Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stopping Gossip

With thanks to my friend Michel for forwarding this to me:

Stopping Gossip
Channah, self-appointed monitor of the synagogue's morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people's business. Several members did not approve, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Moishe, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his car parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Moishe (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

Moishe, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Moishe quietly parked his car in front of Channah's house, walked home, and left it there all night.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods

We leave tomorrow for a visit to our ancestral homeland. For RFB and me, that's Rochester, NY. For Monkeyboy it's the golden land of grandparental indulgence. Three grandparents, plus assorted aunts, uncle and cousins.

I'm looking forward to it, too. I very badly need to get away from work.

But uggh, the drive. 8-9 hours in the car tomorrow. We'll leave very early tomorrow morning to try to avoid D.C.'s a.m. rush hour.

Coming back we'll stop overnight in central Pennsylvania at a wonderful place called the Country Cupboard.

It's right across Route 15 from the Allenwood Federal Correctional Facility. Maybe we'll see some famous crook's relatives. (Allenwood has a reputation as a Club Fed, but that's probably an exaggeration.)

I'll have limited access to the Internet, on this trip, I think.

So have a good rest of week, y'all. Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up. I'll endeavor to do the same.

(By the way, Ted is staying with a hamster-friendly family. I know some of you worry about that sort of thing. )

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Olberman Rants Better Than I Do - Iraq

From the opening of MSNBC's "Countdown, with Keith Olberman" last Friday, July 20th:

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I've noticed a spate of blogger birthdays since my own.

How many of us are Cancers?

Whaddya s'pose it means?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


RFB saw this on a car in a parking lot yesterday.

I checked on Google. You can get one here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Important Warning from Monkeyboy

MiDC recently got this in an e-mail. We thought it was important to share:

Subject: Police warning- please pass along

Police are urging visitors to their local mall to be especially vigilant for a new gang operating a slick routine that is aimed at stealing from unwary persons.

They say that the gang usually comprises four members. While the three younger ones, all appearing to be cute and innocent, divert their "mark" (the intended victim) with a show of friendliness and fun, the fourth - the eldest of this gang of criminals - sneaks in from behind the person's back to expertly rifle undetected through their pockets and bags for any valuables being carried.

The picture below, taken from CCTV operating in the inner city, shows the gang in operation.

Lottery Ticket

The lottery ticket vendor in the lobby of my office building keeps selling me defective tickets.

They never win.

I think the whole thing is rigged, so that hardly anyone ever wins.

Wait a minute, you mean that's how it's supposed to work?

I need to start a lottery. Sounds like a great business, from the other side of the counter.

Wait another minute, you mean the government grants itself a legal monopoly on lotteries?

If I run one, they call it a numbers racket and throw me in the hoosegow?

Mel Brooks was right: It's good to be the King.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Slow Down

Many thanks to my friend Michel, for passing this along:

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack." No smile.

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once."

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" "I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct ." Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?"

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack, in the car"

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.

The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.

Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?

Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke?

Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.

A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now, pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left."


Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message; please pass it along to your friends. Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Morning Commute

I thought about this after dropping Monkeyboy off at sports camp today.

From the time I drop him off until the time I pull into the garage under my office, I pass a lot of cool things. I sometimes take it for granted. Today, I didn't.

Fort Myer - This is the home of the military unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknowns, and that helps solemnize far too many funerals at Arlington lately. It is a great honor to serve here and it draws the best of our best.

(If you want to know more, rent Gardens of Stone. It's a classic. Coppolla directs. At the top of his game. James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Fishburne and a host of others show you what real movie acting is supposed to look like.)

The new Air Force Memorial, overlooking the Pentagon - Words are inadequate here. This is the Capital Area's newest, and most beautiful, memorial park and public sculpture.

The Pentagon itself - pretty gol' darn impressive building, all in all.

9/11 coulda been even worse if it wasn't. That side of the building had been refurbished and reinforced just half a year before the attack. It saved a lotta lives.

The rebuilding effort was inspiring. All of Washington was rooting for the builders to meet their deadline of restoration within a year. Working day and night, they met it and we all cheered.

Unless a local shows you, you won't figure for yourself which of the building's eponymous 5 sides was hit.

The 14th Street Bridge - The one the plane crashed into. The one Howard Stern made the joke about (calling an Air Florida ticket agent live, the next day, to inquire about the cost of a ticket from National to the 14th Street Bridge), which got him fired, which unleashed him on New York and then on the rest of the world. The Law of Unintended Consequences can be a bitch.

The Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin - Beauty itself during Cherry Blossom season. And very pretty all through the year.

The Washington Monument - It's actually a little silly. But cool nonetheless. I kinda like the fact that it's two-tone. For 50 years or so, it was the Washington Stump. Then, later in the 19th century, fundraising was renewed and the great --- and truly impressive --- obelisk was completed.

But the delineation between old and new marble is hilariously obvious. When our national politics are going badly, I look at it as a hopeful metaphor.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Medicare Meets Mephistopheles

O.K., how often do you suppose you're gonna get a recommendation from me for a book published by the Cato Institute (a libertarian think tank) and denouncing one of the most important legacies of LBJ's "Great Society" program?

I've known David Hyman since I was a toddler. His mom and mine were roommates on Long Island in the fifties when both were single, young school teachers and neither he nor I was yet even a gleam in anyone's eye. The women bonded, as sisters, for life. His mom calls me David Harry. My mom calls him David Andrew.

Anyway, David is a lawyer, a medical doctor, a professor and a skilled policy analyst. He's written a book describing Medicare's failings.

The gimmick, and it's an inspired one, is that he's written it, in memorandum form, in the voice of one of Satan's minions. He reports, in great detail, how Medicare has worked --- exactly as they intended --- to further the Dark Lord's plans for humanity.

After some prefatory material, he evaluates Medicare for how successfully it encourages each of the 7 deadly Sins. (You know: Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Sleepy, Sneezy, Comet and Vixen. Or something like that.) One chapter per Sin.

Just in case he hasn't made his point yet, he adds two additional chapters that detail how the program undermines the American virtues of thrift and truthfulness.

This book has charts, graphs and endnotes. It's a scholarly work.

But it's also damnably funny.

Check it out.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

More Humor from my Mom

Actually, my Mom sent this to RFB. Hmmm.

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.

She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, Isn't that obvious?)

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think. Send this to four women who are thinkers. If you receive this, you know you're intelligent.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Have No Fear ...

It's Superhero Appreciation Day over at e.clec.tic spaghetti. And on the many blogs who use Taradays for inspiration.

He spoke only in rhyme.

His alter ego was a lovable shoeshine boy.

He was voiced by the late, great Wally Cox.

(You may remember Wally from the upper left hand box on the original Hollywood Squares game show.)

When he needed extra power, he popped a power pill from a special ring he wore.

His one true love was that hottie Sweet Polly Purebred

Look up in the air, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a frog!
Not bird, nor plane nor even frog. Just little old me:


I once played in a youth group band: "The Misharmonic Purple Scum Band." We only played about three songs. Our big number was (The Theme from) Underdog. To this day I can sing both verses and the chorus.

In putting together this post, I ran across this great Hollywood Squares site.

It says that, upon opening the show of February 16, 1973, the day after Wally's death, Peter Marshall said:

Dear Lord, have no fear, Underdog is there!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Instant Karma

RFB and Monkeyboy gave me a cool Green Day T-shirt and an unbelievably good 2-cd set of various artists playing John Lennon tunes for my birthday.

Click Here to get yours. Money from the sale of both items helps fund Amnesty International's efforts in Darfur.

U2 opens the festivities with a brilliant "Instant Karma".

Soon after, Aerosmith and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars sing "Give Peace a Chance".

Steven Tyler screams the lyrics nobody ever knows (Baggism, Shaggism, etc ...). The choruses build and build and build until you just know John's smiling a wry smile down on the whole shebang. If you believe in that sort of thing.

Los Lonely Boys shine on "Whatever Gets You Through the Night." Lenny Kravetz wails on "Cold Turkey." Big and Rich hit a home run with "Nobody Told Me."

And I haven't even heard the 2nd disc yet.

I'll betchya Avril Lavigne doing "Imagine" will be as good as anything I've heard so far.

Matisyahu doing "Watching the Wheels" promises to be an experience to remember. That one could be a train wreck. I'll let you know.

I haven't ranted about Darfur in a while, but it should never be too far from our minds.

http://www.savedarfur.org/ is a good place to go to see what else you can do.

But at the very least, please consider buying the record. It's a classic.

UPDATE: I'm sooooo 20th century. You can buy individual tunes too.

At the End of the Rainbow

Thanks to my friend Michel for this Monday morning giggle.