Probably 40 years ago (I don’t have the exact date) my family owned a small, minor newspaper in an out-of-the-way little town in a nationally-insignificant news market, in which I wrote an article about food.

This was well before the day when it was expected of one to snap a photo of one’s meal and publish it on the most accessible mass-media platform in the universe. In fact, now that I think back, I am disappointed that I was not able to “Yelp” and was limited to a potential audience of less than 10,000.

On the positive side, (unlike today’s web audience) nearly all of them knew how to read.

However, I found a report that was obviously buried by a massive government conspiracy (the USDA) about food purity.

There are feces in all hamburger
Yes, I Blew-The-Whistle on what our sneaky government was trying to do to innocent and ignorant consumers by serving them contaminated food. I was the Edward Snowden, the Wikileaks, the Pentagon Papers of yucchhhy food.

Because ancient technology (1970s) was unable to guarantee absolutely pure food to be presented to the unwitting citizens of the greatest country in the Universal History, the government allowed the grocery-processing-industrial-complex to include up to certain limited amounts of things like insect parts, rat hair and feces and even … GASP! … human skin, hair and fingernails!

Well, this revelation caused a nationwide …. ummmm … statewide … er, uh … well, nobody actually commented on it. But I’m sure that somewhere a farm wife looked up from her Barcalounger during “Someone’s In The Kitchen With Dinah” (this would have been when she was canoodling with Burt Reynolds) and said, “Hey, Harve — do you know what those Commie Pinko Guv’mint agents are slippin’ into our food?”

To which her husband would undoubtedly reply, “Hush! They’s rats in the silo and they’s eatin’ all our wheat and poopin’ in it too!”
I was reminded of this by a recent article that reveals that nothing has changed.

Ahh … so on top of the many new problems we have in the modern world, we find there are still all of the OLD problems to contend with. And some people still insist on ending a sentence with a preposition!

Is this the end of America? Will the world survive?

Oh yeah, there’s also a presidential election coming and we are still at war and a couple new diseases have been discovered which are very dangerous to babies.

And now, back to your social media and funny videos of kitties and urban legends about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg trying to give their money away to you for doing very little if anything.

Don’t Panic.

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The ex-standup comic I married and I are enjoying a new series on Showtime called I’m Dying Up Here. It is apparently the brain-child of Jim Carrey (listed as executive producer) and he claims some of the sequences are based on his experiences.

Surprisingly it isn’t a comedy. I was afraid of something like “News Radio” was to, well — news radio (It weren’t no WKRP in Cincinnati!). But it is a drama populated by the types of people you would find in comedy clubs in the 1970s.

But it is dark! Jeez — is it dark! Of course the LA comedy club scene (fictionalized here) was full of

I,m dying up heredesperate climbers who would knife each other in the back and worse (think of bribing a homeless man to poop in your rival’s car). They are all jockeying for position and angling for a shot at the big time — mainly the Johnny Carson Tonight Show.

It is getting mixed reviews but I think that is because it isn’t for anybody. But those who have been or are currently in a comparable situation will find a lot to resonate with — and realize that times haven’t changed that much in 40 years.

I was just saying recently that you can’t count Jim Carrey out. The man is a pure genius and this project benefits from his involvement.


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A fond farewell to Roger Moore, probably best known as James Bond (but so much Moore).

He is the Bond most of the people my age grew up with. He was the 70s Bond and his movies reflected the era.

All actors who have played James BondIn fact, all of the James Bond movies reflect the time period in which they were made. The films had to keep contemporary, at least so they thought. It didn’t always work well, though.

Let’s pretend you have never heard of James Bond and don’t know a thing about him. Well, I would be glad to fill you in.

Bond was a naval veteran of WWII, rank of Commander. He joined the British intelligence

Read more on Roger Moore — A Bond Is Gone…

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My brother Bart is three years younger than me. One of my earliest Easter memories is the time I nearly killed him.

I remember Bart was so little he wasn’t walking yet, so probably less than one year old. He was in one of those little seats where his legs could stick out and touch the floor so he could scoot around.

We were in the kitchen — I can picture this vividly. I was enjoying a chocolate Easter bunny so I wanted to share with my new little brother. Is that so wrong?

He started choking. Fortunately my parents heard him and came rushing in from another room. Mom was asking what happened and I just said I gave him some chocolate.

My father opened his mouth, fished around and withdrew a wad of tin foil.

I was lectured that the wrapping must be removed before feeding anything to the baby.

Who knew? I guess I though he could do it himself.’

Maybe this will help future generations.

Happy Easter Bart. I hope I didn’t ruin chocolate bunnies for you.

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Carolyn Rae Bartley was born at the height of the Great Depression, April 17, 1932. Today would have been her 85th birthday.

She grew up in Almena, KS, a small town, even by Kansas standards. The town was founded 1872 and had little to offer except being a shipping point located at the junction of two

Carolyn Bartley — approx. 4 years old. Thanks to Fran Post and Inge Bartley for the photo.

railroads. The population in the 1890 census was 366 and that’s about where it stands today. At its peak in the 1930 census, it was credited with about 700 citizens.

Mom was the youngest of three children born to Thomas R. Bartley, editor and publisher of a one-man newspaper, the Almena Plaindealer and Leona Bartley, known by her middle name, Ferryl.

My grandfather (born in Nebraska in 1894) was reportedly a brilliant man, but tragically alcoholic. I never knew him and the family never talked about him. Grandma divorced him when my mother was young, and this was quite scandalous in the 1930s — especially in small town rural areas of the Bible Belt. He died when my mom was 13, probably due to his alcoholism. My parents told me and my brothers that he died in a car wreck. When pressed for details, they said that a bee got into the car and he was trying to kill it or shoo it away while driving, lost control and had a wreck.

This story was supposedly better than acknowledging the shame of his “sinful” condition.

That’s really all I know about him, except that I have seen some of the newspaper columns he

Read more on To Mother On Her Birthday…

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Yeah, yeah, I know — another birthday coming around. Big deal!

When I was young, my family made a big deal out of the fact that my birthday was “The First Day Of Spring.” Actually, the Vernal Equinox would occur on Mar. 20 sometimes and Mar. 21 others.

It also marked the first day of Ares, for those who follow astrology.

But some few years ago, I lived long enough that the universe rotated and my birthday was no longer the first day of spring — which now will be either Mar. 19 or 20 some years.

“The precession of the equinoxes refers to the observable phenomena of the rotation of the heavens, a cycle which spans a period of (approximately) 25,920 years, over which time the constellations appear to slowly rotate around the earth, taking turns at rising behind the rising sun on the vernal equinox.”

So I will have to be patient if I want to wait around for my birthday to synch with spring.

What this means in astrological terms — I really don’t care.

Precession of the equinoxes

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The Academy Awards show will be the talk of the world tomorrow. Unlike most programs on television (even awards programs) the Oscar ceremony is not presented for the people watching it on TV but the live audience in the room — the movie business insiders.

And as in all awards shows (and many other facets of life) I am against competition. We have turned everything in our lives into a contest with winners and losers, and a decision on who is the best.

But — does the Oscar itself matter?

Do you think the Oscar award goes to the best movie or actress or director? Well then you probably believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. The Academy awards are presented

Walt Disney presents Shirley Temple's Honorary Oscar

Read more on Oscars: Who Will Win? Who Is Best? Bah! Humbug!…

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As a middle child, I have a lot to thank my older brother for. But in a few things, I wish I hadn’t followed in his footsteps.

My older brother was a trail-blazer when it came to drinking, smoking and most of the other passages from childhood to adult. Being only slightly more than two years younger, I became his sidekick — his drinking monkey.

Monkey smoking a cigarette and carrying a bottle of booze.I’ve since wised up and dropped my evil habits. But I know that many people aren’t able to master their habits.

On an unrelated topic, my younger brother (when he was very young) asked my mother if she would have another boy so HE could have a little brother (the poor lady had already given birth to three boys.)

She told him that more children were not in the picture.

So little brother asked, “Then can we have a monkey?”

For purposes of these anecdotes, both brothers will remain nameless. Please forgive me, my brothers.

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I have reason to believe that I am the last person on Earth who drives a regular-sized car.

All around me are SUVs, Mini-vans and full-sized vans, Hummers, Jeeps and their clones and deriviatives, and mainly pickup trucks (most of the Monster Truck variety).

How does society compensate to all this? By reducing parking spaces.

3 cars squeeze into 2 parking spacesTo squeeze more people into a business (and squeeze more money out of them), you simply draw the lines in the parking lot narrower and write COMPACT in them. Of course, there are no compact vehicles, but that is not the fault of the businesses.

So the Hummers and Monster trucks can park in every other space, taking up one and a half of them so nobody can park between them, and the parking lot capacity is down to 1/3 of its optimal space.

A shrink I know would probably say that people feel so battered and vulnerable in this world of diminishing freedoms and shrinking income that they feel better in large (HUGE) vehicles.

You can fight back by driving recklessly, cutting people off in traffic, running them off the road. If you have a huge metal shell around you and can speed away, nobody can harm you — no matter how small and weak you are.

But then, I’m no shrink — I don’t know the reasons behind anything. I’m just looking for a parking space. A full-sized parking space.

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