Thursday, September 20, 2001

Rest from 9-11

Our government cheese connection:

As we enter our seventh year of writing this column, we try to stay focused. We try to remember to call ourselves "we" all the time. We try to remember to use the word "homeless" at least once in every column. And we try to find something amusing to write about.

Here's something that I, whoops, we, find hilariously amusing. The literary world has been awed by the news that author Fay Weldon has been paid an undisclosed sum of money to mention the jewelry company name "Bulgari" twelve times in a novel. Ha, ha, big deal! We just found an undisclosed sum of money up our left nostril!

I mean maybe it's undisclosed because it's a nickel a word, 60 cents. Why get worked up about it until you know how much it is?

But after being amused, it occurred to us to wonder whether we were ready for this new kind of trade in words. Could we mention the name of a company or a product twelve times in a novel? How hard could that be? What company would we choose?

We would go where the big money is. Forget companies, we would kiss up to the government! And we would cram twelve mentions into a quarter page, to really give them their money's worth! Now what does the government produce that we could possibly write that much about?

When we think of the times we have been homeless we think of government cheese. There was nothing like the satisfaction of sitting down in a park with a 50 cent bag of day old bread and a block of government cheese. Government cheese was not our first choice, but it came from our government, whereas our first choice came from Limburg, some foreign place.

When government cheese is heated enough and then subjected to sufficient compression, it becomes a fair to passing condiment which squirts. We believe a hot dog without melted government cheese is like an unbuttered hippopotamus.

If all the government cheese in the world were laid end to end, some of it would probably get wet. But, as we always say, wet government cheese is better than no government cheese at all.

In our experience, nothing catches mice better than government cheese. Not only do the mice prefer it, but a government cheese fed mouse is a tasty mouse, in our experience.

It has been said with authority that even though Bill Gates can afford any kind of cheese he wants, he would eat government cheese if he thought it would make him twice as rich as he already is. Like that would happen.

Not many people know that government cheese is highly prized as material for headgear among the indigenous Inuit of the upper Sepik River Basin. Interestingly, not any more know it even now that we've said it.

In a completely different vein -- the following quote was brought to my attention last week and I thought it was worth sharing.

"I feel this way about it. World trade means world peace and consequently the World Trade Center buildings in New York ... had a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants. The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace ... beyond the compelling need to make this a monument to world peace, the World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness."

-- Seattle native Minoru Yamasaki, 1912-1986, was the chief architect of the World Trade Center.

Thursday, September 6, 2001

Dr. Wes Endorses Anchovies

It's election time in the Emerald City again!

We look forward to these elections the way we look forward to bleeding gums. Especially the mayoral election.

As I am writing this it appears that the race for mayor will come down to a November run-off between my fifth and sixth choices respectively. Or are they my seventh and eighth choices? I forget how many are running and whether or not Charlie Chong is in or out this time.

One thing I will not be doing this year. I will not be openly endorsing any candidates. In particular, I will not be endorsing my customary write-in candidate, me. So don't anybody vote for me. Forget I even mentioned ever having been a write-in candidate. It didn't happen. We are not doing that this time. Vote for one of the suits or find some other write-in candidate.

I know this comes as a huge disappointment to a great many of you, but I have concluded that I am not mayoral material. I knew this as soon as I saw the results of the questionaires we sent out to the real candidates. How could I ever compete with so many Glinda-the-Good-Witches? Or Dorothy herself? I am not in that league. I am but one lowly flying monkey. Hang me on a wire and heave me out a parapet, but whatever you do don't vote for me.

Other reasons I won't endorse myself, in no particular order, are:

The beard didn't work for Lowry, it won't work for me.

The book I am currently reading has more alien characters in it than are on the City Council.

I think the city should have smart toilets that are so smart they let themselves be cleaned by paid workers.

I believe buses should be free for everybody, paid for by the businesses who would benefit from the ease in transportation, ie. all of them.

If something like WTO happened while I was mayor, the police would be SO busted.

My policy of wedgies for bad bills is not likely to be approved.

Narrow political base, primarily confined to eaters of pizzas with pepperoni and mushrooms and black olives with anchovies. Thus my hopes would be dashed by the powerful anti-anchovy faction.

Real Change won't let me.

But ultimately it just comes down to this: flying monkeys shouldn't be mayors. I think we can all agree on that, at least.

What can't we agree on? Well, let's see, how about this: Should it be possible for Seattle Times staff to be able to tell if a man sitting in their park is dead or not? Have people gone totally stupid and insensitive?

So Lukas David Stidd died across the street from the Seattle Times building. Nobody working there noticed that he was dead for a long time, and Nicole Brodeur sees tragedy in this. That it wasn't noticed that he was dead. Not that he was dead, but that no one noticed. As if everyone who passed should have stopped to take his pulse.

As if the problem was that there aren't enough people out there trained to tell a corpse from the sleeping.

No, that's not the problem. The problem is that people die on the streets all the time, and it is time to get them off the streets so that doesn't happen anymore.