Tag Archives: history

Pat & Pete’s Patriotic Party©

This is story began years ago when Pete and Pat were forced to take separate vacations. Patrocina Megamecheldorf Samborvich Jones and Pedro Salazar Remirez Sandoval Montoya y Montoya are known around town, for obvious reasons, simply as Pat and Pete. The two had come to Letongaloosa years before and became a couple after having been business rivals.

Pat had wanted to buy the old Peabody home from the city to house a pre-school. Pete wanted to open a pawn shop. After an intense public debate they opted to join forces and share the facility. Together they created a unique business: Pat and Pete’s Preschool and Pawn Shop. During that process they became a couple. They waited five years then got married.

Both Pat and Pete belonged to organizations related to their professions and they usually accompanied each other to annual professional conferences.

One year the two conferences were scheduled at the same time in Seoul, Korea (Pete), and Cartagena, Colombia (Pat). While at those separate conventions Pat and Pete met children they wanted to adopt. They returned to the United States and, with the help of government and nongovernment agencies, were able to adopt four children—two Koreans—Min-jee and his sister Hae-jin; two Colombians— Maria and her brother Hernando.

It took a quite awhile, as described elsewhere, but finally Min-jee and Maria, Hernando and Hae-jin, and Pat and Pete were home, seated together around the dinner table eating dolsot, bimbimbap, and chimicangas.

Hananim-eun uliloull chugbog,” (may God bless us) said Min-jee and Hernando and Maria. “Amen,” said Pat and Pete.

We now fast forward a few years. The children are older, but still young enough to be excited about family vacations, and Pete and Pat were prospering financially to the point that taking a six-person family trip was not the “break the bank” enterprise it would have been just a few years earlier.

For the kids there was one requirement for a vacation—that it be FUN.

For education-minded Pat and Pete, vacation had to be “fruitful” as well as fun.

The ensuing family council was animated. As chair, Pete sometimes exercised authoritative prerogatives not to be found in Robert’s Rules of Order.

But when the meeting ended there was harmony and excitement all round.

The family was going to Washington, D.C. to be present at A Capitol Fourth, where thousands of people gather and millions more watch on television to see the greatest display of Fourth of July fireworks anywhere. The event takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

 

While these deliberations were going on, a telephone rang at the White House. The operator told the caller, “One moment please,” and hissed a supervisor standing by, “It’s Nelida Nacamora, from Kansas.” Some readers will recall the story of “Nosey Nelida.” As a shop keeper at a Letongaloosa mall, she blew the whistle on a government sting operation that was aimed at shutting down a major drug ring. To keep the operation secret, the government lauded Nelida for her “vigilance” and gave her an award in a ceremony at the White House. White House staffers remained sensitive to Nelida’s curiosity an investigative skills.

“Put Ms. Nacamora through to the chief of staff’s office,” the supervisor told the White House telephone operator.

“Hello, Mrs. Nacamora. This is IkeWithers, assistant deputy chief of staff.

We’ve spoken before.” “Ike,” said Nellie, who never bothered with formalities, “I’ve got a got news you’ll thank me for.” Nelida then told Mr. Withers about Pat and Pete and their diverse family.

“They’re coming Washington to attend the Capitol Fourth festivities. If you invite them to the White House, and leak their story, the mass media will splash it nationwide. You can promote them as the administration’s first annual “Capitol Fourth Family of the Year.”

A few days later they were sightseeing on the Washington Mall, Pat and Pete and the kids were approached by two men wearing dark suits with insignia in their button holes. And that, dear readers, is how Pat and Pete, Minjee and Hae-jin, and Maria and Hernando got to meet the President of the United States.

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.

-30-

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 Medicine

To call Jeremiah Teancrumpets, the British billionaire, irritable, short tempered and demanding would be like calling the Sahara a dry sandy desert in North Africa.  His Excellency was known to a select few as “Jerry.” Everyone else called him “Sir Jeremiah,” or  “M’Lord.”

At least to his face.  But whether Jeremiah Teancrumpets was Jerry, or M’Lord to his face, many folks called him “that blankety-blank old blankety-blank,”  behind his back.

Sir Jeremiah acquired his fortune the old fashioned way–he inherited it. His father, Lord Regis Teancrumpets acquired his piles of money in the same way. It’s difficult, but if you look deep enough into the roots of the aristocratic Teancrumpet family tree, you will find  a gaggle of sharp-eared working-class ancestors.

These ancestors owned a dingy eatery where foreign entrepreneurs  met clandestinely with the wealthy landed gentry to work out the details of very profitable overseas transactions.  The clandestine proceedings were designed to keep the monarchy from demanding its cut of lucrative overseas deals.  The Teancrumpet ancestors listened in on these business conversations. They opted for the low road with the information they garnered. They didn’t inform the crown as was their bounden duty. Instead the Teancrumpet ancestors took a cut of the action from the conspiring businessmen.

It was cheaper for the entrepreneurs to cut the eatery extorionists in on a small part of the profits than to risk losing their heads in the Tower of London.  A couple of generations later, the lowly Teancrumpets were kissing the rest of the working class goodbye and moving on up to the the British aristocracy.

Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets inherited wealth, and, genetically speaking, he also inherited an irritable, short tempered, demanding personality, that almost cost him his life.

One of Sir J’s tirades precipitated a physical crisis that led to a transformation in his behavior.  One morning in his dressing room Sir J’s trouser zipper stuck. He flew into a rage, and was going through his repertoire of obscenities and expletives at the top of his lungs when he suddenly coughed, gagged, and fell on the floor  unconscious.

Tebbs, the butler, who was laying out Sir Jeremiah’s clothes, shouted to the upstairs maid and told her to phone for medical help. Then he began emergency CPR. Fortunately for Sir J, one of Britain’s leading research cardiologists owned the adjoining estate.  Dr. Hanover came at once. He stabilized Sir Jeremiah, and then accompanied him in the ambulance to the hospital.   It was Dr. Hanover who directed Sir J’s  recovery and recuperation.

When it was clear that Sir Jeremiah was going to make a full recovery, Dr. Hanover told him:  “Jerry if you fly into another one of those rages, you won’t survive it.  If you want to live, you’re going to have to change your behavior.  I can help you.  In my research I have developed a simple, effective way for you to deal with your angry outbursts.”

An uncharacteristically subdued Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets  inquired:

“What do I have to do?”

“Laugh,” said the doctor.

“LAUGH!” shouted Sir J.

“Out loud.” said Dr. Hanover quietly.

Sir Jeremiah’s left eye began twitching.  Blood rose to his cheeks and his bald pate.  Obscenities began to form.  Sir Jeremiah was about to launch in to one of his classic anger fits.

“LAUGH, YOU MISERABLE BLIGHTER,” bellowed Dr. Hanover. “LAUGH OR YOU’LL BE DEAD IN TWO MINUTES!”

Rage and fear competed on the face of Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets.  Fear won.  The obscenities died in on his lips, and out of his mouth came a strangled gurgle, then a weak, lugubrious giggle.

“Good,” said the doctor. “Again. Laugh again, you old blister!”

For the next half hour Dr. Hanover insulted and cajoled Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets, and for the next half hour Sir J responded with increasingly fluent laughter.

There followed weeks of laugher therapy in Dr. Hanover’s clinic.

Thus it was that Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets learned to laugh his way back to good health–and increasing wealth.  Soon Sir Jeremiah’s laugh was striking greater fear in the hearts of his adversaries than his rage ever had.

 

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 Naked Truth©

“We must have hit something, Sancho, the dogs are barking.”

Miguel Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.

Theodore “Ted” Boneworthy was a bachelor farmer who had eked out a living on the rocky soil of his hard scrabble acreage by working hard and learning all he could from agricultural extension agents. Then one day Ted ploughed up a very large gem quality garnet and became a wealthy man. Folks in his district had always thought of Ted as an odd duck, but they figured that if he was lucky, he might also be smart, so they elected him to the State House of Representatives.

During his time as a state legislator, Ted Boneworthy worked unsuccessfully to pass laws that he thought society needed to be right and proper. He sponsored a bill that made it illegal to recite nursery rhymes backwards. He tried to make it a misdemeanor to swat flies with ones bare hand. And he sought legislation that would punish people for sticking chewing gum under counters and tabletops in restaurants. Understandably, none of these bills were ever voted on by the House.

Ted chocked up to his colleagues’ not supporting his legislation to their being a bunch of small town bozos.

So he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. His opponents ridiculed the national chewing gum initiative. Men’s groups called his stand on bare handed fly swatting “sissified,” and teachers’ organizations claimed that putting in practice his ideas on nursery rhyme recitation would stifle creativity.

The mass media were another problem. Radio, television and newspaper reporters mispronounced and misspelled Ted’s name. More often than not they called him Sid Stoneweary or Rich Blatherly instead of Ted Boneworthy.

He lost the election by a historic margin.

Ted had been an only child. His mother and father were arch fundamentalists. The farm couple in Grant Woods’ painting, “American Gothic” look positively jolly by comparison. For Ma Boneworthy everything in society was wicked and sinful or nasty and vile.

After being ridiculed in the state legislature and losing his campaign for the U. S. House, Ted abandoned politics and entered what he called “the real world” to launch his biggest, weirdest project ever.

Ted urged Americans to stop letting animals run around naked.

Ted hired a New York law firm at twice its normal fee to form an organization called “The League to Clothe Naked Animals,” with him as the league’s sole officer. Then he hired a top flight national advertising agency to buy full page ads in leading newspapers throughout the country. The ads called on the nation’s fair-minded citizens to “stand up and fight the scourge of animal nakedness.”

The public reaction was volcanic. From the posh penthouses of America’s great cities to the humble lunch counters of its smallest villages, people took up the cause. They inundated radio and television talk shows. Everyone wanted to be heard on the topic of naked animals.

Less than 24 hours after Ted’s ads were published, nearly all the enormous public reaction could be put into six categories:

A. “Stand up for dignity. We MUST clothe naked animals.”

B. “Animals are born naked. Leave them alone.”

C. “It’s a government power grab.”

D. “It’s a Wall Street power grab.”

E. “It’s a communist conspiracy.”

F. “Clothe Naked Animals, are you kidding me? Where’s the hidden camera?”

Within 48 hours of the launch of what Ted thought would be an anonymous campaign, reporters from all over the world converged at his farm. They scared his livestock. They trampled his crops. They harassed folks for miles around asking questions about him.

Then just 72 hours after the first “Clothe Naked Animals,” ads appeared in U.S. newspapers, the issue was dead. The mass media had identified another “big story.” Coverage switched from the controversy about naked animals to news of a married couple in Salt Lake City who had won $588 million in the national lottery and had announced that they intended to give all the money to the United Nations.

 

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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“A Deadline Every Minute (Deadline Larry) ©”

 
I worked for United Press International and for several major newspapers.  All newspapers have deadlines and all reporters have to learn how to deal with the pressure of getting the information, organizing it into inverted pyramid news style, writing it and getting it in to the editors on deadline.  When one is in Buenos Aires (the BS bureau of United Press International) and you get a coup or an earthquake, you have a “Deadline Every Minute,” (there’s even a book with that title that is the history of United Press) because somewhere in the world there’s a newspaper ready to go to press and UPI is a worldwide news service.  After some early goof ups, I became a pretty good “write a good story on the fly” correspondent for UPI in Buenos Aires.
I got the UPI job in Buenos Aires (where I was a graduate student on a scholarship) because I had—as a freelance—Interviewed Adoph Eichmann’s wife and son a few weeks after the Israelis had kidnapped Eichmann from Argentine where he had been hiding out since WWII.  I submitted the story as a free lance to UPI. They didn’t buy the story.  But a few weeks later a position opened up in the Buenos Aires bureau and NY HQ told Bs.As. Bureau to hire me.

 

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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