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By Frank Thomas Croisdale

"It's good to be king, if just for a while." -- Tom Petty.

It seems as if I looked away for just a moment, and everything went nuts. The world turned the wrong way on its axis, and things spun so horribly out of control. Well, never fear, loyal subjects, for I have once again anointed myself king for a day and am here to right all that is wrong, fix all that is broken and restore order to the chaos that we call our daily lives.

If I were king for a day, the first thing I would do is overturn the ridiculous "not guilty" verdict in the Casey Anthony trial and I would sentence that evil little harlot to something far worse than death.

Anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen could tell she was guiltier than a smiling cat next to an empty canary cage, while bright yellow feathers swirled in the disturbed mid-afternoon air.

I know I speak for most royal subjects when I say that listening to the details of the death of innocent little Caylee was as heart-wrenching an experience as I have had during the many moons I have walked this earth. In my kingdom, Casey Anthony would find no peace and no mercy, and we would erect statues to remember the precious little girl whose only crime was being born to a real-life monster.

If I were king for a day, professional athletes would not be permitted to go on strike, nor would fiefdom lords ... er, owners ... be allowed to lock them out and shut down the entertainment for the masses.

The subjects would be made to realize that they exist and profit only because of the dollars of the hardest-working members of the kingdom. Athletes would be required to donate a much larger percentage of their paychecks to youth programs, and owners would have to give a large chunk of the television and merchandising dollars they receive to not-for-profit organizations working to better the communities that they represent.

And woe be unto any pro athlete found guilty of refusing to sign an autograph for an adoring child. What would be his punishment? The king is too modest to say, but will offer up the athlete's new nickname: "Lefty."

If I were king for a day, there would be immediate development on non-chain restaurants in downtown Niagara Falls. They used to exist, you may recall -- places like the Goose's Roost, George's, the Magic Chef, the Press Box, the Checkerboard, the Arterial and the Rib Cage.

Now, all the city has is the same tired old national eateries that litter the downtown landscape of anywhere and everywhere, USA. That and more Indian restaurants than you'll find in central Bombay.

The king may be in the minority here, but curry makes me scurry. I have bent the royal ear at many venues around town and have not heard any local buzz about the Indian restaurants. That makes your royal highness worry that many of them won't survive the long, cold winter ahead when tourists don't flock to the downtown corridor.

Oh, where have you gone, Pepe's Plum?

If I were king for a day, I would make it a crime for young people to walk around all day with iPod earbuds in their ears. Conversation is an art form. The ability to carry on one intelligently and with accents of humor and occasional guile goes a long way in determining a person's financial and social success.

By cramming their ears with "skull candy," today's kids are not developing those skills, and the world is a far poorer place as a result. In my kingdom, it would be conversation over alienation, and "How you doin', Bud?" over "Have you seen my iPod?"

If I were king for a day, I'd grant Nik Wallenda whatever rights he needs to perform a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls. Sure it would be very dangerous -- so is driving your car to work each day.

Niagara Falls has a long history of daredevils and tightrope-walkers. One local historian has profited by writing a book about them entitled "Daring Niagara: 50 Death-Defying Stunts at the Falls."

In my kingdom, Wallenda would walk high above the cataracts for the masses, while the aged scribe would breathlessly detail his exploits. Then, even residents in the farthest corners of the kingdom would know of the bravery and skill of the great funambulist.

If I were king for a day, I would outlaw all dogs weighing less than 20 pounds. One might keep a thing of that size and variety under the heading of "glorified rat," but never would it be called a dog.

Here are the rules:

All dogs in my kingdom are big and boisterous. They slobber and drool. They require heavy-duty "pooper-scoopers" to clean up after them. Their food is sold in impossible-to-lift 50-pound bags. They growl when a knock comes at the door and they bark gleefully when the owner returns after any absence, brief or extended.

Finally, if I were king for a day, I would exhaust the royal resources to find a cure for this insidious disease known as cancer, once and for all. Too many of the royal subjects, more here than in any kingdom in the land, have been taken too young and too cruelly by this cold-blooded killer.

Your king reminds you to donate what you can to research for a cure, and to reach out to friends and family members battling the most evil and horrific serial killer in the history of mankind.

We will find a cure, and when that happens we will throw a royal party worthy of all the kings and queens, princes and princesses who have had bestowed upon them the greatest title of all -- survivor!

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 19, 2011