol to deal with it. Sorry. I’m doing it again. I can’t help myself in influencing market-oriented decisions (and thank you Norwich Pharmaceutical for the $30K for mentioning Pepto-Bismol in this essay – God I hate myself). And to that end, I’ve decided to ask for absolution in the court of public opinion as I expose my personal skunk works in the hope of redemption. To earn your forgiveness, I’ve compiled a list of cunning product placements I’ve nonchalantly worked into my twitter feed so that you barely notice the product is even mentioned. It’s practically subliminal in its adumbration. See if you can spot the fig-leafed product I’m promoting and please forgive me for the many trespasses I’ve wormed into your tender psyche.

My twitter feed (my tweet and tell moment):

  1. Wow, I just got back from a Bruno Mars concert and it was really good. How good? – Fleischman’s Dry Active Yeast good. Clearly Mars is out of this world. Mars is terrific – bar none. The Mars Bar is set very high.
  2. I love polychromatic decorative jewelry. Yes, my favorite jewels have colors. And JUULs have flavors too. Escape to the vape.
  3. Is it pronounced bologna or baloney? I play it safe and just call it Oscar-Meyer.
  4. This morning Bailey and I went for a walk along a fire service road. Bailey is my longtime male companion. Not that kind of longtime male companion. He’s a Golden Retriever for Christ’s sake – you people. Anyway I noticed the road became very rocky and I wondered if maybe this was the inspiration for Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road Ice Cream. Bailey is such a good boy. Well yes he is.
  5. Chloe and I visited the Amazon when we were in our Prime. We ate many Whole Foods there and read the Washington Post when we could find one. It’s inexpensive here in Ecuador. They only charge 10 Bezos for a trip on a streaming river, or fora trippy streaming movie. Very reasonable. And those who bought into the Amazon experience may also like to buy into other affiliated rivers such as the Nile, the Mississippi or the Danube.
  6. When the night becomes electric a man should smell like a man. That’s why I wear Musk. Elon Musk by Tesla.
  7. I slipped on a Banana Republic and fell into a GAP. Luckily my Old Navy buddy helped me up.
  8. I believe White Supremacy, in all its forms, is evil. Although there is one form of White Supremacy I definitely support: the Beatles White Album. That’s right, the 50th anniversary all White Album is now on sale from Apple records. Apple Records – the original Apple Co.
  9. Seasons do change. Some people like the Vernal or Autumnal Equinox. My favorite Equinox is the Chevy Equinox. And its sister vehicle, the Pontiac Solstice. Test drive one today for great savings – maybe even daylight savings depending on the time of year and the model.
  10. No eczema is a good thing. And that’s why I use Noxzema. It says it right in the name – No Xzema.
  11. Life gets hectic and everyone could use help sometimes. I need help, you need help. Even hamburger needs help occasionally. I really believe in having a little Hamburger Helper once a week. And if you could use more help, remember, the Beatles Help! is available on Spotify.


And that’s just one morning’s worth of indirect, social media influence peddling. What have I become? – A Monster (the scary beast and not the drink). I’ve also become a millionaire media influencer. Yes. But at what price? – About $15.7 million so far. Oh, I’m going straight to hell. And I’ll be going there in a stylish slicker from Costco. And Costco doesn’t even engage in corporate advertising. So I’m product-placing there nifty little raincoat in this mea culpa essay for free. And I know I wrote “there nifty” instead of “their nifty.” What is wrong with me? I’m so dysfunctional on so many levels. I’ve got to get on the level and find my equilibrium. Maybe a I’ll take a SUBWAY to Starbuck’s for some calming Tazo tea.

Since it’s too late to ask for permission for my self-serving intrusions, I can only ask for forgiveness.   

“The Monkeys! They Are Coming!”

Food for thought? Nope, lice for dinner.

No, not Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike. That’s the ♫Hey, hey we’re the Monkees♫ and a 50-year old reference to boot. The monkeys I’m referring to are the macaque monkeys whose habitat includes Snow Monkey Park in the thermal springs resort area of the Japanese Alps where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held. One doesn’t usually associate monkeys with Japan – especially Snow Monkeys luxuriating in hot tubs – but having heard tale of these Asiatic monkeys (a prehensile tail one presumes), my inquisitive nature drew me to their habitat. I guess in some sense I was Curious David.


The Journey to Snow Monkey Park 

“So what if they say I look like Nick Offerman.”

My lovely wife Karin (who I’m very grateful to call a willing cohabitant) and I decided we’d visit Japan. At least partially, because at 6’4”, I wanted to go someplace where I’d feel even taller. This may seem a peculiar criterion to some, but I’ve always enjoyed looming and/or towering and it’s much easier to tower in the Land of the Not Quite Risen People than it is here in the States.

In researching our journey I discovered we’d have to fly to Japan because the land bridge I’d planned on using to walk across the Bering Isthmus had vanished into the sea some 15,000 years ago. I have got to keep up on geologic events – even though many of them move at a glacial pace. Still, how did I miss that? So although this discovery was a setback, at least I now had my Berings Strait. As tour director and planning engine, Karin already knew this, but was wise enough to give me a long enough leash whereby I’d exhaust myself in frivolous research and then happily surrender to her well-planned itinerary. We flew non-stop from KLAX to RJAA (Tokyo) in only 11 hours. But with feedings, movies and pee breaks, it went by like 38 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Tranquilizing Tubular Tabbies: Furry Sedatives for the Airborne

Forget about Snakes on a Plane. Cats on a plane is where it’s at.

Air travel can be fraught with lengthy TSA lines, final boarding calls and piddling little snacks even the Donner party would refuse. And that’s why after a whole minute of careful consideration, I propose the FAA reduce stress levels to the flying public by mandating that at least one highly trained service cat be placed aboard all domestic flights of over 2 hours. These soothing service kitties will go a long way toward tranquilizing a fuselage full of jittery passengers. I mean who among us would not be comforted to board a plane full of calming cats and watch the fur fly?


If boutique bookstores can have cats lolling languidly about the hardcovers, reminding us of our tranquil nature, why shouldn’t 737s have cats on seat backs and tray tables reminding us that maybe humans were meant to fly after all? What better way to soothe a fuselage full of fidgety fliers than to have a serene service cat entertain and relax them just by their presence. Each cat would be fully trained and tailored to their mission. For example, on overseas flights to Asia the airlines would employ Siamese Cats. In flights to Transylvania, Air Romania would use Scaredy Cats and in flying to San Francisco they’d use cats suffering from gender dysphoria. You get the idea. Heck, in Egypt, whose culture lionizes cats already, Egypt Air has actually qualified cats to fly in the 2 seat. And while lionizing cats may seem redundant, it’s more sensible than hero worshiping at a deli.  


Much like service dogs, these specially trained cats would be very companionable and instead of wearing vests that read “Service Dog, Do Not Pet”, they’d wear vests saying, “Service Cat, Do Not Lick.” That is, except when they’re in Ireland flying on Aer Lingus. On Aer Lingus using your tongue is not only acceptable, but is actually encouraged. As you can probably sense, the rollout of this “Flying Tigers” program will be problematic – littered with litter and filled with fur balls. 


Not just any cat would be allowed to join this litter box version of the mile-high club. Qualified fuselage felines would be composed, mature cats who’d pitter-patter down the aisle with their tails high and their dander low. Vetting these little flying tigers would be rigorous. But who would do the vetting? Why veterinarians of course. But not just any veterinarians. Retired military veterinarians. In other words, veteran veterinarians would vet. Read the rest of this entry »

Osgood Stickler: Modern Day Truant Officer

A fresh, young face in the exciting field of Truancy Enforcement. Don’t be late. Start your career today. But seriously, be on time. It’s one of the requirements. 

Hello everyone, my name is Osgood Stickler, and in case you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a stickler. My father was a stickler and his father was a Stickler. He’d better be. He was born Johann Stickler in Bavaria. Well, in Munich actually. In fact he was born in a second floor back bedroom on 1352 Manheim Strasse in Munich at a latitude of 48° 8′ 13.7544” N and a longitude of 11° 34′ 34.0464” E. See, I really am a stickler. So is it any wonder I’d gravitate toward the not-quite-a-policeman field of a Truancy Enforcement – a profession to which my persnickety nature and exacting expectations are well-suited? Some might argue that if my last name was Vlasic I’d gravitate to a job in the field of cucumbers. But it’s not. So I’m a Stickler, not a pickler. 


Now there’s a vast difference between a stickler and a person who suffers from OCD. I’m the normal one. I don’t nitpick. Oh sure I might enjoy coloring inside the lines more than your average bear, but then again, what do we really know about average bears, let alone how they might color something. It has always been my tenet that if you do your duty and keep your nose clean, you’ll succeed. And it’s not just the nose. It’s other body parts too. But I think it’s important to start with the nose…and maybe include the ears. Basically you should keep clean any uncovered body part another person can see. The hidden parts, not so much – unless they start to smell worse than your average bear, but then again, what do we really know about the smell of average bears?  


My interest in enforcing truancy laws began in the early 80’s when Dr. Stephen Hawking’s less cosmic brother Ralph, published his groundbreaking book A Brief History of Truancy. Alright, it was groundbreaking to me at least. In this special interest book Ralph Hawking deconstructs the salient epochs of truancy and brilliantly relates the enforcement of attendance requirements to the universe as a whole. In this masterly tome, Ralph Hawking traces a general history of absenteeism, enforced attendance and just plain being AWOL. It’s broken down by distinct Truancy eras:

  1. Truancy in Later Hominids: 40,000 BC-10,000 BC
  2. Truancy Before the Beatles: 10,000 BC-1963
  3. The Beatles: 1964-1970
  4. Truancy, Truancy, Truancy: Truancy in the time of Marcia Brady: 1971-1974
  5. Truancy in the time of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: 1975-present

Read the rest of this entry »