RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘news’

  1. Top Ten Tips for Burglars Who Bungle and Robbers Who Run

    May 26, 2014 by Diane

    Captured danger prisoner in cartoon style for justice design

    There have been a rash of burglaries in the town where I live. Last week, the police captured the man who was responsible. According to the newspaper, at five-thirty in the morning an alert senior citizen phoned the police about a suspicious-looking character prowling around the neighborhood. Turns out, this suspicious-looking character had just looted a house while the owner snoozed. The police had no trouble tracking down the thief; he was hiding, with the loot, in a port-a-potty.

    How unfortunate.

    Here are my top ten tips for those who thieve:

    1. Don’t hide in a port-a-potty. If arrested, you’ll be forever branded as The Port-a-Potty Prowler.

    2. When hitting multiple homes over several weeks, don’t cart all of the evidence around in your car. Especially if you have a busted taillight. If you get pulled over, you’ll be the one who’s busted.

    3. If your workday begins at five A.M., don’t hit a neighborhood that has a senior citizen. The old fart will be awake.

    4. If you’ve never set foot in the neighborhood where you’re prowling, you’ll look suspicious. Especially if you’re wearing one of those little black Halloween eye masks. Better to rob a house where you look familiar. Like your own.

    5. Don’t sell stolen loot on your front lawn and call it a garage sale.

    6. When robbing a bank, make sure you have a getaway car, not a bicycle.

    7. Ditto for sneakers. I don’t care how fast you run.

    8. After robbing a bank, don’t wait in the lobby for your mother to come pick you up.

    9. When robbing a store, make sure you know the difference between “drive” and “reverse.” Many a robber has backed through a plate glass window trying to escape.

    10. Quit the burglary racket and use your thieving skills to find gainful employment instead. Become a politician. Or a car salesperson. Or a lawyer.

    And here’s a bonus tip:

    11. Send a woman to do the burgling. I’ve never heard of a female burglar. Bank robber, yes. But not a burglar. Either women never get caught, or we just haven’t broken through that particular glass ceiling.


    Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


  2. Sunday After the Shootings

    January 27, 2014 by Diane

    white church

    On Sunday after the shootings, a small Midwestern community gathered in their local church, stunned by the news reports. They murmured in groups as they filed in, the children tethered to their mother’s hands. From the pulpit Father O’Hare gazed out at his congregation, at their tight faces, the men with their blazing eyes, the children squirming in their mother’s embrace. He knew the evil that had consumed that young shooter; he knew the evil because it brushed against him now—that out of control anger—and he sensed it in his parish, felt it wafting through, clinging to the men with their tense jaws and the women clutching their children with fierceness.

    Father O’Hare asked them all to rise, to sing Nearer, My God, to Thee. Even Joe Peterson, who never sang, held the hymnal and bellowed the words. After the last note Mrs. Smith at the organ dabbed her eyes and folded her hands in her lap, and the choir in their blue robes sank down.

    “It is with heavy hearts that we are gathered here today,” Father O’Hare began. “And our prayers are with the families of the wee victims. I don’t have to tell you that there is a question we are all asking, one question: why? Why would a young lad commit such a horrible crime, a child of God no less—”

    Mr. Peterson reared up. “That boy was the Devil!”

    “He was screwy in the head!” Mabel Fricks hollered from the back of the church. “He should have been locked up.”

    And others chimed in.

    “Where does a boy that age get his hands on an assault rifle? Can you tell me that?”

    “It’s the government’s fault!”

    “It’s the NRA! They’re nothing but a bunch of bullies!”

    “Amen!” someone shouted from the choir.

    Father O’Hare came out from behind the pulpit and held up his hands until everyone had quieted down. He didn’t have a passage to point to, nothing in the Bible about twenty innocent children being gunned down in the middle of the day. All he knew is that the evil that overtook that boy’s soul was beckoning to others, a curl of smoke that made others follow blindly, luring the nation with its deceptive tune. He had to stop that evil energy from permeating his flock, from spreading further into the world. He had to tell them that the only way to defeat the dark was to turn toward the light and remember the good. To remind others. And to never forget, even after this day was long forgotten.

    “We’re trying to find something to blame,” he began, “instead of looking for something to cherish.” His eyes swept the angry faces and settled on Mr. Peterson’s. “Joe. Your beloved wife sits next to you, the mother of your children. When was the last time you held her hand? And Sam,” he turned to the choir director slumped in his chair, “this fine morning when you walked to church, did you give thanks for your sturdy legs?” Father O’Hare spread his arms to the congregation. “Did any of you notice the morning sky?  Did you marvel at the gold and the orange and the pink all swirled together, and let it settle in your soul?”

    Everyone was still.

    “Now then, here is the question we ought to be asking ourselves: Why do we let our anger blind us to what is good in the world? It’s not our job to find blame. It’s our job to find love. Take the hand of your grieving neighbor and lead them to the window and show them the sunrise, remind them of the good that survives.”

    Joe Peterson grunted, and folded his arms. His grandson was six. He would be hard pressed to find something good in the world if it had happened to little Joey.

    “Let us pray.”

    Joe refused to bow his head. When the choir rose he refused to stand, refused to pick up the hymnal again, refused to sing. But Joe’s wife did, her voice thin and trembling and off key. The skirt of her pale yellow dress brushed his knee as she swayed with each note, the lightest touch, a butterfly’s wing. Mr. Peterson closed his eyes and let the touch settle, let it take up residence in his aching heart.

  3. We All Have Our Thing

    October 31, 2013 by Diane

    Be Prepared

    A year ago, on October 29, Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast.

    It scooped up houses from Hoboken streets and rearranged them elsewhere. It flung a boat onto the subway tracks, a two-story onto the turnpike, a roller coaster into the ocean. It uprooted trees and carted them away on the belly of the Hudson, along with a fleet of cars, a 200-year-old skull, a week’s worth of garbage and the entire sewage system of Manhattan. It left live electrical wires sizzling in a watery stew of bacteria.

    On the other side of the country, dining al fresco in seventy degree weather, Californians watched with horror on their Smartphones.

    “Who names a hurricane Sandy?” I asked a friend. “Sounds like a happy-go-lucky kid. Why not call it what it is…Satan.”

    A week later, I was talking long-distance on the phone to a woman who works for a publishing company in New Jersey. “Don’t mess with the Tri-State people,” she said. “We have Springsteen.”

    “Sinatra!” I added, even though, technically, he’s dead.

    “We all have our thing,” she said, “Hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, earthquakes…“

    My pulse zinged. I shifted in my chair. Californians don’t like to hear the “e” word.

    In 1989, when the Big One hit, I was napping in my second floor apartment. The stucco building bucked like a boat on choppy waters. I crawled to the hallway and braced myself between the wall and the closet door as dishes crashed to the kitchen floor, framed photographs popped off the walls, the globe from my grandmother’s antique lamp splintered into a million brilliant shards. I heard the thud of heavy furniture and a neighbor’s scream. When the rolling stopped and the sirens started, I peeled myself from the floor. I grabbed the earthquake preparedness manual and, fueled on adrenaline, barked orders from the driveway after my neighbors dragged themselves out from under the bookcase. Does anyone know where the gas meter is? Because according to page one, we need to turn it off. And who has a wrench?

    On the phone, the gal from the East Coast said, “The whole Jersey Shore is gone,” then added with a laugh, “They won’t be able to shoot that television show here anymore. We’re happy about that.”

    Don’t mess with the Tri-state people.

    We all have our thing. And the best we can do is be prepared. Stock an emergency kit with water and food and a can opener and extra medication and a windup flashlight and a portable radio and batteries and first aid supplies and a change of clothing and sturdy shoes. Maybe a game of Yahtzee. Store it where it won’t get sucked up by a friendly hurricane. Because what good is an emergency kit if it’s floating down Broadway?

    Every now and then I mentally tick off the tools in my own box:

    Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, exercise, mindfulness meditation, cognitive reframing, a sense of humor, Lorazepam, a bottle of bourbon.

    I’m ready.

    If I don’t end up as food for bottom feeders halfway to Hawaii, at the very least I’ll have a handle on my anxiety.