DaNang, 1965

A Letter to President Pzbiackiy

Dr. Paul Pzbiackiy
President and Chairman of the Board
Hawthorne University (the name of the university has been changed to protect the perpetrators.)

Dear Dr. Pzbiackiy,
Greetings from academia here at Hawthorne University. I trust you’ll interpret this letter as a hope for better education at our esteemed University, and not a basis for my termination, as my wife has described it.

Perhaps you can sandwich in my little story in between your chats with donors and other important people. It starts with a test I was giving my students, room 121, O’Leary Hall last Friday. Five minutes into my 100 point exam, there was a noise in the hallway akin to a dismantling of a building. My students were distracted from their educated guessing, and I believed I should investigate. There was no one in the hallway, so I concluded that workmen were rigging the basement with dynamite, called for by some faulty work order.

Indeed, I found two workman, on step ladders, armed with pneumatic devices, creating dust and uproar in the room below my classroom. They stopped when I approached, and shut off their tools. I told them I was giving a test in the classroom above, and could they pause for about 45 minutes until we were finished.
My fellow adjuncts accuse me of obsessing with details in the large scope of higher education. Therefore, they didn’t express concern, as I did, with the three long seconds of silence delivered by the workmen in response to my request.

Perhaps, I could have waited longer before stating that I was judging the effectiveness of my teaching here at Hawthorne, and I said “it’s what we do here.” They responded that they fix the furnaces here and said “it’s what we do here.” I sensed conflict.

I went to an office on the second floor and confronted what appeared to be a secretary, doing what she did here. I asked who could stop the noise of destruction in the basement. Her belly laugh implied no one could. Then she said that no one could.

“You’re the fifth one to complain,” she said.

Dr. P…., I wouldn’t bring this little complaint to you, even with my obsession for details, but I ask you, can three seconds of silence in response to a request to act in favor of students over machines, indicate that these two maintenance men had missed the seminar on our university’s Mission and Purpose?

I hope the answer is no more complex than that.

Dane Zeller
Adjunct Instructor
Hawthorne School of Business

Insidious Practice Alert #9. Don’t Put Your Dog in a Costume for Halloween

You might think your dog looks cute with a Donald Trump wig on at Halloween, but “cute” is not a dog concept. If King is wagging his tail and smiling when you photograph him in his Aardvark, or Mongoose, costume, do not misunderstand his behavior. He is planning to visit dog karma on you, not soon, but maybe closer to Easter.

One day, after having a few beers more than usual with your work buddies, you will come home to a redecorated house. This is certain. The couch pillow you got from your girlfriend will be in shreds. The reclining lever of the chair you got from your dad, will look like a bad totem pole carving. Your 150.00 pair of tennis shoes will need more than shoelaces to affix them to your feet. King will be standing next to the shoes, smiling and wagging his tail.  If he could talk, he would ask, “do you think I’m cute now?” But he can’t. That’s why he chewed up the Donald Trump wig, too.

Don’t put a costume on your dog. You will regret it.


Warning! Write a Novel in a Month, Month is Coming Up (Insidious Practice Alert #27)

November is coming up. The month has been designated NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

Be alert.

Words Typed So Far

It means what it says. You join the group, you commit to writing a50,000 word novel in thirty days.  It is a project fraught with simple rules:

1. Any 50,000 words will do. (Now, they do require that they make sense, like, you’ve gotta have sentences and paragraphs.)

2. You may use something you’ve already started. (That is to say, any 39,000 words will do.)

3. You don’t have to write every day of the month. (You could write 50,000 words on the last day and qualify for successful completion. This has been done by many writers who have been slowed by other November happenings, like Thanksgiving or Veteran’s Day.)

4. You can chat with other NaNoWriMo writers. That way, you can get support for your writing a novel that has no need for plot, suspense, character or even accurate spelling. By the way…the words you write in the chat room do not count toward the 50,000.

I have started a counterpart writing organization called NaNoWhyMo. It provides a bemoaning chat room where people can refigure how many words that have to write per day to overcome their not having written anything in the first 13 days of November. NaNoWhyMo also provides basketball and football schedules to provide material for members lists of excuses why they have only written seven words a day.

NaNoWhyMo will provide a prize for the writer who writes the best self-berating, woe-is-me, I-call-myself-a-writer-,but… statement. The winner of the award will be announced on December 1st, if I get around to it. Otherwise, December 2nd. A simple email will suffice to enter. Writers who write more than 3,000 words in November will be disqualified.



Paying for Healthcare? Easy.

Step 1. Go to your state lawmakers.

Step 2. Ask for an increase in sales taxes on carbohydrates.

Step 3. Require grocery stores and restaurants to collect the tax and send to a little room in your state capital building.

Step 4. Have doctors and residents sign up to use the fund.

Step 5. Have participating doctors bill the fund for office visits.

Step 6. If there is any money left over, ask pharmacies to join the fund.

We don’t need no stinkin’ massive and complete solution to healthcare!

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Minimum Wage Laws

One of our most silly human traits is our waiting on our duly elected representatives to decide on legislation that will harm his/her political future the least.

I suggest this simple solution: we ask our business owners to raise the pay of their workers. Seriously. Raise your wages. It will be cheaper for you. People will want to work for you, and they will want to stay with you.

The cost of labor is not only the hourly wage. It includes the cost of finding, training, firing, and finding and training again.

We don’t need to go to the ballot box every two, four, six years to make a change. Next week, we need only go down to Costcos or any other like-minded business, and buy what they have to sell.

At Costco, see that smiling face and hear that friendly attitude? He or she is making, on average, $16 per hour.

We don’t need no stinkin’ minimum wage laws. We just need good business practices.

#minimumwage #noStinkinLaws


Insidious Practice Alert #65, How The Bottom 1% Can Build Their Own Community.

It was a brilliant idea, this Tax Increment Financing. Find a blighted area that is not contributing to the property tax base, build a 73 million dollar multi-use complex of apartments and businesses. Exempt the builder from those nagging property taxes that are produced by new developments, thus, blight, crime, and stench are replaced by shiny buildings. We have such a development not far from our town. You may know where it is. It is located in the richest county in our state. It was built six blocks from the richest town in our state. Blight never was here in my town.

I suggest a different approach. 1. We choose a blighted area. You know it’s blighted because there would be no house you would live in, in that area. There would be a helicopter overhead. You would wonder why there were so many police cars. 2. Like Tax Increment Financing, we would eliminate property taxes. Period. Forever. That would encourage people to own something there. 3. We eliminate sales taxes on all purchases in the area. That would mean gas, food and clothing would be cheaper there. That would draw business to the area. 4. We eliminate all income taxes. That would make it a popular place to live.

Do you see the loopholes in this plan?

No problem.

There are rules: If you take advantage of any tax advantage, you must live there.  And you must work there.

Why wouldn’t this work?

Outsource This!

num drop?

Sunday morning, July 14th, 3:17 am. Six foot five inches tall, by the measure at the front door. Two hundred forty pounds, in my estimation. Blue jeans, a red Cardinals baseball cap, no facial hair, but needed a shave.

Three hours of training to be assistant night manager at 7-11 paid off. No clue, though, to the brand of big gun he pointed at me.

“Hand me the till, moron.”

“Yes sir.”

I hit the zero sale key. Nothing happened.

“What’s taking so long?”

“Uh, it’s not letting me get into the drawer.”

“C’mon, get it out! Now!”

“I’m trying, I’m trying.”

“You’re lying.”

“No, believe me, it’s not my money.  I’m happy to hand it over. I just can’t open the drawer.”

“You got a hammer? I’ll bust that sucker open.”

“I don’t.”

The holdup man shook his head.


He looked more closely at the till.

“What’s that label on the side there?”

“That’s the number for the help desk.”

“Well, hell. Dial ‘em up.”

I dialed the 800 number, hoping no one else would enter the store.

“Here, let me talk to them,” the gunman ordered.

I gave him the phone.


“Hello,” he repeated, louder.

“The what?” he asked. “I can’t understand you. Serve Pests?”

“Service desk ,” I offered.

“Oh, service desk.” He calmed down a little.

“You want me to tell you what?” he asked.

“He wants the store number. It’s 8567,” I said.

“Store 8567. Where you at? Philippines? Are you kidding me?”

“We can’t get the cash register door open.”

The holdup man rolled his eyes.

“We…can’t…open…the friggin …door of the cash register,” he shouted.

“Press the what?” he asked, looking over at me.

“Press the lum drop button? What is the lum drop button?”

“Num drop…num drock…oh, you mean the num lock key. Geez, who taught you English? This is going to take all night, isn’t it,” said the hold up man. “All night, comprehenday? Listen to this, bud. You need to get yourself an English Rosetta Stone. They’ve gotta be selling it over there.”

The big man with the gun hung up the phone.

” What if all I wanted was a pecan roll. We’d still have this problem.”

I agreed with the man with the gun.

“Thanks, bud. I’m outta here. Get a different job.”


“How tall was the holdup man?” asked the officer.

“He was about  5′ 9, ” I said.

“Ethnic group?”

I hesitated.



“Nothing I recognized from training.”


Previously published in Hobo Pancakes

#danezeller #outsource #holdup





Breaking News! One Monkey Typing Publishing Company is Denied Financial Assistance!

Tax Increment Financing(TIF) Voted Down by City of Westwood

One Monkey Typing Corporate Headquarters

Sources close to the city council of Westwood, Kansas, have shared information with Dane Zeller, editor-in-chief of One Monkey Typing that his application for tax increment financing has been denied. Wishing to remain anonymous, the source described the vote as “not even close”, and accompanied by peals of laughter.

Attempts to get comments from Dane Zeller, editor-in-chief of the company, failed. However, sources close to the enterprising young publisher report hearing this response: “the mayor and his selected council member/developers

Westwood TIF Tower

have been very discriminating in the use of our city’s funds. What’s okay for the owner of the country club is not okay for the arts. If the mayor thinks we’re through with this, he can kiss my ass.”

The mayor did not respond to Zeller’s comment, but a former official with the city would not deny that the mayor said, “Tax increment financing is for legitimate friends of the city, not a tiny jack-leg publisher who wants to fix up his garage.”

In comments made by the receptionist at One Monkey Typing Publishing, Rhonda Coots, explained that One Monkey Typing publishes books, essays, short stories, and is planning on starting a city newspaper in Westwood, with an editorial on the front page of its first edition, above the fold. Ms. Coots admitted that Mr. Zeller, although an immensely creative man, was not good at spelling, having to ask Ms. Coots how to spell the word “ass-hole.”

#TifCorpWelfare #OneMonkeyTyping #RhondaCoots

Tax Preparation Reform…….Naaah.

It’s too late for my insidious practice alert (ipAlert). Your CPA, protective of his time, scheduled your meeting on February 1st. You went. You’re done. No fuss, no worry, no tension caused by an impending tax filing deadline.

Forget this insidious practice of early tax filing.

It's due on the 18th????

The problems with early filing:
1. You give up the thrill of the risk of being in violation of federal law.
2. You give up the camaraderie of last minute filers who show up at the post office in the waning minutes before midnight.
3. You wouldn’t get to meet Pyrus McVee, a professional gambler, on break from the poker table.
4. You’ll lose the excitement of showing up ten minutes before midnight with your wild guesses and your rubber checks.

You can live your life in boring peace, a world populated by dreary well-prepared people, nodding off to Steven Colbert when you could be constantly checking your watch and your speedometer and your GPS locked into the main post office. You will never meet Sally Bare, taking off a few minutes of her job at Mickey’s Legs and Grill.

It’s too late now for 2016, but you can start postponing 2017 immediately.

You can do it!

#ipAlert taxdeadline

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