Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

BP’s disaster—and ours I’d like to say something about the oil gushing into the Gulf but nothing seems adequate. And others have said it all, anyway. Years ago, while working for FEMA, I was down there on a weather-related disaster. I’m sorry for those good people and for the wildlife. The oceans are irreplaceable and I’m sorry for all of us. The dim bright spot is that the Michigan Tourist Bureau is hoping to get vacation business away from the Gulf. Eye of the beholder A lady’s tale, sent in by my correspondent Michelle: I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. On the wall, I noticed his DDS diploma which bore his full name. A tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class 30-odd years ago. Could the dentist be the same guy I’d had a secret crush on way back then? Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was far too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Rockford High School. “Yes, I did,” he answered. “When did you graduate?” I asked. “In 1975,” he said. “Why do you ask?” “You were in my class!” I exclaimed. He looked at me closely. Then that ugly, bald, wrinkle-faced, gray-haired, decrepit old guy asked, “What did you teach?” Eye of the beholder #2 Hope the shopper in this tale isn’t the same lady on the same day: I was at the local supermarket. My cart contained a half-gallon of 2% milk, eggs, a quart of orange juice, lettuce, a two-pound can of coffee and a pound of bacon. As I unloaded my items on the conveyor belt to check out, a guy, definitely drunk, stood next in line, watching my order. While the cashier was ringing up the items, the drunk remarked, “You musht be single.” I was a bit startled, but I was intrigued by the derelict’s intuition, since, indeed, I’d never married. I looked at the six items on the belt and saw nothing unusual about my selections that could have tipped off the drunk to […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

The hook We’re not doing so hot in the Middle East. Its movement towards democracy isn’t exactly a mad dash. What possessed us to think we could march in and change a social system solidly in place for hundreds of years? Over the centuries, many human groups have found out that it’s easier to get in than get out. You’d think we’d learn. There’s a good reason the barb on a fishhook faces backward. Wise words Mary Eadie sent us a bunch of good stuff. Mary’s on Rockford’s City Council and she’s a former mayor. It’s good to know we have people in local government who understand the important things in life, including parenthood: • You spend the first two years teaching children to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and be quiet. • Mothers of teens know why some animals eat their young. Ignorance was bliss Jim Beach sent the following comments on the re-education we all get from our e-mail contacts: As we progress into the year 2010, I want to thank all of you for your informative e-mails over the past year. I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water. (Bacteria on the lemon peel!) I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving, because now I know that the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose. Eating a little snack gives me high anxiety. I’m haunted by how many gallons of transfats I must have consumed over the years. I’m especially thankful to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes. I now use a wet sponge for every envelope that needs sealing. I also scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason. I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa is about to grant my every wish. I never have a drink in a bar because 1) the bartender’s damp towel is a sewer of dangerous bacteria and 2) I’m afraid I’ll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

Optimism No. 1 A 16-year-old Australian teenager, Jessica Watson, just finished sailing around the world alone, the youngest ever to do so. The trip took seven months. Her sailboat was 34 feet long—and pink. According to news reports last October when she started out, “She smiled and waved to scores of well-wishers on land and in boats that had gathered on the harbor.” Now that she’s back, she says, “I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m an ordinary girl who believed in her dream.” Apparently Jessica never had any doubts about her success. That kind of optimism should carry her a long way. Yay for Jessica. This story is an upper. But, as a parent myself, I wonder how Mr. and Mrs. Watson enjoyed themselves during those seven months. Optimism No. 2 My thanks to Sally Thompson for this story: My husband and I were taking groceries from the car when a little neighbor boy came over to talk and offered me some of the potato chips he was eating. “No, thank you. I can’t eat them because I have no teeth.” I opened my mouth to show him. He took a look and said, “Oh, not having any teeth is okay. They grow right back in, see?” And he opened his mouth and proudly pointed to his newly sprouted front tooth. Optimism put to the test A news reporter heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site. She watched him pray, and when he turned to leave she approached him for an interview. “Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall every day to pray?” “For about 60 years.” “60 years! That’s amazing! What do you pray for?” “I pray for peace between the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims,” he said. “I pray for all the wars and the hatred to stop. I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man.” “How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?” she asked. “Like […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher

May 13, 2010 // 0 Comments

Deep doo-doo Problems, problems everywhere. • The oil spill in the Gulf may be coming under control, but the damage is tremendous. BP, the oil company that owns the rig (and the problem), may end up broke. Maybe better them than all the people depending on the Gulf for food and a living. • The Greeks spent themselves into serious debt, and many Greeks want the country to go bankrupt instead of using the grit-your-teeth and pay-up approach. Could somebody foreclose on the Acropolis? Be a great spot for McDonald’s. (If the U.S. went bankrupt, the Chinese might foreclose on the Grand Canyon or the Washington Monument. Maybe they’d settle for a state. I suggest Texas.) • Iceland’s volcano is pumping out ash again, disrupting more European flights. At least this one is a “natural” disaster, not caused by human beings, whose silly behavior just goes on and on. Deep thoughts Four-year-old Tim came in from playing in the yard one day and asked, “Mommy, where do babies come from?” “From God, dear,” his mother replied. “Mommy, who keeps bad people from robbing our house?” Tim asked next. His mother answered, “God and the police, dear.” “Mommy, if our house was on fire, who would save us?” “God would, probably working through the fire department.” “Mommy, where does food come from?” “God gives us food, working through the farmers.” “Mommy?” “Yes, dear?” “What do we need Daddy for?” Deep freeze Our correspondent Michelle sent in this one: Scientists at Rolls Royce built a gun specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners and military jets, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea was to simulate the frequent collisions with airborne fowl in order to test the strength of the windshields. American engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high-speed trains. Arrangements were made, and Rolls Royce sent a gun to the Americans. When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof windshield, smashing it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped an engineer’s backrest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin like an arrow shot […]

Main Street with Roger Allen, publisher

May 6, 2010 // 0 Comments

Don’t drill, baby! All of a sudden, off-shore drilling for oil doesn’t seem to be such a good idea. The Louisiana disaster gave us a taste of consequences. (Even a taste is too much. I never tasted crude oil-contaminated shrimp and oysters, but I already know I don’t like them.) Heaven No. 1 A pastor walks into a bar, intent on persuading the guys inside to become better people. Walking up to the first man he meets, he says, “Do you want to go to Heaven?” “Yes, Pastor, I do,” the man replies. “Then stand over there against the wall,” says the pastor. Turning to a second man, the pastor asks, “Do you want to go to Heaven?” “Certainly,” says the man. “Then stand over there against the wall.” Turning to a third man, the pastor says again, “Do you want to go to Heaven?” “No, Pastor, I don’t.” This answer takes the pastor by surprise. “I don’t believe this,” he says. “You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to Heaven?” “Oh, when I DIE,” says the third man. “Well, yes, of course. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.” Heaven No. 2 One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all the rascally behavior that was going on. So He called one of His angels and sent him to Earth for a time. When the angel returned, he told God, “Yes, it is certainly bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.” God thought for a moment and said, “Maybe I’d better get a second opinion.” So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time. When the angel returned, he went to God and said, “Yes, it’s true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving and 5% are being good.” God was not pleased. So He decided to e-mail the 5% who were good, to give a little encouragement to help them keep going. Do you know what the e-mail said? Okay, I was just wondering, because I didn’t get one, either. Speaking of That I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if […]

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