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June 19, 2011

There was a time, back in the day, when Seattle was a two-newspaper town and each paper carried extensive daily classified advertising. Now, of course, we have only the Seattle Times, with the P-I an online news source only. Classified ads, too, have pretty much disappeared, with the Times running them only on Saturdays and Sundays. Fortunately, the ‘Personals,’ which the Times now calls “Announcements,’ still appear. I’ve been a ‘Personals’ reader for many years, and while most are of the routine variety (“Happy B’day, Mom!” “Robert, come home, all is forgiven” (and, yes, I’ve seen this more than once) and the ubiquitous “Thank you, St. Jude”), there regularly appear the curious, the whimsical, the humorous and the totally incomprehensible. Here are some I’ve collected over the years, just as they appeared, typos and all. (NOTE: Word Press is anything but user-friendly and will not let me format this the way I want. I’d apologize for the sloppy format but there’s nothing I can do about it.)

As a Christian, I recall a recent controversial movie

& intend to skip a popular current movie.

Wouldn’t it be funny if we could teach the monkeys

at the zoo to use a social paradigm?

Promise & Press for Me: & so does the bag man’s wife. I went to see her & I suggested to her that maybe someone had bought flood insurance. She said I know every policy that comes across this desk. I was going to ask her if she knew irrevocable beneficiary. With Love, Paid Up Wife.

M’key see, m’key do,

M’key cage in t/eagle zoo.


Ha Ha Ha Ha    

    Ha Ha Ha Ha   E.


 Liberal pacifist would like to correspond or  meet others to start own country. No romances.  


The man in the suit just bought a new car with the profit he made off your dreams

Hunter sold the team. Caviar for talent, hot dogs on the lawn for you. Good-bye

for now. RMS 

N. Congratulations on your engagement. I really do wish you well. She’ll

make you a great wife, she’s younger, prettier and probably not as bossy as

me. I was going to tell her that in person on Sat. 7/25 but she turned her back 

on my, like you did so many times. S.

Will somebody from the United Nations please call Michelle

ASAP at 206-xxx-xxxx to discuss REASONS WHY



My boat and motor has disappeared from Martha Lake Alderwood Manor since

June 10. I send my wishes that the boat breaks in half in mid-lake and that your 

mother is unsuccessful in attracting attention as she runs barking along the shore.


Theorizing that humans could destroy the earth in my lifetime, knowing GOD can.

Knowing Russia/China are selling nuke and biological secrets to Iran or others

with missiles that can be delivered from oil tankers to anywhere. GOD’s showing

me how to assemble other’s technology to create large space traveling objects,

Earth launched for masses of humans and animals. I choose not to spread human-kind

over the vast creation of the cosmos. I refuse to work on the plans. Enjoy 

gingerbread hell while it lasts. Jesus was true. Thomas was blue. 

Over & out to you. GCT.


Thank you St. Jude – Geri            

 Thank you St. Jude – S.H.             



Thank you St. Jude – Elizabeth  

Thank you St. Jude – G.P.S.C.       

Thank you St. Jude – Stan              

Who is St. Jude?                                   

LOVE YA. I wanted to dream up science fiction, to goof off and have fun like 

Frank Peretti, CS Lewis and Angel Unaware Dale Evans. I didn’t want the 

Black Plague in my garbage and I knew 100% that rats cannot get in garbage

and start a black plague. My encyclopedia & dictionary stated it’s impossible

to start the Black Plague in garbage & I knew nobody was going to get the

Black Plague from my garbage.


4H PLEDGE                                         


I LOVE YOU Mollie                         


Prepare to meet thy God                

Juan- Turn off the lights               

ALWAYS, PHIL. CH. I                     

“Jane’s gettin’ serious.”                 












June 12, 2011

A short story this week, plus the answers to last week’s math puzzles and a couple more cartoonicons.


 Hate. It was not a word Denise thought about very much. But now, sitting in the back seat of the car on the way to the cemetery with her mother and father, she did. Hate. She saw the word form on the blackboard of her mind and she studied it, trying to coax meaning out of it. She knew she hated some things. And some people, too. She hated Rafferty. He picked the wax out of his ears and ate it! That was so disgusting. And she had to sit next to him in Mrs. Ferguson’s class at school. She hated spelling bees. She hated them because she was terrible at spelling and she was always the first one to sit down. She hated it when the kids made fun of her. She thought of other things she hated: rhubarb, going to the doctor, being told by an adult, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”

She hated today and everything about it: getting up early on a Saturday to attend her grandfather’s funeral, missing her favorite cartoons, having her hair combed. As always, it was full of snarls and tangles. Her mother wouldn’t hear of her getting it cut short, though. Mother prided herself on her own hair, long and straight and black like crows are black, and she wanted to be just as proud of her daughter’s hair, so Denise couldn’t get it cut. “You’ll understand when you’re older,” her mother had said. She hated that.

She had hated the funeral. Everybody was dressed in black and most of the women were crying. It was curious, though, how people cried differently. She had sat in the front row, next to Aunt Rose and had watched her big bosom heave and shake with her silent sobs. Denise wondered what that must feel like and gave a little shudder. Aunt Catherine was crying louder than anybody, so loud she sometimes drowned out Reverend Hawley’s voice. Aunt Grace just dabbed her eyes.

She had looked up at her father, sitting next to her, and was surprised to find a smirky little smile on his face. It disappeared as soon as his eyes found hers. Only her mother’s grief seemed . . . what was the word she was looking for? Real. Her crying was soft and gentle, soothing in a quiet way.

She hated the heat, she realized, as the jolt from a bump in the road returned her to the back seat of the car. She felt all sticky, particularly where her dress didn’t come down far enough and her thighs were pressed against the yellowing plastic seat cover and every time she moved it felt like her thighs were being peeled from the seat. She hated that.

She looked at the back of her father’s head. There were wrinkles there. She’d never noticed them before. Her father’s hair was white and he always wore it cut short. It reminded her of the bristles on her toothbrush. She tried to imagine her father’s head covered with toothbrushes. She giggled a silent giggle. A drop of sweat appeared on the back of her father’s neck and Denise watched as it gradually swelled and then rolled down under his collar. She hated that.

The trip to the cemetery was taking forever! She hated it! Why couldn’t they just go home? Then she could turn on the TV and drink lemonade and forget all the things she hated. She closed her eyes and tried playing her favorite car game. With her eyes closed, she tried to imagine the car traveling backwards instead of forward. She had to imagine the fields and the trees and the pavement and the phone poles and everything else suddenly reversing direction. If the car turned left, she had learned to imagine it turning right, going backwards. The sounds of cars passing in the opposite direction had to be imagined as cars that she was passing in her car. Sometimes she succeeded, convincing herself that the car was moving in reverse and then, when she opened her eyes, there was that sudden jolt back to reality. She hated that she couldn’t make it happen today.

She looked out the window. They were passing recently plowed fields, as yet bare and unplanted. As the car sped by, it seemed that the long, straight furrows stretching away into the distance were racing along with them. Each furrow was a long leg and collectively, it looked like they were running. She’d never noticed that before. Denise was fascinated. They were passing strawberry fields just now and the legs looked as though they were wearing green pants. She almost said something to her mother but decided not to. She probably couldn’t explain it and make her mother understand. On the other hand, though, she might be able to tell her mother, “You’re too old to understand.” Better not, though. Her mother would think she was being sassy. Her mother didn’t like sassy.

The hot wind coming in the car window blew Denise’s hair across her face. She pushed it back, trying not to think how her grandfather used to stroke her hair. And how much she hated it after what she had seen. A raw iciness swept through her as she remembered the time she had walked into the house after school and found Grandfather bending over her cousin Leslie on the couch in the front room. He had roughly ordered her to leave, but not before she had seen that Leslie was wearing nothing but her panties and that she was crying. Later, when she tried to console her cousin, Leslie ran from the room, sobbing.

“I hated that! I hated it!” She clenched her teeth and her little fists beat against the car seat. And she had had to pass alongside his dead body. Her mother had told her she was to kiss her fingertips and then touch them to Grandaddy’s lips. She had hated the very thought, but mother had been right behind her as they walked past his body and she had to do it. Thinking about it, she felt like she was going to throw up right here in the car. She felt like she did when she saw Rafferty eating his ear wax. Or the times when Grandaddy stroked her hair and whispered how pretty she was. A tremor of revulsion rolled through her. She hated that. Better think of something else, something she didn’t hate.

The car made a long slow turn to the left and Denise’s thighs peeled away from the plastic. They were at the cemetery. A lot of cars were already there and Denise saw people standing and talking in small groups. Black! She hated the black clothes all over again!

She and her parents got out of their car. Almost as if that were the awaited-for signal, the crowd began to move slowly toward a low stone building sitting on a small rise. As they neared it, an attendant came out and asked the crowd to follow him.

“Where are we going, mother?” asked Denise.

“To the gravesite, Denise, now hush!” Her mother’s voice was strained, almost harsh.

Up ahead she saw the grave, a neatly dug rectangle (she knew it was a rectangle because they had been studying geometry in Mrs. Ferguson’s class) and she knew that’s where Grandaddy was being taken. She saw his coffin being rolled graveside. Denise was surprised to see that Reverend Hawley was there. He’d already done his job, Denise thought, why does he have to be here, too? Denise hated not knowing.

Everything else that happened was just a jumble in Denise’s memory: lowering the coffin into the grave, a few words said, dirt thrown down into the rectangle by the Reverend Hawley. At first Denise thought they’d be there for hours if Reverend Hawley had to fill the hole himself by throwing handfuls of dirt into it. She was very relieved to see a man in a tractor begin to push a big mound of dirt into the grave. People were crying again and then afterward coming up to her and telling her how brave she was and how grown up she was and what a big girl she was. She hated that.

People began to move back toward their cars. Denise’s parents were about to start in that direction when Grandma Alice came up, escorted by Uncle Jed and his wife, Aunt Kristiana. Grandma Alice’s eyes were red and she was still crying. She blew her nose into a tissue she carried discreetly in one gloved hand and then bent over, patted Denise on the head and with a wan smile asked, “What did you think of all this, my dear?”

“I hated it,” said Denise.

Answer to the Car Talk puzzle: 9

Answer to the M&Ms puzzle: 6



More fun with math…

June 5, 2011

PART 1: A warm-up from the Car Talk guys:

Two pair, a dozen, a gross and a score

Added to three times the square root of four

Divided by seven, plus five times eleven,

Equals the square root of ??? and no more.

PART 2: Your challenge:

There are red, green and yellow M&Ms in a bowl. All but four of the M&Ms are red, all but four are green

and all but four are yellow. How many M&Ms are there all together?

PART 3: A few new conversion factors for the scientifically inclined:

1. Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

3. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

4. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

5. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = knotfurlong

6. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

7. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon

8. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahertz

9. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

10. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

11. 2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

12. 52 cards = 1 decacards

13. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton

14. 1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen

15. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

16. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

17. 10 rations = 1 decoration

18. 100 rations = 1 C-ration

19. 2 monograms = 1 diagram

20. 8 nickels = 2 paradigms

21. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Cornell University Hospital = 1 IV League

PART 4: I still can’t draw…


Cartoon #2: It’s the end of the school day and kids are pouring out of the school building. A teacher is standing just outside the door, pointing vaguely off into the distance proclaiming, “Go forth and multiply!”

 Cartoon #89: Two scientists, in white lab coats, are staring in disbelief at a cardboard box they’ve just opened. There’s a cat in the box, calmly washing its face. Caption: “My! God! It’s Schrodinger’s cat!”

 Til next week…

I’m a Dreamer…

May 29, 2011

…aren’t we all?

I love my dreams. I look forward to them the way TV addicts look forward to their evening’s viewing. My dreams surprise me, they delight me and sometimes they startle me. On occasion they even scare me. My dreams are strong and vivid. They’re always in color and sometimes I dream in Spanish. I laugh uproariously in some, cry in others. I hear music, wonderful music that I can never recall upon waking. My dreams usually involve people close to me, sometimes people I’ve known over the years. (I still have occasional dreams about mom. Sometimes she’s the way she was before her mental and physical deterioration, sometimes she’s the way she was during the last couple of years of her life.)

Unlike most people I’ve talked with about dreams, I seem to have little trouble remembering them upon awakening. In the morning, while showering or working out or driving to work, I can recall my dreams of the night before, often in surprising detail. And it’s uncanny how many times some little event during the day, or some image I come across in the newspaper or a magazine, or something someone says will trigger the instant recall of yet another dream of the night before, one that hadn’t come to memory. I also review my dreams, asking questions about them. Who was in them? What was the setting of the dream? What was I doing? What were others doing? What was the feel of the dream?

I attach little or no significance to my dreams. I don’t believe they are in any sense portents. I don’t even think dreams, my dreams in any case, reveal hidden aspects of my personality or problems I’m coping with or insecurities in my life; I don’t look for any psychological significance to them.

I’ve noticed that all five senses are active in my dreams. In addition to seeing and hearing, I also have dreams where I can taste, smell and feel. As I said above, I have dreams that involve music, many kinds of music: flamenco, rock, jazz, classical. In these dreams, I’m listening to a musician, group or orchestra play live. And the music is wonderful. But this puzzles me. The other night, for example, I dreamed I was watching and listening to a pianist play a complex piece of modernist classical music. His hands were doing what they should do as I watched and listened. So now I have to ask: how does this happen? Either my subconscious mind is spontaneously composing and playing this music (who knew I had such talent?) or I’m recalling, in its totality, down to the last note, a piece of music I’ve heard at some time in my life and I’m replaying it in my dream. Either explanation indicates an amazing process. Do others experience this?

Most of the time I can trace the images and happenings in my dreams to mundane sources. The other night, for example, I had a dream that Adolf Hitler was sitting in the crotch of a tree singing Flat Foot Floogie, the old Slim Gaillard tune. Why Hitler? Well, I had seen a program about World War Two on the History Channel a couple of nights before and Hitler was prominent. And Flat Foot Floogie? I had listened to Fats Waller playing the song in the car that day. And that’s just what attracts me to my dreams, that unexpected juxtaposition of everyday images and occurrences in novel ways—I never know what I’m going to get.

I can fly in my dreams. It took me a long time to figure this out because I didn’t realize that’s what was happening. I’ve had some dreams where my flying was obvious: swooping and soaring through the skies—and what an experience that is! But my dream-flying is usually at a much lower altitude, approximately one to two inches off the ground. I know, this isn’t much, but, because I never touch the ground, it is flying. For the longest time I thought I was just kind of “skating” when this happened. I take a couple of steps and all of a sudden I’m just gliding along at a pretty good clip, not even having to move my legs or my feet; it’s totally effortless. When I have to make a turn, it’s always so very graceful with no diminishing of speed. Finally I realized that if I wasn’t touching the ground, there was only one way to think of the experience: flying. It’s very curious, though, that nobody else in my dream ever flies or even takes notice of the fact that I am.

There’s some kind of relationship between my dreams and the quality of my sleep. I’ve noticed that when my dreams are vivid, I sleep better. Or maybe when I sleep better, my dreams are more vivid. I don’t know. But restful sleep and vivid dreams go hand in hand, just as less restful sleep goes hand in hand with less vivid dreams.

There are three kinds of dreams that occur regularly: dreams involving water, dreams where I am either naked or in my underwear somewhere in public (and I’ve read that this is not uncommon), and dreams where I’m back in the Air Force. I like the water dreams, even though they sometimes produce anxiety. Most of them involve the ocean, with huge waves crashing on the beach. Sometimes I’m safely observing the power of all this water from a distance, only to have a series of waves reach me anyway. Sometimes I’m on the beach, trying to get away from the waves. Once in a while I’m caught underwater, holding my breath, desperately trying to surface. With this kind of dream, one of two things happens. Either I wake up, gasping for air (I’ve actually been holding my breath while asleep) or, miracle of miracles! I find I can breathe underwater. That’s almost as much fun as flying.

The Air Force dreams are powerful in a different way. Sometimes I’m young again, sometimes I’m my current age. Regardless of which it is, though, I’m married to Debby and there’s an overwhelming feeling of separation, of loss. I have six months or two years or four years before I’ll be out and I have to put my life on hold to serve out my enlistment.

Nonetheless, I love my dreams. They make my nights as interesting and as enjoyable as my days. My life is richer because of them.


And, to finish up this week, another installment of “If Only I Could Draw!”

Cartoon #23: A man is on his hands and knees in his garden. By his side is a box marked “Slug Trap”. The caption: “Every month Archie gathers slugs for his famous banana slug bread.”


Cartoon #27: A man is standing at a kitchen counter, ready to put a slice of bread into a toaster. Caption: “OK bread, you’re toast!”


The Great 100 (well, almost)…

May 22, 2011

About six years ago, the Discovery Channel attempted to identify the 100 most important people of the second millennium. I didn’t see the program and don’t know who all was on the list (other than   at #1 and Princess Di [!!!] somewhere in there.) But I got to thinking: Whom would I identify as the 100 most important people of the millennium? I decided to try and a couple of things became clear to me. First, it was a fun intellectual exercise that caused me to do some reading and research; and second, I couldn’t come up with 100. All I’ve managed so far is about 80, and some of those are marked as questionable because I’m not certain if I want to include them or not.

The people I selected had an impact on the course of events in the world, for better or for worse. I didn’t select Abraham Lincoln, great as he was, because his impact was limited pretty much to the US, rather than worldwide. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, however, were both instrumental in establishing our nation, which has gone on to influence the world ever since.

The hardest part of this exercise for me was in the field of art, specifically, painting, music and literature. On the one hand, it’s hard to ignore the joy, truth and beauty that great art brings into our lives, affecting people the world over. On the other hand, there are so many greats in the arts over the last 1000 years that I think it would be fairly easy to compile a list of 100 painters, composers and authors. Maybe that’s what I’ll do next.

In any case, here’s my list, broken down by century. (Couldn’t think of anybody for the 14th century. There must be someone—after all, Barbara Tuchman wrote a whole book about the 1300s, A Distant Mirror.) Take a look at my list and let me know if you agree or disagree with my selections. And feel free to suggest additions or subtractions and note them in “comments” on the blog. Enjoy.


12th Century (2)

Genghis Khan, Maimonides

13th Century (2)

Marco Polo (?), Thomas Aquinas

15th Century (6)

Christopher Columbus, Nicholas Copernicus, Johann Gutenberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo (?) ,William Caxton (?)

16th Century (5) Henry VIII, Magellan, Martin Luther, Queen Elizabeth I, Sulieman the Magnificent

17th Century (7) Galileo, Johannes Kepler, John Locke, Rembrandt (?), Shakespeare (?), Isaac Newton, Christian Huygens

18th Century (11) Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Johann Sebastian Bach (?), Beethoven (?), Voltaire (?), Thomas Jefferson, Joseph Lister, Joseph Priestly, Napoleon, James Watt

19th Century (14) Alexander Graham Bell, Clara Barton, Ernest Rutherford, Florence Nightingale, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx,Louis Pasteur, William James (?), Bismarck (?), Vincent van Gogh (?), Gregor Mendel, Charles Darwin, Max Planck (could also be included in 20th cent.), Alfred Russell Wallace (?)

20th Century (30) Adolf Hitler, Alexander Fleming, Bill Gates, Einstein, Francis Crick, James Watson, Edwin Hubble, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gandhi, Henry Ford Ivan Pavlov (?), Jonas Salk, Josef Stalin, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Gugliemo Marconi, Marie Curie, Teddy Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Robert Oppenheimer, Sigmund Freud, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stephen Hawking,Steven Jobs, Thomas Edison, Werner Heisenberg, Wilhelm Roentgen, Winston Churchill, Orville Wright,  Wilbur Wright, Yasser Arafat (?)

And here are the first two entries to start this millennium:

21st Century (2): Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush

See ya next week …

(BTW–I’ve found that what I see in ‘preview’ is not always what gets published: formatting is lost, graphics are rearranged (none this week), all kinds of problems. So, it’s not me—it’s the system.)

This ‘n That

May 15, 2011

Here we go again, or at least here I go again. Wanna come along? The ride is said to be mighty fun. Or is it funny? I always get those two words confused. Some things are fun and some are funny, that much I understand. But it puzzles me when something is fun AND funny. Or funny AND fun. I can’t handle it. Give me one or give me the other but spare me both, at least at the same time in the same room with the same people. Which would I rather, you ask. Fun? Or funny? Well, fun is fun and there are those who would say that funny is funny, no doubt about it, so I guess it comes down to the way you were raised. Now I grew up in the Eisenhower 50s and back then, fun was out, a no-no, taboo, nix-nix (thank you, Carl!). Funny was OK though. We had Uncle Milty (funny), Sid Caesar (funny), Oswald the Rabbit funny books (obviously funny—the name says it all), and Studebakers (funny). But fun? None. Well, maybe if you were a Yankee fan (I was) you could have some fun. They won every game they played between 1949 and 1956, including all the World Series and even the all-star games. I guess I’d have to say I had some fun in between all the funny.

Those of you brought up in the 60s have a different slant. You remember it as a period of fun, but not funny. Vietnam wasn’t funny. The Freedom Rides weren’t funny, the assassinations weren’t funny, Kent State wasn’t funny, LBJ wasn’t funny, Richard Nixon wasn’t funny, Chicago in the summer of 1968 wasn’t funny. But fun? Ahhhh, that’s different! Dope was fun. Free Love was fun (and free!). Led Zeppelin was fun. Being a hippie was fun. Protesting was fun. Tie dye was fun. Shaking up the establishment, that was real fun.

But fun and funny? Together? Nah.

And, speaking of fun and funny . . .

A couple more ‘toonicons and it’s ‘bye till next week.

Flying Saucers

May 8, 2011

One of the things I liked to do when I was doing grad work at the UW was to spend time in the periodicals section looking at old magazines. On one occasion I sat down with the first edition of Galaxy Magazine, one of several sci-fi magazines published at the time. Inside was notice of a contest the magazine was running, a Flying Saucer contest. Readers were asked to submit a 200-word essay explaining their theory of flying saucers. Forty prizes were offered, some of them, well,  strange, to say the least. The contest closed October 31st, 1950. I checked every issue for the remainder of 1950, all of 1951 and all of 1952 but, sadly, no winners were ever announced. It would have been entertaining to have read the essays. In any case, here is the original announcement of the contest, along with the list of prizes. Also, a couple of links to Buchanan and Goodman’s 1956 novelty recording of  “The Flying Saucers – Parts 1 & 2” as well as their follow-up, “Buchanan and Goodman on Trial.” Enjoy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dave  

 Here are the links to the Flying Saucer songs. B&G recorded the Flying Saucers in 1956 and it rose to #3 on the charts. They were subsequently sued by 30 record companies for interspersing snippets of many songs (without permission) throughout the recording. The judge, however, ruled that their work was a “burlesque,” making it a new work of their own. Following that ruling, B & G wrote and recorded Buchanan and Goodman on Trial. (You may have to copy and paste—the links aren’t active in preview but may be in the post.  Heard from a reader that both links take you to the B&G on Trial. Try copying and pasting the first link.)

And finally for this week, something new: ‘Toonicons. I was going thru my handwritten journal of many years ago and came across these little cartoons I’d made. The concept may not be original but I’ve never seen these before so I can at least claim to have done this independently. Here are a couple.

Till next week . . .