Roger Allen

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

In pursuit of trivia All my life I’ve been pursuing trivia. The guy who invented the game must have had someone like me in mind. For my recent birthday, I got the most fascinating book of odd facts I never knew. (Thanks, Mel!) Its title: “I Never Knew That!” Did you know (I didn’t) about the man who was president of the U.S. for one day only? David Rice Atchison was president on March 4,1849. James Polk’s term ended that morning and Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on a Sunday, so the job automatically went to the Senate president pro tem. Let’s see, if we counted Atchison, President Obama wouldn’t be No. 44; he’d be No. 45. Throws the whole sequence out of whack, beginning with 12. There’s more Charles Dow, a financial reporter, founded the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but he never finished high school. On the other hand, both President Lyndon Johnson and tenor Luciano Pavarotti graduated from college—and became elementary school teachers before moving on to other careers. Much more Military toilet paper is printed with camouflage colors since white might attract enemy fire, and it takes 90 minutes to hard-boil an ostrich egg. My pursuit will be a lot less tiring with this book in hand. Count on reading more borrowed trivia here in the future. Rich joke One afternoon a wealthy banker in the back seat of his limousine saw two men eating grass by the side of the road. He ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate. “Why are you eating grass?” he asked one of the men. “No money for food,” the man replied. “Oh, come along with me, then.” “But, sir, I have a wife and two children.” “Bring them along! And you, come with us, too!” he said to the other man. “But, sir, I have a wife and six children,” said the second man. “Bring them as well!” So they all climbed into the car, which was no easy task even for a car as big as the rich guy’s limo. Once underway, one of the poor fellows said, “Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you.” “No […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

July 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Curious minds We’ve all learned a good deal about the Islamic religion in the past 10 years. Before 9/11, most of us had no idea it came in two flavors, Sunnis and Shiites. But curious minds want to know: why don’t the two denominations get along? So I looked it up. It goes back to Mohammed’s death in the year 632. A dispute arose about his successor. Those now called Sunnis wanted to seek out the best among them and elect a new leader. Those now called Shiites were sure Mohammed’s spiritual charisma went through his bloodline and looked only to his blood relations and disciples. Such a simple difference of opinion. And, here in the twenty-first century, the body count goes on and on and on. Marriage and education Marriage first. 1)            The heat wave was making everyone a bit cranky. “It’s just too hot to wear clothes today,” Jack complained as he stepped out of the shower. “Honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?” “Probably that I married you for your money.” 2)            Lawyer: Are you married? Witness: Nope, I’m divorced. Lawyer: And what did your husband do before you divorced him? Witness: A lot of things I didn’t know about. Now education. 1)            A linguistics professor was discussing some of the particular usages in the English language. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.” A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.” 2)            Meanwhile, in the seventh grade, the teacher drones away when he notices a student fast asleep in the back row. The teacher calls to the young man next to the sleeping student, “George, please wake up your neighbor!” George calls back, “You put him to sleep, you wake him up!” Art department Spanish painter Pablo Picasso encountered a thief in his house. The intruder got away. When the police were called, Picasso offered to do a rough sketch of what the thief looked like. On the basis of his drawing, the police arrested a nun, a […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

FYI: playing possum We all know possums pretend to be dead to avoid being eaten by bigger animals. Farm folks know that if you lay a chicken on the ground and draw a line in the dirt away from its beak, it will lie there for a while. There has been scientific study of this phenomenon, known as tonic immobility. It’s a natural state of paralysis some animals enter, in most cases when presented with a threat. Tonic immobility is a survival tactic that evolved long before human beings invented the automobile. So… what do you call a possum playing possum in the road? Right! Misunderstood At the dramatic peak of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney thundered, “Isn’t it true that you accepted ten thousand dollars to compromise this case?” The witness stared out the window as though he hadn’t heard the question. “Isn’t it true that you accepted ten thousand dollars to compromise this case?” the lawyer repeated. Still the witness did not respond. Finally the judge leaned over and said, “Sir, please answer the question.” “Oh,” said the startled witness. “I thought he was talking to you.” Help is on the way Hank, an employee at a package-processing center, found himself trapped in a small restroom by a faulty lock. When Hank was finally discovered, two fellow employees, Dave and Jim, were able to open the door with some difficulty. The lock was still jammed, so they blocked the door open while a maintenance worker was called. A bit later, Dave noticed the door was closed again. He jiggled the doorknob and a voice from inside called, “Get me out!” “Don’t worry,” Dave replied. “Maintenance should be sending somebody.” “They did,” said the voice. Age appropriate joke An elderly man went to his doctor and said, “Doc, I think I’m getting senile. Several times lately I’ve forgotten to zip up.” “That’s not senility,” replied the doctor. “Senility is when you forget to zip down.” Party time This is a thank-you to the amazing neighbors, friends and newspaper staff who helped me celebrate my birthday last Saturday. They made me think being 84 isn’t so bad. I was especially impressed by my neighbor Len Carpenter, who made it up the street and […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

June 14, 2012 // 0 Comments

Paper or plastic? We’re faced with this question 28 billion times a year in the U.S. It started in 1883 when Charles Stilwell invented a machine to make the “SOS” (Self Opening Sack) bag. Before that they were made by hand with v-shapes. The SOS was successful but boomed with the birth of supermarkets in the early ‘30s. We’re talking paper; no choice yet. Plastic was invented in 1868 as “celluloid,” an imitation of ivory. It had drawbacks by today’s plastic standards, but was popular for shirt collars and other little products. Celluloid morphed into Bakelite, which had multiple uses. More playing around with chemicals resulted in the plastic products that surround us today. Just think, even 50 years ago plastic bags didn’t litter the roads and clog the garbage dumps. Divorce joke No. 1 A couple had problems even though they’d been married only a short time. After a brief attempt to reconcile, they went to court to finalize their break-up. “What has brought you to this point,” the judge asked the husband, “where you can’t keep this marriage going?” The husband answered, “In the six weeks we’ve been together, we haven’t been able to agree on one thing.” The wife said, “Seven weeks.” Divorce joke No. 2 Sam: You know what, it’s really easy to get a divorce in the Middle East. A man is just required to say, “I divorce you” to his wife three times and it’s done. Jack: It’s even easier here. All a man has to say once is, “Yeah, that dress makes you look fat.” Education joke A mother mouse and a baby mouse are walking along when, all of a sudden, a cat attacks them. The mother mouse goes, “BARK!” and the cat runs away. “See?” says the mother mouse to her baby. “Now do you see why it’s important to learn a foreign language?” Old joke One day at the rest home an old man and woman are talking. Out of nowhere the woman says, “I can guess your age.” The man doesn’t believe her, but tells her to go ahead and try. “Open your bathrobe,” she says. He doesn’t understand but does it anyway. She inspects his undergarments for a few minutes and then says, […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

June 7, 2012 // 0 Comments

Big bucks The one with the most money almost always wins. That statement isn’t only about the third world. Unfortunately, it’s increasingly true of America. It takes big bucks to run for office (staff, travel, advertising, etc.) and elections have become battles for the bucks. It isn’t the small contributors that are worrisome. That’s the American way: support a candidate and donate a modest amount to help out. It’s the BIG contributors that worry me: the big companies and groups and the billionaires who, almost literally, have money to burn. If you’re a billionaire and have bought everything else you could possible want, why not buy a politician? It happens. We voters know that politicians get much of their campaign money from lobbyists promoting some company or group. And we’re not totally dumb. We have to realize that it’s just possible that our politicians might possibly promise to vote favorably in return for a lot of cash. Lobbying is subject to complex rules, which, if not followed, can lead to penalties, including jail. Nonetheless, the activity of lobbying has been interpreted by court rulings as free speech and is protected by the Constitution. Now, with the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in 2010, we have Super PACS that can spend any amount for any candidate and not even tell us they’re doing it. I repeat: the one with the most money almost always wins. Another moral dilemma Don had planned on watching the football game with his friend Pete. Pete arrived late after the game had already started. “What kept you?” Don asked. “I couldn’t make up my mind between going to church and coming to the football game,” Pete said. “So I tossed a coin.” “And what took you so long?” asked Don. Pete answered: “I had to toss it 40 times.” Age YOUTH is when you smoke, drink, and act naughty all through the night, and the next morning you still look great, just like you hadn’t done any of that. MIDDLE AGE is when you smoke, drink, and act naughty all through the night, and the next morning you look like you’ve been smoking, drinking and acting naughty all night. OLD AGE is when you go to bed at a sensible hour without […]

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