I am still blogging on WordPress but It is now being hosted at Bluehost. Other than that , nothing has changed. I still have a strange perspective on things so come join the fun.
Location : Capitol Hill – An office in the Senate office building
The head of a senator pokes out from behind the door of his inner office.
“Doris, I am meeting with some constituents and I do not want to be disturbed for a bit.”
“Yes sir. They must be important constituents to blow off your committee meeting.”
“It’s an election year, all of my constituents are important.”
“Ooh. Are they lobbyists?”
“No, They’re hypochondriacs.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Both have irrational fears but the hypochondriacs don’t have any money to throw at their problems, only votes.”
“Ok, a half hour without being bothered, got it.”
Closing the door the Senator turned around to find his constituents arranged in front of him like a pair of his old socks bunched up around the ankles.
“So do I understand correctly people that later today I am to bring up your issue on the floor?”
“Yes sir, that is correct,”replied Abe.
“And what would that issue be,” asked the Senator.
“We sent you a power point presentation to bring you up to speed. Did you not get it?”
“Oh , I received it. I just haven’t had time to review it what with the debates and all. “
“But you’re not running,” stated Abe.
“No, but I have been taking notes so I could work the one liners into my weekly cocktail hour,” replied the Senator.
“Oh ok, Well I can summarize. Our issue is with the commercials being produced by Big Pharma theses days. As hypochondriacs it drives many of us to take on the symptoms of the medical issue the drugs are meant to address. “
“Now I remember. Can’t you just realize at the beginning of the commercial you haven’t been diagnosed with the particular medical problem?” asked the Senator.
“Would that we could sir. We’re hypochondriacs. Reason left our life stories some time ago. I would think you would be sympathetic to that.”
“Um, of course I’m sympathetic. I think?”
“With some of those commercials your lucky if you even realize the medical condition they are addressing.”
“Yes, I understand the problem but there are only ,what, ten of you here today?”
“Just a small sample of our group sir. Here is the petition I mentioned in the email. It has 20,000 signatures. All of whom are registered to vote.”
“Oh my, this is a problem. It must be addressed. I would like to lead off with the little blind kid with the white cane but I don’t want to appear I’m manipulating their emotions.
“Oh, he’s not blind. He’s a hypochondriac also.”
“Perfect it will humanize the issue without the exploit factor. Bring him up here.”
“Ok but he want’s to check his prostate first,” replied Doris.
Seeing the the boy kneel down and check his own ankles the Senator replied, “He seems confused.”
“He’s five years old,” replied his mother. “Would you like to show him where his prostate is?”
“No, thats quite alright.” This is a bigger problem than I thought.
In a dimly lit bar ensconced in the chill of a capitol hill winter afternoon, sit three men.
They are holding an impromptu meeting in light of some unexpected events. The three do not know each other but of each other. That’s the way this deal goes down.
That’s the way they like it. That’s the way it needs to be.
The first one to speak, with some reluctance, was the bearded one.
“If you recall, our most recent meeting discussed giving guidance, mentoring if you will, to a known public figure that may have desired to concoct a conspiracy involving a yet to be identified public figure.”
“I thought we knew who he was and what he wanted,” said the nondescript bartender.
“Shut your trap, you know he likes to dramatize for effect,” whispered Mr Panama.
“Well , we do know the man and certainly the world knows him, “ replied the bearded one.
“ To summarize, part of our council was to advise against direct involvement. Instead, we strongly suggested conspiracy by proxy, that he go through a third party to mechanize events.”
“Mechanize? Has he been watching too many mob movies?” uttered the unassuming bartender.
“Well, if he has do you really want to make him angry?” whispered Mr. Panama.
“Well,” continued the bearded one. “It seems said public figure has ignored our advice and taken direct action. We are here to discuss potential fallout and can we say plausible deniability.”
“Um, yes, we can, um, I can,” answered the nondescript bartender.
“That wasn’t a question you dolt,” interjected Mr. Panama.
“Of course. I knew that. Hey, can I have a better name,” asked the nondescript bartender.
“No, as a member of a conspiracy, nondescript is perfect. It is , well, nondescript,” replied Mr.Panama. “That does remind me of a similar issue. Mr Bearded One, For clarities sake can I suggest we give those involved more distinct monikers?”
“Monikers? Did you just get a thesaurus,” asked the bartender.
“Yea, I’m improving myself. You gotta problem?
“No, It’s just an observation.”
“Distinct Monikers,” echoed the Bearded one. “Yes, we can do that. Let’s call the person seeking advice “pompadour.” His recently identified subject of the conspiracy will be called “the judge.”
“Oh, the picture is becoming clearer now,” said the nondescript bartender.
“Good because I thought I was going to have to do a paint by numbers thing with you two,” mumbled the bearded one.”
“It’s all over the news. How could we not connect the dots,” stated Mr. Panama.
“Yes, which is precisely the problem,” replied the Bearded One. “We need to make sure
we are insulated.”
“Refresh my memory. How did he get a hold of us in the first place,” asked the Bartender.
“A sandwich delivery with shall we say a little fiber,” replied the Bearded One.
“Oh, the old note in the sandwich trick,” said the Bartender.
“Yes but delivered to one of our couriers who then delivered it to the Bearded One,” added Mr Panama.
“So we are untraceable?”
“We Should be,” said the Bearded One.
Just then the front door burst open and on its heals followed the last of the winter sun.
A silhouette appeared in the doorway in the shape of a man who could have been Elvis or some other guy with a pompadour.
“Oh no,” uttered Mr. Panama.
“How did you find us?” asked the barman.
“I just asked around for the best Margaritas on Capitol hill,” replied the new but confused arrival.”
“What’s with the miniature poodle on your head,” asked the barman.
“Oh, I let her do that as a puppy. Now it’s the only way she’ll go anywhere with me.
Welcome back folks. We have some new members to Hypochondriacs Anonymous.
I want to welcome Deloris and Timothy Bogenfelter. I’m sorry Timothy did you have something to say.”
“Im Sorry Abe, my son wanted to use the name John Doe. You know, because of the anonymous part.”
“Oh, he’s quite smart isn’t he.”
“Well, he has his moments.”
“Deloris, Aren’t you being a bit harsh to your blind son. What was it? Soap poisoning?”
“Well , he has the cane and he did knock over a few chairs on the way in.”
“Look again. He has his eyes closed.”
“Um, strange, I don’t understand.”
“He thinks he’s temporarily blind. I couldn’t turn off the TV in time before
the drug commercial got to the side effects.”
“I hear you, said Stuart.”
“Well, Timothy barely heard you,” added Deloris. “I had just made it to the TV when they were discussing hearing loss.”
“Sorry,” replied Stuart. “My wife has a good arm and regularly takes out the TV with a small planter.”
“That’ impressive,” added Abe.
“Yea, my wallets impressed,” replied Stuart.
“Deloris,“ said Abe. “We find that our success rate is directly tied to the attitude of the member and the goals they have. What is it that you hope to achieve here.?”
“Well, I’m not shooting for the roof. Getting Timothy to open his eyes would be a good start.”
“Thats very reasonable,” said Abe. “What about the long term? Can we go beyond the roof and shoot for the sky?”
“Well, I’ll tell you Abe, can I call you Abe?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t you?”
“Because Timothy thinks you made that name up.”
“Oh, I can assure you my name is Abe. Please continue.”
“Well, Abe I would like to get to the point where I don’t have to lock up my TV in the armoire.”
“Wow thats a pain.”
“Yes, my back would agree.”
“Abe, In the shoot for the stars category, I would like to do something about these commercials? Aren’t they regulated.”
“Well, there is some scrutiny as in all commercials but they are so full of legalese that they seem to have covered themselves. Maybe when Timothy gets older his understanding of the legalese will help him with his issues.”
“You are joking aren’t you? You don’t understand it. I don’t understand it. Nobody understands it. Do you realize how much damage he could do by the time he even gets a clue? My back will give out long before that happens.”
“I see your point. Well, we have talked with the other chapters about trying to get before congress.”
“Yea, how is that going.”
“Building momentum is slow. We have not been able to get the local chairmen to turn their backs on the media. Just when things start to pick up they see a Cialis commercial and we don’t hear from them for quite a while.”
“Maybe the problem is your chairmen are males.”
“Good point. We’ll have to work on that.”
“That’s fair. Now, can we clear out some of these chairs? Timothy has to find the bathroom.”
“Ok people, lets get our weekly Hypochondriacs Anonymous meeting started.
We have a few business issues to get out of the way before we begin our session.
Remember, while there is a social aspect to the this group please exclude your feelings from your outside discussions. From what I hear quite a few of you got together with Howie Mamson for coffee last week and as a result this meeting is ten people short.
I believe all ten checked themselves in to City General with heart palpitations. The next time any of you see Howie, please remind him what the thought of caffeine does to him let alone drinking it.”
“Anyone have anything else to add? Yes, Stuart? Do you have something?”
“Yes, I do Abe. I just wanted to add that I had coffee with Howie and the group but I’m fine.”
“Very good Stuart, you’re making progress.”
Sam spoke up, “Not so fast. Abe, Stuart thought he lost his hearing that day so that was really the reason he wasn’t affected.”
“Thanks for ratting him, um, adding that information Sam.
So, he said he did not have a problem when if fact he had a problem which means he really has a problem and belongs here. Is that correct?”
“Um yea,” replied Sam. “It’s a good thing I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I’m going to need a drink.”
“Very well, lets move on to the next topic I want to discuss, commercials from Big-Pharma.”
“Oh, I can’t watch those anymore,” replied Sam.
“You know how hard it is to leave the house when you think you have bladder control issues, Crohn’s disease and ED?”
“Yes, Yes and no I have no clue, ” replied Abe. “That’s why we need to address the problem.”
“I don’t have a problem with the symptoms,” said Stuart. “It’s the side affects that are freaking me out. Oh sure the blindness is temporary but define temporary.”
“Which Is why I am going to recommend not watching any non recorded television,” replied Abe. Recording it will allow you to skip through the commercials. For those that are visually susceptible, I suggest they do not watch at all or have their significant other do the fast forwarding.”
“Abe. My wife is one of the ten in the hospital,” replied Sam.
“Oh well, I guess you’re going to have to quit watching all together or start net-flicking. “
“Folks; next weeks topic is “Avoidance may work but what about a solution.”
So have a good week and for gosh sakes people avoid any news about Zika.”
“You have reached Techno-psuedo-pharmica, my name is Derek. Can I help you”
“I sure hope so my son is a very suggestible hypochondriac”
“Hmm, well I am not sure we have a drug for that mam. Did you see a commercial that would suggest we do?”
“You can call me Deloris and I haven’t seen a commercial for that but you have one for every drug that you make and that is the problem.”
“I’m not following you Deloris.”
“Have you ever tried to explain to a five year old what a prostate is and that he can’t possibly have problems with his”.
“Uh, can’t say that I have.”
“Yea, well lucky you. Timmy, get over here and tell the nice man your problem.”
“I can’t mom, I’m checking my prostrate.”
“Timmy, the word is prostate. If you’re going to freak out at least be literate about it.”
“Derek, I’ll be a second.”
“Timmy, what are you doing? Oh for gosh sakes, your prostate is nowhere near your toes.”
“Derek, Here is Timmy. Timmy, tell him what you told me.”
“I have chronic prostrate problems.”
“Hi Timmy, do you know what chronic means?”
“Uh, its part of my prostrate?”
“Timmy, its prostate and you are much too young to have problems with it. Now go watch TV.”
“Timmy, give me the phone. Derek , TV is part of the problem. You’re not helping.”
“Sorry mam, Deloris, but you should regulate what he watches.”
“Easy for you to say, I have four other children Derek. You do the math.”
“I apologize Deloris.”
“Apology accepted Derek. But “Techno-Pharmacy-Whatsis” needs to get its act together by the time he hits puberty. Lord knows what will happen if he sees those ED commercials.”
“Yes Deloris, Have a nice day and thank you for calling Techno-psuedo-pharmica.”
St. Peter was back at his podium before the gates.
He was just beginning to get back in to the swing of things when the days first shuttle announced its arrival.
Peter felt something he had not experienced in quite a long time, sadness.
The shuttle arrived bourn on the strains of a soliloquy by Professor Snape and supported by the melody of David Bowies “Heroes” leading into the Eagles “Best of My Love.”
Peters view of the shuttle became cloudy and he wiped a tear from his cheek.
“Sometimes , this job is just too much and vacations are way too few.”
My family has a holiday tradition that we have religiously followed for as long as my siblings have had children. Since we were all buying presents for said children we decided that the gifts for the rest of the family would be part of a white elephant exchange.
Now, while we all thought that was a stroke of genius, I can’t quite recall whose idea it was.
I will admit that while it was not mine, I was quite happy with the decision. I was living in Northern Virginia at the time and spending way to much money on luxury items such as food and housing.
The tradition has become quite enjoyable and now includes all of the children. They did not want to miss out on the fun. Yes, we consider the verbal abuse of each other, in a structured setting of course, quite fun. Doesn’t everybody?
The gift exchange has become a time honored tradition. The rules however are not so much of a tradition but more of a yearly agreement.
I am pretty sure we have not played by the same set of rules in any one year let alone consecutive years.
Some of you may suggest “why don’t you just look up the rules on wikipedia or google them.”
For you I would have two responses: 1) Wikipedia, really, are you nuts? You are asking to crowdsource information on something no two people can seem to agree upon. 2) Where is the fun in that? Sure we spend at least a half hour negotiating the rules before we start the exchange but that only adds to the fun.
Among the usual topics for negotiation are determining who goes first. Yes, it sounds simple and we do draw numbers but after that the process is pretty much a crapshoot. We are a very creative family .
“ Is the lowest number first or last?”
“A reasonable question. Let’s do the opposite of last year. Does anyone remember what we did last year?”
“Do we weight the numbers with the age of the person and if so do the older or younger persons have more weight?”
Now these are the less imaginative of the ideas , with any large group of people the suggestions can get quite outrageous.
“Can we consider birth order?”
“We already discussed age of the person so we have covered that.”
“No, I mean by the month. Which month you were born in, so like January comes before February.”
“Interesting idea, So you being born in January has nothing to do with that idea?”
“Of course not.”
“Nice try. Next.”
“What are the rules of stealing?”
“Rules, You mean is it punishable by law? If so I am not sure you understand the concept of the white elephant.”
No, I mean is there a restriction on the number of times a a particular person can steal?
“You’re still angry at me for stealing your waffler last year aren’t you?”
“That was two years ago. Of course not.”
“There is not a restriction on the number of times anyone can steal.
There is only a restriction on the number of times an item can be stolen.”
“What if it’s a really good item? Shouldn’t everyone have a chance to steal it?”
“No. That would be a disaster of biblical proportions.”
“Ok, how about no gift can be stolen more than 3 times.”
There is a limit on the amount spent on the gift. That was set a few years ago and probably will not be up for renegotiation until all of the birds have flown the coop and are on their own. I for one hope that my fifteen year-old niece will be working on a doctorate.
The wrapping paper has been cleaned up but the laughter is still unfurling around my holiday break. I hope your holidays were as joyous as mine and that this last installment of my Black Friday series help conclude your holiday with laughter.
“Black Friday: Twas The Night Before Christmas”……ooh I can feel the joy already…or perhaps its the rum…..
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
were toys on display including a vintage Mickey Mouse.
There were games, there were gadgets, displayed in glass cases.
The collector was wary and kept his guests at fifteen paces.
The collector had food and drink to serve in his lair.
He would bring out his Pong to show off with fanfare.
The party was happening and many carols they did sing.
Until a band of toys appeared and a door bell they did ring.
The collector opened his door and failed to see
a band of toys underfoot as they scurried with glee.
With a major their leader so authoritative and quick
I knew it was Matt Mason, gosh he was slick.
More rapid than beagles his bandits they came
He whistled and ordered and called them by name.
On, Jan! On, Stosh! The Robots there were two.
On Yo!, On Larry, and perhaps a cow who did moo.
On Major! On Batman, who joined in the fun.
To rescue their friend, a brand new Xbox one.
To the top of the shelf and back towards the wall
Steal away! Steal away! Steal away all!
There was noise, there was chaos as the the batman yelled things not so holy.
He had a right to be upset for he landed in the guacamole.
When their friend was collected and their mission near over.
They all made a getaway in Major Mason’s moon rover.
The party lay in ruins, guacamole tracked across the floor.
The collector was convinced he would collect toys no more.
The band was merry and oh such a sight
as they danced and they darted off into the night.
So let that be a lesson to toy collectors all
prepare for uninvited guests at your next christmas eve ball.
So I in my kerchief all snug in my bed
decided my vision was just a dream in my head.
I finished off my Scotch and curled up in a ball.
With thoughts of good cheer and a Merry Christmas for all!
I apologize for keeping my readers on the edge of their seats waiting for this the third installment of my Black Friday series. The great thing about writing is the reader doesn’t have to see me trying to keep a straight face while typing out that last sentence.
Without further ado I give you “Black Friday: The Gathering (Vintage Vendetta)”
Larry had been moping all afternoon. Xena was gone and he could not fill the void left behind. No matter how he reconnected his pieces he still had a big gap somewhere.
Yo had to listen to Larry whine all afternoon and it was killing him. It was time for some action, besides the only lubricant he had only worked on Yo-Yo(s).
“All right Larry quit your belly aching. It’s clear you are not going along with my ‘there is another XBox just around the corner’ philosophy. Besides I admit you were right, Xena had that certain whatever the French say she had.”
“A certain I don’t know,” replied Larry.
“Yea I don’t know either but you know what I mean,” said Yo.
“My point is we need to go get her. You’re not the only one who had a narrow escape from that vintage collector Larry.”
“If I recall correctly his name is Vince,” said Larry.
“Vince? Like short for Vintage? Your kidding me,” exclaimed Yo.
“Hey I don’t make these names up . That’s some other guys job,” replied Larry.
“Well this Vince guy has put the fear of Mattel in a lot of old toys I know and quite a few would be willing to help,” said Yo.
“You don’t say. And you can round them up in a moment’s notice?” asked Larry.
“Yep,” said Yo as he winked. “They’re also living here on the down low.”
“How come I don’t know them?”
“ Because as a box Larry you tend to be, um how do I put this, mobility challenged.”
“Fair enough. So who are these toys?”
“I’ll tell you what. I will go round them up and introduce you to them,” replied Yo.
“Ok Yo. I’ll be here moping.” said Larry.
“Ok, but you better snap out of this funk by the time I get back or you won’t be able to inspire the other toys to march into the mouth of danger.”
“Mouth of danger?” asked Larry.
“Hey I don’t make up these metaphors. That’s some other guys job.” laughed Yo and added “I’ll be back.”
“Was that an Austrian accent?” asked Larry. But Yo was gone. I could have sworn that was an Austrian accent.
Yo soon returned leading a parade of refugee toys. Larry took one look and thought he was suffering from flashbacks. If he listened carefully he could have sworn he heard either Wagner or maybe the theme to the three stooges playing in the background.
“Form up on me everyone.” ordered Yo.
It was clear he was either getting into the proper spirit of the moment or suffering from delusions of grandeur. Larry was voting for the latter.
There was a clatter of chaos and then from under a pile of what appeared to be every popular toy of the 70’s the voice of Yo could be heard screaming “I meant literally folks.”
“I think that’s figuratively Yo,” shouted Larry.
“Yea, they know what I mean.”
“No, it’s obvious they don’t. That’s why you are currently buried by them.” replied Larry.
A few moments later the pile had broken up and had formed a nice neat line.
Strutting in front of the line, as much as a Yo-Yo can strut, was Yo.
“Alright Larry, let me introduce our volunteer army or what I like to refer to a Yo-Yo’s little helpers.”
“Yo, you are starting to suffer delusions of grandeur.”
“What? Grand Illusion?” I didn’t know you were a Styx fan?” asked Yo.
“Um, up until they became a love ballad smorgasbord but I meant that you are starting to let your ego run away with you. Besides, you make them sound like elves and that is not going to inspire fear in anyone let alone Vince the collector”.
“Vince the collector. Sounds like a hit man.” laughed Yo.
“Well it’s definitely scarier than Yo-Yo’s little helpers.”
“Ill give you that. We can come up with a name later. Let me introduce them to you. Starting from your left and proceeding to your right…”
“Yo, I’m a box of legos I have no hands.” interrupted Larry.
“Yea, but you know what I mean. This here is Major Matt Mason. He is an astronaut toy from the 60’s. 1966 I believe. “
“He looks to be in good shape considering his age,” stated Larry.
“Larry, may I remind you that your shape is a box and you don’t have a right to comment on the shape of others”.
“Yea, that’s fair Yo. So what can he contribute to the effort?” asked Larry.
“Ahem, Let me answer that,” replied the Major as he step forward and saluted.
“I have years of space training at the Mattel Space Camp.” stated the Major.
“Well that’s nice Major but we won’t be going into to space,” replied Larry.
“Well I have a moon rover and a really cool Jet Pack that can move us along a zip line,” added the Major.
“Welcome aboard Major,” said a smiling Larry.
“Next we have Betsy Wetsy,” said Yo pointing to a baby.
“But Yo ,” whispered Larry. “She’s a baby and need we go into whether her name is literal or figurative?”
“Hmm, you have a point,” said Yo and added “Sorry Betsy. I think you could help us better on the home front.”
“Our next volunteers are brothers Jan and Stosh the Rock’em Sock’em Robots.
They’re Polish and they claim to have inspired a generation of Polish boxers. I don’t know if that’s true but I’m not going to question them. I think they will come in handy if we get in a bind and need some muscle.”
“That’s a good point Yo. Welcome aboard gentlemen.” Larry did a double take and asked Yo.” “Is it me or is his neck unusually long?”
Yo looked at the robots and said “Hey Stosh, or Jan, whichever; Please re-engage your neck spring. It’s freaking Larry out. Don’t worry Larry it goes back down. It’s part of their design.”
“Yo, who is that box there,” whispered Larry.
“Oh that there is Spirograph. He’s an artist.”
“We will not have time for art on this mission Yo,” stated Larry.
“Yea, I knew you would say something like that.” interrupted Spirograph. “No body appreciates art.”
“That’s not true,” uttered Larry. “I would love it if you could whip something up to inspire the troops.”
“You got it,” replied the Spirograph. “Do you have any drawing paper?”
“We’ll find you some in a moment,” replied Yo
The introductions carried on for a while and when they were done they had assembled a nice unit of specialists ready to mount an assault on Vince the collector and take back Xena.
“Larry I think you left out Mr. Potato Dude over there,” whispered Yo.
“Yes on purpose. We can’t afford the law suit that would entail,” replied Larry.
“Oh yea. I see your point.”
“Yo. You mentioned that several of these toys had some problems with Vince. Do they know where he lives?” asked Larry.
“You mean his lair,” replied a Batman action figure (of the Adam West variety).
“Um, yes I guess you could call it that.” replied Larry.
“Robin and I were once a captive of the one you call Vince the collector. I can lead you to his lair in the dark if I have to”.
“Yo, Who is this Robin that he speaks of?” asked Larry.
“Keep it down will you. That is a sore subject. They parted ways and it wasn’t pretty.”
“Oops, my bad,” said Larry and then added “That would be great Mr., um, Batman.”
“It’s just Batman my boxlike friend.” replied Batman.
“Very well, Batman. You will lead us to the collector’s lair.”
Larry looked upon the rag tag group of toys that represented his last hope of seeing Xena again and shuddered. They’re not the dirty dozen but their all I have, he thought.
Will Spirograph finally be recognized as a true artist? Can Batman find Vince’s lair and if so will Xena trust her future to this collection of stooges? Do Jan and Stosh speak english or will the author have to translate?* What will Vince do when he finds out that Xena is not a vintage Pong game?These answers and what ever the author dreams up after a late night snack to follow.
* He can if they just want to order lunch in a diner with soda water and/or beer.