A Happy Holiday Tale

Courtesy of The Daily Kos and Bill in Maine:

Twas the night before Christmas and in his penthouse

Martin Shkreli was relishing his life as a louse

His millions were stacked to the ceiling with care

In bundles of Franklins thirty feet in the air

The pharma CEO slept smug in his bed;

While visions of price-gouging danced in his head;

Like the price of an AIDS drug he’d recently sent

Soaring to the heavens by five thousand percent

When over on Twitter there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my porn Bible lesson to see what was the matter.

Away to the home page I flew like a flash,

“BREAKING: Turing CEO’s career is headed for a crash!”

The moon over midtown made the Big Apple glow,

As if in a spotlight for a really big show,

When what to our wondering eyes did appear,

But a team of G-Men in full G-men gear

With a warrant for arrest and list of charges so thick,

I knew in a moment they’d be cuffing this prick

More rapid than eagles through his foyer they came,

And they read him Miranda, then his transgressions by name:

“You fraudster! You stealer! You vulture! You cheat!

You swindler, you schemer, you freaking deadbeat!

To the back of the car! To your waiting jail walls!

Now come this way! Come this way! We gotcha by the balls!”

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on Late Edition

That Shkreli had been fired from his corporate position

As I turned my head and was scratching my duff,

I saw perp-walking Martin, all bound up in cuffs.

He was smarmy and pale, a narcissistic little shit,

And America convulsed in a schadenfreudic fit;

The fear in his eye—oh, yes, it was there,

Soon gave me to know this guy had no prayer

He spoke not a word, but soon lost his smirk,

As prosecutors drooled over nailing this jerk,

And the whole world exclaimed as he disappeared with a snort

“Karma’s a bitch, pharma bro, and we’ll see you in court.”

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17:  Martin Shkreli (C), CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical, is brought out of 26 Federal Plaza by law enforcement officials after being arrested for securities fraud on December 17, 2015 in New York City. Shkreli gained notoriety earlie


“It’s Not Your Mother’s Oldsmobile” Revisited

Back in 2013 I wrote a post about receiving a sign from my deceased parents letting me know they were okay, entitled “It’s Not Your Mother’s Oldsmobile.”

Today I found myself back in that same gift shop. I had decided to walk around in town and soak up the Christmas spirit before things got too crazy with tourists crowding the sidewalks. We’d had rain and colder temperatures earlier in the week but today was sunny and around 60 degrees. A perfect day for poking around in the stores.

I must confess that I was more than a little hopeful that I would have some kind of reprise of my last experience in that shop. I was already in a very nostalgic mood after gawking at a large collection of Shiny Brite ornaments in another store.  They reminded me of the ones I’d lost to the storage locker thief.

And here, again, were my old friends, the Christmas stockings with the 50’s Santa on them, propelling me back in time to when I was a kid, lying under our Christmas tree at night, gazing up at the lights and breathing in the wonderful scent.

I went over to the card rack just to see if they still had that same card with the Oldsmobile on it, but they didn’t. Of course not. It’s been a couple of years and they had put new cards in its place. Kind of silly, really, to expect the same experience, wasn’t it?

As I made my way around to the front of the store, I stopped at a table with some interesting small books on display. One set was called “The Little Book of Saints.” I’m not Catholic, nor were my parents, but the cover intrigued me. It looked like (and was) a copy of a vintage holy card. I love artwork like that, so I picked up one of the books out of several in the stack. It had a padded cover that felt smooth and soothing in my hand.

I noticed it had a pale blue satin bookmark attached at the top. It was marking one of the pages that was not quite in the middle of the book. I opened the book to see what saint it was and found that it was St. Jeanne of Valois.

The patron saint of those who lose their parents.


I picked up a couple of the other books and found only one other one had a specific page marked with the satin ribbon. Most had the bookmark pulled down just inside the front cover.

Why did I pick that particular book and not the others?

Because I needed it, I guess.




Gift Ideas for the Conservative

From The Daily Kos, written by Bill in Maine:

Ho Ho Ho!!!

It’s gift giving season, and here are some offerings from the Republican party for all the conniving conservatives on your CHRISTmas list:

The EZ Bake God’s Law Oven! Spread out the Supreme Court decision you disagree with—like, say, Roe v. Wade or Obergefell v. Hodges—on the handy baking sheet, pop it in the oven, turn the knob and Presto! Out comes a yummy biblical edict from the Lord A’mighty rendering it null and void. Personally recommended and endorsed by constitutional non-scholar Marco Rubio!

Chesterfields cigarette ad with Ronald Reagan---Christmas theme.
        And be sure to send Chesterfields to all your friends and family!


Acme Magic Video Creator! If you’ve made a false claim about something you witnessed to score cheap political points—like, say, harvesting of baby parts by Planned Parenthood or New Jersey residents cheering the World Trade Center towers as they fell—you need the Acme Magic Video Creator! Just push the button, describe the content of the footage you need, and watch it appear before your very eyes.  [Disclaimer: But nobody else’s eyes. We’re working on that.]

The Illegal Immigrant Express!  Pack up to 11 million illegals into this happy little engine-that-can and watch it chug-chug the whole bunch back across the Mexican border, dump ’em off, and return for more! Comes with locomotive, Donald Trump conductor action figure, and as many boxcars as ya need to ship ’em out.

Drill Here, Drill Now Play Set!  Solar sucks! Wind blows! Fossil fuels are what realAmericans use to make America great again you betcha! The Drill Here, Drill Now Play Set comes with a drill. A big drill. A massive, 30-foot-wide behemoth of a drill that makes professional drillers stop and mumble, “Holy [Bleep]! That’s a [Bleep]-ing drill.” Comes complete with four-word instruction booklet (“Drill here, drill now”) and emergency numbers to call when you inevitably bore into an electric, gas or sewer line. Or an oil pipeline. That would be awkward. Try not to do that.


         Use your butterfly nets to trap Obama’s socialist paratroopers!


Let’s play Jade Helm 15! The board game where your mission is to defend the Republic of Texas from Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s insidious invasion by air, sea, and secret tunnels under local Walmarts! Meet at a San Antonio Applebee’s with your patriot freedom militiamen and plot your strategy. Then roll the loaded dice and yell: “Pew pew pew! Take that, you Kenyan colonialist tyrant! Yeehaw!” Naturally your side always wins because the history of your engagement will be written by the Texas School Board! Hours of fun for the whole family while you’re all cleaning your guns.

Backyard Great Pyramid Grain Storage Silo!  Some assembly required, which will take approximately 20 years. Grain sold separately. Add approximately $10 billion for shipping and handling.

Take that, Hammacher Schlemmer.


The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Mucus: 2014 Edition

Back in 2011, I wrote a short blog post of the same name when I came down with what I thought at the time was a whopper of a cold.

And God said:  “Ha!”

Dear Abby, may she rest in peace, used to take people to task for indulging in the sin of “The Organ Recital” during conversations.  It had nothing to do with music, but everything to do with one person boring the hell out of a captive audience with the litany of ailments, conditions, and diseases that were currently afflicting the speaker.

I will not go into excruciating detail here, but there are a few salient points I must touch upon in order to gain the maximum amount of sympathy from the reader.

Hey, it’s all I’ve got going for me right now, so cut me some slack.

Last Thursday morning, the 18th, I was the dutiful grandparent and attended Grandparents’ Day at my grandkids’ school.  I’d had a scratchy throat for about a day and my usual get-up-and-go seemed to have got-up-and-went, but this was something I had to do.  The grandparents get to observe the kids in their classes and it’s always a big deal for them to get to introduce their grandparent to their fellow students.  I couldn’t disappoint.

Then, that same evening, I had to make an appearance at the kids’ annual Christmas concert.  Another command performance that I couldn’t cop out on.  I took a lot of cough drops with me and hoped I wouldn’t break into a coughing fit in the middle of “Silent Night.”  The room was SRO, we were all tightly packed in the pews, and all I could think about was all the germs I was disseminating to these unsuspecting folks.  I tried to keep my exhalations pointed toward my program.

Friday, the next day, whatever I had (I swear I got a flu vaccination early this year) had taken hold with body aches, coughing, etc.  Over the course of the weekend the coughing increased to Brobdingnagian proportions.  Monday morning when I awoke, my ears felt like they were filled with water (which they were) and my usual tinnitus had become a roaring dishwasher.  Not good.

But, being the trooper (or idiot) that I am, I soldiered on.  However, Christmas was only a couple of days away and the thought occurred to me through the haze of mucus that I just might need to see the doctor before everybody hightails it for the holiday.

Tuesday morning, the 23rd, I phoned my physician’s office and found that she and her staff were gone for the entire week and wouldn’t be back until the following Monday.  But the receptionist for the clinic took pity on me.  Perhaps it was my muffled sobbing.  She offered me an appointment with one of the other doctors, a man I’d seen several years ago whom I liked.

I grabbed the appointment like it was a life jacket thrown to a drowning woman. Drowning in mucus, that is.

By the time of the appointment Tuesday afternoon around 3:00, I was essentially deaf in both ears.  Deaf-er, I should say since the tinnitus I already had before this plague struck had rendered me pretty hard of hearing most of the time.

So I hopped up on the exam table and the good doctor looked in my throat (not too bad), and up my nose (hmm, worse) and then he peered into my right ear.  Whoa!  He said the eardrum was one of the worst he’d seen.  I told him to look at the left one, the right was the “good” one.

He was equally impressed with the magnitude of the sight before him.  He pointed to the bright red plastic cover of a folder on the counter and said my tympanic membranes shared the same color.

As he sat back and started typing into his laptop, he said,

“If you were the baby in the next room, you would have been screaming your head off all night last night.  You’re tough!”

To which I replied, “Or stupid.”

He only smiled and kept on typing.

So before I left I received an antibiotic injection in the tucchus and am taking an oral version twice a day for ten days.  I have a prescription for codeine cough syrup that I’ve used a couple of times at night when the coughing just won’t quit.  My little Chihuahua, Kelso, has vacated the bed temporarily because of the noise.  He gives me that look that says, “You know I don’t like this.  Why do you insist on doing it?”

The Cough from Hell is better but my hearing is shot for the time being.  It’s like trying to talk with someone across the street while using a tin can and a string.  Just about as effective.  I can hear my muffled voice in my head, but not with my ears.  And when I wash my hair in the shower, I can hear the water hitting my head, but only as it’s conducted through the bones of my skull.  Very odd sensation.

The doctor had said it was going to take “awhile” for the crud plugging my middle ears to clear out.  I’m not optimistic on that front.

In the meantime I’ve been browsing the personal hearing amplifiers on Amazon.com and brushing up on my American Sign Language.

Just in case.