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Topic Drift

Sunday, August 28, 2005


The Wellington Throwing Club's symphonic-dysphoric Lake Harriet Bandshell event has been postponed. The jelly-filled balloons are nowhere to be found. "I know a man who can get us a gross of those fantastic yellow jelly-filled balloons," Pale Tom said, and naturally we believed him. Now we have nothing to throw at the musicians. We don’t even have the beetjuice-soaked sponges anymore, because Rafe lost them in the woods. See? This is the kind of catastrophic cold drama that keeps me awake at night. This, and the cries of the pale asthmatic boy who keeps falling off my outbuildings while retrieving his Frisbee.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Good Jokes to Tell at Parties, by EWP

A man in a dress walks into a bar. No, wait. That's wrong. He stayed home that day.

When you cook an egg on the stove, cook it properly or you'll get salmonella. If you get salmonella, retrieve the egg shell from the trash and whisper a swear into it. Close up the egg shell and put it in your winter boot. By the time winter comes, you'll have forgotten all about it.

George Washington ate an egg and he fell ill with the salmonella. "Martha, I got it," he said to Martha. "What have you got?" she asked. But she couldn't hear his reply, because he answered very quietly. Because he was in the library.

Why did Martha Washington cross the road? I don't know, it just doesn't make any sense to me.

How many Martha Washingtons does it take to change a light bulb? Four Marthas, one to get an extra chair for the fourth Martha, one to cut pie and pour coffee, one to wake up Martha 2 because she's narcoleptic, and one to crack a window because Martha 3 doesn't think she needs deodorant. They play bridge on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Never In My Life Have I Been So Frightened by a Simple Pig

Just finished sweeping the floor. As I swept under the sofa, this thing shot out:


I nearly pissed myself in terror.

Turns out it's just a squeaky dog toy. Note the unsettling teat-like details:



And he had the chutzpah to smile at me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Damn these Blasted Internets!" I Beseeched Him, and He Heard Me with His Terrifying Ear

Every night I fall asleep praying that God will destroy the internet. And every morning I turn on my computer and there it is again: the internet! Why?! I know for a fact that God hears my prayers, because once I prayed that he'd send me back in time so I could watch the Battle of Hastings, and he did. Unfortunately, I forgot to specify which Battle of Hastings, and was transported to a Sturgis fistfight (1996) between Walter "Bud" Hastings and a man dressed as a box of Chicken McNuggets.

At any rate, this time His answer appears to be "no," so I am going to stop praying for the fiery demise of the internet and start praying that every child in America will learn how to break a horse before he enters the third grade. Of course, this may already be covered by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Pile of Shit has a Thousand Eyes

I miss the days when you could walk down the train tracks with your friends without being accused of "going to see a dead body." In most cases, we are NOT going to see a dead body. In most cases, we are simply going out to pick up our dry cleaning. Occasionally we'll have lunch at that diner that sells vegetarian hamburgers, but lately we've been avoiding that place because they seem to have a fly problem in their kitchen.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Filthy Germans! If I had a pfennig for each time a German found Topic Drift by Googling "chloroforming women," I'd have enough to buy an Xbox. Germans! If they're not clearing shtetls or stonewashing their jeans, they're defying the Holy See or chloroforming their women. Some even indulge their urge to depict rabbits in watercolor. Ogres, every last one of them.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Post Toastie

I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 10. What is it? Here are your options; choose from among the following:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10

- It's not 3, 5, or 7. It's not 1 or 10, either; for real, that would be too obvious. It might be 8 or 4. I can't remember. Which do you like better: Heinz 57 sauce, or A1? I prefer Heinz 57. A1 is for the birds. Some people dislike both sauces equally, but I find such blanket sauce disapproval untenable. Sooner or later, you must fall to one side of the line.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ah, Many Worlds

I keep getting whiffs of baby vomit. Or "spit-up," or "precious white barfikins" or whatever euphemism is making the rounds. No babies currently inhabit my space! How can it be that I smell baby puke when there is no baby present? I suspect that my dimension has cozied up to a parallel dimension in which a feckless baby (probably named Travis) puked on my couch cushion. I can't see the puke, and I certainly can't see the baby, but enough smellton particles have pierced my babyless dimension to make me aware of baby puke and there you have it. Science.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Just Want Someone to Really Listen to Me

Sometimes I think God doesn't want me to have my tarot cards read. Last time I saw my tarot lady she pointed to a card with a troll digging a suspicious hole and told me that, above all else, I'd like to obtain an office chair with proper lumbar support, but the weather never cooperates so I settle for the fold-away. "I don't have a fold-away office chair," I muttered, but she was ignoring me. She was too focused on the cards, in my opinion. What I actually wanted was someone to really listen to me. The lumbar support is fine, see, I'm just tired having the left armrest fall to the floor every time I reach under the desk for my booze thermos. Also, I think someone else in the office found my booze thermos, because the intruder-indicator string I hide under the cap was missing this week, and I swear that my Hennessy tasted like the Miracle-Gro stuff we use on the office plants.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Dear Dr. Jossleyn R. Merrup, MD PhD,

The snakebite medicine you prescribed didn’t work. I would like to try something else. I was bitten five additional times after the initial bite and I now have a fever. I have a very fatty diet and I would like to keep it that way. I also smoke tobacco out of a pipe and swim immediately after meals. Who are you to judge me?


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

In Case You Don't Speak French, "Le Soleil" means "The Magnificent Fish"

I just looked at a major Canadian newspaper online. It turns out the Canadians are on the verge of attacking us. They seem to believe that we are using the shiny side of our iPods to direct massive doses of our extra UVA and UVB rays across the border and into their canneries. This causes the Canadian canneries much "garmonbozia," according to leading analysts, though what these analysts are actually studying remains a mystery. The entire article is nonsense, of course, and is related to other sorts of Canadian nonsense, of which Mountie brutality and incompetence are the chiefest. "Perhaps if these Mounties would put down their 'People Magazines' and their 'Race Profiling for Dummies' and their 'Archie Comics' for a few minutes, they could work on deflecting these harmful rays back into America - or better yet, deflecting these rays through America and into Mexico. Mexico is the real enemy," said Don Jeff, the Italian I spoke to on the phone. Don't know who Don Jeff is, or why he phoned me with this information, but I feel that it is important that I pass it on to you. "Consider the source," some people say, though I would never say that. "Disregard the source, all information is created equal" - that's what I always say; in fact, I have it engraved on a belt buckle. Anyway, I don't have an iPod, so none of this particularly chafes my hide.

Monday, August 01, 2005

And the Game Begins Anew

"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign, except in the case of John Davies Schaffer, who cannot do one damn thing for himself. Whether picking cork bits from his glass of white zinfandel or boiling a hock of ham on a Sunday afternoon, the man Schaffer cannot operate." - John Stuart Mill

When Schaffer heard I was back in town he descended upon my hacienda like a flock of Spaniards upon a pile of free guitars.
"I have gum in my hair!" he exclaimed. It was true, he had gum in his hair. I could see it. Schaffer has very few hairs, all of them clustered around his massive tonsure. The gum appeared to be whitening gum: the gum that makes your teeth whiter.
"Did your wife put it there?" I asked innocently. My concern was acute.
"NOT EVERYTHING IS MY WIFE'S FAULT!" He shrieked. Then he hauled back and kicked my sofa with the fury of Cain. The sofa leg collapsed and the sofa teetered dangerously. The cat hissed and shot out from beneath it.
"Now you've done it. You just broke that sofa. My mother gave me that sofa," I said.
"No, you bought that sofa at the furniture place on 44th and Hawkes! I was there."
"Horseshit. That sofa was a gift from my mother. 44th and Hawkes is an Amoco station." Schaffer stared me in the eye.
"I think Amoco is BP now."
"Oh, that's right. That's it."
"I don't go there."
"Can't say I blame you."
"They charge fifty cents for air."
"Air's free at Holiday."
"That's what I'm talking about."
"I hear that."
"Well... anyway." We paused, and Schaffer sort of looked at the wall.
"So your wife put gum in your hair," I said.
The thing about Schaffer is that he fights like a girl, and his wife fights like a badger. "Don't marry that badger," I told him years ago. But did he listen? No, he damn well did not listen. He went ahead and married her! I cut the gum out of his hair and invoiced him $400 for the sofa. Badger.

Next Week is Now

What a tremendous relief it is to be back home again! But why the hired help no longer recognizes me, I'll never know. Perhaps they are thrown off by my new scent: Calvin Klein's CK Dregs. It smells very much like CK 1, and a little like CK Be, but with a gravelly, bitter afternote, and a whiff of the primordial oak barrel. Smells like the grit left in the bowl after you eat a hearty clam chowder, but with a smoky, nearly bestial hint of gardenia. And that's New England clam chowder, not the Manhattan variant. I've never touched the Manhattan variant; I hear it's like borscht, but without all the flavor.

What I'm trying to say is it's a very nice perfume.