Pearls of Wisdom

News Vignettes That Demand Attention


My apologies to my wife in advance, but I couldn’t resist. 

Everyone is getting on Manti Te’o’s case for an imaginary girlfriend.   I just think he’s smarter than the rest of us.  Does nobody else see the perks of an imaginary girlfriend?

(1)   She will never charge designer clothing on your credit card.

(2)   She would never ask for expensive jewelry.

(3)   She will not complain when you don’t take her out to a fancy restaurant.

(4)   You will never have to worry about forgetting her birthday.

(5)   She will not complain about not going to Rome on vacation. 

(6)   She will never get upset when you are cheating with the college “groupies” that worship you and will do “anything” for your attention.  (Even at Notre Dame).

(7)   She won’t complain when you’re spending the evening out drinking with your teammates.

(8)   She won’t complain when you are exhausted after a tough loss to Alabama.

(9)   You will never have to put money away for an expensive engagement ring & your parents won’t have to worry about an expensive wedding.

Doesn’t sound so terrible, does it?! Of course, one has to wonder if any publicity stunt to help win the Heisman Trophy would be beyond this family’s consideration.    

One might tend to be more concerned with the report in the NY times that Notre Dame is spending megabucks to engage a private investigator to see if Te’o was the victim of a hoax, i.e. to protect the university’s reputation.  But in 2010, when Lizzy Seeberg, a college freshman at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, accused a Notre Dame player of sexual assault, the University kept a lid on it.  Note: Lizzy committed suicide ten days after the alleged assault.  


Season # 12 for American Idol.  Losing Steven Tyler and J-Lo, they have decided to go in a different direction, straight downhill.  They have chosen to engage a no-talent misfit like Nicki Minaj as a judge. Besides Minaj’s appearance, which is equivalent to a poor man’s Lady Gaga, she is a pale shadow of Jennifer Lopez’s star draw on the show.   To team with Minaj, the producers have exhumed Maria Carey, a diva, who never had a strong TV persona, to judge talented competitors.  Her faux British accent (quickly imitated by Minaj) is the highlight of her Idol performance.  Keith Urban is the saving grace; he adds a little class to the act.  Of course being married to Nicole Kidman doesn’t hurt his image.  Randy Jackson’s act is twelve years old, i.e. “dawg-tired”.


The word “kow-tow” is supposedly derived in 1804 from the Chinest k’o-t’ou custom of touching the forehead to show respect or submission, literally “know the head”.   In the figurative sense of”act in an obsequious manner” is from 1826.  http://www.etymonline.com

It appears that the Thai court system loved the word and decided years ago to make it the primary law of Siam (Thailand, pre-1949).  Thai judges routinely hand down jail sentences to those convicted of offending the country’s king under restrictive lèse-majesté law.  On Thursday, the courts carried this hypocritical, anachronistic law to new heights.   

In sentencing a former protest leader to two years in prison, a court ruled that the defendant was liable not only for what he said, but also for what he left unsaid.  The criminal court’s ruling said the defendant, Yossawarit Chuklom, had not specifically mentioned the king when he gave a speech in 2010 to a large group of people protesting the military-backed government then in power. But by making a gesture of being muzzled — placing his hands over his mouth — Mr. Yossawarit had insinuated that he was talking about the king, the court ruled.  “Even though the defendant did not identify His Majesty the king directly,” the court ruled, Mr. Yossawarit’s speech “cannot be interpreted any other way.” 

As King Bhumbol Adulyadej, 85, enters the final years of his life, the court has been implementing this law ever more frequently.  In recent years, dozens of people have been convicted of insulting the king and his family. Among them are a Swiss man sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2007 for defacing posters of the king; a naturalized American citizen convicted in 2011 for translating a banned biography of the king; and a Thai truck driver who received a  20-year prison term for sending explicit text messages that insulted the king and queen. www.nytimes.com

While the U.S. makes a feeble attempt to adjust to the 21st century, it is clear that, in many parts of the world, civilization has not set in yet, and that many governments remain in the 15th century. 


On Dec. 14, 2012, the Newtown Massacre took place.  Legislators all over the country, e.g. Andrew Cuomo, are scampering quickly to cash in politically on the disaster. 

On Thursday, Jan. 17, a seven-year old boy enters a Queens elementary school with a flare gun and a .22 caliber automatic pistol, a magazine with 10 rounds of ammunition, and 14 additional rounds in a plastic bag.  His mother, Deborah Farley, 53, was arrested on Friday for weapons charges, unrelated drug charges, and child endangerment.  This “brain surgeon” put these items on Wednesday evening in her son’s back pack for “safekeeping”. The police found a 2nd unlicensed handgun in her home later under a warranted search.

So now we will enact new legislation regarding gun control and new regulations to prevent mentally ill citizens from owning guns, all for show. But how do you legislate against stupidity?  Maybe our legislators should focus on preventing unfit parents from having children!  Or perhaps we could legislate against people with very limited intelligence, banning their purchase of illegal handguns at gun shows or through the internet! 

Considering the possibility of this “oversight” having resulted in another massacre, the judge, Mary R. O’Donoghue, appears to be very lenient in setting Ms. Farley’s bail at $ 35,000. A bail of $3.5 million might have sent a slightly stronger message. 


Lance Armstrong has confessed,  however, it is unlikely that many people will accept his apology at this point.  He may have to return prize money, forfeit all his awards and his reputation will be tarnished forever.  In order the recoup these losses, it is speculated that Lance will be starting a new charitable organization “Steroids R’Us”.  He is soliciting Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez , and Marion Jones to be on the Executive Board.   Lance speculates that if all the  professional athletes that have used steroids in the last two decades donates one tithe (10%) of their earnings during their respective careers to this charity, we can eliminate world hunger. 

One more thing. Who is the major beneficiary of Lance’s confession? It is Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel, that has been suffering from ratings that border on abysmal.  Under those circumstances, one can understand Oprah’s sympathetic attitude during the interview. 


Final vignette:  Eric Wander, esteemed editor and friend, is departing from the Fort Lee Patch to pursue bigger and better things.  We all wish him great success.   Personally, I am deeply concerned about whether his new employer will allow him to wear his baseball cap to work.  My greatest fear is that he will not be able to perform without it. 


Keep up with Fort Lee BOE news and more.


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