Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the category “Newspapers”

Reblog From The Bluebird of Bitterness – “I Can’t Brain Today”

Another Fabulous Reblog From The Bluebird of Bitterness!

 

There Is No Time For This

A FEW DAYS AGO I SAW a small news item in the local newspaper about an old building that was being renovated. As they were working on the foundation the workers uncovered a Time Capsule. For those of you with no sense of history let me explain about time capsules.

It used to be the practice when public buildings such as Libraries, Government Buildings, and other large structures were built to place a box into the foundation corner stone. In the box they’d put things about the town, their lives, and times. The box would stay hidden until the building was torn down sometime in the future.

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I’m Feeling A Bit Gassy

HELIUM…HYDROGEN

Two elements – gases- that are lighter than air. However, I urge you to keep your lighter away from the Hydrogen unless you have this passion for large explosions.

Helium = Happy Birthday!

Hydrogen = Bon Voyage!

The reason I’m even thinking about this is that I recently saw an article stating that there is a shortage of Helium. There is such a dearth of Helium that a number of “Party Stores” are closing their doors. They are unable to inflate enough of those festive Helium Balloons to keep their customers and all of those Birthday Cake Sugar wired two year olds happy.

Unhappy Customers = Job Hunting

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Throwback Thursday from March 2017 – “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”

Throwback Thursday from March 2017 – “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

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I WAS SCANNING THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL the other day. That’s not something I do all that often. If I want financial information anything in The Journal is at least a week old. That would be like wondering if your tub is overflowing, but waiting a week to check on it. By that time your ceiling may be collapsed and the parakeet drowned in its cage.

What I did see that tickled my interest was an article about how the future was going to be different than today. Really? I didn’t know that Carnak The Magnificent worked for The Journal.

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Obviously the article was written by someone right out of college who has been living in a Reality Bubble until last week.

Of course the future will be different than today. Otherwise Time would be one long Today. I suppose that it would eliminate the need for things like the TV Guide and the expiration date on my milk carton.

As yesterday moves into today so will today trickle into tomorrow. Things change as New Ideas coalesce in fertile brains. Technology will continue to make “The way it has always been done” into a memory, and I will throw away that leftover Mac & Cheese that has suddenly turned blue.

When Daimler had coffee with Benz, and Ford and the Duryea brothers made their first automobiles the Buggy Whip makers of the world got nervous. They could see the future

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staring them in the face. The Future did them in and someday, maybe tomorrow, it will be the same for the car makers of today. Some bright and curious person will come up with a way to make, “Beam me up, Scotty,” a reality. “And while you’re at it, bring the dog in too.”

It will happen. Of that there is no doubt. It may not be “Beaming.” It might be something simpler, like faster cars unusable by drunks, teen drivers, or pizza delivery guys.

Personally, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’m hoping that it is different that today. Today? Been there, done that. Tomorrow offers an unlimited range of opportunities, amazement, and giggles.

I guess that some people might be afraid of tomorrow, any tomorrow. Well, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but there is no way you can avoid it without permanent repercussions and probably ruining your clothes

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It is vital that the Future be different from Today. Without that difference there would be no progress of any kind. Of course, the Future being different doesn’t mean that it will always be an improvement over Today. We hope it will be better, but History has shown that there are no guarantees. You win some, you lose some, and some – you break even. For every “I Love Lucy” there is a “My Mother the Car,” lurking in the shadows.

I guess that the writer for The Wall Street Journal has not yet experienced a sufficient number of tomorrows to notice that the future is always different. He seemed so surprised in his writing, as if no one had ever told him about it before. He’ll learn and I’ll find something else to read.

If the Future wasn’t different then every weekend would be just as unpleasant as Mondays and that is not acceptable.

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Don’t Insult The Dog

 

IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYDAY THE HEADLINES ARE FILLED with the nefarious exploits of criminal sorts who – how shall I say this – think big? Not content with knocking over a bank they pull off a multibank swindle for hundreds of millions of dollars. Then there are the Bernie Madoff sorts who just feed on the greed of those people who think there are “Something for Nothing” ways to Riches and Rodeo Drive. These are Big City News stories, but I think that there is nothing that can compare with Small Town News. In the Small Town newspapers you are going to find stories that would never make the pages of the New York Times.

Where else are you going to learn about the woman who was arrested for barking at a Police Dog?

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Throwback Thursday from January 2016 – “Some Days I Wonder”

Throwback Thursday from January 2016

 

Some Days I Wonder

FB_IMG_1444318071823SO FAR JANUARY HAS HAD MORE THAN IT’S SHARE OF ODD.

The other day, in the illustrious Tribune-Star newspaper, there was a story about a fellow being sentenced to 69 years in the slammer for shooting and killing his “Buddy,” as the story called him.

It was said that both of these lads had been out drinking and were approaching a flammable state when the “Buddy” started feeling blue. He turned to his friend and said, “Just shoot me and put me out of my misery.”

So he did.

There’s not a lot I could add to that, except that it did appear in the Trib-Star, a newspaper not known for the accuracy/spelling/grammar/anything else one would expect. So, I suppose that it is possible that they’ve made a few errors and this story is actually about a meeting of the Garden Club’s Petunia Sub-committee.

In other January news flashes there was a story about my favorite baseball team – The San Francisco Giants – signing up a new outfielder.

Denard Span, aside from having an interesting name, is a good player and should be an asset to the team. The fly in this ointment surfaced during an interview after the contract was signed and Span was paraded before the media. It turns out that the new Giants outfielder has a serious phobia: Birds.

This could be a problem. Having been to many ballgames in San Francisco I can verify that, starting in about the 7th inning, the seagulls arrive at the stadium. They are there looking for a free meal among the dropped hotdogs, peanuts, pizza, and other leftovers. They arrive by the hundreds and take over the bleachers and even land in the outfield. I’m afraid that Mr. Span is going to be increasing his dosage of Anti-Anxiety meds.

These seagulls are big, bold and not afraid of anything. I saw one snatch an ice cream sandwich from the hands of an infant in a stroller. Swoop! Snatch! Gulp!

I wonder if the Giants will pay for his therapist? He’s going to need one or he will turn into Jimmy Piersall right before our eyes. (Look up “Fear Strikes Out”)

Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Biscuits and Gravy – Breakfast of Champions.”) got its first real taste of winter with snow and bitter cold. There’s nothing truly unusual about that, but the NBC affiliate TV station saw things a little differently than the rest of us.

 I really hate it when we have to deal with “Blowing Snot” on the roads. I was afraid that my windshield would never be the same – until I replaced the Window Washer Fluid with Mucinex.

I guess that the BIG story of the month has been the Power Ball Lottery jackpot going over a billion dollars. It is a serious amount of money and provides easy stories for the media.

I was watching the Today Show when they did a puff piece about “what if” the prize was paid out in one dollar bills. (Can NBC do hard news, or what?) In singles, the prize would stack up X number of miles. If laid end to end, blah, blah, blah. It was pretty easy to ignore until he said, “It would weigh…” At that point my caffeine dependent mind leapt ahead of him and finished his sentence.

“It would weigh” – “slightly less than Rosie O’Donnell after six months on the Atkins Diet.”

I should talk. I once brought up the idea of having my stomach stapled. My doctor suggested, “That in your case, I would recommend spot welding.”

The odds of winning the billion-plus dollar prize are beyond astronomical, but it will happen (if it hasn’t already by the time this posts.) and someone will gain more previously unknown relatives than anyone in history.

Sudden wealth can present problems, but I’ve dealt with the problems of not so sudden poverty most of my life. I’d like a crack at the other end of that financial Mobius strip.

If you notice that I start writing about the goings-on of Tahiti instead of Terre Haute you’ll know that something big has happened. Tahiti (That’s French for, “Guess what happened to me.”)

Here We Go Again, And Again, And Again

 

JUST WHEN I THINK THINGS CAN’T GET ANY STRANGER…

I have taken our local newspaper to task (several times) for spelling, grammar, and just plain crazy mistakes, but now they have really screwed the pooch.

Last Friday’s edition of the “Tribune-Star,’ the only newspaper in America published by and for illiterates, ran a story about a fund-raising event for a worthwhile charity. The idea was to sell T- Shirts at a couple of local high school football games. They were hoping to raise money to combat pediatric cancer as well as to raise public awareness.

Selling the shirts seemed to be a good idea. Unfortunately, the Tribune-Star, still trying to decide if anyone should actually proofread the paper before sending it out to the world, took that local story and guaranteed that it would go viral.

On Page A – 4 they ran the story, but no one bothered to check the Headline.

I now present an electronic clipping from last Friday’s Tribune-Star newspaper. Uh oh, Oops, and Dang it.

The jokes began to fly thick and fast on the Internet. I won’t repeat them here. I don’t need to. Within five seconds of reading the above headline you had them all sitting on the tip of your tongue.

I am dying to find out how the fundraising effort went. I can just imagine the scene when you drop this kind of snafu in front of a crowd at a high school football game. Thousands of high school age boys are not going to let this go without a wisecrack or two. I couldn’t and I’m a lot older.

What causes such recurring foul-ups at our local fishwrap newspaper? I know that mistakes are inevitable, but –  really now! Doesn’t anyone look at the copy before pushing the start button on the presses? I guess not.

The faultline runs through several levels I fear. The person who wrote the initial story obviously thinks that Spell-Check is God. Either that or they are trying to see what they can slip past every other pair of eyes at the newspaper.

Somewhere along the line there must be someone who functions as a Proofreader. Given the long history of typos and other gaffes at the Tribune-Star I would think that somebody – anybody – would at least try to purge these errors.

Perhaps the newspaper should be adopted by the local high school newspapers as a class project. Have those kids act as real Editors and take a fine-toothed linguistic comb through the Tribune-Star to make it into something other than a laughing stock.

Do that, or simply admit that their Proofreader is actually Stevie Wonder.

It’s Either Time Travel Or Weed Pulling

I WANT SOMETHING. Actually, I want a number of things, but none of them are very big. I want a nice lunch. I want someone to pull up some weeds for me. I wouldn’t mind it if I could figure a way to eliminate stairs.

See, the things I want are simple and don’t require a big honkin’ commitment from somebody else = except maybe for that weed pulling thing. Not everyone is like me. There are some people who want things that call for another person to put it all on the line – even to the point of risking their life in the process.

Kind of like dating a Redhead.

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Cockatoo News

UH, OH, THIS COULD COME TO BLOWS unless a cooler head steps in. I’ll see what I can do until that Sainted person arrives.

Yesterday morning at St. Arbucks the rack that is used to hold the various newspapers for sale disappeared. It didn’t take long to discover why.

I am completely innocent in all of this.

Every morning the early bird customers, AKA either “The Brain Trust” or “The Usual Suspects,” come in for coffee and they plop down in the corner like so many Hutts of Jabba. Several of them also like to pore over the newspapers. The burr under the saddle of the management is that none of them ever buy one of those newspapers. They just read them, occasionally cop a coupon, and then, more or less, refold the papers and put them back on the rack.

They are not always neat. Most mornings the newspapers look like they had spent the day at the bottom of a cockatoo cage.

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Throwback Thursday from Dec. 2015 “$65K A Month Should Be Enough”

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OVER COFFEE I SCANNED THE CELEBRITY NEWS to see if Ihad been nominated for something – nothing again this year.

Failing to score any Oscar or Golden Globe nominations I shifted my focus over to the “Splitsville” column where I learned that Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas are divorcing. Que Lastima!

In La-La Land this Splitsville stuff is a big money world.

With the Miss Melanie and “Zorro” Banderas rupture the dollar amounts got my attention. It seems that Antonio agreed to a settlement whereby Melanie gets 65K PER MONTH for living expenses.

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Call Me Mr. President 

IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP or so I’ve heard. I have been officially retired for about six years now and I’m thinking that maybe I should get a part-time job – just to keep active you understand.

On the front page of the local daily birdcage liner I saw a very detailed Want Ad announcing a job opening that looks right up my alley.

It seems that the President of the Indiana State University is retiring. I could do that job in my sleep. I bet that the person who gets that job gets free pens and some ISU sweatshirts anytime they desire and I say that you can never have too many of either item.

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Throwback Thursday from March 2016 – “Dialogue With A Daschund”

Dialogue With A Daschund

dog tilt 2HAVE YOU EVER TALKED WITH A DOG?

I mean, sat down and had a face to muzzle conversation with a dog? If you have you know that it doesn’t take long to see that, aside from their name, and a word or two like “bacon,” or “down,” they really don’t know what you’re talking about. The movement of your lips might keep their eyes focused on you, but deep down you know that nothing is really getting through.

I get that same feeling when I try speaking with some people.

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Pack A Lunch

highway-sign-jpgSOME THINGS ARE JUST BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION. A fact can be as hard and cold as last week’s biscuits, but I still can’t easily slip it into place in my brain. I’m not stupid, despite testimony to the contrary. I’m just a skeptical sort who enjoys being persuaded.

What brings this to the front right now? Lemme tell you.

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The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

wsj1I WAS SCANNING THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL the other day. That’s not something I do all that often. If I want financial information anything in The Journal is at least a week old. That would be like wondering if your tub is overflowing, but waiting a week to check on it. By that time your ceiling may be collapsed and the parakeet drowned in its cage.

What I did see that tickled my interest was an article about how the future was going to be different than today. Really? I didn’t know that Carnak The Magnificent worked for The Journal.

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And Now – The News!

news1WHILE I SEE MYSELF AS A TRENDSETTER I am also the kind of guy who sometimes latches on to the latest fad. I’ve had Mood Rings, Roller Skates, a Pet Rock, and a Hula Hoop. And now I’m going along with another fun fad that is sweeping the nation. It’s in the News every day! 

Allow me to present –

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Fiction Saturday Chapter 27- “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Twenty-Seven

pull-mexican-borderBoth Laura and Davis slept late the next morning. Laura had planned on a day or two of rest before crossing into Mexico.  She knew that they might need all of their strength and all of their wits.  She hadn’t come this far just to get caught or killed due to some bonehead mistake brought on by exhaustion.

She also wanted to lay low for a while to—hopefully—confuse their pursuers.  If there was no scent to follow for a couple of days they might think that Laura and Davis had already crossed into Mexico and that was that.  Or they might think that the couple had pulled a fast one on them and was heading off in another direction altogether.  Laura knew that at least for now, time was their ally.

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Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Hush, Hush, Dead Charlotte

530b2939-a8a8-4693-85da-0b525f516003A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO IN NEW YORK CITY the Mayor decided that he needed some positive coverage in the media. His idea was to stage his very own Groundhog Day Festival. Whatever Punxsutawney, PA can do, the Big Apple can do better – or so he thought.

At the Staten Island Zoo, not exactly the best known zoo in America – or even in New York City for that matter, Mayor Bill de Blasio (The name he is currently using), with much fanfare and with cameras rolling, was handed “Charlotte the Groundhog.”

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Charlotte —  (An artist’s rendition.)

groundhog day gifThe Mayor was obviously not an experienced Groundhog Wrangler and Charlotte may have taken his fumbling and groping as an improper advance. Charlotte squirmed, the Mayor went sissy, and dropped Charlotte. It is unknown if Charlotte ever saw her shadow on the way down, but it is for sure that she hasn’t seen much of anything after she hit the pavement.

Last year (2015 for the chronologically challenged) the Mayor agreed to try the event again, but he refused to touch the replacement Groundhog – “Chuck.” It is quoted that the Mayor greeted the suspicious Groundhog by saying, “What’s up, Chuck?” Now that Charlotte has gone to that Great Groundhog Lair in the Sky I doubt that Chuck took much consolation from, “What’s up, Chuck?”

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Chuck

What’s up?

Certainly not Charlotte.

The New York Times noted the occasion of the Mayor’s return to the zoo with the headline, “Mayor Bill de Blasio Did Not Kill the Groundhog This Year.”

There was so much sarcasm dripping off of that headline the paper should have come with a roll of paper towels.

There was another Mayor vs. Groundhog encounter last year in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The Groundhog picked for their show was in no mood to fool around with some strange humans. When the Mayor picked up “Jimmy the Groundhog”
the unhappy rodent took a chunk out of the Mayor’s ear.groundhog wisc gif

This year the Mayor has already announced that he is not going to have anything to do with actually touching the Groundhog. I bet that “Jimmy” is cool with that.

He probably heard about what happened in New York.

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The Word spreads about Charlotte

I imagine that both of these Mayors are now Groundhogaphobic after their bad experiences. Imagine how the Groundhogs feel. Every February 2nd their sleep is disturbed, they are grabbed and shoved in front of crowds of humans. There are bright lights, yelling media types, and all without so much as a “Please” or “Thank you.” In the human society that kind of stuff is called either a “Home Invasion” or the arrival of the SWAT Team – and often gets people shot or arrested.

The people in Punxsutawney have been doing their thing for over a hundred years and they have it down pat. The rest of these clowns are the worst kind of amateurs – they think they are cooler, smarter and more capable than the experts. And what happens? Groundhogs die and Mayors qualify for Vincent Van Gogh Look-Alike contests.

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Charlotte  — taken by the Paparazzi

Fiction Saturday Chapter 25 – And Pull The Hole… Continued

Fiction Saturday 

Chapter Twenty-Five

 

pull-airplane“I hate this.  I can’t hear a damn thing.”

Inside the crowded cabin, the roar of the jet engines was only a constant vibration to him.  No sound was getting through.  He always flew stone deaf.  It would take two days for his full hearing to return.

“I know, Dominic,” said Peeto.  “Happens every time you fly.”

“Happens every time I fly.”  Dominic pinched his nose and blew, trying to open his blocked ears.

“I tell you, Peeto, I hate to fly.  I really hate it.” The blowing did no good.

“Yeah, it always messes up your hearing,” nodded Peeto.

“It always messes up my hearing, y’know?”  He stuffed five sticks of gum into his mouth.

It was a little more than an hour into the flight from Newark to LAX and the flight attendants had already started dealing out the prepackaged, precooked, and pre-ruined meals to the passengers.  It was a ritual known to the attendants as “slopping the hogs.” Somehow, that part never got into their ads.

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Fiction Saturday Chapter 23 – Pull The Hole… Continued

 Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Twenty-Three

 pull-clouds“Actually, Davis, using your car is a good idea.  We can avoid public transportation and no pesky rental agreements floating around.”

“See, I told you I’d come in handy.”  Davis looked out of the passenger side window at the passing California landscape.  “I wish you’d let me drive for a while, though.”

“Later tonight maybe.  I’m a better driver than you are and it helps me to relax.” Relax was something that Laura had not been able to do for a second, ever since she saw her own face staring out from page four of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Besides, I think better while driving.  Maybe I can figure a way out of this mess for us.”

“Well, I’m a very good driver—no accidents ever, and you could use a break.”  Davis knew there was no changing her mind once it was made up, even though Laura looked like she hadn’t slept in days and her jaw was clenched tight.

Appreciating his effort to care for her, Laura smiled and gazed at him as he huddled up against the car door.  He looked lost, she thought.

“Well, dearest,” she said, “at sixteen I was picking up extra pocket money as a wheel man.  Just for kicks really.  My father never knew.  It was stupid and dangerous, but I was good at it.”

“Don’t tell me any more right now.”  He was a stranger in a strange land if ever there was one.  “I haven’t digested everything you’ve laid on me so far.”

“Okay, I understand.”

“I do have one question though,” he said.  “Why did we stop at a travel agent before we left?  A ticket for one from Miami to Detroit?”

“A little deception.  Detroit is a border town, a ten-minute walk out of the country across the river.  I bought it in my own name, of course.  It won’t fool anybody for long, especially Dominic.  But the Feds will have to check it out.  It’ll tie up a couple of their guys for a few hours and give us a little extra edge.  It’ll help our odds, maybe.”  She shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.  “Maybe not.  I don’t know.”

“What are our odds?”  He was immediately sorry that he had asked.

“We’re two snowballs and we’re driving south.”

“Oh.”

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Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Nineteen

 

pull-newspaperWhen she ran from Dominic she was hoping that, in time, her life would become less complicated.

“Well that didn’t happen, did it?” she said out loud as she popped a bagel in the toaster.  She wanted a life that was simpler, not filled with so many dangerous possibilities. “Didn’t get that either, did you?” she said as she picked up the morning paper from outside her door.

 Your timing sucks, girl.  Why did this have to happen now?  Twelve years ago I would have jumped for joy.  Now I’m sick about it, just sick.

“This man…this fine, wonderful, funny, and tender man says that he loves me, and I believe him.  I think that I love him, too.  Oh, hell, I know that I do.  I know that I love the way he smells and the way he tastes.  I love his voice in my ear and his breath on my neck.  He makes me gasp.

“It’s like I’m reading a book for the first time.  One I should have read a dozen years ago.  One that everybody else has already read, and now I want to memorize every word.

“He says that he wants to be with me.  He doesn’t know what that really means.  If I tell him, I’m afraid he’ll run, and I’m afraid for him if he doesn’t run.

“I didn’t know that my skin could ever be so… so in love with someone else’s skin.  He kissed my little scars.  He kissed my moles.  I didn’t know that love could be fun.  I didn’t know that love could be my choice.  I didn’t know love, period.

“I would never hurt him and I’d kill anyone who tried to.  I hope he’d be able to do the same for me.  Hopefully it will never come to that.

“Maybe I can stay here.  Maybe I can be safe.  It’s been only a couple of months, at most.  Oh, why can’t…?  Why can’t…too many things?”

The pungent aroma of the coffee brought her back into her kitchen.  She poured herself a mug and picked up the newspaper.  Quickly scanning past the local news she got to page four.

“Oh, Christ.”
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