Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mustard Mania: The Urgent Need for Mustard-Tasting Parties and Mustard-Theme Recipe Books and Research on Medical Benefits from Consumption of Mustard

Mustard as a condiment can truly be a lifesaver, since it contains no cholesterol and only a minimum of calories.

This Holiday Season, I find myself craving an invitation to a Mustard-Tasting Party or Mustard-Tasting Festival here in Austin, Texas.

Even though I have never been invited to a Mustard-Tasting Party or Mustard-Tasting Festival, I remain hopeful that I will be.

That party or festival would give me the opportunity to sample each and every one of the various brands of mustard that are being offered for sale in retail stores throughout Austin, Texas.

That sampling of mustard-brand options will help me to decide which brand of mustard is the one that I myself choose to purchase on a regular basis here in Austin.

I already know that the mustard I'll agree to buy will be spicy or otherwise flavorful; I could not bare a bland mustard.

The question, for me, is simply this: Which particular brand or line of spicy or very flavorful mustard product available at a nearby retail store is, in fact, the most appealing to my own tastebuds?

I'm also hopeful that this Holiday Season I will enter a bookstore and find a Mustard Mania Cookbook. It will be a cookbook exclusively containing recipes for a wide variety of dishes that feature either dry mustard as an ingredient or a commercially prepared "wet" mustard condiment as an ingredient.

One of the recipes I'd like to find in that recipebook is a recipe for "Honey Mustard Salad Dressing" (or "Jalapeno Mustard Salad Dressing" or "Ginger Mustard Salad Dressing") that actually contains lots of dry mustard or prepared "wet" mustard in that salad dressing and is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Also on the subject of mustards, I find myself eternally hoping that some non-profit organization or university will sponsor or pursue scientific research that attempts to determine whether year-round consumption of mustard helps prevent cancer in human beings.

Scientific research identifying other specific medical benefits to human beings from year-round consumption of mustard as part of their dietary lifestyle would also be invaluable.

I myself have never heard of any scientific study that attempted to identify specific medical-health benefits to human beings from year-round consumption of mustard.

Among the questions I would like those studies to address are: Which variety or type or category of mustard condiment is the best for one's medical health? Also, are any of the mustard condiments currently being sold in retail stores rich in healthful antioxidants?

I have heard some people comment that consuming certain very spicy and hot German mustards or hoseradish, for that matter, can "clear your sinuses." Does this possibly suggest that human beings with colds or nasal congestion should consume more mustard?

If there were an American Mustard Council that helps promote consumption of mustard, possibly that type of admirable organization could offer an authoritative response to questions of that type.

Help Promote Excellence in the American Economy: Write a Blog Praising the Products You Like or Love the Most

Comprehensive realignment of the American economy in a manner promoting greater excellence of goods and services remains, of course, a crucial goal for our entire nation.

This Holiday Season, I want to invite the millions of Americans who each write a personal blog of their own to devote a new blog to promoting the foods and beverages and other products (or services) that they especially like or love.

I want to contribute toward that healthy societal goal for our entire country by offering my personal praise for the following food products I especially like:

---Post-brand "Great Grains Whole Grain Cereal with Raisins, Dates, and Pecans."

This vitamin-rich, mineral-rich, high-fiber cereal is one of the most delicious cereals that I purchase for myself on a regular basis inside my nearby H.E.B. supermarket.

I also am delighted to note that this cereal gives me the opportunity to eat healthful raisins, dates, and pecans (nuts) in my breakfast meal.

Post Foods are headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

---Lipton-brand Decaffeinated Green Tea With Honey and Lemon Flavor.

This particular Lipton decaffeinated green tea product is the most flavorful of all the decaffeinated green teas that I have tasted so far.

I also note that his brand of tea has a soothing effect on my throat. I love that about hot tea at its best.

This Lipton Decaffeinated Green Tea with Honey and Lemon Flavor gives me the opportunity to sip hot tea shortly before bedtime without any risk of insomnia as I lie in my bed minutes later.

Lipton's parent company of Unilever is headquartered at Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

----Pepperidge Farm-brand "Whole Grain 100& Natural German Dark Wheat Bread."

This vitamin-rich, mineral-rich tasty dark bread is much more flavorful and delicious than any other mass-produced bread I can recall off-hand that I find in the main bread section at my nearby H.E.B. supermarket in Austin, Texas.

When I eat this bread, I never once think to myself, "How very dull and insipid this bread is!" Instead, I'm thinking, "How very refreshing this is to be eating a bread I can afford that actually has interesting flavor to it!"

I also like the fact that this particular dark-bread product from Pepperidge Farm offers 3 grams of fiber per slice. Also, this product does not contain any artifical color, flavors, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup.

Another advantage to this bread product is that it does not contain any saturated fat per slice.

Pepperidge Farm Inc. baking company is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, which inevitably prompts me to wonder what the aroma of this nice German-style bread is like when it is being baked in the Pepperidge Farm factory in Norwalk. A very pleasant aroma, I would expect.

Pacific Natural Foods-brand "All Natural Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup."

I recently purchased this intriguing soup product at an H.E.B. supermarket in Austin, Texas, and I was delighted by the spicy wholesomeness of this soup.

Of all the spicy soups I have purchased in the supermarket, this may well rank as my favorite. Not only is this soup rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron, but it is also one of the most delicious store-bought soups I have ever eaten.

I also love the fact that this soup contains sweet potatoes as a leading ingredient. I myself cannot currently recall any other store-bought soup I've ever purchased that highlights the healthful sweet potato.

This soup is reportedly "distributed by" Pacific Foods of Oregon, Inc., a company that is headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon.

Tostitos-brand "Artisan Recipes" line Fire-Roasted Chipotle-Flavored Tortilla Chips.

This delicous vitamin-rich as well as mineral-rich new item from Frito-Lay of Plano, Texas, is one of the very few Frito-Lay food products that does not leave my palate with a junk-food aftertaste after I've eaten that snack item.

I was delighted to have this recent discovery, since it means that I can finally point with pride to at least one Frito-Lay product that is both very enjoyable to eat and relatively healthful.

These Fire-Roasted Chipotle-Flavored Tortilla Chips do not contain ANY artificial flavors, ANY preservatives, ANY monosodium glutamate, or ANY trans fats, according to Frito-Lay of Plano, Texas. There are 8 grams of whole grains, and two grams of dietary fiber, per one-ounce serving of this snack product, Frito-Lay also notes in information that Texan-based corporation provides to consumers.

As for fat content, this product contains only 1 gram of saturated fat per ounce, according to Frito-Lay.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Sign That I'm Asking the Right Questions: Rejection Letters and Hostile or Negative or Unhelpful Reply Letters and Legal Reply Letters I've Received In Recent Years

Some of the most memorable of the hostile reply letters and rejection letters to myself and reply letters of rebuke or disagreement with me, including letters of politely-stated disagreement, and unhelpful reply letters as well as legal reply letters that I've also received in the last 15 years, include:

---May 7, 2007, reply E-mail to me from Mr. Louis Hinojosa, the Director of Human Resources for the Souper Salad Inc. restaurant-chain headquarters in San Antonio, Texas:
"...You missed the point completely and failed to recognize that it is not your place to pass judgment or use 'hearsay conversation' to trash your coworkers and managers. This may cause you legal problems as it relates to slander or defamation of character. Unless there is imminent and present danger to you, your coworkers or guests, I am not interested in your opinions, point of view or hearsay commentary.

"Do not email, write or call me regarding this matter.

"...I simply asked you that if you (as a member of the waitstaff at the cited Souper Salad restaurant in Austin, Texas) were concerned about a missing guest (whose wallet was reportedly found on his dining table inside that Souper Salad restaurant in Austin after he suddenly and mysteriously vanished from the restaurant, according to his male adult dining companion that day), that the person (dining companion) with the guest would be the one needing to contact the police, if he suspected foul play. We, as Souper Salad do not have a role to play in this.

"...When we spoke this morning, you still seem to be intent on saying that 'I want you to call the police and make a report', this is not the case. If you as a private citizen want to make a citizen's report, you need to follow the proper procedures as a private citizen.

"I am beginning to question your 'state of mind' and your personal agenda as it relates to this matter. This morning you told me that you had not reported (to the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas) last week's incident as yet. If you were so concerned about the missing guest, why have you failed to contact the appropriate authorities. Please do not answer my inquiry---it is too little too late.

"On a separate note, I visited with Mrs.(Cindy) Downs (of our Souper Salad corporate headquarters HR Department in San Antonio, Texas) and found that she has been very tolerant of your constant ranting, for quite some time. You are fortunate that she is a patient and very understanding professional, however, please do not take advantage of her generosity and kindness and assume that you are held in high esteem, simply because you have been emailing or calling on her for quite sometime.

"I have asked Mrs. Downs to forward (to me) all calls or emails that you might send her way in the future."

----May 4, 2007, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Louis Hinojosa, Director of Human Resources for the Souper Salad Inc. restaurant-chain headquarters in San Antonio, Texas:

"...I do not know anything about you and I do not believe I have spoken with you in the past, however, I am totally outraged that you took advantage in writing this email, to pass judgment and make comments about your (Souper Salad) coworkers and the management and allege (possible suspected) criminal behavior."

"If you have the facts to support your observations or commentary regarding your coworkers, I suggest that you forward them to me immediately, so that the matter can be promptly investigated. I do not know how it is that you seem to know private, confidential information about your coworker's background, but let me assure you, you are invading their privacy and treading on thin ice.

"Your commentary, personal opinions or observations are not appreciated and may serve as legal liability against you, to include defamation of character and slander.

"The fact that you have worked as a clerk in a law enforcement agency does not give you license to practice law or meddle in other people's business or personal lives."

----August 15, 2011, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Robert Rivard, Editor in Chief of the Hearst media company-owned "San Antonio Express-News" in San Antonio, Texas, with the Hearst corporation being headquartered in San Francisco, California:

"Pls remove my name from your list."

----November 4, 2004, reply E-mail letter to me from Ms. Helene Orr of the Department of Political Science at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado:

"Take me off your damn list!"

----October 21, 2004, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Jeff Moseley of the Office of the Governor of Texas's Music-Industry Promotion Office of the State Government of Texas in Austin, Texas:

"Please remove me from your distribution list."

----February 3, 2005, E-mail reply letter to me from Mr. Carl Reynolds, an attorney member of the State Bar of Texas who at the time of his E-mail reply letter to me was himself General Counsel of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice state agency headquarters in Huntsville, Texas:

"I am routinely deleting your irrelevant emails without reviewing them, and I would appreciate it very much if you would cease copying me. I, for one, have no interest in your various opinions (and I am probably far from alone on this score). If you have some inquiry or business with this agency, you may send it to me. Otherwise, please desist from including me in your messages."

----September 10, 2007, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Ian D. Arnold, an attorney and General Counsel for EMMIS Communications Corporation headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana:

"....If you at any time become aware of any specific facts that indicate that any EMMIS portfolio company has, in fact, intruded or impinged upon your privacy rights, please let us know and we will make every effort to investigate and address those specific facts.

"Please do not contact either Mr. Michael Levy, Founder and Publisher of TEXAS MONTHLY, or Mr. Jeffrey Smulyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of EMMIS Communications Corporation, directly...."

----June 5, 2007, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Michael Levy, Publisher of "Texas Monthly" magazine, in response to wholesome and idealistic E-mail correspondence from me that proposed the placement on year-round display of a "Vocabulary Word of the Day" sign inside each and every public primary and secondary school campus throughout Texas, including throughout the entire Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas:

"While I appreciate that these issues are very important to you, they are not appropriate for my attention and consideration, so I would appreciate your not referencing or cc'ing me in any future correspondence on these matters."

---June 5, 2007, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Michael Levy, Publisher of the Austin-based and EMMIS-owned "Texas Monthly" magazine:

"Again, I do not believe that (it) is either necessary or appropriate for you to continue to send (me) any of your e-mails...."

----June 7, 2007, unsolicited follow-up E-mail letter to me, entitled "Just FYI" in its subject heading, from Mr. Michael Levy, Publisher of "Texas Monthly" magazine, who also happens to be, and was at that time, a private attorney member of the State Bar of Texas state agency:

"...Issues that we do focus on (at 'Texas Monthly' monthly magazine in Austin) are limited to a very, very few. That is why we strongly suggest that your energies would be much better directed elsewhere. This is not to say or imply that we do not have sympathy for your situation.

"I trust that you understand and respect where we are coming from, just as we respect you and your own impassioned efforts."

----April 5, 2007, reply E-mail letter to me from Ms. Patty Dontje, Secretary to Mr. Jay Smith, himself the President of the Atlanta, Georgia-based Cox Newspapers, Inc.:

"...I wish to relay that Jay Smith has every confidence that Mike Laosa and his folks (at the 'Austin American-Statesman' daily newspaper in Austin, Texas) have treated you (John Kevin McMillan of Austin) with respect and fairness. While we thank you for your interest in our company, we feel that any future conversations are not likely to be productive."

----September 17, 1997, signed and mailed reply letter to me on official 'Austin American-Statesman' stationery from Mr. Richard Oppel, Editor in Chief of that Cox-owned daily newspaper in Austin, Texas:

"Please, let's discontinue the correspondence....(and) there is no point in (our) meeting (in person)."

----November 29, 2006, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Arnold Garcia, Editor of the Editorial Page of the "Austin American-Statesman", who specifically in that context declined to publish a crime-deterrence-minded letter to the editor from me that deplored the apparent absence of an anti-drug community in Austin (Austin being a capital city of Texas with an illicit-drug crisis, I indicated in my letter to the editor):

"We are in frequent receipt of your letters and have thus far declined to print any of them. The same holds true for your latest submission. That answer is final and non-negotiable. Please do not harass my assistant as calling repeatedly will not do you any good...."

----November 30, 2006, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Arnold Garcia, Editor of the Editorial Page of the "Austin American-Statesman" daily newspaper in Austin, Texas:

"I'll make this short: Don't waste my time with any more of your whining. Clear enough?"

----November 4, 2004, all-capitalized reply E-mail letter to me from Ms. Denise Zuniga of KLRU Educational Television station, which is housed on the campus of the State of Texas-owned University of Texas at Austin:


----October 18, 1999, signed and mailed reply letter to me on official University of Texas at Austin stationery that was written and signed by "Lee Smith, Associate Vice President for Administration and Legal Affairs" at UT-Austin:

"Please be advised that The University of Texas at Austin is not responsible for the (harassment-related allegations and privacy-related criminal-law) concerns you present in your e-mails of September 13, 1999, to (UT-Austin) Vice President Patricia Ohlendorf.

"Accordingly, we consider this matter officially closed. If you desire to pursue these concerns further, you will need to do so in a different forum.

"Because our consideration of these matters has been concluded, please do not call, write e-mail or otherwise attempt to contact any University official or employee with regard to these matters in the future."

----December 6, 2000, reply E-mail letter to me from Austin Police Department (APD) Officer Mary Hesalroad, the designated Central West Austin District Representative for APD, with her designated geographical district having been situated near the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, and her 2000 reply E-mail letter to me politely disagreeing with a written statement from myself I'd E-mailed to Officer Hesalroad on November 30, 2000 (an E-mail letter from me in which I alleged in writing that I was myself a victim of violations of my own privacy rights by one or more Austin-area residents in a context "involving criminal conduct on their part" (exact wording), I politely emphasized to APD Officer Hesalroad):

"...Based on the information you've given me over the past few months, you should understand that no one has committed a criminal act against you (John Kevin McMillan of Austin).

"The situations you have told me about are all points of law for a CIVIL attorney to consider. I urge you, once again, to consider taking your issues to a civil attorney...."

----March 20, 2007, E-mail reply letter to me from "Ken Wiggins," a self-identified member of the Board of Directors for the non-profit Virginia-based legal-rights organization "A Matter of Justice," who in his reply letter to me also identified himself as "Wiley":

"...While I sympathize with your plight, we have no resources to help individuals with their own cases. Not to demean your difficulties, but your story is 'dime-a-dozen' in this country these days. And there are millions of these same kinds of stories---and many much worse (than your own case)...."

"...Sorry we can't help you."

----Unsigned and typed March of 2009 mailed reply letter to me (a letter I received in my March 14, 2009, mail delivery at my private residential address in Austin, Texas) from Professor Leo Katz, a nationally-renowned criminal-law researcher, a private attorney, and a distinguished professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia:

"...I would like to ask you to no longer try to contact me, either by email or by telephone, or by some other means, nor the law school (at University of Pennsylvania) or (any) other people connected with me....So please, no more emails, phone calls, letters or the like. This is a really serious matter to me."

----April 3, 2009, signed reply letter to me on official University of Pennsylvania stationery from Mr. Jeffrey Cooper, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia:

"I am sympathetic to the fact that the correspondence you received (from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia) has caused you great distress. Unfortunately, neither the Office of Government and Community Affairs nor any office at Penn can help you resolve this personal matter. Please do not direct any more correspondence to University of Pennsylvania with regard to your personal affairs."

---May 1, 2006, reply E-mail letter to me from a representative for the Austin Area League of Women Voters non-profit orgnization in response to a letter I'd E-mailed to the group's official E-mail address,, that contained several public-policy questions I wanted to pose to each of the Gubernatorial Candidates in Texas at that time:

"Please remove this email address from your distribution."

----January 17, 2009, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. Tom Johnson, Executive Director of the Texas State Teachers Association, a statewide professional organization in which I was myself a dues-paying individual member at that time:

"Please take me off your list."

----November 12, 2009, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. James S. Timmins, City Solicitor (City Attorney) for the City Government of Quincy in Quincy, Massachusetts:

"I am responding on behalf of (Quincy, Mass.) City Clerk Shea and (Quincy) Police Chief Keenan. The city (of Quincy, Mass.) appreciates that you took the time to provide us notice of your potential (legal) claims (against the City of Quincy, Mass., in a court of law). We wish you well in your attempts to resolve your medical/hearing (loss) issues. We do all we can in Quincy to insure the safety of workers and others who might be subject to excessive noise, and will continue to do so. Again, thank you for the courtesy of your e-mail notice."

----March 31, 2009, reply E-mail letter to me from Mr. James S. Timmins, City Solicitor (City Attorney) for the City Government of Quincy in Quincy, Massachsuetts:

"May I presume from the fact that you supplied personal information (about alleged violations of your own privacy rights that allegedly occurred when you lived in Quincy, Mass., in the latter 1980s) that I may provide it to the (Quincy, Mass.) Police Department for a follow-up inquiry???"

"If I may, I will do so, and report back. Please advise."

----February 22, 2011, reply E-mail letter to me from City Solicitor (City Attorney) James S. Timmins on behalf of the City Government of Quincy in Quincy, Massachusetts:

"The city of Quincy (in Massachusetts) recently passed a noise ordinance....So I understand the concerns (about local noise pollution) you raise in your question.

"....I know nothing about the particulars of Travis County (Texas, where you yourself reside), but I can tell you that in my experience, I can conceive of no conceivable scenario where a local government would 'knowingly permit or authorize noise pollution.'

"I believe that what you are encountering (locally observable incessant and continuous and year-round noise pollution, 24 hours a day, every day of the year) is a common problem across the country. How we manage noise pollution issues is something that communities continually struggle with. I would hope for you that, notwithstanding how difficult the problems in your community (Travis County, Texas) might be, you have confidence that your government is doing --- and will do --- what it can to help. And, I hope you can feel comfortable that your local government (Travis County Government, with Austin being the county seat of Travis County, Texas) is not part of the (noise pollution) problem."

"Wishing you the best,


Monday, November 21, 2011

My Advice to Children: Questions to Ask Your Parents During the Holiday Season

During this cheery and often-joyous season of the year, it's a wonderful time for each of you American children and all other Americans under age 30 to each pose polite and appreciative questions to your parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents.
Those polite and respectful questions can spark a sense of delight and joy in your older relatives----who will also appreciate your kind expresion of interest in them as human beings.

That enthusiasm and delight by your older relatives can also help to inspire a lifelong sense of enthusiasm and delight and cheerfulness and optimism and confidence in yourself.

Among the many possible questions that you might want to pose to an older relative of yours this Holiday Season are:

----When was the happiest day of your entire life?

---How would you personally complete the sentence that begins with, "Happiness is...."

----Does the Holiday Season make you more aware of the value of your being cheerful and smiling frequently and having enjoyable personal conversations on a year-round basis?

---What have been your leading emotional "peak experiences," or most sublimely enjoyable experiences, of your entire life?

---When was the most recent joyous occasion of your life when you felt yourself to be "on top of the world," or a true and very fine winnner?

---Of all the live-performance cultural events that you have attended in your life, which cultural event inspired you the most?

-----Which Holiday Season or Christmas season of yours that you can recall was your all-time happiest?

----Do you believe that your own merriment and happiness during the Holiday Season is significantly enhanced by your certainty that each of the persons whom you've permanently rejected from your own life, are not spying on you or stalking you or contacting you or violating your own privacy rights?

----Do you believe that the Holiday Season or Christmas Season should especially reward all young persons under age 19 who have been honest and polite and honorable and good and virtuous, and who have diligently obeyed the law?

----Do you recall any Holiday Season or Christmas Season of your life that started out unhappy for you, but ended up being a very happy and joyous Holiday Season for you.

----Which Holiday Season or Christmas-theme song do you enjoy singing the most?

----Which Christmas present or Holiday-Season present that you received at any time in your life was your all-time favorite present?

----Which Christmas present or Holiday-Season present that you gave to another person was the present from you that sparked the most joy or delight or enjoyment for that person?

---Do you feel that the Christmas Season or Holiday Season reminds you of the great value of your being generous toward others on a year-round basis?

---Are there any specific individuals less fortunate than yourself whom you know and whom you particularly enjoy being generous toward during the Holiday Season or Christmas Season?

---Which special Christmas-Season traditions or special Holiday Season traditions that you have participated in have you enjoyed the most?

----Do you generally write up your New Year's Resolutions during the Christmas Season or Holiday Season?

----Of all the New Year's Resolutions of yours that you have kept or honored in full in the new year, which New Year's Resolutions of yours were the very finest or most helpful to you?

---Of all the Christmas-theme and Holiday-Season fictional movies that you have seen in your life, which Holiday-Season movie did you enjoy the most?

---What is your favorite Holiday-Season board game or other Holiday-Season game that you like to participate in at this time of the year?

----Are there any very special foods or meals or beverages that our family traditionally eats or drinks during the Holiday Season?

----Do you have any anecdotes or personal stories about Christmas Seasons or Holiday Seasons of your past that you especially enjoy sharing with younger relatives of yours?

----Which attributes of yours or personality traits of yours are you the proudest of?

----Which personality traits or personal attributes of your spouse do you admire the most or love the most?

---What do you admire the most or love the most about your father?

----What do you admire the most or love the most about your mother?

----In which specific ways do you believe that you are a very good or successful parent?

----Of all the people you have loved in your non-romantic or platonic life, which persons not related to you have you loved the most?

----What was the most courageous action you ever pursued in your life?

----Do you recall any occasions in your life when you have you strongly supported and helped to protect or strengthen the Freedom of Speech rights or Freedom of Religion rights or privacy rights or Freedom of Association rights of someone other than yourself?

---What do you admire the most or love the most about each of my grandparents?

---Which ancestor of yours has been the most inspirational for you as a human being? What made that ancestor's life particularly impressive to you?

----Of the many people whom you have known in your life, which individual do you believe was the most optimistic person you have ever met?

----Who are your lifelong mutual-consent personal friends, and would you be willing to please tell me more about what makes each of those friends of yours very special to you.

----Which of the various persons you've known have done the most to help open up new and creative opportunities for you and introduce you to new people who are honorable and law-abiding and friendly.

---Of all the party hosts you have known in your life, which individual was your all-time favorite party host?

---Of the various types of figurative births or periods of renewal that you have yourself personally experienced in your own life, which was the most sublimely pleasurable for you?

---Of the many people whom you have known, which individual do you regard as the most honest and law-abiding person you have ever known?

---Of the various law-enforcement officers whom you have met in person, which law-enforcement officer do you admire the most or like the most?

---Of the various persons who have lived in the same neighborhood as yourself during your life so far, which neighbor of yours or next-door neighbor of yours was or is your all-time favorite?

---Which Holiday Season of your entire life has been your happiest or most enjoyable?

---How important is religion for you during the Holiday Season?

---What are your favorite charity causes or philanthropy causes?

----Which were your favorite subjects to study during the period of your life in which you attended school or college or a university?

---Do you pursue a life-long education strategy for yourself?

---In which specific ways, if any, do you seek to continue your education in the years after your graduation from a school?

---Which magazine or newspaper that you read on a frequent or regular basis is your favorite?

---What makes that particular magazine or newspaper your personal favorite?

---Of all the questions that you yourself have posed to other persons in your life, which question that you posed has been the most helpful to you in your own life?

---Of the questions that you have posed to another person in your life, which question from yourself has been the most helpful to that person?

---What was the nicest or best or finest compliment or word of praise that anyone has ever offered you?

----Of all the questions that other people have posed to you in your life, which question has been either the most helpful to you or your all-time favorite question to yourself?

----Which year of your life has been your happiest year? What made that year your all-time happiest?

---Which decade of your life or multi-year period of your life has been your happiest?

---What are your all-time favorite credos or mottos or sayings that you strive to live by, or that guide you in your everyday life?

----What do you believe have been your leading accomplishments so far in your life?

----In your entire life so far, what do you believe has been your biggest recovery from a setback or disappointment or temporary failure that you sustained during your life?

---What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

----What was the funniest comment that you ever made to anyone else?

---Do you remember the occasion when you laughed for the longest consecutive period without being able to stop laughing? What prompted you to laugh for that many consecutive minutes?

----What was the funniest joke that you ever heard or told to another person?

---If you were asked to cite the five or 10 favorite persons not related to you from your entire life, who would you cite? What made each of those individuals an all-time personal favorite of yours?

---Who was or is the best or finest work supervisor you ever had? What made him or her your all-time favorite work supervisor?

---Of the various jobs and careers you have pursued in your life, which job or career was the one you enjoyed the most?

---Do you remember the biggest promotion in your career that you ever received, and how much that increased your gross annual income?

---If you had not chosen the career that you currently pursue, which other career would you have chosen, do you think?

---What do you believe makes for success in a career or paying job?

---Which awards or honors or prizes or victories that you have received or earned or won in your life so far have given you the greatest overall satisfaction as a human being?

---Which hobbies or pastimes or leisuretime activities of yours have given you the most sublime pleasure or creative fulfillment?

---Which new skill or talent, whether in your career or your personal life or your religious life, are you currently attempting to learn or develop? Also, which steps are you currently taking to learn or develop that new skill or talent for yourself?

----Which special or rare skill you've developed (a special or rare skill that the majority of Americans do not currently have, to the best of your knowledge) is the special or rare skill you are most glad that you developed in your own life?

----Would you ever like to own your own business? If you could own your own business, what would you like your business to offer or sell or produce?

----Which cuisines of the world or culinary dishes or non-alcoholic beverages are your all-time favorites?

---Of the many generous persons you have gotten to know in your life so far, which person do you believe was or is the most generous person you have ever known? What made that individual so generous?

----Of all the choices and decisions you have made in your life so far, which choices and decisions you directly made have been your very best or finest?

---Which priority that you've established for yourself in your own life is an example of priority-setting that you feel was the wisest and best choice in that way that you made for yourself?

----Of all the famous people and celebrities you have ever heard about or read about, which famous people or celebrities would you most want to meet in person?

---Which heroes of yours from your childhood or college days are today among the persons whom you currently regard as heroic?

---Which authors or journalists or artists or entertainers or cultural leaders or educators or professional athletes have been your all-time favorites?

---Of all the U.S. Presidents or Governors of the state where you live, which current or former or late U.S. Presidents or state Governors do you admire the most?

----Of the famous people and celebrities whom you have met in person, which individuals did you like the most or enjoy meeting with the most?

----Have you ever received a friendly signed letter from a famous person whom you admire? If so, do you recall what that letter said to you?

----Of all the people you have enjoyed having in-person conversations with, which individuals stand out as your all-time-favorite in-person conversational companions?

----Of all the persons who have put you at ease and had a calming effect on you during in-person converstaions you had with them, which person or persons do you believe you had the highest level of friendly and brotherly or sisterly inter-personal intimacy with?

----Which villages, towns, cities, states, and foreign countries are your all-time favorites, and why?

---Which island did you enjoy visiting the most? What made that island your all-time favorite island to visit?

----What do you like the most or love the most about the United States of America?

----What do you like the most or love the most about our northern neighbor, Canada?

----What do you like the most or love the most about our southern neighbor, Mexico?

---Which foreign country would you most like to visit?

---Which U.S. state other than the one where you currently reside would you most like to visit?

----What do you like the most or love the most about the city and state where you currently live?

----If you could change one thing about the town or city or state or nation or world in which we live today, what change would you most want to make?

----When you feel the most confident about worldwide peace occurring on this planet, what do you believe will help to make that worldwide peace and harmony occur?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wit and Wisdom of New Yorkers, Continued---Part III

Overheard in Manhattan, had I been there today:

----"Just because it's a deli doesn't make the food here delicious. Deli stands for delicatessen, not the word 'delicious'. There are a lot of second-rate delicatessens, even here in New York!"

----"Do you ever dread the day when your cousin from Ohio visits New York and asks you to define the term delicatessen? What scares me about it all is that I don't even have a book on the history of delicatessens, much less a book that defines what is a delicatessen. Maybe I should go on a book-buying spree here for books with titles such as, 'Answers to the 500 Most Frequently Asked Questions about New York City that Outsiders from Ohio Might Ask You During their Visit.' Then when my cousin asks me to define the term delicatessen, I'll reply with, 'The answer to that is very simple. You can find that answer on page 51 of this invaluable reference book about New York that I purchased in anticipation of your visit.'"

----"Do you ever get the impression that delicatessens were designed with pregnant women in mind? If you'll notice, all the delicatessens here in New York offer pickle slices to accompany their sandwiches. And from what I've heard, pregnant women are always hungry for pickles."

---"My friend Teresa stopped seeing her Manhattan psychotherapist after she got pregnant. She told me she could not bear any more questions from her psychologist about why she is hungering pickles during her pregnancy, and whether there might be a phallic and Freudian suggestiveness to her craving for pickles?"

----"My friend Paul has this annoying habit of only calling me when he is having a crisis. I told Paul the other day that I would prefer to be a fair-weather friend for him. I would welcome a joyous phone call from Paul in which he invites me to celebrate his good news with him at Four Seasons restaurant. It turns out that Paul has OTHER friends here whom he calls whenever he wants to celebrate. I am his designated crisis-only-phone-calls friend. So I told Paul that the next time he calls me to talk about his latest crisis, I'll charge him $10 a minute to offer my advice to him on the phone. Paul told me he was very surprised to hear me say that. He said he always assumed that I derived lots of vicariously sadistic pleasure from hearing about his latest period of trauma and despair and anger in his own life."

----"One of my biggest disappointments as a tourist here is that I cannot find a History of the Delicatessen Museum anywhere in this city. I had naively assumed that New York City would take pride in being the hub of the delicatessen scene for the entire United States, and would offer a first-rate museum highlighting that theme."

----"I'm always grateful for the New York restaurants I love the most that haven't appeared on the Food Channel yet. The minute they're publicized on the Food Channel on television, restaurants get flooded with customers and you have to wait forever just to get seated."

----"To me, speaking strictly as a New Yorker, the best thing about the cell phone era is that it gives me something to look at while I'm waiting to get seated inside Four Seasons restaurant. My cell phone gives me tons of reading material that keeps me occupied during my many waiting periods as a New Yorker."

----"Cell phones can be dangerous, particularly here in New York City. The background noise here makes it very difficult to hear the person I'm talking with, and that can cause lots of arguments over the cell phone. 'Why do you always ignore what I'm telling you?', my wife will scream from her end of the cell-phone line. Then when I explain to her that the crowds and cars around me are louder than usual that day, my wife gets even angrier. 'You always blame it on someone else, never admit that it's your fault you ignore what I'm saying to you!" she'll shout from her end of the phone line. 'Why don't you just admit, Harry, that you don't respect me, and this is why you PRETEND you don't hear what I'm saying to you?'"

----"Sure, I believe in intergenerational friendships. But that doesn't mean that I'm inclined to play a game of checkers with an 8-year-old friend. I don't do checkers anymore. I also don't do hide-and-go-seek anymore, and I don't do hopscotch anymore, either. Fortunately, I talked this over with my 8-year-old friend's mother, and she said it was perfectly fine for me to NOT do checkers, NOT do hide-and-go-seek, and NOT do hopscotch with her 8-year-old son when we get together for a shared outing."

----"I feel sorry for the elderly people here in New York. With all the hearing impairments that older people have, how can they possibly follow what their cell-phone conversation partner is telling them? Maybe they have a special high-volume cell phone that's specially designed for the elderly. But that could be embarrassing, since everyone standing near the senior citizen will overhear what that senior citizen's friend is saying."

----"Everyone asks me why I ever visit southern New Jersey, since I don't gamble. I always reply to that that there are some nice beaches in southern New Jersey, and I like to sunbathe and swim. There is life beyond the boardwalk, that's my very emphatic view of southern New Jersey!"

----"It doesn't surprise me to hear that there is actually a nationwide restaurant chain headquartered in New Jersey. I think it's very courageous of Mike to have established a chain of sandwich shops that actually promotes the state he's from. You generallly don't hear much in the way of New Jersey pride, so what he's done is quite impressive."

----"I think New Yorkers rely too much on New Jersey as a means for convincing ourselves that we're a superior state. We love to comment that the people of New Jersey all sufffer from an inferiority complex, implying that we New Yorkers all experience a superiority complex. New Jersey has always been the other half of the famous superior-inferior duality that we New Yorkers take pride in being part of. New Jersey, historically, has always been the yang to our yen."

----"My husband, Herb, says it's ironic that New Jersey has traditionally hosted the Miss America Beauty Pageant. We New Yorkers devote much of our lives to branding New Jersey as the ugly sister to New York State. To think of New Jersey in terms of physical beauty is inconceivable for most New Yorkers. So that one evening of each year is what Herb likes to call the Annual Anomaly Day in which New Jersey suddenly loses its Armpit of America status. And I'm not even sure that Herb would agree that New Jersey even qualifies as an ugly sister to New York. Herb would probably say that New Jersey is closer to being an ugly cousin, at most, since he would want to convey his emphatic outlook that New Jersey, despite is geographical promixity, is a DISTANT relative of New York."

----"If I were the owner of a restuarant here in Manhattan, I would insist on offering first-rate lighting in the lobby, and lots of interesting magazines to glance through in the lobby area. I would want all my customers to enjoy a good read while they're waiting to get seated."

----"I'm generally very agreeable when I dine out in a restaurant, but I always hate it when the hostess seats me at a dining table near the restroom. What that translates into here in Manhattan is that over the course of my meal I'm repeatedly observing a series of customers shouting at a dining companion of theirs, 'So why did it take you so long?' as the latter individual re-enters the dining area. I'm tempted to myself shout, 'Not everyone in New York defecates at that same rate of speed!', but I always remain silent since I value being polite. I do feel, though, that New Yorkers can be excessively critical of one another at times. This is one city where merely going to the restroom is regarded as an invitation for an instantaneous critique of one's performance there from someone who never even entered that restroom themselves. Why should they critique what they didn't directly see you doing inside the restroom?"

-----"If I owned a restaurant here in Manhattan, I would insist on providing everyone waiting in the lobby with recent reviews of each of our top dishes----reviews that had been written by customers as well as by a variety of restaurant critics. I would also provide everyone waiting in the lobby with booklets providing factual nutritional information about each of the ingredients in each of the 10 most-frequently-ordered dishes in my restaurant. I would want each customer to feel fully knowledgeable about each of the most noteworthy options on the menu before he orders. That way, he's more likely to be pleased with his dining experience."

----"Whenever I visit New York, I always wonder in the back of my mind whether Auntie Mame, one of the most famous ladies in the history of this city, ever committed statutory rape of any of the scantily clad boys she delighted in frolicking with. It would be interesting to find out whether her nephew Patrick Dennis, the guy who wrote that very popular book about Auntie Mame, was ever interviewed on the subject."

----"When anyone asks me which priest I recommend here in New York, I always reply that the best priest is the one who has the least physical contact with any member of his congregation. The minute I see a priest initiating a hug with anyone, I scratch that priest's name off my list. To me, a good priest is one who never hugs or grabs anyone, and who only shakes hands with anyone when there's a designated adult observer present to carefully monitor that handshake."

----"Personally, I feel that all the priests here in New York should be required to wear a modern counterpart to a chastity belt that's designed to prevent them from doing anything illicit. This would keep them focused on above-the-belt activities, which spares our beloved Catholic Church from another lawsuit risk."

----"Call me under-educated if you like, but whenever anyone refers to the Hudson River, all I can think of is Kate Hudson, that famous actress. But there's no way she could have lent her name to our famous river, since the Hudson River was named long before Kate Hudson was born. Maybe I should find the intellectual curiosity to read a Wikipedia entry about the Hudson River. But why should I be intellectually curious, when it's more glamorous to think of the Hudson River in terms of a famous Hollywood actress. Don't you agree?"

----"As a New Yorker, I cannot understand why we don't have any nationally-renowned prep school named the Hudson River School. Wouldn't that make a glorious name for a prep school here? But it seems that the movers and shakers here haven't agreed with me on that point."

----"Personally, I'm always expecting to find a 'Mouth of the Hudson River Literary Review' whenever I visit the newsstand here in New York. But it's unlikely that name would ever work here. A lot of people would get it confused with the 'Hudson Literary Review'."

----"Wouldn't it be grimly amusing to read a list of each and every man-made chemical that's currently found in the Hudson River here in New York City? I think that list should be displayed on an Environmental Crisis Awareness Plaque situated along the river right here in Manhattan. That might help to persuade more people to donate toward cleaning up the Hudson River."

-----"As a New Yorker, I'm alarmed by the millions of Americans who limit their interest in our city to two days of the year: New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I would hope that even without a spectacular televised countdown festival or massive televised parade, Americans could still be intrigued by New York as a city. Call me naive, if you like, but I happen to think that New York on January 2 through December 30 is also a fascinating place."