My Baseball Scouting Reports

By: Ralph Gamelli

Age 8

Prospect has effortlessly made the transition from wiffle ball to tennis ball. Unfortunately, he refuses to give up the plastic bat he’s had since age four and which he still affectionately refers to as “Mr. Bluey.” His backyard fielding and hitting are coming along nicely, but at this point it’s his control of the ball that stands out, particularly when his little brother runs to first base and the prospect pretends that hitting the runner in the head is an accident instead of payback for a stolen Pop Tart.

Age 10

Prospect and his companions have moved their game to a small field down the street, the use of real bats and baseballs having led to an unfortunate incident involving prospect’s kitchen window and many weeks of lost allowance. His talent continues to develop, and he leads his fellow players in home runs, doubles and coolness of headfirst slides. Hopefully, this is due to superior athletic skill and not the fact that he tends to play with kids who are at least a year or two younger than him.

Age 11

Prospect has signed up for Little League, where his batting average and power numbers have taken a sharp dip due to his obvious fear of getting hit by the ball (which is not pitched in the slow, underhand manner to which he’s grown accustomed). Can only be viewed as a setback.

Age 11

Prospect has quit Little League halfway through the season and is back playing with the younger neighborhood kids. Batting average soars.

Age 12

Vowing that he will one day play in the big leagues, prospect has committed himself to a daily training program of video game baseball, which he has quickly come to prefer to the real thing. If physical skills ever approach video game skills, we have a potential superstar on our hands.

Age 13

In an attempt to get prospect away from the TV, prospect’s parents have given him a pitch-back net, and he can be seen playing catch with himself for entire afternoons. While such devotion will be beneficial in a future major leaguer, he’s currently gaining a reputation as the creepily obsessed baseball kid, and fewer neighbors ask him to mow their lawns.

Age 14

After what must be a million throws, the pitch-back net has at last broken. Worried parents clearly elated.

Age 16

Prospect went 3-for-3 in his gym class softball game, prompting a member of the baseball team to casually mention that he should try out for this year’s team. Hard to tell if he was being serious. (Prospect’s three hits were all bloop singles, making sarcasm a distinct possibility.) In any case, prospect seemed happy with himself, even if he didn’t actually try out for the team, preferring to watch reruns of Knight Rider instead.

Age 21

Prospect spotted at a neighborhood batting cage in a misguided attempt to impress his date. Even though the mechanism allows no potential for error, unfailingly delivering each 60-mph pitch over the plate, prospect is still noticeably afraid of getting hit. Continued scouting not recommended. Zero probability of him ever reaching the bigs, and only slightly better chance of him reaching first base metaphorically.

Age 35

Update: under pressure from work friends, this long-forgotten prospect has joined a softball league, where the pitches are slow and underhand again. He’s quickly developed into the seventh-best player on his team. If he continues at this rate, chances are good he could become a player of note in the softball league, or at least a player of note on his own team.

Age 35

Prospect has been kicked off his team for hitting an opponent in the head as that player ran to first. Victim apparently took a can of beer from prospect’s team bench and prospect felt retaliation was needed. He now spends much of his free time on a strip of grass behind his apartment building, playing with a vintage pitch-back net purchased from eBay. He’s gaining a reputation as the creepily-obsessed baseball guy from 3A, and fewer neighbors talk to him on the elevator.


A Potential Investor Speaks Up After Kurt Russell’s Character Finishes His “Wonders of the World” Miniature Golf Course Proposal in the Movie Overboard

By: Greg Boose

Mr. Proffitt, if you don’t mind, I would like to stop you right there and interject. Now, to begin, and I believe I speak for all of us here tonight sitting around this very long picnic-like table in this drafty back room, we’d like to thank you and your colleague for your time this evening. I never thought I would set foot in a restaurant named something like Crabs ‘R’ Us, a place with sawdust on the floor and no mirror in the Men’s room, but I also never thought that my partner, Mr. Robinson down there at the end, would stretch the truth to get me to leave my family up in Portland this morning for a pestilent hell-hole like Elk Cove. There are firsts for everything, I suppose. And Mr. Robinson, you sir, are in for quite the car ride home.

But I’ve sat back quietly and listened to your proposal; I’ve watched you down Coors Light after Coors Light after, well, Coors Light while your meaty colleague Mr. Pratt here continually spilled his beer on my Ralph Lauren shirtsleeves, and I’ve carefully examined your wife’s charming sketches on the flimsy and beer-soaked paper that have made their way down to me. By the way, Mr. Proffitt, I would suggest that you procure some foam board or some nice Japanese paper the next time you decide to give a presentation that includes concept specs.

My answer, unfortunately, is no. I will not be investing in your “Wonders of the World” miniature golf course for the following reasons:

First, I must point out that these sketches don’t really give me an idea of what your miniature golf course will look like. Take this one, for example. This is just a poorly drawn pyramid and some palm trees. I know what a pyramid looks like; I was in both Giza and Saqqara just this last October. You simply could have just said the word “pyramid” and I’d be able to conjure up a pretty good image. Where does the ball go in, Mr. Proffitt? This drawing, like many of the others, doesn’t show the architecture of the actual golf course. I don’t see any greens, holes, or families of four smiling with putters sticking out of their hands. No aerial view. No real color supplements in these. Gibberish and gobbledygook, honestly. I will say, though, that the drawing of the Statue of Liberty holding a golf ball instead of the torch is very cute. Please tell your wife I said so. By the way, when did you get married? Mr. Robinson said you were a bachelor carpenter.

Second, are you going to tell me that the folks of Elk Cove know what the St. Basil’s Cathedral is? Or The Parthenon, even? I know you want to, as you say, “Bring some of the outer world into Elk Cove,” but I’ve had a chance to see the town, and frankly I might have decided upon a brewery or mustache theme. Or perhaps you could have picked some more well-known monuments for the community – some value-added resources based on your demographic – and maybe recreate Babe the Blue Ox or the largest ball of dirt.

And finally, I should tell you that I don’t make a habit of going into business with persons who wear jeans, checkered flannel shirts and knitted, square-ended ties to an investment meeting. Look around; everyone else besides your partner, who now has a napkin sticking out of his sweat-soaked collar, is wearing a suit and a starched shirt. With real ties, Mr. Proffitt. Made of silk. I know it’s not my place, but maybe you can ask that new wife of yours go shopping for you. This is all just something to keep in mind for the next time you decide to pitch this idea to a table of outside investors. And you might also want to think about getting yourself a haircut, Mr. Proffitt. You’re asking me for money, not for a bowling match.

Now, I overheard you ask that gentleman if he’s ever been nervous in his life, and I would assume that he has. He’s sitting next to a rambling mountain man who wants to build a miniature golf course without a plan that captures a decent profit margin, after all. Plus, he’s stuck in some tiny Oregon town whose claim to fame at the moment is that a strange woman has recently been found bobbing in the harbor with amnesia.

I think I’ve said enough on this subject, Mr. Proffitt. I trust that you will be picking up the bill for these small crab claws that were dropped on my plate and for the delicious tap water? Thank you very much.


Mariposa Barbie Welcomes Fair Trade Doll To Fairytopia

By: John Frank

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Hi! You’re new! You came from Hannah’s aunt Jane who runs the food co-op! What’s your name?! I’m Mariposa Barbie and this is Hannah’s room! I call it Fairytopia!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I don’t have a name. I am a Fair Trade Doll, handcrafted by members of Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan, a collective of over 4,000 rural women living in the western Indian state of Gujarat, for whom the proceeds from my sale have provided 25 cups of food.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Yummy! I’m made by Mattel and helped boost Q2 profits 15% globally! Did you know that through Global Barbie(TM) you can view my website in several different foreign languages?


MARIPOSA BARBIE: No, but did you know that MARIPOSA is Spanish for BUTTERFLY? It appeals to the emerging Latino market segment in the U.S. as well as non-Hispanic children ages 6-12 who’ve outgrown Dora the Explorer!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I had noticed that you are wearing butterfly wings. They are very colorful.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: I like what you are wearing, too! Your smock looks very comfortable! But you should keep away from Hannah’s brother Gavin so he doesn’t put it on SpongeBob! You two have kind of the same shape! Say, you look strong! Would you like to help me rescue the Queen of Flutterfield? Have you noticed that my hair is partially pink?


MARIPOSA BARBIE: With the help of my friends Willa(TM), Rayna(TM) and Rayla(TM) I am going to rescue The Queen of Flutterfield(TM) from the Skeezites and marry Prince Carlos, who appeals to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic boys for whom Go! Diego Go! informs a pre-verbal reflex in their buying patterns! Hey, why aren’t you looking at me, Fair Trade Doll?! Have you noticed that my fairy-skirt is very short and pretty and that the space between my legs by my crotch is big enough to accommodate an average-sized adult male pinky-finger?!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: My practical cotton pants offer full range of motion and reflect the manner of dress of the women who made me.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Great! I can put both of my legs behind my head! I always say that The Most Important Thing You Can Be Is Yourself(TM)! It’s my slogan! Be yourself! And SMILE! Your mouth is straight across! Let me take your hair out of the strange ball on the back of your head! You don’t have fingers so let me help you!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: No thank you. Please, I wear my hair this way so I can work, and the red sindoor powder along the part in my hair identifies me as a married woman.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: It will just take a second! With Barbie Total Hair(TM) Color It!(TM) tools, we’ll make you pretty!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: Please, leave me alone.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Oh, look! Here comes Zinzie(TM) and the Flutterpixies to sprinkle glitter on us!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I think I have to go.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Wait! Don’t go, Fair Trade Doll! Zinzie(TM) is a prankster but she’s so sweet and will take us to the Merbabies(TM)!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I don’t know what you are talking about. Goodbye.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: No! Fair Trade Doll! Don’t go into Cooper’s dog bed! It may look like a nice place to you, but it’s not! It’s really not! Look out Fair Trade Doll! Here comes Cooper! Oh my! Cooper! Come back with Fair Trade Doll!! She looks like your Flip-Flop Yankers Piggie, but she’s not!! You thought that about Language Littles Chinese Ling and African Waldorf Doll and then spit them both out in the back yard, remember?!! Fair Trade Doll! It was so nice to meet you! Good luck!!!


My Presidential Bio

By: David Martin

My fellow Americans. I’ve been accused of many things. Like being a Washington insider, being out of touch with regular citizens like you and even being inexperienced and naive. But my critics just don’t know the real me.

I was born in Faith, a small town not far from Charity and just down the road from Hope. Faith was, and still is, a community of about five thousand souls who are as committed to America as you and me. Their dream is the same as your dream and mine: a five-bedroom, three-bath monster home and a healthy, well-diversified stock portfolio.

My parents were poor, hardworking people who dedicated themselves to providing a better life for me and my two sisters. Dad worked eight hours a day, five days a week as an encyclopedia salesman while my mother taught nuclear physics part-time at the local community college.

Although we grew up poor, I never lacked for the basics. We lived in a modest, three-bedroom bungalow that to this day has no central air and only one-and-a-half baths. But my sisters and I didn’t know that we were poor. All we knew was that we were loved.

Growing up in Faith taught me most of life’s lessons. For example, I learned how other kids can be cruel and taunt you because your family has just one car and can only afford to trade it in for a new one every five years.

I learned how some people will be unkind because you’re different. Some of the townsfolk would make fun of Mom because she wore thick glasses and knew a lot about centrifuges and particle accelerators. What many of them didn’t know, however, was that she won a blue ribbon every year at the county fair for her cold fusion-baked apple pie.

As a boy, I learned many useful things from the people of Faith. Our family attended the Southern Christian Baptist Church at the end of our street. But our neighbors, the Blacks, attended the Christian Southern Baptist Church on the other side of town. Yet my Dad would always say “Hello” to Mr. Black and even once lent him our lawnmower. I thus learned that we can still live in relative harmony with our fellow citizens no matter how striking the religious and doctrinal differences.

Like most kids, I was impatient with long Sunday services and often fidgeted and fussed until the service was over. But our pastor, Reverend White, knew that kids had short attention spans. So he would entertain us with humorous stories of how we Southern Christian Baptists would go to heaven while the Christian Southern Baptists would be condemned to walk the streets of Hope in eternal damnation bearing the mark of Satan on their misshapen foreheads. Yet he never ceased to preach the gospel of love for all mankind.

Even the poorest and the saddest citizens of Faith helped to guide me through life. Many people looked down on Mr. Wallace as the town drunk. But even Mr. Wallace had his own special wisdom to impart to the town’s young people. Like how to collect and cash in enough empties to buy a bottle of Thunderbird or how to get high drinking Sterno without risking a trip to the emergency department.

Like most eighteen-year-olds, I was eager, almost desperate, to leave my hometown. But looking back, I now realize that I could have done far worse than to live my life in Faith. For example, I could easily have spent fifteen to twenty years without parole in the state prison located halfway between Charity and Hope.

Thanks to the hard work of my parents, I was able to attend Yale, Princeton and Harvard where I earned a B.A., a B.Sc., an M.B.A., a J.D. and a Ph.D. After my college career, I served in both the Army and the Air Force before pursuing consecutive stints in Vista and the Peace Corps. I then simultaneously interned at the law firm of Smoot & Hawley, clerked for Chief Justice Bryan, worked as an investment banker and volunteered at the local homeless shelter, youth center and food bank.

Most of you know the rest of my story: municipal councillor for four years, state senator for six years and then contemporaneous terms as governor and Vice President. Some say I’m not ready to be President. Well, maybe I don’t have all the fancy-pants qualifications of my opponent. But I have something far more important: the lessons learned from the good people of Faith.

Those lessons have stayed with me my entire life. Lessons such as pretending to like country music and bowling, being able to choke down a spicy, ethnic sausage with a warm beer and knowin’ when to drop the final g’s when speakin’ to just plain folks like you and me.

So don’t believe those big city reporters and those big-shot TV newscasters. My mom always told me “Don’t get too big for your britches, sonny, and don’t forget to use just a touch of vermouth in your martinis.” If I ever forget those lessons, you can be sure she’ll come down to Washington, box my ears, set me straight and replace that pretentious olive with a good, old-fashioned twist of lemon peel. Good night “mes amis” and God bless America.