Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tomorrow's Easter Skit: "A Very Prestigious Tomb"

Cast: Joseph of Arimathea and his wife

Wife: I’m NOT sharing a tomb with a perfect stranger!

Joe: I certainly don’t think of Jesus as a stranger. As for perfect, that’s another matter.

Wife: Don’t you dare change the subject. That tomb was meant to be OUR final resting place!

JOE: What else could I do? Jesus wasn’t from a wealthy family, and he certainly didn’t keep anything for himself. He gave everything away. I don’t understand why this dark little cave matters so much to you.

WIFE: I’ll tell you why it matters. That tomb showed that YOU were somebody, which means that as your wife, I was somebody. Have I ever told you about my grandfather’s burial? They stuffed him into a cistern. But they had waited too long and the cistern was too small. So they had to break his bones to fit him in. And I heard that. But that’s not all I heard. I heard some of the other girls snickering. They were laughing because he had to be buried in a cistern near the city dump, and that showed he was a poor man, an unimportant man.

JOE: So you thought of our tomb as a status symbol?

WIFE: Of course it was! When I told the girls at the club in Arimathea that we had an unused tomb at the garden, with its own gardener…they were all so jealous they hated me. It was wonderful.

JOE: Does it matter so much what other people think?

WIFE: Well, what other people think certainly matters to you. Why did you keep it secret that you were a follower of Jesus?

JOE: You’re right. I’m ashamed now how I treated Him in life. I would disguise myself and stay at the edge of the crowd when Jesus spoke. I went to see Him at night so my business partners and those Pharisee busybodies wouldn’t see me. He was the greatest man I’ve ever known, and I was afraid to let people know I knew Him. I’m a coward.

WIFE: A coward wouldn’t have gone to the Romans to ask for the body of a man they had crucified. That was brave of you, Joseph. Even without that prestigious tomb, I’m proud to be your wife.

JOE: I hope you noticed that I didn’t use our linens or spices to bury Jesus. Nicodemus supplied all of that; seventy-five pounds of the stuff. I don’t know how much that set him back. But I know he’d give everything he has to have Jesus back. So would I.

WIFE: Joseph, didn’t you say that Jesus spoke of His own death?

JOE: Yes, He did. It was strange; I’ve never heard a teacher talk of such things.

WIFE: And didn’t He say He was coming back from the dead?

JOE: He did, but surely He was speaking in parables as He often did. We understood He ment that His teaching would live on, that God’s Kingdom wouldn’t die.

WIFE: Maybe. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if what Jesus said was really true? Perhaps He really is the Son of God as He said. Maybe you didn’t really GIVE Him our tomb, you only loaned it to Him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Dawn of the Living" an Easter skit

(based on Matthew 27: 50 – 53)

Cast: Father (Rueben)
Mother (Sarah)
Daughter (Ruth)
Boarder (Thad)

Scene opens with Father in chair and daughter playing on the floor. All wear “Biblical” dress.


Reuben: Ruthie, could you see who’s at the door?

Ruth: Dad…It’s Grandpa!

Reuben: Ruthie, tha isn’t funny. You know it can’t be Grandpa, because Grandpa is… (GRANDPA ENTERS) Grandpa!

Grandfather: Hello, Ruthie! Hello, Son!


Ruth: I’m so glad to see you, Grandpa! Hey, you don’t smell funny. Daddy, you said Grandpa would smell funny!

Reuben: Well, this is quite a surprise. I thought you were, um, somewhere else.

Grandfather: Why don’t you just say it, Son? You thought I was dead. You can say it.

Reuben: Yes, well, weren’t you…aren’t you…dead?


Grandfather: Oh, I’m sorry, Sarah! If there had been any way to let you know I was coming, I would have told you!

Sarah: Reuben, is it…a ghost?

Grandfather: No, dear, I can assure you I’m not.

Ruth: He’s not, Mom! I can hug him and smell him.

Reuben: But I don’t understand. I was there. You stopped breathing. There was not a sign of life. I helped bury you five weeks ago. We had dozens of mourners for your service.

Grandfather: Oh, yes. How was my service?

Ruth: It was pretty boring.

Sarah: No, dear, I thought it was very nice… What am I saying? How can you be here? What’s going on?

Grandfather: Yes, dear, I’m sorry. Explanations are in order, at least as much of an explanation as I can give. I remember lying in my bed and felling my life slipping away. I remember you were at my side, Son. Then all went black. I assume time passed, and I opened my eyses to see a bright, glorious Creature. He told me not to be afraid, but that he had come to give me great news. That Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and I was to go out and tell others that Jesus had risen from the dead. The Creature vanished, and I realized I was in the family tomb. Then the stone at the entrance shattered into pieces, so I came here.

Ruth: That is so cool!

Sarah: Ruthie, go outside. (DAUGHTER LEAVES.) That is simply amazing. I can’t say how happy we are for you and your… ah…undeadness. But if you were planning to come back to stay here, there may be a problem…


Thad: Hey, Reuben, Sarah… What’s going on?

Sarah: Oh, Thaddeus. I’d like to introduce you to Reuben’s father, Elijah. Elijah, this is Thaddeus. He’s been renting your old room.

Thad: Oh, you can call me, Thad. It’s strange, somehow I got the impression that you were…Oh, what do you call it?

Grandfather: Dead?

Thad: Bingo! That’s it.

Grandfather: I was dead.

Sarah: Yes, you were. And it wasn’t cheap to bury you. We had bills for the myrrh and the mourners. I couldn’t believe the charges. And then the Romans are charging what they call an “estate tax”. We had to sell your things. And take it Thad, here, as a boarder. We couldn’t have managed otherwise. And I don’t think it would be fair to Thad to kick him out because you didn’t stay…like you were.

Grandfather: Don’t worry, Sarah. I know it’s not convenient for you to have me alive again. Your boarder can stay, and I can certainly do without my former possessions. Those things are nothing compared to what I now have. I know the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, and I know that he has power over death itself. And I have been charged with sharing that news.

Reuben: Yes. And that, Dad. Lately, there hasn’t been a very positive sentiment about this Jesus. I know when you went to hear Him speak, there were throngs of enthusiastic followers, but things have changed. The religious leaders, and the Romans, too, came to see His message as a dangerous one. So they crucified Him. Now, I’m not in a place to make a judgment about the man one way or another. But it doesn’t seem like the safest time to go around proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. Who knows what the authorities may do? Why, even His disciples are in hiding!

Grandfather: And what exactly will these authorities do to me if they find our I’m proclaiming Jesus as Lord? Kill me? I don’t know whether I can die again, or if God will simply take me to Himself. I do know I don’t fear anything now but God alone.

Reuben: The authorities might not just go after you. You must consider what might happen to Sarah and Ruthie. And me.

Sarah: Reuben has a point. How do you know this isn’t just some freak occurrence? Maybe your resurrection is a an act of the evil one to fool us all. How do you know that Jesus is who He said He was?

Grandfather: May God forgive you for even suggesting such a thing! I know Jesus was the Messiah long ago. When I heard Him speak, I knew He had the authority of God Himself. I tell you, this is not the first time Jesus raised me from the dead. I was dead in my sin before I met Jesus. And He forgave my sin. Only God can do that.

Reuben: But that has nothing to do with us.

Grandfather: It has to do with you. It pains me to say it, Son, but you and Sarah are more dead to God than I was in the tomb. You must trust in Jesus as your Lord if you want to know eternal life.

Reuben: This is sedition.

Sarah: And madness. I’m sorry, Father…or whoever you are. I can’t let you stay here and allow Ruth to be exposed to this wild talk. I’m not even sure you are my father-in-law, or if you’re something that has taken over his body. I don’t want to hear anymore. I must ask you to go.

Grandfather: As you wish, dear, I’ll go.

Reuben: She’s right, I’m afraid. You must go. We don’t need to hear anymore.

Thad: I’d like to hear more. Can you tell me more about Jesus?

Grandfather: Certainly, young man. Come with me, Reuben, give Ruthie my love.

Reuben: Yes, I will. Goodbye, again, Father.

Grandfather: Goodbye, Son. Sarah. Consider what I said.


Ruth: Dad, Mom! I heard people saying Jesus is alive again, too! Do you think it’s true?

Sarah: Of course not, dear. If it were true, we would have to change our lives completely. That just can’t happen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Top Ten Post - The Scores of John Williams

The nominations for the last Academy Awards made John Williams either the first or second most nominated person for Oscar with 48. He certainly passed costume designer Edith Head, but he’s behind Walt Disney who had 59. But how much was Walt really involved with say, the animated short “Three Orphan Kittens” from 1935? Williams certainly has the most noms of anyone who’s living.

One summer, I was changing shingles on my parents’ house and amused myself by trying to hum Williams’ scores. There are similarities between some scores. Many are big, romantic, with themes tailored to film characters that will stick in your head. Some people dismiss film scores, I think it’s the best orchestral music being written today.

But these are my ten favorite film scores (leaving out the Olympics and his fine work on TV’s “Lost in Space.”)

10) “The Cowboys” (1972) This was the western where John Wayne was killed by Bruce Dern (Wayne warned Dern the public might never forgive him.) I love western film scores (every real man does), could listen to them for hours. They should always be simple but inspiring (Elmer Bernstein did the best one ever, “The Magnificent Seven”.) This was a good year for Williams, he also scored “The Poseidon Adventure” (which wasn’t nominated for best score, but won for best song “The Morning After”, which Williams didn’t write.)

9) “Home Alone” (1990) A score that had to accommodate violent slapstick as well as potentially maudlin sentiment. But Kevin reuniting with his mom and family can bring a tear to my eye and Willaims had a part in that. I listened to this score several times on Youtube last Yuletide.

8) “Jaws” (1975) Everybody knows the “NaaNuh, NaaNuh” just before the shark attack. People remember the film’s scares. But there’s also an adventure element that the score captures just as well.

7) “E.T.” (1982) Yeah, this score can make me weepy too. But it earns its emotions, especially in the big goodbye finale.

6) “Schindler’s List” (1993) Written the same year as another film on this list. This is a much different score. It doesn’t have as full an orchestra as most Williams scores, often a single violin is heard. But it’s powerful, and like the film, tears out your heart.

5) “Superman” (1978) This musical theme was responsible for making many young boys think they could fly off their roofs. Inexplicably, there were no successful lawsuits.

4) “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) I could have chosen another of the series quite easily. The score is a wonderful thing in midst of the awful prequel, “The Phantom Menace”. I happen to like “Return of the Jedi” a lot, but that Ewok song could lead to madness. So I go with film that preserves that goose bump inducing opening fanfare as well as introducing the sinister Empire March.

3) “Jurassic Park” (1993) It’s amazing Spielberg made this the same year as “Schindler”, but Williams accomplishment is amazing as well. The incredible sense of wonderment one feels when the dinosaurs are revealed isn’t just the work of the special effects team, Williams played a part as well.

2) “1941” (1979) – A great score for a rotten film. The comedy doesn’t work, but the score blends a forties big band sound with military marches for something unique and inspiring. I listened to this soundtrack again and again, though I saw the film only once. I love that you can hear the late, great John Belushi on the final track.

1) “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1941) I worked at a theater that played this film for a year, and I never tired of it, or the music. As Spielberg wrote on the soundtrack cover, the score tells Indy what to do every moment of his adventure. The Raiders March fills the listener with hope and energy and makes one able to take on anything…Nazis, boulders…even snakes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Review of "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos

Before the fantasy world of video game warfare and the very real world of drone warfare, the fighter and bomber pilots pioneered the concept of remote battle. Primal battles with rocks, spears, and knives were rather intimate events. But technology has made the distances between combatants greater, allowing for more abstract and dehumanizing confrontations.

“A Higher Call” is about a World War II pilot who fought against those numbing tendencies of aerial warfare and on one particular incident risked his life to save an enemy.

Adam Makos early in life became fascinated with the stories of WWII, hearing the stories of his grandfathers. He built model airplanes, read about the war and watched movies about the war, but then took his interest a step further. He began interviewing other veterans of the war and told their stories in a self published newsletter while still in high school and on through his college years. Out of school, he started a publishing company devoted to preserving the stories of WWII veterans while they were still around to tell them.

Makos himself had make a decision to depersonalize the enemy (the Germans and the Japanese.) He would only tell stories of Allied soldiers and then only stories that put “our” people in a good light. He would not tell the enemies side of the story.

That was the case until he met a veteran bomber pilot by the name of Charlie Brown (no reference is ever made to Charles Schultz’ creation.) Brown said he had an extraordinary story if he heard the other side, from the lips of German fighter pilot Franz Stigler.

Makos begins Stigler’s story not when he was a soldier, but after the war and then tells Stigler’s life from when he was a child. We are allowed to see Stigler not as an enemy, but as a man.

Eventually we get to the battle that brought Brown and Stigler together. I’d rather not talk about what those circumstances were; how much better for you to read the story from Makos (with assistance from Larry Alexander.) It’s a rather brutal tale in ways, but it ends with an amazing note of grace.

Brown and Stigler were both religious men. Brown, a devout Methodist and Stigler, in his heart a devout Catholic (though he was excommunicated for the sin of dueling.) At the heart of the book is the question that was asked of Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In that way, you can look at “A Higher Call” as a powerful version of story of “The Good Samaritan.” (2013, Berkley Caliber Books)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Old Article About One of My Early Employers

From the Press Democrat Business Section Sunday, September 13, 1981


The ushers are coming.

That’s not the title of a new thriller movie, but a trend in the theater business designed to attract moviegoers as profits sputters and competition fires up.

“We may see things such as the return of the usher,” said Wes Porter, manager of the United Artist Theaters six-plex in Santa Rosa.

“Showmanship will keep the small, outlying theaters open when things get tougher,” Porter predicted. To improve his own business, he has installed a Dolby sound system in theater six and is studying snack bar techniques and methods to streamline crowd-handling.

“We’re also looking at adding short subjects,” he said. “As the price of tickets rise, we have to give something back to the audience. We don’t make millions in snack bar sales, but sometimes the concession means the difference between going broke and making it.”

Part of “making it” is projection room innovations at the UA-6 where one operator (per shift) runs all six projectors. Four hours of film, set up “platter-style,” can be shown per projector.

Despite such innovations to stay ahead of creeping inflation, tougher times may lie ahead for theater owners, if national figures are an indication. Last year’s box office figures slipped 9 percent from 1979 as 1.02 billion tickets were sold.

So far this year, ticket sales are the worst in a decade and film exhibiters keep their fingers crossed that Thanksgiving-Christmas period & traditionally the season’s highest-grossing period – will pull profits out of the slump.

Some coming attractions viewers can expect at the end of the year are “Mommy Dearest” the Joan Crawford story starring Faye Dunaway and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” with Meryl Streep.
Theater owners sold $2.75 billion worth of tickets last year and pocketed $600 million in concession stand sales.

Despite the significant sales, profits grow slimmer as film distributers demand larger shares of the box office grosses (as high as 90 percent) and the American movie-going habit changes.
“Television and Home Box Office opened a whole way of life that people never thought about before,” Porter said. “Things like concerts, horseback riding and plays used to be a rich man’s pleasures. Today, everybody does those things.”

Last year, 12 – 24 year olds, comprising 29 percent of the U. S. population, bought 59 percent of movie tickets.

Statistics show that 35 percent of the public never sees a theater film.

About 25 percent of the population accounts for 85 percent of total movie admissions. The top year for ticket sales remains 1946 when 4.07 billion were sold.

During the late 1940’s, before television became as popular as the toaster, the average American attended 33 movies a year.

“What the gloom forecasters don’t look at is what theaters are doing to keep alive,” said Porter, who managed the old Cal Theater in Santa Rosa in 1974-75. “We survived radio and television; we’ll make it through the rough times, too.”

Box office grosses, generally kept secret from the public, are reported daily within the industry, and competing theaters are well aware of each other’s business.

“We’re pretty close to Fresno in a business sense,” Porter said. “What plays well there will generally do well here. In some cases, I’ll even out gross San Francisco.”

The film business is a wheeling-and-dealing industry where producers try to make the best deal with the distributers and distributers offer the products to theaters – each trying to squeeze as much profit as possible.

“The film distributor has the product and he wants to know how much will you give for it?” Porter said. “Our buyer, Joe Karoty in Los Angeles, has a grapevine on new film products you wouldn’t believe. It’s like hot stocks.”

Occasionally, if a major film company has a hot movie production, it’ll seek offers from theaters in a process called blind bidding.

The theater owners don’t see the film, since it isn’t completed, and often only know who the star is, who’s directing and the basic storyline.

Generally, theater owners don’t like blind bidding because it’s risky. Money is exchanged up front to acquire the film for exhibition and the theater owner can only hope he’ll make his money back.
“Risks are taken when the deal is made,” Porter said. “Sometimes a theater will take a loss for six months to force its competition out of the market, but that’s the nature of the business.”

Two film disasters were (sic) theaters bit the bullet were “Hardcore” with George C. Scott and “Cruising” with Al Pachino (sic).

“The public places a trust in us that the film rating is right. We put an X-rating on ‘Cruising’ and we were obligated to show the film because we bid on it,” Porter said.

“We held to that rating even though it slowed down some of our business. This was a case where theater owners took a stand with the community,” he said. Porter said he received an R-rated version of the X-rated film called, “Debbie Does Dallas”.

“I screened it and called our office in San Francisco and told them what was in it and the film was pulled,” Porter said.

United Artists Theaters also banked on a film called, “A Bridge Too Far”, another box office disaster.
“’Breaker Morant’ was an excellent film, but we barely make our money back on it and the move played three weeks here,” Porter said.

But, occasionally a blockbuster hits the screen, such as George Lucas’ “Raiders of the Lost Ark” which opened here last June and remains a top draw.

“And we’re still paying 90 percent of the box office grosses to the distributer because it’s still popular,” Porter said.

In the days managing the Cal Theater, Porter launched a midnight movie program for the night owl audience that has proven successful. He carried the concept to UA theaters where it represents about one-sixth of his salary in commissions.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

About the film, "Side Effects", with minor spoilers

I suppose you can’t properly call Side Effects, the recent release from director Steven Soderbergh, a “whodunit,” because not long into the film, we see it done; a wife stabs her husband with a knife and he dies of his wounds. The question becomes, “Who’s responsible?”

Rooney Mara plays a woman, Emily, whose husband (Channing Tatum) was recently released from prison. When it is suspected that she is suffering from suicidal depression, she comes under the care of a psychiatrist (Jude Law). He prescribes several several antidepressants, one of which has the side effect (title drop) of sleepwalking.

So if one should commit a crime while sleepwalking, who is ultimately responsible? Is the sleepwalker free of guilt? Is the doctor who prescribed the drug that led to the sleepwalking responsible? Or does the ultimate responsibility fall on the company that manufactured the drug?

(Sidebar – “Big Pharma” is fairly a common villain in films such as The Constant Gardener, The Fugitive, and all those “Resident Evil” films. After all, what could be more nefarious than researching, manufacturing and distributing medicine that bring healing and comfort that would have seemed miraculous mere decades ago? Well, perhaps providing the fuel that heats our homes, runs the vehicles we depend on, etc. but other than that…)

After the husband’s death in the film, a police officer questions the psychiatrist. He implies that it might be in the best interest of the doctor to testify against his patient so that he doesn’t face prosecution himself, because ultimately, “someone is going to have to pay for this death.”

I don’t want to spoil the many twists that make up the rest of the film. If you enjoy a good mystery, you’ll probably enjoy the well-constructed script, competent direction and entertaining performances in the film (including a slightly campy turn by Catherine Zeta Jones as another psychiatrist). But for now, I’d like to dwell a bit on the concept of responsibility.

Medical science has proven that many of our emotional actions and reactions, aspects of our personalities, and lifestyle choices could well be driven by our bodies’ chemistry. In the film, even aside from Emily, we see many characters turn to pills to help themselves cope with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and a variety of other human ills.

One could ask the question, “If body chemistry drives our emotions, attitudes, and even our actions, are we truly responsible for what we do?” And soon questions of chemistry stray into questions of ethics, spirituality and even theology.

Should we be held responsible for our actions if we are just tossed to and fro by hormones, dopamine and adrenaline? Or could we argue just as well that environment controls us as much as heredity? Surely, if God is there, He can’t blame us for acting as we do. He made us this way.

Centuries before we had the physiological understanding we have today, we find that the writers of Scripture acknowledged we are often creatures driven by forces that seem beyond our control. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7: 15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (NIV)

Ultimately, Paul acknowledges his own responsibility for his actions, and acknowledges that someone must pay the price. It is there that God’s plot twist comes to bear, for Paul wrote in I Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (NIV again)

We live in a fallen world, and we have trouble enough figuring out our own motivations -- let alone the motivations of others. But ultimately God will provide the cure we need – with only beneficial side effects.

(Side Effects is rated R for language, violence, sexual situations and nudity.)

LIVING AMONG HAMSTERS (A story for kids)

When I chew on my wooden ruler, my teacher takes it away.

My mom won’t let me sleep all day and stay up all night.

When I try to stuff my peanut butter and jelly sandwich into my cheeks to save it for snack time, the lunch room monitor says I’m being rude and gross.

I guess I shouldn’t expect them to understand. For unlike me, they have never lived among the hamsters.

It all began as a science project.

Other kids were making baking soda and vinegar volcanoes or soaking teeth in coke, but I wanted to do something different.

Inspiration came from a TV special about a woman who lived for years with chimpanzees. She studied up close their habits, habitats and relationships.

Maybe this was something I could do. I couldn’t go to Africa, but perhaps there were animals that lived closer. Much closer.

In my room I have a cage with two hamsters I named Door Knob and Nasal Drip. A science report on living with hamsters would be the best project ever.

But first I had to build a machine that would shrink me down to hamster size; which I did.

(Some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you use the shrinking machine as your science project?” And I ask you, “Can you imagine if one of your classmates got hold of a shrinking machine?” No one would be safe.)

After shrinking myself down to precisely hamster size, I joined Door Knob and Nasal Drip in their cage.

I climbed in through the top of the cage and dropped into the wood shavings. Doory and Nasally (their nicknames) scurried into the hamster box.

I turned my back on the hamsters and sat quietly in the sawdust.

After waiting an hour, I heard footsteps behind me. I expected that. I didn’t expect to hear voices.

“Isn’t that Jose? The boy who gives us food?”

“It can’t be. He is far too small.”

I thought other people had entered the room. I turned to find out something else.

“Door Knob! Nasal Drip! You talk!”

“I told you it was Jose,” Door Knob said.

“But how can you be so small?” Nasal Drip asked.

“But how can you talk?” I asked.

“But how can you be so small?”

We kept asking those same questions to each other several more times. Eventually, I explained the shrinking machine to the hamsters. (And no, I’m not explaining it to you. I don’t want to be responsible for making your little sister a lot littler.)

And they told me that they did indeed speak. But usually they never spoke around humans. And since hamsters have really good hearing, they usually speak so softly that only other hamsters can hear them.

I asked if I could live with them for a while so I could observe life as a hamster. For science. They agreed, but with three conditions.

The first condition was a name change. They were not pleased with the names I had given them.

“Instead of Door Knob, I would prefer to be called Renaldo,” Door…I mean, Renaldo said.

“And I would prefer to be called Juliet,” formerly Nasal Drip said.

“You’re a girl?”

“Female hamster,” she said. I had no idea.

The second condition was peanut butter for two weeks after the study.

The third condition was that I would tell no one that the hamsters could talk, which I’m not sticking to as well as I’ve stuck to the first two conditions.

So I began my study.

I noticed that Renaldo and Juliet often gnawed on their wooden house. I asked them why.

They said that hamster incisor teeth will keep growing unless they gnaw on things. (Isn’t it cool to imagine a hamster that didn’t gnaw – so his teeth were, like, surf board length?)

I observed that hamsters liked to dig tunnels and build little rooms. They liked to have a separate dining room and a separate bed room.

Their mouths can open, like, cool large so they can carry lots of food or lots of bedding in their mouths. (Wouldn’t it be something if you carry a sleeping bag in your mouth?)

They can’t see very well, so you can hold up the three D loser sign to your head, and they never notice. But like I said before, they have really good hearing.

They also have a really good sense of smell, which means they can smell other hamsters real well – which I just can’t see as a good thing.

And I found out they really enjoy their hamster wheel. I was able to run on all fours on the outside of the wheel, which impressed them.

It was then time to return to my world, but before I left, Renaldo had exciting news. “Soon, Jose, there will be hamsters in the world.”

“Does that mean?”

“Yes, Jose,” said Juliet. “And we want the first of our litter to be named after you.”

And so my time with the hamsters came to an end.

I wroter up my study, and turned it in as my science project.

The teacher gave my study a D-, because she thought I had just made the whole thing up.

Well, let me tell you, I have lived with hamsters, and no hamster would ever give another hamster a D-. I’m thinking of going back. Because that wheel is pretty fun.