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On America and Rome–and Dr. Pimple Popper

13 Sep

by Roger White

“The decline . . . was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. . . .”
—Historian Edward Gibbon on the decay and fall of Rome

“Dr. Pimple Popper Pops ‘Mushy Peas’ Cyst in New Instagram Video”
—Women’s Health Magazine, August 2019

At first blush it may appear that these two quotes have about as much to do with each other as atomic theory and bacon grease, but to the keen observer inhabiting the proper frame of mind and sipping the necessary amount of espresso, the connection is readily apparent. The former is an explanation of one of an interconnected tangle of reasons for the decline of a great civilization. The latter is a symptom of same.

Ancient Rome didn’t have the internet, but you can be sure that at the height of the empire’s power, with little to challenge Romans but their own idleness, the scuttlebutt among the average corpulent, indolent citizens lounging about their atriums had much to do with which senator’s wife had been seen with a certain centurion after hours near the Pantheon. Or perhaps who would be featured next weekend at the Colosseum in “Gladiating with the Stars.”

Throughout America’s rise to power, particularly after World War II and again with the fall of the Soviet Union, many casual historians likened the U.S. to ancient Rome, both as a comparative study and a cautionary tale. From many of these same armchair history buffs came the postulate-cum-warning that Rome fell from within. Both statements are greatly oversimplified—America is certainly not the Roman Empire; and the decline of Rome occurred for many complex reasons—however, the tantalizing prospect of a circumstantial connection between the two is too intriguing to ignore.

By the time the Huns and Vandals were threatening the very walls of Rome herself in the 5th century A.D., the empire had been degraded through years and years of decay, corruption, internal strife, and general malaise. The culture that had built the world’s mightiest civilization had stagnated. In other words, Rome had grown lazy and fat. Its armies were so far-flung across the known globe that the once invincible legions could not defend even the capital city.

I’m not holding forth that the descendants of Attila will come rampaging up Pennsylvania Avenue anytime soon, but you must admit that events and trends from within and without our great country give any thinking person pause. We, as a nation, are fat and lazy. And stupid. Most Americans don’t do much physical labor on a daily basis anymore. We are at our most overweight and short of breath that we’ve ever been. We don’t save anymore; the average American family carries about $5,000 in credit card debt—at a time when job security is at its worst in decades. We used to buy only when we had the money. Our national economy, anchored by financial institutions with questionable lending practices and regulated by insiders with personal interests at stake, teeters like a house of cards. Our arts—literature, music, journalism, film and television—are in a state of upheaval as publishers, producers, and purveyors of news and entertainment chart confused courses in their attempts to grasp new media, often leading to drastic actions such as bookstore and music outlet closings, the demise of longtime news and publishing houses, and frustration and despair for many artists and writers. With more channels to choose from than ever before, TV now offers arguably the worst product in its history. Ironically, the great many cable choices chopped up major advertising dollars, which has prompted producers to grind out lower- and lower-budget shows in a pathetic race to the bottom. And perhaps most telling, news isn’t news anymore. It’s gossip. Or thinly disguised opinion, acid rhetoric, and vitriol aimed solely at toeing the party line.

And with an unlimited number of outlets, through practically unlimited media technology, the goal is not to inform anymore—the bottom line is to attract the most viewers with the most lurid headlines, thus, to attract the precious advertising dollars. Hence, you have an intrepid reporter filling you in on the wonderfully graphic details of Dr. Pimple Popper’s latest triumph.

Last but obviously least, our self-seeking politicians have abandoned any semblance of civil discourse to rabidly defend their respective party planks to the complete detriment of any action toward the advance of our society. There is no middle ground anymore. Compromise—what should be the very bedrock of governing a nation—has become a dirty word. The men and women in Washington should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, yet no one among them stands to say so. And nothing gets done.

There are those historians who argue that Rome never really fell. It simply degenerated into irrelevance. Sure sounds like a cautionary tale to me.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a gas-powered dachshund, and a sleep-deprived cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Lit Lovers Rejoice! Sir Archie Ferndoodle Rides Again.

28 Mar

by Roger White                                                                              

 

Fellow time/space voyagers and other occasional devotees of “This Old Blouse,” I am more tickled than a coffee can full of dung beetles to announce the return of my dear friend, back-porch expectorational master, and legendary raconteur of the obsequious and purulent, Sir Archie Ferndoodle (applause, applause, applause).

As I’m sure you remember, the esteemed Dr. Ferndoodle 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?,” and possibly his greatest epic, “The Squirrels Stopped Talking to Me Today.”

Sir Archie has a rare treat for us in this installment. In his inimitable style, the Fernman has taken several classic tunes from the songbook of popular culture and rendered them as his own, with updated, shall we say, acerbic lyrics so pertinent to today’s manic milieu. Or something.

Disclaimer: The Spouseman—and the newspaper/periodical/bathroom wall compendium in which this diatribe appears—doesn’t necessarily agree with the views and opinions of Sir Archie. He is his own woman, and we bear no responsibility or legal burden for his espousings. So there.

With this heartfelt caveat (and sincere attempt to head off legal action), I give you Sir Archie’s renderings. By the way, it’s important to keep the tune of Archie’s specific song choice in your head for these to make any sense whatsoever. If that is, indeed, possible. So. Archie’s first offering is called “Ivanka in the White House”:

 

Ivanka in the White House

(to the tune of “Drive My Car” by The Beatles)

(verse 1)

“I asked my girl where she wanted to be,

In New York City or in D.C.,

She said Daddy, I wanna be near you,

In the White House with Jared the Jew.”

 

(chorus)

“Ivanka, you can have the West Wing,

We’ll set you up with all of your bling,

You can sell your furs and your rings,

And Dad will tweet for you.”

 

(verse 2)

“Barron’s got a floor to himself,

With a team of counselors for his mental health,

But Melania and I aren’t sharin’ a bed,

So you could move in with me instead.”

 

(chorus)

“Ivanka, you can have the West Wing,

Or you-know-where, I won’t say a thing,

Damn, it’s so good to be the king,

And Putin, I owe you.”

 

“Tweet, tweet n tweet, tweet, yeah!”

 

Um, ok. For his second favoring, the Fernman has rendered this ditty entitled “Perry in Charge”:

 

Perry in Charge

(to the tune of Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady”)

(verse 1)

“Well, I’m the Energy Top Dude,

And now solar power’s screwed ’cause oil’s my cash cow,

Yeah, I ran for president,

I told Donald to get bent, but that’s all past now.”

 

(chorus)

“I’m Rick Perry, woah, woah, woah,

I’m Rick Perry,

Those rumors are false, ’cause I’m no fairy,

And I’m towin’ the Trump line.”

 

(verse 2)

“Well, I’m not sure what I do,

But I think I make the rules on nukular weapons,

But this can’t be as hard

As Dancing with the Stars, man, I was steppin’,”

 

(chorus)

“I’m Rick Perry, woah, woah, woah,

I’m Rick Perry,

Renewable power’s our adversary,

Let’s build that pipeline.”

 

And last, and surely least, Ferndude gives us “Lysergic Wood,” which he says is his ode to psychedelic substances:

 

Lysergic Wood, An Ode to LSD

(to the tune of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”)

(verse 1)

“I once ate a squirrel,

Or should I say the squirrel ate me,

He showed me his brain,

We baked it into a nice quiche lorraine.”

 

(chorus)

“We smoked purple crayons,

As the walls melted into the sea,

Then Timothy Leary appeared

And said why’d you take three?”

 

(verse 2)

“I played canasta with Jesus,

His Holiness beat me two games out of threezus,

Then me and the squirrel flew to Mars,

But squirrel wasn’t squirrel, he was Pat Benatar.”

 

(chorus)

“We smoked purple crayons

As robots made love to the cow,

Then Hunter S. Thompson said man you’re in big trouble now.”

 

(verse 3)

“And when I awoke,

I was in a cell with a large man named Mel.

He kept pinching my ass,

Dear God from now on, I’m sticking with grass.”

 

Roger White Sir Archie Ferndoodle holds an associate’s degree in comparative limerick studies from the University of Southern Panama’s Correspondence College. Sir Archie’s classics include “Oh, Staff Sergeant, My Staff Sergeant!,” “Why Is the Man Always from Nantucket?,” and perhaps his greatest epic, “The Squirrels Stopped Talking to Me Today,” For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

 

 

Texas President Norris Asks U.S. to Reconsider ‘Texit’

5 Jul

by Roger White

 

DATELINE: University Park, Texas; November 16, 2019. A scant six months after Texas was granted full secession rights by U.S. President Hillary Clinton and Congress, Texas President Chuck Norris has officially petitioned the United States to reconsider the Texas Republic’s momentous “Texit” vote and allow the prodigal state back into the Union.

Chuckie and Hillary

The Texas Republic, reeling from skyrocketing unemployment following the loss of more than 200,000 former federal jobs and 350,000 jobs related to former ties with the U.S., was hit with another devastating—and ironic—blow in August when Mexican President George Lopez ordered thousands of border agents to turn back Texans attempting to cross the border into Mexico to seek employment. Lopez also discussed plans with the Mexican Cabinet to construct a protective wall along the Rio Grande to “keep the Texican rapists and criminals out.”

 

Seventy-one percent of Texas voters opted to leave the United States in a milestone election in May 2019—an unprecedented move termed the “Texit,” which came into favor in the wake of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Members of the “Texit” faction, led by Texas Vice-President Dan Patrick and Texas Secretary of the Interior Alex Jones, pushed the secession movement to success in the polls with promises of a completely rebranded Texas national identity, including such measures as the one man-one woman marriage doctrine, guarantees of government-funded automatic weapons for every household, abolition of left-wing elitist solar and wind power, and the mandatory death penalty for abortion providers.

kiddie guns

“These sorely needed changes in the way of life of true Texans mean liberty and freedom,” said Patrick, a former sportscaster and radio talk-show host. “Leftist intellectuals bent on destroying our way of life use that inflated claim of 179,000 household firearms accidents in the three months since we issued every Texan citizen his own AK-47 assault weapon, but I can tell you these numbers are not accurate. And besides, it’s a small price to pay for liberty. The bottom line here is liberty, and freedom. And liberty.”

 

Norris, elected Texas president shortly after the Texas Congress voted to move the new nation’s capital from Austin to University Park near SMU, cited growing “minor issues” problematic to the fledgling country—such as the estimated $100 billion unpaid water bill owed the United States for continued fresh-water supply, an almost total loss of international commerce brought about by a worldwide boycott of Texas goods and services due to the nation’s stance on gay and women’s rights, and a nationwide health crisis caused by Texas’ ban on environmental protections.

 

“In time, I am sure we Texans can find solutions to these trivial inconveniences,” said Norris, as he signed a presidential decree to transform every third high school in the Texas nation into maximum-security Prison Highpenitentiaries to fully house the nation’s burgeoning prison population. “But we feel that, given our close ties to our former country and knowing how the U.S. has lacked for decent Tex-Mex food and has suffered from practically zero decent NFL draft picks this year, it is time to reconsider our affiliation with the U.S.”

 

One issue that may stall progress in Norris’ talks with the U.S. is Clinton’s call for the immediate stand-down of Texas troops, which have maintained a tight ring around the breakaway state of Austin since June 2019, when the former state capital pledged allegiance to the United States and voted to secede from Texas. Weeks after Texas national troops surrounded the besieged city, Clinton called on U.S. air power to drop food, medicine, and supplies behind the “Fajita Curtain” into designated drop zones in the former Texas capital city.

 

The watershed incident that prompted Austin’s split with the Texas nation, according to Austin Governor Willie Nelson, came when Texas Attorney General Ted Cruz announced the nation’s new mandatory 30-year prison sentence for possession of marijuana. “They’re outta their minds,” Nelson said in a press release. “My entire band is locked up in Round Rock High School now—I mean Round Rock Maximum Security Facility No. 3.”

 

Latest word is that U.S. President Clinton is favoring the return of the Texas Republic into the American fold, with the conditions that Texas change its motto from “Don’t Mess with Texas” to “We Messed Up, Texas” and formally apologize to the nation for Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Enron debacle, and Rick Perry.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Prine Was Right: Blow Up Your TV

4 Jan

by Roger White

 

“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper,

Go to the country, build you a home…”

—from “Spanish Pipedream,” by John Prine

 

I work for an education association, whose ebb and flow of timelines, lull seasons, and get-it-done-yesterday crunch times generally follows the public schools calendar. This does not mean I get the whole summer off or that I have to take some sort of final exams every semester. But it does mean I get a nice chunk of time off during the Christmas break. Or should I say Holiday Break, or Winter Break, to be properly PC. But if I say “Winter Break,” then I’m accused of waging war on Christmas—whatever that is—by the anti-war-on-Christmas people, whoever they are. Seems there are an inordinate number of highly sensitive, easily offended, extremely angry subgroups of people out there these days, and almost any topic—from eating a hamburger to wearing a headscarf to saying “bless you” when somebody sneezes—is now an emotional mine field of potential hurt feelings and mob-mentality retribution.

reallyFor example, overheard at a local Wal-Mart recently:

“Dammit, Zebulon, these friggin’ Moslems is takin’ over the place. Look over thar, in home improvement. Dang scarf-wearin’ terrurist jee-haddys…”

“Yeah, I here ya, Jebediah. Hey, Zeke! Lee Roy! We got us a … wait, that’s my mom in the scarf. She didn’t want nobody to see her curlers.”

“Oh. Well. That’s awright, I guess.”

But while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t the term “Winter Break” be considered offensive to those folks who deem autumn as their favorite season? We have Spring Break; we have Summer Break; and now with the newly christened “Winter Break” we are kicking poor, unloved autumn to the curb, aren’t we? We have no “Fall Break.” I’m pissed off! This is War on Fall! Anti-Autumn Armageddon! I’m organizing a protest! Where’s Fox News?

OK, wait. Once again, I digress. Anyway, yes, so this lovely fortnight of vacation I get every, uh, late December allows me the blessed opportunity to back away from the grind. To sit in the backyard with a fire in the fire pit, a warm drink in hand, and nothing on my mind but determining how to get the (insert your preferred holiday here) boxes down from the attic without upsetting the raccoon family that has taken up permanent residence up there.

I have found that during this heavenly lull I tend to watch less news on TV and scarcely come near the computer, which is where I usually receive my daily dose of terror, misery, innuendo, and fear-mongering via CNN and other websites.

And despite the season’s family dramas, gift-hunting mayhem, and traffic gridlock gnashing of teeth—not to mention the annual overdose of turkey, libations, and too much party silliness—I find that my anxiety level and blood pressure go way down. Two weeks without Trump, Cruz, Clinton, terrorist plots for world overthrow, Planned Parenthood bombings, Dow Jones doom and gloom, the affluenza teen, Bill Cosby revelations, and viral cat-in-the-microwave stories tend to hit me like a soft pillow in the face. The crap the media spews at us 24/7 isn’t our world.

And all you have to do is turn it off. You can blow it up, if you’ve a mind, but just hitting the “off” button will suffice. Aaah. That’s nice.

So why take only a (insert your preferred holiday here) break from the muck and the madness? I was never much on New Year’s resolutions, but I believe I have one for 2016: Less CNN, Trump, Hannity, msnbc, Fox, and all those “World’s Most Extreme Terrible Things” shows—and more backyard reflection. More walks, more friends, more board games. If you still have the old Aggravation board game gathering cobwebs in the closet, pull it out, dust it off, and get the kids around. It’s fun.

Don’t have Aggravation? OK, Monopoly then. Just try to ignore the fact that Monopoly is based on properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a town practically owned by…you know who. I’m tellin’ ya, if that candy-haired blowhard gets anywhere near the White House, I’m moving the family to…

Time out. Breathe. Forget Monopoly. Stick with Aggravation. Or the backyard fire pit. Aaah, there we go.

aggravation

Roger White is a freelance writer 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 oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

Reparative Therapy Is Just the Tip o’ the Platform

9 Jun

by Roger White

 

This week on Lone Star Myth Bashers, we take a hard look at the common perception that the conservative movement in Texas makes our fair state the target of national and international ridicule with its outlandish statements and backward beliefs.

Quite the contrary. LSMB has found ample evidence that the state’s GOP base, for example, uses hard science as a foundation for its advocacy agenda. At its recent convention in Fort Worth, the Republican braintrust offered this scientific gem as a tenet of its party platform: “We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle.”

Yes, despite opposition from such liberal elite establishments as the American Medical AssociaAMAtion, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association—and the fact that several states have banned this type of “therapy” outright—the Texas GOP has forged bravely ahead in its mission. The hard science the party is using, by the way, comes from an 1892 pamphlet entitled “Tingly Feelings are from the Devil.”

“One of the most fundamental tenets of our party’s focus on the family is the protection of the natural, wholesome man-woman relationship the way God intended it,” the Texas governor said in his address. “If a person seeking to rid himself of unnatural and unhealthy homosexual cravings wants to seek help through this reparatioh yeahve technique, he should be able to find this sort of assistance readily. And the therapy works. Believe me, I know. I mean, I’ve heard.”

Following similar scientific revelations, other planks of the Texas GOP Party Platform that you may not know about include the following:

  • Pigment restructuring therapy. This treatment bleaches skin to a more acceptable tone for those seeking escape from the non-Caucasian lifestyle. The skin treatment is accompanied by an intensive regimen of audio hypnosis sessions, which involve listening to such lifestyle-correcting standards as Rush Limbaugh, Jeff Foxworthy, and Lawrence Welk for several hours per day.
  • Income repression treatment. This achievement-aversion therapy offered to business owners provides mental reparative techniques that can be applied subliminally to those workers who continually whine about raising the minimum wage. Comes in colorless, odorless powder form or can be broadcast covertly over closed-circuit television in company break rooms.
  • Immigration control counseling. For those hardworking yet undocumented folks suffering from those pesky urges to seek a living wage, food for their families, and life free from the constant threat of decapitation, this treatment allows the would-be immigrant to understand that this country just isn’t for everybody and that we would all be better off if, as the great philosopher A. Bunker once opined, “the sames stayed with the sames, and the differents stayed with the differents.”
  • Tolerance-removal ointments. These creams and salves perfected in far East Texas, when applied to the scalp and back of the neck, turn the neck a bright crimson and rid the user of those uncomfortable notions that all religions and creeds deserve equality. Two of the more popular brands are the Muslim Mollifying Mask and Jew Away.
  • Fox disciple training. These intensive multi-media sessions indoctrinate the participant in thfoxe understanding and appreciation of the professional, unbiased reporting found only on Fox News.
  • Affordable healthcare interventions. When a party member who is out of work has strayed and actually found that affordable healthcare is available, trained interventionists swiftly correct the wayward soul, using such mantras as “A pre-existing condition is a pre-existing condition” and “better dead than socialist!”
  • Planned parenthood prevention pills. These handy and easy-to-use tablets keep members on the straight and narrow if they are having those unclean thoughts about seeking reproductive guidance from licensed professionals.
  • Handgun-acceptance sessions. If, after the never-ending onslaught of news reports on senseless handgun killings begins to make a member consider getting rid of his trusty sidearm, these refocusing sessions remind the member that guns are our friends—and that the only way to solve these lawless shootings is for every man, woman, and child in America to be packing heat at all times.

For more on the party platform, visit http://www.theylltakemygunwhentheypryitfrommycolddeadhands.com.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Nothing Says ‘Thank You’ Like ‘Thank You’

18 Dec

by Roger White  

 

Sitting cozy in my den the other day, admiring the flames in the fireplace as winter raged outside (it got down into the 40s!), I was given to pause and reflect. Seldom am I given to pause, seldomer still to reflect. Yes, I have been writing long enough to invent words. Seldomer is now a word. I shall even copyright it: Seldomer©. There.

I believe at least once a year, everyone should be required to stop whining, cease shooting the finger at the guy who cut you off in traffic, quit yelling at the idiot politicians, and simply be thankful. As bad as things seem to be, as completely insane as the world appears to have become lately, as absolutely untrainable as the damn cat stubbornly cat from hellremains, I still feel like a very lucky guy. I know there are so many things in this world—this nation particularly—that need to change, but for the most part, things are good. People are good, by and large. I must believe that, or I will drive my car into the Palo Duro Canyon.

So I thought I’d share with you my list of the things I’m thankful for this holiday season. This list is not in order of importance, nor was there any payola involved. If anyone on this list wants to discuss payola retroactively, that can be arranged.

I, Oldspouse, am thankful for the following, give or take:

  • “Relaxed-fit” jeans. Not only am I extremely grateful for relaxed-fit jeans, I am most appreciative of the term “relaxed-fit.” Whoever came up with this wonderful euphemism is a marketing genius. Sounds so much better than the truth: “Old & fat-fit” jeans.
  • Affordable second-hand cars with airbags. My daughters are driving now. Nuff said.
  • Affordable miniature GPS tracking devices. My daughters are dating now. Nuff said.
  • Jon Stewart. The last bastion of straight news, of the real story, Jon is. Without him, the man“Breaking Bad,” and “Seinfeld” reruns, television today would be utterly unwatchable.
  • Mississippi. If it weren’t for the Magnolia State, Texas would be at or very near the bottom of many, many dubious lists, such as education, teen pregnancy, idiotic laws, etc. You can criticize Texas for many things, but at least we don’t incorporate the Stars and Bars into our state flag.
  • Five-hour energy drinks. I know, this one may be controversial, but WOW. The wife and I tried a couple of these tiny little bottles of verve one morning. We’d been out late the previous evening, pretending we were young’uns, and oh, how we felt it. On a lark, we imbibed the “energy supplements.” All I remember of the rest of that day is that after our 10-mile morning run, I rebuilt my lawnmower engine, self-audited my tax returns back to 1987, played my girls one-on-two in tennis, then wrote three chapters of my long-forgotten novel. Then I slept for 18 hours. In the yard.
  • Our Bubbie. Now, this may seem to you a blatant attempt to get in good with the mother-in-law, and you know what? It is! But I have to tell you, this gal can cook. Bubbie’s been the primary source of our Sunday night dinners since I can remember, and if anyone can do better things with a chicken, I need to see it—and taste it. Although I have to add that Bub is one of the main reasons I am thankful for “relaxed-fit” jeans. Well, and beer.
  • Beer. Where would we be without beer? Maybe I should rephrase that. Let me just yea beersay that beer has helped me through many, many horrible Dallas Cowboys games. Without beer, I could not stand to listen to my own garage band play. Without beer, our annual neighborhood holiday parties would be intolerable. And I mean that in the nicest way. I dare say that without beer, no one would ever listen to ZZ Top or Billy Squier.
  • My babies—all three of them. You know who you are. Tolerance, patience, forgiveness, and love are mighty, mighty powerful things. For that, and for my three lovely gals, I am eternally thankful. Seldom do I really say how thankful I am for you—and seldomer still do I say how much I love you. Well, and beer.

 

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.

Want to Avoid Election Lines? Try Vote ’n’ Tote

5 Nov

by Roger White

Did you know that there are at least 63 different varieties of yogurt at your neighborhood grocery store? Well, there are. I know this because I counted them. No, I am not a yogurt researcher, nor am I one of those strange men who like to hang out in supermarkets for hours on end. I just happened to spend an hour and a half yogurt-gazing at the local store with my wife recently because that’s where they told us to go if we wanted to vote early. Sue and I figured if we did our patriotic duty ahead of schedule we’d miss the big lines on Super Duper Tuesday. Ha! The voting line at the grocery store snaked from the pharmacy, through the book aisle, down the cheese section, across the milk and eggs, and all the way down the 63 varieties of yogurt. Hence the ad hoc study of the bacterially fermented dairy products. I’ll also bet you didn’t know that there are at least a dozen types of Greek yogurt, whatever that is. I immediately assumed that Greek yogurt was an economically troubled brand of yogurt requiring a financial bailout from all the other European Union yogurts, but, no, Sue said it has more to do with how it’s strained for whey content. Oh. That got me wondering what exactly whey is, but I’ll leave that for another column.

Anyway, although this particular lesson in civic participation was mind-numbing for the most part, it did give the wife and me some time to get reacquainted without two teenagers constantly yelling, screaming, demanding money, or insisting on being ferried from one end of town to the other every twenty minutes or so. I was surprised to learn that Sue is now teaching herself yoga and is approximately a quarter of the way to obtaining her master’s degree in business administration. Man, we have to talk more. So, yes, we considered our voting experience more like a date night with ballots and photo IDs.

As we waited our turn, my mind meandered a bit. I noticed a sign way at the front of the line indicating that you could pay your utility bills and purchase money orders here, and I was seized with a temporary panic that perhaps we were in the wrong line. The terror subsided when I saw that nobody else in our eternal cue was clutching utility bills. Besides, I’d never heard of an hour-and-a-half wait to pay the light bill, so I breathed easy. By the time we had advanced through the cheese section to the book aisle, I’d begun to seriously consider the “one vote doesn’t really matter” excuse for bailing out, but Sue would have none of it. Anyway, we’d already put in a good hour, and we could actually see the voting booths now.

It was about this time, as we inched through the pharmacy and within sight of actual, real-life volunteers at the actual, real-life voting tables, that I concocted the concept of Vote ’n Tote. If you’ve visited a major, heinously overcrowded amusement park recently (I won’t name names, but the one I have in mind begins with an “S” and ends in “ix Flags”), then you’ve likely had experience with the infamous Flash Pass. For serious extra money, this electronic doodad actually lets you cut in line ahead of the amusement park riff raff. How apple pie, capitalist American is that? You got the dough, you get to go. Voting, also as American as pie and guns and freedom and liberty, would be all the more red, white, and blue if you could move to the front of the line by way of the ol’ green. Don’t you think? Say you buy $30 worth of groceries, you get to jump in front of 30 non-buying voters. Forty bucks of foodstuffs gets you 40 people ahead, and so on. You shell out a couple hundred and you go straight to the front of the line—and you get to vote twice. Or something like that. Vote ’n’ Tote.

Of course, this works only if you vote at the grocery store. If the polls in your neighborhood are, say, at the hospital, you may have to undergo surgery or get a flu shot to avoid the lines. Could call it Election Injection. Antidote Vote? Hmm. Now, this concept may not work at all at some polling stations. For example, at the sewage treatment plant. Cast ’n’ Cra— naah. I’m not touching that one. Actually, I’m not aware of any voting centers ever being set up in sewage treatment plants, but it does seem quite appropriate somehow, given the tenor of politics these days.

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.