drug dangers


Monthly Archive for October, 2008

CANDIDATES SEEK FRINGE SUPPORT

GREENPOINT, Bklyn, Oct. 30…Jaws dropped and eyes bulged last night when a Navigator stretch pulled up in front of the national headquarters of the Gambler’s Rights Party at Golubchik’s Tavern in Greenpoint, and John McCain stepped out.

“Where’s my friend Efraim?” he demanded. “Take me to that great American.”

Efraim Durg, presidential candidate of the Gambler’s Rights party, jagging on Amaretto and Aterol after a forty-three hour poker game came to the door, snarling, “Okay, who’s tryin’ to punk me…?” But gaped in amazement as McCain rushed up and clasped his hand, declaiming:

“I just want to shake the hand of the courageous warrior who has waged a lonely battle to guarantee that, in this time of crisis, every American has the right to gamble him or herself out of–or into– poverty. And yes, to fuddle his- or her- brain with marijuana…Because this is America and no tax and spend socialist is going to spoil our fun.”

Meanwhile, halfway across the country, Anarcho-Feminist Party , presidential candidate Leah Schildkraut got an unexpected boost when a contingent of prominent women, among them Maya Angelou, Betty White, Madeline Albright and Samantha Ronson, swept into her campaign headquarters at the Foxhole Tavern in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

“The mainstream is reaching out to the babbling brook,” Ms. Angelou intoned as Schildkraut boosters blinked in bafflement. “Flowing deep into the forest of idealism to form a mighty tide that will flood the banks of intolerance with the clangety-clang of the righteous hammer…”

Betty White jumped up. “Chill, Maya…” And appealed to Schildkraut: “Obama needs your endorsement, Leah. Whaddya say?”

As this hotly contested presidential race nears the finish line, both sides are reaching out to fringe candidates for support.

“We’re trying to get everybody under the tent,” an Obama staffer says.

The parties are going after the rebels and dissidents on their extreme flanks. Ralph Nader and Green Party Cynthia McKinney on the left, Libertarian Bob Barr and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin on the right.

Barr has been described as “John McCain’s worst nightmare” because his staunch anti-immigration position has siphoned off a number of far right votes. At a secret peace parley at his headquarters in Atlanta, the former Georgia Congressman made his point, bluntly. “John, it’s hard to find an issue on which you don’t want bigger government.”

McCain squinted and reddened as he thought hard. Then snapped his fingers.

“Aluminum bats, Bob!” he said. “I’ve been a staunch opponent of Federal regulations against the use of aluminum bats…”

“You sponsored a law that would have allowed illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship,” said Barr.

McCain got a cagey look “But I also added a stipulation that this could only begin once we had secured our borders,” he said. He prodded Barr with a wink. “And that’ll never happen because as soon as some liberal says the borders are safe I’ll just say, no they’re not. Get it?”

Obama-Nader relations have been fractious since Nader accused Obama of “being a corporate taker” and “talking white” to calm the fears of white voters. Still, mindful of the fact that in 2000 Nader won 97,000 votes in battleground Florida an Obama delegation visited Nader’s headquarters, five blocks from the White House.

To their surprise they were greeted cordially and offered a sumptuous lunch of Nader’s favorite foods–hummus and stuffed eggplant with pignoli nuts. When they broached the subject of an endorsement, Nader responded enthusiastically.

“I’m so glad you guys finally came to your senses,” he said. “You tell Senator Obama I accept his endorsement whole-heartedly. I promise I will be the greatest President this country has ever seen.”

Constitution Party candidate and Minister of the Crossroads Church Chuck Baldwin has strong right wing support for his program to eliminate every program that is not provided for in the Constitution. At his Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters, he lectured McCain.

“We believe in the abolition of IRS and the Federal Reserve…”

McCain nodded vigorously. “That’ll be my first official act as President. Bernanke’s a socialist, anyway.”

“Also, we want to repeal Roe v. Wade,” Baldwin said.

“And I’ll go you a step further, Chuck,” McCain said. ” Pro-Life for animals. No more neutering or spaying of pets. We’ll make it a national priority to find homes for every cute little puppy and kitten, God bless ‘em.”

Green Party candidate Cynthia Mickinney has denied accusations that she was a stalking horse for Obama. At her Atlanta headquarters she laid out the conditions under which she might endorse his candidacy.

“Repeal of the Patriot Act, repeal of Bush tax cuts, repeal of FISA, immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan…”

The Obama rep nodded. “We can live with that.”

McKinney raised a fist, her eyes flashing. “And an immediate declaration of war against the apartheid state of Israel to be followed by an invasion code-named Operation Palestinian Freedom…”

The Obama man shook his head with a pained look. “That might not go down so well with the old Jews in Boca…How about we wait until after the election…?”

Secret polls show that previously obscure candidates Durg and Schildkraut have gained surprising strength in the last few months.

Durg has a catchy two issue platform: “A casino on every corner…A bong in every basement..” At last count he had collected over a million signatures and was on the ballot in four states.

McCain turned down a toke, saying “I’m on antibiotics,” but stressed his support for universal gambling. “I’ll give tax breaks to any casino that opens in an inner city neighborhood,” he said “I’ll allow gamblers to write off their losses and charge them a 15% capital gains tax on their winnings. I”m a crapshooter myself,” he added. “That’s how I’ll run the country.”

Durg was doubtful. “You’ve been quoted as saying: I don’t think marijuana is good for people and you’ve repeatedly expressed opposition to medical marijuana laws…”

McCain looked around warily, then whispered. “C’mon man, stoners always lie, you know that. I’m on a cocktail right now–claritin, Ambien, simivastin, flomax, ciallis. I’m seein’ colors, dude…And Cindy is a 24 hour party person. Percoet, Vicoden with a Stoli chaser. See how frozen she is when I’m making a speech. Sometimes I’m scared the bitch is gonna fall off the platform…”

“I don’t know,” Durg said. “Sarah Palin seems pretty square…”

“You joking?” McCain asked with feigned incredulity. “What do you think those people do up there in Alaska when it’s 20 below? Wasilla is Inuit for “miracle herb growing under permafrost…”

In Madison, Leah Schildkraut was still not convinced.

“Obama has moved to the center,” she said. “He’s waffled on choice and separation of church and state and supported the Supreme Court decision on gun control. He supports tort reform, which is just another way of denying the poor due process. He voted to give immunity to large telecoms who turn over private information to the government…”

“Hold it girl,” Maya Angelou said.

Everybody braced themselves for another round of poetry.

“Close your eyes and imagine McCain with his finger on that red button and Putin calls him an idiot,” she said. “Got that image? Now imagine Sarah Palin, gavel in hand, about to cast the deciding vote in the Senate of the United States of America…”

Schildkraut opened her eyes and looked around at the circle of avid faces.

“Obama ’08,” she said.

TRAVELING UNTIL NOVEMBER 5, 2008

NEBRASKA DUMPS LOHAN AND DUCKS SCANDAL

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 21…Red faced officials were scrambling today to explain why they denied Lindsay Lohan shelter under Nebraska’s Safe Haven Law.

“We’ve changed the requirements” said an official from the Department of Health and Human Services “She may be needy, but she’s no longer eligible.”

Lohan’s mother, Dina, brought her to Creighton University Medical Center in a Hummer Stretch yesterday and applied to have her declared a ward of the state. Social workers claiming patient privilege would not reveal the reason for the application, but the Safe Haven Law offers refuge to children whose parents can no longer cope with them for economic, social or medical reasons.

“I think her mom has had it,” a social worker who would not give her name confided.

Nebraska was the last of 50 states to adopt the Safe Haven law, which essentially allows parents to abandon their children without fear of prosecution. While most other states will only accept children up to the age of one year the Nebraska legislators, in an excess of altruism, removed all age limits.

“We wanted to offer the service to all hard-pressed parents and needy children,” says an official, then adds with a rueful smile, “but we had no idea how desperate so many people were.”

Within days of the law’s passage local hospitals were overwhelmed by parents from Nebraska and neighboring states seeking to place their children.

“We had a widower come in with his nine children and say he couldn’t afford to take care of them,” a social worker said. “Grandparents who couldn’t raise unruly teenagers. Children with social and emotional issues. Parents who said they couldn’t get treatment for their disturbed children and were now throwing up their hands.”

Ages ranged from 3 to 17, she said. But so far, Lohan, at 21, is the oldest they’ve seen.

“She’s not even a minor,” a state official said. “It’s a sad case, but we can’t help.”

Lohan, a former child star, has had many highly publicized brushes with the police. She has been arrested several times for drunk driving and possession of cocaine. Once she was charged with bringing a “controlled substance into a police facility,” which could have resulted in serious jail time. But the judge let her off with a one day sentence and community service.

Lohan has been in and out of detox over the last few years. “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs,” she said, before entering Cirque Lodge Treatment Center in Sundance for her third attempt at rehabilitation.

Yesterday, Lohan’s mother, Dina, who is also her manager, hurried out of the hospital into the Hummer and drove back to the airport without speaking to the horde of reporters and paparazzi who had appeared minutes after her arrival.

Reporters peeking through a window saw Lohan sitting alone on a bench in the waiting room. They shouted questions, but she shook her head and turned away.

Lohan was born in New York City in 1986 and raised in Merrick, L.I. Her parents signed her with the Ford Model Agency at the age of three. Her Wikipedia entry states that “at first she found little work as a model, but persisted and eventually appeared in more than 100 print ads for companies like Toys ‘R’ Us.” She later modeled for Calvin Klein and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Lohan’s ambitious parents next steered her to television work. Again, after a few blown auditions she was hired for a Duncan Hines commercial and went on to do 60 more commercials, including a famous Jell-O spot with Bill Cosby.

From then on she never stopped working. In 1996 she won the role of Alexandra “Alli” Fowler on the soap opera Another World where, according to Filmbug UK ” she delivered more dialogue than any other 10 year old in daytime serials.”

“The girl was a workhorse,” says talent manager Fletch Pedlar. “She made a lot of money for the studios her parents, her agents, her lawyers, but nothing for herself.”

Between 1998 and and 2008 Lohan racked up 16 feature film credits, among them Disney hits The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Herbie Fully Loaded, winning an MTV award for Breakthrough Female Performance and a Teen Choice award for Breakout Movie Star. She became a full-fledged star playing a sexy teenager in Mean Girls, for which she won a Critics Choice, a Blimp Award for best new actress, an MTV Award for best Female Performance and five more Teen Choice awards. She worked with Robert Altman (Prairie Home Companion), Jane Fonda (Georgia Rules), taking time out to make 15 TV appearances, hosting Saturday Night Live three times. She recorded three solo albums and six soundtracks.

“She was an ATM,” says Pedlar. “But she finally broke down…It’s Judy Garland all over again, but it happened a lot quicker in this 24 hour news cycle.”

Lohan’s partying took its toll. She became unreliable, holding up productions with lateness and absences. When she did show up she didn’t know her lines, looked haggard and couldn’t focus. She was publicly reproached by studio head James Robinson for her lateness and irresponsibility on the set of Georgia Rules, but seemed unwilling or unable to reform. After a few losers she hit bottom last year with I Know Who Killed Me, a dismal horror movie for which she won the Golden Raspberry as worse actress of the year.

She stayed in the headlines with her arrests and relentless clubbing. Even added a new wrinkle, proclaiming her love for Lesbian DJ Sam Ronson.

But Lohan’s notoriety did not translate into box office success.

“If they can read all about you on the Internet they won’t pay to see you in the movies,” said Pedlar.

Her behavior made it difficult for producers to get insurance on her, always the kiss of death for dissipating celebrities. A prominent executive was quoted in Entertainment Weekly as saying Lohan’s career was over. “Right now she’d have to pay a studio to get herself into a movie.” Publicist Michael Levine said she was “unemployable for the next 18 months.”

Many bloggers said this trip to the hospital was another publicity stunt, but Pedlar disagrees

“For the first time since she was three years old she isn’t making money for the army of parasites that had grown up around her,” Pedlar said. “She’s just a crazy, self-destructive kid who needs help.

“So they dumped her.”

Late yesterday afternoon, Nebraska authorities rewrote their Safe Haven Law. “We need to get back to the intent of the law…the protection of newborns in immediate danger of being harmed,” said Todd Landry, director of Health and Human Services.

At the hospital social workers called Dina Lohan and told her to come back and get her daughter. As night fell, the chill of the oncoming Great Plains winter could be felt in the air. A social worker threw a blanket over Lohan’s shivering shoulders. Then, sat on the bench with her waiting for her mom to come.

SOX TRANSPLANTS KEEP THE FAITH

SANTA MONICA, California, Oct. 17th…An amazing thing happened in Fenway Park last night.

Red Sox fans walked out on their team.

In the bottom of the 7th inning all seemed to be lost. The Sox were down 7-0 to the upstart Tampa Bay Rays, a team of hard-nosed youngsters that had bedeviled them all season. The pitchers weren’t competing. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria  looked like they were taking batting practice when they hit back-to-back home runs in the third. Even ferocious closer Jonathan Papelbom had stumbled, giving up a two run double to B.J. Upton in the seventh to widen the score to the seemingly unbridgeable 7-0.

At that point the unthinkable happened. Red Sox fans began to leave.

“It looked like Dodger Stadium for God’s sake,” says Brian Flanagan, a regular at Sonny McLean’s on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica where the patrons actually stop quaffing to sing “Sweet Caroline” in the Fenway tradition. 

“They booed Big Papi,” waitress Maude Gunn said in disbelief.

A short, pleasant survey of Red Sox bars in the area revealed that not one stool had been vacated during the game. Of course, many of the fans were unable to move, but those who stayed alert were rewarded with the greatest comeback in post season play since 1929 when the Philadelphia A’s rallied from 8-0 to beat the Chicago Cubs (Who else?)

Because baseball is a signifier for the economy, the mental health and the sex lives of most Bostonians, analysts were busy soon after the first disdained now deified J.D. Drew drove Kevin Youklis home with the winning run.

“Boston has the highest average ticket price in baseball at $46.46 per,” said Morley Whiteshoe, Professor of Marketing at Babson U. “Boston was the fourth team in baseball history to sell out a whole season. But the more people pay the more they expect. You don’t buy a Bentley and expect it to break down.”

“It’s interesting that we use the word rally to describe what happened,” said Carmen Invidiosa, Tom Clancey Professor of Comparative Literature at Boston University. “In the 1929 Depression and in today’s economic crisis the baseball teams are said to have rallied when the markets could not…Pointless,  meaningless and totally irrelevant perhaps, but interesting.”

“I blame it on global warming,” offered J. Gladstone-Bagge, Yuri Lysenko Professor of Environmental Studies at MIT. “The unseasonable heat raises the percentage of negative ions in the atmosphere causing a condition similar to Santa Anna winds and Mistrials in the Mediterranean, which gives rise to irrational behavior.”

“We’ve gone from a victim to a victor’s mentality,” says Arnold Farb-Blodgett, Wilhelm Reich Professor of Psychology at Harvard. “Victims band together and empathize…Victors become individualistic, arrogant and insatiable. Victims find solace in the smallest triumph. Victors are inconsolable in defeat…”

The morning after the euphoria still hadn’t faded for Sox transplants. This reporter donned a Red Sox tee (Ramirez, the only one he had) and took a stroll down Main Street in Santa Monica.

A harried young mother looked up from her fussing twins to smile: “Go Sox.”

Outside the Rand Corporation’s new building a young construction worker slammed himself in the helmet. “Damn! I turned the TV off and went to bed. I always miss the comebacks.”

“Ya gotta believe,” said an older colleague, echoing the rallying cry of the ’69 Miracle Mets.

Further down a red eye gleamed from within a  pile of dusty Hefty bags. A homeless man rose, a thick black scab on his sun baked face. “I had it all,” he said, pointing to his headphones. “I stayed with ‘em to the very end.”

At Ocean Park Avenue, the truly miraculous occurred. A California fantasy jogger, a tall, tan blonde female in a halter top and bikini bottoms stopped at the sight of the Red Sox tee.

“What a game, huh?” she enthused. “Did you see it?”

“Sure,” the reporter replied. “I always stick ’till the last out.”

“My boyfriend says he’s a fan, but he fell asleep in the seventh,” she said. 

“Time to dump him,” the ever hopeful reporter said.

“Yeah,” she laughed and offered a hi-five. “Go Sox…”

All was right with the world. The Red Sox were front runners again.

For the next thirty-six hours.

JOE SIXPACK CHANGES HIS NAME

MORAINE, Ohio, Oct, 15…Sixpack has been a proud name in the Ohio River valley for seven generations.

But that will end today. 

Joe Sixpack VI, the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the original settler is changing his name.

“We Sixpacks have been mocked and  humiliated by the media and by unscrupulous politicians,” he says. “I won’t stand for it any longer.”

The family put down roots in 1760 when French  fur trapper Joseph Sespaque settled here, fleeing the English victory in Canada. He set his traps along an Ohio River teeming with otter. He fought off poachers, haggled with the trading companies and built a small fortune.

Sespaque dropped his pelts in 1776 to fight the English again. Joe holds up a rusty fowling piece. “This is the rifle he used to defend the Ohio Territory at  Fort Laurens during the Revolutionary War. The Indians called him Sixpatches because of all the regimental badges he wore and the name stuck.”

Driven out of the trapping business by farmers and fishermen, the Sixpatches became itinerant peddlers traveling along the Ohio River with their goods in gigantic packs on their backs

“My great-great-great-great grandpa was a big guy and the local jokesters called him Joe Sixpack for all the packs he could carry,” Joe says. He gets a defiant look. “We had this name long before it meant cans of beer.”

The name stuck right up to the Civil War when Joe’s great-great grandpa put down his pack to fight for the Union in the 48th. regiment. When he returned the  railroad and the steamboat were delivering goods faster than a wandering peddler ever could.  He opened  a small store outside of Moraine, Ohio. 

He called it “Sixpacks” and offered six of any item for the price of five.

“People came from all over the state,” Joe says. “He opened a little diner and then a camp ground…”

Great-great-grandpa Joe took off his apron to join up with the 147th. Infantry during World War I. When he returned the Volstead Act had been passed, prohibiting the sale of alcohol. His cousin Nate  had built a still in the woods behind the store and was selling bootleg booze, six quarts for the price of five. They changed the diner into a speakeasy roadhouse. They made booze for the Cleveland Mob. 

It was the “Roaring ’20′s.”  Prosperity was here to stay.  Great-grandpa Joe invested in the booming stock market. He bedecked Great-grandma Edna with diamonds and bought himself a Pierce Arrow. 

Then, the market crashed. The Sixpacks were wiped out. Great Grandpa Joe’s  mobster pals moved in and took over the booze business. They kept him on as a front man for a few dollars a week. He lost that job in 1932 when Prohibition was repealed.

“He and Great Grandma shot squirrels,  lived off the land, anything to stay off Relief,” says Joe. 

In the midst of the Depression the auto industry was booming. Great-grandpa got a job at the plant in Janesville, Wis. Pay was low and conditions were brutal. 

“He was no socialist, but he could see that the union was the only way to protect the workers,” says Joe. “He became a charter member of the UAW, participating in the first strike at Flint, Michigan, fighting Henry Ford’s hired goons at the “The Battle of the Overpass…They called him Sixpacker for the Colt. 45 he had in his belt.”

Joe’s grandpa was working at the GM plant in Lima, Ohio when World War II broke out. He dropped his tools and enlisted in the Marine Corps. His job was waiting for him when he returned and he stayed at it, turning out trucks until retirement.

Joe’s dad, Joe Sixpack V worked at the plant all his life, taking time out to serve with the First Air Cavalry in Vietnam.

Joe continued the tradition, going to work at the Moraine plant after high school. Except for a twenty-four month stint in Iraq with the Ohio National Guard, he stayed at the SUV Assembly plant, turning out GMC Envoys and Chevy Trailblazers. 

Joe doesn’t remember how it happened. “It’s like one day I woke up and my name was the butt of a joke,” he says. “Joe Sixpack was a bigoted jerk with a beer belly, a guy who gorged junk food and only cared about NASCAR.”

Joe took the jokes good-naturedly. In the small town of Moraine, pop. 6800, everybody knew his family—his son, an Eagle Scout off to Annapolis, his daughter, a gymnast, known as “Little Sixpack” for her perfect abs, .

Then, in June, GM shocked the town by announcing it was closing the plant, laying off 2400 workers. Joe says he should have seen it coming. With 19,423 jobs lost in the first three months of  2008, Ohio is the fourth highest state in mass layoffs, behind California, Michigan and New York. 

Ohio politicians scrambled to keep the plant open. They offered hundreds of millions in tax breaks to GM, but were turned down. Gas prices and green politics had destroyed the SUV market, they were told. 

“It was the end of an era,” Joe says. “GM had mismanaged its business and we were paying the price…”

Joe was putting together three hundred years of family memorabilia for a trip to the Antiques Roadshow when one of his friends called, laughing. “Sara Palin wants you to be Vice President, Joe.”  He You Tubed the VP debate and heard Palin say: “It’s time that normal Joe Sixpack Americans were represented in the position of Vice President.”

He doesn’t know why, but he just snapped.

“This little twit was patronizing me,” he said. “I was the blue-collar sucker who you could talk into fighting your wars and working in your factories…Who you could dump when he was no longer useful…”

Next day, Joe was in court petitioning for a name change.

What’s his new name going to be?

“I don’t know yet,” Joe says. “Maybe Warren Harding…? Lebron James? Somebody from Ohio.”

TRAVELING UNTIL OCTOBER 15, 2008

WANNA LIVE FOREVER? EAT A TARDIGRADE.

GREENPOINT, Bklyn, Oct. 3…A convoy of gleaming limousines was parked outside New York’s hottest restaurant last night.

Inside, Henry Kissinger, 86 regaled the Dalai Lama, 74, at one table, while Rupert Murdoch, 79, hosted Queen Elizabeth, 82 and Nelson Mandela, 92, at another.

George H. W. Bush, 83 and Saudi King Abdullah, 84 waited impatiently at the door for Pope Benedict, 81, to finish his spumoni.

“Don’t dawdle, Your Holiness,” Bush said to an approving grunt from his dinner companion. “We don’t have a lot of time.”

No, it wasn’t Per Se, Mamofuku, The Waverly Inn or Del Posto. This line of luminaries was waiting to get into a cramped, five-tabled, converted candy store on Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint called “Durg’s Elixir”. Dinner at Durg’s averages about $1000 a person, excluding wine. But owner Efraim Durg’s customers think it’s more than worth it.

Why?

Because the speciality of the house is a tiny aquatic, four-legged animal called a tardigrade.

And the tardigrade just might hold the secret to eternal life.

“It sure saved my life,” says Durg with a smile of relief.

Only two months ago, Durg’s health food bistro was going belly up.

“People were losing faith in vitamins and organics,” he says. “They were getting fat and flatulent, and weren’t feeling any better.”

Then he came across a small item in an obscure science journal.

“It said that only one living organism on earth could survive in outer space without protection,” he says. “The tardigrade.”

After exhaustive research, Durg realized he had stumbled upon something new. “I had discovered the philosopher’s stone of nutrition,” he says.

The tardigrade, an invertebrate animal that varies from .05 to 1.5 millimeters in length, is considered by scientists to be the hardiest living creature on earth. Members of its more than 1000 known species have been found in the freezing Himalayan peaks 18,000 feet above sea level and 12,000 feet below on the ocean floor. According to Wikipedia, tardigrades “can survive in extreme environments that would kill any other animal…Some can survive temperatures close to absolute zero or as high as 303 degrees Fahrenheit. Others have gone nearly a decade without water in the vacuum conditions of outer space.”

Tardigrades can enter a “cryobiotic state” in which their organism shows no visible sign of life and all metabolic activity ceases. They can stay that way for decades and can be revived to full life and reproductive power with one drop of water.

“There is no way of estimating the age of the typical tardigrade ,” Durg said. “They could be as old as the earth itself.”

In September ’07, the Economist, reports, researchers from Sweden’s Kristianstad University aboard the European Space Agency’s Foton spacecraft, released representatives of each of the tardigrade’s 1000 species into deep space.

“It would have been tough to put them all in little nano space suits,” Durg says.

Luckily, that wasn’t necessary. The tardigrades went into a state of suspended animation and survived the temperatures, the vacuum conditions and the high doses of UVB and UVB radiation. When they returned to earth they resumed their normal lives of crawling along mosses and lichens, stopping occasionally to clutch each other in libidinal frenzy.

But life for the slow-moving invertebrates would never be the same.

“Tardigrades produce a sugar called trehalose just before they go into a state of suspended animation,” Durg says. “Trehalose protects them against conditions of heat and dehydration, plus invasion by foreign bacteria and viruses. They also generate a large protein which rebuilds their cell structures.” He stops with an astonished look. “On the molecular level they are invulnerable!”

What if the tardigrade’s protective powers could be transferred to human beings? Durg thought.

“What if tardiigrades were the greatest health food ever invented?”

He began experimenting. “I got a few wet branches in Prospect Park and made my first harvest,” he says. “Imagine my delight when, the tardigrades turned out to be pleasantly chewy like calamari.”

Moistened with egg yolk and sprinkled with panko the tardigrades made a light, pleasant cutlet. Durg adapted other recipes, producing Tardigrada Parmigiana, Spicy Tarigrada Roll, Spaghetii and Tarigrada Balls…

He reopened with a hard sell slogan: “Eat at Durg’s, Live Forever…”

Response was immediate. Diners came away reporting new vigor.

“I feel so good I might start bothering Barb again,” George H.W. Bush said.

With a six month waiting list, Durg has to be brutal. The other night John McCain exploded when told he couldn’t have a table.

“It’s your duty as an American to seat me,” he screamed at Durg. “Do you want Sarah Palin to be president?”

At that, the entire restaurant arose in unison.

William Shatner, 78, was the first to the door. “Come back, Senator,” he pleaded. “You can have my table.”