BOTH SIDES NOW

I am sick and tired of hearing or seeing in the media expressions such as : “Both sides do it.;” “Big industry donates to both Republicans and Democrats;” “All politicians lie.” “You’ll find voter fraud in both parties.” and numerous familiar claims. These are typical half truths, which are worst than outright lies.

       Of course, all these examples of iniquitous behavior can be found on both sides. But what do these statements mean–that each side is equally guilty, that 50 percent of special interest money, for example , goes to Republicans and Democrats alike? If 25 percent of Democrats lie and 70 percent of Republicans lie to their constituents, does that mean that politicians on both sides are equally untruthful? Reverse the percentages, and the same question stares us in the face. Both sides do it. Does that mean that we should not trust the honesty of all candidates? Or should we weigh the relative dishonesty of both?

       Believe the glib claims from both sides of the aisle, and you will never know for whom to vote. It pays to doubt the veracity of those claiming equal culpability. Think of a parody of a once popular song. “ I’ve looked at candidates from both sides now, from in and out, and yet somehow, its their illusions I recall, I don’t really know candidates at all.”

U.S. GOVERNMENT: “DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER”

 

The U.S. State Department has issued a warning to Americans contemplating a visit to Europe. “In light of the increased concern about the potential for terrorist (Al Qaeda) attacks,” exercise caution, avoid crowds, be careful, be very careful. The warning statement covered a large geographic area, but was scant on specifics. We offer clarification:

Bon voyage to Paris, but don’t go near the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee, the Etoile, the Opera and the Louvre. And ladies, the crowds in Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are murder.

Be sure to cross the channel to London, but be very cautious about visiting Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Kensington Palace, particularly at Changing of the Guard time.Want to avoid crowds, a real temptation for terrorists, stay away from Harrods. And incidentally, the Underground is a favorite bombing target.To be absolutely secure, it might be a good idea to avoid London altogether. A nice motor tour around the Cotswolds is extremely pleasant–– and relatively safe.

Rome is lovely at this time of year. There are always crowds around the Trevi Fountain, so tossing a coin into the fountain may accompany your last wish. The Spanish Steps is another great gathering place. And don’t think that the Vatican is safe holy ground. Since terrorists blow up Mosques and Synagogues, don’t for a moment think that fear of Allah makes the Vatican sacrosanct.

So, what about Germany? You’ve heard that Berlin is not safe, so you might want to try Cologne or Dusseldorf. Cologne has many beautiful cathedrals. The best known and most frequently visited by tourists is the Dom, if you don’t mind crowds. One should never visit this city without hoisting a stein of beer at one or more of its famous brauhauses. Trying to find a small, uncrowded one, however, is not easy. Ladies like to visit Dusseldorf to wander around Konigsalle, one of the most spectacular high fashion shopping streets in Europe. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most crowded. You pays your money, and you takes your chances.

Fellow American travellers, the Government’s warning can be summed up with an old folk song from the Ozarks:
“Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter,
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb,
But don’t go near the water.”

# # # # # # # # #

MY PERSONAL 10 COMMANDMENTS

In a fit of megalomania, I strongly recommend to you my personal ten commandments, an 87 year successful formula for living the good life. [And boy, have I done just that.]

 1. Laugh at least once every hour (preferably every ten minutes ifpossible).

 2. Eat and drink very well. When possible, be a gourmet: at other    times, a gourmand.

 3. Read at least a book a week (or equivalent magazine or newspaper    coverage).

 4. Make love at least once a week (if possible). [Oh, where are the    snows of yesteryear?]

 5. Express your opinions vociferously.

 6. Make sure those opinions are based on at least a modicum of    knowledge and a plethora of logic.

 7. Don’t try to force others to live your way (except your spouse and    children, who won’t listen anyway). In other words, mind your own   business.

 8. Work hard, but avoid physical exercise.

 9. Travel extensively, so as to broaden your outlook.

 10. Rarely (if ever) vote Republican.

       By sticking to these rules, the Curmudgeon has led a

life which, 100 years ago, a king would have envied.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Call it a moniker, a sobriquet, a diminutive or whatever, in everyday use, people tend to shorten the names of friends or associates, whether for informality’s sake or just for the heck of it. 

       As a word lover, I have always been intrigued by the fact that the same name, in its informal variation, has so many possibilities.. Why oh why do some people prefer one diminutive over another? And some resist any attempt to avoid using their full name? Following are 25 names with at least two frequently-used variations

Albert Al, Bert

Alexander Alex, Andy

Alfred Al, Alfie

Barbara Barb, Barby

Beatrice Bea, Bede, Trish

Bernard Bernie, Barney

Charles Charlie, Chuck

Deborah Deb, ,Debby

Edward Ed, Eddy, Ted, Teddy

Elizabeth Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Betty

Estelle Essie, Stella

Francisca Fran, Franny

Gertrude Gert, Gerty, Trudy

Herbert Herb, Herby

Leticia Letty, Trish,Tricia

Lillian Lil, Lilly

Margaret Meg, Margie

Morton Mort, Morty

Patricia Pat, Patty, Trish

Richard Dick, Rich, Richey, Rick

Robert Bob, Bobby, Rob, Bert

Roberta Bert, Bertie, Robby

Samuel Sam, Sammy

Sheldon Shell. Shelly

Thomas Tom. Tommy

       If your name is Richard, why do you prefer Dick over Rich ––or Rick or Richey –– or vice versa? Are you offended if someone shortens your name or uses a form you just don’t like?

       Only on occasion do I get an answer. My friend Deborah objects vigorously if you call her Debby. She thinks of herself as a serious, accomplished individual with a serious name. She thinks of Debbie as a brainless character, perhaps the subject of a movie entitled “Debbie Does Dishes.” My niece Judith hates being called Judy.  That’s what her parents called her when she was a child.  She is a grown-up now ––Judith, not Judy.

       Sometimes, people shorten your family name rather than your first name, My son Jonathan Rubinstein, a prominent businessman and engineer, prefers to be called Jon but never objects when many people call him Ruby Here’s a funny observation. Some nicknames or shortened forms skip a generation.  My father was called Ruby, but nobody used that name for me. However, Ruby was resurrected for one of my sons. Not for the other.

Go figure.

#   #   #   #   #   #   #   #   #   #

MY PERSONAL TEN COMMANDMENTS

In a fit of megalomania, I strongly recommend to you my personal

ten commandments, an 87 year successful formula for living the good

 life. [And boy, have I done just that.]

 

 1. Laugh at least once every hour (preferably every ten minutes if

    possible).

 2. Eat and drink very well. When possible, be a gourmet: at other

     times, a gourmand.

 3. Read at least a book a week (or equivalent magazine or newspaper

     coverage).

 4. Make love at least once a week (if possible). [Oh, where are the

     snows of yesteryear?]

 5. Express your opinions vociferously.

 6. Make sure those opinions are based on at least a modicum of

     knowledge and a plethora of logic.

 7. Don’t try to force others to live your way (except your spouse and

     children, who won’t listen anyway). In other words, mind your own

    business.

 8. Work hard, but avoid physical exercise.

 9. Travel extensively, so as to broaden your outlook.

 10. Rarely (if ever) vote Republican.

 

       By sticking to these rules, the Curmudgeon has led a

life which, 100 years ago, a king would have envied.

 

                           #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

« Previous Entries