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Monday, June 4, 2012

OK. If you are so smart, let's hear you use hoosegow in a sentence.

Don't you love that word? It's just fun enough to say without caring what it means. Words like anomolous, toupee, octopi, garibaldi and crotchety (a personal favorite)  just ripple off the tongue. Oh, I saw a hippopotamous the other day... it was hippopotamusing.

I could go on and on: orthogonalization, unctous, mysoginist, huffnagle, phlebotomist, wankle, fandango, oligopoly (no, not the game)...

But back to business... using hoosegow in a sentence:

"If I were younger, maybe I'd be spending time in the hoosegow." 'Big Hy' said that.

Well, if you knew what hoosegow is, then you are OLD! And maybe you watched too many of those black & white westerns starring Tom Mix or Roy Rogers or Gene Autry... and hoosegow would have been said by Gabby Hayes or Andy Devine or some other old but wise sidekick.

Hoosegow means slammer, stir, calaboose (another good one), pokey, can, clink, roach motel (you can check in but cannot check out)... get it?

"Big Hy"
Today's hero (and winner of my esteemed "Shinola" award) said hoosegow. He is 92-year-old Hyman Stachman, a World War II veteran who, according to the NYTimes, may be the most prolific bootlegger of Hollywood DVDs... and subsequently, their Enemy No. 1.

"Big Hy," as those who have received the benefits of his work affectionately referred to him, decided that he had to do something to keep busy after the death of his wife. So, having an affinity for those serving their country in far away places, decided that he could supply them with entertainment. "Big Hy" illegally copied more than 80,000 discs of movies a year  (The Hangover, Gran Torino, The Artist, Moneyball, The King's Speech, etc.)  for six years,  putting in 60-hour weeks dubbing, packaging and mailing them--over 4,000 boxes holding 84 discs--at his own expense ($11 per box), to the troops.

To be as 'clean' as possible, he kept none for himself.

And he was beloved. He received many, many letters of "Thanks, Big Hy... " you made a difference.

Then there is Rankin Paynter... a 77-year-old Kentuckian who earned another "Shinola." Rankin jumped at the opportunity to buy all the inventory of a local Kmart store that was closing. He turned the whole store into a 'blue-light special' paying  $200,000 for the everything in every size, color and style, which he donated to local charities for those in need. (Me? I would have kept all the Rollos for myself, but then I'm not Rankin.)

"We've all been put on this earth to help each other through," he said. "If I can help people through, I'm happy."

Isn't it a pleasure to read stuff like this? Blessings to you, Shinola winners. You make the world better, one starfish at a time.

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