Monday, July 30, 2007
But what is done is done. As I stand here, about to make perhaps the most important announcement of my career, I begin to look towards the future. But the past weighs so heavily on my soul.
Lost in thought, I went back to the events of the prior evening. Brim Pinkerton, only survivor of Frierson's volunteer rescue team, appeared at my back porch. Covered in blood, with a number of deep flesh wounds and missing an eye, and carrying the limp body of Duane Frierson, Brim was only able to manage a few words before collapsing: "It's over Spooner. Duane did it. He's saved us. He's saved us all." I stood there feeling helpless and watched as the last few ounces of Brim's life essence oozed onto the ground beneath him. Duane stirred.
"I bet the old coot didn't see that coming. Why wouldn't he listen? Whyyyyyyyyyy!"
I tried to comfort Duane the best way I knew how. But the Rum Turnip burned his throat, raw from days without liquid nourishment.
"I told him to head back Spoon Man. He found me just outside of their ammunitions storehouse. It was all going according to my visions. But he wouldn't budge. Said somebody had to look after me. Look after me? That old codger thought he was looking after me. Damn fool. The others were long dead. Storch and Breech made it past the perimeter defenses. They hid in some trees while the patrol went by but the boy's got torn to ribbons. They didn't have a chance. Death Brigade found 'em soon enough though. They fought hard, I'll give 'em that. But what could they do against a full Brigade with a complement of badgers. They were dead before they hit the ground. Brim found me just as I was going in. I guess they found him before the storehouse went up. I didn't expect to make it out alive. I guess I owe him my life Spoon Man."
Duane went on to reveal the dastardly plan that the turkeys, and their badger accomplices, had set into motion. Beneath our very feet, he revealed, are a number of fortified tunnels, years in the digging, that were earmarked for rapid entry into the city. They had figured out a way to circumvent our perimeter defenses. They were to unleash their fury upon us under cover of darkness, the badgers going in first followed by the Death Bridages in a two tiered assault meant to confuse us. They had been stockpiling weapons for months. It was the weakness in their plan that proved to be their downfall because Neither turkeys nor badger are able to operate firearms or small explosives because of a lack of an opposable thumb. Duane was able to infiltrate their storehouse and destory it, along with the turkey and badger high command which was holding a strategic planning meeting in the adjacent room.
Chaos ensued and Duane was able to use pilfered weaponry to finish off most of the remaining Death Brigade and a large portion of the badger infantry. Some survived but in numbers so few as to virtually destroy any ability for a counteroffensive in the foreseeable future. The last thing he remembers is a large explosion behind him and wave of warmth hitting him from behind. The next thing he knew, he was laying on my back porch next to the corpse of Brim Pinkerton.
Reality came rushing back and I placed the megaphone to my dry lips. The townfolk soon gathered around me and I related Duane's tale.
"Much thanks to Duane Frierson for all of his hard work. We have some work ahead of us here in Belvidere as well. We will have to fill in the tunnels with concrete and get this town back in order. Martial law is lifted. The curfew is no more. The meatloaf rationing is cancelled. Gorge on Ronda's savory meat product to your hearts delight my fellow citizens of Belvidere. A new day is upon us!"
Friday, July 20, 2007
(A dramatization to illustrate the health concerns of genetically modified crops. This really isn't Death, it is a man in a Death suit. But Death could really be there, or anywhere, because he is invisible.)
Every week I get letters from townsfolk with concerns about goings on here in Belvidere. Many of these questions are scientific in nature. As many of you already know, I have asked Dr. Frank Grimes our town chiropractor to serve as my science advisor. He has graciously accepted and already the benefits have become clear. It was Dr. Grimes who suggested that, based on our current understanding of the human body as a conduit of innate healing lifeforce from God, that Belvidere should block all shipments of genetically modified foodstuffs into the city. That's right, since late May every bite of food you take in Belvidere, whether it is some of Ronda's steamed ham or a turnip salad from the Center Diner, was made by our Holy Father.
A little over a year ago, I received a letter from Flippy Martinez, who is the son of Quiznos Martinez who owns the Subway down on Avenue D. Mr. Martinez, a Sandwich Artist at his father's store, was concerned about a new product available here in town at the time. Here was what he had to say.
"Dear Dr. Jenkins,
I was just at Grandma's and noticed that some of the products contain genetically modified corn. I heard that genetically modified corn contains animal genes and that the Bible says that genetically modifying corn is a sin. Should I burn the town down or just Grandma's.
Here was my reply.
"First off, I'm not a doctor although I have been offered an honorary degree from the Belvidere Technical and Cow Related Science Institute. Second, what a great question Flippy. I've often thought about the potential health concerns related to eating genetically modified, or GM, crops. So as usual I turned to a trusted source of information on this topic, the intranet.
One trusted source on the environment, and the scientific ramifications of fiddling around with it, is Greenpeace. Greenpeace has been protecting the environment without an agenda for years and reading their article on GM crops was very revealing. My search then led me to Dr. Mercola's website, another bastian of integrity, science, and consumer advocacy. There I found some mind blowing revelations about GM crops, their hidden dangers, and the conspiracy to sneak them into the food supply. I then spent several more hours scouring the intranet for trustworthy information on GM crops from sources such as Pat Robertson, Deepak Chopra, and the Committee for the Scientific Advancement of Removing Science From Public Schools(CSARSFPS) headed by Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson. I'll condense everything you need to know into 5 easy to remember points Flippy:
1. Genetical Modification occurs when scientists create new forms of life in a laboratory. These are plants, insects, and animals that have never existed and have no natural ecosystem in which to exist. This blatantly ignores Newton's 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and thus the Bible so to answer your question, yes Flippy it is a sin. But don't burn down the town or Grandma's. Instead write a letter to your Congressman.
2. Genetically modified crops specifically are plants into which scientists have inserted new genes that have been taken from animals. For example, a potato that can survive in colder weather can be made by inserting a gene from a cold water fish. Unfortunately it is difficult to control for things like scales forming on the potato or the potato having a strong fishy odor. Most scientists are concerned that the same thing might happen to people after ingestion of these potatoes.
3. Genetically modified crops are known to be more aggressive than the God created variety. This means that when GM crops are released into the environment they could spread out of control. This could mean the destruction of all non-GM crops. We may soon live in a world where starving children in Africa won't even have the option to choose between natural and GM crops.
4. Genetically modified crops are often designed to be more hardy and resistent to destruction by insects that easily destroy natural varieties. This might seem like a good thing but what about when we need to destroy the GM crops because they are taking over all of our available land. Scientists will be forced to create genetically modified insects that can eat the genetically modified crops. But who will be able to defeat the insects.
5. It is already a medically accepted fact that GM crops lead to a variety of health problems: chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic lyme disease, Wilson's thyroid syndrome, toxic mold, fibromyalgia, subluxations, stagnant Chi, Morgellon's disease, Candida hypersensitivity, neuralgia-inducing cavitational osteonecrosis, and many more.
I hope that this anwers all of your question Flippy."
Now Mr. Martinez, were he alive today, would no longer have to live in fear of genetically modified corn. Nobody does anymore. They only have to live in fear of deadly roving bands of killer turkeys and the mysterious threat of death from below, possibly by badger attack. And I no longer have to worry about answering difficult scientific questions from concerned Belvidere citizens because Dr. Grimes will be at my beck and call, ready to serve his beloved town.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
With much regret, the planned city wide festival celebrating the release of the seventh and final installment of the Henry Porter Series, "Henry Porter Meets Sandy Duncan Meets Don Knotts Meets Don Rickles Meets Mama Cass Elliot Meets the Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall", must be cancelled secondary to our current state of high alert. I promise that the planned festivities will take place once order has been restored and the growing threat of turkey domination has abated.
"It is truly a sad day for this great city. At roughly 9AM on July 19th, the body of Flippy Martinez was discovered near the railroad tracks just southeast of A street. He appears to have died from acute blood loss related to a large number of deep ankle and foot wounds. The Belvidere Police Department asks that anyone who witnessed the tragic demise of Mr. Martinez come forward. We are also asking that any psychics, pet or otherwise, with details on the crime please contact the station....."
"Mayor Jenkins. I am safe. Storch's boys are gone. I couldn't get to them in time. Damn toms pecked their eyes right from the heads. Storch and Breech are holed up in some trees and Brim is unaccounted for. Why'd you send 'em Spoon Man? They was just kids and Pinkerton's a damn fool. No time right now. Growing dark. This is big man, really big. Badgers everywhere. I think they're behind the whole operation. You aren't safe . Death from below man, death from below. What's that? Damnation they're on to me. Don't send anyone else Spoon Man. I have to finish this."
I can't be certain but I must take Duane's warning as a serious and credible threat. Thus I have no choice but to place Belvidere on Alpha alert status. This means a 7pm curfew is in place. This means no traffic in or out of the city. This means martial law my fellow Belviderians. School is cancelled. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Please report any suspicious activity to the Mayor's office immediately.
Prepare yourselves. All able bodied men, women and children should make ready to defend their homes and their lives. The rest will be used as decoys, and possibly food, and as a labor force for the fashioning of makeshift weapons such a spears and clubs. Begin rationing the meatloaf. One serving per day only. Don't worry, I'll talk to Ronda. But most importantly, pray.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
(Dr. Grimes, it's time for my check-up!)
There is no greater blessing to a family than a child. They are the future of not only Belvidere but of the entire world and should be treated like the little treasures they are. But children are especially appreciated in Belvidere because without them our fastest growing industry would grind to a halt without a source of cheap labor. The benefits of working in our acid mine though are obvious and needn't be discussed for fear of boring my readers. It is in everyone's best interest that children be maintained properly, much like my 1960 Ducati Elite, so that they might perform to their utmost potential. The following manual includes many excellent tips on child care that I have picked up over the years from medical professionals, friends, acquaintences and periodicals. Feel free to print and share this treasure trove of knowledge with your friends and family.
Mayor Jenkins' Child Care Maintenance Handbook
Disclaimer-All children should be seen by a qualified pediaric health professional on a regular basis for check-ups. Much like your car can run low on vital components of vehicular health such as oil and transmission fluid, your child can also have difficulties with too little or too much of a variety of bodily fluids such as phlegm and bile. Far too many parents these days are turning to unnatural drugs to treat their children when a good leeching would sufffice. (1)
In Belvidere, we are lucky enough to have our very own pediatric health specialist by the name of Frank Grimes. As town chiropractor, Dr. Grimes has been preventing the deadly consequences of current and potential subluxations in children for years, and for a minimal fee. Amazingly, since hanging his shingle on A Street there have been no subluxation related deaths. (2) Every child should be evaluated within the first few hours of birth for any deadly spinal misalignments and then regularly for rechecks. But Dr. Grimes isn't always available. So what resource for reliable pediatric health information do Belvidere parents have available 24 hours a day? Keep reading and the answer will become clear in no time.
The first few days at home with a new baby are often very stressful for parents, particularly if there are other children in the house. A new baby brother or sister can be stressful for your older children because of a perceived loss of parental affection. It is difficult to care for a newborn and give other children the time they need. Dr. Tracy Gomella, a certified pediologist at Sweet Baby Ray's Hospital for Sick Children in Chicago, IL, says that the key to integrating a new member of the family into the home is setting aside one on one time with older siblings so that they still feel special. She also recommends Their new Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce as a sweet and savory addition to your Summer meals. (3)
In Belvidere, older siblings are often kept in a shed or, preferably a soundproof underground bunker during the several days prior to the arrival of a newborn. Food and water can be lowered down to them by a system of pulleys and human waste sent up for proper disposal. This allows time for the parents to prepare the home and teaches older siblings a lesson of gratitude and humility. Studies have shown that older siblings are 38% more likely to accept a new child into the home without whining with this method. (4)
The First Night
Ask any parent, and they will tell you that the first night is usually the worst. Newborn infants often cry despite attempts at soothing with tight swaddles, rocking and pacifiers. A mother's breast milk has not typically let down at this point, and unless formula is given as a supplement the child is hungry. Needless to say, parents find little time to sleep.
Placing the infant outside of the house, ideally near the window to the parent's bedroom, is a nice compromise. This way, a parent can sleep while still being able to hear any loud crying that might represent a dirty diaper or a raccoon attack. (5) Obviously inclement whether might add a level of complexity to the situation that some parents are not comfortable with. At this point it is a personal decision based on a parent's comfort level, however, there is mounting evidence that coddling babies too much is a risk factor for future psychological problems and poor acid mine productivity. (6)
Babies are human beings and must be fed, though only as much as is needed for survival. In Belvidere, breastfeeding is supported as a natural alternative to fancy scientifically designed synthetic formulas that are tailored specifially to provide advanced and high powered nutrition to infants. I'm sure that babies who get breast milk are happy. It's kind of like when I bought my nephew a used Playstation 1. Sure there are newer gaming consoles with better games and graphics, but the Playstation 1 has good games too. If you can find them, since they don't make them anymore. Maybe if you check down at the Salvation Army Store or something. To show our support in Belvidere, every October is "Breast is Adequate! Month". (7)
One of more difficult decisions that parents must make early on in the life of their newborn is whether to use plastic or cloth diapers. Pediatric gastroastrologist Ryan Vartabian from Baylor University's satellite facility in Guam says that the correct answer is neither. (8) Simply placing a one inch thick layer of newspaper or wood chips in high traffic areas of the home should suffice. Accidents will of course happen but a once weekly hosing should be more than sufficient to keep any offending odors from settling.
After several years of random and indiscriminant voiding and stooling about the house, your child will be ready for training. Complete continence is required before acid mine work in order to keep mutants and hobos, who are attracted to human feces, from hassling the extraction technicians. Many experts recommend a slow and steady approach with a focus on avoidance of pushing children to achieve milestones that are developmentally inappropriate. Their concern of course being that one step forward might result in two steps backwards. However a panel made up of Russian orphanage workers believe that the implementation of adverse sensory stimulation as a deterent to undesired behavior can result in early potty training, with some claiming success during the 2nd trimester. (9)
Many new parents are concerned about exposing a young infant to household pets such as cats, dogs, ferrets and monitor lizards. A consensus amongst child health experts states that there is no increased risk for asthma, scabies, canine distemper or hairballs in children raised in households with pets. (10) One specific belief in some cultures, that cats will steal a child's breath during the night resulting in that child's death was specifically addressed by an expert panel on feline matters. The experts agreed that cats are evil breath stealing demons. (11)
As Mayor of Belvidere, I am proud to discuss the success of our 2003 Down With Sass Campaign as well as our ten year anti-lollygagging initiative. The town's pledge to end independent thought in children by supporting my Zero Tolerance law has also had excellent result. But these do not apply to infants, who to not tend to respond to reason or psychological "pressure". They need a special approach which are discussed in my companion handbook "Spooner Jenkins' Infant Discipline Handbook.
1. Lambert R, Stewart M. Leeching your children as a deterrent of undesired behavior. Redbook; 29 March 1927, 53-54.
2. Belvidere Death Census, 1998-2007.
3. Sweet Baby Ray's Child Care Guide and Recipe Book, 2003.
4. Cochrane Review, 1953: Whining in Siblings of Newborn Infants.
5. Tyler C, Watson, J. Raccoons: Nature's Nannies. Nature; November 1883.
6. American Acid Mine Conglomeration (AAMC) Handbook on Productivity: Chapter 7 "Children in the Work Force", 1981.
7. Ross Pharmaceuticals Breastfeeding Support Initiative (Formerly La Leche League of Belvidere).
8. Waste Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Waste Management and the Care of Your Dirty, Difficult-to-Clean Baby by Ryan Vartabian.
9. Campbell J, Glass B. Electroshock Therapy and Diaper Independence. Psychology Today; January 1942.
10. Cat Fancy Annual Evidence Based Medicine Spectacular, 1998.
11. Cat Loathe Annual Evidence Based Medicine Spectacular, 1998.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Spooner Jenkins-Mayor and Fire Chief
Agnes Jenkins- My wife and best friend
Lil Jim Barton and the Belvidere Playboys-Town band
Big Jim Barton-Recently released from prison and back on washboard for the Playboys
Randy Watson-Corndog stand owner, former owner of now defunct Chicken Taco Casserole stand
Myrna Miller-54 consecutive town bake-off wins (try her peach cobbler if you get the chance)
Maynard Wilks- Bitter rival of Myrna Miller
Fran Gill- Home Economics teacher at local school
Jimron Watkins- Student
Susabell Watkins- Student
Jimron Watkins Jr.- Student
Floyd Watkins- Father of Jimron Watkins, grandfather of Jimron Watkins Jr., and school janitor, gym teacher, hall monitor, and busdriver
Jethro Laney- Town car washer, sheriff, and head cook at Ronda's $2 Dollar Cafe
Ronda- Owner of Ronda's $2 Dollar Cafe
"Batty" the Batman of Belvidere- Mysterious creature
Murry "Mudpiles" Larkin- Belvidere sheep scientist
Bort Hickson- Belvidere's oldest citizen at 117 years old and owner of Grandma's Convenience Store
Strom and Bernetta Rose- Owners of the Rose Farm Bed and Breakfast
Strom Rose Jr., Bernetta Lynn Rose, Bernetta Sue Rose, Bernetta Jean Rose, Strom Rose III, Bernetta Strom Rose- Children of Strom and Bernetta Rose
Lucky the 5-legged cow- Lives on Rose Farm and helped judge the Town Slogan Contest
Reverend Blanche Watkins- Mauled to death by a wild turkey
Duane Frierson- Town taxidermist and currently missing in action
Stymie III- Belvidere Town Mascot (deceased)
Clift Broughton- Town animal husbandrist
Lynn Cauley- Moved here from Carleton to marry Clift
Slap Abbott- 12 year old wayward teen executed on February 28th, 2006
Milton Butts- Town entrepreneur with questionable mob ties
Maynard Jergens- Belvidere's only homeless person and long rumored to be the heir to the billion dollar Jergen's fortune
Frank Grimes- Town Chiropractor
Flippy Martinez- Son of Quiznos Martinez who owns the Subway down on Avenue D
Deek Newton- Killed by wheat thresher
Norris Pearle- Town letter carrier and part time salesman at Tug's John Deere Outlet
Tug and Willomina- Owners of Tug's John Deere Outlet
Durnk and Steen Philpot- Father and son corn farmers who claim to be behind the Belvidere horizontal cow phenomenon
Lumpkin Twins- Grew up in Belvidere and are now famous singers
Shank Wilburn- Owner and operator of the Belvidere Manuer Museum and Deli and former business associate of yours truly
Tilly Woodard- Belvidere wayward teen
Tim-Bob "Timmy Tobacco" Alvarez- Owner of Timmy Tobacco's Wacky Shack
Gladys Keiser- Head of Mothers Against Timmy Tobacco's Wacky Shack and owner of Gladys's Hair Parlor
Harold Farlis- Owner of Uncle Lester's Health Spa and Smokehouse
Derique- Member of the Belvidere Hambone Players
Hal Marque- Mysterious propietor of the Center Diner, rumored to hail from France, and previously involved with labor relations at a mid-sized company somewhere on the east coast
Scruff Pearsall- Belvidere resident and MC Nuts Fan Club president
Zorg XII- Belvidere Alien Overlord
Brim Pinkerton- Town astrologer currently attempting to find Duane Frierson
Storch McNamara- Owner of Belvidere lard farm and bucketing facility and currently on mission to locate Duane Frierson
Ring and Turt McNamara- Sons of Storch who are also searching for Duane Frierson
Breech Piltner- Belvidere hair vendor
Malt Callahan- Pecked to death while turniping in the forbidden zone
Shorty Lewis- Martyred while attempting to deliver doomsday device into turkey territory