The David Ortiz Boston Red Sox jersey that was buried in the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium, and then dug up sold for over $175,000 recently to benefit the Jimmy Fund.  Said fund is a Boston-based cancer charity.  I hope the guy who thought up that PR stunt got a big raise.  It got a lot of coverage and did some serious good.

What?  I can’t be the only person who thinks that whole thing was staged. 

Megan Fox is the sexiest woman in the world, at least according to FHM magazine.  She’s certainly a very pretty young woman, at least according to the pictures I’ve seen.   I don’t believe I’ve ever met any of the women on that list, although my son was in the background in a picture of Paris Hilton that got published in a Las Vegas newspaper last year around this time.

Still, it strikes me as odd that all of the 100 women on that list published in FHM are actresses, models, or both.  All of them appear to be young.  All of them range from well known to famous, and from well-to-do to rich. Do you mean to tell me there are no sexy female nuclear scientists, or medical doctors, or hair dressers, or prostitutes, or stay-at-home moms with 18 kids?  I bet there are.  To quote two of the leading intellectuals on National Public Radio, “BO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-GUS!”

So, this is a list of pretty, well-known and relatively wealthy young women and not a list of the 100 sexiest women in the world.  After all, how would you determine the world’s 100 sexiest women?  Would you have a contest with Eliot Spitzer, a couple of professional athletes, rock stars, and Charlie Sheen as judges?  Would you vote on it?  Would the voters have to prove that they’ve had personal experience with the sexiness of the women they’re voting for?  How would they do that, exactly?  Spring break locations around the world could vie with one and other to hold the contest.  What a boost for tourism.

I’ve got an idea along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal.”  For those who are victims of a modern education, that means my idea is satire.  How about we have nominations like the baseball All-Star Game with the participants selected by the fans?  Then let’s have a performance exam, similar to the idea behind a third-year law school student’s mock trial.

Seriously, all lists of this type are PR stunts, and no list of this sort is definitive.  In addition to the fact that to be on the list you have to already be well known, the contents have a lot to do with who picks the list and how badly their ax needs grinding.  I don’t think anyone’s list of the top 100 films of all time has “Baby Mama” on it, or “Soylent Green” either.  Mine does have “Casablanca” though, and “Miracle on 34th Street” too.  I love that film.  Your results may vary.

The contents of such lists also have a lot to do with how old you are.  My daughter’s list of the top 100 songs of all time would undoubtedly contain something by Marilyn Manson or Bif Naked.  Mine would have “Wind,” not the Jesters’ version either, the one by Nolan Strong and the Diablos.


Did you know that the National Broadcasting Company used to be considered the standard for pronunciation of English words in the United States?  There was a publication called The NBC Handbook of Pronunciation by Eugene H. Ehrlich and Raymond Hand, Jr.  It was, as the name implies a reference on how to say words in the English language.  It seems to be out of print, but it is available on, although some sellers want a lot of money for it.  was the link last time I checked.

The reason I bring this up is that in the first few minutes of NBC’s coverage of Pope Benedict’s visit to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan on Sunday morning, the NBC host called a guest the president “emetrius [sic])” of a university, and said the Holy Father was visiting “hollowed [sic]” ground.  Meaning no disrespect to the thousands of people who died there, of course it’s hollowed ground:  there’s a big hole in the ground where two enormous buildings and three-thousand people used to be.  Even the spell-checker in MS Word knew I really meant hallowed ground when I was writing this post.  Why didn’t the professional TV news person who was broadcasting the ceremony on Sunday?


My late aunt, Joan, was late for everything even before she died.  Deceiving people who must be late so they will be on time only works for so long.  Then they catch on to your tricks, those tricks stop working and they go back to being late, only with a vengeance.  After all, they have to make up for time that wasn’t lost.  My mother invited Aunt Joan to come to the house for Sunday dinner at 1:00 PM.  Mom planned the dinner for 3:00 PM.  Aunt Joan showed up at 5:00 PM.  My dopey mother didn’t serve dinner until she got there.  When Aunt Joan sat down to dinner, the very first words out of her mouth were:  “This meat is overcooked.”   I replied: “It wasn’t over-cooked four hours ago.”  

Aunt Joan wasn’t even a doctor!  You’ve heard the old joke haven’t you?   Question:  What’s the difference between God and a doctor?  Answer:  God doesn’t think he’s a doctor. 

For some time now, doctors have been having staff call patients to remind them of appointments.  Lately, a new and more annoying practice has come into common usage.  They use a computer to make the call, and it insists you press  one to confirm the appointment.  If you don’t press “one,” the computer will harass you by calling you back until you do press “one.” I call this machine a Press One computer and I’d be more sanguine about doctors using it they made any effort at all to be on time themselves.

Is patients not showing for appointments a big problem?  Is it as big a problem as doctors not keeping appointments?  Is there a no-call list I can get on so they can’t do this to me?  There should be.  I am the second most punctual person in the world.  I say that because it’s almost never good to claim absolutes.  What I really mean is once you have met me, whoever was the most punctual person you knew won’t be anymore.  Punctuality is my most noticeable neurosis.

I am particularly annoyed today because my endocrinologist got one of those Press One computers.  He is the second least punctual person I ever met, and I have met both my former orthopedist, and the deceased anti-Vietnam War congressman Allard K. Lowenstein.   In the thirteen years I’ve been seeing this doctor, I’ve never been late and he’s never been on time.  If he had a person call me up to remind me to be on time, I believe I’d yell at that person.  If he called me up to remind me to be on time, I know I’d yell at him.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, insanity is expecting different outcomes when repeating the same action over and over.  I know this doctor is going to be late enough to be the envy of the overwhelming majority of those practicing healing arts.  In an attempt to short-circuit his tardiness, I sign myself up for his first appointment of the day.  This means I have to get up early enough to be at his office before 7:30 AM.  His office is 15 miles away and rush hour starts long before 7:30 AM in my neighborhood. 

Today, he came into my examining room for my 7:30 appointment at 8:45!  How did he manage that?  Easy!  He made four appointments for the same time.  So, now he’s harassing me to be on time yet making the first appointment of the day isn’t going to cut down my waiting anymore.  I didn’t walk out for three reasons:  I needed prescription renewals; walking out would further inconvenience me; and if I left, I’d be doing him a favor by helping him get closer to schedule.  I didn’t complain because I’ve done that before, and his response was, “If you don’t like it, find another doctor.”  75 minutes late for your first appointment is bad enough to make finding another doctor quite appealing.  But how do I find one who will be more scrupulous about keeping appointments?  That thought must have occurred to at least one other person.  But he or she is still working on it.  The url does belong to someone, but it isn’t up and running.  It isn’t even under construction.  It’s just parked.  Damn!


Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Pride of lions, gaggle of geese, murder of crows.  Today, I found myself wondering what the correct term is for a large gathering of putzes.  It happens often enough there has to be a word for it I think.

If a policeman pulls you over, why does he ask if you know how fast you were going?  If he doesn’t already know, why did he pull you over in the first place?

If my call really was important to you, wouldn’t you hire somebody to answer the damned phone?

How did they figure out that Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies could be frozen?  At my house, they would all be eaten long before they got that cold and no matter how many boxes you bought.

Is there any way to reserve a rental car at an airport, fly to that airport, and get the make and model of car you reserved, instead of an “or similar?”

Can you be paranoid if everybody is out to get you?

Catching Up

Is there anything better than the home opener of your favorite baseball team?  For me, the answer is yes, a home opener where your favorite baseball team wins.  Note to Chase Utley:  it’s baseball, not dodge ball.  But I have to give the Phillies their due.  They beat the Mets last year and they beat the Mets again today.

The MLB Extra Innings package was offered as a free preview last week on my local cable system.  It ended on Sunday.  I found out on Sunday.  Why wasn’t I told earlier?  If I didn’t have anything else to do, I’d probably pay the money for that.  Imagine, being able to watch almost any major league game going on.  Is this a great country or what?

I’ll be traveling more than usual in the next few months.  If airlines are in the business of annoying their customers, they’re doing a good job.  I don’t relish the flying part of my next two trips  I was in Albany NY last week for a conference, but I drove there, and I like to drive.  When I was much younger, I considered going to college at RPI, but didn’t care for the Albany area.  It has improved a lot in the years in between.  It’s pretty nice now.  I’ve stayed in a number of good hotels in Colonie, and in Albany itself.  And, there are some nice restaurants too.  Unfortunately, the hotel I stayed in this time doesn’t see fit to allow patrons to watch the Mets or Yankees in their rooms.  You can watch in the bar in the lobby, but I don’t drink and do like to follow the game’s audio,   I even bring a radio to the ballpark.  So I passed.

I like going to conferences as a break from the office, to network and to learn something.  I don’t like being away from home very much though.  I’m about the biggest homebody I know. 

The kind of job I have requires renewal from time to time.  I was reappointed yesterday.  If you want or need a job, it’s good to have a job.  A rabbi I know told me last night that a job is a good reason to get up in the morning.  Unless you work nights, he’s right, I suppose.  If I were independently wealthy, I think I could find other reasons for getting up though, but I’m not even dependently wealthy, so I’ll never be sure.  The kind of job I have also requires external audit and we’re going through that.  The auditors seem like decent folks, but some of the rules they follow are silly.  I understand all about depreciation, but it’s an awful lot of work to get an answer that isn’t even close to correct.  At least that’s what I think.

Things I Know

My son got on a plane in Taipei just before 8:00 PM.  He flew to San Francisco where he arrived at a little before 3:00 PM the same day!  I’ve learned I don’t understand the international dateline.

Be nice to people.  It’s easier and more satisfying to start out nice and escalate to nasty than it is to start out nasty and back off to nice.

Loud does not equal correct or smart. 

Since I must be on time for all appointments, it’s a good thing I didn’t become a doctor.

George Washington wasn’t born on his birthday.  It’s true!   I swear!  I have no idea why I know that instead of knowing something that would make me a lot of money.

Never threaten anyone.  It spoils the surprise, and helps the prosecutor prove premeditation.

Most people shorten Murphy’s Law, thus leaving out an important piece of information.  The part they remember is:  “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”  The part they should remember is:  “and at the worst possible time.”   They should also remember Murphy was an incurable optimist.

I like those six-foot hero sandwiches delis make up for parties.  But I can never finish one.