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Main Street


Roger on Main StreetGood news, bad news

Uprisings in the Middle East have driven almost everything else off the screen. Egyptians were over the moon when they got rid of Hosni Mubarak as their leader. He had led them into poverty and hopelessness. Mubarak’s gone, and that’s good news. Now, however, the power and money are up for grabs. Dozens of factions, some of them bad news crooks, are bound to try to control the Egyptian government.

We can expect much of the same in Libya if protesters drive out the despotic and weird Muammar Gaddafi. (Weird? He’s afraid to fly over water, feels safe only on the ground floor, and kept his blonde Ukrainian nurse close by until she recently abandoned Libya for the Ukraine.) Gaddafi has left no government in place, just his own will. What happens next could be good news or bad news for the Libyan people. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, in Madison…

The battle goes on. Unions versus the deficit? It seems pretty clear that more than Wisconsin’s deficit motivates Governor Walker. Denying collective bargaining to unions will weaken them. Members of labor unions tend to vote for Democrats. I’m old-fashioned, I guess, but here’s what I think: A governor’s job is to administer affairs to benefit the citizens, not to provide votes for his or her own political party.

Sad day

A woman awakens during the night and her husband isn’t in their bed. She goes downstairs. He’s sitting at the kitchen table, just staring at the wall, with a cup of coffee in front of him. She watches as he wipes a tear from his eye.

“What’s the matter, dear?” she asks.

The husband looks at her sadly. “Do you remember years ago when you were 16 and we were dating?”

“Yes, I do,” she replies.

The husband pauses. The words weren’t coming easily.

“Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car?”

“Yes, I remember,” says the wife, taking the chair beside him and covering his hand with hers.

“Do you remember,”continued the husband, “when your dad shoved the shotgun in my face and said, ‘Either you marry my daughter or I’ll send you to jail for twenty years?’”
“I remember that, too,” she replies softly.

The husband wipes another tear from his cheek and says, “I would have gotten out today.”

Miscellaneous

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. (Groucho Marx)

Did I ever tell you about the student who began his Middle Ages story with: “He was a dark and stormy knight…”?

In a survey several years ago, all incoming freshman at MIT were asked if they expected to graduate in the top half of their class. Ninety-seven percent responded that they did.
Which reminds me – you realize, don’t you, that half the people you’ll ever meet in your life are below average?

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Main Street


Roger on Main StreetUpgrade

Recently I had the pleasure of an hour spent in the hope of finding my replacement when I retire from writing this column. The process involved a lot of give and take about ideas for the column and how I come up with them.
It’s not an easy job finding someone who can spread a little humor in the world. Checking out writers is serious business, even though the writing topic may not be especially serious. I may have some prospects.
I’m referring to the 30 kids in Conrad Klima’s fourth grade class at Roguewood Elementary. Mr. Klima is teaching them about writing. I talked to all of them. It would please me if one of them had his or her name at the top of this column someday. It may take a few years, but “be prepared” is a good plan for all of us.

Amazing #1

It’s wonderful to actually see improvement in the human condition, even though the quality of life varies by geography.  In developed countries, at least, our world has escaped from the hard, slow, messy dependence on literal horsepower. I’m old enough to remember the remnants of it. (Watch where you step!) As we move to electric cars powered by renewable sources, it seems amazing that all this happened in just about one century.

Amazing #2

After years of hard work, an ambitious yuppie books himself on a Caribbean cruise. He has the time of his life until the boat sinks and he ends up on an island. After a month of barely surviving on coconuts, the man looks out to sea and sees a gorgeous woman rowing to shore. He asks her where she’s come from.
“I was shipwrecked last year,” she says. “I’ve been stranded around on the other side of the island.”
“Where did you get the rowboat?”
“I made it out of gum trees and palm branches,” she replies.
“But you had no tools!”
“I used volcanic rocks to whittle the wood and eucalyptus jelly as glue.”
The woman takes the man to the other side of the island and leads him into an elaborate bungalow with ceiling fans and furniture she made out of vines. The man can’t believe his eyes. They sit down, and she smiles at him. “Now, tell me,” she says, looking into his eyes. “Is there something you’ve been thinking about while you’ve been alone?”
“Do you mean…” he whispers, “…
I can check my e-mail from here?!”

Not a blonde joke

Michelle, a regular contributor, sends this one:
A guy walks into a bar, orders a beer, and says to the bartender, “Hey, I got this great Polish joke…”
The barkeep glares at him and says in a warning tone of voice, “Before you go telling that joke, you better know that I’m Polish, both bouncers are Polish, and so are most of my customers.”
“Okay,” says the customer, “I’ll tell it very slowly.”

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Main Street


Roger on Main StreetThe bright side

Lately I’ve made an effort to look and listen for good news. For example, weather forecasts are a lot better than they used to be. Nowadays the weather people not only tell us that it’s going to snow, but what time it will start. (Check this out for yourself; they’re usually right.)
The President’s speech at the memorial service in Tucson drew praise from both sides of the political divide. Although the occasion was sad, the President’s remarks may have been a step toward healing.
Medical news is getting better, too. A vaccine exists for shingles. It saves countless episodes of pain for thousands of people. Flu vaccines target most of the common strains, and this year the vaccine formulation also works against H1N1. And in Tucson, Congresswoman Giffords, shot through the brain, may actually recover. Credit goes to quick and expert medical care and her own fortitude. Sunday night her condition was upgraded from “critical” to “serious.”
That old saying, “Watch the donut, not the hole,” can add a little cheerfulness to the news.

Lost in space

A plane was on its way to Chicago when a blonde in economy class got up and moved to the first class section. The flight attendant asked to see her ticket, then told her that since she paid only for economy class, she would have to sit there.
The blonde replied, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, and I’m going to Chicago. I’ll stay right here.”
The attendant spoke to the pilot’s cabin: “A woman from economy is sitting in first class and won’t move.”
The co-pilot came back to explain that she’d have to return to the seat she paid for. “Nope,” said the girl. “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to Chicago and I’m staying right here.”
The co-pilot advised the pilot that he should have the police waiting when they landed to arrest the blonde woman who refused to follow the rules.
“You say she’s a blonde?” said the pilot. “I’ll handle this. I’m married to a blonde and I speak their language.”
Back in the first class cabin, he whispered something in the girl’s ear. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, and walked back to her seat in economy.
The flight attendant and co-pilot were amazed. “What did you say?” they asked.
“As I said, I speak ‘blonde,’” said the pilot. “I simply told her, ‘First Class isn’t going to Chicago.’”

2011 going on 2012

You know you’re well into the twenty-first century when:
1. You’ve just tried to enter your password on the microwave.
2. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
3. You call your son’s beeper to let him know it’s time to eat. He emails you back from his bedroom: “What’s for dinner?”
4. Your daughter sells Girl Scout cookies via her web site.
5. Your grandmother asks you to send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home

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