Saturday 30 March 2013


Ron Holmes, the father of basketball star Shabazz Muhammad, didn’t leave things to chance or waste precious time on romance. He saw point guard Faye Paige perform and said to himself: The two of us would make a great genetic mix. “She’s going to be my wife, and we’re going to make some All-Americans” (LA Times 22 March). It’s as simple as that, friends.  So, let me suggest a few other winning combinations:
  • Donald Trump & Kim Kardashian = millionaire with real hair
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger & Jerry Brown = enough muscle to push through gay marriage
  • Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days) & E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) = discount airline
All that mixing and matching has the FDA in a tizzy. “It’s a bit of a mess,” Jennifer Kuzma admits, speaking of genetically modified foods (LA Times 23 March).  When you eat corn engineered to keep down weed, is it still food or is it a pesticide? When you eat salmon on growth hormones are you eating fish or taking drugs?

I’m also wondering:
  • Teenager & cell phone= armed and dangerous?
There has been a spike in cell rage recently (LA Times 23 March). No, I’m not referring to jail riots. I mean teenagers hurling cell phones in anger. Not sure I like that, but electronic shops welcome the new trend. As far as they are concerned,
  • Cell rage & broken screen=more cell phone sales.
Have you been to a pop concert lately? Stunning! Mesmerizing! Or should I say paralyzing? Watch performers scaling walls, riding motorcycles onstage, bursting from eggs, doing aerial stunts against a background of fireworks. It’s a winning combination. Pyrotechnics & ambulance sirens, acrobatics & concussions.  So:

Thursday 28 March 2013


Signatures matter! Learn from the sad experience of Dr. Dimowo of Anaheim, who put his signature to Oxicontin prescriptions without asking questions. He did take some precautions. He required patients to sign a declaration that they weren’t undercover agents. But guess what? The undercover agent who ratted on Dimowo lied when he signed the paper (LA Times 23 March).

So here are a few guidelines when dealing with signatures.

Signing credit card slips. Practice diligently. Your signature should closely resemble that of the credit card owner. Buy only from carefully selected merchants. Dealing with Date Drug Ltd or Wholesale Cannabis may draw unwanted attention.  Keep to lawful means of impairment, such as vodka or whiskey, and adjust size of order to the habits and personality type of the credit card owner: anal-retentive (1 quart), regular guy (2 quarts), party animal (3 quarts), addictive personality (4 quarts), suicidal type (5 quarts), etc.

Signing buildings. Start small. Practice by spray-painting your neighbour’s fence. Then go on to schools, libraries, and bridges. Never refer to your signature as graffiti. It’s street art. If you leave the spray can behind, it’s an installation. Make creative use of bodily functions to give that extra touch to your art. For inspiration check out vomit painter Millie Brown who uses well digested colored milk for her “signature” abstracts.

DNA signatures. Do not leave them on corpses. Wear latex gloves or wipe fingerprints carefully before disposing of weapons and bodies. Or use Chef David Viens’ recipe (LA Times 23 March): Boil body for four days, let cool, and strain out. Questions about how to refine the recipe? Put them on hold. Chef Viens’ style is sadly cramped at present. The jail’s kitchen is off limits to him.

Valuable signatures. Are you in the market for autographs? Watch out for forgeries. Always do your homework before buying. A George Washington signature in red ballpoint may not be genuine. A Babe Ruth signature on a hockey puck is suspicious. Be aware that Jesus did not write the Bible. A signed copy should make the warning lights go on. Careful with electronic signatures: it is unlikely that Jane Austen had access to signtool.exe.

A final caution: Stay away from authors who sign their books XXX, unless they are chimpanzees.    

Sunday 24 March 2013


Nice if you happen to be in California. Freezing if you happen to be in Ontario. Here are some remedies for those who are still out in the cold.

Denial. Repeat after me: THERE IS NO WINTER. It’s hysteria to insist that there is a winter! It’s phony science! It’s the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of Canada!  

Visit local schools and spread the gospel: SAY NO TO WINTER!

Alternatively: Stay indoors until spring is well established. Put plywood over your windows to minimize the shock of seeing bundled up people and salt encrusted cars.

Fantasy escape. Cover your living room floor with a foot of sand, decorate with potted palms and beach chairs, turn up heat, play Aloha music. Or:

Put in a jungle landscape. Bonus tip: reserve a corner of your living room for cultivating cannabis. It flourishes under moist and warm conditions and will help offset your electricity bill.

Strategic placement of friends and relatives. Urge your nearest and dearest to move to places like Hawaii, California, or Florida. Visit them frequently. Here I must confess to a total failure of parental authority. Ignoring my preferences, my children insist on working in places where Google mappers fear to tread, places that make Toronto winters look benign by comparison. But wait, that gives me an idea! Maybe I could use

Comparative thinking. Visit James Bay or northern Alberta and on my return enjoy balmy 0C (32 F). Additional joys: Feel fingers and toes that are not frost bitten. Take bathroom breaks that do not involve unwrapping multiple layers of clothes. Breathe invisibly. Celebrate return with bonfire of snowshoes.

Strategic numbers. For those who use Celsius, there is an even easier solution. Think of your weather in Fahrenheit. 32 F looks a hell of a lot better than 0 C, right?

Make the best of it. Suppress memories of days when schools were closed due to inclement weather, and your kids were home driving you crazy. Think positive.

Slipping on the ice and putting out your back may lead to early retirement and a life of ease. Bonus tip: sue the city for neglecting to clear the road and collect a tidy sum to make riding your wheelchair more fun.

On a more modest scale: add to your vacation days by pretending to be snowed in at the cottage. Bonus tip: no doctor’s certificate needed.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Meaning: be authentic? Nah, meaning: get cracking! No one else is going to do it for you.

Remember bank tellers doing your banking? Now YOU punch the numbers into the ATM, and manage your account online. Cashiers? Soon to be history. YOU scan and bag your stuff at the self-checkout. Will that be cash or credit? Deal with the automatic lady. And make it chop-chop when she tells you to move on and let others play cashier.

Looking to distribute your music or get your script turned into a film? Start hustling. The studios aren’t going to finance your gig. Go to Kickstarter and get money from schlubs who don’t mind paying for nothing. Maybe you can sell them a sinkhole in Florida while you’re at it.

The DO YOUR OWN THING trend isn’t new of course. It all started with IKEA sending you home with a mystery box containing several boards, a bag of screws, a little gadget to turn them, and a leaflet with sign language.  What can I say? The Swedish hands in the pictures are definitely better at assembling furniture than my klutzy North American fingers.

What’s up next?
When you buy shoes in 2015, you’ll get a box containing soles and uppers, a little gadget to cobble them together, and pictures of Chinese hands.

Universities are already experimenting with the trend. You want education? Get it yourself, online. Not sure if online courses include pictures, but don’t worry. By 2020 at the latest, you get to mark your own papers.

And I’m sure we can talk politicians into doing their own electing. In the last LA mayoral race, the voter turnout was 16% -- a clear indication that people want politicians to do their own x-ing on the ballots.

Medicare too expensive? DO YOUR OWN THING. Take a cab to the hospital. Bring plastic sheeting so as not to drip blood on the car seat or the hospital floor. Also, bring you own IV tree, latex gloves, scalpel, batteries for the laser, and whatever else is indicated on the doctor’s leaflet (with pictures of international hands).

Have you bought a laptop lately? I have. I wanted Windows 7, but all the machines at BEST BUY had Windows 8, which I hate. Could they install Windows 7 for me? Nope. But DELL offers online instructions on how to DO YOU OWN THING and downgrade 8 to 7.  Unfortunately I couldn’t follow the instructions, so I had to pay someone with DELL hands to do the job.

I see a great future for do-it-yourself books: How to talk back to automatic ladies. How to grow hands like those in the instruction leaflets. But why stop there? How to build your own nuclear power station would be a blast. You don’t think you are up to it? Look, everybody makes mistakes, even the Mitsubishi people who screwed up at California’s San Onofre nuclear station.  – I’m sure you can do better.

Of course some institutions are bucking the trend and have actually started doing the job for you. For example, Mercedes and BMW are working on cars that drive themselves.  But Toyota is way ahead of the curve. They came out with self-accelerating cars two years ago. Unfortunately their autonomous cars became unruly and developed a killer instinct. It cost Toyota a lot to settle all the lawsuits.

I hope autonomous airplanes will do better and refrain from self-accelerating into airport structures. My fondest hope, however, is reserved for drones, which will greatly improve the war experience. No more grunt jobs for military personnel. From here on it’s strictly “Travel the world and enjoy free transportation and accommodation.”  So do enlist even if you don’t have killing hands. Drones will do the work for you.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Rummel’s Good Advice Column cont. PROJECTING THE RIGHT IMAGE.

Dear Rummel: The other day I heard a rapper sing “Nigga, Nigga, Nigga”. I used the same term to explain to a job applicant why I couldn’t hire him, and guess what: he charged me with discrimination. How come I’m being sued when those guys on YouTube get away with it? Honest Employer.

Dear Honest: They are legally exempt because “African-American” is hard to fit into rap lyrics. Also, you are permitted to diss your own ethnic group or class. For example, if you had signed yourself “Idiot”, no one would have been offended. Also, some groups make for easier targets than others. Forget hitting on Muslims. They can be really touchy. Feel an ugly mood coming on? Vent your snark on Christians. They are supposed to turn the other cheek. There are always “in” targets you can insult with impunity: used-car salesmen, for example, are an easy mark. So are corrupt politicians, serial murderers (make sure they are behind bars), and immigrants (in selected states). Just go with the flow.

Dear Rummel: I read somewhere that Facebook’s data mining people can peg your IQ by looking at what you “like”. I want to make an intelligent impression. Also, I want to come across as a real man (I haven’t come out to my parents yet). What should I “like”? Closet Intellectual.

Dear Closet: Go for curly fries. No, I’m serious. According to the LA Times (12 March), algorithms prove that curly fry lovers are cerebral. Now if you also want to appear macho, DO NOT “like” the Facebook page “Sometimes I just lay in bed and think about life”. That’s for women or worse.  And do not comment that “lay in bed” is grammatically incorrect. That doesn’t prove you are intelligent. It just shows that you are a pompous ass and a nitpicker. Also, stay away from “liking” tiered wedding cakes with two men on top. The algorithms (and your parents) will pick up on that.

Dear Rummel: I am a warlord with a gang of dedicated boys ready to maim, rape, or blow up anything that gets in our way, but I’m told I have to improve my image if I want to advance and become a dictator. Any advice? Also, how do I obtain foreign aid and military shipments? Everyone else seems to get them. Joe (not my real name).

Dear Unreal: Work on your language. To begin with, don’t call the USA the “Great Satan.” Refer to America respectfully as “No Country For Old Men” and watch the movie for useful pointers on maiming and killing. And do not call your boys a “gang”. That word sends out the wrong message. Go with “insurrectionists” or “freedom fighters” or be creative and call them “democratists”. The West loves all derivatives of demo. Also: stop raping women. You are wasting a valuable resource. Western powers want to see women in top positions (and I’m not talking about the pro and cons of the Missionary position). Don’t even think of dressing one of your child soldiers in a burka and presenting him as your spokeswoman. That’s been done, and it didn’t work. Check In any case, do not call your followers “boys” – they are orphans or refugees. Women, raped or not, should always be referred to as victims of violence. Remember: Better management of language is the first step to foreign aid.

To all you foreign aid seekers out there: the spokesmen of the Greek military are your go-to guys. They are genius. I quote from the LA Times, 13 March:

Only poverty keeps the Greek military from starting a war with Turkey. They are so poor, they have to be content with DINGHIES DOGGING FRIGATES --beautiful alliteration, no? Now for an inspired heaping up of metaphors: Their army ISN’T JUST BLEEDING, it is BOILING. There was no REAL FLEXING OF THE MUSCLE. The financial constraints are STRANGLING Greek military capability.

Is that eloquent, or what? I bet you military aid is on its way as we speak.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

THE THIEF – PART II and conclusion.

For the beginning of Tracy’s story go to my last blog post (10 March). You remember that thieving Tracy has come down with the flu, or something.
The next day, I still feel lousy, and an itchy mosquito bite, or whatever, is driving me crazy. Maybe it’s infected. I decide to go to the walk-in clinic and have it checked out. I reach for my wallet. It’s not where I left it. I look everywhere, but I can’t find it. I mean it’s not exactly small, it’s the size of a clutch purse, but it’s gone. This is too much. I collapse on the sofa. I’ll have to deal with this later.

At noon, I hear Bev’s car pull into the driveway. She comes into the house and clops downstairs.
“Tracy?” she calls. “Tracy? Are you there, dear?”
“I’m here,” I say. My voice has gone quavery, like an old woman’s.
She comes right into my room and steps up to the sofa where I’m lying like a lump of dough. She looks vibrant.
           “Poor thing,” she says, and puts her hand on my forehead. “You are not running a fever, are you? --No, it feels okay,” she says and withdraws her hand. I notice it’s nice and plump. The liver spots are gone. I close my eyes.
“Something embarrassing happened to me yesterday,” she says, and when I open my eyes again, she is holding up my wallet.
“I took this by mistake,” she says. “I don’t know how it happened. – I’m so sorry, Tracy,” she says, but she doesn’t look it.

I study her face. I haven’t noticed it before, but she looks a bit like me, like a crook. Wouldn’t that be something if she was a thief, too?  Well, she won’t get much from me. I spend my money as fast as I can. I have nothing else she’d want.

The flu, or whatever it was, goes away overnight. I have a violent dream, a poltergeist kind of dream with noise going on upstairs, people walking back and forth, arguing in repressed tones, then silence. And in the morning I wake up feeling good. 

Around ten, Bev goes off to do her shopping, but a little later I hear steps overhead. No, I must be mistaken, I think. Is the flu back? Do I have hallucinations? I hear someone coming down the stairs and turning into the laundry area. I’ve tacked up a blanket over my non-existing door, over the opening into the hallway – a privacy curtain.  That means I can’t see who/what is coming downstairs, and I can’t tell: Am I dreaming? Or is Bev back already? I can’t stand it. I have to check. I go out into the hall. The light in the laundry area is on. There is someone in there loading the washing machine. A man.

He stops what he is doing and looks up. I feel his messianic presence. It’s Julian, tall, lanky, giving me his magnetic blue-eyed stare, macho in spite of the domestic chore of pushing dirty clothes into the washer. I notice his hair and beard are neatly trimmed.
         “Julian!” I say. “What are you doing here?
         “Fucking landlord locked me out. Had the place declared a safety hazard,” he says with his usual mixture of hot charm and profanity.  “The inspector came in and found a couple of baggies. I’m up for possession next week.”

That explains his clean-cut looks. In prep for the court appearance the blonde mane and the scraggly beard had to go. But it doesn’t explain why he is here, in Bev’s house.
         “You and Bev know each other?”
“She’s my mother,” he says.
“Yes!” he says. “Well, sort of.”  He puts on his believe-it-or-not voice and tells me a story.

He was born at St. Mike’s Hospital, he says, when Bev was there for a hysterectomy. That’s twenty-eight years ago. When it was time for her to go home, she took him along. Kidnapped baby Julian and kept him in the attic for three months until the police tracked him down. Not that Julian’s mother was desperate to find her baby. She was a prostitute on crack, but the Children’s Aid Society kept the case going, and so Julian was found. Bev got off lightly because a psychiatrist testified on her behalf. He said she was clinically depressed, distraught after the hysterectomy, which signified the end of her womanhood, and so she went temporarily insane and took the baby. No harm had come to the child, he pointed out. In fact Bev had doted on him. The doctor who conducted the medical examination confirmed that the child was in excellent health, but noted two pin pricks, as if someone had poked Julian’s arm with a needle.  The marks were never explained. Bev got off with a slap on the wrist: a hundred hours of community service and obligatory attendance in a counselling programme.

Julian ended up in a series of foster homes. When he was sixteen, he went to see Bev. He rang her door bell. She came out, eyed him, and said: “There you are!” He lived with her for the next two years.
“But life with Bev comes at a price,” he says to me. “You pay for everything you get.”
“What do you mean?”
“She takes it out of you. Those mysterious pinpricks they found on my arms when I was a baby? She sucked my blood.”

I’ve never heard Julian talk crap like that. He isn’t the superstitious kind.
“Come on, Julian,” I say. “That’s crazy.”
“You think so? Then how do you explain that she and I have the same DNA?” He had tests done, he says. He can prove it.  “But when I confronted Bev with the results, she laughed and said: Well, that explains why I took you home with me. That’s all I managed to get out of her.”
It’s too weird. I change the topic. “So how long are you planning to stay?”
“Couple of weeks.  Bev put me up on the top floor.”
“In the studio with the mobiles?”
“You’ve been scoping out the place. Snagged a few of her things? ”
I shrug my shoulders.                                                                                            
“Don’t. She’ll take something from you in exchange.”
“But I don’t have anything she’d want.”
“That’s what you think!” he says. “You do have something: youth.”
I laugh in his face. “Yeah, right.  And she’s going to take that from me?”

Okay, so I promised Julian not to take any more of Bev’s stuff, but that doesn’t include looking at the files in her computer.  I have so many questions about her now.  Maybe the answers are in the files.

I go upstairs and turn on Bev’s computer. But you know what? The C-drive has been wiped. There isn’t a single file there. Julian must have worked on the machine and pitted his tech magic against Bev’s Wicca spells. Maybe she had a recipe collection of spells in her computer. Is there a tit-for-tat charm? You eat my food, baby, and I take your pristine blood? You take my money, Tracy, and I take your looks?

I go out into the hall and look up to the third floor landing. I see that Julian has put a lock on the studio door and taped up a piece of paper with an eye painted on it, one of those King Tut eyes, almond-shaped, black-rimmed, and unflinching.

I guess I’m safe for the time being, but maybe I’ll ask Julian to let me sleep with him in the studio, behind the locked door, until I find a new place.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Rummel's advice column will return next week. In the meantime I'll tell you the story of a Toronto thief who didn't get caught but ended up paying for her crime anyway. -- No, I'll let HER tell the story:
I thought it would be harder to find a place to live after coming out of the slammer. But the old woman rented the place to me, no questions asked. It’s a basement flat in a good neighbourhood, a room furnished old-people style, with a private bath and a fridge and microwave in the common laundry area, but that’s okay. The problem is the door. The non-existing door.  The flat is open concept. The landlady can pad downstairs any time, pretending to do the laundry, and check up on me. I’ll have to do something to protect my privacy, but what? On the other hand, there is no way she can secure her place either. Everything is open concept, and she has a lot of fancy stuff. I’ve been through the whole house, including the bedrooms on the second floor and the third-floor studio, or whatever it is, a strange empty space with a futon on the floor and cut-outs of astrological signs dangling from the slanted walls. She is a bit odd, I guess. Her name is Beverly Hurst. She is seventy-eight years old and looking her age. There are liver spots on the backs of her hands. Her face is sagging badly, especially around the eyes and the jaw. Her lipstick (she always wears lipstick) bleeds into the lines radiating off her mouth. She is old, but she still has all her marbles. That’s why I can’t believe how careless she was, renting the place to me without running a background check, without asking for references, just on the strength of my handing over first and last and saying: I’m a student.

“That’s nice,” she said. “What are you studying, Tracy?”
           “English Literature,” I said. I thought she might like that.
She did.
           “Oh, my favourite subject,” she said.
And that was that. I signed the lease and moved my bags into her basement. I waited until I had her schedule figured out. She goes to the hairdresser every second Friday afternoon. Tuesday and Thursday evenings she gets together with three old biddies to play bridge. She does grocery shopping and other errands in the morning. I usually have the house to myself between 10 and 12 am. She doesn’t lock anything. She leaves money lying around. A few days ago, I spotted three twenties and change, on the kitchen counter. I took one of the twenties. I figured I could get away with that much. Next morning, she came downstairs. I thought she was going to question me, but she just wanted help with her cell phone, how to set the alarm. I showed her and noticed the brown spots on the backs of her hands had faded. Is there a product on the market to bleach liver spots?

The next time she was out playing bridge, I had another look at her bedroom.  Her jewellery was all over the place, but I took only a pair of small gold earrings she left beside the TV. They fetched a reasonable price at the pawnbroker’s. It was a good week for me. I went to the Reference Library and made off with a laptop.  It was a bit risky.  Lots of people milling around, but I got away with it. I’m good at that: becoming invisible, blending in with the crowd, fading away.  Julian usually buys the electronic stuff from me.

Julian has a chaotic shop on Queen Street. There is a piece of cardboard taped to the door that says: Electronic equipment bought, sold, repaired. The rest you have to read between the lines.  Inside are shelves and shelves of electronic equipment, whole or in parts, a tangled mess illuminated by a single 60 watt bulb. Julian doesn’t need much light for his business. He doesn’t even need the computers, but he loves fooling around with them, hacking into bank accounts and private emails, that sort of thing. Plus, the computers form a kind of protective rampart behind which he conducts his other business. Julian’s face is camouflaged with a giant beard and wild hair. From time to time he mows his face for no discernible reason and emerges pale-skinned and blue eyed, but most of the time his face is a shaggy carpet. In spite of his sedentary job, Julian is a hunk. And he has a great coiling dragon tattoo in the small of his back, where his T-shirt fails to meet his pants. In fact, I have a crush on Julian, but I’m just a stray cat to him.

So after I sold him the laptop, I was flush. For two days I didn’t go upstairs except once, and then I only took one of Bev’s bras, as a joke, because it was such an antediluvian contraption, white, with clasps in front like a nursing bra, padded cups shaped like cones, wide straps. I put it on and took a couple of pics of myself in Bev costume, to post on Facebook for Halloween. Or not. You never know who’s looking at your wall. But it would have been a nice revenge. She pissed me off the other day when she said: “Tracy, don’t put KFC boxes into the blue bin. They should go into the regular garbage, dear.”

She raised her voice when she said it. She was angry because she had told me once before, but you know what? She should thank me for raising her pulse rate. She looked good. The anger lifted her face and improved the colour of her cheeks. Well, maybe there’s more to her improved looks than a raised pulse rate. Maybe she’s latched on to Botox and fillers. She can afford the treatments.  Anyway, I got my revenge:  I went through the drawers in her bedroom and found a list with passwords and PIN numbers. Now I just have to find the matching cards, but that’s one area in which Old Bev is careful. She doesn’t leave her credit cards lying around.

Every time she goes out, I nip upstairs and look around, but no cards. She has converted one of the bedrooms into an “office”. I don’t know what she needs an office for. To keep the bridge scores? I turn on her ancient computer, but I get sidetracked by a brooch that’s lying on the desk. It’s antique, and I take it against my better judgment. I don’t get much for it at the pawnbroker’s, and it’s high risk, easily identified. For a few days I walk in fear, but Bev says nothing. Maybe her brain is deteriorating while her appearance is improving. I notice the creases around her mouth are smoothing out. She is definitely getting filler injected there.

Bazinga! One of the numbers on the list is the combination for her wall safe. It contains mostly papers: her birth certificate, her will (Bev’s money goes to the Humane Society), the deed for the house, a bundle of letters, and in a box, half a dozen Krugerrands – six ounces of gold! That was easy. I wish I could hang on to them because the price of gold is rising. But I like the feel of cash. It’s untraceable. Julian takes the coins off my hands. I get home with a nice stash, but I can’t enjoy it as much as I normally would because I’m feeling under the weather. Sore, creaky. I think I’m coming down with something. I look dreadful. Gray and beagle-eyed.

Three days later. Still no improvement. On the contrary, I feel a hundred years old. Bev comes skipping down the stairs. “Can I do anything for you, Tracy?” she chirps.  I want to say: Go away, but all I can muster is a groan. She leaves me a bottle of multi-vitamins and bounds back upstairs. I swear she’s enjoying herself. She likes seeing me on my back. It makes her feel better by contrast.

When I hear her drive off to do the shopping, I drag myself upstairs and am rewarded for the effort: Bev has left her computer on.  A website is up, a Wicca site. Who would have thought Bev was interested in witchcraft? I decide to check her personal files. Some of the file names look intriguing, but I don’t get around to opening them because I see that Bev has left her Visa card beside the computer. She must have ordered something from the Wicca site. What, I wonder? Anyway: this is my lucky day. It’s a platinum card. But I have to force myself to take it, I don’t know why. It must be the flu. I pocket the card, get my coat on, trudge to the nearest ATM and start punching in the PIN numbers I have for Bev. The second one works. I take out an inconspicuous sum: 130.35. And I have to talk myself into pocketing that much. It’s not just caution. Something is holding me back. Bad conscience? Naw, couldn’t be. A distaste for stealing? I must be really sick.

I schlep home and put the credit card back where I found it, on the desk beside the computer. I briefly consider looking into Bev’s files, but I’m too tired.  I’m bushwhacked.

The next day, I still feel lousy. I decide to go to the walk-in clinic for a check-up. I reach for my wallet. It’s not where I left it. I look everywhere, but I can’t find it. I mean it’s not exactly small, it’s the size of a clutch purse, but it’s gone. This is too much. I collapse on the sofa. I’ll have to deal with this later.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

MORE OF DR. RUMMEL’S GOOD ADVICE. “Oh Lord, don’t let me be misunderstood.”

Those lyrics from a hit by the Animals in 1965 are still relevant today.  People are too quick to pass judgment. Here is a sample of letters from readers who feel their actions have been misinterpreted.

MISUNDERSTOOD OFFICE WORKER writes: The other day a colleague passes my cubicle and sees me watching porn. Right away he gives me a dirty look, like I’m a pervert or something. So I tell him I’m doing research. I want to be informed about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.  During office hours? he says.  Yes, I tell him, those diseases can strike any time. He gives me a sneer. How can I get back at him?

Dear MOW: Your colleague thinks you are a pervert? Well, it takes one to know one! I suggest you hack into his computer and see what he’s been looking at. Also: you need higher cubicle walls. 

MISUNDERSTOOD PHYSICIAN writes: I run a walk-in clinic on the Venice Board Walk, specializing in the prescription of hemp products. People get annoyed when my greeters wave placards and invite them to come in for a free consultation. My employees are specialists trained to gauge the anxiety level of passers-by. They can tell when someone needs mellowing out. It’s a special skill – so please respect your neighbourhood stress spotter!

Dear MPH: I’m a hundred percent with you. P.S. Does your clinic do home deliveries?

MISUNDERSTOOD ANIMAL LOVER writes: A couple of weeks ago I bought a service dog licence on-line. So I go into Starbucks with my pitbull, and this guy makes a fuss, like the licence is fake. The dog is legit, man, I say. I totally need him for emotional support. Yeah, sure, the guy says, like he doesn’t believe me. So I punch his ugly face. Did I do wrong?

Dear MAL: You certainly did. You should have let your dog handle the situation. He can fight for himself, can’t he?

MISUNDERSTOOD REGISTRAR writes: I work for an academy that sells on-line degrees. Some people think we abet job applicants who want to pad their resume. That is so mean!  Our customers just want something suitable for framing, something they can put on their walls. A Doctorate of Philosophy looks great on wood panelling! Those allegations really hurt.

Dear MREG: I feel your pain. I can only confirm your statement.  A degree in the humanities is for decorative purposes only. I know because I have one. Read on:

OVERLOOKED HUMANIST writes: I put my liberal arts degree on Kijiji in case someone wanted to swap his fake degree in physics for my real MA. Not a single bite! And that after I memorized most of PHYSICS FOR DUMMIES so I wouldn’t blow up anything by mistake on my first job.  What a waste of time. Maybe I should try swapping my degree for a plumbing certificate. At least there is no danger of causing an explosion. What’s your opinion?

Dear OVERLOOKED: Three words of caution -- shit flooding basement. Try swapping your MA for a certificate in geriatric care. Mistakes will happen, but won’t be so noticeable in that area. I mean old people die, even if you don’t drop them on the tile floor or get their medication mixed up. P.S. My book GERIATRIC CARE FOR DUMMIES will be out this summer.

Saturday 2 March 2013

ASK AMY – The hard-core stuff you don’t see in advice columns.

Heart ache. Bad manners. Brats. Meddling in-laws -- Amy, you get the easy stuff. I handle real posers, like:

Dear Dr. Rummel, I have a pet boa constrictor and an old dog with large vet bills. My wife suggested I feed the dog to the boa constrictor. We got into a huge fight. I want her to apologize. Am I being unreasonable?  Man with wife and pets.

Dear MWWP: This is a hard one to call. I suggest you aim for a compromise. Feed your wife to the boa, sell the TV rights to a reality show, and split the proceeds with the survivor. It’s a win-win situation. You’ll be able to pay off the vet bills. If the boa survives, you can start charging him rent. And you won’t have to feed him for a long time. 

Dear Dr. Rummel, I have a bit of a temper, and accidents happen, but I beat the murder rap. Mind you, the lawyer cost me a fortune, and I had to take anger and violence control counseling. I also managed to beat drug trafficking charges, but only after eliminating the witness. It took a lot of detailed planning and strategizing, let me tell you. But now I’m worried. I like to watch stuff in the privacy of my bedroom. What if they nab me? I don’t trust “three times lucky”. Maybe it’s time to embark on a legitimate career. Any suggestions?  Lucky Bugger.

Dear Lucky Bugger, given your solid experience in the field of sex and violence, I think you would do extremely well as a movie producer. Contact sports are another field in which your expertise will pay off, on the field and in the showers. Just stay away from Penn State. They no longer like that stuff there. Or, put your strategizing skills to work and get on the board of a pharmaceutical company. Two words: DRUG TRIALS. You have experience in both!

Dear Dr. Rummel, I am one of the ex-councillors of Bell, CA. The voters made a big fuss because we didn’t attend meetings and paid ourselves “huge” salaries. Since when is $ 100,000 a huge salary? If I lived in L.A. or New York I’d have to line up at the soup kitchen! Anyway, those narrow minded schmucks won’t vote for me again. What do I do now? Six Figures Jack.

Dear Six Figures, you would have done well in pyramid schemes, but I’m afraid Bernie Madoff ruined the game for everyone. So I suggest you move to the 419 zip code – that’s Nigeria. Apparently their scams still work. For tips, read Will Ferguson’s bestselling book, entitled 419. But maybe too many people have read it by now, and the scheme is dead. Why don’t you move to Canada instead? The Liberal Party in the province of Ontario was so hard up for candidates, they had to elect a woman! You have no Canadian experience? Don’t worry. The ex-leader of the Federal Liberals, Michael Ignatieff, lived for twenty years in England, then moved to the US. Nobody thought that years of non-residence disqualified him from Canadian politics. Oh, but Canada is a bilingual country, and you don’t speak French? So what? Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien didn’t speak English. Nobody cares if your grammar is bad, as long as your lies are good. So, best of luck, Six Figures, and keep me posted.