Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rainy Season Thoughts

Well, the wind stopped a bit.. but it still is sputtering rain.  Our yellow flowers with pink insides are blooming in spite of the lousy weather.  As is usual, regardless of the weather, I have a compulsion to share news, jokes and "Crankshaft" type observations with anyone nearby.  So, if you have anything else to do with your time, avoid this blog entry.  Remember.. you've been warned.

01.  Car Talk

At the opening of today's Car Talk show, the Massachusetts guys posed some scientific type questions.  I don't think they would mind if I mention them here. (By the way, if you have not listened to that NPR show, you are missing a great experience.)

Q. What do you call a really small bottle of mouthwash?  
A.  Microscope.

Q. What is the mathematical ratio used in constructing an igloo?
A. Eskimo pie.

Q.  What is the shortest distance between 2 jokes.
A.  A straight line.

Q.  What is the term for the time between the stepping on a banana peel and falling on the ground?
A.  A bananasecond.

02.  More names.

Every so often, I mention people's names that I have collected over the years.  I apologize to those who own these names, but I think they are humorous.  If you know these people, please don't tell them, because I don't want to get a punch in the nose.

Zula Z. Boozer
Martin I. Sober

Willie Huckleberry Finn
Mona Lisa Guess

Birdie Berryhill
Cola Chick
Russell Feathers
Canary Sires

Mr. Sizzleberger

Opal Galightly
Fairest Ruby Klepfer

Round Barnes
Bland Butts
Ether Boyant Horn
A. Reck
Rena Sweat
Sinus Wilzy

Mrs. Husband
William Sex Pattern

Other Bradshaw
Blueford Corsey
Mr. Richendollar

03.  What happened?

Last December, police in Ransom, Illinois, (population: 409) were looking for a woman who walked away from an automobile crash that left her husband dead.  The only clues were some footprints in the snow and a slipper. Dressed in a red party dress and one slipper, she should not have been that difficult to find.  Perhaps her bright dress in the white snow caught the attention of the pilot of an alien craft and she has been abducted and held for ransom.  I haven't seen any more news about this incident on the Internet.  I hope she was found in time for Christmas.

04.  What happened?

In August of 2009, it was reported that Michael Jackson's artificial nose had disappeared from his body in the morgue.  I'm not sure if that report was true or not.  Michael is supposed to have had a bottle full of fake noses.  I read where his real nose had collapsed after excessive plastic surgeries.  If someone had stolen the nose, it probably will show up years hence as a "holy relic."

05.  Survival equipment.

Transportation officials in one of China's provinces have outfitted buses with large orange bricks attached with long strings.  These are supposed to be used by passengers in  emergency situations, so they can break a window and escape.

06.  Negligence case.

A Chicago woman got drunk and fell through the window of a hair salon.  She later sued the owner because he should have had safety glass installed.. lots of drunks apparently walk by his shop, and he should have been prepared for one of them to fall through.   I wonder if she won her suit.

07.  No global warming?

The huge glacier on Mount Margherita in Uganda has cracked and is now blocking access by mountain climbers to the summit.  The glacier has reportedly ruptured because of excessive melting.  It is one of the very few places near the equator that has ice; the glacier has shrunk by 75% in the recent past and may completely disappear by 2030.

08.  Call my brother: ISHMAEL.  Call me: AHAB.*

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer have created the opera: Moby-Dick.  It is a three hour creation that I am anxious to see and hear.  There are lots of reviews out on the Internet.. I personally don't want to read any because I feel they might affect my own considerations when I finally see the opera. 

*(If you are a member of the National Puzzlers League, you will recognise me and my brother by these noms.)

09.  We know where you are!

For a long time, I have wondered why my DROID always knows exactly where I am.  Now the word is out. I wonder if Bin Laden has an IPHONE or a DROID?  I guess not.. so, let's send him one.

10.  Baltimore event.

The Wait Wait Don't Tell Me show was taped and broadcast this week at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore's own John Waters, was the celebrity guest. (John's book: Role Models comes out this week in paperback.)

11.  Shazam!

I just realized that there is a big problem now that phone booths have all but disappeared.  Where will Clark Kent change into his Superman suit?  Evildoers are rejoicing everywhere.  (When I was a small kid and owned Superman comic book number one.. I actually wondered what would happen if Clark couldn't find a phone booth that was unoccupied.) I don't think that Captain Marvel needed a phone booth.  Neither did the Green Hornet or Batman.

12.  Are you handy?

A Neurologist from Newton, Massachusetts says that right-handed people are mostly boring and left-handed people are mostly interesting.  I'm ambidextrous.. what about me?  (Don't answer that!)


Sunday, April 03, 2011


I need to take a break from the frustrating fun of preparing my 2010 Income Tax returns. At the moment, I haven't decided whether I need to get a tax date extension or not. By doing it last year, I had to pay a penalty.. not much, but irritating. Why does the tax law have to be so complex? I don't expect the present crop of politicians to revise it this year.

01. Taxpayers?

Who are the U.S. taxpayers anyway? I just read a letter to the Carroll County Times by David Iacono from Westminster, Maryland, who says that the Bank of America made $4.4 billion without paying any tax. He also says that they received a $45 billion taxpayer-funded bailout in 2008.

He also says that GE made $14.2 billion last year without paying any taxes, and that two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no taxes from 1998 to 2005.

I don't know if this information is accurate or not, but I'll bet it is. I'm too lazy to check.

For some time now, I have thought that now that some billionaires are promising to donate some of their money to good causes.. why don't they give all but one billion to the U.S. Treasury and get us out of our deficit situation? Or at least, partially out.

02. Be Nice!

Someone just sent me a poem written by "Anonymous". The first part reads:

Share a smile or a friendly greeting

To a stranger on the street

It will bring a ray of sunshine

To some person you may meet.

This is a great suggestion and I would recommend it to everybody, except, perhaps, those who live in the dense center of some mega-city, like Boston or New York, where you probably will be slugged, sweared at, or arrested if you do so. But in smaller communities, it should work ok. I've been trying to practice this for many years.. and I've only been rewarded with an obscene gesture a few times.

03. Opera for the Masses

Harper's Magazine mentions that New York's City Opera grew out of President Roosevelt's WPA Music Project, during the Great Depression. The Music Project created orchestras to help unemployed musicians have a place to work. Resulting concerts cost 25 cents to attend.

New York's Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was motivated to create what was called the People's Opera at the time. Even though it must compete with the Met, it has maintained popularity.

Incidentally, according to the Harper's article, LaGuardia's father came from Italy as part of an opera troupe.

04. More phobia.

Camophobia - Fear of marriage.

Cymnophobia - Fear of being naked.

Hierophobia - Fear of religious objects.

Ergasiophobia - Fear of work.

Ereuthophobia - Fear of blushing.

..and the most fearsome of all...

Pogonophobia - Fear of beards.

05. Phrases?

The following "phrases" seem to be in wide usage, but they are ones that make members of the Toastmasters organization very angry when they are heard.

"I was like..."

"I heart..."

"You know..."

"You can't tell me nothing."



Forty years ago, the phrase "I mean, you know..." was heard constantly for a couple of years. . Now it is gone. Let's hope that the phrase "I was like..." has a short life expectancy as well.

Some exclamatory phrases that have "bit the dust" (so to speak):

"Twenty-one skiddoo!"

"Oh, you kid!"


"Great Godfrey Daniels!"

06. Solved!

Many have wondered why phychiatrists have their patients lie on couches. I recently read that one of Sigmund Freud's colleagues, Dr. Willi Hofer said that Freud would put patients on a couch because he was shy and didn't want to look at them.

07. Phantom vibration syndrome.

A new problem for people who use cell phones a lot. It feels like you have a call, even when you don't.. so you are constantly grabbing at your pants pockets.

08. Cow talk.

In France, cows say, "Moi!"

In Poland, cows say, "Oom!"

In USA, cows say, "Moo!"

09. Death sentence.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: Sitting is very unhealthful and doctors suggest doing it as little as possible. It was suggested that a medication called Standagra be developed for the problem. (Just try not to stand for more than four hours at a time.)

10. Riddle:

My brother, Joe, probably gave me this one.

What is greater than God

It's more evil than the Devil,

The rich man doesn't have it

The poor man does,

If you eat it, you'll die.

11. A Motel from Hell.

A few years ago, my family spent a night at a Virginia motel, with the following results:

Bathroom fixtures were filthy.

Floor was dirty.

Bed sheets were dirty.

Faucet leaked heavily and steadily.

Toilet had to be flushed five times before it cleaned up and stopped coming close to overflowing.

Air conditioner was covered with dust, and only one knob worked, and not very well, so it was either very cold or very hot all night long. Window couldn't be opened.

The only trash can was full.

"No Pets," but our next door neighbor had a barking dog.

People outside of the window were talking to midnight.

People were playing some form of football outside of room from 3:30 AM to 5:00 AM.

Had to use a rolled up newspaper to kill 5 flies during the night and 2 in the morning.

I couldn't catch the fly on the mirror and the one on the ceiling.

When I opened the door in the morning, 50 more flies flew in.

Both the room clerk and the only maid were too busy to help us, and the next motel was too far away to reach the same day.

In addition, when I woke up in the morning, my right upper leg was a mass of ugly red bite marks.

I wonder if my kids remember that motel?

12. Speaking of Flies:

I read somewhere that Chinese officials once gave a mandate to the Chinese people to get rid of flies. Each city and county Communist cell was given a quota of flies to kill, and that was said to be quite successful. How could they have been successful at dump sites, the smell of which would tend to cause flies to spontaneously appear?

The Week magazine mentions that Beijing has installed 100 deodorant cannons at the city's massive Asuwei dumpsite. The cannons will periodically spray gallons of fragrance over the piles of stinky, putrifying, fly-loving garbage.