[We're back! Sorry it took so long between issues, but the entire staff was frozen solid in a block of ice the past three months. We just now thawed out. You know how it is. We should have known better than to visit Antarctica in winter. We figured, hey, it's south, it must be warm. Oh well, live and learn.
For those of you waiting on pins and needles for the next installment of that story "Murder, Or Just An Honest Mistake?", you'll just have to wait a little longer. We still haven't completed the next installment. Hey, great works of art take time!
What else ... well, nothing comes to mind, so with an empty mind we begin the newsletter!]
We should just make this a regular column. "Bill moves." Well, of course he moves! He moves every six months! Anyway, this time he has moved to a better part of town. His address and phone number are now: 31st Ave. N., Nashville TN 37203, (615) ??????? Please make a note of it. Some of you are still addressing Bill at Ferndale Avenue, which is now two moves and a year out of date!
We have some bad news. Steve and Denise lost their dachshund, Frieda, on January 12. We never met the dog, but we're sorry to see her go.
This isn't a religious story.
A couple of Lucy's dogs, Credence and Etsel, bored with that old Schutzhund protection dog thing, have turned their talents to the game of sheep herding. And apparently, they're pretty good at it.
"They haven't killed any sheep yet," said Lucy. "So far, so good."
What most people don't know is that Lucy herself has killed plenty of sheep. She lures them into her yard from the almond orchard across the street, and kills them the instant they cross her property line. "Well, sheep shouldn't be in an almond orchard, anyway!" says Lucy. She's got a point.
Good news! Steve and Denise found their dog, Frieda. Remember, [above] we mentioned she was lost? Well, they placed an ad in the newspaper (in the time it took you to get from there to here), someone read it, and told them where to find the dog.
"The wind broke part of our fence," Steve explained, "so she went next door." And it seems that yard had a small hole leading into the next yard. It was in the second yard that they found her.
On February 22, a surprise birthday party was thrown for Eleanor. Several of her former co-workers from 25 years ago at the Board of Equalization were invited (even though they used to call her "Mother Superior"), along with local family. A grand time was had by all. In fact, a few guests had too good of a time and had to be thrown out. But then, that's a typical Eleanor party.
It's 4am, February 11, a Saturday morning. Bill is awakened by a sound at the front door.
"Where's my gun?" is his first thought. The 9mm semi-automatic pistol, unused in two years, is in the closet collecting dust.
Deciding against the gun, Bill opens the bedroom door with a jerk — where the jerk came from we have no idea — ready for hand-to-hand combat with whoever might be lurking about. No one is there — not even the jerk, unless you count Bill. The sound at the door turns out to be the wind.
Suffering from "cotton mouth" due to the previous night's drinking, Bill goes to the kitchen for a glass of juice. That's when the real excitement begins.
The juice is ice-cold, like everything else in the house, and he gulps down a couple of quick glasses. As he stands in the kitchen with the empty glass in hand, his heart starts palpitating. It's done that before, but usually lasts just a second or two. This time, it just won't stop. He decides he'd better call an ambulance while he still can.
"I need an ambulance," he speaks calmly into the phone, as if ordering a pizza.
"That's a different number," the woman says gruffly. "I'll transfer you."
"Fire department," says a male voice a moment later.
"Yeah," says Bill. "I need an ambulance."
Bill doesn't wait for them to show up at his apartment. He gets dressed, puts on a jacket and cap and walks out into the freezing night. He flags the fire truck down as it pulls into the parking lot.
"I'm the one who called," he explains to the confused driver. "I'll be in here," he adds, pointing to the laundry room.
A fireman joins Bill in the laundry room. "What's the problem?" the man asks, with a look that says, "You look healthy to me."
Bill explains that his heart is doing flip-flops — still — and he thinks someone should check it out. The fireman sits Bill down on a bench and takes his blood pressure. A few minutes later, an ambulance arrives and Bill is whisked away to Saint Thomas Hospital, just a couple miles away. "I feel perfectly healthy," Bill explains to the female paramedic, "it's just that my heart is racing."
They wheel him into the emergency room. Bill's heart is still beating like some whacked-out jazz drummer. They shave his chest, plug electrodes into him, take his blood pressure every five minutes, and do an EKG. They stick an IV into him and give him a dose of something called Cardiozem. This seems to bring his heart back into proper rhythm. After twenty minutes, the drug wears off and his heart is dancing again, so they give him another dose. In all, four or five doses are given.
Eventually, a doctor comes in and asks Bill about his medical history. Bill tells him he doesn't have a medical history, except for when he was 17 and it was thought he might have a heart murmur. That turned out to be a false alarm, and Bill had had no problems since.
The doctor asks Bill what he was doing earlier in the night. Bill admits he had six beers and had smoked a few cigarettes. And that was it. The doctor shakes his head, and Bill says, "Really, that's it. No drugs. I don't do drugs. Of course, this past week I've been drinking 3 to 6 beers every night, and there's been a lot of stress at work."
The doctor shrugs and says, "Well, you've had what we call an atrial fibrillation; or what we sometimes call a 'holiday heart.'" He gives a smug little grin. "It's often brought on by too much drinking. It's probably nothing."
Another doctor comes in after the other's shift ends. Bill again recites his medical history and his actions leading up to his being in the emergency room. This doctor says basically the same as the first, except this one says Bill should spend the next day or two at the hospital for observation.
They give him a private upstairs room, and he spends the next several hours in bed attached to an IV and a heart monitor. Bored out of his mind, Bill calls Don and Diane. they show up around 5pm, and after Bill explains that he feels almost 100% now, Don says, "You wanna leave with us?"
"Yeah, I do, actually," Bill nods.
There is a bit of fussing and calling of nurses and doctors before Bill gets permission to leave the hospital. But, in the end they agree Bill seems to be back to normal and, yes, he can leave, on two conditions: one, that he quit drinking beer; and two, that he make a follow-up appointment with the doctor. Bill agrees, and the nurse is soon wheeling Bill out of the hospital in a wheelchair.
"I know you don't need the wheelchair," the nurse explains politely as she wheels Bill out, "but it's hospital policy."
And that's it. Anyway, Bill has now officially quit smoking (for good, this time) and has vowed to keep his drinking under control. "I'm just glad to be alive," says Bill.
"Your newsletter is like an oyster. It's slimy and smells bad. But every once in a while it produces a pearl." — Anonymous
[Thanks you! You know, oysters are said to be great aphrodisiacs, just like this newsletter.]
"Some of the stories you put your to are stupid." — disgruntled subscriber
"I had no students for three days, due to the Rio Linda floods. Denise had two days off due to flooding around her school. Neither school had any real damage, though." — Steve, Sacramento, CA
"For those of us who have spent many a Super Bowl Sunday drinking tequila with Bill (a.k.a. Editor), we were just wondering ... Did he dip her? Did he drop her? Did he then fall on top of her?? And, to make matters worse, did he get up anD do it all over again?!?!
"Good to hear you're dancing again, Bill ... we think! Ich vil mein tahnts bein svingin (German for "I want to shake my dancing legs.") — Jinx and Jan, Westchester, CA
[Actually, you're the only two subscribers of this newsletter to have the "pleasure" of the Bill/tequila/Super Bowl mix. And for those wondering what Jinx and Jan are talking about, let us just say that Bill is an excellent driver, I mean, dancer.]
"Because we know that all of the readers and staff of this illustrious Newsletter have vast worldwide knowledge, not to mention supersonic IQ's ... we were just wondering how the heck that little white M gets smack dab in the middle of every single one of those tiny little M&M's??
"(Always searching for the answer. Let's hear yours! HA!)" — Jinx and Jan, Los Angeles, CA (did they move?)
[We don't have the answer to the M&M question. If we did, we'd probably be killed for "knowing too much." Besides, some of life's mysteries are better off left unsolved.]
In our previous issue we cut off a portion of Lionel Holmes's epic How I Spent My Summer Vacation. From the sentence beginning ... "From Eleanor's perspective in the passenger seat, it seemed like he came ..." The rest of the paragraph should have read "... within 2 inches. But in fact is was only 2½ inches!"
There. You happy now?
Whatever happened to old-time justice and honesty? Take for instance this incident which happened to me last year:
Here's the scenario. Two people are witnesses to an 18 year old employee stealing $20 from my business at the "Doug's Mugs" cart at Arden Fair Mall and they report it to me while I'm on vacation in Portugal. The thieving employee has quit and his final pay check is withheld so that I an deal with it. Upon my return after 3 weeks, a final pay check is sent which deducts the $20 and about $130 more in stolen money which was NOT witnessed. I send the check to the boy's mother with a letter attached itemizing all the deductions in hopes that the mother would do her duty and reprimand her wayward child.
Quite unexpectedly, I get an irate phone call from the foul-mouthed mother making threats of legal action for compensation for this "injustice." These threats are carried out and the Labor Board fines me $900 for paying the employee late.
Because there is no way to prove this theft in court (no videotape record, etc.), there is no way to fight it. The whole reason for paying this up-and-coming criminal late was to sort out all the missing money he stole before paying him the balance of his earned wages.
Granted, I learned an expensive lesson about withholding pay. But we're dealing with small change here and who wants to make a big fuss over this anyway? Just the time and effort of pressing charges because of $20 stolen would not be justified. And why tie up the courts with such a menial case or pay a lawyer to fight for me in a losing cause, thus adding to my out-of-pocket expenses? No. None of those things will correct this injustice. My only vengeance will be to try and see that he never works anywhere again.
The simple solution of taking back the stolen money has cost me much more than I had bargained for. One hundred years ago, this would never have been a problem. The little criminal would have gotten kicked in the ass and sent packing. It's a simple solution to a simple problem. But nowadays, people have the mentality where they want to get something for nothing. If they can cheat their way through life and defraud insurance companies and sue "big corporations" for absurd sums, they'll do it. His mother is sure teaching him well, eh? Is this justice? I think not.
[We can only hope.]
Conan Mar. 13
Dad Apr. 2
Greg Apr. 20
If French food is so wonderful, how come you don't see a lot of French restaurants around like you do Italian, Mexican and Chinese? Speaking of Chinese, today's question is: How come Chinese-speaking people always seem to transpose the "L" and "R" sounds? You know, instead of saying "Little bowl of fried rice," they'll say, "Rittle bowr of flied lice." They can obviously pronounce both the "R" and "L" but they always switch them. Why is that? The person who answers either of the above two questions satisfactorily will, as usual, receive a free subscription to this newsletter.
More on Nashville drivers (no pun intended): Since our last tirade against Nashville drivers, our reporters have noticed a few more things and have come to a few more conclusions. First of all, it seems to be the women who are more inclined to tailgate, while it's the men who are most likely to pull out in front of you.