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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Word Play

This short story was bought by Every Day Fiction a while back. It brought me $1 which, after the agent's cut and taxes, netted a tidy 63 cents... just enough for senior coffee at McDonalds, and who could ask for more. (Note to IRS: Yes, I claimed it as net revenue.) I always liked it because 23 is my favorite number (you'll see), but you'd never guess why?

Word Play
Seventeen across: Wish it done. Four letters.
Twenty-three down: Baa baa mama. Three letters.
Rob always looked forward to The Sunday Times because it was the best crossword of the week. It kept him hummingly busy most of the morning… and he usually finished it. This, however, was not one of those days.
“Damn! What is Carpenter’s key?”
Good time to grab a coffee, he decided as he stretched like a waking bear trying to throw his back out.
He smiled with smug confidence. This was war: his intelligence and worldly knowledge vs. the cunningly sly and diabolical Sunday crossword.
Bring it on, baby. When I fill in that last square, I am king of the forty-two across: Celestial orb… World. “Where is the Titanic when I need her?
The self-appreciating silliness was interrupted by his cell’s “Macho Man” ring tone.
“Hi hon…
“Yeah, workin the puzzle…
“No. Haven’t cracked it yet, but I will.
“What?  You are done already? No way! Did you use the dictionary?
“OK. Sorry. Hey, don’t be mad now. I was just kidding.
“You’re not coming over? Why not? We always go for brunch on Sunday. Since when is a sale more important than me? Honest, Steff… sometimes I feel you don’t love me as much as a good bargain.”
Feelings hurt, Rob sat, brooding for a minute. And to add insult to injury, he had to admit, she did the puzzle and he was stuck. The Sunday crossword was their ritual competition.
With new fervor, he picked up his paper and pen, determined he would ‘break through.’ But when he he looked at his progress, he could only shake his head at the ink-smeared corrections.
Rob was one of those addicts who always did the puzzle with his silver Cross pen that Steff had given him two birthdays ago. It was simply inscribed, “23 down,” cryptically referring to their little secret that time in the elevator.
He scratched his golden’s ears as she doggedly backed against his leg begging for more.
“Rob loves Steff, Tessie. Does Steff love Rob?
Tess looked back over her shoulder with those soulful dog eyes as if to ask, you’re not done scratching yet, are you?
“I thought so. No answer.”
Sixty-four down: Mother of Jesus. Oh, a gimmie, he thought. Mary.
The crossword’s theme was Happy Daze (spelled D-A-Z-E). He hadn’t figured that out yet but he knew the shaded squares were supposed to say something important when filled.  All he could think of was ‘The Fonz’ and it clouded his mind to the obvious.
“Hi honey,” she greeted, using her key to let herself in.
“Steff! I didn’t think you were coming today. What about the big sale? Aren’t you afraid you will miss a bargain?”
“Don’t think it wasn’t hard but I figured you might need my help with the puzzle.”
“That’s right. Rub it in. This is the first time you beat me in five weeks. Gloat, gloat, gloat.”
Steff smiled, filled her coffee cup, and kicked off her shoes as she curled into her favorite chair with the rest of the paper. Rob liked the look a lot... and for a moment, thought “The hell with the crossword puzzle.”
Steff broke the mood. “Go ahead. Finish if you can. I’ll just read The Times…and if you still aren’t done, I’ll read tomorrow’s paper too when it comes.”
“Very funny.”
110 across: Hood, affectionately. Three letters.
125 across: Hospital infection. Five letters.
“Wait. I may have a breakthrough!"
Wish it done: Will, of course.
Baa baa mama: Ewe.
Mother of Jesus: Mary.”
Hospital infection Staph… Steff?”
Suddenly, he stopped, startled at his revelation.
“I got it,” he beamed. “Solved the damn thing.”
“Yeah? So what is Carpenter’s key, Einstein?
“That would be my brother, Chuck.”
“Oh? Why Chuck?”
“Because he would be my best man…
“And yes. Yes. YES!” he said as he picked her up from the chair and danced her around the room, snapping her head back as he kissed her again and again. 
“I would be the happiest man in the world to marry you.”
After all the kissey-face smooching, hugging and crying had taken its course, Rob asked her how she ever pulled it off.
“I have a friend who knows the puzzle editor. He agreed it would be a wonderful trick…and make a great puzzle. Lots of human interest.”
“And I did make my sale.” She pulled a little blue Tiffany box from behind her back.
“This is for you, my love.”
The tiny inscription inside the ring read, “Second best crossword puzzle worker. First best fiancé.” 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The real post: Why can't we have elected official that really gets things done... like this?

Jayalalithaa Jayaram
Jayalalithaa Jayaram (pronounced any way you want) was in her third term as chief minister in Chennai, India. She was at the blazing height of her popularity. Her party won 37 of the 39 parliamentary seats in this past spring's elections. SHE IS TRULY BELOVED!

The poor have been risen up by the great number of public welfare programs she has introduced... nutritious meals are available for a few pennies and life is much better in her province. She has done so much to make life easier for the lower casts and is held in reverance by all... almost.

Seems Ms Jayaram knows how to stretch a rupee. At a salary of just 1 rupee per month (0.016th a U.S. dollar), she was able to scrape it together and stage an opulent wedding for her foster son for 40,000 guests and then a formal sit-down dinner for 12,800. People were know to say "Amma" (short for Jayalalitha, thank goodness) is God." Jesus fed 5,000 with just 5 loaves and 2 fishes, so maybe they had something there. (Wink, wink God.)

During her term in office, people would regularly stretch face down on the ground and touch her feet. Eat your heart out Mitch McConnell.

So maybe now we have a hint as to why people openly wept when her successor was sworn in to replace "the god" who has been convicted of corruption and sentenced to four years in prison. "Rarely have tears of despair flowed so copiously at a swearing-in ceremony," said one headline.

The new appointee pulled a photo of Amma from her pocked and bowed reverently, then she began to weep. The minister doing the swearing in just 'lost it' and the oath was barely audible.

Amma's people were way more than just sad. There have been 37 self-immolations including a 23-year-old woman who doused herself with gasoline after putting her infant daughters to sleep.

Unfair, you say? One itsy-bitsy wedding and this? Oh, she had also accumulated 660 million rupees during her first term in office and in her grand home, a search revealed more than 10,000 saris, 66 pounds of gold and one gold waist beld studded with 2,380 diamonds, 18 emeralds and nine rubies, to name just a few things. Not bad for making a penny-and-a-half a year stretch. I want that IRA.

After the funeral of the young mother who self-immolated, an official said in an interview that he could fully understand why Amma's admirers might consider suicide. "You see, they do it for love, because of affection."

So, to turn a phrase from one of my favorite movies, Dave, when he asked his secret service watchdog,"Would you light a match take a bullet for me?" it's kinda like that, I suppose. 

Politicians can be forgiven and still revered. We do it all the time. Check out these bad boys we just re-elected. Incumbents win 90 percent of the time.

As for India, people could consider a ban on matches, unless the NRA (National Radical Arson) prevails.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gosh, why can't we have elected officials like this?

NOTE: Posted prematurely in all my excitement about a great blog post in the works. So this is now 'THE TEASE' to a really exciting, fun and all around darned good post, like later today. And if you think you can hardly wait, how do you think I feel, not knowing what comes next?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

After the elections, we need a laugh.

Thanks Tim Peckham

As if we are not having enough fun yet...

What was your least favorite election ad?

All of 'em. It felt like our only choice was the least bad. We should not have to choose our future by default, with anger and pessimism.

HOWEVER,  if you have just one more moan in you, I think it's time to use it for feeble humor, if that's what it takes. Try these:

Grouch Marx once confessed: "I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I don't know."

An editor sent a telegram inquiry to fact-check old time actor Cary Grant's age: "HOW OLD CARY GRANT?” — to which he responded: “OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?” 
And newspaper headlines gone wrong:
"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"
"Legislator Wants Tougher Death Penalty"
"Voter Fears Alert Politicians"
"Defendant's Speech Ends In Long Sentence"

"Missippi Literacy program shows improvement"
"Poison Control Center Reminds Everyone Not to Take Poison"
"Statistics Show Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25"
"County to Pay $250,000 to Advertise Lack of Funds"
"Chick Accuses Some of Her Male Colleagues of Sexism" (Her name is Chick.)

Then there is this:

And finally, the doctor is in:

"Hello, is this the doctor?"
"My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart!"
"Is this her first child?"
"No, this is her husband."

Doctor: "You are in perfect health. You'll live to be at least 65."
Patient: "But doctor, I am 65!"
Doctor: "See? What did I tell you."

"Doctor, I don't know what's wrong with me but I hurt all over. If I touch my shoulder here, it hurts, and if I touch my leg here, it hurts, and if I touch my head here, it hurts, and if I touch my foot here, it hurts."
"Hmm... I believe you've broken your finger."

And, saving my favorite for last:
"Sorry to say this but you have maybe three minutes to live"
"Isn't there anything you can do for me doctor? Anything?"
"Well, would you like me to boil you an egg?"