Monthly Archives: June 2019

Thoughts on Children



Again, these observations are taken from Jon Winokur’s book, The Portable Curmudgeon.

I love children, especially when they cry, for then someone takes them away.

—Nancy Mitford

Children should neither be seen nor heard from—ever again.          —W.C. Fields

There are three terrible ages of childhood—1 to 10, 10 to 20, and 20 to 30.

—Cleveland Amory


The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent.   —Mell Lazarus

The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant—and let the air out of the tires.                                                                                   —Dorothy Parker


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What’s Your Definition of a Politician?

From a little book I found, called The Portable Curmudgeon, compiled by Jon Winokur. Ignore that all politicians here are considered male.

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.  —H.L. Mencken

The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he. —Karl Krause

Anybody who wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.

—David Broder

A politician  is a person with whose politics you don’t agree; if you agree with him he is a statesman. —David Lloyd George

I once said of a politician, “He’ll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.”  —Oscar Levant

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Some Thoughts on History

Enjoy (or not) these musings by famous people on the topic of history:

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.                 — Ambrose Bierce, from The Devil’s Dictionary

History is a set of lies agreed upon.     —Napoleon Bonaparte

History is bunk.  —Henry Ford

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.  —George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

History is nothing but a collection of fables and useless trifles, cluttered up with a mass of unnecessary figures and proper names. —Leo Tolstoy

History repeats itself; that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history. —Clarence Darrow



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An Important Distinction

I was driving next to a truck on the infamous 405 freeway.  The company installs audio and visual components and proudly displayed its name in various places on the truck: SIMPLISTIC SOLUTIONS. I was in no danger of driving off the freeway since my maximum speed at the time ranged from 5-10 mph. But I did swallow my gum.

Being the crank that I am, I sent the company an e-mail:

To Simplistic Solutions:

 I saw one of your trucks on the 405 and almost croaked. It appears you do not realize that “simplistic” and “simple” are not synonyms.  You know what “simple” means; “simplistic” means overly simple, too simple—it is most definitely a NEGATIVE.  I am certain that is not the idea you want potential customers to have about your company.

 Cheers anyway—

 Judi Birnberg

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Look-alikes and Sound-alikes

So many words look and sound similar but have different meanings. Here are a few:




FORTH means onward or forward: Brianna set forth from her apartment, not knowing what to expect from the blind date at Starbucks.

FOURTH has within it the number four, containing its meaning.


DESSERT. Yummy. Hard to resist. Mmmm. Strawberry shortcake.

DESERT as a noun means a sandy, dry area. As a verb, with the accent on the second syllable, it means to abandon or leave behind.


COMPLEMENT completes something: A glass of beer is not the perfect complement to a serving of strawberry shortcake. Her sweater complements her green eyes.

COMPLIMENT means praise: Why is it difficult for so many people to accept a compliment?


A LOT is a piece of land you can build on. It also means “many” or “much.” There is no such word as alot.

ALLOT means to parcel out or distribute. I told my children I would allot them two pieces of Halloween candy each day.


MINER is a person working in a mine.

MINOR means lesser or not particularly important: It’s hard to believe Van Gogh was once considered a minor artist. If you are a minor (less than legal age), you cannot buy alcohol in your state.


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