Things I Know

Ray Rice, a professional football player, is bigger and stronger not only than the average woman, but than most above-average women too. An average man is bigger and stronger than an average woman. An average man could probably beat up an average woman anytime he wanted to. Beating someone up, man or woman, doesn’t prove who’s right or wrong: It proves who’s stronger which usually isn’t in dispute. So, a man beating up a woman is a particularly despicable form of bullying. The good thing is most men don’t only not want to beat up a female companion, they can’t want to.

I agree with the people who say the NFL didn’t take domestic violence seriously enough, but it looks like the NFL has learned its lesson. I certainly hope so.

LRD. I have named a disease that’s existed for centuries, but never had a name before. LRD of course stands for Liverwurst Reflux Disorder.

So, now NATO is going to have a rapid response force. I hope the powers that be are bright enough to figure out a path somewhere between the over-zealous mutual-defense pacts that started WWI and the appeasement that started WWII, in order to avoid WWIII.

I keep hearing that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. It hasn’t been warm enough this summer for it to end, so I’m not going to accept its unofficial end. In fact, I may not accept its official end either. I know I’m still wearing white shoes.

After the news reports of hackers making nude photos of celebrities public, David Letterman asked his audience if they spend a lot of time taking nude selfies. If you’re not already glad there are no nude photos of me on the Internet, you should be. I know I am. I don’t take nude selfies because I have a mirror and I wouldn’t share them if I did.

Homework: Do it.

In my misspent youth, I was a champ at avoiding homework. Mom, I did it in study hall, honest. No, I didn’t do it at all. I hated homework because I didn’t need to do any homework in grade school through high school in order to learn the material. But nobody told me what I needed to know about homework. It’s not just about learning the subject matter, it’s also about learning how to work. And, since I hardly ever did homework, by the time I got to an Ivy League University (which will remain far above Cayuga’s waters) everyone was smart, all the courses I took were hard, I couldn’t coast and I was lost. I did know that downtown was down the hill, but otherwise, lost.

Homework: Do it.

But first, did you have vocabulary workbooks in high school? I did and I hated them. I have an extensive vocabulary, but I was interested in getting an even bigger one, so whenever we had vocabulary homework, I actually did open the workbook and look at it. If I recall correctly, the senior vocabulary book was a lovely, pale shade of blue. I often had mixed feelings after looking at the homework, because I usually knew all twenty words for the week so I didn’t learn any new words (bad), but I didn’t do the homework either (good). If there was a word I didn’t know, I would look it up and copy the definition into the book, but I wouldn’t write the other 19 definitions, and I always planned to ad lib the sentence I was required to write. And I hardly ever fell back on the old standby, “The teacher asked us to spell complementary.”

Homework: That’s how I did it, if I did it.

My English teacher had a pretty good idea what I was doing and when she caught me at it, she would deduct points from the weekly vocabulary quiz. She got up to deducting 20 points, but 80 is still a passing grade, so I was cool with it. And then, shortly after the beginning of our senior year, Janet transferred into our school from Dallas TX. She came in on vocabulary lesson day , so Mrs. Teacher had Janet look on with me until she could get a workbook of her own. I opened the book to the correct, blank, page. I don’t remember the word she asked me to go over, but I picked up the book and read the correct definition from the blank page. Then, I read the sentence I had not written down on the adjacent blank page. Both the definition and the sentence were correct, but both pages were blank and Janet found that funny. She laughed.

So, Mrs. Teacher came over to see what Janet was laughing at–my blank book. Another 20 points down the drain. I told Janet that as long as she got me in trouble, she might as well go to the school dance with me that Friday night, and she did. I’d like to say it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but it wasn’t. Nobody’s fault, we just didn’t click. But, that’s not the reason I now advocate for homework.

To reiterate, I got into a great college and couldn’t do the work because, while I was smart enough, I had never bothered to learn how to study. I never needed to before. I dropped out of college. It was bad, but it wasn’t a total loss. I did go back eventually. I learned to work eventually too, and while I was out, I did meet my wife, so I wouldn’t change that for the world. If someone had told me back then that doing my homework was important for me in learning how to work, I don’t know if it would have helped me, but I’m telling you this story in case it does help someone else.

Things I Know

President Obama is neither my favorite nor my least favorite president. Criticizing him for announcing that he doesn’t have a plan to deal with ISIS is fair. Criticizing him for wearing a tan suit is ridiculous!

Newsmax TV is running a radio ad for a poll it’s conducting. It asks, “Can Doctor Ben Carson win back the White House from OBama?” First, President OBama won’t be running in the next presidential election. Second, While Doctor Carson has taken up writing and politics after a distinguished career as a neurosurgeon, I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting nominated, let alone elected president.

We have so many people in jail in this country that we really should make both mental illness and non-violent drug crimes public health problems rather than criminal justice problems. I suppose locking up a few of those people is justified, but not all of them.

While out for a drive this week, I encountered my dad’s ghost. The guy who was in front of me in traffic had his left-turn signal on for about three miles and he hadn’t turned left by the time I got around him. Wrong kind of car, but definitely my dad’s driving style.

So the fraud guy from alleged Microsoft Support (which is a scam and has nothing to do with Microsoft), called again tonight. I advised him to take a stool softener. You can probably figure out why I said that. I also told him not to call again, and didn’t say please, but I still think he will.

I know this isn’t going to stop the calls, but just to be clear, I don’t buy anything from telemarketers. Doing so would only encourage a practice that needs no encouragement. I also don’t donate to any telemarketers who call alleging that they represent charities. First, like the sales calls, it only encourages a practice that needs no encouragement, but there are other reasons too. If you call me out of the blue, I have no idea if you are who you say you are and I usually have no background on the charity. I’m not that responsive to political telemarketers or people I’m already doing business with who try to sell me more stuff over the phone. I have no trouble saying no. I just took the trouble to get on the federal no-call list because I find all these calls annoying. is a little nuts in the way it markets its service. I just received an email from them asking me about a guy who started in my high school after I graduated. Don’t know and don’t care. I suspect most guys don’t know or care about guys who weren’t even in school with them. If I were running their marketing campaign, I’d ask girls about guys who graduated up to two or even three years before they did and I’d ask guys about women who graduated up to two or three years after them. If I weren’t happily married, I might be very interested in some women who graduated from high school a year or two after I did.

According to several stories I read on the Internet (so it must be true) Jell-O sales fell by 19 percent between 2009 and 2013. I bet people don’t buy a lot of Junket anymore either. In fact, I was surprised to learn they still make that.

Ray Dean, recently retired police chief in the small Long Island village of Westhampton Beach received a retirement bonus of something like $400,000. It was for accumulated, unused vacation and sick time over his 15 years in the job. He’s been criticized for that and I don’t know why. The Village mayor and trustees who entered into the contract that required these payments deserve the criticism. If someone wanted to give me an overly-generous employment contract, I’d accept it, wouldn’t you. Current mayor, Maria Moore, to her credit, says the she and the present board of trustees will make sure the next chief’s contract isn’t anywhere near as generous.

By the way, did you know that according to New York State law, if a municipality gives its police a raise, it must also raise the salary of its police chief by at least as much as the dollar amount of the highest raise given to any of the policemen? According to one interpretation of that law, you can’t pay a new police chief less than you paid his or her predecessor either. That, to use the applicable technical term, is nuts.

Attention Geico Gecko: Bullwinkle’s last name isn’t “Winkle.” It’s “Moose.” Full name, Bullwinkle J. Moose. If I ever knew what the J stands for, I’ve long-since forgotten.