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“Does a Progressive Sausage Dream of Clouds?”

“Hey we have to move to the cloud.”

“Why do you , Abe Froehman*, Sausage King of Chicago need to be on the cloud?”

“Because everyone’s doing it and I don’t like to be left behind.”

“Do you even know what the cloud is?”

“No, but it sounds cool and we need to be progressive.”

“Um, yea. You’re a sausage king. To be progressive you would have to come out with a line of vegetarian sausage.”

“You mean a sausage with no meat?”

“Yes.”

“What’s the point?”

“I feel the same about you being on the cloud.”

“Ok, I give up. You’re my tech guru. What is the cloud?”

“Computer Servers on a network that store data.”

“No lightning or thunder? That’s underwhelming. How is that cool?

“Well, it’s not really.”

“Then why is everyone doing it?”

“Well, it’s being used by apps to store data and make the data easily available to other platforms?”

“English please?”.

“You can use an app on your computer and your phone and the app would have access to the same data from either.”

“An app, I don’t have one of those”.

“No Captain Obvious , you don’t”

“Maybe I should get one.”

“What would your app do?”

“How about a sausage race?”

“I assume that would be a game.”

“Of course”.

“How would that help business?”

“Advertising, The player could choose from our inventory which sausage types would race. It would also introduce them to our product line.”

“That’s not bad but who would they race against? The computer ? That’s only a two sausage race.”

“Hmm, how about make it one of those online things. The player could choose which sausage they want to be. You know, the sausage they most identify with.”

“I’m not sure about the sausage empathy bit but a social app where you play against others on the internet is not a bad idea. There may be a problem though.”

“What’s that? ”

“Major League Baseball?”

“The app is not going to broadcast the accounts of a game with-out their advised written consent.”

“No but the Milwaukee Brewers have a sausage race during the seventh inning stretch. MLB may lay claim to the sausage race.”

“Hmm, could we sponsor that? It would be a great tie in with the app.”

“It’s already sponsored by one of your competitors.”

“Hmm, They have baseball in Japan don’t they?”

“Um, yes. Why?”

“I bet they don’t have a sausage race sponsored by one of our competitors?”

“Thats a safe bet. Sausages don’t do well in japan.”

“It would be a great way for us to roll out my new product idea.”

“Oh, and what would that be?”

“Suishigages”

“You might be better off with the vegetarian idea.”

“Soysages?”

“Surprisingly enough, that is taken.”

“Suishigages it is and I have another idea for a sausage based trivia app.”

“We need to get you a non sausage-based hobby.”

Authors Note: As far as I know “Suishigages” and “Soysages” are not the property of MLB.

*A shout out to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The movie will be celebrating its 30th birthday next year but the actual 30th anniversary of his day off happened June 5th of this year. That was determined by the people at Baseball Prospectus by using the players names and numbers and process of elimination.

There’s An App for That? Oh, The Humanity

Personal technology is a fast lane that is hard to enter at slow speeds and one that may leave us wanting if we attempt to stay out of it. Sometimes we need help ascertaining if a gadget or app* is worth our time. There are plenty of blogs, podcasts or youtube channels out there to help with that. The fact that I did not type “technology columns,” “radio programs” or “tv shows” leaves me waxing nostalgic or as I like to call it “geezing.”

Hey, I’m a geek. I love apps but I think there needs to be some talking off the ledge sometimes.

We need a blog, podcast or youtube channel that would help us exercise some sanity. Perhaps something created by a “technotherapist.” No not a word yet but as soon as I teach it to my dictionary app it will be.

“Hello this is the Digital Doctor you’re on the net”.

“Yea, I’m looking for a navigational app for a Boy Scout troop. It needs to work well away from civilization and a power source.”

“Um, yea how about a map?”

“Map? I don’t understand”

“Well, it is a paper screen with different colored lines for roads and rivers but it is covered with the same numbers a GPS app spits out. Those numbers are called latitude and longitude markings.”

“Oh wow. Does it work with-out power?”

“Uh yea, so far they haven’t figure out a way to power wood pulp.”

“Cool. Are there any apps that go with it?”

“Well, there is a thing called a compass.”

“Oh yea, I think I saw an app for that.”

“Yes, that was based on an actual compass. You will find that the map and the compass work well together.”

“Oh, are they are integrated ?”

“Yes, you could say that.”

“What power’s the compass?”

“Magnetism”

“Does it come with a heart rate monitor?”

“No but you can calculate your own.”

“Oh, can I?”

“Well, some people can.”

“What does that take?”

“Well, two fingers and some basic math skills but you could probably get away with one finger.

“Oh, math skills. I don’t know”

“Don’t worry it does not require anything beyond counting.”

“Would wikipedia cover that?”

“Yes, but you could probably ask an actual Boy Scout, unless they have traded in their first aid badge for an app.”

*Heavens to Hemingway ‘app’ is a word now. Let’s face it, anything you tell your dictionary ‘app’ to learn is a word. Which reminds me, I need to teach the word “geezing” to my app.

Customer Survey – Impound Lot

We thank you for your unintentional use of our service. While we realize that you don’t really have a choice of which company will tow and impound your car, we would like you to share your opinions anyway. Please fill out this short customer survey on our impound lot.

1) How easy was it to track down your vehicle?

“Easy” never entered my mind. I entertained quite a few other words during the experience, none of which I care to share here. If you were going for an answer of “impossibly difficult” then congratulations are in order.

I have a suggestion for your towing sign on that shadow ensconced utility pole. You may want to include your company name or at least a phone number on it. It would have saved me that half hour call to the police. The cop was nice though.

2) Was it convenient to pick up your vehicle?

Convenience is relative. While I did not have to borrow a covered wagon and carve out the Oregon Trail to retrieve my car, it was still a pain in my derriere.

The location of the ill-fated parking lot was in area that cabs do not seem to service to frequently. I have no idea why since the area seemed safe and would not have afforded a warm ambulance ride that a mugging would have provided. I had to give up on the cheesy cab app I was using and practically stand out in the street to flag down a cabbie, which ironically enough would have provided that warm ambulance ride had he not found his brakes in time.

Concerning the location of your impound lot; If you were trying to teach a lesson by making it near impossible to find then I commend you. The driver gave up using his nav computer and my GPS app could not offer any assistance. I was well on my way to learning my lesson.

3) Did you find our appointment times convenient?

Appointment time to pick up my car? Yea, let me check with the cabbie. Are you kidding me?  I will you give you some credit on this one though. When your ‘dispatcher’ asked me to make an appointment my body actions in response warmed me right up. The resultant convulsions and arm waving may have also helped me flag down the cab.

4) How do you rate our staff?

My expectations far exceeded your grasp.  Your attendant was courteous, had all of his teeth and was sans prison tats. I was quite disappointed.  After all of the inconvenience you think you could have met me halfway with this one. Would it be asking too much for a teardrop tattoo?

5) How do you rate our facilities?

You barely tried on this one. I will give you credit for the concertina wire adorning the top of your fences but what respectable tow lot lacks the guard dog we have all come to expect. I thought I was going to be met by some rabid mastiff or pit bull by the name of Brutus but instead I got nothing. Could you please pick it up on this one. You could start out small, a chihuahua with a Napoleon complex, and work your way up, you know, baby steps.

6) Did you find our rates competitive?
Compared with other extortion experiences that I have had?

7) Will you consider us in the future?

Yes, I will consider you every time I pass that lot up and park somewhere else.

More like this? Check out my guest blog at http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/16/mondayblogs-grocery-lists-with-adjectives/

photo credit: N03/6771698125″>In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all. Eldridge Cleaver via photopin (license)

A Catharsis is Required (cont): The Gathering

Doing some holiday shopping seemed to set me on the road to non-humbugery. There is a high probability that is not a word but if there is one thing I have learned is that a hyphen heals all.

The snow falling on me while shopping didn’t hurt either and  discovering some new restaurants and coffee shoppes certainly helped. Who knew Boulder could support a few more. With the micro brew industry and the coffee cabal this town has cornered the market on depressants and stimulates.  So before I wander over to my espresso maker I will post the next installment of my Black Friday series. It seems to be uplifting my mood and I believe it’s attracting new fans,   people who are too exhausted to click on the remote and whose browser just happened to stumble by this blog.

Without further ado I give you  “Black Friday: The Gathering (Vintage Vendetta)”

Larry had been moping all afternoon. Xena was gone and he could not fill the void left behind. No matter how he reconnected his pieces he still had a big gap somewhere.

Yo had to listen to Larry whine all afternoon and it was killing him. It was time for some action, besides the only lubricant he had only worked on Yo-Yo(s).

“All right Larry quit your belly aching. It’s clear you are not going along with my ‘there is another XBox just around the corner’ philosophy. Besides I admit you were right,  Xena had that certain whatever the French say she had.”

“A certain I don’t know,” replied Larry.

“Yea I don’t know either but you know what I mean,” said Yo.

“Um, sure.”

“My point is we need to go get her. You’re not the only one who had a narrow escape from that vintage collector Larry.”

“If I recall correctly his name is Vince,” said Larry.

“Vince? Like short for Vintage? Your kidding me,” exclaimed Yo.

“Hey I don’t make these names up . That’s some other guys job,” replied Larry.

“Well this Vince guy has put the fear of Mattel in a lot of old toys I know and quite a few would be willing to help,” said Yo.

“You don’t say. And you can round them up in a moment’s notice?” asked Larry.

“Yep,” said Yo as he winked. “They’re also living here on the down low.”

“How come I don’t know them?”

“ Because as a box Larry you tend to be, um how do I put this, mobility challenged.”

“Fair enough. So who are these toys?”

“I’ll tell you what. I will go round them up and introduce you to them,” replied Yo.

“Ok Yo. I’ll be here moping.”
 said Larry.

“Ok, but you better snap out of this funk by the time I get back or you won’t be able to inspire the other toys to march into the mouth of danger.”

“Mouth of danger?” asked Larry.

“Hey I don’t make up these metaphors. That’s some other guys job.” laughed Yo and added “I’ll be back.”

“Was that an Austrian accent?” asked Larry. But Yo was gone. I could have sworn that was an Austrian accent.

Yo soon returned leading a parade of refugee toys. Larry took one look and thought he was suffering from flashbacks. If he listened carefully he could have sworn he heard either Wagner or maybe the theme to the three stooges playing in the background.

“Form up on me everyone.” ordered Yo.

It was clear he was either getting into the proper spirit of the moment or suffering from delusions of grandeur. Larry was voting for the latter.

There was a clatter of chaos and then from under a pile of what appeared to be every popular toy of the 70’s the voice of Yo could be heard screaming “I meant literally folks.”

“I think that’s figuratively Yo,” shouted Larry.

“Yea, they know what I mean.”

“No, it’s obvious they don’t. That’s why you are currently buried by them.” replied Larry.

A few moments later the pile had broken up and had formed a nice neat line.
Strutting in front of the line, as much as a Yo-Yo can strut, was Yo.

“Alright Larry, let me introduce our volunteer army or what I like to refer to a Yo-Yo’s little helpers.”

“Yo, you are starting to suffer delusions of grandeur.”

“What? Grand Illusion?” I didn’t know you were a Styx fan?” asked Yo.

“Um, up until they became a love ballad smorgasbord but I meant that you are starting to let your ego run away with you. Besides, you make them sound like elves and that is not going to inspire fear in anyone let alone Vince the collector”.

“Vince the collector. Sounds like a hit man.” laughed Yo.

“Well it’s definitely scarier than Yo-Yo’s little helpers.”

“Ill give you that. We can come up with a name later. Let me introduce them to you. Starting from your left and proceeding to your right…”

“Yo, I’m a box of legos I have no hands.” interrupted Larry.

“Yea, but you know what I mean. This here is Major Matt Mason. He is an astronaut toy from the 60’s. 1966 I believe. “

“He looks to be in good shape considering his age,” stated Larry.

“Larry, may I remind you that your shape is a box and you don’t have a right to comment on the shape of others”.

“Yea, that’s fair Yo.  So what can he contribute to the effort?” asked Larry.

“Ahem, Let me answer that,” replied the Major as he step forward and saluted.

“I have years of space training at the Mattel Space Camp.” stated the Major.

“Well that’s nice Major but we won’t be going into to space,” replied Larry.

“Well I have a moon rover and a really cool Jet Pack that can move us along a zip line,” added the Major.

“Welcome aboard Major,” said a smiling Larry.

“Next we have Betsy Wetsy,” said Yo pointing to a baby.

“But Yo ,” whispered Larry. “She’s a baby and need we go into whether her name is literal or figurative?”

“Hmm, you have a point,” said Yo and added “Sorry Betsy. I think you could help us better on the home front.”

“Our next volunteers are brothers Jan and Stosh the Rock’em Sock’em Robots.
They’re Polish and they claim to have inspired a generation of Polish boxers. I don’t know if that’s true but I’m not going to question them. I think they will come in handy if we get in a bind and need some muscle.”

“That’s a good point Yo. Welcome aboard gentlemen.” Larry did a double take and asked Yo.” “Is it me or is his neck unusually long?”

Yo looked at the robots and said “Hey Stosh, or Jan, whichever; Please re-engage your neck spring. It’s freaking Larry out. Don’t worry Larry it goes back down. It’s part of their design.”

“Yo, who is that box there,” whispered Larry.

“Oh that there is Spirograph. He’s an artist.”

“We will not have time for art on this mission Yo,” stated Larry.

“Yea, I knew you would say something like that.” interrupted Spirograph. “No body appreciates art.”

“That’s not true,” uttered Larry. “I would love it if you could whip something up to inspire the troops.”

“You got it,” replied the Spirograph. “Do you have any drawing paper?”

“We’ll find you some in a moment,” replied Yo

The introductions carried on for a while and when they were done they had assembled a nice unit of specialists ready to mount an assault on Vince the collector and take back Xena.

“Larry I think you left out Mr. Potato Dude over there,” whispered Yo.

“Yes on purpose. We can’t afford the law suit that would entail,” replied Larry.

“Oh yea. I see your point.”

“Yo. You mentioned that several of these toys had some problems with Vince. Do they know where he lives?” asked Larry.

“You mean his lair,” replied a Batman action figure (of the Adam West variety).

“Um, yes I guess you could call it that.” replied Larry.

“Robin and I were once a captive of the one you call Vince the collector. I can lead you to his lair in the dark if I have to”.

“Yo, Who is this Robin that he speaks of?” asked Larry.

“Keep it down will you. That is a sore subject. They parted ways and it wasn’t pretty.”

“Oops, my bad,” said Larry and then added “That would be great Mr., um, Batman.”

“It’s just Batman my boxlike friend.” replied Batman.

“Very well, Batman. You will lead us to the collector’s lair.”

Larry looked upon the rag tag group of toys that represented his last hope of seeing Xena again and shuddered. They’re not the dirty dozen but their all I have, he thought.

Will Spirograph finally be recognized as a true artist?                                                              Can Batman find Vince’s lair and if so will Xena trust her future to this collection of stooges?                                                                                                                                                  Do Jan and Stosh speak english or will the author have to translate?*                                 What will Vince do when he finds out that Xena is not a vintage Pong game?These answers and what ever the author dreams up after a late night snack to follow.

* He can if they just want to order lunch in a diner with soda water and/or beer.

A Catharsis is Required (cont): Living On The Down Low

     Well I seem to be comfortably ensconced in stage two of the Holiday Blues (Cynicism). The lack of fresh snow doesn’t help. Christmas music is providing some relief but I will admit that sometimes traditional christmas carols, as well as classic holiday movies, have the power to inflame the condition.

“Christmas in Hollis” works much better.

I expect to break out of my festive funk today with some holiday shopping. It usually does the trick. I am not a shopping kind of guy but the holidays are different. While I continue to work out of my funk enjoy episode two of my Black Friday Series.


 

Black Friday: Living On The Down Low
A week had gone by at the local Big Box and Xena had managed to avoid being sold. They had been lucky, thought Larry. Their luck would run out soon. He was getting nervous.

Yo had the job of finding a suitable disguise for Xena. He was not exactly the brightest Yo- Yo on the planet, ok his string didn’t spin very fast on his hub if you know what I mean, but he could move around the store much faster than Larry and time was of the essence.

Larry was grateful that Yo was willing to take the risk of being out in the open during prime buying season. He could no longer move like, well, lets face he could never really move all that fast.

It was probably because he was big boxed.

Yo had come back with several potential disguises but for one reason or another they all turned out to be bad ideas. The one idea that had come closest to solving their problem was when Yo discovered  a box containing Hug Me Elmo.

It wouldn’t take much to take out Elmo and dispose of the body. They also thought that he would not be in high demand given the scandal surrounding the Elmo puppeteer but Larry was worried the buying public had a short memory and since the Hug Me version did not sound as suspicious as the Tickle Me edition he did not want to take a chance on its marketability.

Larry was beginning to think it was time to think outside his box when Yo swung back from his latest expedition sounding triumphant.

“You sound exuberant. You had some luck I take it?” asked Larry.

“Huh, no I don’t need any lubricant. What are you talking about?” replied Yo.

“I said exuberant, it means excited.”

“Oh yea. I am exited. I found a perfect disguise for Xena.” replied Yo.

“Well, where is it?” asked Larry.

“After the last couple of failures I was not going to go swinging halfway across the store with it. Its a box of some kind of ping-pong things.”

“Ping-Pong Paddles?” queried Larry.

“Yea, that it.” answered a proud Yo.

“So, no batteries required?”

“Nope,” answered Yo.

“Nothing to plugin?”

“Nope again,”replied Yo.

“So its something they could play in a power outage or the coming apocalypse?” asked Larry.

“The alpaca what?”, replied Yo.

“When the stuff hits the fan.” answered Larry.

“Oh. Yea, light a few candles and I suspect there wouldn’t be a problem.” said Yo.

“It’s perfect. They’ll never buy it.” said Larry with a big grin on his box and added “Will you need help getting the box over to Xena in the gadget section?”

“No, in the time it would take you to get there someone could take out your insides and put them together.” laughed Yo.

“You do know that this box is a disguise and inside I am legos and not a 10,000 piece mercator puzzle of the world don’t you?”

“Uh, yeah. Hey, it could take a while to put legos together.” “I’ll be fine,” he said as he swung away toward the electronics department.

Sometime later Yo returned. “You can relax now Larry. Looking at Xena you would have no idea she’s the latest Xbox.”

“Just in the nick of time too. I just heard the manager saying they were going to put them on sale before we open today.” stated Larry. Just then the door chimed and signaled the store opening. The stampede had begun.

Having looped his string to the shelf unit Yo whispered “Quick Larry, toss me down behind the shelf”*. Larry did as he was told and then stayed in the back. His disguise had worked well but he wasn’t going to push his luck.

The sound of footsteps was soon accompanied by voices and the carnage began. Both Yo and Larry were sweating it out, well as much as toys could sweat, and the hours ticked by.

Larry was about to fall asleep when he heard a familiar voice in the electronic section say “Come here honey. Get a load of this.”

“What is it Harold?” replied a woman.

“I do believe it’s an old electronic Pong game Marge.”

“Yikes,” gasped Larry.

Now he recognized that voice. It was the vintage toy collector that he barely escaped from a few years back. “Yo, you said you found a box of Ping Pong paddles.”

“Well it had the word pong on the box so I just figured that’s what it was.” replied Yo rather sheepishly.

“Swell, remind me to rewind your string extra tight.”

Larry and Yo listen as Harold and Marge excitedly carried away their find to the front desk. Soon they exited the store with a big bag containing Xena.

“We’ll never see Xena again Yo.” said a sad Larry.

“Don’t worry Larry, another sexy gadget is just around the corner.” replied Yo trying to comfort him.

“You don’t understand Yo. She was just my type.”

“Oh Larry, all big boxes are your type.”

“That’s not true Yo. There was something about Xena. No matter what box she was in she had a certain ju ne se qua.” lamented Larry.

“A june bug what?” asked Larry.

“It’s French. A certain I don’t know what.” replied Larry

Yo shook his head and replied “Yea I don’t know what those French are trying to say either.”

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Black Friday Adventures. Will Larry be convinced that all sexy gadgets are alike and a replacement for Xena is just around the corner?

Will Larry try to rescue Xena?

Will Yo get an French-English dictionary?

Answers to these questions and those being asked by the voices in the authors head are coming to this blog soon.

*Sure Yo could swing himself across the store but his fear of the dark prevented him from hiding behind the shelf without a little push.

A Catharsis Is Required: The Return of Black Friday, A Different Perspective

The pursuit of creative activities are often affected by the mindset of the individual involved. My writing is no exception.

This time of the year has an especially strong influence on my moods and I tend to go  through three stages.

Stage 1) Awareness:  This stage is marked by the thoughts. Well, I’ve gotten through Halloween and Thanksgiving without going into a diabetic coma so what’s next? Oh yea, Christmas.

Stage 2) Trepidation bordering on cynicism. This stage usually sets in just after ThanksGiving, Black Friday to be precise. This stage usually requires a bit of time to work through to get to the next stage. During this period last year I worked through it by posting a four part story about the travails of toys  during this time of the year.

Stage 3) Anticipation: The transition to this stage is marked when cynicism fades and has been  replaced by a feeling of excitement for the approach of Christmas Eve.

This year is turning out to be no different than the last as I am still in stage 2. To help me move on to the next stage I am reposting that same four part series from last year. In addition to the cathartic reasons I am also taking the opportunity to introduce the story to the thousands of new fans that have discovered this blog over the past year. Hey it’s past noon hear so having a little egg nog with my rum and topping it off with delusions is acceptable.

I will be posting each installment starting today and concluding on Christmas Eve. I have allowed an extra day because , well, life happens. So without further delay I give you the first entry in the Black Friday Series: Black Friday, A Different Perspective.

A truck rolled up to the delivery entrance of the local Big Box store. The temperature was a balmy 40 degrees. This was somewhat normal for the first monday after thanksgiving.

Larry the box of legos had positioned himself at the end of the rear shelf to get the first look at the incoming newbies. At the other end of the shelf was his buddy Yo , the Yo Yo. “Yo , Yo get over here you’ll miss al the action”, shouted Larry. “Hold on to your bricks I’m rolling as fast as I can.”, shouted Yo.

Workers began wheeling in carts piled with boxes. From the looks of it they appeared to be all of the hottest new gadgets for the holidays.

“It looks like were in luck Yo. People will definitely be passing us by again this year.”

“Yep Larry but all the same I will be asking you for help to pull me by my string again.”

Every year around the holidays Yo had attached his string to the back of a shelf and thrown himself down between the wall until the holidays passed and counted on a friend to pull him back up afterwords. This method of hiding was so successful Yo had managed to avoid being bought since 1972 and had even been passed around a few stores. As far as Larry was concerned this was a record. Yo was kind of a legend in the world of toys.

“Yea, I got your back again Yo. No worries there.”

Larry’s next thought was interrupted by the arrival of one of the new potential christmas presents. Out of the box it was easy to see it was a brand new Xbox One that would be making some child or more than likely some adult a very happy kid this year.

“Will you get a load of that ,” exclaimed Yo.

“Yea , kinda perty” said Larry.

“Thanks for the compliment big boy,” exclaimed a women’s voice. “I’m Xena, what do they call you?”

Larry blushed a bit and said “They call me Larry and this hear is Yo.”

“Please to meet you Xena,” said Yo.

“Nice to meet both of you,” said Xena.

“What does Xena mean?” asked Yo.

“It’s Greek for hospitable or guest. Take your pick.” replied Xena.

“I pick the latter.” replied Larry. “Because you are not going to be at
this store for long.”

“Oh really. Why is that ?” asked Xena.

“Because the sexy gadgets get snapped up for presents really quick,”
replied Larry.

“Do you always call someone a sexy gadget when you first meet them?”
asked a blushing Xena.

“I’m sorry but that is what your kind of toys are called around
here.” replied Larry.

“It true”, said Yo and laughed. “Larry has never called me a sexy gadget.
The only thing I have ever been called is ‘groovy and that was back in
the 70’s.”

“The 1970’s. You have been here the whole time?”, asked Xena.

“Yep. I have successfully managed to avoid being purchased every year
since 1972.”

“You say that like you’re happy about that . “Don’t you want to bought?”
asked Xena.

“Heck no,” replied Yo. “My natural color is blue but you start tossing me
up and down and I turn a nice shade of green. Sure it’s pretty to look at
until I toss my string. I have a bad case of vertigo. I don’t need a life
destined for ups and downs.”

“Wow, that is unfortunate.”, replied Xena. “What about you Larry?
Being a box of legos must make you a marked man around this time of year.
I am surprised you are still on the shelf. Aren’t you looking forward to
a new home?” she asked.

“Heck no,” replied Larry. “I am destined to sit on someones display
shelf and then dragged out once in a while to be shown off to party
guests. My parts will never make it out of my box.”

“So how do you manage to stay here?” asked Xena.

“With the help of my friend Yo here I disguise myself in a discarded
box.” answered Larry.

“Just a box?” asked Xena.

“No not just any box. Its a box from a 10,000 piece puzzle of a mercator map of the world. It’s geographically accurate. No one in this country will touch it,” replied Larry.

“Aren’t you the clever one,” replied Xena

“Um, yes, yes I am.” replied Larry.

“That was a statement Larry. She was not asking you,” replied Yo.

“Uh, yea I knew that.” maintained Larry

“ I would think in a store so empty some one would get curious and open
you up,” replied Xena.

“Oh it’s not always this empty. Black Friday cleaned this place out,”
explained Larry.

A puzzled Xena replied “Black Friday?”

“Oh yea, you’re a rookie. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving.
It’s the biggest shopping day of the year,” answered Larry.

“So they get a head start on what to give thanks for next year?” asked
Xena.

“Hmm, I suppose that is one way to look at it.” said Larry.
“I always thought they missed the point and focused on what they didn’t
have and were trying to rectify it.”

“So how about you Yo?” asked Xena. “How how have you managed to avoid
being bought all these years?”

“I may just be a round disk but I got some smarts.” said Yo.

“No Yo. You have smarts.” interjected Larry.

“Thats what I said,” replied Yo.

“He ties his string to the back of the shelf and tosses himself between
the shelf and the wall. I pull him back up when the coast is clear.”
explained Larry.

“Oh my. You are much brighter than you look.” exclaimed Xena

“Why thank you, I think,” replied a puzzled Yo.

“I think I am going to like it around here,” replied Xena.
“Its a shame I will not be here for long.”

Larry smiled and said “If you want to stay around here I am sure we can
think of something.”

“Yea, between the two of us we can think of something to keep you here.”
added Yo.

“I might just take you up on that Gentlemen.” replied an exited Xena.

“Gentle who?” asked Yo.

“She meant us you string operated boob,” replied Larry.

Stay tuned folks. Will Larry and Yo be able to combine intellects and come up with a plan to keep Xena on the shelf? Will the buying public suddenly decide enough is enough? *. Will a large movie company send a cease and desist order to the author? Come back next time for answers to these and other questions the author can dream up between now and then.

*Yea right.

Metamorphosis

Fourteen degrees, that doesn’t sound too cold if you’re bundled up and you know your time in the elements will be short. If however you are in the shade, standing barefoot on concrete and tied to a post it’s a whole different reality.

I witnessed a dog in such a predicament when I stopped by the grocery store on the way to work.

If you thought I was describing my situation than I think some inner reflection on your part is required.

If the breed had been bred for cold weather I wouldn’t have given it a moments thought but this was some kind of terrier and it wasn’t happy.

His barks were not ones that said, “Hey come play with me” rather they said,

“hey, a little help here. I have parts of me that are threatening to become frozen nuggets and I am a little less than happy about it.”

Now, there are two things you need to know about me at this point. The first is that I am a dog guy. I love dogs. When I come across a dog during my day the dog knows he/she has met a friend and the feeling is mutual. The second is that I can summon up righteous indignation and tilt at windmills at the drop of a hat. I’m convinced some long lost ancestor inspired Cervantes.

My first thought was that the dogs owner, sorry caretaker (it is Boulder), had just ducked into the store for a few items and hopefully treats for their dog . That thought temporarily assuaged my concerns and I popped into the store. Fifteen minutes later I exited the store and the dog was still there and it’s barking now said,

“Ok, I am now probably unable to sire pups and I can deal with that but I really would like to come in and warm the rest of my still functioning parts.”

Looking around I determined that the dogs caretaker was nowhere in sight.
From the depths of my soul I could feel the tides of righteous anger begin to rise. Since I still had one more stop before I left for work, I decided to give it a few more minutes and I walked over to Big Daddy Bagels*, my favorite bagel place, to grab a coffee and a breakfast bagel and perhaps to spy said caretaker.

Once at the bagel shoppe I looked around to see if I could spy the villain. I did not know exactly what to look for, perhaps a women with a Dalmatian coat or a man bearing a handlebar mustache and wearing a cape.

No one matching these characteristics popped out at me. I placed my order and twenty minutes later I was heading out towards my car with coffee and bagel in hand. Unhappy barks told me all I needed to know.

I sat in my car and pondered my next move. I had several options but I had left my lance at home so that ruled out one possibility .
I could let the dog warm up in my car until the villain returned whereupon I would confront the low-life or I could just call the humane society. Since I had to get to work the first option was the least likely.
Just as I was about to call the humane society, I spied the near-do-well leaving the grocery store and zipping up his coat. He looked quite toasty. My attitude was becoming the same and my course of action was clear. Confrontation was on the horizon.

I put my car in gear and slowly approached Mr. Whiplash.

As I got closer I wondered could I and should I say something.

A voice inside my head asked , if not me then who, if not now when. Apparently the little voice had worked with some presidential speech writers in the past.

Of course you should it continued. Your entire life you have had the personality of a cranky old man just dying to get out and express itself. Lets face it , you have had a cranky old man inside you since kindergarten. Who was it that proclaimed in first grade they were to old for milk and it was too late to do your bones any good. Who was it that at the age of ten took an entire carton of their parents cigarettes and using a sewing needle poked tiny holes spelling out death in each individual cigarette?

That is the act of one cranky little man my friends.

The little voice brought clarity to the situation. It was dead on. I had been preparing for this moment my entire life. Instead of being ignored or getting punished I now had the looks to go along with the attitude. The cranky old guy inside had sprouted grey hairs and had left its youthful skin behind and was ready to curse out the young punk. If only I had some front lawn to tell him to get off of.

“Excuse me. Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“You know its fourteen degrees out here. This is not the kind of weather to leave your dog out for ever.”

“I was only inside the store for a few minutes.”

Big mistake, I thought.

“It has been over a half hour by my calculations,” I said. “I was about to call the humane society.”

That was the coup de grace. Like all cranky old men before me I had let him know that I can tell time and count in one fell swoop. He was left with no alternative but to curse me under his breath.

Feeling satisfied that he would at least think long and hard about leaving his dog out in the cold, the cranky old man closed the window and crept back into my soul as I drove on.

I have got to get a front lawn, I thought.

*A totally unsolicited endorsement because the bagels and the staff rock.

Fostering Paranoia (Brewing The Perfect Conspiracy cont..)

The good stuff. Lies and trails to nowhere. Disinformation, subterfuge and disingenuous relationships. The good stuff. The fun stuff.

Any good conspiracy or at least one worth a book or hollywood movie contains the good stuff.
The good stuff organizes the people that have taken notice of strange goings on and points them in several directions at once.

Its the original ‘hey look over there’ gag with the part of your uncle played by a group whose goal is something a little more nefarious than stealing your french fries.

A good campaign of disinformation can foment paranoia among those that think they are on to something. When this happens, the odds that the conspiracy will be successful goes up tremendously.

Those that are suspicious will start to see conspiracy in every nook, cranny and shadow around them.

Once the phrase “but that’s what they want you to
think” is uttered, their credibility, if they had any, is totally blown.

If they are lucky they can get a book deal, if not they may find themselves spending hours in therapy with an occasional trip to the pharmacist forsome ‘calming’ medication.

Capitol Hill bathed in the shadows of the afternoon sun. It was late
August and the Hill was doing something it did well, making people sweat and spreading corruption. Quite often the two are related.

A ceiling fan lorded over the patrons in a nondescript bar a few blocks from Capitol Hill. It rotated at a teasing rate that said,

“Yea, maybe I can turn
faster. Wouldn’t you like to find out.”

Beneath the fan sat two gentlemen each nursing a beer. Both were
wearing the same gold and black signet ring. Both had the same build and were around the same age. But for the beard of one and the Panama hat of the other they would be hard to tell apart.

“So what’s on the agenda today. I hope its the good stuff. I have been
waiting quite a while for the good stuff,” said Panama.

The Beard opened a manilla envelope and pulled out one sheet of 4×5 notepad paper. “It says here that we are getting some attention and need to start our previously discussed campaign of disinformation and paranoia.”

“Alright. The good stuff,” exclaimed Panama.

Fun with the good stuff.