Coming Attractions. . . .

Donna and I went to the movies last Saturday. We saw “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie was excellent and moving. It was the “Coming Attractions” that turned me off. Every coming attraction began with loud, angry violence. And each one got worse as the “attaction” wore on. We saw trailers for “Blood Demands Blood” “Dead Man Down” “The Call” “Pain & Gain.” All were smothering in violence, gunfire, car crashes and horror. I feel like saying “come on, people – don’t you know what you are doing to your children? To our society?” But I am one small drip of a voice.

Polish Jokes

What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish? Every morning you will rise and shine!  🙂  🙂

This is my only polish joke.  If you know any good polish jokes, I’d like to hear.  Wait a minute.  You thought I was going to tell a . . . . oh noooo.   Not me.  I was telling a polish joke.   “Polish” is one of those words that has two different pronunciations and yet a single spelling.  It is a “heteronym.”   Other examples of heteronyms are:

Abuse – I don’t abuse my body with substance abuse

Contest – I will contest the results of the contest

Excuse – I will excuse you if you have a good excuse

Tear – I would shed a tear if I tear my pay check

There are many such examples:  Lead, alternate, close, permit, duplicate, insult, august, produce, bow, graduate, bass, invalid, sow,  resume, dove, moderate, wound, minute, record, rebel, transplant, object, use, desert and so many others. 

I had better wind up this post before I run out of wind. . . . .

American’s Funniest Home Videos

While waiting for a carry out order at a restaurant in Boca Grande Florida a few weeks ago, I sat at the bar, sipped on a glass of cab and relaxed.  There were two televisions on.  Above the bar.  Both were tuned to the same program: “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I’d never watched the program before, so I began to watch — with a tabula rasa. The tabula rasa quickly became a “what the $%^X!&?”

The setting of the show was a glitzy lounge with elegantly-attired people sitting around cocktail tables sipping on what appeared to be champagne or some pseudo bubbly.  And the host played “home videos” while babbling.  Many of the videos involved men being hit where it really hurts (prompting many laughs).   A lot of the clips involved people falling, tripping, slipping or otherwise embarrassing or even hurting themselves (guffaws and belly laughs).  And the elegantly-dressed people would howl and applaud like world peace had just been declared. 

There were three men and two women who were sitting at the other end of the bar (and not elegantly dressed) — paying rapt attention to the “videos” (which I suspect were for the most part staged).  They were laughing (one guy snorted as he laughed) and howling and poking each other every time someone tripped, fell, was bitten, smacked or fell into water (I think the beer helped inspire these reactions).  Watching this fivesome was more fun than watching “AFHV.” 

My bag of food arrived and I mercifully left — but not without my concluding that “America’s Funniest Home Videos” has got to be one of America’s dumbest programs as well. 


One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago for lunch is Wishbone – located at 1001 West Washington (just east of Oprah’s studio).   The food is Southern/Creole.  I was introduced to Wishbone perhaps 15 years ago by my good friend Bob R. who served with me on the staff of Camp Napowan — a Boy Scout camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. 

On those rare – but delicious – occasions when I go to Wishbone, I am in a rut.  And I order the same thing.  Every time.  I order the crawfish cakes with two “sides”:  black beans and rice and mashed sweet potato topped with chopped nuts.  And an iced tea.  On Friday, my assistant treated me to lunch at Wishbone to celebrate my 42d birthday.  Would you believe 53?   How about . . . . never mind.  Anyway, the offering looked so good, I snapped a pic — just as I dug my fork into the mashed sweet potatoes.  That’s corn bread and cole slaw on the left. . . . Scrumptious. . . . . Would you believe 61?? 


A Gigantic Toy

Having just spent nearly 3 weeks with Eve (and Lauren and Trent), I have come to the sobering conclusion that I am not perceived by Eve as her grandfather. Instead I am viewed as a humungous (over)stuffed toy that happily interacts doing all manner of interesting and time-consuming activities.  We open and close doors ad nauseum.  We throw things with great enthusiasm like Sandy Koufax in his heyday  Since Eve is prone to pointing at things, I (being the dutiful grandfather) provide an on demand taxi service — taking Eve in whatever direction she points at and picking up whatever object may strike her fancy at any given moment.   Believe me. . . .  it is a slice. . . . .  A wonderful slice. . . .  

Boca Grande

We have had a wonderful time in Boca Grande, Florida.  Here’s a picture of Eve, her stuffed Piggy and me (I am the one in the white shirt).   Was in Boca Grande nearly 30 years ago (and bought the rare book collection of the BG Library – which is another story).  The Loose Caboose (for lunch/ice cream), Temptation (for dinner) and the wonderful Pink Elephant are still there but sooooo much has changed.  Still great shelling and I found lots of sharks’ teeth on the beach! 



In Michener’s classic Iberia, he facetiously observes of Spaniards “Anyone who eats chocolate and churros for breakfast need not prove their courage in any other way.”  I love Michener’s writing, but courage is not a joke.  To me, courage is shown by many special people.  These days, it is defined in one word — Malala. 

Malala Yousafzai was born in 1997 in the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan.  She is 16 years old.  Malala and her family have lived under the Taliban boot for much of her short life.  As a girl, she has been forbidden to attend school.  The Taliban is known for crushing any attempt for girls to learn.  They burn schools and kill teachers suspected of teaching girls.  In 2009, Malala – at the tender age of 11 or 12 began speaking out about the need for girls to learn.  And to attend school.  She pubished a blog under a pseudonym through the BBC detailing life under the Taliban and speaking out against them.  She then began writing under her own name — and giving interviews on television.  All directed toward the need for girls to go to school.  

On October 9, 2012, the school bus in which she was riding was stopped and boarded by Taliban assassins.  They approached Malala and shot her in the head and neck.  Malala clung to life and was sent to the UK for surgeries.  On October 12th, 50 Pakistani clerics – to their credit – issued a fatwa (religious ruling) condemning the attack.  Malala is now up and around.  And she is speaking out.  Against the cowards who are the Taliban.  She is now under consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize.   She deserves it.  And the Taliban?  They deserve what they gave Malala.  Let’s deputize Mitch Rapp and Jack Reacher. . . . .     


I’ve had foot pain for a long time.  It hurts to walk.  I don’t like – or take – pain relievers.  I just try to ignore the pain (yes, I know — not too bright).  A few years ago, I was at the train station talking to my friend Peter. He was telling me about some knee pain he was having. And he said he had tried acupuncture. Sure I thought. Acupuncture.  He said that he had gone for seven or eight sessions.  And the knee issues had abated.  Sure I thought.  Acupuncture.  He added that he’d gone into the sessions skeptical.  And come out. . . .well. . . . believing that there was something to acupuncture.

We got on the train and that was that.  My feet growled at me as I walked to my office.  Acupuncture.  I chewed on the idea.  And thought to myself that there was no downside.  A few needles.  So I called and made an appointment.  I went for six or seven sessions.   The needles were placed not in my feet but in my hands.  A couple in my knee as I recall.  Later, there were a few put in my ankle.  And when I walked out on that last day, my foot pain was nothing like the first day.  Truth be told, I still have occasional foot pain but it’s not like it was.  When it returns, I’ve gone back for a treatment.  And I walk out feeling better. 

As most people know, acupuncture originated with the Chinese.  Metal needles have been found dating to 100 B.C.  Acupuncture is said to increase (and correct imbalances in) the flow of qi (energy) through various meridians in the body.  Thus, a knee pain may be treated with needles in the elbow or stomach or hip.  Scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can actually relieve certain types of pain and post-operative nausea (see footnotes 7-9 at  And recently, acupuncture has been endorsed for certain conditions by the U.S. National Institute of Health, the National Health Service of the U.K. and the World Health Organization. 

I’m still a skeptic.  But an open-minded one.  But if my feet ever start griping, I know what I’m going to do . . . . .