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Fish Stories

Best when lightly buttered, with just a pinch of lemon.

Vol. 6 No. 4

[sometime between April and August 1994]

Tiffany wins awards

Tiffany and her horse, Rocky, of Tracy, CA, competed in a local horse show a couple of months ago. [See how current this newsletter is?] The duo ended up winning a couple of blue ribbons and a few other ribbons. Anyway, congratulations Tiffany!

This just in: Tiffany buys another horse! It's a quarter-horse mare and its name is "Chu Ti," or something like that. A Chinese horse, apparently. Or maybe its name is "QT," as in "cutie." We really don't know, and we're sure as heck not going to actually find out. That's not our job. Our job is to report the news as we see fit. It's incumbent upon our readers to figure out what it all means!

Bill Buys Topper

We asked Bill, "What is a topper, anyway?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. "I just had to buy one, though."

We did a little research and found out that a "topper" in Tennessee is what they call a "camper shell" out West.

"It's great!" Bill added, once we told him what a topper was. "Now I'll have a place to sleep when I lose my job and get kicked out of my apartment!"

"When you lose your job?"

"Oh, it's inevitable, isn't it? I wonder if this topper comes with electricity?"

Another recent purchase Bill made was a Huffy 10-speed mountain bike. "It only cost $100 at Target!" said Bill excitedly (but then, he's easily excitable, as you know).

Doug Gives Speech

Doug flew to Salt Lake City in mid-May to speak in front of a mostly-live audience on the subject of genealogy. "It went fairly well," said Doug, "but it wasn't exactly standing-room-only. Still, I think my audience came out of that auditorium feeling better about themselves!"

Steve & Denise Buy Dog

Steve and Denise have bought a dog. Yes, a dog, believe it or not. "The only reason I agreed," says Steve, "was that the idea came up to get a miniature dachshund like Kristen's [their daughter] cousin's. We thus got Freida, a reddish female."

[So, was it because it was a Dachshund, or was it because his daughter wanted a dog just like her cousin's? We just don't understand his reasoning! Not that we ever understand our readers' reasoning. After all, if they were sane, they wouldn't be reading this newsletter in the first place.]

"Freida" was 8 weeks old when they bought her and was therefore old enough to get her shots. "To the vet's surprise," says Steve, "Freida didn't yelp when she got her shot." Steve did yelp, of course.

Diane Buys X-Ray Machine

Diane, Don and Bill drove from Nashville to Chicago last month to pick up an x-ray machine for Diane's burgeoning chiropractic practice. The three left Nashville on a Friday evening and, after several hours of driving, spent the night somewhere near Indianapolis. By eleven the next morning, with Don doing all the driving, they arrived in the northern Chicago suburb of Northbrook.

"Chicago's a disgusting town," opined Don. "It's like L.A. without the beach."

Expecting to simply to pick up the x-ray machine, load it, and maybe take in a few of Chicago's many sights before leaving town, they were all disgusted (well, Bill was disgusted, anyway) to find that the machine was "not quite ready" for loading. It had yet to be dismantled. It took five hours of intensive manual labor to rectify this minor discrepancy.

Before breaking it down for shipping, however, Diane wanted to run a couple of test x-rays on Bill. "Why me?" Bill cried (literally).

"Because you're the biggest person here, and it's best if we test it on as big a person as possible," Diane explained. "Now shut up and hold perfectly still."

After test x-rays of Bill's lower back were taken, Bill complained, "Hey, we forgot to use the 'gonad shield!' [a lead plate designed to protect one's privates from harmful radiation]"

"Oh, you never use yours, anyway," said Diane. [Now you know how mean Diane can be sometimes!]

Anyway, after finally getting the machine loaded into the trailer, Don and Diane took turns driving all night and they arrived in Nashville by sunrise. As of this writing, the evil, cursed machine lies in pieces on the floor of the room Don built specially for it.

Winner: Most Culturally-Sensitive Math Question

  • If Rufus is pimping three hookers at $65 per trick, how many tricks must be turned each day to pay for Rufus's $800-a-day coke habit?
    • Answer: Insufficient data, unless the hookers are giving Rufus the entire $65, which is unlikely.

We were going to do a story on "Attention Deficit Disorder" here, but we got distracted.

Cat News

Diane and Don's cats have been getting into all kinds of trouble lately, and we would be remiss if we didn't tell you all about it.

Conan (a.k.a. "Master of All He Surveys"), the top cat of the household — actually, the top cat in the entire world, as Conan sees it — regularly gets into fights with the neighborhood tomcat. You already know that from past stories here (assuming you actually read these stories, which is, admittedly, assuming a lot). There's really no reason to mention Conan in this story, except that he would be insulted if we didn't. So there. We mentioned him.

Onto the real story: Bart (a.k.a. "Barton Bartles Bartlett Bartholomew Bartell de Bartolo III, Prince of Many Realms, Idol of Millions" ... or something like that) had a lump on his shoulder. Bill noticed it when he was still living there, and he mentioned it to Diane. But did she listen? Of course not. Diane's the doctor. Bill knows nothing, especially when it comes to cats! Anyway, that lump kept getting bigger and bigger until Diane was forced to take Bart to the vet.

It turns out the lump was a malignant tumor and it had to be removed. They had to shave a two-square-inch clump of Bart's world-renowned fur — which made Bart furious, image-conscious as he is, you know. Luckily, that was the worst of it. The vet removed the cancer successfully and Bart is free to live his normal, stupid cat existence. End of story. Happy endings are nice, aren't they?

Then, just a few weeks later, DOS (a.k.a. "Dinko," canned-food lover) came home with a sore hind foot. No big deal, right? Wrong! Don and Diane went to North Carolina the following weekend, and, upon returning found that DOS's hind leg had swelled up immeasurably! (Well, not really "immeasurably," since they could have measured it if they wanted to. But, well, you get the idea.)

Anyway, the next thing you know, they're taking little DOS (a.k.a. "brainless one") to the vet. The vet said that DOS had been in a fight, presumably with the neighborhood tomcat. (DOS has been hanging out with his older, tougher brother Conan too much, apparently.)

DOS is still limping around, but it appears that he will recover eventually. Physically, anyway. "He's been moping around a lot lately," says Diane; to which Don replied, "Well, you would be, too, if you were attacked and almost eaten by a tomcat!" Don and Diane then got into a huge argument over what it would be like to be eaten by a tomcat.

Conspiracy Corner

Excerpt from "EFFector Online" 07.08

Ever Feel Like You're Being Watched? You Will ...

  • Digital Media has learned that the Clinton administration is debating not if, but how, to create a card, a so-called "U.S. Card," that every American will need in order to interact with any federal government agency. The card could open a window on every nuance of American personal and business life.
  • Clinton is also considering signing two executive orders that would greatly expand the government's access to personal records, including an order that would allow the IRS to monitor individual bank accounts and automatically collect taxes based on the results, said sources close to the White House. The collection service will be presented as a "convenient" way to avoid filling out a tax return. The White House did not respond to requests for comments about this report.
  • In a slide presentation at a recent conference on the subject, U.S. Postal Service representative Chuck Chamberlain outlined how an individual's U.S. Card would be automatically connected with the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Treasury, the IRS, the banking system, and a central database of digital signatures for use in authenticating electronic mail and transactions.
  • The U.S. Card is only a proposal, Chamberlain insists. Yet the Postal Service is prepared to put more than a hundred million of the cards in citizens' pockets within months of administration approval, he said. Chamberlain added that the IRS, in particular, is pursuing plans for an identity card for taxpayers.
  • "There won't be anything you do in business that won't be collected and analyzed by the government," said William Murray, an information system security consultant to Deloitte & Touche who saw Chamberlain's presentation. "This [National Information Infrastructure] is a better surveillance mechanism than [1984 author George] Orwell or the government could have imagined. This thing is so pervasive and the propensity to connect to it is so great that it's unstoppable."

Steve Picks Nose, Fight!

Violence in our schools has apparently spread from the students to the teachers. Steve , a mild-mannered math teacher at Rio Linda Jr. High School in Sacramento, CA, recently had an altercation with a fellow teacher named Danny [redacted]. Mr. [redacted] runs Rio Linda's "Opportunity School" (basically, a reform school on campus).

What happened was, Steve was trying to call a student's parents from the school lounge when [redacted] interrupted him by shouting that the vice-principal said Steve had said something about him. [You follow?] Still yelling, [redacted] added that if Steve had anything to say, he should say it to his face.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Steve replied.

When [redacted] repeated the question twice, Steve gave the same answer each time. He then ignored the obnoxious jackass, er, [redacted], and tried again to make his phone call. Enraged by Steve's brush-off, [redacted] shouted, "Did you hear me?"

Steve continued to ignore him, and [redacted] kicked Steve's chair. "He was obviously trying to start a fight," Steve said later. [Exciting, huh? To set the record straight, Steve had never said anything about [redacted], behind his back or otherwise.]

This was not the first time [redacted] had tried to start something with Steve. The prior incident occurred the previous October when [redacted] told Steve that one of Steve's female students was going to Mexico for a relative's funeral. [redacted], who claims to speak Spanish, said he would be accompanying the girl as an "interpreter." [Yeah, right. More like he wanted a free trip to Mexico.]

[redacted] wanted to know what textbook the girl could take in order to keep up with her studies. Steve said he wasn't using a textbook — the school didn't have enough of the pre-algebra texts he planned to follow — but a book [redacted] could use was available in the library.

Soon thereafter, [redacted] had Steve called into the vice-principal's office. (The vice-principal just happens to be a friend of [redacted].) The vice-principal was told that Steve was "insensitive" for not providing him with the student's schoolwork as he had asked. The vice-principal said that [redacted] was a "hot personalitied" person, and he dismissed the whole thing. Steve followed up the meeting with a letter to [redacted] explaining the entire matter. [redacted] never replied.

What is funny about this whole thing [Yes, there is something funny about this.] is that Steve's wife, Denise, used to date [redacted] in high school, and she says he used to get into trouble back then, too. But that's not all. It just so happens that the last teacher who wanted to fight Steve [Yes, these are teachers! And yes, Steve is apparently always getting into fights.] was a man named Dan [redacted], whom Denise had also dated before she met Steve.

* * *

You decide. Is it some sort of conspiracy by Denise's old boyfriends to get Steve? Or is it just a talent Steve has for seeking out guys named Dan and irritating them? We think it's probably a combination of the two. Our advice to Steve is that, for the sake of prolonging this situation and, thus, providing this newsletter with a continuing soap opera, he should sic a couple of his old girlfriends on Denise, and let the fur fly! That's our humble advice.

Birthdays, etc.

  • John, July 2
  • Andy, July 3
  • Fourth of July, July 4

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