Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Was Madness

Hey, March.
Good Riddance!

March for me has been one helluva year. The worst March that I can remember for some time was this one, the 2009 edition.

I woke up the morning of March the 1st to find 11 inches of fresh fallen snow. That snow was on top of 8 inches that been deposited the previous Friday. The temperatures were in the 40s by the afternoon and there was a lot of melting - which froze over during the night to "accessorize" my driveway with a sheet of ice so smooth it looked like a Zamboni had just run over it.

Hello, Mr. Driveway! Meet Mr. Buttocks!

The character at the right is shouting those large italicized words opening this post. It is a very unique self-portrait of me. It is unique in that it is a self-portrait that looks nothing whatsoever like me.

(Besides, I don't have a green shirt with French cuffs. I don't own a shirt of any color with French cuffs. I don't even own a green shirt. And yes, I do own a shirt or two.)

That's not the first portrait of me I've seen this month that does not resemble me.

Those responsible for portraits at the Registry of Motor Vehicles need to take some lessons in photography.

Although they vehemently denied it, I contended that they used the picture of someone else; one who hadn't combed his hair, hair which needed a barber's care, had just woken up, skipped a second cup of coffee, and judging by his grin was thinking thoughts about the pretty RMV clerk that if acted upon would have resulted in a resounding slap across the face. Then she said something that was as smarting as a physical slap - she said the photo was digitally enhanced!

So I asked if I could use instead the picture taken for the last license. I said it at least almost looks like me.

She said no. She said of last one that it "almost" looked like me five years ago! (Everyone thinks they're a comedian, I thought to myself.) She said older people age more in five years than other people. I said to her, "Doesn't everyone age five years over a five year span?"

I knew what she meant. I walked away. I had no choice but to accept that picture on my new driver's license. I was right though. The new picture didn't look like me, at least the me I wished it to look like. Now the old one looks like me, it's just that I don't look like it.

I'm not really a vain person. Honest! I'm not. It's just that I didn't realize that my appearance had changed that much in a mere five years. I know that it's all relative. Five years at this stage of my life represents a larger percentage of the years I have remaining.

If today is the first day of the rest of my life, then yesterday must have been the last day of the best of my life? Uh-oh! What does that make tomorrow?

The same day that I received the new license in the mail, I received the card at the left.

Of course they'll vehemently deny this too - but I'll bet the RMV sent a copy of my new license picture to these folks.

Hmmm ... I wonder ... If I had asked them to use my self-portrait above, do you suppose they would have?

March gave us three more rounds of snow, but fortunately they were melted away in a couple of days. On the 14th, a Saturday, my yard was finally almost clear of snow. The brown grass was visible. On that day I finally was able to take down the remaining Christmas lights draped on the shrubs and crab apple tree in the front yard.

From the 15th on, virtually every other day we had rain on the weekdays and rain on both weekend days.

The last five days have been mild in the 50s and spring-like. Those first few signs of spring have been appearing:

I've seen robins hopping in the yard. They were setting up the first traveling carnival on the parking lot of the theater complex. I played and was wiped out early in my NCAA bracket pool.

Tomorrow is the the first day of April. Next Monday the Boys of Summer, the BoSox will take the field at Fenway Park vs the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yep, tomorrow will be the first day of April and that is significant for something else. It won't be long until we are deluged with April showers! ...More rain.

And ... oh by the way tomorrow is April Fool's Day! Keep your guard up!


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray (36)

Part 36 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)

Familial Ties That Bind

The diner was ten minutes and several miles behind us as we turned off I-95 North onto the old U.S. Route 1. The narrow winding road would soon deliver us to Hampton Beach, a seaside playground popular with those who lived north of Boston and those who wished to avoid the arduous drives in choking traffic to reach Cape Cod.

Although Stu and I had attempted to make smalltalk to brighten the gloomy aura that Susan had wrapped about herself, our efforts had nonetheless proven fruitless. She had cocooned herself into an impregnable shell, that aegis allowing her to be alone with her thoughts and long suppressed inner demons.

It was with a start that she emerged from the self-imposed asylum. A series of sobs wracked her body and she threw herself trembling into my arms. For such a strong willed woman, she was unable to deal with a vulnerability that she had never known existed within her.

"Tell me! Please tell me he's not my father! Oh God,Please!" she screamed. She said nothing more and then grew limp. The poor girl had cried herself to sleep in my arms.

"Is she going to be okay?" Stu asked.

"I think so. The thought of the general being her father awakened some long pent up emotions within her. She never knew her parents and as a result spent over half of her life in foster care."

"...And what if he is, Ben?" Stu queried.

"Now that she's let it out of her system, I think she'll be able to deal with it."

"Then if it isn't Susan, that would leave Michelle," Stu said. I could see in his eyes in the rear view mirror that he was uncertain.

"I know that it's an inaccurate gauge to go by, but the considerable age differences involved trouble me. He's in his eighties. If he was Susan's father, he'd have been fifty-five or so when she was born. Subtract three for Michelle," I said confirming to him my own uncertainty. "I would expect any daughter of his to be about my age."

"You have no other ideas? You're going to let that analytical brain stop there?" he asked more as a challenge than a question.

"Look, I might rely on hunches, but I don't like to stack my eggs in one basket of conjecture," I responded sarcastically.

Stu held open the door to the cottage as I shuffled in carrying Susan out of the bitter cold wind blowing off the Atlantic Ocean, not five hundred feet from the property. I laid her down on the sofa facing the large fireplace while Stu set about trying to ignite the kindling beneath three previously stacked logs. After spreading my coat over her, I looked down upon her face and brushed aside the hair on her cheek.

"You really care about her, don't you?" Stu observed.

I looked over at him. He was leaning on the mantle and I said, "Yes. Yes I do."

"And that age thing? It doesn't bother you?" he asked in return.

"No," I professed. "Look, I haven't known her that long. You've already got me walking her down the aisle?"

She stirred and murmured, "Ummm, I like the sound of that!" Her arms circled my neck and she pulled herself upright. Then in an incredible show of athleticism she deftly swung a leg over my head and twisted her body until she was sitting facing me astraddle my lap. "That wasn't a proposal I heard a moment ago, was it?" Her lips pressed hard to mine and I responded in kind.

I pulled away and whispered, "No, it wasn't. And we're not alone."

She glanced over her shoulder to see Stu by the fireplace and playfully waved at him, "Hi, Stu."

He smiled and replied, "Hello, Susan." He twisted his head toward the door and announced, "I hear a vehicle approaching. It must be him now." He hurried to the door. "I'll meet our guest outside while you two assume a posture more conducive to receiving guests." With that he winked and stepped outside.

She rested her forehead against my shoulder and sighed, "You don't have to say it. I know, it's not the time or place."

He walked through the door with a military swagger, that certain cock-sureness possessed by high ranking career officers in the various branches of our armed forces. He stopped and stood rigid while looking about the room of the cottage. When he saw Susan and I standing against the backdrop of the blazing fireplace he relaxed and stepped forth.

"Ah. Mr. Bering, we meet again," his nod was barely perceptible. He turned to Susan and performed a cursory touch of his fingers to the brim of his cap and said, "Good afternoon, Miss."

His posture stiffened as he eyed the fireplace poker she was brandishing. She raised it in his direction and snarled, "Go ahead. Tell me that you're my father!"

His eyebrows arched and he snapped, "You? My daughter? Not likely!" With cautious enunciation he said, "Honey, you're barely old enough to be my grand daughter!"

He remained emotionless and watched as Susan let the poker fall from her hands onto the floor. "Thank God!" she muttered to no certain ear and moved closer to me.

"You really wanted to strike me with that?" he asked pointing at the discarded weapon. His eyes focused on me, "And you were going to allow her to do so, Mr. Bering?"

Though I had been forced into a position to afford him a measure of trust, I could not refrain from showing disdain in my voice, "If you'd said you were her father, I would have grabbed another poker and joined in on the fun."

The twitch at the corner of his lower lip was the probably the closest thing to an emotional response the man had ever allowed his face to display. "I suppose I deserve that," he said turning away.

Stu entered from outside and closed the door. "You came alone, General Gates?"

He nodded, "I gave my driver the afternoon off. I left instructions that I was not to be disturbed under any circumstances. I shan't be missed before 1700 hours."

I motioned at the sofa and arm chairs positioned about the room and said, "Why don't we all have a seat and get comfortable." The general sat down in an armchair nearest the fireplace while Stu and Susan settled on the sofa. I spread my arms and addressed our guest, "Could I get you a drink, general. Rosie keeps a well stocked bar."

"That she does," was his smug response. "I'll have a scotch straight up in a tall glass." He must have sensed the curious look on my face and said, "In the lower left hand cabinet, behind the ice bucket you'll find an unopened bottle of twenty-year-old scotch."

Sure enough as he had directed, I produced an unopened bottle of scotch and placed it on the bar. I eyed Susan and Stu, both whom returned my blank stares. "You've been here before?"

He was sitting rigid, almost as if the man was more comfortable at attention even when seated, and he responded, "I needed a safe place for us to meet. I chose a place with which I was familiar. This is one civilian residence in which I am most comfortable."

Stunned, I was having trouble to formulate words. I shook my head and finally was able to mutter, "All the years I've known her ... Rosie's never once mentioned you."

From outside there was the sound of an engine followed by the blare of a horn. He turned to me and said, "That would be my daughter now!"

(To be continued in part 37 on Friday, 4/3, with All in the Family.)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Biblical Proportions

If you have time to whine and complain, then you have time to do something about it. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit thereof, and did eat ...
- Genesis, 3:6 (King James Ver.)

And she brought him before The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, saying the serpent hath said they would be enlightened, and he took the fruit thereof, and did eat. And he saw she was naked, and so was he, and he was enlightened, and his enlightenment grew.
- Genesis, 3:7 (Blog Ver.)

Eve risked being thrown out of paradise for an apple? On the word of a snake? A talking snake no less? Yeah, right!

You see, Eve had found another tree, The Tree of Pleasure of Good and Dirty.

And when the woman saw the fruit of the tree, she knew it to be more than food, and it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired, she took the fruit thereof, and she took of the fruit again, and she took of the fruit, and she was satisfied ...
- Genesis 3:6 (Blog Ver.)

And when the woman saw the fruit of the man, she thought it was like the fruit of the tree, a fruit to be desired, and she took the fruit thereof, and she took of the fruit again, and she took of the fruit, and he was satisfied, but she was not ...
- Genesis 3:8 (Blog Ver.)

And when they saw that they were naked, they were ashamed, and from leaves she fashioned a g-string and pasties, and from a fig leaf much too big he fashioned a loin cloth.

And lo, it came to pass forever and since, that man has made a vow ... to try, ever chance he can, to turn over a new leaf.

- Genesis 3:10-11 (Blog Ver.)

Eve risked being thrown of Eden for a piece of limp fruit?

Well, duh!!! You're sitting here reading this crap aren't you?


Saturday, March 28, 2009

AWOL (A weekend of Laughter)

Terror in the Produce Department

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A young couple were married, and celebrated their first night together, doing what newlyweds do, time and time again, all night long. Morning comes and the groom goes into the bathroom but finds no towel when he emerges from the shower. He asks the bride to please bring one from the bedroom.

When she gets to the bathroom door, he opened the door, exposing his body for the first time to his bride where she sees all of him well.

Her eyes went up and down and at about midway, they stopped and stared, and she asked shyly, "What's THAT?", pointing to a small part of his anatomy.

He, also being shy, thought for a minute and then said, "Well, that's what we had so much fun with last night."

And she, in amazement asked, "Is that all we have left?"

How about that?

Just about everyone has seen or heard the following joke at one time or another.

Well, to the left is an appropriate picture to accompany it.

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A little boy and a little girl were playing. The little boy exposes himself, and pointing says" my daddy says I have one of these and you don't!".

The little girl very upset by this runs crying into the house. A while later, very much settled and content, she comes out. She exposes herself and pointing says "I have one of these, and my mommy says when I get older if I am good, I can have all of those I want!".

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A man and his son were walking through a field, and saw two dogs mating. The little boy asked his Dad what was happening.

The Father replied, "Well, son, they're making a puppy."

The following evening, the little boy was thirsty, so he went from his bed to get a glass of water. Not being able to reach the glasses, he walked unannounced into his parents bedroom, who were making love in their usual missionary position. Confused, the boy asked what were they doing.

The Dad responded very slowly and caringly to his impressionable little boy, "Well, son, we are making you a little brother."

The little boy replied, "Please turn Mom over, Dad, I'd rather have a puppy!"

That Age-Old Question - Part 2

Yes, They Do this Too!

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Nun of This, Nun of That

This nun was going to Chicago. She went to the airport and sat down waiting for her flight and she looked over in the corner and saw one of those weight machines that tells your fortune. So she thought to herself, "I'll give it a try just to see what it tells me."

So she went over to the machine and she put her nickel in and card came out and it said: You're a nun you weigh 128lbs and you're going to Chicago Illinois.

So she sat back down and thought about it. She thought to herself, "It probably tells everyone the same thing, I'm going try it again."

So she went over to the machine again and put her nickel in it, a card came out and said: You're a nun, you weigh 128lbs., you're going to Chicago Ill. and you're going to play a fiddle.

She said to herself, "I know that's wrong I have never played a musical instrument a day in my life."

She sat back down and this cowboy came over and set his fiddle case down. She picked up the fiddle and just started playing beautiful music. She looked back at the machine and said, "This is incredible I've got to try it again."

So she went back to the machine put her nickel in another card came out and it said: You're a nun, you weigh 128lbs., you're going to Chicago Ill. and you're going to break wind.

She thinks, "I know it's wrong now. I've never broke wind in public a day in my life." Well she tripped and fell off the scales and FARTED like a bay mule.

So she sat back down and looked at the machine once again. She said to herself, "This is truly unbelievable, I've got to try it again."

She went back to the machine, put her nickel in and a card came out and said: You're a nun, you weigh 128lbs., you're going to Chicago Ill. and you're going to have sex.

She said, "Ah-hah, that does it. I know for sure its wrong now, I'm a nun, I haven't ever had sex, and I'm never going to have sex."

Shortly while she in the restroom to freshen up, a huge electrical storm came through the area and the electricity went off. While she stumbled around in the dark a man wrestled her to the floor and raped her.

When the power was restored, she sat back down and thought about it for few minutes and then said, "This is truly, truly, incredible. But one thing is for certain, I've got to try it again just to see what is gonna happen to me before I leave this airport."

She went over to the machine put her nickel in and a card came out and it said: You're a nun, you weigh 128lbs., you have fiddled, farted, and fucked around and have just missed your flight to Chicago!

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Babies To Baubles

One afternoon a little girl returned from school, and announced that her friend had told her where babies come from.

Amused, her mother replied, "Really, sweetie, why don't you tell me all about it?"

The little girl explained, "Well... OK... the Mommy and Daddy take off all of their clothes, and the Daddy's thingee sort of stands up, and then Mommy puts it in her mouth, and then it sort of explodes, and that's how you get babies."

Her mom shook her head, leaned over to meet her, eye to eye and said, "Oh, darling, that's sweet, but that's not how you get babies. That's how you get jewelry."


Friday, March 27, 2009

The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray (35)

Part 35 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)

How Many Graves Can a Gravedigger Dig?

"So, 'Old Gravedigger' wants a powwow does he?" I mused.

"What do you suppose he's up to, Ben?" Stu asked.

"For the record I was dead set against this meeting," Susan interjected. "I don't see how we can trust a cold-hearted bastard who ordered all those women executed in Viet Nam."

"Unless he was under orders himself," I reasoned. "Besides, I've been thinking about the general in a different light lately. I had a lot of down time for thinking while I was in that hospital bed."

"Him taking orders?" Stu grunted. "I thought he looked every bit the man in charge that evening in the press room when they shut down your story."

"Stu, there was one thing that night that's been nagging at me ever since. I thought it was curious then that Mr. King and the general would be shaking hands. King, as any responsible owner of a business should be, was always concerned to a fault about the bottom line. I just can't see him shaking hands with a man who just grabbed a handful of money from his bottom line!"

"Now that you mention it, he never even protested when the story and everything related to it were confiscated," Stu replied. "You're thinking that King was expecting the raid?"

"Not only expected it, but gave the order." I stated with confidence. "Stu, I wasn't in that conference room, but you were. Did any of the board members show any signs of protest or complain at all?"

"Yeah. Two of them were pretty hot under the collar and demanded that the story be run."

"The same two from Chicago who were killed in a plane crash just after they left Boston?" I offered.

"You aren't suggesting ...?" his voiced trailed off before he lapsed into silent thought.

Susan had been staring out the window, herself lost in thought when she spoke, "Ben, I know there were a couple of incidents where it appeared that the general was helping us, but what if that help was self-serving? Do you honestly think we can trust him?"

"Of the two incidents to which you are referring, I'd have to say it was indeed intended for us to find the plans for that Neuro-Headpiece. The existence of such devices with built-in transmitters and receivers, certainly boggles the imagination."

"...And that thing in the package?"

I patted my coat pocket where the object rested. "Perhaps the general will tell us what purpose it serves."

"Ben," said Stu from the front, "this meeting with the general would also suggest that he's aiding your investigation in some way. Besides this meeting, those plans, and that device in your pocket there must be other occurrences that have led you to question his allegiance."

"Honestly Stu, I'm working on a hunch here. I've been sensing that someone has been aiding us almost from the beginning. It could be that someone is playing both sides from the middle with an agenda of their own. I'm not sure."

"I've learned to trust your hunches over the years, Ben. I see no reason to ignore one of them now," Stu voiced as a vote of confidence.

"Thanks Stu, I appreciate that," I responded while reaching forward to pat his shoulder. "I first suspected outside influence when I viewed those discs featuring a history of their research going all the way back to the sixties. I began wondering why someone would send to Michael and Michelle evidence of research preceding their own work, especially the one disc depicting the damnable work in Viet Nam."

"It could have been a warning, but no, it wouldn't make sense to issue a warning after they'd already taken over their research," Susan reasoned. Her eyes widened with enlightenment, "Wait a minute! The discs weren't necessarily meant for Michelle and Michael, were they?"

"Atta girl!" I said touching a finger to her lips. "You're beginning to think a lot like me. Although, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing." I waxed serious once again and said, "The Feds and Mr. X knew I had been contacted and that I was working on a story. Someone in their circle copied the discs and made them available knowing that I would see them."

"From what Susan has told me," said Stu, "the general doesn't exactly come across as a good guy on those discs."

"No he doesn't," I responded. There was a noticeable reduction in the speed of the car as Stu slowed down to pull into the lot of a roadside diner. Knowing that some of the best food is served in truck stops, my stomach growled in anticipation of the culinary delights it would soon be receiving.

Having placed our orders I picked up where I had left off with my narrative. I was trying to explain why I thought it was the general who had been discretely offering us help. If there were any holes in my theory, between Susan and Stu I was certain that they would pick up on them.

"There was the night that Michael, in Michelle's body disappeared. They were assaulted outside of the New Place by two men, the same two bastards who attacked Susan and me five nights ago! The general just happened to be in the area and claimed to have witnessed the assault. His version of what happened however, was quite different than Michelle's account."

"Hardly the actions of a man trying to help you with your investigation," Stu interjected.

"True," I nodded, "when you consider that the results of the general's statement placed Michelle in custody for assault and rape charges. Looking back on it, I found it a little too curious that it was Sergeant Brock O'Day who answered the 911 call. As we now know, the general and O'Day knew each other quite well, having served together in Nam."

"What I can't understand," Susan said, "is why the general would then call the police station to have the charges dropped and to let Michelle go free. That's assuming it was in fact the general who placed that call."

Stu set his fork down and addressed the subject, "Since the operative word seems to be assumption, allow me to throw one out there. I'd bet that there were patrons from the bar and possible passersby starting to gather at the scene. The last things this general would have wanted would be witnesses and any attention drawn to himself or to the man and woman."

I chuckled and gave a thumbs-up to my boss. "Stu, you're scaring me. Even you are starting to think like me. Yes, that's the way I see it. Per the general's orders O'Day then cuffed the man and took him to headquarters, effectively negating any possible statements from the crowd. Of course, the general also determined which ambulance service would pick up the unconscious woman."

Stu mimicked my thumbs-up gesture and said, "You seem to have everything wrapped up in a neat package, Ben. As an editor-in-chief of a newspaper who is pledged to be a responsible journalist, I'm going to assume that your assumptions are correct."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Stu," I stated. I placed my elbows on the table and continued, "There was another incident that in and of itself doesn't necessarily point to the general, but seems to tie in when combined with the others. It took place in the garage where we found those plans. We were fired upon by armed security. For some reason the ammunition they were using wasn't bullets, but rather they were shooting tranquilizer darts at us."

"A trap, perhaps? They didn't want to kill you. They wanted you alive," Stu uttered thinking aloud. "Were they out to capture you? If so, why?"

"They want us alive? Is that so?" Susan snapped. "Then why the bomb?"

"I have to admit, that has me worried!" I said responding to her outburst. "Have we outlived our usefulness to them? Are we getting too close for comfort? Maybe they have split into factions within their ranks, one wanting to keep us alive and the other wanting us out of the way. If I'm right, then the general must be part of the former."

There was a grim appearance to Stu's facial features. "Has it occurred to you that maybe they're onto the general? The general might be expendable and is on the run."

"What would bring you to think that?" I asked.

Stu glanced at his watch before answering, "I took the call from the general early this morning. He requested the meeting and insisted that it be far removed from the city. He also asked, and he was adamant about it, that only the three of us and Brock O'Day know about it."

"Did he say why?" I asked.

"Only that he fears for his daughter's life!"

(To be continued in part 36 on Monday, 3/30, with Familial Ties That Bind.)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seniors: Of Taxes and Marriage

Grandpa and the IRS

Grandpa is notified that he will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service. On the specified date he is summoned into the offices of the IRS.

The IRS auditor is not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor says, "Well sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling.

I am not sure the IRS finds that believable."

Grandpa says, "I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it. How about a demonstration?"

The auditor thinks for a moment and says, "Okay. Go ahead."

Grandpa declared, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye."

The auditor thinks a moment and says, "It's a bet!"

Grandpa proceeds to remove his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.

Then Grandpa says, "Now, I'll bet you two thousand that I can bite my other eye."

It is obvious to the auditor that Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Grandpa promptly removes his dentures and uses it to bite his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three thousand dollars to Grandpa - and with his attorney present. He starts to get nervous.

Grandpa says, "Want to go double or nothing? I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and piss into that wastebasket on the other side of your desk, and never get a drop anywhere in between."

The auditor, twice burned, is very cautious now. he looked carefully and decides there is no way this guy could possibly manage the stunt of pissing over the desk and into the wastebasket, not to mention not getting a drop on his desk and the paperwork there. So the auditor finally agrees.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants; but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream of urine reach the wastebasket on the other side of the desk. So he pretty much pisses all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he just turned a major loss into a win!

But Grandpa's attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

"Are you okay?" asks the auditor.

"Not really," answers the attorney. "This morning when Grandpa told me he's been summoned for an audit, he bet me ten thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it."

The moral - - - Don't mess with senior citizens.

50th wedding Anniversary

At Saint Rocco's Church they have a weekly "Husband's Marriage Seminar."

At the session last week, the Priest asked Luigi, who was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Luigi replied to the assembled husbands, "Wella, I've a-tried to treat-a her nicea, spenda da money on her, but besta of alla is that I tooka her to Italy for the 25th anniversary!"

The Priest responded, "Luigi, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary."

Luigi proudly replied, "I'm agonna go get her!"

Another 50th

A couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, the man looks at his wife and asks, "What would you like to do for our anniversary?"

She then replies, "We could run upstairs and make love."

He says "Make up your mind, we can’t do both."

The Sentence

A couple goes out to dinner to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

On the way home, she notices a tear in his eye and asks if he's getting sentimental because they're celebrating 50 wonderful years together. He replies, "No, I was thinking about the time before we got married.

"Your father threatened me with a shotgun and said he'd have me thrown in jail for 50 years if I didn't marry you. Tomorrow I would've been a free man!"

The Good Fairy

A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been so good that each one of them could have one wish.

The wife wished for a trip around the world with her husband. Whoosh... Immediately she had the vacation tickets in her hands.

The man wished for a female companion 30 years younger... Whoosh... immediately he turned ninety!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Change, For a Change !

Hey Barry!

You wanna fix the economy?

Okay then, pay attention. Get your mind off basketball, bowling and Halle Barry naked.

There are about 40 million people in the U.S. over the age of 50 in the work force.

Now go over to that big fancy desk of yours and sit down! Make yourself comfortable. Grab a pen and that fat checkbook from which you've been throwing away money for bailouts and stimulus packages.

Remember those 40 million 50-year-olds out there in the work force? Well, you're going to write a check for one million dollars, tax-free, to each and every one of them. Yes. I said one million! That's a "1" followed by six zeros.

Their $1,000,000 checks will be severance pay, but with the following stipulations:
1. They leave their jobs.
Forty million job openings.
(Unemployment Fixed!)
2. They buy NEW American made cars.
Forty million cars ordered.
(Auto Industry Fixed!)
3. They either buy a house or payoff their mortgage.
(Housing Crisis fixed!)
4. They buy stock.
Voila! The stock market rebounds.
(Financial Industry fixed!)
This plan will only cost the government $40 million dollars! - And it bails out the WHOLE country!

Your plans are going to cost HOW much?

WHAT? It's too easy for you? It won't be easy to get this by Congress and the Senate, you say?

Weren't you the one who in your pontifications promised CHANGE?

Well, here's a change, for a change. Start whipping out those checks, Barry. At least you'll be able to say you brought about at least ONE change. [sic] Like you promised.

File this cartoon under: "Ain't It the Truth?"


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Once Upon a Faerie Tale


Cinderella wanted to go to the ball, but her wicked stepmothers wouldn't let her.

Cinderella was sitting and crying in the garden, when all of a sudden her fairy godmother appeared. She promised to provide Cinderella with everything she would need to go to the ball, but only on two conditions.

"First, you must wear a diaphragm," she instructed.

Cinderella agreed saying, "What's the second condition?"

"You must be home by 2:00 a.m. Any later, and your diaphragm will turn into a pumpkin."

Cinderella agreed to be home by 2:00 a.m. The appointed hour came and went, and Cinderella didn't show up. Finally, at 5:00 a.m. Cinderella returned, looking love struck and very satisfied.

"Where have you been?" demanded the Fairy Godmother. "Your diaphragm was supposed to turn into a pumpkin three hours ago!!!"

"I met a prince, Fairy Godmother. He took care of everything."

The Fairy Godmother stated, "I know of no prince with that kind of power! Tell me his name!"

Cinderella replied, I can't remember, exactly, Peter, Peter, something or other..."


Pinocchio had a human girlfriend who would sometimes complain about splinters when they were having sex. Pinocchio, therefore, went to visit Gepetto to see if he could help.

Gepetto suggested he try a little sandpaper wherever indicated and Pinocchio skipped away enlightened.

A couple weeks later, Gepetto saw Pinocchio bouncing happily through town and asked him, "How's the girlfriend?"

Pinocchio replied, "Who needs a girlfriend?"

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the woods when suddenly the Big Bad Wolf jumped out from behind a tree and, holding a sword to her throat, said, "Red, I'm going to screw your brains out!"

To that, Little Red Riding Hood calmly reached into her picnic basket and pulled out a .44 magnum and pointed it at him and said, "No, you're not.

You're going to eat me, just like it says in the book."


Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were in divorce court and the judge said to Mickey, "You say here that your wife is crazy."

Mickey replied, "I didn't say she was crazy, I said she's f***ing Goofy."

The Nose Knows

The Blue Fairy watched Pinocchio dancing around In Gepetto's workshop after she had brought him to life. Feeling a little randy, she ran up behind him, knocked him flat on his back, and then sat on his face crying, "Lie to me! Lie to me!"

An Obituary

Captain Hook died from jock itch.


There was a little girl who had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was bad........ She got a fur coat, jewels, a waterfront condo, and a sports car.

Mary's Lamb

Mary had a little ram,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went,
The ram was sure to go.

It followed her to bed one day...
Now Mary has a little lamb.

That Hubbard Woman

Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard

To get her poor dog a bone.

When she bent over, Rover drove her,

Rover had a bone of his own.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray (34)

Part 34 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)

Lament To a Dead Hero

It was a surreal moment frozen in time. Snowflakes suspended motionless decorated the scene of the drama as it unfolded. There was the prolonged retort of a missile as it shattered the air. A viscous crimson shade was drawn and darkness began to fall. Somewhere, there was a woman's disembodied voice.
"Ben!" ... "You're letting them get away?" ... "Please help him!" ... "Dead? What do you mean dead?" ...
Then there were no voices, only an utter silence. There was the perception of the passing of what seemed like an eternity when I felt myself being carried aloft.

"Susan!" I cried out. I could hear sounds but no images greeted my eyes. There was only a cold darkness. A sterile antiseptic aroma sickened me.

There was the sound of shuffling feet and hands were touching me, pressing on me, and preventing me from rising from where I lie. "Where am I?" I demanded to whomever was restraining me.

"Sir, take it easy. Relax, Mr. Jones," a gruff female voice responded. "You're in recovery at the Mass General Hospital." She patted my arm and whispered, "The doctor in charge is on his way."

Another female voice spoke, "I'll send someone for the police officer and Mr. Jones' wife. They just went down to the cafeteria."

Their words slowly began to register. My thoughts raced from word to another. Hospital? ... Mr. Jones? ... My wife?

"Ah, Mr. Jones," a male voice said, "I see you're awake. I'm Doctor Adams."

"I can hear you, doctor," I muttered, "but why can't I see? I'm not blind, am I?"

"It's only a temporary condition, Mr. Jones. You received minor flash burns from a discharged pistol. After we check a few vitals, I'll remove the bandages to take a close look at your eyes."

A nurse called from the doorway, "Excuse me, doctor. Mr. Jones' wife and the officer are outside. Should I tell them to have a seat?"

"No, send them in," he replied. "We can allow them a few minutes while we get everything ready."

"Ben!" Susan's voice was like music to my ears. Her lips brushed mine momentarily and she said, "Thank God you're okay. I've been so worried."

"What in the hell happened? How long have I been here?" I begged weakly.

"They brought you here three days ago, Ben," Susan replied squeezing my hand. "I'm elated to say that you look pretty good for a dead man."

Forty-eight more hours had passed before an orderly was pushing me in a wheel chair through the maze of hallways. "I'm not an invalid," I protested to the man behind me. "I'm perfectly capable of walking out of here by myself."

"Sorry, Mr. Jones," the young man said, "but it's hospital rules. I have to wheel you to the main entrance."

When the elevator doors slid open I was greeted by not only my "wife" Susan, but behind her stood Brock O'Day and my boss, Stu Jankowski. A warm kiss from Susan was followed by what seemed to be a series of frantic well wishes. I was troubled by their urgency as they hurriedly helped me into the back seat of a Cadillac sedan which I immediately recognized as belonging to Stu. Susan joined me in the back even as Stu started the engine.

"Jesus H," I snapped. "What's with all the subterfuge?"

Stu glanced into the rear view mirror and espoused, "In spite of Sergeant O'Day's efforts, word leaked out that you did not die in the ambulance while being transported to emergency." He turned right onto Cambridge Street and sped away from the hospital. "Thanks to your girlfriend's quick thinking that evening, you were admitted under a false identity."

I looked at Susan and shook my head, "That marriage didn't last too long, did it?" I placed a hand on her cheek and leaned closer to her, "Rosie was right. You are a keeper." What followed was a long but tender merger of our lips.

"I would tell you tell you two to get a room," Stu said interrupting our embrace, "but we don't have a lot of time. I have to get you out of town, Ben. A lot has happened since you ended up in Mass General."

Our passionate moment quelled, Susan rested her head on my shoulder and sighed, "A lot? That's putting it mildly, Ben. I'll try to fill you in as best I can." She then handed me a newspaper clipping.

It was uncomfortable to say the least to read about the details of my own death at the hands of two unidentified assailants. I nodded while I scanned the article. It came as no surprise to see Brock O'Day's name mentioned as the first officer on the scene. I looked up and said, "That's three times O'Day has come to our rescue just in the nick of time."

Susan addressed that fact, "He cut it a little too close this time if you ask me. Anyway, he was watching the whole thing when we were attacked. He was recording everything. He has their admissions to the attack on Michael and Michelle, them raping her, and that they were paid to do both jobs.

When he saw that one with the gun pointed at your head, he fired his gun just before that creep pulled the trigger. His shot hit the man's hand. Thankfully that made him miss you and his bullet hit the sidewalk next to your head."

"Whew!" I whistled. "I'll have to talk to Brock about his timing." I closed my eyes and replayed the incident in my mind's eye. "I remember hearing your voice. You were crying saying I was dead. I also heard something about them getting away. This article mentions unnamed assailants. They weren't captured?"

"No. O'Day said he was letting them go and that it was more important that you received medical attention," Susan replied. "Then he began whispering instructions to me. He said that the two men were hiding nearby and that he could see their reflections in a store window. He told me to play along and prompted me what to say and to scream it out loud."

I grinned at O'Day's resourcefulness. "Ah, that makes sense. He wanted them to think I was dead. He was hoping that the news of my death would ease the heat on us!"

"Under the circumstances," it was Stu who spoke, "he didn't have to chase them down. He had the gun and blood samples of the armed man. Sergeant O'Day speculated that the bullets from the gun would probably match those that killed his friend Jimmy. He said he'd also go out on a limb and guess that there also might be a match to the one that killed Susan's friend Billy. Don't forget, he also has that recording."

"True, but that recording wouldn't hold up in court," I countered.

"No. No it wouldn't," Stu responded as if anticipation of my statement. "But it will certainly have an impact during an interrogation down at the precinct, don't you think?"

I sat up and peered at the window next to me. Everything was a blur. "Say Stu, when did you tint your windows?"

"No, why do you ask?" he answered. "Oh. Susan the eye drops ... you have them don't you?"

She reached into her pocket and held a small bottle in front of me. "Honey, I picked up your prescription before we came to the hospital." She placed her hand on my thigh and elaborated, "The doctor said you will experience blurred vision and maybe some burning sensations for a day or two. These drops will help." With my head tilted back she applied a drop of the medicine into each eye.

After a few minutes my vision was restored and I looked again at the window. It took a moment or two before I recognized the landscape as it was flying by. "I-95 North. We're on our way to Hampton Beach, aren't we?"

"Yeah," Stu confirmed, "we're three exits from the turnoff now." He glanced at his wristwatch and said, "It's 10:30. I figured we could make a pit stop for a bite to eat in Seabrook." Through the rear view mirror our eyes met, "You up for it?"

"I know I am," Susan declared. "Ben, I think you should have a full stomach before we entertain our guest when he arrives."

"Guest? What guest?" I queried my suspicious nature was being rekindled.

"It's someone near and dear to your investigations, Ben," Stu added from the front. "You might say he's a principle player."

I sighed and said, "I'm tired. I feel like I've been shot at and missed and shit at at and hit! I'm just not up for twenty questions. Who is it?"

"For the record, Ben ... he requested this meeting," Susan said. I could see it in her face that she was not enthused about the meeting. "I was against it, but Sergeant O'Day said we really should meet with him."

"Given the facts, I had to agree," Stu stated.

My arms crossed against my chest I joked in a half-hearted swagger, "Guess who's coming to dinner!"

"So what do say, Ben. A full stomach before we meet with General Julius Albright Graves?"

(To be continued with part 35 on Friday, 3/27, in How Many Graves Can a Gravedigger Dig?)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Penny Saved Is 99 Cents Short of a Dollar

After the outrageous payout of seven-figure bonuses to its executives by AIG management, other mainstream companies would be wise to consider alternative means to reward their employees.

(See cartoon.)

Was it so long ago when if one screwed up on their job that they'd be summarily dismissed? Was it not so that you couldn't collect unemployment compensation? You'd have been foolish to even expect to get a good reference.

AIG was contractually obligated to pay out those bonuses? (No small print that stated they get nothing if they fail?)

Are not bonuses paid out as rewards for jobs well done?

Let me see if I got this straight ...

They made poor decisions which not only placed AIG in financial ruin but also contributed greatly to the current state of the economy, therefore they are to be rewarded because they are valuable assets to the company.

One more question ...


AIG, do you see that stack of money over there with the eyeballs?

"That's the money you could have saved if you had not hired those greedy incompetent sons of bitches in the the first place!"

...And see that larger stack of money over there with buttocks on it?

"That's the asses of the taxpayers you've been violating!"

There is one thing AIG and its ilk have not ruined, and if nothing else have contributed to, and that is humor and jokes about the economy.

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

"Even in this recession my wife keeps asking me for more and more money," a husband complained to his friend.

"And what does she do with all the money?" the friend asked.

"I don't know," the husband said. "I haven't given her any yet."

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

A little boy wanted $100 badly and prayed for two weeks but nothing happened. Then he decided to write a letter to the Lord requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to the Lord, USA, they decided to send it to President Obama.

The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5.00 bill, as this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy. The little boy was delighted with the $5.00, and sat down to write a thank-you note to the Lord.

It said: Dear Lord, Thank you very much for sending me the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, DC and as usual, those jerks deducted $95.


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray (33)

Part 33 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)

The Wizards of Odds

Although I was standing by to help with her with her coat Susan hadn't moved from her seat. She was staring at the small piece of paper on the counter. She had read and reread it several times.

Finally she turned around and implored of me, "I give up. I don't see it. How did you come to the conclusion that Michael is in New Hampshire, specifically Hampton Beach?"

I cleared my throat and glanced at Rosie. "Well, uh ... New Hampshire is north of here and ... uh ... well, I knew that Rosie had a place up there."

She stood up and offered her arms to accept the coat. Glaring at my reflection in the mirrors behind Rosie she persisted, "That's two out of three, which we already knew, but Hampton Beach?"

"Well, ... uh ... I knew that Checkmate Dating Services' offices were in Hampton Beach. You didn't know that?" It was must have been obvious that I was squirming like a cornered rat to evade the issue, and the look on her face confirmed that she saw through my futile attempt to do so.

She crossed her arms over her chest and continued her interrogation, "You would have known that ... how?"

"Alright, I'm not too proud to admit it. My wife and I were getting a divorce. I was angry, confused and ... lonely! We had been separated for about a month. Then one night I saw her with another man ... Brock O'Day." Not wanting to continue with the confession, I began shifting my weight from one leg to the other.

"So you signed up with a dating service?" There was border line pity in her voice, but then she smiled and said, "Ben, it's no big deal."

By the time we had set out from Rosie's diner the snow had picked up considerably. There was every bit of four inches of snow on the ground. During our trek through the accumulating snow much our conversation centered around 'Tsunami Tommy's' poem.

"Remember Michelle's notes with the chess moves?" I asked. "Well, I'm not a chess player, but I do know that white always makes the first move."

"And the one who goes next, or last is black - Michael Black! Michael and Michelle both awakened as someone else," Susan said as she began to grasp the meaning of parts of the cryptic poem. "I get the part about the ring and the castle up north, but I'm confused about that last line."

"I have to admit that initially I was stumped by that one too. Then I thought that perhaps the poem was not a single message, but two," I saw the bewildered look shape the features of her face before I tried to elaborate. "Pair the rhyming lines; the first and third, and then the second and fourth."

I handed her the folded note that been in the small box containing the ring. She read aloud the first and third lines as I had suggested, "She who must go last sits before the king, From a castle north a pawn sends a ring...,"She glanced at me before reading the second and fourth lines, "And awakens someone else or so it seems, And sleeps again to take flight in dreams."

She read them again and said to me, "I don't see it, Ben. I'm coming up with the same conclusions either way."

"Maybe I'm making it more complicated than it should be," I responded as I returned the note to my pocket. "In any event, I'll explain it later on the drive to New Hampshire."

She shrugged and seemed content to accept my suggestion. "There's one thing that's really bothering me, Ben. You haven't mentioned what happened back at your apartment."

I looked at her and grinned, "What, and admit that I crapped my pants?" It was clear to me that she did not think it was a matter to take lightly. "Trust me, that has me troubled also. It would appear that someone has decided that our usefulness has abated somewhat." I slipped my arm around her waist and added, "I was getting used to the freedom we'd had up to that point. Funny, how a bomb in a smoke detector can make one rethink his freedom."

"You don't suppose our visitor had anything to do with the bomb?"

"Michelle's doppelganger? Nah," I averred. "He was on an errand to deliver that package. I'm sure neither he nor the general knew about that bomb."

"Maybe," Susan said uncertainty in her voice. "How can you be so sure? He threw you on the ground like a rag doll, Ben."

"True, but he was highly skilled in martial arts, probably from special forces training. Besides he didn't really hurt me, if anything he took it easy on me. Don't forget what he did after he shoved you down. He helped you up and apologized. That doesn't sound like the actions of a ruthless assassin to me."

"You're right of course," she conceded.

"He does pose a serious problem though," I said grimly. "Just who is he? We know he participated in those experiments and not Michelle. You picked up on that."

"Oh no, I see where you're going with this and I'm not comfortable with it either," Susan said. "You think there's a possibility that he is ... Michael Black? Then who is that up there in that apartment?"

I just shook my head in exasperation when I answered, "I haven't a clue, Susan. I hope I'm way off base on this one. If I'm not, then that leaves another question ... Whose mind is in Michelle's body?"

We were so focused on our discussion that we didn't see the two men approaching us until one of them shouted, "What have we here?"

With a menacing sneer the second one answered, "It looks like a thousand big ones to me!"

I stepped forward to place myself between them and Susan. "Look guys, we're on our way home. We don't want any trouble?"

The first one sprung open a switchblade inches from my chest. "Oh, you don't do you? My blade and me have a different idea, Mr. Bering."

"How do you know my name? Who are you?" I said raising my voice in anger. "What do you want?"

The second thug laughed, "We want the five hundred bucks apiece we're going to get paid for roughing you up, mister newspaperman!" He pulled aside his jacket to reveal the handle of a gun tucked behind his belt. "Now, just how roughed up you get depends on how much of a fight you put up."

The one with the knife slipped behind us and snarled in Susan's ear, "And speaking of rough, I hope you like it rough. 'Cause it's gonna be very rough. Me and my brother are gonna make a sandwich out of you!"

Susan kicked the man in the shin and yelled, "Fuck you, asshole!"

He only winced and growled at her, "That's the spirit, bitch. That's exactly what you're gonna do!"

"Look," I pleaded, "Don't hurt her. I'll double the money you were promised if you let her go."

"Hah!" the one with the gun snapped. "That's what that other dude said to us. You know what good that did? It made us real mad." He pulled the gun from his belt and waved it my direction. "... And when he got us mad, we got even rougher on the stupid son of a bitch."

"Yeah!" said switchblade. "That dude's bitch was one great piece of ass. She wanted it too," he said grabbing Susan's arm. "You wanna know how I knew she wanted it? The bitch was wearing no underwear under that little red dress of hers."

His words hit me like a ton of bricks. These were the same two thugs who had accosted Michael and Michelle. "I supposed you were paid to rough them up too!" I stated.

He approached me and stood with his nose against mine and declared, "Of course. The Wizards of Odds don't work for free. You two must have really pissed somebody off bad. We only got paid five hundred bucks for the other job."

In one swift motion he swung the pistol, striking me in the forehead. I slumped to my knees at his feet. It was a desperate and foolish move, but I lunged forward and wrapped my arms around his legs. My actions caught him off guard and he fell backwards onto the snow covered sidewalk.

"Ben! Look out!" Susan screamed.

I turned just in time as the man with the knife thrust the blade at me. I raised my arm in attempt to deflect his attack. I cried out in pain as the blade dug into my forearm.

We heard the click of metal, the undeniable sound of a gun being cocked. "Let him go, partner. Put that sticker to better use, like cutting the clothes off of the bitch."

I was lying there helpless. I looked up at the barrel of the gun which was pointed at my head. "There ain't no rewards for being a dead hero, newsman. You should have been a live coward instead."

I heard Susan scream and turned to find her. The other man had wrestled her to the ground and was using his knife to cut away the buttons of her blouse. I tried to move but the man's foot had come to rest on my chest.

The sound of the shot reverberated off the surrounding buildings.

(To be continued with part 34 on Sunday, 3/23, with Lament to a Dead Hero.)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Southern Exposure

Q. Did you hear about the flasher who was thinking of retiring?

A. He decided to stick it out for one more year!

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

On their first night together, a newlywed couple go to change. The new bride comes out of the bathroom showered and wearing a beautiful robe.

The proud husband says, “My dear, we are married now, you can open your robe.” The beautiful young woman opens her robe, and he is astonished.”Oh, oh, aaaahhh,” he exclaims, “My God you are so beautiful, let me take your picture."

Puzzled she asks, “My picture?”

He answers, “Yes my dear, so I can carry your beauty next to my heart forever”.

She smiles and he takes her picture, and then he heads into the bathroom to shower. He comes out wearing his robe and the new wife asks, “Why do you wear a robe? We are married now.”

At that the man opens his robe and she exclaims, “Oh, oh my, let me get a picture.”

He beams and asks why, to which she answers, “So I can get it enlarged!”

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

Two parents take their son on vacation and go to a nude beach. The father goes for a walk on the beach and the son goes to play in the water. Shortly thereafter, the boy runs to his mother and says, “Mommy, I saw some ladies with boobies a lot bigger than yours!”

The mother cleverly replies, “The bigger they are, the dumber they are!”

With that, the little boy runs back into the water and continues to play. Several minutes later, though, the little boy runs back to his mother and says, “Mommy, I saw some men with dongs a lot bigger than Daddy’s!”

“The bigger they are, the dumber they are!” she replies.

With that, the little boy runs back into the water and continues to play. Several minutes later, though, the little boy runs back to his mother and says, “Mommy, I just saw Daddy talking to the dumbest lady I ever saw and the more he talked, the dumber he got!”

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

A recently widowed Jewish lady, was sitting on a beach towel at Cocoa Beach, Florida. She looked up and noticed that a man her age had walked up, placed his blanket on the sand nearby and began reading a book.

Smiling, she attempted to strike up a conversation with him. “Hello, sir, how are you?”

“Fine, thank you,” he responded, and turned back to his book.

“I love the beach. Do you come here often?” she asked.

“First time since my wife passed away last year,” he replied, and again turned back to his book.

“Do you live around here?” she asked.

“Yes, I live over in Suntree,” he answered, and then resumed reading.

Trying to find a topic of common interest, Sarah persisted. “Do you like pussycats?”

With that, the man threw his book down, jumped off his blanket onto hers, tore off both their swimsuits and gave her the most passionate ride of her life!

As the cloud of sand began to settle, Sarah gasped and asked the man, “How did you know that was what I wanted?”

The man replied, “How did you know my name was Katz?

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

A man and a woman started to have sex in the middle of a dark forest. After about 15 minutes of it, the man finally gets up and says, “Damn, I wish I had a flashlight!”.

The woman says, “Me too, you’ve been eating grass for the past ten minutes!”

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

A man from Texas buys a round of drinks for everyone in the bar as he announces his wife has just produced “A typical Texas baby boy weighing twenty pounds.”

Congratulations shower all around, and many exclamations of ‘wow!’ are heard.

Two weeks later he returns to the bar. The bartender says, ‘Say, you’re the father of the typical Texas baby that weighed twenty pounds at birth, aren’t you? How much does the baby weigh now?’

The proud father answers, ‘fifteen pounds.’

The bartender is puzzled. ‘Why? What happened? He already weighed twenty pounds at birth.’

The Texas father takes a slow sip from his beer, wipes his lips on his shirt sleeve, leans over to the bartender and proudly announces, ‘Had him circumcised.'


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Oblogatory Irish Post

Erin Go Braugh!

(Sigh!) Here it is another holiday for which we must go shopping. Another holiday meal that must be planned and prepared. Another day to compete with others who are facing the same questions. What to buy? How much? Or what to wear? Who to invite and how many? It's on a weekday, should we celebrate on the weekend before or not?

Of course the list must start with the corned beef, cabbage, carrots,etc., because no St. Patrick's celebration can be planned without a meal. No St. Patrick's meal is complete without something to wash it all down, something wet and frosty. Then there is all the paraphenalia. You just have to have shamrocks, and anything you find that is green.

Green Spree

~ So it goes, you have begun to amass all things green. If your local school, college, or pro team happens to have green colors, so much the better, you can always break out their caps and shirts! You score a green tablecloth with white shamrocks that matches your white napkins with green shamrocks. The green garland, Irish themed window decorations, to which you impulsively add that green plastic derby, slowly begin to fill your basket. At the check out register you espy an array of shiny bright pins. There are shamrocks, rainbows, pots of gold, and of course there is a Leprechaun to choose from. That decision is easy, and you don't want to second guess, thus you get one of each.

Seeing Green

The days following find us sporting all kinds of symbols of Ireland and of St. Patrick, whether it's the clothing on our bodies, or pins displayed on our breasts, or the green carnations upon our lapels. Business men are wearing ties regaled in various shades of greens and green patterns. The women are decked out in green sweaters, green skirts. At some place on nearly every person's body, there is at least a token object of St. Patrick's Day, or an Irish theme.

Leapin' Leprechauns

Not lost on the television networks, the approach of St. Patrick's Day means dusting off movies and programs from the shelves. We will certainly check the listings for "The Quiet Man," starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Sullivan. For some, "Finnians Rainbow," will be the film du jour. Others might prefer "Pete's Dragon." The Cartoon Network will roll out their cache of Irish and Leprechaun animated features. No doubt the Lucky Charms ads will be running.

Shillelagh Shenanigans

There will be various St. Patrick's Days festivities all over, especially those in predominantly Irish neighborhoods. Nearly everywhere, there will be parades led by the politicians marching before throngs of people lining the streets.
Green beer will be flowing. Corned beef and cabbage will be consumed, and washed down with more beer. Did you have the chance to swing by Mickie Dee's and have green milkshake yet? The step dancers had been practicing for this very day for months. Isn't it amazing how many people think they can dance the jig after several frosty ones?

Amateur Night

There are two nights of the year that I refuse to leave the house. New Year's Eve being the first, as there are too many people out there partying, drinking and driving. To many that is one of the few times they actually go out at all. The other, of course, is St. Patrick's Day. Like New Year's Eve, this one too is amateur night. It is on this night that the Irish population grows expotentially. The Irish wannabes do serve one purpose, they spend lots of money, thus contributing to the economy. From this group comes those who attempt to dance ill-advised jigs. This fraternity includes those who make vain communication with their version of an Irish brogue. "I say, Lassie. Got any Irish in Ya? Nae? Would ye like some?" I daresay, I doubt that this line has actually ever worked. But hats off to the lass who replies, "I'm afraid ye would be a wee bit too little!" Of course there will be the customary spate in force of the Irish jokes. Those who can mimic the Irish brogue, manage to spice up these jokes rather nicely. When I think of Irish humor, why not conjure up a few clever limericks? "There was a girl from Nantucket, who..oops! Never mind! That's a subject for a blog another day. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all! Have fun and enjoy. Be careful all of you.

Erin Go Braless!


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray (32)

Part 31 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)

Tsunami Tommy

"Good Lord!" Rosie exclaimed as we walked through the door. "You two look like something the cat drug in and the dog wouldn't have anything to do with."

Through our reflections in the mirrored wall behind her, it was evident that we were quite a mess. Our clothes were disheveled and we were covered with spots of dingy dust. "We decided to dress up and go out to a fancy place to eat tonight," I countered.

With her elbows on the counter and her chin resting in her hands she grinned and said, "Touche'." She placed a menu in front of us and continued, "I heard it on my police scanner, Ben. What the hell happened over there? A gas explosion?"

I shrugged and answered, "Let's just say that as of tonight, I'm homeless."

She let my words sink in and shook her head, "You always said you never liked that flat anyway." She then turned her attention to Susan, "Are you all right, honey?"

"Yes," Susan said. "I think so. Maybe a little shaken up."

She nudged my arm with a talon-like finger nail and winked, "Ben, she's a keeper." She smiled with the pleasure that she'd induced a flush to both our cheeks. She trained her eyes on Susan again and queried, "Did you find the accommodations to your liking at my palatial abode in Franklin?" She sensed my raised eyebrows and amended the description of her home. "Okay, so it's only a converted cottage."

"You have a very lovely home, Rosie," Susan responded. She glanced at me and with a sheepish grin said, "...And we didn't mess up the sheets."

"Susan!" I chided. I sighed in defeat as Rosie and Susan exchanged high fives. It was quiet for a few minutes and then we finally placed our orders, both Susan and I settling for a burger and some fries.

Susan had only taken a couple of bites from her sandwich when she began to spread bits of shredded newspaper on the counter. She motioned to Rosie and asked, "Would you have any scotch tape lying about?" While it was like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing, she managed to align the print. She then tore off small trips of the tape and pressed them gently onto the bits of newsprint to hold the pieces in place.

She scanned the lines of print on the side facing up. I thought she was probably wasting her time, but she seemed certain there had to be a clue of some kind hidden there. Her curiosity getting the best of her, Rosie inquired, "What are you looking for, dear?"

"I'm not quite sure," she replied. She flipped the patched paper over and added, "I have a hunch there's something ..." She tapped her finger on an enclosed box of print and triumphantly declared, "Yes! Here it is, Ben! It's even been circled in blue."

Her excited cry caught me by surprise. I leaned closer to see what she had found. It was an advertisement of all things. "A dating service? I don't see ..."

She cut me short and said, "Look at the name of the dating service."

"Checkmate Dating Services ... Well I'll be," I uttered. "...And it's associated with the Check Mate Lounge?" I looked at her and mused, "The Check Mate Lounge is no longer ... I wonder, what is the date of that ad?"

"You two only just met, didn't you?" Rosie asked. "Already you're checking out a dating service?" When both Susan and I looked at her without saying a word she moved away and said, "Don't mind me. I'm just wiping down the counter. Oh dear, how did I miss that spot over there?"

Finding no date, Susan lifted the patched sheet to check its other side. "I don't see a date ... Wait! Right here in the top corner. No, only the year, 2000. The rest was torn away."

"Hmmm, eight years ago!" I observed. I turned to her, "Susan, are you seeing a pattern here?"

"What, that eight years ago was a very good year?" She smiled and then started reading from the ad. "Whatever the date, the lounge had a party for all the couples who met through their dating service." She grew quiet for a moment before speaking again, "Say! I remember when that place was closed to the public one night. I couldn't get in because I had no invitation. I was mad...," she was drumming her fingers on the counter and appeared lost in thought.

"Susan? What is it?" I asked.

"Two nights later ... there was a drug raid. I was busted for one lousy joint they found in my purse." She faced me and raised her hand and said, "Scout's honor, Ben. I don't know how that joint got into my purse. Then your cop pal Sergeant O'Day arrested me. I had to spend the night in jail with about a dozen other girls."

"Only girls?" I said. Her nod confirmed what I feared. I was hopeful that the supposition I was about to make was way off base. "Recruits?"

There was a slight paling to her face when she responded, "Recruits? What do you mean by that?" The color returned to her face after a moment and then waxed to an angry red. "You aren't suggesting that the girls were released and then had the charges dropped in exchange for "volunteering" to participate in a research project?"

"I've no proof, nothing concrete," I stated in earnest, "it's just a theory I was kicking around in my head. Of course, there is the matter of the dating service too. Just think of the subjects that could have been "harvested" from the account files of such a service."

It was Rosie who spoke next, "I don't mean to be nosy or to butt in, but how is it that you happen to be walking around with pieces of a newspaper eight years old with a circled ad on it anyway?"

"You might say that someone left Ben a present in his apartment," Susan offered. "It was wrapped in newspaper."

"Maybe I'm missing something here," Rosie countered, "but this someone just happened to have an eight-year-old newspaper lying about? What are the odds he or she would grab that page with that ad on it?"

I lunged forward so fast that Rosie was startled. I placed my hands on her cheeks and planted a quick kiss on her lips. Stunned she backed away and blubbered, "Ben Bering! What in the hell was that for?" She ran her hand across her face and said, "You've got that pretty young gal sitting there next to you and you're hitting on me? And in front of her?"

I laughed and pulled Susan into my arms and kissed her too. That kiss, however, was long and heated. I pulled away from Susan's blushing face and exclaimed, "I love you both!" I sat up straight and said, "I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. All this time I thought the whole world was against us. Susan, you were right that there might be a clue on that piece of newspaper. In fact, there was more than one clue! Rosie, you brought to my attention not what was there, but what was not there."

I smiled as I observed the bewilderment on their faces. My nose for news, my instincts had been dormant for too long. It had already been apparent to me that not only were there those who wanted to stop us, but there were also some who wanted to help us. How could I as a newspaperman, especially an investigative reporter, have been so blind?

It was more than those shredded pieces of newspaper that had awakened me. If not for Rosie and Susan I don't know if I would have figured out just what was in play, what was at stake. It wasn't what was on the newspaper as much as what was not on the newspaper. Newspaper was the operative word, and pieces the modifier.

Stu my editor, on the other hand would have said I was missing one important thing - proof, substantiated proof. That, of course was the rub. Well, I had learned a long time ago that coming up with proof was the easy part of an investigation, it was finding the facts that was the hard part. Sure, there were still a few loose ends, but I knew at that point in time that I was close to tying them together.

I had to remain tight-lipped to both Rosie and especially to Susan. Too much knowledge on Rosie's part was not conducive to her safety. As for Susan, I wasn't sure how she would hold up if she was to learn the truth about the missing but important details of her life.

I came out of my reverie of deep private thought when I remembered the package I'd removed from my mailbox. I looked at the two envelopes I'd also taken. One was from a bank trying to get me to take out a life insurance policy. I chuckled and held aloft the other and announced, "The bill for my rent." I tossed it and the other one in the direction of the trash receptacle next to where Rosie was standing and said, "You don't expect me to pay rent for an apartment that's no longer there, do you?"

I studied the small package for a moment and glanced at Susan, "Maybe it's another clue?"

"Who's it from?" Susan asked leaning closer to me.

"No address," I replied. "It has no postage. This was hand delivered to my mailbox."

After removing the wrapping I held up a small box usually reserved for jewelry. Inside there was a folded piece of paper lying atop some foil which was covering something beneath.

"What does the note say, Ben? Susan asked in anticipation.

I read it aloud. The three of us wore puzzled looks as we tried to digest the meaning of four lines of a poem. It read:
She who must go last sits before the king
And awakens someone else or so it seems
From a castle north a pawn sends a ring
And sleeps again to take flight in dreams.

-Tommy Tsunami
"What in the hell is that supposed to mean?" Rosie queried.

"Tommy Tsunami? What kind of a name is that? Who is it?" Susan asked.

I removed the foil to reveal what both Rosie and Susan easily identified as a friendship ring. When I raised my eyebrows in a querulous manner Rosie stated, "Don't be surprised, Ben. We women know our jewelry."

Susan stood up excited, "Ben, that's Michelle's ring. She was wearing it during those experiments." I was a little slow on the uptake and winking she added, "You know, she was wearing it on her finger! Michael wasn't wearing it. Michelle was wearing it."

Rosie, obviously confused by Susan's remark exclaimed, "Of course Michelle would be wearing it. It's a woman's ring!"

Susan and I exchanged a knowing glance at one another at Rosie's expense. She knew nothing of the transformation that had happened to Michael and Michelle. I turned my attention again to what I had determined was a cryptic message hidden within the four lines of poetry. Suddenly there appeared that proverbial flashing light bulb in an imaginary thought bubble above my head. I snapped my finger to signal that moment of discovery. I knew where Michael Black was!

I stood up and stretched. "Rosie, thank you as always for your generosity and wit. Susan and I really must go and clean ourselves up a bit." I winked in response to the inquisitive mask on her face. I placed a hand on Susan's shoulder and announced, "After we've made ourselves more presentable, we have a couple of errands to run. For starters, we'll need some warmer clothes. Then we're going to need to rent a car."

"You solved the poem already? Where are we going, Ben?"

"Yes, I believe I did solve it. We are going to visit Michael up north at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire." I answered.

Rosie reached under the counter and retrieved her pocketbook. She fumbled around groping for something in the depths of the bag. She produced a set of keys and laid them on the counter. "It looks like you're going to be asking me for the keys to my cottage, which just happens to be in Hampton Beach."

(To be continued in part 32 on Friday 3/20, with The Wizards of Odds.)