July 30, 2002

I’m not in the habit of recommending software.

In fact, I’m not in the habit of knowing anything about software.

But I highly recommend AdSubtract Pro. Look into it.


Program: “The Golden Girls”

The Scene: Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan) is having difficulty writing her first novel. Blanche, having holed up in her bedroom for most of the day, greets her three roommates, including 80-something Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty), who are barbequing on the linai in the early evening.

The Dialogue:

Blanche: “Oh, girls! I have writer’s block! It’s the worst feeling in the world!”

Sophia: “Try going ten days without a bowel movement some time.”

Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo

Blanche: “It’s the worst feeling in the world. You just sit there and sit there, and nothing comes.”

Sophia: “Tell me about it!”

July 29, 2002

I was happy to learn today, probably several months after the fact, that Blair continues to be published -- albeit as irregularly in the past -- with Blair 7: The Fantasy Issue on line right now.

The sporadic publication schedule is worth enduring for some of the best and most offbeat humor on the web. Years ago, Blair became famous in the gay community, and elsewhere of course, for two games still available in back issues: “Gay or Eurotrash?” and “Dyke or German Lady?”

Blair 7 includes an article that not only will make you laugh, but will answer all those questions about International Male that have been nagging at you for the last 10 or 20 years.


Why am I not surprised to learn Jonah Goldberg has a frequent-buyer card at the Android’s Dungeon?

July 28, 2002

Who wouldn’t love Todd Oldham? He’s talented, smart, fun, funny, sweet, and cute, and he’s been missed . . . badly.

Todd Oldham

Although he has been working steadily on various projects over the years, Oldham’s profile, for a variety of reasons, has waned in recent years.

But now, it looks like Todd Oldham is back in a big way, with his own line of household designs at Target stores and at Target online.

The current collection is geared toward the “back-to-school” shopper. Much of it is bolder and brighter than that toward which I gravitate -- being a black-white-gray-navy-beige solids kind of guy -- but it’s original, inspired, and very cool. Take a look.

And by the way, my mother is still crazy about Oldham’s signature perfume.

Todd Oldham Fragrance


I’m not an attorney but Ron Borges of the Boston Globe and NBC Sports seems to be veering pretty damn close to libel when he says Lance Armstrong isn’t an athlete.

Lance Armstrong

“Someone postulated on National Public Radio a week or so ago that Lance Armstrong was the greatest athlete in the world. Greatest athlete in the world? I wonder if he’s an athlete at all,” writes Borges.

Is this some kind of joke? A desperate ploy for attention?

Here’s just a small taste of Borges’s idiotic observations: "Athletes, for my money, must do more with their bodies than pump their legs up and down. If that’s all it took, the Radio City Rockettes would have to be considered the greatest athletes of all time."

Stop by the excellent weblog, Cooped-Up for a devastating critique of Borges and his spiteful and bilious views. And then follow the link to Borges if you think you can stand it.


July 28, 2002


Black Crom’s Sunday, a/k/a “Domnach Crom Dubh,” a Christianized pagan holiday commemorated by pilgrimages to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. Celebrated in Ireland, primarily western Ireland.

Ch’ilsok, commemorated by offering newly harvested rice and prayers for children at local shrines. Celebrated in Korea.

Feast of St. Victor I, a controversial early Pope perhaps best known for condemning the heresy of Theodotus and martyred near the end of the second century. Celebrated in the Catholic Church.

Pope St. Victor I

Nag Panchami, the Festival of Cobras and Snakes. Celebrated by Hindus worldwide.

Peruvian Independence Day. Commemorating the declaration of independence by Peru in 1821. Celebrated in Peru.


King Henry VIII marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, in 1540.

Catherine Howard

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, in 1868.

World War I begins when Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, in 1914.


Bill Bradley, basketball player, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate, in 1943.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, former First Lady as wife of President John F. Kennedy Jr., in 1929.

Beatrix Potter, author, in 1866.

Sally Struthers, actress, in 1948.


Johannes Sebastian Bach, composer, in 1750.

Joan Finney, first female governor of Kansas, in 2001.

Joan Finney

William James Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, in 1939.

Antonio Vivaldi, composer and violinist, in 1741.

July 27, 2002

July 27, 2002

Holidays and Celebrations . . .

Asalha Puja, celebrating Buddha’s conception, first preaching, and renunciation. Celebrated in Thailand.


Feasts of Sts. Aurelius and Natalia, commemorating the martyrdom of St. Aurelius, who was secretly raised as a Christian during the Moorish occupation of Spain and later married a half-Moorish woman named Sabigotho, who changed her name to Natalia, and his wife, the same, now known as St. Natalia. Both were beheaded on this date in 852 for openly practicing Christianity. St. Aurelius is the patron saint of orphans, St. Natalia of converts and martyrs. Celebrated in the Catholic Church.

St. Natalia

Independence Day, in Belarus.

Flag of Belarus

Jose Barbosa Day, commemorating the birth in 1857 of the physician and patriot. Celebrated in Puerto Rico.

Procession of the Witches, in Beselara, Belgium.

Today in history . . .

The armistice ending the Korean War signed in 1953.

Bugs Bunny debuted in “A Wild Hare” in 1940.

Bugs Bunny in “A Wild Hare”

Born today . . .

Alexandre Dumas, in 1824.

Peggy Fleming, in 1948.

Peggy Fleming

Maureen McGovern, in 1949.

Died today . . .

Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran, in 1980.

Shah Reza Pahlavi

William Wyler, in 1981.

Reggie Lewis, in 1993.

July 26, 2002

How did I miss out on this guy over the years?

As you all know by now, Rep. James A. “Jim” Traficant (D-Ohio) was expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives this week for ethics violations after he was convicted in April on charges of bribery, tax evasion, and racketeering.

James A. Traficant

The Washington Post has a collection of quotes from the former congressman the paper describes as “colorful.”

Colorful? That’s an understatement.

Here’s a lovely quote:

“If you don’t get those cameras out of my face, I’m gonna go 8.6 on the Richter scale with gastric emissions that’ll clear this room!”

That was Traficant berating photographers covering the ethics subcommittee hearing regarding his criminal record. Share that with your mother tonight.


Blogging has jumped the shark.


Enough already with the pleas for assistance from what appear to be Congolese thugs or kleptocrats or whatever.

Geez, I accidentally opened one of these e-mails and now they’re coming in at a rate of at least a dozen a day.

I can barely make sense out of them anyway:

“We would please need you to stand on our behalf as the beneficiary of this fund in Europe. This is because we are under restricted movement and watch and hence we want to be very carefull in other not to lose this fund which we have worked so hard for. Thus, if you are willing to assist us move this fund out of Congo, you can contact me through my email address, Tel/Fax nos. above with your telephone, fax number and personal information to enable us discuss the modalities and what will be your share (percentage) for assisting us.”

Tempting, eh?

I’m sure there’s an article out there explaining this phenomenon, but I’m too irritated to look for it.


Everybody’s a Comedian

Madeleine Begun Kane, a/k/a Mad Kane, has posted the results of her “TIPS Acronym Contest,” a challenge to her readers to more accurately rename the Bush administration’s proposed “Terrorism Information and Prevention System,” or “TIPS” program.

Modest though I am, I’m proud to say my entry -- “Totalitarian Incentives for Prying and Spying” -- was included among the top five entries as judged by the consistently witty and wise Kane.

However, I’m quick to add that most of the entries that earned Honorable Mentions are, in my humble opinion, at least as amusing, albeit frightening, as mine.

So many funny people out there . . . I’ve got to start working on my act again.


The funeral for Samantha Runnion, the five-year-old Orange County, Calif., girl who was kidnapped on July 16 and sexually assaulted and killed within 24 hours of her disappearance, was held on the night of Wednesday, July 24.

The very next day, Thursday, July 25, Miss Runnion’s mother, Erin Runnion, appeared on “Larry King Live,” the CNN program hosted by the persistently annoying and repeatedly divorced Larry King.

Here’s how the show was promoted by CNN: “9:00 p.m. Larry King Live: An emotional hour with Samantha Runnion’s mother Erin, speaking out on the kidnapping and murder of her only daughter.”

Okay, so it’s been more than a week since Mrs. Runnion learned of her daughter’s death, but she’s already going on national television to talk about it?

I don’t have children, so maybe my expectations are distorted, but I truly believe that if something like this happened to my child I would still be in bed, all but lifeless, staring at the ceiling, unable to speak, to eat, or to face another human being.

An interview with the goonish and ghoulish Larry King would be the farthest thing from my mind.

Is this how Americans grieve today? Have we no sense of privacy or personal space? Can no one resist the lure of the camera?

July 25, 2002

Be sure to stop by HorowitzWatch and enter the “Name That Punishment Contest.”

The contest offers four great prizes for readers who submit the best hypothetical, yet appropriate punishments for the treason committed by hypersensitive current (right-wing) and former (left-wing) radical and self-confessed traitor David Horowitz in 1972.

Come join the fun.


Today, July 25, is the day to celebrate:

Republic Day, commemorating the end of the Tunisian monarchy and the establishment of a republic in 1957. Celebrated in Tunisia.

Flag of Tunisia

Guanacaste Day, commemorating the annexation of Guanacaste Bay. Celebrated in Costa Rica.

Day of Papa Ogou. The feast of St. Jacques le Majeur. Goats and sheep are sacrificed. Celebrated in Haiti.

Feast of St. James the Greater, brother of St. John the Apostle and possibly a cousin of Jesus, the first apostle to be martyred -- stabbed by King Herod Agrippa. The patron saint of Spain, Chile, Guatemala, arthritis patients, equestrians, furriers, pharmacists, and veterinarians. Celebrated in the Catholic Church.

Feast of St. Christopher, third-century Christian martyr. The patron saint of travelers, drivers, bachelors, sailors, and truckers. Celebrated in the Catholic Church.

July 24, 2002

Today, July 24, is the day to celebrate:

Simon Bolivar Day, on the date of his birth, in honor of the general who led his armies to victories over Spanish colonialists leading to the independence of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Celebrated in much of northern South American, but particularly Ecuador and Venezuela.

Pioneer Day, in recognition of the Mormon settlers’ establishment of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1844. Celebrated in Utah, particularly among the Mormon population of the state.

Feast of St. Christina of Bolsena, third-century Christian martyr who survived an attempted murder by her father and ultimately was killed by order of Diocletian. Celebrated in the Catholic Church.

St. Christina

July 23, 2002

A new site, SmarterAndrewSullivan, nabs Andrew Sullivan for an odd attack the bitter Brit recently launched upon former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart regarding the latter’s professed interest in reading Homer in the original Greek.

Here’s Sullivan in his second visit to the same non-issue:

“ALL GREEK TO HART: Several of you emailed to let me know that Gary Hart is not only a poseur, he’s not even a reader of ‘classical Greek.’ Here’s the gist: Anyone who knows ancient Greek and its literature would not refer to Homer’s Greek as ‘classical’, which generally designates the normative Attic dialect of Athens circa the 4th Century B.C. . . .”

So based upon this statement are we all supposed to believe or assume that “anyone who knows ancient Greek and its literature” includes Sullivan? I’m not buying it.

SmarterAndrewSullivan had a dead-on response to the same passage: “Well, when exactly did Gary Hart say he can read classical Greek? The answer: Never.”

But that’s Sullivan . . . Knocking down straw men, guns blazing.


Geez, it was hot here again today. I’ve really just about had it.

I would be interested in hearing the experiences of Americans who may have, at one point or another, picked up and moved to a colder climate overseas.

More specifically, I’m interested in stories from Americans who are living, or have lived, in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, or Iceland. And throw in the Netherlands just for fun.

If you would like, send your thoughts to |||trr|||: trrtrr@earthlink.net

Your responses will be considered personal and not for publication unless otherwise specified.


What’s with the shirt Tucker Carlson is wearing on “Crossfire” tonight?

Tucker, this is a Life Lesson: There is a world beyond Brooks Brothers.

And can’t this guy get a haircut on a regular basis? Or at least comb it?

July 22, 2002

Even if you don’t understand Dutch, swing by Radio Nederland some time and listen to “Het Laatste Nieuws” (“The Latest News”).

The webcast runs about eight or ten minutes, depending upon the day’s news flow. The show is updated every half hour.

The show begins with an introduction by the anchor, followed by the real kicker -- a brief message from the secondary announcer, which must be taped because it’s the same voice on each webcast. This guy is sort of like the Don Pardo of Amsterdam, I guess, but he sounds like something straight off “The Simpsons.”

Maybe it’s not that funny, but I laugh every time I listen to it.


If you’re not reading the “Voice of the People” in the New York Daily News, you’re missing out on what is probably the best running commentary on the state of the nation.

I call it my “Daily Dose of Insanity,” though I have to admit I’ve been published there two or three times, being a cranky New Yorker myself.

(Unfortunately, the URL changes every day, so it’s best to start at “Ideas & Opinions” and then jump to “Voice of the People.”)


“New Yorkers Not Happy With Rebuilding Proposals.”

Alert the media.


Vigilence or psychosis? You decide.

(Thanks to Eschaton for the, uh, heads up on this one.)


I only realized today that Katie Couric’s interview of Ann Coulter is available online. Eleven minutes! Note Coulter’s affection for the word astonishing in its various forms.


Damn. I also missed “Superstar,” the film about Karen Carpenter that used Barbie® dolls to portray the main characters. They shut that film down, too.


That didn’t last long, did it?


In Finnish, “Minä tapaan sinut huomenna” means “I’ll see you tomorrow,” whereas “Minä tapan sinut huomenna” means “I’ll kill you tomorrow.” Oh...okay.

Yikes. Better not get that one wrong. Forget to extend just one syllable and you’re up on an assault charge.


Picking up Ann Coulter? You mean picking up “picking up”?

I know, the mind reels, but at least someone has made a fun game out of this very absurd notion.

July 21, 2002

Promises, Promises, and Stating the Obvious

Promises, promises . . .

“I’m gonna [sic] lay off the Times for a while.”

Andrew Sullivan, “The Daily Dish,” July 20, 2002.

Stating the obvious . . .

“Enough’s enough.”

Sullivan, ibid.


“With $20,000 of his own and $40,000 borrowed from friends, Steven Stolman opened a shop in Southampton in 1995 based more or less on the idea that well-to-do inhabitants of the East End of Long Island would want to leave their homes looking like their sofas.”

Turns out it was a great hunch.


“Spain was attacked by force in a very sensitive part of its geography.”

Spain's Secretary of Defense Federico Trillo in the New York Times, discussing the recent ruckus over a small island between Spain and Morocco.


Janet Maslin is too kind. Much too kind.


How does the entire spamming universe know that I just bought a new printer?

July 20, 2002

Source: The Home Depot

Rating: 8


Wife: “Honey, I think I broke the washing machine today.”

Husband: “Oh? How’d you do that?”

Wife: “Sledgehammer.”


“He had an ass like two Bulldogs in a bag.”

An unknown woman playing a stylist in “The Prosecutors,” starring Stockard Channing and Michelle Forbes, shown on Lifetime this afternoon.


Jeff Danziger nails rhymes-with-witch Ann Coulter for kicking a rhymes-with-witch.

Thanks to conservative Republican Barbara Bush for the euphemism.


Jeff McCrory of :.OTC.: brings back painful memories from my youth of time spent on the baseball field.

McCrory writes: “Why couldn’t I just pass the time in right field, where I was relatively safe from that stupid, threaded orb?”

Well, I did just that. Sort of.

My classmates created a new position for me: far right field, ironically enough.


Why didn’t anyone tell me about this site?


Yes, enough already with Tom Cruise.

July 19, 2002

I gave some thought to deriving a humorous take on President George W. Bush’s proposed Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, but the idea of “block committees” gave me such a bad case of the creeps that I couldn’t come up with anything that pleased me.

Fortunately, high-quality weblog The Truth Laid Bear did . . . and the article is hilarious. I won’t give away the details, but suffice it to say that it involves a loyal citizen using a touch-tone phone to file a report of suspicious activity with the federal government.

Don’t miss it.


Who thought this was a good idea?


I don’t know much about bowling -- other than that I’m no good at it -- but this sounds pretty impressive to me: “Bowling a perfect game is tough, but how about doing it at 82 years old and just 17 days after a partial stroke?”


Natalie Solent, whose weblog is a good read even when I disagree with her, has joined the effort to find a home for the English Bulldog (named Savannah) mentioned in the previous post.

She does so with considerable wit and grace, which is what one would expect from a Brit.

Oh, and Natalie sews. But don't mock her for that. I think she might haul off and slug you.


There is an English Bulldog at an animal shelter in Texas that needs a home.

I would grab her in a second, but Texas is a bit far from here.

She sounds like a great dog. She has been described to me as “a pretty brindle fat girl . . . sweet, housebroken, and seems to love everyone.” Much like my beloved Mildred, including the “fat” part, though we prefer the word “curvaceous.” (She is snoring, loudly, as I write this.)

If you’re not familiar with the breed, I could sing praises on its behalf for an eternity.

English Bulldogs are friendly, kind, loving, loyal, strong, tenacious, and comical -- sources of endless entertainment.

The Bulldog isn’t really a dog. It’s a mixture of a vast variety of species: part dog, part cat, part rabbit, part pig, part hippo, part seal, part monkey, and part human. The Bulldog is everything you could ever want -- and then some.

They are great city/apartment dogs. They normally are very quiet, rarely bark, and they don’t need (actually, they don’t want) much exercise. They are, however, terrible watch/guard dogs. Unless you want intruders to be given a friendly and sloppy greeting, the Bulldog is not for you.

It’s true that they snore (though I find this very comforting somehow), burp, and fart a fair amount, but it’s a worthy trade-off. I have owned three Bulldogs over the years and believe the “conventional wisdom” that they are afflicted by more than their fair share of health problems to be somewhat mythological.

If you have any interest in this dog, or know someone who might, please send an e-mail to me at trrtrr@earthlink.net. The adopter would need to travel to Texas to be interviewed and to pick up the dog.


July 18, 2002

It’s time to let someone else be funny at |||trr|||. Someone who’s funnier than I am. Is that possible? Who is it?

Madeleine Begun Kane.

Kane, a/k/a Mad Kane, maintains a highly entertaining web site where she publishes Dubya’s Daily Diary, along with a weblog and terrific humor pieces, including Kane’s specialty: writing new lyrics, mostly with political themes, to be sung to the melodies of various well known tunes.

A few snippets:

“On Wall Street” (To be sung to “On Broadway”)

“They say that things are really bad on Wall Street.

They say there’s much malfeasance in the air.

But I don’t want to hurt my friends.

And tough laws give my pals the bends.

Then donors drop right off and I’m nowhere . . .”

“Ashcroft’s Favorite Things” (To be sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things”)

“Rifles and roscoes and Winch’sters and cannons,

Rich NRA guys who own lots of weapons,

Generous men to whose pockets I cling,

These are a few of my favorite things...”

We particularly enjoyed Kane’s July 17 weblog entry about a portion of the speech President George W. Bush gave in Birmingham, Ala., two days earlier.

It’s all just a small part of Madeleine . . . musician, attorney, writer, humorist.

Visit early and often.


“The macabre HBO funeral home drama ‘Six Feet Under’ receives . . . 23 Emmy nominations.”

I guess I would be more impressed with that count if I had heard of the show. How long has it been on? Is it any good?


You really can find anything on eBay.


Samyuktha Verma, described as the Julia Roberts of Malayalam-language movies, said she didn’t resent being questioned by police Tuesday after a fellow passenger said she and her companions were acting suspiciously on an American Trans Air flight from Chicago to New York.” [Emphasis added.]

We think that was intended as a compliment.


Toby Young’s Exposé Riles VF Editor

I know the next book I’m picking up: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, by Toby Young, a former employee of Vanity Fair magazine under the direction of editor Graydon Carter.

Young is in the latest issue of the New York Observer with an article, “Toby On Top,” which, while not an excerpt, is at the very least a delectable appetizer of the full-course meal that must constitute the book itself.

Surprisingly, it turns out, according to Young at least, that the masthead of Vanity Fair isn’t populated by the kind of people with whom you might expect to spend a weekday night carousing through the hottest clubs in New York:

“I arrived in New York in 1995 with tales of the legendary bad behavior of Ben Hecht, Herman J. Mankiewicz and Dorothy Parker swimming in my head, expecting to find their modern-day equivalents in the offices of Vanity Fair. I imagined this zany, madcap community where no one stood on ceremony and everyone had a wisecrack at the ready. But that devil-may-care attitude, that sense of fun, was nowhere to be found. Instead, I was confronted with a regiment of pinched and hidebound careerists who never got drunk and were safely tucked up in bed by 10 p.m. In London, I’d seen chartered accountants behave with more abandon.”

Only half of Young’s book, I hear, is devoted to his tenure at Vanity Fair, though I understand much of that half is devoted to a near-evisceration of Graydon Carter:

“[F]or all intents and purposes [Carter]’s now a fully fledged celebrity. He’s ferried to work every day in a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Navigator. He presides over the most exclusive party in Hollywood. The enormous effort he puts into cultivating his persona, and the huge gulf between the image and the reality, creates an irresistible opportunity for an ambitious young journalist. Indeed, if Graydon himself had ended up working for Tina Brown in 1986 instead of co-founding Spy, he might well have written a similar book about the editor in chief of Vanity Fair himself.”

I know it’s going to be a good read because this is Young’s idea of how to kiss and make up with Carter:

“In spite of everything, I still have a soft spot for Graydon and I’m sorry he’s so angry about my book. Indeed, I’d like to take this opportunity to clear the air. Graydon, I have a message for you and it’s this: Hello! You practically invented this type of journalism. You’ve been dishing it out ever since you arrived in this city 24 years ago, and now it’s time to suck it up. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Geez, even I’m nicer than that.


There is nothing light about this story, which comes from the mother ship, but I’m republishing it here to maximize the exposure of this horrible situation.

If you love dogs as much as I do, and if you have a strong stomach and do not cry easily, stop by reading & writing for a story, two links, and a photograph that have left me clenching my teeth and wiping my eyes for the last 20 minutes. (R&W credits the bitter shack of resentment for raising the subject.)

R&W and TBSR alerted me to Daisy, a Sharpei-mix puppy who was burned -- set on fire, actually -- by some low-life piece of crap in Texas who, fortunately, has been apprehended by local authorities.

Some thoughts:

If you can’t properly take care of your pet, take it to someone or someplace that can.

Spay or neuter your pet, particularly strays and mixed breeds.

Do not breed your pet unless you are willing to agree, in writing, to take back any progeny you have sold, no questions asked.

If you see or suspect animal abuse or neglect, contact the proper authorities.

Send a donation to the Humane Society or the ASPCA, now and regularly, or with Daisy in mind, to the North Texas Humane Society, the organization that is nursing Daisy back to health at considerable expense.

Pray for Daisy. And pray for a better world.

And if you own a pet, give him or her some extra love and attention (and snacks) tonight. I think Daisy would like that. I know Mildred will.

July 17, 2002

Who thought this was a good idea?


Does anyone else find Dutch Boy Paints’ latest TV commercial -- the ad with the three robotic women each carrying a different paint can and working the catwalk to the tune of “I Like It Like That” -- a little creepy?

July 16, 2002

This really happened to me. It occurred during a tough time during my life, after the magazine and its related web sites for which I had worked ceased publication. Gathering up years of spare change was neither the proudest nor the happiest moment of my life, particularly since I so recently had been viciously taken advantage of, but that’s another story. Anyway, you do what you have to. And I’ll tell you, when people say Manhattan is expensive, they mean it. Especially when you don’t have a job.

(Unless of course you’re one of those people who by virtue of the city’s one-party rule have been granted something close to a divine right to live in Manhattan for the rest of your natural life -- and that of your children, and their children, etc. -- in a rent-controlled apartment for which you pay a mere fraction of market value, thereby taking advantage of what was intended to be a temporary, war-time, emergency measure that now dates back some 60 years.)

But I digress. Anyway . . . back to the bank.

Below is the post-facto transcript of a telephone conversation between a J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. customer service representative (CSR) and me.

CSR: “Good morning, this is J.P. Morgan Chase, may I help you?”

J.C.: “Good morning. What would a branch be able to do for me if I were to bring in a significant amount of coins?”

CSR: “I’m not sure what you’re asking. Could you be more specific?”

J.C.: “Would the teller be able to have it counted for me before depositing it into my account?”

CSR: “Count it? No, we don’t count coins.”

J.C.: “You don’t count coins. Then how would I deposit coins?”

CSR: “If you’re just bringing in coins they have to be wrapped.”

J.C.: “What if I wrap the coins and there are some left over?”

CSR: “Well, you can deposit the excess along with the wrapped coins.”

J.C.: “What if I wanted to deposit paper currency along with a few coins?”

CSR: “You could do that.”

J.C.: “How many coins are allowed?”

CSR: “I’m not sure what you’re asking.”

J.C.: “Is there an upper limit on the number of coins the average J.P. Morgan teller can count?”

CSR: “I don’t think that matters. The tellers have a machine that counts coins.”

J.C.: “A machine! Oh, so could I bring in all of my spare change, have the teller count it by running the coins through the machine, and deposit the money into my checking account?”

CSR: “Oh no, you couldn’t do that. We don’t accept coins that haven’t been wrapped.”

J.C.: “But you just said I could deposit coins along with paper money.”

CSR: “Yes, as part of a deposit.”

J.C.: “What if I wanted to deposit all of my spare change and just a one-dollar bill? Could the teller count the coins then?”

CSR: “Sir, we don’t accept coins that haven’t been wrapped by the customer.”

J.C.: “Why not? There’s a machine created for just this purpose.”

CSR: “The teller can’t use it if you’re just bringing in a lot of spare change.”

J.C.: “I understand that. I said I would be depositing a one-dollar bill and my spare change.”

CSR: “Look, sir, you can’t just bring walk into a bank with all your loose change.”

J.C.: “Why not?”

CSR: “We just can’t handle that.”

J.C.: “Logistically or emotionally?”

CSR: “I’m sorry?”

J.C.: “Nothing. Can I use the teller’s machine to count the coins myself?”

CSR: “No.”

J.C.: “Why not?”

CSR: “It’s against our policy.”

J.C.: “So what should I do?”

CSR: “Stop by any J.P. Morgan branch and ask the teller for coin wrappers and then return them -- filled -- to the branch and then we will deposit the money into your checking account.”

J.C.: “But how will you know if I counted the coins correctly?”

CSR: “I’m not sure what you’re asking.”

J.C.: “I might make mistakes when I wrap them up.”

CSR: “Well, the teller will run the coins through the machine.”

J.C.: “With the wrappers on?”

CSR: “No, of course not.”

J.C.: “So the teller will take the coins out of the wrappers and run them through the machine to make sure the value of the deposit is correct?”

CSR: “Yes.”

J.C.: “Then why can’t we just skip the wrapping part?”

CSR: “Sir, it’s against our policy. You have to bring your coins in wrapped.”

J.C.: “Well . . . okay.”

CSR: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

J.C.: “Yes, I’d like to open a $100,000 certificate of deposit.”

CSR: “Okay. For that you’ll need to stop by a branch . . . “

J.C.: “Lady, I just told you I’m counting my spare change. Why would I be doing that if I had $100,000?”

CSR: “Sir, I’m sure people with large CDs have change too.”

J.C.: “Yeah, but I’ll bet they came up with the $100,000 first.”

CSR: “Yes, they probably did.”

J.C.: “What if I wanted to open a CD with my spare change?”

CSR: “Sir . . . please.”

J.C.: >>>Click!<<<

Note: This article originally appeared in a slightly different form in The Rittenhouse Review on May 26, 2002. The article has been reprinted here with the permission of The Rittenhouse Review. All rights reserved.


This afternoon we received a collection of what are by far the best anagrams submitted to |||trr|||’s Slander, Ann Coulter anagram game.

They come from a reader named Sammy, and they’re amazing.

Here are the best of the best:

All-uncensored rant.

Annul darn electors!

Doll’s a recreant nun.

End-ran all recounts.

Enron calendar slut.

Lent unclean ardors.

Lost, unlearned narc.

Nerd leans ultra-con.

Rant, lean scoundrel!

Run to call Andersen!

Thanks, Sammy! Damn good work. And very much appreciated. Thank you for sending them along.


Apparently there once was a woman, now deceased, who owned at least one hundred (100!) Barbara Cartland novels. (All in paperback, of course.)

And now, this part of her estate is being sold at auction.

The latest bid on eBay: $41.00.

I’m not sure which figure is more disturbing, the 100 books or the $41.00 bid.

July 15, 2002

Bragging Rights to Sweat

The New York Times today has published the kind of story that makes a Northerner cringe in disbelief.

“In New Orleans, Sweatiness is All a Matter of Civic Pride,” by Rick Bragg, tells of the honor New Orleans residents take in their perspiration, their claim that they, more than Americans anywhere else, really sweat like pigs.

“The makers of Old Spice, using a formula that averaged the high temperatures and high humidity of major cities in June, July and August, determined that San Antonio was the sweatiest city, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, and, in a kissing-your-sister kind of consolation prize, New Orleans,” reports Bragg.

“Many, many people are puzzled. San Antonio? Dallas? Compared with New Orleans, they are Aspen, they are Alaska,” the reporter continues. “‘My drawers feel like an old wet diaper,’ said Chris Maples, an ironworker who works high up in buildings but cannot escape the heat and humidity. ‘It’s suffocating, it's sticky. I’m soaking wet at 7 o’lock in the morning, top to bottom. They better do another study.’”

If you’re interested in the top 10, the Times says New Orleans was followed by Houston; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Memphis, Tenn.; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Phoenix; and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Frankly, I have considerable difficulty figuring out how Southerners function during the summer and find completely unfathomable the notion that people chose to live in the region before the invention of air-conditioning.

I found New Orleans to be completely unbearable when I was there three years ago. (And for more reasons than just the heat, I might add.) It’s odd that while I live nowhere near New Orleans, or Texas, or any other area ranked on Old Spice’s sweatiest cities list, I’ve spent the last six weeks thinking about moving to Finland to escape the heat and humidity here. I'm a heat wuss, I guess.


I’ve been spending far too much time cruising the upper digits of our cable TV system lately, lazily watching more bad movies than is necessary or healthy.

In an effort to justify all of this wasted time, I’ve synthesized a few important tips for dealing with the dramatic crises that characterize so many of these films.

How not to be hit by a car

If a car, truck, or other vehicle is coming at you head-on at 50 mph or more, do not run straight ahead.

Running straight ahead is, I’m afraid, an instinct that seems most commonly shared among women, particularly those “of a certain age” and at a certain, shall we say, declining, stage of their professional lives, such as Donna Mills, Michelle Lee, Joan van
Ark, Joanna Kerns, Jaclyn Smith, and Judith Light.

Men, however, are by no means immune to this impulse.

Running straight ahead is a race you are guaranteed to lose. Instead, turn your body either to your right or to your left. By doing so, you will take yourself out of the vehicle’s direct path.

If you have followed this advice, do not later negate your effort by doing something completely moronic. That means do not turn around and, more important, do not stand still staring at the vehicle, waiting to see whether it turns around to make another straight-on run at you. Keep moving!

Continue running in whichever direction you chose (i.e., right or left) and search for one of the following, any of which a vehicle would have some difficulty navigating: higher ground; a densely wooded forest; a stream, river, or other body of water; or a quarry, rock pile, ditch, mine field, proving ground, or any other patch of comparably impassable landscape.

Alternatively, and assuming you are not carrying a cell phone, try to find a residence or business, no matter how isolated, or better yet, in a densely populated area, someplace where you might possibly find other people and/or a telephone that you could use to call for help.

How to deal with phone harassment

If you are receiving threatening or harassing phone calls and you do not know who is making them, shell out the lousy, what, 10, 12 bucks for Caller ID. It’s 2002 for crying out loud.

Then, set up your phone so that it rejects anonymous callers. Pick up your phone and dial *77. Your phone will now reject all calls from those who have blocked their numbers. This will continue until you pick up the phone again sometime and dial *87. This is a free service. Use it.

If you are incapable of performing either or both of these tasks, at least try to remember this: If you receive a threatening phone call and immediately hang up on the other caller, and the phone then rings again right away, it’s a pretty safe bet that the caller is the same person who harassed you just seconds ago. So . . . Don’t answer the phone!

After all, just because you aren’t aware of the existence of Caller ID and *77 doesn’t mean the rest of the world is unfamiliar with the simple concept of a redial button!

Also, asking “Hello?” two, maybe three, times is more than sufficient. If the person on the other end can’t come up with something to say after three hellos, chances are he’s not going to be a great conversationalist. Hang up.

And inquiring, “Who is this?” rarely, if ever, results in your getting the information you want.

Finally, if worse comes to worse, call your local telephone service provider and ask them to change your phone number.

Now wasn’t that easy?

July 14, 2002

Hmm . . . I can’t recall having seen “bilked” and “balked” in the same paragraph before reading this.


The 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time.” Brought to you by TV Guide.

They ought to know. They’ve been promoting crappy TV for decades.

I wonder how they were able to stop at 50.


Those wacky Malaysians are at it again. This time it’s Kylie Minogue.

Maybe they’re on to something.

July 13, 2002

This is kind of fun. The object of the game is to find interesting anagrams from: Slander, Ann Coulter.

I came up with these:

An Ultra Slender Con

A Snared Cornell Nut

All Not Nuanced Errs

Coarsened Null Rant

Send your anagrams to |||trr||| at trrtrr@earthlink.net.

July 12, 2002

This -- “Italian Royal Heirs Near End of Exile” -- is good news. Very good news.

Unless some grouchy communist, democrat, republican, or anti-monarchist successfully pulls off a referendum against these amendments to Italy’s constitution, it means my brothers and nephews and I can finally go home!

July 11, 2002

Yeah, this is yesterday’s news, but it’s my site, so I’ll write what I want to.

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, whose generosity spawned the careers of dozens of undeserving conservative pundits of all stripes, paleo to neo, apparently has reached the pinnacle of his spiritual development.

By now I’m sure most of you have seen or heard about Rev. Moon’s full-page ads, slated to appear in newspapers in each of the 50 states at a cost of some $720,000, in which he proclaims having learned that he is now -- by the verdict of virtually every religious leader who ever lived, as well as a handful of Communists -- “the Savior, Messiah, and King of Kings of all of humanity.”

In the ad, the Rev. Moon wins post-mortem praise and hosannahs from Jesus Christ, St. Peter, Martin Luther, Confucius, Buddha, Muhammad, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Deng Xiao Ping. And that’s just a small sample!

Oh, and God chimes in with His best wishes as well.

It’s an impressive document, in its own weird way of course, but it’s clearly a fraud.

This quote from St. Paul gives it away:

“I, Paul, pledge to believe and attend the Lord of the Second Coming, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, as Messiah, Savior, and True Parent, with the fire I felt when I met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. I will live with the words, ‘You must save the saints’ in my heart.”

Please. This is obviously a forgery. The St. Paul I’ve come to know through his letters would have said something more like this:

“I, St. Paul, obviously the most favored child of God and most favored apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (Forget what St. Peter says! Gee whiz, what a whiner, that guy! The keys to Rome, big deal! I could have a couple of brass keys made up too, you know!), pledge to believe in and attend to the Lord of the Second Coming -- and I acknowledge that this Lord of the Second Coming is none other than me (and couldn’t possibly be anyone else anyway), St. Paul, previously known as that pain in the ass, Saul of Tarsus, but now the epitome of sinless perfection (Hey, buddy! That stoning of St. Stephen thing was a long time ago! So just sit down and shut up!) -- as Messiah, Savior, and True Parent, with the same unbridled fanaticism I displayed after encountering Jesus himself after some idiot blinded me with a bright light and tripped me right there on the road to Damascus after I had stopped for some lox (Which really wasn’t very good . . . dry, too salty, overpriced, and such a small portion!). I will live with the words, ‘You must save the saints’ in my heart, but I can’t promise I’ll do anything about that because I have a more important agenda, namely, doing everything in my power to make sure not one single person on this planet now or in the future ever does or even thinks about doing, well, you know, any of that dirty stuff, ever again.”

July 10, 2002

This is a life lesson.

Be careful what you write in your e-mail messages and to whom you send them, particularly if you have a history of making a complete spectacle of yourself.

A young Chicago woman last month, a certain Jacqueline Kim, went out on a first date with one Casey O’Brien. The next morning, beside herself with delirium, Ms. Kim went into the office and sent no fewer than 29 people a breathless account of the evening (well, and sort of the morning as well). Despite a vain (And we mean that!) attempt to cast herself in a positive light, the portrait Ms. Kim draws is that of a woman of heretofore unknown selfishness and shallowness.

Herewith, three brief excerpts from Ms. Kim’s account of this enchanted evening (the leaked e-mail may be read in its entirety at f company.):

“By the way, as for myself, I get an overall A+ for how damn cute I looked. I sported a pair of fun longer Capri pants from Guess in a darker khaki color with my white shirt from Hanger 18 that has my lower back showing with my new cute fitted black jacket with empire sleeves from Armani. I was a BABE. He didn’t stand a chance. My worries of not being cute were so swept under the rug with the outfit I pulled off last night. . . .

“The date ended with me getting intoxicated but not like crazy intoxicated, but I was drunk. No hangovers. I’m assuming he was fairly intoxicated but since he was driving, I didn’t want to know, so I never asked. . . .

“So, question is, where do I stand on the whole outlook of Mr. Casey O’Brien and the date...The car, the money, the job, the cute apartment, the boat, which by the way only seats 6 people, so I really don’t consider that really amazing, his mannerism [sic] and his great kiss will probably lock in another date but...I can tell you now unless he cuts his hair and sends me gifts, it won’t lead me to seek anything more than my 1st 30 year old FRIEND (Oh by the way, I think he’s only 29, but still, I’m rounding up). Plus, the summer is just around the corner and guys are EVERYWHERE, I need to keep the options open and my schedule free to lock in some other great summer flings.”

Self-centered. Wears trashy outfits. Can’t hold her liquor. Awards points for possessions. No observations with respect to her date’s personality or character. What a catch.

Our advice to Mr. O’Brien: Run. Very quickly. In the other direction.

Our advice to Ms. Kim: Review the e-mail’s distribution list. Someone on it is not your friend. And don’t wait by the phone.


I hate to slam a store, business, or web site based on one bad experience, but it will be a long time before I place another order with Buy.com.

I've been champing at the bit to read Ann Coulter’s latest book, the eponymously entitled Slander, so that I could review it at The Rittenhouse Review.

However, as it took two weeks for Buy.com to get Coulter’s screed to me, it now hardly seems worth the effort.

Coulter’s book already has been eviscerated on the right and the left, and deservedly so. And she has made a complete fool of herself on television and radio, a delightful treat in and of itself.

I guess I still plan to read the thing, but unless I find something in it that is particularly ridiculous -- the chances for which, I have to say, are quite high -- I’m afraid I missed out on this one.


Catch the world’s worst actress -- Melissa Gilbert -- in what I’m willing to bet is one of her most awful performances to date.

Gilbert stars in “Murder at 75 Birch,” to be shown on Wednesday, July 10, 2002, on the cable network Lifetime, a/k/a “Television for Women.” (Check local listings, as they say.)

This should be a great film. “Based on the true story of a woman who aids the police in exposing the involvement of her brother-in-law in the murder of his wife,” according to Lifetime. The “film” stars Gilbert, Gregory Harrison, Jack Blessing, Judith Carter, and Wendel Meldrum.

I always like catching a really horrible Gilbert movie. The woman’s a complete joke, or at least reveals Hollywood to be an utter farce. I mean, more shocking than Gilbert’s unambiguous lack of talent is that her colleagues earlier this year elected her president of the Screen Actors Guild.

So I guess what they say about sewers and the biggest chunks really is true.