Nazi Muff-Diving: It COULD Happen Here

Memorial Day marks the traditional start of summer, and with it beach reading. An unexpected by-product of summer’s lower intellectual standards is that one’s literary risk-reward ratio expands exponentially, the way pole vaulting records were shattered by quantum leaps when athletes abandoned aluminum for fiberglass. Pick a mildewed paperback off a bookshelf in a vacation house–one that you’d be ashamed to check out of your local library for fear it would be cited in a future Senate confirmation hearing–and you can be transported to realms of schlock that previously lay beyond your poor powers of comprehension.

Thus it is with Ken Follett’s “Eye of the Needle.” Originally published as “Storm Island,” “Eye of the Needle” is a counterfactual tale, a story that asks the question “what if” about a historical event, imagining what might have happened if the proximate link in the chain leading up to it were altered. Here’s how Follett himself describes the thesis on which he built the plot:

German U Boat


It is 1944 and weeks before D-Day. The Allies are disguising their invasion plans with a phoney (sic) armada of ships and planes. Their plan would be scuppered if an enemy agent found out…

and then, Hitler’s prize agent, “The Needle,” does just that. Hunted by MI5, he leads a murderous trail across Britain to a waiting U-Boat. But he hasn’t planned for a storm-battered island, and the remarkable young woman who lives there.

It’s enough to set you off and running, like a starter’s pistol at the beginning of a footrace. But the important thing to note is that it’s based largely on fact; the Allies did indeed disguise the D-Day invasion by sending legions of British vacationers to Normandy Beach, outfitting their children with inflatable squeaky frog inner-tubes. Surely, thought the Nazis, the Allies won’t attack here, now that the mothers have unwrapped the tinned meat sandwiches and the fathers have lost their car keys.

Allied decoy


Follett’s masterwork is marbled with a number of other historically-correct elements that lend it an air of verisimilitude, and which leave the reader, as he finally puts the book down late at night, shaking his head at what might have been. “My God,” you say to yourself, “but for a simple twist of fate, the women of America would have been in hopeless thrall to legions of Nazi cunnilinguists.”

President and Treasurer of your local Parent-Teacher Organization?


It’s right there on page 226, the infamous Gestapo muff-diving scene, as famous in its genre of mindless beach-reading as Gatsby at the end of the dock, the madeleines in A La Recherche du Temps Perdu, Hawthorne’s scarlet letter. Again, I quote at length, or as much length as I am permitted by this site’s Terms of Service and my ability to control my involuntary aesthetic gag reflex:

He slipped down the bed, between her thighs. (. . .) Surely he doesn’t want to kiss me there. He did. And he did more than kiss.

Suffice it to say that Follett’s “remarkable young woman” is ”paralyzed by shock” at the hitherto-unknown worlds of pleasure that her German tonguemeister introduces her to.

Elite Nazi Blitzentonguen Corps


Which raises the question: Suppose the Nazis had won World War II. Yes, the bright light of democracy would have been snuffed out, millions of “undesirables”–-Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Masons (!) and Poles–would have been consigned to certain death in concentration camps, and single men across America would have been subject to humiliation in scenes such as this:

“Pass the Pepperidge Farms Weiner Schnitzel-Flavored Goldfish!”


SINGLE MAN: Hi–can I buy you a drink?

SINGLE WOMAN: Are you a member in good standing of the National Socialist German Workers Party, better known as the Nazis?

SINGLE MAN: Well, uh, no, but . . .

SINGLE WOMAN: (To “wingwoman” friend) Look–isn’t that Josef Goebbels, Jr. over there?

The possibility is one with more than a passing interest to me, since I live on the East Coast, and German U-boats were believed to have patrolled the waters of the Atlantic until V-E Day. Say the Nazis had won World War II in 1945; I was born in 1951, and moved to Massachusetts two decades later. Had the Allies gone down to defeat, by the time I got here Nazi subjugation of American women would have been complete. The upshot for me? No dates, no mate, no heirs to carry on my name or DNA.

One imagines the final steps to Nazi dominance with horror, aboard a German submarine, V or C class, as it patrols the beaches between Cape Cod and the North Shore of Boston:

Aboard the Marlene Dietrich:


FIRST MATE: The Yankee women seem to have sacrificed greatly to the Allies’ cause. There is not a healthy set of gams to be seen on the beach!

VICE ADMIRAL: We are north of Boston, where the women lose their muscle tone playing bridge, making stupid jokes about how they like to go into Boston to get “scrod.” Let us turn to the south.

(. . .)

FIRST MATE: We are off Revere Beach.

VICE ADMIRAL: Keep going–Mussolini has dibs on the Italians.

(. . .)

FIRST MATE: We approach Cape Cod.

VICE ADMIRAL: Check the Infidelity Meter.

FIRST MATE: Conditions are favorable–I’m showing high concentrations of discarded limes with traces of gin in the water.

VICE ADMIRAL: Dive, man, dive!

Nuns Help Those for Whom Drag Race Life is the Pits

SAN TOSTITO, California.  To an outsider, this sun-baked town in central California has two distinctive features–its isolation deep within the Oye Como Valley, and its flatness.  “God looked down on this little patch of earth,” says long-time resident J.R. “Sonny” Barker, “and said ‘That’s where I’m gonna put me a drag strip.’”

“TV” Tommy Ivo


As a result, drag-racing fans have been flocking to San Tostito since the mid-50′s, bringing their money with them to spend on t-shirts spray-painted in garish colors honoring drag racing stars, but often leaving behind a trail of social and economic woes when the season ends in the fall.

Little Sisters of the Fuel-Injected Funny Car


“It’s really time for America to wake up and smell the nitro,” says Marty Dunham, editor of Overwrought Quarterly, a sociological journal that obsesses about minor social phenomena. “The seasonal workers who follow the drag-racing circuit are a ‘Grapes of Wrath’ just waiting for another Ernest Hemingway or whoever wrote that book to come along.”

“You’re wrong–it’s by Henry Fonda.”


Into the breach has stepped a religious order, The Little Sisters of the Fuel-Injected Funny Car, who have made it their mission to minister to the lost souls of the drag racing pits.  “We see men and women who have lost their hearing, or lived on nothing but Cheese Curls and Pepsi-Cola for years,” says Sister Donna Garlits.  “Many of them sniffed too much glue putting together plastic model muscle cars in their youth, and now can barely balance their checkbooks, like most Americans.”


Model dragsters like I *sniff* made as a kid.


Drag racing is a sport in which two cars or motorcycles race a set distance down a straight track.  The winning vehicle is the one to reach the finish line without exploding first.  The link to Christian theology is provided by the “Christmas Tree,” an electronic device with multicolored lights used to start drag races.  Each side of “the Tree” bears seven bulbs, which light in descending order until Mom and Dad come down and you can open your presents.

St. Theresa of Bakersfield:  “Dear Lord, please let Marty Nothstein win the CSR Eastern Spring Test Nationals presented by Torco’s!”


The sisters’ work over the past half-century is expected to produce their first saint this year when Theresa de Martino, a Bakersfield resident who crusaded against illegal street racing, is canonized by Pope Francis.  “I have always been a huge funny car fan,” the pontiff said in his weekly racing column ”Run What You Brung” in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.  “I am thinking of adding custom headers to the Popemobile in her memory.”


Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Fun With Nuns.”

Walk for Man Boobs Draws Cheers, Jeers

WAYLAND, Mass. With the belated arrival of spring in the Northeast come the numerous walk-a-thons, 6 kilometer races and other charitable fund-raising events that crowd the region’s roads once winter is over.

Man boobs: Occupational hazard of round-shouldered bloggers.


“We have old narrow highways, so sometimes tempers flare when a walker runs–er, walks–somebody off the road,” says State Trooper Jim Hampey as he monitors two different streams of volunteers converging at the intersection of routes 20 and 27. “It can get ugly in a hurry, assuming you didn’t start out ugly in the first place.”

For one such event, the Walk for the Cure for Man Boobs, the ten-mile route is a mine field for those who suffer from the affliction, as participants in the “Break the Chain Walk to End Smoking” taunt their flabbier fellow walkers. “Hey fat boy,” says Claude Thurman, a rail-thin cigarette addict who gets his oral gratification from Marlboro Lights in the hard pack. “Those things are worthless as tits on a tomcat!”

“You guys are like totally gross!”


“May be, pal,” says Furman Boul, a claims adjuster who has spent the better part of the winter on his sofa watching televised sports, “but I’ll be reclinin’ in my La-Z-Boy where your bony ass is six feet under.”

“Why don’t you bend over and pick up your dirty laundry!”


It’s not just other men who are dismissive of victims of man boobs. Women line the streets when the long file of sufferers moves through Sudbury, and they make it clear that they think the supposed ailment of the marchers is all their fault. “Why don’t you lift something heavier than a 12-ounce can of beer every once in a while,” yells Linda Fairley, who has just come from a private session with a personal trainer that shows in her well-toned upper arms and torso. “You eat a bag of marshmallows,” she yells at Wade Newsome, “you end up looking like one.”

“Foot long subs . . . foot long subs!”


Sympathy runs low for the victims of man boobs because they are viewed as partly responsible for their condition, or at the very least capable of correcting it. “I don’t know why those guys get their own march,” says Norton Dennison, executive director of VOSII, an acronym that stands for “Victims of Self-Inflicted Injuries.” “I’ve got guys who fell out of tree stands hunting or ran over their own foot with a lawn mower who are in much worse shape.”

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “The Spirit of Giving: Untrue Tales of Inspiration and Generosity.”

At the Viking Poetry Slam

          A mastery of poetry was a must for any young Viking.  A few Viking poems dwelt on love, but the heroes often undermined their happiness by chasing adventures that separated them from their beloveds. 

                                     The Wall Street Journal

“Who’s got the beer cooler?”

It’s 1230, and I don’t mean by the hands of the sundial.  I mean it’s 1230 A.D., and me and my buddies, Gunnlaug Snaketongue and Hallfred the Troublesome Poet, are having our regular Friday night poetry session.  We meet at Ericson’s, where they have 20 ounce King Olaf’s for only a clam, and pitchers for five clams.  Let me tell you, we usually set back the progress of Western civilization a couple of decades before the night is through.

Ericson’s:  Get there early for Friday Night Oxen Races.

We roll the bar dice to see who goes first, which is actually not the most desirable spot.  It’s better if your listeners have consumed a little mead before you start to bare the workings of your innermost soul.  Unfortunately, I roll snake-eyes.

“You go first Kormak Ogmundarson!” Hallfred says with glee.  I can tell he’s going to pounce on my handiwork like a blood eagle grabbing a baby chick.

“Okay, here goes nothing,” I say.  I take one last drink to wet my throat, then I launch the Viking ship of my verse onto unknown seas.

That night I dreamt of a maiden fair
whose dress I removed with a flourish.
What I saw underneath was a navel and hair
but a body that looked overnourished.

I looked up from my rudimentary parchment note pad to judge the effect of my quatrain on Gunnlaug and Hallfred.  “You say overnourished like it’s a bad thing, dude,” Gunnlaug says with a look of disapproval.

“But wait,” I say, anticipating twentieth-century cable TV pitchman Billy Mays, “there’s more.”

“There’s more bad poetry where that came from!”

“Let ‘er rip,” Hallfred says as he unleashes a belch that could be heard in Vinland.

“Okay,” I say, then compose myself and start in again.

She could have been my winter consort
if I’d paid more attention to her
But I was consumed by televised sport
and another Vike came to woo her.

Vinland, via the scenic route

I’m surprised to see a look of empathy on Gunnlaug’s face.  “That’s beautiful, man,” he says as he pretends there’s something in his eye in order to hide the fact that he’s wiping away a tear.  “Ain’t that always the way.  You’d like to have a relationship with a woman, but you want some freaking adventure with your guy friends, too.”

Hallfred, on the other hand, being the Troublesome Poet that he is, is unmoved.  “What the hell are televised sports?” he asks.

“It’s an anachronism I threw in for dramatic effect,” I say.  “This is a stupid blog post–you’re going to have to wilfully suspend disbelief if you’re going to get anything out of it.”

He takes this in slowly, and mutters a grudging “Okay–that was pretty good.”  He’s not the brightest shield on the battlefield, if you know what I mean, but he leaves a pretty wide wake at poetry slams because of his brooding good looks and primitive style.  Personally, I think it’s all a facade.  He’s so dumb his descendants will be going bare-chested to football games in Minnesota winters seven centuries hence.

“Show me what you got, big fella,“ I say to him throwing down the poetic gauntlet.

He pops a handful of squirrel nuts into his mouth, and washes them down with a gulp of beer.  “Here goes,” he says, and begins:

My old lady’s quite a dish
if I do say so myself.
She don’t come along when I icefish,
she eats tuna from the pantry shelf.

Gunnlaug emits a tepid grunt of approval.  “I sense the difference between your maleness and her femaleness,” he says looking off into the distance, “but you didn’t do much to establish a dramatic tension.”

It’s clear that Hallfred is hurt by this faint praise, and he lashes out, bringing his pickaxe down on the bag of Astrix and Obelix Pub Fries that Gunnlaug’s been munching on.  “Anybody can be a critic,” he fumes.  “Let’s hear some poetry out of you, blubber-belly!”

“Well kiss my ass and call it a love story,” Gunnlaug says with a withering smile.  “Looks like Mr. Brutalist has a sensitive side, too.”

“Your doggerel smells like two-year-old Swedish Fish.”

“Actually,” I interject in an effort to keep the peace, “Swedish Fish stay moist and chewy forever in the patented Sta-Fresh resealable bag.”

But Hallfred isn’t letting his rival go.  “Come on, man,” he says angrily, as other patrons turn their heads in the hope of seeing a senseless killing.  “It’s Rhyme Time.”

Gunnlaug looks Hallfred up and down, then a frosty snort of Arctic air escapes from his nostrils.  “It ain’t bragging if you can do it,” he says, then clears his throat.  The silence in the room is broken only when he speaks in a low voice steeped in regret:

I once got a peek of a wench’s breasts
that made me forget I was a Viking.
I’m telling you man, they were the best–
I gave up my Harley and biking.

An audible gasp rose from the crowd.  The ultimate aesthetic error of Viking poetry–to succumb to the wiles of a woman!  How was Gunnlaug going to get out of the lyrical gulag he’d wandered into?

She had a big hat with horns festooned
and said “Dear Vike, please impale me.”
But a friend had some tickets to the Wild vs. Bruins
“Stay with me,” she cried, “and don’t fail me!”

Now it was Hallfred’s turn to snort.  “The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole,” he said with a sneer, “is to stop digging.”

“Hold your freaking reindeer,” Gunnlaug said.  “I ain’t through.”

He took a deep breath, then began again.

I looked in her eyes, both drowning in tears–
Though watery, they still looked nice.
“Look,” I said, “I’ll make it up to you dear–
I’ll take you to Smurfs on Ice!”

Available in print and Kindle format on as part of the collection poetry is kind of important.

Ask Mr. Buffet

Ticked off because your favorite smorgasbord ran out of potato salad?  Wondering what the gunk is on the sneeze shield at your local salad bar?  Mr. Buffet’s got your back–he’s in line right behind you!


Hey there, Mr. Buffet–

Got a quick question for you.  I am a regular at the Hopalong Cassidy $20 All-You-Can-Eat Buffet every Thursday night on South 65.  Last week they had those St. Louis-style spare ribs that I love, so I was piling my plate high.  When I went back for my ninth–or maybe it was tenth–time through the line Ray Lee Dixon–he is the owner–jumps in front of me and says you’ve had enough go home.

Naturally, I responded by pointing to the sign that said “All you can eat,” but Ray Lee didn’t budge an inch.  “That’s right,” he said, and none too cheerfully, either.  “You been through plenty already, and that’s all you can eat for twenty bucks.  Now leave or I’m calling the Highway Patrol.”  We were out on the Interstate, so they had jurisdiction.

Mr. Buffet I don’t want to split hairs but I don’t think that’s the right way to interpret the phrase “All you can eat.”  Is there some sort of expert like they used to have on quiz shows who can hand down a binding decision on this point?

Darrell Sher, Tula, Mississippi


Dear Darrell–

Happily, you are both right.  “All you can eat” in one sense means “all that a particular person can eat,” but viewed from the perspective of the hard-working restaurateurs of America, there has to be a limit.  The National Association of Buffet-Style Common Victuallers defines “all you can eat” as “all that can be eaten by a patron without contributing to the already high failure rate of buffet-style restaurants in America.”  Why don’t you try to “make amends” with Mr. Dixon by visiting his restaurant on a non-buffet night and order your meal a la carte, which is French for “Don’t be such a cheap bastard.”

“I was nowhere near eating all I could eat.”


Dear Mr. Buffet–

I am getting married in June and am trying to lose some weight so I can fit into my bridal gown.  My “game plan” is to eat lunch every day at the ‘Gelded Unicorn’ natural food buffet restaurant near where I work because the food is terrible and good for you, too.

Yesterday I scooped some brown stuff into my Styrofoam carton, it looked like hummus but I couldn’t be sure.  Well, I took one bite and nearly threw up so I walked it back to the buffet and slid it onto the steam table again and replaced it with carrot-and-raisin salad.

Then this crunchy granola type girl came over, she was wearing a peasant dress and had granny glasses and I swear to God had actual chin hair even though she couldn’t have been more than 25.  She was all hot and bothered and said you can’t put food back, now we have to re-weigh you and check you out again.

I told her I was deathly allergic to whatever the stuff was and she said “Okay–what was it?”  I said how the hell was I supposed to know, it looked like garbanzo beans which make me break out in hives.  I was lying a little so I reached up and scratched my neck to make it red.

Mr. Buffet, I have now been placed on a “Do Not Serve” list and can be “banned for life” in the sole and absolute discretion of the management, according to a written warning I was given.

I was just wondering–isn’t this whole thing going to be thrown out of court because they didn’t read me the warning you always hear on the TV cop shows?

Colleen Floyd, Chillicothe, Ohio


Dear Colleen:

I am afraid that the “Miranda” warning only applies to criminal activities, and replacing food in an aluminum steam table tray is only a civil offense thanks to “de-criminalization,” which has released hundreds of potentially dangerous recidivists back onto our streets to wreak havoc.  All I can say is, thank your lucky stars you didn’t try to take back a stuffed grape leaf after you’d bit into it!


Dear Mr. Buffet–

I go to the lunch buffet over at the Happy Panda Luck Joy restaurant, don’t know if you’ve ever been there, it’s over by the old railroad shops.  Anyway, I ate a bunch of the shrimp lo mein there the other day and right away I wasn’t feeling so good.  I went to the men’s room and threw the whole thing up, then had to go straight home and missed out on four hours work which would have put me into time-and-a-half overtime.  That’s a lot of money.

Two days later when I was feeling a little better I went back to Happy Panda Luck Joy and asked for my $8.99 back, but the owner said no, it wasn’t his fault.  Why not? I asked and he said “I no serve you, you serve self, that whole point of buffet.”  That’s how he talks, I’m not making it up or being racist or anything.

Mr. Buffet, I don’t want to start an international incident what with how aggressive China is getting and how our military is depleted after eight years of self-imposed disarmament under Obama, but I would like some of my money back.  I have a room air conditioner on layaway and it will be summer soon.

Thanks a lot,

R.G. “Bud” Withers, Knob Noster MO


Dear “Bud”–

Why don’t you call our official Ambassador the United Nations, it is a woman now but I’ve seen her on TV, she looks pretty tough.  You may want to start putting away some of your salary to get that air conditioner out of layaway, however, because any resolution to reimburse a U.S. citizen for buffet-related losses has to pass the Security Council, and China has a veto.

The Taliban Painted My Living Room

When I heard the news that the Pakistani army had captured Muslim Khan, a top commander of the Taliban, I was overcome by a simultaneous sense of shock and relief.  “That’s him,” I screamed at the TV set overhead in the bar where I was having a drink.

Muslim Khan:  “It took longer than I expected because your depraved Western children were always underfoot!”


“The guy who’s the spokesman for Tehreek-E-Taliban?” Smitty, the bartender asked as he dried an Old Fashioned glass.

“That’s the one,” I replied.

“You know,” Smitty continued, “he’s also the leader of the TTP Swat’s negotiating team in talks with the provincial government of the Awami National Party.”  Boston bartenders are like that–knowledgeable, thorough, almost cocky in the amount of information they have at the tips of their tongues.

“Not only that,” I said, my eyes glued to the set, ”he painted my living room.”

Reggie Lewis


A hush fell over the room, a stillness I hadn’t heard in a Boston watering hole since Reggie Lewis collapsed during a 1993 Celtics playoff game against the Charlotte Hornets.

“You mean,” the guy to my right began slowly, “the same Taliban who blew up the Buddhist statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan?”

Explosion of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan


“The same,” I said, taking a sip of my Sam Adams Lightship beer.

“Did they blow up anything of yours?” an attractive blonde asked, suddenly interested in me now that I was linked with the international war on terrorism.

“No, for the most part my wife doesn’t decorate with un-Islamic graven images,” I said, making it clear–in my own subtle way–that I was spoken for.  “We certainly didn’t have any little Buddha statues around.”

Ix-nay on the uddha-Bay


“Tell me more,” she persisted.

“I’m not sure how much I can tell you since much of what we learned during the paint job is still classified,” I began.  “Still, my tongue has been loosened by the effects of alcohol, so I might as well continue.”

I grabbed some loose mixed nuts to sustain myself–a big risk with swine flu going around at the time, but I like to live dangerously.  “It was the late 1990′s–the Taliban had decided to focus on interior decoration as the way to bring down the Great American Satan.”

“Khan became a housepainter in the western suburbs of Boston, where we lived,” I continued.

“Why was that?” the bartender asked.

“Because I worked in Boston,” I answered.

“No, not why did you live there, why did he become a painter?” the bartender continued.

“I think because he didn’t like to clean gutters,” I said.  “Painting the interiors of Colonial-style suburban homes may be boring, but at least you don’t risk falling off ladders.”

“And yet our image of the Taliban is that they’re fierce warriors,” a flamboyantly dressed investment banker to my left said.

“That’s what they want you to think,” I explained patiently.  “Historically, they and their ancestors have been capable of intense short-term bursts of fighting, but they’re not well-suited for protracted battles.”

The bartender tossed me a complimentary bag of Beer Nuts, the snack food with the unique “sweet ‘n salty” taste.  “Thanks, Smitty,” I said.  “Anyway, maybe we were naive dupes–I don’t know.  Khan came in with the low bid, and he promised to finish the job in one week.  Everybody else said it would take two.”

“It’s hard to find good painters,” the blonde said.  “I know what you must have been going through.”

“Our kids were young–the house was always in an uproar anyway,” I explained.  “We didn’t want to make it any worse.”

“So–did you talk to the guy?” the investment banker asked.  I had to savor the moment; it isn’t often I can impress a guy who makes five times what I do.

“For the most part I leave communications with tradesmen, contractors and international terrorist organizations to my wife,” I explained.

“Yoo-hoo, Mr. Taliban!  You missed a spot.”


“You’re gone all day, right?” the bartender asked.  “When you get home you just want to play with the kids.”

“Exactly,” I said.  “So all my exchanges with him were very perfunctory.  How are the wives, how are the kids, how ’bout those Red Sox.  Still, as a precaution, I always record my conversations with guys who are on the Treasury Department’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.”

“Just to be sure,” the blonde said, nodding her head.

Mid-’90′s Red Sox torture


“Yes, even though it’s illegal in Massachusetts to tape someone without their consent, I wanted to do my part in the War on Terror.”

“Do you–have the tape with you?” the investment banker asked, curious.

I glared at the guy.  “You think I’d ever let it out of my sight?” I asked, incredulous.

“Well, no, I . . . uh, just, uh,” he stammered.  “Do you think we could listen to some of it?”

I eyed the four of them–Smitty, the blonde, the banker and the one whom everyone knew only as “the guy to my right.”  I sized them all up.  “Do you promise that none of you will use what you are about to hear against the United States of America, so help you God?”

“Promise,” the blond said.

“Swear on a stack of bibles,” Smitty said.

“Cross my heart and hope to die, boil in oil and stew in lye,” the guy to my right said.

I looked at the investment banker.  “Can I use it to make money by shorting stocks or making investments in defense-related industries?” he asked tentatively.

I thought about it for a moment.  I remembered what Calvin Coolidge, the only Republican President from Massachusetts, had once said; “The business of America is business.”

Calvin Coolidge


“All right,” I said.  “But I get 10% of any short-swing profits or long-term capital gains.”

“Deal,” he said.  I took my pocket tape recorder out of my suitcoat and hit the “Play” button:

ME:  How’s it going?

KHAN:  I put a coat of primer on today, just waiting for it to dry.  Also waiting for the obscene and immoral culture of the West to die.

ME:  (Laughing)  The kids must have been watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur while you worked today, huh?

KHAN:  There is a white western woman in the house all day who does not cover herself.

ME:  You mean my wife?  Yeah, I talked to her about that.  She can’t find a nice burqua at Talbot’s.

Also available in cranberry, oyster and charcoal.


KHAN:  She is the source of all my troubles!  Constantly changing colors!

ME:  What do you call that shade you’re mixing now–pink?

KHAN:  It’s actually “Dusty Rose.”

ME:  Just do what she tells you, pal.  I’ve learned that it’s better just to go along to get along with her.

KHAN:  This is why we must establish a world-wide caliphate under Shariah!  You wimpy western husbands!

“Pick up the toys in the driveway–NOW!”


ME:  You know what her nickname is?

KHAN:  What?

ME:  “The Ayatollah.”

KHAN:  Really?

ME:  Seriously.

KHAN:  (silent for a moment)  Wow.  So if she wants me to re-do the trim I should . . .

ME:  Just do it.

KHAN:  In the name of Allah?

ME:  No.  In the name of world peace.

Parents Fire College Coach After Losing Season

WELLESLEY FALLS, Mass.  In this wealthy suburb of Boston, parents will go to great lengths to ensure that their children get into a good college, even paying top dollar to “college coaches” who counsel the kids on their essays, SAT preparation, community service choices and overall application strategy.

“You’ve got to completely fill in the little oval with your #2 lead pencil!”


“It means so much,” says Marci Hallinan, whose daughter Courtney’s first choice was Mount Holyoke College.  “Get into the right school and someday you’ll be able to buy a $1.3 million starter home,” says the perky blonde who supplements her husband Rick’s income by working as a real estate broker.  “If you don’t, you may end up pushing a grocery cart through the streets picking up deposit cans.”

“If only I’d gone to Tufts!”


If Marci’s smile seems a little forced today, it’s because Courtney was not accepted from the “early decision” applicants to the prestigious women’s college, and wasn’t granted “deferred” status to be considered as part of the regular applicant pool, either.  “Flat-out rejected,” says Marci bitterly, and this reporter hears the sound of sobbing floating down from an upstairs bedroom.

“Just go away and leave me to my broken dreams, okay?”


The scene was repeated across town as clients of college coach Ron Dilworth received the bad news from Stanford, Harvard, Emory, Washington University in St. Louis and Northwestern, among others.  “He got the big goose-egg,” says angry father Todd Dremke, whose son Miles applied early decision to the University of Chicago.  “O for 8.”

“. . . bare ruined choirs where late the dweeb nerds sang.”


At a cost of six to eight thousand dollars a child, a college coach can do quite well, but “the only thing that counts is your record,” says Norton Zeligman, who “ran the table” this year, getting his clients into Yale, Oberlin, Vanderbilt and Georgetown.  “I feel sorry for Ron, but that’s the nature of the business.”

“Your essay should show you’re not just a grade grubber, you’re a well-rounded grade grubber.”

So Dilworth got the bad news this morning.  He’s been sacked, asked to clean out his flash cards, and told that his services won’t be needed next season.  “I don’t think I was given the chance I needed to turn this place around,” he said at a sparsely-attended press conference at the high school guidance office.  “I wish these kids the best of luck.  Given their scores in AP Biology, they’re going to need it.”

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, and less with yours.”


Dilworth has no job offers at present, but hopes to catch on as a junior college coach in a less-affluent community.  “Some of those schools will take a kid if he fogs a mirror held under his nose and the parents’ check doesn’t bounce,” he noted in his farewell speech.  “Those are my kind of standards.”