Thursday, January 28, 2010

Golf Advice

Originally posted at a private country club:



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tax Advice

Snopes does not list this as "false," so you might want to check it out with the IRS or your local congressman.

Income taxes are normally due on April 15th unless that date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, in which case they are due on Monday the 16th or 17th.

However, there's a new timeline being follwed this year. Tax payments will not be due until you are nominated to a U.S. Cabinet position.

Please check with your tax adviser to confirm.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Charlton Heston Appreciation Day

If Tara can invent holidays, so can I:

Heston and I were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but the man had class. The stage production I saw of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, directed by Heston and in which he gave himself that most unappealing of roles --- Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg, USN --- was wonderful.

He had a talent for taking matters seriously without taking himself seriously. I think I'll always love him for taking on the role of an old ape in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake. The old ape takes it upon himself to explain to his son why humans can never be trusted and must always be subjugated. It's because they are capable of making a weapon so horrific, they cannot be allowed to be free.

And then the NRA President displays ... A GUN. I almost wet myself.

Another classy thing about Heston were the words he wrote when he chose to step back from the limelight as age started to take its toll. Here's his note, verbatim:

My Dear Friends, Colleagues and Fans:

My physicians have recently told me I may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimer's disease. So...I wanted to prepare a few words for you now, because when the time comes, I may not be able to. I've lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. I've found purpose and meaning in your response. For an actor there's no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can't part with you, which is why I won't exclude you from this stage in my life.

For now, I'm not changing anything. I'll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you'll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway. I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I believe I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew, but it's a fight I must someday call a draw. I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure. Please feel no sympathy for me. I don't. I just may be a little less accessible to you, despite my wishes.

I also want you to know that I'm grateful beyond measure. My life has been blessed with good fortune. I'm grateful that I was born in America, the cradle of freedom and opportunity, where a kid from the Michigan Northwoods can work hard and make something of his life. I'm grateful for the gift of the greatest words ever written, that let me share with you the infinite scope of the human experience. As an actor, I'm thankful that I've lived not one life but many. Above all, I'm proud of my wife Lydia, the queen of my heart, my children, Fraser and Holly, and my beloved grandchildren, Jack, Ridley and Charlie. They're my biggest fans, my toughest critics and my proudest achievement. Through them, I can touch immortality.

Finally, I'm confident about the future of America. I believe in you. I know that the future of our country, our culture and our children is in good hands. I know you will continue to meet adversity with strength and resilience, as our ancestors did, and come though with flying colors - the ones on Old Glory.

William Shakespeare, at the end of his career, wrote his farewell through the words of Prospero, in "The Tempest." it ends like this:

Be Cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Thank you, and God bless you, everyone."
Charlton Heston

Monday, January 18, 2010


My wise friend Michel sent this along.

It impossible to think about questions without also thinking about the nature and importance of answers, so here are some of history's best observations and memorable quotations on that subject:

"The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers."
Ruth Benedict

"A soft answer turneth away wrath."
The Bible, Proverbs 15:1

"A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There are no right answers to wrong questions."
Ursula K. Le Guin

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
H. L. Mencken

"No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious."
George Bernard Shaw

"However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words."
Ivan Turgenev

Friday, January 15, 2010

Typical Israeli Humanitarian Efforts in Haiti

will be followed by a typically collective "ho-hum" from the rest of the world.

If you look into the history here, Israel is a world leader in putting emergency-trained, emergency-ready boots on the ground.

From the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Israel sends a relief delegation to Haiti
A 220-person delegation, headed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, will leave Thursday evening (January 14, 2010) for Port-au-Prince

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Israel wishes to express its solidarity with the Government and people of Haiti during this great disaster. We send our condolences to the families of the casualties, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

Israel is doing all in its power to help the people of Haiti cope with the disaster in their country. A 220-person delegation, headed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, will leave Thursday evening (January 14, 2010) for Port-au-Prince on two Boeing 747 jets leased from El Al by the IDF. The relief package includes a Home Front Command field hospital and rescue unit, as well as teams from Magen David Adom and Israel Police.

Israel's ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Amos Radian, is currently in Port-au-Prince, where he is coordinating Israel's contribution with local authorities and international aid agencies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Speeding Funnies

Speeding - Good, Better and Best:

Just outside town, a policeman found a perfect spot to watch for speeders, but wasn't getting many. Then he discovered the problem --- a 12-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand-painted sign, which read 'RADAR TRAP AHEAD'. The officer also found the boy had an accomplice who was down the road with a sign reading 'TIPS' and a bucket full of money.

A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through an automated radar post. A $40 speeding ticket was included. Being cute, he sent the police department a photo of two $20 bills. The police responded by sending the motorist a photo of handcuffs.

BEST: A young woman was pulled over for speeding. A State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book. She said, 'I bet you're going to sell me a ticket to the State Trooper's Ball.'

He replied, 'Washington State Troopers don't have balls.'

There was a moment of silence. He then closed his book, got back in his patrol car and left.

The versions of this on snopes are pretty funny, too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thank You, Glasgow

Monkeyboy had a poetry assignment due on Friday.

From up in his room, he e-mailed it to me down by the laundry machines and the PC on Thursday. (The printer's not networked).

I've done some reverse engineering to understand how he came to write one of the six pages of different types of poetry.

It starts with a very good lesson plan here.

The kids read this wonderful poem, by George Ella Lyon.

Then, under the supervision of a masterful 7th grade English teacher, the students write their own poem, in the same style.

Here's Monkeyboy's:

Where I'm From
I'm from the adrenaline of close escapes
from the oppressed of a dictatorship
I'm from the sight of the mountains
4000 feet above them

I'm from the smell of new ink toner
from wondering how a machine works
I'm from tasting a Hershey bar
and bearing the secrets of where my chocolate stashes were to my grave

I'm from lawyers who aren't evil
but who get paid a million dollars lower than those who are
I'm from the sight of sheet music
and playing it until midnight

I'm from wacky stories told at the dinner table
and from outgrowing shoes every 2 months

And I'm from all my ancestors, who have made me who I am.
I'm all verklempt. Tawk amongst yawselves.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday 5: Last Resorts

I found this today, by way of What Fresh Hell is This, which you really ought to be reading. Here are my answers. Feel free to play along, either on your own blog or in the comments here.

1) What’s something you wear only when you’re just about out of clean clothes?
Briefs with half of the cotton detached from the waistband. Sorta like unintentional drop-seat underpants.

2) Who’s someone you hang out with only if nobody else is available?
Judge Judy. Nah, that's not true. I'd rather watch static.

3) What’s something you eat only when the budget is really, really tight?

4) Who’s someone you call for help only if you absolutely must?
Anyone I already owe cash.

5) What’s something you’ll watch on television only because it’s slightly better than watching nothing?
Not Judge Judy.

Ummm, The Suite Life: On Deck?

Or maybe reruns of Gene Rayburn, Brett Sommers and the gang, on Match Game, on the Gameshow Network.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer?

The Father of Many

A little boy got on the bus, sat next to a man reading a book, and noticed he had his collar on backwards.

The little boy asked why he wore his collar that way. The man, who was a priest, said "I am a father."

The little boy replied, "my daddy doesn't wear his collar like that."

The priest looked up from his book and answered, "I am the father of many."

The boy said "my dad has 4 boys, 4 girls and two grandchildren and he doesn't wear his collar that way."

The priest getting impatient said "I am the father of hundreds" and went back to reading his book.

The little boy sat quietly thinking for awhile, then leaned over and said, "maybe you should wear your pants backwards instead of your collar."