ZIP Beep #51
EDITORIAL: HALLOWEEN, ELECTION '88 AND OTHER SCARY STORIES
by Don Fitzwater
Halloween. Ghosties, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Witches and monsters and all sorts of fantastical creatures roam the neighborhood. A time when adults are allowed to indulge in "let's pretend" just as much as the children. A time of parties and tricks and treats and for telling scary stories.
Election '88. Liberals and Conservatives and things that go undecided in the polls. Candidates, reporters, "handlers" and all sorts of unbelievable characters roam our cities and our airwaves. A time when adults are allowed to indulge in a level of "let's pretend" that even kids have a hard time swallowing. A time of party platforms and dirty tricks and "low roads" and for telling scary stories (preferably about the other guy).
Is it just me, or do both of these things seem to be similar?
Halloween, at least as it is celebrated today in the United States, is all about illusion, masks, costumes, dressing up as something we aren't.
Sounds uncomfortably like this campaign, doesn't it?
Depending on who you talk to Bush is masquerading alternately as an environmentalist, a conservative, as tough on drugs, a firm supporter of President Reagan's policies and (in a feat of political sleight of hand rarely seen before in American politics) as his "own man."
Then there's Danforth Quayle. I really shouldn't, but aw heck, he's too easy a target to resist. The good Senator ("Good Senator" now there's an interesting thought) would have us believe that he is and always has been a "Hawk." Perhaps, but if true he's more akin to the diminutive character in Warner Brother's classic Foghorn Leghorn cartoons...yup, you guessed it, the Chicken Hawk. Mr. Quayle would also have us believe he's experienced, competent and deserving of our support. Oh yes, he also made a brief and abortive attempt to don the costume of Camelot's king, but found it didn't fit him.
Ah but to be fair we also have to look at the other sides' masks as well.
Dukakis would have us believe he's a simple son of an immigrant, one of the common people...of course, just like the other side, he's more a member of the "haves" than the "have nots." Then there is this issue of "competency." Michael wants us all to believe he can be the ultimate One Minute Manager on a national scale when in reality he is closer to being "Zorba the Clerk."
And then there's his sidekick, Lloyd Bentsen. Lloyd, a true conservative son of the south has wrapped himself in the mantle of a moderate (sympathetic to the Left no less!) in a masterful attempt truly worthy of Halloween's tradition of disguises.
Both sides excel in scary stories.
If Dukakis wins, says the Bush camp, then the Commies will march down mainstreet U.S.A. The prosperity (of the few) that has been so hard won at the cost to the many, will be frittered away on useless social programs like health care, education and feeding and sheltering the homeless. And then there is the ultimate political bogeyman of TAXES.
If Bush wins, warns the Dukakis crew, then the government will collapse under the burden of its credit debt. The working man will lose his or her job and continued escalation of the arms race will lead to the inevitable nuclear holocaust.
Very scary stories indeed.
In the true spirit of Halloween, let me lay a few scary thoughts of my own on you.
Affordable housing does not exist.
If food prices continue they way they are, macaroni & cheese will become a luxury item in terms of cost.
That some people believe that the ACLU is some sort of "Crackpot" organization.
That if you want what you've written to be understood by most Americans, you have to write it at or below an eighth grade reading level.
If you really want them to understand it then it should be mostly pictures.
Many people want to live their lives just like the people on T.V.
That network T.V. news is most people's only source of information about the world we live in.
This year Christmas decorations were up in the stores BEFORE the Halloween ones were.
If Bush wins we will (in all probability) never learn what really happened in the Iran/Contra affair. I find it already very frightening that the trial of North and company has been delayed until after the election...think about it.
Then there is a slight possibility that even if Bush does win the trial will be held. If the dirt is revealed that many of us suspect will be revealed, then there is a chance that the then President Bush might be impeached. And guess who would then become President? Uh huh. Now that's scary!
If Dukakis wins there is a very real probability that the bill for the Reagan administration's profligate credit spending will come due during his administration. The resulting bad times will almost assure a return to the Reagan way of doing things. Now if that doesn't scare all you huddled masses yearning to be free out there I don't know what will.
Then there is the media. These guys gleefully announce the results of each and every poll, truly believing that these things accurately portray the feelings of the American public. They survey 1300 people. The responses of these 1300 people not only determine the slant of the news that night, but also help mold the responses of the rest of the viewing audience. I don't know about you but it scares the bejeezus out of me to think that a mere 1300 people determine just what news we get to see as well as the outcome of the election.
And as a final horror to send shivers down your spine on this Halloween and in this election year:
Most people won't vote.
ZIP Beep #51
THE SPORT OF KINGMAKING
by Ed Eubanks
I have no idea how many people read my stuff. I've never received fan mail. I don't know what I would do if I stepped off the bus and there were 50 groupies standing there waiting for me. I don't know what I'd do if there was one. I got off a bus once and there were 6 cops waiting for me. They had their shotguns pointed at my head. Thank God for television! I immediately knew to place my hands high above my head and not make any sudden moves. They said I matched the description of a suspect: black male riding on a bus. I was frisked and questioned. They found a pencil with a broken lead, a crumpled bus transfer, and a handkerchief full of snot. Small retribution, but retribution nonetheless. I was asked if I had robbed a bank downtown. I said I didn't think so. They let me go and went chasing a bus that was going in the opposite direction.
But back to the issue.
I don't know how many people read my stuff, but those who do probably know that I like to do parodies and zany bits wherein I poke fun at the ruling elite. For the past few months I haven't done that. I have written limericks and IQ tests and bits about English, but no political pieces. Election time is less than a month away, and I haven't written thing one about the race.
Basically, my attention has been diverted. Just about the time the campaign was heating up, I was totally engrossed with the outcome of the NBA finals. Unfortunately, nothing that has happened in the history of New Hampshire -- nor, in fact, in the accumulated history of New Hampshire -- is as interesting as the last two minutes of an NBA game.
Summer is a good time for politics. Nothing much happens during the summer. Wasn't always like that. In agrarian America, summer was a time for mending the fences and tending the crops. The thought of politics took a backseat to talk of drought, prices, and the death of a prized mule. That was then. Now summer is as good a time to talk politics out in the farm towns as it is in the big city. Probably better. Idle lands make idle hands.
No sooner had my attention turned back to the presidential race than the Olympics came along. I am a sucker for anyone who goes civius, fortius, altius, or 26 miles without fainting. I loved Florence Joyner. I loved the way her track suit kept scooting up to reveal muscles that could rival Secretariat's. And Ben Johnson! He was something. If I'd known steroids could make you move that fast I might have given up buying bus passes.
The Ben Johnson scandal brought to mind a horse-doping story that I'd read about in the National Lampoon. The poor nag ran a remarkable race, but the strain of it all caused her to explode as she neared the finish line. In the words of the tout that saw'd it, she "won by a nose, placed by a neck, and showed by a fetlock, but the majority of her finished out of the money." Ben is lucky. He may have finished out of the money, but his butt is still intact.
Shots of George and Duke running in Nebraska, come up way short of Florence Joyner racing down the lanes of a track course. Fact is, for the duration of the Olympics, the only time politics entered my mind was when I watched synchronized swimming and the Bush-Dukakis debates. Somehow, the extreme pointlessness of the former reminded me of the extreme pointlessness of the latter.
I guess with so little time before the elections, this article should be about the candidates. Quayle is such a good target. So is Bush. Ditto, Bentsen. Dukakis reminds me of castor oil: rather unpleasant to the palate, but good for you in the end. However, to be honest, this presidential race still has not inspired me to write about it.
It's playoff time. As I write these words, it's the bottom of the seventh in game 1 between Oakland and Boston. The A's are up one on a homerun by Jose Conseco (pray to God he doesn't explode), but Boston's up, the bases are loaded, no outs, and Boggs is swinging. You never get such drama from a political contest.
The campaign takes place right during the Olympics and World Series. The election is a few days after Halloween and right at the beginning of the commercial Christmas Season. The men who mapped out the country, and decided when the elections were to be held, had no concept of Olympics, basketball, World Series, or Christmas in November. They picked a time when the crops were in and the weather had cooled off; when folks had the time to gather around a pickle barrel to discuss the issues that effected their lives. They even felt a person needed some extra time to think about these choices, so they put the elections in a leap year so we could have one more day to ponder the seriousness of it all.
Things are different today. The election has to share the limelight with too many other things. Especially athletics. Sports has become a national obsession. More men can name the last 3 quarterbacks of the Redskins (Williams, Schroeder, Theisman) than can name the last 3 vice-presidents (Bush, Mondale, Rockerfeller).
Women should have an edge on men in this voting thing. They are not obsessed with athletics and there are more of them. They could care less about Mike Tyson's punches unless they land on Robin Givens's chin. My wife does not know who George Steinbrenner is. She only knows about Dave Winfield because he used to chase her through the student union. Women really should be up on this election and should be defining the issues, but they're not.
Instead of a campaign that says something about daycare, abortion, comparable worth, and education, we have George Bush wearing the flag like a diaper and Dukakis standing downwind, sniffing and looking indignant.
My neighbor, who seems to be a sensible woman, says she's voting for Bush because he is for the Pledge of Allegiance. She has no children, but somehow she feels that issue is pivotal to the health of the nation. I tease her. She doesn't like it. People don't like it when you pick at the frayed edges of their stupidity.
I asked her to recite the pledge. After much cajoling and assurances that this was not a ploy to show her up, I got her to give me her rendition:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for widget stands, one nation under guard, individual, with liberty and justice for all.
That was her version. If I had asked her to explain exactly what she had pledged, she wouldn't have been able to. But that's not important to her. She says reciting the pledge means you love the country and that's all that need be said or must be said (with the emphasis on the must). Where does the liberty come in?
I watched during an Olympics award ceremony as one of the American boxers tried to sing the national anthem. It was painfully obvious that he didn't know the words, let alone what they meant. I have heard people singing about "what so proudly we held" and how "the ram parts we washed were so gallantly screaming."
And so the election has come down to this: Grown folk covering their hearts and making pledges and singing songs that have nothing to do with cleaning up the air, or housing the homeless, or charting a course into the 21st century. Grown folk chanting words they are not sure of with meanings they are not clear on and casting votes for men they are not sure of with messages they are not clear on.
But it's still baseball season for me as I write this, and I would rather write about baseball than politics. So for those of you who expected some clever satire, I apologize. I know which man I support. I know what I am concerned about and what candidate's track record best addresses those concerns. It is just a matter of casting my vote in November. But for now, I am turning on the television and rooting for the Mets against all comers. Baseball is so clean. So certain. Three strikes and you're out. No team will win the series by singing the "Star Spangled Banner." Something of substance must be delivered. All the bases will have to be touched. And when "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is played, no one will foul up the words or be unsure of the meaning. And no one will demand that you stand up and sing. That will be a matter of personal choice.
ZIP Beep #51
THE CERTAINLY STRANGE IMPRESSIONS I GET FROM ANYONE NAMED STEVE
by Dennis Wallaker
"I just wish that for once I was there when it was happening for you"
-- Our Spouses
This one works this way....
STEPHEN KING - HORROR & FANTASY AUTHOR -
LAST BEST SELLER: "THE TOMMY KNOCKERS"
If my johnson was up for anything as much as his is for his word processor, I'd marry the damn thing.
Granted, he's very prolific. But so is my cousin Christy...which is one of the reasons she's not been able to get off of AFDC.
Whenever you glut any market, everybody suffers: mothers to kids, writers to readers.
I don't dig his writing and I don't like those movies.
Too many kids...and while I appreciate them more than I do adults, I'm getting to the age when I worry about their safety, especially whenthey're dabbling in supernatural situations or talking or thinking too much.
And I don't like rustic situations!
I go back to the Agatha Christie/G.K. Chesterton school where the people residing in the woods are either too rich to care or too mentally limited to make it in the cities.
Stephen King has all these well adjusted people living in the sticks who'd be having a great life if it wasn't for an undeserved evil that is plaguing their lives along with most of their plumbing and electricity. The family car invariably screws up along the line which is one of the reasons that suburbanites eat this stuff up.
I just wish that once he would write a novel about Ellis Island immigrant Jews working in the garment district circa 1920 learning about life, love and the pursuit of happiness in a new, young and growing country until their youngest son, the bright one, is working on some vests (for pre-child labor law wages) that were once worn by Satan at a party somewhere in the future, possibly in Martha's Vineyard or Maine so he promises in a covenant that only he and the neighbor kid know about to work weekends...oh maybe not. By the way, I don't read his stuff but you can smell it.
STEVEN SPIELBERG - 'NUFF SAID -
His wife is really pretty and they have got enough money. He's made some pretty neat movies but my other cat, Little Pete, wonders if Steven's really happy.
Little Pete says a need for posterity will hang on you like a borrowed coat from past winters unless you fall into the sky while there is still time.
Little Pete is not only smarter than I am but I think he's a better writer.
Spike, my other cat, thinks that it is a point well taken but people who can't appreciate the body of Spielberg's work for their own diletantish reasons should shake their alligator tears, dust their brooms and crawl to their homes with tails between legs.
Spike don't write that well...
Besides that, Spike and I have watched "CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND" three times a year since I snatched her out of the grocery cart across the street, and I've seen the look of awe in her eyes when the Mothership lands on that butte the same way Karen B. used to land on me a couple of years ago...but that's another story.
STEVE REEVES - BODY BUILDER TURNED ACTOR IN ITALIAN GLADIATOR FILMS -
MOST POPULAR AS "HERCULES"
Got lots of memories concerning Steve.
The Best: My mom and dad were in the midst of an ugly divorce and me with only 10 years under my belt. Weekend visitations with the old man involved hanging out in a cheap studio apartment that fit him like the kelp you see on drowned sailors.
He wanted to talk. I wanted to stare into the B&W T.V. that hummed like a hornets' nest. Digging that I was almost 11, he let me watch his pain on occasion, and occasionaly filled my glass with Pepsi.
"THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD" starring Steve Reeves, Sylvia Koscika and Vittorio De Sica (in a cameo role cute enough to make you sick), is not listed in most film books. But it was on the television that night
There were heros, villians, happy endings and dago midgets.
I got to get me one of them.
STEVIE RAY VAUGHN - GUITAR BANDITO (Not my term) -
More than a few years ago, me and a couple of guys in my shop class decided to start a hard rock band.
We were all a bit perturbed when the teacher told us that he wouldn't "let us near the power tools, let alone the welding kits." So we saved up and cobbed enough to buy our amplifiers and the instrument junk, hoping to prove we could work ON/OFF switches without hurting ourselves or any other people in the first three rows.
The GUITAR BANDITO was a very important part of any band at that time, since he was the only guy that knew how to play an instrument.
The rest of us would kind of sit on a chord change until somebody's mom came down, but it was the Guitar Bandito that got dad to put down the ENQUIRER to kick everybody into that silent night.
Our Guitar Bandito was Glenn S., who lived with his widowed dad, two brothers and a smelly three story house that hung around them like payment.
We could rehearse there but we couldn't sleep over 'cause his dad was a widower and my ma told the other ma's that "...there's a county law against concentrated grime. I'm sure of it and I'll go to my grave trying to prove it."
We'd usually play the first two sets by ourselves while Glenn sniffed paint over by the punch bowl, then we'd smear Mennen Skin Bracer all over his face in the little boy's room to remove the tell tale specks of Burnt Orange.
This was not enough. Even after doing "In A Gadda Da Vida" three times complete with complete drum solo, he'd prop himself forehead-up under the towel dispenser and say, "They're not ready for the Hendrix and they got to do something about this ceiling."
He was usually right but I'd often have to pull it out and say, "If you don't, Scott's going to sing the Partridge Family tune."
It's that kind of talk that gets any good musician off his posterior. It did it for Glenn S. and it's sure doing it for Stevie Ray Vaughn.
A lot of your musicians these days want to get into composing, film scoring, possibly a minor role in a major movie.
Stevie Ray ain't like that. He prowls like a loyal cat. He can spit in your toilet and it will never be plugged again. He plays guitar better than anyone I know.
I hope his folks realize he's doing it for his country.
STEPHEN SPENCER - POET - LEFTIST - FAG -
Judge his poetry on your own time. His politics didn't stand the test of time.
But he was a great fag. When he screamed you could swear it was a railroad train passing right outside your bathroom.
STEVIE WONDER - 'NUFF SAID -
I don't have any friends that want to live in Detroit. But if Stevie Wonder does like he's saying and decides to run for mayor of Detroit, we'd all move.
STEVIE NICKS - YUP -
I'll be as nice as I can about this...
I wish she was dead.
STEVIE HULTMAN - ANOTHER BOYHOOD PAL -
He was awful slow, gorilla-like. But he fell into the creek real good. He used to say, "Dennis, don't push me in the water this time" and I always did. One time he was wearing a suit and tie and I did it. I hope for my eternal soul that Stevie Hultman has a bad memory.
STEVE REEVES - SAME DESCRIPTION, DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE -
Kip Dahl's dad (Bob Dahl's uncle) once told us when we were watching this Steve Reeves movie that he was in the service with him. On the screen, Steve Reeves was tearing apart this entire building with only his bare hands!
Kip Dahl's dad then said something the equivalent of, "Pshaw...Listen you little dips, when Steve and I were in the service he had hemorrhoids so bad he could hardly walk. That's your body building for you."
Kip Dahl's dad was into body building too, as long as it went over his belt. Yet this has always stuck in my wafer-thin craw.
See, I had read this article that mentioned that Steve Reeves, now in his 70's, is running marathons and coming out with anti-steroid statements ("...if you ain't got enough male hormones to compete, maybe you should get into some sport less strenuous, like ping pong.")
I have a slight problem with hemorrhoids, but I think Kip Dahl's dad was probably wrong, so I'm planning on sticking around.
Kip Dahl's dad may have been wrong about other things.
ZIP Beep #51
MAN BITES SOUND
Alternate Universe broadcast monitored by Chuck Strinz
(Continual readers are aware of ZIP Beep's ongoing, albeit sporadic, contact with a place we have come to know as the Alternate Universe. Early this summer we thought we had lost contact forever. We had hired a group of college kids to paint the building that houses ZIP Beep World Headquarters. These guys were really hungry for work, so we got them for almost nothing. Nevertheless, in a fit of exuberant youth, the boys decided our aluminum quonset hut could use a fresh coat as well. The hut stands next to our satellite dish, and while we appreciated the extra effort, we were sad to discover that the paint had apparently eliminated the periodically-received programs from the Alternate Universe. We have never quite understood just why our dish can pick up transmissions no one else seems to get, but we always suspected it had something to do with that aluminum hut. Well, as it happens, we're a bunch of cheapskates. The paint is already peeling, the kids are back reading philosophy and going to keggers and generally getting into trouble at the University, and we're left to ponder the fact that you gets what you pays for. The good news is that the peeled paint has exposed a critical area of the hut, and we were pleased to receive the following transmission just last week. It seems to be a portion of some kind of public affairs program. Make of it what you will.--ED)
for the...(STATIC)...minute past the hour, time to go to Sonora Live, whose guest today is presidential candidate Gil Tourette. Sonora?
Thank you, Bob. Our guest...(STATIC)...with the...(STATIC)...on the program today. And we...(STATIC)...impressive rise in politics. With candidate Tourette is his campaign manager, Hal O'Peridol. Gentlemen, welcome.
Thank you, Sonora.
Mr. Tourette, when did you first get involved in the current race?
I think it's fair to say that Gil is a relative newcomer to the political spectrum, Sonora. At the same time, I want to make it clear that he is fully qualified to hold office and, more to the point, the people want him.
Mr. Tourette, ten days ago nobody knew you from Adam. Now you're suddenly the front runner in all the polls. Can you tell us how this came about?
Well, it's a strange story, but one that illustrates the nature of the will of the people. I think--
Excuse me, Mr. O'Peridol, I can't help notice that you have not allowed Mr. Tourette to say anything so far in this broadcast. Why is that?
Well, it isn't so much that I haven't allowed him to speak; Gil has asked me to speak for him on most subjects although, as you see, he is here and aware of what is being said on his behalf.
This is an unusual situation, isn't it?
Not really. I think, you know, most candidates have their spin doctors. We've put a different spin on things, you might say. My talent is expressing the candidate's views. Gil is the King of the Sound Bite. When he has something to say, he spits it out. And he always gets a favorable reaction from the public.
You control him, wouldn't you say?
No, I wouldn't say that. Well...okay, I suppose you could put it that way, in some respects. But I prefer to say I channel his speech. I help bring out the best in him.
Where's the beef?
Exactly. Hal has reached back for a perfect sound bite to express his belief that I'm here to give you the meat of the matter.
Okay, let's let that stand for the moment. Mr. O'Peridol, then, maybe you could tell us the story behind Gil Tourette.
Well, Sonora, as you know, just under two weeks ago Gil was merely another member of the audience at the presidential debates. It was not a quiet crowd. They were not afraid to cheer and boo, and the whole thing took on a certain circus atmosphere. The two major party candidates were not addressing the issues. At least, not in terms the people could understand. We won't name any names here, but one candidate actually made a point with three separate subpoints. Let me tell you, two minutes is a lifetime when it comes to the attention span of most voters. Then to throw in a complex logical argument, well, it's just a bad idea all around.
In the midst of this, Gil suddenly stood up and shouted, "Good jobs for good people."
The crowd fell silent for a moment, then broke into applause. After a brief hesitation the debate resumed. Then, about five minutes later, Gil did it again. During a lull, Gil shouted, "Have it your way, we do it all for you." Everybody loved it. Especially the press. Gil was on all of the newscasts for the next two days. That's when I saw him, and I think we've really got something going here now that we're working together.
Okay, I can understand why the public would react favorably to this. But what's behind it? I mean, what is it about candidate Gil Tourette that makes it possible for him to speak to the point on occasion, but otherwise fall silent?
It's really a neurological thing. I can't pretend that I fully understand it, but I do know that Gil is capable of sounding off like the rest of us. More than most of us, in fact. That's something you need in a politician. And he can certainly swear with the best of 'em, so it isn't that he can't talk like everybody else, although I guess it's true that he doesn't really talk in the same manner. What I'm trying to say is that Gil keeps his speech under control. If he had his way, I think he wouldn't talk at all. But something compels him to speak out. He's learned to internalize this need for the most part, but he also knows he can't keep it all inside. And instead of making random noises like many politicians, Gil channels most of his speech energy into sound bites. He had the talent before we met, but I've certainly helped him since we started working together. It's really strange. I dunno. I don't really understand it, but there it is.
Go for the gold.
Interesting. Gentlemen, it's time to go to our first caller. Hello to Andy from Mississippi.
Go ahead Andy.
Am I on?
Go ahead with your question or comment for candidate Gil Tourette, Andy.
Sonora, I just want to say that I'm one of the many fans of Gil Tourette, and he certainly has my vote.
Thank you, Andy.
Mr. Tourette will make a good president, particularly for those of us who can't think for ourselves. I know he's getting a lot of attention for his short speeches, and that's rare in a politician because they usually go on and on about any sort of...
We have to move on, Andy, there are other callers waiting. Did you have a question?
Well...no, not really, but I've noticed that...
Andy, we need to get to our next caller so we can fit in as many people as possible without actually coming to any conclusive points. Thank you for your call. Hello to David from California.
Hi, Sonora. Love your show.
Thank you, do you have a question or comment for candidate Tourette? Go ahead.
Make my day.
Go ahead, David.
I was just wondering whether Mr. Tourette has any plans to campaign in California.
He certainly does. Gil will deliver 47 speeches in southern California this Thursday...
...and in the afternoon he'll speak 14 times in northern California.
That's an incredible stumping stunt, Mr. O'Peridol.
Not really. Gil's speeches are all quite short. We feel he's able to get to the point, leave, and not worry about insignificant substance, policies, plans, that sort of thing. Most of all, the people love it.
Are we having fun yet?
You can read a lot into anything Gil says, and everybody pretty much hears what they want to hear anyway. For the first time in this country's history, we've found a way to talk to people without boring them and, more important, take full advantage of the electronic media. Unless...(STATIC)...with the right views, the people...(STATIC)...because they don't really know what's good for...(STATIC)...or their families. They want to be told, but they have their own ideas. What they really want to be told is that their own ideas are...(STATIC)...with the...(STATIC)...and you can see by his 38 point lead over both of the major party candidates that...(STATIC, TRANSMISSION LOST).
ZIP Beep! Table of Contents
Strinz Creative Home Page