ZIP Beep #43
POWER GORDONS #1
by Dennis Wallaker

"I don't want to see ya usin' no dope." - Mr. T (also my ex-wife and my parents)

Speaking of authority figures, I don't think I want to be President like I used to. I know the money's OK and I like the idea of using interpreters whenever possible but as B. B. King says, "The thrill is gone."

1) I don't want to hang around with interesting people from foreign countries. I've been doing that for years and it seems that all they want to do is borrow money.

2) I don't want to visibly age over a period of time. This is one of the reasons I keep a picture of Frankie Avalon over the stove.

3) If I ever get married again, I don't want to have my wife referred to as the First Lady. Most of the women I'm prone to hang with have serious ego conflicts as is, otherwise they wouldn't be poppin' the block with trash like me. So when they get that Numero Uno status and start crumpeting all day with the Queen, I, as President, have no other choice than to follow in the foot steps of such great men as Jefferson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, etc. and find myself some other squeeze. After all, men of power are under a great deal of pressure and as Jim Bakker said to Jessica Hahn, "Tammy Faye is getting too big for me."

4) I like the idea of the Secret Service but I'd have to make some changes. They seem to be oriented towards walkie-talkies and those clip-on shades that my Dad and all the other Shriners like so much, and that won't do. They don't smile and you get the feeling that they just can't wait to use those beautiful 9mm Brownings.

My Secret Service would consist entirely of really cool guys like Miles Davis and Mickey Rourke and Robin Williams. That way if somebody decides they want to kill the President, they might change their mind.

"I was close enough to fire and then Prince steps right in front of him so I said to myself 'Screw it,' went home and made a grilled cheese."

5) I don't want to work in an Oval Office. If you don't have corners where do you you stack stuff to get it out of your way? You can line all four walls of a square room with boxes of rotten mushrooms and when people walk in, they'll figure you're a scientist, a mycologist to be specific and probably a pretty good one or you wouldn't have this many rotten mushrooms.

Take a round room, drop a gum wrapper in the middle of it and your average citizen figures they're in Gary, Indiana. Next thing you know, you're tossing out important documents to keep things neat.

The best thing to do is put the President in a square office where he can do some real thinking and turn the Oval Office into a roller rink.

6) State Dinners. I don't like being in a position where you have to hire a kitchen staff, especially if there are a lot French guys 'cause I've never met a French guy that I liked and that includes French Canadians. If I want good cooking, I'll do it myself. Heck, I make a cheese casserole that'll keep you plugged up for a week.

Seriously though, it's awfully hard for me to get DRESSED UP and go to a fancy place. State Dinners should definitely be potluck; the ambassador from the U.S. brings prime USDA cornfed beef, the ambassador from Ghana brings a skinny goat and the ambassador from Norway brings the jello. Simple!

7) I don't like golfing with rich white guys in Palm Springs or even rich white guys in Neenah, Wisconsin. Skeet shooting is OK, but only in an enclosed area and only if there are children around.

Why are Presidents always supposed to be such active, vital guys anyway?

That's why Coolidge was so cool; took a long nap every afternoon, never let anyone disturb his meals and his idea for exercise was playing fetch with the dog. They once took photos of him trout fishing, but it was a setup.

Peter O'Toole said, after finishing "LAWRENCE OF ARABIA" and "LORD JIM" then refusing another adventure film, "They (the producers) just don't understand that my idea of adventure is walking from one smoke filled room into another."

Ditto from me! I get enough exercise from being poor; walking everywhere I go, skipping the escargot to head straight for the red beans and rice, and doing this weird Finnish dance whenever the shower water goes cold.

8) I don't want to have to confer with past Presidents on important issues. Look, if they had done their job right in the first place, there wouldn't be important issues any more.

Ever try to discuss foreign policy with Gerald Ford? Ever try to discuss domestic policy with Carter? Have you ever tried to share a pizza with Dick Nixon?! Blink your eyes twice and two thirds of the thing is gone -- besides that, he picks off all the olives. I'm not saying he's a crook or that his pockets are lined with tinfoil, but I feel if I pay for half, I should get half.

9) All Presidents say they'd like to give their Vice Presidents "greater responsibilities." If a good government should be run like a good business, then why not make the Veep do it all so the President can kick back with a Dr. Pepper and watch the paint fall off the ceiling? That's how the Fortune 500 boys pull it off and the country doesn't seem to be any the worse for it!

10) I'd also like to try something controversial like appointing someone who is concerned and sensitive to environmental issues as the Secretary of the Interior. It's a pretty radical concept -- guess that's why I'm not running for office.

11) One of the precepts of oriental philosophy deals with how much we can learn from poverty and the poor. This is probably true.

Example - I'd have to make it mandatory that some of the kids from my neighborhood are bussed to the suburbs so they can teach those kids how to dance. I saw some on TV the other night and they seemed to be having a pretty tough time with it. I'd also have folks from the ghetto give some of the better heeled a few pointers on waiting in lines.

That's just a few points, not necessarily in the order of their importance, on why I don't want the gig. What I can't figure out is why anybody would want to be President? Prestige, extra large portions at Denny's -- I don't know.

I always wanted to be something like Lincoln, but then I realized I can't wrestle, I can't grow a beard and while I often find myself writing on envelopes, it's usually just grocery lists.

Ya know, like Dante's Inferno, in heaven there is a circle where all the Presidents no one really cares about anymore sit around and talk about how they could have put a little more pizzaz into their administrations.

Somewhere out there is a guy writing a book about Martin Van Buren. I think this is just great then it occurs to me, "Is this gent interested in Van Buren or is he interested in writing a book?"

I say this because so many authors do their research and wind up telling you more about the period, locations or even the poor cat's wife and kids. This leaves guys like Van Buren with nothing to do but take their baited breath, stuff it back in their mouths and wait.

But as Groucho might have said, "What is power, what is posterity, what is a good restaurant in Billings, Montana?" and what if people don't like you for what you are, but only for what you can do for them?

The whole thing happens in three stages -

First, you have to convince the people that you are good enough to be elected.

Second, once in, you have to convince them you are doing a good job.

Third, after you're out, you have to convince them you weren't that bad and that all the not so hot stuff that happened was the fault of the previous administration.

This I know from first hand experience.

True story - I was President of the sophomore class in high school in the early Seventies.

There was a lot of delinquency, drug use and teen sexuality, but I felt we could do still more. So I pulled a few strings, called in a few favors and was able to abolish Prom. It was the first time it had ever been done in the history of the state, let alone the school. It was on TV and in the papers.

Yet all that power and notoriety did not prevent a group of upper classmen, in their grief over losing Prom, from hitting me with their fists and kicking me with their feet.

If it hadn't been for the guys in Auto Shop coming to my rescue (they hadn't planned on going to Prom anyway), there'd still be parts of me on the mezzanine. Real John Hughes teen film type of stuff.

So even though I'll never be President, nor do I want to be President, I have a kind of feeling for both sides of the counterfeit coin.

Politics is a little bit like those old Timex commercials when John Cameron Swayze puts the watch on a salmon swimming upstream, some geek catches it, he grabs the time piece and says, "Still ticking."

ZIP Beep #43
THE REAL WINTER OLYMPICS EVENTS
by Don Fitzwater

By the time you are reading this the Winter Olympics in Canada will be well underway. Teams from all over the world will be competing to determine who is the best in these winter sports. To my way of thinking, the Olympics represent challenges and the will to overcome nearly insurmountable odds -- why then are these folks playing GAMES then?

While challenges can often be found in winter sports, they pale in comparison to the challenges that normal everyday winter life presents to those of us "blessed" with this most potent of the four seasons. Just getting up in the morning, knowing what is waiting for us outside (or in the case of my apartment building, what's waiting for us inside), is often challenge enough.

Inhabitants of these more northern climes have long engaged in a large variety of "Man vs Nature" contests that make the Winter Olympics look like play-time at a Montessori school (which any pre-schooler will tell you is pretty stern stuff).

I mean, just look at some of these Winter Olympics events:

Bobsledding and Luge - really now, what's so tough about that. It's a closed course -- no dodging other sledders (like around here) -- there aren't even any trees to worry about!

Now a real challenge is trying to drive your car through the icy, snow-choked streets of any northern, major metropolitan area at rush hour! This event has everything -- incredible speeds, dangerous curves, tragic accidents, and appreciative spectators. Plus it has the added advantage of requiring no special equipment or track, any car and any old city street will do. The competitor doesn't need any costly training camp either -- in fact, most participants in this event compete with hardly any skills at all!

And while we're on the subject of autos and winter, let's talk about that most Herculean of winter events, the frozen car start. The goal of this event is to get a vehicle that has been sitting out in forty below weather all night to start in time to get the contestant to the office in the morning. Now, this is more challenge than even a highly trained athelete is usually willing to face, yet average citizens all across northern North America face this most days of the winter season with pit bull like determination.

Picture the scene: The car sits there, a frozen, snow-covered collection of tortured steel, brittle plastic and semi-solid substances that used to be fluids. It's so cold out that if you were to sit in this vehicle, ordinary plush seats would be rock hard with absolutely no give. Enter our brave olympian, armed with nothing more than a fierce desire to triumph over the elements against all odds (and to get back inside where it's warm before his or her posterior freezes off).

The classic struggle commences. After identifying which particular pile of snow contains the vehicle, the brave competitor must face the first challenge -- unlocking the car door. Perhaps the most common technique is the one developed by the French. A small butane cigarette lighter is used to heat the car key (BIC's appear to be the preferred gear for this stage of the event), without burning the contestant's hand (or melting his or her mittens). The incandescent key is then inserted in to the door lock where, if the contestant is lucky, it will defrost the mechanism and allow the next stage of the competition to proceed.

Once inside the vehicle the hardest part of the event begins -- the actual starting of the car. After a brief contemplative moment (where various prayers and supplications are made -- including a vow to move south at the first opportunity), the competitor twists the key in the ignition and usually is rewarded with the sound of a very slowly turning engine. The battle is on! Each contestant has their own approach to pacing and fuel mixture. Many are not up to the challenge and the number of unsuccessful competitors is very high indeed. The clock is always running (even if the car isn't) and new records are established daily during the winter months.

Pretty exciting, isn't it?

Compare that to "official" Winter Olympic events like Freestyle Skiing. Competitors in this event often proceed down the slope backwards! What challenge is there to that? Heck, I don't even ski and I could spend most of my time on the slope flipping, sliding backwards and otherwise flailing my way down the hill. That's not difficult. What's difficult is negotiating a long, icy flight of steps in a pair of nice dress shoes.

How about Figure Skating -- competitors gliding gracefully around an indoor ice arena. Most folks seem overly impressed with this event, yet fail to notice the truly spectacular performances ocurring daily right under their noses. I'm referring to the incredibly acrobatic and esthetically stunning attempts by pedestrians to cross slush filled city streets. Even the Soviet figure skaters could learn a thing or two from these unsung heroes of the real winter games. I've yet to see anything in olympic competition that could hold a candle to the grace, skill, control and determination demonstrated by a woman in high heels trying to successfully negotiate a street submerged in slush.

Much has been made of the weather induced trials and tribulations that olympic competitors face during the winter games. Obviously these folks have never had to deal with the frozen agony of waiting for a long overdue bus at any of the unsheltered city bus stops that dot the urban landscape. When was the last time you heard of an olympic competitor suffering from frostbite? Yet the local news is filled with daily accounts of frostbitten limbs and other body parts -- why there are even reported fatalities. Yet these competitors in the REAL Winter Olympics face seeming death daily without flinching. Talk about profiles in courage!

Then there are things like the Biathalon, the event where the participants cross-country ski race with stops along the way to also prove their rifle marksmanship. Difficult to be sure, but can that really match trying to cover a course of unshoveled sidewalks with three overflowing bags of groceries?

I think not.

ZIP Beep #43
THE LOST NOTES OF GREGOR "THE GREEK" MENDEL
discovered by Chuck Strinz

Notes -- Preliminary Exposition

While gaming with some of the other Brothers, a curious principle manifest itself in my mind.

As I watched Brother Ralph release the dice, I felt myself suddenly inspired. Pushing aside my take (no small amount!), and actually jostling some portion of it into the pot, I siezed the cloak of Brother Arnold and shouted, "That's it! That's it!"

On the floor before us the two dice stared back, single dots face up, snake eyes. At last I felt I had hit upon The Method.

Brother Arnold was unimpressed. With my wrists suddenly in the grasp of a man whose power I had momentarily forgotten, I found myself staring directly into his enraged eyes. Brother Arnold then made heated inquiries regarding my perception of my actions and the object thereof either in heaven, on earth or, most particularly, in the nether regions.

Releasing myself from his grip, I took the dice and pointed to the upward surfaces. Thereupon, I began to explain my theory regarding the likelihood of any such incident occuring, and that I had discovered a way to predict events of this nature.

Universally expressing the opinion that my seeming ramblings, to Latin scholars such of themselves, was no better than the Greek language in their understanding, the entire group adjourned from the game (after Brother Dominic-Earl claimed his winnings), and, following my entreaties, and with the promise of my special Vin Phaseolus, followed me to my garden.

I revealed my heretofore secret studies into the seemingly random mutations involved in the procreation of various legumes, and the implications said studies had in our form of amusement and wealth redistribution.

I was able to demonstrate how, through selective breeding practices, I had managed to "breed out" the string portion of the String Bean. The results of these experiments were multifold, due largely to what I call polygenic effects. Moreover, in addition to String Beans without the strings, which I have termed Snap Beans, I was able to create an entirely new strain of this legume which, if I am not mistaken, could be used for the fabrication of garments, as it produces a nearly unbreakable string. I was also able to produce a strain that serves as a sufficiently functional candle, which I am calling the Wax Bean.

Further research, I explained to them, had led to very interesting and hearty varieties, which I felt could be trained to perform the tasks of humans. A type of New World "jumping" bean had, when crossed with several other varieties, introduced an entirely novel line of experiments. Combined with Pinto Beans, for example, I believe I could eventually create a very servicable pack animal at least, and possibly a radically different alternative form of transportation which I have named the Ford Bean. Combining the mobility of the "jumping" bean, the Pinto Bean, and the Navy Bean, I explained, could lead to an entire fleet of ocean-going vessels that might eventually provide regular transport from continent to continent, and serve as a viable defense in time of war.

Taking still another tact, as it were, I proposed to breed into existence a type of being with very large hips, a strong muscular build, and, although it seemed unlikely with this particular combination, a degree of buoyancy.

At this point, as I was about to reveal the supreme point of my expirements (that being the ability to apply these research methods to the practice of gaming), Brother Bubba interupted to express his belief, and lack of concern over the fact that, he was not discerning the meaning of even a small portion of my exposition.

I awaited the charge of blasphemy, which I fully expected, but instead I saw the Brothers drop their eyes to the floor, shake their heads, mumble, and shuffle back to their gaming. I was left alone to ponder the significance of having nearly revealed my life's work which, falling into the wrong hands, could lead to gambling on a much larger scale, and the exploitation of the ignorant and credulous. I determined at that point to withold the results of my experiments from this and perhaps many future generations, and concentrate instead upon the relatively minor implications of the various colors of flowers produced by succeeding generations of legumes.

ZIP Beep #43
THE YUPPIESTOCK FESTIVAL OF GAIN AND GOLDCARDS
An Alternate Universe News Feature
Transcribed by Don Fitzwater

(Editor's Note--Continual readers of ZIP Beep have followed our reports of news and entertainment from the Alternate Universe. New readers, on the other hand, probably wonder what the heck we are talking about. By way of short explanation, our satellite dish is set up next to a rather large aluminum building. When the weather and astronomical conditions are just right, and for reasons we cannot explain, we receive audio signals from a place we have come to know as the Alternate Universe. This happens very rarely. But on these few occasions, we like to share transcripts of the broadcasts with the readers of ZIP Beep. --ED.)

WOMAN'S VOICE:
...and indictments are expected to be handed down any moment against most of the present administration. Now back to Tim O'Leary with this week's lifestyles feature.

TIM O'LEARY:
Thanks Phyllis. This week our lifestyle feature travels to upstate New York to report on an amazing cultural phenomenon taking place right now. Over 300,000 young, upwardly mobile, professionals have converged this weekend on the sleepy rural community of Woodstock, New York. This gathering has been dubbed by its promoters as Yuppiestock, a festival of gain and Goldcards, and has turned the dormant pasture of Woodstock farmer Max Yassur into a glittering monument to conspicuous consumption.

Yesterday, workers completed the installation of a state-of-the-art sound system. What makes this unique is that the sound system is present only for the amplification of the 12,000 disk CD collection that festival promoters plan on playing during the course of the three day event. No live musicians are scheduled to appear at all, though a stage has been provided for guest appearances by several channelers, and selected stock portfolio investment planners.

We interviewed Max Yassur earlier today and he had some interesting comments on this mass networking.

VOICE OF MAX YASSUR:
Well, when the kids who put this thing together first came to me I thought they were nuts! The very first thing they wanted me to do was pave about 250 acres of pasture right over there by the main highway. I told them, "Why on earth would I want to pave over 250 acres of prime pasture land?" Well, they launched into this big presentation complete with slides and everything. Told me how this would put me on the map, increase property values and bring plenty of business into the area -- and that they were willing to pay me 1.5 million upfront and throw in some stock options to boot! I may be country born and bred, but my pappy sure didn't raise no fool.

Ya gotta hand it to these kids, they sure know how to swing a deal. Pretty soon they had started construction on the mall over there and had three of the major department store chains signed to leases.

TIM O'LEARY:
How did your neighbors react to all this development?

MAX YASSUR:
They really didn't know what to think at first, but after they started taking delivery of their new BMW's and Mercedes they started coming around. Excuse me, there's this insider trading expert due to speak in about 10 minutes at the Boesky Pavillion and I really want catch that.

TIM O'LEARY:
Thank you Max Yassur. Words just fail to adequately describe the incredible scene here. The 250 acre parking lot is full to overflowing with glittering Alfa's, BMW's, Volvos, Mercedes and Porsches. Hot tubs have sprung up wherever there's any available space. The crafts village is doing record business in handtooled leather attache cases, sheepskin seat covers and designer fashions.

Here with me right now is Shawn Teller, one of the festival's organizers. Shawn, are you happy with the turnout here?

SHAWN TELLER:
Tim, we're VERY pleased with the response so far. In fact, we just went public with the stock this morning and the shares are trading fantastically -- up over 100 points since the market opened this morning.

TIM O'LEARY:
The logistics involved in an enterprise of this nature must be staggering. Have there been any particular problems you've had to deal with?

SHAWN TELLER:
Nothing too serious, Tim. As you may know, most of the participants here have cellular telephones in their cars. These folks are pretty addicted to their phones, and since we are offering so much in the way of interesting opportunities, a lot of these folks have been missing calls because they are out of their cars.

TIM O'LEARY:
How did you solve this problem?

SHAWN TELLER:
Very simply -- we started renting answering machines to anyone who wanted one. You know, "I'm not in my car at the moment, but if you leave your name and number..." (both laugh) Other than that we really haven't had much trouble...

TIM O'LEARY:
What about the reports of fatalities?

SHAWN TELLER:
Oh, that...(clears throat) Well that was really sort of a freak accident, it could have happened anywhere. Apparently the sushi bar's refrigeration was inadequate. And you know, some people just have no tolerance for bad sushi...

TIM O'LEARY:
Thanks for your time, Shawn. Next, we'll be taking you live to...(Static)... where Dr. Root will be speaking on safe sex and the single stock broker. Dr. Root ---

DR. ROOT:
Vell, Tim, I'm very pleased to be here. There is a lot of...(Static)...going on here and vone must remember to...(Static)...and never ever rzg$#Zhgucwz*...

[TRANSMISSION LOST]

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