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ROBERT S. SWIATEK

00001.jpgSwiatek Press Copyright 2008, Robert S. Swiatek. All Rights Reserved
First Edition

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.

Published by Swiatek Press, Inc. 71 Georgian Lane #3 Buffalo, NY 14221

ISBN: 0-9817843-4-8
Printed in the United States
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED to Stan Cieslar, my editor and teacher also by Robert S. Swiatek The Read My Lips Cookbook: A Culinary Journey of Memorable Meals
Don’t Bet On It
– a novel
Tick Tock, Don’t Stop: A Manual for Workaholics
for seeing eye dogs only
This Page Intentionally Left Blank – Just Like the Paychecks of the Workers
I Don’t Want to be a Pirate – Writer, maybe
wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill
Take Back the Earth – The Dumb, Greedy Incompetents Have Trashed It
Press 1 for Pig Latin
This War Won’t Cost Much – I’m Already against the Next One

Table of contents
Introduction i
1. Headlines, news and quotes 1
2. Read my lips – again? 29
3. Words, daffynitions, oxymorons and names 33
4. Technical difficulties – please sit by 43
5. Signs and other tax deductions 51
6. Look to the children 71
7. Useless facts 81
8. Hemorrhoids and some ideas 91
9. Newman lives 103
10. Email chuckles 109
11. A few observations 137
12. This chapter intentionally left blank 145
13. Questions 147 Introduction

This is another book on the three “Ls”: language, laughter and lunacy. Almost a sequel to for seeing eye dogs only and wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill, this is the last of the three books. Note the Doberman on the back cover, which can be found on each of those books. I really put him through hell, first skydiving, then health care and finally the postal service. It is possible that I will do another similar book in the future – but only by popular demand.

Because of all the missing intelligence around us – you need not search very far – it didn’t take me long to finish the second book. As soon as that was out of the way until publication, I started collecting more gems. As a result, here’s your free gift – send $10 for shipping may be the book that I finished in the shortest time. Unfortunately, there was a lapse between that point and the publication date, due to my work on other more important books.

Speaking of short, that adjective also describes this introduction. Without further ado, let’s get started. Here’s to plenty of laughs!

i
1. Headlines, news and quotes

What follows here are almost in order. I thought about listing things just as they occurred, but since our world seems to defy reason all too often, I decided not to bother. In my 2008 book, wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill, I included the “best” headlines of 2005 – I’m not sure what the guidelines are to qualify. What I have done is check the news for stories and headlines – both newspaper and online versions – that could be better stated and posted them with my thoughts. The hope is that you’ll get a chuckle or two and realize that newspaper people don’t get enough time to meet their deadlines.

It may be a new year, but even that brings more lovely headlines. On January 2, 2008, I saw these words just before checking my email – mostly spam:

Man re-creates ‘Star Wars’ in garage with family, neighbors
I wonder if that’s with the original cast.

There’s another headline on that same day: Justice Department to launch criminal probe of CIA tapes
Why waste time probing – if it’s the CIA, isn’t it criminal?

On Monday, January 7, 2008, I happened to spot this question just before going to do an email check:
Why do Mexican jumping beans jump? You’d be jumping too if you were fried, let alone re-fried.

Another headline on the same day was: Bush tries to maintain silence on 2008 race Ah hah! Another good use of duct tape!

Sometimes headlines can give you useful information, such as the one of January 10, 2008 – which follows and I didn’t pursue, since I’m retired:

3 signs that you have a miserable job
I don’t believe these were listed but should be considered: 1. You have to raise your hand before using the rest room 2. You’re required to work on the 31th of every month 3. You have to give two weeks notice if you die

On that same day, I saw something that may be related to a previous headline:
Stocks jump as Bernanke says Fed ready to lower interest rates
Do you think Mexican beans had something to do with this?

Some days are an extravaganza for headlines – at least for this book. January 11, 2008 had a few, including this one:

NYC’s Bloomberg tests waters for presidential run
I hope he’s not planning to stick his foot in the Hudson River. Oh, well, it’s his body, not mine.

The second one on that same day was groundbreaking:
Baghdad gets first snowfall in decades
Unfortunately, it was not the first snow job in that period.

There seemed to be no end on that banner day, because I caught this one as well:
Singapore called Asia’s happiest country There’s must be something in the water or else they’re watching the Comedy Channel.

The fourth headline of note on the 11th of January was:
Scientists rule out possibility of asteroid hitting Mars
I wonder if there is still hope for cleaning up the lobbyists in Washington with it.

You could find this headline on Wednesday, January 16, 2008:
Bush promises to stay engaged in Mideast peace Won’t that upset Laura?

Another that I couldn’t pass on that same day was this one:
Huge rodent species found
This is not to be confused with the politicians in Washington.

It appears that that same day may fill up the chapter. Here’s another:
Don’t send in the clowns: A survey finds clowns are “universally disliked” by kids
Is that why Congress today has an approval rating of eleven percent?

A day later, this headline graced my PC screen: A new species of palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies is discovered
It’s too bad that this characteristic couldn’t be passed on to telemarketers.

On January 21, 2008, you could see this educational tidbit in the news:
Food poisoning can cause long-term problems, scientists say
This assumes you survive past the short term. Were there any clinical tests used to arrive at this conclusion?

After returning from my trip – there’s more from that venture in the chapter on signs – I saw this headline on Wednesday, January 30, 2008:

Hen in Mexican village lays rare eggs with green shells
Could this be an example of environmental poultry?

Sunday, February 3, 2008 was the day that I saw this headline on yahoo.com:
Wind-power industry faces shortage of experienced technicians
Attention to Congress and the Administration: JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! – and high paying ones at that.

You could see this headline on that very same day: Clinton, Obama in dead heat ahead of big vote The groundhog just saw his shadow and we’re in the middle of winter, and you’re talking about heat!

A day later, I saw these words:
More Americans turning to Bible for financial advice
I hope they’re looking in the book of Wisdom. These people can’t be serious.

In keeping with this religious tone, there was another headline the very same day:
New ‘Virtue’ perfume is said to bring people closer to God
Wouldn’t they be better off with Calvin Klein’s Eternity?

Maybe I should write a book on these headlines, because I saw this one on February 5, 2008:
Clemens testifies to Congress about steroid use I didn’t think Mark Twain used those things or they were even around. I didn’t know he was alive.

Another I saw that same day was:
Japan reportedly resumes whale hunt in Antarctic waters
Of course they’re looking for the missing whales. Did they ever stop to think that maybe over fishing has led to the scarcity?

On February 8, 2008, I saw these words on the Internet:
Signs your staff dislikes you
Detecting these signals from your employees might indicate you're a lousy boss.

Here are ten signs that tell you it’s time to fill out your resume:
10. There’s something ticking in your office and your
clock is in for repair.
9. You’re not included in the office Super Bowl pool. 8. You’re the only one who doesn’t get a cake for his
birthday.
7. More rope is delivered to the office than required by
the shipping department.
6. An order of tar and feathers arrives at your office. 5. One of your employees invites you to his ranch to go
quail hunting.
4. Your Christmas gift has white powder on it. 3. Someone gives you a cigar and recommends you not
light it until she leaves your office.
2. One day, the head of a dead horse appears on your
desk.
1. Your staff votes you the winner of two weeks vacation
to Iraq.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 brought this headline: Yahoo! introduces new severance plans Yeah, it’s called logging out after checking your email.

There were a few headlines the next day that I had to include here. The first was:
Magnitude 6.3 earthquake strikes northeast Nevada
Unfortunately, all the casinos are still standing.

The next one featured was:
Amazing ‘sailboat’ stadium
The proposed $450 million waterfront baseball

stadium would be like no other.
I assume this is to be built in San Francisco, because of the wind and close proximity to the bay. I hope the fans like sailing.

The third headline was:
Grocery bills mount as price of wheat skyrockets This is the case even for people with allergies.

There was another – this seemed to be a banner day – that said:
Does the shape of your nose say anything about personality?
If it’s longer than four inches, you can run for political office or become a lawyer.

I really feel it’s time for a woman president, but I don’t believe it should be Hillary. By the time you read this, you’ll probably know if others felt the same way. On Friday, February 22, 2008, I saw a headline which I couldn’t leave out:

Hillary Clinton accuses Barack Obama of plagiarism as candidates trade jabs in Texas
Let me get this straight: She’s a senator and she’s running for president. When does she have time to be an English professor?

Another beauty that same day was:
White House defends McCain
No kidding! If I have to explain this one, you can stop reading now. I hope you paid for the book.

Saturday has headlines as well as the rest of the week. Here’s one from February 23, 2008:
Bank accidentally gives man $5 million Are you still wondering why we had the savings and loan crisis as well as the more recent debacle with lending institutions? Chapter 8 is dedicated to similar brain tumors. It gets a lot worse.

These few words could be viewed on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, if you got your email from Yahoo:
8 careers that help lower your stress level
I didn’t read the article as I was too busy writing, but I thought of a few professions that could fit the bill. 8. Weighing trucks at a gravel pit
I actually had this job one summer during college and I read quite a few books.
7. Testing beds at the factory
6. Refrigerator salesman in the Antarctic
5. Journalist for a newspaper that only comes out once
a year
4. Ranger at a National Park with no roads leading into
it
3. Working two contracts at the same time; each
employer assumes you’re at the other job
2. Letter-turner on a game show with vowels and
consonants
1. One of those washing machine repairmen
Make sure it’s the right company. Obviously, to get one of these assignments, you’ll either have to know someone or pay someone off.

On March 4, 2008, I saw this question on the WEB just before logging on to get my email:
What’s the worst U.S. city for identity theft? I don’t have time to go follow up for the answer, but would that be the Steal City?

A day later, when tracking some books that were on their way to California, I saw these words on the USPS web site:

The U. S. Postal Service and HBO invite you to customize and send a FREE JOHN ADAMS greeting card.
Won’t that confuse some people?

Just before logging on to check my email on March 6, 2008, I saw these words:

Study: Some men find housework has many rewards
They just have to do a great deal of searching to find where their spouse hid the money.

On Friday, March 7, 2008 – TGIF – I saw this headline:
Atlanta man builds high-tech robot to deter drug dealers
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get a gun or just stay away from those areas?

Another the same day was:
British man aims to be oldest marathoner ever Just from looking at his picture, if he keeps up the running, he won’t be.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 had a few examples of missing intelligence – maybe that’s why the country is in the state it is today. The first one was:

MIT tackles urban gridlock with foldable car idea
I think implementing and improving on mass transit could make more sense. What do you expect from this group of geniuses. Check out their idea of the clocky in wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill, my 2008 book.

The next one may come as a shocker:
Bush to veto waterboarding bill
He probably thinks it has something to do with housing at sea. Does that come with meals?

Some people will do anything to save a few dollars on shipping, as this headline of that same day illustrates:
A black and white kitten survives crossing the Pacific in a shipping crate
I’m happy to see she made it across, though I’m sure she’d rather have gone to Disney World. I don’t think FedEx, the USPS or UPS are thrilled.

That beauty was accompanied by this piece: How to handle switch to daylight saving time The most important thing to do is set your clock ahead one hour, before you retire for the night. If somehow you forget, sometime on Sunday, you will be made aware of the missing

action. Somehow you will survive.

This next headline could be found on Monday, March 10, 2008 and it had laughs written all over it:
Vatican lists ‘new sins’ for the modern age Was there any mention of sins that were switched to another class, lessened in intensity, de-classified or taken off the original list?

Speaking of which, I’m not sure how long it’s necessary to wait on a headline about someone’s ill fate, but by the time this is published, it should be past the mourning period. For politicians, I don’t believe this delay applies, so I should be safe. This was predicted in my 2008 publication, I Don’t Want to be a Pirate – although not quite exactly the way it all played out. This late-breaking news was also on March 10:

NY governor linked to prostitution ring
A law enforcement official says New York governor Eliot Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap. He is expected to resign.
Eliot was trying to help the economy – it needs all the stimulation it can get. Surprisingly, he’s not a Republican.

Another headline that same day may need some explaining for people who don’t live in Buffalo, Chicago or Milwaukee. These words could be found:

U.S. general: Al-Qaida in Iraq may be planning ‘large’ event
I know at the time of this news it was close to Easter, but I don’t think it’s a Dyngus Day Party.

The day after brought this headline:
Man’s technique sets record for most claps in one minute
Oh, that’s different. Never mind.

I didn’t read the full story, but these words were there that same day:
4 things to never say to the boss
As you can guess, these are my phrases.
1. Was that you last night with Eliot?
2. I picked up Monica’s dress from the dry cleaners. 3. I found your resume still in the copier.
4. Is this your stash?

This headline that same day was loaded:
Emotional Hall of Fame night
Madonna gets choked up during her speech; Justin

Timberlake disses his exes. She forgets to thank her family. Was she chewing on some chicken wings? Who has time to thank anyone when you’re just trying to breathe? He obviously didn’t read the story behind the headline above.

I hope I don’t have to explain this next one: ‘Ask a Ninja’ creators to remake cult hit ‘Killer Tomatoes’

I thought that the myth about those fruit was debunked decades ago. Maybe, it’s a new hybrid that I haven’t heard about.

Baseball season is just around the corner, so this next headline isn’t that surprising:
Yankees sign actor Billy Crystal to play baseball Either George is losing it or Billy’s running out of jokes.

They just keep coming, as these words illustrate: If Spitzer quits, U.S. would have first blind governor
That may be true, but there was a deaf and dumb governor in the 1990s. Actually, he may not have been deaf.

What a day for headlines! Here’s another from March 11:
Arctic town awakens to sunlight for first time in five months
The bars ran out of beer a few nights before.

Another gem from that same day was this one: Baggage becomes a big-ticket item for fliers These people never considered grocery bags.
The very next day, I saw this headline: Town celebrates end of 5 months of darkness The sunlight will soon be gone.

These words could also be found on March 12: Japan investigates iPod after Nano overheats, shoots out sparks
I thought that was a special new feature.

You may recall Woody Allen’s words about the lamb laying down with the lion. These words on the same day reminded me of that:

Shark is reintroduced to larger shark that tried to eat it
Unfortunately, there’s only one shark left. It wasn’t a good introduction and apparently the aggressor was still hungry.

March 13 may not be your lucky day if you follow this headline from that day in 2008:
How to grow your career in a recession
Won’t the grower be arrested and the weed in the fields be confiscated?

Another bit that same day connected to farming was: Is corn to blame for America’s obesity epidemic? I think duct tape is to blame. We need more of it to apply to people’s mouths so they’ll stop eating.

I wasn’t going to include this next headline of the same day, but it appears the laws of science have been changed without my knowledge:

Eat more and weigh less
A diet that lets you eat more and weigh less

More likely, you’re not allowed to swallow.

I couldn’t leave this one out:
Explaining Spitzer scandal to children proving tricky for parents
That one word starting with “t” probably won’t make it any easier.

The brilliance in the headlines doesn’t seem to end. Here’s another:

Survey: Recession is here
Most economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal see bad news.

Did these guys just wake up?

Here’s another on that unlucky day:
Monitors fail to stop patients from waking during surgery
In some respect, that’s not all bad news. They’ll just have to increase the dosage.

On Friday, March 14, 2008, you could find this headline on the Internet:
Sand dollars clone themselves when in danger, studies find
Unfortunately, with inflation, there’s still going to be a shortage of cash.

A day later, these words appeared:
As more countries launch spacecraft, some warn of traffic jam
Won’t that create more jobs for air traffic controllers?

Monday, April 21, 2008 brought this headline: South Korean astronaut describes frightening return to Earth
I can’t say I blame him.

There was another news note that same day: Hamas is willing to accept Israel as its neighbor, Carter says
But not its nuclear plant or any landfills.

The next one on the same day I had to include because it really fits in with people not using their heads. It is from a poll:

Voters more worried about economy than Iraq I may be wrong, but perhaps the last five years of the Iraq quagmire has something to do with the economy. I hope people wake up in time to vote in November.

Just before logging on to check my email on October 15, 2007, I saw the following on Yahoo:
Ouch! Do-it-yourself dentistry
The falling number of dentists in England leads to people extracting their own teeth. » Superglue used too
You have all the tools at home; you can save some money and probably won’t have to worry about retirement.

It was a good day for headlines because on that same day, I saw this gem:
Maritime pirate attacks increase worldwide It is their month, isn’t it?

Again that very same day, I found this headline: Scientists find that some fish suffer from insomnia Shouldn’t that keep them from getting hooked?

On Thursday, October 18, 2007, I caught these words on Yahoo.com:
A study shows that swearing can improve the office vibe
Is that a &%$#@ good thing? I’m glad I’m not in that office.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 brought these words on the Internet:
Lose weight on lunch break
The secret is the Joey Falco diet plan – it’s called duct tape. You put it over your mouth so you won’t stuff it with food.

On the last weekend in October 2007, I saw this headline a few times:
Some cavemen had red hair
Apparently Carrot Top and the Wendy’s girl go back quite a ways.

On Thursday, October 11, 2007, I saw this headline before logging on to check my email:
Researchers create glue based on toe pads of tree frogs
I bet one of the frogs was named Elmer.

On the morning of November 13, 2007, I happened to come upon this gem:
Expert says ninety percent of Earth’s species still unclassified
I didn’t think the percentage of lawyers and telemarketers was that high.

Two days later, I saw these words as things to avoid during job interviews:
If you’re aiming to make a good impression in a job interview, don’t sing
Apparently, it’s okay to dance – just not like Elaine on Seinfeld.

I saw this headline on November 7, 2007:
Rebecca De Mornay reportedly arrested for drunken driving
Is this the bookstore saleswoman on Seinfeld who flagged George’s book?

This headline caught my eye on November 8 of the same year:
London calls for slimmer Santas to discourage child obesity
Won’t that affect the ho-ho-hos coming from those red-clad holiday gift-givers?

On November 29, 2007, I couldn’t miss this headline: China: ‘Erroneous’ U.S. actions have harmed ties I assume this won’t affect business casual on Fridays.

This was a headline that I caught on November 19, 2007 as I tried to get my email, and these researchers should all be fired:

Sleep-deprived mothers prone to gain weight, researchers say
If you’re asleep, it’s quite difficult to put food into your mouth.

A day later I saw this headline:
Bowl Championship Series may widen pool of atlarge eligibles
It’s about time that bowling got the recognition it deserves!

On the very same day, I saw these words in print: Eating contests under scrutiny in connection with obesity fears
Why not turn this into something good by combining these overindulgences with bulimia?

Some days are better than others because I also saw this headline on that day before Thanksgiving in 2007:
Huge ancient bug discovered
That explains why I’ve been having so many problems with my PC.

On Monday, November 26, 2007 I saw these words in a headline on the WEB:
Iraq may offer deal to U.S. for long-term presence Maybe people haven’t heard: neither I nor the majority of Americans care for this “deal.”

The next day, I saw this headline before checking my email:

Twelfth-century copy of Roman road map displayed in Vienna
People still got lost since it was designed by MapQuest.

I’m creative, but I didn’t make this one up. I saw it on Tuesday, December 4, 2007:
Italian court orders Tweety, Donald Duck to take witness stand
I hope their attorney isn’t Goofy, but from my experience, it probably is.

Maybe this publication isn’t the Times or Post, but I did see this on the cover of the Star at the supermarket on December 11, 2007 – I didn’t buy a copy. It had to do with Jen and Brad and apparently the former will be spending the holidays at the home of the latter’s. When Jen was asked where she would be at the end of December, her reply may have been, “It’s the Pitts!”

I saw a few gems on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 just before trying to get my email. The first was:
Scientists discover how pregnant women keep from tipping over
Has that been a problem?

The last one on December 12th was:
Man sickened chugging vodka at airport This is a big surprise, which probably wouldn’t have happened had he not been doing cartwheels just to get that last seat on the plane.

It appears that I should do a book exclusively on these headlines because a day later, on December 13, 2007, I saw these words:

Cloned cats glow in the dark
Does that surprise anyone? Felines are overjoyed during power failures!

There’s another headline from the same day: Rescue workers save man from car dangling six stories up
How did this vehicle get past the guard on the ground floor?

Oh what treasures this Internet brings! Here is another from the same day:
French store uses dancing men in underwear to sell clothes
Dressing Santa Claus this way may not work. Where will he put his pipe?

Not quite a week later I saw a headline that I will comment on later as well as this mind-boggling one:
Court decides baby can’t be named ‘Friday’ I don’t see why not. That was Sergeant Joe’s name.

This revealing headline was seen on December 20, 2007:
Uninsured cancer patients more likely to die I’m glad someone told me this and I hope they didn’t spend too much to come up with this conclusion.

Another one that same day was this:
Missing family rescued after ‘help’ sign spotted in the snow
I wonder if the sign was yellow and hand written.

I couldn’t leave this headline out from the same day: Minivan fender-benders leave big dents in wallet, tests find
Leave them home and just bring loose cash.

On the last day of that same year, I saw this headline: Florida couple find rare purple pearl in plate of steamed clams
I wonder if this belongs to Barney.

Even on the weekend, you will find headlines to write about in books on missing intelligence. On Saturday, October 6, 2007, I saw this gem:

Pakistan’s Musharraf sweeps presidential election He just brushed his opponents aside.

On Friday, September 28, 2007, I saw this headline while trying to get my email:
Group may become conservative version of MoveOn
What are they going to call it, MoveBack?

A bit later that same day I saw these words: Uncle Kracker pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault charge
He wouldn’t have had this problem without so much sodium.

On Thursday, September 6, 2007, I saw another great example of missing intelligence on the Web with this headline:

Study: Early-risers at higher risk for heart problems
Duh, people who get up early generally speaking are workaholics and type A individuals, since they need all the time in the day that they can get.

On the last day of August 2007, I saw these words on the web:
Elephant escapes from circus in India to elope Otherwise, it would have been a shotgun wedding.

On Wednesday, August 2, 2007, I saw these words on the web:
Death toll dips to 4 in bridge collapse
Were some of the supposed victims named Lazarus?

On Thursday, October 4, 2007, I saw this brilliant headline:
Physicists unravel the mystery of how knots form I’d say it starts with a bit of rope. You can figure out the rest.

Later on the same day, I saw this headline on Yahoo.com:
Sen. Craig poses dilemma for GOP colleagues I hope he doesn’t pose for anything else.

On Tuesday, July 17, 2007, I happened to catch the following headline:
New orchid smells like ‘sweaty feet’
Where can I get some of these? I’m glad my job isn’t to go around with my nose close to flowers.

On that same day, I got a letter addressed to me as president.
I didn’t even know there was an election or that I was running for office.

I couldn’t resist reporting on this headline of July 2, 2007:
Bush and Putin meet to discuss ties This must be a fashion conference.

On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, I found this headline before logging on to get my email:
Man tries to jump into the popemobile
Maybe, he was just tired of hitchhiking.

I saw these words on June 3, 2006 in the Parade Magazine of the Sunday paper:
I wish I were invisible
Apparently, this person spends a great deal of money on clothes.

On the Internet the very same day a bit later, I saw these words:
$1 million bathtub vanishes from hotel
The hotel owners may have been overcharged.

I happened to see this headline just before I got my email on Friday, April 13, 2007:
Synthetic hormones in milk cows anger consumers I wonder how the cows feel.

I saw these words just before getting my email on the morning of May 17, 2007:
Chance finding in wounded lab mice could point the way to reversing hair loss, scientists say
Would this give the rats a better chance of finding a date?

I saw this headline on the Internet on the morning of May 1, 2007:
Dutchman Johan Huibers has decided to build a life-size version of the Biblical boat
Does he know something we don’t know? This must have something to do with global warming.

There were three headlines on Yahoo news on April 26, 2007. The first was:
Senior U.S. solider in Iraq accused of aiding the enemy
I’m not sure what a solider is, but it might be similar to a liquider, whatever that is.

The second one, that same day was:
Intelligence not linked to wealth, study finds The latter is linked to criminality in most cases, but you

don’t need a study to conclude that.

The third one was:
Police find horse left in bank overnight
I wonder if he was making a deposit or a withdrawal. I hope he had an account there.

There’s an ad I saw when I tried to get my email on Wednesday, April 25, 2007. It probably will be there for a few days and it says:

How To Look Thinner in Photos
That’s easy – have your picture taken with obese people.

I saw these words briefly when I was trying to get my email on Friday, April 20, 2007:
Your diet can affect your skin
Yeah, if you eat too much, it will expand!

I saw the following headline when I logged onto the Internet to check my email on April 7, 2007:

Scientists discover source of Milky Way’s red glow
It seems to be fading but there is still a trace despite the demise of Communism.

On the same day, I saw this headline as well: Mysterious illness at Mexico school may be psychological
I think it’s probably just from the enchiladas.

The following headline was seen on Valentines Day in 2007 on the Internet:
Group says hybrid cars dangerously quiet for pedestrians
No &%$# Sherlock! Not only do these cars save energy, they reduce noise pollution. That must be a bad thing.

The following headline was seen on January 30, 2007 on the Internet:
Fallon says U. S. miscalculated Iraq
Did he just wake up after all these years? Maybe his first two names are Rip and Van!

I saw the following headline in the news on Friday, January 26, 2007:
Hospital settles lawsuit over towel left in patient The patient was in for alcoholism and needed to dry out.

On NPR on May 14, 2007, I believe it was Steve Inskeep who uttered these eight words, “So how do you assemble an atomic bomb?”
I didn’t stayed tuned to get the reply but I believe the answer is, “Very carefully.”

I think everyone knows that Myanmar is the name of the country formerly known as Prince – oops, that’s Burma. Nonetheless, I did hear George W. Bush mention the people of Burma while talking in late September 2007.
Maybe he hasn’t heard of the name change yet.

A few days later I heard mention of that same country beginning with the letter “B” on National Public Radio – I believe the speaker was some representative of the current administration.
Apparently we shall be hearing those words, “formerly” and “Burma” together in the same sentence for some time. Just because someone is talking does it mean that others are listening.

On September 27, 2007 I didn’t catch the entire story but I did hear something about Freddie Mac.
Is he the brother of Bernie Mac?

The Associated Press had this headline in the Buffalo News on Sunday, October 21, 2007:
Card mailed in 1943 reaches destination
A Japanese soldier mailed a postcard during World War II from Southeast Asia and it reached its intended destination on Friday, October 19, 2007, via Nagasaki, Arizona and Hawaii, according to a statement from Mukogawa Women’s University.
The goal of this postal service is for mail to see as much of the world as possible – the Milky Way isn’t out of bounds. There’s no rush, either. I’ve heard of snail mail, but this is ridiculous. They should have used zip code + 4!

The following was supposedly seen in the New York Times:
Worker dead at his desk for five days
The employee was employed as a proofreader at a New York firm for thirty years and died on Monday of a heart attack in an open-plan office with about two dozen others, but wasn’t found until Saturday by an office cleaner.
Who said New York wasn’t a friendly town?

I hear the following quite often on NPR radio around suppertime, more or less, “Support comes from the Melville Trust, looking for the cause of homelessness…”
Heck, I hope they’re not spending a great deal of money in this endeavor. The answer is quite simple: these people don’t have a place to live. I think this organization has something to do with Moby Dick.

I couldn’t resist this quote:
“I’d give Charles Darwin videotapes of Geraldo, Beavis and Butt-head and The McLaughlin Group. I would be interested in seeing if he still believes in evolution.” – Dean Koontz

“We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.” – George W. Bush
Apparently the word “conservation” never entered his vocabulary, even though he claims to be a “conservative.”

“It’s going to require numerous IRA agents.” – George W. Bush, on Gore’s tax plan during the 2000 campaign
Doesn’t he mean the ERA?

“I think it’s very important for world leaders to understand that when a new administration comes in, the new administration will be running the foreign policy.” – George W. Bush, January 12, 2001
From what I have seen over the last few years, I think he meant “ruining” not “running.”

“It’s important to have China at the table.” George W. Bush, May 31, 2005
Well naturally, how else can you serve dinner?

“For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great enduring alliances of modern times.” George W. Bush, February 18, 2002
Apparently, December 7, 1941 doesn’t count!

“The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the – the vast majority of Iraqis who want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.” George W. Bush, October 28, 2003
Someone said he saw the Mayan ruins and uttered the same last sentence.

And speaking of crooks, you hear this announcement on the news almost every day:
Chris Jones is leaving his / her post to spend more time with his / her family.
He / she is really departing before he / she gets canned or indicted.

From the October 11, 2007 issue of the independent Buffalo paper, ArtVoice, comes this gem from News of the Weird:

The Tata Group, a Mumbai, India, company that handles customer-service calls for several U. S. firms, has outsourced some of its work to a firm in Ohio (according to an August Fortune magazine report), on behalf of a client that insists on operators knowledgeable about American geography.
Apparently, they’re doing an outsource of an outsource. I wonder if the workers will have to pay rather than get paid.

The February 21, 2008 issue of ArtVoice also had another story in News of the Weird that I just couldn’t omit.
In Huntington Beach, California the local police had been hassling Iman Idyot because he had been raising money by collecting tips at the Pier Plaza. He did this while hammering nails into his nose, most of the time without serious injury. Blood was drawn at times.
In December 2008, the authorities finally ended their harassment of Iman. The American Civil Liberties Union is monitoring this event, since they feel that this individual has a right to perform his nose-nailing, fire-eating and sword swallowing acts.

I must have missed reading that part of the Constitution – I wonder which of our Founding Fathers put it in. Maybe the ACLU feels this is a community service.

I close the chapter with another wonderful example of missing intelligence by a group that should know better. This comes from the update of Conspiracy by Anthony Summers called Not in Your Lifetime, a lengthy book but one worth reading. If you read my previous offering of for seeing eye dogs only, you may recall the starshells and Fidel Castro. This tops that. The wizards of the CIA – maybe in the place of odor eaters, not that they were needed – felt that adding a chemical to Fidel’s shoes would do much to eliminate the leader of Cuba. It wouldn’t kill him, just make his hair fall out. The result would be a bald, beardless leader now missing support of the people as well.
Why not put the stuff in his hat? It would probably have been more successful. Apparently these brilliant minds never heard of Kojak, Yul Brynner, Eisenhauer and more recently, Jesse Ventura.

2. Read my lips – again?

If you’re familiar with my writing, you know that the first book I had published was The Read My Lips Cookbook. People have asked if I would write another cookbook, but since I doubt that I could top it, there’s little hope for that. If you’re not sure of what I’m talking about, check out the reviews on my web site and while you’re at it, order one. Put the secret word in the memo on the form and you can have it for $10. By the way, the secret word is “intelligence,” and my web site is listed on the back cover of this book.

Nevertheless, you can’t rule out the possibility of republication with a new title and cover. The new edition would have a few more recipes, many of which can be found on my web site. In addition, there would be a few new stories. What follows are a few examples of capers – I’m not talking about those tiny round things that you can find in a jar. I really have no clue to what they are. Someday, I’ll look capers up.

From about June to October, I get a grocery bag of vegetables from Porter Farms in Elba, New York – that’s about forty miles from here. The cost for an entire season from July to November is a less than $300 and the produce is grown organically. This means it’s safe to eat, but obviously you can’t keep it around too long since it’s missing all those preservatives. You also may get an added protein bonus, such as a worm or two in the broccoli. If you aren’t thrilled with those critters, you can cook the stalks and the heat will separate those ugly green things from what you will be eating. Another suggestion is to soak the broccoli in salt water for a few minutes and the worms will come to the top. At that point they can be cooked separately if you so desire.

I try quite a few new recipes and as you probably know, even good cooks have their moments, and I’m not talking about those of senior citizens. Towards the end of September 2007, I had another huge zucchini from Porter Farms so I decided to try a new recipe for bread using that vegetable. After being in the oven for an hour or so, the bread looked fine, but I figured it would need a few extra minutes. When I checked it in the oven a short time thereafter, the top looked fine but the bottom resembled some kind of inedible soup. I wound up tossing it since another half-hour wouldn’t have made a difference. Two more hours may have made it a bit too crunchy. The reason for the disaster was that I left out two cups of flour, which is exactly what the recipe called for.
Lesson of the day: If you bake bread of any kind, you’ll probably need flour!

For a party at my home just before the beginning of 2008, I cooked vegetable vindaloo. It was quite good and the people heaped good comments about it.
This is not to be confused with vegetable boogaloo, a 1960s dish featured mostly at dance parties.

I was at a book signing in Buffalo at Talking Leaves Books and overheard a gentleman say, “I’m a serious cook.” If you read my cookbook, you might feel that I’m a comedic cook, but in an instructional sense.

I see this in quite a few recipes and wonder if I make a slight modification by not following the recipe precisely, will I wind up with a disaster? It has to do with a measurement. Ordinarily, a recipe calls for a quarter cup of Sherry. This particular one lists the requirement as a quarter cup plus 2 tablespoons of Sherry.
Perhaps the recipe was stolen and the thief wanted to make it original.

For my New Year’s resolution, I will try to bake breads that reflect the counterculture more.
I plan to use Kerouac seeds.

I close the chapter with something I could have included in the chapter on technology just as well, since it involved emails that had me shaking my head. I will try to have some consideration and not use names, as I want to spare the individual involved – and not get sued. After you read this, I’m sure you will agree that some people don’t have quite the intelligence of a lima bean. This episode fits in here because of that fact and the name of my web site.

The adventure began when I decided to place an advertisement in a magazine about my web site. I found out that I needed to have at least fifteen words in the ad and it had to run for three months. The cost wasn’t inexpensive, but for some bizarre reason, I decided to go ahead anyway – I probably had a temporary brain tumor.

Quite a while ago I placed an ad listing my web site in some magazine shortly after my cookbook was published. This was before the outstanding reviews showed up on my doorstep. For about a month, I was getting about fifty hits each day. The bad news: no one was buying the cookbook, or not that many people. They certainly weren’t purchasing it through my site. Of course, I was just getting started, so I was at a great disadvantage. This fact somehow justified spending money for another ad – perhaps it will pay some dividends. This might lead you to believe that my venture involved a cooking magazine, but I can’t reveal that.

I used my credit card and had a few email problems at first – I’ll probably stop having them once I stop using the Internet. The deal was for three months and there was a verbal contract for three months, which I probably will honor – unless I can get out of the third month. From my experience with this person, maybe I should.

There are a few reasons for the difficulty. I sent an email to the magazine and probably confused the people at the magazine. The second reason has to do with their publication schedule. They don’t publish every month and sometimes have a dual issue, like a January / February publication. They have a March issue, an April issue and other combined ones. This may have something to do with Lent. To date, I saw my ad in two issues of the magazine as well as two debits on my Visa card. This means I have one more issue with my ad and one more debit.

I actually got two emails that really made me wonder what I had done. The first email had, among others, these words: “We are working on the May issue. If I do not receive a reply, I will be running your ad, as contracted.” I sent back an email – I probably used too many two-syllable words – and then got back an email the same day that indicated that either my email wasn’t received or not read. At this point, I figured I had a chance to get out of the contract so I responded with the words, “Don’t run the ad for May and don’t bill me for it. Thanks.”

There’s too much craziness here. I agreed to three months, so then why was this email necessary? According to our contract, they are supposed to run the ad for three months and debit my credit card three times. If I received an email saying I signed on for three issues – months isn’t quite right, as I pointed out – and they’re running the ad, why did they inquire about this and give me an option which I couldn’t exercise? On the other hand, if they agree to my last email, I’ll be quite happy.
There are some organizations you shouldn’t work with. As I write this, I have yet to have the third month’s ad run or billed.

3. Words, daffynitions, oxymorons and names

You should be familiar with oxymorons and pleonasms, but if not, the former consist of two or more words that seem to be contradictory, such as my all-time favorite, military intelligence – I need not remind you what this book is about. A pleonasm is nothing more than a redundancy, or making a point by using more words than necessary, such as frozen ice. I came across the term daffynition many years ago and it can only be described as an alternate meaning for a word or group of words that should bring a smile to the face of the reader.

Without words, this book wouldn’t have a chance. I mentioned the features of our language that give me so much material for books of this nature. There are rules of the language, the confusing exceptions, the clichés, the separate languages of groups within our society and finally the new words that come up each year.

The year 2007 had its own word of the year, which you could see in this headline on December 12th:
Merriam-Webster’s word of ‘07’: ‘w00t’ Is that with two zeros in the middle, and shouldn’t there be slashes through them? As it turns out, the first answer is “yes” and the second you have to decide for yourself. The “word” consists of letters and numbers and is used by gamers, meaning an exclamation of happiness or triumph. I don’t think Mr. Webster would be thrilled.

Appropriately enough, I begin with words and expressions that should be tossed into the trash bin, and should never be recycled. The reason has to do with misuse as well as the fact that they’re boring and cliched. Here are a few that I especially despise.

hopefully – if you read the meaning of this word in any dictionary, it says, brimming with hope.
you know
If I know what you’re talking about, why am I listening to you?

no problem – I heard these words more than once when I called technical support for my printer when it was misbehaving
If there wasn’t a problem, I wouldn’t have called this person in a far off land in the first place.

sooner rather than later
If you want the stuff now, say so; otherwise, you’ll get it when I feel like sending it. Maybe you never heard the term, ASAP.

it may or may not be
There aren’t any other possibilities, just like being with us or against us. All right, that’s a bad comparison. Is the speaker getting paid by the number of words he uses?

our records indicate
From what I have seen from my experience, your records can’t be trusted.

to tell you the truth & to be perfectly honest with you Think about the implications of either of these phrases. Do they mean that in this case, I need not wear my boots?

I took care of it
Somehow the third word seems out of place here. It sounds like that was the last thing that was exercised.

and more
Don’t we have the acronym ETC for that, described in my 2008 book, wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill?

All right, so the following aren’t normal combinations, but you may have come up with them yourself. They’re all done for a few laughs.

Jack Bunny – not as prolific as the original, but still capable of some hair-raising tales
intaxication – a feeling that overcomes people around the middle of April each year

newt gangrene – probably wouldn’t have happened if this amphibian of the Salamandridae family hadn’t gotten those frozen appendages

zamboni – number one dessert of players in the National Hockey League, probably because it provides a nice, fine finish

walk out basement – part of a house that gets disgusted and leaves, causing the entire house to collapse

American Idle – former Monty Python member who leaves England, moves to the United States and becomes a citizen there

tanjello – I’m not sure what it tastes like, but I know what color it is
intacksicated – though not painful but normal, many carpets still complain

free gift – there is no such thing as a free lunch, and if some company offers you a free gift, you can be sure that you will be bombarded with offers of all kinds by phone, email and the post office; you may even be forced to buy a years subscription to Bizarre Times; on the other hand, you might feel that these two words are a pleonasm because every gift you receive at Christmas or for your birthday, doesn’t have to be paid for – the point being that free gift on a personal consideration is a pleonasm, but an oxymoron when dealt with on a business level

judicial complex – having to do with someone who despises the courts and does all he can to miss jury duty
Jack Benny and the Jets – comedian who decided on action since the Sharks were getting out of hand
Uncle Reamus – storyteller who never seems to have run out of paper
Al Placebo – not the real actor – think of Dog Day Afternoon – but most people react the same way
gingivitis chicken – really delicious but a bit gummy
inTexicated – feeling that overcomes a delusional, beerchugging cowboy

Jack Benny and the Jets – comedian who predicted an upstart football team would upset a powerhouse in the late 1960s

Castrodamus – bearded prophet who delighted in lighting up a good cigar
Jane Honda – she’s still demonstrating against the war, but now comes in a hybrid model
gnu improved – probably a reference in a foreign language since the noun precedes the adjective, referring to an animal that should be healthier
Bubonics – the language spoken during the plague even as people were dying
intuxicated and intoxicated – two feelings felt by prom goers, one expected and the other not recommended
pneumonikas – used by Bill and Ms. Lewinsky a few years ago
anisethesia – patients waking up afterward sometimes have cravings for licorice
emaul – an electronic correspondence that sends a virus or two and really messes up your PC

Newman and Associates – Cliff Claven and the other postal carriers; I don’t believe that Alfred E. is part of this group – he has too much intelligence

mess email – an electronic delivery – usually to a group of people – that those who receive it would rather not receive; also known as spam

Satyrday Night Live – new television program that features comedy along with mythology
Newt improved – of course, he introduced the bill
Spatula Clark – Food Network host who sings songs written by Tony Hatch

Mitzi Half-Gaynor – actress who spent time diving before she finally made it big; it certainly paid off to make her a great dancer

Jack Benny and the Jets – comic and violinist who didn’t own a Concorde, but always made the gig in plenty of time

inticksicated – people living in Connecticut and Westchester County have been spotted with this deer-carrying, citrus disease

ordinary rendition – version of a song done the most familiar way

extraordinary rendition – same as the above except that Egypt, Morocco and Syria may be involved in the process

I need to include a few oxymorons, since they’re everywhere. Notice the small word that the last six letters of the word in italics give us.

new and improved – if it’s new, how can it be improved? On the other hand, something that’s improved isn’t new, nor can it ever be

pure decadence – I described the key lime pie I delighted in at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House in Savannah on Thursday, January 24, 2008 with these two words

government worker – I apologize to all those dedicated individuals who give their all in local, state or federal government jobs

power nap – if you’re asleep, where does the energy come from?
dry cleaning – what do they use to get the stains out, dry ice? Won’t that burn the material?

gentle dentistry – On Saturday, February 23, 2008 on the way to dinner, I saw this label on a business on Main Street in East Aurora.

There is no such thing, even with novocain.
perfectly honest – ponder this one for a while
Pleonasms are everywhere, so I have included a few here.

past experience
I know an individual who has had future experiences, but I try to avoid him as much as possible. I don’t believe he’s from our planet.

slam dunk
Referring to basketball, these words are a pleonasm. In politics, it shouldn’t be used.

digging deeper
Once again, there are more words here than needed. I’m not sure what the story is when the digger gets to the center of the earth and he keeps going.

slimy businessman
He or she doesn’t have to own an oil well, either.
bad politician
Their approval rating paints a precise picture.

email problems
My mother doesn’t have any of those things, but she doesn’t have a PC.

What’s in a name?

All the obits written about Saddam Hussein were incomplete. They left out the complete listing of all his surviving sons and daughters. The corrected obituary follows.

He was predeceased by two sons, Uday and Qusay, and is survived by fifteen sons: Sooflay, a restaurateur; Guday, who lives in Australia; Huray, a sports fanatic; Sashay, who is gay; Kuntay and Kintay, twins living in Africa; Sayhay, a baseball player; Ojay, a stalker and murderer; Gulay, a singer and entertainer; Ebay, an Internet entrepreneur; Biliray, a country music star; Ecksray, a radiologist; Puray, a manufacturer of kitchen blenders; Raygay, who lives in Jamaica; Tupay, who is bald. He is survived by seven daughters: Lattay, a coffee-shop owner; Bufay, a big eater; Dushay, owner of a feminine-care products company; Phayray, an actress; Sapheway, a grocery store owner; Ollay, who lives in Mexico; and Gudlay, a prostitute.

There is reportedly another surviving son, Oyvay, but he had been disowned by the family.

I mentioned Gilda Radner in another of my books. Her portrayal of Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella were hysterical. As far as I know, the following pieces were never on the show:

Emily: What’s all this fuss about Gobel warming? I thought he died years ago. If they buried him, being six feet under isn’t exactly warm. Maybe he was buried too close to the center of the earth and that could explain it. On the other hand, if he was cremated, there was a great deal of heat, but by now things should have cooled down.

Jane: You mean global warming, as in the earth is heating up, not Gobel warming.
Emily: Oh, that’s very different. Nevermind!

Emily: What’s all this fuss about sidewalk sales? If someone bought one – a sidewalk, that is – how would they get it inside their car? They’d have to rent a truck. But wouldn’t that wreck the suspension system and wouldn’t you get a hernia? Besides, since the sidewalk is used, wouldn’t it be crumbling and probably in need of repair?

Jane: You can’t buy a sidewalk at those sales. The name refers to a yard sale or flea market.
Emily: Oh, that’s very different. Nevermind!

As a way of leading into the next chapter, I close this one with a few acronyms. If you are blessed with a PC that utilizes a well-known word processor, the last should not come as a surprise.

PDF – Putrid, Disgusting Fluff
For the full impact, you’ll have to read about the marshmallow stuff in wake up – it’s time for your sleeping pill.

CYA – Create Your Assessments
You probably thought the first word was cover and the last one had only three letters. As you can see, the one you may have had in mind for the last word can be found in the third word.

WORD – Without Oversight, Research or Debugging 4. Technical difficulties – please sit by

I’m sure you’ve faced these situations or similar ones having to do with all the advances thrust upon us. I even wrote a book about it, Press 1 for Pig Latin. It was published in 2008 and it highlighted many problems. Because of the great possibilities that we should take advantage of, I also pointed out solutions. This chapter covers some of my more frustrating days and will try to get you to laugh.

One of my email providers – one is actually too many – has a screen for deleted messages. If the note is deleted, why is it still visible on my monitor?

My former PC printer was a Canon, but it was shot so I unloaded it.
I was expecting something of a higher caliber.

I never thought it would happen, but I ran out of passwords.
I’ll have to borrow one from my neighbor. I hope he didn’t run out of them along with the sugar.

On Monday, February 25, 2008, I got an email with the subject:
Your military service earned you great benefits This is utterly amazing. I can’t believe that two years of ROTC would be of such a benefit. I never was drafted or enlisted.

I got an email in the first week of October 2007 that said:
I don’t usually like these heartwarming stories. . . What kind of stories does he or she like? Maybe I should block email from this dude.

On the Saturday of the same week one of my emails was rejected, with this message:

68.178.27.180 does not like recipient
That poor guy (or gal) has an image problem, as he (she) doesn’t like himself (herself). After all, I was the sender.

In the spring of 2008, my PC monitor was graced with this message, Something bad happened in the application.
I believe it’s called Microsoft.

In August 2007, a friend delivered a computer to a student in Kenya whose education I had helped support. She didn’t get a mouse as there was concern that it might terrify the elephants.

If you go to the control panel on your computer and try to remove a program, you’ll see these words: Please wait while the list is being populated.
Will this cause problems for the food supply and add even more to the problem of global warming?

Just before checking one of my utility bills online, I got this message from an email: “We have increased the security of our web site by requiring a stronger password.” I hope Popeye and Superman won’t get rejected when I use either as a password.

This happened on Saturday, December 22, 2007. Apparently it’s my Christmas present from the world of technology – one I can do without. It really started a long time ago when I decided to create some photo DVDs and I bought some Roxio software that I thought would do that. Well, it didn’t, and I even downloaded some other software from three different companies. In each case I wasn’t satisfied – maybe that’s why there was a trial period, so at least I didn’t burn any bucks, needlessly. I eventually removed those programs from my PC.

I was talking to my friend Barb that day and she mentioned PowerPoint for doing what I wanted. In the past I haven’t had much luck with that software, but on a whim – while still on the phone with her – I tried to download a free sample of it. I was really starting to get my spirits up, since I figured maybe I finally found the answer, when I had to fill out some information before the download proceeded. I had been through this rigmarole before, but I went ahead anyway. Some people never learn!

I filled in my email address – probably my biggest mistake – and then entered my first name, last name and the rest of the stuff. I pressed the submit key, but some of the fields were incorrectly filled out in my haste. Eventually, I made the changes, but there was another problem – the screen didn’t like my name. I’m quite happy with it, so I replaced “Bob” with “Robert.” Apparently the creator of the software is very formal. That didn’t matter, as that too was rejected, so I had to try again. I had no clue how to get around this, but for no good reason, put in Bubba and advanced to the next screen. I thus figured out what part of the country the designer comes from.

I proceeded, but then had to take the survey – the one that ends any chance of actually even beginning to do a download. It seemed to take forever, so I exited the site. It looks like I need another option. A day later, Bubba got spammed!
I have no doubt in my mind that I gave this book on brain deficiencies the correct title.

I mentioned my backup fiasco at The Carrier Corporation in Press 1 for Pig Latin. I also talked briefly about that Syracuse assignment in Tick Tock, Don’t Stop. I had two bosses there, who I shall refer to as Tom and Jerry. The former was a computer programmer while Jerry was a salesman. Their business involved selling local companies a computer as well as the software, which the programming staff, of which I was a part, had to develop. Jerry would sell his mother if he could make a profit, but Tom also had to entice buyers for their product.

I left the company in 1985 and shortly thereafter, the business folded. One of the problems was that each of the partners took on the role of the other, that is, Tom thought he was a salesman and Jerry felt he was a programming guru. In fact this was not true. Another problem had to do with greed, as Tom and Jerry wanted the business of as many establishments in town as possible – not really a bad strategy, but bordering on greed. Unfortunately, they sold the machine and then just about gave away the software. There were times when Jerry mentioned that the programs that the about-to-be-client needed was on the system at our office. Actually, the programming staff had to scramble to develop the needed system. It got so bad that the software group was considered to be a liability when, in fact, it should have brought in most of the dough.

In high school and college, because of my last name, friends chose to give me the nickname of Swi. It could have been worse as they could have called me Butthead or Doofus. This practice continued in the business world and at this time my coworkers would use that same appellation for me. On one occasion, Jerry and I were at a client’s site discussing what they needed. He could have called me Bob but instead chose something that I really didn’t expect. It may not have been the right choice in this instance. Without further adon’t – I wish I could have advised him not to do it – he referred to me as Sly.
I really wanted to throw the family stone at him.

I had the pleasure of two Internet encounters in January 2008, which I have to relate. Don’t worry – I wasn’t abducted. Over the course of a week, I sent three emails to the Vegetarian Times (VT) – I’m not one of those people, but close – and in each instance, it never got to the intended person. Finally, I called this individual, got a different email address, sent the same email, and it arrived where it was intended. A day later, I noticed that one of those first three emails was in my mailbox, and my email address was posted as the sender and the VT email address listed as the receiver. Not long after that, just before trying to log on and get my email, I saw a message stating I had one email awaiting me. When I got to my inbox, it was empty – perhaps not unlike the brains of the designers of the software.
Where is all this stuff going? I wish the spam would go to that same place. You probably have a good idea why my email provider is called Yahoo!

Many people who own Macs – not Big Macs, but that thing that Apple doesn’t call a PC, but it is a computer and very personal, or so I’ve heard – don’t always get the email I send and vice versa. My monster is a Dell with Microsoft software. Perhaps the problem is that we’re trying to mix apples and oranges.
From my experience, I think it’s more like rotten apples and lemons.

On Friday, January 4, 2008, I was notified through another email account I have, which I don’t check very often, that my First Federal Credit Union Account was suspended.
That’s incredible since I don’t have any such account. Why not – without even telling me – just close it out completely? Do you still think that email is so great?

The craziness continues as I got an email in my bulk folder the next day that implored me to act soon in applying for a MasterCard before Christmas.
Since it was only January, it appears as though I have some time to do this.

I wasn’t going to write about this bonehead encounter, as I planned to have it elsewhere. Since it involves technology, there’s no reason not to include it here. I will spare the guilty party the embarrassment. I need not worry about litigation since I don’t think this organization has the resources to pursue that. I hope you’ll excuse me for being vague. If this story helps with people proofreading emails and thinking before sending them, it will have served its purpose. It can also be applied to other encounters.

On the weekend of March 7, we were getting pounded with white stuff from the heavens, and the prediction was for no letup until sometime Sunday. I was supposed to attend an event on Saturday, but when I gazed out the window that day, I saw no cars on my street. I decided that intelligent people stayed inside and hoped for the best on Sunday, so that’s exactly what I did.

I got an email that was sent on March 7th announcing a call for people to assist on March 4th and March 6th – and that wasn’t for the following year, I don’t believe. The correspondence also mentioned that the same event I was going to be a part of was still on, no matter what. My thoughts could only conclude that there probably would have been fewer people to watch the parade than those in it, if you know what I mean.
Sad to say, I wouldn’t have received this note had I not been a member of this same organization. Maybe I should think of leaving it.

I figured out why the word “burn” is used when you create CDs on your PC. By the time you get the result you desire, thanks to technology, you will be “burned out.”

Staying with that same concept of computers and burning, we somehow have a certain mindset because of the former. I was folding laundry one day and thought that the tshirt was inside out, so I reversed it. I soon realized it was fine as is, and just had to be folded. I was looking for an “undo” button.
For all you computer illiterates, you may need to ask someone for an explanation. Calling the help desk probably isn’t a good idea!

On May 22, 2007, I said goodbye to a dial-up Internet connection and had Road Runner installed. I thought about street runner, but my mom probably wouldn’t have been happy.

Author’s note: You may be wondering why you weren’t told to stand by in the title of the chapter. You know how long it takes to solve technical problems. In addition, perhaps I should have told you to get a sandwich.

5. Signs and other tax deductions

If you’ve read for seeing eye dogs only, you are aware of the fact that I find a great deal of humor as well as missing intelligence in signs of all sorts. Obviously, you might need to think about them for a while, but many are quite funny. Temporary brain deficiencies are everywhere, and they are not limited to the richest of the citizens or the poorest. Brain bypasses are not monopolized by any region of the United States or by any nation for that matter. However, I find that some of my greatest suppliers are found in government jobs, specifically the United States Post Office and the Internal Revenue Service.

This chapter is dedicated to that last group of government individuals since I have been audited a few times and have found them to be considerate, understanding, trustworthy and kind. Perhaps at one time they were members of the Boy or Girl Scouts. Maybe I should have invited these folks over to my home for dinner, but I seem to have lost their phone numbers. Nonetheless, this chapter will be documentation in the event of any future audit, since as a self-employed person, I get to write off expenses that others can’t.

My trip in June 2007 was only for a weekend to Binghamton, but I saw a few things that made me laugh. I saw this bumper sticker on the back of a car – it wouldn’t fit on the back of a bicycle:

Bush Knew
I’m still trying to figure out what.

There is an entire section later on those stickers. A car passed me with the vanity plate, Burns. A few cars later another passed me with the plate of Allen. Apparently the lead car wanted to lose the other and succeeded. You youngsters have to ask your parents to explain this one.

A road that passes over the New York State Thruway a few miles east of Buffalo has a sign, Bank St. Road. Which is it, a street or a road?
Perhaps the St. represents Saint not Street, but I didn’t think lending institutions had that moniker. After some consideration, it appears that these corporations do: It’s St. Principia.

In January 2008, I made a trip to Savannah and Jacksonville. Here are a few things I caught sight of and some observations.

I mentioned this sign in the state of Pennsylvania before, but it’s worth repeating for another reason:
Buckle up next million miles
If I planned to go that far, it would be better to get into a rocket. Even so, that would be my last choice of transportation.

In the same state you can find these words of advice: Slow down – save a life
Wouldn’t not heeding this warning result in the eventual elimination of all the bad drivers?

I really question if some of these signs are necessary, such as:
Keep alert
Does that mean that I won’t be able to take a power nap while I’m driving?

I saw this sign in Florida, but that’s not the only state where you can find it:
Drive safely
Just before the sign I noticed an individual who crossed over two lanes of traffic right in front of a large truck in order to exit. There was no collision, but that sign was specifically for that driver.

A rather large trailer passed me carrying a vehicle inside, maybe two. The sign on the back of the vehicle said:
Rethink joyride
I sincerely hope that the person who takes this advice to heart on his joyous adventure doesn’t mess up other travelers’ journeys.

There was another trailer hauling a small vehicle that had a label on the back stating:
Boozer express
If I ride this contraption, I want to be sure to drive.

While in both Georgia and Florida, I saw some concrete barriers along the highway with the words:
No shoulder
From seeing some of the driving habits of those on the road, maybe this was necessary. You could probably drive through this heavy cement creation, but you wouldn’t have a shoulder – to cry on and otherwise. And you would be weeping.

Leaving Buffalo found the roads in New York clear and dry, but Pennsylvania had a bit of snow. It was enough to slow everyone down – well, most people. I had to put up with this for over an hour and just about the time when the highway got better, I saw the sign:

Caution: winter conditions
No kidding.

Most states have reduced speed limits for construction zones, which seem to be everywhere you drive. Pennsylvania has this sign:

Lights on: construction zone – it’s the law I didn’t turn mine on despite the warning. I saw people along the side of the road, but they weren’t working.

Another common bit of advice that you see in most states is:
Buckle up – it’s the law
What if you still wanted to have the feeling of motion even after the car stopped due to an accident?

I can’t recall which state had this sign, but I believe it was either Florida or Georgia:
End enhanced penalty zone
Did I just pass Guantanamo?

I saw a truck advertising its welding business with the sign:
We make it happen
This seems a bit lackluster to me. Wouldn’t the following be more appropriate?
We make the connection

At some point of the trip, I heard this story of a prank that went wrong. I had to include it because it relates to a temporary brain deficiency. Someone ordered three pizzas from Pizza Hut but gave an address other than his own. He then proceeded to that location and mugged the delivery agent, thus avoiding paying for them. He was apprehended a short time later.
It may have been a better idea not to phone from his residence.

While at the hotel, I unfortunately couldn’t miss an ad that stated: Eat all you want and still lose weight. If this works – I really have my doubts – the laws of energy and gravity are in serious trouble.

On the other hand, I believe it may be possible to be in two places at one time. I say this because heading to Savannah I was on I-79 going south and on I-81 going north simultaneously. I was also doing the reverse thing returning home.
Maybe this bingeing and losing thing is possible.

This was the longest journey I made with my Prius. There was information that the hybrid would see a decrease in gas mileage during the winter. I figured this bit of advice really applied to the weather rather than the season so I thought that driving into the 60 and 70 degree temperatures would bring the numbers up a bit – thus fooling my Toyota. I guess it was a good thought, but only that. As far as the gauges, screens – screams may be a better word – and the bells and whistles on my car, I can assure you that whoever worked on them won’t be designing any other technology for me.

On that same journey, I saw this bumper sticker: Eat rice – potatoes
make your butt big

Just before arriving home from this wonderful trip, I heard that an individual who proposed a bill in Congress actually failed to vote for it.
I only report the news and did mention an approval rating earlier!

In late February of 2007, I took a trip down south to escape the cold and snow in Buffalo. It was really a business trip for quite a few reasons. First, I visited an author friend, John and his wife Jeanne in Mississippi for advice on getting published through royalty companies and the former was quite helpful in the hours that we spent together. Because of the encounter, I canned my agent since I felt that working with her was like working with Congress. I don’t think I need worry about litigation since I didn’t mention any specific name in this case.

The second reason for deductibility of much of the trip had to do with promotions, as I left information as well as each of my books at the Atlantis Gift Shop in St. Augustine, with the hope that they will soon carry at least one of them. I have yet to hear from them even after writing, so perhaps they were swept up by the ocean.

I also stopped in to meet one of the owners of Gift World in Savannah, Georgia as well as participate in a book signing there. Unfortunately the only people in the store at the time were affiliated with it, as the tourists had yet to arrive in full force. However, I was supposed to be returning in May to carry out the same mission. You can read the details of my Savannah adventure in I Don’t Want to be a Pirate, published in early 2008.

During that wonderful time away from the snow of the north, I also handed out a few books in order to have the recipients spread the word about them. This idea of marketing can also be achieved by my bumper stickers, which advertise my web site and my latest book. Lastly, as should be obvious, when I get into my car or even leave my home for that matter, I am always on the lookout for ideas, funny signs and inspiration, which I always seem to find. The rest of the chapter chronicles some of my thoughts and encounters during those eleven days after I left New York and returned there after driving though a dozen states.

In Pennsylvania I saw a sign for O’Brien Street. What about the one for Murphy?

In that same state, I saw a sign advertising fireworks, knives and swords.
Does the Department of Defense know about this place?

Before leaving for warmer weather, I got some maps from Microsoft Streets and Maps. They were right most of the time, but not always.
If I got some strip maps from MapQuest, would they have listed the places for adult entertainment?

As I drove through Ohio, I passed the Cuyahoga River and I am happy to report that it wasn’t on fire. You’ll have to find another place to roast your marshmallows.

Later on, in a state which is much further south but I forget which one, I noticed fires burning on the other side of the road – four of them all in a row – and they were blazing. Apparently the people who started them aren’t aware of the pollution that these conflagrations are causing as well as the fact that there were few trees close by that could easily go up in flames.

One of the states – I’m not sure which – had the sign, BOTH SHOULDER CLOSED.
Shouldn’t that be BOAT SHOULDER CLOSED or maybe BAT SHOULDER CLOSED?

I saw one of those trucks for Yellow Trucking, but it was orange.
Maybe it’s just me as they say most men are color blind.

I crossed over into Kentucky and after about thirty miles, I saw the sign, Kentucky Speedway – 14 Miles. The way people were passing me, I thought I entered it quite some time before.

On any trip down south you are bound to see the sign for Adult toys and videos.
Anyone who enters the store and makes a purchase has a long way to go before becoming an adult.

In the same trashy vein, I witnessed a sign, Erotic dancers.
Obviously, these individuals didn’t classify as exotic!

There was another sign for a store whose name I won’t mention. It was: We bare all – adult toy’s. When the flesh is the top priority, the mind or brain is not a concern.

I also saw an eating establishment for something that seems to be coming back, Comfort food.
These two words seem to me to be a pleonasm since if the latter won’t satisfy you and make you feel better, you should visit another restaurant.

Staying with food, there was a sign, Steaks – killer ribs.
With mad cow disease and concerns about meat safety these days, this sign may not be that good an idea.

There was also another pleonasm in the sign I saw, Buffet – all you can eat.
I actually went to a restaurant in Massachusetts in the 1980s for a buffet where they ran out of food. They should have used the same sign but left off the last four words.

After my friend Dan and I went to the Aquarium in Atlanta, we headed out for some food at a seafood place. I was just kidding. I added that because Dan suggested that I do so.

Some state had the sign, Possible water on road. Was it virtual H2O? I wonder if it’s like dry ice. It might not have helped douse those fires I described earlier.

In Florida, I saw a sign for Uncle Leo College. All right, it was St. Leo College, but it’s hard to get Seinfeld out of my mind, even on vacation.

The word Unforgettable was on another advertisement in the south.
I can’t recall what they were advertising.

There was a sign for Wateree Lake in South Carolina.
What did you expect it to be? What do you think these bodies of water consist of? All right, if it were in New York or Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be watery all the time.

I kept hearing these advertisements on the radio for incurred debt. It went something like, “Are you tired of getting all those calls from the credit card companies to pay off at least your minimum balance. Call us at 1 (800) GETHELP and we can solve your problem.”
Why not an offer to climb walls of ice, skydiving or bungie jumping – make sure the chord is too long. Any of these options could solve your problem – permanently. You won’t be hearing the phone ring anymore.

I saw a few instances of people cleaning up refuse on the highway. These individuals were obviously from penal institutions, so it wasn’t necessary to see on their uniforms the word, inmate – but it was there.
A truck passed me with the name, Halliburton, on the side, but it didn’t say on the bumper, future inmate.

The name of a business not far from where my mother lives is Poplar Pizza.
I’ll get my pizza elsewhere as I don’t want any made from any softwood trees.

There’s a handicapped parking space not far from the apartment of my mom.
Unfortunately it’s not in front of the unit – that’s where it should be - but on the side of the parking lot away from the building.

In for seeing eye dogs only, I mentioned a sign in Corfu, New York which talked about “virtual clearance.” I believe that should have been, “virtuous clearance.” Of course, only good drivers could go under.

The February 27, 2007 edition of USA Today had the headline, Forever stamp may insure against hikes. Soon there will be a postal increase, with the new rate being 41 cents. The new stamp has the name “liberty stamp.” The good news is that consumers can take action against the postage hike, since this new stamp can be used for the initial increase as well as any raise of rates in the future. The government says, “We’re trying to print enough to meet and exceed demand.” This is a great opportunity for the customer but there is bad news, too. The “liberty stamp” will be sold in limited quantities!

The state of Pennsylvania had the sign along the road in a few places, Keep PA beautiful.
It didn’t add, send your garbage to Yucca flats – they’d prefer it to what is being sent.

They also had the obvious signs, Do not tailgate and Allow a safe distance between vehicles. Are these really necessary? Still, I have always felt that truckers are the best drivers on the road, but some of them need a few lessons. One tailgated me when he could so easily have pulled into another lane to pass.
The sign on his truck was Robert Transportation, which offended me more since that happens to be my name.

In Sharon, PA, you can find the largest shoe store in the world, or at least that was what one sign said. I wonder if Imelda was aware of this place.

On my way to meet my mom, sister and niece for lunch on Presidents’ Day in 2007, I noticed a traffic light on Harlem Road that was both red and green at the same time. I thought that was what the yellow light was for.

I saw a sign at the Galleria mall in Buffalo for Ice cream of the future.
I wanted it at that moment and thought about asking the woman behind the counter when it would be ready. Tomorrow may be too soon.

I saw an ad in the Sunday paper of a local supermarket for Good Wives Appetizer.
I’m not going to comment on this one.

During the season of Easter, the supermarkets push various kinds of sweets. While on line checking out at one of the local stores in Buffalo, I saw the sign, just born peeps. I wonder whom the father is and if the mother had a normal delivery.

The great state of Pennsylvania has this sign, Jim Thorpe: Use exit 74.
From my experience in the state, I didn’t think they allowed people that old on the highway.

There’s another sign in the Keystone state advertising an Adult outlet.
Is that what people use to plug in their PC to download porn?

I’m sure you have seen these two words on the back end of a P. T. Cruiser, “Limited edition.”
Yeah, they only produced three million of them!

Speaking of cars, you can find some great bumper stickers if you keep your eyes open. Here are a few.
If you’re born again, do you have two belly buttons?
Born OK the first time
Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich
Come the rapture, we’ll have the earth to ourselves
Come the rapture, can I have your car?
I bet Jesus would have used His turn signals

Jesus is coming
look busy
I didn’t think He was in management. I assumed that was the Father’s job. I believe the Holy Spirit has something to do with the union.

Religions are just cults with more members
God wants spiritual fruits not religious nuts What about flakes?
Even people who believe everything is predestined look before they cross the street
A rind is a terrible thing to waste – Compost

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs

We’re in big trouble when our
bombs are smarter than our president
By the time you read this, it should be obsolete – at least that’s what I hope for.
Buckle Up: it makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car
I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe
If conservatives are so patriotic, why do they keep sending our jobs overseas?
Liberals keep treating dogs like people while Conservatives treat people like dogs
Maybe I should change my name to Spot.

 

Politicians and diapers need to be changed often for the same reasons

 

The media are only as liberal as the conservative businesses that own them
If evolution is outlawed only outlaws will evolve
People never lie so much as after fishing, during a war and before an election
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity It certainly gives me plenty of material.
Where are we going? And why am I in this handbasket?
It’s hard to convince people that you’re killing them for their own good
Stop mad cowboy disease
Congress gave huge tax breaks to the rich and all I got was this lousy bumpersticker
If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?
Stop talking while I’m interrupting
Witches parking – all others will be toad