Roger Allen

Main Street

April 8, 2009 // 0 Comments

“Where’s my paper?” It isn’t just mortgages and General Motors; the newspaper industry has its own crisis. Long-established papers everywhere are cutting staff, curtailing delivery, or even going out of business. Your hometown weekly newspaper (that’s us) is NOT going broke or cutting publication. Sure, the rotten economy presents us with the same kind of problems as everyone else, but we’re solvent and determined. Over the years, newspapers have faced big changes. Mark Twain once set type for a paper. It was done by hand, one letter at a time, backwards. This process was replaced in the late nineteenth century by the faster linotype – a machine that cast a whole line at a time in hot lead. Manual typesetters, of course, were out of work. A more efficient photographic system then became standard. When computerized printing came along, linotype operators and hot lead became history. Now, the changes affecting newspapers are radio, television, and the Internet. Advertisers have more choices and the Internet is economical. We who remain in print will have to live with reality. In recent years, advertisers have paid for free-distribution papers, such as this one. We may have to start charging readers again. That’s the way it worked for this paper for more than 100 years. The local weekly paper is still an advertising bargain for local merchants. It’s also the only source of much of our local news. We think our paper helps hold the community together. That’s what we do. And we’re going to keep on doing it.   Market section Helium was up. Feathers were down. Paper was stationery. Knives were up sharply. Pencils lost a few points. Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline. Light switches were off. The market for raisins dried up. Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remained unchanged. Balloon prices were inflated. Caterpillars inched up. Scott Tissue touched a new bottom.   Education section Teacher: Maria, please go to the map and point to North America. Maria: Here it is. Teacher: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America? Class: Maria!   Teacher: Glenn, how do you spell “crocodile”? Glenn: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L Teacher: No, that’s wrong. Glenn: Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.   Teacher: Winnie, name one important […]

Main Street

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Power! Hooked on oil? Want alternative energy? We’re all overlooking something that’s right in our back yards. The neighborhoods are full of squirrels looking for food and even risking their lives darting across streets. We should harness this power source. Here’s my plan: We buy a bunch of live traps and catch those little devils. Then we put each squirrel into a cage with an exercise wheel. Like hamsters, they’ll run on those wheels all day. We’ll also need electric generators, very small ones, to attach to the wheels. Our neighborhood squirrels will spend all day generating power for our houses. We should arrange an automatic system that drops a peanut into the cage with, say, every 300 revolutions of the wheel so the squirrels are encouraged to keep running. We wouldn’t have to feed them otherwise, just keep the hopper filled. Peanuts are cheap. The shells can be used as mulch for growing our own vegetables. Sadly, we know nothing lasts forever, even hard-working squirrels. After their efforts to power our microwaves, fax machines and other electronics, some will eventually pass on. The remedy for their earthly remains is also simple. The bodies can go in our backyard composting bins where they will continue with their usefulness. I see no drawbacks to this plan. I’m online right now, looking up the number of the Patent Office. Trouble on the job …Your accountant’s letter of resignation is post- marked Zurich. …Your suggestion box starts ticking. …Your secretary tells you the FBI is on line 1, the DA on line 2, and CBS on line 3. …You make more than you ever made, owe more than you ever owed, and have less than you’ve ever had. Trouble at home …People send your wife sympathy cards on your anniversary. …You spot your wife and your girlfriend having lunch together. …The plumber floats by on your kitchen table. Classifieds from elsewhere FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER. 8 years old. Hateful little dog. Bites! FREE PUPPIES. Mother, AKC German Shepherd. Father, Super Dog. Able to leap tall fences in a single bound. GEORGIA PEACHES California grown – 89 cents/lb. JOINING NUDIST COLONY! Must sell washer and dryer, $300. WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie. FOR SALE BY […]

Main Street – March 26, 2009

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

Debt solution We’re all a bit nervous about the billions of federal dollars being shelled out to the investment and credit industries and the trillions of national debt that will follow. Well, I have a solution to America’s problem of raising money: sin. This idea isn’t new with me. “Sin tax” is the fun name for the extra taxes we pay on liquor and tobacco. Liquor and tobacco consumption doesn’t seem to be affected by taxes. I say, crank up those taxes and look for additional popular sins. Here’s one: Native Americans have managed to find a way to get back at the immigrants who stole their country from them: gambling casinos. They are popping up all over the country and paying off like crazy. (Build them and they will come.) I’ll give you three-to-one odds that casino clients would hardly notice bigger taxes on gambling. The state of Michigan also does well with its various lotteries. People enjoy gambling so much that I’m proposing a new “Deficit Lottery.” Ticket holders may win big bucks, but half the money would go to reduce the federal deficit. How about that combination: feeling patriotic while feeding your urge to gamble. Let’s get started! April 1 might be an appropriate day to kick off the big push for more sin. Help at hand When you go to casinos, the most ridiculous sign you see is the one that says: “If you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.” A friend of mine noticed the sign and thought about it for a moment. Then he dialed the number. When they answered he said, “I have an ace and a six. The dealer has a seven. What do I do?” Daddy’s girl Another tale from a friend: One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me. I was maybe a little over 2. Someone had given me a little tea set and it was one of my favorite toys. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in a ball game on TV when I brought him a little cup of tea, which was just water. After several more cups and lots of praise from Daddy for such yummy tea, my mom came home. Daddy made her […]

Main Street – March 19, 2009

March 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

by ROGER ALLEN – publisher Politics as usual Winston Churchill said Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried. Someone else described Democracy as two wolves and a rabbit voting on what to have for dinner. Well, the wolves (aka Congress) just passed an omnibus budget bill to keep our government going for a while-an annual necessity. Congress (as usual) attached projects to the bill that are earmarked for specific uses. This time around, these projects number around 8,000. Some (as usual) may benefit their sponsoring Congressmen more than the country. The earmarks amount to only about one percent of the budget, but that’s still a lot of money. Hey! It’s our system! Congress has the authority to spend our tax money, and they often vote themselves some nice perks that they don’t advertise. It’s unfortunate that most Congressmen don’t read the laws they vote for.  They rely on their political party to tell them how to vote. Good thing we have a two-party system. Each can keep an eye on the other. We really can’t expect to have it otherwise. The national budget is so long and complex that no one person could be expected to read and understand the legal language in thousands of pages. A large number of Congressmen are lawyers, but even they have only 24 hours in a day. Speaking of lawyers A lawyer died and arrived at the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter asked him the usual question, “What have you done to merit entrance into Heaven?” The lawyer thought a moment, then said, “A week ago I gave a quarter to a homeless person on the street.” Saint Peter asked Gabriel to check this out in the records and after a moment Gabriel affirmed that it was indeed true. “Well,” said Saint Peter, “that’s fine, but it’s not really quite enough to get you into Heaven.” “Wait, wait!” said the lawyer. “There’s more! Three years ago, I gave another homeless person a quarter.” Saint Peter nodded to Gabriel, who, after a moment, nodded back that it was true. Saint Peter whispered to Gabriel, “Well, what do you suggest we do with this fellow?” Gabriel gave the lawyer a sidelong glance, […]

Main Street – March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009 // 0 Comments

A 14-year-old boy allegedly got himself a police uniform and reported for police duty in Chicago. The teenager entered a South Side police station through an unlocked back door around 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. He was issued a radio and rode with a patrol officer for more than five hours, at times using the terminal in the squad car and responding to five assignments. Once the police figured out the kid wasn’t actually a cop, they arrested him. (He’s a bit young but he doesn’t seem to need much training.) More weird crime George Phillips, an elderly man from Meridian, Miss., was on his way up to bed when his wife yelled down that he’d left the light on in the garden shed. When George opened the back door to go turn off the light, he saw people in the shed stealing things. He phoned the police. “Is someone in your house?” asked the dispatcher. “No,” George replied, “but some people broke into my garden shed and they’re out there stealing stuff.” “All patrols are busy,” said the dispatcher. “An officer will be along when one is available.” George said, “Okay,” hung up the phone, and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again. “Hello, I called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I just shot them.” He hung up. Within three minutes, six police cars, a SWAT team, a helicopter, two fire trucks, a paramedic, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips’ residence, and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said to George, “I thought you said you’d shot them!” George said, “I thought you said there was nobody available!” Weird crime wave Police in Connecticut have arrested a man with a several-pack-a-day habit – of Orbit chewing gum. Twenty-one-year-old Kenneth McManus of Stratford is accused of stealing 175 packs of Orbit from a Shaw’s Supermarket and an additional $75 worth from a CVS store. (Maybe this crime isn’t so weird; maybe he was trying to give up cigarettes.) Not weird; ordinary crime In December it was revealed that money manager Bernard Madoff bilked trusting investors out of $50 billion. The […]

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