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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am so grateful that I 'do-nut' live in the U.K.

Havoc has struck more than half of the adult British population!

I do so love the country. The people are friendly and the culture is wonderful. The Queen is charming (and isn't Prince Harry just a dream boat?)... I even understand the language... somewhat. But one has to face the facts. You see, it just isn't safe.

About 25 million of our brothers and sisters across the sea have been injured--500 of them seriously enough to land in hospitals. The 'epidemic' that struck them down was not the Asian flu or the N1H1 virus... no, those can be treated and we can be inoculated to protect ourselves. But sadly, there is no protection for Brits when it comes to wafers, shortbread, chocolate fingers and the like.

Seemingly oblivious to the danger of biscuits, YES, BISCUITS, or with a daring-do that says "to hell with danger" (isn't that so just like them?) they just keep nibbling, dunking and passionately devouring these 'objects of danger.' So far, thank God, there have been no reported fatalities and to date and none of the  'misfortunes' have been tied to terrorist plots, but something of this magnitude that could create chaos among the people can not, nor should not be ignored.

London's Daily Telegraph reported the horrible news and Brits, always ready to 'bear-up,' seemed to take it in stride. But facts are facts. The British propensity to tea and biscuits continues to take its toll. In a survey commissioned by Rocky, a chocolate biscuit bar maker, the ugly danger was greater than anyone could imagine.... 25 million U.K. countrymen (and women) barely escaped with their lives!

The dangers are many: flying cookie fragments, burned fingers while dunking in scalding tea, poking oneself in the eye with a biscuit or falling off a chair when reaching for the tin. Some were gagged by too big a bite and some were bitten by a pet or "other wild animal" trying to get their biscuit. Others broke a tooth or lost a filling.

Then there is the one unfortunate man who got stuck in wet cement after wading in to pick up a fallen biscuit... and to the best of my knowledge, is still there, lodged tight, with a concrete biscuit in his hand... held prisoner for time everlasting. At least his family can come visit him over the next few months to bring meager crumbs and droplets of water to make their peace and say their good-byes. But the sad day will eventually come when friendly pigeons will loose their 'almost human' perch. The bright spot, however, is that when the end does come to this poor, stuck, biscuit-loving gentleman, he can be forever memorialized with just a dab or two of additional wet cement to finish the 'statue' in honor of the most famous 'British Biscuiteer' of them all. And, as they say in the U.K., a hard man is good to find.

If you happen to be in Britain, be wary of 'the biscuit.' And especially, watch out for the Custard Cream which has caused most of the injuries. Go instead for the Jaffa Cakes which have been shown to be five-times safer (really). Caramel Shortcake and Ginger Nuts are also a less-risky taste. And only dip when you are wearing asbestos gloves, goggles and, for good measure, a hard hat. Just remember, be safe and above all, avoid 'cement overshoes.'

PS: This is all true... and I think I am beginning to understand why, in 1776, we prevailed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A short story I wrote...

... and an award winner at that. This story was featured on A Long Story Short website this month... but the jokers messed up the link to all the stories on the page. So this is special just for you. (PS: It is NOT science fiction.)

The Time Machine

“A time machine?” Ray never really believed in stuff like that. “Get outta here, you crazy old fart!” And with that, the bummie in the train station walked away.

“Geeze. Never heard that one before.” Sometimes Ray had more patience. He even liked to ‘pull their chain,’ once in a while.  But when you just miss your train, you aren’t the same person for a minute or so. And Ray just hated to be late for anything.

“You live in this city all your life and nothing surprises you anymore. A time machine…” he smiled as his mind was already focusing on the next train to Grand Central.

There was a big commotion on the corner as Ray walked up to 42nd Street… late. People were yelling and screaming… fist fights… police cars all over the place. “What’s going on,” Ray asked a man in a business suit with one sleeve ripped almost off as he ran past, giddy with delight.

“Some nutso over there was throwing out hundred-dollar bills by the bushel basket!” he hollered, holding up his fist full of money.  “I grabbed mine before some broad pushed me down me chasing her own c-notes!”

“Damn! Ten minutes earlier. I’d have been right there… if I hadn’t missed my train.”  

Ray almost never missed the 6:46, but the very next day, when he stopped to sip his coffee instead of slopping it down the front of his fresh white shirt, the doors closed in his face.

“This is getting to be a habit.”

On 42nd  …finally, through the crowd, he saw the back of Madonna’s head as she got into her limo with some guy. When Ray heard she was looking for her biggest fan on the street to take on-stage that night for a special song she wrote, he shook his head. No one was a bigger Madonna fan than Ray. Knew the words to every song she ever wrote, sang or danced to. That should have been him.

“Twice! Just two times I miss my train and I’m odd man out. I never miss my train!”

Ray was five minutes early the next day. He wasn’t going to miss his 6:46 and let life pass him by again. “You let grass grow under your feet and you miss all the stuff that coulda been yours. Not today!” he vowed. “Not today.”

And he was right.

An ambulance and three police cars were screaming to the scene. “What’s going on?” asked a woman who was late arriving because she had just missed the 6:46.

“Guy just got crushed by a piano that flew off that truck over there when it was smashed by a semi. Poor bastard! He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's better to be lucky than good... unless you are that New York guy

... And I can prove it.

How many lottery tickets have you bought in your life? Me, perhaps less than 10... but then I'm a cynic, remember. However, I still didn't win. And you? Ever win a million bucks? A thousand? A hundred? A free ticket?

Well, a Texas woman, who may also be good, is pretty lucky. She just won $10 million with a state lottery scratch-off ticket. But, you say, doesn't almost everybody win $10 million once in a while? At least, that's what the lottery ads seem to suggest. Sure... I grant you that. Probably almost everyone wins a million now and then.

But this same woman also won $5.4 million in a 1993 lottery. Wow! That's something...

...and she won $2 million with a scratch-off card in 2006...

... And, oh yeah, she won $3 million same way in 2008.

So she won  $20.4 million with four separate winning tickets. What was not revealed is how much she spent to win those bucks... but I'm still thinking, taxes and all, she did as well as the average salary of four Boston Red Sox players this year... and she doesn't even have a good arm.

Now for the unlucky side of the coin: It is a known fact that in New York City, a person is hit by a car on the average of once every 67 minutes. City officials are scouring the streets to find that poor soul and get him the-hell-off-the-street!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reminds me of a story...

REAL NEWS: An experimental solar-powered aircraft proved it could stay aloft, through the night, for 24 straight hours using only solar power. Wow! (Disclosure: no gas was harmed in the making of this flight.) Imagine... the sun, an unexhaustable energy source (as long as there is life on earth) creating hypothetically, a never-ending scenario... a plane that could fly forever.

This reminded me, in some perverse way, of Icarus, the character in Greek mythology. Against his father's warning, he flew too close to the sun with wings he made of wax. (Who makes wax wings these days?) The wings melted (proving dads are always right) and Icarus fell to his death. (The sun giveth and the sun taketh away--get it?) Well, that was then--and a legend at that--but this is now... and it is real.

The glider-like plane with 12,000 solar panels on its 207-foot wingspan to recharge its batteries as it flew, proved it could, theoretically, stay aloft indefinitely! Kind of like something scientists have believed was impossible... a perpetual motion machine.

Reminds me of a story:

On a trans-Atlantic flight in a four-engine jet, one of the engines failed. The captain quickly told the passengers:

"Ladies and gentlemen. We have just 'lost' one of our engines. I want to assure you that this plane can easily fly on three engines. This will, however, slow us down and we will now land 30 minutes late."

Shortly after, another engine quit and the pilot announced, "Sorry to inform you that we have 'lost' another engine. Not to worry. We can easily fly on. We will, however, now be an hour late at the gate."

After some trepidation in the cabin as the flight grew later and later, a third engine quit. The pilot quickly reassured the passengers: "I has happened again. It is unusual but we can fly on, though we will now be two hours late."

One passenger disgustedly lean to his seat partner and grumbled, "If that other damn engine goes, we could be up here all night."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More crash blossoms

What is a crash blossom? A mis-written or misunderstood headline that, when read one way, gives an entirely wrong--but often, funny-- impression of what the story is all about. The term comes from a headline following an aircraft crash. It read, "Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms.” See what I mean? Today's crash blossoms:
  • "Beauty Queen Unveils Bust at Dedication Ceremony"
  • "Dismemberment Killer Convicted: Thank God Jury Could Put Pieces Together"
  • "Reagan To Have Tissue Removed From Nose"
  • "Robber Holds Up Albert's Hosiery"
  • Study: Those Without Insurance Die More Often"
  • "Tick-Borne Illness Known to Affect Dogs Found In Humans"
  • "Legislator Wants Tougher Death Penalty"
  • "Voter Fears Alert Politicians"
  • "Defendant's Speech Ends In Long Sentence"
  • "Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies"
  • "Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms"
  • "Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots, Kills Man With knife"
  • "NV Senator Leaves Message to Rape Victim's Sister"
And check out these want ads. Who says only professional people get to have fun:

    For more of this silly stuff, see my blog post of April 23, 2010 and have more fun.

      Monday, July 5, 2010

      Hey, haven't I told you... It's Nuts Out There

      In Japan (where else?) a couple in love may be blessed in marriage by a robot. Yes, from the land that brought us Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidrah (the 3-headed monster), Biolante, SpaceGodzilla and (oooh!) MechaGodzilla (I could go on and on) comes a new, more friendly (but still tough as nails) creature... the I-Fairy.

      She(?) is a seated, 4-foot tall beauty with flashing eyes and plastic pig-tails. The metal ministsress wore a wreath of flowers and could probably kick Godzilla's a** around the block (if she could walk) because she has divine power backing her up. The bride wore... aw, who cares what the bride wore.

      After the ceremony, which made many cry because it was so tender and sweet, I-Fairy, in her most pleasant R2-D2 voice, told the groom to "Please lift the bride's veil..." and waved her cute little robotic arms as the married couple kissed.

      The I-Fairy sells for $68,000 and is performing marriages in Singapore, the U.S. and Japan. How touching! Already married or being remarried?  This would be GREAT for you too... kind of a good luck fortune cookie thing--oh, sorry. That's Chinese.


      A very British woman got quite a shock last week. Suffering from a severe migraine, she went to the hospital for treatment. "I dare say, I have a trifling headache," she told them in a Dame Edna voice. "Would you be a dahling and make it go ta-ta?" When she awoke there the next day, loved ones were astonished to hear her say, "No tickee, no laundry" in a very Chinese-sounding voice. Her family says they cannot recognize her on the phone.

      Doctors diagnosed her condition as 'foreign accent syndrome' and advised her that she may never get her original voice back. Upset, and sounding like she came straight off the sampan, she said "I no likee. I never even be to China."


      A Texas good samaritan was handcuffed and jailed for trimming bushes in a city park. Telling police she was just trying to keep the park neat and clean was no excuse... she broke the 'cutting public foliage' law and as we all know, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ignorance of the police in how best to handle the matter however, now that's another thing. Latest update: Woman now serving 3 to 5 in the city jail. Says the judge, "You can't be soft when it comes to stopping crime." (You do know that I made that last part up, don't you?)


      Riverdale High (that's where Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty go to school) has enrolled its first openly gay student, Kevin Keller. The comic book publisher says Kevin enrolled at Riverdale High to keep the strip "current and inclusive." I wonder how Betty and Veronica will handle this handsome blue-eyed blond dreamboat? Better yet, how will Archie and Reggie do? I know Moose will beat the crap out of him. Next thing you know, they will have a 'negro' and an 'hispanic person' there too. Oh, by the way, the gang has been going to Riverdale now for 70 years. They may still look good but must be as dumb as a box of rocks. And how about Mr. Lodge, Veronica's father. He turns 140 June 14th.

      Talk about feeling old...

      Cinderella died this month. She was 81.

      Actually, true... but it was the voice of Cinderella, Ilene Woods. When she was a fresh-sounding 18-year-old singer, she recorded a few 'demos' for one of Walt Disney's upcoming animated features... "Two days later, Walt called. He wanted me to come over and have an interview. We met and talked for a while, and he said, 'How would you like to be Cinderella?'"

      Yes, she did sing 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo' with her mouse-friends. Also, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," and "So this is Love." If you can remember those tunes, you are young at heart and have seen Cinderella (original or remastered) many times... as will your children as it is still re-released periodically and, in VCR and DVD formats, is in the libraries of many homes with young children. It is also on Netfilx, of course. Can you still hear that voice? It was perfect for the part. I never knew this much of the fairy tale beauty who finally got what she deserved, until now. But glass slippers? Come on.

      Questions: OK. So what were the names of the mice? The skinny one is Jaq and the fat one is Oktavian... nicknamed Gus. The cat? Lucifer, of course.

      And, what was Cinderella's real name? Ella... her wicked step-sisters, Anastasia and Drizella, dub her Cinder-ella because she was always dirty after cleaning the fireplace... get it?

      Now here is the sad 'kicker'-- life's sometimes reality-- 'Cinderella' died of causes related to Alzheimer's disease, reports her husband, Ed Shaughnessy, Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show' drummer.

       (Ilene Woods)