Essays/Memoirs

Thought provoking thoughts from our illustrious owner.

Coworkers All Agree Their Town Has the Craziest Weather

It was sunny three days ago.

     It was sunny just this morning.

At 2 PM last Thursday, coworkers at a town beverage distributor gathered by a window just as it started to rain.

“Yup, that’s this town’s crazy weather,” remarked assistant sales manager Al Wiggins after noting he had seen mostly blue skies that morning. “You never really know what’s going to happen in this crazy old place. You know how many times I’ve woken up to a perfectly warm, sunny day, forgotten to check the weather report, and then gotten stuck in a rain storm without my umbrella?”

“You assume the weather guy would have called it right,” said Joel LaCroix, chuckling. “With this town’s crazy weather you might as well flip a coin.”

“Isn’t that the truth?” agreed Sherry Harper, another coworker with a serious distaste for Mondays and storm clouds. “I tell you, we’ve got the wackiest weather in this town. You know this one summer I woke up to sunny and 70 only to have it hail that evening. Can you believe it? Hail, in summer!”

The coworkers all shook their heads in amazement.

“Never seen anything like it,” Harper added, failing to disclose that she had never lived anywhere else in her life.

“You guys talking about this weather we’re having?” asked Joe Mangio, the director of human resources, as he stopped by to see what all the fuss was about. “Yeah, that’s classic this place. Some people like to talk about how they have hurricane season or blizzard season where they’re from. I tell them that’s every season in this crazy town!”

“Yeah,” said Higgins. “It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I usually bring a coat and sunscreen!”

The group laughed in unison, staring off into the distance thoughtfully at this, their lives.

Smoking and Lung Cancer: the Backbone of America’s Retirement System

640px-Van_Gogh_-_Skull_with_a_burning_cigaretteBy Franklin Herbert Washington, MD, PhD, CPA, Science and Health Editor

In case you just woke up from long term cryogenic sleep and don’t know, tobacco companies get a bad rap in America these days. From multi-billion dollar payouts to users of their products, to the self-righteous scold brigades behind our nation’s multi-billion dollar anti-smoking propaganda industry, never has it been cooler to be anti-smoking. The thing is, why? Most media reports and health professionals tend to focus on the cancer-causing aspects of smoking like it’s a bad thing, all the while ignoring the many benefits smoking provides our society.

Sure, it sucks to have cancer, but for non-smokers lung cancer can be a boon. Every day we’re inundated with news stories about how the massive influx of retiring baby boomers is making Social Security less sustainable than ever. And it’s not even like Social Security covers all the expenses the elderly poor place upon the system in the first place.

All that could be worse if not for those unsung heroes the tobacco companies. Tobacco products have prematurely killed off millions upon millions of useless, working class Americans who did not save for retirement and would have otherwise spent decades out of the workforce in unproductivity. Rather than getting rewarded for this behavior by our government’s many socialist teats, they will instead get their just desserts: death.

The name “working class” is itself one of the biggest misnomers of the modern age, as they are probably the least industrious among us. Even when they do manage to hose themselves off and get some form of employment outside meth manufacturing and distribution, it is typically working pay day loan to pay day loan at some minimum wage burger flip that barely affords them a spot on the couch in their cousin’s double-wide after they blow most of their pay on beer, ammo and tickets to monster truck rallies.

With the decline of defined-benefit plans and benefits for the working class in general, many poors are struggling to fill the void using defined-contribution plans, which typically require a level of planning and self-control beyond the meager abilities of their Maury-soaked minds and McDonald’s-forged bodies.

This is not news, of course. Everyone knows poors do a terrible job saving for retirement. I mean, for God’s sake, our tax code gives the financially challenged, slack-jawed masses a $1,000 tax credit just for contributing to a retirement account. This is essentially Congress handing poors a sack with a dollar sign on it every year just for opening up a goddamn retirement account, and yet they can’t even accomplish that. Normal people like you and me would think all the povers would be firing up their El Caminos and F-150s to go see their financial planners at Check Into Cash, but we would be wrong. You have to remember this is also a group who likely has not filed a tax return in years, one for whom the notion of getting past ChexSystems and opening a simple savings account seems like a major life accomplishment, reminiscent of the time their father wore a tie.

All this leads to one inevitable conclusion: getting poors to provide for their own retirement is a hopeless cause. Worse, their frequent bouts of unemployment and long periods spent in part-time, minimum wage work mean whatever Social Security they do qualify for won’t even be enough to pay the rent on the mobile hovel they towed into a KOA campground 10 years ago.

This leaves us with two options. One, what I call “the ol’ fashioned way” is to cut all sorts of entitlement and succor in old age and simply let them starve to death or get taken in by the Church. This is, of course, the natural way, the moral way, the way God intended. It is also impossible in America today.

The second way is to let the government tax and spend its way to providing a basic standard of living for all legal residents over a certain age, regardless of their “ability” to pay. Thankfully, this too is politically infeasible, not to mention the unethical burden it places on those who actually earn their money.

So are we doomed?

Not completely. See, we can in fact accomplish the first way, just not explicitly through legislation. Instead, we must facilitate a sort of “voluntary extermination” of the poors through smoking, culling their swelling numbers to something more economically feasible.

Like I said before, this is the way of Nature, the most optimal free market capitalist system the world has ever known. When an ecosystem can no longer support the herd, what does Nature do? Does it provide extra plants for the herbivores? Increase the game animals for the predators? No, it kills, starting with the weakest and working its way up. This is good for the herd. It makes it stronger, both in the sense that those who remain are the most competitive, and in the sense that the herd itself requires fewer resources to survive.

The beauty of this plan is that we really don’t have to do anything but preserve smoker’s rights. Everyone knows poors smoke at a much higher rate than their social betters, so typically they will be the ones getting that cancer and dying young, often before they even reach an age to start draining what little money they put into Social Security from its trust fund or to put a burden on other social services for non-working poor. No doubt smoking has already saved billions for what few defined-benefit plans remain in the private sector, and no doubt in the future it will continue to mitigate the costs of the greatest defined-benefit demon of them all: Social Security.

Now wait. I already know what you’re going to say next. “But what about all the added healthcare costs smoking adds to the system?” Sure. I’ll give you that. It does add some extra money up front, but the long term costs are almost certainly lower. It’s kind of like paying off a loan with a big lump sum rather than slowing bleeding interest payments over the years. But in any case, most of the medical costs of lung cancer are overstated because they only account for the cost of care for treating the lung cancer patient without considering the savings resulting from their premature death.

Think about it. Everyone is going to die at some point, and smokers hardly have a monopoly on spending their last months or years getting expensive treatments. Think about not having to pay for the decades worth of doctor visits and prescriptions for the multitude of age-related ailments almost all seniors deal with. That alone could probably cancel out the lung cancer costs. But what if they also had a couple strokes before kicking it, and were hospitalized several times? What if they had some heart problems and needed a couple surgeries? For all we know, smokers actually save the medical system money even before we account for the money these people would have drained in food stamps, Social Security payments, welfare, senior discounts and so on.

So next time you tell your kids that smokers are jokers and get ready the check the yes box for a public smoking ban in your community, think of not just the societal costs of smoking, but also the many benefits lighting up provides. As the burgeoning ranks of our nation’s elderly continue to put a greater and greater strain on our nation’s economy and the wallets of productive citizens, something is going to have to be done. Like capital punishment does with our nation’s criminals, smoking can do with our leeching elderly, reducing the size of the people our government is forced to foot the bill for and providing more wealth, opportunity and happiness for the rest of us. So the next time some guy wearing a WWE Raw t-shirt blows smoke rings in your path as you walk past the bus station to the covered garage, don’t complain. Tell him, “Thank you for smoking.”

Wake Up America! (Part IV)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate. From time to time, NFFHC will reprint articles from our sister publications which the editorial staff have deemed of exceptionally high quality and particularly important or relevant to the modern world. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the last in a four part series of letters on the topic from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

The Last Bastion of American Freedom

Dear Editor,

Well fellow citizens, it looks like the powers that be have “won” the battle of my trial. Your’s truly, Randy Miller, Citizen, is now Randy Miller, Inmate #401L435. It’s alright, though. Heck, I could use some from time. It’ll give me a chance to really delve deep into my scholarly research. Oh yes, old Randy is doing just fine. Don’t you worry about him.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I feel really sorry for Mr. Miller. Here in this mixed up, crazy place we call the modern world, we have a rare example of a man who actually stands up for what he believes, for his freedom, and what do they do to him? They thrown him in prison.” None of that is untrue fellow citizens, but I’m telling you: don’t feel bad. As you are all probably aware by now, this is no longer a free country. A handful of leftist radicals have done their best to destroy every last thing freedom loving patriots hold dear, and I am really just another one of their many victims. We’re all their victims, really. It’s just more obvious with me. All I can say is don’t feel sorry for me. As luck (destiny?) would have it, I just happen to have discovered a little pocket of liberty which the oligarchy that rules this country has failed to squash.

Where is this paradise, you ask? An obscure island off the coast of Alaska? A time machine?  An off the grid, self-sufficient, walled-in compound in rural Montana with an entirely gold-based economy, and daily, mandatory firearms practice and marching drills for all citizens aged four and up? Nope. Wrong on all counts fellow citizens. I’m talking, of course, about prison!

As some of the savvier readers of my letters may know, the American prison system is the envy of the world. America imprisons more citizens per capita than any other nation on Earth. In fact, for every  100,000 citizens in this country there are a robust 716 Americans behind bars, and this number is projected to grow in the years to come as the privately run prison industry lobbies the government for increasingly punitive laws. To put this in perspective, our freedom-depriving, draft-dodger-infested neighbor to the north, Canada, imprisons an anemic 114 per 100,000. Can you believe that? How can a nation be free if it’s not free of law-breakers?

By now I’m sure some of my more narrow-minded readers are thinking, “Wait a minute Randy, is that really a good thing? I mean, nobody wants to go to prison.” Sigh. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a common misconception perpetrated by the Liberty-stalking hippies and Quakers of this country that prison is a bad thing and that it restricts your Liberty. In fact, it does quite the opposite. It’s sort of like that thing where Iceland is the green one and Greenland is the icy one, presumably the work some medieval expert consultant from the PR and Marketing Guild.

So how is prison good for personal freedom? Well, for one thing, consider the prison economy. As far as I can tell, it is the only truly free market, laissez-faire economy on Earth. People here use their free time in the productive pursuits of their choice with little to no interference from the guards. And even when they do interfere, you can get around that through a good, old-fashioned bribe.

The entire economy is built on the currency of the cigarette standard, which, unlike fiat currencies used by countries like America, actually has use and underlying value beyond that dictated into it by the powers that be. On top of that, there are no taxes to speak of, be they income, sales, value-added or whatever. If I make 100 cigarettes in a day through my productive labors, I will keep 100 cigarettes and may spend them as I wish, free from government worms burrowing their way in for a cut.

I haven’t been this excited in years. I feel like Dagny Taggart uncovering John Galt’s secret mountain hideout in Colorado. Everyone here is paid by the value they provide and nothing more or less. The other day I earned 20 cigarettes for providing a fellow inmate instruction as to how to properly stitch a minor shanking wound and spent those cigarettes on a well worn James Madison biography and instruction in the making of the prison beverage known as Pruno.

It’s inspiring to see people who, on the outside, chose a life of crime, come here and suddenly their whole outlook changes. No more crime. No more tricks. No stifling regulation from the Boys in Washington sucking our blood. Just people driving themselves to heroic new levels of production and usefulness. Where an outsider may see a stick or toothbrush, an inmate will see a potential shiv and profit. Where an outsider may see half a bottle of cranberry juice, some old peaches and a steel toilet, an inmate sees a business opportunity. Why, if your average person on the outside had half their gumption, we could conquer China tomorrow.

Oh, and you know what else? The prison economy is roaring. Guess what the unemployment rate is in our fine prison? Surprise, surprise: zero percent. Without a government and their schmoozing cronies taking a cut of everyone’s cigarettes, we are motivated to work to our full potential. As a result, the prison hall is a hotbed of small business entrepreneurship. Toilet vinters, drug mercantilists, weapons smiths, personal trainers. And let me tell you, what Pruno lacks for in quality of ingredients it more than makes up for with the sweet taste of freedom added to it.

I’d also like to point out that every man is employed in useful labors, too. Doing laundry, making license plates, cooking meals, trading goods, etc. Not one gets to leech off society by somehow trying to get paid for doing something silly and unproductive like painting or making music. With exception of tattooing, the “arts” are virtually nonexistant here. Without government grants and university professorships, those types have no way to support themselves without getting people to pay for their wares on the open market. And you know what people are willing to pay for that rubbish? Nothing!

We need the government for virtually nothing here. Even policing and protection are controlled through private enterprise. I myself pay for protection from an extremely scary-looking group of guys through cigarettes and some personal services.

In a free society such as this you’ll also come to notice that there’s a different culture of interpersonal interactions. For one thing, there is zero political correctness. People here know how to call a spade a spade. A is A and the Aryan Brotherhood is me. Right now I’m not technically a member, but I’ve done some work for them, and I am a proud Christian male of Northern European descent. I like their style and they like mine. And that’s just how it is in prison. The old racial segregations are alive and well, as if the hippies never happened. Everyone knows their place and that’s just how it is.

My Aryan Brothers have a real commitment to old-fashioned Christian values, too. The other day they beat the snot out of some the Muslim inmates for no reason (other than that they were Muslim. In this man’s America, that’s enough. You don’t have to wait for them to bomb a skyscraper or shoot up a school before doing something about it. Now that’s freedom of religion! Guys in the joint don’t hide their Christianity either. Instead they put it right out in the open for all to see. My roommate Frank has a giant cross that covers up the whole of his back. Can I get an amen brother?!

It’s going to be hard to leave this place. It really is. I’ve got 5-10 years, but I’ll probably get kicked out in three for “good behavior” knowing the hippies they install on parole boards nowadays. My fellow Americans, I urge you to write your congressman tell him to support our prison system. Right now it’s still going strong, but you know the powers that be would love to rip their fangs in and nationalize it, turning it into one of those socialist prisons in Norway.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Wake Up America! (Part II)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate. From time to time, NFFHC will reprint articles from our sister publications which the editorial staff have deemed of exceptionally high quality and particularly important or relevant to the modern world. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the second in a four part series of letters on the topic from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

So This is What Has Become of Our Justice System

To the Editor and Readers of the Greensburg Observer,

Liberty. Justice. God. Country. These are the principles the Almighty handed down to our founding fathers, first through the Declaration of Independence and later through that divinely inspired document THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I have always tried to live my life true to the Constitution and the principles it enshrines. I exercise the full measure of my legal rights. I seek vengeance where vengeance is due. And, most of all, I worship my God and my country. I even carry around a pocket copy of the Constitution to enlighten coworkers and cashiers at Wal-Mart. Sadly, sadly, sadly, these days it seems as if our glorious country has lost its way.

Let me give you an example of what “freedom” means to the powers that be in this country right now. The other day, in what in hindsight seems a bit ill-advised, I attempted to instill my sense of wonder, pride and duty towards America and its Constitution in my sons Reagan and F-150 by taking them to the courthouse. My plan was for them to sit in on a hearing I had for some trumped up charges about lacking the proper permits to satisfy our local bureaucratic overlords. (As a side note, since when do I need permission from the nanny state to heal my own kin, or my neighbor Joe and his daughter’s chinchilla, two consenting adults? I swear, they’re going to require a breathing license sooner or later.)

Anywho, a big reason for taking my sons was I wanted them to see the proper way to represent oneself in court, a skill they will no doubt find useful later in life. They are citizens, like any other, after all. They have the rights conferred by the Constitution and the God-given talent in their brains. I wanted them to see what real citizens do. For one thing, like performing your own appendectomies, representing yourself in court can be a real money saver, particularly with civil issues. More importantly, though, my sons don’t need to be beholden to some so-called “legal professional” provided to them by the very same state machinery that is trying to steal their freedom. You ever really thought about that, by the way? Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!

Anywho, they were hearing other cases before mine, so I decided we should sit in on a trial down the hall to warm them up for witnessing the thrill of republican government in action. This turned out to be a big mistake. As avid readers of my prolific catalogue of letters to the editor are no doubt aware, part of bearing witness in a court of law is the act of “swearing in” before our Creator, the Lord Almighty God, upon His divinely inspired instrument the Holy Bible. All witnesses are supposed to swear that they will tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help them God. But here’s where it gets ridiculous. At court that day I witnessed what no doubt had George Washington and Jesus shaking their heads in unison up in heaven. I swear to Ben Franklin, I’ve ever seen anything like it. This joker—hippie fellow by the look of him—came up there and insisted, I kid you not, that he was an atheist and did not want to swear on the Bible.

Now, I would think that’s enough right there to discredit whatever he says. I mean, punishment for perjury under the laws of men are nothing compared to punishment from God, right? But here’s the kicker. This clown of a judge lets the guy do it. I mean, I guess you see some ridiculous things in court. This is why we need governments in the first place, to keep guys like this in check. But if a judge—an officer of the court sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, mind you—won’t stop him, what protection do ordinary folks like you and me have from bottom feeders like this? But no, this judge—I couldn’t freakin’ believe it—just has the bailiff ask the guy to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and “nothing but the truth” so help him nothing. What the heck is that? Talk about a legal loophole!

Needless to say, this got ol’ Randy a bit riled up. I practically tripped over myself ushering Reagan and F-150 out of the courtroom as quickly as I could, embarrassed I had even brought them. What’s worse, though—and I’m still a little ashamed to admit it—is for the first time in my life, I was embarrassed to be Citizen of this country that we once called America. For a second, I considered just giving little Ray Ray and Half Ton some money and telling them to go wait for me in the courthouse cafeteria. That’s how much this had shaken my faith in our nation. Once we were out of that snake pit, though, I realized that if I did that, just gave up like that, I would be letting my sons down by letting these people win. I knew what I needed to do was to fire back, to show these kids what makes our country the greatest in the world: righteous Christian citizens standing up for their righteous rights.

I led my kids down the hall to my courtroom and procured some paper. For the next 35 minutes I sat in the back of that courtroom writing on various jury duty informational pamphlets like a man possessed. Ah, heck. I wasn’t like a man possessed. I was a man possessed, possessed with the holy spirit of the United States Constitution! Surely no coincidence, just as I put the finishing touches on my speech, I heard the bailiff call my name (divine inspiration works like that). I got up and strode confidently to the front, ready to meet my destiny and God’s plan.

Now, as readers of my letters are no doubt aware, I am generally a man of law and order. I vote. I own a firearm. I try to slow down in school zones. However, as Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” So while I respect the rule of law and hold in high esteem the judges who enforce it, there was no way I was going to respect judge joker and his crew of merry pranksters that the powers that be had installed on my case. And you better be sure I wasn’t about to give up that most essential of liberties, freedom of speech, just so the judge would take it easy me.

I was ready to fight.

So anywho, this judge, he comes out in his big black robe, with his tie and his slicked back hair and a look you would have had to see to believe. I mean, pompous doesn’t begin to describe it. What really drove me up the wall, though, was this itty-bitty smirk he got on his face every time I spoke, as if hearing the Truth was somehow amusing, as if our great nation were just some joke to him. Sadly, I’m sure it is all a joke to him.

So this judge, he started by asking some basic information: where I live, my education, etc. I told him I was going to take the Fifth on my address since you never who might be listening in that courtroom, and that I had a 26th grade education as of January, mostly done by independent study after the 10th grade. By my count that should be enough for a couple PhDs, far more than this judge’s mere JD, though I would never be so full of myself as to ask people to call me doctor (or doctors really).

Then he asks me if I have an attorney. You have no idea how much this bothers me.

“No your honor, I do not and I do not need one,” I proclaimed without a moment’s hesitation. “I am a proud citizen and patriot of this great nation and a scholar of the history of its government. I am fully capable of representing myself like any self-respecting American should be and don’t need any help from you or the state.”

“You do know you have a right to an attorney in a proceeding such as this Mr. Miller?” the judge replies in the most patronizing voice I probably will ever hear. “If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be provided for you. It’s free, in other words.”

“Yes, I’m aware,” I say. “Your honor, I have ample experience representing myself before this Court and many others. I wouldn’t want an attorney if the government paid me to take one.” (By the way, I’m sure paying you to take a public defender isn’t that far off for the minorities and the gays and all those other so-called “oppressed” peoples.)

“Very well Mr. Miller,” he said, rolling his arrogant eyes. Talk about unprofessional. Quite frankly, the nerve of this guy was astonishing.

So anywho, next the judge asks if I understood the charges against me. Heck, I wasn’t sure he understood the charges against me. What follows is word for word exactly what I said. It comes from the court’s transcript, which I, of course, requested afterwards. There were a couple typos the court reporter probably “accidentally” let in there at the behest of the judge to score political points, but I managed to clean it up.

“Your honor,” I began, “Two hundred and thirty seven years ago a man named George Washington stood accused, just like me. They said he had committed treason, that he refused to pay taxes, that he stood in open insurrection against his rightful leader. Now, do you know what he did, because I have serious doubts? Did he come crawling back to King George, begging for forgiveness? ‘Oh, please, massa King George, give us more of your wonderful taxes. I’m so sorry. I loves me some taxes!’ No. Did he cower in the dark, hoping the storm would pass? ‘Oh, please, King George don’t hurt me.’ No. Fellow citizens—even you, your honor—he rose up! He stood for Liberty, and he didn’t sit down until he had created a little something called the United States of America, the greatest country there has ever been or ever will be.”

“Mr. Miller,” the judge interrupted, “All I’m asking is whether you understand the charges against you. You’re not accused of treason or tax evasion or anything besides practicing medicine without a license.”

“Your honor, if you’d bothered to let me finish, you’d see that I am answering your question. I’m just trying to give the court a little context. I mean, isn’t that what’s missing from today’s 24-hour-news-saturated, fast food world, just a little context?”

“Fine, Mr. Miller, proceed, but make it quick. This isn’t my only case today.”

“Thank you, your honor. Liberty. Justice. God. Country. These are the guiding principles we inherited from our Founding Fathers, who were granted them by Almighty God.” I didn’t realize it until some heads turned, but I was nearly shouting in my ecstatic passion for this great land. “These principles are enshrined in our Constitution, a constitution which is the Supreme Law of the Land, mind you, one to which this this court supposedly subject.

“Excuse me, Mr. Miller?” the judge interrupted again.

I try to ignore him and keep going. “Your honor, in the words of Ronald Reagan, America’s greatest modern President and one of the finest leaders the world has ever known: ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.’

I could hear people shuffling out of the courtroom at this point, no doubt uncomfortable in hearing this Truth as a man coming out of a cave would be sensitive to sunlight. But I took heart that such men will adjust so long as the light remains. I continued.

“So, your honor,” I said with a subtle trace of sarcasm that, no doubt, went right over this judge’s head, “To answer your question, NO! I do not understand the charges against me. Yes, I understand the meaning of the words. I understand the dictionary definition of the crime with which you are attempting to pin me. But no, I do not understand the ways of men who unjustly accuse and imprison the righteous. Those who would attempt to cage the wings of Liberty, the men who would not let the eagle soar like she’s never soared before, deserve neither liberty or exotic pets.”

I let those words hang in the air for effect. The courtroom was stricken with a raucous, cacophonous silence. The man in the back row who had not left was in an apparent state of shock to see such a passion. The judge, too, was speechless, no doubt unaccustomed to such a fight. For at least 10 or 20 seconds all he could do was rub his temples, attempting to think of where he could possibly go now.

“Mr. Miller, are you finished?” the judged finally asked.

“I will never be finished!”

“Just, please. How do you plead Mr. Miller?”

“I have never been guilty your honor. I am not guilty now and I will never be guilty!”

“Let the record show the Defendant has entered a plea of not guilty,” the judge said in a rushed tone. “Trial is scheduled for March 5th. This hearing is adjourned.” He swung his gavel.

Walking out of the courtroom I savored my victory, but ultimately I knew I had won a battle but not the war. My real test would come March 5th. No doubt the judge and his political cronies would regroup and restrategize by then. This might have seemed a frightening prospect to some, but I have always had faith in the people of this country. Decent, hard working folks like you and me have the heart and the common sense to fight things like this.

You may not think this affects you, but I implore you, the people of Greensburg, not to be so short-sighted. This is how it happens. First they will come for the Millers, but you will not speak up because you are not a Miller. Then they will come for you and there will be no one left to speak up! The time will soon come when you, too, are in some kangaroo court being put on display by the powers that be to score political points. Stand with me March 5th and fight. Fight for Truth. Fight for Justice. Fight for America.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Wake Up America! (Part I)

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate consisting of hundreds of different publications spreading Truth throughout the world. From time to time we will reprint articles from our sister publications which our editorial staff have deemed particularly important or relevant to the modern world and of exceptionally high quality. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana. It is the first in a four part series of letters from American citizen and freelance man-of-letters Randy Miller.

___________________________

To the Editor and Readers of the Greensburg Observer,

In these troubled times it seems like everyone I know, be they coworkers and friends or even my own family, has given up their God-given right to independence. Like our Founding Fathers, I have always prided myself on my ability to accomplish things with my own power and skill, relying solely on my own brain, my own elbow grease, and my own heaping serving of good, old-fashioned American gumption. This attitude has always served me well and is something I have always tried to instill in my children and inspire in my acquaintances. However, the more I attempt to evangelize this critical element of the American spirit to others, the more I realize just how sorely lacking it is in most so-called Americans today.

Take my kids. As became evident one night last month on a particularly dark and lonely stretch of I-70, not a single one of those ungrateful brats knows how to change a blown tire. On top of that, they suggested I call that prissy coddle-factory known to the lazy, teeming masses as AAA. I was even more taken aback than the time I discovered my normally dutiful wife Theresa didn’t know how to change the oil in my car (you bet your behind she knows how now). And my kids and wife are not alone. My coworker Stan conveniently claims not to know how to change the printer paper, half my neighbors call a handy man just to change a light bulb or unclog a drain, and my sister Sue paid the jackals at Geek Squad to install her new computer. My point is, in this age where we pay everyone to do everything for us, haven’t we lost a part of ourselves? My grandfather could build an entire house with a hammer or medium-sized rock, the woods out back, and a saw or well-trained beaver (which he trained himself, by the way). My brother Steve can’t even cook microwave popcorn.

Well I say we take the power back! It’s time we relearn how to do things ourselves, right? A little time invested today will reap rich dividends for the rest of your life, and in most cases I think you’ll find that it’s not as hard as it seems. Let me repeat this, because it’s important: it’s not as hard as it seems. The problem is really just that most of these so-called “professionals” out there that we hire to do things for us want to keep that a secret so decent, hardworking folks like you and me keep having to pay them outlandishly high, endlessly skyrocketing rates to do something we could easily do ourselves.

Take doctors for instance. You’re telling me it takes eight years of education and several more in on the job training to diagnose my kid’s mild concussion and hand me bottle of Tylenol? Oh, you don’t say?! I could have told Clay that myself if Sherry Harper hadn’t rushed him to the Urgent Care Center without my permission the moment he fell out of Mikey Harper’s tree house. No, the real reason they “need” so much education—the secret they don’t want to tell you—is doctors want to keep the barrier to entry as high as possible to keep you and me from trying to take a cut out of their scam. They want to maintain the status quo so they can charge me $5,000 for that “service” they rendered my son. Heck, I buy crude by the barrel and distill my own gasoline. You think I can’t do a little doctoring? I might not have a fancy-schmancy MRI machine like they ran Clay through, but I’ve got plenty of experience with concussions and a gut feeling that consistently outperforms the market. Better yet, I don’t charge anything.

And speaking of doctor education, half those eight years aren’t even attempting to appear job related either. I spent a semester in college living with one of these so-called “pre-med” students. The guy was taking zero medical classes. The closest thing in there was a biology class, so I guess he might have learned how to operate on a fruit fly or something. Heck, he even had a literature class. What, pray tell, does reading Jane Austen have to do with curing the sick? Did he not get enough of that baloney in high school? (And don’t get me started on the government taking my money to fund the brainwashing of our nation’s children at some so-called public school.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Sure Randy, I see your point about the concussion, but what about more difficult stuff like surgery? Don’t you need a professional for that? I mean people could get hurt if you screw that up.” To that my answer remains the same: it isn’t as hard as it seems.

Take removing an appendix, for example. This is a simple procedure every independent-minded, God-fearing American patriot should know. It’s basically the oil change of human surgery—a weekend to learn, a lifetime of savings. And believe me, I know. I performed preemptive appendectomies for all my kids after my wife Theresa got appendicitis and that racket down at the ER tried to charge us more than the value of our double wide to remove it. Nuh uh. I ain’t falling for that again, brother.

As to the how, the only advice I can give you is just practice, practice, practice. If you don’t feel comfortable starting on your family members, go down to the pound and pick up a couple dogs, or better yet catch some strays yourself. Their bodies aren’t exactly the same but it will definitely help you get a feel for mammalian skin and organs. Cats work, too. Our cat Boris had the squirts last week, so I opened him up for some exploratory surgery—you know, just to make sure everything looked alright. Didn’t find anything, but he took a turn for the worst later that week. I guess sometimes there are things that even surgery can’t solve, but it’s really a myth of our nation’s medical cartel that surgery is dangerous. Sure, some folks have died at some points in the past, but what they don’t tell you is that most of those people were very sick to begin with and probably would have died anyway. I mean use your brains for second people: they were in a hospital for a reason. You don’t go to the hospital when you’re feeling fine.

Oh, and before I forget, I have one other piece of practical advice: get some tarps. Don’t be a cheap ass like I was and think you can get away with just putting down newspaper. Surgery isn’t all neat and pretty and McDreamy like on TV. It’s messy as hell. You do get better with practice, of course, but it’s still going to be bloody. I suppose maybe you could tape together some trash bags or something, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh, and another thing: get a decent anesthetic. My first appendectomy on the kids I just gave little Bo a bottle of NyQuil and a couple shots of whiskey. I figured since he’s only four it wouldn’t take much to knock him out real good. It worked, but not perfectly. He was raving like a lunatic for about half an hour before he finally passed out to a surgery-ready state. And trust me, having vomit all over the operating space isn’t very sanitary. Fortunately, I later discovered that an ether soaked rag works just as well. In fact, it’s what they used to use during the Civil War, back when men were men and anyone with a little gumption and good knife could be a doctor. That’s the way to go if you can. The kids recover from it a lot quicker, and I can save some for myself for afterwards (wink, wink).

Oh, one last thing. It’s going to cost you a little extra, but a genuine medical scalpel is worth the money. That first time on Bo I used a steak knife, which I figured was designed to cut into meat, but it’s really a lot more work than you’d think and leaves a nasty scar. It was Kitchen Aid knife, too, so don’t think it didn’t work because I was just using some cheap knife I stole from the buffet. Just buy a damn scalpel. They’re like $15 on Amazon. In a pinch I bet an X-Acto knife might work, too, now that I think about it.

Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking: “Hey Randy, what about the risk of infection doctors are always going on about? Shouldn’t I get some antibiotics, too? You know, just in case?” Let me tell you why you’re wrong there. See there’s something called antibiotic resistant bacteria floating around there right now. The so-called doctors say it’s because the antibiotics just “stopped working” because we’ve used them too much and bacteria are adapting. Baloney. That’s a pretty transparent excuse if you ask me. See what’s really happening—what they don’t want you to know—is that antibiotics never really worked in the first place. Folks were starting to catch on, see, so these conmen doctors are trying to cover their tracks by concocting some bull plop about antibiotic resistant bacteria. Plus, as if that weren’t enough, I’m pretty sure antibiotics cause the autism, too. Just a got a gut feeling about it. If there’s one thing you can trust in this crazy world, it’s ol’ Randy’s gut. You can set your watch to it. Heck, I don’t even own a watch.

The fact of the matter is you don’t need antibiotics or disinfectant or anything besides just good, old-fashioned soap and water. If you do your job right and really give the dining room table (or wherever you perform your surgery) a good, thorough scrubbing, use a new tarp and run your scalpel through the dishwasher, infection shouldn’t be a problem. The human immune system is a wonderful thing, see. Left to its own devices it can fight most infections. So why not let your immune system do the work? It’s particularly strong in kids. That’s why I made sure to do the appendectomies on my young ‘uns while they were still young. Plus, kids heal quickly and give you some room for error, which you’ll probably need your first couple times.

Well, I have so much more to tell your good readers, but I’ll save it for another day seeing as I’m getting near the Observer’s word limit. Let me close by saying this one more time: it’s not as hard as it seems. You have a right to control your own destiny. Together we can save millions on all sorts of things the so-called “experts” want to make you think you’re just too dumb and ignorant to do. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

God Bless,

Randy Miller, Citizen

Mighty Mouse

By W. Keith Zoroastrian

“How should I put this?” my mom said over the phone. “They were the sort of people who would recognize mouse-gnawed holes if they saw them.” She was regaling me with the tale of a mouse she had discovered a week earlier when she noticed chewed-up paper towels in her car. She hadn’t realized what was going on until a patient pointed out holes in her sweater. “I didn’t even notice the holes until I was at their house,” she said. “I was so embarrassed.”

This mouse, like all mice, was crafty. It had taken up refuge in her townhome’s garage, somehow infiltrated her car, and gnawed up anything left inside, including the sweater. My mom didn’t have the heart to set out traps, so instead she had tried to address the root cause by removing the multiple bags of half-eaten fast food from her front seat, which “apparently” could attract mice. That turned out to be insufficient. The mouse kept chewing less and less obvious attractants until, finally, my mom had removed just about everything but the seats themselves. They, too, might not have been safe if the whole saga hadn’t abruptly ended one night in a bucket of mop water. She was in her bathrobe at the time, and she didn’t want to open the garage door in order to pour it out. The next morning the bucket contained one dead mouse. “Well, I think it was a mouse,” she said, “Some kind of abnormally large species, anyways, about three times bigger than most mice. Maybe it was some other kind of rodent I don’t even know about. Definitely not a rat, though.”

I was skeptical. In my extensive experience as a pet store patron, I had come to know that rats were usually about two or three times the size of most mice. In my experience as a biology major and Wikipedia enthusiast, I knew that rats were much more common in Colorado than the giant, carnivorous Gough Island Mouse, which also fit her description. She was adamant that it wasn’t a rat, though. Admittedly, it did seem improbable that a fully grown rat could worm its way into her practically new and presumably low-hole car. Then again, how did a mouse get in? I didn’t know, but I think the real reason for her conclusion was she just couldn’t bear the thought that any sort of rat, dead or alive, had gnawed a hole in the elbow of a sweater she had worn. If that were the case, she would probably need to burn the thing, fumigate her car, and go get tested for bubonic plague. And that was the absolute minimum.

Some people might not understand why this same squeamishness wouldn’t apply equally to the giant, carnivorous Gough Island Mouse. It made perfect sense to me, though. My junior year of college, I lived with four of my friends in an apartment on the outskirts of Boston. Now, I don’t know how common mice are in Boston apartments, but every other friend I had with an apartment in the area seemed to have had some encounter with them. Most of those encounters were “this one time” sort of stories, though, about an isolated incident where they walked into the kitchen in the early morning and saw one of the little bastards scurry away as the light came on.

These people were amateurs. Our apartment also had mice, but more in the way that an ant colony has ants. Our encounters were “this one time today” stories about the afternoon’s top sighting. It was a veritable Hamster Habitat® for mice, with all the Fun-nels®, food, and comfy piles of wood chips a mouse’s little heart could desire. In fact, it would have been far more story worthy if we didn’t see a mouse when walking into our kitchen.

This was mostly our fault. There were many things that made our apartment a good mouse hangout: food left out all over the place for days on end, warm tight spaces with ample nesting materials, a generous drug sharing policy…. The biggest by far, however, was our trash situation. The apartment was on the third floor, and taking out the trash required walking down a claustrophobically narrow spiral staircase, then walking across a parking lot outside to the dumpster, and then marching all the way back from whence you came. It took several minutes and was deeply unpleasant, particularly during the winter. For those who don’t know, Boston is cold from November until sometime in March, generally in the single digits (Fahrenheit!) at night.

The combination of the immense trek, the cold air, and our general laziness made the perfect storm for trash build up. When our kitchen trash couldn’t possibly be crushed and compacted any further, we started pulling the bag out, tying it up, and putting it next to the can for a later trip to the dumpster. The justification for this was that it was inefficient to take out a single bag at a time when we each had two arms, which is really just good, old-fashioned common sense.

This logic quickly extended to all 10 of the arms between us. Over time our arms become stronger, and we decided that they had enough strength to carry at least two bags apiece. Eventually, this line of thinking reached its natural conclusion. We decided the trash pile was an impossible problem that we just had to accept as an inescapable fact of life we would do our best to ignore, like the existence of Young Earth Creationists. Practically speaking, there was still plenty of room. Though the back door was blocked, there was still a path around the sink and into the pantry, and while the pile’s footprint occupied roughly two-thirds of the square footage of our kitchen, there were still ample cubic feet free in the airspace between the trash and ceiling.

When our lease was still young, the weather still warm, and we still gave a shit about keeping the apartment cleanish, there had still been some mice, but they were relatively uncommon. Now, though, their population seemed to explode exponentially as word caught on in the mouse community of a seemingly too-good-to-be-true, heated, indoor trash heap tended by unaggressive, half-baked humans with no experience capturing and killing mice. Every time one of us walked into the kitchen, day or night, multiple mice would scurry away from the pile. It actually got to the point that we would strobe the light on and off before entering. It was important to let them know we were coming to avoid any unpleasant confrontations between our two peoples.

Then one day that winter, one of my roommates received a call from the landlord. She was letting us know that an exterminator would be coming to our apartment to check for mice. This wasn’t special treatment. The exterminator was visiting all the apartments to set traps and look for “hazards,” an exterminator’s term of art for things that could attract mice. Apparently, something had been bringing mice to the building in, as the landlord put it, “unusually high numbers” that year, and she wanted to fix it before she received any more complaints from the tenants.

My roommates and I decided it would probably be in our best interests to remove Mount Shitney before the exterminator showed up. We brainstormed and many worthy ideas were put forth. Notably, there was talk of taking the T to Shaw’s to pick up cleaning supplies and really rolling our sleeves up, but that never materialized. Instead, we used some college-level critical thinking skills to come up with the idea of transitioning the trash to our storage area in the basement first. This would be a preliminary step before ultimately relocating it to its final destination in the dumpster.

It really was a brilliant plan. Not only would this clear it out of the apartment before the exterminator arrived, we also wouldn’t have to brave the frigid winter chill. If we were really lucky, the exterminator might even find it down there, not know whose it was due to the ill-defined storage area boundaries, and conclude that it was a serious hazard that he would move himself. Unfortunately, he must not of have realized the bags contained actual trash because they were still there the next day, and we never heard anything about them from him.

When the exterminator did finally show up at our apartment it was in rare form. Not that it was what I would call clean, but it was definitely clean for us. Besides creating a trash free kitchen, we had also put the dishes in the dishwasher, wiped off the counters, and removed all the food from the living room. Basically, we were going for a look that told the guy, “Hey, we might not keep the cleanest place, but we probably aren’t the source of the mouse problem.” If it were too clean he might know we were trying to bullshit him, like the normally mediocre student who forges an A+ on his report card. It was a chess game you see, moves ahead of moves, tricks within tricks.

When the exterminator arrived, he didn’t seem to take any particular note of our apartment. He looked around a little and put out poison in out-of-the-way, mouse-prone spots, like behind the fridge and stove. He also gave us practical advice on what not to do, basically a list that could have been a daily journal entry for things we had done.

“You guys seen many mice in this apartment?” he asked.

“Some, yeah,” I said.

“Well, you want to make sure you don’t leave open food containers out, and that you clean used dishes right away. You also want to sweep the floors frequently to get any food crumbs than might have fallen down there.”

“Yeah, I’m a real stickler for frequent sweeping.”

“That’s good. You also probably want to get a lid for that trash can, something that makes a tight seal. That could be what’s attracting the ones you’ve seen. Mice love trash.”

“Do they?”

Having the exterminator come actually turned out to be a turning point for us. Up until then, we had attempted to control the population using mouse traps baited with peanut butter, the most effective bait according to the package. These weren’t the classic wood slab, spring and wire contraptions you feel inclined to bait with a little wedge of yellow cheese, but they did operate on a similar principle. The big difference was ours were enclosed so that the mouse had to walk through a little tunnel to get to the bait and meet his doom. I think the reason for the enclosure was so that you wouldn’t have to look at the dead mouse. Instead, without averting your eyes, you could just pick up the whole apparatus and throw it in the trash. It seemed like a pretty good system when we bought it. Who doesn’t like peanut butter?

As it turned out, the mice did like peanut butter. Unfortunately, they were too smart for the traps, which were essentially elaborate mouse feeders. Every time the mice went in the traps, they somehow managed to avoid springing them. Whether the mice knew how the traps worked or just didn’t weigh enough to set them off, I’m not really sure. If I had to take a guess, though, I’d say they outsmarted us. Like I said, they’re crafty. That said, this whole dynamic changed when the exterminator brought what, to this day, I still believe to be the only truly effective mouse trap: sticky paper.

Sticky paper is pretty much exactly what the name says: a piece of stiff paper a little bigger than a postcard with a strong adhesive on one side. When mice run over the exposed adhesive, they get inescapably stuck. Like the advent of gunpowder changed the face of warfare forever, the acquisition of sticky paper technology meant the balance of power between mouse and human in our apartment was never quite the same. We went from not having caught a single mouse to bagging three or four every single day. In fact, we had to go out and buy more sticky paper in less than a week. It seemed like every piece we put down bagged a mouse by the next morning.

There was one, however, who refused to be bagged.

His existence began as rumor. There were whispers in the halls among my roommates. One of them claimed to have seen a giant rodent-like creature, possibly carnivorous, twice the size of the average mouse, and three times as clever. He swore had seen the little bastard deliberately run around sticky paper directly in its path. Then reports began to surface of having to clean up mouse turds more like the feces of a small cat than mere mouse poop.

We dubbed him Mighty Mouse. He wasn’t just clever and large, either. He was also bolder than most mice. Where most would hightail it out of any room we entered, Mighty Mouse would linger until we made an aggressive move towards him, and even then he would wait until the last possible moment to flee, much in the same manner a seasoned city pigeon handles an aggressive pedestrian.

Before I actually saw the mouse first hand, I thought the description of Mighty Mouse was probably a bit of an exaggeration. It was consistent with my roommates’ humor to exaggerate the tale, take it way too seriously, and act like we had a real life mousesquatch roaming the woods underneath our couch. I was quickly disabused of this notion when I finally bore witness to Mighty Mouse himself. He was on our coffee table, casually enjoying a late breakfast. It startled, impressed, and angered me all at once. This sort of encroachment was way over the established boundaries we had with mouse kind. I had never seen a mouse get onto the coffee table. In fact, I didn’t even think they were capable of getting up there since we never found mouse poop on it, which was the primary method by which we determined where the mice went. Whether he had climbed up or jumped over from the couch I couldn’t be sure, though the thought of mice crawling over the couch I regularly laid my face and mouth on gave me pause. Whatever his method, it was an act of war.

Mighty Mouse’s roguish incursions into our territory prompted us to step up our mousing efforts. Additional poison was put out. Things were cleaned. Sticky paper was put down in new areas, including all over the living room. He always seemed to be there in the morning while the other mice kept mostly to the kitchen.

In the beginning, our efforts went in vain. Unusually large poop kept appearing in upsetting new places. We had to put our half-eaten food in increasingly inconvenient locations, like on top the television and on the windowsill. One infamous evening, Mighty Mouse even managed to blitzkrieg his way past the Maginot Line of sticky paper guarding the entryway to my bedroom and into my precious closet. It was very unusual for a mouse to come into the bedrooms, let alone while we were awake and occupying them, let alone with an arsenal of sticky paper lined up in the doorway.

But this was no mouse.

It went on like this for weeks, getting to the point that we had given up any real hope of ever catching him. Best case scenario, we thought he would get bored with our place and leave for greener pastures come spring. That, of course, was like hoping a horny teenager would leave the Playboy mansion because he might think he could get better tail elsewhere.

Then, as if he had been waiting all this time just to build the suspense, Dr. Steven Q. “Mighty Mouse” Johnson ran over one of the pieces of sticky paper behind the couch. I didn’t understand how he could have made such a rookie mistake. Maybe he was tired from a long day of being top mouse. Maybe he had drunk some spilled beer off the coffee table. Or maybe he had seen something about Young Earth Creationists on the TV and no longer wanted to live on this planet. I’ll never really know. All I knew was we had him.

And it felt terrible.

I knew it was Mighty Mouse before I even saw him on the sticky paper. One of the drawbacks of sticky paper is that the when the mice are caught they don’t just sit quietly waiting for you to come kill them. They usually squeak—like mad at first, then intermittently as time wears on. In fact, this was usually the only way we knew the traps behind the couch had caught anything. Mighty Mouse began squeaking in the middle of the night. So loud was his mighty little roar that I actually thought it woke me up.

Another drawback of sticky paper is it does not actually kill the mice. This would probably be an advantage if it weren’t for the fact that it’s impossible to remove the mice from the paper once stuck. This leaves you two options. You can throw the paper away, leaving the mouse to slowly die of starvation or dehydration in the trash can, or you can do the right thing and put the poor thing out of its misery as quickly as possible. We did this by putting a plastic cup on their necks and pressing down hard to break them. It’s quick and reliable, but I always hated doing it, even when I was doing it multiple times a day.

Despite all the trouble he had caused us, I hated the thought of having to kill Mighty Mouse even more than the usual mouse. Somehow we had developed a sort of frenemy relationship during his stay in our apartment. He was my beloved arch-nemesis. Without him I would be a Tom without a Jerry, a Wile E. Coyote without a roadrunner, many mountains upon mountains upon mountains of empirical evidence without Young Earth Creationists. That night, I lay awake for at least an hour pitying the little bastard and dreading what was next.

In the morning I got up to do what had to be done. The squeaks were still coming, but they now seemed quieter and somehow more withdrawn. We soon discovered why. During the night the little badass­—God bless him—had actually chewed through his right front leg in an attempt to get free. It was sad and shocking. It compounded my guilt even further, but it also left me deeply impressed with the noble, heroic spirit of the mouse.

I won’t go into the details of Mighty Mouse’s death, but suffice it to say it was quick and likely painless. He died like the mouse he had lived as. Before I did it, the thought briefly ran through my head to go get some scissors, cut him free, and get him a little cage where I could nurse him back to health, and he could retire in Hamster Habitat® luxury. It was not a serious thought, of course, just a fantasy. I knew keeping him as a pet would be too undignified for such a creature. Living as a prisoner was not an option for a being like him. My more practical side also knew he would almost certainly bite me.

Mighty Mouse was a one mouse Battle of the Bulge, the last major offensive of the mice in The 138 Sutherland Road Number Two War of 2004. After his passing, we would encounter the occasional mouse, but none were his equal, and they never came in numbers like before. Eventually, spring was upon us, and the mouse population in our apartment became almost nonexistent as they left to take in the warmer weather, and one of my roommates discovered we could throw trash directly into the dumpster from one of our bedroom windows.

After my mom finished telling me her story about the mouse in her garage, I kept coming back to her description of her patients as the sort of people who knew mouse-gnawed holes when they saw ‘em. At first, I had laughed at it in the classist sort of way that my mom and I like to joke about the more rough-around-the-edges members of society. Then I realized that I was that sort of person and smiled nostalgically.