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For the complete setup piece featuring Geezer, please read the thumbnail, "Food for Thought."

"Well, Randy! I'll be dogged!" said the old geezer. "I ain't seen you in a coon's age. Where you been hiding yesself?"

The man walking his white, show-cut and trimmed toy poodle was taking it slow and easy along the promenade.

"Been saving the other side of this here park bench jest fer you," the geezer went on. "Set yesself down and rest a spell."

"I really shouldn't do this, you know," Randy said as, after stopping briefly, he'd turned and taken the first few tentative steps toward the vacant space. "Especially," he continued, "since it means listening to rants and raves from the likes of you, you old coot."

"Old coot, mebbe," the geezer shot back. "But which one of us is the old curmudgeon, eh? Lemme ask you that." Then moving on quickly he added, "Say, that's quite a fancy pooch you got there. Bet the little critter set you back a pretty penny."

"It's my wife's dog. I'll admit I feel pretty silly walking it. Everyone can see how much attention little Fifi, here, gets. What they don't see is the high maintenance price tag--matched only by my wife's."

"Say what? I never heard that afore, Randy. . .a-coming from you, that is. But, my friend, you are just in time to hear a few things I gotta say about the upcoming election."

"No man should ever own a dog named Fifi," Randy continued as if the interruption in discourse had never taken place. Then turning to take the seat he was offered, he added, "Fido is a good name for a man's dog. I had a Fido once and loved it, of course. Flip is another good name for a man's dog. Should be a long-eared dog, though, like a Cocker Spaniel. Flip just wouldn't sound right on a Boxer, I don't think."

"Take a look at this, Randy," the geezer said as he pulled out a section of the paper and folded it over. 'It's the economy, stupid!' right there in big letters. Ain't we seen this movie, for heaven's sake?" he went on as he turned and thrust the page close to Randy's face.

Randy simply reached out and lowered it.

"You can tell a lot about a person by the names they give to their pets. I once knew a man who named his dog 'Junior.' But at the same time, I doubt if the dog ever thought of his owner as a 'Senior,' either. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't be surprised if this guy had named one of his kids, 'Fido,'"

"Randy," the geezer said in lowered tones, "I recommend you let go of that one, okay? Now as I was saying, it all began with Reagan's 'voodoo economics.' Reagan expanded the economy straight into recession. I call it 'debtor expansionism'. Fact is, along with a huge front projection TV back in the '80's, I bought so much I had to expand my house--all on the 'buy now, pay later' plan the same way they did back in Washington. Say. . .you wouldn't wanna buy it, would ya? Here's yer chance, Randy. It's a big 50 incher."

"I think you have me confused with someone else. . .your brother-in-law, perhaps," Randy said, placing a sympathetic hand on his companion's shoulder, then adding, almost without skipping a beat, "But the best dog name ever, I think, was 'Yukon King'. . .Sergeant Preston's dog from the old TV series, 'Sergeant Preston of the Yukon'. There was a dog that had a first name and a middle name. It doesn't get much better than that for a dog."

"Well hold that thought a minute, Randy, and listen t' this. It says right here, 'The Gipper sold us out to overseas interests, and oh-h, how some people pine for that old trickle down economy.' Like I've said before; You know what trickle down is, all you Jerry McGuire fans. It's another way of saying, 'let us help you. . .help us. . .help you.' Now, everyone knows they never got around to the last 'help you.' No sir. They absconded overseas with the profits, taking American jobs to Japan and India while sending Uncle Sam's economy into recession. So what have we got today?. . .same thing, only this time it's the Chinese. Want a re-peat? Take Rush's and Glenn's advice."

Suddenly little Fifi began turning in small circles on the lawn.

"Lassie's also a great name for a dog," Randy declared, seeming equal to the task of advancing his own agenda while maintaining his usual languid delivery style. "It has the feeling of home by the fireplace with your slippers, a pipe and your faithful dog lying at your feet--her long coat brushed and gleaming by the firelight. But I'll tell you this much. It'll have to be someone besides me who sits hour after hour doing all that brushing."

"Maybe not the brushing, Randy, but there's something else you'll be doing. The law says you're supposed to. . ."

"Something I'm well prepared for," Randy interrupted, withdrawing a small plastic pouch, then adding as he took several steps forward, "Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of owning a small dog."

"Hey," the geezer said, rising along with his celebrated compadre and standing over him as he performed his civic duty. "We ain't even mentioned the son of an auto man who says he can reopen the empty auto factories in Detroit."

Then even as Randy began moving off toward a trash container some 20 yards distant, the geezer continued his incessant palavering.

"And he's right. There is a way. . .start paying Americans third-world wages. All you gotta do is add wide open borders, uncontrolled immigration and unlimited visas, and bingo!. . .the plan is so simple even a child could come up with it."

The geezer turned to retake his seat, seemingly unfazed by the fact that much of what he had to say was certain to be swallowed up by the sound of breaking surf being carried forward on gentle ocean breezes.

"Y'see, they don't gotta sell to well-off Americans, 'cause there won't be that many of 'em. Instead, they'll be selling to the well-off Europeans, Japanese, Indians and Chinese."

Finally the geezer paused for a few seconds as Randy picked his way back, trying to keep the leash from tangling and avoid stepping on little Fifi.

"These so-called neocons ain't nothing but a bunch of elitist billionaires," the geezer called out with a bit more volume this time. "They'd a-never made it up the food chain without having first short changed the little guys--as many as possible--and it sure beats me how they can sucker votes out of us working class stiffs."

Then back at the park bench, Randy remained standing, giving little indication that he'd planned to remain in the geezer's company for very much longer.

"Being that you're so keen on raising awareness, my friend," Randy began in his inimitable rhetorical fashion, "I'll leave you with a canine fact you can pass on to your grandkids." Then as he reached down for little Fifi and cradled her in his arms, he added, "There's even a barkless dog. . .the Basenji--technically a hunting hound originating in central Africa. It doesn't bark, but supposedly is able to mimic the sounds it hears. There's also a book that's been written about a Basenji named Savannah. People young and old tell me they've enjoyed it."

"Savannah? Now there's a dog name only a dog mother could love, eh, Randy?" the geezer called out with a laugh as Randy started moving off towards the promenade.

"Oh well, I guess if your dog is from Africa. . ." Randy replied dryly in a brief turnaround. "But in Veronica Starbuck's 2000 novel, 'Heart of the Savannah', readers are handed a dog-as-narrator scenario in what amounts to a dog's autobiographical travels."

"Well, ain't that sweet?" the geezer said, using a fist to tap his chest just above the heart. "Kinda gets t'ya right about here, don't it?"

"Actually, that's taking mimicry a bit too far, if you ask me," Randy replied with a hollow grin. "I don't know about Ms. Starbuck, but personally speaking, I've got better things to do than sit and listen to my dog recite her life story--most of which I already know about anyway."


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The following comments are for "New Dogs, Old Tricks"
by fritzwilliam

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