Tag Archives: toys

Cosmic Prime Time Television

 

 

Here in Letongaloosa, a humid, sweaty July gave way to what

everyone expects to be a humid, sweaty August. We all hope that

August will give way to a sweet September, and that then will come

a glorious new prime time television season.

The other night I asked two of my best friends what they

thought about prime time television, things got weird in a hurry.

That’s not surprising since my two friends were a robot from outer

space, KB11.2, and Biggley Masters, the legendary writer/producer

of prime time network television shows.

The three of us were having soft drinks in a back booth at the

Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here. The Enchantment is

the kind of joint that every college town has to have to maintain its

academic accreditation.

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.

No one at the Enchantment even notices when Kaybe rolls up

to my booth. Half the patrons, including the waitress, Four Finger

Fannie, are aliens themselves.

Biggley Masters is a true television prodigy. At 19 he was lead

writer for a very popular network soap opera. In his mid-twenties he

wrote and produced several award-winning prime time series.

Biggley has principles. He held out against a network executive who

demanded that Biggley compromise a show’s plot so the network

could sell more commercials in that episode.

So there were Kaybe, Biggley Masters and I in a back booth at

the Enchantment discussing the upcoming prime time television

season.

 

“The folks on Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy,

love “Toast of the Town,” and “The Fred Warring Show,” said Kabye.

“Whoa,” said Biggley, who was something of a TV historian.

“Those shows aired in the 1949-1950 prime time season. They were

the first prime time television hits. How can you say that the folks on

Hebe are seeing those shows?”

“FM radio waves and television signals pierce the earth’s

ionosphere and travel through the vacuum of space at the speed of

light,” said Kaybe. The shows from the 1949-50 television seasons are

just now reaching outer space planets like Hebe.”

“So the folks on Hebe must have picked up Marconi’s first radio

signal, the letter “S” (three dots) that he transmitted in 1901,” I said.

“Oh, yes,” said Kaybe. “In fact, the Hebian Supreme Council

met in a special session to discuss a response to earth’s distress

signal. They decided, given time and distance, nothing could be

done.”

“I’ll bet the Hebians will love “M.A.S.H,” when it finally gets

there,” I said.

“Oh, yeh, ‘M.A.S.H. will be a big hit on Hebe,” said Kaybe.

Biggley took a folded paper from his jacket pocket.

“This is the new prime time network schedule,” he said. “Kaybe,

I’ll name a show that is going to be broadcast this fall on U.S.

Network TV. Then you can tell me the name of a show on that will be

airing this fall on some planet in the great Cosmos.”

“Wonderful,” said Kaybe .

“Grey’s Anatomy,” said Biggley. “That’s a long running medical

series on U.S. television.”

“Rick’s Robot Repair Shop,” said Kaybe. “That’s been airing on

the planet Relontov (in the Bode galaxy) for 200 earth years.”

“Criminal Minds,” said Biggley. It’s a cop show.”

“Zap! Crack! Blam!,” said Kaybe. The Marilians LOVE that cop

show.”

“Where is Marilia?” I asked.

“It’s a small planet in the Triangulum Constellation. There’s

been no crime on Marilia for centuries. There are no cops, no jails,

no courts, and no prisons on the planet. The Marilians are

fascinated by the concept of “badness.” But they have to import

their TV crime shows from Gobokovandan, a nearby planet that has

a ton of bad guys.

I finished my soft drink and slipped unnoticed from the booth. Kaybe

and Biggley were engrossed in a discussion of interstellar TV. I told

our waitress, Four Finger Fannie, to put the whole bill on my tab.

-30-

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kaybe’s Cosmic Christmas, Part II

Hebians communicate differently from robots on Kaybe’s planet. Hebians communicate with a pleasant musical tone I can best describe as series of beeps that microwave ovens make to tell you that your Pop Tarts© are warm. A room full of chattering Hebians is a very tuneful place.

Kaybe met Zeeruba at a singles dance one night when Kaybe stopped by the planet Hebe on a trip through the Andromeda galaxy. The dance floor was crowded but none of the couples were robots. Zeeruba looked lonely standing at the edge of the dance floor. Kaybe rolled up and gave her a big telepathic “HI”. Hebians don’t receive telepathic messages, but Zeeruba, was happy to see a familiar robot shape, and beeped a happy greeting.

Attracted to each other, but unable to converse, the two looked around the dance floor for a translation station. The Galactic Supreme Council’s Polyglot Communication Committee provides translation stations on virtually all planets except Earth. Kaybe and Zeeruba found a nook with a translation station, ordered refreshments, and began to chat as if they had known each other a long time.

By the time the evening was over the two agreed to meet again soon. Over time their friendship blossomed into robotic love and they sought out a clergy-robot. They had an official diode exchange in a beautiful ceremony attended by their loved ones. After a gala galactic honeymoon, Kaybe and Zeeruba found a little place on Hebe and settled down and were very happy.

Tune in tomorrow for Part III to find out how this cosmic love affair unfolds!!

Dr. Larry Day is a retired foreign correspondent and KU J-School professor. He is now the author of countless short stories and the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia available on Amazon.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Holiday Afterglow

When I was a boy the holidays didn’t end the day after New Year’s as they do now.    At our house the holiday season often lasted until after Ground Hog Day.  It was usually early February before Mom carefully removed the ornaments, the strings of lights, and the tinfoil icicles from our Christmas tree and swept up the pile of pine needles from the floor.

This year my wife Emmaline and I took down the outside and inside decorations, including my Christmas train, on Jan. 2.  The Christmas train is my pride and joy.

I bought it years ago in Atlanta.  I had flown down to attend a niece’s December wedding.  I arrived a day early. The women invited me to go shopping with them.  In a department store I saw a toy train running around a track.

It was a Christmas Train—Santa atop the engine. It had four cars plus a caboose.  The train had lights, and the figures moved.

Decades dropped away.  I was seven or eight years old again.  I had to have that train.  Never mind that it cost $250; never mind that the box it came in was larger than a hard sider suitcase. I took out my credit card.

Now each Christmas season, after I have inexpertly installed the outside house lights and Emmaline has expertly and creatively decorated the inside of the house, I open the box and take out my Christmas Train.

I’ve cut assembly time to two hours.  One has to put  together the track,  attach the electric gear,  hook up the cars (each car is attached to the car ahead by a little black umbilical cord that makes the figures move and the lights dance).  I’ve been known to cuss a bit as I assemble the train.

It’s a wonderful train.  One pushes the ON button.  One pushes the forward button. A voice shouts “All Aboard.”  Bells ring, a realistic train whistle blows, and the train moves around the track.  Santa goes “ho, ho, ho.”

For the first few years I had the train to myself.  Then my granddaughter came along and wanted to run the train.  Then my grandson came along and  wanted to run the train.  Then Emmaline told me to let the grandchildren help me assemble the train.

I steadfastly resisted that suggestion until Christmas 2008.  My granddaughter is now eight and my grandson is five.   Emmaline sand bagged me.  She didn’t tell me the kids were coming until they were at the front door.

When they came in Emmaline said, “You can help Grandpa put his train together.”

I said, “Okay. Okay, kids, this is a very difficult project, so watch carefully and I’ll show you how I do it.”

“Okay, Grandpa.”

Then Emmaline called me to come upstairs.  It was the kind of pre-preemptory call that I’ve learned not to ignore.

“I’ll be RIGHT BACK,” I said.  “You kids go to Grandma’s office and play computer games.  We’ll put the train together when I get back.”

After a few minutes I heard kid voices from the living room. I took four steps down the back stairs.  Emmaline ordered me, in a preemptory voice, to finish my assigned task. Several elongated minutes later I sprinted for the living room.

Halfway down the stairs I heard a robotic voice say “All Aboard!”  My heart sank.  Had the kids gotten the electrical apparatus out of the big box and plugged it in?  What harm such mischief might do to my train I could only imagine.

I charged down stairs and into the living room.

“Ding, Ding, Ding,”   “Whooo, Whooo, Whooo,”  “All Aboard,”    “Merry Christmas!” “Ho, Ho, Ho,”  “Chug, Chug, Chug.”

My train was fully assembled and running around the track.   My granddaughter was at the controls and my grandson was jumping back and forth across the track just ahead of the train.

“Grandpa, we put the train together!”

The grandkids weren’t here on Jan. 2 when I put on my engineer’s cap and ran the train around the track one last time.  Then I put it back in the box for another year.

I hope my grandkids will let me help them put the train together next December.

 

Larry Day is the author of <em>Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia(ISBN 978-1-100-18422-2 ) </em>available for Kindle on Smashwords.com. Hard copies are available for purchase on Lulu.com. Retailers e-mail Larry: day_larry@yahoo.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,