Monday, January 30, 2017

A Future Sales Pitch

For many years now, the banks have been sending credit cards in the mail. You’ve been preapproved for a loan, of course, or so they say in the beginning. You really haven’t, you see, until you respond and the bank has run a credit check on you, to see if you’re worthy of their trust. Then, you might receive a credit card with a ridiculously low credit limit on it, just enough to bait you into seeking a higher one.
It used to be, back when interest rates weren’t so low and the banks were making money, it was easier to get a loan. You’d get all gussied up in your best suit and, God forbid, shine your shoe before going to see a loan officer and do your best impressing him or her with your trustworthiness for using some of their money. How well a person presented himself , the pride he took in his appearance, clearly had a bearing on the officer’s decision.
Not anymore. Most people have forgotten how to dress properly; most couldn’t tie a knot in a tie for the life of them. Others couldn’t fathom the process of shining their shoes – after all, you really can’t shine a pair of sneakers.
This change in grooming habits of the average American hasn’t stopped the banks from devising ways to do business with you. Banks and companies with products to sell have lost sleep dreaming up ways to put those products right into your home, short of dropping them in your mailbox personally. What if the  credit industry should take the bull by the horns and, instead of sending the means to buy, just go ahead and send the merchandise.
Imagine coming home from work, or the unemployment line, wherever you spend your day these days, to find a brand new La-Z Boy recliner sitting right where your old La-Z Boy recliner used to sit.
“Say,” you say to your wife (or whomever you’re sharing space with these days), “where did the brand-spanking new La-Z Boy recliner come from, dear (or whomever).”
“The nice people at the furniture store dropped it off this afternoon,” dear says. “Isn’t is lovely?”
“Oh, yeah, it’s a beauty,” you say, “But who told the furniture store to deliver the lovely La-Z Boy recliner?”
“Nobody. They just figured it was time you had a new one.”
“They did, did they? And did they figure how we are going to pay for the lovely La-Z Boy recliner?”
“Oh, don’t worry about a thing, dear. The store said they have taken care of everything. They were so wonderful. They arranged to have the payments removed from your social security check every month Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Yeah, I’ll say,” you say.
There are, as you know, many products that can be bought in such a way. I don’t think I’d want to be in the room when my wife opens a surprise package of women’s undergarments shipped from Frederick’s of Hollywood. That should not be considered a part of a successful marketing strategy.
But, what if you arrived home one day to find a brand new car sitting in your driveway, perhaps a real spiffy one like a 2017 BMW 1055 Gran Torino, msrp about $100,000. Or maybe a 2017 Cadillac CTS Sport Sedan, selling for circa 60,000 balloons. Lying in the front seat you discover an envelope addressed to CARSORT 2017 DQ – Occupant, which, sad to say, is you. You rip open the envelope to find a form letter that reads:
“An exhaustive  credit analysis conducted by our firm revealed to us that you do not owe enough money. We have, therefore, chosen you to become the proud owner of this incredibly aesthetic, totally ergonomic, richly designed automobile.
“To save you the hassle of acquiring ownership of this fine ride - and ain’t it a beauty, sir? – we have extracted a nominal down payment from your savings account. This extraction was an amount your exhaustively researched financial portfolio indicates you can easily afford, provided, of course, you are not planning a withdrawal anytime in the near future.
“As a further service to you, sir, we have taken the liberty of registering this great set of wheels  - and it truly is a beauty, isn’t it, sir? – in your name at the department of motor vehicles in your state of residence. You will find the registration fee on your credit card statement tagged DMV fee. On a personal note, please observe the personalized vanity plates already attached to the vehicle, which we are confident you will drive with pride. The cost of the plates and associated fees have been added to your water bill.
“Listen up! Should you choose to reject our kind offer, dial the above 900 number anytime between the hours of three and five a.m. on Saturday or Sunday morning; ask for the Phantom. Following the receipt of your call, we will initiate the necessary procedures to repossess this, the slickest automobile in the world today, from your premises. You have three days, including yesterday, to make this most important decision.
“Additionally, a refusal to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the proud owner of this precision-built dandy, you will be liable for towing charges plus the cost of the totally over-priced vanity plates and, oh yeah, the smiley faces on the mirrors, which were added at our expense. Also, it will be your responsibility to notify the DMV and pay any transfer fees.
“Also, it will be your responsibility to contact our attorneys at your expense to arrange an equitable reimbursement to us for the inconvenience of wasting our time on you. If, however, we do not hear from you, your first interest payment is due the day after tomorrow.

“Sincerely, your good buddies at Movers and Shakers Merchandisers Inc. Somewhere Off Shore, USA!”

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Making America Great Again

I was browsing through the Breitbart website and ran across an article that got my goat.

Apparently, Kellogg's (yes, the breakfast food people, among other things) have been contributing beaucoup bucks to the likes of George Soros for the purpose of gunning down policemen.

According to the article, Kellogg's is contributing heavily to Soros' Open Society Institute and the Tide Center, organizations that spread hatred across the USA thru groups like Black Lives Matter. It seems these race baiters believe an Open Society is one without white cops in it. Soros reportedly spent $30 million to foment the riots in Ferguson, Mo. Thirty million dollars to cause problems. What an asshole!

Just WTF is this old, white Hungarian SOB doing coming to this country and causing problems? We all know he is, or was anyway, a huge Hillary fan. He obviously was hoping for a Hillary win, as were so many others of his ilk. I wonder if the Clinton defeat means we've seen the end of the Clintons and the likes of George Soros, etal? Be nice wouldn't it? But my guess is they'll lay low and continue to cause problems from the shadows. With the Democrat media to whitewash every move, what is there to lose? Unless, of course, our wishy-washy Congress gets some backbone and enacts legislation that will put guys like Soros and his ilk in jail. Let's face it, if the government wants to put an end to something, all it has to do is pass a law that makes illegal. Consider the RICO statutes that put an end to the mafia. (Yeah, I know it's still lurking in the shadows somewhere, but it's not operating in the open like it used to). What if Congress put out a similar law? Call it JARBS - Jail All Race Baiting Scum. Make the law say all the race baiters have to do show the characteristics of fomenting racial intolerance. Just like with RICO. All gangsters needed to do was become involved in activities that looked like they were involved in illegality and/or corruption. Bingo, they were hit with RICO, and most of the mafioso boys ended up in the hoosegow.

Gangsters and people who start riots and kill cops are all terrorists of sorts. Gangsters stole from people, beat up people, killed people, stole people's businesses. Big difference between the groups was the race baiters want to kill cops, the mafia wanted them on their side.

You might think it's unconstitutional to throw people in the hoosegow on supposition, and you might be right. There are a lot of good lawyers that would agree with you. Rudy Guiliani was attorney general when the RICO act was passed and he used it to put a lot of bad guys in the hoosegow. But I've heard Guiliani say RICO was not constitutional, but it got the job done. Perhaps a similar law could put an end to the depredations of people like Soros and his ilk. Very few have been considerate of the Constitution in the past few years anyway. Let's use the indifference for something good.

In the meantime, and I'm going to need your help here, what do you say we boycott Kellogg's products? Hey, I know it means shunning those sugar frosted flakes, but there are other brands that are close to the same thing and are probably a bit cheaper. Just don't buy anything with a Kellogg's label on it. And while we're at it, I think it's about time we consumers made Hollywood pay for its liberal views. Actors and actresses expound liberal tripe and financially support liberal causes, then laugh all the way to the bank. Most of them are millionaires at our expense and it's time we hit them where it hurts - in the pocketbook.

My wife and I have decided to do our part by staying away from movie theaters for two years. There are plenty of reruns on TV we haven't seen. And we will buy other brands of the things that Kellogg's sells.

How about it? Will you join us? We have to make a stand sometime. We have a new president who has promised to make America great again! Let's help him.  Let's start right now

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Some Signs of the Times

Signs, signs, signs. There are signs everywhere. Signs for this. Signs for that. It used to be that a big event in a cowboy’s day would be to see a cow plop along the trail, a sign a wagon train had passed this way at some point.

Or maybe something really exciting, like finding a dead guy hanging from a tree limb, a sign local ranchers had caught a rustler.

We don’t see many signs like these anymore. There are no wagon trains to speak of, and although I understand there are still rustlers (they haul ‘em off in semis and cattle trucks these days), they are never hanged. However, in some western states, it’s still legal to hang rustlers. And if I’m not mistaken (perish the thought), a guy can still be hanged for robbing a bank. Horse stealing, mistreating a woman, killing someone (other than self defense), most cases of theft, were all hangable offenses. That was a sign of the times back in the 19th century and for some years into the 20th century. Now, it’s real hard to get executed, no matter what you do. A sign of the times.

My youngest son, Earl, is dead-set against the death penalty. I was a staunch believer in it. As you might imagine, we’ve had some heated discussions, and Earl always backs up his arguments with facts and figures. I am very proud of him for his principled pro-life stance (we are both against abortion). His well-reasoned arguments have forced me to be wishy-washy. Every time he just about swings me over, some crazy s.o.b. breaks into a house, tortures and kills an entire family, and I’m asking myself why we shouldn’t be hanging this guy. Earl believes locking him in a cell for the rest of his life is punishment enough. Also, I’m wishy-washy because twenty-some years ago, (about the time DNA evidence became admissible in court) the governor of Illinois put a moratorium on the death penalty until every condemned person had his case reviewed, using the new techniques. Twenty-five percent of the condemned men were found to be innocent. Twenty five percent! Put yourself in the place of one of those guys.

Of course, back in the 19th century, most of those guys wouldn’t be around to have his case reviewed. Commit a crime on Monday, you’re getting your neck stretched on Friday morning, back in those days. They weren’t going to let you lay around in jail, getting three squares a day, on the taxpayer’s dime for very long. Oh, how the times have changed. The sign of the times, now, is there are dozens of lawyers making a good living filing appeals for condemned inmates, over and over again. I used to think that was a bad thing; now, I’m not so sure. Like I said, I’m wishy-washy. Sometimes I have a nightmare about being on death row for a crime I didn’t commit. And the clock’s ticking. Tick. Tock. (For a real-life account of just such an incident, read The Innocent Man by John Grisham. You’ll read all about how a district attorney can destroy a man’s life. And it happens all too often.)

There are signs of the times that are very confusing. Pull up to a busy intersection in almost any city, and you’re hit with a bewildering variety of signs. Signs saying “to 86” and “to 21”, signs indicating a hospital is nearby, turn here to go to the state park. This is a bicycle trail, this is a hiker’s trail, this is a wine trail, this is a deaf child area. It is impossible to read all this stuff, unless you sit through a couple of lights and take notes. Signs of the times. A hundred years ago there were no traffic lights, and the only sign you were likely to encounter at an intersection would read “Denver 200 mi,” and it would very likely be tilted or laying flat on the ground, covered with buffalo dung.

A hundred years ago, telephones and the telegraph were the only instruments used for long-distance communication. If you’d have shown an early 20th century person one of today’s smart phones, they’d have fainted on the spot. Think for a minute what you would be showing this person: Making a phone call to someone with a handheld device, and actually seeing the person, in some cases. Taking a picture and sending it to someone halfway around the world in less then a second Go shopping at any one of three dozen department stores, or a woodworkers store and having your new table saw sitting on the front porch when you got home. Google something (which is still the most remarkable function ever invented). The internet. The person would absolutely flip. And there’s liable to be some crazy old coot accusing you of doing the devils work and shooting at you, yelling he’s doing the Lord’s work. Showing off a sign of the times isn’t always a good idea. Be careful.

Meanwhile, back to road signs. I heard a story about a liberal guy who wanted to go bear hunting. He jumped in his SUV and as he was backing out of the driveway, his wife yells, “Hey, put your pants on. It’s not hunting bare naked!” So he decides to go bear hunting in the mountains and come to a sign that says, “Bear left.” So he turned around and went home.

Isn’t this sort of the way the country has been run lately – stupidly?  Hopefully, a new president is a sign of some good times that began last Friday. It's about time for some guys with smarts.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ouch! Two Losing Picks!

Boy, talk about catching a drubbin’! All year long, any Packers’s game I watched, I never saw them play so poorly. Five dropped passes – these guys are professional, for heaven’s sake, they’re not supposed to drop any passes. A fumble at the goal line? Receivers not getting open?  And as usual, the opposing QB had a field day picking apart the Green Bay secondary. The team really needs to work on recruiting some better help in the backfield in the off-season. Actually, I was quite pleased that they made it as far as they did, being ranked 31st in the league in yards allowed. Final score: 44-21. Ouch!

The Steelers didn’t fare much better, 17-36, against New England. I was biting my tongue when I picked them to win, knowing what a great team a Brady-led Patriot team is. Their receiving corp is better as is their secondary, prime requites for a primarily passing team. The Steeler lose of LeVeon Bell was not a good thing.

So, out of the ten games played in the post season, so far, I’ve won seven. 70 %. No too good. Only the Super Bowl  is left – two weeks away. The Atlanta Falcons vs the New England Patriots. What a game that will be! Of course, I and many others thought yesterdays games were going to be a lot closer than they were. Nobody expected the Packers and the Steelers to get run over like they did. (But you can bet there will be some loudmouths out there this morning crowing about how they knew it all along. Don’t pay them any mind.)

So who do you like in the Super Bowl? (this will be my 51st one to have watched, by the way.) I really don’t know at this point who to pick. If both teams play at the levels they played yesterday, it will be something to watch. If one team has a bad-luck day, like the Packers and the Steelers yesterday, it will be a groaner. But how do you know beforehand?

Tell me your pick at

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Newshawk Shakes Out Some Good News

Hey, folks, Newshawk here!

I have been receiving letters from fans complaining that all the news reported is bad news. They, the fans, complain bitterly that we newspeople report only negative events: earthquakes fires, floods, bank robberies, murders, terrorist attacks, all the juicy stuff.

Well, I thought about it, mulled it over, trying to figure what I could do to help bring a smile to your faces. So I set out in the Fredmobile to find some good news.

“Hi, folks, I’m here in balmy Canisteo, NY, where average temperatures range in the70s and low 80s. There is never any snow or any kind of crappy weather; the sun shines on us every day. It would be a lovely place to schedule your next golf outing.”

“Hey, folks, Newshawk again, this time reporting from Rochester International Airport. About a half-hour ago, at 10:27 a.m., an airliner bound for Madrid with 226 people aboard, including nine crew members, took off without incident. There were no terror threats and Flight 742  landed in Madrid without incident. All aboard deplaned without incident. It was indeed a incidentless flight (sic).  However, one man did complain that the little bottles of booze offered on the plane were too small.”

“This is the Newhawk, reporting from the business desk at The Evening Tribune with an important announcement. An oil industry spokesman revealed this morning that the real reason the price of gasoline remains below three dollars a gallon is because the industry already has enough money and wants to do its share to ease the burden on poverty-stricken America. (I thought this was nice).

In Detroit, formerly the automobile manufacturing capital of the world, a foreign car maker announced that 245,000 Toyotas made last summer will not be recalled. There is nothing wrong with any of them, said spokesperson Akimoto Tokomushi. However, he stated off-camera that investigators should look into the valve stems on the new Chevys.

A talking head for the liberal LA Times said this morning that the newspaper was “thrilled” that so many states are passing concealed carry laws allowing students to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and giving them the ability to protect themselves on college campi (sic).

NEWSBREAKER!! CNN did not report that the assassinations of President-Elect Trump and Soon-to-be VP Pence would allow Obama to stay in the White House.

And finally, there is no truth to news reports stating that radical Democrats are threatening to disrupt the Inauguration ceremony. Nor is it true that there are a substantial number of Democrats planning to not attend the swearing in of the new president. It’s good to hear that these Democrats have no evil thoughts for Mr. Trump, don’t you think?

Well, I hope this news cheers you. It’s refreshing to hear good news from time to time, isn’t it? I’ll make it a point to check back later with similar developments.

This is the Newshawk signing off! Good day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Conference Championships this Weekend

You football pickers did well over the course of the first eight games. 37 people responded, 25 got them all right. Most of the rest, including me, missed only one. Not bad, not bad at all.

This weekend the conference championships are played, two games, the winners which go to Houston two weeks hence to partake in Super Bowl. Regardless of who wins the S.B. promises to be a good one.

Both games are on Sunday. The Packers take on the Falcons at 3:05 and Steelers go against the Patriots at 6:05.

Since this is a game pitting the best quarterbacks against each other, and in my mind Aaron Rodgers leads in that category, I'll take Green Bay in a close one, 30-27.

In the 6 o'clock game, which should be another close one (if, unlike last weekend, the Steelers score any touchdowns), I'll take the Steelers, (though I'm not sure why). I'm not even going to predict a score and I sure won't bet any money on them.

Don't forget to update me on your picks at

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Really Raunchy Place

I tried to think of something to write about Martin Luther King Day, but I couldn’t think of anything. So I wrote about something else.

Ever wonder when the world will end? Or if it will end? Christians wait for the Second Coming of Christ. Judgement Day. A thousand years of peace. What is meant by peace in this respect, anyway? Will all the bad guys be in Hell and the others lying around on the beach all day? Will we still have to work for a living? Will there still be unemployment and Social Security checks coming in the mail? Will we still need the money? How about health care? Will it be necessary? Will we still have pain. What about heart disease and cancer? Will they still plague us or will they go away? Will the survivors still need to buy life insurance? How about car insurance? Would it still be necessary to have a retirement plan? Or will life with Jesus be without stress altogether? Eat, sleep and be merry? To be truthful with you, it sounds a bit boring. I think humans need a bit of stress in their lives in order to be happy. Notice I said “a bit.”
There have been a few threats that the world may end. The end of the world was supposed to arrive on December 21, 2012, and that had quite a number of worriers worried. Of course, the world was supposed to end in the spring, three years ago, and it didn’t happen. But the guy who said it would said he was positive about the 2012 date. He has never been right in his predictions, but still, so many people worry. Like I said, some people need a little stress in their lives. A real fear of the world ending would certainly provide stress. Like this business with solar flares and EMPs. I don’t think about these dreaded events much; there is nothing to be done about them anyway.
I wonder how it will happen – the world coming to an end, other than the Second Coming, which could come at any time. Ever notice that some people will believe some guy screaming the world is coming to an end next month! The sky is falling! When nothing happens, they believe the next nut, then the next, but they never even consider the Second Coming as a possibility?
What might have happened on December 12, 2012? Any ideas? A huge meteor striking the earth and demolishing it? The sun flares up and sets us on fire? Some dread disease circles the globe and kills all it infects? A clan of paranoid pygmies attacks taller people? Mad cow disease causes angry bovines to attack those who would make hamburger out of them? (What a movie that would make – where’s Steven Spielberg?) Killer bees? Blood-thirsty vampires? Enraged werewolves? How about an invasion from outer space by giant frogs?
I can see it now. A giant, shiny saucer-shaped thing swoops across the planet, followed by a fleet of similar craft. They are casing the joint. They want to know what we are all about. Are we smart or stupid? What do we eat? How do we pass the time? What do we work at? Are we good shots with our hand guns?
Satisfied they had little to worry about, they land. They form into squads of reconnaissance units and spread across the land, hopping and croaking to beat the band. They creep up to windows and peek in at us. They slip into our attics and watch us do stuff they have no business watching. They see us watching reality TV and playing computer games hour after hour. They listen to us lie and cheat each other. They see young men walking around in public with the cracks of their butts showing, and they see young women walking around in public wearing tank tops with large amounts of fat hanging over their belts. They witness us conniving to get government checks and otherwise cheat the taxpayers, and they are appalled. They croak loudly at the effrontery of it all. They are left croakless in their attempts to describe our behavior. But they are brave, and they plod onward.
 They watch politicians lie to the voters, as they say one thing and do another. They watch business people cheat the government, and they watch business people cheat the public. They watch as people steal from their employers, and watch as they steal from each other. They watch as school teachers teach lies about the history of our country, and how they stood by and watched a wretched bunch of anti-Christian putzes remove all vestiges of religion from our schools. The aliens’ eyes were bulging in disbelief, their bodies quivered in disgust. They hopped back to the mother ship, hardly able to control themselves.
“My God (yes, alien frogs believe in God too),” they cried in unison. “It can’t be! It’s a horrible place.”
“Get us out of here! Pul-e-e-eze!”
“Never seen anything like it!”
“Bogus. Burn the place down!”
“It’s a  really raunchy place. Everything’s for sale. The universe will never miss the likes of it! Ditto to burn it!”

Well, we were wondering how the world might end. This is just one scenario. There are others.

Sunday's NFL games were great!

Wow, were Sunday's games terrific or what?

The Packer's win over Dallas, 34-31, was awesome; Aaron Rodgers' magic worked again esp. in the final play of the game when he hit Jared Cook with that great pass! I dared to think (but only for a moment) that the Pack might lose that game. With third down and 27 yards to a spot where Chris Boswell could hit a field goal, I had my doubts. Then Rodgers hit Cook for 36, Cook skidding out of bounds on his knees, the line ref calling the pass incomplete, only to be overruled by the line judge. Man, what a game!
The Packer's secondary nearly gave the game away in the second half with poor play. Dak Prescott hit every pass he threw, which is what made the game so close at the end. We shouldn't have expected anything better, really. Packer secondary is plainly poor, ranking 31st in the league in yards allowed. Many of their better defensive backs are on IR, but they better get better before Atlanta or they won't make the Super Bowl.

I was pleased to see Pittsburgh knock out K.C., 18-16. I like the Steelers but not scoring touchdowns isn't going to cut it New England. Tom Brady and the Patriots score touchdowns, lots of them. Ben, Brown and Bell better find ways to get into the end zone if the Steelers hope progress to the big game.

Of the eight games, so far I've won seven. The Patriots covered the point spread against Houston and I bet they wouldn't. That's 871/2 percent. I haven't received very many results from you guys as yet. Let me know how you made out.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sundays NFL Games

As you must know by now the Steelers-Chiefs game has been postponed until 8:15 p.m. due to an ice storm in Kansas City. The Packers-Cowboys game, played in balmy Dallas, stays at 4:30.

The Falcons handled the Seahawks rather handily, 36-20. As previous stated, the Falcons offense is really tough.

I goofed on the New England-Houston game. I thought the Patriots would win but not cover the points. They did by 2, 34-16.

As you may have guessed by now I’m a Packer fan. In what promises to be a tight game, I think the Pack can defeat Dallas, if Aaron Rodgers continues to display his magic. No reason to think otherwise.

The powerhouse Steeler offense and a great defense should be enough to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, another very good team. The point spread is only 1, showing it should be a nail-biter.

Let me know how you made out through my email-


Saturday, January 14, 2017

NFL Divisional Playoff Games

This week features the NFL Divisional Playoffs.  The winners meet next week in the Conference Championships, the winners of which match up in the Super Bowl.

Let’s have some more fun and see if we can pick the winners in this weekend’s games.


Today at 4:35 the 10-5-1 Seattle Seahawks go against the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons, the Falcons favored by 41/2. I don’t like betting against the Seahawks by I’ve got a hunch Atlanta will take this one. QB Matt Ryan is on a tear and it’s foolish to bet against Ryan and WR Julio Jones. Falcons: 28-21.

At 8:15, the 14-2 New England Patriots host the 10-7 Houston Texans, the Patriots favored by 16. That’s a lot of points. The Texans and the Patriots have met four times in the past, the Patriots winning every game by no less than 27 points. But the Texans have the best defense in the league. I look for the Patriots to win but not cover the 16. 21-7


At 1 p.m the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in K.C., Pitt favored by 1.
RB Le Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown and QB Ben Roethles berger will lead the powerful Steeler offense to the win, 24-17.

At 4:30 Aaron Rodgers will lead the 11-6 Green Bay Packers into Dallas to meet the 14-2 Cowboys, Dallas favored by 4.

I look for the magic and the arm of Rodgers to carry the day. Cowboy rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will only stand by and marvel at the great Aaron. Prescott will get a real lesson in how to play his position. But it will be a close game. Green Bay, 24-20.

Good luck and don't forget to let me know at how you made out .

Monday, January 9, 2017

Making it Tough for the Fix-it Man

 It’s the time of year when the things you got for Christmas start to break. The time for this phenomenon, popularly known as TID (Toss It Day) has shrunk from about mid-March in the ‘70s to three weeks after you got them, now-a-days right about now. The length of useful time has shrunk in proportion to the use of plastic to make stuff and China’s introduction to it.
It struck me how difficult it is to fix anything anymore. It used to be that when you had trouble with an appliance, a tool, or some other piece of equipment, you dragged out your toolbox, tore the think apart, fixed it and put it back together. (Not many people still alive who remember those days.) But now it’s nearly impossible to get the thing apart and, try as you might, it never seems to go back together – at least for someone suffering the drawback of having only two opposable thumbs.
I visited the Shake-Me-I-Rattle appliance factory and spoke with New Product Developer Herschel Highpockets, a new man in the lab.
“I see you’ve just completed something, Herschel, whatcha call it?”
“That there’s a Handy-Dandy Thigamadoodle, Newshawk” he replied, sticking his chest out just a bit.
“What’s the Handy-Dandy Thigamadoodle do?” I asked.
“It automatically peels grapes and, by flipping this lever here, it helps you pick stuff from between your teeth.,” he announced proudly.
At that time Snidely Prattle, the quality control chief, arrived to inspect Highpocket’s invention.
“Well, I see you’ve finished the Handy-Dandy Thigmadoodle, Highpockets. Let’s have a look.”
He picked up the device, turned it all around, looked it over closely, then, pointing to the head of a bolt, asked, “ What’s this here?”
“The head of a bolt,” replied Highpockets.
“What’s the bolt do?” asks Prattle.
“Holds the Thigamadoodle together. Just unscrew the bolt, and the Thigamadoodle comes apart for easy repair.”
“NO! NO! NO!” screeched Prattle. “That’s a no-no. Are you nuts or something? You can’t put the head of a bolt right out in the open like that! Geez, everybody can see it!”
Well, er … It’s not an ugly bolt,” Highpockets stammered. “I can’t see …”
“ANYBODY can take this thing apart!” Prattle seethed, showing his teeth. “That’s not how we do things. It’s too easy! Why, I’ll bet the holes line right back up again when you go to put the Doodle back together!”
“Yeah, but …”
“NO! NO! NO! That’ll never do! Does the nut inside that screws onto the end of the bolt stay in place when you dismantle this thing?”
“Sure …”
“NO! NO! NO, Highpockets! The nut has to fall down inside someplace that’s impossible to get to. That increases the chances of losing it for future use. Is the bolt head metric? It doesn’t look metric.”
“No sir,” mumbled Highpockets.
“Oh, it MUST be metric! Most do-it-yourselfers have conventional tools. We must think of our service people. Shame, shame on you,” he admonished, shaking a finger at Highpockets. “How many functions can the Doodle do?” Prattle wanted to know.
“Well, er, ah, two.”
“Two? TWO?” Prattle couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Oh, now wait just a minute, young man! You’ve gone too far. What you’ve done calls for making two Thigamadoodles. One for each function. We market variety, not versatility. That’s a thing of the past. We’d be the laughing stock of the industry. Does this thing really work?”
”Oh, yessir. Perfectly.” Highpockets beamed, not having learned his lesson yet. “It has all metal parts.”
“WHAT?” Prattle howled. Surely you jest! I’m gonna have to keep an eye on you, I can see that. Plastic. Always think plastic. Use plastic for moving parts. Metal parts take too long to wear out. Service. Think service . New sales.”
“But, sir,” sputtered the good-hearted inventor, “wouldn’t people be more inclined to stick with a brand they knew they could get good service from? Don’t people appreciate quality and versatility anymore?”
“I don’t know anything about that,” Prattle snapped. “They can’t buy what they can’t get. Now get back to work, Highpockets, and remember: Keep it simple, keep it metric, keep it plastic, and, above all, don’t forget to hide the bolts!”

Update on Sunday's Wild Card Games

I had planned to get this info out earlier today, but my son is leaving for his home Connecticut early tomorrow and I wanted to spent a day with him before he left. With the Christmas season being as hectic as it was, we had very little time together. We made it up today. We enjoy each other's company.

Sunday's games went pretty much as predicted. Scores in both games were somewhat higher than I thought they would be - Steelers 30 point win over Miami was a bit of a surprise, but the Dolphins pretty much gave the game away with three turnovers and several stupid mistakes. Plus the Steelers held Jay Ajayi in check, while LeVeon Bell run for well over a 100 yards. The Packers 38-13 win over the Giants was also a pleasant surprise, but, as stated, if they could avoid the Lady-Bad-Luck bug and Eli Manning played a sub-par game (which he did), Green Bay would pull it off. As usual, Aaron Rodgers was brilliant.

Eleven of the 23 people to played our little game reported picking four winners, The others reported losing only one game. Well done, but we have two more weeks to go. I hope you and hopefully some others will join me later in the week to select their choices in the Divisional Playoffs. Two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. Catch you later.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday's NFL Picks

Those who picked Houston and Seattle in Saturday's games did well. Today we must choose between Pittsburgh and Miami, and New York and Green Bay.

The Steelers are 10-point favorites in the one o'clock game. I think that's too many, but who knows. This game will feature two premier running backs, Miami's Jay Ajayi and Pittsburgh's LeVeon Bell, so expect a ground game. When Bell gets jammed up, Big Ben will go to wide receiver Antonio Brown or TE Jesse James. Miami's starting QB Tannehill is and out may be a problem for the Dolphins who need all the help they can get. Steelers (I don't know about covering the 10 points).

No team has had worse luck in the playoffs in recent years than the Packers. If they can avoid Bad-Lady Luck, look for Aaron Rodgers' magic to carry them over the Giants by a touchdown. Of course, this assumes Eli Manning plays at his current low level. If Eli has a typical Eli playoff game, this could turn into a real barn-burner.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

NFL Games - Let's have Some Fun!

This weekend is NFL Wild Card weekend., four great football games. Let’s have some fun and see if we can pick some winners. I usually run at about 50-60 percent on playoff games.

In the first game, 4:35 today, the Houston Texans take on the Oakland Raiders in Houston.  This will be a battle between lousy quarterbacks, so don’t expect much scoring. The Texans own the best defense in the league, and they are 7-1 at home. Houston in a yawner.

This evening the Detroit Lions (9-7) play the Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1). Matthew Stafford is 1-3 with the bum finger. He says it’s no problem, but something ain’t right. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson will be picking apart the Detroit secondary and when the Lions manage to close down passing lanes, Russell can sure run. Seahawks are favored by eight. They’ll win but might not cover the points.

At 1:05 Sunday the Miami Dolphins (10-6) take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5 at Pitt), with Pitt favored by 10. That’s a lot of points in a playoff game, but given that Dolphin QB Tannehill is out the Steelers could cover. This points to being a battle between two of the NFL’s best running backs – Miami’s Jay Ajayi and Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell. Look for the other B’s – Big Ben and Mr. Brown - in the Steeler lineup to make the difference. Steelers by 8.

Sunday afternoon the N.Y. Giants(11-5) travel to icy Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers(10-6), the Pack favored by 41/2. No team has experienced worse luck in the playoffs in the past several years than the Packers. If they can avoid Lady Bad-Luck and Aaron Rodgers continues to work his on-field magic, and Manning plays at his recent low level,  look for the Pack to pull this one out. Points, hell who knows; it should a real close game.

Email me a with any comments or snide remarks.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Writers Need to Use Readable Words

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve written in this space. I apologize for the lapse.
Truth is, I haven’t been feeling so hot. Diabetes and a bad back causing lots of problems. I don’ think the two are related – at least I haven’t heard any theories linking the two, but it’s not out of the question. I fully expect that, every time I visit my primary, he’s going to offer me a new pill that cures those two maladies and everything else I’m living with. He’s a miracle man; he has a pill for everything.
This diabetes is some serious business. I have an awful time keeping blood sugars at an acceptable level. And memory loss is annoying as hell. I was having episodes during which I was literally brain dead; I could not response to simple questions. I’m calling it diabetic amnesia. For example, we had a computer tech over one day to help out with a few things. He asks my password, and I could not for the life of me think of what it was. He asks my email address – same thing. These times usually don’t last very long, and I’m back to normal. He said he’d call the next day, but he didn’t. I must have spooked him. There’s something about mental derangement, no matter how temporary, that does that to people.
There is, however, a lasting effect to this experience. Somewhere along the line I’ve lost the ability to comprehend college-level/ scholarly reading material. Oh, I can reason out meanings and such but the dictionary is always within arm’s reach. Even then, sometimes it’s tough. I find that after reading a paragraph (or sometimes just a sentence), I can’t remember what I’ve read. I’ve put down several books over the past couple of months for that reason.
For instance, I’m currently reading “All the Real Indians Died Off,” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker. What should be an interesting book on the plight of American Indians during the nineteenth century is, for me, a nightmare to read. I’m loathe to criticize two obvious scholars, both of whom appear to be truly concerned with the ragged treatment of the Indians, but there appears to be considerable overreach in the use of vocabulary. They seem to be trying to impress their audience with how smart they are. I’m sure they are both intelligent women, but they need to back off with the words. I was taught to write like you speak. Scholars want to sound scholarly, but, if they want to sell more books, they need to be readable. Ten years ago I would have had no problem with the words. Now, I do, and I’m sure there are others going through the same thing.
Another thing that bothers me about this book is that (as far as I can tell, from what I was able to read) it is just another whiny, woe-is-us, condemnation of white people. Most of us know how shabbily nineteenth-century whites treated the Indians. We get it. That it’s an issue with Indians is evident is the hundreds of books written on the subject. Some, at least, are readable.
Not only do we have American Indians writing volumes about American Indians getting the shaft more than a hundred years after the fact, we have black people still whining about slavery 150 years after a war that cost 600,000 American lives.  Volumes on both of these subjects can easily be found in the history section at almost any library. Note that says HISTORY section.
There two things that looking into these two subjects over the years has taught me. One, when I see a female author using a hyphenated last name, run like hell away from that book. There is, however, a bright side to all of this weepy-eyed chronicling  of white evil-doing  (dare I say racist?).At least these people have found something to do with themselves that they can make a living at. We can be happy not to be sending them checks every month. It’s similar to what very tall black men would be doing without the NBA?
What I don’t get is what they hope to gain by all the whining. Black people want reparations; Indians want their land back. That’s it?
My best advice - Go, Woof!

The Flip Side