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 log lines of the scripts I have on offer here.

Let’s spy on America, shall we?

Here are several U.S. and international web cams of restaurants, town squares, and boardwalks.  Very few there are wearing face masks, so why do we need them?

The boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland

Lots more going on in Ocean City, Maryland — without face masks

Gar Woods Grill & Pier in Lake Tahoe, California

Del Mar Beach South in San Diego County of Southern California (SoCal)

While SoCal has Ken and Barbie hanging ten (toes) over the edge of their surfboards; New England, specifically Vineyard Harbor in Martha’s Vineyard, has boating, and even, yachting.

Pompplein Square in The Netherlands

The Santa Monica pier in California

Venice Beach in California

If you long for another way of life, we have Finse Station in Norway.  In the land of the midnight sun, there’s snow on the ground in July, and no one is wearing face masks.

Mission Beach is another one of those Pacific Coast enclaves where there are very few people, but the real estate is greatly in demand, and every house sells for eight figures.  The town is occupied, but they spend all day inside.  This is the type of hamlet that inspires Twilight Zone episodes.  Where is everyone?  And tons of cash means face masks are entirely optional, if ever worn...

More web cams, anyone?

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

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

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

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

While the inland waters may look placid, don’t let that fool you.  There have been many, many capsizings here along the half mile ferry route known locally as “The Ferry Passage of Death.”  Because of unusual tides and underwater rock formations, these waters are among the most treacherous of any along the entire Atlantic Seaboard.  Maybe you’ll see another Shelter Island Titanic sinking in progress!  Shelter Island itself is a quaint community of 80 people in winter, and nearly a million 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 over fishing 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.  Otherwise, try San Diego or San Fran, or even Miami (this is where Taylor Swift and I had to call it quits — listen to Side B of her Reputation for clarification).

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

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

If road kill is making you ill, 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 other approach is having a police force that regularly tickets speeders.

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 Safely

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.

Get runway ready: On your next catwalk, let your legs do their thing, they know how.  Arms swaying, they keep the beat.  Take it easy, you’re among friends, or you should be.

(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.

Seventeen years of work (the OtherLetter.com domain was first registered in 2004) and I still haven’t gotten any feedback for Other Letter.  Was this a colossal waste of time, money, and effort?  Don’t answer that.
How to Capture Insects

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

This is the game-changer that you’ve needed in large insect game capture.  I was up against the wall today, facing a two-inch long spider with a quarter-sized body.

Most would freak out and call an exterminator, or rush to an emergency room via ambulance, only to fight among the COVID-19 crowd milling around for medical attention and lollypops.  But I stood tall, and threw an old t-shirt over it.

No mess, no insect death, and I emerge unscathed.  When you’re thinking insect search-and-rescue, and not insect search-and-destroy, go with the final line of protection, the shroud toss.

When even the venerable cup-and-card isn’t a solution befitting monstrous insects, because it could involve prey damage, I cannot recommend the t-shirt shroud with any greater certainty...

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

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

Insects left in the house will die of starvation.  If left outside in the winter time, they might freeze to death, or otherwise hibernate where there’s rain and a potential food supply.  During other seasons, a wrong turn into your house would still mean arachnid death, unless you cup-and-card.

This is not some of the best music there is, this is the best music there is.  If you’d care to be precise, this the only music there is.
Other Letter Radio
radio tower

Link to Other Letter’s You Tube play lists.

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.

  • Ramp up your Dead game, including trippy visuals.
  • Is the best Dead show, the one most critics say is the best, the Cornell Barton Hall concert from May the 8th of 1977?  Or was it this one, the January the 8th Madison Square Garden show from 1979?  Is the Barton Hall pick, the product of a lemmings, follow the leader dynamic, which ultimately effected critical judgment?  Would the Dead want to impress Ivy Leaguers more, those future captains of industry, or rank and file Deadheads, after all their major albums had been released, were well-honed, and were still fresh in their heads?  Have a listen to each, and you can decide.  1/02/19.
  • If you’re looking for surfing conditions in Southern Florida, do we ever have your ticketGreen clock 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.  Green clockGreen clockGreen clock 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 CoastGreen clockGreen clockGreen clock, 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 hereGreen clockGreen clock, 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 BerkeleyGreen clockGreen clockGreen clock, California (think NPR without corporate backing).  Wednesday 8PM PST features Dead to the World. EST -3:00
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.

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 really good to be a Democrat.  10/03/13...

Ever since Trump took office, he has been set on dismantling Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The problem that Trump has with the legislation is that it is from the Democratic Party, otherwise there is nothing wrong with it that cannot be fixed.  This has become Trump’s cornerstone “accomplishment.”

The ACA is one immense effort that Trump scuttled as well as exiting the Paris Climate Accords, and backing out of Obama’s hard wrought, Iranian Nuclear Weapons Pact.  Trump is absolutely obsessed with taking down Obama’s legacy.  To quote Trump, who is incredibly lightweight on policy details: “They are all bad, bad, bad deals.  Americans would have paid big, big, big...”  6/07/20.

The planet gets warmer year after year, so everyone needs to use less fossil fuels, so we can all save the planet from greenhouse gases.  An all-species extinction from global bake could be in the cards.  Here’s everything you need to know to join the crusade against fossil fuel consumption, which causes global-warming:
  1. When driving with the air conditioning turned on, set the air to recirculate.  This will cool your car faster, and use less gasoline in the process.  This might also be a good idea when you’re following a diesel-fueled, 18-wheeler, through a tunnel (assuming you push the recirculate button before the stench enters your car, because by then it’s too late).
  2. In early summer (or anytime really), if you can avoid turning on the indoor air conditioning by just opening a window, do so.  If a tactless neighbor complains that you must not have A/C, think of how petty his life is.
  3. Install solar panels on your roof to significantly diminish your reliance on your electric utility.  With a net meter, if you provide the grid with more power than you pull off of it, you’ll actually make money with your electrical system.  Hookup industrial-grade batteries, and after a storm, you’ll have backup power when everyone else loses their electricity.  The batteries take the place of a noxious, gas-powered generator.
  4. If you own investment accounts, receive at most paper delivery of individualized, tax and fund performance statements.  Receive electronic delivery, via email links, of prospectuses, annual reports, and all else.  If everyone did this, the Amazon forest will bounce back from over-logging, as will the pine forests of the Rocky Mountains.  Okay, skip the Amazon and Rocky Mountain parts, but you get the idea.  Give Mother Nature a break.
  5. Say your name is Gwynnie Paltrow, and it’s just another day in Beverly Hills.  You’re putzing around, and then it’s time to head out to the hairdresser, the pedicurist, and the masseuse.  You need to know which sequence of stops minimizes gas consumption, and the time spent on the road.  Don’t get lost in South Central, Gwynnie.  Before heading out of your house, you need to consult trip planning web sites to minimize distance traveled.  Gwynnie, are you listening?  No?  You’re a wiseacre.  Web sites like Mapquest.com, will figure this all out for you.  Otherwise, Gwynnie, you’re traveling back and forth on Rodeo Drive wasting a tank of gas, or you’re lost in South Central where you smell something you cannot identify.  This is the classic traveling salesman problem, Gwynnie, where you minimize travel to your favorite dinner locale, the local McDonalds establishment for orally-administered cooking grease.
  6. Here is the way to save the planet today.  When you make an online purchase, don’t print out the receipt.  Just check your in box, and keep that as the receipt.  Using the printer wastes ink, and consumes paper.  We all know that producing paper fells mighty trees such as sequoias, which are nesting sites for eagles, owls, condors, ospreys, and raptors.  So just because of your wasteful ways, their hatchlings didn’t make it through fledgling season.  Shame on you!!!
  7. When you leave a room, turn off the lights.
  8. Most shower heads have a pressurizing head.  In other words, if you twist it, it will increase the pressure of the water flow.  You will get clean quicker, and the sandblasting afforded will change your skin’s complexion from pock-marked to rosy (if somehow this is not the end result, you might want to visit a dermatologist).  You will use less water, and the water table won’t be emptied nearly as fast.  This is a miracle cure of all that ails most of this Earth.  Pressurizing shower heads include the Waterpik shower massager, among others.  If you’re handy, seal the joint with silicone plumbing film/tape (and of course follow relevant instructions).
  9. 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 everyone will want to see if they can recognize which movie star you are.  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 are now ready for cruising the strip, even if the strip is I-75, and you’re cruising for Ashley Judd (she may be available, we just don’t know if she is this available).
  10. Install a programmable thermostat, so the house is only heated when you are home.  Your pets might object, but giving them extra back rubs will much more than compensate.
  11. 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 inoculations, and your passport!)
  12. 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.  Bus riders should be proud for saving the environment, not ashamed because they don’t own a gas-guzzler.
  13. When possible, use cold water instead of water heated by the oil burner.  This doesn’t apply to showering, although it might if you’re in Marine boot camp and you need to simulate combat situations.  I served in Nam in the Mekong Delta, we showered with cold water, because it made us tougher.
  14. 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 between 88.17% to 96.73% on every trip.
  15. You’ve done more than your share of eco-preservation, so now it’s time to shop for mega-yachts like Hatteras.  Don’t worry, getting around by yacht is a very gas-efficient way to travel.  Every boat over 60-feet-long ships with a super model requiring minimal feeding, and moderate supervision...
  16. 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 every girl somehow looks like Taylor Swift.

(This section is intentionally left blank.)
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A royalty-free image courtesy of Microsoft’s Word, a Bill Gates’ product.  Bill, this is a legal copy.

Duchess Katy grapples with the typical workplace issues, some of which are seen here.  Catherine, your constituency is also interracial.  You take copious notes to devise the perfect solution among competing alternatives.  You seek cooperation from diverse entities, including nations like Trump’s America (at least for the next two months).

When I assembled this image, Catherine, I thought of you as the lady in the blue blouse, and your prince as the gentleman in the blue shirt.  Because this is in Britain, the African British in the middle would be your boss.

Questions for Catherine Middleton concerning workplace satisfaction

I might be entirely mistaken, but is the Duchess’ heart still into her royal engagements?  Has she been rethinking how she wants to spend her life?  Is she just a cheerleader for Britain?  Is her role as Britain’s caretaker getting redundant?  Would she rather have a larger, policy role?

Or could she just do something more interesting than she does today?  Does she always find herself on the outside, because she is always among Royals, but not born one?  As the girl who brought us all the “F” in fun, are things getting to be a bit of a drag?

Duchess Catherine seems unhappy, this must stop

At today’s Remembrance Day, Duchess Katy seemed upset.  I know that I will never meet her, and there is little I can do to alleviate her suffering, but please, whoever is upsetting her, LEAVE HER ALONE!!!  As her compatriot, we must all learn to get along.  This is all I want to say: Whoever is causing her pain, leave her alone!!!  Thank you, Great Britain.  Now, I feel better.  Is France behind this?

Getting Duchess Catherine to Show Up at your Next Party

Wouldn’t Duchess Catherine make your next party or barbecue an event to remember forever?  But how to get her to stop by and say hi?  She doesn’t typically visit people’s homes outside of official functions.

There’s the famous cancer gambit: You’re dying of cancer and your last wish is to have the Duchess send you off to the next world.  She does this all the time for the sickly, but not Stateside.

I really don’t know how to get her to fly across the pond.  Any suggestions are very welcome.  We can do this, America.

When Duchess Catherine looks skyward, is she communicating with her god?

If you’ve been walking the Royal reporting beat as long as I have, you’ll notice this about Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge: She gazes skyward as though she’s thanking god for whatever is in frame in the photo.

For instance, she’ll look straight up when holding her latest newborn.  Is she thanking Baby Jesus for her brood?  Then, walking inside Kensington Palace, again she’ll look up, as in, the commoners haven’t stormed the Palace this time.  Her thought: Blessed be to the god up in the clouds.

At parties of dignitaries, she gets the sign from God herself, that she has had her measure of chitchat.  It is before midnight, so with glass slippers on her feet, her horse-drawn coach pulls up, and can take her home without incident.  God has saved her again...

Just an aside: The entire editorial team at The Other Letter continually endorses eating dairy to shore up and enhance the bosom of those girls who regularly starve themselves for that fashionable emaciated look.

Ms. Middleton, enjoy hot fudge sundaes with the ice cream varieties of your choice, send us the receipts, and our treasurer will gladly disburse checks in your name.  I’m not sure why the Crown of England would need to be reimbursed by a blogger to incentivize her ice cream treats, but the offer stands...

Duchess Catherine Needs To Call It Quits With The Preeminent Blogger

(Editor’s note: I was hacked, and I cannot delete this.  The Feds are looking into this, as are MI-6 across the Pond.  Both suspect Russian KGB operatives in a widening effort to disrupt Western governments.  This evidence will be deleted ASAP, once the truth of this missive is verified.)

[Insert dastardly missive here.]

As suspected, a Soviet operative who worked directly under Vladimir Putin, had orchestrated the whole stunt.  Fortunately, British and American agents were able to dissemble the plot before serious damage was done to Duchess Catherine’s public image.  First and foremost, Catherine’s stock with the English was kept intact.

The Duchess and her moppets were sent into the Kensington Palace underground bunker by security detail, whilst William’s whereabouts remained unknown.  Gratefully, there wasn’t any long term public relations fallout.  It was all contained, not unlike a hard-boiled egg, while the shell was still unbroken.

The operative was led to a field behind Leningrad Square where his laptop was Tommy-gunned to pieces.  He will never hack again, at least with that laptop.

This brings us to the larger issue of what is acceptable topics for her Majesty the Duchess.  I am not her subject, unless there were papers written behind closed doors formalizing dual citizenry with all Americans unbeknownst.

Regardless, am I permitted in this now gray, legal class, of praising Katy, yet also criticizing her?  Can I expect clarification of this question from the State Department, and the American Consulate in London?  My critiques can easily start international incidents with military ramifications.  Sparks will often lead to forest fires.  Just look at World War I.  Look now.

My question then becomes: Am I allowed to exhort her to stop starving herself, and to eat more foods with fat like diary, so that she may enhance her bosom?

Or is this so unbelievably gauche, that I have lost all right to pose the question to her Majesty?  I address this to the quorom-at-large.  Proceed with your deliberations.

Catherine Middleton is an Antidepressant

That’s right, clinically and chemically, Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, betters mood.  In a double-blind study, subjects were shown photos of the Duchess, and their mood was elevated.  Cognitive Psychiatrists speculate that Katy increases dopamine levels in the cerebral cortex of the brain.

Hence, the Katy buzz, as it’s become known.  The other study subjects were shown photographs of Trump.  They experienced headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

Catherine Middleton is now listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) as a video-centric cure to clinical depression.

Our wonder woman, Katy, is she just a Royal Duchess, or is she more of a British super model with good-will ambassador responsibilities?  By the way, does she ever not smile?  Katy Middleton must be the happiest woman on earth.  Catherine has such a buoyant mood, and she is such a charmer.  Catherine enlivens any get-together, among dignitaries, or informally.  I’m smitten, but so is the rest of the world.  Sigh!

Duchess Katy, where have you been?

No phone calls, no cards, no invites to Royal functions, no tony British sports cars with title in my name?  Have you forgotten all we’ve shared?  What has gotten into you, hmm?  Suddenly, making it with a blogger is not your life’s ambition?  What changed?  You did, Katy, and I don’t like it.

If you don’t call me soon, you can forget spending the holidays in this blogger’s man cave.  That’s right, forget the wonderful, American fast food I pick up for the occasion every year.  Who will be missing the fifty sliders sack from White Castle?  That’s right, you will, because I just don’t care anymore.  We got so far, but you had to leave me for that Kensington monster.

I figured I’d take you on, My Fair Lady.  I would have shown you sophistication, couth, how to scuttle your horrific, Cockney accent, but you were intimidated, weren’t you?  Well, go back to selling flowers on the street, Kate, because I am now done with you (unless you’d like to email me).

The Royal Machine is Back in High Gear

Today on Youtube’s Royal Family Channel, we followed Katy and Willie as they drove an 18-wheel lorry throughout London delivering face masks to families in need.

Then they delivered hand sanitizers to row houses in Beckingham, Lickenshire.  Families ran out to greet and mob the Duchess as she hopped off of the Royal lorry.  Katy had to push back the Londoners fighting for the sanitizing gels which were tightly rationed as is everything in Britain, pre and post WWII.

We note the Duchess’ figure, thin as a rail.  Is she too thin?  A note to her gorgeousness, Katy, please plump yourself up for any eventual visit with the King — of blogging.  We’ve already seen proof of concept, Ms. Middleton.  You power-ate, stopped starving yourself, and ta-da, ta-tas.  Everyone in the bleacher seats are looking forward to Act II.

By the way, you and your betrothed, Willie, are the most non-demonstrative couple ever.  It’s as though you just met on the street in the height of the Coronavirus pan(dem)ic.

Onto a mosque which must be extremely sensitive security-wise.  Was there a pack of German Shepherd, bomb-sniffing dogs preceding your visit?  Were you, Willie, and the Muslims, all frisked for errantly-placed explosives?  Couldn’t a Royal couple in an Islamic house of worship be seen as a target by all manner of evil-doers?  We all know that the Islamic community is comprised solely of murderous loony-tunes.

Or Trump is the only one who has to watch his back?  You two are hard targets, you have an Army Battalion with you at every bagel shop you visit.  You’re seen so sympathetically, any one chasing you two around the mosque with a hatchet would be garroted.  (It would be a garrote, because Britain doesn’t believe in killing people with guns, unlike barbaric Trump, and the just as barbaric, Red States, spending their lives playing cowboys and indians.)

Hold Still Proves the Brits are Going Backwards as a People

The British contest, Hold Still, is Duchess Catherine’s foray into judging photographic images.  Most surprisingly, there wasn’t a single pornographic image among the top 100 “winners.”  Another disappointment: Because the British don’t yet have any mobile devices, it was decided to make the contest solely from film cameras.

At the unveiling of the photographic finalists, Katy admitted that Americans would have done a much better job, and that she was ashamed of the entire effort.  To quote Kate:

“How could we be proud as a nation?  The Americans beat us in every way, even in the photographic realm.  We suck as a people.  We really do, we suck.  We’re a disgrace.  We’re hideous.

“Americans even play better soccer.  Their pubs are better.  They play better darts.  The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, Genesis, The Who, Yes and Pink Floyd, were all lame-ass excuses for Milli Vanilli.  The Brits make me nauseous.  I had hoped that my Lilliputian exercise would bring pride to many tiny island nation, but we all blew it.  How many ways can I say that I am ashamed, so ashamed.

“Thirty-eight-years ago, Mum was thinking of having me in New York City.  Damn you, Mum.  I could have been a high-class American eating such wonderful things as the McDonald hamburger, especially the Half-Pounder with CheeseFish and chips, crumpets, are all rubbish, Mum.”

So much for Duchess Catherine’s, now disastrous, British esteem-building, exercise.  Americans, you may resume eating your Half-Pounder with Cheese.

Kate Middleton Endorses Killing Defenseless Animals
(or Just Enjoys Watching The Proceedings)

Kate Middleton went grouse hunting with her privileged brood.  Is this hunting for sustenance, or is it just “for the thrill of killing crap”?  Stateside, we are all very disappointed in the Royals, and Kate’s participation in animal cruelty and sadism.

Kate, this is why Britain is a third-rate power.  You kill innocent animals without any sense of guilt (America has laws about guns).  This is a typical Saturday for you and William: “What and where shall we kill today?...  Okay, capital idea, Hobbs’ll fit the assault rifle on the Range Rover, and we shall have a blast shooting fox, pheasant, anything and everything that moves, that we chase into the corral!!  Hardy, har, har!!”

Kate explained to me why it is so important that her offspring learn to hunt: “Our German friends across the Channel have a word for why hunting is so enjoyable.  That word is schadenfreude.  It means enjoying the suffering of others.  Of course animals suffer, but this is the joy in hunting.  I want Prince George and Prince Louis to enjoy what the Germans do, and did during WWII.  The terror in the prey’s eyes, human or non-human, is the greatest joy both we British and Germans know.

“Auschwitz wasn’t the happiest place unless you believed in schadenfreude.  Then it was wondrous, full of sadism, and inflicting pain and suffering on the defenseless.  Treblinka is my kinda place.  I want to set an example for my British Isles that I fully endorse schadenfraude and sadism.”

Catherine and I have gotten quite buddy-buddy over the last, several years, but I have canceled birthday party plans, and I will no longer be attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  You’re messing with the wrong guy, Katy.

Catherine Middleton, I’m serious, you gotta put down your rifle...

Americans are the Ones with the Inferiority Complex, Duchess Catherine

The Duchess of Cambridge, and the Great Britain that she so tirelessly and faithfully represents, suffers from an inferiority complex.  They do have a pronounced tendency in thinking that America does everything better.  Katy, ’tis true, the States have become a zoo.  The angry man at the top is an embarrassment, but you and your people already knew this.

We envy your civility and kindness which you so patently exemplify.  If you were Stateside, and our people woke up with your perpetual smile, we would all fall right in line.  Everyone would learn to respect one another pronto.  We could deliver on our promise given by our Founding Fathers.  We would not only pursue happiness, we would have it in our own hands to keep, unending.

The Catherine-Meghan Cat Fight

There has been much media speculation claiming that Duchess Catherine and former-Duchess Meghan are at each others’s throats, and this is why Meghan left the House of Windsor.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  They are not sworn enemies, they are absolutely congenial in every appearance together.  These fictions, splashing across the front page of every newspaper, are precisely why Meghan left the Crown in the first place.

If you follow Ms. Middleton like I have, you know that she is a major league pussycat, not a fighting tom for cat fights.  Katy has trouble shooing flies off of the table, assuming the Duchess actually had flies, which of course she doesn’t.

The Duchess got bigger where it counts

That’s right!  Either Catherine had them augmented over the summer holiday, or she has been downing at least a weekly, double stack of griddlecakes, with maple syrup, bacon, and eggs, at the Cornwall IHOP.  Let’s all celebrate Katy’s end of starving herself in favor of having a figure.  The best just keeps getting better.  Sigh...

Duchess Catherine’s Dark and Sordid Past

To her closest friends, Katy is known for her hard drinking, and just as hard living.  In fact, she was an exotic dancer, and cannabis supplier, in Chelsea before she landed William.  The Prince saved her from the dark side of English life, and plunked her down into a palace along with a princess, fairy-tale ending...

Or this is the story I had always heard.  The real truth is that she never abandoned the underbelly of life, its dark side.  After the kids are put in bed for the night, Katy slips away by chauffeured Rolls, to entertain Arabian sheiks with exotic dancing.  Catherine rules her weed concession with an iron fist, and deals top-end sinsemilla to the House of Windsor.

The Duchess could never afford all her haute couture dresses with just her stipend from QEII.  She must have this questionable, outside income to continue her exorbitant lifestyle.  Times just don’t ever change over at Kensington Palace.  A Royal princess must prostitute herself, and deal drugs, for silken finery, and to push the edge of the envelope in the fashion world...

Ms. Catherine Middleton is the Mister Rogers of Britain

Catherine just gave her sermon to the kids from Ms. Middleton’s Neighborhood.  The Duchess is an absolute doll at these school assemblies, at anything really.  She is so soothing, pleasant, and even uplifting.  One side note, her British grammar is different.  Regarding kids’ artwork, Katy often says, “Well done, you!...”

The Duchess (by my count, Katy is the only Duchess) recently endorsed the national launch of Tiny Happy People.  This is a BBC platform providing resources and support to parents and careers of very young children.  She called this “Gold dust for parents.”

Ms. Middleton may also appreciate another British show for toddlers from the 1990s, entitled Teletubbies.  Katy, see if you can hold back tears when Tinky Winky signs off with: “Teletubby, bye, bye...”  Stateside, conservative “preacher” Jerry Falwell tried to shut down the show, by warning parents:

“That Tinky Winky could be a covert homosexual symbol, because ‘he is purple, the gay pride colour, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle: the gay pride symbol.’  The BBC made an official response, explaining that ‘Tinky Winky is simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag.’  Ken Viselman of Itsy-Bitsy Entertainment commented, ‘He’s not gay.  He’s not straight.  He’s just a character in a children’s series.’”

Here’s a few episodes of Teletubbies.  You can decide for yourself if British children’s TV is aiming to make kids gay worldwide, or if Falwell and his Christianity is just a load of buzz-killing horsecrap.  (Fast forward beyond the kid cameos, because the Teletubbies are the real stars.)

Teletubbies was a psychedelic, cult classic among adults, especially college students.

Sweet as Apple Pie

Duchess Catherine leads the league in cuteness, sweetness, and wholesome, great looks.  Alas, someone met up with her before me.  Don’t cry over the one girl who can never be yours.  Sigh, sigh, and sigh again...

Catherine’s betrothed, slick Willie, should consider sticking to basics.  Katy, after all, I am a blogger, I see everything at profound depth...

Ms. Catherine Middleton, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, recently completed a solo mission to Bangalore.  Making this most remarkable was that the maternity ward there was short-staffed doctors because of COVID-19.  To the surprise of veteran Royalty watchers, Katy had to roll up her sleeves and perform C-sections on a dozen women.  As it turns out, she took obstetrics in her Senior Year at Saint Andrew’s — and she aced her Ob/Gyn O-Levels.

Here’s the transcript of her life-saving work in a role few could foresee Katy would take on.  Catherine is rarely seen as aggressive as she is here, in the operating room theater, where every second counts [Bangalorean medical staff comments were redacted to reduce their humiliation — first cries of newborns were considered to be generic and already fully anonymized]:

Can I see an aspirator?...  Then what do you have?...  Okay, we’ll go with the syringe, but gees I’m really handicapped here...  WAAH!!!!...  Okay, one down, eleven to go.  I’m game.  I got this...  Nurse, why is this scalpel rusty, hmm?...  WAAH!!!!...  Let’s zipper her up.

Onto number three.  Royal Air Force One takes off in three hours, let’s get this done.  I got commitments here.  Get me clean scrubs — NOW!!!!  Is this a hospital or what, hmm?  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  WAAH!!!!...  And a thirteenth for good luck.

I am outta here.  Nurse, suture up this last one.  You just watched Royalty do their magic, follow suit for the British Empire.  I’m bound for Mumbai to end poverty there.  Godspeed!...

Ms. Catherine Middleton, Athletic Legend

Just when you thought perfection couldn’t get any more perfect we have this: Ms. Middleton was on the first 11 of the Marlborough Academy, field hockey team.  Now, hold onto your hats, folks.  Catherine was captain of the varsitycaptain, mind you.

She wasn’t any lollygagging, official school, hot chick (well, she was the hot chick, but still).  Yet she did lots of stuff, like being captain of an athletic team.  She devised strategy, as well as keeping the team cohesive, and plowing forward in major contests for English bragging rights.  This woman just exudes healthiness and leadership capabilities.  Sigh!

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Whatcha got, Katy?

I won’t be posting about Duchess Katy anymore.  My unrequited desire for her will drive me mad — if it hasn’t done so already.

In my stead, and picking up my slack, we have Gwyneth Paltrow producing a weekly video report on Goop’s latest, GP’s Nightly News.  It’ll be entitled, Whatcha got, Katy?  Gwynnie will check out stuff that the Duchess brings to the broadcast truck that’s parked outside Kensington Palace.

Gwyneth will begin each piece with her signature, “Whatcha got, Katy?”

Then Gwynnie will launch into her trademark celebrity patter.  In the pilot, Katy will have a basket of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers from the Royal garden to display.  On the second episode, Ms. Middleton will take Ms. Paltrow drag racing in her brand new, Rolls-Royce motor car.

Catherine will show off the Crown Jewels that she will be wearing in town that day, or just around the house, um, Palace.  In the season one closer, Duchess Catherine and Gwynnie grocery shop together while the Duchess wears the Elizabethan Sapphire Tiara, slave-prospected, from the 16th Century.

Gwyneth closes each show by saying: “Whatcha got, Katy?  Well, that’s what Katy got.  Good night, Kate, and good night, America, from London.  Kids, it’s almost bedtime, put the house in lock down mode...”  Netflix has ordered two seasons worth of episodes, thirty altogether.

Duchess Catherine, or just plain Wonder Woman?

Katy just held a conference call with a sober house in England.  Unlike her betrothed, she mixes well with anyone, she is such a delight.  Sadly, yours truly is smitten, but I guess me and her aren’t in the cards.  We must be star-crossed lovers, if only she knew I existed.  Wait, I’ll sky- write over Kensington Palace: “You belong on Long Island with Other Letter, Catherine...”

Duchess Catherine, before you join me, you must...

Catherine, I am offering you a unique opportunity.  I will allow you to abdicate the British Crown, become a British expatriate in America, and live with me in my high-tech home in suburban Long Island.  Amenities include: 24/7 Internet access, phone service, and cable TV.  Katy, please ask about the availability of the off-site pool, and polo pitch.

That’s right, you and me, in the Land of the Free (well, in light of recent events, maybe less free).  I will let you cross the Pond to join me in resplendent America, with all its culture, class, and sophistication.  You know you’re wasting your time in the United Kingdom.  America has the real royalty.  Okay, Ivanka Trump may be royalty on the cheap, and no one has ever accused Trump having any facsimile to the House of Windsor.  But stop and consider Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon.

Okay, getting back to what you’ll need to put on offer.  Think of what I always wanted from you, what you always wanted to give me, and what we needed to cement our relationship.  That’s right, more meat on your bones!  You need to gain ten to fifteen pounds!  Put on some pounds, Duchess Catherine.  Please, your Royal hotness.  Add Mallomars to your daily diet real soon (85% are sold in the New York-Metro area, so at least we have that base covered)...

Catherine and Willie Match Up is Nolo Contendre

Catherine and Willie get competitive with one another, but it’s no contest.  I know I’m breaching protocol, and I could well start an international incident, but Katie is the brains of the outfit, and of course, the looks, too.  She has the most interesting stuff to say, and is the most compassionate and tolerant.  If I was William, I would not let her out of his sight, because even married with kids, she is the Crown Jewel of the British Empire, and she looks like she’s ready to trade up.

Catherine outdoes Diana Every Day of the Year

Don’t worry, Duchess Catherine, by my calculus, Princess Di was a mere distraction, you are the real, Royal superstar.  You are the visionary that Diana could only pretend to be.  Whereas Diana failed her O-Levels twice (would you believe?), yours were nearly perfect, yes?

In fact, Catherine earned a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree.  Duchess Catherine, let’s dwell on this once again, Princess Diana, your predecessor in the hearts of the United Kingdom, failed her O-Levels — twice!  You are the popular one, Catherine, not Diana!  You have won our hearts and minds, Catherine, not Diana!

Duchess Catherine let me know where she stood in the endless rivalry between herself and Princess Diana.  This is what she had to offer me:

“I can beat her inside in the paint, take her outside for the three.  Take her downtown, coast-to-coast.  Anywhere on the court, I have her dead to rights.  I’ve studied the Di tapes, and she depends on crowd support, I don’t.

“Diana had one game plan, and she stuck with it, opening to closing buzzers.  I am better prepared, I adapt to changes on the Royal court.  I understand how to win here, home and away.  Take it to the road, and I’m still formidable.

“Dish outside, inside, tip offs, I have every facet of the game covered.  I always know what to expect, but Diana, she never broke a sweat in training camp.  She was so nonchalant.  Anyone can tell that I was a Girl Scout, and are we Scouts ever prepared...”

Her Royal Highness, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
(not Tatler’s sarcastic, “Catherine the Great”)

Tatler just published a lengthy hack job on Duchess Catherine.  Without sources, their June, front page story amounts to rubbish.  The writer of the piece only quotes from: “one of her circle...  a friend...  a courtier...  another friend... another courtier... one of her group...  friend of the Cambridges...  one mother at Thomas’ [the Royals private school]...  a medium...”  There is not a single quote with attribution.

If those responsible for tarnishing the Royal image, are so close to the Royal couple, why on Earth are they doing their best to knock them down?

Then Tatler also possessed the gall to say: “both William and Kate consult psychics.”  Yahoo and Cosmopolitan ran with that libel, and reprinted it.  Scum reproduces.  The standards of journalism for celebrity reportage remain at rock bottom over at Tatler.

British tabloids, beginning with the Murdochs’, couldn’t get any more sensational.  Reporters should gather, then report, the facts.  Tatler has their own agenda though.  They have created fictional, and fanciful, libel, including the claim that Catherine implored Meghan to wear tights to her own wedding, in the summertime.

In a rare criticism of the press, Kensington Palace officials denounced Tatler with this comment: “This story contains a swathe of inaccuracies and false misrepresentations which were not put to Kensington Palace prior to publication.”

The Murdoch family created the market for tabloid sensationalism.  Other rags quickly joined in hurting the innocent.  If they were legit, they could eventually land the Royal interview of the decade.  Instead, these supermarket checkout circulars have founded an entire, ill-begotten genre of sleazy, pseudo-journalism.

American celebrity magazines like People, Hello, and The National Enquirer rely on the same techniques when they lie, or at least attribute never-named sources.  Britain is much more blatant about it though, they go for blood.  The tabloids have gotten away with it for so long that they are given free rein by British Parliament.

The lines are well-defined from a legal perspective.  The truth is protected, free speech; hurtful, defamatory lies are prosecutable.

When Kensington and Buckingham Palaces are shuttered forever, Tatler, Murdoch, and their ilk, will be to blame.  Harry and Meghan’s abdication were only the first wave.

To put to rest the Tatler’s take down of HRH Catherine Middleton, let us return fire at the faggots over at tattle-tale (their alias).  You can just tell from the writing that they are gay losers.  Not gay in the homosexual sense of the word, just that they cannot make it with anyone.  They have office meetings where assistants are whipped by senior management.  This frolic is called the Monday morning staff meeting.

The environment there is so repressive, and stifling, that suicides are a common occurrence and listed in daily, department emails.  The entire staff over at Tatler is so absolutely desperate to get ahead in their psychotic, little, tabloid world, that they have planned murders in an attempt to get the scoop on major killings.

They all applaud the blood harvest, and run to the bathroom where they all wanker themselves in a circle screw.  Everyone working there is male, or female witches, who have never had any relationship with not only women, but with anyone at all.

Males are required to wear pink, and females, black.  Those who don’t observe the dress code meet in the human cockfighting ring in the employee gym where they claw for pound notes thrown by senior management.

Promotion is based on the employee’s level of depravity, and their callousness towards the human race.  The avatar over at Tatler is the rat.  They all wish they were German, and served der Fuehrer in World War II.  There will be no walkout at Tatler over Catherine’s take down, because German rats have a passion for hurting women.

Is there anything Ms. Middleton cannot do?

“5-5 snakes alive.”  “6-2 bickety-boo.”  Duchess Catherine just called a game of bingo.  How much bingo could Catherine have possibly played that she knows the calls, the nicknames?  I have no clue how she would know this.  She plays bingo inside Kensington Palace unbeknownst?  I didn’t even know there were bingo nicknames, and a bingo lingo.

I would bet that the Duchess doesn’t need the cash payouts of playing bingo.  Are Britons a nation of bingo-players?  Is it a tax-free, gambling fixture in Church, like it is in America?  Who can answer these pressing questions?  I’d ask Catherine but she’s always too busy to return my calls.  She makes my heart melt regardless.

Reading British Tea Leaves

The “Kensington Royals” Instagram page, is now “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge” Instagram page.  We’ve been chatting by the water cooler wondering what the significance of this name change is.

Does this mean that the dynamic duo are tighter than ever, despite a recent Mental Health Awareness Week post where she looks near tears, and without her betrothed?

Is senior Windsor management ratcheting up the pressure for more Kensington unity?  No, this proves that they are enjoying every matrimonial minute together.  Catherine is very happy in her marriage, elated really, no, she’s ecstatic married to her Prince Charming; and Willie, he’s nice to her...

Unwelcome Advances

Looking through this week’s email, I came across this:

To Other,

Have I addressed this to the owner of Other Letter?  Okay, then, please cease and desist all pleasantries directed to my personage.  I am a married woman, I am a Royal, so I am stations and stations and stations above you in stature.  You are hoi polloi, and I am House of Windsor.  See the distinction?  I am way up here, and you are way down there.  I do not like using such harsh terms, but I am forced to in matters such as these.

Because, now, my husband is wondering why, dear lord, I have content on the Internet about me of a flattering nature?  What should I tell him?  That I have interest in a blogger?  Never, never, never.  You are way down there, and I, I am way up here.  That is the nature of the beast, I am sorry to say.  This is reality, this is the modern world.  I hate to inform you of this, but ’tis true.  I am very, very important.  Although I’m not told I am, well, ever.

Before we say goodbye until the end of time, I need to get to the bottom of your unrequited love for me.  You exaggerate about me, yes?  I am not as “charming” or “beautiful” as you say, yes?  But not of concern, you must no longer post about my, what, my “femininity”?  I will read a few lines of yours, I am “gorgeous”?  I am proof of the existence of God and Creation’s majesty?  You would give me comfort?  Why do you say such things about me, Other, if you don’t mean them?

The Queen has been asking who this online personage might be.  I blush a shade of crimson, because I, I, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cannot have dalliances with any of you commoners.  Stammering among the lower classes is so not allowed for those of my station.  I’m so ashamed.  Is this understood?  God damn you!!!  I hate you!!!  Good day!!!  Am I really gorgeous though?  Just let me know that, please...

The Future Queen of England
The Present Duchess of Cambridge
Always Ms. Catherine Middleton

How does Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, do it?

I watch almost all her appearances, and I cannot remember, not even once, that Catherine Middleton has ever said anything inappropriate.  Catherine is always pleasant, direct if need be, yet always insightful, and attentive, but never boastful.  I wish I could say the same about the guy beside her at all these functions.  Not that I’m at all jealous (why would I ever be?), but compared to her, he can be a bull in a china shop.  Compared to anyone, Britain’s Duchess is really a class act.

VE Day, 75 Years Later, this May the Eighth of 2020

Britain had the fight of their lives in WWII, whereas America was more the last line of defense.  Nazi Germany was across the Channel for the British; for the Americans, the Luftwaffe and Storm Troopers were on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

We remember their valiant fight, ending with Victory in Europe Day, seventy-five-years-ago today.  If my wishful thinking ever became reality, and I one day cross the Pond to meet a most special enchantress, I need to impress her with my understanding of her nation’s history.  Then here is Winston Churchill’s, bigger-than-life oratory (Trump, eat your little heart out):

“...We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...”

Duchess Kate Poses Nude for Great Britain

Duchess Catherine has initiated Keep Still, a photography initiative brought with administrative assistance of the Crown.  Excuse me, my crackerjack staff just informed me that the name of the bold initiative is Hold Still.  The former name implies that this is some sort of punishment for unsuspecting photo subjects.

But my point is, and believe me, I do have one this time, is that Catherine will be attempting to raise the morale of the rank and file Englander.  How will she do this?  She will be posing nude in select Royal portraits.

I caught up with the Duchess on the polo pitch in Dorsey.  I needed to get the scoop behind her decision to shed her skivvies and appear in the buff.  Here’s what she had to say:

“I felt sorry for the lower class Briton, the hard up for romantic adventure, so I found a suitable location to get naked, and a photographer who knew her stuff.  The results were quite satisfactory in my humble opinion.

“I knew that Queen Elizabeth II would look askance on a portfolio of Royal nudes, so I tried to keep it tasteful, and I’d say I succeeded.  Me and the photog tried to accentuate my assets, especially my smile.  I tried to make it cheesecake, but not raunchy.

“I didn’t find this to be exploitive at all, because I was doing this for my country, my British Isles, and I am a bit of an exhibitionist.  We’re all going through a tough time right now, so a nude spread was the least I could do for everyone on the front lines halting this rampant flu, all running around taking temperatures, handing out aspirins, and such.”

Catherine Middleton, she is a British heroine, and an American one as well.  Keep up the great work, my Duchess...

Yet More Homage to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge

I’m looking at photographs of Duchess Catherine, and what guy wouldn’t wish she was smiling at him?  She could melt all our quarantined, frozen hearts.  Ms. Middleton is the kind that if someone bothered her, that someone is in for big trouble — all of Britain and beyond has her back.  Duchess Catherine is magical, isn’t she?  With her very sweet, girlish, and womanly ways, Ms. Middleton has touched all of our hearts.

As part of a feature for the Other Letter, I had Skyped the Duchess of Cambridge several times, and the discussion turned to raising her Royal heirs.  She said that Princess Charlotte’s agenda is to topple Parliament by age thirteen, end climate change, and get good grades in arithmetic.  Charlotte’s already got some of the wholesome likability that she must have picked up from her mom.  For a five year old, she is very surprisingly at ease with the public.

Prince George seems to still be digesting what to make of all the paparazzi following his family everywhere.  Prince George is ahead of Princess Charlotte in the line of succession to the Crown, of which he reminds her at every family meal.

Duchess Catherine has a very petite bosom, but she is still unusually attractive.  (Let’s broach an indelicate subject: smaller can mean no support.)  One part of her appeal is that her smile beams, she could melt icebergs with it.

What’s more, Catherine’s always upbeat, she is never down, or if she is, she waits until she gets back to Kensington Palace to start screaming, or drink a six-pack of Heineken (or gin and tonics?)  She seems like she lays off the sauce by now, especially with kids running around.  She has such an aura, a magnetism.  Is anyone capable of resisting her charms?

Catherine is always painted as a fashion or beauty icon, which I guess she appreciates, but from all I’ve seen, she has a really great personality.  A beauty icon is a bit shallow of a moniker, when she captures people’s hearts with her warmth, goodness, and femininity...

Blogging Standards and the Duchess of Cambridge

When one enters the field of blogging, one is soon aware of all the risks involved.  Any flattering remarks in a breaking story might be misconstrued as being romantic in nature, when they are only meant to demonstrate character.  Readers might express consternation, or get alarmed over any apparently lecherous treatment of Duchess Kate, who is, of course, above reproach by the pedestrian hoi polloi.

When the Duchess looks phenomenal, decorum and restraint is in order.  While I may casually note that she is the center of attention at any event she attends; I cannot say that “Catherine was drop-dead gorgeous at the Save the Arctic Penguin Banquet.”

While most see Duchess Catherine as off the market, via subtle, cues, this blogger has his doubts.  There was the snub of her husband a few months back, and the rumors of his infidelity.

As an extremely serious journalist, I know that every comment, every inference must be fact-checked for veracity, every show of emotion in a story must be kept in check, especially amorous ones.

The problem at this media outlet, is that fact checkers are not always available to take on writing assignments.  There is a significant work backlog at The Other Letter for fact checkers and proofreaders.  The Other Letter operates on a shoestring budget.  This hinders our research department as it tracks down valuable tips, and limits the time allotted for the editing division to catch all those damning typos before deadline.

My point, and I do have a point, is that if a reporter at this blog hits on an unavailable Duchess, it might easily set off an international incident, perhaps sending Britain and America into trans-Atlantic war, even dragging into combat, France, Germany, and nearby Luxembourg.  If apologies are in order for any prior indiscretions, they are hereby offered.  If not, visit Long Island some time soon, Catherine.  The seafood is great, the mood is cordial, and the mass transit is mostly on time.

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Discover life-saving shortcuts for your iPod/iPhone/iPad and Windows PC.  Android is Google, so no one cares about its shortcuts.

Shortcut KeyIts Purpose
iPod and iPhone
Hold down Home ButtonEngage Siri, the automated, voice-activated wizard
Hold down Home Button, speak “Play [radio station]”For instance, “Play WCBS FM” or “Play 98.1 Oldies”
On/Off switch + Home ButtonScreen capture into Photos app
2x press Home Button & swipe, then tapRetrieves recently opened apps
Press Home ButtonExit current app
(Any) Browser
ctrl + “u”See the HTML code that the browser is rendering
ctrl + tabCycle through previous browser tabs
ctrl + link-clickOpen new browser tab with the link
alt + enterOpen new browser tab with the URL in the address bar
ctrl + “t”Open new blank browser tab
ctrl + “n”Open new browser window
ctrl + “h”Open history of pages visited
Space barToggles pause and resume play in Youtubes
ctrl + “w”Close browser tab
ctrl + shift + “t”Reopen last closed browser tab
F5Browser page refresh
F3 or ctrl + “f”Browser find in page
ctrl + “`”Browser last tab toggle (accent)
ctrl + enter Adds “.com” to the end of a web site address
ctrl + scroll-wheel Browser magnify or de-magnify
alt + numeralSpecial characters list here
alt + tabCycle previous Windows
Ctrl + Shift + EscTask Manager
Windows key + “x” Power User Menu, Control Panel, File Explorer et al
alt + F4Close Window
alt + space bar Window manipulation (then “n,” minimizes window)
Windows-key + “e”File explorer
Windows-key + “r”Command line
ctrl + “p”Print page
ctrl + “c”Copy selection
ctrl + “x”Cut selection
ctrl + “v”Paste selection
Double-click a wordThe entire word is selected
2x-click a word, shift, then a 2nd wordThe entire phrase is selected
Triple-click a wordThe entire containing paragraph is selected
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The Food Court for Thought

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

(Food for Thought has been made squeaky clean for the expected visit by none other Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.  The Duchess, by the way, takes her responsibilities very, very, seriously, although no one is quite sure what those responsibilities actually are.)

beacon invisible except to web stats
  • Latest and GreatestFor those getting ready to watch lots and lots of porn, remember, it’s all fake and lame-brained.  The “actors” and “actresses” are not volunteers, they are being paid to perform.  Porn can lead to dependence or impotence, and it’s typically very exploitive.  More often than not, it’s a dead end for all concerned.
  • Latest and GreatestCan necessity inform evolution and the physical?  Is there a linkage between life’s designs and the need for those designs?  Or do miraculously complex biological processes like thought and reproduction, arrive by grossly simple, random DNA, genetic mutations?
  • Latest and GreatestDresses are ventilation and voyeurism in one, very convenient package.
  • Latest and GreatestThose maligned can prove by example that they don’t deserve being maligned, that they are beyond the aggression and the name-calling.
  • Latest and GreatestThe term, “Indian giver,” adds insult to injury.  Native settlers never gave their land away.  How can they be criticized for wanting back what was stolen from them?
  • Latest and GreatestMom’s 1930s:  “Do be a do be, don’t be a don’t be.”  “Where’d you go?  Here and there...  What’d you do?  This and that...”
  • Latest and GreatestMy Dad boxed in the Army, and a guy who helped him train had a story about title-holders:  There’s a guy out there who can really do damage to you.  And there’s a guy who can easily deck him; and a slugger who can knock that guy out in the first round; and so on, and so on forever, until you have the world-class heavyweights like Jake Lamotta...  This can be applied to most any one-on-one sport, or in a stretch, to team sports.  In other words, as good as you think you are at your chosen sport, there are plenty out there who can whup your ass but good.  These matchups are on the days that you should have never gotten out of bed.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen in doubt, follow the instructions.  They are most typically, carefully prepared for completeness.  When you’re only left to your own devices, think to yourself: “What would MacGyver do?
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever felt that no matter how hard you try, you have completely alienated or offended everyone else?  What’s more, you are the most agreeable person anywhere?  Welcome to this blogging world o’ mine.
  • Latest and GreatestLife can often seem like a maze.  Have you run up against the same dead end again and again?  Do you know of anyone who might show you how to extricate yourself?  Think, think hard.  Ask around.  Brainstorm.  Isn’t there anyone who’s dealt with your disconnect?  Or is there a group that has the answers?  Don’t be a doomed rat perpetually going ’round and ’round in a maze.
  • Latest and GreatestSocial media is such a weak tool of communication.  Posts are typically in the form of extremely abbreviated, easily misunderstood, letters to the editor, and are only exclamation points for the latest outrage.  These policy statements by Trump (and the Left, too) comprise all of one or two sentences.  That celebrities such as Harvard grad, Ashley Judd, bother with it, when their micro-communiques say so little, makes you wonder if they’ve ever evaluated their idle Tweeting for real impact.  Is there anything said in just two sentences that’s worth saying?
  • Latest and GreatestGiven my admittedly weak market position at The Other Letter, if I’m not as loud as f*ck, or as a Boeing 747 jet engine at takeoff, I’m not doing my job.  Unlike The Times and Fox, Other Letter is not written to make powerful friends, and financial connections, it is only here to present the truth to those who run the tables...
  • Latest and GreatestIs your concern, one that a consensus of humanity often needs to resolve?  If there isn’t anyone dealing with this issue, then why are you?
  • Latest and GreatestFaith can be found in the consensus of spirits among humankind, but can never be found in the clouds over our heads.  Good will is a product of collective bonhomie, not Baby Jesus, the puppet master, pulling strings from the clouds.  A god throwing lightning bolts from a throne above us (and everywhere at once), answering our passive prayers is an impossibility; but our own efforts, our active intervention, can get real results.
  • Latest and GreatestComputer services and equipment, as well as mobile devices, were created to enhance life, not make it more difficult.  Although there are times, when you’re sure that the latter was true, that tech was sent here, straight up from Hell.
  • Latest and GreatestIn spite of widely-held opinion, zoos do have valid functions.  They have grounds that can nurse the injured of a species back to health.  Zoos preserve species against extinction in the wild.  Zoo animals cannot just be released into the wild, because any creature in a zoo is effectively domesticated, and might have a great deal of trouble reacclimating into the wild.  Just a few thoughts to consider, because a well-run zoo is not so cruel.
  • Latest and GreatestIf we were to think of life as just a game, where we were only players running around a game board, couldn’t it lighten our burden?  Instead of life and death stakes, we’d only be fighting for scorecard advantages.  The metaphor can be extended across all games.  Chess for intellectual combat.  Clue for when there’s a lightly-fought contest.  Cards have a number of analogies like the tactical gaming of poker, with hand ranks, or the completely, non-adversarial games like gin rummy.  Maybe this is really how we should view our lives, not as stressful, real-life, head-to-head fighting, but rather, as a bit of enjoyable gamesmanship.
  • Latest and GreatestBesides thinking of life as a game, think of the mean green as artificial, play money, because it is.  Money is simply an abstraction.  Paper money is without intrinsic value, it’s worthless.  Green, engraved currency is hardly worth the paper it’s printed upon.  It is a human-fabricated, abstract, store of value.  Money only has value, when society agrees it is worth something.
  • Latest and GreatestEnergies coalesce randomly to form weather patterns, or in a much more organized degree to create biological systems.  Both are manifestations of energy, although striking up conversation with a cloud may not be worth your while, unless you’re devoutly religious, and the cloud is where your god is located.
  • Latest and GreatestIn business (and probably in life), fight the battles that you have the best chance of winning...
  • Latest and GreatestGrowing up, I was taught to be tolerant, and to treat everyone equally.  There was, and remains, a tendency of some to solely gravitate towards the Aryan, All-American types.  Those dead-center centrists can be stultifyingly boring.
  • Latest and GreatestI generally don’t get too bent out of shape after writing hard-edged commentary here.  Not many read this (that I am aware), and if they hate what they read here (assuming they can read), they don’t know where I live.  Or if they do know where I live, I sincerely doubt that they want to do damage to a blogger/screenwriter.
  • Latest and GreatestWhile life can be unfair, there will always be degrees of unfairness.  For instance, anyone could be from an abusive family, instead of a stable one.  They could run away and live on the street.  Anyone could be subjected to mental illness or drug addiction, and find themselves homeless.  You are more fortunate than you will ever know.
  • Latest and GreatestSocial media is a party that everyone can crash, and always does.  If Hollywood people and anyone else, really wanted to make a statement, then they would forget asocial media, and learn to code (or hire someone to code) their own websites.  I’ve mentioned the alternative enough: Have an option to prevent replies both at the follower and at the leader level.  Today, it’s a scary, free-for-all zoo, one counting down to its own obsolescence.  You need to brace yourself if you post anything the Trump idiots won’t like.
  • Latest and Greatest
    “Son, med student.”
    “Me, med student.”

    Give a doctor a notebook, and ask him or her to write ten, full pages of everything they know about medicine.  They can’t do it.  Then what are they worth, if they cannot even produce these ten pages?  Well, then they’re not worth the six, seven, or eight figure incomes they get today.

  • Latest and GreatestLet’s review: How high are the barriers of entry to getting tattoos, or doing drugs?  That’s right, the only barrier is whether or not you have the cash to blow on idiotic and potentially addictive, or even deadly purchases (addictive or deadly in the case of drugs).
  • Latest and GreatestEach of us are stewards given charge of nature and its precious resources.  Except for hunters, that is.  Their function is to heartlessly destroy and decimate woodland creatures.
  • Latest and GreatestFright is the best laxative, although dried fruit such as dried plums, or prunes, work well, too.  Fresh fruit may be even better as it’s, well, fresher.
  • Latest and GreatestWouldn’t you rather serve the greater good of humanity, or creation-at-large, than one, male God, up in the clouds?
  • Latest and GreatestTo the mosquito, you are the pest, not the other way around...  That said, the next time you swat and kill a mosquito, stop to consider what a meager life they have.  They spend all day looking for blood and escaping death (not unlike Trump).  They are probably very happy when you kill them, in the split second between swatting and life termination, that is.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you’re straight, and you get hit on by a gay or lesbian (that is, you get an unwelcome come on); then just don’t engage, look down or look away.  That should be sufficient enough of a clue showing disinterest.  This would work just as well on unwelcome straights, hitting on gays and lesbians.  Do gays or lesbians ever get beat up, simply because straights don’t know how to prevent their advances?
  • Latest and GreatestHere is a bit of guidance for those budding writers out there who want to know when to begin a new paragraph.  Add a new paragraph when there is a change in approach, or in tack, or there’s a new topic of the passage.  Do the same for aesthetics, because a very long paragraph can look ill-formed.  Otherwise, add an indent and line feed if the current paragraph is just getting too long to be grasped as a cohesive sub-element of your entire argument.

    As a general rule of thumb, verbs are conjugated with an “s” when the subject of the sentence is singular.  When the subject is plural and already ends with an “s,” the verb in conjugated without an “s.”  This prevents “s” from being used too many times, and sounding funny.  For example: The Smiths eat ice cream, Susan Smith eats ice cream.

    I say “argument,” because very often, writing is an argument, with a purpose, to convince the reader of an important, yet lesser-known, or altogether unknown, truth.  Writing for pure entertainment value veers away from this model, but even the most clever entertainment has an underlying, thematic message.

    Writing consists of having something to say, then saying it.  Words are selected, then rearranged, until the expression sounds right.  You could write the poetry or the prose of Shakespeare, but if you have nothing of any importance to say, it all falls flat, it’s without substance.

    Compact expression, with fewer words, generally works better than the wordier variety.

    Keep the person consistent.  Is your paragraph in-person, and second-person, using “you,” or third person, and not present, using “he, she, or they”?  Don’t drift back and forth between addressing a second-person and any third-person.  Introduce second person by stating the person’s name in a sentence, then as either “you,” or back to the person’s name.

    One more imperative in writing: Do not repeat words, especially within a paragraph, or in adjoining paragraphs.  Find an alternative way to describe an object a second time.

  • Latest and GreatestGetting in charge of a vice, and distancing yourself from it, or even conquering a bad habit, may be a matter of remembering why indulging in it is unhealthy; or by getting your mind off of it by doing something else entirely.  Think of all that would improve, such as improved relationships, or mental well-being, if you refrained from your indulgence.  If you need more help than the paragraph on this anonymous website, there are clinicians available, and there’s the free-of-charge, and well-established, 12-Step programs.  There are over a hundred programs based on the 12-Steps and 12-Traditions, including Alcoholics, Emotions, Cocaine, Overeating, and Narcotics Anonymous.  They all have an immensely long list of success stories.
  • Latest and GreatestThe world of rock music, as well as the country music world in the South, often treats drug usage as though it was a higher calling.  There are major risks to consider, including: damaging your mind and body; how expensive this can get; that addiction is commonplace; narcotic overdosing and alcohol poisoning is possible; prison if control is lost; and even insanity is a possibility.
  • Latest and GreatestI’ve noticed that people that get high are always hiding.  They’re hiding that they’re high.  They’re hiding that they’re going out to get high.  They hide their stash, and they hide the stash’s location from most everyone else.  Lastly, they try to hide from the police that they’re high.
  • Latest and GreatestThe ideal is to make enough money that you can sleep well, but not too much money that you can’t sleep at all.
  • Latest and GreatestA higher power (or personal standard for empowerment) can be the average of what humanity is capable of accomplishing.  If most can, why can’t I?  If others can, I can, too.
  • Latest and GreatestAnyone, alive or not, can be channeled, just as a God might.  People you know well, you might also know how they’ll respond.  The problem with channeling a God like Jesus the Christ is that he has been dead for two-millenium, and you have no prior, real-life connection with him.  (After reading Luke 24:39-41, you’ll realize that the Christ is a fraud anyhow.)
  • Latest and GreatestThe best (and most inexpensive) advertising you’ll find, is via word-of-mouth.  Product quality and service will generate traffic regardless of marketing campaigns.
  • Latest and GreatestHunting today is a carryover of hunting for sustenance from centuries ago.  Today’s hunter though, doesn’t have any respect for nature.  Armed with assault rifles, they feel that taking down wildlife, like deer and elk, is just killing crap.
  • Latest and GreatestClimb a step...  Reach a plateau and a vista...  Climb ten more steps...  Reach a plateau with a better view...  Stumble, get back up, and climb five more steps...  Get to another plateau with a different view, and in another direction...  And so it goes, on and on, navigating life’s terracing of scenic plateaus, as they’re being presented from forces often unknown...
  • Latest and GreatestWhen I search for any rhyme or reason to explain humanity’s inexplicable temperament, I can pause to consider that every person’s lineage is a product of love.  This is at the beginning of most every human life, a mother and father most often bonded in love.  Considering your neighbor was created out of love, how god-awful can they be?  (I would also tend to think that children of rapists, do not possess the brutality of their father.)
  • Latest and GreatestHaving kids with anyone, essentially makes your relationship permanent with them, whether or not you want it to be.  This is one of the reasons why reproductive rights are so crucial, and why the Vatican is so wrong about abortion...
  • Latest and GreatestPhoebe Cates of Fast Times at Ridgemont High fame, once said this: “When your firstborn drops their baby bottle, you sterilize it in boiling water.  When this happens to your second born, you wash it off in the tap.  If this happens to your third born, you have the dog lick it off.”  One interpretation being: Sanitary measures are habituated.  Over time you don’t care so much about hyper-cleanliness, if you ever did...
  • Latest and GreatestYou may find yourself needing to trust someone or some organization of which you know little.  Keep in mind that almost every need has been addressed and met by Twenty-First-Century society.  There are very few problems in existence today that have not been solved.  That said, if you’re dealing with a slipshod outfit, or a corrupt individual, your luck and resources are likely much more limited, or the remedy might require significant effort.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are police officers out there who don’t deserve any of the prestige that comes with the badge, and there are others who certainly do.  It’s not quite protect and serve up in Minnesota, is it now?  Did the officers have any explanation for their homicidal behavior?  It was late and we just needed to blow off a little steam?  How does something so routine as restraining a drunk, become a killing?  That’s sickeningly incompetent, police work.
  • Latest and GreatestWhatever you do not like, you should think about how you would do it differently — even as just an exercise.  Because one day, your solution may mean much more than just an idle exercise.
  • Latest and GreatestThere’s been so many suicides recently.  I have a few thoughts: Too much Coronavirus vacation is an issue for you?  All religions prohibit suicide.  If you take your own life, where you’re going is infinitely worse than where you are today.  Even if you don’t go to hell, you go from someone with untapped potential to compost.  Bad days can come and go, but if you have them often enough, or you get depressed, you need to seek counseling.  The shame is in refusing to seek help, not in working to make yourself a stronger and better person.  An outside perspective can really help to clarify, and resolve, any issues you may have.
  • Latest and GreatestI am a very fair critic, I only criticize that which deserves criticism.  Some people have problems with what I choose to criticize, such as sacred cows like Christianity.  Yet, I will say that no one has so credibly dissected Jesus the Christ’s myth before I did.
  • Latest and GreatestHow much of scientific discovery, is in actuality a so-called scientist making a name for themselves by pushing an unverifiable theory?  In physics, especially, how much of it can be proven?  At one point, there was the theory that the universe took the form of a soccer ball.  A downside of capitalism is the economic imperative, that at all cost individual economic agents must make excuses for their existence as value-adders.
  • Latest and GreatestAre galaxies as far away as we think?  The stars in Orion’s Belt are all more than 800 light years away.  It would take 800 years going at the speed of light to reach them.  Yet their light is very easily visible in the night sky.  If they are this far away, how can they be so bright?  Why don’t they shimmer like a mirage over their supposed eternity of deep space.  Shouldn’t there be clouds of interstellar dust everywhere to block starlight from deep space, when there never is?  Einstein proposed the light year, are there any flaws to his formulation?  If Einstein miscalculated, our stellar neighbors in the heavens would be much closer than we believe they are today...
  • Latest and GreatestAn astronomical unit (AU) is the distance between the earth and the sun.  There are 63,000 AU in a light year.  The distance to reach the nearest star, Alnitak, in Orion’s Belt, is 825.7 light years distant.  This is 52,019,100 trips from the earth to the Sun.  Assuming Alnitak has even vaguely similar luminosity to our Sun’s, it would not be visible.  It’s 52 million times further away from the Earth than the Earth and the Sun are from each other.  Yet, there Alnitak is, brighter than most stars in the Winter, nighttime sky.
  • Latest and GreatestI was actually invited to the Met Ball this year, and was about to go stag when my tux was delayed at customs by over-zealous agents thinking they had found bedding for bat nests...
  • Latest and GreatestIs there anyone that you fear, or once feared?  Who do you fear, and why do you fear them?  Is one or both of your parents on the list?
  • Latest and GreatestHow do dopers find the time for smoking weed?  I could always use more time, and they’re smoking it all away.
  • Latest and GreatestDon’t marry a woman for her boobs, marry her for the way she smiles.
  • Latest and GreatestWords to live by: Try not to be an a*hole; create something worthy of your name; and live a little before you die.
  • Latest and GreatestYou read The Other Letter day in and day out.  You realize the value of becoming a survivalist, and becoming self-sufficient, skills originally only your Colonial ancestors had, and only the Amish have today.  Then this is exactly what you need, a replacement for lens cleaner that can be made at home.  Now, your interest is really piqued.  Okay, follow along closely.  Take one part witch hazel, and one part water.  Then add a drop of dishwasher detergent, and that’s it.  Your ancestors would be so proud of your self-reliance, without having to mount Daisy, and ride into town for provisions like lens cleaner.
  • Latest and GreatestI offer The Other Letter at fire-sale prices, but as a super hero, I’m out to save the world, and that hasn’t any price tag...
  • Latest and GreatestIsn’t time just symbolic notation representing where the sun is in the sky?
  • Latest and GreatestThere’s a saying: “If you can put up with a partner at their worst, then you know you can marry them.”
  • Latest and GreatestYou wanna know how much I gave to Coronavirus relief?  I gave a rat’s ass, and that’s being generous...
  • Latest and GreatestMy enemies are in for a very serious, death-defying fright.
  • Latest and GreatestContrary to public perception, I do not enjoy telling dangerous miscreants that this is exactly what they are.
  • Latest and GreatestAs blessed spirits of creation: We let no man or nation abridge our liberties; deny us our rights; or encumber or challenge our freedoms.  Christians have always claimed the high road of morality as their own.  We know now that they’re just frauds.
  • Latest and GreatestHappiness is a generously-stocked larder.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you cannot raise your rate of success, have you ever tried increasing your tolerance for failure?
  • Latest and GreatestI have given this very serious thought, and I have decided I will be joining my fellow Amish-Mennonites in Lancaster Pennsylvania.  I have decided I am not self-sufficient enough.  Any peoples from over a hundred years ago knew how to grow their own food, how to create shelter, and their clothes.  I will be trading in my Maserati Judd-Edition (zero-to-sixty in 2.8 seconds) for a horse and buggy.  How I found out about this wonderful growth opportunity was by attending a free seminar at the Lancaster Motel 6, Amish Expo.  It was entitled: Go it Amish, or depend on greedy others...  I realized I had spent my entire life chasing the mean green like the rest of capitalism-mad America, whereas the Amish disdained engraved green bank script.  I needed to live as God wanted me to live, amidst rolling fields of grain.  There was a slight problem however, which the salesman promised was not insurmountable, and this was that I really don’t like Christianity at all.  I detest Baby Jesus, the Apostles, Mary, and Joseph, and the whole lot of those losers.  Anyhow, I put the house up for sale, and I can’t wait to get back to the farm.  Ahh...
  • Latest and GreatestDo you remember a Brady Bunch episode where Greg Brady went back to the land, to became Amish, and an Old Order Mennonite?  And his ignorant siblings and parents tried to talk him out of it?  He goes the whole nine yards, with beard, straw hat, and plain clothing, but gives up, and comes back to Earth, once he finds out that the Amish don’t have television.  I always felt that this was a Brady hack job against the Amish, and a cheap cop out against Mennonite Nation.
  • Latest and GreatestInjurious behavior is preceded by being: Hungry; angry; lonely; and tired; or HALT in 12-Step Program parlance.  Should boredom be added to the list of causes?
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever thought you were doing one thing when you were really doing something entirely different?  For instance, I think I’m saving the world here at Other Letter, or hitting on Hollywood actresses, when in fact I’m learning writing skills.  This is just like Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid.  He thought he was learning to wax his Sensei’s car; when he was actually learning how to deflect the karate chops of the high school, martial arts bully.  There’s no difference between car-waxing for self-defense, and blogging.
  • Latest and GreatestAfrican American girls give up their virtue too easily, whereas White Catholic girls will never give it up at all, or only after Baby Jesus gives his say-so.  Because Black women are discriminated against, and are often poor as a result, their one capital, their currency, becomes their bodies.
  • Latest and GreatestWay back in the day, door-to-door salesmen weren’t shown the door.  Complete strangers were allowed entrance to everyone’s house.  Here’s a few of these salesmen’s companies: Fuller Brush Company (which had a huge line of brushes, etcetera); Avon Cosmetics (“Avon calling!”); and Welcome Wagon (which welcomed new neighbors to the community).  Now, entrance into one’s abode is based on a thorough reference and credentials check.  Haven’t times changed?
  • Latest and GreatestMy aim at The Other Letter is never to offend.  Instead, the objective is to change ill-founded opinion; and if necessary, by the use of forceful words.
  • Latest and GreatestHumanity sharply differentiates the concept of energy from the one of matter — despite Albert Einstein stating that the two are ultimately interchangeable under certain circumstances.  The galaxies in the universe don’t make this stark distinction between energy and matter.
  • Latest and GreatestMetaphorically at least, everyone digs their own grave.  Most have a tendency to pick up bad habits, or make poor decisions that: haunt them; shorten their longevity; or contribute to their own death.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen dealing with difficult circumstances, think of when you’ll be home free, and have much less on your mind.  Is the burden lighter after today, tomorrow, this Friday, or only after any Friday?  Is the burden only lighter when you retire?  If it is, you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere for employ.  If this burden will only be lighter when you’re in your grave, you probably took a wrong turn somewhere, so retrace your steps.  There, we’re all better now?
  • Latest and GreatestHow does a fertilized, one-cell egg, become a breathing, talking, and thinking, master of the universe?  This is all encoded with two amino acid pairs (adenine-thymine and cytosine-guanine)?  Evolutionists and geneticists would have everyone believe that this is how you get from speck embryo, Point A; to Pantheon women, Point B.
  • Latest and GreatestStaying sane in the modern insane world often requires possessing the realization that most are ill-equipped to survive.  They bumble along never knowing how certain they are, of all they’re expected to be certain.  Outside of one or two core competencies (if that), their skill set is barely enough for them to tie their shoes.
  • Latest and GreatestI heard a blogger on NPR recount why he procrastinates, and how he generalized his observations across all of humanity.  He said that we procrastinate because we find more interesting things to do.  I’ve felt that we procrastinate because we have a fear of failure.  We avoid screwing up a major, complex task, by doing something simple that can’t go wrong — like listening to the stereo, or taking out our Trump voodoo doll and knitting needle.
  • Latest and GreatestInstead of being anxious, and dreading the worst; why not be optimistic, yet prepared for the worst.
  • Latest and GreatestRacism is a form of masochism.  You refuse to allow yourself the pleasure of the company, or of the culture, found in a tremendously deep society of very gracious and just as competent people.
  • Latest and GreatestThe meek shall not inherit the earth, they are only going to an early grave.  Unfortunately, either Christianity shielded them from the realities and necessities of life; or they never learned to defend themselves, and return fire at their aggressors.
  • Latest and GreatestThere is nothing worse than faggots who think the coolest thing in the world is to hurt the innocent.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen anyone says, “I’m bad,” what they’re really saying is, “I’m an a*hole.”
  • Latest and GreatestGuys have toxic masculinity when they use aggression, or violence, to remedy conflict.  Instead of being diplomatic or considerate, these confused males throw a hissy fit.  The type can be from any line of work, but are most often found at the ballpark, broadcasting from I ♥ Radio, or within the Cosa Nostra.  They are mistaken in believing that their behavior is the pinnacle of maleness, when in fact, it makes them look like an out-of-control faggot...
  • Latest and GreatestBuying friendship or love has a major drawback: Does the person you’re looking to like you, like who you are, or like what you’re paying them?  Courtship is different, the guy is being the gentleman, so he pays the ladies way.  Yet after awhile, should the two go Dutch treat, and pay their own way?  If treating a girl to a night out is a show of affection, does it ever stop being a show of affection, and become a burden, or a payment for company?  At some point, whoever you’re with, should want to be with you because they like you, and not because they’re being paid to like you.  By a similar token, are women who practically prostitute themselves in a bid to ingratiate themselves with their boss, or with someone who has real money.  They don’t feel they measure up unless they offer sex.
  • Latest and GreatestPhysical appearance tells nothing of a person’s warmth or character.
  • Latest and GreatestHere is a good New Year’s resolution to make: Be less of a perfectionist.  Unless, of course, you’re the opposite, and you rarely make the effort, then your resolution can be to be less of a slob.
  • Latest and GreatestIs there any recourse if you don’t want to be governed and not be subject to the laws of others?  No, in the modern world, there isn’t any recourse.  You will always be within the boundaries of a governing nation.  Even the most ethical are subject to the dictates of the least ethical.  In America, with the issues of reproductive rights or protection of the environment, the moral are subject to the whims of the immoral like Trump, and his administration.

    Only if the nation-state is absolved as being pointless, and we learn to trust one another, can humankind return to the Garden of Eden, and complete freedom.  Although, besides the status quo, and the end of nations, there is a third option: Purchase the land for your own country, then negotiate a secession with the governing principality, thus establishing your own private Idaho.

    This didn’t work at all for the Confederacy, but hopefully for your Idaho, you won’t be interested in keeping slaves.  Just an aside, the North was much more interested in Southern cotton, and tax revenue, than freeing slaves.  With Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the avowed purpose of the war became ending slavery, and Europe aligned themselves, and their assistance, with the North.  In the 1860s, a Northern soldier would die on the battlefield for a negro’s freedom?  Really?  Honest?  What have you been smoking?  The real fear was whether or not an America could survive being divided in two...

  • Latest and GreatestSocial media is for amateurs.  Go pro by learning to develop your own web site, and play by your own rules, not those of trolls and their enablers.  If nothing else, you’ll learn the basics of website creation.  (Wordpress might be a start.)
  • Latest and GreatestLet’s address the competition now, shall we?  How can you tell a Christian from anyone else?  A Christian will go out of their way to pretend that they’re pious, and holier-than-thou; Jews and Muslims actually practice what they preach.  Christians are given carte blanche to sin as much as they please, they never learn.  When a religion is a fraud as Christianity is, those who belong to it, are frauds as well.  Christians will prance around as the day is long, trying to convince everyone how great they are, how smooth they are with people, when the fact is that they’re really gross and repugnant.  Most, if not all, Christians wonder what the big objection to Adolf Hitler was.  According to their group-think and thought-policing church, the Jews were never saved, so Jesus the Christ needed their body fat for soap, and hair for mattresses — the Holocaust was only part of Jesus’ plan for reusing spare, human parts.  Those with the passion for Baby Jesus, also love John Wayne, and Doris Day.  The only culture they know of was made prior to 1960, and Vatican II.  Christians are crashing bores, down to a man, and the women are men.  The pretend women do their Madonna impressions in the bedroom, somehow the Madonna from Detroit is too racy, they’re into the manger Madonna.  Christians, and Catholics especially, think haute cuisine is mayo on Wonder Bread, washed down with Coca-Cola.  Because they eat crap, they are twenty-five year veterans of Weight Watchers, yet they still remain easily over a deuce, a deuce-and-a-half for the holidays (300 pounds).  When Osama bin Laden et al bombed the Twin Towers, this is whom they hoped to kill: the American, ignorant, pig, and at the front of that line is the Christian.
  • Latest and GreatestHere’s an easy New Year’s resolution: Schedule better, and learn to make the most of every day.  Here’s one from Ashley Judd, interim religious editor for the New York Times: “Hold Baby Jesus near and dear, so he may at last keep his promises to the World of decency, purity, and endless renewal.  We need to show our love to Baby Jesus so he might return to America...”  This one I had trouble with, on a number of counts...
  • Latest and GreatestWhat is time?  Other than clock hands marching like clockwork around a clock face, that is.
  • Latest and GreatestThe problem with wealth is not knowing whether people like you only for your money, or hate you because of it.  Other than that, the well-to-do are targets of thieves.  Possessions also create maintenance headaches, very expensive cappuccino makers require very expensive cappuccino maker repairmen.  The upside is that you had great cappuccino, until the cappuccino maker broke.
  • Latest and GreatestHave you ever predicted your own future?  If you have, how accurate were your predictions?
  • Latest and GreatestFemale Catholic leaders are not authority figures, they’re mostly nuns or sisters, while males are mostly priests or fathers, who are authority figures.  Let’s hear it for ancient misogyny brought to the present day.  (Okay, in Catholic school, nuns are authority figures to the children whose knuckles they rapped with rulers.)
  • Latest and GreatestSocial media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, is excellent at two things: Stifling dissent via the group think of peer pressure; and providing an unpoliced meeting place for vicious trolls.  Given that trolls are much more often than not inclined to be Conservatives and Republicans, this dynamic of bullying will, over time, move the body politic further and further to the Right.
  • Latest and GreatestHere’s an old saying: The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.  Here’s another: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
  • Latest and GreatestThe only people I want to see suffer are those who cause suffering.  How else can the guilty change their ways other than by feeling the pain they dished out without hesitation?
  • Latest and GreatestOur higher power cannot be found above us, humanity is available everywhere around us.  Those before us have a very rich heritage, than any God up in the ether above does.  Yet this universal, experiential connection is within most anyone’s grasp.

    With knowledge repositories like the library and the Internet, we can access a wealth of information on how others accomplished any vexing problem.

    Outside of conventional means, anyone we know well, now passed away, might be channeled, or else the living might be called upon to provide insight into issues.  This is a stark departure of a God that is somehow infinitely more intelligent and available for consultation, and for forgiving the sins of churchgoers who constantly sin, once they have tithed in full.

    That said, is there true evidence of the divine on this Earth?  The physical and cerebral form our existence takes, derives from forces infinitely beyond ourselves.  Humanity did absolutely nothing to exist, we are the beneficiaries of a Universe we may never fully comprehend.

    Here, we were given an instance of Creation, which we can engage, and even enjoy, anyway our gift of life will allow.  We were given this divine vessel, our body, mind, and soul (conceptually a vehicle here); but it is only folly to expect God to drive it, or even expect him to sit beside us as we do.  The passengers in our journey through life are our fellow friends, family, and advisors.

    A body and mind so equipped is sufficient to meet every need, and has served our species very well for time immemorial (when it hasn’t, politicians can be blamed).  Summoning long dead ghosts such as Jesus the Christ, the prophet Muhammad, and Jehovah, can only confuse and perplex.  They are for those who desperately rely on ancient apparitions to keep going, yet are completely worthless to the sane.

  • Latest and GreatestSomeday, visit somewhere that doesn’t have light pollution, like Utah’s Zion National Park of the desert Southwest.  At night, you will be dazzled when you see stars from the Milky Way galaxy and from galaxies everywhere around.  Any one of the millions of stars that you see could host planetary systems supporting life.  Extraterrestrial life is not just a possibility, it’s a certainty.
  • Latest and Greatest“...We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to remind you that you have inherited this earthly work in progress from your forebears, who found themselves earthbound for no known reason.  Your deployment here can either advance or retard its progress.  By no means is a pleasant and enjoyable future guaranteed for you, or those succeeding your journey.  We now return you to regularly scheduled programming, already in progress...”
  • Latest and GreatestYou don’t get to witness all the love others have for you at your own funeral.  By then, it’s too late.  Or who knows, maybe you do witness this love in the hereafter.
  • Latest and GreatestThe only one that many guys have ever fallen in love with, is themselves.  Where does this put Trump?
  • Latest and GreatestThere is great value in self-sufficiency.  You won’t need to rely on a myriad of expensive, trade people.  You gain pride for learning how to do things on your own.  But most importantly, when the apocalypse finally arrives, you’ll be much more than just prepared with your new-found survivalist skills...
  • Latest and GreatestThe Universe was initially composed entirely of dust.  So you shouldn’t get so discouraged that you never seem to finish your house vacuuming.
  • Latest and GreatestThere is a major benefit of having a website that no one knows anything about: I can say anything about anyone, and no one ever knows, or cares.  That’s true, The Other Letter is anonymous, and unknown, isn’t it?  INCOMING STRIKE!!!!!!!!!
  • Latest and GreatestHope for the best, expect the usual, yet still be prepared for the worst.
  • Latest and GreatestIf you don’t dream dreams, how will the dreams you’ve never dreamed ever come true?
  • Latest and GreatestThere are girls who aren’t the prettiest, but they have such a beautiful smile, and have such a sweet way about them, that not looking like a model doesn’t matter.
  • Latest and GreatestTattoos defile, and show a lack of respect for, the body that you were born with.  Some musical acts go so far as to tattoo their face.  Considering that these same celebrities with exceedingly poor taste are often role models, all you can hope for is the end of their sad careers.  If they’re looking for street cred, or credibility, then they should work at a soup kitchen.

    The tattoos are just for show, to somehow prove that they are tough, and that their body is worthless, when they are only succumbing to peer pressure so they can look gross.  Tattoos suggest a current or former drug habit.  It’s a great way of telling the world that you are only trailer trash.

    Anyone is cool or tough because of who they are, not by spending an hour in a tattoo parlor, enduring ink-tipped needle pricks.  Real class acts, like Taylor Swift, would never think of getting inked, it’s for those with temporary, or long term, leave of their senses.

  • Latest and GreatestIt is better to have lots to do than absolutely nothing to do, although lollygagging, ladies and gentlemen of leisure would likely disagree.
  • Latest and GreatestConsidering that Creation’s complexity is limited by origins in unguided, molecular collisions, ones without any governing intellect, there is nothing in the physical world that cannot be reverse engineered and resolved to our ultimate satisfaction.  The World, and even the Universe, just cannot have much untenable complexity.
  • Latest and GreatestAre there takedown “artists” you have come across whom you wish would just vanish off the face of the Earth, but haven’t — yet.  Maybe it’s just because I am in the process of ending Christianity that an entire underclass of Long Island Christians are regularly and openly hostile towards me.  Those Christians are always up to no good — them, and good for nothing, I ♥ Radio.
  • Latest and GreatestWhy should we expect a hereafter from the life force, from Creation?  Isn’t it enough to have a long life, and one well-lived?  Without an afterlife, politicians cannot continue to redeem themselves for wasting tens of thousands of soldiers’ lives.
  • Latest and GreatestWay back when, when everything was entirely different, drugs were still over-rated.  Those who didn’t think they were, used them beyond their early days, until the present one.  And plenty are worse for wear from using.
  • Latest and GreatestDo I want to be responsible for potentially libelous vitriol?  If it’s in the service of justice, definitely...
  • Latest and GreatestObese women need to stay with their own kind.  Many times, I have gotten hit on by women who look like they could take a big chomp out of my arm, followed by desserts.  I fend them off by simply ignoring them. but they feel entitled to me somehow, so they get very offensive.  If you are obese, and you’re looking for romance, you need to find another obese person.  Guys who watch their weight won’t make it with a beefy, overweight chick.  Everyone might not agree with me, but the vast majority do.  As coarse as this might sound: Set your sights on your own weight class...
  • Latest and GreatestI like to think of myself as an American, at least I do when my nationality — and the fact that my nominal, national leader is a complete idiot — doesn’t annoy the Hell out of me.
  • Latest and GreatestIn the Trump Age, corrupt Republicans decide the fate of the moronic, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in their wake.
  • Latest and GreatestHousewives know a thing or two about mixing martinis, and heating-up TV dinners.  Homemakers know at least a thing or two about making French cuisine, macramé, and needlepoint.  Career women know a thing or two about where to pick up a nice dinner on the way home from work.
  • Latest and GreatestDo not depend on god in the ether of the clouds above.  Depend on everyone around you.  Humanity has been here a million years.  Hopefully in that time, there have been enough lessons passed down about dignity, compassion, and love.
  • Latest and GreatestAs a blogger, I try to live by this creed: “Fear is not a useful emotion, unless your life is actually threatened.”
  • Latest and GreatestToday’s Christians hand over the reins of their spirituality to ancients who barely understood the wheel, let alone interpersonal relationships.
  • Latest and GreatestBragging to get appreciation isn’t so cool, but what is worthwhile is making sure you get the credit that you deserve.
  • Latest and GreatestBy my estimation, the greatest sin of all, yet the most common one, is not being considerate to others.  If you cannot even be nice, you deserve nothing from anyone else.  If you feel it’s necessary to hurt the innocent, when it was no accident, you shouldn’t be living among the civilized.
  • Latest and GreatestThe Southern United States is another country, because of: its hospitality; its own, celebrated music; cuisine; culture; along with its irrational, ignorant, Fundamentalist Christianity; and tragic racism.  In fact, before 1865, and their defeat in the Civil War, it almost was the Confederate States of America.
  • Latest and GreatestIn a noisy din, the one who makes the most noise, is the one who’s heard.
  • Latest and GreatestCivility is a luxury of the Canadian, and of the British.  As Americans, we’ve been deprived of it, as Trump has been setting the tone of our raucous, antagonistic, and hostile, national discourse.
  • Latest and GreatestSchadenfreude was once a term describing the predominantly German joy of being sadistic.  Today, this best describes the same, American joy.
  • Latest and GreatestLSD is not worth the trip, because you can have horrifically bad trips.  Born in the Sixties, anyone who has any familiarity with the drug subculture has seen these acid burnouts.
  • Latest and GreatestOfficers of the law are your friends.  That is, unless you are an outlaw living outside the law.  Come to think of it, even outlaws can report crime as they would have the most criminal activity to report.
  • Latest and GreatestHere’s one: If you go out of your way to make my life difficult, I will do the same to you.  Expect it.  I won’t put up with your crap.
  • Latest and GreatestWhen immigrants speak in their native language in front of English-speaking Americans, I can think of two reasons why they’re not speaking English: One, their English skills are poor; or two, they enjoy talking behind the backs of others.  If it’s the former, they need to improve their language skills to survive in the U.S. of A.  If it’s the latter, then they are exceptionally rude, and they’re carrying on like losers.
  • Latest and GreatestOther Letter doesn’t make people look bad.  It puts a mirror in front of bad people so everyone can see exactly how bad they look.  This is along the lines of when Native Americans surveyed colonials devastation with their palm outstretched reflecting what the White man decimated, and said, “How [could you do this to our civilization]?”
  • Latest and GreatestYou have to read so much of Shakespeare, or be given flawless instruction, before reading Shakespeare is not a complete slog.  I’m not against his work, I just didn’t appreciate him as much as I was supposed to appreciate him.  My complaint is that no one now speaks the formal way they did back then, so why the profound interest?  Every English teacher reading this just fainted: “Set out the literature posse!  Other Letter must be stopped, he’s against the classics!”
  • Latest and GreatestEver notice how if someone is hard of hearing, you really need to speak louder?  Other Letter often operates this way.  No one can hear me, so I keep turning up the volume, until people start to listen...
  • Latest and GreatestForget: “Keep Christ in Christmas.”  Keep the joy of Christmas away from that rat...
  • Latest and GreatestThis is what you really don’t need to hear on your next transcontinental flight:  “This is your pilot.  If you look out of the side of the plane, either side really, you’ll see the thunderhead we’re heading straight into.  Now, I’ve flew into one or two thunderstorms before, I have eight years of experience as an Air Jumbo pilot, but I’ve never flown into a mofo like this mofo.  Let me say this: On these jumbo jets, you turn your head for two seconds, and the weather patterns look so incredibly different.  Blue skies one minute, lightning storms the next, who can keep track?  No one saw this one coming though.  So please fasten your seat-belts, we got a rough ride ahead of us.  Dear Jesus, I was in Confessional just last month, just last month, please Jesus, I’m only thirty-seven years old...”
  • Latest and GreatestFrom birth, life becomes a gift.  Those who squander that gift by going around attacking the innocent, do not deserve that gift.  It is that simple.
  • Latest and GreatestThe best kind of attractiveness is from being happy and possessing sensitivity, because those that have both have a warmth that others gravitate towards.  Princess Kate has this warmth...
  • Latest and GreatestThere are many people in America who do not value education in any form.  These are the anti-intellectuals.  The ignorant seem to think that it’s cool to stay that way.  They could have had a terrible education, or they simply lack any interest in life.  This is very sad considering that those in the Third World would absolutely kill if they had a means at their disposal to get ahead in life.
  • Latest and GreatestThe skies clear up and you’re as happy as a lark, but then the skies darken again, and the sun disappears behind gray clouds as the rain begins.  Because most are social beings, being among people brings the sunshine, isolation brings the stormy weather.
  • Latest and GreatestBetween the worries of the future, and the regrets of the past, lies the only timeframe that humanity has any direct control, and that is, the here and now.
  • Latest and GreatestThere are people who use recreational drugs, and they do exactly what they want them to do.  If they’re anxious, their drug (or drugs) of choice, make them relax.  If they’re down in the dumps, their elixir gets them high.  To be social, they need a drink.  If they need creative inspiration, they get it from what they toke, and don’t give themselves the credit anymore.  The problem becomes needing the drugs every time they need to feel better.  Besides being physically and psychologically addictive, drugs get very expensive, and interfere with having a normal life.  The smoke and drink that started as just some secret little fun, and as a helper through the hours, work too well, and one day becomes a full-blown monster.  Drugs become their primary coping mechanism, if not their sole one.
  • Latest and GreatestThe more someone gets inked with tattoos, the more that someone has gender and sexual orientation confusion.  If you need to amplify your identity with cheap, fading “artwork,” then you obviously make very little positive impression on your own.  Put art in your living room, not on your back.  That said, if those with facial tattoos are attempting to suggest homicidal urges, they’ve succeeded...  Let’s get your opinion.  Are you so, so glad to have gotten that tattoo the time you drank all night?  Then woke up wondering how the Hell, “Betty, Love of my Life,” was permanently scarred into your bicep, when you don’t even know any Bettys.
  • Latest and GreatestThe wicked will one day get to feel the wrath that they inflicted.  Those who seek victims will become one in return by those seeking vengeance for past wrongs.
  • Latest and GreatestIs the future preordained by all that has transpired in the past?  Then given careful analysis, is the future surprisingly predictable?  Or is free will so random that the future is also random?  Then, on the same token, humanity doesn’t consist of rational actors, ones who rarely respond rationally to cues requiring action.  Furthermore, if the irrational President leads a nation of rational people, it no longer matters if they are rational, they are acting at the behest of the mad man.  Then Trump adds fuel to the fire to not have leaders with so much power.
  • Latest and GreatestRelations of the rich and famous need to find people who like them for their first name, and not for their last name...
  • Latest and GreatestThere are issues preventing the forgiving of someone who harmed you.  One is that you’re saying: “For hurting me, I will let you off the hook.”  If the transgression was out of ignorance, and you care about the person, than you can just accept any apology in keeping with the size of the offense, and forget it ever happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How-to Cut the Cable

Introduction to Saving Some Money  This TV guide is the enticement to television programming that can make cutting the cable worthwhile.  “Change Address” to your zip code and see all you’ll get free for a one time, roughly $90 investment of a digital adapter box, and indoor antenna.

(Actual results depend on how strong your reception is, which depends on antenna placement, wall material, weather, etc.)

Over-the-Air (OTA) Equipment  I bought the Mediasonic Digital Converter Box, and an RCA antenna.  On the many, good reception days, I am very satisfied with both.

The automatic channel scan gave me 45 stations, ten to fifteen of which were watchable on a given night.  Re-scan for new channels on days without much wind or precipitation, or if you’ve adjusted the position of the antenna.

Keep the digital converter box parallel to the ground, and avoid having any kinks in the well-coupled, coaxial cables.

Antenna Placement  Aim, then rescan, until you found the sweet spot.  Your antenna is best placed where there is a minimally impeded, or unblocked, broadcast signal between your antenna, and the television station broadcast tower.

The antenna works best near a window, and that window is hopefully in the direction of a broadcast tower (such as a tower of CBS, ABC, or NBC, but not Fox).  Placing the antenna in the middle of the house, probably will get weaker reception than at the ends, where the signal won’t have to travel through multiple rooms.

Antenna placement above ground works greatly in your favor, as does wood shingles, or vinyl siding.  Diminishing your reception is stone, brick, or other masonry on nearby walls.

The best reception I got by far was only in a temporary location, put there because of Tropical Storm Isaisas.  It was in a room not surrounded by other rooms, but on the far edge of the house.  On the other side of the wall away from the antenna was the outdoors.  I put it on top of a dresser bureau, it didn’t even need to be in a window.  This brought the signal to the next level.

Here’s another strategy: I mounted the antenna on a paneled wall, maybe a foot above the height of my head (unfortunately, a cement wall was on the other side of the paneling).  Tap the wall, or better, use a stud-finder, to find where to drill a hole for the mounting screw.  The antenna should be perpendicular, that is, at right angles, to your favorite network.

This worked well, this was the sweet spot for my TV in the basement.  I placed the indoor HDTV antenna atop a tall bookshelf that is nearby a window.  Position the antenna at right angles to the transmitting towers that you have an interest in getting a signal.

The antenna should not be seated on a metal surface.  Placing the antenna at the other end of a room where your favorite network is located is generally not a good idea.

Reception Considerations  Many have noticed that reception degrades in unsettled weather (for instance, on a windy day, or especially, on a rainy or snowy).  When the medium of transmission (the air) isn’t calm, the signal can be disrupted as the radio waves can be impeded.

  The nighttime most often has better reception than the daytime.

Your reception may vary.  As always, be sure to follow all instructions on the package insert.  For most anyone, this will be a very easy installation.

Cable and OTA on the same TV  I would suggest buying a coaxial, A/B switch to toggle between cable television (if you have cable), and the over-the-air antenna.  Philmore makes a heavy duty one that’s sold on Amazon for $25, and Home Depot sells a light-duty one from Zenith for just $9.

There was a remote version, which if I was not mistaken, cost $30 on Amazon.  Now, a similar remote switch on Amazon costs $130 which sounds like price gouging.  The non-remote, $25, push-button version works well enough for me.

If you have a newer television, it will likely provide source control.  With your TV remote, you can choose between HDMI (flat rectangle), and RCA plugs (white, red, and yellow) input; or cable TV, and over-the-air antenna TV.  This makes a coax splitter switch unnecessary.  Just turn off the source — set-top-box or antenna adapter box — when not in use.

Alternatives to OTA  Over-the-air reception might not be as reliable as cable reception.  It all depends on how close you are to the towers, the quality of antenna you have, the placement of the antenna, and what building materials are in the antenna’s signal path.

Another very inexpensive option is the cheapest of all, it’s a free one called Pluto.tv.  Pluto isn’t free like over-the-air, because it requires an existing Internet connection, and there are ads, just like over-the-air.  A good movie selection on Pluto.tv is Fools Rush In starring a compelling and convincing Salma Hayek; paired with Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing on Friends.

Hoopla Digital is somewhat similar although more movie-centric, commercial-free, and is offered by most public libraries.  (The only problem with Hoopla is that it won’t work with the Opera browser, which is the superior web browser.)

More Sophisticated Setups  Where this requires much more planning is if you try to put the antenna in your attic, or even outside on your roof.  Then you would use signal splitters to send tacked-down, coaxial lines around your house.  This also involves drilling holes between floors to route the cabling.  At which point, you would need a serious antenna, not the $70 variety, but the $130-plus variety, with a signal amplifier.  Your reward for crawling around your attic on your knees, is very strong reception unhindered by your house’s walls, and above any obstacles like any trees.

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Your own Private Cloud on the Internet

You went out and bought the Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218j (Diskless) for $170 (the file server), and the Western Digital 2 Terabyte hard disk for $85.  You save your iPod files on your file server with the included Drive program (the app and desktop versions).  How else can you walk this extremely full-featured hardware through its paces?

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

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

To maximize the security of your file server, create a secure connection so your browser shows a lock symbol when viewed by the client (your local browser).  This gets too complicated for a few paragraph explanation, but the aim is to create a domain called your_server_name.synology.me with a Let’s Encrypt security certificate.

Then point your browser to: https://your_server_name.synology.me, to access the file server’s functions.  To get an error-free certificate, your house router will need to have a port forwarding rule to allow port 80 traffic to go from your router to your file server.

This is completely free to implement (beyond the cost of the file server), but it can be daunting for those who don’t spend lots of time with computers.  Synology can answer your questions, and point you in the right direction.

A Small Sampling of What a Networked File Server Can Do

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

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

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

Here’s How to Digitize Vinyl Albums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music without Parallel

Direct from Germany (they’ll never be forgiven for the camps, but they still play great music), this is your alternative to however you listen now: via any PC or Mac browser, your file server, or also via installing Winamp.
(The archive doesn’t use a secure connection, they use HTTP not HTTPS, so to get Winamp, this is your option.  I had no problem though.)
  Here’s the path in Shoutcast: Internet Radio -> SHOUTcast -> Decades -> ANTENNE BAYERN - Oldies but Goldies.

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

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

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

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

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Selling Low will put you in the Poorhouse

Just a bit of financial advice: Don’t buy high, and sell low.  Follow the time-honored adage, and always buy low and sell high.  This is not the time to exit from funds, at their low point, by selling low.  Don’t cash out, when there isn’t anything to cash out with.

But don’t listen to me, speak to your broker after he’s back at work, looking to churn accounts for commissions, the markets have completely bottomed out, and your funds are worth bupkes.

Looking at the markets, it does seem that the Coronavirus have been fully figured into their earnings projections, and with the uncertainty dissipating, the market cannot free fall any further.  After all, Coronavirus isn’t WWIII, despite what Washington continually implies (meaning Fauci).

Give your mutual funds a chance to rebound first, before you storm Merrill Lynch with a broken, Cabernet bottleneck.  4/07/20.

The Key Ingredient to a Robust Economy is Currency Turnover

Economists talk about the velocity of money, or how much a dollar bill changes hands every year.  Without a significant velocity of money, the economy grinds to a halt.  If money is not spent and re-spent, a capitalistic, paper currency-based, economy cannot survive...

Just as a for instance, the savings rate for a nation is 10%, and 90% is spent.  $10 are earned, $9 are spent, and $1 is saved.  Then $8 are spent, and the rest of that outlay, or 90¢, is saved.  This continues until all ten dollars are spent and re-spent 10 times, or saved.

The inverse of this savings rate of a 10% savings rate is a ten times income multiplier effect (1 divided by 1/10, the fraction flips over).  The savings multiplier changes ten dollars that were introduced into the economy, into $100.

(The Federal Reserve Bank buys bonds with its banking-system, reserve requirement cash, via its Open Market Operations.  This is how money is introduced, or injected, into the economy — majoring in Economics helps with this part.)

The coronavirus will test how little economic activity our economy can withstand, and still rebound.  We’ll also see how many businesses don’t survive.  They won’t survive even though the productive capacity exists, as does the workforce required to run the business.  A capitalist economy requires robust buying and selling or it will fail.

The economy is like a shark that must always be swimming or it’ll sink to the bottom of the ocean.  Except for monies saved, money introduced into the economy is spent and spent again many times over, until it’s all put aside in the bank as savings.  Money’s value as an economic stimulus is based on this multiplier.

It is informative to think of what money accomplishes.  It is a gatekeeper where decisions on who is most worthy to own a product or good, are based on who has the tallest stack of green, engraved, bank script.  Those with the largest horde of currency are deemed entitled and deserving of the most goods, whether or not they are in fact entitled and deserving.

Originally, this currency was gold coin, then paper currency, now money is mostly binary numerals on a hard disk somewhere (not so comforting).

In markets like the stock exchange, the buyer’s bid is queued, and can be raised higher and higher, until her bid equals the seller with the queued, lowest asking price, or ask.

In transactions where auction is not the price determinant, the demand curve is mapped on a price-quantity graph, where more quantity is bought at lower prices.  A supply curve is a line that goes in the opposite diagonal.  More quantity is produced, and sold, at higher prices.

Where the supply curve crosses the demand curve is equilibrium pricing for a company, an industry, or the entire macroeconomic marketplace of a nation, or even the world.

An Inverted Yield Curve means Danger Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Fed does something, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Holding History in your Hand Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most important statement in all of cinema, is that more often than not, even the Mighty Oz had no clue, and that even he knew he was only faking it.  (By the way, you’re really looking at the Pope, and Coronavirus “authorities,” such as New York State Administrator Andrew Cuomo, and Trump.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weather done right.

Ambient Weather weather station display

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outdoor sensor itself, mobile app or compass-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.

Three framed arrowheads, the middle is the prime example

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.


Western Suffolk County doesn’t have Frogs

Riddle me this: For a new species to emerge from the firmament, one genetically mutated specimen must mate with a second.  Then, and this makes no sense whatsoever, these two give rise to that species reproducing most anywhere else on this earth.

A 2-inch frog with 3 bright, blue arrows, pointing at it.

A very unusual local toad, yet there is now, another larger bull frog, in the thrush.

There is a bullfrog in our yard.  My town in Western Suffolk does not have bullfrogs.  It sounds vaguely like a cricket, but they don’t show up until August.  Did a bird gobble up frog eggs miles distant, then drop them here?  If you ask me, that sounds very far-fetched.  For one, the bird would digest the frog’s egg.

There are two other explanations, that the bullfrog had no ancestry local to my home, and was a genetic mutation of another amphibian almost always unrelated to bullfrogs, such as a slug or a salamander.  The problem with this theory is that my locale has no amphibians that I’ve ever seen.

Are there any other possible explanations?  Well, the one I favor stands against long-standing genetics theory.  Geneticists claim that every species is derived from a prior, simpler organsism.  But what if this bullfrog leap-frogged far up the evolutionary tree in a kind of spontaneous evolution?

Then what if there is a species, a branch on the tree of life, that is ready to be filled, where the branch will be occupied once it can easily thrive in fortuitous circumstances?  With advantageous climate, as we are experiencing the last three months, is there a natural tendency for this branch, this evolutionary rung on the ladder, to be filled spontaneously?

There may very well be a natural propensity for a life form to exist.  Its amino acids comprising the DNA blueprint are readily available to organize this basic life.  Then what is preventing this organism to exist without thousands of genetic trials and errors of which there isn’t any fossil record?

If the standard issue possessed the providence to exist, why can’t the spontaneously evolved do the same?  Put less abstractly, if the crucible exists in Creation for this frog to take its place in the animal kingdom, why does it need to take eons of time to fill it?

There is one more explanation which I cannot honor as it puts me in the tinfoil hat camp: That karma, Creation and its greater forces, found our locale somehow advantageous, so the bullfrog was situated here.  As incredibly far-fetched as Creation-intervention may seem, I had a deer on the side of my house two years ago, and we do not ever, ever have deer here in suburban, Western Suffolk County.  5/25/20...

Humanity expects nature to exist in a set fashion, but nature does not have any obligation to live up to our expectations.  5/27/20...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bird Watching find of the Century

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

Two feathers off of a common feather.  Two large, black dots at the end of the feathers.
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Neighborhood Opossum

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

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

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

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Raccoon with Bread at Night

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

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

The Long Island Grackle Invasion

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

Most every sane person would agree that the dog situation has gotten far, far out-of-hand.  With the help of concerned scientists, and current veterinary methods, we can at last deal with this menace of pooches pooping.  Dogs will at last see their end game.

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

Mourning doves are the hawks’ favorite prey around here because they’re slow and meaty, just like turkeys.  I have a few misgivings about feeding the birds, but they do seem to like it as they’re here often.  What’s more, their numbers here exceed those in the park.  We steal their habitat.  This is the recompense...

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

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

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

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

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

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If you feed your birds, I would stop feeding them by May.  If you don’t, they aren’t wild birds anymore, they are your pets.

That said, if you don’t feed the birds outside in winter time with bird feed there is the distinct possibility that many will not make it through the winter.  There’s very little for them to eat once the leaves fall.  You owe them this, because if you live in the suburbs, your housing development fully encroached on their habitat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(The outside links are so milquetoast, that they are
a complete waste of the ten minutes you’d spend watching them.)


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

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

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

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And Now, A Word from our Sponsor...

Notes from the front lines:

My Big Bonus didn’t have an outline, but what it did begin with was writing index cards for every scene using Final Draft.  This set up the story.  (Final Draft is software that facilitates screenwriting.)

My process is to start with an opening scene and closing scene.  The movie script is then the voyage from the opening to the closing.

A protagonist struggles towards reaching a goal, and an antagonist is in his or her way.  Then set up obstacles blocking the protagonist’s fulfillment.  This presents opportunities for the hero to test their mettle.

All of the above should work towards a finale that’s memorable, if not thee most memorable scene of the script.

  1. This Made it all Worthwhile (working title, the real one might invite plagiarism)  Lorraine Bellefleur is a dedicated real estate agent from an almost Ivy League college, who deals with a villain, and her own occasional ineptitude.  The dream cast includes Emma Stone as Lorraine, and Ashley Judd as the wacky, wealthy, and famous woman.
  2. Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Much Better Girl (working title, real one is a giveaway)  Entirely unexpectedly, Steve finds romance, but there is a major catch.  (Kirsten Dunst, Gwyneth Paltrow, and an actor who can play gritty — maybe Sean Penn if he’s not in another super hero movie.)
  3. My Life among the Stars Ashley Southern, Gwendolyn Parker, Miriam Tomlinson, and Colette Giroux, are the hottest names in show business, or they were again, once an enterprising blogger and fan club president named Holden Miller wins Ash over, and charts a new course for their careers.  (Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham, and Charlize Theron — I hooked up with all of them on my Batphone, they will attach to my project.)
  4. Rebel Rhythm and Blues  Will this interracial couple just be two ships passing in the night?  Or with a sign from the Heavens, and of the spirit of music past, will they be spending forever together?  (Ashley Judd, and Denzel Washington)
  5. SoCal Supper Club  Southern Californians may be known for their excess, but at one supper club in SoCal, they found real happiness with a little help from their friends.  (Justin Theroux and Michelle Pfeiffer)
  6. Their End of Days  Their end of days, may just as well be ours.  The world is suffering global economic malaise until our heroine makes a mind-blowing discovery.  (Amanda Seyfried and Bryan Cranston)
  7. Genevieve Marseille  Genevieve Marseilles once had Hollywood in hand, until the roles vanished, and she got homesick for her native Provençale.  (Dream cast would include: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Chazz Palminteri)
  8. Weighty Matters (a six-page short)  Following an electrical storm, it all got very, very heavy for Maggie.  (Maggie Gyllenhaal, who else?)

Because of plagiarism concerns, these are the marketing log lines, not the more revealing, synopsis ones.  Each of these movie scripts have been copyrighted with the Library of Congress, and registered with the Writers’ Guild of America.  If you work in cinema and have an interest in producing any of eight scripts written by a gifted writer, the one who brings The Other Letter to the world, at your earliest convenience.



Basic Screenwriters’ Library

To get an appreciation of film-making, you can read books dedicated to a particular master of the craft of filmmaking such as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Jean Luc Godard, Jacques Demy, Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, or Woody Allen.  However, the books listed below will point you in the direction of the pros, and take your own ideas as far as they’ll go.

  1. Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion (annual editions: 1986 to 1993); Roger Ebert’s Video Companion (annual editions: 1994 to 1998); Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook (annual editions: 1999 to 2013).  Ebert passed away in 2013, but he is the still the absolute god of film criticism (Pauline Kael just rolled over in her grave).  Anyone who wants to know what a great movie does right (and why a movie is god-awful), will need to read his reviews, which are found in any of these 28 volumes.
  2. The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler  Key character types such as threshold guardians, shadows, and the various heroes, are defined with examples from film.  The journey traveled from the call of adventure to the inner cave.  (The only problem with this book is that the movies used as examples are dated, they’re from the 1990s.  This didn’t effect the readability though.)
  3. Syd Field, Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting  Anyone in Hollywood who has written a screenplay in the last thirty years has read this primer.  (Or did I read that on the jacket sleeve?  No, it is the bestseller in the field of screenwriting.)
  4. The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier  All the ins and outs of writing a professionally-formatted screenplay.  Do you know how to format a montage on your screenplay?  With this book, you will.
  5. The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking.  An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies outside of Hollywood; by Mark Polish, Michael Polish, and Jonathan Sheldon.  The inside scoop inside a film set.  Includes what every credit means at the end of every movie, and what they do: DP, director of photography; key grip and gaffer, setting up the lights, etc., etc.  Rack focus, changing focus within a shot; film stock.  Yet this is entirely readable, and not esoteric.
  6. How to Sell your Screenplay.  A Realistic Guide to Getting a Television or Film Deal.  By Lydia Wilen and Joan Wilen.  As the title implies, and covers the business end of the film industry, including contracts.
  7. Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, by Georges Polti.  Originally published in 1916, yet still available.  From classical drama unto the present day, these thirty-six (with subtopics) cover almost every possible dramatic premise.  For example: “Revenge for an attempted slaying;” or, “Revenge for a false accusation, Monte Cristo.”

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Taylor Swift Caves to, and Plays it Safe for, Marketing

Here’s a Youtube rarity: Taylor Swift, and her publicity manager, Velma Whitebred, discussing the pop superstar’s cleavage permissibility on Instagram posts.

[Velma walks through ten-foot-tall oak doors of the mega-star’s mansion.]

“Oh, hi, Velma, whatcha got?”

“These are the prints for the Sunday Instagram post.  [Velma drops prints onto Taylor’s over-sized desk.]  We need to go through them to find the ones that would satisfy fan interest.  Gotta keep click through rate up.”

“Okay, I remember at the marketing meeting, we discussed cleavage in these photos.”

“But remember, Taylor, we had trouble with the Church when you showed any bosom.”

“But, if you remember, our male demographic is always below statistical norm.  I’m always playing to teenage girls.”

“Tay, you really think risking it with the Baby Jesus crowd is worth it?  Once you cow tow to the male demo, you lose Christians in droves.  I advise you in a fiduciary capacity.”


“I would really avoid showing any cleavage.”

“How about this one?”

“Then you have a nipple-gate on your hands.  You’re playing with fire, Taylor.  Here’s one.  This is the one that marketing liked.”

“But I’m so covered up.”

“That’s what the Church wants.  Churchgoers are your core base.  Alienate them, and no one shows up at your arena shows.  The Baby Jesus lovers want prim, they want chaste.”

“Well, I’m thirty years old, I’m not so chaste anymore.  Just last year, I debuted my belly-button.”

“We spent weeks fingering blame for that breach, Taylor.”

“Alright, already, I’ll be covered up, no skin.  It’s Sunday anyhow, our research shows that it’s a very slow day of the week, boobs-wise.  It’s not Saturday, for crying out loud.”

“That’s the thinking.  I’ll get our social media team on the line, tell them the good news.  We gotta keep our core base happy.  The focus groups will love this, I guarantee you.  Stay with the path of least resistance, it’s where the money is...”

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Katy’s Whistletodde Donut Visit

“What we got today, Wills?  Hope it’s an easy one being Saturday.”

“We’re touring the donut shop in Whistletodde.”

“Wait, didn’t we visit them last year?”

“This is a sanctioned return visit.  The Crown thinks Britain has a real future in confectionery baking.  Take America head on.”

“Except then they ply us with the donuts.  How many did we get last time?”

“200, if I recall.”

“You know, Wills, a girl’s got to watch her figure.  Can we just dump them into the Thames?”

“There could be paparazzi taking pictures, and there’s an environmental risk with sugared trout.  We discussed this last year, Kates.  What’s more, the Queen wouldn’t like it if a donutery, by appointment of her regency, dumped the goods into the Thames.  No, we’ll have to secure them into Kensington Palace, then put the 200 into the trash compactor.”

“Trash compactors are so handy.”

“Americans never use them.”

“Why, Wills?”

“I don’t think they know about them.  Plus, it’s an advanced technology.  The UK is always leading edge.  Just look at the Beatles.  Anyhow, a compactor takes a hundred pounds of trash, and puts it in a convenient hundred pound bag of trash.”

“We’re always involved in some intrigue or other.  You’re like James Bond, and I’m your Bond girl.  I’m glad I married you, Wills, and joined your Royal family, I’m so glad.”

“Thank you.”

to Top of Sketch Pass



The Nicole Kidman Interview

In my interminably long career as a celebrity interviewer there was still the one that got away.  That one is Nicole Kidman.  Yet, her publicist, Maggie Gyllie, had done her research, and she knew of all the other women that my Pantheon had brought to the next level in Hollywood.  Maybe, Ms. Gyllie thought, I could help her client, Nikky, get beyond her latest slump.

Maggie quickly looked me up on IMDBPro, called me on my professional extension, and we began arranging an interview.  Nicole and I finally had that sit down interview at her mansion, on a sunny, blistering hot, July day in Nashville, where we discussed her profession as an Oscar-winning siren (her air conditioning was being fixed, but there were cold beverages a plenty).  10/10/20.

Here is the interview of a lifetime, in its entirety:

“What is acting to you, Nicole?”

“Acting means many things, but more than anything, it means process, cathartic process, with heaping helpings of vitality.  I know I say that now, but my compadres will catch me — so isn’t it engagement, too?  Engagement with the director, my fellow actresses, and you, out there watching me on television.  Acting is all about making more friends than enemies.  Sure, it’s about romances.  That’s where I met what’s his name.”

“When you say process, you must mean—”

“The evolution of thespian depiction.  I love depiction so much.  Cannot get enough.  Gives me a spring to my step.  Taking a story, and whetting the audience’s appetite with commercials.”

“It’s been said that you’d rather be on a sound-stage, then be back in reality with your family.”

“Well, let me just say, I’ll just say, I love my kids.  They’re great kids.  I don’t see them so often, but again, it’s about the process, it’s me with my community of actresses.  The kids have nannies for god’s sakes.  What do they need momma for, when she can rake in the dough doing the latest mini-series?”

“Does your husband mind your absence when you’re on location?”

“Have you ever heard of an open marriage?  What does that mean to you?”

“Well, you have options.”

“I have options.  If I wanna make it with some up-and-comer, why shouldn’t I?  Do you know how hard I work?  I’m always thinking process and engagement.  How can I not?  How can anyone in this field not think, like I do, about process and engagement, and yes, involvement?  Most think about the troika of process, engagement, and involvement, but I do it so much better.  The father, the son, and the holy spirit, is one triad, but actors know...  You know what I’m about to say?”

“I’m not quite sure what you’ll say next.”

“Process, engagement, and involvement, the holy trinity of this classically trained thespian.  Always, process, engagement, and involvement, ah, epiphany.  Thank you.  Good luck to you and your newspaper.”

“You used your name and reputation to get around Australian quarantine laws.  If your name wasn’t Nicole Kidman, you’d have stayed in a State-run hotel for two weeks.  Is this fair to other Aussies who could get infected?”

“I don’t have germs, and I have kids vulnerable to the ways of the primitive outback people, okay?  Last question.”

“What do you think about aging in this business?”

“I’m outta here.  I gotta private plane waiting out back, and it’s about to take off.  A non-stop from Nashville to LAX with unlimited bar cart, hear me?  I am that important, okay?  You just don’t understand how important I am, do you?!!  I still got it, okay???  I am still satin and lace, okay?!!  Fiery-red, me!!!  Do you understand me?!!”

“Yes, I think I do...”

to Top of Sketch Pass



Ashley Judd bonds with Trump’s Bitch McConnell

“Hi, Bitch.”

“Hey, Ashley Judd, I thought you fell off the face of the earth.”

“I’m back.  Hey, tough loss.”


“You didn’t hear?  UConn over Kentucky in OT.  Our man, Jenkins, couldn’t connect from three-point land, but his inbound game was not to be believed.”

“I’m not a young whipper-snapper anymore.”

“I sure hear that.”

“Ashley, I’ll take you to Tokyo Joe’s, Nashville Steakhouse for drinks.  It’s the new South eaterie everyone’s talking about.  We’ll talk about the olden days.  I hold court there.”

“Aren’t you married?”

“Not so much.”

“I’m sorry, Mitch, but I went lesbo.  I’ve told everyone.  Where’ve you been that you didn’t know that?”

“I’ve been trolling for chicks.”

“Me, too.  You know, since you’re connected, speak to the debate committee about some lesbo Q and A.  Is Trump in favor of more lesbo representation?”

“Lesbo T and A, where do I sign?”

“That isn’t what I said, you rascal!  More lesbo representation?”

“No can do, Ashley.  GOP doesn’t represent your demographic.  To my party, you don’t exist.  I respect your right to exist, but my party doesn’t.”

“Dang, double dang.  Do you have any new Bible verses?  I need some church.”

“I know that feeling, Ashley.  We all need more baby Jesus in our world, except my Bible is in the glove compartment of the Rolls.”

“Me, too.”

“Hey, the State of Kentucky parade against abortion is next week.  You can scream about nasty woman stuff.  The teenage mom float will be outfitted by LL Bean.  The theme is quality jeans and motherhood.”

“I’m on the fence about abortion.  I know I had one, but my church isn’t for the murder of younger people, which is what abortion is.  I used to think I aborted a fetus, but my Methodists are right, I aborted a short person.”

“Okay, suit yourself.  Call me if you get lonely, or you want anything pushed through the Supreme Court or the Senate.”

“Oh, you mean Barrett, and Impeachment.  I’ll call, Bitch.  If I wasn’t lesbo, you’d be the one.  The South will rise again.”

“I hear you, Ashley.”

“Keep it real.”

“I do.”

“One more thing, can we make Kentucky, ‘The Hillbilly State’?  Why don’t we have visit KY ads with a barefoot family in dungarees, straw hats, and corncob pipes?”

“I never thought of that one.  It would certainly add to our tourism base.  After Senate recess, I’ll run it by my staff.  I’ll get back to you.”

to Top of Sketch Pass



Ashley Judd Teaches Sunday School

Ashley substituted for her friend, Mary, who teaches at Heavenly Asheville Sunday School.  One of her charges posted a widely-distributed Youtube of the event:

“Hi, do you know who I am?  I’m Ashley Judd?  Remember TwistedBug?  Maybe you’re not old enough to remember.  Okay, we’ll skip that.  Why are we here today?”

“Baby Jesus.”

“That’s right, we’re here to celebrate the life of Baby Jesus.  What did Baby Jesus do for us?”

“He ruined our Sundays.”

“No, that’s very wrong.  We are here on our own volition.”


“Our own free will?  What are you, felons?”

“I have to go home.  I have a cold.  No, I have Coronavirus.”

“How do you know?”

“Everyone in my family has it.”

“Everyone must live in mortal fear of the Coronavirus.  This is only good citizenship, part and parcel of being an American.  Baby Jesus gave us COVID-19 so we could stay at home and reflect on our sinning.”

“Which planet are you from?”

“Simmer down.  I was given a lesson plan which we will get through.  Now, why do we love Baby Jesus?”

“We don’t.  He’s a joke.”

“But everyone loves Baby Jesus, why don’t you?”

“Because he died two-thousand-years ago, and the Church has been puffing up his memory ever since.”

“Puffing up?”

“Making him more than he ever was.”

“Teenagers don’t talk like that.  You are talking heathen talk.  Do you know where heathens go?”

“To reality world, unlike where you live.”

“That’s just plain rude.  Baby Jesus would never allow rudeness.”

“He’s a form of repression.  He tried to make everyone faggy, and with you, he succeeded.”

“I’m not faggy.  I’m on a quest for spiritual discovery.”

“Same thing.”

“You’re just teenagers, I am not accountable to you.  I’m only accountable to my Baby Jesus.”

“We thought Mary was bad.”

“When are your mothers getting here?  I’m going to have a talking to with each of them.  I will not tolerate haters.”

“My mother is going to listen to you?  She’s deep in the cups, like you will be in two hours.”

“Ha, ha!  I don’t drink!”

“My flight out of Asheville International was canceled, Ashley, I’ll take them from here.”

“They’re evil, Mary, nothing but evil.”

“Frankie, and you twins, you attacked a teacher again???  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!”

“Is corporal punishment really necessary, Mary?”

“Oh, yeah, you betcha.  They need to learn the value of Baby Jesus in their lives.  Thwap!!  Take that, loser!!!!!  Out comes the ruler on the knuckles!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!  Thwap!!!!!!”

“Sunday School was certainly different from when I was a 19-year-old...”

Mary was played by Jennifer Aniston.  The poorly behaving, atheistic teens were played by never aging Frank Muniz, and the ageless, Olsen twins.  Ashley Judd played herself.  Her inspiration for the role was her research into the verifiable, long-suffering of her Madonna.

Distribution was canceled because of lack of funding.  Movie posters cost money.  Investors complained that Baby Jesus didn’t vanquish evil in this version of the presentation...

to Top of Sketch Pass



Ashley is in love with Baby Jesus and her Church

Through the magic of channeling first person story-telling we found this (Ashley Judd has personally authorized the recounting of this vital morality play):

“Great sermon, Deacon BluesThe Book of Deuteronomy is always my favorite.”

“Mine, too.”

“Those life lessons?  My, oh, my.  But how about we do some Mary Magdalene next week?”

“Well, Ashley, it’s Lenten celebrations, and that means—”

“Corinthians 1, I hear you.  Okay, I won’t be so pushy.”

“The birds in the field do not sow, Ashley.  Worry about the fetuses of the unborn men and women who are being slaughtered.  Ashley, remember that because of Eve, and her snatched apple, your gender is the origin of sin.”

“Yes, it is written, it is told.  I’m just on edge.  Again.”

“Blessed be to baby Jesus, Ashley.  It’s what binds us together as a people.  Never forget that Jesus died for your sins.”

“What does one have to do with the other?  I have Baby Jesus on the one hand, and my sins on the other.”

“You’re thinking crazy again, Ashley Judd.  You’ll never get into heaven that way.  You get to Heaven through me!  I can put in a good word for you, remember?  I’m much better connected than you are.”

“It took me awhile to realize this truth.  I see the error of my ways.  Deacon Blues, you’ve solved all the riddles of the universe.  How can I ever repay you?”

“Double, no treble, your giving to this year’s annual fund.”

“Sure thing, Deacon.  Have a nice day, Deacon Blues.”

“You too, Ashley.”

[Ashley bounds down the steps of her tony, house of worship.  She drives home in her late-model Rolls Royce.]

“I give tens of thousands of dollars to keep afloat what keeps me afloat, but I just wish they would try to make the Bible more contemporary.  And if they could only figure out how to feed the poor.”

[She pulls up her very long driveway, gets out of her car, and the door opens on her digital facial recognizance.  She sits down on her sofa.  Her standard poodle starts licking her face.]

“Down, Tiger, down.”

[She picks up a very large book from similarly very large books on her coffee table.]

“Tiger, this is such a Harvard classic in post-post-modernism, and it weighs in at just over a thousand pages: Brothers Kaminsky, Lives in Danish Revolt.  Time for a reread.”

[She reads a paragraph, and instantly falls off to sleep.  Tiger licks her face.]

to Top of Sketch Pass



Only yesterday, Santana, you were lesbo, but why not today?

Gwynnie is married to Bradley Wonder-Bred, the scribe responsible for Glee, the sit-com about gays and lesbians in a glee club.  This is the teleplay of my favorite episode:

“I’m not lesbo, dammit, Carlita.”

“You were last night.”

“Well, that was last night.  Today’s a new day, and I won’t be going lesbo anymore.”

“What about the prom?”

“I can’t go lesbo to the prom.  That’s for the straights.”

“Then are you lesbo or straight, Santana?”

“Now, you’re confusing me.  Girls like me can’t go to the prom, okay?”

“The entire glee club is lesbo, and they’re going to the prom.  You should.”

“The entire club?  Every last Gleek?”


[Santana looks skyward, and dreamily scratches her head.]

This won an Emmy for Bradley Wonder-bred, and another for Gwynnie in her recurring role as Holly Holliday, the substitute teacher who likes girls — a lot.

to Top of Sketch Pass



Would you fancy being the Queen of England, Catherine?

Catherine and William near the end of their second date as they stroll around the catacombs of Kensington Palace.

Catherine Middleton:  William, where are you taking me?

Willie Windsor:  I need for you to meet someone.  This is her office.  I’ll see you later.

Catherine Middleton:  What, what’s going on?

Willie Windsor:  Please, Kate, it won’t take long.

Constance Earl Grey:  I’ll take it from here, William...  Hi, Catherine.  I’m Constance, Constance Earl Grey, and I’ll be your Royalty intake integrator.

Catherine Middleton:  What, what are you talking about?!

Constance Earl Grey:  Please, we need you to cooperate.  William has said that you are a very cooperative, young woman.

Catherine Middleton:  What is this about?

Constance Earl Grey:  How long have you been dating William?

Catherine Middleton:  If I knew when I went out with him I’d be up for any interview, for any craziness—

Constance Earl Grey:  Five dates?

Catherine Middleton:  Well, no, this is just our second date.

Constance Earl Grey:  Good, very good.  Now, would you fancy being the Queen of England, Catherine?

Catherine Middleton:  I have never given it any thought.  What are you writing?

Constance Earl Grey:  Your answers, I cannot record this on magnetic tape, security issues.  Do you create your own food dishes, or does your staff prepare them?

Catherine Middleton:  I cook my own food dishes, who else will be cooking them?

Constance Earl Grey:  What do you like to cook?

Catherine Middleton:  For breakfast, I like bangers and mash, but I’m watching my figure, so I nixed sausage from my diet.

Constance Earl Grey:  She watches her figure.

Catherine Middleton:  Is there a candid camera somewhere?  The joke’s on me, right?  William, you’re in trouble now.

Constance Earl Grey:  What kind of car do you drive?

Catherine Middleton:  You want me to play along?  Okay, a Fiat.

Constance Earl Grey:  What model?

Catherine Middleton:  A 1992 Fiat, it’s a station car.

Constance Earl Grey:  Just answer the question, Catherine.

Catherine Middleton:  It’s a 1992 Fiat Station Master, I take it to the car park, then the tube to London town for work responsibilities.

Constance Earl Grey:  Mileage?

Catherine Middleton:  It has over 300,000 miles on it.

Constance Earl Grey:  If you do well with William, you’ll have your own Rolls Royce.  Is this okay?

Catherine Middleton:  What?  Do well?

Constance Earl Grey:  Are Rolls Royces satisfactory transport for you?  They’re British.

Catherine Middleton:  I know that they are.  Yes, give me a Rolls.

Constance Earl Grey:  How tightly aligned are you with the bohemian lifestyle?

Catherine Middleton:  I don’t really think that I am.

Constance Earl Grey:  Do you do what the lower classes might call partying?

Catherine Middleton:  Well, in your twenties, you party.

Constance Earl Grey:  Have you ever gotten sick from alcohol poisoning?

Catherine Middleton:  Is this any of your business?!

Constance Earl Grey:  Well, for our purposes, it is.  I’ll take your answer as a yes, you’ve been poisoned by alcohol.  Were there paparazzi around?  We need to know the photographers and photos that we need to suppress.

Catherine Middleton:  This is getting very personal.

Constance Earl Grey:  Catherine, you want to join the Windsor family of Royalty, do you not?

Catherine Middleton:  Well, I’m not so sure now.  Okay, there were paps nearby.

Constance Earl Grey:  Any dalliances outside of men that you’ve been seen in public with?  Any lady friends that you shared intimacies?

Catherine Middleton:  Okay, stop, that’s it, we’re done.

Constance Earl Grey:  I’ll take that as another yes.

Catherine Middleton:  What the?!

Constance Earl Grey:  You live in a flat?

Catherine Middleton:  How many questions am I expected to answer?

Constance Earl Grey:  Please, Catherine, we’re almost done.  For Britain’s sake.

Catherine Middleton:  Yes, I live in a flat.

Constance Earl Grey:  Do you clean your flat, or does someone come in to do it for you?

Catherine Middleton:  I do it.  Who else would?  I strive to be very independent.  Write that down.  I’m a very independent, young woman.

Constance Earl Grey:  Don’t worry, being independent typically won’t be to your detriment.  This is the 21st Century, the new House of Windsor is really getting hip.

Catherine Middleton:  I’m not going to be some Twiggy running around doing Willie’s bidding...  Well, Twiggy was my idol growing up.  I have a Twiggy lunch box, we all did at Saint Andrews Prep.

Constance Earl Grey:  Are you a virgin?

Catherine Middleton:  You can’t ask me that.  I have rights, you know.

Constance Earl Grey:  I’ll pass on that one for now.  How many Royal heirs are you willing to bore for William?

Catherine Middleton:  Isn’t that premature?  We’ve only been on two outings together.

Constance Earl Grey:  Good answer.  Fine.  Very good, Catherine, you’ve made it to Round Two.  I’ll escort you back to William’s suite in the Cheshire Wing.

Catherine Middleton:  What did I sign on to?

Constance Earl Grey:  You’ll make an excellent fit with the Windsor Family of Royalty.  Just keep it clean.

Catherine Middleton:  I don’t deal drugs, Constance.  Constance, was it?

Constance Earl Grey:  I am Constance Earl Grey, yes.  William, we’re done.  She is receptive to the idea of becoming the Queen of England.

Catherine Middleton:  I’m receptive?!  I made Round Two?!  What the heck is going on, William?!

Willie Windsor:  You’re being vetted by my Windsor human resources team.  We need to be sure you measure up to our standards, and so far you do.

Catherine Middleton:  I’m supposed to be happy about this?

Willie Windsor:  Why yes, you’re quality.  I bet you’ll get through the approval process, with flying Union Jack.

Catherine Middleton:  Then why do I feel like crying...

to Top of Sketch Pass



Heather Graham’s Heehaw

All within typecast, it’s Heather’s Heehaw, a live salute to all that is great about the Southern United States:

Heather Graham:  Hi there, my name is Heather, Graham that is, and welcome to my Heehaw, with the Big Three as back up, if things go wrong.

Ashley Judd:  I’m the spiritual advisor at Heather’s Heehaw, and boy do we have fun in store — for you!!

[Heather slaps her left knee three times, then her right knee five times.]

Charlize Theron:  I’m Charli, I could be watching the fights with my kids, but whatever.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  And I’m Gwynnie.  Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Heather Graham:  Gwynnie is in a bad marriage right now.

Ashley Judd:  Let us pray for her soul.

Heather Graham:  Heehaw!!  I’d like to sing a song about the heartland from my heart, and it goes something like this.  It’s from the Willie Nelson song catalog.  Here it comes: Ashley give me a hand.

Ashley Judd:  Which song are you trying to sing?

Heather Graham:  I’m not sure.

Ashley Judd:  Wait, wait.  How about U2?  Bono and the boys?

Heather Graham:  Is that country?  Heehaw?

Ashley Judd:  Mule Skinner Blues?

Heather Graham:  Is that a question?

Ashley Judd:  Well, have you ever heard of it?  That’s more country than anything.

Heather Graham:  How does it go?

Ashley Judd:  I’m not quite sure.  It has plenty of blue yodeling though.

Heather Graham:  I can’t yodel, Ashley.

Charlize Theron:  You know, folks, I’m missing fight night.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Grumble, grumble.

Heather Graham:  Looks like we’re going to commercial...

Heather Graham:  We’re back.  Ashley, what about a Willie Nelson song?  I might have a shot at that.  Heehaw?

Ashley Judd:  I have my iPhone, I’ll look it up on Youtube.  I’ll find you a Nelson song.  My mom sang with Nelson on his We’ll Make it Home Tour.

Heather Graham:  Don’t make it a hard one, Ashley, I really can’t sing.  Heehaw!

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Grumble, grumble!  Can I get better lines?  These suck.

Heather Graham:  Gwynnie, you’re within type.  You’re girl-in-trouble in a bad marriage.  There aren’t many lines for this.  Come on, play along to get along.  Heehaw!

Charlize Theron:  Why on earth are you doing a Heehaw remake?

Heather Graham:  I’d ask the same about you.  Over forty, it’s either super-hero grandmas or wherever our agents send us out for auditions.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  You auditioned?

Heather Graham:  Well, yea.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  But it’s your show.

Heather Graham:  The producers had to be sure I could do this.

Charlize Theron:  And man, are you ever showing them you’re up for this.

Ashley Judd:  Here, here’s a good song, Heather.  Wait, no, that’s dated.

Heather Graham:  Anything, Ashley!

Ashley Judd:  Okay, alrighty then, John Denver’s Take me Home Country Road.

Heather Graham:  How does it go?

Ashley Judd:  You’re telling me you don’t know?

Heather Graham:  Ashley, I just told you so.  Stop thinking you’re the high and mighty Harvard grad for just one second, okay?  I don’t need any lip from you, okay?

Ashley Judd:  Heather, your attitude leaves much to be desired.  We’re not very centered, are we now?

Heather Graham:  How.  Does.  It.  Go.  Ashley?

Ashley Judd:  Almost Heaven, West Virginia.  County roads, take me home.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Grumble, grumble.  It’s: Country roads, take me home to the place where I belong.

Ashley Judd:  You know, Gwyneth, if you didn’t always think that you knew it all, then your marriage might have a snowball’s chance in Hell.

Charlize Theron:  I hear her voice calling me, I should have been home yesterday.

Ashley Judd:  Wait, wait, one second, is this one nasty lesbo song?  I hear her voice calling me?  The song is supposed to be homage to my people.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Yea, Christian crazies, hillbillies stuck in the hills, never to return.

Charlize Theron:  We sound just like a bunch of cranky, hormonal bitches.

Ashley Judd:  Okay, okay, before we hit implosion, On the Road Again.  We can’t fight over this one.

Heather Graham:  How does it go?

Ashley Judd:  Are you effing serious?  Like a band of gypsies we go rolling down the highway.  Can’t wait to get on the road again.

Heather Graham:  Okay, Ashley.  Like a band of gypsies we go rolling down the highway.  Can’t wait to get on the road again.

Charlize Theron:  Like a band of gypsies we go rolling down the highway.  Can’t wait to get on the road again.

Gwyneth Paltrow:  Like a band of gypsies we go rolling down the highway.  Can’t wait to get on the road again.

to Top of Sketch Pass



Other Letter Deserves all your Money

If you could prevent an air disaster, would you?  Well, now you can.  Low oil pressure in the engine block causes 98.3% of all airplane crashes.  Yet the pilot blows it.  He needs to yank out all the spark plugs.  This reduces speed, and the plane can glide into JFK, or wherever, safely.  Lives would be saved, but pilots just aren’t aware of my secrets.

This is why I need your help supporting the Avionics Death Spiral Initiative.  Please give generously so I can spread the good word.  This is just like Ashley Judd with her endless promotion of her whack-a-doodler religion, but my good words can actually benefit all of humanity by saving many, many, lives, real lives.

Please give monthly, tithe, payroll deductions, anything, so I CAN SAVE MANY, MANY LIVES!...  Pilots have to learn to pull the spark plug wires in catastrophic plane flights.  Just reach right down, and YANK ON ’EM!!!!!!!!!!  The reason this is so effective, is that planes are over-powered in aviation disasters, and this puts the plane back in equilibrium.  This returns aircraft to an even keel — guaranteed!

Come on, all you Southerners down there.  It’s payday, and you just got out of the textile mill.  You’re flush with cash, and you wanna do good deeds.  It’s time to pry open your wallet for charity.  Do not tithe to Ashley Judd and/or her Church.  Who needs their crap?  No one is right.  Tithe to me, and the Avionics Death Spiral Initiative, instead.  We suggest tithing ten percent of your take home pay.  You know you want me to spread the good word of the Avionics Death Spiral Initiative, but I can’t unless I can buy airtime.

See how this works.  I cannot save lives, until you fork over the mean green.  Think of all the lives that would have been saved if pilots only knew of my methods.  Giving to the Avionics Death Spiral Initiative, unlike giving to Ashley’s insane and dying Christian church, actually has the potential of saving lives.

(Because confusedly, wastefully, and arbitrarily, giving money to the homophobic, misogynistic, and pedophile-sheltering Church is fully tax deductible; the Avionics Death Spiral Initiative is just as deserving of tax-exempt status.)

to Top of Sketch Pass



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leslie:  You really are.

Holly Holliday:  No problemo.

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

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

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

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

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

Leslie:  Is that the version that made Madonna famous?

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

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

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

to Top of Sketch Pass



Ashley Judd tries to Convert The Other Letter to Christianity

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  Well, I see four stories.

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

The Other Letter:  Where are you getting the financing?

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

The Other Letter:  Pastor Rick?

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

The Other Letter:  Shoot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  You get laid?

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  A fraud?—

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  And you went to Harvard?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley Judd:  Yes.

The Other Letter:  I have a flight to catch.

Ashley Judd:  To where?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to Top of Sketch Pass



The Other Letter lands the Taylor Swift Interview

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

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

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

Taylor Swift:  Who?

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

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

The Other Letter:  Bobble head dolls?

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

The Other Letter:  Are these quality bobble head dolls?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  Which Marley song would you cover?

Taylor Swift:  No Woman No Cry.

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  Any new direction in this one?

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  Basketball Michael Jordan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  Um, okay.

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

The Other LetterDignity?

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

The Other Letter:  What do you long for?

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

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

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

The Other Letter:  No, I’m just—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ashley’s always a Kentucky-First Investor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mad Radio, like Mad Libs

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, that’s right,

The remaster  The studio version  The cover  The live version


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

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

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


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

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

Ashley JuddGwyneth PaltrowHeather GrahamCharlize Theron

Will present the homily and benediction to

Memorialize  Commemorate  Condemn

All those

Deserving  Undeserving


Honor  Condemnation.

Hi, everyone, I’m

Ashley JuddGwyneth PaltrowHeather GrahamCharlize Theron


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

tonight  this afternoon  this morning  on the overnight,

and as we wend our way through life,

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

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

Other Letter:  What am I doing here, Gwyneth?

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

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

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

Other Letter:  They’re all in their twenties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Letter:  You still smoke?

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

Other Letter:  I have family there.

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

Other Letter:  Swimming pools, movie stars?

Gwyneth Paltrow:  It’s winter, Other.

Other Letter:  That’s from the Beverly Hillbillies?

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

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

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

Other Letter:  You sure can shimmy.

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

Other Letter:  You have her number?

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

Other Letter:  When’s this?

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

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

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

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

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

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Gwynnie takes a Step Down to Present for the Emmys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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.

to Top of Sketch Pass



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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This is from my Dinners even a Bachelor can cook portion over at the main operation, OtherLetter.com.  These practical recipes were created to have everything cooks want most — taste, nutrition, and easy preparation.  These have eight ingredients or less.  More than that many, and time you should spend enjoying your creation, is instead spent at the markets hunting for novelty ingredients such as fennel and anchovies (anchovies may actually be fine, I tried them once, and to be honest, it tasted like a salt lick might, was I a horse).

Easy Raspberry or Blackberry Smoothies, and now, with Strawberries or Blueberries

I haven’t been counting, but if I were to guess, I’ve made this particular recipe over forty times.

Be sure the berries are fresh.  Blackberries seem to last longer in the fridge than raspberries.  Blackberries have a richer flavor, raspberries a more subtle, nuanced one (you’ll see what I mean).

Raspberry and Blackberry Smoothies should be poured through a sieve into the glasses after blending, as they will have small seeds.

Two cups milk
Four tablespoons maple syrup (two tablespoons if including banana)
EITHER An entire 6oz. package of fresh, rinsed raspberries, or blackberries;
OR 3/4, or 12oz., of a 16oz. package of fresh, rinsed strawberries cleaned of stems and blemishes with a paring knife — and optionally, one half of a banana;
OR Half of a pint of fresh, rinsed blueberries;
OR Half of a banana without strawberries.

Dust off and wash blender.  Pour ingredients into jar — pour milk first to have the blender function as a measuring cup.  Without the banana, use four tablespoons of maple syrup; with half a banana, two tablespoons of maple syrup.  Cover jar, run at purée, or smoothie setting, for 45 seconds (60 seconds for strawberries).  Makes two drinks (although you may like to double the recipe).  That’s all there is to it.

Key to the Blueberry Smoothie Recipe found!  Instead of taking an entire, 6-ounce package of blueberries and adding it to the 2 cups milk like you would in the new raspberry and blackberry recipe, add just 3 ounces, or half of a package of blueberries to it.  Because the blueberries are fully diluted by the milk, that blueberry sludge issue you’ve all been reporting is avoided.

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Stick-to-your-ribs, Hot and Spicy Chili

This is a supper that will have you hosannaing this recipe, just as it will have you feeling fully nourished.  Defrost a half pound of hamburger meat overnight in the refrigerator, or, assuming any pets can’t get at it, leave it out on the kitchen counter two hours before preparation.

Half pound, lean ground beef
Entire can of dark kidney beans, drained (15 oz.)
One and a half cups of marinara sauce
One teaspoon of chili powder (not chili pepper)
One to three garlic cloves (optional)

In a large frying pan, brown ground beef at medium-high heat.  In the sink, pour off the grease into a tin can or a coffee cup; or if you prefer, the fat of the ground chuck, or chopped sirloin, can be kept in the frying pan for flavor.  If you like garlic, use a knife blade to crunch a few cloves, and remove its husk.  Then dice it and sprinkle it over the ground beef (approximately five cloves to a bulb, many people prefer no more than one clove).

Lightly cover marinara sauce over ground beef (a cup and a half works for me).  Then pour a can of dark kidney beans into the frying pan.  Sprinkle in a teaspoon of chili powder, or just shake the spice container lightly a few times over the pan.  Stir constantly, reducing all ingredients at medium-high heat for five more minutes, or until you feel heat radiating off the chili onto your hand, and the very liquid consistency has become a very moist paste.  Serves two.

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