“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequensese of dodging our responsibilities.”  Sir Josiah Stamp

   The theory of the BIG BANG was worked out by a Belgian priest.

   A TEST from John E.  If you can’t pass it, stay out of local bars: http://joeschwartz.net/shemale/index.html


   86.  Which common language is all one-syllabled?

   87.  When did A. Philip Randolph first propose the Civil Rights March on Washington that occurred August 1963?

   88.  In English slang, how much is a bob?  A quid?

   89.  How long did the One Hundred Years’ War last?

   90.  Which President was a Quaker?


   1.  In crime, they say take the money and run.  In politics, they say run, THEN take the money.

   2.  Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, applying the wrong solutions and finding somebody else to blame.

   3.  What we need is more people giving up politics...but staying in office.

   4.  It’s too bad that 90% of politician give the other 10% a bad name.  Henry Kissinger

   5.  I may not look like a Senator, but I think I’m what a Senator should look like.  Bella Abzug

   6.  If Congress insists on making stupid mistakes and passing foolish tax laws, millionaires should not be condemned if they take advantage of them.  J.P. Morgan

   7.  A law in Siena, Italy forbids a woman named Mary to work as a prostitute.

   8.  “I believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.”  Stephen Colbert

   9.   “One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one.”  Henry Miller

  10.  “I was asked to go into politics, but I declined:  I was born with only one face.”  Brendan Behan

  11.  “Bipartisanship is another name for date-rape.”  Grover Norquist [Rep. NeoCon]

  12.  French poet, writer and politician Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) once wrote: "The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs."

  13.  In the past decade more NY State legislators died in office than were turned out at the polls.

   CONFUCIUS said:  “The way of a superior man is threefold:  virtuous, he is free from anxieties;  wise, he is free from perplexities;  bold, he is free from fear.” 

MYSTERY:  The Mary Celeste

On the afternoon of Dec. 4, 1872, the crew of the Dei Gratia spotted a 103-foot, 282-ton brigantine several hundred miles off the coast of Portugal.  Captain Morehouse recognized the ship as the Mary Celeste, whose captain, Benjamin Briggs, was an acquaintance.  After observing the ship for two hours and hailing it with no response, the crew determined that the Mary Celeste was adrift, though flying no distress signals, and sent a party to board it. The leader of the party reported finding the vessel in seaworthy condition, which made it difficult to explain one curious fact — the ship’s cargo was intact but there was no trace of the crew.

What caused an experienced captain and crew to disappear from a seaworthy vessel with a valuable cargo? The details vary widely, due in part to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement,” in which he fictionalized the events of the ship (written before Sherlock made him famous). Various witness accounts of a clock running backward on the Mary Celeste, meals still hot on the ship’s stove, missing navigational equipment and a blood-smeared sword hidden onboard sparked theories on everything from mutiny to a pirate attack to involvement of extra-terrestrial beings. Mutiny was unlikely because the captain was respected and the crew aboard by choice.  Not a pirate attack because the cargo was still onboard.

Among the few documented facts about the Mary Celeste was the nature of the ship’s cargo--1,700 barrels of industrial alcohol bound for Italy, and nine of the barrels were found empty.  The theory?  Captain Briggs, a teetotaler unused to alcohol and thus maybe wary of it even in nonpotable form, may have panicked after smelling fumes escaping from the nine leaky barrels and ordered the ship abandoned, only to perish at sea with his wife, his daughter and his crew.  Whadda ya think?

   FAST FOOD:  The Center for Disease Control estimates that 40% of the average family’s food budget is spent on fast food.  Claritas estimates that 78% of all fast-food diners use the drive-through.

KWIKWIZ answers:

86.  Chinese.

87.  1941 during the FDR administration.

88.  A shilling.  A sovereign or pound.

89.  116 years.

90.  Herbert Hoover.

   ALAN suggests this funny phone call:http://howtoprankatelemarketer.ytmnd.com/


   NAPOLEON said:  “The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.”

CHALLENGE #29 was:  Name two popular products that were advertised by a jingle chanting the repeated name of the product to mimic the sound of a train hurtling along the tracks.

Answer:  Jim N. got Good & Plenty; and then there was Bromo Seltzer.

CHALLENGE #30:  He made a fortune with his mixture of a substance w/dirt and late in life he took the substance internally for medical reasons.  Who and what?

POTPOURRI #41  sent Nov 13

   “Ah, men of talent are almost always overgrown boys...”  Giuseppe Verdi

   The only gracious way to accept an insult is to ignore it;  if you can’t ignore it, top it;  if you can’t top it, laugh at it;  if you can’t laugh at it, it’s probably deserved.

  PUMPKIN ART from Jim S.:  www.pumpkingutter.com/index.html


91.  Which President was elected the first time women voted nationally?

92.  What is paregoric?

93.  What are the periods in a polo game called?

94.  Should a tennis court be laid out with the service ends East/West or North/South?

95.  Which people are called by an Indian word which means “eater of raw flesh.”

   Half  of the $4 trillion of U.S. Treasuries are owned by foreigners, and Japan and China own half of that {$1 trillion}.

   JACKSON POLLOCK painting from Philip:  www.jacksonpollock.org

   SERENDIPITY.  In 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the light bulb in NJ and an operator at a small soap plant in Ohio forgot to shut down his machine during lunch.  When he returned he nearly threw away the molten batch of soap because the prolonged beating had whipped air bubbles into it.  But his foreman told him not to bother, since no harm was done.  Edison’s well-planned invention illuminated the world.  The machine operator’s blunder helped keep it clean.  His overbeaten goo spawned one of the best-selling consumer products in the world:  Ivory soap.  And the timing was fortuitous since the soap plant was owned by Proctor & Gamble, whose main product at the time was candles, an item soon rendered obsolete by Edison’s incandescent light.

   “TALK is by far the most accessible of pleasures.  It cost nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

   WHILE WATCHING TV today, my wife and I got into a conversation  about life and death, and the need for living wills. I told her that I never wanted to  exist in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and taking fluids  from a bottle. She got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all my beer.

    BUSHCRONIUM:  New Element on Periodic Table [from Jim T.]

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W."

Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.


-  In 2004, the average American household had $2,200 in credit card debt, up from $1,000 in 1992.

-  Almost half pay off in full every month, 35% had late fees and 13% paid over-limit fees.

-  The average late fee is $34.

-  Some cards charge over 30%--as a penalty for tardiness.

-  Some cards jump interest rate if you are late on ANY bill [Macy’s, electric, etc.]

-  Rules are hard to read because strict laws on disclosure prevent oversimplification. [Regulation Z]

-  My Citibank bill can be paid over the phone--fro $14.95 extra.

-  Get info at:  www.cardweb.com

  THE AVERAGE CEO of a major company is paid $6 million/year with a severance package of $16 million.

KWIKWIZ answers:

91.  Warren G. Harding.

92.  A camphorated tincture of opium.

93.  Chukkers.

94.  North/South.

95.  Eskimo.

   “LIFE is a glass given to us to fill;  a busy life is filling it with as much as it can hold;  a hurried life has had more poured into it than it can contain.”  William Adams Brown

CHALLENGE #30 was:  He made a fortune with his mixture of a substance w/dirt and late in life he took the substance internally for medical reasons.  Who and what?

Answer:  In 1867 Alfred Nobel accidentally discovered that when nitroglycerin dripped on kieselguhr, a silicon-containing earth, it formed a paste that was stable and safer than liquid nitro.  He called it dynamite.  He took it for chest pains from blocked coronary arteries, altho’ it was called by another name to disguise it from him [but he wasn’t fooled].  NOTE:  His explosives were never used in a war.  He said his factories would put an end to war more quickly than peace conferences because “when two armies of equal strength can annihilate each other in an instant, then all civilized nations will retreat and disband their troops.”

CHALLENGE #31:  Which cookie is only available October thru March?


"Potpourri" is issued each week on an opt-in/opt-out basis.

Please respond if you would like to be added to or deleted from distribution. 

Thank you...Walter M. Mathews

POTPOURRI #42  sent Nov 20

    In 1939 FDR moved Thanksgiving from the 4th Thursday in November to the 3rd, to create more shopping days before Christmas.  Millions protested and didn’t change, so he restored it two years later.  But retailers have now begun the season the day after Halloween.

   “MUSIC is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.”  John Erskine

Keith suggests you go to:  http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~geoffo/humour/flattery.html


96.  How many English monarchs have willingly given up the throne?

97.  Why do so many English towns end in -chester?

98.  What popular sport was only amateur until 1926?

99.  From what is grenadine made?

       100.  What is the origin of the word “marionette”?

    GEISHA means “artist” and for the first century, they were men.

    “Everybody’s sense of beauty is diffferent from everybody else’s.”  Andy Warhol

    QUIZ. It can mean a short, fast, "minor" test — or it can mean a practical joke.

The word began as a joke--as a way to win a bet.  A pub owner in Dublin wagered that he could cause the whole town to include a certain word in its conversations, with no more than one day's notice. His friends, of course, didn't believe him, and were happy to make the bet.  That evening, he hired a lot of children to race around, chalking up the word "QUIZ" on billboards and walls all over the city.  When people saw that new word — and a four-letter word, at that — they immediately supposed that it must be naughty. And everyone wanted to know what it meant.  Now, it can mean fooling someone, or someone who allows himself to be fooled, or a test in which one hopes one does not prove oneself to be a fool!

    54% of workers who took their pension in a lump sum in 2003 have spent it all.

    “COURAGE is more exhilirating than fear and in the long run is easier.  We do not have to become heroes overnight.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

ROANOKE, The Lost Colony

In 1587, a ship carrying 117 men, women and children, and piloted by Simon Fernandes, a privateer in the war between Spain and England, arrived at Roanoke Island with orders to pick up 15 men who had been left behind the previous year to hold the territory for England. The ship was to then continue on to the Chesapeake Bay area to establish a new colony.  But eager to get back to plundering Spanish ships, Fernandes instead forced the 117 colonists to disembark at Roanoke.  It was hard enough to be stranded, but making matters worse was that the colonists found only the bones of the 15 men left behind a year earlier.

One of the colonists, John White, became governor of the newly established Roanoke Colony.  The first baby born there was his granddaughter, Virginia Dare. When the colony ran low on supplies, White returned to England.  With the invasion of the Spanish Armada, White was trapped in England.  He finally arrived back at Roanoke on Aug. 18, 1590, his granddaughter’s third birthday — and found the colony plundered and deserted.  The single word “CROATOAN,” the name of an indigenous tribe, was carved into a tree.  Some accounts suggest the disappearing colonists were assimilated into the surrounding native cultures. But no one knows.

Alan suggests this Rumsfeld site: http://vidsearch.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1405700368

    52% of REPUBLICANS who left Congress since 1998 registered to lobby, compared with 33% of departing Democrats.  Overall there are about 12,000 registered lobbyists in Washington.

    “It  was THE BEST OF TIMES, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of increduility, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...”  When Charles Dickens started “A Tale of Two Cities” with those famous words, he had in mind 1775.

      The Greek word PORNE, meaning WHORE, was first combined into PORNOGRAPHY in an 1857 medical lexicon to urge public hygiene for prostitutes

   The average $20 bill lasts as long as a FIELD MOUSE [2 years]; a typical coin lasts as long as the lifespan of a hippopotamus.

     BIPARTISANSHIP.   Immediately following the 1917 revolution two Russians -- one a former Czarist, the other a victorious Bolshevik -- were drinking in a tavern. The Bolshevik was regaling his new comrade about the wonders of the uprising, noting again and again that their companionship would not have been possible in the old days. The Czarist said nothing. On several occasions they would step outside to relieve themselves before returning to their drinking and the Bolshevik's monologue about how the revolution had made them equal. The Czarist remained silent.  On their last trip outside, the Bolshevik paused to reflect that when he relieved himself in the snow it made a crinkling noise. Why, he inquired, did he not hear the same sound from his drinking companion?  "Because," the Czarist replied, "I am doing it on your coat, peasant."

KWIKWIZ answers:

96.  One.  Edward VIII.

97.  It’s the English word for the Roman castra--camp; many were Roman campsites.

98.  Tennis.

99.  Pomegranates.

       100.  Little images of the Virgin Mary.

   GERALD FORD is the only unelected VP and President.

     The BUSIEST SHOPPING DAY of the year isn’t “black Friday” [when retailers go into the “black”], but the Saturday before Christmas.

CHALLENGE #31 was:  Which cookie is only available October thru March?

Answer:  Nabisco’s greatest cookie:  Mallomar.  The fragile dark-chocolate shell is threatened by summer heat in transit from Toronto.  70% of them are sold in the NYC metro area...the other 30 in expat-dense places like Miami.

CHALLENGE #32:  What is the longest book in print? AND What was the best-selling novel of the 19th century?


"Potpourri" is issued each week on an opt-in/opt-out basis.

Please respond if you would like to be added to or deleted from distribution. 

Thank you...Walter M. Mathews


     “You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.”  J.S. Knox

     SIGN on the back of an Amish carriage. "Energy Efficient Vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust.”


101.  Which class of criminals has the highest intelligence?

102.  By what name is Florence Nightingale Graham better known?

103.  You know about “hard tack,” what is “soft tack”?

104.  Who was “Murray the Outlaw of Fala Hill”?

105.  Where is General George Custer buried?

      The #1 cause of TEENAGE DEATH is motor vehicle crashes:  about 6,000/year with over 300,000 injuries.

IGNORAMUS:   [n. ig-no-RAY-mus]   It’s a derogatory word for someone who is ignorant.  The word may look like it is derived from Latin, and it is, but not through the usual channels.  In the 17th century, the word ignoramus was a legal expression.  In Latin, it means "we do not know" or "we take no notice of."  It was used to indicate that evidence in a case was lacking.  The word was brought into popular expression by George Ruggle, an English dramatist who used it as the name of a lawyer in one of his plays.  Ruggle said he wrote the play "to expose the ignorance and arrogance of common lawyers."  The New Latin root is ignorare (to be ignorant), originally from the Greek gnosis (knowledge).  The Latin root ignorare also led to the modern words ignore and ignorant. The older Greek root, gnosis, evolved into a wide variety of modern words, including knowledge, gnosis, agnostic, notice, notify, and recognize.

   “PEOPLE FORGET how fast you did a job--but they remember how well you did it.”  Howard W. Newton

    DALE CARNEGIE listed six ways “to make people like you”:  “Become genuinely interested in other people...Smile...Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language...Be a good listener...Talk in terms of the other man’s interest...Make the person feel important and do it sincerely.”


I Won’t is a tramp,

I Can’t is a quitter,

I Don’t Know is lazy,

I Wish I Could is a wisher,

I Might is waking up,

I Will Try is on his feet,

I Can is on his way,

I Will is at work,

I Did is now the boss.       Earl Cassel

      A CRUSTY OLD Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college. One of the extremely young, idealistic ladies approached him for conversation. "Excuse me, sir, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is something bothering you?" "Negative, ma'am. Just serious by nature."  "The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action." "Yes, ma'am, a lot of action."  The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know, you should lighten up a little.  Relax and enjoy yourself."  The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner.  Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"  "1955, ma'am."  She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to "relax" him several times.  Afterwards, panting for breath, she leaned against his bare chest and said, "Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1955!"  The Sergeant Major, glancing at his watch, said in his matter-of-fact voice, "I hope not, it's only 2130 now."        from Joe O’


   “THINK of your own faults the first part of the night when you are awake, and of the faults of others the latter part of the night when you are asleep.”  Chinese Proverb

   “SPEAKING much is a sign of vanity;  for he that is lavish in words is a niggard in deed.”  Sir Walter Raleigh

   “THREE THINGS too much, and three too little are pernicious to man:  to speak much, and know little;  to spend much, and have little;  to presume much, and be worth little.”   Cervantes

   “THE EASIEST thing of all is to deceive oneself;  for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true.”  Demosthenes

    “I HAD six honest serving-men they taught me all I knew.  Their names were Where What and When--and Why and How and Who.”   Kipling

   “REPROVE thy friend privately;  commend him publicly.”  Solon

   “HE THAT will not reason is a bigot;  he that cannot reason is a fool;  and he that dares not reason is a slave.”  Sir William Drummond

SARAH WINCHESTER, was heir to the fortune her husband, William Winchester, had made by inventing the Henry Rifle:  the world’s first practical repeating rifle that helped win the Civil War. A medium explained that a curse had taken the life of her husband and son, and that she, too, was doomed to be haunted forever by the vengeful spirits of the thousands of soldiers who had been killed by the gun. The spiritualist advised: sell the house in New Haven, go west, start building a new home … and never stop--or she would die.

She moved to San Jose and hired craftspeople to continuously build, rebuild, expand and modify her home — 24 hours a day, for 38 consecutive years. Never drawing a blueprint, Sarah met with her contractors each morning to discuss the day’s work, and the mansion grew to contain 160 rooms and seven stories, spending nearly all of her $20 million inheritance.

The mansion is a labyrinthine puzzle designed to confuse and discourage ill-intentioned specters:  double-back hallways, rooms whose doors can only be opened from the outside, stairs leading into the ceiling, and the second-story door opening out onto nothing but a treacherous fall.  All windows but one contain 13 panes, most walls are constructed of 13 panels, and many of the drains sport 13 holes.  It’s open to  the public.

Irma Rombauer put together the JOY OF COOKING in 1930 as a way to cope with her husband’s suicide.  It went on to sell over 18 million copies.

KWIKWIZ answers:

101.  Embezzlers.

102.  Elizabeth Arden.

103.  Regular white bread.

104.  FDRs Scottish terrier aka Fala who is buried next to the Roosevelts.

105.  At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

CHALLENGE #32 was:  What is the longest book in print? AND What was the best-selling novel of the 19th century?

Answers:  “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe  [Jerry got the first part]

CHALLENGE #33:  Which famous American had a Ford automobile that dispensed lighted cigarettes?


"Potpourri" is issued each week on an opt-in/opt-out basis.

Please respond if you would like to be added to or deleted from distribution. 

Thank you...Walter M. Mathews

POTPOURRI #44:  The Financial Issue:  Your End-of-Year Bonus  DECEMBER 6

FROM:  The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman:

--Last year approximately 400,000 American IRS returns were prepared in India.

--Since the mid-1990s cheap imports from China have saved American comsumers over $600 billion. [American companies saved even more.]

--An American carmaker pays about $6,000/worker for health care--if it was made in Canada it is only $800.

--Health care and education costs are growing much faster than incomes.

--Half of all personal bankruptcies are due to a serious medical problem.


106.  What is the plural of penny?

107.  How much silver must sterling silver contain?

108.  Which has the greatest gap between the rich and the poor, U.S. or Russia?

109.  How much does the “war on drugs” cost U.S. taxpayers?

110.  Who was the first black performer to be a millionaire before reaching 21?


•  Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

•  The top 0.1% of Americans in income receive nearly 7% of the total, the highest share since the 1920s. [Saez & Piketty]

•  In 2000, the share of national income reaped by the top 1% of taxpayers reached 16.5%, its highest level since 1936, and higher than that of the next 4% of taxpayers combined.  [Piketty and Saez]

•  Half the income gains derived from the increase in productivity from 1966 to 2001 accrued to the top 10% of earners.   The wages of the typical American workers, meanwhile, barely grew at all. [Gordon & Dewbecker]

•  Only 2-3% of consumers shop around to compare prices;  e.g., it takes an hour to embalm a body, and fees can range from $400 to $1,400.

•  From a Federal gov’t perspective, education is a charity.

•  13 countries use the U.S. dollar as domestic currency, including Ecuador.

•  While the percentage change in average real houshold income between 1990 and 2004 was an incrase of 2% for the bottom 90% of American households, it was 57% for the top 1%;  and shot up to 85% for the top 0.1%; and up to 112% for the top .01%.  That is, the richest are getting richer almost twice as fast as the rich.

•  A martini at a good bar in NYC  can cost $22.

•  The avg weekly pay for financial sector jobs in Manhattan was $8,323 in the first quarter of 2006--up more than $3,000/wk in three years.  These 280,000 workers collect more than half of all wages paid in Manhattan, but hold less tahn one in six of the 1.8 million jobs there.

•  Your garbage disposal probably eats better than 30% of the people in the world.

•  Horatio Alger’s books have made his name synonymous with rags-to-riches success, but that was not his personal story.  He was a second-generation Harvard man who became a writer only after losing his Unitarian ministry because of allegations of sexual misconduct.

•  The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400

•  The interest on the national debt is approaching $7 Billion PER WEEK--a lot of it goes to overseas owners of our debt.

•  Last year, Barry Diller took home a pay package worth $469 million, making him the highest-paid chief executive in America.  Unfortunately, his shareholders didn’t do as well.  Stock in the main company he runs, IAC/Interactive, declined 7.7%.  For the past three years the stock was up just 11%--compared with 49% for the S.&P. 500.  Diller was paid about $150,000 per hour.

•  Half of U.S. paper money is abroad.

•  Investor Paul Allen (worth $21 billion) drives a 1988 Mazda pickup;  Microsoft’s CEO, Steven Ballmer ($12 billion), drives a 1998 Lincoln Continental;  IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad ($23 billion), uses a 1993 Volvo 240GL.

•  Americans pay $60 billion per year to realtors.

•  If private accounts are built into Social Security, fund managers could earn about $39 billion in fees over the next 75 years, according to the Securities Industry Association.

•  Every 10,000 soldiers added to our military cost roughly $1.5 billiion in annual upkeep, plus tens of billions in one-time recruitment and equipment expenses.

•  If you make $75,301 a year, you are the 49,205,295th richest person IN THE WORLD, which puts you in the top 20%.  SEE globalrichlist.com

•  By the time Donald Trump’s “Surviving at the Top” came out in paperback in 1991, he had declared bankruptcy and was $2 billion in debt, so the book was renamed:  The Art of Survival.

•  China holds $1 trillion and Japan holds $900 billion.

•  One in every 825 housholds earned at least $2 million last year, almost double that in 1989--adjusted for inflation.  One in every 325 households had a net worth of at least $10 million in 2004, more than 4X as many as in 1989.

•  Last year Pfizer had $14 billion in profits on sales of $51 billion. [Yes, that’s almost 27.5% profit.]

•  From 2000-2004 average real income fell $1,641 or 3% to $53,974.

•  As late as 1980 the top personal tax rate was 70%.  Now it’s about half that, with estate tax fading.

•  Social Security’s trust fund on 9/30/06:  $1.99 trillion.  Amount of fund in Treasury IOUs:  100%. 

•  75% of CEO of publicly traded companies


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

“Adversity has made many a man great who, had he remained prosperous, would only have been rich.”  Maurice Switzer

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”  Booker T. Washington

"There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible."  P. J. ORourke

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”  John D. Rockefeller. Jr.

“Whenever you can save some of your time by offering money in its place, do so.  Strangely, from their earliest beginnings men have always seemed quite happy to trade the very limited days of their lives for disks of copper, bronze, silver and gold.”  M. Friedman & R. Rosenman

“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”  Darwin

“They who give have all things;  they who withold have nothing.”  Hindu proverb

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like  and just give her a house."   Lewis Grizzard

“Have you ever noticed that they put advertisements in with your bills now?   Like bills aren't distasteful enough, they have to stuff junk mail in with them. I get back at them. I put garbage in with my check when I mail it in. Coffee grinds, banana peels...I write, "Could you throw this away for me?  Thank you."   Andy Rooney

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


•  Credit cards are the most profitable segment of the banking industry:  $30 billion profit last year.

•  There are no usury laws on credit cards in the U.S.  Interest is >35% for some.

•  40% of Americans carried a credit card balance in 2004--average: $12,338.

• $1.5 trillion dollars was “charged” last year.

•  Some companies make due dates on Sundays and holidays...for your convenience.

KWIKWIZ answers:

106.  Pence.

107.  92.5%

108.  Moscow has 25 billionaires--second only to NYC [45].  David Koch of NYC is worth $12 billion--and NYC has 1.5 million people below the poverty line [so he is worth $12 billion more than a fifth of the city’s residents combined].  The gap between rich and poor is widening in Russia, but it is still not as extreme as in the US, according to the World Bank.  And Manhattan has the highest income disparity of any of the 3,000 counties in the country.

109.  Upward of $40 billion annually in recent years.

110.  Johnny Mathis

CHALLENGE #33 was:  Which famous American had a Ford automobile that dispensed lighted cigarettes?  Answer:  FDR bought a 1936 Ford Phaeton with manual controls, since he was paralyzed from the waist down.  After ten years [Eleanor used it after FDR’s death], it had only 19,143 miles on it.  The sticker price was $737.50, and the adaptations were done locally. [Jerry noted that FDR’s car w/lighter was not unique.]

CHALLENGE #34: If you divide an individual’s wealth by the GDP of the time, who is the richest American of all times?


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POTPOURRI #45   December 13 sent

     If the government has no knowledge of ALIENS, then why does Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations, implemented on July 16, 1969,  make it illegal for U.S. citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles?

     OPIUM cutivation in Afghanistan rose 59% this year--enough to produce 610 tons of heroin.  Only 400 tons is needed to supply the world’s drug users.


111.  What does the term “kung fu” mean in Chinese culture?

112.  Who initiated competitive sports at the United States Military Academy?

113.  Which major league team won the first World Series?

114.  Who first used mercury in a thermometer?

115.  What is the most common color for a flower?

     INFLAMMABLE:  the prefix in- functions as an intensive--it indicates increased emphasis or force.  But because this prefix can also mean 'not,' inflammable could mistakenly be interpreted as meaning 'not flammable.'

     Fill your medicine cabinet with MARBLES to announce nosy guests.

     A May 2006 GALLUP POLL found that 28% of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God, to be taken literally.  [In 1980 40% so believed.]


•  An 1823 Bible read:  “And Rebekah arose, and her camels [damsels].”

•  Thomas Bensley’s 1795 Bible read:  “Let the children first be killed [filled].”

•  Printed in 1631, by Barker and Lucas, the word “not” was omitted from the 7th Commandment, making adultery apppear compulsory.

•  In 1717 the Clarendon Press printed a heading in Luke “The parable of the Vinegar [Vinyard].”

•  A 1716 King James Bible in John 5:14, because of transposed N and O, exhorted readers to “Go and sin on more.”

•  The 1966 Jerusalem Bible telling us to “Pay [pray] for Peace.”

     GOPHER comes from “gauffre” which means “waffle” in French--a reference to the pock-marked appearance of prairie dog villages. 

CHENEY: The Fatal Touch    By Joan Didion:

     It was in some ways predictable that the central player in the system of willed errors and reversals that is the Bush administration would turn out to be its vice-president, Richard B. Cheney.  Here was a man with considerable practice in the reversal of his own errors.  He was never a star.  No one ever called him a natural.  He reached public life with every reason to believe that he would continue to both court failure and overcome it, take the lemons he seemed determined to pick for himself and make the lemonade, then spill it, let someone else clean up.  The son of two New Deal Democrats, his father a federal civil servant with the Soil Conservation Service in Casper, Wyoming, he more or less happened into a full scholarship to Yale:  his high school girlfriend and later wife, Lynne Vincent, introduced him to her part-time employer, a Yale donor named Thomas Stroock who, he later told Nicholas Lemann, 'called Yale and told 'em to take this guy.'  The

beneficiary of the future Lynne Cheney's networking lasted three semesters, took a year off before risking a fourth, and was asked to leave.    The New York Review of Books   October 5, 2006

Since 1990 the number of ABORTIONS in the U.S. declined by 40% under Dem and Rep presidents.  But infant fatalities, AIDS cases and war casualities have risen during the GW Bush presidency.

What is info about you worth to direct marketers:

•  Bankruptcy details:  $26.50

•  Workers comp history:  $18

•  Unpublished phone #:  $17.50

•  Cellphone #:  $10.00

•  SS #:  $8

•  Date of birth:  $2

•  Address:  50¢

FDR contracted INFANTILE PARALYSIS [polio] at age 39 when he visited a Boy Scout Camp.  He soon became paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.

In 2000, the top 1% of the world’s population--37 million adults with net worth of $515,000--accounted for 40% of the world’s total net worth.  The bottom half of the population owned merely 1.1% of the globe’s wealth.  The average person’s net worth was under $2,200.   [World Insti. for Devel. Econ. Rsch.]

The U.S. accounted for 4.7% of the world’s population but 32.6% of the world’s wealth.  The richest 1% of Americans held 32% of the nation’s wealth in 2001--this excludes the billionaires in the Forbes list, who controlled another 2% of the country’s wealth. [World Insti. for Devel. Econ. Rsch.]

There is NO EGG in eggplant, neither pine nor apple in pineapple and no ham in a hamburger.  English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.  Sweetmeats are candy, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

     Nearly 1 in 5 scientists and engineers in the US is an immigrant, and 51% of doctorates in engineering go to foreigners.

Less than 3% of the world’s WATER is safe to drink.

KWIKWIZ answers:

111.  It refers to anything that requires practice to perfect it.

112.  General Douglas MacArthur

113.  The Red Sox (over Pittsburgh in 1903).

114.  Gabriel Fahrenheit of Danzig

115.  White.

CHALLENGE #34 was: If you divide individual wealth by the GDP of the time, who is the richest American of all times? Several guessed  J.D. Rockefeller;  around #32 is Bill Gates.

CHALLENGE #35:  Weary with U.S. ambassadors who didn’t speak Spanish or know/care about their country, Spain asked the U.S. President for a specific famous American writer.  Who?


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Potpourri #46:  The Sex Edition  SENT  DECEMBER 20

When a man is wrong and won’t admit it, he always gets angry.


Brevity is the soul of lingerie.  Dorothy Parker

“Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend that someone else is denying me sex.”

We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.  George Bernard Shaw


116.  What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?

117.  How did Marilyn Monroe emphasize her “wiggle”?

118.  What is written on the garter of the English Order of the Garter?

119.  How old is Barbie?

120.  Name 3 40+ stars on preteens’ list of cool celebs?

Women use about 20,000 words/gestures a day, compared to men’s 7,000.

The TOP FOUR candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have 9 marriages, 5 divorces and unknown numbers of extramarital affairs.

Before birth control, in the 1700s and 1800s, middle class women were PREGNANT between 17 and 22 times in their lifetimes.

How to speak about a WOMAN and be Politically Correct:

1. She is not a BABE or a CHICK--She is a BREASTED CITIZEN.





6. She is not HORNY--She is SEXUALLY FOCUSED.

7. She does not NAG YOU--She becomes ORALLY REPETITIVE.

8. She is not a SLUT--She is SEXUALLY EXTROVERTED.



How to speak about a MAN and be Politically Correct:

1. He does not have a BEER GUT--He has developed a LIQUID GRAIN  STORAGE FACILITY.





6. He does not act like A TOTAL ASS--He develops a case of RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION.


     A Jean Harlow anecdote:  The actress was introduced to Lady Margot Asquith, the wife of former British Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, and greeted her as "MAR-gott." Lady Margot replied, "No, my dear, the 't' is silent. Like in 'Harlow.'"

(S+C) x (B+F)/T-V describes the quality of the FEMALE REAR END says David Holmes, where S= overall shape, C=circularity, B=bounce factor, F=firmness, T=skin texture and V=vertical ratio.  For the male rear end B, C and V are replaced by M (muscularity), L (leaness) and O (overall symmetry).

The BRAIN shrinks 8% during pregnancy and doesn’t return to its former size until 6 months postpartum.


"Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope." George Burns

"You know that look women get when they want sex? Me neither." Drew Carey

"I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy." Steve Martin

"Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as meaningless experiences go, it's pretty damned good." Woody Allen


"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand." Unknown

"If it weren't for pickpockets I'd have no sex life at all." Rodney Dangerfield

"Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night."  Woody Allen

"I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty." George Burns

"It isn't premarital sex if you have no intention of getting married." Matt Barry

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision."  Lynn Lavner

"Relationships are hard. It's like a full-time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks' notice. There should be severance pay, and before they leave you, they should have to find you a temp."  Bob Ettinger

"A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: Duh." Conan O'Brien

"Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many. Monogamy is the same." Oscar Wilde 

“My grandmother has a bumper sticker on her car that says, ‘Sexy Senior Citizen.’ You don't want to think of your grandmother that way, do you?  Out entering wet shawl contests. Makes you wonder where she got that dollar she gave you for your birthday.”   Andy Rooney

“Men and women are different in the morning. The men wake up aroused in the morning. We can't help it. We just wake up and we want you. And the women are thinking, ‘how can he want me the way I look in the morning?’  It's because we can't see you. We have no blood anywhere near our optic nerve.”  Andy Rooney

KWIKWIZ answers:

116.  All invented by women.

117.  She chopped 3/4 of an inch off the heel of her left shoe.

118.  Honi soit qui mal y pense. (Evil be to him who thinks evil.)

119.  47.

120.  Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Madonna.

CHALLENGE #35 was:  Weary with U.S. ambassadors who didn’t speak Spanish or know/care about their country, Spain asked the U.S. President for a specific famous American writer.  Who? 

Answer:  Queen Isabella II asked President Tyler for Washington Irving [the first American writer to solely depend on his writing royalties to live].  Irving was not interested until Tyler told him the post comes with $9,000/year for four years.  Jerry got this one right.

CHALLENGE #36:  Why were Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt married on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City?


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Potpourri #47  sent  December 29

 “Great powers should never get involved in the politics of small tribes.”  --Lebanese historian Kamal Salibi

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all …

--Emily Dickinson

     HEIGHT is no longer an American hallmark.  Average height has been stuck at less than 6 feet for a decade or more, while Europeans have grown past that mark, suggesting that they are somehow healthier.

KWIKWIZ:  Famous first lines of novels.

121.  “Call me Ishmael...”

122.  “All happy families are alike.  All unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.”

123.  “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13.”

124.  “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

125.  “It is a truth universally acknowledged ...”

BOUSTROPHEDON text is written alternately from right to left and then from left to right.  The word derives from the Greek--bous, “ox” and strophe, “turning”--since it supposedly resembles the flowing furrows made by a plow.

When sled drivers yell “Mush!” they are garbling the French for “Marchez!” (Walk!).


FIDEL CASTRO is the world’s longest-serving ruler.  Despite a U.S. trade embargo and numberous assasination attempts he has outlasted 9 American Presidents.

WALL STREET’s top traders earned $33,000/hour last year [based on a 60-hour work-week] in a country where some folks are furiously fighting a $1 increase in the minimum wage.

More than a millennium ago, BAGHDAD reigned as the intellectual center of the world.  The names of the constellations are Greek and Roman, but 2/3 of the stars have Arabic names.  The words “algebra” and “algorithm” are Arabic.  Around 1100, a dark age of Christianity descended, and mathematics was seen as the work of the devil.

Research indicates that TEACHERS call kids in the front row and down the middle...not in the corners or back.

Seven BASIC PLOTS in novels, movies, plays and operas:  1.  Overcoming the monster,  2. Rags to riches,  3. The Quest,  4. Voyage and Return,  5. Rebirth,  6. Comedy,  7. Tragedy.--Christopher Booker in The 7 Basic Plots.

More than 10% of Americans over 65 donated more than $5,000 to charity in 2005.

For every 229 combat troops we have in Iraq there are 60 medical personnel--that’s 1 for every 3.8 fighters.

84% of doctors have seen their co-workers take shortcuts that could be DANGEROUS to patients, and fewer than 10% reported what they saw.

Great Britain dominated the world in the 19th century;  the U.S. did in the 20th century;  China will in the 21st century.

Most frequently CHALLENGED BOOKS of the 21st century:  Harry Potter series,  The Chocolate War,  Alice series,  Of Mice and Men,  I know Why the Caged Bird Sings,  Fallen Ångels,  It’s Perfectly Normal,  Scary Stories series,  Captain Underpants series,  Forever.   American Library Assn.

From the CENSUS BUREAU’s 2007 Statistical Abstract of the U.S.:

•  We consume more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup [an unnatural chemical concoction] per person as in 1980 and remain the fattest inhabitants of the planet.

•  6% of men and 11.2% of women say they have had same-sex sexual contacts.

•  We drink more bottled water than beer.

•  More Americans were born in 2004 than in every year except 1960 and 1990.

•  The divorce rate of 3.7/1000 people was the lowest since 1970.

•  In 1980 12% of medical doctors were women;  by 2004 it was 27%.

My socialist friend Rudolf was arguing with me over tomorrow’s weather for a picnic.  His wife has full confidence in his predictive accuracy and cautioned me: “Rudolf the Red knows rain, dear!”

To change someone’s mind:  Don't give YOUR arguments first...listen to the other person’s argument so you know it better than he does.

Over the centuries, Sunnis and Shiites have often lived in peace.  The latest violence began after the first Iraq war, when the U.S. encouraged Shiites to rise up against the Sunni-led dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.  He struck back by eradicating entire districts.  Mass graves are still turning up, and many Shiites still believe they have scores to settle with the Sunni minority that oppressed them.  Newsweek 12/4/6

The FDA was created in 1906...until 1988 it had 25 responsibilities.  In the last 18 years Congress added 65 new responsibilities--but not the funding.  The Food Division staff was cut 14% since 2003.  They inspect food production facilities once every 5 to 10 years.  [USDA inspects meat/poultry plants every day.]  Why not merge the food inspection job of FDA with USDA??

Ménage `a trois?  Ruth Webb died.  Her obit in the NYT stated: “Also surviving are Ms. Webb’s companion of 35 years, Jamie Stellos, and Mr. Stellos’s wife, Nancy.”

Mission Accomplished--Again:  The Pentagon’s voluminous spending bill for 2007 authorizes Bush to designate “a day of celebration” for the “commemoration of success” by our troops in Iraq, and appropriates $20 million “to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

KWIKWIZ answers:

121.  Moby Dick

122.  Anna Karenina

123.  1984

124.  A Tale of Two Cities

125.  Pride and Prejudice

CHALLENGE #36 was:  Why were Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt married on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City?

Answer:  Her father was dead so she asked her distant cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, to give her away.  He agreed, but only if it was in NYC on March 17th,  1905, since he was to be the grand marshall of the Paddy’s Day Parade.  Jerry got it!

CHALLENGE #37:  What is the most recognizable product-shaped promotional vehicle anywhere?


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January is “Get Organized Month.”  Last year $5.9 billion was spent on home-organizing products.  Estimated for 2009:  $7.6 billion.

In 2005, NEVAEH became the 70th most popular girl’s name, with 4,457 SS registrations.  In 1991 there were only 8.  It is “heaven” spelled backwards.  The 73rd most popular male and female name was Jesus and Mary.


126.  Of the almost 3,000 funerals for Iraq vets, how many has G.W. Bush attended to date?

127.  Name the state that has four presidential wannabes, and name them.

128.  How many states have some form of legalized gambling?

129.  What percentage of the New York Times is sold outside NYC?

130.  Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?

FAO SCHWARZ [NYC toy store] holiday rules for entry 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.:

Monday: NYC residents

Tuesday:  Non-U.S. citizens

Wednesday:  Non-NY U.S. citizens

TEACHER TRICK:  When visitors come to school kids raise right hand if they know the answer; left if they don’t

52% of November voters were over 50.

35 years ago John Kerry asked the question:  “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

We learn 87% from our eyes and 13% from our ears.


1st:   ignore it

2nd:  attack it

3rd:  co-opt it

QUALITY is the constant;  TIME is the variable

Perhaps no place illustrates the TOLL of the Iraq war more vividly than Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. In this "garden of stone," in ruler-straight rows, rest one-tenth of the Iraq war's American dead, whose number has reached 3,000.  Privates lie beside officers. Soldiers beside Marines. Muslim troops beside Christians and those of other faiths.  Many were seasoned veterans, but most — 60% — never reached age 25.

Ask for an explanation of CLICHES; because they are used to hide/blur/avoid clear thinking.

HENRY JAMES had a stammer...except when he read poetry.

GASOLINE expands above 60 degrees so you get less energy for each gallon.  The oil companies gain about $2 billion/year according to Public Citizen.

“When it came to trying to decide which theories of CHILD-REARING were highly beneficial and which were absolutely ruinous to the future of the child …we agreed on a simple notion:  your children are either the center of your life or they’re not, and the rest is commentary.”  Calvin Trillin

70% of voters now suppport public funding of federal elections and less than 20% prefer the current private financing system.  SEE www.just6dollars.org  for the plan to fund them with just $6/person/year.

During the early 1930s iodine was a treatment for idiocy and Connecticut called it self the Iodine State to promote its heavy exporting of this psychological cure-all.

The PENTAGON is asking for $170 billion...a 45% increase in its budget.

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT  said:  “A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted in the air.  A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs, who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”  And, he concluded, a liberal was a person who used his legs and his hands in the service of his head.

LIPOGRAMS are works that exclude one or more letters of the alphabet;  PANGRAMS are phrases that contain every letter of the alphabet:  The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

More than one BILLION people on earth lack reliable access to safe drinking WATER, while waterborne diseases like diarrhea and typhoid account for more than 80% of all illness in the world.


The Bible is the best-selling book of the year--every year:  25 million last year at more than half a billion dollars.  60% are gifts.  91% of American households own at least one.  The King James Version of 1611 lacked any significant rival for three centuries.  Now there are over 500 English translations/versions.  The most popular book to be stolen from book stores is the Bible.


   “A MAN who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.”  Confucius

   “HAVE PATIENCE and the mulberry leaf will become satin.”  Spanish proverb

   “HELLbegins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do.”  Gian-Carlo Menotti

   “TO ACCEPT good advice is but to increase one’s own ability.”  Goethe

   “HE WHO has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee.  If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.”  Seneca

   “EVERYONE ought to do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.”  William James

   “THERE IS more to life than increasing its speed. ‘  Mohandas K. Gandhi

   “THE GEM cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”  Chinese Proverb

KWIKWIZ answers:

126.  None.

127.  NY:  Clinton, Guiliani, Pataki and Bloomberg.

128.  48...all but Hawaii and Utah.

129.  75%

130.  Obsession.

CHALLENGE #37 was:  What is the most recognizable product-shaped promotional vehicle anywhere?

Answer:  Since 1936, there have been several versions of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.  The 1995 one is 27 feet long and 11 feet high.  The 2004 version has a horn that plays the Wiener jingle in 21 different genres.  Jerry, Keith and Harold knew it.

CHALLENGE #38:  Who is the best left-handed guitar/banjo player?  [Careful--it’s tricky!]


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“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashion.” Playwright Lillian Hellman in a 1952 letter to HUAC.

GETTING SCREWED?  Screws used in spine surgery sell for $1,000 each--at more than a thousand percent markup, and at least 6 are needed.  [Nuts are extra at $250 each.]


131.  What country has been the leading producer of nuclear energy for over a decade?

132.  The patterned fabric known as calico originated in the city of Calicut...in what country?

133.  Why is the Greek-born Tom Carvelas famous?

134.  Of the 1,000 employees at our Baghdad Embassy, how many are fluent in Arabic?

135.  What is the most popular child’s name in the world?

When we rebuilt Japan after WWII, NO contracts went to U.S. companies.

ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWS of Israel believe that the Jews’ exile is God’s punishment for sin, and only God, not man, can end it.

The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

PRISONERS in the U.S. spend over a billion dollars/year on collect calls.

TIMBERLAND lists on its shoeboxes:  the amount of energy it took to make the shoes, how much of that was renewable, whether child labor was used and how many hours per pair.

Terms from ARABIC:  alcohol [powder], alkaline, gauze [Gaza], muslin [Mosul], sherbet, artichoke, magazine, tariff, average [damaged goods].

“The ancient Greek poet Archilochus opined, ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.’ Let me submit that we're living through the final months of the decidedly hedgehog presidency of George W. Bush, whose strategic failures can logically be remedied by the election of a fox in 2008.” Thomas P.M. Barnett

An actual sign posted at a golf club in Scottsdale, Arizona [from Eliz  G]:












OSCAR WILDE lay dying in a flea-bag hotel in Paris.  His final words:  “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.”

$2.3 billion worth of TIME is spent in waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, hospitals and transportation in the first year after cancer is diagnosed.   from J of Nat’l Cancer Insti.


•  Avg cost of making a big-studio movie is $60 million plus $36 million for U.S. marketing.

•  The most expensive was “Cleopatra”:  $300 million in 2006 dollars.

•  40% of theater profits come from the concession stand.

•  The $550 million take for “King Kong” was considered a disappointment.

•  Half the movie audience, but only 25% of population, is between 12-30 years old.

Hooded SWEATSHIRTS began in the 1930s, created for laborers in the frozen warehouses of upstate New York.  Note that “Rocky” wore one punching bloody carcasses in a meat locker.

WATCH WHAT WE DO, NOT WHAT WE SAY.  Back in 1997 Lord Browne, BP’s CEO said at Stanford U. that global warming was a real problem that oil companies needed to acknowledge and address.  Notice the new BP logo:  BP in lower-case type above a yellow and green sun and the words “beyond petroleum”?  Like all their ads it speaks to the environment.  Hmm!?   BP, the world’s 2nd largest oil company, recently found a dangerous amount of corrosion on the Trans-Alaska pipeline?  They mentioned [but didn’t] shutting down the pipeline...and prices soared.  Five months earlier BP had a huge spill on the pipeline and the Government made them inspect it--and they found the corrosion, having avoided routine inspections.  Hmmm.  Six months before that a BP accident killed 15 workers and injured hundreds.  Last June the Gov. accused BP traders of market manipulation while a new BP platform in the Gulf tipped dangerously during Hurricane Dennis.  “We believe in our hearts that these events are unrelated,” said Scott Dean, a BP spokesman. 

The Agriculture Department has proposed allowing animals to be labeled GRASS-FED even if they never saw a pasture and were fed antibiotics and hormones.

“When states drop BLUE LAWS [which ban Sunday commerce] church attendance dipped by 15% among those who go weekly,” found Hungerman (Notre  Dame) and Gruber (MIT).  Churchgoers became as likely as nonattendees to use drugs and their rate of heavy drinking increased marketly.  Conclusion:  “What you do Sunda morning could make a dig difference in how you spend Saturday night.”


1. Fake Lottery

2. Phishing-Vishing

3. Phony Job

4. Negative Options

5. Nigerian 419

6. Pump & Dump

7. Bogus Fuel Saving Devices

8. Grandparents

9. Oprah Tickets

10. Craigslist Scam

SEE:  http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/12/top_ten_scams.html

60% of the world’s CAVIAR is consumed in the U.S.

From GEORGE W to GEORGE W:  (from Hightower Lowdown)

Most of us don’t want BIG government, but as we learned from the Katrina fiasco, we do want ESSENTIAL govenment.  G. Washington used public funds to provide a solid infrastructure including an extensive system of postal roads and canals.  Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase.  Even during the Civil War Lincoln saw the need for the transcontinental RR, Homestead Act, and a public system of land-grant colleges.  TR, a Republican, created our system of national parks and the National Forest Service.  FDR put America to work building courthouses and dams, planting windbreaks and arbors, creating music and plays.  Ike, a fiscal conservative, launched the Interstate Highway System.  LBJ invested in hospitals, schools, water systems and parks.  From the early 1950s into the 1970s, total public spending on America’s physical plant (including $ from local, state and federal agencies) was about 3% of GDP.  In the 1980s and 1990s this investment in public good dropped well below 2%--a cut of more than 1/3.  The situation has worsened under Bushites, who are sworn enemies of public investment in anything but the military and their corporate friends.  While federal infrastructure outlays in the 1960s equaled $ from local and state govenments, locals are now paying 3X what the feds spend.

The Great Way is very smooth, but the people love the by-paths.  Lao Tzu

IOPI offers a 100-hour, $20,000 course that “instructs mainly white-collar criminals of the finer points of prison ettiquette.”

KWIKWIZ answers:

131.  U.S.

132.  The city is now called Kozhikode in India.

133.  He sold ice cream from his truck and founded Carvel.

134.  6.

135.  Muhammad.

CHALLENGE #38 was:  Who is the best left-handed guitar/banjo player?  Several said Paul McCartney, among others...only Jerry [thought like I do and] suggested the answer I was looking for:  Kermit the Frog  [Recall, I cautioned you!] 

CHALLENGE #39:  The oldest known geological map is the Turin Papyrus from 1150 B.C.  What is the next oldest? [within a century]


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CHEERS!...Your Obedient Servant, Walter M. Mathews  [wmmathews@mac.com]