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1. She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

And so, the wheel turns. My eldest has moved to college. Although my Lovely Wife (LW) tells me we have to keep her room intact because she will still come home, I remember that I never lived at home after I left for college. I am somewhat sad about that, but we’ve been prepping for this and hoping she would take flight someday. It’s just hard to watch the baby condor drop off the ledge knowing the perilous plunge that awaits.

I’m taking it pretty well, actually. LW, not so much. Everything in the house seems to remind her that one of her babies has left the nest. Tears, oh there have been tears. I don’t understand tears, nor do I deal with them very well. I remind LW that she’s always got me… forever…  Somehow, that doesn’t seem to help.

After moving our collegian, we had to take our little patient in for treatment where she and mom stayed a few days. While they were gone, I happened into the pantry and realized LW must not have been there since baby condor left. If food packaging could form a face, every piece of junk food in there conspired to draw our missing daughter – even to me and I’m oblivious to the most obvious of things.

This was bad! I couldn’t let LW see this, she would cry for days. It all had to go, but the cheapskate in me said I also couldn’t throw out all of the food. Only one option remained. A 24 hour binge of Munchos and Dr. Pepper.

Have you ever read the nutrition label on those things? DON’T! You can gain 3 pounds just from holding the bag too long. They don’t list things by proportion, otherwise the label would read something like this:

Lard 70%image

Air 27%

Salt 2.5%

Potatoes 0.5%

How they bond the ingredients I will never know. Anyway, I polished off the first bag for breakfast and washed it down with three Dr. Peppers. I checked the remaining inventory and was disheartened to discover that LW must have decided to stock up to try to lure the girl to forsake college and stay with us. Either that or she suspected a Y2k15 disaster and wanted to be prepared. Our pantry was like a saferoom.

This is where having many offspring should pay off! I enlisted the help of the remaining children. When I explained the dilemma, I got more “Oh, Dad” eye rolls than the average game of nine-ball. One took a Dr. Pepper before she left, so I was down to hoarder’s surplus minus one. Alone, I dug in for the day.

In the late evening, I was sure a trip the emergency room was in order. The pantry was reverting back to a faceless state, and my stomach was screaming something in Idahoan. I was sweating a substance that looked like maple syrup, which can’t be good. I put in a call to Poison Control where a kind gentleman told me there was no known toxicity in the combination, but urged me to go to the hospital if I felt light-headed. That’s the last thing I remember before passing out amongst the crumbs of the last bag.

When I came to, it was time to go and pick up LW and the youngest. I used the shower squeegee to remove the syrup-sweat and when I arrived, they were ready to go. The trip home was uneventful, I successfully hid the tick and slurred speech caused by sugar intake. While I was unloading the car, LW stopped me.

“Where are the snacks for the party?”

I shrugged my shoulders and grunted. I didn’t ask ‘what party’, I’m sure I’d been told.

“The pantry was full of them.”

“I dunno,” I replied without making eye contact.

“Well, we need more for the party Saturday. Can you go to the store?”

“Uh, sure.”

They say never go to the store hungry. I went full! And I bought $57 worth of Dr. Pepper and Munchos, feeling bloated and quite resentful. Even after all the sweets, this was a bitter pill to swallow.


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

7 Comments on She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, last added: 8/21/2014
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2. She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

And so, the wheel turns. My eldest has moved to college. Although my Lovely Wife (LW) tells me we have to keep her room intact because she will still come home, I remember that I never lived at home after I left for college. I am somewhat sad about that, but we’ve been prepping for this and hoping she would take flight someday. It’s just hard to watch the baby condor drop off the ledge knowing the perilous plunge that awaits.

I’m taking it pretty well, actually. LW, not so much. Everything in the house seems to remind her that one of her babies has left the nest. Tears, oh there have been tears. I don’t understand tears, nor do I deal with them very well. I remind LW that she’s always got me… forever…  Somehow, that doesn’t seem to help.

After moving our collegian, we had to take our little patient in for treatment where she and mom stayed a few days. While they were gone, I happened into the pantry and realized LW must not have been there since baby condor left. If food packaging could form a face, every piece of junk food in there conspired to draw our missing daughter – even to me and I’m oblivious to the most obvious of things.

This was bad! I couldn’t let LW see this, she would cry for days. It all had to go, but the cheapskate in me said I also couldn’t throw out all of the food. Only one option remained. A 24 hour binge of Munchos and Dr. Pepper.

Have you ever read the nutrition label on those things? DON’T! You can gain 3 pounds just from holding the bag too long. They don’t list things by proportion, otherwise the label would read something like this:

Lard 70%image

Air 27%

Salt 2.5%

Potatoes 0.5%

How they bond the ingredients I will never know. Anyway, I polished off the first bag for breakfast and washed it down with three Dr. Peppers. I checked the remaining inventory and was disheartened to discover that LW must have decided to stock up to try to lure the girl to forsake college and stay with us. Either that or she suspected a Y2k15 disaster and wanted to be prepared. Our pantry was like a saferoom.

This is where having many offspring should pay off! I enlisted the help of the remaining children. When I explained the dilemma, I got more “Oh, Dad” eye rolls than the average game of nine-ball. One took a Dr. Pepper before she left, so I was down to hoarder’s surplus minus one. Alone, I dug in for the day.

In the late evening, I was sure a trip the emergency room was in order. The pantry was reverting back to a faceless state, and my stomach was screaming something in Idahoan. I was sweating a substance that looked like maple syrup, which can’t be good. I put in a call to Poison Control where a kind gentleman told me there was no known toxicity in the combination, but urged me to go to the hospital if I felt light-headed. That’s the last thing I remember before passing out amongst the crumbs of the last bag.

When I came to, it was time to go and pick up LW and the youngest. I used the shower squeegee to remove the syrup-sweat and when I arrived, they were ready to go. The trip home was uneventful, I successfully hid the tick and slurred speech caused by sugar intake. While I was unloading the car, LW stopped me.

“Where are the snacks for the party?”

I shrugged my shoulders and grunted. I didn’t ask ‘what party’, I’m sure I’d been told.

“The pantry was full of them.”

“I dunno,” I replied without making eye contact.

“Well, we need more for the party Saturday. Can you go to the store?”

“Uh, sure.”

They say never go to the store hungry. I went full! And I bought $57 worth of Dr. Pepper and Munchos, feeling bloated and quite resentful. Even after all the sweets, this was a bitter pill to swallow.


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

0 Comments on She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore as of 8/21/2014 10:25:00 PM
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3. Awesome Author Interview: Adam Wallace

I recently had the pleasure of meeting funny man and children’s book author, Adam Wallace, creator of titles including Mac O’Beasty, The Negatees, The Pete McGee series, Jamie Brown is Not Rich, and Better Out Than In. I am even more fortunate that he has agreed to answer some of my questions! Firstly, congratulations on being […]

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4. A Call to Tech Support

The wifi in my eldest daughter’s laptop died recently. Being the home’s Chief Technology Officer, I worked through the handy troubleshoot on the system which told me it was working perfectly. Of course, the inability to connect to the internet and the distraught look on my poor daughter’s face told me it wasn’t. No worries, I bought a USB dongle and she was up and running.

Little did I know that my trouble-shooting skills would soon be needed again. A week ago, she informed me that her dongle wasn’t working. Of course, at 11:15, my system was shut down, so I didn’t pay much attention and went to bed. When I awoke, I realized it wasn’t her computer – there was a wholesale internet outage in the house!

I think that is mentioned in Revelation, isn’t it? The Mark of the Beast and the inability to access High-Speed Wireless is in chapter 13, if I remember correctly. I looked outside and it didn’t appear the Battle of Armageddon had begun yet. A check of the beds told me the wife and kids were still here, so the rapture hadn’t left me behind (Whew!)

But I still had no internet.

This has happened before and I fixed it. What did I do? Oh yeah, I unplugged it and it rebooted itself. So I pulled the plug and let it regenerate. Unfortunately, the light blinking was still red long after power was restored. So I called my ever-helpful internet service provider and got stuck in the web of automated attendants who sound helpful, but are very patronizing. Don’t they know I am the CTO? That should give me some status, I would think.

My biggest problem wasn’t the self-righteous know-it-all computer voice on the other end of the phone, it was the fact that my cell phone service is spotty in the basement where the router resides. So I put the phone on speaker and listened as best I could. Like a rat pushing through a maze, I found the tech support cheese after seventeen minutes and the new, smarter sounding Tech Support Weenie voice tells me we are going to have to restart the system.

TSW: I will now tell you how to restart your system. This is a medium level procedure and will take approximately 3-5 minutes.

Okay

TSW: Can you see your internet router?

Yes

TSW: Please find the power cable on the back of the router and say yes when you’ve found it.

Got it

TSW: I didn’t understand you.

Er…  Yes

TSW: Trace the cable to the electric outlet. Unplug the cable and wait 10 seconds before plugging it back in.

Well, that’s what I did before, but okay

TSW: Did this solve your problem?

NO!

At that point, my spotty cell service affected my ability to clearly hear the next steps in the process. What I am pretty sure it said was for me to disconnect all cables, kick the box across the room, plug it back in and see if any lights were blinking. Repeat until no lights function.

Done!

After I hung up, I went to work early and left this note on the floor:

936051_10152553265964675_8432536674832206132_n

 

The good news, there is free wifi at the hotel, but I really wish they would call.


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

6 Comments on A Call to Tech Support, last added: 8/5/2014
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5. Four People and a Playwright Looking for a Decent Play

This was a time-waster while developing characters in my play, "Gin..." As the playwright plodded along adding and deleting dialogue, the characters of the play began to show signs of rebellion - at least they thought it was rebellion since they weren't exactly sure what a rebellion was. It's a longer piece but an enjoyable light one. It's cut and pasted from Word so ignore the formatting.


By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 
AT RISE:      
 
Four women are seated on fold-up chairs around a card table, absorbed in adjusting the playing cards in their hands. Bowls of popcorn and soft drink cans litter the surface of the table. On the other side of the stage the playwright (JULIE) is sitting at a computer desk, arms bent at elbows, staring out into space. She works the keyboard as the characters recite their lines
 
BRENDA
In case anyone cares, something is about to happen…very soon now…could even be momentarily…I can feel it…
                         Lays cards down on the table and thrusts remaining card in the
                         air for all to see
 
(Cont’d.) Victory is at hand – or inmy hand, in this case! Oh I’m a winner all right!
CHARLENE
                         Shoving a hand full of popcorn in her mouth
 
Goof fo' you. Paf me de drink, Miffi
 
BRENDA
Didn't your momma teach you it's not nice to eat and talk? Then again for some people, a full mouth is part of a lifestyle. Isn't that right Mitzi, honey?
 
MITZI
Jealousy will get you nowhere, sweetie.  At least I'm not a dried up where it counts!
 
BRENDA
Touchy! I was merely commenting to Charlene that well-bred people don't speak with their mouths full! But then being that you’re a multi-tasker…I mean handling more than one person at a time…
 
MITZI
Breeding comes naturally in your family, doesn't it? Did they forget to give you your cube of sugar today? Clop your hoof once for yes and two for no
 
CHLOE
(to herself)
Bicker, bicker…bicker, … It would be nice to have a quiet game of cards for a change without throwing verbal knives at each other
 
CHARLENE
I think I'm close to calling Gin…
 
BRENDA
I would stay out of this if I were you, Chloe. Is your brother eligible for parole, yet?
 
CHLOE
I'm gonna start calling you Bossy, along with the other "b" word that rhymes with itch, and usually associated with a female dog! I try to be nice to you and what do I get in return?
 
                         CHLOE stares into space for approx. 10 seconds in silence
 
What do I get in return? Does anybody know?
 
CHARLENE
Do we guess?
CHLOE
I don’t think so. My mind is a complete blank. Is that normal?
 
           Pause of 10 seconds while they all stare out into space
 
CHARLENE
I’m waiting

BRENDA
Me too. What are we waiting for?
 
MITZI
Some words and sentences I think

 
BRENDA
(puzzled)
Don't blame me for what comes out of my mouth. I just say the words. I don't create them. By the way, Chloe, what's your brother in for this time? Armed robbery or is it murder? I didn't mean to say that…or maybe I did…I’m not sure
MITZI
I really don't know why but I feel compelled to tell you…
 
                         Stands up and leans over the table towards BRENDA
 
BRENDA
(standing up)
What? Anybody?
 
MITZI
Why am I standing? I mean, what's my motivation? Could somebody tell me, please?
 
CHLOE
So sit down if you’re not sure. My philosophy is when in doubt – don’t
 
MITZI
Don’t what?
 
CHLOE
Um - I dunno. Take my word for it and just don’t. That’s all
 
CHARLENE
(excitedly)
Gin! What’s supposed to happen, now?
 
BRENDA
I’m not sure but I think something important is gonna happen. I can feel it in my bones. Does anybody have any ideas?
 
MITZI
Well…for starters, we’re all holding these hard pieces of paper in our hands
 
CHLOE
I wonder if that’s significant. What do yours look like, Brenda?
 
BRENDA
Let’s see… White background with red and black thingies…
 
MITZI
Thingies?
 
BRENDA
I dunno what you call them but they’re pretty, though. And there are numbers in the corners
 
CHLOE
Same here! Go figure!
 
MITZI AND CHARLENE TOGETHER
Ours too!
 
BRENDA
Okay. We’re making progress here. Hey! These are playing cards
 
 CHARLENE
You think?
 
 BRENDA
I know for a fact! Those words just popped into my head!
 
CHARLENE
So you say. You could’a just make them up on the spur of the moment to impress us
 
BRENDA
Have you ever heard me use them before?
 
CHLOE
I never heard them in my entire life and that’s the truth
 
BRENDA
Then you’re all just gonna hav’ta take my word for it! These things are called playing cards
 
MITZI
Let’s say you’re right. What about them?
 
BRENDA
I dunno…What comes next?
 
CHARLENE
Y’know - I’ve been wondering if I should be eating popcorn or maybe change it for something else like, candy for example or ice cream
 
MITZI
All you think about is food, food, food! There are more important things in life
 
BRENDA
Really? Like?
 
MITZI
Well…there just are. I feel it

 
CHLOE
Sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm a puppet on a string or something, bowing to someone's wishes. Do any of you ever get that feeling?
 
CHARLENE
I said, ‘Gin’! Hello? I'll try again. Gin… Gin… Gin!
 
ALL TOGETHER
So?
 
CHARLENE
Darned if I know. We show up every day and twice on weekends holding these playing cards in our hands. Why I keep asking myself. Why am I here? Why are we all here? Sometimes I yell out,  “Gin!” out loud but nobody answers. Shouldn’t somebody answer me? I’ve been screaming that word for the last six months. Always the same words and lines and then I call out, "Gin!"
                         Stares out in space and babbles to an invisible person
 (Cont’d.) ‘…she tries to make the others understand but they just stare at her blankly…she must determine the reason for her very existence…’
 
BRENDA
Who are you talking to?
 
CHARLENE
I really can’t say. Suddenly a bunch of words came tumbling out of my mouth for no reason. It's not the first time this has happened
 
BRENDA
Ask Mitzi. She knows all about objects in mouths
 
MITZI
I'm so sick of your sexual innuendoes, Brenda
 
CHLOE
Why do you react that way whenever the word “mouth” is mentioned?
 
MITZI
It’s not that I want to but I feel I have to. It’s as if I don’t have any choice in the matter
 MITZI stands up with hands on hips, leans forward until her face  is directly in front of Brenda

BRENDA
Yes?
 
MITZI
And…um…something else…
 
                         Moves away from table, hops up and down and starts
 shadow boxing, fists waving in the air
 
(Cont’d.) I took a self-defense course! My hands are lethal weapons!
 
                         Cuts the air with side of hand
 
CHLOE
And that means…?
 
MITZI
You are so not with it.  It means…it means…
 
BRENDA
Oh pllleeze! She doesn’t know
 
BRENDA
Let's settle this once and for all! C'mon – right here and now
 
MITZI
Fine with me…what are we supposed to do next?
 
BRENDA
Just… keep hitting the air and dancing around I suppose
 
                         BRENDA and MITZI spar, fists jabbing the empty air
 
CHLOE
                         Stands up and places her purse strap over her shoulder
 
That's it! Nobody seems to care that I have yelled “Gin!”…whatever that means, but I'm sure it's important.  I don't know about you all but I'm leaving! Anybody else gonna follow me?
 
 MITZI
                         Attempts to attract the attention of the playwright
 
Hello? You up there? Could you stop staring at that screen for a minute? This isn't working for me at all. I'm sick-and-and tired of being a slut with a one-track mind. This play of yours is a bunch of words with no plot or direction and it breaks every playwriting rule in the book. Where's the protagonist and antagonist?
 
CHARLENE
What are you complaining about? My character is insecure, indecisive and naive, and those are her strong qualities. How'd you like to have those? I'm smart, you know! I am very smart… I think
 
BRENDA
Off the top of my head, I would guess that part of your problem is that you're a minor character, while mine plays a major role and more attention is required to develop Brenda, properly
 
CHARLENE
See what I mean? How come I can't be the smart one for a change?
 
CHLOE         
With all due respect Charlene, honey, I don't think you have the emotional range to assume an analytical role of deep thinker, like we do. Right ladies?
 
                         CHLOE and BRENDA together:  ‘I dunno’
 
CHARLENE
It's just not fair! Every day I hav'ta play the part of a simple minded female when in reality, I got it up here (points to her head) I think this is what makes the words come out
 
CHLOE
You see, Charlene, sweetie, my background lends itself to being a character with class…one of the rich, beautiful people, while you – well dear - let's just say that you have interesting words in your sentences
 
CHARLENE
I'm as good as anyone here! You're all forgetting that we are the sum total of the playwright's vision. Hey – I can talk smart too! Why can't we take turns being each other?
 
MITZI
Let's not forget here that our origins are a computer memory chip. The only rich and famous person we're connected to is Bill Gates. I say…we walk. Are you with me, ladies?
 
VOICE OF PLAYWRIGHT (JULIE)
Is there a problem?
 
BRENDA
 
                         Hands on hips, facing direction of playwright
 
We got your attention, huh? We've had it with these crappy lines! We're bored of being portrayed as vacuous women with blank minds. We're people too! We have feelings and we hurt and…
 
JULIE
May I remind you that you're nothing more than a bunch of words strung together to make a sentence? I make you who and what you are and I can eliminate you all with a push of my forefinger and a delete button. You're only communicating with me now because I'm exploring dialogue choices. You're all a figment of my imagination
 
CHARLENE
No need for threats, here, dear. There's only so much that characters can take and we've reached the end of the line, so to speak. Do you like that, ladies? End-of-the-line?
 
CHLOE
Trés wit-ty, my dear
 
JULIE
What should I say? I've re-written and re-written you all at least two dozen times and no matter what I do, the dialogue sounds… wooden. And don't even ask about the plot, or lack of one, thereof
 
BRENDA      
That's because you really don't really believe in us, do you? Deep down inside you're toying with the idea of deleting the text and starting a whole new play that will move in a new direction. Do you know what it's like living under that threat? I'll tell you – it's very disturbing
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
Did I write that? I don't remember writing those words…
 
CHLOE
Now there's a perfect example of what I'm talking about! We never know where you're gonna take us next, right ladies? It's like…there's giant hands hanging over the stage dangling precariously, ready to strike at a moments notice.  It's the uncertainty of the delete button that gets us down!
 
MITZI
For example, why do you always make me as an over-sexed whore? Maybe it would be good to be an upright female for a change.  Not necessarily a nun or anything but an intelligent woman who has a direction and purpose in life. Not somebody who dresses in clothes three sizes too tight. Let Charlene assume that part for once. Wouldn't you like that, dear?
 
CHARLENE
I'll pass but I know where she's coming from! In spite of all your attempts at re-writes, you still make me out like an empty-headed - duh! I want to be respected like the rest of them, except Mitzi…no insult intended…
 
MITZI
None taken, dear. I'm used to it by now
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
I never realized you all felt this way
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6. Floating In Pants

I don’t have a grand list of phobias. But of the things I fear, I’m pretty sure sharks top the list. As a child of the seventies, Jaws really did me in. I love going to the beach and being in the ocean, but constantly find myself scanning the horizon for a fin. I have been deep-sea fishing and enjoyed it even when I heard the eerie music in my mind and braced for the impact from the imaginary megalodon shark about to ram us from underneath.

I’ve been reading the book, In Harm’s Way, which is about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II. A few years ago a survivor of the event, Edgar Harrell, spoke at my children’s school on Veteran’s Day. His story was amazing. If you don’t know what happened, the ship was sunk by a torpedo and since they were on a covert mission, no one knew to rescue them. This led to the largest recorded shark massacre in history. While I am fascinated by the situation, it leads to all kinds of issues. Could I survive such an event? Take the sharks out of the picture, am I ready to float in the ocean for days?

Then I remembered! I have been trained to use my pants as a flotation device thanks to the Uncle Sam. That was over twenty-five years ago, though… can I still do it?

I decided to test my skill. After all, I fly over the ocean sometimes, I might need to use this someday. It pays to be prepared. The weather is perfect – why not? To my closet to fetch a pair of dungarees. In order to do this right, I have to be wearing them. If I survive the wreck, I won’t have my carry-on. Into the pool I go fully clothed.

First observation, it is hard to tread water with shoes on. You would think they would be an aid as paddles (especially my size 13’s), yet they tend to be more of an anchor.

Second, it is difficult to stay afloat and remove your shoes. Always wear slip-on shoes or flip-flops if there is a high probability of emergency flotation.

Third, taking off your pants in the water can lead to some rollovers – it is tricky to both hold your nose and disrobe.

Forth, tying off your pant legs is fairly easy. Inflating them while staying topside is not. I am not asthmatic, but I must have the lung capacity of a baby armadillo.

Fifth, you should always wear a Jethro Clampett belt. I am ditching leather for rope immediately. That will be the only way to secure the waist tight enough to hold air.

shark pants

I am happy to tell you that should I ever find myself in the ocean with pants, I will likely live to tell about it unless I see a circling fin. The trial was a complete success. Quite proud of myself, I exited the pool and would like to share just a few more observations. Unlike me, you should probably choose a friend, relative or close neighbor’s pool, not a nearby community pool. The reason for this is you will find wet pants that have been used as a flotation device are nearly impossible to untie and put back on, which makes for a disquieting two-mile walk home.

Oh, and you should probably notify the police or get a permit as if you are having a fireworks display or parade. They take a dim view to a wet, pantless man walking home late at night.


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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7. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth - a review

Bruce Coville has done wonderful adaptations of several Shakespearean plays for a young audience, while staying faithful to the mood and dialogue wherever possible.  Now, however, there's a new, edgier, funny Shakespeare in town.  You may have seen many adaptations for the works of Shakespeare, but you've never seen them done like this. 

I present The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue. I was laughing out loud on the very first page!

Lendler, Ian. 2014. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth. New York: First Second.
(Advance Reader Copy)

A hilarious, graphic novel version of "Macbeth" as performed and attended by the denizens of The Stratford Zoo after the keeper has left for the evening. 

Join them in their seats (avoid the skunk!), grab a snack of rotting carrion from the vendors, and enjoy the play!  Panels featuring frequent audience commentary are done in darkened tones to denote the dim lighting of audience seating.  The play's action onstage is presented in bold color.

Intermission occurs when the zookeeper makes an unexpected late-night sweep of the zoo's grounds.

If you're a humor or comic book fan, Lendler and illustrator, Zack Giallongo, present this Shakespeare classic "as you like it" - brief, humorous, and to the point. Teachers and parents, this is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for the young people in your life.  

(Alternatively, read it yourself and then head out to see some Shakespeare in the park this summer! I'll be seeing Shakespeare by the Sea.)

Due on shelves in September. This is the first in a series.  Look for "Romeo and Juliet" next.

0 Comments on The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth - a review as of 7/25/2014 12:44:00 AM
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8. Arks to Go II - the Flood

 A FRIENDLY RE-CALL
by Eleanor Tylbor
 
 
SCENE:   ANGIE'S APARTMENT.

AT RISE:  ANGIE IS WATCHING TV, ALONE.  PHONE RINGS
 

ANGIE
Hello?

NOAH
Guess who?

ANGIE
You have the wrong number

(She disconnects. Phone rings once more)

(cont'd. ANGIE)
Not again... Hello?

NOAH
We seem to have been disconnected...

ANGIE
Not really

NOAH
This is Angie, right?

ANGIE
Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Depends who's asking

NOAH
I get it! You're joking with me, aren't you? Of course you are. 'hahahahahahah' See? I have a sense of humor

ANGIE
I'm not trying to be funny, I can assure you

NOAH
Oh...sorry 'bout that. I thought you were. Anywaaaay... so whad'ya think about all the rain we've been having? Think somebody is trying to tell us something?

ANGIE
I'm not in the mood for another one of your philosophical lectures, Noah. I'm gonna disconnect, now.

NOAH
I feel you're upset... Joe busy, is he?

ANGIE
I'm watching a movie. Alone. By myself.  What does that tell you?    But since you asked, Joe, as  many have before him, has moved on

NOAH
No problem-o. Would you like me to look up his new address? I have access to everyone's number on the planet...

ANGIE
I don't want to discuss this with you. Good-bye...

NOAH
Your voice tells me something is wrong

ANGIE
Something wrong? You have to ask me if something is wrong? You interrupted what could have been the perfect romantic evening by showing up at my door

NOAH
It was a friendly visit. I thought we could get to know each other before embarking on our trip

ANGIE
Excuse me? A really old guy with straggly long hair and a white beard dragging on the floor, dressed in army fatigues and smelling of animal dung, shows up at my door and starts asking my date questions about the next flood and his experience in building arks. What do you think he'd do?

NOAH
Would you like me to call him and apologize? Perhaps I could make it up to him by offering him a ride on my ark

ANGIE
What ark? You don't have an ark, Noah! Remember? Now if you don't mind and even if you do, I'm going to make some popcorn and...

NOAH
Popcorn? I LOVE popcorn. I'll be right over along with a friend or two...

ANGIE
I don't think so... Hello? Noah?

(DOORBELL RINGS. SOUND OF ELEPHANT AND MONKEY CAN BE HEARD)

(cont'd. ANGIE)  No...please no...

(Angie opens the door. Noah is standing outside)

NOAH
Hope you don't mind that brought along a few friends. They get a little crazy without supervision. So? Where's the popcorn? Tell me, Angie - have you ever thought about adopting a pet?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 



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9. Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette AT THE SUPERMARKET:

THE FRENCH BREAD
by Eleanor Tylbor


SCENESUPERMARKET BAKERY

AT RISE:  A FEMALE SHOPPER ARRIVES IN THE BAKERY AREA. LOOKS OVER THE ALMOST-EMPTY BREAD DISPLAY


FEMALE SHOPPER
(quietly to herself while squeezing all the breads)
This is like...so pathetic. Bread is at least two days old and this one is broken in three places. Who would buy it

(another shopper arrives)

SHOPPER 1
No bread, yet?

FEMALE SHOPPER
A couple of left over 2-day old breads.  They should remove them

SHOPPER 1
(bending over to look)
That happens as a result of shoppers squeezing the breads to see if they're fresh. Too many fingers pushing in one spot and the breads break in half Look - you can see the finger indentations.

FEMALE SHOPPER
Um...yeah...I see...but how else can you tell if the bread is fresh?

SHOPPER 1
Problem is that everyone squeezes the bread in the same place and this is the end result. Some shoppers have no respect for others. A squeeze here and a squeeze there...

FEMALE SHOPPERS
(uncomfortable)
Of course you're right... Looks like there's fresh bread baking in the oven. I love the smell of fresh baking bread. Don't you?

SHOPPER 1
...they'll end up having to throw out the bread of course. Disgusting with all the starving people in the world!

FEMALE SHOPPER
(looking even more uncomfortable)
Beautiful weather we're having. It's about time what with all that rain

SHOPPER 1
It's those same people that open up the strawberry boxes and exchange berries to make sure they have the best one's.

FEMALE SHOPPER
Disgusting! Some people...! Did you happen to notice if the strawberries on sale, perchance?

(another shopper arrives)

SHOPPER 2
Bread not ready?

FEMALE SHOPPER
Nope. Guess the bakers aren't rising to the occasion (laughs)

(the other two shoppers stare at her)

(cont'd) A little humor while we wait...obviously very little...

SHOPPER 1
We were just discussing how people over-squeeze the French bread to death causing it to break in half

FEMALE SHOPPER
Oh look! Here comes the baker. 'I'll take two white baguettes, sil vous plait'

BAKER
Attendez - c'est trop chaud

SHOPPER 1
What he say?

FEMALE SHOPPER
Haven't the slightest idea. I memorized my sentence from a French phrase book when I planned a trip to France

SHOPPER 1
Two whole wheat breads, please

FEMALE SHOPPER
Sil vous plait

SHOPPER 1
What?

FEMALE SHOPPER
That's French for 'please'

SHOPPER 2
Same for me

BAKER
Too hot. You must wait ten minutes for cool

FEMALE SHOPPER
How about you hand it over and we'll blow on it?

BAKER
Par-don? I know understand

FEMALE SHOPPER
A joke. You know...ha-ha-? Any-way, how about those over there on the trays? They look cool

BAKER
They are freeze. They must bake in oven

FEMALE SHOPPER
Look baked to me. Do they look baked to you, ladies?

SHOPPER 1
If he says they're not cooked... Why would he lie?

FEMALE SHOPPER
I dunno. Maybe he's saving them for friends. Look...sir. I'll take my chances with the hot bread. I promise you I'll be very careful. Really. I respect your French bread and won't abuse it. In fact, if you just put it in bags and hand it over, I'll put it in a safe place in my shopping cart where it can cool off, while I shop. I'm sure the other shoppers will also respect your bread. Right ladies?

SHOPPER 1
I can wait.

SHOPPER 2
Me too.

(SHOPPER 1 AND SHOPPER 2 walk away)

FEMALE SHOPPER
If you would give me my breads?

(he hands over the breads. She grabs them from the middle and they bend in half)

(cont'd) Oh no! A catastrophe has occurred!

(she replaces the broken breads in the empty bread display)

BAKER
Madam - your breads!

FEMALE SHOPPER
(pushing her shopping cart away
Neh! Changed my mind. You bakers take your breads so seriously


0 Comments on Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette AT THE SUPERMARKET: as of 7/19/2014 3:17:00 AM
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10. This Is Not My Hat - an audiobook review

Below is my review of This Is Not My Hat, as it appears in the July 2014, edition of School Library Journal.

This book offers a wonderful opportunity for cross-curricular instruction - adding music knowledge and appreciation to language arts.  Think of it as "Peter and the Wolf lite" for young listeners!

Listen to an excerpt from This is Not My Hat on Audible's website.

KLASSEN, JON. This Is Not My Hat. 1 CD w/tr book. 34 min.
Scholastic Audio. 2014. $29.95. ISBN
9780545675512.
PreS-Gr 3— Opening with "This hat is not mine. I just stole it," a small fish takes the listener into his confidence as he makes his getaway toward a place where he thinks that no one will ever find him. This unapologetic thief, his annoyed (and very large) victim, and a stool pigeon crab tell this wryly humorous and cautionary fish story. The outcome contains enough ambiguity that sensitive listeners can believe that the robber has more options than becoming a fish dinner. Irish narrator John Keating does a great job with a title that relies heavily on sight gags. Appropriately, his impudent robber is not particularly likable. Nevertheless, the listener empathizes with the brash little chap. A string ensemble, in a manner similar to Peter and the Wolf, accompanies the narration. A cello represents the larger fish, who never speaks, while a violin characterizes the smaller fish. The music ebbs and flows to match the story. Two versions are included on the CD. A gentle marimba riff signals page turns on the first version. The accompanying hardcover book is a "must" to truly enjoy this Caldecott Medal winner. Humor fans will love it.

Copyright © 2014Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

##

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11. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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12. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

0 Comments on How Did We Get Here? as of 7/16/2014 6:01:00 AM
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13. Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER



SCENES FROM LIFE:  A SHORT PLAYETTE
THE CHERRY PICKER
by Eleanor Tylbor
 

SCENE:   PRODUCE DEPT. OF SUPERMARKET. PEOPLE ARE GATHERED AROUND A DISPLAY OF CHERRIES

AT RISE: A WOMAN APPROACHES THE CHERRY DISPLAY, STOPS AND STUDIES THE PEOPLE GATHERED AROUND

 

FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me…um…can I get in here?

 (people ignore her)

 
(cont’d).  FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me, people…could you make space for me?

 (people continue to ignore her)

 
(cont’d.)  FEMALE SHOPPER

Hello? Earth to cherry pickers! An outsider would like to join you all!

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER moves her shopping cart forward and gently runs into someone)

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Ouch! That hurt!

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

I tried asking politely to get close to the counter but everyone seemed deaf to my request, so I had to take things in my own hands or with my shopping cart as the case may be

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

You could have tapped me on the shoulder, y’know

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it have made any difference?

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Probably not but you could have tried

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Good price for cherries. Guess that’s why there’s so many people hanging out here. Hmmmm…where are the plastic bags. ‘Anybody tell me where the plastic bags are?’ Anyone want to give an opinion?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

(mouth full of cherries and oozing juice)

…are…none…left… Have to…ask…manager for…more…bags

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Are those cherries you have in your mouth?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…uh-huh…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it be presumptuous of me to assume you didn’t pay for them?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…hav’ta taste them, first…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You do realize that in some circles that would be considered stealing

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

And that makes it right? What are you doing! Did you just spit out that cherry pit back into the display?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Yeah…I mean, I didn’t wanna dirty the floor or anything. Somebody could slip and hurt themselves. Anyway, everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

But…your saliva has germs, which you are depositing on the cherries

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

What else am I supposed to do with the pits?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You could refrain from tasting the cherries or at the very least put them in your pocket and take them home with you or something

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everyone else is doing it. Check out the display

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER looks down at the display of cherries)

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Oh Gawd! |You’re right! To think I was about to put my hand inside there

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

You’re in luck. Here comes the produce manager with a roll of new plastic bags

 
PRODUCE MANAGER

‘Okay everyone -  move aside! I’m gonna clean up all the cherry pits at the bottom! Not healthy.’

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Aren’t you going to take a bag for cherries?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Somehow I’ve lost my taste for them. There’s a sale on strawberries on the other counter, if only I can get near it…

0 Comments on Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER as of 7/4/2014 9:43:00 AM
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14. Captain Underpants- the Eleventh Epic Novel!

Pilkey, Dav. 2014. Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000. New York: Scholastic.
(Advance Reader Copy)

Captain Underpants fans can rejoice.  The "Eleventh Epic Novel" is coming this summer with everything kids expect - time travel, fiendish villains, a plot with more twists than a bag of pretzels, and of course - Flip-O-Rama, "the world-famous cheesy animation."

In Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000, readers will be brought up to speed on past adventures, as George and Harold re-live (and change) a previous adventure involving the Turbo Toilet 2000.  Super Diaper Baby will make a cameo appearance in a comic by George and Harold, and readers will be introduced to Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold.  There's even a 3-panel Flip-O-Rama.

It's ridiculous, preposterous, and downright silly - kids will love it.


 

On shelves August 26, 2014.

What's next? Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot.

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15. Elvis - the Real Story...maybe

A year-long celebration to commemorate Elvis Presley's first professional recording on July 5, 1954, is set to take place on Independence Day weekend in Memphis and Graceland. There are people who believe that "the King" is still alive and that he planned his disappearance. So let's say that this was the case and that a very old Elvis is living in anonymity, somewhere, but makes rare appearances at nondescript venues like gas station diners to relive the good, old days.


Elvis – The Real Story
                                                      By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
TAMMY        40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of Len
LEN                40-something husband of Tammy
"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer

 
THE TIME
The present

 THE PLACE
Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER

 
Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play none-stop. There are a few tables with chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station products and displays of motor oil, etc.

 AT RISE:

 TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room
LEN
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)
Um…who recommended this place?
 
 TAMMY
(reading book)
The restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a difference
 
LEN
Fine dining if you’re a rat! Did you happen to notice that a cockroach just crawled out of our bread basket? Must be one that escaped the Chef’s special catch-of-the-day
 
TAMMY
Stop being so negative and take in the atmosphere
 
LEN
You mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!
 
TAMMY
You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!
 
LEN
More like early condemned. Every square inch of wall space is covered with faded Elvis photos and the man’s been dead for how many years?
 
TAMMY
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderful
 
LEN
Are you saying that this…this gas station and three table diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!
 
TAMMY
For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained diners
 
LEN
If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid up
 
TAMMY
You know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant…
 
LEN
…obviously not long enough…
 
 
TAMMY
…seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here…
 
LEN
…and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoning
 
TAMMY
Get a grip! The waiter is coming so try to act normal, if that’s possible
               the waiter dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit struts over, swinging his hips in a
              typical Elvis-like walk. He smoothes the sides of his hair with his hands,
             frequently
 
WAITER
(swinging his hips between every word)
Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…
 
LEN
No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!
 
TAMMY
Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll choose
 
LEN
So tacky. All the dishes are Elvis songs. 'Be-bop-a-lu-la' chicken wings…' The 'Love Me Tender' t-bone looks questionable and it comes with fries that are probably a couple months old and a 'I Did It My Way' salad. Look at this: says here on the menu that all their steaks are aged to perfection. Yesterday's road-kill most likely
 
TAMMY
Have you considered that your cranial spark plugs have stopped kicking in? I can’t make up my mind – so many choices…
 
               the waiter comes over to take the order
 
LEN
Are all those dishes served a la carte?
 
WAITER
(swinging hips)
No – on a plate. Uh-huh…
 
TAMMY
Just choose something already
 
WAITER
Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…
 
                                                                                                            LIGHTS DIM
 
TAMMY
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna begin
 
                                                                                            SOUND: GUITAR TWANG
 
LEN
I don’t see why we hav’ta be quiet. Cheez – I can hear the sound of someone pumping gas outside, not to mention the smell. Mind you, it's hard to tell the difference between the food and the gas
 
              (The song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is heard and the waiter now dressed
              in a mechanic’s uniform on the other side of the room walks in front of the
             counter holding a hand mic.)
 
VOICE OVER
“For your entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!”
 A very over-weight man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head
(VOICE-OVER)
“Direct from his engagement at the luxurious Pink Flamingo Laundromat and Bank Drive Thru in Tijuana, Mex-i-co, the management of Jackson’s 7/11 and Diner is proud to present, “the” King of Rock’n’Roll himself, the one – the only – El-vis!”
 
A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He stoops  over to kiss Len, who pushes him way
 
ELVIS
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checked
 
he whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket
 
ELVIS
(in weak squeaky voice)
Thank y’all very much! It’s the first time I been back this way goin’ on twenty years…or maybe it’s thirty…could be forty… Anyway… Good t'see y’all ain’t fergetten the King
              whips out his handkerchief again and blows his nose
 
ELVIS
Guess I ain’t the same Elvis you remember a ways back, huh? But then who is?
 
              starts coughing and choking. Scantily dresses nurses rush over to pat him on
             the back
 
ELVIS
See? I still got it but now I don’t know what to do with it! Thank y’all very much… Listen ladies – go see if you can find my extra set of dentures that I left in a steak yesterday.
 
              starts to choke again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting
             clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neck
 
DOCTOR
Now Mr. Elvis – honey – you know y'all gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be
 
 
ELVIS
(laughing and staring at her breasts)
Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine…at least I think it's a favorite...what's the name of the song now...nobody help me - it'll come back ...
 
              Elvis sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key
 
LEN
(starting to get up)
Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this…
 
              Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doors
 
ELVIS
Uh-oh…they’re coming back…I knew they’d find me… Damn aliens!
 
              Two males wearing white outfits move on either side of Elvis and take
              his arms
 
                                                                                                
MALE 1
C’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Home
 
ELVIS
But…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!
 
MALE 1
(shaking his head and winking at Len and Tammy)
You don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.
 
ELVIS
Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it!
 
MALE 1
Here you are…
 
               the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
              couple
ELVIS
Thank you all very much!
 
Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
 
LEN
(addressing waiter)
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!
 
WAITER
The guy is over 80 years old. Whad’ya expect? He’s got two hip replacements, a bad knee and now all that shaking he does is the real thing, poor guy. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?
 
LEN
I really couldn’t care less about the man’s autograph… In fact this is what I think of you AND your Elvis
               LEN rips up the piece of paper into small pieces
 
WAITER
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…
 
LEN
Elvis my a-s-s!
 
WAITER
That piece of paper would’a given you a free tank of gas with your meal. Oh well…uh-huh…
 
Len throws himself down on the floor picking up the pieces of paper trying to put them together
 
LEN
A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…
 
VOICE OVER
“The King has left the building”
 
LEN
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)
Hang on a minute. I can stick these pieces together… Help me Tammy – at the price of gas these days…
 
 ©Eleanor Tylbor, 2009

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16. Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup

Portsong will never host a World Cup. Our only stadium is open air, mowed by livestock, and has no bleachers.  It would take too long to mark Hargit’s Field and we simply aren’t prepared for the crush of humanity that such a tournament would bring. I’m not one of those Americans who hates soccer. I really have no problem with it and would be okay if it took hold. With all of the kids playing and international flavor in the U.S., it really is amazing that professional soccer can’t seem to get off the ground.Leon_Rugilo

So what’s the problem? Why does the average football or baseball fan have such a disregard for the sport? Some say it is too slow. Okay, I get that – we like things fast and instant. But nothing is slower than baseball. When you have the league itself changing rules to speed up the game, you know you are in the paint-drying business.

Last week, I watched a little bit of Ghana vs. Germany and think I stumbled on a few things.

First, what is the deal with the goaltender wearing a different uniform? What makes that guy special – either you are on the team or you’re not! If they do that so the ref can tell who gets to touch the ball with their hands, they need new refs. Can these guys not identify one guy quickly enough to call a handball? They usually wear Mickey Mouse gloves anyway, which kinda stand out. No, the refs aren’t the problem. There is clearly some socialistic motive behind the goalie’s garb.

Second, the flopping. It has become a big topic of conversation around here. I have never seen grown, athletic men act like such drama queens in all my days. It is crazy how when their shin gets touched, their arms fly up wildly before they flop, drop, and roll. Have you further noticed that each victim assumes the same paralyzed position holding their knee until they realize the call didn’t go their way? Then instantly, they pop back up and resume play at full speed as if a good, old-fashion faith healer has smacked them on the forehead and made them well. Hockey and Basketball have instituted rules to punish such behavior. Since they have yellow and red, maybe soccer could give a pink card for flopping.

Lastly, it’s the low scoring and the fact that a game can end in a tie. Nobody likes that. Ties are like whacking off the last five minutes of a movie and saying The End. Somebody has to win!

wcI’ve come to the rescue with a simple idea that kills all three objections. Here is what soccer should do. If a player flops, he has to stay face-down on the ground motionless like a kid playing freeze tag until the guy with the big gloves comes over and tags him. Think about that! Empty nets while the goalies run all over the field bringing players back to life means higher scores. Motionless players make for built-in impediments – therefore, more contact – which leads to additional flopping and more speed bumps. Soccer has just become a high-scoring, contact sport, with frozen men lying face down all over the field! Genius.

And if anyone shows up in a different uniform, they have to lay down in the center of the field and balance the ball on their lips as a tee for kick-off. That’ll teach him teamwork.

If I can get to someone with this idea, we’ll have a thirty team mega-league in the United States by 2016.

 

Photo credit: Leon Rugilo


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17. The Turkey Strut

THE TURKEY STRUT
by Eleanor Tylbor


SCENE:      Barn on a farm
AT RISE:   A meeting of the fowl-est kind. A group of turkeys are meeting to discuss a course of action to deal with National Turkey Lovers Month that began in June. The sound of loud gobbling is drowning out the speaker
TIME:        Early morning



HEAD TURKEY
Can we have a little decorum here? Hello?

(he picks up a large meat cleaver and forcefully inserts it into a block of wood. There is an audible gasp)

FEMALE TURKEY
Is that really necessary? Are you trying to give us a heart attack?

HEAD TURKEY
That's the least of our worries

MALE TURKEY
A little over-the-top, aren't we? We were merely discussing the quality of the feed the farmer is feeding us

HEAD TURKEY
How about this, then. Given that June has already arrived and if the farmer gets his way, corn will be the last thing you'll have to worry about!

FEMALE TURKEY
You're always so melodramatic, Sydney.

ANOTHER FEMALE TURKEY
I got a suggestion! Why don't we all do the turkey strut! Strutting always helps deal with stressful situations

MALE TURKEY
Sounds like an idea. I'll put on the music

(they all line up and strut to the music, "Turkey in the Strraw")

HEAD TURKEY
Unbelievable! I can't believe what I'm seeing

FEMALE TURKEY
I know. We're all such good strutters. Who would believe we've been doing it for only a year. It's like we were born to do this. Come join us!

HEAD TURKEY
I was referring to the reality of the situation, which is June being National Turkey Month.

FEMALE TURKEY
(still strutting)
You mean, they actually put a month aside for us turkeys? What an honor!

HEAD TURKEY
Some honor! Let me put it to you this way. If they have their way, you'll be the main attraction on a platter at Sunday dinner

FEMALE TURKEY
At last! Artistic recognition. I mean, doing the strut on a platter at Sunday dinner is the ultimate form of acknowledgement and recognition of our talent

HEAD TURKEY
Let me make it simple that even your limited intellect can grasp. Sweetheart - you'll be the Sunday dinner

FEMALE TURKEY
Stop joking around, Sidney. 'Okay everyone - follow me! Kick up some dust!'

HEAD TURKEY
How about this. We wait until night and run for our lives! That is - if we're still around

FEMALE TURKEY
Of course we'll all be here. Why wouldn't we be?

HEAD TURKEY
Because... I give up. Uh-oh. Heads up. Here comes the farmer and his wife. Don't say I didn't warn youze all

FEMALE TURKEY
Oh goodie. We can give him a preview of our dance style before Sunday

HEAD TURKEY
(sighing)
I don't think he has strutting on his mind. See 'ya around! I'm out'ta here!

FEMALE TURKEY
Okay - all together turkeys! Puff out your chest and feathers and let's give the farmer and his wife a taste of what we're all about!





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18. How to Fix a Broken Zipper

What should you do if you are at a formal event and realize the zipper on your pants is broken? Broken is too light a word – let’s say it has exploded leaving its jagged edges flayed open as a new source of entertainment for the party-goers.

Should you:

A) Act natural – This probably happened to James Bond at some point (the Sean Connery James Bond, none of the imitations). James Bond would hold his martini, look suave, and say something pithy about horse prices. No one would notice.

B) Create a Catch Me If You Can-like diversion. “It’s all about the pinstripes, Frankie.” – I’m not talking about hurting anyone or defacing property. I am thinking more along the lines of spilling red punch all over your shoulder. That way, people say, “Ah, look at Jim. That guys is always making a mess,” instead of, “Is Jim wearing tidy whities? What is he, 8 years old?”

C) Go MacGyver – Borrow a paper clip, lighter, hairspray, and a stick of gum from people around you and create a subminiature welding machine that rigs your zipper so tight you aren’t sure if you’ll ever be able to remove your pants.

D) If you wore underwear, be glad and go with it. If not, run away.

E) Tinker with it in your seat as “discretely” as possible. Zip…unzip. Zip…unzip. Don’t obsess over it. Look up intermittently and pay a modicum of attention to the guest speaker. Zip..unzip. Keep messing with it while those around you give you disgusted looks and shift uncomfortably in their seats. Zip..unzip. Zip…unzip. Why would the disapproval of others stop you?  Zip…unzip. Maybe this time it will close right. Zip…unzip repeat. Dogonit! Never mind that your monkey hands and sausage fingers are useless for anything besides clapping. Zip…unzip.  Oh, and your mid-forties eyes can’t come close to focusing on something outside of five feet away, leaving the zipper’s intended path a fuzzy mystery. But this is a great plan. Zip…unzip. Why are so many people still staring?

image

I should have started this post by saying I had a formal occasion at the kids’ school where I had a slight wardrobe malfunction. I prefer not to discuss it. I’m no celebrity, so there certainly isn’t enough interest for it to make the news (my lifetime goal). But if it had been a zipper issue, which of the above-mentioned solutions do you think I arrived at?

 

I refuse to answer.

 

However, If you don’t mind, say a prayer for me Thursday at 10:30 when I have a meeting with the headmaster, three church elders, and a psychologist to answer some complaints about my behavior. Think they’ll mind if I wear sweatpants?

 

 

photo credit: Rabenstteiner


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19. Laugh!

It’s good for the soul.

You’re welcome.


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20. Bruised Bums & Holes in the Wall

Whatever happened to quality? Back in my day, companies used to stand behind what they made. Things just lasted longer. There were warranties and repair shops for TV’s and appliances instead of everything being disposable. Nowadays, we just buy things and no matter how much we pay, we expect to have to replace them in five to seven years. It’s downright sad.

Shoddy workmanship coupled with new appliance styles and colors released every few years means none of us will ever be able to keep up. In my adult life they started as white, went to black, and now one is considered below the poverty line unless they have stainless steel. They’ve got this scam perfected. When your microwave goes out, instead of getting it repaired you have to replace it. And since it will no longer match your other kitchen appliances, the broken microwave ends up costing you $4000 for upgrading the entire kitchen.

Forget that mess, I have a white microwave with a broken handle, a black oven, and stainless dishwasher and refrigerator.  I figure my cheapness gives me a wider spectrum of color in my kitchen and possibly a disappointed wife, but I refuse to give in to their madness.

maxresdefault

I really didn’t start this rant to vent about kitchen appliances, we took a detour there. I’m angry about specs and tolerances. If packaging says the wire I am purchasing has a tensile strength of 1200 MPa, I figure I should easily be able to get 1250-1300 MPa out of it before it breaks. Or if my pneumatic nail gun recommends a range of 90-120 PSI, I think 130 PSI will make sure the sucker holds.

So it speaks to shoddy quality that a towel bar designed to hold 4 pounds of wet towel wouldn’t be able to keep a flailing, 210-pound man upright. It stands to reason that this should have been well within the tolerance of a reasonably made product, don’t you think?

I discovered this defect after our bathroom was rearranged for our new cat’s needs. The bath mat was not returned to its proper place and my wet foot slid out from under me upon exiting the shower. I desperately grabbed the towel bar only to find what inspector number seven did not. It wouldn’t hold when tested and tumbled down onto the cold wet tile alongside of me.

What is this world coming to when manufacturers don’t care about quality anymore? I tell you what it’s coming to:  bruised bums and holes in the wall, THAT’s what this world is coming to.

It’s a darn shame…

 


11 Comments on Bruised Bums & Holes in the Wall, last added: 5/20/2014
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21. Arks to Go: the flood sequel II Scene 2

SCENE: LIVING ROOM OF AN APARTMENT. LATE EVENING

ANGIE and her male friend(JOE) are sitting on a couch, caught up in an embrace. Her cell phone rings repeatedly.

ANGIE
Ignore it. Now where were we...

(cell phone stops ringing and is replaced by the ringing of her regular phone)

JOE
Shouldn't you answer? Sounds like it's important

ANGIE
Some people might think so but not me. So...now...where were we?

JOE
You know who it is?

ANGIE
I have a pretty good idea

JOE
Strikes me that whoever's calling you, is trying to get your attention

ANGIE
Ignore him. As I recall, you had your arm here...

JOE
'Him'?

ANGIE
That is to say, it's probably one those scam companies making me an offer I'll refuse

(both phones ring simultaneously)

JOE
I dunno, Angie. Sounds like someone really wants to speak with you. You better pick up one of them. Why don't I go get us a drink while you choose?

ANGIE
Honestly! I get crank calls all the time. Why should this be any different?

JOE
(getting up)
Answer the phone, Angie

(JOE leaves the room. ANGIE stares at the phones while they continue to ring)

JOE
(from the other room)
'Answer the phone already!'

ANGIE
Why...why did I get involved in this again? Hello?

NOAH
Guess who? Is this your cell phone I'm communicating on? I've been thinking of getting one msyelf...

ANGIE
 I'm going to end this conversation, now

NOAH
...I mean, it would definitely give us more manoeuvering room. We could travel around and still keep in touch with everyone.

ANGIE
We? I don't think so

NOAH
Okay. I get it. We'll only use your cell phone. Don't wanna squander resources

ANGIE
We are not partners, got that? Now if you excuse me, I'm otherwise occupied

NOAH
Seems like a nice enough guy

ANGIE
Say what?

NOAH
Dear, Angie, my special connections allow me a private view into people's lives not accessible to humans

ANGIE
What happened to my right to privacy? It's beyond chutzpah! This conversation is over

NOAH
Would it make a difference if I apologize? It's not like I ask to have this insight. Comes with the territory. It's all water under the bridge, anyway. Always wanted to say that. Oh my - I am witty today.

ANGIE
You mean, wit-less

NOAH
Just trying to inject humor in what would otherwise be a dismal and gloomy topic. We have important things to discuss like how are we going ensure that we have two representations of all living things on this planet

ANGIE
There is no "we"! I'm not working along side a peeping Tom or Noah as the case may be. Good bye!

(ANGIE turns off her cell phone. It rings again)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
'I'm not home, Noah!'

(JOE re-enters and looks around)

JOE
I thought I heard voices

ANGIE
Watching this stupid program on TV about this weirdo who thinks he's been appointed to save the world and tries to convince a woman to join him

JOE
Sounds interesting

ANGIE
Forget about it. Let's get back to what we were doing before, better

(CELL PHONE rings again)

JOE
Boy! You sure get a lot of calls!

ANGIE
It's always the wrong number. Gotta do something about that

(Knock on the door. ANGIE answers)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
You!

NOAH
Hope you don't mind me dropping by. I happened to be in the neighborhood

(pushes by ANGIE)

NOAH (cont'd.)
Hello! I've heard so much about you and at last we meet. I'm Angie's friend, Noah. Tell me...have you given much thought to all this rain we've been having?


TO BE CONTINUED...

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22. Perhaps an idea whose time has come: how much is a play page worth?

I dunno - some people come up with the strangest ideas to make money. In this case, an Australian man is selling the word "the" - that's the three letters t-h-e - on e-Bay and would you believe that someone out there on planet earth, has bid $10,131 to own it.

At first I dismissed the idea as ridiculous. I mean, who would buy a word given the amount of words available to use at no charge in the English language alone. Then lights accompanied by bells and whistles along with a "hello Eleanor!" started going off in my brain.

As a playwright who is continually submitting my plays to various theatres in the hope of production, this idea possibly could work for me. Instead of one word, I would put a page from one of my plays on e-Bay or write a one-page play based on suggestions from bidders, and wait for the bids to roll in. Depending on the response, perhaps I'd even consider offering more than one page.

The seller, one "sweatyman" (not the best choice of user-names IMHO but then who am I) writes in his e-Bay description of the word "the":  "Ideal for any situation, this fun-loving item fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, wallet, or purse."

Should I decide to pursue my idea, the creation of an enticing blurb would be necessary to get the bidding going. Something to the effect:

"A playwright who has penned many a play, would like to share the witty wordage of  a one page play  to be written by a. playwright. The contents of the page will be written based on the idea submitted by the winning bidder. Be a hit at parties and let your guests be actors."

Testimonials by satisfied customers could be used to underline this novel idea. Something to the effect:

"I bought a one-page play based on the word, 'divorce' and acted it out in front of my ex-wife/husband/whoever. Boy - were they surprised!"

or

"I just want to thank a. playwright for the opportunity to bid on my one-page play, "cats." The one page play which featured my cats, Fluffy, Tiger and Buster, who did what cats usually do, which is nothing. It was a great afternoon."

All that's left to do is to decide how much to open the bidding at. A dollar seems like a fair price for a page of witty and entertaining dialogue. This could be the start of something big. Then again, maybe not.

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23. The World is Your…bathroom?

When the embers of a special event are dying, I find it wonderful to sit in their glow with the family and recount fond memories. I hope you have evenings that resolve in this manner. I am not overly sentimental, but I adore hearing my girls laugh at scenes they pull from the recesses of their minds. Sometimes I remember them from my own point of view, but many times I have no recollection of them at all.

agedparent_2119321bSo it was that we sat on the evening of my eldest’s graduation from high school talking about the good old days. They willingly lay down their electronic devices to discuss vacations, birthdays, special times around the home, and many other things past that held a luster for them. I mostly listened as they took turns – at times I was a minor character in their stories and sometimes I had main stage. So contented and relaxed, I felt like a player in a Dickensian novel with my shoes kicked off and feet resting warmly on the fender.

My interest was piqued when the graduate took the floor with what she described as her first memory. I, unfortunately, held the title role for that one. To set the stage for her recollection: it took place on the second floor of our previous house. She was a toddler, mother was away, and I was watching her. It seems she walked into the hallway to see me relieving myself in the bathroom at the other end of the hall. The next thing she remembered, she fell down the stairs, bumped her head, and I ran to help her. That is all her mind retains. No resolution. No happy ending. No idea if I pulled up my pants before valiantly diving to catch her at the bottom of the stairs.

I started to dispute this as poppycock until I realized it actually sounded quite plausible. With the stern admonition from her protective mother to watch her like a hawk, I can absolutely believe that I left the door open when I peed. I mean, I can’t leave her alone even when nature calls, right? I wouldn’t think it would adversely affect a two year old to see that from the back…unless she remembers it forever.

To my horror, this nugget set of a volley of stories about times they had stumbled upon me peeing with the door open. Some were old, some were far too recent. I promise, I’m not an exhibitionist. I simply fail to consider all of the viewing angles that mirrors give. I also forget how mobile my family members are and the sheer number of them – all female. While most of the time, they insist I am guilty of leaving the door open, they would have to admit that the door to our bedroom is one they feel free to open without knocking at any hour. You don’t knock, you get what’s inside! That’s my motto.HPIM0357.JPG

 

I also subscribe to the belief that one of the best things about being a guy is that The World is Your Bathroom. That sounds so cavemanish and outdoorsy, I really like the thought. My girls chuckle when I say stuff like that…but still wish I would learn to close the bathroom door.

 

 

Photo attribution: By Martins, Tito (my cam)
Book drawing: Aged Parent from Great Expectations

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24. On The Drawing Board…Dogs, etc.!

I’m working on and finishing up a few projects, and all have a dog or dogs. Also, in different styles. Below are clips from the final or working toward final illustrations.

may-together

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25. A Property Dispute with My Dog

While picking up the piles on Saturday, I found Winston sitting in his usual hole surveying the property. As dogs go, he looked unusually forlorn. I put down my tools, walked over the old boy, and asked, “Why so glum?”

Expecting nothing, I was slightly surprised when he answered (in a wonderful British Accent), “I find myself in a state of loss.”1024px-Lawns_at_Wisley

“Why’s that?” I pursued.

He turned his head to scan the horizon. “Have you ever gotten anything just right? I mean so perfect that you know there has never been, nor will ever be anything that quite equals your creation?”

“I don’t know,” I answered, contemplating my artistic endeavors. “I suppose that rocking horse I made was pretty good.”

“The one your child sits on?”

“Yeah, she rides it.”

“How do you feel when she rides it?” he inquired.

“I guess I feel good to see her use it.”

“So it delights you to have your progeny place her dirty bum upon your work of art?” he said haughtily.

“She wears cloths!” I countered.

“Not always,” he said knowingly, still looking away.

By this time, I began to grow angry and impatient. “What’s your point?” I stammered.

“I am simply trying to give you a point of reference for my mood. You asked. I spend a week arranging my work into the perfect array and you come out with your slotted spoon and shopping bag and destroy the lot,” he explained. “Just like you make a rocking horse and your daughter smears her jelly-stained fingers and dirty backside all over it.”

“That’s why you were licking it,” I realized.

“Just the handles,” he snapped.

“But this? This is just poo,” I observed, pointing to the bag.

“Just poo? Just poo?” He said indignantly. “I’ll have you know that it is a dog’s highest creation, perfectly placed to entice females and intimidate rivals! It is my art! My natural medium. Secondarily, they are little traps to keep your children and her filthy companions from wandering into my territory.”

“Your territory? This is my yard.”

“I disagree,” he said coldly.

“But I have a title to it,” I said, wondering if I would have to explain property laws to him, but guessing he knew more than me about them based on his superior tone.

“Your title is worthless in the natural world. I have pooped on it, therefore it is mine.”

We were at an impasse. I thought about solving this his way, but didn’t have to go at the moment and was slightly afraid of the neighbor’s reaction.

“Okay. Well…I’m gonna finish picking this stuff up,” I said as I returned to my chore.

“And I’m going to put more down,” he replied nonchalantly. “I’ve been saving one for when you finished your rounds.”

I paused and looked back over my shoulder. His smarmy grin ticked me off, but I didn’t have time to argue anymore. It was almost time for kick-off.

 

 

Photo Credit: David Wilmot from Wimbledon, United Kingdom (Flickr)

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