Things I Know

I’ve got a great idea about what President Obama should do:  He should pick up the bullpen phone and bring Mariano into the game.

There are two reasons you can’t let sleeping dogs lie, or tell the truth:  Dogs can’t speak any language people can understand; and they’re sleeping.

I’ve had it with all the changes in Facebook.  I think they should slow the pace of their changes.

Andy Rooney wasn’t on the season opener of 60 Minutes for the first time since 1978.  Now, CBS has announced that this Sunday will be Andy’s final “regular” appearance on the show.  They didn’t say he retired or that he was forced out, although either is a possibility since he is 92-years old and his act seems to appeal more to older rather than younger viewers.  Who knows?  Perhaps CBS has initiated a late-retirement program and Andy decided to take advantage of it.

On the Smithsonian Channel’s program “Aerial America,” the narrator talked about a monastery near Carmel California that houses nuns.  Then it isn’t a monastery, is it?  Monasteries house monks.  Nuns live in nunneries or convents.  These days, some also live in private residences, rather than communally.

Not that you asked, but here’s another progress report on remodeling our house.  All the living room walls are now coated with one coat of beige paint.  My wife accepted my desire for beige.  You see, if we decide to sell this house before it needs to be painted again, I wont have to paint it again if it’s a nice neutral color.

If Warren Buffet thinks he doesn’t pay enough taxes, there’s nothing to prevent him from donating something to the government to make up the difference.

Occasionally, in the middle of the night, I dream that the door bell is ringing.  When that happens, it always wakes me up.

I have to laugh whenever I hear teachers’ unions talk about class size.  From first to third grade, I went to Catholic school.  We didn’t have small classes.  We didn’t have teacher’s aides.  We did have 65-kids in a class, one nun with a ruler establishing, and maintaining discipline.  Her name was Sister Mary Knucklebuster.

I had a crush on a pretty little blonde girl in my first-grade class.  She sat by the classroom door because her surname was near the beginning of the alphabet; I sat near the windows because my name was near the end of the alphabet, so we never met.

Here’s to horticultural success.  Last fall, I bought a couple of pots of mums to put on my front stoop.  When the flowers fell off, I divided the plants into several pieces and planted them in the bed in front of my porch.  They survived and within the last few days, they’ve started coming into bloom.

On the agriculture front, I had more limited success.  My crop of tomatoes tasted good, but a lot of them were ruined by blossom-end rot.  When I clean up the beds soon, I’m going to till some gypsum into the soil.  I’ll do it again in the spring before I plant and that ought to prevent the same thing from happening next year.  Maybe I’ll plant some winter rye too.

One of my trellises broke this summer though, so I’ll either have to fix it or try a different kind.

Next summer, I’ll also have to be more vigilant because this year, the birds got to my blueberries before I could.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • So the last two of the three of the young hikers arrested for spying near the Iraq-Iran border two years ago have been freed on $500,000 “bail” each.  I’m pretty sure each of them has every intention of skipping bail.  But nobody paid any ransom, so it’s okay, right?

  • I hate being cold, so why do I live someplace that’s cold for more of the year than it is hot?

  • Have you ever walked along a beach that is just covered with shell steaks?

  • Is there any other kind of cold than a miserable one?  I don’t think so.  That’s the only kind I’ve ever had, and I had one starting last Thursday.  Unless a new symptom presents itself tonight or tomorrow, I think I’m getting better now.

  • I’ve lived in a lot of places, so I’ve probably painted the inside of more houses, and apartments than most amateur house painters. That makes me wonder why I knocked over a bucket of paint today when I was trying to paint the walls, not the floor?  I’ve never done that before.

Things I Know

  • When I first heard that Tareq Salahi had reported to police that his wife, Michaele, might have been kidnapped, my initial reaction was the two of them were such publicity hounds that perhaps authorities ought to look for her on a balloon in Colorado.  But no, she just left him for another guy.

  • If beating a dead horse doesn’t work, a typical reaction from many government types is to add more dead horses.  President Obama’s jobs bill is pretty much more of the same as the stimulus cargo (it was too big to be a package) of a couple of years ago.  Plus the President wants to pay for it with new taxes, so one of two things is possible.  Either the President doesn’t remember the battle over extending the national debt ceiling earlier this summer, or he’s introduced the bill believing it will not pass the House and intending to campaign against the Republican majority as being against jobs.

  • I believe both parties want to create jobs, but each thinks that what they’re doing is right, and what the other party is doing is counter-productive.  That’s why it’s so hard to get anyone to compromise on this issue.

  • Whether you approved of Bill Clinton as President, you’ve got to admit he is, and was a master politician.  He ran once on the slogan, “It’s the economy stupid.”  So, on the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of imitation, a candidate for President, either Republican or Democrat may be able to win next year’s election simply by running on the slogan, “It’s the jobs, stupid.”

  • I will now be cold, probably until sometime in late April, or early May.  I hate being cold!

  • I found another store, this one a supermarket, within a couple of miles of my house that sells Good & Plenty candy.  But the market only sells the six ounce boxes, not the eight ounce bag.  At least, if I had the box, I could pretend I’m the engineer on a steam engine, like Choo Choo Charlie used to do.

  • In the same supermarket, a one-pound bag of pretzels costs $3.29.  I maintain that if you live long enough, all prices are ridiculous.  I don’t think I’m there yet, but I remember when steak cost less than that.

  • I’m doing my part to increase consumer spending.  I rolled up all the coins in my change jar, cashed them in, and injected $85 into the local economy.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • Are there any other Word Press bloggers out there who can tell me how to reset the time on the blog?  I only ask because I posted my piece on 9-11-11 very early in the morning, right after midnight, but the blog software decided for me that I posted on 9-10-11, making my references to “today” seem a little silly.

  • Did you know that if you buy them from, you can subscribe to Good & Plenty candy, and then they’ll send you more at specified intervals?  Subscribing to candy appeals to me a great deal more than subscribing to magazines does.

  • You’ve got a lot of holes in your head and so, of course, do I.  There’s your mouth, your nasal passages, your sinuses. and in my case, the large space where a normal person would have a brain.  Because of something called head resonance, your voice sounds different to you than it does to anyone else.  That’s why someone who hears their voice recorded for the first time may be surprised, and think the recording doesn’t sound like them.  To overcome head resonance, radio broadcasters often wear headphones, and turn them up quite loud so they can hear what they really sound like.  I did that when I was on the radio.  I think that’s at least part of the reason for my hearing problems.  I have tinnitus, so if there’s a lot of background noise, I have trouble understanding what people are saying to me.  Since I know I have minor hearing problems, this leads me to ask you, do you have trouble understanding the actors on BBC TV programs?  I often do, and it’s not because of the accents.  I think the background music is too loud, and some of the actors’ speech sounds muddy to me.

  • Why would you quit cold turkey?  I look forward to the day after Thanksgiving so I can make myself a delicious turkey sandwich on rye with mayo and cranberry sauce.  Just for the record, I like hot turkey sandwiches with giblet gravy too, but I prefer those on white bread.

  • I don’t understand this kind of marketing, do you?  I never subscribed to “Rolling Stone Magazine,” but somebody sent it to me anyway.  Rolling Stone did ask me to renew, and I didn’t do that either, but I’m still getting the magazine.  I understand the logic behind a free sample, but how does one make money by giving away the product, and continuing to give it away once the user refuses to pay to continue receiving it?

  • Having confessed my fondness for the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who, I’ve never understood the following:  Why doesn’t the Doctor’s miraculous sonic screwdriver (which disrupts things electronic and mechanical) disrupt Daleks or Cybermen?


You just can’t avoid all the TV shows, and newspaper articles about 9-11 today and leading up to today, the tenth anniversary of the worst attack ever on American soil:  Nor should you.  Thousands of victims and hundreds of heroes died that day. Uncounted others risked their lives, and/or their health in the days and months afterward removing the rubble from the wrecked World Trade Center.  That’s not even counting all the US military men, and women killed, and wounded in subsequent action against Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we should count them.

I’m going to raise an issue that I haven’t seen raised before.  It appears to me, based on the reporting I’ve seen, some of the ceremonies surrounding the annual commemoration of 9-11 are keeping the early stages of mourning alive in some of the survivors of those killed.  In other words, I suspect that some of the remembrances have kept people from getting to the point where life can go on instead of helping them to reach that point.

I hope I’m wrong and if I’m right, I don’t know what to do about it.  We should remember the heinous attack.  We should honor the heroes.  I just don’t know how to move the ceremonies more toward remembering, and more away from mourning, but after ten years, I suggest that people smarter than I am ought to be thinking about how to do that if they aren’t already doing so.

I’ll be participating in one of the ceremonies today, a small one at a local church.  I’ve had no part in planning the ceremony, so don’t know whether it leans toward remembrance or mourning.  We all need to concentrate on the bad things about our enemies who did these awful things.  We also need to concentrate on the good things we remember about those who are gone.  Nobody should try to get over their deaths, we should never forget.  But in addition to remembering, we should do whatever we can to help the living get on with living.

In the days to come, as well as remembering 9-11, it would be a very good thing if we could remember and even recapture the spirit of national unity that filled the country on 9-12-2001,  and for a long time afterward.

Things I Know

  • My wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me), and I must be the only people for miles around who like Good & Plenty candy:  You know, the pink & white sugar coated licorice.  I say that because there’s only one store within a couple of miles of my house that sells them, and when I buy the last package, it takes them a while to restock.

  • Whether you approve of Texas Governor Rick Perry or not, your Social Security taxes do not go into an account to pay for your retirement.  People working now are paying for the retirement benefits of people who are retired now, so in that sense, Governor Perry is correct that it is a sort of Ponzi scheme.

  • If President George W. Bushs niece, Lauren, married designer Ralph Lauren’s son, Richard, she’d be Lauren Lauren, and that’s what she did.

  • If you are remodeling and staining rather than painting the woodwork, don’t install (or let a contractor install) said woodwork before mudding and sanding the wallboard.  If you do, you’ll only have to stain it a second time after it’s installed.

  • My neighbor across the street has a large, beautiful crape myrtle.  It started blooming in mid August.  Because I like his so much, last year I bought one too.  Imitation is the sincerest form of imitation, I always say.  I believe mine is a slightly different variety because it burst into full bloom this past weekend.  My crape myrtle isn’t as big as my neighbor’s is, but I am very satisfied with the way it looks and the way it’s growing.

  • I heard that older women dress too young because they copy the way their daughters dress.  That’s ridiculous!  My wife doesn’t own even one black t-shirt with Rob Zombie’s picture on it.  I do have one black t-shirt, but it has two big eyes in a yellow circle and says, “Moon equipped” on it.

  • I think I was wrong about how many utility knives I need to own before I can be sure I know where at least one of them is at all times.  I thought the number was four, but I recently discovered that I own two green ones, so now I think the number is five.

  • The Town of Smithtown Long Island has passed legislation to make residents contain bamboo on their property.  In case you’re not aware, bamboo propagates with runners, is extremely hardy and difficult to contain or eliminate.  The Town of Islip is considering doing the same thing.  Maybe they should both get some pandas.

Things I Know

  • To all of the idiots out there (not just Michelle Bachman) who think that natural disasters like the eastern earthquake and Hurricane Irene are God’s way of trying to tell us something:  God is more interesting than the “Most Interesting Man in the World” from those clever beer commercials.  If God wants to tell us something, and requests airtime from all the networks, He’ll get it, when he wants it.  Plus, if God wants to tell us something, and get it across immediately, He can just tweet it.

  • First, President Obama decided to address a joint session of Congress at the same time as the next scheduled debate for Republican presidential candidates.  House Speaker Boehner suggested the following night.  Then President Obama agreed to the following night but reassured the nation that he will be done speaking before the first NFL football game of the season kicks off at 8:30 EDT.  Personally, I don’t have a conflict since I don’t plan to watch the debate, the speech, or the football game.

  • I’ll become interested in the 2012 presidential race when one of two things happens:  when it becomes interesting; or when it becomes a whole lot closer.

  • During August, I attended two information sessions on New York State’s recently enacted two-percent tax-levy cap.  That thing is going to be a whole lot of fun!

  • My cable provider just started providing BBC America.  Good!  I’m about as big a fan of the British sci-fi series “Doctor Who” as anyone who doesn’t collect memorabilia, go to conventions, and dress up in costumes, but if BBC America is going to keep showing episodes three times a day, I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep up.

  • Doctor Who fans who do collect memorabilia, go to conventions and dress up in costume are generally called Whovians, but I think it would be funnier to call them Whoers.

  • I got another good idea for a business.  It’s a combination coffee house and comedy club.  I’m planning to call it “Brew Ha Ha.”

  • If you have any age on you at all, one thing that has improved a lot in your lifetime is adhesive or glue.  Why is it better?  A far greater degree of control over how well it sticks.  For example, toilet paper.  There was a time when the end of a roll of toilet paper was glued down so securely that freeing the end resulted in destroying a lot of the product.  Recently, preparing a roll of toilet paper for use has become much easier because the glue they use these days is nowhere near as sticky, but I encountered a retro roll today.

  • And speaking of toilet paper, softness is a very useful trait to have in toilet paper up to a point, after which it becomes a real problem.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

  • I keep hearing commercials (or maybe they’re public service announcements) on radio station WFAN for the Jerry Lewis Labor-Day Telethon.  It was all over the place when the Muscular Dystrophy Association split with Jerry who raised over a billion dollars for them since the telethon began.  Have they made up?  I know there was one report, later retracted, in the Las Vegas Review Journal that they had, but I’m still under the impression that Lewis is no longer in the picture, so why are they still using his name on the telethon?

  • Is your power back on yet?  I hope so.  Luckily for us we never lost ours during Hurricane Irene.

  • I understand that the entire power grid is outdoors (the part that is indoors belongs to the people who own the buildings) and that Hurricane Irene was as big as or bigger than Europe.  What I don’t understand is hasn’t it been outdoors since electricity became commercially available?  And weren’t there storms outdoors when electric companies started doing business too?  I know putting the electric power lines underground is more expensive than putting them on poles, but in the name of reliability, shouldn’t they do that, at least in the places subject to big windstorms like hurricanes, nor’easters and blizzards?

  • Rolls of toilet paper with no cardboard tubes in the middle are probably good for the environment as long they continue to unroll smoothly when you need them to.  But how does the manufacturer know that doing away with the tubes saves enough cardboard in a year to fill the Empire State Building twice?  And is that measurement taken with flattened or uncompressed cardboard tubes.

  • By the way, do you know what those tubes are called?  They are doot-doots.  The name comes from the first little kid who pretended such a tube was a musical instrument, raised it to his lips to pretend to play it and said, “doot-doot, doot-doot, doot-doot.”

  • Since they rhyme, why aren’t nude and glued spelled consistently?