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This marks the continuation of my micro-posting entitled My Pet Peeves. My intent is to publish one Peeve every Wednesday for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully you will find these to be true, recognizable, amusing, and identifiable. The Pet Peeves listed here are my opinion and my opinion only.



Any questions please email me at: namor@panix.com



And now Ladies and Gentlemen ... My Pet Peeve of the week: 9/28/2022:

MANíS FAVORITE PASTIMES

Two men sitting opposite each other. An ancient game begins. White moves. Pawn to E4. Black: Pawn to E5. White: Pawn to G3. Black: Pawn to D5. Then Knight to H3. It looks like the Sicilian Defense is underway. A few moves laterÖ and Black topples his King. Another one, says the opponent? But the winner refuses. Once a war is won, why give the opponent a second chance? Two childrenÖ sitting at a kitchen table. A half a deck of cards in each of their hands. They each grab two cards and turn over the third. One has an eight. The other has a four. The eight wins. They will continue till one of them has all the cards. The name of the game is WAR. Neither side ever wins, but they pursue the game with all the venom they can muster. ThenÖ the telly is on. Mathew Broderick sits fixed in front of his computer. He has penetrated a top secret government facility where large wall screens depict different possible scenarios should one side attack the other. Mathew delves in. He messes with their computers. Oh, itís such fun. Till itís not, and the Americans truly believe the Russians are invading. Fact isÖ in this world in which we live, this possibility seems to be getting closer. The military zeroes in on Mathew, takes him to the central military arena, where Mathew saves the day by asking the machine to play tic-tac-toe, also known as Naughts and Crosses. The name of the film: You guessed it. War Games. The crowds are seated. The finely dressed Matador struts into the field, his cape held at the ready. Gates open, and a mad, snorting bull rushes in and at the Matador who, with his Picadors, end the bullís life. The crowds cheer. Man is at war with a bull who has no chance in hell to survive the combat. The witch hunts are on. The girls have no chance. The populace is slobbering all over itself in anticipation of a war over a portion of the populace it canít stand simply because. Nothing else. Just because. We folks do a lot of things simply because. As regards my Pet Peeve of the week? It regards humansí favorite pastimes. Which are WAR and KILLING. Hey Mike. Whatcha doiní? Nuthiní much. So listenÖ wanna declare war and go kill some people? For those of you out there who donít believe me, look around. Now look a little closer.

STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK'S PET PEEVE



VOLUME

The day is done. Chores finished. Caught up on mail. Paid the bills. Even cleared off the table, what with being the compulsive neatnik that I have been known to be. Ah. Time to relax and watch a bit of the telly. I scan the channels. Ye gads man. Itís there. My favorite movie of all time, barring none. THE THIRD MAN is coming on, with Orson Welles. I lean back, click the channel switch and the screen begins its scroll. The credits are just beginning to come on screen. The melody begins playing on the zither. Oh that melody. Da, dada, dadaÖ I adjust the volume. It has to be perfect. Not too loud so that it kills my eardrums. Not so soft that I canít hear each and every word. Iím waiting for my favorite scene, that part when a light shines into a dark doorway and shows the smirking face of Orson Welles lurking in the shadow, where heís seen for the first time in this movie since it began. Da, dada, dadaÖ And then it happens. The S.O.B.ís that run the show take their pauses to show you a commercial. A commercial? Now? This time itís soap. Buy our Mud-In-Your-Face soap, you ignorant telly watching dear dear folks who stash money in our pockets. Buy it now. Buy it buy it buy it. Noooow. But thatís not the bad part. After all, everybodyís got to make a living. The worse part is the volume. They turn it up in order to ensure your eardrums burst. In order to ensure you hear ever precious verbal morsel they bombard you with. If you go deaf, you go deaf. They donít care, as long as first you hear them. Do you hear them? DO YOU HEAR THEM NOW? The zither is silent. The Mud-In-Your-Face soap dealers are speaking. The new 4000 decibel sounds permeate the room. OH THE SOAP, THE SOAP, THE DOPEY DOPEY SOAPÖ You grab the controller and push and push till the volume abates as the idiotic commercial ends. The movie comes back on, now barely audible. Da dada dadaÖ You grab that controller again and push the volume up, up, till, Da dada dadaÖ and you lean back again, and smile, completely forgetting about the commercial. Thereís Orson, running down the cobblestoned street, followed by Joseph Cotton, turning the street corner andÖ disappearing into thin air. Da dada dadaÖ And the volume goes up again. And your eardrums are again beginning to kill. As to my favorite Pet Peeve. Itís not so much that I mind the commercial. Itís that I canít stand you out there controlling the volume as if to control my mind. Itís like looking for flowers and ending up plucking weeds. Plucking weeds you say? Well pluck you. And you. And you. Pluck all of you in fact.

AND THEN THE MACHINE ANSWERS

Youíve got to make the call. You need them. Doctor? Lawyer? Dentist? Does a secretary answer? Does anyone out there remember the good old days when secretaries answered the phone? Not today me lads and lassies. Even if theyíre doing nothing, a task at which most excel, when the phone rings, sheís doing her nails. Heís checking the market on his phone. The phone rings. And rings. And the machine picks up. Hello. This is the doctorís office. No one is available to answer just now. Please hold for the next available representative. In the meantime, if you are calling from a doctorís office, press one. If you are a patient, press two. If you want to speak with office personnel, press three. If you want to speak to one of our idiot specialists, just hold on and hope for the best. If you have pain in your left arm, please go to www.schmucks.com and follow the instructionsÖ if you can. If you canít, hang up and call us later. Hello. This is the Dentistís office. Hello. This is the carpenterís office. This is the Hair Salon. This is the Proctologist. We are not available. But please follow the instruction and we will, as will all the others, ram it up your collective asses. Hello. This isÖ Hello. This isÖ Remember the good old days when a human answered the phone? Remember the good old days when humans still roamed the earth? No switchboard. An operator picked up. May I help you please? Would you like me to dial the number for you? Would you like to speak to Mr. John, or Mrs. Jane, or Miss Betsy? Your tummy hurts you say. No problem. Doctor Nicety will be there within the hour. No no. We donít mind. We are here to help. Ah, yesteryear. You have some questions? Please hold. Our nurse will be on the phone to help you in two minutes. As to these yearsÖ You have some questions? Send your queries via email, or via our website, or use our new remote Telepathic Nodule Telemetry system. TNT for short. No no. Heh heh. Itís not explosive. Itís just our new advanced non-human communications system. Itís all the rage you know. Pet Peeve you say? You have a Pet Peeve? Oh do pray tell let us know what it is. Oh. You want to revert back to the days when humans were human. Surely you jest good sir. Humans being human, you say?? Hah! Thatís a good one sir.

BUY OUR PILLS

How many different pills are there out there. A million? A trillion? Maybe even a quadrillion? Step right up folks. Buy this pill. Low on iron. Buy this one, and you wonít have to be bothered to eat steaks anymore. Low on energy? Buy this one. It will replace the need to eat fruits. This one hereÖ no need to munch on veggies. This one. Need water? Fuggedaboudit. Hereís a pill just for you, though if you have no water you might have a wee bit of trouble swallowing said pill. Too cold for you out there. Got a pill made just for you. Failing eyesight? Here. An eyesight pill. No more need for carrots. Fingernails constantly breaking. A jello pill will remove your need to eat jello. Low on sugar are you today? Here ya go. Take this pill and you wonít have to each candy anymore. Wait. We got a special running today. Getting tired of taking all those pills? Hoo-hah! Boy do we have the remedy. Here ya go ladies and gennulmen. A new fangled pill just for you. Take this pill, and you wonít have to take any other pills any longer. We call it the IUD pill. Internal Usage Destroyer. Take one, and you will no longer feel yourself swelling up from having had too much pleasure. Pleasure eating that is. Why? What did you think I meant here? Hmmm? But hereís the thing of it. Our leaders, it has been hinted at, are going to be putting an embargo on pill usage till they can establish an economic equilibrium. What that means is that as long as people are getting used to those pills, they want to charge more. But what happens if you lose your pills?? My Pet Peeve, you ask? Oh how oh how does one avoid these ridiculous charges. Oh how oh how does one avoid this reliance we have been induced to have on pills? Iíll tell you how. Donít take those pills you need to elevate your iron levels. Eat meat. Tastes better too. Your eyesight. Have a carrot or two. Low sugar? Eat a piece of candy. Thirsty? Drink a bloody glass of water. And my favorite of them allÖ Iím sure youíve all heard of it. Low on energy? Donít take the stupid fruit pill. Instead, have a peach. Or a piece of watermelon. Or a plum. And tell the pill makers of the world to shove those pills up their asses. All of you who agree, say amen. Or text me amen. Or email me the word: Amen. Ayyyy ayyyy ayyyyÖ Ay-men!

TRANSPARENCIES

It's the heights of an epidemic. Everybodyís wearing a mask. Black masks, blue masks, red masks and more. But, but but but, no one is wearing transparent masks. As to food shop time. No more plastic bags. Only paper, at a slight cost, or bring your own doo-dad bags. But here's the thing of it. The technology is there, waiting to be used. Israel has developed a bio-degradable plastic. Use it as a plastic bag at the supermarket, then throw it in the garbage, and it will decompose over a short period of time. So why don't we use them? Money honey. There's more mazuma in cutting down a tree, killing a forest, and selling the tree's by product as a paper bags than there is in using plastic bags which can be self-decomposing and are extremely cheap. As to the opaque masks, it's not so much that they protect against diseases as it is that they afford thieves the ability to travel about in broad daylight, masked and unrecognizable, while doing the thieving things thieves do while doing them totally incognito. They in charge, being the do good-er types they all are, have given them the tools the thieves need with which to better ply their trades. As to whether or not those opaque masks we all buy really do the job for which they were intended is another question entirely. Of course, the question arises, is there such a thing as a transparent mask? What material could we use? Is there anything out there? Here's a copy and paste I pass on to you. Researchers at Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, and the Swiss materials science center Empa, are developing completely transparent surgical masks. They could be on the market as soon as early 2021. Except uh-oh, its past the first half of 2022 and we do not yet have the masks. So, to sum up, there are, in all probability, transparent masks out there which we can't get. And there are also, in all probability, degradable plastic bags out there, which we also can't get. As regards my Pet Peeve of the week, why are there not also bio-degradable politicians out there which we, seemingly, also can't get. Sheesh. What's going on in this world of ours?

WHAT IS A SECRET?

I may or may not have done this before. If I did, I give it to you again. If I did not, I just give it to you. Let us now sally forth. Some things in life are defined by what they are, and some are defined by what they are not. Secrets belong to the latter part. I shall now delve. Psst.. Hey, Mary. Want to hear a secret? Joanie is seeing Suzieís husband on the sly. All right, all you members of the Federal Office Of Secret Info, FOOSI for short. We here at FOOSI guard our governmentís nuclear information away from prying eyes. Tip Top Secret and all that stuff. So donít share this info. Hey, Tommy. I got the answers to next weekís test. They were in Ms. Salwitzís desk. She donít know I copied them. Shh. Donít tell no one. Spit three times and bite your tongue and swear you wonít tell a soul. Itís a secret. Hey Jonathon. Donít buy your car over at We Are Thieving Car dealers. They charge ten grand over MSRP but they keep it all a secret so that nobody knows about it. You want the secret to the Chocolate Mish Mash cookie they make in Belgium. Here it is my friend. Got it from a friend who knows a friend who has another friend. Sh sh. Not a word. Itís a secret. Whiskey, you say? You want to make your own? Got your own still and all that? Okay. Itís your lucky day. I know how they do it. Got the recipe from my Uncle Jed who got it from a cow who once knew a sheep who knew this sly old fox. All top secret stuff hidden deep in the wooded mountains in Tennessee. Psst. Hey, mister. Want to buy some secrets cheap? Youíll be the only one in the world who will know them. No one else. Not another living soul. I swear it as sure as my name is Krinklepuss. Thatís Irwin Krinklepuss to most. But just plain Krinklepuss for you, mi amigo. So now Benjamin. Enough of this stuff. You said that secrets are defined by what they are not. So tell us, what is a secret not. Well folks, hereís what a secret is not. If more than one person knows it, itís not a secret. And that is what a secret is. As to my Pet Peeve of the week, no one ever told me a secret, for once they told it to me, it was no longer a secret. And so voila. Get it?

WHAT IS A PROMISE?

Okay. Raise your right hand and promise youíll never ever sneak into my bedroom unannounced again. No more stealing anymore, okay? Promise? Daddy daddy. Can we go to the zoo this weekend. Yes? Wheee. Promise daddy? Do you promise? Honey. How about a little moofkie poofkie tonight? Okay? Promise? Iíll let you off on that speeding ticket sir, if you promise never to speed in this city again. Okay? Do we have a deal? Yes? Promise? Of course our company would never cheat you if you buy this car from us. As sure as our name is Superyou. We promise. Our hands to Tanuki, god of trickery and leader of deceptions. You want the recipe to my apple pie? Here it is, exactly the way my mother made it. I promise. Need some money. Iíll send you out a check tonight tonight. I promise. Do you take this man, do you take this woman, do you take this parent, do you take this teacherÖ? I do, I do, I will, I promise I promise yes I do I do. Where do you think promises are made? Well my good man, my good lady, as everyone knows, promises are made in heaven. Yes they are indeed. Do you promise to obey the laws of our land if we let you cross our borders? I promise. Do you promise to wear these skirts and pants according to the sexual gifts with which you were endowed at birth? Oh yes. Of course. I will and do and must and shall. I promise. Do you promise you will not pretend to be a member of the opposite sex in order to invade their private premises in order to see them naked? Oh yes. Of course. I promise. And so it goes in life. Whichever corner you turn, thereís always someone out there making promises. Which, of course, brings up my Pet Peeve of the week. Do, pray tell, someone, please, Ďsplain to me what a promise is. Ah Benjamin. I will tell you. A promise is a lie all dressed up to look like the truth. And now we all know.

WHAT TO DO WHEN A COP SEES YOU PEE?

Youíre driving along the highway, sipping on your drink of choice, humming Zippety Doo Dah while watching the road with your eyes and watching Uncle Remus with your mind. You have, as I suspect most people have, a propensity to reminisce. And then, suddenly, Kabaamm! Mother nature, bitch that she can sometimes be, presses relentlessly with both hand upon your bladder. Uh-oh. You gotta go. Thereís a warehouse down the road. Good. You pull in and run for the door to ask for the key to the terlet. Olí Mother Nature, slams a bag of manure in your eyes. The place is closed. Out of business. Gone bye bye due to world problems, poor handling, financial woes. Oh what to do what to do? An aha moment pervades. Go to the side of the building and piss against the wall, and thank the powers that be that for this dilemma, at least you were born a male. You zip down, pull the devil out from his nest, arch back, and let loose with a stream that would normally be the envy of every fire hydrant in the city. And then comes that abhorrent sound. That wailing, whining siren leading the flashing red twirling lights. And a police car pulls up behind you. Whatís the penalty for pissing against a wall of a shuttered building? You sigh and zip up. You were finished anyway. You search the nook and crannies of your brain to find that important bit of useless information thatís tucked away in there for cases of emergencies. For cases of emergencies. For casesÖ Cop walks over to you. What you doiní there pal? As if he didnít know. How about Iím pissing against this wall officer? Will that do? But instead you tug at that bit of information and say: Iím sorry officer. It was a medical emergency. And then the cop checks your license, walks around your car, and says okay, on your way buddy. No ticket. No nothing. You see what it is folks, cops donít give out tickets to folks who act to avoid medical emergencies. Itís the rule. As to my Pet Peeve of the week? Iím aging here, and I only found this out about one week or so ago. What took the world so long to give me this information? Next time, instead of trying to hoodwink me, tell me something that might help me. Okay?

RECEIPTS AT A GAS STATION

I will not mention the name. Or maybe I will. Please keep in mind that this is only an extrapolation on my part. That said, I shall proceed, and perhaps even go forward. Ready?

Iím driving along when, looking down at the gas gauge, I see I need gas. I look around and see a 7/11 store. It has gas pumps. And, it is quite conveniently located. I pull in, slip my credit card into the slot, and pump to full. I do my best to ignore the fact that a half a tank of regular gas costs me forty smackeroos. I push the button that tells me to push for a receipt. Nothing happens. No receipt. Nada. Riens. Zippo. So I go inside and ask for a receipt for pump number 5, and while Iím at it, I get a cup of coffee and go on my way. And a wee bit of time passes, and I find myself on that same road, again needing gas. I drive into 7/11 again, avoid pump number 5 and pull into pump number 6. Another forty bucks down the tubes. I push the button. No receipt. I push push push again. Zero. I curse the bloody pump and pop back inside again and ask for a receipt for the gas. The machine does its thing and the cashier hands me the receipt. As a kicker, I get a piece of chocolate before going my way. And another wee bit of time passes. And the same scenario presents itself. I pull in, and this time, to ensure I get a good pump, I pull into number 1. Surely number 1 will work. But, but but but, it does not. Forty dollars later, pushing the button till my finger goes numb, I pop into the story and, containing by new growing fury, semi-politely state the pump receipt printing mechanism is not working, and may I please have a receipt. This time, being somewhat pissed over the top, I buy nothing and leave. I get in the car, start the engine, and slowly head for the sunset. And then it hits me. A ton of bricks comes crashing down upon my skull. Of course theyíre disabling the receipt printing mechanism on the pump. How else to ensure getting me into the store and, perhaps, inducing me with their display to buy something, anything, just spend more money. My Pet Peeve of the week you ask? Stop trying to trick me, oh you dirty filthy scoundrels that you are.

THE LYING LABELS OF HERE AND NOW

I will speak of two companies which, though different one from the other, are both, nevertheless, interrelated. The first I shall call the Sensor Interoperative Allied Melange (SHAM for short) which manufactures liquid sweeteners, and the second I shall call the Bogus Canning Company (BOGUS for short) which specializes in canning the liquid sweetener sold by Sham. In front of the Bogus can is their label which states, in no uncertain terms, that absolutely no chemicals have been added. And so, in all your innocence, you buy the Sham Liquid sweetener to add to your coffee, your cake mix, your strawberries, as well as for dipping your finger in for later licking as your penchant for sugary flavors increases. You ten year old daughter, who enjoys reading everything from the contents of the Wall Street Journal to the ingredients on prepackaged food stuffs, turns the can containing liquid SHAM around and starts to read. Thereís Benzene, Dioxins, PCB, Perchlorate, Polyfluoroalkyl, Radionuclides, and more. How is that possible, she queries while pointing triumphantly to the back label. You call your friend who knows a thing or two about fraud. She tells you itís quite simple. The back label which lists all the ingredients is produced by the Sensor Interoperative Allied Melange company and lists, according to law, all the ingredients included in their sweetener. The label in front however, is printed by the Bogus Canning Company and states, quite honestly, that they, the Bogus Canning Company, has added no chemicals to the enclosed mixture. They play with the language, and use it with intent to mislead, to defraud, to swindle and dupe and hoodwink. SoÖ my advice of the day my friends, try, if you are able, to figure out if the back labels and the front labels of the items youíve just bought were printed by the same company. Iíll give you an example. Thereís a bottle out there (no names as I donít want legal problems) that has, as an example, an image of an oak leaf in front. Underneath the leaf is a statement that says Real, Not Fake. On the rear label is a series of ingredients that will give you a heart attack once you read them. The front implication is that the Oak Syrup is made from real Oak Leaf. Which it is, along with who knows what other crap. I stopped halfway through this to run to my refrigerator to verify my suspicions. Obviously, what I found was not Oak Leaf Syrup. But Iíll tell you what. Go to your fridge, and look about, and you will find something too, as sure as my name is Benjamin. As regards my Pet Peeve of the week, my questions is WHY? Just plain WHY is it that every time I look for deceptions in life, I find there are more of them than there are gnats on a hot summery day? WHY? CHICKIE-RUNS OF TODAY



I bring you all, or at least those with long memories, to the past. James Dean is in the forefront here. How many of you remember him? One of the greatest of the great, in my humble opinion. And if you do, do you also remember Rebel Without a Cause? James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, et al. Heís new in town. Going to a new school. Meets a gang of kids. One of them, his name is Buzz, challenges him to a chickie-run with their cars at the edge of a cliff. First one to jump out of the car before it goes off the cliff is a chicken. Natalie Wood does her one, two, three, go shtick, and theyíre off. Only thing here is that Buzz gets his sleeve caught in the door handle, canít get out of the car, and hurtles off the cliff to his death. Sad moment in film. Buzz dared when he shouldnít have. Problem today isÖ I encounter the same situation on a daily basis and I hate it. Iím driving along all peaceful-like. Itís a nice sunny day. Iím whistling Zippee dee doo dah in my head. Remember Uncle Remus? The sun out out. The sky is cloudless. The birds are singing. ButÖ but but butÖ not only are they singingÖ theyíre also swooping. Darting through the air. Up, down, left, right. And then again, while Iím churning forward doing forty in a thirty mph speed zone, still zippee dee doo dah-ing in my head when suddenly one of those little avian daredevils takes it into his head to do a chickie-run with my car. Here he comes. NyaaaahhhhÖ and he swoops down. And instead of being six to ten feet or more in the air, heís suddenly three inches off the ground and shooting like a bullet in via the left front of my carís grill. Before I have a chance to slam on the brakes, heís coming out the right side, safe. The little son of a female chick turns for a second, opens his beak to grin at me, give me a feather up with his wing-tip and flies off into the sunrise. He won, this time. But he scared me. My Pet Peeve for the week? What if he missed? What if, instead of coming out the other side, I felt a sight thud and saw feathers flying in front of my vehicle? You know what really bothers me? Too many bird brains out there playing chickie these days. Somebody make them stop. Please. class="western" align="left">

THE COLOR OF FARTS

I am faced with a dilemma that has troubled me over time. I fervently hope one or more of you can help me. When I go into New York City, I arrive at Penn Station. Same station when going home. All my senses are then assaulted. Sight. Hearing. Smell. Touch. Taste. The plaza into which I descend is filled shoulder to shoulder with humanity. They jostle and move and taste all the goodies available from the local vendors. I can smell the hot dogs being eaten by the guy in front of me. I can smell the pizza being eaten by the lady near my side. That one, over there, with the long black hair is inundating me with the aroma of her perfume. That kid is smothering me with, I can almost taste it, the smell of that shish kebob heís gulping down as tears bits of meat off of that skewer. I donít have to turn around to know someone behind me is slurping down huge swallows of chocolate ice cream. I think Iím in yummy land. Till suddenly there wafts across airborne streams foul aromas emanating from humanityís nether regions. Someone let loose of a fart so foul as to have the ability to end life with one wiff. Ye gads man. How is that possible? Oh, to have one wish. Foul aromas emanating from those unmentionable parts, should be tinted with color. I choose pink. Imagine, if you will, a pink stream suddenly floating out from the behind portion of his or her pants. It would be a forewarning of smells to come. Uh-oh. Turn left. Pink stream in the short distance, just ahead. Which brings me to my dilemma coupled with my Pet Peeve of the week. My pet peeve for this week? Why canít farts be tinted pink as an omen of an aromatic attack. My dilemma for the week? If farts were all tinted pink, what color would the air be in Penn Station on any given day. Clear? Or pink? Help me, those of you out there. Tell me what you think. Hurry. Iím about to descend into Penn Station, and to be forewarned is to be fore-odor free.

7:31PM

Remember the good old day. You turned on the telly and there was Ed Sullivan, or Dinah Shore, and all the others. You watched for a bit, and then a commercial came on. Time to get to the fridge and grab an apple. But just barely. You had what seemed like only a few seconds before the show started again. And on top of all that, it was free. Holy Moly. Remember that expression? Uttered by Billy Batson in moments of surprise. He was also known as Captain Marvel. And then time passed, and the age of suing each other to the hilt came into being, and Superman sued Captain Marvel for copyright infringement, and Billy Batson and his allies were history. And then we all progressed, as we are wont to do. And cable television came into existence, and free T.V, went by way of the dinosaurs. We shrugged our shoulder as we all do when the inevitable cascades upon us. And we paid our monthly cable bills. They promised us hundreds of extra channels, most of which are meaningless. You want the good stuff, pay extra. You want the really really good stuff. Pay even more extra again. And then Lucifer looked upon us, and became upset with our contentedness over the new usurious status quo. He saw us running to the fridge for that apple. It bothered him that we might have too much viewing time. So the powers that be, miserable little scallywags that they are, decided to lengthen commercial time and shorten viewing time. If we donít like it, we can lump it. So a couple of days ago, not having that much to do, what with Tidbits and Pet Peeves having been done for the week, and a free interim period weighing pleasurably on my shoulders, I decided to time the time it took for a commercial, and the time they gave me for viewing pleasure. I can not say that this applies to all shows and instances. I can only aver that it applied this one time to me. Show stopped and commercial began at 7:31pm. Commercial stopped and show began at 7:37. Commercial time: 6 minutes. Show stopped and commercial began at 7:41. Show time: 4 minutes. Mommieeee. Where is the world going? My Pet Peeve of the weekÖ bloody ever lengthening commercials.

THAT WHICH KILLS

The army is on its way. Hut two three fourÖ companieeÖ halt! Attention all. Theyíre coming. All of them. Killer viruses. We will, we must, we shall protect ourselves or my name isnít Mr. Dolt. Masks for everyone. I will place the orders. It may take a while. The putz before me was a tad lackadaisical. But I, being he who I am, will take care of it all. Iím in touch with the world scientists. They have a bit of a pessimistic view. They say, on the side, that we are on the losing team. They ask me if I really expect to win over the viruses. Hah, say the viruses. Our armies are stronger. We will win. They, the humans, will lose. Why you ask? Itís due to the fact that theyíre stupid. Their criminals abound due to their virus fighting methodologies. Take note of their masks. They have N95ís, made in America and sold world wide. They have KN95ís, made in China and sold to the world. Viruses canít get in. Almost neither can air. But they live with it because those masks are not the problem. They are only an illusion. We Viruses will teach you Humans the problem. The masks come in various designs and shades. Paisley. White. Black. Striped. On and on it goes. Mr. Dolt approves them all. Mr. Dolt is and always will be Mr. Dolt. They, the humans, are and were and will be walking the streets from here on in unto eternity, all masked from their necks to just below their eyes. There are improvements on the horizon, Dolt says. The new mask will cover up to and over the forehead, with slits for the eyes. Mr. Dolt tells them it will help protect them against us. Hah. We know Mr. Dolt is a first class dolt. Heís creating criminals. How, you ask? Why, you ask? Anybody can now walk around with a mask, and no one will be able to identify them. Into the bank they go to steal their money, masked and opaque and anonymous. Into a hospital to steal meds, masked and opaque and anonymous. Into that old ladyís home, masked and opaque and anonymous. The solution for those blithering idiots, change those masks. You say you can go to the moon? You can make electric cars? You can cure some of you from some of us. So, if you can do all of that, do more. My Pet Peeve of the week. Why and when will humans start to make transparent anti-virus masks? Or is that too difficult? Or is it that thereís too much money in crime to aid in eradicating it? Hut two three four...

WHY ARE WEÖ

Youíre walking down the street. You meet John or Jill or Marie or Bill. Today itís Bill. You say hi. He slows down and you two begin to chat. Heís kidding around. Get laid last night? How was it. You tell him it was great. Better than a shot glass of Grand Marnier. You punch each other lightly on the shoulders and each go on your separate ways. You wonder why it is that every time you meet Bill you act like a first class idiots. You keep walking and suddenly, believe it or not, thereís Marie. You both stop. How are you, Marie? You look smashing today. Howís everything. More of youíre looking good and we really should go and have dinner soon. Yes. Yes yes. You both agree and go your ways. But itís not going to happen. She has a side to her that rubs you the wrong way. Oh look. Itís John. Hey there Johnny boy. Anything new in the market? Been looking at the Fibonacci charts, John says. Studying the numbers. Getting some tools to be able to handle it all better. Wow. Thatís great John. Always was interested in reading the charts. Hey, letís get together for lunch soon. Iíll show you what I know. You agree. And as you walk your separate ways, you decide to make it your business to get together with John. Not that heís your favorite. Every word that come out of his yap is about self-aggrandizement. Still, it never hurts to learn something new.

Bill is walking down the street towards you. Heís groaning inside. He knows the two of you are going to have another one of your did you get laid talks. He hates them, but he tolerates the bullshit. And then thereís Marie. She thinks sheís pretty, but not drop dead gorgeous. Sheís approaching. Uh-oh. She sees you. She knows your going to engulf her with compliments. Hi. Hi. And then it comes pouring out. She decides to hold her breath and show her teeth in a patient grin while she waits. Sheís having a contest with herself. Will she be able to not breathe till youíre finished with your crap, or will she explode? Fortunately, you finish quickly and as you part ways and she starts to breathe again.

John sees you before you see him. Oh good. John waves as you wave back. Today John is going to teach you something new. And if it means bragging, then it means bragging. Hey. John knows heís got the stuff. And if he wants to pass it on, lucky you.

As regards my Pet Peeve for the week. We are never who we seem to be? Why canít we be more ourselves than who we show others we are? Why are we all different people with different people. Why????

PAY FOR SOMETHING AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN

Sound ridiculous? Yes, well, itís the American way. Perhaps even the world way. But since I now live here and all thatÖ One day my son said to me something to the effect of Da, you need to get a dog. And so Brinkley, who was then ten weeks old and fit easily into the palm of my hand, introduced himself into my life. And we began to take walks together. Dog and man. Neither one of us knowing who owned who. Was I the own-ee and he the own-er? As happenstance would have it, I one day thought it would be a good idea to take Brinkley for a stroll-about in the park. So off we went. And the kicker kicked in. Canít walk a dog in the park without the dog having a license. Hunh? But, being a tad older than Brinkley, I tended to know more about the ways of the world than he. I accepted the countyís edict and got a license. Tíwas a bit complicated. First the Vet. Then proof of Rabies. Send the whole shmear to the people who take care of these things, after of course downloading the from, with a check for whatever they asked. Do not remember original cost. A few weeks later, an envelope arrives containing a little brass license with some numbers on it. I whoop with glee and scoot with Brinkley to the park. The guy who checks these things, chest swollen with his inflated sense of self, looks at the license hanging from Brinkleyís collar, and ushers me in with a grandiose sweep of his arm as he bowed low to allow me entrance. Of course, I thought that was that. But it wasnít. A year passed by. And a notice came in from the dog licensing department of the county in which I reside. Time to renew your license hunny bunny. Or something to that effect. Send us ten dollars. Which I did. Then time passed as I waited for my new brass license for olí Brink. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. They took my money and gave me nothing. The old license tag would have to suffice. Brinkley is now eight years old. Every year I give the dog people ten bucks and get nothing back. A deal and a racket for them. I pay and get nothing. Ya gotta love the system. As to my Pet Peeve for the week. If I pay for something, the least you can do is give me something for my money. But alas, itís a corrupt government. Hip hip hooray for the gov I say.

A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION AS REGARDS HE WHO WINS BY LOSING

Hereís the situation. There are two main characters. An Older Him and a Younger Him. It seemed that the Older Him walked his neighborhood on a regular basis. The Younger Him, it seemed, always took pleasure in berating the Older Him for something or other. The Older Him did not know how to handle it. One day, it was said, out of desperation, the Older Him told the Younger Him to go scrub himself. Or some word to that effect. The Younger Him came over, it is said, and nose to nosed the Older Him and told him to watch his mouth, or else heíd beat him to a pulp. If we fight, the Older Him said, you are going to lose. The Younger Him, it is told, laughed at this silly Older Him who couldnít curl ten pounds if his life depended on it. The Older Him saw and heard the scorn in the Younger Himís eyes and voice. As he turned to walk away, he threw some words over his shoulder, and, it is said, told the younger him not to try anything or heíd suffer the consequences. It is said that the Younger Him could not stand being mocked or being challenged. He was insulted to the core, and, again it is said, ran over to the Older Him, grabbed him by the shoulder, and spun his around. He then said something to the effect of let me hear you say that again if you dare. And so the Older Him repeated himself, stressing that if things came to a fight, the Younger Him would lose. So the Younger Him punched the Older Him in the gut while the Older Him grabbed the Younger Him by the neck in a headlock and began to punch the Younger Him in the nose. The Younger Him shook the Older Him loose and began to pummel him mercilessly till the Older Him went limp and slumped to the floor, the effect of a heart attack. The Older Him, shortly before dying, muttered to the Younger Him, you have just killed me, adding something to that amounted to, You Lose. Your opinion my friends. Who won that fight? The Older Him or the Younger Him who was now destined to serve jail-time? My Pet Peeve for the week, you ask? Why are so many younger people so stupid. Like that guy in Uvalde, Texas for instance? Was he one of the Younger Hims?

CONTESTS

Perchance have any of you had the rarefied offer to enter a contest of one sort or another? For a small fee of course. But so what? Think of the rewards. $1000.00 to the winner. $5000.00 to the winner. You think of that small fee. You think of that reward. And kablooie. Your brains have been smashed to moosh by that great brain smasher named Sir Greed. Oh, heís a wily one he is, he is. As in all things too good to be true, thereís a wee bit of a kicker here. In order to enter, you have to be a blithering idiot. And how do they know youíre a blithering idiot? Well, you entered the contest did you not? Which brings up a question I suspect very few have pursued. It is this. How many contests do you think there are in the good of U.S. of A. on any given day? Hmmm? For those of you who dared to venture a guess and said somewhere around the vicinity of 55 million per year, to you I say bravo. Hereís a formula for you to follow. If 100 people enter a contest, and youíre one of the 100, your chances of winning are one in 100. Therefore and thusly, if youíre one of the 55 million who enter any given contest, the odds of you winning are one in, yup, you got it, 55 million. On a daily basis your odds are one in over 15 million. As to how many different contests there are in any given time, good luck in finding that out. As in many things in this great land of ours, from the president down to the street sweeper, getting a straight answer to a straight questions is pretty much equal to winning a contest if your entry is one of the 55 million other entries in America this year. As to my Pet Peeve of the week? Why canít they simply reduce the fog under which they all operate just a wee bit. How much you ask? Oh, I donít know. How about a small smidgeon equal to, letís say, one in 55 million or so? Agreed?

WHEN DOGS WATCH TELEVISION

Here's the thing of it. Some years ago I bought a dog. I named him Brinkley. As a young pup, he was a lightning bolt. Shoot over here. Shoot over there. Zoom. Zoom. All this while a friend told me dogs could not see dogs on television screens. Dog pornography was evidently a waste of time. If Milou and Jaxie were to do the evil thing on screen, Brinkley would clearly take no notice, or so I was led to believe. He would simply chew on his bone, or my sock, whichever was most convenient. But hereís the thing of it. Some blithering dolt who ran an advertising campaign for the compact screen must have either heard the same tale as I, or else he didnít give a ratís ass what household dogs saw or didnít see. His only purpose was to sell dog stuff. Food, flea killer, dentifrice for mutts, and so on. And so he collated a series of ads featuring canines of his choice, selling doodads of his choice, aimed at viewers who owned dogs. Like you, or you, and even me. Problem was that one evening, while I was watching my show of choice, a commercial produced by our blithering dolt came on, and the dogs in the back yard started running around and barking with glee at the very thought of getting a new flea collar. Brinkley, who was lying on the edge of the bed, half asleep, suddenly shot up, jumped off the bed, leapt to the telly, stood on hind legs and watched the dog actors cavort on screen. He was entranced. He was mesmerized. He wanted to play too. And so he barked at his new found friends, and ran around the room and back to the screen, barking at Fido and Feedo and Fudo too. Brinkley was in seventh heaven. I was in seventh hell. Okay, I thought. Soon the commercial would be over and Brinkley and I could relax. Alas, another blithering dolt came up with the idea of having a doorbell ring. It sounded just like my doorbell, and perhaps yours, and yours, and yours too. Brinkley went ape-shit. Someone was at the door. Yup. You got it. Off the bed in a flash and to the door he flew. Who is it, he yelled out in his barkish tone. No answer. Of course there was no answer. It was the bloody telly again. Ye gads man. The ads were driving me crazy. My Pet Peeve of the week? How to get rid of those blithering dolts who think imitating home sounds is more clever than irritating? How to get rid of them, and how to do it quickly? I, for one, wonít buy their products. Why buy that which is made by an idiot?

TRIBALISM

You live with your kind in a cave. Outside thereís a male puma watching another male puma approaching. The fight lasts for scant minutes. The first puma stands his ground while the second one leaves. Everyone in the cave cheers. There is some sort of elk in the distance. Head lowered, he charges toward another of his kind. The clash of horns echo through the forest. And then itís over and one of the elks leave. Another battle for territory won by the stronger. Itís time to go on the hunt. Donít bring home any squirrels one of the female inhabitants say. Weíre hungry. Bring back a mammoth. So off they go. But. But but but. Look. Over there. Bruto is pointing. There are others of your kind approaching. But theyíre not of your tribe. You and yours will not tolerate others of your kind poaching on your territory. Fortunately, you have spears and slings. Shouts of death to the invaders curdle your blood. You will not allow these poachers from neighboring territories. They are them and you are you, and mixing is out of the question. The race of one of your kind toward the other begins. The small animals of the neighborhood scatter. The birds look down in semi-amusement. One turns to the other and says donít laugh. They are the most dangerous in the neighborhood. They canít tolerate others of their kind within smelling distance. Bruto take the lead. In his left hand is his spear. Itís a piece of tree branch he sharpened to a point at one end against a jagged rock. In the other hand is a sling, filled with a huge rock, which heís swinging above his head. Over time he has developed deadly accuracy. The others have spears and slings too. The enemy only has spears. Your side has weapon superiority. No firing till you smell the stench of their breath is the thinking that pervades the tribe. And then it begins. Your side hurls the rocks from their slings. The other side is helpless. The rocks hit their heads. They fall in heaps, one after the other. Then you all charge in and stab the enemy with your spears till they are all dead. The women of the other side, who had been trailing, semi-hidden, emerge meekly from the brush, cheering. You point for them to stay while you continue your hunt. Soon, laden with dead mammoth limbs, you all return and drag the women back with you to help clean the cave and cook the mammoth. My Pet Peeve of the week you ask. Why has nothing changed since then? Why are we still like cave dwellers, killing each other to keep territory we did nothing to earn, other than being born into it?

WHERE DO CRIMINALS COME FROM

Youíre six years old. Your parents are speaking at the dinner table. Your father says I thought the dealer was honest but found out later that he charged me three grand more for the car than the dealer in the next town was charging. Heís a crook. And now youíre eight. The whole family is in the T.V. room watching the telly. The guy says buy one and get the second one free. Just pay extra shipping. Hah, your mother says. They donít tell you how much the shipping is. Bunch of thieves. And the clock ticks once again, and now youíre ten years old. Timmy, the dumbest guy in class, gets an A on the test. After school he starts bragging to the world and rolls up his sleeve and shows everybody his arm with all the answers written on the inside part. He cheated and got a good grade. The sun rises the next morning, and suddenly youíre twelve. Your parents open the mail. Itís a letter from the local power company with an attached chart showing your family that you rank the highest in the neighborhood in electrical consumption. But for a fee, to be determined after their analysis, they will fix your high usage with their new gizmostaticizer which is guaranteed to remedy the problem for a small fee. How do we know weíre the highest in the area, says your father? I bet everyone gets the same letter. People donít share their mail content with others. The power company is conning us. Winter has passed and now itís Spring and you are suddenly fourteen years of age. Itís Halloween. You and your friends do your door to door thing. Most doors open and you all are invited to reach in and take two candies. Your friend reaches in and grab gobs and gobs of it. You say nothing. Just take your two. On you all go, till you get to a house where the owner has left a bowl filled to the brim with goodies and a note that says please take only two. One of your friends grabs the bowl and dumps the whole kaboodle into his bag. And you all run home. And suddenly youíre eighteen years of age. What is you want to do when you graduate, your parents ask you. You shrug your shoulders, but you know. Youíve learned it from youth on. Youíre going to be a criminal. As to my Pet Peeve for this week. We will soon all become criminals. After all, weíre the ones who made ourselves, are we not?

HOW TOíS

The emails cascade in like maddened hornets flying in when you disturb their nests. The stings are endless. Want to get rid of those pimples? This from the director of the Pimples Gone website that sell you the How To book on Pimple be Rid, written by that pink pimply rash laden face laced with scratch marks caused by the itchy devils themselves. Bank account running low. Want to learn how to invest and make millions. Come to our website Millions oí Billions and buy our How To book on investing written by that poverty stricken, sleep on the streets of the Bowery bum who, aside form this endeavor, hasnít made a penny this month. Trying to lose weight? This from the three hundred pound tub oí lard whose website is called Squish Squash Eat Till You Drop, who writes his books with his left hand while cramming food down his gullet with his right, no fork or other utensils needed as he hasnít the time for niceties when the need to satisfy his cravings rage. Want to learn to fly a plane, drive a car, ski the alps, swim the channel, write a book, perfect your boxing skills, plant a garden, cook a roast leg of Gnu just imported from Africa? Then come visit our collectives website We Show You How, and buy our tomes on all the above mentioned topics for only $19.95 and enjoy the information we present while we endeavor to skin you alive and give you nothing of true value in return, all written by our impoverished many whose efforts are born of desperation and who, also, teeter on the verges of abject poverty while they try to convince you to buy volumes two and three and four in order to ensure you will achieve the goals you pursue, all presented to you by the inept who, if they had even the slightest inkling of what it was they were trying to teach you, wouldnít try but would rather do it themselves. I follow with this Tidbit of information. George Bernard Shaw once wrote a play in 1905 called Man and Superman, with one of the lines in the play stating, ĎThose who can, do; those who canít, teach.í As regards my Pet Peeve of the week, why is it that those fraudsters who try to guide you to millions, donít have millions themselves? Learn that above quoted line, written by G. B. Shaw, by heart my friends. It may well one day save your existence.

ARE PROVERBS DUMB?

You judge. Letís start with Hear-No Evil, See-No Evil, Speak-No Evil. Hereís what troubles me with this one. This little proverb is depicted by three monkeys. One covers his eyes. One covers his ears. One covers his mouth. Which brings up this question. Can monkeys speak, or read, or even understand proverbs? Why monkeys? Why not people? That would make more sense to me. Okay. Another one. Catís Have Nine Lives. Bullshit, you should pardon my French. Cats, like all other living things except maybe plants, have only one life. Uno. Ein. Un. One. Thatís it folks. They rest is, well, you know. You Catch More Flies With Honey Than With Vinegar. To the best of my knowledge, flies eat everything. Honey. Vinegar. Even shit. So donít tell me. Ooh. Wait. I got one that is surely indisputable. The Early Bird Catches The Worm. Camel turd! Ever hear of a bird called an Owl? Nothing early about him. He hunts at night. And he catches mammals. That early bird that likes to eat worms is an idiot. Itís the Owl we should emulate. The proverb should say The Late Bird Flies On Silent Wings. At least that would be true. Okay. I got another one. An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away. Yeah? So do grapes and cherries and lamb chops. Everything keeps that damn doctor away, unless of course you have oodles of money. The saying should be: An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away But Money Keeps Him Coming. How about Donít Judge A Book By Its Cover. Hah! That one is pretty much true. The Grapes Of Wrath should show on its cover, in my humble opinion, a bunch of grapes smouldering above the flames of the netherworldís Inferno. Instead one of the covers shows the shadows of three men against an orange background. Clear as mud on a rainy day, dontcha think? And now, last but not least, The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend. Bah. Was Hitler your enemy? You bet your bippy he was. Japan and Germany were not allies when WWII began in 1939. It was not till December 1940, three months after Japan and the Tripartite Pact that they became allies. Before that, the two were enemies at least till 1914, a scant 25 years before WWII. The enemies of our enemies were, at that time, potentially also our enemies. As regards my Pet Peeve of the week. There are many many times that Proverbs, or ProVerbs should be called LieVerbs, because thatís what they, more often than not, are.

WHEN YOU WIN YOU LOSE

Come come kiddies. You grab my hand and you grab her hand and you grabÖas we all travel together into the days of yesteryear. I had a cousin who has traveled beyond the here and now and is presently and hopefully romping among the carefree souls that have been gifted with unequaled cavorting skills after having departed from this pleasant, or perhaps not so pleasant, orb upon which we reside. Let us, for the sake of this acclaim, call my cousin, Sybil. Her real name, as it turns out, was also Sybil. Sybil was a woman imbued with wisdom beyond her years. One day when she, my wife, and their two husbands were sitting about enjoying a repast of some sort or another, the subject came up regarding the difficulties some very very few of us encounter when raising our children. Ach, someone said. It might have been me. Iím going to give him a hoo hah and a what for to let him know what I think of what he did. At this point in time I have no memory of what he did to raise my ire. It was probably nothing. But Sybil gave me a look. As an aside, when a woman gives a man a look, it is time, if he knows whatís good for him, for him to retreat posthaste. However that day Sybilís look was one of an elder teaching a child, and I recognized it as such, and so kept my yap shut and listened. I now paraphrase. When it comes to your children, Sybil said, you donít fight with them lest you harm them with your words. A parent should never ever fight with their children, and if they do, they then should take care to never win that fight with those children. When you fight with your child, you take the risk of harming him or her, whether you win the fight or not. However, Sybil added, you need to keep one thought forever in your mind. Take care to never ever win a fight with your child. The pain inflicted on either side rarely evanesces. Here is a truth you must remember, said Sybil. When it comes to your children and your fights with them, when you win you lose. As you, my dear readers, may well have suspected, this tribute to Sybil who taught me something valuable lo those many years ago, is my Anti-Peeve for this week. So anon and till next week.

HOW TO MAKE A CRIMINAL

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MY PET PEEVES, MY PET ANTI-PEEVES, AND JURASSIC FOOD.

Hullo folks. Decided to shuffle the deck a bit. Had dinner with some dear friends recently and the she of the two said something to the effect of why do you always write so many negative things in your Pet Peeves. As it happened, purely by happenstance, this was during the time that I wrote last weekís Pet Anti-Peeve, for which I received more than my usual share of laudations. And so, as the mood strikes me and as the fates decide for me, (I rarely do any deciding on my own) I shall try to mix up my Pet Peeves with my Pet Anti-Peeves on a regular irregular basis. You, my dear reader will never know which itís going to be till the very end. SoÖ ready?

Got up early this morning. Time to go out and get breakfast. I tend to be a traditionalist. So what shall I have? A deep fried slab of long-necked, paddle-finned Plesiosaurs on toast?? Ichthyosaurs over Pterodactyl eggs perhaps, sunny side up with ground Jurassic fern kernels sprinkled over the yolks for flavor? Ceratosaurus thighs, sliced thin over grilled turtle necks on onion rye and some gray poupon mustard? Giant marine crocodile eggs of days of old, a bit more that just soft boiled, soft yolk and semi-hard white. Get a handy hammer and chisel to crack open the concrete-hard shell and a hack saw to finish off the top slice and than a ladle used while eating it with a hollowed out T-Rex tooth to scoop out the animal juice and slurp it all down my gullet. My mouth is watering in anticipation of the delectable repast awaiting entrance into my mouth-watering, hungry maw.

I swerve left at full speed at the intersection of Dinosaur Way and Ankylosaurus Street, totally ignoring the red light and the predatory cop-like creatures with drooling fangs ready to pounce upon all and any law-breakers. Fortunately, they didnít see me. Too busy watching Wilma Flintstone twitch her pretty if not somewhat archiac little ass as she crosses the street while leading her Eohippus by the reins. No horseback riding across intersections. I ignore it all. My stomach in growling in menacing tones, warning me of impending problems if I donít take care of its needs soon. I enter the local deli. Sam, with that white hat he likes to wear a bit askew, says whaddya want pal? Whaddya got, I say. Everything, he says. Eggs over easy. Scrambled with bacon on white bread. French toast. Cereal, both hot and cold. Peanut butter and jelly on rye. He looks at me with a turd eating grin on his puss. He knows me well. I know what I like and what I want. He also doesnít care if I buy or if I donít by. He puts his hands on his hips. Straightens out that stupid looking white cap of his. I sigh. My fate for today is doomed. I order fried eggs and bacon on a seedless roll, heavy salt and pepper. I am not happy. My Pet Peeve of the day. Why oh why canít the people of todayís times serve more traditional repasts when serving meals to traditionalists?

A NEW WORD

Today ladies and gennulmen, I bring to your attention what I suspect will be a new word for you though it can be found on line and maybe even in a dictionary. First an example for the use of the word. Iím having trouble with a gizmo I bought. It worked for a day and then stopped cold. Canít figure out how to make it work again. I look it up on the net. Nothing. Zero. Nada. I search for some videos. Zippo. A PDF file perhaps? No sirree babaloo. I take the phone off the hook. Need alone time. Going to figure this out if it kills me. I unscrew the thingamajig. I tighten the doohickey. I play around with the dingus. Nothing. Itís still not working. I call the establishment where I bought the device. Sorry so sorry, they say. We have no one here who can help you. Try the manufacturer. Hereís their number. And so I call the manufacturer and explain my dilemma. Canít make the whatsis work, I tell them. Oh. No problem dear sir. No problem at all. Tommy, heís our expert, he can guide to to it. I hear him yell out. TOMMEEEEE. And then Tommyís on the phone. May I help you, he says. I explain my problem. No worries, he tells me. First this you have to do is look on your left for the red colored thingummy. Once you locate it, pull it out a notch, turn it two and a half turns clockwise and then push it back it and press the start button and let me know what happens. I do that which Tommy told me to do. And then I push the start button. The bodacious little gadget starts humming and suddenly works the way it did when I first got it. Holey Moley. Iím as happy as a pig in mud. No Pet Peeve for me this week. Iíve learned something new. Is there anything in this great world of ours than the learning of something new, I wonder? And so, for the new word. If I have no Pet Peeve this week, then what do I have? By Jove folks, what I have is an Anti Pet-Peeve. Anti Pet-Peeves, for thems what wants to know, are events that bring you joy. And learning something new always brings me joy. So hereís my question for you today. Did I also bring you joy? Did I larn ya somethiní new? Anti-peeve? Anti-Pet-peeve? Pet Anti-Peeve? You pick.

HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY

How much are the bananas sir? Roughly sixty cents per pound. Potatoes? One to two bucks per pound. That shirt, maíam. How much? Twelve to fifty bucks. Any discounts? Nope. Price listed is price you pay. Best you can do? Yes. Sorry. Fixed price and all that. Wherever you go in this world, whatever you want to buy, the price you pay is the price shown. Watermelon, cantaloupe, socks, suits, skirts, dresses, blouses, tiesÖ all the same. Price is as price marked. Thatís true for everything you buy. What did you pay for that tie, Max? Same as everybody else. Five bucks. Fifty for this one. Itís a name brand. Every price is as marked. Well, almost every price. Thereís an item out there where price marked means less than the weight of a dust mite laden with the troubles of the world on its shoulders. And that item isÖ Hey. Sammy. What did you pay for that car? No idea. I lease it. End of lease, I give it back, get zero in return. As to what he pays on that leaseÖ donít ask. No one ever asks that question. No one ever knows what the next guy paid or pays for his car. Car prices are the mysteries of the world, the pyramids notwithstanding. How much did you pay for that car? Donít ask. Itís not polite. And so, in the interests of courtesy, and civility, and even respect for your fellow humanís privacy, you keep you inquisitive yap shut. And you stay ignorant. And when you go to buy your car, you take your chances and hope you have an honest salesman. It is the best and safest car there is, he says. Here. Look at this ad. It says so right here. Never mind who paid for the ad. But hereís the kicker. It may well be the safest car there is, but their navigation system is the worst. Never mind who makes it. They donít tell you that. I tried five different addresses on one, all on the same block, one next to the other, in a town a few miles away. Wouldnít take any of the addresses. And that navigation system does not have a great rating. Bet it cost car manufacturer only a nickel or a dime to buy and install. Cheap crap. Car dealers tell you nothing. Even the listed price means less than crap. My Pet Peeve of the week? Why wonít car dealers adhere to the price listed as being the price you pay, with no in-betweens. Whyyyy?

EXPIRATION DATES

Listen. I know businesses have to stay in business. I know they have to make money. How many of you have gone to the supermarket and watched their workers shuffling product on the shelves, moving them around, seemingly making order. Hah! Thatís what you think. What theyíre doing is shuffling expiration dates. Those that have a while to expire go to the rear. That which is about to expire within the next few day get moved to the front. That way, if you buy the way itís arranged, letís take milk for instance, you had better drink it quit or toss it, as the expiration date warns you that if you drink it after itís expired, it may well no longer be good. And how do I know this. Well, itís because I like milk, especially over cold cereal. Problem is, I donít eat cold cereal every day. Today itís an English Muffin drenched with butter within its folds. Tomorrow, a couple of eggs, sunny side up. Day after that, Roquefort cheese on onion rye. And then, on the fourth dayÖ cereal drenched with milk. Ta-dum. Wait another four days if I follow the same routing, and the milk is now eight days old and I will only have used it twice. Look at the expiration date. Youíre lucky if you get one more use. I know. I tried for that last use. Had to throw the milk and the mild drenched cereal away. It tasted ďoffĒ. Bananas? I buy one yellow, the rest green. They donít have but should have an expiration date. Soon that yellow banana will go brown and mushy and taste like that which it resembles. Is there a product out there that lasts a long long time, you ask. Yes there is. It lasts roughly 80 years, sometimes longer. Itís called a human being. Attach yourself to one after it has aged around twenty years or so, and youíre good to go for about another sixty years. Now thatís a good product. But they donít stamp an expiration date on that one. You get one, you take yer chances. But just like bananas and milk and onions and potatoes, that product also withers and turns rancid, though it may not seem so to you, and eventually becomes unusable. And so it then becomes disposable, and is tossed into that great underground garbage disposal facility. My Pet Peeve of the week, you ask. Expiration dates? Oh why oh why do things have to have them? I hate them.

POWER, ALTRUISM, or DECEPTION

Gíday folks. Today is a day of choice. Into which of the above callings do the members of our clan, as regards one of the above options, opt-in. Pick one, pick two, or pick all three. Let us analyze each one, and in the end I will tell you my pick.

POWER: It is, more often than not, the desire to have the ability to influence and/or control what people think and/or do. It is the ability to make folks do what you want them to do. It is the successful striving in attaining a position of control and success as well as respect. It is the attainment of a position which will enable you to manipulate all who are subjugated to your desires. Hey. Who wouldnít want that?

ALTRUISM: This is a principle dictated by your desire to bring happiness and contentedness to other humans as well as those not of your species. Most specifically pets, but also including other creatures that roam our earth in conjunction with us, who could use our assistance. I would mention Zoo keepers here, were it not for the fact that I tend to intensely despise those who think itís okay to imprison other animals for our amusement. Makes me question as to whether or not their altruism truly exists.

DECEPTION: Ah. Probably the easiest of them all. Who or what out there exists without, at times, practicing deception. The Venus Fly Trap exudes an attractive tasty enzyme which lures its prey within its folds and then snaps shut to digest the creature while itís still alive. The tiger moves slowly slowly, hidden among tall grasses, camouflaged and unseen till itís ready to pounce upon its unsuspecting prey. HumansÖ donít even start me on that one. In their most simplistic sense, they kill worms in order to put them on hooks which then enables them to catch fish which they then slice up and eat. In their meanest moments, they use rifles to kill elephants for their tusks which they then sell for money.

All these reasons are given my friends. But among us there is one sub-species that practices, in my humble opinion, all three at the same time in order to lure us into doing their bidding, induce us to give them offerings that which will enrich their coffers, and sometimes, though rarely rarely, act in such a manner as to aid and assist those in need. Which of us do you think fits that bill. Anybody watching the doings in Ukraine? Yes yes. You got it. Itís the politicians of the world. My pet peeve of the week you ask. My pet peeve of the week is that for the most part I think politicians are scum. All of them. Or at least most of them.

CLICK ON THIS LINKÖ

Sunrise is in about another half hour or so. And yet, the emails have long ago started banging on your mobile phone, demanding to be read. I paraphrase, but the gist is on target. Attention attention. Read the following. Do you bank at J. P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, or any of the other national banks that are in the US? The federal banking system comprises of 1,200 of them operating in this country, with 840†of them being national banks. If so, and again I paraphrase, if so you are all soon about to lose all your money. Unless of course you click on this link which may, for an affordable sum, save your vacuous lives.

Do you have a cell phone? Has it been hacked? Is it being hacked? Is it going to be hacked? Will they get all the information they need about you in order to enable them to decimate your bank accounts and forever ruin your lives? If so, clicking on this link may well show you the technology required to save your collective miserable little lives. All this for the measly little sum ofÖ

Most dearest and kindest sir or madam. I need your help. My late husband, the Duke of Mount Christopher, was recently decapitated by the people of his village. He has left me with a sum of 100 million dollars, half of which Iím will to part with if you help me by claiming Iím a long lost relative of yours and you desire to sponsor me into your country and allow me to live with you till I establish my residency. All you need to do to earn the 50 million dollars is click on the link situated at the bottom of this email where you will be instructed to send me by wire a processing fee of $75. Please donít forget to include your bank name, routing number, and account number. Thank you. Your loving cousin, Mata.

Dear Tom, dear Dick, dear Harry, as well as Mary and Sadie and Lenora Ö bravo to all of you. Today is your lucky day. You have inherited, you have won the Senegalese lottery. All you have to do is click on the link, click on the blue lettering, click on red danger warning hyperlink, and you will gain, you will glean, you will derive, you will cull, garner, and extract, and you will end up being wealthier than your could have ever imagined in your wildest dreams.

As to my Pet Peeve of the week. I believe there are people who actually fall for this dung. Sheesh!

IF HUMANS WERE DIVIDED BY THREE

Which would dominate? There are the honest ones. There are the thieves. And there are the blithering idiots. Allow me to please tell you a true story. In the news media of 02/09/2022 02:11pm EST, the following story is told. It appears that the mayor of one of our states presented an argument against the allowing of ice fishing at a park. His reason, now pay close attention here folks, his reason was that ice fishing would lead to prostitution. Hunh?

This conclusion came by way of a sequence of illogical thinking, figuring that if one wants to go ice fishing, then one would want to go ice fishing in a shed, and if one went ice fishing in a shed, then the user of that shed, also called a shanty, would ultimately want it to be used for a little hanky panky with your femme fatale of choice of the moment, for a moderate fee of course. My opinion here is that this mayor is a dumb-ox politician. Unless of course heís thinking of taxing these bordello-ish sheds on a seasonal basis for use. In which case heís still a dumb-ox politician. Which brings us back to the conundrum originally posed. Which trait do you folks think most dominate humanity? Iíll tell you what I think. I think, if analyzed on an individual basis, honesty among humans hopefully rank the most prominent. However, if two of the traits are combined as one, let us say thievery with the blithering idiots, then itís a no contest. The latter combination wins hands down. Of course, this brings up another problem. How does a man decide to prohibit ice fishing for fear it will bring forth, without question, the specter and then reality of prostitution? Wait wait. I retract my opinion. Forget combining the two. Simply by isolating the politicians, we automatically bring forth the reigning groups of blithering idiots which will surely rank supreme over the others. But but but, arenít the politicians, and the honest folks, all thieves at one point or another in their lives? And wouldnít that therefore rank the honest folk, hypocrites that they may well be for being part-time thieves, as being the ultimate blither idiots? No no no. Wait wait wait. Iíve come to a conclusion. A pet peeve of the week if you will. A discovery of sorts. It is this. All of us, regardless of what we think of ourselves, are blithering idiots, with some mayors clearly leading the pack, and all readers of Tidbits, as well as its creator, lagging in the rear, forming a new group called the intellectual elites. Whaddya think? Am I right, or am I right? You pick.

THEY WHO SO BADLY NEED RECOGNITION

Heís leaning into your car window. Go straight to the end, make a left, then a right, and go east for a couple of miles and youíre there. You follow directions, and now you donít know where you are. Losing weight is easy she tells you. Try my diet. One tsp sugar. Two tsp vinegar. Mix with sugar with vinegar, drink, and youíll lose five lbs. in a week. I solve all the puzzles in the newspaper, he says. No problem for me you see. Bit of a high I.Q. is what Iím blessed with. If you ever need any help, ask me if you dare. What? Donít listen to the doctor. Just because he or she passed the test doesnít mean he or she knows what theyíre talking about. Call me if you want. Iíve read tons of medical books. Probably can put most of them M.D.ís to shame. Whaddya mean youíre bringing the car in for an oil change? Did the light turn red? Theyíre scamming you old friend. Donít do nuthiní till that light turns red, and then call me, and Iíll tell you what to do. Donít listen to Donny or Dahlia or Pat or James. They donít know what theyíre talkiní about half the time. They spew out nonsensical information for no reason. They want you to believe they know what theyíre talking about because placing themselves in the positions of knowing things while all the while they donít know what theyíre talking about is their, and the simpletonís path to self-elevation. Every idiot wants to be recognized for their brilliance. And the more ignorant they are, the more they want to be seen for what theyíre not. How many of them are teachers, you ask? Ask George Bernard Shaw 1905 play Man and Superman. I paraphrase, or may even quote. Not too sure. He said, ďThose who can, do; those who can't, teach.Ē What? You didnít do so well in school? Donít blame yourself. Blame your teacher. Want to hear a story? I took French in school because it was easy for me, itís my mother tongue. There was another kid in class. He was French. Teacher asked a question. His French was school taught. Lousy accent. The kid and I raised our hands. Teach chose the kid, who answered in flawless French. Teach gave him hell for wasting school time and his. Teach was jealous. My Pet Peeve of the week?? Why werenít we all gifted with the ability to tell who was full of crap and who knew what they were talking about?

THE NEW HE/SHEíS OF THE WORLD

Things, they are a changing. Heís not a man. Sheís not a woman. Heís not a boy. Sheís not a girl. Heís an inseminator. Sheís a birthing person. We donít call them hims and hers and hes and shes anymore. Instead we will soon be using ey, em, eir, eirs, and eirself You send your child to school. Going in, sheís a girl and heís a boy. Coming out and going home your child asks am I a boy or a girl, mommy? My teacher says Iím both. The girlís swimming team is having tryouts. Most of those trying out for the team weigh around 110 pounds or so. Except for one. He/she is wearing a two piece bathing suit with a padded bra. He/she weighs around 180 pounds. Bulging biceps. Slight trace of stubble after close morning shave. ďThis is a girlís only team,Ē says the coach. ďIím a girl,Ē he/she says. ďI know Iím a girl because I identify as a girl and because my teacher told me Iím a girl. My name is Michaelina. I use the girlís bathroom though I have a male dingaling. They made a mistake when they made me. I will be on the girlís swimming team.Ē

The coach acquiesces. The new school rules are that you are what you say you think you are. Genetics play no role. Michaelina wins every meet. He/she beats the natural born females with a snap of his fingers. My name is Michaelina and I know Iím a girl / Wanna make something of it, weíll give it a whirl. They all back away. Every girl on the team loses to Michaelina. He/she raises his/her hand. He/she needs to be excused. He/she needs to use the restroom. And in he/she saunters, and waits for a pretty young thing to walk in, upon which he promptly rapes her. School principal say nothing. Itís not he/sheís fault he/she was born a boy/girl. He/she gets no punishment. He/she is transferred to a different school to ply his/her trade anew. We have to protect those poor souls who donít know if theyíre heís or sheís, genetics be damned. Whatís that you ask? My Pet Peeve of the week you ask? Iíll tell you what it is. I want to be transferred to a new planet where the only requirement is a bit more than a modicum of sanity. Does such a place exist? One ticket one way please sir. Not returning. Theyíre going crazy over there on my home planet.

WEATHER REPORT

In this report, one week equals one year. And now, for our Sunday weather report. Cold winds blasting down from the north. Icy gusts will decimate anyone traveling outside without proper clothing and protection. Driving warnings to all. But the good news is no precipitation and no icy roads. Temperatures from the teens to the low twenties.

And now, for our Monday weather report. Rain turning to snow and ice. Blizzard conditions. Road slippery. Birds, foolhardy enough to take to the skies, freeze solid in mid flight and fall to earth. Advisory for today is to wear metal helmets to protect from icy feathers which can slice through skin.

And now, for our Tuesday weather report. Weather conditions easing up. Mid forties to fifties. Strong wind conditions. Possible trees falling. Be careful where you drive.

And now, for our Wednesday weather report. Mild conditions. Temperature seventy to seventy three degrees. Not too hot, not too cold. Ideal. Enjoy.

And now, for our Thursday weather report. Sun will be in mid sky early today. Heat just barely tolerable. Eighty to ninety degrees. Dry conditions.

And now, for our Friday weather report. Heat is brutal. Temps are going to be reaching over one hundred degrees. High humidity. Stay indoors. Keep your air conditioners on full blast. Watch the weather channel for updates. Our meteorologists predicting sudden tropical changes.

And now, for our Saturday weather report. Things calming down. Milder weather for morning. Seventy two degrees till noon. Then northern winds reappear. Rain starting at one in the afternoon. Temperature dropping to below thirty by four pm. Icicles forming on roof eaves. Roads and driveways slippery and dangerous. Six car vehicle crash on Empire State Parkway. Police and emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. Engines freezing up en route. Fears emerge that emergency vehicles wonít be able to make it.

We interrupt this program to give you a recap of this weekís weather. One day, on Wednesday, for ideal weather. The rest of the week, except for half a day on Saturday, has been annoyingly impossible to deal with.

I shut the telly off. I scream my frustration and this weekís Pet Peeve to all that have the ability to hear me and do something about it. Why oh why, out of seven days, do I only get one and a half ideal days and all they rest are crap? Why, I ask the powers that be. Whyyyyy????

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Donít you love totally free offers. Download our special, totally free, hair growing system. And if you like it you can subscribe to our system for only $50.00 per month. subscribe to our news media. no charge for download. usage however is $20.00 per month. Want your eyes to be white. Get our free sample in 16 oz. super size bottle. Contents only one ounce. Refills $25.00. The phone rings. Hello. My name is Sarah. Iím here to offer you a discounted service plan on your car. Free the first month. Affordable after that. But. But but. I just bought the car. Itís only one month old. Donít need service plan. But my good man, how can you afford not to have our service plan? Good day sir. This letter is to inform you that your life insurance plan is about to expire and we would like to offer you a highly affordable life insurance policy tailored to fit your budget. But. But but but. My wife is dead. My children are married. I donít needÖ Are you sure sir? Are you absolutely certain? Click. Oh look. A new email. This is to let you know your purchase for the $800.00 new cell phone has been approved and your credit card will be charged before the end of the month. If this email is in error, please call us right away in order that we may screw you over more royally than you have ever been screwed over before. How do you do sir? Would you like to buy? Would you like to lease? Would you like to partake? No worries sir. We are as honest as the day is long during the winter solstice. Whatís that sir? You would like to read our fine print agreement? Of course sir. We would be only too happy to send it out. May I have your full name, first and last, your home address, your social security number, date of birth, blood type, race, gender preference, cell phone number, home phone number, and anything else you feel we may need in order to properly take you over the hurdles on this fine day. My Pet Peeve of the week you are all asking? Hmmm? I would like a law enacted that would dictate that all the fine print in the world be in Times New Roman Bold 16 point print. And while weíre at it, I would not mind an edict that would enforce a law that required the permanent eradication of all cold-callers and all cold-emailers. Whaddya all think?

PAST PET PEEVES

WHICH ONE AM I? WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

I am, as are all of us, surely a mimicry of one of the animals that live in the wild. But which one am I? Or which one are you, or he, or she? A tiger, an eagle, a bat? I present some propensities. Perhaps we will each recognize ourselves.
We are able to change our natural skin coloration. Do we do this via suntans, makeup, paint, or natural predispositions? The fact that are able to modify our natural skin color is all that matters. When we lived in the wild we used our abilities as camouflage to hide from our enemies.

Do we date back to 5.8 million years ago when we made our first appearance on this earth, or do we date back as far as 300 million years ago? Are we human, or reptilian? Were we land animals, or arboreal, or both. Before we became us, did we climb tree trunks? We have, at least in our prime, very good vision. We are, basically speaking, carnivores. We like meat, but will eat greens when other sources are not readily available. Anybody recognize themselves so far? We started off living in some of the mainlands of Africa, including places like Portugal and Spain and Italy and Greece. We were, and maybe still are, considered feral, though it has been said that we can be tamed. Look around you and tell me what you think about what you see as regards this last statement. Are we feral, or are we tame.

We like to pretend to be that which we are not. We are, in an oblique manner, actors taking on roles in order hide who we are from strangers as well as from each other. We are, without a doubt, predators, but also, unbeknownst to some, also prey. We need, as do many who inhabit this planet, variety in our diet.
We like to co-habit with others, not of our species, adopting and adapting to each other as others of this world which have become family members. We become attached to those other members, to the point that we deeply suffer their losses should they disappear from our existences. This last part is only conjecture on my part.



So who are we, these beings I describe. Iíll tell you this. Theyíre very much like us humans, except that for me, theyíre chameleons. My Pet Peeve of the week? Why oh why canít I change the coloration of my skin as easily as they when weíre so much alike? Human? Chameleon? Whatís the difference? And which, pray tell, are you? Hmmm?

MONEY VERSUS ALTRUISM, WHO CAN YOU TRUST

So hereís what it is. ďTheyĒ come out and say this is good for you. ďTheyĒ say so may things. Take this to aid and abet you intake of fruit. Take that and youíll sleep like a baby again. Worried? Need to calm your nerves? Take this. Canít calm your nerves, that that. Back hurts, stool wonít work, peeing crooked, take these. Loss of appetite, loss of memory, take those. And whoís telling you all these things? Retired politicians. I was governor. I was state representative. I know from whence I speak. Medical training you ask? Bah. When youíve been in my position you donít need medical training. I know because I know. Ladies and gentlemen. Unsatisfied in the boudoir? Take two of these and your youth will be rejuvenated. How do I know? Iím an actor. Iím an actress. Rights of privilege has been bestowed upon us, via divine intervention, the knowledge most would need four years of college and four years of grad school to attain. The very act of acting has given us all that which we would not have were we not actors. Excuse me sir. Maíam. Are you not feeling well? Headache you say. Here. Try these. My own remedy. Only ten dollars a pill. African Thunderblast I call it. My own research has brought it forth for the world to use. What do I do for a living. Why my good folks, I take umbrage at your question. Iím a street bum. My kind is many steps above the politicians and actors and actresses who take it upon themselves to advise you. The men on the telly you say. They know, you say. You know they know because theyíre all wearing white smocks. Everyone knows that if someone is wearing a white smock it means he or she knows as much if not more than those who claim to have diplomas. Do they show you their diplomas? Do they prove to you they have degrees in knowing what they know? No. They do not. They simply tell you they know, and you believe them because theyíre wearing white smocks. Attention attention. We just came out with a cure for Martian Lunar Flu. It works. We tested it out on four hundred million martians who were days away from death. They all lived. Of course we canít show you the proof. They all live on Mars for goodness sake. But trust is trust. Itís not for nothing that we call ourselves the United International Martian Flu Curative Drug Company. Weíve had training. Here look. Weíre wearing white smocks. As to my Pet Peeve of the week, get rid of those damned white smocks. Theyíre deceptive, just like everything and everyone else.

DRAW THAT SWORD, LOAD THAT MUSKETÖ

Them on that side, they on this side. CommandersÖ sound the alarm. Ready, aimÖ Itís the Rights and the Wrongs. Theyíre at it again. But he did, and he did, and Iím right, and heís wrong, and the all pervading senses of self elevating righteousness rise once again to rule over the populace. The intellectuals are smoking their pipes and cigars over their games of bridge and skat while the longshoremen are guzzling their ale at the local pub, all discussing the events pervading the country. I hear theyíre taking up sides. Getting colored uniforms. Red for them and blue for those. Arming themselves to the gills theyíre saying. I bid one club. Two diamonds here. Hey Jimbo? How about a quick arm wrestle to settle this thing before it gets out of hand. Winner buys ale for all. Loser gets his head chopped off as would be his due. Load your muskets men. Draw your swords. What do you mean what are we fighting for? Weíre fighting for the right to be right. We donít want them to be right. They want us to be wrong. What do you mean what do you call this? I call it the right to be right. He calls it the right to be wrong. He thinks heís right. I know heís wrong. Itís a bit like the days when we fought over issues. We want our rights, they want theirs. Bah. Nonsense. Glad the Civil War is over. Donít want to start that thing again, do we? On your marks men, ready, setÖ In days of old when knight were bold, and muskets were ready for trouble / they slit their throats with blades of gold, and waited for trouble to bubble. And what colors were those troubles dear souls? Why, they were tinted in Blues and Reds of course. And what were the fight called in days of old? They were called, dear ignorant soul, the Civil War. Oh pshaw. That is never going to happen again. We may not always agree. But weíll always be one. Two no trump for me, sir. Dark ale for all my companions. And then the commands came. Fire. Charge. And now weíre at it. Is this really possible, said the man taking in the club meld. My Pet Peeve about this all? Iím reluctant to accept another civil war in this country. Itís canít happen again. Can it? Though I recently read it would and could start again. I read it in one of the Dailyís to which I subscribe that it might start any day now. Reload those muskets men. Redraw those swords. Time to decimate the enemyÖ again.

THE FIRST THREE LETTERS

You check your medicine cabinet. Uh oh. Some prescriptions need renewal. You call your drugstore and submit the required info. I donít want to get my drug store in trouble, so I will not tell you itís Rite Aid. The less information imparted the better. Yes? Well, thatís not how my unmentioned drug store sees it. They clearly want to save on letters. In days of old, my notification came in stating that my prescription starting with the letters XYZ is ready for pickup. Later that day I would get another notification that my prescription starting with UVW is also ready for pickup. And so I would go to get XYZ and UVW with the peace of mind that the correct prescriptions were ready. But today? Nay nay sweet birds of youth. They no longer tell you itís XYZ or UVW. What they tell you is nothing. You call in two prescriptions. Dear Benjamin, the notice tells you. Your prescription is ready for pickup. Which one? None of your business. Weíre not spending time using up excess letters. You want to know which one, call us to find out. Or come in and find out which one youíre not getting. We donít give a ratís ass if this complicates your life. We donít care if one of those meds is a life saving heart medication. We donít give two hoots in hell if your health is at stake. The less letters we write, the more time we save. The more time we save, the more money we make. As to the inconveniences this foists upon your soul, we here at the drug store whose name we donít want mentioned, Rite-Aid for those of you whoís memory needs jogging, we truly donít much care. We are not here to make life easy for you. We are not here to let you know that the drugs you need are ready for you, we are certainly not here to make life easy for those aging amongst you. We are here to convenience only ourselves and no one else. You die you die. There are plenty of ailing people behind you. Of course Iím only talking about Rite Aid. I donít know about the others. My Pet Peeve of the week you ask, why oh why do those who like to regulate, not regulate drug stores like Rite-Aid and their we donít give a damn about our customersí attitudes. Anybody our there have this problem with their drugstores I wonder?

GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME

Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme, said the lion to the lamb. Hello? Mr. Smith? Mrs. Lamb? This is Elias Lion. Yes yes. I know. Funny name. The reason Iím calling is that Iím with the police department. Iím with the Red Cross. Iím with funds for children. With help the poor. With funds for the needy. With funds for us. Anybody out there know how much out of every dollar you donate, how much goes to the needy and how much goes to running the organization? Ten percent for the needy. Ninety percent for the organization. The lions and the lambs. Which one are you? When they take you for all youíre worth, then itís vultures and carcasses. They all sing the same song. Gimme gimme gimme gimmeÖ We all inhabit the same planet. Predator and prey. Which one you are? Vulture or victim? Gimme gimme gimme gimmeÖ Hello? Mrs. Smith? I represent the amalgamated take Ďem for all theyíre worth corporation. We prey on the vulnerable in the guise of helping the needy. Whatís that you say? You already give to save the children. Well then, how about you put us in your will? Your good fortune will be our good fortune. Gimme gimme gimme gimmeÖ Bringgg bringgg. Hello? Mr. Weyland? Mrs. Weinman? I represent, I work for, I collect in the name ofÖ gimme gimme gimme gimme. Any mail today honey? Let me check. Oh look. Youíre not going to believe this. Those people want money. As do those people. As do they and them. But the police still stop beggars from sitting on the steps leading to the railroad station, hat it hand, asking for money. Hey mister. No begging. You want to beg, you need a license. I donít care if you need the money or not. This is not about need, buddy. Itís about generating income for the government by buying a license to beg. One, two, three four, gimme money, gimme more. Ding dong. Uh oh. The doorbell. Who could be ringing this late in the day. Yup. You got it. Got any money mister? Iím collecting for, weíre trying to help, weíre looking for donations to, gimme gimme gimme gimme. As to my Pet Peeve of the week? Why oh why oh why does no one gimme gimme gimme gimme?? too?

PLASTIC BAGS

You go to the supermarket. You need fruit. You get some apples, and pears and place them in the plastic bags placed upon a roller for your convenience. Time for veggies. Broccoli, cukes, peppers. All go into those plastic bags. Potatoes, onions. Yup. You got it. Into the plastic bags. Prepackaged veggiesÖ plastic bags. Garbage bags in which to throw out your plastic bags are made of plastic. Need paper cupsÖ plastic. Candy for the kiddies, all wrapped in plastic. Meat, fish, poultry, all wrapped in, you got itÖ plastic. Hey, you want some cheese, mister? American, Swiss, Camembert Intense? Here ya go. All wrapped in plastic. Prepacked bread? Rye, white, almost white, off white, nearly white but never quite white anymore. Here it is. Prepacked in plastic. Is it disposable plastic? Nope. Do they have disposable plastic? Yup. In Israel I think. Paper cups? Paper plates? Plastic. Disposable cutleryÖ plastic. Water please for this parched throat of mine. In bottles of plastic if you please. Mouth wash por favor. Any brand. Just make sure itís packed in plastic. Liquid soap, solid soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, only if packed in plastic containers, if you donít mind. Toilet paper, looks and feels like paper, but itís wrapped in plastic. Paper towels... wrapped in plastic. Containers for your CDís...wrapped in plastic. Q-Tips...boxed in plastic. Containers for paper-clipsÖ plastic. Hair spray bottlesÖ plastic. Rubbing alcohol containersÖ plastic. How long could I go on? How many days in a year? How many hours in a day? How many minutes in an hour? How many secondsÖ So whatís your pet peeve Benjamin. Whatís your problem? Never mind the fact that there is disposable plastic out there. Itís the geniuses running the county that are making me nuts. I finished my shopping for the day. Checkout time. Sorry sir. No more plastic bags. Government regulations you see. They donít want us to ruin our ecology. Paper bags only, no matter how many trees we have to cut down, no matter how many forests we have to decimate. That will be 50 cents each please. Weíre watching out for you, you see. Weíre benevolent entities you see. We care. My pet peeve of the week you ask? Stop caring for me so much. I canít stand it.

An Interview With a Politician


How do you do sir. And welcome to AIWAP as we like to call it here in the land of public obtuseness. My name is Benjamin-the-Interviewer. Let us begin with no preliminaries, shall we? Please state your name for our television audience.

Yes. Well. When you ask for my name, do you want my given name, my family name, or both?

Good point my good man. Give me both please.

There is of course an alternate to those which I like to use as my stage name. Perhaps you would like that in lieu.

In lieu of what?

In lieu of my family and given names.

Ah. Yes. Of course. However I do believe I would prefer your family and given names.

There is yet another choice you know.

And that would be. I could see that he could see I was losing my patience.

I could use a name in lieu of a loo.

I was askance. You mean loo as in toilet?

He nodded as though imbued with great sageness.

Just give us your name and forget the crap, okay.

Iím not, he said in preparing to rise from his seat, so sure you deserve any answers from me when considering your tone.

You are a politician, are you not? I said desperately trying to save the show.

What do you mean by politician, he said, lowering himself back into his seat in acquiescence to my submissive tone. I sighed with relief. What kind of politics do you like to practice, I said.

Well, politics does come in different forms and colors, you know, he said.

Is there any form of color you prefer, I said.

Yes, he said.

Would you like to share your views with our audience today, I said.

Well, I would first have to know which way their penchants lie. Donít want to insult anyone by inadvertently leading them down a more convoluted path than their sensibilities would or could tolerate.

I felt myself losing it again. My guest noticed, and dropped his hand down to his side beyond camera view and extended his middle finger to full length. I quickly checked to see if anyone, crew included, noticed him giving me the bird. All seemed well.

Why donít you just share your most favored political arena with us, I said. Be daring for a change.

Are you calling me fearful, you little bit of an insignificant pissant, he said.

We were descending into chaos. He had clearly decided, as did all politicians I knew, to be oblique as hell and not answer any question. I had to figure out a way to get him. And then the solution came to me, Benjamin the Interviewer, whose pet peeve of the week was clearly trying to avoid dealing with the refusals of any of that political clan of liars who are always reluctant to answer any questions directly.

Would you like to see the most beautiful woman in the world, I said. I had clearly caught him off guard. He nodded. Would you please excuse me for an instant while I go off stage to bring her in, I said.

Again he nodded. And I arose and left, leaving him to his devices while I summoned my femme-fatale. As I tell you all this tale, I am here to tell you all this event occurred over two weeks ago, and for all I know, that little prick of a politician, not unlike any of the others Iíve met, is still sitting like an idiot under stage lights, sweating through his collar, waiting for a woman he will never see. Ah, revenge. Thou art at times so sweet. No?

FADE OUT

Ahhh. The day is ending. Dinner is done. The world has stopped bashing you on the head. Youíre free for the next twelve hours or so, give or take. You lean back, pick up the remote, and tune in to your favorite show. Oh crap. A commercial. Maybe another channel. Or another. No good. Theyíve all timed their commercials to coincide one with the other. You go back to your favorite and wait. And then, fade in. And the show begins. The man is running toward the woman. They both have guns in their hands. Their hands are up, horizontal to the ground, and theyíre aiming at each other. The camera pans up at a hawk flying high above, watching the scene below. Two shots ring out. Fade out. The kid is chewing on the piece of chocolate. Voice over. For the best chocolate in the wordÖ A woman is putting her clothes in the washing machine. For the best detergent in the worldÖ A car is speeding up a mountain road. For the best acceleration use the best gasoline in the worldÖ Fade in. Both bodies are lying on the ground. The camera zooms in. He is lifting his head. He is not dead. The camera moves over to her. She is lifting her head. She is not dead. The camera pans out. You watch as they both reach for the guns. They lift their arms. The camera pans up. The hawk is still circling above. A shadow in the shape of the Angel of Death appears in the clouds. Fade out. He is using an old fashioned typewriter. She is next to him using a modern computer with a modern keyboard. Voice over. For the best writing experienceÖ A car is being delivered to thatís familyís house. Voice over. No need to leave you house any longer to buy a carÖ Voice over. You did remember to pay your life insurance, did you not honey? Uh oh. His voice stumbles over his words. Well, you see, I meant to, but but butÖ Fade in. Two shots ring out from the prone bodies. The hawk falls down dead to the ground. The Angel of death points to the two prone bodies. He points the forefingers of each hand at each of them, thumbs up, in mock aiming of guns. They each reach again for their guns, this time aiming at the Angel of Death. Fade out. A man in a nice suit step out on stage in front of the audience. He begins to speak. Would you all like to know what my Pet Peeve of the week is? My name, he says, is Benjamin Mark. And my Pet Peeve of the week is that there are too many infernal commercials on the telly and they take up too much time. Get rid of them I say. And let the sponsors all kiss my derriere.

WHO WANTS A DENTAL CLAMP?

I read somewhere that the highest top two rates of suicide among professionals is that of Dentists and Doctors. Dentists rank number two. Doctors are number one. I shall pick Dentist for todayís diatribe. When you go to the dentist, there are a few things you can count on. Curing whatever ails you. And pain. And if truth be told, Iím not all that sure about the curing part. But the pain? Hoo hah. That's a certainty.

So... a slight reverie if you please. I've just returned from my secret lab deep in the dungeon below the cellar of my home where only I and the rodents dwell. And I have in my hand my new invention. In keeping with today's advancement in technology, it , my invention which I call a Dental Clamp, is remote controlled. It's a wee bit of a thing. A bit looking like half a metal safety pin. No wire. Just a wee battery. It clamps upon our dentist's ear lobe. If he or she does not want to wear it, I leave. All dentists, as Iím sure you all know, crave money beyond all things, and so they put it on their lobe. I have a button in my hand. It's the controller. If he or she hurts me, I push the button and zap him or her with a jolt of electricity. The more he or she hurts, the harder I push. I like to call it my "jolt of egalitarianism" as that is what it is. Punch me once, I punch you back twice. It's only fair, don'tcha think? Root canal. Two clamps, one for each lobe. Dental implant, a larger clamp. Don't even ask me where I would want to put it. Either way, he or she will double over in pain. Alas, this is all a bit of a dream. I do not really have this clamp. But I do have a Pet Peeve for this week. What is it you ask? It is this. Why oh why oh why doesn't someone go down deep into the dungeon where his lab resides, and invent this mechanism. It would surely be a boon to humanity.

TO TEACH A CROOK...

So, you want to be a crook. Your childhood friends wanted to be Superman, or Supergirl, or Policemen, or Policewomen, or doctors, or lawyers, or sometimes even accountants. But not you. When you went to the movies, you always wanted the bad guy to win. You would go to the library to find books on becoming a crook. You would watch movies for pointers. You read the ads for schools that teach crookdom courses. Nothing. You began asking question to friends, teachers, adults, sometimes even to your dog who you named Socrates because he was smarter than most humans. Results? Nada. Nothing. Zero. Till one, day, when you were about eighteen or so and dating this incredible girl/woman who was not only drop dead gorgeous but also had the brains to put Einstein away, you decided to ask her the how of it all. She gave you a look that said something to the effect that she thought you were a first class imbecile, and then gave you a one word answer. ďLook,Ē she said. That was it. If memory served, you both then went to a movie and some hot dogs after that, and then you drove her home in your brand new, used, old as all get-out, 1948 forest green oldsmobile convertible, top down, Bethoovenís Fifth blasting out from WQXR at about a million decibels, ensuring all cars within ten miles could hear you. Look, she had said. You couldnít enjoy the movie. All you heard was Look. You didnít enjoy the hot dog. All you tasted was Look. You couldnít even enjoy olí Bethooven. All you heard was loo-loo-loo-looook. And then you dropped her off after the normal kissie and feelie and letís to this stuff, stuff. And you then got ready to take off, and, as fates would have it, and thanks to the litterbugs of the day, a random page of a newspaper flew across the road and smacked into your face. In a moment of curiosity you opened it and on the front page the header said something to the effect of, When Political Crimes Are Inside JobsÖ As you crumbled the paper up and tossed it to the winds, being no slouch of a litterbug yourself, her words came back at you in caps and bold lettering: LOOK! And it hit you. You want to be a crook? Look. Where? All over, but, if your penchants lead you that way, look at politics in order to fully learn. As to my Pet Peeve for the week, why donít they have few How To Be A Crook schools? They would surely be useful, and might even reduce littering.

THOSE WHO BET AGAINST YOU AND RARELY LOSE

As a small word of advisement, I very often bet with them and against myself. It is only occasionally, out of caution, that I bet against them and with myself. And who, you may well ask, are these contrary entities? Sit yerselves down and Iíll tell you. They are all the different forms of companies known as Insurance Companies. I bet against them and for myself in instances like auto insurance, and life insurance at one time, and home insurance, and to the best of my recollection, thatís it. No insurance on my computer. Theyíre offering me a repair policy. Theyíre betting they wonít have to pay off. The computer wonít break. I agree. I decide to insure with myself instead of them. So far, and I started with Windows 95, I was a winner. I then went through 98, XP, 7, and ten. How about my cell phone? I started with the old LG folding phones. They probably all still work. Went on to a few Blackberryís, and then a Galaxy which I still have and which I think is an utter piece of crap. But it works. I still have all the phones. No insurance. I bet with the insurance companies and against me. And I won every time. I digress. Thereís betting and thereís betting. If you want to bet against a Casino, you will probably be betting against yourself and you will probably lose. If you want to bet against an Insurance company, you will probably be betting for yourself, and you will win. The payoffs are not mammoth. A few dollars here, a few dollars there, but you will, in all likelihood, end up a winner. WARNING. This is my opinion only. I am and will not be, either in this life or in any other, responsible for losses to those who lose and who heeded my advice with it all ending up badly. One has to have the right touch you know. And a little bit of luck. ďWith a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck, we can make it through the night,Ē ibid. And so, to quote Cyrano, in the same spirit as I have just quoted My Fair Lady, ďAs I end my refrain,Ē with my weekly Pet Peeve, Insurance companies, I hate them and at times need them. Bah, I say. Humbug! A la Ebenezer Scrooge. Yíall have heard of him have you not?

AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY...

He had it easy. Only one task. Create. So he started. Day oneÖ light. Day twoÖ sky. Till sevenÖ †when he called it quits. And that was the end of that. Or was it?

Hah! Let me tell you about my week. Day one, which for me starts on Thursdays. Up at 4:30. Shower. Make the bed. Walk the Brink. His full name is Brinkley, but we have a rather amicable relationship, and so I often call him the Brink. I return. Feed him. Make myself something to eat. Today, the left-over half of the English Muffin I didnít finish yesterday. Make the bed. Start my research for next weekís Tidbits. There goes a few hours down the tubes. Take a break to check my email. Fox news. CNN. Iím nothing if Iím not an egalitarian. I give each side a look and a listen before I decide who to hate today. I look at the clock on the wall. Uh-oh. Time to walk the Brink again. I shall initialize this statement to TTWTB. Hey, Iíve taken all this time to acclimate to a world that only speaks in initials, so why shouldnít I? I get back, grab a bite, not because Iím hungry but rather because itís time. Who made this schedule up? None of the other creatures eat by the clock. They eat when their stomach growls. Tidbits is done. Another chunk of time. On to Pet Peeves. Not easy. I struggle. More timeÖ poof. Gone. Phone rings. My son. My daughter. They donít miss a day since Audrey departed. They worry about me. They ask me how I am. I tell them fine. Baloney. But I worry about them as much as they worry about me. Another half hour of how you doinís down the drain. I get a brainstorm. A little nap before I continue. Another half hour. I donít nap for long. Back to the computer. A notice comes in. Time to update your This program. Time to update your That program. Uh-oh. Notice from Antivirus. And Malaware. Spend a little more money, you get a little extra. I delete all but the updates. The downloading numbers start scrolling your updates. Installing your updates. Restarting your device. Iím getting ready to give them a restarting your device in spades. I look out the window. Itís getting dark out. Another TTWTB. I do four a day. Am I hungry? No. But itís supper time. A little news on the telly. And then Beddie Bye. Itís Friday. Day two. I repeat. With some minor changes. And still itís never monotonous. But hereís the thing of it. Letís jump forward a wee tad. Iíve worked for six day. I go to sleep. I wake up. Itís day seven. Do I take a break? Do I rest? No. Emphatically no! He worked for six days and then called it quits. From birth till now Iíve worked about 30,395 or more days. Okay. He did a lot more in his six days than Iíve done in my 30 thousand plus days. But still. My Pet Peeve here. When, while still living, do I get a break?

DIOGENES AND I

1-I get a phone call. Ė Hello. This is Discover card. Your membership is about to expire. Please click ďoneĒ in order to speak with a representative who will be only too happy to help you renew before itís too late. But I donít have a Discover card. I never had a discover card. 2-- I make a payment on my car on Monday. I check the web site every day for the next fourteen days. Nothing shows. Help. 3-- I check my answering machine. Hello. This is Amazon. We have some money for you. Please call us at 1-800-FxxkYou in order to collect. Hah! 4-- Buy this car pal. Itís the best there is. Here. Look at this advertisement. It says so right here. So who paid for the ad? 5-- You say you want to buy our medical alert system. Sure. No problem. Just fill out the form. Name. Address. Zip code. Cell number. Blood type. Age. Marital status. Number of children living with you. Color of eyes. Hair. Length of fingernails. Time of last bowel movement. Date of last sexual escapade. Color of skin. Black? White? GreenĒ Purple? Red? Polka dot? Bank account number. Anything else you think we may need should we decide to rob you deaf dumb and blind when we are able. 6--Phone rings. Hello? Dorothy? There is no Dorothy here. I hang up. Click. It rings again. Is this Napoleon? I hang up. Click again. Theyíre testing to see if this is a workable number, and if it is, they then sell the number to telemarketers, cold callers, and all other nefarious doers of evil deeds. 7óBrinnggg. Congratulations. Youíve just won a free trip to Senegal, air fare included. Please bring some blank checks, just in case, for the details you see. 8--Oops. I only gave you four singles for that fiver. Sorry so sorry. My mistake. Donít know how that happened. Heh heh. 9--You need windows? Gutters and leaders? A new door? You have a tiny leak in your kitchen faucet? Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Marie! Got another job for today. Go ahead and buy that car you wanted. 10--Which brings us all to the most pressing question of the day. Dear dear Benjamin. Just what is your Pet Peeve for this week? Iíll tell you what it is. Iím like Diogenes. Iím looking for an honest man. He never found one. And, in all probability, neither will I. Except of course for the readers of Tidbits. And thatís my Pet Peeve for this week.

PREDATOR OR PREY

If the prey is the living thing thatís being eaten, and the predator is the living thing that kills and eats the other living thing, this begs the question: Which of the two are we? Predator? Or prey? Or both? How about all the other brother and sister creatures that roam this planet. Also both? Plants too? Venus Fly Trap anyone? The joys of life? Eating? Yup. Procreating? Yup. Playing? Yup. Communicating with those of our kind and those not of our kind? Yup. How about killing, folks? There is no living without killing. But tonight is date night. Itís the weekend. Oh what to do? What do? So listen, Irene. Whatíll it be? Movie? Dinner at a French restaurant. Escargot maybe? Freshly killed. I hear they have Brook Trout at Chez Henri. Just suffocated in air. Squab perhaps, lightly sauteed in goose fat? Two birds with one stone? You like to eat things you have to kill. Understandable. What? You want to go hunting for deer? He who drives home with the most antlers strapped to the roof of his van wins the prize? Here you go my good fellow. A skinned skull, plated in gold foil for our murderer du jour. Who? Moi. To which one of those do I, yer olí pal Benjamin, belong? Ah yes, well, there is one more category I forgot to mention. Hypocrite Supreme. Yup. Thatís me. While I deplore killing, I love and eat meat. All meat. Any kind of meat. If it lived and breathed, I want to eat it. While I deplore pulling a fish out of water with a hook sunk into his jaw, ainít nuthiní out there as good as fried trout. Properly seasoned of course. Anybody out there ever go hunting? Itís inborn. We love to kill for sport. All of us. Even those who deny it. What? Me kill? No. Never. So then why do I set out mouse traps, and moth traps, and cockroach traps? Oh, they donít count. Theyíre vermin, and insects. They can live if they want, but if they come into my house, Iíll step on those mothers and squish the life out of them. But basically Iím a pacifist. A gentle soul who keeps a few sharp knives in his house, for cutting meat and, of course, for just in case. My pet peeve of the week you ask? I canít understand people who refuse to eat if it was killed. It goes against the natural order of things you see. We have to kill to live. Itís part of the grand scheme. We are, after all, omnivores, are we not?



LIAR LIAR

Okay. By a show of hands, how many of you have never lied? Wow. Not even one hand is raised. Which is good for this is not so much of a pet peeve as it is a request for advice. And one is always best advised to ask advice from experienced people. No? So here it is, the next question. Is it more often than not visible to you when someone is lying? By a show of hands, how many usually know when theyíre being lied to? Wow again. Only this time itís all of you. Okay. One last question. When youíre aware youíre being lied to, do you confront your liar, letting him or her know you know he/she is lying, or do you say nothing? By a show of hands: Confront? By a show of hands: Say nothing? Would you look at that, weíre pretty much even Steven here. Okay. Example time. You have a child. The pudding bowl is half empty. Did you eat that, you say? The child, his lips smeared in brown, shakes his head no. He did not. He swears. Confront? Accept? Example time again. Youíre going to buy a car. Best ever made the salesman says. Take it for a test drive. Going to give you a special price. Only for you, because youíre you. Youíre thrilled that youíre you. Ten percent off on the mechanical seats. Twenty percent off on the windshield wipers. Engine? No charge. By the time heís finished, the car is free plus he owes you a few hundred dollars But wait wait. There is the tax. You do have to pay for that. And the surcharge. And the levy fee, whatever that is. Thereís the miscellaneous adjustment fee. By the time heís done, you owe fifty three thousand dollars. Free? Bah. Camel droppings! So hereís the question of the day. Confront? Or accept? What do you do? War? Or peace? Pay? Or walk home? These are the conundrums I face on a daily basis, not counting the ones I donít mention. I just experienced one with the car. Should I have confronted, made an enemy for life, or said nothing, and accepted being screwed? Which is the better choice? A new car sits in my garage as I type. Wonít tell you the name. Best there is, said the salesman. He shows me printed advertisements by Car Daily and The Car To Buy magazines among others. They all laud their praised. Did you folks pay for these ads, I say? Salesman looks at me askew. So I ask you, one and all. When a liar lies straight to your face, do you confront, or accept? Hmm?

FOOL PROOF CRIMES

No such thing you say? Bah, I say. Humbug. Sit down me lads and lassies. I will tell you a tale of two thefts. A minor and a major. Both perpetrated by the same entity. Both fool proof. Canít get caught. Canít be traced. Second one yields money. First theft: I subscribe to a magazine. No matter the name. It arrived the other day, cover page only. The rest torn out for personal use by a thief which, I presume, works for the post-office . Will they, can they catch him? Never. But itís only minor. The second had to do with a birthday card I sent to my grandson, with a gift card enclosed. He never got it. Gone. Poof. Disappeared. Itís been over a month now. I spoke to my daughter to verify. Yup. Never arrived. She recently read an article in the newspaper that this is becoming a common practice. The envelopes which hold birthday cards are easily identifiable. Extra large. And if a gift card is enclosed, you can feel it. Taking it out from the normal routing system is as simple as one, two, three. And now, suddenly, with no chance of ever getting caught, the perpetratorís pockets are monetarily enhanced. Does crime pay, you may well ask? You bet yer bippy it does. Ask any postal employee. Or ask a cop, as I once did and who added, of course it pays, why do you think so many people are in it? But postal employees? Stupid stupid me. I always thought Postal Employee was synonymous with Rabbi, or Priest, or any of the other exalted positions of mankind. Bah. I reiterate. Humbug. My pet peeve for this week. Why oh why can we not trust those funny looking creatures who chose to walk on two feet instead of four, like all the other animals. If they are born with four limbs and only two in order to perambulate, run my friends, they are not to be trusted. Donít get me started as regards those who also strive to rise to power. Not only do they perambulate on two limbs, but they also preach and guide us to our dooms. But postal employees? Who woulda thunk it?

RUN FER YER LIFE

There are many things in this world that make one run for oneís life. Youíre in the jungle. Mowgli is no where to be seen. You spy Shere Khan in the distance. Heís following you. Oh what to do, what to do? Iíll tell you what to do. Run for your life if you value breathing in and out. Ė Youíre walking along in the dark in a beat-up, run down city somewhere in the world. You see youthlings with switch-blades in one hand and guns in the other. Oh what do do, what to do? Iíll tell you what to do. Run for your life if you value breathing in and out. Ė Thereís a meeting going on in the town hall. The motif of todayís verbal onslaught: Trust your fellow man else how can he trust you? You hear these words and think to yourself, should I trust my fellow man? Oh what to do, what to do? Iíll tell you what to do. Run for your life if you value breathing in and out. Ė But thereís one thing worse than all these things combined. Itís the product of the modern age, and itís not all that long ago that it reared itís head out from the deep dark caverns of human deception. You walk blithely along through life thinking youíve heard it all. What can they do to you? Theyíve already tried them all, and youíve survived. You and Clark Kent, men of steel, impervious to the devious shortcomings of your fellow humans, are wielding shields of experience to protect you from the bombardments of deception that cascade continuously around your heads and shoulders. And they work. Or do they? Watch out my friends. Thereís one more out there, lurking, ready to ensnare your soul and steal your money. Ė No worries about paying us old friend. Each year weíll auto-renew and take the money out of the bank for you, whether you like it or not. Oh bloody whoopie. Itís called ďauto-renewalĒ and itís an ultra major pet peeve of mine. If you see the words, auto-renewal, run for your life if you value breathing in and out and want to have money to live on in your old age.

HE SAYS POTATO AND SHE SAYS POTAHTO

You ever say ye and they hear ya and between the ye and the ya world war iii begins and you never speak to each other again. Which brings forth the old adage, original unto me: Friends are temporary. Enemies are forever. Iíll give you a true to life example. This occurred during a younger time when I was still running my shop. First, a quick digression. The word for Dog in Spanish is Perro. Two rís which you roll on your tongue when you speak the word. The word for But in Spanish is Pero. One r. No rolling the r when you speak the word. I had some Spanish speaking folks working for me. I had a foreign speaking lady working for me. Let us call that foreign speaking person Anatole. One day Anatole was walking from here to there to get that. This is something we all do. She overheard one of the Spanish speaking girls say Pero. I like this pero I donít like that. Anatole didnít hear Pero. She heard Perro. She started screaming. Whatís happened? Whatís going on? Anatole pointed an accusatory finger to Sylvia and said, ďShe called me a dog.Ē ďI didnít call no one a dog.Ē ďYes you did. You called me a Perro.Ē ďNo no no. I didnít say Perro. I said Pero.Ē ďYeah?Ē But there was doubt now in Anatoleís voice. ďWhatís the difference? Pero Perro? Itís all the same.Ē But Anatole now knew the slightest of chances existed that she might, she just might have been wrong. And then it was explained to her. And she stalked off in a bit of a huff. Not only was she wrong, but they also told her she was wrong. This true event occurred over 40 to 50 years ago. But it always stuck in my mind. My Pet Peeve hereÖ people donít listen. They often jump to conclusions when they think you said something you didnít say. To the best of my knowledge, Anatole and Sylvia have never spoken to each other since. My Pet PeeveÖ when someone speaks to you, listen before jumping off the deep end. Maybe theyíre not saying what you thought they were saying.

INSTRUCTION MANUALS

Todayís date tomorrow is: 2/2/2222. I tend to work, at times, in the future. Itís a penchant of mine. I often find that little has changed. I just downloaded a new program. Itís called Todayís Truths are Tomorrowís Tales. TTaTT for short. Okay. Whereís the manual.? I hunt high. I hunt low. Left. Right. Nothing. Time to buy the book on How to use TTaTT. Thereís a few of them. One is for Dolts. The other for Cretins. They have taken up on a theme of days gone by. Which one to buy? Eenie Meenie Tippa Teenie / A La Boom De LeenieÖ That one. Written by Jonathon Doe. I take it home and sit in front of my 3D computer that not only talks to me, but also cooks my dinner, reads my mind, and produces a female robot to fill any and all of my arcane needs. I have named my computer. I call her Scheherazade, for not only can she solve my problems, but she can also tell me wicked tales when I need them. I open the TTaTT program and open the book. Chapter I. Download and open the program. So far so good. This author is clearly TTaTT saavy. Chapter II. After you have opened the program, click on File, go to Delimiters, then click on End of String. The Author writes File > Delimiters > End of string. Hey! I paid for words and sentences here. Whatís going on? But I accept my computer ignorance whereas the author who wrote the manual assumes I understand what the print means. In this case, the author is correct. However, I do hope you all understand the depth of this ďHoweverĒ, however, when the next paragraph states that I can achieve the same result by pushing Ctrl, Shift, F12, I think to myself, why didnít you say so in the first place? But I think I should try it. And I do. And nothing happens. I try again. Nothing. I go to their Forum. Hey, I say, nothing happens when I push Ctrl, Shift, F12. Whatís going on here? A notice pops up. Thank you for your question. Our Forum thrives on questions. You have been put into our queue. You will be notified as soon as someone sees your query and decides to answer it. It would appear that Iím in the hands of the fates. I wait. It takes two days. And then finally, an answer. Ctrl, Shift, F12 no longer works. The book was probably published in the year 2221 and is now out of date. I think on this. All books, I would venture to guess, take at least a year after the author has written them to go into print. By the time you read a printed manual, thereís a good chance that itís already out of date. Sigh. I suppose you now want to know what my Pet Peeve for this week is. Yes? Guess!

ALPHA BETA GAMMA DELTA


Helter, skelter, shelter, swelter. You think Iím crazy? Wait. First it was the 2019 novel coronavirus. Then it became the Corona Virus. Then it became Covid 19. Then, after some highly intellectual pondering, itís offspring became Delta. And now itís offspringís offspring is going to be called Lambda. My advice here, before I go any further, is for you all to learn the Greek alphabet. Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta / if you donít watch out itís gonna getcha. Okay, I concede. They know more than me. Uh oh. No masks in school? Oh uh. Yes masks in school? Today: Nurses, teachers, and the unvaccinated, all have to wear masks, both indoors and outdoors. Tomorrow, sorry folks, we made a mistake. If you breathe, you have to wear a mask. Only of course for the Covid-19. Different rules will soon be coming up for the Delta version. Lambda is forthcoming. Soon. Definitely. Not now. A little later. In a while. Weíll call the one after that Epsilon, or maybe Upsilon, or maybe even Doo-Doo Head. Why not? What do they really know, other than what they pretend to know? And if they say they know what they know, do they say it because itís true, or because itís expedient? Hey you. Yeah you. The one over there who didnít get vaccinated. Whatsa matter? You donít trust those people who spend more time on the telly than they do in the medical labs? You say you have a question? Okay. Letís hear it. How, you want to know, how can you tell if the advisors on the telly who are telling you what to do really know what to do? Hey Jim. Can you help me out here. I got a wise ass who wants to knowÖ hey mister. What was that again. Oh. You got a pet peeve? Okay. Letís hear it.

STUPID STUPID STUPID AND EVEN MORE STUPID
or WHY AM I GAINING WEIGHT

Iíll tell you why. And Iíll give you an example. Iíve just finished making my breakfast. Nothing major. I tend to be a scant eater. I mostly graze rather than eat meals. I sit at the kitchen table with my food and a cold cup of coffee. No patience to heat it up. I turn the telly on to my favorite news channel. No need to tell you which. Donít want to get into a battle royale. What comes on? A commercial. Okay. Iíll wait it through. So I eat my breakfast, and I finish before the endless parade of sequential ads finish. Shall I wait for the news? Thereís stuff going on in the world. Thereís that virus. And those immigrants. Government payouts. I get up. Maybe Iíll have a cookie or two, or even three while I wait. I refill my coffee. I know you all know where this is going. But hold on. See me through. Finally, after my third cookie, the news comes on. What will they tell me? Covid is spreading? Thereís going to be a curtailment in monies as gifts to the needy? Twenty more immigrants crossing our borders and going free? Twenty five percent infected while traveling from state to state? No. None of that. I stop, momentarily. Something momentous is comingup, or so they tell me. And now, they say, for more exciting news. Oooh. I feel my skin tingling. The newscaster appears on screen. Sheís gorgeous. Theyíre all gorgeous. We have astounding news, she tells us. Obama, our erstwhile president, has decided, after much pondering we are told, to give up having his birthday party. Holy crappola. Iím having a heart attack here. This is what I waited and waded through endless commercials for? With all the problems in the world, did I mention the Olympian who wants to seek refuge from her country, the idiots of the world tell us first and foremost the news they think is paramount, if they even bother to think that is? Uh oh. I have another decision to make. Theyíve just finished expounding on the greatness of this man who gave up his birthday when, yup, you guessed it, another series of commercials begin. Should I wait. Should I give the news another shot. I contemplate. I study. I review. And then I get up from the table and go to that box that holds all those cookies. You want to know my Pet Peeve of the week and how it relates to those idiotic primary news choices, those intrusive ads, and my totally inexplicable weight gain? Hmmm?

WHY DO THEY WASTE MY TIME

Whaddya mean you donít buy from United Give It All Away? We buy there all the time. We use their Central. Free shipping. Two to five percent discount. Holy Moly. I call them up. A lady answers. She has an, I have no idea from where, accent. Could you spell your last name please. Is it Bark or Park? Iím tempted to woof at her. Is it with a B or with a P? A P. Thank you. And your email please? Is that Plainman in your email? No. Its Rainman in my email. Ah. Thank you. And your phone number? Did you say 5262? No. I said 5384. Ah. Thank you again. Would you verify your address please? Did you say 1111 Main Street? No. I said 1121 Grain Street. Now itís my turn. Can I ask you something? Whereís your accent from. Oh weíre not allowed to say sir. Well why donít you learn to understand English before you get on the phone. Hold on one moment sir. I need to ask my supervisor. Hello sir? Thank you very much for waiting. Your patience is appreciated. I was told we donít have an answer to your question. Okay. Just tell me about the discount if I use Central. Oh. No. No discount for using Central. But. But but but. I was told discounts if I used Central. No no no. You only get the discount if you also buy one of our daily specials with your order. Would you like to hear about our specials in order to get your discounts? Specials what? Just specials sir. We donít spell them out sir. Would you like to hear about them? Would you like me to send you a link to them? Via email? Via text? Carrier pigeon perhaps. Smoke signals. Morse code? The jungle beat on our tom toms? Go pluck yourself a feather, I say. I slam the phone down. She didnít tell me the whole story. Who knows why. The machinations of corporate America mystifies me. As to United Give It All Away? Why canít they be bothered to hire people who understand us natives when we speak. Why canít they hire people who speak English. Why why why, Uni-ted? I look at my watch. Another hour down the drain. Uh oh. I have to make another call. Extra extra. Read all about it. For thems what ainít got it and want it, get your weekly Pet Peeve right here. No charge. Jut a few questions to waste your time. Your credit card number please.

KIN I BORROW? KIN YA LEND ME?

Honey. The curtainís sagging. Could you fix it? We got company tonight. But the rod is too high for you to reach. And you donít donít have a ladder. So you go over to Davidís and ask if you can borrow his. Sure. Go ahead, he says. So you take the ladder, set it up, climb and lean over to reach the right side of the rod, tip the ladder, send it crashing to the floor where it breaks in two. Holy baloney. Now you have to buy David a new ladder, and you are left with nothing. Mary is getting ready to go out. Sheís got a big affair to go to. She remembers a shade of lipstick Irene always wears. No need to buy a new lipstick for a one time use. Itís pre or post-Covid era. Irene hands over the lipstick. You smear it on delicately. Donít want to ruin the lipstick the way your husband did with the ladder. And then, temporarily, only temporarily mind you, you place it on the window sill to be retrieved right after you do your lashes. Alas. The sun is beating down on the lipstick. And you have forgotten it was there, till that night when you notice a melted pink blob on your sill. Time to buy another lipstick thatís not yours. Need a few bucks? Go borrow from Jim. But no bucks available with which to pay him back. Got to go there. Uh on. Carís in for service. Borrow Janeís. Then crash into a car while waiting for a light. Sunglasses? Call Mike. Where did you put your watch? Hey Mildred. Sugar? Beer? Chocolate? Raisins? Your fingerís aching from dialing. What day is it today? Payday? Aw crap. You were supposed to go to the movies. Have dinner with friends. See a show. Sorry. Not today. Canít. Strapped and all that. Busy paying back debts for things borrowed and broken. Replacement is a nightmare from hell. Ye gads man. How do I prevent this? Oh. I know. Stop the bloody borrowing. Itís an emotional killer. Right? Borrowing is often like buying without ever owning what you bought. As to my Pet Peeve for this weekÖ duh!

JUST FOR YOU

Yoo Hoo. Diogenes. Where are you? Dear Steven. Dear Mary. Dear Michael. Dear Natalie. Dearly beloveds. My name is Mr. Smith. My name is Ms. Smith. I am Mrs. Smith. I have facts, written by me for you, in order to enable you to make millions of dollars. Read this. Read it here first. Click on this link to read the whole story. Put your name, address, and phone number in the appropriate spaces. We will not give your information out. Privacy is our very reason for being. Remember. You saw it here first. This article was selected just and only for you. Sign up for our course and within two months you will be wealthier than Rockefeller, and Spielberg, and Zuckerberg combined. Me? Iíve made my money. I now want to help the world. Yes ladies and gentlemen, today, for the next twenty four hours only, we will will be giving you, out of the extreme generosity of our hearts, a 37% discount for our once in a lifetime offer of our book with our specially imprinted coat of arms representing the never told secrets of the ancients and the ingredients they used to mix with lead and turn it into gold. We also have How To Become Wealthy and The Seven Stocks to Buy Now. We never lie. We never deceive. We never turn your attentions away from the truth. We are honest. We are sincere. We are frank, direct, and forthright. Yessirree folks. Get in line. Buy your book from the us, the honest con-artists of the century. No no. Heh heh. Just kidding. Weíre straight as crooked arrows, deep as shallow ponds. Trust us with your money. Please trust us with your money. If we canít get you to trust us, who can we get? Attention attention. Suckers of the century. Gather Ďround me oh ye wide eyed gullible dolts who believe that altruism rests within anyoneís soul. Donít ask yourselves why I would bother telling you how to make a million smackeroos while knowing that if I knew that I wouldnít be wasting my time with you. Get your book. Step right up. As to my Pet Peeve of the week dear souls, you have but to re-read the above.

A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN ON MY SHOULDER

This is not so much of a Pet Peeve as it is a tribute to a man who has left this domain and yet still sits, and will forevermore sit on my shoulder whispering wise words to me when I need them. I shall call him Mr. Weinberger. I never knew his first name. He was a jeweler and a hollow bangle maker. He had his office on the same floor as I and our paths crossed often. One day he opened his door and saw me waiting for the elevator. He must have recognized a bit of a forlorn look on my face. ďEverything all right, Mr. Mark?Ē he asked me. I hesitated. I was in my mid twenties. Divulging a problem was, to me at that time, a sign of weakness. He waited. I motioned with my chin to the office next to his. It belonged to Simon Applebaum. Applebaum used to love to bang his fist on a table and shout, ďIn my shop, Iím Hitler.Ē He thrived on fear. I turned to face Weiberger straight on. ďApplebaum owes me money,Ē I said. ďIím a little embarrassed to ask him for it.Ē It was here that Weinberger climbed up on my shoulder, silently promising to stay there for as long as I lived. He folded his hands, as if in prayer. He spoke with the heavy accent of his country. ďMr. Mark,Ē he said. ďIf Applebaum is not embarrassed not to pay you, you donít have to be embarrassed to ask.Ē Today I am soon to be 83 years old. For over sixty years Weinberger has been with me. For over sixty years his words of wisdom have been whispered in my ear. If heís not embarrassed not to pay you, if heís not embarrassed not to return that which he borrowed, if heís not embarrassed, if sheís not embarrassed, if theyíre not embarrassed, then you donít have to be embarrassed either. I have heeded Mr. Weinberger many times over the years. I have always been happy I did. I have put a few dollars away in an envelope, and when I leave this domain, first thing I do after I retrieve my wife, is knock on Weinbergerís door, wave my money at him, and say ďCímon Mr. Weinberger. Iím taking you out to dinner.Ē And I wonít be embarrassed to have asked.

HOLIDAYS

Holidays. Oh whoopie. Iím ecstatic. A day off. Ta rah rah boom dee yayyy, no work for me todayyy. For my birthday, can I have another holiday? Oh look. They just gave us another one. Clever humans that we are, we call it Juneteenth. Why not the 19th of June? After all, we call the other one the 4th of July. Or the 8th of May for Motherís day. Or the 25th of December for Christmas. But we are an innovative bunch, are we not. Also, weíre dumb as paint. Hey, we now have sixteen federal holidays. Nothing wrong with that. We deserve them. We work hard. There are 365 days in the year. So what if we take sixteen of them off for holidays. That means one holiday every 22.8 days or so. No big deal. Yes. You with your hand up. You have a question? What about religious holidays you ask? I assume you have an answer when you ask a question like that. Yes? You do? Now how did I know that? Okay. Tell me. How many religious holidays, aside from the federal ones, do we have in this country. No. I donít mind if you name a few. Oshagatsu? Itís Shinto. We observe it January 1st you say? World Religion Day? Bahaíi? January 17th? Hmm. Ash Wednesday February 17th? Yeah yeah. I know. Christian. Purim? Jewish. Magha Puja? Buddhist. So how many religions are represented here? I know we like to be fair. Even if it means being ridiculous. Thirteen you say. Bahaíi. Buddhism. Christian. Hindu. Jain. Pagan and Wiccan. Scientology. Shinto. Zoroastrianism. Islam. Sikh. Roman Catholic. Holy Moly. Okay okay. So, in total, how many religious holidays are there aside from the federal ones? Eighty five religious holidays are being observed in this country over and above the sixteen heretofore mentioned. That, my friends, is a total of one hundred and one holidays now being observed in this great country of ours. A tad less than one every three days. Add twenty more holidays and we will achieve that goal. Excuse me. Yes. You young lady. Your question. You would like a national holiday for each of the astrological signs? Why not? That would bring us up to 113 holidays. Eight more to go and a third of our days will be holidays. My Pet Peeve you ask? Surely you jest. We have so many new words. Why not more new holidays? And while weíre at it, letís have more idiots running this country. Whatís that? We already do? Yeah. I know. Thatís my Pet Peeve.

THE DOCTORíS OFFICE

You ever walk into a doctorís office? Of course you did. There are many signs that tell you he is who he claims to be. Without that white lab coat which is placed on his shoulders during his rites of passage from being a student to a healer of mankind, along with his utterance of the Hippocratic Oath signifying his rites of passage into medical professional, what other means do we have to ascertain that this gentleman is not only a doctor, but a good doctor at that. Well, there is that stethoscope he carries either around his neck or in his lab coat pocket that testifies that he is indeed who he says he is. But is that enough? Nay nay tootsie wootsie. Well, how about that mahogany desk? And those x-ray machines? And that crazy chair that leans back to a bed? Still not enough? Okay. How about all those diplomas on his wall. This is to certify that Samuel Simpleton in a graduate of The Medical University of Southern Mars and is now certified as a Proctologist and can shove whatever he wants up your keister whenever he wants. Or heís a Gynecologist. Or an Opthamologist. Or an Oncologist. And so, for a moment or two, youíre duly impressed. While youíre waiting for him in is well adorned office you begin to examine all his certifications. Theyíre impressive. You done good good selecting him. Or did you? Wait a minute. Hold on there a second Charlie Brown. You suddenly notice something is amiss. Something is a bit askew. Hundred of testimonials. Thousands of degrees. And still, they all, each and every one, lack one important detail. Anyone ever notice? Anyone ever ask? I know he graduated from The Medical University of Southern Mars. I know he did undergrad work at the New York College for the Inept. But what dear souls, what pray tell, you teachers of the future healers of mankind, what you insolent sons of bitches, what were his grades. Was he a ninety five student with an A average? Or was he a sixty five student just squeaking through with a C? They donít tell you that. They donít want you to know. Theyíre afraid to have you know. And that my friends, thatís my Pet Peeve for this week.

JUST WONDERING



Life is filled with mysteries, most of which exist beyond my comprehension. Question. If emitted farts showed up as pink wisps as they left their source, would then the air in Grand Central Station be as clear as we now know it, or would it be filled to the brim with floating wisps of pink? Just wondering. This one is mourning at the passing of that one. He or she is sad beyond sad. He or she can be heard speaking to his or her self saying, in a bit of utter amazement, something to the effect of: Look at that. I guess I loved him/her after all. It would appear that, upon occasion, the love some have for one another only surfaces after the passing of the other. Why is that? Just wondering. We all live, compared to most other creatures, rather long lives. And then the time comes, as weíre surrounded by our mates and children, unsatisfied by the barrage of love that already cascades upon our heads, when we decide we need a pet that has a life span of only one fifth or one sixth of ours, knowing that more sooner than later, that pet will pass before us and will bestow more pain upon us that we ever thought we could endure. So why then do we do it? Just wondering. I have heard that English is one of the richest languages in the world. Example: According to the Guiness Book of World Records, there are as many as 2,241†synonyms†for the state of being "drunk." Intoxicated, inebriated, tipsy are only three. And then some dolts come along and decided we need more. They call themselves intellectuals, and progressives, and socially aware. Theyíre going to eliminate mother and use parenting human instead. Sheís not my mother. Sheís my parenting human. Heís not my father. Heís my machine gun, sperm squirting implant machine and human fertilizer. Why canít we just go back to the old ways and use mother and father? Just wondering. My imagination tells me that many many years ago, when men and women were squatting by the campfire, thinking of innovations, much as their descendants do today, somebody said something to the effect of, hey, I got a great idea. Letís cut off the tips of menís dicks. They might have called it a circumvention of convention before they called in a circumcision. They were the progressives of yesteryear. Of course this raises a most important question. Was it the parenting human that thought of that? Or was it the human fertilizer? Take a guess, keeping in mind that very few amongst us fertilizers would volunteer to having ourselves thusly permanently maimed. Okay. Done for the day. And my pet peeve for this week? Why oh why donít they stop changing everything with nonsense when itís okay as it is? Just wondering.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

Watch carefully. Two people are talking. One is yapping away. The other seems to be listening. But the listener is not really listening. The listener is waiting for his or her turn to yap. He or she does not give a whit about what youíre saying. The listenerís mind is screaming stop already. My turn. My turn. Why is that, do you think? The sidewalk painter is on his knees. The mural painter is stretching upwards to fill in the void of the parrotís beak. His compatriots are filling in the wings. Theyíve all been working since sunup. In the middle of a wooded property a man with a small ax is chopping away on a five foot tree stump. When heís done, almighty Zeus will appear carved in what was once a tree, overseeing his property, protecting him from all things evil. Over there, at the edge of the canyon with mountains of white stone, a sculptor who recently lost his wife is chiseling out her semblance from a still shapeless mound of chalky rock. A male puma is getting ready to do battle with another male for mating rights. If heís victorious, the female will be his. Deep in the forests where humming birds thrive, a bright colored male is fluttering his colors, hoping for a quick roll on a branch with an attending female. Elsewhere, an 1800 pound male moose with a six foot antler spread, struts his stuff in the northern wooded lands of this country, readying for battle in order to impress nearby females. A business man puts pen to paper and closes a deal in an upper office of one of New York Cityís sky scrapers. Heís going to net a vast fortune on this one. Kids in school get into scraps. They live in a world where bullies rank supreme. But why or why do all these creatures, man or beast, do these things they do? I will tell you what little I know. There was once a French writer named Andrť Gide. And he said, and I may be paraphrasing here, that all living things above the rank of vegetable seek recognition. This is why we all do this things we do. I have no Pet Peeve against this philosophy, except of course for the fact that it removes a tad the belief we have in our own selves the sense doing what we do for the sake of altruism. This is all Camel Dung. So, as Andrť might say, voila his Pet Peeve du week.

MISLABELING ON THE CONVICT CONTINENT

My favorite candy is licorice. As to the convict continent, it is, or rather was, Australia. Back around 1787, England, in an effort to alleviate an influx of prisoners, chose Australia as the site for their latest penal colony. They named the city for this new site, Sidney. And so, one might say that that Australia was founded by convicts. Thereís more of course. But then again, as in all things in life, thereís always more.

And so one fine morning I walked into a store. And there, on the shelf was a bag of licorice. Black colored label. Black on white writing. ďSoft Australian Licorice,Ē it said. I didnít bother reading the rest. In my mind, licorice was licorice. But be warned my friends. Licorice may well be licorice, but not when itís deceptively packaged by the descendants of that continent formed by convicts who now, under the black writing of licorice, write in white on red and smaller print, ďStrawberry Flavored.Ē Hey, you putzes from down under, though clearly not down under enough, if itís strawberry flavored, it ainít licorice.

Licorice, for thems what want to know, is black and is an extract from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant which contains glycyrrhizic acid, or GZA. GZA is†made†of one molecule of glycyrrhetinic acid and two molecules of glucuronic acid. The extracts from the root of the plant can be referred to as liquorice, sweet root, and glycyrrhiza extract. Strawberries are, also for them what want to know, a fruit which is implanted with tiny seeds in its flesh. It is a bright red as well as quite juicy. In no way on this planet does there lie a living soul who, when offered a dish of strawberries and a dish of licorice, would mix them up one with the other due to being unable to differentiate or tell them apart by looks or by flavor. Except of course under two distinct circumstances. The first would be if you were a blithering idiot. The second would be if you were a deceptive con artist who said whatever he or she needed to say to glean those much coveted shekels.

I strong suspect the second circumstance belong to the deceptive less than human humans from The Convict Continent who would label a confection as licorice and flavor it with strawberry concentrate. This ainít licorice folks, itís a gummy strawberry candy. And to me, it tastes like dung. My Pet Peeve for the week, donít deceptively mislabel things, describing them as what theyíre not in order to ensnare the unwary into spending their money into buying items misrepresented.

SADISTS ON TV, MASOCHISTS A WATCHING

This is, of course, only my opinion. But hereís what is is. I think idiots are running this country. You pick your vehicle for choosing sides. I select the telly. Pandemic, they all scream. Get yer shots, they shout at the top of the lungs. I backtrack. Polio. They gave you shot. Flu. They give you shots. Measles. Shots. Small pox. Shots. What ever you got, shots. But never before did you get graphic videos of people sitting stoically in their chairs as the cameras zoom in so that one an all can watch that needle slowly slowly enter, piercing, jabbing into human flesh as some of us humans cringe back at those sadistic visions. I, for one, hold up my hand to block the view. What sadistic son of a bow-wow thought that one up? Who are those out there who have decided to guide our lives in their chosen directions, whether we like it or not? Who are they who have they decided that by showing the needles invading our skin we will all suddenly wake up and say, oooh, look mommy, I want one of those. Can I have one? Can I? Please? What else will they do in order to induce you to fully enjoy the impending thrill of visions of metal invading our bodies? Hold on, they hear you say. Iíll be there as soon as Iím done watching. Next thing, you take the telly in the bathroom with you for another round of needle mania. Who hires these people? Or is it only me that shuns the specters of needles piercing flesh? Hey, I yell out to the morons. Next time we guys get colonoscopies, video tape the event. Then my wife, my children and grandchildren and I, will be able to fully enjoy watching those tubes slitheringing up our keisters. All much in the same spirit as the vaccinations, of course. Babies delivered? Birdís eyes view if you please. By cesarean, you say? Cameras from every angle please. Open heart surgery? Bring MGM in for more professional movie shots as they slit you open from stem to stern as you spew blood like Vesuvius. And so messieurs-dames, my Pet Peeve for the week, for those of you who have not yet guessed it, is combined with the wishful obliteration of the blithering idiots who thought it would be a great idea to let us each and every one enjoy the masochistic thrills of live vaccinations in the hopes the viewing will make us embrace the event with glee. See honey. Watch the needle go in. Nothing to it. Of course, this could be just me. Whaddya think?

SEND ME MORE DONíT

Or Ö never show enthusiasm. Youíre having lunch with Sam. In the course of your conversation, he broaches a topic about which you have little or no interest. He tells you there are 9096 stars visible across the entire sky. Oh wow, you say, while all the while you donít really give a ratís furry derriere if there are nine thousand or nine million stars visible in across the firmament. But you like Sam, and your instinctual leaning toward politeness prompt you to show feigned amazement. You say wow. Oh my gosh. Canít be. Really? Iíll be golí durned. Faskinating. Sam grins. He loves your appreciation of his wit and charm and knowledge. He doesnít say anything, but tonight heís going to send you more ďstuffĒ. You wake up the next morning to an email barrage from Sam. No time to read right now. Youíre having lunch with Yvonne. Did you know, Yvonne tells you, that one of Noahís sons saw him naked and thatís what started the family rift? No, you say in your best Iím astonished voice. You donít say. Who woulda thunk that? Yup, says Yvonne. I know where you can get the same kind of sling David used against Goliath. Yvonne is a veritable fount of information about biblical lore. She recognizes the indisputable awe in your voice as she cascades more and more information upon your poor, tired, ever wearying brain which truly doesnít much care about events that occurred thousands and thousands of years ago. But you donít want to make Yvonne feel bad, so you continue with your now perfected aura of baloney in your voice, to the point that she promises herself, silently, that tonight sheís going to send you, via email, even more good stuff. And so the day go on, and in your ever standing efforts at exuding good will toward your fellow man, or woman, you present an ever growing vision of astonishment at every uttered morsel that drips from the lips of your friends. And as you increase your prowess, your inbox increases itís tidal flow, inundating you, on a daily basis, with useless crap. You, as well as I, have discovered a new Pet Peeve. The moral of this story, never pretend to like something you donít, for you will suffer the consequences of your pretenses. And so voila my friends, my Pet Peeve of the week.

THE CORRECTORS

Youíre walking along, minding your own business, watching your dog squat to do his thing, readying your plastic bag for the deft swoop and pick and tie a knot on top. Along comes James. You exchange pleasantries. He admires your swoop and pick technique. You thank him for his kind words while in the same breath you mention that your going out in a bit to get a corned-beef on rye at the deli. Which deli James wants to know. The Unicorn With No Horn, you tell him. Ah. Yes. Well. Thereís a better one. Donít go there. Go the Galloping Rye, corner of Smith and Smythe. You shrug. You say youíll go. But you donít. And you walk on. And thereís Mary. She wants to know what youíre doing later. Going to watch a movie. Going the watch The Third Man with Michael Rennie. old but great flick. No no, Mary said. No no no. Judy Garlandís on tonight. Meet Me In Saint Louis. You got to see that. Oh. Okay. And you part company and walk on. Jim and Jan are walking toward you. Too late to turn and run. Youíre wearing those pants on such a hot day? Youíre wearing that shirt? No hat? Sandals instead of sneakers? No no no. Not this. That. Not these. Those. No hat. Caps are better. Theyíre all out there. The Correctors. Those self-appointed members of society who, no matter what you do, not matter what you say, no matter what you eat, no matter what you wear Ö they know better. Donít do this. Do that. Donít go here. Go there. Itís not up, itís down. Itís not east, itís west. Not brown. Blue. Not sweet. Sour. Not bubbly. Flat. They all, each and every one, know better than me. I hate them. They are my Pet Peevers of the week. They are the imbecile correctors of our times. In the old days they said, what díya think we should do? Today they say, hereís what I think you should do. Any of you out there know any?

POLITENESS

Two drivers on the road. Both stop at the same corner. One is headed east. One is headed north. You go first. No no. You go first. No, you. No, you. Until you get out of your car, bow low, and point your arm eastward. And then the other guy goes. Ah. Ya gotta love politeness. You make that call you need to make. A nice voice answers. Hello, she says. How are you today? We here at Amalgamated Idiots want to thank you for calling. We appreciate you business. HOLD ON, you yell out. Just tell me how to return this Gizmoto. Certainly sir. I will be only too happy to assist you. May I ask you whatís wrong with your Gizmoto? Itís not working. Ah yes. Of course. Again, I will be only too happy to assist you. Would you like me to send you a shipping label? Would you like me to email the label? Would you like it sent via snail mail? Would you prefer we pick your Gizmoto up on the next business day? Yes. Next business day please. Of course sir. We live to serve our customers. How are you feeling today? Pleasant weather weíre having, is it not? Yeah. Pleasant. What the next step. Oh Iím so glad you asked sir. It will be my utter pleasure to give you all the information you need. Actually, you have nothing to do. We take care of the whole thing. Your name and address please. Joe Shmo. 111 Metro Place. NY, NY. Oh thank you sir. Your kindness and rapid attention to details are greatly appreciated. Is there anything else we can do for you? And so you tell her. You would rather just talk business. Skip the polite crap. You know she doesnít care how you feel. She doesnít care what you think. Letís just be business like. Politeness, you tell her, is a pet peeve of yours. Politeness slows down the smooth workings of society. Hello. What can I do for you? And goodbye is all you need or want. Okay? Absolutely sir. I understand completely. I feel very much the same way. Is there anything else I can do for you on this fineÖ Click. You hang up. Ya gotta love rudeness. It makes life run so much more smoothly. Dontcha think?

RENEWALS

How many of you get this type of letter in the mail. Attention: Subscribers to Crazy-in-the-Head Magazine. We are offering you a subscription opportunity. Renew now, renew today, for a special fee of $15.00, and weíll send you a free gift. Go to our website to find out what it is. Go to our website to expedite your order. Add $6.00 for postage and handling. Hurry hurry. This offer will expire three days before doomsday. The apocalypse is on itís way. You donít buy, you donít get to read. So you put the letter on your to-do before the end of the day pile. You donít want to miss out. This is the deal of the century. You open the next letter. It from the Delivery On Time Or Not (DOTON) people. Before you know it, they tell you, your subscription to Idiotís Delight will expire. Time flies. It whizzes by. Be wise. Be smart. Renew now. Renew promptly. Our elite service personnel have warned us that a new global outbreak is nearing out shores. Regulations dictate that we canít tell you what it is. But itís coming sure as woman came from manís rib. Re-subscribe to DOTON now and weíll give you five free deliveries. You get a tad nervous. What if theyíre right. You place it on that pile you just started. The sun is still high in the sky. You want to act before dusk. You yell out to your mate. Honey. Whereís the checkbook? Honey comes running in. Honey is used to your machinations. Why do you need a checkbook, Honey wants to know. You point to the pile. Renewals, you explain. They sent me warnings and special offers. Renewals? Honey is standing in the room, arms akimbo. You donít like the look on Honeyís face. Just exactly when do these subscriptions to which you want to renew expire? The stupid look on your face is deepening. Honey opens the drawer containing paid bills. Here. Look. You paid for these last month. Take a close look at those offers. Do they tell you the dates of expiration on your subscriptions? No. Of course not. If you knew you still had eleven months to go, would you re-subscribe now? Or would you? Or you? How many out there have guessed my Pet Peeve for the week? How many of you have renewed or almost renewed a subscription early because Ďtheyí did not tell you the dates of expiration? Ah subscriptions. Ya gotta be wary or theyíll take you for all youíve got.

OUR LANGUAGE

Yesteryear: Pepsi Colaís up to date / with modern folks who watch their weight. It made sense. It was catchy. And it was fun to listen to. Today: Get yer wet Teddy Bears. Iíll take one of those Hot Dogs. Hey buddy. This ainít no hot dog stand. Canít you read the sign. We sell wet Teddy Bears. 100% guaranteed or your money back. Get your wet Teddy Bears. Hunh? Oh. I know. Weíre run by a nation of morons. You want a job here? Think of something new. Doesnít matter if it makes sense or not. As long as itís new. New on the News folks. High school girl passes out after running a race. Why oh why oh why? Well. She had to wear a mask when outdoors doing sports. We donít give a rap if it kills her or not. We know whatís best. Wear a mask or die. OrÖ wear a mask AND die. Ya gotta love the thems wot think they should be the ones telling us what to do. Hey you. You Woke? WhaÖ? Woke man. You woke? You donít speak English? Whatíre you, deed? Deed? Yeah. When you ainít liviní youíre deed. Ah. So then, what does dead mean. Hey man. Donít be stupid. A Dead is a piece of paper that leaves all your belongings to your children. Whatís that? Iíve got it all backwards? Maybe for now. In keeping with this trend toward a new language, may I add they can all go seek themselves. Make of that as you will. But give it a chance. Ever try to pull up the tab on soda cans. Some have a little built-in lift. Theyíre easy to lift. Some have the tab so tight against the top of the can that you need a car-jack to pull the thing up. But wait. Wait. Iím not finished. Letís talk politics. Or maybe not. Better you donít rev my engines on politics. My pet peeve for the week folks? Donít get me started. I got as many as there are mosquitoes on the planet. By a show of hands, who out there loves mosquitoes? By a show of hands, who out there love my Pet Peeves. Oh look mommy. The hands are even.

A WALK AROUND THE DESK

Age is beginning to rear its ugly mug. Iím in my office. I walk around the desk. Iím halfway around and I stop. Where was I going and why was I going there? I go back.

Iím thirsty. I could use a bit of water. I start down the stairs. I get to the bottom. I go into the kitchen. But why? I settle for a cookie and start my ascent back up when suddenly I remember. I was thirsty. Back down I go, keeping my thirst and my reason in the forefront. Phew. Got it.
Time to walk Brinkley. Heís my dog. I get outside. Thereís my neighbor with whom Iím quite friendly. I go over for a chat. We turn to politics. Who doesnít these days? Bidenís going to pack the court, he tells me. Hah! I got a better one for you. He listens. Only problem is, I forgot what I wanted to say.

I awake. Itís early. Good time to do the food shop. I bid Brinkley farewell. Be back soon I tell him. I get in my chariot, start the engine, back out, then put it in drive. But I stop. Where am I going? Wait. I remember. Food shop. Good thing the olí noggin in still functional. I park and get out of the car. Start to walk to the store. A lady is walking toward me. Sheís wearing a mask. Oh crap. I forgot my mask. Back to the car, get the mask, don the mask, and back to the store. In I go. Uh-oh. My list. My bloody shopping list. Itís on the kitchen table. No worries. The cells are still active. Iíll shop by memory. No problemo. I finish. I go home. I get the list and start checking things off as I unpack. Darn. I forgot the lamb chops. And the potato chips. And the celery. And the Ajax. And that butter substitute the name of which escaped me right now. Whatís that? Orange juice without pulp? I need pulp. Where the hell is the pulp?

The phone rings. Itís a friend. Just a reminder weíre all having lunch today at the diner. We call ourselves TNT. The Nebbish Three. A Nebbish is a Yiddish word used to describe a pitifully ineffectual man. We all used to be dynamic. We all still think we are. So what do you want to eat? I donít know. What do you want to eat? Beats me. We turn to the third in the group. What do you want to eat? Eat? He says. We came here to eat?



My pet peeve for the week folks? The diminishing effects of aging brain power. Somebody should fix this. Anybody out there agree? Answer quick. Before I forget what I asked. THE WAIT AND THE LIE

Weíre talking fine lines here folks. You have an appointment with a friend at Chez Maurice for some fine French food. Your appointment is for two in the afternoon. You have some info coming to you via email. You have been notified that your info will arrive before the end of the week. The repair work on your car will be completed at noon on Thursday. You and Marie, who have been bumping uglies with each other with great glee and vigor have promised each other to hell and back that you will always arrive simultaneously. So help you, you. You have been invited to enter the race at an event you have been guaranteed to win due to the inferior capabilities of your opponents. And now the times are here. Your guest arrives at Chez Pierre at one fifty nine. Punctual? Yes. But with only one minute to spare. The email arrives Saturday night, after six days of waiting, at fifteen seconds before midnight. On time? Yes. But only by the skin of their teeth. The car comes out of the garage at the same time as the twelfth chime of the clock sounds. The race? Oops. They were faster than we thought. You won, but by a hair. Was all fulfilled as promised? Yeah. But this is ridiculous. As to those simultaneous arrivalsÖ the years have passed since that first commitment, and even today, the issue remains a tad under debate. We did it. We did? Yeah, we did. You were there, remember? Hereís my question, and my Pet Peeve. Is a promise kept, if kept within a micro-second of the time when it was promised? Or does the suffering you endured waiting for the arrival of that promise to be carried out, tantamount to that promise being a bloody lie? Some would say fulfilled is fulfilled. Others would say if they made you suffer while you waited for the last microsecond, the promise was a lie. Which way do you folks lean? Me? If you promise me something and then make me suffer while I wait for the fulfillment of your promise, I think you deserve the guillotine. How about you folks?

DST
Hereís the thing of it. I go east from where I live on some mornings. I go west from where I live some afternoons. In the morning itís at 7AM. In the afternoons itís at 5PM. All roughly speaking of course. But thereís a glitch. Keeping in mind that yesterdayís truths are often tomorrowís lies, we now live in a time when, in my humble opinion, (IMHO for those simpletons in this world who do not like to use whole words anymore) we also have morons who think, even though times change, we should still use Daylight Savings Time. So if youíre heading east at 7AM DST on the east coast where I live, you will have the sun in your eyes. If youíre heading west at around 5PM DST on the east coast where I live, you will also have the sun in your eyes. It (The Uniform Time Act) started in 1966 under the premise that this would make better use of daylight in the spring and summer months. Just soís ya know, aside from the fact that I despise Daylight Savings Time, we humans, superior as we deem ourselves to be, are the only creatures on this planet, maybe even in this universe, who adhere to this ruling in order to conserve Ö what? Who, I wonder, gives a ratís furry ass if itís darker or lighter when they awake or when they retire, when they leave for work or when they come home, when they fill their gullets with eggs and toast or steak and potatoes? As an aside, and just to prove that America can not always be first in all they do, which country would you guess, has the most time zones. For those of you who said France, to you I say bravo. France as 12 times zone. The good old US of A comes in a poor second second with only 11. However, and hereís the kicker of it all, which single state in this great land of ours, would you guess does not use Daylight Savings Time? For those of you who said Arizona, to you I say Bravissimo. You are of course correct. Except, that is, for the Navajo Nation. They use DST. Thereís always an exception. So with DST in effect I have sun in my eyes going east and sun in my eyes going west during those times I go east and west. What a great theme for a song. Someone should write it. ďOh, East is East and West is West / And the wrong one I have chose. / Let's go where they keep on wearin' / Those frills and flowers andÖĒ Well, you get the idea. A song like that warnít invented after DST time, thatís fer golí durn sure. Try published in 1947 and appearing in a movie called Paleface in 1948, sung by Bob Hope and Jane Russell. Remember them? I know I know. Off on another tangent again. So, just to be clear, my Pet Peeve of the week, Eastern Bloody Savings Time. EST for short. Or EBST for not so short. Tell me which you prefer.

A NEW SYMBOL FOR TAXES
There are many symbols for taxes. I hate them all. Thereís the dollar sign. Thereís a picture of a bag full of money with the word TAX on it. There are signs that say Taxes adorning our leaflets. But none of them do justice as to what the symbol for taxes should be. Let us segue a bit, shall we? The roads in the neighborhood are filled with potholes. They need a fixiní. What to do, what to do? Ah. Got it. Raise taxes in order to pay for road repairs. But alas and alack, thereís Mary and Joe and Jim and Nan. They work for you. They work for your government. They need raises you see. She needs new carpeting. He needs a new car. And what about that trip around the world? Okay. Now theyíve got your money, but it can clearly be put to better use than fixing potholes. Letís wait a bit. A year. Maybe two. And time passes. Whatís that? Hospitals are getting run down you say? Thereís also a dearth of medical supplies? Oh what to do? Raise taxes again you say? Bravo for that forward and unique thinking person. But wait wait. Thereís Mary and Joe and Jim and Nan again. Theyíre still wearing last yearís rags. What do we do about that? Take that tax money we got for hospitals and meds and give them raises? By gosh by golly, why didnít we think of that. Good thing we spend some of that tax money for the hiring of forward thinking personnel. Canít have too many of those. The hospital and medical tax funds will have to wait a bit. We canít have shabbily dressed government people presenting themselves in that fashion to the public. What will the world think of us? Appearances do take precedence over needs you know. Yes? You. You with the raised hand. You have something you want to add to the conversation? You have an idea as to what the new modern symbol for taxes should be? By all means share it with us, and weíll put it to an immediate vote to see if we can get a majority. An outstretched hand, you say? An outstretched hand, palm up as if begging for money, you say? An outstretched hand, palm up, with the word ĎGimmeí painted on it, with an additional sign hanging on its wrist saying, Please sirs. May we have some more? Excellent idea my friend. Let us forthwith put it to a vote among the intelligentsia. Okay. By a show of hands, who likes the new symbol for Taxes. Those who donít have hands they want to show, but have fingers to show instead, present your vote. A hand for a handout, or perhaps a middle finger for emotional expression. Both, of course, are acceptable. No go. Vote. Let me know if you peeve them taxes much in the same way as I.

THEM WOT DONíT TAKE CHANCES
It would appear that we live in a world of twoís. We have males and females. Thatís two. We have day and night. Thatís two. We have singles and marrieds. Thatís two. And we have those that take chances and those who donít take chances. And thatís two too. Of course there are subdivisions. Thereís dusk and dawn, but those are subdivisions of day and night. There are those who live together and are not married. Those are subdivisions of married couples and singles. There are those who only sometimes will take chances, albeit if and when they do, those chances are always miniscule. And there are those who will always take chances. And those are also two too. I belong to this latter group. I take chances, but lean ever so slightly away from total recklessness. Which bring me to this weekís Tidbits. I found an image. I looked to see if I had the image in my archives. I did have it. Uh oh. Does this mean I did it already? I searched my Tidbits articles. Not there. Not even there under a plausible alias. I look up the date I first created the image. September 23, 2017. Back in them thar day I had a propensity, when I saw a piece of jewelry I liked, to create that image on my computer to be used at a later date. Alas and alack, I never labeled the image as such. And so, as happenstance would have it, I often ended up with images I never used. However, this does not matter for two reasons. See? Weíre back at two again. Reason one, being the audacious daredevil that I am more often than not wont to be, I will risk duplicating a past endeavor and let the devil take the hindmost. And with that my friends, my compatriots, my fellow high wire walkers, my reason number two people as well as my un-fellow only wade in the water knee deep chaps, I present you with my take a chance Tidbits for this week, maybe for a second time, or even a third, while not giving a ratís ass as regards those too timid to stride along unknown paths. They are the subjects of my Pet Peeves. Dare to dare, or what else is that word for?

DILEMMA AND RESOLUTION
Sometimes a Pet Peeve of mine can resolve itself and when that happens I am overwhelmed with joy. Iíll give you an example. It is noon. Lunchtime. This damned Covid thing is playing havoc with my life. I am not in the mood to make myself lunch, again. And so a choice is thrust upon me. I can go to McDonaldís which is about a seventeen minute ride away and get a Whopper. And I donít even have to get out of the car. Or, I can get a slice of Pizza, which is about a six minute ride away. Problem is, with the pizza I have to leave the car, put on my mask, go inside, wait on line, order, then wait for my slice to be ready. Six minutes each way equals twelve minutes plus wait time. Seventeen minutes each way is thirty four minutes plus wait time. Roughly speaking, the wait plus travel times might be equal. But then thereís the inconvenience. Drive, pay, go, versus drive, get out, put on mask, wait, pay, go. Not easy. The burger is clearly the simpler solution. But my palate is leaning Italian. What to do? This is a dilemma of the first caliber. I ask you. What would you do if you were in my shoes. I begin to weigh alternatives. I have some onion rye in the house. I have butter and cheese. I have ginger ale. I can make my own. No fuss. No muss. No travel. But dammit, Iíve been making my own for about a year. I donít wanna make my own no more. I start to get dressed. I put on a sweater. I will make up my mind on the way. I get in the car. I start to drive. Pretty soon I will reach that point in the road where I have to either make a left or make a right, depending on what I decide. And then a bolt of clarity hits me like a ton of bricks. My decision is made. I continue my trip forth. I have made up my mind. The dilemma is behind me. The resolution is at hand. My Pet Peeve of the moment had dissipated. I pick up my food and drive home. I sit at the kitchen table. I open the packet. And there it is. Barbecued spare ribs on the bone and roast pork fried rice. Ahhh.

QUEST FOR WISDOM
It does not matter if we have or do not have wisdom, as long as we appear to have wisdom. And how do we do that? Easy peazy my friends. We glean knowledge wherever we can, and then we spew that knowledge out with a mastered look of sagacity that spans the ages, while all the while, as the fates would have it, weíre dumb as paint. But not to worry mi amigos. Weíre not alone. This practice dates back to ancient times. But beware. There have been those who existed among us who were willing to give up their sight and even their lives in exchange for either wisdom or the semblance of wisdom, for how wise can a being be if that being is willing to abandon life in order to be wise. Hell man. Iíd rather be stupid. On the other hand, how much wisdom do we need, I wonder, in order to be able to survive in a world intent upon deceiving us in order to advance their gains? Let us return to those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Let us delve, why donít we, into Germanic and Norse mythology where there once lived, from circa 2 BCE to the 11th century CE, and the age of Vikings, to a most revered god named Odin. Odin, the All-Father, was a Nordic god who willingly gave one of his eyes to the Well of Mimir in exchange for wisdom. He also gave up outer sight so he could have insight. And then, he later hanged himself till dead in Yggdrasil, the tree of life, for nine days and nine nights. It turned out he wanted wisdom so much he willingly died for it, albeit not forever. Now I know we all want wisdom, or at least the pretense of having all who surround us believe we have wisdom. There is no greater honor, real or false, than to be assumed wise by our peers. Money is good. Beauty ainít bad. Love is truly wonderful. But nothing gives us the reverence attained from those who assume we have wisdom. Was Odin wise? He gave up his life to get that which he could clearly not get on his own. Was it worth it? Did he gain the wisdom he sought? Or was he the same schmuck the rest of those are who want to be perceived as wise though they do not have one iota of knowledge or ability when treating their fellow man. You want to know what wisdom is? Iíll tell you. It is kindness and understanding toward your fellow man, not the making of deals with whoever one makes deals with, whether you be god or man, and willingly shucking your life force in order to be or seem wise. Thatís not wise. Thatís bloody stupid, whether youíre a god named Odin or a neighbor next door. Agreed?

WHOíS LISTENING
Look at that room. Crowded with people. All talking to each other. Or are they? Look more carefully. This oneís talking. That one is listening. Or is that one really listening? Look even more carefully. Look at all of those who are talking. Look at all of those who are listening. The ones who are talking, are indeed talking. But the ones who are listening, are they really listening? Pay close attention. That one over there who is presumably listening, is checking his or her texts on the phone. And that one, to the left a bit, is he or she listening, or is he or she scanning the room for a potential dinner date while pretending to be listening? And look, on your right, a little closer in, yeah, that one who is looking down at the floor and slightly shuffling his or her feet, clearly showing a lack of patience, is he or she listening to what the other one is saying? The answer my friends is no, as in NO, they are not listening to what is being said to them. They are doing what almost all humans do. They are doing what mankind has been doing from Neanderthal days to the present. They are all, each and every one, except for a few rare exceptions, practicing an art they have learned to perfection. And itís a Pet Peeve of mine. It annoys the crap out of me. It annoys me to the point that when I have a conversation with someone, and I finish saying what I have to say, I quiz them to ensure they have heard and have been listening to what I just said. And you know what. Most of them fail. And you know why? The reason is that when two people are having a conversation, the one who is now being spoken to is not listening. He or she is simply waiting for his or her turn to speak, at which point you will probably stop listing too.

THE LIST
Some years ago I had to go out of town. I stayed for two nights at the XYZ Hotel. Now, every two weeks or so, I get a call. This is the XYZ Hotel. Because youíre a treasured customer, we invite you blah blah blah. I started a list of the businesses I will never again frequent. It is called The Cold Caller Shun List. Number one: The XYZ Hotel. Then the Universal Car Protective Services called. They will ensure I never have to pay for repairs again. Number two: The Universal Car Protective Services. Magazines for you for free because we know you love to read. Thatís number three. Fix your roof, clean your house, mow your lawn. Four, five, six. Then thereís the press one if you want us to take you off our list. Hah. My calls have since doubled. Tripled. Seven, eight. We can save you money. Nine. Improve your investments. Ten. Cleaning. Paint your house. Put in Solar Panels at half the cost. Eleven, twelve, thirteen. But thereís a problem looming on the horizon. As my list of entities with whom I will now never do business again grows, I suddenly find myself scrambling about for paper. Iím running out. More calls, longer lists. Another problem. No place to go because no one to do business with anymore. Except for the stationary stores. I need paper. Reams and reams of it. And more pens. They donít stop calling. I donít stop making my list. My floors are strewn with inked lists of paper. I have no place to walk. And then I get an idea as to how to solve this. I pick up my phone. I dial. Hello. Telephone company. I want all my phones disconnected. Permanently. Ahhh. Finally. Solution. And peace.

WHICH IS STRANGER
You pick up an apple from a fruit stand, and when no one is looking, you jam a penny into it and put it back in place, vowing to yourself that if a girl finds it, and finds you too, you will marry her. Two minutes later a pretty young thing comes along, picks up the apple, sees you looking at her, smiles, and offers you a bite, which you gladly take forgetting your deed of only a few minutes earlier. You chomp into the penny. She stares at you, horrified, and apologizes. As a joke, you tell her youíll forgive her if she marries you, which, a little over a year later, she does. Coincidence? You buy a scratch-off ticket, take out a coin, and rub it to reveal three numbers. They represent the date of your birth. Coincidence? Youíre strolling through the park, thinking random thoughts. Youíre thinking of a slice of pizza. Youíre thinking of an old bicycle you once owned. Youíre thinking of a buddy you havenít seen in years. Then you see it, or him. Your buddy is strolling toward you, rolling his bike beside him and munching on a slice of pizza. Coincidence? Your wife, who once offered you a bite of her apple, and you have the same birthday even though the years are different. Coincidence? You love beef liver. Your dog, your wife, and your children all love been liver too. Coincidence? While sitting in front of the telly with her one evening you tell her the tales of all these coincidences. All these coincidences are so strange you tell her. Theyíre not so strange, she replies. You raise you eyebrows. No, you say? No she says. And then, with the patience in her voice an adult uses when explaining something to a child, he asks you this question. Which would be stranger in this life of ours? A world with coincidences, or a world without coincidences? You think it over. It is a good question. You decide to ask some friends. Which you promptly do. So my friends, which is stranger? A world with coincidences, or a world without coincidences? You tell me. Please keep in mind that if you say a world without coincidences would be stranger, you will be siding with my late wife with whom I once had this conversation. So now. Tell me.

RAMPAGE
This only applies to Samsung Galaxy S10e, Android 11 upgrade because thatís the one I have, though it may be true for other versions too. I donít know. Question number one. When a reviewer reviews an item and gives it a high review, is it because he thinks itís top of the line, or is it because heís being paid off to give the item the review he gave it? Ask Diogenes what he thinks. Question number two. When a maker makes changes to his product, is he making changes for the better, or is he only making changes so that he can say he made changes and let you think theyíre for the better? Okay folks. I know my Pet Peeves gives me a slight advantages. Iím going on a rampage against Samsung because I can. IMHO the company is run by people who donít much care what theyíre giving you as long as they give you something, as long as they get reviewers to review them well, and as along as you believe their changes are improvements and not just changes. Every time they give you an upgrade they ensure that they create something so idiotic as to drive you insane. My advice Ö stay away from these morons. Now I know many of you, if not most of you will disagree. Much like Republicans and Democrats, we will never see eye to eye. Case in point. I have a Samsung Galaxy S10e which had Android 10 on it. It was okay. Not the tech worldís gift to humanity, but okay as far as I was concerned. And then they came out with Android version 11, which I allowed the phone to install under the premises that new meant better. Nay nay sweet boids of yute. In the case of Samsung, new meant crap. Example. Thereís a swipe-down notification menu that shows you alerts which, in version 10, was easy to read. In version 11 they made the menu transparent, to that the page behind it show through, blurring somewhat the ease of reading the one youíre trying to read. They also changed to icons to a pale gray, requiring squinting to easily see what they gave you. I would normally have no problem with these changes, assuming the transparency would be adjustable and the icons could be darkened. But no. No no no. You have to keep it the way they gave it to you, no alternate options, and if you donít like it you can kiss their derrieres. Or buy a different phone. I got in touch with tech support 3 times. Spent quite a bit of time till I was told to either reset the phone or have one of their techies come in to my phone to see whatís what. I opted for neither, only to later to find out the transparency they installed was installed on purpose and could not be altered. Change, my friends, is clearly not always for the better. Change only means change. All inferences are yours. I continue. For those of you who have or will soon discover this idiotic mishap, you will have to learn to live with it or buy a new and different phone, or hope, with futility, that they will fix this. Or get a different launcher, if that even works. I will live with it till itís time to get a new phone. I will NEVER EVER EVER buy a Samsung phone again. My advice to you is do what you want while taking into account that you may be opting to live with the myriad of inconveniences this company will foist upon you, not requested, not desired, and not needed. Remember one thing. This is only one manís opinion, and rant, and rampage. As to Samsung, I can only say this. Hey, Samsung. Kiss my derriere, you miserable sons of you know whats.

THE AGE OF ROBOTICS
We live in a new world where, while they give us great new stuff, they often do not always complete their thinking. In the meantime, sell Ďem what we got till we get somethiní better. For today, I shall view the robot vacuuming tool. It seems great. It vacuums your floors. When done it, it puts itself back in place and recharges itself. Itís easy to empty. It turns corners. Surely it changes the babyís diapers. Maybe it cooks dinner. Does the laundry. Mows the lawn. Takes out the garbage. Answers the phone. Acts as an intruder warning system. Looks to see whoís at the front door. Flushes your toilet. Wipes your nether areas. Does the dishes. Barbecues hot dogs. Turns on the telly. Turns off the telly. Turns on the lights. Turns off the lights. Gives you aspirin when you have a headache. Runs your bath. Fills your car with gas. Talks to you when youíre feeling lonely. It does everything. Everything, you hear. But wait. Wait. Whatís that? It does not do everything? And what pray tell does it not do? The most essential, you say? Without this feature itís not nearly as good as they claim. Okay okay. I give up. Tell me. What does it not do that it should do. Upstairs? You have to carry it up to do the upstairs? It doesnít do steps either. Nor sunken living rooms without manual placement. You have to do those yourselves. And if you donít want to carry it upstairs, you then have to buy two? Three if you have a finished basement? Oh yes. Please. Hurry. Sent me a set. Three if you please. Make that four, in case one breaks down. Better make that five. No. Six. They seem so good. I could never do without one. I could never manage with an old fashioned vacuum cleaner that works all over the place. Never. You hear?

YOU LOOK GOOD FOR YOUR AGE
In all probability this will only apply to those within a ten year or so reach of my age. I am 82 years old, traipsing along in my 83rd year of life, astounded by the passing of time and more than willing to assassinate the idiot who invented the mirror. Or maybe not. My moods define my desires. Still, the older I get the more I realize how little I know. So hereís the scenario. I meet some people. We talk. I reveal my age. The exclamations are over the top. Oh my. You look so good for your age. You donít look a day over 40. My uncle Oscar looked twice your age and died at half your age. Tell us your secret. How do you do it? You could teach Methuselah, grandfather to Noah, a thing or two, let me tell you. Though I must say, he did die at 969 years of age. And that ainít half bad assuming you even want to live that long. See that person over there? Yes. That one. The old man hobbling along with his cane, bent over with age, unable to raise his head up straight enough to be able to clearly view the horizon. I know him. We call him the crooked man who lives down the block. You know how old he is? 76 and not a day older. They all shake their semi-lying heads in wonderment. They donít understand how I do it. You look so young. You look so vibrant. Tell us your secret. Tell us how you do it. And so I say itís simple. Itís all about lollipops. Hunh? Lollipops? How to you figure lollipops? I explain. Age, I tell them with the weariness that is almost always carried on the shoulders of octogenarians, is like lollipops. It simply comes in different flavors.

# 2 +
YOU EVER LOSE ANYTHING You ever lose anything? Didnít know where you placed it? Did you put it in a secret place where no one who didnít know what or where it was could find it? Not if they tried for a million years. I put mine in a manila envelope. I labeled it with a large red # 2 +. Put it someplace where no one could find it but me. Problem was, I forgot where I put it. That ever happen to you? I looked in all the closets. Nope. Nothing there. I tried the dresser and the triple dresser. Nada. Linen storage maybe? Surely that would be a good place. Right? Wrong. Among the towels? Good luck Charlie Brown. Maybe the washing machine. Why not? Plato, my white cat, who was a bit of a whore when she was alive and had more than one litter in that machine, maybe she guided me from her side of existence to hide that precious envelope there. Not to be. Plato was probably too busy frolicking around in cat heaven. Ah. Got it. The hamper. Alas, nay. Then where? Is it possible that I hid it so well I would never again find it. Disaster loomed ominously in the air. The medicine cabinet? Nope. The kitchen utensil draw? Nope. How could it be so utterly gone? It was stuffed thick with papers. But wait. Wait. I think Iíve got it. I suddenly remembered. My mother used to say to me, ďYoish! Benny! Look with your head, not with your eyes.Ē Which I did. I have a room I call my Typing Room. Some friends call it the Situation Room. Itís filled with books, and papers, and yup, you got it, envelopes, some of them manila. I walk in. I inhale the friendly aroma of dead trees processed into paper products. I look on the first shelf of the first bookcase I see. And there it is, standing tall on its bottom edge, hidden in plain sight, an envelope with a # 2 + in dead center. I sigh with relief, as would you were you in my shoes. For inside the envelope are all, well, maybe not all, but most, or at least many, make that some of my Pet Peeves for 2021, starting, of course, with #2. The Pet Peeve you are reading now is #1. And may 2021 bring us less surprises than the years are usually wont to do, unless of course theyíre good ones. Happy New Year yíall.

LET US PLAY A GAME CALLED WHAT IF
What if we all pretended to know but didnít? What if the greenhouse gases were warming the planet? What if the warming of the planet also, as a tangential side effect, also warmed the seas? What if the warming of the seas were also killing our coral reefs? What if the warming of the coral reefs were killing off some of the species that relied on the coral for life? I know I know. Most of you know all about these what ifs. But I got more. What if the governments knew things they didnít want to tell us? What if one of the things they didnít want to tell us concerned some of the side-effects of the warming of the planet and the seas and the coral reefs and the species that rely on the coral for their existence? What if the warming of the planet that was killing off all this stuff, was also creating new stuff? What if the warming of the planet brought back extinct species? What if the warming of the planet brought us the new species? What if the warming of the planet enabled life to exist where it had never existed before? What if the warming of the planet brought into existence a life form which, much like us, demanded dominance over all other life forms? What if we called that life form, in keeping with our political propensity for obscurity, Victorious Incidences Rejecting Upper Species? What if, in keeping with our insane desire to use less words and more initials and even more lack of clarity, we decided to use only the first letters of this new entity we call Victorious Incidences Rejecting Upper Species and instead call it V.I.R.U.S. Then what?

AXE OR AX
In no way on this earth am I particular about the way anyone speaks a language. For today I will use English. Youíre in class. The teacher is a stern type. Never smiles. Never laughs. Never lets on that there may be even a hint of humor in his soul. As the god of students flies overhead, invisible to most but the keenest eye, El Teacher begins. He has a question. Is it spelled axe or ax, he says. Everybody raises their hands. Itís ax, say one. Itís axe, says the other. Itís both says the third. The teacher allows a slight hint of a smile etch the corners of his lips. You are all correct, he says. Then he says, can anyone out there give me a few sentences with the word axe or ax in them? Timothy raises his hand. The teacher give him the go ahead nod. Timothy clears his throat and begins rattling off his examples. Kin I borrow yer axe soís I kin chop down that tree. Didnít do the job right, so they gave me the axe. I didnít like my grade and now I have a axe to grind. Why do they call a guitar an ax? You call it a tomahawk, I call it an axe. Sheís no soft old lady, sheís a battle-ax. You want me to axe that log to pieces? The teacher is by now grinning ear to ear at Timothyís prowess. He has a student here who he has taught well and who has learned well. And then the smile fades when the teacher asks Timothy if he has anything else to add or any questions. Timothy says, amid the cheers of friends, nope, I got nuthiní else to add or to aks you. And the teacherís face falls. So what do you guys think? Axe? Or ax? Or perhaps even aks?

A BUCKET PLEASE
Iím not going to tell you the name of the company. I absolutely will not hint at the fact that its name exactly mimics the name of a cartoon sailor man who smokes a corn cob pipe, squints with one eye, eats spinach which, when he does, makes him very strong, to the point in fact that he is able to decimate a neighborhood guy five times his size. I will not tell you the name of the company, which I strongly suspect, is a franchise. And why do I think this? When I visit their on-the-road establishments, their food, breaded, spiced and fried, is delicious. When I visit one of their local establishments their food is so thickly breaded that it makes me wonder how much, if any, meat is under all that breading. You want a hint. Some things in life can be clarified by telling you what they are not. Do you know that place from Kentucky that has a Colonel named Sanders as itís image and sells fried meat in a bucket with sides of corn and potatoes and other what nots? Yeah. Well. My problem is not with him. There are places in almost every state in the union that has an establishment that sells some form of breaded fried food as their specialty. Iíve had the Sanders variety, and I like it. But this one with the name of that sailor man, that one I love. Or I thought I loved it. Till I bought some at a place that bears its name and logo, but breads its meat so thick that one wonders if one is getting any meat at all. I canít tell you the name of the establishment. Itís a deep dark secret. But it is this very single part of the conglomerate that leads me to believe itís a franchise, with every owner running things the way he sees fit for his purposes, as well as his purses. They should call it ďSailorís Delight with Spicy Fried Bread MorselsĒ to soothe your gastronomical urges. It wonít be a Crumby meal so much as it will be a Crummy meal. Of course, this is only my humbling crumbling opinion, so only take it with a grain of salt. Add a little pepper for flavor. And have some apple pie as backup. Just in case.

CHARITY
Some time ago Ö at my age many if not most things are some time ago ... so, some time ago I either read or saw on the telly that 10% of charitable donations go to charities while the other 90% is allocated for salaries and other institutional necessities. I believe this is true due to the fact that I believe corruption runs rampant in this world of ours. I have two phones at home Ö leftovers from when my kids lived with us. Both phones have answering machines. Both phones have the ringers off. Telemarketers have forced me to remove myself, as much as possible, from tele-communicative social interaction. The government says they will end this problem. I say bah, bullshit. It will never end as long as the possibility of payoffs exist. I do not block my emails. Yesterday there was a missive. Hi Benjamin. This is Joe. Iím so happy to make your aquaintance. Iím with this or that organization. We were wondering if you would be kind enough to gift us Ö blah blah blah. I deleted it. More emails come in. Hear ye hear ye. Itís Giving Monday. Itís receiving Tuesday. Itís gimme gimme gimme Wednesday. Itís donate Thursday. Itís charity Friday. I have decided to create a new one, one I know the world desperately wants and needs. I shall call it Getting Saturday where, instead of giving, I will be getting. What a novel thought. As a bonus, I will not be splitting up the donations to moi. No 10% for charity and 90% for the organization. Nay nay. Getting Saturday will distribute all monies to me and me alone. No share-sies here. And so now a question arises. How many of you out there, by a show of hands, or by any other means of communications, would like to be part of my newly devised charity organization entitled Getting Saturday? When and if it one day comes successfully into existence, we will then get in touch with all those who have gotten in touch with us and we will tell them, one and all, we want to Get Some. Whaddya think? Hmmm?

THE APPEASEMENT OF BEING RIGHT
Hereís the thing of it. Your whole life youíve bought the sazzamafrazz with the blue label that said Wholesome Sazzamafrazz. And then, suddenly, while all the while keep the deceptively blue label on the product, they changed to labeling to Totally Unwholesome Sazzamafrazz. You donít notice it it till you get home. Youíre irate. You call the Sazzamafrazz headquarters and ask for the complaint department. You get a lady whoís accent is so thick you can barely understand what sheís saying. She listens sympathetically to your complaint. She sighs a loud, audible sigh of empathy. You know what, she says. You are right. I donít know why they do that. And you take leave of her, unsatisfied but appeased. Even the Sazzamafrazz staff thinks youíre right. What a bunch of morons. And the next day you go shopping again. You forgot to buy a Glimchyk. There it is on the shelf. Glimchik. You donít notice this one is spelled with an ďiĒ instead of a ďyĒ. You donít notice till you open the product and there, instead of an alcohol and vinegar free skin rub, you have one laden with alcohol and vinegar. You look at the label again. There is fine print. We call this one Glimchik instead of Glimchyk because Glimchick has alcohol and vinegar. You are irate beyond all measure. You call the company. You have to dial three times because your angry trembling fingers keep missing their mark. This time you get a gentleman. You tell him your story. You people changed the label in such a fashion as to deceive. Youíre dishonest. Itís not right. The agent listens patiently and then asks if you can wait a moment. He wants to check on the situation. You agree, and while youíre cooling off, he gets back to you. He apologizes profusely. He tells you youíre right. Youíre absolutely right. It is, you understand, out of his hands. And again you hang up, again somewhat appeased. But hereís the thing of it. You begin to wonder. Every time you call to make a complaint, they sympathize, they empathize, and they tell you youíre right. Is it possible that this is corporate training. A professorial looking type stands in front of the new recruits. You only have one thing to remember, he tells the new-to-be employees. If a customer complains, right or wrong, you tell him he or she is right, whether he or she is right or not. This calms them down and they go away satisfied that even the company employees agree with them. It works every time. So what do you think folks? Is this scenario a possibility? Think about it the next time you complain and the company customer service person tells you youíre right.

CREATURES OF THIS EARTH
Letís start with this. I am an animal lover. All animals. I watch them all the time on the telly. Solitary tigers stalking their prey. Backward and forward and hovering in place Hummingbirds. Battalions of army ants marching forth ready to decimate all who lie in the path. Gazelles leaping through the air with the grace that would be the envy of all ballerinas. Great white sharks and tiny sea horses. Predators and prey, each and every one, grabbing the next meal, if they can catch it, by the throat and then eating its bloody carcass. Whatís not to admire? Are we any different? We raise to kill and eat. We hunt to kill and eat. But unlike most of the others, we also hunt for the fun of it. And if one of them out there get us while weíre roaming about, oblivious to their presences, we hold no rancor in our last breaths as we hear their breathings on our necks. Even the germs do not generate our hatred. They give us measles, and we become immune. We catch a cold, I presume weíre immune for that year. Mosquitoes, potentially dangerous and annoying, are somewhat tolerated. Toads are cute. Crocodiles are fascinating, but Dundee could put them to pasture with a simple knife deftly placed in its skull. Microbes? I suspect we couldnít live without them. I know I know. You probably all know where Iím going here. Of all the living things I see or know of--and I admire them one an allóthere is one I am unable to abide. Perhaps Iím not being fair. Perhaps it, as well as the others, has as much a right to exist as do I, or even you, or you, or you. You, Iím not so sure of. But thatís another story. My pet peeve this week is my unalterable hatred for that foul, despicable entity called COVID19. Itís so much like us. No wonder we dislike it so. It appears to like to kill just for the joy of killing. Maybe Iím being unfair. After all, it emulates us while being better at it than we are. Whatís not to hate? What do you all think? Agree? Disagree?

Post Office Boxes
Seems innocuous enough. Yes? No? We get those for many reasons. Business in transition and you want your mail to temporarily go someplace other than your home. Youíre moving and have not yet found a permanent abode. Solution? P.O. Box. Maybe your reasons border on the slightly more sordid. You want to mess around and you need your communications to be utterly private. You have decided to go underground and work for a secret government agency, communicating back and forth as to you progress while uncovering the various nefarious deeds being foisted upon us by our enemies. You think nothing of the unknown but annoying missives that appear almost daily in your rented receptacle. A letter to Mr. Smith from the association of universal religions. A letter to Marie Vunderbarten telling her that her order is ready to be shipped, and please contact the sender for verification. You collect these amongst others and bring them to a teller who is serving a customer. There are ten thousand more waiting on line. So you drop the letters off, mumble something about wrong box, at which point the teller says in a less than civilized tone of voice that canít you see sheís busy, and get on the back of the line. You leave and from then on in you either throw what isnít yours into the garbage or you push it back to the end of the rented box where it then falls on the floor and where the invisible idiots who work there surely suddenly realize that it is not your name on the envelope. This goes on for months on end. Till finally, one day, you find a permanent place to live, or youíve decided to call it quits with your paramour, who in the strongest terms tells you not to stop while he or she vows to continue writing to you whether you like it or not. And so you go to a different teller in the post office to cancel your box, and then, as you leave, it hits you like a ton of bricks. The next person who gets that box will get whatever missives youíve been getting, old and new alike. And what if they open those missives. And what if they then start reading. You slap your forehead. Holy crappola. Not only can you not trust politicians, but you now can no longer trust postal employees. For those of you who have post office boxes Ö think about this.

APPOINTMENTS
So. Ya gonna be here? -- ĎCourse Iím gonna be there. I said so, didnít I? -- Sayiní ainít doiní. Wheníre you gonna be here. -- Iíll be there when I get there is when Iíll be there. -- I need a when. Wheníre you gonna be here. -- Tomorrow. Iíll be there tomorrow. -- When tomorrow? -- Tomorrow tomorrow. Donít make me crazy with your whens. -- I need a time. Got things to do. -- What things you got to do? -- Thing things. What time tomorrow. -- Ah jeez. One oíclock in the pee emm tomorrow. Okay? -- You sure? -- ĎCourse Iím sure. Whaddya think? Ya think I say one in the pee emm when I donít mean one in the pee emm? -- Just checkiní. -- Why you just checkiní? -- Got things to do is why. Just like I told you. -- Yeah yeah. The things you got to do is nuthiní exceptiní to say you got things to do to make you feel important. -- Not true. I got appointments. -- Appointments? With who? -- None a your damned bizness. Just if you tell me youíre gonna be here you better be here. -- Better? Better? Better or what? -- Better or else Iíll knock yer damned block off. -- You? A skinny two by four snip of a girl? You and who who else? -- Jest me wise ass. I donít need no one else. Unless you wanna battle it out right now. -- Okay okay. Keep yer skirts on. Iíll be here. One in the pee emm on the button. br> And then I waited. He was my friend. My buddy. And he promised. Couldnít sleep that night for the waiting. Got up at four in the morning. Eight hours till noon. Then one more hour till one. And then one came. And then one went. And two came. And it and the day went. I shook my head. I hated it when someone made an appointment and didnít keep it. If truth be told, itís one of my major pet peeves. And my cousinís too. His name is Benjamin.

TRAFFIC
Traffic Ö and my total lack of understanding thereof. I live on Long Island near New York City, so I can only speak about my part of the world. I donít know how it is elsewhere. But hereís the thing of it. For those scant few of you who are not aware, COVID 19 is infecting our living styles. Nobody should be going. Nobody should be coming. People donít travel to work any longer. They work at home. Visitations to friends and family have become scant. Movies, restaurants, theaters, bowling, tennis, ping pong, libraries, bridge clubs, religious centers and more have all become no-noís. We canít go there, we donít know into where or what the other members have been sticking noses. Dance halls, bars, casinos Ö have they been there? I ainít going. Not on your life Charlie Brown. Muh mummy didnít raise no dummy. The beach? Nah. The boardwalk maybe? Nah. A stroll about in the park? Nah. All too risky, ya know? Visit grandpa in the nursing home? Bah. They wonít let us in. Auntie Olga at the hospital? Nope. Want to do a sit-in in the kidsí classrooms, just to make sure theyíre larniní stuff? Hah. Fuggedaboudit. Which brings this dilemma to the forefront. Youíre driving on the Belt Parkway, or the Southern State, or the BQE, or maybe any other highway in the country. Itís the middle of the day Ö that time during the 24 hour cycle when folks are working, or going to school, or cooking dinner, or just plain staying away from a world filled with contagion, and yet, and yet, the highways, all the highways, are bloody well jammed. Where are they all coming from? Mars? Venus? Jupiter? Thereís a virus floating around. Everyone should be cowering behind closed doors in the knowledge that discretion is always the better part of valor and no one should be out gallivanting about, risking infecting or getting infected. And yet I canít get anywhere on a timely manner. The roads are more crowded than they ever were. The question I have is: WHYYYYYYY?

PLASTIC BAGS
Let the committee on Bags for Consumers (the BFC for thems wot donít know) please come to order. We have here under consideration the question of whether we should use plastic bags or paper bags in our supermarkets. Does anyone want to add anything to this discussion before we pass on our decision for enforcement? Yes Michael. Go ahead. Well folks. It appears that Israel is coming out with a new innovative type of plastic replacement which is just as strong as our plastic, just as light as our plastic, just as useful as our plastic, and is bio-degradable in water. Why not use that? Very good Michael. Yes Marie. Please proceed. Well ladies and gentlemen. Thanks you very much for allowing me to speak. This plastic of which Michael speaks may well be true, but it is not yet available for general use. In the meantime we are decimating our oceans while killing off out wildlife. Paper bags, I say. When done, we can throw them on the ground, rain and weather will decompose them and those very decomposed bags will create fodder for new plant growth. And the bags, which costs us minimal bucks per thousand, can be sold for a nickel apiece, thereby boosting our much needed financial straits. Paper bags, I say. Paper bags for the good of our environment and paper bags for the good of our economy. And so the BFC went into conference behind closed doors. The deliberations were vociferous. The new plastic bags that were coming out soon were good. But they were not yet out, at least not to the best of our knowledge. We cannot support that which is not yet there. We can vote on it again when the time comes. As to plastic versus paper, there is both the environment and the economy to consider. Who here at this meeting couldnít use an increase in salary? Who here couldnít use a vacation? We donít want our fish to die. We donít want to lose our whales. By a show of hands, who votes for paper bags at a nickel a pop and letís get rid of those destructive plastic bags which afford us no income. Let us now vote. With a show of hand: Plastic? Paper. Okay. Paper has it. No more plastic bags in supermarkets. Whatís that? You. Young person. You have a question. What about the extra trees that will have to be destroyed to make the paper bags? Yes. Well. The devil take the trees. As long as they yield bags of money, let the trees be damned.

ICONIPOOS AND MUTTS
Hereís the thing of it. There are 44 poo mixes out there. In addition, there are 30 husky mixes. They cost big bucks. Today theyíre called designer breeds. In days of yore they were called mutts. How much for that dog. Nuthiní. Zero. Itís a mutt. It ainít worth crap. Today its a designer dog. Itís a Doggie-poo. In days of old, doggie-poo meant something entirely different. Somebody sends you a link to view a picture of their dog chewing on a bone. Youíre about to respond, telling them how adorable the little creature is.
But now you have questions and choices. And the best part, you donít have to write anymore. You have icons that do the talking for you. Thereís the thumbs up. And the heart that means you love it. Thereís a care, and a ha-ha, and a wow, and a sad, and even an angry. Are they kidding? Donít they know by now that they have managed to limit your ability to communicate? How about an icon of a fist with the middle finger pointing to the heavens? Itís easier to click it than it is to say it. Perhaps a figure bent over and another figure kissing that now protruding bulbous mass. Thereís a whole sentence there. Look. That one is holding his nose. The aroma is clearly defined. But wait. Icons only represent a small minutiae of todayís world. That icon with the question mark over his skull. What question is it asking. Oh. I know. What kind of dog is that itís asking. Is it a Cocker-poo? Is is a Shih-poo? A Pomapoo or a Maltipoo or a Yorkipoo perhaps. Letís have icons for all these different types. Designer dogs you say? Are you kidding? Iíve said before. Theyíre mutts. Nothing more. Yeah. But mutts donít sell. And designer dogs are relatively cheap to breed. And they make you feel elitist. They may well have a Labrador. Bah. A dumb purebred. Me Ö I have a Labradoodle. And there are even new icons coming out for these elite mongering mutt owners. These mixed breeds were once worth nothing in days of yesteryear. And the icons are? Why, theyíre image of dogs with a Poodle for a head and a Pekingese for a tail. That one is called a Pekapoo. Pekapoo Ö I see you. Each mutt with itís own icon. Weíll call those Iconipoos. What kind of an icon is that. Itís an Iconipoo man. Donít you know nuthiní? They used to be called Iconimutts till they were made to appeal to the high-falutin-poos of the world. And now you know all the poo there is to know.

THEY ONLY SPEAK THE TRUTH
Hereís the thing of it, based entirely on my limited knowledge of the intricacies of our people in the public arena and my experience when watching them speak on the telly. This one walks on stage with the strut of the self-assured. He or she pulls out a sheaf of what is clearly evidential papers. But I canít see the print. For all I know the papers could be blank. Our speaker rests his or her glasses over to the very tip of his or her nose. This, we are assured, lends credibility to the speakerís words. With great gravity, as he or she ruffles through his or her papers, he or she clears his or her throat and begins. According to these records, the status of the rules resulting from amending of paragraphs three, seven, and twelve, we will assure all personal that the statutes of order of the counties lying in the north-west corner of the eastern border will not be altered. Hunh? What did he or she say? Did you understand that? Never mind. No matter. Because the very next day, the statutes of order, whatever that was, were changed and reverse orders were instilled. How do I know that? ďTheyĒ told me. All proclamations far and wide will hereby be nullified. Of course theyíre not. Everybody earning under forty thousand dollars a year will receive a ten percent raise effective immediately. Of course they donít. Drug prices will be reduced next week. Theyíre not. Supermarkets will now have enough toilet paper and paper towels to ensure each household in America has enough supplies to last a month. They donít. Though we give them supplemental income to live quite comfortably on, they will still come to work every day. They donít. The glasses that were resting at the very tip of his or her nose slip off. They are caught before they hit the ground. The speaker grins shyly with a grin of accomplishment. We the speakers of this country embrace the trust you give us. We the speakers of this country never ever lie. But they do.

PANDEMIC KNOW-IT-ALLS
This little crisis of ours has, in its unique way, made great savants and scholars and intellectuals of more of us that I would have ever thought possible. I watch the riots. Whaddya mean wear masks? We donít need masks you mentally deficient species of nincompoop. Masks are for fools. You say you donít want to go to the movies with me? Too risky? What risky you cretinous portion of bullís testicles? No gambling halls, no on-site Bridge Games, no Ping pong clubs, no eating in crowded arenas, no public speaking? The risks are too great you say? And where pray tell did you hear this you abysmally pathetically stupid first class ignoramus imbued with a ridiculous sense of self-elevated self-importance prodded on by your woeful insecurities? Oh. Joe told you? And Mary told you too? And besides that, no one needed to tell you, you say? You read it somewhere. Where? In the papers? On Case-Book? On Flyaway? On Connected To? The Dreary Weary Magazine for Simpletons? Oh yes oh yes. I have heard of these publications. And I must say I have heard of all the positions those folks take. But hereís the thing of it. I ask you all. Have any of you seen, or heard, or even met any of the people to whom these great savants speak? Have any of you met a nincompoop? Or a cretin? Or anyone inflated with a self-elevating sense of self importance? No you say? Well then, all I can say is that you are a bunch of fortunate folks. Me? Iíve met more than my share. They are the self-appointed intellectuals imbued with their own senses of importance. Most of them are at the movies, or at the gambling halls, or in the crowded arenas. Most of them are the accusers and the mockers Ö all sending effusive kisses to their mirror images.

FRONT ROOM Ė BACK ROOM

FRONT ROOM:
Iíll tell you what itís called. You tell me if you agree. Your old washing machine no longer works. It was great. It had a dial which turned as the cycle progressed. Youíre halfway through. Youíre two thirds of the way through. And then your done. The dial has guided you along your route through the years. Today there are two lights. Red. Then green. Then done. The approximation is vague at best.
You need a Wi-Fi extender for your home. You are told that this one here is good. Top of the line. You buy it. You set it up and it works. For a while. And then youíre having problems. You check to see if itís getting electricity. Uh-oh. No lights. No indicator to tell you if itís connected or not. Buy a new one? No! Try to re-set the old one to see if you can get it to work. How many hours, days, weeks do you have to try? Ah screw it. Money be damned. And so you buy a new one and hope for the best. Oh, this is the most advance model, you are told. No worries on this. Worth all the extravagant dollars you are about to spend before we screw you.

BACK ROOM: Címon guys. We got a new product to put out. Itís got to look like itís a great piece of machinery. We got to build in the flaws. We have to ensure it doesnít last. A few years ago they put in a Sazamafrazz. That product lasted almost eight years. Thatís eight years weíre talking here men. Who can make a product that lasts eight years and still make a profit? No more than six years at the most here men. And letís add in some impossible to decipher progressive doo-dads. Make them ultimately give up on the machine in four years. Up our profit by near double if they give up early. Okay. Clap clap. Letís get a move on.

AND WHAT IS THIS CALLED? It is called, ladies and gentlemen, Planned Obsolescence. And in case you donít believe planned obsolescence exists, consider this. Why were these words thought up to begin with unless it was to describe a situation which actually existed?


I DONíT CARE:
There are those who tend to protect themselves by stating they donít care. Then, when disappointment comes along, theyíre prepared. Good evening Marie-Lou. Would you like to have dinner with me? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. You donít want to have me as a friend any longer because my views do not coincide with yours? Thatís okay. I donít care. Would you please share with me the name of the person who does your hair? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Can I borrow your shoes, your shirt, your bat, your glove? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Wanna go to the movies? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. My sister, my brother, my mother, my father, theyíre ill, theyíre in the hospital, can you drive me over? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Will you marry me? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Hello. Iím home. Iím sick. Do you deliver? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Good day doctorís office. I donít feel well. Can I come over today, tomorrow, next week, next month? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. I want to buy a new computer. Does it come with a manual? Can I order a manual? Can I download a manual. No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Does the car come with an engine, does the plane have a jet, does the boat have a keel? No? Thatís okay. I donít care. Hello? Protection devices? Do you sell anything I can use to protect myself from humanityís foibles? You do? Can I buy it? How much is it? Whatís it called. You have two similar items? They come in the form of protection activators. They have two names you say. One is called ďI donít give a shitĒ and the other is ďNo? Thatís okay. I donít care.Ē Iíll take both. Cost is no issue. One cannot protect oneself enough against our species, can one?

UPDATES:
Youíre in the middle of your thesis on intermingling humans with aliens in order to create a brand new species to roam the earth when suddenly a notice flashes across your screen. ďStop. Desist. Save your work. Install this vitally crucial update immediately.Ē And so you halt your train of thought. You go to the fridge to get a cold brew and when you get back, all is well. And a new day peaks over the horizon. You friend is ill and in the hospital. You will write a friendly and endearing email. You begin with dear friend of mine when suddenlyÖ ďStop. Desist. Save your work. Install this vitally crucial update immediately.Ē What the eff? You sigh. You click the ok go ahead button. Your screen begins to do the Techie Tango. You go to make a phone call and the day wanes. Your boss calls you because you now find yourself working remotely. Send out instructions immediately. The Jigamapoo is jammed. You begin to type furiously when suddenly, yup. You got it. ďStop. Desist. Save your work. Install this vitally crucial update immediately.Ē The goddamn bloody updates are making you crazy. You shut everything down and make ready to watch a good flick on the telly instead. But the phone rings. Your boss thinks he owns you. Back to the Ďputer. You rush like a fiend in order to get done before the evil sign of the techno-plague rears its ugly head again. Youíre racing the elements. You get to the last sentence. You finish with no interruptions. You sigh a huge sigh of relief. The notice did not flash across your screen. You run down to get a brewskie. The telly is waiting. The movie begins. But then, dammit: ďStop. Desist. Save your work. Install this vitally crucial update immediately.Ē And do you do the only logical thing to prevent these invasions. You kill yourself. And you suddenly find yourself on a stairway to heaven. You reach the gates. Thereís a huge sign blocking your view of the inside. ďStop. Desist. Save your work. Install this vitally crucial update immediately.Ē Yarggghhhh.

PROTECTION:
Ah. Living in a civilized world ainít no easy thing. Remember the olden days, when you grabbed your spear, and perhaps your sling, which, by the way, I should make for myself one of these days as I learned as a youngster how to use one, and then went out hunting for dinner with the rest of your clan? And then one day, after having slain a particularly tasteful morsel, as you were traipsing on your way home, another clan who happened to be in your neck of the woods, came along and took your morsel. You and yours were not happy. So you approached a third clad and told them you would give them a piece of everything you caught if they would patrol the environs and pound the brains to a pulp of anyone who took from you what wasnít theirs. The would be called Captors On Patrol Surveyors. COPS for short. And so, when you killed a rabbit, they got a leg. But I have to tell you, itís getting ridiculous. In days of old you had a web site. You sold on it. Or you shared info. And that was that. But no more lads and lassies. Now they have something called SSL. Secure Socket Layer. You have or had a web site which you once thought did not need SSL. Only thing is, they tell you, itís not secure. Instead of prefacing your URL with ďhttpĒ: HyperText Transfer Protocol, you now have to preface with ďhttpsĒ: HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. For your own protection of course. And for an extra sum each year, also of course. I just lost one rabbitís foot, a tail, two ears, and three inches of intestines. Thereís hardly enough left to feel my family. Ye gads man. YOURS TRULY: Why doesnít anyone ever answer the questions asked I wonder?

INTERVIEWS ON THE TELLY:
I once read that in conversations, very few listen but rather only wait for their turn to speak. That said Ö Iím watching the telly. By a unique quirk of fate, Iíve tuned into a news station. I hate, as in, I HATE, news interviews. They are, to put it succinctly, full of shit. Letís call the station WFFFY (initialyzing revealed in third to last paragraph) located in the USA. The interviewer is asking the interviewee some questions.

INTERVIEWER: Why do you think it has taken so long to get the riots in your town under control?

INTERVIEWEE: Let us take into our narration the lack of climate control in Paris...

INTERVIEWER: No no no. Youíre evading the question, which I repeat. Why do you think it has taken so longÖ

INTERVIEWEE: I will be happy to answer your question, but to fully understand my answer I first have to give you my response as regards intermarriage between animals and humans. SoÖ

INTERVIEWER: (sighing in resignation) Let us move on to a different topic Do you approve of our aiding IsraelÖ

INTERVIEWEE: There definitely are those who believe the I.Q. of dark haired people far supersedes those of the lighter hairedÖ

INTERVIEWER: Well, weíve certainly adequately covered the most important topics of the day and I would like to invite you to come visit us again when you are able. We truly value your opinions and we hope you know that.

INTERVIEWEE: Oh yes. Indeed I do. And this was indeed a most pleasant visit. I found your questions quite insightful, never mind that they may have also been a tad inciteful...

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, of course. Next week, if you would truly like to come back, we can discuss the advantages of Polygamy versus Monogamy.

INTERVIEWEE: Of course. It would be my pleasure. I have studied childbirth versus abortion for many years.

INTERVIEWER: How about you go take a Wild Flying Fuck For Yourself.

INTERVIEWEE: Verbal negotiations has always been a favorite mode of communications of mine. Next week it is then.

YOURS TRULY: Why doesnít anyone ever answer the questions asked I wonder?

YOU ARE FREE: You have a computer? That is good. You will now be able to communicate with your fellow man. We will build large computers and small computers. You can use both equally well, but each are better suited for certain circumstance. You will no long walk into a booth on a sidewalk. To call your friend you will reach into your pocket and pull out you little computer and dial. You will no longer save your information on a little round disk. All your information will be saved in the sky in a spot among the clouds. The clouds, you are assured, are secure. You will need a password to retrieve this information. You will write instructions. You will save these instructions on your large computer. The information will also be secured with a password. Enemies of the state will try to abscond with your secrets. They will try to steal your passwords. They will infect your society with viruses. You will no longer be able to mingle outside. Your children will no longer be able to attend their schools. The viruses the enemy has created will also infect your computer. You will stampede to the nearest store in order to buy vaccinations for your computer. A clever company who created these computer vaccines has named them Anti-Virus Inoculatory Systems. You are thrilled. You can work with your machines again. Someone else sticks malware into your computer. Now you are on the alert. You need a different computer vaccine. It is called Anti-Malware. You breathe a sigh of relief. But now you suddenly get a fever. You take yourself to the doctor. He tells you you need a Cough Over Virulent Infectious Disease vaccination. COVID for short. The newest vaccine version is number 20. It just came out. But you have to wait for it. Version 19 is obsolete. And so you tell him you will wait. And you go home and wait. And you smile to yourself. You are happy because you live in a world in which your life has granted you the fortune of knowing you are free.

CAN I PLEASE: Some time, in the course of your life, someone may come up to you and start a sentence with, Can I please. Can I please borrow your ladder for fifteen minutes? I have to change a bulb in my garage and I canít reach it. So you lend your ladder, and fifteen minutes later it is returned, often without even a thank you. And two days later, when you take the ladder out to use it, you see that it doesnít open properly because itís a tad warped. Did that someone not notice they warped your ladder. Can I please borrow your snow shovel? And then, oopsie. Itís broken. This time the someone replaces it, but not with one as good as the old one. Here ya go. A new shovel for my new friend. Yeah. Right. Hi buddy. Can I please borrow $75 bucks? Wife took my wallet and forgot to put it back. Donít know where it is. Pay you back in an hour or so. But an hour soon becomes a week, and then a week becomes two. And you go up to your new buddy and ask for the seventy five dollars. Oops. I didnít give it back? Oh sorry. So sorry. I forgot. Here you go. Heh heh. Donít know how that happened. Memory and all that. And corporate America. They owe you too. You returned a gidgemefraz. Refund on the way old chap. Takes a day, or two, or four, or seven. No worries. Youíll see it. Soon. Very soon. But hereís the thing of it all. They all forget. Friends. Neighbors. Business connections. This one owes you this. That one owes you that. Alas, the problem lies in the fact that no matter how many people forget, they never, never you hear, forget in your favor. How come I wonder. Do they really forget? Or do they forget on purpose? The moral? Never a lender be. A borrower on the other hand, now thatís something else entirely.

PRESCRIPTIONS:
Hoo hah. You are going to love this. Imagine youíre elderly. Youíre alone. Your mate, your children, your dog, your cat, and your friends have all traveled to other worlds or existences leaving you to fend for yourself as best you can, till and if they return to this one. You have a disease. You donít know itís name for sure, not that it matters. Letís call it the Malaysian Ear Fluggensheim. MEF for short. You have pills you need to take. You have five days worth of medication. If you donít treat MEF, your mouth will quadruple its saliva output and you will exude enough drool to fill an Olympic size swimming pool. You call the automated number for your drugstore, press the appropriate number to reach the refill department, press in your prescription number, and then press 2 to let the idiot robot know your done. Before you hang up, you are told by a reedy voice that your prescription has expired and your doctor will be notified on the next business day. And so you wait. And you wait. And you wait till 4 days have gone by. You call the drugstore. You ask whatís going on. They tell you they called in the prescription 3 days ago. Maybe you should call your doctor. Which you do. The nurse, after youíve told her your name, says they never got the prescription. Could she have your date of birth. You give it to her. Aha, she says. She found your prescription. What was the problem? Well, you see, here at the doctorís office, we never see a refill unless we open your file. So how do you know to open my file when I need a prescription filled, you ask. The nurse tells you she doesnít know. Duh. Youíre going crazy at the idiocy of the medical profession as you watch your pool fill to overflow. Any of you ever wonder why the prescription you called in a week ago has to date not been filled? Now you know.

ADVICE:
What to do? Oh what to do? Who to ask? You need advice. Where do you go? Jim or John or Sue or Mary? Theyíre all smart. How do you know? Because they told you so. Not in so many words of course. By inference. By the sagacity so clearly apparent when they nod their heads knowingly after each precious statement theyíve uttered. Look at him or her, resting his or her chin in the palm of his or her hand while staring deep into the eyes of a random speaker. A little smirk at the corners of his or her mouth, and you instantly know the speaker is an idiot. A furrow of understanding in the brow, and you know the speaker is a direct descendant of Aristotle himself and every word that drips from his lips are to be heeded without question. Who better to solve your dilemma than your friend who can tell at a glance, with hardly a spoken interchange needed for accurate analysis, who is the dolt in the crowd and who is nearly equal to his or her lofty standards. You will have no trouble finding this person. There is nary a human alive who doesnít wake up each morning and look in the mirror, and admire the unquestionable intellectual reflection staring back at him or her. There are very few who doubt their brainpower. And so you make your choice. You choose that one. That one is truly quite bright. That one indicated that prowess many times over. And so you ask. What should I do? How should I do it? When? What? Where? Why? Who? How? And you wait, twisting your now sodden handkerchief in your hands, letting its gathered droplets of sweat drip into the puddle at your feet. And you are told. Take a left. Do it then. Go slow and then go fast. Climb to the top. Scoot over the rooftops. Fear nothing for fear will only slow you down. Top speed or nothing. Eyes straight ahead. Look to neither side. Ignore those who would tell you to act in a manner different than that which I tell you to do. Distrust the advice of others. Heed no other human but me. And so you do as you are told. And you follow each twist exactly as you were told. And you reach the end of your journey. And you look around. And you find that you have failed. You try to hunt down your friend, who is now suddenly nowhere to be found. And you sit down. And you figure it out. The only advice thatís worth even a farthing, or a red cent, is that of the one that belongs to the reflection in your mirror. So follow it.

RUDENESS FROM OTHERS:
There will be times, dear readers, that a pet peeve of mine will take on an aura of weirdness that will have trouble finding its equal in this great universe of ours. Such a pet peeve is Rudeness From Others. This is not really a pet peeve, but rather a blessing. Perhaps I should call this, as it turns out, My Pet Blessing of the week. Let me begin by presupposing that you are a decent soul who would never consider hurting another human. It is not part of your nature. Now let us suppose that someone was rude to you, that someone verbally attacked you, that someone denigrated your very existence. Consider yourselves lucky. They have not, as you might suppose, done you harm. Nay nay old chums. What they have done was a good deed. They have gifted you a gift of the highest caliber. And even calibre. They have just returned from a shopping spree after having marched themselves straight into a military armaments store and made some purchases. Iíll take one sub-machine gun please. And that Uzi. A couple of AK47 rifless if you donít mind. A Ruger, a Luger, a Smith and Wesson, and a Magnum too. Please gift wrap them and put a pretty bow around them all. Also a shoulder pack to put them all in so that I may easily carry them around and dole them out as needed. And now, as they walk their walks, you meet, and for no discernible reason, they insult you to the quick. Your normal response is to do nothing. But unbeknownst to you, they have slipped you your weapon du jour. You have received from them the weaponry need to attack back. They have given you the tools you need to mount a guiltless counter-attack, if not now, if not today, then sometime in one of the oncoming tomorrows. A moment will arise when you will be prompted to offer a counter-punch, when they least expect it, that will decimate your newly acquired enemy to the point where he or she will never be able to fully emotionally recover. All this because you were given the donation of an unprovoked insult. So, next time someone hands you an underhanded slap in the face, just grin, and say nothing, for you were just given a free contribution of a powerful weapon which you will one day use when you are at the ready.

AH FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, a direct quote. ďGoogle and Canonical partner to bring Linux app support to Flutter.Ē Are they kidding me? I remember once, a long long time ago, when you picked up the phone and an operator got on and said: ďMay I help you?Ē And you told her who you wanted to talk to, and then the phone rang, and a voice at the other end said something to the effect of: ďGood morning. This is the Letís Not Make You Crazy Company. May I help you?ĒAnd you told her what you wanted and she connected you and within two or three minutes after having first picked up the phone. You were now on your way. Today technology has taken over and humans are quickly becoming dispensable. I have a cell phone. Wonít give you the name because if I do SAMSUNG will not be happy. It has an app. Wonít tell you that name because AT&T will not be happy if I say Visual Voice Mail which is not working. I called. I pressed 1, then 3, then 9, then 257, then Ö I got a recording. I finally got a rep. Half hour down the tubes, I told him my problem. He said he had to access my phone. I said go ahead. But he couldnít fix it. Company will get back to you, he said. Iím still waiting for their notification that all is not well. I donít understand why he could not fix it. I suspect updates killed the app. I donít understand the words I quoted in the beginning of this peeve. What is Flutter. What is a Canonical partner. I know now. I looked it all up. This precious info came via a news feed to which I subscribe. Very few bits of information are clear. You want clarity, look to the sky on a non cloudy day. Otherwise, fuggedaboudit. But still I try. I open a news article. Dead center is a blurb. Want to get rid of a headache, it says. Click here. I already have a headache due to lack of clarity. So I click there where it tells me to click. And I come to a second blurb. It says: Thanks to the miracle of Doctor Crazyinthehead, we are able to offer you a video with step by step instructions as regards getting rid of your headache. Click here to see video. And so I click there where Iím told to click. Congratulations, they tell me. You taken the first essential step to, once and for all, getting rid of your headache. Click hereÖ Help! Someone. Anyone. Where do I click in order to get clarity? Please please please bring me back to the good old days when simplicity reigned.

ITíS REAL. ITíS FAKE:
Of course thereís a difference between real and fake, my love. You do like my new diamond ring, do you not? Is it real? Is it fake? Oh please. No no no. We donít use fake anymore dearie. Itís so bourgeois. Today we use faux. Though I must say I donít wear faux diamonds. Itís real or nothing for me dahling. But. But but. Whatís the difference between real or fake, you ask? Everything is real if you think about it, is it not? Oh please. How else are the elitists going to be able to differentiate themselves from the common people if they arenít willing to shell out a few more shekels for something they like to call the genuine article? I wouldnít be seen dead in a faux anything, from jewelry to fur. Unless I was going slumming of course. Imitations are always acceptable when mingling with the lower classes. There are times when one just must pass. It wouldnít do to put on airs with your lessers. Why make them feel their insignificances? We know who we are. We donít have to force our ways upon others. They canít help being what they are, the same way a donkey canít help it that heís not a thoroughbred horse. Why, sometimes when Iím mingling with the help, I speak in incorrect grammatical English. It ainít so, I tell them. Iíll be gol-durned and hot damn girl, and if that ainít a pisser. I donít wear the real stuff when Iím around them. I do have some friends who are not up to our class you know. They try of course. They strive to elevate themselves. I wear my faux fur and faux diamonds when Iím with them. I wear my Leviís at thirty dollars a pair instead of my Valentinoís at nine hundred and ninety dollars a pair. I wear Macyís instead of Oscar De La Renta. I feel deliciously sleazy when I walk into a cheap store. But we do what we must to make others feel comfortable. I care about my virtual friends. Those whom I met unwillingly during the course of life. But I donít mind. I do what I have to do. I have no airs. No no no. Nothing fake in my life. Nothing fake about me. I am the real thing. I am genuine. Am I not?

OUR BRAINS:
Oh, so convoluted an oval it is. Imagine a six inch wide by four and a quarter inch high 3 dimensional globule weighing about three pounds and resting on a slender stalk measuring about three quarters of an inch thick. Itís a bit like balancing a cauliflower on a celery stalk. How do we manage that? And how inflated a sense of self it has. It is only one brain per human. And yet it urges us to refer to it as my brains. We donít say my bodies. Or my hearts. Where thereís only one, we use the singular. So why my brains? It uses the royal plural form when it want us to communicate with it. Not only that, but it also wants to compete with other brains that reside comfortably, or perhaps not so comfortably, within the skulls of other humans. The brains (not brain) of this human is far superior that the brains (again not brain) of that human. You sir, I pose this question: You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I'm quick when I'm thin and slow when I'm fat. The wind is my enemy. Who or what am I? What? You can not solve it? You sir, have the brains of a dolt. It is a candle. Your name sir? If you please. Joe Louis, you say? The great boxer? Yes well. You do have that ability. I, of course, would prefer Einstein as my friend. Whatís that, my good man? You want me to walk alone through Fuller Park, the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago, with only one friend allowed to accompany me. Yes, well, Einstein is all well and good Joe. But if you donít mind, I would prefer you as company. Brains are actually a tad overrated. Whatís that Joe. You want me to explain something to you. Of course. Thatís what brains are for. So what do you want to know? Why oh why arenít brains referred to in the singular? Is there more than one brain behind those eyes? Or is it all just a question of egocentricity, all those twists and turns nothwithstanding?

QUESTION OF RECOGNITION.
Hereís what it is. You desperately need a stroke of luck, or so youíve been advised. And so you start looking. You try high. You try low. You go to the left. You go to the right. You climb mountains. You scale valleys. Perhaps, you begin to think, that for you the luck does not exist. You call it out. Hey. You. Luck. You hear a slight rustle of the wind in the trees. But you donít see the luck. You begin to open drawers. Nope. Not there. You try the closets, the shelves in the garage, the back alleys of the slums of the city. Nope again. You begin to read the periodicals. Nothing. You try the library. Zero. You begin to ask strangers in the streets. You know where I can get some luck? Nope. Sorry pal. No clue. Youíre going out of your mind. You go into a bar as a last resort. You buy everyone a drink. You donít hold out hope. Theyíre all half drunk. To the luck of the unfortunate, you shout out with your glass held high. To the luck of the damned they shout back, toasting you and all the other patrons. So by the way, you say, hiding the slur in your voice, anyone here know where I can get some of that luck? Itís all over the place, says one. You can get some at a newsstand, or at any dollar store. Or even on the street. You stare at the guy. Want to show me? Sure. And he takes you to the newsstand across the street. Gimme some luck for my friend here. And the vendor pulls out a small bag of luck and hands it to you. And you stare at it. Youíve seen this before. And it suddenly hits you that often, when youíre looking for something, and you canít find it, itís because you often donít recognize that you found what youíve been looking for. Recognizing luck when it comes your way is quite often more than half the battle. Why doesnít it make itself more apparent?

INVICTUS
by
William Ernest Henley Ė 1849-1903

This is the poem that inspired Nelson Mandela to persevere through hardship. It has been hanging on my wall for quite some time. It is one of my favorites. I pass it on in lieu of a pet peeve. I shall call it this weekís Pet Enchantment for it has always enchanted me.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

THE LAW: This might well be aimed at those scant few of you who are glued to your televisions for want of anything else to do, politics aside. A woman was brought before a judge who deemed it necessary, through her elevated sense of self, to fine or jail this lady for opening her place of business in order to make money to feed her children. We are all born with one mind and one body, all equal one to the other. Yet there are those amongst us who feel their worth is more than the worth of those who do not ride the elite flotilla upon which they were fortunately thrust. The judge tried to punish this woman for having broken the law. After public outcry, the judge recanted. But hereís the thing of it all. While injustices abound, the criminalization of the innocent also flourishes. In ancient England, I once read, it was illegal to eat a pickle while walking backwards on the sidewalk? Ridiculous you say. But but, says the judge, that pickle eater might bump into someone and knock them on the ground and harm them. Therefore, I fine this person five hundred million billion pounds for doing this dastardly deed. This is only a wee bit of an example. We have had a few stupid ones here too. Anybody out there ever read Orwellís Animal Farm? All animals are equalÖ Thereís more but Iíll get into trouble enumerating them. What this all means is that there is no shortage of blithering idiots out there creating unjust laws for no other reason than to elevate their own senses of self. To those morons, who have no idea what theyíre doing, to you I say this. Every time you create a law thatís impossible to adhere to, you also create one or more outlaws. Outlaws, one might say, are as often as not, the creation of lawmakers. And that my friends, is my pet peeve of the week.

WHEN TUBES OF TOOTHPASTE FART: This, my friends and foe alike, is a recent discovery. And so, I do not have enough repetitive information to verify its accuracy. Here is the situation of which I have become aware a few times in the past few days. I have three different tubes of toothpaste, one of which I use regularly. The other two are for in case. Two tubes are 2Ē x 6Ē and one tube (This is the one I mostly use) is 1.75Ē x 5Ē. The larger tubes contain 4oz. and 3.4oz. respectively. The small one contains1.8oz. Or so it is printed on the outside. I was born innocent, and so when you told me something, I believed it. And then I got older, and the older I got, the less I believed. Today, the only thing I truly believe is that theyíre all trying to screw me. Call me a cynic. A few days ago, as I was glancing at that crazy looking devil in the mirror, I picked up my dental brush and began to squish some toothpaste on in. All of a sudden, the tube farted and a wee gush of air came out before the rest of the portion of toothpaste I was seeking followed. My suspicious mind immediately went into high gear. Are the ounces the tube says the ounces the tube has? Do the people who dole the product out, program the computer directed squooshers to interrupt the pasty flow with a bubble of air, reducing the amount by a smidgeon. Multiply that bubble with a world population of 7.8 billion and multiply that amount by the amount of toothpaste replaced by that wee bit of a bubble, and weíre talking big bucks here folks. I submit that I DO NOT know if this is true. But these are not the questions. The multiple questions are as follows. Is this possible? Is this tempting? Or is this nothing more than happenstance which resides in dubious comfort a mere micron above suspicion? And my last but not least of course, for extra credit, how many of you answered Yes, Yes, and No to my first three questions? Let me know. Do we thing alike? Or is my thinking process simply an aberration born of a cynical mind?

GRUDGES ARE FOREVER: So hereís what it is. And this is only my observations, limited as they may be. You have a spat with a friend. Thereís no such thing as infinity you say. He or she responds that of course there is and if you canít understand that, youíre not as smart as he or she thought you were. You draw your verbal sword. You calling me stupid? Yeah, Iím calling you stupid. At which point he or she gets up from the dinner table, throws a few bills in your direction in order to take care of the bill, and stalks off. He or she does not forgive disagreements. And now the friend is a friend no longer. Fortunately, you have no lack of friends. Itís ten oíclock in the evening. The phone rings. Yo Ö olí pal olí buddy of mine. I need a ride into the city. I need it now. Whaddya say? Your eyes roll to the heavens. Whatís going on in this world? Is everybody crazy. Sorry old friend, you say. Canít do it. Itís late. Got to get to work early tomorrow. You friend responds, advising you just exactly where to insert your work obligations, and telling you at the same time not to call anymore. Weíre no longer friends. And then you hear the click. And your now ex-friend is gone. The next day, during lunch when you tend to dine with a few work compatriots, you tell them the tale of your friends that were. To your amazement, they all agree with the positions taken by past companions, and with a few well-chosen words, explain to you that you are nothing short of a total imbecile. Not only that, but they, as a matter of allegiances by proxy to your friends that once were, do not absolve your acts, and have thusly and therefore decided to part ways. They have decided that they will not pardon you. But now hereís the thing of it all. Every weekend, Saturday for some, Sunday for others, they all go to their temples or churches or mosques, and they bow their heads in humble prayer as they each speak to their gods. And do you know what they ask for? Yup. You got it. Each and every one pleads for that which they will not give. They plead for forgiveness and understanding. Sheesh. Now thatís what I call an insane dichotomy. Or is it hypocrisy? Or is it something I just do not comprehend?

SNAKE OIL: I know you all know the scene. He is wearing a top hat to lend legitimacy to his spiel. Get yer bottle of Doctor Lukeís Medical Marvel. Cures lumbago. Fixes sagging jowls. Restores manhood. Makes yer hair grow. And for those cainít see so good no more, for thems who have cataracts, I have Doctor Luke hisself here to operate on the spot. He puts you to sleep with a few drops of chloroform, and a few minutes later, yer cured. And we give you proof. Oh look, Mary. Letís try it. And so they pay their two bucks and Doctor Luke puts a cloth over her nose and mouth and bandages her eyes. When she wakes, he shows her the thin membrane that he took off the outer edge of a hard boiled egg. And he tells here this was the problem. He removed it from her eye. Keep the bandages in place for a week, and youíll be as good as new. And then heís gone. Question for you all. Have things changed? Or is Snake Oil today still Snake Oil, only under a different name. You need a med for this. You need a med for that. This guy on the telly who gets paid a substantial sum of money, touts this as his medicine of choice. Is he a doctor? Hell no. Does he have any medical training? Bah. And if it doesnít work, too bad. Itís called free enterprise. I will give you all a test. Go look at that med that favors your interest. Sixty nine dollars for which you get sixty tablets. Take two a day and a month, or two, or three, you will see improvement. But whoa. Hold on a minute. Hereís a very similar med. Same money. But they give you one hundred and twenty tablets. Thatís half the cost. Double the value. And so you grab it. And you get it in the mail. They gave you just what they promised. One hundred and twenty tabs for sixty nine dollars. Youíre elated. You start reading the instructions in fine print. In order for this med to work properly they tell you, you must, you just must take four tabs a day. You didnít see that part. They didnít bother to tell you. They gave you double the amount and dosed it at double the amount. Savings? Zero! Hey. Doctor Luke? Now where is that guy when youíre looking for him? Ah, the world of honest advertising and honest medicine. Where has it gone? Yoo hoo. Doctor Luke? Where are youuuuu?

PREAMBLES: Hereís the problem. You want to know how to turn off the switch on the Gydjamakoo on your web page. There are two ways to attack this. Their way, and my way. Out of extreme politeness, I will first give you their way. Ready? It is truly quite easy to turn the switch off on a Gydjamakoo, they say. The Gydjamakoo was designed to work with the Jubberlush in order to facilitate the smooth workings of Quinchobology. Quinchobology, as you all know, is a micro-biological company that will have been formed in the years 2936 in order to quell the interference of alien signals on your voice activated and controlled mini-air induced lung pumps which, you are surely all aware, has saved many lives over the years. The technology of the Gydjamakoo has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a manual on/off switch which, while for the most part unnecessary, is still rather convenient when faced with the occurrence of the now famous once in a millennia North Star radical blow over. For more information on North Star radical blow overs please click the following link. (This is the following link: ďFollowing linkĒ) For those of you who wish to avoid this somewhat superfluous information, please read on as we present the information on the invisible gear structures that aid in powering the Gydjamakoo in prime operating conditions. We also provide instructions on turning the Gydjamakoo off in less than prime conditions. Below you will find detailed instructions. Please follow them carefully. If you have any questions, please email us, and if weíre in the mood we may or may not get back to you.
In order to turn the switch off on the Gydjamakoo, go to the on/off icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen and click it.
And that my friends is how ďtheyĒ tell you how to shut off the switch on the Gydjamakoo. This self-elevating bullshit way of filling space is, in my mind, ridiculous. Here, following, are my instructions on turning the switch off on the Gydjamakoo.

LIARS: The interesting part here is that there is no single word antonym for the single word Liar. Does that mean there are no honest folks. The eighth commandment states: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, which interprets to: Ya shouldnít lie, ya know? That said, aside from the great power up there, what is the next greatest power down here? It is the government of course. Listen to them or watch them on the telly. And you tell me if theyíre all honest. Let us take two of the main challengers. Letís call them 1 and 2. Letís place them side by side on a stage. One to the left, the other to the right. And now letís wind up that little key jutting out of their backs. And let us let them speak. Weíll call their main organization the Union of Strategic Animosities. And we can call their subcultures the Ready and the Dexterous. Let us assign them colors. How about black and white. You choose which color goes with which subculture and which goes on the right and which goes on the left. It really all makes no never mind. Let us let them analyze the most recent worldly event. Let us call them, for ease, the Rís and the Dís. They begin. Heís not telling the truth, say the Rís. He speaks the gospel, say the Dís. He twists his opponents words, say the Dís. He says it as it is, say the Rís. Sheís a liar. Heís telling the truth. This is wrong. This is right. I have it in print. Whereís the paper? Canít show you. Wonít show you. Youíre despicable. Youíre an idiot. And now hereís the thing of it all. Is it possible for anyone to always tell the truth? Is it possible for anyone to always lie? As to the dilemma, is it at all possible, for us as civilians, without letting our prejudices get in the way, to really tell if it is the Readys or the Dexterouses who are lying? I think not. I think they both lie. But what do I know. The scenario I paint for you today is only make believe. Is it not?

SURVEYS: So what is a survey? If you look at something carefully and in depth, you are surveying it. And thatís okay. If you are examining a landís topography for purposes of, let us say, building a shopping mall or a residential area, thatís a survey and thatís okay too. If you are teaching a class in literature, and required reading for the week is William S. Burroughsí ďJunkyĒ (One of my favorite authors) and then, after the week has passed, you hand out a questionnaire asking your students to describe the troubles that lie within the protagonistís soul, that too is a survey and that too is okay. However, alas and alack, things have gone to extremes. Allow me to elucidate. Allow me to illuminate and explain and clarify. You go to the drug store. Your stomach is bothering you. You tell the druggist youíve got the craps and what can he do? He recommends a medicine. Then you go to the deli. Sopressata salami on onion rye with nothing else on it, you say. Itís your first visit so you willingly, and stupidly I might add, fill out a form giving them your email address. You are not aware, at this moment in time, that a salami sandwich and the craps doth not a good marriage make. You have other shopping to do. You buy some t-shirts on line. You order some other junk. All in all, youíve spent a good part of your day futzing around. And now itís noon. And the bombardments begin. You just visited our drug store. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were in our deli a little while ago. We were so so happy to serve you. Let us know how we did. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were just on line. You bought t-shirts. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were just on line. You bought this. You bought that. And then you bought more. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Good news folks. I will soon be sending you all a survey. Itís called how many of you love wasting your time on surveys? It will only take two minutes of your time. Or three. Not really much more than five. Please fill our survey out before you fill out the other surveys. We donít have the time here to fiddle away a half a day waiting while you do a million other surveys first. As to whether or not you have the time to fill out all these surveys, or as to whether or not youíre inclined to fill out these surveys, may we borrow and paraphrase a line from Clark Gable in order to say, frankly mídears, we donít give a damn.

IF THEY MADE HUMANS LIKE HUMANS MAKE COMPUTERS: I would be the first in line to present adulations to those who deserve it. I would also be the first in line to degrade and demean those inglorious bastards who try to sell us the new and improved versions of whatever it is theyíre selling. Let us take MS Word for example. Rather than progress, I think they are making every effort to make illiterates of us all. You used to click on File, and you would then get a drop down menu that enabled you to read that which it was you wanted to do, and then do it. Today you click on File, and you go to a new page that tells you what you did. Itís frivolous. I know what I did. There are no longer any directions to speak of. There are only icons. An icon to save. An icon for a font. An icon to insert a row. Who the hell needs language any longer? Hereís what the problem is. They need to show theyíre making improvements. They hire the new guy. Make changes, they tell him, or get out. So he makes what he considers to be advances. Instead of the word Save, he puts in an image of a floppy disc of days of yore. Great, says his boss. Weíll fool those dumb bastards out there who buy our stuff. Weíll make them think we invented something new. Weíll make them think weíve innovated. Hey, boss? How about if instead of saying Align Left, we make some image of various lines. Some of them aligning left. Some of them aligning right. Wonderful young man. Youíre an asset to the company. In your case we will not bother removing the et from asset. Ooh ooh. Yes? Instead of Print Preview and Print command, how about an image of a piece of paper with a magnifying glass on it. That should bewilder the dickens out of them. Oh Lord, says the boss, raising his eyes to the heavens. Thank you for sending me these geniuses. And thatís why Microsoft is trying to make illiterates of us all. Theyíre creating designs for the abysmally stupid, and theyíre even too stupid to make those designs simple. Of course, this is only my opinion. You are all welcome to disagree. Personally, I think Word has more add ons than I will probably ever need. Itís a bit like having a Designer in Chief decide to give us an extra arm behind our necks in order to enable us to more easily scratch our backs, and an extra set of eyes at our temples in order to put less a strain on our peripheral vision, and an extra hand at the base of our spines to make it easier for us to scratch our asses. M.S. is now making changes for those they think are the abysmally stupid in order to conceal their lack of progress in a maze of befuddlement. Bravo.

WHY CANíT A MAN? The answer to this weekís question lies in the last sentence. Today it is Brinkleyís pet peeve. Not mine. That said: Lesson number one. Everybody say, Oui Oui Monsieur. And say it with your best French accent. Okay. Now some instructions. When you hear me talking, simply listen. When you hear Brinkley talking, listen as though you could hear him speak with a French accent. That said, Brinkley is my dog. We walk around the block 4 times a day. Each trip is a half a mile. I can walk it in about 12 minutes or so. With Brinkley however, itís a different story. It takes a bit longer. We walk along. He suddenly strains at the leash. He speaks with a French accent. One moment please papa, he says to me. Loulou was here. Wait wait. I must smell each blade of grass. Ah, that Loulou. She is something else, I tell you. Come here papa. Bend down. Sniff that. She made her wee-wee here. Ah, the aroma. It is like perfume, wafting through the air. Ooh la la. Okay okay. Stop pulling on my leash. Iím coming. Bye bye Loulou. Oh. Wait papa. Look. Inhale. Mimi was just here. Oh. I am dizzy with excitement. That Mimi, when she leaves her doo-doo on the ground, I get a little crazy. Oh, her scent. Her spoor. Her magnificent fragrance. Smell that papa. And that. And that. Loulou and Mimi and ZsiZsi and FrouFrou. They have all come here to leave there deposits especially for me. I cannot stop papa. I smell them here. I smell them there. I simply smell them everywhere. Their fragrances are all over the place. Their bouquets are like flowers in the meadows. And when I meet one papa, oh, I tell you, I do not know where my nose will go next. Lift up your tail, ZsiZsi. Oh I tell you, roses and tulips, all in one. And you LouLou, lift up you leg. Oh. Ooh. I am going to faint. Daffodils and daisies and gardenias and lilies Ö all in the doorways leading to the excrements of my favorite womans. Aieee. Magnifique. Non? You want to sniff some, papa? Non? That is too bad. That is truly too bad. I have a question for you papa. Why canít a man be more like a dog?

MUSIC. Okay okay. This is not really a Pet Peeve. Itís more a bit of an observation and an explanation to all to whom, through the years, I have proclaimed that I do not like music. This is only a partial truth. It is a total truth as it pertains to some of what I hear today which I consider however, not to be music, but rather noise. But if I hearken back to my younger times, Teresa Brewer, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, The Big Bopper Ö that music I enjoyed as did many of my peers. My favorite of that era was Johnny Cash. Number two was Teresa Brewer. All the rest followed. Except for one. And that one was the leader of the pack for having introduced me, though a tad obliquely, to classical music. So hereís the question. How many of you who enjoyed the same era of music as I did, also enjoyed immersing themselves into classical music as I did? My answer for all of you, skeptics and mockers alike, is that you all enjoyed classical music, perhaps unbeknownst even to yourselves. Well, hereís a tidbit or two which some of you may know. Shall we start with Beethoven? A quick digression. I was a ham radio operator in my youth. I had to know Morse-code. The sound, as verbalized in code, for the letter V is: di-di-di-dah. The opening notes for Beethovenís Fifth Symphony are: di-di-di-dah. Interesting, eh wot. But Iíve got a better one. How many of you remember Neil Diamond? How many of you remember a song of his entitled ďSong Sung Blue?Ē Let us now segue to Mozart. How many of you remember hearing the second movement of Mozartís Piano Concerto #21? For those of you who do not know the Mozart piece but do know the Neil Diamond piece, I would urge you to listen to the Concerto. One is derivative of the other. The concerto is eerily similar to Song Sung Blue. It is, in fact, so eerily similar that you would have to begin to think that the possibility exists that Neil Diamond took Song Sung Blue from Mozartís Concerto #21. For those of you who think that, you are right for even Neil admits that that is the source of his song. So all of you who loved and love the music of the 50ís and 60ís and even early 70ís, and especially those of you who loved Neil Diamond, to you I say you were classical music aficionados, whether you knew it or not. And so voila!

4/1/2020:THE BIGGEST SELLING COMMODITY IN AMERICA. So hereís the question. What do you think is or was the biggest selling commodity in this country? Keep in mind that the answer is always in flux. In my humble opinion, it used to be fear. Are you afraid? Buy this pill, says the man dressed in a white coat. Are you afraid? Research has it that one pill a day will prevent your ass from falling off. Are you afraid? Rub this on your skin, says the pretty lady with ruby red lips, and all blemishes will disappear. Want your hair to grow back, eat this. Want to stop those nasty headaches, drink that. Want to regain the memory abilities of your youth, rub this into your ear, which our scientists have proven, is the direct path to your brain. Want to leap buildings in a single bound? Want to be able to read minds? Want to run faster than a speeding locomotive while wearing a big S on your chest? Want to eradicate this? Want to conquer that? Want all your worries to disappear? What to achieve financial security? Want to attract beautiful women? Want to attract handsome men? Want your bad breath to disappear? Want your feet to smell like perfume? Want your friends to stop making fun of you over your abysmal ignorance? Want to get a medical diploma and get your doctorate while youíre sleeping? Yes yes, folks. All this is possible. Just buy Doctor Benjaminís magic elixir and all your fears will be gone forever. Alas dear readers, fear is no longer the leader of the pack. Itís something else. Something far more nefarious. It is the trick used by this side to unite its followers in their efforts to conquer the other side. Many have used it, history has shown, quite successfully. How do you conquer the enemy, whether that enemy is right or wrong? What commodity do you use to turn the otherwise peaceful and lackadaisical into your allies who will join you in your mighty efforts? Easy peasy my friends. Use the most influential commodity ever sold to humans since the beginning of time. Use Hate.

OH WE MUST. WE JUST MUST. First: A paraphrase from my mother. We escaped from Belgium shortly before Hitler invaded and occupied the country. We traveled into France, after having borrowed some money, in a covered wagon, and then, via circuitous routes, made to America. After that my mother used to say there are only two ways you can tell who your true friends are. During a war, and when in need of money. I now proceed. We have all experienced this, I am sure. You meet someone as they meet you. Polite conversation ensues. It is eminently apparent to any onlooker that this meeting was not made in heaven. And yet you both smile, seemingly delighted that fortune has favored each of you with this meeting. And when itís over, you both fall over yourselves saying we must get together one day soon. Yes yes. We must. I for one cannot wait. Which, as everyone knows, is all a pile of camel droppings. Till one fine day, COVID-19 pops into our existence, and America is at war. Bad for humanity perhaps, a boon for the media. We must all be kind to each other, says this one. We must help the elderly, says that one. All this while Amazon allows its vendors to charge $600.00 for a bottle of Purell. Altruism has taken hold. Humanity among humans is making a resurgence. Is it not? You are one day taking a stroll down the street. The angels burst forth. Oh hello. How are you? If you need help, please please call me right away. And then theyíre gone. No number exchanges. No further conversation. You will be required to use telepathy if you need assistance.You stroll on. You meet another altruist. They abound. Call me if you need help. Give me your cell number and I will text you as soon as I get home in order to give you my cell number in order that you may be able to reach me if you need me. I do, however, have neighbors who text me with their numbers. I do have neighbors who tell me when they were going out shopping to see if I needed anything. They are the rare ones? You must call if you need us. Good guys to the end. Some humans, thanks to COVID-19, indeed do have a modicum of humanity imbued into their souls. Who woulda thunk it? And yet, at night, when I walk Brinkley, I carry a lead plumbing pipe swathed in black tape for invisibility Ö just in case. Altruism you see, is only diurnal. Not to worry though. Daylight is only a few hours away. And humans will always be there. Call them if you need them. Tell them we must get together. As soon as possible would be good. But not now. Later perhaps.

DOES CRIME PAY? This is not so much a peeve as it is an observation to a question that once came up. As most of you, if not all of you know, I was once in the jewelry business. Retired now in order to pursue that which does not pay my rent, but rather that which soothes my soul. Itís a heady endeavor. What I suspect many of you do not know is that there a quite a few more than just a few who were once policemen, now retired and doing work in the jewelry business. Policemen are ideal for jewelers. Not only do they have carry-licenses which allows them to keep their handguns on them, but they also have the training and know-how as to how to use them should the need arise. They are in demand in our industry as guards and delivery people and overseers. When jewelry has to be taken from here to there, there is no better qualified person to take it to its destination than a retired policeman. I have met quite a few of them when I was still working. They were all nice guys with a good sense of humor. And so it came to pass that one day, more as a spoof than anything else, that I asked one of them, ďHey Joe. Does crime pay?Ē Before I give you his answer, Iíll dash off some approximate statistics of those that get away with it. Murder = 40%. Aggravated assault = 50%. Rape = 65%. Robbery = 70%. Larceny = 80%. Automobile theft = 86%. Burglary = 86%. And so Joe, with a slight shrug of his shoulders while looking at me as though I were something of a demented imbecile, said: ďOf course it pays. Why do you think so many people are doing it?Ē And he then plopped his package on my desk, sat himself down in order that he and I might have a bit of a chit-chat before he went on his merry way. His name wasnít Joe, but he and I remained buds for a while. Joe was a font of information.

ADVICE FROM ONLINE STOCK MARKETERS: This article precludes personal advisors, some of whom are quite good. That said: Anybody out there like playing Russian Roulette? Itís a little like playing regular Roulette only you use a gun with bullets in all the chambers but one instead of spinning a wheel while all the while hoping the little white ball will land on your number. Which brings me to advice given online, at often not so nominal a cost, at times followed by ad bombardment, to would be investors as they hope those guys, who know more than they do, will help them amass a fortune. My feeling is this: If those guys knew how to amass a fortune, why would they spend their time trying to help you amass one? Altruism, like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Mickey Mouse and all the rest of the gang, are, in my mind at least, figments of the imagination that gained popularity because they appeal to dreams. In reality, you chase after that gazelle and gnaw at its throat till it dies and then eat its gizzards out till youíre sated. So how are these guys able to show you stocks they say they picked and show you the amazing growth they had? Easy peasy. I conjecture that they work backwards. They put one of the workers on it. Tell him to pick one or two hundred well performing stocks and print out their history and get that report on my desk in one hour or your ass is grass and Iím the lawnmower. And then, presto gasatz, the report is there. And you can pick the one stock for this weekís issue, RTZ&Q, that started ten years at one dollar per share and is now five hundred and sixty two dollars per share. Thatís over five hundred percent folks. If you had bought one thousand shares, as did one of our clients, they say, youíd be able to retire today. Our man started at the age of nine and retired at nineteen years of age and now lives on a South Seas island being fanned by half naked women while sipping on a Pina Colada. If you want success in life, sign up for our newsletter. Sign up now. We know what you donít know. We know that we donít know, and that is what you donít know.

FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE: Hopefully, for those who are not yet there, you are all going to get old. It happens. When you were young you always said, ďCan I have one please?Ē That phrase changed when you got older. And now you always say, ďI can remember when.Ē And thatís how it is for me today. I can remember when: I used to go into a store and all the prices were clearly labeled. I can remember when: I turned on the telly and when the ads came on all the prices were clear for all to see. Today itís a tad different. I admit I never tried this out. But I can extrapolate, can I not? The ad comes on. A pretty young thing holds up a Gizmotrite. It will drive your car, flush your toilet, wipe your ass, sweep your floors, cook dinner, and give you all the sex you could ever want. The price, if you buy within the next 30 seconds Ö only $19.99, shipping included. But for you, especially for you, because we like you so much, because we revere the very ground upon which you walk, for you we will give you a second one for free. Yessiree Babaloo. Absolutely free! No extra charge. Not another red cent. Not a farthing or a franc or a pfennig more. Just pay a separate fee. Hunh? A separate fee, you say? How much is that extra fee? You donít mention it. Oh, I have to call to find out how much it is? Surely you jest, you dimwitted troll. Anybody out there remember Diogenes? He was a Greek philosopher best known for holding a lantern up to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was looking for an honest man. Ya think he ever found one? Ya think if he lived today, heíd ever find one? Methinks not me lads and lassies. But hereís the thing. Iím going to be selling lanterns soon. Buy one, get the next one free. Only a teeny weenie extra charge for handling. Step right up folks. Get yer lanterns from Honest Benjamin. Step right up. itís free. And the moon, of course, is made of green cheese.

WHEN THE PAST IS THE PRESENT: Okay folks. Play along. Imagine if you will, that Alex has not yet been born but in spite of that, texting is rampant among the colonies. Your fingers, though a bit worn at the nubs, are lightening fast. Hey Carole. Donít forget to bring home some potatoes. Your fingers fly. Yo Jimbo. Thereís a good flic at the Zoombah movie house. John Smythe is the star. And now you wait for an interminable answer. What if their texting gadgets are not turned on? And so you wait for the invention of the century to do its thing. What would the world do without texting? And then, as if often happens, a child is born. His name is Alex. Heís a tinkerer first class. At six months old heís solving 100 piece jigsaw puzzles. By the time heís one year old, he can do 1000 piece puzzles in less than an hour. Heís a genius. And he grows up. Heís no longer called Alex. He now calls himself Alexander. He rarely comes out of his basement. Till one day a scream emanates from deep within the caverns of his house. Eureka, he yells out to the world. And they all come running in droves. What did that Alexander Graham Bell invent this time? Oh my god. Itís a telephone. We donít have to text anymore. We can call and get immediate answers. Ah. If only it had been that way. Texting would be out the window. I wouldnít have to wait for my lady to tell me if she still loves me. I could call her and speak to her live. Alas Ö too often the order of things come out inverted. And so we text ad infinitum because we always had the telephone.

2/12/2020: SEARCHES: Ah Ö the Internet. Ya gotta love it. They have the answers to everything. Anyone our there remember a radio show called The Answer Man. He was like the Web, only in human form, and more direct. What color is that planet, you asked The Answer Man. He told you it was purple. Go to the web and ask the same question and what you get is insanity. Here are some answers they give you: The planet is actually about as bright as Uranus is on a clear day in August because it is about 800 million miles away from Pluto. Click this link to read more. It is primarily the color of the frozen lava at midnight because thatís what itís mostly made up of. Click this link to read more. Perceivably, the planet has no visible seas and most of the land areas are dark green. Click this link to read more. It has overall a light terrain that mimics chalk. Click this link to read more. Take a photo of the planet with a good camera lens and then boost the saturation till you bring out the true colors. Click this link to read more. I sigh with sadness. Ask a simple question, they give you everything but that which you want to know. All the above are good. But only after weíre told that the color of the planet is blue. Simplicity and directness, it would appear, has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Helpppp!

2/12/2020:ANSWERING MACHINES: Itís time to call tech support. You dial the number. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. We really appreciate your call. At the end of this message you will be invited to participate in a short survey. Press one if you want to participate. Press two if you donít want to participate. Press three if weíre annoying the crap out of you. Press four if you want to speak to tech support. And so you press four. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. We canít tell you how much we appreciate your interest. Press one if youíre a home user. Press two if youíre a business. Press three if weíre annoying the crap out of you. And so you press one. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. And so you yell out, give me a representative. And someone finally gets on the phone. Gooot moornink. Tank yow so mooch for callinkeh. You canít understand the accent. You barely understand the words. Give me an American, you say. Yes sir. One moment please. Click. Dial tone. And now you have to start over. Remember when we were young and an operator got on the phone and simply said may I help you sir?

2/5/2020:NO CHECKS: You want something. You want to subscribe perhaps. Checks you ask? Oh no. No no no. No checks accepted. No no. That wonít do. Credit cards only. We canít rip you off with checks, you see. But you can cancel anytime with your credit card. You have but to try it. And good luck to ya. Stonehearted? Ruthless? Us? Oh please. Benevolence is our middle name. Oh yes. Itís true. Of course. We would never make canceling difficult for you. Gift cards you say? So sorry. Also no. Well sometimes maybe. When our people are off guard perhaps. I extrapolate here folks as Iíve never paid for subscriptions with a credit card though I have, upon occasion, paid with gift cards. Safer that way. When it comes to renewables, only checks for me you see. This way I can renew whenever I want. Whether they like it or not. As to the credit card only companies? One small word of advice when you see one. Run. Run for your lives before they snag you.

1/29/2020:CORPORATE HONESTY: You ever call to complain? You ordered a this, and they sent you a that which they renamed with the same name as the this. But I bought a that, you say. This is a that, they say. But itís not a that. You start to raise your voice. And he or she goes into his or her spiel. Within his or her first five words you try to interrupt. He or she is not addressing your issue. But you canít. Itís clear. He or she is reading from a script. You have no chance to speak your piece. He or she has no interest in what you have or want to say. I have a real life example. LUMINA. Eye drops from Bausch and Lomb. Comes in two sizes. 2.5 ml and 7.5 ml. I know. I use the stuff. Boxes look exactly the same, except for small print at the bottom. How am I supposed to read that, you ask the operator who is expressing her deep distress over your dilemma while all the while you know she couldnít give a ratís ass if you lived or died. How am I supposed to know how much is in there? Thereís a picture on the carton telling you how much liquid is in the bottle, she tells you. But the bottle is opaque, you tell her. How do I know youíre telling the truth. Oh please sir. We always tell the truth. We, corporate America, never practice deception. Never you hear. Never! Never! Never!

1/22/2020:BOOKS FOR DUMMIES: I bought one the other day because I was unable to find--at the moment that I needed it-- a different publisher on the topic I wanted. I did find one later. There's much to be said about the perils of impatience. That aside, perhaps it would have been better if they called it Books For First Class Schmucks. I have trouble imagining a world that identifies itself with those titles. Yeah yeah. Gimme one. I'm an idiot. Here. Certification from the state avowing to my stupidity. Ta rah rah boom dee yay, I'm just a putz today . . .

1/15/2020:MICROSOFT: Microsoft, it has been said, is going to place a notice on all computers using windows 7, on Janaury 15, whether you want it or not, reminding, urging, even threatening one and all to upgrade to windows 10 or buy a new computer that uses windows 10, the hell with whether or not you either want or can afford to do so. Never mind the fact that about 42% of users are still using windows 7 and some are still using XP. What a financial landfall for Microsoft. Of course, there is no easy remedy. I, for one, would NEVER, EVER, urge one and all, numbering I presume to be the millions, to inundate Microsoft with emails and texts and chats protesting their invasive actions, for that would be barging into their space much as they barge into yours. So be told. Do NOT text. Do NOT email. Do NOT inundate their chats. Do NOT give them back what they gave you. That would not be fair. Would it? Or would it?

1/08/2020: INITIALS. The world, in my mind, has gone mad. Are they conserving on using letters of the alphabet to spell out whole words? Are they worried that eventually the allotted usage of letters will run out and they will then no long be able to write another sentence? They tell you nothing. They know, so they expect you to know too. The LMN of the QRS is lying dormant upon a TUV as the WTH writes his script on an XYZ form. Are they kidding? I need an Initial Dictionary to figure out what the hell those idiots are saying!