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02/01 Direct Link
SMOOTH SAILING Families take in the hot air balloon exhibition at the Thirty-Five-County Fairgrounds in Cattersby Junction Friday. No injuries were reported.

Another fun shoot. I used my Nikka React, 3,000mm, I think it was f/11 at ½ second. All of my EXIF information is corrupted, it could have been f/16 or even f/32.

These Nikka bodies get terrifically hot, particularly when shooting outside under anything brighter than overcast. Avoid the plastic body kit.

Always mount the heaviest glass you can hoist, no matter what. For ground-to-balloon-basket portraiture, especially, customers expect it.
02/02 Direct Link

WET YET? While some pooches frolic, others must wait their turn for a dip at Jackie Onassis Memorial Dog Pool in Clinkerton on Sunday. 

On this shoot I had to really get in and out on account of the Nikka heating up like a sonuvagun. Dogs are a favorite subject of mine, so it was worth a drive way out to Clinkerton even knowing the sun would be out and my gear would cook.

I think it’s smart they only allow so many dogs in the pool at once. You know? It teaches them patience, and to appreciate what they’ve got.

02/03 Direct Link

TANKS FOR NOTHING. The sudden appearance of a parade detachment of the 5th Separate Heavy Tank Brigade in Moscow startles comrade cat — moments before puss might have pounced on this frightened starling with sprained right wing (blur, left bottom corner).

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Now this one, you picked a good one; this is one my uncle Walt shot when he was over to the War. He passed, oh, I’d recollect it was ’80, ’81. Bum ticker. He was up to the studio riggin’ keylight for a Turkish Angora client, when he just keeled over, stone cold. 

It’s like they say: carpe diem, man.

02/04 Direct Link
JUMBOTRON What might be a drowsy elephant cub slipping out of Dad’s overstuffed recliner is really just a bunch of tall clouds ambling due east over Cornswallow County, as seen from behind Ted's Tires in East Eubank late Saturday afternoon, following beers with Ted and his cousin Marcus Roy. No injuries were reported.

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I cover pets and courts now, but when I was just hired on at the Gazette they had me on clouds and the elderly. Hell, man, you gotta start somewhere. This was a good beat, though. Like anything, it’s what you make of it.
02/05 Direct Link

CATTERSBY JUNCTION—Seven months after discovering a bleached paper cotton candy “stick” within a trash barrel at the exit of 2011’s Crittersback Fair, the Gazette still seeks to learn the identity of the stick’s owner.

According to Wilmington, Del.,-based Tootsie Sweetened, which would have sold the product along with an available menu of caramel apples and fruit-flavored crushed ice “cones,” such information remains proprietary.

“With respect to confection quality and customer privacy, Tootsie Sweetened remains the proud industry leader,” parroted Chad Royce, now 18, the fair’s cotton candy booth supervisor and an effeminate Crittersback High School senior.

02/06 Direct Link

CRITTERSBACK—Police Chief Sagamore “Joe” Brush Jr. said he would not investigate this reporter's discovery of a bleached paper cotton candy stick inside a trash barrel at July 2011’s Crittersback Fair, saying his department "lack[ed] the resources" to do so.

Crittersback's police budget for 2012 is $1.2 million, the highest in the County, up three percent from 2011. No other large-scale investigations are pending, all department capital equipment is in working order, and none of the department's 15 full-time, and four part-time, officers is slated for retirement, vacation or other leave, Brush confirmed lazily.
02/07 Direct Link

GAZETTE LOOKS BEYOND AG REBUFF

LEMURSWORTH—The Gazette is weighing its options after Attorney General Rollie Ripkin said today he would not compel Crittersback officials to investigate the appearance last year of a cotton candy stick in the trash at Crittersback Fair.

In a brief statement, Ripkin said the Gazette’s February 1 request for his office’s involvement “lacks sufficient grounds and is summarily denied.”

Also unclear is the identity of the attractive young woman Ripkin was spotted with emerging from the Hotel Lemursworth early Saturday morning. Mrs. Ripkin is believed ill, and convalescing at the couple’s Port Rigatoni vacation home.
02/08 Direct Link

FAIR GAME? Patches of old snow and dry weeds dot the four-acre Crittersback Fairgrounds Monday, seven months after this newspaper uncovered a cotton candy stick in the trash at Crittersback Fair. Efforts to trace the stick's owner have met with widespread resistance, though the Gazette promises to persevere.

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Honestly, you ask me, I don't know why the paper's putting up this fight. No one will ever come forward; no one will ever give up a name. I been staked out here with my camera a week hoping to catch whoever it was. Hell, man, a job’s a job.
02/09 Direct Link

Editor, 

Seems the Gazette’s still tilting at windmills. What’s your beef with the cotton candy stick tosser? Seven months later, with nothing to show, just chalk it up to “boys will be boys” and move on.

Some free story ideas, Bill: You have Danny Weaselman over there in the ZBA running roughshod over kiddie pool owners; you have Milton Bitts, Big Homework lobbyist, calling the shots at the Recess Commission; and you have a no-bid smock vendor pocketing our art class dollars.

Cotton candy? Ask me, the Gazette’s been out to lunch.

Mathilde Poincaré
Age 9
Crittersback Elementary School
02/10 Direct Link

THEY AIN’T KITTING! Contestants receive their cats at the Quisenbach County Cat Carry Contest, kicked off Thursday at the Marla Gooch Memorial Community Complex in Danube. At left, Danube Mayor Meice Finch reads the governor’s proclamation establishing the remainder of Winter 2012 “Quisenbach County Cat Carry Days.” Full story, with additional photos, page A18.

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This is the 24th year of cat carry, and everyone just gets the biggest kick out of it. I donated my cat, Tabatha; you can see her in this shot. (Arlo Fontaine’s gonna carry her. He’s good.) See? She’s waving at me, at the camera! Meow!
02/11 Direct Link

ROOM BRIEFS

SUNNY SKIES According to the occupant, daylight filled the room 24 consecutive days, alternating with its absence in night, when moon and stars prevail. Also nightly, the room's occupant makes use of five privacy shades to screen against streetlights.

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY The occupant reported a sharp disinfectant odor from the common area. Experts confirmed Dale keeps a clean, orderly house. No injuries were reported.

TREE-MENDOUS! From his room, the occupant has an unobstructed view of his house at 30 School St., particularly the yard, where the trees he planted in 2002 have their backs to him.

02/12 Direct Link

MORNING OFFICE BRIEFS

ICE TO SEE YOU! The Deerfield River is finally icing over. According to John Snyder, a third-floor workspace renter, the river just below is largely iced “Coke-bottle green, with white tops,” with some rivulets making their way to the nearby falls.

COFFEE KLATCH? Coffee consumption is up among John Snyder, who reports he’s on his second cup of strong java for the day. 

GOT THE BEAT Work on John Snyder’s to-do list was cheered by repeat plays of The Spinners’ 1975 Philly soul single “Games People Play” on Apple’s iTunes. No injuries were reported.
02/13 Direct Link

COMICS!

INTERPLANETARY PUP. Panel one: Pup flies through space, determined. P2: Sniffs the air in his bubble helmet, concerned. P3: Sees jetpack scorching his tail. P4: Thinks to reader, “Yipe! Yipe!”

FOOTBALLER FRED. Fred runs the ball, is tackled by three bruisers. We hear his back snap (pained expression). Fan in stands to another: “I hope I remember where the hell I parked.”

LOVES ME NOT. Fixed POV. P1: Clover proposing to lady clover. P2: Both horrified as “giant” girl hand plucks man clover. P3: “He loves me” (scream); P4: Lady clover turns, aghast, while, “He loves me not” (scream).
02/14 Direct Link
STAYED UP UNTIL 5:30 a.m. writing the first 3,200 words of a serious story that’s making me laugh, based on yesterday’s INTERPLANETARY PUP. The only thing staying my hand tonight is fatigue. Not even today's fatigue! I can write through that. I just have to be fresh tomorrow, as I'm facilitating a workshop, and will need my wits about me. Just a note today to thank you all. What? More space? OK. I love all your entries! I read everyone every day. You’re all working things through. Such gifts, often so touching. Right on.
02/15 Direct Link

Swine flu, swine flu; baby got dat swine flu. Flu flu, flu flu; baby got dat swine-fine, swine-fine, swine-fine flu-flu. Flu-flu. 

Scarlet Swineflu (pronounced swə-NEF-lu), knew a good mark when she saw one. There she was at the bar, hot as Jessica Rabbit, if you get the ref; and there he was, boothed up: a shlameil. A rube. A sad sack, stuffed into a brown suit, both he and it rumpled hopeless, heading home to mothballs.

He’s staring into middle distance, head socko from the PATH, from the LIRR. 

Also, it’s raining. Yeah.
02/16 Direct Link

Azaralor, duke-templar of the clan Suncore-Sword, and a sour dragon even by dragon standards, steamed up to sleep last Thursday in his usual lumpy-cuddly nest of human-warrior bones, and lay there, fuming. It had been a sour Thursday, even by Azaralor’s standards, and he looked forward even less to Friday.

His thousands of jade scales, each as large (and twice as hard) as a knight's shield, flowed smoothly with his ancient river weight as he clattered this way and that, trying to relax. Harsh yellow light from his reptile eyes lit the chamber.

“Women,” he muttered.

02/17 Direct Link

Spock raised an eyebrow. 

“Indeed? Then the colony on Lyrae III never existed?”

The chancellor finished licking his paw. “Correct, Mr. Spock. It never existed. And now, thanks to you, neither will the Federation.”

Spock folded his arms and leaned against the wall near the intercom, unnerving the guard with the Tommy gun. 

He recalled Christine at the arboretum, her warm hand, the sudden smash of open space. Lilac.
    
“Then, logically speaking, Chancellor Mittens, neither will you. Nor this compound. Nor,” Spock said, taking in with a nod the canopy of stars sparkling beyond the litter box, “your father’s empire.”
02/18 Direct Link
At that, Mittens leaped from his climber and thumped softly on the Great Seal, between Spock and the Resolute desk — and McCoy's body.
 
“Vulcan, you’re surprisingly sentimental. You misunderstand. My father’s empire is but a political construction. A name. Times change, names change.”

Mittens scented the guard.

“Coward,” he rumbled. “Watch and learn.”

Mittens popped his claws, kneaded the darkening blue carpet. 

(“Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a veter — well, hell…”)

“What is an empire, Vulcan? Just control, yes? Just an understanding, more often than not enforced by boot and bat, between we, the strong, and you, the weak...”
02/19 Direct Link

Issan Dorsey, Zen priest: "You don't even clean to make things clean, so much. You clean even if it's not a mess. You just go around and make things look like somebody paid attention to them." 

This is my goal, though demonstrably not everyone’s. Easy enough to make choices in our relationships with objects and spaces which support everyone’s success: Put things away as we finish with them; clean as we cook; attend to the act from beginning to end; ready ourselves for next time; achieve that impression of care to which Dorsey refers. (Live gently together, together.) 

Yet lawyers.
02/20 Direct Link
TONIGHT: Fred fears Wilma will be widowed when the medical elephant sucking out his kidney-rocks gets amnesia; Barney bowls a perfect game.

What were you doing on this date in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012?

Me? Why, just a little something I like to call gettin’ more distinguished.

(Plus crankier, heavier, etc.)

Thanks for the birthday wishes, V.! C.
02/21 Direct Link


TONIGHT: It's the heavyweight vs. the hunks when Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) hires Muhammad Ali to race the Duke boys for their farm. But whose side is Daisy on? John Schneider, Tom Wopat. 

Yeah, I seen it. I was diggin’ ditch over to Myrtle Timpkin’s place up there, set back to Jasper’s Holler, fer sump. (Myrtle gets her cellar wetter’n a bitch come spring, on account’a them Army Corpse fellers ain’t never heard a’ riprap.) Anyhow, the Gen’ral, she come screamin’ up over them haystacks, real purty, you know; only this time they rolled ‘er. Gas spread fast. Aw, hell.
02/22 Direct Link

YOU KNOW ETHEL (PILOT) In her "Lucy" spin-off debut, Ethel (Vivian Vance) has a scheme to carefully save up for a hat; Fred (William Frawley) naps with the radio on.

Yeah, I seen it. I was diggin’ ditch over to old Mrs. Trumbull’s apartment up there, set back to the Mertzes, fer sump. (Tillie gets her linen closet wetter’n a bitch come spring, on account’a them Army Corpse fellers ain’t never heard a’ riprap.) Anyhow, the Gen’ral, she come screamin’ up over the chesterfield, real purty, you know; only this time they rolled ‘er. Gas spread fast. Aw, hell.

02/23 Direct Link

TONIGHT: Alex (Judd Hirsch) has mixed emotions after hoodlums shove Louie (Danny DeVito) headfirst into the garage's coffee machine; Tony (Tony Danza) moonlights as a bus driver.

That little monster in the cage, the dispatcher, I didn't mind. I turned in my fares and he left me alone. You know what I hated? They had this clique there at Sunshine. You could never break into it. They’d sit there right in the middle of the garage, playin’ cards, shootin’ the shit. Reiger and them. Nardo. The whole garage had to revolve around them. There or at Mario's. So fulla themselves.

02/24 Direct Link

TONIGHT: Maj. Nelson (Larry Hagman) has to think fast after Jeannie (Barbara Eden) turns Dr. Bellows (Hayden Rorke) into a harem of lovely ladies; Maj. Healey (Bill Daily) stumbles about nervously.

PRELIMINARY REPORT NEGATIVE. Autopsy failed to reveal source of creature’s powers, nor her apparent mission U.S.; “Jeannie” presented post mortem as fit, unremarkable human female, mid 20s. Nelson and Healey unresponsive to interrogation: Healey acutely catatonic; remanding to Cocoa General for observation. Nelson, however, that hateful light in his eyes: ordering transfer this date to Quantico, recommending Dietrich Battery. Col. Alfred Bellows remains missing: presumed captive/killed, hostiles unknown.
02/25 Direct Link

COPA CLOSED AS RICARDO PEGGED A RED

Local bandleader Enrique Alberto Fernando Ricardo y de Acha, III, a.k.a. Ricky Ricardo, has hung up his bongos and is due to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington on Monday, there to answer charges he is a Communist or Communist sympathizer.

Meanwhile, the Copacabana, Mr. Ricardo’s longtime lair, has been closed to the public, and likely will not reopen, its owners said.

Through his landlord, Mr. Ricardo, of 623 E. 68th St., vehemently denied on Friday any involvement in anti-American activities, and vowed to fight to clear his name.
02/26 Direct Link

TONIGHT: Alfalfa names Darla a traitor as the Rascals prepare to rumble the Jets for control of the block; Spanky steals ice.

MONDAY: Alfalfa gets a letter from his mother—or is it a Jet ruse? Spanky can't unload his stolen ice after the cops turn up the heat.

TUESDAY: Froggy fears Darla's wrath when he is forced to testify against the Rascals; the Jets wire Petey with can on a string.

WEDNESDAY: Founding Rascal “Collarbone Jones” returns on parole with a plan to crush the Jets once and for all; Darla discovers new kid Thurston Howell III is wealthy.
02/27 Direct Link

THURSDAY: Miss Crabtree suspects a rumble is afoot when Spanky accidentally submits his war plan as his English theme. 

FRIDAY: The Rascals respond to a distress call from an alien tenement—and stumble into a Jet ambush.

SATURDAY: The Rascals mount a pageant as a front for trade in stolen ice; desperate Froggy seeks Jet allies.

SUNDAY: The Rascals rat out Darla after she double-crosses them on a heist; Froggy fights for life after a hansom cab trampling.

NEXT MONDAY: Buckwheat, Spanky hide stolen ice uptime, but the boys go missing after water shorts out the portal's vacuum tubes.

02/28 Direct Link

TONIGHT: At the height of Cold War tensions, Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps into the body of Bullwinkle J. Moose, and helps him rekindle a lost love (Eva Gabor).

TONIGHT: Gilligan finds a mysterious metal ingot that slowly sickens and paralyzes the castaways; Mary Ann loses a lucky rabbit’s foot. Phil Silvers guest stars.

TONIGHT: David Banner (Bill Bixby) takes a job driving for the Sunshine Cab Co., then meets dispatcher Louie DePalma. Oh-Ho-HO! 

TONIGHT: Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) suspects Travis is sleeping with Bailey (Jan Smithers), and is absolutely right; Les volunteers for a project testing gamma rays.
02/29 Direct Link
TUESDAY: Buckwheat returns from 1980 with fantastic tales of mechanical men, personal zeppelins, and mothers for everybody.

WEDNESDAY: Spanky returns from 1980 with gold-plated vacuum tubes and bags full of money from sales of stolen ice. 

THURSDAY: A space wizard gives Froggy the “key harmonic to the universe,” granting him super powers; “parallel” Buckwheat returns from a devastated 1980. 

FRIDAY: The Rascals weigh their options when Froggy vows revenge; the Jets call for immediate truce. 

SATURDAY: Froggy cedes Jets nominal control of the block, but they must sing, dance to keep it; Darla challenges Spanky’s leadership of the Rascals.