The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Senator Elija Creek Reacts to Ann Arbor Deer Management Plan

We're pleased to have another guest post by Senator Creek.

There are a lot of people wanderin' around my office these days. Some of 'em, I even recognize. This one young gal, for example, is the one who's always giving me pieces of paper. I keep tryin' to tell her I have plenty of paper, thanks, you keep it. But she doesn't. She makes me keep it. It's gettin' hard to see around the stacks of it. But it dawned on me, maybe it's a security measure. Givin' me something to hide behind, you know. In case that Trump fella busts in or maybe one of my constituents.

Anyway, this morning she handed me another piece of paper. She wanted to know what I thought of it. "Well," I said, "it's flat. And sort of white. Got nice black ink on it, too."

That wouldn't do, though. She said she meant the content of it. What it said, you know. Why didn't she say so in the first place, is my question. But so, I read it.

Turns out, it was all about these guys in Ann Arbor and how they're all worked up over managin' deer. With my eyesight bein' what it is, I read it as "beer management" at first, but the young lady straightened me out on that. And she said it'd be a good idea if I could address the issue. So, here goes.

First of all, I hear that they got some kind of college there in that town, and that a lot of people hang around it, talkin' about management. Now, I didn't know that managin' deer was that much of a problem, with regard to the nation's economy, but I can't see, if it is, why it's any more difficult than managin' anything else. As my old pal, Walt Kelly, suggested, time was when a worker'd be happy if you gave him fifty cents and a pat on the back with a shovel. But I guess with deer, it'd be a little ambiguous just where to deliver the feedback. They're pretty fast, too.

Another thing I noted is that somebody in that town don't know how to spell. I had to read that word, "cull", five or six times before I got it. For your future guidance (as they say to me a lot around the Senate), that's spelled with a "K" and an "I". I looked it up. A town like that, you'd think they wouldn't make that kind o' mistake.

But then, I got to the real crucks of the matter. That's "crucks". A cross between "crocks" and that Ted Crux fella. Throw in "crooks", too, while you're at it. Perfectly good word.

Anyway, the crucks of it is in the details, as it usually is. Details without a crucks is like a candidate without voters. Like Rick Perry. Or Millard Filmore. Yeah, I know he's dead. So's Rick Perry. But my point is, they're gonna have these sharkshooters, runnin' around after dark, with silenced gums, trying to cull things. Now, that may sound sensible to you. It did to me, for a while. But then I looked up Ann Arbor on a map, and dang if it ain't a good long way to anywhere you'd expect to find sharks.Twenty, thirty miles, at least. So I went back to the woman who brought this up and I said, "This here is incomprehensible to the ordinary mind. And where we gonna find one o' them?"

"Sharp," she said. "Sharp shooters." So I went back and re-read it with my glasses on. But I still couldn't make head or tail out of it. If you can, well, I suppose you could talk to the lady in my office. I'd give you her phone number, but I can't remember her name. Or if she has one. A phone, I mean. So probably the best thing is just to hope it goes away. I know I do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Live from the Ann Arbor Art Fair!

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me here at this summer's fabulous Ann Arbor Art Fair! I'm delighted to present our very own Senator Elijah Creek!

You know, all this here ... art, I guess it is, that we had to walk through to get up here is certainly artful. We had to dodge a lot of it, or we'd still be back there on State Street, talkin' to those people in the looney booths. But anyway, art. Talk about art, they told me.

I was readin' a book a while ago, a book by some British feller. Mudguard, I think it was. Coupling. Mudguard Coupling, that was it, more or less. I was a bit distracted while I was readin' it, what with that McConnell youngster ... you know him, that boy from Kentucky ... goin' on about this and that. I tried to get him interested in something else, something besides just beatin' his gums all the time, but he wasn't willin'. "Don't beat your gums like that," I said. "It's bad for 'em. Beat something else, like a dead horse." I even offered to loan him a dead horse, but no. He wouldn't listen. I told him nobody else was, either, but he didn't seem to care.

Anyhow, I was readin' this story by the guy with the auto parts name, and one of the people in it said "That's art! Flat art!" I missed the drift, a bit, because of all the hullabaloo in the background, and so I'm not sure what he was referrin' to. The author. Of the book. But since it was the first thing I could think of when they pushed me up the steps to this platform I'm standin' on, I said to myself, "Art. Flat art."

Well, I tell a lie, there, to be truthful. It was the second thing. The first thing I thought was "It is a far, far better thing I do ..." But I didn't want to lose my head, so I went on to the second thing. And lookin' around, I see a lot of it. Art. Nice and flat, some of it. But along here, in front of me, there are a bunch of tents with art that isn't flat. It's more round, unless I'm misled.

That's pronounced "miss lead", they tell me, by the way. For years, I'd been pronouncin' it "mysled", but no such luck. Preacher used to talk about innocent youth bein' mysled by the flash girls who walk in the city ... or was it the other way around? Flash girls bein' mysled by preachers? I remember, back in the days of my youth ... What? Oh, right. They're remindin' me not to talk about what I did, back in the days of my youth. Don't know why. There isn't any one of you here today who hasn't. Done 'em. The things they don't want me to talk about.

But anyway, I think we should avoid invidious distinctions between flat art and the roundy kind. We shouldn't be invidious. Not like that Chinese doctor. The invidious one. The invidious doctor Foobar Chew or something like that. Still, invidious or perfidious, it hardly seems to matter to all these folks wanderin' back and forth, lookin' at the art. Some of 'em even look up here, on occasion. And I can see they're wonderin' as they're wanderin', who is that old guy up there and what's he talkin' about? And why?" And let me just say, in closin', that I don't know either.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Senator Creek to Introduce Healthcare Bill

Ann Arbor, June 3, 1915 (WCNS) US Senator Elijah Creek (L, Michigan), spoke at a press conference this morning in Washington, held to announce his plans to introduce a completely new national healthcare bill. Senator Creek's address is reproduced here.

Hello? Is this thing Ron? I mean, Ron, is this on thing? The thing, you know, is it on? Okay. Good. Don't want to waste anybody's time, talking to some off thing.

Now, about that word, 'off'. I've been usin' it for years, off and on, and you know, I wonder why I haven't ever stopped. Stopped to wonder, that is. Wait. Who wrote this foolishness? I stop to wonder all the time! Oh, about the word 'off', eh? Well, why didn't you say so? I did. Just then.

Anyway, what do we mean 'off'? I tried to giggle it on the Internet, but all I got was some nonsense about bug repellant. I've known plenty of bugs in my time, and most of 'em were repellant enough without having some goop sprayed on 'em. And lizards? Don't get me started.

Healthcare. That's what it says on the card that young fella's holdin' up. No, wait. There's more. It says 'Healthcare Bill'. I don't know anybody by that name, though. Used to hang around the Orgone Box with old Wilhelm Reich. Some people called him 'Healthcare Bill' because they thought he needed some. The Orgone Box was a cafe' and hookah bar in North Lansing, by the way. I always thought those DEA fellas were too hard on 'em. The owners.

Now he's gone and written something else on the card. "Your Healthcare Bill" it says now. Oh, "My" healthcare bill? He's nodding his head. Up and down. You oughta get that looked at, Son. You're too young to have your head flopping around like that. I recall once, up in Ishpeming or somewhere like that, I went to a doctor. A veteran, he was. Said so right on his sign. Spelled it wrong, but I won't hold that against him. Anyway, I wanted him to do something about my rheumatiz. "Where is he," the doc says. Well, the conversation went downhill from there. He ended up putting a big cone-shaped thing around my neck. I wore it for a while, but it was hard to see where I was goin'. Still have it, though. I wear it instead of a necktie when I go to embassy dinners. Helps me understand what the foreigners are sayin'.

But when I got the bill from all that, I said to myself and three or four other people, "This here Healthcare Bill is incomprehensible!" And they couldn't understand it. 'Incomprehensible'. They didn't know what it meant. Means 'stupid', by the way, if you don't know what it means, either. And that got me all up on my high horse about it. After I fell off, as I usually do, I got up on my short horse and rode over to the Senate. The Senate was another hookah bar, you understand. And we talked about it, healthcare, that is. The bartender and I. And he said, "You oughta do something about it." And so I did. I am. Now, finally.

What's that? Oh, he's pointin' at the card again. Now it says "Explain it". What? I was explaining something, there, but you made me lose my thread. Now he's back to "Healthcare Bill", again. You know, I'm not sure I recognize him. I usually do, those kids who hang around and sort of give me a shove in one direction or another. But this one ... I don't know, he might be a demonstrator or a perpetrator or one of those "ator" types. There's usually a lot of 'em around, holdin' up signs, I notice. In fact, I was coming through the airport just yesterday, and there was a guy protesting something called the "Kardashian Party". I don't really know any of those Russian types, but a party is a party so I said ...

What? Oh, good. Time's up. Anyway, vote for me or even this Healthcare Bill fella, whoever he is. I'll see you all back at the Senate, those of you who are allowed, anyway.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Reflecting at the Year's End

We in the fictional news business have had a great year! We've had so much to be sarcastic and unpleasant about.  Just consider:
  • Kim Chee Who, the restrained and civilized leader of North Korea. What more need we say?
  • Vladimir Putin, the last in a long line of statesmen, including Richard Nixon, Dick Cheney, and Benito Mussolini, who can be trusted with a weapon, since they only shoot their friends or their own feet.
  • Pakistan, a country now regretting its long-standing policy of nurturing savagery and violence on its Western border. (Pro tip: a buffer state is supposed to keep the bad guys away from you.)
  • Nigeria, where the government has sentenced a number of its soldiers to death for refusing to go into combat without guns or ammunition.
  • The Scots voters who (narrowly) expressed a preference for being part of the United Kingdom.
  • The rest of the United Kingdom, which (narrowly) decided to turn down a US offer to become the fifty-first state.
  • Raul Castro; just visualize him making a scale-balancing gesture with his hands: "Russia, the US? Russia, the US? Gosh, why didn't I think of this before? Thanks, Your Holiness."
  • The fringies and nut jobs who will find, in the current outpouring of outrage over police shootings (by and of), an excuse to do some shooting of their own.
  • Detroit, where everyone some people a few people are celebrating a successful bankruptcy. Bankruptcy, of course, is a way of legally reneging on debt. But still, whoopee!
  • And finally, the good folks of our own state, who want the damn roads fixed and are damned if they'll pay one red cent more in taxes to get it done. See, the problem is, money used to grow on trees, and then the Emerald Ash Borer came along and ...
Problem is, from our stand point, all of that is more or less real.  As the saying goes, you can't make this stuff up, and since that's our stock in trade, we have to look elsewhere for inspiration.  Oh, well. At least we can contemplate a well-deserved retirement on the lake front property in Shiawassee County. The only question is, which lake will get there first, Huron or Michigan?

Have a good festive season, and join us in hoping that we have to make up more of the bad news next year, instead of just reading about it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A funny guy

That Vladimir Putin, what a card!  He timed his State of Whatever They Call It speech to coincide with a gala insurgent attack in Chechnya! Brilliant timing, Vlad!

He also says the West is "afraid of Russia." We're trying to "isolate" the Rodina.  So Russia's strategy is to turn away from the parts of the world with money and technology and like that, and honey up to the other parts. Of course, if the sanctions continue, we may see places in, say, Central Africa or the Caribbean providing foreign aid to Moscow.  How's Venezuela working out as a pal, Mr. President?

Now the last time a western power decided on a tactic like this -- fighting against "encirclement" and demanding a place at the colonial table -- it didn't work out too well. A little unpleasantness starting in 1914, for example.  And then a triumphal comeback tour 25 years later on. But the thing is, old boy, neocolonialism's played out. The colonizees are wise to the game, now. Plus, a lot of 'em have hardware you sold 'em back in the 80's, and they kind of resented the roll-back of customer support.

But maybe it's a cleverer scheme that it seems. Shares of Western goodwill are too expensive, so Russia is shorting Africa and the Middle East. It could work. And if Vladimir can make the books look good enough, maybe a white knight will offer an acquisition. Facebook, say, or News Corp. Once they got past Mr. Murdoch's editorial slant, they'd get on just fine.

Now he's killing trees

McConnell tells us that The Least Weasel is available as a paperback. Tormenting bits and bytes is one thing, but I'm not sure this isn't going too far.

He says it's available from createspace now, and that it'll show up on Amazon proper in a few days.  Can no one stop him?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Okay, okay. McConnell has a new book out.

This guy is getting to be a pain. Every year, he cranks out one of these things.  All with incomprehensible titles and section heads. This time -- get this -- the chapters are names of animals! Oh, yeah, and the book, too: The Least Weasel. He swears there really is such a critter.

Anyway, it's out there on Amazon Kindle. And he's even working on a way to get an honest-to-god paperback version, too, for those of you who a) prefer real books and b) quite like this sort of thing.  He says you should go look at his Amazon author page if you're interested.

And as if that wasn't enough, he's hijacked my Twitter account, @jfmcluggage, to ramble on about the book and who knows what all else.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving. Time to eat ourselves into oblivion.

A really good summary of what idiots believe about vaccinations

The CBC ran this summary of the myths and for-profit delusions surrounding vaccinations. Here's our abbreviated summary of their summary.
  • Ethylmercury is not methylmercury: Thimerosal which is the source of the "vaccines have mercury in 'em" myth, breaks down into the former, not the latter. There is no evidence that ethylmercury is in any way harmful.
  • Autism: There is simply no evidence of any link between vaccines and autism. None. The doc who was paid to claim that has been run out of town on a rail.
  • Too many vaccines "overwhelm" the immune system: Bogus. The number of organisms you get from vaccinations are miniscule compared to the number you get from kissing someone or eating at a fast food restaurant. Arrant nonsense.
  • Low Risk: The diseases against which we vaccinate are the ones you really don't want to get. The risk of getting, for example, polio, are far greater than whatever risk there might be in getting the shot.
  • Unnecessary: Socially irresponsible. Any one individual may not be at risk from a particular pathogen, but by failing to be vaccinated, he provides a host from which it can be transferred to another person, perhaps not so healthy. Failing to be vaccinated is being a bad citizen.
Question: Why can a five-year-old be disciplined or suspended at school for making a gun-sign with his finger, but not for being a walking repository of diseases?  Might have to start asking that question a bit more frequently.

Long time no post

Apologies for the inactivity here. The Editor's excuses are:
  • Supervising the completion of McConnell's new book (see above)
  • Spending a fortnight in the hospital with a surprise case of pneumonia
  • Experimenting with Twitter (@jfmcluggage -- follow it for a larger volume of shorter nonsense than usually appears here).
  • General indolence
However, now that things are back to something approximating normalcy, we'll try to make this a bit more lively.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Senator Creek Regrets

Thank you. Thank you all for being. Here. Being here. I realize that something or other that went on last week ... or was it the week before? Anyway, something I said or did. Or maybe something I ate. Anyway, not everybody cared for it. Some people, evidently, got all upset. And at the time, I went on record as saying "Don't be upset." But they tell me that didn't help.

So I am wherever it is we are today to repeat my earlier statement. I will repeat it here or in any other venue, avenue, or byway of this great nation. "Don't be upside," I say. I've said it before, they tell me, and I'll keep on saying it until they tell me to stop. "Don't be upside-down." The blood'll all rush to your head. That's what my grandfather always said, anyway. Okay, they're signaling me to stop saying it now.

But you know, just the other day I was speaking to a young man with a bad haircut and a microphone. That happens a lot, and it leads me to believe that there may be quite a few of 'em, fellas like that, and Lord-a-mercy, they sure have a lot of questions. Anyway, I'd managed to get away from my aides. Those kids who follow me around and tell me what's going on. Some of 'em have those two-wheel seg-ment things they roll around on. My roll-aides, I call 'em. But this particular morning, I ducked behind a cement truck and gave 'em the slip, and when I turned around, there was this guy. And he asked me what I thought of the scandal.

Now I don't always have the best luck, what with my hearing and my eyesight and my aides and the squirrels and all, figuring out whether somebody is talking to me or what language he's speakin' or whether he's some kind of reporter or one of the squirrels. So I drew myself up to my full height, put my hat on forwards-around, and assumed my full Senatorial stance and sonorous, authoritative voice, and I said, "Who are you?" And just to be on the safe side, I offered him a peanut in case he was a squirrel. They're tricky little bastards, squirrels. 

Well, sir, he didn't want the peanut, so I guess he must have been a reporter. And I told him ... and I will defend to the death my right to say it ... that we ought to maintain the posture of this great nation of ours, sort of bent forward with our heads cocked slightly to one side, like a dog who don't quite understand what you said, and that we should stay the course in that fashion until it starts to hurt. And then stop.

About then, my aides caught up, and I must say, I don't think they were entirely justified in beating him that severely, unless of course, he really was a squirrel. But by the time they'd got the SWAT team sorted out from the tourists, I'd just wandered down the block, with my hands in my pockets, whistling' and looking up at the big buildings and making out like I didn't know what was goin' on, just like I used to do back in Detroit when the cops was nosing around, and I got clean away. Never did find out what all the excitement was about. 

But the next morning, when I'd had my coffee and medications, I regretted it. The coffee, especially. And I just want to say to all of you, the ones with neckties on, anyway, that I truly regret any misunderstandings. And for those of you who do understand it, well, I regret you, too.