Things I Know

  • Oh, joy!  Results are in for the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton writing contest.   I was reading them aloud to my wife until she begged me to stop.

  • I think the runner up in the adventure category is my favorite:  “In a flurry of flame and fur, fangs and wicker, thus ended the world’s first and only hot air baboon ride.”  Gary Larson didn’t write that, but it does remind me how much I miss “Far Side.”

  • If you are a public figure who has screwed up royally, embarrassing yourself and your family, admit you were wrong, apologize, ask the public for forgiveness and then shut up.  You may want to reread step # 4, if you are the current governor of South Carolina.

  • Billy Mays died.  But if you call within the next 15 minutes ….

  • The blog had a joke about Billy Mays that struck me funnier than my own joke.  They said after hearing Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died, Billy Mays was heard to remark, “”But wait!  There’’s more!””

  • Gail Storm died too, but she was old enough and out of the public eye long enough when she did that very few people cared, and a lot of people were surprised to find out she was still alive.

  • All of the publicity attendant to Michael Jackson’s death leads me to believe he was almost as famous as Tim Russert.

Things I Know

  • The worst thing about being an adult is today wasn’t the last day of school and I cant go out and play for the next ten weeks.

  • That executive parking space I got in April, they took it away today.  Is that handwriting I see on the wall?

  • If you missed National Dry Martini Day (June 19th) because you were drunk, you probably have a drinking problem.

  • I like a good play on words as much as the next person.  Maybe more.  So kudos to Bill Korbel, weatherman for News 12, a cable news channel on Long Island.  Mr. Korbel said he’s no longer worried about global warming.  It’s global wetting that has him concerned.

  • I was excited recently when someone registered as a commenter on my blog.  Then I looked up the e-mail address and discovered that it wasn’t someone who registered.  It was some thing, a spambot from Switzerland of all places.

  • An infant was abandoned in a shoe box in the lobby of an apartment building in Hempstead NY on Sunday night.  This is either an act of desperation or something as cold and uncaring as it’s possible to be.

  • They caught the woman who allegedly did that.  She’s a 24-year-old, Illegal alien, drug-adicted prostitute with six other children under the age of eight.

  • When Ed McMahon died at the age of 86, I did what I always do when I notice that someone has passed away.  I subtracted my age from his and said to myself, “”I hope I have more time left than that.”

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • I was in a 2.5 hour meeting today with two other people.  Each of them left their cell phone buzzing or ringing and each of them answered their cell phone more than once.  Am I wrong, or is that rude?

  • Mark Sanford.  What?  Was he thinking?  Governor Sanford, meet Murphy and his law.

  • Is South Carolina’s newspaper. “The State,” out of line for publishing Governor Mark Sanford’s e-mails to his lover?  They didn’t come from his government account.  And is Governor Sanford out of line for not spell checking his e-mail?  Maybe he did spell check it.  The trouble with trusting a spell checker is that if your mistake is also a word, the spell checker won’t tell you it’s wrong.  And neither “world wind” nor “lightening” will trigger the spell checker, which doesn’t know you mean “whirlwind” and “lightning.”

  • Did Jenny Sanford write that statement by herself?  If she did, she has a future in crisis management PR.

  • She’s classy and he’s not.

  • Let me get this straight.  Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting divorced because they’ve been living apart for two years, right?  And their TV show is a “reality” show?

  • Ed McMahon died.  How dead is he?

  • You can eat blueberry pie without vanilla ice cream, but why would you?  I grow blueberries in my yard and they never make it inside the house.  I pick and eat them as I’m walking past the bushes while I’m mowing the lawn.

Fathers’ Day

On Father’s Day, I’d like to share with you an image that my daughter gave me a while ago.  She said that when she was a toddler, she thought she was really strong because she could push open some really heavy doors.  She learned later that I was standing behind her and reaching over her head to help her push.

Thats what daddies do, isn’t it?  We help our children to do what they have to do. Sometimes we do it out in the open and sometimes, as in opening those big, heavy doors, we do it behind their backs, or over their heads, or both.  Sometimes, we have to resist temptation and do it for them.  We have to let them do it for themselves, so they can grow up.  My in-laws, who were wonderful people and treated me better than my blood relatives did, had one characteristic that drove me crazy.  They treated my wife and me less like adults than I would like.  If we lived with them it would have been unbearable, but we didn’t, so it’s really not much of a complaint, is it?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could pass along to your children those characteristics you admire in yourself and to keep them from getting any of your shortcomings?  If you have a tendency toward depression, you’d love to keep your children from suffering the same thing.  If you’re tall and heavy, it would be great to pass along the tall, but not the heavy; the good teeth and not the bad eyesight.  We can’t do that, of course, but it’s still rewarding to see and hear ourselves in our children and it’s even better to see them accomplish more than you did, by beginning their lives standing on your shoulders, while you stand on the shoulders of your father and mother. 

My son pulled a few things that reflected to me what I did to help his mother raise him.  When he was a child, I often said to him, “If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.”  I smiled the first time I heard him say, “What I was doing wasn’t working, so I figured I’d try something else.”  When he moved to California, he tried to call his girlfriend and she had turned her cell phone off.  He said, “I asked her to leave it on. She never listens.”  I replied, “Funny, I feel the same way about you.”

My father didn’t even go to high school.  He wasn’t stupid by any means.  His father died when he was 10 years old and when he was 13 and graduated from eighth grade, he dropped out of school to support his mother, brothers and sisters.  My sister and I received Master’s Degrees on the same day.  My son graduated from law school.  My sister’s daughter is going into her junior year at an Ivy League university.  So, if your children turned out at least as good as mine did, wish yourself a happy Father’s Day and if they didn’t, blame it on them, not you.

Bob Lawrence

It was a cold, nasty winter Saturday morning, probably in 1969 or 1970.  Dennis Quinn, who went on to a long and successful run at WPIX FM and CD 101.9 in NY City, was on the air at WGBB in Merrick NY and the sun wasn’t up yet.  In those days, Dennis called himself Jim Quinn.  Yes, GBB is licensed to Freeport, but the studios were just north of the Long Island Railroad Station in Merrick.   I want to say it was around 4:00 AM, but it might have been a little later.

I walked into the studio.  Dennis announced to the audience that I had arrived and asked, “Tom, how cold is it?”  Who’s listening to a station pumping out 250 watts on a winter Saturday morning before the sun comes up?  So, I stole a line from legendary broadcaster Jean Shepherd and said, “It’s colder than a well digger’s…No, it’s colder than a witch’s…No, it’s colder than a brass monkey’s….”  Dennis played a record and laughed at what I’d just done.  By the broadcast standards of 40 years ago, it was a little racy and I guess Dennis thought it was original.

The studio hotline rang.  Who’s listening to a 250 watt station at something like 4:30 AM on a cold, nasty Saturday morning?  The program director was listening.  Bob Lawrence was listening.  Dennis picked up the phone and listened to the sound of Bob laughing his head off.  Bob thought it was one of the funniest things he had heard in a long time.

Whew!  Program directors held the power of life and death over at-will employees like deejays and newscasters and Bob thought it was funny too.  I didn’t work directly for him and we weren’t close friends outside of work, but I knew Bob as an easy-going, upbeat man with a lot of energy and a radiant smile.  If he ever screamed at people, I wasn’t one of them.  He was a talented and versatile broadcaster too.  He pulled various air shifts at the station, but mostly 9 AM to noon.  He was the PD and for a time after I left, the station manager too.  And in his spare time, he was a voice of the NY Islanders hockey team when they were going around winning all those Stanley Cups.

Why am I reminded of this today?  Bob passed away this afternoon around 1:30.  I didn’t know Bob had cancer until yesterday.  He didn’t mention it at the WGBB reunion in April.  I don’t think Bob burdened a lot of people with his troubles.  Bob Lawrence is dead and the world is a poorer place for it.  Damn it!

Things I Know

  • I am an appointed public official, not an elected one, but when my daughter was in high school, she was disturbed that one of her social studies teachers knew me because of what I do.  So, from my perspective, and in my opinion, David Letterman was out of line in his joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter, no matter which one he was talking about.    Plus he committed the cardinal sin of offensive jokes; it wasn’t funny.  Elected officials seek the spotlight, so I say make fun of them anyway you want, but leave their minor children alone.

  • Carrie Prejean is a lot more famous today than she would have been if she had won the Miss USA title earlier this year.

  • Local anesthesia is the only kind I want.  If I’m getting surgery in New York, I want the anesthesia within reach.  Having it in Chicago or Los Angeles just won’t do.

  • Developments in bankruptcy court notwithstanding, Little Anthony and the Fiats won’t be the same as Little Anthony and the Imperials.

  • I need a new doctor.  I’m old enough that when I show up in shorts, sandals, and a T-shirt, and announce I’m there for my physical for summer camp, I ought to get a laugh.  But I’ve been doing it in the same doctor’’s office for long enough that they’ve all heard it before and I don’t even get a chuckle or a snicker. 

  • Thanks to union contracts, people who work where I do get rewarded if they don’t use all of their allotted sick days and vacation time.  When they retire, they are paid for a certain number of days they didn’t use during their career.  The economy is bad, so our mayor is trying to cut back.  Good for him.  The mayor asked department heads to propose 10-percent cuts in their current year’s budgets.  I can’t.  Because of that accumulated leave, even if I fire someone, I can’t.   And, if I quit, whoever replaces me can’t either.

  • I’m not growing tomatoes this year.  It was too rainy and cool to start them early.  And the garden beds can use a rest.  So, this year, I’ll pass.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Have you read about the Israeli woman who bought her mother a new mattress and threw the old one away?  The old one stuffed with a million dollars! 

I’m skeptical.  A million dollars in US currency weighs around a hundred pounds, maybe 110, assuming it’s all in hundred dollar bills.  I assume Israeli currency weighs roughly what US currency does and I doubt anyone converts their life savings into hundred dollar bills.  So it would likely be in mixed, mostly smaller denominations and therefore, it’s likely to weigh more than that.

If the mattress you were throwing away had the body of a young, slim woman on it, you’d notice the extra weight, wouldn’t you?  On the other hand, maybe the million dollars was in the form of a check.

Adam Lambert, runner up on this year’s version of “American Idol,” announced that he’s gay.  Two questions:  why should anyone care, and among those people who do care, did anyone really think he was straight?

My doctor’s office called to confirm my appointment this week.  If I were Jewish, would they still have confirmed the appointment, or would they have Bar Mitzvahed the thing?

As the US government switches frequency spectrums and makes TV go digital, I do have one TV that needs a converter box to work with the new system.  I’m not getting one.  The TV is near death anyway.  I’ll just throw it away. 

Things I Know

  • I saw Larry King sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field recently during the Cubs-Dodgers Fox Game of the Week.  No criticism here.  I can’t sing either and if they asked me to sing at a major league baseball game, I’d do it too.

  • “How are you” is hardly ever a real question, so I’m on a one-man mission to discourage its use.

  • I got a phone call today from a woman soliciting contributions for a charity.  She said, “How are you?”  I said, “I’m fine, but that’s probably not why you called.”

  • The contractor came to fix my garage last week.  He said, “How are you?”  I said, “I’m sick.”  He said, “Then I won’t kiss you.”  I knew there was an upside to the miserable cough I’ve had for more than a week.

  • I’ve never had any trouble staying awake, so I should never take a medicine that has insomnia as a listed side effect.

  • It’s June and I’ve had so little sleep lately, I feel like I should have gone to somebody’s prom.

  • One of the reasons I’m so healthy is when I was a child, my parents used to do things like make me play in the sunshine, and fed me wholesome foods such as hot dogs wrapped in bacon.

  • I’ve actually gotten answers to a few of the questions I’ve asked on my blog since I started it in February 2008.  Germs do get sick.  Bacteriophages cause them to.  And you can buy an MP3 player with an AM radio in it.  As far as I know there’s only one.  But it’s designed more to record radio shows over the air and works better for that than it does if used to play MP3 music files and podcasts.

  • One reason AM radios in mini-music devices are so rare is the device has to be bigger to accommodate the antenna for an AM radio.  An FM radio can use the earphone cord as an antenna.

  • My daughter told me recently someone she knows made a joke, the gist of which was viruses can’t read.  She made a better joke when she said, “Of course not; the print would be way too big.”

  • Some people believe that an nonviable fetus is a mass of cells and that removing it is a medical procedure.  Some people believe it’s a human life and that removing it is murder.  This is a dispute that will never be settled because the only way to settle it is to ask God, assuming God exists.  And in the words of Lilly Tomlin, “When God talks to you, its called schizophrenia.” However, I’m very sorry there isn’t universal condemnation of the guy who gunned down a doctor during a church service last weekend.  Three lefts make a right; two wrongs don’t.