—From the Fool—

I’d been going around asking friends how I could make big bucks. Though I don’t have any friends who’d ever made a lot of money. Except my brother, who’s rich but won’t reveal trade secrets. But on TV I saw a show that interviewed “Entrepreneurs” that made a lot of money.

To be an Entrepreneur, first, you get an idea. Then figure how to “monetize” it—meaning charge a lot—and find some guy to supply the bucks to do it. I had a big list of ideas from before, but new ones burble up if I get drunk. So I invested in a pretty good Scotch and came up with these:

—Space ships you can just drive around the neighborhood.

—A SWAT team you call to get whatever you just bought out of the plastic wrap.

—A machine that makes you invisible when you stand directly behind it.

—Voting booths that go ahead and vote if it’s too confusing.

—Cars that won’t go, for people who hate to drive.

—Electric signs on the rear of your car that express your feelings to the driver behind, but are bullet-proof.

—Some way to fry watermelon.

—A computer that makes it so your dog can talk, except you can turn him off.

Those weren’t nearly as good as the ones I thought of before, but no use crying over spilt inspiration. And maybe I should stay with Johnny Walker. At least I had something to start with. Course I didn’t know how to do any of this, but I figured I could hire guys to work it all out.

Then I read a library book that said you had to make a Business Plan. So I wrote some stuff down and asked Mr. Ahmad, a businessman that runs the diner, if it sounded good to him. But he was having stomach trouble.

At least I didn’t fail at being an Entrepreneur. I never really got started.

 —From EF—

This has been a pretty skanky week for me, and blessed water is being my healer. On Sunday we took ourselves to the ocean with our ritual picnic, and lo and behold the wind was calm and the temperature mild, and we actually got to take our camping chairs and our little “Polish table” down to our usual spot. Luscious. This will probably have been the last time we get to do this until spring.

(It’s our “Polish table” because decades ago we got it while in Poland, camping, as usual, and I have not one clue how we managed to fly it back home. Later, it was part of the furniture in Johanna’s bedroom in Lancaster, and she gave it a makeover with paint, texture, and color. For a little 3 x 4 thing, it carries a lot of memories.)

So Mama Ocean was gentle and kind, and today we’ve had sweet rain all day.

Meanwhile, in the office, every damn digital device we own has been pitching a fit. We nearly lost all our email files in the process of migrating stuff from one computer to another. The snakes of Silicon Valley keep developing snazzy new platforms and operating systems, and gradually things have evolved so that anything that isn’t geriatric won’t run our old programs.

Our email, since way back in the early 90’s has been Eudora, which was the crème de la crème back in the day. That was then, this is now, and Eudora stopped supporting itself in 2006. Now our Macs need to go to a higher system, because Firefox and Safari and Microsoft Word won’t run well, if at all, on such antique architecture (our Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, was released in 2009). But Eudora won’t run at all on anything higher.

So we’re saving our little MacBook, which runs 10.6.8, to do two things only—get our email and run tech on King Lear. The software that does our lights and sound and video won’t run on a higher system either.

I know a lot more now about the architecture of Eudora than I ever cared to learn, and it took me a whole damn sweaty day to get it over from the desktop computer to the laptop and clean up the unseemly knot of folders within folders within . . . where the sun don’t shine.

Conrad’s major writing machine, the lordly iMac 24 with the great big screen, is now happy with Lion, the next stage beyond its previous system—will their next operating system be Cheshire Cat?—after having had an Rh attack or something and refusing to save any work or allow any transfers. I don’t know, and you don’t want to know.

I’m effing ready to go back to a chisel and stone tablets.

 —From CB—

Born in 1941, the first President I was aware of was Harry Truman. If I’d heard of FDR I wasn’t aware of it. I was more concerned with domestic issues, such as whether I’d ever get a BB gun like my cousin had. Though I vaguely recall thinking there was some important guy named Goddamned Roosevelt.

Nor do I remember Truman’s election, only that my mom hated “Hairy Ass Truman.” I knew that somehow he’d managed to “lose China,” which seemed like a pretty big country to lose, and “get us into Korea,” I guess so we wouldn’t lose that too. Perhaps the Communists would have been scared off if he’d been taller and didn’t wear glasses.

But I do remember the 1952 Eisenhower-Stevenson battle. I didn’t know any Democrats. My impression was that they lived in big cities and took bribes and lynched Negroes in the South, though in the North they were “nigger-lovers.” And they got us into wars. Stevenson sounded like he’d read too many books, whereas Ike had a great smile. And Ike won World War 2, so when he promised, “If elected, I will go to Korea,” we knew the Commies would be so freaked (a term from a later time) that they’d surrender or even become Presbyterian.

And I recall that groups of kids would go around on the playground and corner you and ask, “Are you for Eisenhower or Stevenson?” Of course you knew the right answer.

What truly sticks, in the heart or the craw, was Richard Nixon’s TV moment. Accused of an illegal “slush fund,” he was close to being dropped as VP from the ticket, but delivered a speech that, politically, was the equivalent of 12-year-old Bobby Fischer’s queen sacrifice, perhaps the greatest chess game ever. Promising an unprecedented “complete financial history,” he expounded on his wife’s “respectable Republican cloth coat” and their pet dog Checkers, a gift to his daughters that he vowed, no matter what the attacks, “we’re gonna keep it.” He finished with firm-jawed resolve to stand strong for America. Watching on our little 13-inch black-and-white TV, having just graduated from Cub Scout to Boy Scout, I was moved close to tears. By later reports, Eisenhower was disgusted by it, but when he saw the polls he greeted Nixon with, “You’re my boy!”

My mom too was impressed by this clean-cut young man running for VP: at last, she felt, we had an honest politician.

Since then, my views have changed a bit, but electoral psychology hardly at all.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2016


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