This Summer’s Very Report Is Berry Good

by Curt Kovener

With the multitude of changes that have been and continue to go on with the newspaper, I had been derelict of duty with mowing the area of the wilderness to keep too much from becoming more wilderness.
Mowing is therapy for me. I can think, solve problems, foresee additional ones, and come up with possible alternative solutions.
And when the grass is tall I have to mow slower which gives me time to view the landscape.
I am pleased to report an excellent black raspberry crop along the mowed edges. Unlike previous years when they would ripen slowly, this summer entire canes are showing shiny ripe fruit.
A move to the lower walking trail shows a good potential for the blackberry crop. There has been adequate rainfall (sometimes too much, too quick) in the wilderness so I expect the now green blackberries to turn red then fill out to their juicy ripest.
Then it will be knee-high muck boots, bug spray and my homemade berry bucket. In its former life it was a coffee can and a length of spare 12-2 copper wire serves as a bail. A small spring loaded clamp affixes the bucket to my belt so I can use a two-handed pickling style.
While it is hotter, I wear an old long-sleeve shirt so the briars claw the fabric of the shirt and not my skin.
The first bucket of blackberries goes to Becky’s cobbler. And the first cobbler out of the oven gets initiated with vanilla ice cream.
Future buckets of blackberries get washed and placed in plastic bags in the freezer for winter cobblers and memories of summer.

The Summer School Of Life Is In Session

by Curt Kovener

School may be out for the summer but education continues throughout the years. Let’s re-visit the collectible quotes of Prof. Ron Atkins— educator, philosopher, and generally inspirational gentleman— and let us be edified on life experiences.
•Every child should have an occasional pat on the back as long as it is applied low enough and hard enough.~Bishop Fulton Sheen
•Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid. ~Franklin P. Jones
•It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar. ~Jerome K. Jerome
•No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power. ~P.J. O’Rourke
•Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. ~Aldous Huxley
•Many men climb to the top of the ladder only to find it’s been leaning against the wrong wall.
•True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable. ~David Gentry
You can always tell a friend; when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ~Laurence J. Peter
•A clear conscience is often a sign of a bad memory.
•It is better to be crazy with the rest of the world than to be wise alone. ~Balthazar Gracian
•We were happily married for eight months. Unfortunately, we were married for four and a half years. ~Nick Faldo
•My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met. ~Rodney Dangerfield
•One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard
•You’ve got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
•When the missionaries cam to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. The said, “Let us Pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. ~Bishop Desmond Tutu
•A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad. ~Bob Edwards
•No woman ever falls in love with a man unless she has a better opinion of him than he deserves. ~Ed Howe
•Nature gave man two ends—one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then, man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most. ~George Kilpatrick
•Never argue with a fool; people around you might not be able to tell the difference.
•I have offended God and Mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have. ~Leonardo daVinci
If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles. ~Doug Larson
No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions. ~Charles Steinmetz
•Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese proverb

Biting The Hand That Feeds Us

by Curt Kovener

We’ve passed along the funny mistakes of newspaper stories and headlines. We’ve passed along the humorous errors of church bulletin bloopers.
So maybe it is time to be equal opportunity and poke fun at the people who help pay our bills: advertisers.
These were found in newspapers ads but we are not so sure what was written was what was meant.
•Illiterate? Write today for free help.
•Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go anywhere else again.
•Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals and smacks included.
•Stock up and save. Limit: one.
•Semi-annual After-Christmas sale.
•Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating.
•Dinner special: Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
•Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home.
•For sale: Three canaries of undermined sex.
•Great dames for sale.
•Have several very old dresses from grandmother in beautiful condition.
•Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
•Vacation special: have your home exterminated.
•Get rid of aunts. Zap does the job in 24 hours.
•Toaster: A gift that every member of the family appreciates. Automatically burns toast.
•For rent: 6-room hated apartment.
•Work Wanted: Man, honest. Will take anything.
•Used cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first.
•Christmas tag sale. Handmade gifts for the hard to find person.
•Wanted: Hair cutter. Excellent growth potential.
•Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
•Our bikinis are exciting. They are simply the tops.
•Wanted: Widower with school age children requires person assume general housekeeping duties. Must be capable of contributing to growth of family.
•And now, the Superstore—unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.

Learning From The Wisdom & Wit Of Others

by Curt Kovener

Our friend, former English educator, wordsmith, and collector of quotes Ron Atkins shared with me some of his collection so I feel obliged to share it with you. We can always learn from the wisdom and wit of others.
•If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.    ~Lewis Grizzard
•Imagination is more important than knowledge.   ~Albert Einstein
•The only reason some people get lost in thought is that it’s unfamiliar territory.
•The first half of our lives are ruined by our parents and second half by our children.  ~Clarence Darrow
•Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States—ask any Indian.   ~Robert Orben
•If I were a gravedigger or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment.
•I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.   ~George Burns
•In order to preserve your self-respect, it is sometimes necessary to lie and cheat.  ~Robert Byrn
•If you want to look young and thin, hang around old fat people.    ~Jim Eason
There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the bank looking like an idiot.~Steven Wright
•Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
•The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.    ~Bertrand Russell
•I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.    ~Groucho Marx
•If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.    ~Henny Youngman
•“If you were my husband I would feed you poison,” said Lady Astor to Winston Churchill. “If you were my wife, madam, I would take it,”replied Churchill.
•Opportunity may knock just once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.
•The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.   ~David Russell
•Statistics show that one of every four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re OK, it’s you.
•The man who believes he can do it is probably right, and so is the man who believes he can’t.
•The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home and these are ignorance, superstitions, and incompetence.   ~Elbert Hubbard
•Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.   ~Sir Richard Steele
•Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but, unlike charity, it should end there.   ~Clare Booth Luce
•In every adult there is a child hiding who wants to come out and play.

Like Having A Church Pitch-In Sinner

by Curt Kovener

(Since we are dealing with some changes in our publishing life, this is an encore column from the Curt Comments archives.)
We make our share of boo-boos in the newspaper industry.
But unlike other businesses, government or education, when we err it is done in a public forum for everyone to see. No executive sessions, no cover-ups, no privileged information. We err for all to see. Our mistakes have no way of being covered up, sugar coated, or downplayed like in other sectors.
Mrs. Lewis, my high school English teacher, probably just looks down from above rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “I tried my best to teach him better,” she might be saying.
But there are other forums where grammar, dangling modifiers, and misplaced participles (or is it misplaced modifier and dangling participle?) occasionally crop up. Church bulletins are another source for well-meaning, unintentional gaffs.
I want to be very clear: none of these ‘oopsies’ came from any of our local churches. I don’t need to be placed on a prayer list or ridiculed from the pulpit.
These church bulletin blunders are offered as evidence that God does, indeed, have a sense of humor.
•Don’t let worry kill you. Let the church help.
•While the Pastor is on vacation, massages can be given to the church secretary.
•The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of all kinds and they may be seen in the church basement every Friday,
•A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of the members in honor of his wife.
•Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance of the church.
•The choir invites any member who enjoys it to join the choir in sinning on Sunday.
•Irving Bettson and Jessie Smith were married on Oct. 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
•The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S.
•At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

New Vocabulary For Working Folks

by Curt Kovener

School is just about out for most students but for the true professionals, we know that education is a year-long life-long experience. So as an early start of summer school, study up on these new ‘real-world business’ vocabulary words so that you will not fall behind your peers.
For extra credit, see if you can attach names of people you know that exemplify these vocabulary words.
•Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
•Seagull Manager: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
•Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
•Salmon Day: The workday experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to die in the end.
•Cube Farm: An office filled with cubicles.
•Prairie Dogging: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on.
•Mouse Potato: The on-line, wired generation’s answer to the couch potato.
•SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, And Oppressive Mortgage. What young adults turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.
•Stress Puppy: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiney.
•Swipeout: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
•Xerox Subsidy: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.
•Irritainment: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them.
•TINKs: Two Incomes, No Kids. These selfish young adults just hate it when they find out that their new neighbors moving in have 4 kids under 10 years old. (See SITCOMs above.)
•Percussive Maintenance: The fine art of whacking an electronic device to get it to work again.
•Adminisphere: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
•404: Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message “404 Not Found”; meaning that the requested document could not be located.
•Generica: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one travels, such as fast food joints, strip malls, most subdivisions.
•Oh-No Second: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a BIG mistake.
•WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks.
•Crop Dusting: Surreptitiously breaking wind while passing through a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust.
Study diligently, there may be a test at the end of the summer.