Tag Archives: games

Do You Do the Jumble?©

 

 

Years ago I wrote a column titled “Code Blur.”  That story revolved around a World War II decoding device that I saw on display as “relics of technology,” at a local department store. As the story evolved, the feds thought I was involved in some  espionage plot. I had a  dicey time before it all got straightened out.

Welcome to déjà vu all over again

Emmaline and I have a mid-morning routine.  We sit in the living room and read the local newspaper.  Once we’ve noted the condition of the nation, the state and the community, we read the comics.  Sometimes we wonder which individuals are the comic strip characters and which are  our leaders, who are acting like comic strip characters.

Then we turn to the puzzle page and work on the word puzzle. That’s a grid with vertical and horizontal numbered boxes.  Printed opposite each box is a set of scrambled letters that spell

the answer to the clue if you put them in the right order.

Most days between us, Emmaline and I solve the puzzle without help.  Sometimes though, there’s a weird clue.  After we have tried the combinations of letters, I trudge upstairs to the computer  to try to unscramble the letters.  I type in the random letters from the puzzle trying to figure out a pattern.

There’s nothing sinister about that, right?  Wrong!  The other day while we were working on the puzzle, two black SUVs drove up in front of our house. The first SUV drove into the driveway. The other one blocked the driveway at the curb.  Four suits got out of the SUV in the driveway, and came to the door.

“Federal agents.  Open the door.”

I opened the door and they poured in.

“What’s this about?”

“We’ll ask the questions,” said the shortest suit—a bald guy with horned rim glasses.

“Show me some identification first.” I said.

Agent Horned Rimmed flashed an ID.

“Who are you?”

“We’re from the Department of Electronic Citizen Surveillance.  Our algorithm devices have detected coded messages coming from your computer.”

“I type random letters on a search engine looking for clues to the Jumble Puzzles in the newspaper,”

Agent Horned Rimmed ignored my answer and said, “Do you deny communicating with an alien who uses the code name KB 11.2?”

“KB 11.2?  “Kaybe,” are you kidding? Kaybe is the alien robot character I created for my monthly humor column?”

“There’s nothing humorous about espionage,”  said Agent Horned Rimmed. “Or aliens, either, for that matter.”

“”But Kaybe is fiction.  He’s a character in my book,” I said.  “Show them, Emmaline.”

“Don’t move,” said the tall suit standing behind Emmaline.

“I just want to show you the book,” said Emmaline.  It’s right here.”

Agent Horned Rimmed made a quick lateral move with his head, and said, “Get it.”

Emmaline crossed the living room and picked up my little book, Day Dreaming. She opened the book to a story titled “I Speak Alien,” and handed the book to Agent Tall Suit.  Agent Tall Suit leafed through the story, grimaced, and handed the book to Agent Horned Rimmed.

“It’s a humor book, Deke,” he said.

Emmaline handed Agent Tall Suit a page from the local newspaper.

“Here is the puzzle those words came from,” she said.  You can see that the letters in the grid match the written clues.  You solve the puzzle by putting the right words in the grid horizontally and vertically.  Sometimes we get stumped, so my husband types the letters into an Internet search engine to see  if it will unscramble them.”

Outside, the neighbors were beginning to gather in their front yards.  They were staring at the guys standing around the SUV that was blocking the driveway.

“It’s another surveillance network screw-up, Deke,” said Tall Agent.

“@#$%^&*,” said Deke. Then Deke gave his trademark lateral move of the head and the suits melted out through front door.

As they were running, one of them yelled,  “wrong address!”

Then they jumped into their SUVs  and sped away.

“Who were those unmasked men?” asked Emmaline.

-30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book,  Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available on Amazon.

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10 suggestions Poet James Russell Lowell

 

The Poet asked:  “Oh what is so rare as a day in June?”

1.     The flame created by the burning of your paid-off home mortgage.

2.     The look on the face of a three-year-old child who hears her dad’s car coming up the driveway.

3.     A wife seeing her husband of 55 years pain-free after recuperating from back surgery.

4.     Your dog’s tail when someone brings him his dinner.

5.     Grandpa’s joy at finding where Grandma hid the cookies after she left to play Mahjongg with her friends all afternoon.

6.     Grandma’s joy when Grandpa finally agrees to get a haircut.

7.     Parking the car in a rainstorm thinking you left the umbrella at home— and then seeing it lying in the back seat.

8.     The happiness of a boy who sees his homing pigeon land in its coop after being missing for a week.

9.     Ten Lords a-leaping.

10. And a partridge in a pear tree.

 

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Pop Fly

There was ease in Madie’s manner as she crouched behind the plate.

La Mancha is the posh section of town where the streets are

winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.

The La Mancha girl softball team—the Amazons–had worked their

way to the final game of a double elimination regional tournament.

The Amazons’ catcher Madison “Madie” Sommerset was a

prototypical example of a self-absorbed La Mancha teenager. She

imagined the adulation she would get when the Amazons won.

Photographers would run onto the field. She saw herself yanking off

her brand new $140 catcher’s mask as news photographers

crowded around her.

The Amazons had won their first game against the Fairfield

Fusions, but to everyone’s surprise, had lost the second game. In a

powerful effort to put the Fusions away, the Amazons scored four

runs in the first inning. Then their bats went cold, but they led 4 to 1 in

the top of the final inning of the tournament.

Before the last inning, officials called a five-minute time out to

re-chalk the batter’s boxes and check the infield. Madie slipped

away and ran to her car. Open cosmetic containers were spread

across the front seat. Madie grabbed a hand mirror and applied a

thick coat of a New Air Foam foundation to her face. Advertisers

said the air foam foundation make-up would give her face a

“perfect matte surface.” She sprayed the foundation on thick,

smoothed it quickly, jammed on her catcher’s mask, and dashed

back to the dugout.

“Play ball,” the umpire shouted.

The bottom of the Fusion batting order was coming to the

plate. It was time to send the Fusions home with a runners-up cup.

The Amazon pitcher wasted two inside pitches trying to intimidate

the first Fusion batter, but the batter refused to back up. The next

pitch zinged in waist high and right over the plate. “Crack!” The

batter slashed a sharp line drive between first and second into right

field. It went all the way to the fence. The Amazon short stop cut off

the throw as the batter slid into second. The next batter got a single,

and the runner held at third. The Amazon pitcher walked the third

batter purposely to load the bases and get at the last batter in the

Fusion line-up. She was a scrawny substitute who had come into the

game after a Fusion player was hurt in a collision with Madie at the

plate. The first two pitches came in straight, fast , and right over the

plate.

“Strike one. Strike two,” said the umpire.

Then the Amazon pitcher’s fingers slipped and the pitch came

dawdling toward the plate looking as big as a volley ball. Scrawny

Arms closed her eyes and swung. When the dust had settled the

Fusions had three runs in and the batter was hugging third.

Fusion’s lead-off batter stepped to the plate. The pitch.

“Crack!” It was a broken bat pop fly. The ball sailed high, looked

foul, then drifted fair between home and third.

“I got it,” yelled Madie. The other Amazon players held up.

They had learned long ago what it meant when Madie yelled, “I got

it.” It meant “Get out of the way or get clobbered.”

Madie yanked at her new catcher’s mask with one hand as she

raced toward the fly ball. The mask wouldn’t budge. Somehow the

foundation make-up that Madie had just put on had bonded –like

glue–with the inside of the face mask.

The ball fell into fair territory two feet from Madie and rolled

toward the pitcher’s mound. The runner broke for home and

crossed the plate standing up.

The Fusion team picked up the scrawny sub and marched her

around the field on their shoulders. Photographers had a field day.

Madie was able to wrench the mask off just as three

photographers reached her. A three column by eight-inch photo

close-up of Madie’s face ran on the sports page the next day. The

padded mask had left inch-wide tracks in the thick make-up down

both of her cheeks. She looked like a raccoon.

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Confabulated Sports Clichés

“Keep your eye on the ball.” And you hand on your wallet.
” Monday-Morning Quarterback” And nothing but cricket on the Sports channel
“That was a hole in one.” In his best pair of golf shorts.
“He doesn’t pull any punches.” And he head butts, too.
“He dropped the ball.”[ And it rolled under the sofa.
“He always steps up to the plate.” His favorite food is Southern Fried Chicken.
“He talks a good game.” But his bookie is a rich man.
“He’s a team player.” Please! Someone teach him solitaire.
“He’s in a league of his own.” It’s class D, summer short season.

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor, humor columnist and author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a collection of fun, short stories that have NOTHING to do with old age.

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