Hold the Tomatoes

January 12, 2001

I don’t like tomatoes. This is something I feel compelled to apologize for because most of the planet seems to like tomatoes. And what’s even worse is that I like tomato soup, sun dried tomatoes, tomato sauce on my pizza and spaghetti and whatever else you put cooked tomatoes on. It’s just big, drippy, mushy, seedy raw tomatoes that I don’t like. (I realize many of you are probably salivating right now and wishing that it was tomato season. One of the advantages of not liking tomatoes is that I never have to wait for tomato season, and I never have to worry about grocery store tomatoes tasting like styrofoam. I apologize if you’re now desperately craving tomatoes, but I couldn’t come up with anything else this week.)

Though I’m a minority now, there was a time when people like me were the majority. In the early 16th Century when tomatoes were first introduced to Europe, people thought they were poisonous. They called them "wolf apples", and grew them as ornamental plants. (I have no idea what Italians put on spaghetti and pizza during this period. Considering that the Romans ate flamingo tongues, mice, and lizard hearts, I don’t want to think about it, but it may have been the cuisine that caused the fall of Rome.)

Then one day a man sat down on the steps of London’s Westminster Abbey and ate an entire bushel of tomatoes while a crowd watched in horror. Since he didn’t die, people started yanking down their ornamental tomatoes and eating as many as they could get. I have no idea who the man was or what gave him the idea to eat a tomato in the first place, but I have a feeling that his mother told him to do it.

Mothers are always telling their children, "Just try one bite." Children are very astute–I know, since I used to be one–and they generally have a pretty good idea what they like and don’t like, but my mother would always make me try at least one bite of everything. (Thanks to my mother, I know without a doubt that I don’t like tomatoes, brussels sprouts, and liver. My mother’s other favorite line, the one she used when she served some kind of casserole, was, "You like everything that’s in this." And I’d say, "Yeah, I like oysters and I like fudge, but that doesn’t mean I want them together.") I used to think my mother would eat anything (she ate brussels sprouts voluntarily!), but then one day when I was a teenager I went with my mother to an international festival. While she watched in horror, I ordered and consumed a Japanese delicacy – raw tuna on a pillow of rice. Unlike the Tomatoes of Westminster incident, my mother still won’t touch raw fish. I thought about suggesting that she take at least one bite, but I realized that food is just like everything else: however different they are, everybody’s gotta have standards…unless of course you’re a Roman.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

It is well documented that for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month. Ten more important facts about jogging and exercise…

  1. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we don’t know where the hell she is.

  2. The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

  3. I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks.

  4. I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.

  5. I don’t exercise at all. If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up on our body.

  6. I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

  7. I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

  8. The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

  9. If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

  10. I don’t jog; it makes the ice jump right out of my glass.


I don’t know how they wrote this with a straight face. This apparently was a real memo sent at a computer company to its employees in all seriousness…

This memo is from an unnamed computer company. It went to all field engineers about a peripheral problem. The author of this memo was quite serious. The engineers rolled on the floor! (Especially note last sentence)


Mouse balls are now available as FRU (Field Replacement Unit). Therefore if a mouse fails to operate or should it perform erratically, it may need ball replacement. Because of the delicate nature of this procedure, replacement of mouse balls should only be attempted by properly trained personnel.

Before proceeding, determine the type of mouse balls by examining the underside of the mouse. Domestic balls will be larger and harder than foreign balls. Ball removal procedures differ depending upon the manufacture of the mouse. Foreign balls can be replaced using the pop-off method. Domestic balls are replaced by using the twist-off method.

Mouse balls are not usually static-sensitive. However, excessive handling can result in sudden discharge.

Upon completion of ball replacement, the mouse may be used immediately.

It is recommended that each replacer have a pair of spare balls for maintaining optimum customer satisfaction. Any customer missing his balls should contact the local personnel in charge of removing and replacing these necessary items.

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