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Roger on Main Street

roger on main streetGood News

All over the world cities and governments find themselves broke. Many have drastically cut services and jobs. You’ll be happy to know that both Rockford and Cedar Springs are in pretty good shape.

Budget information is available on the web.

Cedar’s site (www.cityofcedarsprings.org) contains a citizen’s dashboard, where readers can get information on the city’s finances. The website also contains editorial comment about the budget, including a list of areas where the city has been saving money.

Rockford’s site (www.rockford.mi.us) has complete figures with all the extras, such as cemeteries, water and park funds, etc.

It’s good to know that no worries are required for either city. Emergency managers and bankruptcies are for other people, other places.

Memorial bun puns

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection plus complications from repeated pokes in the belly. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin.

Among the dozens of celebrities who turned out to pay respects at the funeral were Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, and the Hostess Twinkies. Captain Crunch sent his apologies. The gravesite was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as someone who did not realize how much he was kneaded.

Doughboy had risen quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.

Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, even as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife, Playa Dough; two children, John Dough and Jane Dough; plus, they have one in the oven. He also is survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

Winning words

A preacher came upon a group of grade school boys gathered around a dog. Concerned that the kids might be hurting the animal, he stopped and asked what they were doing.

“This old dog is a neighborhood stray,” said one of the boys. “We all like him, but only one of us can take him home at a time. So we’re having a contest. The one who tells the biggest lie today gets to keep him for tonight.”
Shocked, the preacher said, “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” He launched into a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning with, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie?” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.”

There was complete silence in the group for about a minute. The preacher smiled, satisfied that his words had gotten through.

Finally, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh. “All right,” he said, “give him the dog.”

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Roger on Main St.

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 birthday last week, 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 problem,” replied the banker. “The grass at my house is about two feet tall.”

Poor jokes

1)  Judge: “Have you anything to offer to this Court before I pass sentence?”
Defendant: “No your honor, my lawyer took every penny.”

2) The teacher was having trouble getting arithmetic across to Sam. Finally she said, “If you reached in your right pocket and found a nickel, and you reached in your left pocket and found another nickel, what would you have?”

Sam: “Somebody else’s pants.”

Bonus joke

A french fry walks into the bar and says to the bartender, “Hey, could I please get a beer?”

The bartender looks at him and shakes his head. “Nope, we don’t serve food here.”

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Main Street

Curious minds

We’ve all learned a good deal about the Islamic religion in the past ten 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 21st 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 parliament minister, a refrigerator, and the Eiffel tower.

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“We’re proud of our underwear”

The sunshine of summer, what’s not to like? ’Tis the season to wear skimpy clothes and develop our glowing tans.
I’ll tell you what’s not to like: skin cancer. It’s a nasty side effect of that summer sun.
Last week I had skin cancer and this week I don’t. However, getting from having it into not having it is a cutting experience.
The dermatology clinic that did the surgery is topnotch. The doctor and support staff made it as pleasant as possible. But if you can avoid getting skin cancer, you’ll be glad, because you won’t have to get holes cut in your face. (And, take my word, the numbing anesthetic will wear off and you will hurt.)
Old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sun block, the broad-spectrum kind, is a must. And you should use a lot of it and re-apply often, because sweat and swimming wash it right off. Brimmed hats and long sleeves might not sound summery but they’re a lot better than a goofy-looking bandage after getting your skin cancer removed.

After she woke up, a woman told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for our anniversary. What do you think it means?”
“You’ll know tonight,” he said.
That evening the man came home with a small package and handed it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled, “The Meaning of Dreams.”

Also funny
When the new patient was settled comfortably on the couch, the psychiatrist began his therapy session.
“I’m not aware of your problem,” said the doctor, “so perhaps you should start at the very beginning.”
“Of course,” replied the patient. “In the beginning, I created the Heavens and the Earth…”

Not so funny
Sorry I don’t have more jokes this week. My face hurts, and I’m going to bed.

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Main Street

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.”


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 doing any of those racy things, but the next morning you look exactly like you’ve been up smoking, drinking and acting naughty all night long.

More age

Maybe it’s because I have a birthday coming up that I’m thinking of this stuff.

1) Statistics show that in old age there are five women to every man. Isn’t that a bad time for a guy to get those odds?

2) Old age is when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise. And when you’re sitting in a rocking chair, you can’t get it started.

Last words 

Doctor to elderly patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.

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Main Street

Computer vs. columnist: Columnist wins


Last week’s column was a first draft. Sorry about that. My new Macintosh laptop sent it off to the paper without asking me. I’ve disciplined the Mac. We hope it now knows who’s boss.

Following is the intended column, a week late. Not a lot is different. However, if you compare last week’s with this, you’ll see I refined thoughts, ditched one long joke but kept others, and stole a few short ones from other people.

Focus, folks!

It appears that our upcoming election results may hinge on the candidates’ views on marriage.

Our nation faces a variety of other issues that seem more critical. How about Syria, North Korea, immigration, climate change, economic distress, and what to do about the banking industry that seems to have gone off the tracks? (JPMorgan Chase’s recent $2 billion gambling loss [revealed this week, $3 billion!] will trickle down, so let’s find out how our politicians stand on better regulation.)

Personal opinions aside, the marriage issue affects only a few. The major problems may affect every one of us.

And speaking of that

Every few days Mitt Romney and Barack Obama accuse and criticize what the other has said or meant. They’re beginning to sound like they’re married to each other.

Political joke

A busload of politicians was traveling down a country road when suddenly the bus ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer’s barn. The old farmer got off his tractor and went to investigate, after which he dug a hole and buried the passengers.

A few days later, the local sheriff came out, noticed the crashed bus, and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone.

The old farmer said he’d buried them.

“Lordy,” said the sheriff. “They ALL got killed?”

“Well,” said the old farmer, “some of them said they didn’t, but you know how them crooked politicians lie.”

Another political joke

Two alligators were sitting at the side of the swamp near Washington. The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, “I can’t understand how you kin be so much bigger ’n me. We’re the same age, we was the same size as kids. I just don’t get it.”

“Well,” said the big gator, “what you been eatin’?”

“Politicians, same as you,” said the small gator.

“Hmm. Well, where do y’all catch ’em?”

“Down t’other side of the swamp, near the parkin’ lot by the capitol.”

“Same here. Hmm. How do you catch ’em?”

“Well, I crawls up under one of them Lexus and wait fer one to unlock the car door. Then I jump out, grab ’em on the leg, shake the manure out of ’em, and eat ’em!”

“Ah!” says the big alligator, “I think I see your problem. You ain’t gettin’ any real nourishment. See, by the time you get done shakin’ the manure out of a politician, there ain’t nothin’ left but the hind quarters and a briefcase.”

Light bulb joke

Q: How many politicians does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two. One to assure the public that everything possible is being done while the other screws it into a water faucet.

Last words

Christopher Columbus was the first-ever successful politician on the planet. He didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t know where he was when he got there, and he did all of it on borrowed money.

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Main Street


I am surprised that our upcoming election may hinge on the candidates views on marriage. The briefest look at our national and world news shows and incredible variety of problems, troubles and serious issues. We have Syria, North Korea, immigration, climate change and economic distress. The marriage issue affects only a few. The major problems may affect everyone.


A busload of politicians was driving down a country road, when suddenly the bus ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer’s barn.

The old farmer got off his tractor and went to investigate. Soon he dug a hole and buried the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone.

The old farmer told him he had buried them.

The sheriff asked the old farmer, “Lordy, were they all dead?”

The old farmer said, “Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them crooked politicians lie.”


Two alligators were sitting at the side of the swamp near Washington, DC.  The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, “I can’t understand how you kin be so much bigger ‘n me. We’re the same age, we was the same size as kids. I just don’t get it.”

“Well,” said the big ‘gator, “what you been eatin’, boy?”

“Politicians, same as you,” replied the small ‘gator.

“Hmm. Well, where do y’all catch ‘em?”

“Down ‘tother side of the swamp near the parkin’ lot by the capitol.”

“Same here. Hmm. How do you catch ‘em?”

“Well, I crawls up under one of them Lexus and wait fer one to unlock the car door. Then I jump out, grab ‘em on the leg, shake the manure out of ‘em, and eat ‘em!”

“Ah!” says the big alligator, “I think I see your problem. You ain’t gettin’ any real nourishment. See, by the time you get done shakin’ the manure out of a politician, there ain’t nothin’ left but the hind quarters and a briefcase.”

The miracle

A woman takes her 16-year-old daughter to the doctor. The doctor says, “Okay, Mrs. Smith, what’s the problem?”

The mother says, “It’s my daughter, Lynda. She keeps getting these cravings, she’s putting on weight, and is sick most mornings.”

The doctor gives Lynda a good examination, then turns to the mother and says, “Well, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your Lynda is pregnant—about 4 months, would be my guess.”

The mother says, “Pregnant? She can’t be, she has never ever been left alone with a man! Have you, Lynda?”

Lynda says, “No mother! I’ve never even kissed a man!”

The doctor walks over to the window and just stares out. About five minutes pass and finally the mother says, “Is there something wrong out there, doctor?”

The doctor replies, “No, not really, it’s just that the last time anything like this happened, a star appeared in the east and three wise men came over the hill. I’ll be darned if I’m going to miss it this time!”

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Main Street


The side with the most arrows and the best horses wins the war. Nope, wrong century.

New truth: The side with the most guns wins the war.

Better truth: Being smart about resolving conflict can avoid the gun solution. The gun solution seems to feed on itself and, more often than not, leads to more unnecessary conflict.

Another new truth: The politician with the most money wins the election. We need to remember this when we vote for our representatives in Congress. Every poll shows they’re currently WAY down on Americans’ approval list.

Sad truth: We elected all of them.

Hopeful truth: In a democracy, voters must get informed and stay informed. Leaving the TV on one station all the time? Not enough. We need to expose ourselves to real information, and a variety of it.

Politicians lie to us and they pay others to lie to us. They want to warp our opinions. Let’s prove we aren’t pushovers.

More crooks

Thieves robbed a bank. The chief of police ordered his sergeant to cover all exit points so that none of the robbers could get away.

When the sergeant reported back that all the robbers had escaped, the chief went mad with anger. Pounding on the desk, he yelled, “Didn’t I tell you to cover all the exit points?”

“I did,” defended the sergeant, “but they managed to escape through the entrance.”

And another one

The bank manager was down to two final applicants, one of whom would get the job as cashier.

The first was from a small college in upstate New York. He was a nice young fellow but a bit timid. His interview went okay, but it was nothing special.

Then the bank manager called for the other man: “Jim Johnson!”

Up stepped a burley young man who seemed quite sure of himself. “He looks like he can take care of any situation,” thought the manager, and decided, there and then, to hire him.

Turning to the first applicant, the manager said he could leave and they would let him know.

Turning to Johnson, he said, “Now, Jim, I like the way you carry yourself. That’s an asset for the job as cashier. However, you must also be precise. I noticed you didn’t fill out the part on the application where we asked about your formal education.”

Jim looked a little confused so the manager said, “Where did you get your financial training?”

“Oh,” replied Jim, “Yale.”

“Excellent,” said the manager. “You’re hired! Now that you’re working for us, what do you prefer to be called?”

Jim replied, “I don’t care. Either Yim or Mr. Yonson.”

We found those blondes

Three blondes took a walk in the country and came upon a line of tracks. “Those must be deer tracks,” said the first one.

“No, stupid,” said the second. “Anyone can tell they’re rabbit tracks.”

The third blonde chimed in, “No, you idiots, those are horse tracks!”

They were still arguing ten minutes later when the train hit them.

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Main Street

Too many?

Although Western societies and China have cut back the average number of children per couple, other parts of the world overflow with babies.

The growth of world population is astounding. In 10,000 B.C. there were about one million of us. By 1900 we were up to one and a half billion. Then, at year 2000, our number was at six billion.

The United States Census Bureau estimates that world population exceeded SEVEN BILLION on Mar. 12, 2012. According to a separate estimate by the

Human beings are using up the world at a tremendous rate. Much of the world is hungry. Global pollution isn’t under control. We are running out of clean water. Disease, starvation, and war create misery but not a net decrease in population.

The news is full of wars, protests, killings and revolutions. If it is part of the human condition that we can’t get along with each other, then this adds to an obvious truth: We humans have used Mother Nature’s gift of reproduction to excess.

Tom was being questioned by the teacher during an arithmetic lesson. “If you had ten dollars,” said the teacher, “and I ask you for a loan of eight dollars, how much would you have left?”

“Ten,” said Tom.

“Ten?” the teacher said. “How do you make it ten?”

“Well,” replied Tom, “you may ask for a loan of eight dollars, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it.”

This week’s lawyer

A dog ran into a butcher shop and grabbed a roast off the counter. Fortunately, the butcher recognized the dog as belonging to his neighbor. The neighbor happened to be a lawyer.

So the butcher called him and said, “Hey, if your dog stole a roast from my butcher shop, would you be liable for the cost of the meat?” The lawyer replied, “Of course, how much was the roast?”


A few days later the butcher received a check in the mail for $7.98. Attached to it was an invoice that read: Legal Consultation Service: $150.

This week’s doctor

Three doctors are in a duck blind and a bird flies overhead. The general practitioner looks up and says, “Looks like a duck, flies like a duck… it’s probably a duck.” He shoots at it but misses.

Another bird flies overhead and the pathologist looks up, then leafs through the pages of his bird field guide. “Hmmm… green wings, yellow bill, quacking sound… it might be a duck.” He raises his gun to shoot, but the bird is long gone.

A third bird flies over. The surgeon raises his gun and shoots almost without looking, brings the bird down, turns to the pathologist and says, “Go see if that was a duck.”

This week’s blond

I’m sorry; I didn’t run into any blonds this week. But I did overhear a girl in a hat say to her friend, “If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?”

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Main Street

Another brilliant idea

Tourism is a big moneymaker. Locally, we draw in a few tourists with the Red Flannel Festival, Start of Summer, Harvest Festival and miscellaneous other special events. Wildly creative promotion could bring us tourists by the truckload.

Since nobody actually wears red flannels anymore, how about a Lingerie Festival? I’m envisioning models for ladies’ underwear, historical displays (such as Queen Victoria’s bloomers) and a contest for better design of men’s boxer shorts. But especially the models.

And why has Rockford never had a Shoe Festival? Just imagine five-inch-heel foot races and shoelace knot-tying workshops. Rockford has been a shoe place for a hundred years, more or less. We need to make shoes fun enough to pull in the tourists. They’d sip their libations from high-heeled slippers in the beer tent…

I’ll stop right there for now because brilliant thinking always tires me out.

The olden days, part I

Henry was playing pretend-fight. This was back in the days before indoor plumbing. During his game, the boy knocked over the outhouse. Sure that he’d get a whupping, he ran into the woods.

It was after dark when Henry sneaked back and, sure enough, his father was waiting. “Son, did you knock over the outhouse?”

“No, Pappy.”

“Well, let me tell you a story,” said the father. “Once, not that long ago, George Washington received a shiny new axe from his father. Excited, he tried it out. Too late he realized he had cut down his mother’s favorite cherry tree.”

Henry’s father paused. “Just like you, he ran into the woods.” Henry felt his face turn red as his dad went on:

“When George came back, his pappy asked, ‘Did you cut down the cherry tree?’ George looked his father in the eye and said, ‘I cannot tell a lie. Yes, I did it.’ George’s father said, ‘Since you were honest with me, I won’t punish you.’”

Henry gulped. His father again asked, “Son, did you knock down the outhouse?”

“Pappy,” said Henry, “I cannot lie. Yes, it was me that did it.”

Then Henry’s father spanked him red, white, and blue. “Pappy,” whimpered Henry, “I told the truth! Why did you whup me?”

“Because,” came the answer, “George Washington’s father wasn’t in the tree when he chopped it down!”

The olden days, part II

Father Bill, the venerable old priest, visited the parish school now and then. He walked into the fourth grade class, where the children were studying the states, and asked how many states they could name. One by one they came up with about 40 names. Father Bill smiled and told them that in his day students knew the names of all of them.

Richie raised his hand and said, “Yes, Father, but in those days there were only thirteen.”

A deep thought

Do you realize that in about 40 years we’ll have millions of old ladies running around with tattoos?

And one more

Living in a nudist colony must take all the fun out of Halloween.

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