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Friday, April 29, 2016



     Dateline: Somers, NY- It was all over the local news: two bobcats spotted in Granite Springs. Actually, if they were spotted, they were probably leopards. But there they were, standing in somebody's yard, not "Photoshopped," except maybe a little touch-up around the thigh gap. Should we be frightened? Should we be taking some sort of action? Should Trump build a wall to keep them out?

     The answer is that rarely, throughout history, have we as a people had cause to be afraid of anything named "Bob." I've had a catload of cats over the years, by the name of Gooey, Pookie, Crusty, Bitey and Porkchop  I never thought to call a cat Bob, but I'll certainly give it some thought. The article didn't say if the bobcat was a tomcat.

     I've owned four cats at one time, and actually, the proper term for that is a "clowder" of cats. Don't confuse it with a "chowder" of New England clams or you'll overpay at the restaurant. I once went to a meeting of the B.P.W.N.G.A.I.T.N.A.R., or the Board of People Who Name Groups of Animals Indiscriminate Things for No Apparent Reason, and I found their process very interesting. It went like this:
"I move that we heretofore refer to a group of ferrets as a 'fesnyng.'"
"And what is the reason for that?"
"No reason, other than the obvious."
"Okay, well, it sounds good to us."
I was escorted out by security when I tried to suggest that a group of gnus be called a "newspaperful."

     Anyway, as a public service, I've done a little research on the lynx rufus, which is Latin for "bobcat." I took Latin in middle school, erroneously thinking that it might help my salsa dancing, so I am qualified to use the official terminology. Is the bobcat dangerous? Absolutely- I'm allergic to cats. If one of these things gets cat hairs all over me I'm going to sneeze 20 times in a row.

     I read that the bobcat prefers to eat bunnies, and so do I (reminder: Easter is coming up). In the absence of other food sources, they will hunt insects. Do you really need to hunt for insects? You could just come over to our house and leave the door open for five minutes. And that's just to let some of the insects OUT who are tired of the overcrowding.

     We have a great selection: three sizes of ants. Spiders, you can order with hairy legs or without. Stink bugs of course, which we are trying to re-brand as a litter-box freshener. We have silverfish, which cover more than one food category I guess. Any bobcat who wants to come over to "hunt" bugs is welcome, and we will include your choice of soup or salad.

     My research did not turn up any information on who named the cat "Bob" in the first place, but it was probably a caveman's wife.
"You know who that thing looks like, with those weird whiskers that stick out the side? Your Uncle Bob. The one who could never hold a job."
"What do you mean he can't hold a job? My Uncle Bob is a workaholic!"
"Yeah, meaning he always showed up to work drunk."
Sometimes it seems like we haven't evolved that much at all. By the way, if you do chance upon a "clowder" of cats, it is probably due to a "plethora" of tunafish sandwiches. 

Friday, April 22, 2016



     In modern day Somers, most people celebrate Leap Day by resetting their calendar watches. Many don't realize that leap year as we know it was recognized way back in the time of the ancient Egyptians. By ancient, I'm talking about Egyptians who were 64 years old. They were angry that those who were born the same year, on what we now call February 29th, were having their "sweet sixteen" parties.

     That's because the time it takes for the Earth to rotate on its own axis is in no way connected to the time it takes for the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun. Julius Caesar, in consultation with astronomers, instituted a yearly calendar that ran 365.25 days. He took one year, 46 B.C., and declared that it would be 445 days long, to make up for all the leap years that had been previously missed. He used the extra days to invent a salad that has anchovies in it, so no, he did not manage his time wisely in my opinion.

     You might be thinking that people seemed to have a lot of extra time on their hands back then, to be making all these observations, and you would be correct. They went to sleep on February 28th and woke up with the realization that they had an extra 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to play with, and binge-watching "Orange is the New Black" had not been invented yet. In fact, back then, "black" was the new black.

     What I would like to know is, why can't they just make each second a little longer? A second is made up of milliseconds, right? And each millisecond is a million seconds, right? No? This may be a good time to point out that I scored a 425 on my math SAT. But the point I'm trying to make is that you could divide the amount of time left over each year by the number of days in the year, and just add it to each day. You could also add some tonic water and a jigger and a half of gin. Then the whole thing wouldn't seem so important.

     Or we could just take that extra almost six hours, and do some of the crap that we just haven't found time to do during the year. My wife is always after me to clean out that little box where she puts all the stray things that most wives would simply throw out and then lie about it later. There are things in it like one shoelace, which I store there on the off chance that I lose one shoe, and the lace to the one I still have breaks. In the bottom of the box are also a bunch of screws that I will use to put back together that thing that I took apart, if I can remember what it was. When my wife adds one to the box, she is happy to point out that I have another screw loose.

     There are a lot of business cards in this box, but a business card is something that is only useful if someone happens to hand it to you at the exact time you need it. Otherwise it goes into that little box until you're in the market for a service performed by a friend of a friend of a friend that he met while in prison. Nowadays business cards are less important anyway, since people just go to that website where professionals get in touch with each other, I think it's called "Tinder."

     I have another fantastic idea, in case you rate the above ideas as only "great." Add the 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to New Years Day. That way, when I'm hung over, I can dig down into the bottom of that box, find those screws, and put that damn thing back together, whatever the hell it was. That reminds me to mix myself a screwdriver.

Friday, April 15, 2016



     President's Day has come and gone, and I'm embarrassed to say, I barely noticed, since I didn't need a new car. America commemorates its important historical figures as always, by seeing how much they can grease the wheels of commerce. And this year, once again, it was proven that Abraham Lincoln can sell more Lincolns than Gerald Ford can sell Fords.

     President's Day used to be called Washington's Birthday, and fell on February 22nd. Then somebody pointed out that he may have been born on February 11th, since the Julian calendar was used when he was born, back in England. The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar, as a way to skip over all the boring holidays and get right to the ones that involve candy.

     Then Abraham Lincoln came along and threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings by freeing all the slaves and reuniting the country. His birthday was on February 12th, and so we compromise by throwing a party when it's NOBODY's birthday, this year on February 15th. They changed the holiday to President's Day, since some other presidents also celebrate birthdays during the year.

     So that leaves it pretty much up to you to decide which president you would like to celebrate on President's Day. Maybe you would extol President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who once said, "The world is more like it is now then it ever has before." Or what about Warren G. Harding, who once admitted, "I don't seem to grasp that I am president." Perhaps George H.W. Bush is your cup of tea. He once theorized that "if a frog had wings, he wouldn't hit his tail on the ground." No one had the heart to ask him what would happen if a frog had a tail.

    These days, President's Day is just an excuse for car dealerships to have a "sales event." No one wants to get caught selling a motorized vehicle during something that isn't an "event," so expect some excitement if you are car shopping.

"So, are we looking for a car today?"
"No, I just wanted to be part of an event. This just looks like a car dealership showroom, not an event."
"What do you call that over there?"
"That is a red balloon."
"The idiots from Hyundai snatched up all the blue and white ones, even though their cars are Japanese. Now we just look like communists. But look over there- it's a picture of George Washington!"
"It's wallet-sized. Tell you what, if I can eat most of that candy over there, I'll hang around and make this place look festive."
"I think you and I have a deal, but I'll have to talk it over with my manager...."

     President's Day used to be a day that department stores would hold something called a "white sale." I'm not sure exactly what went on at a white sale, but thank god you don't hear about them much anymore. If they had one today, Al Sharpton would protest it, Beyonce would sing at it, the Oscars would nominate it and Donald Trump would build a wall around it.

     If we ever have two more presidents in the future that we can be somewhat proud of (it's not looking promising so far), maybe we could hold their birthdays on the same date and unite the two parties once and for all. Would it be a democratic party or a republican party? I don't know the answer, but I can make an educated guess that we're never going to have our cake and eat it too, so we might might as well just make a wish and blow out the candles. And remember, as President George Bush the senior once said, "Please just don't look at the part of the glass, the part that is only less than half full."

Friday, April 8, 2016



     Last Sunday was Valentine's Day, and I celebrated the way most men do, by waking up and finding out, to my surprise, that it was Valentine's Day. Then I had to figure out a way to slip out of the house and forage for some sort of a gift. I know you're thinking that I should have just made her breakfast in bed, but someone like me could burn down the house trying to cook eggs and bacon in the middle of a waterbed.

     So I slipped out to the store after leaving a note that said I was walking the dog. What should I get? Flowers is a traditional choice, a way of saying, "I pledge my undying love for you with something that will be dead in three days."  A box of chocolates? The gift that says, "Honey, I will love you even if you gain ten pounds. Fifteen will probably be pressing your luck. By the way, are you going to eat all of those?"

     Lingerie is nice, but it tends to highlight an inverse proportion that is not so romantic, which is: The More Uncomfortable a Woman Is, The Better Men Think She Looks. You only have to look at the invention of high heels to know that that is true. They are only comfortable when walking up a 45-dgree incline.

     Maybe I should I just get a card? Naturally, they are all out of Valentine's cards. I think about buying some red construction paper, glitter, paste and a doily, and making my own like I did when I was in the third grade. I gave one to my teacher, of course. It seemed inappropriate to get her lingerie. I found out that it is harder to find a doily these days than you would think. Finally I found a sympathy card. Anyone who knows me would find it more than appropriate that I got my wife a sympathy card on Valentine's day. The card said, "Getting through this day is easier when you have someone to share your loss with." I crossed out "loss" and wrote in "candy." Then I picked up some candy.

     Perhaps love was never defined better than in Paul's letter to the Corinthians in the Bible. He didn't mention which particular Corinthians he was addressing when he wrote the letter, but I think we can all assume it was to those Corinthians who woke up forgetting it was Valentine's Day. Paul was an apostle, although not one of the "twelve apostles." I don't know much about the Bible, but I know a lot about the Beatles, and I'm guessing he was like the Pete Best of apostles.

     Anyway, in this epistle from an apostle he writes, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Love seems to be the exact opposite of Donald Trump, now that I think of it.

     On the way to the car I realized that I should have brought the dog along since I was supposed to be walking her, and already my Valentine's Day was starting out based on a web of lies and deceit. So I picked up some more candy, and also got a card for the dog.

Friday, April 1, 2016



     Last Sunday we had a party at our house so we could all tune in for The Big Game. I'm talking about The Super Bowl, but I can't use the words "Super Bowl" since they are now trademarked. I can't use the word "Super" and I can't use the word "Bowl." I can still use the word "The," so whenever I say the word, "The," you'll know I'm talking about "The Super Bowl." Which I shouldn't have said, and might in trouble for. That's why every commercial calls it "The Big Game," at least until somebody comes along and trademarks "The Big Game."

     The singing of the National Anthem is now bigger than "The Big Game" itself. Everyone feels they have to create a masterpiece and have a self-branding moment. The first two syllables have already scaled three octaves and my eyes are rolling into the back of my head. Ten minutes later the bombs are still bursting in air. By the way, who is the military genius who authorized the bombing of AIR, for god's sake? The Star-Spangled Banner is already a hard song with a high failure rate, but there they go ramping up the degree of difficulty so that the rest of us don't stand a chance. And now people who can't sing are trying to pole vault up to places they should not be. Did you ever see a Christmas tree with so much crap on it that you can't even see the tree??

     At the end of the anthem there is a dramatic flyover by Navy fighter jets in tight formation, I guess to disabuse anyone of any further notion of attacking the air. I wouldn't want to be flying one of those planes, since I have all kinds of allergies, and I have a sneezing attack while I'm in the car and I have to drive with my knees. When I got my new car I didn't realize that the cruise control "resume" button was on the bottom of the steering wheel. So now as I drive past the elementary school in the middle of my sneezing attack the car accelerates to 57 miles per hour.

     What I'm allergic to in the car remains a mystery. I know I'm allergic to cats, but the cat is not allowed to drive my car- what he does in my wife's car is his own business. The cat sneezes as much as I do, so he might be allergic to cats also.

     Finally they have the coin toss, which is this huge goofy-looking coin that couldn't possibly fit into a soda machine even if it was an emergency. Joe Namath shows up to toss the coin, wearing a fur coat so large that it could have won a separate Academy Award for The Revenant. The phrase "Academy Award" is also trademarked, by the way, and I just received a "cease and desist" letter.

     Anyway they played the game, I guess, it was kind of a snorefest. There was a lot of blowback about Eli Manning up in the skybox making a pouty face while his brother was down there winning his second Super Bowl. But anyone who watches the Giants on a regular basis knows that that is his normal expression: angst and bewilderment mixed with abject frustration, so don't read too much into it.

     While all this is going on we are trying to have this party at my house. For halftime, I heard they had some musical guests at the stadium, but the real excitement was our famous traditional volcano eruption. The volcano is about a foot tall made of paper mache. It's an imposing sight, not like the one in your fifth grade science class, where you mixed baking soda and vinegar together. Ingredients like that are more likely to result in a muffin than a volcano. For ours we use this orange powder that you can't even get in a hobby shop anymore, probably because people kept burning down their houses making paper mache volcanoes. I add a little gunpowder to the cocktail, and Somers Fire Marshall, you did NOT hear that.