Things I Know

  • According to today’’s Ft. Myers News-Press, July is National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month and National Blueberry Month.  Of course it is.  According to my research on the Internet, it’’s also National Beer Month.  As far as I can find out, there isn’’t any National Soda Month, but National Iced Tea Month is June.  Today is National Ice Cream Soda Day, but so is July 20th.  Two national days is pretty impressive, but I say give ice cream sodas a whole month too.

  • I miscalculated.  I thought I had been in 30 of our United States, but a recount reveals I’’ve been in 31.  I’’ve never driven in Texas, but I have been there three times.  If I was willing to drive a half hour or so out of my way to say I’’d been in a state, I could also have visited Michigan, Wisconsin and Mississippi and I would have been to Colorado seven years earlier than I actually got there.

  • I knew a guy who drove all the way across the United States on Interstate 80 and forgot he was ever in Indiana during the trip.  I understand, completely.

  • The FDA has announced that airline food can make you sick.  Your tax dollars at work!

  • If you would like a free transcript of the Sisyphus Project, it’’s already written down; just cut and paste it.  In doing so, however, please keep in mind that the Sisyphus Project is copyrighted 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Things I Know

  • Can’t be late for my nephew’s high school graduation tonight.  He’s the fifth kid through the line.

  • On the NPR program “”All Things Considered”” last week, New York Governor David Patterson said that on Planet Albany there is no gravity and light bends around the capital.  To digress; I think, but am not sure I got every word right, so I didn’’t put quotes around what I believe is an accurate quote.  We now return to the point I was trying to make.  Huh?  Albany is a strange place and New York State government and politics are even stranger, but if I remember what I learned in Physics, the fact that light bends around something is proof that there is gravity.

  • Here’’s a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that’’s so obvious, I wonder if it’’s already been suggested.  If it has, the following just demonstrates that great minds think alike and so do I.  The separate shipping and handling is going to cost a lot, because we have to send Vince with them, but I propose we send a whole bunch of Sham Wows to Louisiana and send Vince along with them to show those people from BP how to use them to mop up spills.

  • Okay, I’’ve given you my solution to the Gulf oil spill.  Here’’s comedian Lewis Black’’s:  he thinks the United States of America should invade BP.

  • My wife gave me a shopping list and asked me to go to the local Pathmark Supermarket.  I did.  When I got home, she said she was surprised I was able to read one particular item on the list.  So was I.

  • One reason I say the weeds are winning the battle of the back yard is that I have two one-foot-high weeds growing through a crack in the floor inside my garage.  I know I have to mow the lawn or hire someone to do it, but I draw the line at mowing the garage!

  • It’’s going to be a bad year for my blueberry crop.  I neglected the bushes last year and this season, they’’re infested with scale.  I have a few blueberries ripening now, but the plan is oil spray, fertilizer and wait until next year.  Maybe I’’ll buy some more bushes too; I only have seven.

  • One thing that will help blueberries thrive is don’’t let newly planted bushes bear fruit the first year.  Another is water them enough.  If the bushes are stressed for moisture, they take it from the berries and you don’’t want to eat blueberry raisins.  They are surely among the sourest things on earth.

  • I’’m going to the doctor this week for my physical for summer camp, but when I show up in his office in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, and say, ““Hi, I’’m here for my physical for summer camp,”” nobody laughs anymore.  I have to find a different doctor so I can return to getting a laugh when I use that old joke. 

  • I saw a young woman the other day who had small, triangular patches of sunburn near her shoulders.  I wondered what she could have worn that allowed her to get sunburned like that and then it hit me:  not odd clothing, uneven application of sunscreen. 

Update and Elaborate

My sister remembers the priest who administered last rites to my father a little differently than I do.  She says the priest assured us that because he had last rites, my father would go to heaven upon his imminent demise.  Maybe, but I still didn’t find it comforting at all; it enraged me actually and it took considerable restraint on my part to eschew attacking the guy.  My father was a good man who, throughout his life, embraced obligations a lot of people (maybe most people) would walk or run away from.  She thinks, and I agree that if there is a heaven, our father made it with or without last rites.  In fact, he didn’t receive the sacrament the second time he was at death’s door, the time he went through that door.  Frankly, I don’t find any comfort in what a lot priests and ministers say on the occasion of someone’s death.  If God wanted to call a person to Him for reasons we don’t understand, why don’t good people live longer than bad people?  And why doesn’t He forget someone every once in a while?

Fathers’ Day

I saved my father’’s life once and Father’s’ Day is a good day to tell you about it.  To be accurate, I extended his life by about ten years, but I had no way of knowing how long when I acted to save his life. 

Have you ever done anything to damage your lungs?  Sometimes I think my dad never did anything that wasn’’t damaging to his lungs until he was 52 years old.  He was a kid before there were such things as antibiotics and he had TB as a child.  I’’m not sure if anyone even knew he had it at the time, but his father died of tuberculosis when he was ten years old.  Back then, if your dad died and someone said to the ten-year-old kid, “”Now you’re the man of the family,”” they meant it.  So my dad quit school at the end of eighth grade and went to work to support his mother, brothers and sisters.  If I recall correctly, he had six siblings.  His family wasn’’t close when I was a kid and I had aunts and uncles I never met.

Before my dad became a cop at the age of 25, he did many things to earn money.  One job he held was steamfitter.  That’’s essentially a plumber who works on steam lines rather than water lines.  There was asbestos all over the place, but nobody knew it was bad for you.  As a cop, he directed traffic at the Holland Tunnel before anyone thought of putting pollution controls on cars and trucks.  I don’’t know how long he smoked at least two packs of Camel cigarettes a day, but he did that for as long as I knew him to that point in his life.  Nobody knew inhaling car fumes was bad for you either and if there were people who knew that cigarettes caused lung diseases and cancer, they hadn’’t bothered to tell the general public yet.

So, my dad had emphysema and he had it so bad that he was on his back in bed, unable to work and attached to an oxygen tank.  He had it so bad that they called the priest to administer last rites.  My sister was eight, I was twelve and neither of us was allowed in while the priest administered the sacrament, but afterwards, he took my sister and me to the front steps of our house and told us that our father was going to die, but it was alright because he had last rites.

Beating someone to a bloody pulp is an experience I’’ve managed to avoid, but I never wanted to more than I did at that moment.  At twelve, I was already bigger than the average adult male, bigger than that priest too and I really can’’t remember why I didn’’t punch him with all my might.  I wanted to, but I didn’’t.  Maybe it’s because, although I knew I would feel much better if I did that, I thought everyone else would feel a lot worse.

Afterwards, I sat in our living room, alone, with the blinds drawn, in semi darkness.  I guess I was waiting for what the priest said was about to happen.  My father came out of the bedroom (it must have been a tremendous effort for him) and picked up a pack of Camel cigarettes from the dining room table.

I can only remember screaming at my father twice.  I’’m about to describe the first time.  As best I can recall, here’’s what I screamed at him:  ““If you’’re going to do that, take them inside with the oxygen, blow yourself up, and stop making us watch you kill yourself slowly.””

He stood motionless for a few seconds, put the cigarettes down on the dining room table and went back into the room, with the oxygen tank, but without a cigarette, and without a word.  He never had another cigarette; he said he never lost the desire for them, but he never had another.  You wouldn’’t believe how fast his health improved, and he lived for another ten years.  Before the oxygen tank, he couldn’’t walk from the house to the car without stopping to catch his breath.  Within a week or so after cigarettes he could go for a walk around the neighborhood for the pleasure of doing so.

I performed two miracles that day.  I didn’’t beat the priest within an inch, plus or minus, of his life and I screamed my father in to giving up cigarettes.  If I recall the requirements correctly, I only need one more miracle to qualify for sainthood.

Nobody’’s perfect.  We all make mistakes, but I believe the best you can ask of any father is that he never does anything he knows will be bad for his child in the long run.  My dad didn’t have a father like that, but I did and I hope my children do too. 

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Did you see Cody Gifford doing a film review segment on the Today Show, during his mom, Kathie Lee’’s last hour on Friday?  Even allowing for the fact that it was his first appearance, he was still awful.  His report was full of clichés and vocalized pauses and his mom, as she always has, did her very best to embarrass the poor kid.  Incidentally, her best efforts to embarrass him are extremely good. 

  • Senator Brown’’s daughter, Ayla, is on CBS TV, but it’’s the Early Show so almost nobody sees it.  Luke Russert, the late Tim Russert’’s son is a correspondent for NBC news.  Jenna Bush Hager, President Bush’’s daughter is on the Today Show and now, so is Cody Gifford.  When did network news become a haven for the children of politicians and the children of people who already work in network news?  Plus, it almost seems like a requirement that they be either horrible, or at least so inexperienced that they get on-air network exposure long before they’’re up to the task.  John Cameron Swayze was one of network TV’s first anchormen.  His son, Cameron Swayze is also a broadcaster; a good and well respected broadcaster.  And Cameron Swayze eschewed the famous last name for many years because he didn’’t want people to think he got where he did because of his dad rather than because of his own talent and hard work.

  • I read that a local TV station took a poll and determined that eighty percent of New Yorkers think our new license plates are ugly.  That figure seems low to me, very low in fact.  How about you?

  • Having declared Cooper’’s Beach in Southampton the best beach in the country, does Doctor Beach realize how much it costs non-residents to park there for a day?  Last time I was at Doctor Beach’s second-best beach, the north public beach on Siesta Key off Sarasota Fl., parking there was free.

  • How are old people going to get around in Florida once Ford stops making the Mercury Grand Marquis?

Things I Know

  • In the battle of my back yard, the weeds are winning.

  • The other day, I saw a woman wearing a U.S. Polo Association polo shirt.  This didn’’t surprise me; I didn’’t expect members of that association to wear t-shirts.

  • A court in Ohio says a business in Ohio can sue someone who doesn’’t live in Ohio over comments made on the Internet.  It could get pretty expensive for the Internet poster if he or she has to go to Ohio to defend him or herself, especially if they go to Ohio on Interstate 80 and drive a little above the speed limit once they get there.

  • I enjoy riding around in boats.  I’’ll go for a boat ride with almost anyone, as long as they don’’t make me fish.

  • I build some new trellises to grow tomatoes.  They look purposeful.  I’’ll let you know how well they work.

  • I don’t like to climb into the bed of my new pickup truck to reach things that slid toward the front while I was driving.  Therefore, I’’m carrying a rake around in the bed of the truck.  The rake rattles as it slides around in there, so I’’m looking for a better solution.

  • I’’m cleaning out my basement, a process which may take years.  In the process, I found my wife’’s driver’s license from 14 years ago.  I guess it was there because we didn’’t own a shredder then.  When you see someone every day, you don’’t notice changes very often, but she has changed quite a bit.  I’’ve probably changed a lot more than she has and not for the better.  I still love her and fortunately for me, she still loves me too.

  • In case you’’ve never thought about it, hormones are clearly much stronger than the human race’’s instinctive fear of cooties.

  • If you don’’t want to know the answer to a question, don’’t ask.  If you’’re holding a public hearing (say before Congress or some important body) the general rule about not asking doesn’’t hold.  For public hearings, don’’t ask unless you already know the answer to the question.

Update

General Motors received more reaction  to its effort to eliminate the name “Chevy” than it has to any Chevy since about 1966.  So the company backed down, rescinded the memo and invited its customers to continue to love Chevies and hopefully to resume buying them in large numbers too.  Either that or  some member of the corporate brain trust went outside their headquarters building, looked near the top and saw that the big blue letters don’t say “General Motors;” they say “GM.”

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • The brain trust that runs General Motors wants to do away with the name “Chevy.”  Isn’’t that one of the most recognizable product nicknames in the world?  They want people to say “Chevrolet” instead.  They want it so badly that they sent a memo (not a memorandum) to the employees of the Chevrolet division telling them not to refer to the cars as Chevies anymore.  Do you suppose they wrote the memo on a PC or a personal computer?  Or did they use a Mac or an Apple Macintosh?  While they were working late at night to do this, if they sent out for food to sustain them, were they eating KFC?  Were they drinking Coke?  And do they know that a lot of their cars, not just Chevrolets, have a little logo on them that says GM, not General Motors?

  • Isn’’t the trend in language to shorten words and names, not to make them longer?  If GM wants to keep one brand name, they should keep Chevy, not the name of a now obscure, long deceased, Swiss-American race car driver who sold his company 95 years ago, way too early to make much money for himself.  And while I’’m at it, they should keep GM, not General Motors. At least that’s what I think, don’’t you?

  • Why do teenage girls scream hysterically about Justin Bieber?  I saw him on TV and he didn’’t scare me at all.

  • How many #3 leaders of Al Qaeda have been killed now?  I’’m thinking five.

  • In ancient Egypt, among those who worshiped the sun god, was their list of rules for personal conduct called the tan commandments?

  • Clean as a whistle?  Just how clean is a whistle anyway?  When you blow into a whistle, I think you probably can’t help spitting into it at least a little at the same time.  Clean as a whistle?  EEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!

Things I Know

  • I’’d probably buy more cars if I didn’’t have to deal with car dealers while doing so.

  • The man who styles himself Doctor Beach has declared Cooper’s’ Beach in the Hamptons the best beach in the country with Siesta Beach off Sarasota FL coming in at #2.  I live on Long Island and on a summer holiday weekend, I believe it would take me less time to get to Siesta Beach than it would to get to Cooper’s’ Beach.

  • I live on Long Island and I’’ve been to Siesta Beach many, many times, but I’’ve never been to Cooper’’s Beach.  There’’s always a first time.

  • At some point, they should have put another east-west road on the south fork of Long Island.

  • I’’ve owned my cell phone for two years so it’’s out of contract and that means it’’s cheaper for me to get a new cell phone than it is to get another battery for the one I already have and the one I already have works just fine, except the battery won’t hold a  charge anymore.

  • To the teenage girls who camped out in Rockefeller Center since Wednesday to see Justin Bieber perform Friday on the Today Show, if you haven’’t showered or bathed in two days, he’’s probably not interested in you.

  • Slaughter and laughter are two more words that should either rhyme or be spelled differently.