Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Were Your Undies in 'Nam?

23 Trillion Thrilling Clothing Things

From Happy Workers World Wide

Cheap dude’s out shovelin’ dirt like a herky-jerky electric scarecrow, too-big loose clothes flappin’ in the desert wind.

He’s had the same fashion, or lack thereof, for 30 years, jeans and a t-shirt. When the “grunge” look came and went, he was dirt poor and his clothes holy, so he was way cool for that little while.

His work offered a “uniform service,” which most workers (but none of the “administrative” echelon) used. For a weekly fee, outfits were supplied, then picked up, washed, and delivered each week. Convenient but not cheap, expensive if you lost one of their precious uniforms.

Cheap Dude hated uniforms. Military, police, boy scouts, they were all so YMCA. He especially hated the uniform of the Cult of his Youth, the white shirt and tie. The same white shirt and tie he was forced to wear for his many years in the grocery business. The Stressed Businessman or Earnest Missionary look. Wholesome. (Insert loud poot here.)

So his fashion was from the Used Crap Store, two or three dollars for ‘dress pants’ sometimes. Stain’em, rip ‘em, no worries! Most of his shirts were from his sons, who’d grown larger than he. He happily wore their cast-offs, Middle School Band, Chess Club, Latest Trendy Disease Awareness, and Celebrate Mediocrity.

Celebrate Mediocrity: Some “administrator” decided that stupid and lazy kids were psychologically harmed by watching smart kids get awards for high grades each semester. Thus a new program, “Strive for 0.5“ they called it. If you raised your grade from a D-minus to a D by actually showing up to class and attempting some of the work, you got the same award as the kids who slaved and struggled to keep their A’s. (This is real.) Now instead of 20 kids getting a handshake and a copied “certificate” for being on the Principal’s Honor Roll, 120 got a “Strive for 0.5“ t-shirt. His sons, who had often been part of the 20, called it “Celebrate Mediocrity,” and refused to wear the shirts.

(Luckily, each semester’s design was chosen from among striving art students’. Not uniform. Cut arts funding all you want, kids are creative until you crush that part of them with the fascist boot-heel of overwork. So Cheap Dude wore them, even as he felt his own creativity being crushed from overwork.)

His “youth sports” shirt collection was cut from the same cloth. Every season money was shaken from rich and poor to buy trophies for every single participant. No losers allowed among the delicate youth. Cheap Dude refused to pay, so no trophies for his sons, who weren’t much good at sports anyhow. The “Team Mom” considered him an ogre; the sons were indifferent. “If all the kids get one, it don’t mean squat,” one wisely noted. “Besides, basketball sucks, do I have to go to practice?”

(This was Cheap Dude’s Karmic Payback for telling his parents he didn’t believe in God. Basketball sucks?! That was so wrong on so many levels you couldn’t even argue with it, you just sat in stunned horror, what horrible parent fails to impart such a Critical Teaching?)

Cheap Dude’s Fall Work Pants Collection also included a few pairs of way-too-big jeans from a son’s rich friend who’d lost a bunch of weight. “Out of fashion” and fitting no one.

So now he goes to work in baggy jeans cinched with an old belt, and a light blue shirt from Le Club Francaise. “Hey dude, you lose weight?” No, just way-too-big pants. He’d rather have $50 in his pocket and look ridiculous, than spend $50 on “nice” pants that would just get wrecked anyhow. When you snag an angle-iron end and rip a huge hole in free pants, you just laugh.

Bad news for all the kids who grow up thinking they are special because of all the well-meant bogus t-shirts and trophies: someday you may end up in a third-hand shirt, wearing too-big pants, shoveling dirt.


On a whim Cheap Dude checked the labels of the cheap/free clothes he had on. As he suspected, it was a quick trip around the globe: sweatshirt from China, work shirt from Bangladesh, t-shirt from Honduras. Work boots, back to China. He had to pull his pants almost off to find the Dominican Republic label.

His underwear was made in Vietnam. Bomb the crap out of a country and next thing you know they’re selling you cheap underwear. All that death and destruction was worth it, maybe we “won” after all--Booyah!

Holy Underwear on a Solar Dryer 

In the “good old days,” youth of the U.S. had the same opportunity:12 hour days, six days a week. It took huge social movements to get women and children out of “sweatshops.” Massive strikes and riots for a “minimum wage" and eight hour days. Workers were gunned down by hired goons for this, the Owners fought every step.

In the end the Owners won anyway. “You spoiled children and selfish citizens want a life, a living wage? No way, we’ll move our factory to desperate countries full of desperate workers, as is our god-and-government-given right.” Not sure which god, but we know which side the government’s on. And we continue to buy their cheap stuff, “Thank You, and Have A Nice Day!”

Of course kids in Bangladesh are “happy just to have a job,” just like kids in the U.S. were supposed to be, back when. The Owners would love to bring those days back as Depression II settles in. We are willing slaves when we’re Happy Just to Have a Job.

Come back Haynes! Come back Froot of the Loon! We’ll go back to our old 72 hour weeks, at any wage! we won’t, not yet anyway.

So what do we do?

Help Hondurans go on strike, until the factory moves somewhere more desperate?

Make our own clothes, no matter how silly?

Who wants their wives and kids and selves to work all day for almost nothing, to provide free shirts to kids who do almost nothing?

Why do humans create new humans they can't possibly feed?

At what profit margin does insatiable greed become immoral?

Workers of the world, why have we stopped trying to unite?

What we will do, of course, is Nothing. Stand proud in our nice clothes on the backs of the world’s poorest. Cheap Dude’s there too, in his “free” hillbilly fashion. Poor of all ages gratefully clutching their daily gruel bowl thank us. We will Have A Nice Day, by God, full-bellied and fashionable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bag Bottom Dregs

Reduce Crunch Expenditures 22%

Think of it as having the first two chomps pre-masticated. Those hundred jagged pieces at the bottom of the chip bag. Eat them. As Chip Size decreases near the ultimate handful, Chip Density increases, which equals wasted food, and therefore money, if you throw them out back for the birds.

Never, never throw food away. Trashing food is the only Cardinal Sin fully endorsed by Cheap Dude. Feeding stale chips to a cardinal is righteous, however. Also, never let your parents catch you masticating on the Good Furniture.

Sweetened processed grains are eaten by millions of Statesians every morning. Highly popular because mom and dad can sleep in. Hooks ‘em young on refined sugar, a profitable addiction for centuries now. Industrial apples and bananas don’t do as well without the advertising budget. Kids mostly want what the TV tells them to want. (Like adults.)

Save: Buy the brands with the least sugar. The ones that taste like tendered sticks. The kids won’t eat them, so you never have to buy any more. Also, if they leave the last handful in every box, pour all these together, and refuse to buy more until it’s gone. “Stale Chex/Trix/Kix mix is not gross, you’re just not hungry enough.”

Starving the children to force them into eating food they do not “like” may cause them to whine about “child abuse.” But no law says you have to feed them the high dollar Sucrose Crack. Child Protective Services will not come to your door, “We have reports that your children are being forced to eat Store Brand Chaffios, we are here to take them to a home that serves Globalfucht Farms Choco-Apple-Yummy-Crunchy-Blast-Pops.”

A grown Son once remarked that he only liked oatmeal when camping. He may not remember that when backpacking, it was the only thing to eat in the morning. By the third day the fresh fruit was gone, and Cheap Dude refused to carry extra weight and pay extra money for dainties like pancakes and syrup. When you hike all day lugging a pack, type of food no longer matters--quantity is all. In the morning, no one asks what--only when.

Note: Strapping weight to kids' backs and leading them like pack animals all day is not child abuse either--yet.

So buy the Sugar Free Tender Sticks, and stick to it. (In a pinch they can be used as “tinder” to start a fire when camping.) Your pampered brats will get over it, and may even thank you--when they are 43.

Big Horse Brother is watching you, to see if you're going to eat that old cereal, 'cause he's sick of that nasty dry grass.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Every "Investment Strategy" is Bass-Ackwards

Financial Advice From an Admitted Ignoramus

Be 100% Successful Without Really Doing Anything

You’ve seen them on your magic picture device. Modern Cathedrals full of frenzied humans, waving, shouting, shuffling papers, frantically pecking at computer keyboards and cell phones. These are the new Financial Elite.

Once, long ago, people made money by mass-producing cheap crap, selling it for as much as possible to someone else, who, with lies and trickery, convinced others they needed the crap, for even more profit. This clearly superior system has filled our land of freedom with more cheap crap than any other nation in history. But no longer.

Let other, lesser countries make the crap. We’re busy with Fantasy Football, Dancing With Stars, and Internet Pornography! (Kids now have it easy. In the old days we had to find Dad’s hiding place, or dig through the neighbors’ trash, to get Free Porn.)

Now only fools actually make or do anything useful. Now Financial Success requires Magic Vehicles, from be-suited gangs with lawyers to wide-eyed salesmen, with Corporate lack of conscience.

Cheap Dude long clung to the foolish notion that success came from hard work, honesty, and thrift. Ha ha, what a sap! “Finance” with computers in the game is paper-shuffling on steroids. If you can’t earn your piece of the pie with honest labor, steal it with legal sorcery, salesmen, and computer programs. God bless the “economy” and our government for assisting with this “opportunity!”

The Cheap Dude has devised a system update, to include regular folks eating federal peanut butter and many-days-old bread, living in their car on the fringe of Free Market Fairyland. The former hard-working, honest, and thrifty, now bereft and completely demoralized. “The Economy" is not dead, it just smells like it. Every “investment strategy" is wrong. From my forthcoming book, Who Cut the Cheese: the Sweet Smell of Success, a fiscal reverse:

1. Stocks are still a wise investment. However, one must not be strictly bullish; one must be cow-ish as well. One bull, one cow, soft jazz music and a candle-lit dinner of high grade alfalfa, your stocks are sure to grow. The Stock Yard can easily replace the Stock Exchange, since both involve crowded herds wandering earnestly through fields of crap hoping for some sort of reward. In the end, all must die, but creatures from the Stock Yard taste much better than those sickly bipeds.

You will not get rich with this stock. They are not being crowded into pens full of poop, force-fed indigestible food, or shot up with antibiotics and hormones. But if the stock market crashes, they will still be delicious.

2. Mutual Funds are numerals on complicated computer programs representing magic invisible money. All of it is completely and arbitrarily made up, and you can lose all your money in a split second when some computer somewhere says so. Much better, then, to invest in Mutual Fun: Use all your money to throw a party, and invite all your friends. Your Mutual Fun can never be taken from anyone, and often leads to a lot more Mutual Fun! An excellent long-term investment!

3. CDs--never buy them. Bank CDs can cost $1,000, $5,000, even $20,000. If you must have a CD, the Used Crap Store has piles of them for only a dollar each. Even these are bad investments; upon listening, their value usually drops to zero.

Getting ready to burn some CDs

4. Loans are stupid. Arrogant be-suited humans delve into every aspect of your private life to determine whether you are worthy of owing them. (They have huge piles of money, but act as if it’s really precious.) After verifying your complete lack of need for the loan, they give it to you, then want you to start paying it back--plus made-up “fees,” “interest,” and “service charges”! If you ever finish paying off a home loan (does anyone?), you will have paid $250,000 for a $100,000 house--if you are lucky enough to get a “low rate”! How did this flagrantly criminal scam become normal, even desirable? In summary: No one wants to be “a loan.” The banks, however, hope to get you “a loan,” so they can have their way with you.

5. Regarding “principal” and “interest.” Cheap Dude’s pittance is all invested in his “principal interest”: snuggling nude with Mrs. Cheap Dude as often as possible. In fact, this type of principal interest makes the entire world’s markets go; the more money you have, the more nude snuggling will be available. A risky investment in an always volatile marketplace, but with endless potential for delightful dividends.

6. Bonds are another excellent investment. As you invest in the happiness of friends and family, bonds strengthen and increase in value. This is not to be confused with “Bondage and Domination,” which describes your relationship with the bank if you ever miss your monthly extortion, er, payment.

7. Hedge Funds are self-explanatory: money you invest in landscaping always increases you property’s value. Pay the gardener well; he is helping to support nine people in a one room apartment and another 14 back home--a true Financial Wizard.

8. FIRE: Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate. This is a handy way to remember which businesses are completely imaginary. These involve shuffling incomprehensible documents, entering huge numbers into computers at random, and frightening people into signing stuff they will never read or understand. An apt acronym, as you are likely to get burned.

For Sale: Cute little fixer-upper. Steel and block construction. Carpet. Fenced yard with trees. Great views. Great starter home. Full basement. Financing unavailable.

9. NASDAQ is just like NASCAR--people with money to burn, going nowhere as fast as possible--but a lot more boring. Very risky: vehicles often crash and burn without warning.

10. SEC: as in “Wait a SEC, Richie Rich, I think you’re ripping me off.”

11. IRA: Hayes, from the Johnny Cash song about an alcoholic Native American WWII veteran. Heavy drinking is a logical reaction to the current financial gang-rape of These States, especially if you fought for what you thought was your country. An investment available at parking lots and back alleys in Window Rock, Arizona: “Dude, got spare change for a’ old vet who needs a drink?” Hell yes, Sir!

12. CDO: Remember the rock band BTO, Bachman/Turner Overdrive? They were OK. Clapton/Dion Overkill? Coltrane/Dolly Overload? Cobain Drug Overkill? Cornflake Destruction Outrage? How about Complete Debt Optimization (Have You Borrowed Your Maximum?) There is no CDO that would not suck. Do not invest.

13. IPO is an Initial Public Offering. This is much like a church offering. You give your money to a quasi-corrupt organization, and get little or nothing in return except a tax write-off.

14. A tax shelter is another magic place, where rich people and corporations hide money from their governments. Also known as “welfare for the rich.” If you need a tax shelter, you have too much money.

15. The DEPP fund: Drugs, Extortion, Prostitution, and Pornography. A surefire investment if there ever was one. Unfortunately 100% fiction.

16. ATF: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. An actual branch of the government, but could be a literally “surefire” investment. In Arizona, ATF is a routine investment for a good party. Recently, Explosives were added to the ATF. How much fun can one bureaucracy have?!

If you want financial security, guaranteed income, and protected assets, two words of advice: Forget it. The whole system is rigged to take your little capital, and stack it with their big pile. Hide every penny in a hole in your backyard, stuff it in your mattress, stash it in your sock drawer. Smaller amounts should be stuffed down your pants, less likely to be spent when reeking of crotch.

Or, find someone poorer than you, and give it all to them. Better to invest it on the downtrodden and desperate, than some financial ass who makes more money in one year than you do in twenty. Your loss is their gain.

Somewhere, in some old “Holy Book,” is written: “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Wow, how wrong can you get? Thankfully, the U.S. got it right: the love of money is the basis of all capitalist enterprise!

All that glitters is not gold. Usually, it's broken glass. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drugs at Quickie Mart!

As if a Penny Pinching B didn’t have enough problems, Cheep found self taking drags off stupidly-cig-addicted adult child’s delicious red-boxed Gnarlboros--the Perrier of cancerous pre-rolled U.S. cigs. The dumb B’d already quit like a dozen times. It was not that far from a hit off a glass pipe. Dangerous, all that, cigs too.

Don’t do it, Cheep, stay off the Nic, comrade! Wait til they cure cancer then buy a carton. Or chew, then you can see the cancer coming on, sometimes.

New anti smoking slogan. Nic is a vasoconstrictor, which reduces blood flow in general. It literally will hinder, uh, maximum blood flow. To all areas of the body. Hence:

Smoking Makes Your Stuff Smaller

Nice circumlocution, huh? And at five bucks plus per daily fix, that Stuff too.

Fade to photo of the Gnarlboro Man. Up close he looks like your neighbor’s creepy grandpa, but right now he’s wearin’ Cowboy Duds, lookin’ tough ‘n’ mean out on the range in the Old West.


Helpful hint: How to know whether or not you are Addicted: there is no longer any internal debate over whether you will buy More. No if, just when. This goes for all substances, you self-righteous Sugar Freaks.

Addiction is always fun at first. Not so much later. It never quite goes away, just circles around like a buzzard, waiting for a peck at you. No choice: Flip it off and move on. Hey now we have stumbled over an anti-drug mantra too:

“Flip Off, Move On”


Bulletin from Impecunious Kitchen: Extreme Condiment-Free Snaxwiches.

1) Take one slice of fake meat food product named after an Italian city, from the “out of date” pack in the back of the fridge. Two slices bread. Insert product between bread. Eat.

2) A tomato on the counter is starting to wrinkle. Slice, then assemble between two bread slices. Eat.

3) A triple-decker may be attempted if the rest of the “Bologna” needs used up, or another tomato decomposing. Enjoy!


It may be observed that the ill individual responsible for these words uses only the Cuss Words of the Holy Bible. That is, King James’ Three, “ass,” “damn,” and “hell,” and only when necessary; King George’s Seven will not be used here.

Ideas can cause plenty of trouble on their own. Certain words make some readers switch you off the second they run into them. The Cheep-cheep always tries to talk nice, it’s how mankind gets along, and usually there’s no reason not to eh?

If you are bored today, check out my exchange with a war lover at the local little paper.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Impecunious Cuisine:

Peanut Butter Taoist, er, Toast

The Staph of Life

Hello Universe.

Today let’s enter the Impecunious Kitchen. Here, Poverty Poseur shall demonstrate the finest dining possible when penniless.

Uh-oh, no one’s done dishes for a few days. If we just pile a few of these over here...ack, something smells funny...phew, rotten cabbage or what? Hot soapy water for once, clonk tink sponk, slippety slosh on the counter and whippety wipe.

While this pile dries, we’ll pile the less stinky ones here. This worn out broke-down kitchen doesn’t look like the ones on TV somehow. Ah well, to hell with TV; literally, burn it eternally O Lord.

Poverty Poseur now steps up to his small cleared section on the cluttered counter, and begins the day’s cuisine. Peanut Butter Toast, on Artisan Bread. Since this is not TV, all can gather closely around, block all camera angles, jostle and joke, and add wisdom and non sequiturs of a graphic nature. Or, wander off, who cares?

We are toasting with the High Dollar Bread only because the Poseur’s son works at the bakery and gets it free. Two week old bread from the Food Credit Union will nourish rich and poor as well. (Rhetorical Question: If Food Banks fail, will the government “bail them out”?)

Store Brand is our peanut butter today. Again, U. S. peanut butter in the Big Cans will keep you alive just as well, and please don’t feel inferior if you can’t afford Store Brand. Jesus loves you as much as He always did.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve no “electric toaster” either. Bread will undergo the conversion to toast on any stove burner, right quick, with or without a pan. This here toaster’s only a few years old, don’t mind the crumbs goin’ all willy-nilly. Put the bread in and push the lever down. Wow! They’re burning coal near Holbrook to produce electricity, which is sent with many miles of metal wires to this toaster. That would be awesome if it wasn’t so retarded!

Stay with it. You never know when someone has messed with the timer, and your bread will be burned because of some burned-toast-liking madperson.

Ah yes, toasty bread, yum. Put it directly on the counter, don’t waste dead trees or dirty a plate. Poseur first applies a tiny bit of Fake Butter, since it’s mostly water and oil. No Real Butter, it increases his Fart Rate.

Also, he uses his index finger instead of a knife. Why not, it’s pretty clean. You can use your own finger for your toast, obviously. After wiping the Fake Butter onto the toast as best you can, dip into the peanut butter. It is easier to apply the PB evenly with your finger than with a knife, and one less utensil to clean. Same with the Jam, but be sure and lick all the PB off your finger before you stick it in the Jam. No one wants Jam Contamination. Good band name though. That the Jam also gets licked off goes without saying, or should have anyway. Proper germ sharing strengthens immune systems.

Again, don’t dirty a plate or a processed-tree sheet. Use your hands. Mmm, chompety crunch, I could eat this anytime. Now, if someone would please clean the rest of this kitchen, I’ll pay them in golden toast!

One final word before we sign off here at Impecunious. “Code Dates” on packaged food are mostly Malarkey (a real word). There were no code dates on food for at least 200,000 years, until now. If the food smells bad, it is. Canned food’s not bad 'til the can starts expanding. Just cut the mold off cheese or bread. You can eat rotten meat if you boil it long enough. (Note: check the interwebs for rotten meat recipes.)

If you eat bad food and get sick, you will throw up, then feel better, thus making the meal super low in calories. So eat it all, and let your guts sort it out.

Here's a handy way to save money on dead tree sheets. Use the Crap Mart ads.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sitting and Thinking is Absolutely Free

Find the Meaning of Life for a Low Low Price

Heaven May Be a Place Where Not Much Happens

Cheap Dude lay on the floor of the beat up trailer where his two youngest sons lived in happy squalor. He’d spent the prior day repairing a water leak, and insulating windows with clear plastic and duct tape. North winds whistled down the mountain most of the winter, every little defense helped. He was in heaven.

It had started near the beginning of his 12 hour night shift. They had called him at work, a water leak had sprung from somewhere and slithered under the stove and ‘fridge to the carpeted hallway. Great. They had little plumbing know-how, and no tools, so call Cheap Dad.

He’d slammed the phone down, already half crazy from sleep deprivation, but perhaps a little happy too. He had a reason to visit. Too cheap to visit just to visit.

Was this why you had kids? For a chance to play god to lesser humans? For companions who would always let you in? He wondered, now that they were grown, what possessed otherwise sane people to bring new humans onto the planet, out of nothing but passion. What right did anyone have to drag others into this mess?

But somewhere in his Caveman Soul, he warmed at the thought of seeing them. Sometimes this selfish joy was all he had, as he fought his way through endless work days and home repairs. He loved them, whatever that meant.

He had managed to sleep a little at work, “power-naps” they called it, at his desk. At one point he had even pulled a less-dirty “safety rug” into a dim corner of his “department,” and slept hard for half an hour, shop rags wadded into a pillow. The rugs were thin but still better than cold concrete.

(Safety rugs were set throughout the facility to prevent slippage, or something. Each was decorated with a safety-promoting slogan and cartoon. The one he slept on read “Don’t Gamble With Safety,” with a giant pair of dice. Truly great advice; gamble with mathematical precision, or reckless abandon, otherwise it’s not gambling.)

Sleep was a firing offense, of course. But any night shift grunt who claims they never sleep on the job is a liar. Sometimes your mind just dragged you down, and you didn’t realize it until a few seconds later when you dropped your wrench or pencil and woke up. The guys that ran the loaders and haul trucks would kill someone if they didn’t power-nap on night shift.

Plus there was that little thrill of the savage burn to your employer, they were paying you to sleep, haha! The Corporate Office couldn’t possibly authorize sleeping on the job (yes they could, of course.) Better for everyone to pretend no one slept no matter how much they did, when the alternative was possible Equipment Damage.

After work he made a fire to warm the house a little, and had another short nap. Then gathered tools, sleeping bag, warm clothes, a thermos full of coffee, and drove north in his old van. Coffee, what a wonderful legal drug, it would get him through another day with little sleep. No matter how sick his sleepless brain, he knew all he had to do was keep going, one foot in front of the other. How he felt about it was mostly irrelevant.

After the hugs and howdys, he ranted briefly about how they needed to pay more attention, don’t wait until your hallway is a river to wonder if you have a water leak. “We know.” Your kids always know, but that’s it. You should pick this place up a little, and do these dishes. “We know.”

He spent the next couple hours taking the offending faucet apart. Turns out it had never been properly installed, screws to hold it in place were missing. The screws were 11 cents each, so total outlay for the repair job was 22 cents. Plus the couple hours sprawled, contorted, and dribbled on, under the sink. When done, the thrill of victory, man over machine, mitigated the inconvenience.

The rest of the day was spent wringing water out of the hallway carpet, and duct-taping of plastic over windows. Cheap insulation. And a three hour nap on the couch.

The rotten old couch was too broke down to sleep on for long. That night he shoved dirty clothes, video game detritus, and electrical cords out of the way to make a place for his sleeping bag on the floor. One end of the trailer was dry at least.

He woke early, still dark, his sleep rhythm bass-ackwards as always, and lay for a long time. Nothing to do but let his twisted mind wander.

Over the years, his mind had done much wandering. He had distilled what little he knew into a catchy slogan, which he considered his philosophy: Work Hard, Play Hard, and Be Nice.

Hard Work had got him out of many a hopeless predicament. When life sucked, you could either whine about it and retreat, or attack with everything you had. Broken transmissions, doorknobs, relationships; purposeful work might not solve everything but you had the satisfaction of knowing you by god tried your hardest. (The sons’ way was middle ground: whine while attacking fitfully.)

Good Hard Play was just as exhausting, but this one life was all you had right now, no matter how certain anyone was of an afterlife. Too many were too busy, trying to pay for all the useless crap they thought they needed, to have much fun. But people had died in wars to keep the dream alive, the least we could do is enjoy it sometimes.

Cheap Dude had two main forms of play: Exercise, and Nothing. His Caveman Mind enjoyed moving dirt, tending plants, and long walks in the nearby semi-wilderness. Doing Nothing was more difficult, there were always “so many things to do.” So the mornings he could lie in darkness and let his mind wander were precious. If there was an afterlife, it would be like this: dark, quiet, and nothing to do. Resting intently.

“Be Nice” was a concise distillation of his many years trying to decipher religion. Under the mountains of taught guilt, shameless hucksterism, mind control, and outright lies, was a kernel of hidden goodness. Take all the Holy Books, edit them down to the Main Theme, and there it was: Be Nice. Simple, but not always easy.

Today there was nothing “important” to do, just the regular stuff. Take care of your own, and breathe in and out. His grown babies would be waking soon. They would talk and laugh. There was a heaven, and it was right here, right now.

Later he made them pancakes, and they were darn near as happy as when they were little. The best things in life are not free. In fact, nothing is free. But some good things came at a low low price. He figured the pancakes at about a nickel each.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Start the Revolution With or Without Me

Occupy Your Couch;

Change the World By Doing Nothing!

The planet’s economy has always been distorted by the richest men’s manipulations. Their latest ‘trickle-down’ theory was aptly named at least; most of the money floods upwardly. Now, perched upon their hoard, they pretend to wonder why no one else has any money.

When people get mad or hungry enough to march in the streets, they mostly want their jobs back, or a little mercy and justice for the widows, orphans, disabled, and self. Most folks don’t want to change the system, they just want an upgrade, from “Freezing/Near-Starvation” one notch to “Warm Cot/Cold Meal.” Of course, all aspire to “Warm Room/Full Belly.” The Dream.

Therefore, nothing of substance will change. Duh.

To whatever extent a political movement is legitimate, honorable, and non-violent, it will be electronically ridiculed, minimized, negated, and presented in the worst possible light. Surviving ideas will be turned into a commodity, sold, and diluted with mass merchandised pop culture into meaninglessness. (“Organic” farming and “Green” stuff come to mind here.)

Further movement will depend on the depth of fear at the top. Feeling truly threatened, they will instigate violence, which of course must be violently suppressed. Don’t kid yourselves, the cops work for the rich, and they don’t mind cracking a few noggins. You won’t read much about this in the smiley-face cartoon version of history you get in “school.”

Any actual change will be debated in pretended sincerity then diluted into uselessness by bureaucracy.

The masses thrust into poverty by Corporate Governance are too busy to march in the streets anyhow. Most of us have to get up and go to work in the morning, the rest are sick to death of the whole hopeless mess.

But there is Good News: We don’t have to wait for instructions from some “leader.” From the comfort of the couch in our Dilapidated Trailers we, the people, can easily begin the revolution, right now:
Stop Driving! Unplug every Electric thing! Stop Wasting Food! Share! Buy Nothing! Give or Throw Out all your Stuff! Starve Banks, use the Mattress! Life can be so simple. Meanwhile, no matter what, make time to sing and dance anyway, a savage burn on them! Rah Hoo!

Our murderous beast exists only because we keep feeding it. Vote with your empty wallets. Stop giving known criminals your money, no matter how inconvenient. Banks, Energy Conglomerates, and Politicians come to mind first. Think globally, act locally.

Political change is a long difficult task, involving hours of dreadfully boring City Council meetings, reading fat books, and understanding complicated technical details. Hard work, but cops won't hit you. No one in power takes “protesters" seriously, they will allow it until they decide not to.

Meanwhile, we the peeps have got to muster the sense and courage to save ourselves and our communities. If not, we don’t deserve to survive anyhow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When Fido's Just Another Mouth to Feed

Your Pet is Dumber Than Your Kids,

and Refuses to Get a Job

Most of us think we have moral principles. Scared into us with the loving Jesus/vengeful Jehovah routine, good cop/bad cop style. Taught, or beaten into us, by loving parents. Or, if you are lucky, by logical consideration and enlightened self-interest.

But with no money, no food, no job, and/or no home, principles get flexible.

How can you possibly buy “pet food” when you don’t have enough food for the kids? On the other hand, with a little garlic salt and boiled macaroni, you may be able to fool the kids into eating Scrappy Mutt Bargain Chunk Pet Food Product. It’s mostly corn and soybeans anyhow; with a little milk and sugar you can fool ‘em at breakfast too! If they complain, let ‘em eat it dry, on the floor, with the dog--they’ll think it’s fun!

(Cheap Side Note: My kids’ dogs survived for years on table scraps, leftovers, and splattered critters on asphalt. Sure, we gave ‘em “dog food,” but they considered that second rate. If you don’t feed them very often, they find nutritional supplements. Feign ignorance when the neighbor comes over wondering if you’ve seen his cat.)

When the wage spigot shuts off and the bills don’t get paid, every expense must be critically examined. Pets are no exception.

For example, never take an animal to the veterinarian. She’ll cost more than a pediatrician unless you have “pet medicare.” If your pet is sick or hurt, one of two things will happen: it will get better, or it will get worse and die. “Vets” only speed up the process. Give a dollar to a homeless army Vet on the street instead.

A hewjassillion dollars are wasted on pets, by people who wouldn’t give a nickel to help the homeless. My Aunt Girth could not bear to lose little Goopy-Eyes, so she kept it alive at all costs. Its miserable oozing eyes pleaded for mercy...”For Dog’s sake, man, drugs, a bullet, anything, just end this torture!” (Homeless people deserve nothing, of course. All the poor are that way on purpose; low wages, no wages, overpriced housing, dysfunctional schools, no health care, and depression because no one gives a damn, is their own fault. You see them in the margins of the cities, dying eyes pleading, “...drugs..a bullet...anything?”)

If your sick pet gets sicker, don’t pay to have it “put to sleep.” Weapon Enthusiasts will happily do this for free, and include a burial plot in their garden, a “burn barrel” for cremation, or an unwatched dumpster. (A similar program is in place for humans, called free market capitalism. They thoughtfully put themselves “to sleep” during sub-zero nights, because they are too sick or insane to walk several hundred miles to a warmer place with nothing.)

Pet “grooming” is another waste of grocery money. Your animal will be fine with the hair Dog gave it. Tie it in the back of your truck while you go through the car wash, if you are rich enough to own a clean truck. Take it for a walk in a rainstorm if not. Money spent to wash animals or vehicles is a complete waste, they just get dirty again.

As the way-too-rich squeeze the last few cents out of us at the bottom (the whimsical “flood-up” economic theory,) your pet may become “just another mouth to feed.” When human food prices go up, so do animal food prices. At some point, when everything’s been repossessed, (including your soul,) hard decisions must be made. Put the kids up for adoption? Or “get rid of” the pet?

No time to be squeamish. We may have a dual solution to unwanted pets, and world hunger. Humane Societies must evolve into a sort of Meat Brokerage. If you have never eaten dog or cat or hamster, it may be that you simply never got hungry enough. You happily eat cow, pig, and bird, so what’s the difference? Plenty of cultures eat every kind of meat, rats, bugs, lizards, anything. Extreme unrelenting hunger makes everything taste good. Interestingly, you don’t see many overweight people on the bug/rat/lizard diet.

If you have to get rid of the dog because you have nothing to eat, what would be more fitting than having ol’ Goopy for supper? You may have to get that Weapon Enthusiast to help, since most United Statesians no longer know how to convert a breathing creature into tidy cuts of delicious meat. If ol’ Goopy understood what was happening, she would be delighted to perform one last sacrifice for Master.

Most humans don’t think much about how to behave, they just do what everyone else is doing. The sensible idea of eating unwanted pets instead of wasting them would eventually catch on, just another topic for TV hosts to angrily and irrationally argue. Folks could exchange dog and cat (and horse!) recipes, and cooking shows would have a new genre.

Society’s morals would still be intact. Once a week, there could be a “Barbecue for the Homeless” at the animal shelter. Cold starving humans would be glad to snack on pampered animals who, even in their final days, got a warm room and a daily bowl of cereal. Afterwards, a drawing could be held for the privilege of spending a warm night in one of the empty kennels! What a humane society!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

God Bless the Freaks' Support Staff

The Intergalactic Bouncy-ball Conglomeration (IBC, a subsidiary of the root beer oligarchy) has canceled many Bouncy-ball contests, because the rich “owners” and the rich “players” can’t agree how to split their vast winnings. (No one really loses in Televised Sports, other than the general IQ.) This tears at our hearts, and at the fabric of society.

A traveling freak show cannot exist in a vacuum. Someone has to hire the freaks, feed ‘em, drive ‘em from town to town, and set up the tent. Better treat ‘em well, the dancers kick higher when they’re well fed.

Today’s Sports Cathedrals cost lots and generate paying jobs for many. The Cathedral Operators deserve a share of the loot, but would have no loot without their Leaping Ballmen, who similarly would have nothing if not for the gigantic Bouncy-ball institution and its clueless enthusiasts. The fact that these freaky rich folk will intentionally lose money rather than agree is sure proof that every player, from the owner down, makes way too much.

Excepting, of course, the vendors, janitors, ticket takers, secretaries, administrative assistants, and the like. Thus, two solutions to this unmeasurably meaningless impasse:

One, take whatever figure divides the two main parties, and spread it out among the aforementioned Grunt Laborers. A couple bucks an hour raise might mean they can afford Grandma’s medicine each month, their rent without struggling, and such.

Solution two is for angry Bouncy-ball worshippers: quit giving the already-rich your money. Cancel the tickets, turn off the cable, give away the posters, and go to the park/gym and play ball with the neighbor kids. The bounce of your Beer Belly and Couch Bottom may be the best freak show yet--live!

Looking for Lunch in all the Wrong Places

One way the Cheap Dude saves money daily is by not eating. A banana for breakfast, another mid-morning. He figured the money he saved defrayed the cost of the coffee he drank constantly. An addiction was OK as long as you could afford it.

At two he finally rooted through the fridge looking for whatever might “go bad” soon. Lunch Lottery was won by two plastic containers, both dregs from the same meal three days ago. Elk sirloin tips in gravy and vegetables.

Hunting wild game is a pricey hobby, and Cheap D had always been content to bag his edible flesh in cellophane. Cheaper and not such a bloody mess. But after reading about the unnatural nature of modern Industrial Farming, he had to quit eating plastic-wrapped critter. His Cheap Mind began to work.

Hunting season was in progress. Most of the workers took vacation time to hunt every year. Most of these had been hunting for multiple generations, so when they got “drawn” for a hunt by the Department of Wildlife Politics, they by god guns and guts got an animal. Therefore, their huge electric freezers were well stocked with non-industrial meat.

Individuals in each family “put in” for each hunt, and if two family members got drawn, that meant a lot of fresh meat on the way soon. Cheap Dude would buy the old stuff from them to “help” make room. Completely illegal for the hunter to sell his venison, but of course all unenforceable laws are a waste of paperwork. Times are tough all over.

Better Yet: A childless work friend had just murdered a doe on the muzzle loader hunt. (An actual Sportsman, you got one shot only, maybe.) Turns out his freezers were so full he wanted to give away a small “ice chest” of Ground Elk and various cuts. The Free Elk Foundation. Bonanza. Said Dude was doing him a favor. Dude got free non-industrial meat, Sportsman got freezer space and the unmistakable gratification of playing Tribal Headman, doling out meat to a grateful tribesman. Win-win.

Dudine hadn’t cooked “game” in years. Recipes mostly tried to cover up the “gamey” taste, that is, the actual taste of actual (non-industrial) meat. Dude just wanted to burn it over a fire. The end result was the two nearly-empty containers.

He poured the two together, “nuked” a potato which he cut up and tossed in, nuked all that, and ate it with free bread. (A son worked at a small bakery, and was allowed a free loaf each day as partial compensation for “minimum wage.” A full food subsidy considering man can almost live on bread alone--just add peanut butter.)

The irony grew terrible the more he ate: there was no meat left, it was all vegetables. Only a tiny overlooked Elk Nugget at the bottom kept the meal from utter vegetarianism. Oh well. More in the freezer, and Sportsman got drawn for the bow hunt, more on the way. And free lunch in the belly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Toilet Repair Mission

One Overflow Too Many

When the Dukey Hits the Floor

Tools needed: duct tape, table knife, North American ten cent piece, caulk or chewing gum, a rock.

Our pioneer ancestors never had to unclog a toilet. In fact, the majority of humans living on the planet will never unclog a toilet. Not because they can hire a plumber, but because of their superior waste removal systems, which include Thick Bushes, Deep Pit, Field Fertilizer, and Over There.

Here on the most perfect land mass on the planet, among the smartest and kindest humans in the universe (no matter where you live, you know right away I mean the United States of America,) we hide our secretions and excretions better than anyone in history.

The “Out House” has moved In, very near to where we make lunch and take a nap. Crapmart has devoted thousands of retail square feet to help disguise this icky fact. But frilly curtains, scented soaps, soft towels, fake (dust collecting) flowers, shaggy seat covers, deodorizing sprays, electric fans, and “potpourri,” will not change the simple fact:

 At some point, even the daintiest discriminating citizens must take a stupendous steaming dump--in the house!

O Deodorizer of Defecation, Eliminator of Excrement, Washer-Away of Waste, every man woman and child depends on you to make them comfortable and inoffensive. Some of us, when sick and/or very drunk, bow to you!

Modern sewage collection and treatment systems are one of the rarest institutions in the industrialized world--a good idea. More so when we consider the failed sewage systems of the past: Street Gutter, Hollow Stump, Nearby Cliff, Big River, and that total failure, Source of Drinking Water. Even angry goofballs who equate taxes with Satan, Lazy Brown People, and Communism, will always pay to avoid having to squat over a hole out back. (For apartment dwellers: over a bucket, then out the window.)

Our poop and puke is thus piped away, proceeding with the poopulace’s to the processing plant, where the Piped Poopwater Purification Project (P.P.P.P.) prevents poisoning problems. This fresh and fragrant product may be “treated” and sent back for you to drink again and again. Sometimes the less savory “reclaimed” water is sprayed on golf course greenery; appropriate because golf is a waste of time, money, and good pastureland. Whack poop-grass, rich guy.

None of this, however, will keep your toilet from overflowing. Clogged toilets are another great equalizer in the States, they happen to everyone. If your toilets are old and crappy (pardon the expression) you know what I mean. Cheap Dude keeps a “plunger” on full alert, bowlside, 24/7. Even constipated old billionaires know the helpless terror of watching a floater in the swirling water slowly rise, knowing it’s headed “over the edge.”

This vile subject was brought to attention in the most direct way possible this morning. After doing my duty, (going duty?) the flush refused to go south. (How many overflows are too many? Ms. Cheap, Dudine, would say one, period. I say once or twice a year is just the way “stuff” goes--or doesn’t.)

Quickly I turned the water off at the little handle where the water line comes out the floor. The water crested a half-inch from the top. (Perhaps I enjoy the suspense, the adrenaline rush of the random stoppage/overflow.) With purposeful plunging, the bowl unplugged and drained. Yummo. Another flush cleaned the “plumber’s helper” as Grandma used to call it. I set it on an old Crapmart ad by the trash to dry. Real, son.

Having mastered this craptastrophe with my knowledge, preparation, and courage under pressure, I heard ghostly groans from the next. Months ago, major surgery had been required to transplant new Toilet Guts and caulk a leak. Soon it began overflowing daily and refusing to shut off. Bad engineering and cheap-as-possible Crapmart Construction Standards were not corrected by angry re-installation. Redneck Re-engineering required a chosen rock jammed between Guts and Tank, and a strategic bend in the rod that connects the float. This worked--until now. Groan turned to evil hiss until I fearlessly took off the tank lid and lifted the float.

No more annoying inner debate about “what to do today.” The questionable mechanism would need further modification. Scientific observation first led me to “lefty-loosy” the adjustment screw on top. Used a table knife because the kitchen drawer is closer than the tool box in the trunk of my clunker. (Putting a little bend in a table knife is a nice way to “personalize" the utensil, no matter what Dudine hollers about “wrecking the [not-]silverware.”) Then I duct-taped a dime down, so that after re-tightening the screw, it pushed the dime and shut the water off. (Joyful side note: the duct tape was “finders keepers” lying in the street a couple weeks ago.)

The stupid dumb stupid [family oriented cursing] stupid dumb stupid “shut off” hadn’t been shutting off because the screw was gouging into cheap plastic instead of pushing it down. Less than a year old and worn out--thanks Crapmart!

The water valve now gently hissed instead of moaning hideously, then shut off. A son walked by and asked if I had exorcized the demon in the water line, and I took credit. Later he argued that dukey should be spelled dooky, but I prefer the more regal spelling. “Dook” of Prunes?

Our golden stream and its brown trout are now under control. Our Septic Tank bravely and casually handles everything we flush, as always, much to the delight of nearby trees. I hope this ten cent fix lasts a while. If not, I hope I’m at work when it overflows.

Until then, score another round for Cheap Dude in the ongoing battle of mankind versus the machines!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Particular Dude Got Cheap

It begins when there is no more plenty. Counting pennies when that’s all yr down to. Every act examined for a way to make it cost one less. When the decision is food, rent or medicine, ‘cause you can’t get all three. (Helpful hint: start with the rent. Better sick and hungry at home under a blanket, than well and fed in a snowstorm under the Interstate Overpass.) 

When each tiny expense attacks one’s economic security, the relationship between meager wages and busy life becomes clear. Every unit of money represents a fragment of that life. Everything you buy is paid for with a piece of you, your time.

Consider the new Plastic Doodad, made far away with tiny pieces of others’ lives. Sooner or later, everything we purchase falls apart. Now the cracked plastic Weed-Whacker, motor fried, is smashed into pieces and crammed in the dumpster. Life is now a broken piece of junk--that portion anyhow.

And Why? Why does one whack weeds, and if one does, why with a weed whacker? Is this not the unnecessary taking of life? Why burn coal or build a dam, just for weed whacking ease? Where are the scythes? Who gets to decide which are propagated, and which are violently cut down in their youth? Is floral dissent allowed? It all, of course, is vanity.

The Cheap Dude cooks squash for dinner ‘cause that’s what’s in the ‘fridge.' What he “wants" to eat is irrelevant. Check the veggies, read the code dates, and eat what will go bad soonest. Wasting food is wasting money, always.

One tiny dab of toothpaste each oral thrashing means Cheap Dude makes a tube last far longer than the mad scientists at Global Fornication Toof Research Kitchen ever imagined. To their dismay, if they knew! 

Cheap Dude walks to the grocery to save the gas. He sews his holy socks. He uses hand soap for “shaving cream.” He heats his house with trash pallets in an old wood stove. So desperate to save money he quit drinking alcohol--alcoholics can’t afford to drink anyhow, mentally, physically, or financially.

The phrase came into being: My god you are cheap, dude. Do you always have to be so stinkin cheap, dude? But the Cheap Dude is holding on to his life, his sanity, his very existence. Every minute is precious, he wishes to never sell one second short. He wants to live--not buy, insure, and maintain crap. 

As for “Dude": Every African, Asian, and European in the western States is a Dude, an overdressed tenderfoot, a tourist. Cheap Dude is fourth generation Arizonan, he can say he’s a native but his people ain’t really from here. Only the folks on the Rez, and most Mexicans, are not Dudes.