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     Beyond the Fringefan #420    Maitre d', standing behind lectern with sign, "COAT AND TIE REQUIRED,"
scowling at customer who has a coat tied around his waist and is wearing
a necktie as a headband.
Customer: "Well, perhaps your sign should be a bit more specific!"

BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN has been wearing coat and tie at work this week, for pretty much the first time in a decade. It's kind of a novelty, though he expects that will wear off soon. He's typing this while sitting in his underwear at the N.Y. Cadre (phone(718) NY-CADRE); e-mailnycadre@alum.rpi.edu; Webhttp://www.nycadre.org), so it all balances out. This is Beyond the Fringefan #420, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 10, #3 (e-APA-NYU #95) and suitable others, published March 2012 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of Thigamajig Inc. logo. Cartoon above from Bizarro by Dan Piraro, 3 May 1990. All uncredited material copyright ©2012 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.

THEN I GOT A JOB. KEEPING PEOPLE FROM HANGING OUT IN FRONT OF THE DRUGSTORE: February was, as far as gainful employment was concerned, about as slow as could be; no one called with actual work from any of the freelance agencies with which I'm registered. (One lady from one of the agencies opined that all the advertising folk were still in the process of recovering from their New Year's hangovers.) I did get a nibble on behalf of a midtown investment-services firm—I own a few shares of one of the mutual funds it manages—needing an extra proofreader for at least a couple of months. I said sure, I'd love to, and received by return e-mail yet another proofreading test (a four-page newsletter-to-clients that was either an early draft, or a final one that someone had gone back into and deliberately messed up). I marked it up and sent it back in.

     It was around that time that it occurred to me to apply for resumption of unemployment benefits, something I could have done at any time since the second week of January. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Not you, me! Since it had been a bit more than a year since my previous application, it turned out, I had to file a new one, which was not all that hard to do online.

     The following week, the investment-services firm contacted me through the freelance agency and asked me to come in for an interview and another test. I guess I passed both, since the agency called on the first of March with the news that I was to start there on Monday the fifth. (Hence the coat and tie.) Did my filing the unemployment claim make it happen, the way washing your car makes it rain? Well, it couldn't have hurt.

     During the otherwise fallow time that was February, I underwent about a dozen sessions of physical therapy intended to relieve the tendinitis I'd been diagnosed with around the elbows. They didn't. I'm not sure they didn't make it worse, by putting stress on the tendons involved. The pain management specialist at the p.t. clinic offered to provide injections of cortisone, or something similar, into my elbows; however, as I mentioned last month, the pain is intermittent and not debilitating even at its (so far) worst, so I'm figuring to bumble on for the time being without further intervention beyond the occasional aspirin, and save the heavy stuff for such time as it really seems needed. (On the last visit, the doctor in charge of the clinic noted that what I have is also known as epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow"—apparently one does not need to actually play tennis to get it—and recommended I get a couple of cheap elbow braces of the kind recommended for this condition; but now that I've got them, I have no way of knowing whether I'm wearing them right.)

     The water leak in the heating system has still not been cured, though the intake rate seems to have slowed from two gallons to one gallon a day since the last round of radiator-valve replacement. (About a gallon or two a week is what the heating company calls acceptable if we don't want the boiler to rust out in just a few years like the old one.) There's one mysterious valve that the heating company guy pointed out in January, which hangs from a pipe just below the basement ceiling; it clearly hasn't been replaced since we moved in, because there have been boxes of Stuff piled up and blocking the access to it for very nearly that long. This valve shows signs of having leaked at some time in the past, the guy said, though he couldn't say it was leaking right now. Still, I made it a project in February to clear the way to provide access to this valve so that someone could replace it. This involved moving a dozen boxes of books and a few chairs, re-packing some boxes, and deconstructing and carting out several moldy empty boxes. (While I was at it, I donated a couple of boxes of books to a book sale at a church in Park Slope, and some obsolete electronics to a new recycling center in Gowanus. I hope all the lifting and such didn't aggravate my tendinitis and skew my evaluation of what good the p.t. was doing!)

     I should pause briefly at this point to salute the memory of Jacko the plumber, who kept the Cadre's pipes running for nearly two decades. Jacko officially retired a number of years ago, but continued helping his regular customers, until his hospitalization earlier this winter; even then, he kept answering his mobile phone, and relaying calls to his assistant Andre. I didn't realize Jacko was almost 80 until Andre told me of his demise last week.

     Anyway, I'm now waiting for Andre (who's now swamped with work) to make it here to replace that valve near the ceiling, and see if that cuts the water intake down to acceptable levels. (For the record, once I was able to reach the area under the valve, I found a couple of stacks of old magazines below it that appeared to have suffered significant water damage years ago.) If it doesn't, I'll ask the heating company what I need to do to get someone there to take the responsibility for finding the remaining leaks, fixing them, and (most important) following up to see that the water intake comes down. Should be interesting to see what kind of answer I get.

Fringe Reception: Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 10, #2 (e-APA-NYU #94)

SERCON (Fred Phillips):
Lovely epigram, and educational, in that it impelled me to go find out more about Diogenes of Sinope, but I'm not sure I understand the connection between Diogenes and the late Dea (other than that both are no longer with us). Perhaps you could elaborate for me next FIStFA.
       Ancient man carrying a lantern, to two other men:
  "An honest man?  Oh, no--I'm looking for a Wi-fi hot spot."
(FRANK AND ERNEST by Thaves, 22 September 2007)

ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
(¢Cinii) I had no idea that cursive handwriting was being phased out of school curricula until you mentioned it here. I can't say I'll miss it; I never got very good at it, and could never do it legibly unless I wrote even more slowly than I hand-printed—negating the chief reason why cursive was supposed to be better. /*/ (¢me) "If someone avoids eye contact when no one is around, is he shy?" He avoids looking animals, statues, paintings, and potatoes in the eyes? Yeah, I'd call that shy. (But avoiding looking hurricanes in the eye is probably a wise idea.) /*/ "I seem to do a lot better on this [handheld Yahtzee] game than the previous ones." Meaning that the designers decided to make the randomizing algorithm a little less random and generate more winning rolls than real dice would? Positive reinforcement works wonders in the market.

JAMISON, TAKE e-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
(¢Nelson) "My mother thought that first-floor apartments were more prone to getting burglarized." Aren't they? I'd'a thought they were. (Two burglaries in as many years helped spur my parents' decision to move from the first floor of a two-family house to the eighth floor of a co-op block.) /*/ "...the State Senator here made headlines - & himself a national laughingstock (even Leno joked about it) - by trying to criminalize crossing streets while chatting on cellphones." Not everything stupid needs to be criminalized—yet I see his point; right now, the driver who can't stop in time, as the idiot walks blithely, blindly, and deafly out into traffic, pays a penalty. Perhaps instead we should add a rule that a pedestrian who gets hit by a car while crossing a street (other than with the light in a crosswalk) and talking on a cell phone is to be presumed a suicide.
       Sign alongside highway:
  TEXT TO *2572
(Isabella Bannerman for SIX CHIX, 21 November 2011)
/*/ (¢me) "At least 2 people I know plug external mice into their laptops because they hate the keyboard pad." That includes me, I presume? /*/ "I see you still find VHS of value." I'm DVRing stuff I expect to watch soon (as opposed to Real Soon Now), but still using VHS for stuff I may not get to for months or years. /*/ No, it's wreckless driving that's a good thing. /*/ "I thought that the lion is your totem animal." Only the cowardly variety. I don't know if Elvis' observation about love and lions applies in that case. /*/ (¢self) "Incredibly, there are actually people (even outside Iowa) who vote for dimwits who screw up facts because they're 'human', 'just like me'!" I always thought you should have someone in charge who's smarter than you. Shows how dumb I was.

LIFE*...AS AN AUTHOR! (Ariel Cinii):
At last you are Published! Felicitations! May the money part of it start coming along soon as well. /*/ So did the carbon monoxide you smelled come from the smoldering plastic bags on the power strip? How long were they smoldering before you found them?
I got an e-mail from Movie Mike the other day. His landlady made an offer to buy him out of his rent-stabilized apartment in Park Slope, and he's considering the merits of taking the money and running to Florida (where someone he wants to spend a lot more time with is located). If he does so, though, he wants to keep coming back to this area for cultural activities (Lunacon, an art show he's involved with in Red Hook, some public movie showings) in the springs and summers. He's therefore looking to find out "if anyone has a small apt, finished basement or guestroom I could rent anywhere in the 5 boros at a reasonable rate for four to six months of the year." (I'd offer a piece of our basement, but until we get rid of thirty or forty boxes of books, tapes, and other assorted Stuff, there's no way even to find the couch that's buried in there.) If anyone with such a piece of real estate wants to discuss matters further, call him, or contact him through me.

     Donna wants to go to Lunacon, so barring catastrophes in the next week or two, we'll be there. I can't say where else I'll be during the spring, other than trying to rack up a lot of hours at the new gig to make up for the dead winter. I do believe that's daylight saving time I see at the end of the tunnel...and a good Equinox to all...

>Portions of the preceding are writing environmental impact statements using solar Flairs.<

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