Spring’s Unwelcome Guest

I love Spring. It is my favorite season. Plus, it always arrives after a bleak Winter of grey days and the ever present possibility of snow combined with its evil relative, Black Ice. Spring, for me, begins when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. The fact that that event comes in mid-February does not lessen the joy of its arrival.

But a few days ago I experienced another event that definitely signifies Spring’s arrival for me. I saw the season’s first bug. He looked like this:


He is ugly. No, wait. He is worse than that. He is oogly. He is the dreaded Thousand Legger. And calling him a centipede does not improve his appearance. Plus, I know he will soon be followed by his friends: water bugs, cockroaches, spiders, flies, mosquitoes, and worms. Every Winter, I forget that these creatures exist. (When was the last time you saw a thousand legger in the snow?) They must be like bears. Bugs probably hibernate during the cold weather and appear fully grown and hideous with the first sunny days of Spring.

They are unwanted guests who overstay their welcome. In the cold months, they are out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, that means their appearance always comes as an obscene shock to unexpectant humans. And they have a second act. No matter the day or date of their arrival, the night following their appearance, I dream of them. And they look like this:


There is only one saving grace that accompanies them: every other bug looks tiny and innocent in comparison. The true horror of a (I hate to even say it) thousand legger dwarfs every other bug that follows it. For example, this creature:


A mosquito is nothing at all compared to its truly evil relative. Mosquitoes can be avoided by using a spray (I’m told). Thousand leggers arrive unannounced and sprays are useless against them.

Baseball arrives with the sound of a hard ball exploding into a catcher’s glove. But it is inevitably followed by the creature of my nightmares. So it is with a combination of pleasure and dread I must say: Hello Spring.

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30 Years With Homer


According to experts, April, 2017 is the 30th Anniversary of “The Simpsons” on television. That’s longer than “Gunsmoke” lasted. Longer than Bob Newhart’s two wonderful comedies added together (ie, “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Bob”). When Homer Simpson was asked the secret to “his” success, he replied: “donuts”. Homer is a Father figure almost equal to Atticus Finch. Homer has provided TV viewers with 30 years of laughter and wisdom. So, I asked him: “Could you tell me a dozen pieces of advice you’ve provided as a television star?” He was happy to oblige. He said he would count his remarks for me. Here are the words of wisdom he provided.

“If you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet. They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

“Lisa, if you don’t like your life, you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it half-assed. That’s the American way.”

“Marriage is like a coffin and each kid is like another nail.”

“Well, it’s 1 AM. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.”

“How come things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?”

“Being popular is the most important thing in the world.”

“I only read one book, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” And it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds.”

“And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course and I forgot how to drive?”

“I believe that children are our future. Unless we stop them now.”

“I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.”

“I like my veggies wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar, and baked until the sugar is bubbly.”


“You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.”

“Trying is the first step toward failure.”

“I wake up relatively happy every morning. Then I interact with people and things start to change very quickly.”

“It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it.”

“You can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on.”

“If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.”

“I’m a Simpson and a Simpson never gives up unless he’s tried at least one easy thing.”

“As I always say: Don’t get mad. Get dinner.”

“Baseball is so boring without beer.”

“You can have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing you will never have…a dinosaur.”


I’m sorry there are more than a dozen pearls of wisdom in this article. But Homer insisted he had given exactly the 12 I requested.









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Trivia or Trivial



What’s the difference between the words “trivia” and “trivial?” Technically, just one letter. But, for me, that one letter can make a big difference. For example, here’s a baseball question: Name two pitchers who played on the 1963 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale come to mind immediately –at least, for a baseball fan. That’s a “trivia” question. But here is a “trivial” question. Name all the pitchers who played for the 1963 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers used 14 pitchers that season. Did your answer include Dick Calmus and Ken Rowe? No? I’m not sure the Dodgers’ manager could answer that question. (I looked the answer up on the internet.)

IMO, a “trivia” question can usually lead to “fun”, but a “trivial” question often leads to “frustration.” For example, here are 10 questions about sports. See if you can spot the 5 “trivia” questions and the 5 “trivial” questions. The 10 answers follow the questions. Feel free to “cheat”, if necessary

  1. Name two pro basketball players who were drafted in 2003.
  2. What 1950 Phillies player had an incident in his career that made its way into the book, “The Natural.”

3. Name the first black baseball player.

4. What 1951 New Your Giants baseball player had an incident in his career that made   its way into the book, “The Natural.”

5. Name the first Hispanic baseball player voted into the Hall of Fame.

6. What NFL football player had the nickname “Sweetness?”

7. Who is generally considered the last “60 Minute Man” in the NFL?

8. The last Philadelphia Eagles NFL Championship was in 1960. Who was their    quarterback?

9. Vince Lombardi, as a head coach, lost one Championship game. What team defeated him?

10. The 1955 Philadelphia Warriors basketball team won the NBA title. Name the two 20+ point scorers they had.


Answers: the odd numbered questions are “trivia” and the even numbered questions are “trivial.”

What’s that? You want the actual answers? OK. 1 – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade. 2- Eddie Waitkus was shot in a hotel room by a woman he did not know. 3 – Jackie Robinson. 4 – Bobby Thomson hit a home run in the last inning to win a playoff game and the pennant against the Dodgers. 5 – Roberto Clemente. 6 – Walter Payton. 7 – Chuck Bednarik. 8 – Norm Van Brocklin. 9 – The Philadelphia Eagles. 10 – Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston.







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BEN and JERRY’S Ice Cream



At last, the article YOU have been waiting for! A lot of information about Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and where you can get even MORE information. Hint: try = benjerry.com.

First, and most important, here is a list of the 50 flavors you can buy in pint size containers. Well, not really. That’s too much information. No one has ever made it past two dozen flavors without tearing off (most of ) their clothes and run screaming into the night in search of a 24 hour convenience store that had B + J’s ice cream. But I will spare you the embarrassment of such an episode by giving you a tasty dozen names before I go further. Eins, zwei, drei –oops, I lapsed into my memory of high school German. Worse than an acid flashback.

I will start again: Cherry Garcia (where else did you expect me to begin), Chocolate Therapy, Chubby Hubby (My wife’s favorite. I don’t know why. But every time I stand in front of a mirror, she repeats herself.), Chunky Monkey, Cinnamon Buns, Everything but the…, Half Baked, New York Super Fudge Chunk (mUsT coNtiNuE ThE LISt)….Peanut Butter Cup, Phish Food, Triple Caramel Chunk, Chocolate Cherry Garcia (my latest flavor flav).

Here is a shorter list if you like oldies but goodies. (This is another list you can find in its entirety at their website.) B+J’s 12 “longest selling flavors” (ie, their sale began in 1996 or earlier). The Gold Medal winner = Cherry Garcia (1987); The Silver Medal winner = New York Super Fudge Chunk (1985); The Bronze Medal winner = Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (1984).

My personal favorites: New York Super Fudge Chunk, Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, and –my newest taste bud tingle—Chocolate Cherry Garcia. Notice any repetition?

On B+J’s website, you can take a quiz and you will find out the flavor most suited to you. My flavor is apparently the one pictured at the bottom of this article.


Now, something that may surprise you. Some flavors have been “retired” to the “Graveyard.” They are no longer sold. Difficult though it is to believe, 33 flavors did not sell well or (and this is even harder to accept) taste very good. Here are a half dozen of the absentees: Wavy Gravy, Urban Jungle, Oh Pear, Cool Britannia, White Russian (don’t tell Lebowski), and Economic Crunch.

Periodically, there is a “free cone day.” I didn’t understand the specifics of the offer, so if You do, let me know. And why wouldn’t you pass the word: it’s free ice cream?!


Plus, for employees of B+J’s, there are 21 “K9 – 5ers” that accompany workers to their daily chores (i.e.,”K9 – 5ers are B+J’s version of “take your dog to work”). As a perk, that is a real benefit.

I will end with a question. I need your assistance. Does anyone know where I can get Chocolate Cherry Garcia? I don’t have to go to the Vermont factory, do I? None is available where I live and it is one of three (3) necessities that make my life worthwhile: my wife (the beautiful and empathic) Donna, our current dog (the energetic and affectionate, Luna aka Luna Balloona aka Bella Luna) –half pit, half pointer, and, yes (isn’t it obvious), my 5 Favs of Ben and Jerry’s. If you cannot help me, my only recourse is to toss a bottle with a note inside into the Atlantic Ocean. Please help, and Thanks.





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Just For Laughs


Robert Mankoff is the Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker magazine. Prior to this, he was a cartoonist for 20 years. Here are samples of his work.

















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Thank You, Chuck Berry



Chuck Berry is born: 10/18/26.

Married Themetta “Toddy” Suggs in 1948; were married 68 years.

Chuck Berry: “It amazes me when I hear people say ‘I want to go out and find out who I am.’ I always knew who I was. I was going to be famous if it killed me.’”

Chuck Berry: “I would sing the blues if I had the blues.”

Berry, Chuck

Chuck Berry 1969 © Robert Altman/Retna Limited, USA

Chuck Berry: “I grew up thinking Art was pictures until I got into music and found I was an artist and didn’t need paint.”

1955: His first hit = “Maybellene.”

When Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first met each other, one of them knew the other because he carried a record of Chuck Berry under his arm.

Chuck Berry “made the guitar the star, not a background instrument.”


Keith Richards(pictured): “I stole everything I could from Chuck Berry’s guitar work.”

1977: When NASA launched the unmanned Voyager 1 spacecraft, “Johnny B. Goode” was the one rock and roll song included on a golden record that would explain music on earth.




Some of Chuck Berry’s hits = “Maybellene; Too Much Monkey Business; Roll Over Beethoven; Brown Eyed Handsome Man; School Days; Rock and Roll Music; Reelin’ and Rockin’; Sweet Little Sixteen; Johnny B. Goode; Carol; Nadine; You Never Can Tell; No Particular Place To Go; My Ding-A-Ling…………

John Lennon: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”

Bob Dylan: “Chuck Berry is the Shakespeare of rock and roll.”

Bruce Springsteen: “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock and roll writer who ever lived.”


Keith Richards gave the introduction speech when Chuck Berry was among the first class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1995).

Chuck Berry performed at the White House, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, received Kennedy Center Honors, and got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

When Berry died, Mick Jagger said: “All of us in Rock have now lost our Father.”



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Rivals 2.0

Last week, I wrote an article entitled “Rivals”. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten some response to it that indicates I left some readers confused about how to interpret it. Today, in “Rivals 2.0”, I’ll try not to leave any one in the dark.

I will give you the names of pairs of individuals from various fields of employment. Your job is to decide who is the better person in their area. It’s a game you can’t lose because you are the only one playing. If you want, make up your own pairings in an area you find interesting.

For example, compare these 2 baseball players: Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. Who was the better hitter? What was their finest accomplishment? Who was the better all-around player? IMO, Williams was the better hitter. Each man had a tremendous accomplishment. DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games. Williams hit over .400 (ie, .406 –the last man to do so). But DiMaggio, a fine fielder, was probably the better all-around player.

Here are more pairs of individuals to think about in comparison.



Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.


 Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando (pictured).



Katharine Hepburn (pictured)   and Meryl Streep.



Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.


Serena Williams and Billie Jean King (pictured).



Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps.


Jim Brown (pictured)  and Walter Payton.



Larry Bird and LeBron James.

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