Saturday, December 27, 2008
This is a picture of Amy in the courtyard of the Museo Lapidario Scipione Maffei, just off the Piazza Bra in Verona, during our honeymoon trip to Italy in 2000. That was a great trip to Italy and the French side of Switzerland. It was just a few weeks before Bush won the election and we could still admit to being Americans, and folks liked us.
Verona is a wonderful tourist/working-class town, a lot like our own Boston. If I could live anywhere, after the Happy Valley, and Cambridge, and Manhattan, and Florence, Italy, it would be Verona. When we hit the lottery we will have apartments in all of them.
It's a question I love to ponder in bed at night- if you won the lottery and could have apartments anywhere in the world, where would you have them?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Comer on everyne, let's sing!
Chuck's nuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost ripping off your nose
Yuletime Carol being done by the choir
And folks out dissin' eskimoes...
that Holly is a friggin' ho,
and Ronny killed her kids last night,
Fucking cops, if your husband don't know,
Can make you sleep so deep, tonight...
A Seasonal Hunting Song
(with apologies to Tom Leher)
I always will remember,
'Twas a year ago December,
I went out to hunt some deer,
On a morning bright and clear.
I went and shot the maximum
the game laws gave myself:
Two bell ringers, seven reindeer, and an elf.
I was in no mood to trifle,
I took down my trusty rifle
And went out to stalk my prey.
What a haul I made that day!
I tied them to my fender,
and I drove them home myself:
Two bell ringers, seven reindeer, and an elf.
The law was very firm, it
Took away my permit,
The worst punishment
it could manage to propose.
It turned out there was a reason,
It seems elves were out of season,
And one of the reindeer had bright-red, glowing nose.
People ask me how I do it,
And I say "There's nothin' to it,
You just stand there lookin' cute,
And when something moves, you shoot!"
So there's ten stuffed heads sitting
on my maple trophy shelf:
Two bell ringers, seven reindeer, and an elf.
Friday, December 19, 2008
To: All Staff
From: The Board of Directors
Date: December 19
Subject: New "Twelve Days of Christmas" Policy
The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole. Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance in the season's gift distribution business. Home Shopping TV channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's market share. He and the Board could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.
The reindeer downsizing was made possible through purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated. Reduction in the reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavourable press (gas and solid waste). We're pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole!
Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose get red, not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of the year when they are known to be under 'executive stress'.
As for further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" music subsidiary:
1) The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop forecast, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;
2) Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;
3) The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;
4) The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;
5) The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order;
6) The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one;
7) The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement;
8) As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
9) Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;
10) Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;
11) Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line;
Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved. Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys' association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), a decision is pending. Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive.
Should this happen, the Board will request management to scrutinise the Snow White Division to determine if seven dwarfs is the right number.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2009.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Barack, Barack, what are you thinking? You are picking neo-Facist televangelist Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration?
This is the same man who campaigned in favor of California's recent ban on equal rights for its all citizens (Prop 8, the gay marriage ban), does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and advocated the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The guy is a hate-spewing, simple-minded fruit-loop, and certainly unfit to be anywhere near the White House. This is one decision you will have to re-think.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Apparently in the Middle East it is the ultimate insult to hit somebody with a shoe and call him a dog (which is what the reporter shouted). I fear the symbolism may be lost on most Americans. So let's all think up a Western version -what would you like to throw at the President? Keep it nice- we don't want any more visits from the Secret service...
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Today it's covered with slushy ice, and the water that ran off the ice decided to visit the basement.
Tina Fey should spank me.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Plaxico Burress is going to jail because the state of New York doesn't trust it's judges, and that steams me.
Several years ago New York state decided to take the "judging" part out of judges hands when it comes to carrying an unregistered firearm by passing a law that gives a mandatory 3.5 year jail sentence for a first offense. Now I don't know if three and a half years is too much, too little, or just right for that particular crime, and I don't really care, that's not the issue. The issue is that if we are going to have judges, it should be up to the judge to judge, on a case by case basis, what an appropriate sentence is. That's why we give them the robe, the high desk, the gavel and all those law books. In England they give them funny wigs. If we aren't going to also let them pass judgment we might as well replace them all with trained parrots. Parrots would be just as effective, and would add some color to otherwise drab courtrooms.
New York state is not alone in short-circuiting the criminal justice system- I'd guess most states have a variety of mandatory sentencing laws these days, and they're all bad ideas. I'm sure it's true that there are some judges who, on occasion, hand out unfairly light sentences, which is what these laws are designed to prevent. But to take the discretion out of the hands of all judges simply because a few make a mistake from time to time is rather like taking a sledgehammer to your television because you don't like American Idol- it's briefly satisfying yet ultimately foolish.
This really has nothing whatsoever to do with Plaxico Burress- the man's an idiot who did a stupid thing and he's damn lucky he's not singing soprano today, after jamming a loaded, un-holstered gun into the waistband of his sweatpants at a crowded club. But is that worth 3.5 years in prison? I don't know, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I do think that in the case of Plaxico Burress, and in every other case, it should be up to a judge to decide.
Monday, December 01, 2008
As we enter the month of December, Christmas Shopping Season, Holiday Party Season and all the other hoopla that go with the Holidays, sometimes it's good to take a step back and try to simplify.
In that spirit, I offer the following Amazingly Simple Home Remedies to Simplify Your Life which I stole from somewhere or other-
-Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.
-Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.
-For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.
-A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
-If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives; then you'll be afraid to cough.
-You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.
-Remember: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
-If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.