Things I Know

  • Weather people have been talking about relief from the hot weather.  Excuse me.  I consider the summer heat to be relief from the cold weather, and the heat is just fine with me.  I’m not going to paint the south side of a house black when it’s 95 degrees and sunny, but I like the heat.  I won’t begin complaining about the weather until late September or early October.

  • People are occasionally confused (and so is my spell checker) about the proper use of the words it’s, and its.  Here’s something you don’t have to be confused about:  its’ isn’t a word.

  • August is National Peach Month.  I find that peculiar because the peaches I buy in the market near the end of August tend to be mealy and very unappetizing to me.

  • It’s also National Goat Cheese Month.  I don’t have any opinion on that one.

  • I’m reading a biography of George Armstrong Custer, but there’s not a lot of suspense in it.  I’m getting near the part where Custer encounters Sitting Bull and all of his colleagues, but I don’t find myself wondering what’s going to happen.

  • Here’s another useless fact I’ll never forget:  By the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer was going bald and he no longer wore his hair down to his shoulders.  Regardless of what you’ve seen in the movies, Custer’s hair was very short when he was killed.

  • If you’d like to sleep soundly throughout the night, a two hour nap at 8:30 PM is probably not your best course of action.

  • The sign of our country’s shrinking vocabulary is in the window of a deli in Great Neck, NY.  It says, “No loitering or hanging out.”

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • A nine-year-old boy was left alone and unsupervised for nine hours at an airport in Chicago after a United Airlines employee forgot about him.  If you leave your own or someone else’s nine-year-old alone and unsupervised, especially in a very busy airport, even for a lot less than nine hours, shouldn’t police and child-protective services be investigating?

  • Did I misunderstand, or is BP really planning to send Tony Hayward to Siberia this winter?  Isn’t that a little harsh?  Even for the outgoing president of BP?

  • A British car insurance company called “Sheila’s Wheels’ (I swear, that’s the name) reported that in 2009 men filed 16.4 percent more accidents during the summer than they did the rest of the year.  The reason, according to the company is the male drivers were distracted by women in skimpy outfits.  We needed a study to tell us that?

  • I got an envelope in the mail the other day.  On the outside were printed the words, “Do Not Bend.”  Did they mean the envelope, or me?

  • Gold is a commodity.  So what’s with all the TV commercials urging people to buy gold from one company or another?  Shouldn’t cost per transaction and customer service be your major considerations?  And if gold is such a great investment, why are these companies so anxious to sell theirs to you and me that they advertise on TV?

  • My Lipitor-chip cookies are doing really well, so what do you think of my latest idea for a business venture, toupees for bald eagles?

  • Who would have thought I could get an awful bagel in Great Neck NY?

  • Ripped and torn mean the same thing, right?  If my body is ripped (and it never has been) then I have an over-abundance of clearly defined muscles.  But the rotator cuffs in both of my shoulders are torn and that isn’t good; it means I need surgery.  Whats up with that?

Things I Know

  • The people of Bell, California had every right to be outraged at last night’s city council meeting over the enormous salaries that the city manager, police chief and part-time city council were being paid.  However, there would be no need for outrage if the people of Bell, California had been properly vigilant in the first place.

  • Tony Hayward is out as head of BP, by mutual consent, according to the announcement.  We had mutual consent when I was on the radio too; the boss said, “You’re fired,” and I said, “If that’s the way you feel about it, I don’t want to work here anymore.”

  • I used to think I was obnoxious, but nobody ever paid me anywhere near $18 million to get lost.  Not only would I have gone away for much less, I have.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported a list of the executives who earned the most money in the decade.  However, since there was no year zero, the decade isn’t over until December 31 of this year.

  • I just got an e-mail from a concert venue in Florida, Ruth Eckerd Hall, telling me how to log on to my account.  Okay.  I went to Ruth Eckerd Hall once for a concert and I had a good time; my wife enjoyed it too.  But it was years and years ago, maybe nine. 

  • My nose isn’t itching enough today, so I’m going for an MRI.  If they’ll play the music I bring, I pick Gregorian chant.  It’s calming and soothing and the lack of any strong beat counters the awful racket the machine makes.

  • The last time I went for an MRI on my shoulder, the tech told me to stop moving.  I told him I was just breathing and if I didn’t need to breathe, I wouldn’t need the MRI either.

  • When the Mets lost seven of nine on their disastrous, just concluded road trip, I thought perhaps they had been assimilated by the Borg.  But then they lost two more and now I’m not so sure.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • “Oliver Perez got out of the inning.”  When is the last time you heard those five words in that order?  But then Ollie gave up a homer in the bottom of the 13th and the Mets lost another one on this debacle of a road trip.

  • Twitter, not only why, but why 140?

  • Have you ever screamed for ice cream?

  • If you’re trying to get on an Interstate Highway, the people already on the highway should let you in.  However, you don’t have the right of way in that situation, so before you pull out into traffic, could you at least look?

  • Will they ever finish I-95 just east of New Haven?

  • Have you noticed how many men appear on TV wearing suits and dress shirts that don’t fit?  If there’s a gap between your suit collar and your neck, your suit doesn’t fit.  If you can stick two or three fingers between your neck and your shirt collar, your dress shirt doesn’t fit either.

  • Mike Taibbi reported on Christmas-in-July sales for the Today Show this morning.  It’s a ploy by retailers to boost summertime sales.  That’s fine for little kids, but what the hell am I going to do with a stocking full of coal in the middle of summer?

  • Why do I watch the Today Show regularly when I find fault with it almost every time I do?

  • My wife wonders if the whale that attacked that sailboat off South Africa has read Moby Dick.

  • Shouldn’t August be National Cicada Month? 

  • If it’s a “rare and potentially devastating eye infection” shouldn’t Channel 4 in New York tell us about it right now, instead of making us wait until Monday night at 11:00 PM?

Things I Know

  • Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a previously unknown henge monument near Stonehenge in Great Britain.  They haven’t decided what to call it yet.  I’m looking forward to the day when archaeologists discover a henge monument featuring movable panels that control movement between the pillars.  That one, I want to be the first to suggest, should be named Doorhenge.

  • Speaking of henge monuments, I consider it unlikely that I’ll drive on I-95 through western Nebraska again, so I’m disappointed that I didn’t go to Carhenge which is about 30 minutes north of that highway, when I had the chance.  But when I was there, I forgot it was nearby.

  • The Today Show informed me today that if I travel to Santa Barbara California, I can sleep in a tent starting at $135 a night.  It’’s a very fancy tent indeed, but come on!  I own a tent that cost less than that.

  • I’m fairly sick of people running for high public office by claiming they’re not politicians.  Carl Paladino in New York and Linda McMahon in Connecticut are the two most recent egregious examples in the area where I live.  If you are running for Governor or US Senator or any other high office, you are, by definition, a politician.  If you’ve never been elected, you’re not yet a successful politician and you may be an outsider, but you are a politician.  Since politicians must build consensus, by the way, being an outsider hardly ever gets things done.

  • Carl Paladino’s radio commercials, as he seeks to become New York’s Governor, are running too close together on some stations I listen to.  I assume he’s buying run of station spots which allow the station to schedule the commercials at its convenience.  You can buy commercials that run at fixed times or within certain parameters, but run of station is cheaper.  The Paladino campaign has bought enough of them on some stations to really annoy at least me if not everybody who listens.

  • To the rude woman driving the maroon Nissan Altima with Maryland plates:  if you had let me off the Southern State Parkway, instead of blowing your horn and cutting me off, there would have been more room for you to drive on the Southern State Parkway.

  • I know nobody goes to Boy Scout Camp for the cuisine, but this year was especially ridiculous; I lost about five pounds in five days at camp.  I have every confidence I’ll find them again.

  • If I hadn’t seen them both written out, I’d think Crepe Suzette and Crape Myrtle were either both food or both plants, depending on which one I heard of first.

  • I am in favor of a federal law to require reality TV shows to contain at least five percent reality.

  • I’m also in favor of a law that requires stores to sell things at list price at least five percent of the time before they can advertise that item as being reduced from its regular price.

  • I’m no anthropologist, but I imagine that in ancient cultures where virgin sacrifice was in vogue, it encouraged premarital sex.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • What’s wrong with the voters of New York?  Sienna College conducted a poll while I was in the woods last week.  Seven percent of the voters gave the New York State Legislature an A based on the way they’re handling the state budget and only 47 percent gave the legislature an F.  We are in danger of having the latest budget in state history.  I would have thought everyone would flunk them.

  • The new DVD AV receiver I just bought for my truck has a safety feature that keeps you from watching DVD’s while you’re driving.  I know there’s a way to bypass the safety feature, but why would anyone try to watch a DVD and drive at the same time?  I mean wouldn’t you miss a lot of what’s on the DVD, or hit a lot of what’s on and near the road, or both?

  • Why do the Mets let Mike Pelfrey pitch in the daytime?

  • Shouldn’t a trauma center be where you go to get hurt?

  • Why do they call it rush hour?

  • Why is Lindsay Lohan still famous, and is there anything you and I can do about that?

Things I Know

  • I’’m now up to about five thousand hits a month on this blog which would amaze me except that about 20 percent are from a Russian search engine and I have no idea why that is.

  • I bought a fancy new radio for my plain new truck.  Well, it’s a lot more than a radio, but it fits in the hole my old radio left in the dash.  It’ll play music off a flash drive or an SD memory card.  But it takes about three minutes to load either one which is a major pain. 

  • Fortunately, I got it in time for my annual sojourn in Rhode Island.  There isn’t a lot I like on the radio between here and Rhode Island.

  • I have about 2,700 songs on one 8GB thumb drive, but I don’t think I can listen to all of them between here and Rhode Island unless I make 21 round-trips.

  • It’ll play DVD’s too.  The box calls it a DVD AV receiver.  I’ve also heard them referred to as head units.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Why don’t giraffes get fat?  I mean, have you ever seen a fat one?

  • Most of the Chinese takeout restaurants near where I live have a sign that says “Chinese food to take out.”  A new one opened.  Its sign just says, “Chinese to take out.”  Doesn’t it sound like that one is running a dating service instead of a restaurant?  I know they’re not, but it does to me.

  • Should I be perplexed or impressed?  I made a terrible pun, which is the very best kind.  The pun was deliberate and it was spelled correctly too, but MS Word’s spell-checker still didn’t like it because it was the wrong word.

  • Speaking of contextual spell checking, MS Word’s spell checker tells me takeout is one word, but apparently only if it’s used after the word Chinese.  When did that happen?

  • What the hell is a “crazed sex poodle?”  I can imagine what a sex-crazed poodle would do, and I know who the “crazed sex poodle” is alleged to be, but what the hell is a “crazed sex poodle?”

  • Would anyone watch beach volley ball on TV if the women wore something other than bikinis while playing?

  • Time Life is selling a music collection called “Pop Memories of the 60’s.”  The infomercial has a kinescope of Patsy Cline singing “Crazy.”  I’ve seen that clip before and in it everything looks tilted to the right.  Next time someone uses it on TV, could they please digitize it and straighten it up?

  • My local Pathmark supermarket chains its shopping carts together.  To separate them, so you can use one, you need a quarter or a special token.  You get the quarter back when you put the cart back.  Why do they do this?  If I wanted to steal a cart, twenty-five-cent deposit wouldn’t keep me from doing it.  Getting my quarter back wouldn’t make me return the cart either if I was at the far end of the parking lot and it was raining.  But due to ever-increasing prices, we don’t need coins very much anymore and I seldom carry a selection.  If I don’t have a quarter, the shopping-cart deposit would keep me from shopping at that store.

Things I Know

    • This morning, the TV weather guy was talking about temperatures in the “low 100’s.”  Now, I like hot weather more than the next person, but there aren’t any low 100’s.

    • Kendra Wilkinson, Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriend, and reality TV star was on the Today show today.  She was so inarticulate she said “you know” twice in the same sentence.  So, I turned it off even though I don’t know.

    • I’ve confirmed something I’ve suspected since I bought it a month ago:  it would be easier for me to wash out the bed of my pickup truck if I had a hill on which to do it.  I can, however, get the water out by putting the tailgate down, backing up fast and then jamming on the brakes.

  • I recently heard a college president on TV refer to something as very unique.  The only thing that is very unique is my pet peeve.  Very Unique is its name.  Unique doesn’t mean rare; it means only.  With the lone exception of my pet peeve, theres no such thing as very unique.

  • I just entered the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest, you know, the one for awful writing.  I figured I had at least a fighting chance.  But I received an acknowledgement from the contest for my e-mail entry.  The acknowledgement said, “Your submission has arrived and will receive the treatment it deserves.”  I was afraid of that.


The results of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest are in.

This didn’t win:

“The life-saving salve had not arrived to help Dr. Sybil Carter dress the mutant killer bee wounds because landslides blocked roads, the rivers were jammed by earthquake debris, and even the jungle foot paths were clogged with dead bees and their victims, yet without the medicinal unguent, many more would die, so reluctantly giving in to her promise never again to speak to her aviator ex-boyfriend, she picked up the radio and begged him to fly in the ointment.” 

David K. Lynch Topanga, CA

This came in second:

“Through the verdant plains of North Umbria walked Waylon Ogglethorpe and, as he walked, the clouds whispered his name, the birds of the air sang his praises, and the beasts of the fields from smallest to greatest said, ‘There goes the most noble among men’ — in other words, a typical stroll for a schizophrenic ventriloquist with delusions of grandeur.”

Tom Wallace, Columbia, SC  

In my judgment, both are better than the winner, but I’m not a judge.  However, for 2011, I am a contestant.  Inspired by this year’s results, I have entered the contest.  I’ll let you know if I win.

Tonight, we will follow a long-standing family tradition.  I’ll read the annual winners to my wife until she begs me to stop.