Tag Archives: Language

Don’t Punt, Coach!©

Coach  Nick Whitlow was sorting football equipment in the Leopards locker room when his cell phone buzzed.  He looked at the caller ID. Coach Whitlow  scowled and said, !@#$%^&*.  Then he pushed the answer button, smiled and said, “Coach Whitlow speaking.”

The caller was Dr. Ima Farseer, dean of  Letongaloosa Community Junior College’s School  of  Electromagnetic Communigraphics.

“Coach Whitlow, we need to talk,” said the dean.

“I’m real tied up right now, Ma’ am,”  he said. “Got football practice, comin’ up ya know.”

“That’s why I  need  to see you in my office.  Your football team has academic eligibility problems.”

 

“Whoa.   Whoa. Hold on.  I’ll be right there.”

Dean Farseer’s office door was open so Coach Whitlow   walked in and sat in the visitor’s  chair opposite the dean’s massive mahogany desk.  All four legs of the  visitor’s chair had been shortened.  And one leg had been cut shorter than the other three.  The visitor was forced to sit on a low, teetery  chair.  Advantage, Farseer.

“Ima,” pause, “Uh, I mean Dean Farseer, our atha-letes  work very hard on their academic studies. Very hard, in deed.”

“With little to show for it when grade cards come out,”  said the dean.

“Ma’am,   the Leopards are  ten and one on the year.  Our best season since 2012.”

“And  your athletes are  zero and 23 academically.  Not a single ath-lete (she pronounced the word  slowly and enunciated it pointedly) is on the dean’s list. On the other hand, 17 football players are in various after school detention programs.”

The coach teetered silently.  Then he said, “Let me get back to you on this,” said the coach.

“Please do,” said the dean.  “Soon.”

It had never occurred to Coach Whitfield to call up the dean’s list on his computer, but he did so the moment he arrived back at his office.

The names of students with four-point- oh grades led the list, followed by others in descending order down to the bottom of the list where he recognized the names of a number of his football players.

At the top of the 4.0 list was Tyler Kirby.  The coach remembered him. He had been an eager first-day-of- practice walk-on. Kirby weighed 187 pounds. His thick  glasses were held on by an elastic  band .

“Sorry, kid,” the coach had said, “We already got enough  managers.”

“I want to make the team, Coach.”

 

“Not  this team, you don’t  Go take a shower.”

“Gaaaa,” said the coach, as he remembered the encounter. He left the building.

On the sidewalk outside the  building he bumped into someone.

“Sorry, Coach, I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

“My fault. Say, aren’t you Tyler Kirby?”

“Yes sir.”

“ Son, I need to talk to you.  Could you come to my office?”

“Now, sir?”

“Yes, if you’re free.”

After the meeting, Kirby Tyler set up a team of his own—a group of academically high achieving students who tutored athletes. The athletes thrived.

Coach Whitlow put Tyler on his team, and  made  sure  that Tyler got to suit up for every game.  Toward the end of the season when the Leopards were leading the La Mancha Mongrels 47-6  the coach called:

“Kirby. Get in there at quarterback and heave a long one down field.  ”

-30-

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

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Emmaline Speaks Up ©

Hello & Happy New Year, Everyone!!

Here is my first column of 2017. It gives a nod to my significant other and her love of college sports. She gets rather excitable to it politely and  it is that energy that makes me love her so…enjoy!!

 
My wife Emmaline loves watching sports on television. People who watch sports
with us call Emmaline an “energetic” fan. She involves herself in all aspects of the
games. She expresses her opinion forcefully about the fans, the players, the coaches,
and especially about the referees.
Emmaline was never a typical “sports widow.” On the contrary, I have always
watched TV sports so I could be with her.
When she was a girl living in a small town in Utah, all of Emmaline’s friends were
New York Yankee fans. Emmaline always supported the Brooklyn Dodgers. Emmaline
and her friends used to listen to the World Series every year on the radio—often skipping
school to do so.
As they listened, Emmaline’s friends ridiculed the “Bums” from Brooklyn and tried
hard to get Emmaline to forsake them. But even during the years in which the Yankees
built its World Series dynasty, Emmaline remained loyal to the Dodgers.
Her loyalty was rewarded in 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers were matched
against the Yankees in the World Series. The Dodgers won that epic Series in the
seventh game. The win gave Brooklyn its first and only championship in the franchise’s
history. After the 1957 season the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
Emmaline continues to be vocal sports fan. Every time the Letongaloosa
Community Junior College team plays Emmaline can be found in front of the television
set watching the game. She cheers enthusiastically for the players. She bemoans their
errors. But more than anything else, Emmaline vehemently denounces bad calls made
by the striped-shirted referees.
The phrases Emmaline uses to denounce the refs are the kind of made-up phrases
spoken by 1950s cartoon characters like Pogo Possum. She yells things like “Blagstag the
blag-stagging blaag staggers.” Emmaline avoids the kind of expletives and curses that
one often hears at a bar when a game is showing on TV. Emmaline is often vehement,
but she is never calumnious.
She is also a full service television sports fan. She gets physically as well as vocally,
into the competition. When games are close and badly officiated, our dog abandons
her place on the couch between us and lies down on the carpet across the room. I
remain on the couch, beside Emmaline, but I often place a thick winter cap on my
thigh.
One day recently, when a game was in the early minutes of the first quarter, the
doorbell rang. Our new pastor had come to call. He was making a “meet and greet”
visit. I answered the door, and Pastor Mark, who is a large, ebullient individual, grabbed
my hand, strode through the door and was in the living room before I could get the
words, “Perhaps another time, Pastor,” out of my mouth.
Emmaline’s jaw dropped, but she was true to her mother’s teachings about
hospitality.
“Please sit down, Pastor Mark,” she said. “Would you like some warm apple
cider?”
“Don’t trouble yourself on my account.”
“It’s no trouble at all.”
Emmaline had neglected to turn off the television, and by the time she got back
with the hot cider, Pastor Mark was sitting in our overstuffed chair gazing fixedly at the
game.
“This is wonderful, Sister. Thank you,” he said. Then, “I love basketball. I played
college ball myself before I went to the Seminary. Wow, what a game!” Then he took
off his coat and leaned back, his eyes fastened on the TV screen.
It was a very close game, and for the next hour and a half Emmaline raised her
voice only slightly, saying things like “Go team.” and “Oh, no, don’t do that!” Pastor
Mark used the same tone and the same phrases.
Then in the last seconds of the game, with LCJC ahead by two points, the other
team shot and missed a three-pointer. A ref called a foul on one of our players.
“Dammit! That wasn’t a foul, you blooming idiot,” yelled Emmaline.
Horrified, we both looked at Pastor Mark.
` “Thank you, Sister Emmaline,” he said. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
-30-

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A Queen of the Night

In Honduras some years ago I was boarding at the home of an elderly woman during  a n extended journalistic assignment.  She grew flowers in her front yard and on her porch.  One night my landlady knocked on my door after midnight.

“I want to show you something,”  she said through the door.

I dressed and went out to the front porch where my landlady was standing.  She pointed to a large plant .    It had a flower that was opening literally as we watched.  My landlady told me that the plant was a “Reina de la noche” (a “Queen of the Night.” )  The plant only flowered once a year.

Dr. Larry Day is a retired journalist turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia is available at Amazon.com

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Do You Swear??

As far as I was concerned “yuck” was not a swear word, and I didn’t think that
tearing the label off an empty tin can created indecent exposure, but that was before
my alien friend KB-11.2, filled me in on the finer points of galactic decency.
Kaybe and I were having a soft drink together at The Enchantment, a dingy
roadhouse north of Letongaloosa. The Enchantment is the kind of joint that college towns
like Letongaloosa must have to qualify for academic accreditation.
My alien friend Kaybe isn’t one of those scary bug-eyed, green-skinned beings
that you see in sci-fi movies.. Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set® arms
sprout from the curved sides of his body, and three spindly metal legs drop from the flat
underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet. Three sensoreyes
wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top of his lid.
No one at The Enchantment even raises an eyebrow when Kaybe rolls in and
joins me at one of the back booths. Customers are used to seeing unusual folks around
the place.
One night Kaybe and I were chatting in our favorite booth when Recycle Rick
came in carrying a big black garbage bag.. Rick picks up cans and bottles along the
highway. He starts in town and when he gets to the Enchantment he stops in to sort
everything. Then he mooches a ride back to town.
Rick is meticulous. He takes the items out of the big bag one by one, tidies them
up, and sorts them. Then he puts them into smaller plastic bags. He knows all the recycle
rules and regulations.
On the night in question, Recycle Rick came in and set up shop right across from
Kaybe and me. The first item he pulled from the bag was covered with mud. “Yuck,”
said Rick, and wiped away the mud .
“He shouldn’t swear like that,” said Kaybe.
“Yuck,” isn’t a swear word,” I said.
“It certainly is,” said Kaybe. “The Commission on Foul Communication has
banned that word throughout the galaxy. All it would take is a complaint from an alert
cosmic citizen and that guy’s communication license would be jerked, and he’d face a
seventy thousand mazimba fine.”
“Recycle Rick doesn’t have a communication license,” I said.
“Of course he has a communication license,” said Kaybe. “Everyone in the
galaxy has a communication license. Every word you say goes far beyond these walls.
Your words go out into space. Children on other planets could be listening.”
“So, if I say, @#$%^ and someone turns me in, I can be censured by the Galactic
Commission of Foul Communication?”
“No,” said Kaybe.
“Why not?”
“Because ‘@#$%^’ isn’t a swear word.”
“But ‘yuck’ is?”
“Yes, of course, everyone knows that.”
“I didn’t know that, and Recycle Rick certainly doesn’t. Mild mannered Rick
would never swear.”
Just then Rick pulled out an empty tomato juice can from his bag and began
ripping the label off.
Kaybe rotated away and lowered his antennae with their three sensor-eyes to
the table in a gesture of acute embarrassment.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You saw that,” said Kaybe. “He stripped that tin can bare. It’s indecent. I can’t
look.”
“You can look now,” I said, “he put it in a sack. You’re weird.”
Kaybe raised his antennae from the table and winked at me with one of his three
sensor-eyes.”
“You’re jerking me around,” I said.
“Guilty as charged,” said Kaybe.
“So ‘yuck’ is not a swear word?”
“Not in this galaxy.”
“And there’s no Galactic Commission on Foul Communication?”
“Oh there is, but it doesn’t concern itself with words like ‘yuck.’ The Galactic
Commission on Foul Communication deals with such reprehensible terms as ‘federal
regulator,’ ‘plausible deniability,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘politically expedient solutions,’
‘federally mandated diversity,’ ‘combatant rendition,’ ‘enhanced interrogation
techniques,’ and the like.”
“People on Earth use those terms all the time and the Galactic Commission on
Foul Language has never done anything about it,” I said.
“You live on a third-world world,” said Kaybe. “The commission doesn’t waste its
efforts on backward planets like Earth.”
“Lucky for us,” I said.
“If you say so,” said Kaybe.”

Dr. Larry Day is the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a collection of short stories that have NOTHING to do with old age!! Visit Amazon.com to download now.

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Eloise & the Dark Stranger

 

A slick Basque conman tried to marry Eloise Simpelkins, and take her for millions of dollars, but an old friend from Letongaloosa showed up just in time to save her.
It all happened at an exclusive private club on east 55th Street in New York City. A romantically smitten Eloise Simpelkins was having dinner at the Toure Club with what she thought was a handsome Spaniard . He called himself the Marques de San Selmo. His real name was Zigor Ordoki, the slickest con artist the Pyrenees had ever produced.
Eloise Simpelkins, is founder and chief executive officer of a highly successful home cleaning enterprise, and until she fell for the phony marques, was a very level headed woman.
Eloise was born in Letongaloosa on the wrong side of the tracks. She spent the early years of her life cleaning houses in La Mancha, the posh section of town. She was as plain in speech and looks as the phony marques was handsome and eloquent. As an entrepreneur she had turned an astute observation about the fastidiousness of upper middle class women into a highly successful cleaning business.
A friend introduced Eloise to the phony Marques at a charity ball. As they danced, the hard-headed entrepreneur who had never had time for romance, melted like a marshmallow. The phony Marques had pursued a number of wealthy single women. He chose Eloise because she looked to him like the richest and the dumbest.

Now, it was show time, and as they sat after dinner in the Toure Club, the Marques was ready to spring the trap.
“My darling Ale-low-eez, I have fallen madly in love with you. Will you do me the honor of being…” At that moment his elaborately planned marriage scheme was interrupted. A tall long-faced man with big ears and a loopy smile called out to Eloise from across the quiet dining room.
“Eloise Simpelkins, is that you?,” The man was Blair Trimert , a dear friend from Letongaloosa. Blair stood and threaded his way to Eloise’s table.
“Blair Trimert!” cried Eloise, “why it’s been years.” They embraced.
Eloise and Blair were children together in Letongaloosa. After they grew up Eloise made made a fortune in business, and Blair inherited a fortune from the Basque parents who had adopted him as a baby.
Blair spoke fluent Basque.
“Please join us,” said Eloise, for whom courtesy was an inbred quality. She introduced the Marques as a dear, dear friend from Spain. Blair guessed the rest of the story from her eyes and voice tones. The Marques masked his frustration with a practiced smile, but his eyes were cold as flint.
A waiter arrived and they ordered after dinner drinks. As Eloise and Blair were catching up on each other’s lives, the Marques’s cell phone rang. He took it out.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to take this.” He stood and turned away from the table.
“Yes,” he said in English. Then the Marques spoke again in Basque.
“Ez dago arau bat izan da.” (“There’s a slight complication”).
He listened and then said “Relax. Ez dut hau ergelak uso behatzak bidez irrist utz du. Bakarrik hartuko du ogun bat, hor, da dena. Gogora tu oraigdik dirutza bat ogin onderen, hemen duga.”
(Relax. I’m not going to let this stupid little pigeon slip through my fingers. It will take another day, that’s all. Just remember, we’re after a fortune here.”
Blair understood perfectly the words and what they meant. He squeezed Eloise’s hand and whispered, “This guy is speaking Basque. He’s some kind of conman who is trying to get your money.”
Blair grabbed the cell phone from the to the Marques’s hand.
“Zu pukas, langun!,” he growled. (“Your’re busted, Dude!”).
Without another word, the phony Marques fled, knocking people out of his way as he ran from the Toure Club. The police caught up with him a few minutes later.
After that Blair moved back to Letongaloosa, and Eloise, still single, opened five more franchises on the West Coast.

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What Did You Say?

The Friday afternoon faculty meeting had gone well. They had dealt with the agenda in less than four hours. Dean Ima Farseer thought she might have time for a quick TGIF restorative before dinner. Dr. Farseer is dean of the School of Electromagnetic Communigraphics at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.

“Thanks everyone. Have a good weekend.” At that point Prof. Walter “please don’t call me Wally” Tremmorer, who taught Palliative Communication Theory, spoke.

“Dr. Farseer,” said Prof. Tremmorer, “We didn’t deal with ‘Other Business.’ It’s the last item on the agenda sheet.”

“What other business do you want to bring up?” she asked.

“Swearing,” said Prof. Tremmorer.

“Oh, for hell’s sake,” said Prof. Rita Vozalta.

“That’s what I mean,” said Tremmorer.

“What?” asked Dean Farseer.

“She swore.”

“She said, ‘Let’s get out of here,’” said Farseer.

“No.” “She said, ‘Oh, for hell’s sake, let’s get out of here.’ That’s swearing,” said Tremmorer.

“!@#$%^&*(^&*,” said Prof. Vozalta.

“Everyone heard that. That’s swearing,” said Tremmorer.

“Move to adjourn,” said Prof. Tom Smoorzly. He had moved to adjourn five times since the meeting began.

“Point of order,” called Prof. Richard Yardley, who had raised point of order six times.

Ima Farseer frowned. Hope for a TGIF and quiet dinner was fading fast.

“I’ll appoint a committee,” said Farseer. She was trying to save her evening.

“No!” said Prof. Tremmorer. “We must resolve this matter right here and now. It’s a legitimate item under ‘other business’.”

“The Hell it is!” said Prof. Altavoz.

“She swore again,” said Tremmorer.

“Move to adjourn,” said Smoorzly.

“Point of order,” said Yardley.

Then Pablo Molama spoke. Prof. Molama had been hired recently from the private sector to teach courses on personal and social effects of using personal digital devices.

“Prof. Molama has the floor,” said Dr. Farseer. Her voice was lost in a clamor of voices. She slammed a heavy textbook on the table.

“Prof. Molama,” said Dr. Farseer firmly into the ensuing silence, “has the floor.”

“We can give this to a committee and take three months to work on it, or we can solve it here and now in fifteen minutes. The results will be the same, I assure you.”

“Go on,” said the dean.

“I suggest we all do five minutes of online research on swearing. Then we’ll spend five minutes sharing what we’ve found—most of it will be duplicative data. In the last five minutes we’ll formulate a resolution and vote on it.”

“So move,” yelled someone.

“Second,” yelled another.

“All in favor,” said Farseer.

There was a chorus of yeas.

“Opposed.”

“Motion carried. Get to work.”

Five minutes later Dr. Farseer stopped moving her finger across the screen of her high end digital tablet and said, “Time’s up. What have you found?”

“’Hell’ is described as a mild expletive,” said someone.

“It’s still swearing,” said Tremmorer.

“How about ‘heck,’” asked someone.

“That’s not a swear word,” said Tremmorer. “The Oxford English Dictionary says that ‘heck’ is a mild euphemism for ‘hell.’ It was first recorded in 1885 in the phrase, ‘Well I’ll be go’d to hecky.’ So that’s not swearing.”

“ !@#$%^&*,” said Prof Altavoz.

“THAT IS swearing,” said Tremmorer.

“Move to adjourn,” said Prof. Smoorzly.

“Point of order,” said Prof. Yardley.

“I’ve found something good,” said Prof. Molama. His voice was lost in the clamor.

“Bang!” Dean Farseer slammed the book on the table. Silence.

“Dr. Molama has the floor.”

“A study by Norich’s University of East Anglia into leadership styles found the use of “taboo language” boosted team spirit,” said Molama.

“The study was published in a refereed journal in 2007,” Molama continued. “Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management, wrote: ‘Taboo language serves the needs of people for developing and maintaining solidarity, and a mechanism to cope with stress. Banning it could backfire.’ I move we adopt that language as our policy on swearing.”

“Second,” yelled someone.

“All those in favor,” said Farseer.

There was an enthusiastic chorus of yeas.

“Opposed.”

Prof. Smoorzly’s was a lone, dispirited nay.

“The motion carries,” said Farseer.

“Oh !@#$%^&*,” said Smoorzly, let’s make it unanimous. “I vote yea.”

“Adjourned,” said Farseer.

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Kaybe’s Cosmic Christmas

Over the years some of my columns have featured my robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe) and other space aliens with whom I hang out at the Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here.  I occurred to me that I’ve never introduced Kaybe’s family.   I’d like readers to get acquainted with them this holiday season in a four-part short story that is just “outta this world”!!

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.

Kaybe  comes from  the Alpha Centauri star system. Many years ago on a visit to Earth,  Kaybe saved my marriage.  We have been friends ever since.  Kaybe communicates telepathically– his voice comes into your mind.  When we speak English, Kaybe sounds like CNN’s Anderson Cooper.  When we speak Spanish he sounds like the Mexican comedian Cantinflas.

We meet, as I said, in a back booth at the Enchantment where I spend quiet evenings sipping a soft drink.  No one at the Enchantment pays any attention when Kaybe rolls up to my booth.  Half the patrons are space aliens themselves, including the waitress, Four Finger Fannie, and customers Harry the Hulk and Miniature Mike.

Kaybe’s wife is named Zeeruba.  They’ve been married for many an earth year.  Zeeruba comes from Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy.  She chose to keep her maiden name rather than become “Mrs. 11.2.”.  Everyone calls her “Ms. Zee.”  Zee is as square as Kaybe is round, but she has the same kind of ball bearing wheels for feet, and the same three sensor eyes that wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on top or her lid.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II to find out what happens next to Kaybe in his Cosmic Christmas caper!!

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