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.  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.
Fourteen 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.
How to Capture Insects

Even tarantulas are no match (we think).  A little side note: outside the trade, they call two bugs with one haul “a double.” We just call that “a good day.”

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. You will save thousands of gallons of water with this one shower hack.  Instead of pointing the shower head at the usual 30°, or two thirds of the way to the ground, point it at 45°, or half-way down, or even closer to the horizontal.  You will notice the water has more pressure on your back.  You are cleaner in half the time, and you use dozens of fewer gallons of heating oil to boot, with every shower.  Don’t just take my word for it, take readings of your oil tank, before and after, then drain your tub into a gallon bucket, both before and after implementing the ingenuity offered here — and offered here gratis, at no charge!
  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 used later to avoid unnecessary trips, because once you’ve made it to town you’ll realize you can do it all — you’ve made it, beauty heaven is yours at last.
  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.
  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.

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.

Weather Underground Widget (browsers handle Flash animations differently, Opera might block, Firefox probably won’t — this one is completely innocuous).

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.

  • 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!

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.

Halloween is quickly approaching, but have you made your pilgrimmage to the 10,000 Ampere Service, Ginger Bread House?  It is time to take our masks out from the attic, and start warding off those evil spirits.

Also consider petitioning your elected officials to make All Hallows Eve, the traditional name of Halloween, a quarterly or even monthly national holiday.  Why in the name of Creation is Halloween not a paid holiday?  If this sickens you as much as it does me, write your Congressman and Senators.  Show them we mean business this time.

(If you know the Batman canon, you understand this last reference.  If you do not, why go on with your wretched existence?  And this is the one failing of the Opera browser, it cannot run Flash animations like this one of the Ginger Bread House, so you need to use Firefox instead.)  9/20/18.

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.


(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 heartwrenching liability like every woodland creature was?]

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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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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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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.

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

This might take a few minutes to load into your browser.  Click here, if it won’t.  Opera won’t run Flash animations anymore, which 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, will run Flash animations.  Chrome is coded by Google, and that search engine won’t give me my fair share of traffic, so I cannot recommend that browser.

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.

Ambient Weather weather station display

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, outside of evolution from protozoa — and could this theory be generalized onto other families of life forms in general?  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?

I didn’t see any nearby toad mating partners.  To put the phenomenon another way: Can they spontaneously exist without any prior antecedents.  Or simply from an advantageous crucible for life, one whose local environment is perfect for new life, of species formerly extinct, or of life never before seen?

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?

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?

As can be seen in the photo, they camouflage themselves extremely well.  I wouldn’t have noticed the toad unless he jumped away from me just as I walked by him (or her).  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something jump, and I thought, “no way, how is this possible?”

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 Suffolok County.  The missing link re amphibians may bridge our understanding of spontaneously generated life that regrow 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 this 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-toad, 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.

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

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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Bluejays 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 wizard
2x press Home Button & swipe, then tapFinds recent apps opened
Press Home ButtonExit current app
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 + tabCycle through previous browser tabs
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
Ctrl + Shift + EscTask Manager
Windows key + “x” Power User Menu, Control Panel, File Explorer et al
alt + tabCycle previous Windows
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).

If you are looking for hard news, and incisive commentary, you won’t find it here.  That is found on the Mother Ship, OtherLetter.com.  Poke around until you get through the back door.

  • Latest and GreatestYou’re asking when we’ll ever jump start the space program again?  More than anything though, people need wide-screen TVs.  This is a basic human need.  The only curiosity we should be satisfying is whether or not the Kardashia finally strip naked this week.  Time and money spent on anything off the planet’s surface is a bit misspent, isn’t it?  I mean if the aliens do finally get here, shouldn’t it be a huge surprise?  If we ever needed to escape Earth, shouldn’t we get ready when the day happens?  The only thing in outer space is dust, who cares if we are star dust?  We know this already.  All that matters is the here and now, do you really think the beginning of the Universe should be a big deal to anyone?  The beginning of time was the day I was born, okay?...
  • Latest and GreatestI appreciate advertising that doesn’t demean Blacks.  They’ll 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 the 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 Mercedes now.  You’re better than all of them.  Isn’t it time that you proved you were?”
  • Latest and GreatestOnce a cause is popular, then that ship has sailed.  It’s become a rock concert.  It’s a get together, or a happening.  The cause is already won.  Grass roots campaigning is said and done.  At this point, everyone is aware of the plight of the barefooted, Kentucky hillbilly in getting comfortable, form-fitting shoes.  The heavy artillery, Ashley Judd, has been called off, and she is retreating to the Bluegrass Hill Country.
  • Latest and GreatestPrayers and thoughts do nothing.  They only make those praying feel better.  Passive prayer is a waste of time and energy.  The only way to effect change is not to petition the ether above but to effect the change yourself.  Comments on social media are the most convenient for national concerns, although not the most effective means of working towards a remedy.  Prayers that this year’s wildfires in California are extinguished do nothing at all.  If you can spare the cash, venerable Consumer Reports wrote a guide to help you decide who should get your donation.  As for personal matters, they are best handled directly than via the petitioning of a God in a throne throwing down thunderbolts.
  • Latest and GreatestPot is a drug that you can probably get away with taking for the short term.  Long term use and you’re hooked, and 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, it compromises 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).
  • 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 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 GreatestTo keep a relationship on track: Say interesting things, and try to be interested in the other person.  Even if you’re stuck with a crushing bore — who is legally intoxicated, likely benches over 500 pounds, and poking you in the ribs on the non-stop to Tokyo — for sanity’s sake, pretend the story of his root canal is the most life-affirming story you have ever heard (for the purposes of this discussion, the stewardesses are familiarizing themselves with the pilot and copilot).  Things to say that are interesting is what are interesting to you, so they will likely be interesting to someone else.  If what you find interesting doesn’t interest whom you’re with, there may not be much of a basis for a relationship, and you may or may not need to find someone else for company.  For instance, you may have one of the best laundry lint collections in the State of Kentucky, while most there (including Senate Majority Leader, Bitch McConnell) would find this fascinating, outsiders may not.
  • Latest and GreatestWomen typically look for one of three things in a mate: Looks, money or prospects, and competence.  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), entirely unathletic, or disabled.  Lots of money means living in a great, big house, but not necessarily in a heartwarming home.  Competencies, via education, or being self-taught, is key, 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.  That, 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 learn how to stay 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 Greatest...can’t fit the peg into that hole.  i mean it’s supposed to fit, isn’t it.  it should fit.  i have to make it fit.  fit damn peg, fit.  why won’t this peg fit?  it used to fit, didn’t it?  the institute said the peg would fit, the institute can’t be wrong — they’re the institute after all.  getting sad, then shouldn’t we be rolling away the dew?
    —This is not meant to encourage drug use in Americans, or in any other under-privileged peoples.
  • 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 eighth 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 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, so they can continue just sitting on their bums all day.

  • Latest and GreatestMusic radio contest winners are a breed apart, especially classic rock contest winners.  They are ecstatic about nostalgia acts, or some are the exact opposite, they only called because they haven’t harassed anyone in a few hours.  And they call deejays (in certain huge conglomerates) who are looking to harass anyone they can find.  Both species did not come out of the woodwork, they are still inside the woodwork, like termites.
  • Latest and GreatestAll insults and profanity resolves to someone telling someone they hate that they are not in charge of their own affairs.  A*hole, sh*thead, loser, freak, f*ggot, n*gger, k*ke, sp*c, and low-life scum, any insult, in fact, claims that the insulted are not in charge of their most basic, life functions.  The hurtful want you to believe that you lack competency that the accuser possesses in spades.
  • 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 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 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.”  Not 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 4018.  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...

  • 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 for you with one of their own choosing.
  • 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 enjoy the fresh air, and take a walk outside...
  • Latest and GreatestThe portion of our physical world that makes sense to us, is authored by the collective power of Creation with a vocabulary we understand.  There may be plenty more going on in the natural world that’s written in a language we cannot fathom yet, or will never grasp.
  • 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 euphoric living: 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, one in keeping with the magnitude of their crime committed, doesn’t it make sense to accept their olive branch?
  • Latest and GreatestThe ancients could surmise the power of electricity, or whatever they wanted 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 the Medieval folks knew of this electrical energy, they had to know.
  • 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 dignity, but he always kept his humanity, and this is why he meant so much to so many.
  • Latest and GreatestAmerica is only a well-marketed system of oppression, and has been since its founding in 1776.  If you think any different, you haven’t been paying attention.  America does own the monopoly on temperate climate though, and straddles two of the biggest oceans.  This draws talent, and is the major reason for their 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 GreatestSuperlative looks are a blessing until they become a curse — and there are plenty of those out there who know this all too well...
  • Latest and GreatestMake peace with your enemies as best you can.  Even if it means 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 GreatestWhat says the most about your personality type?  That’s right, it’s whatever emoji you use the most...
  • Latest and GreatestIf you set the bar high for others, this forces the bar to be set high for yourself...
  • 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 feel what it’s like to shoulder 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 GreatestI have a great deal of difficulty with what is known as forgiveness.  If someone knocks me down, I’m supposed to assuage 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 overlord 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, forgoing forgiveness can mean the end of life on earth...
  • Latest and GreatestIn my experience, the subject of English is not taught to cultivate a voice that’s: natural and expressive; eloquent and pithy; yet most 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 appeal to the elites 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 is a higher calling somehow.
  • 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’d like to make an enemy with someone, identify them by their weakness; or to start a war with anyone, use your ill-gotten power against them.
  • 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 GreatestIf you’d like to more quickly attain prosperity, stop to consider what you did today that you might do differently, or more effectively, tomorrow.
  • 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.  They 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...
  • 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 baited breath.
  • Latest and GreatestYou had to have had a really crummy father if the Holy ghost father of a ghost Jesus is an upgrade.  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 not 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, and staying within the lines, 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 be complete experts.
  • Latest and GreatestNegotiating social media amongst the trolls is too painful for Fecesbook, Instagram, and Twitter, to be anything beyond a short-term, trendy pastime.  This could be fixed in a day by making the only replies to your comments come from the original poster (usually the celebrity), but social media has been weaned on very harsh self-policing.
  • Latest and GreatestLanguage satisfies cognitive requirements your brain has that are needed to process information.  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 GreatestTrust when there is sufficient and compelling reason to do so.  This may seem meaningless, when in fact, it is incredibly profound, or else this is only page filler.
  • Latest and GreatestThe Pulitzer Prizes 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 slaughtering 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 was no 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 was no 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 (slavery not permanent, whipping not 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 GreatestI’m beginning to realize that all in Hollywood is done for show, to maintain the outward appearance of sexy wholesomeness, even when the interior might very well be fetid (they hold fast that this isn’t hypocritical)...
  • 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 GreatestTake good care of your enemies, before your enemies take good care of you.  Not that anyone has enemies — but still, are scores not settled or evened in any sense ever comfortably resolved?
  • Latest and GreatestMy sermon to the teens of today: Get a good education; visit your local community, public library; 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 GreatestThere is a class of human I now charitably call “the manure people,” whose only contribution to the World is when they take a dump in the john, that is, when they provide fertilizer.  Their other contribution of manure is when they’re buried.  Nothing positive can ever be said about them, and why bother anyway when they believe that their manure doesn’t stink.  They only bring acrimony and difficulty to any situation, and they begrudge any kindness to others.  The manure people, the pieces of sh*t, are well known to lash out against the innocent when they are completely wrong.
  • Latest and GreatestIt’s been said (mostly by those on the West Coast) that on the East Coast, people are gay and lesbian because they’re physically unattractive and find solace in those who look similar.  Either that, or they have major issues with their opposite sex parent.  On the West Coast however, with year-round outdoor exercise, and an economy based on looks, same sex coupling is a product of being too pretty, that is, being so attractive as to loosen up inhibitions.  Could there be any truth to this myth?  There may be all manner of rationale for same-sex pairing, but ultimately no one can control, and no one else can fully explain, who anyone is physically attracted towards, or why they are.
  • 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 GreatestTwist the kaleidoscope and it all changes.  What you had seen as the truth, you can no longer; or the clouds part and the sun shines.
  • 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 content?
  • Latest and GreatestThe problem with what is popularly known as being a sinner is that you are always trying to get away with stuff that you shouldn’t be.  Either you are ultimately working against your own interests, or against someone else’s interests.
  • Latest and GreatestFear is a useless emotion.  It just is, isn’t it?  When a train is coming my way, I know to stand off the tracks.  Why flip out, and get paralyzed with fear?  (Other Letter would just like to remind our faithful readers that playing on railroad tracks is for loony toons.)
  • 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 GreatestEveryone on this planet deals with more than their share of a*holes.  These hurtful trolls are difficult, arrogant, self-satisfied — and concerning the pain they cause, they usually know better, but they just don’t care.  Empathy is not their strong suit, because they have great difficulty with being kind.  Ultimately, the honorable will have to step around them, and just get on with their lives.
  • Latest and GreatestIsn’t loving a form of gleeful, reciprocated, more than willing, service aimed at showing gratitude, and never losing your lover to the competition (that sure raises the ante)?  Or it should be if your partner didn’t look like gargantuan Godzilla?
  • 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 tours?”
  • Latest and GreatestHigh blood pressure is being tasked to move boulders larger than yourself that rarely, if ever, 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 dancing 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, don’t 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 GreatestThe wealthy look down on everyone to bolster their flailing egos, ones founded on dominating the less fortunate.  This can be seen in Trump, and everywhere else down the line among the well-to-do WASPs.  The well-heeled value people based on how much paper assets they possess, like deeds, stocks, property titles, currency — remember Trump’s “sh*thole nations” remark.  They neglect to consider the content of others’ character (to paraphrase Martin Luther King).  There are women who are paupers, yet are far better people than those hiding behind furs, jewelry, and professional plaudits.  Even when women with celebrity status seem like superior specimens, they are often incredibly spoiled, and worse off spiritually than the working classes.  What’s even more confounding re the basis of a class conflict is that we are all 99.99% identical biologically.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen tackling a technical or artistic 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 mechanisms.
  • Latest and GreatestCourage is the birthright 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 the grieving and suffering as well as those less fortunate than yourself.  Repudiate the insufferable, heartless, and hurtful.  We know who I mean.
  • Latest and GreatestI will just offer this: 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 GreatestIf one is truly serious about effecting change in a land entirely resistant to it, one must consider the worst that can happen.  Martin Luther King had seen the mountaintop, he knew he had effected seismic change, and the possibility existed of him dying both tragically and prematurely yet with a measure of peace, knowing his life and struggle had historic significance for not just his race, but for all of humanity.  Therefore, one can understand beforehand that they may become a martyr, or that they may take a bullet for their cause.  If they take a bullet, it will likely send them into shock, so being unconscious, would the pain be felt?  The reason I raise this, for everyone’s benefit really, is that tax season is upon us, and if we do not watch our backs, there may be severe consequences, even like the ones described here, if holed down in a tear-gas grenade standoff against the IRS for tax evasion.  Just worth considering.
  • Latest and GreatestWork can be done for love or for money.  The former produces superior quality, the latter is only best at meeting deadlines.
  • Latest and GreatestLove has infinite value, yet it costs nothing to give.
  • Latest and GreatestRandomly House will be publishing a new line of college-level books designed to weed out less promising students.  The series is entitled: “Don’t Bother Applying Yourself, Johnny, You’re Through.”  Professors just need to order these for the University bookstore, and you’ll never again have to deal with deficient students lacking preparation coursework established for elites.
  • Latest and GreatestHow would you rate your latest Post Office experience? — because your U.S. Government would like to know.  On a scale of 1 to 100, was it: Restorative?  Rejuvenating?  Liberating?  Life-changing?  Would you recommend going postal to a friend?
  • 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 most 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 GreatestYou can set goals for yourself by the day, the week, the month, or for any duration.  Assuming you don’t drive yourself nuts if you cannot meet your own self-imposed deadlines, having an expected completion timeframe can help to organize and prioritize what needs to be done...  An Other Maxim: Everything takes longer than you originally planned that it would.  There will always be related tasks needing your attention, besides just the task at hand.  You can plan accordingly on the unexpected happening, and on getting sidetracked, by giving yourself more time to do what you originally set out to do.
  • 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 GreatestHere’s a much safer, if less dramatic, chemical-free, LSD trip, one not indelibly mind-altering.  Where you normally say I could never, say you can.  And vice versa, where you normally say I can do whatever I want without considering consequences, beg off and say, “another time — maybe.”  Whatever love you denied, now you will supply.  You envision yourself in ten years, you look repugnant.  It dawns on you that maintaining health is paramount, you will no longer eat or drink like a hog.  You have seen the light.  It is time to break on through to the other side.
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever noticed that you’ve become a slave to property, especially new property?  I have new sneakers that I am really, really hoping stay looking new.  Before they’re broken in, I will live in fear, praying chance won’t dirty them.  Or say you have something else brand new, like an iPhone worth a full grand, and you take it outside.  You watch over it like a hawk.  Not one second goes by where you are not entirely aware of the exact location of your cherished trinket.  You even know it has Find my iPhone, but you’re absolutely certain this would fail when called upon in an emergency.  You have even rehearsed which choice expletives to yell at thieves while you engage in a tug-of-war with them over your iPhone.  You even know which everyman or every woman should play you in the big screen version of this battle royale: Matt Damon or Sarah Jessica Parker.
  • 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 GreatestI am of the school that believes if I am to truly appreciate the good times, then I must have also experienced the bad ones as well.
  • 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 GreatestIf the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passes, doesn’t this mean there will only be Unisex bathrooms?  And that the NFL teams will all have to be half women on offense and defense?  Or that women will be given raises based entirely on their gender?  Wouldn’t this mean that clothing will have to be gender-neutral, and that men’s clothing departments must carry dresses with attractive silhouettes just as they do on the women’s side?
  • Latest and GreatestThe allure of social media is that you think you’re effecting policy change by presenting valid, political talking points.  In reality, you’re only giving yourself headaches, and getting them from unpoliced, pigheaded losers.  Your intellectual capital and original thought becomes grist for the Fecesbook mill of Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Latest and GreatestAnyone reading this web site is far ahead of life’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 GreatestOne of the greatest challenges of educators is presenting material that their students can use in the future, and do it in a way that they can understand the lessons given, and indelibly remember them.
  • Latest and GreatestAmericans are taught to respect power — right along with money — before they respect people.  This is especially true of the Republicans and hardly true of the Democrats.
  • 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 justice in your head all you’d like, but you cannot revisit the past, and you typically cannot change 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.
  • 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 human before, but no, man, do I ever, ever feel like I am part of the human race...  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!  THANK YOU, JESUS, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Latest and GreatestThe joy to being a parent is the times when your kids are doing the right thing without you having to tell them to do it.
  • Latest and GreatestGeoffrey and Tyrone both went to Ossining the same month.  Geoffrey murdered his wife for poor meal prep skills, while Tyrone rots in jail for selling a roach, a marijuana cigarette butt, to an undercover narc posing as an accountant.  Geoffrey is getting out of prison this week, but Tyrone might never get out.  Why?  Well, just look at the tidiness of their cells.  Geoffrey’s is tastefully furnished without cheap posters, he has no unbecoming penitentiary tattoos, and his bed always looks made even when he’s asleep in it.  As for Tyrone, his prison cell is an absolute pigsty and his tattoos make him look like a leper so he is obviously not ready to reenter society.  Other Letter readers in lock down take note: your path to freedom is one paved with cleanliness, good hygiene, and festive, if ersatz, prison wallpaper.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are not enough saints, and as you get further up the American hierarchy their ranks thin much further.
  • Latest and GreatestYou can work for a paycheck, or you can work at pursuing your interests.  If you don’t become a workaholic, the latter is far more satisfying.
  • Latest and GreatestProductive people are always asking themselves: “What do I need to do next?”
  • Latest and GreatestYou are better off not caring about people who haven’t shown that they really care about you.  Of course you can be friendly to anyone you please, but before you emotionally invest in anyone, take care that they are warm-blooded, and will reciprocate any kindness you show them.  Be further forewarned, even the icy can fake being a good person, although it’s guaranteed that their act will wear off eventually.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen you wish you remembered something important, consider that there was a good reason you thought of it in the first place, it resolved an issue.  The reason for the thought (or the issue itself) should come up again, and so the associated thought very often will as well.
  • 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 GreatestMore true in Hollywood than anyplace else, Tinseltown values women based on the magnitude of their sexual magnetism.  Fortunes can be won and lost just on the basis of starlets’ looks, and how they present themselves on camera.
  • Latest and GreatestComics have one thing to thank courtesy of the Trump Administration, and that’s material — bizarrely plentiful, comedy material.
  • 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.
  • 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”.  This guideline almost always works in my experience.  For example: The ’55 Bel Air cruises down the road; the ’55 Bel Airs cruise down the road.  I just bumped up half of America’s SAT Verbal scores by 50 points.  This works best with verbs in the third person (Dick, Jane, and the Robinsons), present tense (action happening now).  The ’55 Chevy Bel Air cruised down the road — a past tense exception where there is no “S” in the sentence.  The ’55 Chevy Bel Air will one day cruise down the road — a future tense exception.  Will is an auxiliary, helper verb, one used in conjunction with other verbs.  Auxiliary verbs include: should, can, do, is, have, and may.  He swims, and they swim — you get the idea.  There is much, much more to this discussion, and your local English grammar whiz (or professor) should be able to fill in the rest of the blanks regarding verb conjugation rules.
  • 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 your part of the World somehow better than when you first got here in swaddling clothes.
  • 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 new and different way.  Another cookie-cutter, vanilla cutie wouldn’t make it.  The glamour and men’s magazines are all looking for chocolate rocky-road, mocha fudge.
  • Latest and GreatestIf a policing organization is not trusted, will anyone report crime to them?
  • 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 working to succeed, and achieve some noble, or satisfying, objective?
  • 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 after its taken.  Then right it at day’s end.  If you take it more than once a day, lay it on its side, facing forward, for the second dosage; orient at 6 o’clock on its side for a third dosage, and so on.  For this to work, you just need to remember to right the bottle at day’s end.
  • 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, 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 GreatestI am sure we’ve all heard this 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.”  I would have to say, at least regarding more mature adults, the latter maxim holds more truth than the former.
  • 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 need to seek help from the Social Services Division of the town in which they reside.  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 GreatestYou can double the size of your wardrobe simply by buying one pair of trousers in the opposite shade as the predominant shade you wear now in tops.  In other words, buy a black pair of pants, if you usually wear lighter shaded shirts.  This opens up entire worlds of possibility with the tops you normally cannot wear because you look too pale or too charcoal.  I probably just saved a few lives of the drab set, and every last one of my readers pocketed several thousand dollars each.  With the savings, why not go out and buy yourself a Picasso, a Van Gogh, or a Lamborghini?
  • Latest and GreatestWhen evaluating work that’s been done, many only focus on what went wrong, if anything; but what may be more valuable a lesson is considering what went right.
  • 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.  Maybe a middle ground is in order where you appropriately voice your complete and utter dissatisfaction, yet not hire a hit man.
  • Latest and GreatestIf someone nails you when you have done nothing offensive, it is only because they are insecure and weak.  If you have made valid criticisms of someone, and they try to take you down, that is only because it was offensive to those guilty on your every charge.  Reporters are realizing that this is true about the lashing out by Donald Trump.  Trump gets called to the mat on hastily formulated legislation.
  • Latest and GreatestIt’s not too difficult to find examples where human life was just a commodity like salt and water.  I mean 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 GreatestImproving your standard of living might include organizing, and un-cluttering your living space.  Then arranging everything so what you need is conveniently, and even harmoniously, placed (this is known to the Chinese as feng shui, and is closely related to Taoism).
  • Latest and GreatestIf there’s a truth 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 drive responsibly.
  • Latest and GreatestForewarned is forearmed.  The fearless understand that experience informs them of what to expect.  They are also well-versed in the parameters or limits of possible action, in the relevant risks, and know to adjust for the potential severity of these obstacles.
  • 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 person to screw you.
  • Latest and GreatestOutside of the police and the military, only paranoid cowards need guns — especially those who need to reassure themselves of their gender identity.
  • 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 GreatestTo explain their obesity, heavy people can say that they are going through a nasty divorce, but it might be a nasty divorce because they overeat.

    There are plenty of vices out there, but the one that you cannot hide is gluttony, it is on you wherever you go.  Everyone knows when someone overweight has been over-eating, but not so with the drinking of alcoholics, the drugging of stoners, or even, the often poverty-inducing wagering of gamblers.  No one knows when any of the latter have been slowly committing suicide, but over-eating is as plain as day.

    While the visibility of having a crutch is more of an issue with the obese, any addiction can be rationalized away to others — and even privately to themselves — as being a product of a bad marriage, bad family, bad job...

    For the hope of a happy life, what the fallen will need the guts to admit, is that the bad marriage, bad family, and the bad job are because of their addictions; the addictions are not caused by the bad marriage, bad family, and the bad job...  Upon further reflection, aren’t the addictions nothing but failed coping mechanisms.

  • 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.

    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.

  • Latest and GreatestEnjoy what you may of the good in life, because what makes us happiest comes and goes, and it never seems to be here forever.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen one is young, the main objective is to find a way of fitting in.  Those that cannot figure this out without compromising any principles that they may have, 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 GreatestAll of life’s torment and strife is reduced to string and wind instruments in classical music.  It’s a parable of life (in upbeat major keys and downbeat, sad, minor ones) without the hard to deal with, and tough to swallow, aspects.  All of life’s clutter is removed.
  • Latest and GreatestIf someone did not believe in Heaven and Hell, how would they ever get closure on someone who murdered or committed genocide such as Adolf Hitler?
  • 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 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, and prior preparation, in the digestion of whatever academic tripe the students were served up as Pabulum.  Whoever takes the most of these elitist preparation courses, often starting years in advance of the actual test, has the best shot for 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 minority assignment.

  • Latest and GreatestI was there when Jerry opened with Scarlet Begonias at Winterland two frets lower, I was there...  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 GreatestSome grow old, some won’t have the need...
  • Latest and GreatestThere exists a benchmark of initial competence for everyone, at say, eighteen years old (or younger for those not yet eighteen).  This is the baseline, which when compared to today, shows how far we have all progressed.  Thoughts, achievements, occupations, and preoccupations from back then were so limited compared to what almost everyone (except those whose growth has been retarded) has accomplished today.
  • 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.
  • 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 it 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.  The reason for 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” in their verb conjugations.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen women are treated well, and with respect, it is reflected positively in their appearance.  They look more attractive.
  • 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.
  • 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.  That stuck with me, I’m not sure if it’s morbid or not, but 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.
  • Latest and GreatestIs so much of the human brain devoted to the processing of symbolic logic and its processing — meaning language and math capabilities — that outside of this symbolism, mammals can essentially do what we can?
  • Latest and GreatestCoin collecting, of the World’s permanent 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 more numerous issues.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen laws are just, such as drunken driving laws, they are held in contempt by only the most depraved.  Marijuana laws are different, 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 GreatestIf someone makes a real overture to someone they are attracted towards, and the other person declines, is it okay for them to just coldly blow off the person going out of their way?  Or is something a little more gracious called for from the one getting all the attention such as, “Thanks, but no thanks”?  On online dating, many have no clue how to be nice or courteous.  It’s really disgusting.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you designed a Heaven on Earth, what would be a major difference between it and the life you live today?  McDonalds at every street corner is not a valid, acceptable response.
  • Latest and GreatestYou are much more likely to find God around you in Creation, than above you in the ether.
  • Latest and GreatestRespect who you can, bow to none.
  • 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.  My point being the huge disparity between weed and alcohol legality.
  • 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 GreatestIn the sports where toughness and physicality are valued more than athleticism and spontaneous play making — this is mostly hockey, but also true to a lesser extent of football — is the typical fan drawn more to the sport for the brawling, the in-your-face combat, and the lowering of the dignity of the opponent, than whatever interest the sport itself may hold in the players athletic ability?
  • 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.
  • Latest and GreatestRegarding online dating: the looks-challenged have hearts of gold; the lookers have hearts of stone.  Where’s Doctor Frankenstein when you need him the most?
  • 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 GreatestA mythical crossing of the fan-starlet divide has long been hypothesized by the texts and in the literature.  What’s more, the hope of any potential friendships between the inert, high-and-mighty and the hoi polloi form the foundation of the entire social media industry.  As of the present day however, fan-starlet, in-person contact, outside of simple meet-and-greets, only exists as pure mythology.
  • 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) 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 ones 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 GreatestIf you stop to consider it, being bestowed British Royalty puts incredible pressure on a mere mortal.  It is essentially saying that the coroneted have to be perfect, when they know that they’ll never be.
  • Latest and GreatestAmericans are so in love with being first or numero uno, that when they are not, they generally cannot appreciate those who come in ahead of them.  They have been all soured by sour grapes.
  • 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.  Then what is taught is often of such limited practicality that the only benefit of high school is to hopefully 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 dreams are dreamt is to counter 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 that can 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 GreatestIf you are not enjoying what you are doing for a living, it might be time for a change, and time to look into doing something else instead (as if you didn’t already know this — or maybe this paragraph changed your life forever).
  • 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 and functionality 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 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 associated tests.  Doctors need “regulars,” in other words, patients who visit often, and ones who can pad the payroll.
  • Latest and GreatestRe forgiveness, if I turn the other cheek, they get away with spiritual murder.  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 push them out of the door of a flying airplane?  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 where 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.  Certain term papers 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?  Are takeout meals so greasy they can be used to grease your car’s axles?
  • Latest and GreatestWhere I ended up calling home, 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 GreatestProduction today is seen as a means of maximizing green-paper profits; whereas it 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 GreatestIf you were 18 years of age, and you committed a murder (or murders), would you rather receive the death penalty for it, or spend the rest of your life in jail without the possibility of parole?  I would have to think most would choose the former over the latter, although this defeats the purpose of capital punishment wherein the guilty do not get what they want — execution might be exactly what they want.
  • 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 Greatest“No, you can’t,” is not a very popular phrase around here.  Wasn’t it Socrates who said, “Lead, follow, or get the eff out of the way” — or was it Plato?
  • 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 the former.
  • 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 GreatestGod won’t give you more than you can handle, but Satan sure will.
  • 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 GreatestBased on the theory of Evolution, if you cordon off a fifty-mile-square, lifeless sand pit with a 30-foot-high concrete barricade, in a million years you will have a clan of humans, ones near our species development today, with a few McDonalds, and with cars that look Cuban in their disrepair.  Charles Darwin would have us rest assured, this is what would happen.  Actually, with only the molecular happenstance of Darwin’s (DNA building-blocked) genetic mutation, and his survival-of-the-reproducing, that sand pit is still a sand pit in a million years from now.  Although with help from Creation (perhaps even an inanimate facilitator, one not sitting up in Heaven) to generate phenomenal sensory processors of sight and sound, and life support systems purifying blood et al; the walled-in, fell-behinds will want to know if you would like fries with your order.
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever stopped to think how safe life would be if we were all rubberized?  People would try to pull each other’s heads off but to no avail, and bullets would never penetrate the thick, outer, rubbery flesh.  There would be no murders, anger would be vented without incident, and police would have so little to do.  Perhaps one day our genome will be grafted and reedited with a rubberize gene making such a distant dream become reality.
  • 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 GreatestI never thought I was exceptionally bright, it’s just that were so many that seemed so goddamn stupid.
  • Latest and GreatestI’m going to start Tweeting Tweets so esoteric, I won’t even know what they mean.  Texas 3/10/95.
  • 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?
  • Latest and GreatestThey say, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  Well, there are no Quakers in there either.
  • 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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Other Letter sees its Future  3/29/14.  If you were wondering why OL went offline for a week, my team and myself began work on an artisanal car.  Just as there is artisanal cheese, each artisanal car will be built by hand, made-to-order, and each will be completely unique.  This turns back the hands of time until before Henry Ford’s mass production methods.  It will be called the Chevord, because it will combine the best of both Worlds — the Chevy and the Ford.  The most difficult aspect so far has been getting the body lines straight, finding the right size screw for each hole, and finding all the other necessary parts while managing to stay within budget.

We hope to be shipping the first Chevord in 2020.  If you would like, you can be the first on your street to pre-order your Chevord.  Why not do it today?  Just like Henry’s Model T, the Chevord will be available in luster-free, coal-black, yet with a modern, tan, deep-pile, shag-carpet upholstery.  Let us know what features you’d like, and we’ll see what we can do for you.  Our motto is, “America, you can do better, do better with Chevord.”  That, and: “Don’t expect grease where there shouldn’t be grease — that’s our promise to you...”

With the reorganization, we are scaling back our religious, political, and science reporting.  Frankly, we bit off a little more than we could chew.  So instead, we will be culling the police blotter for stories most important to our core readership, the citizens of Western Suffolk County, Long Island.

Expect hard-hitting stories, as per the usual, but this time out they won’t be about Biblical miscues, or corporate excess, they’ll be about community and police efforts to corral a lost poodle, or how long it took power to be restored to your neighborhood after a lightning storm, compared to the rest of Suffolk County.  We’ll be ripping and reading the ol’ Teletype machine, for news you can use, today and everyday.  We are sure you will enjoy this incarnation of Other Letter, just as much as you might have enjoyed the last one.

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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, she wagered the Crown Jewels.  I called her bluff, she only had a pair of deuces, so she lost all her Jewels to me.

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, which is her sole mission in life as a Crown Regent.  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.

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, they 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, and they promote tourism as well.

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.  In America, given their continuous responsibilities, British Royalty might be seen as mid-level managers (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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There is an end-around to the entire meeting-a-starlet-is-impossible quandary, 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, 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).

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.

Because starlets are always looking for publicity, if you publicize your meetings, say in national trade publications like Variety, they might very well join you at your get-together...

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The historic, world-changer that the discovery of E=MC2 was to Physics, the assembling of the ancient, Biblical, puzzle pieces of the Crucifixion Eclipse will one day be to humanity, not just Christians.  If I am known for one thing in my life, it will most likely be this, my whys and wherefores of the Crucifixion Eclipse.  This is about 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.)


If You’re Hankering for a Lord Fix  4/27/14.  It has been proposed that we may live in a multiverse, we occupy one of a myriad of overlapping universes.  I would suggest we may live in a bi-verse.  There is the universe that we all know of today; and another one that any mortal may never know or see, but is rather passed into if the challenges of the first universe are met.  This second universe is invisible, and considered an impossibility, because our sensory tools — our eyes, our ears, and our instruments — have never penetrated into this next domain.  This unknown universe, and all the powers it possesses, surpasses all we do not realize today as being mundane, and it far exceeds any current human-cerebrum-limited comprehension of physical processes.

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Your pass to a newly edited, list of scripts, now better than ever.  Although looking at the older ones I removed, that may not be saying all that much.


And Now, A Word from our Sponsor...

Because of plagiarism concerns, these are the marketing loglines, 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 six scripts written by the same professional writer who writes Other Letter, at your earliest convenience.  In parentheses after each script, is the dream cast.  This is who each part was written for at the outset.

  1. My Life among the Stars  When you wish upon a Hollywood star, how might those dreams ever come true?  (Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham, and Charlize Theron)
  2. Rebel Rhythm and Blues  When you're out for the count, never count out the Heavens above.  (Ashley Judd and Denzel Washington)
  3. 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)
  4. Their End of Days  Their end of days, may just as well be ours.  (Amanda Seyfried and Bryan Cranston)
  5. 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)
  6. 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)

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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.”

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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!!!

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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 of the Big Show.  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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