Tag Archives: humor columnist

Learn About It On Google

The Clichés in the list below each has a history/background that one can learn about on Google:

A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

An acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree

Back to square one

The whole ball of wax

Banging your head against a brick wall

Barking up the wrong tree

To beat a dead horse

Beggars can’t be choosers

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t

If these Clichés were confabulated, maybe they’d be more interesting:

A rose by any other name would still cost you $55 a dozen

Some fonder hearts make absence sound really desirable.

Absolute power costs about $500 a kilowatt hour

If an acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, it’ll probably grow to be a sapling

Black, go back to square one.  Remember, white always has the first move.

The whole ball of wax is all that was left after the fire.

Your head IS a brick wall.

A Pekinese barking up the wrong Sequoia.

To beat a dead horse is a U.S. Senate prerogative.

Even choosy beggars don’t  get dinner at the Savoy.

Better the devil you know than his mother-in-law

.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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Baseball Clichés

The Cliché                                                              The Twist

He took something off that pitch.              But the umpire made him put it back
He’s got good mechanics.                               Too bad he went into baseball
He’s capable of going the distance.            Walking to the locker room, that is.
He’s trying to pitch out of a jam.                  Raspberry or apricot?
He uncorked a wild pitch.                               An a genie came out a granted three wishes
They got to him early.                                     Would that be high school or junior high?
He’s getting shelled.                                        Put on the pot, we’ll have peas for supper.
He’s been relegated to the bullpen.            He’s been asked to regulate the bullpen

 

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 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.

-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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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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Bib Overalls ©

 

Fashion designer Amanda Pershing stepped out of a limousine and walked to the door of an exclusive New York City restaurant.  A doorman ushered her inside. The maitre‘d bowed her to a table for two.   A tall thirty-something man wearing a $7,000 Seville Row suit and $1,200 Croc Italian oxfords stood as they approached.

“Good evening Ms. Pershing.  I’m Laurence Carpenter.   Monsieur Mershonbom sends his deepest apologies.  His jet was diverted to Boston on a flight from Paris.  I’m vice president for marketing.  Please sit down.”

****

A rough hand shook Mandi’s shoulder.  It was cold and dark outside.

“Wake up, girl.  Git dressed. Then git out there an’ slop the hogs. Throw some hay down for the cows and milk ‘em   After thet ya kin  gather the eggs and make breakfast.”

Mandi sat up shivering. “Them are Jimmie’s chores, Pa.  Ain’t he gonna ‘hep me?”

“Jimmies gonna rest in awhile.  He gotta ball  game t’night.”

“I’ll miss the school bus.”

“Jimmie’ll tell  ‘em yer sick.  Ain’t nobody gonna miss yew no how.”

“Please, Pa, Miz Flowers said a pr’fessor from the U is comin’ to talk to our art class.  She’s gonna intra’duce me.”

“Don’ back sass me girl!  Now git out there and slop them hogs.”  Pa whacked Mandi hard with his open hand.

The school bus and Jimmie were long gone by the time Mandi finished cleaning up after breakfast.  Ma was over in Hopeville helping Ginger Anne with her new baby.  Pa was out in the barn working on the tractor.

“I think there’s a chance you could get a scholarship after Professor Ackermann sees your work,” Miss Flowers had told Mandi the week before.   “So whatever you do, don’t miss class next Wednesday.”

It was Wednesday and Mandi sat at the kitchen table, with her face in her arms, weeping.  Her art class came right after lunch and the Pershing place was seven muddy miles from Letongaloosa.  Then she raised her head.

“I’ll walk,” she said and stood up.

Pa came in from the barn.

“Where ya think yer goin”?

“I’m gonna walk ta’ school, Pa.”

“An’ whose gonna fix my lunch, Missy?”

“Please, Pa.”

“You wanna walk ta school? Well git, then.”

Mandi smiled and started up the stairs.

“No ‘mam,” said Pa.  “If yer goin ta go,’ yer gonna go  jist like ya look.”

“I gotta change, Pa. The Pr’fessor’s comin.”

“P’fessor be damned.  Ya’ll go as ya are or stay home,” said Pa, and stomped out.

“Look! Here comes the Prom Queen,” said Marilee Tompkins.

Students in the art class turned toward the door.  Mandi was ten minutes late.  She had stopped to wash the mud from her knee high rubber boots in the girls’ bathroom. Then she had pulled the legs of her pin striped bib overalls down over the boots. Her plaid men’s long sleeved shirt was open at the neck.  Mandi blushed and took her seat.

Professor Ackerman resumed talking about “Art in the Market Place.”

****
“Ms. Pershing, I took the liberty of ordering a bottle of Romanee Conti,” said Laurence Carpenter.  “I hope you approve.  The filet d’Rusindorf they serve here is superb. I thought we’d have that.”

“Please call me Mandi,” she said.  “The filet d’Rusindorf will be fine.  What Romanee Conti did you order?”

“The 1978.”

“Wonderful. That will be a treat.  Thank you.”

Over dinner they discussed the weather, the Knicks,  French cooking, the cost of chalets on the Costa del Sol, and skiing in Bariloche.  After they had had dessert and the table was cleared Carpenter got out a  mini laptop. He opened the lid and turned the screen so they could both see it.

“Monsieur Mershonbom loves everything you’ve designed for him.  He’s sure that your work will be the talk of the fashion world this season.”  Carpenter touched a key on the computer and the screen lit up.

“He’s absolutely ecstatic about this line of high fashion bib overalls.  He says the haut couture boutiques will go wild for them.  Then he’ll sell millions of down market knock offs in malls and department stores.  The rubber boot accessories are pure gold.   Where did you ever come up with such a marvelous fashion concept?”

“It’s a long story,” said Mandi.

-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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Food For Thought

Food show hosts are not at all  like Jack Spratt and his wife. The TV food hosts NEVER lick the platter clean.

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 Smart Aleck Geezer

I was working on a farm in Rupert, Idaho the summer after my senior year in high school.  I needed money to go to college in the fall.  The farm house was at a crossroads and there was a farm house across the street.  An old guy (not as old as I am now, perhaps) who came out to talk to me after I got  off work.  We’d talk about life and the weather and farming and such.

The old man  didn’t want to let on that he was hared of hearing so when he’d miss some part of my conversation  he’d fall back on the phrase, “That’s no joke,”  which he thought, would cover most statements I  might make.

I caught on to the ploy, and with teenager’s wit, I began telling him jokes.

To which he’d reply “That’s no joke.”

To which I’d reply, “Yes it was.”

Smart alak kid.  That’s what I was.  Now I’m a smart alak geezer, older (though less wizened) than he.

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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Fill the Screen With SOMETHING

Twenty-four hour television news channels have to fill the screen with SOMETHING.  I like it when there’s no real news and the news channels have to make bricks without straw, and news without news.  You see the darndest  stuff:  like an hour-long birthday tribute to Gene Ahern, the creator of the one-panel 1930s cartoon “Our Boarding House.”

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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I Wonder…

I wonder about TV news. As a newspaper journalist I covered the Falkland Island conflict in 1983. I remember seeing a fledging CNN news channel correspondent doing a stand-up report. He didn’t mention Donald Trump once.

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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Man In the Mirror ©

This column is a beloved favorite by many, including yours truly. Enjoy!!

 

“Surely,” thought Rip, “I have not slept here all night.”
–Washington Irving, “The Story of Rip Van Winkle,”1819.

My wife, Emmaline and I recently rented the old mountain cabin deep in the
Smoky Mountains where we’ve stayed nearly every year for the past 25 years.
Part of the reason we love going to the cabin is that it looks just as it did the first
time we stayed there back in 1989. It’s how we get away from the world. The
cabin is decades old. Beside the cabin flows a boulder-strewn stream that
begins somewhere high in the tree-covered Appalachians.
The front door of the long, narrow two-room cabin is always unlocked when we
arrive. A key, with a note from the landlady, is always on the table in the
kitchen/living room. After we have unloaded the car, unpacked the suitcases,
and hung clothes in the cabin’s only closet, Emmaline and I have our annual
encounter. It’s about who is going to go shopping.
In the early years I always drove the 10 miles back to the super market on the
main highway for groceries and supplies. Then sometime around the beginning
of the women’s lib movement, I spoke up. I said that grocery shopping should
be a shared activity. That led to negotiations that led to the creation of our
annual encounter. Each year Emmaline and I resolve the grocery-shopping –
duty-problem with a game of “Rocks, Paper, Scissors.”
I won this year’s encounter, and as Emmaline drove away, I headed for the
couch to take a nap. Less than 15 minutes later something woke me, and I
walked back to the bathroom.
I glanced in the mirror above the wash basin. and let out a yip. Instead of my
face in the mirror, there was an old man with a long beard. He wore a tri-corner
hat. He winked at me.
I fled to the living room.
There, standing on the table, was the same diminutive old Dutchman. He wore
an outlandish costume—like one that 18thcentury author Washington Irving
described in his famous short story, “Rip Van Winkle.” Here is Irving’s description
of the man I saw standing on the cabin table:
“He was a short square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled
beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion – a cloth jerkin strapped round
the waist – several pair of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated
with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees.”
The little old Dutchman beckoned me to follow, hopped nimbly off the table,
and trotted out the front door
I stumbled out onto the wooden deck. The sun was still where it had been when
I lay down for my nap.
I heard what sounded like a gong from the river below, and walked to the edge
of the deck. There on the river bank was my knee-breeched, silver-buttoned
little Dutchman. And lined up along the bank were a dozen more little
Dutchmen, dressed just like him. Each held a small inflated inner tube and a
beer stein . Lying on the river bank was a big, inflated truck inner tube. On a flat
rock beside the inner tube stood a large beer stein.
I waved to the little Dutchmen, and they all raised their steins. I took the
stone stairs two at a time down to the river. I picked up my stein full of foamy
root beer, and hopped on the big inner tube. With a whoop, I pushed off into
the stream.
My Dutchmen friends whooped, hopped onto their inner tubes, and
pushed off into the stream. Then we all lay on our backs, trailed our hands in the
water, and floated merrily, merrily down the stream.
I awoke on the couch—this time for real—to the sound of Emmaline
calling for me to help unload the groceries. Dazed, I made my way to the front
door and looked out. I half expected to see 25-years-younger Emmaline
standing beside our old brown 1987 Plymouth. But fortunately I saw my 2014
Emmaline—looking prettier than ever—walking toward the cabin carrying a bag
of groceries. Then, from far away, I heard the joyful whoops of little Dutchman
voices as my new found friends floated down the mystic stream. If you don’t
believe me, go ask Rip Van Winkle.

 

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: www.daydreaming.co

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