Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out,"Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean." "I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?" "The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die." "But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!" The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."
Adaptation of a story by Loren Eiseley
I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.
A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished.
I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.
How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?
By Zsa Zsa Gabor
The Ant and the Contact Lens
Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.
Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry.
She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to God to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."
Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"
Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it. Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."
A true story by Josh and Karen Zarandona
Esplanade v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Flabbergasted adj. appalled over how much weight you have gained.
Willy-nilly adj. impotent.
Lymph v. to walk with a lisp.
Gargoyle n. an olive-flavored mouthwash.
Bustard n. a very rude Metrobus driver.
Flatulence n. the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
Oyster n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
Frisbatarianism n. The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.
Eclipse, v. What an English barber does for a living.
Egotist, n. Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
Esgrapee, n. The lone grape that falls onto the floor and rolls to the most inaccessible location.
Extraterrestaurant, n. An eating place where you feel you've been abducted and experimented upon.
Eyedropper, n. A clumsy ophthalmologist
Gesundtime, n. The time between the moment you realize you are going to sneeze and the actual sneeze.
Giraffiti, n. Vandalism spray-painted very high.
Gossip, n. A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage.Heroes, n. What a guy in a boat does.
Incongruous, n. Where bills are passed.
Inflation, n. Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
Khakis, n. What you need to start the car in Boston.
I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. I've always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons-something I've done for over 30 years. Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I've never had the pleasure of having a protege though I have taught some talented students. However, I've also had my share of what I call "musically challenged" pupils.
One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano. So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play someday."
But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed, because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said that his mom had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still practicing. "Miss Hondorf, I've just got to play!" he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be all right.
The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my "curtain closer."
Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he had run an eggbeater through it. "Why didn't he dress up like the other students?" I thought. "Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?"
Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo ... from allegro to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age.
After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild applause. Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. "I've never heard you play like that, Robby! How'd you do it?"
Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well, Miss Hondorf ... remember I told you my mom was sick? Well, actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And well ... she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special."
There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I've never had a prodigy but that night I became a protege ... of Robby's. He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.
This is especially meaningful to me since after serving in Desert Storm Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, where he was reportedly playing the piano.
By Mildred Hondorf
The Sweet Spot
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.
by Thomas Merton
A Quiz for People Who Know Everything
- There's one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it?
- What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
- Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
- At noon and midnight the hour and minute hands are exactly coincident with each other. How many other times between noon and midnight do the hour and minute hands cross?
- What is the only sport in which the ball is always in the possession f the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball?
- What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
- In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
- Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw." They are all common. Name two of them.
- There are fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name half of them?
- Where are the lakes that are referred to in the "Los Angeles Lakers?"
- There are seven ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Taking a base on balls -- a walk -- is one way. Name the other six.
- It's the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh. What is it?
- How is it possible for a pitcher to make four or more strikeouts in one inning?
- Name six or more things that you can wear on your feet, that begin with the letter "s."
- Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about 2 and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.
- Asparagus and rhubarb.
- Ten times (not eleven, as most people seem to think, if you do not believe it, try it with your watch, it is only 10 times).
- The pear grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the whole growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.
- Dwarf, dwell, and dwindle.
- Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
- In Minnesota. The team was originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers, and kept the name when they moved west.
- Batter hit by a pitch; passed ball; catcher interference; catcher drops third strike; fielder's choice; and being designated as a pinch runner.
- If the catcher drops a called third strike, and doesn't throw the batter out at first base, the runner is safe.
- Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, snowshoes, stockings, and so on.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer."
"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people look bright until you hear them speak."
"The man who thinks he knows it all, is a pain in the neck to those of us who really do."
"The reason we Scots fight so often among ourselves is that we're always assured of having a worthy opponent."
"The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness, color and cost of the carpet/rug."
"The most common cause of hearing loss amongst men is a wife saying she wants to talk to him."
"The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act."
"Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong."
By that great Scottish Philosopher, Lachlan McLachlan
New Year's Resolution
Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more.
Let me be, when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.
Thomas Jefferson's Ten Rules
1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have earned it.
4. Never buy what you don't want because it is cheap.
5. Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
6. We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain the evils have cost us that never happened.
9. Take things always by the smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten before you speak, if very angry, count a hundred.
By Thomas Jefferson