Archive for January, 2008

Really Lousy Writing.

Saturday, January 19th, 2008



Every year, English teachers from across the country submit examples of their students’ WORST writing. They’re truly amazing. Between laughs, please remember: in just a few years, these dunces will be voting. And each of their votes will count as much as yours.

1. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

2. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

3. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

4. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

5. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

6. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

7. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

8. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

9. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

10. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Ideas That Made Too Much Sense. Part 2.

Friday, January 18th, 2008



Did you ever wonder why psychology starts with a “p”, Michael has no “k”, and ski isn’t spelled ‘skee’? Well multimillionaire, industrialist Andrew Carnegie did. In the early 1900’s he was approached by world-reknown linguists who had a revolutionary plan to simplify spelling. They convinced him that if everyone spelled words phonetically, it would somehow lead to world peace. Although that logical thought process is a little hard to follow, Carnegie thought that simple spelling was a wonderful idea.

Phonetic spelling puts together letters that represented the sounds of the words when spoken. Good become ‘gud’, though would be spelled ‘tho’……….well, you get the idea.

In 1906, Carnegie formed the ‘Simplified Spelling Board’ with a stated goal of changing English into a language of phonetic spelling – 300 words at a time. Since English is comprised of more than 400,000 words, the change would certainly be gradual – at least in the beginning. (English has, by far, more words than any other language. The French are a distant second with about 150,000) .


“Karee a big stik”

At any rate, this great idea excited President Theodore Roosevelt who probably was not the world’s most talented speller anyway. On August 29, 1906 he ordered the U.S. Printer to begin using the “new spelling” on all executive branch publications. The reaction was instantaneous and overwhelming – practically everyone hated it!

Newspapers across the land ridiculed the new idea and Congress was outraged enough to start debating it immediately. The Times of London laughingly questioned the President’s ability to spell and TR quickly decided this might not be such a ‘bully’ idea after all. He withdrew his support and withdrew himself into the White House refusing to discuss the matter further.

Carnegie too had had ‘enuf’. He went on to other projects and forbade anyone to even discuss the new spelling idea in his presence.


Ideas That Made Too Much Sense. Part 1.

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Some ideas make perfect sense and would be great improvements over what we have today. But their main obstacle is ‘change’. People don’t like to change. Most people would rather tolerate inconvenience, nonsense, and even stupidity, as long as it’s familiar. Things don’t have to make sense. They just have to make sense to them.






In the early 20th century, George Eastman of Eastman Kodak and others, figured out that the Gregorian calendar, which had been in use for thousands of years, didn’t make sense. There were different number of days each month and even a different number of days every four years. Different countries added their own strange flourishes contributing to a general mayhem of conflicting dates

After a good deal of research, Eastman decided that if the 52-week year was divided into four quarters of exactly 13 weeks each, everyone would benefit. At least it would be a good start. The months would keep the same names and each would be 28 days long with a short “month” between June and July (named “Sol”)   in which everyone could take a vacation (as they do in Europe). Billing cycles, accounting systems, delivery schedules, even payroll periods, all over the world, could be coordinated into one logical grid. Industries and businesses, both here and abroad, would mesh on the same, predicable course.

But resistance to change takes many forms. One is stupidity (“On what day would the Fourth of July fall?”). Another is confusion (“What would happen to all the extra days?”). And, of course, there was a flood of traditionalism (“If 12-months a year were good enough for my grandparents……..”).

Eventually Eastman got frustrated with the whole business and gave up the idea – except in his own company which enjoys a 13-week business calendar to this day.


Fall Sunset from the 15th Floor. Home.

Thursday, January 17th, 2008


A Bimbo With a High IQ

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008


You don’t have to be Jewish to dislike Ann Coulter but it doesn’t hurt (“Jews just need to be perfected.”). Neither does it hurt if you’re an Arab ( or “Camel Jockey” as she refers to you), Gay (“Faggots”) or Japanese (“Nips”). Even rabid right-wingers get a little twitchy when Ann starts spewing her venom.

America has come a long way in respecting minorities. White sheets have been replaced by a peroxided blond with ironed straight hair and cold, Nazi eyes. This educated ditz SHOULD be on TV – turning vowels or pointing out prizes on the ‘Price is Right’. The problem comes when she opens her mouth and spits out her poison. It all sounded better in the original German.

For a great satiric song about Annie, click here:

Why Can’t We All Just “Search for Tomorrow”?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008


There were only two bad things about starting kindergarten when I was five. The first was the requirement of ‘Knows How to Tie Shoes.’ I didn’t – and couldn’t seem to learn. I got a big U (unsatisfactory) for it. Since I got ‘S’s in everything else, it didn’t seem to be a big deal with my parents – although they were usually pretty strict about school. Diversity wasn’t exactly an ideal in my family – but if small eccentricities didn’t embarrass them too much, Mom and Dad let them slip by. However, after the second or third ‘Tie Shoes-U’ report card, they bought me loafers – without talking about it, and that was the end of that.

But the second thing about starting kindergarten was far worse: not being able to sit on the ‘sofa’ with my Mom for 15 minutes every weekday around noon to watch “Search for Tomorrow”. I felt bad about that. I’m sure she did too, but again, it was no big deal. It was like, “That’s the way it goes, Kid. If you can’t be happy with what you have, at least be thankful you don’t get what you deserve.” And although that sounds a little harsh today, I can just imagine Mom and Dad saying it with a little teasing laughter – bobbing on an ocean of love. They were the best.

“Search for Tomorrow” was the longest running soap opera on American television. It started airing on Monday, September 3, 1951 and continued until the final episode on Friday, December 26, 1986. That’s over 35-years – 9,130 episodes. And what were
the final lines – on the final show – on that day after Christmas, 1986? “Joanne Tate” the show’s star for its entire run, is asked, “What are you searching for, Joanne?” Her reply? “Tomorrow.” (MUSIC UP- FADE TO BLACK ).

It hardly seemed worth the wait. But nothing is only what it seems. I’ll never think about that dumb show without thinking of sitting on our ‘sofa’ with my Mom over a half-century ago.



Debra. 1980

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008


He Can’t Kick It. Part 2.

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Can this story get any stranger? In a previous entry, I talked about the antismoking commercial which featured a one-legged guy standing in a park.

He talked about his leg getting infected, then turning multiple colors, and finally SMELLING with rot until it had to be amputated.

The man blamed smoking. I blamed the nitwit for not getting to a doctor sooner. Now it seems the dolt is even dumber than I thought.

According to the Associated Press, the man, “Skip” (of course) Legault (LEG-ault? C’Mon!), 48, IS STILL SMOKING! Despite his missing leg, two heart attacks, and a stroke before the age of 30, the guy continues to light up although he “feels bad about it.”

Refusing to admit they may be a little “casting-challenged” or just dumb as dust, the New York State Department of Health tried to put the best spin they could on the story. They said “Skip” was “courageous to step forward with his weakness.” (I swear I’m not making this up!)

Legault was paid $4000 for his brief appearance and he’s happy he’s cut down from 3-packs a day to “about half a pack.” Right.

Love and the Mail

Saturday, January 12th, 2008


There are only two things in life for which we constantly hope and dream, and then, even after our illusions have been continually squished like sidewalk worms after a spring rain – we begin again – as if it were our first time.

One is Love. The other is the Mail.

“Mail come?”

“Did you get the mail?”

“Mail late today?”

“Anything for me in the mail?”

“Mail in?”

“Anything in the mail today?”

“Mail here yet?”

After years of disappointments – for six days a week, we still hope there will be some significant prize in our Cracker Jack mail boxes – even though Reality is doubled over in laughter at our stupid dreams. Exactly what is it for which we hope? A large, unexpected check? A handwritten note from a long forgotten lover? A letter from someone, somewhere to whom we gave good advice when Carter was President?

How many times in our lives have we received anything that bears even a remote resemblance to mail like that? And what do we usually get – day after day after day?

Bills. Requests for money to help homeless children, abused children, religious causes in Africa, South America, and the rest of the world, cancer research, childrens’ hospitals, educational institutions, landmark preservations. More bills. Money for whale savers, stray cat and dog advocates, tree huggers, battered women, police and firemen retire- ment accounts, community restorations, wildlife protectors, funding for this old disease or that new treatment and baby seals.

Oh, and the advertisements. Incredible rates on pre-approved cards and once-in-a-life- time book offers. Prices on subscriptions where the cost of each magazine is less than the damn postage to mail it. Reminders of last chances to renew this or restart that and
even important looking letters from corporate officers saying how much they miss us. How nice. But you’d better act now! Don’t put this off for another minute! Stop your dull life and jump on the stamp-train to glory and riches!

We get catalogues for fruitcakes, dry-ice steaks and lobsters, oranges, bananas, apples, and pears. Treasures of trinkets and trash. Free! Free magnets, key holders, and return address labels. Free pens, pencils, and cardboard photo frames. And surely you’ll become maimed or crippled if you use this crap without sending in a donation. Like, how could you, ingrate?

And how lonely do you have to be to open anything addressed, “To our friends at………”, “Current Resident of……” or “Box holder”? Get a cat, wouldja?! Or even a friggin’ goldfish. Goldfish are good.

Now you agree with everything I’ve said, don’t you? But here’s the test. The next time you’re SUPPOSED to get the mail – don’t. Put it off a bit. Don’t worry about tragedy – emergencies come over the phone. But let’s face it. You’re a postal junkie. Try to ride out the craving; use your rational thinking process. You know one letter’s too many and a hundred letters aren’t enough.

Just ignore the damn mail for a day or two – really. Three days is kind of pushing it. If you’re not on vacation – and you don’t get your mail for three days – Postmen and Postwomen are trained to “tell someone.”

And then “someone” will come sniffing under your door. They’ll think you’re either strange . . . or dead.


What Did We Learn from Prohibition?

Friday, January 11th, 2008


My friend Stanley has severe knee joint pain which,
he believes, is helped by medical marijanna without
the heavy side effects of pharmaceutical painkillers
like Vicodin and Oxycottin.

The State of California issued him a card which
allows him to legally buy the drug in approved
stores without the fear of law enforcement reprisals.

Stanley has smoked pot for years and has not
“graduated” to “harder” drugs like cocaine, crack
or heroin. Also, he neither drinks nor smokes
which many medical studies have shown to be
much more harmful to the human body than pot.

My young friend, Jennifer, is in an overcrowded
state prison for crimes related to her drug addiction.
As a matter of fact, over 70% of all inmates in the
United States are sitting there for crimes related to
drugs. The entire US prison system is an industry
that’s worth a few hundred billion dollars a year. It’s
easily larger than most Fortune 500 companies.

By far, most of the murders, robberies, burglaries,
and assaults in this country are the direct result of
the huge profit in illegal drugs.

What if there was not big money in dealing drugs?
What if adults could easily obtain them in drug stores
cheaply and without hassles?

Would there be long lines of people trying to get
“high” who’ve never used drugs before? Hardly.
When England and Holland decriminalized many
drugs, there was virtually NO increase in their use
-in some studies, use DECREASED (after all, who
wants to be a known drug addict?)

Since the late ‘60’s, the hilarious “War on Drugs” has
cost this country over a TRILLION dollars. Has that
been a good investment for taxpayers? Nah, sorry.
A larger percentage of people use illegal drugs today
than when the “War” began.

Does this make you think? Better not. Hey,
is “American Idol” or “Survivor” on tonight?