Main Street

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Great new job idea How about hiring real people to answer business phones? Most big companies have computers answering their phones. Voice prompts may sound like real people, but we all know they aren’t. And when you push a button, you just get a different computer. Sometimes the computer says, “Our staff is busy with other calls. Please stay on the line and someone will help you soon.” Computers that lie to us should be fired (and real people hired to take their place). Sometimes the computer at the other end of the phone line refers you to a website. Websites are on computers. It’s a vicious circle. Not only should companies hire real people to answer phones, they should cast them in their TV commercials. I happen to know that the cartoon characters in ads are generated by (you guessed it) computers. Replacing computers with real people may sound extreme, but, considering the country’s jobs situation, isn’t it worth a try? Great advice I read an article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That’s my idea of a perfect day. February If you think the holiday season is over, wait till you see February. First, it’s Black History Month. Then we also get Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Super Bowl Sunday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday. This year February gets an extra day in order to fit everything in. Fame A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus. “It’s a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway,” said the visitor. “Actually,” said his guide, “it’s named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation.” The visitor was surprised. “Joshua Hemingway? Was he also a writer?” “Yes, indeed,” said the guide. “He wrote the check.” Ferry story Tom loved living on Staten Island but wasn’t crazy about the ferry. If you missed a ferry late at night you had to spend the next hour or so wandering the deserted streets of lower Manhattan. So, when he spotted a ferry no more than 15 feet from the dock, he decided he wouldn’t risk an […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Seriously looking ahead Republican infighting can be either entertaining or depressing. However, retired people remain especially aware that the President and the Congress we elect this year will deal with Social Security. Our Social Security program was enacted about 77 years ago. Few are left to remember how financially grim getting old used to be for most people. Essentially, the Social Security Act required enforced retirement savings. Most Americans don’t get rich by a lifetime of working and don’t save a lot of money otherwise. For 2011, Congress cut individual payroll taxes from 6.2% to 4.2% in order to beef up the spending power of working people. The cost of government didn’t get reduced, however; unfortunately, Congress let the Social Security Trust Fund absorb the shortfall. A great country like ours should not need “poor farms” for the destitute elderly. Let’s hope that when YOU arrive at age 67, the Social Security Trust Fund will be there. The Congress we elect must have the guts to raise the money to restore the Fund. Social Security is one of the best programs our government ever embarked upon. But, personally, I don’t take it for granted. They grow up so fast Two storks were sitting in their nest—father and baby. The little one was crying. “Don’t worry, son,” said the dad. “Your mother will be back soon. She’s out delivering brand-new babies.” The next night, it was the mothers turn to do the job. Again the baby stork was crying. “Son,” said mom stork, “your father will be back soon, but right now he’s out bringing joy to new mommies and daddies.” A few days later the parent storks were alarmed: Sonny had been gone from the nest all night. Shortly before dawn, however, he returned. “Where,” demanded the parents, “have you been?” “No where much,” said the youngster. “Just scaring the heck out of college students.” Turkey story From a contributor: One year my mom went to my sister’s house for the traditional Christmas feast. My sister tends to be quite gullible and my mom decided to play a trick. She sent my sister to the drugstore on some kind of errand. In her absence, Mom took the turkey out of the oven, spooned out the […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

January 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Time travel Samoa skipped last Friday entirely, and landed on the other side of the International Date Line. They are only about 10 miles from it. They wanted to be in sync with Australia and other populated areas closer to them. On February 29, 1948, I was on a ship heading home from Korea. It was leap year, so we had an extra day. That night we crossed the date line and it was February 29 all over again. So, 30 days hath February. My first and only. Out of tune Submitted by a correspondent: As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently a funeral director asked me to play at the graveside service for a homeless man with no family. It was to be held at a paupers’ cemetery way out in the country. Not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost. An hour late, I finally arrived and saw that evidently the funeral guy had gone. The hearse was nowhere in sight. Only the diggers and crew were left, and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and called out an apology to the men for being late. I walked over to the graveside, looked down, and saw the vault lid already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches. I played heart and soul for that man with no family or friends. As I played “Amazing Grace,” the workers started to weep. In fact, we all wept together. Finally I packed up my bagpipes and headed for my car with a full heart. As I opened the car door, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothing like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.” Sweet stop Another reader contribution: Returning from a trip to visit my grandmother in California, I was stopped in Kansas by a state trooper for exceeding the speed limit. Grateful to have received a warning instead of a ticket, I gave him a small bag of my grandma’s delicious chocolate chip cookies and proceeded on my way. Later, I was stopped by another trooper. “What have I done?” I asked. “Nothing,” the trooper said. “I heard you […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

December 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

Happy New Year! I intend that to mean for the whole year, not just January 1. May 2012 be a year of blessings for all of us. Our first day of the year is related to the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory. If you don’t like this one, the Julian calendar places New Year’s Day on January 14. Throughout the world people observe other dates, mostly related to religion. Pope Gregory picked this date based on Jesus’ birth on December 25 and baptism on January 1. It could get complicated. I think Adam and Eve celebrated because they saw the days getting longer and the sun coming back. Antique story A little boy opened the big family Bible with fascination, looking at the old pages, one after another. As he turned them, something fell out. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old tree leaf that had been pressed between the pages. “Mom, look what I found!” he called out. “What do you have there, dear?” his mother asked. With excitement the boy exclaimed, “It’s Adam’s suit!” Church story Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud. Finally his big sister had had enough and gave him the elbow. “You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church!” “Why? Who’s going to stop me?’ Joel answered. Angie pointed to the back of the church. “See those two men standing by the door? They’re hushers!” Sew-sew story A pretty girl stepped up to the fabric counter and said, “I’d like to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?” “Only one kiss per yard,” replied the young male clerk. “Fine,” replied the girl. “I’ll take ten yards.” Smirking, the clerk measured out the cloth and wrapped it. Then he held it out teasingly. The girl smiled, took the package, pointed to a little old man standing beside her, and said, “Grandpa, pay the man.” Deer Tick Warning I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, but this one is real, and it’s important. So, please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list: If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

December 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

Merry Christmas! How many dozen people have you heard that from lately? It comes in handy this time of year when you can’t think of anything else to say. Robo calls I get several every day, so I don’t answer until seven rings. And now there’s talk of allowing robo calls to cell phones. I may have to stop answering that one, too. You can get in touch with me by knocking on my front door. “Completed,” finally The President has withdrawn our troops from Iraq, although we’ll still be spending money there. Nine years is way too long, especially for an optional war with inadequate planning ahead of time. And we’re still at war in Afghanistan. And while Pakistan purports to be our ally, we seem to be at war there, too. I think it’s time to let them settle their own affairs. It’s obvious we can’t do it, and it only makes us poorer. Just think of all the other things we could have bought with that $1trillion+ spent on the Iraq war. Yes, that’s $1,000,000,000,000. Plus. Cat story A friend writes: Last Saturday night we were dressed and ready to go out to a Christmas party. We turned on a nightlight, turned the answering machine on, covered our pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard. Because we knew we’d be having a few drinks, we phoned a cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and we opened the front door to leave the house. As we walked out the door, the cat we had put out in the yard scooted back into the house. We didn’t want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird. My wife went on out to the taxi, while I went back inside to get the cat. The cat ran upstairs, with me in hot pursuit. Waiting in the cab, my wife didn’t want the driver to know that the house would be empty for the night. So she explained to the taxi driver that I’d be out soon. “He’s just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.” A few minutes later I got into the cab. “Sorry I took so long,” I said as we […]

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