The Latest Poop

Tastes Like Chicken - 01

Warning: Adult content (with a smidgen of prepubescent-male humor)

One of my favorite writers is Davy Barry.  For years, he wrote a weekly humor column in the Miami Herald.  Then he sold his life story to TV, made a boatload of money, and retired.  As readers of this forum well know, I cannot come up with a new story every week.  Sometimes, not even every month.  So, I am in awe of the sheer volume of Dave’s columns.  Dave had an advantage, though.  His millions of “alert readers” would constantly send him newspaper clippings about strange things to inspire him.  My readers are just as alert, but they just aren’t as numerous.  So, most times I must depend upon my own imagination, but not always.

Sometimes, I catch a newspaper article or news story that triggers an idea.  I then Google the facts, just like any other professional investigative journalist.  Then I proceed to make s##t up.

But I’m not making this s##t up.  This is real.  Every year between 15 and 30 thousand people actually die from a condition called recurrent Clostridium Difficile Colitis.  Usually, this results from a long hospital stay during which they have been pumped up on antibiotics to kill some kind of really bad bacteria in their system.  Unfortunately, the antibiotics also kill all the good bacteria.  “Good bacteria?” I hear you say, and I say, “Yes.  There is such a thing as good bacteria.  It’s mostly in our stomach and intestines, and we actually need it to live.  If you don’t believe me, Google it.”

So, what happens when you run out of good bacteria?  Duh!  You get a bacteria transplant. This is where it gets strange.  Where do you find good bacteria?  The answer is, in poop, or more specifically in healthy poop.  So, now, when someone tells you that they’ve got some really good s##t, be aware that it might have absolutely nothing to do with drugs.

There is even a clinic in Boston looking for poop donors.  You get $40 a pop, or, more correctly, $40 a poop.  Of course, there are conditions, and the first one is that you have to donate healthy poop, which isn’t exactly the same as just taking a big healthy s##t.  They check it, by running medical tests on it over the course of 60 days.  If, after 60 days, your poop is up to par, they pay you for all your donations, and okay you for another 60 days of donations.

The clinic has a second condition.  You must be from the Boston area.  As an old Yankee fan, I can understand this.  With the exception of my friends Bill and Mary Ford, everyone I know in Boston is full of s##t.  So, they probably produce the largest volume of poop per donation.  (Apologies in advance to my thousands of Boston readers.)

Then comes the fun part.  The clinic makes up a mixture of poop and saline solution.  (The exact proportion of ingredients is a well-guarded secret, like the recipe for Coca-Cola, Kentucky-Fried Chicken, or MacDonald’s special sauce.)  Then, they perform an FMT, a Fecal Microbial Transplantation, via Colonoscopy.  One treatment is all you need, and you’re cured.  So, patients can literally bend over and, a short time later, crack a smile.

For some, though, who have side effects from the anesthesia used during a colonoscopy, there is another solution – Poop Pills.  No s##t.  I mean, yes, they do contain s##t, but I’m not s##tting you about there being such a thing as poop pills.  You have to swallow about 20 of them for it to work, but studies have shown that this method is just as effective as the Colonoscopy method, with way fewer side effects (If you don’t count throwing up in the waiting room).  It’s also cheaper, as it costs just $300 versus $500 for the Hershey Highway delivery system.

Now, the interesting part.  Not so surprisingly, somebody came up with the brainy idea of separating the good bacteria from the donated poop, so that poop-free (as well as, I suppose, sugar-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free) versions of the “medicine” could be offered.  To everyone’s surprise, it didn’t work.  The bacteria transplantation alone wasn’t enough to generate good bacteria in the host.  Even more surprisingly, maybe even way more surprisingly, the now bacteria-free poop by itself still worked.  So, there is another mystery ingredient in poop that works either as a catalyst or something else to facilitate the bacterial transfer and growth of good bacteria in the host.  Scientists in Boston are probably working night and day trying to find out what this ingredient is.  Presumably there are people in New England laboratories s##ting their brains out to provide enough raw material for scientific scrutiny.  When these scientists isolate the mystery ingredient, they’ll probably try to figure out a way to make it synthetically.

So, Red Sox fans, before this golden-brown opportunity ends, stop flushing your money down the toilet, and head for a dump-donor site near you.  Get your ass to work, and you could be making money and saving lives.

 

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

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Invasion of the Amish Roof Snatchers

amish roofers

I like to stay up late at night, watching movies, reading, or whatever.  Why not?  I don’t have to get up in the morning anymore.  I’m retired.  So, to get the 8-9 hours of sleep that I require, I usually sleep until noon.  This week put a serious crimp in my style.  The new landlord is making the repairs, which were neglected by the previous owner.  This week he replaced the roof.

A crew of Amish workers showed up at daybreak and needed to go through my apartment to bring ladders, tools, and supplies into the backyard.  So, I was up at 7 a.m. all week.  I then proceeded to go back to bed, but it was almost impossible with all the hammering noises they were making.  Still, I tried, and I did manage to doze off occasionally.  Eventually, I just had to get up.  All these Amish guys were swarming all over the house like bees in a hive removing the old roof and installing the new one.  Except one guy.  Duane was more or less just directing traffic, so I thought he was the boss.

I was wrong.  One of the hardworking Amish guys was the boss.  Duane drove the truck and made phone calls.  That was his job.  The Amish don’t drive trucks.  When they have to go to town, they just hook up the horse and buggy.  So, for big construction projects, where a truck is a necessity, they hire a non-Amish guy to drive the truck.

It reminded me of many years ago when I worked as a manager at Miriam’s Stationary and Book Store on the Amtrak level in Penn Station.  My boss, Moishe, was an Orthodox Jew and forbidden to work or run a business on the Sabbath.  The Sabbath, however, was the busiest day in Penn Station.  So, he worked out a deal with his Rabbi.  He owned and operated the store six days a week.  Then, come sundown Friday, until sundown Saturday, I magically became the “owner.”  I couldn’t do outrageous things like sell the business, but I did have all the other privileges of an owner.  Best of all, I had no supervision, as Moishe had to stay away from the business for those 24 hours.

My friends and I had a great time.  Most of them commuted to work by the Long Island Railroad, one level below the Amtrak level in Penn Station.  So, after work on Friday they would come to the store.  We cranked up the music in the store and we would rock the place.  Plus, I always had plenty of beer in the refrigerator in my office.  My friends and I enjoyed our own private happy hour before they hopped on the Long Island Railroad to go home for the weekend.

It worked for us, because it worked for everyone.  Since the store was predominately a book store, our biggest customers were Amtrak riders who wanted to pick up a book to read on the train.  Normally, they would hang out in the store for a long time, like it was a library, browsing the books until it was time for their train.  The large volume of browsers made it possible for the “boosters” who worked the area to easily steal books.  On Friday night, though, the music was so loud that it was not conducive to browsing.  People would come in, quickly buy a book, and head to the relative quiet of the Amtrak waiting room to begin reading it.  Business was brisk, but there wasn’t a big crowd in the store, so the boosters couldn’t hide in a crowd.  So, business was up, theft was down, and good times were had by all.

It took the Amish roofers four days to complete the new roof, and now things are finally back to normal around here, and I can sleep until noon again.  Ahhh!  To sleep, perchance to dream of all the fun we had in Penn Station when the real boss was away, and the understudy took the stage.

 Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

Cheers to a Better Year

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Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson is one of my favorite comic strips.  Maybe it’s because I see so much of myself in Calvin, and, like him, I don’t plan to change in the new year.  I made up a life-changing resolution a long time ago, and I continue to say it to myself every day.  So, instead of an annual New Year’s Resolution, I have a daily resolution that has been guiding me for decades.  I’ve shared it with hundreds of people in my children’s book, A Little Bit Better, and today I would like to share it with you.

A Little Bit Better

Thanks to the things I did yesterday,

Today I am better in every way.

I love myself with all my features.

I love the world with all its creatures.

I set great goals and I get them done.

I find many helpers, and so it is fun.

I’ll use this day wisely and go with the weather.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up a little bit better.

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May 2019 be a little bit better to you than previous years, and may you be better in 2019 than you’ve ever been.

Happy New Year.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

A Bridge to the Past

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Last week the local Susquehanna Valley oldies station, 96.1 FM SOX Radio, had their own “Santa D.” in a big booth at the Wrightsville Columbia Bridge collecting toys for underprivileged children.  Their goal was to collect 7500 toys.  “7500 toys,” I thought, “heck, my New York friend Marianne could probably gather that many new toys overnight.  She’s the leader of a large network of New York Do-Gooders, who manage to turn a whole lot of bad situations into great fundraisers.  Marianne just goes on social media and posts something like, “If anyone would like to contribute toys for underprivileged children [or it could be books for Africa, household goods for Appalachia, bleach, food, and water for victims of Hurricane Sandy, toiletries for veterans, or whatever itch needed scratching in some part of the world], they can just leave them on my porch.…and I’ll deliver them.” Overnight, her front porch would become The F.A.O. Schwartz of toy stores or a warehouse of whatever stuff they were collecting for the cause they were helping that day.  But that’s not the point of this story.

The point is that the toy drive was being held at the historical site of one of the most famous bridges in Civil War history, the Wrightsville Columbia Bridge, which, back then, was a covered bridge.  There are plenty of covered bridges out here in Amish land, and I asked around to find out why.  I learned that the main reasons they were covered was to weather storms, and to prevent the horses from seeing the rushing water and being spooked while crossing and possibly falling into the river.The current bridge, the fifth edition of the grand structure, is not a covered bridge like its predecessors.  It’s not even called the Wrightsville Columbia Bridge anymore, except by locals.  U.S. maps call it the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.

The first Wrightsville Columbia Bridge was destroyed by severe weather.  The second Wrightsville-Columbia Bridge, completed in 1834, is the one that made history.  Besides being the longest covered-bridge in the world it was “stout enough to bear loaded train cars.”  I wondered how many of the people who travelled across the bridge to give toys, knew the history of the bridge itself.  As a native New Yorker, I was completely unaware of the significance of the Wrightsville Bridge in the Civil War until recently.

Most of the Civil War battles were fought in the South.  The leader of the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee, hoped to get England and France to enter the war on the side of the South.  So, he instructed his generals to attack the North, hoping to impress the European countries.  The Rebel army advanced.  The Confederates won at York, Pennsylvania, and were about to cross the Susquehanna River into the City of Lancaster on the way to the Pennsylvanian capital at Harrisburg.  If they crossed the Susquehanna, things would not be good for the Union.

The small Pennsylvania militia could not halt the advancing army, so they tried to blow up the bridge with dynamite, but it was like a scene straight out of the movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai.  The bridge was so well-built that it was not so easily demolished.  So, on June 28, 1863, the Pennsylvania militia wound up soaking it with oil and burning the bridge. 

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The local people of Wrightsville and Columbia gave up their bridge to save the cities of Lancaster and Harrisburg, and, as it turned out, the Union itself.  With no way to cross the mile-wide Susquehanna River, the Southern troops heading north poured into the Gettysburg area.  The Army of the Potomac met them there a few days later on July 1, 1863, and they fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War at Gettysburg.  Casualties were high on both sides, but Lee lost a third of his Southern army.  The battle of Gettysburg, followed by Lincoln’s inspirational Gettysburg address turned the course of the war for the North.

Gettysburg

It is very fitting that the site of the Wrightsville Columbia Bridge, which gave its all for the Union in 1863 was the site of so much gift giving this holiday season.  Happy Holidays to all.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

 

 

James Buchanan: A Rock Between Two Hard Places

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Usually when historians are asked to rate the U.S. Presidents, they put James Buchanan at the bottom.  I think this is very unfair.  He was a very good President, who just happened to be elected at the very worst time in U.S. history.

The country was on the verge of Civil War when he was elected in 1856.  Abolitionists in the North desperately wanted to crush slavery and the South along with it.  Secessionists in the South were afraid of the dire consequences they would have to face if slavery, which had legally existed in America for 200 years, was outlawed and 4 million negroes were suddenly free to take merciless revenge on their masters.  Buchanan had to use everything he learned during his forty plus years of public service to keep the powder keg from exploding, and he managed to do so.  Then the election of Abraham Lincoln lit the fuse, and all Hell broke loose.

Rather than acknowledging Buchanan’s peace keeping efforts, both sides immediately blamed him for the war.  Though Buchanan had strong sympathies for the South, he was also a strong Unionist and, for the sake of the preservation of the Union, he had to endure the lies that were spread about him by both sides.  He didn’t want to further incite the South, so he couldn’t level blame on them for seceding, and he didn’t want to cast aspersions on the new President during wartime by blaming Republicans and Abolitionists for driving the South to secede.  He was literally a rock between two hard places, and for the sake of the Union had to take the abuse that was heaped on him without defending himself.  His silence only caused both sides to increase their level of abuse until his reputation was utterly destroyed.

He did not wish to stand idly by, though, and he wrote his memoirs to correct all the lies that were being spoken and printed about him.  He loved his country so much, though, that he refused to publish his defense until the War was over.  Then the Civil War dragged on and on for years and by the time he published his memoirs in 1866 it was already too late to save his reputation.  History had already painted him as the villain, and he knew that a century would have to go by before his name could ever hope to be cleared.  Unfortunately, a century and a half has gone by, and historians still fail to give him a fair trial.  I’m sure they feel that removing blame for the Civil War from Buchanan would force them to place some of the blame on Abolitionists and Lincoln, and that just ain’t gonna happen.  Lincoln had already been made into a god.  After all, Lincoln freed the slaves, and he was the victim of an assassination.  He’s one of the four Presidents on Mount Rushmore.  His place in history was literally and perpetually carved in stone.  So, Buchanan has to continue suffering “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”  Maybe, it will be another century before James Buchanan can get a fair hearing with historians and escape the bottom ranking…unless, of course, if Donald Trump continues the way he’s going.

Our representatives are chosen in free elections.  The best way to get good representatives in government is for the people to study the issues, study the candidates, and be sure to vote.  Tomorrow is Election Day.  Vote wisely.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

HAPpy Birthday

Before the Army -Bottom Row, 2nd from right;  Lieutenant Paulson

My Dad, Harold A. “HAP” Paulson, was born on November 4th 1918, a hundred years ago, one week before World War I ended.  So, HAP missed that war, but he wound up spending 6 years in the Army when World War II came around.  He was a tank commander, and managed to get all his men home alive, except for one, Earl R. McCleary.  Their unit was under attack and Earl made his way to a foxhole, but a ricocheted bullet ended his life.  When I was born years later, Dad gave me the middle name Earl in honor of his fallen comrade.

Dad maintained close contact with his fellow members of the 3rd Armored (Spearhead) Division for the rest of his life.  He dragged my Mom to the reunions every year, and after she passed away, I went with him to a couple.  Finally, when he was in his 90’s, he no longer had the strength to handle the travelling, but he used the Internet to keep in touch.  His eyesight was going so he had to use a magnifying glass to read their emails, but he read each one faithfully.  I put together a collection of the poems he wrote while in the service and he gave it the name Dogface Doggerel.  I submitted it to the 3rd Armored Division and they named him their Poet Laureate and published all his service-related poems.  HAP’s been dead for six years now, but his poems are still proudly displayed on their website.

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One of my favorite stories was about when his family came to visit him the day before he graduated from Officers Candidate School.  They drove around the base looking for him, to no avail.  So, my grandmother hailed a passing soldier, “Yoohoo, soldier boy.  Oh, soldier boy.  Can you help us?”  It turns out that the soldier they stopped was none other than the base commander, General Scott.  Not only did he help them find their son, but he gave HAP a two-hour pass to spend time with his family.

Another story I enjoy was about the time when his tank crew was out on maneuvers during training.  After a few days they were all worn out.  When they brought the tank back to the base the exhausted driver fell asleep at the wheel and clipped an officer’s jeep.  Since my Dad was responsible for the tank, they were going to Court Martial him.  Fortunately for him, though, HAP was a damn good right fielder and he played for the army team.  They had a big game coming up, and they couldn’t afford to lose him in their lineup.  Strings were pulled and all charges were dropped.  They won the big game.

After the fighting was over in Germany, Dad came home, met my mother, and they had three boys.  I’m sure that for the next 64 years of his life, we gave him more trouble than the Nazis ever did.

Happy 100th Birthday, Dad.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

Monster Mashup

 

“They did the Mash…They did the Monster Mash.”

-Bobby “Boris” Pickett

Last Saturday night The Dutchland Rollers defeated Keystone Roller Derby in Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby action. The highlight of the evening for me, though, was the bonus game, a mixer called Monster Mashup. It has become an October Halloween treat for the local players and fans.

Two teams were chosen from the 30 ladies who paid the entry fee to participate in the exciting event. Most of them skate regularly with the Dutchland Rollers, but there were some players from other area teams. Condolezza Slice from Keystone skated for the Purple Team, and Russian Bayou from Philadelphia skated for the Green team. Some of my favorites were on both teams, but I decided to root for the Green team, because my friend Mama Moscato was on that team, and because Russian Bayou had the best Halloween make-up of all the skaters. The picture of her above was taken after the game, after one hour of skating, sweating, and being pummeled by the Purple team. I saw her before the game and her make-up job would have impressed Boris Karloff.

The two teams were fairly evenly matched and that made for a great seesaw battle, with the Purple team taking a slight advantage into the locker room at half time. The Green team came out ready in the 2nd half and in one of the jams, Mama Moscato, who is normally a blocker, put on the jamming helmet and scored an incredible 34 points during her 2-minute jam. Somehow she passed every one of her opponents on the track an amazing 7 times within two minutes! That’s some speedy skating, and the most points I’ve ever seen in one jam.  That put the Green team way in the lead, but the Purple team battled back until they were trailing by only 1 point going into the last jam.

Russian Bayou put on the jammer’s helmet for the Green team. Everyone in the stands stood up and cheered as the two jammers took their places at the rear of the pack. With only one point separating the two teams, it was very important to become the lead jammer, the first one to get by all the blockers and break from the pack. The starter’s whistle blew and the last jam was on. Then, almost immediately, the ref’s whistle blew and Russian Bayou was called for a penalty and sent to the “Dutch Oven” for 30 seconds. Her team now had to kill the penalty, and try to prevent the Purple jammer from lapping 2 Green Blockers and winning the game. They held and Russian Bayou burst out of the penalty box. She caught the Purple jammer who was now the lead jammer, the only one allowed to “cut off the jam.” If the Purple jammer scored two points before Bayou was able to score, she could touch both hands to her hips and end the jam and the game. But Bayou scored first giving the Green team a two-point lead, but even though time ran out, the jam would have to go the full 2 minutes. She had to keep Team Green in the lead.

She did, and even scored 10 points in the process. The final score was Green Team 197 and Purple team 194. At the After Party, I asked her what she was thinking while she sat in the penalty box on that last jam. She said that she was confident that she would be able to get back on the track and win the game. She wasn’t nervous, because “it wasn’t a playoff game. It was just a bunch of girls out having a good time.” Maybe, instead of Monster Mash, the theme should have been the Cyndi Lauper song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” They did have fun, and after competitively bumping, bashing, mashing, and shoving each other for a grueling hour, when it was all over they went right back to just being friends. They had a lot of fun, and so did their fans. I can’t wait until November 3rd when they play the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens in the last League Game of the season.

Roll on Rollers.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl