The Daily Parker

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More from the archives

This came to me in 1988 from the Internet (though back then no one called it "the Internet" and we ramped onto it through CompuServe). Enjoy.


By James Zachary

Every now and again, a caller to the water and wastewater department will ask about issues of national concern.


Southeast plant, this is Zack.

"I am taking a survey for my organization. Do you have time to answer a few questions?"

Ma'am, this is a sewage plant...

"You are a taxpayer and a voter, aren't you?"

Yes Ma'am, but...

"This will only take a few moments. Do you think prophylactics should be on television?"

Say what?

"Prophylactics...condoms...they are..."

I KNOW what they are, lady.

"Should they be on your TV?"

What good would they do on my TV? It never leaves the house...


I could care less.


You seem to be a living testament to that...

"Would advertising them on TV offend you?"

After fourteen years in sewage, nothing much does offend me.

"Now, as a viewer of TV, what names would you find the least offensive?"


"I mean what descriptive name? Condoms...? Prophylactics...?"

Call them rubbers. I don't much care.

"That's a bit crude, don't you think?"

Here at work, we call them whitefish or bottlebass...

"What do you mean 'at work?' You wear them at work...?"

No ma'am. Remember that this is a sewage plant and that anything considered disposable usually winds up being flushed down the commode. Every day we get a few thousand of them buggers floatng in the clarifiers and filters. You seem like you are preparing to lobby for having them advertised on TV, so maybe you can give me a break and tell people to quit flushing them.

"What harm does flushing them do?"

Ma'am, they plug the sewer pipes and everything else. I remember one of the many times that I had to pull a plugged pump. You can never see what is in that mass of goo stuck in the pump impeller, so you just have to reach in and grab hold of it all. Well, some bozo had flushed one of those 'exciter' types...

"What type is that?"

...the kind with antlers. I mean to tell ya, it scared the hell outta me when I latched onto that thing! It was wiggling lite it was alive! For a moment, I thought I had an octopus by the ears...

" mean...there is more than one type?"

Oh, yes ma'am! Should be interesting to see all of the marketing approaches they will use on TV. Should also be REAL educational for the 'ignorant public' that you are so worried about. We used to keep a bulletin board filled with all of the different sizes, models and colors...

"You are kidding of course..."

Oh, no ma'am! We fished out all fo the novelty items and tacked them up for display. My favorite was one that had the American flag on it.

"The flag? Just where did they put the flag?"

About half-staff...


Hmmmm. She must have dropped the phone while saluting...

I did a production of this for WRHU-FM in 1990 that I'm sure made Jeff Kraus wince.

Apparently this gem came from the International FidoNet Association, an ancient online SIG dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of an even-more-ancient software package.

Found in the archives

From 1995, various historical figures answer the age-old question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

For the greater good.
Karl Marx
It was an historical inevitability.
So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.
Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.
Jacques Derrida
Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!
Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.
Timothy Leary
Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.
Douglas Adams
Forty two.
Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.
Oliver North
National security was at stake.
B.F. Skinner
Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.
Carl Jung
The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.
Jean–Paul Sartre
In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road,” and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.
Albert Einstein
Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
To actualize its potential.
If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.
Howard Cosell
It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.
Salvador Dali
The Fish.
It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
Emily Dickinson
Because it could not stop for death.
For fun.
It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.
The eternal hen–principle made it do it.
To die. In the rain.
We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.
David Hume
Out of custom and habit.
Saddam Hussein
This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.
Jack Nicholson
’Cause it (censored) wanted to. That’s the (censored) reason.
Pyrrho the Skeptic
What road?
Ronald Reagan
I forget.
John Sununu
The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.
The Sphinx
You tell me.
St. Peter
I tell you, I don’t know any chicken.
To live deliberately...and suck all the marrow out of life.
Mark Twain
The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.
Herbert Marcuse
It was beguiled by false needs. Evidently, it was under the impression that the other side of the road was even better than the side it was already on.
Emile Durkheim
The chicken may have been an individual seeking to express its moral imperative in doing the right thing.
George H.W. Bush
Chicken. Road. Crossed it. Just because.
Rush Limbaugh
Get back here, I’m still hungry! The darn thing just up and took off! And that was not the right thing to do.
Bill Clinton
Well, it could have crossed the road, for some reason, which we will determine after a period of study.
Sinead O’Connor
“Flee chicken! Flee and be free!” The chicken wanted freedom from the chicken–eating big people.
Captain Kirk
Perhaps/probably/it seems/to which direction did the chicken go? Bones? Scotty? Spock?
Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a Colonel!
She’s criss–crossed like a Christmas tree! I’ll need more time!
Logic suggests the chicken required itself to be on the other side of the road. For which purpose cannot be determined at this time.
Is it moral to interfere with the chicken’s choices?
I sense something from the chicken, sir. It’s definitely across the road.
Karl Marx
In order for the chicken to have increased meat mass, the capitalists required the chicken to cross the road several times.
Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate
Can we talk about this? I mean, I’m not so happy right now and I’d rather not answer the question.
F. Lee Bailey
Objection, your Honor. My opponent is leading the chicken.
Spike Lee
It’s a chicken thing. You wouldn’t understand.
Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally...
You know, chickens and ducks can never really be friends.

Meet a real Caucasian Wingnut

No, not Christine O'Donnell or Sharron Angle—though this one answers Barbara Walters' famous question for them:

Now I'll be honest. When TPM Reader JB told me about Pterocarya fraxinifolia earlier today, I thought there was a pretty decent chance I was being punk'd. Or maybe JB had been punk'd. Someone was getting punk'd. But some simple googling showed that if this is a put-on someone has spent a ton of time posting spoof pages on tons of arboreal and nursery websites around the world. More than 16,000 according to Google. So I'm going with the Caucasian Wingnut being the real thing.

Ironically, this Caucasian Wingnut is most common, or at least started out, in Northern Iran, which isn't necessarily what you'd figure for your garden variety Tea Partier. But there you go. JB says it's the official tree of the Tea Party Movement. But I'll just say you've been warned.

No, really: the Caucasian Wingnut is a tree.

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

Not true, but funny

From Dan Savage the week before last:

Is everyone in the Republican Party a closeted homosexual?

—Ken Mehlman's Out Now

Everyone except Ken Mehlman and Ben Quayle.

Of course, this simply isn't true. Other Republican leaders have come out as well.