Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 3, 2013

Vasicek; ‘Top this’ news story contest turns up some winners

By Ed Vasicek
Guest columnist

— I put on the coffee pot just as the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it honey,” I shouted to the Mrs., “that’s Emil. We’re going to have another ‘top this’ news story contest.”

Marylu offered to join us for the event. I was surprised, since I thought she had no interest in such a contest. I certainly didn’t mind. If she was bored, so be it: after all, she was getting the worst of it when she married me.

“Come on in, Emil. I’m ready to go – but I just plugged in the coffee pot,” I explained, nearly tripping over a throw rug.

“Ed,” Emil commented as he sat, “you are the only person I know who has an electric percolator. Why do you like it so much?”

“Well,” I explained, “First, I like my coffee hot, and percolators bring the water to a boil.  Second, cheap coffee tastes good in a percolator, third, I don’t have to buy filters. And fourth, I like to hear it perk.”

“Funny,” he replied, “I thought you did that to irritate the gourmet crowd with their French presses and Kenyan A gourmet coffees.”

“That’s reason number five,” I confessed with embarrassment. “Anyhow, bring any articles worthy of the challenge?”

“Sure do,” Emil responded. Here’s one from the New York Times. You can now buy a home solar-power system at Honda. They have a deal with SolarCity; I guess if you buy a Honda, you can also buy a solar system to provide electricity for your home.  Let me read the article to you:

“‘In a typical arrangement, a company provides a system at little or no cost in exchange for a long-term contract in which the customer pays a fixed fee for the electricity generated, set at less than the customer would pay for power from the local utility. The solar price often rises over the life of the agreement, which can last 20 years.’”

“Wow,” I replied, “Things are really changing.”

“Not that much,” chimed in Marylu. “My mother had a solar powered clothes dryer before I was born?”

“Really?” Emil spoke with surprise.

“Yep,” Marylu replied. “It was called a clothes line.”

“Okay, let’s move on” (after all, she stole that joke from me, and, since I can’t remember who I stole it from, I consider it mine). “Now it’s my turn. How about this one from the Sideshow?

“A California lawyer said guards in a San Diego jail forgot about him—and that he was trapped for hours inside a locked waiting room.

“‘I know it takes a while to get the people, so I’m patient,” Lopez said. “I don’t have my cellphone with me because the policy is you can’t use a cellphone inside.’

“After a half an hour, however, Lopez became concerned and tried to alert guards using an intercom...

The lawyer spent more than four hours inside the locked waiting room before a guard heard him and unlocked the door.”

“Crazy,” Emil replied. “Pretty good article. And I’m proud of you. You resisted the temptation to throw in a crummy lawyer joke.”

“I’ve got an article!” Marylu offered. This time I was shocked!  Marylu rarely competes with me, but when she does, I am doomed.

“Let’s hear it,” Emil responded while I grieved my imminent loss.

“This is from UPI,” she offered:

“A 101-year-old man who has been in nine marathons since taking up distance running when he was 89 said he retired after a weekend race in Hong Kong.

“Fauja Singh, whose running and style of dress earned him the title ‘Turbaned Tornado,’ said Sunday’s 6.2-mile race was his final competitive run, CNN reported Monday. Singh said he completed the Hong Kong event in 32 minutes and 28 seconds, shaving 4 minutes off his time from last year.”

“I can’t believe that!” I gasped. How can a 101 year old man run that fast?”

Emil changed the tone: “And I think we know who won the contest.”

I smiled. Both Emil and I were gracious losers.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.