For Tim Cook’s eyes only (continued)

Second generation: Improved circuitry now directs feet laterally as well, simulating waltz, foxtrot, lindy hop, etc. New slimmer design: “The iShoe that doesn't make your feet look big.”

Sports model: sweat-resistant iShoe with Marathon setting that keeps user's feet in motion even if he/she starts to flag. (Strongly worded caution label may be required.)

iGoggles. Attractive white goggles (with brushed metallic trim ring) that let you see beneath a person's clothing. Same concept as the ones advertised in the back of comic books, except these actually work. Pitched, of course, more toward security than adolescent voyeurism. “Now you can see if that stranger approaching you in the alley is armed-in more ways than one.”

Second generation: Improved circuitry now see through more layers, including difficult synthetics such as Spandex. New slimmer design now looks more like conventional eyeglasses. “The iGoggles that don't make you look like a pervert.”

Third generation: Built-in camera now snaps high-resolution photos even in low light. Automatically activated by a discreet wink.

iNose. Gleaming white nose that affixes to a user's face via electronic follicle adhesion. Solid-state circuitry is programmed to detect over 8,000 odors, the analysis of which is projected in real time onto the user's retina. Instantly, the user can distinguish between a '47 Cheval Blanc and a '14 Charles Shaw, tell a whiff of Baccarat Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes from a blast of Old Spice, or determine if what's sizzling on the grill is succulent Wagyu steak or expired-date chuck.
Second generation. Enhanced circuitry now detects every known human aroma indicating possible sexual attraction to the user. (Note potential cross sales to iBelt and iGoggle users.) New slimmer design: “The iNose that doesn't make you look like Gérard Depardieu.”

Sports model: Special circuitry sniffs out flop sweat, defeatist attitudes, and cold hard fear, giving the user an edge up in every competition.

iEar. Slim white console clips to the earlobe and amplifies ambient sounds. Sophisticated interface allows user to customize amplification to their personal history: e.g., former bowling alley pinboy, retired pile-driver operator, rocket engine tester, etc. Vast potential Baby Boomer market: “It's not a hearing aid, it's an iEar!”

Second generation: New Parent setting filters out the exact wavelengths of screeching children.

Third generation: Improved interface lets user click off concerts attended from a list of over 1300 rock bands (Velvet Underground, Cream, KISS, etc) to determine precise frequencies most likely to be attenuated. New Groupie setting provides amplification boost for fans who routinely sat too close to the speakers.

iPersonality. Smartly contoured white device fits in a pocket and analyzes conversation in real time, transmitting suggested repartee via an unobtrusive white receiver inserted into the user's ear canal. On-screen menu offers a selection of personality profiles including Sparkling, Witty, Serene, Sultry, Jaded, Loutish, Rush Limbaugh, Oscar Levant, etc. “Now even the shyest nerd can be the life of the party!”

Second generation: New Toastmaster edition incorporates over 10,000 jokes and witticisms for all occasions. Karaoke setting gives the user instant command of lyrics for over 25,000 popular songs, including all known variations of “Louie, Louie.”

Third generation: New CEO edition puts the user in command in any business situation. Settings include Bold, Visionary, Collegial, Ruthless, Enronian, and TNP (Take No Prisoners). “S.E.C.” setting avoids potentially disastrous misstatements during quarterly conference calls and shareholder meetings. “Obscure” setting assists the user in being pleasant but elusive during depositions and Congressional testimony.

Sports model: Sweat-resistant iPersonality lets the user assume the personalities of such sports greats as Tiger Woods, John McEnroe, Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Seabiscuit, Venus Williams, Joe Namath, Wilt Chamberlain, Tonya Harding, Mike Tyson, etc. (Note: caution warning may be advised for some settings.)

iExist. (Concept only.) Some sort of small white device that provides feedback to the user that he/she is alive and breathing. Any thoughts?

Louis the Doc (continued)

     A few days later the cousin phoned Louie. “This ain’t no transmission for a ’97 Town Car, you know.”
     “So what else is new?” replied Louie, who had no patience for quibbling peons.
     “I’m saying some fudging will be required.”
     “So fudge,” said Louie, “but I want that nice medical rumble when the machine is switched on. And I need it by the end of next week.”
     “I’ll do my best,” said the cousin, who knew an order when he heard it.
     The gleaming white machine was delivered on time and was installed in a nice suite of office on the second floor of a family-owned building downtown. Various parties, who-when dressed in aqua polyester-could pass as medical technicians were assembled. Some were relatives, some were ladies who had lost their allure, some were numbers runners who could no longer run. Nurses caps and blood-pressure meters were issued to all female staffers. The word went down that even though the clients would be getting undressed, no supplemental services could be solicited.
     “Not even hand jobs?” inquired Betty, who was renowned for her velvet touch.
     “Not even,” said Louie. “This is strictly a semi-legit operation. Now let’s hear that rumble.”
     Philly Z’s cousin flipped a switch, causing a profoundly deep and expensive-sounding rumble to vibrate everyone’s stomachs.
     “Excellent,” said Louie, deciding that the cousin would live to see his family.
     “I did it with an air compressor piped through the exhaust manifold off a ’58 DeSoto,” he explained. “Supplemented with a 12-inch subwoofer playing the bass track off a K.I.S.S. album.”

     So the clinic opened, and through various arrangements with compliant physicians, patients began to be referred there. Most went away happy, reassured that nothing was amiss. Probably in most cases the diagnoses were accurate. And who knows? The good news might have had a placebo effect-perhaps even causing a few genes to switch on or off, altering ultimate health outcomes.
     Invoices with impressively large totals were sent to insurance companies, which-having heard certain rumors-customarily coughed up without complaint.
     Some male clients were so thrilled by the good news, they spontaneously invited clinic nurses out to lunch. These offers were gratefully accepted, as affluent men without much time to live were regarded as prime marriage material.
     Of course, pushy guys or snooty society broads sometimes got very bad news. Louie’s nephew Artie, who had been a wise-ass since day one, liked to whistle through his teeth, study his clipboard soberly, and say, “My goodness, I’m amazed you’re still ambulatory.”
     The victims of these pranks would undergo a tremendous attitude adjustment right on the spot, which was very satisfying to the staff, who liked to think they were doing some good in this world.
     In time, Louie’s bullet shifted again, buying him a one-way ticket to visit his ancestors. Some former staffers, now wealthy widows, commissioned a portrait of Louie that hangs in the waiting room. Look for it the next time your doctor sends you downtown for a medical procedure.


President Mitt (continued)

     “Sorry, Mr. President, I haven’t heard about that. I’ll check into it right away.”
     “You do that. Well, thanks for the info, boys.”
     “Mr. President! The Dow is down 8,000 points! Riots have broken out in financial capitals around the world!”
     “Hey, no running, Henderson. This is the Oval Office, not the Gay Olympics.” [Chortling around the room.]
     “You say the Dow is down 8,000 points? Well, that’s creating some tremendous buying opportunities. Almost wish I was back at my old stand. I’m sure Warren Buffet is backing up the truck right now and loading up on bargains.”
      “He was just on CNN saying you were like Nero fiddling while Rome burned.”
     “Warren said that? Well, strike him off our Christmas card list.”
     “Mr. President! Gold just topped $10,000 an ounce!”
     “Well, there’s some good news. My blind investment trust made a sizeable move into gold right before I took office.”
     “But, sir! The dollar is plummeting!”
     “That’s not my concern.”
     “Uh, actually, it is, sir. The dollar is a currency put out by the federal government.”
     “So, where’s my Secretary of the Treasury?”
     “He’s in Salt Lake presiding over a major Synod.”
     “Well, when he gets back, tell him I want to see him. El pronto.”
     “Will do, sir. So what are we going to do about the banks?”
     “Read the Constitution, boys. Not a word in it about bailing out banks. Besides, even if I were a card-carrying Marxist and therefore inclined to intervene, I’d never be able to chisel a dime out of Congress.”
     “They’re rather preoccupied on the Hill these days with V.P.”
     “My ethnically appealing Vice President?”
     “No, with vaginal probes. They’re having difficulty working that concept into language appropriate for a constitutional amendment.”
     “Mr. President! The CFO of General Motors is on the phone. He says he won’t be able to make payroll this week because all their accounts and credit instruments have been frozen.”
     “So when times get tough, the flunkies come running for another suck on Uncle Sam’s teat. Didn’t I say rescuing that company was a mistake and morally wrong? So who’s wearing the egg on their faces this time? Tell him to go buy a Toyota.”
     “Mr. President! Another too-big-to-fail bank just went down! It’s worse than 2008! It’s worse than 1929!”
     “Why do people keep barging in and screaming things at me? I want a guard put on that door.”
     “It’s getting a bit ugly on the Street, sir.”
     “Perfectly normal. It’s called the business cycle. This crisis too shall pass. And when it does, people will look back and say there was a President who stood firm. Not one cent of taxpayers’ money went to bailing out Wall Street.”
     “Uh, there could be some impact on the deficit, Mr. President, if unemployment tops 50 percent.”
     “Then the appropriate cuts will have to be made. What we’ve done today, boys, is driven that final glorious stake through the New Deal. We’ve exorcised the ghost of FDR. We’ve made our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers proud. Here, fill your glasses.”
     “Shall we toast to prosperity, sir?”
     “Of course! Our principles are sound, gentlemen. Our hand on the tiller of State is firm. To prosperity! I’m sure it’s just around the corner. Well-at any rate--for the people who really matter.”