September 12, 2011


I can’t imagine anything worse than having to deliver a eulogy, but recently, it happened to me.  Now, I hate funerals, and will do nearly anything to get out of going to one.  Unfortunately, this family was under the mistaken impression that I was a close friend of the deceased, and what do you say when a teary-eyed daughter drops in and practically begs you to say a few words?  I am not strong enough of heart or honest enough in spirit to refuse such a request based on the fact that I detested the bastard with every fiber of my being.  So, wimp that I am, I reluctantly agreed.
After she left, I set about, pen in hand and a clean ream of white bond at my elbow, to write something that accentuated the meager good points about this fellow.  I wracked my brain.  Hours passed.  Ashtrays grew full.  Wastebaskets overflowed with hundreds of false starts.
The funeral was the next afternoon and, at 2:00 AM, I still had nothing.  Finally, I just gave up, decided to wing it, and went to bed.
The day of the funeral was, well, funereal.  They sky was dark enough to make even an atheist believe in the Apocalypse.  Inside the funeral parlor, the organ music rose and fell like a queasy stomach as I made my way to the lectern, still having no idea what to say.
I gazed out at a sea of puddly eyes, cleared my throat, and began.                                                                        
“We are here today to bid farewell to Fred – a man who was a darned good driver.  He never drank when he was behind the wheel, and the fact that he only had one arm had nothing to do with it.
“I think the most impressive thing about Fred was how great he looked in sunglasses and those stylish tropical print Bermuda shorts he used to wear.  You have to be a special person to wear shorts like that with knee socks, wing tips, and an “I’m with Stupid” sweatshirt.  Not everyone can pull off that look, but on Fred, it was perfection.
“You could always depend on Fred for a good word – and every now and then, a complete sentence.  He went out of his way to help little children, and, to this day, I think the charges filed by their parents were trumped up.
“And that suspicious disappearance of pets in his neighborhood had absolutely nothing to do with his taxidermy hobby – I’m positive of that.  Anyone who says otherwise is a liar!  The white slavery ring was pure nonsense, too.  Fred never discriminated on the basis of color.  If you could do the job, you were OK with Fred.
“Fred was constantly getting blamed for things he had nothing to do with, and I am outraged that he had to deal with that all his life.  The fact that Fred bought a new Rolls Royce the day after the bank was robbed was pure coincidence.  If one is thrifty, one can certainly save enough for a car like that on a janitor’s salary.  And I heard that he won that trip to Switzerland.  The public is too quick to judge these things, and law enforcement too quick to make arrests.
 “And let’s not forget all the community service that Fred has performed.  True, it was part of the sentencing, but community service is community service, and should be recognized and applauded.
“But now, Fred has laid his burden down.  His troubles are over, as are those of the entire town.  Fred’s death has not been in vain.  People can now remove the bars from their windows.  Merchants can holster their handguns.  Children can play outside again.  And all because we are here today.  The entire community owes Fred a great debt of gratitude.
“Thank you.”

September 5, 2011


Hi everyone!  A small interruption to announce that yours truly has just been published in MUNATY COOKING--an online pub originating from Dubai.  My, my. The world isn't so big anymore, is it?  At any rate, if you're looking for a double dose of Buckingham this week, the article contains a column--humorous-- about my mother being a lousy cook, and is much like my blog column, OH, THE HORROR...  So drop and and have a laugh, if you have a spare moment or two.  Oh, and there's a great recipe at the end of the article you may want to try! 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog below this announcement.

September 4, 2011


There is little that will reduce a room full of ordinary, civilized adults to terrified, shrieking infants faster than a bat fluttering through their personal space.
But let me backtrack a bit.
I had the misfortune of attending a dinner party recently.  The words “misfortune” and “dinner party” are actually synonymous, so please forgive the redundancy.  At any rate, hors d’ouevres found me engrossed in an absolutely fascinating discussion about the myriad of ways requiring the use of motorcycle helmets is adversely affecting our rights under the Constitution.  This fellow seemed to have a great deal of respect for, not only the Constitution as he viewed it, but for the sound of his own voice, as well.  I soon realized that all I’d have to do to keep up my end of the conversation was to nod occasionally and avoid turning to stone.
Just when I had decided that this person truly didn’t need to avail himself of a motorcycle helmet, since he had nothing worth protecting anyway, a diminutive uninvited quest made his presence known.
Things immediately became more interesting.
For some odd reason, women confronted by a bad flying about will immediately cover their heads while emitting wails that can lead to avalanches in higher elevations.  What they fail to realize is that bats couldn’t care less about closely inspecting their dye jobs.  Bats have no fashion sense.  It’s all the same to them if your hair is L’Oreal Blonde, Clairol Brunette, or Joe’s Midnight Maroon.  They also do not get tangled in one’s coif.  As a matter of fact, unless you have a swarm of flying insects hanging about the earrings, bats are unlikely to be interested in your company. . . especially at a dinner party.
They do have some standards.
So, the poor bat was fluttering around, just trying to find the fastest way out of there.  Since I had been pursuing as similar, and unsuccessful, course of action ever since I had arrived an hour ago, I didn’t hold out too much hope for the little fellow’s chances.
Ah, but he had one thing on his side that I didn’t have.
Intimidation and fear.
Well, two things, then.
Once the males in the group tumbled to the fact that the ladies weren’t screaming because someone was wearing white shoes after Labor Day, they swept into action.
“What should we do?” they cried, in unison.
An overly muscled athletic sort with an audible tan snatched up a nearby tennis racket (and isn’t there always one nearby?) and advanced on the creature with the requisite blood in the eye.
I, being an animal lover in the extreme, did my part by sticking out my foot at the right time. . .or the wrong time, depending upon your perspective.  He went down like a sack of. . .well, he went down.
Game and Set.
“All right!  HOLD IT DOWN!” I shouted above the din.
An eerie silence, except for the soft fluttering of erratic flight, reigned.
“When I was in the Orient, I learned a trick to call bats,” I explained.  “If you will all adjourn to the next room and close the doors behind you, I’ll get the bat out of the house with no bloodshed or damaged crockery.”
Even Pauly Shore couldn’t have cleared that room faster.
After the doors were latched and secure, I held up my hand and the bat lit on my wrist.
“What the devil took you so long, Bart?  I was bored to tears!”  I exclaimed, scratching him behind the ears.  “Come on.  Let’s get out of here.  There’s a grasshopper at home with your name on it.”
Nobody could blame me for this.  I was only following the instructions on the invitation.  If they didn’t want me to “B.Y.O.B.,” they shouldn’t have told me to!
I tucked Bart into his cage in the back seat of my car and left.
Dinner Party: 0  Bat: 1
Game, Set, and Match.