Take Five

And now, a word from our sponsor: Are you a producer, a director, or an actor or actress, looking for great new scripts about subject matter never tackled before?  The same professional writer of the Other Letter, has also written six movie scripts.  You can see the loglines of the scripts I have on offer here.

Back from commerical.  So just sit back and enjoy The Other Letter, Compact Edition.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did writing it.  To be honest, it’s been kind of a grind, and not a single person has said anything positive about it, ever.  You know, I should have made this subscription-only, and charged mega-bucks for every page view.  Maybe I can still retro-charge readers for having read it.  Yeah, that’s it.  I’m speaking to this intellectual property attorney I know about accrued, past due fees.  Don’t I have a legal position against my readers?  I bet I do.  Sure, I do.  The only problem is tracking down my readers to send out the bills.  Hmm, hmm...

OtherLetter.com is more like a daily newspaper, full of page after page of hard-hitting, investigative journalism, while the Compact.OtherLetter.com displayed here (or alternatively via c.OtherLetter.com), is the magazine, or the weekend edition, where you can just slow down, take it easy, and watch hawks eat their prey (and other über-cool stuff, just not involving the law of the jungle).

If you were to ever somehow grow tired of the fare here, then the mondo, gigundo, gargantuan, Atlantic-blue-marlin-after-a-lifetime-of-predawn-sorties (when this wouldn’t have wrecked the marine ecosystem), Mother Ship, Parent Corporation, Big Kahuna of Big Kahunas, the OtherLetter.com, has their shutter up, and is open for operation.  The price point is even more incredible, it is free, and without any advertisers (I justify this to myself as a means to advance my screen writing career).

Web cams, anyone?
Are you a shut-in looking for adventure?  Or are you just a regular person needing a break from the everyday?  Then join us, won’t you, as we enjoy Southampton, Long Island, Venice Beach, California, and the Hawaiian Islands, enjoying paradise the way it should be enjoyed, via web cam.  8/13/16.

When you’re thinking Summer, aren’t you really thinking Coopers Beach in Southampton, Long Island?  See if you can spot the sharks before the swimmers do.  8/10/15.

Here is another web cam, again from the East End of Long Island, looking out to the ferry crossing from Southampton to Shelter Island.

I’ve seen ancient pilgrims and first settlers appear as ghosts floating over these waters.  Pay close attention, they are out there.  They only want our acknowledgement that the hardship they survived, enabled the chain of life to remain unbroken, and bring us to the 21st Century.  They are generally harmless, and typically fly below twenty feet, so they are no threat to aviation (the ghosts themselves obviously pose no threat, but their tattered rags are a threat).

While the inland waters may look placid, don’t let that fool you.  There have been many, many capsizings here along the half mile ferry route known locally as “The Ferry of Death.”  Maybe you’ll see another Shelter Island Titanic sinking in progress!  Shelter Island itself is a quaint community of 80 people in winter, and 490,000 in summer.  To feed these hordes, all summer long, Freightliner and Peterbilt semis leave stockyards in Omaha, Nebraska to carry beef carcases to sidewalk BBQ shantys of which Shelter Island is world renowned (there hasn’t been any seafood caught on the East End since 1970, when overfishing began).  3/03/18.

Enjoy taking your turn at running a controllable web cam of Venice Beach, California — where it’s always hopping, day in and day out.  Don’t think of this as voyeurism without the sex, just think of it as being perched up on a bridge with binoculars, except no one below can see you.  It’s not much different from what the NSA sees of Times Square.  So take out the tissue box, and do some California Dreamin’ on your friends at Other Letter (while fighting back the tears, also match the four California, achievable employment archetypes with each person seen below — lower-level weed dealer, mid-level reefer supplier, upper-level cannabis distributor, and porn star).  11/02/13.
This web site has dozens of web cams strategically placed all over Hawaii.  It is proof that there is Heaven on Earth, but that Heaven itself is rather pricey.  Regardless of accommodation attainability, these resorts in paradise are hard to tell apart after awhile.  Many cams are from resorts, and include camera angles pointing to themselves with their requisite waterfalls, koi ponds, and tiki bars, many with ukulele accompaniment.  If you’re not much for water though, there may be better bets, and less expensive ones, like in much of escape-the-heat Canada.  8/11/15.
The weather is getting colder, so it is time to save fossil fuels and Save the Planet™ from greenhouse gases and global warming.  Here’s everything you need to know:
  1. Per the Geneva Convention Mandate, every shower head manufactured after 2003, must have a pressurizing head.  In other words, if you twist it, it will increase the pressure of the water flow.  You will get clean quicker, and the sandblasting afforded will change your skin’s complexion from pock-marked to rosy (if somehow this is not the end result, you might want to visit a dermatologist).  You will use less water, and the water table won’t be emptied nearly as fast.  This is a miracle cure of all that ails most of this Earth.  If your shower head is not in compliance with the Mandate, buy a pressurizing shower head such as the Waterpik shower massager (among others).  Then seal the joint with silicone plumbing film/tape.
  2. Ever wonder what it’s like to drive a convertible?  Well, roll down every window, and roll back the moon-roof (if you have one), and then you’ll know what it’s like to at last own a convertible of your very own.  You’ll have the wind in your blond hair, and you’ll be waving at everyone you see (or don’t wave, if you’re too shy).  The convertible and the quasi-convertible save on the gas used in powering the air conditioning.  Plus, the convertible does not have rollover protection, your newly-devised, quasi-convertible has roll bars, you’re good to go.
  3. When you leave a room, turn off the lights.
  4. Install a programmable thermostat, so the house is only heated when you are home.  Your pets might object, but giving them extra backrubs will much more than compensate.
  5. When you are finished eating a meal in your kitchen, assemble the food items that need to go back into the refrigerator in the staging area countertop outside the “fridge” door.  Then place them back in the “fridge” in one fell swoop.  A “fridge” that is open for too long, or open multiple times per meal, wastes electricity.  If your “fridge” has no staging area, you need to speak to your general contractor about building a staging area countertop.  Marble countertop is obviously best, but formica works in a pinch, especially if you are a poor person.  Just staging your food for the “fridge,” you’ll halve your utility bill, and save enough money to finally take that trip to the islands — the South Pacific ones (don’t forget your travel innoculations!)
  6. Say you’re going to the hairdresser, the pedicurist, and the masseuse.  Then you need to know which sequence of stops minimizes gas consumption, and the time spent on the road.  Before heading out of your house, have an itinerary handy with relevant time-distance calculations, and also consult trip planning web sites to minimize distance traveled.  This is the classic traveling salesman problem, and your analysis can also be reused later to minimize mileage on similar car trips.
  7. Riders of mass transit, and those car-pooling, do much more to save the environment than those driving alone in a car.  Taking the bus, train, subway, or sharing rides, lowers aggregate hydrocarbon emissions.
  8. When possible, use cold water instead of water heated by the oil burner.  This doesn’t apply to showering, although it might if you’re in Marine boot camp and you need to simulate combat situations.
  9. Keep the tires of your car at recommended levels of inflation.  If you don’t want to bother, your mechanic will do this, assuming he has mechanical aptitude.  For most motorists, this alone will increase your gas mileage 88.1% to 96.7% on every trip.
  10. We’ll wrap it up with this: You want a Rockefeller’s wealth, which means you want to save money like a Rockefeller, which means you have to conserve energy like a Rockefeller, which means you have to cover your pots with pot lids.  Covering your pots with lids saves energy, and will allow you to prepay the mortgage on your house in no time, and move to a better neighborhood where everyone somehow looks like a super model.
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How to Capture Insects

Even tarantulas are no match against the cup-and-card method.

Using this method of insect catch and release, humanity creates a far smaller footprint upon the ecology than spraying your house down with Raid anytime an ant gets inside your house.

Returning insect life to where it belongs, in nature, preserves a food supply for other wildlife, as well as not putting more dangerous pesticide into the water table.

Halloween means only one thing, the return of the 10,000 Ampere Service, Ginger Bread House.  Shake off those evil spirits, it is All Hallows Eve at last.  Geez, why is there 10,000 amps going into that tiny, little, ginger bread house?  Because this is a UNESCO Heritage Holocaust Site, Long Island Division.

This is not some of the best music there is, this is the best music there is (I wouldn’t lie, or even exaggerate — it is.  I’ll take bets on it).
Other Letter Radio
radio tower

Link to Other Letter’s You Tube play lists.

Here’s the Weather Underground Widget.  Browsers handle Flash animations differently: non-Windows 10-Opera might block, Win 10 Opera and Firefox had no issue, except both asked for Flash animation permission.  Weather Undergound develeped this, it is completely innocuous.

Okay, I give in, this is the version without Flash:

Weather Underground PWS KNYDIXHI6

From the Radio Page:
“EST” indicates hours from the U.S. Eastern Standard time zone.  The number of clocks indicate the amount of time I’ve listened to them.  Three clocks mean I’ve listened to them often.

  • Dead for the never-ending Other Letter blackout.  1/01/19.
  • Is the best Dead show, the one most critics say is the best, the Cornell Barton Hall concert from May the 8th of 1977?  Or was it this one, the January the 8th Madison Square Garden show from 1979?  Is the Barton Hall pick, the product of a lemmings, follow the leader dynamic, which ultimately effected critical judgement?  Would the Dead want to impress Ivy Leaguers more, those future captains of industry, or rank and file Deadheads, after all their major albums had been released, were well-honed, and were still fresh in their heads?  Have a listen to each, and you can decide.  1/02/19.
  • If you’re looking for surfing conditions in Southern Florida, do we ever have your ticket EST +0:00  8/11/15.
  • Emma Stone, a friend near and dear to the Other Letter family of blogs, in an unannounced, unilateral partnership with Other Letter Radio, offers this listening suggestion (via Entertainment Weekly): Radio Nova from Paris, France.  Ms. Stone can sure pick ’em, she knows her music.  She gave an Oscar-caliber performance in Birdman by the way.  Emma, keep up the great work.  EST +6:00.  1/24/15.
  • The Grateful Dead heard on adult contemporary radio?  No, you are not entranced in the Land of Make Believe.  This is the Coast, St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the Canadian Maritimes, the Far East of the Western World.  EST +1:30
  • At night, Americans in the Northeast, and Canadians in the Southeast, can listen in their car to 900 AM CHML.  Or listen anytime and anywhere here, for another fine day in Canadian sport — even if the Habs lost, the team from Montréal that won the most Stanley Cups.  CHML is Ontario’s official broadcaster of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger Cats (Ti-Cats).  More than sports put into play though — national and international news as well.  EST +0:00
  • Since 1949, listener supported Pacifica Radio from Berkeley, California (think NPR without corporate backing).  Wednesday 8PM PST features Dead to the World. EST -3:00  New York’s Pacifica affiliate broadcasts the always informative and entertaining Off the Hook and The PC Radio Show on Wednesday between 7PM and 9PM EST.  Great music Saturday night.  EST +0:00
Whenever I see a “Never forget” sign, I always complete their thought, and think “Never forget the reasons why.” I can never say why I think that, and why I think it every September, but I think that every time I see one of those signs.  10/04/13.
Support our troops — get them home!  But don’t subject the allies left behind to live without any hope!

A new and popular — or at least, popular among the people who need it — health care reform initiative, one offering the nation the security of medical insurance, was unveiled this week.  There are definitely times when it feels good to be a Democrat.  10/03/13.

To pets and wildlife, roads and highways are war zones — so please, drive carefully.

If you’re taken aback by more than your share of road kill (essentially any road kill is too much), you might try throwing a oil-stained rag in the middle of the road near where the wildlife congregate.  If it looks like a dead animal from the distance, it could get people to slow down in their cars in the future.  Don’t do this on major roads, no one needs a multi-car pile up because of your civic-mindedness.

The next time you are at the park taking a walk, a hike, or a trudge, pick up and properly dispose of litter left behind by the pigs who got there before you, so the pigs who get there after you will be discouraged into thinking that this is their pigsty, and they can dump all they want on it.

When litter is removed, wildlife won’t choke, or be poisoned by, trash left in the woods that’s been leaching into the soil for years.

(Take note: late spring and early summer is the height of tick season.)

Save Wildlife
by Driving Carefully

In the warmer weather, we have the seasons of outdoor activity.  Bikers should stay on the right side of the road, so they can travel with the flow of traffic.  This way, cyclists are not distracted by oncoming cars, the car driver has more time to react if you veer off-course; and in the event of a collision, the combined velocities are less than it would be was there a head-on.  Cyclists without helmets — especially those on traveled roads — have death wishes.

Hiking is the opposite, travel against the flow of traffic on the left.  The reason here is if a car is bearing down on you, you’ll see it, and hopefully be able to jump out of the way in time if they falsely detect you as an enemy insurgent.  Additionally, it will be less unnerving to not have cars whiz by you unseen.  Hikers generally do not wear helmets, although police get clipped often enough on the LIE, that I’m not absolutely certain why they’re not wearing them when they’re handing out tickets.

Walking (not marching) instructions: On your next walk, your legs will take you where you’d like to be — let them (or watch them) do their thing, they know how.  Have a look-see around.  Thinking is above the waist, walking is for your legs below it — there’s a division of labor here.  Hang loose, swaying arms keep the beat, this is taking it easy among friends, or it should be.  When you find your groove, you’ll feel the groove.

(geograph.org.uk, Ashley Dace)

Star Trails around Polaris

Extended Exposure Star Trails around Polaris
The earth is turning towards the east; so the
stationary sky — or at least a sky stationary
during a single night — appears to move west.

Fireworks scare pets and wildlife out of their little minds.  The noise easily has the potential of making pets run away from their home.  Animals have no clue what these explosions mean.  It is cruel and immature to use cheap fireworks — they are stupid, illegal, and deadly.  Why can’t these amateurs pack into their sedan and see a professionally done, and safe, pyrotechnics show instead?

Lighting firecrackers is fun for the brain dead, the ones with drool cups, and the desensitized, or under or never socialized.  These are the ones who had the best time of their measly, little lives setting anthills aflame.  They are pyros, pyromaniacs.  They confuse being a man with lighting fuses and running away (or not running away if they have their arm stuck inside their drool cup lanyard.)  And you just know that the ones with the biggest supplies of fireworks are the ones highest up the Cosa Nostra ranks.

Fifteen years of work (the OtherLetter.com domain was first registered in 2004) and I still haven’t gotten any feedback for this.  Please tell me this was not a colossal waste of time and money.

What is Other Letter?

It is self-paced reading matter, engaged by all current pointing devices, for daily, routed delivery to your electronic front stoop and terminal emulator, if you so choose.

Each rectangular viewing area of this product might be multi-hued, and is jam-packed with both alpha-numeric symbology — occasionally, and most artistically, represented with a striking, second typeface, like italics — and digital daguerreotypes.

Your Other Letter page instance not only embraces the latest in pixel technology to accurately render its text palette with clarity and visibility; its predictive one-ahead buffering foresees what you’d like to display, then displays it, after you give it the instructive say-so click on how to proceed.

Soccer is the only Sport that Matters

The problem that I have with football, and for that matter, baseball as well, is one that I don’t have with soccer.  The flow of play in football is not only preplanned, it’s preplanned by the coach on the sideline, not by the players.  Soccer is spontaneous, and the players on the soccer pitch decide the action.

The ultimate play in soccer is when a striker bicycle kicks the ball into the opposite upper corner.  Football’s ultimate play is when the quarterback is leveled by a defensive tackle who’s a foot taller and twice his weight.  The quarterback is left spasmodically on the ground with a concussion while the fans cheer wildly.  Football is played by violent robots who lack any autonomy, or any decision-making skills.  Football games are more decided in the weight room than they are on the field.

Football gets all the press in America, right down to the high school level.  High school cheerleaders are kept in just as high of a regard.  Friday Night Lights is an institution in Texas.  These high school match ups take place in professionally, night-lit stadiums which seat over 10,000 students, alums, and townies.  Both the players and the cheerleaders are given souped-up Camaros gratis as sign-on bonuses.

Yet watching football is plagued by time delays: huddle delays, timeouts (referee and team), and commercial breaks.  Baseball is the same, although in a poorly contested game, it seems even slower as every pitch must be decided, and every batter steps off the plate to throw off the pitcher’s concentration.  Soccer only has time outs during half time when you’re by the fridge anyhow, hitting on that Nicole Kidman look-alike.

Soccer players are superior athletes to those in almost all other sports except perhaps iron triathlons, in which soccer players could easily compete.  They play ninety minutes of continuous action.  Football is sixty minutes, which becomes three hours after all the delays.

George Carlin noticed that baseball is played, not on the gridiron like football, but in a park.  Baseball, well, you don’t know when the game will end.  It has no time limits, the game might start today and end tomorrow.  There have been baseball players, and even football players, who belong in an intensive, weight loss program, and get winded running on to the field.

I can’t say baseball is without excitement, last year’s run-up to the World Series by the Boston Red Sox was electrifying, but if your team isn’t doing well, it can be painful to watch.

Basketball is sort of like soccer in terms of the players deciding the flow of the game, but the scoring in basketball borders on the ridiculous.  Adding together team scores, basketball games easily total over 100 points, yet the only part of the game that matters is typically the last five minutes.  Nothing is ever at stake.  One team goes coast-to-coast, then the other team does.  Back and forth, ad infinitum.  Only in the last five minutes does prior scoring matter, or does anything in the game matter.

There are rarely stand out plays in basketball.  One three-pointer is the same as any other three-pointer.  One dunk isn’t much different than any other one.  A blocked shot is always a blocked shot.  The only people qualified to even get on a basketball court are over six-and-a-half feet tall (anyone shorter is only on the court as a novelty act to promote the egalitarianism of the sport).  Soccer doesn’t have any height restrictions.

Once Wayne Gretzky left the game of hockey, the National Hockey League (the NHL) reverted to being a slug-fest, one still only played by Canadians.  There is an expression regarding watching an NHL match: “I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.”  The NHL is a fancy way for Americans to exploit desperate Manitoban farm boys, and have them beat up other Canadians for their pay.  Cage fighting, or UFC, is a sick way of promoting human cockfighting.

Boxing is an honest version of hockey.  Unlike a sport with enforcers on ice, boxers would be the first to admit that their sport is solely about fighting.  And the only boxer who was worth watching, the one who possessed super-human abilities, was Muhammad Ali.  Unfortunately, as a Viet Nam War draft resistor, his career was cut short by the Department of Injustice.  He tried to make up for the lost time and money by boxing far past his prime (his last fight was at the age of thirty-nine).  He paid for this with his life, as he got his brains palsied, and he died of Parkinson’s Disease at the age of seventy-four.  Let that be a warning to all you up-and-comers, hoping to get a shot at a title bout, or at least the main event of the card.  Many boxers have not left the ring alive.

Tennis gets a pass on being skewered, although it is much more fun to play, than it is to watch.  That is unless you have a great seat, in the front row, at the center court of either Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, or Arthur Ashe.  Then obviously, that will be infinitely more exciting than watching the same match on the TV at home.  Either that, or you’re a real tennis buff, and you can see all the nuances in a televised match.  Tennis also gets points for not being a contact sport, as those sports pile on the injuries.

Contact sports might be fine, violent contact sports, like football, really aren’t.  Concussions are a major risk on the gridiron.  Football is played by so few these days.  Most rabid football fans have never strapped on a helmet.  I played youth football until the lot of us agreed soccer was the better deal.  Football has so much to do with aggression.

Track and field, as well as cross country, tests your physical limitations.  Their only downside is their lack of teamwork, you mostly compete against yourself, in an endless bid to better your personal best.  You have teammates but they don’t help you win your event (unless they’re cheering you onto the finish line).

Lacrosse has yet to reach critical mass.  There aren’t any major superstars to boost the sport.  Lacrosse could be fun, but once you leave high school, you’ve reached the end of the lacrosse line.  What’s more, if you never played the sport, the entire game doesn’t make much sense.  Isn’t there more than getting the bouncing ball into the goal?  I think they have off sides like soccer, so players on offense can’t hang out in front of the goalie.  Native Americans played the game and were cheered on by Native American cheerleaders.

The only sport that has ever really mattered to me is the one that matters to the World at large, and that’s the beautiful game, that’s soccer.

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This boxed enclosure describes setting up a network file server, essentially your own private cloud on the Internet.  This essay also includes the functionality set you get with this surprisingly versatile computer hardware.

Here’s How to Digitize Vinyl Albums

These are the steps to convert your vinyl albums and CDs into MP3s, or just to copy them onto a desktop, laptop, or the Synology Disk Station Manager (as I’ve been doing) as part of setting up a music server.

Beware of this common mistake: The laptop must be receiving input via Line In, not Mic.  Mic, on the other hand, is an acoustic audio signal, it’s not a direct line in from device to device (phonograph to laptop).  Plug the phono line into your laptop first, first, before launching Audacity in the next step.  This ensures that a Line-in option is available for the input of Audacity.

Within Audacity (which is open source, freeware), again select Line In, and not Mic.  Cue your phonograph, click record in Audacity.  That should allow you to digitize vinyl albums.  In Audacity, Export as MP3s to desktop, or better, to the music folder.

If the audio sounds garbled, it’s likely because Line In was not selected on your laptop, on the audio recording software, Audacity, and on the phonograph (instead of "Phono," which is the default toggle position of the switch on the back of the phonograph).

To broadcast (or otherwise distribute) your MP3 via the Synology File Server: Open a browser window with your DSM local file server interface (Disk Station Manager).  Go to the File Station app, then upload your recording from your desktop -> Music folder, into the Music folder on your file server.  Last, right-click, and select Add to Audio Player.  Open Audio Station, a free app included with the Synology network storage, and add your recorded audio to play lists, then pin for easy visibility.

When you want to play your phonograph again, flip the switch from Line In back to Phono.  Phono is the pre-amp setting.  I’m not a recording engineer (you guessed that?) but I’d imagine a needle rubbing against vinyl is not such a pronounced vibration, and requires amplification to produce a legible signal.

Ripping CDs is much easier (excuse the violent phrase, but that’s the terminology).  Open iTunes, which is free software from Apple, load a music CD into the disc tray, and iTunes will convert this into MP3s.  Then repeat the upload step above to copy from laptop or desktop in the Music -> iTunes folder to the file server.

In iTunes, the top window might say 23x compression, which means that the MP3 is one 23rd of the original WAV (typically) file format.  MP3 is lossy, a bit of musical info is lost (likely that the acoustic range is clipped).  The WAV file format, however, is loss less.  Loss less may sound slightly better to audiophiles, but it comes at the cost of huge file size.

Your vinyl records don’t have to be compressed into MP3s, but it saves lots of disk space.  Digitizing vinyl records into MP3s requires the MP3 encoder, it is not included with Audacity.  It’s anyone’s guess why the MP3 encoder is called LAME DLL, but it is, and it can be found via search engine.  Download it and when Audacity asks for the LAME DLL MP3 encoder location, give it the path where you just downloaded it off the Internet.

The reason why it’s not included automatically has to do with patent.  Audacity apparently doesn’t have the cash to pony up to package this with its audio software.  Apple’s iTunes, on the other hand, has the MP3 encoder, and you don’t have to do anything to get it, it’s built in.

Note: This procedure is admittedly not for rank beginners, or for those with heart conditions.  Per the Fair Use Doctrine, anyone can make unlimited copies of recordings they already purchased.  The trouble comes when they are given away, especially given away en masse to strangers via file sharing services.  This is my interpretation of the law, your results may vary...

Music without Parallel

Direct from Germany (they’ll never be forgiven for the camps, but they still play great music), this is your alternative to however you listen now: via any PC or Mac browser, your file server, or also via installing Winamp.  Here’s the path in Shoutcast: Internet Radio -> SHOUTcast -> Decades -> ANTENNE BAYERN - Oldies but Goldies.

In Winamp, this involves more steps.  View > Media Library > Online Services will get you to station selection, then select a station that suits your tastes.  View > Visualizations > [all direction arrow button], to view the cosmic visualizations.

Or follow the Grateful Dead guide for Winamp.  For me, these are most fitting for Dead concerts, but they compliment any kind of music.

If you don’t mind advertising, there is also a Shoutcast app for mobile devices, but the three methods above spare you.

Here’s a few more Shoutcast stations you’re sure to like: San Francisco’s 70s Hits (groovy, super-groovy); 1.FM - All Euro 80’s (www.1.fm); The Big 80s Station; Heartbeat FM; and Beatles Radio.

Your own Private Cloud on the Internet

You went out and bought the Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218j (Diskless) for $170 (the file server), and the Western Digital 2 Terabyte hard disk for $85.  You save your iPod files on your file server with the included Drive program (the app and desktop versions).  What is the next phase in your career advancement as a technology professional?

Install DS Audio, that is, Disk Station Audio, on both your Disk Station, your file server via your desktop, and your iPod.  Then experiment.  One thing you might try is to feed the Shoutcast network through your iPod.  This is free of charge, harmless, and you get another source of audio programming, besides your radio, or the RadioUK app.

You can even keep a terabyte music library on the file server via Audio Station so you can pipe music into your limited storage iPod. ; Upload MP3s into File Station’s Music Folder, then Add to Audio Player.

A Small Sampling of What a Networked File Server Can Do

A few notes on the Synology file server: You’ll have the last versions of a document (the upper limit on historical versions of files is limited by the hard disk size.  Drive is the upgrade of Cloud Station, I can now view my backed up, desktop text files on my iPod, via the Synology server.

Network professionals can do all kinds of stuff with this: Media Server, iTunes Server, PHP Server, web test servers, advanced RAID configurations (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks).  You can scale up your basic file server into a corporate web presence (although you need to have a direct feed to the Internet backbone for that).

The Synology network storage may or may not be a challenge to get running.  A wish list solid-state, very reliable drive without moving parts, costs four times what one with moving parts does, for the same storage capacity.

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An Inverted Yield Curve means Danger Ahead

On the Wall Street bond market, there now exists an inverted yield curve, which is the precursor to economic recession for all of the last fifty years.  The 10-year interest rate on U.S. Treasury bonds is less than the 2-year rate on bonds.  An inverted yield curve remunerates near-term investment more than long-term investment.

In other words, today there is more risk holding money short-term, than there is holding it long term (like ten years).  This is counter-intuitive because having an investment pay off in many years implies that one’s money is tied up that much longer, and that there is a greater chance for default on the bond’s interest payments.  Yet currently, short term lending rates via bonds are more than long term bond interest rates.

Trump is going into cardiac arrest, and second guessing the Federal Reserve Bank Chairman, again.  We’re still in the middle of a ten-year economic expansion, but if we were heading for a downturn, how could this be so unexpected by Trump?  Still, by most accounts, the economy has been Trump’s one and only strong suit.

At some point, the economy tanks, it slows down.  All new investment ideas have come to fruition, all discretionary purchasing, like jewelry and ’55 Nomads, have been made, until a new cycle is here, with new uses and desires for money, and the saved cash to fulfill these desires.

Yet there’s more evidence of his uninformed, stubborn, and destabilizing, economic leadership: Those retaliatory tariff, inflationary, Trump trade wars may prove to be his undoing, ones his predecessor, Barack Obama, never resorted to instigating.‡

‡(Retaliatory tariffs raise the prices on imported goods, which allows American manufacturers to increase their prices as well.)  8/14/19.

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The Fed does something, doesn’t it?

Everyone knows the Fed does something, most are just not quite sure what it is that they do.  Well, they help to determine interest rates by adjusting the money supply available for lending.  This adjusts the pace of the economy.

Easy money accommodates growth, tight money controls inflation.  There’s less money chasing goods when the money supply is tight, prices are contained.  When paper money is in great abundance, prices can skyrocket, yet loans are more affordable.

The most significant method that the Federal Reserve Bank (“the Fed”) has in controlling the money stock is by buying and selling their inventory of bonds (every bank is required to maintain a drawing reserve requirement with the Federal Reserve).  When the Fed sells bonds, they’re taking money out of circulation, and replacing it with illiquid, 30-year bonds, which are difficult to quickly unload.  This tightens the supply of money.

When the Fed buys bonds, they are injecting money into the banking system.  This is inexpensive money at low interest rates, and will make plenty of money available for lending.

Accommodating monetary policy is expansive, it means inexpensive and easy money.  It’s low interest rates, it’s borrower heaven.  Tight money supply is when money stocks are sucked up by the Federal Reserve.  Money in that scenario is expensive to lend, interest rates are therefore high.  Lenders like this.

If you’re buying real estate, you want easy money, or low interest rates.  If you’re selling it, well, you really don’t care.  You’re not financing the property, you’re only collecting a bank check.  Although the selling market is more robust with more buyers bidding up higher prices, and there will be this robust market with lower interest rates.

With lower interest costs of lower interest rates, bidders can bid higher for property.  This is a significant reason why Trump is clamoring for the Fed to hold down interest rates, and create a monetary policy of easy money.

I’ve heard it said that the Fed just prints money to add to the money supply.  This thought isn’t supported by any Federal statute.  I asked my graduate student teaching assistant about this years ago (before my MBA in Finance and Banking), and he said the Fed doesn’t print money to shore up the banking system.  They don’t have to, and how would they account for adding paper out of thin air onto their ledgers?

If someone knows different, I’d really like to know how this was even possible.  The Times even mentioned printing money to stimulate the economy, but I’m pretty sure that this particular reporter got it wrong, he had a perfunctory understanding of monetary policy.

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Holding History in your Hand Today

Coin collecting, of the World’s preeminent medium of exchange, and store of value, is the hobby of history, economics, and organization.  Stamp collecting offers similar satisfaction with a sometimes less expensive pastime, yet one with a more colorful and broader canvas, along with many more commemorative issues.

To get started assembling a collection, it definitely helps to have inherited the collection of a grandparent who was old enough to have served during World War I.  If you are generations removed from this time, you may have to start from scratch checking out established coin dealers, or even garage sales.  Coin dealers have both albums to mount your collection, and, of course, actual coins (or stamps).

Purchase price is determined by market factors such as the supply minted, where it was minted, and the number of buyers interested in the issue.  The other determining factor is the quality of your particular sample.

Coin and stamp graders should be able to determine their value, as they do in estate sales.  Their job is to understand the market, as well as knowing grading criteria.  Very fine pieces can be “slabbed”, that is, submitted for grading, to the private services, PCGS or NGC.  The coins are returned in an unbreakable case which includes their assigned grade.

The best coin samples are graded on a scale from 1 to 70, with 70 being a grade of Proof Uncirculated, one having its original luster still visible.  Every coin issue has different grading criteria.  For instance, a monument or a bust have different wear stages, tresses may wear away before lettering does.

To avoid getting taken, research should be done before you buy, so at least you have a feel for prices.  Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer, especially for any bigger ticket items.  You will eventually find a denomination, quality, scarcity, and a range of decades that fit your budget.  The Whitman Red Book for coins (the free online version is not complete), and Linn’s Stamp News can help you get started.  Your local library should have the complete editions.

Very roughly speaking, collecting stamps is less expensive than collecting coins.  A major exception is the inverted Jenny postage stamp.  There is only one pane of a hundred of these stamps known to exist.  The “Jenny invert” features a biplane inexplicably printed upside down.  Each example is worth near a million dollars.  Find that at a garage sale, and you can pay off the mortgage on your house.

Don’t sink a thousand dollars with the rubles guy who has the blanket on the sidewalk on Manhattan’s Twelfth Avenue.  With a weak market for rubles in the States, where will you resell your rubles — in Russia?  Hmm?  Think future reselling down the road, and there’s less likelihood that you’ll be taken for a ride.  Could you find a buyer in a few years that will pay at least what you’re paying today?

As a rule, do not clean your coins, especially ones from the 19th Century and prior.  Inexpensive, widely circulated, 20th Century ones, can be cleaned with liquid dish soap, and a toothbrush.  Only use brillo on them if you got the coins in your divorce settlement, and this somehow evens the score with that old witch, or crazy bastard.

Coin albums are organized by year, and within year, by mint mark.  A “D” next to the year minted (or on the reverse), means it was minted in Denver; an “S” means it was stamped in San Francisco, a “CC” was a now defunct mint in Carson City, Nevada (nearby area silver mines), and “P”, or no mint mark, indicates Philadelphia.  West Coast mint marks indicate coinage that had thousands of mile to travel to get to the East Coast, and vice versa.  Generally speaking, because of population demands, Philadelphia produced significantly more coinage volume than the Denver and San Francisco mints.

With older issues, you can just imagine all the people who purchased an item with the coin.  Was it a ticket to a movie where Lillian Gish was top-billed, a spoon from a Montana general store, a turn of the century newspaper, a malted at the malt shop in the Forties, a tab settled in Tombstone, Arizona, or to buy a dress for a Kansas barn dance?  Was the coin kept in a piggy bank for a hundred years?  As you go further back in history, money is of less currency, and less expected or accepted as payment, everyone was self-sufficient, depended on barter, or like the Amish, lived communally.

You will find you have dupes, or duplicates, that your coin book cannot accommodate.  Either you will need a second album for that denomination’s time frame, or if there is room, extras can just be placed at the end of the album.

These days, everyone lives for social media, but is that ever relaxing?  Numismatics, or coin collecting, and philatelics, or stamp collecting, are both interesting, educational, and even profitable pastimes, ones that are much more relaxing than Facebook ever is.

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(The Wizard of Oz,
© 1939, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
via www.gonemovies.com)

Did you ever notice that Dorothy Gale, and the Witches of the North and of the West, who were of course all female, were the only ones that had anything on the ball in Oz?

Dorothy Gale and Good Witch Glenda have a heart-to-heart.

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North:  Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?
Dorothy:  I’m not a witch at all.  I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas.
Glinda:  Oh.  Well, is that the witch?
Dorothy:  Who, Toto?  Toto’s my dog!

[The audience can clearly empathize with Dorothy’s confusion and consternation.  Dot wonders if this sprite is okay, she has been through such hell in Oz recently.  Or will Glinda just prove to be another heart wrenching liability, just like every woodland creature has been?]

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(The Wizard of Oz,
© 1939, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM))

The screen of the Wizard of Oz pulled back by Toto.

The most important statement in all of cinema, is that more often than not, even the Mighty Oz had no clue, and that even he knew he was only faking it.  (By the way, you’re really looking at the Pope.)

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That’s right, Muscovites, Long Island weather.  Get your mind off of your creep of a President, and imagine you could be enjoying this, sick, beat (all apologies to Taylor Swift, none to the Facebook, Ukraine marauder).

The Weather Underground widget below for Half Hollow Hills is powered by the Ambient Weather Weather Station shown in the following photos.

This might take a minute to load into your browser.  Click here, if it won’t.  Opera doesn’t seem to run Flash animations earlier than Windows 10, and these are required to launch the WUnderground widget above.  This is the only thing I dislike about that browser.  Firefox, even though it has less features, has less of an issue running Flash animations.  Chrome is coded by Google, and that search engine won’t give me my fair share of the traffic it gives everyone else, so I won’t recommend that browser.

Yet I relent on the weather widget hard line, and post a widget without animation:

Weather Underground PWS KNYDIXHI6

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If there is no problem with the signal to the outdoor sensor, put the indoor receiver/display near the coat closet for jacket selection.

Indoor/Outdoor weather station, 5 degree weather on February 13th, 2016.

Indoor/Outdoor Weather Station on February 13th, 2016.

I live South of New England and far South of the Canadian Maritimes, yet this is the weather here on Long Island today.  The reading above is from 10PM, it will be colder still here before dawn (at one point that night, it did get down to one degree).  My concern is the water pipes and the raccoons out back.  The varmints have survived millennia, before the Native Americans were even here.  So I am fairly certain, that while cold, this weather is not going to, well, kill them off.  (By the way, it looks as though the groundhog was a bit off base when he predicted an early spring this year.  The groundhog tends to base his prediction on the current week’s weather, which on this Groundhog Day, was uncharacteristically balmy.)

If you do not have a weather station, in all honesty, this is a great one.  Buy it today.  I’ll wait until you get off the phone with Targét.  This is probably the best piece of electronics I have ever purchased, and when I bought it, it was just $85.  Now I don’t mean to brag, but I also own an eight-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain refracting telescope made by the same manufacturer, Celestron.  They make exceptional high-end electronics, and as seen from the image above, this has sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, as well as moon phase, barometer, hydrometer, time, calendar, and indoor and outdoor temperature — plus, barometric, temperature, and humidity trends.  I am not making a dime plugging this, but this is a seriously great thing to have.  Just thought you should know.

Technical Note: To get accurate barometric pressure, go to Weather.gov, enter your zip code, and get the current reading for your area.  Hold down the Relative/Absolute button for three seconds then keep pressing ‘+’ until your weather station reads true.  The station ships with absolute pressure which incorporates your elevation above sea-level, but you need to adjust it for relative pressure, that is, benchmark, regional, sea-level pressure.

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Weather done right.

Ambient Weather weather station display
A weather station that does it all, the Ambient Weather WS-1002-WiFi

The unit displays graph able wind, wind gust, and direction; indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity; wind chill, heat index, UV index, dew point, and barometer; sunrise and sunset, moon phase; and rain accumulation, by the hour, the day, the week, the month, or the year.  As seen above, this also broadcasts your weather onto the Internet via Wunderground.com — the Weather Underground.

I upgraded from a WS-1001 Outdoor Sensor Array to the WS-1002.  My weather station kept getting bumped off of the Weather Underground grid because of overestimated temperature readings as well as generating a jagged temperature line on the monitor.  After I installed the WS-1002, this is no longer an issue.  I know because I calibrated the array against an environmentally-safe, outdoor glass thermometer.

The difference between the two models, is that the newer one has a capacitor to store solar energy during the day, and runs off of non-rechargeable, lithium, AA batteries at night.  The older one was constantly recharging the batteries, and apparently this was not the most efficient way of providing a constant current for transmitting to the monitor.

This is the monitor.  The colored bells indicates that audible alarms are set by the user, then triggered when a threshold is exceeded, such as three inches of rain in one day.

There are many, many ways of mounting this, and some of them involve ladders.  This way is relatively unblocked by the roof, and allows easy access without a ladder, but here you need a deck.

Outdoor sensor perched atop a mast. Outdoor sensor seated atop a mast.

Outdoor sensor itself, oriented to North. Outdoor sensor itself.

Outdoor sensor mast brace, with crumpled aluminum foil to reduce wind vibration
which might throw off the rain gauge. Outdoor sensor mast brace.

Mast pinning screws, the one in the middle holds it towards the deck post,
the one on the left stops the mast from turning. Mast pinning screws.

I later found Davis has a similarly-priced model that I could not review by press time.  Davis can get super expensive though.  The advantage of owning any of this is that when the farmer’s daughter sidles up to you at the State Fair asking for all kinds of profound weather insight like: “When should Daddy plant his corn?  Is it time to irrigate?  Daddy is getting older, he wants you to run his million acre radish farm, are you our man?”  You now can make the farmer’s daughter’s dreams come true.  Other than that, if you decide to jettison your current career, you may have a future as a meteorologist.

I got this on Amazon for under $400 including mast kit and mast kit extension.  Final words, plan well ahead for dimensions, and placement.  Really helps if you are handy, or are from a family that is (you own a portable drill, for instance), you are good at following directions (Ambient Weather’s, not mine), but if you can follow the example below, then that’s all you might need for planning.

(I would get the WS-1001-WiFi console upgrade instead of the WS-1200-IP alone with its earlier generation, Internet box.  For me, the WS-1200-IP had connectivity issues requiring an exchange to the WS-1001-WiFi.  The WS-1001-WiFi connects to the Weather Underground with no issue whatsoever.)

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Suburban Archeological find of the Millennium

These were all found in my backyard in a suburb of Long Island.  The one in the middle is the best example of the Native American hunting skills as seen, well, at least on my block.  This is not quite Navajo or Sioux country, but they made a livelihood by hunting deer just around my house.

The notch in the middle arrowhead (indicated with the blue line) shows incredible skill, and had to be used to well-position, and provide a notch for wrapping the arrow tip over and over with saplings between the arrow shaft and the arrowhead.

Up where the Expressway is now, in the early 1960s, there were deer in the suburbs, but no more.  All that remains of an apparently vibrant native way of life, at least for this neighborhood it seems, is what is seen here.

If I had sharper photography skills, they would all look even more like arrowheads.

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Backyard Nature Watch

Just being attentive to your surroundings, you can find all variety of wildlife, even in your own woods.


This Toad is the Missing Link to all Long Island Amphibious Life

The Toad in Question with arrows for easier identification.

I ran into this toad in the woods.  The amphibian didn’t move for minutes, he (or she) seemed as interested in me, as I was in him (or her).  Like a Hollywood starlet, the toad seemed to welcome the photo op.   As I hadn’t seen one in my town for at least a decade, I had thought toads were extinct on Long Island, or at least, Western Suffolk County.  Toads were once everywhere here.

Then how did this particular toad get here?  What would account for this apparent species reintroduction?  Is there a global predisposition in creation for toad life to pop up into being?  Why can’t there be a genetic and evolutionary shortcut outside of evolution from protozoa — and could this method be generalized across other families of life forms?

Can an extinct species be brought back to life, just like it was initially brought into life millions of years prior?

In other words, can ladder rungs of evolution be skipped?  Does genetic change have to occur in extremely minute increments?  What is preventing the hitting of a genetic jackpot, that is, a species having a huge sustainable, evolutionary leap?

All species are said to derive from prior ones, did this specimen evolve locally, and instead of evolving over millions of years, did it take a few quick hops up the evolutionary ladder over just a few summers?

Might there be a species force of will, one shuffling the DNA deck outside of incremental random mutation?  Can a species express itself at a genetic level?  It expresses itself at dozens of biochemical levels, why can’t do so at the reproductive level?

I didn’t see any nearby toad mating partners.  Does life ever arise from Creation without a sperm cell impregnating an egg cell?  Is a fertilized egg always required to generate a mature specimen of every species?  Is there enough genetic information in one gender of a species to create a living being, just as an amoeba would?

The “missing link” of the title was a hypothetical, more intelligent ape that bridged humanity with the lower apes.  There’s an unaccountably wide chasm in the evolutionary record here as well in Western Suffolk County.  The missing link re amphibians may bridge our understanding of spontaneously generated life that re-grow evolutionary tree branches from ones that had become extinct; or ones left dormant in biologically stable eggs for decades.  Otherwise, it may just be part of a knot unseen by anyone in this part of Long Island.

Local university primatologists are already comparing my find to the discovery of Lucie in Africa’s Cradle of Civilization (which is just a bike ride away from Charlize Theron’s childhood home).  Current dogma from the biological sciences would suggest that a bird ate a toad egg from, say, the ponds of Connecticut, with its next stop being Long Island.  It didn’t digest in the bird’s stomach, and then it was excreted intact, here in Western Suffolk County.

The bird-ingesting-toad-eggs, miraculous birth theory denies the fact that toads and frogs only develop in open air and water..  If anyone corners you asking if you’re buying in to any miraculous birth, don’t, because next thing you know they’ll want to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn, or have you join their church...

I crossed paths with a toad in the woods, and that has made all the difference...  —paraphrasing Robert Frost

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Bird Watching find of the Century

I’ve spoken to several area zoologists and they all are certain these feathers are from what is likely a bird, and one prehistoric in origin.  That particular pattern is created when a pigment is infused circularly when, well to be honest, they had no clue how to achieve that pattern via biological systems.  if you know exactly what type of bird this is.

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Neighborhood Opossum

If you have them out back, they’ll make their presence known, then feed them dinner scraps such as four of five slices of bread daily (depending on brood size).  They are nocturnal and skittish so getting close up video is difficult.  There are “services” that will deal with your raccoon and opossum ”problem.”  But if you leave them alone, they’ll do the same for you.  Raccoons and opossums are going the way of the now extinct, Long Island frog and toad.  One day, outdoor suburbia will just be a Scotts Dura-Lawn carpet in Pantone-adjusted, phosphorescent green.

Opossum seem to have made their entrance onto Earth, and into woods everywhere, before raccoons did.  Raccoons have a strong similarity in appearance to cats, and even dogs.  Opossum don’t look like anything else from the present day.  They occupy a unique branch of the evolutionary tree.  What’s more, they are very slow walking creatures, they do not possess the sophistication of creatures that from every indication appeared much later on the scene.

In Mississippi, they hunt for raccoon and opossum.  You have to be either very poor or very sadistic before that sounds like something worth doing.  It’s too bad that the South rejoined the Union, because we could have gotten rid of these ignorant, Bible-thumping, Roy Moore-loving hicks forever.  Eventually the South would have moved away from an agrarian, slave economy anyway, and the Underground/Overground Railroad could have brought the African Americans North.  You would have saved 600,000 lives, but you blew it, Lincoln.

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Raccoon with Bread at Night

When is the last time you fed your raccoons and opossums?  If you haven’t, are you prepared for their aggression?  If raccoons and opossums, being generally nocturnal, venture out during daylight, they may or may not be rabid — they might just be looking for handouts. As you probably already know, it is not such a wonderful idea to feed rabid animals, although there has only been one reported death ever from “raccoon rabies.”  The literature suggests that feeding raccoons will cause them to attack, although mine never have.  The hours we keep are different anyhow.  Isn’t a starving raccoon, one eyeing your calf as dinner, more of a risk to you and your loved ones, than a well-fed one?  (Coyotes are another story, they are carnivores whose diet is 90% animal matter.)

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Symbolically, this represents Trump Republicans greedily stealing from the feeding trough.  Like Trump himself, the grackles stop at nothing to gain the upper hand, and to acquire dominance.

The Long Island Grackle Invasion

I’ve Tweeted more than just a few world leaders about eradicating dogs.  Given their poop, they are the bane of hikers everywhere.  They are known, disease vectors spawning cholera, rubella, and tuberculosis.  Ashley Judd will kill me if my plan ever got traction, my plan being a mass eradication event of dogs, like through some blessed, DNA breeding, re-sequence virus “accident.”  Ashley would try to shut me down.  Yet I can always dream of the glorious day of the virus release, can’t I?

If world leaders ever step up to the plate, and we at last find success in the dog extinction theater, then it’s on to the grackles.  They really serve no other function but to bother the good birds of the world: the cardinals, the blue-jays, and the chickadees.  Grackles are bird feeder thieves.  I do not like them, no one does.  Same goes for dogs, dogs are almost universally hated, except by people like Ashley Judd who find them entertaining in some twisted, perverse sense.

We have the genetic engineering technology today to reach these goals of a serene, dog-free existence.  Now, it is only a matter of getting world leaders behind my admittedly ambitious agenda.  If we can send a rocket ship to the moon and back, then folks, we can at last have a puppy end game as well.

Near President’s Day, or the third Monday of February, the Grackles show up at our bird feeder on Long Island.  And there goes the neighborhood, as they eat more than any others, so feeding returns to a daily schedule, from one every other day.

If anyone is aware of a genetic-virus solution to either my Grackle problem, or my puppy problem, please do not hesitate to reach me at my contact section.  Please, no genetic viruses that spread to other species, like HIV/AIDS.  Thank you.

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Metaphorically, and with the Blue State tax increase,
this is Trump feasting on the average American.

A Hawk eating its Prey

Prescript: To deter hawks after they have a “feeding,” stop feeding your flock for a week or two.  Also, have a brush pile and evergreens nearby, so the smaller birds can find cover.  Then, keep windows easily visible as windows, with decals designed for that purpose, or plants covering part of them.

This is not for the faint of heart.  Many, if not most, will be overcome with the viciousness of this predator.  You will likely cover your eyes to avoid the sheer horror of the act you are about to witness, but first you hurriedly leave the room for a commode, because you will be overcome with nausea...

Eh, not really, this is just the law of the jungle, or of the woods, specifically the woods in suburban Long Island.  This is his feeding time (or the he could be a she, who knows?)  It is interesting how paranoid the hawk is, he looks around everywhere for what? — a homeowner with a rake?  It’s like he feels guilt over his meal, or he’s uncomfortable on the ground when he’s mostly above it.  I would guess he caught a mourning dove, they are fat and slow, and make an easy prey.

The only problem with feeding the birds with birdseed, is that you may indirectly feed the hawks as well.  This must cull the flock, and the whole scene has been going on before man even flourished, or even before apes existed, if you look at the evolutionary tree.

After the hawk caught this bird, I’ve had to fill the feeder half as often.  Witnessing the attack must have been too rich for the blood of many of the birds feeding here.  In other words, they might have been traumatized — as far as birds get traumatized.

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Blue jays are the most aggressive by our bird feeder.  Cardinals are smaller so they wait their turn.  These two larger birds hold off feeding until I leave, unlike the chickadees.  The chickadees are getting more trusting and will eat from the feeder before I even set it on its post.

The first to eat after being fed are the chickadees, then the nuthatchers.  They seem to arrive in ascending size order.  Being smaller, the Chickadees may stay closest to my feeder — they do not have the physical, avian, ability to fly far distances away from a regular food source.

Chickadees may also be emboldened by the fact that because they are not so meaty, they do not make much of a snack for a hawk.  Because of their small size, Chickadees may also be more agile, like hummingbirds, so they can evade predators.

If you really would like to ensure the survival of your flock, put up a suet cage, and fill it with a slab of fat and seed suet.  This is a high energy snack, and your visitors will thank you at Spring with returning calls and hatchlings.

Cornell Cooperative Extension has a listing of the birds that dominate (or displace) other birds at the bird feeder (scroll down for interactive display).  The blue jays are feared, but the king of the skies (or the bird feeder) is the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Because it is so small, the Black-capped Chickadee is at the bottom of the pecking order.

By the way, if you don’t feed the birds outside in winter time with bird feed there is a good chance many will starve.  There’s next to nothing for them to eat once the leaves fall.  You owe them this, because your housing development completely encroached on their habitat.

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Birds at Bird Bath during Daytime

At Spring, you may notice birds that are not yet full-sized, like under-sized blue jays.  These are hatchlings.

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Opossum snow prints

The arrow points to what is likely opossum snow prints.  Opossum’s feet do not face forward like the faster-moving raccoons.  Red-tailed hawks are also common to this area, but their talons face forward and back as well, and hawks do not hop sideways, back-to-back, in unison (or at least the ones around here don’t).  The smart money is riding on the opossum.

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Illusion of a frog that also looks like a bicycle on a pedestal

Balancing Act or Bespectacled Frog
© Other Letter

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Call your travel agent, and book a stay with our number two advertiser today.

Leafy Pines Village town sign, Wherever particular people congregate, incorporated 1984, A good town to live in ...

Or where to spend some time away, maybe drop a few bills — and it’s not such a horrific place to raise your family either.  LPV is a breeding ground for all manner of fascinating insects, most non-life-threatening.  It is a bit of schlock, but we have learned to call it home.

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Shortcut Keys Saving You enough Time for that Trip to the Bahamas  If your mouse no longer functions, these shortcut keys will save your life.  Trust me, these will.  Android is a Google by-product, so I will not cover it here, or anywhere else.

Shortcut KeyIts Purpose
iPod and iPhone
On/Off switch + Home ButtonScreen capture into Photos app
Hold down Home ButtonSiri, the automated, voice-activated wizard
2x press Home Button & swipe, then tapFinds recent apps opened
Press Home ButtonExit current app
ctrl + tabCycle through previous browser tabs
ctrl + link-clickOpen new browser tab with the link
alt + enterOpen new browser tab with the URL in the address bar
ctrl + “t”Open new blank browser tab
ctrl + “n”Open new browser window
ctrl + “h”Open history of pages visited
Space barToggles pause and resume play in Youtubes
ctrl + “w”Close browser tab
ctrl + shift + “t”Reopen last closed browser tab
F5Browser page refresh
F3 or ctrl + “f”Browser find in page
ctrl + “`”Browser last tab toggle (accent)
ctrl + enter Adds “.com” to the end of a web site address
ctrl + scroll-wheel Browser magnify or de-magnify
alt + numeralSpecial characters list here
alt + tabCycle previous Windows
Ctrl + Shift + EscTask Manager
Windows key + “x” Power User Menu, Control Panel, File Explorer et al
alt + F4Close Window
alt + space bar Window manipulation (then “n,” minimizes window)
Windows-key + “e”File explorer
Windows-key + “r”Command line
ctrl + “p”Print page
ctrl + “c”Copy selection
ctrl + “x”Cut selection
ctrl + “v”Paste selection
Double-click a wordThe entire word is selected
2x-click a word, shift, then a 2nd wordThe entire phrase is selected
Triple-click a wordThe entire containing paragraph is selected
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The Food Court for Thought

Ever wonder about the meaning of life, and the answers to life’s eternal questions?  Haven’t we all tried to solve these riddles with varying success?  What follows are better answers than the Holy Bible has along with plenty of practical info not found anywhere else.  Be prepared for the wisdom of King Solomon (that may not be what you get, but be prepared for it).

  • Latest and GreatestObese women need to stay with their own kind.  Many times, I have gotten hit on by women who look like they could take a big chomp out of my arm, followed by desserts.  I don’t respond to them, so they decide it’s time to be very offensive when I fend them off with this mildest of rejection.  If you are obese, and you’re looking for romance, you need to find another obese person.  Guys who watch their weight cannot tolerate a romance with a beefy, overweight chick.  Everyone might not agree with me, but the vast majority do.  Set your sights on your own weight class...
  • Latest and GreatestI like to think of myself as an American, when my nationality — and the fact that my nominal, national leader is a complete idiot — doesn’t annoy the Hell out of me.
  • Latest and GreatestIn the Trump Age, corrupt Republicans decide the fate of the moronic, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in their wake.
  • Latest and GreatestHousewives know a thing or two about mixing martinis, and heating-up TV dinners.  Homemakers know at least a thing or two about making French cuisine, and needlepoint.  Career women know a thing or two about where to pick up a nice dinner on the way home from work.
  • Latest and GreatestDo not depend on god in the ether of the clouds above.  Depend on everyone around you.  Humanity has been here a million years.  Hopefully in that time, there have been enough lessons passed down about dignity, compassion, and love.
  • Latest and GreatestAs a blogger, I live by a single creed: “Fear is not a useful emotion.”
  • Latest and GreatestToday’s Christians hand over the reins of their spirituality to ancients who barely understood the wheel, let alone interpersonal relationships.
  • Latest and GreatestIt can be reassuring to think that those who enjoy giving others a hard time, have been getting one themselves, are getting one now, and will continue to get one.  Getting in the way is their native currency.  They just don’t understand, or like, people.  They only understand fear, and scurrying away like the rats that they are, when exposed to the light of day.
  • Latest and GreatestBragging to get appreciation isn’t so cool, but making sure that you get the credit that you deserve is.
  • Latest and GreatestBy my calculus, the greatest sin of all, yet the most common one, is not being considerate to others.  If you cannot even be nice, you deserve nothing from anyone else.  If you feel it’s necessary to hurt the innocent, especially without any plausible excuse, you should not be living among the civilized.
  • Latest and GreatestThe Southern United States is another country, given: its hospitality; its own, celebrated music; cuisine; culture; along with its irrational, ignorant, Fundamentalist Christianity; and tragic racism.  In fact, before 1865, and their defeat in the Civil War, it almost was the Confederate States of America.
  • Latest and GreatestIn a noisy din, the one who makes the most noise, is the one who’s heard.
  • Latest and GreatestCivility is a luxury of the Canadian, and of the British.  As Americans, we’ve been deprived of it, as Trump has been setting the tone of our raucous, antagonistic, and hostile, national discourse.
  • Latest and GreatestSchadenfreude was once a term describing the predominantly German joy of being sadistic.  Today, this best describes the same, American joy.
  • Latest and GreatestLSD is not worth the trip, because you can have horrifically bad trips.  Born in the Sixties, anyone who has any familiarity with the drug subculture has seen these acid burnouts.
  • Latest and GreatestOfficers of the law are your friends.  That is, unless you are an outlaw living outside the law.  Come to think of it, even outlaws can report crime as they would have the most criminal activity to report.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you go out of your way to make my life difficult, I will do the same to you.  Expect it.  I won’t put up with your crap.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen immigrants speak in their native language in front of English-speaking Americans, I can think of two reasons why they’re not speaking English: One, their English skills are poor; or two, they enjoy talking behind the backs of others.  If it’s the former, they need to improve their language skills to survive in the U.S. of A.  If it’s the latter, then they are exceptionally rude, and they’re carrying on like losers.
  • Latest and GreatestOther Letter doesn’t make people look bad.  It puts a mirror in front of bad people so everyone can see exactly how bad they look.  This is along the lines of when Native Americans surveyed colonials devastation with their palm outstretched reflecting what the White man decimated, and said, “How [could you do this]?”
  • Latest and GreatestYou have to read so much of Shakespeare, or be given flawless instruction, before reading Shakespeare is not a complete slog...  Every English teacher reading this just fainted:  “Other Letter must be stopped, he’s against the classics!”
  • Latest and GreatestEver notice how if someone is hard of hearing, you really need to speak louder?  Other Letter often operates this way.  No one can hear me, so I keep turning up the volume, until people start to listen...
  • Latest and GreatestKeep Christ out of celebrating the warmth of Christmas...
  • Latest and GreatestThis is what you really don’t need to hear on your next transcontinental flight:  “This is your pilot.  If you look out of the side of the plane, either side really, you’ll see the thunderhead we’re heading straight into.  Now, I’ve flew into one or two thunderstorms before, I have eight years of experience as an Air Jumbo pilot, but I’ve never flown into a mofo like this mofo.  On these jumbo jets, you turn your head for two seconds, and the weather patterns look so different.  No one saw this one coming.  So please fasten your seat-belts, we got a rough ride ahead of us.  Dear Jesus, I was in Confessional just last month, just last month, please Jesus, I’m only thirty-seven years old...”
  • Latest and GreatestFrom birth, life becomes a gift.  Those who squander that gift by going around attacking the innocent, do not deserve that gift.  It is that simple.
  • Latest and GreatestThe best kind of attractiveness is the result of being happy and possessing sensitivity, because the World can see your warm glow.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are many people in America who do not value education.  They are anti-intellectual.  The ignorant seem to think that they’re cool to stay that way.  They could have had a terrible education, or they simply are not interested in life.  This is very sad considering that those in the Third World would absolutely kill if they had a means at their disposal to get ahead in life.
  • Latest and GreatestThe skies clear and you’re as happy as a lark, but then the skies darken again, and the sun disappears behind clouds as the rain begins.  Most are social beings, being among people brings the sunshine, isolation brings stormy weather.
  • Latest and GreatestBetween the worries of the future, and the regrets of the past, lies the only timeframe humanity has any direct control, the here and now.
  • Latest and GreatestA surprising number of wrongs would be righted: If the guilty party just knew the best, most equitable and efficient way of accomplishing a goal; they were amenable to knowing what that way was; and they possessed the selflessness to effectuate this solution.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are people who use recreational drugs, and they do exactly what they want them to do.  If they’re anxious, their drug (or drugs) of choice, make them relax.  If they’re down in the dumps, their elixir gets them high.  To be social, they need a drink.  If they need creative inspiration, they get it from what they toke, and don’t give themselves the credit anymore.  The problem becomes needing the drugs every time they need to feel better.  Besides being physically and psychologically addictive, drugs get very expensive, and interfere with having a normal life.  The smoke and drink that started as just some secret little fun, and as a helper through the hours, work too well, and one day becomes a full-blown monster.  Drugs become their primary coping mechanism, if not their sole one.
  • Latest and GreatestThe more someone gets inked with tattoos, the more that someone has gender and sexual orientation confusion.  If you need to amplify your identity with cheap, fading “artwork,” then you obviously make very little positive impression on your own.  Put art in your living room, not on your back.  That said, if those with facial tattoos are attempting to suggest homicidal urges, they’ve succeeded...  Let’s get your opinion.  Are you so, so glad to have gotten that tattoo the time you drank all night?  Then woke up wondering how the Hell, “Betty, Love of my Life,” was permanently scarred into your bicep, when you don’t even know any Bettys.
  • Latest and GreatestThe wicked will one day get to feel the wrath that they inflicted.  Those who seek victims will become one in return by those seeking vengeance for past wrongs.
  • Latest and GreatestIs the future preordained by all that has transpired in the past?  Then given careful analysis, is the future surprisingly predictable?  Or is free will so random that the future is also random?  Then, on the same token, humanity doesn’t consist of rational actors, ones who rarely respond rationally to cues requiring action.  Furthermore, if the irrational President leads a nation of rational people, it no longer matters if they are rational, they are acting at the behest of the mad man.  Then Trump adds fuel to the fire to not have leaders with so much power.
  • Latest and GreatestRelations of the rich and famous need to find people who like them for their first name, and not for their last name...
  • Latest and GreatestThere are issues preventing the forgiving of someone who harmed you.  One is that you’re saying: “For hurting me, I will let you off the hook.”  If the transgression was out of ignorance, and you care about the person, than you can just accept any apology in keeping with the size of the offense, and forget it ever happened.

    If the individual (or group) is (or are) strangers, and their attack was purely out of a inexplicable desire to do inestimable harm, how can there ever be any forgiveness?  They have to make an extremely heartfelt overture at apology before they are ever given the time of day again from their victim.

    Even then, what requirement does the victim have to honor the apology?  Does rejecting their apology reinforce your complete dissatisfaction with their behavior?  Does this apology rejection serve the interests of the victim more than accepting the apology?  Does the perpetrator learn a much better lesson if the new law is laid down, and it is one that they must obey?

    There are times when forgiveness is absolutely impossible.  When dealing with assault (as in, say, violence like rape, or full-scale character assassination); retaliation, if unfortunate, can be expected.  Who was it that said: “An eye for an eye”?

    The mistake that Christ’s mistaken hordes constantly make is that they keep putting lipstick on a pig.  You cannot cosmetically make a pig prettier.  They believe any warring party can just shake hands, and peace reigns once more.  Well, that isn’t going to happen when one party has been the instigator.  Turn the other cheek is a posture for the underclass to take that lets their overlords prosper, at the unfortunates expense.
  • Latest and GreatestGiven the majesty of creation, would it be too much to expect that those cheated out of life’s enjoyment in the present tense, be redeemed in the hereafter.
  • Latest and GreatestAnarchists get nowhere these days.  When society was less structured, and there was much less, tangible need for government, they had more success.  Today’s anarchists should work for a world government.  This may sound like a lost cause, but nationalism is the number one cause of war...
  • Latest and GreatestMuch of quote-unquote, serious writing involves impressing on the reader how erudite the writer is, and how many SAT words they know, generally at the expense of readability and overall comprehension...
  • Latest and GreatestThose willing to kill for the corner office, on the top floor, of Manhattan’s newest building on Park Avenue, might like to consider this: If someone sideswipes your Rolls, that’s a $10,000 repair that you’re praying your insurance will pick up.  If that same car was a Subaru, you’d be looking at a $500 bill (or thereabouts, I don’t have the exact figures).
  • Latest and GreatestDo you enjoy what you do for a living?  Do you feel that you’re paid what you’re worth to the organization that hired you?  If you’re retired, do you like it?  Now that you have so much free time, do you spend all day at the gym?  Can you at last party far past midnight on weeknights?  Do you have your favorite hookers, and have their work schedules memorized?
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you put your faith in Creation everywhere around you, you’re putting it into a million years of demonstrable human progress.  When you put your faith in God, you’re putting your hopes up into the ether of the clouds above.
  • Latest and GreatestFaith in Creation is based on the observable congress and coexistence of all life forms; faith in God up in the clouds is based on a fiction originally derived by ancients in caves.
  • Latest and GreatestIntrinsic to our evolution, is a never-isolated impetus, a never-defined force, that improved our lot, individually, communally, and species-wide.  We went from the most primitive of animal to one who can think.U  Our species willed ourselves to where it is today.  Men in high places are mistaken who think we got from Point A to Point B by simple survival of the fittest (or the most attractive), and random combinations of the genetic coding in two pairs of amino acids (adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine).
  • Latest and GreatestIf you’re feeling down and blue, because of what others have done to you (or you have done to yourself); you might want to think back to the good times, and all you’ve accomplished in your life that helped to put you in the win column.
  • Latest and GreatestAvoid engaging in relationships where you need to change the other person right from the get go.
  • Latest and GreatestAre nuclear weapons a hoax?  Were the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima done with massive conventional weapons?  Are the world’s nations all playing liars’ poker?  Is nuclear power the closest we’ve ever come to splitting the atom?  Just a thought...
    Hey, let’s attack North Korea, because The Other Letter says their hydrogen bombs are fake — KABOOM!!
  • Latest and GreatestI’m not so sure I’m the best one to ask, but if anyone were to ask me if I have any advice for aspiring writers, I have this.  Write, write some more, then edit what you have written, and keep writing.  One day, you may really enjoy your writing; you can say exactly what you wanted to say, and with standard, acceptable grammar.  At some point, many others may see and enjoy what you’ve been trying to express...
  • Latest and GreatestA full tool chest is a sure sign of self-sufficiency, assuming their use is understood, and they are actually ever used.
  • Latest and GreatestWomen are better actors than men.  Because of sexual discrimination, they’ve been forced to use this skill, practiced lying essentially, in many more situations.
  • Latest and GreatestHere are two ills worth mentioning: Wanting to have too much fun; and not wanting to have any fun at all.  Everything is best in moderation.
  • Latest and Greatest...And here, my loyal Facebook fans, is my selection of men’s briefs that I have donated to the Smithsonian.  These will be displayed at their Famous Americans in Underwear Exhibit.  I’m waiting for the FedEx truck to swing by, pick them up, and deliver them to DC and permanent exhibition space.  After that, they’re set to make the cover of Time Magazine...
  • Latest and GreatestThe main purpose of expression is to convey understanding, it is not to make yourself sound important.  You can try to speak or write with lucidity, but if your audience cannot fully grasp what you’re trying to say, you have not yet succeeded in your goal of educating, or entertaining, your listener or reader.  A corollary here, is that by using rarely-used words that the SAT popularized, you are limiting the number of people who are able to follow you as you advance your arguments.
  • Latest and GreatestReligious zealots on their deathbeds, must one day deal with the empty vacuum in their soul when baby Jesus or Jehovah doesn’t show up.
  • Latest and Greatest“I’m done,” indicates I’ll stop doing what you somehow found offensive — at least for now.  “I’m wrong,” only restates what we’ve both known already, that you did what you shouldn’t have done.  “I’m sorry,” indicates that I feel at least slightly bad for what I did.  The following works (although this is overkill for stepping on another’s foot): “I deeply regret my behavior, you’ll never know how badly I feel about what I did to you...””
  • Latest and GreatestWhile a spotless house may be the ideal; spraying disinfectants everywhere has a significant downside.  Your body needs microbial contaminants to build up immunology resistance via antibodies.  If you live in a sterile house, you cannot mount any defense against communicable disease.
  • Latest and GreatestAccording to Trump and the Republicans: Big Brother knows best, who cares what father knows?
  • Latest and GreatestRepublicans are like the dunces and bullies in your classes growing up that you just have to put up with, or ignore, while they try to ruin every day.  You can have them expelled, but that means hiring attorneys, and you’re only in the sixth grade.
  • Latest and GreatestAre you in service: of the State; of the Game; of the Greenback; of your own kind; or of none?
  • Latest and GreatestI went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.  (Credit is deserved elsewhere for this one, not here.)
  • Latest and GreatestWhatever travails you’re going through, millions in the holocaust had it infinitely worse.  For starters, you’re likely not being starved to death right now.
  • Latest and GreatestFor people who get into drugs, it becomes the main focus of their existence.  Which is a shame, because there’s plenty more to life than just feeding your head.  In a drugged-out stupor, they’re missing out on everything.
  • Latest and GreatestWinter can be a bit of a strain, it is certainly not the salad days of summer.  Just keeping warm becomes a regular concern in winter, but it’s never one in summer.  To lift your spirits, have a hot drink, and stream AC/DC, or better, Megadeath, throughout your office, far beyond arena rock, volume levels.  Perfect for quiet contemplation, reflection, and to collect your thoughts.
  • Latest and GreatestOn a stray cat not making it through the night: Maybe it was just its time, just its time to go.  Regardless of species, there will always be culling from the pack...  That said, if you can no longer afford, or are no longer physically able to care for your pet, there are local pet adoption centers to find them a new home.  One well-known, no-kill shelter on Long Island is the North Shore Animal League...  Assuming a creature has enough to eat, and cannot breed (via sterilization typically), an animal’s natural state might be seen as living undomesticated, and in the wild.  In other words, don’t spend all day crying over well-fed, sterile strays, especially if you’ve been leaving out kibble for them.  Although I would really start to worry in January, where the temperatures on Long Island have fell below 0° Fahrenheit.
  • Latest and GreatestIf things are not going well, especially if they’re seriously not going well, consider everything you have that your ancestors could only pray to God in vain to get: Running water (you would otherwise know well the very frequent walk to the well, or the river, in any weather); indoor plumbing (no winter outhouse visits); clothing that you didn’t have to sew and mend yourself; shelter that is leagues better than ancients lean-tos.  There’s more, lots and lots more: health care and vaccines (no Bubonic Plague); thermostat-adjusted heating (not figuring out where to get dry wood, and how much); refrigeration and food goodies made globally, and flown in locally; transportation across town, the State, the nation, or the world; working or living distant from the farm you were born on (or someone else’s farm who wielded a whip on a whim).  The list of all the hardship everyone of today is spared is never-ending.
  • Latest and GreatestWhat else is there to believe in, if not in happy endings?
  • Latest and GreatestF*ck-ups do drugs to forget that they’re f*ck-ups, because they have nothing better to do, and because they’re physically addicted.
  • Latest and GreatestDo it now, and you won’t forget.
  • Latest and GreatestEulogy for a Cat  To whoever ran over an animal recently, be it pet or wildlife: You drive like a sh*thead, and you take life like a sh*thead, so then you are a sh*thead.  Furthermore, if you let your pet out in freezing temperatures, then you, too, are a sh*thead.  Why do you have a pet that you treat like an insect, like something whom you do not care if it is killed?  The reckless driver and the reckless pet owner should join forces and start an animal experimentation lab, where you can continue murdering under the guise of not being a sh*thead.  Put a swastika on your shingle, and you’ll be all set.
  • Latest and GreatestBaby Jesus said: Forgive them, they know not what they do.  In the real world, you can try forgiving your trespassers who knew exactly what they did.  Voicing your displeasure with their behavior is important to healing.  The world is populated with disturbed faggots, you have to get on your life knowing that they are just that.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen someone is wronged, who cares that the victimizer admits they were wrong?  We already know this.  No, the one who has was injured wants two things: For the guilty to feel the same pain that was sadistically given to the innocent, and have things return to how they were before the harm had been done.  This can be at least partially accomplished through the criminal justice system, or much more simply, by telling the victimizer in no uncertain terms just how awful you were treated.  In return, the guilty party needs to humbly ask for forgiveness.  The malefactor can also explain why they did their best to hurt you, and what this lack of character says about them...
  • Latest and GreatestTry not to be an a*hole, and do not suffer gladly those who are.  Then be sure to live a little before you die.  When you do leave this Earth, hopefully it is after a good faith effort to leave those you know richer for you having been here.
  • Latest and GreatestThe only problem with being a martyr is that there isn’t any opportunity for you to enjoy your martyrdom.
  • Latest and GreatestPassive prayer is a cop out, it’s a fake.  It only assuages the guilt of those who personally won’t do anything to solve what went wrong.  One thing that social media can accomplish is that anyone can enter a comment that goes viral in response to a major, pressing issue.  Outside of these long shots, donating money to a cause does much more good than prayer ever can.
  • Latest and GreatestPot is a drug that you can probably get away with taking for the short term (short term meaning just long enough to see what the fuss is about, but not so long that you’re hooked for life).  Stuck with a long term habit, and you have a monkey on your back to feed.  You’re by the projects at midnight looking for a fix from someone named Carlito — just like a junkie would.  Ultimately, though, why bother?  There aren’t any illicit drugs that are good for your health, these compromise your overall well being.  If you are dead set on experimentation, hold your breath for three minutes.  There, you just smoked weed without any chance of memory loss (for practical purposes you did).  If you do actually smoke weed, and you get an allergic reaction, you owe it to yourself to cut off your little drug experimentation immediately.
  • Latest and GreatestHairdressers are under-valued.  If they were to all go on strike, who would replace them?  Their walkout would mean that all of humanity would have weeks upon weeks, or even months upon months, of looking scruffy with daily, bad hair days.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you designed the perfect world, what would it be like?  Who would get kicked off the Island?
  • Latest and GreatestConsider all you have, rather than on all you don’t, or most honestly, all that you won’t unless you hit Lotto.  If you already have love in your life, is there anything else that you really need?
  • Latest and GreatestWith the myriad of creature comforts and foods available in pet shops, those who live to pamper pets prove humanity treats its animal friends better than it does many of its people.
  • Latest and GreatestI appreciate advertising that doesn’t demean Blacks.  Advertisers will show a conference of White doctors where there’s a Black janitor with a three-foot-diameter afro from the Sixties who only speaks bastardized Ebonics.  The Steppin Fetchit will be drooling, a tear in his eye, with his hands on the glass of a Manhattan, sky rise building, as the doctors drive off up Park Avenue into the sunset with their fleet of Mercedes Benz.  The caption is: “Buy that Mercedes today.  Prove that you’re better than all of them.”
  • Latest and GreatestGwynnie could do a special double issue in her Goop webzine on foot fungus, and she’d get millions of comments, all glowingly positive.  Even Trump would weigh in: “Way to be Gwynster, foot fungus, yeah, who knew?  Keep up your important, life-saving work.  You’re leading the nation (when I should be).  Vote Republican!...”  Meanwhile I stage another fire sale of my latest and greatest work, in return I get bupkes, and I’m forced to cry myself to sleep.  Wah, wah, wah...
  • Latest and GreatestWomen typically look for one of three things in a mate: Looks, affluence or prospects, and competence, which implies future earning potential.  While a wardrobe infusion can help, looks aren’t going to happen for some guys, they are either homely (and have been told so all of their lives), or entirely unathletic.  Lots of money means living in a great, big house, but not necessarily in a heartwarming home.  Competencies, via education, or being self-taught, has the most merits, because it implies resourcefulness, sensitivity, and ability to surmount obstacles.
  • Latest and GreatestMen have a reputation, sadly well-earned, of being only interested in women’s looks.  Yet, warmth is very important in any relationship, who wants to be stuck with a bitch.  Gentleness, and conversational ability, as well as career prospects — given the modern, two-income household — count for much.  Women have a better chance of finding their sweetheart, if they keep trim.  If a woman becomes happier and healthier, this can very positively effect her appearance.  If a woman overdoes dieting or is anorexic, or is not coping with what’s continually thrown her way, it will effect her physical appearance.  I have actually seen this in a woman, and once she was on a steadier course, and came into her own, the change was startling, she was suddenly as beautiful as a model.
  • Latest and GreatestYou hear them on sports radio all the time, they are the spectators.  They know incredible minutia about the New York Yankees starting pitching rotation (what about that called strike in the third inning last month against Colorado?), the prospects of that new trade for Sanchez (not good, the spectator is afraid), and they are the winners of any sports trivial pursuit contest.  In these forums, it is much less about strategy than it is about statistics.

    Yet can they play sports themselves?  Are they ever participators in sports, or do they always sit on the sidelines?  Are they the quintessential water boys?  And I guess, for completeness, are they the water girls, too?  Did their parents ever enroll them into sports programs?  The next stop in the spectators’ athletic pursuits are drugs, often suds, so they can continue just sitting on their bums all day.

  • Latest and GreatestCriminal activity spikes during the summer.  People have too much time to figure out ways of getting into trouble.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you live in a safe neighborhood, you can thank a cop.  If you don’t, don’t bother thanking a cop.  Yet there are factors besides policing that determine the crime rate.  Poverty because of racial discrimination and oppression will increase crime locally.  Criminals tend to lack cash, or any means of procuring cash.
  • Latest and Greatest

    If humanity cannot put their best foot forward when the aliens get here, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.  Any revitalization plans that the inter-galactic had for us would all be scuttled.  They will be taking off for the next galaxy in their warp-drive outfitted spaceships without even waving goodbye (oddly enough, these star ships will look very much like the Star Fleet on Star Trek).  We hear a father, and his young son, fighting back tears: “Wave goodbye to the only hope this Earth ever had, Junior.”  “Bye-bye space creatures.”  “That’s right, Junior, bye-bye space creatures.”  Nary a dry eye left on the planet.

    Trump will get on the world public address system: “It’s not my fault, peoples of planet earth, those aliens were bad hombres.”  This led to conjecture that Trump was actually a Vulcan.  Terrifyingly, the American government could be infiltrated, and at the top levels, by alien life forms.  Then we would all know how wrong the Right was about Trump, and that he is from outer space.

    Notice how Trump always demonstrates an inability to cooperate with earthlings, which is a sure sign of the Oval Office occupant being an alien invader.  Not just a terrestrial shape shifter mind you, but a creature from Deep Space.  The inter-galactic forces will take one look at the White House, and say, “Ah ah, they’re not ready.  See you in 4019.  Star calendar’s reset.  Open time-space continuum portal.  VROOM!!!!!”

    This may sound like an oversimplification of intergalactic relationships with Earthlings, but it really isn’t.  Believe me, it isn’t.  Trump screwed us for eons ahead...

  • Latest and GreatestIf you want to become a milquetoast nobody, and stay middle-of-the-road, someone will bear down on you, and run you right over from either direction.  If you don’t take a stance, someone will fill the vacuum where you stand, with a stance of their own choosing.  In other words, they will take your vote from under you.
  • Latest and GreatestThere may be times in your life when you must choose between maintaining your personal integrity or being popular.  If you stay in keeping with your integrity, you may or may not have to go it alone, but you will never hate yourself at the end of the day.  Trying to make it with a tough crowd so you can fit in, can be both demoralizing and dangerous.
  • Latest and GreatestHumans can often be characterized as regret minimization agents.  We choose activities that minimize later regret.  Most work hard to avoid the feeling that we erred, we generally would rather err on the side of caution.
  • Latest and GreatestAnother day, another donut — but, oh, what a donut it was...
  • Latest and GreatestEnjoy the summer while ye may, because soon enough it’ll be time to shovel the snow off of the driveway.  Get outside, take a walk, scale the sheer face of Half Dome at Yosemite (if your name is Ashley Judd).  Cross the English Channel with a eighty foot yacht’s bow line strapped to your waist.  Become an Ironman or Ironwoman Triathlete (again, only if your name is Ashley Judd).  Honestly, anyone can perform Herculean athletic feats, just put in the time and effort, and if a likely heart condition doesn’t faze you, jack yourself up with steroids.  Or just enjoy the fresh air, and take a walk outside...
  • Latest and GreatestWhat is sexier than a woman’s looks, but her kind and gentle personality?
  • Latest and GreatestTo quote Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man, yada, yada, yada.”  I would add to this mantra for happiness: Shower and dress as early in the day as possible.  Waking up early and spending all your days off in your bathrobe is not healthy, and you won’t be smelling so great to your cohabitants either.
  • Latest and GreatestEven if you would like to kill someone you found hiding under a rock on the Internet, whatever you do, do not threaten physical violence.  Even if they deserve a swift kick in the head, do not say that you will ever show up at their place of employ to do so — or at least wear clothes that you don’t mind getting blood-splattered...  Kidding, kidding...  I’m kidding, right?  Yeah, I’m kidding...
  • Latest and GreatestEven our mortal enemies are molded from the same crucible that we are, the planet earth.  They have similar beginnings, which is surprising, and almost shocking, considering how far we have apparently diverged from childhood.  We are even near the same genetically.  If the aggressor makes a good faith effort to reconcile by apologizing, one in keeping with the magnitude of their trespass committed, doesn’t it make sense to accept their olive branch?
  • Latest and GreatestThe ancients could surmise the power of electricity, or whatever they chose to name it.  There was lightning, static electricity of woolens, and lightning bugs (the touch of a lover has the same charge, but this is not electricity, it is purely emotional).  Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, where God blesses Adam with life, shows that Medieval folks knew of this electrical energy.
  • Latest and GreatestDavid Crosby of classic rock, super group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young has talked of the ten thousand hour rule.  Musicians can claim their title that they are expert artists, once they cross this threshold of experience.  The same might be said for writers, or actors and actresses, even mathematicians, and doctors, perhaps every occupation has this same threshold of experience, which once crossed, gives professional status to the journey person.
  • Latest and GreatestA cocaine habit is God’s way of saying that you’re making too much money.
  • Latest and GreatestCharlie Brown rarely prevailed over the rest of the Peanuts.  Half the time he didn’t even keep his pride, but he always kept his common humanity, and this is why he meant so much to so many.
  • Latest and GreatestFor many in America, the land of the free is only a well-marketed system of oppression, and has been since its founding in 1776.  If you think any different, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.  America has the most comfortable temperate climate though, and straddles two of the biggest oceans.  This draws talent, and is the major reason for its economic success.  Lawns and houses are maintained by desperate immigrants who work cheap.  America also has leathernecks whose only hope for an education is the GI Bill, and so are ready to invade foreign shores like Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan on a moments notice.  America relies heavily on its patented, bad ass, aggression to move product as well as to expand imperialistic empire reach and influence into far-flung corners of the globe.
  • Latest and GreatestGreat looks are a blessing until they become a curse — and there are plenty of those out there who know the downside of being known for their physical appearance (such as Marilyn Monroe)...
  • Latest and GreatestMake peace with your enemies as best you can.  Even if the only way this is possible is by dicing them up into bite-size chunks, and feeding them to your cat...
  • Latest and GreatestSocial media was created so people could beat each other up all day long...
  • Latest and GreatestJudge not, lest you be judged.  Meaning: If you set the bar high for others, this forces the bar to be set high for yourself.  To avoid being hypocritical, we must live up to the benchmarks for excellence that we set for others, however unattainable...
  • Latest and GreatestChildren, even grown children, who never got to know their parents, face one of life’s greatest tragedies.  They might not even have any recollection of what it was like to be with their Mom and Dad.  Then there are those who enjoyed at least childhood with their Mom or Dad, but not much else.  They wish they had known them much better, or they long for bouncing some question off of them to get a sage response.  Everyone wants their parents to reach their full life expectancy, but regardless of when our parents leave our lives, there are burdens of adulthood we must shoulder if only to know what everyone eventually learns about shouldering life’s heaviest burdens...
  • Latest and GreatestI put a mirror before you, and you blame me and the mirror for what you see, when you’re only looking at yourself.
  • Latest and GreatestForgiveness of enemies makes little sense.  If someone knocks me down, I’m supposed to smooth their conscience, and make them feel better about it by being understanding?  Does this make it easier or more difficult to get knocked down again by them?  Forgiveness is a Roman Empire acquiescence to the Emperor, one which greatly favors the trespasser, not the trespassed...  The exception being someone you have plenty of positive feelings for, then you may have to let all that animosity go — although it would still help to know why you were betrayed...  And forgiveness in international conflict is different than interpersonal considerations.  With nuclear weapons, not forgiving can mean the end of life on earth...
  • Latest and GreatestEnglish classes are not taught to find a voice that’s: both natural and expressive; yet more importantly, readily understandable to as wide of an audience as is possible.  Instead the emphasis is to put on airs with an elevated language, one reliant on SAT words, and one designed to only appeal to elite Ivy-types, in further education, or in employment.
  • Latest and GreatestAlcohol is over-rated, and once weed gets crazily commercialized, it will be just as unjustifiably over-promoted.  Getting wasted has always been a higher calling in America.
  • Latest and GreatestCustodians prevent more disease than doctors do, but unlike the latter the former don’t have oceanfront vacation homes.  Custodians also have to work in much more unpleasant conditions, and on Wednesdays, when doctors are on the links perfecting their golf stroke.
  • Latest and GreatestEducation today is too much about one strike and you’re out advancement, or else making the grade with tutors, yet never about developing lifelong curiosity, or even fostering a sense of school community.  If you like your school, you won’t try to shoot it up with freely available, military-grade, semi-automatic rifles...
  • Latest and GreatestI often get notes from dog-owners wondering how they can join the rest of civilized society, yet still own a pooch.  My stock, boilerplate response: “Curb your effing dog, you stinking moron!”
  • Latest and GreatestIf you’ve been in the corporate world for any length of time, you know that higher-ups have a language all of their own.  Going to the cafeteria, is “mobilizing nutritional resources.”  A salesman putting on his overcoat is “a revenue acquisition agent preparing to repel inclement weather.”  Time waiting for a new assignment becomes “downtime reassignment limbo.”  Hoping that a big customer will buy something, is known as “mission critical prayer.”  Desperately hoping that the cute secretary you long for doesn’t notice you live in a cubicle, is instead “ambivalence by the desired female target acquisition.”  Power failure at the work site becomes “unscheduled and uncompensated vacation time.”  A liquid lunch is rather, “a business meeting where the customer is tested for weaknesses in the presentation that left her unconvinced.”
  • Latest and GreatestEver wonder why a seemingly normal person would kill a defenseless animal?  It’s because hunters live in the deepest of rural backwaters in the desolation of rural America.  They have nothing else to do but shoot squirrels and raccoons.  They’re also big into shortwave.  The only problem there is the occasional Christian predator frauds found on the band.  These are the wealthy panhandlers for Jesus the Christ, looking for handouts.  Jesus the Christ did his share of begging, quoting Luke Chapter 24, Verse 41: “Have ye here any meat?”  Christianity is founded and thrives on the lies of wealthy beggars, starting with Pope Jorge Mario on down (Pope Francis is an alias).  If you’re living next door to the Sistine Chapel, and you’re living in a palace, the Apostolic Palace, you’re living very, very well.  So much for taking a vow of poverty...
  • Latest and GreatestThreats to public safety need to be segregated from those who aren’t.
  • Latest and GreatestDon’t take stock in the opinions of those uninformed about your life.  Strenuously avoid determining your own self esteem and self image by those hurtful to you, who don’t know you, and who have twisted agendas.
  • Latest and GreatestWhat’s best in life may take as long as a lifetime to become your own — don’t wait for it with bated breath.
  • Latest and GreatestYou had to have had a really crummy father if the Holy ghost father of a ghost Jesus is an upgrade to your own.  Christianity cleaves children from their biological father.  The father who art in heaven is the superior father?  An imaginary father supplants the real one.  Don’t revere your real father, revere the one in the ether above?  Why does Christianity assume our biological fathers are so inferior?
  • Latest and GreatestAnts hurry up to one another, bump heads, then proceed to the next one.  Do they share scent intel?  Does their level of excitement, and where they’ve been, indicate where they should spend the next part of their ant day?  Or do they chitchat and relate how their workday is going?  Do dedicated entomologists know the answers?  Or do you really need to be an ant to know how they communicate?
  • Latest and GreatestIf dog-owners cannot curb their dog, and bag their dog’s diseased droppings, why can’t they flick their crap in the woods with a stick?  Just get it off off the foot path so the unsuspecting don’t have to spend the rest of their walk trying to get the crap off of their shoes.  You’d think dog-owners would know this, but they clearly lack intelligence and any empathy.  They’re less evolved than cat-owners.
  • Latest and GreatestAre you an Instagram user?  Then did you know that when IG puts your comment right below the celebrity’s comment, it is only there for you.  For anyone else on Instagram, your comment is absolutely buried among dozens, even hundreds of others, where it is likely never seen.  If you don’t believe me, just add a second account, and go back into the celebrity’s feed.  Then watch your precious, measured, and thoughtful reply vanish into thin air.
  • Latest and GreatestEducation today is not about nurturing lifelong curiosity, and developing a passion for learning new things (as I remember it was in the 1970s), but instead is about hiring tutors to nail standardized tests, staying within the lines, following lockstep behind the “leader,” or otherwise accepting the proscribed orthodoxy in a mad dash for material success.
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever noticed how capable African Americans are at night shift, or graveyard shift positions?  And how if you see a White person working much past dinner, they look like they’re about to commit hari-kari.
  • Latest and GreatestAs one gets older, one realizes how little those in charge actually know about things that they should really be complete experts.
  • Latest and GreatestLanguage satisfies cognitive requirements your brain possesses that are needed to process communication.  Everyone’s brain contains a template for acceptable sentence structure and interesting content.  If this template is not appropriately filled, there is no interchange of dialog, information, or entertainment — the communication attempt falls flat.
  • Latest and GreatestIf your new neighbors, the couple next door, are openly gay, do you: Freak out, get the gossip mill running into high gear, and dig out the binoculars to study their every move?  Or do you think: It’s about time we had gays in this segregated neighborhood?
  • Latest and GreatestIf you won’t believe in happy endings, what else is there for you to believe?
  • Latest and GreatestThe Emmy Awards were just announced, and once again this year, Fox News takes home the gold for: Shortest Mini-skirts Worn by “Anchorwomen...”
  • Latest and GreatestInstead of praying to the ether above to accomplish something important, just do it yourself — and if you cannot do it on your own, enlist help.
  • Latest and GreatestThose who speed, drive irresponsibly, then run over animals, do not deserve a driving license, they really should be walking instead.  Mammals like cats, dogs, and squirrels have feelings, so all those reckless drivers out there are killers.  Given they are so cavalier yet guilty of killing off domesticated and wild animals, who is to say they won’t one day be guilty of manslaughter, after killing people?
  • Latest and GreatestWhat does everyone always talk about, but no one ever does anything about?  Give up?  The weather — no one has a fix for this hotly-discussed topic.
  • Latest and GreatestIn my experience, cops generally care about people.  Elsewhere this doesn’t seem to be the case.
  • Latest and GreatestIs anyone not bound and beholden by the timekeeping shackles placed upon our race of humans?  Time dictates how long we are permitted to do all that we do, and when it all has to start and end.  Just two hundred years ago, there wasn’t any consistent, objective and uniform abstraction known as time (which only came with the time zones of railroad scheduling).  Showing up late at work was not a possibility as there wasn’t any metric of being late, and you left anytime the work was done.  There was no busy work either, or in other words, work wasn’t done just to fill up the slack of a worker’s day.  In fact, going back 250-plus years wage-earning was not known (what would they be paid with?), and there really wasn’t employment as is known today — only isolated arrangements of arts patronage.  Otherwise you were an indentured servant (your slavery wasn’t permanent, whipping wasn’t really allowed), or you worked on the family farm.
  • Latest and GreatestThe country music genre most often glorifies economic deprivation by substituting the desperation of a vanishing rural life with the celebration of the home...
  • Latest and GreatestEverywhere the religious murder for God.  It shows what they really think of their god, that he’s as homicidal as the devout are...
  • Latest and GreatestMy sermon to the teens of today: Get a good education; visit your local community, public library; have an active life; and don’t do hard drugs like hallucinogens, and addictive morphine or opioids, which are used as a last resort in pain relief for cancer patients.  Those three can rearrange how you think, and/or make you a junkie always strapped for cash to fund your insidious habit.  Soft drugs, such as weed and alcohol, are omnipresent, so they are very difficult to avoid, but if you can avoid them, more power to you.
  • Latest and GreatestNot everyone gets an even break in life, so I cannot say that there aren’t people that need drugs to take off the edge (any drug, alcohol included).  The problem is when the drugs themselves become the problem, and they can eventually become REALLY HUGE problems.
  • Latest and GreatestYou can possess every advantage, indulge in every pleasure that life has to offer, but if at the end of the day, you cannot be good company for yourself, and you don’t take good care of yourself, how can you ever be satisfied with your time on this earth?
  • Latest and GreatestFear is a useless emotion.  It just is, isn’t it?  Fear paralyzes, heightened awareness will save your life.
  • Latest and GreatestObeying the law is not a question of being or not being cool, it is only a question of being a threat to public safety, or not being a threat.
  • Latest and GreatestEver notice how a celeb can post a photo of a sand pit, and everyone will say how great the sand pit is?  You’ll read pablum such as: “What I would do to see that sand pit;” or “Damn, is that sand pit in the States?  Are there regular tours?”
  • Latest and GreatestHigh blood pressure derives from being tasked to move boulders larger than yourself that cannot budge.
  • Latest and GreatestAssuming you understand using protection (condoms and birth control pills), sex is a much safer way to get off than drugs.  Then the problem only becomes finding a romantic partner, and not being heavier than a walrus.  If you don’t have a personality, then learn backgammon, or other board games like Dungeons and Dragons.  Or better, take up a sport like badminton, curling, or bobsledding.  (As you can probably tell, I was pre-Psych in my undergrad years.)
  • Latest and GreatestThose who get far in life: find something that they have a passion for doing; feel strongly about a skill they can see is worth both acquiring and mastering; or are otherwise motivated in doing a remarkable job.  The incentives can be solely monetary, but if you do not have the heart, or the devotion, to put in the hours, can anyone expect major success?  Success can be measured in different ways: personal bests, good works, fruits of labor, or helping people.  Money has always been seen as the major product of success, but it doesn’t mean humanity gained at all from your pursuits.  Did Trump’s rise to multi-billionaire status benefit anyone besides himself?  For all of Vincent Van Gogh’s genius, and his contributions to the art world, he died a pauper.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen tackling a technical, arithmetic, or scientific, problem arising from human endeavor, it may be helpful to consider that our ancestors were only apes.  The problem you are attempting to solve was a product of the forebears of gorillas.  Then how difficult can this problem be to solve?  What has an even simpler design is biological and chemical processes as they are not governed by any intelligence.  In the wild, they only derive themselves from random molecular collisions.
  • Latest and GreatestCourage is the reward of the righteous.  If you are in the right, you can stare down bullets.  (Your results may vary, do not stare down AR-15s in combat situations.  This is not a good idea.)
  • Latest and GreatestHonor those lacking your good fortune.  If you can, call out the insufferable, heartless, and hurtful.
  • Latest and GreatestI have this on that: In the Seventies, the so-called heads were generally peaceniks.  Today, decades later, with those days for me being a distant memory, the pot-smokers I have run across are just nasty SOBs.  Something changed, and I am not sure what it was that did.  Is it because today, teens who stray are unforgiven, and can be locked out of a decent future from a very early age, so they get insanely bitter?
  • Latest and GreatestBeing critical of others, especially hypercritical, by setting the bar way up high for whomever you’re judging, does have a drawback.  To avoid sounding like a two-faced hypocrite, you’re setting the bar just as high for yourself.
  • Latest and GreatestWork can be done for love or for money.  The former produces superior quality efforts, the latter is only best at meeting deadlines.
  • Latest and GreatestLove can have infinite, enduring value, yet it costs nothing to give.
  • Latest and GreatestAt some point, doesn’t love leave the realm of the rational and logical?  The reasons why you love your love interest are forgotten, you’re just in love.  If you’re fortunate enough, you will find this romantic bliss.  Then what you ultimately want from a relationship is to give one another joy, and make each other happy.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you are experiencing a severe toothache, then have you tried massaging the painful area with your fingertip?  Until you contact a dentist, this beats overdosing on painkillers, or driving your car off the edge of a cliff.  While you’re visiting the Toothache Expo don’t forget to also stop at the Tylenol, and maybe the Anbesol, booths.  (Remember, I am a disinterested observer without any qualifications to offer medical advice.  That said, try this if this sounds like it might benefit you.)
  • Latest and GreatestIf you consider that all good people attempt to act honorably, you can clear away negative thinking.  True, there are bad apples, but they have to face the consequences of their hurtful behavior.
  • Latest and GreatestWithout grand hopes, life gets boring, depressing even.  This explains why gambling is such an attraction, and why it can be so addictive.
  • Latest and GreatestWhy is it that so many dwell on their failures much more often than they do on their successes?  Instead of viewing failures on a pass/fail basis, why not view them on a letter-grading scale?  In other words, give a B- overall for a miscue, not a failing F like you would otherwise.
  • Latest and GreatestThe best coaching, the legends of the game, can beat you with theirs, and just as easily beat you with yours.  In other words, they win, no matter what they place on the field.
  • Latest and GreatestDon’t you hate it when an hateful troll who you thought had killed themselves (and in the process did everyone a tremendous favor), is in fact alive — or at least alive in the broadest, most widely encompassing sense of the term.
  • Latest and GreatestAnyone reading this web site is far ahead of humanity’s curve.  Seen globally, you are the elite.  You have electricity, Internet access, and relatively expensive computer hardware; so you also have shelter, and food.  In many places of the World, these basic commodities are by no means a given, and might never be available lifelong for the indigent.
  • Latest and GreatestThoughts of anger and revenge have a significant overhead, they must be maintained and nourished in spite of the rest of you wanting peace.  You can play out fantasies of getting revenge in your head all you’d like, but you cannot revisit the past, and you often cannot right what sadly went wrong.
  • Latest and GreatestThe Serenity Prayer used in 12-Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous: God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Not a chance has Trump ever heard of this...
  • Latest and GreatestHeard on the Friday Metro North, the 4:43, out of Grand Central heading for the Shallows Oceanfront station in Fairfield:

    We made it, Tina, we effing made it!  MacErnerney approved the bonus, it went through!  I just needed to knock out the competition, and man did I ever!  A Mercedes Benz 39309 Class, you heard me, a 39903 Class.  We won’t be keeping up with the Joneses, the Joneses will be keeping up with us.  No, we are the Joneses from now on.  I feel human, Tina, I have never ever felt like a God before, but man, do I ever now, I am one now...  I don’t care if the Greenbergs said it was Hitler’s car.  Who gives an eff about the Greenbergs anyway, we own an effing Mercedes, an effing Mercedes.  A 99309 Class Benz!  This is heaven on earth!!!

  • Latest and GreatestThe best part of being a parent is obviously when your kids are doing what they should, without you having to tell them they should be doing it.
  • Latest and GreatestYou can work for love, or for money.  The former is much more of a recipe for happiness.
  • Latest and GreatestProductive, and ultimatley successful, people are always asking themselves: “What do I need to be doing next?”
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you hope to recall something important, consider that there was a good reason you thought of it in the first place, it resolved a matter.  The reason for the thought should arise again, it was significant, and so will what you were trying to remember.  Typically, thinking of any related thoughts can jog your memory, because it is networked based on associations.
  • Latest and GreatestThere is definitely an advantage to being an unknown in life: The blinding glare of the limelight is avoided.  No one knows your business, and no one ever cares to know.  You are not a target, or a lightning rod, for the hurtful, those hell bent on taking you down.  You get to go about your life’s affairs with no unwelcome intrusion.  All this makes you wonder why anyone would want to be a seeker of fame, assuming fame is typically sought instead of just stumbled upon inadvertently.
  • Latest and GreatestA workable mantra of positive thinking is: “I’m going to have a nice day.”  It does tend to dispel, or ward off, the negativity or uncertainty we might have as we get our day under way.
  • Latest and GreatestWomen love to be told that they look beautiful.  What they cannot stand is being told that this is all they do.  Saying that they are beautiful is another story, that’s entirely welcome.  But everyone knew this anyway.
  • Latest and GreatestTo avoid too many S’s, one “S” is permitted in every noun-verb pairing of a sentence, either with the noun getting the “S”, or the verb getting the “S.”
  • Latest and GreatestIf you want to reduce your quality of life to next to nothing, become a regular tobacco smoker — and almost all tobacco smokers are hooked, and smoke regularly.  For one thing, you and your clothes will smell like stale tobacco smoke; and for another, you will need to smoke during your workday, outside, in the rain, with your boss wondering where the Hell you went.
  • Latest and GreatestIn the final calculus of eternity, today means nothing, and your life means almost as little.  Try to get over yourself, have a little fun before you die, and make where you live somehow better than when you first awoke to existence on Earth.
  • Latest and GreatestWho is cooler: Those who need a drug, a chemical crutch, to get by, or even survive (like suds, weed, or opioids); or those who don’t need anything at all?
  • Latest and GreatestThis just in: Flipping over a book works as a bookmark or use a post-it to mark where in the page you paused reading.  This is a tip for the readers among us, so this won’t concern Donald Trump.
  • Latest and GreatestNot only do successful super models need to be pretty, they need to be pretty in a way not seen before.  Another single-scoop, vanilla ice cream, cutie is no longer enough.  The glamour and men’s magazines are all looking for chocolate rocky-road, triple fudge sundae.
  • Latest and GreatestIsn’t a Jihad, or Holy War, a contradiction in terms?  ‘Holy’ resolves to the rewards of peace and love, while ‘war’ brings the bloody dividends from hatred and murder.  They are diametrically opposed.
  • Latest and GreatestIs fear the best motivator?  Is fear the motivator of last resort — or is it the only motivator that actually works?  Does fear of unemployment, of starvation, of being homeless, or of being ostracized, motivate more effectively than simply pursuing some important objective without the whip?
  • Latest and GreatestOutside of weekly pillbox reminders, if you’d like to keep track of whether you took a supplement or medication, flip the bottle over on its side after its taken.  The bottle should point the same direction where the hour hand of a clock would be when you took the medication.  This way, you know when it was taken, without having to write anything down.
  • Latest and GreatestMeteorology is like economics in that both try to predict storms, be they weather depressions or economic ones.  Both use estimation of trends, and time-based prediction statistics (known as regression analysis), instead of resolving hard facts to a model, or equation, without any inaccuracy, like the other sciences most often do.
  • Latest and GreatestTrigger warning, the following sentence involves dog crap as a food source: If dog crap was properly and extensively marketed by Madison Avenue it would be in every refrigerator in America.
  • Latest and GreatestHere’s one: “Women give sex for love, and men give love for sex.”  Then there’s: “Men are best at choosing one solution from two options, and women are best at choosing one solution among many options.”
  • Latest and GreatestFriends who ask you for money are not your friends, they are only money-grubbing leeches who cannot get their acts together, and who should really be seeking help from Social Services, or from their own family.  A corollary to this: Any money you “loan” to a “friend” should never expect to be repaid, they are already a very poor credit risk.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen considering in retrospect what you have just accomplished, you can only dwell on what went wrong, or congratulate yourself on what went right.  The former will leave you with a heart condition.
  • Latest and GreatestThere is always this internal debate when someone enjoys making you miserable: Do you do all you can to make them miserable in return?  Jesus the Christ, of course, would say, “Turn the other cheek,” and have you enjoy your own misery, while being walked over.  Maybe a middle ground is in order where you appropriately voice your complete and utter dissatisfaction, yet not hire a hit man.
  • Latest and GreatestIt’s not too difficult to find examples where human life was cheap as dirt, and just a commodity like salt and water.  In fact, look no further than the concentration camps in Hitler’s Germany where human hair was used for mattresses, fat tissue from people was boiled down to make soap, and human skin made lampshades.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you and your spouse spend more time in your S & M dungeon, than you do holding hands, then you will not have a happy marriage — or maybe I have this all wrong, and it’s the other way around.  Then S & M dungeons lead to happier, healthier coupling...
  • Latest and GreatestIf there’s a lesson about those guilty of road kill, it’s that there are likely few repeat offenders.  Run over some defenseless creature with the front tires of your car, and you realize it’s time to stop driving like a maniac.
  • Latest and GreatestA dispute is much easier to handle if it can be seen as an innocent mistake made by them, by you, or by both parties; instead of an attempt by the other party to screw you.
  • Latest and GreatestOutside of the police and the military, only paranoid cowards need guns — especially the fearful who need to reassure themselves of their gender orientation.
  • Latest and GreatestWords to live by: Try not to be an a*hole; get something done; and live a little before you die.
  • Latest and GreatestIf we do not dream dreams, how will the dreams we have never dreamed ever come true.
  • Latest and GreatestEver know a guy who is so annoyingly aggressive, that his next move might be trying to sell you a used car, or if you are a woman, even be sexually inappropriate?  Pretty women must know the type extremely well.  Women are oddly cursed with their own attractiveness.  Every day of their lives, they could encounter disciples of the brute force school of interpersonal relationships .
  • Latest and GreatestHow does Other Letter take care of business as necessary, and not get killed, or have an ulcer?  There are just a few simple rules of defense.  If I see guns or knives, I dial 911 to contact the police the second that I can; or they would also be called if any malefactors look ready to attack, or are menacing.

    Police earn their very nicely-sized paychecks responding to calls of people who see themselves as being in danger.  This is what they are trained to do.  All this means is that if you, or someone else nearby, is in danger, do not hesitate to call 911.  You’re only wasting the Precinct’t valuable time (interrupting donut run), if no one is arrested.  Just kidding!

    You can’t go around looking to start fights, but on the other hand, you must offer resistance, or the bad guys will take advantage.  Like pit bulls, the bad guys can smell fear, and will attack if for no other reason than to give a fright.

  • Latest and GreatestEnjoy what you may of the good in life while its still here, because what makes us happiest comes and goes, and it never seems to last forever.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen one is young, the main objective is to find a way of fitting in.  Those that cannot figure how to accomplish this, without compromising their principles, can go as far as taking their own life.  As we age, we know enough to find our own way.  We have a firmer idea on how to become individuals, and not rely on the over-appreciated pack mentality, and group acceptance, to decide our way.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you’re insulted, doesn’t this say much more about what type of person the insulter is, than the type of person you are?  Typically meanness derives from their jealousy of you, or otherwise it may be because they’re just plain hurtful.  When a cretin wants to take you down, they are really looking at themselves in a mirror, and describing what they don’t like of themselves as being in you.  The only thing the intentionally difficult hate more than you, is themselves.
  • Latest and Greatestin classical music, all of life’s torment and strife is reduced to string and wind instruments.  It’s a parable of life (in upbeat major keys and downbeat, sad, minor ones) without the unpalatable, and tough to swallow, aspects.  All of life’s clutter is removed.
  • Latest and GreatestHow do those who do not believe in Heaven and Hell, ever get closure on someone who murdered, or committed genocide such as Adolf Hitler?  Maybe stomping on their grave, if only metaphoriclly, is enough.
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever had any type of relationship with someone where, if you could forget or forgive just one or a few verbal exchanges, you would get along with, or even like this person, but as it stands, you despise them?
  • Latest and GreatestThe Scholastic Assessment Tests for Reasoning — they keep changing their name to hide measurement inadequacies — do not gauge genius or creativity, they measure the level of obedience to overarching authority, as well as prior preparation.  Ever-more-eager students digest whatever academic tripe served up by elitist preparation courses.  For those living to game the system, prep starts years in advance of the actual test.  This gives them the best shot at getting into the all-important, Ivy League schools, with their solid-gold credentials.

    Besides doing a good job of determining test preparedness, the SATs also detect if a student’s environment is academically enriched, which can just as easily be found by getting the student’s zip code, or racial identification.

  • Latest and GreatestI was there when Jerry opened with Scarlet Begonias at Winterland, and he did it two frets lower...  And then The Airplane opened for the Dead, and they took me backstage to meet Grace Slick.  She gave me her guitar, but it was kinda smashed up from the show, so I had to chuck it...
  • Latest and GreatestCemeteries are often dug on land where houses cannot be built.  The terrain for them is too steep, too far from town, or otherwise unsuitable for the living.  These remote graveyard plots help to ensure that even if the grave marker disappears nothing will ever be built over the buried, and in any way disturb the dead, nor will the living need to be painfully reminded of them everyday.  There are very few graveyards on Main Street.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are those who say that libraries are obsolete.  This cannot be true.  Libraries are literary collectives.  Unless people want to waste their cash paying top dollar for what they would like to read, sharing the cost in a central system saves a great deal financially for the community, and especially, to the individual.  As long as people continue to read in the long form, and authors require payment for their work, the best way to meet the needs of the writer and the reader is on the economical, collective basis of the library.
  • Latest and GreatestDo record temperature lows correspond to economic recessions or depressions (and conversely for record highs during economic boons)?  The reasoning being that less greenhouse gas is being emitted when no one can afford to drive their car.  When that is true, it should lower temperature.

    Additionally, when people spend more time inside instead of driving places, like when they are reading Other Letter, that again should lower average world temperature.  As soon as our readership hits the hundred million mark, we here at OL will be single handedly responsible for ending global warming and putting a stop to climate change.
  • Latest and GreatestThe only thing that a poor man owns is his word, so he makes certain that his word is true.
  • Latest and GreatestClass, say you need to conjugate verb endings.  Here’s a clue: singular subjects get verbs conjugated with “s” at the end; plural subjects it is vice versa, they get conjugated without the “s”.  For example, Dick goes, Dick and Jane go.  This is so plural nouns ending in “s,” are not doubled up with verbs ending in “s,” and singular nouns are afforded an ending “s” for phonetic balance, and ease of articulation.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen women are treated well, and with respect, it is reflected positively in their appearance.  They look more attractive.  The same holds true when they don’t starve themselves, eat appropriately, and exercise...
  • Latest and GreatestWhat does it mean when a super-model says she works very hard?  Very hard at what, starving or dressing herself?  Please excuse my obvious ignorance, but I would really be interested in knowing how modeling, even elite modeling, qualifies as actual work.  Maybe the body posing gets to be taxing.  Do they help decide the fashions to wear?  Why do super models even get paid?  Time to screen my packages again...
  • Latest and GreatestIf you have had the air conditioning on all summer long — then depending on latitude — early September might be the time to turn it off, and open the windows, even the shower window when showering.
  • Latest and GreatestIt’s very difficult to find someone who’s all bad.  I mean even Adolf Hitler liked children — Aryan children, of course, but he did like children.
  • Latest and GreatestIn the Eleventh Grade, I had an English teacher who pointed out the fatal flaws of particular roles in dramatic works.  This stuck with me that people can have a flaw in their character, or in their makeup, that will spell their doom.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you watch enough French films, you begin to realize why the Academy, the Oscar crew, created a Best Foreign Language Film category.  If they didn’t, America’s Hollywood wouldn’t be winning the Best Picture Oscar — France would.  The Academy needed to make non-Hollywood films a side show, and a footnote.
  • Latest and GreatestThe human brain devotes much of its processing to symbolic logic and its processing, that is, language and math capabilities.  Outside of this symbolic processing, can non-human life forms do essentially what we can?
  • Latest and GreatestWhen laws are just, such as drunken driving laws, they are held in contempt by only the most depraved.  Marijuana laws are far harsher, even cannabis’ effects are different.  Alcohol can make one very aggressive, while weed can make one very passive and mellow.  Ingesting grass out of harm’s way on the weekend is a victimless crime.  Which is not to say that everyone has to get high, but those that do, should be shown a measure of clemency that drinkers of alcohol have always had.
  • Latest and GreatestYou will find God everywhere around you in Creation, before you will find her above you in the ether.
  • Latest and GreatestYou’re only responsible for the effort, not the result.
  • Latest and GreatestIf ninety-five percent to ninety-nine percent of cops deserve to wear the badge, then it is a very small percentage that get the headlines for being incompetent, poorly trained, racist, or xenophobic.  Yet if a population knew how to best address their anger, their drug dependencies, or their carelessness, as well as demonstrate simple, common courtesy, then we would need much less police intervention.  Furthermore, one should remember that police are only charged with enforcing the laws handed down by our elected officials.  So, ultimately, we decide what is legal, and which laws require enforcement.  There ia a huge difference in police response between having two six-packs in the back seat of your car, versus having an ounce of weed in your glove compartment.
  • Latest and Greatest“Now even though your character is a neurosurgeon, she is Black and a woman, so she will be pole dancing in a few scenes.  Can you pole dance, Kerry?”
  • Latest and GreatestEconomic prosperity never meant bowing to the interests of Big Business and the wealthy, it means bowing to the interests of the People, and especially, the consumer.
  • Latest and GreatestOne problem with standardized tests is that they cannot measure, and thus cannot reward, creativity.  There are no open answers on them requiring creative, grade-able answers.  They measure how carefully you can stay within the supplied lines, not how you know to work outside them.  Great people did not become great by simply regurgitating facts.
  • Latest and GreatestTo paraphrase Orson Welles, being heavy was evidence of his one vice, gluttony, that he always carried with him in plain sight, and one that everyone knew was his weakness.  Drug abuse can be very conveniently hidden.
  • Latest and GreatestRegarding online dating: the looks-challenged have hearts of gold; the lookers have hearts of stone.
  • Latest and GreatestWhere in the fossil record are there obvious failures, such as feet pointing backwards, or eyes pointing out the back of one’s head?  In a random, ungoverned, try anything, what works stays, evolutionary system, these should be plentiful, and as far as I know, these fossil mutations don’t even exist.  Even if one contends that evolution occurs in minute, sure-footed, increments; how can one explain the entire lack of missing links that would enable tremendous species advancement?
  • Latest and GreatestThose abandoning, or otherwise dumping, their unwanted pets, should serve felony jail time.  Cats and dogs have feelings just like we all do, and dumping these helpless creatures likely means their starvation.  Pets will less likely run away when neutered or spayed, and this simple operation reduces chronic overpopulation.  Humane societies, or no-kill animal shelters, are the appropriate places to drop off pets when their care is impossible, and their original adoption was entirely a careless mistake.
  • Latest and GreatestFollowing a roadside bomb, and with the latest robotic walking devices, we can send paraplegic soldiers right back onto the front lines of the battlefield so they can fulfill and complete their tour of duty obligations.  Just send them off saying, “Be more careful next time, artificial limbs are expensive.”
  • Latest and GreatestRepublicans mean well, it’s just that they only mean well for themselves.
  • Latest and GreatestFor seafood without the thrill of the kill, yet much more importantly without any killing, try shrimp — or better, scallops, clams, mussels, or oysters — instead of getting it via recreational fishing, or even commercial fishing.  Just based on common sense, shellfish, and if necessary, their cultivated beds, are best for the ecosystem.  Unlike the meaty food-source shrimp or its myriad of scaly, depleted, interdependent kin aka fish, underground shellfish aren’t consumed by whales, who will beach when starved, or sharks, who will eat people when their food supply has been entirely tapped.  (Note that the Kosher prohibition against shellfish consumption was handed down during a time when raw, untreated sewage was common.)
  • Latest and GreatestIf we make contact with alien life within the next few centuries, they will be visiting us, we are nowhere near visiting other galaxies.  We cannot even get to Mars, the next planet further out.  Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, is 40 years away at our maximum current rocket speed (one-fifth the speed of light), that’s 80 years round trip.  So unless we’re loading infants on the space shuttle to get there, we’re not getting to that lifeless (it seems so far) star.
  • Latest and GreatestCreation help me through this day, as many not unlike me have gotten through days not unlike this.
  • Latest and GreatestYou know you’re mechanically inclined if you have two entire, complete sets of Allen wrenches.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you consider that life on Earth is in great degree the product of interstellar dust, and interstellar dust fills every pocket of the Universe, the odds that human beings on Earth are the only advanced life forms in the cosmos are essentially nil.
  • Latest and GreatestNo one is privy to whether Heaven exists or not, because if it does exists, and people knew that it did, they would never tend to their responsibilities back on Earth.  They would only concern themselves with the hereafter.
  • Latest and GreatestI would have to say that a major reason the young get into drugs is because their schools’ texts, the curriculum, and even the teachers themselves, are stultifyingly boring, dry, irrelevant, and not engaging.  Their schooling is of such limited practicality, when it should instead instill curiosity and a lifelong love of learning.
  • Latest and GreatestConfirming the presence of racism on television and film is only a matter of imagining a role reversal.  If African American and Caucasian roles are swapped and the result looks ludicrous, then that staged depiction is an example of racism.
  • Latest and GreatestA major reason that pleasant dreams are dreamt is to counter, and have a way out from, the nightmares lurking in the shadows.
  • Latest and GreatestThe beauty of technology lies in the pyramiding of basic elements, such as millions of transistors consisting of simple, plus-minus voltage, true-false, logic gates, into hardware which often can effectively mimic people in their complexity and functionality.
  • Latest and GreatestUltimately, democracy is glacial, nothing any one individual says matters very much unless those words are beamed down from alien spacecraft — then people really start to pay attention.
  • Latest and GreatestJesus Christ and the Vatican continue to make goodness so onerous and demanding, many just choose the lower overhead of evil instead.
  • Latest and GreatestAn evolution-only explanation of Creation falls short, because it suggests that the infinite diversity, functionality, and majesty of life can be explained simply by non-governed, molecular collisions and DNA mutations.
  • Latest and GreatestNo matter how smart you are, or how smart that you think you are, you will not possess all of the experience of Creation.  If you do not try to benefit from what others have learned from their own lives, you will never reach all the goals and milestones that you were otherwise set to reach.  People who advance themselves in life, almost inevitably are able in some measure to trust in the judgment of others.  Going solo puts you on a par with Adam in the Garden of Eden.  Essentially, you would be hard-pressed figuring out how to build a fire, or even knowing what one was.
  • Latest and GreatestDespite all that you read in the news each and every day, the world is really not such a terrible place.  Sure, there are a few gun-toters going on homicidal rages, but living in America, this is the price of freedom (repeal the Second Amendment).  Yet, there are an infinitely greater number of forgiving, kind, and caring people.  When you consider how far Mankind has gotten from a Garden of Eden campfire with little readily available food, and entertainment consisting solely of sing-alongs; to any need today being met both night and day, and so much with which to enjoy ourselves (and not just free Internet porn), aren’t there cogent reasons to be cheerful?
  • Latest and GreatestIn for-profit medicine — such as exists in America, but not in Canada — there are incentives for so-called physicians to jack-up the number of visits, and administer malpractice protocol tests.  They do not care of the inconvenience this is to you, both in time and money.  Doctors need “regulars,” in other words, patients who visit often, and ones who can pad their payroll.
  • Latest and GreatestRe forgiveness, if I turn the other cheek, they take me down without reprisal of any kind.  Maybe I need the transgressor to understand that what they did was wrong, and that they will never do it again.  Absent of that particular measure of security and peace of mind, can I just spend a day humiliating them?  If this might be arranged, I would forgive...
  • Latest and GreatestIf an Other Spirituality really took off, I would drop into Pope HQ for an audience.  What I would be most interested in knowing is how he maintains and preaches forgiveness.  He definitely sounds like he has a bead on that one, and I would be very interested in knowing from whence it came.  Answers like, “Jesus gave me forgiveness,” would not be accepted, sorry Pope Francis.  I would hope for a much more secular and worldly response.
  • Latest and GreatestIt says something about Christians that they have waited two-thousand years for their Savior to return.  I’m not sure what it says exactly, but rest assured, it does say something.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen your dreams won’t come true, it’s time to trade them in for new ones.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are classes of activity that you only look forward to them being done, with the possible solace that they never have to be done again.  Term papers of classes you should have dropped, may or may not fall in that category.
  • Latest and GreatestYou know you are getting older when you get a sense of accomplishment from sleeping through the night without having to use the bathroom.
  • Latest and GreatestOne’s ability to lose weight is often founded upon the practices of the rest of the family.  Is the food purchased by others for family meals nutritious?  Is it prepared in a way that doesn’t add a lot of fat?  Are desserts eaten every night, instead of once weekly?  Are takeout meals so greasy they can be used to grease your car’s axles?
  • Latest and GreatestIn my home town, it’s the thickheaded nerds on witch hunts who are the bullies, the cool peaceniks are the ones who have to watch their backs.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you feel as though your life is all uphill, you’re actually on your way to Heaven, you are learning how to live better.  If you think you have it worse than anyone else, just keep in mind, there are people who are Dumpster-diving right now for their dinner.
  • Latest and GreatestHaving to avoid being late for an event, speeding in a car to stay on schedule, and dealing with insane deadline pressures, are just three by-products of the tyranny of time-keeping.  The alternative though, a clock-free, timeless existence, means having life’s events occur at random points in the day, making things like get-togethers or meetings impossible — people would essentially show up whenever the mood strikes them, just like they do when they’re on vacation.
  • Latest and GreatestA Taylor Swift insight: “You are not going nowhere just because you haven’t gotten where you want to go yet.”
  • Latest and GreatestTo paraphrase Taylor Swift, if you don’t want bad things said about you, then don’t do bad things.
  • Latest and GreatestSticking a needle in your arm is about as cool as picking your nose.  They are both gross, but only injecting heroin will kill you — and you might only be one shot away from ending it all.
  • Latest and GreatestGoods production today is seen as a means of maximizing green-paper profits; whereas in a utopia, production should be seen as the way to make the most people, the most satisfied and contented.  No one would ever suggest that the first objective maximizes the wealth of everyone as the second would.
  • Latest and GreatestA question when deciding whether or not to voice your dissatisfaction on the Internet: Will my blood pressure be higher by not venting my anger; or by venting it and worrying about push back, or even retaliation?
  • Latest and GreatestIf you don’t develop a sense of humor or humility about yourself, someone else will do it for you.
  • Latest and GreatestIf a civilization was discovered in deep space, would the aliens there treat one another better or worse on aggregate than Earthlings do to each other here?  In other words, would you say we have done a good job with treating our fellow man on this planet, much better than any other, hypothetical planet; or are we really, really screwing things up?  I get the impression that the latter would hold true, we’re blowing it, much more than us being exemplary.
  • Latest and GreatestInstead of saying who you are, character is better demonstrated by setting a worthy example.  Recently for instance, the celebrity, Gwyneth Paltrow, claimed she was “very close to the common woman.”  People at first doubted her, but she is putting her money where her mouth is, and spending $29 on her food for the week, the same as what the food stamp program allots for the indigent.  While her motive was to demonstrate how devastating poverty is, she is also proving she doesn’t live in an ivory tower far removed from the concerns of the masses.  She is showing by doing, instead of just talking a good game.  Way to be, Gwyneth!...  (Hopefully, she’s not caught cheating at restaurants the whole time.)
  • Latest and GreatestScissors cut paper, paper covers rock, rock breaks scissors. For those of you hoping to play our home game, and have always wondered how the dueling rock-paper-scissors game worked, those rules determine the winning hand.  Two people play one of the following gestures simultaneously: paper is a flat horizontal hand; rock is a fist; and scissors is a vertical hand.  For instance, if I gesture paper and my opponent gestures rock; I win, because paper covers rock.  The younguns will be overjoyed learning this — nah, truth is they’ll say if it doesn’t even need electricity, it’s a dumb game.
  • Latest and GreatestWho puts a greater value on the here and now, those who believe in an afterlife or those who don’t?
  • Latest and GreatestHallucinogens are for those among us who lack any real imagination.
  • Latest and GreatestStandardized tests test how well-prepared a student is to take standardized tests.
  • Latest and GreatestDon’t you hate it when a so-called “product improvement” only makes the merchandise worse?
  • Latest and GreatestGiving love fills our hearts with it; denying others love, denies that same feeling to ourselves.
  • Latest and GreatestWhy try to sell anything that’s not worthy of selling itself?
  • As for claims by hunters they are needed by Mother Nature for culling: there has always been Mother Nature, there has not always been hunters.
  • Words that might be worth living by: “Try not to be an a-hole, and stay away from those who are.”  That and, “Try to have a little fun before you die.”
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Princess Kate visits Pakistan, We Send our Sympathies

Princess Katie, my good friend, we all know that Pakistan is the next stop on your Royal odyssey, and that it is the mud capital of this planet.  Please be sure you wear thigh-high boots, especially in all your photo ops.  Also, when the Pakistanis are boring you to pieces with how they live in constant poverty, just smile knowingly, as if the curried chicken you just ate is not repeating on you.

Princess, I’ve said this here before, burn the flowers those little girls give you.  Commoners carry all manner of communicable diseases.  And for God’s sakes, get all your vaccinations, even those optional vaccines for stuff no one ever gets, because they do get it in Pakistan.

[Update from the frontlines: Princess Kate did handle the flowers from the little girl.  Damn, will Kate ever regret not handing them right back to her, or to an assistant for immediate incinceration.  This is how Third World diseases enter the British Isles.  Just like in the Bible, which you may or may not subscribe to: A child shall lead your nation to ruin.  I warned you, Katie — alcohol pads after every contact.  You need to have a nurse at the ready to provide immunization booster shots.]

Plus, Katie, when you touch down in Karachi, and lose touch with civilization during your stay, tell the Prince Regent of Wackney your rules of engagement.  If he’s not being good to you, mention that you’ve been told you have a smile that could melt icebergs (Ashley Judd does, too, truth be told).

Princess Kate, in your discussions there, you may want to raise this point: Most in the Western Hemisphere have very little idea what Pakistan does, especially what it does surprisingly well.  What are their sources of pride, what are the people like, what are the national foods, who are their most famous statesmen?

Princess Kate, get them sufficiently buttered up by telling them about all the British aid you may or may not give them to fight nuclear war with India.  Say you’ll cut off their desperately-needed Pakistinian aid, so you’ll have bargaining chips for foot servants.

Let their ambassador know that you would like their finest, strapping, attractive, Pakistinian servants in return for aid to keep their heads above water.  Tell your guides to put the prospects in a line, and you point to which ones you’d like to take back with you to Kensington Palace aboard Air Force Windsor...

Princess Kate went with the pants under the dress look.  The major advantage here is that Kate won’t have to shave her legs, they’ll be covered.  If she wants the Prince of Wackney to back off in the boudoir, she’s covered — literally.  Although the Princess is so demure and feminine, can anyone imagine she wouldn’t take care of her legs?...

Placing Bets on the Royal Heirs’ Futures

Here’s a nice parlour game.  Say we were to put odds on how Princess Kate’s moppets turned out.  Isn’t this just another legitimate gambling activity?  It is.  Trust me.

Princess Charlotte is one cool customer, even at the age of three.  Her Mom, Princess Kate, is unusually personable, and loving.  Kate is the one minding Charlotte, and Charlotte is the one who will surely be a captainess of industry.  Early predictions suggest she’ll be a Wall Street titan.

Prince George, on the other hand, is a bit hyperactive, this heir is the charge of impassive, distant, unemotional, Prince William.  Prince George will most likely stay inside the Royal House of Windsor filing reports on Queen Liz’ corgies.

True, because they’re not yet five years old, there will be a degree of latitude away from my predictions in the adults they become.  Their life trajectories may be slightly difficult to chart, but I remain confident that Charlotte starts her own multinational, while George attends many marches in an official capacity.

A package courier hired by The Sun snuck a wiretap into the Kensington Palace Royal Nursery, and then published this transcript of Princess Charlotte taking her brother, Prince George, to task:

“...George, that child, cannot even put his blocks away, and I am conjugating verbs like abdicate.  Abdicatumius.  Past perfect participle.  Mummy?  Where’d she go?  Mummy?  Waah!!!!  Waah!!!!  Where’d she go?  Waah!!!!  Take another tack.  Mummy, I’m hungry!!  Where’d she go?...”

Sure, I may be biased towards the Princess Kate side of the family over the Prince William side, but shouldn’t we be putting down odds on the futures of Royal children?  We should.  No, we must.

I will give even odds on Princess Charlotte, abandoning the Royal family to become a baroness in some type of fast-paced, futures arbitrage operation with offices at the far-flung cities of the globe.  Prince George, under Prince William’s tutelage, has two-to-one odds that he runs patronages such as Saint Mary’s Home for Feral Cats, or The Liverpool Committee to Curate Ringo Starr’s Drum Kit.

Only the future will tell how exact my predictions will be, but I can say with great certainty, that given current parametric observations, and imminent trajectories, Prince George stays within the Royal confines, and Princess Charlotte starts a financial multinational to compete toe-to-toe with JP Morgan-Chase.  You know how you just know something?  Well, I just know this.  Any takers for bets with these generous odds?

Princess Kate Motivates With Her Most Personal Speech

Princess Kate just gave what many are saying is her most rousing speech ever.  Here it is, thrown over the Other Letter’s Editorial Office’s transom, in its entirety, from an undisclosed source:

“As the mother of three Royal heirs, I understand the importance of mental health, both for their well being and for my own.  Moms, have you found yourself chasing around Legos all day long, wondering when your precious wee ones will ever calm down?

“I sure have, I have for six, long years now.  They just don’t simmer down.  I don’t know what it is with kids, but they have such short attention spans.  This is a very significant difficulty at Kensington Palace.  Might you relate?

“I have the Prince Regent of Wackney out on bomber missions, and this is in peacetime.  I’m pulling the hair out of my head, you wouldn’t know it, because I will say that I have an attractive mane, but still.

“I barely have time to pick up my latest edition of Cosmopolitan, when wham, the kids are in mortal combat — again!  I’ll tell you what I’d like, a real cosmopolitan, make that a double, please.  The Royal cosmetologist has to do touch-up before any events, the moppets are always scratching one another.  I hope they turn out okay, because they certainly have every advantage known to anyone.

“This is why mental health is so important, and why I’m making The Princess Kate Sanity Initiative a prime priority in Parliament this Autumn.  The Initiative combines all we know with mental health in the British Isles along with American knowledge.  America knows squat about treating others with civility, I’ll tell ya that much.

“Excuse me, what was in this?  I asked for water, what is this?  It’s a what?  It’s a cosmo?  Hmm.  Hmm.  I’ve been drinking them like water.  Send another this way, garçon, yeah, you.  Back to America chit-chat, the Royals used to be generally okay with the U.S., now it’s a Trump-tainted dump across the Pond.

“Hey, where’s my cosmo?  Thank you.  Where was I?  Yeah, Trump, Britain can’t stand him, the Royals can’t either.  You know, no one here can stand him — at all.  If he ran for anything on this side of the Pond, he’d go solidly down in defeat.

“Geez, these cosmos are something.  Garçon, you, hey, you, more cosmos.  Just line ’em up.  And tell the barkeep to make them stronger next time.  I’m not underage, okay?  You give me a Shirley Temple, you don’t get a tip...  That’s much, much better.  Keep ’em coming.

“I’m getting bumped off by the new kid on the block, Duchess Meghan, or is she really, Kate Lite?  I’m prettier, I am, no question.  No sane person would ever deny that.  I could have been a super model once, now I’m chasing Legos around all day long.  I could have walked Milan, Paris, all those runways.  I sure eat like a model.  Everyone wants me thin as a rail, so I’m thin.

“Where was I?  You know, Britain, ah, Britain.  I’m glad I was born in England.  I’m both British and English, how many can say that?  God save the Queen, ya know?  We have the best music.  Let’s hear it for the Union Jack.  Now, wait one second.  The ceiling is spinning.  It’s spinning?!  Whoa!  I can’t stop smiling.

“Bejeezzus, I am happy to be the Princess of, well, where?  I’m the Duchess of one place, and the Princess of Wales?  Or Cambridge?  Who can keep track?  Not I, my friend, not I.

“I’d like to take a Royal nap.  Can I just lay across this banquet table?  You don’t mind, do you?  No peeking up my skirt, okay?  You see England, you see France, do you see Princess Kate’s underpants?  Hey, you’re cute.  Are you from these parts?  Are you as lonely as I am?

“Oops!  Back to my speech.  Let’s hear it for mental health!  One, two, three!  Health!  I’m just sleepy, so sleepy — and kinda, really nauseous...”

Princess Kate’s First, Post-abidcation, TV Commercial

Post abdication, this is Princess Kate’s first attempt at trying to bring in cash outside of the House of Windsor’s payroll account.  This premiered on BBC5, but was quickly pulled, because shilling inedible commoner fare was deemed as being inappropriate for a former Royal figure:

“As the mother of three child Royals, I make sure these moppets meet their nutritional requirements with Oaties Brand Snack Bars.  I can’t wait to have one.  Mm.  I especially like the crunch, as do the Royal heirs.

“They put a lot of molasses in them, so they’re very sweet, and high in calories.  This way my kids don’t get too thin, which is the same reason I eat them.  Although they don’t seem to be working as well on me.  I’m still as thin as a rail.

“Back to Oaties, yes, I’m always telling my personal assistant to get the variety pak of Oaties, because it has: jam, citrus-cabbage, and berry-kale flavors.  Oh yeah, and turnip-swiss-chard I like, too.  Wash them down with fizzy water.  They’re really good with fizzy water.  Really good.  Make sure you have plenty of fizzy water on hand.

“Forget the French, the English lead the way in haute cuisine yet again.  Get Oaties today.  You’ll like them as much as I do, and I do like them.  Honest.  Where’d the fizzy water go?”

The Princess Kate Abdication Guide from The Other Letter

Here’s the back story.  There’s a good chance that Princess Kate — you know, that ebullient beauty — wants to give up being the life of a Royal to go with a mystery blogger who lives near the Atlantic Seaboard.  The Vegas line as of this morning is 3 to 1 that she’s packing her bags, and out of Kensington Palace, by New Year’s.

If Princess Kate left the Royal confines, and abdicated, she would not be doing so without precedent.  Princess Diana set aside Royalty when she divorced Prince Charles, and Edward VIII had a major abdication crisis when he married a twice-divorced American woman named Wallis Simpson.  Both defections away from the Crown, Diana’s and Edward’s, almost toppled the entire monarchy.

Kate, say you’re out there, bored off your Royal tush, if you succeeded in making it out of the House of Windsor intact, and dealt a mortal blow to the Monarchy, then this will be no different from the French Revolution, two hundred years prior.  The French cessated their monarchy in 1789, while in 2019, you would lead the charge against Buckingham Palace for every Royal-hater in the British Isles (who can likely be counted on one hand).

Buckingham Palace could then be used for European hostelers, as a camping venue in the middle of London proper.  Finally, the World would have easy, and economical, lodging near the Thames River tourist magnet.  I can see it now: The Kate-Buckingham Égalité Hotel.  The Royal carriages would be used for American tourists, wouldn’t that be a lovely sight?  All those British guards in bear skin hats would spend all day taking selfies with Asian tourists.

Kate, you would be the Jeanne d’Arc liberator for the Britons!  You will be in every history book, every English child will think: “This is the woman who saved England from itself, and made us who we are today!”  You will no longer be a second rate power with a monarchy, you will only be a second rate power.  Hmm.  Never mind...

Kate, I can sense your vibe.  You’re cautious.  You don’t want to shut down the House of Windsor.  Don’t worry, that stuff will take care of itself.

Still, you’re set on abdication, and life with the premier blogger.  Even though Princess is not a bad gig (when the commoners behave, which is rarely), you want out of the House of Windsor, and hope to join Other Letter in a blogging odyssey.  Okay, if you’re ready to finally take the plunge, here’s what you need to do:

Pick a day of the week to hand in your tiara.  I’d say Sunday, because journalists rarely work that day.  You want this to stay as low profile, and as low key, as possible.  Hopefully, no one will notice that you’re not shacking up with Prince Willie in Kensington Palace anymore.

Pick a season for your abdication.  Winter is very symbolic, it marks the death of living among all those stuffy and icy Royals, and breathing a breath of clean, crisp, fresh air as you shack up with warmer folk.  We’re not even seen as commoners in the States, as we would be in Britain.  In the States, we’re just seen as being poor and hapless.

Find a place to stay.  You can stay here, it’d be no problem, Kate.  I’ll make room in the basement.  I’ll treat you like an ex-Princess.  Your call, but I guess we’ll be dropping the Princess in Princess Kate.  Isn’t that a relief?  Say goodbye to all the endless pomp and circumstance.  Welcome to the World the rest of humanity knows and loves.  This may seem like humble pie at first, but like the rest of this Earth, you’ll quickly dig in, and love eating more than your share of crow.

If you do go American, you need to chose a boarding school for your kids, so you can be a gay divorcé during the school year.  I’d suggest Phillips Exeter Academy, because I’ve heard good things about it.  (I didn’t know the most elite prep school in the World was 98% African American, or is this just for web site promotional purposes?)

You are no longer on the Windsor payroll.  For cash flow, you have many options.  You were a bona fide Princess after all, and you must have a wealth of charming anecdotes related to mingling with Liz, Charlie, Cami, Willie, Harry, et al, in fact, the whole clan over at Buckingham Palace.  You can continue going on speaking engagements, where I can help you with your speech-writing.  I’m especially knowledgeable about coding web pages, so see if you can hook up gigs with Microsoft as I know plenty of Windows one-liners, ones which are real zingers that will make your audience howl with laughter.

Well, that’s about it, Kate.  I hope you choose America, and I will provide you with lodging if you decide to cross the pond, but don’t let me influence your decision.  Although I will say that you’re especially hot, you’re an unusually special woman, and I could never let you down — and your body type is fine.

“Princess Kate’s private, innermost-secret diary”  Last week, Kate had possession of her iPhone in a busy restaurant.  Then she couldn’t find it, and ultimately reported it stolen.  This is what The Sun published yesterday from what they “found” on her iPhone:

“Okay, here goes nothing.  I’ll get the hang of this word processing app.  I don’t know how to delete typing yet.  There may be a backspace.  I took dictation in high school, so this isn’t above me.  Willie may know, he’s working on his memoirs from the RAF (Royal Air Force for the gringos out there).  Shh, yawn fest.  ‘We fell into the drink that day.’  Plenty of that tripe — I hate to say.

“Okay, anyhow, my name is Kate and I am the Princess of Wales.  Wait, that’s a meager opening.  Something splashier.  World, are you ready?  One day, I will be Queen Kate.  I am ready, I am worthy, and goddamnit, I have the pedigree.  Hmm.  I need these to be memoir quality, not quite there just yet.  Britons think the Royals are loaded with pound sterling, we’re not.  I want money on the side, for an emergency, as a rainy day fund.

“I mean, come on, spend my life with Willie?  We’re getting bored with each other already, and we’ve been married for what, how long?  Well, I am not quite sure, arithmetic was never my strong suit, I studied art history.  Anyhow, it does seem like it has been a rather long interval from marriage vows until now.  What’s more, he may have been bedding some hussyThere have been those rumors.

“I would like to have one on the side, just like he.  Now, who would be worthy of my inestimable charms?  Inestimable charms, that’s good, talk from confidence.  I have assets.  I’m perky, my petite figure doesn’t have any excess body fat (well, that’s the truth, because I don’t), and I’m very bright.  I have to be, because I’m a global leader.  Or I would be once given the opportunity, but I’m not Royalty from birth.

“And I have been told I have the cutest face in all of the British Isles.  The Mirror said — where’s that clipping? — oh, here, and I quote, ‘Our Princess defines cute, as she is the epitome of cute.  Her effervescence informs the British woman everywhere.’  Well, if I may agree, I guess that I do.

“I do diet too much, and I am under incredible stress.  Being so, so, so polite to complete strangers who are sometimes on the daft side.  Yet there’s more stress.  Queen Liz used to get on my back: ‘Be good to Willie, be good to my grandson.  After Diana left for greener pastures, he practically became an orphan.  But he’s gonna be king one day.’  Queen Liz can curse like a sailor.  Aren’t we aiming for tell-all?  She’s much mellower now.  Hey, I gave her an heir, a spare, and another spare.  What else does she want from me and my womb?

“Princess Eugenics said that half of Britain, every guy here, wants me, but I am married, well, mostly, well, kinda.  I want a guy who’s different, who sets themselves afield from the pack.  Princess Eugenics told me of a web site that I have investigated in part.

“It is named The Other Letter, and the author has the nicest things to say about me.  He lives on Long Island, which I discovered is in the Southern United States.  He is near an inland State called Florida, one that is well-known in America for its kindness to visitors, swamp walks, and its pineapple crop.  My Royal Appointment Secretary helped me resolve his location, and provided me with this vital back story.

“I gave her instruction to set up a tryst with this admirable gentleman.  My fear is that Willie and me have a Charles and Diana relationship.  Yet the heart must roam and go, wherever it sees fit.  Yes, it looks as though I will be spending a good deal of time in Florida, and very soon.  Diary, I will keep you posted.

“One more note before Charlotte gets let out of her ballet class.  Twenty more minutes of this nonsense.  A four-year-old doing ballet?  I’m sure they will say she is has incredible promise as a prima ballerina for the New York City Ballet.  Oh, oh, then she has drama class?  I bet they’ll run illiterate moppets through the classics, Shakespeare, on and on.  The teachers will all say she’s the next Meryl Streep, which means very little to me, as I have read Other Letter on the topic of Streep.

“Let me tell you where I stand in this world vis-a-vis the other princesses.  Look at American royalty: Ivanka Trump, and Kim Kardashian.  I have it all over them.  Ivanka is an Aryan bimbo.  (Excuse me, Dear Diary, I didn’t mean Aryan bimbo, I meant Aryan Barbie.  Britain doesn’t need any more third degree from Trump Senior.)  Before we forget, Kim took down Taylor Swift.  Of Taylor Swift I am truly fond, but I have a strong distaste for Kim Kardashian.

“One more thing I will say about that clump of Trumps.  They are not quite the House of Windsor, are they?  Yet that boor, can I say that, Dear Diary, that boor?  He can be a buffoon any time he cares to be, but I will not stand idly by while he attempts to humiliate my proud nation.  The entire Royalty lacks the power it used to have, yet if I had my say in the matter of Trump’s big, loud mouth, I would stuff it with a big, Royal sock.  So there!

“Here we go!  Flash bulbs pop everywhere!  Princess Charlotte is getting out of her ballet lesson!  She’s an adorable angel.  Just wait until she’s spoiled rotten, like in a month.  I must run along, Dearest Diary...”

Is Princess Kate good enough to be a Royal?  The Princess has gotten all manner of guff because she’s more new money than old, and not entirely of the manor born.  Yet she is the only one in the House of Windsor, the House of Wackney, and the House of Fellduff, who actually has a pulse.  She married into the House of Stiffs.

If I was her subject, I would absolutely kill for her.  Just point me in the direction of the battlefield, and off I go for Princess and country.  So to answer the question: Is she good enough to be a Royal?  The answer is: a million times yes.  Kate is like the British Taylor Swift, or the British Isles, bubbles Barbie.

Do all the Royals enjoy each other’s company?  No, they often dislike, or even hate one another.  All of British Royalty is at each other’s throats vying for media attention.  Charles hates it when Kate and William steal the spotlight from him and Camilla Parker Bowles, or so it’s been said.  The latest, greatest, Royal newbies, cruise around in a Windsor-Custom Rolls Royce, the seventy-ish, prior generation gets the Volkswagen Cruise Sensation SUV.

Queen Liz II, at ninety-three years of age, still runs the Buckingham show, and rides shotgun with the Cambridge duo (when Kate leaves her trio of moppets at home).  Liz is Supreme Governor of the established Church of England, and as such, I see her with a jaundiced eye.  To the British, she is Queen of the British Empire, but to this savvy American, who can see right through all the Royal smokescreen, Liz is actively plotting to make Anglicanism the world religion, even among the Chinese, the Bushmen of the Serengeti, and the Pacific Islanders.

I’m on to you, Queen Liz II, like white on rice.  Before I bring you up on charges of Biblical misdirection, and spiritual obfuscation, one on a British Isles scale, you will have an opportunity to recant against your cult of Baby Jesus’ worshippers.  Review the Crucifixion Eclipse breakthrough science, and we may decide to go easy on you, even though you are a lifetime offender.  The choice is yours, Liz, finish up your life behind the bars of Christianity, or break away from the chains of Baby Jesus.  But Liz, you must take the first step.  As the sovereign over your British dominion, you are an important account that an Other Spirituality really needs to convert and close out.

Back to the star of our show, Princess Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge.  She is so effervescent compared to dour Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.  Yet Kate is so effervescent when compared to anyone else on earth.  It has long been suggested that Princess Kate is the happiest person in Great Britain bar none.

Princess Kate has become patron of causes relating to children’s well being.  Charles and Camilla are patrons of causes specific to class: Saint Andrew Golf Links’ Caddy Recruitment Programme, and the Royal Wimbledon Tennis Academy where the The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Prince of Wales, give doubles lessons to the interested, or even the vaguely interested, because attendance has not been robust.

I’d have to think that Charles left Princess Diana because he wanted Camilla’s bigger rack, and maybe because she was closer to his age (surprisingly, Camilla’s two years older than Charles).  Diana had class and charm while Camilla somehow comes across as being very stiff, even dowdy.  Just goes to show that you can’t account for taste.

Truth be told, I was never rooting on Team Camilla, not after she and Charles cheated on Diana.  I was always a Team Diana bona fide, as was everyone else on this earth except for Prince Charles.

Is Princess Kate a lollygagging lounge about?  This is a sentiment that many hold, even a big, Princess Kate fan like myself.  Many believe that the Royals are lollygaggers, who barely earn their keep, and never deserve being carted everywhere in Rolls and private jets, and having digs in Kensington Palace.

Princess Kate, though, does seem tireless, always advocating for some cause like child coal miners (see the following), or rock star literacy.  She also advances the cause of Britain, and has helped with the inflation of the fifty-foot float, the one with Trump in diapers.

Yet, Kate also avoids any intractable confrontations.  When she was training as a Royal, Rule Number One was: “Do not create international incidents.”  If you’re up against Trump in the White House, you do not engage in bickering back and forth.  You avoid eye contact, and say politely to your companion, Prince Regent of Wackney: “Please pass the creamed spinach, and let’s go back to the Four Seasons, because we need to check in with the Royal nannies about our linoleum lizards.”  You hastily consume your creamed spinach, thank Melania for everything, and then you make a break for it.

I can sense that Kate has learned to be very diplomatic.  For instance, she visits a famous British pub, and someone projectile vomits.  She knows to say, “Darts anyone?”  This is reflexive, this is intuitive, there isn’t any break in tone.  With cameras covering her every move, the Princess knows there cannot be any over-reaction, Britons projectile vomit in pubs every day.  Then she hints to her social calendar secretary to next time find a more suitable establishment for quarterly Stout week.

So, fellow Americans, I say, let us avoid judging Princess Kate without thinking of her predicament.  The Prince Regent of Wackney doesn’t always feel like carrying his weight, because he took a header during his RAF stint, and he’s just been wobbling about since then.

Meanwhile, Britain itself has found most of its strength as a sovereign in digging coal.  Well, now, there is no more coal, and no other nation wants coal anyhow.  There was talk of getting back the Ceylon Tea concession from India, but they balked citing gentrification upheaval as the Gandhi followers revert to a cricket-based economy.  If it wasn’t for the unsurpassed British Premier League of football (that’s soccer to Americans), the United Nations would unanimously put through a resolution relegating the British Isles as a Third World nation.

It is really entirely hopeless in the British Isles.  Free trade with the European Union was their one, last hope, but they chucked that in a bid to “do and be like Trump.”

The United Kingdom wallows in self-pity, with a sun that set on their empire in 1918.  Princess Kate must keep a brave face.  She urges her subjects to soldier on as she steadies the British resolve.  Remember, she implores, there is still bangers and mash for all.

Princess Kate, what can I say, but...  Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.  I just look at photos of Princess Kate and I sigh, and I sigh, and I sigh again.  She should run for office, she is such a personable, warm, and affectionate woman.  Kate has intellect, looks, she has it all going on.  What’s more, she seems to just get better looking over time.

We’ll have an opening eventually in America as we switch away from a democracy, and into a monarchy.  Princess Kate, look into being our American monarch.  Who wouldn’t want to be your subject?

And Queen Kate, as you will be known Stateside, the first thing you will want to do as part of your official duties is tour Long Island, which is where I come in...  And then I woke up...  8/02/19.

I’m going to have to take back all this praise regarding Princess Kate.  Kate sports the capital punishment iconography, the Crucifix, indicating that she belongs to an insidious cult.  I believe the coven she frequents is the Christian Anglicans.  Kate seemed hip, but she’s doing time with her faggy church.  I regret being so sweet to someone openly promoting homophobia, and misogyny.  Oh, well.  6/26/19...

On second thought...  Much of what the Royals do is for show.  The horse-drawn carriages are for show, Buckingham Palace is for show, Kensington Palace is as well, and so are the Crown Jewels.  Most likely, Princess Katy is pretending that her showy Crucifix is a symbol of purity and wholesomeness, and she wants everyone to pretend with her.

She probably is also aware of the very dark side of the Crucifix and Christianity.  In fact, in rebellion, Kate is said to have a pentagram in the Royal boudoir, and is well-versed in witchcraft.  How would we know otherwise?  Of course, we wouldn’t have any clue of her involvement in the dark arts.  Kate begins her witchcraft practice by casting spells on her long list of enemies, and before she knows it, she’s got voodoo dolls and darning needles in every room in Kensington Palace.

Kate has not entirely admitted to being Wiccan, but rest assured, that’s next.  Watch out for her trading white, linen outfits for heavy, black ensembles, ones that don’t breathe, and are seen in every Harry Potter witchcraft, master class.  Wardrobe will be the tip off that she’s left for the dark side — and she ain’t comin’ back.

You know what had me first wondering about “Princess” Kate?  She was doing her usual thing with another, down-on-their-luck procession, this time with the British, child coal miners.  Seemingly, she’s working for child labor laws, that kids belong on top of earth not inside of it with shovels and picks.  Anyhow, you’d think she’d be saying something consoling like, “Godspeed, youngun!  Britain needs you to keep diggin’.”

But no, what you hear with a careful listen is: “Come on, and join me on the other side with Satan!”  She’s recruiting moppets into her coven!  It is a sad day on their side of the Pond, now isn’t it?!

At a recent rally, Kate offered her usual smokescreen, claptrap about making the world a better place for moppets:

“Because I’m a mother of three, I understand that there can never be a replacement for good clean fun, and wholesome snacking.  That’s why I’ve Crown-commissioned the Princess Kate Wholesome Initiative.  Once my Initiative is full steam ahead, British coal-mining kids can have a homelike environment before and after they’re digging down in the pit.  We have brewed tea, and bangers and mash, to help lighten the load of their digging.

“I’ve gotten four other nations to sign on to the Princess Kate Initiative: America, Russia, Libya, and North Korea.  Mister Trump and America have taken the lead in supporting my vital Initiative.  But they all understand that digging coal is hard work, so why not extend the kids lives a bit by offering them quality refreshments, ones like brewed tea, and bangers and mash?

“It’s all government surplus, RAF rations, so we know they’re satisfactory.  The bangers will be prepared on a hot plate so no worries about the kids being poisoned by E. coli.  They can go into the food facility at lunchtime, have properly warmed over bangers and mash, then return to their digging with a full belly.

“These children coal miners dig for Britain, everyone at the Initiative believes we should do a little something in return.  And that something is warm bangers and mash.  The children miners are Britain’s future.  Don’t they at least deserve good snacking?  Please give generously, and every last pence, after administrative expenses, goes to trying to help out the child miners.

“And coal miner kids, if you bring in the most coal today, you get to shake the hand of royalty, my hand, that is.”  [Whereby, Kate puts an evil spell on them, so they no longer work for the mine, they only work for "Princess" Kate, who takes the lot of their profits.]

There isn’t any debutante ball or advanced thesis for witches.  They just head out into the field with the rudiments.  The Queen Mother thinks Kate is a good girl, and this time out, making sure the kid coal miners are safe.  Liz hopes that they’re far enough away from mine explosions, yet still able to perform their digging down in the pit.  But no, Queen Lizzie, your “Princess” is doing the unthinkable, and drawing youngsters to the other side, the dark side, to Satan’s side.  When will the Katy-madness ever end?!

Anyhow, back to British Royalty doing all for show.  The reason why America is more powerful than Great Britain, is because we are not for show.  America is a democracy that’s only here to kick foreign butt.  Vidi, veni, vici.  America came, it saw, and it conquered, but we don’t do this for show, we only do it for the mean green.  We really don’t have a lot to show for what Britain does for show.  We don’t have royalty, for instance, although it would be nice if we had a Princess Kate prancing around Stateside — EXCEPT WITHOUT THAT GODDAMN CROSS!!!  6/26/19...

Princess Kate beams happily during her public appearances.  All of us Americans in the Trumpian Age have our heads bowed down because we’ve had it up to here.  So when we see the Princess, we wonder what drugs she does, and why isn’t she morose and depressed like her compadres across the Pond?  Why doesn’t she have a Guinness or three, and get back on terra firma, and cry in her beer like the rest of us.  6/18/19...

I’m very sorry, but Princess Kate is just too happy.  Americans are never this happy, she is embarrassing us.  Someone must give her bad news, and soon.  I am so ashamed no one on this side of the Pond has the infectious grin like she does.  Kate is just overjoyed with, well, everything.  Hey, Princess, abdicate your crown in Britain, and cheer up all us Americans.  How’s that?  Because everyone is in love with you here at the Red, White, and Blue.

And one more thing, Kate, the reason you’re royalty is obvious.  You carry yourself with such dignity, and you’re the Princess of the people, always looking out for everyone’s well-being.  6/25/19...

Here’s to you, Princess Kate  6/12/19.  Princess Kate looks like she is an excellent mom, she gives every appearance of being very warm and caring.  How many women are as upstanding, and have as much character, as this Duchess of York does?  There isn’t many.  Yet, somehow she seems isolated, as though everyone around her is much more obsessed with Royal class-consciousness than she’ll ever be, or could be.  Her Kensington Palace crowd seems to get a bit stuffy, while she’s the only breath of fresh air...  5/20/19...

Here are recent photos of Princess Kate, where she has tears of joy on being given a single flower.  Meanwhile, her betrothed, the Prince Regent of Wackney, gives appreciative growls to show his satisfaction with his subjects.  Princess Kate is trying to get him to lighten up, but so far to no success.  It’s as though he feels he’s getting insufficient attention, and deserves a placard around his neck reading: “Hey, you twit!  I’m the one who’s royalty from birth — not her!”  6/11/19...

I will say this about Princess Kate, she is as thin as a rail.  Katy, if you’re out there somewhere, you seem to be under unusual amounts of stress, or you’re starving yourself for that Twiggy look.

If your Royal responsibilities have got you down in the dumps, then you need to set boundaries.  For example, you spend most days chasing around the Royal Lego blocks after the Royal Brattage throws them.  It’s time you apportioned a wing or two of Kensington Palace just for yourself.  This will be a space that no one else is allowed to enter, including the Royal heirs and heiress, as well as pesky Prince Regent of Wackney.

You do not need to put up barbed wire around your manor proper, only if Prince Regent of Wackney and the moppets get intolerably annoying.  Then put in for the barbed wire.

If you’re starving yourself, what you need to do now, is to speak to the Royal Kensington dietician, then add pasta, whole-fat dairy anything, and fries and burgers to your diet — and always ask for second portions, even for burgers.  I’ve been a doctor for, how long is it now?  Let’s just say, forty years, or was that forty-five years?  I’ve been a doctor for so long now, I cannot even remember how long I’ve been a doctor...  6/12/19.

Princess Kate bequeaths Crown Jewels to Other Letter  12/09/17.  Other Letter readership statistics have been slipping, so in partnership with her Royal Highness, Princess Kate, the Crown Jewels of Great Britain will be given away to the billionth reader of Other Letter.  You heard right, the Crown Jewels can be yours.  Enter early and often, because the billionth reader will walk away with all of these fine specimens of the metallurgic arts.

You’re saying: “Why on God’s great Earth would Princess Kate want to give away England’s greatest prize, and somehow that’s not herself.”  The reason is simple, at a poker game several years ago, with me and other various and sundry Royals present, Katie, as she prefers to be called, wagered the Crown Jewels.  I called her bluff, she only had a pair of deuces, so she lost all her Jewels to me.

Who am I?  To stay low profile, to this crowd, I am Sir Barker Raleigh from the House of Whimsworth, Other Letter is only my birth name.  Also present, and to keep things lively, was Queen Lizzie, as she is known to her inner circle.

You’re asking: “How did I get invited to such a high stakes poker tourney?”  Well, I’ll just say this, when you’re an internationally known blogger, anything can happen, and more often than not, it does.

Understandably, Princess Kate was hesitant to part with them, but they just collect dust in Liverpool’s Royal Museum besides Ringo’s first drum kit, and Paul’s beloved accordion, so she felt it was at last time to settle her bets with me, and give them a new home on the other side of the pond.  Plus, she is an immense fan of my blog, and she felt that anything she could do to boost my readership stats would be doing the World tremendous good, and being very good is her sole mission in life as a future Queen consort.  11/23/17.

Attribution: Ricky Wilson

Meet Princess Kate: Other Letter benefactor, bequeather of Crown Jewels for an OL contest prize, and scandalous card shark.  Shown here waving goodbye to her Jewels, and without her trademark cigar.

Princess Kate wanted to be sure the Crown Jewels found an appropriate home.  First, in the Curio Britannia Wing of The Other Letter Museum, and then on to the billionth reader of Other Letter — which might be you!  (Those diamonds are huge, how could I ever resist pilfering one or two?)

Where are you Other Letter billionth reader?  You like?  Keep coming back and the Crown Jewels of Great Britain might be yours!

To our contest winner: Please take care when vacuuming jewels so they aren’t dislodged from tiaras, and sucked up into your vacuum cleaner.  While you will own them, these still have historical value.

Princess Kate and Taylor Swift cannot deal with the Great Unwashed  10/18/16.  What does Princess Kate do with all those flowers she gets at her hospital visits, and the car and horse shows she’s always attending?  Well, it depends how public the appearance is, and if the cameras are trained on her.  She hates picking up germs from the common folk, so if no one is looking she hands the flowers right back to whichever now chagrined spectator gave them to her, and trots off to her waiting, chauffeured Rolls (it would not be lady-like for the Princess to sprint away, in spite of her desire to do just that).

The protocol changes when she has a crowd of onlookers.  Then she’ll hand them to her assistant.  When Katie returns to Kensington Palace they burn them in a huge bonfire.  This is very similar to funeral pyres which burned off the diseased remnants of the dead.  And that’s just how Kate views her flowers, as contaminants from those god-forsaken commoners.

You’re thinking why then is she called the People’s Princess?  It’s all smokescreen and well-crafted PR BS to hide the truth, and this is that she’s anything but good and kind.  Ever notice when she’s doing her hospital stints she’s always checking her watch, tapping her foot, and looking nervously at the exit?  She’s ready to explode from both her profound germophobia and her absolute loathing of the working classes.

Taylor Swift is the same way, although Taylor doesn’t get as many flowers.  Her assistants have to drag her into the hospital room by her arm, and plop her into her seat for the sitting over the ill.  Taylor has even practiced vocal scales, often off-key just to unnerve, in front of visibly upset, terminally-ill, cancer patients.  As she leaves, one often hears the patients call out: “don’t come back.”  To which Taylor replies: “That’s going to be impossible now, isn’t it?  You’ll be six feet under.”

Taylor has become such a smooth customer, she gets photo ops grinning ear to ear, while her kids are getting injected with foot-long needles.  Mostly though, she just says a few Hail Marys (for herself), and hightails it out of there.


The Royals are not Inconsequential  12/25/13.  One of the aspects to being British as opposed to being American, is that the Brits have a Monarchy, some say a vestigial, or fading one, but a Monarchy just the same.  There are those in Great Britain who feel the Royals are simply free-loaders, given everything for doing nothing.  The British Crown provides an important function though, one that the States mostly lack, and that is they act as figureheads, and they set a commendable example.  They are essentially good will ambassadors for their country everywhere around the World.  Whether the British government is rising or falling in international popularity, the Monarchy is largely independent of external strife, so they are well-placed in media to promote tourism.

The United States does not have any permanent representatives, when this country goes South, there is no one hearkening back to the glories of our nation, or to anyone who exists as a direct lineage to its inception.  To Americans, British Royalty might be seen as mid-level managers with lifelong responsibilities (although hopefully Prince Harry’s sexcapades are behind him).  I feel the House of Windsor should be a source of pride, not one of derision.  This may sound like I’m selling out, but from this side of the pond, the Royals just seem like good people doing a thankless job.

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How to Clean Up in the Office Football Pool  This method excludes all the theoretical factors Vegas oddsmakers figure into a pick, such as: injuries; point deficit of any team without Tom Brady in the lineup; how much the new Head Coach in Green Bay likes his salary bonus; how hot the team’s cheerleaders look, etcetera.

This will get to the crux of the matter, point spread-adjusted, average margin of victory (or defeat).  Deciding 11 or 12-plus games of 16 with uncanny regularity, I would win the pool over dozens of duffers (I must admit conceit, my method is that good).

Divide the total points for and against that a team accumulates so far in its season, by the number of games played to get average points for and against per game.  From those two averages, subtract points against, from points for.  This becomes the average margin of victory (or defeat).  Do the same for the opponent.

Get the difference between the two teams margins of victory (or defeat).  Subtract out the point spread (assuming your office pool plays with one).  Whichever team has the larger margin at this point can be greatly favored to win.

As the season progresses these averages become more true, and more telling as to which team is stronger.  Yards for and against does not tell you nearly as much as points do — the final outcome of the game is not determined by yardage, only by points.  Overall standings do not give enough information either, it is what is behind the standings, the scores, that really show team strength.  Games are decided by points, not standings.

Don’t take this method, fly to Vegas, and plunk down your life savings on any of these games though, it won’t work this way.  But if done accurately, and over an entire season, this method will give you an edge in your office football pool, and I bet you will be very pleasantly surprised with the results.

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There is an end-around to the apparent impossibility of meeting a starlet, and that is to start a fan club.  You can go for the big-time and make it nationwide, or even international; or start more modestly, and keep it local and intimate.  Either way, with persistence, you are almost guaranteed exclusive photo ops, and private meet and greets.  Your starlet may even want to visit the front lines for herself, and meet her fan club president personally, perhaps for some milk and cookies.

My guess is that guys would more likely devote the time and effort necessary to make their fan club successful, as women would somehow find it less dignified.  Tell that to a diehard Taylor Swift fan, but so be it.

These days, it is just a matter of setting up a web site, and any appropriate activities like parties, as well as handling correspondence and dues collection; and electing officers, having meetings, as well as finding a place to hold them.  True, parties without your starlet present might seem like a drag, but why not make them co-ed?  Besides, fan club parties without their quarry will have something to strive for, and that would be to have your starlet show up one day.

While without precedent, with concerted, well-directed effort, any fan club, albeit one with the most rabid fans, can get someone like Gwyneth Paltrow to make an appearance.

Because starlets are always looking for new and novel public relations opportunities, if you publicize your meetings, say, in a very-well respected blog, they might very well join you at your get-together...

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What the historic, world-changer that the discovery of E=MC2 was to Physics, the Crucifixion Eclipse will one day be to all of humanity, and not just Christians.  If The Other Letter was known for one thing in its run, it will most likely be the Crucifixion Eclipse.  Much of this startling discovery is from a few almost unknown and weakly researched chapters of the Bible — specifically the New Testament’s Book of Luke, Chapters 23 and 24.  (The text that accompanies this is in the Nature section of OtherLetter.com.)


Do we live in a multiverse, occupying one of a myriad of overlapping universes?  Or do we live in a bi-verse?  There is the universe that we all know and exist in today.  But can there be another plane of spiritual existence that any mortal may never fully know or cross into, but is only passed into if we surmount challenges presented in the universe into which we are born?

This later universe is invisible to mortals, and dismissed as being incredible by our scientists.  It’s dismissed because our sensory apparatus — our eyes, our ears, and our electronic instrumentation — have never penetrated into this next domain.

This unknown universe would have all the powers the doubting have always speculated as being possible.  Evolution of Creation would derive from forces outside of random molecular collisions.  Given the incredible sophistication and majesty of Creation, how can random chemical activity account for the development of human consciousness?  How can the spirit be so mysterious, never locatable nor definable, unique to each person, never destructible and seemingly permanent?...

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The Sketch Pass, that’s right, an admittance pass to sketches.  Sketches so dynamic, they will one day be Oscar-winners, just you wait and see.  Especially this one: Taylor Swift stooping so low as having a chimp act as warm up for her Reputation Tour.


And Now, A Word from our Sponsor...

Get these scripts before they’re outrageously expensive!  These scripts are all entertaining, enlightening, and compelling (and would garner a PG, PG-13, or R rating).

  1. Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Much Better Girl (working title, real one is a giveaway)  Entirely unexpectedly, Steve finds romance, but there is a major catch.  (Kirsten Dunst, Gwyneth Paltrow, and an actor who can play gritty — no Tom Cruise, religious pretty boys need apply.)
  2. My Life among the Stars Ashley Southern, Gwendolyn Parker, Miriam Tomlinson, and Colette Giroux, are the hottest names in show business, or they were again, once an enterprising blogger and fan club president named Holden Miller wins Ash over, and charts a new course for their careers.  (Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham, and Charlize Theron)
  3. Rebel Rhythm and Blues  Is this interracial couple only a pair of star-crossed lovers?  Or with the help of the spirit of music past, will they be spending forever together?  (Ashley Judd, and Denzel Washington)
  4. SoCal Supper Club  Southern Californians may be known for their excess, but at one supper club in SoCal, they found real happiness they never even knew existed.  (Justin Theroux and Michelle Pfeiffer)
  5. Their End of Days  Their end of days, may just as well be ours.  (Amanda Seyfried and Bryan Cranston)
  6. Genevieve Marseille  Genevieve Marseilles once had Hollywood in hand, until the roles disappeared, and she got homesick for Provençale.  (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Chazz Palminteri)
  7. Weighty Matters (a treatment, not a full-fledged script)  Following an electrical storm, it all got very, very heavy for Maggie.  (Maggie Gyllenhaal, of course)

Because of plagiarism concerns, these are the marketing log lines, not the more revealing, synopsis ones.  Each of these movie scripts have been copyrighted with the Library of Congress, and registered with the Writers’ Guild of America.  If you work in cinema and have an interest in producing any of seven scripts written by the writer who brings you the Other Letter every day, at your earliest convenience.  In parentheses after each script, is the dream cast.  This is whom each part was written for at the outset.



Basic Screenwriters’ Library

To get a movie-goer’s appreciation of film-making, you can read books dedicated to a particular master of the craft of filmmaking such as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Jean Luc Godard, Jacques Demy, Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, or Woody Allen.  However, the books listed below will begin to have you thinking like the pros do, and taking your own ideas as far as they’ll go.

If you love violence, or you’re under twenty-five-years of age, you can also bone up on Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, or Quentin Tarantino (Spielberg’s sledgehammer masterpiece, Schindler’s List, was very, uncomfortably gut-wrenching, and unfortunately, mostly managed to preach to the converted).

  1. The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler  Key character types such as threshold guardians, shadows, and the various heroes, are defined with examples from film.  The journey traveled from the call of adventure to the inner cave.  (The only problem with this book is that the movies used as examples are dated, they’re from the 1990s.  This didn’t effect the readibility though.)
  2. Syd Field, Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting  Anyone in Hollywood who has written a screenplay in the last thirty years has read this primer.  (Or did I read that on the jacket sleeve?  No, it is the bestseller in the field of screenwriting.)
  3. The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier  All the ins and outs of writing a professionally-formatted screenplay.  Do you know how to format a montage on your screenplay?  With this book, you will.
  4. The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking.  An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies outside of Hollywood; by Mark Polish, Michael Polish, and Jonathan Sheldon.  The inside scoop inside a film set.  Includes what every credit means at the end of every movie, and what they do: DP, director of photography; key grip and gaffer, setting up the lights, etc., etc.  Rack focus, changing focus within a shot; film stock.  Yet this is entirely readable, and not esoteric.
  5. How to Sell your Screenplay.  A Realistic Guide to Getting a Television or Film Deal.  By Lydia Wilen and Joan Wilen.  As the title implies, and covers the business end of the film industry, including contracts.
  6. Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, by Georges Polti.  Originally published in 1916, yet still available.  From classical drama unto the present day, these thirty-six (with subtopics) cover almost every possible dramatic premise.  For example: “Revenge for an attempted slaying;” or, “Revenge for a false accusation, Monte Cristo.”

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Generic Glee script from S17:E39, Is Santana asking for it?

Glee is an American, television sitcom that chronicles the lives of high school drama club members, most of whom are either transgender, or transgender wannabes.  Although to keep things lively, two students are into bestiality.

Santana is being played by Salma Hayek, Leslie by Penelope Cruz, and of course, substitute teacher, Holly Holliday, is brought to life by Gwynnie Paltrow.  The scripts, including this one, were written by Gwynnie’s husband, Chadley Paltrow.  (S17:E39 indicates that this particular episode was in Glee’s 17th Season, and Episode 39 within that season.)

Leslie:  Santana, if you go lesbo, we won’t make it into the Regionals, and just forget the States, okay?

Santana:  But lesbo is my thing these days, aren’t I allowed to be what I wanna be?

Holly Holliday:  [Makes her entrance stage left, to wild canned applause...]  Wait, hold everything!

Santana:  Holly Holliday, world’s greatest sub?!

Holly Holliday:  I just wanna say that if you swing for girls, and that you switch hit, no one can ever stop you.  And it shouldn’t interfere with Regionals, or even States, if we get that far.  Taking out your freak flag is no problemo, numero uno priority is staying true to your bad self.

Santana:  Thanks, Holly!  You’re the best!

Leslie:  You really are.

Holly Holliday:  No problemo.

Santana:  Yeah, you’re the best sub...

Gwyneth Paltrow:  [In her living room in Malibu, out of costume, with Chadley sitting beside her.  Both look very tense...]  This week’s episode of Glee is brought to you by: Budweiser, because for all you do, this Bud’s for you...

Santana:  [Back to scene...]  Thanks, Holly, for sticking up for all us lesbos in the Glee Club.

Holly Holliday:  Hit it!  I got this one, chicks:

Don’t cry for me, Argentina, the truth is, you’re all I wanted.  Through my mad days, my sad existence, I kept my promise, don’t keep your distance...

Leslie:  Is that the version that made Madonna famous?

Holly Holliday:  That, girlfriends, is one and the same — with a few flourishes, of course.

Santana:  Can’t we do more current numbers?  Or ones more relevant to where we’re at as young women?

Holly Holliday:  Fox High School is on austerity, that’s what we got.  It’s show tunes from either Evita, or The Graduate, the Musical...

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Ashley Judd tries to Convert The Other Letter to Christianity

The Other Letter:  [Voiceover] Ashley Judd was autographing her latest tell-all tome, The Joy of Baby Jesus, which was the sequel to her thousand-pager, The Shame of the Beaten Heathen.  The session was at a nearly-empty Barnes and Noble in Manhattan.  After questioning a central premise of her book, that her Baby Jesus is real, Ashley and myself began a contentious, proselytizing debate.  Ashley quickly produced 8x10 glossy photographs of her new Christ’s Pavilion for Contemplation in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Other Letter:  ...Christ’s Pavilion for Contemplation?  Christ contemplates here?

Ashley Judd:  Well, um, yeah.  We enlist Christ to join us in beautiful surroundings.  Our goal, the goal of all Christian faiths, is to pray hard enough, and long enough, so that Christ returns in the flesh.  We think we have the inside track.  Just look at this place.

The Other Letter:  Well, I see four stories.

Ashley Judd:  Once we get the financing, we’re adding six more on top, it’ll be ten soon.  That’s bigger than the L.A. Coliseum for Scientology; and a story taller than the Latter Day Saints skyscraper in Salt Lake.  I have three stories over my very own Methodist Testament to Heterosexuality Building, which is ground zero of my home faith, and which is still my favorite, mid-market chapel.  I’ll have two stories over the Southern Baptist Convention’s Look-the-Other-Way-for-the-Klan monument in Tuscaloosa.  My Christ’s Pavilion for Contemplation trumps the biggest Christian churches — and Christ almighty, the Vatican isn’t even four stories.  Can you believe that?!  I suddenly have the tallest building in Christendom — little old me!  Me, I do!  Baby Jesus shines his glory down upon the holy, that’s for dang sure!

The Other Letter:  Where are you getting the financing?

Ashley Judd:  I stopped paying for Pastor Rick’s services.  It wouldn’t look good to the IRS if I kept paying his salary.  So instead, I surprised him with the Pavilion dough.  I was approved for a mortgage to build his church, Christ’s Pavilion for Contemplation.

The Other Letter:  Pastor Rick?

Ashley Judd:  Yes, he’s my co-pilot bona fide.  We go way back in the pursuit of Baby Jesus’ wisdom.  I let him take the controls sometimes.  Let me ask you a question?

The Other Letter:  Shoot.

Ashley Judd:  Who’s your spiritual advisor?  Who’s your go to for down-and-dirty, biblical clarification?

The Other Letter:  I have the intelligence to do this on my own.

Ashley Judd:  I can see that you’ve lost your way, so I have the solution for you.  Schedule a Pastor Rick consultation, he charges just $500 an hour.  He’s tax-deductible, and is he ever worth every penny.  Pastor Rick has taught me that acts have consequences, that celebrities like me can’t always get away with stuff because of our stature in the community — and that there’s more to life than just pleasure.  I’m starting to think about others, and I’m a superstar — I don’t need to be nice to anyone.  You see, when you reach the upper echelons as I have, and have had all my trials and tribulations, Baby Jesus is how you keep it all together.  Baby Jesus is the key to me being sane.  I am on track today because of Baby Jesus.  Right, Baby Jesus?  Baby Jesus just said “yes.”  Reverend Rick channels Baby Jesus for me, and clarifies my purpose each month, or each week, or even daily.  He provides me with Christian insight that you won’t find anywhere else in the South, as well as the North — I know how impoverished the conditions in New York are for spiritual growth.  The South is so blessed for brotherhood and sisterhood.  Anyhow, Pastor Rick is a certified Baby Jesus professional.  Here, look, this is one of the hundreds of my favorite mantras from Father Rick, my guru, my svengali [Ashley opens her tome to a block quote]:

“...Because before our dreams can ever come true, we need to deny our passion for self-centeredness, and embrace, uplift, the outside, worldly chaos (why not drop a grand on your Church’s annual fund today!)  The only way you’ll join Baby Jesus in the heavens is finding time every day to contemplate his virtue, his insistence on heterosexuality and female subjugation.  My Church is clear on this: Abortions can be sought when not even needed.  Jane thinks she needs an abortion, but Jane doesn’t know her right mind.  The solution: Excommunicate Jane.  Then, approaching birthing epiphany, and a birth without a Dad, even the lost preggers girl realizes she one of god’s children taking baby steps skyward into the cosmos.”

Ashley Judd:  He gets it!  He just gets it!  I’m weak and weepy.  The preggers girl decides between joining Jesus and raising the kid alone, or facing holy Hell outside her Church without the moppet she should have had.  I think about these over and over, and each mantra enlightens the core of my being.

The Other Letter:  What do you think of the words, “Jesus freak”?

Ashley Judd:  Oh, do I ever hate those words.  These only describe the followers of the most disorganized, ill-funded denominations of Baby Jesus adoration, ones led by insignificant theologians preparing to take on the monster of sin, yet ill-equipped for puritanical and holy revolution like organized religion can, like my Methodism can.  Father Rick and I, we embrace the beauty of Methodism, all together we embark on Christ-style adventures each and every day, yet homeward bound, we return safely, I am held in Rick’s caressing arms.  Do you see what I get from religion?

The Other Letter:  You get laid?

Ashley Judd:  You’re an evil fornicator, but I will show you what I get with Baby Jesus.  I get family, I get warmth, I get spiritual wisdom out my tushy, and truth be told, I get channeled, personal contact with Baby Jesus, channeled by certifiable co-pilot, Pastor Rick.  I look up in the sky, and know my Baby Jesus is grinning at me from Heaven.  Gees, Baby Jesus gives me chills!!!  Naughty, Baby Jesus!  [Smiling, Ashley shakes her finger at the ceiling.]

The Other Letter:  Why don’t you think the spirit of life is all around you in Creation, and in the living world?

Ashley Judd:  Because I get my sustenance from the clouds above, um, the heavens above, okay?!  The Bible has been saying this for millennia, so who am I to disagree?  How would I ever know more than the Bible, one handwritten by God himself?  Then I just pick and choose between the Christian beliefs.

The Other Letter:  Well, have you ever stopped to consider those beliefs, because they are a complete fraud.  Christianity is a fraud.  That’s right, its central premise, that Christ died on the Cross for the sins of Christians, whatever this means, is, well, it’s complete garbage.  In Luke, Chapter 24, Verse 41, your savior is alive and well, post-Crucifixion.  These are the quotes: “Have ye here any meat,” and “I am of flesh and blood like you are.”  [Ashley starts to violently cough.]  You have spent your entire life kneeling before a fraud, a fake.  [Ashley gets teary and reaches for her stomach.]

Ashley Judd:  You don’t understand what it is to have a meaningful relationship with—

The Other Letter:  A fraud?—

Ashley Judd:  A loving relationship with God!  God!  I love baby Jesus!  He can’t be a fraud, he just can’t be!

The Other Letter:  Okay, lets look at where your Church stands regarding tolerance.  Christians haven’t exactly been at the forefront of protecting the rights of Jews or Muslims.  Have you ever heard the expression that if you scratch a Christian, you will find an anti-Semite?

Ashley Judd:  Personally, I’m not an anti-Semite, I just feel that anyone denying Jesus’ love for them needs to be proselytized.  Christianity is a proselytzing religion, our ultimate goal is to make everyone a God-fearing Christian.  All of us down at the Contemplation Center always felt that if the Jews made more of an effort to accommodate Hitler, their race would be intact today.  For Christ’s sake, they just had to take Communion.  Hitler had no issue with all us good Christians, the Jews just needed to convert.  The concentration camps only existed so the Jews would convert to Christianity.  This was at the core of the Jewish problem, that they were stuck in their ways.  Hitler was a modernist.  The Holocaust was God’s punishment for being Jewish.  God works in strange and wonderful ways, you just need to be well-tuned to what he wants — and he wants us all to be level-headed Christians devouring body-of-Christ, Communion wafers.  It’s sad that they died, what, 10,000 perished, tops?  But they failed to obey God’s will as enforced by Hitler.  Hitler was not such a bad guy, he only worked to preserve Christianity.  Down at my Church, Adolf Hitler was the German savior.  He was incredibly talented, and under appreciated.  It’s too bad that he had to die for the cause of good.

The Other Letter:  And you went to Harvard?

Ashley Judd:  Yes, I’m Harvard!  You can tell, can’t you?

The Other Letter:  Okay, whatever, Ashley.  The Germans had an ambivalence towards Christians, yet hated Jews so much they wanted to remove the Old Testament from Church teachings.

Ashley Judd:  And my Church is against the genocide of Jews, but all they had to do is carry Crosses out of the Warsaw Ghetto, and their lives would have been spared.  If they had the courage to say: “I have accepted Baby Jesus as my personal Savior, and I share the passion for the Christ child, that the rest of Germany does,” there would have been a happy ending to this War of Wars.  “Acht Macht Frei,” or work makes free, was the warm, inviting, and admittedly ironic sign adorning Auschwitz which implored extra-hard work.  It was really, “Christi Macht Frei.”  Celebrate the life of Jesus and you will be saved from being gassed.  Hitler was not asking for too much, he only wanted respect of Aryan principles, and if you remained sub-human as a non-Protestant, of course, you would be gassed.  No homos, no negroes, no Jews, respect White values.  This is my Church in a nutshell.  Homos don’t belong here, or anywhere else on God’s great earth.  Negroes we accept grudgingly, because they are not often Methodists.  Jews, again, they still ignore Hitler’s call for Aryan supremacy.  Most of us here feel nothing but condescension for the Jews.

The Other Letter:  Why does your religion need everyone to convert to Christianity?  Your Church hardly sounds like its live and let live.

Ashley Judd:  The reason why we Christians make proselytizing a core tenet of our faith is simple: If you’re not converted to Christianity, you’ll ruin it for all us good Christians.  You need to think like we do.  We’re imbued with the spirit of Baby Jesus.  Let me be perfectly frank, you’re impure until you’re baptized, and cleansed with Baby Jesus.  All my life, I have avoided non-Christians.  I just gravitate to those who wear the Crucifix, it makes me feel so comfortable when I see a Cross, especially a super-size one encrusted with precious stones.  Until they join us on this side of the river, until they baptize, get dunked, and purify, they just lack the moral credentials that us Christians sport.  Okay, I will have to say: If you’re not Christian you really don’t measure up to me.  Back at the congregation, we know that Hitler was only proselytizing for Baby Jesus.  We’re not anti-Semitic, we’re only pragmatists.  Jesus is the only way, there’s no way around this.  I would jump up and down, and flap my arms like a chicken, if it would save one soul from Judaism, and eternal damnation.  Plus, Weinstein is a Jew, and there was a Jewish component to his sexual harassment of me.  I just know it.

The Other Letter:  Ashley, the Bible is mostly unintelligible, it is very poorly written.  Church leaders read into the gospels anything they’d like.  Unfortunately, they have power, so we’re forced to coalesce around their bad thinking, and dumb ideas.  [Ashley frowns.]  Okay, I’ll change the topic.  I’ve read very little about your relationship with your mom.  Is she still a Republican?

Ashley Judd:  I can’t, um, I won’t talk about my mother.  It’s just that I’m from a family of celebrities, and I need to be discreet.  Our public relations image must remain above board.  Production companies, and their investors, need celebrities in their movies who have rock-solid morals.  Okay, sure, there was lively banter about our involvement in Vietnam, but honestly, I cannot say anything about my mother.  It’d be in bad form.  Please, Other, no!

The Other Letter:  Lively banter, really?  Let me show you a few photos from then.  [He takes out his mobile phone and displays four photographs.]  There is the naked girl covered with napalm, running away from carpet bombing.  There is the Buddhist monk on fire.  There is the famous Kent State photo where the student is gunned down by Ohio National Guard troops.  And one more, the execution of our enemy — this is America on the global stage, leading an invasion, yet what was your Baby Jesus doing during the run up Hamburger Hill?  [Ashley sees the photos, but has no reaction.]  Did you work at a morgue?

Ashley Judd:  Hmm, this is interesting.  To me, the Vietnamese War was not Christian, my Mom felt it was a conflict that Christ would endorse.  My Mom loves Jesus as much as do I.  His plan for Viet Nam took a long time to be revealed, but when he unveiled it, both me and my Mom were pleased.

The Other Letter:  Did you have a television?  Your Mom had to know of the atrocities there, like the My Lai Massacre where children were murdered.  Why did your Mom want more troops sent, so they all could do more of the same?  Were you desensitized because you both worked at the local morgue?

Ashley Judd:  My Mom is a retired nurse.  She saw pain every day.  Yet my Mom was right in this sense: Pain, and even death, can be justified to reach Jesus’ goal that the world enjoy American-style, and Southern-style, democracy.  But yes, me and Mom just had a slight difference of opinion.  America was not entirely on the same page here, and neither was me and my family.  Again, I must remain discreet because I am a movie star in the public eye.  Multi-billion dollar projects can be scuttled if bad press comes out with anything negative regarding me or my family.  So while it sounds like I’m flip-flopping on issues like Viet Nam, I’m not entirely for or against anything.  So I stay above the fray, and only cultivate top-notch, celebrity friendships.  Melinda Gates, Bono, Baby Jesus, I stand back and applaud them, cherish their company, and their every word.  I bask in their glorious energies, because it is a privilege to even share conversation with them.  I see Bono and Melinda Gates, and it is as though I am looking at Baby Jesus in the flesh.  Let me glorify my god for you.  Baby Jesus is not an interventionist God, he stands back and carefully observes, just like the referee at the boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.

The Other Letter:  Wait, one second, isn’t that the fight that was widely regarded to give Ali the palsy, and Parkinson’s?  How do you know of this?

Ashley Judd:  I keep title fights on BetaMax.  What a career Ali had.  And who gave Ali life, but none other than Baby Jesus.  Our Baby Jesus has given us all life.  Ah!  Anyhow, as I have said over and over, I just love my Baby Jesus so effing much.  I’ll shout it from the mountaintops, and shout it as the day is long!  You got it all going on, Baby Jesus!!!  [Smiling, Ashley shakes her finger at the ceiling again.]

The Other Letter:  Do you feel you’ve been left in charge of a P.R. machine you are entirely ill-equipped to handle?

Ashley Judd:  Yes.

The Other Letter:  I have a flight to catch.

Ashley Judd:  To where?

The Other Letter:  Alpha Centauri, where my people call home.

Ashley Judd:  That’s heavy.  Do you believe in Baby Jesus over there?

The Other Letter:  No, we don’t believe in fairy tales in our sector of the galaxy.

Ashley Judd:  Baby Jesus, he is lost forever, let us bid him farewell as he returns to his sector of the galaxy.  Bye, Other.  Baby Jesus, say goodbye to the heretic...

[Only the voice of Ashley Judd is heard...]

Postscript:  This is obviously an exaggeration of Ashley’s Methodist Church, but it does not stray so far from Christian “principles.”  They are uniformly homophobic, and Catholics especially, are rabidly misogynistic.  As of this Easter, Ashley still belongs to a hate group, although she doesn’t realize it yet, she thinks she belongs to a fellowship of peaceniks — albeit homophobic and misogynistic, scary ones.

Or maybe she’s finally catching on to the real purpose of Christianity: Group ego inflation at the expense of most everyone else.  Just like Mary Magdalene was rescued from the ravages of the “sin” of sex for gold; Ashley needs to be rescued from the grip of institutional, Christian, puritanical pride...

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The Other Letter lands the Taylor Swift Interview

The Other Letter:  Taylor, your latest, Reputation, is often considered to have the same free-spirit not seen since the Age of Aquarius and its wide-eyed innocence and optimism.  Would you tend to agree?

Taylor Swift:  My demographic was 12 to 18 year olds, but now it’s 18 to 24, and the title track goes from 18 to 30.  I bring this up at the production meetings.

The Other Letter:  I can even hear strains of Joni.

Taylor Swift:  Who?

The Other LetterJoni Mitchell?  Is she a major influence of yours?

Taylor Swift:  Who?  Joan who?  We’re targeting 18 to 34s here, although on Red, it was 14 to 24s.  My manager thought that if we captured that demographic, our stadium sales would max out, and was he ever right, our stadium sales did max out.  What got us reaching projections for gross was my bobble head doll.

The Other Letter:  Bobble head dolls?

Taylor Swift:  That packed them into Phoenix and Salt Lake.  Either venue wouldn’t have been sold out without the bobble head dolls.  That’s what the marketing analysis showed, but we knew this without reports from the marketing department.  I knew this!  I led the charge here!  I get the credit for the bobble head dolls!  Forget hidden meanings in songs, bobble head dolls are the most powerful marketing tool in our arsenal.

The Other Letter:  Are these quality bobble head dolls?

Taylor Swift:  They were made by the best bobble head manufacturer in all of China.  I know, because I was in on the bidding process.  I even spent a day on their factory floor to make sure quality control was where it needed to be.  They made ten-million, seven-inch, life-like figurines of yours truly.  Every Swifty concert-goer has one of these on their nightstand, they do as we speak.  When we ran out of the dolls at the Cincinnati show, there was a stampede, and twenty-some people at the bottom of the pile were crushed and hospitalized.  Thankfully, no one died.  That would be some way to go, stampeded to death over a bobble head doll.  Although I can’t blame them for the Swifty pile-up, the dolls are very life-like, so they are collectors’ items.  To set things right, I gave them a shout-out just before intermission: “I’ll be writing my next song about you guys, the ones who were crushed.  Until then, for the ones who made it unscathed out of the bottom of the scrum, how ’bout some Shake It Off.”

The Other Letter:  If we can get away from bobble head dolls for a minute, what about all those hidden meanings in your songs?  You seem to put a lot of effort into them.  For instance, you dedicated your Cleveland concert to the number thirteen.

Taylor Swift:  My music is a crossword puzzle, it’s a hunt for Easter eggs.  I’m moving away from music into offering riddles that my target demographic can handle, especially the tweens.  My focus groups enjoy this much more than my music taken on its own merits.  I no longer think of myself as a musician so much as I do a puzzle master.

The Other Letter:  I hope to stay on topic today.  That bluesy feel in Blank Look, was this Joan Baez?  I did hear Baez there.  Was she a studio musician here?  Did she do backup vocals?

Taylor Swift:  With Reputation, we went with an 18 to 34 demographic in the studio, but after we hammered it out with the focus groups, we settled on 18 to 24 with the final product.

The Other Letter:  Has Bob Dylan been an influence?  Or are we hearing more of the rocker-mod axis and the British beat?  And we did hear some Fifth Dimension in passages, or even Pete Townsend and the Who?

Taylor Swift:  Wait, wait, wait, One Dimension!  I love those guys.  They skew younger than I do demographically, but I still enjoy their presentation skills.  They dance really well.  I’ve been taking dance.  You know, for stadium moves.

The Other Letter:  When you recorded Shake It Off did you ever think you’d see the day when there’d be cover versions?

Taylor Swift:  Yes, because with every single the goal is to find anyone to sing covers.  My hope for Shake is that a hard rocker like Neil Young would take it where it’s never been before.  Neil lays down his Canadian groove, Taylor tunes cross into the Provinces, and the Canucks get to hear Neil and me rocking out north of the border.  I can definitely see this making it big as a stoner anthem.  Stoners are another market I gotta penetrate, where I need in.  My market share with the druggies is far below where I need it to be, so in my next effort I have a Bob Marley cover.  That’s the market strategy we put together — Neil then Bob.

The Other Letter:  Which Marley song would you cover?

Taylor Swift:  No Woman No Cry.

The Other Letter:  Getting back to Neil Young, would he get a tour cameo?

Taylor Swift:  Sure, if he honors my work.  Hey, Neil, if you’re out there, you and me.  Shake It Off before 100,000 screaming Swiftys in Quebec City.  Let’s do this.  Let’s do an Old Man duet.  I know that sounds like a departure for me, but I would love to do a set with Mister Young, and I’m an excellent dancer.

The Other Letter:  What was your message with your latest?  Which themes did you press upon?  Teen pregnancies, women being harassed and objectified?

Taylor Swift:  We set out to make this album more than just a marketing exercise for my record label, and I think we’ve succeeded.

The Other Letter:  Any new direction in this one?

Taylor Swift:  I love them, too.  Oh, a new direction I’m taking?  I’m always taking new directions. Lil Bit o’ Nuttin’ is featured on my hick-hop future classic: Who’s down with the hood?  Taylor is.  Just like I was the Country crossover princess, now I am the queen of hip-hop crossover.  Our market penetration to the Black market has been under forecast so this is how we’ll be making up for lost ground.  Oh, I almost forgot!  I’ll be doing a duet with my main bud, Kenya West, which will shore up my urban market share.  Oh, yeah, Kenya and I made up for this album.  He’s suddenly respectable.

The Other Letter:  What will you be calling this classic-to-be?

Taylor Swift:  We’re down with the hood.  (You can be, too.)  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve neglected the urban contemporary market segment.  But with my new management picks, we will be selling Taylor Swift CDs to Africans.  You just watch.

The Other Letter:  Who’d you pick for your Black marketing exec?

Taylor Swift:  Michael Jordan is now my creative director for the Black demographic.

The Other Letter:  Basketball Michael Jordan?

Taylor Swift:  Yes.  He understands the Black scene like no other.  Biracial focus groups give him a very high likable rating.  His scores were phenomenal.

The Other Letter:  What are you calling the album?  How about something like, “We’re not in Kansas, anymore...”

Taylor Swift:  I don’t get you, are you trying to be funny?  It’ll be called, Girls are Champions.  I’m tapping into the girl self-esteem movement, which is so age appropriate for tweens to 24s, and maybe beyond, we’ll see.  But now I’m straddling my tweens, teens, and young adult demographic.  Focus groups are all systems go on this.  I am so frigging excited!  And then we want to tap into the girl power crusade, and get on board there.  EXCITEMENT!!!

The Other Letter:  Are then any mountain peaks left for Taylor Swift to conquer?

Taylor Swift:  Well, I would kill, I mean absolutely kill, to make inroads into Adult Contemporary.  AC has proven very elusive so far.  I never knew what I was doing wrong in that market segment.  My motivation-slash-inspiration coach, Bobbie Thor, had me in a tiger-lock down session just this month.  He said, “Taylor, how will you break into AC?!  What will you sacrifice to make it into Adult Contemporary?!  I don’t think you have it in you!”  May Olivia and Meredith ever forgive me, but I said, “I’ll put my two, ever-loving fur balls up for adoption, and give them to an unaffectionate couple.”  Mister Thor and I just broke down and cried.  We were both completely overwhelmed, and emotionally exhausted, by my desire to break into AC.

The Other Letter:  Is there an AC video in the works?

Taylor Swift:  I am SO glad you asked that.  Keep this under your hat.  The premise is that I’m ready to dump my husband of five years.  I’m looking through our wedding album, looking for signs where it all went wrong.  There’s flashbacks of me doing the dishes, then throwing them at my groom.  Now, I know how to do dishes.  Anyhow, I put down the photos one by one, and then I break into my inimitable dance stylings.  Do I keep dancing, or do I make up with my husband?  SUSPENSE!!!  And that’s it, that’s the video, that’s my entrée into Adult Contemporary.  And my oh my, did this ever test well with 18 to 24s.  They’re not so discerning, but still.

The Other Letter:  How do you put together your videos?

Taylor Swift:  Well, first, I want final approval on casting extras.  I skew White.  I’m an act for White chicks, marketing research has proven this, so it’s usually twenty White girls for every Black girl in the dance numbers and crowd scenes.  I need to be realistic, I’m not Beyoncé.  Then I aim for one Asian chick for fifty White chicks.  I’m not K-Pop.  That’s code for Korean Pop, more competition I have to beat down.  My singers and extras can’t trump me in looks, so they gotta be a little frumpy.  Pudgy, I’m less enthusiastic about.  And they have to be a little mad so they get crazy when they see me in the flesh.  Boy extras cause trouble because they think they can date me.  I’m off limits to guys unless you can bench over 400 pounds or you own your own airplane.  I prefer Gulf Stream, but I’m flexible.  I also go for Cessna when I’m just heading up to Boston.  Although if you really want to impress me, land on my airstrip in a Learjet Global 8000.  I shopped those, but they’re mostly for international travel, and for tours I’m mostly Stateside.  I’m trying to save the environment by using less jet fuel.  Oh yeah, I’m partial to yacht people.  I go for Viking YachtsChris Craft is beneath me.  I mean, come on, aren’t they all under sixty feet?  Anyhow, that’s how I make my music videos.  It requires my round-the-clock, single-minded devotion to craft.  Do you want to know what my ride is?  I’ll tell you.

The Other Letter:  Um, okay.

Taylor Swift:  I have a twenty car garage.  I have Bentleys in five designer colors.  I have three Rolls Royces.  You’re wondering why just three Rolls?  The demographic of the Rolls skews older and I’m all about being young at heart. I don’t need any bad press for driving cars built for elderly billionaires like Bill Gates.  In 2023, I’ll be a billionaire myself.  I’ve done models, forecasting models, that pinpoint the year.  I have a pink Lamborghini but I can’t drive a stick. I can’t get it out of first.  It looks hot though. I have my mechanic wax it every week.  I need to keep a low profile and not have any mob scenes so I also have a VW Beetle as a station car.  This is my driver. I drive the bug the most by far but when I wanna create a stir I take out the black Bentley. It’s a rag top so to make sure no one vandalizes it, I have a personal assistant polish it in the parking lot when I go out for dinner and drinks.  These cars collect dust because I do most of my traveling in the air in my Gulf Stream.  I rarely drive anywhere anymore.  My meals are always delivered.  Everything else is Fedexed.  I have the Dominos pizza menu memorized.  I know it better than my concert sets.  But you know what it’s all about?

The Other LetterDignity?

Taylor Swift:    No, it’s all about connecting with the fans as long as they’re behind barricades and bodyguards.  Because I love people.

The Other Letter:  What do you long for?

Taylor Swift:  I’m not saying world peace, because then I’ll get publicly ridiculed for giving a beauty contestant answer.  As a global superstar, I’m always keeping up appearances.  Anyhow, I long for value-added relationships, ones that make me a richer person, ones for an up market, and a positive outlook year-to-year.  What do you long for?

The Other Letter:  The end of this interview — just kidding.

Taylor Swift:  At last!!!  At last!!!  I get you!!!  I know what’s wrong with you, you’re a bad boy!  I have this catalog of boys in the back of my head, and this is the one type I steer clear of, the bad boy.  You’re always looking to hurt innocent girls like me.  I’ll write you a song.  Hmm...  When we met, I knew you hated your mommy, so you took it out on me.  We went steady, it got heady, and now we have a baby named Teddy.  That’s all you, isn’t it?

The Other Letter:  No, I’m just—

Taylor Swift:  Quick polish, and I’ll work that into the third single on my latest, I know the market.  My fans love nothing more than a Taylor Swift takedown of another bad boy like you.  What else did you wanna ask me?

The Other Letter:  Wait, what?!  Please, come on...  Hey, I see you’re drinking Diet Coke.

Taylor Swift:  This stuff is the best, I love it.  I drink it all day, every day.  True, I get paid to drink it, but who cares?  I really need this stuff now.  I mean it does wonders for my energy levels, and it has no calories so it’s great for your health.  I’ve gotten all my friends to drink this, every last one of them, and now my fans drink this, too.  It.  Is.  The.  Jam.

The Other Letter:  You seem to be against drugs, caffeine is the exception?

Taylor Swift:  No, we drink alcohol in my videos.  Like I said, druggies are another important demographic.  They are the early adopters, they are the risk-takers.  They get on board first, and everyone else follows.  The druggies carry a lot of clout.  Our marketing studies prove this.  Get the habitué of smoke, and you get a huge entourage.  Although, I’m personally noncommittal about opioid use, that might be a public health problem.  I’m not the Surgeon General.

The Other Letter:  You’ve recorded dozens of break-up songs about dozens of ex-boyfriends.  Do you have any new guy in your sights?

Taylor Swift:  I’m glad you asked.  We’ve made real inroads here, taken great strides in boyfriend territory.  My marketing division has done surveys with a thousand Swiftys to decide who is the most likeable, Taylor-date.  So far, I’m dating either Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, or Donald Trump.  Each offers unique opportunities for scandal, which drives up record sales, which, well, gives me more mansions in far-flung nations of the World, like Paris.  I’ll be brutally honest here, I’m only in this business as long as I can make a mint, then I’m back at Nashville’s Bustin’ Buttons, knocking back brewskies, and trying my luck at karaoke.

The Other Letter:  You seem to have a limited male audience, any plans to try to add to your ranks?

Taylor Swift:  Yes, we do indeed!  All of our forecast models prove that even though I’m heading towards being a cheesecake act, a full-blown, burlesque encore will double, even triple, the males waiting in line for tickets.  I’m really looking forward to doing burlesque.  I mean I’ve already done pole dancing for girlfriends up at my Rhode Island estate, but never before a hundred-thousand, screaming fans.  PANDEMONIUM!!!

The Other Letter:  Which somehow brings us to philanthropic projects.  What are you working on there?

Taylor Swift:  I’m so proud to be the Chair of The Musicians for Hygiene and Punctuality.  We want girls to get a head start in life, and those two factors, cleanliness and being on time, can make or break a girl’s educational and career prospects.  My team and me don’t like to get too edgy with politics, but we’ve struck the right balance here.  We know, because this push has tested really well with focus groups.

The Other Letter:  Do you have any advice for those rising up the pop ranks?

Taylor Swift:  Yes, good question!  Focus on the craft of making catchy melodies, and great lyrics.  Forget gimmicks.  Don’t worry about the business side.  That’s what your manager and the marketing department should be doing.

The Other Letter:  I just wanted to ask you about—

Taylor Swift:  Can I go now?  I have cats...

The Other Letter:  Can you just sign my Reputation CD?

Taylor Swift:  No, I can’t.  My signature is trademarked.  I’d be giving away my trademark without getting anything in return.  It creates complications for my legal department.  And no selfies, get that cell phone out of here!  You think I can give away unlicensed images of myself without counsel clearance?...

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Ashley’s always a Kentucky-First Investor

Ashley Judd:  ...But coal has soot.  It’s sooty.

Kentucky First Investments:  Ashley, we’re trying to tell you that to have the backs of your fellow Kentuckians, it means backing coal.  You need to be in coal.  Our President said coal is poised to make a comeback, and he’s top-level.

Ashley Judd:  Well, I don’t really think of him as my President.

Kentucky First Investments:  But he is our President, he’s Kentucky’s President.  And even if you’re not entirely on board with him, he’s right.  Coal is going to make a comeback.  The upside here is huge, just huge.  Forget solar, it’s not clean, it’s unproven.  Coal is proven.

Ashley Judd:  I’m against soot, but you’re saying my return, my upside will be huge?

Kentucky First Investments:  The words we like to use at Kentucky First Investing are “substantial markups.”

Ashley Judd:  The entire mining concern must believe in our Lord And Master Baby Jesus.  I’m not putting a dime into this unless they do.

Kentucky First Investments:  No worries.  The operator believes in our Lord and Master Baby Jesus, as does every miner going down into that mineshaft.  They all believe in Baby Jesus, okay?  And you’ll get to meet and greet with the miners where they can prove their faith to you.  Now, as I said in my call, Kentucky Mining Enterprises is floating a ten million dollar debenture.

Ashley Judd:  Debenture? — my studies in finance are a little weak.

Kentucky First Investments:  A debenture is just a bond.  Here, the debenture will have you as the principal lender.  Every penny will be repaid with interest.

Ashley Judd:  Interest?  That sounds really good.  How much interest?

Kentucky First Investments:  Basis points are hundredths of a percent, and for your investment, Miss Ashley Judd, they’re prepared to offer you fifty of them.

Ashley Judd:  I’ll be receiving fifty basis points?  And I get to contribute to the lives of religious miners?  How many ten million dollar debentures might I purchase?  Where do I sign?...

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Mad Radio, like Mad Libs

Mix and match your broadcast, just like I Heart Radio does to keep it sounding like it’s not endless, taped repeats, when it really is.  Once the deejays have recorded these samples, why do they even need to show up sober at work anymore?

Hey, how’s it hanging,  What’s shaking,  How.  Are.  You.  This.  Evening,

In the big city?  Big Apple?  Baltimore?  Orlando?  Windy City?  Las Vegas?

Up next, we’re going to hook you up with  Just in time for beddy bye I have

Killer Led ZeppelinThe latest from Madonna  The latest from Bono and the Boys at U2Killer StonesWhite Skin-nerd.

Yes, that’s right,

The remaster  The studio version  The cover  The live version


Papa Don’t PreachMaterial GirlBloody Sunday BloodySweet Home, My Alabama KlanPresenceDead FlowersYou’re so Vain.

You know, at Clear Channel (aka I Heart Radio) we earn our keep with the Federal Communications Commission.  So we’re going to have a moment of silence for all our

Soldiers  9/11 VictimsZionistsPolicemen  Firefighters  Diner waitresses working the graveyard shift


Go beyond the call  Died in the line of duty  Died for no reason at all.

Now, as part of the I Heart Radio package at the promotional level,

Ashley JuddGwyneth PaltrowHeather GrahamCharlize Theron

Will present the homily and benediction to

Memorialize  Commemorate  Condemn

All those

Deserving  Undeserving


Honor  Condemnation.

Hi, everyone, I’m

Ashley JuddGwyneth PaltrowHeather GrahamCharlize Theron


You aren’t  I love America more than I can ever say  I love my Lord and Master Baby Jesus  It’s great to be here with all of you

tonight  this afternoon  this morning  on the overnight,

and as we wend our way through life,

I’m reminded of a passage in Shakespeare  I’m reminded of what Mick Jagger whispered in my ear once  I’m reminded of how Bono told me to invest my money  What did I do with my car keys?

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My First (and Last) SNL After-Party with Gwyneth Paltrow

Other Letter:  What am I doing here, Gwyneth?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  You said you wanted to be a player in Hollywood, which means going to parties and mingling.

Other Letter:  SNL is not my speed anymore, as if it ever was.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Come on, find some hot babe.  Get her out on the dance floor.

Other Letter:  They’re all in their twenties.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Gees, you!  This after-party means career reinvention.  This is the after-party launching my comeback.  I am forty-plus and I’m hosting SNL.  This is a career milestone for me.  It’s a dream come true!

Other Letter:  The only reason I’m here is because your Chadley is on safari in Africa, and you wanted a date.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  He’s not on safari, please, Other!  He’s sealing the deal on Glee Afrikaans.  He’s way up the food chain now.  But please, Other, mingle.  This is SNL, for crying out loud!!!

Other Letter:  The only ones I liked on that show were Canadians, except for Michaels.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Well, your favorite Canadian is dead now, isn’t he?  John Belushi is pushing up daisies, yes?

Other Letter:  He was American, Gwyneth.  I meant Dan Akyroyd and Martin Short.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Oh, look, there’s Cecily Strong.  I have to get her autograph.  [Cecily walks over, goldfish bowl-sized drink in hand.]

Cecily Strong:  You nailed it, Gwynnie, absolutely, effing nailed it.  You go, sistah...  [The two mingle, Cecily takes a bag out of her purse, and puts it back in her purse.  Then Cecily returns to her side, and Gwyneth returns to hers.]

Other Letter:  Cecily looked like she wanted you to have something.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  I told her I loved her in Cockpit Hustle, so she offered me an ounce of sinsemilla.

Other Letter:  You still smoke?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Well, no, so I politely declined.  In Hollywood, when someone offers you grass or coke, and you don’t care for it, you politely decline it.  When they offer you drugs, that means they really like you.  Other, why do you only like Canadians?

Other Letter:  I have family there.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  I’m sorry.  I mean, I’m sorry that they couldn’t join the non-stop, gin-soaked party south of the border.  And let me ask, why don’t you have a love affair with SNL?  You’re still American, aren’t you?  George Washington, the cherry tree, and all that great stuff.  We have—

Other Letter:  Swimming pools, movie stars?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  It’s winter, Other.

Other Letter:  That’s from the Beverly Hillbillies?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Why don’t you enjoy SNL like the rest of your fellow Americans.  It’s an American institution, join us in civilization, Other.

Other Letter:  I soured on SNL after your fearless leader, Lorne Michaels, had Trump host twice before the election.  To advance his producing career, he gave the wrong man a major platform.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Cecily, over here.  Other, hold on to my purse, I wanna dance with my girl, Cecily Strong.  [Gwynnie gyrates with Cecily for several minutes...]

Other Letter:  You sure can shimmy.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Well, the way for the girls to attract the boys is to dance with the girls.  Safety in numbers, too.

Other Letter:  You have her number?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yeah, we’re taking my private jet to Cabo san Cabos for a week of sun and fun.  Just what a girl needs after strenuous hosting duties.

Other Letter:  When’s this?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  We’re leaving tonight, my limo will swing by her hotel, and my jet is idling at JFK.  You could come along, but it’s just girl talk, what guy would be interested in any of that?  Plus, I’m a married woman.  You make the funniest faces sometimes, Other.

Other Letter:  You know what gets me PO’d?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  I can’t imagine — anything and everything?

Other Letter:  When Michaels got the best guest hosts, he muscled out Second City TV, National Lampoon, and Mad TV.  That’s another reason I—

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Other, you belong with the communist party, you know, over in Russia?  See what I’m saying?  Joseph McCarthy was on the right track...

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Gwynnie takes a Step Down to Present for the Emmys

“Hi, my name is Gwyneth Paltrow — you may have heard of me.  [Light applause.]  That’s what I’m talking about, I’m feeling the love — thank you, thank you very much.  As an actress, I am always seeking relevance, and on television this search is even more intense.

[Gwynnie looks up from teleprompter confused.]  I’ll be giving the Emmy award for Best Hair, excuse me, Best Hairdresser, in a TV movies or mini-series.  My good friend, Robert Downey, Junior, will be giving away the Best Hair, excuse me, Best Hairdresser, in a prime time dramedy aimed for the 25-34 age demographic.

“You may think this is a minor category, and well, that I’m washed up to present this award, but I’m here to tell you there is so much more to competent hair styling than just managing split ends.  Hit it, maestro: Curlers in your hair, shame on you.  Curlers everywhere, more shame on you...  [Light applause.] Thank you for the warm applause.  Think of the masterpieces of modern cinema that centered on a proper coif: I’m thinking Hairspray, I’m thinking Young Frankenstein, and plenty more...  But let’s cut to the chase, shall we?  [Light applause.]

“Looks like we have two entrants to this category.  Hmm, hmm, I kinda thought there’d be at least four or five.  Oh, well.  Roseanne Barr Show, hair impresario, Bertha Loopner.  [An image pops up of Roseanne Barr.]  You did a great job, Bertha, she looks almost life like.  Gees, would you like to do my hair one day?

“Our next contestant, I’m sorry, our next nominee is Edie Knute for her work in NCIS: Portland.  [An image pops up of a police woman chasing a suspect.]  Any relationship to the football legend, Knute Rockne?  No audience response, who writes this material?  Did my ex write this?  I will say Edie, that the police woman’s hair is not moving one bit.  Let me know which hair spray you use, Edie, I’m kinda in the field.  Maybe you’ve heard of Goop Limited, Incorporated?  Hmm?  [No one laughs or responds.]

“I didn’t think this would be such a tough crowd tonight...  What, I’m bombing?!  What?!  [The stage manager, a middle aged man with headphones, points frantically at the teleprompter.]  Read the prompter?  Alright, already.  And the winner in hair is Bertha [Light applause.]  For making a beast look like a queen.  Nice work, Bertha.

“[Bertha is overwhelmed and shakes Gwynnie’s hand with great vigor.  Bertha accepts her award.  Gwynnie walks off the stage, then mutters under her breath.]  Good night, low lives.  Gees, the Oscar crowd are the only ones who’ve heard of me, couch potatoes haven’t a clue.  If they spent half the money on film that they do on TV, we’d approach half the culture of France.  Now, I gotta find a bathroom to wash my hands.”

to Top of Sketch Pass



Other Letter Saves the Day, again, now with a Flipping Out, Ashley Judd

Polo player #1:  [Shouts] Well played, Other!

Polo player #2:  [Shouts] Dynamic, Other!

Other Letter:  [Waves] Thank you, thank you.

Other Letter:  [Voice-over] I had just wrapped up another championship chukka, when my wife of five years, Gwynnie Paltrow, ran up to me with her cell phone in her hand.  She is out of breath.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  It’s Ashley Judd.  This sounds serious.

Other Letter:  Why, I haven’t spoken with her in five or six years.

Ashley Judd:  Other, it’s Ashley.

Other Letter:  Yes, I’m listening.

Ashley Judd:  Do you remember when we had sex together?

Other Letter:  No, we never did, you said you were saving yourself.  Great game, Ned.

Ashley Judd:  What’s happening, Other, who’s Ned?!

Other Letter:  You caught me at polo.  Ned had a great game today.

Ashley Judd:  This is serious, Other.  The paternity test is back, you are the father of Ashland!!!  My love child, I mean our love child [sobs].

Other Letter:  Hold everything, Ashley, I would have to participate in the blood test, and I never did.

Ashley Judd:  No, come on, we went to the doctor for your physical.

Other Letter:  Ashley, that was a routine physical, I’m sorry but you’re delusional.  Ashland is yours to raise, I will play no part in his upbringing.  It’s too late anyhow, he’s practically a grown man.

Ashley Judd:  He’s five years old, Other, nice try.  [Sobs] You promised me, that if we ever had children, you would be its father.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  [Pops out of the shadows.]  This sounds serious, Other, is everything okay?

Other Letter:  Yes, Gwynnie, but our friend Ashley has been doing serious hallucinogenic mushrooms.  [Back to Ashley] Yes, Ashley, you have, haven’t you?  You’re an acid head, and you always were, and you always will be.  To your inner circle, you were always known as the ’shrooms queen.

Ashley Judd:  That’s just not true.  I only tripped when we saw that Disney movie.  What was it again?

Other Letter:  Frozen?

Ashley Judd:  Just that once.

Other Letter:  You spent intermission talking to the wall in the theater.  That raised more than a few eyebrows.

Ashley Judd:  Other, don’t you get it?

Other Letter:  Back to the matter at hand.  Does Ashland have three eyes?

Ashley Judd:  No, three arms, what’s your point, Other?

Other Letter:  Well, if you’re tripping, it can cause birth defects.

Ashley Judd:  Who made you my doctor?  Hmm?

Other Letter:  Just saying, just be more careful next time.  And get your head together.  Later, Ashley.

Ashley Judd:  Later, Other...

Gwyneth Paltrow:  [Pops out of the shadows again.]  Other, what’s going on?  I’m concerned.

Other Letter:  Gwynnie, our good friend Ashley has been an acid freak for a long, long time.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  But the Bible study groups, the church bake sales.  She spent every Sunday at the Sav-Mor Foods handing out communion wafers, and saving souls.  She always seemed so wholesome.

Other Letter:  It was all a twisted charade so she could continue her fiendish drug habit undetected by the public.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Wow, does this ever sound serious.

Other Letter:  It does, Gwynnie, do we have time for a quickie?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  If we nail it just right, because the moppet’s double bass recital is in 30 minutes, but you’re my minute man, so we’re good.

Other Letter:  Ignition sequence start, we have liftoff...  By the way, what will Junior be regaling us with at tonight’s Sunshine Programme for Fourth Graders?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  It’s all improv, they were told to just play it how they feel it.

Other Letter:  This is so inspired California, educational minimalism.  Who’s going to carry his bass?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  We have Tyrone...

Announcer:  The previous is a PSA from the DEA reminding you, that if you do acid, your kid could have three arms, and you could be involved in massive paternity suits, plus get your brain fried to boot.  Word up!!!

to Top of Sketch Pass



How low will Taylor Swift stoop for warm up acts?

Taylor Swift:  Swift here...

Taylor Swift:  Well, yeah, of course, I’m not getting in front of fifty-thousand screaming loonies without warm up...

Taylor Swift:  We’re three shows in, and I’ve already lost two warm up acts?  There’s a list, right?  Where the Hell is the list of warm up backups?...  Well, of course it’s hard to find a warm up act because they get booed off the stage — they’re up before me.  It’s like Frankie Avalon getting on stage before Elvis...  Never mind, my knowledge is encyclopedic...

Taylor Swift:  What?!  What?!  This is so unacceptable, so unacceptable..  I’m not getting a chimp act as a warm up.

Taylor Swift:  Well, that’s true, a chimp would certainly make me look good, and that’s what you want in warm up, but still, a chimp?...

Taylor Swift:  What’s his name?  Chadley?  That’s kinda cute.  Chadley the Chimp?  What can he do?...

Taylor Swift:  This is so unacceptable, so unacceptable.  Chadley won’t be on stage while I am.  This is where I draw the line...  Come on, I’ve never worked with a chimp before.  He’d bite me, wouldn’t he?...  How do you treat chimp bites anyway?...  He may not even take to me...

Taylor Swift:  What do you mean he travels well?  He’s already logged over ten thousand miles this year?  What does he eat?...  Bananas?  He can’t eat with me and the Taylorettes.  This is where I draw the line...

Taylor Swift:  Okay, this is very true, my guests are comparatively young and they don’t like traveling, while Chadley the Chimp doesn’t mind life on the road...  Hmm, this sounds better than I had initially imagined it would be.

Taylor Swift:  No, no, no, this is my show, a chimp is not sharing my encore.  I don’t care if Chadley’s act is a premium act...  No, I don’t care what’s boilerplate in his promoter’s contract.  This is so unacceptable, so unacceptable...

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The Other Letter Financial Statement

Other Letter has a financial problem, and this is because it doesn’t generate enough revenue, or any revenue at all for that matter.  Everything is done on a fire sale basis, the articles are all given away with the illusion of being promotion for the author.  I know what you’re all thinking: “Boohoo, do I give a eff?  I want more Other Letter letters, with zero complaining — you got that?!”  Well, to that end, I need your modest cash payments.  OL will now be charging readers by the minute.  The first minute will be $20, and every successive minute gets a discount of $10 per minute.

That is really rather reasonable, it is much like a person-to-person call to someone in Shanghai, China, or Melbourne, Australia.  Plus, if you actually were calling Shanghai, your time would be wasted, you wouldn’t understand a word they said there.  With OL, you come out way ahead of those phone calls to both China and Australia.

Because, again, Chinese makes no sense to you, and two, Aussies just chase kangaroos for sport all day, they have nothing interesting to discuss, about anything, unlike this fine web site.  If you disagree, have you ever lived in Oz?  Hmm?  I thought so.  As for myself, yes, I worked in the Outback, I took care of Nicole Kidman’s pride of kangaroos there, on and off, for many, many years.  Nikky and I have spent entire summers chasing her ’roos for tagging purposes.

Why do we tag ’roos?  We tag because the University of the Outback has taken a special interest in her farm’s exceptional, purebred, nationally-known, kangaroo clan.  Nicole in conjunction with the U. of O. have spent millions of Aussie pounds and years of her mostly valuable time on the ’Roo Initiative to ensure that her special strain of Brown ’n’ White ’Roo stays prolific.

I help, but mostly I just stand back as Nikky employs her magic on her beloved kangaroos.  She’s a true wonder.  Nicole has such a way with ’roos, from the cub to the full-grown adult, because she has been working with them all her life.  Everyone says she’s the expert out on the range, from the farmhands plowing her Vegemite fields to the milk maidens milking Nikky’s prize dairy cows.

Yet I digress.  Without net neutrality, I won’t be getting the money you’re sending me year after year to keep you in the pink with light-hearted entertainment, and scathing infotainment, but your Internet Service Provider will get it instead.  Just thank the Trump Administration, and their Federal Communications Commission, for not only being entirely out of touch with the people, but driving this blogger, this pawn in a worldwide game of chess, right out of existence.  1/01/18.

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In Heaven and In Hell

A bit of hopefully tolerable ethnocentrism I found on the Internet several years ago.  Memorize this before you buy your Euro-Rail pass, so you’ll know where to stay given your sentiments.

In heaven:
The French are the chefs.
The Swiss are the bankers.
The Germans are the engineers.
The Italians are the artists.
And the British are the police.

In hell:
The British are the chefs.
The Italians are the bankers.
The French are the engineers.
The Swiss are the artists.
And the German are the police.

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Gwynnie fills in for Cindy at Goop Sex Toy Customer Service

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, hello, Gwyneth Paltrow here...

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, the real Gwyneth Paltrow.  How may I help you today?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  No, the dildo will fit properly, just use your lube.  The dildo comes with a 112-page instruction booklet.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, the instruction booklet has a troubleshooting section.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, we do offer a lube kit in the Party Premium Pak, but I’m sorry, it does not come with the dildo.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  We do have videos for insertion on our web site...  the Goop web site, yes.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Oh, definitely, there is a money back guarantee, but please check the video first.  That should answer all your questions.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  We will exchange your dildo for one of similar value, or we will give you a courteous refund for your dildo.  But rest assured, we do stand behind all our dildos.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  These sell incredibly fast, but we have a warehouse with tens of thousands in stock, and inventory workers who can find your exact model within minutes, if that.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, we’re all highly trained professionals here.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  The Goop department you reached is the Sex Toy Division, or more informally, we just call it Goop Sex Toys.  Just ask for me, Gwyneth.  I’ve been working evenings the last several weeks.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  You’re much more than welcome, have a nice day...

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, hello, Gwyneth Paltrow here...

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Gwynnie handles Oscars glitch...

[The 2017 Academy Awards with Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey, Jr., and Sylvester Stallone presenting Best Actress.]

Gwyneth Paltrow:  ...So that’s how the Elia Kazan’s Actors Studio set me on course for the Academy’s Oscar and is paving the way for future hopefuls, like these scholarship winners, so they may one day join me, join us, on the Academy podium.  Hey the TelePrompTer — what happened to my TelePrompTer?

Robert Downey, Jr.:  We can’t give this award.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  I have nothing prepared...

Robert Downey, Jr.:  What did you have for dinner tonight Gwynnie?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  I had White Castle, the slider twenty pack.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  I’m surprised because White Castle is not quite known for their health food.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Well the kids like it and I just love it...  So I told Chris, “Chris, if that’s your favorite porn channel, and you can’t get it anymore then there’s something wrong with the TV.  We’ve had this Sony for at least a year, we’ll have to get a new one.  It’s not like we don’t have the money, because we do have the money.”

Robert Downey, Jr.:  Did you get the new TV?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yes, we did, but surprisingly it didn’t fix the problem with Chris’ porn channel.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  How was that fixed then?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  We called cable and they gave us the porn package upgrade, "The El Supremo," plus a credit.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  If you are one of the billions just tuning in to this globally broadcast, Oscars telecast—

Sylvester Stallone:  The TelePrompTer is not working.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  Gwynnie Paltrow is regaling us with the story about the porn upgrade with her ex.  Now, this is before you divorced?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  No, just last week.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  Okay, and I heard he’ll take a bullet for you, but you still won’t get it on?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  No, we won’t.  I mean, he’s British.  Have you ever ate British food?  He actually eats British food, that’s what he wanted me to make him for dinner.  To Chris, this is food: haggis, kippers, and bangers and mash.  That, and he was younger than me — five years difference.  I introduced him to his favorite porn channel though.

Robert Downey, Jr.:  What was it named?  Just curious.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Tasty Tarts.  He’s British.

Sylvester Stallone:  You said that already — thank god, we’re going to commercial.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Did I say something wrong?

Robert Downey, Jr.:  No, you’re fine, oh, just fine.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Why are you so quiet, Sylvester?

Sylvester Stallone:  Just am.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Strong silent type?

Sylvester Stallone:  Oh, yeah.  One hour to go, Gwynnie.  Let’s just hope we get to Best Actress, and make a break for our cars...

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The Glorious Trump-Batesian

[The year is 2019, a Rolls flies down I-80 heading West from Omaha, Nebraska...]

Other Letter:  This driving is starting to give me headaches, highway hypnosis.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Hey, “3 Miles to the Trump-Batesian.”  We have to stop here, this is where we’re spending the night.

Other Letter:  Why are you so high on the Trump?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Goop just did a piece on the Trump-Batesian.  He’s on his mettle post bankruptcy.  It’s his classiest motel yet, Mitch.

Other Letter:  I’m not Mitch, I’m Other.  You know, Gwynnie, you’ve been much different after your latest vaginal steaming.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  C’mon, Mitch, I feel like a new woman.

Other Letter:  If you call me Mitch one more time—

Gwynnie Paltrow:  It’s a pet name, you don’t like pet names?  You give me a pet name.

Other Letter:  Matilda.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  You’re dead, Other.

Other Letter:  Oh, here’s your Trump-Batesian.  It looks like, well, something from a Hitchcock movie.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Mitch, please, it is a bit rustic though.  I’ll have to speak to my travel editor on why she gave this motel five Goops.

Other Letter:  Well, we’re here, let’s just shower and get ready for tomorrow, Matilda...  [The pair walk from their car to the motel’s lobby, luggage in hand.]  Yes, we’d like a—

Gwynnie Paltrow:  You’re THE Donald Trump.

Donald Trump:  That’s right, may I take your bags?

Other Letter:  We haven’t even checked in yet.

Donald Trump:  Mere formalities.  Join us later for sushi, no?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Can’t wait for that, we’re set [she looks at Other approvingly, then both walk to their master suite]...  And you were poo-pooing the Trump-Batesian.  I’ll poo-poo you.

Other Letter:  Did you want to shower now?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  I was going to have a drink in the lounge, but I’m hungry, never mind.  Let’s just have our sushi, or the Nebraska equivalent...  [A bit more relaxed, they return to the dining area.]

Other Letter:  I’ll have the crab legs and filet mignon, and my wife, Matilda—

Gwynnie Paltrow:  You’re dead, Other—

Other Letter:  Will have the, what, again?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  The kale-feta salad, does that come with vinaigrette, or better, ranch?

Donald Trump:  For you, my dear, ranch.

Other Letter:  Hey, you’re talking to my wife, Matilda, here.

Donald Trump:  Matilda, the pleasure is all mine [he hands her salad dressing from another table].

Other Letter:  Did I just step into an Addams Family sketch?  Just make our dinner please, we have a thousand miles to cover tomorrow, and we really need our rest and nutrition.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  You should listen to yourself talk sometime, Mitch...  That’s a very sharp knife, a Number 14 Takei Sushi Special, if I am not mistaken.

Donald Trump:  Very good, Matilda, you are sharp — ha-ha.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Ha-ha, he understands puns, Other.  Monsieur Trump, none of us will be having the sushi tonight; because, well, where do you source your fish?  The nearest body of water is the mighty Mississippi, three hundred miles behind us [she points behind her].

Other Letter:  You should listen to yourself talk sometime, Gwynnie...

Donald Trump:  The sushi is primarily catfish, but I guarantee you, it is the freshest you will ever find in Nebraska.  And the trout, ah, the trout — then we have a salamander California quasi-roll to die for...

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Is it too late to change my order?  I mean the kale-feta salad sounds delicious, but the delicacies you just mentioned—

Other Letter:  It is too late.

Donald Trump:  Gwynnie, for you the moon, I will speak to my executive chef concerning your order substitution.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  What?!  You recognized me?!  I am THE Gwynnie Paltrow.

Donald Trump:  How could I not?  Your reputation proceeds you, as well as your sumptuous beauty.

Other Letter:  Hey, I’m trying to eat.

Donald Trump:  Sorry.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Look at how he sharpens the knife, Mitch.  Back and forth, and then back and forth again.  I have never seen such technique.  He is quite the master, he’s giving me the goose bumps.

Other Letter:  I can sharpen knives just as good as he can, Matilda.  Where’d you learn to sharpen knives like this, Donnie?

Donald Trump:  Trump University, it’s now a correspondence school for the ambitious restaurateur.

Other Letter:  I was surprised to see you at this motel, Donnie, I mean we didn’t know what you were doing following your impeachment.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Mitch, that’s a former President.

Other Letter:  I mean the charges just started racking up.

Donald Trump:  Why don’t you two shower in your state room, and you can meet me down in the bar after — I will fill you in on my legacy work...  [The couple hurry to their room.]

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Why did you drill him, Mitch?  He wasn’t such a bad guy.  I’d say he was one of our most hospitable presidents.  Definitely a gracious host, I kinda like him.

Other Letter:  No, you’re in love with him.  You live in the same places.  Boca Raton, Malibu, Aspen, Montreal, Vancouver—

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Stop right there, Mitch, I never went Canadian.  That’s slumming it as far as I’m concerned.

Other Letter:  He calls this a state room, it’s a dump.  It smells like, well, kinda like corpses.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Mitch, Mitch, Mitch, your days doing heavy drugs have effected your olfactory senses.

Other Letter:  Matilda, you did more than I ever did.  Just get in the shower, and we’ll get blotto down at the Trump-Batesian Room.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  You know, this place does look like the Bates Motel.  You shower first.

Other Letter:  Hey, we’ll shower together.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Mitch, like on our honeymoon.  Last one in is a poor person...  I always did approve of your sexual technique, and your innate manly prowess...  YES!!!!!!

Donald Trump:  Room service.

Other Letter:  Oh come on, what the?!

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Get on a towel.  Mr. Trump is nice enough to serve us.

Other Letter:  Hey, Trumpy, my man.  [A wild-eyed Trump attacks the two.]  A knife, run for it Gwynnie!  He’s got a knife!!!

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Oh no, a struggle ensues, I’m scared...  SLASH!!!

Other Letter:  How ’bout that, Gwynnie?  You just killed the 45th President with his own sushi knife.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Interviews, questions.  Does my hair look okay?

Other Letter:  Itinerary changed, off to the Mexican border, hopefully we can scale the wall there...

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Bruce of Asbury Park
On track 17 of his latest, Bruce Springsteen re-explores his most popular themes.

I was driving through the Garden State.
Along that ribbon of Parkway, how else?
Up past Mahwah, then down ’cross Cape May.
Got Rosie by my side, who else?

We’re talking Jersey, oh yeah, our Jersey.
Living life as it was meant to be lived:
Cars, girls, and the Jersey Shore.

We never get as far as New York,
Never cross that border of filth, where Sammy Satan hangs.
Truckers everywhere on the West side of the Hudson, the glory of Jersey.
Oil refineries, rotten egg smell,
Pure progress baby, this ain’t Hell.
We got the cheapest gas in the nation, and rightly proud of it, too.


Mobsters paying their fair share of taxes,
Most of the rest of us honest, simple folk do, too.
Sopranos didn’t tell the whole story of the Cosa Nostra,
Just loyal capos doing their part for the good of the cause.

Christie, Mister Blimpie, says it’s “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
We’re cool with that, because we’re cool with Jersey,
We know what it means to live here.
We have our own code of honor, it’s time for Jersey justice.
Because it’s always a matter of pride here,
We’re sticking by our round mound of Guv,
How could you not love this behemoth, our not-so-gentle giant?
A suspenders, pant-splitting, kinda guy.
All that matters is we get respect,
That Siciliano, welcome to the Family, look out for our kind, kinda respect.


Atlantic City?  Sure, drop a few bills, or a few grand,
Look real cool for your girl.
Then you got her, you show her who’s boss,
Force her to put out in the back seat.

Nothing beats a Jersey girl, even the Monster Mickey Man, or Boardwalk Lanky Louie either.
Jersey guys don’t hit their Jersey babes,
Even if they deserve it, and we know they do.
We just don’t buy ’em dinner for a month — let ’em starve.  We have our priorities straight.
We’re blue collar and our girls all look like super-models.

Cruisin’ on back to Asbury Park.
Back to pure heaven on Earth, baby,
That and Long Branch,
Can’t forget Tom’s River, or Point Pleasant on a Wednesday,
Welcome to God’s country.  Easy parking.

Fade on Chorus:
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Nikky Helps the Little Guy

Nikky Kidman:  Sure I’d love to help him, Gwynnie.  You say he’s a screenwriter, must be a starving artist type.  You know, I swing by the West Hollywood Subway when I pick up my moppet from her Scientology crap.  Do you think he would like a chicken parmigiana submarine sandwich?  I eat them all the time.  You wouldn’t believe — it’s real chicken.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  I’m not sure if he likes chicken, I can ask.

Nikky Kidman:  Will you ask him for me?  Then how about quesadillas?  My second fave.  This is what I’ll do.  I’m in Malibu on Wednesday to see Miss Knockers.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Wait a second, Miss Knockers?

Nikky Kidman:  She’s our sexual therapist.  Hubby and me don’t always get it on like we did.  Then we get grouchy and the kids get whiny.  So this is our special time together.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  With Miss Knockers.

Nikky Kidman:  Yes, our Miss Knockers.  She takes medical plans if you’re interested.  I mean if you’ve ever been sexually frustrated, please see Miss Knockers.  Tell her Nikky sent you.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  I’ll have to pass.

Nikky Kidman:  Miss Knockers saved our marriage, Gwynnie, but suit yourself.  We mostly do it for the moppets anyway.  Jesus just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Anyhow, where was I?  Oh, the care package, I’ll pick up two quesadillas for him from Taco Bell.  Then I can throw in a tortilla gratis.  And his type requires bus transportation — he must need to hustle something or other.  I go by the bus depot on my way to the studio on Monday so I can drop him off.  He can go anywhere in the World from there, how’s that?  Is he clean though?  He has to be clean, Gwynnie.  If he’s smelly, he’s not setting one foot in my Rolls, okay?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  He’s clean as far as I know.

Nikky Kidman:  Gwynnie, he sounds like a huge deal.  If I wasn’t married, I’d ask you if he was married.  Is he married?  Don’t answer that.  Just tell me what’s the next stop on the awards circuit, at the Twenty-what-something-or-other?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  The Twenty-Eighth year of the Digital Projectors Festival.  I’m giving out the Lifetime Award in Digital Achievement to my godfather, Mr. Spielberg.

Nikky Kidman:  Yeah, that.  I envy you.  What do you call him, your Goddad?

Gwynnie Paltrow:  Sometimes Dad or Goddaddy, sometimes Steven or Steve, and sure, I go with Mr. Spielberg.  Depends on my mood that day.  I can let down my hair and call him Stevie.

Nikky Kidman:  How cool is that?  Anyways, we’ll have our little Other friend sit at the ethnic table, show him he still has a ways to go.  What has he written?  I’ll write it down.  I always write little notes to myself.  Helps jog the old noggin.

Gwynnie Paltrow:  He has complete proof Christ’s crucifixion was a hoax...  Hello, Nicole?  Nicole?  She hung up.

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Dorothy and the Wizard of ISIS

Here we have a thoroughly modern take on a classic fairy tale, and one with a twist, the twist being it’s twisted; and where the blame of wrongdoing and misdeeds are spread evenly and everywhere...

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  Are you sure you want to go through with this, Dorothy?

Dorothy:  I sure do, Zeke.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  I don’t know, Dorothy.  There may not be a hereafter.

Dorothy:  The Wizard of ISIS said there will be reward upon reward waiting for me.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  But why bother?

Dorothy:  Because there is no place like home, and this just isn’t home any more for me.

Auntie Em:  You shut your mouth, Dorothy, why I ought to—

Dorothy:  See, here we go again.  I just can’t take it anymore, and I’m bringing Toto, too.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Toto, too, Dorothy?

Dorothy:  Toto, too.  I’m getting on the train from Kansas, and I’m going as far as my fare will take me.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Well, where’s your destination?

Dorothy:  Des Moines.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  What will you blow up in Des Moines?

Dorothy:  The Wizard said—

Auntie Em:  The Wizard, the Wizard, he has no clue.  When did he become your svengali?  He’s off his rocker, the Wizard.  Ha!

Dorothy:  Auntie Em, you’re wrong, you’re all wrong.  I just can’t stand it.

‘Hunk’ / The Scarecrow:  Dorothy, you surrendered to the dark side.

Auntie Em:  She surrendered her humanity.

Dorothy:  You all get me so angry  Humph!

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  How’d you put the TNT pack together, Dot?

Dorothy:  The Wizard of ISIS taught me everything  Humph.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  You’re sure the conductor won’t notice it?  It’s so big.

Dorothy:  I’m a White female, he won’t care one bit.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  It looks like it’s about a hundred pounds.  You’ll get a hernia.

Dorothy:  I’ve been doing squats.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Well, if this is it.

‘Hunk’ / The Scarecrow:  Goodbye, Dorothy.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  See you on the other side.

Dorothy:  Very funny.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  How is that funny?  We won’t meet up there?

Dorothy:  Your kind is different than my kind.

Auntie Em:  Again with the my kind, your kind — it’s humankind, Dorothy.  I wish I could drill that into your pea-brained noggin.

Dorothy:  Whatever, I’ll be free as a bird.

Uncle Henry:  Have Des Moines send back your remains, Dottie, so we can put them in the family plot.

Dorothy:  Eh, whatever.

‘Hunk’ / The Scarecrow:  Don’t forget, Toto.

Dorothy:  I almost forgot you, Toto.  Just think of it, we’re going to Heaven for blowing up Mireson Department Store, where they rejected my application for employ...

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  She got so jaded.

Auntie Em:  That’s not the Dorothy I raised.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Or the one I thought I’d marry.

‘Hunk’ / The Scarecrow:  She’s underage though.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Not by much, this is Depression-era Kansas, men have prerogatives, rights.

‘Zeke’ / The Cowardly Lion:  She got so grungy, ick.

Uncle Henry:  Do you think we’ll get her remains?

Auntie Em:  Nah, who cares?...

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Auntie Em is so hard on her, I can kinda see why she’d want to blow herself up.

Auntie Em:  Hey, I heard that.

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Maybe this is just a bid at emancipation.

‘Hunk’ / The Scarecrow:  Where’d you learn to talk like that, Hickory?

‘Hickory’ / The Tin Man:  Well, the Wizard helped me out, too.

[Cue: We’re off to See the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of ISIS, because...]

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Taylor Swift is Looking to Buy the Other Letter

Because I write the Other Letter, I often find myself on the charity circuit, looking to help those less fortunate and in need.  I recently had a chance encounter with Taylor Swift, the pop princess impresario, at a banquet for New York’s inner city business owners.  Each year, we give an Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Taylor was presenting the award to this year’s recipient, McDonalds.  After a well-received presentation by Taylor directed to a Ronald look-alike, she and I bumped into each other on the crowded buffet line.  What follows is my wide-ranging discussion with her, verbatim.

Taylor Swift:  I’ve never had these before.

Other Letter:  They’re called pigs in a blanket.  Taylor, I’d use the tongs, instead of your fingers.

Taylor Swift:  Gross, you say they’re made from pigs?

Other Letter:  Well, pork, and the blanket is the pastry.

Taylor Swift:  Can you bring these back to the table for me?  I’ll pretend like I didn’t waste someone’s piglet.  Once you take them off the tray, you can’t put them back on the tray.

Other Letter:  Just toss ’em in the trash, it cost enough for us to be here — and to honor Ronald.  Hey, I’m surprised they’re not handing out Big Macs.

Taylor Swift:  That would be too expensive.  Word is you write a blog, Other.

Other Letter:  You know my name, and yes, I do, it’s called the —

Taylor Swift:  I know what it’s called, how much do you want for it, I’m prepared to pay ten million dollars, bank check —

Other Letter:  Well, wow, I hadn’t really put it up for sale, you say ten million dollars?

Taylor Swift:  Playing hard to get?  Thirty million dollars, and that’s my final offer.

Other Letter:  Taylor, I don’t know if this is really worth that much, it’s just twenty HTML-coded web pages.

Taylor Swift:  Hardball won’t stop me, Other.  Then it’s fifty million dollars, once, twice...

Other Letter:  Okay, fifty million dollars it is.

Taylor Swift:  Now, what is this web site about?

Other Letter:  It’s a blog.

Taylor Swift:  Is it any good?

Other Letter:  I like it.

Taylor Swift:  That isn’t what I asked.  Is it any good?

Other Letter:  Yes, it’s good.

Taylor Swift:  I’ll get my check-writing team to send you a check for fifty million dollars.  What is it about?  Fun, wholesome stuff?  Stuff that kids shacked up in a hospital for years at a time would go for?

Other Letter:  Yeah, they might like it, it’s a blog.

Taylor Swift:  You didn’t answer my question.  Would kids shacked up in a hospital for years at a time like your, what, your blog?

Taylor Swift:  I guess they would.  Why, if I may ask, would that ever matter?

Taylor Swift:  I do hospital tours, sorta like the USO.  You know with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Ann Margaret, except I’m not on the front lines, these kids don’t have any war wounds, and I’m no candy striper handing out chotchke swag.

Other Letter:  I see.

Taylor Swift:  But their hearts are broken.  Would your blog help them live normal happy lives, and fix their broken hearts?

Other Letter:  Don’t these kids have terminal cancer?

Taylor Swift:  Some do, some don’t.  Stop it with the questions, I just gave you fifty million dollars for twenty lousy web pages.

Other Letter:  Okay, no more questions, I’m sorry.  To answer your question, assuming they don’t have cancer, then yes, my blog may help them live normal, happy lives.

Taylor Swift:  Welcome aboard Taylor Nation.  My Personnel team will be vetting you for any personality irregularities you may have.  Got that?

Other Letter:  Um, yeah?

Taylor Swift:  For cripes sakes, stop it with the goddamn questions.  I’m not your mother for crying out loud.  So we’re set for bowling this Friday?

Other Letter:  What bowling?!

Taylor Swift:  There you go again, don’t ask questions.  Didn’t I ask you to not ask me anymore questions?  But no, you did it again anyway, you really blew it now.  Don’t make me rip up the check for ten million dollars.

Other Letter:  I thought it was for fifty million dollars.

Taylor Swift:  What do I look like to you, Other, a patsy?  We’re done, we’re through, Other.  Kiss all your dreams goodbye, you blew it big time.  Get packing, you’re finished on Easy Street.

Other Letter:  What just happened here?

Taylor Swift:  You ask way, way too many questions.  Good day.

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The Heists up in Winchester

[Bill and Dan at the Québec Mercury City Desk]

Bill:  You know the heists up in Winchester?

Dan:  Sure, what about them?

Bill:  They found the guy.

Dan:  They did?  Who was he?

Bill:  Well, get this, he was actually a cyborg.

Dan:  A WHAT?!!!

Bill:  Oh yeah, he was from outer space.  He was beamed down.  It took him a few light years to get here.  He needed food, so he held up liquor stores.

Dan:  Why liquor stores?

Bill:  They have a lot of money, and they’re open late so there’s no eyewitnesses around to catch him in the act.  He learned fast.

Dan:  Well, sure, I bet he did — if he was from outer space.  Aren’t they supposed to have superior intelligence? — and now they walk among us.  You know he was from outer space though, right?

Bill:  Oh yeah, that’s straight from the police blotter.  Five-hour interrogation but he broke down and confessed.

Dan:  An eyewitness account of this cyborg spilling his guts would be our biggest edition ever.  I just can’t believe the stuff we come across.

Bill:  Got that right.  [Jane enters the Québec Mercury City Desk.]  Oh, hi, Jane, you know those heists up in Winchester?

Jane:  Sure, what about them?

Dan:  Show her the blotter.

Bill:  See, aliens, who would ever expect?

Jane:  This is too much, just too much — aliens in Winchester?

Bill:  No, one alien.

Dan:  We only know of one, there could be several, or we’re looking at the start of an invasion.  Who knows?  We sure as Hell don’t.  This changes the entire conversation, you two, the whole equation.

Jane:  Boy, does it ever!

Bill:  Go for drinks?

Dan:  I can’t treat — I’m paying off the new oil burner.

Jane:  You are so cheap...

[Reminiscent of how Saturday Night Live used to be, a theater of the absurd.  It’s been said they steal material these days, but I wouldn’t copy off of them, there’s nothing worth taking.]

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The Champ’s X-90 versus the Chump’s Chumpmobile

Chump: Hey, Champ.

Champ: Hey. I got the new X-90, vintage driving at its finest, but you’re just —

Chump: Driving my old Chumpmobile.

Champ: The X-90 has FM radio, AC, carpeting — everything under the sun.  I could show it to you.

Champ’s Girl: Don’t bother, Champ!  He’s just driving a Chumpmobile, how could he possibly appreciate the X-90?!

Champ: She’s right, sorry to get your hopes up.  Maybe next time, when you’re about to trade up from your Chumpmobile, I’ll take you out for a spin in the X-90, show you what it’s like to drive with a champ.

Chump: Okay, next time, Champ.

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Taylor Swift’s Dark Side

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  After the first set —

Taylor Swift:  I go home?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  No, there’s a second set.

Taylor Swift:  I thought Cleveland was only getting one set.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  No, Cleveland gets two sets, but you need to choose which sponsor you plug at intermission.  Would you like McDonalds or Coca Cola?

Taylor Swift:  I thought I was Pepsi.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  No, you’re Coca Cola now.

Taylor Swift:  Okay, then McDonalds.  Thirty or sixty second patter?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Sixty.

Taylor Swift:  I’m still okay with that, as long as it’s a product I believe in, and I really like what McDonalds has been doing with their brand recently.  Scripted, no improv though, right?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Scripted, they knew it would be too much to ask of you to speak off the top of your head about McDonalds — especially half-way through your show.

Taylor Swift:  But I nailed it at MSG.  Remember that penniless, dying girl?  Our stagehands pulled her out on the stage on a gurney with drips?  We made her sign a release that if she died on stage, we wouldn’t be stuck paying for her funeral.  Then segued into a heartfelt McDonalds spot.  “You deserve a break today,” ballad tempo, in four-part harmony.  My favorite numbers have multiple meanings.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  That was priceless.  You didn’t die that night.

Taylor Swift:  She did though.  Hey, any Mastercard tonight?  They’re high end.  The simplest things in life are the best.  Hey, here’s a song.  To the tune of Galveston: “Mastercard, oh Mastercard...”

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Catchy, but no Mastercard pitch tonight, this is Cleveland.  It was tough enough to sign on Pizza Hut.  And don’t forget you’re promoting the Taylor Swift Life-size Action Figurine for this leg of the tour.

Taylor Swift:  Oh please, what do I have to do for this one?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Two Taylorettes just cart it out in its packaging, and you have a few nice words to say about it.

Taylor Swift:  Like what? — “If you want a sex doll of me, now is your chance to get one”?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  The manufacturer included a little spiel.  Just say it’s made of high-impact styrene plastic, so it will outlast the pyramids.

Taylor Swift:  When do I say this?

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Coda of I Knew You were Trouble; you sing, “...When you walked in,” the spotlight turns on you, and the Taylorettes walk down the ramp with the action figurine on a hand truck.

Taylor Swift:  Okay, whatever.  But I want Gwyneth to pop out of the wings during my 1989 encore, I want her to kiss me, cop a feel of my breasts, then exit stage right.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  We can’t do that.  There’s 60,000 people, too many mothers and daughters.

Taylor Swift:  Well, there’s more the reason.  Give me the favorable demographic metrics.  I’m paying you people for something.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Okay, okay, we’ll run the statistical models...  Most favorable with 18-35 males, then females, same age cohort, least favorable with the under 12s.

Taylor Swift:  Then it’s a go.  Get GP on the phone, stat.  Fly her into Cleveland International —

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  He, he, he.  “International”?

Taylor Swift:  I know, “International.”  He, he, he.  I’m sure Paris is a major destination for them.  Anyhow, bring her in on Air Force Tay.  Give her a stripper costume with G-string.  I sing “1989, 1989, 1989...” and she walks in stage left, kisses me on the lips, cops a feel, and exits stage right.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  This may damage your career, Taylor.

Taylor Swift:  Hey, look how good Madonna did with her lesbo tricks.  This is exactly what this tour needs, get them standing on their feet, and begging for more.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Okay, we’re sold.  Taylor Nation will call Gwyneth’s nation, or whatever she calls her nation.

Taylor Swift:  And Gwynnie gets a shot in the arm for her career post-Oscar, and she finally proclaims her love for me before the World.  I feel good about the Universe again.

Taylor Swift’s Manager:  Anything else, your Excellency?  I mean, Ms. Swift.

Taylor Swift:  Yes, Gwynnie waits for me backstage after the show because I gave her a free vacation, albeit one to Hell.  Tell her to dress appropriately, meaning wearing next to nothing.  Tell her there’s more private jet frequent flyer miles where those came from, if she knows what I mean...

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The Last Anniversary Gift

Other Letter:  These are nice socks, Gwynnie, they’re—?

Gwynnie:  They’re argyle.

OL:  I’ve never had argyle socks before.  They’re kind of heavy, and they itch.

GP:  Well, of course, they’re wool.

OL:  Wool socks in the summertime?

GP:  They’re Merino wool, it’s a lightweight wool.  In the summertime, it goes perfect with the madras shorts I got for you.

OL:  But this pattern — it’s argyle, you said?  Isn’t that a little showy for summer time, and with shorts, especially these shorts?

GP:  Well, that’s my Anniversary gift celebrating our love together — why not wear them everywhere?

OL:  Okay, okay, I’ll wear them.  I have that poker game tomorrow night with the guys.  These will look very fashion forward.

GP:  You know what, I think I got you the wrong size.  Yeah, I got the wrong size.  Let me bring these back.

OL:  No, these kind of grow on you.  They’ll go well with the sweater I’m tying around my neck.

GP:  That’s not all you’ll be tying around your neck...

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Other Letter and his Other Letter Girls

Other Letter:  Over here, Other girls.

Other Letter Girls:  Yes?

Other Letter:  I’m reading there is a heroin problem in the schools.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Which schools?

Other Letter:  Hmm ... Well, all schools it would appear.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  What should we do?

Other Letter:  Let’s have a “Don’t do Heroin Day” in all the schools of the World.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Should we do India?

Other Letter:  Sure let’s do India too.  Why wouldn’t we do India?

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  I don’t know, they seem so polite somehow.

Other Letter:  No, we’re including India, they deserve a “Don’t do Heroin Day,” too.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Good, because I was afraid we’d skip India.

Other Letter:  No, we won’t skip them, while polite, they probably have a heroin problem.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Red China probably has one too, but would they give us access to all their schools?  They’re an awfully big country.

Other Letter:  I’m sure they would, I can’t see why not.  I’ll call the Chinese Premier, what’s his name?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Ping Chow Pong.

Other Letter:  Is that really his name?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Could be, I think I read that somewhere.  Here’s his phone number.

Other Letter:  Why do you carry his phone number?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  For emergencies.

Other Letter:  What kind of emergencies?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Well, what would you call this?  Kids are doing heroin in China, we gotta help.

Other Letter:  Okay, I’ll call.  That’s an awfully long phone number.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Well it’s out of state.

Other Letter:  Hello, Ping Chow Pong? ... Is this the Prime Minister of China? ... No?  Who am I speaking with? ... No, thank you, we’re not interested in Chinese take out this evening.  Girls, that was the wrong number.  It wasn’t the Prime Minister of China, Ping Chow Pong, it was Chow Now Chinese Takeout.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Sorry, Other Letter, we made a mistake.

Other Letter:  You sure did.  Now what?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  We need a phone directory for Beijing.

Other Letter:  Where can we can get one of those?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  The phone company might have them.

Other Letter:  Okay, let’s go ... Now we’re starting to look foolish, who else besides the phone company would have a Beijing phone book?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  How about the library?

Other Letter:  My library card lapsed, that’s out.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Mine too.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Mine too.

Other Letter:  No surprises there.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  What’s that supposed to mean?  Yours lapsed, too.

Other Letter:  Never mind, we have to save the kids from heroin.  Let’s brainstorm.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Well then don’t talk if you’re thinking, okay?

Other Letter:  Come on, girls, we need teamwork.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Hey, we’ll get the Prime Minister of China to call us.

Other Letter:  Now you’re talking.  How would we do this though?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Let me see, hmm.

Other Letter:  We put a full-page ad in the New York Times inviting the Prime Minister — is it Prime Minister or Premier?

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  — I’m sure either way is fine —

Other Letter:  Inviting the Prime Minister to stop by our place for tea.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  They love tea over there.  That ought to be enough to get him here.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  An invitation to a tea would be enough to get China’s Head of State to visit us?

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Well it’s about saving their kids from heroin.

Other Letter:  Yes, then he would be interested, very interested ...

Premier of China:  Mr. Other have a seat.

Other Letter:  Thank you.  Meeting with you is like trying to get an audience with the Pope.

Premier of China:  I don’t have the time to chitchat.  What brings you to Beijing, Mr. Other?

Other Letter:  I’m saving the kids of the world from heroin and I need your help.

Premier of China:  This is admirable, but how can, The People of the Great Revolution, help?

Other Letter:  I have printed a billion of these info packets, one for every Chinese student.

Premier of China:  But they’re not in Chinese ... and even so, they have many typos.

Other Letter:  Let me see that ... So the Premier said next time consider using a spell checker and a translator.  When I asked if we should recycle the billion copies, he said, “No, belongs in landfill.”  So we left it at that.  I tried, Other Girls.  Where next?

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  Hawaii.

Other Letter:  Hawaii?  Hawaii has a heroin problem?  Why Hawaii?

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  We need a vacation.

Other Letter:  Agreed.  Let’s get packing.

Other Letter Girl, Desirée:  Time to find another of Earth’s problems to solve, how about World hunger?  We might have bit off a little more than we can chew with this here.

Other Letter Girl, Daisy:  You can say that again.

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This One’s for my Peeps

I was dealing drugs by the age of three,
Didn’t have a pot for me to pee.
I bought an AK-47,
But now my baby’s up in Heaven.

I went to jail,
But who will pay my bail?
Don’t you know I’m from the hood?
Hoes, drugs, and guns, I’d get them all back, if only I could.

Now I’m afraid I’ll die alone,
The note you wrote cut me to the bone.
You’ve made me a gang member,
My initiation was scheduled for September.

Eminem, Tupac, Jay-Z, you know what?
They all wish they were me.
Dedication?  I’m laying down these nasty tunes,
Everyday, all through the month of June.

I am the composer from the future,
Rap don’t need no fancy, sheet music suture.
There’s no call for rhythm, music theory, or harmony,
When I got this jackhammer melody.

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Track 17 (or why I don’t write song lyrics for a living)

We’re at the end of the line,
Where you’ll find Track 17, the flip side of Heaven.
When there was only wax on the stacks,
An LP went only as far as track 7.

Beyond track 7 is the wasteland.
The CD is never played out this far anyway,
Or that’s what recording execs hope.
Now everything before track 7 ends up getting diluted, and that’s the dope.

We know to face facts,
We’re wise to the truth,
We have nothing left to write,
So Track 17 is just one nasty stinker.

Chorus: Plink, plink, plinker.

Taylor Swift can’t even do anything with Track 17.
No broken hearts left to mend,
No more lyrics left to write, rhythms to pound, harmonies to sound, or melodies to tinker —
We’ve used them all up.

Chorus: Plink, plink, plinker.

With no ideas left, we’re sampling spoons thru Pro Tunes at Track 17.
“I just bought this CD — agghh, Track 17,” screams the now mean teen,
“This band had me hook, line, and sinker.”

Chorus: Plink, plink, plinker.

Spoken:  “I got a good feeling about Track 17.  It will chart, give it time, this has legs.  Don’t worry about airplay, royalties should be low-priced, any radio station can play this.  Can you imagine this live?  We won’t even need all of Totem of Frustration on the stage, just run the studio version through the arena’s speakers, and our current front man can prance around with the mic next to his mouth.  Tag on a half hour drum solo at the end, and that’s half the set ... No worries, we have the music prompter.  They don’t have to remember any of the music, they just have to be able to read — or just dance for two straight hours ...”

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If Other Letter produced children’s educational television ...

Major General Mathespastic:  Now Lieutenant Isosceles, you and your men will charge up this hill, guns-a-blazing.  This might very well be a suicide mission — can your men give me 110%?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  Well ...

Major General Mathespastic:  Well, can they or can’t they?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  You see ...

Major General Mathespastic:  Are they men, or aren’t they?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  Well, the most my men can fight is really 100%, the most any man can fight is 100% — we can’t go beyond that.  We can shoot for 105%, but that really isn’t possible either.

Major General Mathespastic:  Why is 105% not possible?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  It’s more than the most any man is capable of fighting — it’s greater than the whole she-bang, it’s more than all we’ve got.

Major General Mathespastic:  Listen, do you want to fight this bloody war, or don’t you?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  We can’t give you 110%, or even 105%.

Major General Mathespastic:  I’ll have you tried for desertion and treason.  You’ll be shipped Stateside, then you’ll be court martialed, do you hear me?

Lieutenant Isosceles:  We’ll give you 100%, we have no problem with that, but 105, or 110%, that’s where we run into Major Issues.

Major General Mathespastic:  If I ask for 110%, I get 110%.

Lieutenant Isosceles:  Sorry, Major General Mathespastic, I just don’t see that happening.

Major General Mathespastic:  You’ll be hearing from HQ zero-six-hundred hours.

Lieutenant Isosceles:  You’ll see, I’m making perfect sense.

Postscript, Lieutenant Isosceles and his squad were sent Stateside where they were acquitted.  Falsely accused, they now live very comfortable lives from a very large, class-action settlement.  For his stupidity, Major General Mathespastic was stripped of his General’s rank, and now does barrack and latrine inspections.  The moral: Basic math skills can save your ass in combat situations.

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In Reality, The Other Letter is a complete Gentleman

OL Up and Comer:  Other Letter?

Other Letter:  Yes?  I like your dress, by the way, you really have style — and nice gams.

OL Up and Comer:  I need to talk with you about something.

Other Letter:  There’s no need to be so formal here, call me Other.

OL Up and Comer:  We’ll go with Other?

Other Letter:  Yes, please, Other.

OL Up and Comer:  Other it is.  Other?

Other Letter:  Yes, go ahead, you have my permission now.

OL Up and Comer:  Other, I was meaning to ask you, I’ve been working here for over two years now ... And, well ...

Other Letter:  This wouldn’t be about a raise, would it?

OL Up and Comer:  I hate causing difficulty for my superiors ...

Other Letter:  Well?  I said you could talk, and you may do so now. 

OL Up and Comer:  You see, I need to move out of my studio and into something with just a little extra room.  I was hoping I could stop using a hall bathroom.  The security is not very good at Leafy Pines Village, and if I need to go out into the hallway past ten o’clock, it gets risky.

Other Letter:  Except for a few minor amenities like my summer home in Crete, this company is just scraping by.  I doubt you know how competitive the non-celebrity blog publishing market really is.  You don’t, do you?  You may answer me.

OL Up and Comer:  I always complete my assignments on time, don’t I, Other?

Other Letter:  Although I would prefer you call me Other Letter in public.

OL Up and Comer:  But we’re not in public so —

Other Letter:  Other Letter is not an issue now.

OL Up and Comer:  Other?

Other Letter:  Yes?

OL Up and Comer:  Now may I begin?

Other Letter:  I will also allow OL in public instead of the non-abbreviated, Other Letter.  But again, we’re not in public, so you can call me Other.

OL Up and Comer:  How about O in private?

Other Letter:  You mean because I allow OL in public?

OL Up and Comer:  Yes, is O okay?

Other Letter:  No, that’s Oprah’s letter of the alphabet, she took that.  It’s a copyright issue, I’d have to clear it with Legal first — and I’m sure Oprah would need to be apprised, too.  I just don’t have that kind of time.

OL Up and Comer:  How do you feel about The Other Letter?

Other Letter:  I feel if the staff really made the effort, we’d have something special.

OL Up and Comer:  I mean your name, The Other Letter.

Other Letter:  The definite article, as in the one and only — like The Sultan of Brunei?  Sure, I can work with that.

OL Up and Comer:  So, how’s this: The Other Letter, Other Letter, or OL in public; and Other in private?

Other Letter:  That’s good.  What’s your name, by the way?

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At least there was no Line-up

The President’s First Deputy:  Well, Nixon had an approval rating of 5 the day before he resigned.

The President:  What’s mine?

The President’s First Deputy:  Yours is a 2 out of a possible 100.

The President:  What was Nixon’s rating on the day he resigned?

The President’s First Deputy:  A 10, an additional 5 percent of Americans liked the fact that he surrendered peaceably, so to speak.

The President:  So tomorrow, this puts me at an approval rating of 7.

The President’s First Deputy:  That’s right, Mister President.

The President:  Feel like trashing the White House?

The President’s First Deputy:  Sure Mister President, why not?

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker ...

Grandpa:  Why not go out with that Dutch girl, Charlize?

Alex:  She’s South African, Grandpa.

Grandpa:  Dutch, South African, six of one, half dozen of the other.

Alex:  Grandpa somehow thinks my prospects are that good.  I know he means well, but I couldn’t afford one dinner like the kind they’re used to having.

Grandpa:  Then go Dutch treat with your Dutch treat.

Alex:  — And Grandpa’s ideas about women are just a little old-fashioned.

Grandpa:  I heard that! ... Hey, how about that spicy Italian dish, Marisa.

Alex:  She only dates philanthropists.

Grandpa:  Hmm ... Then how about the one with all the curves, Scarlett?

Alex:  Grandpa, how would I ever meet any of these women?

Grandpa:  You have a web site, don’t you?  Post an ad.  Put your picture on it, too.

Alex:  I’ll have to think about this, Grandpa.

Grandpa:  Say, there’s the one who’s always in the news, what is her name?

Alex:  Gwyneth.

Grandpa:  Yes, Gwyneth.

Alex:  She’s married, Grandpa.

Grandpa:  Married in name, or in deed?

Alex:  Does it matter? ... Grandpa, we’ll take this up again after dinner?  It’s ready now ...

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This is from my Dinners even a Bachelor can cook portion over at the main operation, OtherLetter.com.  These practical recipes were created to have everything cooks want most — taste, nutrition, and easy preparation.  These have eight ingredients or less.  More than that many, and time you should spend enjoying your creation, is instead spent at the markets hunting for novelty ingredients such as fennel and anchovies (anchovies may actually be fine, I tried them once, and to be honest, it tasted like a salt lick might, was I a horse).

Easy Raspberry or Blackberry Smoothies, and now, with Strawberries or Blueberries

I haven’t been counting, but if I were to guess, I’ve made this particular recipe over forty times.

Be sure the berries are fresh.  Blackberries seem to last longer in the fridge than raspberries.  Blackberries have a richer flavor, raspberries a more subtle, nuanced one (you’ll see what I mean).

Raspberry and Blackberry Smoothies should be poured through a sieve into the glasses after blending, as they will have small seeds.

Two cups milk
Four tablespoons maple syrup (two tablespoons if including banana)
EITHER An entire 6oz. package of fresh, rinsed raspberries, or blackberries;
OR 3/4, or 12oz., of a 16oz. package of fresh, rinsed strawberries cleaned of stems and blemishes with a paring knife — and optionally, one half of a banana;
OR Half of a pint of fresh, rinsed blueberries;
OR Half of a banana without strawberries.

Dust off and wash blender.  Pour ingredients into jar — pour milk first to have the blender function as a measuring cup.  Without the banana, use four tablespoons of maple syrup; with half a banana, two tablespoons of maple syrup.  Cover jar, run at purée, or smoothie setting, for 45 seconds (60 seconds for strawberries).  Makes two drinks (although you may like to double the recipe).  That’s all there is to it.

Key to the Blueberry Smoothie Recipe found!  Instead of taking an entire, 6-ounce package of blueberries and adding it to the 2 cups milk like you would in the new raspberry and blackberry recipe, add just 3 ounces, or half of a package of blueberries to it.  Because the blueberries are fully diluted by the milk, that blueberry sludge issue you’ve all been reporting is avoided.

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Stick-to-your-ribs, Hot and Spicy Chili

This is a supper that will have you hosannaing this recipe, just as it will have you feeling fully nourished.  Defrost a half pound of hamburger meat overnight in the refrigerator, or, assuming any pets can’t get at it, leave it out on the kitchen counter two hours before preparation.

Half pound, lean ground beef
Entire can of dark kidney beans, drained (15 oz.)
One and a half cups of marinara sauce
One teaspoon of chili powder (not chili pepper)
One to three garlic cloves (optional)

In a large frying pan, brown ground beef at medium-high heat.  In the sink, pour off the grease into a tin can or a coffee cup; or if you prefer, the fat of the ground chuck, or chopped sirloin, can be kept in the frying pan for flavor.  If you like garlic, use a knife blade to crunch a few cloves, and remove its husk.  Then dice it and sprinkle it over the ground beef (approximately five cloves to a bulb, many people prefer no more than one clove).

Lightly cover marinara sauce over ground beef (a cup and a half works for me).  Then pour a can of dark kidney beans into the frying pan.  Sprinkle in a teaspoon of chili powder, or just shake the spice container lightly a few times over the pan.  Stir constantly, reducing all ingredients at medium-high heat for five more minutes, or until you feel heat radiating off the chili onto your hand, and the very liquid consistency has become a very moist paste.  Serves two.

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