Friday, April 30, 2010

Learning the Limits of Authority

A Department of Water representative stopped at a ranch and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation."

The old rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there."

The Department of Water representative said, "Mister, I have the authority of Federal Government with me. See this card? The card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?"

The old rancher nodded politely and went about his chores. Later, the old rancher heard loud screams and saw the Water Rep running for the fence and close behind was the rancher's bull.

The bull was gaining on the Water Rep with every step. The Rep was clearly terrified.

The old rancher immediately threw down his tools, ran to the fence and shouted, "Your card! Your card! Show him your card!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Madam President, Tear Down This Mechitza

Some day, Baruch HaShem, the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, will end the blatant, shameful discrimination against women that leads to this sort of dangerous mayhem. Not to mention this kind of embarassing nonsense.

The President of the Supreme Court is fit for office but not fit to pray with? Does the adjective medieval ring a ball?

When the blessed day comes and this "wall" (in the highlighted oval) comes down

Let's not forget to thank Anat Hoffman.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who's That?

A husband and wife were having dinner at a very fine restaurant when this absolutely stunning young woman comes over to their table, gives the husband a big, open-mouthed kiss, then says she'll see him later and walks away.

The wife glares at her husband and says, "Who the hell was that?"

"Oh," replies the husband, "she's my mistress."

"Well, that's the last straw," says the wife. "I've had enough, I want a divorce."

"I can understand that," replies her husband, "but remember, if we get a divorce it will mean no more shopping trips to Paris , no more wintering in Barbados , no more summers in Tuscany , no more Morgan or Lexus in the garage. And no more yacht club. But the decision is yours."

Just then, a mutual friend enters the restaurant with a gorgeous babe on his arm.

"Who's that woman with Jim ?" asks the wife.

"That's his mistress," says her husband.

"Ours is prettier," she replies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For Marc W.

I'm doing a favor here, and it's a long shot:

Marc W.: Please contact me. You don't have to talk to anyone you don't want to. But it would be a mitzvah to let me get word to your mom that you are out there, somewhere.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Can Prick Your Finger, But You Can't ...

A chicken farmer went to a local bar, sat next to a woman and ordered a glass of champagne.
The woman perked up and said, "How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne, too!"

"What a coincidence" said the farmer, "This is a special day for me. I am celebrating."
"This is a special day for me too, I am also celebrating," said the woman.

"What a coincidence," said the farmer, as they clinked glasses he added, "What are you celebrating?"
"My husband and I have been trying to have a child and today my gynecologist told me that I am pregnant!"

"What a coincidence," said the man, "I'm a chicken farmer and for years all of my hens were infertile, but today they are all laying fertilized eggs."
"That's great!" said the woman, "How did your chickens become fertile?"

"I used a different cock," he replied.
The woman smiled, clinked his glass and said, "What a coincidence!"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ellis Island Must Be Preserved

Aboard ship, after you saw "The Lady", you docked nearby.

Then you were pushed, pulled, poked and prodded through a wondrous place, the Great Hall at Ellis Island. You discovered a place that tried, and mostly succeeded, to implement the promise of the Emma Lazarus poem engraved in bronze at The Lady's base.

It must be preserved.

4/6/10 - The New York Times

Save Ellis Island, a nonprofit charged with restoring that historic immigrant gateway to America, may not be able to save itself.

The group has run out of money.

“We’re not able to keep it going a whole lot longer,” its president, Judith R. McAlpin, said in an interview. She added that the group, which recently posted an “urgent appeal” for donations on its Web site needs to raise about $500,000 in the next few weeks if it is to survive. If it does not, Save Ellis Island will have to return $512,000 in grants that it has already received to restore 30 buildings and repurpose them for public benefit, Ms. McAlpin said, and work on current projects will be suspended.

Save Ellis Island has been hurt not only by the decline in donations caused by the economic downturn, but also by major spending cuts from New Jersey, one of its longtime benefactors.

Ellis Island, which closed as an immigrant-processing center in 1954, has remained a serious concern for preservationists in the years since the main building was restored and opened as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 1990. Most of the remaining buildings — many on the island’s south side — have remained unused and in disrepair.

The World Monuments Fund put the island on its watch list of threatened sites in 1996 and 2006. The National Trust for Historic Preservation included Ellis Island on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places twice in the 1990s.

“Save Ellis Island has done a very good job of marshalling us,” said Richard Moe, the president of the National Trust, who serves on the Ellis Island group’s board. “We need an organization that’s solely focused on Ellis Island because this is such a significant historical site.”

Save Ellis Island says that it has to conduct a large-scale fund-raising drive if it hopes to cover the $350 million still needed for the renovations, but that it has been unable to get approval from the National Park Service, which oversees the island and the nearby Statue of Liberty.

“We’re lacking a public commitment to the campaign” from the Park Service, Ms. McAlpin said.

David Luchsinger, the Park Service’s superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, said the agency had been waiting for a feasibility study and strategic plan from Save Ellis Island. “We’ve been very supportive of them, trying to help them out in any way we can; we would like them to continue to be around,” Mr. Luchsinger said.

But Ms. McAlpin said that her organization believed that it could not complete a feasibility study without knowing if it could count on federal support. In recent years the United States Department of the Interior has contributed to the rehabilitation of Ellis Island, but no funds were appropriated for the island for the 2011 fiscal year.

Save Ellis Island said it had hoped to support its efforts with financing from a for-profit partner, which might, for example, hold conventions on the island. But the Park Service said certain agreements had to be in place before that move would be considered. This decision, Ms. McAlpin said, left Save Ellis Island more dependent on public funds and private contributions.

Mr. Luchsinger said the Park Service would continue to maintain and improve the island with whatever money is made available. “We’re going to continue to try to do our part as best we can, given the allocations,” he said. “Whether Save Ellis Island is here or not, that is our obligation.”

Save Ellis Island was established by a group of New York preservationists in 1999 to serve as a nonprofit partner for the Park Service, with the goal of rehabilitating the buildings. In 2007 the organization completed the restoration of the Ferry Building, a long hall built in Art Deco style by the federal Public Works Administration, which served as the departure point for immigrants who had passed their health and legal inspections. The Laundry/Hospital Outbuilding — which still holds machinery that washed, sterilized and dried the bedding of immigrant patients — is about 70 percent complete, Ms. McAlpin said.

“If we can’t save Ellis Island, I’d be pretty discouraged,” said Peg Breen, the president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, an advocacy group, who also serves on the island organization’s board. “There is a great story of America at its best out there. It would be a shame for this country if the south side of Ellis Island never happens.”

Save Ellis Island, which has an annual operating budget of $1.2 million, cut its staff to four from seven last Thursday; at its peak the organization had about 12 full-time staff members.

Most of Ellis Island’s 27.5 acres fall under New Jersey’s jurisdiction; the state fought New York and won sovereignty in a 1998 Supreme Court ruling after Christine Todd Whitman, the governor of New Jersey at the time, made Ellis Island a personal cause. In 2000 she announced the plan for the island’s redevelopment, to be overseen by Save Ellis Island and financed with private and public contributions.

“As New Jerseyans, we take great pride in our history,” she said at a news conference. “But we must also take care of our history so that future generations can share our pride and visit these landmarks of our national journey.”

New Jersey has contributed as much as $650,000 a year toward Save Ellis Island’s general operating funds, Ms. McAlpin said, but that figure dropped to zero for its 2011 budget, and the state is under no obligation to support Ellis Island.

New York State, which retains minority control of the island, has not given any funds, Ms. McAlpin said. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, said through a spokesman that she was working with senators from New Jersey to encourage Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, “and the interior appropriations subcommittee to secure the funding Ellis Island needs to continue operations and for much-needed upgrades to the park’s infrastructure.”

Still, the lack of government support is one of several problems that are making it increasingly difficult for Save Ellis Island to stay afloat. “It just makes me unspeakably sad,” Ms. McAlpin said. “This perfect storm of elements have come together and brought us to a stop."

Monday, April 5, 2010


Passed along by my wise friend Steve:

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs -- jolted by every pebble in the road."
Henry Ward Beecher

"There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt. And how do you know laughter if there is no pain to compare it with?"
Erma Bombeck

"Humor is but another weapon against the universe."
Mel Brooks

"Humor does not rescue us from unhappiness, but enables us to move back from it a little."
Mason Cooley

"First I was an idealist (that was early -- fools are born, not made...); next I was a realist; now I am a pessimist, and, by Jove! if things get much worse I'll become a humorist."
Ellen Glasgow

"A humorist is a man who feels bad but feels good about it."
Don Herold

"Humor is a rubber sword -- it allows you to make a point without drawing blood."
Mary Hirsch

"Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it."
Langston Hughes

"I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation."
W. Somerset Maugham

"Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs."
Christopher Morley

"My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity."
George Bernard Shaw

"A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your step as you walk the tightrope of life."
William Arthur Ward