Saturday, November 20, 2010

There Was A Time

I used to know how to use computers to design all sorts of print communication. But I don't understand the process of publishing web sites, not truly, not really. I think it's time to take a class at SSCC.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year

As good a summary of the year as any:

Thanks to Bruce Faber.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Do You Believe About Thanksgiving...?

Our friend Lisa Halliday forwarded this Thanksgiving trivia test. I got one wrong because I thought it was a trick question -- the year I was taught was the first Thanksgiving is, at least according to this quiz -- but some of the others were a little tougher.

The older I get, the more grateful I am for things that I'm surprised make me grateful. Of course there are family and friends, and still being able to pay the mortgage (which is a fixed-rate mortgage, thank you), but even in bad times we can be thankful. For those who have experienced a loss, you will find yourself thankful for your memories. For those who have experienced tough luck, you will find yourself thankful for the smarts and the determination to overcome your problems. And for those who have good luck and wealth, you can be thankful that you have the spirit to share those things with those less fortunate.

Happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Responsbility of A Great Power

I got a forward from my politically conservative cousin about the military with which I agree.

When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address.

If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get!

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington , D.C. 20307-5001

And please, don't forget to pass it on.

I do need to edit. He always chides me because I go to to look up the quotes he forwards that are very conservative politically, but ostensibly from David Letterman, or George Carlin, or Lee Iacocca. I just like to know with whom I'm agreeing (or disagreeing). Otherwise we might as well start sending those forwards as coming from "George W. Bush" in support of opening the border with Mexico or "Rush Limbaugh" favoring the legalization of narcotics.

But, to be serious, just because you think our Commander in Chief made a tactical mistake by invading Iraq doesn't mean that the soldiers and sailors that had to do it should suffer. Yes, they volunteered to join the service, but they had to expect that they'd be fighting in defense of this nation (as they have in Afghanistan), or at least in defense of freedom and human dignity (as they did in the Balkans).

So I did go to, and discovered that Walter Reed does not accept these sorts of messages. However, a Red Cross program called "Holiday Mail for Heroes" will.

The rules:

Please follow these guidelines when mailing a card to ensure that your card will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families. Every card received will first be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working in one of 16 sorting stations around the country.

All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.

Participants are encouraged to limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a larger quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope or postage.

Please ensure that all cards are signed.

Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.

Please send cards as opposed to long letters which delay a quick review process.
Please do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

All cards received may be used in program publicity efforts, including appearing in broadcast, print or online mediums.

Just send your greetings to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility...

In today's e-mail, this forward from the spouse:

From a UK periodical:
Surprising secrets about Barack Obama:
He collects Spider-Man comics.
His favorite TV show is The Wire.
He is a Mac head.
He auditioned for a black pinup calendar while at Harvard and was rejected.

There's not a whole lot wrong with using your power for good, as Spidey's Uncle Ben would say. On the other hand, I hope that the Cabinet meetings don't wind up looking like an Avengers gathering...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Forward This Immediately

An outfit responsible for three-quarters of the world's e-mail spam has been shut down, it was reported today.

Damn. Just when I thought I might need c1al1s.

Am I the only one who assumes that in a Starbucks somewhere near Bora Bora, a group of nutbags is about to fill the vacuum?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ladies And Gentlemen, Contestant Number 8!

You know, one of the e-mail forwards I get in various incarnations from my conservative friends and relations is one that shows how all conservative women are pretty and all liberal women are unattractive.

Aside from the irrelevance of beauty to suitability to run for office, I might also point out that some of the folks who are forwarding these slams against Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bella Abzug for their non-Glamour pusses wouldn't exactly themselves set a teenager's heart aflutter.

That said, there's nothing more fun than noticing that film is available of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's turn in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest. Now I get why the kids like the You Tube.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More of the World Is Unfair

Quelle surprise!

Actually, what amazes me about this clip is that "dowdy Christine" did so poorly. But then again, I've always preferred women with brains first.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We'll Miss You, Robbie

Robbie Greenberger passed away August 14.

He was one of two children, and the only son, of our friends Bob and Debbie Greenberger.

Here are the eulogies from the service, one by Deb, one by her brother, Robbie's Uncle Jim.

In lieu of flowers contributions in Robbie’s memory may be made to The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511-3202 ( For information or to offer an online condolence please visit

I cannot imagine the pain. I've lost my parents, as has my spouse, but nobody can prepare for this.

I hope you will donate to the Tommy Fund, and I hope you will consider marrow donation or at least a monetary donation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Feed the World

Will Harbaugh Channels Bob Geldof

Does anyone know what a Boomtown Rat is anymore? Probably not.

It's what Bob Geldof used to be before he created Live-Aid and asked Michael Jackson to do the last useful thing the King of Pop ever did.

Will Harbaugh, whom I know because of Interlac, sent this link. Since I had just opened one from him about self-CPR that had proven to be a debunked Internet urban legend, I was skeptical, but bore Will out, and gosh darn if taking this uber-vocabulary test doesn't generate funds to feed the hungry.

So have fun. Feel smug as you do the right thing. As for me, though senescent, I am insuperable, so shut your gosport.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pulling for Robbie

Our good friends Bob and Debbie Greenberger have two terrific kids. Katie has just graduated from my alma mater, and Robbie was just beginning college when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

It's been a dramatic, up-and-down, scary year for the Greenbergers, and just recently, Robbie was told that the leukemia had returned.

That sent me running to the National Marrow Donor Foundation to learn about becoming a marrow donor. Unfortunately, it looks like they wouldn't take me, but that doesn't mean that I can't urge you to get yourself registered. The odds that your marrow could help Robbie are small, but, of course, you never know... and even if you can't help Robbie, perhaps you can help someone else, and the person you help might tell his friends to check, and that person's marrow could help Robbie.

Meanwhile, join me in continuing to pull for Robbie... and for anyone who is facing this grim circumstance.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Only George Carlin Would Have the Appropriate Words for This

I'm always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I'm listening to it. -- George Carlin, 1937-2008

When Bobby Fischer had yet to completely flip his lid and was taking Boris Spassky to the woodshed in Reykjavik, my friend Tommy D'Agostino and I were playing a 24-game chess championship for Herschell Street in the Bronx. Tommy was two years younger than me, but already savvy beyond his years, because early on he realized that all he had to do to defeat me was to utter the first few words of one of George Carlin's standup routines. "I was fired from the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas..." he would start, innocently, and before I had finished side one of FM and AM, he would have taken my queen, a rook, and two knights without losing so much as a pawn.

I once described Carlin as my philosopher saint, and I believe that's still as apt a description of his influence on my life as can be assessed. For whatever reason, Carlin's defiance of authority, his love of inappropriate juxtaposition, and his joy at the meaning of and reaction to words clicked with me. It wasn't just because he was saying rude things that Carlin's sense of language made sense to me. It was because he so often zeroed in on exactly how people use language to divide and affront others. He once proposed replacing the word "kill" with the deadliest of the seven deadly words that couldn't be said on television. Those who could not stretch their brains only got offended; they missed wholly that Carlin's point is that it's not words that are the problem, but the emotion behind them. Penn Jellette's Showtime series, Bullshit, interviewed a woman who refused to use any of those seven deadly words, but who had no problem using a different deity's name to take in vain, and didn't understand why "fiddlesticks" wasn't much different than the banned-in-mixed-company-and-by-the-FCC four-letter word beginning with the letter f.

Carlin also zoomed in on hypocrisy. In the 1970s, he made fun of the U.S. strategy of exiting Vietnam "through Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand." He chided the conviction of Muhammad Ali. Ali, he said made money by beating people up, but wouldn't kill them; the government, he then observed, said that if Ali wouldn't kill people, it wouldn't let him beat them up.

In later years, I found myself finding some of his bits less appealing than others. Those bits of his (and any comedian's) concentrating on scatology tended to bore me. But he also refined his wordplay, and those later bits about words were simply amazing.

Many of the reports of his death today mentioned that he was the first host of Saturday Night Live (and also mentioned that he was looped on cocaine). Maybe one of the good things about Carlin's death is that it will finally make NBC realize that SNL has been a television zombie for too many years. (I think Carlin would have gotten that; he also would have said it funnier.)

I am the proud possessor of a set of George Carlin-autographed LPs. It disturbs me that many younger people will file Carlin in that time in history where the spoken word was primarily distributed on vinyl. But we have his books and his CDs and his tapes and his DVDs and his website , and, I'd also imagine, hundreds of thousands of folks like me who carry a little bit of Carlin's brain, his attitude, and his pessimism around every day.