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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



Deposit slip with no meaning flutters

In brown surge of empty day. I find Julia at

Home making love to the Buick


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





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



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


Dear Julia. I’m trading it



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

All Aboard the E-Train!

31 May

by Roger White


I give. Uncle. Consider the amalgam of these words on this here page a verbal white flag. The great, crashing wave of technology, ultra-instant everything, modern living, and seven days a week of genius minds such as Glenn Beck has washed over me like a great, uh, a great crashing wave washing over me. That’s called a 360 metaphor—or redundaphor. I invented it, so if you use the redundaphor, you must write me for my permission. And put $1.55 in quarters in the envelope.

Anyway, I have ceased, as of this writing, digging my heels in against the onslaught. Everything and everything’s brother is electronic now, so survival actually depends on accepting the e-world, doesn’t it? Besides, my heels hurt.

Think about it. Just about every corner of life has an “e-” in front of it now. See here:

  • We have e-exercise. I actually sprained something playing Wii tennis the other day—and our den is now in need of a new sliding glass door. I swear I heard the little Wii guy snickering. It’s difficult and demeaning, in my opinion, to lose to a smiling computer opponent whose cartoon body is eerily reminiscent of the Weeble toys from the early ’70s. If you’re too young to remember Weebles (“they wobble, but they don’t fall down!”), then you’re too young to read this column anyhow. So go on. Git.
  • We have e-gambling. And just because your friendly e-gambling provider is based off shore south of Cuba somewhere, do not for one minute think they don’t have access to your home address, your work address, or guys named Rocco. This information comes from a friend of mine. Yeah.
  • There’s e-tax paying. All I’ll say here is that this organization has the same contacts as the establishment mentioned immediately above.
  • There’s e-school, e-friending, e-flirting, e-sex, e-marriage, e-affairs, e-divorce (note the rather chronological order here); heck, there’s even e-bankruptcy.
  • We also have e-cigarettes. Have you seen these? The e-cigarette looks just like your standard 20th-century Marlboro, but it’s basically a robot cigarette. Tiny electronic diodes and things give you a lungful of water vapor when you take a drag, but you still feel cool and hip because as far as anyone else knows, you’re still smoking and genuinely playing chicken with cancer like the good old days. The e-cigarette people have taken it a bit too far, though. You can fill your e-ciggy with any flavor imaginable, from strawberry and mocha coffee to grilled rhubarb and spring-scented Pine Sol. I guess you could use these unique aromas (odors?) to your advantage, however. Say you’re a female at a party being hit upon by that obnoxious paunchy guy who never takes the hint. Pop in the flavor cartridge labeled “Unwashed Southern European Cab Driver” and you’ll have the entire back deck of the party to yourself.


There are many more e-examples. And I’m saying to you here and now, I embrace them all. Bring ’em on. In fact, I’m writing this very column on what they call a “computer.” Yes, it was scary, but I put the pencil and paper away, I kissed my beloved Pink Pearl giant block eraser farewell, and began composing these words on a “keyboard.” Seriously!

And now that I’ve welcomed the new e-age, I say let’s explore the boundaries. Where can we go from here? What have our best and e-brightest minds not conjured yet? What about e-beer? Pretty much all of our other vices are available at the drop of a Caps Lock now, so why not brewski? There is an i-phone app that looks like a cold one being poured out; they just need to take it a step further. I envision that you touch your lips to your i-device while it’s in e-beer mode, and a wonderful pilsner flavor fills your mouth—accomplished via thousands of itty-bitty bionic creepy crawlers about the size of Glenn Beck’s brain. Oops, sorry. I promised myself I wouldn’t mention that guy more than once a column. No calories, just e-beer flavor.

You could have an e-burping option if you want the whole, true-to-life pilsner package.

How about e-travel? I guess we have that now with I-max theaters and multi-media travelogues. As with e-beer, however, this could be rendered more realistic with items such as a 3-D e-airport security app, complete with groping fingers, e-lost luggage, and, of course, e-stuck in a Turkish prison because the customs guys didn’t believe it was e-marijuana.

Let’s see. E-war? Remember that old Star Trek episode, where the two rival planets did away with all the messy fighting and bombs and things and simply pre-selected casualties (via computer, of course)? If your number was drawn—sorry, pal, you just became soylent green. I don’t know, that one might need more baking.

I guess this segues into e-death. I know, it’s a rather morbid way to end this installment. But there is a bit of logic here, in a what-goes-around-comes-around kind of fashion. For all our advances into e-this and i-that, we invented e-death a long time ago. Remember Old Sparky? Today, we’d call it the e-chair. Well, I guess for it to be truly electronic versus simply electric, the switch would need to be in Austin and the chair du char somewhere remote, like South Austin. Ew, that is a downer, indeed. You can see how I had to throw it in, though, right?

Suffice to say, I’m on board the e-train with all appendages. Life at the speed of electrons! By the way, if you want extra copies of this column for friends, neighbors, and enemies, send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and I’ll send you a genuine handwritten copy. Allow four to six weeks for delivery.


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


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