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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: 6/16/2021:

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.



STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK'S PET PEEVE



PAST PET PEEVES

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?

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!