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One Frosting licks the others; onto the next contest

Five odes diverged as you knew they would, and sorry they could not choose them all, Verse or Worse voters did really good, picking the one that — under its hood — included a big-poet roll call.

Perhaps you remember that the latest challenge was based on what happened to the hooligans who, in the course of a drunken party, trashed Robert Frost’s one-time summer home in Vermont: They were sentenced to take two classes on Frost’s poetry.

VerseOrWorsifiers were asked to submit a two- or four-line bit of poetry beginning “Whose words these are I think I know.” The entry from Fred Hedling (aka The Bard of Desnoyer Park), winning him a lyrical MinnPost T-shirt, was:

Whose words these are, I think I know
Not Spenser, Pope, or yet Thoreau
Not Shelley, Keats, or Shakey-speare
But Robert Frost! (Let’s go drink beer!)

Turning now to a slightly more refined level of criminal activity, we learned last week that Medicare has been bilked out of an estimated $100 million over the past decade by fraud artists submitting bogus claims using the ID numbers of dead physicians. In a random sample using the names of 1,500 doctors who died between 1992 and 2002, congressional investigators found almost half were tied to claims made after they had died.

Your challenge is to provide one or more ways to tell that your doctor is dead.

In pursuits of this sort, big-time entertainments like the Letterman show typically produce lists of the Top 10-whatever. As always, your genial host more modestly seeks only the Top Five. (But Letterman doesn’t award a spiffy T-shirt.)

As is his custom, your genial host provides a not-especially-magnificent example to get you started:

One way to tell that your doctor is dead is that when you call for an appointment you are able to get one that’s only two months away.

E-mail one to three entries to asicherman [at] minnpost [dot] com by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 17. Your genial host must once again point out that the practice of submitting no entries is a clear violation of the one-to-three-entry rule, and will not be tolerated.

At 5:01, your genial host will enter MinnPost’s giant refrigerated waiting room, dust off the magazines and begin screening the entries, ultimately choosing the top five.

He will post those five on Monday, July 21. You will have until Thursday afternoon, July 24, to vote for your favorite, which will win a vibrantly vital MinnPost T-shirt.

The name of the winner will be posted on Monday, July 28, along with a new challenge.

OK, time to start thinking about how to tell that your doctor is dead. And while you’re waiting, put on the gown so it’s open in the back.

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