The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Joke: Duck Hunting

Five doctors went duck hunting one day. Included in the group were a general practicioner, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a surgeon and a pathologist. After a time, a bird flew overhead.

The GP reacted first. He raised his shotgun, but then hesitated. "I'm not quite sure it's a duck," he said, "I think I should get a second opinion." Of course by that time, the bird was long gone.

Another bird appeared in the sky thereafter. This time, the pediatrician drew a bead on it. He too, however, was unsure if it was really a duck in his sights and besides, it might have babies. "I'll have to do some more investigations," he muttered, as the creature made good its escape.

Next to spy a bird flying was the sharp-eyed psychiatrist. Shotgun shouldered, he was more certain of his intended prey's identity. "Now, I know it's a duck, but does it know it's a duck?" The fortunate bird disappeared while the fellow wrestled with this dilemma.

Finally, a fourth fowl sped past and this time the surgeon's weapon pointed skywards. BOOM!! The surgeon lowered his smoking gun and turned nonchalantly to the pathologist beside him. "Go see if that was a duck, will you?"

Submitted by reader B.O.

Puns: the Japanese Banking Crisis

According to inside contacts, the Japanese banking crisis shows no signs of ameliorating. If anything, it's getting worse.

Following last week's news that Origami Bank had folded, we are hearing that Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank plans to cut back some of its branches. Karaoke Bank is up for sale and is going for a song. Business at the First Bank of Hiroshima has completely bombed, and the Okinawa Bank remains an island unto itself.

Meanwhile, shares in Kamikaze Bank have nose-dived and 500 back-office staff at Karate Bank got the chop. Analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank and staff there fear they may get a raw deal.

The Kyoto Bank remains, as always, the garden spot.

Submitted by reader C.K.

Letter: to Bill Gates

The following is probably apocryphal, but so what?

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If General Motors had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Gates' comments, GM's Bill Welch issued a press release in reply, saying,

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

  1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.
  3. Occasionally, your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart, and drive on.
  4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, requiring you to reinstall the engine.
  5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT." But then you would have to buy more seats.
  6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five percent of the roads.
  7. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car fault" warning light.
  8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
  9. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
  10. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
  11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.
  12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as they did in the older car.
  13. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.

Submitted by reader D.C.

Joke: the Love Doctor

A doctor had the reputation of helping couples increase the joy in their sex life, but always promised not to take a case if he felt he could not help them.

The Browns came to see the doctor, and he gave them thorough physical exams, psychological exams, and various tests. He then concluded, "Yes, I am happy to say that I believe I can help you. On your way home from my office stop at the grocery store and buy some grapes and some doughnuts. Go home, take off your clothes, and you, sir, roll the grapes across the floor until you make a bulls eye in your wife's love canal. Then on hands and knees you must crawl to her like a leopard and retrieve the grape using only your tongue."

"Then next, ma'am, you must take the doughnuts and from across the room, toss them at your husband until you make a ringer around his love pole. Then like a lioness, you must crawl to him and consume the doughnut."

The couple went home and their sex life became more and more wonderful.

They told their friends, Mr. & Mrs. Green, that they should see the good doctor. The doctor greeted the Greens and said he would not take the case unless he felt that he could help them; so he conducted the physical exams and the same battery of tests.

Then he told the Greens the bad news. "I cannot help you, so I will not take your money. I believe your sex life is as good as it will ever be. I cannot help."

The Greens pleaded with him, and said, "You helped our friends the Browns, now please, please help us."

"Well, all right," the doctor said. "On your way home from the office, stop at the grocery store and buy some apples and a box of Cheerios..."

Submitted by reader S.S.

Fiction: Breakthrus

Couldn't think of anything to name their band, so they were driving him crazy. Maybe they could've found the answer in some poem, or a passage from A Separate Peace—But no, nothing inspired them. The twins were always bothering him like that, way back in the dark closet part of his mind. Only really like themselves, they arrived shortly after his tenth birthday. His room moved downstairs into Dad's old den, and the cribs took over.

Came home from school to them standing up in their playpen. Clinging to white, net walls smiling at him. Later mesmerized, watching "Sesame Street." If he talked about dissecting frogs in bio lab, they started screaming. Thinking he meant Kermit or something.

Fifteen years later somehow became musicians, virtual sound artists, then founders of a nouveau punk band. Brought on by his old college roommate, teaching them some chords. Their music spread all over the house, like the dishwasher overflowing again.

Warm water up to his ankles, Mom yelling, and the two up in their fortress jamming away. One on drums, the other with guitar. Left him speechless now. Walking upstairs thinking they were really starting to sound pretty decent.

Ten years before, he was sneaking into see shows at this club called the Channel down by Fort Point. They keep pleading, but he still wouldn't take them along to see bands. Always left the two behind. Big disappointment for the twins, especially when it was a band they really liked.

His high school music efforts stretched into college, but eventually just faded away.

Those past connections often startle him like running into Adele at Osco Drug; there she was in a short, short mini skirt. Hands shoved way down in the front of a leather, motorcycle jacket, and legs bare down to the ankle boots. A black bag swung low around, hitting her butt.

Guess she'd never known he was alive. During one high school summer while stocking Osco's shelves, Adele drifted in with the football player boyfriend to buy condoms. With long, stiff-sprayed hair and too much makeup on, carrying a pinwheel. They bought the kind wrapped up like little, gold coins.

No longer a cheerleader stereotype Adele did this total 360, singing lead for one of Boston's most beloved power-pop bands. Spinning around she took off her sunglasses. Two pigtails, similar to what she wore back in Mrs. Flaherty's first grade class. Tampons, PC World, and assorted other items in her blue plastic basket. "We just got back. From touring I mean." Adele tipped her head, "You know we're on this label now. Finally getting some radio play too. Still really blows my mind!" Just noticing how her voice had changed from being so high and screechy. Then she said, "Tonight's kind of a homecoming for us." Doesn't say a word back to her. But she smiled again anyway, then in this swirly motion replaced the sunglasses, "You should like—Stop by."

Could tell the twins really wanted to go. On a break from band practice, parking themselves in front of the TV, and at his not answering them; they shrug in unison. Both look so alike, it really bothers him. Most annoying though, is they're having his same eyes, giving their relation all away. Haven't even had their first ratty pay checks yet, like his at Osco. Actually wondering if the perfectly-messy, brown hair mops, or striped tee shirts set them apart? Self-proclaimed jail birds of their generation, and he's thinking they're too young to know any better. One won't take off the leather string necklace his girlfriend gave him, and he hasn't even fucked her yet. Some girl who was on their flowered sofa smelling of bubble gum, and reading a copy of The History of Rock and Roll. She lapsed into giggles at the one twin running over; cradling cans of Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips. Quietly left the room, hearing only sucking sounds behind him.

Looking up now the twins ask him, yet again, "You got any ideas for our name?"

Turns away picking up his keys to leave. "How about 'The Young Ones'?" Dim memories back to when he was fifteen, up late doing homework on Sunday nights, watching the offbeat Brit comedy on MTV. Peripherally he sees them shrugging again.

On Saturdays he drives around to yard sales and flea markets looking for old furniture to tear apart. Materials for his own designs. The older and stronger, usually the better. Sometimes one or both of his siblings will come along. Practically in stereo they demand, "How was their set?"

Nights later the twins meet Adele at this "all ages" show. They wait for her to leave, to give her this little tape they've made themselves. Doesn't even know they're his brothers. Kisses the two thinking they're so cute and psyched. She offers to buy them sodas at a cyber cafe across the street, and the twins show her how to cruise the World Wide Web. And afterwards they wave to the newsstand guy, before catching the last commuter train home.

Downstairs in the cellar he's trying to focus, working on his furniture sculptures. Pieces he carves from the scavenges. Everyday his thoughts and actions creating them, draining every bit of energy. Didn't think it was enough of a rush until he felt the sweat trickles down his back.

Whooping shouts upstairs, and he stops hammering. In the kitchen they celebrate their first break with peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. Mom makes them promise not to play gigs on Sundays or school nights.

Now he gets stuck driving them back and forth to shows. This place's still a dive complete with the semi-surreal scene near the pool table; bothering him because he can't remember the old name. Adele wanders over. She kisses him real quick. Feels brave, already buzzed from drinking a pint of Bass ale at an Irish pub down the street. Her voice has this purposely low and sexy tone, "I love your goatee. It's so Gen X."

"But there's no such thing." Falters at her stare back. "I mean isn't it a whole marketing thing? You know getting us to buy expensive cars, new soft drinks or clear beer."

"Whoa—" His eyes follow her white arm pointing now. They really look like any other band hitting the stage. Lots of energy. Jumping up and down, pretty loud their sound drowning out the place. In front kids start to sway then dive. One after each other. Crowd becoming this moving sculpture of its own to each tune. The twins smile on stage, in their professional, performing mode. The two more in synch with each other, than the rest of the guys but it doesn't seem to matter. Large, green, marker-drawn X's on their hands; denoting them as minors and banning them from drinking. Ever alert and punchy, they work the audience kicking ass, having fun.

Afterwards the band pounces over, and Adele shouts out, "Alex! Eddie!"

"Hey thanks!" Talking so fast their words blend together, "For giving our tape to the manager." She hugs them quick and hi-fives the rest of the guys. They're pretty happy about the first pay check, "Yeah we got enough money now like for a pizza and some sodas."

"Cool." Adele smiles with sincerity, signaling a bunch of people across the room. Tonight she seems beyond friendly. Keeps talking to the kids about their set, and introducing them around, "Hey c'mere you've got to meet these guys!" Whenever he catches her eye, she gazes right back at him.

Kind of nervous but then remembers, "Guess I have to take them back."

The twins run to pack up their equipment. "They're really going someplace," she comments. "Yeah 'cause they're already so grounded." A fuzzy, pink-lace bra strap falls down. Adele doesn't seem to notice though. "Hey—Can I keep you company?"

"Sure." He looks down, "And I'll drive you back." Later en route to the suburbs he tries to get a word in, "Do you guys want to stop for a pizza?" No one answers him though. The twins keep Adele busy, firing off questions about her band's new CD.

At home they smile climbing out, and she calls after them leaning out of the minivan, "You guys're the coolest!"

Walking up the driveway the two wave back. "Thanks again! See ya 'round." He stumbles replacing the key in the ignition. Adele sits back against the seat now, hands adjusting her pigtails.

This apartment reminds him of a college girlfriend. Lots of scarves draped over lamps. Clothes and books everywhere. A large Nagel poster framed on the wall. Forgets to tell her it's one of his favorites.

Later he sees the clock, and hears her breathing. Really short, quick breaths in sleep.

Careful sliding out from under the sheets not to wake her. Back at his house, the twins glare in plaid pouring cranberry juice. Mom never dressed them alike, but she went through a phase when he was little. There were lots of blue, velvet suits with frilly shirts for special occasions.

They greet him with a chorus of, "Hey wha d'cha think?"

Somehow his head doesn't stop for a second. "What?" They cease talking together. Reaches for the bottle of aspirin, which's empty. He thought doing Adele would make it all better, but now everything's worse. Feeling older than ever seeing them so pumped. His hands start to shake.

Only one continues, "You know—Our set last night?"

Not answering; keeps searching the cabinets to find anything for this hangover. The other twin plays with his leather necklace a little, "We like want your opinion."

"Yeah," his mirror image agrees. "You know because you're like our brother and everything."

"I didn't think—" Finds some Tylenol in another drawer, but it never works for his headaches. Over his shoulder sighs back, "I didn't think anything." Pushes some tablets down, and one twin hands him a glass of juice. "Not yet."

Automatically the two shrug at each other. "Hey," their voices rise together. "That's it!" Starts to laugh swallowing the rest of the juice. Ruby droplet spray all over his tee shirt.

And the twins, they are still smiling.

Copyright ©1995 Dena Barisano

Poem: Late goodbye

"Got here early.
You know me, how I take the bus down...
Down from Long Island Shelter.
Let me tell you, that place's bad news.
I got to get outta there."

The roaches
they run for cover.
My usual struggle
to force the copy machine's door
back on again,
while she talks about her boyfriend.
And how he's picked up.

So there's a smile, "Well it's Friday.
"You made it through another week."
But really,
just can't think of anything better to say.

"You know that's right."
Keeps shaking her head,
"'Cause you know me. And how I take the bus down."
Yeah," she practically vows.
"Me, I won't pick up."
With those keys wrapped around her waist:
they're from A.A. and N.A.

Another routine part of my day.
A roach crawls into someone's coffee mug.
Over the phone - She sounds
well, out of breath.
"Me it's my leg. Can't you tell them it's my leg?
And I won't be in. Today or the rest of the week."

Happens so fast
don't even think
to say good-bye.
The roaches
they retreat for a little while.
There's always one crisis
after another and takes a few weeks for me to ask,
"Where's Latasha?"

"Sit down," they say. "Sit.
Latasha's picked up.
There isn't much time now you know.
She hasn't got much time."

Yeah, time.
No late good-byes.

April 1997, Winthrop, Mass.

Copyright ©1997 Dena Barisano

Poem: Just another

Just another
tell myself every time.
Only a couple familiar Hebrew prayers
are somewhat faintly comforting.
Shivas are real disturbing
with their covered mirrors,
louds voices
over plates of food
and crashing dishes.

And on the other side
for my Italian relatives
& world beyond;
the many wakes.
But usually
they're these perfect strangers to me;
going only to show respect.

So I was surprised
to see how much this man I never met -
Looked like his brother
my Italian grandfather,
I never really knew.
Too young
for that funeral back in '75.

Just another.
Mom throws her pocket book down,
almost missing me.
And my Nonnie says, "Ouf! What's she got in there?"

Sitting quietly,
hope I won't have to say too much.
'Cause what can you really say?

Outside mostly men smoke Marlboros
from the hard boxes,
and drink coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.
Corrine then Lorraine (my cousins)
reassure me with their knowing looks
as we walk the steps out.

30 June 1997, Winthrop, Mass.

Copyright ©1997 Dena Barisano

Fiction: Bittersweet

He drives his battered '82 Renault up the newly smoothed dirt and gravel road and over the crest of the hill. The Ausauble Club lodge appears before him suddenly, massively. A giant old lodge for the rich and their exploits here in the heart of the Adiron-dacks for over a century, its whitewashed planks and forest green shutters seem to go on forever; a full six stories high in a land where height is not only horrendously expensive but also horrendously useless-and nearly two city blocks long (and over one block deep), the AC lodge seems as proper here as an ocean liner in the middle of the Sahara. Over that hill, it fills his vision and blocks out all else, even the mountains around it, the biggest mountains in this state.

He parks in a place where no one but members can park. No valets chase him away, but he knows others will notice his jalopy and hunt down the owner. Won't take long to spot the owner of such a wreck in this place, either. No matter. He needs only a few minutes to see if employment will be found at this place; after that, he'll be gone and there will be no need to threaten him to move his "car" from the parking circle.

Inside—huge, awesome, super-sturdy construction (truly "built to last"), very rich and catering to the rich, etc.

He gets the job as a trail ranger and activities supervisor. Room and board are provided, one day off per week, plus $500 a week salary-but even though hours of duty are "posted," any day scheduled for work must be kept free for 24 hours. All duty is to the patron, and all whims are expected to be catered fully. If the request is sufficiently difficult, pass word to supervisor for advice on proceedings. "This is a playground for the rich, and the outside world laws and ways do not apply here."

Because it is early April, no patrons are here yet-the resort is opening up and preparing for the first visits. Trails must be cleared, all equipment and materials tested and repaired or replaced, activities planned, routines perfected, new employees indoctrinated and prepped to the level expected by AC patrons. He spends two weeks in intensive training with his manager. In that time, he meets all other workers but befriends no one, as he keeps to himself and rarely speaks more than is absolutely necessary. He is not unfriendly, but he is not extroverted and does not seek company if he can be alone instead. Rumors fly, yet here at the AC questions are not asked twice, so if no answer do not come no one will press for them. "Discreet is the Law."

He spends his free days on the trails, his free nights among the stars and the spirits of the life around him. Nearly a part of the land itself, his thoughts are his own and he does not share them even with Nature, his only obvious "friend."

Off the trail one day, just before the lodge is to open, a trio of workers around his own age gather to play golf and invite him to join them. Tired yet gracious, he accepts. They try to draw conversation from him but he gently shunts them inside, instead listening to them while they play. He plays the game with ease and form that rival the best they've ever seen, yet he does not seem to be even thinking about the game beyond where he is standing on the grass. At the tee, on the green, driving or putting, avoiding traps and roughs, he is an expert among them, they who are quite good amateurs and two of whom who are instructors here at AC. He is gracious and does not flaunt his skill and answers all direct questions and is not really rude in either words or tone; however, they wonder even more about him and his background...

AC opens. Opening week goes well and he fits in nicely, receiving excellent tips and praise from his clients. Asked to join in a game of baccarat, he plays at the level of the much-experienced clientele from the opening hand-and although he never quite manages to win, after he leaves the best player in the group comments that, "That boy is the best player I've ever seen. He let us win, but he was so slick about it I almost didn't catch it except for one tiny slip-up three hands ago." Word of this spreads to other employees.

On one day off he takes out a horse and ends up rescuing a young teenage boy who couldn't quite control his own horse. He goes back out after the rescue, refusing any special thanks for his work, and disappears into the hills. Returning late in the day, he takes the horse back near the main entrance to the AC lodge, and past the tennis courts he sees a quartet of women playing doubles tennis. They are playing with one younger and one older woman on each side-mother-daughter versus mother-daughter. The game is playful and obviously in fun, in good-natured competition. Giving them only a passing glance, he admires the curve of the younger bodies (although the older women are quite attractive as well) but knows his place too well to stop.

He is noticed, however, and is recognized as the savior from earlier that day. The younger women bound to the fence and call to him, asking him if he is indeed the one who saved that boy. He is, he admits. One young woman says the boy was her younger brother, and she is grateful that the man on the horse was there to help. Forced to be sociable, he is pleasant without saying more than he must. However, he is struck by her exceptional features—often the rich are beautiful because they can afford the best, including bloodlines, but this one is a gem. He finds he cannot turn himself away, even using the horse as an excuse, and her game is delayed while she engages him in small talk.

Brashly, she invites him to dine with her tonight. Although such socializing is not condoned by the AC management, it is not forbidden either, since the first rule is to cater to the patron. He accepts; fortunately he has time to return the horse and clean himself up, borrowing a suit from the AC wardrobe (kept for occasions such as this, or some other event where employees might need to be dressed well but outside of AC uniform). The dinner goes well, very well, and he finds himself out on the front porch of the lodge late that night, pointing out and naming stars for her. They end the night without any explicit romance, but both know that their relationship will henceforth be unusual. She recognizes the spark in him that rich young men lack, and he enjoys the company of one so naturally beautiful and vibrant-like the Nature he surrounds himself with so often, so easily, so casually, so...desperately.

The summer passes quickly, and she convinces her family to let her spend her time here, with only short trips home or to other countries for previous obligations. As August ends, and the leaves begin to turn in the High Peaks, she must return to college and leave the AC lodge. Perhaps she will return when she gets a few days' vacation time? Will he be here?

Maybe. His life is not so set as hers, he follows no structure she would understand, and he makes no promises. He has enjoyed this time with her, acting as a personal guide in all her adven-tures. Certainly the summer was made infinitely better by her friendship. He might even call this time the best of his life so far.

Pushing the edge, she bluntly asks him why he has never told her whether he loves her. She has told him how she fell for him in just a few days, yet he has never told her if he cares for her. They have been intimate countless times, without limit, yet she can never tell what he is really thinking about her.

He understands her, and while he should speak carefully there is no time for him to do anything but speak directly now. He is a hired hand for her, he is her summer plaything, and their worlds are so fundamentally different that it would do no good for him to love her. He would pine for her the rest of his life; "to love something so perfect would forever ruin my future, it would taint my experiences forevermore." To protect himself, he cannot love her. She will hurt a while, then find someone more like what she wants for her future, for the future she has been bred and raised to face, and she will forget him as a youthful fancy. No, no matter how much he has enjoyed her company he cannot love her; he can only appreciate his time with her and be grateful for that time.

Although she is crushed by this, and horrified by his callousness, in time she will recognize his wisdom. They will part on hard, painful words but she will not malign him to his supervisors. Instead, her family will give him golden references and note his skill at countless other activities and spheres of knowledge—none of which was mentioned in his job title.

When the lodge closes in late October, to re-open in early December as a winter resort, he takes his old Renault out of storage and takes one last look at the AC lodge that held so much for him. Surrounded by-and covered in-fallen leaves of a rainbow's colors, and backlit by the golden hazy sunlight of late fall, with a light mist slipping from the grass into the pine—rich air, the lodge has not changed one bit in appearance. He knows many things have happened there this year but it is all just another addition to the psychic history of this place. So many bittersweet memories there, though, of the girl he secretly loved-the past still haunts him in the winds and the skies, and so he steps into his battered old car. The Ausauble Club disappears into the hills behind the Renault as it backs down the road to the town of Saint Huberts and down old Route 9, heading for another place, far away, never to return.


Decades will pass before she returns, now a mother herself of two children, and when she looks upon the lodge she will remember him...the golf greens, the stables, the lodge porch, the mountain trails and the smell of dark rich dirt and roots and pine and a dozen types of fern she can still name...and the tennis court where she first met him. It all comes back—but as her children call her back from the haze of memories, she shrugs it away and works to make new memories of this place, replacing the old and taking the bitter taste from her mind.

Over it all, the lodge stands, unchanged, unchanging.

Copyright ©1997 Sean Pearson

Joke: the Horse and the Chicken

A horse and a chicken grew up together on the farm, and they were the best of friends. They went everywhere together. One day the horse waded into the pond to get a drink, and he realized that his feet were stuck in the mud and that he was sinking. He yelled for the chicken and said, "I'm stuck in the mud and sinking, go get help, go get the farmer!"

The chicken ran to the house and, realizing the farmer wasn't home, grabbed the car keys, flapped to the garage, backed out the BMW, drove down by the barn, got a length of rope, sped back to the pond, tied the rope to the bumper of the car, threw the other end to the horse, and pulled the horse out of the water.

A couple of weeks later the chicken stepped into a mud puddle in the farm yard and realized that her feet were stuck and that she was sinking.

She hollered for the horse, "Go get the car!"

The horse said, "I don't need the car."

He stepped over the mud puddle, straddled it with one foot on each edge, and said, "grab my pecker and pull yourself out."

The moral of this story is: If you're hung like a horse, you don't need a BMW to pick up chicks.

Submitted by reader S.S.

Joke: the Pill

A lady goes to the doctor and complains that her husband has lost interest in sex. He gives her a pill but warns her it is still experimental. He says to slip it in her husbands mashed potatoes some night at dinner.

A week later she returns to the doctor. She says "The pill worked great. I put it in the potatoes like you said. It wasn't 5 minutes and he jumps up, rakes all the food and dishes on the floor, throws the table out of the way, grabs me, rips all my clothes off and ravages me right on the floor."

The doctor says, "I'm sorry. We didn't realize the pill was that strong. I'm sure that the manufacturer will be glad to pay for any damages."

The wife says, "That's okay. We aren't going back to Denny's anyway."

Submitted by reader C.K.