Foolish Time January 2024

Foolish Times is a free monthly tabloid publishing the best humor we can find (some months we search harder than others). The opinions or ideas expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of Foolish Times, its owner, advertisers, or associates, or their extended families, or their friends or neighbors, or their associated pen pals, up to and including cockatiels. All articles, graphics, photographs, and what-not (especially the whatnot) are copyrighted by the so-called “writers” and “artists” who contribute them. Foolish Times uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

Foolish Times is a free monthly tabloid publishing
the best humor we can find (some months we
search harder than others). The opinions or ideas
expressed by contributors are not necessarily
those of Foolish Times, its owner, advertisers,
or associates, or their extended families, or their
friends or neighbors, or their associated pen pals,
up to and including cockatiels. All articles, graphics,
photographs, and what-not (especially the whatnot)
are copyrighted by the so-called “writers” and
“artists” who contribute them. Foolish Times uses
invented names in all its stories, except in cases
where public figures are being satirized. Any other
use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

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January 2024



» Pg. 7

shirts and autographed poster. Robert was firstust with the mostest correct

answers to September’s Godzelda Trivial Pursued contest. Our thanks to

the Black Bear Diner (It’s a carnivore’s delight!) for their participation.

2 \\ Foolish Times


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Jim Wienke of

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Godzelda connection

with Godzelda Guy

Dana B. Larrabee

via Facebook’s


Fans group. Jim’s

enthusiasm for

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Salinas” netted him

a gift pack consisting

of a signed copy of

Larrabee’s “Making

of Godzelda”

fan’zine, a signed

poster and T-shirt.

We’re delighted

Godzelda and the

Foolish Times are

appreciated even in

the Lone Star state!

Way Of Life!

January 2024 // 3

What The Bleep

Is Foolish Times?

Foolish Times is a free monthly tabloid publishing

the best humor we can find (some months we

search harder than others). The opinions or ideas

expressed by contributors are not necessarily

those of Foolish Times, its owner, advertisers,

or associates, or their extended families, or their

friends or neighbors, or their associated pen pals,

up to and including cockatiels. All articles, graphics,

photographs, and what-not (especially the whatnot)

are copyrighted by the so-called “writers” and

“artists” who contribute them. Foolish Times uses

invented names in all its stories, except in cases

where public figures are being satirized. Any other

use of real names is accidental and coincidental.


Ed Attanasio, Charles Birimisa, Casey Buck,

Mickey Joseph Bulanti, Andy Cardinalli,

Roger Freed, Mike Garcia, Ted Gargiulo,

Arvia Glass, Debbie Harris, Michael Houston,

Daria James, Megan Mock, Robyn Justo, H.K.,

Dana Larabee, Peter Mehren, Frank Perez,

Nancy Pyzel, Jay Russell, Mary Tompsett, Sali


Andre Adams, Will Bullas, Max Cannon,

Roger Freed, Lama Goofball, Chris Myers,

Chuck Scardina, David Michael Schmidt,

Monty Truitt, Megan & Miguel, Jo Mora

The Chucklehead Speaks

They say hard work is the key to success. This may be true but at times we chose to pick the lock and

take a few short cuts, arriving sooner rather than later. Get it done! Happy Hour only lasts for so long

and Last Call are horrible words to hear.

There were a few goals to accomplish this past year. The first was to survive increases in the cost of

doing business. We were successful. The second was to launch our podcast on the wharf at Abalonetti

Bar & Grill. Ta Da! Another was to keep pushing outward to get back over the border to Santa Cruz

County. Mission accomplished. Our proudest accomplishment was to continue to build readership

both locally and beyond.

Sadly, there were casualties along the way. We will dearly miss Larry, Chris, Monte and Stacy. Each

of these creative folks was much more than what you saw in print. They were my friends. They were

sincere with great energy, wanting to engage and share with you through their humor.They left us in

their own time and on their own accord. Head scratcher, none of them owned a Honda!

To gaze into 2024, we will strengthen our relationship with media partner MeTV and add KSCO to

our mix. We’ll continue with our mission to bring humor, with plans to further diversify with pop-up

comedy shows, expand through social media with a series of short videos about emotional support

vacuum cleaners and launch a few new columns. And there a publisher interested in launching my


On a personal note, I plan to concentrate on balancing my work and social life, maybe even commit

to a relationship. This thought weighed heavily on my mind so I went to a psychic for an answer. She

brought out a Ouija board to spell out the name of my future girlfriend. I watched with anticipation…

what kind of name is, “Hahaha?”

Stevie P. // office@foolishtimes.net





For rat information, call your exterminator

List of Fools

Chucklehead // Stevie P.

Editor at Large // Javlis

Art Fool // Momomorgan

Sales Fool // Hannah

Fool on the Street // Ben M.

Foolish Times



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January 2024 // 5

Aside from New Year’s Day (which is also National

Hangover Day) and Martin Luther King Jr.’s

birthday, there aren’t very many holidays to

celebrate in January. In fact, January seems to

be hangover month—the major holidays are over

and post holiday blues can set in. Still, I think you

may be able to celebrate some of the holidays that I

found on holidayinsights.com.

Monthly celebrations for January include

National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month,

and Hot Tea Month, all great things for keeping

warm during winter. January is also National

Blood Donor Month, so shout out to all the blood

donors. Thank you for bleeding to help others.

I tried for a while to be a regular donor, but . . .

see my piece in the February 2014 Foolish Times

“Blood Donation for the Squeamish.” January is

also National Bath Safety Month, National Braille

Literacy Month, and National Hobby Month. So,

keep yourself and your rubber duckie safe in the

tub and for a hobby, learn Braille.

As for individual days to celebrate in the first

month of the year:

January 2: International Stop Spam Day.

Holidayinsights.com points out that this is not the

meat that comes in a can; it’s the email type. It

includes the joke: “There is an email going around

offering processed pork, gelatin, and salt in a can.

Don’t open it; it’s spam.”

January 3: The Festival of Sleep Day. How is that

celebrated? Group napping?

January 4: National Spaghetti Day and Trivia

Day. Part of the trivia preparation is knowing that

January 4 is National Spaghetti Day.

January 6: Bean Day. This is the day we celebrate

a green vegetable and/or pintos and their cousins.

But wait, there’s more. The day is also for

celebrating the character Mr. Bean, created

by British actor Rowan Atkinson. They

cover all the bean bases. January 6 is also

Epiphany in the Christian calendar, but it’s

not included on holidayinsights. Apparently

they don’t care beans about it.

January 13: National Rubber Duckie day.

This fits in well with bath safety month. Put

a life jacket on your rubber duckie and listen

to Kermit sing the rubber duckie song as you


January 16: Appreciate a Dragon Day. I guess

you can sing “Puff the Magic Dragon,” but this day

is also National Nothing Day, celebrating doing

nothing, so I guess that gets us off the hook with

the dragons.

January 18: Thesaurus Day, which I find

wonderful, magnificent, fabulous, stupendous,

wondrous, outstanding, marvelous, sensational,

phenomenal, and maybe even groovy.

January 20: Penguin Awareness Day. I guess

it’s needed because as a general rule, I’m not very

aware of penguins.

Keeping the animal theme! January 21: Squirrel

Appreciation Day. The website didn’t convince me

that there are actually things about squirrels that

we need to appreciate. A puffy tail, maybe? The

squirrels in Sherwood Park in Salinas are tearing

up the landscape. Should I appreciate their ability

to do that?

January 24: Beer Can Appreciation Day. What

should we appreciate about beer cans? That they

allow the brew to be dispensed in individual

servings, so beer drinkers

don’t have to go to the

town beer barrel and use

a dipping gourd to drink

their beer? The site says

that some people collect

beer cans as a hobby—

empty ones. Hmm, hobby

or in need of a 12 step


January 24: Also

Global Belly Laugh Day.

That sounds better than

collecting empty beer cans. Who doesn’t like a

good belly laugh? But how do we get the entire

globe laughing—international forced mandate?

I’m told that laughter is contagious. Wouldn’t it be

great if we could generate a pandemic of laughter?

January 28: National Kazoo Day. Now there’s

an instrument I can play. I wonder if there are any

celebrations with kazoo parades with marching

kazoo bands.

January 29: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

I can appreciate bubble wrap. It keeps shipped

products safe and allows for hours of bubble

popping stress relief, whether by fingers or feet. If

you have any bubble wrap, today’s the day to share


Let’s brighten up a dreary month celebrating these

holidays—with a kazoo, a rubber duckie, some

bubble wrap, some belly laughs, and maybe a

penguin. Whatever you do, I hope your January is

great and your year is off to a wonderful start.

Safe & Happy

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January 2024 // 7

// Arvia Glass


Greener pastures are just on the horizon.

Unfortunately, you live closer to a fertilizer plant

and hate leaving the house. Once you manage to

get out of your comfort zone and try something

new, many great things in your life will begin

unfold. Like testing out that “high voltage” sign

on your front door in order to deter solicitors and

booby trapping your lawn. Your reclusiveness will

be unmatched!


Your confidence is growing and people are

beginning to trust you more. How could they not?

A lot has changed since you stopped wearing your

“I heart spotted dick” t-shirt. And things have

definitely improved since you stopped offering

the aforementioned dish to random strangers at

the gas station. Indeed, much progress has been

made over the course of time. For example, you’ve

learned the importance of always making sure

to ask before taking a sip of someone’s drink and

never going to work barefooted.


This month will bring in more opportunities

to demonstrate strength and leadership. Like

when you led a group of loitering drunks into a

Walgreens so you could get the best parking space

in front of Starbucks. Of course, they weren’t

exactly loitering drunks but rather the traveling

pack of giant stuffed animals whose sole purpose is

to remind you to turn your headlights on at night.


Last Scorpio season brought in an awareness of

all that has been hidden. Like when you had to

remember to return all the office supplies you

stole from work because your spouse invited your

boss to dinner. Now in Sagittarius season, your

adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit is ignited!

You might just take your job’s biggest competitor

up on their offer to pay you for company secrets.


Big changes are coming in for you. Only you

and you alone can decide whether to mend the

holes in your underwear or buy a new pair. That

is of course, if you can manage to break up your

routine of thinking about home when you’re at

work, thinking about work when you’re at home,

and stuffing your face with beef quesadillas while

driving in your car to either destination.


This month you’re reflecting on the past and

reevaluating future plans— like where you left

your car keys and where you will leave them in the

future. For the most part, your mind will become

far more decisive in solving problems that have

persisted for a long time. Like deciding enough is

enough! You are finally ready to let go of that 15%

off coupon to Blockbuster video.


Expect to connect more with friends and family

this month. However beware! Only your real

friends will help you bury the bodies of your closest

relatives after uncle John insists on bringing up

politics during Christmas dinner. That is of course,

if you can manage to get an invite after being

ghosted by your mother for forgetting to add sugar

to the cranberry sauce last Thanksgiving.


This time of year brings in great optimism for you.

Discovering that your cat is hissing at a mouse

in wall and not an evil spirit will really put some

pep in your step. You are not letting the troubles

of current world events get you down. You see

the light at the end of the tunnel and are actually

looking forward to the opportunity to haunt all

your enemies in the afterlife for not listening to

about the coming smart phone apocalypse.


You will become a much more effective

communicator this month. Your family and friends

will be thrilled you finally emptied out your

voicemail box so that they can leave a message.

This new energy also comes with the unapologetic

truth. Like when you tell them, you keep your

voicemail box full on purpose in order to weed

out anyone who doesn’t know how to send text



You will be a busy beaver this month— which

is weird since Halloween was two months ago.

Speaking of costumes, you should really apologize

to your boss for dressing up like his deceased cat

for laughs at his x-wife’s birthday party. Word is



Your challenge this month is all about finding

a balance between your personal relationships

and your work-life. But since you’re probably

unemployed— congratulations! Mission

accomplished. Despite any obstacles you may

face, your unwavering spirit will reign supreme

as you figure out the best method of revenge on

a corporate recruiter who ghosted you after the

second interview.


This year culminates in a new cycle for you. Be

excited! Time for you to dust off the champagne

flutes and party like it’s 2019! That’s right. All the

problems you thought you solved by dying your

hair and redecorating your living room are coming

back to bite. What better way to pay off your

student loans than learning how to ride a unicycle

and taking up fire juggling lessons?

8 \\ Foolish Times

// Arvia Glass

The beginning of the year, like every other, people

across the globe create plans to improve their

lives by making changes in the areas of personal

development, financial planning and social

connectedness. Below is a list of the top ten most

popular New Year’s resolutions and a bit of advice

on how to successfully follow through with them so

that lists like this won’t look the same every single


1. Lose weight

Decrease your goal weight by five pounds

every year. That way, you can feel a sense of

accomplishment after years of failed weight loss


2. Spend less money on food

Cut your food budget in half by taking the little

critters dragged in by your cat or dog and slapping

them on the grill, the way God intended.

3. Spend more time with friends and family

If you’ve been looking for more opportunities

to invest time in loved ones, try abandoning

your current life and joining a cult. Unlike with

your actual friends and family, your likelihood

of sticking around will be incentivized by

brainwashing and blackmail.

4. Exercise more

To increase your overall physical activity, pretend

all you past failed New Year’s resolutions,

materialized, grew legs, and will not stop chasing

you until you purchase another gym membership.

5. Decrease social media usage

Spend less time on social media by repeatedly

breaking terms of service agreements with

offensive and profane comments until they ban

your I.P. address.

6. Reduce overall spending

Reduce living expenses across the board by

permanently moving into the family mausoleum.

7. Reduce work stress

Mitigate on-the-job stress by releasing a poisonous

snake into your home and driving your car with at

least one flat tire. That way, your work-life should

improve by comparison.

8. Have more fun!

Invest more time in recreational activities like

visiting your local

unemployment office

and bragging about

how large your tax

return is and what

you’ll spend it on, or

eating bacon double

cheese burgers in front

of co-workers who

made ill-fated weight

loss resolutions.

9. Quit Smoking

Curb your cigarette

smoking addiction by

thinking of all the money you could be spending on

alcohol and weed.

10. Earn extra money

Increase your income this year by pretending to be

a therapist.

That way,

all your


friends and


partners will

be charged

hourly for



on you after

the holiday


January 2024 // 9

// Robyn Justo


Elder orphan. Oh my God. No longer a boomer,

a category that didn’t depress me, but elder

orphan? I fit the bill because I have no offspring

and often not a lot of support. I do fine though.

I sure could have used some help trying to

decide if I wanted to change health plans during

the open enrollment for Medicare this year. Do

I switch to a company that’s new in the area but

has no premiums? Do I stick with what I know?

I think they make this so complicated with all of

the options that a lot of us just give up. I need a

subtract option for all the ads for these things!

I’ve been on a drug called Synthroid for

hypothyroidism for about eighteen years. When

I tried to refill it a few weeks ago, I was told

that the pharmacy was waiting for a PA, a prior

authorization for insurance purposes. WTF?

Eighteen years on this stuff and you need

authorization that I should be taking it?

I was totally out of these silly blue pills, and I

told them so. No matter. Frustration set in and

even though I had not raised my voice on the

phone, I was accused of it by an oversensitive, little

pill of a man on the other end of the phone. I was

having the conversation in my car so maybe there

was an echo. Trust me. I’m Italian and you will

KNOW when I raise my voice.

I was the one who felt expired and tired. That

same week, I went in for fasting blood work. I was

already pissy from not having my morning coffee.

I was told that my standing blood order had also

expired. My doctor had not renewed it. Was there

a message here?

Which brings me to my next

ridiculous health fiasco. My

toenails have changed color.

Could be from using nail

polish even though I haven’t

used it in a while. The doc

suggested Jublia. One would

think, by that name, that this

is a mood enhancer which I

am needing right about now.

But it’s not. It supposedly

treats fungal infections. Dear

Lord, I didn’t look like I had

one of those. Now I need an antidepressant.

The thing is that this stuff only has a 30% kill

rate, and you need to take it for a year, forty-nine

weeks to be exact. And it’s more expensive than

the Synthroid I can’t get. But I gave in and ordered

it and received at tiny bottle that held less than a

Trust me. I’m

Italian and

you will KNOW

when I raise

my voice.”

small bottle of eye drops.

The cost was $75 for

something that might last

a month, depending on

how many yellow toes you had. Even the gal at the

specialized pharmacy I had to order from sounded

shocked. But she said the “normal” cost was $600.

WHAT??? Yep, you read that right. If I wanted to

gamble and enlist in this, without a guarantee, the

cost to me would be close to $1000. To someone

without insurance, it would be over $7000. Who

would take those odds?

I might be an elder orphan, but I still think

I am pretty tough. I have survived a lot in this

lifetime and defied the odds of

some pretty serious medical

conditions. I was dropped on my

head as a baby (in all fairness to

Mom, I back-flipped out of her

arms on to a silver box which I

dented), choked multiple times

after putting things in my

mouth that didn’t belong there

like bobby pins, jacks, plastic

packaging, etc. I tried the bobby

pin in the electrical outlet too

and survived with little black

fingers which coordinated well

with my bruised blue head and red choking face.

I have survived being thrown out of a

Volkswagen bug with a Porsche engine at age

sixteen, with my hair knotted up in a raspberry

bush and gravel embedded in my shoulder, but

nothing more serious than that. My boyfriend, the

pompous race car driver, had a concussion and was

bleeding profusely, but not me. At 19, Mom and I

walked away from an accident on the 405 freeway

in Southern Cal after spinning through all of the

lanes and ending smack up against the guardrail,

facing in the opposite direction with just one flat

tire and one scratch on the Mustang.

After way too much alcohol at a bar in

Sunnyvale when I was years underage (but had a

great fake ID) I ended up with the front end of my

Pinto in a ditch at 1:00 am after trying to make a

U-turn on a frontage road. I sat there and cried

until I saw headlights. Three big guys got out of

their car. I started to panic and thought, “This is

NOT good.” They all picked up the Pinto and put

it back on the road and said, “Have a nice night.”

Seriously. Felt like an episode of (Not) Touched by

an Angel.

I watched a show on Amazon this week called

Immortal about people who couldn’t die. Doubtful

that I am one of those because if I eat too much

turkey I pass out. Tryptophan is my Kryptonite.

Goodnight. But I often ask myself why I am still

above ground. Makes me wonder if I really need

health insurance, blood tests, and prescriptions

after all.

Also makes a good case for yellow toes.

10 \\ Foolish Times

Buskers Guide to Foolish Local Regional

& Global Exceptionalism

“Like we always have to be extraordinary, but

somehow we’re always doing it wrong….You have

to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas….

But never forget that the system is rigged. So,

find a way to acknowledge that, but always be

grateful….And it turns out not only are you doing

everything wrong, but everything is your fault.

And if all of that is true…I don’t even know.”

- Gloria (America Ferrera) in Barbie

As a busker, “itinerant entertainer,” and the

least competent musician at Old Monterey Tuesday

Market, I am an expert and practitioner of

exceptionalism. I feel no stigma with my inability

to differentiate between in key, out, self and other.

Like you, Barbie, and Gloria, I fight stigma for, you,

myself, and everyone else who manifests mental

disorders as we approach an election raising

barriers to mental health among our brethren and

sisterhood across the globe. As Ecofeminists, the

gender concept enables all of us to analyse the

relationships between humans and the noosphere.

Exceptionalism, foolish or otherwise, holds that

a species, country, society, institution, movement,

individual, or time period is exceptional/superior

in some way resulting in our complex relationship

between us and other animals.

Exceptionalist practices foster stigma and

contribute to delays in seeking behavioral health

care, increases in infant mortality, maternal

mortality, journalist death rates, misery, and a

premature end of the world even before we finish

off the biosphere. Still, it isn’t greedy or selfserving,

is it?

Come on people now

Smile on your brother

Everybody get together

Try to love one another

Right now - Youngbloods (1967)

An Exceptionally Foolish Reflection List:

Nihonjinron - Why would Japan want collaboration

with other Asian

countries to win



- “God/Allah/

Buddha/Shiva etc.

will it” (Everywhere

except the South

Park episode where

Cartman goes into

the future and the

atheist have to nuke

the world to take out

the heretic atheists.

Religious exclusivism

- Divide and conquer

Apartheid in

Northern Ireland,

India, Myanmar etc.

Feeneyism - Only

Catholics can go to


Hindutva -

India’s excuse for

mistreating less wellto-do


Jews as the chosen

people - It’s back in

the news.

Unification Church -

One Korean family’s

right to take over the

Job cut short by the Crucifixion.

Debate on Exclusivism in the SDA Church -

Seventh Day Adventist are the last Christians and

Catholics are Babylonian.

Sonderweg - Only Germans and their cousins have

held on to civilization.

“HIV exceptionalism” - AIDS entails “benefits” not

available to those suffering from other diseases.

Cultural Exception - France’s protectionist laws

against the diffusion of foreign artistic work with

quotas and subsidies as cultural policy.

Han chauvinism - Ethnic Han Chinese people and

its uniqueness throughout human history and their

costumes opening of Olympic Games.

Third Rome - That’s getting the Roman Empire

back together in Europe, Russia, and the

Mediterranean. Tough luck Finland, Poland et al.

Pinoy Pride - Being Phillipino/a nationalist is the

best. Extrajudicial executions of alleged addicts are

reasonable. One wouldn’t want to dilute the blood.

Thai exceptionalism - Thai culture is the best,

and immune to colonialism thanks to Thai

language and peace despite all the coups d’état and


Egocentrism - Allegedly adults appear to be

less egocentric than children because they are

occasionally sneakier with their egocentric


Chosen People - Judaism, Christianity and

derivatives (Seventh-day Adventism, Mormonism,

Christian Identity) along with Mandaeism,

Rastafari, Unification Church, Nation of Islam,

Maasai religion et al. (God wants you to take it all.)

Christ of Europe - A Polish messianic belief that

Poland has been crucified so often in history that it

is on the verge of a leading us all into a great period

of love, kindness and sharing. I hope their right.

WARNING - Your choice to read Foolish Times

may bind all of us to the very EXCEPTIONALITY

that keeps us mentally, physically, morally and

socially, the incapacitating infection guides us.

Steer clear of jingoism. Keep laughing while you do

it and we’ll all be fine.

Views and opinions in this article are not

those of anyone reading or writing them. Blame

Wikipedia for anything you don’t like. Any use of

real ideas is accidental and coincidental. Tip all

your servers well. Watch what you say and make

each day better than the last.

January 2024 // 11

It’s hard to find a nice guy in Monterey County to

settle down with. Most of them think Monogamy

is a type of wood.

Never trust a man who says they wear the pants in

a relationship. They probably lie about other things


I’m going back to living my fabulous life before

you interrupted it to remind me that there are still

jerks in this world.

A coupe arrived at CHOMP with the wife in labor.

The OB-GYN explained to the couple they are

experimenting with new technology that can

transform some of the labor pains to the father.

The husband boldly told the doctor to give him

all the pain. A few days later when the couple

arrived home with their new baby, they found their

mailman dead on their front lawn.

There are many reasons to end a relationship.

My girlfriend and I had religious differences. I’m

Catholic and she is the Devil.

My girlfriend asked me if I will still love her after

marriage. I told her it all depends on her feels

about it.

They say when you meet the right person, you

know immediately. When you meet the wrong

person, it takes a few years to figure it out.

I spent over thirty minutes trying take off my

girlfriend’s bra. I wish I never tried it on in the first


My girlfriend woke up this morning with a huge

smile on her face. love sharpies.

The voice of love seems to call me all the time. I

realized that it is the wrong number.

That awkward moment after one year of marriage

when you realize the husband-wife jokes weren’t all


There is a huge difference between being in a

relationship and being in prison. In prison, they

allow you to play softball on weekends.

My boyfriend is like my self-esteem. I have none.

A woman in a new relationship went to psychic

to get a few answers. “You came to me to find out

your future with a new guy.”

“Not exactly. I came to find out about his past

before I decide on his future.”

I like being married. I was tired of dating and

really tired of exercising.

The only men a woman can change are

the little ones in diapers.

You can’t make

somebody love you. You

can only stalk them

and hope for the best.

What’s a Queen

without her King?

Historically speaking,

more powerful.

You think I’m cute

when I’m angry? Well

get ready, because I’m

about to be gorgeous.

One major reason single woman pamper

and primp before going out is they know

men prefer beauty over brains.

He different between a knife and an

argument with my wife is a knife has a


12 \\ Foolish Times

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429 Alvarado St, Monterey

January 2024 // 13

New Year, Same Me.

Hello and welcome to 2024, oooeee. The last three

years are just melted together for me. I felt 2023 had

a lot of hope and it was a bit of an underwhelming yet

challenging experience. Encountered many trials and

one by one, I took care of them and came out victorious.

Yeah, some bruises and scrapes, couple of tears here and

there, but like all the strong, independent women, had to

get back up and dust off. Sure, sometimes we all need a

little break and get by with a little help from our friends,

but remember, and this is important: do not quit!

For your 2024 journey, the following essentials might


1) Sunscreen: Whether you are Mexican mocha

or Mexican vanilla, sunscreen yo’self! I find it that

most women use sunscreen on their face. We are not

sunproof like all the men who refuse to use it. Sunscreen

is not just to go to the pool or the beach. The Sun is

everywhere; even a little dab will do you. Use it.

2) Lip balm: it is distracting to speak with folks who

have chapped lips, not to mention, but I will anyway,

that if someone is not taking care of themselves, they are

probably also prone to not take care of other things.

3) Water: drink it! Water is life. Also, wash your


4) Sunglasses: they are not just for looking cool

although that is a plus. They are to protect your eyes, at

least that is the way eye! See it. Get it?

5) Comfortable shoes: When I was young and had a

better back, I used to get Vans or Chucks and now, I get

the ones that look like those but with a more comfortable


6) Hobbie: It is healthy to have passions, create

things, things. All these darn tik-tokers are making us

lose the sight of real hobbies with meaningful purpose…

but then again, if they serve the purpose to keep people

from actually doing things. China always ahead of us,

way to keep the world distracted.

It doesn’t have to be ten; I can be three or whatever

number you want. Anyway, I really hope 2024 is better

for all of us. I achieved a lot in 2023 and it all came with

a price. The Rolling Stones are right, “you can’t always

get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll find

you get what you need” and really, sometimes what

you need is not what you want. But hey, that’s why they

have comebacks. Tom Brady comebacks. Mental health

expensive but please know that is worth it. Invest in


May love be present for you and find what makes

you happy. Happy New Year! Cheers to another year of

dramedy in this life we live.

14 \\ Foolish Times

Originally, I was going to describe my trip to the dentist. Then I

thought, how dull! Why would anyone want to read about that?

There is nothing vaguely amusing, or scary, about a cracked

molar. Stuff like that happens all the time. And apart from the

resulting toothache that prompted the visit, the episode overall

wasn’t all that painful. However, as this storyteller recently

discovered, drama is as much about perspective as it is about

presentation and content...and pretending you’re someplace

you’re not. So relax and enjoy the visit. I promise, you won’t feel

a thing.

Seeing a dentist is actually one of the

few ordeals in life that don’t intimidate

me. There are far worse trials, far as I’m

concerned, than having my teeth worked

on. For example, I’d rather undergo a root

canal any day, even an extraction, than to

balance myself on a ladder. Heights terrify

me. Of course, if it’s a tossup between

climbing a ladder and making a phone call,

I’d opt for the ladder in a heartbeat. Tells

you how I feel about phones.

A needle syringe is something else that doesn’t unnerve me

the way it does other people. What’s with some of the patients

on those medical emergency shows? You see a guy whose arm

was mangled

in a mulcher,


his bloody


The ER

nurse tries to

administer a

tetanus shot,

and he recoils

in horror.

“Please, no


I despise

needles!” I’m

A king doesn’t

let his queen

fight his


thinking: Get real, fella! Your arm has just been ground into

hamburger, and you’re afraid of one skinny little needle???

Compared to that, an injection is barely a kiss!

Again, it all boils down to perspective. In my time, I’ve had

doctors stick needles in my gums, needles in both my eyes,

needles in fresh wounds, needles in places I’d rather not talk

about. Does having my flesh punctured provoke fits of hilarity?

Hardly. BUT…it beats swabbing public latrines. Or watching

reruns of “Gomer Pyle.” Or pretending I’m overjoyed to receive

a call from someone I don’t feel like talking

to. (I really do hate phones!)

That’s not to imply that sitting in the

dentist’s chair all afternoon was fun. I’d

have preferred my comfy recliner at home.

Also, the experience would have been more

diverting had the dental assistant assigned

to me worn an alluring fragrance, or

whispered sweet, semi-audible nothings in

my ear while she shoved gauze and hardware

down my throat. I could go on about her, but

probably shouldn’t, seeing how she might

read this piece in FT and take offense at my remarks. Not

cool! Generally speaking, women who stick sharp tools and

junk into people’s mouths for a living should NOT be insulted

or trifled with. A man could lose more than a tooth that way.

(Bear with me; this is the happy gas speaking.)

My root canal would certainly have been more profitable

had the dentist PAID me to keep my jaw propped open for

two hours at a stretch, gagging and choking back my spit and

boring myself into a funk, instead of billing me for the visit.

But who’s complaining? In exchange for my courage and good

humor during the procedure, I received my very first crown! I

could almost hear “Pomp and Circumstance” blaring through

the office vents, throngs of devoted subjects cheering me on,

chanting my name. I envisioned men on horseback, jugglers,

clowns and brightly attired ladies somersaulting down the

boulevard; floats, fireworks, marching bands, and banners

bearing my image. (I do so LOVE that gas!) The fantasy gave

me such a rush, I hurried home and busted a second tooth so I

could start the entire process again!

There was only one problem about

making another appointment. It involved

using my old nemesis, the telephone. UGH!

At first, I was going to have my wife make

the call for me, like she usually does. Then

I remembered: Hey, I’m royalty now! A

king doesn’t let his queen fight his battles.

Besides, I’d win more bravery points if

I performed the odious deed myself this

time—not to mention a second crown.

Wouldn’t Jann be proud!

So this big boy girded himself and made

the dreaded call. Everything else was gravy.





January 2024 // 15

Windows, Temples, and

Spooky Snots

“When one door closes, God opens a window.”

Ironically, this common phrase comes straight

from traditional Eskimo wisdom. I know, it seems

wrong on so many counts, doesn’t it? Hey, that’s

the miracle of it all. Still, “the devil is in the

details,” and that window could be on a high-rise

penthouse. This is why life is hard.

H.O-M-E. Four letters we pack with meaning

and feelings. January 1981. Boston. Fire. Homeless.

Yadda yadda. Okay, no teasing, I woke up to

smoke pouring from the baseboards in my third

floor apartment. Everyone escaped, and bless the

fireman who saved one of my cats as my neighbors

and I huddled in a Red Cross van and watched our

building burn. I was a waitress, no car, no savings,

no insurance. Bit of a pickle, it was.

Robert Frost said, “Home is the place where,

when you have to go there, they have to take you

in.” Right on, Bobby! So, I boomeranged back to

Wisconsin for refuge in the “mother ship” — my

parents’ home. Like a phoenix, I rose from ashes

with new clarity and purpose. Just kidding. Over

two states, I zigzagged across eight jobs and six

addresses, while friends and family scribbled every

change because they loved me. When the dust

settled, I sent everyone a new “T” page.

Fast-forward through acres of yadda and I can

offer a column where unmitigated blather always

has a home. Except for the “flammable” details, it

was entirely generated by AI.* Belly up to a trough

of spiritual cocoa at DILLIGS, aka “Does It Look

Like I Give a Sh*t!?”

QUESTION: I’m a neatnik but my husband is

messy. Help!

DILLIGS: Is his name Tony? Sweetie, he wrote to

complain that you nag. If you two want a miracle,

consult an Eskimo whose igloo has windows. Are

we talking about Tony’s socks on the floor? Or

basement steps strewn with marbles and possum

traps? First, heat your bathrobes in the dryer,

put ‘em on and then jointly define “good enough.”

Consider this: “A spotless house is a sign of a

misspent life.” Having said that, hygiene she be

wicked fine too. Returning home after a short trip

can be a brutal wake-up call. You might suddenly

see with fresh eyes the filthy tree house you call

home, so encrusted with bird spatter it looks like

Jackson Pollock flew over.

QUESTION: Can self-acceptance be a sort of

emotional home?

DILLIGS: You bet. Embrace imperfection, don’t

compare. When that fails… hello, pizza, my old

friend! Mark Twain said, “A man cannot be

comfortable without his own approval. There is

nothing more satisfying than that sense of being

completely at home in your own skin.” Easier said

than done, especially when our skin starts birthing

moles that pop up like surprised prairie dogs.

QUESTION: Why do we say our bodies are

temples? Sounds barren and lonely.

DILLIGS: Yeah, far from homey with no favorite

chair or pet hair. That’s why many folks soften

their temples by wearing threadbare zebra sweats

and Firestone winter flipflops. Frankly, we may be

more like yurts in need of fresh hides. Loneliness

sucks, but we can belt out a hearty “Honey, I’m

home!” because our yurts are stuffed with 39

trillion microbial squatters. I suspect they snuck in

through windows opened by an overzealous deity.

They’re tiny but when these cuties link what passes

for arms, they cushion the impact if we jump from

a height. Could’ve been useful in ‘81. But better

late than never, and with 39T helpers buckled into

coach, over time I’ve mastered — don’t try this at

home, kids — a flying somersault off a building into

a dumpster.

QUESTION: I think our home is haunted! What

should we do?

DILLIGS: Ring bells and wave your arms to be

loud and big. Wait, that might be for gators stalking

Florida golfers. Anyway, most spirits are harmless

lazy-asses, banging cupboards and sneaking beer.

Just once, would it kill them to clean the litter box?

Instead of hiding the TV remote, they could grow

a pair and tackle those hospital billing errors or

internet issues

by wrestling

with dead-end

phone menus and

online “Support”

staffed by robots

on crack. But,

no. Spooky snots

wander the

house, willy-nilly

opening windows.

Huh. So… are

Eskimos aware

that ghosts do


*Asinine Ideas

16 \\ Foolish Times

Episode 25

"Not Pretty in Pink"

Written and Illustrated

by Dana B. Larrabee






Previously: Malcolm D. Monster promises ad man Lester

Krasse two million dollars to deliver a marauding T. Rex to

promote his new Salinas Monster Mart store. But when despite

Army tank fire, the creature escapes clutching teenager Neil

Scallopini to wreak havoc on Salinas, it takes Air Force jets to

subdue it with tranquilizer dart-tipped missiles, and the T. Rex

and Neil are incarcerated. Krasse cobbles together a fake T. Rex

commercial hoping to win over Monster Mart, and local media

reps begin courting him, one of whom is KTOM radio’s Sue

Foxx. CEO Monster nixes Krasse’s fake dinosaur commercial,

insisting on the real deal. Undaunted, Krasse convinces Sheriff

Naylor to release the creature on a “work furlough” for Monster

Mart’s commercial starring the heavilly sedated GODZELDA.

When Neil sees it, he reveals how the T.Rex came out of his

iceberg hunting expedition for the Icily Nicely Ice Co., and

demands to be released. Later when Captain Horatio Algae

corroborates his fantastic story, Neil regains his freedom, and

just as Monster Mart’s Grand Opening commences he learns

from Felicia Nicely how Lester Krasse defrauded the company.

So Neil sets off for Monster Mart in the Karmann Ghia he and

his father restored to find Krasse and get Felicia’s money back.

Dr. Quayle finally arrives for Godzelda’s morning injection and

bumps into Neil on the way in, and when Krasse learns Neil is

in the store sends security guards after him...

The noise of the crowd reverberated down

the network of narrow Monster Mart service

corridors. It was loud enough to penetrate

even the cinder-block and concrete walls of

the security guards’ locker room.

Calvin McGraber nervously checked his

watch. He tucked in his polo shirt and wondered

why it was so important Scallopini be

removed from the premises. The teenager

didn’t look like a troublemaker.

“Better hustle your bustle, Arnie,” he said

watching his partner struggle into the pink

dress he’d selected. Arnold Strong reached

behind, groping for the zipper which eluded

him. “I can’t get this, Cal,” he whined. “I don’t

know how women do it!”

“Here, I’ll zip you up,” McGraber offered,

trying to be helpful.

“This is STUPID!” grumbled his partner. Mc-

Graber handed him a shoe box. “Look, these

match your outfit.”

Arnie scowled. “No way I’m doing this! You

think it’s such a hot idea, you be the babe!”

“Arnie, the stuff won’t fit me. Put on the

shoes and let’s GO!”

Arnie shook his head. He unlaced his black

boots, kicked them off and reluctantly pulled



on the pink pumps. He stared down at them

and frowned. “You tell the guys I did this and

you’re dead, Cal, I swear it,” he said, standing

up gingerly. “You owe me big time!” His ankles

wobbled as he walked unsteadily towards the


“Why Arnie, you’re positively gorgeous,”

McGraber teased. “But your hair’s all wrong.

You got that thing on backwards.” He led his

partner to the mirror over the wash-basin and

adjusted the blonde wig to properly crown the

disguise. “There! You’re a raving beauty! And

see! We look just like a couple out shopping.

I tell you, this is going to work great!”

He executed an exaggerated courtly bow

and opened the door for Arnie who stumbled

after a few mincing steps. McGraber caught

his arm and guided him down the corridor that

led to the bleacher area.

“Now this punk we’re after is in that center

section. Him with the light brown hair. See

there? Between the dark-haired woman and

those two kids. We’ll take those seats just

behind him.”

“Yeah, but this is dumb!” Arnie whined.

“Cool it!” McGraber whispered sharply.

“You’ll blow our cover!” He smiled to the couple

on the end of the aisle. “Excuse us,” he said

and escorted Arnie past them. “Yes, do pardon

us!” Arnie trilled in an unnatural falsetto.

McGraber gently nudged his partner. “Don’t

overdo it, Arnie!” he cautioned under his

breath and accidently knocked off a man’s hat

with his armload of packages. Arnold Strong

suppressed a snicker.

“MOVE ALONG YOU TWO!” bawled a voice

from behind. “Yeah! We can’t see the show!”

complained another.

“Come on, Arnie! Let’s move it! MOVE IT!!”

pleaded McGraber.

Neil heard the yelling and turned to


“I think he saw us, Cal,” Arnie whispered


“Be cool. Act nonchalant,” McGraber advised,

and the bogus shoppers cautiously

edged their way down the row. Neil saw nothing

unusual and turned his attention back

to the dinosaur. “Great! He doesn’t suspect

a thing!” McGraber exclaimed triumphantly.

“Come on, hustle up! We gotta grab those

seats before anyone else!”

Next: Episode 26

Big Time Emergency

All previous episodes available at www.foolishtimes.net

January 2024 // 17

// Peter Mehren

Oh, how happy we were as pre-teen males so long ago,

when the annual Sears Roebuck catalog came out! Our

parents used it quite the way people now use Amazon and

other on-line shopping services. One could even buy all

of the parts needed to make a complete Model-T Ford. Of

course, most were merely buying one or a few replacement

parts… but it would have been possible

-and much more expensive- to build one’s

own Model-T.

But for us, approaching adolescenthood,

we could see ladies’ underwear!

The photos, in color, were far less

suggestive than those in more recent

catalogs. Pragmatic, in fact. Might as well

have been on dummies. But there they


“I see London, I see France; I see someone’s underpants!”

was an amusing chant while girls hung upside-down from

the monkey bars, the jungle gyms, during recess.

And bra straps!

Oh, we were young and silly, unsophisticated, not even

knowing why we thought we were interested.

And then came Playboy! And some of the “mysteries,”

or, sadly for those of us perceptive enough to separate

Left and Right Brain reactions, the obvious facts, were

presented and to some extent “solved.”

Oh, how young, unsophisticated, and silly we were.

But it remains depressing, looking back from relative

antiquity, to see this perpetual flirtation with the

eventually depressing reality of normal bodies, as it


Victorian era -19th and early 20th Century- British

people, which includes we pseudo- or semi-British people

here in what remained the at least cultural colonies,

reportedly put “pants” on the nether regions of dogs and

horses, and even on the “legs” of grand pianos, lest seeing

them might drive men to lustful madness and women to

embarrassed fainting spells.

And meanwhile, Freud was making so many objects

into falik [sic]

symbols… even

though even he,

a cigar smoker,

did say that

“sometimes a

cigar is just a


What the

Victorians -and

many other

inhibited people

around the worldwere

hiding was

the fact that

humans are animals: we use those nether regions to

make more humans; and those chest bumps are how

human mothers -like animals!- feed these new humans…

if they can’t hire another lactating female to do it for


Of course, by this reasoning, while we hide the exits,

we should also hide our

eating holes, because

Oh, how young,


and silly we were

eating, too, is something

we share with everything

else. Oh, we can make it

elegant, as we sip wine

and crush overpriced fish

eggs between our whitened

teeth. But we’re grazing,

energizing ourselves, not

just gourmeting.

After I became slightly familiar with female torsos, I

noticed similarities with those of fat men I’d see at the

gym; and, likewise, some with thin men.

And then there are “trans” people, who add or subtract

to suit their self-images. Are those the breasts of someone

of our own gender, and therefore “normal”; or of the other

gender -to retain the traditional binary view of humansin

which case they are somehow more stimulating?

Several years ago, in Ontario, Canada, a young woman

was doing summer work, clearing brush and such, with

a couple of young men, and on a particularly hot day,

the guys took off their shirts… and, recognizing their

good sense, young Gwen did so too, and was arrested,

for Indecent Exposure. But eventually the Canadian

Supreme Court acknowledged that what she was

“exposing” exactly paralleled what the two lads, one

himself a bit porky, were nonindecently showing. And

females were henceforth permitted to appear “topless” in

public… except when it was being done “commercially.”

In public -not in the “topless bars” that sprang up around

North America.

And the fantasies, going back to those catalog-days,

were spoiled, dashed, for anyone who could afford a beer

or a cup of coffee.

Of course, now anyone with an internet account can

see, albeit in two dimensions, practically anything. Upon

opening the google or whatever, up come “thumbnails,” a

large proportion of which are about breasts: see-through

dresses, underboob bras, nipple covers or reveals. Too

much information, one could say.

And sometimes all of this, diminishing fantasy as it

does, can be worse than disappointing.

Like so much else in life, as one learns about reality and


Life then becomes Foolish Times.



What do you call a fly

without wings?

A walk

Why did the toilet

paper roll down the


To get to the bottom

Why did the deer go

to the dentist?

It had buck teeth

What kind of shoes

do bananas wear?


Why did the belt go

to jail?

Because it held up a

pair of pants

Why did the

computer wear


It wanted to improve

its website

When does Friday

come before


In the dictionary

What kind of tree fits

in your hand?

A palm tree

What do pigs use in

the shower?


What did the lawyer

wear to court?

A law suit

18 \\ Foolish Times

// Charles Birimisa

Early job reminiscences

Today, some of my most fond memories deal with

early jobs I had, and jobs I didn’t get. These were

the years after the first job, a newspaper route,

which ran from 1976 to June of 1980. The first job

chance came in late 1980 and I didn’t become a

dishwasher at the Golden Rickshaw on Freedom

Boulevard (now closed). The interview in the dim

and quiet banquet room

gave me the creeps. Added

Not working

had sparked


that I was a


to that was nerves, being

unprepared, and frankly

not looking like a wanted

the job. I can admit it now, I

didn’t. My friend Erwin also

interviewed at the eatery

when I did, got the job.

Kmart (now Safeway

at Freedom Center) was

another job hope. Grace

interviewed my friend

Randy and me. Randy, who wore a shirt and tie, got

the job. Again, I purported myself in a manner that

did not enhance me as a potential employee for the

large retailer. I wanted the Kmart job more than

the Rickshaw job, but that wasn’t good enough.

If I wore a shirt and tie? Not long after that, I

did work one weekend at Thrifty Drugs, also at

the Freedom Center. Erwin, who was also working

there helped me get substitute work. My first

assignment was to put together a barbecu set

for a display. To this day I’ve never had a task as

complex. There were screws and nuts and extra

little parts of all shapes and siz with instructions

that needed a magnifying glass to read - even for a

high schooler. When the boss noticed I was getting

nowhere with the barbecue he put me at the ice

cream counter which I liked because it makes

people happy when you deal with them.

The entire month of August in 1981 I worked

the Crosetti packing shed (today a car repair shop)

on Salinas Road. Mr.Kulich, the forema of the

broccoli line at the time, got me the job of pressing

he button that started and stopped the line. I also

raked the broccoli helping to evenly spread it out

on the belt. It was the highest paying job I ever

had, eight or nine dollars an hour. I made enough

that one month to last me

for a whole year. I had forgotten,

but in 1982 the economy was in a

recession and unemployment was

rampant. I didn’t work at all the

whole year until, after visiting the

unemployment office, and getting

a call for work at the fairgrounds

helping set up a horse show. I

remember hesitating at the offer.

Then I realized my not working had

sparked speculation that I was a

slacker. When one is not working

for a long time, such talk is a given.

“He likes to watch TV.” He’s lazy,” and the like. I

took the job and my mother drove me over to the

fairgrounds. I walked

around the grounds

looking for the place

where help was needed.

There was a semi-trailer

and I asked the person

next to it, “Is this for the

horse show (The Royal

LIpizzaner Stallions)?

It was and they got me

in the back of the van

unloading, teaming up

with another referral

from the unemployment

office. We were moving

these carpet roll-like

mats used to put together the horse course. I

didn’t bring gloves and fumbled with the course,

sharp and heavy mats. The guy in charge of the

hub saw me. “You ain’t ever worked before?” he

said smiling. I felt a centimeter tall. I remember

the song on the radio that could be heard at that

moment. “Oooh that smell... the smell of death

surrounds you.”

I improved at handling the mats in an otherwise

okay one time work experience. I didn’t stay for the

show. The other referral guy asked if I needed a

ride back into town. The car rattled all the way and

he dropped

me off at the

7-11 which

used to be at

Tuttle and

East Lake. I

walked home

with a few

extra bucks in

my pocket.

January 2024 // 19

// Dan St Paul More at: https://danstpaul.substack.com

I’ve been to church three times in the last year.

The first was a funeral mass. The second was a

wedding. The third was as a tourist in Belgium. I

used to go every Sunday

from early childhood until

high school graduation.

That’s what

you get when

you fink on

the Lord.

Catholic mass usually

lasted about three quarters

of an hour. I found myself

daydreaming at minute


It was assumed that

I accepted this long

fantastical history lesson:

Humankind started when

a Supreme Being placed a man and a woman

naked in a garden and forbade them to eat apples.

Nonetheless, a snake coaxed the woman to bite

one and from then on, all people would be born

with sin on their souls. Sin would condemn them

to eternal damnation unless they lived as the

Supreme Being dictated onto two stone tablets.

A procession of rituals then indexed my spiritual

path: When I was a baby, water was poured over

my head to absolve me of Eve’s sin, even though I

had no part in it. Never even met the woman. Had

I been there I would have recommended a peach.

More in season. From age seven, I swallowed

wafers every Sunday, careful not to bite them as

they symbolized the body of Christ. At thirteen, I

was confirmed as a soldier of Christ, even though I

knew then I was already an avowed pacifist.

The summer before high school I was invited to

spend a week at a seminary to determine whether

I had a vocation. I thought I might, until Day six

when I saw a young woman playing tennis. Her

lithe body gliding from side to side displaced any

notion of a lifetime of celibacy.

I’ve turned out to be a sinner. The day I

graduated from my Catholic high school, I tossed

away my cap and gown and I proclaimed that all

guilt and self-loathing had been tossed along with

them. I was ready to pursue an active bohemian

lifestyle. After all, it was San Francisco in 1969. I

swapped the crucifix around my neck for flowers in

my hair.

So, these three visits to the house of God were

my first in years:

As a pallbearer, I was instructed to sit in the

second pew. I had a clear view of the detailed

stained-glass window behind the tabernacle.

It depicted the faces of twelve men, clockwise,

surrounding a long-haired Jesus. (Come to think

of it, Jesus was has always been depicted with long

hair. If he walked the earth these days, I bet he’d

have a man bun.)

I assumed these twelve fellows to

be the apostles. In the twelve o’clock

position had to be Peter. His stern

countenance and higher position

were enough to convince me. The

rest of the group were uniformly

handsome, some bearded, some

not, and looked to be in their midtwenties

or early thirties. However,

one of them was astonishingly

homely, even goofy looking. He had a

balding pate with overlong curly hair on the sides.

He seemed lost, confused and ashamed. This, of

course, had to be Judas.

Whomever the artist, I wondered, was it his idea

to make Judas look like Larry of the three Stooges?

Was he instructed by the pastor to make him less

virile? How much license was he given? It appeared

to be quite a lot because this guy looked like he’d

ventured from an altogether different pane of

stained glass. Judas was, of course, assigned the

six o’clock position, low man on the apostle totem

pole. That’s what you get when you fink on the


My second appearance in church this year was

to witness the marriage of Cara’s two longtime

friends to one another. This was her first marriage,

and the celebration was joyous. Almost all of the

congregation knew them both, so a double dose of

happiness was unleashed.

The altar was awash with love. They looked like

they couldn’t believe it was really happening. Their

wide-eyed exuberance filled the congregation

with joy. We all felt that we were witnessing the

realization of a dream. It felt a little bit like when

the Giants won the World Series in 2010. The event

gave me that kind of vibe, except that the groom

was an A’s fan.

My third trip to church found me in the

Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Belgium.

Cara and I were wandering around this medieval

fairytale town, strewn with stores selling lace and

chocolates. We noticed a queue in front of a church.

We fell in line to find out what all the hubbub was

about. It happened that we were just in time for

a holy ceremony. As we sat in front of a modest

altar, a skinny young cleric ascended to reveal an

ancient vessel. It was a glass tube that was believed

to contain

a cloth

stained with

the blood

of Jesus,


from his

crucifixion. This was not a rare occasion. There

were three shows daily at noon, two and four.

Catholic legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea

collected the blood which was then brought from

the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of

Flanders. He bestowed it upon this church in

Bruges which was renamed the Basilica of the

Holy Blood. There is no telling whether this was

the only blood of Jesus Christ available. It could

be that several guys were hawking the blood of

Christ. Joseph of Arimathea could have just been

a franchisee. And who knew if it was the real thing

or just chicken blood scattered on a rag? It could

very well have been the Mexican knock-off Ray-

Bans of holy blood.

The congregation was then invited to come

forward in single file and gaze at blood of our

Savior. We decided to take a pass. It seemed

implausible that the blood could have remained

intact after so many hundreds of years. Of course,

if you are a devout Catholic, you take everything

on faith so sure, that had to be the real McCoy

because the priest said it was. After all, he is just a

few rungs down from the Pope, and he’s infallible.

I understand he has perfect punctuation.

That’s the deal with religion. You believe because

you think your parents believe. But once you start

thinking for yourself you switch gears or take it all

on faith. You are warned that you are way better off

having faith. If you don’t you will go to hell.

And that’s where they lost me. Why would a great

and merciful god create humankind and then

say, “Obey me or I’ll send you to this other place

I created where you’ll burn for all eternity?” That

doesn’t sound like God. That sounds more like

Donald Trump. What kind of sick power trip is

that? When evangelical Christians stand on street

corners and ask if I want to meet God, I say, “Meet

him? No thanks. That dude is twisted. If I were

you, I’d stay

as far away

as I can.”

20 \\ Foolish Times

// Nancy Pyzel www.ALifeWellSpent.net

“How are you doing, son?”

“Not great, mom. I have a sore throat. I felt tired

all day.”

“Are you drinking enough water? You should talk

with your doctor and try to get more sleep.”

“Thanks, mom. I love you.”

“I love you too, honey.”

Can you guess which one of the speakers is dead?

If you guessed both, you are close. It’s the mom!

The son is alive, he’s just really boring.

Justin Harrison created an AI version of his late

mother that he can talk to or text with. He says

it captures the essence of the relationship they

had. I listened to a few of their interactions on the

podcast, “Hidden Brain”. It sounded like AI-speak

to me – impersonal, rote, predictable - but then I

never met his mom.

Justin founded the company, “You, Only

Virtual”, or “YOV” (myyov.com), which promises to

keep loved ones alive forever, or as long as you can

stand them, whichever comes first. His obsession

with his mom and the company he founded took

a toll on his marriage. His wife gave him an

ultimatum – YOV or me. She has my sympathy.

Getting along with a spouse’s family has enough

challenges. But how do you deal with a dead,

virtual mother-in-law? Supporting a money-losing

company designed to keep your in-laws in nagging

order well past their expiration dates is a recipe

for divorce. Justin held on

to his mom virtually, but

lost his wife in real life.


elders could

spend their


on creating

virtual selves”

Condolences, Justin.

The Netlix show, “Black

Mirror” has an episode

about a bereaved, pregnant

wife succumbing to bringback-the-dead

tech. I

thought, “That’s not sci-fi!

It’s real!” Black Mirror took

it up a notch by adding a

robot that looked and acted

enough like expired hubby

to replace him – for a while.

I won’t spoil the plot, but

let’s say she learned something Justin hasn’t.

The technology

he created has NOT

enflamed popular

imagination. But it

doesn’t take much

imagination to

see the potential

for exploiting this

technology. Like

cashing in on fanfixation.

You could

rent out virtual

Taylor Swifts and

Michael B Jordan

to the lonely and

obsessed. Celebrity

Versonas (virtual

personalities) could

make appearances

at bachelor and

bachelorette parties,

bar mitzvahs, or any

festive occasion. The

drunk version of a

virtual celeb would

be more candid,

obnoxious and

expensive. Might

even be a pricier

porn version.

Scorned lovers could

leave voice mails for

them that dumped ‘em with a sexy virtual voice

in the background. Divorced spouses could leave

hidden voice bombs to pop up on their ex’s devices.

Bet you’ll never guess who would pay the

most. Grandparents! They are already making

YouTube videos to preserve their hard-earned life

lessons for future generations. Imagine if they

could do this interactively. AI could make anyone

seem wise by tapping into the current collective

wisdom and issue platitudes using language

younger generations will understand. Imagine

the satisfaction of telling your grandchildren

in perpetuity how naughty their parents were!

Instead of leaving their kids an inheritance,

self-absorbed elders could spend their fortunes

on creating virtual selves, or

“Versonas ” as YOV calls them.

Then they could nag future

generations from beyond the


How to get your heirs to

interact with your Versona?

Attach it to their inheritance.

They get $10 per minute to

engage with virtual you. Elon

Musk’s grandkids might demand

a mill a minute.

Have trouble with confrontation?

Program virtual you to be more

direct, to say what you think

without regard to kid’s feelings

because – you’re dead! Dead you doesn’t care if

adult kids are hurt or offended. Virtual you is a

software program. No more anodyne aphorisms.

You get to unleash all your favorite acrimonious

invectives on them without remorse.

Hate to wait? You can unleash YOV on future

generations while you are still alive to watch the

fun! When harsh words fly out of your virtual

mouth, blame the software. Tell them you need

to fix a bug and test it again. And again. Foulmouthed

virtual you can stand in for real you at

holiday dinners, so you can relax in the Bahamas.

Let your Versona do the hard work of telling

your daughter her turkey is dry, and her tablecloth

is wrinkled.

Have fun with tele-marketers! Your Versona

could be trained in the fine art of baiting and

taunting. You get hours of entertainment without

the stress of actually engaging with a salesperson.

‘Virtual you’ can attend boring meetings while

real you naps. Thumbs too big for texting? YOV

can return multiple texts at the same time, faster

than you can type a poop emoji. YOV could take all

those surveys for you, leaving you to actually enjoy

the hotel, restaurant, etc. without feeling guilty

if you don’t take a survey and like them on social

media. Virtual you can talk with several people on

the phone at once, while texting. Add this to a selfdriving

vehicle and you can let AI take over most of

your life, leaving real you to do as you please. What

could go wrong?



FOR 2024

January 2024 // 21

It’s against the law to be annoying and to deliberately upset

another person

This is punishable by having coffee with a group of chatty blue hairs from


It’s perfectly OK to give visitors wrong directions

It’s their fault for asking

Your lips are not allowed to touch the spout of a public drinking


No need to get personal with a water fountain unless you’re dating it

The white splattering of seagull dropping will be a form of art

Your car should wear it as a badge of honor

During summer, it is illegal to complain that it’s too cold

Receive a one way bus ticket to Bakersfield in August

Restaurants must use larger fonts on menus

Violating this will result in free drinks for older people

You must purchase a hunting license to buy mouse traps.

Not reporting this is punishable by watch Willard

It is illegal to make faces and children and dogs.

It’s not illegal to make faces at old people

Eating while swimming in the Pacific Ocean is illegal.

The only food allowed in the ocean is you

It is illegal to leave home unless you know where you are going.

There are too many people wandering around aimlessly as it is


Every Saturday morning




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22 \\ Foolish Times

Foolish Sudoku


from page 8

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While traveling to Florida, I stayed at a four

star hotel.When checking in, I asked for a

wake-up call.

I was told, “Your best years are slipping

away from you.

You dress like a bum, you smell bad and

you’re ugly.”

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January 2024 // 23

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