Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Frivolity of Flatulance

Boldly going where no man should go, I have decided to step onto thin ice. It is daring, albeit questionable, to breach the topic of a certain ..ahem.. body function. In fact, it stinks! Think about it, it's only gas.

According to Webster's Dictionary:

GAS - a form of matter capable of expanding to fill and a container and taking on the shape of the container; a combustible mixture used as fuel; gasoline; a gas used to produce an irritating, poisonous, or asphyxiating atmosphere.

The subject is taboo in mixed company and in most circles, especially over dinner. Strange, considering the fact that it is the intake of foods that creates the necessary mixture of elements for this function to occur. Long the subject of crude humor and the fodder for many a comedian, it reeks of crudeness and lack of etiquette.

George Carlin has used it in a skit, wherein he goes as far as categorizing different types of the phenomenon. He notes that particular foods produce their own unique aromas, i.e, beans, broccoli, non-dairy creamer.

An elderly man is in an elevator, returning home from a shopping errand. Unable to control himself, he breaks wind! Frantic that someone might get on the elevator before he reaches his floor, and that they will know he was the perpetrator of the unpleasant odor, he pulled out a can of pine-scented air freshener.

He hastily fumigated the car, and not a moment too soon. Another man enters the elevator and pushes his floor button.

"There sure is a funny smell in this elevator," he says to the man.

"I'll say," the other man answers, "It smells like someone took a crap in a pine tree."

Aha! Laughing aren't we? We take offense to discussing it, but do not hesitate to laugh at it.! Now how can something so offensive, so nifarious, and disgusting be so funny? Simply put, when that happens to someone else it is funny. Not so if we experience it. The root of comedy is sometimes the misfortunes of others.

Some Paleontologists have even suggested that flatulence led directly to the extinction of the dinosaurs. It appears, at least to them, that over an extended period of time, eons, the build up of methane gases released into the atmosphere, brought about massive changes in earth's temperature. The classic green house effect, perhaps? Ultimately plants getting no sun died. The animals that ate the plants died, and of course the carnivorous beasts found themselves with empty pantries.

A woman, the wife of the man in the elevator, was sitting at a table in a posh restaurant with three friends. With the waiter standing nearby, the ladies were about to place their orders. To her horror, she uncontrollably passed wind.

Fortunately it was of the silent variety. Not wanting to be embarassed should anyone catch a whiff and suspect her of the act, she had a brilliant idea.

To the waiting man she snapped, "Waiter, stop that!"

To which the waiter replied without flinching, "Certainly, madam. Which way did it go?"

I for one, am not remiss to discuss this perfectly normal body function. I will, however, exercise gentlemanly restraint from using using the term most associated with it. I suppose calling it breaking wind, or passing gas are just barely acceptable. Perhaps sounding the foghorn, starting the after-burner, lifting off, stepping on a duck, or shooting blind are easier to hear. Maybe you prefer cutting one.

Did you know that they are flammable? All you need is a match or a cigarette lighter ...ahem... never mind, I think you get the picture.

Anyway, when appropriate, I don't shudder to talk about the subject.

Afterall, I don't want to be called an ...ahem... old fart!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Hillary-Billies

The Hillary-Billies

"Bubba, load up the truck. I'm a fixin' move back to D.C."

"Whee-doggies, Hillie. Wait'll they get a load of us."

"Careful, Bubba. The last time anyone gotta load of you, that Monica bitch didn't get her dress cleaned! What a pig!"

"Aw come on, I told you I never had sexual relations with that woman."

"Bubba, we been over this a thousand times. How do you explain those stains?"

"She tripped and fell face first into my lap."

" (Sigh!) ...And what pray tell did she trip over, Bubba?"

"Ahem ... Uh, my pants and shoes."

"Never mind that. It's no use cryin' over spilt sem ... er milk. We got bigger problems."

"What do you mean? We're goin' back to White House, ain't we?"

"Don't you ever listen to the news, Bubba?"

"Course I do, Tugboat ... er I mean, Loveboat. I heard that Monica just turned 34 the other day. They sure grow up fast, don't they? It wasn't that long ago she was crawlin' around on her knees in the Oval Office."

" (Sigh!) Idiot! Ted Kennedy is endorsing Obama! So's his niece, Caroline! "

"Uh-oh! That means we have to result to mud-slingin' and dirty politickin', don't we?"

"Of course, doofus! That throne belongs to me."

"I reckon I might as well hit the campaign trail. I'll see if Chelsea May will help."

" ...And Bubba, let's try not to play the race card against Obama, okay?"

"Huh? You mean to tell me he has a membership card in NASCAR?"

" (Sigh!) Bubba! Let's avoid the fact that he's black in our speeches."

"You mean to tell me that he don't know? Ain't he ever looked in a mirror?"

" (Groan!) Let's keep it clean. You know, no hittin' above the belt!"

"Say! I just got a hum-dinger of an idea! Hillie, may I call you 'Your Majesty'? I'm gonna get us that throne. I'll see you later."

"I just love the sound of that. So, where you off to?"

"I'm going down to see the Tobacconist."

"What are you fixin' to do? Blow smoke on him?"

"Hillie think about it ... you don't suppose that Caroline gal ever tried Bubba's cee-gars before do you?"

" Bubba! Oh no you don't! You get your ass back in here! BUBBA! BUBBA !"

All's fair in love and war ... and sometimes ... politics!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One Day At the Office...


Sufferinging the effects of the economic depression, this businessman had to fire two of his three secretaries.

All three of them were very good at their jobs and he did not know which ones to dismiss, so he decided to test them by slipping an extra 100 bucks in their monthly salary.

The first secretary surreptiously pocketed the money and didn't say a word.

The second secretary came in to her boss, explained that she had received an extra $100 and that she had invested it in bonds at 12.5 percent interest.

The third secretary came in to the boss and handed over the $100, explaining that she had been paid too much money that month and that she could not accept the money.

So which one kept the job?

The good looking one with the big boobs of course!


An accountant decided to leave his wife one day.

He left her a note saying: "Dear Jane, I am 54 years old and I have never done anything wild. So I'm leaving you for an 18 year old blonde model. We'll be staying at the Sheraton."

He then packed his things and went there. When he arrived at the Sheraton, there was a message for him from his wife.

It read: "Dear John. I too am 54 years old. I have followed your example and am staying at the Hyatt with an 18 year old Italian hunk. And I'm sure that you, as an accountant, will appreciate that 18 goes into 54 many many more times than 54 goes into 18!"

"Despite the age difference they were
attracted to each others figures -
he to her body, she to his bank account."


A prosperous and somewhat amorous businessman propositioned a beautiful chorus girl of well-proportioned figure to spend the night with him for $500.

When he was ready to leave the next morning, certain things having transpired, he told her he didn't have that much money with him, but would have his secretary mail her a check for it, made out with a memo of RENT FOR APARTMENT, to avoid any embarrassment.

On the way to the office, however, after thinking the matter over carefully, he decided the night hadn't been worth what he’d agreed to pay. As a result, he had his secretary send a check for $250 instead, and enclosed the following explanatory note:

Dear Madam:

"Enclosed is a cheque for the amount of $250 for rent on your apartment. I am sending this amount instead of the amount originally agreed upon, because when I rented this apartment, I was under the impression that...

1. It had never been occupied
2. There was plenty of heat
3. It was small

Last night, I found that it had been occupied many times, that there wasn't any heat, and that it was entirely too large!"

Upon receipt of the note, the girl immediately returned the check, with this note:

"I am returning the check for $250. I cannot understand how you could expect such a beautiful apartment to remain unoccupied. As for the heat... there is plenty of it there if you know how to turn it on. As for the size, it's not my fault if you didn't have enough furniture to furnish it."


A married man decided to work late to be with his sexy secretary, so he called his wife to make up an excuse.

After work he invited his secretary to dinner. It soon became obvious that he was going to get lucky, so the two went back to her apartment and had great sex for two hours.

Afterward the fellow went to the bathroom to straighten up for the trip home and noticed a huge hickey on his neck.

He panicked, wondering what he was going to tell his wife.

After the man unlocked his front door, his dog came bounding to greet him. Aha, the man thought, and promptly fell to the carpet, pretending to fight off the affectionate animal.

Holding his neck with one hand, he said, "Honey, look what the dog did to my neck!"

"Hell, that's nothing" she answered, ripping open her blouse.
"Look what he did to my breasts!"

(The cartoons above are the work of the late artist and cartoonist, Bill Ward.)


Monday, January 28, 2008

Echoes of Eddie -5

Can a dead man reach out from the grave to exact revenge against those responsible for his death? Welcome to the fifth installment of a story that explores that possibility. If you've not done so, read the story from the beginning HERE.

Still trembling from his brush with death, Steve found it difficult to insert the key into the ignition switch. He steadied his arm by clasping his wrist with his free hand. The sound of the idling motor seemed to calm his frayed nerves.

Twenty minutes later he turned off Route 27 onto another familiar unpaved road. The house in which he'd grown up loomed ahead. The place looked the same as it had when he'd last cast his shadow there, ten years before. He was home.

The loose boards of the front steps and porch creaked in protest under his weight as he approached the screen door. The inner door opened and there stood his older brother. Jack only nodded as he moved aside to allow his estranged sibling to enter.

"Hello, Jack," he said to him as he passed. "It's been a long time."

Jack's initial response to his brother's greeting was another cursory nod and to point toward the back of the house. He finally spoke, his tone invidious, "Mom's in the living room. I'm sure she will be glad to see you." With that he turned abruptly and stepped outside, the screen door slamming behind him.

Steve moved to the door to go after Jack but paused to watch him kicking a small stone in the driveway, a small cloud of dust pluming about his foot. He noticed that he kept looking in the direction of the road at the other end of the driveway and then returning his attention to the stone.

He was still watching as his brother suddenly began running up the driveway. A small red sports car had come to a stop across the driveway. He watched with interest as Jack stood by the passenger side of the car, his arms flailing wildly. From his vantage point Steve could not see the driver.

For a minute or so Jack's head and shoulders disappeared inside the car through the passenger side window. When he emerged he placed his hands on his hips and stood watching as the car drove away. Steve moved away from the screen as Jack turned and started back toward the house.

Steve left the kitchen and stepped into the narrow hallway that led to the back of the house. Old dusty photographs, remnants of a nearly forgotten childhood, some of them hanging crookedly, lined the walls on either side of him. He paid them not even a glance. He moved into the large family room and stopped in the doorway a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the change of lighting.

The young woman arose from one of a pair of matching armchairs positioned in front of an antique wood stove. She moved to where Steve stood and hugging him, allowed her lips to brush against his cheek. "It's good to see you, Steve. You're looking well," his younger sister said.

"Catherine, you're looking good yourself." He glanced in the direction of the chairs and asked, "How's she doing?"

As she led him to the occupied chair she replied, "As well as can be expected, I suppose." She gave him a furtive glance and added, "...Under the circumstances." She bent down by the chair and whispered, "Mama, guess who's here to see you?"

Catherine turned to walk away. She looked at him and said, "I'll leave you two for now. You have a lot of catching up to do, don't you?" Steve couldn't help but feel deserving of the acerbic undertone of her voice.

The frail woman turned and looked up at him. Her voice quavered, "Steven! I've been so worried about you." Her tremulous words trailed off for a moment before she continued, "I've been expecting you. You're late. Always the tardy one, aren't you?"

"Yes, mama. Always late. You always said that I'd probably be late for my own funeral." He was in mild shock as he studied his mother's weathered facial features. She appeared to have aged more than twice the ten years that had passed since he had last looked into her face. The guilt he had been enduring through the years suddenly seemed so selfish, so self-centered.

She chuckled and took his hand in hers. "You're so quiet, son. I'll bet you are wondering how I knew you would come to see me today?"

He smiled and nodded. Of course he knew, for he'd only spoken her two days earlier. "Yeah, I was wondering just that, mama."

"Your friend told me. Shame on you for telling your friend you were coming home before telling your mother," she said winking at him.

"My friend? Which friend would that be, mama?"

She lowered her eyebrows and playfully slapped his hand. "Why, Edward of course. Your best friend, Eddie Nolan."

Steve tensed at her words, a sudden chill seemed to run up his spine. He heard something behind them. It sounded like the swish of curtains by an open window. He turned slightly and caught a glimpse of something moving into the room. In the shadows of the room the form appeared almost wraith-like, a familiar muted blue shade to it.

To be continued... Part 6


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Justice League of Appalachia

The Justice League of America, that spandex-clad team of crime fighting super heroes, has been battling super villains, aliens from space, mutant monsters, and global threats for over four decades. So frequent and widespread have the dangers become to our earthly existence, one team alone cannot do it all.

(left to right)
Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Green Lantern,
Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Aquaman

Over the years the original seven heroes have accepted new members into their ranks lest they be spread too thin to be an effective fighting unit. Today there are several chapters of the JLA around the world. Some of these teams operate in such relative anonymity that many know nothing of their existence.

A handful of these units serve as vital backups and emergency replacements for the founding team. To maintain the illusion of an intact team, the JLAers from time to time will draft members of these splinter groups to replace any hero unavailable for duty on certain missions. One such group is:

The Justice League of Appalachia

This select group of Rednecks with powers far beyond those of more intelligent people, impressed the senior chapter with their ability to operate in obscurity. Found in the hills, hollows, shacks and trailer parks of the South the group members wear the same colorful uniforms of their counterparts even though they use different names for their super aliases.

This cohesive unit is comprised of: The Wal-Martian Manhunter, The Flush, Green Fog Light, Batty Man, Wonderbra Woman, Soupman, and Catfish Man. The group also has standby members, such as Chickenhawk Girl, Captain Marbles, and Green Slingshot.

Here are the minutes of a recent mission of the Justice League of Appalachia:

The Case of the Wardrobe Malfunction

Soupman: Let's get this meeting of the Justice League of Appalachia started. First, the roll call.
Wal-Martian Manhunter: Present.
The Flush: I'm here. How y'all doin'?
Green Fog Light: Here.
Batty Man: Here. Let's get this over with. I got a hot date with Catty Woman.
Catfish Man: I'm here too, boss man.
Soupman: Say, that's only five. Two are missing.
(Everyone looks about to see only one empty chair.)
Wal-Martian: One would be you, Soupman. You are chairing this meeting, are you not?
Soupman: Oh, yeah. Brilliant observation, Wal-Martian.
Green Fog Light: Hey! Where's Wonderbra Woman?
Batty Man: We should've noticed her cleavage was absent.
The Flush: Right! I sure notice when she's here!
Soupman: Is there a hail on the emergency beacon?
Catfish Man: No. Besides, I think he's writing this stupid story.
Wal-Martian: She generally is the first to arrive. She must be in trouble.
Soupman: I'll bet she forgot to check the oil in her Invisible Robot Plane.
Batty Man: Ah, her invisible plane. Anyone ever see her change into her costume inside that plane?
(With sheepish grins everyone raises their hands.)

The Flush: I sure hope no one ever tells her she's not invisible inside her invisible plane!
Soupman: They better not!
Green Fog Light: Hell, even when she's dressed...that's sure one sexy outfit she wears.
Catfish Man: Man, I keep waitin' for her to fall out of that top...
Soupman: Oh, it has happened a few times on some of our missions.
Catfish Man: No way! Damn! Where was I?
Batty Man: I think you were on assignment filling in for Aquaman.

Green Fog Light: We were battling the Arcturian fire-breathing humming birds.
The Flush: That's right, Catfish. Her top caught on fire!
Batty Man:
Soupman used his super bad breath to drive them over a lake...
Wal-Martian: I had to keep my distance because of my weakness to fire...
Soupman: Then Wonderbra Woman used her magic lasso to pull them down to the water...
Catfish Man: Hot damn, guys. You're killin' me. When did they fall out?
Green Fog Light: Well, one of those birds shot out some flame that got her square in the chest just before they hit the water.
Soupman: She didn't know it at the time, but the top burned clean off!

(Catfish Man has broken out in a cold sweat and is panting.)
The Flush:You should've seen it, Catfish. In the bright moonlight she waded out of that lake...
Catfish Man: I sure hope one of you bastards took pictures!
Batty Man: Unfortunately my bat camera's batteries were dead.
The Flush: Anyway ... in the moonlight she's knee-deep in the water pulling back her hair ... topless.
Catfish Man: All right! I get the picture.
Green Fog Light: Hey, Soups. Remember that time when we visited the troops in Afghanistan?
Soupman: Yes. She sure entertained the troops that day!
The Flush: Yep. She went to salute the flag and her top slipped all the way to her waist! Those soldiers were cheering like crazy.
Batty Man: Heh-heh! Later it kept slipping down when she shook hands with some of the men.
Catfish Man: Enough! I suppose I was filling in for Aquaman that time too?
(Catfish Man abruptly jumps from his chair and heads for the door.)
Soupman:Where are going, Catfish?
Catfish: I'm going for a dip in the ocean. And when I find Aquaman, I'm going to kick his scaly ass from one side of Davy Jone's locker to the other.
(The emergency Klaxon is activated. Soupman is the first to reach the display.)
Soupman: It's from the Treasurer of the United States. It seems the Chinese are unloading lead onto the world markets. He fears the sudden influx of lead will cause the Commodities Markets to crash worldwide.
Wal-Martian: Why would the Chinese do such a thing?
Soupman: Hold on ... there's more ... Oh no! The Chinese are claiming their lead is contaminated with!
(The Klaxon is activated again. This time Catfish Man reads the display.)
Catfish Man:It's from Wonderbra Woman ... the lead and the world economy has to wait!
The Flush: What is it, Catfish? Is she in trouble?
Catfish Man: Dire trouble! This is an emergency!
(Catfish Man runs from the League's headquarters.)
Catfish Man: She's just across the river ... I can be there in no time. I'm not missing the action this time!
Green Fog Light: Holy Cow! He's right! It is an emergency.
Soupman: Great Scott! Wonderbra Woman can't get into her costume!
Batty Man: Yahoo! She's having a wardrobe malfunction! Let's go, gang!
(With that our intrepid heroes spring into action. Always ready to save the world, these spandex stalwarts of super herodom will always stand erect to come to the aid of their companions in times of crises - especially when there is a wardrobe malfunction!)
Catfish Man: AAARRRGGGHHH! Go back! Go back!
Green Fog Light:What's wrong, Catfish?
The Flush: He's right. I've been there and back with my super-speed. It's not a pretty sight!
Catfish Man: I'm going to hurl! Then I'm going after Aquaman. That bastard should have filled in for me on this gig!
Batty Man: Are we going to help her or not?
The Flush: She's all yours, Batty Man!
(Soupman activates his super-vision, a combination of his telescopic and x-ray visions, to see inside of Wonderbra Woman's Amazonian domicile.)
Soupman: Great Scott toilet paper! She's been hitting the bon-bons and Twinkies again! Better call Jenny Craig, this job is too big for...
the Justice League of Appalachia!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dead Man Walking On Mars

First there was the "man's face on Mars," and now the world is enthralled over the "man walking on Mars." PUH-LEASE! How long will this picture circulate before someone pulls out their rosary beads and sees an image of the Virgin Mary? Well, that ain't gonna happen. This is a closeup of the surface of the planet Mars. It isn't a grilled cheese sandwich or a potato chip!

Then what is it, if it isn't a man walking on Mars? I have to unequivocally rule out a walking man. I have decided to gather up some of the offerings that have been suggested at such venues as bingo games, quilting bees, gatherings at office water coolers, ladies' room lounges, Lions Club poker tables and chat rooms.

One group has claimed that the image is that of Uncle Martin, who after the cancellation of his television program returned to his home planet and now lives in seclusion in the desert regions of the Martian equator.
~That the group is TV Land executives using the photo to promote an up-coming "My Favorite Martian" marathon, is only coincidental.

The figure has also been conjectured to be J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. The former member of DC Comics' Justice League of America, was last said to be now be a part of Mars' soil, thus achieving immortality.
~Also a coincidence, DC Comics has approved a movie "The Justice League of America" set for a 2009 release in theaters. The group of super heroes will feature Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter.
~If the image on Mars happens to generate publicity for the film I'm sure the producers will have no complaints.

I feel safe in discounting a suggestion that it might be Warner Brothers' Marvin the Martian up there. Some doom and gloom UFO-ologists fear our planet is in serious danger.
~I'm not foreseeing an attack from Mars being masterminded by the little guy. He's not firing up his "Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator" to destroy Earth because it's blocking his view of the planet Venus.
~Even if he was planning the destruction of our planet, I have no doubt that Duck Dodgers would intervene and save the Earth.

You are probably aware that one of the many candidates making a run for the office of the President of the United States, Dennis Kucinich has recently dropped out of the race. I am convinced that the reason behind his decision lies solely with the Martian picture.
~You might recall that Kucinich has experience when it comes to the subject of UFOs. He has seen a UFO! Had he continued his bid for the Presidency, it would have only been a matter of time before he promised a Martian chicken in every pot!
~Well, Dennis had been very busy, as we should expect, studying and analyzing the photo image taken on the surface of Mars.
~Below is his enhanced interpretation of the image in question:

Furthermore, I will take this time to dismiss the other rumors and theories that are floating around out there. The figure is not Obi Wan Kenobi or one of the Sand People from the Star Wars films. It is not Amelia Earhardt stranded by the wreckage of her missing airplane. Some idiot, obviously wrong, proposed it is a picture of Tiger Woods lining up a difficult wedge shot out of a bunker. It is not, I repeat, it is not O.J. Simpson looking for the murderer of his wife!

As I stated above, I have ruled out the possibility that the image is that of man walking. Anyone should see clearly that it is a man sitting on some rocks!
~By using my state-of-the-art sophisticated and twisted imagination, I have solved the riddle of the image.

This breakthrough is appearing here on this blog exclusively. You readers are the first to be privileged to learn the truth!

Thought to be dead, his remains having never been found, the NASA cameras have unwittingly discovered the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa! He is alive and well and still controlling the Teamsters in absentia via satellite link through his son.

That revelation isn't the only surprise this Blog has for you readers!

There is another photograph that the NASA cameras captured on the surface of the Red Planet. For good reason they are hesitant to release it to the public.

This is another exclusive to be seen here first! Some of the scientists at NASA are still scratching their heads trying to figure out this strange rock formation.

One scientist was heard to be muttering, "It looks familiar. It looks like someplace I have been. But I have never been to Mars."
~Said a mission specialist, "Me too. I just can't put my finger on it. It's on the tip of my tongue."

Can you say "Deja Vu" mister scientists?

Readers, I'll defer this one to your astute interpretations.

I received an e-mail from one of the residents of Mars, Marvin the Martian himself. Aware of NASA scientists' conundrum over the image, he sent the following message:


Friday, January 25, 2008

Answering Questions With Questions

Don't you just "love" it when people answer questions with questions? More precisely, does it irritate you also when people repeat a question before answering it?

A few people I have conversed with from time to time have the annoying habit of repeating the questions asked of them before answering. It makes you wonder if they are hard of hearing and repeat what they think they heard. No, without pause they then answer the question.

A man I know, I'll call him Jim (to protect the guilty), is one of those. If I was to address him with, "Hello Jim. How are you?"

His response would be, "How am I? I'm fine thank you."

Being courteous I press on by asking, "...And how's the family?"

"How's the family? Good. Everyone is well."

"How's the job going?"

"How's the job going? It's going well, no problems."

As you can see, Jim is not exactly the most verbose of individuals. I think the closest I ever came to hearing him launch into a diatribe was when I mentioned the fact that he always repeated questions. His answer was, "Bullshit!"

Of course when I next posed it as a question, 'Jim, why do you always repeat the questions people ask?' his predictable response: "Why do I always repeat the questions people ask? I don't."

I had a funny thought. I wonder how is wedding ceremony went. Preacher: "Jim, do you take this woman to be your wedded wife?" Standing next to his blushing bride I can imagine his response, "Do I take this woman to be my wedded wife? I do."

How patient would a judge in a courtroom be if Jim had to take the stand as a witness? "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Jim with one raised and one on the Bible would say, "Do I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I do."

The fun in that court would be just beginning. The prosecuting attorney begins his cross examination, "Where were you on the night of the accident?" A creature of habit, Jim would surely first repeat the question, "Where was I on the night of the accident? Home."

In a nutshell, that is the way a typical conversation will go when I run into him on a parking lot or in a store. This habit is not designed for only me. The girl at the checkout counter inquired, "Would you like paper or plastic?" Of course he responds with, "Would I like paper or plastic? Both. Put a paper bag in a plastic one." She nods then asks, "Will that be cash or charge?" "Will that be cash or charge? I'll charge it today." Then she asks, "Do you want cash back with that?" "Do I want cash back with that? Yes." "Sir, how much cash would you like?" "How much cash would I like? Fifty."

So it goes with good old Jim. Ask him a question and expect it to be repeated verbatim except for the pronouns. Don't try to cross him up either by abbreviating the question, that is by using understood subjects and objects. He won't fall for that trick. "Sick of all the snow, Jim?" you ask. "Am I sick of all the snow? You bet I am!" As you can see, he sniffed out the missing 'Are you' like a bloodhound.

I just thought of a way that might teach him a lesson. It might actually be construed as a cruel joke though. Imagine being with Jim at the Grand Canyon at Echo Point. You speak softly, almost whispering as you ask, "Have you ever seen such a sight?" You wait for his reply, "Have I ever seen such a sight?" His pause before continuing is timed perfectly. The echoed question resounds from the far canyon walls and strikes his eardrum, "Have you ever seen such a sight?" He responds, "Have I ever seen such a sight?"

I ponder which will last longer, the echo or Jim? I'll slip quietly away, leaving Jim and "Jim" engaged in their interrogative exchanges.

I would found out a couple of things in the Grand Canyon scenario. One, there is indeed such a force as perpetual motion. Secondly, echoes are redundant.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

There is Nothing Wrong With Your Monitor

Can you be wired and unplugged at the same time?

Imagine sitting in your vehicle about to go to work one morning, when suddenly you hear the voice of Vic Perrin in your head. You can only wonder if it is a dream, indeed you hope so, otherwise you need to get your money back from that shrink. If it is not a dream, you begin to fear what may lie ahead for you.

Just who in the heck is Vic Perrin anyway, you ask?

Well, it happened to me once! My mind drifted back in time, searching memories that had become fragmented, scattered within the recesses of my mind. I came across that vault, overflowing with useless information. It was a Depository of Trivia.

Then there it was, a recollection of the voice. Though the name was not one I would have ordinarily remembered, his distinctive voice reciting the all too familiar narrative gave me cause to feel dread.

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to...The Outer Limits."

I began to wonder just what was in store for me that day. Was I the only one hearing the Control Voice? Were there others who would be acting out similar scenarios as me? Incapsulated images of that TV program were flashing from behind my eyes, yet I could see them clearly. Then it dawned upon me that I was seeing pieces of episodes that aired four decades ago. How was it that I was recalling the details of each individual episode?

A long gaping yawn came over me, reminding me of the sleep I had lost the night before. Why had I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning knowing I had to get to go to work the next morning? What was it I was watching on TV last night? Like a bolt out of the blue, it hit me. There had been a televised marathon of The Outer Limits running the weekend on the Sci-Fi Channel.

I was relieved that it all made sense. I wasn't about to live a day of suspense or terror. No alien beings or spirits were going to besiege me. No vortexes disrupting the space-time continuum were going to whisk me off into the midst of the Battle of Little Big Horn. My brain was just simply draining some of the overload absorbed from the twelve hours of television.

The tension abated, I engaged the transmission and left my driveway to face my obligated day of work. The Outer Limits a fading memory, I was about to turn onto the main drag when a strange series of musical notes began to play somewhere nearby. A few quick glances in the rear and side mirrors gave me nothing to dread. An ice cream truck warming up in a driveway, was playing its melody.

I made my left hand turn, but had traversed only about a hundred feet when I slammed on my brakes. In spite being out of earshot of the ice cream truck, I could still hear the notes but they were louder than before. Then there was a voice, a different voice this time, but also a familiar one, Rod Serling.

"You are entering a dimension not of sight or sound, but of the mind...."

Then I realized why I had stayed up practically all night. It was a Friday night and I really wanted to watch that Outer Limits marathon. I could sleep in the next day if I wanted.

It was Saturday! I don't work on Saturdays!

"...Up ahead, there's a signpost...."


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Double Take on Double Speak

You've heard it before. You hear it all the time. I daresay that you'll hear it for a long time to come. Also known as double-speak or babble, gobbledygook is spoken in nearly all circles. You can hear it in the medical field. It is present in the workplace. But nowhere is it as prevalent as it is in the arenas of law and government.

Texas Congressman Maury Maverick coined the word in 1944 in reference to prose of politicians that sounded like the senseless gobbling of turkeys.

You gotta love anything California, and the politics there are no exception. Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger gave us this gem: "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman." His predecessor, Gary Davis offered us this one, "My vision is to make (California) the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on earth in this state."

Semanticist Stuart Chase, defines gobbledygook as "the practice of using two or three or ten words in the place of one, or using a five syllable word where a single syllable word would suffice." He cited as an example as not calling a spade a spade, but a manual excavating device. He also noted that the word now has been replaced with at this point in time.

Governors don't have the market cornered when it comes to double-speak. Then Presidential candidate John Kerry, when asked why he voted against a funding bill for the troops in Iraq, answered "I actually did vote for the eighty-seven billion before I voted against it."

When asked for his analysis of Iraq's cache of weapons of mass destruction, Donald Rumsfeld replied, "There are known knowns. These are things we know we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are some things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." The reporters in attendance weren't the only ones scratching their heads over that one.

The trend to be politically correct is the current rage. Certain elements of PC can be seen in gobbledygook. Indeed, gobbledygook lends itself perfectly to political correctness. In the workplace you are not fired, but outplaced, dehired, deselected, down sized, assigned to a mobility pool, nonpositively terminated, or placed in a career alternative enhancement program. Once called senior citizens or the elderly, they are now seasoned, veteran, or chronologically experienced citizens.

A grave digger is an interment excavation expert. A manicurist is a nail technician. Cab or bus drivers are urban transportation specialists. A check out clerk is an associate scanning professional. A mechanic is an automotive internist. Would you recognize a member of the vertical transportation corps as what was once referred to as an elevator operator? A paperboy is a media courier. Housewives and homemakers now defer to the title of domestic engineers.

Want to visit the dearly departed? Don't go to the cemetery, try the memorial park! When someone dies in a hospital don't call it death - it's negative patient-care outcome. Don't expect a lawyer to sue for malpractice anymore, he'll have to seek damages for a therapeutic misadventure. It used to be death - now it's deprivation of life!

On the social scene, the poor are fiscal under achievers, or economically non affluent. A slum or ghetto is now called the inner city. A bum or a street person has become a non-goal-orientated member of society. Prisons are now known as correctional facilities.

The products we use aren't exempt either. Toilet paper is facial quality tissue. The term sliced is now portion controlled. A toothpick is an inter dental stimulator. A girdle is a form persuader. You don't buy fake diamonds or a fake furs for your significant others, instead you surprise them with genuine imitations. Used cars aren't used, but previously owned. Some previously owned vehicles are even certified previously owned. Having trouble finding greeting cards? Try looking for social expression products.

When government confuses the consumer concerning budgets, all it needs is to coin some economic doublespeak. They won't upset the populace with tax increases when they can hit us with revenue enhancements. Why not simplify matters by dubbing tax as a user's fee? Should investors feel secure if there will be equity retreats instead of stock market crashes? They won't suffer losses in their portfolios anymore, although their might be some negative investment increments.

Gobbledygook-isms have even broached war. Torture is an interrogation technique. Overthrow is now a regime change or a governmental unconsolidation. A prisoner of war is a detainee. Secret is classified. Retreat is redeployment or backloading. Peace is permanent pre-hostility. An invasion at night using airborne paratroopers is now a predawn vertical insertion. Doesn't 'collateral casulties' sound better than civilian deaths?

Perhaps my writing, what you are reading in this blog, is and of itself a bunch of gobbledygook!

Parts of the above are excepts from an article by Richard Lederer in the March 2005 issue of the AARP Bulletin.Double


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Voice Mail for Your Blog

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. (Because I am listening to the message to determine if I want to answer.) If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. (
"3" - Blink!) I'm sorry that option is not available on this phone service. (Blink!) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. If you wish to leave positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. If you wish to suggest an idea for a Blog, and I use it, press 4. If you wish to speak to a live person, press 0. (
"0" - Blink!) I'm sorry, due to low wages and poor working conditions, there are no live persons available. (Blink! ) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. If you wish to suggest an idea for a Blog, and I use it, press 4. If you wish to talk to a live person, press 0. If you wish to hear your choices again, press 1. (
"1" - Blink!) Thank you for the positive comment! (Blink!) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. (Sheesh! can't this idiot take a hint?) If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. If you wish to suggest an idea for a Blog, and I use it, press 4. ( "4" -
Blink!) Thank you for the glowing review! (Blink!) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. ( "3" -
Blink!) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. ( "3" -
Blink!) (Dial tone.)

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)

Hello! You have reached the phone of the Pointmeister. I am unable to answer the phone right now. If you wish to leave a positive comment about my Blog, press 1. If you wish to leave a glowing review, press 2. If you wish to leave a negative comment, press 3. If you wish to suggest an idea for a Blog, and I use it, press 4. If you wish to speak to a live person, press 0. (Elevator music : Sound track to the original silent film "Ben Hur.")

Ah, you have stayed on the line without pressing any selections. If you look like Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta Jones, Christy Hemme, or a Playboy centerfold and wish to talk to the Pointmeister, press 5. ( "5" -
Blink!) Hello there. I see no point in not getting straight to the point. Excuse me, honey. Let me shut off the voice mail. No point in anyone else hearing this. Get the point? (Blink!) ~~~Silence!~~~
~ Voice Mail for your Blog! You gotta get it! To learn how to get yours, dial the Pointmeister's number and press 2.

(Ring! Ring! Ring!)


Monday, January 21, 2008

Echoes of Eddie - 4

Can a dead man reach out from the grave to exact revenge against those responsible for his death? Welcome to the fourth installment of a story that explores that possibility. If you've not done so, read the story from the beginning HERE.

A certain death awaited him as his body slid over the edge of the quarry. With one desperate stab of his outstretched arm his fingers wrapped around the root where he'd found the eyeglasses. His lower body slammed against the stone wall just below the edge. The breath forced from his lungs from the impact he somehow managed to maintain his tenuous grip.

Though it seemed like an eternity, he dangled from the root for several seconds. Every muscle in his body ached as he strained to grab the root with his other hand. Some inner strength, adrenaline perhaps, allowed him to painfully pull himself back to the rim of the quarry. His foot found a jagged outcropping of rock which provided him with enough leverage to pull himself up and over the edge.

Steve crawled on his stomach until he was six feet away from the rim of the quarry. He rolled onto his back and breathed in heavily much needed oxygen. Ominous clouds were forming in the sky to the east. He rolled his head on the ground following the patterns of the clouds to the horizon. The panorama was interrupted as the barren limbs and branches of the large chestnut tree came into view.

Just the sight of The Hangman's Tree, the name given it by the locals, stirred terrifying images deep within his soul. Memories, long suppressed and best forgotten, percolated to the surface of his conscious thoughts.
Once the abandoned quarry was filled with water and its overflow filled a natural depression forming a large pond, the waters of which lapped against the edges of the nearby cemetery. In that setting the hilltop pond became a popular playground for the youth of Soddy-Daisy and the surrounding communities.
....Twelve feet above the ground a large limb stretched from the chesnut to the edge of the quarry waters. From that limb someone had tied a rope with several knots spaced along its length. Many a time was it that some young "Tarzan" would swing from that jungle vine out and over the cold waters. Many times did the "Apeman" drop from the vine into those waters to single-handedly do battle with a giant crocodile lurking beneath.
....There were those nights that the teens would gather by the pond's edge across the way from the little cemetery. Sometimes they were there to watch the "submarine races" and other times they told scary ghost stories huddled around a cozy campfire.
....On dark cloudy nights with the light of the hidden moon glowing upon the edges of the clouds, there would be a strange purplish aura that befell the area. Upon the rippled surface of the pond there would be an other-wordly reflection of the grave markers and crosses where the dead slept.
....According to the locals, formless wraiths and gossamer figures could sometimes be seen drifting across the cemetery grounds, but there would be no reflection of them upon the pond. Some had said that only on those nights following a death could their reflections appear upon the waters.
"Then one day they drained the quarry and they cut down "Tarzan's" swing!" Steve spoke aloud forcing himself out of the memory-plagued reverie into which he had succumbed. He was sitting up, his arms wrapped about his knees, staring blankly at the foreboding chestnut tree. He stood up and studied the spectacles he had found before putting them into his shirt pocket. There was nothing he was going to accomplish in that place, not at that time. It was time to leave that place.

Hiding behind a rocky edifice she watched as the handsome young man began his descent from the top of the hill. There was no doubt that it was Steve Cooper. She returned the binoculars to the leather case. With them she had been watching his curious trek to that place. It had been with great anguish that she'd observed him picking up Eddie's long lost glasses.

It had been with morbid fascination that she'd seen him slide over the edge of the quarry. She had been certain that she was witnessing another death at that very same spot. For the briefest of moments there had been a shameful sense of disappointment when he climbed out of the quarry to safety. For all concerned, perhaps it would have been for the better had he fallen to the rocks below.

She took a deep breath and reached into her back pocket for a cellphone. She punched in a set of familiar numbers. He was just getting into his car when her call connected.

"Hello?" A firm male voice responded.

"It's me. I did what you said ... And you were right. He went to the cemetery and to the quarry."

"Did he visit Eddie's grave?"

"Uh-huh. He got down on his knees in front of the grave. I think he still feels responsible," she replied. There was a feeling of pity in her tone and she hoped it was not detected by the man on the line with her.

"That's good. Anything else? What did he do over at the quarry?"

"You're not going to like this ... but he found Eddie's glasses!" She decided to omit the part about Steve's accident. She wanted no hint of compassion in her voice.

There was a long pause before the voice finally spoke, "That is not good. If his guilt starts to make him think about breaking our pact ..." His voice trailed off. He cleared his throat and continued, " ... Then I'm afraid we'll have to take some desperate measures."

To be continued..... Echoes of Eddie-5


Sunday, January 20, 2008


On this date, three years ago, I first typed the words "It Occurred To Me." Not coincidentally, that was not only the name I gave this blog, but it was also the title of my very first post. To celebrate the occasion I am reprinting post no.1 here, replete with any grammatical and spelling errors.
It Occurred To Me

...that being Politically Correct is no longer correct. When the sensitivity of a single person or the cries of a special interest group, tread more heavily upon the rights of the majority, just whose Constitutional rights are being violated?
This country was born on the fiery embers of freedoms, so wisely and carefully composed by our founding fathers.
When they penned in the words freedom of religion, that is exactly what they meant. When they also provided for separation of church and state, it was with keen foresight that they did so. Almost certainly these men have rolled over several times in their places of rest in recent years.
When I read the Constitution of the United States of America, I am not unaware that times have changed, that our population has exploded, that our nation welcomes immigrants with open arms, and that sometimes there are needs to make changes, ergo ammendments. Nowhere, however, in that great document, do I see anything that can be subjected to interpretation.
It occurred to me that being "politically correct" is in dire need of interpretation. Therefore, freedom of religion is just that - freedom of religion !
I have, you have, we all have the freedom of religion. Nowhere does it allow you or me to dictate our religious beliefs, or impose our tenets upon others. While I am on that line of thought, nowhere does it allow others to dictate or impose upon us their beliefs.
Are you with me, so far? Do you see where I am going with this? Of course you do, unless you are either one of the aforementioned single persons or belong to a special interest group, undermining my freedoms under the guise of your constitutional rights.
When you try to remove "God" from our legal tender, you are messing with my legal tender, and God knows you certainly have nothing against having, earning, and spending that same legal tender. When you remove prayer from our schools, you are messing with my schools. When you remove the Nativity scene from our public grounds, you are messing with my public grounds.
My God welcomes you, as does our country, we welcome your God. This town is big enough for more than one God. I will fight for your right to worship your God! But if you persist in trying to suppress my God, please step outside, because now you have picked a fight with me, and by GOD, I will not back down!!
Three years later I still echo the sentiments expressed in that post. The subject of Political Correctness has appeared several times during the life of this Blog, and I'm certain it will appear often in future posts.

I would have baked you a cake ... but it seems there was a "foul" up in the kitchen.

I said SHEET cake!

In those three years (1095 days) I have been somewhat (sic) prolific in putting up 1235 postings. My posts, although mostly humor, have also included some original poetry, satires, parodies and fictional short stories. Many of the jokes and images may have been "borrowed" from many sites across the web, but a lot of my humor is original.

Painting, The Birthday Cake - by Beryl Cook

The girls who were hired to get into the cake,
must have misunderstood their instructions!

I have found blogging to be an adventure that has been at the same time most satisfying and therapeutic. This blog has provided me with a vehicle to purge my mind of thoughts, thoughts that used to evaporate into oblivion. It has been an avenue for this wannabe writer to express himself.

The blog has also produced an unexpected dividend. I found that being a blogger is to be a part of a larger community. To read and to be read by countless other talented bloggers, many far more skilled than myself, has been a pleasant and rewarding benefit.

Veiled in the anonymity of screen names bloggers are free to, and often do, openly express even their innermost intimate feelings and secrets. There is enough of the real person revealed in the body of their posts, that one cannot help but know that if you were to meet that person in real life - you'd be fast friends.

To all who have read my feeble attempts as a writer, and to all those whose own words have inspired me in both their posts and their comments, thank you for three years filled with laughs, tears, and humble accolades. My words are designed to please myself, and if perchance others enjoy them, then I have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined when I began this endeavor three years ago today.

I'll let you in on a little secret, your posts have had the same results.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Barbara Walters Interviews Barack Obama

John, who has graciously contributed some funny material to me in the past, sent the following to me a while back. I've been remiss in not committing it to a posting before now. If you are reading this - Thanks, JAB.

I hope you don't mind but after reading your Barbara/Dubya interview , I had to use the same idea with Barack Obama.


Bwack Obama is the junior US Senator from Iwinois and a member of the Democwatic Party. Born to a bwack Kenyan father and a white American mother he spent most of his childhood in Hawaii. He is among the Democwatic Party’s weading candidates for nomination in the 2008 U.S.pwesidential ewection. He and his charming wife, Michelle, were married in 1992 and have two daughters. Here is my excwusive interview with the Senator.

Barbara Walters: Welcome to the pwogwam Senator.

Barack Obama: Thank you for having me Barbara.

BW: Do you feel a lot of pwessure being the only bwack on the campaign twail?

BO: Not at all, Barbara, although it is an unusual name, it states my heritage and I am proud to be my father’s son.

BW: But it is gwound bweaking for you don’t you agwee?

BO: I can assure you Barbara I never think of it, it was the name I was given and I’m proud to have.

BW: You study histowy do you ever stop and think, “If I was a Dennis or a Chwistopher I wonder what it would be wike?”

BO: Nothing personal to Dennis or any of my other fine opponents but I would not want to be called Dennis Obama, even if it meant the Irish vote.

BW: I wead somewhere that you once worked on the fwoor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

BO: In my younger days I did as a…

BW: …were you what they call a wunner?

BO: Ah! Say that again.

BW: You know one of those people who wun as fast as a wabbit to pwace orders.

BO: I was actually a currency trader.

BW: Did you wear one of those funny wooking jackets?

BO: As a matter of fact I did, it had a big Canadian maple leaf on the back with “U.S.EH” printed underneath.

BW: Do you think that may be one of the weasons Senator Clinton made the comment about you being “iwesponsible and na├»ve” when it comes to foreign affairs?

BO: I hope not, because she made $100,000 trading live cattle futures, doesn’t mean she’s a big fat cow.

BW: I see …do you have a pwobwem with wong ewection cycles?

BO: …excuse me?

BW: When I was young, I wuved it when the pwimaries were eight months to a year, now it seems two years isn’t...

BO: … I see, I think it’s important to start from primary through secondary, pre- K is definitely too soon…

BW: definitely see a wesson in wanking here don’t you?

BO: I’ve been taught from a very young age to “play the hand you’re dealt” and let’s just leave it at that.

BW: Does Harry Weid have anything to do with your campaign?

BO: I’ve acknowledged in my memoir “Dreams from My Father” that as a teenager I experimented with Maui Wowee.As tough as it is, I strongly urge the youth of America not to smoke anything, no matter whether it’s Harry Weed, Panama Red or whatever.

BW: Hmm.What about Speaker Pewosi?

BO: Same thing Barbara, we used to call it peyote.

BW: Do you wike Bwues?

BO: Michelle and I are fond of Pinot Noir during dinner.

BW: I quite wike Muddy Waters just before bed.

BO: Is that something like Kahlua?

BW: Oh! Mrs.Obama your husband is so witty and his fwench is impeccable.

BO: Merci.

BW: Let’s move on before I turn cwimson…is it twue you are very fond of Opwa?

BO: Yes, Michelle and I go as often as possible, of course, my schedule at the moment limits the amount of free time we have…

BW: …when I’m in Chicago I try to do wunch with her…

BO: …one of our favorites is Die Fledermaus.

BW: I’m not familiar with that. Is that Dearborn and Harrison ?

BO: No, Johann Strauss.

BW: Are you alwight on the campaign twail?

BO: No, I’m very proud of my black heritage on my father’s side and always will be.

BW: When your wovely wife Michelle is awound, you seem vewy wight headed.

BO: Far from it, I’m totally comfortable in the skin God gave me.

BW: We will be wight back after this word from our sponsor Wincoln Continental who weminds you to dwive wesponsibly.

(Off camera)

Barack Obama whispers to his wife, “I’m blowing this interview, I don’t understand her, she talks like Congressman Barney Frank.” Michelle whispers back, “Just remember, every time she pronounces a word with a ‘w’ it really means the word has an ‘l’ or ‘r’ in it and you’ll do fine.”

BW: Welcome back… Senator, you look like you’re in fantastic shape.

BO: I am Barbara, I consider health and fitness among the top priorities and it will be in my administration.

BW: When did you wast get weighed?

BO: Ah… that is a rather personal question… but let me assure you Michelle and I have a very healthy relationship.

BW: I’m sure our viewers would wike to know what kind of scale it was, bathroom, bedroom, motel, penny arcade, Quickie Mart?

BO: Hmmm...the scale we use is between one and ten.

BW: Ha! You’re good!

BO: Well, thank you.

BW: You and your beautiful wife Michelle are young and in tune with the current generation, do you ever worry what infwuence wappers may have on your two daughters?

BO: No, I can honestly say I’m not overly concerned about lappers. Most of these dancers are at adult clubs and are not a threat to the general public and in particular to our young children.

BW: What about some of the words they use, does that not concern you?

BO: Come on Barbara, they just say sweet nothing to some one who’s probably had too much to drink. I’m more concerned and so should our nation about the lyrics in some of these rap songs that our youngsters are exposed to day in and day out.

BW: This is very personal to you, I know, and I’m sure you’ve weflected on it for quite some time, what do think of civil wights today?

BO: Well, as you know I am a smoker and I prefer Menthol Lights. I don’t care if people prefer Marlboro lights, Camel lights, Civil lights or whatever brand. Now let me add, that smoking is bad, and I’m trying to quit. “Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em”, is not cool anymore.

BW: Have you thought of any possible wunning mates if you should win the Democratic nomination?

BO: Heavens no Barabara, it’s much too early.

BW: Vewy true. I took my time and everything was Whoopi after Wosie.

BO: I couldn’t have said it better my self.

BW: You have a fwight to New Hampshire , after our interview, is that cowect?

BO: That’s correct

BW: Could you tell us where you’ll be in case any of our viewers would like to see you.

BO: Sure Barbara thanks for the opportunity. I’ll be in Litchfield which isn’t to far from Wondonderry.

BW: Good wuck campaigning and we would wuve to have you back again.

BO: Thank you for having me and remember “every wote counts.”

(Whispers to Michelle, “I don’t believe what I just said, let’s get the hell outta here.” “I’m wight behind you dawing.”)

Thanks again, John.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Too Much Violins on Television

I should have seen the conflict coming. Since the computer has supplanted the television set as the center of home entertainment in my house, war was imminent.

This evening I decided to exercise my TV remote. It has become lazy and lethargic. I fear it has even started to develop atrophy in its buttons. Also, it has started to become somewhat standoffish by choosing to hide at times. Of course it denies this claim, saying that I simply misplaced it.

I'm sure it has become jealous of the mouse. No doubt it has become indignant to be playing second fiddle to that other device. It has reminded me on more than one occasion how much time we used to spend together. It cited all the sports, movies, specials and action programs we sat through together. It touched a nerve one day when it asked me if I ever fell to sleep with the mouse in my hand or on my lap.

I suppose if I were in its caddy shoes, I might feel the same way. The remote has even taken on a air of arrogance when it compares itself with the mouse, extolling its own virtues. After all, the mouse only has two buttons, but it has dozens. The mouse is tethered by a wire to the computer and is useless if it is disconnected. It, on the other hand, is free to be used virtually anywhere in the room.

The other day the remote tried to commit suicide! It allowed itself to die. There was no note. I don't know if it appreciated the surgery I performed by replacing its batteries because it never even thanked me.

It must have been reaching out in desperation when it started bragging about its ability to access hundreds of channels. Perhaps I erred in my judgement when I told it that the remote had access to literally millions of sites! My lack of compassion was revealed at the wrong time. It began to exhibit signs of "remote remorse," a malady I should wish on no electronic device.

Fortunately, I knew just what to do to smooth over our relationship. I reminded it that on Sunday there are two NFL playoff games, and that I would be spending nearly all afternoon and into the evening with it - watching football together. I could feel the love!

Peace restored, I began to surf the TV channels. At one point I landed on the loft scene of "Fiddler on the Roof." I said aloud, "Remote, wouldn't you agree with me that there is way too much violins on television tonight?" I can only assume it agreed with me because the remote didn't answer.

I'm sure those who read this litany will know that "too much violins on television" is not an original play on words by me. As soon as I mouthed those words I remembered where I had heard it before. I can still see Chevy Chase and Gildna Radner at a news desk on a Saturday Night Live skit.

Following is the script of reporters Chevy Chase and Miss Emily Latella (Radner):
Emily Littela: And in other news, there's too much violins on TV. There's too much violins on television. They should put the violins on at eleven after the kids are asleep.

Chevy Chase: Um, Emily, that's violence, not violins.

Emily Littela: Never mind.

Chevy Chase: Here with an editorial reply is Miss Emily Lattella.

Emily Lattella: What's all this fuss I keep hearing about violins on television? Why don't parents want their kids to see violins on television? I thought the Leonardo Bernstein concerts were just lovely, now, if they only show violins on television after ten o'clock at night, the little babies will all be asleep and they won't learn any music appreciation. They'll learn to play guitars, and bongo drums and go to Africa and join these rock'n roll outfits and they won't drink milk! I think there should be more violins on television and less game shows, it's terrible the way...

Chevy Chase: Um, Littella, that's Violence on television. Not violins.

Emily Lattella: Oh, well that's diffrent.

Chevy Chase: Yes.

Emily Lattella: Never mind!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The One's Have it!

You're the ones!
At 8:30 PM when I opened my site, my site meter greeted me with the above six figures - all ones! What a nice round number! How odd!


I was reading an op-ed piece yesterday titled Party-ism Is Destroying Democracy. The unnamed author of the article was advocating what some would call a drastic change in our nation's election process. While no registered independent polling organization was used to obtain his/her statistics and facts, I don't necessarily believe the numbers are accurate, but I do agree, however, in principle to the point being made.

The author estimated that nearly 65% of the voters in this country vote for a candidate based entirely on party affiliations. A large proportion of that number have party preferences based on their familial environment. In short, they tend to vote for the party their parents, husbands or wives, partners, older siblings, etc., vote(d) for. It is not unlike product recognition, wherein grown-up children tend to purchase and use the same brand name products as their parents.

In an address to the graduating class last fall, Grant Cornwell, philosopher-scholar and president of the College of Wooster in Ohio was quoted:
"You have the responsibility to develop your skills in writing, in speaking, but perhaps most of all in listening. Listen for differences. Seek them out. Don't surround yourself only with those who see the world as you do."
I like that quote! There is a message there that should be practiced by all responsible voters - to seek out the differences in the candidates and their policies. There are a lot of problems that face our nation, not the least of which are health care, war, long-term finances, education and the environment. How do the candidates stand on those issues versus those of the individual voters? Voters should not look for a comfort level of the candidates who echo their own beliefs and opinions. They should seek out the differences - different parties, different ideas, different solutions.

I remember when I was a kid, I once overheard my dad talking to another man about the upcoming elections. He said that he hated the S.O.B., (Dwight D. Eisenhower) but he had to vote for him because he was a Republican! I never forgot that, and to this day I think it was one the most asinine things I ever heard!

This afternoon I was talking with one of my clients, a WWII and Korean War veteran. A political ad sponsored by Mitt Romney was on the television. "I wouldn't vote for that man if they paid me," he said. I said to him, "Oh? You're a Democrat?" He answered in a huff, "Hell no! I'm a registered Independent."

It was refreshing to know that this old grizzled veteran wasn't as opinionated and party-happy as most of our senior citizens. That feeling was dashed in his next statement. "I don't like the way he wears his hair like he's some kind of pretty boy or something. Same goes for that Edwards fellow too."

Okay, I was partly right about him; he eliminated two candidates, one from each party. So, I guess I missed on the "opinionated" part of my original assessment. (Maybe hair style is legitimate method to choose who one votes for?)

I didn't have to wait long before he offered up some more tips on how one should select candidates. "And there ain't no way I'm going to vote for a black or a woman neither!" (Ah, so race and sex are viable reasons also!) "You won't see me voting for that Thompson clown. We already had one bad actor in Washington, and his hair looked like he stuck his finger in some electrical socket!" (Okay, scratch actors.)

"So you see, young fella, I'm narrowing the field down. Come Election Day, I'll be voting for the right man, and you can count on it!"

I said to him, "I see. Smart, very smart. By declaring yourself as an Independent, you are assured of voting for the best possible candidate. That means every voter who is a Democrat or a Republican will only be voting for the lesser of two evils."

"Yes! Yes! I wish I'd said that. You're a fast learner," he said to me.

I was a little disappointed that his lesson in politics and voting was over. At least I can now study all the candidates and know that by the time the elections roll around, I'll be voting for the right one.

One thing is certain, though. When it comes to looking for the differences in cadidates, I think this rough old veteran and the author of the above article are definitely NOT on the same page. (It's more than party-ism that's destroying democracy.)


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Echoes of Eddie - 3

Can a dead man reach out from the grave to exact revenge against those responsible for his death? Welcome to the third installment of a story that explores that possibility. If you've not done so, read the story from the beginning HERE.

As he approached the outskirts of Soddy-Daisy, Steve decided he wasn't going to visit his mother, not just yet. Perhaps the deaths of Tommy Joe and Mindy were an omen. The curious fact that they would die before his very eyes on the day he'd returned home wasn't lost on him.

He needed to face his demons, maybe even exorcise them once and for all. He turned off the main road onto an unmarked dirt road and followed it to those forbidden places at the crest of the hill where it had all begun and where it all had ended.

He stepped from the car and surveyed the scene before him. Little had changed in all those years. The road was still unfinished forcing visitors there to walk the remaining 500 yards to the top of the hill. He took a deep breath and began his hike to that point ahead where the sky and earth seemed to meet. Of course it was only a matter of perspective, for when he reached the crest the horizon would be formed where another hill and sky met in the distance. For Steve, however, there was nothing beyond.

Winded from the ascent, he stopped before the worn rocky path. He suspected that few had tread upon it, and yet after all those years no vegetation had taken root. He mused for a moment as Robert Frosts' poem, The Road Not Taken came to mind. Unlike the wayfarer in the poem, Steve knew exactly where both directions would lead him. To his right lie the old quarry where Eddie had died. He turned instead to his left, to where Eddie had been laid to rest.

He stood before the rusty wrought iron arch marking the entrance to the small unattended cemetery. Dead undergrowth and fallen tree branches were strewn about, belying the fact that beloved departed resided there. He wished nothing more at that moment than to turn around and to forsake his purpose for coming to that place. He wiped away the perspiration that had collected on his forehead and stepped through the arch.

Only a few yards inside he stumbled over a toppled headstone. He brushed aside the leaves hiding the inscription upon it. He choked back a wave of emotion that began to sweep over him. He had almost forgotten, no he had long, long ago suppressed the memory that they had been buried there. He was not there to pay respects to George and David Cooper. As they had been interred here, so too had he buried them. His father and his younger brother and the memory of them would have to remain in the deep recesses where suppressed memories belonged.

He knelt before Eddie's grave and clasped his hands. He gazed upon the face of the weathered headstone and read aloud the inscription upon it, "Edward Nolan - Jan.12, 1980-Dec.29, 1997." A sudden wind picked up and he felt a chill course through his body. He tensed and looked about his surroundings. Was he having that dream again? He pinched himself to make sure he was awake.

He reached his arm forth. He wanted to touch the headstone but felt afraid to do so. He studied the earth before the stone grave marker. He had to be certain that the earth wasn't going to move. He fell backward as some leaves shifted upon the grave. A cricket emerged from beneath the dry foliage and scrambled for another place to hide.

He managed a nervous laugh as he stood up. He then looked down upon the grave and pleaded to its occupant, "Eddie, please forgive me." He closed his eyes and added, "I'm sorry I haven't been here before now to pay you the proper respect you rightfully deserve."

He was still trembling as he was once again following the path, leaving the cemetery behind. He knew he should be home seeing his mother, but there was one more thing he had to. He had to return to that quarry, to the last place where he'd seen Eddie alive ten years ago.

The path ended in the center of a large clearing. He stood there for a moment orienting himself. Satisfied he was in the right place, he moved slowly straight ahead to where the rim of the quarry would be. He stopped at its edge and carefully peered over the edge. He could see some of the large boulders at the bottom of the quarry fifty feet below.

Slow motion images of Eddie falling head first over the edge played somewhere in his mind's eye. He cupped his ears trying to silence his friend's cries as he fell to his death. He strained in attempt to shield himself from seeing the image of Eddie's broken body on the blood-stained rocks far below. He tried not to feel the terror and the guilt of what they'd done.

Steve fell down onto the ground and wept, his profuse tears soaking the ground next to his hand. Then through the tears he caught sight of something reflecting the sunlight into his face. His fingers groped the spot next to a dry root until they fell upon the smooth surface of something. He sat upright and studied the object in his hand. It was a pair of earth-encrusted eyeglasses. One of the lenses was cracked and bits of glass were missing.

He tried to stand up but the soil at the edge of the quarry suddenly shifted. Steve tried to scream as he felt himself sliding over the edge. It was the same spot where Eddie had fallen.

To be continued.... Echoes of Eddie -4