Sunday, November 30, 2014

228. Viewpoints

“Hey, want to go for a walk?” C.W. came bounding in almost breathless looking like an ad for L.L. Bean, complete with red plaid shirt and classy hiking shoes. He resembled an outdoor George Clooney. We were spending a long holiday weekend at our farm and he was primed and ready for action, probably a little bored as well.

“Can’t,” I said.

“Why not? You aren’t doing anything.”

Actually I was writing but forget that. “Can’t walk around here,” I said. “Deer season.”


“Deer season. There are folks that would shoot an alien just to have their picture with your body in the county paper.”

He plopped onto a couch. “May I say,” he began, “that your species is a bit weird?”

“Pray do,” I said. “Just don’t include me.”

“Oh, you are as bad as the rest.”

I ignored him.

“For example,” he said. “When any issue comes up, you tend to pick a point of view and stick with it no matter what the facts say.”

“Do not.”

“Oh yes you do.”

“Do not.”

“Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton?”

He took me by surprise. I thought. “Eric Clapton, everybody knows that.”

“What if Clapton himself said ‘Hendrix?’”

“Eric Clapton.”

“What if ‘Rolling Stone Magazine’ said Hendrix?”

“Eric Clapton,” I said. “Now I have work to do.”

“Are you planning to produce a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers?”

“If I decide to produce a book,” I said, “you won’t be in it.”

“Why not?”

“You aren’t interesting enough.”

“I’m more interesting than you.”

“Are not.”

“Am,” he said. “How many of your readers have suggested that you write a book about yourself?”

“Well,” I said, “none yet but that’s not to say they won’t be interested when it is finished.”

“Yeah,” he said, “and Rush Limbaugh might discover that it’s fun to talk about the goodness of humankind.”
“It could happen,” I said.

“And Bill O'Reilly might actually read one of those books he has ‘written’ as well and start acting like the subjects of them.”

“Well I do write all my stuff,” I said.

“And,” he  said, “how many of your readers have suggested that you include me in a book?”

I thought. “This month or all together?”

“Let’s just say in the last couple of months.”

“Oh,” I said, “quite a few.”


“I’d be the laughing stock of America,” I said.

“No,” he said, “Sarah Palin has that title all sewed up.”

“Don’t you have something to do?”

“I could read something,” he said. “Dickens or Austin?”

Will Big Dope ever accept the truth? - C.W.
My worn copy of “Great Expectations” was in view. I saw the trap and could see the joy on his face when he repeated my answer to my wife. “Actually either is acceptable,” I said. “I prefer modern American writers.”

“Gatsby or Grapes of Fierce Anger?”

“Are you trying to provoke me?”

“Maybe I’ll just watch a little television while you write.” Before I could protest, he grabbed the TV remote and punched a button. Immediately the contorted face of Nancy Grace appeared. We both watched in disbelief as she convicted a person of gross sins against humanity and vowed that it would all come out in the trial. C.W. leaned forward and took it in with a wry smile. He turned to me and cocked his head, or at least the shape of the head he had chosen for today.

“Guilty or not guilty?” he said.
and of course: click an ad. We always need new hiking attire. - C.W.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

227. Privilege

            “I’ve been thinking,” C.W. said.
            Oh hell. “About what?” We were taking advantage of a break in the cold weather to walk along the riverside park in Little Rock. The air was crisp, the leaves on the maple trees a flaming red, and the paths clear of his enemies, the bicyclists. He often takes on a shape much like that of Johnny Depp in times like this, a joke that causes many stares and an occasional stalking. He, of course, was smoking, blowing the smoke my way to irritate me.
            “I’ve been thinking I might stay here,” he said. “I mean after my assignment is finished.”
            Oh hell. “And what makes you think you might do that?”  I said.
            “I’ve grown accustomed to your face,” he said. I turned quickly to see if he was kidding. He was.
            “And aside from that?”
            “Your species needs help,” he said. “Maybe I could be a pundit, or columnist, or run for office.”
            Oh hell. “Why do you think we need help?”
            “Oh please,” he said. “You have people elected to your national congress who think the universe is 6,000 years old.” He took a puff and blew the smoke toward the distant skyscrapers. “And they are allowed to breed children, drive cars, and operate TV remotes. Scary.”
            “You’ve got a point,” I said.
            “And you’ve got some really ignorant ones at the state level,” he said.
            He was making me despondent. “So,” I said, “will they let you stay, the Falloonian Elders?”
            “I have to make application,” he said. “And I have to choose a permanent shape and personality. And, I have to have sponsors who will vouch for me. You and Mrs. Big Dope will, won’t you?”
            Oh hell. “Have you thought about your permanent shape?” I said.
            “Some,” he said. “I, of course would be male, earning power and all that.”
            “Anything else?”
            “Caucasian. That opens a lot of doors,” he said, “and removes any limitations.”
            “A degree from Harvard would help.”
            “You’ll have to ask them about that,” I said.
            “I have,” he said. “I just have to send the check.”
            “Good for you,” I said. “Is that all you need? Any physical specifications?”
            “Yes, I think it would help if I were tall.”
            “Hmm,” I said, “probably. Anything else?”
            “A big pe …”
            “Look,” I said. “A speedboat was pulling a water skier in a wetsuit down the river. “That’s something you don’t see often, this time of year. But what were you saying?”
            He thought. “A trust fund,” he said, “I will need a trust fund.”
            “Don’t look to me for that,” I said.
            “Oh the Elders would arrange that. They seemed anxious to grant me permanency here.”
            “I can imagine,” I said. “So that about does it then?”
            “If I plan to run for office, I need a stint in the military.”
            Oh hell. “And?”
            “That presents a bit of a problem,” he said.
            “How so?”
            “We don’t have violence in Falloonia. I’m not sure how I would respond.”
            “Well you won’t know until you try.” I was thinking of four years of freedom.
            “Maybe I could just become an avid hunter instead,” he said. “That seems to work as a proxy.”
Everyone is crazy about
a self-made man. - C.W.
            “That involves violence,” I said.
            “Yes, but it is unilateral violence. That is the best kind.”
            “Say,” I said. “You’ve thought this thing out pretty carefully.”
            “I’m prepared to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, as George W. Bush used to say. Only two decisions to go,” he said.
            “Only two?”
            “Yes, finding a wife and choosing a church home,” he said, “appearances, you know.”
            “That shouldn’t be hard,” I said.
            “I don’t know, he said. “Those Baptist women are awfully pretty, but you know how much I like to dance.”
            Oh hell.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

226. Corporationhood

“Man, we’ve got to get into this religion racket.”

“Some of my friends wouldn’t call it a racket,” I said.

“What would you call it?” C.W. was all turned out in expensive clothes (Heaven knows where he got them), a fake platinum watch, and a haircut that looked like three plates of spaghetti piled on top of one another.

“Some call it a pursuit of spirituality,” I said, “a search for grace.”

“Oh, that’s them old-timey folks,” he said. “I’m talking about modern times. I tell, you, there’s gold in those pews.”

“How so?”

He closed his eyes as if praying for understanding. “Don’t you read the news?”

“I quit … too depressing.”

“Well,” he said, “the evangelism stars are aligning themselves.”

“Uh,” I said, “I think you are mixing metaphors or something like that.”

“Whatever,” he said. “The time is right.”

“The time is right for what?”

“My new religion.”

“I see. You are going to start a new religion.”

“Yes. And I need some rent money for a tabernacle.”

“I’m not sure there are many tabernacles for rent around here.”

“Oh, a simple coliseum will do for now.”

“And this new church will be called what?”

“The Church of the Corporate Covenant.”

“The what?”

“You heard me.” He said. “It’s a church for corporation people only we will allow other types of people as well.”

“And whose idea was this?”

“I got it from your Superior To All Others Court.”

“Our Supreme Court?”

“Why do you repeat me so often?”

“A habit, I suppose. But how is our Supreme Court going to help you start a church?”

“Not help, enable.”

“How so?”

“Haven’t you heard? Corporations have human feelings like everyone else, including religious feelings.”


“Laws must respect those and make allowances.”


“What corporation wants to pay taxes?”

“Uh …”

“What corporation wants to allow a woman to run it?”

“Well …”

“What corporation in American wants to pay higher wages than does a corporation in Sri Lanka?”

“Ah …”

“And black folks, give me a break. They steal more than they produce. Ask Bill O’Reilly If we didn’t have to hire them, corporate profits would soar.”

“Corporate profits are already soaring.”

“But just wait,” he said, “until we don’t have to hire cripples anymore.”

“C.W., I can’t believe I hear you saying these things.”

“I’m merely speaking for the Lord of Corporations. I’m a way-pointer on the path to salvation.”

I was beginning to understand. “So you will set up a church that objects to all these restrictions on religious grounds.”

Isn't it thrilling? your new
Civil Rights movement. - C.W.
“In exact terms, without vagueness.”

“And exactly why do you think it will work?”

“Because you are a Level Nineteen Species.”

“A level what?”

“A species that has been walking upright for less than half a million years. It’s a Galactic Council term. It indicates provisionality.”


“You may not have long so let’s get busy.”

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And check our
- C.W.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

225. New Words

C.W. likes to make up words, which is humorous given the problems he has with his GUT (his Galactic Universal Translator). It is affected at times by sunspots. That can produce some interesting communications such as the one I found this morning.

“I have gone for an act of moving at a regular and fairly slow pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once, and have left you some notes on the kitchen piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed, and that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, working, or playing games.”

So, while he was out walking I looked on the kitchen table and found a report entitled “New Articles of Communication Needed by the North American Species of Homo Sapiens.” I had just started reading it when he walked in, shaped as a hunter in camouflage and bright orange. He tossed his hat aside and said, “I see you found my brief record of facts, topics, or thoughts, written down as an aid to memory.”

“I found your notes and you need to adjust your translator.”

He said, “I trust my GUT. What do you think of my new words?”

“I dunno, “ I said. “I just started on them. Where did you get the idea for this one, ‘Connecdeficia?’”

“Ah,” he said, “The lack of ability to connect mental dots. That’s a badly needed one.”

“Where did you come up with it?”

“From exit interviews at your last political election.”

“Exit interviews? I didn’t know you did exit interviews.”

“Oh yes,” he said. “You won’t believe what I heard your neighbors say when I asked them what they despised most in modern America.”


“I hate poor children. I really hate poor Hispanic children. And I really, really hate poor black children. And, oh yeas I truly despise the use of contraceptives.”

            After thinking for a moment, I said, “You may have a point there.” I looked at his notes. "What’s this next one, ‘Nonapplicational?’”

“Oh that’s simple. I singled out some voters who had family members dependent on governmental largesse.”


“Yes, it’s a much softer word than ‘welfare,’ don’t you think?”

“Maybe so, maybe not, but go ahead.”

“Typical was the interviewee whose grandmother had been kept alive by what you call your ‘Medicaid Program’ for the last thirty years of her life.”


“The granddaughter voted for the party that promised to eliminate the program.”

“So her grandmother’s case was ..?”


Nonapplicational,” I interrupted.


“You know,” I said, “of all the hair-brained schemes you have had, this one might be the least so.”

“Brains have hair?”

“It’s an expression,” I said. “What’s this next one, ‘Nasaladectomous’ or something like that?”

“It’s what you call an adjective,” he said. “It modifies an action whereby one  ...”

“Cuts off his nose …”

“To spite his visage,” he said. “I got this one from talking to veterans like you.”


“You won’t believe how many said they voted for a candidate simply because he was a veteran.”


“This one in particular had cast several votes previously denying benefits for veterans.”

“They voted for him anyway?”

“ Yes,” he said, “in a classic case of …”


It was getting interesting. I looked at his motes. “Amouraprobe?”

He shook his head. “This was the strangest of all. Tell me,” he said, “would you vote for a candidate who vowed to have the government insert a metal probe into your penis for no reason?”

I gasped. “Heavens no,” I said.

“Would you like to guess how many women voted for a candidate who has vowed to insert such a probe into their …?”

A creature after my own heart. - C.W.
“Enough,” I said. “I get the picture.”

“So the word describes a phenomenon whereby the love of a physical threat produces adulation and loyalty.”

“Well,” I said, “what’s next?”

“I have to submit my recommendations to the Office of Moronascurity.”

“The what?”

“Where they obscure the meaning of words and terms so that the …”

“I understand.”

“It’s simple matter of Lambafication,” he said.” New wine is not put into old wineskins. Didn’t one of your persons regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of god say that?”

“One of our prophets did indeed,” I said. “Now, if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go for a walk and try to make the thought of amouraprobe become nonapplicational.

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- C.W.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

224. History

            “I see where they are going to quit teaching the history of your country in New York public schools,” C.W. said as we lounged in the living room reading.
            “That’s nice,” I said. Actually I was reading history and half-listening to him. He was in his “lounging form,” a cross between Gore Vidal and how he supposed Charles Darwin would have looked.
            “No, really,” he said. “they say it doesn’t contribute to standardized test results so it doesn’t need to be taught. Is that a good idea?”
            “Some people in …, where did you say? They must think it is.”
            “New York,” he said. “But others will surely follow.”
            “Why do you say that?” He was beginning to draw my attention.
            “Don’t you remember when your people started emphasizing history in public schools?”
            “Years ago?”
            “A big push, according to the article I read, came during what you call World War One.”
            “Oh really?”
            “Seems your people worried that all the new immigrants coming into your country didn’t understand your great history.”
            “And thanks to that effort, so many people now know about the massive employment programs you had back in the early days of your nation for immigrants from underdeveloped countries in Africa.”
            “Employment programs?”
            “Surely you know about those.”
            “Employment programs? That’s what you call them?”
            “That’s what the expert on that news show you don’t like calls them, and he teaches history at a university.”
            “And calls them ‘employment programs?””
            “Sometimes he calls them ‘employment opportunities.’ After all, you did furnish free transportation here, room and board while being trained for work, and a living wage during the process.”
            “And you believe that?”
            “Doesn’t matter what I believe. I’m just an alien. But the folks around here that I talk to believe it. And they vote.”
            “You are making me despondent.”
            “Many of those I talk to also understand, because of the teaching of history, about the war that resulted when northern industrialists decided to confiscate southern farms and eliminate the so-called ‘middle-man’ in manufacturing and food processing.”
            “Say what?”
            “I don’t blame them for resisting. Do you?”
            “Where do you hear such nonsense?”
            “At the coffee shop. You should go with me some time. You could even learn about how hard it was to turn back the hordes of stone-age savages that invaded the country from Russia in the 1600s, trying to annihilate your early settlers.”
            “You know this is bull…, that it is all wrong, don’t you?”
            “So you are saying maybe the teaching of history isn’t such a good idea?”
            “That’s not what I’m saying at all.”
            “What are you saying?”
            I said, “We should try to understand it and learn from it, history that is.”
            “Why? It’s not on the Common Core tests. Why should you teach it? How does knowledge of history help you operate a computer?”
            “It helps,” I said, “understand Americans who changed history, people like Susan B. Anthony, and Abraham Lincoln. In my lifetime, there was Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kennedy.”
            “Yeah, Lyndon Johnson’s wife paid Charles Manson to kill him, didn’t she?”
            “Where do you hear this stuff?”
            “Different places,” he said. “I get around.”
We'll soon get rid of these antiquated things
called teachers. What part can they play in
passing standardized tests? - C.W.
            “You don’t get around to the library, it seems.”
            “The what?”
            “Oh my god.”
            “Just kidding,” He said. “But don’t worry about the libraries. I heard they cost too much and they are going to shut them down. The authorities can put everything you need to know on your personal computer, according to what career they determine for you.”
            I hung my head. “And just who will determine these careers?”
            “Not who. What.”
            “What will determine these careers?”
            “Why standardized test scores, of course. Michelle Rhee is working on them right now, I hear.”
            “Isn’t that a sort of, oh say … an educational version of a ‘circular firing squad,’ standardized tests determining what courses you should take to pass standardized tests?”
            “Hey,” he said as he started to transmogrify into his favorite form of Reggie the Young Conservative, “it’s your country. I’m just an alien.”

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- C.W.