Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Public Service Announcement from the Ministry of Health and Asylums

Everything seemed to be going her way. Its was the perfect day for so many reasons:
  • The school’s Head Master called a Sun Day and canceled school due to perfect weather.
  • She had her brand new birthday bike.
  • She found her swimsuit in the summer box mom was about to put away.
  • Her dog Lucky wanted to go for a walk and there was no better place than the beach.
And then....she encountered the world of "No".

Limits, fences, restrictions, and lower expectations are the concepts the people of "no" want you to accept when your young. Soon the girl pictured above will learn to downgrade her dreams, goals, and freedom. Instead of wanting the Moon, she’ll settle for a Moon Pie. The people of "no" understand it can be hard at first but soon she will adapt and accept a semblance of happiness if she hears "no" enough. Once conditioned to live in this multi layered cage, she will stop asking that annoying question, "Why Not?"

Think for a moment of the power embedded in the word “no”. It is fraught with fear, and fear is the primary tool of subjugation. If you do a “yes” in a “no” zone you could be overwhelmed by the fear of what may happen. That fear is what the leaders of a "no" society use for control. Accepting a "yes" attitude to the challenges of life can be a bit frightening when you are use to saying "no" and "I can't". It can be risky. You may fail.

Think of a canary just released from its cage. Take away the cage and what is the canary to do? Now it sees a world with no limits? It could get lost if it flies away. How will it eat? Where will it get its water? Who will listen to its song? How will it protect itself against unknown dangers? The captivity of strict limits gave the canary security, and in exchange for absolute security, the canary surrendered the joy of "yes" and freedom.

Now, to be honest there is a need for "no" in every society. Take away all the "no" and you get anarchy. There must be laws, rules and regulations to govern where our freedom and the freedoms of others start and stop. The word "no" is necessary to safeguard heath and safety. But taken to the extreme, "no" can limit human potential and stagnate a society. The key is moderation in all things.

The Confederacy Ministry of Health and Asylums urges you to consider the decisions you make in life. It urges you to strike a careful balance between the two worlds of “no” and “yes”. Only in balance and moderation may true happiness and freedom be found.

A Public Service Announcement from The Confederacy Ministry of Health and Asylums.

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Religious Programming

The Parish of St. Bartholomew's in Cloverdale presents Gregorian, a special television musical service for those unable to attend Mass. May you be blessed with health and happiness.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harvey the Pooka and Charles.

Harvey is a Pooka. Pooka’s originate from old Celtic mythology, a fairy spirit in animal form, always very large. The Pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one. A benign but mischievous creature very fond of rumpots and crackpots.

Harvey’s sixteenth human friend was Elwood P. Dowd. To Elwood, Harvey appeared as a six foot invisible rabbit. Elwood and Harvey enjoyed each other’s company. It was a journey of much happiness. Then one day Elwood died, as is true with all humans, and Harvey found himself alone again. Elwood’s death was almost more than Harvey could bear. For that reason most Pooka’s shy away from human friendships. The cycle of discovery, friendship, sickness and death saddens the normal jovial Pookas.

Harvey and Elwood P. Dowd

With a broken heart, Harvey choose to break the cycle, leaving human friendships to humans. Instead Harvey travelled the world to see humanity’s wonders. He watched humans from the shadows. There were times he was careless and stayed visible too long, resulting in a sighting from the corner of someone’s eye. The bewildered witness would wonder what it was he saw in the boundary between light and dark.

Two years ago Harvey’s travels brought him to a country far away called The Confederacy of Dunces. It was a dark Sunday evening when he heard the sound of a human child crying from an upper window in a home on Willowby Lane in the village of Coverdale. He entered the bedroom of a small boy crying himself to sleep. There was something in the boy’s face that reminded him of a younger Elwood P. Dowd. He watched the boy until the boy’s tears stopped and the child fell asleep. His brain urged him to continue on his journey. His heart told him otherwise.
“ Humans and Pookas need each other.” Harvey whispered to himself. “Humans remind us of life’s beauty and wonders, something easy for immortals to forget over the centuries.” Harvey stayed. His seventeenth human friend was a young boy named Charles Chip.

Charles quickly understood that only he could see Harvey. He learned not to talk about his six foot rabbit friend. Nobody would believe him anyway.

Harvey knows Charles will die someday, and when that day comes he will cope with the loss. But until then, Charles fills a void in Harvey’s life, and Harvey is a friend the boy will learn to cherish.

Myron Loves Lucy

Myron Bane of 12 Sips Lane loves Lucy Sleet of 3 Tree Street in Cloverdale.
The school's Halloween Dance and Costume Party is a few weeks away. Lucy has her choice of any boy in the sixth grade. Somehow Myron needs to get her attention. With video camera in hand and jumble from every part of the house Myron's masterpiece is finished.

Good Luck Myron. I hope it works.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cloverdale's Ice Cream, An Udder Delight!

Little Beulah Ford is the daughter of Delis and Dennis Ford, owners of Ford's Four Hoofs Dairy Farm on Highway 1 just outside of Cloverdale. Beulah is a proud member of Cloverdale’s award winning 4H club, an avid collector of Barbie dolls, a Brownie Girl Scout and 3rd grade class president at Confederacy Primary School.

“Beulah is a girl that knows and speaks her mind,” her teacher said in a recent interview with the Confederacy Times, Cloverdale’s weekly newspaper - delivered to your home every Wednesday. To arrange delivery dial Cloverdale 3254. “She sets daily, weekly, monthly and lifetime goals and God help anyone that gets in her way.”

The teacher stopped for a moment to clear her throat and continued. “I’m proud to have her in my class, except for the rare times she corrects me in class. And there are times she purposely pesters the boys she likes with the sharp end of her pencil. Poor Johnny Heckle, She’s had a crush on him since the 2nd grade. His poor arms are covered in punctures. She drew blood last week and spent the afternoon in the Head Master’s office. Oh, she can be a trial........ but, what a dear. Her father is chairman of the school, community council you know. Yes, Beulah is such a dear.”

Johnny Heckle. Human Pincushion.

Beulah entered Cowpie, her prize milking cow, in the Harvest Festival and Fair two weeks ago . Cowpie won the blue ribbon. Later that same day, little Beulah won the coveted Little Miss Harvest Fair and Festival Pageant. The Pageant winner is obliged to have her picture taken with the blue ribbon winner in the Bovine division. Strangely enough, that happened to be Cowpie, Beulah's own cow. Many fair goers grumbled, complaining the competitions were ‘fixed’ and that Beulah’s father somehow manipulated the judges into giving his Beulah the fair’s top two awards.

“I deny any wrongdoing. I’m innocent of all charges and regret that my name and the name of my darling Beulah should be the object of scorn and ridicule.” Dennis Ford wrote in a editorial published in the Confederacy Times, where he owns the controlling interest. Strangely enough, not one letter to the editor insinuating the competitions were fixed was published.

“I blame the Confederacy Post Office. Not one single letter about the judging crossed my desk,” wrote Marvin Miller, editor of the Confederacy Times, in an editorial commenting on the widespread village gossip that he refused to publish letters criticizing the judging of the Fair's competitions. “I deny any wrongdoing and regret there are those that claim this newspaper is overly influenced by the Ford Family. Shame on them, and I quote myself on that!”

Last week Cowpie and Beulah posed for their official picture, sponsored by Cloverdale’s Dairy Association. The picture will be used as the cover photograph on the Association’s 2010 calendar. The slogan for this year's calendar is "Cloverdale's Ice Cream, An Udder Delight!" The Association is using the free calendar, delivered to your door with your Confederacy Times, to push an increase in dairy consumption within the Shire.To help with sales, Beulah was given an ice cream cone made with delicious Mint Chocolate Starlight Swirl ice cream made by the Mindfreeze Dairy, owned by Oscar and Olivette Mindfreeze.

It took several shots and many ice cream cones before an acceptable picture was taken. Cowpie disgraced one of the shots by seasoning the set with a digestive byproduct. Beulah was responsible for the rest of the bad shots. She was upset because the Dairy Association rejected her suggestion to have a Dairy King of her choice pose with her for this year's calendar.

The last shot of the day turned out to be the best (see above). Cowpie is back in her pasture and Beulah’s life has returned to normal. She still corrects her teacher and never fails to carry a sharpened pencil.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Quilt Festival

by Jaleta Clegg
reporter at large

The dust has finally settled. The Senior Center is finally clean. All quilts have been claimed and returned to the loving arms that created them. The contestants have resolved all police charges. It was just another quilt show at the Annual Harvest Fair & Festival.

It all began two weeks back, when the Fair opened. No one knew who would judge the quilt show. The position of a judge is a highly coveted job, though it involves no monetary gain. Bribery is strictly forbidden. Quilt judges have the distinct honor of awarding the most coveted prizes at the Fair. Because of revenge visited upon previous judges, all identities for this year’s judges have been disguised.

Prospective judges are equipped with bags, generously donated by our local airline. At the signal, all prospective judges hide their faces in the bags. The select few are secretly tapped. Only they know their true identity as Quilt Show Judges.

This year’s entries ranged across the spectrum, from the humble offerings of beginners (ages 7 and 11) to the long-awaited entries from venerated grandmothers (ages 98 and 103). The judges were impressed by the utter lack of quality exhibited by the workmanship.

Maisy Dimpleton explained her quilt this way, “Well, me mum, she had these boxes of old fabric left over from the war that she was given by the GoodWill Ladies the summer I was born. Inside was these absolutely loverly fabrics. I couldn’t resist working them up into me first quilt ever.” Maisy Dimpleton, 7 years of age, lives in a small cottage near the Coast of Despair. Her eleven siblings share three beds between them. Her older brother, Pat, said, “It’s ugly as a black dog, but it keeps us warm even when the wind blows through the gaps in the north wall. Maisy can sew me a quilt any day.”
Mrs. Beatrice Alma McDuffy, age unlistable at her request, has been quilting since 1934. “I was only four years of age, an itty bitty thing at my great-aunt Gertrude’s knee. She put a needle in my fingers. After I stabbed it through my thumb, the rest is history. There’s blood in every quilt I ever stitched.”
Beatrice’s eye sight is failing. Her quilt, an abomination of a Cathedral Windows pattern, was nicknamed the “Holy Quilt” by the judges. Not only does it describe the quilt, it is a brilliant play on words.
The most controversial piece was a strange conglomeration of soft sculpture and quilting created by Clementine Spiffledorfle titled “Edna’s Face should be on a Quilt”. Edna McBrighamduff, the intended subject of the quilt, was mightily offended by the lack of similarity between her own face and the quilt. She launched herself at Clementine, pulling her hair with both fists. Clementine responded with a full body slam, learned in her days as a professional gelatin wrestler. The two women rolled across the floor, wreaking mayhem on the quilt displays. The owners of the other quilts joined in the fracas, beating on anyone in range with their purses. The constables were summoned but were not in time to save the children’s flower arrangements from total destruction. Tears and assault charges followed. The constable’s office is happy to report that all fines have now been paid and all charges resolved.
Clementine Spiffledorfle claimed in her defense hearing that she meant the piece to be flattering. Edna McBrighamduff was not amused.
Newcomer Rainbow Sunshine Butterfly, of Cloverdale in the Shire, entered a strange piece entitled “Artsy Fartsy”. The judges were extremely puzzled by the stuffed denim rear. Rainbow’s explanation is not suitable for all audiences and had to be removed from this post.

And now for the part you have all been waiting for: the winners.
The second-place ribbon was awarded to Miss Nancy Newcomb for her Kaleidoscope quilt. “I’m so overwhelmed,” she gushed as the ribbon was awarded among the rubble of the riot caused by Miss Clementine and Miss Edna. Police ringed the judge’s stand, batons at the ready to stop any further rioting.

And now, the piece-de-resistance, the winner of the Quilt Show. Drum roll, please.
Mrs. Lacey Abtwittle of Dahlia Lane, Fernwood on the Moor, for her piece “Sadie in Repose”, a lovely concoction of piecework and appliqué sure to impress any aficionado of the gentle art of quilting.

And so, we close another year of festivities, glamour, livestock, and matronly arts. We await next year’s offerings with bated breath.

Jaleta Clegg, reporter at large

Curbside Recycling from our Roving Reporter

By Jaleta Clegg
Roving Reporter

Attention all residents of the Federation of Dunces. The citizen’s group, Momentum for the Environmentally Concerned, sponsored by the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope, have started a new curbside recycling program to help save our planet from the ravages of uncontrolled landfills. Sister Mary George “Big Bertha” states, “Landfills are an eyesore, a scab upon the face of our glorious planet, created for us by a loving God who not pleased with our treatment of His great gift. Therefore, we have created a group for concerned citizens interested in recycling to help save our planet and keep the landfills from becoming too unsightly. And to avoid God’s wrath. He’ll smite you if you throw out those empty soup tins.” Sister Mary George “Big Bertha” has perfected the art of glaring people into submission. Her extremely large fists really don’t count, since she’s sworn to a nonviolent calling. We think.

Sister Mary George “Big Bertha” caught in a lighthearted moment with Sister Eustacia Toob last winter.

The Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope sincerely hope that others will join them in their efforts. Please place your recyclable items in the bins they will provide. Please do not join Horace Gunther. He apparently does not understand the purpose of curbside recycling.

When constables questioned him regarding the porcelain fixture placed in front of his home, he responded, “It’s my contribution to recycling. See? Total curbside, total convenience. It’s waste, so therefore, it should be recycled.”

For further information, please contact the Convent of Ever Increasing Hope located next to the Cloverdale-in-the-Shire John Crapper Memorial Landfill and Sewage Treatment Center.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dink's New Dunce Mini

The Binkerhoff’s of 2214 Marley Avenue in Cloverdale purchased a used car yesterday at the Dibley in the Downs Flea Market held every Saturday at Dibley Commons. Its a 2002 DunceMini, the Confederacy’s answer to the Volkswagen Beetle.

Dink Binkerhoff was bursting with pride over his family’s new Mini. He spent yesterday's early afternoon giving the car a wash and a polish so it wouldn't look out of place next to their neighbor’s Land Rover. For the rest of the afternoon, every 15 minutes or so, he'd go back outside to brush off any accumulated dust or dirt that happened to drift onto the bright red surface.

At 4:00 P.M. Dink watched The Addams Family on Cloverdale Weekend Television. He never misses the Adam’s Family. Its an American show that makes him laugh and laugh. He thinks Uncle Fester is the best. He plans on Trick or Treating as Uncle Fester this Halloween.

At 4:30 P.M. Dink went outside to give the Mini another touch up. He circled the car, brushing it off and wiping away smudges with a wet index finger. He heard a whistle blow at the end of the lane. The afternoon shift at Cloverdale Bakery was over. He wanted the Mini to look its best when the employees walked by on their way to catch the number 3 bus for the train station.

“My dad bought a new car today.” he said to a group of stout women wearing hair nets and white bakery coats with blue collars as they passed his house.
“That’s nice love,” one of them said.
Another stopped to give it a good look over. “A Mini. What do we have here ladies? This Posh gentlemen has a new Mini? Care to take a group of ladies out for a nice meal at the Savoy?" They cackled at the suggestion and continued walking down the pavement.

He did another lap around the car. It truly was a sight to behold. He glanced down the street. A teenage girl was half running and half walking his direction. She looked like a 12th year student at the Comprehensive School.

“My dad bought a new car today.” he said. The girl stopped and walked over to him.
“A Mini. Oh doesn’t it look a treat.” she said as she removed her hair net and stuffed it into her pocket. “Bet you’re proud aren’t you? Bet you plan on driving it when you’re older- don’t ya? Hey I know. How about you and me take it for a bit of a spin. I've got a license. I’m late and if I miss my bus I'm dead. Come on, help a girl out?”

Dink thought for a moment. It seemed like a good thing to do. His parents always said everyone should help people because you never know when you’re gong to need help yourself.

“Sure,” Dink replied.
“You're a pal. Where are the keys?” she asked.
“In the car ?” Dink answered.
“Smart boy, Smart boy,” the girl patted him on the head and jumped into the driver’s seat. Dink opened the door and jumped in beside her.
“Now remember, it was your idea to give me a lift to the bus stop....... right?” the lady asked.
“Well, I thought you were the one that asked.” Dink replied.
“You got it confused. Remember, you offered me a lift. You know, poor girl needed a ride and you having this new car and all. You offered me a ride because you’re a proper gentleman. Right?”
“Ah, sure. I offered you a lift because I’m a......”
“Proper Gentleman.” she interrupted, helping him get the lie squared away in his head.
“Yea, a proper Gentleman.” Dink smiled at the thought that a pretty girl called him a proper gentleman.

She stared the Mini. They backed out into the road and started down the street.
“You know, I don’t know what my boyfriend will do if he finds out I went out driving with a good lookin bloke like yourself. He might go mad. Better get down so no one sees.”
Dink slouched down in the seat until they got to the bus stop.

“Thanks. You’re a sweetheart.” The girl said as she kissed her index finger and placed it on his lips. She was out the door just in time to catch the bus. Dink sat up. She waved goodbye from the bus window.

Dink got out of the Mini. He did a good deed. He knew his mother and father would be so proud of him. Now, all he had to do was figure out how to get the car back home.