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Then consider: - 1 + 4 - 4 - 2 + (9 x 5) = 42

And remember this: "The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe." 1

That being said, let's talk about me...

I have an IQ of 152...
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Robert A. Heinlein
...and I can do most of those things (I've already done most of them), except for butchering a hog. One, I'd never be able to kill one (unless it was in self-defense) and two, I'd feel awful about someone else killing it. It's stuff like that what keeps me from eating pork. Really, I feel sorry for the pigs and don't want to contribute to their misery.

"The greatest danger is not that our hopes are too high and we fail to reach them,
but that they are too low, and we do."

Dec 28, 2003
"Oh! Tell them what happened to your car!"

Huh? Oh, that. It's been over a month and I'd almost forgotten.

I walked out the back door of the laundromat with a bag of chips in one hand and a magazine in the other. I looked at the empty parking spot just outside the door and to the left. I looked a little closer, to make sure. It took a second to register, but no, I was right the first time, it was empty. There were three parking spots behind the building and three behind them. Five were empty including the one I coulda swore I'd left my car in. Instinctively, I retraced my steps the way you do when you misplace your keys, or your purse. I walked back into the laundromat, looked at the folding table where I'd been leafing through the magazine, turned and walked out the back door again. No, the car definitely wasn't there. A series of alternate scenarios tripped through my mind. Maybe I'd parked in the... no, I hadn't parked in the front lot. I hadn't in who knows how long. Maybe someone else... no, I came alone, so there wasn't a chance that the person I'd come with had moved it to another spot or run an errand while I was buying the soap powder. Maybe I didn't... no, I had to have brought it with me. I was at the laundry and the clothes were being washed and I'd needed the car to bring the clothes there. I walked back into the laundromat and out the back door a few more times before I resigned myself to the first thing that had come to mind when I saw the parking spot empty: My car had been stolen. "C**p", I thought, "Now what?" There were a pair of kids fixing the side mirror on the only car there and I asked if they had seen anyone hanging around out there. They raised their heads and looked around. No, they hadn't seen anyone. "My car was parked in the spot on the other side of that car" I told them. The car with the broken mirror belonged to the kid who worked at the laundromat, so I figured those two must have been friends of his. Another guy walked out of the laundromat. He was a big, sullen looking, Mexican looking guy. I had noticed him earlier walking in from the parking lot looking suspicious. I had also assumed it was him who had stolen my car, but since he was still walking around there I decided that was unlikely. ?Have you seen anyone hanging around here?? I asked him. He looked around the very small lot and shook his head. ?My car's been stolen.? He looked around again and explained that he had been waiting for his friend, the kid who worked there, and had been watching both the back and front door to keep an eye out for him but hadn't seen anyone else. The three of them asked me several questions and I finally decided to call and report the theft to the police. Since I'd left my cell phone at home, I had to use the pay phone in front of the laundromat. I knew car theft didn't qualify as an emergency, so I had to call the non-emergency number. The call to information was a toll call and since I had nothing to write with or write on, I had to memorize the number. It was busy and I had to try another five or six times before I got through. I explained that my car had been stolen from the laundromat on the corner of Rose and Lincoln and the person, probably the desk sergeant, asked for my name and a description of the car. I told him the car was a black 1993 Ford Escort station wagon, and thought "a car so special that there are three others exactly like it on the block where I live." He wanted to know the license plate number. I had no idea. Not the foggiest. Of course, it was written down somewhere, either at home or in the car, but the car was gone and there wasn't anyone at home that I could call and ask (the dogs again came up short). At that point the operator interupted to ask for more money and rather than pay to tell the nice policeman that there was no use in continuing the phone call, I hung up. Okay, I knew there was nothing to do but walk home and figure out what to do next. I went out to the back door and found the kid who worked there had shown up and his friends had filled him in. He asked if I'd called the police and I said I had but hadn't the license plate number so I was going to have to go home and get it. Just then a police car drove past and the kid and his friend ran to flag it down, assuming it was coming in response to my call. They caught up to it and found that the security guy for the shopping center had called and asked them to make an appearance because of some people he thought were potential problems. I told the kid and his friend that there wasn't any use reporting it until I had the license number. I walked to the back parking lot with them and we groused about the state of the world for another few minutes before I told the kid I'd be late picking up my laundry, for obvious reasons and turned to walk home. There were three ways I could go. The first, straight down 7th street was the shortest way but that went straight through the worst part of Venice and it was almost completely unlit. The second, down Rose, was just as dark, quite a bit longer, but safe enough. The third possibility was down Lincoln Blvd., busy and brightly lit. I decided to go that way because I had to buy lottery tickets to replace the ones that had been stolen along with the car. I turned toward Lincoln and went over the wonderful series of events that had taken place over the couple of weeks leading up to that night. I decided it was because I'd started practicing Buddhism. I planned to call Kathy, the Buddhist recruiter, to tell her how my life had changed, all for the worse, since I?d started practicing. I hadn't past the front lot of the Laundromat when I looked up to see my car making a left turn off Lincoln headed toward me. I looked closer, at the front plate, and saw that it was my car, but some guy with a hat was driving it, and driving it very slowly. For a split second a vision of the car driving past me flashed before my eyes and I knew I wasn't going to let that happen. I stepped off the sidewalk into the street in the path of the car and waved the driver to the curb. I yelled at him to pull over and he did, stopping when the left front tire hit the curb. The driver had the window rolled down, the radio turned up, and I figured out why his hat had my attention: In addition to the color and pattern, it was a pair of loops, one hanging over each of the guys ears. Those were where the dog?s legs went. What he was wearing as a hat was one of my dog's sweaters. I opened the door with one hand, pulled the dog's sweater off his head with the other, told him that he had stolen my car, and ordered him to get out. The car was full of cigarette smoke, he reeked of alcohol, and the heater was turned on full. As he leaned away from the open door (saying that he WAS getting out) I could see my keychain, with all the dodads I have on it, in the ignition. Apparently right where I had left it. I pulled him out of the car, deposited him none to gently onto the street and told him what I thought of him. He could hardly walk ("Sure, that's why he needed the car", the Laundromat kid said later) and stumbled up onto the sidewalk and sat. I got into the car and saw that he'd put it in the lowest gear, that's why it was going so slowly. I turned off the heater, put it in drive, and drove the car fifty yards or so back to the place I'd parked it an hour or so earlier, to see how my wash was coming along.

And finally, the lyrics to the theme song from "Bonanza!"

I've got a flair for women everywhere, Bonanza!
I'm not afraid of any pretty maid,
But when I give a kiss to any little miss
She'll learn a lot from me.
I'm not afraid of any pretty maid, Bonanza!
When I give a kiss to any little miss
She'll learn a lot from me.
Hair of brown, hair of gold,
I take what I see.
We're not a one to saddle up and run, Bonanza!
Any one of us who starts a little fuss
Knows he can count on me.
One for four, four for one,
This we guarantee.
We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza!
If anyone fights any one of us,
He's gotta fight with me!

1Please see Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Noel Adams (May 1, 1987); Random House Value Publishing.


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Maria d J Gutierrez

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