Monday , March 30 2015
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Monte’s Humor

A Riven Society

old watch and stamp

By Monte Lazarus Some people contend that that our society is divided by “haves and have-nots”; others claim that the Great Divide is between Democrats and Republicans, or Liberals and Conservatives; still others run the gamut, not excluding Yankees v. Red Sox, or the fallback catch-all – “Us and Them. My perspective, after many years of superficial thought, is that it’s the split between Packrats and Neatniks. Examine any household or office. You’ll invariably find that there are those who are compulsively neat (full disclosure: unfortunately, I’m not one of those), and there are the others – the slobs to ... Read More »

What, Me Read?


By Monte Lazarus The other day at breakfast we had pancakes. Of course pancakes require syrup. In days of yore that meant maple syrup. Alas, genuine maple syrup scarcely exists these days. If you are lucky enough, say, to be in Vermont or parts of Canada, you can find the real stuff, and you can pay the equivalent of the price of an ounce of gold for a taste. Hence the emergence of Ersatz Maple Syrup. Naturally no producer of pancake syrup would produce a label reading “Genuine Ersatz (or perhaps Fake) Pancake Syrup.” No, never. At our breakfast, ... Read More »

Terror Unleashed


By Monte Lazarus Recently my Most Excellent daughter and Most Excellent son-in-law acquired a brand new, never used puppy. This puppy is of a Most Excellent breed – a Yellow Labrador. He arrived amid great expectations and much fanfare, especially among the remaining household teenagers. Thus far the best thing about this particular puppy is his name…”Atticus”, after “Atticus Finch” the upstanding noble hero of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Alas, somewhere in the Most Excellent breed of Yellow Labrador a biological sport arrived. Young Atticus is an unholy terror. To date the new arrival has chewed up an antique ... Read More »

Going Viral


By Monte Lazarus Some years ago a mad scientist discovered a long dormant virus that had been thought to have vanished with the collapse of the Roman Emperor. He or she apparently implanted the virus in American males, and it has spread rapidly, particularly since the 1940’s and 1950’s. The virus is now known as Romanus Footballus Terriblus. It emerges cyclically, much as the flu, and engulfs the nation in early Fall, continuing until late Spring. It appears that the virus was discovered in the Ivy League since it first became noticeable in schools such as Yale, Harvard and ... Read More »

Story With Several Morals


By Monte Lazarus The tale you may be about to read is true. Even the characters, I’m embarrassed to say, are real. This is written as a public service for those of the public who travel by air. My Wonderful Wife and I wrapped up our annual Cultural Fix Week in Canada, after four different plays and musicals at the Stratford Theatre (Canadian spelling, eh) Festival. For those of you who might enjoy exhilarating theatre (eh, again) this is a genuine treat. Regrettably it was time to leave, so we packed the gigantic SUV our friends at Hertz had ... Read More »



By Monte Lazarus There was a recent report about someone being arrested for possession of 19,000 pills. I know. I know. The pills allegedly contained some very funny stuff. My amusement is about the number of pills. It’s kid stuff. My Wonderful Wife and I consume about 19,000 pills just at breakfast. We have pills for every part of the body and mind; and even some body parts that haven’t yet appeared in anatomy books. Not only that, as the study of medicine has advanced and become more specialized, the pills are more specialized. There are pills for parts ... Read More »



By Monte Lazarus As I age my fear is that I am becoming far more crotchety; so much so that my proposed new organization for such as me would be known as “Cranky Old Men” or just COM (Not to be confused with the movie “Grumpy Old Men”). I also considered having a group of “Cranky Old Women”, but the acronym “COW” would label me as a misogynist, so please bear with that omission. My latest piece of crankiness revolves about the indiscriminate use of those ubiquitous so-called smart phones. The phones may be smart but some of the ... Read More »

Fly me to the moon with legroom, please


By Monte Lazarus More years ago than I care to remember the new Jet Age was described as “Breakfast in London, lunch in New York, dinner in Los Angeles, luggage in Rio.” We’ve been overtaken by events. Flown recently? If not, here’s the New Post Jet Age: If you can afford it you can fly First Class and enjoy plush seats, advanced boarding, meals (if the flight distance is long enough), free checked luggage to your actual destination, lots of legroom, free drinks, pillows, blankets, hot towels, lavatories within easy walking distance and pleasant flight attendants. If you are ... Read More »

A Farewell to Smugness


By Monte Lazarus Being smug about my trip planning was entirely appropriate. After all, I had planned many a successful trip. This time I carefully scheduled our cruise so that the Atlantic was relatively calm; our group of four worthies had two Bingo winners; food was abundant and good, including a newly discovered pizza bar. Jumping ship at Dublin turned out to be brilliant. The ship couldn’t proceed to Cork because of unusually high seas, and we had been at the remaining ports several times. Our sojourn in Ireland was outstanding, and we had the privilege of experiencing some ... Read More »

Statues and Status


By Monte Lazarus Marco Island is missing something. It’s missing what almost every city, town and village in Europe has – statues of heroes and would be heroes. Some Americans visiting France for the first time, and being unfamiliar with the language, used to ask me about that Frenchman, “Mort”. Every hamlet in France, they said, had a statute of “Mort”. I had to explain that there was probably no one named “Mort” in all of France, its territories and possessions. On a French statue “Mort” is usually and simply part of “Mort Pour la Patrie”, or died for ... Read More »

A Scottish-Irish Symphony


By Monte Lazarus It’s now clear to me why the Irish and the Scots are so nice. They share a common enemy. No, it’s not the Brits. It’s the weather! There’s something about joint suffering that promotes friendship and kindness. There may also be another factor. The cities in Ireland and Scotland are both built largely in a horizontal mode. In the United States we have skyscrapers, and folks in tall condos, coops and rentals in New York City (for one example) scarcely know one another, much less care. Our first day in Dublin set the tone. Our first ... Read More »

Wanna Bet?


By Monte Lazarus This week’s rant is about INSURANCE, legalized gambling in which we bet against our longevity, bodies and minds, homes, cars, art and jewelry, ability to avoid hurting other people or their property, and myriad other things. Consider life insurance. Whether we buy whole life, term or other form, we rely on our knowledge that, so far, nobody has lived forever. We pay insurance companies to make lucrative investments so they get very rich and our survivors are paid off when we kick off – and then they have even more reason to tell everyone how wonderful ... Read More »

Confessions of an addict


By Monte Lazarus I’m an addict and there’s no 12 Point Program to help me. It’s bad. I’m a user and a supplier, and spend hours plotting my next caper. My addiction began thanks to two beloved friends who took me under their wings as “consultants.” Oh, yes, they spent a huge amount of time and effort teaching me how to play the E-Bay Game. The problem is that they did not teach me how to deal with addiction. Every day, every hour, every minute of every day I’m now looking at the mass of junk we’ve accumulated trying ... Read More »

Rio Redux – A Day At The Races


By Monte Lazarus io is beautiful in many ways. Mountains surround the city on several sides and the ocean caresses the magnificent beaches (Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon) to the east. It is magnificent. And, there’s more than just “The Girl From Ipanema”… there are at least several thousand prime beauties. If straying from well-known neighborhoods, it’s a good idea to leave behind jewelry and more than minimal money (“Reals”). Many of the shantytowns (cavelas) are gone and the city glows at sunset. At some places they even applaud that sunset. I wonder whether they get the famous “green flash” ... Read More »

Flying Down To Rio


Rio de Janeiro in January and February tends to be steamy… sorry, gentlemen, this refers to the weather, not the girls. More about them later. My splendid daughter invited me to escort her to Rio, since her husband works about 80 hours a week and prefers traveling to Europe anyway. I went out of my way and did her the favor of being her guest. The Norte Americana tourista should be well prepared for a different world.  January and February (Carnival time) are hotter and more humid than New Orleans, Houston, or Orlando – combined – in mid-summer. But, that’s ... Read More »

The Visitor

By Monte Lazarus – I recently had an unusual visitor. It just dropped by to see me and, using powers of deduction I developed by reading all of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, I concluded that it was from another planet. The fact that it was green and that it had only three fingers on each hand like a cartoon character were hints.  What confirmed that it was otherworldly was it was wearing a double knit “leisure suit” with a shirt collar hanging over the lapels. “Aha,” I thought, “Only someone from outer space would still wear one of those outfits.” ... Read More »

The Premature Obituary


By Monte Lazarus A week ago I began writing the obituary for my Genuine Imitation Rolex Watch. After four years my Beloved Watch appeared to be on life support. Its arms were limp and running way behind other watches and clocks. No amount of sympathy and cajoling seemed to help. I was ready to pull the plug. My memories of that Genuine Imitation Rolex are sweet indeed. It began with a trip back to China after 30 years. Many things have changed, but some have not. Shopping is a universal addiction. No tourist is safe or secure. We are ... Read More »

The Cheapest Man in the World

By Monte Lazarus Many years ago I had the privilege of sharing an office with the Cheapest Man in the World. I confess that I did not know all the men in the world, but it matters not; it was impossible for anyone, of either gender, to be cheaper than him. Let’s call him “J” to protect his identity, and because I don’t want the federal government swooping down on me for revealing the name of an employee from the 1960’s. J was very smart even though he was a graduate of the Harvard Law School. He apparently majored in ... Read More »

A Three-Hour Pizza


By Monte Lazarus My wife is noted, among other things, for her charm, poise and perspicacity. She is also a keen shopper and, so help me, does our Christmas shopping for next year on the 26th of December. Thus it was that we were dreaming of 2013 sugar plum fairies and all that stuff as we began our adventure. Shopping went well. There were bargains galore. Almost everything is done, except buying for the little kids where sizes cannot be predicted a year in advance. We finished. It was time to chow down. My wife in a moment of ... Read More »



By Monte Lazarus A small group of itinerant archeologists and paleontologists has made a find leading to significant insights into Calusa governance and structure on Marco Island. The information has been kept secret for a few years until the discoveries and translations could be verified. They appear genuine. The group, led by professors Pierre Bouchard and John Chamollion, made the discovery among ancient clamshells at an undisclosed location on the island. Experts fear that amateurs will overrun the area and ruin the remaining shells. The shells are all inscribed with an ancient form of writing that took several years ... Read More »