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  • Jul 10 / 2017
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Betty McKinney, RIP

Just got an email from an old colleague and friend informing me that he “went to wake this morning of your old Scrabble buddy Betty McKinney.”

I was sorry to hear that, because she was my buddy, for the three years I worked on a magazine in the Boston area in the late 1980s — in a building full of schemers and backstabbers.

And we did play Scrabble, almost every day, at lunchtime.

One of my favorite memories: Seeing Betty reach for a downturned Scrabble tile as though she knew what letter it was. After the game was over, I noticed there were a couple of tiles with slight pink stains on the back, picked up from the coloring of the box, I suppose.

Since I was in the habit of buying used Scrabble boards at thrift stores whenever I came upon them, I had several at home, so I switched out the stained tiles in my box at the office and had the supreme pleasure of enjoying the look on Betty’s face when she couldn’t spot them the next time we played. Neither one of us ever said a word about it, but I got her and she knew it.

 

  • Jul 10 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: IMBROGLIO

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

IMBROGLIO
Like Obama, he promises hope
And a yep to replace every nope:
“Forget about sins
And let’s just be friends,”
Says all affably dear Auntie Pope.

From the archive

OBAMA IN THE HIGHEST
“With the pope, I made such an impression
That he asked me to hear his confession.
I replied, with a nod,
‘I’m related to God
And would gladly provide intercession.’”
(2014)

POPE QUIZ
“I’m-a not-a so sure, I’m perplex:
How we s’pose-a to choose pontifex?”
“It’s a cinch,” Guido say,
“They just got-a two way:
It’s-a called the conclave and convlex.”
(2013)

SEDE VACANTE
When uncertainty hangs in the air,
It behooves us to gather in prayer
With the hope that God will
Send us someone to fill
The unoccupied president’s chair.
(2013)

CARPE DEUM
We’ve had “free” love and all of the rest;
Other options were put to the test.
Now we see in the light
Benedict has it right
When he says “Deus caritas est.”
(2006)

VIVA IL PAPA!
I remember the blear Berlin Wall
And the day that it started to fall,
And the part that was played
By a man unafraid –
The inspired and inspiring John Paul.
(2005)

ECCE HOMO
“Comrades, have no fears;
It’s only a matter of years:
We’ll sneak some fairies
Through the seminaries;
Soon the Church will be full of queers!”
(2002)

Last week’s limerick

CAVEAT LECTOR
Boat I bought had great reviews,
Couldn’t wait to take a cruise,
Launched it and – kerplunk! –
Down it went and sunk,
So beware of fake canoes.

  • Jul 03 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: CAVEAT LECTOR

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

CAVEAT LECTOR
Boat I bought had great reviews,
Couldn’t wait to take a cruise,
Launched it and – kerplunk! –
Down it went and sunk,
So beware of fake canoes.

From the archive

LIME SCHEME
A perfectionist poet was picky
And found writing light verse rather tricky,
So he sought inspiration
From an apt distillation
In a perfectly punny lime rickey.
(2004)

OH, WAITER!
“What’s this fly doing in my soup?”
I demand with my spoon in mid-scoop.
The response I receive:
Backstroke, I believe.”
To what depths will the wry waiter stoop!
(2002)

SHTICK BUG
Riddles and puns are my play:
Who’s on first, I sensibly say,
And I know why a duck,
But I fear that I’m stuck
When the question is, Y2K.
(1999)

Last week’s limerick

CAGEY B-STUDENT
“Your excuse when assignments are lacking
Always seems like a cover for slacking,
But this new one is great,
Why your homework is late:
Your computer sustained Russian hacking?”

  • Jun 26 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: CAGEY B-STUDENT

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

CAGEY B-STUDENT
“Your excuse when assignments are lacking
Always seems like a cover for slacking,
But this new one is great,
Why your homework is late:
Your computer sustained Russian hacking?”

From the archive

POP QUIZ
“It’s the second time now that you’ve had
To miss school for the death of your dad.
Did he die more than once?
Do you think I’m a dunce?”
“Losing two fathers, so far, is so sad.”
(2016)

SAFETY FIRST
A student in junior high classes
Spotted several suspicious young lasses,
But the principal said
He was out of his head
And forbade him to wear x-ray glasses.
(2010)

Last week’s limerick

BARRY WHO?
“Who’s that pompous, preposterous prig?”
“Oh, that jug-eared, effete talking twig?
He’s the diva of drama,
Says his name is Obama
And he used to be somebody big.”

  • Jun 22 / 2017
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Rescue Each Other

Some kids ask their dads why the sky is blue. Not mine. Which is good, because I have no idea why and couldn’t care less. I’m willing to stipulate that there’s a reason, but have no interest in discovering it and am glad my children never pressed me on it. To me, blue seems like a good color for the sky, and that’s the end of the matter.

No, my kids ask me things like: “Are there mountains in this world?” and “Are cartoons real?”

Those are two questions my second daughter, Ida, asked when she was very young. We were living in New Orleans at the time, where the highest elevations – aside from the levee system – are anthills and crawfish chimneys. She’d never seen a mountain, except in movies and on TV, and had no way of knowing if they actually existed.

I’m no world traveler, but I’ve seen the Smokies and the Rockies with my own eyes and was thus able to testify to the reality of mountains. Whether Ida accepted my witness or not, I don’t know, but she has since seen mountains herself and is now a believer.

The second question was more difficult: Are cartoons real?

I don’t know anyone who liked cartoons as a child more than I did. Popeye, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Yogi Bear, the great Tex Avery classics – I loved them all, so much so that two decades later I bought videotape collections of most of them for my kids so I’d have an excuse to watch them all again. And watch them we did, over and over and over.

I bought videotapes of all the old animated Disney films I’d seen as a child, too, from Dumbo to Lady and the Tramp to Jungle Book.

All my kids became cartoon aficionados, well versed in the classics. Then, they began to develop new animated favorites. Ida discovered the Anamaniacs on TV one afternoon and soon had us all watching Yakko, Wakko and Dot, Pinky & the Brain, the Goodfeathers , and Katie Ka-Boom (modeled, I’m convinced, on my oldest sister).

We began to watch the newer Disney films, too: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, etc.

Though we didn’t acquire the tape until much later, The Rescuers Down Under came out the year Ida was born and proved to be one of her early favorites. It’s the story of two mice who ride on the back of an albatross all the way from New York to Australia to foil a poacher.

Are cartoons real? Well, that one seemed a bit far-fetched, but, still, it had a good message: There are people/animals out there that need rescuing – and you might be the rescuer!

Ida grew up with animals, When she was born in Wisconsin in 1990, we had two dogs and 15 cats, which seemed like a lot of pets at the time. When we moved back to New Orleans, she discovered lizards. When we moved to St, Louis in 1995 and lived in a farmhouse down by Creve Coeur Lake, she discovered tree frogs. Eventually, we wound up in Bridgeton and – what with birds in cages, fish in tanks, hamsters, guinea pigs, a ferret, and miscellaneous reptiles – we had a grand total of 75 pets, most of them Ida’s.

Then one day she came across a notice online about a dog the owners no longer wanted and asked if she could rescue it. It was a mess and we already had a dog, so I demurred. A month or two later, it was still there and she asked again.

She went and got that mangy, half-dead dog and brought it back to life. She became a rescuer.

Tomorrow, she’s going to marry a guy named Dan who’s an EMT/fireman. A rescuer, too.

They both know that there are mountains in this world, because they’ve climbed them together. They both know that cartoons are real, at least on some level. And they both know, I hope, that the greatest thing anyone can do in life is to rescue someone else.

The Last Time Something Like This Happened to Me

  • Jun 19 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: BARRY WHO?

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

BARRY WHO?
“Who’s that pompous, preposterous prig?”
“Oh, that jug-eared, effete talking twig?
He’s the diva of drama,
Says his name is Obama
And he used to be somebody big.”

From the archive

MINSTREL PERIODS
What he’s done for his “brothers” ain’t much,
With his “roots” he appears out of touch,
But when under attack
Oh! Obama is black,
With a race card to play in the clutch.
(2016)

HER SUITOR
With a long-running rumor to quell
And a positive image to sell,
He came up with a plan
To look more like a man:
“What I need is a beard, then, Michelle.”
(2015)

TRANSFORMER
It was destiny, she knew it
And was certain she could do it:
Be the one to set precedent
As the first woman president,
But Obama beat her to it.
(2014)

OBAMA IN THE HIGHEST
“With the pope, I made such an impression
That he asked me to hear his confession.
I replied, with a nod,
‘I’m related to God
And would gladly provide intercession.’”
(2014)

RODEOBAMA
Did a single State Fairgoer frown
At the thought of a bull running down
Such a shuffling shirker
And smart-aleck smirker
As Obama the rodeo clown?
(2013)

SWISH!
“It was best not to tell it or ask it,
But it’s out now, so why try to mask it?
Yes, Obama enjoys
Pick-up games with the boys,
But he pouts when he can’t get a basket.”
(2013)

OUT
His own poll shows a massive defection
And he cannot succeed sans injection:
All his intimates know
That Obama, down low,
Now has trouble achieving election.
(2012)

HOSANNA OBAMA!
This convention was more than just odd,
With the delegates given a prod
To embrace depraved gaiety,
Overthrow the true deity,
And install Lord Obama as god.
(2012)

(DOING) THE OBAMA
Two steps forward and bow like Barack.
Arms akimbo, a single step back.
Now a shuffle in place
With a smile on your face.
Two steps forward and bow like Barack . . .
(2012)

HOLLOW WEENIE
“I may act like Elmer Fudd
And appear to be a dud,
But I’m truly spectacular,
The awesome Count Barackula,
And I want to suck your blood.”
(2011)

PINOCCHIOBAMA
While we hang on his every last word,
Mesmerized by the mishmash we’ve heard,
Teleprompters relay
What the dummy should say
And our president’s Mortimer Snerd.
(2009)

Last week’s limerick

COME(D)Y
“Though a multimillionaire
And a fixer extraordinaire,
Standing six-foot-eight,
I was so afraid
Of that man with orange hair.”

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