Friday, August 07, 2015

I Don't Know!; Free 2016 Calendars; Debates; Global Warming; Obamacare; My Bucket List; Interesting Sayings

Time to flush out some more brain bugs..

01. The  "I Don't Care" tactic.

When I was a kid of 7 or 8, my mother taught me to be very polite and not to be "pushy."  So, I became quite shy.  One example of this was when I visited my cousin Charlie's home.  His mother, my aunt Hattie, made wonderful peanut butter filled dates.  I could eat them for hours if I could get my hands on them.

Hattie would ask me: "Joe, would you like a filled date?"   My whole body quivered with delight at the  thought of devouring one of these gems, but my mother's admonition that I should not be "pushy" overcame my desire.. and I would say:  "I  don't care"...  (But, of course, I did care).. However, I thought that I was being polite, even though I was scared that it might prevent me from getting one of  the treats.

But, my Uncle Charlie would see through my ploy each time and with a smirk would say what I  was hoping he would say.. which was:  "Goddammit, Hattie, give the kid a couple of those dates."

In time, he got tired of hearing me say my "I don't cares" and finally, he pointed his finger at me and said: "From now on, if you want one of those dates, say so, otherwise you will not get any."  My Uncle Charlie was big and scary, so I of course did what he suggested.  It was a lesson that I gladly learned.. and it worked for other treats as well.

02.  Free 2016 Calendars

Well, here it is.. time for all of my junk mailers to send me 2016 calendars.  Today, I took ten of them to our AARP meeting and they were eagerly gobbled up. Some have beautiful pictures.. scenery, portraits, birds,  dogs, cats, .. etc.  Speaking of 2016, I watched the first Republican debates on Fox News last night.  Sixteen losers, in my opinion, with the biggest A..H of them all, Donald Trump shooting his mouth and foot off at the same time.

The other day, the candidates debated in New Hampshire.  Guess what four of them said would be the first thing that they would do when elected?   That's right: overthrow Obamacare!   Come on, guys, use your heads for something other than hatracks.  I listened closely to hear if there were any solutions being offered for some of the major world problems, like Global Warming.  Not a word did I hear. 

03.  Bucket List

When I retired in 1995,  I made a list of things I wanted to do before I slipped off this blue ball.  My list had 162 items on it.  Today, I looked and I think there are only about 80 items left.  But.. I will not finish all the items, because.. well, take a look at a few of them...

Act in a Play
Become a Movie Extra
Earn a PhD
Join a Church
Learn Polish
Write a Book about Mozart

04.  Jon Winokur lists interesting things that famous persons say.  Here are a few from the August 2010 Funny Paper:

Daphne Du Maurier:  "Women want love to be a novel, men a short story."

Camille Paglia:  "There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper." (HUH?)

Elaine Boosler:  "When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping.  Men invade another country."

Sue Grafton:  "If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing them."

Lana Turner:  "A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.  A successful woman is one who can find such a man."


My breathing problems are making me rush around a bit, so, goodbye for now.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Conserve, Damn Ya!

Do you like getting yelled at?  I don't.  And still, the Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) Company insists on doing so at least once each week! 

Every week BGE has a day when they recommend all of their customers raise their air conditioner temperature, and not run their clothes washers and dryers until after 7 PM.  They keep track (somehow) to see who is not following their advice.

Usually, I get a telephone call and/or an email message the day after "savings day" letting me know how badly I have done.  For three weeks, BGE told me that compared with my 100 closest neighbors, our house used more gas and electric services than any of them, and our score was a big fat "zero."

Well, finally, I decided that I would at least try to join the environmental "savers".  So, on that "fatal" energy saving day, I did the following:

I left the curtains down.
I shut off the air conditioner. (It was 100 degrees outside!)
I did not wash any clothes, even though Elaine bugged the hell out of me to do so.
I did not dry any previously washed clothes, even though Elaine bugged the hell out of me to do so.
I was a good boy from 8 am to 7 pm, and what did it get me?

The next day, I got a robo-call from BGE:  "Your conservation efforts paid off a little.  You saved a total of $2.00 worth of energy, which amount will be deducted from your July usage statement."

"However," it continued, "all of your 100 closest neighbors saved at least $5.00 each! Please try to do better in the future."

OK.. OK ..  I'll try. Just stop nagging me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beautiful Carroll County; Ft. McHenry;Crime Examples; Guns; Knives; Spell Checker; Senior Joke

Every day I get up and look out the windows and see all of the greenness of Summer, and it makes me happy to be living in beautiful Wakefield Valley in beautiful Carroll County, in beautiful Maryland, in the beautiful U.S.A.  And tomorrow, Elaine and I get more patriotic feelings when we go on a trip to Fort McHenry.  I'm sure that before the day is over, we will have very wet handkerchiefs in response to the programs and singing.  Especially, of course, seeing the Star Spangled Banner flying over the Fort.. Long May it Wave!

In addition to beautiful greenness, Carroll County is also one of the safest Counties in Maryland and also in the United States.  However, we do have our moments.  Here are three crime (prime?) examples from today's Carroll County Times:

Farmer's Wife?

Apparently, a house guest must have said something his hostess did not like, and she tried to cut him  up with a kitchen knife.  He lived.  I hope he learned his lesson!

Tough Lady!

When she assaulted a visitor to her apartment, the victim called the police.  After a tussle, just as she was about to get into the police vehicle, she said that she was having a "diabetic attack", and the officer arranged for an ambulance to get her to the hospital.

After another tussle with EMT personnel, and a massive amount of obscenities being yelled out in the hospital, it was determined that she was faking her "diabetic attack,"  This announcement resulted in lots of kicking of hospital and police personnel, as well as a threat to burn down the hospital.  I think that they finally got her incarcerated.. one of the policemen involved thinks that this 59 year old lady may have been intoxicated.

This is not your basic "Bloom's Day!"

A group of people were standing outside of a local restaurant, waiting to be called to dinner, when a Mister Bloom showed up and must have said something that  rubbed them the wrong way, because an altercation occurred, in which Mister B.  sliced up one of them with his knife. He is now sleeping off his intoxication in the local jail.

Did you notice something strange in these three cases?   No guns involved.  Just knives, fists and legs.  Very seldom do I read about a case where a gun is involved.  And this is in Carroll County, where guns are a fairly common item in people's homes.  I love the people in Carroll County and I like to think that  they are a sensible lot when it comes to guns.  (Knives, I'm not so sure of.)

When I spent over three years in Germany during the 1950's, I was warned to carry a concealed weapon... i.e., a gun of some kind.   Well, I did not want to put myself in the position of getting into some kind of altercation with a German national and pulling out  a pistol to settle the argument.  But, I didn't want to be a complete dummy.. (this was just 7 years after Germany's defeat in WWII, afterall).. so, I kept a blank pistol in my right hand pocket.. it was only one inch long and took a very small charge of powder that would make a big bang and lots of smoke when the trigger was pulled.  Very scary.. especially for me. I never used it for anything except a conversation starter.

However, I did think that I needed some kind of real weapon to carry, so I purchased a German switchblade knife and also carried that for  three years.  I always wondered what I would have done if I had felt I had to use it.  I would have probably sliced myself up real bad.   But,  you know, that knife was a great tool for opening bottled beer and specialty beer cans.

Of course, back at the base, I always had my "burp gun".. and orders to "shoot any commies  trying to break into the Crypto van!"  Lucky as usual, I didn't have to fire the weapon.   (Somewhere else in these blog entries I have talked about the guy who was mad because I found out how he was cheating at Black Jack and conned him out of his beloved "shades"...  and how he fired at me in  the Crypto van one Sunday Afternoon.   Scary true story.. but complex, with lots of side stories that I need to write up someday.)  ("What Did You Do In The Army, Daddy?)

Jump to another subject, please, Joe.

Hillary's Spelling

I received a nice letter from Hillary Clinton, asking if she could count on me for a few bucks to help in her campaign.  As part of her background, she put out this sentence:  "I took a road trip to Iowa, spent a few days in New Hampshire, and will be heading to South Carolina and Neveda and I am working as hard as I can to earn every vote."

She must want my $15 so that she can buy a spell checker better that the one she has, that would let the name of a State be unfixed.

Finish with a Joke, Joe.

An older man walked into a jewelry store one Friday evening with a beautiful young woman at his side.

He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend.  The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring.  The old man said, "No, I'd like to see something more special."

With that, the jeweler went into his special stock and brought another ring over.  "Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000."  the jeweler said.

The young lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement.  The old man, seeing this, said, "We'll take it."

The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the old man stated, "By check.  I know you need to make sure my check is  good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up on Monday afternoon."  He said

Monday morning, the jeweler phoned the old man.  "There's no money in that account."

"I know," said the old man.  "But, let me tell you about my weekend."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Graduation Jail Time; Government Give-Aways; Almonds; California Water; Vaccination; Facebook; Baltimore Raven; Flat Tires; Schizophrenia; Mooch; Hooch

Nice hot day with bright blue sky and white puffy clouds.  We were supposed to have a flood watch, but I guess the storms blew over.

The Progressive magazine mentions:

Three people got all excited during graduation ceremonies and yelled and clapped for their favorites.  This was in Mississippi, and they like to have peace and dignity maintained, so the police arrested the trio and allowed them to face potential $500 fines and six months jail sentences.  Good sense prevailed, however, and the charges were dropped.

A Republican Missouri State Senator, running for States Attorney General let it be known that he would oppose legislation that advocated paying living wages, paid sick leave, paid vacation, as well as disability payments. Kurt Schaefer thinks that such "give-aways" would cause chaos.

Almond grower, Paul Wenger feels picked on because of talk of curbing California's Almond industry that uses a vast amount of water.  One almond requires one gallon of water!

The Funny Paper for June 15th had a few interesting items:

Harper's Index says the number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States is an amazing to me: 16.

A South Carolina prisoner was placed in solitary confinement for 37 days for posting something to Facebook.

Chuck Shepherd says that John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens continues to shine in matter of the brain.. his latest article in the Journal of Computational Mathematics is titled: A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians.   So,, why does he play football?His answer: "I love hitting people."

Chuck also mentions businesswoman Hua Hin from Thailand, who was arrested for scattering screws on a busy street, in order to increase business for her husband's tire store.

Jon Winokur gives us  a few quotes to think about:

Lily Tomlin: "When we talk to God, we're praying, but when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic."

Jon Stewart:  "Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry,you're a moocher?"

Al Capone:  "When I sell liquor, it's called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on silver trays on Lake Shore Drive, it's called hospitality."



Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Portuguese Food; New Bedford, Massachusetts

I think Elaine and I have finally been cured of our breathing problems... miraculous recovery through the use of Steroids prescribed by Doctor Jacobs.. a little guy who is a three stooges fan.. but knows what the hell he is doing.  We thoroughly endorse him.

I'm sitting here with Cosi Fan Tutti  playing on my XM radio, as I nibble on a few cashews.  Elaine and I just came back from "swimming" in the Carroll Lutheran Village pool.  First time in over a month.. and we are both "beat"..

The New Yorker magazine for June 29, 2015, has a great food and drink review by Hannah Goldfield.  Her target is Lupulo  (Tables for two) on Sixth Avenue and 29th Street in NYC.  This is a Portuguese restaurant with dinner entrees from $14 to $45.   Hey!  I might be able to afford something there.  But first.... let's talk about Portuguese food:

One of the Chefs here in the Village was of Portuguese extraction and grew up in San Francisco.  Talking to him was fun.. and one day he promised to have Portuguese food night, with Kale Soup, Linguica, and other delicacies.  Before he could do so; however, his boss transferred him back to SF. Damn!

My late wife, Elaine, used to make great Kale soup, even though she was of French Canadian extraction.  One night she asked my daughter, Elizabeth, what she thought of the Kale soup she had just served.   Elizabeth replied: "It was great.. except for that green stuff!"

I can't remember a "high-class" Portuguese restaurant in New Bedford, Massachusetts (my home town)... but there probably was one.   I do remember lots and lots of bars and grills  where one could eat cod and other type fish to be washed down with buckets of Port and Madeira wine.

One of my New Bedford nephews mailed us a lot of Linguica.  I have it in the  freezer and every few weeks I cut off a slab of the sausage and fry it up.   Delicious item for those of us who grew up eating it throughout our formative  years.

Back to Lupulo.. which means "hops" by the way.. and they serve a variety of hopped beverages to wash down some of the Portuguese spices. 

Menu items

Grilled sardines in vinegary peppers.

Fava beans tossed with morels and blood sausage.

Razor-clam and cucumber salad. (You remember.. you picked razor shells on the beach.. but nobody that I know has ever seen a razor-clam alive (or recently deceased.)

Deep-fried salt-cod croquettes.

And Portuguese breads... the greatest gluten gift to mankind.  In New Bedford, it is just as important on Sunday to pick up fresh Portuguese bread .. as it is to get real Jewish bagels in NYC.

May I quote:  "Giant, ruby-red prawns known as carabineros, flown in seasonally from Portugual, are grilled, head on, until they are just cooked, their perfume nearly floral, their flavor lush and buttery. At thirteen dollars per shrimp, their juices must be sopped."

Caracois, meaty little knots of de-shelled snails, in a pool of alhinho, a mix of garlic, paprika and parsley.

And for dessert:  soft, grassy sheep's milk cheese with  a "pouf" of pastry, a "smear" of quince paste, and "scoop" of kaffier-lime sorbet.

Can you handle all this?  I'm sure that you can tell by now that I really miss New Bedford's wonderful Portuguese food.

PS.. I got a DNA reading from Ancestry.Com that indicated that I might have Portuguese blood.  My brother Joe has such a lineage, and perhaps I do too.  Right now I am investigating some possible DNA family matches through Ancestry...


Friday, June 26, 2015

Bible Study Killings; Obamacare Lives!; Same Sex Marriage Lives! Obama sings Amazing Grace; House of Cards; Obits; Salaries; Disability; Gun Shot; Opera Role

An amazing week!  9 innocent parishioners killed during their Bible study.. by a 21 year old devil who was invited in to share study with them.   He sat there for an hour before deciding to kill some of them, including the preacher/Senator who had invited him in.   Afterwards, the shooter was elated and showcased the Rebel (Confederate) Flag as he smiled about what he had done.

However there was some good news, in my opinion.   Yesterday, the Supremes decided 6 to 3 to allow Obamacare to survive the last ditch attempt by the GOP nutzies to kill it, and do away with health protection for millions of Americans.

And today... they decided that "same sex" marriage should be recognized as valid in all of the 50 states.  Hard-line Catholics immediately vowed to discredit the measure.  How?  I don't know.

I listened to CSPAN's broadcast of the preacher/Senator's funeral from Charleston, South Carolina. President Obama was magnificent!  I don't know if he, or some of his staff members wrote the eulogy, but he delivered it in what must have been the best manner of any President before him, except for Lincoln.  I bawled like a baby.   At the end, he led the choir in  Amazing Grace.. and it was a perfect catharsis moment.  God.. that guy is good!

I've been watching NETFLIX' House of Cards and it is causing me to look at our representatives in a different way.  One of the Washington Post's writers, says that the series is more than fantasy, because it can't possibly ever be true that the only intelligent man in DC might be like Francis Underwood.  Well... it is becoming more and more apparent to me every day that President Obama is the only intelligent man in DC.  Just look at the 16 assholes that are trying for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Well, let me jump to something else.  The July 2015 issue of the Funny Times is quite interesting in a couple of ways:

Obituaries:  A. G. Sloan has created a list of "specific qualities and accomplishments"  that could be used to good effect in an obituary or eulogy, such as:

Paid bills on time.

Never missed Garbage Day.

Asked for directions when lost.

Salaries: Harper's Index (not really funny if true):

The average amount that a male nurse's salary exceeds that of a female nurse in the US:  $5,100. !

Disability: (News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd)

Check out the accomodations at Australia's sixth annual National Disability Summit in Melbourne!

Who you lookin' at?  (News of the Weird  by Chuck Shepherd)  At Murphy's Express Gas station, one customer shot another in the foot, because he was being stared at while he pumped gas.

The World of Scatalogical Opera?

On Met Opera Radio (Sirius-XM) all week, an interview has been aired with recently deceased Margaret Juntwait (3/18/57 - 6/3/15)  talking to the fantastic Isobel Leonard.  At one point, Isobel is reminded that she has played one of her roles at the Met 100 times!  Surprised by the statistic, I guess, Isobel replies: "Are you shittin' me?"


Sunday, June 14, 2015

What's up lately?

Hello again!  It's been almost  three weeks since my last blog entry and a  lot has happened since then.   I'll try to recap a bit.

Elaine:   Elaine had a problem a couple of weeks ago and we had to pull our "life guard" cord to get help.  The nurses who came found that she had a rather high fever, so the Westminster Fire Station ambulance took her to Carroll Hospital Center.  They couldn't find anything wrong with her in the Emergency Room, so they had her committed to the regular hospital.

After a week of tests (580 cat scans; 200 exrays; 3,000 pokes and prods by nurses, doctors and technicians..... ok I exaggerate a little...  they gave up and sent her home.   Another mystery case that could probably only be solved by Dr. House, but he was busy I guess.

However, since she had a lot of tests, she now knows that she doesn't have cancer, pneumonia, aneurisms, sinus blockages, and a lot of other ailments.   So, even though we will probably never know what caused her fever, she certainly got some good diagnostics on her overall condition.

Joe:  My breathing problems have gotten much worse.  Elaine has a touch of breathing problems too.  We are both going to a Doctor Jacobs in a few days.  My cardiologist thinks that my fat belly is pushing on my esophoghas and that is probably true.  When I bend down to tie a shoe or pick up something, I lose my breath.  Also, when I walk, I walk slow, otherwise I lose my breath.

Elizabeth:  She did a very nice job of arranging for her ex-husband, Bob Clark's funeral needs, and she will be the executrix of his estate.  Lots of time-consuming activity to take of, considering that her school duties now require plans to be prepared for each of her 200 (?) clients.  But, if anyone can do it, Elizabeth can.

She let me eulogize Bob, and I'm glad that I could say something nice about a guy that I liked.  John Cole wrote a song for Bob and sang it at his funeral.  Very moving.

Diane:  Had the mourners over to the Farmstead house after the funeral service.  Good food and nice remembrances of Bob Clark.

Diane has all of her vegetable planting done.  She also manufactured an Earthbox and has tomato plants growing crazily in that setup.   Also,  John has removed some more shade in the yard so Diane can have a bigger garden.   How can she do all that and also keep up with her EBAY business?

Chris:  Chris is having a good time back at SSA.  He and Kathleen just got rid of one of their cars and now Kathleen is planning to buy a BMW.

Chris and his writing buddies have published a book.  Chris gave me a copy.   It is a compilation of stories.  Chris has the first and last positions.. two stories.    So far I have read and reread the first one, which has a twist.  Nice writing.

My Kids!

What did I ever do to deserve my three accomplished children?   I love them and enjoy seeing them make their determined way in the world.  Their mother would be so proud of them.  (And the grandchildren and great  grandson too!)


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bob Clark; Gladys Stahley; Cartooning; Music; Drums; Comedy;

This was both  a very sad and a very joyous day...  in the morning, I attended the funeral for my old friend, Gladys Stahley.  Gladys and I were connected through working at the Social Security Administration,  AARP,  NARFE, and other senior organizations and activity. 

Gladys was a wonderful dancer and tried to get me to take lessons from her, but I persisted and remain to this day an "undancer" even though some of you may recall my adventures at age seven with a future famous dancer.. and you might even remember that I first met my future wife, Elaine, at tap dancing lessons.

Gladys was diagnosed with esophageal cancer when she was 89 (she was 94 when she died).. but she did not let it get her down.  She kept on dancing and volunteering at the local hospital, and I guess that kept her functioning for an extra five fruitful years. (Incidentally, the folks currently enrolled in one of Gladys' dance classes did a dance "number" during the funeral.  It was wonderful and Gladys would  have loved the gesture.)

In the afternoon, I got a call from my daughter, Elizabeth's husband Will to tell me that Bob Clark had passed away.   Bob was the first husband of Elizabeth, and even though divorced,  they were still close friends. Bob was a good guy.   A talented cartoonist, a talented drummer for Heavy Metal bands, a comedian with a great delivery, and a very friendly persona.  Everybody liked Bob.  Most loved him.

Bob's family has a history of cancer.  His mother, his father, his sister, and now Bob all were conquered by this horrible scourge.  Another sister is currently fighting it too.

Bob and Elizabeth had two beautiful children together:   Heather and Danielle.  Bob was a grandfather as well.. Danielle has a son, Cameron.. and he and Bob were buddies.

Let's talk about some of Bob's gifts:


Bob was an amazing cartoonist.  I don't believe he ever had a lesson.  He just had a natural talent.  Like those guys who drew pictures on the walls of French caves.  Most people draw stick figures, but Bob's cartoon folks had body and life to them.    

At one point, he taught (or encouraged) Elizabeth to do cartoons and she also became quite good at it.  (What I can't figure out is how he worked his magic on my son, Chris, because Chris is also a talented cartoonist.  I try, but I am more of a copyist, whereas these other folks draw from their "mother wit."

Bob's grandson, Cameron, seems to  have inherited a gift for art.  Time will tell if it will be cartoons or other types.


Bob played in several Heavy Metal bands, I believe.  Y'all know that I hate Heavy Metal... but I did recognize that Bob was good at what he did.  He and his buddy, John Cole, and other musicians would "jam" together and had a great time.  John is doing some solo gigs right now at Wine venues.

I love music, and, as the Vaughan patriarch, I am supposed to be playing hymns in the night, serenading the neighbors... just as uncle Allen Vaughan and aunt Mary Wilson did.  My son, Chris, can play the guitar and God knows what else.  Sometimes I plug away on my harmonica. 


Bob was a funny guy.  I thought that his best effects were one-liners, punctuated by an invisible drum smash.  To be in Bob's company for any length of time, meant that you would be laughing your head off most of that time.

We are all going to miss Bob.. especially around holiday time, when he came by to grace our festivities with his marvelous wit.      

Rest in Peace, Bob..  we love you!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring; AARP; NARFE; EMAIL Reduction: Stroke; Missing Planes; UFOs; Religious Study; Cat Hair; St. Francis; Tea Party; Far Right

I keep getting behind in my blog entries.  My goal was, of course,  to have daily entries, because I read and watch and hear the news every day.  But, life has a way of getting in the way of plans.. so, I'll do entries when I have time, and hope that my readers (the couple of you out there) will understand.

Today was a beautiful sunny day with a 67 degree temperature.  Lots of gentle wind and bursts of beauty as the local azaleas do their thing. 

In the morning, I attended the AARP Board Meeting.  A nice group of people.. and guess what, almost every one of them is not burdened with computers and email.    I had been up to  over 2,000 unread emails on my MSN account, and after a massive effort, the number has been reduced to zero!

I was very happy until I checked into a part of my Chrome computer that I seldom check, and found duplicate emails for 100 or more of the ones I thought I had eliminated elsewhere.. all with indications that they had not been read.  I can't figure out why.. but it's obviously something that I am doing wrong.

At noon, it was time to attend the NARFE monthly meeting, where a fantastic ball of fire spoke about stroke.  When I set the presentation up, I wondered how the attendees would take to it... well, they sure did take to it... they asked many many questions.    The "take away" from the presentation is, if you have the symptoms (drooping Face; weak Arms; slurred Speech..)  get on the phone Fast and call 911.

Meanwhile, I ate two marvelous chicken legs, drank two coffees (no sleep tonite) and gobbled down a peach turnover (a "nono").. I took 3 of the legs to Elaine for her lunch.. and she enjoyed them as I did.

01.  Missing Airplanes

Harper's magazine mentions that ten passenger planes have gone missing without a trace since 2000.
(This has kept CNN busy for a long time.)  I am a member of MUFON, and I follow news stories that sound like aliens have kidnapped some of us.  (Remember Barney Hill?) 

Someone recently pointed the Hubble Telescope at an apparently empty area of outer space, expecting to see nothing when the pictures were developed.  They were very much surprised to see that the "empty" space was really filled with untold galaxies.   So.. why couldn't some advanced creatures on some planet of some galaxy have discovered "hyperdrive" and come to visit us and scoop up some earthlings to study or put in their museums or laboratories?

02.  Religious Study

I started my latest Great Courses study this week.  It's title is "How did Jesus become God?"   Very interesting.  Meanwhile, Carroll Lutheran Village, where I live is doing part seven of a study series investigating religious matters.  I was thinking about joining in, but I can't keep my big mouth shut and would probably disrupt the group with my questions.

The wonderful Funny Times recently listed some religious sayings that well-known people have said, for example:

Quentin Crisp:  "When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and asked if it was the Catholic God or the Protestant God I didn't believe in."

Richard Lederer:  "There once was a time when all people believed in God and  the church ruled.  This time was called the Dark Ages."

William Inge:  "Perhaps the most lasting pleasure in life is that of not going to church."

Luis Bunuel:  "Thank God I'm an atheist."

03.  Wise Saying from Elaine Lottes:

"You're never fully dressed until you have a few cat hairs."

04.  Wise Saying from Saint Francis:

"For it is in giving that we receive."  (So true!)

05.  Politics: The Tea Party wants to:

1. Overturn Healthcare Reform.
2. Block equality for Gays and Lesbians.
3. Block judicial nominees.
4. Disenfranchise certain voters.

Any arguments on this?

06.  Politics: The Far Right wants to:

1. Reduce access to Birth Control.
2. Curtail the rights of Gays and Lesbians.
3. Have churches advocate for political candidates.
4. Put Creationism into Science classes.

Any arguments on this?


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Tulips; Wassilla, Alaska; Water and Health; Beer and the Work Ethic; Dawson's Beer; Shredding; Sending Cash to Jamaica

Spring Flowers:  Lots of beautiful flowers blooming now that warm weather has arrived.  Richard Lederer (Mensa) likes tulips, and says:  "The tulip's cup-shape "mouth" may remind you of "two lips,"  but that is not how the flower got its name.  The Dutch borrowed tulip from the French (tulipan), who purloined it from the Turks (tulbend), who noted that the shape of the flower reminded them of a turban."

Spring Throwers:  I'm glad to see that Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the ring...  I had expected Sarah Palin to get involved by now.  Since I don't watch FOX News, I don't know if she has made any statements yet or is hiding out in Wassilla.

I did like Sarah's statement from her last attempt at higher office:  Only dead fish go with the flow.

Water Flowers:  Somebody sent me an email with information about drinking water and health:

1.  Drink 2 glasses of water after waking up.. this helps activate internal organs.   (Who can do this?)

2.  Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal.. it helps digestion.  (A good diet tip too.)

3.  Drink a glass of water before  taking a bath.. it helps lower blood pressure.

4.  Drink a glass of water before going  to bed..  it avoids stroke or heart attack.

What about getting up during the night and sipping a few ounces of water each time?

Beer Flowers:   Archaeologist and Brewer, Patrick McGovern, likes to cite the role of beer in ancient workplaces.  He says: "For  the pyramids, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters. It was a source of nutrition, refreshment and reward for all the hard work.   It was beer for pay.  You would have had a rebellion on  your hands if they'd run out.  The pyramids might not have been built if there hadn't been enough beer."  And let that be a lesson for you!

I've mentioned before about me working as a cab driver and picking up some Dawson's Brewery workers after their shift.  Sometimes, if I had to wait, they would invite me in to have some beer, poured directly from spigots aligned next to the hot and cold faucets.  Those guys drank their beer all day long.  (It was gooood beer too!)

Paper Flowers:  Today, Carroll Lutheran Village arranged to  have a shredding truck visit the campus.  Lots of us got rid of lots of material that ID thieves could put to good use.  I could hardly carry the box of paper that I handed in for shredding.  And... since I got an extension of my 2014 Income Tax filing date, I need to get all my paperwork together now  and hope that I have not mixed important tax documents in with the shredding material. 

Cash Flowers:  Yesterday, at the local Giant Supermarket, I saw an elderly lady pass $500 to a clerk to  have sent to Jamaica.  Oh Oh!  This has SCAM written all over it.  I said to the lady: "I know it's no business of mine, but usually money sent to Jamaica is sent because of a scam."

The lady very politely said: "I know this lady, so it's OK."

Do you think I believe her?   Not a chance. But, what can you do.   Lots of older people send money to other countries based on phone calls and emails.  I really do hope that she was right and that she is just sending money to help out a friend.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cuba arms; Disney lines; Baltimore riots; Televangelism; Naughty Transplants; Free Community College.

Those who read this blog know that I have a "liberal" point of view.   However, I do try to see both sides of issues.. so, I recently subscribed to the "National Review" to see what I have been missing.  I must say that most of what I am reading is out and out un-fact-checked BS.. but there are a couple of  gems IMHO.


Let me quote this NR scary entry exactly:  "Two years ago, a North Korean cargo ship was stopped going through the Panama Canal.  The ship was bearing sugar from Cuba.  It was also bearing tons of war materiel, bound for the Kim regime.  Just the other day, a Chinese ship was stopped in the
Colombian port of Cartagena.  The ship was steaming toward Cuba.  The captain said it was bearing grain.  The grain turned out to be 99 missile heads, 100 tons of gunpowder, 3,000 cannon shells, etc.  You might get the idea that the Castro regime and its fellow communists in the east are up to no good"


I quote: "Disney amusement parks used to let disabled visitors cut to the front of the line for rides and attractions...some people with disabilities started hiring themselves out as 'guides' for families who wanted to skip the 2013, Disney instituted a new system...the disabled can schedule a time to take a particular ride and visit other parts of the park in the meantime...parents of autistic children sued Disney, claiming it had violated their kids' rights by making them stay too long in the Park's busy environment..."


Rioting and looting:

Those of you who do not live in Baltimore, must think that this it is a terrible place to live.   Not so. 
The rioters that you are following on TV right now are in a very small area of this enormous city.  And, as you know, I am a strong advocate for gun control, but I must mention that if the rioters enter any of the old working class Baltimore neighborhoods.. gunfire will break out and people will die. I think the looters know or sense that and will stay where they can, unfortunately, destroy their own neighborhoods. 

Here are a couple of interesting items from The Week (March 27,2015)

Good old Creflo Dollar, televangelist, had to give up his plan to funddrive  $65 million for a Gulfstream Jet, because of widespread ridicule.  I have no doubt that he'll get that plane somehow.  Watch out, little old ladies with money in the bank.. Creflo will be eying you up.

South African doctors  reported that they had performed the first successful penis transplant in medical history.  (I suspect they will go in business.. they might name their business:  The John Holmes Memorial Stitchery.)


Peter Morici, professor of business at the University of Maryland says President Obama's free community-college plan is a bad idea.  He says that money would be wasted on community colleges, which he says are "diploma mills" staffed by "bureaucrats" who are not good at education matters.  He says that the liberal arts are a "useless" waste of time, and especially hates English classes.

Well... that's enough.. as Reverend Lou Piel says:  Think on it!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Copy Editing; New Yorker; BBC Music; Musical Records in the Guinness Book

Just a bit of this and that today:

01.  Between You and Me (Confessions of a Comma Queen) by Mary Norris.   Reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by Patricia T. O'Conner, author of Woe is I.

Mary Norris was a copy editor for the New Yorker magazine and has come up with some memorable information... like the name of the person who was responsible for the hyphen in the title of Moby-Dick.. it wasn't Melville, we are told.

She also doesn't feel too bad when a friend of hers said, while looking for sunglasses, "Are those they?"  She also has a chapter on dirty words and is a fan of all kinds of pencils.   Sounds like a book my brother Joe in Ohio would love to read.

02.  BBC Music Magazine this month has an article about musical records.  Guinness World Records is 60 years old, and since it's inception in 1955, these musical records have appeared in it's pages.

A.  U.S. Composer John Cage's Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) was written in 1987 and began to be performed in 2001.  The organ keys are held down mechanically until the next change of notes is required.  Such changes happen usually once or twice each year.  However, there is currently an extra long note being played, and the next note is scheduled for 2020.  The total piece will finish in 626 years time.

B.  The fastest that Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee has been played on the violin was  by Ben Lee, who in 2011 played it in 54.24 seconds.

C.  Mark Gottlieb, violinist, played a solo adaptation of Handel's Water Music under water in Olympia, Washington, in 1975.

D.  Tim Storms is a basso profundo extraordinaire from Indiana, who can sing all the way down to the G seven octaves below the lowest note on a piano.  He also can do high notes and may be even more versatile than Ivan Rubro of the Soviet Union.

E.  In October 2010, Dutch maestro, Bas Clabbers used a baton measuring 4.25 meters to  keep the players of Netherlands ensemble Harmonie Amiciticia in strict tempo.  Isn't that a stick around 12 feet long?!

Now that you are astounded, let me say adieu for today.  Lots to do.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cotton-Kraihanzel, Income Tax, Skype, Oriole Fan Bird, Thoughtful Items, Headlines

I still have a big guilt feeling for not having attended my Cousin Charlie Kraihanzel's memorial service in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but it was probably a wise decision, considering my macular driving skills and Elaine's illnesses. 

I always thought that Charlie would outlast me by many years.  It's a shame we don't have a method to retain brilliant brains, like Einstein's or Mozart's.. if so, I think that Charlie's brain would qualify.

By the way... the Physics procedure that Charlie and a co-worker developed, is called the Cotton-Kraihanzel method (I think.. look it up).

Today is when Elaine and I file for Tax extensions.  Our usual returns are a nightmare.. especially Elaine's... and just when I needed them, my figures locked up inside of my old Satellite laptop (you know, the one I ran over with my Toyota in New Bedford).. At the moment, I can't figure out how to recover.. it's not related to a virus because only input from me goes into the PC.. no email or downloads at all.   Just those damn money amounts that I need to do my 2014 Income Tax.  Oh well, with the extension, I will have an extra  6 months to work on the problem.

How about... today:  Just for "fun":   I will go through our local newspaper (The Carroll County Times) and comment on some of it.

Robbery Hearing May Use Skype

A Panera Bread store in Westminster, Maryland was robbed last September by a masked man.  Employees were not hurt and told the police that the robber seemed to have inside knowledge of the place. They also said that they recognized his voice, and that he was someone they had worked with.  So that person was arrested

The lawyer for the defense wants to bring in an expert witness to testify if the employees' voice recognition is reliable.  Since time is important, the defense lawyer wants to use Skype as a communications link to the expert.

Of course, you realize that what I write here may not be completely accurate.. but you get the idea.. here is a case where plans are to use the modern Skype technology in Court.  Sounds good to me, but I would not bet that it will happen.

Rogue Oriole "Fan Bird" Sighted in Westminster

An unofficial "Oriole Bird" has been sighted here and there in the city of Westminster.   Sometimes it is seen dancing, singing and twittering.  While it's coat of feathers is not as classy as that of the famous Baltimore "Oriole Bird", or even as classy as that of a real Baltimore Oriole bird, it  has been adopted as a Westminster institution. 

Several years ago, the Sons of Italy in Reisterstown invited the original "Oriole Bird" to a meeting.  They also invited all of the members' kids to come and see him.   Well, he came on strong, and danced around and tried to tell some bird jokes... however, after two minutes, the kids ganged  up on him.. with the littlest ones hitting and kicking him (in a good-natured way  of course)... some of the kicks caused real pain in the bird's shins and groin, and he became a grouchy bird. Parents of the kids just  stood around laughing.. I guess they thought that it was ok for their kids to beat someone up. (Sound like the Lord of the Rings?)

After 5 minutes of this killing abuse, the Oriole Bird got himself up off the floor and limped quickly out the door, yelling: "To hell with this job!"  

Viva Socrates!

The Reverend Doctor William, Louis "Lou" Piel, pastor of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Finksburg is a neighbor of mine at the Village)  He wrote one of his periodic columns.. this one was titled: "In the Light of the Empty Tomb".  As usual, there's a lot of meat  in his columns.  He isn't too happy with "Sunday only Christians".   He dislikes the ideas of the "I want it now" advocates.

I would like to quote him now, because, in my opinion, he has uttered brave words to put out in our Conservative County. 

"For me, discerning the will of God means dealing with issues like loving our enemies when they want to kill us, death with dignity, health care for all, faith conversations about abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and people, especially children, who go to bed hungry when our food stores are full of available food."

I have lived in this County for 40 years, and have been involved directly with Carroll County groups of all kinds for over 20 of those years.  I love my Carroll County neighbors and would do anything to help them.. but, my philosophy of life is sometimes quite different from theirs.  I've learned to respect their views on all of the subjects mentioned in Lou's statement above. 

I am labeling Lou a Liberal  who has come out of  a free-thinkers' closet, and now has a wonderful chance to convert those Conservative Finksburg parishioners or at least to get them to "continue the dialogue."  As always, Lou asks us to "think on these things."

.. Finally:  Headlines to consider:

Westminster Man Charged With Allegedly Biting Woman

Carroll (County) Designated Medically Underserved Population

Body Found in Burning Car in Rosedale

Bicyclist Injured in Rosedale Hit-and-Run

Alleged Mumbai Attacks Mastermind Leaves Jail

3 In Custody after Guns, Device, Found at (Middle) School

Head-on Collision Kills 33 in Southern Morocco

Do these headlines depress you?  Unfortunately "Good news" isn't sexy enough for newspaper readers.


Friday, March 27, 2015

My Cousin Charlie

A great loss.

My cousin, Charlie Kraihanzel, passed away this week at the age of 79.  I thought he was going to live to be 100, and I was very shocked to get the news. 

Charlie Kraihanzel, was in reality:  Charles S. Kraihanzel, PhD.. famous in Physics and a Professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Folks in his area called him Chuck, I believe, but he would always be "Charlie" to me and to his dear wife of at least 55 years, Pauline.

Let me tell you a little bit about Charlie and me.. we go "way back"....

1940's:  I spent a lot of time at the Kraihanzel house at 100 Rockland Avenue, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  My mother would take me there probably at least once per week.  While Charlie and I would play on the floor, my mother and Charlie's mother, and their sisters and friends would gossip across the room, not realizing that Charlie and I were "little pitchers" that had "big ears."  After they had their fill of gab, the sisters would take turns at the upright piano, and everybody would have a great time singing.  As a side-effect, Charlie and I would be entertained.

Charlie's great mind was recognized at an early age.  He was able to "skip" two grades, and be at the same grade level as me, even though two years younger.

After the weekly singfests stopped,  I still visited Charlie's house every Saturday for some time.  Aunt Hattie would take Charlie and me shopping in New Bedford's bustling South End.  We got to ride on the trolley cars and I still remember looking out of the barred windows as we sped along South 2nd Street.  After our shopping adventure, we would suffer the indignity of a scrubbing bath by Aunt Hattie.  After that, it was bed time.. however, we could listen to Grand Old Opry on the radio until we fell asleep.  

1950's:  As I got older, I became a "street kid" and saw Charlie a little less, until he began to attend the First Baptist Church.  Aha! A great idea struck everybody.. "see if we can get Joe to go to church with Charlie and maybe he won't get in any more trouble."  Well, that worked.. kind of.. I did my "thing".. during the week and then reformed on Sunday.  Charlie's father would drive to our house on West Elm Street and then patiently (I doubt it) sit outside waiting for me to get ready for church.

Almost immediately, Charlie showed me the Church's little library.  Prior to that time, my only non-school reading was done in comic books.   As soon as I found the Wizard of Oz and all of the other Baum books, I gave up comic books completely.  I borrowed armfuls of books to read, as Charlie did as well.  We also read all of the Hardy Boys mysteries.

When the Kraihanzels moved to West Middle Street, Charlie and I discovered outside sports. 
Baseball:  Both Charlie and I had paper routes, but because mine was bigger, the manager put me on the all-star baseball team instead of Charlie.  That was a mistake.  I was lousy. Charlie was good. He found that out quickly and rectified his mistake.
Basketball:  The First Baptist Church team was renowned for losing games.  I don't think that I even scored one basket during my basketball career.  Charlie was very good and scored lots of baskets.  He enjoyed practicing in the mud at the Sherman house nearby.
Horseshoes:  Both Charlie and his father used the twisty form of horseshoe throw.. so, even though my underhanded flip style resulted in lots of ringers, their style allowed them to cover my ringers with theirs.

Charlie was good at indoor sports as well.
Monopoly:  I never... I mean never.. won at Monopoly against Charlie.
Chess:  At some point, I taught myself to play chess.  Charlie asked me to teach him to play.  That was it... I never won even one game against Charlie.
Checkers and Dominoes were games where Charlie also shone.

In New Bedford High School, Charlie and I had mostly different classes.   However, one class that we took together was Algebra 101.   Mr. Worden was the teacher, and a nicer guy you might never meet.  Charlie and I both got constant 100% scores on tests, so Mr. Worden (not knowing we were related) had us do a "tournament" with very tough questions.  We came out with the same score, which amazed him.

At the end of the semester, class members were asked to perform little entertainments... a while earlier, Charlie had worked out a mysterious looking "psychic" routine with me as his "shill".. we had used it at a family gathering beforehand and nobody could figure out how we did it.  We had the same outcome in the class.. and to confound Mr. Worden more, we had pretended that we made the routine up on the spot.  We had him believing in magic and he almost fainted when we confessed our relationship.

Of course.. in our teens,  eventually hormones kicked in and Charlie and I both decided that it was more fun to be with our girl friends than with each other... and our families know the rest of that story.   I am so happy to have been able to share over a decade of my young life with a man, a cousin, a co-conspirator, a God-fearing gentleman, a role-model, and a buddy....... Rest In Peace, Charlie.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Diet; Fitbit; Wi-Fi; Email; BBC Music; Board Mtgs; Netanayu wins; Southern Poverty Law Center; Nutbags.

"My soul is dark with dismal riot,
Directly traceable to diet!"

(A misquote from somebody or other.)

Yes, I'm back on a diet.  My goal?  To lose 10 pounds and see if it makes a difference in a number of ailments.  I've had a few this past week.. but I've tried hard not to be grumpy or depressed even though:

1.  I had a week of struggles to get my breath.  (Much better yesterday and today.  I go to see my physician on Friday and my cardiologist next week.)

2.  My computer keeps telling me that it can't find the Fitbit "tracker".. hey, Dummy computer, it's on my wrist.. I guess it needs to be charged up.  Even without being charged, I can still easily keep track of my calories through the Fitbit app.  That's much better than having to keep updating a pad with a pen.

3.  Some workmen installing the neighborhood future universal free wi-fi tubes and such apparently hit my Comcast cable when they were shoveling and suddenly I had no Internet access.  Talk about grouchy then...  But, with the help of Comcast  telephone help and my itty bitty knowledge, it took only a couple of hours to get my main computer network back and working.  However, then my access through my cell phone was lost.. and I had to do a lot of things to get that doggone thing working again.

4.  Ah yes, computer access again... better check my email... I know I had 375 unread email messages before all of the activity mentioned above.... well, how do you like that?  It's now over 500.  Maybe I should just delete all of them without looking... unfortunately, I am expecting some important (to me) messages and can't dump anything without examination.  (Yes, Hilary Clinton and I have email problems.  But, at least I don't have dogs biting my heels over something called Benghazi-Gate.)

5.  My BBC Music magazine issue showed up with the container ripped open and the CD missing.  I didn't think that thieves would be interested in classical music.. I guess I was wrong.

6.  I had to cancel my trip to the Social Security Alumni board meeting in Woodlawn because I didn't think that my breathing was quite good enough to manage the quarter mile walk from the parking area.  I should be able to manage it in April... I hope.

7.  But I did show up at the March AARP board meeting... I was the only one... somebody probably told me there was no meeting.. but did I listen?  No. 

8.  I spent time putting an automated notice out to the Carroll County Times about the monthly AARP members meeting.  It never showed in the paper and emails from me asking what happened have not been replied to.  But, it's just as well, the Elks' Lodge was closed anyway as they did some painting.

9. Netanayu pulled a win in Israel.  Everybody is wondering what  President Obama will say in his congratulatory phone call.  (Well, Bibi, even though you helped the 47 Senators stab me in the back over Iran, I still wish you well in your upcoming thankless job of herding  your fellow politicians into a coalition.)

Well... now that I've unburdened some of my frustrating activity to you, I would like to tell you a few jokes..... but first:

The Spring Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center showed up today.  Some of the information on current day Hate Groups is depressing.  However, some of the SPLC information about individual Hate Mongers is hilarious, for instance:

U.S. Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) gave a 2002 speech to a group headed by a notorious Klan leader.. Scalise said that he was only speaking about the Stelly Tax Plan.  OK, Steve, but isn't it true that the Stelly Plan activity began months after  the 2002 speech date?  Yes, but... (anyway, even though his pants were on fire, Steve was able to hold on to his Republican whip position.)

A Michigan state legislator authored an amendment banning same-sex marriage.  He thinks that businesses should avoid hiring LGBT people because of the "severe medical consequences" of homosexuality.

Another Representative from Wisconsin likes the proposed bill in Uganda making homosexuality a capital offence.  He is also supposed to have proposed to make it a felony offense for doctors to perform abortions to save mothers' lives. And he does not think much of Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

A Colorado state legislator claims that he can cure LGBT people by casting out their demons.  He also thinks its ok to discriminate against  gay people because they are not going to heaven.

Think about this one....  a young man who says that his mother never gave birth to him.. and whose last name is Noone.. went to court in Massachusetts to defend himself against a charge of driving without a license, and said that as a "sovereign citizen" he was not bound by law.  The judge disagreed and he was fined $500 plus $407 court costs.. Noone (definitely not Odysseus by the way) said that he would appeal the verdict, got into his car and drove a short distance where he was arrested for driving without a license. 

These are some of the many "nutbags" loose since President Reagan had them released to save money.  Seems like false economy to me. Unfortunately, some of them are in positions of power.  God help us!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bluebirds; Exercise; Stature; President Lincoln; Guess my Age; Defensive Measures

There's a bluebird on my shoulder,\
It's the truth, it's actual,
Everything is satisfactual.

Zip a dee doo dah!  Zip a dee ay!
Wonderful feelin'
Wonderful day!

Yesterday, there must have been 30 bluebirds on our feeders... today, not quite so many, but still some.  The sight of them makes Elaine very happy.

I cut up some nutty suet and put some in each of 4 empty flower pots.   The bluebirds get down inside to eat the suet and keep popping up their heads to make sure they are safe.   So far, the squirrels have not found out.  Lots of birds like the suet.. especially the woodpeckers.. we get both the red-headed ones and the other.  Also, Tit-mice like it and hang upside down to peck at it.

We've been seeing other colorful birds recently too... one yellow bird that we can't place .. some real  big blue jays .. and of course, Mr. and Mrs. red Cardinal.  

Today, the temperature went up to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and most of the glare ice on our sidewalk and driveway melted in the afternoon.   This morning, it was still too icy to attempt to go to my NARFE Board meeting.  They seemed to manage without me.


Jon Winokur listed some exercise sayings from some of my favorite people:

Ellen DeGeneres:  "I really don't think that I need buns of steel.  I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon."

Phyllis Diller:  "My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit."

Mark Twain:  "I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting."
      and            "I am pushing sixty.  That is enough exercise for me."

Miss Piggy:  "Never eat more than you can lift."

Monsieur Poirot?

President Abraham Lincoln stood around 7 feet tall, especially when he wore that tall beaver hat which he used as the repository of his important papers and mail.   I'm told that he liked to talk about a little Frenchman, that he saw walking during a snowy, Wintery storm..  He said that the Frenchman's legs were so short that the seat of his trousers rubbed out his footprints as he walked. 

Birthday Joke from Edith Keeney

An 85 year old man was accosted by five old ladies at the retirement home.  He asked what they wanted, and they said that they would like to guess his age.  He told them to go ahead.  They told him that it involved three tests, and he would have to do as they said or they would not be able to guess.  He said that was ok.

First, they asked him to take off his pants and walk in a circle.   Next, they told him to take off his underpants.   He balked at this, but they were insistent.  And next, they asked him to jump up and down with is underpants off.  Although very embarrassed, he did so. 

Giggling, the ladies then said that he was 85 years old.  Amazed, he asked them which one of the three tests gave them a clue.   "None of them, " exclaimed one lady.   "Then how do you know how old I am?" he said.   "Well," said the ladies: "We were at your birthday party yesterday!"

Mysterious Defensive Measures

Dick Cavett recently wrote about important books in his life... He was asked by a reviewer if he had ever gotten in trouble for reading a book?

Dick mentioned that the book "Modern Judo" (1943) contained details about a chokehold so lethal that repeated fatalities caused it to be banned from competition... Dick says: "In a fight on the sixth-grade playground, my friends stepped back in horror when I clearly killed my classmate Herbert Langhus with it.  He turned gray, a tear came down.. and then he stirred and was helped inside.  He's fine."

This reminded me of an encounter that I have written up elsewhere:  Once in Nuremburg, Germany, I walked into a bar where a lot of American GI's hung out.  These were tough guys who ran bulldozers and stuff like that.  I was with a German girl and I was wearing a green suit.. by God, I sure looked like a German.. a couple of the drunk GI's did not believe I was an American and started to harass me.  As a dozen or more other GI's wandered over to see if they could beat on me for fun... I decided to act.. I utilized a kind of a chokehold on the biggest, toughest guy in the crowd... luckily for me, he was a sucker for the movement and fell down on the floor, crying for his mama and scaring the hell out of his buddies, who immediately parted and let me out of the door.

I'm glad that I did not kill  him, and I'm glad that I never had an occasion to use the grip ever again, neither in Germany or the U.S.

Well, that's enough for tonight.  I need to get ready to the 8 to 12 more inches of snow that we will be getting within the next 12 hours.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Wedding Dress Color; Homeland Security Funding; Florida; Bigotry; Home Schooling; Sensitivity Training; Florist and Gay Marriage

"I believe in Michael Angelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed."  The Doctor's Dilemma (1906)  GBS

Well, have you decided if the wedding dress is blue and black or white and gold? 

Ahhhh!  Ain't life great!

Right now, the Republicans are fighting with each other, trying to figure out how to salvage some good out of giving in and funding our Homeland Security folks.  I understand that the House Speaker has locked all the reps up and will not let them out until they have figured out what to do.  Well, they've been in tight places before.. and they still have 5 hours to go.

I think that I want to talk about something that is bothering me right now.. and not much really bothers me these days, now that I'm an old dude.  I expect that people who live in the Senior compound with me, kind of think the way I do.. in other words, they have lived long enough and have had experiences enough to realize the absurdities of life and have learned to relax and get along with everyone.. because everyone at our ages have probably suffered the same absurdities as we have.

So the following exchange surprised and bothered me:

Joe:  Hi!  So how was it down in Florida this year, away from the snow and cold?

Neighbor:  Oh.. it was nice and warm.

Joe:  Maybe I'll try to save some money this year so Elaine and I can spend some time down there next year.

Neighbor:  Oh.. you won't like it.  It's not very nice anymore.

Joe:  Why not?

Neighbor: (putting her finger on her cheek)  There are too many black people.   They are everywhere.

Joe:  Does that mean that the weather is not nice anymore or the ocean water is real cold?

Neighbor: (missing the sarcasm)  I don't think I'll go back there next year.

Joe:  (under my breath)  I don't think you'll be missed.


This reminded me of an exchange that my late wife had with a neighbor child:

Miss Elaine:  Hi, Lisa.  How was your first day back at school?

Lisa:  I have a new teacher.

Miss Elaine:  Is she nice?

Lisa:  Miss Elaine, she's black.

Miss Elaine:  But is she nice?

Lisa:  Miss Elaine, she's black.

Lisa is learning to be a bigot, based on her family's attitudes.  Perhaps she may learn to think on her own later...
 I also worry about bigoted people who home-school their kids. (The parents of 19 kids and counting do not appear to be bigots, but I wonder how their kids will learn about other people who do not think like they do.)
Shocked by the usage by McDaniel College students of "the N word", the college has conducted some sensitivity training.
I'm a little surprised at the florist grandmother who refuses to sell flowers for the wedding of a gay couple, even though she has sold flowers to one of the men before, for other occasions.  She pleads her case by saying the Bible says a marriage is between a man and a woman.  Law suits are being prepared and the case may end up in the Supreme Court.   In my view, this is like Southern café owners refusing to service black customers.  Grandma is violating these guys' civil rights.

I need to study this.. what about those restaurant owners who reserve the right to refuse service to anyone... like drunks....?


A lot for my poor Mensa mind to think about.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Casterbridge; Thomas Hardy; Lowell and Pluto; Dope and his Bag; New PC; Budding Chemist; Rene Ricard; COLD Weather.

More Trivia

01.  English Lit 101

I just finished reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) and was struck by a very perceptive paragraph, showing the "small town" mentality of certain citizens of this mini-metropolis:

"That Mr. Farfrae 'walked with that bankrupt Henchard's step-daughter, of all women" became a common topic in the town, the simple perambulating term being used hereabout to signify a wooing; and the nineteen superior young ladies of Casterbridge, who had each looked upon herself as the only woman capable of making the merchant Councilman happy, indignantly left off going to the church Farfrae attended, left off conscious mannerisms, left off putting him in their prayers at night amongst their blood relations; in short, reverted to their natural courses."

I believe that Masterpiece Theatre ran this story as a serial some time ago.  I plan to try to get a copy for myself.  It's a good "read" IMHO and is probably a good "watch."

02.  Heavenly Body

Mars canals loving Percival Lowell obsessively searched the skies for a ninth planet. But this planet was instead found in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.  The name of the mysterious planet is Pluto, to honor Percival by its first two letters PL.  Nowadays, Pluto is no longer considered a planet... but I still like to think it is.

03.  A Dope

Allow me to repeat a story that I like.  A Carroll County Maryland State  Trooper stopped a young man for a moving violation and asked to see his license.  The driver nervously emptied his pockets looking for it and a plastic bag fell out.  On the front of the bag was the word "DOPE" printed in ink.

04.  New PC

Today, I had an hour to kill and visited an Office Depot store in Reisterstown, Maryland.  A Laptop/Tablet PC was on sale and I couldn't resist it.  The laptop that I ran over and the laptop that I dropped from a great height are too big to keep by the kitchen table, and my cell phone set up is too small and the rest of these machines are used for Kindle purposes and Crossword Puzzle googling.  This PC is just right to address the 100+ emails that come in every day. 

The salesman tried to give  me the "bait and switch" maneuver, but I was adamant and prevailed.

I asked when Staples would be taking over Office Depot.. he didn't have a clue about what I was talking about.  Am I wrong about this.. I am a Staples stock holder and need to know.

05.  Future Chemist?

Elaine's granddaughter, Lily, was the subject of a cell phone video today.  She was filmed causing a Mount Vesuvius eruption in the kitchen sink, which expelled lots of green lava.  Very interesting.

06.  Another "Celebrity" brought up in the New Bedford, Massachusetts area

Albert Napoleon Ricard was born in Acushnet, Massachusetts and after graduating from Junior High School, made his way to New York and changed his name to Rene Ricard and became a kind of protégé of Andy Warhol. He also became a movie star, a poet, an art critic, and a painter.   Warhol called him "the George Sanders of the Lower East Side, the Rex Reed of the art world."  Some day I may get interested enough to read more about his life, but not right now.

Tonight, it is COLD in Westminster, Maryland.  Wind chill is well below zero.  I will have to let the faucets drip so the pipes don't freeze up.  This year, it seems as though we are getting the weather here that I remember from my youth in Massachusetts.   And.. now Massachusetts is getting much colder and snowier weather than when I was a kid.  Global warming deniers will have a lot of ammunition this year.  

Bye..... keep warm, y'all.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day; Sleep Hours and Tips; Cursing kids; Marriage Joke; Average Height; Campaign Promises from Governor Hogan; Professor Powers Pointers

Happy Valentine's Day! Elaine and I exchanged cards and chocolates, and later will eat a special supper that we had delivered yesterday.  Maryland Crabcakes... yum!

"Hail, Bishop Valentine, whose day this is,
All the air is thy Diocese."

John Donne (1571-1631)

Let me list a bit more trivia on this auspicious occasion:

01.  Do you sleep well? (National Sleep Foundation)

Sleep hours recommended:

0-2 months:                10 1/2 to 18  1/2 hours
2-12 months:              14-15 hours
12-18 months:            13-15 hours
18 months to 3 years: 12-14 hours
3-5 years:                    11-13 hours
5-12 years:                    9-11 hours
12-18 years:                  8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours
18+ years:                     7-9 hours

They also recommend trying the following tips:

o Maintain a regular bed and wake time routine.. even on weekends.
o Avoid stressful activities near bedtime, like working on the bills.
o Make the bedroom dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
o Use blackout curtains if necessary.
o Use eyeshades or earplugs if necessary.
o Use white noise, ocean sounds, fan sounds if necessary.
o Don't eat two or three hours before bedtime.
o Try not to consume fluids close to bedtime.
o Exercise often.
o Avoid caffeine close to bedtime. (Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.)
o Throw away your cigarettes, including the e ones.
o Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

02.  Children cursing. (Ann Landers)

A lady says that her 16 year old has started using curse words in the home.  What can she do about that?

Ann says: The kid is trying to let you know he is grown up now.  Once you let him know that people who have truly grown up do not usually curse, tell him that he will not be allowed to leave the house again, except for school, church and essential appointments until he has managed to go two weeks without uttering a curse word within your earshot.   The main thing is to make him realize that you will not tolerate cursing while he lives in your home.

03.  Classic Joke

A mild mannered man is tired of his wife always bossing him around, so he decides to go to a psychiatrist.  The Doctor tells him that he has to develop self-esteem and gives him a book on assertive training.

He reads it on the way home.  When he walks through the front door, and his wife comes to greet him, he tells her, "From now on I'm the man of this home and my word is law.   When I come home from work I want my dinner on the table.  Now.. go upstairs and lay me some clothes on the bed because I'm going out with the boys tonight.  Then draw my bath.  When I get out of the tub, guess who is going to dress me and comb my hair?"

She replies: "The Undertaker!"

04.  I told you we were getting shorter!  (Associated Press)

The United States had the tallest people in the world for years, but now it's in the middle of the pack. However, people who live in American cities are shorter that those who live in our rural areas.  (Could that be somehow related to manure?)

Average Height by Country:

Filipinos:      5'4"
Chinese:       5'5"
Brazilians:    5'7"
Americans:   5'10"
Germans:      5'11"
Norwegians: 5'11"
Dutch:           6'

Well, I used to be slightly taller than an average Brazilian.. but now.. with so much age, I'm about even with an average Filipino.  Maybe it's time to try Elevator shoes again.  Years ago, when I was taller, I tried a pair.. but nobody believed I was suddenly almost 6 feet tall, so I gave it up.

Yesterday, at our NARFE meeting, someone  brought a little baby and I was told "Hey, at last there is somebody shorter than you at our meeting."

Also, when I was in Air Force Basic Training, the Drill Instructor stared me right in the eyes and asked:  "Do you know why you are so short?"  I barked: "No, Sir!"  He replied:  "Well, it's because a rebel beat the *#$@ out of you!"  "Yes, Sir!" I answered, and he went away.  The funny thing was, he was even a few inches shorter than I was. 

05.  Campaign Promises?

Newly elected Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ran on a cost-cutting agenda, but of course, everybody felt that the cost cuts would not affect themselves. However, check this out:

o State employees, who after years of pay freezes, got a 2% cost of living adjustment in January, will lose the increase in July.
o State employees will not receive COLA or  Merit Raises next year.
o K-12 Education will be cut by 50% based on a geographic formula.
o State Agencies will be cut 2% across the board.

06.  Professor Powers' Pointers

Here are a few more vital things to think about ..  from my Brother Joe in Ohio:

o  Never argue politics while getting a haircut.  Remember, the barber is waving sharp scissors about your head.
o  If you get notification from Publishers Clearing House that you are a "finalist" in their sweepstakes, do NOT give up your day job.
o  How do you know a political candidate is lying?  His lips are moving.
o  When choosing a proctologist, for God's sake, pick one with skinny fingers!

That's enough for now.   Bye!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Louis Armstrong; Russian good News; Caffeine; Rich Folks; Linotype Machine; Tristram Shandy; The Calm Act; WWI Action;

"All music is folk music.
I ain't never heard a horse sing a song."

Louis Armstrong

Let's see if I can get another dozen weird things in again:

01.  Good news? Forget it! (The Week)

A reporter for the Russian website tried to report only positive news stories for a day.  This resulted in a dramatic drop in people who accessed the site and they had to go back to the usual tripe.

02.  Caffeine (Bottom Line Health)

The FDA advises getting no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day.  (Consumer Reports says that most adults can safely consume up to 400 mg per day; pregnant women up to 200 mg.)

The average US adult drinks about three cups of coffee a day, with up to 200 mg in an 8 ounce cup. (Decaf has about 12 mg per cup!)

Generic green tea  has 67 mg in an 8 ounce cup  of black tea and 43 mg from the equal amount of decaffeinated green tea.

Dark (yummy) chocolate has about 20 mg per ounce.

Excedrin provides 65 mg per tablet.

Hey.. good news: coffee drinkers get fewer gallstones.  However, if you consume too much caffeine, you may suffer jitters, insomnia, rapid heart  rate, abnormal heart rhythm and increased blood pressure.

03.  Rich Folks (The Week)

There are 62,800 super wealthy persons in the US.. with a net  worth of more than $50 million each,  compared with other nations, such as China, at 7,600 and 5,500 in Germany.  (Would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a wealthy man?)

04.  Baltimore's German Heritage Hero (German Society of Maryland)

Gutenberg's printing press needed a man to set type by hand and it was done that way for 400 years. Then Ottmar Mergenthaler, a member of the German Society of Maryland invented the linotype machine.  With the linotype, newspapers swelled to hold lots more news.   A school in Baltimore is named in his honor.. but I'll bet a majority of the students there haven't the faintest idea who Mergenthaler was.

05.  Soporific (New Yorker)

I've mentioned in this  blog before how a fellow worker at SSA let me borrow his favorite book Tristram Shandy, and how I tried to read it many times, and how it put me completely to sleep.  I just learned that it was the basis for the movie of the same name, appearing in 2005.  I think that I will try to download that movie and watch it very carefully, to honor the memory of my book loving friend.

06.  Loud Ads? (Consumer Reports)

The Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act) took effect at the end of 2012 and requires that commercials have the same average volume as the show they accompany. If you think a broadcaster is violating the law, you can report them to the FCC at

07.  How unlucky can you be? (German Society of Maryland)

At one minute before 11 am on the day set for the end of World War I, Sgt. Henry Gunther attacked a German machine gun nest and was killed.  He was the last American killed in World War I, and because he was a German American Marylander, he has been honored for years by German descendants in the Baltimore, Maryland area.  The German who  shot him, carried his body on a stretcher to the American lines and apologized for his unavoidable death. 

Well.... that is enough for now, my friends. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Weather Rules; NSA; Grandma's Ashes; Footprint; Furniture Replacement; Food Locations; The Improving Economy; Fluid Intake; Kim again; Exercise Benefit; Drone Attack; Orfeo; Coma? Too bad!

Red sky at dawning,
Sailor take warning.
Red sky at night,
Sailor's delight.

For years I have thought that this was a valid poem, but yesterday matters were reversed:

Early in the morning, at the dawning of the sun, the sky was the reddest I have ever seen it.  Later in the day, we had a nice pleasant day.   However, in the evening, the sky was once again filled with red color... and today.. it has been an overcast, dismal, rainy day.

Oh well..  never mind.. let me try to catch up a bit on my blogs by listing a dozen items to talk about (if I can):

01. Is NSA looking at me?

Today, I attended the second presentation of Great Decisions, and we talked about Privacy in the Internet  Age.  Extremely interesting to me.

David Scott, moderator, spoke about his 40 years experience at NSA, so I believe him when he says anything about the Government.  Like him, I have 40 years experience in Government work, and am  interested in anything he says about his job.

Is it true that only routing information is being held?  For instance, if I call Germany, would my information (time, equipment out, equipment in) be held .. or would the actual words of my conversation be held... Dave says the former is true, and it makes sense to me, except that, based on my experience building keyword indices, more intelligence could be obtained from recording and reviewing actual voice correspondence. If correspondence is being data mined, then keywords can be used in order to pick important conversations, matches on specific keywords would be important .

02.  A Different Type of Donation

The staff at the Fenton, Michigan Goodwill Store are trying to find the person who donated an urn containing grandma's cremated remains.  They were neatly contained in a box labeled appropriately: Grandma's Urn."

03.  Even Clouseau could have caught him. (The Week)

A while ago, Australian police captured an elusive disabled burglar.   They were able to do this because the Spring thaw had made the ground a muddy mess and the burglar's one-legged footprints formed a neat map directly to him. 

04.  What a nerve! (The Week)

A Washington State man went into his neighbors' home while they were away and replaced their furniture with his own.  He told police that he thought that his neighbors had abandoned their apartment. 

The late Joan Rivers once said that a burglar broke into her home, stole all of her furniture and replaced it with exact duplicates. (Or was that Henny Youngman?)

05.  Where did your supper come from?

Lila Jenkins (German Society of Maryland)  says that the first two letters of a product barcode tells where it came from:

00-09 - USA
30-37 - France
40-44 - Germany
49      - Japan
50      - UK

3 letters show:

371 - Taiwan
690, 691, 692 - China

06.  Conservatives don't want to give Credit to President Obama.

(So, what else is new?)  The National Review in December 2014 admits that the economy appears to be gathering strength.  Job growth and industrial production are up, oil prices are down and inflation remains subdued.  And I quote: "Conservatives will naturally fear that the good news, if it lasts, will redound to the undeserved credit of President Obama and the Democrats...(but)... better policies would have made for a stronger and earlier recovery and would still have a positive effect."

07.  Watch your Fluids!  (Harvard Heart Letter)

If you have heart problems, your body may be retaining salt and water in an attempt to boost your blood volume.  this causes fluid to build up throughout the body, leading to weight gain, swollen ankles and feet, and shortness of breath.   So, some people need to restrict liquid input and have no more that 8 cups of fluid per day.  What counts as fluid anyway?

Ice Cream

(one cup of these items equals a cup of liquid)

Ice Cubes - 1 cup = 1/2 cup of fluid

The following fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of liquid.  One cup of each of these counts as a half-cup of liquid:


08.  When the Moon comes over the Mountain.. revisited. (The Week)

Brian Moylan says in  "Yes, Kardashian has a big shiny butt that resembles 'a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut,' and now we've all seen it.  But'that is the end.. pun intended.. of it."

09.  Good News if heeded.  (Bottomline Health)

Kate Wolin (Loyola School of Medicine, Chicago)  says that men who exercise just one hour a week may have a reduction in the need to get up twice or more during the night to urinate.  (Hmmmm.)

10.  Watch out for Drones!  (The Week)

A drone was flying around a TGI Fridays in Brooklyn, when it spun out of control and nipped off the tip of a patron's nose with its propeller. Law suit is probably pending.

11. Beautiful Opera Music.  (XM Radio)

While I am writing this blog, the Met Opera Radio station is playing a recording of a 1958 Met performance of Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurideci. (sp)  Amazing music with Rise Stevens.   (A different opera is aired every night at 7 pm.)  It's not Mozart... but close.

12.  Ohio Welfare Decision.  (The Week)

 An Ohio woman had her welfare benefits terminated after she failed to attend mandatory job-training sessions, because she was in a medically induced coma.  I'm not surprised at anything coming out of Ohio after Speaker Boehner's arrival in Congress.  (How can my long-lost brother survive in Ohio's stifling atmosphere?..  I know... I know.. it can't be all bad.)

Ok.. now my juices are stirred.. and I need to wrap up.   A Dios, Muchacos.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Wagner; Drugs; Tights; Malarkey; Zip Code; RIP Woody; Drones; Satellites; Pet Phones; Bachman; Guns; Terrorist; Costly Laughs; Mugshot; Burger!

Hi!  My XM Satellite Radio is on Met Opera Radio Channel 74 and is playing nice music from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner.   It amazes me that a confirmed bigot like Wagner was able to produce such marvelously melodic music.  Some of the top-graded Nazis loved his music.  They wouldn't have liked it if Wagner had Jewish blood... although there were some rumors to that effect.

I read the other day that some German Generals were enjoying watching the horn-wearing fat ladies sing in Walhalla even as Russian troops were penetrating the outskirts of Berlin in one of the last days of World War II.

But.. as melodic as Wagner was.. he could never come close to equaling Herr Mozart.

Well.. that's enough of that .... let's see if I can come up with a dozen (probably unrelated) items of interest from the last couple of months.

01.  Maybe the dumbest guy in jail.

If I remember correctly, a State Policeman stopped a car for a traffic violation.   When the cop asked the driver to show him some identification, the guy pulled a baggie out of his pocket, in which there was a white powder, and on which was written in ink in big letters: DRUGS!

02.  I get no satisfaction!

According to The Week magazine, a woman sued the manufacturer of Kushyfoot Shaping Tights because they didn't give her the "super-satisfied" feeling that was promised in their advertisements.

03.  Behold!  The Heavenly Hoax!

All of those folks who were feeling comfortable about their demise will now have to rethink it all,  because Alan Malarkey has finally admitted that he made up the whole afterlife story outlined in:  The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.  It was all just a bunch of malarkey!

04.  Why do you need to know my zip code?

Watchit.. if you give your zip code to the clerk in a store when it is not necessary, the store may be able to sell it .. and I don't know how.. they may be able to get you on a junk mailing list.. (btw I love junk mail.. but that is a story for another time).. However, you may need to provide a zip code when you use a credit card at an untended gasoline pump.. its an added security measure. 

05.  Rest In Peace, Woody.

Today, I attended the funeral of my friend, Ralph Wood, alias Woody.  Woody passed away after suffering illness for six months.  Woody worked at the Social Security Administration for many years and was a member of my Carroll County Chapter of the Social Security Alumni Association.  He was also a fellow member of the Carroll County Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. 

Woody's wife, Val, had chosen a coffin with the same color and look of the Corvette that he cherished for many years.  It also had the number "3" emblazoned on its lid.. that number having importance to car guys like Woody.

One of his friends gave a eulogy and mentioned how when his daughter was born and was to be baptized at home, the preacher forgot to bring holy water.. so, Woody reached into  his pants pocket and brought out a small bottle of Kentucky moonshine, which was used appropriately, in place of the holy water.

06.  Harper's Index Items

These are from Harper's Magazine for May 2011  (Yes, I'm a little behind in some of my reading.)

(Drones)  A minimum of 600 people were killed by CIA drone attacks in Pakistan in 2010. (Think about that!)

(Satellites) There are at least 22,000 man-made objects orbiting earth. (Including Space Station waste?)

(Pet Phone) On my 77th birthday, a U.S. patent was issued for a phone with which pets can call their owners.

(Jailbird) The youngest person facing life without parole in the U.S. in 2011 was 13.  (And I'll bet that was in Texas.)

07.  The Week Items

OK, well then here are some items from The Week magazine for December 2011. (Same excuse)

(Scholar) Michele Bachman said that if she became President, she would shut down the embassy in Iran.  Unfortunately, the U.S. hasn't had an embassy in Tehran since the 1980 hostage crisis.

(Gun Control) A duck hunter from Utah disembarked to set some duck decoys.  He left his loaded shotgun in the boat and his excited dog somehow discharged the gun, wounding him in his butt with 27 pellets of birdshot. (Serves his ass right!)

(Gun out of Control) On November 25, 2011, Americans bought at least 129,166 firearms... a record.

08. More items from The Week.. but from 2014

(Terrorist Tot) Atlanta school officials made a kindergartner sign a "safety contract" promising to not hurt herself or other kids.. after she pointed a crayon at a classmate and said "pew, pew".   (The so-called school officials should be made to sign a "stop being stupid contract."

(LOL) A comedy club in Barcelona added 38 cents to customers' bills for every time they laughed.  (I read that Jay Leno is doing stand-up again... the last monologue I watched him do would have not cost me one cent...  he sure needed a new writer.)

(Mugwump) A woman in Ohio went into a police station  to complain about her unflattering mug shot on their website.  It had been posted because they were looking for her to charge her with robbery.  Guess what?

(Birthday Burger)  Ruby Tuesday emailed me a coupon for a free burger for my birthday.   So... I want a Glamburger like they sell in London.. it is made with New Zealand venison and Kobe beef, topped with Iranian saffron, white truffle from Italy, and Beluga caviar from Russia.  It's topped with a 24 karat gold leaf and sells for $1,800.

OK.. that's enough, I'm sure you will agree.