Tag Archives: summer

Meet Hanger Duggins ©

Hanger Duggins love of agricultural aircraft started one March
day when he spied a JN-4 Jenny gliding low over “Ol’ Man”
Connolly’s potato field. Hanger had a spare nickel (a rare
occurrence) and was walking into town to buy a soda when he
spotted the airplane. Craning his neck, Hanger watched as a faded
red bi-plane swooped low to spray fertilizer on a field of potatoes. It
was then he knew he wanted to be a real-life superhero and learn to
fly.
After that day, when Hanger walked into town from the country,
he always hoped to catch a glimpse of the crop-dusters. Standing
still and gawking up at the sky, late one afternoon, Hanger didn’t
notice an old man approach. The man pulled off his hat and wiped
sweat from his brow.
“Watcha lookin’ for son?”
Startled, Hanger looked down. “I was hopin’ to see the ol’ Jenny, is
all.”
“Sorry, son. Those crop duster planes only come around once a
year.” Replacing his hat on his head, the man said, “Name’s Bruce
Connolly. I own this here farm.”
“Hanger. Hanger Duggins.”
“Hanger, huh? Nice to meet ya. Live round here?
“Up the way. Out by the Haskinses.”
Come fall we could use a hand harvestin’ these spuds.”
Hanger spent the next five summers planting and digging with “Ol’
Man” Connolly and his crew. Every year, he worked in the fields and
watched for Jenny to come buzzing through the sky. Every time he
saw her, the urge to fly like the superheroes had read about as a kid
swept over him. He read books about flying went to and all the
picture shows that had planes in them.
John, the bi-plane pilot, whom Hanger met when he was fueling his
plane, regaled him with stories of flying Stearmans as a U.S. Army
pilot. As time went on John showed him how to work on an ol’ girl
like Jenny.
Hanger was a pretty decent airplane mechanic by the time he
graduated high school. Then he joined the Air Force and spent the
next 30 years at various Air Force Bases repairing first piston –driven
aircraft, then jets. One of his favorite stations was Mitchel AFB in New
York. On his days off he’d go to LaGuardia to relax, eat a burger at
the airport diner, and watch the planes come in.
One day while he sat there sprinkling salt on his French fries, Hanger
saw something beautiful and miraculous. She took his breath away.
He felt like he had when he first laid eyes on the bi-wing airplane
years before. Hanger wanted to learn everything he could about
the girl with the emerald eyes and fiery curls who walked toward him
carrying two suit cases.
He approached, fighting to keep his voice light, “Hello, miss. Let me
help you with those bags?”
Merry, an attorney with a large New York law firm said later that she
thought that the young man was quite handsome. He was also
courteous. She accepted his offer, and they walked out of the
terminal together.
That encounter turned into a year’s worth of dates. Countless
bouquets of flowers from Hanger led, eventually, to wedding vows
and to two sons, Paul and Tommy. Air Force mechanic Hanger
Duggins and his family were stationed in Canada, England, the
Netherlands, and many bases in the United States. For Hanger it was
the life of the caped-crusaders and heroic aviators of his youthful
dreams.
After nearly two decades of traveling the world, Hanger and Merry
decided to put down roots in the Midwest. The two boys, Paul and
Tommy are attorneys and are following in the footsteps of their
mother and have a family law practice in New York. Merry e-mails
advice when she isn’t volunteering at the courthouse, as a guardian
ad-Litem, and a kind word and a smile for kids who need it.
And “Old Man” Duggins, as he is now affectionately known, is
supervising mechanic at the Letongaloosa Regional Airport. He
oversees a crew of young whippersnappers and regales them with
tales of his travels as a young Airman. And even though he may be
old, Hanger is learning to fly an ol’ Ag-Cat he affectionately calls
“Jenny,” and on weekends he soars through the air like the comic
book characters he loved so much.
-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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Grant Us ©

Late last spring I was sitting in my office weighing my summer options. My wife Emmaline and I could take a luxury cruise to Tahiti. We could go on a five-star guided tour of Scandinavia. We could rent a cottage at Martha’s Vineyard.
Actually, I wasn’t weighing my summer options, I was daydreaming.
My real options were much more proletarian. I could get a job stocking shelves at the local Wally World, I could get on as a flagman on a county road crew, or I could sell magazines door to door.
It’s like that every summer. From September to May, I teach info-graphic communicology part time at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. Because I teach part time, my paychecks end
when my last class is over. That’s when the prospect of an impecunious summer looms on the horizon like a cloud of Mormon crickets.
As I pondered these realities, the phone rang. It was my boss, the dean of the college, Dr. Ima Farseer. Letongaloosa Community Junior College has two departments: The Department of Technology et. al, and the Department of et. al., et. al.
“Would you like to make some extra money this summer?” asked Dean Farseer.
“Do I have to bump anybody off?” I asked..
“No,” she said. “There may be some grant money available.”
Dr. Farseer explained that last fall Prof. Johan Swifter and Prof. Leo Toliovsky had submitted separate research proposals to the Federal Furtherance of Communicalogy Commission (the FFCC). In January the FFCC informed them that it would fund a joint proposal.
“Where do I come in?” I asked.
The dean said that after nearly five months of effort, professors Toliovsky and Swifter hadn’t come up with a joint proposal.
“The grant submission deadline was looming like a cloud of Mormon Crickets,” she said. “I want you to work with them. If you succeed in getting them to submit a joint proposal before the
FFCC deadline, I’ll pay you $500 out of the 35 percent overhead that the college collects on all funded research.”
“Wow,” I said. “That’s more than I made all last summer working at Wally World. How big is the grant?”
“Eight thousand dollars,” she said.
“That’s big money,” I said.
“Right,” she said, “The overhead on that grant would be the equivalent to the entire discretionary budget of the college for an entire year. That’s why it’s so important. Will you do it?”
“I’d love to,” I said.
I decided to take on Prof. Leo Toliovsky first. He was the senior professor —by two weeks.
Toliovsky and Swifter both joined the faculty the year Letongaloosa Community Junior College was founded. Toliovsky teaches The Theory of Fictitious Creativeness in the department of et. al.,et. al.. He is a prolific fiction writer and poet. One of my students told me that Prof. Toliovsky has received more rejection slips than any other writer in America.
Prof Toliovsky is a tall man with a shock of white Carl Sandberg hair. His office is pincushion neat.
The icons on his computer screen are symetrically aliened. 3
The “IN” box is precisely aliened with the right rear corner of the otherwise empty desktop. The “OUT” box is similarly aliened on the left rear corner. When I visited him, The IN box was empty. In the OUT box was a neat stack of graded papers. The books on the floor to ceiling shelves are meticulously arranged by size and color, rather than by author, title or subject.
“Dr. Farseer wants me to work with you and Prof. Swifter on your grant proposal,” I said.
“The Dean indicated to me that it was her intention to seek the assistance of a disinterested third party in this endeavor,” he said.
“I just want to help,” I said.
“I sincerely hope that you can,” he said. “There is, I assure you, no animus between Johan and me. We have successfully negotiated ninety-nine percent of the joint project on the telephone and by electronic mail. Nevertheless, when we meet face to face to transact the final few details, our efforts are fruitless. I have no idea why that should the case, but it is.”
“I’ll talk with Prof. Swifter,” I said.
“Such an endeavor would meet with my complete approbation,” said Toliovsky.
Prof. Johann Swifter teaches Theory of Techno-creative Expressionism in the Department of Technology, et. al. The disarray in his office was a monumental. Piles of books, file folders, student papers, and pieces of obsolete computer equipment covered every square inch of the office
floor. Swifter’s desk, which was in the center of all this chaos, was awash with debris. Messages, scrawled on yellow Post-it notes, were sticking on every flat surface. Swifter’s huge computer screen was an unintelligible hodgepodge of icons.
Johan Swifter himself can best be described as Shakespeare’s Falstaff playing Professor Johan Swifter.
“Professor Swifter, I’m…”
“Sit down, sit down,” he roared. “You’re the hired gun from the dean’s office.” “You’re well informed,” I said.
“I’m bright too. Bright but slow,” he said.
“I spoke with Prof. Tolivsky just now,” I said. “He told me that you and he agreed months ago on all the major points of the combined grant proposal by email and over the telephone.”
“Right on brother,” said Swifter. “But when we try to work face to face on the final draft, we get nowhere. If we meet in his office, I get goose bumps and hot flashes, and in less than five
minutes, I’m outta there. The same thing happens to him when we meet here in my office. He opens the door, he says “hello,” he sits down, he stands up, he says “goodbye,” and he’s outta here.”
“Have you tried meeting on neutral ground?” I asked.
We’ve tried that several times, but that doesn’t work either,” he said. “We both get heart palpitations and the cold sweats.”
“So you are comfortable here in your office, and Prof. Voliovsky is comfortable in his office, but the never the twain can meet,” I said.
“That about sums it up,” said Swifter.
“I’ve have an idea,” I said. “I’ll work on it and get back to you both,”
“Good luck, man,” he said.
I went back to my office and picked up the telephone.
“This is a job for super geek,” I said, and I dialed my old friend Dr. Henry Mullins, the brilliant research engineer at Middledorf University out in California.
“How are you Henry,” I asked.
“I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest,” he said. “How the hell are you?”
“I’m well, thank you, but I need your help. When I visited you last spring, you showed me a virtual reality gizmo you had just invented. Can I borrow it?”
“Shore thing,” he said, “What ‘dya wanna do, make yer wife think she’s havin’ a vacation in Tahiti?”
“I might do that later, but first I have to make a couple of professors think they’re sitting in their own offices when they’re really sitting side by side in my office.”
“It’ll be a lead pipe cinch with that gizmo,” said Henry. “I’ll overnight it to you.”
And the rest, as the man said, is history. Right now, I’m enjoying my five hundred dollars, and Emmaline is enjoying being on vacation in Tahiti, virtually.

 

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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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 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 Was A Potato Picker ©

Hello All,

Many of you may or may not know that before I was a humor writer, I had multiple careers. I was a hand model/ copy writer, a foreign correspondent, and a J-School professor. Now, I’m a humor writer. But before ALL of that, my FIRST job was being a potato picker in the potato fields of Idaho..

My Life As A Potato Picker

I had a whole youthful career in the potato fields of Idaho.   From about age 8 a neighbor girl and I were “partners,”  in picking potatoes. The school district shut down school for two weeks in (I lived in Idaho Falls) October and all the kids got their year’s spending money picking potatoes.  The plows turned up the potatoes in rows and the pickers went up the rows with half-bushel wire baskets. Each partner picked a basket full and then the two poured the potatoes into a burlap potato sack (distributed along the rows by the tractor driver who was plowing the field).  We were paid 6 cents a sack (between us that meant 3 cents each).  We sometimes made $12 a day which was big money for 8-12-year-olds in those 1940-ish days Later in my youth I was a potato sack “bucket”  who followed a slow moving horse-pulled or truck pulled trailer and hoisted potato sacks onto the flat bed of the back of the truck or trailer.  The loaded trucks were driven to “potato cellars” l(long earth covered holding areas) where the potatoes stayed through the winter and well into the next summer and were sold by the truck load on the potato market.  That’s more than you wanted to know about potato picking.

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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Don’t Look Now

By Larry Day

Some years ago a stand-up comedian who was known for his self-deprecating humor, was arrested for fighting in a bar after his show. The comedian had smacked his opponent in the face. When the case got to court and the judge asked the comedian how the fight started.

“He laughed at me,” said the comedian.

There are nearly five billion websites in cyberspace. There are more than a billion unique You Tube users on the planet. There are six billion hours of video in 61 languages on the World Wide Web.

In this interconnected world, millions of people use Internet to invite total strangers into their lives. They invite everyone from elderly Mongolians in Ulan Bator, to Argentine teenagers in Mar del Plata, to connect to their websites and view intimate details of their lives. Then these website owners are stunned to find out that crooks, scam artists, identity thieves, Internet marketers, and digital sales representatives have honed in on their websites and have exploited the information they found there.

That comedian became rich and famous by inviting audiences to laugh at his fabricated foibles. But when a stranger in a bar laughed at one of his real foibles, the comedian doubled his fists and started swinging. Lots of folks are like that comedian. They spread their personal information all over the Internet. But they get mad as hell when they hear that authorities are analyzing Internet data flow patterns to see if they can find information that might thwart a terrorist attack. Whoa. Whoa! That’s a violation of people’s privacy.

Finding out what constitutes acceptable government surveillance and what is considered unacceptable prying, is a valuable process. Most of that process is serious, but sometimes it can be funny.

*******

Consider this story: Back in 2010 forty-year-old Ginger Pitchfork of Mound Tree, Texas, phoned the U.S. Census Bureau to lodge a complaint. She said a census worker had called and asked about her marital status and her vaccination history. Ginger said that Census call was an unwarranted government intrusion into her privacy. What was hilarious was that at the time Ginger was operating a website that chronicled intimate details of her love life.

++++++

And how about this?: A herd of pigs broke out of their sty on a Midwest farm and ran down to a four lane highway. Kurk and Wadley, a couple of forty-something city dwellers, were driving along in a heavy duty pickup truck and saw the pigs. They decided to round up the pigs and put them in the truck and drive them to a nearby stockyard.

Kurk and Wadley figured that since they had found the pigs on the highway it was a “finders keepers,” and they offered to sell the herd to the stockyard manager for $200.

The stockyard manager declined their offer, and retrieved ownership data from tattoos on the pigs’ ears. He called the owner. The owner was looking for the pigs and was not far from the stockyards. When he arrived, the owner thanked Kurk and Wadley, and gave them each$40. Then he loaded up his pigs and drove back to the farm.

Wadley and Kurk were fascinated and amazed. They didn’t know how the pigs had been identified. They jumped the conclusion that there was a government surveillance system so powerful that it could even keep track of an obscure herd of pigs.

Kurk and Wadley organized a series of workshops to tell their story. They told those who attended: “If the government can spy on a herd of Midwest pigs, what do you think it’s finding out about you and your family?”

After that, Wadley and Kurk found what they considered evidence of government surveillance in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. So they set up a network of vigilance websites to warn people of an impending dictatorship that would take over the country as soon as the government had processed all its surveillance data. Kurk and Wadley shut the website down after it become a target for stand-up comedians and late night talk show humor.

 

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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