Sunday, May 20, 2018

426. Newscast

Sometimes C.W. likes to pretend he is a news analyst and give me a recap of the week. He has this shape he likes when he does it, very grave and serious. He looks more like one of the great newscasters of the past. He always starts the same way, as he did yesterday.

“Good Saturday to you. It has been a week of weeks here in America, I’m Charles Wellingham here to tell you all about it.”

I don’t move, as a general rule, that is, until he makes a gaff. He records the broadcast and I worry that someone might see one.

Anyway, back to yesterday. He took a deep breath.

“Sad to say, my fellow Americans, our country seems to continue sinking into a hole from which it may never emerge.”

I listened.

“What kind of hole, you ask? That depends on you, fellow citizen. Some call in a ‘hole of despair.’ They see your species adopting attitudes that draw social lines that may never be crossed. ‘Where,’ they say, ‘did civil discourse go?’ We may never know. A species that wears baseball caps on backwards can’t be expected to contemplate complex thoughts, or follow the tenuous paths of reason.”

He looked at me for approval. I nodded and he proceeded.

“Others don’t speak of despair. They sense a moment of triumph. They see our country as being directed by more spiritual forces. The only hole they see affecting America is what they might like to term ‘a glory hole,’ and they praise its promise.”


He had started to speak again, but stopped. He looked at me and said, “What?”

“I’m not sure I would use the term ‘glory hole’ if I were you.”

“You’re not me, but why? Too religious?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Okay.” He made a note and continued. “We leave our holy-roller friends to their thoughts and continue.”


He sighed.

I said, “I don’t thing they like to be called ‘holy rollers’ anymore.”

“Well, you can’t please everybody. Let’s continue.” He consulted his notes, assumed his camera-face, took a breath and said. “We lost some more of America’s school children to gun violence this week. That’s getting to be a ‘below the fold’ occurrence in our country. We may stop reporting it entirely, except perhaps in the community news. That would become a sad non-commentary, don’t you think?”

He looked a me. I nodded. Pretty good. He continued.

Oddly, the president of those dead school children refuses to address this whole culture of gun violence. Some of you may think that’s queer.”

He looked at me. I nodded again. He was getting into his groove.

“It’s queer, all right,” he said. “You might say the president is acting as queer …,” he searched for words, “…, let’s say queer as a three-dollar bill.”

I straightened. “Uh.”

“Now what?”

“Not sure I agree with your journalism work there,” I said. “Try a different simile.”


“Because I said to.”

“Okay.” He made a note and continued. “The president’s behavior seems to puzzle nearly everyone these days, everyone that is except the man we journalists who cover government are calling ‘The Walrus.’”

I let that one pass. It seemed to fit.

“We have learned from a trusted source inside the White House that fellow staffers don’t refer to the president’s most trusted advisor as ‘The Walrus’ but as,” I could tell he was undergoing an internal translation, “a small syringe for douching the vagina, especially as a contraceptive measure.”

“Wait,” I said. “Why don’t you just leave out that part?”

“Is there a better translation?”
Oh dear. - C.W.

“No, well, yes, but I think it’s best avoided on a formal broadcast.”

“Damn,” he said, making another note. He continued. “Rumor has it that the president, whom most staffers now lovingly refer to as ‘The Cheeto,’ called the Walrus in last week to discuss reports that the Catholic Pope was getting concerned about our warlike actions in the Middle East.”

He made that motion newscasters use when they turn to face another camera. “What, you might ask, was the response from the Walrus? Insiders report this: ‘How many nukes does the Pope have?’ The Cheeto thought that was cute, sources also say.”

In further news, we have learned that the Walrus and the Cheeto have eliminated several governmental functions. One of those was the office of the command center for dealing with disease outbreak. He termed the office, if our sources are correct, ‘As useless as mammary ducts on a boar hog.’ Fox News science expert Sean Hannity agreed, praising the action as ‘draining the area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects.’”

He made the motion of returning to the original camera.

“Now for international news, we regret to inform you of another outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa.”

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

425. House Guests

“C.W., get in here right now. “You,” I pointed to a group outside the door of our farmhouse, “stay right where you are.”

“Can’t come right now,” I heard a voice say. “I’m packing,”

“I’ll pack you for a one-way trip home if you don’t get in here.”

“May we come in now?” the apparent leader of the group said. He was a thin man with a ludicrous goatee and close-cropped hair. He wore patched jeans and a work-shirt opened in front. A large tattoo of an eagle filled his chest. He carried a suitcase in one hand and a large grocery bag folded at the top in the other. Behind him stood a slovenly woman with a face that might, at some point long ago, been attractive. Now, both her face and bosoms sagged, and a large expanse of belly hung over the tops of cut-off jeans. Two pale, emaciated men stood with her. Each had a grocery bag, similar to the leader’s, in each hand.

“No,” I said. “You may not come in. If fact, I would advise you very strongly to depart the premises before my wife gets back.”

“But we’re paid up,” the leader said.

“C.W.” I yelled over my shoulder, “I’m not telling you again.”

I heard a rustle behind me, and Reggie the Young Conservative walked into the room. “Oh hi,” he said to the group as he straightened the collar of his shirt. “I see you found the place.”

The leader looked at me with a nervous twitch, and said to C.W., “There seems to be a problem.”

“No problem,” C.W. said, “I’ll be finished packing in a moment and the place will be yours.”

“What the godalmighty hell is going on here?” I queried.

“Fundraising for the campaigns,” C.W. said. “You know we’re all going off for the long weekend.”

“So? I thought we weren't going to publicize that.”

“There’s this place on the net,” he said, "and they rent your house for you when you don’t need it.”

I turned to him. “So, you rented our house to these people?”

“No, the place on the net did. Isn’t that neat? The money will buy a lot of Nancy Pelosis.”

“A lot of what?”

“You know, campaign brochures with her picture on them. We can’t use the ‘jigaboo’s’ picture anymore, so our folks are running against the Evil Grandmother. You do know she has a secret chamber under a Methodist church near Golden Gate Park where they force young boys to have sex-change operations and then use them for sex slaves, don’t you? It’s been all over Fox News.”

I turned to the ones standing outside the door. “There has been a mistake,” I said. “This, this, …, this creature has no authority to rent our house.”

“The website said it was okay.”
I guess I was lucky after all. - C.W.
“And how did you find the website?”

“A guy in ‘county-lockup’ told us about it,” one of the young men said.

“Shut up,” the leader said, turning to the young man. I saw the woman punch him in the ribs at the same time.

“And what,” I said, “do you have in those grocery bags?”

There was an audible crunch as several hands tightened.

“Oh, just some, uh, uh, …,” he struggled. Thinking must have posed a degree of difficulty for him.

“Religious tracts,” the woman said. She brightened, “Yeah,” she said with more confidence, “we planned a weekend of religious study.” Her whole being seemed to glow with the joy of explaining. “We vote the same political party as,” she nodded toward C.W. and said, “Mr. Trunce here, that’s the religious party, so it seemed like a great match-up.”

“Religious tracts, eh.”

“Yes sir.”

“Tell you what I’m going to do,” I said. “I’ll leave you with, uh,” I looked at C.W. and then back at the group, “Mr. Trunce, and I’ll call a friend of mine with the Sheriff’s Department. He can come over, and when my wife gets back, the two of them can review your religious tracts. If they approve, our house is yours for the weekend.”

I would say their faces paled, but they were so pale already that any incremental change would go undetected. I turned to C.W. “Mr. Trunce,” I said, “may I have a word?”

I took him out of sight, motioned for him to lean an ear toward me, and said, so only he could hear, “You are in a world of shit if my wife catches one sight of them. Now you go and tell them.”

He nodded and walked back toward the front door. He had only taken a few steps before he turned and said, “No need. They’re gone.”

I heard a sound from outside and went to a window. Two unknown cars had pulled up in the driveway. From one, a long-haired man with no shirt on yelled, “Parteeee time.”

The group’s leader stopped him, and an animated conversation ensued. The group piled into a decrepit van and the entire caravan sped away slinging gravel everywhere. I turned to C.W. He said, “May I borrow your Bible? I’d like to be reading it when Mrs. Big Dope gets back.” 

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

424: Science

Oh my, I hadn’t seen anyone smoke a pipe in years. Didn’t know they still made them. But there was C.W. puffing away on one, sitting at a patio table. His shape was a lot like the late playwright Arthur Millar. He had books and papers scattered in front of him.

He motioned for me to join him and I did.

He waved a hand across the pile of material before him like he was giving it his blessing. “I think,” he said, “that I’ve about figured it out.”

“How to look anachronistic?”

He ignored me. “Why your species is so unwilling to move into the future,” he said.

“Elucidate.” I could tell he was in one of his serious moments, and I enjoy those.

“Do you ever think about the monumental and complex problems facing your planet?” he said.

“All the time.”

“Ever thing of what it will take to solve those problems?”

“Probably things that we haven’t thought of yet.”

“Precisely,” he said.

That made me feel good. He rarely acknowledges that I know anything.

“Continue, please,” I said.

“Ever wonder,” he said, continuing in a questioning mode, “why one of the world’s richest families, emanating by the way,” he said, “from your own state, has joined hands with major religious institutions and a dominant political party in a plan to abrogate your current system of educating your children? Ever say, to yourself, what do they have to gain by denouncing reason, science, and the ability to address problems in a cognitive way?”

“You are right. It doesn’t make sense.”

He smiled, nodded, and picked up a large book from the table. “Ever read this?” he asked. It was a worn copy of The Golden Bough, by Sir James George Frazer, a Scottish social anthropologist, influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion. He is often considered one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology.

I nodded and smiled myself. “Yes, but it was a long time ago in a different lifetime.” A flood of memories washed over me. “I credit Frazer with freeing me from the shackles of mythology forged on me as a child.” I was sort of screwing with him by resorting to flowery language.

He ignored me. “Then you know how he recorded humankind’s cognitive process, beginning first with magic as a method of controlling the environment.”

“I seem to remember.”

“Then,” he continued, as it gradually dawned on your species that dances and incantations weren’t really able to change things, and that people didn’t suffer because you made a doll-like image of them suffer.”

“Go on.”

“So,” he said, “the thinkers of that time decided that external forces must guide their world. They chose religion, assuming there are personal agents, superior to man, controlling nature.  It has been said that this is a far more complex notion than that of magic, and requires a much higher degree of intelligence.”

“This is getting a bit deep,” I said.

“We’re almost there,” he said. “Hang with me.”

What else could I do?

“We are now at the point in the evolution of your people at which they thought that reliance on a divine source might be the best technology to be used in controlling the environment.”

“And some still do,” I said.

“Oddly enough,” he said. “This troubles the Falloonian Elders to no end.”

“I can see. What happened next?”

“In simple terms?”

“In simple terms, please.”

“In simple terms, religious contemplation led to complex thinking, and complex thinking led to science.”


“Science,” he said. “And as science emerged, your species hardened in its belief that the world had to be controlled, and, to a thoughtless few, that control had to be carried out on their terms, and for their ends.”

Oddly, someone once suggested that
alchemy led to the scientific method. - C.W.
“Well hell,” he said, “can’t you see?”

“See what?”

“How science got their way.”

“I think maybe I do.”

“Let me help move you along,” he said. “I haven’t got all day.” He puffed on his pipe until he started the smoke flowing in bullous clouds. It was aromatic and not unpleasant. “Humankind can conceive all sorts of weird ideas and proposals. The problem, then, is that science can test those ideas and proposals.”


“And how do you exert control over people with ideas that science can prove wrong?” He puffed again. “Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to make people satisfied with their state of poverty. So, you tell them you’re going to cut their source of revenue and that will increase their income.”

“That sounds a bit familiar.”

“Doesn’t it though? Now, the problem is, as you well know, a second-year college student majoring in mathematics—some call that science—can prove that proposition false in a few moments. How do you maintain your control? You can’t kill all the college students.”

“No,” I said, “but how do you exert control over people with ideas that science can prove wrong?”

“Simple,” he said. He blew a huge cloud of smoke my way and I inhaled a bit of it. “You kill science.”

“But how?”

“First,” he said, “you kill all the teachers.”

I rose and walked away, staggering just a bit.

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.