My grandfather carved the beef and then a servant handed him a dish of potatoes baked in their skins. There are few things better to eat than a potato in its skin, with plenty of butter, but apparently my grandfather did not think so. He rose in his chair at the head of the […]

Three Pointers

    Need a little Yuletide cheer? Consider these activities. 1. Do You Hear What I Hear? If you see a kid walking along bouncing a ball, order him to stop. Then say, all stern-voiced, “I need you to understand something. Are you listening to me?” The kid will nod. Hold your index finger to […]

General Hilarity

He knew how to present and preserve his dignity, and when you joined that with his very imposing appearance, his self-command made him a rather intimidating figure. He is someone who many, many people felt intimidated by.   George Washington, folks. Trifle who dares! These guys, evidently: Morris and Hamilton always get each other into […]

Unhappy Birthday 2

  With lots of preliminary throat-clearing about how humor is subjective and etc, this is kind of a funny story. So, for this other thing, I had searched Twitter for the young adult author Walter Dean Myers. Which brought me to this:   Tweet 1: Just found out that my uncle was killed yesterday night. […]

Idiot Winds

  “Giscard considered the Americans ‘a little naive in an involuntary way.’” – Jimmy Carter in Africa, Nancy Mitchell   I read the above and thought “Voilà le shade!” For whatever reason it recalled this verdict on la condition humaine:   “Yet we are chemosensory idiots.” – The Meaning of Human Existence, Edward O. Wilson […]

Reasons to be Cheerful

  Author’s note: with all the general ghastliness of late, I thought it worth leavening the proceedings. Grasp your sides in advance. Part I My friend has been encouraging me to read this book for years. Having finally picked it up, I sent him this text: Hilarious, right? OK, fine, I’m ripping off a Twilight […]

Game On

  The recent drop in temperature recalled to mind a reality TV show I once invented: Cold Enough for Ya?! Premise: The host, who should be suitably disagreeable, drives around in a luxury automobile on a frigid winter day. Upon spotting someone waiting at a bus stop, trudging down an icy sidewalk, or performing manual labor, he […]