Tag Archives: books

Don’t Move

Hello, All,
 As promised, I’ve decided to share some adventures of my time as a foreign corespondent.
1962 during Argentina’s experiment with a post-Peron elected president–Arturo Frondizi.
“Dark cobble stoned area of low end metro Buenos Aires.  A 2nd rate radio station had been taken over by “rebels” who broadcast a proclamation calling for everyone to take to the streets and opposed the government..  A bus was jammed cross wise in the middle of the narrow street.  As I slid around between the bus and the wall, I heard a voice above me,  “No se mueve,”  (“Don’t Move”) I froze and looked up.  The nose of a stubby machine gun was 14 inches from my nose…

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Pop Culture

 

“Pop”means popular and “culture” means all the stuff you spend your hard-earned allowance on, like movies, books, comics, video games, roller coasters, and other fun stuff.”

James Buckley, Jr. and Robert Stemme, Scholastic Book of Lists, Scholastic Reference, an imprint of Scholastic. Santa Barbara, CA., 2006, page 203.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Don’t Look Now

By Larry Day

Some years ago a stand-up comedian who was known for his self-deprecating humor, was arrested for fighting in a bar after his show. The comedian had smacked his opponent in the face. When the case got to court and the judge asked the comedian how the fight started.

“He laughed at me,” said the comedian.

There are nearly five billion websites in cyberspace. There are more than a billion unique You Tube users on the planet. There are six billion hours of video in 61 languages on the World Wide Web.

In this interconnected world, millions of people use Internet to invite total strangers into their lives. They invite everyone from elderly Mongolians in Ulan Bator, to Argentine teenagers in Mar del Plata, to connect to their websites and view intimate details of their lives. Then these website owners are stunned to find out that crooks, scam artists, identity thieves, Internet marketers, and digital sales representatives have honed in on their websites and have exploited the information they found there.

That comedian became rich and famous by inviting audiences to laugh at his fabricated foibles. But when a stranger in a bar laughed at one of his real foibles, the comedian doubled his fists and started swinging. Lots of folks are like that comedian. They spread their personal information all over the Internet. But they get mad as hell when they hear that authorities are analyzing Internet data flow patterns to see if they can find information that might thwart a terrorist attack. Whoa. Whoa! That’s a violation of people’s privacy.

Finding out what constitutes acceptable government surveillance and what is considered unacceptable prying, is a valuable process. Most of that process is serious, but sometimes it can be funny.

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Consider this story: Back in 2010 forty-year-old Ginger Pitchfork of Mound Tree, Texas, phoned the U.S. Census Bureau to lodge a complaint. She said a census worker had called and asked about her marital status and her vaccination history. Ginger said that Census call was an unwarranted government intrusion into her privacy. What was hilarious was that at the time Ginger was operating a website that chronicled intimate details of her love life.

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And how about this?: A herd of pigs broke out of their sty on a Midwest farm and ran down to a four lane highway. Kurk and Wadley, a couple of forty-something city dwellers, were driving along in a heavy duty pickup truck and saw the pigs. They decided to round up the pigs and put them in the truck and drive them to a nearby stockyard.

Kurk and Wadley figured that since they had found the pigs on the highway it was a “finders keepers,” and they offered to sell the herd to the stockyard manager for $200.

The stockyard manager declined their offer, and retrieved ownership data from tattoos on the pigs’ ears. He called the owner. The owner was looking for the pigs and was not far from the stockyards. When he arrived, the owner thanked Kurk and Wadley, and gave them each$40. Then he loaded up his pigs and drove back to the farm.

Wadley and Kurk were fascinated and amazed. They didn’t know how the pigs had been identified. They jumped the conclusion that there was a government surveillance system so powerful that it could even keep track of an obscure herd of pigs.

Kurk and Wadley organized a series of workshops to tell their story. They told those who attended: “If the government can spy on a herd of Midwest pigs, what do you think it’s finding out about you and your family?”

After that, Wadley and Kurk found what they considered evidence of government surveillance in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. So they set up a network of vigilance websites to warn people of an impending dictatorship that would take over the country as soon as the government had processed all its surveillance data. Kurk and Wadley shut the website down after it become a target for stand-up comedians and late night talk show humor.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Eric the Red, 21-Century Revisited

One of my favorite “Day Dreaming” characters is Eric the Red. When conceived, Eric had a different name and ethnicity. I changed both at the suggestion of my publisher. It turned out that the change enhanced both the comedic effect and the descriptive possibilities of the character. This from the book: “Sven was wearing an academic gown that had military epaulets on the shoulders, and a Viking helmet with America flags attached to the horns.” In the story “Eric the Red” whose name is Sven Torgelson comes back to Letongaloosa to warn me (we meet in a back booth at the Enchantment) that I am the target of a Mainland Patriotic Corps investigation. It seems that Patcorps had put me on its black list because I had subscribed to a liberal journal. Patcorps had put me on its white list for subscribing to a conservative journal. Apparently I had fouled up the organization’s vigilance apparatus. Apparently no one had ever been on both the black list and the white list before. It’s a fun story. You should read it.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Seriously…

It is not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about important things.

Roger von Oech, Ph.D. A Whack on The Side Of The Head

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Business English

Verbosity wastes time and diminishes comprehension.

Use shorter versions of words and phrases:

Enclosed please find—Here’s

According to our records—We find

At an early date/At your earliest conveniences—Soon/Now

In the amount of—For

In the event of—If

In as much as—Since/Because

In our opinion—We believe

Etc, etc., etc.

–How to Think on your feet and Say What You

Mean—Effectively Communi-Vu, New York

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Fashion Runway ©

“The Fashion Show,” a high octane network program, featured a group of talented fashion designers. They competed every week hoping to become the show’s fashion designer of the year

The show’s producers gave the designers a different fashion assignment every week.  They had a budget, and a designated shop where they had to buy their materials.  Camera crews followed the designers as they bought their materials, prepared designs in a common work area, chatted in the break room, and fitted  models.

When the designers finished drawing and stitching and sewing and fitting their creations, “The Fashion Show” put their work on the air for a nationwide television audience.   Toward the end of each show, judges critiqued the designers’ work after their models walked the runway.

If  the judges chose their outfits, the designers stayed on the show.  Each week one designer was eliminated.

Some designers were very angry over being dropped.  Jasson Slade and Meredith Kline, whose designs had been ridiculed, were bitter.   They vowed revenge and contacted other angry designers.

Together they formed a plot to produce a satire of “The Fashion Show.”  They called it  “Bogus Threads.”

The plot leaders recruited expert volunteers for what was a complicated operation.  When they were ready to go they had a fully equipped television studio with producers, sets, camera crews, sound crews, fabric and accessory supplies, a designer work area, models, editors, and a panel of bogus judges.

The bogus show looked better than the real show.  Video and sound were  highly professional and the editing was flawless.  The bogus designs looked ghastly, the bogus models were obese and gawky, and the bogus judges wore clown costumes.

When “Bogus Threads” was ready to go on the air, Jasson Slade and Meredith Kline took over the operation..  They had figured out how to hijack an entire episode of “The Fashion Show,” and replace it with “Bogus Threads.”

They bribed,  “pillow talked” and black mailed key studio workers, the network control booth technicians, and the key people in the network production offices. They planned the coup as carefully , the Allies planned the D-Day invasion.  The plotters called their invasion B-Night.

Not only did they have to hack into a national network’s primetime television signal, they had to keep the bogus program on the air for an hour.  To accomplish that feat, Jasson and Meredith had to neutralize one top network entertainment executive, a man named Rolf Brendlemeyer.

Brendlemeyer was a former BBC Television kingpin  who left England to become chairman of the U.S. network’s entertainment division. He supervised all episodes of “The Fashion Show,”  from the time they were conceived until the last credits appeared at the end of the show.

Meredith knew that Brendlemeyer watched “The Fashion Show” while he ate dinner.  To keep Brendlemeyer from shutting down the bogus show as soon as it appeared, Meredith  put  psychedelic mushrooms in his catered salad.

The B-Night invasion came off flawlessly.  At the top of the hour, during a commercial break, the plotters hacked into the network, deleted “The Fashion Show,” and substituted “Bogus Threads.”   The show had been on the air less a minute when Brendlemeyer’s direct line sounded..

”Her-ow?”

“Sir, this is Peter Gridley in the studio. Someone has hijacked our signal. They’re broadcasting a fake program.”

“What ho, Petey me lad?”

“Sir, did you hear me?  Someone has hijacked “The Fashion Show.”

“No.  No.  Itsh  jus’  fine.  I’m warchin’ it right now.  Lookin’ great! Petey. Itsh Lookin’ jus great. Cheers Old Top.”

“Sir, you mean you just want us to let this disaster run?”

Of cho..Churse, old top.  The shee-oh must go on, what?  Let it run, laddie.”

“Yes, sir.  If you say so, sir.”

In the end it was a pyrrhic victory for the plotters.  As soon as “Bogus Threads,” came on their screens,  viewers got on the Internet, cell phones and personal digital devices to alert their friends.  The show blew the roof off the  network’s audience rating for that hour.   The designer’s plot spawned half a dozen reality shows that examined the hijacking.  “The Fashion Show,” lived another five seasons.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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