Who would win in a fight, Jessica Fletcher or Matlock?

Today’s question comes from the Facebooks, where a  Anny Harris–a young lady who I presume is a fan of good television–asks, “Who would win in a fight, Jessica Fletcher or Matlock?”

I’m afraid to tell you, miss, but Ben isn’t the kind of man who’d raise his hand against a fine lady like Ms. Fletcher.  If she was to find herself in a spot of trouble–of the false accusation variety–he’d take her case and make sure that the weaselly bastard with beady eyes and unreasonably good looks (who just happens to resemble that fellow from the evening soap about the rich folks and the oil comp’ny) broke down crying and confessing on the stand.

‘Course, there’d be no need, on account of Ms. Fletcher would have the whole trouble sorted out at a fancy ballroom party before the DA even got involved.

Now, if Ben were to somehow find himself in a spot of trouble, the kind that put his head on the wrong end of a candlestick, I think we’d all agree that only a super criminal could be behind it.  It would require nothing less than the combined efforts of Ms. Fletcher, Lt. Columbo and both Ironside and Perry Mason.  They would have it almost all figured out, when Dr. Quincy would show up with the autopsy report that filled in that final detail.  Jim Rockford would make sure he got there on time with some fancy drivin’ skills.

I would also like to mention Kojak, on account of having two k’s and a j in your name makes for a terribly high triple word score.

That reminds me.  Did I ever tell you that it was my old friend Tim Wood who invented the game Scrabble?  Called him “Panel”.  On account of his name being wood, folks.  It’s not complicated.  Try to keep up.

Panel had a fondness for them books with the words in ’em.  Diction-fairy, we almost called him, but Tex wouldn’t have it on account of him not wanting to clap every time Panel started to disappear, which happened often.

‘Cause he was always shoving his nose in a book.  I’m not going to fast for you, am I?  It shouldn’t be that hard to follow along here, folks.

Anywho, long story short, Panel cut some squares and Tex did some scribblin’.  It was my idea to put numbers on the letters, because I’m a big fan of mixing numbers and letters.  Diversity, and all that.  Next thing you know Milton Parker’s throwing offers at Panel.  Panel put some numbers in a velvet bag, shook ’em up and took the first 7 that came out, and by Jesus, that fat cat with all his board game money paid it.

Panel lost it all in some fruit gamble.  Started up some kind of company that compared apples to oranges.  I told him the world wasn’t ready for that, but he wouldn’t listen.

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Is President Obama underestimating Vladimir Putin?

I don’t know who Chris Fireback is, but he seems awfully interested in an answer to this question.  Seems pretty straightforward to me, although I have to admit, I’m not an expert in this arena.

I’ve never had Vladimir Pudding.  Not exactly sure what it is.  I assume it’s some kinda European blood pudding, on account of the Dracula.

Also can’t rightly say who this Obama fella is.  Maybe someone could explain to me why we should be concerned with foreign presidents.  The only president I need to know is the President of the United States of America, thank you very much.

So I may not know anything about this Obama fella, or this particular flavor of pudding… but I know a thing or two about underestimation.

There was me, Tex, Four Eyes and Hodgepodge Lou on the banks of the Musqudumie River.  Hodgepodge was a lieutenant in His Majesty’s Royal Shootin’ Gallery, or whatever the Brits called their men in uniform.  We called Hodgepodge Lou Hodgepodge Lou because after Tex saved his hide from a night patrol in Musqudumieville, an’ he introduced himself he insisted we call him Left-Ten-Ant Lodge.  When we stopped laughin’ we mighta had to take out the Ratzi’s what heard us before we took into laughin’ some more.  Hodgepodge Lou was so tight a lady’d have to tap his arse with the flat end of a fork to give him a turn.

We had been there for about 17 days straight.  When it wasn’t hailing or raining, the snow was piled up to our knees.  Whole ‘nother level of trench warfare, fighting in slushy haily snowbanks.  Called it slushwork.  Why?  ‘Cause it was slushy work, son, pay attention.

So Tex and Four Eyes heard through the banana tree that the Ratzi Commandant Blitzenkappen was holed up about 4 banks over and 2 slush puddles south of our location.  We didn’t use feet and miles on this per-ticuler operation because of the metric maps they issued overseas.  Said we’d save a nickel for every step we took, after the exchange.

Word ’round the bee’s nest said Blitzenkappen was in charge of Operation Arbeitsgang, which was the Ratzi’s plan to get Churchill with a poisoned custard.  Four Eyes headed back to deliver the message, which left me ‘n Tex ‘n Hodgepodge Lou to dig into our igloo and wait.

I guess the one thing that got ol’ Hodgepodge worked up was tainted custard, though, because he muttered something about it being the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard and took off with his rifle, and a shovel bayonet.

Now you know Tex ‘n I would never let a man rush out alone in the middle of the night.  So there we were, three of us, shovel guns over our heads, trekkin’ down the Musqudumie in the dead of night, teeth just a-chatterin’.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s supper with the details, but what Hodgepodge Lou did that night was inhuman.  I swear as I’m sittin’ here in this Barcalounger he set a man on fire with his eyes, and shot cold darkness from his hands.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was us or them in the Big One, and I’m glad for every one of them that wasn’t us.  But every now and again on a cool winter’s night like this one, I can still hear the screams.  It ain’t natural what a man does when he underestimates pudding.

Why did it take so long to caputre Whitey Bulger?

Well, Steve, I’m glad you asked.  The secret to the perfect Whitey Bulger is a mixture of 3/8ths rye whiskey, 3/8ths canned oyster juice, an eighth of corn syrup, and two of Carter’s Liver Pills dissolved in an eighth of soda water.

Mix it up, but don’t you dare shake it.  Use a stir stick, but not one with them fancy umbrellas on it.  You gotta use one shaped like George Washington’s saber, like God intended.  No, not sabre.  Just ’cause the Frenchies fought along side us back then don’t mean we gotta use their Jean Guy Foofoo spellin’ of real American words, like saber.  You get in there and poke that saber at any loose chunks of oyster.  Stir it all up, smooth as a young maid’s brow.

After you’ve got it stirred up, you set it out to cool on the windowsill like Ma’s delicious Sweet Onion Pie.  The window’s gotta be open, or the drink won’t set proper.  That means you’re either gonna need a whole pile of firewood, or you’re just going to have to get along in life acceptin’ you’re never gonna have a Whitey Bulger up north in the winter.

Now, you let that set out for about 2 hours or so.  Best possible use of this time is to give your little lady a little attention.  Second best possible use of this time is to punch a goddamn Ratzi in the face.  If you can’t find a lady or a Ratzi, then you’re just going to have to settle for the third best possible use of your time which is, of course, to write a letter to your local government demanding that the theater in your area return to playing Charlie Chaplin The Tramp shorts in the early evening time slot.  Can’t say I know what a Lego is, but I know I don’t need to see no motion picture about it.

Now there’s no rushin’ the cooling process.  One time in ’44, Ted Albacore tried to cool a Whitey Bulger in the making by flappin’ at it with a fan he’d found in the wreck of a downed Zero for 20 minutes.   Well, when Laney DuChamps tried to take a sip off it after her big USO show debut, it gave her a case of fishflake like you wouldn’t believe.  Never seen that particular shade of blue-gray before or since.

The thing most folks don’t realize about fishflake is that the only way an honest man or woman is going to get rid of it without 2 wire brushes and some turpentine is time.  But no doctor’s ever going to tell you that.  They’re too busy with their ‘scrips and their pills and their fancy wall papers.

Yup, it’s like my old Pa always said, “If you ain’t got time to finish, don’t even start pokin’ at a Whitey Bulger.”

What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

This Danny Prompt fella sure is a curious one.  Not smart either.  I remember quite a bit, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to remember my earliest memories of anything.  Not sure what fondue has to do with memories either, so if it’s all right with everyone, I think I’ll just set down here in my Barcalounger for a minute.

I ever tell you about how I came upon this here Barcalounger?  Found it in the trash two blocks down and one block over from the Legion.  Scooped it up unto my back and carried it back home.  Althea was never much fond of me lookin’ for Scoot’s Treasure–which is what we called grabbin’ the odd item out of the trash back then.

See, Scoot Kirby was what you might call “domestically challenged” today, but back then, we weren’t fussed to call him the town bum.  He was also second in line for town drunk, just behind Whiskey McGee, but you can’t blame him for that.  Who’s gonna be able to compete for town drunk against a man who’s Christian name is Whiskey?  Unless you happen to meet a man named Rum Chestnut, you’re not going to find a bigger lush than Whiskey McGee.  And any reasonable man should be able to go his whole life without meetin’ Rum Chestnut.  Man has to go lookin’ for his kind of trouble.

So, when Althea saw me walkin’ up the walk carryin’ a Barcalounger on my head like a wicker basket on one of those ladies in the National Geography, she starts to shakin’ her head somethin’ fierce.

“Ain’t no way, no how, I’m going to let you bring that in here,” she told me.

“Just touch the leather,” I told her.  Back then the hide on this here chair was as soft and smooth as snakeskin dipped in butter, and I told her as much.  She told me what I could do with my snakeskin if I even thought about bringing any of Ol’ Scoot’s Treasure into the house.

Now if you’d have had the honor to have met my dear Althea, and if you had also had the pleasure to have met her while she was trying to stay cantankerous at me, then chances are good you would have also gotten to see ol’ Grampa unleash the Devil’s grin, and an angel’s two step.

I dropped that shiny Barcalounger on the lawn and danced up the front steps humming a little tune I was lucky enough to hear Deaf Hubert Johnston play at the ’46 Wilfred County Fair.  I whisked Althea up into my arms and we danced a little jig like we were 17 again, ‘cept this time no one called us to leave room for the Holy Ghost.  Couple of minutes of that and Althea was as flushed as a clogged hot water heater.

She told me I could keep the Barcalounger, but it’d have to stay out on the porch.  Which was just fine by me.  That’s where I had wanted it to begin with.  A man deserves three things in this world, fresh air and comfortable sittin’.

Should I learn CSS?

Cherry Lucas asks a tough question today on the Danny Post page on the Words Press.  “Should I learn CSS?” she asks.  I’m glad you asked me, dear, because this is a serious issue which should not be taken lightly.

CSS, or Chinese Surface-to-Surface missiles are a very real, and very dire threat to the American public.  You see, with the aid of Ratzi scientists in the 60s, the Red Menace’s little brother was able to develop the Dongfeng missile series as a delivery method for their nuke-u-lar payloads.

Now, don’t be like I was when Four Eyes McGill explained it to me.  Just because them Chinese fellas put the word Dong on their missiles don’t mean they’re kiddin’ around.  Well, maybe with the first CSS series they were, Limp Dongs we called ’em.  Reason’s fairly obvious, I think.  It was on account of they didn’t work out to well, an’ there wasn’t any little blue pills around to fix ’em.  I imagine the Chinese mighta tried rubbin’ some oysters on their rockets, but I doubt that did much good either.

Anyway, the most important thing you can learn about CSS is how to diffuse ’em.  Best man I ever knew at diffusin’ a nuke-u-lar situation was Bombay Buck Chesterfield.  Called him Bombay ’cause one time he got sent to the kitchen on peelin’ duty for shipping a CO’s cover off to India in a hamburger bun stuffed in a box full of shelled peanuts.

Bombay Buck told me the best way to tear down a CSS was with some kind of whirligig contraption he made.  Some kind of knife that a guy in the Swiss Army showed him how to make just before the Big One.  That’s WWII.  This whirligig of Bombay Buck had just about everything you could imagine tucked into it.  Ol’ Bombay called it “Bouncin’ Baby Buck” on account of it weighed about 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

So get yourself a bouncin’ baby Buck from ol’ buddy Bombay Chesterfield and you’ll learn everything you’ll ever need to know about CSS.

How small could the military actually get?

This question comes from Anderson Cooper 3600.  Now normally, I’m not a man who likes to talk about his time in the military, but who am I to turn down a man who shared his name with 3599 of his forefathers.  You’re not gonna see this gentleman disrespect such a fine dynasty of barrel crafters.

Obviously, our military is in danger.  They got Mr. Cooper up there sending coded messages on civilian channels.  #AC360 8p @CNN?  What the hell is that supposed to mean?

But who’s surprised we’re in danger?  Between the Democrabs and the Repulican’ts, we’ve got ourselves a town full of fat cats splashin’ around in our bowl of milk like its a goddamn kiddie pool.  Anyone with a lick of sense will tell you that can’t lead to nothin’ but disaster.  As my ol’ Pa used to say, “Ain’t nothin’ greedier than a splashin’ pussy.”

So obviously, it might seem like we’re going to see a smaller military, but the world seems to be forgetting one thing:  Aliens.  Now, sure, you’re gonna tell me I need to worry ’bout the Muslims and the Ruskies, and all the different flavors of the Chinee fellas over seas, but I bet you buttons to buttercups the real threat’s comin’ in from the skies.

What’s that mean?  It means it’s time to double down.  We need more guns, and robots, and robots with guns.  If we’re gonna have all these squawk-boxes firing off insults at one another, tellin’ each other how big our bowel movements are–my last one was quite substantial.  Reminded me of a time when Skinny Pete Sandford tried to send his little lady a Valentine’s card from the front in the Big One.  That’s WWII for those not in the know–and sharing the same goddamn jokes Lunky Gus Pendleton was tellin’ when I was 10, only plastered on some picture of a sunset or a goddamn cat, we might as well start working on some robots that are gonna be able to kill 18 foot tall super soldier Ratzi Aliens in giant robotic battle suits.  While we’re at it, we might as well turn the telescopes to the skies and stick lasers on ’em.

And aren’t we livin’ in the future?  Where’s my goddamn moving sidewalk?

You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

Now, you see, I have a bit of a problem with this question, Danny Prompt.  Firstly, I don’t much care for people yelling at me.  My hearing is just fine.  Second, that’s not a question.  That’s an order, and I haven’t taken an order since my darling wife Althea passed years back.  But son, I’m going to assume that’s just some poor manners on your part.  I’m not Art Fleming, it’s well within my faculties to just pretend that you phrased that in the form of a question.

I remember my 12th birthday like it was yesterday.  ‘Course it was a far cry from yesterday.  Probably a long way from the day before yesterday.  Hell, I’ll drop a dime in the nickelodeon if I’m wrong in sayin’ it was a long way from the day before the day before yesterday.

I’ll tell you what it was, though.  It was a Tuesday.  I remember because that was the year Tuesday came before Thursday but after Wednesday, on account of the war effort.  Couldn’t spare the labour to change the “T” on the printin’ presses in between days.  Was a decision that made sense to anyone with a lick of it, but you know government, they get a good thing going and then they have to ruin it.

Like the time when ol’ Tall Wally set the local clocks back 2 hours so we’d save on clock springs.  Eggplant farmers had a helluva season that year, but ol’ Tall Wally couldn’t stand the fact that maybe, just maybe, local government had taken its head out of its arse for half a minute, and rolled ’em back the next season.

So, there we were on a Tuesday.  There was me, Ma and Pa, Aunt Margory, Uncle Toot and my cousin Flip.  Called him Flip because while the midwife was in my Ma ‘n Pa’s bedroom helpin’ to bring me into this world, Aunt Margory an’ Uncle Toot were tryin’ to get to my old man’s corner of the world because Flip was on his way too.  Uncle Toot was never any kind of driver though, and he flipped the carriage over Cutter’s Mill Corner.  Aunt Marjory calved Flip right there on the banks of the ol’ Hollydale Brook.

Flip and me got up to some doin’s in our time, let me tell you, and the day that started our 12th year on God’s green Earth was no different.  You see, my old man and Flip’s old man, they both loved takin’ part in the log rollin’ competition that was held every Spring.  Usually took place a week or so before my birthday come in November.  Well those Loggins, that’s what we called the left-over competition logs in those days–used a capital “L” on account of Ol’ Larry Chester bein’ none-too-fond of the fact that a lower case “l” looked too much like an upper case “I”, and “Ioggins” was no kind of Christian name to be respected–they were still floatin’ around in ol’ Holly.

I saw the glimmer in Flip’s eye.  T’were the kinda look that only young boys get when they’ve found that perfect flavor of trouble with just a pinch of sarsaparilla.  I tried tellin’ him that kind of trouble tasted too sour, but let me just say this:  I can’t rightly remember a time when someone listened to ol’ Grampa’s good sense.

That afternoon in the summer sun, Flip lost whatever slim chance he had at someone rememberin’ him by his Christian name.  Flip and them logs went end over end like Ma was at the handle of her old barrel butter churn.  Best damn butter in three counties.  Probably more, but Ma never let her butter leave farther than three counties.  Said if they wanted good butter, they should learn where to find her.  Some days in the winter, I can still taste it gettin’ spread onto a missionary cracker, which is what Pa called toast cooked over a wood stove.  He’d always say, “Son, spreadin’ Ma’s butter is like spreadin’ God’s word.  Devine.”

So there’s ol’ Flip headed down Hollydale Brook.  Pa and Uncle Toot went down stream after him on their own championship Loggins, but they never did catch up to him.   He showed up at home the next mornin’.  Didn’t look much more like a butter churn anymore.  He looked as sorry and guilty as a drowned cat.  ‘Spose it’s lucky we didn’t call him Drowned Tom after that event, but Flip had already suited him 12 years, I guess no one saw much reason to change it.

What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break?

This question came to me from a nice young person by the name of Danny Prompt.  They sure do seem to ask folks a pile of questions.  Always seem to show up when I press the W in the corner.  Can’t rightly say what Moon Landings have to do with the Big One, but I know a thing or two about big steps and broken legs.

I remember a time, musta been ’round about ’28, maybe ’29, me ‘n a fella by the name of Oscar Duplessie–but everyone just called him T.J. on account of him bein’ a big fan of tambourines.  Tambourine Jam Duplessie, they called him. So me ‘n T.J. were listenin’ to the news on the wireless.  Turns out two towns over they were going to be hostin’ the annual Eagle Brand Flour Ragtime Jamboree.

Well, when T.J. heard that Blind Turkey Coolidge was gonna be the judge he just about hopped out of his britches.

“Grampa,” he said, “I hope you’ve got your coaster soles on, because we’re puttin’ on a show.”  See, at the time most folk called dancin’ shoes coaster soles, on account of dancing being frowned upon in most of the New England states, even if it was somethin’ like twenty years after the big Round Ring Calamity of ‘aught nine.

Well, by the time my big size 12 coaster soles had been freshly shined and waxed by Two Bit Chester O’Toole–we called him Two Bit because two bits would buy you a shine a day for the whole month–our rag-tag, ragtime band were off in old Benjamin Bootswaddle’s junker of an automocart.  Back then, we called automobiles automocarts because none of us much cared for Alabama Pete, and sayin’ automobile always seemed to make him poke his nose in our business.  But that’s another story.

See, Alabama Pete had many vices, but puttin’ down money on the rabbit shows were the worst of them.  Back then we didn’t have Dog or Pony races, on account of the local mayor, Tall Wally Woodsworth, institutin’ Municipal Act 42, bannin’ all forms of popular sports in the area.  Of course, it didn’t take long for Bill Jenkins–Municipal Bill we called him, ’cause he always managed to find a way around ol’ Tall Wally’s nonsense–to find himself a loophole.  Municipal Bill was the best ragtime guitar player in the tri-county area, and Alabama Pete owed him a lot of money.  Now, I’m not exactly sure what transpired between them, but it’s enough to know four bits, some buffalo skins, and a potato peeler were involved.  I’ll spare you the gritty details.

So there we were in our automocart headed two towns over for the big Eagle Brand Flour Ragtime Jamboree.  When we got there, Municipal Bill was the first to notice that all the other musicians in the area seemed to be a little on the feminine side.  Makes sense, of course, because like all things Eagle Brand put together back in the day, this particular Ragtime Jamboree was for the ladies.

Now Ol’ T.J. was so excited at the thought of meetin’ Blind Turkey Coolidge he never once thought twice about the whole thing.  He got a look in his eye, the kind of look you see in the movin’ pictures on a fool that’s about to act a fool.  Before he could even open his mouth with a fool’s idea, I socked him one right on the nose.

Now while I was in the middle of tellin’ T.J. I couldn’t abide that kind of activity, a pretty little young thing by the name of Esther saw ol’ T.J. hit the ground.  She came over and gave me a slap on the chin, and helped ol’ T.J. to his feet.  Of course, Esther turns out to be none other than Esther Coolidge, Blind Turkey’s sister.  She offered to introduce them.  That night they danced the Classic Rag while the ladies of the Second North East Ladies Auxiliary played on the stage.

Few months later and T.J. asked Miss Coolidge for her hand.  Few months after that, Ol’ T.J. fell on the church steps.  Tried jumpin’ from the top step, got hit in the face with some confetti, and crashed into Gus VanHoutte’s ’22 Studebaker.  Broke his leg in three places.  They had their honeymoon on an old military cot set up at the Legion, on account of the hospital was being fumigated for bedbugs.

“@askgrampa I hear you’ve seen some shit… Got any stories?”

Well, it looks like we’ve got our first question.  It comes from a strapping young lad named Aaron.  As anyone with a lick of sense will know, that’s a terrible name.  You can’t have two A’s next to each other.  Looks Muslim.  So thanks for your question, Ron.

Ron sent this to me on the Twitter, which Tex’s grand daughter Virginia helped me set up yesterday.  She’s a fine young lady, Virginia.  She likes huntin’ and fishin’.  She likes that new kind of music that Hank Williams fella’s son likes to do.  Can’t remember his name for the life of me.

Reminds me of a time when Four Eyes and I were out looking for a flask of grain alcohol that Tex had lost behind enemy lines, just west of Korea.  Four Eyes liked to tell folks he was the inspiration for that Hawkeye fella on that potato program on the television, but we all knew better.  Now a couple hours before the three of us went out looking for Tex’s swish, a new CO had just touched down in the whirlybird.  I couldn’t tell you his Christian name–we mostly just took to callin’ him Chopper, on account of his affinity for diced onion–but I can remember the cold look in his eye when he found out we were fixin’ on a doin’s.

Now I don’t rightly remember what we expected 3 men and a horse saddle were going to do about findin’ a flask of swish in the middle of the shit, but it wasn’t 20 minutes after leavin’ that tack shop that we found ‘er–stuck right on top of a landmind.  Tex weren’t a man to let a thing like patience get in between him and a bottle.  If it hadn’t’a been for Four Eyes, Tex woulda needed a whole ‘nother kinda Graves that night.

Before you could say “Monday Mornin’ Mass”, Four Eyes tied his boot to his belt and flicked it out like a lion tamer.  That flask went a flyin’ and, sure as I ain’t never seen anything like it before or since, that boot lay up there right on top ‘a that mine lookin’ sweet and nervous, like a cherried call girl’s first night with John.

‘Course, nothin’ went well when we got back to camp.  We got caught and got set to peelin’ onions.  It was one hell of a Friday.  That’s how you know no good can come from tellin’ a story on a Friday, Ron.  So, sorry, but I don’t do it any more.

 

I like this banner.

Reminds me of the carpet Althea used to decorate our dining room ’round about ’67. That’s 1967 to all you time travellers out there. Don’t think I don’t know you’re out there watchin’ me, wonderin’ when I’m gonna slip up and reveal the secret code that we used to destroy the Ratzi bunker underneath Iwo Jima.

Funny thing about Iwo Jima, that I bet you whipper-snippersnaps didn’t know, is that it was actually named after my old buddy Iowa Jim.

See, Iowa Jim found himself on a rock and a hard place about 2 days before the first bombs started going off in Kansas. Must’ve been about ’43, maybe ’53. I can’t remember. Anyway, it was pretty clear that without a decent supply of rutabagas we weren’t going to make it through the winter.

So there’s me, Iowa Jim, and Skeeter McGrip–No, wait. Skeeter McGrip didn’t join the crew until the Blue Mist Cheeseburger Parade– so It must’ve been Ted Albacore that was with us that day.

Yeah, that’s right. Ted had his new Lunar Goggles he had picked up outta the Mad Magazine his nephew had picked up at the Pick ‘n Chews. Couldn’t see the goddamn moon with those things even on a clear night. I blamed the butter dish Ted used to keep under his hat to ward off the bees. But Ted just thought the moon was supposed to be blurry like that.

So are you gonna serve me my coffee, now, or do I have to go over there and brew it my damn self?

$2.50?  Hell with that.  I’ll get some Folgers at the corner store on the way home.

$2.50 for a coffee.  What the hell is wrong with this country?