My nearly beloved, the pseudonymous news omnivore “Freddy from Fresno,” awakens me at 8 each morning to dispense his mini-version of the PDB, actually much more PDA – Personal Desk Assistant – than Presidential Daily Briefing.

Besides, he’s the presidential one, not me.

Today, “Freddy” begins on an upbeat note: the scientist who “discovered” the avian flu predicts 50 percent of the world’s population could be wiped out in a global bird flu pandemic.

Freddy, Freddy, don’t panic. It’s still purely theoretical – since the avian flu has claimed only 100 human cases worldwide so far. This scientist fellow’s extrapolating IF the avian flu “inevitably” mutates and gets transmitted human to human. But that hasn’t happened yet. And if it does, its consequences serve as Malthusian population control.

Besides, I remind “Freddy” how much he haaaaaates psychics. Well, statistical prognostications aren’t much different. Then why give credence to an extreme example of what nurse/healer “Maggie the Brit” calls “dramarama”? More likely, corporate scare tactics – another ploy to boost demand for Big Pharma vaccines. Remember Boosh-Wah administration’s Rumsfeld? Weeelllllll, Rummy’s old drug company’s a big beneficiary of all these doomsday warnings.

Naturally, “Freddy” accuses me of being a perpetual conspiracist. Clearly, we’re in foreplay mode.

Darling, I shrug, it’s just a different belief system. Besides, some events are connected. Really. Maybe what to do right now, after washing your hands properly, is, as some other scientist suggested yesterday, prepare for the supposedly “inevitable” onslaught of avian flu by stocking cases of tuna under your bed. But that concerns me, too, because Science Guy naturally neglected to mention Mercury lurking in tuna.

Hey! We’ve got the Hat Trick of Disastrous Dining: Tainted Tuna, Contaminated Chickens, Mad Cow in Alabama – aye, there’s the beef. Cull this!

What’s left? Tofu-time!!

Meanwhile, my former Y2K closet’s now retrofitted for various generic catastrophes – I have all sorts of barely palatable canned “food” ready to be prepared instantaneously on a Sterno-fueled camp stove, at the drop of a … bomb.

At that, “Freddy” smoothly switches conversational gears: Today, crack of dawn, he saw a TV news show poll its viewers about their “Four Greatest Fears.”

OK, I’ll bite, what were they?

Not what you’d expect. The sum of their fears:

  • Another terror attack.

  • Being nuked by Iran. Iran? Yes, Iran. Keep that propaganda coming.
  • The bird flu.
  • Ambien Zombies.

Our own fears, of course, are totally different:

  • The Iraq war lasting forever.

  • The White House alienates and antagonizes every awful force in the universe and Americans must pay and pay and pay.
  • “Freddy” and I lose our looks before becoming rich and famous.
  • No one buys our screenplays or TV scripts.
  • Our books don’t get published until after we die.
  • The people who owe us money never pay up.
  • In case of national catastrophe, there’s nothing left to eat except dogs and cats.
    But Ambien Zombies?

Although Ambien, the popular pharmaceutical sleep remedy, was recently clobbered by one-two punches, I doubt that ultimately makes much difference to its devotees, uh, users. Reportedly, some folks asleep on Ambien are getting up out of bed and DRIVING PLACES! Sleep-driving! Way-dangerous! Moreover, Freddy informs me, and he’s not kidding, other folks asleep on Ambien are getting out of bed and EATING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE CONTENTS OF THEIR REFRIGERATOR AT NIGHT WITH NO MEMORY OF DOING SO! Sleep-eating!

Ambien Zombies!

Aside from the wasted calories – does a calorie count if you don’t recall eating it? – this could be a perfect metaphor for what medication side effects typically do to people – taking them over, without their knowledge or consent, then changing their emotional/physical, mind/body behavior in ways both subtle and extreme.

This could also be a perfect metaphor for the many millions of Americans who continue to tolerate the alleged Bush presidency – they’re taken over by a lethal moral lassitude supporting the unthinkable: the bogus ascendancy of this theo-con junta after TWICE hijacking the presidency, unjust wars and needless carnage, spying on U.S. citizens, intolerance of domestic dissent, corrupt gummint practices, and so forth – yanno, Corporatocracy Unbound.

Unlike these legions of Citizen-Zombies, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., dared shake things up on the United States Senate floor by courageously displaying a huge sign, “DANGEROUSLY INCOMPETENT,” during her recent speech criticizing Bush administration ineptitude on Homeland Security funding and crisis response.

Fear what you will. Unless we snap out of our slumbering torpor and vote for at least censure if not impeachment, we all remain in jeopardy.

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