Feature Contributors Archives for 2023-03

Column: Local lawyer apologizes to cyborg

Dear readers,

A few weeks ago, John Richmond, a classmate of both mine and Warren Good, alerted us to the fact that a cyborg was practicing law here in Shelbyville.

John spotted the robot outside of Superior Court 2 in the Shelby County Courthouse. As John stated in his letter to me, “My first thoughts were of you and our classmate, Warren Good.  I thought, how can my friends compete with this shyster robot?”

Upon learning this shocking news, I hurried down to the courthouse for some reconnoitering. John was right. A cyborg lawyer was loitering in the lobby of the courthouse searching for clients.

Back at the radio station Jeff Brown and Johnny McCrory convinced me to go on the offense. Both Johnny and Jeff came up with plans.

Like the sports guy he is, Jeff quickly sketched out a play on a clipboard. He named the play “lights out” and it called for me to distract the cyborg by pretending to remove my thumb -- it is the only trick I know, and it usually amazes children of all ages. While the cyborg was trying to figure out what happened to my thumb, Warren Good was to sneak around and unplug it. 

 

 

All went exactly as planned. When Warren unplugged the cyborg it made a series of beeps, shouted “Danger Will Robinson” and then fell dark and silent. The cyborg must share DNA from the old robot on the TV show “Lost in Space.” It was always wandering around shouting “Danger Will Robinson.”

Warren and I were famous among the local members of the bar for putting the cyborg out of commission. However, our fame was short lived. The scuttlebutt around the courthouse was that the cyborg had permission from Judge Riggins to solicit clients in the hallway outside of his courtroom.

Not wanting to be found in contempt of court and knowing that “honesty is the best policy” I decided to ask Judge Riggins about his robot lawyer.  He told me that it wasn’t his cyborg, but we really should plug it back in.  

Judge Riggins explained that the machine is a Civil Legal Self-Service Robot. It is designed to provide Hoosiers without internet service a way to use the civil legal system. 

Hoosiers with the internet can access legal forms online at IndianaLegalHelp.org. Anyone without internet service can visit the friendly robot at their local courthouse. Soon the robots will be in every courthouse in Indiana. Hoosiers will be able to access legal forms, instructional videos, and referrals to free or low-cost legal services.

Loretta Rush, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, pointed out that this is an example of the courts embracing innovative solutions to increase access to justice.

I told Warren about my conversation with Judge Riggins and how the cyborgs were being put in every courthouse. When I got to the part about the Chief Justice being in support of the program, Warren suggested that we apologize and get the cyborg some balloons.

The cyborg beeped a couple of times and seemed happy to be plugged back in. I think it liked the balloons, but it was hard to tell. Warren said maybe I should have paid the extra money to get the balloons filled with helium. 

I was just glad that we didn’t use Johnny McCrory’s plan. Johnny thought we should just toss the cyborg out the front doors of the courthouse like cowboys tossed guys out of saloons. Johnny was probably thinking of a Country and Western song. After all, he is Johnny in the morning on Giant FM Country.

 See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Column: Most amazing toy ever

Dear readers,

The movie Everything Everywhere All At Once” was the big winner last Sunday at the 95th Academy Awards. Unlike some recent years, I have seen the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can keep reading. I don’t think I understood the movie enough to spoil it for you.

Years ago, Orson Wells directed his wife Rita Hayworth in the movie “Lady from Shanghai.” To connoisseurs of film noir, it is revered as a brilliant, hallucinatory treat for the senses. However, some found it difficult to follow.

When Harry Cohn, the president of the studio that made the movie first saw it, he said, “I’ll give anyone in this room $1,000 if they can explain the storyline.”

I felt like Cohn after I saw Everything Everywhere All At Once.

If you intend to see the movie, pay close attention from the very beginning. It’s not one of those shows where you wait most of the movie before anything of consequence happens. Remember what Rod Serling always said, “You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wonderous land of imagination.”

 

 

Everything Everywhere All At Once has not only brought in $100 million at the box office, but the props used in the movie have already brought in big money at auction. The hot dog hands went for $55,000 and even the rock with googly eyes brought $13,500.

I was telling my sister, Karen, about the hot dog hands bringing big bucks and she said, “I wonder what your six-finger toy is worth.” 

I hadn’t thought about my six-finger in years. Karen is the collector in the family in charge of all Meltzer antiquities. She retrieved it from a box marked “Toys, Might Lose an Eye.”

Wow, I hadn’t seen my six-finger in years. It looks just like a finger, but it has a hole in the end where little projectiles are spring loaded. It does come with the following warning: “Do Not Aim at Human Targets.”

I can tell you from experience that 12-year-old boys did not heed the warning.

Karen had saved all the attachments. Six-Finger did the following:

  • Shoot a cap bomb
  • Send an S-O-S
  • Write messages with hidden ballpoint pen
  • Fire a secret bullet
  • Shoot a message missile
  • Fire a fragmentation bomb

Six-Finger was made by a company named Topper which also made the Johnny Seven One Man Army. It was guaranteed to “Stop Communism Dead in Its Tracks.” It shoots even more projectiles. I also had one of those.

I couldn’t wait to get home with my new/old toy. Boy, my wife, Sandy, was going to be surprised. I first made a quick stop at Builder’s Lumber and Hardware to buy her some safety glasses.

Sandy is a good sport. I shot her a message missile every time I needed the TV channel changed. I hit her with an S-O-S projectile whenever I was hungry. The fun only lasted a couple of hours. Sandy claims that I must have already misplaced my Six-Finger, but I think she has hidden it. Maybe she saw how much the hot dog hands brought and sold it.

Either way, I don’t mind. I’m headed out to my sister’s house to pick up my Johnny Seven One Man Army gun. After all, Sandy still has those new safety glasses.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Column: Just like Truman Capote

Dear readers,

A special thanks goes out this week to my childhood friend Rock Robertson. Many of you probably know Rock from his years spent delivering mail here in Shelbyville.

Rock told me about a computer program that analyzes writing. You just submit a sample of your writing and the computer compares your word choice and writing style to other writers. In just a few minutes, the computer reveals the name of a writer who most shares your style. 

I have been writing for over 30 years, so it took me a couple of hours to pick out what I thought were some of my best columns. I scanned them into the computer. The little circle in the center of the screen began to spin. What writer is most like me, I wondered. 

Could it be Vonnegut, Hemingway, or Faulkner? Maybe Charles Major, after all we are both lawyers from Shelbyville. Then again, it wouldn’t have to be a man. Maybe my writing is more like Harper Lee or Louisa Mae Alcott. The anticipation was killing me. 

Would it be F. Scott Fitzgerald? I always thought the last sentence in “The Great Gatsby” was memorable: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

Nah, I couldn’t have written that in a million years. 

 

 

Gazing at the little spinning circle on my computer screen, I began to daydream just like Walter Mitty. I was suddenly a young boy in Monroeville, Alabama. I lived with my spinster aunts. I was helping Aunt Sook stir the batter to make a fruitcake. I was Truman Capote, but it wasn’t his Aunt Sook. It was my spinster Aunt Shelm.

I realized that the writer I am most like must be Truman Capote. He is the famous author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Wow, just daydreaming about being compared to such a great writer has made my noggin grow two hat sizes.

I must write like Capote because we have so much in common. He spent a lot of time living with his spinster aunts. My mother was the youngest in her family. Her parents were already deceased when I was born. My mother’s older sisters were spinsters and still lived in the family homestead. I spent a lot of time at their house. It was the 1960s, but they were still living in the 19th century. Staying with them always had kind of a southern gothic vibe. I should probably write a novel about my aunts.

The similarities between Truman Capote and myself don’t end with us both spending time with spinster aunts. As Ron Popeil would always say, “but wait, there’s more!”

Capote liked clementines and I like clementines.

Capote liked fruitcake and I like fruitcake.

Capote liked to fly kites and I like to fly kites.

Capote liked … Look the computer has finally given me the answer.  The wait is over!

The writer with my sense of style, word selection and grammar usage is a fourth grader in Iowa by the name of Noah Smith.

Oh well, at least I won’t have to buy a new hat.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Column: There's no such thing as a free lunch

Dear readers,

I’ll get to today’s topic in a minute, but first I’ll answer a few of the questions I have been asked since my move to Giant FM.

Question: Hey Kris, Giant FM is a country radio station. Are you going to ask Dee Bonner to draw a cowboy hat on your cartoon logo? 

Answer: That is an excellent suggestion. I found an old hat when I moved into my new office, but it looks like a Navy hat. It was probably left by Steve Sherman, a Navy veteran who was a DJ here about 20 years ago. Johnny McCrory told me that the Navy hat makes me look like Darrell from the 1970’s band “Captain and Tennille.”

Question: Kris, since your new home is a country music station, are you putting that gizmo back on your bicycle that makes your Schwinn Sting-Ray sound like a horse?

Answer: The gizmo you are referring to is called a Trotify. It is a wooden device that attaches to the front wheel and makes a bicycle sound like the clop clop of a horse walking. You have a great memory. I usually get the Trotify out every April 18 when I reenact Paul Revere’s ride. I should just leave it on my bicycle this year. Maybe Team Schwinn should go country. Cousin Tom and the Baroness von Krueger already have a horse and a donkey. I could get a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a vest with a few rhinestones. 

 

 

Enough questions.  Let’s get along to today’s topic.

The statement, “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” comes from the fact that someone always pays. If you are eating food, listening to the radio, or reading this column, someone paid for it. In the case of listening to Giant FM or reading my column, both are brought to you complements of all the local businesses who advertise with Giant FM.

Most people have a bit of a love/hate relationship with advertising. The same people who subscribe to a service to watch commercial free TV talk as much about the commercials as the game during the Super Bowl.  Some years the commercials were better than the game. Just ask the sports guys and they will remind you of Super Bowl XXVII -- Dallas 52, Buffalo 17.

I enjoyed writing my column for those of you who paid to read it in The Addison Times and The Shelbyville News. However, I definitely have more readers now that everyone can read it for “free.” 

Before Kristiaan Rawlings was publishing The Addison Times, he had a weekly newspaper, “Saturday Shelby” that was supported entirely by advertisers. I have been hearing from many of those Saturday Shelby readers who didn’t subscribe to the later publication. 

To my many former readers who are once again taking a weekly ride on my Schwinn, I welcome you back. Since there’s no such thing as a free lunch, please support Giant FM’s advertisers.

Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

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