I confess that when it comes to the card game of bridge, I know nothing. I had no idea, for example, that when your partner makes a dumb move, homicide is an acceptable remedy.
I don't usually read the bridge column in The Blade, but I sat right up and took notice when a recent column began: "J. Bennett was shot to death in 1931 after failing to make four spades."
The next paragraph explained Mr. Bennett's strategic blunders in technical terms I could not comprehend, but I gather he messed up pretty badly. He may have "ruffed" his trump or trumped his ruff. I'm not sure.
Obviously distraught, Mrs. Bennett killed him. Geez, you think you know somebody.
No mention was made of the weapon, but after a little research, I learned that she shot the poor guy. It's possible the Bennetts had other problems leading up to the ill-fated encounter at the card table.
Maybe Mrs. Bennett had been pining for a diamond and Mr. Bennett had confessed that he had given his heart to a woman he'd met at the club. Just calling a spade a spade, OK?
If, however, her only motivation was her husband's ineptitude at bridge, then I have gained a new appreciation for bridge players and the courage it must take to sit down and tempt fate with one poorly handled bid.
Here's the best part: Mrs. Bennett was ultimately acquitted. A jury of her peers disregarded the physical evidence, most especially the four shots she fired at her husband, two of which found their mark and did him in.
Plus, before the bullets flew, there had been a violent argument over his dunderhead play. Things escalated from there into a deadly confrontation -- all of which was witnessed by the couple they had been playing against.
Lest you think I'm making all this up, I went to snopes.com., which says the story is true. It happened in Kansas City in 1929, not 1931. The report adds that Mrs. Bennett, after her acquittal, even collected $30,000 from her husband's life insurance policy, a nifty sum of money during the Depression. Heck, that's a nifty sum today.
Of course, bridge was never the same for Mrs. Bennett after she dispatched the mister. Imagine the challenge of finding another partner.
And you thought rugby was tough.
You know the feeling. It's blistering hot outside and you walk into one of those big-box stores. You cross the threshold and you're hit by that blessed blast of cool air. It's like falling face-first into a swimming pool.
But there's a catch. Five minutes later, you're ready to head over to the clothing department and pull on a parka. Sometimes it's even worse at the supermarket.
Cooling a massive building of thousands of square feet is a challenge. However, customers shouldn't have to blow on their hands or huddle together with strangers for warmth. Isn't there some suitable mid-range setting on the air conditioning? I'm just asking.
The list in a recent column of our favorite quotes by athletes and coaches prompted a couple of readers to supply their own, which I'm happy to share.
Jim Snodgrass related a quote he remembers from the publicity hype that preceded a Super Bowl game some years ago.
Russ Grimm of the Washington Redskins said he would run over his own mother if that's what it took to get a win. Matt Millen of the Oakland Raiders was asked whether he would do the same thing.
"Yeah, I'd run over his mother too," Mr. Millen replied. The Raiders won, and as far as we know, without injury to Mr. Grimm's mom.
Bob Versteeg said his son, who was once an assistant to the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at North Carolina State University, related the following:
After a disputed call during a game, Coach Valvano asked the referee: "Can I get a foul for what I'm thinking?"
The official said: "No."
Good, the coach said. "I think you stink."
I read something recently that reiterated the dangers of a red-meat diet. I get it. But I was dismayed and baffled by the contention that every time you eat a cheeseburger, you shorten your life by one day.
I don't know how they determine such things. But I'm here to tell you that if it's true, I'm a medical anomaly. I should have died 33 years ago.
One more sign God is good: that rare occasion when you get a shopping cart at Wal-Mart that runs straight and true.
Thomas Walton is the retired editor and vice president of The Blade. His column appears every other Monday.
Contact him at: email@example.com