Things I Want (Or Need) To Know


  • Are the 33 people who work for the SEC, and were accused of viewing and/or downloading pornography on government-owned computers really that stupid?  If you work in a company or government that has an IT department, somebody besides you can see what you’re doing on the computer provided by your employer.  And what about management?  There’’s software available to block such sites.  And one guy reportedly did this eight hours a day.  If the guy didn’’t do any work and his managers didn’’t notice, maybe both should be canned.

  • Where are my car keys?

  • The OEM replacement blade I bought for my Toro lawnmower is called an Atomic blade.  That would explain James Arness and the giant ants running around in my backyard, however, it raises two questions.  Is an Atomic lawnmower blade even safe?  And if it is an Atomic lawnmower blade, why do I have to put gasoline in the mower to get it to work?

  • I’’ve noticed that the titles of many popular songs are in the form of questions, so when I want to pad my “Things I Want (Or Need) To Know” blog items, I will, from time to time, use one of those song titles.  Here’s another one:  Are you experienced?

  • I believe this needs explaining, but I’’m not sure what question to ask.  While driving through Wantagh NY, I saw a tavern named “Guido’’s Irish Pub.”


Things I Know

  • As I travel through life, I occasionally learn that someone I’ve known for a long or short time is a much better friend than I ever thought they were.  It’s one of life’s nicest feelings and I felt it again this morning.

  • I made a mistake posting this and it made it to the Internet as a blog item entitled “Things I Know” with nothing under it.  I often feel as if I don’t know anything and when I feel like that, I may be correct.  But I restored the body of the text.

  • Flowering trees sure brighten up the landscape at this time of year.  Since I don’’t suffer from hay fever, I’’m in a better position to enjoy them than many people.  Cherry trees, pear trees and the magnolias are welcomed signs of spring.  I’’d like a magnolia tree, but they grow so big I have no place to put one on my property.

  • If you’’re in the New York area and want to see something beautiful, I recommend the cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  I haven’’t gone in years, but if I recall correctly, they’’re at their peak around Mother’’s Day, maybe a little earlier this year because April has been so warm.

  • I went to Long Island Radio and TV day recently at C.W. Post College.  Saw a few people I haven’’t seen in years.  I enjoyed it a lot.

  • My daughter thinks Toyota would have fewer problems with sticking accelerator pedals if they didn’’t pack them in cotton candy to protect them during shipping.  My daughter is a little strange.  She must get it from her mother.  God knows I’’m completely normal.

  • I didn’’t lose my job exactly.  I know where it is, but if I go there, I don’’t have a key anymore to get in, and someone else is doing it.

  • The New York Society Library claims President George Washington never returned two books he borrowed and, therefore, owes about $300,000 in past-due fines.  I know, and the library should know, that there’s a statute of limitations on uncollected debts.  If that statute of limitations hasn,’t changed since President Washington borrowed those books, then the statute of limitations expired before General Washington did.

  • When I was in the Army, they asked me if I wanted to volunteer to go airborne.  I told them I would never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  I still feel that way.

Nash, Kilmer and Me

I like Ogden Nash’’s poetry.  I like it primarily because it’’s funny and silly too.  So, last week, which was National Library Week, I read some to the fifth-grade students at the East Street School in Hicksville NY.  Joyce Kilmer, another poet, once wrote a poem that began:  “”I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. . .””  In order to avoid having to look it up, I’’ll spare you the entire poem.  Inspired by Kilmer, Ogden Nash wrote:

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed unless the billboards fall
I’’ll never see a tree at all

Inspired both by Kilmer and Nash, I wrote a poem many years ago that I’’ll reproduce here for your enjoyment.  You didn’’t think I was sensitive enough to be a poet, did you?  The name of my poem is, “”Thoughts On Driving On The New Jersey Turnpike With Apologies To Ogden Nash And Joyce Kilmer”.”

I think that I shall never see
A service area lovely as a tree
Even if it’’s named after me

Which Is It?

I wasn’t reappointed to my job last week.  So, should I consider myself retired or unemployed?  I’m leaning toward unemployed because it’s simpler and it’s better motivation to find another job.  For the time being, at least, I am both retired and unemployed.

Retired does have its benefits.  My pension is better than unemployment benefits would be.  And, I don’t have to go to work.  There is that.  As long as I am retired, there are things I don’t need at all or need much like suits, ties, dress shirts, dress shoes and socks in any color but white.  Some people have jobs that don’t need those things either, but my jobs did require them.  If I’m retired and don’t need all those things, the local dry cleaner may need to lay someone off.  Since I don’t need to rush out of the house in the morning, I have lots of time to make breakfast so the local deli may have to drop someone from the early morning shift too.  I don’t need the refrigerator I kept plugged in at my office.  I don’t need the untold cans of Diet Pepsi I consumed daily.  I can drink my Pepsi from a glass or cup that I filled from a big bottle at a lower cost per ounce. 

Speaking of drinking, I have a friend who told me when he retired he threw away his coffee maker.  Why?  It gives him the impetus to get dressed, and go out of the house to buy a cup of coffee each morning.  I don’t drink coffee.  I like the taste, but it gives me heartburn.  I do drink iced tea and being retired (or unemployed) gives me more time to home brew my iced tea.  I like it with lime juice.  Scurvy isn’t going to be a problem.

If I’m retired, I don’t need a job because I have high-speed Internet service at home so I don’t need an employer to provide that and now that I’ve got two hammocks, I do have someplace to go other than an office, at least until it gets cold again.

I’m not going to play golf.  First, Governor Patterson raised the price a lot at public courses in New York and second, my wife doesn’t want me to play a round.  I’ll probably go to the beach though, despite the fact that it costs more too.

There are things I do need in retirement.  I bought a few new paint brushes.  I’m going to finish painting the inside of the house.  I might pick up a used pickup truck.  That would make it a lot easier to take the junk I’ve accumulated over 19 years in this house to the town dump.  Last summer, I started cleaning out the garage, but stopped when I realized it was filling up faster than I could empty it.  A truck might help me speed up the emptying process enough so that I can stay ahead of the filling up process.  Either I’ll get a pickup or a convertible.  One of my friends has an old convertible for sale.  It has low mileage so even though it’s old it’s in pretty good shape and because it’s old, it’s cheap.  If I find a cheap enough truck, I may get both.

Those are just some of the things I need and don’t need if I consider myself retired.  Here’s why I’ve decided to consider myself unemployed.  It’s much simpler.   If I do that, I only need one thing:  a job.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Why did you leave your last job?  The new mayor said he was going to appoint his own person (not me) to my job.  I said, “If that’’s the way you feel, I don’’t want to work here anymore.”  Mutual agreement; I left mine by mutual agreement.

  • According to the website of the St. Petersburg Florida Times, Hellas Restaurant in Tarpon Springs Florida has a nine-legged octopus.  Wouldn’’t that make it a nonapus?

  • One of the little kids in cartoonist Bill Keane’’s ““Family Circus”” on Easter Sunday, while coloring Easter eggs, asked an important question:  who colors the jelly beans?

  • Is a dentist really a doctor?  I respect their knowledge and skill and all.  The only reason I ask is I’’ve never dealt with a dentist who was always horribly late for all of his or her appointments.

  • That big storm a couple of weeks ago reminds me to ask, where does wind go when it stops blowing?

Job Statistics

Federal job statistics released Friday say more than 162-thousand jobs were created in March.  Then, there’s my job in April.  I’m retired, effective today.  I don’t want to be, and when I find another job, I intend to stop, but we had a change of administration last year where I live and work and although I survived last year, I’m appointed, not protected civil service.  Today is appointment day and I’m not reappointed.  I had to retire in order to protect pension and other benefits.

I’ve been an appointed public official for most of my adult life.  During that time, I’ve switched employers and jobs, but I’ve never had even one day of unemployment.  Arbitrary replacement isn’t unusual among those of us with appointed government jobs or among broadcasters which is what I used to be.  But no unemployment at all is unusual in either field.  I survived the vagaries of broadcasting and I’ll survive this too.

I’m not sure of everything I’ll do while I look for work.  Although I have been described by a taxpayer as, an adult with a responsible job, I’ve never really known what I want to be when I grow up.  I’ve just gone through life trying my best not to grow up.  I always say getting older is inevitable; maturing isn’t.  Yet, despite my best efforts I know I have matured somewhat.

During my hopefully brief retirement, I will probably blog a little more.  I’ll certainly paint the inside of our house.  It needs it.  I was wondering what I’d do for frustration while I’m not working, but I do root for the Mets, so that’s not going to be a problem, especially this year.

Weight is easier to find than to lose.  Work is just the opposite.  I’m willing to travel as part of my new job.  I’m looking for work:  full-time; part-time; fill-in; freelance; even consulting.  I’ve suggested I’d become a sarcasm consultant, but I was being sarcastic when I said that.  I’d like to go back into government finance.  I enjoy that work about as much as I enjoyed broadcasting and more than I enjoyed public relations.  I imagine I’d enjoy it even more if I worked for someone who took my advice.  I wouldn’t mind teaching a college course or two.  I’ve done that before as well.    Every political candidate I ever did radio commercials for won and I am available for voice-over work, but isn’t everyone?

If it’s legal and doesn’t require a license I’ve probably done it.  I did something that did require a license too and I had one.  It doesn’t require a license anymore though and my license expired long ago.  I think the FCC still issues third-class radio telephone operator’s licenses, but if it does, you need it to work on a ship and don’t need it to work at a commercial radio broadcast station anymore. 

I haven’t timed my retirement very well.  Last week, Governor Patterson sharply increased the fees at state-owned golf course and beaches.  This week, I have a medical test and a dentist appointment and next Monday, jury duty.

Crisis PR and the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church needs to do one of two things.  It has to get better crisis PR people, or if it has good crisis PR people, it needs to follow their advice.  Crisis PR advice isn’’t hard.  There are only five steps:

·        Recognize the problem

·        Acknowledge the problem

·        Apologize

·        Say what you’’re going to do to fix it

·        Do it

Taking the advice, however, is hard.  Nevertheless, once you have recognized that pedophilia is a problem (and there should be no argument:  It is) follow the five steps above.

One more thing:  It is now the twenty-first century.  The Protestant Reformation established during the sixteenth century that clergy are subject to the laws of the government.  So, if the Church has a pedophile on its hands it should report that person to the civil authorities and allow that person to be prosecuted.  The same holds true for anyone who discovers pedophilia, not just the Catholic Church.  Pedophilia must not be tolerated under any circumstances. 

Don’’t hide it either.  Hiding it makes it appear to anyone who knows about it that you do tolerate and condone it.  Tolerating and condoning pedophilia are two things nobody should do.  The Catholic Church and anyone who claims to represent it must never minimize it either.

It’’s alright with me if the Church loves the sinner, but it absolutely must hate the sin.  So, any priest who has been found to be a pedophile must be prosecuted in the secular justice system and must face the consequences.  The church should also help and make amends to any victims. 

After all that, if the pedophile is released from prison and the church wants to help him, it’’s okay with me.  It can help him (house him away from temptation and get him psychiatric treatment for example) without allowing him to resume his ministry and without his having any contact with children.

I say him, by the way, because all of the incidents I’’ve read about within the Church involved priests, not nuns.  If there are or were any nuns involved in such reprehensible acts, then my advice on how to deal with the problem remains the same.

I don’’t mean to suggest that pedophile clergy within the Catholic Church are the norm.  I’’m sure the overwhelming majority of priests do not do these horrible things.  But if the Church hides these things it puts all priests under a cloud of suspicion very few of them deserve.

All of what I’’ve said is true whether Pope Benedict knew about those deaf boys in Wisconsin, or not, and whether he swept something under the rug, or not.  I have no idea whether he did know or did sweep.  I hope he didn’’t know, and didn’’t sweep, but if he did, he should be treated as if he were part of the problem, because if he hid those things he is part of the problem.