The Pengaton Papers
I am only a ripper. A compulsive clipper
reads his newspaper with scissors in hand, carefully removing items to
paste them in scrap books. I am far more moderate; most of my Wall
Street Journal issues make it from hand to trash undisturbed save for
folds that remind me that I have finished a section. But some
tiny detours. For whatever reason, I have developed into a
compulsive proofreader, and occasionally I find either a solecism on
which I must remark, or an item sufficiently entertaining that I feel a blogitem is called for. You have seen the results of the latter
and those around me usually hear the bark of laughter when I detect a
misspelling, infelicity, unintended double entendre, or striking example
of innumeracy. (Their response: "Richard, have you never
made a mistake?" is ignored. Your response upon reading the
resulting blogitems is, fortunately, unknown.) When I encounter a
noteworthy item, I will rip it from the paper, put it next to the
computer, and comment on it somewhen between immediately and never.
(If you are a ripper, I bet you've noticed that vertical rips are much
cleaner than horizontal. Yet I maintain my scissors-free reading
style, and cope with the jagged edges.)
"Next to the computer" is a horizontal surface, a rare
commodity. Today, overcome by Indburishness, I resolved to dispose
of the clippings I hadn't used in blogitems previous. These are
less interesting, less significant, less timely, or just plain
irrelevant, than those that have gone before. Although I did
manage to find one that mentioned cucumbers.
Evil Airline Scum
||You know what a big fan of the airlines' business practices
I am. But perhaps I was just too lazy or insufficiently
exercised to comment on these two articles from last summer.
One is about the airlines reviving one of their most odious
practices, requiring people to stay at their destination for a
certain duration. The other is about taxes collected and
not refunded when tickets or facilities remain unused.
Pragmatic Chief of Staff
||Here we have President Obama's chief of staff,
Rahm Emanuel, making an observation that we could all take to
I didn't (and don't) think I have any wisdom to add to
Validated By A Cartoonist
||As is often the case, I can say something
without knowing whether or not I'm serious. I was curious
as to what some friends thought of the notion of the Israelis
retaliating against Hamas in precise proportion. I.e.,
every time a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza, a similar
rocket would be fired on a reciprocal course from Israel into
I "proposed" this after the cartoon was printed in the New
York Times, but before I saw it. At least the idea is
worthy of a cartoon. Do you think it would "work,"
whatever that means?
Free Food No More
||I've written several times about just how
fantastic a deal I consider the $1.00 McDonalds cheeseburger to
be. Apparently it's too good a deal. I may or
may not have mentioned this article previously, but on my most
recent seasonal trip to McDonalds I noticed they were charging
extra for cheese.
Of Course it's Organic
||One of my favorites. If you click on this
full-page ad for Crop Organic Vodka you will find out that it's
not only certified organic as only essentially pure ethyl
alcohol can be, but it also tastes "clean." I'm not just
easily amused, I'm also easily bewildered. What does
"clean" taste like? Carbolic acid? Nothing?
Perhaps competing brands of vodka are somehow not organic.
Perhaps instead of being distilled, they're dug up from mines.
||I don't play golf, but I thought I'd try out
"Mulligan," meaning "do-over," just because I read it and I like
the term. Golf, retirement, and Social Security, the
subject of this article, all seem to go together. I was
stunned to read this piece in the Journal last August. It
says that you can collect your Social Security and then change
your mind! Simply by paying back all you've received, you
can re-start your benefits at a new, later age.
This is such
an interesting concept that I think it will enjoy a multi-part
contemplation in the future.
I know this isn't an especially good blogitem. But
it's arguably better than nothing, and from it I have gained several
square feet of horizontal surface and exposed some long-lost dust.
It's a sacrifice you're willing to make.
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NP: "Star Collector" - The