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Week of January 18, 2004

January 22, 2004

No - I haven't disappeared... taking a "vacation" from the updates, as I'm pretty jammed up with job assignments right now.  Standby - who knows - hopefully this weekend we'll get this puppy updated.

thx for your patience.


We wanted the world to learn a little about us - who we are and what we're up to. 

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News of the Week

Sunday, January 4, 2004 (Houston, TX)


OK - so now we're into the first week of the new year.  Has anything changed?  Yes, the calendar and our underwear (mostly) have changed.  What else?  I'd like to know.  Email me. So how did you spend your new year's eve?  Did you party or stay in the safety and security of your home?  Here's what we did.  Debbi and Rebecca spent the day in Manhattan, returning to Deb's sister's house in Westchester to celebrate.  Adam and his sig other, Jamie, partied in Manhattan - not at Times Square, but around town.  Bert spent it taking portrait photos at a party.  Cool party.  I had enough time to drink 1 1/2 beers and a small glass of champagne.  Real busy!!!  Photos turned out well, and it's a neat sideline job.


Of course, the day of Debbi's return to Houston was spent cleaning the house and raking the leaves.  I left a few leaves to give it the "lived in" look.  I didn't want Deb to think I waited until the last minute for everything.  Woops.  The secret's out.


The kids go back to school on January 12, as the house gets back to normal.  Having them around is what makes this house a home - but they need to get on with their lives.  Wow.  I'm suffering from separation anxiety.




From my mom - an oldie but goodie.  I'm not talking about my mom.  Though I'm sure that fits.  I'm talking about the following:


Today's Lesson

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more

5. Expect less

NOW --------  Enough of that stuff already ! . . .

The donkey later came back and bit the shit out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.


When you do something wrong and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.


Another oldie but goodie:


 The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four year old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four year old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.


This week's installment of BAD CAT: Sleeping / Personal Comfort


"If you like it, lie on it" is not a philosophy accepted by humans.


A silk dress is not to be pulled off its hanger and used as a nest


I do not have to sleep in the middle of the bed. The corners are just as comfy.

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From the bizarre side of news:

49-foot dog-eating snake may be world's biggest

Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesian villagers claim to have captured a python that is almost 49 feet long and weighs nearly 990 pounds, a local official said.

If confirmed, it would be the largest snake ever kept in captivity.

Hundreds of people have flocked to see the snake at a primitive zoo in Curugsewu village on the country's main island of Java.

Local government official Rachmat said the reticulated python measured 48 feet 8 inches and weighed in at 983 pounds.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest ever captured snake to be 32 feet. The heaviest -- a Burmese Python kept in Gurnee, Ill. -- weighs 402 pounds, the book said on its Web site.

The Indonesian newspaper Republika said the snake, which was caught last year but only recently put on public display, eats three or four dogs a month.

Reticulated pythons are the world's longest snakes. They are capable of eating animals as large as sheep, and have been known to attack and consume humans.

The species is native to the swamps and jungles of Southeast Asia.

Man trapped for 2 days under pile of books, papers

Associated Press

NEW YORK- A man who says he sells books and magazines on the street was rescued after being trapped for two days under a mountain of reading material in his apartment.

Patrice Moore, 43, had apparently been standing up when the books, catalogs, mail and newspapers swamped him on Saturday. Firefighters and neighbors rescued Moore on Monday afternoon and he was hospitalized in stable condition this morning with leg injuries.

"I didn't think I was gonna get out," Moore told the New York Post, adding that he called for help repeatedly.

His landlord discovered him Monday after coming to the apartment to give Moore a small loan and heard a strange voice inside. The landlord pried the door open with a crowbar, found Moore trapped and alerted the fire department.

The apartment was stuffed from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with stacks of paper.

Emergency workers and neighbors dug through the debris to reach Moore, filling 50 garbage bags with paper. He was freed about a half hour later, said Fire Department spokesman Paul Iannizzotto.

Moore, a former mailroom clerk now receiving public assistance, said he collected books and magazines for more than 10 years and earned money by selling them on the street.

The incident recalled the legendary case of the Collyer brothers, who in 1947 were discovered dead in their house in Harlem after one of them became trapped under a pile of papers and the other died of starvation.

Court rules nude Barbie photos are free speech

Reuters News Service

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Utah artist's right to make nude photos of Barbie dolls being menaced by kitchen appliances.

Noting the image of Barbie dolls is "ripe for social comment," a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected toymaker Mattel Inc.'s appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of lampooning the popular doll.

The San Francisco-based appeals court ruled that naked photos of Barbie made by Kanab, Utah, artist Thomas Forsythe were meant to be a parody and could not affect demand for Mattel products.

Holding that social criticism was protected by the First Amendment, the court affirmed a 2001 federal court ruling for Forsythe, who had produced photos of nude Barbies in danger of being attacked by vintage household appliances.

Mattel had argued the photos infringed on their copyrights and trademarks. Forsythe had used Barbie dolls in absurd and often sexualized positions for his "Food Chain Barbie" photos.

The artist had argued that the photo series, which also included a photo of Barbie dolls wrapped in tortillas and covered in salsa in a casserole dish in a lit oven, was meant to critique the "objectification of women" and "beauty myth" associated with the popular doll.

"Barbie is the most enduring of those products that feed on the insecurities of our beauty and perfection-obsessed consumer culture," Forsythe has said in defending his work. Neither the artist nor a spokesman for Mattel were immediately available for comment on Monday's decision.

Mattel sued the artist in 1999, alleging he had infringed on its copyrights, trademark and trade dress. The court in August 2001 held that Forsythe's use of Barbie was protected by fair use doctrine.

In his opinion, Ninth Circuit Court Judge Harry Pregerson held there is abundant evidence to support that advertising for Barbie uses associations of beauty, wealth and glamour.

"Forsythe turns this image on its head, so to speak, by displaying carefully positioned, nude and sometimes frazzled looking Barbies in often ridiculous and apparently dangerous situations" presenting a different set of associations for the dolls, whose smiles show they are "disturbingly oblivious" to their predicaments, Pregerson wrote.




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Question of the Week


Last Week's Question.  Here's the answer to last week's trivia question:
bulletWhat is a "fruit machine?"

A “fruit machine” is the British term for a slot machine, or “one-armed bandit.”

Here's my question of the week to the readers:

Where aer most of the world's peanuts grown?

Click here to email me your response.

Here's another bit of useless information for you: 



By the end of the 1500s, women preferred to wear their purse pouches under their skirts. (So - is that the reason pick-pocketing started around the same time?)

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Jokes of the Week

The Jewish Grandmother

The children and grand children of an elderly Jewish woman decided to send grandma on a cruise.

Grandma boarded the ship and showed her ticket to the purser. He looked at it and said, "Oh, I see you have U.D."

She replied, "U.D.? Voos is U.D.? He said, "U.D. is Upper Deck."

She then went to the upper deck and showed her ticket to the purser there and he said, I see, that in addition to U.D., you also have O.C."

Grandma replied, "O.C.? Voos is O.C.?" The purser said, "O.C. is Outside Cabin."

Grandma, needless to say, was delighted. She then showed her ticket to the cabin boy and he said, "Oh, I see that you also have B.I.B."

"B.I.B.? Voos is B.I.B.?" asked grandma. The cabin boy answered, "B.I.B. is Breakfast In Bed."

"Oh" she said; Mine children and grandchildren are vonderful."

Well, the next morning, bright and early, the staff came right into her room with trays of food for her breakfast in bed and she said, "F.U.C.K."

Shocked, they said, "F.U.C.K? What do you mean F.U.C.K.?", to which she replied, "Yes, F.U.C.K. Foist U Could Knock."

More Jewish Humor

1. The Harvard School of Medicine did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that this is due to the fact that Won Ton spelled backward is Not Now.

2. There is a big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins. In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school.

3. Q: Why don't Jewish mothers drink?
A: Alcohol interferes with their suffering.

4. Q: Have you seen the newest Jewish-American-Princess horror movie?
A: It's called "Debbie Does Dishes."

5. Q: Why do Jewish mothers make great parole officers?
A: They never let anyone finish a sentence.

6. Q: Where do Jewish women turn to pray?
A: Facing Bloomingdale's.

7. When the doctor called Mrs. Liebenbaum to tell her that her check came back, she replied, "So did my arthritis."

8. A man called his mother in Florida, "Mom, how are you?" "Not too good," said the mother. "I've been very weak." The son said, "Why are you so weak?" She said, "Because I haven't eaten in 38 days." The son said, "That's terrible. Why haven't you eaten in 38 days?" The mother answered, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

9. A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he's been given a part in the school play. "Wonderful. What part is it?" The boy says, "I play the part of the Jewish husband." The mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part."

10. Q: Where does a Jewish husband hide money from his wife?
A: Under the vacuum cleaner.

11. Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: (Sigh) Don't bother. I'll sit in the dark. I don't want to be a nuisance to

12. Short summary of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat.

13. Did you hear about the bum who walked up to a Jewish mother on the
street and said, "Lady I haven't eaten in three days." "Force yourself," she replied.

14. Q: What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother?
A: Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go.

15. Jewish telegram: "Begin worrying. Details to follow."

Ahhhh, Hillary

Hillary Clinton goes to a primary school in New York to talk about the world. After her talk she offers question time.

One little boy puts up his hand, and the Senator asks him what his name is. "Kenneth." "And what is your question, Kenneth?"

"I have three questions: First - whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second - why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? And third - whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House?"

Just then the bell rings for recess. Hillary Clinton informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess. When they resume Hillary says, "Okay where were we? Oh, that's right, question time. Who has a question?"

A different little boy puts his hand up; Hillary points him out and asks him what his name is. "Larry." "And what is your question?"

"I have five questions: First - whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second - why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? Third - whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House? Fourth - why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? And fifth - what happened to Kenneth?"

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Pictures of the Week

Click on the "thumbnail" versions of the photos to enlarge them... For those with dial-up, have patience...

Happy New Year:

More Rejected Hallmark Cards:


Who's Your Daddy?



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Where's Pox?

On January 4, 1982 Bryant Gumbel became co-host of NBC's "Today Show"

My dad, Spotsalot, was the "fill-in" weatherman. 

Eventually Al Roker took his place, but for a few days in January, 1982, viewers worldwide saw one helluva dog fight between Gumbel and my dad.

See, Bryant liked the stardom, and thought that by joining The Today Show, he'd get all the visibility he'd ever need.  It turned out that Spotsalot innocently drew the cameras, fans and letters due to his humor and charm.  Bryant wouldn't stand for it, and in a letter written by Gumbel to NBC brass suggesting changes in "Today" that fell into the hands of the consumer press, Gumbel suggested that Spotsalot was not up to snuff for a news show which wanted to be taken seriously.

Gumbel's criticisms of Spotsalot were not intended for public consumption, but when they did become public, after several tense days, he apologized to Spotsalot.  My dad wouldn't stand for it, and quit in the middle of the show.  Of course as he left, with cameras on, he lifted his leg and peed on Bryant Gumbel.

Here's a pic of them taking a break outside studio 1A, before the very first show:

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Thought of the Week

Here's this week's "unschmaltzy" thought:

"Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful."
- Malcolm Forbes

Next from The Daily Motivator:


Generously positive

The things to which you pay the most attention will resonate within yourself. Whatever you truly appreciate, you will surely become.

The more you appreciate the beauty in the world, in the people around you, and in life, the more truly beautiful you will be. When you value integrity in others, you cannot help but increase the integrity of your own thoughts and actions.

Do you ever react to the good fortune of others with envy and resentment? Such an attitude will poison your own possibilities.

Instead, let yourself genuinely admire the discipline, effort and commitment that go into creating an impressive accomplishment. Then you will share in the richness of that accomplishment by building within yourself the values that make such things possible.

Thinking positively brings you nothing of value if you are selfishly positive. It is by being generously positive that your thoughts can lead to a brighter future, for yourself and for the world around you.

Let yourself see the positive in all things and in all people. The goodness and richness you sincerely appreciate will be yours too.

-- Ralph Marston

If you have a thought you'd like to share, send it to me, and I'll post it on our site!  Click here to send me your thought.

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Until next week - 

Thanks, and enjoy the week, doing whatever makes you happy!

See ya!