Sentence Verdict?

If you read these two sentences at the start of a best seller you took out of the library, would you continue reading:

“He shoved a forkful of congealed eggs, grits, bacon, home fries and ketchup down his throat.”

“He rose too, towering over her, a great big blob of a man who could cause little children to run screaming away in fear just by … being.”



It's fortunate that the last three letters in this sparkling water's name don't come first.


Vote Nuckl

Reprinted from my 1987 newsletter, The Gadzooks Gazette

Ross Nuckl, an independent representative from Oklahoma, ended speculation about a presidential run when he officially threw his hat into the ring last night. The hat, a brown fedora with a beige band, was reportedly caught by a middle-aged man in a gray windbreaker who quickly disappeared into the crowd. Nuckl’s campaign spokeswoman, Lydia Daily, is asking that anyone with information as to the hat’s whereabouts please contact her an Nuckl headquarters immediately.

Presentative Nuckl has been a member of Congress for the past 14 years, the last five as chairman of the Public Service Commission. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Oklahoma State Legislature, four years as a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Appeals, and two years as a Amway distributor. Knuckl also likes cats.

Despite his long public record, most people know little about Nuckl. Our Washington correspondent, Tara Wilton, caught up with Nuckl on the campaign trail to get a better idea of where he stands on the key issues facing this country.

Q: Representative Nuckl, where do you stand on the key issues facing this country?
A: Perhaps you could be more specific.
Q: Okay, let’s start with domestic policy. Unemployment has been a concern in many parts of the country. As president, what steps would you take to help the jobless?
A: My philosophy is very simple — everyone with less should get more. The jobless should get jobs. The homeless should get homes. The careless should get cares. The listless should get lists. And the tireless should get tires. Only then can we say we’ve done our job.
Q: And yet federal funds are not limitless.
A: When I’m done, even the limitless will have limits.

Q: Let’s move on. I’m sure you’re aware of the large trade imbalance, especially with Japan. What do you think needs to be done to reverse this situation?
A: I think the last thing we want is to reverse this situation! On the contrary, we ought to encourage this as much as possible. Let the Japanese send us their cars. Let them send us their compact disc players and TV sets and three-speed blenders. Keep them coming, because sooner of later they’re going to run out. And when they do, we’ve got them! Sure they’ll have all our money, but what do they do when they get up for breakfast and want a piece of toast? We’ve got all the toasters. What do they do when they want a glass of juice? We’ve got all the electric juicers. And all the automatic coffeemakers, all the electric can openers, and all the frost-free refrigerators. And then who’s got who?
Q: Whom.
A: Them.

Q: You were quoted last week saying that you would support covert military actions against a foreign government if it served our national interest. At the same time, you call for world peace. How do you reconcile these seemingly contradictory views?
A: Well, I want world peace, but only for our country.

Q: I see. One final question Representative Nuckl. You enter the race trailing Democratic frontrunner Leia Negg by 20 points. How do you plan on bridging that gap?
A: Good old, hard work! I plan on going state to state, town to town, and street to street, taking my case to the everyday Americans who make this country great. And I’ll do it because I believe in those people — the kind of people who’ll open their doors and look you straight in the eye when you ring their doorbells. If it means shaking every hand in this country, I’ll shake every hand. If it means kissing every baby, I’ll kiss every baby. Even if it means, missing meals, going without sleep, and standing out in the cold and rain for hours, I’ll find someone on my staff to do it, because what that effort will ultimately mean is having Ross Nuckl elected and sitting in the most powerful seat in the free world: President of the United States of America.
Q: And then what will you do?
A: I don’t know.


Coffee Cantata

The Saturday, December 22nd New York Times crossword puzzle includes this clue: "Coffee Cantata" composer (answer: 4 letters). There have been several translations of an ode-like aria in the cantata, but here's one I wrote for the book Coffee Time that maintains the original AABCCB rhyme scheme.

Ah! Coffee, how lovely this is,
Sweeter than a thousand kisses,
Mellower than muscatel.
Coffee, coffee, I crave it dearly,
And should someone wish to cheer me,
Take my cup and fill it well!


Toon Time

Are you big on comics, superheroes and cartoons, not so big on crosswords? 

A pack of 20 small, easy puzzles I wrote for the NY Times crossword app may be for you. One-third of the puzzle content is cartoon-related. The app and this sample puzzle are free (the full pack isn't):  
A PDF can be downloaded here: 

(BTW, I get nothing more if you buy the pack, so count this as a public service announcement.)


Klutch (with a backward K)

Klutch, the St. Lucie Mets mascot, enjoys a few moments to himself during a quiet Sunday game vs. the Charlotte Stone Crabs.


Conserve Letterforms!

Many years ago I remember a graphic artist talking about a logo he'd designed. I don't remember who the person was or exactly what the logo was for (I think a waterside community), but I do remember the logo's claim to fame: It was a seven-letter word that used just three letterforms.

Here's a rendition of what I remember it looking like, using a "b," "h" and "e" from the font Bauhaus Bugler medium:
As you can see, the "b" and "d" are flopped versions of each other, and the "ay" is "he" rotated 180º. What reminded me of this was seeing Hulu's logo recently. It uses just two shapes, one a combination of the two:
Aside: This sort of feat is one that's best appreciated on an intellectual level. And it's pretty cool in that regard. But it's a step removed from a logo's purpose, which includes projecting a certain image or feeling. How effectively do you think these two work in that regard?


MAD About Trump

Available now! 
Buy this laugh-out-loud, 128-page book now so you'll be able to return it as soon as possible: [CLICK]. And make sure to check out page 65 for my full-page contribution.


Add a Letter

Can you add one letter to this word to create a different word?
Adding an S to the end doesn't count.
Do not rearrange the existing letters.


Answer: CLICK


Family Logo

An envelope with the logo for my grandfather's company:


Watch Out

I feel kinda sorry for that mouse, even if it is made of Lego blocks.
McKee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, Florida