Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Can we give President Obama his own TV show so he won’t interrupt all the other shows so much?

  • Who invented the common cold?  It was a really, really bad idea.

  • Is nothing sacred?  A woman in Dayton Ohio was caught embezzling money from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies.  She has agreed to repay $20,000.  If she stole the cookies instead of the money, and if all the cookies were Thin Mints, I’d buy as many as I could afford from her so she could pay back the Girl Scouts.

  • If speed bumps slow down traffic, what do goose bumps do?

  • I went to a catered fund-raising dinner where one of the deserts on the buffet was cream puffs filled with chocolate pudding rather than whipped cream.  Why didn’t I think of that?

  • If I buy a Saturn and lose my job, Saturn will make my car payments, right?  What happens if I buy a Saturn and I lose my job and Saturn goes out of business?

  • Has there ever been a reality TV show that contained even one iota of reality?

Things I Know

  • I’m looking for a great big Fiat decal to put on the back window of my Chrysler.

  • I used to think upper respiratory infection was just a longer way to say bronchitis.  I was wrong.  Bronchitis, it turns out, is actually a lower respiratory infection.   Who knew?

  • If Judge Sotomayor saved baseball, maybe she’s okay, but some things she has said trouble me.

  • I don’t know why the news media is so obsessed with opposition to this Supreme Court nominee.  Republicans don’t have enough votes to do anything about it except ask a few questions.  I’d be surprised if she isn’t confirmed by at least 80 votes in the Senate.

  • The commercial for featuring Dennis Leary is brilliant.  It’s even better than the one with Alec Baldwin.  Leary comes across as a little more maniacal

  • If being well known is what qualifies contestants to leave the island on the new reality TV show, “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here,” then some of the contestants are going to be there for a long time.

  • Nobody should be surprised if GM, soon to be known as Government Motors, goes bankrupt next week.  The company has been in decline for more than 40 years.  Not a steady decline, but a long-term decline nevertheless.

Adventures in Musteroling

Do germs get sick?  I hope so.

Getting well and staying well are two major driving forces in the world’s economic engine, but otherwise, I don’t see any purpose for illness.  I know there are people who contend that you can’t enjoy the good without something bad to compare it to.  Count me as dubious.  I, for one, would like to try enjoying good with no bad.

When I was a kid if you were sick and moping around home, my Aunt Nancy, who was a nurse, called that “musteroling,” after the mustard-based patent medicine ointment.  I don’t know if they still make Musterole; I don’t think so. is a website written in Arabic.  I don’t pretend to understand Arabic, but the website doesn’t seem to be selling ointment.

I’ve been musteroling for the past week.  It’s no fun.  Being sick is not a good way to use up all of your sick days at work either.  I don’t think what I have is serious, but I haven’t gotten any better, even though I’ve watched as much daytime TV as I could stand, and a little more.  I hope I don’t have to take the drastic step of eating hospital food to get well.  That would mean going to the hospital and I already know from experience that being hospitalized is a bad idea.

My adventures in musteroling started last Friday.  I had an infected ingrown toenail, so off I went to the podiatrist.  He told me I actually had two infected toenails, cut and pulled out little pieces.  Pulling your nails out probably was effective as torture when people used to do it for that purpose.  The podiatrist certainly over-estimated how much pulling of nails I could tolerate without local anesthesia.  Ouch is just one of the many four-letter words I uttered.

Then, over the weekend, my throat got sore, my head got stuffy and instead of performing the requisite food grilling ritual on Memorial Day, I was musteroling.  Soon afterward, I developed chest congestion, a post-nasal deluge and a horrible cough.  How bad is the cough?  It hurts!  My chest and stomach muscles are sore from coughing.  I’ve been sleeping all week in a reclining chair.  At least it took my mind off my feet. 

It’s not the worst cough I ever had.  For that one, it also hurt my back to cough.  If you cough so hard you pull a muscle in your back, try leaning against a wall to cough.  That seemed to help me.

On Wednesday, I felt a little better, but that was just the germs messing with me.  So on Thursday, I went to the doctor.  One thing I hate when I go the doctor is if anyone there says, “How are you?”  That’s what I’m there to find out.  The doctor gave me a rapid flu test.  I thought she said rabbit flu test, but no, it was rapid flu test.  There is such a thing as rabbit flu, but it’s much rarer than the swine flu that’s all the rage right now.  I don’t have the flu. 

So, I had to have a chest x-ray to find out if I have pneumonia.  Don’t know yet.  Hope not.  I’ve done that before and I don’t want to do it again.  My wife has pneumonia.  She had something very similar to what I have, but she had it first and went to the doctor first.  She caught the pneumonia just as it was starting and seems to be doing fine.  She will, of course, have another x-ray in a few days to make sure she is doing fine.  It’s important she takes care of herself.  If she doesn’t, how will she take care of me?

As I was leaving the doctor’s office this afternoon, the receptionist said to me, “Feel better.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?” I replied.

Things I Know

  • Those guys calling me all the time have it wrong.  The two cars I own are about to expire.  The warranties for those two cars expired a long time ago.

  • Not only are Senators Warner and Schumer after the auto warranty sales callers, so is the entire Internet.

  • I never buy anything from telemarketers or spammers.  Doing so would encourage them to do it again and they don’t need any encouragement.

  • My oldest friend signed up for Facebook, so I signed up too.    It’s too early to tell if I like it.

  • These days when I go outside, my car is covered with flowers.  That’s a whole lot better than my car being covered with snow.

  • Weather permitting; I will get to see a Met game at Citi Field in July.

Things I Know About Facebook

When I was a kid, another kid in my neighborhood used to go up to people he knew and people he didn’t know too and ask, “Are you my friend the best?”

If computers were as advanced as they are now, and if he were good with computers, he could have invented Facebook, or MySpace.  But they weren’t and he wasn’t, so he didn’t.

My oldest friend recently joined Facebook and he invited me to join, so I did.  I’m certainly no expert, but here are a few things I’ve learned in the few days I’ve belonged.  The first is both of my adult children use Facebook.  I am not going to ask them to be my friends.  I don’t think they’d want that.  I’m their father, not their friend.

Some people are very selective and some people want to accumulate as many friends as possible.  If you have a lot of friends and they’re all chatty, you could spend your entire life reading your wall.  I know some people are addicted to Facebook.  I’m not, at least not yet.  I’ll keep you posted right here and maybe on my wall too.

A couple of people I don’t know invited me to be their friends.  I accepted one of them because he is and I used to be in the broadcast news business and we know a lot of the same people.  The guy posts a lot.  He posts more than everyone else on my list of friends combined.  It’s almost like having your own personal AP news wire.

Some of the profile pictures are pretty strange and some of them aren’t very useful.  My picture has me in the foreground, and the Grand Canyon in the background.  Still, if I didn’t know it was me, I wouldn’t recognize me in the picture.  One of my friends apparently took his own picture, not with a tripod, but by holding the camera at arm’s length.  That didn’t really work so well.  Another looks kind of like an 18th-century pirate in his picture since he’s wearing a head scarf and the picture is taken on a boat.  Of all my friends, the profile picture I like the best is the one of that closely resembles Grizzly Adams.

The Facebook search engine could be a lot more useful.  The thing I find really strange is you can search for a person’s name and get a pages of results and nothing near the top seems to have anything to do with that name.  How exactly does that work?  At least it could tell you something more about a name you search for than just the name and the listing of their friends.  I’d like it if you could click on and enlarge profile pictures that show up with a search.  That way, you’d have a better chance of recognizing the person in the picture.  I’d like it if you could do the same thing to pictures of people in lists of friends and for the same reason.

I know Facebook is a business and it is to the owners’ advantage to have as many members as possible.  Still, I wouldn’t want to let the program search my contact list for those people who are on their system and then invite them all to be my friends.  There are people on my contact list I wouldn’t want to annoy and a few I wouldn’t want to annoy me.

It doesn’t surprise me that people of both major political parties follow politicians who don’t share their political views.  It does surprise me a little that politicians from both major political parties follow other politicians who don’t share their political views.

I don’t know how much it costs and I don’t have anything to sell, but if I had something to sell, it seems to me ads on Facebook could be extremely targeted.  So for some things, it’s got to be an effective marketing tool.

I have 14 friends so far.  If I get to feeling strongly, one way or the other, about Facebook, I’ll let you know.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Did they release the results of the MRI of the horse “I Want Revenge” that scratched from the Kentucky Derby?  I was wondering, did the MRI make the horse’s nose itch too?

  • All the spam I get offers to sell me Cialis or Viagra.  Why doesn’t anyone try to sell Levitra that way?

  • If I needed Cialis or Viagra, I’d already be annoyed, so what makes the Internet spam generators think I need to be further annoyed with nine-million unwanted e-mails a week?

  • I know there are exceptions to the federal no-call law, but if I went to the trouble of getting on the no call list, what makes anyone think I’d welcome their call, even if it falls into one of the exceptions?  When my cell phone company started calling me because my contract was expiring, I told them that if I had to stop doing business with them to get them to stop calling me that could be arranged.

  • Could the Mets possibly catch the ball or hit the ball or both when Johan Santana is pitching?

  • A few years ago, my wife let slip a previously carefully guarded secret.  She likes lilacs.  I wonder what awful thing she expected to happen once I knew that.  So far, she’s got four lilac bushes growing in the back yard.  I bought the most recent one for Mother’s Day.   Each is a different color.  Is that so bad?

Things I Know

  • Marty Ingles suggested that his wife, actress Shirley Jones of Partridge Family fame, ought to pose naked for Playboy.  Shirley Jones is 75.  Well, he got her name all over the media and he was once a comedian.

  • I’ve been objecting for years to the practice of using the word “like” instead of using a comma, or just pausing.  I went to one Ivy League University for less time than it takes to graduate.  Our first lady, Michelle Obama went to two Ivy League Universities and graduated from both.  Michelle Obama uses the word “like” that way.  If it’s okay for the first lady, I guess we’ve lost that battle and I’ll shut up about it.

  • If you’re a TV reporter who has to do live updates over a period of hours from a place where nothing is happening, that’s got to be more boring to do than it is to watch.  And it is boring to watch.

  • Last week, on Tuesday, I heard a radio replay of a call in Monday night’s Mets game.  The play-by-play announcer said the Mets had back-to-back two-run homers.  That’s impossible!

  • You can’t work or laugh your ass off.

I Eventually Apologized to Horses

My story of how I left one job just before my boss was about to favor me with his guidance hit a nerve; at least the story provoked a response.  That was a job in the normal world.  Here’s one from the abnormal world (AKA radio).

If you are what the broadcasting industry calls talent and you lose your job, you have to move, sell cars or insurance, or go into advertising or public relations until you can find another on-the-air job in the market where you live.  Sometimes the people at the unemployment office understand and sometimes not.  In one market where I was fired, there were 13 radio stations including the two that just fired me.  Assuming the people who canned me meant it, there were 11 other stations where I could seek employment and since some owners had more than one station, there were fewer than 11 companies eligible to engage my services.  Some of those were places where I wouldn’t work and some probably wouldn’t hire me.

To get another on-air job, I moved six hours away from where I’d lived before.  It didn’t go well.  One reason was that I was young and full of myself.  There were probably others.  My employer may even have caused some of them.  I’m not in favor of burning bridges behind me, but when I was in my early 20’s and hot headed (I’m neither now), I had no objection to throwing what arson investigators call an accelerant on a bridge that was already on fire and this situation was already hopeless.

My boss and I agreed on only one thing.  We each thought the other was a pig-headed idiot.  I was right and now that I’m more mature, I’m willing to allow that he may have been right too.  One day, I had a huge argument with him; I don’t remember why.  I called him another part of another animal’s anatomy.  I called him a horse’s ass, if you must know.  It was not a nice thing to say about horses.  I’m sorry now, but I wasn’t sorry then.

My boss tattled to his boss.  His boss told me, in front of my boss, that I had to apologize.  You already know what’s coming, don’t you?  That’s right!  In front of both of them, I said, “Okay, I’m sorry you’re a horse’s ass.”

Two or three years ago, I was at a conference in Albany, NY.  At dinner on the closing night, the organizers hired a comedian.  I wish I remembered his name.  He was funny.  Most of his act was about how he was fired from all the jobs he had before he became a comedian.  After the show, I told him I enjoyed his act and that I could empathize because I was once fired for apologizing to my boss.  Then I told him the story I just told you.  Another reason I wish I could remember the comedian’s name is to find out whether he incorporated my story into his act.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • How can National Vanilla Pudding day fall in the middle of National Chocolate Custard Month?  That’s just not right!

  • “I Want Revenge,” the pre-race favorite in the Kentucky Derby, was scratched on race day because of a sore ankle.  The horse’s owners said they were going to give the three-year-old colt an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.  Do they have to use an open MRI on a horse?

  • Over the winter, the NY Mets signed left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez to a three-year, $36 million contract.  Perez has shown flashes of brilliance, but has been inconsistent during his career.  Who would have thought that when he turned consistent this year, he would turn consistently bad?

  • Raccoon roundworm, a rare and serious disease that can be fatal, has been reported in New York City.  It is spread, according to one article through ingestion of raccoon feces.  Is ingesting raccoon feces really a big public health problem?