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This marks the continuation of my micro-posting entitled My Pet Peeves. My intent is to publish one Peeve every Wednesday for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully you will find these to be true, recognizable, amusing, and idenifiable. The Pet Peeves listed here are my opinion and my opinion only.



Any questions please email me at: namor@panix.com



And now Ladies and Gentlemen ... My Pet Peeve of the week: 7/8/2020:


ITíS REAL. ITíS FAKE:
Of course thereís a difference between real and fake, my love. You do like my new diamond ring, do you not? Is it real? Is it fake? Oh please. No no no. We donít use fake anymore dearie. Itís so bourgeois. Today we use faux. Though I must say I donít wear faux diamonds. Itís real or nothing for me dahling. But. But but. Whatís the difference between real or fake, you ask? Everything is real if you think about it, is it not? Oh please. How else are the elitists going to be able to differentiate themselves from the common people if they arenít willing to shell out a few more shekels for something they like to call the genuine article? I wouldnít be seen dead in a faux anything, from jewelry to fur. Unless I was going slumming of course. Imitations are always acceptable when mingling with the lower classes. There are times when one just must pass. It wouldnít do to put on airs with your lessers. Why make them feel their insignificances? We know who we are. We donít have to force our ways upon others. They canít help being what they are, the same way a donkey canít help it that heís not a thoroughbred horse. Why, sometimes when Iím mingling with the help, I speak in incorrect grammatical English. It ainít so, I tell them. Iíll be gol-durned and hot damn girl, and if that ainít a pisser. I donít wear the real stuff when Iím around them. I do have some friends who are not up to our class you know. They try of course. They strive to elevate themselves. I wear my faux fur and faux diamonds when Iím with them. I wear my Leviís at thirty dollars a pair instead of my Valentinoís at nine hundred and ninety dollars a pair. I wear Macyís instead of Oscar De La Renta. I feel deliciously sleazy when I walk into a cheap store. But we do what we must to make others feel comfortable. I care about my virtual friends. Those whom I met unwillingly during the course of life. But I donít mind. I do what I have to do. I have no airs. No no no. Nothing fake in my life. Nothing fake about me. I am the real thing. I am genuine. Am I not?



STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK'S PET PEEVE



MY PAST PET PEEVES

OUR BRAINS:
Oh, so convoluted an oval it is. Imagine a six inch wide by four and a quarter inch high 3 dimensional globule weighing about three pounds and resting on a slender stalk measuring about three quarters of an inch thick. Itís a bit like balancing a cauliflower on a celery stalk. How do we manage that? And how inflated a sense of self it has. It is only one brain per human. And yet it urges us to refer to it as my brains. We donít say my bodies. Or my hearts. Where thereís only one, we use the singular. So why my brains? It uses the royal plural form when it want us to communicate with it. Not only that, but it also wants to compete with other brains that reside comfortably, or perhaps not so comfortably, within the skulls of other humans. The brains (not brain) of this human is far superior that the brains (again not brain) of that human. You sir, I pose this question: You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I'm quick when I'm thin and slow when I'm fat. The wind is my enemy. Who or what am I? What? You can not solve it? You sir, have the brains of a dolt. It is a candle. Your name sir? If you please. Joe Louis, you say? The great boxer? Yes well. You do have that ability. I, of course, would prefer Einstein as my friend. Whatís that, my good man? You want me to walk alone through Fuller Park, the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago, with only one friend allowed to accompany me. Yes, well, Einstein is all well and good Joe. But if you donít mind, I would prefer you as company. Brains are actually a tad overrated. Whatís that Joe. You want me to explain something to you. Of course. Thatís what brains are for. So what do you want to know? Why oh why arenít brains referred to in the singular? Is there more than one brain behind those eyes? Or is it all just a question of egocentricity, all those twists and turns nothwithstanding?

QUESTION OF RECOGNITION.
Hereís what it is. You desperately need a stroke of luck, or so youíve been advised. And so you start looking. You try high. You try low. You go to the left. You go to the right. You climb mountains. You scale valleys. Perhaps, you begin to think, that for you the luck does not exist. You call it out. Hey. You. Luck. You hear a slight rustle of the wind in the trees. But you donít see the luck. You begin to open drawers. Nope. Not there. You try the closets, the shelves in the garage, the back alleys of the slums of the city. Nope again. You begin to read the periodicals. Nothing. You try the library. Zero. You begin to ask strangers in the streets. You know where I can get some luck? Nope. Sorry pal. No clue. Youíre going out of your mind. You go into a bar as a last resort. You buy everyone a drink. You donít hold out hope. Theyíre all half drunk. To the luck of the unfortunate, you shout out with your glass held high. To the luck of the damned they shout back, toasting you and all the other patrons. So by the way, you say, hiding the slur in your voice, anyone here know where I can get some of that luck? Itís all over the place, says one. You can get some at a newsstand, or at any dollar store. Or even on the street. You stare at the guy. Want to show me? Sure. And he takes you to the newsstand across the street. Gimme some luck for my friend here. And the vendor pulls out a small bag of luck and hands it to you. And you stare at it. Youíve seen this before. And it suddenly hits you that often, when youíre looking for something, and you canít find it, itís because you often donít recognize that you found what youíve been looking for. Recognizing luck when it comes your way is quite often more than half the battle. Why doesnít it make itself more apparent?

INVICTUS
by
William Ernest Henley Ė 1849-1903

This is the poem that inspired Nelson Mandela to persevere through hardship. It has been hanging on my wall for quite some time. It is one of my favorites. I pass it on in lieu of a pet peeve. I shall call it this weekís Pet Enchantment for it has always enchanted me.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

THE LAW: This might well be aimed at those scant few of you who are glued to your televisions for want of anything else to do, politics aside. A woman was brought before a judge who deemed it necessary, through her elevated sense of self, to fine or jail this lady for opening her place of business in order to make money to feed her children. We are all born with one mind and one body, all equal one to the other. Yet there are those amongst us who feel their worth is more than the worth of those who do not ride the elite flotilla upon which they were fortunately thrust. The judge tried to punish this woman for having broken the law. After public outcry, the judge recanted. But hereís the thing of it all. While injustices abound, the criminalization of the innocent also flourishes. In ancient England, I once read, it was illegal to eat a pickle while walking backwards on the sidewalk? Ridiculous you say. But but, says the judge, that pickle eater might bump into someone and knock them on the ground and harm them. Therefore, I fine this person five hundred million billion pounds for doing this dastardly deed. This is only a wee bit of an example. We have had a few stupid ones here too. Anybody out there ever read Orwellís Animal Farm? All animals are equalÖ Thereís more but Iíll get into trouble enumerating them. What this all means is that there is no shortage of blithering idiots out there creating unjust laws for no other reason than to elevate their own senses of self. To those morons, who have no idea what theyíre doing, to you I say this. Every time you create a law thatís impossible to adhere to, you also create one or more outlaws. Outlaws, one might say, are as often as not, the creation of lawmakers. And that my friends, is my pet peeve of the week.

WHEN TUBES OF TOOTHPASTE FART: This, my friends and foe alike, is a recent discovery. And so, I do not have enough repetitive information to verify its accuracy. Here is the situation of which I have become aware a few times in the past few days. I have three different tubes of toothpaste, one of which I use regularly. The other two are for in case. Two tubes are 2Ē x 6Ē and one tube (This is the one I mostly use) is 1.75Ē x 5Ē. The larger tubes contain 4oz. and 3.4oz. respectively. The small one contains1.8oz. Or so it is printed on the outside. I was born innocent, and so when you told me something, I believed it. And then I got older, and the older I got, the less I believed. Today, the only thing I truly believe is that theyíre all trying to screw me. Call me a cynic. A few days ago, as I was glancing at that crazy looking devil in the mirror, I picked up my dental brush and began to squish some toothpaste on in. All of a sudden, the tube farted and a wee gush of air came out before the rest of the portion of toothpaste I was seeking followed. My suspicious mind immediately went into high gear. Are the ounces the tube says the ounces the tube has? Do the people who dole the product out, program the computer directed squooshers to interrupt the pasty flow with a bubble of air, reducing the amount by a smidgeon. Multiply that bubble with a world population of 7.8 billion and multiply that amount by the amount of toothpaste replaced by that wee bit of a bubble, and weíre talking big bucks here folks. I submit that I DO NOT know if this is true. But these are not the questions. The multiple questions are as follows. Is this possible? Is this tempting? Or is this nothing more than happenstance which resides in dubious comfort a mere micron above suspicion? And my last but not least of course, for extra credit, how many of you answered Yes, Yes, and No to my first three questions? Let me know. Do we thing alike? Or is my thinking process simply an aberration born of a cynical mind?

GRUDGES ARE FOREVER: So hereís what it is. And this is only my observations, limited as they may be. You have a spat with a friend. Thereís no such thing as infinity you say. He or she responds that of course there is and if you canít understand that, youíre not as smart as he or she thought you were. You draw your verbal sword. You calling me stupid? Yeah, Iím calling you stupid. At which point he or she gets up from the dinner table, throws a few bills in your direction in order to take care of the bill, and stalks off. He or she does not forgive disagreements. And now the friend is a friend no longer. Fortunately, you have no lack of friends. Itís ten oíclock in the evening. The phone rings. Yo Ö olí pal olí buddy of mine. I need a ride into the city. I need it now. Whaddya say? Your eyes roll to the heavens. Whatís going on in this world? Is everybody crazy. Sorry old friend, you say. Canít do it. Itís late. Got to get to work early tomorrow. You friend responds, advising you just exactly where to insert your work obligations, and telling you at the same time not to call anymore. Weíre no longer friends. And then you hear the click. And your now ex-friend is gone. The next day, during lunch when you tend to dine with a few work compatriots, you tell them the tale of your friends that were. To your amazement, they all agree with the positions taken by past companions, and with a few well-chosen words, explain to you that you are nothing short of a total imbecile. Not only that, but they, as a matter of allegiances by proxy to your friends that once were, do not absolve your acts, and have thusly and therefore decided to part ways. They have decided that they will not pardon you. But now hereís the thing of it all. Every weekend, Saturday for some, Sunday for others, they all go to their temples or churches or mosques, and they bow their heads in humble prayer as they each speak to their gods. And do you know what they ask for? Yup. You got it. Each and every one pleads for that which they will not give. They plead for forgiveness and understanding. Sheesh. Now thatís what I call an insane dichotomy. Or is it hypocrisy? Or is it something I just do not comprehend?

SNAKE OIL: I know you all know the scene. He is wearing a top hat to lend legitimacy to his spiel. Get yer bottle of Doctor Lukeís Medical Marvel. Cures lumbago. Fixes sagging jowls. Restores manhood. Makes yer hair grow. And for those cainít see so good no more, for thems who have cataracts, I have Doctor Luke hisself here to operate on the spot. He puts you to sleep with a few drops of chloroform, and a few minutes later, yer cured. And we give you proof. Oh look, Mary. Letís try it. And so they pay their two bucks and Doctor Luke puts a cloth over her nose and mouth and bandages her eyes. When she wakes, he shows her the thin membrane that he took off the outer edge of a hard boiled egg. And he tells here this was the problem. He removed it from her eye. Keep the bandages in place for a week, and youíll be as good as new. And then heís gone. Question for you all. Have things changed? Or is Snake Oil today still Snake Oil, only under a different name. You need a med for this. You need a med for that. This guy on the telly who gets paid a substantial sum of money, touts this as his medicine of choice. Is he a doctor? Hell no. Does he have any medical training? Bah. And if it doesnít work, too bad. Itís called free enterprise. I will give you all a test. Go look at that med that favors your interest. Sixty nine dollars for which you get sixty tablets. Take two a day and a month, or two, or three, you will see improvement. But whoa. Hold on a minute. Hereís a very similar med. Same money. But they give you one hundred and twenty tablets. Thatís half the cost. Double the value. And so you grab it. And you get it in the mail. They gave you just what they promised. One hundred and twenty tabs for sixty nine dollars. Youíre elated. You start reading the instructions in fine print. In order for this med to work properly they tell you, you must, you just must take four tabs a day. You didnít see that part. They didnít bother to tell you. They gave you double the amount and dosed it at double the amount. Savings? Zero! Hey. Doctor Luke? Now where is that guy when youíre looking for him? Ah, the world of honest advertising and honest medicine. Where has it gone? Yoo hoo. Doctor Luke? Where are youuuuu?

PREAMBLES: Hereís the problem. You want to know how to turn off the switch on the Gydjamakoo on your web page. There are two ways to attack this. Their way, and my way. Out of extreme politeness, I will first give you their way. Ready? It is truly quite easy to turn the switch off on a Gydjamakoo, they say. The Gydjamakoo was designed to work with the Jubberlush in order to facilitate the smooth workings of Quinchobology. Quinchobology, as you all know, is a micro-biological company that will have been formed in the years 2936 in order to quell the interference of alien signals on your voice activated and controlled mini-air induced lung pumps which, you are surely all aware, has saved many lives over the years. The technology of the Gydjamakoo has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a manual on/off switch which, while for the most part unnecessary, is still rather convenient when faced with the occurrence of the now famous once in a millennia North Star radical blow over. For more information on North Star radical blow overs please click the following link. (This is the following link: ďFollowing linkĒ) For those of you who wish to avoid this somewhat superfluous information, please read on as we present the information on the invisible gear structures that aid in powering the Gydjamakoo in prime operating conditions. We also provide instructions on turning the Gydjamakoo off in less than prime conditions. Below you will find detailed instructions. Please follow them carefully. If you have any questions, please email us, and if weíre in the mood we may or may not get back to you.
In order to turn the switch off on the Gydjamakoo, go to the on/off icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen and click it.
And that my friends is how ďtheyĒ tell you how to shut off the switch on the Gydjamakoo. This self-elevating bullshit way of filling space is, in my mind, ridiculous. Here, following, are my instructions on turning the switch off on the Gydjamakoo.

LIARS: The interesting part here is that there is no single word antonym for the single word Liar. Does that mean there are no honest folks. The eighth commandment states: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, which interprets to: Ya shouldnít lie, ya know? That said, aside from the great power up there, what is the next greatest power down here? It is the government of course. Listen to them or watch them on the telly. And you tell me if theyíre all honest. Let us take two of the main challengers. Letís call them 1 and 2. Letís place them side by side on a stage. One to the left, the other to the right. And now letís wind up that little key jutting out of their backs. And let us let them speak. Weíll call their main organization the Union of Strategic Animosities. And we can call their subcultures the Ready and the Dexterous. Let us assign them colors. How about black and white. You choose which color goes with which subculture and which goes on the right and which goes on the left. It really all makes no never mind. Let us let them analyze the most recent worldly event. Let us call them, for ease, the Rís and the Dís. They begin. Heís not telling the truth, say the Rís. He speaks the gospel, say the Dís. He twists his opponents words, say the Dís. He says it as it is, say the Rís. Sheís a liar. Heís telling the truth. This is wrong. This is right. I have it in print. Whereís the paper? Canít show you. Wonít show you. Youíre despicable. Youíre an idiot. And now hereís the thing of it all. Is it possible for anyone to always tell the truth? Is it possible for anyone to always lie? As to the dilemma, is it at all possible, for us as civilians, without letting our prejudices get in the way, to really tell if it is the Readys or the Dexterouses who are lying? I think not. I think they both lie. But what do I know. The scenario I paint for you today is only make believe. Is it not?

SURVEYS: So what is a survey? If you look at something carefully and in depth, you are surveying it. And thatís okay. If you are examining a landís topography for purposes of, let us say, building a shopping mall or a residential area, thatís a survey and thatís okay too. If you are teaching a class in literature, and required reading for the week is William S. Burroughsí ďJunkyĒ (One of my favorite authors) and then, after the week has passed, you hand out a questionnaire asking your students to describe the troubles that lie within the protagonistís soul, that too is a survey and that too is okay. However, alas and alack, things have gone to extremes. Allow me to elucidate. Allow me to illuminate and explain and clarify. You go to the drug store. Your stomach is bothering you. You tell the druggist youíve got the craps and what can he do? He recommends a medicine. Then you go to the deli. Sopressata salami on onion rye with nothing else on it, you say. Itís your first visit so you willingly, and stupidly I might add, fill out a form giving them your email address. You are not aware, at this moment in time, that a salami sandwich and the craps doth not a good marriage make. You have other shopping to do. You buy some t-shirts on line. You order some other junk. All in all, youíve spent a good part of your day futzing around. And now itís noon. And the bombardments begin. You just visited our drug store. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were in our deli a little while ago. We were so so happy to serve you. Let us know how we did. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were just on line. You bought t-shirts. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. You were just on line. You bought this. You bought that. And then you bought more. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Please take two minutes to fill out our SURVEY. Good news folks. I will soon be sending you all a survey. Itís called how many of you love wasting your time on surveys? It will only take two minutes of your time. Or three. Not really much more than five. Please fill our survey out before you fill out the other surveys. We donít have the time here to fiddle away a half a day waiting while you do a million other surveys first. As to whether or not you have the time to fill out all these surveys, or as to whether or not youíre inclined to fill out these surveys, may we borrow and paraphrase a line from Clark Gable in order to say, frankly mídears, we donít give a damn.

IF THEY MADE HUMANS LIKE HUMANS MAKE COMPUTERS: I would be the first in line to present adulations to those who deserve it. I would also be the first in line to degrade and demean those inglorious bastards who try to sell us the new and improved versions of whatever it is theyíre selling. Let us take MS Word for example. Rather than progress, I think they are making every effort to make illiterates of us all. You used to click on File, and you would then get a drop down menu that enabled you to read that which it was you wanted to do, and then do it. Today you click on File, and you go to a new page that tells you what you did. Itís frivolous. I know what I did. There are no longer any directions to speak of. There are only icons. An icon to save. An icon for a font. An icon to insert a row. Who the hell needs language any longer? Hereís what the problem is. They need to show theyíre making improvements. They hire the new guy. Make changes, they tell him, or get out. So he makes what he considers to be advances. Instead of the word Save, he puts in an image of a floppy disc of days of yore. Great, says his boss. Weíll fool those dumb bastards out there who buy our stuff. Weíll make them think we invented something new. Weíll make them think weíve innovated. Hey, boss? How about if instead of saying Align Left, we make some image of various lines. Some of them aligning left. Some of them aligning right. Wonderful young man. Youíre an asset to the company. In your case we will not bother removing the et from asset. Ooh ooh. Yes? Instead of Print Preview and Print command, how about an image of a piece of paper with a magnifying glass on it. That should bewilder the dickens out of them. Oh Lord, says the boss, raising his eyes to the heavens. Thank you for sending me these geniuses. And thatís why Microsoft is trying to make illiterates of us all. Theyíre creating designs for the abysmally stupid, and theyíre even too stupid to make those designs simple. Of course, this is only my opinion. You are all welcome to disagree. Personally, I think Word has more add ons than I will probably ever need. Itís a bit like having a Designer in Chief decide to give us an extra arm behind our necks in order to enable us to more easily scratch our backs, and an extra set of eyes at our temples in order to put less a strain on our peripheral vision, and an extra hand at the base of our spines to make it easier for us to scratch our asses. M.S. is now making changes for those they think are the abysmally stupid in order to conceal their lack of progress in a maze of befuddlement. Bravo.

WHY CANíT A MAN? The answer to this weekís question lies in the last sentence. Today it is Brinkleyís pet peeve. Not mine. That said: Lesson number one. Everybody say, Oui Oui Monsieur. And say it with your best French accent. Okay. Now some instructions. When you hear me talking, simply listen. When you hear Brinkley talking, listen as though you could hear him speak with a French accent. That said, Brinkley is my dog. We walk around the block 4 times a day. Each trip is a half a mile. I can walk it in about 12 minutes or so. With Brinkley however, itís a different story. It takes a bit longer. We walk along. He suddenly strains at the leash. He speaks with a French accent. One moment please papa, he says to me. Loulou was here. Wait wait. I must smell each blade of grass. Ah, that Loulou. She is something else, I tell you. Come here papa. Bend down. Sniff that. She made her wee-wee here. Ah, the aroma. It is like perfume, wafting through the air. Ooh la la. Okay okay. Stop pulling on my leash. Iím coming. Bye bye Loulou. Oh. Wait papa. Look. Inhale. Mimi was just here. Oh. I am dizzy with excitement. That Mimi, when she leaves her doo-doo on the ground, I get a little crazy. Oh, her scent. Her spoor. Her magnificent fragrance. Smell that papa. And that. And that. Loulou and Mimi and ZsiZsi and FrouFrou. They have all come here to leave there deposits especially for me. I cannot stop papa. I smell them here. I smell them there. I simply smell them everywhere. Their fragrances are all over the place. Their bouquets are like flowers in the meadows. And when I meet one papa, oh, I tell you, I do not know where my nose will go next. Lift up your tail, ZsiZsi. Oh I tell you, roses and tulips, all in one. And you LouLou, lift up you leg. Oh. Ooh. I am going to faint. Daffodils and daisies and gardenias and lilies Ö all in the doorways leading to the excrements of my favorite womans. Aieee. Magnifique. Non? You want to sniff some, papa? Non? That is too bad. That is truly too bad. I have a question for you papa. Why canít a man be more like a dog?

MUSIC. Okay okay. This is not really a Pet Peeve. Itís more a bit of an observation and an explanation to all to whom, through the years, I have proclaimed that I do not like music. This is only a partial truth. It is a total truth as it pertains to some of what I hear today which I consider however, not to be music, but rather noise. But if I hearken back to my younger times, Teresa Brewer, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, The Big Bopper Ö that music I enjoyed as did many of my peers. My favorite of that era was Johnny Cash. Number two was Teresa Brewer. All the rest followed. Except for one. And that one was the leader of the pack for having introduced me, though a tad obliquely, to classical music. So hereís the question. How many of you who enjoyed the same era of music as I did, also enjoyed immersing themselves into classical music as I did? My answer for all of you, skeptics and mockers alike, is that you all enjoyed classical music, perhaps unbeknownst even to yourselves. Well, hereís a tidbit or two which some of you may know. Shall we start with Beethoven? A quick digression. I was a ham radio operator in my youth. I had to know Morse-code. The sound, as verbalized in code, for the letter V is: di-di-di-dah. The opening notes for Beethovenís Fifth Symphony are: di-di-di-dah. Interesting, eh wot. But Iíve got a better one. How many of you remember Neil Diamond? How many of you remember a song of his entitled ďSong Sung Blue?Ē Let us now segue to Mozart. How many of you remember hearing the second movement of Mozartís Piano Concerto #21? For those of you who do not know the Mozart piece but do know the Neil Diamond piece, I would urge you to listen to the Concerto. One is derivative of the other. The concerto is eerily similar to Song Sung Blue. It is, in fact, so eerily similar that you would have to begin to think that the possibility exists that Neil Diamond took Song Sung Blue from Mozartís Concerto #21. For those of you who think that, you are right for even Neil admits that that is the source of his song. So all of you who loved and love the music of the 50ís and 60ís and even early 70ís, and especially those of you who loved Neil Diamond, to you I say you were classical music aficionados, whether you knew it or not. And so voila!

4/1/2020:THE BIGGEST SELLING COMMODITY IN AMERICA. So hereís the question. What do you think is or was the biggest selling commodity in this country? Keep in mind that the answer is always in flux. In my humble opinion, it used to be fear. Are you afraid? Buy this pill, says the man dressed in a white coat. Are you afraid? Research has it that one pill a day will prevent your ass from falling off. Are you afraid? Rub this on your skin, says the pretty lady with ruby red lips, and all blemishes will disappear. Want your hair to grow back, eat this. Want to stop those nasty headaches, drink that. Want to regain the memory abilities of your youth, rub this into your ear, which our scientists have proven, is the direct path to your brain. Want to leap buildings in a single bound? Want to be able to read minds? Want to run faster than a speeding locomotive while wearing a big S on your chest? Want to eradicate this? Want to conquer that? Want all your worries to disappear? What to achieve financial security? Want to attract beautiful women? Want to attract handsome men? Want your bad breath to disappear? Want your feet to smell like perfume? Want your friends to stop making fun of you over your abysmal ignorance? Want to get a medical diploma and get your doctorate while youíre sleeping? Yes yes, folks. All this is possible. Just buy Doctor Benjaminís magic elixir and all your fears will be gone forever. Alas dear readers, fear is no longer the leader of the pack. Itís something else. Something far more nefarious. It is the trick used by this side to unite its followers in their efforts to conquer the other side. Many have used it, history has shown, quite successfully. How do you conquer the enemy, whether that enemy is right or wrong? What commodity do you use to turn the otherwise peaceful and lackadaisical into your allies who will join you in your mighty efforts? Easy peasy my friends. Use the most influential commodity ever sold to humans since the beginning of time. Use Hate.

OH WE MUST. WE JUST MUST. First: A paraphrase from my mother. We escaped from Belgium shortly before Hitler invaded and occupied the country. We traveled into France, after having borrowed some money, in a covered wagon, and then, via circuitous routes, made to America. After that my mother used to say there are only two ways you can tell who your true friends are. During a war, and when in need of money. I now proceed. We have all experienced this, I am sure. You meet someone as they meet you. Polite conversation ensues. It is eminently apparent to any onlooker that this meeting was not made in heaven. And yet you both smile, seemingly delighted that fortune has favored each of you with this meeting. And when itís over, you both fall over yourselves saying we must get together one day soon. Yes yes. We must. I for one cannot wait. Which, as everyone knows, is all a pile of camel droppings. Till one fine day, COVID-19 pops into our existence, and America is at war. Bad for humanity perhaps, a boon for the media. We must all be kind to each other, says this one. We must help the elderly, says that one. All this while Amazon allows its vendors to charge $600.00 for a bottle of Purell. Altruism has taken hold. Humanity among humans is making a resurgence. Is it not? You are one day taking a stroll down the street. The angels burst forth. Oh hello. How are you? If you need help, please please call me right away. And then theyíre gone. No number exchanges. No further conversation. You will be required to use telepathy if you need assistance.You stroll on. You meet another altruist. They abound. Call me if you need help. Give me your cell number and I will text you as soon as I get home in order to give you my cell number in order that you may be able to reach me if you need me. I do, however, have neighbors who text me with their numbers. I do have neighbors who tell me when they were going out shopping to see if I needed anything. They are the rare ones? You must call if you need us. Good guys to the end. Some humans, thanks to COVID-19, indeed do have a modicum of humanity imbued into their souls. Who woulda thunk it? And yet, at night, when I walk Brinkley, I carry a lead plumbing pipe swathed in black tape for invisibility Ö just in case. Altruism you see, is only diurnal. Not to worry though. Daylight is only a few hours away. And humans will always be there. Call them if you need them. Tell them we must get together. As soon as possible would be good. But not now. Later perhaps.

DOES CRIME PAY? This is not so much a peeve as it is an observation to a question that once came up. As most of you, if not all of you know, I was once in the jewelry business. Retired now in order to pursue that which does not pay my rent, but rather that which soothes my soul. Itís a heady endeavor. What I suspect many of you do not know is that there a quite a few more than just a few who were once policemen, now retired and doing work in the jewelry business. Policemen are ideal for jewelers. Not only do they have carry-licenses which allows them to keep their handguns on them, but they also have the training and know-how as to how to use them should the need arise. They are in demand in our industry as guards and delivery people and overseers. When jewelry has to be taken from here to there, there is no better qualified person to take it to its destination than a retired policeman. I have met quite a few of them when I was still working. They were all nice guys with a good sense of humor. And so it came to pass that one day, more as a spoof than anything else, that I asked one of them, ďHey Joe. Does crime pay?Ē Before I give you his answer, Iíll dash off some approximate statistics of those that get away with it. Murder = 40%. Aggravated assault = 50%. Rape = 65%. Robbery = 70%. Larceny = 80%. Automobile theft = 86%. Burglary = 86%. And so Joe, with a slight shrug of his shoulders while looking at me as though I were something of a demented imbecile, said: ďOf course it pays. Why do you think so many people are doing it?Ē And he then plopped his package on my desk, sat himself down in order that he and I might have a bit of a chit-chat before he went on his merry way. His name wasnít Joe, but he and I remained buds for a while. Joe was a font of information.

ADVICE FROM ONLINE STOCK MARKETERS: This article precludes personal advisors, some of whom are quite good. That said: Anybody out there like playing Russian Roulette? Itís a little like playing regular Roulette only you use a gun with bullets in all the chambers but one instead of spinning a wheel while all the while hoping the little white ball will land on your number. Which brings me to advice given online, at often not so nominal a cost, at times followed by ad bombardment, to would be investors as they hope those guys, who know more than they do, will help them amass a fortune. My feeling is this: If those guys knew how to amass a fortune, why would they spend their time trying to help you amass one? Altruism, like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Mickey Mouse and all the rest of the gang, are, in my mind at least, figments of the imagination that gained popularity because they appeal to dreams. In reality, you chase after that gazelle and gnaw at its throat till it dies and then eat its gizzards out till youíre sated. So how are these guys able to show you stocks they say they picked and show you the amazing growth they had? Easy peasy. I conjecture that they work backwards. They put one of the workers on it. Tell him to pick one or two hundred well performing stocks and print out their history and get that report on my desk in one hour or your ass is grass and Iím the lawnmower. And then, presto gasatz, the report is there. And you can pick the one stock for this weekís issue, RTZ&Q, that started ten years at one dollar per share and is now five hundred and sixty two dollars per share. Thatís over five hundred percent folks. If you had bought one thousand shares, as did one of our clients, they say, youíd be able to retire today. Our man started at the age of nine and retired at nineteen years of age and now lives on a South Seas island being fanned by half naked women while sipping on a Pina Colada. If you want success in life, sign up for our newsletter. Sign up now. We know what you donít know. We know that we donít know, and that is what you donít know.

FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE: Hopefully, for those who are not yet there, you are all going to get old. It happens. When you were young you always said, ďCan I have one please?Ē That phrase changed when you got older. And now you always say, ďI can remember when.Ē And thatís how it is for me today. I can remember when: I used to go into a store and all the prices were clearly labeled. I can remember when: I turned on the telly and when the ads came on all the prices were clear for all to see. Today itís a tad different. I admit I never tried this out. But I can extrapolate, can I not? The ad comes on. A pretty young thing holds up a Gizmotrite. It will drive your car, flush your toilet, wipe your ass, sweep your floors, cook dinner, and give you all the sex you could ever want. The price, if you buy within the next 30 seconds Ö only $19.99, shipping included. But for you, especially for you, because we like you so much, because we revere the very ground upon which you walk, for you we will give you a second one for free. Yessiree Babaloo. Absolutely free! No extra charge. Not another red cent. Not a farthing or a franc or a pfennig more. Just pay a separate fee. Hunh? A separate fee, you say? How much is that extra fee? You donít mention it. Oh, I have to call to find out how much it is? Surely you jest, you dimwitted troll. Anybody out there remember Diogenes? He was a Greek philosopher best known for holding a lantern up to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was looking for an honest man. Ya think he ever found one? Ya think if he lived today, heíd ever find one? Methinks not me lads and lassies. But hereís the thing. Iím going to be selling lanterns soon. Buy one, get the next one free. Only a teeny weenie extra charge for handling. Step right up folks. Get yer lanterns from Honest Benjamin. Step right up. itís free. And the moon, of course, is made of green cheese.

WHEN THE PAST IS THE PRESENT: Okay folks. Play along. Imagine if you will, that Alex has not yet been born but in spite of that, texting is rampant among the colonies. Your fingers, though a bit worn at the nubs, are lightening fast. Hey Carole. Donít forget to bring home some potatoes. Your fingers fly. Yo Jimbo. Thereís a good flic at the Zoombah movie house. John Smythe is the star. And now you wait for an interminable answer. What if their texting gadgets are not turned on? And so you wait for the invention of the century to do its thing. What would the world do without texting? And then, as if often happens, a child is born. His name is Alex. Heís a tinkerer first class. At six months old heís solving 100 piece jigsaw puzzles. By the time heís one year old, he can do 1000 piece puzzles in less than an hour. Heís a genius. And he grows up. Heís no longer called Alex. He now calls himself Alexander. He rarely comes out of his basement. Till one day a scream emanates from deep within the caverns of his house. Eureka, he yells out to the world. And they all come running in droves. What did that Alexander Graham Bell invent this time? Oh my god. Itís a telephone. We donít have to text anymore. We can call and get immediate answers. Ah. If only it had been that way. Texting would be out the window. I wouldnít have to wait for my lady to tell me if she still loves me. I could call her and speak to her live. Alas Ö too often the order of things come out inverted. And so we text ad infinitum because we always had the telephone.

2/12/2020: SEARCHES: Ah Ö the Internet. Ya gotta love it. They have the answers to everything. Anyone our there remember a radio show called The Answer Man. He was like the Web, only in human form, and more direct. What color is that planet, you asked The Answer Man. He told you it was purple. Go to the web and ask the same question and what you get is insanity. Here are some answers they give you: The planet is actually about as bright as Uranus is on a clear day in August because it is about 800 million miles away from Pluto. Click this link to read more. It is primarily the color of the frozen lava at midnight because thatís what itís mostly made up of. Click this link to read more. Perceivably, the planet has no visible seas and most of the land areas are dark green. Click this link to read more. It has overall a light terrain that mimics chalk. Click this link to read more. Take a photo of the planet with a good camera lens and then boost the saturation till you bring out the true colors. Click this link to read more. I sigh with sadness. Ask a simple question, they give you everything but that which you want to know. All the above are good. But only after weíre told that the color of the planet is blue. Simplicity and directness, it would appear, has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Helpppp!

2/12/2020:ANSWERING MACHINES: Itís time to call tech support. You dial the number. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. We really appreciate your call. At the end of this message you will be invited to participate in a short survey. Press one if you want to participate. Press two if you donít want to participate. Press three if weíre annoying the crap out of you. Press four if you want to speak to tech support. And so you press four. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. We canít tell you how much we appreciate your interest. Press one if youíre a home user. Press two if youíre a business. Press three if weíre annoying the crap out of you. And so you press one. Good morning. Thank you so much for calling. And so you yell out, give me a representative. And someone finally gets on the phone. Gooot moornink. Tank yow so mooch for callinkeh. You canít understand the accent. You barely understand the words. Give me an American, you say. Yes sir. One moment please. Click. Dial tone. And now you have to start over. Remember when we were young and an operator got on the phone and simply said may I help you sir?

2/5/2020:NO CHECKS: You want something. You want to subscribe perhaps. Checks you ask? Oh no. No no no. No checks accepted. No no. That wonít do. Credit cards only. We canít rip you off with checks, you see. But you can cancel anytime with your credit card. You have but to try it. And good luck to ya. Stonehearted? Ruthless? Us? Oh please. Benevolence is our middle name. Oh yes. Itís true. Of course. We would never make canceling difficult for you. Gift cards you say? So sorry. Also no. Well sometimes maybe. When our people are off guard perhaps. I extrapolate here folks as Iíve never paid for subscriptions with a credit card though I have, upon occasion, paid with gift cards. Safer that way. When it comes to renewables, only checks for me you see. This way I can renew whenever I want. Whether they like it or not. As to the credit card only companies? One small word of advice when you see one. Run. Run for your lives before they snag you.

1/29/2020:CORPORATE HONESTY: You ever call to complain? You ordered a this, and they sent you a that which they renamed with the same name as the this. But I bought a that, you say. This is a that, they say. But itís not a that. You start to raise your voice. And he or she goes into his or her spiel. Within his or her first five words you try to interrupt. He or she is not addressing your issue. But you canít. Itís clear. He or she is reading from a script. You have no chance to speak your piece. He or she has no interest in what you have or want to say. I have a real life example. LUMINA. Eye drops from Bausch and Lomb. Comes in two sizes. 2.5 ml and 7.5 ml. I know. I use the stuff. Boxes look exactly the same, except for small print at the bottom. How am I supposed to read that, you ask the operator who is expressing her deep distress over your dilemma while all the while you know she couldnít give a ratís ass if you lived or died. How am I supposed to know how much is in there? Thereís a picture on the carton telling you how much liquid is in the bottle, she tells you. But the bottle is opaque, you tell her. How do I know youíre telling the truth. Oh please sir. We always tell the truth. We, corporate America, never practice deception. Never you hear. Never! Never! Never!

1/22/2020:BOOKS FOR DUMMIES: I bought one the other day because I was unable to find--at the moment that I needed it-- a different publisher on the topic I wanted. I did find one later. There's much to be said about the perils of impatience. That aside, perhaps it would have been better if they called it Books For First Class Schmucks. I have trouble imagining a world that identifies itself with those titles. Yeah yeah. Gimme one. I'm an idiot. Here. Certification from the state avowing to my stupidity. Ta rah rah boom dee yay, I'm just a putz today . . .

1/15/2020:MICROSOFT: Microsoft, it has been said, is going to place a notice on all computers using windows 7, on Janaury 15, whether you want it or not, reminding, urging, even threatening one and all to upgrade to windows 10 or buy a new computer that uses windows 10, the hell with whether or not you either want or can afford to do so. Never mind the fact that about 42% of users are still using windows 7 and some are still using XP. What a financial landfall for Microsoft. Of course, there is no easy remedy. I, for one, would NEVER, EVER, urge one and all, numbering I presume to be the millions, to inundate Microsoft with emails and texts and chats protesting their invasive actions, for that would be barging into their space much as they barge into yours. So be told. Do NOT text. Do NOT email. Do NOT inundate their chats. Do NOT give them back what they gave you. That would not be fair. Would it? Or would it?

1/08/2020: INITIALS. The world, in my mind, has gone mad. Are they conserving on using letters of the alphabet to spell out whole words? Are they worried that eventually the allotted usage of letters will run out and they will then no long be able to write another sentence? They tell you nothing. They know, so they expect you to know too. The LMN of the QRS is lying dormant upon a TUV as the WTH writes his script on an XYZ form. Are they kidding? I need an Initial Dictionary to figure out what the hell those idiots are saying!