A few sayings to help us through the day

Here a few sayings that I have picked up along the way. Please feel free to offer some of yours that who add some relish to this grouping.

Have you ever felt like the whole world is a tuxedo and you’re just a pair of old brown shoes? (George Goebbels)

I have noticed the more I practice, the luckier I get. (Gary Player)

Opportunity is often missed as it is dressed up as hard work. (Malcolm Gladwell)

I have noticed common sense is not all that common. (Mark Twain)

A man will never be shot while doing the dishes. (Unknown)

More shots are missed because they are never taken. (Unknown)

If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much. (Unknown)

We tend to spend more practice on what we do well and less on what we don’t. It should be the other way around. (Harvey Penick)

No is just an answer. Don’t be afraid of hearing it. (Unknown)

I took the last shot because I knew I could handle missing it. (Jim Furyk)

You cannot have too many cups of coffee with people. It is my fault should not be a frightening thing to say. (a friend and colleague)

Don’t ever be surprised when an ego-centric person turns on you. It will happen. (Unknown)

People should get more credit for doing the right thing than going along with the crowd. (Unknown)

Paying it forward may be the most selfless of gifts. The gift of your time is the best thing you can do for your kids. (Unknown)

The greatest lights in our community or family are the people who always visit or help when it is needed. (Unknown)

Helping people climb a ladder out of the hole they dug is better than just pulling them up. If they climb it, they may avoid digging a new one. (a friend and social worker)

You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. (an old boss)

Work place humor can be found in surprising places

Sometimes workplace humor offers the funniest lines, as they are unexpected. Even in working for a large, staid bank for about four years, I came across some funny things. Some of these I have used before, but have placed them all together for your reading (hopefully) pleasure.

A new state banking president had just moved into their headquarters and was outside smoking a cigarette due to a ban on indoor smoking. To be frank, the president was probably not the one you would pick out of a line-up as the president, so a woman smoking outside asked “I have not seen you before, what department do you work in?” When he responded sheepishly, “I am the new president of the bank,” she responded quickly with “And, I am the Queen of Effing England!”

Following his non-presidential looks to a branch he was touring, the new president was told he resembled their regional manager, a man I will call Bubba Johnson, to preserve his identity. The president spoke to the employees and said “People say I resemble Bubba Johnson, but that cannot be, as Bubba is uglier than a pair of old bowling shoes.”

A young communication analyst was giving guests a tour of the floor her department was on which also was on the same floor where all the Board meetings occurred. On the walls, were pictures of all the bank CEOs and chairmen, gender identity intended. When she got to the hallway, she said to her guests, “And, here is wall with pictures of a bunch of dead white guys.” Observation duly noted.

If you ever worked for a bank or had a relative who did, titles are handed out like candy. I think they are used in part so as to give a lesser raise. So, there are several thousands of assistant vice-presidents and several hundreds of vice-presidents. One of the dilemmas of this construct was uttered by a long-time bank employee who said, “As soon as you give someone a title, they start acting presidential.”

My boss’ boss was someone who tended to invade people’s personal space getting inches from yours when he talked to you. The gender of the other person did not matter, as he was an equal opportunity space invader, pun intended. My boss, though, had a unique way to stave off said invasions. When asked how, he said “Whenever I meet with him, I always make sure there is a piece of furniture between us, a chair, a table, a desk.”

My boss had some of the funniest stories about his time working for a bank, our bank had acquired. The CEO of that bank was the most imperial of presidents I have ever witnessed. There seemingly was no perquisite he did not have. One story is he invited key bank customers to his daughter’s wedding to get the bank to pay for it. Why spend my money he thought?

He also had a chauffeured limousine for protection, which the driver/ bodyguard would circle back and drive his wife around when he was at work. It would do the same for the COO’s wife. Since they argued over the limo, the bank solved the problem by getting a second one. My boss was talking with driver about the error of his process to keep the CEO safe. He said, “You drop him at the door once you get here, but fail to understand that everyone inside wants to kill him.”

One of those perquisites was a lengthy change of control agreement. To get the money, the retired CEO would have to do various things, one of which was to file monthly reports of his activities. When he was about seven months in arrears, the actual CEO was made aware of it. His solution was simple and very effective. “Stop paying him.” Within a few weeks, the retired CEO completed the reports.

Finally, the head of security for the bank had some very funny stories that he could only share in general. A couple of takeaways from his stories are (1) avoid places that have cameras when you are having a sexual encounter with a colleague, which includes stairwells, (2) an irate spouse who confronts her philandering husband at work has a better aim with a hurled coffee cup than you might think, and (3) avoid having an affair with a person whose spouse also works for the bank. Of course, all three could be solved by avoiding the affairs altogether.

I am certain you each have some workplace humor. Please feel free to share your stories.

Is it Agnes or Maggies? – a reprise

Given time constraints, the following is a repeat of an earlier post.

My wife says “Goodness gracious Maggies!” I was brought up hearing “Goodness gracious Agnes!” She was raised in South Carolina while I grew up in Florida. We don’t know where Agnes and Maggie were raised.

Geography seems to play a role in variations in similar sayings. In the South, I often heard “Bless his (or her) heart” to reference someone prone to inanity. Our friends from Pennsylvania say “God love him (or her)” meaning the same thing. A minister once said, if you add “Bless his heart,” one can say some less than flattering things before that point.

The more religiously influenced have a variety of sayings. I think the Catholic influence might lead a surprised person to say “Holy Mary mother of God!” which is quite the mouhful. Often, it is shortened to “Holy Mary!” leaving the longer version for more awe-inspiring events.

“Jesus Christ! or the shortened “Jesus!” is uttered when a religious mother is out of earshot. Otherwise, the child might get a look or rebuke. Often, it is shortened to “Jeez,” “Jeepers,” or “Gee whiz,” depending on the generation or religious zeal of the mother. Of course, the more formal rendering is “Jesus H. Christ,” but I have no idea where the “H” comes from.

We can thank Walt Disney for popularizing another replacement with his character “Jiminy Cricket.” Making his name plural makes another saying of surprise. A variation is “Jiminy Christmas” for more exasperating events.

“Dammit,” has long been a shortened version of GD which would have gotten a strong rebuke in my house. The rebuke for Dammit would be less severe. Either phrase reveals disappointment in some failure. I am reminded of Strother Martin’s character in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The tobacco chewing character would say “Dammit” when his tobacco spittle got on his chin, yelling “bingo” when it did not.

It saddens me to think of the humor of Bill Cosby given his off-stage criminal acts of sexual assault. But, one of his funnier routines was of his father trying to edit his language around his kids. When mad, Cosby said his father could not complete a sentence due to self-censure. He also had routine where his father referred to Cosby as “Dammit” and his brother as “Jesus Christ” when mad. “Dammit” get in here. “Jesus Christ” why did you do that? When he mixed up the two, his brother would say “But Dad, I’m Jesus Christ.”

I have shared before the saying of my wonderful colleague whose father was a minister. When very frustrated, she would say, “Bad word, bad word!” Her saying would lighten the moment if others heard her saying it given her temperament.

What are some of your family, friends and region’s sayings? Are they unique to your area or more widespread?

A documentary on George Carlin reveals much

“I am optimistic, but I would not take any comfort from that.” George Carlin

The above is one of the many quotes from the talented and funny satirical comedian, George Carlin which is highlighted in a HBO two-part documentary. On top of learning about Carlin’s rise to fame, as well as his fall and rise again, we see a glimpse of American culture from the 1960’s forward.

Like most good documentaries, it presents the good, bad and the ugly side of fame and how it impacted both Carlin and his first wife, Brenda, whom he was married for 36 years. Brenda, was his biggest fan and supported and help manage his efforts to go out on his own on two separate occasions, first after having success with Jack Burns in a comedy duo and, second, when he took off the suit and started being who he really was on stage, the bearded, witty and satirical comedian we remember most.

Along the way, both had drinking and drug problems. Ironically, Brenda’s exposure came when he became successful and professional managers and PR people took on her role. Their daughter Kelly noted that this put her mother to the side and she had a lot of trouble with that. They both would recover and have a loving thirty-six year marriage before Brenda passed away. Carlin would later remarry and stay married for the rest of his life.

For those who don’t know Carlin, here is a brief summary from Hollywood Life:

George Carlin is one of the most beloved comedians of all time. After beginning his career in the 1960s, George rose to fame for his often controversial subject matter and use of explicit language, best exemplified in his routine “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” in 1972. He continued being a popular performer, going through many distinct shifts in style throughout the 80s and 90s, releasing a number of standup specials. His final special It’s Bad For Ya was released months before his death at 71 in June 2008. Other than his standup, George dabbled in comedic acting, appearing in films such as Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and playing Mr. Conductor on the children’s program Shining Time Station.”

Carlin loved to play with the words and their different meanings under different contexts. One of his more memorable and safer topics is the one on oxymorons. One I vividly recall is “jumbo shrimp.” After metering is voice and eyes as he recounted this, he would say “are they little jumbos, or huge shrimp?” Yet, his most famous diatribe is the one mentioned above called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.”

Comedians like Stephen Colbert, Patton Oswalt, Jon Stewart, Steven Wright, et al could easily recite the seven words in order from this routine. They also discussed how provocative Carlin was in his heyday and became again later in his career. There was a time where he got pushed aside and was actually mocked by some newer comedians for his less evocative wordplay. Yet, he would only come back strong being the irreverent Carlin we knew and laughed with.

This special is worth the watch. I actually watched them out of order, but that is more than OK. It was actually fun to see him get started after seeing the later stages of his career first. It is also telling to see the many comedians pay homage to him for influencing their careers.

Comedians and Congress

The very astute and funny comedian Sarah Silverman said yesterday on a segment of The View, “Why is it we hold our comedians to a higher standard than our Congressional representatives?” She was responding to the trend for comedians to come under physical attack on stage and verbal abuse online. I want you to re-read the emboldened sentence of hers and let it sink in. Why, indeed?

If that is not enough to stew on, I want you to think of recent and not so recent comments by several members of Congress with names like Taylor-Greene, Cawthorn, Jordan, Gosar, Breitbart, Gohmer, Brooks, Gaetz et al. If that were not enough, fold in comments from folks like Senators Cruz, Paul. etc. Then we have the former president’s comments which take it to an even lower level.

These comedians make their living making fun of uncomfortable topics. Do they cross the line on occasion? Absolutely. Yet, we seem to vilify them more than we do for people who are supposed to represent our better angels as elected officials. I can disagree with a policy position of an elected official and that is OK. Yet, I want them to be respectful of the office they hold.

I disagree with Democrats and Republicans on various issues. I think some Democrats tend to forget we need to pay for things, e.g. But, the names I mention above are all Republican for a reason. They have a strident manner in dealing with opposing arguments. Name calling is not an argument. Parroting conspiracy theories is not an argument. Saying truly inane things does not make you more credible.

It is not ironic that the most touted leader in the world is a former comedian. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has stood up against the invasion of Russian troops and rallied his country against the onslaught. To be frank, Vladimir Putin did not count on that stance thinking he could steam roll Ukraine in three days. He could not have been more wrong.

When I watch shows that are news centered comedy discussions, the more astute guests tend to be comedians. To be able to make fun of something, you tend to have to know what it is and why it could be funny. In this same vein, one of the best news shows on TV is actually a comedy show – John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight.” Invariably, his writers will have an in-depth discussion on issues that do not get air time elsewhere such as predatory tele-evangelists, predatory lending, predatory court fees, et al. Other new sources have actually complimented their efforts.

Since comedians seem to be more knowledgeable, maybe we should do like sports teams do. When an elected official is obviously not up to the challenge, like in a sporting event, let’s just replace him or her with a comedian. In my view, we will be far better off.

Alignment

One thing that impresses me about good writers who have complex series of novels or shows is their ability to keep track of the various histories and relationships of all of their characters and story lines. My guess is the better ones take the time to document the biographies and relationships, so as not to betray the trust of the reader or watcher. I am certain mistakes happen, but it is good to see the effort.

The writers for a TV series called “Young Sheldon” have done their utmost to make sure the show is in alignment with its predecessor, “The Big Bang Theory.” For those who do not watch either show, “The Big Bang Theory” is about four highly intelligent university professors who befriend a beautiful and sarcastic neighbor who lives across the hall from two of them. Other stars are added as the men start getting more serious girlfriends and wives. But, the show is about relationships.

Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons, is the brightest yet most eccentric of an eccentric bunch. Parsons played him so well, he won several Emmy’s for the role. Due to his eccentricities, the show “Young Sheldon” was crafted to tell his story. With Parsons narrating the prequel which stars Iain Armitage as the younger version, we learn how Sheldon developed some of his habits, both endearing and frustrating. Since in the first show, we see guest appearances from the adult siblings and older mother, the prequel is good about remembering each character’s development and what the older Sheldon shared about them.

Sheldon has a twin sister, who is every bit as sarcastic as his future neighbor. He has an older brother who his jealous of the attention Sheldon gets yet is the typical teenage male. And, the scientific genius even as a boy has a mother who not only is a church goer, she works at the church. His father is a football coach, but we know already he will not be around much longer due to a storyline from “The Big Bang Theory” told of Sheldon losing his father as a young teen. The one character we did not hear much about in the first show is his grandma, who came in the second season of “Young Sheldon.”

The small things, though, are what make the alignment live. The older Sheldon loved trains, so we see the young Sheldon out in the garage with his trains. We learn why Sheldon uses terms like “bazinga” when playing a practical joke or why he uses the word “coitus” instead of sex, as it is less offensive. Don’t ask. The older Sheldon loves contractual agreements, so we see how that developed. And, of course, we see his mother singing “Soft Kitty, warm kitty” when Sheldon does not feel well and why he offers a hot beverage to anyone who is down in the dumps.

My wife and I enjoyed the first show immensely. I am a sucker for shows about relationships, especially the quirky ones. No one is more quirky than Sheldon, but what endears him is he has a good heart that is revealed from time to time. And, we adore the prequel as well, with the young Sheldon every bit as funny as the older one. Yet, what makes it live in alignment is the narration by the older Sheldon, with the occasional guest commentary by one of the other actors on the first show.

Do you like the shows? What are some others you care for?

Not much of a poet, but I was encouraged

Our friend Cindy encouraged me to post these few words as a feeble attempt at poetry. She posted a picture of a young woman with her head laying on her lap top keyboard above a poem that included a reference to “undo.” Here is a paraphrase of what I typed as a comment with the context provided above the poem.

Cindy, pairing your poem with the first picture is marvelous. “Undo won’t do the trick.” That is a terrific line that would have been unheard of forty years ago. It is the most magical button or icon ever invented – undo. So, when it does not do the trick, we are screwed. I am sure many a bad marriage would love the “undo” button. Of course, this would be passed the annulment period, which is a nice invention in its own right.

So, with this in mind, here is my feeble attempt:

“I wish my love for you remained
Undo

I wish I had not left my old job
Undo

I wish I had not given the Nigerian prince money
Undo

I wish I had not clicked on that link
Undo

Oops, undo is not working.
OK, Alt+CTRL+Del.”

If you like the format, please offer some “undos” of your own.

The Yogi of malapropisms (or Yogi-isms)

A malaprop is defined as “the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect, as in, for example, ‘dance a flamingo’ (instead of flamenco).” A malaprop or malapropism is the closest word(s) to describe what a rather famous baseball player would articulate to reporters on a recurring basis. The player had the iconic name of Yogi Berra.

Yogi was actually a very good and well-liked ballplayer on a very good team, the New York Yankees. As the Yankees were in the World Series with regularity, reporters had a lot of access to Yogi and what would become known as “Yogi-isms.” The funny thing about Yogi-isms is while they may sound unusual, they actually had a basis of simple truth holding them up. In other words, when you studied what he was trying to say, it actually made sense.

Here are a few Yogisms

It gets dark early out there – Yogi started as a catcher, but as he aged, he was moved to left field because he was such a good hitter and needed to be in the line-up. Late in the afternoon, the sun would cause shadows in the outfield which made it hard to see the baseball coming your way.

The future ain’t what it used to be -This may be my favorite Yogi-ism. In essence, things are happening so fast in the world, predictions of the future need updating. This is even more true today with technology advances.


It ain’t over ’til its over – This may be truest of all Yogi-isms as he has witnessed many a come from behind victory as a winner and loser. The game is not over until it is over. There is always a chance to win or lose, so finish the game.


When you come to a fork in the road, take it – This one needs to be read with a smile. You think you know what he means, but it is funny to play it against Robert Frost’s road not taken. Which way should you go? In Yogi’s mind, make a change. Or, is he saying stay the course? Or, maybe he is just saying don’t stand still, make a choice.

You can observe a lot by watching – this is one of the obvious truths. Shut up and watch what is happening. I have often felt reporters just loved to hear Yogi talk, so they would make big deals out of anything he said. Since we still have too many folks that are not present in the moment, this Yogi-ism is good advice. Pay attention, you might learn something.


Baseball is 90% mental; the over half is physical – this is one of his more famous lines. Math must have not been his strong suit. Or, more than likely, he forgot the first percentage when he closed out his point. Any endeavor has a mental aspect to it, even one where there is a ball, bat and glove involved.

Yogi-isms are priceless. They are funny, yet profound on occasion as the examples above portray. When I said he was well-liked, that is not an overstatement. He was charming and self-effacinig. He did not look like a star player, like his teammate Mickey Mantle, but he was a very good one. Kids, especially, just flocked to Yogi.

Please let me know your reactions and any other favorites.

Forgetting a name is a humbling experience

Yesterday, I was thanking a blogging friend, Polly, for her re-blogging a post I wrote. All was good until I called her Barbara on her own blog and mine. I can offer up excuses, but this is attributable to operator error. We had a good laugh after several mea culpas, I realized after I had done it that something was amiss, so while I was confirming my faux pas, Polly noted in reply that her name was Polly not Barbara. Big oops.

I would like to say this was the only time I have done this. But, two name calling errors come to my mind. First, I was with my wife and daughter on a Saturday at a restaurant awaiting an order. As I went to get the order when our name was called, I bumped into someone and his family who I knew I had met at one of my clients, yet I could not call up his name.

I said hello and then went back to our table. Then, the nightmare started. He came by to meet my wife and daughter and still nada in my memory banks on the name. So, I introduced my side of the conversation, but simply had to pass on his side, embarrassingly so. What I recalled later is I have been in a number of big meetings with this client, so I had met him with many people. At least that is plausible, but still embarrassing.

Second, this one is more embarrassing.as I know the person pretty well from some charity work. After a concert at a small venue we attended with another couple, I bumped into my friend and her friend as we were leaving. Introductions ensued, but I failed miserably on my end. I drew a deer-in-the-head-light blank. We laughed about it as we parted ways with our friends and then it hit me who that was on the way home. So, I called her to leave a message with more mea culpas. As my wife pointed out, you knew her enough to hug he, but not introduce her.

These are just two that come to mind from a longer list. My favorite name omission came from a good friend, who forgot his own wife’s name. He introduced her at a big reunion as “Jenny,” so she corrected him and said, “It’s Jeannie.”

Unfortunately, this problem will likely get worse as I age. Hopefully, I will always remember my wife’s name, but with two mothers in our family who died of complications due to Alzheimer’s, I hope that won’t be the reason. If I don’t remember a name, I may have to borrow my charming wife’s skill at calling people “Sweetie” or “Chickie” or something else when she draws a blank.

What are some of your stories on drawing a blank?

A few funnies from the past

My close friend Frank is Catholic and one of our annual traditions during our teen and college years was going to midnight mass. The priest would invariably wish everyone a Happy Easter as well, as he knew he would not see some until next Christmas Eve.

This same priest presided over another close friend’s father’s funeral. Having not seen the priest for thirty years, he looked the same as he did before, with a full head of thick hair. He must be in seventies, so I commented on his youthful look to my wife. She said what do you expect, he is not married.

Speaking of looks, my wife and I have long been fans of Tina Turner. Turner was performing in her sixties and still had a dancer’s pair of legs. When I commented to my friend Don that I hoped to look that good when I am her age, he correctly quipped you don’t look that good now.

As my hair has thinned, my older brother has been able to keep more of his on his head. When his daughter hollered across a quiet room, Uncle Keith, how come my Dad has more hair than you do, I responded because his wife does not spend as much as mine does. My wife agreed with my assessment.

Speaking of Easter, my oldest son’s Godfather Joe attended a large Easter egg hunt with us one year. Since the older kids would aggressively gather most of the eggs, Joe would be off to the side guarding a few eggs for my small son to find. It was comical to see him diplomatically tell eight year olds there were no more eggs here, so my son could find a few.

After college, one of our close friends was dating a woman named Lark, while another was dating a woman named Robin. Our friend Randy assessed the names out loud to both and added, it looks like I need to find me a girl named Con-dor, accentuating each syllable.

Randy always enjoys a good joke, yet sometimes he has to let it sink in. Going to  a game, Frank and I were chatting with Randy in the backseat about the lack of success of the junior varsity basketball team coached by Pete Poore. Frank said what do you expect when you have Poore coaching. We both chuckled at the pun and then about a full minute later Randy roars with laughter – poor coaching he shouts.

One of my favorite funny stories with the kids is when I was reading a story to my boys, who at the time shared a room. So, I plopped down on one of the beds and then bounced off between the bed and wall. It took an effort to crawl out of the crevice. The boys and I laughed so hard, my wife and daughter had to come see what happened.

A final story relates to my old boss who was working late. He had to reach someone who he knew was also working late, but had stepped away from his desk. A late night cleaning crew member answered the constantly ringing phone and my friend went into detail of what he needed. The man said sir, sir, I told you as much as I know, when I said hello.

On that note, I will say goodbye.