Ramses the Great

I guess you could call it a little like a publicity stunt. Richard had been hired by the Ramses Corporation to promote safe sex in schools. What that amounted to was standing in the cafetorium or lunchroom of school after school amidst various displays on venereal disease and AIDS, wearing a thin, slightly lubricated latex membrane pulled down over the top half of his body and handing out free samples.

For this, the company paid Richard $100 a day which was more than twice what he got waiting tables at Francesca’s. Richard was a waiter by practicality; by trade, he was an actor. He had played a lot of character men in college—clowns, villains, victims and drunken uncles—and now he and his friends had been loosed on the great white way—New York City. 

For almost a year now, the theatrical world lay at their eyebrows; and together they looked up at it like kids do at a candy counter they can just barely reach. Julie had gotten a bit part in a musical about Paul Revere that toured the schools, Walter was living on free samples of new breakfast cereals he handed out on street corners for Kelloggs, Brian was playing Claudius for no money in Wheelchair Hamlet in the back room of a bodega in Queens and Richard had been hired to play Ramsey the Human Condom.  

The condom suit had two holes for Richard’s nostrils and slits for his eyes and mouth, but most impressive to the kids who took the samples he dispensed was the costume’s authenticity. It had a little space at the top of his head “as a receptacle to collect fluid during lovemaking” and then covered him right down to the hips with a latex film so sheer that you could see Richard’s features clearly, though slightly discolored, through the yellow/pink cast of the thin rubber. Right above his crotch, a band of tightly rolled latex clamped down hard on his stomach “to keep any sperm spillage to a minimum.”

Ramsey explained it all as he handed out the little cellophane packets to each new crowd of adolescent curiosity seekers and it worked. The condom corporation’s marketing studies had shown that Ramsey, the Human Condom was more than just good publicity. He was an animated product spokesman, a mascot and also an enormous visual aid, achieving the best understanding with youngsters of how to use the latex device. Ramsey was an excellent tool in teaching even the shyest teenager about safe sex. 

Richard believed in safe sex. He did. He had carried a condom around next to the YMCA card in his wallet for eight years. Unfortunately his hands-on knowledge of sex itself was a bit limited. That little condom represented the one hope of his entire adolescent life, for Richard was still a virgin. Now at least, as Ramsey, he could act experienced. 

The specially made condom suit he wore included a fleshy little latex bow tie painted black at Richard’s collar bone that he plumped and straightened whenever he became nervous, and long black formal gloves and arm coverings, making him look for all the world like a penis at a prom. With his shyness fully encased, however, plus the key phrases the corporation had given him, Richard boldly plunged in. Today he was working the lunchroom crowd at Martin Luther King Middle School for their Safe Sex Day.

“Don’t forget kids, you have to use a new condom each time you have intercourse,” Ramsey intoned jocularly. “See you put it on the head of the penis,” here he pointed to his own head, “and then roll it all the way down.” 

Richard was in an open area on one side of the room, but he could already see his effect on lunchtime. There were the usual condom water balloons, condom-and-food battles, condom measuring, snapping and stretching contests going on all over the large multi-purpose room. And with the true cruelty of youth, two boys had slipped a condom into a pretty girl’s chicken vegetable soup and five others took easy pot shots at a pop-eyed, acne-faced girl, slinging peas at her with their slingshot condoms from a nearby table and driving her from the lunchroom in a lurch. 

An overweight kid grabbed a condom packet then made the most of his chance encounter with the model penis.

“You use this with girls,” he asked.

“It’s protection,” explained Ramsey.

“Protection from girls?”

“Not really from girls.” Richard juggled quickly for a buzz phrase. “If you love…when you love…sex, I mean. If you have sex. This is protection.” 

“From sex,” the boy asked quizzically. 

“Not from sex. I mean you have the sex. Well…really…you shouldn’t be going around having sex at your age. But if you do, this protects the girl from pregnancy.” 

“So why don’t she wear it,” reasoned the kid.

Richard sighed and for a weary moment fantasized the physical implication of a woman wearing a condom, then snapped to the present. What had the brochure said? He parsed his words slowly. 

“It protects you from getting her pregnant, and both of you from various diseases.”

It was a very long hour of work. Sweat streamed down the inside length of the latex; waves of adolescents pressed him for condoms and Richard involuntarily flinched when the kids called him a dick. Richard’s nickname as a young child had been Dick. This, when the name had been the proud moniker of tough detectives, not a laughingstock. Now he was trying hard to inure himself against that word. Personifying a penis didn’t help.


Rubber slapping rubber and a sensation at the back of Richard’s head. He turned as a whistle sounded and he saw a woman pulling a boy from a nearby lunch table and verbally dressing him down. Richard pressed the thick rubber over his dark hair at the back of his head—ouch!—and turned to his business again. A boy had opened the cellophane wrapper of the offered gift and was looking at the fleshy rolled rubber thing. 

“You put this on your dick?”

“Penis,” Ramsey corrected. 

Just then a teacher approached. “I have to apologize for one of our students, Ramsey,” She was saying, but Richard just gaped. It was Karen!

She was probably the most sought-after girl at college: an extremely pretty Journalism student that he and every other male had had a crush on. What was she doing here? But it was her. It couldn’t be anyone else. Here she was, a teacher at King Middle School in a rough section of Queens! She had cut her long brown hair to a more business-like perm. But she was still radiant.

“This is the first Safe Sex Day we’ve ever had,” she explained, “and I’m not sure the students know how to handle themselves. Some of them may be finding it a bit difficult relating to a man in a penis suit.” 

“Condom suit,” Richard corrected. 

“I’m sorry, condom suit,” Karen repeated and let a sweet smile burn for a moment on her beautiful lips, momentarily erasing her harried teacher expression.

Richard was infatuated all over again. There was color in her cheeks and a challenge in her green eyes and pretty figure. He looked at her left hand. No ring. She was still a free woman. He pressed his lips together and touched the latex over his chest to make sure it was still there. She hadn’t recognized him. But she had called him a man—she’d said “a man in a penis suit.” Somehow that meant something.

“Condoms these days are a matter of life and death,” he heard his voice as Ramsey saying, but then a student came calling. 

“Miss Volpe? Suzy is crying.” 

“Excuse me,” and she left to deal with the problem, to shy Richard’s relief but Ramsey’s despair. Her dress, her face. He watched her as she made her way across the lunchroom. She was strong. She was beautiful. She looked like a teacher who believed in something. Richard might have let it go at that, but Ramsey had made up his mind. He moved through the crowd towards her, disseminating condoms as he went. 

As he got near, she was leaning over, pouring empathy towards a girl crying at one of the tables. Richard stopped. What would he say? What was he doing here?

Suddenly she stood, feeling the presence of a tall pink thing standing just behind her and turned to him. “Excuse me,” Ramsey exclaimed. Richard was sweating heavily now. He paused, waiting breathlessly for what he would say next. “Remember me? Richard White from Northeastern?”

A blank stare.

He plumped his bow tie.

“Ellsworth Hall? Mrs. Mason’s class, remember?”

“Richard White?” She twisted her face trying to connect what she was hearing with what she saw before her.

“Yes, Richard! Don’t you remember? I won the class contest for best poem?”

The girl had started to cry again. Karen was nonplussed and the girl demanded attention. “Look, I have to get to my class. Come on Suzy. You’ll be fine.” She put her arm around the girl, lifted her to her feet and began walking away.

Don’t let her go! She was already a lunch table-length away.

Ramsey was adamant. Say something idiot.

Palms sweating, breath heaving, Richard followed her down between lunch tables. She turned at the last table and walked three steps to the door.

“Listen? Maybe we could get together some time.” Whether these words came out before his heels hit the pile of discarded lima beans is pure conjecture. What isn’t conjecture is that he went down hard. Penis falling in the line of duty. Condoms spraying from his hands like Fourth of July fireworks. Kids laughing and scattering like polliwogs.

There was a split second of calm before Richard’s adrenaline kicked in. He scrambled up, pulling himself erect with the help of the lunchroom benches. He checked himself. He seemed alright. The condom costume had opened a small tear around its base. Karen Volpe was long gone.

Children swarming, shouting, laughing, reaching…if anything, this stunt had made Ramsey even more popular—a field of hands for Ramsey to press the secrets of safe sex into. Like a primitive God of Infertility—a virgin phallus disseminating rubber bags to keep life from happening. A sweaty shaman for the future.

The perspiration dripped from his forehead and gathered at the edge of his eye slits looking for all the world like Ramsey was crying. Until somewhere, sometime, the lunchroom began to empty. The shouts and screams, the attention, the society of children receded. 

He picked up and packed up the Ramses display into its specially built trunk. For the umpteenth time he marveled at the name the corporation had chosen for its product. Ramses the Great had been a mighty Egyptian pharoah who fathered literally hundreds of children by numerous wives in his harem.

He rolled the latex up his chest, over his head and threw it flaccid in a heap. Finally, his protection gone, he breathed fully for the first time in hours. He looked around at the mess of condom wrappers the kids had carelessly discarded on the lunchroom floor in their excitement to reach the surprise inside. Condoms were scattered among the mess. Their job was done, Richard thought. These rubbers had been demonstrators and would never test their true strength in love.

Richard hoped someday he would. 

In this Window, President Viola Swamp

You remember Viola Swamp, don’t you? She is the character from that book you read in Kindergarten and First Grade, Miss Nelson is Missing. She is the antagonist who appears when the children in Miss Nelson’s class misbehave so badly that sweet Miss Nelson has to take serious measures. Her measures are to dress up as Viola Swamp and get those kids to take their studies seriously. “She was a real witch,” the book exclaims.

I would posit that the American Experiment is behaving like Miss Nelson’s class was—making faces, throwing spitballs at the ceiling, even rude during Story Hour. There is a collective need of the lazy to have things done for us, there is a collective greed to want so many things that our houses are full of junk and we support the faceless corporations whose only thought is to sell us that junk to enhance their bottom line, not the quality and heart that goes into good product, there is collective racism to keep the blacks and women and LGBTQ’s down “where they belong”. Like Miss Nelson’s class we want it all our own way and are unwilling to look into our own souls to rectify anything that doesn’t immediately serve us, we think.

Trump is our Viola Swamp because through his negative role modelling, he is showing us what we have become–the ugliest side of our karmic shallowness. Which is a reminder of what the Buddhist leader Nichiren Daishonin said in 1260, “When a nation becomes disordered, it is the spirits that first show signs of rampancy. Because the spirits become rampant, all the people of the nation become disordered.”

But thanks to Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and capitalists wildly overplaying their hand, the American Experiment has never been so awakened. Look at what has happened while Trump has been in office: the rise of the progressive agenda, the commitment to issues that most Americans believe in but he has vowed to kill for special interests once and for all (action on global warming and the environment, action on LGBTQ, action on women’s rights, action on this society’s ingrained racism, action on universal health care, a government that works for the people, voter apathy, use of the military for power only, the list goes on.)

“Nichiren Daishonin teaches that the direction of a nation is decided by its people and people are governed by their beliefs. Therefore, the beliefs that guide people’s actions will decide the course of society. The basis of society, he emphasized, does not lie in its political structure, but in the beliefs people hold in their hearts,” ( July Living Buddhism page 6). True in medieval Japan, truer today.

Through Swamp/Trump we are starting to understand what is in our hearts. What WE feel this nation was (or should have been) built on. We have gotten off our sofa to protest, wear masks to keep others safe, raise money for progressive causes. If you were to write a children’s book about it, you would see that Trump/Swamp hasn’t missed ONE aspect of who we are and what we are realizing is important to us as a nation, a people.

And more than ever, Biden is not a candidate, but an action, that we the people take, to address the things we feel are wrong.

It is too bad for poor Donald Trump, that to be as effective a Viola Swamp as he can be for America, he can’t also be Miss Nelson. But his Viola, is exactly what we needed.

Ask the Answer Seeker

Top Seven Ways to Prove You’re Seeking Answers Outside Yourself

1. You use the strategy of the shopping mall instead of the strategy of faith.

2. You start every sentence with “Please oh please oh please God, if you do this one thing for me I’ll be forever grateful.”

3. You decide the answer to life is Twinkies and you eat 300 to prove it.

4. You call your guru on Monday, your mother on Tuesday, your shrink on Wednesday, your zen meditation master on Thursday, and then say screw it and visit your bartender on Friday.

5. You think you see the devil in everyone but yourself.

6. You run faster and faster to succeed and find yourself more and more lost.

7. You tell off someone you love because you know they’re right.


Best Seven Ways to Slander the Present Moment

  1. Worry about what is going to happen next year.
  2. Hold your breath.
  3. Look deeply into your iPhone. Very deeply. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. When I say the word ‘post’ you will follow my every command until Mark Zuckerberg snaps his fingers.
  4. Think to yourself, of yourself, for yourself without dialogue or engagement with anyone else.
  5. Plan the world’s greatest anything without doing any of the work or research.
  6. Think that one day you will eat pie in the sky.
  7. Blame your shoes for the faults of your feet



Church of Dog


Rev. Charlo 

“My dog is my shepherd. I shall not want. He pulleth me to strange poop in green pastures. He leadeth me to temptation where he finds the meat morsel in the garbage. He delivereth me from myself.”

Isn’t it interesting that dogs seem mostly happy to lead their humans around to see what nature used to look like? The weeds and grasses, the pooping in the bushes, the smell of rain about to arrive, the look of the clouds as they scud across the sky. I raise my head from my iphone long enough to consider this. And then it’s back to a different reality, one that is probably less real than the one my dog is leading me through.

That’s because dogs have something to share; a command of the world that we do not. Their senses are more acute. When God gave Man a larger brain, it didn’t come with a very good set of senses. As a result, we build and build and text and text, but rely on small animals to place us in the world we were born into, and out of the ones we create.

With the loss of religion and our burgeoning unconscious disrespect for nature, it is our dogs who connect us. We are pulled back into nature out of our technology centers by a little scout, a pilot.

He leadeth me into my own neighborhood daily, and bringeth me such neighbors as haven’t seen me in a while.

“I’m just looking at the changes in the neighborhood,” says Alyssa.

“How nice,” I say, and my dog Charlo noses her leg.

“Yes, it changes from day to day with what we do, and season to season with what God does,” she goes on. “I love what they’ve done to their front garden, these people. I don’t know their name.”

“Mary,” I reply.

“Yes, that Mary, she’s done a great job here. Look at those flowers. Did Madeleine go to college, I haven’t seen her around.”

“Yes. We’re empty nesters now,” I reply. “And this weekend Maria is away in Florida.“

“Oh, you should come visit, I know that Browning would be happy to see you.”

“Would be delighted to.”

This doesn’t happen when you have no dog to walk.

And, walking the dog brings other non-dog-walking acolytes out. An elderly lady with a mini-leaf blower in one hand walks out her front door and spies us.  “Hi pooch. What’s her name. Oh she’s a cutie. Oh, sorry, boy? Well no wonder he’s so standoffish. He’s got to show who’s the boss.” Then she recedes to her doorway and blows the four leaves that have accumulated on her welcome mat far out into the street, like somehow nature is impinging on her humanity.

I don’t mean to over idealize other creatures, just to say that they are closer to the actual world—the one we are born into and die out of– than we are.  Charlo has his biases. It is tribal I am sure. He always greets the poodles with a nice wet nose, but the German Shepherds can be a block away and he will strain at the leash, growl, bark and attempt to viciously attack while being held by this thin nylon woven thing between us.  The same is true for Pit Bulls.  Some ancient wrong by warring dog tribes that has never been righted still rankles him, and so suspicions and paranoia reign.

You see, they are only a little above us, these dogs. Not leagues. But if we’re to understand our own humanity, they are a necessity.

“He restoreth my soul. He guideth me in the paths of righteousness. Even though I walk through the street of careless garbage, I will fear no evil, just wrap your leash more tightly around my left hand and tug more often.–‘Don’t eat that Charlo, that’s disgusting.’”



Self Help Books You Won’t See on the Bestseller List


Chasing Your Tail to Success

Take Hold of Your Life! — But Be Home for Dinner

Slacker Tracker– Are You One? Nahhh

Who Me? Dealing with Low Self Worth

How Much Do You THINK It’s Worth—A Guide to Your First Billion

Don’t Look Up–Building a Business in Your iPhone Without Having to Deal with Actual People

Wear a Mask— A Garbage Collector’s Book of Wisdom

Does Your Wiki Leak?—Identity Theft for Seniors

The Goodasses Guide to Being a Baddass – The Nice Guys Guide to Schizophrenia

Beautiful Cow, Beautiful You – Milking Your Way to Beauty

Your Best You and His Best Him — Creating Your Best They

Action Figures For Fat Asses — Taking Inaction Seriously

Dead Phone Club–Navigating the Twenty Twenties by Losing Power

Making Hard Times Harder—The Hidden Value of Stubbornness

Don’t Sweat the Handcuffs –7 Ways to Solve Prison Perspiration

Reach For It—How to Get Things That Don’t Belong to You

Awaken Your Inner Beef—How to Argue and Chew Meat at the Same Time


New Newspaper

IMG_2413It was a deal too good to pass up. Sure, I buy a newspaper, now and then, mostly TheNew York Times. Sure, I also click through to stories that people have sent me online and scroll through. And oops, I just reached my limit of ten free articles per month. But until last Tuesday, no one had offered me a deal like this. After my ten free articles, I was offered, as a New Yorker who reads The New York Times, the deal that if I wanted to pay a dollar a week, I would get complete access to The Times’stories on my technical devices. $4 a month. A little difficult to pass up.

So, I went for it. And soon I was scrolling through lots of stories on my phone, as freewheeling as a teenager in a hot-rod on the open road. In fact, too freewheeling. Something was the matter. It was still the news. It was still The Times. But it didn’t seem to have as much weight, not as much gravitas. I could scroll through disasters and political crises with the tip of my thumb. Stop and read, scroll and view. Free-wheeling.

But here’s the problem. That’s also the way I FELT about the news after reading it in this little thing in my palm. Thirty-three deaths due to arson, scroll on. Various entities making a laughingstock of our democracy, can’t touch me! The planet going to pot, hee hee!!! Watch me pop a wheelie!

It was a little like reading a comic book. Paragraph of content, graphic photo ad about matching men’s and women’s underwear, paragraph of content, graphic photo ad about Broadway play about hell. I’m all for not being traumatized by the daily diet of bad news, but this was something else. I wasn’t really getting any news. I was the Teflon reader, a glass between me and it.

So, I decided to invest in an old-fashioned newspaper again. $3. Not cheap. A big old broadsheet New York Times. Same stories. Different wrapper. When I opened it with two hands and two arms, my chest expanded. There was a physical world laid out before me that I could choose to read or not; allow my eyes to skip about and land, then dig in. My fingers got inky, the newspaper wouldn’t fold the way I wanted it, but somehow, reading the same story in newsprint that I had read on my iPhone, had way more impact and meaning.

In addition, I didn’t have to think, “Gee I wonder if there’s a good article in the Science section I should check out.”  No. I couldn’t avoid the Science section. It fell out on my lap and welcomed me in inky delight with a large photo of a duckbilled platypus as big as my head. The platypus was asking me, begging me really, to read about his plight. Why wouldn’t I want to read about a duckbilled platypus? But I never would have reached this article in my phone. I wouldn’t have a platypus in my lap that I had to decide what to do with. I would have had to search out Science or KNOW that today there is an article on duckbilled platypi. And probably, in my haste to read the latest comic on impeachment, would have forgotten that science, let alone duckbilled platypi existed. This is called work. I don’t want to do work when I read the news, I want to be in a contemplative mode and consider the world–all of it–and take it in as it surrounds me. I want to wave my arms attached to newsprint back and forth in front of me and fold and open like some dancer of life.

When I had finished with the newspaper, there was that split second moment of should I keep this or should I dispose of it – the corpus of news, the body. No matter what my decision was, it was a decision: that second of conscience that rears its head. And then I kept it or threw it away. But the news itself had entered my motor skills (beyond the thumb) and again, made an impression. No such impression or decision was ever made with the tip of my thumb and my coquettish eye.

Is it just me? Am I a dinosaur? I will check my phone, glance at my phone, read a quick update on my phone, be protective of my phone, be disgusted that I need my phone, but seriously read, properly digest and contemplate a worthy article on my phone? No. My life is larger and more sublimely complicated than any three square inches of plastic.


plastic forkThere are certain costs to being human. I would call them inalienable costs, except I’m not completely sure what inalienable means. Is it like, not an alien? No, that would be unalienable. None of us are aliens except to ourselves. Maybe it means that there are little aliens inside of us and those aliens are not free to leave us because they are inalienable. However, when these aliens ask for things, and that in fact is their purpose in life, they LOVE asking for things and dragging us down, there is a cost.

What I’m trying to say is that when you buy a Nutty Buddy because you really want ice cream, but you happen to be on an interstate in Idaho and that’s all the gas station convenience store has to sell and when you bite into it it’s so hard you chip a tooth because it’s been in that convenience store freezer since the French Revolution, and you get to the cone part and it’s so chewy it’s like gum. That’s a cost! You expected something made yesterday at a creamery in Vermont!

Think about plastic forks. You used them once and then tossed them, including that box of 500 you got at Costco, but only used 12 for Sunday’s BBQ. Who needs 488 forks? Only the Devil. No big deal, they cost $4.99 and they’re taking up space. But that’s exactly what the other nine billion people on the planet are thinking and as a human race, the plastic fork crisis is entering a new and more dangerous phase. That is a cost.

So what do you do? Do you storm and rage, blame everyone but yourself, ask for an audience with the queen, invent an algorithm that will disappear forks???

No, you admit that there’s a cost to being human. Make yourself a nice latte and think about it. I have been gifted 488 plastic forks. Time for salad.

Absolute victory in life isn’t over obstacles it’s over yourself.

Pill break. This pill has been engineered by very smart people (and yes most of them were men but things are changing, that was the times, you can’t blame them for that) to remove warts from behind your ear lobes, and frankly you’ve been looking a little like Dumbo recently, despite the fact that this one little pill could cause depression, skin rash, tumors in tabby cats, and a strange unnatural urge to call people Chuck. That, my friends, is the cost.

Perhaps this alien self-help column is the last straw. Perhaps you are reconsidering that you ever were my friend. Remember the time I told you I’d hold your place in line while you went to the bathroom and I got the last four REM tickets for myself before you came back? Listen, I’ve never doubted you and in fact put up with your political screeds when I understand it is just disappointment because you expected our leaders to lead us blindly and say, “Good leader,” instead of having some part in the whole historio-mythical-American-circus dance yourself,  do you have any idea what a profound moment this is, and no, I don’t really care that you smoked hash with my best friends on that yacht and never even invited me. So, you can’t divorce me because I divorce you, friend. Your kind of friends I don’t need. I’m the best person in the world I know and who wouldn’t want me as their friend?

See how loud those aliens can get if you let them go on and on? You see, that’s a cost.

Do you think these costs are free? No, they have a cost. Time to alienate them. Here’s where I would like to express another Buddhist principle, if you’ll allow me. If not, skip forward.

Obstacles reveal your true essence.

And you might as well apply that to the race as well. You see what I mean?

Remember that Nutty Buddy? Are you really going to let a mushy Nutty Buddy from the French Revolution define who you are–that guy/gal who ate that awful Nutty Buddy? That was the cost. You paid the cost. You’re not going to complain all day and hang yourself because of a fucking Nutty Buddy are you?

And just what IS your relationship with plastic forks? You could be the Gandhi of plastic forks if you so decide. Gandhi was an inspiration, what about you? Just because you are drowning in plastic forks does that mean you can’t be an inspiration, a hero for the planet? No. Use your initiative. Human ingenuity is the promise of the race. Design a trendy hair clip from a plastic fork that anyone can do at home. Bam! You’re a hero. Your inalienable rights are to face the cost of being alive and to leave the planet better than when you found it. That is the only cost that matters. You have aliens inside?  Get out your forks and alien-eat them.

Dig in!

Geezers Three

A few new and a few old favorites from “A Geezers Garden of Verses”

Nervous Man
There was a nervous man,
Lived in a nervous house,
He had a nervous dog
And a nervous little spouse.

He had a little tic,
That twitched in every case,
And when he raised his eyebrows,
It twitched right off his face.

He cursed his nervous habits,
And his life of nervous need,
But dared not change them,
Oh no no!
Who knows where that would lead?

But sometime dreamt a difference,
But somewhere saw a start,
And through his dreams and passions,
Was reminded of his heart.


My Body
(Sung to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean”)
My body lies when it feels healthy,
My body’s a stranger to me,
It whispers of life’s limitations
Oh bring back my body to me.

Ohhh, bring back
Bring back my body to me, to me
Throw back,
Fast track,
Bring back my body to me.

It’s weathered my trials and my troubles
It’s been such a great friend to me,
It promised me multiple lifetimes
But suddenly wants to be free.

Oh bring back
Soul black
‘Scuse me again but
I have to pee.
Bring back, with no slack
Bring back my body to me.

There’s no point to singing this ditty,
You can’t reverse time back to youth,
Life’s good but it ain’t always pretty
Much better when you face the truth.

Ohhhhh, let go,
Go slow,
Beauty is something to stop and see,
Joy knows,
Aches go
Along with the license to see.


Trumtpy Dumpty
Trumpty Dumpty
Sat on his Wall,
Trumpty Dumpty
Had a great fall.

All Twitter’s forces
And all the smart set,
Couldn’t find Trumpty
Without internet.


Small Complaint
I have this little ear thing,
It makes me kind of deaf.
If you would like to reach me,
Speak not unto my left.

My right-hand side still hears okay,
Except upon occasion,
When I don’t like the things you say
And need a quick evasion.

I have this little knee thing,
A teeny, weeny pain.
It hurts me when I’m walking,
From jogging I refrain.

And swimming, yoga, making love,
Can’t stand that little ache,
My choice is keep on truckin’
Or start to plan the wake.

I have this little defect
I can’t remember words,
Like regiment and labrynthe,
My speech is quite absurd.

I know it’s not dementia,
My mind is like a trap.
The words get trapped ‘tween
Brain and tongue,
And fear to leap the gap.


And now for a few old favorites…

I’m a little teapot
I’m a little teapot
Short and stout,
Last night I was Moses
Speaking on the Mount,
Increasingly these episodes
Are what I am about,
Don’t tip me over
I’m filled with doubt.


Mrs. Muffet
Mrs. Muffet
Had a fat tuffet
When people commented
She told them to “Stuff it”.
Along came a spider,
Decided to ride her,
She smashed that arachnid
Like a supercollider.


Wee Willie Winkie
Wee Willie Winkie
Runs through the town,
Upstairs, downstairs
In his nightgown.

Is anybody watching him?
Where the Hell’s his nurse?
Somebody call 911,
Old age is a curse.


Mary had a Nurse’s Aide
Mary had a nurse’s aide
His skin was black and glowed,
And everywhere that Mary went
Her aide was sure to go.

He followed her to vote one day
Which was against the rule,
It made poll workers laugh and say
“You can’t vote here you fool!”


Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
Her social security
Hadn’t come through.
The government told her
It had no more bread,
She whipped them all soundly
And sent them to bed.

Other News

In other news, the Laws of Gravity have been struck down by the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. In a 4 to 3 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes for the majority affirming the right to fly off into the upper atmosphere if necessary.

Meantime, a night blooming jasmine flower will make a guest appearance on The Today Show, becoming the first jasmine to do so. When asked why she had chosen to blossom during the day, she said, “I’m your best kept secret but don’t try keeping me in the dark. I make my own scents!”

In other other news the Bayer Corporation has bought Monsanto and made arrangements to offer free aspirin to sick bees, if they can just teach the bees how to swallow it.

Still some other news, the problem of too many plastic shopping bags in the oceans has been solved by a Japanese entrepreneur. He has engineered a way for ocean fish to swim into the shopping bags. Shoppers then stand on the beach with their right hand in the air and wait for the next tsunami. Dinner is delivered.

In grant research news, the fellows at the NRA have made research grants available for scientists who want to develop smart bullets. “Responsibility should fall to the bullet,” said a spokesperson. “There is no reason we can’t manufacture a bullet that can sense it’s headed towards a third grader in Mrs. Reed’s class, not a four point buck; then engineer it to stop, have a cup of coffee, maybe catch up on social media, until a real four point buck decides it needs to learn to read and then BLAM continues its trajectory and slaughters that baby.”

Today President Trump fired long-time ally and friend Donald Trump. This unexpected ouster was roundly criticized by Democrats, while members of his own party cheered. “How can he fire himself when he was not duly elected,” claimed presidential candidate Amy Klobucher, “there is a process for these things.” Leading psychologists on the other hand felt the move would help heal his split personality and allow him to gain a more authentic self on the campaign trail. Trump campaign sources, off the record, hinted that this could give Trump the edge in the 2020 election. This way, when one of them is impeached, the other can still run for president.

And in news about the news, everything you read is not about you, you just think it is. Use that. Read with your brain, your heart, your soul. If you think it’s fake, it’s fake. Move on. Don’t get your panties in a twist.

News about bus companies is always boring but here’s a little spice: Tardy Bus Systems, Inc., when faced with the problem of consistently late buses, has decided to inseminate them with Dumbo sperm. We’ll check back in 22 months.

Now news of the Other. They’re out there. They want blood. They’re a Stephen King novel. Or so politicians, who have something to gain, would have you think. however, contrary to popular belief, like you, they live on planet Earth. And every one of them has a heart and a family and a story to tell. Listen.



Artificial Intelligence is Neither Artificial Nor Intelligent

We invented it. Right?

So much for the artificial part.

And please don’t insult my intelligence by calling it intelligent.

But, here’s an example of how we might have thought it was both artificial and intelligent. Doctors these days are specialists. We have sooo much knowledge about the human body (slightly less about cats) that it’s impossible for one doctor to spend a lifetime to learn it all. So, there’s one guy who kind of knows about the various parts and the problems the body encounters (he’s called a GP which stands for Generic Problem-solver) and he looks at you and then looks into his phone to get the number of the guy who knows more about whatever you came in complaining about than he does. And then he sends you to him. The economics work because each time a doctor looks into his phone to get a number, he gets paid.

But the GP is at the bottom of the ladder and so he’s kind of looked down upon by doctors who have spent their lives studying everything about index fingers, for instance. You can do a whole post graduate study and research on index fingers to become an indexologist. So, if you’re just a normal person with a sore index finger, the GP will send you to the indexologist and they both get paid. Nice, right? And then up and up through the layers of doctors until you find the doctor who can finally diagnose the problem, that your fingernail needs clipping.

So, this is the pyramid of human intelligence. Everyone knows just their own little bit. And these pyramids have solved a lot of things. But when one person dies or gets Alzheimers his little part of it may disappear.

Think of the actual pyramids. Someone built them, individuals together knew each inch of how they were engineered, but all we have today is a nice pile of stones and a lot of questions. That particular pyramid of knowledge is all top and no bottom.

It’s the same with so-called artificial intelligence. Someone invented a language that would instruct computers to stand on the back of a heaving pachyderm, for instance. And when you give those words to a computer that understands it, they do indeed stand on Dumbo’s back. The computer is then labelled as “pretty smart” by the guy who invented the language and by other humans who think that the guy who invented the language is pretty smart, and Dumbo is well, Dumbo. This is how pachyderms lose their place in the pecking order. But that is not what I’m writing about today.

Now here’s the rub. Other humans learn the language that the guy invented but they use it slightly differently to program the computer to jump through flaming hoops, for instance, and then slightly differently again to stand with dogs in a line on their hind feet, and then slightly differently yet again to salt peanuts. In fact, they use the language to get the computer to do so many circus tricks, that they get the Nobel Peace Prize for Ringmasters.

But, and here’s the problem, they change the language the first guy invented just a little bit…a tiny little twist to fit their needs, so that when the first guy said jump and the computer jumped on Dumbo’s back, the second guy has changed it to “jup” and the computer will grab the hands of its partner and fling itself from one trapeze to another without a net. Cool right? Except the guy who got it to jump on Dumbo’s back, way back when, is dead or gone or forgot how he did it. He’s human after all, and he was using pick-up sticks to figure the right probability and they don’t make pick up sticks any more. Either way, the path is lost. But the computer remembers. Yes, we still have a computer that under certain conditions will jump on the backs of pachyderms.

Now, what if you bought one of those computers. And what if the company you bought it from feels that computer does so many things that it‘s starting to confuse people who for the most part are analog thinkers. So, they hire a bunch of people and put them in a call center and they try and teach them all to be GPs.

“I don’t know,” they say when you call and your laptop is stuck between the legs of a pachyderm. But they look into their iphone and transfer you to someone who might know more. So, the knowledge that one guy invented and got a prize for and others thought was cool, and then someone else made a business plan of and sold computers to other humans that did those intelligent things, is now fungible. It might exist or then again it might not.

At some point it was real. At some point it was intelligent. Someone made it jump, but it wasn’t you and the computer you bought to make it jump can’t do it anymore, or only under certain circumstances. But it CAN do operations on the hind legs of dogs to make them easier to train. It’s only artificial to you because you didn’t invent it and you don’t understand it or what it takes to accomplish its tasks, so it is artificial to you, and authentic only to the man who invented it, who has forgotten. It was intelligence, but let’s be real, it’s not YOUR intelligence and it’s not the phone operator/ help desk man’s intelligence even though he was trained to be nice when they told you this and it’s not even the computer company’s intelligence. So, it is labelled artificial intelligence.

Do you follow?

Humans need other humans to put together enough intelligence to do intelligent things. That’s the way it is. Let’s face it, left to our own devices we’ll stick marshmallow peeps up our noses. That’s true artificial intelligence.