Monday, September 1, 2014

Green eggs and spam, or Svetlana wants to marry me

We all have received spam, I’m sure, spam being defined at as “disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.”

I want to share with you the ones I received today. I didn’t open any of them, goodness, no (and advise you not to open yours either) , but I learned the following just by looking at the titles in my Spam box:

I can study 100% online at Liberty University. (But now that the big attraction, Jerry Falwell, is dead, why bother?)

I can meet singles looking for a date or view photos of singles for free (two separate e-mail messages from . (I don’t care how many singles are looking for a date, I’m sticking with Mrs. RWP.)

I can start communicating on eHarmony for free NOW. (Dear eHarmony, please see my response to

I can enter in a chance to -win- a $25K Kitchen-Makeover. (Yeah, me and 200 million other people, so my chances of -winning- are like, nil.)

The RussianBride Team assured me twice today (and once a day for the past week) that Svetlana wants to marry me. (Svetlana must be pretty desperate, but no deal.)

I can claim 24 packs worth of E-Cigarettes in a free trial offer NOW. (Because my mother and my father both died of cancer, I have never smoked real cigarettes; why on earth would I want fake ones? Go peddle your wares elsewhere. I would tell you what you can do with those E-Cigarettes but this is a family blog.)

I can reverse my Type 2 diabetes now with a FREE TRIAL BOTTLE from Glycemate. (Which would be wonderful if I had Type 2 diabetes, but I don’t. And if I did, I would follow my doctor’s instructions.)

BIG N HARD is offering a FREE BOTTLE so that I can increase my size and duration NOW. (But BIG N (may I call you BIG N?) , I weigh 220 pounds and have lived for 73 years, so I think my size and duration are just fine, thank you.)

The Approval Dept. wants to give me up to $6,500 overnight even if I have BAD or NO CREDIT. (Very tempting, I must admit, but your interest rates are probably exorbitant.) has found matches in my area and I can review them for FREE. (Well, I am over 50, so their target age group does include me, but I’m still very happy with Mrs. RWP and am not looking.)

Platinum Credit Card wants me to PLEASE CONFIRM ADDRESS. (This kind of e-mail sets off alarm bells in my brain. Never, ever, give personal information to strangers. Also, hold hands while crossing the street.)

I can have $1,000 Cash Deposited in My Account in minutes by Next Payday Advance. (This very kind offer presumes that I have a Next Payday on which I could repay the loan, which I don’t, as I have been retired for 14 years. I think I’ll pass on this one.)

BlueSky Auto Finance tells me I am Pre-Approved for a $30,000 Car Loan and that Bad Credit is OK! (Speaking of blue sky, the day I buy a $30,000 Car is very far away, which is to say, never. And just for the record, Bad Credit is not OK.)

Now that I think about it, I have written about spam before.

People, be on guard out there! Keep your defenses up! Wolves are always lurking about, looking for vulnerable sheep, or, as St. Peter once wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Enough with the metaphors, already. The best thing to do with spam messages is to hit the DELETE button.

Except if a banker in Nigeria contacts you to tell you have inherited millions from a long-lost relative and he wants to deposit the funds into your account, that one is legitimate.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Somewhere, Edward Gibbon is making notes

JEFFERSON (1776): We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

LINCOLN (1863): It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

FDR (1933): The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

JFK (1961): Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

REAGAN (1981): In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

REAGAN (1987): Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

CLINTON (1998): I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

OBAMA (2014): I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inquiring minds want to know: How green was my valley?

Thanks to (a) John F. Kemeny, the 35th President of the U.S.A., (b) Yorkshire Pudding, the most pixilated pixie ever, (c) the wonderful internet, and (d) the comments section of my last post, I have now been made aware of the Brague National Park in the Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. I already knew about the Brague winery and the Brague River, but to learn of a national park is, how do you say, an extra added bonus (an uber-redundancy if there ever was one) .

And not only that, I have also just learned that the Brague River includes the Brague Valley River Walk. Take time to read the charming description of its loveliness by someone whose first language was definitely not English. If you ever go there, remember to “walk downhill progressively until the river of which the path goes along the left edge of the river” and to “enjoy numerous landscapes and cool areas” and to ”follow the way, passby the House of the nature. Take left the track, and the road which leads to Valbonne by the Graveyard”.

Leaving aside the fact that anywhere Yorkshire Pudding is would be, by definition, a cool area, I think one should always walk uphill conservatively and downhill progressively. Unless it’s the other way round. I can never keep that straight.

I am also confused as to whether it is “Feed a cold, starve a fever” or “Starve a cold, feed a fever” and I would appreciate any help I can get from you wonderful people out there in the dark a reliable source.

Because a lot of what you can find on the internet isn’t true, especially if it’s in Wikipedia.

Most of all, I think Yorkshire Pudding should print down a copy of the directions for the Brague Valley River Walk (9.8km, 3 hrs) and hie himself, camera in tow, off to that particular Gallic hinterland, and then publish a blogpost that would highlight for all of us some of those numerous landscapes and cool areas.

Don’t you agree?

Friday, August 22, 2014

No, never would I leave you at all

Many years ago I read the book Man and the Computer by John Kemeny, a professor of mathematics who later became president of Dartmouth University. Near the beginning of the book he wrote, “The computer is incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Man is unbelievably slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. The marriage of the two is a force beyond calculation.”

It is a statement that sticks in the mind.

Fast forward (now there’s an obsolete phrase) to today.

You can learn the most amazing things on the internet. You can also learn (contrary to popular opinion among the intelligentsia) the most amazing things on television. If you combine watching television with searching the internet (a sort of marriage as well) , the result can also be a force beyond calculation.

Case in point.

Mrs. RWP and I were watching the highly educational television program Judge Judy this afternoon, and I remarked that the defendant in one case looked a lot like Robert Goulet.

“Whatever happened to him?” asked Mrs. RWP.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I can’t remember whether he is still alive.”

Because I don’t like to leave loose ends hanging, I decided to do the only sensible thing and find out. I went to the computer and googled “Robert Goulet” and discovered that Robert Goulet is not still alive. He died in 2007 about a month before what would have been his 74th birthday.

What absolutely floored me in the article I was reading was that early in his career Robert Goulet had been a member of the cast of the Canadian version of Howdy Doody and not only that, he starred opposite -- wait for it -- William Shatner.

Would I lie to you?

Yes, Virginia, there was a Canadian version of Howdy Doody. It ran on CBC from 1954 until 1959. Instead of a host named Buffalo Bob, however, it had a host named Timber Tom (sounds more Canadian, eh?) . Robert Goulet played the part of Trapper Pierre; William Shatner played the part of Ranger Bob.

As Jack Paar might say, I kid you not.

Talk about being gobsmacked.

One other thing. In one of Robert Goulet’s biggest hits, “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot, he promised he wouldn’t leave us* in springtime, summer, winter, or fall (2:11) .

He lied. He left us in the fall. October 30, 1977, to be exact.

I know, I know. I’m easily entertained.

Man and the computer.

John Kemeny would be so proud.

*okay, it was Julie Andrews

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fifty years ago this week (August 26 to be exact)

The Perfect Nanny
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Wanted: A nanny for two adorable children

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts
Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea

Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Jane and Michael Banks

The rest is, as they say, history.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Go with the flow, or Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth

In my email this morning there was a message from Snowbrush that was so inspiring I want to share it with you. Here it is:

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I played “Amazing Grace” the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost...must be a man thing.

(Photo from

Monday, August 18, 2014

Show biz is my life

When I sign on to my computer, it happens that is the first page I see. On that page today was the link “9 Things You Should Know About Kelly Ripa” but I was not tempted to click on it.

No way, José.

I don’t know what things Yahoo thinks I should know about Kelly Ripa, but in my opinion here are the nine most important things anyone needs to know about her:

1. She is annoying.
2. She is annoying.
3. She is annoying.
4. She is annoying.
5. She is annoying.
6. She is annoying.
7. She is annoying.
8. She is annoying.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is unfair.

Let’s try that again (and these are my thoughts, not Yahoo’s) :

1. A recent quote attributed to Kelly Ripa: “Botox changed my life.”
2. She thinks she is funny but she isn’t.
3. She thinks she can sing but she can’t.
4. She is no Kathie Lee Gifford.
5. She is from New Jersey.
6. She is married to actor Mark Consuelos.
7. She met her husband in 1995 when they co-starred on the television soap opera All My Children.
8. She co-hosted “Live!” with Regis Philbin.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is still unfair. I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do. Millions, of Americans disagree with me. Can I help it if they’re wrong?

That is not Kelly Ripa (or Kathie Lee Gifford or Mark Consuelos or Regis Philbin) . That is Ruth Warrick in 1973 as Phoebe Tyler on All My Children.

If this post makes no sense to my international readers, it’s probably just as well.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I probably should not post before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Plus, I am old and getting more curmudgeonly all the time.