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Phil at the Alamo and Starbucks on the Moon. Really.

20 Jun

by Roger White

 

So have you been reading lately about the papyrus scroll uncovered by some Harvard professor a few years back? The prof claimed this scroll proved that Jesus had a wife. Yeah. There was supposedly a Mrs. Christ. She apparently didn’t say much, according to the scroll, but she dutifully followed Hubby and the gang around, making sure the Lord washed his Hands after healing lepers and imploring Him to go easy on the water-into-wine business on weeknights. I do believe Mrs. C would be the only person on the planet who could exclaim “Jesus Christ!” and not be accused of blaspheming. She could merely be telling the Almighty to get his Big Feet off the coffee table. (Caps for reverence, of course.)

Jesus' Old Lady

Well, come to find out the scroll was a fake. Some hustler in Florida somehow convinced the Harvard academic that it was the real deal. The tipoff was probably the college-rule blue lines and the three-hole punches found on the papyrus. I guess Ivy League standards aren’t what they used to be.

 

Even though The Gospel According to Mrs. C was proven to be a hoax, it did stir up my dandruff a bit. So I conducted some keen investigative snooping around on my own. And wow. You would scarcely believe what sorts of little-known truths are out there on the interwebs. Herewith, then, are just a few of the Spouseman’s Little-Known Historical Truths Found on the Interwebs (SLKHTFOTI):

  1. John the Baptist was really a Methodist. John, whose middle name was Wesley, actually used the “sprinkling method” with Jesus, and later they had covered dishes and cake. They took a dip in the Jordan simply because it was really hot out that day. (This was the Middle East, you know.) –from http://www.cletusbiblesalesandtractorparts.com
  2. Former Genesis drummer Phil Collins was indeed at the Battle of the Alamo, as he has insisted. Two sketchings—from two different witnesses of the famous siege—have come to light, both of which show a bald man with rimless spectacles and a baseball cap peering over the The Philimofront wall of the old mission. In one sketch, he appears to be holding a flintlock rifle, but in the other he’s holding what look to be nylon-tipped drumsticks. Additionally, as Santa Anna began his assault and the Mexican buglers played “El Degüello,” which signaled that no quarter was to be given to the Alamo defenders, Texican defenders responded with a rousing chorus of “In the Air Tonight.” –from http://www.larrythemystic.com
  3. When astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the moon in 1969, they discovered several alien artifacts—all evidence of which has been kept secret by NASA ever since. A deep-net website run by an anonymous former NASA restroom cleaning technician contains a grainy image of what appears to be an alien drinking vessel held in Aldrin’s hand. On the vessel is a bizarre inscription—ΔÇ ξ  ⊗⊇⇔  ∂♥♦∧∧—which has been translated by cryptographers as the Martian equivalent of “Starbucks.” –from http://www.interstellarjanitor.com

moonbucks

There’s more, but I have a home and a family.

 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that we had a couple of winners from the previous edition’s Quizzical Quotes Contest #16A: Mr. Leonard Baumel, who opted not to share his mailing address with me (and can you blame him), so he forfeited his rights to a goody package; and one Kathy Berry, who did share her mailing address, so Kathy will be receiving some terrific oldspouse parting gifts, an old jury summons, some overdue parking tickets, and whatever else I can scrounge from the junk drawer.

 

I could take up a lot of space and give you the answers to the QQ quiz, but if you didn’t happen to read the contest questions from the last edition or you don’t care a quarter of a whit, then who gives a rat’s patoot. If you do give a rat’s patoot and are burning for the answers, you can e-mail me at roger.white@tasb.org. Put the words “Rat’s Patoot” in the subject line so the Spouseman will know it’s not spam or more naughty photos from that scary lady in Vermont.

 

Until next time, kids. Keep the freak flags flying and don’t cut your hair unless absolutely necessary.

 

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

 

A Cautionary Tale from the Planet Retha

27 Jul

by Regor White

 

Sit down, kids, and I’ll share a tale. Mikey, don’t sit so close to the fire. Your Keds are starting to melt. That’s it. OK, good.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (turn right at Andromeda, second star cluster on your left), there was a planet called Retha. The dominant species on the planet Retha were beings known as Nahums. Now, to energize their transport Planet Rethapods and to heat their dwelling units, for many years the Nahums of the good planet Retha used a substance known as ilo—a gooey byproduct of gigantic decayed creatures (called oarsiduns) that lived long before the Nahums.

As time went on, technology developed rapidly—as did the burgeoning population of Retha. The great thinkers and scientists of the planet began to wonder and worry about the safety and the continued availability of the resource ilo. They found, you see, that ilo gave off foul emissions when consumed for energy—and common sense told the thinkers that only so much ilo could be used before it was all gone. Furthermore, the thinkers had found wondrous ways to harness Retha’s natural, reusable energy—such as her great winds and the heat from her nearest star—to fulfill all of the planet’s power needs.

Alas, the influential and powerful Nahums who owned the ilo reserves resisted violently any consideration of these new energy discoveries. They intimidated the thinkers, employed their own so-called scientists to refute and discredit the thinkers, and they paid great sums to Retha’s lawgivers—an unscrupulous class Lopiticiansknown as Lopiticians—to ensure that laws and edicts quashed any and all acceptance of this upstart “renewable energy.”

Disaster followed disaster regarding use and transport of the volatile substance ilo—such as the great ilo spills in the waters of Oximec and Askala that killed all manner of creatures and fouled the once-healthy waters.

The strained rationalizations and twisted logic of the ilo elite reached the pinnacle of absurdity, however, when a process known as farcking became widespread in the Retha region known as North Aricema. Farcking was a procedure invented by the ilo industry to reach deep into Retha’s crust and force out pockets of ilo and its sister substance (called natural sag) by injecting great quantities of high-pressure liquid. This farcking process and the resultant injection of the mass quantities of farcking waste into Retha caused violent tremors—planet rumbles known as rethaquakes—where there had seldom ever been such tremors before.

In the North Aricema provinces of Sexta and Olkamoha, for example, where there had been an average of only one measurable rethaquake per year for decades, they began experiencing an average of 100 of these tremors per year since widespread farcking began there. Yet the pawns of the very wealthy ilo industry quakes!claimed there was no connection—no “concrete proof” of what was patently obvious.

Even after scientific journals all across Retha proved a definite link between the flurry of rethaquakes and the farcking procedures, the province of Sexta went so far as to forbid the governments of its very own villages to ban these rethaquake-inducing processes.

Under the guise of scholarship, ilo industry propagandists, such as the Institute for Policy Doublespeak in the village of Sallad (an ilo stronghold of the Sexta provincmr merrille) produced stories blaming geology itself for the uptick in rethaqakes. A Nahum named Merrill Swetmath, a “resident scholar” of the Doublespeak Institute, even wrote that the high-pressure injection of farcking wastes might be to blame, not the farcking itself. The ridiculous premise of this argument, of course, was that the waste-water injection WAS a basic component of the farcking process! Astounding, no?

Well, you probably know the outcome here, kids. The Lopiticians refused to listen to the scientists and true thinkers who were looking out for the future of Retha. The great and powerful ilo industry reigned supreme over the land—until, that is, swarms of rethaquakes ruined the landscape, and the ilo reserves eventually ran out, throwing an unprepared population into a new Dark Age. Poor Retha.

Thank goodness Earth is no Retha. Eh, kids?

 

Regor White is a freelance Nahum living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely spousal Nahum, two precocious offspring units, a very obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

Suburban Worldsick Blues

27 May

by Roger White

 

With a tip of the hat to a master chronicler of the American age, it must be noted that Bob Dylan never lived in a 3/2/2 with central heat/air and two and a half mortgages during a time when, by all appearances, our society is on the verge of utter decay—all viewable with the click of a mouse or touch of a pad.

 

So I give you “Suburban Worldsick Blues.”

 

Perry’s in the Capitol, railin’ against abortion,

I’m lookin’ at my taxes thinkin’ it’s extortion,

The man in the trench coat shootin’ up the school halls

Says he got bullied so everybody must fall.

 

Look out, dad, the economy is bad,

God knows what we did, but the country’s on the skids.

 

You better duck down, turn page, watch out for road rage,

Another mass swhyhooting, another senseless rampage,

Sterling’s on his cell phone reminiscin’ ’bout slavery,

Miley’s twerkin’ onstage, scandalous behavery.

 

Look out, mom, Gotta stay calm,

Soldiers in Kabul dodging roadside bombs.

 

Get sick, get well, they’re laying off again at Dell,

Are we winnin’ whatever war, it’s gettin’ kinda hard to tell,

Presidenidiotst says our healthcare system’s unfit,

All Congress says is where’s your birth certificate?

 

Well, Hormel, GM organizin’ recalls,

Bad meat, bad brakes, pickets down at town hall,

Daughter’s college fees call for medical sedation,

Building border walls to stifle immigration.

 

Look out, pop, no tellin’ where it stops,

Younger daughter’s boyfriend working at a head shop.

 

Mortgage underwater, excess beer consumption,

Viagra wants to help with that erectile dysfunction,

The factonoworkry just made a Chapter 11 declaration,

School board says it’s gonna teach divine creation.

 

Text tweet online, your selfie looking so fine,

Kids in Bosnia steppin’ on old land mines.

Icebergs meltin’, droughts killin’ all the wheat,

Just global warmin’ lies of the liberal elite.

 

Well, get dressed, get stressed, face the day’s traffic mess,

Oops, your job’s just been outsourced to Bangladesh.

Don’t follow leaders, take pills for all the cedars,

Find yourself a new position as a Walmart greeter.

 

Look out, mama, you’re dyin’ from the trauma,

Increase yer Prozac dosage, tune in the dalai lama.

 

Well, jump down a manhole, filibuster gun control,

thebardThink I saw a shadow up there beyond the grassy knoll,

Headin’ to the car, another day in the loony ward,

Shakin’ yer head ’cause the vandals keyed yer new Ford.

 

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

143a.

 

Galveston, Oh, Galveston…

14 Apr

by Roger White

 

It was high time recently for a mini-getaway. You know how it is. In the midst of those long weeks, dare I say months, between full-blown vacations, the work stress, kid stress, money stress, in-law stress, and no-football-on-TV stress pile up until your neck and shoulder muscles are clwhat theenched tighter than Joan Rivers’ cheeks. You develop a chronic eyelid twitch, and you suddenly find you have the posture of Marty Feldman’s grandfather. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel has dimmed to a faint flicker, and that tunnel hangs low and dark and menacing over your head like the belly of an unmarried pregnant velociraptor. Just go with that one, okay?

 

You can always tell when it’s time to cram the family in the trusty sedan and drive away for a few days. At least I can tell when it’s time—when the wife says it’s time, that’s when it’s time. So the other weekend, just as the steam began to vent from wifey’s ears, we piled the tribe into the Honda and headed south. To Galveston, in particular.

 

Now, despite what many of you hoity toity California beach hipsters or Jersey shore traditionalists may think, you can have a terrific time in the Oleander City without suffering any tarballs, mosquito-borne diseases, or attempted muggings. Really. Galveston’s nicknamed the Oleander City, by the way, because of the proliferation of the humongous, color-splashed flowers all over the place. The oleanders are gorgeous, but if you eat them you’ll fall over stone dead, just sayin’. So don’t eat them.

 

Anyway, we had a blast. If you want quiet oceanfront time, which we did mostly, rent a condo on East Beach. This is far from all the public hollering and drinking and shenanigans at Stewart Beach and points west down toward the curio shops, nightlife spots, and all the leather-skinned street people who talk to their hair and smell oddly of vinegar and machinery.

 

If you want action, rent some bikes or drive down Seawall Boulevard toward the lights and CRAB!!the signs featuring gigantic crabs and shrimp made of plaster of paris. There’s some good eatin’ at Gaido’s and The Spot and several other Seawall greasy spoons. Now, if you haven’t been to Galveston in a while, you’re not hallucinating when you spy a kaleidoscopic gaggle of roller coasters and ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds where the old Flagship Hotel used to be. The Flagship’s not on the pier anymore. The old gal finally sank. Ah, remember the crusty Flagship? Your room options weren’t smoking or non-smoking. They were roaches or rats, take yer pick. Yes, those were the days.

 

Nope, the ol’ Flagship has been replaced by the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The Landry’s folks bought the place and decided, after Hurricane Ike pretty much creamed it in 2008, that instead of trying to renovate the old fleabag, they’d start over with a small Pleasure Pier!amusement park. And by golly, they did it. As hard as it is to believe that you can stuff an entire amusement park onto that slender shaft jutting out over the water, the Pleasure Pier actually has more than a dozen rides—including a truly terrifying roller coaster—a gauntlet of carnival games, souvenir and sweet shops, and even a restaurant or two. Even our daughters, both of them thrill-ride veterans who can tell if an amusement park is the real deal or just a poseur, had grins plastered on them by the time they were done.

 

What’s even cooler about the Pleasure Pier is that they offer field trips/classes for schools, wherein the kids do coursework in between the rides. They have textbooks and everything, all tying in s141a. to your ritauch disciplines as physics and math to each ride. Here’s a sample question, I kid you not: “For safety purposes, the Carousel’s floor is coated with a nonstick surface that has a coefficient of friction with the average pair of sneakers equal to 0.7. With this coefficient of friction, how fast would the rider have to be moving while standing next to one of the outer-ring horses to be thrown off the ride?”

 

Judging from this and other questions I read, I’m thankful I went to school in the era of Dick and Jane.

 

Anyway, fun was had by all, and we even won a giant inflatable alien the girls nicknamed George Lopez. And the getaway seemed to work. My eyelid twitch is pretty much gone. Posture’s better. The Joan Rivers muscle tone has eased. Now if I can just get these jellyfish lookit the pretty AAAHH!barbs out of my feet. Watch yer step on those moonlight beach strolls, ’kay?

 

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

 

The Oklo Device Now Available on Amazon

18 Sep

Here’s the premise, gang:

Evelyn Gilmore, a headstrong black anthropologist, is onto what she hopes is the discovery of a lifetime when she begins an excavation in the northern Brazilian town of Salvador. But what she anticipates as the uncovering of relics from a 19th-century slave revolt becomes the deconstruction of everything we know about human history—as Oklo_Cover_hi-resshe finds in a 900-foot-deep cavern modern technology from a time before man ever walked the earth.

And this much is fact:

In the spring of 1972, nuclear scientists at a uranium enrichment plant in southeastern France made a startling discovery. While studying samples from the Oklo uranium mine in the central African country of Gabon, the French researchers found that the quantity of the isotope U235 was considerably depleted from uranium mined at Oklo. Uranium can be depleted in this way by only two means—through either an atomic explosion or a nuclear reactor. It was clear from their evidence that these uranium samples had undergone a nuclear reaction hundreds of millions of years ago. After considerable consternation and debate, researchers theorized that this must have been a very unique but natural process. Although the Oklo site is the only known location on Earth where such a reaction has occurred, this sole explanation for a prehistoric nuclear event has been accepted as fact to this day.

And here it is on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Oklo-Device-ebook/dp/B00F9IPO04/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379510327&sr=1-1

Fantastic cover art was done by Austin artist Steve Willgren.

 

Best to you,

Roger Oldspouse Crichton Rowling King Hemingway

Just What IS The Oklo Device?

13 Sep

Dear This Old Spouse Followers, Friends, and Faithful,

 

Join me on an adventure, if you would. Do you want to read something truly terrifying? I’m serious here—for once. I have a startling, unsettling story for you.

 

It’s called The Oklo Device.

 

The earth’s mysteries have always intrigued me. Despite all of our scientific and technological advances, there are still phenomena on this planet that remain unknown. Unexplainable. This one, in particular—the mystery of the Oklo mines—has fascinated and vexed me for so long that I finally sat down and wrote a book about it.

 

Oklo_Cover_hi-resThis much is fact—you can look it up. In the spring of 1972, nuclear scientists at a uranium enrichment plant in southeastern France made a shocking discovery. While studying samples from a uranium mine at a place called Oklo in the central African country of Gabon, French researchers found that the atomic energy was all but depleted from uranium mined at Oklo. Uranium can be altered in this way by only two means—through either an atomic explosion or in a nuclear reactor. These samples, mind you, were proven to be hundreds of millions of years old. It was clear from their evidence that these ancient uranium samples had undergone some type of nuclear reaction eons before man ever walked the earth. After considerable consternation and debate, researchers theorized that this must have been an absolutely unique but natural process. Although the Oklo site is the only known location on Earth where such a reaction has occurred, this sole explanation for a prehistoric nuclear event has been accepted as fact for more than 40 years. What is baffling to me is how this potentially shattering discovery has received such little notice in the media.

 

There have been alternative theories, but no one has seriously challenged this fantastic truth—until now. Go here, if you would:

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354657

 

At the bottom of this web site’s page, you’ll see a link labeled “View” under a headline that says available reading formats. Click on it, and you’ll have access to this astonishing chronicle.

 

If you remain intrigued after the first 50 pages, e-mail me at roger.white@tasb.org, and I’ll give you the rest of the story. Tell me what you think of it—what you think is true. Please share this story if it took hold of you. There is more out there than most of us know.

 

I’m Blowing the Lid Off The Candy Desk

6 Mar

by Roger White

 

Oh, my cosmic cohort, there are so many secrets. So many insider goings-on that we, the average work-a-day peons, know nothing of. Woops, ended a sentence with a preposition there. I meant to say “so many shenanigans of the rich and powerful that we pee-a-day workons of which know so little.” Or something.

 

You know, we hear things now and again. We get these vague hints of the clandestine workings of the movers and shakers. Like the Bohemian Grove. Have you heard of the Grove? This is a private patch of forest in California where, every summer for a fortnight The Groveor so, presidents and industrial magnets and oil typhoons and such all gather to rub elbows and smoke cigars and urinate outdoors. Women aren’t allowed, presumably because they would ruin the whole pee-party milieu. Look it up if you think I’m joshing.

 

There are other such truths kept in the shadows. Hopefully, most of them don’t involve urinating outdoors. Ya know, stuff like Area 51; secret underground bases where alien races are kept as gold-mining slaves; the president’s ultra-secret attaché case; black helicopters; Skull and Bones; the Freemasons (not to be confused with the Freemansons, a cult that worships deceased Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson); etc. BUT…there’s one tightly kept secret I recently uncovered that will curl your ear hair. I don’t think even Alex Jones has gotten wind of this one.

 

It’s…

 

… The Candy Desk.

 

Yes. The Candy Desk. Unbeknownst to the common rabble, since 1968 U.S. lawmakers have kept a hidden stash of gum and jawbreakers and little butterscotch treats in a secret desk somewhere on the floor of the congressional chamber. The whole thing apparently started with a California senator named George Murphy, and for some reason, The Candy Desk has largely been in Republican hands ever since. That makes sense somehow. Ostensibly, the desk of delectability is accessible to both parties, but given today’s polarized political environment, I would imagine the Democrats are relegated to the The Desksecond-tier sweets—you know, the licorice and candy corns and all those off-brand pieces of drek you find in your Halloween bag. Meanwhile, I’ll bet the Repubs get the Dove bars and Milky Ways and all. It’s outrageous, really. I can accept the political infighting creating such gridlock that the nation’s economy ends up in total ruin, destroying millions of American lives—but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit by while the political heirs of greats such as Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neill, and LBJ have to chew on Smartees and Necco Wafers while the fat-cat Republicans hog all the Hersheys.

 

Anyway, this was not my major point. While tracking down the history of The Candy Desk, I found some other secret stashes—these hidden in the chambers and catacombs of many of our very own state legislatures. Take, for instance, the Colorado General Assembly in Denver. Did you know that in the Colorado House of Representatives chamber, there is—known to only lawmakers and a few insiders—The Doobage Desk. Yes. This is why, although there is still a political divide in the Rocky Mountain State, it consists mainly of debate over things such as naming the State Munchie. At present, the Dems favor Xtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, while the Repubs lean toward Caramel Kettle Korn.

 

There are others. In the State Capitol in Austin, you have The Ammo Armoire, for those forgetful lawmakers who may have left their sidearm bullets at home. The Florida Inside the Ammo ArmoireLegislature in Tallahassee has a well-hidden desk known as The Hanging Chad Hamper, where legislators can view with pride their state’s claim to national fame. The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson houses The Dictionary Drawer, to be used to look up those pesky big words and spellings of high-falutin’ terms. In Sacramento, capital of the debt-ridden California State Legislature, they have The Coupon Cubby. This is a secret pile of two-for-one lunch deals at Arby’s and such for lawmakers working for a state on the brink of total collapse. Now, here’s an interesting one. In the lower Alaska House of Representatives chamber in Juneau, they have a well-guarded little cabinet known as The Binocular Bureau. Alaskan lawmakers dip into this now and again so they can view Russia, following the lead of that great Alaskan, Sarah Palin.

 

I’m thinking of starting a secret drawer of my own here at work. Known only to me and those like me, it will be accessible only through a cryptic passcode, kept by me. I’ll call it, say, The Smirnoff Shelf. Oh, wait. I already have that. Well then, skoal!

 

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

 

Reconnaissance Specialist Zorbum 9Smith Reports

29 Feb

by Roger White

 

“Oh, I used to be disgusted,

And now I try to be amused…”

—Elvis Costello

 

“Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.”

—Commander Buck Murdock, Airplane II, The Sequel

 

Floating far above the clouds somewhere over the Great Plains, a gargantuan monolithic door composed of a mysterious synthetic skin slides silently up, and the great silver mothership swallows a lozenge-shaped shuttlecraft.

Reconnaissance Specialist Zorbum 9Smith exits the shuttlecraft and immediately reports to Captain Vnnn-pu. After the traditional Andromedan earlobe-sniffing ceremony of greeting, Specialist 9Smith readies for the debriefing.

“9Smith,” Captain Vnnn-pu mindmelds, “your mission was to observe this planet’s most advanced, most powerful nation and report on your impressions of its culture. What are your findings?”

“Honored Captain, if you would open your mind to Subchannel Y, I have prepared a Mental PowerPoint presentation,” 9Smith melds. “I believe you will be most intrigued, as was I. Please disregard those first two slides. That is me at a ritualistic labor ceremony of the Western world.”

“What is this ritualistic labor ceremony called?”

“The happy hour,” 9Smith reports. “Work force representatives convene at small, local shrines to partake of what I can only presume are holy elixirs, plot overthrow of their labor overlords, and perform pre-mating functions with work force representatives of the opposite sex.”

“I see. The gyrations are quite peculiar. And what is that device on your subcranium?”

“That is termed a lamp shade,” 9Smith melds, referring to his notes. “Apparently, this is a sacred crown worn during the advanced stages of the happy hour ceremony.”

“Good.” Captain Vnnn-pu nods, mentally smiling. “You must have gained their trust to be honored so. And your report?”

“This is a land of many ironies, Captain. And I know how a good irony sets your drachio-chords to vibrating.”

“Yes, yes. Juicy irony.”

“Observe your mindscreen, Captain. These are just a few examples:

“In this culture, personal vehicles that would save the most currency for drivers—vehicles the earthlings have finally invented to run without using deceased dinosaur fluids—are priced out of reach for those drivers who would need the currency savings the most.”

“Most odd,” Captain Vnnn-pu notes.

“It becomes worse,” 9Smith melds. “Domestic energy alternatives, such as solar panels, energy-efficient windows and doors, and appliances that cost the least currency to operate—and even longer-lasting, currency-saving light-producing modules—are the very things the poor among this society cannot afford.”

Captain Vnnn-pu mentally sighs. “Continue.”

“It seems that humans who operate their personal vehicles the fastest on earth streets and highways are generally the humans least qualified to drive at any speed.

“Further, the media with the most power to influence humans in this culture—movies and television—and would therefore obviously hold themselves to the highest standards of storytelling, worthwhile entertainment, and adherence to the principle of doing the most good for the most people, instead regularly produce such products as ‘Booty Call,’ ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’, ‘Deuce Bigalow,’ ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,’ and ‘The Jerry Springer Show,’ to name just a few.”

Captain Vnnn-pu shudders, his drachio-chords humming.

“Also, professions that have the potential to make the most positive impact on cultural progress—such as teaching—are consistently near the bottom of the human pay scale, while those who play children’s games for a living make millions of earth dollars per year.”

“Astounding.”

“What’s more, these fully grown children-men are idolized and revered by most everyone in the society—namely the males—despite the children-men’s propensity to disregard the society’s laws and morés, injure one another and themselves with firearms, ingest illegal performance-enhancing substances, and generally behave like preteen humans.”

“I must sit,” Captain Vnnn-pu admits. “My drachio-chords. Go on.”

“Those humans with the most varied and abundant life experiences, who would be revered and honored by any thinking society—the elderly—are by and large relegated to the shadows, often to die alone, in poverty, or in dormitory-like detention centers known as care facilities.

“Get this, the humans who vie for public office are most interesting. These humans claim to have ‘the average Joe’s values at heart,’ yet they are generally among the most very wealthy and privileged among them. From my observation, the average human citizen wouldn’t have anywhere near the financial means, the family pedigree, the television actor’s visage, or the innate ability to switch sentiments on a whim as do these humans. A most perplexing and frightening breed.”

“Who are these humans?”

“They call them politicians, Captain. A most untrustworthy type, yet the humans bestow upon them the most power of all, it seems.”

“And this ‘average Joe?’”

Specialist 9Smith mentally shakes his subcranium. “Apparently, not the brightest of creatures.”

“Please, the drachio-chords.”

“Lieutenant Kranki-5, please get the captain a container of neep juice.”

 “Is there more?”

“Oh, much, much more, Captain. I will relate only a few, however. This one possibly intrigues me the most. The very nature of accruing wealth is quite obviously tipped in the favor of the already-wealthy humans.”

“What is wealth again, 9Smith?”

“The accumulation of personal currency. Unlike Andromeda, sir, where every citizen is guaranteed equal access to life necessities, here one must earn and trade currency to ensure continued sustenance, care, and shelter.”

“Most curious.”

“It is a true subcranium-scratcher: The cycle of wealth begetting wealth and poverty begetting poverty appears solid and unshakeable. For the large part, it appears the wealthy human tribes will always be the wealthy, and the same with the poor humans. Any real attempt at wealth-sharing appears lacking.

“Also, human corporate leaders—bosses, they are called. In companies large or small, these are the very humans who have no need to park closest to the building because no one apparently cares if they are tardy. Yet, oddly, these are the humans with the most convenient vehicle parking spots.”

“Bosses, eh? Perhaps bosses cannot walk so well.”

“I do not know. But in a related observation, these bosses many times are given personal vehicles free of charge, when their ability to purchase such vehicles is many times greater than those humans who appear to work longer hours and park much farther away.

“Continuing, humans have more work-saving devices and more automated systems than ever in their history, yet this generation seems destined to work many more years of their lives than several generations previous.”

“And why is this?”

“It all has something to do with some dreadful collision.”

“Collision?”

Specialist 9Smith refers to his notes. “Yes, a terrible crash on, let’s see here, Wall Street.”

“Strange. Proceed.”

“More is known now among humans about health and nutrition for young humans, and more affordable access to quality choices for human children is available to  more families than at any other time in human history, yet childhood obesity and diabetes appear to be at epidemic proportions—and human childhood hunger remains a problem.

“Additionally, with the advent of cable and satellite, humans now have thousands of television wavelengths available for viewing every night, yet when one mindmelds with the humans, it appears the choices of quality programs are nowhere near as desirable as, say, A.D. 1962—when one could choose from among “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Gunsmoke,” or “The Ed Sullivan Show” from among the three network channels the humans had then.”

“Andy Griffith. Was he a great leader?”

“On the local level, yes, Captain. Apparently an outstanding officer of the law.”

“Please, no more, 9Smith, no more. Anything positive to report?”

“Well, yes. One of the culture’s leaders here announced that humans may soon be able to keep their shoes on when they arrive at air travel centers.”

“Shoes?” Captain Vnnn-pu queries. “Why on Andromeda would the humans need to take off their shoes at air travel centers in the first place?”

“It’s a long story, Captain.”

 

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

Whatever Happened to Yesterday’s Tomorrow?

31 Aug

by Roger White 

It sideswiped me as I was watching the movie “Blade Runner” the other day: We, as human types, tend to either fantastically overestimate ourselves or woefully underestimate ourselves. We don’t have what you would call a crystalline view of just who we are. Or maybe we do, and we simply don’t like what we see. So we embellish a bit.

Let me splain, Lucy. If you recall the premise of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi film noir, Harrison Ford was a Los Angeles cop in the year 2019, tasked with tracking down rebellious human replicants who had escaped the offworld colonies and were terrorizing people, spraying graffiti everywhere, and generally wreaking futuristic havoc. LA was a rainy, crowded, grimy mess, but we did have nifty gravity-defying Jetson cars, all sorts of cool robot toys, and apparently four-bedroom villas on the moon. And Darryl Hannah had great legs. For a replicant.

Kids, 2019 is only about seven years down the road (assuming the Mayans simply ran out of writing utensils and 2012 is not the ultimate calendar), and I really don’t see a gravity-defying Honda Civic hovering over my driveway anytime soon. Interesting, isn’t it, how badly we miss the mark when conjuring the future? We either envision that we’ve made such tremendous advances that we have a Wal-Mart on Neptune in a few decades or we’ve somehow erased ourselves from the cosmos entirely with (pick your poison) nuclear war, mutant avian flu, ozone layer neglect, overpopulation, underpopulation, zombie attack, alien invasion, bedbug pandemic, or End of Days Wrath incurred from The Big Guy. The one thing many religious texts and Hollywood have in common is the opinion that we’re not quite measuring up to The Head Honcho’s standards, if ya know what I mean. Personally, I think we’re being a little hard on ourselves, but that’s just me.

Let me give you some more examples. The Twilight Zone episode “The Long Morrow,” which aired in 1964, presented the dilemma of an astronaut in 1987 who was deliberating on whether he should be placed in suspended animation for his 40-year voyage to a star system 141 light years away. In reality, do you remember where we were technology-wise, as a civilization, in 1987? The only significant events I could dredge up from that year were the invention of the disposable contact lens, the launching of the Fox network on primetime television (oh, joy), and the world land speed record set by a diesel-powered locomotive at a mind-boggling 147 miles per hour. Oh, I almost forgot, “The Simpsons” debuted that year as a short film on “The Tracey Ullman Show.” And there was much rejoicing.

On the flip side of this—again using Mr. Serling’s master work for reference—the Zone episode entitled “The Old Man in the Cave,” which aired in 1963, gave us a post-apocalyptic view of an American wasteland, burned to dust after a nuclear holocaust that occurred in 1974. Everyone was going hungry; even the canned goods were irradiated. Then James Coburn came along and told them all it was okay to eat the food. No!!! Don’t do it!! Anyway, let’s compare to the reality. My research shows that there was a soccer stampede in Cairo in 1974 that killed 49 people, but I wouldn’t term that an apocalypse. A Hungarian guy invented the Rubik’s Cube that year, which is pretty horrible (you’ll concur if you’ve ever tried to solve one of these devils), but still, this doesn’t stack up to nuclear holocaust.

What I’m getting at, people, is that we’re all just regular guys, doing regular stuff, putting the cat out, brushing our teeth, going to bed, and doing it all over again the next day. And we will go on like this, our lives a gradual bell curve of existence, until the one that left us here returns for us at last. (Tip o’ the hat to The Youngbloods.)

Sorry, Rod. Our apologies, Mr. Wells. Condolences, Ridley. We’re not sinking foundations into the soil of Venus for residential development and neighborhood Starbucks franchises in the near future; but then again, we haven’t allowed our nasty little cockroach cousins to take over Wall Street by extinguishing ourselves, either. Maybe I should rephrase that. Anyway, we’re just muddling along, still waiting for the green left-turn arrow, still raising chickens for food, still tunneling into our planet for energy and treasure. Guess it is a tad boring, going by yesterday’s prognosticators.

Perhaps 50 years from now, when future types look back on us from the helms of their intergalactic starships, they’ll laugh at how silly we were. Then again, laughter may have been abolished by then. Who knows? (Insert Twilight Zone theme music here.)

 

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

Taxes Repel Aliens. Here’s Why.

7 Mar

by Roger White

Take off the tin-foil hats, stop stockpiling Clark bars and juice, cancel the ham radio lessons. I know for a fact that aliens will never take over the world, at least not by subterfuge. You’ve seen the movies. You know, like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” where the devious Martians spring from overgrown green pea pods and disguise themselves as everyday people, except that they never can get the recipe for human expression down quite right. They always end up with all the charm, personality and emotional sincerity of a Bjorn Borg or a Keanu Reeves. Why is this man an actor, by the way? Name me one movie in which Keanu Reeves shows one iota of acting skill. He’s only up there on the big screen because he’s cute and has nice hair. It is not the American way to put people in positions of power merely because they’re cute and have nice hair, is it? Um, never mind.

Anyway, in real life, lack of sincere emotion wouldn’t be the giveaway for the alien hordes. Before it ever came down to a clash between our puny weapons and their ultra-cool technology, before they ever began shedding their human cloaks and herding us like Nike-shod cattle into those sleek, gray rooms for horrifying experimentation (why are aliens so obsessed with probing our backsides, anyway? the pervs), the aliens would be exposed because of one aspect of the human condition that we all take for granted living on planet earth. And no, I’m not talking about germs. You think aliens don’t know about germs? Please. Look at them, they’re crawling with germs—they even look like germs, for crying out loud.

No, what will trip up our outer-space adversaries in their quest for domination of our cozy little blue marble will be the tax code. No living being, even those with brains the size of washing machines, can sit at a table with a tax booklet, paper, and pencil and rationally decipher the 1040 form. I tried to fill out our taxes last weekend, and after five hours of earnest weeping, two forests of crumpled papers, eight cups of jet-black coffee, six screaming tirades, and one rather unsettling episode of giggling, I gave up because one of my ears started bleeding.

I truly believe that the people who concoct the questions on the 1040 form are sadistic former psychology majors. Remember when you were in college, and you volunteered for that study where the psychology major put you alone in a room (with the two-way mirror) and told you to jump up and down on one foot while tossing a tennis ball in the air until he came back to tell you to stop? The study is not about manual dexterity; it’s about how gullible you are. (I was the guy who kept jumping and tossing. I don’t like to make waves. I was afraid of some sort of punishment if I stopped.)

Anyway, it’s the same principle with the tax forms. I mean, come on:

48. Go back to line 7. Now, if the total of Line 7 and Line 9 equals the square root of your 1974 tax return’s weight in metric grams, then fold Form 299A (see instructions) at right angles and multiply the hypotenuse of the resulting triangle by the total exhaust emissions from your spouse’s vehicle during the previous year’s cloudiest week (not counting June and September in Arizona and/or Cincinnati). If not, then enter zero unless you are claiming the $2,000 patriot provision as found in Form S81 Subform 32xL (see the man in the coat). Now, …

If you look really hard, you’ll notice some squiggly lines on some of these questions on the 1040 form. You know what that’s from? The IRS guys laughing so hard that they fell over on the copying machine, which smudged the form. You know and I know it doesn’t have to be this hard.

Then again, maybe it does. This is what keeps us safe from the aliens. Any time an alien advance force takes human shape and tries to blend in with us, they are always outed, without fail, when their heads explode as they attempt to do their taxes.

God bless America.

 

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