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An unorganized collection of wry humor, short comments on politics, jabs at commercials, predictions, et cetera. This page is always being , with new entries at the beginning. There is no table of contents.
Not everything here is original with me. Those items that are marked with © are original, and I own the copyright. Those items that indicate contributed by might not be original creations of the contributors.
At Home Depot, I was told they have to use self-checkout stands because they can't hire enough checkers to operate their registers. Home Depot is not WalMart. If they paid a decent wage, they could hire enough checkers.
For many years, I saw the symbol — the fish of Christianity — in display ads in the Yellow Pages, generally for small, independent building trades companies. Occasionally, I see it within the business logos on commercial vehicles.
This year, with the re-election of George Bush as President, the push of religious sentiments into the commercial world has become more aggressive.
Emboldened by their Election Day successes, some Christian conservatives around the country are trying to put more Christ into Christmas this season.
In Terrebonne Parish, La., an organization is petitioning to add "Merry Christmas" to the red-lighted "Season's Greetings" sign on the main government building and is selling yard signs that read, "We believe in God. Merry Christmas."
And a Raleigh, N.C., church recently paid $7,600 for a full-page newspaper ad urging Christians to spend their money only with merchants who include the greeting "Merry Christmas" in ads and displays. "There is a revival taking place in our nation that is causing Christian and right-minded people to say, 'Wait a minute. We've gone too far,'" says the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Raleigh church. "We're not going to allow the country to continue this downward spiral to the left."
© 2004 Associated Press
15 December 2004
When I receive a business's Christian greeting or see it display the fish symbol, the message is quite clear: This Jew is not welcome as a customer. My money is not wanted. I, of course, take my business elsewhere.
I hate shopping for clothes! But I last bought shirts about two years ago, and my shirts are now beginning to look quite worn. So shopping became necessary.
One major problem is that — dress shirts or sports shirts — I only wear short-sleeved shirts. I went to J. C. Penney, Robinsons-May, and Macy's. They only have long-sleeved shirts. They told me that, since this is mid-November, they only carry fall and winter styles. Short-sleeved shirts are for spring and summer.
Vice-president and Mrs. Cheney are "angry" that John Kerry brought up their daughter Mary's sexual orientation during the third debate. I don't believe that the animosity is simply about Kerry mentioning Mary's sexuality but what he actually said about it. He said that Mary would probably say she was born that way while the Republican base, conservative Christians, believe that sexual orientation is a choice that can and should be changed.
If the Cheneys truly objected to Mary and her sexual orientation being brought into the political realm they would have been more vocally "angry" when fellow Republican, Senate candidate Alan Keyes, called Mary a "selfish-hedonist" because she is a lesbian. Lynne Cheney, Mary's mother, said that Kerry is "not a good man" for his comments in which he said "We're all God's children" and that Mary is "being who she was born as". So if you say my daughter is a "selfish-hedonist" I'll let that slide by, but if you say that she is being the person she was meant to be I'm going to make you pay.
Ah family values.
Contributed by my daughter, Heather
In Nigeria, two women were recently convicted of having unmarried sex and were sentenced to death by stoning. Criminal charges and sentences were levied in accord with Islamic law (Sharia), which has been adopted in several predominantly Moslem states in the northern parts of Nigeria.
The men with whom the convicted women supposedly had sex were both acquitted for lack of evidence. Does no one in Nigeria see anything wrong with this paradox?
Source: Los Angeles Times, 13 October 2004
In the current election campaign, President Bush accuses Senator Kerry of repeatedly changing his position on various issues. Just remember, it's President Bush who repeatedly changes his justification for going to war against Iraq.
In the first presidential debate of the campaign, Kerry said that the United States had the right to take preemptive action abroad if it
Bush criticizes this by claiming
Among the many breakfast cereals distributed by Post is Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds. As required by law, the ingredients are listed (in very small print) on the box with the most abundant ingredient first.
Ingredients: Corn, whole wheat, sugar, rolled oats, almonds, brown sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, rice flour, rice, wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, corn syrup, whey, malted corn and barley syrup, honey, cinnamon, artificial flavor, caramel color, natural flavor, annatto extract.
Notice that oats are listed fourth! There is more sugar than oats. And there are four sweeteners each more abundant than honey. Perhaps this product should be called Sugared Bunches of Corn Flakes.
And it doesn't taste that great.
By the way, Quaker's Toasted Oatmeal (Honey Nut style) lists Whole grain rolled oats first, as its most abundant ingredient. This is the cereal I really wanted, but local markets have stopped carrying it.
At a bank, I understand why, if I make a withdrawal from an account or cash a check, I have to show some identification. Of course, these transactions require my signature.
Today, however, I merely made a simple deposit with no cash back. I still had to show my driver's license as identification. The teller even wrote my license number on the deposit slip. Then I had to sign the bank's copy of the deposit receipt.
Unisys recently sent a mailer to all its retirees, announcing the company is switching the processing of retirement benefits from one outsource service to another.
You will have access to helpful new resources and tools and a new telephone number for enhanced customer service.
But elsewhere in the brochure, I read:
As a Unisys retiree, the only services in which I am interested have been the monthly annuity itself and its electronic deposit directly into my checking account. I am not at all interested in any of the listed new resources and tools, but I was very interested in receiving confirmations that my monthly deposit was indeed made. The only enhancement that I will see from this change will be the elimination of a service.
For what I really think of Unisys, see my Retired.
Aha! Enlightenment! I figured it out.
President Bush is adamant that the United States will not be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, created by the United Nations. Bush claims that he is trying to protect U.S. troops from being second-guessed by a bunch of lawyers and diplomats and that our troops must therefore be exempted from facing prosecution by the Court.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld refuses to identify prisoners of war to the International Committee for the Red Cross, contrary to international law. Attorney General Ashcroft has a team of lawyers present an official legal opinion that Bush is exempt from obeying the Geneva Convention. Both are members of Bush's Cabinet, and Bush is ultimately responsible for their actions. Similarly, as Commander-in-Chief of the military, Bush is responsible for directing the occupation in Iraq, where the orders to abuse prisoners are being traced to higher and higher authorities.
By keeping the U.S. out of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Bush is merely trying to protect his own ass. He is concerned that he might find himself in the docket, indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Is going to war with fraudulent justification an international crime?)
I attended the 2004 culmination ceremony at our local Medea Creek Middle School (the only school for grades 6-8 in the Oak Park Unified School District). Not a graduation — which signifies the end of formal education for some students — culmination (literally high point) is the milestone of transitioning from middle school to high school.
The ceremony was held in the football stadium at Oak Park High School. Symbolically, this was appropriate since these students will enroll at Oak Park High this coming fall. The afternoon was clear, sunny, and mild, a pleasant break from the "June gloom" of cloudy, sunless, gray skies that are typical at this time of year in southern California. While the students being honored — 385, more than the total enrollment of the school when it first opened — sat in chairs on the football field, the audience sat in the bleachers on the home-team side of the stadium.
Parents allowed their young children — younger brothers and sisters of the honored students — to roam freely; stomping up and down the aluminum stairs like stampeding elephants, they made so much noise that I could not hear the speakers or the names of the culminating students. No one was able to be away from their phones for even two hours; cell phones kept ringing throughout the ceremony. I left when someone began saluting a culminating student with an air horn.
*** Begin Right Sidebar ***The State Department released a very positive report on worldwide terrorism for 2003. It indicated that terrorist incidents reached a 34-year low. According to this report, President Bush's war against terrorism is succeeding.
Pressure from Congress and others to report something factual, however, will result in the report being reissued. Among omitted 2003 terrorist activities were the coordinated bombings of two synagogues, a bank, and a British consulate in Turkey, with 62 deaths and more than 700 injuries.
Instead of a decline to a 34-year low, the revised report will show an increase in incidents to a 20-year high. We are not winning the war against terrorism.
Source: Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2004
*** End Right Sidebar ***
According to Newsweek, Ashcroft's warning is really intended as a distraction from the war in Iraq (where more than three times as many U.S. troops have died since President Bush declared the end of major combat a year ago than died during the invasion). The purpose is to show the voters what our President has done for us (to us?) to stop terrorism.
The real accomplishment in the fight against terrorism was the jailing of Brandon Mayfield, who was totally innocent of participation in the railroad bombing in Spain. The Spanish (contrary to statements by the FBI) always thought he was innocent, and they eventually proved it. But the FBI was sure they had the right man because Mayfield had converted to Islam.
If Ashcroft wants to help Bush's re-election, he is going to have to do better than issue vague warnings and arrest the innocent.
About seven years ago, I wrote the following:
In the years from 1991 to 2002, for girls aged 15 to 19, teen births dropped in California from 73 per 1000 to 41.1 per 1000. This decrease of 44% in the teen pregnancy rate is far better than the national decrease of 30%.
Federal funding for teen pregnancy programs in public schools mandates that only abstinence be taught; mention of birth control is prohibited, a consequence of the control over national policies by the "Religious Right". California is the only state that rejects all federal funding for these programs, and California schools thus include birth control in their programs.
Draw your own conclusions about "abstinence only" sex education and the constipated morality behind it.
On 7 May, I listened to the live radio broadcast of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's appearance at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which questioned him about the reports of humiliation, abuse, torture, and even murder of prisoners in Iraq under U.S. military control. I draw several very disturbing conclusions from what I heard.
Rumsfeld must go!
Let's ignore the fact that the British burned Washington, DC; that was indeed almost 200 years ago. Within my lifetime, Hawaii — part of the U.S. since 1898 — was attacked by the Japanese Navy, launching the U.S. participation into World War II. I may be old, but I'm not yet near 100 years old let alone 200.
The world is outraged! A heinous crime was committed! Troops of the Israeli military targeted and killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder and head of Hamas.
Where was the outrage, however, when terrorist troops of Sheik Yassin killed hundreds of Israeli civilians? Hypocrisy!
Once upon a time, the Los Angeles Times included a "Calendar" section and a "Life Style" section.
"Calendar" contained movie and live theater reviews. It had book and restaurant reviews. It contained movie theater and art gallery listings. Of course, the current night's TV listings were in "Calendar". If it related to entertainment in the broadest sense, it was in "Calendar".
"Life Style" contained columnists discussing life in southern California. It had advice columnists Dear Abby, Anne Landers, and Carolyn Dax. There were articles about social happenings and fashion (which I never read). And it contained gardening columns and the daily comics (both of which I always read).
Then, the Chicago Tribune bought the Los Angeles Times. Shortly thereafter, "Life Style" was merged into "Calendar". Sometimes the result is so large that there is a "Calendar I" and a "Calendar II" and even occasionally a "Calendar III".
Why was this done? I suspect it was to force those who never even picked up "Calendar" to read through the movie and restaurant ads to reach their favorite columnists, thereby justifying higher ad rates. Often, only some — or even none — of the columnists are listed in the Table of Contents, which supports my suspicion. Now the columns are scattered throughout the section, appearing on the same pages as fashion articles and movie ads.
Before the sections merged, my wife would read "Calendar" to see what might be on TV that night while I read the comics in "Life Style". Now, only one of us reads the section at a time. We can't split it up because we don't know where our favorite columnists might be found.
This is clearly not progress.
WASHINGTON — Half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25, perhaps because they are ignorant about protection or embarrassed to ask for it, reports issued Tuesday suggested. The reports, publicized by two nonprofit sexual and youth health groups, said there were 9 million new cases of sexual diseases among teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 in 2000. They said said the U.S. government's policy of preferring abstinence-only education would only increase those rates.
"For the 27 million young Americans under the age of 25 who have had sex, the stakes are simply too high to talk only about abstinence," James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, said in a statement. "Given the prevalence of STDs, young people need all the facts — including medically accurate information on condoms."
Because of the constipated morality of our President and his party in Congress, a whole generation is now at risk of serious illness and even death.
© 2004 (excluding the contents of the box)
What I don't like is the way English muffins are "fork split". This is an abomination! You can't just pull them apart without tearing, leaving at least half useless for anything. And hard as you try, you can't slice them right on the split.
Why can't English muffins be sold sliced all the way through? Or what's wrong with selling them completely whole, allowing me to slice them the way I would slice a bagel?
New York — United States Steel Corp. on Friday reported a fourth-quarter loss from a year ago profit, hurt by pension and healthcare costs. The company reported a quarterly net loss of $22 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a year earlier profit of $11 million, or 10 cents a share. Revenue rose to $2.68 billion from $1.90 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
Source: © Yahoo/Reuters, 30 Jan 04
Interesting that the company does not attribute any part of its loss to the fact that it paid its top four officers $8,600,000, almost 40% of its loss.
© 2004 (not including the contents of the box)
Since this was substituting for Evelyn's weekly grocery shopping, she paid. At the checkout stand, she wrote a check. The clerk then asked for her ID.
Immediately, I quipped, "She can't give you her ID. She's in the witness protection program. … No, actually she's a victim of identity theft. They stole her ID, and now has no ID."
According to Evelyn, Trader Joe's is just one more place she can't take me.
*** Begin Right Sidebar ***Having a No Smoking section in a restaurant is like having a No Peeing section in a swimming pool.
*** End Right Sidebar ***
I, for one, am sick and tired of the salaries our high paid teachers get. Their hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year!
Its time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do; baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage, right? I would give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time. That would be $15.00 a day, per child. Each parent should pay $15.00 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now, how many do they teach in a day? Maybe … 25. $15/day x 25 = $375.00 a day. Hmmm? Yes, I double-checked it, that's right. But remember they only work 180 days a year! I'm not going to pay them for any vacations. Let's see? that's $375/day x 180 = $67,500.00/year. (Hold on, my calculator must need batteries!) Maybe I hit the wrong key? No I double-checked that.
And what about those teachers with special certifications or the ones with Masters Degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage just to be fair. After all, they did pay to go to school a little more. Let's round it off to $6.00 an hour. That would be $6.00 times five hours times 25 children times 180 days = $135,000.00 per year. Wait a minute, there must be something wrong here!!!!!?? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT THERE IS.
Give this to any teachers YOU may know. I'm sure they'd gladly accept babysitting rates!
Submitted by my daughter, Heather
I saw the above before. However, with the Governor of California now muttering about balancing the state budget by asking schools to unspend money they already spent, I thought it would be appropriate to put this on my Web site. Note that in California, class sizes are already near 30, not 25. The "babysitting" costs would thus be 20% greater than indicated above.
I am sometimes criticized for characterizing Republicans as the borrow-and-spend party. Republican defenders claim their party really favors cutting budgets and that only Democrats like to spend the taxpayers' hard-earned money.
I must agree with their reference to the taxpayers' hard-earned money. With repeated tax cuts for the wealthy, those of us who contribute the vast majority of federal revenues through taxes do indeed have to work hard for our money, much harder than the executives who are reaping most of the tax-cut reward. Those who inherit their money — and thus do not work for it at all — will soon pay no taxes at all on their windfall.
However, the lie behind the claim that Republicans are budget cutters is seen in the omnibus budget bill for 2004, which was approved by the House of Representatives. Republicans put so much pork-barrel spending into that bill that pigs should feel insulted.
In the meantime, the combination of tax-cuts and wild spending is causing explosive growth in the federal deficit. This means the government must borrow by issuing bonds. Thus, the Republicans are indeed on a borrow-and-spend binge.
It is now "open enrollment" time at my wife's employer. This is the time when employees can change their health benefits for 2004. So that employees can make informed decisions about their benefits, my wife's employer distributed a brochure that outlines changes in its benefit plans.
In a box on the front page, the brochure states [emphasis added]:
… we think it's also important to care for our employees. We work hard to provide a comprehensive, competitive benefits package. Over the last year, most medical plans have experienced premium increases of 15%-25%. In an effort to minimize employee costs, we have implemented … an 8% rate increase on the Co-Pay Plan [my wife's chosen plan] …
Buried in the brochure, however, I noticed that our co-payment for a doctor's office visit is increasing by 50%. Minimize employee costs??
On Sunday, 1 November 2003, the Most Reverend Frank Griswold, presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, consecrated the Reverend Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Bishop Robinson is gay and has been living in a committed relationship with another man for 11 years.
The consecration — approved by the churches of New Hampshire and then authorized by the governing body of the U.S. Episcopal Church — has been condemned by some as being against Church teachings. Opponents decry the fact that Bishop Robinson is physically intimate with someone without them being married. However, those same persons would not allow the couple to marry.
Why am I — a heterosexual man — concerned? See Why Do I Care?
One of my favorite TV shows is ER. It's the favorite of many others, too, which makes the commercial breaks during the show very important. However, some of those commercial breaks are wasted.
During a recent new episode, I saw four automobile commercials, each for a different manufacturer, all during the same mid-hour break. The combined effect is that I now know how much fun driving is supposed to be. But the identities of the advertised cars completely escape me.
If I were a marketing executive at Ford, GM, Toyota, or any other automobile manufacturer, I would yank my commercials from any TV station that could not guarantee that no competing automobile would be advertised within 15 minutes before or after mine.
Oh, by the way, driving is not fun! Not driving is indeed fun. Since I retired and stopped commuting, I saw my blood pressure drop from 130/85 (with medication) to 110/65 (without medication).
Now we are having a problem finding a bedspread. In department stores and bedding shops, there are aisles and aisles of comforters. Then, there are duvets to cover the comforters and throws to cover the duvets — layer upon layer of cloth and filling, fluffy, warm, and heavy. But only a tiny section of one shelf has light-weight bedspreads.
Give me a large break!! We live in southern California, not Duluth, Buffalo, Fargo, or Saskatoon (where our daughter moved, leaving this bedroom available). In 30 years, we have seen snow three times; and it never lasted a full day.
On top of that, we have central heating in our house. The bedrooms are on the second floor. Even if we set the thermostat to 60°F on the first floor, warm air rises and keeps the bedrooms comfortable.
We don't need a bed towering with comforters and coverlets to keep warm. We only want a bedspread that my wife all alone (without wrenching her back) can place neatly on the bed to make it look nice.
Get real! There is no profit for a company in improving the reliability of the grid, especially when other companies and municipally-owned utilities own part of the system. Less regulation and higher rates would only enrich the utility executives, who would find cutting corners and neglecting maintenance to be very rewarding.
We need more regulation of electric utilities — not less — to force the companies to make unprofitable expenditures for upgrading inter-company systems. And we need to make the utility owners — the stockholders — share in those costs and not place the entire burden on the customers. After all, the stockholders elected the executives who allowed the grid to reach its current unreliable state.
The question is not Why is there road rage? The question is Why not road rage?
The Price of Gas
Makes one think, and puts things in perspective.
Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ....... $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 .... $ 9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 .......... $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 ....... $10.00 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 ....... $33.60 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 ..... $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ...... $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ........... $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 ............ $84.48 per gallon
Evian water 9 oz for $1.49 .... $21.19 per gallon.
$21.19 FOR WATER!
But who buys 10-15 gallons of iced tea, Pepto Bismol, or Scope every week? The high prices of other liquids really provides little solace to someone who has no real alternative — no public transit — for commuting to work.
Actually, I'm not so interested in the price of gasoline because my car is a Diesel. I get about 46 miles to the gallon, and (when this was written) a gallon is about 20¢-25¢ cheaper than gasoline.
An interesting comparison involves the prices of Coca-Cola versus beer. The beer is cheaper! That's right, it costs less to become a gassy alcoholic than a hyped-up diabetic.
On your way home from work, stop at your pharmacy and go to the thermometer section. You will need to purchase a rectal thermometer made by Johnson and Johnson. Be very sure you get this brand.
When you get home, lock your doors, draw the drapes, and disconnect the phone so you will not be disturbed during your therapy. Change into very comfortable clothing, such as a track suit and lie down on your bed. Open the package and remove the thermometer. Carefully place it on the bedside table so that it will not become chipped or broken.
Now, take out the material that comes with the thermometer and read it. You will notice that in small print there is a statement. "Every rectal thermometer made by Johnson and Johnson is personally tested."
Now close your eyes and repeat out loud 5 times, "I am so glad I do not work for Quality Control at the Johnson and Johnson Company."
Have a nice day and remember, there is always someone with a worse job than yours.
Contributed by my son,
who did not originate it.
During his first two years in office, President Bush didn't have an environmental policy so much as an industrial one. From building roads in national forests (he's for it) to cutting emissions from power plants (against), his administration has favored loggers and energy companies over wildlife or clean air.
From an unsigned editorial in the
Los Angeles Times, 2 January 2003
Each item with the © symbol is copyrighted by David Ross in the year indicated.
Each copyright applies to the item between full ruled lines.
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