I found myself surrounded by coupons
I hadn’t had the wrapper off the day for long.
The fellow sitting next to me on the Sardine Airlines (Motto: “If you want room to change your mind, step outside”) Flight 101 to Atlanta asked, “If you don’t mind me asking?”
I knew what he was going to ask. It’d be one of two questions. “Would you mind changing seats with me? I’m not comfortable in the middle seat.” or “How much did you pay for your seat?”
He hit me with the latter.
I also knew that no matter what I answered, he’d have gotten his ticket for a lower price. If I’d said that I didn’t pay a cent for it, he’d have claimed that the airline paid him to fly.
I told him that I’d forgotten and employed my pillow to lean against the window and try to fall asleep before he asked me to change seats.
There once was a fellow from near Bath, Minnesota who was all gussied up and running late for church. He had a Buick, only a week old, and he’d put the pedal to the floor. The speedometer had hit 90 miles per hour when he spotted the cherries and berries in his rearview mirror. A police car!
It was against his religion to get a speeding ticket.
He pulled over. His car made sounds as if it were breathing sighs of relief.
The policeman approached the driver’s door.
“Is there a problem, officer?” asked the driver.
The policeman said, “Sir, you were driving at an excessive speed. May I see your driver’s license?”
The driver responded, “I don’t have one. It’s
The policeman wasn’t surprised. “I see. May I see your vehicle registration papers?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
The policeman asked, “Why not?”
“I stole this car.”
“Open the glove box,” said the law officer.
“I don’t want to. There is a loaded pistol in it.”
The officer used his radio to call for backup. Within minutes, another police car showed up. A senior officer, with gun drawn, slowly approached the Buick.
The senior officer said, “Sir, step out of the vehicle!”
The man stepped out of his vehicle. “Is there a
“One of my officers told me that you were driving a stolen car without a license and have a gun in the car.”
“Really? If you’ll allow me to open my wallet, I’ll show you my driver’s license.”
He showed the policeman a valid license.
“And here are my current registration papers.”
“Everything looks to be in order. Please open your
The driver did as asked. There was no pistol.
The officer is understandably stunned, “I’m sorry to have put you through all of this, but the officer who stopped you had accused you of all these things.”
The driver replied, “I’ll bet that liar told you that I was speeding, too!”
We don’t like paying full price. We want deals. Even on speeding tickets.
My neighbor Crandall almost ate at a restaurant once for which he had no coupons. He keeps a piggy bank full of coupons.
I was on a big shopping trip. The thing I do best in a supermarket is stay by the shopping cart. Grabbing a basket instead of a cart makes me feel unconstrained by responsibilities of any kind, so I picked up three items. The “Ten items or less” checkout lane wasn’t open. I looked for a “Three items or fewer” lane but it apparently doesn’t exist. I’d have been willing to return two of my items to their shelves in order to join the line to the “One item or fewer” lane. I went with Plan B. I should always go with Plan B first. It’d save me a lot of time. I was forced to join a long, meandering line of cart-pushing shoppers.
The lady ahead of me in line at this grocery store had a pouch holding a plethora of coupons, only about half of which had expired.
I understand the need to save money, but it awoke the impatient warrior within the man behind me in line. His flabber had been gasted. His weapon of choice was a long and deep sigh accompanied by some mumbling.
I’m not cursed by perfection, but I try not to treat each day as though I had a spare in my pocket. I cherish each moment.
I didn’t moan about the slight delay. I found
It was better than having a coupon.
© Al Batt 2017
The Best Of Jerry
“There’s a Lot More Room up there!”
Remember, Maury, when Grandpa told you about meeting my friend, Buck Herzog, and he “arranged under unique circumstances” for me to go home on the same ship from Japan with him when we both were scheduled to be discharged from the U.S. army over sixty years ago? I’m sure you do. But I didn’t tell you how “interesting and unique” our transportation was going home once we arrived back in the states! This is what happened:
After our ship arrived in San Francisco we were stationed across the bay at camp Stoneman in Pittsburgh, California a suburb of Oakland. It took about a weeks processing for each of us to receive our discharge. During this waiting period, two ex-Air Force pilots visited our barracks telling us they owned their own plane, a twin engine sportsliner with a passenger capacity of fourteen. They offered to fly that number of us who were headed to Midway airport in Chicago. (O’Hare didn’t exist yet). I don’t remember the cost but it was far less than half that charged by any commercial airline. It didn’t take very long to get fourteen of us to say “yes” to this offer!
On the morning we left we were about an hour into our flight when we hit stormy conditions over the Rocky Mountains. Our pilot informed us we encountered winter storm conditions with ice forming on the wings forcing us to land. Heading a bit “south” he set down at Amarillo, Texas. All commercial flights were cancelled but we as a “private” plane could ignore this order if we chose! The pilot asked us if we’d be willing to scrape the ice off the wings allowing us to continue but “flying very low” to avoid picking up more ice. He said he could set down again if it became necessary. After a quick vote we all said O.K. and the fourteen of us worked like beavers on those icy wings! Maury, resuming our flight I recall flying so low that farmers would look up startled! At times, I could see our plane’s shadow on the ground! I’m certain our pilot had to be violating FAA rules!
After landing at Midway about 3:30 p.m., Buck and I flagged a taxi, hoping to catch the 4:30 Zephyr to East Dubuque. Our pilot was headed for Minneapolis and asked to share our cab. An ice storm had hit Chicago making their streets slippery. Our cab driver was trying to get us to Union Station as fast as possible and our pilot sitting between Buck and me became scared saying: “Let me out–you guys go ahead!” We said “no.”
And I added, “How can you fly like you do and are afraid of – at the worst – a little fender bender on these icy streets?”
He replied, “There’s a lot more room up there!”
Much love, Grandpa.
P.S. – We made it to Union Station with five minutes
1. Name the last major-league team to win at least 20 consecutive games in a season.
2. Which Baltimore Orioles pitcher in the 1960s tossed shutouts in his first two major-league starts?
3. Which team ended the NFC’s run of 13 consecutive Super Bowl victories?
4. When was the last time before the 2016-17 season that Valparaiso had a men’s basketball coach who did not have the last name of Drew.
5. Name the last No. 1 seed in the NHL playoffs before Chicago in 2017 to be eliminated in the first round.
6. Who was the last American male boxer before Shakur Stevenson in 2016 to win a gold or silver medal at the Olympics?
7. In 2017, Justin Thomas recorded the lowest-ever score for a 72-hole PGA event (253). Who had held the record for the lowest score?
1. Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002.
2. Tom Phoebus, in 1966.
3. Denver, in Super Bowl XXXII after the 1997
4. It was the 1987-88 season.
5. The Vancouver Canucks, in 2012.
6. Andre Ward won a gold medal in 2004.
7. Tommy Armour III shot 254 in a tournament in 2003.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
From Where I Sit
The State and County Fairs, Church festivals and picnics and full eclipse of the sun, now give way to a new school year and Iowa Hawkeye Football.
While there are new faces at key positions, thirteen starters among forty seven letter winners are back,
with the best of the bunch being middle line backer Josey Jewell, tailback Akrum Wadley and 4/5ths of
last year’s offensive line of the year, anchored by
center James Daniels.
Jewell is rated one of the top returning linebackers in the country and has made every major preseason watch list. Wadley ran for over a thousand yards and ten touchdowns, plus caught thirty six passes. He’ll get some needed time off during the game thanks to graduate transfer James Butler choosing Iowa for his final year of eligibility. The bruising Butler rushed for over 3300 yards in three years at Nevada and was the preseason choice for Mountain West offensive player of the year. He, too, is an excellent pass receiver and that’s important as the Hawkeyes reconfigure their downfield aerial game under new offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
Matt Vandeberg returns from injury. He and several freshmen will be the featured receivers to start the year.
We know there will be a first year starter at
quarterback. Sophmore Nathan Stanley, in my view, has the edge over senior, Tyler Wiegers, after a competitive fall camp.
Jewell leads a defensive unit that should be
solid despite the loss of all Big Ten performers Desmond King and Jallil Johnson. The front seven
will be solid, and the young secondary is talented,
if not experienced.
Look for perhaps ten true freshman to see significant action on special teams. Five star rated A.J. Epenesa, the number one ranked rush defensive end in the nation coming out of high school, will provide a tremendous boost to an already strong front four.
The Wyoming Cowboys ride into Iowa City for the season opener Labor Day!
Battle of the Acronyms
Growing up as a kid (is there any other way?), the biggest fears I had in life now seem absolutely absurd.
You see, I was born into an era of five-channel television. You had your big three — ABC, NBC, CBS — and then two or three stragglers that showed nothing but reruns and live sports. And the old reruns ruled.
The reruns were mostly a cavalcade of extreme violence or predicaments. The Justice League would battle the Legion of Doom every Saturday morning; Godzilla would level Tokyo every Sunday morning. Superfly Snuka, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan would rule the afternoons. I watched kung-fu fighters avenging the dishonor of their sister or mother before church.
Thanks to Wile E. Coyote, I had an inordinate fear of anvils falling from the sky and Acme in general, since it seemed to supply all his faulty weaponry. I used to worry that somebody would tie my sister to train tracks or that a hike through the woods would somehow end up with her falling into quicksand with no ape men to save her, because ape men were not indigenous to
But without doubt, the biggest fear I had was instilled by my parents. If I wanted to climb a tree, my mother would tell me to get down because I might fall and “bang my head.” My father would amp up the terror, warning me that I would “crack my head open.”
Well, times have changed. The only time I’ve ever seen an anvil was at Colonial Williamsburg, and apparently modern science has cured the scourge of quicksand. Thanks to the UFC, you can watch kung fu without having to make it about a battle over your favorite aunt. Yet, a serious battle looms in American sports. The NFL has literally cracked its head open.
A recent study confirmed what we all most likely knew: 99 percent of the brains donated to science by former NFLers showed signs of serious chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a disease that causes early-onset dementia and a host of other things associated with brain function. It is the direct result of taking numerous hits to the head.
Nobody is shocked by the findings. We’ve known
that football and fighting cause damage to the brain. Muhammad Ali couldn’t even walk up the stairs at the 1996 Olympics. No, now the fear is that we’re going
to lose our game. Participation is key in sports. It is hard to fill roster spots when nobody will play, and
after this CTE report, really, parents have to be afraid for their kids.
Luckily, this is nothing new. In the early days of football, the late 1800s, a Harvard coach came up with a formation designed to decimate Yale. Based on ancient military strategy, the wedge simply meant that everyone on the offensive team would grip each other’s uniform in a V formation, their ball carrier safe behind them.
The problem was that the wedge often singled out lone defenders with a half-ton of momentum, and that actually killed people. It got to be such a problem that the president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt,
got involved. Rather than see football go, he was instrumental in changing the rules of the game so that
it exists to this day. That’s why they carved his face into a mountain.
If we put our heads together, football can be saved. We just need to be careful and not crack our heads open.
Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in New Jersey.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.