Thursday, August 27, 2009

By Judith Viorst


Let her be loving and gentle and easy to be with.
Let her have great mental health, also trust funds galore.
Let her hold views that you practically always agree with.
Let her be so damn good-natured she's almost a bore

Let her be younger than I am, not what's called pretty.
Let her be only okay playing scrabble and chess.
Let her do tax returns better than she can do wiity.
Let her enjoy football plenty, and sex a lot less.

Let her be friends with the grandkids, but never their nana.
Let her provide dust-free baseboards and Internet skills.
Let her be more like Elizabeth than like Diana.
Let her strong suit be serenity rather than thrills.

Let her - of course.. - bring some happiness into your life, dear.
Let her attend to your needs without making a fuss.
And each time you're asked to compare her with your late wife,
Let her receive a B-minus, and me an A-plus.


Bernanke Victimized by Identity Fraud Ring
Exclusive: According to court documents, the Fed chairman and his wife were swindled in 2008 by a skilled team of crooks.
August 25, 2009

If ever there were living proof that identity theft can strike the mighty and powerful as well as hapless consumers, look no further than the nation's chief banker: Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve Board chairman was one of hundreds of victims of an elaborate identity-fraud ring, headed by a convicted scam artist known as "Big Head," that stole more than $2.1 million from unsuspecting consumers and at least 10 financial institutions around the country, according to recently filed court records reviewed by NEWSWEEK

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Ted Kennedy Dies

Senator Ted Kennedy has lost his battle with brain cancer. The Massachusetts senator, known as the "Liberal Lion," was 77. “Edward M. Kennedy—the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply—died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port,” the Kennedy family said in a statement. “We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
Read it at The New York Times

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Lockerbie Quid Pro Quo?

AP Photo
Shady business in Britain: On Friday, Lord Trefgarne, the head of the Libyan British Trade Council, said that the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi opened the way for British oil companies to negotiate multibillion-dollar oil contracts with Libya, which had demanded al-Megrahi’s release in return for access. “Perhaps now, with the final resolution of the Lockerbie affair, as far as the Libyans are concerned, maybe they’ll move a bit more swiftly,” Lord Trefgarne said. Meanwhile, Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi greeted al-Megrahi with a hug, and praised Scotland’s “courageously right and humanitarian decision" to release him.
Read it at The New York Times

Thursday, August 20, 2009

By Langston Hughes

Looks like what drives me crazy
Don't have no effect on you-
But I'm gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy too.

By Alexander Pope

Sir I admit your general rule,
that every poet is a fool :
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

Jonathan Swift, " A satyrical elegy on the death of a late Famous General

And could he be indeed so old
As by the newspapers we're told?
The score I think is pretty high;
'Twas time in conscience he should die
This world he cumber'd long enough
He burnt his candle to the snuff
And that's the reason some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.' (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)
As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs.. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'
Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions.. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'
Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced'. . Wore a tightly tied lace.
Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'
Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important.. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some ale' and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assi stants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'
At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the term 'minding your'P's and Q's '
One more and betting you didn't know this!
In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.
However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled..
Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


No Job? Try China

The U.S. is facing some stiff competition for the title of "the land of opportunity." These days, China is where opportunity knocks, and many recent American graduates are answering the call. China's unemployment rate is at 4.3 percent in urban areas (though this number is disputed) and its economy continues to boom in spite of the global recession. Many American expats arrive in the country with little to no knowledge of the language, The New York Times reports. Instead, their familiarity with Western culture attracts employers. Entrepreneurs from abroad also find China very hospitable. One recent Harvard grad founded an academic consulting firm with just $12,000. Another recent grad, who landed a gig as a program director for a Chinese modern-dance company, explained the benefits of working there: "There is no doubt that China is an awesome place to jump-start your career. Back in the U.S., I would be intern No. 3 at some company or selling tickets at Lincoln Center."

Friday, August 07, 2009

Selections from Shakespeare

False face must hide what the false heart must know. Macbeth.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly. Macbeth conemplating murdeing King Duncan.

Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air:
But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears. Macbeth.

When Lady Macduff was told to flee for her life -
Wither should I fly ?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this eathly world, where to do harm
is often laudable, to good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas,
Do I put up that womanly defense
To say I have done no harm? Lady Macbeth.

Here's the smell of the blood still: All the perfumes of Arabia
Will not sweeten this little hand . Oh..Oh..
Fear not, Macbeth, no man that's born of woman
Shall e'er have power over thee. Macbeth.

Canst thou not minister toa mind deseased
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart? Macbeth.

Doctor: Therein the patient
Must minister to himself. Macbet.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


It wouldn't be funny if it weren't so true... Julie Andrews turned 69 and to commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favourite Things" from the legendary movie "The Sound Of Music." Here are the actual lyrics she used: Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting, Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings, Bundles of magazines tied up in string, These are a few of my favourite things. Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses, Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses, Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings, These are a few of my favourite things.. When the pipes leak, When the bones creak, When the knees go bad, I simply remember my favourite things, And then I don't feel so bad. Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions, No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring, These are a few of my favourite things. Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin', Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin', And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames, When we remember our favourite things. When the joints ache, When the hips break, When the eyes grow dim, Then I remember the great life I've had, And then I don't feel so bad. Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Please share Ms. Andrews' clever wit and humour with others who would appreciate it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Catchy, crispy couplets and quintessential quotes.

Drew Gilpin is 28th president of Harvard.
Her grand mother used to sing:
Iam a good old rebel,
That's what I am,
For this fair land of freedom,
I do not give a damn.

Know nature's children all divided her care;
The fur that warms a monarch, warmed a bear.
Alexander Pope.

As flees to wanton boys are we to the gods
They kill us for their sport.
King Lear.

The smallest worm will turn being trod upon.
King Henry 1V

He jests at scars who never felt a wound.
Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet...Montague and Capulet.

Gilded wombs do worms infold.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose
under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die.
The Preacher of Ecclesiates.

As flees to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.
King Lear.

The smallest worm will urn being trod upon.
King Henry 1V

He jests at scars who never felt a wound.

Gilded wombs do worms infold.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am armed so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as an idle wind,
Which I respect not.

O Cromwell, Cromwell..
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my King, He would not mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
Cardinal Wolsey in Henry V111.

But if the while I think on thee dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.
Shakespeare's sonnet.

When wasteful wars shall statues over turn
And broils root out the work of masonry.

False face must hide what the false heart must know.

Though with patience he stands waiting
With exactness he grinds all.

We lose it not so long as we can smile.

The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase
Even as our days do grow.
Desdemona to Othello.

The cut worm forgives the plough.

If a man should sleep and dream that
he had been in heaven and on waking
find within his hand a flower
as atoken that he had really been there
Ay what then, what then.

Did he smile his work to see
Did he who made the lamb make thee.

What's in a name? That which we call rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet.

From Shakespeare's Othello:
Desdemona had to choose between father ( Brabantino ) and husband to be the dark skinned Moor, Othello.

Come hither, gentle mistress:
Where most you owe obedience?

My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both to learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty,
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
And so mucch duty as my mother show'd
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

Juliet to Romeo:
Good night, Good night, as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast.
Juliet to Romeo:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea
My love is deep; the more I give to thee
The more I have, for both are infinite.
Juliet to Romeo:
Good night, Good night: parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be tomorrow.

The world is a looking glass and gives and gives back to every man ( and woman) the reflection of his own face. Frown at it and it will in turn look sourly upon you Laugh at it and with it and it is a jolly kind companion. And so let all young persons take their choice.

They gather by unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.
Our birth is nothing but our death begun.

From the The Two Gentlemen from Verona:
I knew him myself, from our infancy
We have conversed and spent hours together;
And though myself have been an idle truant
Omitting the sweet benefit of time
He made use and fair advantage of his days
He is complete in feature and in mind
With all good grace to grace a gentleman.

Dryden's tribute to Shakeapeare:
But Shakespeare's magic could not copied be;
Within that circle, none durst walk but he.

King John:
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

Iago in Macbeth
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.