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A Gander Ahead at 2019, the Year of the Goiter

5 Jan

by Roger White


Ah, my catatonic cohort, as we stagger forward into 2019, which I believe is the Chinese Year of the Goiter, allow me to gaze into my patented (Patent #4,448,923.e-7) Oldspouse Ball of Crystal-like Substance and render forth an inkling of what is on the horizon in the delirious days to come.


goiter dude

Right off the bat, as the mist clears in my little pearl of prognostication, I see, wait, there it is, I see the late Walter Matthau at a podium. No, wait, my bad, that’s White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She is announcing that there will no longer be an annual State of the Union address. This, she says, will be replaced by the president’s hourly Tweet of the Union, in which actual verbs and coherent spelling will be optional. But there’s more. Here we go, read along, if you will:


In the World of Business. In late April, in violence-ridden Chicago, two enterprising entrepreneurs come up with a safety-conscious version of the Uber ride-sharing initiative—this one utilizing surplus US Army tanks to ferry passengers from point A to point B. Tuber, the company is called, allows up to four people to ride in a WWII-vintage M4 Sherman tank to their desired destinations. For an extra charge, passengers may fire the Sherman’s 75-mm cannon at a Starbucks of their choice (although the cannon is armed only with yellow house paint and fifty-gallon canisters of glitter). The White House responds to this development by promising to build 20-foot-high walls made of baked knishes around every Starbucks franchise in the greater Chicago area. Press Secretary Sanders notes that the president will make the US military, primarily former US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, pay for the $250-million knish construction.


In Weather. In late August, following a record 147 days of 115-degree temperatures, the town of Lovelock, Nevada, spontaneously combusts, incinerating every building in a two-square-mile radius of downtown Lovelock. Fortunately, only three people are killed, as almost every citizen of the town of approximately 2,000 people departed to stay with poor lovelockrelatives until the unprecedented heat wave subsided. In response to the vast majority of world scientists explaining that the disaster was a direct result of drastic global warming, the White House imposes a national ban on world scientists and begins plans to construct a 20-foot-high wall made of anthracite coal around the headquarters of the US Environmental Protection Agency.


In Social Developments. The #MeToo Movement retakes the national spotlight in September, as no less than 25 prominent women in areas of endeavor from politics to show business, from sports to finance and industry come forward with personal accounts of harassment and inappropriate behavior leveled against mainly white men in positions of great power. In response, the White House announces a national ban on Gwyneth Paltrow and begins plans to engineer a 20-foot-high wall of ribbed latex around every white male American CEO, Congressman, movie producer, and member of the Catholic Church.


In Sports. In October, the surprising Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball’s American League Central Division complete their amazing 2019 season by sweeping the National League’s St. Louis Cardinals, four games to none, to claim the World Series trophy. After hearing that Tigers’ Venezuelan first baseman Miguel Cabrera earned the series Most Valuable Player award—and discovering that the Tigers lead the majors in Hispanic players on the roster—the White House proposes to end all shipments of bats, balls, gloves, and other baseball equipment to all Latin American countries and begins formulating plans to construct a 20-foot-high wall made of hot dog buns around Detroit’s Comerica Park.


In Trends. In mid-November, the makers of the plant-based meat substitute Beyond Meat announce the development of three more innovative concepts: Beyond Clothes (in which slacks, shirts, and dresses are replaced by edible dashikis made of tofu and soy pulp), Beyond Food (in which users’ desires to actually consume food are tempered by scented holograms of rotting whale carcasses), and Beyond Sex (in which users’ sexual urges are dampened by audio recordings of Gilbert Gottfried describing his genitalia in gilbertminute detail). In response, the White House declares an immediate national ban on all plants and vegetables and begins plans to construct a 20-foot-high wall made of dried beef jerky around every Golden Corral and Bonanza steakhouse in the country.


And in Political News. By December, the political stalemate in Washington, D.C., finally ends as Congress announces it has quashed efforts to construct a gigantic wall along the wallnation’s southern border. This lifts the 352-day-long partial government shutdown, during which 4,500 federal employees perished from lack of food and medical care. The White House responds with a total national ban on federal employees and begins plans to construct a 20-foot-high wall around the partially constructed 20-foot-high wall currently in place on the nation’s southern border.


Roger White is a 20-foot-high freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely 20-foot-high spouse, a gas-powered dachshund, and a cat recovering from Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit

Time for Old Rockers to Tinker with their Tunes

24 Aug

by Roger White

A friend recently posted on Facebook a snippet of herself at a Kansas concert, and it really got me thinking. No, it wasn’t a concert in Topeka—it was a show featuring that well-seasoned rock band Kansas. Yes, they’re actually still around, and yes, they’re actually still touring. My first thought upon viewing this short clip was to make a mental sticky-note to myself, which will read: “Note to self: Never post a clip on Facebook of you singing along with any band anywhere.” All you can hear in this video clip is our friend wailing out “Carry On My Wayward Son” at the top of her lungs, presumably as the guys on stage paid to sing the song are doing likewise. It weren’t pretty.

The second thought that swam across the shallow stream of consciousness that is my brain was “Aren’t the members of Kansas like, 87 years old now? Shouldn’t they be singing something like ‘Carry On My Wayward Grandson’?”


Apparently, as Bob Seger opined long ago, rock and roll never forgets—as will attest many an aging rock outfit (they call them “legacy bands” now, which is code for “old fart rockers”). And these antique acts haven’t forgotten that we old fart fans will still pay good cash money to hear “Satisfaction” or “Born to Run” live just one more time before we all keel over. It’s amazing how many wrinkled ol—er, I mean, legacy bands are still at it. Just look at the lineup for Austin’s One World Theatre for any given month; nine out of ten acts playing there are card-carrying AARP members.

And this got me thinking further. I do believe it’s time for some of these long-in-the-tooth bands to tinker with their repertoire a bit to more properly reflect where they are in life. I mean, come on, Donny Osmond’s pushing 60. Can he still authentically pine about his “Puppy Love”? Instead of “Dust in the Wind,” Kansas should be singing something more along the lines of “Dust in Your Depends.”

double gads

So, herewith are some gentle oldspouse suggestions for revisions to many of our generation’s classic, albeit geriatric, gems, in no particular order:

  • The Rolling Stones: “I Can’t Hear You Knocking”; “Ruby Snoozeday”; “When the Hip Goes Out”; “You Always Forget What You Want”
  • Chicago: “Does Anybody Really Know What Day This Is?”; “If You Bathe Me Now”; “Questions 67 and, Uh”
  • The Eagles: “Hotel Neuralgia”; “Life with the Gas Pain”; “Glaucoma Sunrise”; “After the Pills Are Gone”
  • The Who: “Talkin’ ’Bout my Medication”; “Behind Bad Eyes”
  • Bad Company: “Feel Like Makin’ Fudge”; “Rockin’ Chair Fantasy”; “Can’t Get Enough of Your Prunes”
  • Black Sabbath: “Iron (Deficiency) Man”; “Hemorrhoid”; “Bark at the Nurse”
  • Beach Boys: “Be True to Your Stool”; “Catatonia Girls”; “Good Fibrillations”
  • Bruce Springsteen: “Vitamin E Street Shuffle”; “I’m Goin’ Down (And I Can’t Get Up)”; “Tenth Avenue Wheeze Out”
  • Crosby, Stills, & Nash: “Almost Grew Some Hair”; “Find the Cost of Lasik”; “Helplessly Scoping”fourple gads
  • Deep Purple: “Stroke on the Water”; “Face Tuckin’”
  • Doobie Brothers: “Long Vein Runnin’”; “Angina Grove”; “Takin’ It to the Sheets”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Rest Home Alabama”
  • Foreigner: “Feels Like the Last Time”; “I Wanna Know What Today Is”
  • Steely Dan: “Rikki Don’t Lose Your Walker”; “My Old Stool”
  • Neil Young: “Down by My Liver”; “A Man Needs a Nurse”; “Enema Girl”
  • The Monkees: “Last Train to Restville”; “(I’ve Got Your) Kidney Stone”
  • Billy Joel: “Just the Way You Snore”; “Scenes From an Italian Rest Home”
  • Todd Rundgren: “I Saw the Nightlight”; “We Gotta Get You a Bypass”
  • Sly and the Family Stone: “You Can Wake Up If You Try”; “Thank You (Falletinme Feed Mice Elf Agin)”
  • KC & The Sunshine Band: “Get Sleep Tonight”; “Shake Your Footies”
  • The Kinks: “Dedicated Follower of Napping”; “You Really Got Gout”
  • Three Dog Night: “Try a Little Dulcolax”; “Just an Old-Fashioned Gallstone”
  • Jefferson Airplane: “Go Ask Cialis”

These are just suggestions, mind you. I had a few more in mind, but you get the picture. Besides, this compilation began to seriously eat into my nap time.


Roger White is a freelance old person living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious offspring, a very obese but mannerful dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit Or not.

Ketchup on Your Dog? NOT in Chicago. It’s the Law. I Think.

17 Jul

by Roger White


Salutations, my carefree cadre of cosmic cadets. Oh, mi amigos, sometimes the fates simply will not let you escape what you’re trying to escape from because there’s just no escape from the thing you wish to escape. From. Dig? I’ll give you an e.g. Take the heat. Spouseman had a quasi-business trip to Chicago recently, so I folded the family into the Samsonites and jaunted off in earnest hopes of glorious non-triple-digit climes. Hah. The Big Guy doth chuckle. We stepped out of the cab from Midway Airport onto the baking intersection of Grand and Michigan and promptly melted into the pavement. Seems I packed the heat wave in with the family and the underwear. Thus I believe we lent a new meaning to the term “packing heat.”

As we admired the downtown skyline, 29 cars, buses, and taxis immediately honked at us to get our Texas butts out of the road. Welcome to the City of Big Shoulders! There would be ample honking and sirens as the days progressed.

Actually, as the week went on the temps smoothed out a bit, and the constant Lake Michigan breeze felt downright nice. But Chi-town its own self was quite the learning experience.

Much of the Chicago scene involves eating. It’s good eating, too, but there are rules. Statutes and laws even. For example, under no circumstances may anyone in the greater metropolitan city limits put ketchup or any squashed-tomato-like product on a hot dog. It is strictly verboten. Vendors display large signs to this effect. Onions, relish, mustard, pickles, peppers, paprika, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme are all fine for your frankfurter, but no ketchup.

To wit, our stroll through Millennium Park near the hotel on our first day was jolted by the sight of two of Chicago’s finest cuffing a man lying face-first in the grass. Uh oh, we thought. We’d been warned to be wary of big-city crime.

“What happened, officer?” I asked a backup policeman standing nearby.

“K.O.D.,” the officer replied grimly.


“K.O.D. Ketchup On Dog. Stand back, please.”

“I swear, I thought it was the mustard,” the guy pleaded, his mouth and hands smeared a ghastly, guilty red. “It was a mistake!”

“Take him away.”

Chicagoans take their dogs seriously. There’s even a Wikipedia entry:

“A Chicago-style hot dog, or Chicago Dog, is a steamed or water-simmered all-beef frankfurter on a poppyseed bun. The dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled peppers, and a dash of celery salt. The complete assembly of a Chicago hot dog is said to be ‘dragged through the garden’ due to the many toppings. Some variants exist, adding ingredients such as cucumber slices, but the canonical recipe does not include ketchup, and there is a widely shared, strong opinion among many Chicagoans and aficionados that ketchup is unacceptable. A number of Chicago hot dog vendors do not even offer ketchup as a condiment, while those who do often use it as a litmus test.”

Or as part of a police sting, as the case may be.

There are plenty of culinary delights besides the eponymous dog, including some of the best Italian food west of New Jersey, but, again, there are attendant rules and regulations. Please pay attention, because although the folks we met in Chicago were friendly and affable, when it comes to food they mean business.

Near the famous Lincoln Park Zoo, for another e.g., there’s a terrific pub/eatery called R.J. Grunt’s. And at R.J. Grunt’s, where the proprietors claim to have invented the modern-day salad bar, you can pile everything from aardvark shavings to zinnia petals on your scrumptious salad, but if you’re caught sharing with a non-salad-bar patron—even your mom—you will be hauled off on an S.S.B.

We’d been in town for a few days by the time we hit Grunt’s, so we were practically Chicagoans ourselves by this time. As they took away one particular crouton criminal, a wide-eyed tourist sidled up to me.

“What happened?” he asked.



“Sharing Salad Bar. Stand back, please.”

But far and away our most exciting brush with Chicago’s culinary commandments was at the one and only Billy Goat Tavern tucked under the bridge on Michigan Avenue. Yep, this is the place that inspired the classic Saturday Night Live “cheezeborger, cheezeborger, cheezeborger” skit.

It’s all true. Except it’s “no Pepsi, Coke” instead of the “no Coke, Pepsi” John Belushi recited in the SNL skit. Apparently, Belushi figured “no Coke, Pepsi” sounded funnier, and who can argue his comedic brilliance? All the rest you remember from the skit is right on, however. The waitress bullied us into not only “cheezeborgers” but double “cheezeborgers” at that—and they were worth it. I’m doing a Pavlovian salivation thing right now just typing about them.

And yes, there are no fries. No fries, cheeps. There’s a great big sign warning you, so you’ve only yourself to blame if you get hauled away on an F.F.T.


“French Fry Try. Stand back, please.”

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