Snowstorm on the highway of love

After spending a minute with Clyde, (not his real name) some of us felt we had met a boy in a man's body. He allegedly had a recent honorable discharge from the Army, and had a five o'clock shadow around the neck and jaw, but spoke in the manner of a wide-eyed little kid. This was at an office many years ago in which the staff was a mix of full- and part-time employees. Clyde was a part-timer with good work habits, who said "gee-whiz" more than everybody else combined.

It was winter and Clyde, like many of our staff, was compelled to economize by buying groceries in large quantity. This included the jumbo-size Vaseline that Clyde used as lip balm in the cold weather. He kept it in the backpack he brought on the bus to work. People made fun of the one-pound jar of Vaseline, among other odd things about Clyde.

Clyde thought the weather girl on channel 13 was really pretty, and sometimes talked about her in the break room. We didn't know it, but during those weeks Clyde was calling the weather girl at the TV station to try to set up a date.

The next thing we heard, Clyde had been apprehended by the police at a restaurant near our office. He had arranged to meet the channel 13 weather girl there but she had sent the cops in her place. The police searched Clyde's backpack and the tub of Vaseline inside apparently led them to suspect that Clyde's intentions weren't entirely wholesome.

The cops let him go, after they got to know him, judging him to be harmless. The only follow-up occurred some weeks later when I answered the office phone. It was the sportscaster from channel 13 (?!) asking if he could please speak with Mr. Clyde Johnson. It was strange to speak on the phone with a guy I'd seen on TV for years. Anyway, I brought Clyde to the front desk to take the call. Clyde's end of the conversation:

"Hello, this is Clyde Johnson... why hello Mr. Sykes! Yes!... uh-huh... (long interval)... Oh no, I never... No, I... Yes, I'm sorry... Yes, I will... No, I'll never call her again... Certainly I understand... Of course... Yes, I'm sorry to have been a bother... (voice an octave lower)... Good-bye."

False memory syndrome: The Steely Dan Funky Factory

It was on for just a few weeks one summer in the mid-1970s. The TV show started with a psychedelic fast-moving groovy cartoon of buildings and cars and rock stars and jazz musicians and young men with big droopy mustaches and women wearing oversize sunglasses as the announcer said, "It's the Steely Dan Funky Factory!" and the sounds of wild (fake?) applause started up. The opening theme was an instrumental swingin' version of "Do It Again" with the chorus punctuated by horns going "Waah!": "You go back (Waah!) Jack (Waah!) Do it again (Waahwaah!) Wheel turnin' round and round..."

The cartoon finished and dissolved into a view of an empty stage. The backdrop was a grid of squares all displaying the same design: caricatures of the faces of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The backdrop parted in the middle and you could see the silhouettes of Donald and Walter as they walked toward the camera and took their places on stage.

Donald and Walter welcomed the audience and said they had a great show tonight, with (in one show) special guests Tom Bosley (applause), child actress Jodie Foster (applause), and special musical guests Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (applause). The guests tended to be actors found on other ABC TV shows of that year (Clifton Davis, Tony Randall, Lee Majors) or musicians on the same ABC/Dunhill label as Steely Dan (Three Dog Night, B. B. King).

These opening remarks included some jokes, usually leading to an exchange of insults.
Walt: Hey Don, Mick Jagger called and says he wants his lips back. (laughter)
Don (pouting, waits for laughter to finish): Oh yeah? Well, Walt, Cher called and she wants her hair back. ("Ooooh" and laughter from the audience)

The rest of the show alternated between comedy skits and music. Steely Dan would perform a number from one of their three albums released up to that time, and the musical guest would do their own latest single. Some of the skits would include the guest stars, and a recurring sketch featured Donald and Walter as college roommates living in a cluttered but colorful apartment.

This false memory may seem ludicrous but they really were on American Bandstand around that time. (Link)

She will respect you for it

Young man! Is your girlfriend wondering why you haven't proposed marriage yet? Emulate the example of Brad Pitt, quoted in the October 2006 issue of Esquire: "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."

Ding-Dongs to the insurgents

Democrats are soft on terrorism. It's true; Republicans say so when they're campaigning. Republicans are tough on terrorism. But given that we are blessed with a Republican White House, Republican Senate, Republican House of Representatives, Republican Supreme Court, and newly created Republican Department of Freedom and Republican Bureau of Patriotism, why haven't we already emerged victorious over terrorism in Iraq?

The answer is obvious to some and surprising to others. A Pentagon leak confirmed late last Friday night that there are probably Democrats serving in the U.S. Armed Forces portion of the multinational coalition of the willing. Democrat soldiers, sailors, pilots, and even marines have watered down the otherwise stouthearted military strength of these United States.

The clear majority of U.S. military killed in action in Iraq since 2003 have probably been brave Republicans, while Democrats have been busy throwing (underhand) Hostess Twinkies, Fruit Pies, Ho-Hos, and Ding-Dongs to the insurgents.

Just as alarming, an Army recruiter in Massachusetts has admitted, under condition of anonymity, to fulfilling monthly recruitment quotas by signing up dozens of openly Democrat men and women.

These trends will only delay our victory over evil, but now that the truth is out, U.S. citizens will understand why we have to wait longer for our troops to return home. (If they decide to return home. 'Cause they'll be mostly flip-floppers.)

Ben Bernanke says

"Investors sent stocks modestly higher Friday after a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to deal with interest rates, soothing concerns about a possible resumption of rate hikes." -- Forbes.com, August 25, 2006.

"Do you think this tie is too wide?" -- Ben Bernanke in men's apparel at Filene's Basement. Result: Silk exports decline from countries throughout Asia.

"I think I'll have the Big Steak Omelette with extra bacon." -- Ben Bernanke at the International House of Pancakes on Wednesday. Outcome: Beef and pork futures opened moderately higher on Thursday.

"I finally heard that 'Hey Ya' song today; that is one peppy tune." -- Ben Bernanke in the car pool after work. Effect: OutKast's label's parent company, Sony, sees its stock drop five points.

"Does this chain saw cut through living human flesh without a lot of splatter?" -- Ben Bernanke at Home Depot on Friday night. Upshot: Black and Decker higher by 3.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.

"So, Dr. X, this is the pill that will transform me into a flying werewolf with death-ray-eyes who wears silver lederhosen?" -- Ben Bernanke at a secret underground laboratory in upstate New York. Repercussion: Pfizer Pharmaceutical up 6.25 on the Big Board. Acme Textiles unchanged.

"I guess I just want to be loved for who I am." -- Ben Bernanke at the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve Board. Reaction: Big hugs all around.