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Friday, November 28, 2008

It doesn't get much better than this!

Kathy and I were walking our two dogs with step-son Chad and his two dogs this morning. When Chad's Zoe pooped, I had the plastic bag and Chad had two dogs going in opposite directions. So I was the picker-upper.

When Chad said, "No, that's my job," Kathy reassured him. "Don't worry. Jerry is the King of Poop."

Of course! I realized had found my true self and was justifiably proud. I did my thing with a flourish. (High fives, etc.)

Then I thought... Wait a second. King of Poop. What is better that that? I guess I could earn my Ace of Poop with a little hard work and lots of practice.

Does that make the ultimate, Joker of Poop... or am I already there?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friend of mine loaned me an interesting book.

Coffee shop buddy Ed thought I might enjoy "The Words We Live By," a book by Brian Burrell. It is subtitled "The creeds, mottoes, and pledges that have shaped America." Ed's right. I enjoyed.

Do you know, for example, that the motto of the US Postal Service really isn't? The words, "Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night..." were written as an inscription on New York City's main postal building. Nothing more, nothing less...but still a good read and better image. Forty-two cents still goes a long way.

Did you know that The Golden Rule, "Do unto others..." is repeated in many languages and by many religions and organizations in one form or another..."What is right for one is fair for another", "Do good to yourself with as little evil as possible to another," etc. because it espouses fairness.

There is a Declaration of Principles by the Pacific Ice Cream Manufacturer's Association, The Boy Scout's Laws, The Marquess of Queensberry rules that govern boxing, A Mid-wife's Oath, Parkinson's Laws, Murphy's Laws, etc.

Of course, the book covers all of the biggies... The Pledge Allegiance, Ten Commandments and more... but its greatest interest to me is in it's coverage of the obscure:

A Stick-Up Man's Code (I will not kill anyone unless I have to, I will take cash and food stamps--no checks, I will rob only seven months out of the get the idea), The Chicago Cubs team rules from 1913 (No, one of the rules was NOT to ever win another World Series) and my favorite, a list compiled by the owner of New York's Empire Diner: Be nice. Don't shout. Sit up straight. Don't play with your food. Have a nice day. Take care. Don't be a stranger. Murry, call your mother.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One thing you won't see in our Christmas letter

Sorry. If you get our Christmas letter this year, we won't tell you everything. Kathy will not describe my prostate exam which she sat in on in the doctor's office.

In fact, that didn't happen. But it was reported as being part of the Christmas letter sent out by Kansas City mayor, Mark Funkhouser and his wife, Gloria Squitiro. The letter was excerpted on the internet last year with resulting national publicity as you might guess.

The strange-seeming love affair between Mayor Funkhouser and wife Ms Squitiro is legendary in this 450,000 population Missouri city. The couple is so close that Ms Suitiro literally moved into the Mayor's office in 2007 when he did. She acted as his council, scheduled his appointments and consulted and (sometimes, it was said) made mayoral decisions. She also made many enemies for her controlling, intruding and devisive manner. She was not on the payroll, she was just the mayor's wife with, as the Mayor says, a right to be at his side.

The situation became so intrusive that, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the City Council effectively banished her from City Hall. Now, the Mayor is suing his own city insisting he needs his wife at his side. And maybe he does. She ran his campaign, runs his schedule, helps him conduct interviews and, it appears, is quite dominant in his life.

Three observations: 1) This, a very few say, is just a case of true love. 2) I'm glad I don't live in Kansas City. 3) That prostate thing. Are you kidding me?

In search of an honest man

Ever hear of J.P Hayes? He is a 43-year-old golf pro...and an honest man. Hayes hasn't won a pro golf tournament in six years. Worse, his performance this year was below the money winnings minimum for the right to play PGA tournaments in 2009. So, at this late stage in his pro career, he had to requalify with all of today's young aspirants, for his professional tour card--his ticket to play. And it looked like he made it.

Funny thing happened though. He discovered, after returning to his hotel room after a round, that he had accidentally used an unapproved golf ball for two shots. Just two shots. And he was the only one who knew it.

What to do, what to do. Shut up and play...or blow the whistle on himself. Be a tournament qualified pro golfer or be an ex-tournament qualified pro golfer. Remember, the man makes his living playing golf.

So he literally 'fired himself.' He reported his error and was, as per the rules, disqualified.

Dumb? A few say so. Hayes isn't one of those. "I would say everybody out here (on the PGA Tour) would have done the same thing. It's not the end of the world."

J.P. Hayes, an honest man... in a pretty honest sport. Refreshing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

China + India = 36% of the world's population

Wow! China has 1.3 million people (to top out at 1.8 billion in the next 10 years). India has 1.1 billion people. And the United States is third in the population list with a measly 300-plus million. 

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a story, "India's ambitious infrastructure plans," with a photo of workers at a road construction site. There wasn't a bulldozer, scraper or machinery of any kind in the picture. Instead, it showed a seemingly endless line of squatting women in traditional Indian garb with small, wooden handled hoes, scraping at rather undefined brown dirt. One weeks' production of the worker's efforts could easily be equaled in no time by a Caterpillar road grader.

This past spring, Kathy and I were in China. There we saw a massive renovation project underway at one of the historical sites we visited. We saw hundreds of men and women working with small hand tools chip, chip, chipping away on the plaza dirt without the aid of anything mechanical. 

Well, I guess if the 1,500-mile-long Great Wall happened, the pyramids built and Stonehenge erected, all before the birth of Christ and Caterpillar tractors, then why not? But the mind-blowing thought is, this isn't 'B.C.', there are Caterpillars, and were do all the people come from? 

These are not third-world countries--you should see their big cities--though you might not know it from some viewpoints. The humanity alone, however, makes them very different than us...  36% of the world population, different customs, different problems, different solutions. 

You think they won't greatly shape how the world goes forward? Wrong! 

As above, so below; as below, so above - Aphorism II

The U.S. Supreme court may soon determine whether one Utah city has a legal obligation to erect a monument honoring the Seven Aphorism of Summum, a local religion founded in 1975 by Claude "Corky" Nowell, who goes by his religious name, Corky Ra. The founding concept of the religion came after a visit from "beings Extraterrestrial," according to Ra. The Seven Aphorisms (truths), he says, actually came down the mountain with Moses... along with the Ten Commandments. The Seven Aphorisms were 'tossed' when Moses figured people weren't ready for them yet so he went with the primer version.

The reason the highest court in the land may hear this case is that the state court ruled in favor of Summum saying the city must put up the monument because to exclude it would create a bias against a specific group. (Technically, according to the ruling, this could be any group, religious or otherwise.) The city contends it has no legal obligation to allow a monument to any group that wants one.

Wall Street Journal columnist, Daniel Henninger writes: "Laughable though it looks, Pleasant Grove City v. Summum is a text-boook example of tensions that have pulled our courts between noble reading of the Constitution--in this case, the First Amendment's speech protections--and what the average person might call the common-sense requirements of running a civil society.

"This is the sort of case that cries out for the judicial wisdom of Solomon, long dead in the U.S. Indeed it was the departure from common-sense wisdom that pitched the country into endless legal thickets, most notably the ruined learning environments in public schools...  A win here for Summum and its Seven Aphorisms likely would cause many cities to wash their hands of the problem by clearing their parks of all monuments, a desolate result."

Another voice for common sense... what a stupid idea. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curious George, eat your heart out.

If you have children and/or grandchildren, you know Curious George, the little monkey from Africa that lives with his friend, the man in the yellow hat. You have to wonder, though, if George could have done better. 

Florida police were looking for a shoplifter who was described as wearing a yellow shirt, yellow trousers and a yellow tie. He allegedly stole a dozen yellow Scotch eggs, yellow jellies, yellow mustard, yellow cheese, three pair of yellow socks and two pair of yellow underpants. His favorite color? Blue would be a bad guess. 

In New York, a woman shoplifter took $300 worth of razor blades and hemorrhoid medication. Why would she do something like this? I don't care and I certainly don't want to know.

Last winter, two New Jersey guys hijacked a truck filled with toilet seats and bed pans. Hope they get the opposite of the electric chair--'the cold seat.' (Get it?)

And while we are on the subject, don't rule out the person who shot his brother for using six of his eight rolls of toilet paper in two days. Don't ask.

Think I made these up? I'm not that imaginative.

Today was Bunco day at my house

Bunco...a mindless woman's game played with dice that serves as a catalyst for laughing, screaming and gossiping. No strategy. Just roll the dice, stupid. Sure, men can play bunco, but hey... we are men. We wrestle, spit, scratch, watch sports on TV and other intelligent stuff. But men play bunco? Get real. (Caveat: every year around Christmas, the ladies bless us with, are you ready for this?... a husband and wife bunco/pot luck dinner. How thoughtful.)

The word Bunco comes from an old Spanish game played with dice that morphed into a dishonest gambling game in the early 1900s. It was from there the police began using the name to identify those detectives who chased scam artists, con men and swindlers. They called this group the 'bunco squad'.  You heard a lot about the bunco squad when Joe Friday (remember Jack Webb?) was an LAPD detective on Dragnet (dum, da-dum-dum)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dog Whisperer philosophy and a bad joke

Cesar Millan is The Dog Whisperer and his show on the National Geo channel is always worth a watch... especially if you are a 'dog person.' A few years back, in the pages of National Geographic magazine, Cesar capsuled his dog control philosophy. 

"If you don't tell a dog what to do, it will tell you what to do...a dog is first an animal, then a dog, then a breed, and the its name.

"Unconditional love isn't enough to control a dog.  Dogs don't follow an emotional leader. They follow the dominant leader.  We are the only species that follow an unstable leader."

Some of the more powerful leaders don't... or can't control their dogs. "When you see the President of the United States coming out of Air Force One, you always see the dog  in front. When you see the President going inside the White House, you see the dog going inside first."

Well, the Obama kids are getting a dog. If the President-Elect is like most of us dog lovers, who do you think will be the first out of the plane? "Hold the door for me Fido, I'm right behind you."

 I guess there is that one thing our species has... emotion. Unless training dogs is you life, emotion seems to be a more open door to human actions other than control of the pet that licks your face. (And where has that tongue been?) 

Dog joke: Guy takes his 'talking dog' into a bar. Bartender says, "Mister, if that dog can talk, I'll give you free beers all night."

"Bowser, what covers the outside of a tree?"

"Bark! Bark!"

Bartender says "You have to do better than that."

"Bowser, what is on top of a house?

"Roof! Roof!"

"Last chance," the bartender warns.

Sweating, the guy asks: "Bowser, who is the greatest baseball player of all times? Babe who?"

"Roof! Roof!"

As the guy and his dog pick themselves up from the pavement outside the bar, the dog, puzzled, looks at his master and asks, "I should have said DiMaggio?"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands!

Poor guy...but you wouldn't know it by looking at him. John was a car crash victim who recovered well enough, but was left with a funny... er tragic, lingering side effect. He smiles all the time and talks a mile a minute.  The accident caused brain damage that has left John in a constant state of euphoria. So happily (as usual), he filed a lawsuit... which he won.

The judge found John pleasant enough, but his condition makes him irritatingly repetitive and annoying to be around.  You can bet that with this six-figure award, John laughed all the way to the bank.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

22 that all there is to a campaign?

It's over. We have a president-elect. We won't have to watch any more dirty, rotten, mudslinging' "I approved this message" political commercials. When the phone rings, maybe it won't be Hank Williams Jr. or Bono telling me who to vote for. Maybe I won't have to select my candidate by listening to the horrible things each is saying about the other and vote for the lesser of two evils... until next time.  (OK...studies show it works. Should it? Is that all there is to an electorate?) 

Were campaigns always this long? Were they always this disgusting? I guess I don't want anyone I vote for to be or have an "attack dog." 

Canada puts a three-month limit on campaigns. I'm guessing other countries have some constraints. Here, our only constraint is 'how much money you have to spend.' And right there you have a reason most of us never have a chance to listen to a broader array of possibilities. If you don't win the January primaries in New Hampshire and Iowa and you aren't rich or your wife doesn't have her own fortune or you are not a front-runner, you are O-U-T. Do New Hampshire and Iowa actually pick our candidates? Did Dennis Kucinich ever get much air time other than on Saturday Night Live?

Let's be thankful that all of this won't start again until at least after the inauguration. And God bless our President elect. We need a good one.

Remember that episode of M.A.S.H...

... the one where Hunnicutt, on a medical trip to Japan, had a suit custom made? He talked about his pin-striped suit and its incredible bargain price the whole show. Hawkeye was jealous, to say nothing about Frank. The suit. The suit. The episode created high expectations of this incredible suit, custom made to Hunnicutt's exact measurements, for an unbelievably low price. Well, the show ended and as the credits rolled, Hunnicutt hollered from the next room that his suit had come. When he walked onto the final set, the crew just 'broke up' from laughter... real, tears-rolling- down-your-face laughter. Hunnicutt's incredible, custom-made pin striped suit was sewn with the stripes running horizontal. And it was funny.

Elsewhere, a real tailor was robbed by a dumb crook who took his money and ran. Police have a pretty good description of the guy. He is five feet, nine inches tall, weighs  165 pounds, has a 14 1/2-inch neck, 19-inch shoulders, 39-inch chest, 34-inch waist and 41-inches at the hip. Seems the crook let the tailor measure him for a suit before he pulled his gun.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wasilla...the name rings a bell

I'm was sure I had heard of Wasilla before John McCain made Sarah Palin his running mate. Then I remembered.  A few years back, a Wasilla resident came home one night and saw a strange car parked in his driveway. Suspecting a 'breaking and entering' in progress, he took his shotgun (which was handy) and blasted all four tires. In Wasilla, they are pretty mavericky, you may recall. Then he called the police.  Before they got there, his best friend ran out of the house to see what the hell was going on... only to find his new car, which he had brought over to show his buddy, was sitting a little low these days.

Dumb Crooks & Stupid Sounding Lawsuits

I have always had a love for Dumb Crooks and Stupid Sounding Lawsuits. Thought they represent human nature at its most awry. You often find the best examples in the small print on some back-of-the-paper page, near the bottom...or in some blog, like this one. For example:

A confessed holdup man sued the guy he was holding up for $10,000. Said the victim pulled his own gun, thus endangering his (the crook's) life. Apparently the crook saw this as a "win-win" opportunity. 

Two burglary suspects led police on a 100-mph chase down a Florida interstate. They were finally captured when they stopped at a toll booth to pay 50-cents.

Texas police put out the word that they were looking for a "woman of interest" with a rose tattooed on her left breast. Well, I would guess so... but I think they meant, in relevance to a crime. They got more than they asked for when they received 300 (at last count) calls claiming they knew the woman. Conclusion: Either busy woman or rose-tattooed breasts are big (pun sort-of intended).

Here's one for you: A guy in Kentucky didn't have a nickel for 12-minutes time at a parking meter, so he took a chance anyway. An observant officer, arriving 5-minutes later, cited him for an expired meter, a one-dollar fine. When the officer discovered the parker already owed eight bucks for other parking violations, he had his car towed.
The parker, claiming the officer had no right to have his car towed, sued the city for $150,000 for towing damage to his car. 
The city then counter-sued asking $200,000 in penalties for failure to pay the outstanding eight bucks. 
The officer also sued, asking $350,000 for damage to his reputation.
Finally, the overtime parker sued the officer for $950,000 for the humiliation of having his car towed. 
For the want of a, nickel, the battle was lost...unless you are a lawyer.

And finally,  for now anyhow, a Missouri man, sentenced to spend "the rest of his natural life in prison," sued the state for his release. He claimed the pacemaker that was implanted in his chest, effectively ended his natural life.