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My name is Joe Friday (part 2)

March 1, 1996

I carry a badge. It was cold that morning in the city of Colombo, and there was absolutely nothing afoot. I mean it. Nothing. It reminded me of Nashville, although at least in Nashville you have country music, which is part of what prompted me to go to Colombo in the first place.

For those of you who read through this morning’s offering going, "What?" I offer this instead. Next I’ll throw out some really arcane joke about Oscar Wilde and a jockey, and how…well, we’ll leave that one for later on.

Before I leave you to it, I was asked this morning how it is that I manage to get any work done. The fact is, this is my work. The Freethinker who asked was rather surprised to find that she actually owed me several thousand dollars, since you’re all supposed to be paying me a hundred dollars a week for this service. Void where prohibited. Some restrictions apply. Your mileage may vary. Has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

One more thing (yes, I’m getting Columbo, the detective, confused with Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka)–for those Freethinkers who are going on Spring Break this week, have a fabulous time, and take the following words of wisdom with you. And even if you don’t take these words of wisdom, make sure you take some protection.

1. Indecision is the key to flexibility.
2. You can’t tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
3. There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
4. Happiness is merely the remission of pain.
5. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
7. The facts, though interesting, are irrelvant.
8. The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
9. Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.
10. Things are more like they are today that they were before.
12. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
13. Friends may come and go but enemies accumulate.
14. I have seen the truth and it makes no sense.
16. If you think there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.
18. If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
19. One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.
20. By the time you make ends meet, they move the ends.
21. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
23. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
24. This is as bad as it can get, but don’t count on it.
25. Never wrestle a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

My name is Joe Friday…

March 1, 1996

I don’t know how many of you out there are Trekkies, but I hope that you’ll appreciate these little amusing bits anyway. And for those of you who aren’t, well, I’ll send something later on in the day.

By the way, quite a few of you out there have asked about Wednesday’s comments on salt, and why there weren’t instructions on the packet of pepper. Well, that’s simple. An illiterate person might open the packet of salt, and seeing tiny white crystals, think it’s cocaine.

The Foundation To Prevent Salt Abuse wanted to prevent that from ever happening. What has that got to do with pepper? you ask. Simple: any idiot who shoves pepper up his nose gets exactly what he deserves.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
(Star Trek Version)

Chakotay: Whatever its reason, whatever its goals, we should respect its right to cross the road and seek its own spiritual awareness.

Neelix: Actually, Captain, I’m not really familiar with the chickens in this system. But, if you can catch it, I can cook it.

Riker: I don’t know why, but I know how: with pleasure, sir.

Worf: I don’t know. KLINGON chickens do NOT cross roads.

HoloDoc: How should I know? No one tells me anything around here. I didn’t even know we added chickens to the crew. All I know is that it would have been nice, BEFORE the chicken went off to the cross the road, if it had remembered to turn me off!

Dr. Crusher: If there’s nothing wrong with the chicken, there must be something wrong with the universe.

Dr. Soran: His heart just wasn’t in it. (Scenes of chicken torture with nanoprobes have been edited out.)

Scotty: Because she couldna take much morrrrrre.

Odo: I don’t know, but I’m sure it must be Quark’s fault.

Quark: Who, me?

Charlie X: Because it didn’t want to STAY…STAY…STAY…

Kirk: You chicken bastard, you killed my son…YOU chicken BASTARD, you killed…my SON…you CHICKEN bastard….youkilledmy…son!

Troi: I feel the chicken’s pain!

Kira: It was probably being chased by those cursed Cardassians.

Bones: Dammit, I’m a doctor, not an ornithologist!

Data: The chicken, in observing that it was on the opposite side of the 20th century Terran paved roadway, was aware that its immediate goal should have been to traverse the distance without interception by an kind of combustion-propelled personal transport vehicle, but I am unclear as to why any kind of domesticated fowl should desire to perambulate upon a conveyance normally reserved for the usage of…yes, sir.

Dr. Bashir: It probably heard about my amazing medical skills not to mention my sexual prowess and came to get some pointers.

The Borg: Crossing the road is irrelevant. The chicken will be assimilated.

Hugh the Borg: Maybe it just needed a big hug!

B’Elanna: I’m sure it felt suffocated by all the bleeping regulations of bleeping Starfleet and just couldn’t stand it any longer!

Picard: There are four lights!

Q: Wouldn’t you like to know? Too bad your puny human brain wouldn’t be able to comprehend the answer.

Uhura: Shall I open hailing frequencies so you can ask it, sir?

Tasha: That depends…was it fully functional?

Chekov: It must have been on its way to assist in saving my life for the billionth time..did I scream this time?

Khan: With my last breath I spit at the chicken…

Harry: I don’t know, it’s my first mission.

Paris: Well, I think that…say, that’s a lovely shirt you’re wearing.

Harvey Mudd: Chicken? I don’t remember any chicken. No no no, there’s been a terrible misunderstanding.

Janeway: Its primary goal was no doubt to get back to the Alpha Quadrant…and it probably misses its dog.

Nurse Chapel: Oh, Spock!

Lwaxana: Oh, Jean-Luc!

Spock: Fascinating, Captain.

V’Ger: To join with the Creator.

The Grand Nagus: Stupid chicken! You don’t cross the road all at once! You sneak across it quietly, without anyone noticing!

Gul Dukat: Well, that’s a very interesting question…I’m sure we can work out some kind of arrangement to obtain that information that will be to everyone’s satisfaction.

Kes: It was remembering back to the times when its ancestors crossed roads all the time! They lost those abilities because they stopped using them!

O’Brien: No problem, Commander, I’ll get right on it.

Wesley: I’m not sure, but I can figure it out if I reroute these systems and reconfigure the warp field and run a complete internal whootchacallit on the computers and…

Sisko: It was seeking deeper meaning. Jake, do you see what we’ve learned from all this?

Jake: Check out the babe that just came off that transport!

Geordi: Well, wherever it’s going, I’m sure it’ll have more luck with women than I do.

Sulu: Don’t call me Tiny!

Sarek: Sometimes logic fails me where chickens are concerned.

Mr. Homn:

Dax: To get to the other side. Kurzon might have disagreed with me, Tobin I’m sure wouldn’t have had a clue,and then there’s…

Tuvok: That’s not a question we’d prefer to hear from a senior officer.
It makes the junior officers nervous.

Gene Roddenberry: To boldy go where no one had gone before.

Double Dose For the Day

February 28, 1996

Do you ever find things that make you wonder where civilization is headed? Yesterday I was digging around in my file cabinet looking for some ketchup, and I found one of those little packets of salt that they sometimes give you at fast food places. I’ve seen some idiotic things, but this one pretty well topped them: instructions on a packet of salt! It said, "Tear along top. Add to food to improve taste." Who the hell came up with this? Who said, "You know, not everybody will know what salt is for"? And why didn’t they stop to think that anyone who doesn’t know what salt is for will probably not be literate in the first place? Or were they expecting aliens, who had learned our language by monitoring our TV and radio broadcasts, to be unfamiliar with the Ways of Salt? I can see this guy sitting in Salt Lake City saying to himself, "I must take time out from my monumental History of Salt to make sure people who go to fast food restaurants don’t misuse it." Yes, this man whose History of Salt goes from the days when Roman soldiers were paid with salt (how he would like to have been one of them!) to the present, and even contains a final chapter in which he looks hopefully to the future when everyone will have a proper electrolyte balance.

Pardon me for that obligatory rant. Let’s not dwell on salt anymore, and I promise to even avoid speculating about why pepper didn’t have the same instructions. Instead, enjoy two more little bits that will make you wonder even more about where society is headed.

1960’s Arithmetic test: "A logger cuts and sells a truck load of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fiths of that amount. What is his profit?"

70’s New Math test: "A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of set M is 100. The set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points. What is the cardinality of set P of profits?"

80’s education reform version: "A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost is $80, and his profit is $20. Find and circle the number 20."

90’s version: "An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 old growth trees in order to make a $20 profit. Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way of making money. Topic for discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?"

IDEA FOR THE DAY: We have enough youth, how about a fountain of SMART?

One of the primary reasons cat flaps are called cat flaps is that they’re flaps specifically designed for cats, as opposed to dogs, or giraffes, or humans. All of this became abundantly clear to teenager Jason Evans, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, when he recently spent six hours stuck in one after using it in an attempt to get into his house. He was eventually cut free by firemen. In Germany, meanwhile, Gunther Burpus remained wedged in his front-door cat flap for two days because passers-by thought he was a piece of installation art. Mr Burpus, 41, of Bremen, was using the flap because he had mislaid his keys. Unfortunately he was spotted by a group of student pranksters who removed his trousers and pants, painted his bottom bright blue, stuck a daffodil between his buttocks and erected a sign saying ‘Germany Resurgent, an Essay in Street Art. Please give Generously’. Passers-by assumed Mr Burpus’ screams were part of the act and it was only when an old woman complained to the police that he was finally freed. "I kept calling for help," he said, "but people just said ‘Very good! Very clever!’ and threw coins at me.

Everybody wave!

February 26, 1996

This is a little late for some, and a little surprising for others, but we have some new additions to the Freethinkers Anonymous List. I would tell you their names, e-mail addresses, home addresses, and amusing and embarrassing details about their personal lives, but, well, the English language is a lot more amusing than anything I could tell you about them.

Speaking of Sri Lanka, do any of you out there receive "This Is True"? For those who don’t, it’s a weekly internet News of the Weird Digest that, until last week, was distributed to 92 countries worldwide. This week, believe it or not, number 93 was added, and it was none other than Sri Lanka. My operatives there were suitably impressed. Anyway, for any of you who don’t get it and would like to, here are the instructions:

TO RECEIVE "THIS is TRUE" every week free by e-mail, send e-mail to with the message: "subscribe this-is-true" (without quotes) — please: nothing else on the line.

And here is something that could be true:

Evolving the English language

Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC (now officially the European Union, or EU), the European Parliament has commissioned a feasability study in ways of improving efficiency in communications between Government departments.

European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is unnecessarily difficult; for example: cough, plough, rough, through and thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased programme of changes to iron out these anomalies. The programme would be administered by a committee staff at top level by participating nations.

In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using’s’ instead of the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would resieve this news with joy. Then the hard ‘c’ could be replaced by ‘k’ sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this klear up konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be made with one less letter.

There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it was anounsed that the troublesome ‘ph’ would henseforth be written ‘f’. This would make words like ‘fotograf’ twenty persent shorter in print.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have always been a deterent to akurate speling.

We would al agre that the horible mes of silent ‘e’s in the languag is disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as though nothing had hapend. By this tim it would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be reseptive to steps sutsh as replasing ‘th’ by ‘z’. Perhaps zen ze funktion of ‘w’ kould be taken on by ‘v’, vitsh is, after al, half a ‘w’.

Shortly after zis, ze unesesary ‘o’ kould be dropd from words kontaining ‘ou’. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav a reli sensibl riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls, difikultis and evrivun vud fin it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of the Guvermnt vud finali hav kum tru.

A little late for Mardi Gras…

February 21, 1996

Yes, it was yesterday, and it was during the weekend that we really saw the big parties in New Orleans. For those of you who don’t know, it is from those parties that the name "Mardi Gras" comes from, since it roughly translates as "Urinate anywhere you want".

I have vague memories of having once gone to Mardi Gras, but it’s like the sixties: if you really remember it, then you probably weren’t there.

On a totally unrelated note, here’s something to remind even those of us who don’t have children what finally having to take on responsibilities means.

Preparation for Parenthood

Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.

1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans. Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help him- self. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.

2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior. Enjoy it – it’ll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 lbs. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, till 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can’t get back to sleep get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2.45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this – all morning.

6. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas cracker. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee.

7. Forget the Miata and buy a Taurus. And don’t think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.

8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette end, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you’ve had as much as you can stand, until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.

10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children.

11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Weetabix and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an aeroplane. Continue until half the Weetabix is gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month old baby.

12. Learn the names of every character from Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When you find yourself singing "Postman Pat" at work, you finally qualify as a parent.

Mondays can be your friend…

February 19, 1996

…if you’re lucky enough to not have to go in to work/class/whatever this morning. Otherwise, don’t they really suck?

Here’s a cute little story that really illustrates how I feel some Mondays. Days when I make it all the way through, only to find that everything I’d done could have been a lot easier. So, although my experience doesn’t exactly compare with that of a Pope, I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.

There was a Pope who was greatly loved by all of his followers, a man who led with gentleness, faith and wisdom. His passing was grieved by the entire world, Catholic or not.

As the Pope approached the gates of heaven, it was Saint Peter who greeted him in a firm embrace.

"Welcome your holiness, your dedication and unselfishness in serving your fellow man during you life has earned you great stature in heaven. You may pass through the gates without delay and are granted free access to all parts of heaven."

"You are also granted an open door policy and may at your own discretion meet with any heavenly leader, including the Father without prior appoint- ment. Is there anything which your holiness desires?"

"Well yes," the Pope replied. "I have often pondered some of the mysteries which have puzzled and confounded theologians through the ages. Are there perhaps any transcripts which recorded the actual conversations between God and the prophets of old? I would love to see what was actually said, without the dimming of memories over time."

Saint Peter immediately ushered the Pope to the heavenly library and explained how to retrieve the vaious documents. The Pope was thrilled and settled down to review the history of man’s relationship with God.

Two years later a scream of anguish pierced the stacks of the library. Immediately several of the Saints and angels came running to the Pope’s side to learn the cause of his dismay.

There they found the Pope pointing to a single word on the parchment, Repeating over and over, "There’s an ‘R’, There’s an ‘R’!!!"

"Look, the word is celibrate, not celibate!"

Happy Valentine’s Day.

February 14, 1996

Folks, I’m gonna bring the room down for a minute…NOT! Seriously, there’s a lot of mush and stuff like that going around on today of all days, and I personally don’t want to add any of it. I want to give you something to laugh about, and, although the piece that follows is a little out of date, I think you’ll still get a kick out of it anyway. First, though, from the home office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I present a pirated Top Ten list from David Letterman. Enjoy it!

Signs Your Spouse Is Having An Affair By Computer

As presented on the 02/02/96 broadcast of LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN

10. Lately she sits at the computer naked
9. After signing off, he always has a cigarette
8. The giant rubber inflatable disk dive
7. In the morning, the computer screen is all fogged up
6. He’s gotten amazingly good at typing with one hand
5. She makes sarcastic remarks about your "software"
4. Lipstick on the mouse
3. During sex, she screams "A colon backslash enter insert!"
2. The jam in the laser printer is a pair of underpants
1. The fax file is filled with pictures of some guy’s ass

The Ballad of The Bobbit Hillbillies
(Sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies)

Here’s s little story of a man named John A poor ex-marine with a little fraction gone It seems one night after gettin’ with the wife she lopped off his schlong with a swipe of a knife Pecker that is ,
Rodeoed, fillet food

Well, the next thing u know there’a ginsu by his side And Lorena’s in the car taking willie for a ride She soon got tired of her purple headed friend And tossed him out the window as she rounded the bend Curve , that is
Pricker shrubs , wheel hubs

She went to the cops and confessed to the attack And they called out the hounds just to get the weenie back they sniffed and they barked , then they pointed "over there" To John Wayne’s henry that was wavin’ in the air Found , that is
By a fence, evidence

Now peter and John couldn’t stay apart too long so a dick-doc said "Hey , I can fix your dong !" A needle and a thread ‘s just the thing you’re gonna need Then the world held it’s breath till they heard that John peed Whizzed , that is
Stitched seam , straight seam

Well he healed and he hardened and he took his case to court With a cock eyed lawyer (since his assets came up short ) They cleared him of assault and acquitted him of rape And his pecker was the only one they didn’t show on tape Video, that is
Unexposed , case closed

Are We Snowed In Yet?

February 2, 1996

All righty then–after the snow started falling yesterday, I immediately began making preparations just in case I should be unable to deliver Freethinkers Anonymous: The Friday Edition. So, for those of you in Sri Lanka who got your copy two days ahead of time (with the International Dateline in there to muck things up) just ignore it. I braved high winds, snow and sleet, slick streets, and, worst of all, Nashville drivers who think that driving on ice and snow is just like driving on dry pavement. This just goes to show that some of us are not easily daunted by little things like snowstorms or Tamil uprisings.

Before I let you read the following list of true quotes from various people, I thought I’d share with you a few from my own stock and store of hilarious and goofy quotes.

"You can observe a lot by watching." -Yogi Berra

"Steve? You can’t call your main character in this script Steve! Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named Steve!" -Samuel Goldwyn

"Denial is simply the indulgence of a propensity to forego."–Ambrose Bierce

"Your wife and I are in love, man, and if you don’t like it, I’m gonna come over there and haul your ass out of bed because I’m right around the corner right now." –Lenny Bruce speaking over the phone to a complete stranger called at random

And, my personal favorite:

"I long for the touch of your lips, my dear, But much more for the touch of your whips, my dear." –Tom Lehrer

Editor’s Note: These are apparently true quotes (I say apparently because I haven’t personally verified them), by famous people, most of whom, scarily enough, hold public office. Be afraid…be very afraid.]

"I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law." –David Dinkins, New York City Mayor, answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes.

"They gave me a book of checks. They didn’t ask for any deposits." — Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer questions about the House Bank Scandal.

"He didn’t say that. He was reading what was given to him in a speech." — Richard Darman, director of OMB, explaining why President Bush wasn’t following up on his campaign pledge that there would be no loss of wetlands.

"It depends on your definition of asleep. They were not stretched out. They had their eyes closed. They were seated at their desks with their heads in a nodding position." — John Hogan, Commonwealth Edison Supervisor of News Information, responding to a charge by a Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector that two Dresden Nuclear Plant operators were sleeping on the job.

"I didn’t accept it. I received it." — Richard Allen, National Security Advisor to President Reagan, explaining the $1000 in cash and two watches he was given by two Japanese journalists after he helped arrange a private interview for them with First Lady Nancy Reagan.

"I was a pilot flying an airplane and it just so happened that where I was flying made what I was doing spying." — Francis Gary Power, U-2 reconnaissance pilot held by the Soviets for spying, in an interview after he was returned to the US.

"I was under medication when I made the decision not to burn the tapes." — President Richard Nixon

"Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life." — Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.

"I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." — Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

"I support efforts to limit the terms of members of Congress, especially members of the House and members of the Senate." — Vice-President Dan Quayle

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." — Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC

"Sure, it’s going to kill a lot of people, but they may be dying of something else anyway." — Othal Brand, member of a Texas pesticide review board, on chlordane.

"Are you any relation to your brother Marv?" — Leon Wood, New Jersey Nets guard, to Steve Albert, Nets TV commentator.

"Beginning in February 1976 your assistance benefits will be discontinued… Reason: it has been reported to our office that you expired on January 1, 1976." — Letter from the Illinois Department of Public Aid

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history… this century’s history…. We all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century." — Dan Quayle, then Indiana senator and Republican vice-presidential candidate during a news conference in which he was asked his opinion of the Holocaust.

"In the early sixties, we were strong, we were virulent…" — John Connally, Secretary of Treasury under Richard Nixon, in an early seventies speech, as reported in a contemporary "American Scholar".

"Rotarians, be patriotic! Learn to shoot yourself." — Chicago Rotary Club journal, "Gyrator".

"The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe." — Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia.

"I’ve always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted." — Lawrence Summers, chief economist of the World Bank, explaining why we should export toxic wastes to Third World countries.

"The crime bill passed by the Senate would reinstate the Federal death penalty for certain violent crimes: assassinating the President; hijacking an airliner; and murdering a government poultry inspector." — Knight Ridder News Service dispatch

"After finding no qualified candidates for the position of principal, the school board is extremely pleased to announce the ppointment of David Steele to the post." – Philip Streifer, Superintendent of Schools, Barrington Rhode Island.

"The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing." — Dizzy Dean explaining how he felt after being hit on the head by a ball in the 1934 World Series.

Friday Freethinking (part 2)

January 26, 1996

Hey, that little bit this morning was just an appetizer. After the week from Hades, you don’t think I’d let you guys off that easily, do you? I’ve actually been told by quite a few of you out there that you enjoy these "Stress Busters", so let me take this opportunity to say that if you’re ever threatened by excessive stress, stress so bad you think you’ll never survive it, who ya gonna call?

Another Freethinker out there asked me, after my diatribe on Mentos, if I had seen the commercials for Riesen chews, which are obviously made by the same advertising company. (A company that, by the way, proves that one of the dangers of mass communication is that it can allow a single individual to multiply an innocuous and potentially annoying message through others.) Yes, I have seen these commercials in which people happily eat candies that must be something other than Riesen chews. I know: I’ve eaten the damn things, and I’m amazed that the FDA allows anyone to sell hardened asphalt coated with chocolate as candy. To make it even worse, the chocolate coating becomes a thick brown liquid as soon as it hits your tongue, so while you’re pulling at your jaw to separate it from something which the packaging claims is a chewy center, this stuff dribbles out of your mouth and leaves a stain that nothing short of battery acid will take out.

Following my earlier theme of communication problems, the following is advice to be heeded by men everywhere. And women, read this carefully so next time you’ll understand why your significant others sometimes sound like complete idiots.

The 5 toughest questions women ask – and their answers

The five questions are:

1 – "What are you thinking?"
2 – "Do you love me?"
3 – "Do I look fat?"
4 – "Do you think she is prettier than me?"
5 – "What would you do if I died?"

What makes these questions so bad is that every one is guaranteed to explode into a major argument and/or divorce if the man does not answer properly, which is to say dishonestly. For example:

1 – "What are you thinking?" The proper answer to this question, of course, is, "I’m sorry if I’ve been pensive, dear. I was just reflecting on what a warm, wonderful, caring, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful woman you are and what a lucky guy I am to have met you." Obviously, this statement bears no resemblance whatsoever to what the guy was really thinking at the time, which was most likely one of five things:

a – Baseball
b – Football
c – How fat you are.
d – How much prettier she is than you.
e – How he would spend the insurance money if you died.

According to the Sassy article, the best answer to this stupid question came from Al Bundy, of Married With Children, who was asked it by his wife, Peg. "If I wanted you to know," Al said, "I’d be talking instead of thinking."

The other questions also have only one right answer but many wrong answers:

2 – "Do you love me?" The correct answer to this question is, "Yes." For those guys who feel the need to be more elaborate, you may answer, "Yes, dear." Wrong answers include:

a – I suppose so.
b – Would it make you feel better if I said yes.
c – That depends on what you mean by "love".
d – How about those Lakers?
e – Who, me?

3 – "Do I look fat?" The correct male response to this question is to confidently and emphatically state, "No, of course not" and then quickly leave the room. Wrong answers include:

a – I wouldn’t call you fat, but I wouldn’t call you thin either.
b – Compared to what?
c – A little extra weight looks good on you.
d – I’ve seen fatter.
e – Could you repeat the question? I was thinking about your insurance policy.

4 – "Do you think she’s prettier than me?" The "she" in the question could be an ex-girlfriend, a passer-by you were starring at so hard thay you almost cause a traffic accident or an actress in a movie you just saw. In any case, the correct response is, "No, you are much prettier." Wrong answers include:

a – Not prettier, just pretty in a different way.
b – I don’t know how one goes about rating such things.
c – Yes, but I bet you have a better personality.
d – Only in the sense that she’s younger and thinner.
e – Could you repeat the question? I was thinking about your insurance policy.

5 – "What would you do if I died?" Correct answer: "Dearest love, in the event of your untimely demise, life would cease to have meaning for me and I would perforce hurl myself under the front tires of the first Domino’s Pizza truck that came my way." This might be the stupidest question of the lot, as is illustrated by the following stupid joke:

"Dear," said the wife. "What would you do if I died?"
"Why, dear, I would be extremely upset," said the husband. "Why do you ask such a question?"
"Would you remarry?" persevered the wife.
"No, of couse not, dear" said the husband.
"Don’t you like being married?" said the wife.
"Of course I do, dear" he said.
"Then why wouldn’t you remarry?"
"Alright," said the husband, "I’d remarry." "You would?" said the wife, looking vaguely hurt.
"Yes" said the husband.
"Would you sleep with her in our bed?" said the wife after a long pause.
"Well yes, I suppose I would." replied the husband.
"I see," said the wife indignantly." And would you let her wear my old clothes?"
"Of course not dear. They wouldn’t fit Sandra anyway."

Friday Freethinking (part 1)

January 26, 1996

It was once said that one of the dangers of technology and mass communication was that it could potentially allow a single individual to spread insanity like a disease, to not only maintain but to multiply a dangerous and potentially destructive vision through others. The man who said that was very astute and perceptive, and had remarkable foresight. That is why I had to kill him.

Sometimes, though, communication is not hindered by technology, sometimes it can actually be helped, and can prevent catastrophe. What follows is not an example of that.

From a radio conversation recently released by the U.S. Navy

#1: Object on radar, please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.

#2: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees south to avoid a collision.

#1: This is the captain of a United States Navy ship. I say again, divert your course!

#2: No. I say again, divert YOUR course.

#1: This is the aircraft carrier Enterprise, we are a large warship of the U.S. Navy. Divert your course NOW!

#2: This is a lighthouse. Your call.