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Lenticular Haiku, by Sir Archie Ferndoodle

9 Jan

by Roger White

Fellow time/space voyagers and other occasional devotees of “This Old Blouse,” I am more tickled than a duffel bag full of marsupials to announce the return of my dear friend, front porch sartorial mentor, and fellow breakfast-nook philologist, Sir Archie Ferndoodle (applause, applause, applause).

Yes, the former poet laureate of the Greater Southwestern Scribes Society, which meets every third Thursday in the back of Sue’s Salon in Cement, Texas, has been gently coaxed out of quasi-retirement to once again bless us with phrasings, words, syllables, parts of syllables, and renderings of nocturnal animal sounds from the Ulan Bator region as only Sir Archie can. (And remember, if you mention this column at Sue’s Salon, you get 10 percent off a five-ounce jar of Sue’s Coconut Heel Scrub with the purchase of at least $20, not including her patented Tomato-Lye Jamboree Hair Tonic.)     

As I’m sure you remember, the esteemed Fernie holds an associate’s degree in postmodern comparative limerick studies from the University of Southern Panama’s Correspondence College and has been featured five times in the American Anthology of Poetry. Just a few of his classics include “Oh, Staff Sergeant, My Staff Sergeant!,” “Why Is the Man Always from Nantucket?,” “The Squirrels Stopped Talking to Me Today,” and his latest, “A Stitch, a Horse, and a Can of Pearl,” which was the inside-cover poem in the most recent edition of the Cement Area Greensheet.

The more astute of you may have seen Fernie’s hand in the Christmas edition of “This Old Mouse.” Raise your hand if you had the notion that Sir Archie was the ghostpen behind“The Nitrous Before Christmas.” Well, you’re dead wrong; I wrote that while flying low in my dentist’s office, but I did have ol’ Fernie in mind. In fact, he may have actually inhabited my body during that whole experience, but we digress again.

So anyway, without further magoo, I give you Sir Archie Ferndoodle, who has just returned from a five-month sojourn at the Tao Sendaha Haiku Sweat Lodge, just north of Pittsburgh.

 

Lenticular Haiku

by Archie Ferndoodle

 

Hand old, withered

Extended to young happy boy who

Smiles and

Coughs up a small border town near

Flagstaff.

 

Deposit slip with no meaning flutters

In brown surge of empty day. I find Julia at

Home making love to the Buick

Again.

Better judgment whispered

Toyota, Toyota.

Toyota. Smash hindsight with

Bitter hammer of stoli rocks. Ah.

 

Three grateful invertebrates argue

On who passed

Wind while each ascends

The assistant professor’s

Mortgage.

 

 

 

Trees and earth know much more

Than they sing

To man accused of listening of listening

Of listening to Alex

Trebek and his minions. Only refuse

And then hear again, the daily

Double. Oh! Bodies of

Water for Four

Hundred.

 

Heat. No heat. Heat. No heat.

Damn toaster. Fling the

Shiny monster down the hillock to

CRASH waves of filament element

Parchment and wire. No heat toast is mere

bread and

Sorrow.

Dear Julia. I’m trading it

In.

 

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.

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Here’s Your Chance to Win Five Easy Dollars. I’m Not Joking. Maybe.

19 Aug

by Roger White

It’s that time again, kids! No, not International Slinky Races Day, as exciting as that is. It’s time once again to play Spot the True Story. I know, I know, NPR Radio has its version of this shtick, but I’ve been doing it for 31 years now, so if anyone has a case against anybody, it’s me. Against them. About this. But I love NPR, and only lawyers win when you sue, and who needs wealthier lawyers? Not me, pal. Which reminds me of a joke:

Q: What do you call it when you have 100 lawyers buried up to their necks in cement?  A: Not enough cement.

God, I love that joke. Anyway, those of you who are faithful followers of my weekly epistles know that every 20 years, rain or shine, I present Spot the True Story. How it works is this: I give you, dear reader, three news reports from around the globe. However, only one of them is—you guessed it—true. Your job is to determine which one. First one to e-mail me the correct answer at rogdude@mail.com wins five real U.S. dollars. No kidding. Second place wins three bucks; third place, one genuine American dollar. Fourth through sixth place wins a nifty fridge magnet of my choosing; seventh through ninth earns a hearty “Thanks for Playing Our Stupid Game!!!!!” from yours truly. Taxes on winnings are sole responsibility of individual winners. Void where prohibited. Prohibit where voided. Violators will be prosecuted. Prosecutors will be etc. etc.

If you don’t want to play this time around, worry not. You’ll get another opportunity in August of 2031. So here goes. Spot the True Story:

1. Researchers in New Hampshire have apparently discovered a duck-billed platypus that displays a unique ability to detect exaggerated campaign promises by presidential candidates. Working in his Concord lab, wildlife biologist Myron Glunden and his team observed that a female platypus named Gigi, when shown videotapes of every successful presidential candidate’s speech since the Kennedy Administration, nods slowly and issues a soft snort when a promise later confirmed to be kept is spoken by a presidential hopeful. However, when a promise later verified to be either exaggerated or completely false is delivered by a candidate, Gigi lays an egg and flaps her tail vigorously until exhausted.

Glunden reported, for example, that when Gigi watched George H. W. Bush’s “read my lips—no new taxes” promise, she produced 13 eggs and had to be sedated after severely spraining her tail.

This, of course, explains why you’ve never seen a duck-billed platypus anywhere near a political campaign bus.

2. Researchers in Germany are reporting that dogs can “smell” cancer. That’s right, a report from Stuttgart claims that canines are able to whiff the organic compounds linked to cancer in humans. The report’s author, Enole Boedeker, claims that two German shepherds, an Australian shepherd, and a Labrador retriever were trained to signal when they smelled the presence of cancer in lab samples.

Specifically, the dogs smelled test tubes containing the breath of approximately 200 people. Some had lung cancer, and some didn’t. The dogs were then trained to lie down and touch their noses to the tubes that contained the cancer cells. Boedeker said the dogs successfully identified the cancer-containing test tubes in a startling 71 out of the 100 people who had the disease.

I suppose the lesson here is to pay attention when your dog sniffs you a little more than usual. Then again, dogs spend an inordinate amount of time smelling certain things; so if you’re prone to panic, you might mistake a simple friendly greeting as a canine warning of colon cancer or something.

3. Scientists in Pamplona, Spain, have discovered that Siamese cats can “see” when you’ve been drinking. According to a report from the Navarre Regional Association of Veterinary Research, a seven-year study on the peculiar visual structure of the Siamese breed (which sometimes manifests as crossed eyes) shows that these cats can distinguish between the perspiration of a person who has a moderate level of alcohol in his system and a person who does not.

The study was originally intended to determine if Siamese are less active at night than most cats due to the fact that their blue eyes lack a tapetum lucidum, a structure that amplifies dim light in the eyes of other cats. The mutation of this structure in the Siamese cat has been found to produce abnormal neurological connections between the eye and the brain.

Researchers also found, quite by accident, that this mutation apparently allows the Siamese to detect alcohol vapors in human perspiration. Following a social gathering, a team member who came into the research lab one evening noticed the peculiar behavior of the Siamese cats, who eyed with great curiosity the man’s sweat-soaked T-shirt he discarded—even though the cats were separated from the researcher by a pane of glass. Acting on a hunch, the researcher later repeated the scenario, using a “sober sweat” T-shirt as a control measure; the cats again reacted to the shirt moistened by “vodka sweat,” as he termed it.

Following publication of these findings in a popular local magazine, pet shops across the greater metropolitan Pamplona area quickly ran out of Siamese cats, besieged obviously by wary bosses, housewives, and local temperance movement advocates. The Pamplona PD also instituted a pilot “SSC” (Siamese Sobriety Check) program, in which a cat rides along on each patrol. Tiny, little policeman’s caps were made, but the cats kept brushing them off and chewing on them.

Good luck, players! And keep your hands where we can see them.

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.