Friday, February 13, 2009

Cobb on a roll

Cobb resolved he would write 100 lines today, giving special attention to correct typing, spelling, grammar, capitalization and all the other things that make life worth living.
Much of life depends on security codes. If you do not have one, you cannot access your own financial accounts to see how much or how little you have in the bank. A favorite trick of banks is not to tell you your code when you open your account, but then to spring it on you months later. If you are lucky, you will have retained the personal phone number of the clerk who signed you up for the account. That is your only hope of ever getting through to a live human on the phone.
Cobb found in necessary to defend his ears against the noise of the dishwasher in his kitchen area. It was loud, and went on for most of any hour. Cobb doubted if the machine really needed an hour of swishing and swirling of hot, soapy water against his plates, cups and forks to make them come clean. Many modern machines did only a half-ass job, others - like his dishwasher - were super-efficient. Cobb tried to recall when he first met a dishwasher. Suddenly it came to him - the earliest dishwashers - in his experience - were called children. They were Cobb, his older brother and (later, as she matured into a 10-year-old able to refrain from cutting her fingers off ) his younger sister. They would wash the supper dishes each night, thus giving their mother a break. She died at age 62 of heart trouble, in no way related to washing dishes, as far as Cobb could remember. 16.
In the New York Times this morning appears a story that says the USA should take a lesson from Japan in the 1990s. That venerable, inscrutable nation underwent an economic slump quite similar to the one we're experiencing. The government responded with a bailout, and then another one, until they finally got it right. The Japanese economy limped back, but the lesson to be learned is that it is better to risking over-doing a bailout than to under-do. Under-doing only prolongs the misery.
Cobb awoke this morning with visions of social unrest to come, of starving families throughout the land, of children standing in bread lines, of thieves and hoodlums roaming the streets, robbing, breaking into homes, vandalizing. Because municipal budgets had been cut by the depression, there were not nearly enough cops to go around. As the government printed huge reams of thousand-dollar bills to bail out everyone, money lost most of its value and the Weimar Republic of 1920s Germany suddenly came alive, with people taking wheelbarrows filled with paper currency to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread. Of course, this disaster was relieved a few years later with the arrival of Adolf Hitler & Co. So that took care of that, didn't it?
Two hours later, after Cobb had arisen and washed his face, brushed his teeth, dressed and obtained not one but two newspapers from a downtown newsstand, many of his fears had either faded or had been displaced by more important worries, such as what major league baseball should do about Alex Rodriguez, a third baseman for the New York Yankees. He had recently admitted using performance enhancing substances in the early years of the decade.
This led Cobb to consider the larger question of performance enhancing stuff (PES). If athletes were to be condemned for using PES, why shouldn't the rest of humankind be subject to the same rules? The most prominent example of PES is surely Viagra and the several other pecker-stiffeners that science has come up with. What if, upon investigation, it was discovered that athletes who used Viagra - and presumably enjoyed a better sex life and a happier marriage thereafter - did better on the ballfield than other athletes who did not use Viagra? Or how about nasal spray? If I'm an outfielder with a runny nose and watery eyes, shouldn't I be allowed to squirt some liquid up my schnozz to dry things out? But if it were discovered that my nasal spray gave me a jump on other jocks who did NOT squirt stuff up their noses, would that disqualify me for the World Series or admission to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame?
Cobb's mind then went on to Preparation H and similar remedies. Could they not be considered performance enhancing? Have you ever tried to pitch a no-hit game while your poor exit ramp was on fire?
And so on. PES came in a thousand forms, both natural and manufactured. The most common, probably, was coffee. Or ordinary water. You are in the final stage of the Boston Marathon, approaching Heartbreak Hill, and your guts feel like an abandoned sawmill after a sandstorm. You would gladly kill your husband and your firstborn child in exchange for some liquid, any kind of liquid. Suddenly an arm on the sideline extends you a paper cup filled with cool water. You seize it, gulp it down. "We're sorry, Ms. Kahlo-Jen, but you've just ingested a PES - water - and are therefore disqualified."

test on 2-13-09


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Notes by a Newbie

Notes by a Newbie Blogger

I'm studying the Huffington Post blogger book, in addition to Blogging for Dummies. As I read,
I'm not at all sure I have a future as a successful blogger. That role will require me to think hard and to make a few tough decisions. I may not be up to it.

Decision 1: Do I want to remain anonymous? The appeal of anonymity is enormous. What freedom there must be to be able to speak one's mind openly and without fear of being identified. I hold few radical opinions on any major topic, so I'm not afraid that I'll have rocks heaved through my window or horse manure
dumped on my lawn by persons who violently disagree with me. But I still enjoy the pleasures of obscurity, and of not having strangers know both my thoughts and my name and address. Or maybe I don't have the guts to speak freely and attach my name to my views.


Decision 2: What shall I blog about? Initially I had planned to post blogs on almost any subject that
crossed my mind or appeared on my mental radar. But now I learn that the blogging experts advise every
blogger to focus on one - or only a few - main topics. In choosing those topics, the experts say I should ask
myself what are the things that, in a day or a week, I find myself thinking or reading about, watching on TV,
discussing with friends, Googling on the Web. Early indicators: politics, movies, books, music, health and fitness, popular culture (a very broad
arena), major sports events, media trends, and - of course - the expanding world of blogging. But isn't that list already too big? If so, I have one consolation: my blogging topics fit my blog title: The Unaimed Arrow. I am lousy at choosing one specific major goal and then sticking to it.

Please let me know your thoughts, all four or five of you. Thank you.

End of Jan. 24, 2009 post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can Barack Do This?

Jan. 16, 2009

Can Barack Do This?

Four days from now Barack Obama will be sworn into office. Hopes are high that, either through his measurable actions or his immeasurable spirit, our nation can be led through troubled waters and into some measure of confidence. So now, I loft these questions:

1. Can Barack show me how to keep my desk clean? What can he do or say that will get rid of the clutter that engulfs me, snarling my working surfaces and cubbyholes, turning my office into an array of rubble, of half-begun projects, old bills, files, folders, magazines, books, pencils, note pads?

2. What does Barack know about arthritis? As he steps into office, I'm told that my knees are on the verge of being shot to hell. I face four years of cortisone, just as Barack faces four years of crisis, pain, challenges of all sizes. Does Obama have a cortisone program? Is this asking too much?
3. Will Barack be willing to introduce a bill that, if passed, would fine or imprison anyone convicted of saying "y'know" or "like" more than 50 times in any five-minute period? I think I would give my life, or sections of my body, in support of such a measure. But will Barack have the courage to pursue it.
4. Similarly, will he lead a campaign to exile Jerry Springer and Maury Povich to the farthest, most
inaccessible reaches of the globe?

5. Can Barack be persuaded to set a limit to the injection of water into canned hams? This practice
has gone too far. Pretty soon every canned ham we buy will be 80 percent water. My canned ham advisor, Reuben Qwerty, says, "Festin ad mooble-schtick rar kinwicky," which is about as radical a statement as I've ever heard him make.

I ask all my faithful Blog Readers to talk these questions up amongst yourselves, and get back to me. Thank you.

Modern Cop Shows

Jan. 16, 2009

Modern Cop Shows

TV crime shows used to be simple. Easy to understand. Typically, we had Broderick Crawford of "Highway Patrol," with his puffy, hungover face, yelling into a microphone, "Unit Seven, where are you?"

"We're at the city dump. What's up, Chief?)

"Bank heist in progress. Corner of Main and Locust. Go!"

The cops raced to the scene, charged into the bank, shot the heisters, and that was it. No complications or confusion.

Not today. Modern crime programs begin with this warning: "If you do not have an advanced degree in physiology, microbiology or forensic medicine, you are too stupid to understand the following program. Go watch Larry King instead."

Scene 1: A decayed male cadaver has been found, but with no head. Twenty technicians are at work, shooting pictures and taking samples of dirt, flesh and fingernail DNA. Local police seem to be in charge. Just for now.

Scene 2: The city morgue. The medical examiner, Wanda Hoff, beautiful, sexy and 40ish, announces, "The cause of death was malopricious moon fungus, probably imported via Baluchistan cheese. I suspect terrorists."

At that point the FBI steps in, and feuding breaks out between the locals and the feds. In modern cop shows, everyone hates the feds.

All the FBI agents are gorgeous, bright and about 18 years old. The agent in charge is Susie Gillette, who has a Ph.D. in ballistic destiny. She has the hots for her No. 2 agent, the alcoholic Gomer Flick, romantically unavailable because his wife is dying of adult mumps. Comedy relief is supplied by
Snapper, an obese computer genius who keeps scarfing french fries and saying, "You'll find the victim's head in a Quiznos dumpster."

Scene 3: The Quiznos dumpster. Sure enough, the missing noggin turns up. Its left earlobe has a tattoo of three Greek symbols that mean, "Vote for Nixon." A ruthless TV reporter, Shanks Puffer, airs a story blaming the murder on disgruntled Democrats.

Scene 4: A sinister emissary from the Baluchistan Ministry of Cheese Exports confronts Wanda Hoff and tries to bribe her into changing her cause-of-death decision. She refuses, saying, "My judgement is not for sale, you Mideastern creep." Later she is indicted for ethnic slander.

And so on. Most of today's crime shows (an exception is the slapstick "Reno 911") no longer portray ordinary police at work. Instead they give us airy-fairy scientists, needle-eyed technicians with tweezers in hand, and psychologists who specialize in perversions so gross you don't even want to
discuss them with your dog.

While we're at it, let's not forget the TV crime programs that require you to have a law degree. just to get through the first twenty minutes. The one I watch most is the long-running "Law and Order." It usually starts out slowly, with a simple crime such as someone setting fire to an orphanage for handicapped children. But by the time the show ends, the arsonist is allowed to cop a plea because the orphanage's administrator was guilty of enforcing Sub-Section 27 of the New York Child Welfare Reform Bill of 1977 which, as any viewer knows, was ruled to be immaterial, moot, invasive and sucky by the U.S. Supreme Court (Rasp v. Loogey, 1988).

The program ends with idealistic Sam Waterston getting chewed out by his boss, the pompous, sorghum-tonsilled Fred Thompson. But it's all worth watching, just to see Mariska Hargitay in action.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jan. 11, 2009: The Red Pillow

The Red Pillow

(A Max and George dog story)

Max was a miniature schnauzer with a full beard and a large heart. His best friend and next door neighbor was George, a slender mixed-breed dog with soft brown eyes. They lived in mythical Gladport on the western coast of a peninsular land to which drifted old people and dreamers.
Max's owner was a psychologist named Tondelayo Flemleich. One day, out of love and a penchant for buying things, she purchased a red pillow for Max. It was oblong, three inches thick, and decorated with white hearts, thoroughly in keeping with the baroque intricacies of the Bauhaus design school in the land from which Max's ancestors were born and bred, or at least from which his breed title - schnauzer - derived. Who knows?
Delighted with the new red pillow, Max sniffed it for three seconds before climbing aboard it, marveling at the velvet lining on top and the cushiony sensation that caressed his virtually hairless belly region as he sprawled his nine-pound carcass across the oblongity of the pillow.
A bark sounded at Max's back door. Tondelayo opened the door and admitted George to her house. She said to both dogs, "Farewell, I am gone to download some neuroses from my penniless clients, the loveable wretches." She departed.
George entered Max's living room and gave witness to his pal ensconced on the new red pillow. "Hut's happening, Max?
"It is a gift from my owner, a splendid woman whose only concern is my comfort." "It's a beaut. Can I try it out?"
Max said, "Perhaps, one day, after I have thoroughly trammeled and scrunched it, imbuing it with my dander and the subtle imprints of my body's contours, causing the pillow's contents to shift into appropriate sub-sections, the better to allow me to nestle and cuddle, if you will."
George said, "If I will what? I swear to God, Max, sometimes you can speak the silliest twaddle of any dog, or human, I've ever known."
"You're just jealous," Max said. "You wish you had a similar pillow. Admit it."
"Okay, I admit it. Now can we get out of the house and seek some adventure?"
"No, I think not. I intend to stay here on my pillow. You must fend for yourself."
At this supercilious remark, George entered the Pistoff Zone, named for the brilliant Russian anger-management researcher, Vladimir Pistoff. Inwardly seething at Max's self-absorption, George left the house through the dog exit-entry flap constructed by one of Tondelayo's assorted boy friends. As he descended the back porch steps, George muttered, "Fend, must I? I'll show the little kraut some fend."
George scoured the adjoining back yards for some avocadoes, which fell with regularity from the jungle-like network of trees and bushes of the 'hood. Within a few minutes he found a semi-rotten avocado and transported it to Max's porch. Then he entered his own home, which was deserted at the time.
George went to the living room telephone and pushed the receiver off the hook. Using his right front paw, he dialed the number of Max's home. When Max answered, George shouted into the telephone, "Max, I just saw some would-be burglars skulking, about three hundred yards up the back alley. Get your butt out here and help me clear them out!"
From his kitchen window George saw Max erupt from his house, yapping like a Wagnerian diva with strep throat. When Max disappeared up the alley, George went to the semi-rotten avocado and, grasping it in his teeth, took it inside Max's house. He approached Max's gleaming red pillow. His scheme was almost complete.
Ten minutes later, Max returned from his false and futile search for the non-existent burglars. He entered his living room. Surveying the scene from the sofa was George.
Max said, "You no-good, mendacious....!!" Then he looked at his precious new red pillow, pristine, unsullied. A few inches away, beside it, moist with semi-fermented ooze of the most rank nature, was the rotten avocado. George said, "I could have plunked it right in the middle of your prized possession, but I didn't. I guess I'm not as rotten as the avocado. Or you."
Max found himself overwhelmed by a wash of painful awareness. He slumped to the floor and lay pondering.
After a time, he rose and said to George, "I'll take the stinky fruit outside and get rid of it. While I'm gone - and any other time you like - the pillow is yours. We still pals?"
George said, "Still pals." Max went outside. George approached the red pillow, sniffed it, nudged it. Then he climbed aboard and claimed its velvety dimensions. A few seconds later a thought came: "This sucker's not big enough for me. But I'm damned if I'll tell that to Max."

(Copyright 2009 by B and E Books.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

1-8-2009 Confusion

If at first you don't succeed, the hell with it.
That won't work if I intend to get a worthwhile blog up and running. Tonight I'm plowing back into "Blogging for Dummies" and not doing very well. I'm unhappy with the two blogs I created a few weeks ago, and I'd like to start all over.
How, for instance, can I change the title "scungbest" to something else?
Profile: I'm a male, past 50, and enjoy words and writing. Which makes me fairly ordinary, among bloggers, I would think. I live in the USA. That's enough info for now. I will post this and go back to studying. I should add that I'm not especially bright. You would have learned that soon.