Category Archives: humor


Ada and I are in Paris , France .

You need a negative Covid test in order to fly these days , of course ; but we both had POSITIVE tests just after Christmas . The CDC says that we will continue to test positive for the next three months . Ah ! Therein lies the problem .

We had doctors’ notes to provide to the airline to state that we were safe to travel without a negative test . We were over and done with being contagious , having finished our 10 day isolation period .

The young guy at the Air France counter wasn’t too sure . He wanted proof of our negative tests . We offered him our POSITIVE test results and our doctors’ notes . He was desperately trying to read a copy of his airline policy but was having some problem understanding it , so he went somewhere in the back to take a few deep breaths or to consult with someone or to smoke a cigarette or something . A colleague of his told us not to worry after he had left . ” He’s new ,” she said , ” and he’ll have to learn . You won’t have any problem.”

She was right . He eventually returned to the counter and issued us boarding passes . We were relieved . For several days we weren’t at all sure that it would work for us . Or someone on the flight crew might come down with Covid and the entire crew would have to be quarantined and there would be no one to fly the aircraft to Paris . Or something. A day or two before we left I gave us about a 50/50 chance of taking the flight . I suspect that Ada set the odds a little lower .

It was a good flight . They served us a nice dinner with wine . We turned down the offer of Champagne — a French airline , after all —- but the steward in the end had opened a few bottles and rushed up and down the aisles filling and re-filling plastic glasses with the stuff . He did offer me a cognac , though , which I happily accepted . The bottle was a little bit miniscule , just enough for a small dose , but that was okay ; I’m not a big cognac guy .

Ada’s sister was waiting for us at Charley DeGaulle airport . We took a taxi to her place in the 18th whatever they call it —– aggrondizement ? Arrondissement ? It’s all French to me .

Yesterday we took a long walk around . We tried to get money from four different ATMs at three different banks with no luck . I called our credit card company when we got back to the apartment and they said that there was no problem on their end , that it must have been the ATM machine . Tomorrow is another day .

We took Ada’s sister’s dog to the dog park at the base of Sacre Coeur . What a place for a dog park , I thought , adjacent to the throngs of tourists and hanger-arounders and in among the semi-derelict men peeing quasi-discretely in the bushes instead of paying one and a half euros to use the public toilette .

I discovered that my I-phone is blocked so that I can’t simply substitute another sim card into it to use while I’m in France . With Ada’s phone there was no problem . We’ll try again another day with mine , but I think that I’ll have to buy a cheap burner phone to use if we find one cheap enough . I don’t really need a phone here , but it might come in handy . If I get lost and am never heard from again , it will probably be because I didn’t have a phone to call Ada or her sister for a little help finding my way home . Je ne parle pas French .

We got our Covid “passports” yesterday so that we can enter shops , restaurants , museums , etc. Got them at a pharmacy . Ada got her booster shot there , too . The pharmacist was very friendly . Good start , I think . We’ll see how it goes .


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union rep

Another old one,


Hull came down the hall and asked me in hushed tones ,” How do you join the union ? ” In those days a teacher had to join the union to be an official memberand not many wanted to join and pay union dues . The union represented teachers in collective bargaining if they were member or not . I happened to be union representative for one year .

I told him how to join the union . Then I asked him what happened.

” I’ve got a conference with the principal after school today . I grabbed a kid .”

I took Hull aside and told him that I would go with him to the conference if he wanted . Yeah , he did . He told me that ” This asshole kid kept pounding onthe door , several times throughout the period , so finally I opened the…

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whatever works


I found myself summoned to the assistant principal’s office after school .

” Do you have a student named So-and-So in your period 4 class ? ”

” Yeah,” I said .

” What kind of a student is she ? ”

” She’s a good student . Never causes any trouble . Good grades . ”

” What kind of clothes does she wear ? “

What kind of clothes does she wear ?  This was trouble . At Virgil when they ask ,” Do you have a student  So-and-So …….. ? ” , that’s enough . You knew you were already walking the plank and the administrator on the other side of the desk was there merely to nudge you a little further along and into the water .

” What do you mean ‘What kind of clothes does she wear ?’ ,” I said .

” Does…

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I read a story in the New York Times today about a letter that was delivered to the widow of a man who had written the letter in 1945 from Germany while he was in the American Army . He wrote it to his mother . She has been dead for decades .

The post-person said to the woman at the door something like he was pretty sure this would be personal . The Post Office had tracked down the family even though the address on the envelope was no longer a residence . There was no information regarding where the letter had been since 1945 .

Turns out the letter writer , who was 22 at the time , survived the war , established a career and married the woman who eventually received the letter . They had been married for 60 years or so until his death a few years ago .

The letter , she said , brought up vivid memories of her late husband . She had told the post-person at the door that day that , yes, she knew him , although not at the time when he wrote the letter .

The Post Office had contacted the family a few weeks before the letter was delivered and the family had suspected that it was all some kind of a scam and discounted it . Turned out it wasn’t.

I used to volunteer at the Gilb Museum in Arcadia . I was in charge of the postcard collection . As I entered the cards into the website , reading and describing them , I often wondered where those people were nowadays . Did their children or grandchildren still live at the old address ? Once or twice the thought passed through my noodle that I might try to track down one or two of those people who had at one time or another passed through Arcadia . Most of the motels where they’d stayed are torn down now . The museum had postcards of the motels . Some of the cards were written by WWI or WWII soldiers from the former local military post , the old Army balloon grounds , now a golf course and the site of the Gilb Museum .

Who knows how those old letters and postcards wind up lost , or in thrift stores , or in some dark drawer in a history museum . I assume that almost all of them were delivered those so many years ago .

” Having a wonderful time . You should see the sunshine ! “

” Dear Mom “. ” Dear Cousin “. ” Hello old buddy”.

” Am lying all day in the sun at the pool with the palm trees for shade . “.

” Miss you”.

The 1945 letter mentioned that the Army food left something to be desired . He told his mother not to write him because he assumed that he would be sent home soon .

It was a good story today , overall , because the guy got home safe and had a long and apparently happy life . His widow was happy to get his letter , even though it was not written to her . A little moment in time when he wrote to his mother over seventy years ago from his Army post brought back in some profound way the entirety of the man’s life . Sometimes uncanny and cursory memories are like that .


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I’ve been sparring with my doctor for a few days about writing me a brief Covid-related letter that states that I should be allowed to travel without another test because I’ve gone through ten days of isolation after Covid symptoms and a positive PRC test . The CDC says that I will probably test positive for several weeks even though I’m done with the virus .

For some unknown reason the doctor was reluctant to write me such a letter . He sent a brief note that stated that I had tested positive for Covid and had isolated for 10 days . Okay , but we all know that and that won’t address my request . I felt like a kid who had to have a doctor’s note but the doctor didn’t want to write one . ” My wife and I went to Hawaii recently,” he told me , ” and we didn’t need to get tested .” Good for you , I thought , but that has nothing to do with my request .

Finally , this morning , he wrote me a brief statement to the effect that I would continue to test positive but that I was not infected now with the virus . Something was mentioned about it being safe for me to travel .

The odd thing is that Ada , in the same situation as mine , contacted another doctor at the same facility a few days ago who wrote a long explanatory letter stating all the needed stuff . We plan to take a flight next week and we will need a doctor’s note saying it’s safe for us to travel in lieu of taking another test . Ada’s doctor seemed to know the requirements and didn’t hesitate to send the needed document . My doctor , not so much .

And we’ll need some luck that we don’t run into some stubborn little airline despot who wants to show us who’s boss . Could happen .

Meanwhile , a friend of ours was taken tonight to the emergency room . Evidently 70 % of his lungs are filled with water . He has had muscle aches , bone aches, head aches , trouble breathing , and weakness for a few days now . He’s been very proudly unvaccinated . Evidently his wife is unvaccinated , too . Ada has been communicating with his young niece , who has taken charge of the situation . The niece called 911 a few days ago but the paramedics who arrived at the house said to keep him home unless he got worse . A day or two later he got worse .

We’re hoping for the best . I’m thinking , too , of the others I know who are unvaccinated . Good luck ; looks like they’ll need it . There is a joke about a drowning guy . A rowboat comes by to rescue him , then another , then a helicopter. The guy sends them all away , saying : “God will save me “. So when he shows up soon after in heaven he’s confused . Suggests that God had forsaken him . God says , ” Hey , I sent you a boat , then another boat ; I even sent you a helicopter ………” You know the joke . God helps those what helps themselves.

They could have had the vaccine . As my friend Mac would say : ” Just sayin’ “

Meanwhile , a friend of ours visited today . We sat out back and she opened a bottle of Prosecco . Then another . Then a bottle of red wine . She spent the day there with us . If I had smacked the friend over the head with a hammer it would have been a comparable experience , I suppose . Later , she slept a couple of hours on our couch and then I drove her home in her car and I walked back home in the dark .

Oh , I wasn’t drinking the bubbly or the wine. I’m a beer guy . I had a couple of beers , but then I drank coffee and stayed sober as a church mouse—– in case you’re asking .

Sometimes you can see the car wreck coming before it happens . Sometimes there might be something to be done to avoid disaster and sometimes not . I could kind of see this one coming in slow motion , if you know what I mean , like a car sliding slowly sideways on black ice , but didn’t know how to stop it .

Everyone makes his/her own decisions , not always the best ones , and life brings its challenges .

The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world . Bogie playing Rick the night club owner said that .

Unless you’re one of those three people . Then it matters . I said that .


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the neighbor’s dog [ Here’s a post from my first year blogging , 2011]


Is the world going to the dogs ?

I used to be a dog person when I was a kid. But , maybe all kids are dog persons . Are there people around who’ve never had a dog ? Never ? Really ?

Now I’m a cat person . For at least thirty years I’ve been a cat person. Been long since caterized against my better instincts . My parents were always , I think , pretty much anti-cat . Dogs , okay . Turtles , okay. Guinea pigs , okay . Horned toads , frogs , and occasionally even a lizard , okay . Sorry cats ! Cats , not okay .

Our neighbor , then , had cats . He had armies of cats . Maybe that turned my parents’ minds against cats . And the neighbor had a male dachshund , Pfeffer , who acted as mother…

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