The Squirrel Who Came in from the Cold

24 May

by Roger White

 

My spidey sense tells me of late that the critters in our attic are not Rocky Raccoon and his pals this time around but creatures far more cunning and insidious: squirrels. Yes, those habitual loungers and loiterers of college campuses and street darters who run straight in front of your car and then suddenly become bewildered as to their destination. That’s right, those squirrels.

 

Three clues have led me to determine that these little bushy-bottomed, nut-chomping rodents have replaced the raccoons as our most recent non-rent-paying top-floor dwellers: (1) the scratching, nesting, wire-chewing, and squirrel squatterscurrying sounds are more lightweight and frenzied (but still as annoying as a Twisted Sister album); (2) that high-pitched chittering and jabbering can be coming only from squirrels—or my mother-in-law (I can’t tell whether the critters are having wild parties or heated family disagreements up there); and (3) they have a spy squirrel who sits on the roof, tipping off the squirrel squatters when it’s safe to come and go.

 

I’ve gone over every square, round, and triangular inch of our humble abode’s perimeter, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how these tiny little tramps are getting in. I do know, however, that they employ that scout squirrel on our roof. Not unlike a tower guard, scout squirrel sits there keeping an eye on the human enemy. He chatters out signals decipherable only by other squirrels as to our whereabouts.

 

“Chich-chip-chich-chipchip-cheech!” scout squirrel screams when I near our bedroom window. Two pack members in the grass nod. One of them gives the “OK” sign, and they dart off giggling into the woods.

scout squirrel

“Get lost, ya little snitch!” I yell, banging on the window.

 

Scout squirrel sneers and runs away, chattering. “CHIP-CHICH-CHEEP-CHIP!!” Which sounds much to me like the squirrel version of “Your mother!”

 

And if you don’t think squirrels and other animals are smart enough to act as spies, think again. I read in the news not too long ago about a vulture that flew into Lebanon from an Israeli nature preserve and was captured on suspicion of spying. No kidding. An Israeli game warden who kept tabs on the bird tracked it to a southern Lebanese village. Then the Israelis started getting reports that the bird was being held by locals who suspected it was a spy because it had Israeli tags and devices. Turns out the vulture was part of a conservation project to restore the raptors in the Middle East and had a GPS transmitter attached to its tail. The poor bird was finally released when the locals were assured it was “not carrying any hostile equipment.”

 

OK, not a spy but it could have been. Just like the time last year when the Palestinian group Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli dolphin equipped with spying devices. They knew it was an Israeli dolphin because of dolphin spythe waterproof yarmulke on its head. All right, I made up that part. The Israelis denied that the animal was sniffing around Palestinian waters on porpoise. (Insert groan here, if you will.)

 

But get this, declassified documents from the 1960s revealed the CIA’s attempt to wire a cat as a listening device, using its tail as the antenna. True story! The project, dubbed “Acoustic Kitty,” was abandoned after the cat was sent into a park to eavesdrop on purported bad guys but was run over by a taxi before it could get into position.

 

And then there’s this: In 2007, Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency reported that they had broken up a British squirrel spying ring. Fourteen squirrels were reportedly captured by intelligence officers in the border region of Iran, each allegedly sporbrit squirrelting listening devices. The British Foreign Office reacted characteristically, stating “The story is nuts.”

 

Aha! I would bet good money that our home’s scout squirrel is a surviving member of that British squirrel spying ring! Now that I think about it, his chattering has a certain accent to it, and his teeth, ooh….

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

 

 

How the Interwebs ‘Mowed Down’ the Postal Service

10 May

by Roger White

 

My old friend Gary, whom I’ve been best buds with since the early days of the LBJ Administration, recently retired after almost 40 years with the US Postal Service. Forty years of doing just about anything is admirable in my book, but working 40 years for the post office—and staying as sane, calm, and level-headed as Gary’s always been—is cause for a bit of hoopla and commemoration. So I sent my pal a celebratory retirement package: a 1/24 scale Three Stooges work truck model ready for assembly. Gary always did like working on car models.

 

postman dudeThrough the years, Gary has been the consistent yin to my yang. I’m a bit of a prone-to-histrionics type. When I’d be crying my 12-year-old eyes out because the Cowboys lost in the playoffs, Gary would be the one to remind me that it was just a game, that we’d get ’em next year, and, hey, isn’t a good time to get on our bikes and ride to the DQ for a couple of ice cream cones. That’s surely one of the reasons we remained such good friends over the years. I was the wild-eyed schemer; Gary was the voice of reason. Gary’s even-handed demeanor, I would bet, is also one of the reasons he never “went postal” working 40 years for the postal people.

 

I bring up my friend because I was thinking the other day how Gary timed his retirement just about perfectly. The USPS, like so many other entities, has been dealt a real body blow by the internet. The number of people conducting their business by hand-delivered mail has declined precipitously in the era of e-mails, texts, and Facebook. Then again, the list of industries and career paths adversely affected by the rise of the interwebs is a long one. Think about it: jounaughty magrnalists, photographers, newspaper and magazine owners, authors, publishers, literary agents, press workers, encyclopedia salespeople, recording artists, record album designers, music store owners, phone book companies, map makers, taxi drivers, camera makers, processed film manufacturers, travel agents—and let’s not forget the print porn industry. OK, never mind about the print porn. Young men now have more closet and bottom drawer space. But anyway, the list goes on. We’re in the midst of an economic revolution of sorts. And we all can’t work as Walmart greeters.

 

So back to Gary. The notion that my friend retired at just the right moment came to me when I read an article the other day that the postal service of Finland—financially in dire straits as are postal services of just about every country around—has gone to drastic measures to try to stay afloat. Posti Group, which is what the state-owned Finnish mail service is called, has decided that to help make ends meet, they will, in addition to delivering the Finnish mail, offer to mow people’s lawns once a week for a tax-deductible fee of about $148.

 

“The idea for the lawn-mowing service came from mail delivery employees themselves,” said Anu Punola, the service’s director. “We believe many customers will be happy to outsource lawn mowing when we make it convenient for them to do so.”

 

Mmmyeah. That’s thinking way, way outside the post office box. Somehow, I just don’t see it flying here in the good ol’ US of A. My postal delivery guy is friendly enough, but I can’t picture him at my door like so:

 

“Hello, Mr. White, you need to sign for this package.”

 

“Oh, thankspostal mow.”

 

“And by the way, your driveway shrubs are looking really shabby. You want a trim and an edge for an extra fifty bucks?”

 

I could see them delivering pizza, though. That just might work. “Here you are, Mr. White, jury summons, five credit card offers, Victoria’s Secret catalog, utility bill, Pottery Barn flier, and double pepperoni with mushroom, hold the anchovy.”

 

In order to survive, I envision other such services embracing the concept of double duty. For example, I edit a magazine (yes, the print kind), and I write for a newspaper (yes, the print kind). How much longer these publications will remain the print kind is anyone’s guess, but I figure it might help keep subscriptions coming in if we could figure out a way for these periodicals to be made from material with the consistency of toilet paper. Talk about double dooty. That’s something that e-magazines and e-newspapers just couldn’t match, I do believe.

 

Yep, Gar, you retired at just the right time, old friend.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely spouse, two precocious offspring units, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

 

A Czech by Any Other Name–Or the Case of Consonant Dissonance

22 Apr

by Roger White  

 

It pains me deep-like when those near and dear to me are hurting. And lately, the folks in my oldest sister’s family are having a bit of an identity crisis. You see, sis Kathy married a guy named Bobby Smajstrla right out of high school. Could have been one of those made-for-TV movies. High school cheerleader (Kathy, not Bobby) marries football star running back (Bobby, not Kathy), and somehow they stay married all the way into their geezer years. So, yeah, my sis went from the simple starched whitebread name of Kathy White to Kathy Smajstrla. If you’re reading this aloud, your tongue just had a stroke.

 

“Smajstrla,” as you may or may not know, is a Czechoslovakian name. There were lots of Czech types in my old hometown, just as there are lots of Czech types in this here state. The phone book in the town of West, Texas, for Land of Czechnessexample, (which is nowhere near West Texas) has more consonants in it than any other publication west of the Mississippi. One of my best buds from my high school years, James Rejcek (a Smajstrla kin), taught me in the ways of things such as Czech customs, Czech cuisine, and Czech curse words. Example: If someone of Czech descent says this to you, “Jdi do hajzlu!” well, let’s just say they’re not being friendly at all. However, if someone of Czech descent asks if you would like a kielbasa or kolache, they are being very friendly and are offering you yummy sustenance. Mmm, kielbasa.

 

But I digress. As you may know if you stay apprised of world affairs, the sovereign state of Czechoslovakia angrily divorced itself around 1993, splitting kielbasainto Slovakia and the Czech Republic. I use the term “divorce” intentionally because the breakup was termed by many as the “Velvet Divorce.” Some say the dissolution was brought about by economic reasons; some say it was due to tribal mentalities and long-simmering historical feuds; some say it was because the Slovaks insisted on putting mayonnaise on their jitrnice, which the Czechs viewed as sacrilege. Whatever.

 

Well now, the good folks of the Czech Republic have lately been stewing in their guláš over the very name of their fair land. Some think the name is just too darn long. The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina beg to differ, but there it is. Apparently, Czech Republickers are unhappy with a name that can’t fit on a t-shirt. So they’re revolting. (Revolting as a verb, not an adjective—although some of Bobby’s cousins are a bit mangy, but never mind.) So far, the leading vote-getter for the rename is Czechia. Hmm. I don’t know. Sounds kinda like a skin disease, if you ask me.

 

This is serious business over there beyond the big pond. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said recently that he’s been practically assaulted by angry citizens on both sides of the issue. Frankly, I think if you can czech stoppronounce Lubomír Zaorálek, then you can pronounce Czech Republic with ease, but my opinion apparently carries little weight here. But as long as you’ve asked, how about Kielbasaland? Or maybe Kolachestan or Bobavkia. Think of the marketing, the tourism opportunity here. People with a hankering for Czech food would be drawn to the place simply by the name. “Come to Kielbasaland, where every hamlet carries the aroma of roast pork with dumplings.”

 

Recently, I asked sis Kathy what her family thought of all this dissonance and discord. She replied thusly: “Czechoslovakia split up?” OK, forget the whole thing. Sometimes I just get too worked up. Ooooh, who’s up for some karbanátek with egg?

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a mildly obese dachshund, and a middle-aged cat with Esptein Barr Syndrome. For more of “This Old Spouse,” visit www.oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Did You Remember Siblings Day? Hmm?

12 Apr

by Roger White  

 

I generally make it a point to remember special occasions and days that have deep meaning to those around me. Ya know, like our kids’ birthdays, our anniversary, Bulk Trash Pickup Day, Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday, Texas Independence Day, Saturday. However, a special occasion sneaked up on me the other day and clonked me on the cranium. I think it left a scar. I was greeted with a hale and hearty “Happy Siblings Day!” by my older sister Karen. And verily I say, I was flummoxed. Gobsmacked even. Smacked right in the gob.

right

Siblings Day? First of all, is that the best term they could come up with for one’s brothers and sisters? Siblings. The word puts me in mind of little, tiny baby otters not quite formed into otters yet, so they have to stay back in the otter nest until their appendages grow and form into real otter appendages. You can just hear the National Geographic voice-over guy in his proper British accent as the camera zooms in on the otter nest: “Here you see the unformed neophyte otters—siblings as they are known—struggling to find nourishment…”

 

Anyway. I had no idea that April 10 was National Siblings Day. Did you? I felt immediately guilty for not remembering it, and then I felt immediately embarrassed by thinking my leg was being yanked upon. So I looked it up, and lo, spake thus Google:

“Siblings Day (sometimes called National Siblings Day or National Sibling Day) is a holiday recognized annually in some parts of the United States on April 10, honoring the relationships of siblings. Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it is not federally recognized, though the Siblings Day Foundation is working to change this.”

 

the empireThe Siblings Day Foundation? Something tells me this whole kaboodle is underwritten by Hallmark greeting cards. Hallmark was surely the brains behind Grandparents’ Day and Children’s Day, too. I must chortle. Children’s Day? EVERY DAY is Children’s Day!

 

Again, anyway. I apologized to my older sister Karen for not commemorating uh, Siblings Day, and therewith wished her the happiest of uh, Siblings Days. My oldest sister, Kathy, did likewise. I figured, ya know, being siblings, we should celebrate like siblings should. So I sent Karen a photo of some chewed gum. In all my childhood days with middle sister Karen, the memory that stands head and shoulders above them all is that Karen would become violently ill at the sight of chewed gum. No one knows why. But Karen and I fought like rabid weasels when we were kids—and vestiges remain. I figured it was appropriate.

 

She returned the favor with a copy of that damned photo of me urinating in their closet during a sleepwalking episode from my prepubescent days of high anxiety. Well played, Sis. Well played.

 

So. My point is this: I forget. No, wait. Do your best to stay apprised of upcoming days of commemoration and specialness. Or something. To help you along, I give you the upcoming special days of April:

 

  • April 15 is Income Tax Filing Deadline (ITFD). Send your accountant a nice, handy implement. Like a spatula or an earthworm. If you don’t have an accountant, go to the TurboTax website and under “Contact Us” insert the link to the Charlie the Unicorn video. They will appreciate this.

 

  • April 15 is also Father Damien Day, observed in Hawaii. On April 15, 1889, Father Damien died of leprosy on the island of Molokai. He cared for sufferers of this disease and continued his missionary work on the island until he was little more than a shrunken torso. Damien was also the Son of Satan, as portrayed in “The Omen.” Connection?

 

  • billApril 18 is Patriots’ Day in Maine and Massachusetts. Patriots’ Day marks the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriots’ Day should not be confused with New England Patriots Day, which celebrates the under-inflating of footballs and stealing of opposing teams’ signals during any given Pats game.

 

  • April 21 is San Jacinto Day, celebrated here in ol’ Tejas. If you don’t know what San Jacinto Day is, then you need to move to Oklahoma.

 

  • April 22, speaking of, is Oklahoma Day, observed at Barry Switzer’s house. We need to do more research on this occasion, but I think it involves great stacks of $20 bills and brand new Corvettes.

 

  • April 25 is Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. This is the day that 17 rednecks, all cousins, get together and celebrate the last vestiges of slavery by yelling “Yeehaw!” at the top of their lungs and shooting shotguns at small mammals.

Dead tree with curved branches in Denmark

  • April 29 is Orthodox Good Friday. It is also Arbor Day, which is observed as a state holiday in Nebraska, where they worship the one tree that grows in the state of Nebraska in a field in Hickman, south of Lincoln.
  • April 30 is the last day of Passover. What I know about Passover involves hiding matzoh crackers and drinking wine. I do know some of the Jewish food of the Passover season is darn good. My wife concedes that gefilte fish is basically the Jewish Spam, but don’t knock the matzoh ball soup.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a mildly obese dachshund, and a middle-aged cat with Esptein Barr Syndrome. For more of “This Old Spouse,” visit www.oldspouse.wordpress.com.

 

 

Headlines You May Have Missed Because of All the Shouting

29 Mar

by Roger White

 

I realize you may find it hard to believe that any news anywhere in the world could possibly be weirder than our own little insane asylum of a presidential race, but yes, Virginia, there have been some strange goings-on other than the viral sharing of photos of candidates’ nude spouses, the specter of campaign rally attendees using protesters’ noggins as piñatas, and the petitions for open carry of firearms at the Republican National Convention for “safety reasons.” Shudder.

 

Granted, not much can stack up to the idiotic vitriol produced by this election season in good ol’ Amurka. However, yours truly has dredged up a few nuggets of weird that have nothing at all to do with the four-headed monster known as HillTrumparyBernCruzie.

 

Here’s one, for example. Recently, British scientists at the National Environment Research Council (NERC) were so jazzed about this brand, spanking new $290 million polar research ship they’re constructing, they decided to let the public in Boatyon the naming of this terribly important vessel. She’ll be launched as a Royal Research Ship, so the officials at NERC expected glorious nominations such as the “RRS Sir Shackleton” or the “RRS Winston Churchill” or the like. Nope. At last count, more than 27,000 people had voted to name the ship the “RRS Boaty McBoatface.”

 

Expected to set sail in 2019, the 420-foot vessel will “provide the U.K. with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world,” a NERC spokesperson said. He added that although the name “RRS Boaty McBoatface” had about 10 times the amount of votes than any other name, the council is under no legal obligation to give their flagship research vessel a “bloody cartoon moniker.” When contacted by NBC News, a staffer at the research council said no public affairs officials were available to speak because they were all in a “crisis meeting.”

 

There’s more to the story, however. In the wake of such overwhelming voter sentiment, British politicos have proposed renaming historic Big Ben in the Palace of Westminster “Tick Tockety McClockenspiel” and renaming the ancient Stonehenge site “Chunky McBoulder Butt.”

 

Here’s another one: A former security worker at the Brink’s armored car company has been charged with stealing almost $200,000 worth of quarters, justice officials said recently. One Stephen Dennis of Harpersville, Alabama, is accused of taking the coins while working as a money processing manager.

 

“What Mr. Dennis may have thought was a nickel-and-dime theft was, in the end, the equivalent of a major bank heist,” FBI Special Agent Roger C. Stanton said in quartersa news release. An FBI investigation found that Dennis had been replacing coins with beads after an April 2014 audit found several coin bags were considerably short of their expected tally. In total, Dennis stole $196,000 worth of quarters from the Brink’s facility in Birmingham. Investigators concluded that the guy took approximately 784,000 coins.

 

That’s roughly 9,800 pounds of quarters, folks. Ah, but there’s more to the story. My sources tell me that they caught Dennis when he showed up in tremendously baggy trousers at a local emergency room to be treated for a quadruple hernia. The maximum penalty for the poor guy is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Word is the fine will have to be paid in pennies and nickels.

 

Wait, I got one more. In Florida recently, two trucks, one hauling beer and the other toting potato and tortilla chips, collided on Interstate 95, littering the road with, yeah, chips and beer. The crash between the semi-tractor trailer transporting Busch beer and the box truck filled with Frito-Lay products occurred in Brevard County just after 3:10 a.m., the Florida Highway Patrol said.

 

suds“Neither driver was hurt, but you had Doritos and Busch beer all over I-95,” said Sergeant Kim Montes, spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol. “That’s like a Super Bowl commercial right there.”

 

What she didn’t tell you was that it took two and a half weeks and 200 fat men in t-shirts and shorts to get rid of all that suds and spuds. Now, apparently, all that’s left are six dozen couches and several big-screen TVs sitting in the middle of I-95.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a mildly obese dachshund, and a middle-aged cat with Esptein Barr Syndrome. For more of “This Old Spouse,” visit www.oldspouse.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

We Can Make Austin Great Again – By Winning!

14 Mar

 

 

by Adolph Felcher

felcher mug

Editor’s note: Keeping in the spirit of this year’s extraordinarily robust political climate, “This Old Spouse” columnist Roger White has graciously stepped aside to offer readers valuable insight into the ideology and platform viewpoints of the major candidates in the 2016 presidential race. In this edition, we welcome guest columnist Adolph Felcher, chairman of the Central Texas Chapter of the Donald Trump for President Campaign, for a candid look at Mr. Trump’s vision on the local level.

 

Hello, and you’re welcome, Central Texas. If you have been paying attention to the exciting and dynamic rallies being held across the country, then you understand how much greater our nation is going to be when the great winner of all winners, Mr. Donald Trump, leads us back onto the path of greatness and winning. My name is Adolph Felcher, and I’m here to share with you what this return to winning and greatness will look like here in Texas.

Let me tell you, when the Great Donald, who is worth many billions of dollars, becomes the nation’s CEO, this country—and particularly, this Central Texas region—will know what it’s like to be winners again. Great winners who win through the power of their greatness and their vast amounts of money know that winning is what is important, not trivial details such as coherent foreign policy, thoughtful economic programs, or niggling, meaningless things like education reform.

For example, the city of Austin will be a winner again, unified in purpose and skin tone, when we build a wall—a huge, huge wall—just east of gentrified downtown, right around Comal Street or so, to keep out the losers and the lightweights. So das wallmany of the people who live on that has-been side of town are the types we don’t need: illegals, rapists, criminals, minorities, poor people. You know, those who aren’t like us. We’ll build a wall so these losers can’t affect our winning way of life.

The wall will be paid for, of course, by the layabouts and illegals in the outlying areas of say, Del Valle, the Montopolis area, and the eastside ghettos where the less desirables hang out. The Circuit of the Americas race track will be exempted from any financial obligation through a special elite business exemption program we’ll call the Korporate Kommunity Kickback, or KKK.

The Austin City Council will be replaced by a corporate board of very rich people called the One Percent Commission (OPC). We all know that the best way to revitalize a community is to put the winners of the city in charge. The highly successful people who will comprise the commission—business executives, celebrities, lottery winners, independently wealthy Republicans who inherited trump 2their family fortunes, Lance Armstrong—will run the town with the assistance and visionary guidance of Special Secretary (SS) Chris Christie. SS Christie, personally appointed by Mr. Trump himself to inspire OPCs nationwide, will be in charge of party morale by leading them in weekly rallies, to be called SS Rallies. Rallies will include singing odes to the Great One (with favorites such as “How Great Trump Art” and “Trumpland das Trumpland”), staring lovingly at the Official Trump Portrait, and practicing self-defense techniques against Muslims and Mexican rapists.

On a personal note, I’m beyond delighted to share with you that I, Adolph Felcher, will be in charge of the local arm of the new youth exercise and indoctrination program, called Trump Youth. My assistant, Mina Kampf, and I have so many wonderful things in store for the guidance, direction, and discipline of all Central Texas youth ages 6-16. Mmm, discipline. Mandatory signup centers will be located at area commercial real estate offices and private country clubs.

A quick reminder: The next Austin area rally will be held at the America’s Academy of Pro Wrestling in Westlake. Local metal band Orange Combover will provide music, and there will be a $500,000-a-plate dinner afterword.

A supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump scuffles with a protestor during a rally in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)Entertainment includes a mini-Trump Casino and 3-D Whack-an-Immigrant family fun game. Legal fee expense reimbursement forms will be available for those enthusiastic supporters who wish to forcibly expel any loser liberal protesters. Onward, Trump Troops!

 

Adolph Felcher is chairman of the Central Texas Chapter of the Donald Trump for President Campaign and owner of Felcher Films, currently in bankruptcy court.

 

Spot the Spurious. That is, Find the Fake.

1 Feb

by Roger White

 

Ah, my catatonic cohort, I know many of you have been waiting with bated breath (and yes, it’s bated breath; “baited breath” would involve halitosis of the earthworm variety) for the next installment of the Oldspouse Quasi-Periodic Spot the Bogus Story Contest, otherwise known among Oldspousifiles as the OQPSBSC. Well, wait no more, my addled adherents, for it’s time once again. I got chills. Gooseflesh. Exciting, huh? You got chills? OK, Gary, when you jump up and down like that, it bothers the people around you. I see you there.

 

If’n you don’t remember the rules, worry not. Just read the five (four, sir!) four news snippets below gathered by the crack Oldspouse staff from the five (four, sir!) four corners of the globe. One—and only one—of the stories is, how we say, counterfeit. False. Fake. Phony. Not on the level. Made up. Contrived. Bogus, as Mr. Spiccoli would say. The other three, believe it or else, are legit.

 

Be the first, third, or 74th person (we accept goldfish, too) to e-mail our Oldspouse staff demographer (roger.white@tasb.org) with the correct answer regarding which of these tales is purely fiction, and you win $3, yes 3 US dollars (one of which may even be an Eisenhower silver dollar) and a genuine Oldspouse-endorsed “Jesus Is Coming, Hide the Bong” bumper sticker. I’m not joking. This is my job.

 

OK, here goes. Spot the Bogus Story:

 

Story No. 1: The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research to the tune of more than $500,000 to see how sick shrimp compare to healthy shrimp on a treadmill. Their conclusion—a half a million bucks later—was that the prawn feeling a tad puny didn’t perfBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: Collect An experiment into fitness & illness involving a shrimp on a treadmill has become an unlikely internet hit after footage escaped from the laboratory of Prof David Scholnick.orm as well as their healthy counterparts. One of the head labcoat scientist persons explained that the experiments help humans better understand the effects of pollution on the little guys’ defenses and, thus, survival of the species. And since survival of the little shrimpies affects the seafood industry—namely, the makers of shrimp cocktail sauce—and thus has ramifications on the success or failure of countless dinner parties worldwide, then you can grasp the import.

 

Story No. 2: In another NSF-funded study, researchers spent 21 days—and about $330,000 of taxpayer dough—to determine if spouses are more prone to violence when they’re hungry. During the three-week study, 107 couples were given the opportunity, at various times, to shove pins into voodoo dolls that represented their significant others. The Captain Obvious conclusion? Spouses with low blood voodoosugar rammed more pins into their hubby/wife voodoo dolls than those same spouses when they were full. Jeez, give me 3 large, and I could have given you the same results. I’d include pie charts and everything.

 

Story No. 3: To celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded—to the tune of just under $250,000—five New York artists for the purpose of making plaster casts of the buttocks of athletes from various sports. The artists made impressions of male and female athletes buttcastfrom basketball, baseball, football, track, hockey, volleyball, and swimming to compare musculature and definition. After viewing the exhibition at a Manhattan gallery, one NEA administrator quipped, “These are the bums of the gods.” What a bum deal.

 

Story No 4: Scientists recently appropriated approximately $300,000 of NSF grant money to study how humans ride bicycles. Really. The study, initiated to determine just how humans ride bikes, was created to determine if bicycle manufacturers could design bikes that would be more comfortable, more bobby bikeyaccessible, and easier to ride. The reasoning behind this study was that if bicycles were easier to ride, then more people would use them and would thus impact healthcare costs worldwide. Ride, captain, ride. Yeah.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely spouse, two precocious offspring units, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

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