Weighty Matters

March 24, 2006

Ever notice how, when the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Food Police (uh, I mean, the Center for Science in the Public Interest), etc. hold forth about the contributions of obesity to life-threatening diseases, they often sound like they’re… well… preaching? I’ve dropped about 30 pounds since I wrote this doggerel, but I still have a very low tolerance for the preaching. An example may be instructive; here’s…

A Short, Fat Sermon

“Thou shalt not be fat; thou shalt ever be thinner;
Thy body’s a temple; a diner’s a sinner.”
Hear bellowing organ and hymnody choral,
As Reverend informs us that FAT IS IMMORAL!

“Rewarded Hereafter are those with restraint:
Who liveth the longest becometh a saint.”
Your soul’s in the balance if will-power fails,
Or, rather, it’s resting on GOD’S BATHROOM SCALES!

“Regret every taco and each enchilada,
Or all of your virtues will add up to nada.
Forgo all the chocolate, chili and cheese,
‘Cause Heaven’s no place for the soul who’s OBESE!

The doctrine we learn at Obesity Church: you
Must age to decrepitude: suffering’s a virtue.
Be certain each calorie duly you’ve reckoned;
Survive ’til you’re ninety… and HATE EVERY SECOND!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(October 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Kitty-Cornered

March 24, 2006

Kitty-Cornered

Disorient Express

March 24, 2006

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A roller coaster derailment that left cars dangling at Worlds of Fun amusement park injured 13 people and led to a daring rescue effort by firefighters to bring stranded passengers safely back to the ground. Two Orient Express riders spent 2-1/2 hours Saturday night strapped into a car hanging about 40 feet overhead before rescuers could get them down. … None of the injured was seriously hurt. …” (7/19/1999)

[Hmm… what an apt name for the coaster. Houston will freeze over in mid-July before I ever mount one of those things.]

The Coaster’s Clear
or
Disorient Express

Unreliable as toasters
Are these modern roller coasters,
If you ride ’em, you may find you’re in a mess:
No one died, but don’t you know,
That without Monsieur Poirot,
It was murder on Disorient Express!

Riders speed along for miles;
We can see their screaming smiles,
As we watch them metamorphose into frowns:
See them coasting to a stop
With their bottoms on the top…
As amusement, well, it has its ups and downs.

Now if you should ask them why
They are hanging in the sky,
They will say they’re on the coaster seeking thrills.
This is entertainment? sure…
If you think you’ve had the cure,
And you’re looking to contribute to your ills!

Here you are at Worlds of Fun,
With your head below your bun,
And the ground no less than forty feet below;
Throw a hissy? throw a fit?
Throw a tantrum in a snit?
No, it’s likelier that “up” is what you’ll throw.

Bad enough, on plane or boat,
With your stomach in your throat,
But to volunteer to suffer such distress?
I will go on boat or plane,
But you’ll know I’ve gone insane
If you find me on Disorient Express!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(July 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Lilian

March 23, 2006

Having just finished The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell, I was reminded of my offering to its author back in 1999…

Not Deep, Though

Consider Lilian Jackson Braun:
It’s nice to see an author that you
Like enjoying great renown,
Although her work’s a bunch of Cat Who!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(April 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Byte Rage

March 23, 2006

(NY Times/Houston Chronicle) “Computers not the real reason for rage on job?” – “If you have hard feelings toward your hard drive, malicious thoughts about your monitor and consider drop-kicking your keyboard, take heart: You are not alone. A new survey suggests that computers are eliciting rage in the workplace, or at least taking the brunt of it. … Administrators reported ‘abusive and violent behavior’ by employees toward their computers. … employees smashed monitors, threw mice, kicked hard drives and shattered screens. … / [A psychologist] said employees are merely taking out the frustration they feel toward their bosses…”

A Graphical User In-Your-Face

There is nothing that is bruter
Than attacking your computer.
Don’t you understand, computers are your friends?
Don’t abandon point-and-clicking
For a frenzied punch-and-kicking;
If you do, you’ll only have to make amends.

Heed your mother, say it nice
While you’re dragging with your mice:
You can never be too careful where you drop;
And remember “thanks” and “please”
When you’re hitting any keys
To continue… or the boss may call a cop.

Keep a clean and tidy monitor:
Don’t ever point a gun at ‘er,
Or smash it for the garbage it displays;
And do not insert a Sloppy Joe
Where you have seen a floppy go…
If ever you expect to get a raise.

Nor, regrettably, may we drive
In a tank across our C drive,
For its contents may become a total loss.
So contain your ire, reserve it
For the folks who most deserve it;
Heed the maxim: spare the hardware; spite the boss!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(March 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Jordan’s Liver Is Mighty Cold

March 23, 2006

Back in 1999, basketball superstar Michael Jordan, unlike many other celebrities, repeatedly refused to sign up as an organ donor…

The Best Part of Being Like Mike

An NBA rookie
May be a tough cookie
And maybe he has Michael’s hands;

Perhaps the kid’s fleet;
He has got Michael’s feet,
And runs ’em, to cheers from the stands;

Each shot he lets fly
Shows he’s got Michael’s eye;
He’s Like Mike, but only in part:

He’ll have to deliver
Without Michael’s liver…
And never will have Michael’s heart!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(March 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Toothiness

March 23, 2006

Long in the Tooth

It’s not a horrid, dread disease;
Must be some sort of mental quirk:
I face the thought of death with ease…
Why can’t I cope with dental work?

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(March 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates

Bottle Of Stress

March 23, 2006

Christmas Eve at Stella’s apartment… on the coffee table in front of me is one of those gigantic bottles of multi-vitamins. It is labeled in large bold type: B-STRESS. I decided the “B” stands for “Bottled” or perhaps “Bottle of.” Think of the commercial possibilities of Bottle-of-Stress. In particular, think of the ad campaign…

B-STRESS

Behold, I present you a Bottle of Stress!
Ennui is the problem it’s made to address:
Take two or three tab’s when you’re utterly bored…
Relief, at a price you can surely afford!

Your life is too peaceful? disgustingly calm?
Prescription: a course of our nuclear balm:
You won’t have the time to be glum or depressed;
In three or four weeks, be assured… you’ll B-Stress’ed!

Your boss paid a bonus? your spouse was too nice?
We’ll shatter your joy at a minimal price.
A dose of anxiety, fear and unrest…
You’ll not be unquiet, unless you B-Stress’ed.

Whatever becalms you, our pill can undo;
Our mission in life is discomfiting you.
Your doc will prescribe, and there’s stress on the way…
It starts when you learn your insurance won’t pay!

Most potent of potions, it’s sure to compare
With that which engenders your deepest despair:
The races you lost, or a stain on a dress;
Results guaranteed… buy our Bottle of Stress!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(December 1998)

Copyright © 1998 Stephen S. Bates

Insomnia

March 21, 2006

Bedroom:
Thursday Morning, 3 A.M.

I love this place I spend each night,
Each painting in its frame;
Five lamps that blaze a fearsome light
Put moon and stars to shame.

I love as well this well-used bed,
As well its well-used springs,
The racks of books about my head,
A little box that sings.

But I should love it better still,
This treasure trove I keep,
Could I, by simple act of will,
Set all aside… and sleep.

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(November 1998)

Copyright © 1998 Stephen S. Bates

Daylight Saving, Daylight Wasting

March 21, 2006

Poems to Scare the Daylight
Out of You
and then
Into You Again

I. Spring

There is not a finer thing
Than to travel in the Spring.
As you tote your luggage doorward,
SET YOUR CLOCK AN HOUR FORWARD!

II. Fall

Post this notice in your hall:
It is really, truly Fall;
You’ll receive a nasty shock
If you don’t SET BACK YOUR CLOCK!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(Fall 1998)

Copyright © 1998 Stephen S. Bates