September Yawn

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014


E-1044 California Tri-ing.  Sep 26 14

Another thin week for the epistles, sorry, as we flew south like the swallows to support Number One Daughter in a triathlon. This was held in and around a large park, and featured a lake swim in what had turned into a duck pond – Calif’s in drought – so the ladies (it was a female event, with just eight male exceptions) had to wade through knee-deep mud and Canada Goose poop to get to the soupy water. No running start here, and the hardest part of the whole event, competitors agreed, was getting out of the lake through the glutinous glop.

Anyway, Claire came in a creditable 180th overall of 395 competitors, and was 19th of the 158 in her age group: not a bad first effort. Small sister Rachel documented Claire’s swim, bike and run stages with these photos, which show CB’s been training for this event for decades.



The overall winner was a 14 year old from Palo Alto, a gazelle called Illi Gardner, who runs three miles inside 20 minutes, rides her bike at 20+ mph and swims fast enough to be a high schools regional champion. Look for her in the 2020 Olympics…


Could have been in the Olympics: that’s Rocket Ron Lawson, one of the Seahawks Rugby Club’s finest open side flankers. He’s the man who, working for a summer at the giant Christopher Garlic company, found that people would only buy white garlic cloves and rejected the perfectly-good brown cloves as inferior. Rocket had the idea of using the rejected garlic in jars of ready-to-use cloves. Now, it’s the company’s biggest seller. Rocket isn’t mentioned here for that, though. It’s for forwarding an old Wash Post bit about word derivations, including the fine definition of ‘Esplanade’. Ron says it’s “to attempt an explanation while drunk.”

Words of Wehner Wisdom from the Fred of that ilk: “Condoms don’t guarantee safe sex any more. A friend of mine was wearing one when he was shot dead by the woman’s husband.”

Malcolm Balfour confides that he’ll never forget how happy he was to see his wife Ilona walking down the aisle towards him. “My heart was beating fast, the excitement was hard to bear,” he said. “It seemed to take an age and then she was there, standing beside me. I gave her a loving smile and said:’Get that shopping cart over here, love. They’re doing three cases of beer for the price of two.’

Congrats to Dr William Shakespeare Morrison PhD, better known as Willie Waggledagger, who turned the shaky seven-oh this week. He’s hosting a get-together at the weekend, which should look like a reunion of American Civil War veterans if my recent view of Mike McDonald was any measure of it. I know Phil Perry’s going, if he knows the way to San Jose, (all sing) and there likely will be guest appearances of some other ghosts from the past, including Norm Eliason, Rich Hendrix and Tim Grove. Maybe we’ll get a report next week. See you then.


E-pistle 1042 St P the stymied. Sept 5 14

A mercifully brief epistle this week, with some Best Of material included – an old trick when you have nothing new. Fact is, the saint’s own computer went to the computer krankenhaus for more than a week to have its innards unclogged, and I have had to make do with my so-called smart phone, Jennie’s computer and an ailing pigeon, so Normal Service could not be Resumed. Here’s what we have on this week’s menu:

Ken Potter starts us off with an account of the annual Tabloid Bash, for which we all got roughly 45 memoranda from organiser Tom Wilbur. Thank goodness that’s done with for another few months…. here’s Ken: “Apart from DIane & KP making a rare appearance — requested by Jimmy Sutherland (who showed up from Spain) and John South (over from LA, and who has now survived two bouts with cancer) — other attendees included the ENQ’s oldest-serving (hired mid-l960) employee, Barney Giambalvo (now battling leukemia for 8 years) who told us about the first time (of three) of nearly being fired by Pope, after he caught then-divorcing Gene Pope and Lois having makeup sex at their NY home where he had taken the current edition’s past-deadline last pages for final GP approval on pritnt day: Malcolm Balfour: David Wright, Lee Harrison; an extremely-thin Mike Irish , Bob Temmey ( who is still looks the same, like a ‘Dorian Gray’, as the day he started there…even wearing the same type clothing, or maybe it was):; Nat Scrzan’s son Adam; Tom Wilbur; Ken Matthews, Rick Harlow; Don Gentile; John Garton; Gwen Cardin-Yount; Norma Burt; Rose Clark; Martha Warwick (now a schoolteacher) and of course the whole affair’s wild anecdotes-telling Supremo MC — plus his KP-discovered lookalike — was the indomitable Jim McCandlish.. Tomorrow Lee Harrison is hosting a ‘hangover’ reunion for anyone still standing,, who can still make it two days in a row, at his British Blue Anchor pub in Delray.”


Ken revealed that when he went in for an annual colon cancer checkup, the machines went haywire though he felt fine. He was taken by ambulance all 300 yards to hospital and admitted for three and a half days of a-fib tests. He adds: ” I have to declare here and now that I was not, nor had previously, ever suffered any signpost discomfort, pain or related symptoms to show I wasn’t as fine as I felt. So to discover now that I have fluttering heart,clotting problems that could trigger a stroke is more than a total surprise..(Also that I apparently — from scar tissue in the heart showing up on an EKG – I had actually already suffered a heart attack, maybe 5, or as long as 10, years ago).”

Now KP faces lifestyle changes (no booze, only a maybe on a skiing expedition in a few months etc) and ” I still need that colonscopy exam, and soon.”


From Darkest Down Under, Chris Pritchard says : “I was dealing with one of those robotic employees of a cable company this week – “customer service”, I think it was. I had to correct a few glitches and update my account. We went through the usual security questions and then I changed a few items in their records. Next, the clown asked: “Would you like to change your date of birth?” When I said I’d very much like to do so but it wasn’t possible he replied: “Well, the box hasn’t been checked.” Oh, well.”

And, in honour of the above-mentioned Jim McCandlish, here’s a Best Of the E-pistles, lifted shamelessly from a previous theft in 2011:

What I found when I was looking up something else, made Tears of Happiness Stream Down My Cheeks. You too, may enjoy the sensation, as Jim’s victim tells it…

The story was that a Wisconsin cartoonist proposed to his girlfriend in his newspaper’s morning cartoon strip, and Enquirer Top Stringer Jim was assigned to call him… The cartoonist later recounted the experience. Now read on:

“What I could tell from James McCandlish’s voice was that he appeared to be a burly Briton of northern descent: a son of the daring Border Reivers, perhaps, those brutal, brave, hard-bitten horsemen who fought off wave upon wave of Scottish hordes in the name of king and country. What I COULDN’T tell was that he was writing this for the National Enquirer, mostly because he never said he was. “I’m with Sun News Features,” he growled, in a voice guaranteed to make any invading clan think twice about sacking Stirling Castle.
“It’s a syndicate that places stories across America and Europe, and we’re interested in the very unique way you proposed to your fiancee.” The story ran, and this excerpt might indicate its tone, and the subject’s reaction: “Lines like “we’re the happiest couple in the world” and “he was misty-eyed” were tossed about with gay abandon. It was, in short, as touchy-feely as two hours of Jean Feraca on Wisconsin Public Radio, and I wanted to crawl under a stone. But worse was to come. “We hugged,” the story had me saying, “And soon tears of happiness were streaming down our cheeks.” This was more problematical, if only because: I never said this, in no small part due to the fact that… Tears of happiness never streamed down my cheeks. And also that…On the off chance that I HAD ever said this, and that tears of happiness at some unspecified point DID stream down our cheeks, I would immediately have impaled myself on the nearest butter knife available.

However, giving the National Enquirer the benefit of the doubt, the phrase may just have been taken out of context. These things happen in journalism all the time. For example: “Would you say tears of happiness were soon streaming down your faces?” McCandlish asked, when he called me up. “No, I would not say tears of happiness were soon streaming down our face,” I replied. See how easily that can be misinterpreted?

All I know is, tears of happiness are streaming down MY saintly face, right now. Of course, the cartoonist isn’t credible. The Reivers were simply steel-bonneted cattle thieves, and they never fought off any hordes, Scots or English. How dare he criticize Jim when he himself is so inaccurate? I taxed Mr McC with this (very old) sin, and he gallantly responded that his nephew had sent him the printed version. “At least the guy could take a joke…In the circumstances, all I could do was beam with pride…”

LASTLY: Saw this from England and Lions rugby god, Phil Vickery: “Back in the summer of last year, after being recalled to the Lions side for the third and final meeting with the Springboks in Johannesburg, he was asked to reflect on his previous appearance for the Test team in Durban a fortnight previously – a game in which he finished such a distant second to the powerful Zimbabwean-born prop Tendai Mtawarira that he was given the shepherd’s crook treatment early in the second half. “You know you’ve had a shit game when your wife and your mother text you afterwards to tell you they still love you,” he said.



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