“A Patch of Pink–or Green” Tells Sad Story of the Colorblind

NEW YORK.  With tickets to the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival set to go on sale in four days, the early buzz from critics emerging from previews is that “A Patch of Pink–or Green” is the entrant most likely to achieve both artistic and commercial success when it is released later this year.

Sundance Film Festival

“I was in tears from the opening credits until I got up to get a box of Jujubes,” said Jenelle Bridges, a film student at the University of Southern California who saw the film earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.  “Then as soon as I got back, I started bawling like a baby all over again.”

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Bridges:  “That was so–freaking–sad!”

“Pink or Green” as festival-goers affectionately refer to it, is the story of Evan Jamison, a color-blind boy who overcomes his handicap to become chief mens’ clothes buyer at Filene’s, the defunct Boston department store.

Cahiers du Cinema:  If you can’t understand this, take it to someone who can.

“It’s got everything going for it,” said Antoine Ste. Joan, who is covering the festival for Cahiers du Cinema, the high-brow French film magazine.  “A sad story line, lots of ambiguous sexuality and the demise of a petit bourgeois American commercial enterprise.”

Ste. Joan:  “Eet ees not as good as a Jerry Lewis film, but then what is?”

The film describes Jamison’s journey from a young boy whose classmates taunt him for the mismatched color schemes he wears to class at a rough-and-tumble public school in Newton, Massachusetts, to necktie counter clerk at a small men’s store, and finally to the pinnacle of the retail clothing industry–a position as chief buyer of a major department store chain.

Jamison’s color-blindness is discovered in a dramatic scene in which his principal competitor, a cold and calculating female buyer, places two tie-shirt combos in front of him in an attempt to embarass him before top executives.  When he incorrectly places a pink tie on a green shirt and vice versa, his disability is exposed, leading to a reassignment to Filene’s Basement, the store’s cut-rate discount outlet.

Filene’s:  The basement is downstairs.

Jamison fights back, risking everything by purchasing unsold pink oxford-cloth shirts from Brooks Brothers that he believes are green.  When pink shirts become fashionable, he is able to sell the inventory at a significant mark-up, and is promoted over his rival.  The store is ultimately forced to close when Jamison places a substantial order for peach-colored shirts that he believes are blue, but he vows to continue his struggle at a factory outlet store in New Hampshire.

“Bobby–put down that baseball bat.  You can realize your dream of becoming an interior decorator!”

Color-blindness is primarily a male affliction, striking about 6% of boys but only .5% of girls.  Parents of color-blind boys say the film has given them new hope that their sons can overcome their handicap.  “We always told our son that if he worked hard and played by the rules he could realize his dream of becoming an interior decorator, but we were lying,” says Tom Childress of Utica, New York.  “Maybe this movie will prove us wrong.”


Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “I Hear America Whining.”

Tax Code Found to Be Safe Yet Potent Aphrodisiac

WASHINGTON, D.C. It’s getting close to tax time, and across the nation women are nursing two-month-old babies they delivered in January.

“You are the cutest widdle $3,200 deduction from ordinary income mommy’s ever seen!”


Demographers have noticed that a disproportionate number of the nation’s children are born during the first month of the year, and the Internal Revenue Service believes it has discovered why.

Shulman: “The tax code has always been a tremendous turn-on for me personally.”

“Our nation’s tax code, while complex, can be a safe but potent means of increasing the libido of married couples who file joint returns,” said former IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman. “There’s the fighting over ‘Why don’t you make more money?’ and then–the make-up sex.”

Looking at naughty forms on the IRS website helps couples get in the mood.

Taxpayers seem to agree with Stiff’s analysis. Linda Barnes of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, says tax time is a period of increased intimacy with her husband Duane, who prepares their taxes using off-the-shelf software. “Just say it real slow and sultry-like–‘Turbotax–Turbotax’. It kinda gets to you.”

Church ice cream social: “Lloyd, is that an ice cream cone in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”

Others say they use the stimulus of tax preparation to avoid the side effects of other erectile dysfunction remedies. “My husband Lloyd thought he was going blind from Viagra,” says Cindi Kennon of Hoxie, Arkansas, “and with Cialis he’d walk around all weekend with a lump in his pants–not good for a Sunday night ice cream social,” at the Bethany Baptist Church where the Kennons worship. “On the other hand, alcohol is like prunes–is two beers enough? Is six too many? You never know.”

Muu-Muus: Also available in men’s sizes.

There are even couples who use tax-based role playing to add an extra kick to the Internal Revenue Code’s 9,545 pages of erotic stimulus. “We introduce cross-dressing into our love-making routine during April,” says Anna Simon of Grosse Point, Michigan. “I buy my husband Jim some plus-size panty hose and a muu-muu, and he plays the poor, pitiful housewife while I pretend I’m an IRS auditor.” After scolding him for improper deductions of commuting expenses from W-2 wages, Mrs. Simon spanks her husband and allows him to file an amended return correcting his error.

“All of our private suites are booked right now, but I can put you on the table in the conference room.”

Tax-preparation giant H&R Block says it will add private “consultation” rooms to its offices to handle the needs of couples whose personal tastes include exhibitionism. “The guys come in here and want to show me how big their mortgage interest deductions are,” said branch manager Herb Webb of the firm’s Council Bluffs, Iowa office. “Frankly, they don’t pay me enough to watch that kind of sicko stuff.”

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Death, Taxes and More Taxes.”

Dancing With the Refrigerator

In the fifties when the madness of dance
descended upon the youth of the land,
enflamed by images of other teens
flickering across TV screens

from Philadelphia, of all places,
practice was essential if perfection
was to be achieved, and a necessity,
since able males willing to serve as partner

were in short supply.  It was as necessary
as a pessary had been to their mothers
for girls to practice their steps holding
on to the handle of a refrigerator.

Stoic, stolid, the appliances stood
doing their duty as men would,
allowing the girls to shine; after all,
a fridge is just an appliance.

I wonder what passions pulsed
through their Freon tubes,
trapped beneath their skins of
avocado green, harvest gold and white.

To feel the warmth of a girl’s hand upon
their handles, tiny lights unlit within; up
in their freezer compartments their brains
frozen like those of boys they stood in for.

For the duration of a 45 rpm record, they might
believe themselves beloved, but of course
nothing would come of it.  The most
morganatic marriage Faulkner could dream of

did not contemplate that an icebox
would lose its cool over
a gamin’s brown locks.  And
as for those girls, now long grown,

let us hope they have men
as solid, if less cold, and capable
in their domestic dealings
of better expressing their feelings.

Put Down That Poem Before You Kill Yourself

My GPS Cats

          Using tiny satellite tracking harnesses, the Cat Tracker Project has enrolled more than 500 cats in a program that will outfit them with Global Positioning System devices.

          The Boston Globe
“Is Okie lost–again?”


I was pretty excited to be chosen to test drive CatTrack, the state-of-the-art global positioning system for cats. It would mean an end–finally!–to stupid arguments with my housemate Okie, who is to feline intelligence what the Marianas Trench is to the Pacific Ocean; the lowest depth, the nadir, the perigee, the bottom of the bottom.
“I am not dumb. Just–directionally challenged.”


A few summers back Okie was gone from Memorial Day until late in August, and not because he has a summer house on the Cape. He was hopelessly lost, not “cheating” on our owners the way some cats do in order to get a second crack at the Purina Cat Chow every day. No, Okie returned several pounds lighter and even more confused than he was when he left, if that’s possible, the result of wandering dazed in the woods behind our house during the hottest months of the year. When the Nobel Prize Committee calls, he knows it ain’t for him.

But with GPS to guide us on our way, I’m hoping that my days of chasing after the Oak-man, trying to herd him home like a sheepdog, are over. God knows it’s only going to get worse; he’s 63 in cat years, and the grey matter he’s lost over the years in late-night fights with fisher cats–among other local predators–ain’t coming back.
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Fisher cat–not a household pet.


While I’m thinking these thoughts I watch Okie amble up, all innocent barefoot cat with cheeks of grey. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, poor sap, so I’ve had to serve as his tour guide over hill and dale lo these seven years we’ve been living together.

“How they hangin’ Oak?” I call out.

“Nothin’ much,” he replies. He has a stock assortment of come-backs, which don’t always fit the greeting.

“You want to go chase chipmunks?” I ask.

“Sure,” he says. “Although–”


“I don’t want to get lost again.”

“I know buddy,” I say. “But not to worry, I’ve got GPS.”

His face clouds over. “I am so sorry to hear that. Is there anything you can do for it?”

“It’s not a disease you nutball, it stands for ‘global positioning system.'”

“Oh,” he says, and I can tell he’s not quite comprehending. “Do we even have a globe anymore? I mean, the kids moved out, and I thought mom gave a lot of that stuff away.”

“Not a globe, the globe–the one you’re standing on!”

He looked down at his feet, to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. “Yep–it’s right here,” he said.

“It had better be–I don’t know where else we’d put it,” I said, shaking my head. “C’mon, I’ll show you how it works. You punch it what you’re looking for . . .”


“And we see what comes up.”

A voice with a vaguely British accent came on–I guess the units were originally made for Range Rovers–and began to speak: “Proceed twenty steps to the stone fence, then turn RIGHT to enter the motorway.”

“Do we have a motorway?” Okie asked, clueless as usual.

“I think the nice English lady in the little box means our driveway.”

We low-tailed it down to the asphalt circle that connected our front walk to the street, then began to poke our noses into one of those “dry” New England stone fences Puritan women devised to keep their men’s minds off of sex–and try saying that five times fast.

“Well look what we have here,” I said with a note of feigned Kumbaya pacifism in my voice.


Image result for chip and dale

“It’s Chip and Dale!”

“REALLY?” Okie asked. “I love those guys!”

“No not really, you dubo–figuratively.” Unlike me, the Oakmeister does not peruse the many tomes on aesthetic philosophy that the elder male human in the house keeps as vestiges of his undergraduate days. “I’m not wasting my time chasing cartoon characters.”

We crept along, cat-like–actually, it wasn’t just cat-like, we were genuine flesh-and-blood cats–until we were positioned just outside a likely chipmunk cave.

“Now would you please proceed in a stealthy fashion?” I asked, and plaintively I might add.

“You want stealth, huh?”

“Right–and silence.”

“Okay,” he said. Duh.

We each took a position on the opposite sides of the crack through which we expected, any minute, a chipmunk to pop its head. I held my breath–I made Oakie hold his own. After what seemed like an hour, we saw a furry little head peak out to see if the coast was clear. I gave Oak a glance and for once, he seemed to “get it”–the whole predator/prey thing–right away. I silently mouthed “One . . . two . . . three”–when the silence was broken by . . .

“Arriving at–destination. Chipmunk hollow on RIGHT.”

The damn GPS! The chipmunk scurried back into the hole as if he’d been sucked by a vacuum cleaner.

“Damn it to hell!” I squealed.

“Better watch it–mom will hear you.”

“What’s she going to do–send me to Blessing of the Animals Day?”

Study: Drinking Games Lead to Alcohol Consumption

SAN DIEGO, Cal.  A new study by a San Diego State University professor indicates that competitive drinking games may lead to alcohol consumption, contradicting past research sponsored by breweries.

Image result for beer pong
Rigorous scientific inquiry.

“All of the prior literature we looked at predicted that drinking beer as a by-product of playing beer pong led to higher grades, increased levels of virginity and better-smelling morning breath,” according to author Nelson Wilbur.  “It was funded by breweries, and we got cool t-shirts for reading it.”

Image result for beer pong

Drinking games range from basic endurance contests, in which the last person to die from drinking shots of Jagermeister wins, to intellectual competitions in which drinkers must repeat a list of related items, such as “Sisters named Williams who are tennis players,” add to it, and take a drink if they cannot do so.

Image result for beer pong
“What school did we attend when we started?”

Prior research in the field has relied upon participants’ recollection of drinking games they may have participated in weeks or even months before.  Shannon Simmons, a sophomore at Arkansas State University, said she was surprised to learn that a bartender at an off-campus pub disputed her count of how many beers she had consumed during a New Year’s Eve round of “Name the Whig Presidents”.  “I was in college then?” she asked.  “I thought I was abducted by aliens.”

Image result for beer pong
“No, that’s your right shoulder.”

The study’s authors have been nominated for the Holmgren Prize for Applied Research, the award given annually to the scientific study that most effectively explains to laypeople what was previously obvious.

Behind Enemy Lines With the Paracat Corps


Thomas De Quincey’s elder brother William succeeded in some attempts at bringing down cats by parachutes.

                                              The Life of Thomas De Quincy, Malcolm Elwin

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As I looked around the hold of the Puss in Boots, I realized I might be spending my last moments with my buddies Okie, Chester and Chewie.  We were cats on a mission; to drop behind German lines and insinuate our way into the hearts and minds and onto the laps of hausfraus wearying of World War II.  The plan was to pull off a Lysistrata of sorts; have them withhold their, um, favors from their men and bring the Third Reich to its knees.

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“. . . gluck, gluck, gluck, gluck, gluck . . .”


“You guys ready?”  It was Captain Lemuelson, captain, as you might have surmised, of the crew, leading us to ask in our minds who the hell was flying the plane.

“I heard that,” Lemuelson snapped, brooking no question to his authority, not even an internal monologue.  “We have a perfectly well-qualified Co-Captain who’s handling the knob and the stick and the wheel and that other thing, the watchamacalit.”

“The whammy bar?” someone asked.

“No, that’s a guitar part.”

“The who-si-whatsis?”

“That’s it.  Anyway, if any of you are about to crap your pants from fear, the chaplain is here to offer a few words of prayer.”

Image result for world war II chaplain airplane

Father McCloskey stepped forward, and none too steadily I might add.  He’d been transferred from the Army and was afraid of heights, so my guess was that he’d taken a nip or two of sacramental wine.  He crossed himself and began to speak, slowly and reverently: “Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, through . . .”

“We’re not getting ready to eat, you dingbat–stop saying grace.”

“Oh–then what were the cocktails for?”

The Captain gave him a look that could have defrosted a freezer.  “Just say something to make these cats’ leap to a near-certain death easier to bear, would ya padre?”

The cleric began again.  “Dear Lord, please guide these cats on their way to the heart of the enemy.  Let them warm it and turn the thoughts of the Huns towards their fellow Europeans, whom they will one day crush by monetary rather than military means.  Ah-men.”

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Angela Merkel checking to see how much her Greek friends owe her.


Those of us who’d been raised in Catholic homes made the Sign of the Cross, everybody else just improvised with various non-denominational forms of hand jive.  Then we were ready to jump.

Image result for cat parachute

We’d been drilled in questions the Nazis might ask us to determine if we were really German if they found us crawling through the countryside.  Name Goethe’s latest best-seller.  Who’s better, Bach or Mozart?  Which Katzenjammer Kid is which?

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I looked at Okie, and he looked at me.  He started to give me a little thumbs-up, then realized that he didn’t have opposable thumbs.

“I guess this is it, Rocco,” he said.  “It’s been great . . .”

“Like hell it has, unless you were going to say it’s been great having the living crap beaten out of you on a regular basis.”

He gave me that stupid smile of his, the one that comes over his face when he knows I’m making fun of him and still doesn’t get the joke.  He is not, to put it metaphorically, the brightest bulb on the scoreboard.

“If one of us doesn’t survive, the other has to write mom, okay?” I said.

“Sure, sure,” he said.  We knew the odds were against us.  We’d read about Operation Cat Drop, the British plan to parachute cats into Sarawak, Borneo to fight an infestation of rats.  Pretty Sarawakky if you ask me.  There are no reliable accounts of what happened, and the fear that all of us felt was we were guinea pigs being used to test some crackpot theory cooked up back at HG.  And nothing offends a cat’s dignity like being used as a guinea pig.  Fer Christ sake, you can get guinea pigs cheap at Pet World.

Image result for cat parachute

Frankly, I wasn’t even sure we needed parachutes.  I mean, have you ever seen a cat fall and not land on its feet?  The whole parachute pack was a nuisance, if you asked me.  Without it, I could have hauled a lot more food and probably survived in the wild until I’d found the perfect little German gingerbread house to take me in.

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Elite black Schwarze Katz paracat prepares for night jump.


We clipped our chutes to the overhead rail, and the plane banked slowly to the left over Berlin.  If all went well, one of us would make it to the bunker and beguile Eva Braun into talking her man into calling the whole thing off.

“What is it we’re supposed to say again?” Okie asked me.  His short-term memory is shot from too much catnip.

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The face that launched a thousand-year Reich.



“What does that mean?”

“He was a daredevil Indian, used to jump from high places.”

“Without a chute?”

“He didn’t need no stinking parachute.”

I saw Okie gulp a little.  He was plainly nervous.  “Besides that Borneo Cat Drop, has anybody else ever tried what we’re about to do?”

“Well, there was Thomas De Quincey’s older brother.”

“Isn’t that the guy who wrote Confessions of an English Opium-Eater?”

“That’s the one.”

“So we’ve got a hare-brained scheme to land cats in Borneo, a crazy Indian and a drug-head, right?” Okie asked.

“That about sums it up, pal,” I said.

He looked out the door of the plane, then back at me.  “Well,” he said just before he jumped, “That’s good enough for me.”


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