Come On, Baby, Do the Mashed Potato
By Ernie Witham   |   December 3, 2020

No doubt, this year we have had the stuffing knocked out of us. The coronavirus squashed any hopes of a normal year. The economy sank like a lead gravy boat. And we had a turkey in the…  “Wait. Are you really going to make us suffer through a Thanksgiving pun column?”  “Of course not, dear. […]

Lost Lands
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 12, 2020

Many countries – and many families – have some tradition of territory, or property, which used to be theirs, and is now someone else’s. The memory, even though it may relate to events far in the past, is sometimes still charged with bitterness.  A classic example is the region known as Alsace-Lorraine, sandwiched between France […]

 

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Who Was That Masked Man?
By Ernie Witham   |   November 12, 2020

I have a new respect for superheroes, bandits, and anyone else who wears a mask for a living. For one thing, it’s not easy to smell things while wearing a mask, which is probably a good thing for those performing gastro-intestinal surgery. For the rest of us just trying to keep COVID-19 out, we miss […]

Fame or Shame
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 5, 2020

There are good reasons for giving names to hurricanes and tropical storms. It helps the weather-watchers avoid confusion in referring to them. But it was a bad idea to use the first names of people, because, if you happen to have that name – and especially if the event turns out to be a bad […]

The Opposite of Progress is Fashion?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 5, 2020

People often compliment me on my colorful shirts. Much of the credit goes to my friend Robin; she finds some of the best for me on eBay. While I always say “thank you,” I often ask, “Do you know what is the opposite of progress?” They usually look mystified. “Fashion!” I triumphantly reply. I point […]

Sex You All
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 29, 2020

You’ve all, no doubt, been eagerly waiting for me to write something about Sex – so, here it is: Has it ever occurred to you that “sex” spelled backwards is “xes,” which might be pronounced as “excess,” which, of course, means “too much.” Such considerations make me hesitate to go any further into this subject, […]

Feeling Rakish This Fall?
By Ernie Witham   |   October 21, 2020

Many people laughed when President Trump suggested that the way to stop wildfires in California was to rake the forests. I had a different reaction. My hands instantly got blisters, my lower back felt strained, and my butt hurt like hell. I grew up in the heart of the fall foliage spectacle. Every year the […]

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The Beauty of It
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 21, 2020

It took the Greeks to turn beauty into a science. They called it aesthetics – a word and concept we’ve been stuck with ever since. It’s not enough just to enjoy a starry night, or a fine piece of architecture, or a good-looking girl. We have to ask why. We feel the compulsion to analyze, […]

Simple Birthdays? Nay, we say.
By Ernie Witham   |   September 24, 2020

Our family spends more time planning birthdays than some people spend reading presidential briefs… it’s been said… by many, many, fine folks. We’ve had choreographed dance-offs, whereas we all stand in a large circle and someone does a dance move. The next person has to duplicate it or get eliminated. Out of pity they let […]

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Bored of Education
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 24, 2020

You may find this hard to believe, but it wasn’t until after I had gone all the way through the British school and college system, and emigrated to the U.S., with a bachelor of arts degree in history, that I became aware of the fact that “education” is a subject which can itself be studied […]

Tea for You
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 17, 2020

Having been brought up English, I was a tea drinker from an early age. But I didn’t realize that I was actually an addict, until my doctor told me to cut out all caffeine from my diet. Only then did I learn what is meant by “withdrawal symptoms” – which in my case were very […]

How to Bring People Together?
By Robert Bernstein   |   September 10, 2020

It is a common perception today that our country is divided. Some even suggest we are on the verge of civil war. Is there a way that we can bring our country together? One common suggestion is to have leaders who are “moderate” to be in line with the views of the widest range of […]

Hear and Now
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 10, 2020

The 1964 Simon & Garfunkel song “The Sound of Silence” must seem redolent of an ancient era to many of my younger readers – but the haunting melody, combined with its poetically poignant words, resonates as powerfully today as when the song was born. To me, the part which has always been most meaningful proclaims […]

I Think Knot
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 3, 2020

As a child, I took great delight in string. My mother, who patiently taught me how to tie bows, used to tell people, “Give him a piece of string, and he’ll be happy.” True enough, I could spend hours just tying and untying knots. I was never a Boy Scout, and never “learned the ropes” […]

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