The Other Brownstein

You have all come to know Brownstein TTR very well. There isn’t an entity to hold a candle to her. But there is another Brownstein. She’s Brownstein the First: an actual dog. Yes. No special powers other than cuteness. She’s coming to visit next week, with her person, who will be leaving for a few hours. Brownstein will remain with me, but that girl will be sad. She’ll miss her human mother and is likely to stand by the door and wail a bit.

I have the solution, however, proving once again that I am smarter than a pooch. This Brownstein is a sucker for turkey. Now, she expects me to feed her turkey and if I don’t she won’t eat any dog food in my house. She has her principles. So I will lay in a big supply and keep feeding it to her. When she’s eating turkey she doesn’t care who’s there. She’s quite the cheap date…if you know what I mean.

In fact, we are all Brownsteins. We can be bought. For the price of a really captivating television series, or an Iced Caramel Macchiato, we will forget that the world as we know it might be breaking apart.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 48

Step right up folks, and meet the gangliflavinoids but when you step, do so carefully. They shed a lot and their “fur” is more like banana skins. Well, that would be because they look a lot like bananas. Who would have thought that one of the most common lifeform formulations in both the known and unknown universe was the banana? Giving rise to the interstellar words of greeting, remorse, anger, attack…and so forth, translated into a gazillion languages: FREAKIN’ BANANA!!!!

The gangliflavinoids did their thing. That looked a lot like every 1950’s sci-fi movie you ever saw. They impersonated (maybe a better word is needed?) stiff metallic robots, and green ooze, and multi-limbed folks with VERY large heads, and a lot of blue crawlies. All were quite benign but there was massive panic in the streets of Washington DC. The wave of freaked-outedness diminished as one moved West, so by the time it got to California it was just, “Hey, man, what’s going on?”

The GF’s ( let’s not keep writing Gangliflavinoid, okay?) were putting on a space-alien show, which had been encouraged by Antonio (no last name), the Public Relations maven who was charge of creating the “flavor.”

The GF leader was The Caregator of Gangli; “he” was especially cute, and it didn’t seem to be that important that there was no particular gender assignment. Coolie was drawn to him bigtime. It seems that that was the point of it all, since the Caregator had a specific message to deliver to Coolstein.

“Come away with us, oh Cool One; your father awaits you.” Coolie was once again thrown ass over teakettle with shock and excitement and je ne sais quoi. Let’s catch up on a little family history:

Who is Coolie’s father? It’s DaddythebigDaddywhosyourDaddy, an immense entity who occupied about half a click on the western edge of the Outer Realm (also known as the Edge of Nowhere). He was the original big man on campus, and Mothership was gaga over him. Always had been. (Little known fact: Lady Gaga was originally a non-solid exhalation of Mothership’s engines, which achieved sentience (kind of) after 16 eons of Coolie’s parents’ relationship.)

Coolie left with the GF’s, accompanied by Brown and Mickey. Samuella stayed behind with Blue. After all, they did have so much in common. Things with Blue were getting a little trying anyway, so, sayonara, girl.

Our boy was in for a pleasant surprise once he settled in to the GF’s super duper spacey spaceship. There on board was Shtew. Who knew he was a GF? But there he was, surrounded by his permanent beach, complete with ocean. “So good to see a familiar face,” Shtew said. Coolie just grinned with mindless joy.

“I’m not your father, but I know your father, and I’m about to introduce you to your father. Are you ready? Take a chill pill and watch the waves for minute. He’s coming right now. Hang ten – or twenty. Brace yourself. Don’t worry, be happy. It’ll all be over in a minute. Watch out. Clear the decks…”

“Okay, Okay. Let’s go!” Coolie was as ready as he could be. And soon he would remember to breathe again.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 47

Coolie was not at happy camper. At age 32 (an amendment to the Constitution had been passed, allowing him to become President at a younger age than any previous), he was filled with a deep yearning for his former cool and unmitigatedly random existence. “I Just want the old me back,” he confided to Brownstein, the only one he could completely trust.

“Well, Cool, you know what they say…” There was an uncomfortably long pause while Brown quickly tried to make up just the right saying. “You only live once, and not even that – if you aren’t true to yourself.” Brownstein the wordsmith!

Coolie’s brow furrowed; his ears wiggled; and his eyes crossed with the return of his old essence. “Yes,” he said. “I gotta be me.” He hesitated, considering a side trip into song, but thought better of it.

Forthwith, he walked down the hall to Mickey Mental’s office. “I’m reisigning. ASAP.”

“No way,” said Mickey cleverly.

“Way,” said Coolie over his shoulder. His next stop was the First Lady’s office. Blue was having a mani-pedi (she was always having a mani-pedi…), so he waited.

“I’m resigning,” he said sans intro.

“You’re redesigning?” She heard want she wanted to hear, not what he said. It was a staple of their relationship.

About twenty Abbott and Costello minutes later, Blue had her first ever hissy fit. “I don’t want to stop being First Lady! This isn’t fair! You are being selfish and VERY UNCOOL!” Those were the most cutting words she could say, and they hit their mark. Coolie actually fell back from the blow, went down on his butt, and sat there looking up at her divine countenance.

“I know you hate this, but when you really understand, you’ll see I have no choice. I’ll wait until the day after tomorrow, after the landing.”

“FLIP the landing!!” (Coolie couldn’t even catch his breath; she cursed!!) “What about MEEEEEE????”

“Well, you can come along on my adventures, just the way you always did. Didn’t we have fun?”

“Fun, shmun. I’m past that now. I have POWER. When I use orange mascara, EVERYONE uses orange mascara. Don’t you see, you’re taking me back to a time when I was just a girl. No one special.”

With the continuous looping echo of “fun, schmun” ringing inside his brain, Coolie fled. He knew he should just be cool with it, but it was too much!

He ran back inside the Oval Office (which was in the process of being reshaped into a Rubik’s Cube – much cooler) and hid under The Desk. The prospect of losing Blue was starting to eat away at his resolve. With a pro forma knock at the door, his secretary, Angelina Folie – a once-famous actress and beauty queen, now just a well-groomed bag o’ bones – entered. She was used to President Coolstein’s occasional flights into the bizarro world, and kept her eyes front and center.

“Your two o’clock is here, the Vice President.”

“Who?”thought Coolie. “Who was it that I picked for that thankless task? And who is about to become the next President of these United States?”

Laboring under his recently augmented 350 lbs, in trundled Racky (short for The Raconteur) Rakkoon. His uninterrupted chatter filled the airspace. “You wanted to see me? Well, I’m here. As if I could ever be anywhere else – if you get my drift. It’s a beautiful day outside, have you been out? No, you’re doing the people’s work, and can’t just frolic. I’m such an admirer, you know, and it occurs to me that…”

Coolie leapt up from his hidey hole and screamed – in the coolest possible way – SHUT THE FREAK UP, Racky!”

“Oh, was I talking?” There were leftover eyes rolling in the corners of the office. Anyone with half a brain, and that certainly qualified the leader of the free world, would have thought, “This moron is going to be the President? Really?”

But, as Coolie mentally reassured himself, America had been through worse. “I’m resigning,” he stated with as much of that old sangfroid as possible.

Racky began to do what could only be described as a happy dance, all the while singing: “I’m the Pres., call me Mr. President. I’m gonna sleep in the big bed. I’m going be the first resident.”

The plan (the one that Coolie didn’t yet understan’ – get it? Plan. Stan.) was unfolding. And the central element would be about Coolie’s real father, someone he had never met.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 46

Whew. That was close one, wasn’t it?

Now, it’s back to the business of cool runnings. By that I mean: How does our First Man manage the country he’s been elected to lead? It seemed to Coolie (should I now refer to him as Mr. President? Nah.) that humanity’s biggest problem was it was too self-referential, too self-centered. Even though it was ever true that, as a species, humans were fractured into endless groups vying for supremacy, there was no real perspective about Earthlings’ place in the big picture, i.e. the universe.

Coolstein and his crew were set to change that. While Mothership had been involved at each stage of our history, and had interceded endlessly, folks here on the big blue marble didn’t know it. They were still debating the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” Yeah, really. Time to get to the other side of that one. But how to play it? As we know, people can rationalize and deny anything. So, whether it’s the UFO issue or the more recent evil eyes, there were stories which explained everything so that the status quo prevailed. No other known intelligent life outside of our own was acknowledged.

Brownstein, that delightfully daring dog of interstellar drama, had the initial thought: “What if we had a big ceremonial spaceship landing on the White House lawn, sort of The Day The Earth Stood Still-ish?”

“Love it, said Coolie. “It has that cinematic element which will focus the populous. We should pre-announce the occasion, to make sure all the media gives it full coverage. Let’s take it a week out, and make a statement that we’ve been contacted on a private, super-scrambled, enigma-level-coded, high-frequency wavelength by beings from the far side of the galaxy.” (Doesn’t he sound presidential?)

Samuella was fervent in his contribution: “Blue and I should design some accouterments and garments and scenery for the big starship gala. It has to look really futuristic but comforting; imaginatively different without being shocking to the fragile human system.”

Much nodding greeted his words, but, ultimately, it was the smartest guy in the gang , Mickey – whose consumption of jellyfish kept increasing and therefore so did his brainpower – who raised the most pertinent question: “Who, or should I say what is going to land? Do we invite a species we already know? Should we confer with Mother? What are our actual criteria? And, let’s get our tuchases into gear!!”

Blue, who continued to grow exponentially into her magnificent First Ladyhood, spoke in mellifluous tones: “All these important ideas will be integrated. We are ready to assist our species in taking this most necessary step in our evolution. Let us each look within in silence, as we take stock of our personal plan and how it interweaves with all the rest. A moment of communion with our highest selves.” No one saw Brownstein TTR roll her eyes, but she did. Blue was getting a little too too, if you know what I mean.

Nevertheless, all cooperated with Her Blueness’s directive. After 73 seconds, the plan became visible in a power-point document that hung in the air at eye level. Naturally, Mothership has gotten wind of their auspicious doings and her hand (not that she had hands, exactly) was now well in the mix. She loved bullet points.

It would be the Gangliflavinoids. They were an ancient race of bipeds that occupied First Range Seventeen (there’s a great story there – to be told), the third planet from the middle of the triple suns on the extreme opposite edge of our very own galaxy. They’d been around for so long they had not even a whit of interest in aggression, and were extraordinarily cooperative with all sentients, which made them the perfect choice for the landing.

Brownstein, who we might recall was a wizardess, volunteered to be the interlocutor. She wasted no time in sending a very well-formulated message to the Caregator of Gangli, the prime entity on the planet.

The response came quickly: “Darling,” (the interspecies translator was very colloquial, and a little too familiar – but I digress) “how good to hear from a new homeworld. Would love to meet and greet – any old time you say. Just send us some pics and specs so we can prepare properly. And, by the way, here are some visuals for you all to use in your P.R.”

Right next to the power-point there were now some beautifully-hued images of a world that tended toward the mauve and cinnamon, and detailed shots of the Gangliflavinoids – all seven variants. They were…well, the only word that works is “cute.” And that was going to make the landing even more acceptable.


New name for the Jet Green website: It’s: As we take off, I’m imagining a little boy (Why not a girl? So, sue me.) of about six or seven. He’s got a tee shirt tied around his neck to create a cape and he’s flying – arms forward like Superman. I’m not so sure there isn’t someone like that who is actually the “engine” on this plane.

One of the staff (pilot? co-? drinksboy?) emerged briefly from the cabin to “welcome” us. Welcome my ass. It’s a grim undertaking at best and usually way worse than that. Cattle-like waiting conditions, unexplained delays, and BYO everything. And how the freak do I turn off that damn screen that is 14 inches from my face?

First it was hot, now it’s cold. Oy! Such a joy. Give me a cocktail and my own four walls and call it a party. I think my next flight will be…hmmm…never.

By the way, there is something about being confined at 30,000 feet and given very limited parameters which inspires me to subversive acts of rebellion. Such as unfastening my seat-belt before the “captain” (which I think is quite a euphemistic term) grants me permission. I also dangerously chose to break out the fine Chef’s Salad I prepared and brought on board VERY early in the pre-liftoff process. I dare anyone to pry the tiny plastic fork out of my clenched hand.

I think my partner in crime is a little embarrassed about the majesty of our carry-on food. He sort of choked half of it down, after denying he was hungry. Am I guilty of insensitivity or – worse – 1950’s eastern European refugee-like ignorance of the cultural mores? Am I just a high level chazah?

In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter to me. I choose the tasty fare I’ve made over the possibility of preventing someone else from feeling discomfort. Food, as a wise and very cool man recently said, is a good enough reason to live. That’s truly un-PC. Unless you are a master chef or have your own cooking show on cable, one should not extol the virtues of edibles to that degree. Right?

Well, you can kiss my…no, not that, and not grits. How about my beignets?

Given the protracted time I have to fill, my thoughts turn to the job of being the flight attendant. Attendant. The word conjures, for me, an attendant in the ladies’ room at the theater. You know, the woman who hands you a towel (paper I think; didn’t it used to be cloth?) and then expects a tip. And you give her one because you feel sorry for her that this is her job.

I don’t get the glamour of walking up and back along the narrow aisles, bringing often surly or crazy or demanding captives, I mean passengers, Bloody Mary’s or pillows or whatever is their heart’s desire. If they can’t fulfill the request, they still have to be calm, patient and sort of saint-like, even in the face of pissed off-edness.

We interrupt this line of thought to comment on two in-the-moment things. First, there is a God-awful chorus of opening snack bags (pretzels, chips, cookies) all rustling at the same time. And, for some reason, never-ending. Okay, not that bad. But it’s also suddenly cold. Uncomfortably so. Why? And for some reason, I have begun to feel itchy. Now, an aside here. I’m one of those people who tends to interpret the minor tics common to any nervous system as being incredibly significant. I assume that if I have an itch, there’s some nefarious agent at work.

Because I know you are wondering: Yes. The rustling continues. But now it’s getting warm again. What’s up with the environmental controls? Am I wrong (or possibly paranoid) to collate the lack of consistency in that realm with a certain lassitude across the mechanical board?

This lack of cool (which you who are in the know would understand to be an underlying theme for me) has been a fairly flagrant issue today. Back at Mom’s (which is where I am flying from), I began to feel somewhat too warm. It was, after all, 95 outside (feels like 106 the news channel cheerfully reported). Obligingly, my mother suggested I turn down the thermostat. When it became clear that it wouldn’t move, we realized something was wrong with her cooling system. Not a minor thing there in the hot zone of South Florida. And did I mention she’s 90? Mom didn’t perceive this to be as urgent a situation as I understood it to be, but I conveyed my concern to the service taking calls about such problems. I had to leave to catch this wonderful flight (as we now know I could have waited quite a bit longer), so I don’t know what the resolve was. I’m a bit worried.

In unrelated news, this is a two dog flight. No, not Three Dog Night. There are two pooches on board. And we’re not talking tiny lapdogs. Regular sized poodles. When did it happen that a vast army of service dogs appeared in our land? And what exactly is their service? I would say this is evolutionary, but I think it’s just lutionary. No real positive valence there.

So, with about an hour and twenty minutes to go in the flight, I’ve eaten a meal, I’ve now composed a blog post, I’ve drunk about a gallon of water. My shoes feel tight, my back is getting stiff, my hands are dry… I could go on but you get my drift. Flying is not for the faint of heart. It also isn’t for the over-60 set; I say it’s a young person’s sport.

I’m getting more testy by the minute; I just bitched out my husband because his elbow was leaning against my thigh. How dare he? And I only have myself t blame for the fact that I’m sitting el trappo in the window seat. I dropped the ball on the seating assignment. I prefer an aisle seat – it creates the illusion of egress. In fact, we’re all trapped on this flying gazebo. Where else in life do I so fully surrender my freedom? Sure, there’s a bit of it on the subway, but I know that push comes to shove, there’s a really smelly, scary tunnel we can escape through. Sitting with virtually no clothing on the doctor’s examining table for fifteen minutes can also feel like a full-on loss of autonomy, but my clothes are hanging right there. If I got truly fed up I could leave. But not now. It matters not how I feel or what I want. I’m committed to this freakin’ mission, like it or not.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 45

While Coolie and Co. were winging it on Air Force One (when then deigned to use conventional transport), I was still flying the unfriendly skies of Jet Green, or was it now Jet Gray. Tell me, are you like, me; do you turn into a monster when you are imprisoned – with no viable means of escape – for upwards of three hours at 39,000 feet?

I was on my way to Florida in August, which is, as we all know, the destination of choice only for masochists, when I observed this triggering incident:

There was a woman who appeared to be in her thirties; she was accompanied by at least four daughters ranging in age from six to twelve. Overhearing their dialogue (as only one can when you are a mere row apart), I was forced to conclude that all that childbearing and child-rearing had killed more than a few of her brain cells. Her children weren’t much sharper.

It was all about the youngest girl and sneakers and the chair-back. It seems she had taken off her shoes (why not?) and was unsuccessfully trying to insert them into the pouch attached to the seat in front of her. Her mother noticed her struggle and tried to coach her: “Just turn them around,” she said. It seemed important that the soles faced away from the girl. She must have repeated this verbatim at least 8 or 9 times until I lost “interest.” After each iteration, the child rotated her shoes so that the toes were where the heels had been. She just didn’t get it. But she wasn’t the only one. It seems that the mother (and there was no father in view) could only come up with this one sentence. Round and round they went. For all I know, they are still at it.

I admit to having unkind thoughts. But those got worse. The monster was now in. There were more than a few yowling (I mean, crying) infants. They made that somewhat guttural sound that doesn’t seem to be emanating from anything human. (As it turned out, at least two of them were Bagonies, but I didn’t know that at the time.) All I could think (and mercifully didn’t say aloud) was, “Can’t you smack that baby into unconsciousness?” and – the more generic – “Shut the fuck up!” I told you. I’m a monster.

Simultaneous with my fabulous flight, the Unified Toddler Meltdown had begun. It was our Fine First Lady Blue, who was now able to access seldom–available bandwidths of insight and comprehension, who realized what was about to descend on humanity. She took President Coolie’s hand and said, “Sweetie, I think we are in urgent need of Time Warp Tea. You see, The Bagonies are coming.”

Naturally, Brownstein TTR already knew this; she was just letting the beauteous Blue take the lead. But, she (that is, Brown) added her voice to the directive, as did the Mental One, who you might remember was now Secretary of State and whose perspective was now instant and global. Our Coolman at the helm had the White House Chef prepare a massive batch of TWT, which was immediately drunk by all the staff and everyone in his administration. Not a moment too soon.

Eyes appeared everywhere. No other physical elements; just eyes. And they looked exactly like the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus, which at first engendered a sense that they were benign. This was rapidly accompanied by an intrusive sound that infiltrated everyone who hadn’t drunk the tea. It began as static and went on to take over the entire nervous system.

“Ah,” said Coolie, “I know them. They are the evil magicians from The Seventh Star.” He had heard a little about them from Mothership but, surprisingly, it had been Morris, during one of his out of mind and out of body experiences, who had given the most in-depth accounting of these tormentors. And that was why Coolstein the First decided to take the inner circle and revisit the day that Morris did the Bagonie rant.

There they were back at The Building; Morris was hanging by the loop on his pajama pants from the chandelier. And Morris was no lightweight, so this was beyond precarious. But, since this was the past (if you need to be linear about things), there was no real risk.
Morris was screaming, using his outside voice, “Those little rat-bastards from The Seventh Star! I mean that literally (they are hiding their nasty tails and teeth); and I hate rodentia of all kinds! They’ve got all manner of tricks that they will play on us poor unsuspecting humans. They will try to make us into docile subjects. But their ultimate goal is to Soylent Green us. And I’ll be DAMNED before I become a food source. Don’t let them perform their foul wizardry. They can be destroyed. But only by true human madness. If you don’t believe me, go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.” And, with that, he crashed down to the floor, where he stayed for a week until Sylvie agreed to make chicken soup.

One of the intrinsic truths of the use of Time Warp Tea is that it works best if you eat from both sides of the mushroom (to keep the theme going for just a bit). So, Coolstein the Magnificent and his heroic team traveled forward in time to six months from the first Bagonie invasion. There, with the Mental One appropriately taking the lead, they collected all the psychotics they could find. It wasn’t hard; they walk among us. With a small army of the truly crazy, who now had the extra benefit of the space/time-bending brew, they returned to face the bad magical beasties.

Mickey instructed the Band of Bonkers (as they would be known down the annals of time) to confront the “eyes” just as they would their “voices.” With aluminum foil hats galore (just to be on the safe side), they talked in tongues and went catatonic and screamed ear-piercingly and acted out in a fine array of disturbing ways.
It was Brownstein who first noticed that tears were starting to flow from the “eyes.” “Hey, Coolie, I think we’ve cracked them (so to speak).”

She was, of course, right. With each tear, another eye faded. It only took ninety minutes of madness to chase those little rat-bastards off our world. They would go on ply their evil ways elsewhere, but that wasn’t President Coolstein’s problem, now was it? His only remaining dilemma (for now – just for now) was how to get the psychos to cease and desist. It was Blue who came up with the best idea. She is, after all, the First Patron of the Arts: Give them voice lessons and have them all join the Metropolitan Opera. Can anyone tell where insanity ends and great operatic talent begins? No, I didn’t think so.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 44

As promised, here’s the story of The Wedding. I capitalize to make sure you understand how significant it was.

First, we have to address the subject of Blue’s parentage. It’s a bit different. You see, she was composed – by the Gods who used to hang out on Mt. Olympus, but who now alternately position themselves on the nearest star (that would be Alpha Centauri) or go to Maui – which, it seems, is similar. They took some gossamer and a but of fluff, mixed it in their special way with the breath of life; gave her a shimmer and the ability to slow the heart-rate of whomever gazes at her, and set her, fully grown, in the path of Coolie Coolstein. And that would have been on the NW corner of West 86th St. and Central Park West. Coolie had a dentist appointment, but never made it. Since that moment, they have been together. She was (literally) made for him.

Four years and fifteen minutes elapsed until the Big Day.

A special venue was needed, that was immediately clear to (of course) Brownstein TTR, who assumed the majestic mantle of Wedding Planner. Everyone had to transport to Ann Arbor, because the Wolverines’ Michigan Stadium had the largest capacity. Blue had made a minor pitch for Maui – so her folks wouldn’t have to travel – but how can one compare the benefits of Maui to Ann Arbor in August? No contest.

Heralds (the real deal, time traveled from 1432 during the Hundred Years’ War) heralded Blue’s walk down the aisle – which was strewn with white ghost orchids and kodupul, the rarest flowers on earth. Blue wore a pale blue long-sleeved floor-length gown with a gold tinged and lavender micro-mesh overlay on the skirt. Her veil was of almost invisible spun silk, produced by well coached Santa Rosa spiders.

Coolie had to be supported when he turned from under the Chuppah to look at her approaching. His legs went all jiggly and his coolness took a powder. The Mental One showed his catlike reflexes and grabbed his buddy before he could hit the deck. Brownstein TTR had already formed herself into a nice soft cushion under Coolie – just in case.

Since they were in a stadium, the crowd decided to do a simultaneous “whoo whoo whoo” chant and a big sloppy wave. A few of those in the wedding party were pelted by some stinging rice (that’s what it’s called) which was thrown from the bleachers at high speed. Who ever said that weddings weren’t dangerous?

John Denver (don’t ask me why) returned briefly from the dead to sing his own newly composed words to the Wedding March. Many flourishes, many deep thoughts, almost in tune.

Bono and The Edge did a rare duet during the gefilte fish course. Everything quickly devolved (as weddings often do) into a marathon eating fest. It was only when the not too subtle ritual of the bride walking around with a little money bag began, that people recalled why they were there. The crowd was generous, and Coolie and Blue sat up in their wedding suite counting their haul and ran to the bank first thing the next morning.

So romantic.

Next time – back to the Bagonies.

President Coolidge? No, Stupidface, President Coolstein

The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 43

WHAT HAVE I DONE? Here’s a plot-line that’s just too too…well, I’m not sure it isn’t too much for me.

Moi? Vraiment? (If I start writing in French you can be sure that my shy, avoidant self is in retreat.)

Okay. Here goes…

Coolie Does Dallas and DC and Albuquerque and Fargo and just about every little and big town on the map. This is where time warp tea really came in handy. He sipped a little and shared it (of course, he is the very essence of a sharing soul) with his “campaign team:” with his deputy (don’t you dare say Deputy Dawg), Brownstein Herself, and with Blue – who just took a tiny taste, and with The Mental One had to be restrained by some big ol’ boys who were volunteering at headquarters (and seldom stopped looking at Blue) so he didn’t consume every last extant ounce of the potent stuff, and – now, of course – with Sam-U (new chic nickname), who went rapidly in and out of phase and had to be tied down with a lasso of space/time/sound.

Coolie’s Platform: More like a squishy foam mattress. He’s not about the “hard” choices or holding the country’s feet to the fire. No. He wants everyone to have a good night’s sleep and take it slomo.

How to accomplish that – without denying real problems or threats? Well, fortunately, he has friends in high places, and, to make the political path a bit smoother for her boy, Mothership dropped a safety net on the country. It was temporary, but what does “temporary” actually mean in cosmic terms? So, after worrying and fearing for…well…ever, people were at ease.

They checked each other out, of course, to make sure they themselves weren’t missing something dreadful.

Were there really no wars anymore? Had it really been 10 (20, 30?) days since anyone was murdered? Were the streets really clean? And by that I mean, were dog owners really picking up the poop?

I told you last time what the campaign song was, but I forgot to mention the campaign chant. It was, “We will, we will, TRUMP you,” sung to – well, you know what.

While it has been said that the current man in the white house is a cool guy, we all kind of know it’s an act or the function of either brain damage or bad meds. Now we were all about to have real coolness at the helm. What would that mean for us?

Well, for one thing, we can now all time-travel, thanks to the instant legalization of time travel tea. You might notice that my tense has sort of changed. Time travel tea at work already (or then). Pity the poor jellyfish population, as Mickey (who is Secretary of State – that’s state of amazing grace, if you please; the office was fully de-clintonized) has spread the word about the true brainfood. Now, being stupid is a real choice. And, to be sure, there are many (especially in Montclair) who are making that choice. Good for them. Or – huh? Why? Oh, we can all analyze their motivations to a faretheewell, but we have better things to do. Which is another new cast to our general reality. Fun and interesting are burgeoning like crazy. And I should mention that crazy is starting to peter out. All the shrinks are looking to their second careers.

Blue is, of course, the First Babe: she and Coolie finally made it official. Next time I’ll tell the tale of the wedding. It was, to be sure, out of this world.

One of Coolie’s first acts as President was to put the doddering old space program into high gear. Astronaut training is now a major industry. And the known universe has quintupled in size.

Whew. What changes! Is everything really problem-free? Not a chance. You know, without conflict there’s no story. And we’ve got to continue the story.

It started on a Thursday, which had become known as the first day of the weekend, after Coolie decreed the three-day work week. The first ones to notice were the little kids – aren’t they always? Every toddler started crying at the same time. They were all yelling the same words:


No one knew what they meant; some were hoping the baloney sandwiches were coming, they were pretty hungry and maybe that’s why the kids were crying, but you’ll find out…next time.


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 42

There’s no way to work up an appetite like traveling across the unknown universe; so, those little cakes (first they said EAT ME, then they said PULEEEEZE – very nicely) hit the spot. But what exactly was that spot? To explain, I have to take a momentary detour to my dinner with that favorite cousin of mine…

There we were at the fanciest Chinese restaurant in New York, Shun Lee, finishing up a meal that would be memorable across the ages. No matter the Michelin stars, it had to end with fortune cookies. Mine said, “What is the speed of dark?” which prompted an esoteric and deductive conversation that only my really smart cousin could have led. “Dark” called to mind the fact that the Theater was “dark” on Mondays. If the theaters were dark, then for actors, restaurants, transport, etc, things would be slow on Mondays. Ergo, dark = slow. The speed of dark is slow. This was interpreted as a message from beyond to go dark and slow down.

Back to Coolie’s storyline: The Fling had sent the new variation of the crew to the slowmo side of the galactic plane; and the little cakes reset their inner clocks to correspond. Brownstein, nonetheless, was able to both be in the new speed of dark and witness it. So she saw and heard (herself and Blue, Coolie, Samuella and – yes – Mickey, who had gotten off his position in order not to be left out of the adventure) speaking and moving like this:

Whaaaaat’s goooooing onnnnn heeeere? said our man of coolness, as his gesture at the surrounding environment went on and on and on and…you get the picture.

Every second lasted seven years, which is why this part of the cosmic click was known as the inverted dog years joint – at least that’s what Mothership and her sister, Internship, had nicknamed it untold eons ago. She was watching, of course: “This should be a good one,” she chortled soundlessly. (It was more like a deep fractal rumble – if you want to get a sense of it in human terms.). Mothership had a wicked sense of humor.

Sidebar: in one of her many incarnations and forays to her favorite Milky Way home world, she had donned some green skin and set up the whole Witch element in the Wizard of Oz, as a little lark. She committed acts of visitation in the third row center of Wicked more times than she liked to admit.

Conversation on Slomo Schmomo 624 (the actual name of the planetoid the gang was cooling their buns on) was desultory but eventually got around to the essentials of life. They now had almost infinite time to engage the subtleties and deepest meanings of things. Blue became a standout philosopher and (given the opportunities to consume jellyfish) the Mental one rivaled Einstein in creative intelligence. Brownstein was already wizardly and her powers expanded exponentially. Samuella fully grew into his beshert narcissism, with megalomania casting a permanent can-do/will-do/must-do to his personal style (which was magnificently adorned by Blue’s extremely fashion-forward needlework). But Coolie, our Coolie, turned ultimately to his new mission: to return to Earth and rescue the good old US of A from the trashing it had been taking during recent political machinations. He would, it became as clear as a slow-ringing bell, run for President.

You never saw that coming, did you? Neither did I.

The first, and always most important, matter at hand was his campaign song. It was easily decided that it should be “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash, to reflect the intrinsic dilemma facing everyone at all times. Time warp tea would play a big role in his campaign, but there was to be so much more (and so much less.) Tune in next time to see what happens.





The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 41

Time travel tea being what it was, and Samuella Stuckup being what he was, the very edges of the known universe began to vibrate on the elemental huzzah-geschrei continuum. Blue was busy spinning dross into gold or gold into dross, but Coolie and Brownstein had generously accompanied the Uncle on his first trip across the intergalactic plane.

Before his words were actually words, our Coolboy and the furry savior heard him say, “I might be dying!! This could be more terrifying than Upper Montclair. Where the freak am I????” (Full-on cursing was frowned upon on all three sides of Coolie’s family.)

They were indeed hurtling across time and space. Coolie kind of liked it. It made him think of Mother. Brown literally lapped it up: she hung her tongue out for the duration to catch the waves. It went on and on, no one really knowing where they were going to land, until: Thump, waddle, twist and shout, something not exactly hard but not exactly soft stopped all motion.

They were in “the NET, “as Brownstein informed them, as soon as he could speak over the wail emanating form the not-so-stuckup-anymore one.

“Cool your buns,” said Coolie brightly. And he reached behind Unca Sam’s right ear and plucked out three lovely – and just cool enough – hot cross buns. “Have one? It will settle your stomach.” Turning graciously to Brownstein, whose fur was glowing ebony and bronze, he said, “You have the con.”

“Well, my dear friends,” he paused, leaned back on his hind legs, crossing his front paws over his belly, and looked around as if at a larger audience, until Coolie bent over and whispered in his ear: “We’re in the interspacial net, not on the internet. And we, I mean, he, is fairly freaked out, so let’s get to it – explanation-wise.” Yes, it was a departure for Coolie to be the manager. But this was, apparently, the next thing.

“Ahem. You are so right, my cool brother. Here we are at the edge of the known universe. Mothership has thoughtfully created a net of soundless, invisible energy designed to signal a transition of the you’ll-never-be-the-same-again type. It gives us a moment to ask the question, “Are you ready to take one giant step into the fabulous fray?”

Demonstrating the core strength that Coolie always suspected was there, Samuella Stuckup, late of the Montclair Studpidface’s, rose to the occasion. With teeth chattering and eyelids fluttering wildly, he clenched his hands in prayer (not to God, but to his god, Coco Chanel) and whispered, “Make it so.”

During the next googolplex of seconds (and whether centuries passed or milliseconds was to be discovered much much later), the trio felt the Fling. Then they were on solid ground, somewhere where the light was a comforting crimson, with quiet but continuous shots of deep purple zig-zaggy highlights.

“Now here’s a place that I can relate to,” spoke the now much-relieved Samuella. “The colors set off my eyes.”

Little did he or the other two meshugenahs know what a most excellent adventure was about to unfurl. All they knew right then was that there were a couple of little cakes strewn around them and they said (in English, of course), EAT ME.