Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

GRIMM, or, a modern fairy tale

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 2:53 am

Long ago and far away, there lived a spunky young lad who was obedient, clean and helpful. Once a year, right after Christmas, he had to talk a trip by footpath through dark, dangerous woods, to deliver a thimble, a bottle of Boodles Gin and a 3.4 pound ball of drier lint to a weird old codger named Otto Money who lived in a ramshackle shack name Crane E. Cottage beside a foul, gray creek. He left the items in an Arkansas Razorbacks mailbox by the millstone front step.

The lad did not know the purpose of the annual trip. Why these gifts, why the walk through the woods when there was a state maintained road with 40 yards of Crane E. Cottage, who or what was Ott Omey – these were questions the lad never asked. What concerned the lad more was that a dire wolf lived in the woods – as ferocious and dangerous beast as had ever darkened the pages of fairy tales and the imaginations of young children. For three consecutive years, the wolf, bounding out of another unexpected ambush, hand bit away a piece of the lad’s body. The lad was beginning to feel like the pig in the old porcine joke with the tag line, “A pig as good as that, you don’t eat all at once.” The lad had grown increasingly reluctant to make the trip to Crane E., Ott Omey, particularly as his agility lessened. This year, facing having to make the trip with an artificial leg, a hand claw and a teflon plate the size of a barbecue plate in his skull, the lad was downright depressed about his chances.

A few weeks before the anticipated expedition, a friend paid a visit to the lad.

“Why do you do it,” asked the friend.

“I dunno,” said the lad. “It just seems like something I need to do.”

If this answer dissatisfied the friend, his face betrayed no indication. He took a different tack. “What would I do if I told you you might not have to make the trip.”

“And how would you do that?”

“I’ve heard there is this oracle in Winston,” said the friend. “It can tell you if things need to be done or if they do not need to be done. The oracle is named Mri.”

“Mri,” said the lad. “How do you pronounce that?”

“Like it’s spelled,” replied the friend.

So the lad ventured to Winston and consulted with Mri and Mri told him that the string nad been broken. After three holiday seasons in a row in which the lad had to dread January and February, he knew that he would not have to suffer another Crane E., Ott Omey. That he would not be losing new parts of his body any time soon. Receiving this news, the lad jumped for joy, but the knee-lock mechanism in his artificial leg failed to engage. As he fell sideways, he accidentally slashed his carotid artery and promptly bled to death on the hospital floor. There was nothing the medical staff could do, though they all agreed that he had a look of great happiness on his face until he hooked his neck.

For anyone with the endurance to have bourne with me, this is to say that I had a regular follow-up MRI today. No cancer budding in the brain. With my earlier PET showing no cancer anywhere else, for a while, at least, it does not simply SEEM that I am cancer-free – I AM cancer-free. Kuddo’s accepted, though I prefer cash. Happy Turkey Day, ya’ll.



Brother, Can You Spare Some Common Sense

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Greetings boysen berries and girls.  This is Captain Beno logging in from the decks of the Starship Funkyprize to update you on the progress of my mission.  The brief, as it were, was to root out and annihilate every annoying thing from the surface of the planet earth so that all its residents could live and breathe happier and easier.  In accepting this mission, I have found that I have bitten off more than I can chew.  After only a few weeks, I find the compendium of irritating, itchy, twitchy, pissy and prickly things that occur on average in everyday life fills more paper than the unabridged version of the Oxford English Dictionary, plus and obscure volume entitled Prayer Palate, Pizza for the Passion:  Easter Cookery by Sister Angelica of the Order of the Hooded Nuns and Buns.  It’s seventeen pages long, which seems about right after the 124 pounds of the Dictionary.

What I need is some help in culling the chaff from the less grating chaff.  So far, I’ve accumulated a semi-short list of the worst of the worst, which I shall soon attack with the aid of my trusty Acme Rays and Jays Instant annihilation Device, patent pending.  The list will undoubtably keep growing.  But to make my task attainable – to give me an end game of sorts (W, are you listening?) – I need reader suggestions about items to add to the list.  Here is mine:

1. Form fitting football uniforms:  As a member of a generation for whom the glimpse of the color change in the upper quarter leg of panty hose was delicious, forbidden fruit, I tend to in favor of form-fitting any thing.  I am almost willing to forgive European men for their tini-kinis that display their “junk” – bless ’em, they just don’t know any better – but draw a line in the sand and dudes from New Jersey in Speedos, who should be summarily round up and shot.  I draw a line with a highway striper at those land masses who, packing Smithfield hams around their arms, who insert electric shopping carts into folds of their bodies, and proceed up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart in biker shorts and shrink-wrap tops.  Did you ever notice they are banned from the pet corner, where their passage makes all the water slosh out of the fish tanks?  There are things the public just doesn’t need to see.  So when and where did anybody decide it was a good idea to sausage sleeve football players into uniforms?  Some wide receivers and defensive backs may be what the Bowflex generation calls ripped, but interior lineman of either variety do not fall in that category.  That these guys may be great athletes cannot disguise the fact that it looks like their jersey tops encase a scrum of baby rhinos only lightly sedated.  Frankly, if I wanted to see fat folds of flesh flapping around all over everywhere, I’d cut off my TV and hie on over to Mazola night at the Phi Delt house at NC State, which I can assure you, ain’t about to happen real soon.  And while we’re on the subject of fleshly un-delights, let me bring up two thing involving “cosmetic” surgery that really burn my wick.  A)  The early generations of boob implantees are now grandmothers and great-grandmothers in their 60’s and above, which means we have a plague of saggy, baggy “little-olds” on canes and walkers who meander around packing torpedoes.  Something really should be done about this gnarly sight.  B) Ditto face lifts.  There are now a bevy of gray-heads who, regardless whether they try to dress and act in an age-appropriate manner,  look as if they were wearing undersized hockey masks.  Imagine the effect on the lives of grandchildren, being read to by at bedtime by this creature escaped from a horror flick!  Something needs to be done.

2.  Toilet paper:  I herein declare war against anyone who makes, sells or buy one-ply toilet paper that is not only thin, but has the texture of wax paper.  Not only do you have to use 73 sheets of the stuff to do the job of 11 sheets of good, gentle, 2-ply norwegian linen (hint, hint, might there not be a cost savings, counter-intuitive though it may be?), but you wind up…….how shall we put it delicately…….slicking what you would erase.  And you get it all over your fingers and hands and clothes and become a stinking embarrassment to family, friends and church and every dog in the neighborhood becomes your lingering friend.  Talk about taking a licking!  Well anyway, you get the point.  And I am sure you join me in my condemnation.

3.  Murderers of English:  Our reproductive and educational systems have yielded a generation of folks who somehow manage to find employment in the communications sector of our economy who have never quite mastered the concept that singular subject nouns require the singular form of verbs and plural nouns require plural verb forms.  From “these is a speedy group of wide receivers” on ESPN to “Cain and Gingrich is at loggerheads” on NPR, rank stupidity oozes from the speakers continuously.  And what the hell do you do with this following tidbit from an interviewer on NBC:  “How does this policy compare from the Administration’s?”  Were I to resume my old law review editorial mode, and attack any newspaper with a red Sharpie, the front page alone would look as though I were trying to design a new flag for Japan.  Criminy, somebody had me a meat cleaver!!

4.  Katy Perry, Adele, Lady Gaga and any of the other priestesses of teenaged girl empowerment now on radio and MTV and TV music award show playlists.  The music sounds like the mating calls of NY sewer rats.  The message is as profound as that delivered by the street corner preacher who can’t figure out why his untied shoe keeps slipping off his foot.  As for the personae, well, when you need to search out Elton John to obtain the quote that “she’s just a normal girl from the Bronx” you know you’re stretching it.  It’s like having Ghadafy say he thought Saddam was a “pretty good guy.”  I do believe the rules for acquiring automatic weapons are pretty lax in northern Virginia.

5.  Institutional scripting.  Let me give an example.  When formerly friendly sized institutions grow fat and waddling, they develop many layers of bureaucracy, leaving thinkers and worriers and nit-pickers in lower-upper management worried about how the lower minions go about the day-to-day.  Before cadets get assigned to the front line, they train them to follow scripts that help the cadets impose on the unwitting public whatever the new marketable version of the company line might be.  Hence, a few weeks ago, I tried to make a small order of a pack of necessary items from an outfit I done business with since Jimmy Carter was president, and the daft little chowder head I was talking with on the phone couldn’t quite understand why I had a problem with spending $150 plus dollars for something that had never before cost more than $45.  The third time she said “I am reaching out to you to help us solve your problem,” I was borderline ballistic, telling her that if I heard “I am reaching out to you” one more time I would stalk her and……….please have her supervisor call me.  Of course, when the supervisor called, it took all of 47 seconds for us to figure out that I could still order the same thing I wanted for roughly the same price.  Still, if I ever run into anyone employed in the corporate personnel……excuse me!…….human resources department, you can count on me to utter a mild protest over treatment of old customers and wander quickly down to the other end of the bar.  And while we’re on the subject of scripting, what about the related subject of suggestive advertising.  You know the routine, when you pull up to the drive-through order station and the voice comes through, “Welcome, wouldn’t you like to try our new and improved salt dough Moravian biscuit slathered with honey American cheese and ham from happy pigs butchered and cured in Pennsylvania by certified German butchers………”  So you interrupt to say, no, you’d just like an egg biscuit and a cup of senior coffee, and they ask, “Would you like that to go?”

Ah, well, this is exhausting.  Give me a break and make some suggestions your own selves, want’cha?



Mutterings and Blather

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Greetings dude and dudettes.  It has been awhile since my last post and I am sure you have been waiting with Bated Breath to find out how I  am doing.  Good move!  “Bate,” as we used to call him, is a great companion, though a tad expensive as he does not pay for his own drinks.  Next time you hang with him, be sure to ask him to tell you about the night he spent in the fossil room of the Museum of Natural History with Glen Close, Gary Busey, a pygmy named Nytkassa, a half-gallon of Calderwood’s Rum, and an antique dentist’s chair.  It’s a howler of a story.

I am doing okay today, though I have not been up to snuff for a while.  I caught a bug at the beach in early October with my divine spouse, so was laid out awhile with antibiotics.  Then, in a flash of brilliance combined with obstinence and sheer stupidity, I decided to man up and start weaning myself off some of my pain meds.  This came at the same time as Deirdre and I were boxing up tons of stuff for storage.  We have the house on the market and are looking for a place somewhere with a little community in walking distance where I might hang out some in a bookstore or coffee shop.  Any way, I managed in the boxing to wrench the hell out of my shoulder with the torn rotator cuff.  I ain’t felt good.  I re-upped the pain pills and gobbled a few last night and this morning and have already started feeling like a human being again.  Hallelujah!

My descent into the whirls of near agony was capped with the fall “golfing” jaunt with my buds at the beach last weekend.  Needless to say, I was not the most companionable person in the world this trip.  For me, the hours were a matter of trying to read, lie down, watch TV or sit somewhere in a posture in which I did not feel like carrion.  For my buds, I guess it was like having to tend a life-sized dummy, with a grimace on its face, that occasionally barked a complaint or witticism.  Praise be to them for maintaining stiff uppers.  As for me, I probably should have been flushed down the cosmic commode.

But, I am at least partly back, in time to enjoy again some of the great appetizers life has to offer.   Such as Herman Cain.  “Answering” charges of sexual harassment.  If his approach to dealing with these baseless charges is a forecast of how he would handle crises in the presidency, I can imagine all sorts of amusing scenarios.  “You must remember that a president signs a bunch of papers every day, so if I signed an order to bomb Iran, I don’t remember it, but I may remember it later, and if I do, I was still unaware of what I was signing.”

In a few days, Carolina will play Michigan State in a basketball game on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.  I pray, repeat PRAY, that we will be treated to the sight of a marine having to dive off the deck to retrieve a ball.  And what would happen if North Korea bombs Japan while the game is in progress?

Any way, I’m partly back.  And if the foregoing blather is not nearly as acute and funny as my usual stuff, I do not apologize.  At least I’m writing something again.

Ciao, guys!