I’ve saved these items that appeared in my mail and doorstop 15 years ago.

For 15 years, the “New Yorker,” with the pages from the “San Francisco Chronicle”, folded not-so-neatly inside, have been near me. On a bookshelf beside my bed. Stuffed into the bottom of a basket by my living room couch.

I can’t throw them away.

Almost at once, I wondered where the fingers would point. First, why would 19 Saudis want to attack us? That was hard to know, as the fact that the men were Saudis didn’t make the headlines. All we knew was that there were several days when no planes flew overhead. Then, three days after the attack, members of the Bin Laden were pulled from where the FBI had hidden them in Texas, and flown home in chartered planes.

The fear was rising. CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBS September 30, 2001, 4:57 PM, ”It’s a tragedy,” Prince Bandar told the Times. “The elders” of the students “came to see me, and one of them was a bright boy from Harvard who like the others had absolutely nothing to do with this and yet we had to tell him to go home and wait until the emotions calmed down. And he told me that he never really appreciated why the Japanese wanted a memorial or an apology for their treatment in World War II.

“The student added, according to the prince, “I understand now that when you are innocent, in the face of emotion, nothing, not even common sense, can help argue your case.”

As to why, the San Francisco Chronicle had a column of “Two Cents Opinion” letters answering a call for readers to address “Whether the president shown strong leadership?”
Six letters were published. Two mentioned Bush’s sorrow, “the way he walked across the White House lawn, straight and determined.” The letter at the bottom of the page, a man named Michael Katz, from Berkeley, is chilling as it foresaw our future, the one that leads to a demonic Republican candidate who might one day stroll across the lawn into the White House. And push a button.

Katz’s letter: “Two generations of Presidents Bush have ‘led’ us toward oblivion. As vice president, the elder Bush presided over the CIA’s creation of the Taliban and the training of Osama bin Laden. As president, Bush was blundered into a needless, devastating – and ultimately failed – war against Saddam Hussein. The resulting US military presence in Saudi Arabia reportedly generation bin Laden’s obsessive hatred of America. Distracted by fantasies of a magical missile defense, the current Preside Bush has presided over an unforgivable failure of basic intelligence and homeland defense.”

This was 20 months before May 2003, when he and Chaney and the rest, would announced that our invasion war would be paid for with the Iraq oil.

History repeats itself, so the saying goes. This time, repeating the inadvertence could be deadly.



Rudy | The Day After . . . The Office Party

Author’s note. Rudy | The Unofficial Novella is comprised of notes found stuffed in a stainless steel shoe box that floated up from what used to be frozen tundra. There will be 25 posts containing random insights into the seasonal saga. They are not in order, but will be when pigs fly. This is #20. DO NOT LET THE CHILDREN SEE THIS POST.


Exhibit A

Santa gets letters before December 25th. His staff replies with mail merge canned copy. Rudy receives emails and messages too – the morning after the North Pole Post-Holiday Office Party.

Last season, he made his way up the path to the Barn, repeating . . . “I will not sip, munch or chew juniper berries or anything prepared by the elves.”

The mantra failed. He’s up against diabolical odds. For months, the elves plan how to turn Rudy’s Red Nose into an ornament of shame.

They never fail. These are only a few of the emails and Tweets Rudy tried to purge from his inbox the morning after the 2014 party, where silver buckets of brandied apricots lined the buffet table:

“Rudy! I have your pants.”

“Hey Rudy! How did you get the lampshade off your rack?”

“Rudy, please get the mice out of the water cooler!”

“Your antlers are in the back of my sleigh.”

“Return my wife by noon tomorrow or I’ll tell Santa.”

It took a team of hard-nosed Manhattan attorneys six months and 17 motions to get the judge to declare Exhibit A inadmissible. It could have sent Rudy to the pervert pen for life.



Moveable Beasts

Either I am losing my mind or I have a personal poltergeist. Zeitgeist or poltergeist? I don’t care who moved my cheese. Where are my car keys?


Until I looked it up, I thought Bluetooth was invented by Soupy Sales, infant terrible of the 1970s who was kicked off the air for telling kids to purloin cash from their parents’ wallets and forward the ill-gotten gains to him. His White Fang and Black Tooth pets, were hands and forearms without bodies. Only voices. So, when Bluetooth came along, I assumed someone in my age range [and of the engineering persuasion] had a sense of humor.

They did. Norse humor.

The Norwegian corporation, Ericsson came up with the technology. “The name ‘Bluetooth’ comes from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blåtand or Harold Bluetooth. King Blåtand was instrumental in taming feuding factions in lands that are now Norway, Sweden and Denmark. So, Bluetooth technology was created as an open standard to allow connectivity and collaboration between disparate products and industries.” Not unlike hairy Norsemen, PCß and Apple.

I hope that the technology will include ‘where’s my bluetooth’ app soon. No bigger than my pinkie finger or a besotted tomato worm, I take it out of my ear for fear that the microwaves will damage my brain. Too late. I never remember where I put it. Or, it crawls away on its own. I only find it after I’ve ordered another off the Internet.

The Toilet Paper Caper

Before the bathrooms got remodeled, the roll of toilet paper was encased in a miniature, arched recess, within reach of the toilet. It was always a good idea to replace the roll before it surrendered its last sheet. A courtesy, as I’ve ruined many a manicure trying to separate the crescent roll construction of the hollow cardboard tube. Now, courtesy has left the building. The little recess was covered up in the last remodel. Toilet paper now resides atop a weighted stand, much like a microphone stand for little people, Nothing wrong with this, except that jokesters in my family never leave the utility in the same place. It wanders just out of reach of the toilet. Sometimes, it has left the room.

The Telephone

It weighed about five pounds and sat like Darth Vader’s headpiece on a stack of Yellow Pages and phone books. The three-foot chord eliminated the possibility of a private conversation — hence the low divorce rate in the 1950s. But, in the 1960a, along comes the Princess Phone and all hell broke loose. However, we still could find the phone, without having to call it from another of the same species. Then, cordless and now the mobile phone. I suggest a better name than ‘cell’ or ‘mobile’ as it’s closest relatively on the evolutionary tree is “remote.”

The universe is expanding. Everything is becoming remote.