The Poker Game of 1776

July 3, 1776. A tavern across the street from Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Adams couldn’t bluff at poker if his life depended on it. Thomas Jefferson knew it. Benjamin Franklin knew it. Old Stone Face, George Washington, sitting across from Adams, knew it.

Ben and Tom folded. Neither of them had any kind of hand to play. But Adams was staying. He didn’t believe Stone Face had a winning hand.

“I call you,” Stone Face said to Adams across the table.

John Adams, a big smile on his face, threw down three aces.  Stone Face threw down his full house, then reached over and pulled the wad of English pound notes toward him.

Adams’ face dropped into a frown. Lost again. Here he was doing the very thing Abby warned him against. Playing poker with Stone Face. Washington always won. Over the course of the last two months, he had just about wiped out all the delegates of the Continental Congress of their cash. But he had done it for a good cause. He needed a new set of false teeth.

Adams said, “I give up. I’m broke. So what are we going to do about John Hancock?”

“We should shoot the son of a bitch,” Stone Face offered. Washington seldom lost his cool but John Hancock had gotten under his skin in a way that British General Howe never did.

Jefferson followed up with, “That’s what we’d do in Virginia.”

“Now, boys,” Ben interjected, “let’s be serious. But not that serious.”

Washington said, “I can’t believe I came back to have to deal with this. My guys at Valley Forge are going to mutiny if we don’t get this settled once and for all.”

“Why don’t we just get him drunk?” Franklin suggested.

Jefferson said,” That is your answer for everything.”

“Just about,” Franklin answered. “How you think I survived that thing with the kite? Remember the old saying, ‘Three strikes you’re out.’ When that lightning bolt hit the kite, I was as drunk as Gulliver must’ve been the day he saw those Lilliputians. The lightning struck me three times, and yet, here I am.”

John Adams knew Hancock too well for that. “He’ll just fall asleep.”

Jefferson was miffed. “All I know is that I am not letting him put those words into the Declaration of Independence.”

Stone Face put in his two pences. “I agree with Tom. I mean, Hancock and his ‘when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to kick King George’s butt because he is, and ever shall be, a pantywaist’ is a little too much. Even for this Congress. We all don’t like the king but that is a little too much. The British will never take us seriously.”

“Totally destroys the mood,” Jefferson added, “don’t you think?”

The Virginia delegation was unanimous about its approbation against John Hancock. Either the Continental Congress gave Hancock his walking papers or they would be walking. But everybody knew what would happen if Hancock went home. The whole New England bunch would leave with him.

From the beginning, Hancock had been cause for alarm. First he wore that pink outfit. Oh, my gosh. And the chicken costume. It looked like he was trying to out-Elton-John Lady Gaga. Then his proposal that the country use “We are the champions of the world” for its national anthem. It had taken months for John Adams to get his friend to calm down and be reasonable. Now this.

Ben had an idea. “Bet Betsy Ross could get him to go along with the program. After all, she’s his tailor.”

“You know what she’s going to charge?” John Adams inquired.

Stone Face, always a pragmatic man, said, “Yes, but can she get results. When she threatens him, he’ll cry uncle. After all, she’s the one who turned him into a fashionista. Says she has a flair with the silk pajamas”

“Ben,” Adams asked, “have you been able to get her price down? Last I heard she was charging an arm and a leg.”

Jefferson said, “Yeah, just look at Long John Silver.”

“On this one,” Ben said, “she knows she has us over a barrel. She wants the flag concession.”

“Can she get the job done?” Tom asked.

“I believe so,” Franklin said. “She has a long history with Hancock. Something about babysitting with his kids when they were just knee-high-to-a-grasshopper.”

Stone Face was satisfied. “I say we give it to her.”

Jefferson and Adams nodded their heads in agreement. But Franklin was not finished. “In perpetuity.”

“What?” the other three said as a chorus.

“No way are we going to go along with that,” Stone Face said. “John, can’t Abby help in this department?”

“When Hancock puts his mind to a thing,” Adams said, “he puts his mind to a thing. I’m afraid Betsy is our only option. If we want Hancock, we are going to have to give in to her demands.”

“Then,” Stone Face finalized the discussion, “Betsy gets the flag concession in perpetuity. But you tell her that I want a free ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ for each of my Regiments, and according to my specifications.”

John Adams breathed a sigh of relief. He was going to get his revolution, after all. The other three had given him a big thumbs up with their agreement on the Hancock Matter. “So, Tom, looks like you’ll be able to do a press release.”

Jefferson took out his pen and pad and began to write. Then he looked up at the others. “I just realized we have another problem.”

“”What now?” Stone Face was just about fed up with all the back-and-forth going on at the Congress. Why didn’t folks just do what they were told? It would be so much easier.

Jefferson thought so too but he didn’t say anything out loud. “It’s Tom Paine. He’s going to insist on editing my text and publishing it the way he wants.”

Adams was now in the fray. He didn’t like Paine. “Please. No more ‘These are the times that try men’s souls’ crap. God, that man has an ego.”

“Yeah,” Ben agreed. “He gets a fifth down him, and there is no telling what he will write.”

Stone Face had an answer. “We could just draft him. I need a good secretary and he does take shorthand.”

The others smiled. Stone Face once again came to the rescue. Guess that was why folks were calling him “The Father of the Country”.

“Glad we’ve got all that settled,” Stone Face said. “Now I have to go and kick some British hineys.”

“Don’t forget,” Adams requested, “to take a piece out of Cornwallis for me.”

The four men gathered up their things and made for the door, then John Adams said, “I just remembered. Just one more thing.”

“No,” the other three said.

“’Fraid so. It’s Paul Revere. Every time we get ready to attack the British from behind some trees, guerilla style, Paul shows up on his horse. He lets the Brits know where we are by yelling, ‘The Americans are coming. The Americans are coming.’”

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: I see Live People

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Sixth Sense”.

I See Live People. It’s a gift I have. Seems like I have had it always.

I first realized I had this gift when I was a baby. It made me want to cry. I didn’t cry. There were way too many other things to cry about. Like my dirty nappy, that pacifier I couldn’t reach, or my three a.m. feeding. I didn’t want to wear out my welcome so early so I didn’t cry. But those big heads, I mean they were enormous. They looked down at me with those big, enormous huge heads.

They spoke another language. If I had been a Pentecostal, I might have thought they were speaking in tongues. I mean, how do you translate this? Goo-goo ga-ga-gaa. I still haven’t figured that out. All I know is that these big headed aliens from another planet had invaded Babyworld and they were very scary.

In a moment of baby brilliance, the idea hit me. These were Live People. If I smiled and giggled, they would make nice and give me anything I wanted.

As a kid, I played hide ‘n’ go seek with my friends. I was so good at finding Live People my friends never let me be the seeker. It’s cause I see Live People.

It’s like that now as an adult. No one will play with me. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy. If you play Risk with me, you are taking a real chance. It isn’t my fault I always win. You see, I see Live People.

There are times I wish I could turn the gift off. Like Commander Deanna Troi, I don’t always have that choice. It was tough to be a Betazoid just like it is tough to be a human who can see Live People.

Sometimes it’s downright embarrassing. Those are times these people are making downright fools of themselves. As Forrest Gump’s Mama used to say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” ‘Cause I see Live People.

There are the times they can be so-o-o annoying. I am sitting at a red light. It turns green. The person behind me starts hooking his horn. You’d think these Live People would have more patience. But they are alive. And I see them.

There are the nice times too. Couples walking hand-in-hand in the park. The look on Victor Espinoza’s face after he rode American Pharaoh to his Triple Crown win. A man walking his dog and kneeling to give the dog a hug. The sound of a kid’s voice when she tells her mom she got an A in school. I love it then when I see Live People.

It sounds like I am complaining. I am not. I am simply sharing something I have wanted to share for a long time. You see, I see Live People.

Do you see Live People?

Fifty Shades of —–

I was up late last night and suddenly this came to me. I go maybe I shouldn’t post. But what the heck.

Here are some forthcoming movie titles for American’s favorite couple. (And keep your mind out of the gutter. These are all family films.):

Fifty Shades of Gravy: Ana meets the Soup Nazi.

Fifty Shades of Green: Ana just can’t decide what color her dress should be.

Fifty Shades of Grapeshot: Christian went hunting with Dick Cheney. Guess you know what happened next.

Fifty Shades of Grunting: Ana is preparing for the Boston Marathon.

Fifty Shades of Groundhogs: Ana visits Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and sees her shadow.

Fifty Shades of Greenways: Remember that time Christian took Ana golfing. She went for the caddy.

Fifty Shades of Gridlock: Ana and Christian in NYC traffic. Next time they will take the subway.

Fifty Shades of Guffaws: Ana learns that Christian has the weirdest laugh.

Fifty Shades of Grits: Ana goes south for the summer, y’all.

Fifty Shades of Grime: Christian just can’t get his Rolls Royce clean. Then Mr. Clean comes along. Since he’s stronger than dirt, he not only takes the dirt off. He strips the paint too.

Fifty Shades of Grub: Ana really can cook.

Fifty Shades of Grass: Ana and Christian move to Colorado.

Fifty Shades of Grades: Ana’s professor says, “Well, that really isn’t a D. It’s a shade off a D. If you look at it in the right light, it could be a C. Or an F.”

Fifty Shades of Grumpy: Ana has spent all day preparing Mr. Grey’s favorite meal. He comes home and starts in. Ana says, “Oh, did we have a bad day.”

Fifty Shades of Goofing Off: Christian and Ana get a night just to kick back, have some pizza and watch “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

There you have it. It’s only the beginning. Hollywood is looking for more ideas for Fifty Shades of You Know What. Got any ideas?

P.S. Just realized that this would make a great blog. I am sure someone could get at least a year’s worth of posts.

Fifty Shades of Me

Though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, I thought this would be a good post Valentine’s Day Blog. So sit back, enjoy a cup of joe and read on.

I have been mulling it over in my mind. Thinking of letting my computer compose a novel. “Fifty Shades of Me”. Maybe make it a first person who just happens to be Christian Gray.

Start it off with: Hey, no matter what you’ve heard from the Ana side of things, I am not a bad guy. I only keep the whips around for my hobby. I like to show off my whipping skills on the rodeo circuit. Ana has such an imagination. She sees my whips, she goes all goo goo eyes over them. Even wants to borrow one. What can I say? I like Ana so I say okay.

As far as that BDSM thing, man I am not into that stuff. I hate pain. Either giving it or taking it. I know what you’re thinking No pain no gain. Whoever came up with that b.s. ought to be shot right between the eyeballs.

Sure I am a successful businessman but I don’t have a gazillion bucks. I own a little bookstore. That was how I met Ana. She called up the store and asked to interview me. I said why not. We did the interview. Nothing going on between the two of us. If there had been electricity flying, I would have felt it. Right? Right. Her college newspaper invited Ana and I for a photo shoot to illustrate the article. It was no big deal. 1500 words and a four by six.

Things went well on the shoot. She smiled. I smiled. I mean she is a pretty girl. Reminds me of my sister. Hey, don’t get any thoughts there. I love my sister but there is nothing going on between the two of us. My God, she is a Southern Baptist for heaven’s sake. And you how those Baptist are. Everything is a sin. Even thinking about sin is a sin. Definitely nada going on between sis and I.

Anyway Ana being nice and all, I get back to the bookstore. I think hey don’t I have that old used copy of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” lying around somewhere. She said she’d lost her copy and it was her very favorite book of all time. I find the darn thing under a stack of old comic books I bought at an auction. The rats haven’t gotten to it yet.

I wrap the book up and FedEx it over to her. Next thing I know I get this call. It’s late and I am about half asleep. It’s her and she’s bawling like a baby. I almost hung up on her. Couldn’t understand her on the other end of the phone. Then she mentions Tess and I know who it is. She asks me to come and pick her up.

I am up for the damsel-in-distress gig. So I give her the a-okay. When I get to the bar she’s at, she’s barfing on the sidewalk. I’m thinking I am not letting this girl in my car. So I call her a cab, put her in, pay the driver and they’re on their way. So that is that. Little did I know.

Next morning Ana calls me and thanks me for the most incredible sex she ever had. Gee, I’d like to take credit, I says, but it was not me, baby. Turns out it was the cabbie. Man, that must have been some drive home.

Next thing I know I am being stalked by Ana. If I had any hair, I sure would like to get her out of it. I haven’t had a moment’s peace since that Saturday. I went to the cops and asked if there was something I could do. The cop said, Sure. Then he winked and said, I can think of about twenty things. So go on and get out of here. Thank your lucky stars.

Just about the time I walk out of the cop shop, there’s Ana. She starts talking about doing things I don’t even know the meaning of. Even if I did, I am sure I don’t want to do them. Seeing that look in her eyes. So I tell her to shush up. Go away. She does.

A day or two later I get an email from her. She is thanking me for the laptop she says I bought her. She’s calling it her Big Mac. Says she has never had a computer of her own to research BDSM stuff. I mean this girl is twenty-one if she’s a day and she has never had a computer. C’mon. Give me a break. And as far as any helicopter ride, that’s crazy. I can barely afford the payments on my Chevy. To top it all off, I am afraid of heights. So ain’t no way I am getting into a helicopter.

Then I get an email from her, telling me she just got a job at one of our local publishers. How she did that I will never know. I mean her emails were filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Her errors had errors. I ought to know. I used to teach high school English.

I don’t hear from her for a couple of weeks. Last night I was at a nice restaurant, treating myself for once. She walks in and plops her little rear in the chair across from me. Quit avoiding me, she says. Or rather demands. Look, she says, I just want to make you happy.

Happy. You can make me happy by leaving me alone.

No can do. We’re soul mates.

Soul mates, hell. You just need to go away and leave me alone.

Okay. I will. Just one thing first. A date.

Ain’t no way I am about to do that. I refused and she went away pouting for the time being.

That’s about it. And one other thing. My mother doesn’t think I am gay. She ought to know. She was married to Dad for seventeen years before he came out. She was just as surprised as everybody else.

So that is my idea for a bestseller. What do y’all think? Would you buy it? I don’t care if you read it. Just buy it please. I have car payments.

And I do want to buy some new handcuffs. Just kidding.