Tag Archives: College

Pecked to Death by Ducks©

With the summer season just around the corner, most people are making vacation plans. I, on the other hand, have been busy stressing about all of the things around my house that need my attention.

I’ve been thinking about what to do with all my “stuff” in the attic. Emmaline runs a trim ship.   I sail a kind of garbage scow.

It’s time to get the wet leaves out of the roof gutters, put fertilizer on the lawn, fetch some sacks of pebbles for the rock garden.  On a more personal note, I wanted to rescue a couple of my favorite shirts from the church donation box sitting by the front door.
Whenever I think that I have too much to do, my stress rises. When that happens, it’s like I’m being pecked to death by ducks.  Its as if I were tied hand and foot and lying on wet grass with a raft, team or paddling (see Google) of ducks pecking me.  Their blunt beaks don’t break the skin on my head like the peck of a woodpecker would, but the sensation is still painful, and
emotionally draining.

The feeling comes when I think I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I often get relief by day dreaming about decades past when I traveled a lot—to Latin America, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, Japan.  But if I day dream too deeply while I’m doing something like trimming the hedge, and I mess it up, and—out come the ducks.

I’ve been thinking Emmaline and I need to go back to the Caribbean, or Latin America. But then I realize that what we really need is to go back to our good old rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I always love our days on the river there, floating downstream on inner tubes, drinking steins of root beer with my friends, the little old colonial Dutchmen.
Back in March I got in touch with my humor column friends and colleagues at The Enchantment, that dingy roadhouse on the edge of town where so many of them congregate. I told them to meet us at the cabin. Then, what with the ducks in my head and all, I nearly forgot about the trip to the cabin.

So today, I got the word out—on Internet, by smoke signals, by homing pigeons, by mental telepathy–and by a few other means of communication that I won’t elaborate on here. I invited everyone

to meet us at the cabin.  The invitation to my  robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe, for short) went zinging  through outer space to his home planet that’s just a few parsecs from our nearest star, Alpha Centuari.   And I asked Kaybe to stop by Cuba on his way andpick up Kate in the jungle down there.
Emmaline thought we couldn’t go to the cabin right now because there was too much to be done here: paint the shutters, plant a garden, clean out the garage, etc., etc.

“And What about Ginger?” she asked.  Ginger is our dog.

“I promise to paint the shutters when we get back. The weather will be better then, anyway.  It’s been a late spring, so we can put in the garden after we get back.  Ginger always comes with us, remember? Her carrier is just inside the front door, next to that donation box we’re taking to the church.”

I knew that Emmaline wanted to go to the cabin all along, but we needed to tie up loose ends.  After she went to pack, she called down to say she was including a variety of ceramic root beer steins.

She had chosen one for everybody. A few days later as we got ready to leave the ducks in my head took a nap—a nice long one, I hoped.

When I lifted Ginger into her carrier, she nestled down on top of my favorite dear old (not to be discarded) shirt. It was folded neatly underneath her.

I put the church donation box in the car to drop off on the way out of town.

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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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Love Talk ©

 

About a year ago I wrote a column titled, “I Speak Alien.” In that column I told how my friend from outer space, the alien KB-11.2, had saved my engagement and my marriage by teaching me Mujerspeak, the native language of my bride-to-be Emmaline.

Recently my alien friend surged to the rescue again. This time Kaybe helped a colleague ofmine. Dr. Morris Amaraduckski is a professor at Letongaloosa Community Junior College where I teach. Morrie’s teaching and research field is polychromatic einsprechen. Scores of LCJC students have become linguistically nimble after taking Dr. Amaraduckski’s course, “Theory and Practice of Tergiversation, Circumlocution and Equivocation.”

All his life Morrie had been too busy for romantic distractions. He was a focused individual.

He sailed through high school, college and graduate school with topnotch grades by keeping his eyes on a computer screen, and the seat of his pants on a chair at the library. After hereceived his Ph.D., and came to teach at LCJC, Morrie focused on getting tenure. He taught his classes vigorously, and he published prodigiously. For a number of years after he gained tenure,

Morrie just focused on being focused.

Then one day, WHAM, Morrie fell in love. The object of his affection was Sally Beeglesdorf-Hannraty, wife of the late George Henry Hannraty, DDS. Sally moved to Letongaloosa to run aflower and gift shop after the untimely demise of her husband. Sally and her spouse had lived foryears on the East Coast where people talk loud and straight, and have funny accents.

When Sally moved to Letongaloosa she talked loud and straight and had a funny accent.

She caused culture shock among the locals who, as a general rule, speak quietly and bea around the bush a good deal. Sally’s social life was straitened and her flower and gift shop’sbusiness suffered as a result. But Sally was intelligent. She soon realized that Letongaloosa was not the East Coast, and that Letongaloosans weren’t going to adapt to her. She decided to adapt to Letongaloosa.

Sally enrolled in an elocution class at LCJC, and well before the semester ended she hadlost her East Coast accent, toned down her loud voice, and learned to put “at” on the end ofher sentences—as in “That’s a nice dress, where did you buy it at?”

There remained one serious problem. Sally still talked straight. She always called a spade a spade. Sally felt that speaking honestly was a matter of moral integrity, not a matter of accent orvoice level. She refused to compromise when it came to expressing her honest opinion. As aresult, the newly accent-free, soft spoken Sally remained in straitened social circumstances,running a business that attracted all too few customers.

It was the first day of classes for Spring semester. As usual, Morrie had a full roster of students enrolled in his popular course, “Theory and Practice of Tergiversation, Circumlocution and Equivocation.” One of those enrolled was Sally Beeglesdorf-Hannraty. Morrie had his back to the class and was writing on the chalkboard when Sally walked in and took a seat at the front of the room. Morrie turned around, and their eyes met. A jolt passed through them both. It was love atfirst sight.

A flustered Morrie jibbered and jabbered for the first few minutes of the class. Then he pulled himself together and called the roll. Then he fixed his gaze on a spot on the wall at the back of the room, and began to deliver the lecture. Sally found that she could keep from fidgeting and sighing loudly by tuning out Morrie’s voice, and staring fixedly at the blue lines on a page of a spiral notebook that lay open on her desk. She didn’t take a single note. The students, understandably, were bored. It was a painful fifty minutes for everyone.

Finally, to everyone’s relief, the electronic sheep bell that signals the change of classes at LCJC, clanged . The students streamed out. Behind the lecturn, Morrie was uncharacteristicallytongue tied. Sally sat demurely and uncharacteristically silent.

 

“Ms. Beeglesdorf-Hannraty…” Morrie began.

“ Sally,” said Sally, interrupting him.

“And I would be gratified, indeed, warmly appreciative, if you would address me simply as Morrie. That is the sobriquet by which I am known to my nearest and dearest friends,” said Morrie.

“Right,” said Sally.

“If you have no other pressing engagement, my dear Sally, may I induce you toaccompany me to the cafeteria for some light refreshment and a bit of conversation?”

“Sure,” said Sally.

Though they spent two hours sitting across from each other at a small table, neither of them could remember, later, what they had talked about. But somehow they knew that they were going to be part of each other’s lives from then on.

The next time they saw each other was at the second meeting of the class. Morrie wasfeeling ebullient and articulate. He was braced by the thought of seeing Sally again. Sally had spent all morning having her hair done. When she walked into the classroom she was breathlessly excited to see Morrie again.

The class had barely begun when the scales fell from their eyes.

Morrie began his lecture with a brilliant, if somewhat circuitous, explication of euphemisms as a conversational deflection technique. On the chalkboard he diagramed Wallburner’s Euphemistic Deflection Model, and recommended it to the class as a powerful linguistic tool for conversationally disarming friend and foe alike.

“With Wallburner’s Model,” said Morrie, “you can express your opinion articulately andpowerfully, and at the same time prevent your conversational opponent from taking offense.

When you use Wallburner’s Model, you never have to say you’re sorry.”

“What a bunch of crap!”

The words sliced through the air like a laser. There was a collective intake of breath. Morrie’s face froze, his mouth ajar. Dozing students’ eyes popped open. People sat up straight and looked around the classroom, trying to identify the speaker. The voice had been as quiet and well modulated as the words had been crude and combative.

“I beg your pardon,” said Morrie, gazing at Sally.

“I said that’s a bunch of crap,” said Sally. “Euphemistic deflection my hind leg. Where at did you get such baloney at?” she asked in the same quiet, well modulated tone she’d used in the first outburst.

All of a sudden Morrie and Sally were going at each other in what can best be described asa dogfight between a feisty rat terrier and an aloof, purebred afghan hound. Morrie’s eloquentcompound-complex multi-syllabic sentences in defense of euphemisms and decorouscircumlocutions soared with erudition. Sally flamed back with rapid fire four-word zingers andgraphic, monosyllabic epithets. It was a highly stimulating exchange for the students, but it was a very, very grim business for the two combatants.

That night my alien friend KB-11.2 entered the picture. Kaybe, as you’ll recall, looks like agiant tuna fish can. Erector Set™ arms sprout from the curving sides of his body, and three spindly metal legs drop down from the underside of his flat, stainless steel torso.

Decades ago Kaybe taught me Mujerspeak. Today my fluency in that language is a key to my happy home life. Apparently Kaybe is still assigned to do good works in this quadrant of the galaxy, because he beamed himself down to the den where Morrie sat brooding darkly over the romantic train wreck he’d just been through.

Kaybe’s assignment was a tough one, and he carried it out beautifully. He taught Morrie to speak a direct, straight to the point language called Ritefrumdashoulder, and he taught Sally to speak an easygoing, loose-limbed language called Goinroundabarn.

I was invited to their wedding a few weeks later. Toward the end of the ceremony, the minister asked the bride and bridegroom the “do you” question.

Sally replied, “My response is absolutely, indubitably, unquestioningly, totally, andecstatically in the affirmative.”

Morrie said, “Yep.”

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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Friends We Meet Along the Way ©

I’ve written a humor column every month for the last 16 years. That breaks down to 192 columns—134,400 words. The columns go by many titles and most of the ideas for them come at times when I am not sitting at my desk,  vis. while I’m  walking the dog,  having lunch with my Emmaline. My, ideas–it’s a stretch to call it inspiration—pop up wherever I may be.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is telling about some of my  adventures (real and imagined), and in letting you, the readers, meet some of the people who inhabit those adventures.

In many stories, from exploring the Cuban jungle with my colleague, Kate, to meeting with my long-distance pal from outer space, the robot KB-11.2 (Kaybe),  I have taken Life on some curious journeys. And I’ve share them with you. It’s never been boring, and as I write this month’s column, and  as I think about all my friends,  my pals, the little Dutchmen come to mind.

I haven’t really been out to the Smokies to see them lately. As a result, we’re thinking about making a trip there especially since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. I first introduced the little guys in July 2014 in a column titled Man in the Mirror.  It was about my first encounter with a curious-looking gentleman, a kabouter. Most people would think a kabouter as a leprechaun.  Kabouters wear  long beards and antique Dutch-looking clothing including  tri-cornered hats.

I was standing in front of the mirror in a vacation cabin back in the Smoky Mountains where Emmaline and I  frequently stay. The Dutchman was staring at me from a mirror that hung in the bathroom. I was startled. After I calmed down and got my bearings, the Dutchman and his friends took me tubing down the stream that flows alongside  the cabin. We drank root beer from large steins, and had a rip-roaring afternoon.  I’ve written a couple of columns about our adventures with the Dutchman and his fellow Kabouters.  But I haven’t given you readers much detail about them.

Here’s some background:  The Dutchman in the mirror is named Jurriaan. It’s Jurriaan Lievin, as a matter of fact.  Jurriaan and his friends live in a mushroom village located in the woods just down the one-lane road from our family’s Smoky Mountain cabin.  These guys, according to Dutch folklore, are shy of humans. Stories say that they play tricks on people who try to catch them. For whatever reason these little Dutchmen men were more curious than shy when it came to me, Emmaline, and our family  well before wrote about them. They’ve been a part of our family celebrations ever since.

Folklore also mentions that some Kabouter love the off-stage limelight. They have been the focus of countless fairytales, but the stories always mention the tiny men slipping away after performing their good deeds. We  all  know the Legend of the Wooden Shoes.  And on television we’ve all seen the gnome in that travel commercial. That’s Jurrriaan’s cousin, Nicholaas. He, wasn’t shy like the other men in the forest, so Nicholaas decided  to head for Los Angeles and try his hand at acting.  He’s become quite successful.

Emmaline and I are planning to go to the cabin soon. We need adventure, and our friends the Dutchmen are all about adventure.  They always have been.  In that vein, I’ve decided it’s time my best friends meet each other.

I contacted Kaybe and Kate and told them to meet us at the cabin this spring. Kate is excited to get out of the jungle for a while and to meet everyone.  I asked Kaybe drop by and pick her up in his spaceship. It’s not out of his way.

Emmaline is excited, too. She’s planning a party and has already bought  root beer steins for everyone. And there’ll be plenty of inner tubes too for the river float.  Oh, that reminds me, I need to get some lubricating oil for Kaybe.   The humidity at the cabin sometimes plays hob with his metal joints.

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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The Best Chant In College Sports

I looked up the “Rock Chalk Chant,” on Wikipedia. It is famous (as you’ll read) and beloved.  Teddy Roosevelt called it the best chant/yell in college sports. Enjoy!!

 

History of the University of Kansas Rock Chalk Chant
The chant was first adopted by the university’s science club in 1886. Chemistry professor E.H.S. Bailey and his colleagues were returning by train to Lawrence after a conference. During their travel, they discussed a need of a rousing yell. They came up with “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, Go KU”, repeated three times, which later became “Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU”.

By 1889, “Rock Chalk”—a transposition of chalk rock, a type of limestone, that exists in the Cretaceous-age bedrocks of central and western parts of the state as well as on Mount Oread, where the University is located, which is similar to the coccolith-bearing chalk of the white cliffs of Dover—later replaced the two “rahs.” Those responsible for the change are unknown, with Bailey himself crediting the geology department, and others an English professor.

Kansas troops have used it in the Philippine-American War in 1899, the Boxer Rebellion, and World War II. In the 1911 Border War football game, over 1,000 fans gathered in downtown Lawrence to listen to a “broadcast” of the game by telegraph and participated in cheers including the Rock Chalk.

In the 1920 Summer Olympics, Albert I of Belgium asked for a typical American college yell, and gathered athletes replied with the chant.

Former United States President Theodore Roosevelt called the Rock Chalk chant, the greatest college chant he ever heard.

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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Loose Change

As a freshman in college, Dodd worked as a waiter at a pizza parlor in town. He was prompt and friendly, and people were liberal with their tips.  Dodd saved his tips in a glass jar and opened a savings account at a local bank.  When the tip bottle was full, Dodd took it to the bank to make a deposit.  He asked the teller to use the  bank’s money counting machine to count the coins.

The teller said, “Count them yourself.”

The Outcome: Dodd  immediately closed his savings account and opened one at another local bank. The new bank’s teller cheerfully used the bank’s machine to count Dodd’s loose change.  After Dodd graduated, he got a good job and continued banking with the folks that had counted his coins.  In the following decades Dodd took out half a dozen loans and two mortgages at that bank.

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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Grant Us Redux ©

Letongaloosa Community Junior College, where I work, has two departments: the Department of Technology, et. al., and the Department of et. al., et. al. Years ago Dr. Ima Farseer, dean of the college, asked me to help two professors submit a grant proposal.

They were both smart and competent but one was a punctilious neat freak and the other was incredibly lackadaisical. Working on their own, they had completed 99 percent of the grant proposal.   They needed to meet face to face to work out the one percent and sign the proposal.

But they couldn’t. The neat freak freaked out at the thought of approaching his colleague’s trashy office, and the lackadaisical professor broke out in hives when the dean suggested he meet at the neat freak’s office.   Neither could abide meeting in a neutral setting.

I solved the problem (and got much needed summer salary as a reward) by fitting the two with virtual reality goggles. Each thought he was meeting in his own office, when in fact they were both sitting in mine. They completed remaining details, signed the grant proposal, and LCJC got its percentage of the grant funds for overhead expenses—which made Dean Farseer very happy.

Fast forward a dozen years. Dean Ima is poised for retirement. She wants to spend her golden years in someplace more exotic than Letongaloosa (who could imagine such a place?). Problem: how to check out interesting retirement venues on the salary LCJC pays her. Solution: apply for a grant. Problem: how does she make the grant proposal sound realistic when Dean Ima has never traveled beyond the state borders. Solution: hire a grant writer who has extensive overseas experience.

My phone rang. It was Dean Ima.

“Would you like to make some money?” she asked.

“Very much.”

“What do you know about Tahiti?”

“Quite a bit actually,” I said. I did a quick Google search. Instantly my computer screen came up with “15 facts about Tahiti.”

“Tahiti is made up of 118 islands and atolls spread out over five archipelagos. The whole archipelago spans 4,000,000 square km, which is the equivalent to the size of Europe,” I read aloud from the information on my screen.

“Can you figure out a tie with Letongaloosa that would make it logical for me to do research in Tahiti?”

“I’ll try,” I said.

A couple of days later (to make it look like work) I called Dean Ima back.

“What did you find?” she asked.

“Marlon Brando once owned an island in Tahiti, and the Letongaloosa Daily Ledger-Clarion-Telegram always published favorable reviews of Marlon Brando’s movies.”

“That’s close enough,” said Dean Ima. “Get busy and write a grant proposal.”

Getting research grants isn’t as easy as it used to be. We submitted Letongaloosa-Tahiti grant proposals to dozens of institutions but came up dry. Those institutions even ignored the Marlon Brando connection.

Reluctantly, I phoned Dean Ima. “No one will give us a grant.”

“I’ve got to get to Tahiti, “she said.

I got an idea for another funding source.”

“Get on it.”

Some readers will recall “One if by Land.” It’s a story about Ribby Von Simeon,

the son of Letongaloosa-born movie star Sipa Margarita and billionaire

Balderdash Von Simeon.   Sipa was too busy being a movie star and Balderdash

was too busy being Balderdash to bother with Ribby, so he was raised by his

grandparents in Letongaloosa. When Ribby inherited the Margarita-Balderdash

fortune he memorialized the only quality time he had spent with his mother—an ocean voyage.

Ribby purchased the ocean liner they had sailed on when it was about to be

chopped up for scrap. Ribby had the ocean liner dismantled and shipped piece by

piece and reconstructed on a hill outside Letongaloosa.

Ribby Von Balderdash was interested when I explained Dean Ima’s Letongaloosa-

Tahiti Project, and he was sold when I mentioned that Marlon Brando owned

an island down there. Ribby offered to pay for Dean Ima Farseer’s initial trip to

the South Seas. It was love at first sight. Dean Ima took immediate retirement, cashed in her accrued retirement, closed her substantial savings account, and never

came back to Letongaloosa.   Dean Ima did send Ribby a picture of her with one of

Marlon Brando’s great grandchildren. Ribby treasured the photo.

 

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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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Stressed

 

The clothing industry predicts that the global market for denim

jeans will be $64.1 billion by 2020. That’s billion (with a “b”).

Everyone—from the president of the United States to two-year-old

toddlers—wears jeans.

It wasn’t always so. Back in the day most of the teenage boys

wore cotton trousers to school. A few kids wore corduroy. In those

days denim was used almost exclusively to make work clothes. So to

be appropriately dressed, even working class kids wore cotton. Take

Elmont Richens, for example. He was a working class kid back then

and he wouldn’t have been caught dead walking into the high

school wearing jeans.

Decades passed—wars and rumors of wars, moon shots and

space ships, fads and fashions came and went—but Elmont retained

the cultural context of his youth—denim was used to make cheap

working class clothing. Good clothes were made with cotton.

Staying culturally naïve had been easy until recently. Elmont had

lived all his life in Port Hall, a village about 20 miles from

Letongaloosa. He was a bachelor and was shy. Even after moving

here he didn’t get around much. He was a good man. Good and

naïve.

Elmont loved to read and he went to the public library a lot.

One day he asked for a book that wasn’t available. The librarian

said, “They might have that book at the Letongalosa Community

Junior College library.”

I don’t work up at LCJC, “he said.

“Oh, you don’t have to be affiliated with LCJC to check out

books. Any resident of Letongaloosa can have a library cared.”

Elmont was delighted. He got a card and started checking books

out at the LCJC library. That’s where Elmont was when he saw the

girl in the stressed jeans.

She was walking toward him. She was tall. Her blonde hair was

pulled back in a ponytail. Her jeans had ragged horizontal holes in

the front of both thighs. There was a ragged square hole in the right

knee. The back pockets were patched with material from a red

bandana. The right leg had an eight-inch tear. She wore rubber flipflops.

Elmont’s heart went out to the waif.

Despite his shyness, he said:

“Miss, may I speak to you for a moment? This is awkward,” he

said. “My name is Elmont Richens. I grew up poor in a small town. I

know what it’s like not to be able to afford nice things. If you’ll let

me, I’d like to buy you some new clothing.”

At this point some readers are going to say that I ran into a plot

snag and decided to use dues ex Machina. That’s a literary device

some writers use to save a drowning plot. All I am going only going

to say is: sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The young woman was not poor at all. She was rich. Her

name was Melissa Stafford, and she was president of Zeta Omega

Zeta, the wealthiest and most exclusive sorority on campus. She had

just finished attending a sociology class. The lecture: “Our Social

Responsibility in an Aging Population.”

Melissa extended her hand.

“Hi, I’m Melissa.”

“Where do you live, Elmont?”

“At 556 Horton Street. “

“It’s awfully hot. Did you walk all the way up to campus,

Elmont?”

“Yes. Look, I know what it’s like to not to have the right clothes.

I’d like to buy you a new pair of jeans.”

“Thank you, Elmont. That’s sweet of you. But these jeans are

brand new. My Mom bought them at Bloomingdales in New York

City. She gave them to me yesterday.”

“They’re NEW? You’re not poor?”

“No, Elmont, I’m not poor. Look, it’s quite a walk back to your

house. I’ll give you a ride home.

“You have a car?

“Yes. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later Melissa pulled up at the curb in a grey 2015

Jaguar convertible.

Elmont stared for a long moment, then walked to the car.

“Hop in,” said Melissa.

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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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Saving the Enchantment ©

“There are strange things done “
in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold.”
Robert Service, “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”

The men who moiled for gold back in Robert Service’s Yukon Territory were hardworking,
straight forward fellows. They prospected. If they found a vein, they staked a
claim and mined it. On the other hand, the men who wanted to turn The Enchantment
into a strip mall were insidious and devious. Thanks to Ribby von Simeon and the
Vigilance Corps, they failed.
The Enchantment is a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of Letongaloosa. It’s the
kind of place every college town needs to maintain academic accreditation. I go to
the Enchantment to have a soft drink and chat with friends—some of whom live here
and some, like my robot alien friend KB 11.2, live a long, long way from here.
Letongaloosa has grown a lot lately, and Letongaloosa Community Junior
College, has more students than ever before. You used to know that the college was
not in session because there was a lot less traffic. Back then folks were a bit
embarrassed by the Enchantment and were glad it was a long way out of town.
Nowadays people think the Enchantment is quaint. And it seems closer to town now
that every square inch of land in the county is plotted, platted and spoken for.
Tad Tedwell was elected sheriff of Kigame County after the Vigilance Corps
helped him defeat Buck Johnson’s campaign for a fourth term. The Vigilance Corps
came about because Tad worked the overnight shift and because he liked breakfast.
When Tad came off his shift he’d eat breakfast at three or four locally owned cafes
every day. In any given week he’d have visited just about every café in town. He met
and talked to the same old guys in the same cafes day after day.
After he decided to run for sheriff he realized what a valuable resource his
coffee buddies could be. Most of them were veterans and most were members of
fraternal organizations.
So Tad organized a club and concocted bylaws. He even invented secret
handshakes and passwords. He called it the Vigilance Corps. He organized his coffee drinking pals into autonomous cells based on the cafes they frequented in the morning.
He prepared “dead drops,” where they could leave their reports. Tad did everything
but provide those guys with Green Hornet secret decoder rings.
It was Vigilance Corps member Maximo Perez who dealt the first serious blow to
Buck Johnson’s campaign. Maximo had retired from the county registrar of deeds
office. He poked around and found some highly suspect paper work on Buck Johnson’s
ranch and suburban properties. He put that information in a Vigilance Corps dead
drop. Tad used that information effectively in the campaign to cook Buck Johnson’s
goose.
Maximo found evidence that developers had used bogus paperwork to illegally
bend, fold and staple the dingy old roadhouse and the parcel of land on which it is
located into their suburban plots and plats. They apparently they want suburbia to
stretch from horizon to horizon. A lot of other folks don’t.
Fortunately, the true owner of the land was Ribby Von Simeon. Ribby inherited
that parcel from his tycoon father Balderdash Von Simeon and he had already used
part of the land to commemorate a cherished voyage on an ocean liner that he and
his mother, the famous actress Sippa Margarita Von Simeon, had taken. Ribby bought
the ocean liner after it was decommissioned. He had the ship hauled here, piece by
piece, and re-assembled on a hillside outside of town. The party Ribby threw for the rechristening
of the ship was the social event of the decade. As they moiled for gold,
the developers figured that their out of town lawyers could bulldoze the deal through.
For them the Enchantment was just a dingy roadhouse, and Ribby was just some guy
who taught horticultural dyontonics at a local community college. But Ribby loves
going to the Enchantment, and when it was threatened he used the Von Simeon
tenacity and the Von Simeon fortune to blast developers and their fancy lawyers out of
the water or, rather, off the land.

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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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Alien Boinks©

My friend from outer space, KB-11.2, was worried and out of sorts the other evening as he and I had a soft drink together at a dingy roadhouse north of here. The Enchantment is the kind of joint a college town like Letongaloosa must have to keep its academic accreditation.
My friend Kaybe isn’t one of those scary bug-eyed, green-skinned aliens that you read about.Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set® arms sprout from the curved sides of his body.
Three spindly metal legs drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top of his lid.
Customers at The Enchantment don’t even raise an eyebrow when Kaybe rolls in and joins me at one of the back booths. They’re accustomed to seeing unusual folks around the place–people like Harry the Hulk and his diminutive pal Miniature Mike, and Four-Finger Fannie and Dogface McGee. It’s a down home kind of place, and the alien KB-11.2 and I fit right in.

Kaybe wasn’t himself the other night. He was distracted and preoccupied. When I was a young man, Kaybe saved my engagement and marriage by teaching me Mujerspeak, the language of women. Kaybe has always been cool, kind, and methodical. Now he seemed feverish, and that’s difficult for someone who has a tin can for a body. I put my hand on his rounded stainless steel torso. It was warm.
“Kaybe, you’re feverish,” I said.
“I know. I’m so worried that I’ve overloaded my diodes,” he said. “I’ve fallen into the clutches of the Galactic Boinks. They’re fiscally flagellating me.”
“What are Galactic Boinks?” I asked.
“I don’t know how to describe boinks,” said Kaybe. “There’s nothing here on earth to compare them to. Boinks are galactic institutions that serve as financial intermediaries. Originally boink operations were simple and straightforward. You deposited your financial resources in a boink and drew them out as needed to pay bills, mortgages and for other living expenses,” saidKaybe.
Then he described how a bunch of executive goons had taken over the galactic boinks. “These thugs added all kinds of products and complicated services that had very little to do with the boinking business,” said Kaybe. Boinks3
He said they also devised complicated and draconian systems of fees that preyed on
depositors. If their computers said your account was overdrawn the boinks began to
manufacture penalty fees. Within microseconds they added nonpayment of penalty fees to the regular penalty fees. Your debt mounted hourly. Boinks didn’t care that your records showed your account was solvent. The boink worker bees just said, “The Boink isn’t responsible for keeping your account solvent, you are. We have no idea what has happened, but computers don’t make mistakes, so this is YOUR error.” That was it, end of story, and the penalty fees just kept mounting.
“My account was in the black. I’d never been overdrawn. Now I owe penalty fees on top of
penalty fees, and I’m in trouble with creditors and galactic merchants from here to Alpha
Centauri,” said Kaybe.
“You’re right, Kaybe,” I said. “There’s nothing like that here. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen on Earth. Is there anything I can do to help you? I’d be happy to lend you a few bucks.”
“Thanks, but I’ll just have to straighten this out by myself,” he said. “When I get solvent again I’m going to hide all my resources in a cave on some derelict asteroid out beyond in Orion’s Belt. I’ll never trust a boink again.”
Just then someone sidled up to our booth. It was Four Finger Fannie. She gazed at Kaybe in
silence. Kaybe moved his three-eyed sensors toward her. They communicated telepathically.
Then Kaybe gave a little bounce.
“Is it all right if I let my friend in on this conversation?” said Kaybe. The words came to me
telepathically. There was no sound.
“Go ahead,” said Fannie.
“Thanks,” said Kaybe. “Say on, mademoiselle, this is great news.”
Fannie’s words flowed silently into my head.
“Like I just told you, the Associated Galactic Press is reporting that the Supreme Governing Council has launched a full scale investigation of the boinking industry. The council has apparently had it with complaints from all over the galaxies about people getting ripped off. The council has forced the boinks to cancel all overdraft charges, and has ordered them to refund all the other phony fees they’ve been charging.” said Fannie.
Kaybe’s telepathic “Whoopee,” was so loud it gave me a headache.

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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Cosmic Prime Time Television ©

 

 

Here in Letongaloosa, a humid, sweaty July gave way to what

everyone expects to be a humid, sweaty August. We all hope that

August will give way to a sweet September, and that then will come

a glorious new prime time television season.

The other night I asked two of my best friends what they

thought about prime time television, things got weird in a hurry.

That’s not surprising since my two friends were a robot from outer

space, KB11.2, and Biggley Masters, the legendary writer/producer

of prime time network television shows.

The three of us were having soft drinks in a back booth at the

Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here. The Enchantment is

the kind of joint that every college town has to have to maintain its

academic accreditation.

My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector

Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs

drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball

bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the

ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.

No one at the Enchantment even notices when Kaybe rolls up

to my booth. Half the patrons, including the waitress, Four Finger

Fannie, are aliens themselves.

Biggley Masters is a true television prodigy. At 19 he was lead

writer for a very popular network soap opera. In his mid-twenties he

wrote and produced several award-winning prime time series.

Biggley has principles. He held out against a network executive who

demanded that Biggley compromise a show’s plot so the network

could sell more commercials in that episode.

So there were Kaybe, Biggley Masters and I in a back booth at

the Enchantment discussing the upcoming prime time television

season.

 

“The folks on Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy,

love “Toast of the Town,” and “The Fred Warring Show,” said Kabye.

“Whoa,” said Biggley, who was something of a TV historian.

“Those shows aired in the 1949-1950 prime time season. They were

the first prime time television hits. How can you say that the folks on

Hebe are seeing those shows?”

“FM radio waves and television signals pierce the earth’s

ionosphere and travel through the vacuum of space at the speed of

light,” said Kaybe. The shows from the 1949-50 television seasons are

just now reaching outer space planets like Hebe.”

“So the folks on Hebe must have picked up Marconi’s first radio

signal, the letter “S” (three dots) that he transmitted in 1901,” I said.

“Oh, yes,” said Kaybe. “In fact, the Hebian Supreme Council

met in a special session to discuss a response to earth’s distress

signal. They decided, given time and distance, nothing could be

done.”

“I’ll bet the Hebians will love “M.A.S.H,” when it finally gets

there,” I said.

“Oh, yeh, ‘M.A.S.H. will be a big hit on Hebe,” said Kaybe.

Biggley took a folded paper from his jacket pocket.

“This is the new prime time network schedule,” he said. “Kaybe,

I’ll name a show that is going to be broadcast this fall on U.S.

Network TV. Then you can tell me the name of a show on that will be

airing this fall on some planet in the great Cosmos.”

“Wonderful,” said Kaybe .

“Grey’s Anatomy,” said Biggley. “That’s a long running medical

series on U.S. television.”

“Rick’s Robot Repair Shop,” said Kaybe. “That’s been airing on

the planet Relontov (in the Bode galaxy) for 200 earth years.”

“Criminal Minds,” said Biggley. It’s a cop show.”

“Zap! Crack! Blam!,” said Kaybe. The Marilians LOVE that cop

show.”

“Where is Marilia?” I asked.

“It’s a small planet in the Triangulum Constellation. There’s

been no crime on Marilia for centuries. There are no cops, no jails,

no courts, and no prisons on the planet. The Marilians are

fascinated by the concept of “badness.” But they have to import

their TV crime shows from Gobokovandan, a nearby planet that has

a ton of bad guys.

I finished my soft drink and slipped unnoticed from the booth. Kaybe

and Biggley were engrossed in a discussion of interstellar TV. I told

our waitress, Four Finger Fannie, to put the whole bill on my tab.

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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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