Potpourri #20  sent 6/19/6

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia outlawed PINBALL MACHINES in 1942 saying that schoolboys were stealing nickels and dimes from their mothers’ pocketbooks to feed the machines that feed the underworld.  The ban wasn’t lifted until 1976.  [James Trager]

GOT ETHICS?  At least 90 officials from federal offices of Homeland Security are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars'  worth of domestic security business.

LOYALTY CARDS at supermarkets and pharmacies offer discounts, but our buying records are being sold to life and health insurance companies who use them to evaluate our rates based on food and nonprescription drug purchases.

The Congresional Budget Office projects that a decade from now the national debt will be $12.8 trillion--more than double what it was when Bush took office. The average American has an income of about $40,000/year and has a personal savings rate of zero.  The average Chinese earns about $1,500/year but has personal savings of 23% of his income--and is lending a large chunk of these savings, via the People’s Bank of China, to the average American.  

CATTLE have a dual purpose:  they give milk and cookies--but I don’t recommend the cookies.

HUNGRY?  Why does the food industry spend $36 billion/year to convince us to buy food?

A recent NYT/CBS News poll found that 55% of Americans would be willing to support a higher gasoline tax if it reduced dependence on foreign oil.

A reprobate friend claimed that of his five senses, the one that tended to diminish the most as he got older was his sense of decency.

Adam Scott is on a MONKEY CHOW diet.  Follow his plight at angryman.ca/monkey.html

Way down upon the Mississippi, two tugboat captains who had been friends for years, would always cry "Aye!" and blow their whistles whenever they passed each other.  A new crewman asked his boat's mate, "What do they do that for?" The mate looked surprised and replied, "You mean that you've never heard of... an aye for an aye and a toot for a toot?"

Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers last week embraced a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500 -- the seventh straight year they have given themselves a raise.

In the past 40 years the definition of MARRIAGE has changed, not by a homosexual masterplan, but by an epidemic of heterosexual divorce.  “The number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq,”  says USA Today.  The divorce rate among Army enlisted personnel since 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, is up 28%.  For officers the increase is 78%.  H. Herzberg, New Yorker 6/06

JUSTICE?  There are five times as many mental patients in prison than in mental institutions.


*  The smell of sugary foods stimulates sexy feelings.  Inhaling the aroma of doughnuts increased the blood flow to men’s genitals, while banana bread triggered a similar response in women. --Alan Hirsch, M.D.

*  20 minutes of aerobic exercise spurred significant increases in women’s responses to sexual stimuli.  --University of British Columbia

*  Exercising 3-4 days/week upped the frequency and satisfaction of sex for men.  --University of San Diego

*  Couples without TVs in their bedrooms had sex an average of 7x/month, vs 4x/month for those with TVs there.  --German study

* Guys who help with the housework are seen as sexier by their partners and have more sex as a result. --Barbara Bartlik, M.D.

*  Even nonsexual contact like handholding can prompt the release of oxytocin, the so-called love hormone:  it sparks sexual arousal, relaxes you, and increases sensitivity to touch.

“O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”   The familiar line from Shakespeare’s “Othello” refers to felines that torment their prey before killing it.  --Leonard Mann

“In his very first week in office, President Bush reversed a campaign pledge to regulate CO2 emissions--a pledge that had helped persuade many voters that he was genuinely concerned about matters relating to the environment.”  --Al Gore in his book: An Inconvenient Truth.

213 of the 362 deaths associated with riding lawn mowers from 1987-1990 resulted from tip-overs.

Today we use the honorific “Mrs.”  Prior to that it was “Missus.”  And before that it was “Goodwife”  or shortened to “Goody.”

MARLBORO accounts for 4 of 10 cigarettes smoked in the U.S.  Last year, Philip Morris USA made $4.6 billion in profits.  Warren Buffett said about them: “You make a product for a penny, you sell it for a dollar and you sell it to addicts.”  20% of U.S. adults smoke--that’s 48 million people.  Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist, recently vetoed a small increase in the cigarette tax and has taken steps that, if successful, could gut the state’s antismoking campaign. --Joe Nocera, NYT Magazine, 6/18/6

A GOOD INVESTMENT?  We spend $60 billion dollars to keep 2.2 million prisoners locked up...that’s over $27,000 each.


*  bibliobibuli--people who read too much [by H.L. Mencken]

*  anon--in one and the same state or condition--without change

*  maunderer--one who is idle, incoherent or rambling in talk or writing

*  gormandizer, fustilugs, porknell, pangut, bellygod, gorbelly, swillbelly, tenterbelly, gundygut, greedygut--or you could say:  calorically challenged

CHALLENGE #8 was:  Which famous American had only two years of formal education, yet received an honorary degree from Oxford University?   He was the only Founding Father who actively campaigned against slavery?  Several knew it was Benjamin Franklin.

CHALLENGE #9 came out, for all who spent the time on it: “At the stop sign was a super market next to a McDonald’s restaurant,”  followed by “Walter Michael Mathews, Locust Valley, Long Island.”  Of course, transliterations vary as did the spelling of my name on Russian documents.

CHALLENGE #10:  The English language has at least nine nine-letter words that remain a valid word as each of its letters is successively removed. Can you find one?

Potpourri #22  SENT 6/30/6

“There’s no such thing as a good war, and there’s no such thing as a bad peace.”  Benjamin Franklin

Many FRUITS and vegetables are sprayed with a protective coating that includes shellac, derived from a tiny insect in Asia, which means that every chomp a vegan takes out of an apple comes with a side of bug larvae.

The eavesdropping of KING GEORGE:  Figure this one out: The U.S. government can't be asked to justify its secret eavesdropping on American citizens, it says, because the reason for such spying is a secret itself.

Four Manhattan restaurants still require JACKETS.

To retrieve a letter you mailed by mistake, file a free Sender’s Application for Recall of Mail at a Post Office ASAP.

The $15 billion PORN industry is bigger than the NBA or pro football.

Stanley H. KAPLAN (the cram-school king) added the H to his name when he received a C in college biology and convinced the professor the grade was for another Stanley Kaplan, and that he deserved an A.  [James Trager]

In the past 3 decades, the number of countries that abolished the DEATH PENALTY has risen from 16 to 86.  Last year 4 countries accounted for nearly all executions world-wide:  China, Iran, saudi Arabia and the U.S.  --Anna Quinlan, Newsweek

OPHTAHALMOLOGISTS around the world report remarkable success, at very low cost, injecting tiny quantities of a colon cancer drug called Avastin into the eyes of patients with wet macular degeneration, a common condition of older age. But Genentech is applying to license a fragment of Avastin, called Lucentis, packaged in the tiny quantities in the US. The cost?  £1,000 per dose instead of less than £10. The Guardian, 6/17/06  Dick Neavel

GW. Bush, through his use of "signing statements," has declared himself, on more than 750 separate occasions, above the laws of Congress, the laws of the land and even the Constitution. With each stroke of his pen, Bush wipes away more of the freedoms once guaranteed by the Constitution, undermines the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect our government from despots and brings this nation closer to the precipice. His actions come, ironically, as the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of its independence, that is threatened as never before not by Islam-spouting madmen but by an opportunistic politician with a fountain pen.

I dialed a number and got the following RECORDING: "I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call.  I am making some changes in my life.  Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

BUSH’S LEGACY:  “It requires the power of the almighty and a whole century to grow an oak tree;  but only a pair of arms, an ax and an hour or two to cut it down.”  --Francis Lieber, 19th c. political philosopher and author of America’s modern laws of war.

The LOUDEST SOUND ever heard?  It happened in 1883.  The volcano at Krakatoa which rained ash on cities 700 miles away.

C.I.A. officials referred to Mr. Cheney as “Edgar,” as in Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and that W. had to ask his domineering second to pull back a little at meetings and not offer him advice in crowded rroms so they could continue to pretend that Mr. Cheney was not the puppet-master.  Ron Suskind in “The One Percent Solution.”

A bipartisan Senate report documented more than $5.3 million in payments to RALPH REED, the former director of the Christian Coalition and a leading Republican Party strategist, from an influence-peddling operation run by the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff on behalf of Indian tribe casinos. NYT 6/23/06

Warren Buffet gets particularly upset at his country club, he said, hearing members complain about welfare mothers getting food stamps “while they are trying to leave their children a more-than-lifetime-supply of food stamps and substituting a trust officer for a welfare officer.”

The VW Beetle’s original 1945 name translates as:  Strength-Through-Joy Car.

“The motives which predominate most human affairs are self-love and self-interest.”  George Washington

From: “COAL” by Jeff Goodell:

--Every day, every American consumes, on average, 20 pounds of coal..

--Coal generates half of our electricity.

--Coal-fired power plants contribute 3/5 of all sulfur dioxide, 1/3 of all mercury, and 1/5 of all nitrogen oxide emissions in the U.S.

--”More people die of paticle air pollution than are dying of AIDS.”

--”From 1984-2004, the average coal miner’s per-shift productivity more than doubled, while wages declined by 20% (adjusted for inflation).”

Congressional “pork” has tripled to $67 Billion since Republicans took over the House in 1994.

In “The One Percent Doctrine,” Ron Suskind describes the Cheney doctrine:  “Even if there’s just a 1% chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty.  It’s not about ‘our analysis,’ as Cheney said.  It’s about ‘our response.’ ...Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters.  As to ‘evidence,’ the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn’t apply.”

Almost 1/2 our trade deficit is due to U.S. companies producing products abroad with cheap foreign labor.  2/3 of the parts for American automobiles are imported. 


Average number of cars in the U.S. is 1.9;  greater than the average household of 1.8.  Robert Sullivan

Ethanol requires 29% more energy from fossil fuels than it delivers in savings from not using gasoline.  David Pimetel, Cornell University

The rich aren’t like us, they pay less taxes.  Peter De Vries

Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed.  It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.  Oscar Wilde

From BEN STEIN [conservative republican economist]:

--Standard & Poor’s warned that if U.S. gov’t didn’t seriously alter fiscal policy, Treasury bonds would be downgraded to BBB, slightly above junk bonds by 2020. And would be junk bonds by 2025.

--The annual trade deficit with the rest of the world is approaching $1 trillion.  This means we must transfer $1 trillion of our assets to foreigners every year.  But the total worth of all U.S. assests is not much more than $50 trillion, so we are basically transferring one of our 50 states to foreign investors each year.

TORTURE has no place on American soil...that’s why we have it done in Egypt and Syria and ...

“In my first 15 or 20 years of authorship, I was almost never asked to give a speech or an interview.  The written work was supposed to speak for itself, and to sell itself, sometimes even without the author’s photograph on the back flap.”  John Updike

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.  Dorothy Parker

“A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.”  --Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, rebuking Bush in 2004.

CHALLENGE #11 was:  (1) Who made baseball fans familiar with Mississippi expressions like “havin’ a rhubarb,”  “sittin’ in the catbird seat,”  “tearin’ up the pea patch,”  and “walkin’ in tall cotton” ?  [Walter Lanier “Red” Barber];  (2) Which franchises are the best and worst of all sports?  [My current local team, and my boyhood team, respectively:  The New York Yankees have won more championships than any other team in the history of sports.  Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Phillies is the worst franchise winning the fewest over the most years.

CHALLENGE # 12:  In 1991 the son of Frank Lifschitz had left Brooks Brothers and copied his ex-employer’s styles for his line.  He changed his name to what?

Potpourri #23  SENT  7/7/6

Woman was God’s SECOND mistake.  Friedrich Wilhelm Nitzsche

On his Web site, MALCOLM GLADWELL, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink wrote an apologia pro vita sua:

“If I could vote (and I can’t because I’m Canadian)  I would vote Democrat.  I am pro-choice and in favor of gay marriage.  I believe in God.  I think the war in Iraq is a terrible mistake.  I am a big believer in free trade.  I think, on balance, taxes in America--particularly for rich people--ought to be higher, not lower.  I think smoking is a terrible problem and that cigarette manufacturers ought to be subjected to every possible social and political sanction.  But I think that filing product liability lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers is absurd.  I am opposed to the death penalty.  I hate S.U.V.s. I think many C.E.O.s are overpaid.  I think there is too much sex and violence on television.”

All the problems we face in the US today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.  Pat Paulsen

The American system of HEALTH CARE is economically inefficient, much costlier than more socialized models abroad and deeply unpopular with a majority of Americans, who are ready to pay for increased government intervention even if that means higher taxes.  That democratic majority remains unheard because “the pharmaceutical and financial industries and other private powers are strongly opposed.”  Noam Chomsky in “Failed States”

Things are tough for Bush, I saw him at a bar the other night telling the bartender “My country doesn’t understand me.”

WE WERE BORN on the African savanna, according to fossil and DNA evidence.

Mitochondrial DNA shows we are all children of one ancestral female who lived there about 150,000 years ago--and only her family survived.  Our earliest male ancestor, traced via Y chromosome, also lived in Africa about 60,000 years ago.  “We’re all effectively cousins, separated by no more than 2,000 generations,” said Spencer Wells, a population geneticist who did the research for National Geographic. He traced the first out-of-Africa migration to Australia about 50,000 years ago.  And a second one about 5,000 years later to Central Asia, some of whom, several thousand years later, moved on to Europe, Asia and the Americas.

It’s a fascinating story.  Be a part of it, and learn the deep history of your own DNA by joining the Genographic Project of National Geographic for about $100.  GOTO www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.  Jonathan Swift

A woman's husband dies. He had left $50,000 to be used for an elaborate  funeral. After everything is done at the funeral home and cemetery, she tells her closest friend that "there is absolutely nothing left from the $50,000."

The friend asks, "How can that be?"

The widow says, "Well, the funeral cost was $6,500. And of course I  made a donation to the church -- that was $500, and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks -- you know. The rest went for the memorial stone."

The friend says, "$42,500 for the memorial stone? My God, how big is it?"

The widow says, "Four and a half carats."    --Philip Saif

Every day 1,500 cars are sold in Beijing;  like the U.S., gas is gov’t-subsidized but at about $2/g. By 2030 China’s CO2 emissions will exceed those of the U.S., the world’s largest producer.  NYT, 7/2/6

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.  George Bernard Shaw

2/3 of people have had a “DEJA VU” experience [from the French: “already seen”].  --Alan Brown, SMU

59% of teenagers never wore a watch.   NPD Group poll.

Scientology is “a library of one author”...Wicca is “less a religion that emerged from nature than one attempting to reconnect with it”...the Trinity is “triplets perched on the fence between polytheism and monotheism.”  --from “The Devil is a Gentleman” by J.C. Hallman

“Virtually everyone in JFK’s book [Profiles in Courage] lost his next election.”  Larry Sabato, UVA

STATES RIGHTS?  Since 2001 Congress has enacted 27 laws that preempt state authority in areas from air pollution to consumer protection.  Rep. Henry Waxman

FARECAST.COM is a beta version that helps you decide WHEN to buy an air ticket based on price.

The CIA abandoned the BIN LADEN TASK FORCE.  --current news report

Last year the U.S. Congress gave more than 5X as much aid per capita to Israel than to the Palestinians.  One of every $4 Israel spends on its military comes from U.S. taxpayers.  --ad in NYT

Countries whose people say the U.S. in Iraq is a “GREATER DANGER” to world peace than Iran:  Turkey, Jordan, Spain, Russia, Britain, France, Pakistan and India. --Pew Global Attitudes Project, Apl-May 2006

GOTO www.brl.ntt.co.jp/people/hara/fly.swf  for a puzzle in motion --John Eckert

The Jews are a frightened people.  Nineteen centuries of Christian love have broken down their nerves.  Israel Zangwill

CHALLENGE # 12 was:  In 1991 the son of Frank Lifschitz had left Brooks Brothers and copied his ex-employer’s styles.  He changed his name to what?

Several of you knew that Ralph Lifschitz became Ralph Lauren [the 1991 date was when BB stopped making custom clothing due to RL’s competition].

CHALLENGE #13:  Settled first in 1660 and later known as Oude Dorp [Old Town], this island’s wooded ridges are the highest on the eastern seaboard south of Mount Desert Island on the Maine coast.   Name it?         

POTPOURRI #24   sent 7/14/6

85% of PET owners admit to having told their bosses that they have come down with something but actually spent their day tending to their animal companion.  --Cosmopolitan

WALNUT:  “wal” comes from the Latin meaning “foreigner”...similar to the Greek word “Welsch” with the same meaning...wal in the first case...from Wales in the second

Three months after the Medicare prescription drug program went into effect, drug companies have increased the price of brand-name drugs by 3.9% on average.  --www.aarp.org/watchdog

AND, drug companies get a $2 billion windfall shifting 6.4 million older Americans from Medicaid to the Medicare prescription program this year.  Under Medicaid drug companies must charge their lowest price--not so with Medicare.  --RPM Report

Who is DAVID S. ADDINGTON?  And why is he shredding the U.S. Constitution? ...and been the “leading architect” of > 750 presidential “signing statements”?

If CON and PRO are opposites, is Congress the opposite of Progress?

From Roger Lowenstein [NYT mag 7/9/6]:

--About 1 in 7 girls in the developing world (excluding China) gets married before her 15th birthday.

--Approximately 20% of black males without HS diplomas are in jail.

--90 years ago, some signs were in German, as were 500 newspapers on American soil.

--Average incomes:  Native-born workers--$45,400;  All immigrants--$37,000; Mexican immigrants--$22,300

--Average income of male workers:  College grads--$73,000;  People w/some college--$41,000;  HS grads--$32,000;  Dropouts--$24,800

--in many cases immigrants create new jobs, e.g., nail parlors, lawn maintenance, child/house care.

WHAT???  Bush claims that the Evironmental Protection Agency does NOT have the authority to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  It now goes to his Supreme Court to decide.

“’Obscenity’ or ‘pornography’ is a crime without definition or victim.  It is a bag of smoke used to conceal one’s own dislikes with regard to aspects of sex.”  --Ralph Ginzburg who died last week at 76

Older Americans spend more than twice as much as Brits, per capita, on health care, but the English are far more healthy with lower rates of heart disease, stoke, diabetes and cancer.  JAMA

Re the Administration’s legal defense of TORTURE, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said:  “No position taken has done more damage to the American reputation in  the world---ever.”

FLASH:  Xerox and Wurlitzer will merge to market reproductive organs.

FDA LETS PHARMA SLIDE:  Drug makers routinely fail to file status reports with the federal government that show what kind of progress they have made in conducting safety studies, concluded the inspector general for the Health and Human Services Department. Investigators found that 35% of status reports that drug makers were supposed to file in fiscal year 2004 were missing entirely or contained no information on agreed-to studies.

ORNERY is a dialect use of “ordinary” and has also been spelled awnry, o'nary, onery, onry, ornary, and ornry. All of these spellings are written representations of the way people pronounced ordinary. What's interesting is that, instead of just remaining a dialect form of "ordinary," ornery developed a meaning of its own and became a completely new standard English word.

Which state motto is: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Laugh.

TOO MANY DOCTORS.  “Miami has 40% more doctors per capita than Minneapolis and 50% more specialists...The elderly in Miami do not live longer than in Minneapolis...and the essential quality of care in...Miami is no higher than in ...Minneapolis...when more doctors are around, patients spend more time in hospitals, and hospitals are risky places.  More than 100,000 deaths a year are estimated to be caused by medical mishaps.”  David C. Goodman, NYT 6/10/6

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

31% of workers 40 or older have not yet saved any money for retirement.  AARP

LOUIS XIV said:  “I am the State.”  [sounds current, doesn’t it?]

The ZEN MASTER goes up to the hot dog cart and says," Make me one  with

everything." The vendor fixes it and hands it to the Zen Master,  who pays with a $20 bill.  The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. "Where's my change?" asks the Zen Master. And the vendor responds, "Change

must come from within."

“MR. PEANUT” was created by a 14-year-old boy in a contest 90 years ago.

Nearly 15 million people would benefit from raising the minimum wage, including 1.4 million single parents. With no raise since 1997, they took a 20% pay-cut since then. Adjusted for inflation, the min-wage worker has the lowest buying power she's had in 51 years. (65% are women.)  A min-wage job of 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year pays $10,700, or $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. The average CEO pay CEO is up 73% in the last five years. At that rate, the min-wage now would be $8.34, not $5.15.

Justification by the Administration:  Strip Mining Prevents Forest Fires.

“Pitbull” Congressman SENSENBRENNER [R, WI], the father of the harsh immigration bill in the House, reaped a fortune from a great-grandfather who invented Kotex.  Nine years ago he won $250,000 in the lottery.

Two states have enacted universal health plans where insurance STICKS TO THE PERSON not the job.  [Mass & Vt]  Where’s the Fed?

Taxation WITH representation ain't much fun either.

The Bush administration upped its funding for energy alternatives, but CUT funds for conservation and energy efficiency.  [Business Week]...DOE says that each 5 miles/hour you drive over 60 is like paying an extra 20 cents/gallon of gas.

KNOW THY PHYSICIAN.  4% of the tens of thousands of recent debifrillator implants had at least one complication during the implant.  The Bush administration has decided to withold information identifying the doctors involved, citing “patient confidentiality,” even though the NYT FOI request didn’t ask for patient names.

CHALLENGE #13 was:  Settled first in 1660 and later known as Oude Dorp [Old Town], this island’s wooded ridges are the highest on the eastern seaboard south of Mount Desert Island on the Maine coast.   Name it?     “Staten Island” said Jim S., Ken R., Jerry and JP.

CHALLENGE #14:  ONE THOUSAND contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A. In at least four languages, that are officially written with the Latin alphabet, you can count until one million (and more), without using the vowel “e.”     They start with A---,  C---, H--- and O---.  Any ideas?

POTPOURRI #25  sent 7/21/6

CATERCORNER has eight accepted spellings in standard dictionaries: catercorner, cater-cornered, catacorner, cata-cornered, catty-corner, catty-cornered, kitty-corner, and kitty-cornered. Another dictionary has cater-corner.

If your feet smell and your nose runs, you're built upside down.

“The Bush I knew was part scamp and part bumbler, a timeless fraternity boy and heedless cutup, a weekday gym rat and weekend napster, an adult with an inner child that often brimmed to the surface or burst through.”  --Frank Bruni in “Ambling Into History.”

Who introduced the BROOM to America?  Ben Franklin!

As 2006 began there were 15 significant ongoing armed conflicts (1000 deaths minimum) and another 23 “hot spots” that could slide into war.  --Friends Committee on Natiional Legislation

London Bridge DID FALL DOWN during a storm in 1091.

KWIKWIZ (answers below)

1.  The drink from the juice of apples is called cider.  What if it were pears?

2.  Which animal is blamed for more deaths than any other?

3.  If “distaff” is the female branch, what is the male branch?

4.  Who built the first U.S. ski slope?

5.  Who is said to have introduced the broom to America?

IMPOTENCE is nature’s way of saying “No Hard Feelings.”

The word TABOO, also spelled tabu, is one of the very rare words in English that comes from Tongan, the Polynesian language of Tonga, an island east of Fiji. Another is kava, which is an intoxicating drink made from the root of a particular plant.

A friend of mine confused her valium with her birth control pills.. She had

14 kids, but doesn't give a shit.

JODIE FOSTER’s first acting job:  at age 3 she was the bare-butt girl in the Coppertone ad.

In 2002 Defense Secretary RUMSFELD described those held at Guantanamo as “among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth.” He also said they are “the worst of the worst.”  But a recent Seton Hall Law School study shows that just 8% of the detainees were even said by the government to be Qaeda fighters.  --Joseph Margulies

The BIKINI was invented 60 years ago and no model would wear it, so a stripper was hired to first display it.  Walt Disney would not allow Annette Funicello to wear one in her beach movies.

All three members of the AXIS OF EVIL--Iraq, Iran and North Korea--are “more dangerous than they were when that phrase was coined in 2002.”  --George Will wrote in March.   So is Afghanistan, which is spiraling into Taliban-and drug-lord anarchy w/o enough troops or assistance to secure it.

36% of Americans ages 18-29 have a TATTOO.  J. of the Amer. Acad. of Dermatology.

From Jane Brody [NYT, 6/11/6]--BIGGER AIN’T BETTER:

-- Average pasta portion in restaurant is 480% greater than the 1-cup serving size.

-- Some cookies are 700% larger.

-- A bagel now weighs 5-6 oz.--that’s 5-6 bread portions (not counting butter/cream cheese).

-- Drinks are 24 oz. or larger--and most of us eat/drink what we pay for.

-- “The cheapest dining establishments serve the most food.”

Bourbon drinkers are disproportionately Republican and gin drinkers disproportionately Democrat.  --Karl Rove’s research

The first MOVING PICTURE was made in Australia.

The Administration tells “only half the story, the part that makes us look good,” and keeps the other half classified.  --former CIA analytical chief, Jami Miscik, in “The One Percent Solution.”

OLD is when..... Your sweetie says, "Let's go upstairs and make love," and you answer, "Honey, I can't do both!"

OLD  is when..... Your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you're barefoot.

OLD is when..... A sexy babe catches your fancy and your pacemaker opens the garage door.

OLD is when..... Going bra-less pulls all the wrinkles out of your face.

OLD is when..... You don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along.

OLD is when..... You are cautioned to slow down by the doctor instead of by the police.

OLD is when..... "Getting a little action" means I don't need to take any fiber today.

OLD is when..... "Getting lucky" means you find your car in the parking lot.

OLD is when..... An "all nighter" means not getting up to pee!

CHALLENGE #14 was:  ONE THOUSAND contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A. In at least four languages, that are officially written with the Latin alphabet, you can count until one million (and more), without using the vowel “e.”  

AYMARA (a native group who have lived in the Andes for over 2,000 years and were subjects of the Inca and later the Spanish; their language is one of a handful of Native American languages with over a million speakers--about 2.3 million;  the word means “ancient language”)

CHICHEWA (a language of the Bantu famly widely spoken in south-central Africa and one of the two official languages of Malawi)

HAOUSSA (one of the principal commerical languages of West Africa and the national language of Niger, with 25 million speakers)

OUIGOUR (spoken by about 9 million people, mostly in Central Asia). 

...Press 1 for English.

KWIKWIZ answers:

1.  Calais.

2.  Rats.

3.  Spear.

4.  FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps; and they planted billions of trees nationally.

5.  Ben Franklin.

CHALLENGE #15: Why is PIKES PEAK spelled w/o an apostrophe?  Why does LANDS’ END have the apostrophe in the wrong place?  Why is the city of Mullens, WV not spelled the way the town’s namesake, Mr. Mullins, spelled his name?  Why do Louisianans specify “crawfish,” and not “crayfish”?  Why is Joliet, IL only pronounced correctly as “JOE-lee-et”?  [The answers have a theme.]

POTPOURRI #26 --  the Christianity edition  sent7/29/6

What causes all this trouble is that we have 10,000 laws to enforce the Ten Commandments.

For over 300 years, Allegri’s famous MISERERE has been sung during Holy Week in Rome’s  Sistine Chapel.  It was considered so sacred that for over a century after it was written anyone who attempted to transcribe its score faced excommunication.  In 1739, a 13-year-old boy wrote the score from memory after hearing it twice.  Soon it was published in England. Nothing came of the threat.  The boy was Mozart.

“If the great Way is made clear, it is not the Way.”  Chuang-tzu, a Taoist philosopher/teacher from China 4th c. B.C.E.

A cult is a religion with no political power.  Tom Wolfe

"There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; my philosophy is kindness."  The Dalai Lama

Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.  Ambrose Bierce

The Rev. Don Hardman, a traveling evangelist from Virginia, was preaching to the congregation during a storm. According to the Bible, Mr. Hardman told the crowd, God's voice often sounds like thunder. "That's right, God! We hear you!" he said, looking heavenward, and — KA-POW! — a bolt of lightning struck the  First Baptist Church in the small town of Forest, Ohio, setting it ablaze.  --July 1, 2003 from the Toledo Blade

The meaning of life is that it stops.  Franz Kafka

All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.  Stendhal

HEBREW had been a dead language for 2,300 years before being revived by the Jews in Israel as their common language.  There is no other case of the resurrection of a dead language.

I’m a born-again atheist.  Gore Vidal

Texas Governor George W. Bush signed a memorandum on 17 April 2000 proclaiming 10 June to be 'Jesus Day' in Texas, and supported it being a national celebration.

If God created us in his own image we have more than reciprocated.  Voltaire

DOROTHY PARKER named her parrot Onan because the bird spilled its seed upon the ground.

Which is it:  Is man one of God’s blunders, or is God one of man’s blunders?  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche

23rd QUALM [from Carla]

  Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.

  He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.

  He leadeth me into still wilderness

  He restoreth my fears.

  He leadeth me into the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.

  Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,

  I will find no exit, for thou art in office.

  The tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.

  Thou preparest an agenda of deception in presence of thy religion.

  Thou anointest my head with foreign oil. My health insurance runneth out.

  Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term,

  And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good and not quite all the time.  George Orwell

From Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, discoverer of the genetic code:  “Christianity is all right between consenting adults but should not be taught to children.”

If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be--a Christian.  Mark Twain

The 18th c. Italian Cardinal Mezzofanti spoke 53 languages fluently, another 61 almost as well, and understood 72 more dialects, for a total of 186.  He never left Italy in his entire life.

The last Christian died on the cross.  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche














Christian. n.  One who follows the teachings of Christ insofar as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.  Ambrose Bierce


6.  When was the Ark of the Covenant lost?

7.  In 1739 John Wesley founded the United Society which is today called?

8.  How did halos originate?

9.  The first American Bible was printed in which language?

10.  How many women were in the Ark with Noah?

11.  How old was Noah when the ark was completed?

12.  Was the sun god or the war god first to be worshipped?

13.  How did Mohammed die?

14.  To what did God change Jacob’s name?

15.  What colors were the horses of the four horsemen of the apocalyse?

THE HUMAN SOUL WEIGHTS 21 GRAMS.  That’s based on the research of Dr. Duncan MacDougall who made meticulous measurements of six patients in the end stages of terminal illness (NYT, 3/11/1907).  He later tried to take X-ray pictures of the departing soul (NYT, 2/5/1911).  The title of the 2003 film “21 Grams” was taken from this belief.


Preach the Gospel always--if necessary, use words.  St. Francis of Assissi

It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.  Mark Twain

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies;  probably because they are generally the same people.  G.K. Chesterton

Scriptures, n.  The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.  Ambrose Bierce

The inspiration of the Bible depends on the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it.  Robert G. Ingersoll




   GOD BLESS EVERYONE (No exceptions)







Not just stem-cell research:  The federal government originally refused to finance IN VITRO fertilization denouncing it as immoral.

MORAL VALUE OF COFFEE?  Despite suppression on religious and political grounds, coffee became the universal beverage of Islam.  It was then opposed by Italian churchmen as a drink of the infidel, but was Christianized by Pope Clement VIII. 

From DICK N.:

At KENNETH LAY’s memorial service, The Rev. Bill Lawson compared Lay with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ. "No one can fault Lawson for being positive, but in comparing Lay to Jesus, he went too far," editorialized the San Antonio Express-News (7/17)

A federal judge ruled in May that a 29-foot cross could not stand in a San Diego municipal park because it violated a state constitutional prohibition on the governmental endorsement of any one religion. On July 19, the U.S. House voted 349 to 74 to acquire the park and cross. (NYT 7/20)

DON'T LISTEN TO THE DEVIL. Texas is prosecuting Andrea Yates for murdering her 5 children.  State claims she knew it was wrong because she says the devil told her to. On the other hand, Deanna Laney murdered her children because God told her to. State says she is innocent because she must have believed what she was doing was right.

KWIKWIZ answers:

  6.  During the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzer.

  7.  Methodists.

  8.  They were metal disks placed on statues to protect them from the weather.

  9.  Indian in 1663.

10.  Four: Noah’s wife, Shem’s wife, Ham’s wife and Japheth’s.

11.  600 years old.

12.  The sun god...early man was peaceful

13.  He was poisoned.

14.  Israel.

15.  War, Death, Famine & Pestilence rode horses that were white, red, black & pale.

Dan Brown’s DA VINCI CODE was banned in Iran after protests by Christian clergymen.  Iran has 69 million Muslims and 100,000 Christians.

Russell Simmons said: “They told me God doesn’t sell, God isn’t sexy.  I think God is sexy.” He will market a new cologne in September called ATMAN, a Sanskrit word that means “divine self” or “God.”

A FINAL THOUGHT:  GOTO  www.inspiringthots.net/movie/st-francis.php

CHALLENGE #15 was: Why is PIKES PEAK spelled w/o an apostrophe?  Why does LANDS’ END have the apostrophe in the wrong place?  Why is the city of Mullens, WV not spelled the way the town’s namesake, Mr. Mullins, spelled his name?  Why do Louisianans specify “crawfish,” and not “crayfish”?  Why is Joliet, IL only pronounced correctly as “JOE-lee-et”?

ANSWER:  Mistakes and laws and practice to support them.

The Colorado legislature established the correct spelling of Pikes Peak in 1978. The first printing of Land’s End had a printer’s error that was continued. The voters of Mullens voted to retain the misspelling.  The Louisiana legislature enacted a law specifying that "crawfish" should not be spelled with a "y." In Joliet, Illinois, it is illegal to pronounce the name of the town in any way other than "JOE-lee-et."

CHALLENGE #16:  Did Michaelangelo sign any of his works?

POTPOURRI #27--the New York edition  sent 8/10/6


New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village--the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up.  E.B. White

I’d rather be a lamppost in New York than the mayor of Chicago.  Jimmy Walker, Mayor, 1926-32

New York attracts the most talented people in the world in the arts and professions.  It also attracts them in other fields.  Even the bums are talented.  Edmust Love

Other cities consume culture, New York creates it.  Paul Goldberger

It’s a place where everyone will stop watching a championship fight to look at an usher giving a drunk the bum’s rush.  Damon Runyon

What else can you expect from a town that’s shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?  O. Henry

A little strip of an island with a row of well-fed folks up and down the middle, and a lot of hungry folks on each side.  Harry Leon Wilson, 1902

Here I was in New York, city of prose and fantasy, of capitalist automation, its streets a triumph of cubism, its moral philosophy that of the dollar.  New York impressed me tremendously because, more than any other city in the world, it is the fullest expression of our modern age.  Leon Trotsky, My Life, 1930

The beautiful city, the city of hurried and sparkling waters! The city of spires and masts! The city nested in bays! My city! The city of such women, I as mad with them! I will return after death to be with them! The city of such young men, I swear I cannot live happy without I often go talk, walk, eat, drink, sleep with them!  --Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1900

There are two million interesting people in New York--and only 78 in Los Angeles.  Neil Simon

When it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London.  Bette Midler

When an American stays away from New York too long, something happens to him.  Perhaps he becomes a little provincial, a little dead, a little afraid.  --Sherwood Anderson

New York is a different country.  Maybe it ought to have a separate government.  Everybody thinks differently, acts differently.  They just don’t know what the hell the rest of the United States is.  Henry Ford

It’s a city where everyone mutinies but no one deserts.  Harry Hershfield

Personally, I’ve always favored New York because this is one city where you don’t have to ride in the back of the bus.  Not that they’re so liberal--it’s just that in New York, nobody moves to the back of the bus.  --Dick Gregory

New York is the city of brotherly shove.

East side, west side, all around the town,

The tots sang ring-around-rosie, London Bridge is falling down;

Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke,

Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York.  James W. Blake

New York is an ugly city, a dirty city.  Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.  But once you have lived in New York and it has become your home no place is good enough!  John Steinbeck

New York meets the most severe test that may be applied to the definition of a metropolis--it stays up all night.  But also it becomes a small town when it rains.  John Gunther

New York will be a great place if they ever finish it.  O. Henry

Sunday morning in New York is like no other time.  From dawn until 10 the city is like an unborn fetus.  Mickey Spillane in “The Killing Man,” 1989.

I read big fat LES MISERABLES for weeks while I took the IRT subway for my Wednesday allergy shots.  I needed to know Jean Valjean lived a more miserable life than I did.  E.L. Doctorow


“[New Yorkers] are people who get acquainted with neighbors by meeting them in Miami.”  Marjorie Steele

[Like] most native New Yorkers I was born out of town...  Harry Hershfield

I hope to paint something that will ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch who ever eats in that room.  --Mark Rothko, on his commission for the Four Seasons Restaurant

See that gold Cadillac down the street?  That’s the color I want those handrails.  Gold.  Cadillac gold.  Not yellow like a daisy.  --Donald Trump on the handrails in Trump Tower

Donald never had the net worth he claimed.  What he did have was trophy properties, brass balls and a big mouth.  A lawyer friend of The Donald’s

We ought to change the sign on the Statue of Liberty to read, “This time around, send us your rich.”  Felix Rohatyn

In New York we simply assumed that we were the best--in baseball as well as intellect, in brashness and in subtlety, in everything--and it would have been unseemly to remark upon such an obvious fact.  Michael Harrington

TREE is the number between 2 and 4.  JEINTZ is the name of the NY professional football team.  A FIT is a bottle measuring seven ounces less than a quart.  This exotic tongue has no relationship to any of the approved languages at the UN, and is only slightly less difficult to master than Urdu.  Fletcher Knebel

SOME ANECDOTES:  A NY state of mind

I used to see Mrs. Astor [now 104 years old] in her carriage, and she looked like a very silly woman to me.  There were stories about her, that once she got on a bus and the driver passed the fare box to her.  She said, “No thank you, I have my own charities.”  --Miss Cordelia Deal

When a socialist harangued Andrew Carnegie about redistribution of wealth, Carnegie asked his secretary for two numbers--the world’s population and the value of his assets.  He divided the latter by the former, then said to his secretary, “Give this man 16 cents.  That is his share of my net worth.”  --George Will

Mass is said in 23 different languages in this city.  --Ed Koch, Mayor, 1978-89

Ride the New York subways one day.  You could fall in love or get snake bitten or see a baby born.  Hear a conductor do Elvis routines between stops.  Buy a cabbage or a condom....Every car on the local trains that leaves the station will be filled to its “crush load” capacity of 180--and then, the records show, another 3.42 will pry themselves in.  --Jim Dwyer

If you live in New York, even if you’re Catholic, you’re Jewish.  --Lenny Bruce

He said it was because I loved horses, but I think he had this dream that I’d lose my accent.  --Penny Marshall on why her father sent her to college at the University of New Mexico

I wound up putting a big sign on the front lawn listing all the people I didn’t like.  The list included the whole block, and I moved away amidst cheers and lawsuits.  --Jimmy Breslin

Ya gotta be careful if ya don’t know where ya goin’, ‘’cause you might not get dere.  --Yogi Berra

One of the ways I save energy is by asking my servants not to turn on the self-cleaning oven until after seven in the evening.  --Betsy Bloomingdale


There are more FRENCH restaurants in NYC than in Paris.

Some jewelry boxes had deadly devices for unauthorized openings.  One was sold in NY and measured 14/20/10 inches, with a bottom and top lock.  If the top lock was open when the case was opened, the four doors instantly flew open, and a pistol fired from each door.

An Osaka-based manufacturer of traditional Japanese buddhist altars (butsudan) for home-based ancestor worship (kuyo), opened a showroom called Gallery Memoria on W. 26th St.

The smallest county in America is better known as Manhattan.

The first commercially made ice cream in the US was sold by Mr. Hall in NYC in 1786

In 1896 a chef of the Chiunese Ambassador Li Hung-Chang devised a dish in NY to appeal to both American and Asian tastes:  He called it chop suey.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty run on wind power.

In 1952 the first train ran w/o motormen or conductors between Times Square and Grand Central Station.  However, the non-functioning motorman was on board as required by the Transit Workers Union.

The first US auto accident was in NYC on May 30, 1896 when a man from Massachusetts hit a bicycle rider.  The first person to die in a car accident was Henry Bliss, who was run over as he exited a NYC streetcar on September 13, 1899.

On October 18, 1961, an abstract painting by Henri Matisse entitled “Le Bateau” was inadvertantly hung upside down in the Museum of Modern Art.  The mistake went unnoticed for 47 days as over 100,000 people viewed it.

The WHYOS, a Brooklyn gang of mobsters, issued a printed list for potential clients: Punching, $2; both eyes blackened,  $4; nose and jaw broken, $10; jacked out (stunned w/blackjack), $15; ear chewed off, $15; leg or arm broken, $19; shot in leg, $25; doing the big job, $100.

Mary Mallon, known as “Typhoid Mary,” was blamed for spreading typhoid to  thousands of people, the truth is 33,  of whom 3 died.  She never contracted the disease and continued to work, handling food, under assumed names.  She was permanently confined in 1915 until she died in 1938.

The first sidewalk in the US was laid in 1657 on Stone Steet in NYC.


DAMN YANKEES.  The Yankee tradition started in 1915 when Jacob Ruppert and T. Huston paid a record $450,000 for a baseball club that had spent two decades as cellar dwellers in the upstart American League.  Ruppert set the tone that winning was everything:  “There is no charity in baseball, I want to win the pennant every year, and the bigger the margin of victory, the better.”  After dominating baseball for decades, the Yankees languished in the years after CBS bought them in 1964.  Steinbrenner and company bought them in 1973 for $10 million--$3 million less than CBS had paid for them.  Now the franchise is worth $1 billion, nearly 70% more than the next most valuable, Red Sox, and nearly three times more than the average major league team.   They sold more than 4 million tickets last year, and their payroll is $195 million--the biggest by far.  The new, smaller, stadium (2009) will cost $1 billion and will raise average ticket price from $45 to $57. Steinbrenner, the longest serving owner in baseball, is 76 and as crusty as ever.  --from Ken Belson, NYT, 7/23/6.

Some kids want to join the circus...others want to be big-league baseball players...When I came to the Yankees I got to do both.  Graig Nettles

When we won the league championship, all the married guys on the club had to thank their wives for putting up with all the stress and strain all season.  I had to thank all the single broads in New York.  --Joe Namath

Sure I played, did you think I was born at the age of 70 in a dugout trying to manage guys like you?  --Casey Stengel, when asked by Mickey Mantle if he had ever played ball

It gets late early out there.  --Yogi Berra on the coming of fall at Yankee Stadium

The team has come along slow but fast.  --Casey Stengel on the Mets

Pitching is the art of instilling fear.  --Sandy Koufax

New Yorkers love it when you spill your guts out there.  Spill your guts at Wimbledon and they make you stop and clean it up.  --Jimmy Connors

There are three things you can do in a baseball game.  You can win, or you can lose, or it can rain.  --Casey Stengel


Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003? Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq. People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.

PENSION PORK.  Defense contractors, airlines and a food company are among those singled out for different treatment under a massive pension overhaul bill that Congress could send to the White House as early as this week.

On Monday Bush declared himself absolute ruler, saying: It's “my government.”  Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, said the Constitution establishes a government "of the people, by the people and for the people." The Declaration of Independence starts with phrase "We the people." They say nothing of turning the government over to any elected official so that it becomes "my government."  Presidents have administrations and they can, and usually do, refer to such as "my administration." But Bush, it seems, feels his power is absolute and the government of this nation belongs not to the people but to him and him alone.

BUSH SHIELD. Political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel would not face prosecution for humiliating or degrading wartime prisoners under amendments to a war crimes law drafted by the Bush administration, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq and a majority would support a partial withdrawal of troops by year's end, a CNN poll said on Wednesday.

Sporting new breasts and draped in a cream-colored, ankle-length gown, porn star Mary Carey, who gained worldwide fame running for California governor in 2003, set out on Wednesday to do what she could not three years ago -- beat Arnold Schwarzenegger.

CHALLENGE #16 was:  Did Michaelangelo sign any of his works?

Jerry had the best answer:  “Shortly after it was installed, Michelangelo overheard someone remark that it was the work of the inferior sculptor Cristoforo Solari.

Enraged, Michelangelo carved MICHAELA[N]GELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTIN[US] FACIEBAT (Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this) on the sash running across Mary's breast. It was the only work he ever signed.”

CHALLENGE #17:  Which world leader has a fascination with Alexander the Great and named three of his sons after him?

POTPOURRI #28   sent 8/15/6

The first ice cream soda was concocted by Robert Green of Philadelphia in 1874,  adding ice cream to plain soda water.  The first ice cream cone appeared at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Expo in St. Louis when an ice cream salesman gave it to his date.  The salesman, Charles Menches, gave an ice cream sandwich and a bouquet of flowers to his escort, and she rolled one of the layers of the sandwich into a cone to hold the flowers.

During the 12th c., Sutoku, Emperor of Japan spent a three-year exile copying a Buddhist religious work of 10,500 words, in his own blood.

Among mammals, only men and monkeys are capable of distinguishing colors.

Hindus in India play more varieties of musical instruments (several thousand) than are found in all other countries combined, and virtually all their early instruments remain in use.

The YE in such expressions as “Ye Olde Shoppe” is pronounced like the word THE.  The letter Y in Anglo-Saxon indicated the same TH sound apparent in the current spelling.

“I have an aversion to ‘Democrat’ as an adjective.  Dear Joe McCarthy used to do that, and received a rebuke from this at-the-time 24-year-old.  It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided.  Granted there are difficulties, as when one desires to describe a “democratic” politician, and is jolted by possible ambiguity.  But English does that to us all the time, and it’s our job to get the correct meaning transmitted without contorting the language.”  --William F. Buckley in a 2000 column in National Review.  [But Karl Rove has Bush et alia use it consistently.]

A United Nations study forsees 5 billion of the world’s 7.9 billiion people in 2025 facing a scarcity of clean water.

Pedagoge is the name of the slave who took rich kids to their teacher.


16.  Where is the largest unfiltered water system in the U.S.?

17.  Where was helium discovered before it was found on earth?

18.  Why was grapefruit so called?

19.  What is the literal meaning of “peninsula”?

20.  What is our common name for the people the Italians called Zingari, the Spanish Gitanos, and the French Bohemians?

21.  Can a rabbit run faster uphill than downhill?

22.  These two American inventors born within 10 years of 1800 helped finance themselves as young men by portrait painting.

23.  Are zebra stripes white or black?

24.  The farther north a bird summers, the farther south it winters?

25.  How many mouths has a sponge?

Due to the shower of meteoric materials, mostly dust, falling from the sky, the weight of the earth increases by about 100,000 pounds each year.

Bees don’t wander aimlessly among flowers.  Many flowers produce nectar at only certain times of the day, and bees follow their timetables.

Barbara Bush donated over $30,000 to a hurricane relief fund with the stipulation that the money be spent on software bought from a company run by her son, Neil.


“Nobody likes war.  It creates a sense of--of uncertainty in the country.”

“Sometimes leaders show up who do a great disservice to the traditions and people of a country.”

“There are limits to how much corn can be used for ethanol.  After all, we get to eat some.”

“I do want to give yo some thoughts about what I’m thinking about.”

“When you turn on your TV screen and see innocent people die day in and day out, it affects the mentality of our country.”

When asked what was “the best moment” during his years in the White House, he said:  “When I caught a seven-and-a-half-pound largemouth bass on my lake.”


Even though I know I look like a football player wearing a dress, in my mind’s eye I’m beautiful.  Harvey Fierstein

It was love on the run with half the buttons undone.  --Mae West on her relationship with George Raft

She told me to take off my pants.  When I told her that I could’t, because I didn’t have any  underwear on, she told me, “That’s all right.  If you had, I’d ask you to take it off too.”  A bodybuilder auditioning for Mae West

I dress for women--and I undress for men.  Angie Dickinson

Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock.  John Barrymore

Life is a sexually transmitted disease.

Artificial insemination is copulation w/o representation.

In Hollywood a starlet is the name for any woman under 30 who is not actively employed in a brothel.  Ben Hecht

Women should be obscene and not heard.  Groucho Marx

Sex:  the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.  John Barrymore

Four of the top ten responses to a Pew Research Center poll that asked voters for the first word that came to mind when they think about George W. Bush:  “Incompetent,”  “Idiot,”  “Liar,”  and “Ass.”

SHAMPOO comes from the Hindu word SHAMPU, which means “to press.”

A family of four will average $261/day for food and lodging (only) on vacation this summer...in 1950 it was $13/day.  --AAA

Strictly speaking, there is no such fish as a sardine.  Small, thin-boned fish, usually herring or pilchards, are packed in those cans of oil.

An old Chinese law permitted a substitute to die for a convicted murderer.  A condemned man with enough money could often find a replacement to suffer decapitation, with the payment going to the substitute’s family.

“It looketh like a silly game, quoth King James IV of Scotland in 1491, signing a law that prohibited the playing of golf.  “I’ll not have our brave boys beating up the pasture with a stick when they could be out a-practicing with the trusty bow-and-arrow!”  The King was invited to try the game and said “I’ll do that.  But only to show ye that it be a silly game.”  He later repealed the law.

The LEFT BANK of a river is the bank to the left of a person looking downstream.

TEXAS TALE:  A 10-gallon hat holds 3.4 gallon.

One-sixth of the electricity produced in the US is used to keep Americans cool...which may be heating up the planet.  Slate

KWIKWIZ answers:

16.  NYC...and it delivers 1.3 billion gallons/day.

17.  The sun.

18.  It sometimes grows in clusters.

19.  Almost an island.

20.  Gypsies.

21.  Yes, because their hind legs are longer than their forelegs.

22.  Robert Fulton and Samuel F. B. Morse.

23.  Black.

24.  True.

25.  None.

CHALLENGE #17 was:  Which world leader has a fascination with Alexander the Great and named three of his sons after him?

Fidel Castro named three of his sons:  Alexis, Alexander and Alejandro.

CHALLENGE #18:  What is the name of the game: rock/paper/sissors?

POTPOURRI #29  sent 8/22/6

In a typical supermarket, the larger-sized package of a brand-name product is the poorer value about 25% of the time.  Ken Manning, CO State U at Ft. Collins.

“I grew up during the depression...I was 10 years old, and my mom came in and started crying because there was no food.  I was desperate.  So I went to the movie theater, and they were raffling off a turkey, and all of a sudden, I won the turkey!  I’m one lucky guy.”  Tony Bennett

Monday, Bush admitted, for the first time, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, reversing claims made previously by himself and Vice President Dick Cheney. The President also admitted, in a roundabout way, that he abandoned the mission in Iraq before it was finished, another startling admission for someone who doesn't admit his mistakes.


26.  This famous American inventor was fired for sleeping while on duty.

27.  Who was our only President of Swiss descent?

28.  To which colors are partially color blind people most frequently insensitive?

29.  Which famous sculptor lamented being deprived of a beautiful face by a blow on the nose from a comrade?

30.  Which South American republic is named “silvery”?

The obesity rate of adolescents has tripled since 1980 and shows no sign of slowing.  Today’s children have the dubious honor of being in the first cohort in history that may have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

Under a Bush administration initiative, the IRS will turn over collections of smaller tax debts to private companies, even though the agency acknowledges that it would be much cheaper to hire more of its own collectors to do it.

SALT makes water boil at a higher temperature, but only 7/100 of one degree.  A tablespoon added to five quarts of water shortens pasta’s boiling time by only half a second.

AARP gets  a $300 million/year kickback from insurance companies that AARP promotes.

Opponents of President George W. Bush have always thought he was a mental lightweight. But now even members of his own party and fellow conservatives say the President is just plain dumb and stupid. Conservative talk show host, and former Congressman, Joe Scarborough raised the question last week on his MSNB TV show when he asked: "Is Bush an idiot?"  Scarborough followed up the question with video clips of some of Bush's frequent gaffes and added that the President "seems like he is losing confidence by the day." There's no doubt that many foreign leaders look upon Bush with disdain. Colin Brown, deputy political editor of London's The Independent, says England's deputy Prime Minister recently referred to Bush's leadership as "crap."

To help finance the Spanish-American War, the US levied a 3% tax on long distance phone service. Until recently we were still paying it (the war ended in 1898).  On our 2006 return we can claim a credit for the past 3 years’ of taxes.  W/o documentation we can claim about a $50 refund.

The first RED/GREEN traffic signal was installed outside the British Houses of Parliament in 1868 (decades before autos were invented).  It used two semaphore arms with red and green gas lamps at night to help pedestrians cross a busy intersection.  Unfortunately, the signal blew up after a short period of use, killing a policeman.

ETHANOL is cheaper than gas, but it lowers gas mileage by 15%, so you’ll pay about 8% more on fuel with an ethanol-powered car. [Of course importing ethanol would switch the equation the other way.]

The November elections are crucial:  There are so many important issues...The $200 billion war (so far), the $400 billion deficit (this year), the role of money in the elections, and the need for electoral reform.  Whose interests are represented in Congress? Who benefits from the war in Iraq?  How can we elect a Congress that will stop the war?

When Spanish explorers reached the Yucatan Peninsula, they asked the locals what their homeland was called.  They answered “Yucatan.”  Not understanding the question, the Indians had merely responded “Yucatan”-- “What do you want?”

Soda water was invented by a Philadelphia resident, Townsend Speakman, in 1807.  He later added fruit juice to make the water more palatable.

The word BRIDE is derived from an ancient Teutonic word meaning “to cook.”

“I ask you to stop and think for a  moment what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in so many hands, in the hands of countries large and small, stable and unstable, responsible and irresponsible, scattered throughout the world.  There would be no rest for anyone then, no stability, no real security, and no chance of effective disarmament.”  JFK in a televised speech to the nation in July 1963

Programs to keep dangerous nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union out of the hands of terrorists through greater security are moving so slowly that it will take another 14 years to complete the job.

PORN star Mary Carey is running for the California governor again with the slogan: "Finally, a politician you really want to get screwed by."

Ah, yes, it's an election year, which means the Republicans will trot out their tired, but tried, mantra about "VALUES."

A face is sometimes called a MUG owing to the 18th c. practice of carving grotesque human faces on the outside of drinking mugs.

A person with ordinary vision can distinguish about 150 different COLORS;  an expert more than 100,000 colors, tints and shades.

“As the British terror plot was unfolding, the Bush administration quietly tried to take away $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new explosives detection technology.”  The Associated Press

In 1469 England had two crowned kings, Henry VI and Edward IV--both in prison.

The Library of Congress’s cataloging policy office updates the classification system each week.

“There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution.  It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore.”  Pat Robertson


Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.  George Santayana

My whole theory of writing, I can sum up in one sentence.  An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.  --F. Scott Fitzgerald

That was always my experience--a poor boy in a rich town; a poor boy in a rich boy’s school; a poor boy in a rich man’s club at Princeton...I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich, and it has colored my entire life and works.  --F. Scott Fitzgerald

When I’m close to finishing a book, nothing is more important to me.  I might stop to save a life, but nothing less.  --Joseph Heller

Very nice, but there are dull stretches.  Comte de Rivarol on a two-line poem

The Egyptian queen Cleopatra was Greek by ancestry,,,decended from a line  of brother-sister marriages, and she herself married two of her own brothers.

“A” is the first letter of most alphabets, except old German, it’s fourth, and in Ethiopian, it’s 13th.

PIANOFORTE comes from two Italian words:  PIANO which means soft, and FORTE which means loud.  It is the first keyboard instrument that could play “soft/loud.”

American Universities have a positive trade balance w/every country on earth.

President Bush has become so unpopular in recent months that he'd have a hard time beating Al Gore or John Kerry if he had to face his former Democratic rivals again this year, according to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. And the president would be thrashed if he had to run against his own father, George Herbert Walker Bush, losing by more than a 3-to-1 margin in a theoretical match-up in which people were asked to pick between father and son..

KWIKWIZ answers:

26.  Thomas Edison.

27.  Herbert Hoover.

28.  Reds and greens.

29.  Michelangelo.

30.  Argentina.

CHALLENGE #18 was:  What is the name of the game: rock/paper/sissors?

Answer:  Janken--Originally, in China, ken meant 'fist', 'grip', 'force', or 'strike'.  A game in which victory was decided by the shape of the extended hand together with a number was also called ken.  Rock/Paper/Scissors is a translation from Japanese of Jan Ken Pon.  The game is also called ishiken (rock ken).

CHALLENGE #19:  What percentage of the cells in your body are not human?