Wednesday, August 31, 2016

1688 Young Einstein the Math Genius & Tony Four Fingers

(Moote Pointe NY) -- Tony had the deli around the corner and down the block.  Four Fellas Deli. Once Young Einstein the Math Genius asked him who the other fellas were.  He said “oh, I have a partner. That’s it.”  So why four fellas?

Tony holds up a hand.  Four fingers. The fifth one fell into a sandwich he was slicing ham for.  He picked it out and wrapped both it and the sandwich but not together. By the time he got to Greater Moote Pointe Medical Center, they said they couldn’t put it back.

So why not call it “Tony Four Fingers’ Deli?”

“Makes me sound like one of those ‘Street Guys.’ You know… like the guy who sells sewer pipes from a storefront in Ozone Park.”

It’s an old fashioned place. Big glass front cold counters, a walk- in cold room.  A pre- barcode cash register.

Oh, and an adding machine.  Young Einstein wasn’t really a math genius.

Einstein liked Tony because Tony was the earliest of early birds.  So day after day for year after year, in the heat of the pre dawn summer or the cold of the pre dawn snowfall, he’d stop at Four Fellas for his coffee and a buttered roll.

Sometimes, if it was busy (at that hour?  Sure. No one else was open!) Y.E. would help out behind the counter.  There was plenty of time to get to work.

One Monday morning, Einstein walked in a 4:45 am.
“You’re late” says Tony.

“Yeah,” says Einstein, “I’m out of work so I slept in.”
“You ain’t out of work now,” says Tony. “Put on this apron and get back behind here.”

The morning rush gets going with the every day appearance of Robby Hardttack.  We always called him “Heart Attack.”  All he got was a cup of decaf.

Einstein says he’s always wondered about the decaf because it smelled so good.  And this was in the days when decaf smelled more like molten iron than coffee.

“Oh,” says Tony, “it’s not really decaf.  I don’t have decaf. Awful stuff.”  So what happens if Heart Attack has a real heart attack?”

“Nah. One cup? Never happen.”  Far as we could tell, it never did.

Second guy in the door every morning was Schlomo the Carpenter.  Here come the Jewish carpenter jokes. Actually, Schlomo was a foreman. Hadn’t hammered in a nail or sawed a 2x4 in 15, maybe 20 years.  Sat there in the bird’s nest on top of whichever building he was working. Did nothing.  Straight time for carpenter, plus half time for foreman.

Schlomo could recite the baseball stats in the Daily News from memory before noon.

It’s a Sunday morning and Young Einstein the Math Genius can’t get the tape into the adding machine.  Tony starts to help, glances out the window, starts running for the back.  “That’s the Sunday Times,” he says over his shoulder.  Just have the guy put them on the rack.  I’ll be back later.

Off he goes, all 320 pounds of him and in a fingersnap, he’s vanished.

Times guy comes in, weighs 280, easy. Puts the papers in the rack. “Where’s four fingers?”  Hands Einstein a bill. Tony is seven weeks behind.

There’s almost nothing in the cash drawer.  “Where’s that SOB, Tony?”  

He was just here. “I don’t know.”

280 walks back, opens the walk-in, looks around. No Tony.  Goes to the bathroom (really the bath booth,) looks. No Tony.

What he says next is unfit to print. After all, the guy was from the Times.

“You tell him eight weeks next week or he’ll get a less friendly reminder.  Is that his Cadillac in the parking lot?”

“I dunno.”

A few minutes later, Tony in a sweat, emerges from his “office” which also is a closet.  It’s cold in the store, but he’s sweating.  We don’t talk about any of this.

The place is closed now.  Last anyone heard, Tony was selling Christopher Columbus medals door to door over in Massapequa.

Made the nicest roast beef on rye in all of Moote Pointe.  And the Times guy is still waiting for his money.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

1687 Trump's Butterfly

1687 Trump’s Butterfly

Do you think Trump has ADD or ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?  If so, he might sane out with a regular dose of Ritalin or Adderall. No one we know of has offered a formal diagnosis after a thorough examination. But… if it walks like a duck…

It’s not that he has no firm ideology.  It’s that he has every ideology.  He seems to parrot whatever he last heard from one of his many “awesome” and “great guy, the best!” advisers.

Recent news items report casino billionaire and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson counseled Trump to show some humility.  Immediately thereafter, Trump issued his non-apology apology for stirring up trouble.  And then he went right back to stirring up trouble.

Those of us who acknowledge ADD or ADHD and get easily distracted and quickly bored will be in the middle of a heated discussion which is likely to be punctuated with a completely irrelevant observation.

“The war in Afghanistan is taking a terrible toll on… Oh, look!  A butterfly.”

Lots of people in that camp.  Most of us are not running for President.  

We mocked Reagan for nodding off during cabinet meetings.  But at least when he awakened, he could focus on the subjects at hand. Trump’s interior life must resemble an MTV music video from long ago. You know the type: 90 changes of scene or focus in 60 seconds.  Kind of like most TV commercials now.

Adelson’s advice, if true, was worth heeding.  So was the advice of campaign executives: read the teleprompter.  He did that. Briefly. And then it was right back to his off the cuff scattergun style. The gun was generally pointed at his feet.  And he’s a good shot.


Shrapnel:

--The term “flip flopping” has come to describe a politician who changes sides on an issue though at first it meant what a fish does on land. If it doesn’t get back into the water, it dies. And so do a lot of political fish.

--Heather Bresch could soon be the new Carly Fiorina. Bresch is the genius CEO who raised the prices of EpiPens through the roof and her own salary from $2.5 million to about $19 million at around the same time.  Her company, Mylan, needs a stiff dose of competition… and the deadline was yesterday.

--Charlie Osgood will step down as host of CBS Sunday Morning next month.  He was a fine replacement for Kuralt. Here’s hoping the next guy keeps up the good work of a long-time competitor at that early Sunday hour, but in this household, we still watch Weekend Today.

Grapeshot:
-Oh look! A butterfly.

-“Cheese product” is to cheese as bullet product is to bullets… looks the same but isn’t.

-We’re still collecting your responses for the words and phrases that scare you and probably will post the accumulation sometime next week or the week after.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

1686 The Clinton Speeches

Note: This space has thumped Trump. Now it’s time to pillory Hillary.  This is parody.  And fiction.


Another triumph for Wessayleaks℠.  We have unearthed the top secret recording of one of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to a well known Wall Street investment bank:
1686 The Clinton Speeches
Image result for hillary clinton

“Boys, we have a good deal going and I’m happy to be here today to urge (stops, coughs) you to allow me to continue and expand what (stops, coughs) we have built together all these years.

(Stops, coughs, burly aide brings her a bottle of a clear liquid said to be water.  Another burly aide pushes a chair next to the podium and adjusts the microphone so she can continue speaking seated.) The speech continues:

“In fact, I a few months ago I received a letter from your chairman which I (stops, coughs) which I would like to read part of to you now.  Oh. I left it on the podium…

(Both burly aides reappear on stage, lift Mrs. Clinton up and help her to the podium. She retrieves a piece of paper and then the burly aides help her return to the chair.)

“Thank you, gentlemen. One of you bring me my box of Halls cough drops, please.  Now, to the letter:  Dear Madam Secretary just a note to tell you how much we enjoyed the brief talk last month and hope to see you again soon. In the meantime I also hope that little cough has cleared up.  Sincerely, Roger Rhodium.”

(Burly aide reappears with cough drops one of which she unwraps and puts in her mouth.)

“These are Halls Mentho (stops, coughs) Mentholyptus sugar- free cough drops.  They really do the trick.  Have for me for months now. (Stops, sips from bottle of clear liquid, said to be water.)

“Now to the topic at hand, regulation.  As you know if you’ve been following my numerous press conferences I have been telling the media that I plan to propose a series of regulations to make the disclosure of the fees you charge your clients lower and more transparent.  

“In fact, I wrote such legislation while I was the US Senator from New York. Unfortunately, the basic legislation was housed on my home email server and I ...um… inadvertently erased it while I was pouring over many thousands of pages and mistakenly deleted some.

“But no matter.  Just between us boys, that legislation was lost forever.  I will not publicly disclose that fact even though I’ve said I plan to have the bill reintroduced.  So, breathe easy.  Your fees are safe. And secret.

(Burly aide reappears on stage.)

“Get back where you belong George.  I don’t need you now.  That’ll be all.

“Since this information and similar occurrences are private communications between all of you and myself, I know I can trust you to keep what I just told you confidential.

“I want to thank you for your attention this afternoon and wish you all the best for a profitable coming four years.

“Meantime, if any of you wish time with me for a private meeting or phone call, please see one of my assistants during the Oneg Shabbat that follows this little talk. They’ll be happy to provide you with a fee schedule. Otherwise, please enjoy the pastries from the Sherry B dessert Studio of Chappaqua and the coffee harvested in Haiti and packaged by the Clinton Foundation’s roaster in Port Au Prince.”

(Burly aides appear on stage to help the speaker off the platform.)

This story is fiction, a product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely occidental.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

1685 Falling Starr

1685 Falling Starr

It’s unsportsmanlike to kick a man when he’s down. But there are exceptions, and former “independent” counsel Kenneth Starr is among those who need it most.

Starr, the hit man who missed when he aimed at Bill Clinton, has “resigned” from his professorship at Baylor University in Texas.  Law professor was the ledge the school set him upon after first firing him as chancellor.

Starr, the holier than thou appeals court judge and groomer of current Chief Justice Roberts, had trouble finding work when his nasty and contrived effort to force Clinton out of office fell flat. This despite the untiring efforts of child molesting congressional leader Denny Hastert and the entire neocon march on Washington.

Fortunately, there was money changer Richard Mellon Scaife who rewarded Starr for his failings by getting him appointed to a deanship at Pepperdine University. There he was a “life regent” which in edu-speak means a big name with no meaningful function.

Soon after, Starr hit the big time.  He was named chancellor at Baylor. And he shook up the staid old church in college clothing.

Brought in a new football coach, a new multimillion dollar stadium and a cheerleader mentality.  Only there was a problem with the football team.

Some members liked to force women to have sex against their will. Rape, in common parlance.

And some athletic department investigators were about as independent as was Starr during the Clinton years.  They swept it all under the Matrix Turf (similar to Astroturf.)

Someone came along and peeled up some of the fake grass, under which the scandal lived in much the same way as asbestos does in old walls. Starr didn’t have much to say about all this.  A sweeping condemnation would have been right.

Baylor, whose motto is “For Church, For Texas,” quickly demoted the once- vocal Starr to professor of law.  It took awhile, but now they’ve fully burned his breeches.

Baylor has resigned Starr from all remaining connections.

That is to say they allowed him the grace he never afforded a sitting president by pretending to not fire him.

And so ends the career of a smart but nasty, petty, smug man, a head shorter and smaller of mind than Clinton, brought down by what always brings them down, the taste of their own venom, time and karma.

Today’s Quote: “...   …” -- Kenneth Starr’s comment on his “resignation from the esteemed and glorious faculty of the university he once ran.

And now… a
Wessays™ Special Report:

Words and phrases that scare the h*ll out of us:
In no particular order:

--Some assembly required.
--Cashier in training.
--Falling rock zone.
--Watch for low flying planes.
--Left turn on red after full stop.
--President Donald Trump.
--President Hillary Clinton.
--Your call is very important to us.
--Clearance 6’4”
--Construction vehicle. Watch for sudden stops and turns.
--Wide load.
--Bridge ices before road.
--As seen on TV.

Please feel free to contact me with your own list for inclusion next time. Choose whether you want your name used or anonymity.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

1684 Presidential Economics

How the presidential candidates would solve the deficit and other problems.
I. Trump

He has an amazing way to solve this yooj problem.
-a. Don’t pay back money we borrow.  The lenders should be happy with the good publicity, the patriotism and the bragging rights.  “America Turns on My Dime!”

-b. Reduce wages for federal workers.  They’re a bunch of lazy no goodniks to begin with. They don’t deserve the pay they get.  And yet they’re always there with their hands out.

-c. Abolish Obamacare, upgrade the Medicare eligibility age to 92 and tighten up all those frivolous things that are now covered and shouldn’t be because you’re going to die soon anyway.

-d. States should bear the cost of law enforcement and homeland security.  Abolish the federal departments involved.

-e. Cut taxes for job creators even if they create no jobs.

-f.  Cut taxes slightly for the middle class and they’ll vote for us regardless of all the other givebacks.


II. Clinton
She has sensible solutions for the same problems:
-a. Raise taxes on the rich and corporations to 90%.

-b. Spend the money on makework jobs fixing bridges and roads no one uses. Hire more people than needed. Do not provide machinery or tools.

-c. Make only minimum monthly payments on the Federal American Express Card.

-d. Raise the minimum wage to $29.50 per hour.

-e. Nationalize Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, United Tech, and General Dynamics but not Goldman Sachs.

-f. Nationalize Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, Cigna, Wellpoint, Aetna and Progressive Insurance. (Note: Progressive doesn’t sell health insurance. But this way we can be rid of Flo.)

-g. Nationalize Colt, Smith & Wesson, Remington and Heritage and close them down.  

-h. Print more money.  And get more women on the bills.

III. Johnson

Johnson’s plan is the simplest of all.
-a. Freeze borrowing.

-b. Eliminate the federal government.

IV. Stein

-a. Do everything that Hillary would do.

-b. Nationalize Big Oil.

-c. Ban fossil fuel powered cars.

-d. Ban outdoor fires.

-e. Use eminent domain to erect wind turbines on all golf courses and football fields.

Shrapnel:
--Trump says the Republicans should do more to attract African Americans “...back into the party of Lincoln.” Back into? And what would Lincoln say about the 21st century version of “his” party?

Grapeshot:
-How does Sprint stay in business?

-Anyone want to start a pool on how long Trump can maintain his present presidential persona… if so, put me in for four days, which would be a record.

-Anyone believe the present presidential persona?

-Nothing gladdens the heart of bored viewers more than the closing ceremony at the Olympics.

-Mediocre ratings notwithstanding, it also probably gladdens the hearts of NBC’s accounting office.

Today’s Quote: “Your honor, I’m not a bad person, I just fell in with a bad crowd.” -- Draft of Phoenix- area sheriff Joe Arpiao’s testimony at his expected eventual sentencing hearing.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

1683 Too Fat for TV

News Item: Al Ahram, Egypt’s government-run news agency has suspended eight women TV anchors and demanded they diet.

While Egypt rots, authorities are focused on double chins?  Sure.  It’s as good a diversion as any.  Offensive, they say.  People won’t watch overweight women, they say.

Here’s an example:  

Photo: Telegraph, UK
She’s Khadijua Khatab and while her bosses think people don’t watch her because she’s on the pleasantly plump side, they’re wrong.  People don’t watch her or anyone else on their channel because Al Ahram is incompetent, unreliable and an unabashed propaganda outlet for the government of the moment.

So the women have been given about a month to drop some pounds.  And this has already spawned some cottage industries.

In the open air markets around Cairo, you’ll find a whole crop of new green tea vendors.  Others are selling gauze bandages of the kind formerly used to bind mummies.  And outdoor gyms and fitness centers flourish.

The average temperature in Cairo at this time of year is in the low 80s. A recent random check showed a reading of 90. So sunscreen sellers have joined the outdoor gyms and tea merchants because to lose weight in Cairo all you have to do is walk around in that heat for awhile.

For her part, Khatab says those pictures of her are “old” and that she has already lost weight. No worries. If she really has and continues to, the next thing her bosses will focus on are those reading glasses.  Or they’ll say she wears too much makeup.  Or too little.

And the woman who runs Al Ahram TV, Safaa Hegazy isn’t morbidly anorexic either.

There’s no doubt women have trouble keeping their TV jobs everywhere and appearance often is the reason. In this country, for example, handlers don’t trust anyone over 25 and they’d better have good legs and a come- hither look.

Fat men here don’t have that problem.  Think of the late Charles Kuralt.  Or Al Roker before the stomach surgery or MacNeil and Lehrer who long ago were advised never to take the same elevator at the same time.

No one ever told Brokaw to call Jenny-Twenty.

And no one at Al Ahram has suspended men because they’re overweight.

Today’s Quote: For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn’t that make overweight the average then? Hey, let’s get a pizza.” --Jay Leno

Shrapnel:
--Nice to see our Olympic athletes training for the pros.  The American swimmers who partied all night then smashed up parts of a gas station and then lied about being robbed were only doing what seems to come naturally these days. Back home now, they can continue honing their skills in after hours clubs and dorm rooms.

--Trumps non- apology to people he “may have hurt” insults the intelligence of the American voter -- which is not easy to do.  A Wessays™ quick-count survey shows it’s not going over all that well among Mexicans, Muslims, African Americans, Gold Star families, ex prisoners of war, low energy candidates, little candidates, guest workers, subcontractors and  Heidi Cruz to name a few.  Putin and Billybob at the Main Street Bar are said to be happy with it.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

1682 Mauling the Mall

Macy’s has dropped the other shoe.  First they announced they were about to close 100 of their underperforming stores.  A day later, they released the list.

Thousands of jobs will be lost. Acres retail space will be lost, mostly in shopping malls which are in sharp decline nationwide.

Macy’s is one of those here-forever brands whose base shoppers are clearly divided into three camps:

  1. “It’s where I go for everything.”
  2. “I shop there occasionally but how do they stay in business?”
  3. “I’m from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin and I always stop at the main store in Manhattan when I visit New York but I haven’t bought anything there since 1974.”

Let’s get #3 out of the way first. The “main” or “flagship” store on 34th Street is a glorious museum from its ultramodern cosmetic cluster to its rickety ancient wooden riser escalators to its ornate gold leaf and marble doodads here, there and everywhere.

But it’s a mess. It’s understaffed and crowded with lookers from open to close.  And it has the whiff of struggle, and defensive glare about it.  It looks sweaty and unattended.  This is not a way to produce high volume even for the tourist from Fond Du Lac.

The problem they’re facing is internet competition combined with overreaching. Mostly it’s shooting themselves in the feet.

The current Macy’s, Inc. has almost nothing with the original.  It’s built on the bones of what used to be Federated Department Stores.  Federated is an old line company too.  It owned many brands.  

Then it went on a buying spree. It acquired its main competitor, Allied Stores in a hostile takeover.  That brought brands like Marshall Field, Lord & Taylor, and other big names into its fold.

When it bought Macy’s -- then emerging from bankruptcy -- someone at headquarters in Cincinnati had an “ahah!” moment.  (There’s something creepy about Macy’s headquarters in Cincinnati.”) Here’s the Ahah idea: “Macy’s is the most famous of our brands.  Let’s call ALL our stores Macy’s.”

Ask anyone in Chicago about replacing the Marshall Field sign on that store in the loop.  That was years ago, but a quiet boycott continues.

Ask anyone in Pittsburgh what they think about taking down the signs at Kaufmann’s.  Ask any Brooklynite about the shutdown of Abraham and Straus.

Overexpansion doesn’t work.  Staying in an office building on Ohio’s border with Kentucky doesn’t work. Big shots have to get out more.  Forcing legacy stores into a dress size too big doesn’t work.  They look frumpy.

So now comes the contraction.  And with it, the unemployment claims.

To borrow a concept from Yogi: No one goes to Macy’s anymore except to bowl in the empty aisles.

Shrapnel:
--Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been found guilty of perjury and obstruction.  Everyone seemed to think she was Wonder Woman. But she turned out to be just another prosecutor who thought herself above the law.

Today’s Quote: “...before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic attack in the United States.” -- Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani whom no one would now remember were it not for a certain radical Islamic attack on America before Obama came along.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016