Friday, March 16, 2018

"No Corduroy Pants In Blog Writing"

When I was in Kindergarten and some kid – okay me, but on very rare occasions – had, what they’d call, an “accident”, the school provided this pair of corduroy “Back-Up Pants” the “Accident Victim” would put on so there would be no telltale evidence of the “accident”, enabling the preschool “Pants-Wetter” to act like there’d been no “accident” at all.  (Not that those corduroy pants weren’t a significant “giveaway.”  It’s just… when you are five, you miss things.)

The point of the upcoming contrasting analogy is that, whereas. in the preceding example, the exposing evidence is effectively eliminated, no paralleling protection is afforded to blog writers.

In blog writing, the incriminating evidence remains, with “The Cloud”, arguably forever.

Evidence of what, you exasperatingly inquire, after this long and (possibly) extraneous introduction.

Evidence of…

Well, first let me – exceedingly briefly – say this.

There are things about me I talk about and things about me I do not talk about.  You are aware of the things about me I talk about because I talk about them.  Conversely, you are unaware of other things about me because I do not talk about them.  I, of course, know everything about me.  Because I’m me.

Today’s offering reveals an exceptional situation, wherein you know something about me, and I don’t.

(We have now arrived {belatedly} at our destination.)

What do you know about me, and I don’t?

You know that, over the more than ten years that I have been generating this blog, I have made… I don’t know the number because I am not aware that I do it… but I will guess

Hundreds (possibly “and hundreds”) of typos.

(I just wrote “humdreds of typos”, but I fixed it.  So there’s one less.

Here’s the thing about typos.  (Meaning “typographical errors.”)

After composing each draft, I carefully reread what I have just written, not looking for typos, particularly, but to make what I have just written better.  Along the way, when I see typos, I, of course, judiciously correct them. 

Still, I inevitably miss some of them.  Who knows?  Maybe a lot of them.

(Well, “The Cloud” knows.  And it’s thinking – being the “Depository of Cumulative Typos” – “This guy is an idiot!”)

The question is,

Notwithstanding my scrupulous vigilance,

Why do typos happen?  (I just typed “ahppen”, but I fixed it.)

That, right there, is one reason that typos happen.

Let me explain.

I am what they call a “Touch Typist”, meaning I can type without looking at the keys. (Having learned that technique in my 9C “Typing” class at Ledbury Park Junior High School.)

The “happen – ahppen” mistake occurs when your typing fingers fire in the wrong – I just typed “worng”, but I fixed it – order.  In the case of “happen-ahppen”, my left hand “Baby Finger” hit the “a” key before my right hand “Index Finger” hit the “h’’ key, rather than after.  With “worng”, I incorrectly hit the “o” key before typing the “r.”

A more egregious “mis-type” would transpire if my fingers – that I am not looking at because I am a “Touch Typist” – are resting in the wrong place on the keyboard, in which case, say, “thinking” would come out “tjomlomg.”  That one’s easy to spot, because “tjomlomg” is not an actual word.

“Full Disclosure” – which I just typed “Discolsure”, but I fixed it.  When I typed the “happen-ahppen” example, my computer helpfully “Autocorrected” on my behalf.  On the other hand, since “Discolsure” is not a word, my computer cannot “compute” what I actually intended, the misspelled word then just sitting there until I catch it.  And if I don’t catch it, I am shamefully immortalized in cyberspace as “The Discolsure Guy.”

Why don’t I catch all my typos?

Because of the way the mind – or at least my mind – apparently works.

Here’s the (mysterious) procedure.

When I read over my copy, what I see is what I originally imagined.  And not what is actually there.

You know the saying, “Seeing is believing”?  This phenomenon is the opposite.

“Believing is seeing.”

(Hm.  Could this go beyond typos?)


I do not rewrite these errors as I perceive them as already correct.  For example, I see “it” even though I typed “ti.”

It’s just bizarre.  “Ti” is staring me right in the face – I actually just typed “Ti”, but I fixed it.  When I am rereading, however, I unequivocally see “It.”

Sometimes, “Autocorrect” is functionally inoperative.  For example, if I type “spot” when I mean to type “stop”, since “spot” is also a word, although not the word I intended, I’m sunk.  Unless I spot it in the proofreading.  (I accidentally typed “stop”, but I fixed it.) 

By the way, since the word “stop” makes no sense in the above context, how about a computer app that gets that?  Call it the “Duh” app. “Spot, in the name of the law!’”  Computers aren’t stupid.  Couldn’t they figure that out?)

Typos come in various packages.  Some typos are just carelessness.  (Three paragraphs up, I typed “staring my right in the face.”  Which the computer won’t “Autocorrect” because “my” is also a word.) 

Then, there are the “Homonym Typos.”  I type “to” when I mean “too” or type in “week” when I mean “weak.”

Some typos are literally inexplicable.  So I shall proceed to the following paragraph.

The majority of my boos-boos result from – I just typed “result form”, but I fixed it – the rewrite process itself.  My most frequent typos result from the rewrite process wherein I alter the content but leave portions of the previous version intact.  (Oops, there’s a typical example.  That first sentence was supposed to go out.  That was not deliberate.  It was simply what happened, my subliminal “unconscious” helping me along.)    

At other times, I’m just typing too fast.  (I just typed “tuping” and then retyped it to read “t(ping”, and then left out the word “to” before “read”, but I fixed it.  I must be “smelling the barn”, or something.)

Summarizing Confession:

I make typographical errors. 

And I don’t see them.

You do, leaving me thoroughly embarrassed.  Imagine baking a celebratory cake you are beamingly proud of, realizing too late that you squiggled “Happy Brithday” with the icing.

That’s me.

About everything I have ever written.

Okay, I’m done.

My objective now is to reread this everso carefully.

Delivering to the Ages a completed blog post that is prefect.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"The Wrong Decision For The (Seemingly) Right Reason"

This is an upbeat or downbeat story depending on your perspective.

And, of course, since I’m writing it,

It is easily guessable in which direction it is likely to lean.

Although that’s actually not fair. 

I lived it, my reportage thereby colored by the way it turned out.


Were I not a congenital pessimist,

It may have possibly turned out otherwise.

“The Shadow of Pessimism” –

Darkening lives. 

And subsequent narratives. 

Well, ending this ruminative fore-section,

“Whattaya gonna do?”

(Note:  This story mentions “The Cosby Show.”  In case that’s a problem.)

Every show biz career suffers the inevitable “ups” and “downs.”  At this moment in history, I was experiencing a “downs.”

1984.  Known for many things, some of them more important than my personal experience.  Although not to me.

Shortly before, I had suffered a disappointment with the cancellation of Best of the West.  (Difficult because it was over, but also a relief because it was over.)

My friends, Glen and Les Charles, who created Cheers, generously hired me to write scripts for it, though I knew little about bars and even less about pre-marital hi-jinx.  I wrote mostly the “Coach”-featured episodes.  Because I knew about baseball, and I was familiar with not knowing what was happening around me.  As long as at least one character has an atypical “take” on reality, I would comfortably continue to work.

But I was not working a lot.

Let me interject with a saying I made up, which should probably appear earlier but it just returned to me now.

My oft-uttered aphorism went:

“I’d rather be a boss than have a boss.”

This insight entered my consciousness after seven or so seasons of “having a boss.”  Before that, I was quite happy to be anywhere.

My bosses were nice enough – Stan Daniels was a particular standout – and when they weren’t nice enough, I – respectfully – reminded them to be.

The primary annoyance was the comedic template. 

They set it; I, dutifully, though not always enthusiastically, followed it.

My bosses were superior joke writers.  By contrast, my brand of comedy, derived primarily from noticing things, was less traditionally organized.

As a result, I was categorized as “A good writer who doesn’t write jokes.”

Rather than “A good writer, finding surprising ways of eliciting laughter.”

If I were a boss – rather than having a boss – I could establish the comedic template.  And that would be better. 

Rather than “me, writing like them” there’d be a staff of “Thems”, writing like me.

And so, when I was shown a Cosby Show presentation – which was fourteen minutes long, rather than the “pilot-length” twenty-two – and I went nuts over it – because its comedy was also about noticing – I immediately said I wanted to work on the show.

“What do you want to do on the show?” I was asked by one of its co-owners.

“I want to run it!” I replied, in a burst of exuberance.  (Mixed with mistakenness.)

And so, I was given the job as the first “Executive Producer” on The Cosby Show.

I lasted seven episodes of the first season.

And then I went home. 

(The Cosby Show was produced in New York, one of the reasons I departed the show, but not close to the more explanatory, “He couldn’t handle the job.”

It turned out there were more things to being a boss than “establishing your comedic template.”

And I was not terrific at any of them.

(It also turned out no one could follow my comedic template.)

The “up” side of the story…

My experience on The Cosby Show led to a lucrative development deal at Universal, where I developed the commercially successful Major Dad.  (Which I also ran, but left after one year for virtually identical reasons.) 

Retooled Aphorism (tempered by personal experience):

“I’d rather have a boss than be a boss.”

(The Reason You Went Wrong:  Your reputation creating the situation causing the temptation.)

The thing is, however, after you’ve been a boss, it is really difficult to go back.

You can see the problem that engenders.

If you can’t be a boss and have difficulty having a boss…

I mean…

Those are the only two they make.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Crazy Compromises - An American Tradition"

There’s this thing with Inheritance Taxes – try not to think too hard about how I know this – wherein after a legally prescribed deductible, you have to pay a percentage of the rest of your estate in an Inheritance Tax. 


A professional Estate Planner can legally arrange things so you don’t have to pay nearly as much.

Leaving me wondering… “Do they want you to pay Inheritance Tax, or don’t they?  If they do, why did they make one law where you are required to pay a certain amount in Inheritance Tax, and another law that says, “We were just kidding”?

It was explained to me that this was a politically negotiated compromise.  One constituency wanted a meaningful Inheritance Tax, while another constituency wanted no Inheritance Tax.  And this is where they finally came down.

I smiled, but lightningly quickly, as the Estate Planner charged many hundred of dollars an hour and I did not want to waste time on things I can do nothing about, although, you may have noticed in this arena, that is pretty much all I do.   At least, here, the meter is not crazily running.  In that place, considering, “Would you like coffee, tea, water, organic fruit juice or a soft drink?” cost me twenty-seven dollars.  The question alone was twenty-one fifty.

To my way of thinking, the resolution they came to about Inheritance Tax is not a compromise.  A compromise involves splitting the difference.  No Inheritance Tax – a hundred percent Inheritance Tax – you meet somewhere in the middle. 

Another kind of compromise involves “Horse Trading.”  In post-Revolutionary times, the Federal government assumed the states’ Revolutionary War debts – which the South didn’t want, although I never understood why – “We’re assuming your war debts!”  “You most definitely shall not, Suh!”  I’d say, “Take ‘em!”  

Anyway, in exchange for the South’s reluctant concession on this matter, the nation’s capital was situated in Washington rather than Philadelphia, which is considerably further north.

That, to me, is how you compromise – meeting in the middle, or “Horse Trading.”  But “We are making this law, but we are making another law where we are easing up on the first law –that one, I do not understand.

Then I realized that’s how it works here.  

A community decides to ban an unacceptable firearm from being sold at gun stores but allows the same gun to be legally available at nearby gun shows. 

What are they saying with that? 

“Our community is putting its foot down!  Except there.  Load up!

To some, that's “legitimate compromise.” 

To me, it’s just telling you where to drive.

I now realize that this curious version of compromise is an American tradition.

You probably know this one already.  But to me, it is worth repeating, being the historical Granddaddy of American-style compromise.

Returning again to the post-Revolutionary Era, to determine the size of a state’s representation in the Federal government, they used a conducted census – the more people living in your state, the greater number of representatives it would be allotted in Congress.  (Specifically, in the House of Representatives.)

That sounds democratic, doesn’t it?  Not to the South.  Where there were fewer people, which meant fewer representatives.  Southerners feared being regularly outvoted in the national legislature.

When approached about joining the Union, Southern negotiators entered with an ameliorating proposal.

SOUTHERN NEGOTIATOR:  “We are counting the slaves.”


“As people, Suh!  As people!”

“Hold on a second.  You want to count slaves as people?”

“As so they are, Suh.”

“Since when?”

“Suh, you are impugning a fine segment of humanity.  I shall have none of that in this negotiation!”

“‘A fine segment of humanity’?  Are you talking about the people you have insist are your personal property?  Like furniture, or cattle?”

“That’s ‘chattel’, Suh.”


“Correct, Suh.  Though we are not herein speaking in the ‘ownership’ context.”

“What context are we speaking in?”

“In the context of ‘If you do not allow us to count slaves as individual people, we are not amenable to joining the Union.”

“Aw, come on!”

“A phrase that shall ring reverberatingly in our history books.  ‘I regret I have but one life to give for my country’ and ‘Aw, come on!’”

“Let us be forthright and forthcoming here.  You have never considered slaves people.”

“You have never invited us into the Union.”

“Fine.  But if you truly believe slaves are people, then free them… Hey, where are you going?”

“Suh, we agreed to this colloquy in good faith.  Not for tomfoolery and nonsense.”

“Sorry, I thought I could fix something, there.  Your wish is for slaves to be people, just not free people.”

“Correct, Suh.  Are we agreed upon this consideration?”

“No!  This is transparent subterfuge.  You simply want more countable individuals for the upcoming census.  So you demand inclusion of millions disenfranchised inhabitants you brought over in boats.”

“In fact, Suh, it was primarily Northern nautical seafarers who brought them over in boats.  We simply purchased them when they arrived.”

“I’m sorry.  Although we wish greatly to welcome you into the Union, we are not counting a slave as a person.”

“Are you open to compromise, Suh?

“What are you talking about?”

And here we go.

“We propose, as a concession, that the enumerable value of a slave be assessed at nine-tenths of a person.”

“Sorry.  What’s that, again?”

“Since you adamantly refuse to accept a slave a whole person, our generous counter-offer, is that they be evaluated as nine-tenths of a person.”

“This is preposterous!  We shall have no talk of ‘nine-tenths of a person.’”

“How about eight-tenths of a person?”


Seven-tenths of a… “

“By heavens, you must stop this!  Fractionalizing people?  This is abominable!  Go back to Swanee, or whatever cornpone place you crawled out of!”   

“Suh!  This is no place for geographical invective.  We are simply considering a compromise.”

“But this is disgraceful, along with ridiculous.  You cannot bisect human beings for political expediency.  May I remind you this country has standards, ‘Suh.’  We are the shining City on the Hill, a beacon for decency, democracy and justice the world holds as an immutable ‘Measuring Stick’ for honorable behavior.  If we revere our reputation in the world, we cannot concede to this scandalous proposal.”

“Three-fifths of a person.”

“‘Three-fifths’ is acceptable, sir.”

"It is?"

"I was just waiting for the number."

“Then we are agreed, Suh.  Now, on to the Electoral College.”

And we know how that worked out.  Leaving the South, including the subsequent Civil War, a respectable “Two-for-three.”  And leaving us with a tradition of compromise that makes no sense whatsoever.

Which, imaginably, does very little for our reputation in the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"I'm Not Saying I Want To Be President..."

As Civil War General Sherman replied about his plans concerning the upcoming presidential election:

“I will not accept if nominated, and not serve if elected.”

Put me down for that “Shermanesque” statement, as well.  Although I am still working on how you get elected if you previously refused to be nominated.  I guess there’s the alternative “Write-In.”  But a lifetime of experiencing “‘P’, as in Paul, ‘O’, as in ‘ocelot’” demonstrates that few people can spell “Pomerantz”, so that electoral avenue is equally impracticable.

And then, there’s “The Big One” (explaining why I couldn’t be president.)


Before we go there…

Have I sufficiently clarified my total disinterest in the position?

Let me be perfectly succinct:

I do not want to be President of the United States.

As previously mentioned, I did not want to be “10A” class president at Bathurst Heights Collegiate (and Vocational School), demonstrated by my vociferous “Decline!” the moment my name was put up for nomination.

Democracy’s wonderful in theory.  But when I’m involved, I prefer everything to be done my way.  Any debate on the issue is simply wasting my time.  If you can’t see I’m right, the heck with ya!

Have I sufficiently made my case for not wanting to be president?

You say I have?

Thank you.

You disagree?

The heck with ya!

And now, free of suspected ulterior motives – a natural-born Canadian wanting to be president, which, believe me, I don’t – I shall proceed to the serious business of this undertaking.

There is a clause in the United States Constitution asserting that the president (or Vice President, because, you know… sometimes – eight times out of forty-five – the president dies in office or gets assassinated and the “Veep” is subsequently required to “move up”) the rule is, the president (and Vice President) must have been born in the United States. 

(Or on, like, some army base in Germany, or American embassy who-know-where, which both count as American “soil.”  Although, proceeding further along those lines, there is no mention of being born on an “Indian Reservation”, where you can qualify for casino croupier but not, it would seem, to be president of the United States.)

I am not saying me – and I am finished with that tiresome disclaimer –

But, me aside, I see no reason someone who was not born here should be restrictedly banned from becoming president of the United States. 

Using my most sharply honed debating techniques to support the abovementioned assertion,

That’s just stupid. 

What’s so important about having been born in this country?  People are born every place.  Is there something uniquely special about coming out here?

I understand concerns about nefarious “foreign influence.”  Although, through relaxed regulation, previously considered nefarious “foreign influences” are now able to own newspapers (a Korean immigrant purchased the Los Angeles Times), TV stations (Australian Rupert Murdock) and movie studios (Japan’s Sony Pictures snapped up Columbia.)

Why not loosen the rules for being a president as well?

I mean, you don't want to go crazy here.  We could include a “No accents” rider; you do not want “The Leader of our Nation” to sound Austrian.  You could also include a “Jargon Disqualifier”, where the potential candidate is asked to identify a laminated table surface, and if they say “Arborite” rather than “Formica”, they’re out!

But, you know… you came here when you were two, and you have lived here ever since.  Isn’t it wrong to eliminate possible “DACA” candidates?  If they promise to take a firm stand on “repatriating” their parents?

I’m not saying, you show up from abroad and run for president the following Tuesday.  But how ‘bout a negotiated “Cut-off”? 

You are a Constitutionally-required over 35-year old American citizen – I’ll let the kids wrestle with the questionable “age” distinguisher – who has lived here permanently for, say, 25 years – long enough to get those pesky “foreign influences” out of their systems –

I mean, what’s so terrible about that?

Okay, so they prefer curling to football – the disparity in brain-damaging concussions notwithstanding – despite the possibly apocryphal “Jock beaned me with the rock!” – they favor chopsticks over eating utensils that won’t give you slivers, and have a facility in languages other than English, which they speak fluently, though they occasionally slip and say “Toilet” rather than “The Men’s Room.”  (Or “The Ladies Room”, but let’s take this “barrier-breaking” one step at a time.)

So what, about all that stuff?

If you are the best person for the job?  I say, forget the “has-to-be-born-here” restriction and elect them to the highest office in the land.

The “easy” ending for this post:

“When you see who’s there now, could we really possibly do worse?”

The less partisan approach:

“It is a reasonable idea that is not going to happen.

“So much for democratic debate!”

(And by the way, “Off with their heads!”)