Monday, January 30, 2023

Hear ye! Hear ye! Tweets of the Month!

• In my on-going efforts to test the boundaries of the so-called "No Judgement Zone," I'll today show up to exercise at the Planet Fitness wearing just my Speedo.

• For better or worse, I fear the way we become acquainted continues to coarsen. We used to withhold judgement. Now we scour the internet for failings. We used to wait to get to know you better. Now, we're in a hurry to know you worse.

• Yes, I'm becoming more sentimental about the past. I don't apologize. I'd rather have my memories than your bucket list. There's too much focus on what's next, not enough on what is or what was. I pity those who remember only the future.

• Every human body ought to come with its own automatic sound machine that plays white noise/ocean sounds/etc to cover the inadvertent moans, clicks, pops, farts, etc. an aging human body makes when it attempts to accomplish something athletic -- like rising from a chair.

• I predict within 2 years smart phone technology will be able to forecast within a degree or two the weather we'll have right up until the day we die. Then it'll get really interesting when smart phone technology will within a day or two predict the day we do die.

• On-line daters should be wary of suitors who claim to be puppeteers whose interests include kites, yoyos, light bondage and then declare they’re seeking a relationship with no strings attached.

• I wonder how much time Mick Jagger spends looking in the mirror and being amazed he still looks exactly like Mick Jagger.

• You can convert a home. You invert a fraction. You can subvert a good idea. You can transvert a landscape, and you can pervert an innocence wholesome and pure. Question: How come I’ve never seen, felt, heard, smelled or been invited to enjoy an illicit little vert. What is a vert? It can do so much yet it remains to me cloaked in mystery. Its humility may nevert be surpassed.

• Referring to men & women whose exercise goal is to strip their frames of any excess weight as body "builders" is fraudulent. They're not body builders. Now, me, I've spent the last few years adding enough closet space to my posterior it's surprising the township's not after me to staple a permit to my ass. Now, THAT's body building

• That catbird means an advantageous position matters far less to me than the potential hybrid that results the day we mingle their DNA. Do you want as a house pet a cat that can fly or a bird that snoozes the day away cozied up on your lap? I'd go with the flying feline. And while we're at it, what would the titmouse look like if it looked like its component names?

• This is the time of year when I always begin to wonder if the nation of Turkey has a national bird. Could it be that obvious? Of course I'm the same guy who thinks a 3rd world African nation must have great take-out food just because the country's name is TO-GO.

• News that Buffalo is getting walloped with 5-feet of snow has me thinking that Buffalo should be renamed Uninhabitable. Even buffalo can't live in Buffalo. 

• I know to some patriots the charge itself is practically seditious, but the Founding Fathers got it all wrong when they called the place where the legislative branch does business the "House of Representatives." It would make more sense to call it, "The Big Room of Morally Shady Mostly White Men Whose Positions Bend According to the Latest Campaign Contributions.”

• ”These kids today do nothing all day but stare at their stupid phones," say in unison the cranky old men who do nothing all day but stare at Fox News.


• Doctor suggests I not drink my Wild Turkey straight, so I now drink bourbon & water. I drink water from 7 am to 5 pm. I drink bourbon from 5:01 to 10 pm.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

From 2004: "Joe Hardy: The Billionaire who's Bound to Die Broke"

Pittsburgh Magazine in 2004 asked to write a cover story about Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Flawed and controversial, I remember him as one of my favorite interviews ever. He died yesterday, his 100th birthday.

Joe Hardy: The Billionaire Who's Bound to Die Broke
Pittsburgh Magazine
By Chris Rodell

It's become fashionable for cheeky reporters to ambush aging celebrities with impudent questions about their Viagra usage. Recent targets include Larry King (yes); Englebert Humperdink (yes); Walter Cronkite (no comment); and Hugh Hefner (take a wild guess). When a Golf Magazine reporter put the question to the venerable Arnold Palmer (no), outraged readers responded with angry letters. So, no, Joe Hardy, casually dressed in gold shorts and a blue 84 Lumber Pennsylvania Classic sports shirt, will not be subjected to such intimate questioning. It would be unseemly to ask the founder of 84 Lumber, right now slouched so luxuriously in a plush leather chair he looks as if he might magically morph into a spare cushion, if he does or does not use Viagra.

Especially when there is abundant biological evidence that Joe Hardy is Viagra.

It's true. Pulses race when Hardy enters a room. Palms begin to sweat. Limp, slouching postures improve. Men become more, and there's no better word for it, erect. Same goes for the gals.

"He has an undeniable presence," says Uniontown businessman Steve Neubauer. "The man has charisma that just lights up a room. People are drawn to him."

That's what happens when a gregarious 81-year-old billionaire loudly and publicly announces he is on a mission to die broke. "Absolutely," he says. "I do want to die broke. For the remainder of my life, I want to enjoy and participate in the giving of money to help improve people's lives."

It's true, you can't take it with you. In Hardy's case, that's heaven's loss. He's is in the mahogany paneled Cigar Bar off the opulent lobby at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Farmington. He looks so expansively relaxed there's a concern he might slide off the leather and contentedly answer questions in a supine position. While the rest of his body is in serene repose, he has the animated face and dancing eyebrows of a mad scientist and, in a way, that's exactly what he is. Who but a mad scientist could turn lumber into gold? He began conducting that lucrative alchemy in 1952 when he opted out of the successful family jewelry business to found the colossal building supply company that in 2003 did about $2.5 billion in sales.

He is larger than life, larger even than the comparatively svelte statue of himself that looks out over the 2,500 idyllic acres of Fayette County he began buying in 1987 when he purchased the old Rockwell estate and 400 acres in 1986 for $3.1 million. Today, Nemacolin is one of America's premier resort destinations, annually serving more than 300,000 guests spending $50 million each year. Travel + Leisure listed it in its World Best awards, and this month Joe and his daughter and protege Maggie Hardy Magerko unveiled Falling Rock, a 42-room, $55 million lodge that surpasses even the resort's ultra-posh Chateau LaFayette. Room-per-elegant-room, it is among the most expensive hotels ever built in North America and Hardy is determined it be regarded as among the finest.

"This will be our crown jewel," he says.

It is the latest bauble in a string of jaw-dropping extravagances that include the magisterial Woodlands Spa; a shooting academy; an equestrian center; a 20-mile Hummer driving experience course; an adventure center that features paintball, rock climbing, archery and a mid-air obstacle rope course; a ski center; and since 1995, Mystic Rock, the Pete Dye golf course that is the site of the P.G.A.'s 84 Lumber Pennsylvania Classic on September 20-26.

"Some people come back once a year just to see what else the jackass has done," Hardy says.

And the jackass has been doing plenty. It's been seven months since the GOP candidate was sworn in as a full-time Fayette County Commissioner, a $40,173-a-year job he spent $566,000 to win -- ("At least," he says, "people know I'm not in it to steal!") -- and he has been spending time and his fortune lavishing Fayette, one of Pennsylvania's poorest counties, and downtown Uniontown with ideas, cheer and in excess of $5 million from his own pocket. He's given money to improve store fronts, he's donated property-brightening works of art, and he's looking to purchase nuisance bars just so he can serve up a truly last call for troublesome taverns. He's taken squads of public servants and concerned citizens around the country on his Lear jet to learn first-hand what other progressive communities are doing to succeed. He's doing it all without any apparent selfish motivation. "I want to help people," he says simply.

Still, some still believe Hardy is a Kanamit masquerading as a Republican. Fans of the "Twilight Zone" will remember Kanamits as the bulb-headed aliens who landed their flying saucers in the United Nations parking lot and emerged with promises to end all earthly conflict and hunger. Like Hardy, the Kanamits contended they'd arrived out of the blue simply "To Serve Man," the deciphered title of a popular Kanamitian book. But the true horror of their mission was revealed when "To Serve Man" was translated to be, yikes, a cookbook.

There is no evidence that Hardy is out to consume any plump, tender Fayette County residents and none, colleagues say, that he is anything but whole-heartedly altruistic. Maybe that's what, sadly, makes him such an extra-terrestrial sort of curiosity. We're not used to seeing someone with the means and the ambitious will to help improve the lives of his fellow man, although it shouldn't be an alien situation to Fayette Countians familiar with the generous legacy of the late philanthropist Robert Eberly Sr., a man Hardy cites as an inspirational mentor. When Eberly, 85, died in May, Hardy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the reason he ran for office "was to put in place some of the things (Eberly) dreamed of."

Minority Democratic commission colleague Vincent Vicites says he thinks Hardy "has the very best of intentions. In part directly because of Joe Hardy, I see a real difference in attitude. A feeling of pride is coming back to Fayette County. He thinks no goal is unattainable and that kind of positive attitude by a man who has achieved so much is infectious."

Still, there is lingering suspicion among hardcore cynics like plumber James Zahron, a frequent critic on the letters-to-the-editor pages of the Uniontown Herald-Standard. "Joe Hardy's not helping anyone but himself," Zahron says. "Everything he's doing is for his own personal benefit. He's got the power, the money and he wants to show everyone he can do whatever he wants. He's a very arrogant man."

Herald-Standard managing editor Mark O'Keefe says the newspaper, too, was professionally skeptical of Hardy's unexpected run for office. "A lot of people in town were questioning his motives," O'Keefe says. "No one could understand why a man of his age and lifestyle would want to get involved in local politics. He said he wants to give back to the community and there's been no indication of any ulterior motive to the contrary. And the man has a way of winning people over. People are very excited that he does seem to be committed."

But even organizations that should be unabashed Hardy boosters seem conflicted by the billionaire's presence -- and presents. When Pittsburgh Magazine contacted the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce to ask them some softball questions about Hardy's impact on the community, an awkward silence ensued from a building that thrills to knock softball questions over the fences. Uncomfortable seconds passed before an almost rehearsed statement came haltingly through the telephone ear piece: "We have to treat all our members equally. There will be no one available for comment on this matter. Goodbye." Click.

Huh? It's like Indiana becoming mum about Jimmy Stewart. Not talk about Joe Hardy? Love him or hate him, he celebrates life with a gusto that should never result in speechlessness. He self-deprecatingly counsels remaining skeptics to "be practical . . . Gee, maybe you won't have an idiot like me come around for another 50 years. Take advantage of it."

It's common sense from an uncommon man, someone who once called a local reporter to thank him for comparing him in print to Jed Clampett. A son of Joseph and Kathryn Hardy, Hardy is the result of what he calls his jeweler father's "genteel pseudo-aristocracy" and his domineering mother's plain-spoken drive. "She was born on the wrong side of the tracks and had something to prove and she was going to prove it through her sons. If I was hanging around with someone she didn't like, she'd say, 'Why are you spending time with someone like that? You're someone special. You're going to amount to something.' Boy, she was tough."

In the early 1950s, Hardy was the most productive of 50 salespersons for Hardy & Hayes, the Tiffany's of Pittsburgh. The business had been founded by his paternal grandfather (his maternal grandfather was a union bricklayer, and the sympathetic mix, he says, has helped him throughout life relate to both the rowdy and the refined).

But he was dissatisfied working for someone else, even family, and at the suggestion of boyhood friend Ed Ryan of Ryan Homes, Hardy and his two brothers, Norman and Bob, ventured into the materials supply business and in 1952 opening Green Hills Lumber in McMurray. Four years later the trio purchased a tract of land in the tiny Washington County town of Eighty-Four. Hardy liked the sound of the name and, thus, 84 Lumber was born.

During this time, he was still working zestfully and maniacally to please his mother, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing -- sometimes doing both on spectacular levels.

"I remember this one time I was going to a store opening in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I asked her if she wanted to go. She said, 'Can you give me 15 minutes?' What a gal! I'd just bought this new Mustang and she didn't like it. Thought it was too flashy. But she got in and we drove out there and I worked my tail off from Monday through Saturday. I was just shot. I said, 'Mom, I gotta have a couple of beers.' We were driving home through Ohio and I got pulled over. Next thing I know, they take us both to jail. She's in one cell and I'm in the other and I spent the whole night listening to her, 'I told you you never should have bought that Muskrat!'"

Hardy made headlines when he was arrested June 1, 2001, at 12:33 a.m. after Rostraver Township Police observed his vehicle veer off the road. His blood-alcohol level was .14 when the legal limit was .10. Court observers recall he was so dapperly dressed that, had he been wearing a monocle, he would have been a dead ringer for the Monopoly Man. He agreed to participate in the state's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, serve one-year's probation, a 30-day suspension of his driver's license, undergo an 18-hour highway safety driving program and pay $1,027 in court costs, fines and restitution. He'd been driving an $89,500 Mercedes-Benz SL-500, a luxurious vehicle every bit as conspicuous as a ragtop Muskrat.

It will be his mother he says he'll be thinking about at the unveiling of Falling Rock. The ceremonies will bring a host of fresh gushing from travel magazines that sell readers worldwide on the splendid joys of Nemacolin, a place many native Pittsburghers still seem to bestow with an Oz-like mystique.

"There are still a lot of people in Pittsburgh who still don't know much about Nemacolin," says resort spokesman Jeff Nobers. "Many people think it's just a spa. Or they think it's just golf. Or that it's a place that you have to be an overnight guest of to enjoy when that's not true. This is a spectacular place to come for just a day to enjoy a fine meal, one of the activities, or just walk around. People need to know what a wonderful recreational asset this is for western Pennsylvania."

The only thing better than visiting Nemacolin is taking someone who's never been. There are centuries-old European palaces that aren't the elegant equivalent of the main lobby of the Chateau Lafayette. Nine splendid chandeliers illuminate plushly upholstered furniture, fine works of art, and tasseled curtains hanging inside beveled floor-to-ceiling windows. A winding hallway takes guests past Lautrec, past more spotlit works of art by internationally renown artists, and eventually to the Heritage Court boutique shopping area. In between is the Golden Trout Restaurant, nearly one dozen dining halls, meeting areas and tiny, open serenity rooms with Tiffany lamps, fish-filled fountains, checkerboards, sprawling plants and inviting chairs and sofas.

Beyond the Heritage Court, just a short stroll from the modern-day Mr. Clampett's cee-ment pond with its swim-up bar (Paradise Pool) is the world's largest free-standing indoor aquarium. At the bottom is a solid gold bar that looks ample enough to make a nice down payment on a professional sports franchise. So why doesn't Hardy liberate the pirate's treasure and spend it on some other Pirates that baseball fans are aching to treasure?

"Oh, no, I'm not interested," he says. "The Penguins either. If anything, I'd buy the Steelers. But I'm busy enough without a professional sports franchise to look after."

Besides being busy with Nemacolin and Fayette County, Hardy devotes an hour of each day calling friends and acquaintances around the world to wish them happy birthday, happy anniversary or simply to chat. He's a great-grandfather who just a few years ago was changing the diapers of his own children. He and the late Dorothy Pierce Hardy raised five children and enjoyed a 50-year-marriage when Joe Hardy initiated a process that in July 1995 landed the old lumber salesman on the pages of the nation's scandal sheets right beside the celebrity doings of Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and other Hollywood luminaries.

He left his wife and took up with Debbie Maley, a coal miner's daughter and a 19-year-old secretary at the original 84 Lumber store when she and Hardy met. She was six years younger than Joe and Dorothy Hardys's youngest child.

"Angry Wife Refuses Tycoon's $200 Million Divorce Offer -- She Wants More Because He Left Her For a Younger Woman," screamed the National Enquirer. The tabloid reported that the then 24-year-old Maley was pregnant with Hardy's child and that an outraged Dorothy was going to make him pay. Locals joked that -- "Timmberrr!!!" -- 84 Lumber was going to be re-named 42 Lumber. Terms of the 1997 divorce were never disclosed.

"Dorothy was a lovely person," he says of his first wife, who died in December 2002 at the age of 79. "She was normal. She wanted a normal life. I'd be here and she'd be in Florida and I'd say, 'I'm so lonely,' and she'd say, 'You know where I am.' She was a lovely person. She raised five great kids. I was the cracked one. I'm still the raging bull that has to keep moving."

He kept moving past his second wife, too. The pair split in 2001 in a divorce that appears more amicable than many rocky marriages. It was a smiling and bejeweled Debbie, today 32, on his arm June 26 during the 14th annual Royal Reception, and Hardy dotes on Paige, 9, and Taylor, 8, two children who, incidentally, were conceived several years before Bob Dole showed up in television ads touting Viagra.

Some have said his efforts as commissioner and his philanthropy only serve to pave the way for him to raise the profile and profits of Nemacolin, an argument that can best be dismissed with a Socratic "So what?"

Nemacolin pays millions in property taxes and employs 1,000 Fayette County taxpayers as Hummer driving instructors, wine stewards, butlers and masseurs, many of whom are sons and daughters of retired coal miners who thrill that their descendants can earn their comparatively soft livings with horizon-expanding opportunities in such palatial environs.

Hardy says one of the best things you can teach a child is to enjoy their work. It's a maxim he's apparently applied to his employees. A fun game to play at Nemacolin is to simply ask any employee, "What's your best Joe Hardy story?" The responses are amusing and uniformly affectionate, and often include sidebar praise for Maggie, who shares her father's gift of having both the Midas and the common touch.

Commissioner Vicites dismisses as ludicrous any criticism that a thriving Nemacolin means only good things for Joe Hardy. "Nemacolin is a tremendous asset for Fayette County that keeps getting better and better."

Vicites points out that Fayette County is the only contiguous western Pennsylvania county without a direct major highway linking it to Pittsburgh. When the Mon-Fayette Expressway is completed, places like Uniontown will become bedroom communities in one of the most scenic counties in the state, one with abundant recreational activities that more affluent counties could never hope to duplicate. "Fayette County has tremendous potential," Vicites says, "and that potential could soon be realized."

Steve Neubauer, 43, has owned the melodically sounding Neubauer's Flowers at 3 Gallatin Avenue in Uniontown for 22 years. He's seen Uniontown take a growth cycle not unlike a rare perennial. It appeared on the verge of death, but now seems about to blossom after a long period of dormancy.

"The joke in town is that you'd better not stand still too long on Main Street or you're going to get sand-blasted or power-washed," Neubauer says. In that same period of time, he's seen his fragrant business grow, ironically, like a weed. In 1982, he employed six people. Today, he signs paychecks for 60. He's been Nemacolin's house florist since 1998 and he's the man Hardy comes to see when he wants to fertilize Uniontown with some of his own greenery.

"He called one cold Saturday in January and asked if I could take a drive with him," Neubauer recalls. "I said sure. We were driving around town looking at the store fronts and he says, 'How would you like to help me spend $1 million?' My first thought was he'd picked up the wrong guy. But his platform for county commissioner was to clean up and revitalize downtown Uniontown and he's serious about it. I think Joe Hardy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us. It's a very, very exciting time."

The bronze statue of Joe Hardy overlooking Nemacolin has "Nothing Is Impossible" in relief on its base. The likeness succeeds in capturing his sweeping optimism, his exuberant warmth and the Pied Piper pull of an American dreamer whose largesse and life will inspire long after he's gone. It fails only in its slim attempt to capture the man's generous dimensions.

Hardy laughs at the discrepancy. "Yeah, the statue looks like a 200-pound man I ought to be. I'm up to about 260."

Sure, no one's going to live forever, but if anyone ever does you might want to wager it'll be Joe Hardy. He's serene when seated, but when he's conducting a tour of Falling Rock he exudes so much bubbly charm and vigor you wonder if his blood is carbonated. The Mt. Lebanon High School lineman, class of 1941, races up four flights of stairs without limp or complaint. Can he live forever?

"I tell ya, I really hope to live to be 84," he grins in anticipation. "Boy, that's going to be a party. What fun we're going to have fun with that."

Joe Hardy, whose resort uses Fernando Bertolo's "Fat Bird" as its charming and chubby logo, has become the rarest of birds himself: he's a billionaire you can root for, a self-made man who earned a spectacular fortune in 2-by-4s but somehow escaped ever becoming chairman of the bored.

You want him to live to be 84 just so you can hear about the audacious party Hardy. You want him to spend his millions enriching the lives and dreams of people who want to believe someone like Hardy is in their corner, even as one palm-up hand is extended while the other is scratching their befuddled heads. You want him to earn another fortune and then sit back and watch him blow it all in six giddy months. You want him to live past 100 and father triplets to supermodels at the age of 104.

Sure, you can still resent that you're comparatively poor, but if someone has to be fabulously wealthy, rejoice, by God, that it is Joe Hardy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Me on lesbians


(792 words)

Our daughters’ reactions to my provocation were so visceral, so instantaneous, and so homicidal I remember being glad the girls don’t pack heat.

We’d just finished watching some pleasant-looking young lady, a talent show contestant, belt out a rousing rendition of some pop ditty with which I am unfamiliar and we began to opine.

“Nailed it,” said the 16-year-old.

“Her best yet,” the 22-year-old said.

Now it was my turn. “She sings pretty good …”

“For a lesbian.”


I detonated a verbal nuclear weapon and they reacted accordingly. For one shining instant, they wanted to kill me. My sin was that egregious.

Now, I have no earthly idea what the gal’s sexual orientation is and from what I know it would have nothing to do with whether or not she can carry a tune.

I’m aware of this. But my daughters are both woke, forever vigilant about confronting any perceived slight or social injustice.

I couldn’t be more proud. It’s how we raised them to be.

See, I’m woke, too.

When asked, I confess to being a knee-jerk liberal whose knee jerks most liberally when it’s in the vicinity of a conservative’s crotch. Been that way since the Clinton impeachment trial when the rabid right tried to criminalize what to me were salacious naughty-naughts between consenting adults — and wouldn’t Consenting Adults be a great name for a punk band. 

As I gain age and experience I wonder if I’m more of a devil’s advocate than a true liberal. I often argue on behalf of the less popular position.

That’s how I became the most conservative voice in our house. I want our daughters to know they will be confronted with hateful and bigoted opinions. They need to be prepared to deal with it.

Thus, my lesbian provocation.

So who cares if she is a lesbian?

Well, I do.

I believe my generation of heterosexual males is the last one that will indulge in juvenile titillation over lesbians and words like titillate.

I’ve been succumbing to these feelings because of Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentín. You might know them as Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico.

Varela and Valentine — I wonder if they met in home room — are truly two of the hottest women on the planet. Seeing them reminds me of a line I once years ago heard some rascal say about young Brad Pitt:

“Everyone in the planet either wants to be in his pants or in his shoes.”

The beauty queens met in 2020 and after a clandestine romance became wife and wife just last year.

Yes, they’re lesbians. And I can’t get enough of them. 

I usually start my day browsing their Instagrams. Here they are making out on the beach. Here’s the pair sitting on Santa’s lap. That’s them draped all over one another beneath a tropical waterfall.

Why I don’t extend even a bit of this erotic interest in male lovers I don’t know.

I’m a huge Elton John fan. I love his music, his attitude and everything he stands for. Yet I’ve never once entertained erotic thoughts about how he and same sex hubby David Furnish enjoy their domestic jollies,

I guess in that way, I’m like amateur sociologist Reg Dunlap.

Fans of the 1977 movie “Slap Shot” might know him better as the head coach of the Charleston Chiefs, as played by the peerless Paul Newman.

In it, Dunlap is in bed with the topless Suzanne Hanrahan, wife of hated rival “Hanrahan” (the character has just one name). His wife is played by Melinda Dillon, who just six years later would play the role of Ralphie’s mom in the heirloom holiday favorite, “A Christmas Story,” a circumstance that I yearly use to demolish the homespun vibe by announcing “I’ve seen her naked” every time she appears on screen.

In “Slapshot,” she tells Reg how she and another lonely woman became partial  lesbians. I say partial because she was at that moment screwing Reg.

She asks Reg if he ever harbored any romantic thoughts toward the fellas.

Dunlap says: “No. But I don't blame you though Suzanne, I mean, well see, women's bodies are beautiful. But men's bodies, see I see 'em everywhere you know, in the locker rooms, their cocks all over the place and everything…

“At the end of the day I think about women. You know, I think about women's bodies. Now maybe all that'll change, maybe I'll end up sleeping with old goalies. I mean, things bein' what they are, who knows?”

Who knows, indeed. 

And that’s me on lesbians, rhetorically speaking, of course.

We live and let live, we consenting adults, we do.

Like my daughters, I remain proudly woke.

I just every once in a while like to hit the snooze alarm.

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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Hooray! Best Tweets of '22!


The picture above depicts exactly how I imagine these being consumed/read by you and your loved ones, You take turns reading all 161 outloud with the rest of the listening family roars with laughter.

It's really presumptuous of me thinking anyone would want to read ANY of them.

But if you want to browse, I put my favorites in bold. I set out to do a top 20, but I began to even bore myself and stopped at about a dozen.

Happy New Year!

• We used to snobbishly brag how we never watched TV. Now we speak almost exclusively in movie reviews.

• A friend just posted she and a buddy have been stuck in I-95 gridlock for 3 hours. Haven't moved an inch. I said it'll be tolerable until one or the other begins to consider the Donner Party option. Question: If you had to resort to cannibalism, would you rather consume a chum or someone you despised? Would you prepare the meal differently?

• Mallberg ahoy! I always thought the perfect crime would be to become a contract snow removal guy and then the day of the first big snow getting drunk with an adversary in his or her car. Then you entomb the vehicle in the mallberg snow with the passed out victim inside. Crime would go undetected 'til the April thaw. It's a very Edgar Allen Poe sort-of crime. And, yes, I realize I should not suggest scot-free crimes against willing drunks in a forum where my wife could see them, but the idea is too strong to conceal like, say, a car deep in a random mallberg.

• I can forgive "tea" with its two additional letters because they differentiate it from "tee." But I become furious any time logic demands I type "queue" with its FOUR useless letters for a word that sounds like Q. My advice: just use line instead. That's your Q-tip for the day.

• “Ozark” is a Netflix story about a couple whose ambition is to make money by perpetuating evil. A story about couples whose ambition is to make offspring to perpetuate the species is “Noahzark”

• I wonder if at the end of our lives as time runs out how much we'd give to have back all the time we wasted hoping some unpleasantness would end. What would we trade for all those hours we spent watching the clock, hoping a dreary class or day at work would finally end. I imagine it's a very poignant regret for many. Not me. And nothing will get me to sit through "The Irishman" again. 

• I’m unfamiliar with the procedure, whether it involves either a seamstress or an exorcist, but I have to imagine when one "darns" a sock one is condemning the sock's soul to heck.                                            

• Anytime I hear someone in charge say it's time to "re-think" a misguided decision, I automatically assume zero actual thought went into the original decision.

• Being a scholarly rabbit must be one of nature's most frustrating circumstances. Even your very best ideas are dismissed as hare-brained.

• Nutritionists ought to have a term for the unnecessary fats we foolishly add to our diets when we kill off the last slice of pizza so we can’t eat it later and the term ought to be “kamikaze calories.”

• Peter Dinklage is a terrific actor and I've heard him speak movingly about the challenges prejudices adults of his stature must endure. It is wrong for me to say I empathize yet still wonder if he gets upset when a prominent director calls and says he's on their short list. 

• Reuters scare headline: "White House warns Russia could hit chip industry." Now, I normally stay out of current affairs, but this is one threat I cannot ignore. This is my open letter to Putin from me : You can close our embassies, embargo our trade, but if you think you can get the U.S. of A. to back down by signaling your intent to menace our bowls of Lay's, Pringles, Utz, etc. -- you're right! Uncle! Uncle! We'd rather you mess with our computers than our chips. At least wait until halftime is over …

• The time management experts may argue the point, but killing two birds with one stone must be considered an act of fowl play. 

• We live in a time many prepper parents teach kids how to kill, and how to look out for #1 for when the world goes to Hell. They fail to realize that if it wasn’t for parents teaching children to love, share, be kind, and work together Hell would already be here.

• Calling any film about statues a motion picture is blatant fraud.

• From my purely second-hand knowledge of the tawdry endeavor, the originator of the term “one-night stand” must have had a very unsatisfying experience. A really good one-night stand should involve very little standing. And it should include brunch and most restaurants don’t start brunch ’til 10 a.m. so toss the one-night part, too. 

• The war isn't even a day old and my naiveté has already emerged. The first big headline of the war is, "Russians Take Chernobyl After Fierce Fight." They're fighting over Chernobyl? It's the most radioactive place on the planet. It's like Columbus and Cincinnati fighting over Dayton. Why bother?

• I’m convinced the timeworn military maxim about generals always fighting the last war is dead wrong. There'll never be a "last" war.

• It must be challenging being married to a periscope. Nothing but mood swings. It's either up or it's down.

• I turn 59 today. I think it's time to begin lying about my age. Not to seem younger. No, I'm thinking of telling people I'm 76. That way people will marvel how great I look for my age, that retirement agrees with me & how never seeing me work the last 15 yrs now somehow makes sense.

• In honor of the preposterous NFL Super Bowl custom, it's once again time to share our  phone numbers in Roman numerals. Mine’s DCCXXIV CMLXI MMDLVIII. Call me!

• If I ever have any success, I'm convinced it'll be because I enjoy strong grassroots support. Yet I can't help but wonder how much of my grassroots support comes from people who connect supporting me to supporting a guy who has a principled reluctance to ever mowing his lawn.

• The only thing that could make curling more oddly compelling is if were contested on a deep lake atop thin ice.

• It may never come up but if it one day does, I'm sure you'll be grateful: The plural of yeti is yeti, although yetis is acceptable.

• I once strenuously exercised in pursuit of what are known as "six-pack abs." Years later, here I am with a nice, round, beer belly I'm comfortable calling "my keg abs." I guess I realized I've never been anywhere where the dude who brings a six-pack is more popular than the man who brings the keg.

• We just spent $10 billion to send the James Webb telescope 1 million miles away from Earth so it could see the stars. I realize that the observation will risk me being labeled a near-sighted old fogey but, consarnit, I can remember when I could see the stars from my back porch. #lightpollution

• Val was rattled this week after seeing a picture of her late mother from when she was 4 years younger than Val is today. Her mother appeared much older. Told Val she shouldn't be surprised. She works very hard at eating right and remaining fit, has a natural beauty and, in fact, looks better today than the day we met. And if I saw her in a bar today, there'd be only one thing that would prevent me from hitting on her. What's that? I'm a happily married man.

• It should come as no surprise but, given our sedentary natures, most standstills have become sit stills.

• The exclamation point is to punctuation what the erection is to the male ego. The more you expose it, the more likely it begins to bore those it was intended to thrill.

• Told the kids one of the best ways to get ahead is to ignore the advice of mediocre adults. They pretended not to hear me ... I know. I have only myself to blame.

• To my everlasting shame, I remember in my surly youth seeing an old man limping in front of me, impeding my stride. I remember with a mix of exasperation and disdain thinking, "What's WRONG with you, old man." Much time has passed and today the only time I think such contemptuous thoughts is when I'm looking in the mirror.

• How empty would your house be if all the glasses, towels, tools, and whatnot were suddenly returned to the bars, hotels, employers, and neighbors you stole/borrowed them from when your ethics were less rigorous?

• I’ve run my own websites, zoom called 'round the globe, etc. Trust me. I'm tech competent. If that's so how come after I've successfully weighed, paid, and bagged 12-items or fewer, I look around at the people in the self-scan line behind me like I'm waiting for one of them to hand me a football to spike.

• I wish there was a superhero whose power was the ability to call a square dance so seductively that battlefield soldiers would -- yee! ha! -- drop their weapons and commence to dosey-doin'. This would give Freedom Fighters the chance to swoop in and declare victory or -- boy! howdy! -- enlist in the shin dig.

• I’m so messed up that when someone introduces me as "good people," I can't tell whether they're flattering my character or talking in code to inform others about my multiple personality disorder. Part of me thinks it's the former, another part of me thinks…

• I’m so vain about my influence, if someone ran into my office and in a panicky voice told me a zombie horde was here to "pick my brain," I'd prepare notes on an array of interesting topics and tell her to let them in when she hears the tea kettle whistle and not a second before!

• Facebook is the perfect venue for keeping up with friends we really ought to just call but never do for fear that if we did call they might answer

• In what was one of life's cruelest ironies, we spent an unbroken 2 hrs/ 40 mins listening to a man talk about his artistic career. With no regard for our interest or the endurance of our collective bladders, he talked and talked .. The irony is the man was a .. MIME! Swear to God

• I wonder how much money you have to have in your IRA before you can with a straight face say, "It's only money." I'd never insult money so cavalierly. Guaranteed, no one who's ever said, "It's only money," has ever googled how much he or she could get on the black market for a spare kidney. I'll save you the trouble: ballpark, $65,000.

• What is it about human nature that when we verbalize the common, conversational ice-breaker, "So, how you been?" the response we dread hearing the most is the one that involves them actually and thoughtfully telling us how they've been.

• I know this is going to cause many people to label me as prejudiced, but to me they all look alike. They all sound alike, they exhibit the same behaviors, and it’s hard to tell one from the other. I'm not talking blacks, Jews, Chinese, etc. I'm talking superhero movies. Seen one, seen ‘em all.

• True gender equality will remain elusive until someone invents a public toilet seat that renders moot the whole seat up/seat down puzzler, one the average male can figure out before he either urinates all over the stall or himself.

• I asked daughter, 15, to imagine what it was like to be forced to talk into phone where everyone could hear me. The static I had to put up with when my parents busted me ordering beer and buying dope for the weekend kegger. Who can blame me for splitting for Vegas when I turned 12?

• Studies show typical woman needs just 5 seconds to decide if she'd sleep with a man she just met. I believe it takes men longer, but only because men, being practical, are factoring in scenarios where he and the woman must engage in the process of repopulating the entire planet.

• One of the unmentioned benefits of having a smart phone is the reduction of embarrassing "senior moments." Now, instead of feeling defeated by memory loss, we just look up the answer. That is if we can remember where we put the damn thing ...

• I guess the reason it's customary for adults to ask graduates what they intend to do with their lives is because deep down we're fearful they might turn the tables and ask us what our lives have done to us.

• I’m troubled by the words we use to describe our state of sleep. We can be either "wide" awake or "sound" asleep. One's dimensional, the other makes me think of noises. Is it possible to be narrow awake or noiselessly asleep? I'd say I was going to sleep on it but that's unlikely.

• After going dark in recent years, Ringling Bros. announces its big comeback. The elephant in the room is that there will be no elephants in the room.

• I find myself being oddly drawn to friends -- not based on character or behavior -- but on how game-  appropriate their names are for Wordle. So sorry, ARCHIBALD TERWILLIGER, you go straight to voice mail if I sense OSCAR BRANT might call.

• Starting today, I shall begin to refer to the fast food wrappers, stray receipts, old magazines, etc. that litter my vehicle interior collectively as "carbage." Not to be confused with cabbage, although I've found some of that back there, too.

• Because I enjoy testing the tolerance of inanimate objects -- and I'm including humans -- when I say "inanimate" -- tomorrow for my first Wordle guess I'm typing in the letters LBGTQ to see if my computer explodes.

• I’ve learned from bitter experience that, although mashed, baked & circular gum may resemble a potentially lucky penny, the gum is much more difficult to lift off the city sidewalk and ultimately it is barely worth the free chew.

• That I can't recall ever having spent any quality time at a popsicle stand, yet have blown hundreds of them, leads me to believe I have some serious commitment issues.

• Okay, NASA announces a life-extinguishing asteroid will strike the earth in 8 minutes. And that's it. We're cooked. What would you do with your 8 minutes? Pray? Hug loved ones? I blame Mom's hyper-parenting but I'm pretty sure I'd brush my teeth and put on some fresh underwear. Then, what the heck, maybe rob a bank. 

• I’ll never understand the voluntary insanity of busting your ass for 5 days straight only to wage war with nature on the 2 days you're given to relax. We've reached a stage where we return to our Monday toils in need of 2 precious days to relax. We're all weakened by our weekends.

• Proving once again I'm unworthy of staying in nice places, I spent 2 minutes jumping up and down on a stationary disc trying to get it to register my weight before I realized I was jumping up and down on the roomba.

• ”He speaketh with forked tongue," was once one of the most stinging insults a native American could utter against the White Man. It meant he was a liar, incapable of telling the truth. What does that make me? I confess to fibbing, to shading the truth, to sometimes embroidering fact with fancy. I speaketh with sporked tongue.

• Damsels lead lives fraught with peril. Damsels are always in distress. Just once I'd like see a damsel in, say, a laundromat.

• The best diagnostic proctologists are crack investigators.

• On this Father's Day, I confess to being uncomfortable watching racy movies with our daughters. I don't like excessive profanity. Violence makes me queasy. And I leave the room once the sex goes beyond the consensual dry hump. Fuddy-duddy? No. Fuddy-Daddy!

.• I covet the grandfather clock at the place we're staying. So much I've thought of stealing it. But it's big, it's heavy and moving it would be a lot of work. I think I'll just steal a watch. I'm but a small time thief.  

• While is one of our most nimble, yet undefined words. You can be a good while, but not a bad one. You can take a while, but you cannot give one. I've never encountered a nice while but our days are strewn with meanwhiles that aren't mean at all. Idlers like me can while away the hours but we can't while them back. The definition is hard to pin down. It should come as no surprise: Turns out while is wily.

• It roams the scenic countryside at leisure. It foregoes reliable sustenance in favor of a roll-the-dice existence. Its sole function is to keep itself energized enough to scavenge another day. God help me, I have the brain of a free-range chicken. And that I take the time to reason out how my brain is like that of a free-range chicken is ample evidence that I have the brain of a free-range chicken.

• I remain confounded by how so many Americans allow themselves to be roiled by petty division. We all love America.And at one time or another, regardless of party affiliation, every man, woman and child has stood up and declared themselves to be John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

• Before the great thinning, I used to be vain about my hair. Then for a while I was proud of my broad shoulders and trim waist. Then there were days I’d fancy that women admired the firmness of my dancer’s butt. Much has changed. It dawned on me the other day, the element of me I most want people to notice is that I wear nice shoes. Sad, isn’t it? What was once the whole package is now embarrassed about everything ‘cept what’s below the ankles.

• There ought to be an award show celebrating candy-covered chocolates if for no other reason we could look forward to promos announcing, "It's once again time for the M&Memmies!"

• For many humans, there is no other condition that suffers as precipitous a drop in value as that of our virginity. Its possessor spends years guarding it, preserving it, taking pride in maintaining it. Then one maybe drunken night the virginity is lost. No one looks for it. You never hear of sone finding a huge pile of lost virginity and hauling it down to the pawn shop to swap for, say an old guitar. 

• I’m aware we live in a time many prepper parents teaching kids how to kill, segregate, and how to look out for #1 for when the world goes to Hell. They fail to realize that if it wasn’t for parents teaching our children to think, share, be kind and work together to solve big problems Hell would already be here.

• Told friend a new acquaintance could be described with what’s becoming my least favorite word: He’s “very Conservative.” Oh, he said, you dislike Conservatives. I told him I’m fine with Conservatives. And I’m fine with Liberals. It’s the verys that scare me. 

• Nutritionists ought to have a term for the unnecessary fats we foolishly add to our diets when we kill off the last slice of pizza so we can’t eat it later cause we know it could kill us and the term ought to be “kamikaze calories.”

• It’s a running joke that it'll never happen, but Keith Richards will one day die. My fear is on that day I'll not only struggle to mourn Keith, but will also have to deal with the news that my favorite band will henceforth be known as "Mick Jagger & The Mick Jagger Orchestra."

• Having access to thousands of streaming channels makes me feel like a Sultan with a harem with dozens of nubile women. It's  excessive. Many of the offerings are  mediocre. Wouldn't I be better off with that one special channel? Okay, four or five might be agreeable, but that’s just the Sultan in me talkin’.

• Today is July 9, 2020. It is a day some men and women will remember with great honor and affection. For today, women will deliver children and men will become fathers. Someone today will learn that they’ve beaten cancer. And we may not know it for years but someone somewhere today will achieve — Eureka! — the breakthrough that will unshackle us from our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels. Me? I’ll fart around the office until about 4 o’clock when I can head down to the bar without risking scandal. Oh, and I’ll Wordle. 

• Reports that 43,591 women elected to have some breast reduction procedure, while 301,599 sought  (breast enhancement). Being a proponent of efficiency I have to wonder if someday the market may respond with some sort of swap along the lines of "Need-A--Penny/Take-A-Penny …"

• With my new book I set out to write something that would withstand the test of time. I vowed to work like a maniac until the final draft shown for submission. But then with war/pandemic/Global warming/etc., I realized our time may soon be up. So I'd work till lunch then shoot pool.

• After spending yet another hour in the gym this morning I've concluded there is a multi-million dollar industry staffed by men and women whose sole purpose in life is to produce song-after-song-after-song they know I'll find revolting.

• If I ruled the squirrel Kingdom, I would have universal mandatory class 7 times daily, every day, and the lesson would never vary: "Remember, it's never a good idea to pause in the middle of a busy hiway to engage an oncoming driver in a staring contest.”

• Climate change alarmists fret heatwave is causing the roads to melt. I told them  the roads in France are melting because they're  made of ice cream! Then I did a little research and learned French do NOT make their roads out of ice cream. They make them out of … road! Uh oh …

  • I think one of the problems of combatting Climate Change is our focus on global warming. Yes, the earth is too hot, but the sun is way, way hotter. I propose we fight global warming with solar cooling. How much ice would we need to dump on the sun to lower it, say, 5 degrees?

• Don’t ask why I was looking it up, but my research reveals that all mammals fart. Skunks are mammals. My question: What is the skunk etiquette when a skunk cranks out a really foul fart in a roomful of skunks? If you call a skunk with really potent farts "Stinky," is it insult or accolade

• Who on Earth would have ever guessed the GOP would be so happy over something that makes Dick Cheney so sad?

• Until someone shows me a real guy with a solid gold penis, I refuse to believe there's such a thing as the Midas Touch. It's not that I don't believe in alchemy, it's just that I know guys never know when to stop.

• If my calculations are correct, at some point tonight someone will watch a partisan news program and will descend into an imbecilic state from which he'll never recover. And when that happens 99.99 percent of American adults will be able to wear an "I'm With Stupid" shirt with diagnostic accuracy.

• I was flattered and a little taken aback when a 20-something girl I know as an friendly acquaintance asked if I'd take her to our church. I without hesitation said yes, even though my attendance lately has been spotty. I've since tried to figure out why me. Then it hit me. She presumes me and God are on a first name basis! And we are. But then again, aren't we all?

• We’ve become a nation so hyper-devoted to the protocols of bodily hydration I fully expect the CDC will one day begin to list the number of people on dry land who drown themselves as a leading cause of death.

• I’ve come to believe Mr. and Mrs. Dumpty were two of the world's worst parents. Leaving an egg baby in such a precarious position is bad enough, but whose idea was it to name the Dumpty kid, Humpty? Did they even have the conversation, "Hon, we can't name him Humpty or he's doomed to become a nursery rhyme. Let's go with Phil or Burt." In their defense the Dumptys were just a couple of egg heads. And egg backs. Egg butts. Etc.

• Heard a song that referred to "the world's oldest profession" and it got me thinking: What did the 1st prostitute" earn for the intimacy? And what did the 1st John tell his Cavepals. Maybe, "You won't believe what that babe in cave 8 will do if you give her a handful of roots.”

• It is not my wish to appear controversial or provocative in a social media forum where so many others seek respite, but this must be said: The greatest single side of rock music from the vinyl era is not "Sticky Fingers" Side 1. The greatest single side of rock music from the vinyl era is "Sticky Fingers" Side 2.

• In the near future, doctors will begin offering an elective surgery that will involve suturing phones into users' palms to prevent misplacement or dunking them in the toilet. Early hipster users will be mocked when they're the 1st to be seen on their knees with a finger stuck in a wall socket. That will pass as popularity rises and pretty soon we'll all be crowded along the wall ridin' the lightning ...

• Calling a man or woman "unflappable" is an admiring  compliment denoting grace under pressure. But it must mean the exact opposite to our avian friends. Calling a fellow bird "unflappable" must mean a bird is forced to hoof it. I don't know what to think if a penguin calls another penguin "unflappable." Penguins seem so cheerful so it's unlikely to result in fisticuffs, but that's a whole 'nother story.

• My insecurities are so vast I've begun to prop up my ego by finding petty ways in which I'm more skilled than many of America's greatest figures. For instance, George Washington was a charismatic leader, a pillar of American greatness, but I'll bet I could kick his pantalooned ass in a parallel parking contest.

• If the publishing industry were at all honest about its definitions, it would announce a new category for a highly popular fiction genre. Classy books that are well-reviewed but earn squat (books like mine) would still be called literature. But  the successful books we all agree are trash would be called LITTER-ature.

• How’d my Gbg.-Hempfield Library go? It went great! How many in attendence? Uh, well, 4. It gets worse. I was one of them. Wait. It gets worse still. Two of them were library staffers so listening to me yap was like goofing off. That means just one person took the time to hear me talk. So what did I do different? Nothing. I gave the same talk with the same passion as if I were addressing 400. So it's all good. At least until the end when I spend about 90 interminable seconds basking in an ovation of throngs only I can see. Lesson? If you can't be a true success, having a powerful imagination helps one -- and I mean one -- overcome so many of life's little disappointments

• Call it a hunch, but something tells me one of the big '23 news stories will be astrophysicists announcing that voracious black holes are now ignoring regular shaped galaxies and are instead consuming only the galaxies that are Pringle-shaped.

• NASA hits Volkswagen-sized asteroid 6.8 million miles from Earth. Whew! Now if only someone could do something to make me feel safer every single time I set foot out my front door.

• There are talented writers who succeed on the strength of their stories. They earn movie deals and adulation. They are famous. Then there are writers who earn big bucks scandalizing the best-seller lists. They are infamous. Then there are guys like me. My books earn squat and acclaim elusive. I am unfamous.

• Hearing people judge those who attend hurricane parties always cracks me up. This is Planet Earth 2022. Climate change, drought, injustice, partisan rancor -- and most of us remain by choice oblivious to it all. It's one big Hurricane Party and we're all standing in line while the bartender cuts citrus fruit garnish. Party on.                         

• The Metric System has been the dominant unit of measurement in England since about 1680. The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964. Pete Townsend wrote the hit single "I Can See for Miles" in 1966, one year before setting foot in the USA. Question: In the 1st draft of the song, did Townsend try the lyric, "I Can See For Kilometers and Kilometers and Kilometers …"

• John Lennon was killed in 1980. George Harrison died in 2001. Paul McCartney is 80. Ringo Starr, 82. I'm not wishing any ill on either, but if the actuary tables are to be believed The Fab Four will one day soon have a heavenly reunion. I have to think there are already lines forming at the ticket windows.

• I drink too much. Laugh too loud. Lie to dodge tedious tasks. And at the end of another week when it could be argued my greatest achievement was not dunking the  phone in the toilet, I forgive myself my sins. Indeed, I put the human in humanity.

• I was stuck at an interminable red light wondering about all the things that take so damn long. Things like waiting for the computer to boot up, TSA lines, and getting stuck on IT hold. Our busy lives are consumed by mini-eternities. Want to know something that goes by like lightning? Sixty years. 

• It’s sadly ironic that in a day when social media creates disposable "stars" that light pollution is resulting in the visual obliteration of actual stars in the heavens.

• Reuters headline reads "Russians attack Ukrainian cities during rush hour." They still have rush hour? Traffic on the 4s? Beep 'n' creep? If ever a situation called for suspension of rigorous work duties, I'd think "Sovereign Country invaded by Russian Army" would top the list.

• One of the many oddities of my existence is that by most demographics I'm considered working class, yet few would consider what I do to be actual work and if I have any class at all it's not readily apparent even to me.

• Say what you want about their leadership abilities, but if nothing else at least TRUMP, BIDEN and PUTIN would  make dandy Wordle first guesses.

• What salient fact on one of the day's biggest stories did nearly every news organization get wrong? They all declared Alex Jones was ordered to pay "nearly $1 billion" in damages. Pardon, but it was $965 million. That's not nearly a billion. It's off by $35 million. That's a lot.

• Some have suggested I'd sleep better if I stopped worrying about things over which I have no control. I get it. I can't stop wars, reverse climate change, etc. But it could be 50k years from now & I'll still be fretting about kids running w/wrong crowd. And we'll be in Heaven!

• I read because I'm convinced the more I have in my mind the less I'll have on it.

• Seeing a vivid rainbow over Latrobe this morning reminded me of the Sunday school lesson that the phenomena was God assuring that everything's going to be all right. It's good to know on these days when so many feel truly godforsaken, like He's Holy Ghosted us.

• I’d like to one day report on malfunctioning picnic ware litigation so I could without exaggeration describe it as a real basket case.

• My fear isn't that when the robots show up they'll take over my job. My fear is that when the robots take over my job no one will notice I'm gone ... Wait.  The whole premise is absurd. C'mon! Me? With a job? Who am I kidding!

• The Swedes must cleanup in the fish Olympics. I mean, who's their competition? They are the only nation that has organized their fish in the whole pescatorial realm.

• That scientists say Earth is 4.5 billion years old only adds poignant urgency to the timely challenge of reversing Climate Change. Anything that's 4.5 billion years old and still seem too young to die is bound to be pretty special.

Women age distinctly; men uniformly. As a woman ages, she becomes more individual -- her hair color, her laughter, her manner of dress -- all put her in sharp relief from other women. All men age the same. We lose hair, gain weight and generally stumble thru life w/ the bewildered expressions of men who mistake the sliding glass patio door for open and repeatedly slam into the invisible solid. If we lived to be 120, we wouldn't be able to walk 50 feet without someone confusing us for their Uncle Burt.

• We revel in the misfortune of less fortunate. We gloat when our hatreds provoke irrational acts. We care not who's killing whom as long as our pack can elude blame. I fear we're becoming a nation that behaves as if 50 percent of us were raised by wolves. The other 50 percent? They’d be the wolves. 

• I read because I'm convinced the more I have in my mind the less I'll have on it.

• I suggest we Pennsylvanians reshape our borders -- put some wiggles in 'em -- so we don't appear on maps like the state most likely to be used as the dead battery gauge when the USA starts to run out of power.

• You can convert a home. You invert a fraction. You can subvert a good idea. You can transvert a landscape, and you can pervert an innocence wholesome and pure. Question: How come I’ve never seen, felt, heard, smelled or been invited to enjoy an illicit little vert. What is a vert? It can do so much yet it remains to me cloaked in mystery. Its humility may nevert be surpassed.

• Referring to men & women whose exercise goal is to strip their frames of any excess weight as body "builders" is fraudulent. They're not body builders. Now, me, I've spent the last few years adding enough closet space to my posterior it's surprising the township's not after me to staple a permit to my ass. Now, THAT's body building

• I realize the observation will cause some to think me ignorant at best, xenophobic at worst, but I was surprised to read Saigon has a thriving Chinatown neighborhood. Isn’t that like Cleveland having a busy Canadatown neighborhood? Sure, they’re distinct nationalities, but wouldn’t the differences be of interest to just a few anthropologists. It’s certainly an indication of the international popularity of the Chinese culture. It also has me wondering if most major Chinese cities have their very own Chinatowns or if that would take redundancy to absurd levels.

• That catbird means an advantageous position matters far less to me than the potential hybrid that results the day we mingle their DNA. Do you want as a house pet a cat that can fly or a bird that snoozes the day away cozied up on your lap? I'd go with the flying feline. And while we're at it, what would the titmouse look like if it looked like its component names?

• This is the time of year when I always begin to wonder if the nation of Turkey has a national bird. Could it be that obvious? Of course I'm the same guy who thinks a 3rd world African nation must have great take-out food just because the country's name is TO-GO.

• News that Buffalo is getting walloped with 5-feet of snow has me thinking that Buffalo should be renamed Uninhabitable. Even buffalo can't live in Buffalo. 

• I know to some patriots the charge itself is practically seditious, but the Founding Fathers got it all wrong when they called the place where the legislative branch does business the "House of Representatives." It would make more sense to call it, "The Big Room of Morally Shady Mostly White Men Whose Positions Bend According to the Latest Campaign Contributions.”

• I understand the mostly snobby reasons it's never mentioned alongside classic scenes from "Godfather" or "Citizen Kane," but one of the most compelling scenes in all American film is the hanging of Jake Spoon.

• On this day we as a nation should vow to never again say Happy Veteran's Day until we're certain we've done everything we can to ensure every veteran is happy.

• ”These kids today do nothing all day but stare at their stupid phones," say in unison the cranky old men who do nothing all day but stare at Fox News.


• Doctor suggests I not drink my Wild Turkey straight, so I now drink bourbon & water. I drink water from 7 am to 5 pm. I drink bourbon from 5:01 to 10 pm.

• I vow to never describe anything as being cute as a button until someone shows me an actual button that any reasonable observer would consider cute. Describing a button as cute is like describing a utility poll as charming. The two are functional and should never be considered “cute."

• I know I'm in the global minority, always an awkward position for an aged Caucasian dude, but cheering for either team in the World Cup leaves me feeling like I'm cheering for the Metric System. It doesn't matter who I root for, tomorrow when I wake up we'll be back to measuring miles in miles, gallons of gas in gallons and football will resume being football.

• I think we've reached a point where our morality is low enough and our insistence on being entertained high enough that if Mick Jagger today announced on Instagram that, "Yeah, you got me. I am Satan," most of us would be perfectly cool with it. In fact, we'd rather hear him say that than hear him say he was releasing another solo album.

• Overheard a college student say she was meeting friends at 10 pm. Why so late, I asked. A nearby Penn Stater said, "Don't you remember college? We all went out at 10 pm." See, there's the problem. Where I went to college, by 10 pm. we'd already been out for 7 hours. Remember standing in line on frigid nights and looking through the bar window and seeing a group of guys who looked like they owned the place? That was me and my gang. We were Bobcats and it was Athens, Ohio, the drinker's Disneyland.

There oughta be a litmus test for the number of times a lazy reporter can declare a non-scientific judgement a litmus test

• Our daughter is studying ancient times in the hopes of becoming a future historian, an aspiration that I believe must involve some sort of time travel. I imagine we’ll one day be sitting down to watch a program and she’ll just before our eyes disappear. Her mother will scream in terror. Me? I’ll seize the abandoned remote!

• Happy Birthday, Valerie Glenz Rodell! I can describe you as loving, sweet, diligent, youthful, understanding, sexy, prudent, encouraging and patient enough to await the day my elusive ship’ll some in. How all those positive words can accurately describe your character and I can still  declare you as my wife of 26 years honestly amazes me. If we all got what we deserved on our birthdays, today you’d hit the Powerball jackpot. And I’d get squat. I already hit the jackpot the day we met.

• I dreamt last night a female zombie approached and asked if she could pick my brain. Not thinking, I instinctively gave her the finger. She mistook the gesture for a compromise offer and now whenever I have to do basic math or carry the 7, I must remove foot wear. I thought about complaining about her snack, er, snap decision but figured I'd better bite my tongue.

• You might think it’s all just profane nitpicking, but I’d rather be called an “effing a—hole” than just your typical garden variety “a—hole.” Being an “effing”anything at least hints at some baseline social skills.

• I pity the people who reside in austere newer homes so tightly constructed they don’t make a peep. Our 50-year-old home coughs, creaks, sighs and sniffles. The floors groan, the cupboards squeak, and when the old furnace rattles to life (thank God) it sounds like a veteran stage actor clearing his throat just before the curtain rises. My favorite sound? I love hearing the fireplace damper being pulled open. Sounds to me like the wheels of an old steam locomotive as they begin to grip the rail. But my all-time favorite sound is the distinctive rattling of the warped old floorboards when the legs of the crib began to bounce on them, signaling that one of our babies was awake, hungry and eager for another day full of play, laughter and songs so joyful I imagine even the house had fun.

• I consider it yet another degradation of once-proud men, but I'm upset how what I once called "the family jewels" somehow became "my junk." From jewels to junk in three short decades. SAD!

• Which is more confounding? That you’ve become the person you are today or that the person you’ve become today is the exact same person you used to mock when you were the person you used to be.

• I live in a house with 3 sassy women. And I'm under a constant barrage by boneheads eager to engage me in provocative political and social arguments. I hold my tongue so much it's a wonder my fingertips don't have tastebuds.

• I read because I'm convinced the more I have in my mind the less I'll have on it.

• My father died in ’04; mom in ’17. Their memories flicker fainter each year for our daughters, 22 and 16. It’s a pity. I wish on their tough days they could recollect how the faces of these two people lit up when they saw their beloved grandkids — and stayed brilliantly illuminated whenever they were blessed to be in their presence. I wish I had a pill — just one pill — that would restore all our memories. Not of childhood, but of infancy, when our every expression, sound or gesture provoked pure delight. The pill would remind us of what perfect love, security and hopefulness feels like. One pill. One dose. I’d prescribe it to America. 

• This is the time of year married men begin to envy leaves. Leaves get blown at least once a year.

• Being a student of communications, I have a lot of questions about what to me is one of the most fascinating methods of all-time. I'm talking the smoke signal. What were the parental controls ("Look away! Look away!")? Did shifting winds lead to historic misreads ("I can say with near certainty the Indians won't attack today, Gen. Custer.)?" And how many petty annoyances do we still share some 200 years later, ("Can I bum your lighter? It's asking me to change my password ... AGAIN!")?

• I sometimes fear my drive for ceaseless originality is weakening and I'm destined to reach back for the greatest hits. But I always conclude I'm being too hard on myself. I sometimes fear my drive for ceaseless originality is weakening and I'm destined to reach back for the greatest hits. But I always conclude I'm being too hard on myself.

• I sometimes fear my drive for ceaseless originality is weakening and I'm destined to reach back for the greatest hits. But I always conclude I'm being too hard on myself. I sometimes fear my drive for ceaseless originality is weakening and I'm destined to reach back for the greatest hits. But I always conclude I'm being too hard on myself.