A Letter from Mars

Hurtling through our atmosphere, the canister did crash

into the oily ocean (full of chemicals and trash).

The canister then opened to reveal calligraphy

in Martian, which began with introductions hopefully:

“Dear Earthlings, We are happy to receive your kind attentions.

And we are pleased to see your many marvelous inventions.

We would ask you reconsider fuel depots on Mars;

their plutonium emissions are producing ugly scars.

We didn’t mind the little toys that ran about our ground;

but SUVs are noisy and our wildlife do confound.

We beg of you, don’t bring your deadly weapons to our home.

If you fear for your safety why do you want to roam?

We hope you do not take offense at our polite request;

we truly do look forward to seeing you our guest.”

The Martian message floated for long years without reply,

because, you see, pollution had caused ev’ryone to die.

And so the Martians never had the chance to dialogue

with anything on Earth (except an old 3-legged frog).

Leif Erikson

A man upon his journey

A man upon his journey stopped to puzzle out just why

his boots were tight, his back was sore, and rain came from the sky.

The longer he delayed his trip, the more his questions grew,

the fewer answers he received as he began to stew.

And while he stood in reverie, a useless monument,

so many others passed him by, who also felt dissent

about the wind and rain and stones that fettered up their way —

but they kept walking on into a bright and better day.

That man may still be stuck in place, his questions still remain;

he never learned that moving on will lessen mortal pain.



Kevin Bacon? Forget it! It’s Now the 6 Degrees of LeBron James.

LeBron James has been in thousands of basketball games but he has acted in only one movie—and yet that one credit is really enough for Mr. LeBron to connect any NBA player EVER to any film actor EVER.

Intrigued? Then read on . . .

James made his movie debut with last week’s release of “Trainwreck,” and there were two things that might have nonplussed anyone who saw it. One is that James’s role is more than a cameo. The other is that LeBron is pretty hilarious.

But the fantastic thing about “Trainwreck” is that there are so many well-known actors—including Matthew Broderick, Bill Hader, Daniel Radcliffe, Amy Schumer, Tilda Swinton and Marisa Tomei—that this movie alone makes LeBron James the new Kevin Bacon. He is within 6 degrees of every major actor  and 7 degrees of nearly anyone in NBA history. Which makes it possible, and kinda fun, to connect any NBA player to any actor through LeBron James.

(Wall Street Journal)


There are days reporters find so tedious that they

develop stories void of anything but stale cliche.

To cook up such a bland burgoo the only thing required

is recycled hogwash that has long ago expired. 

I hate to see reporters use their words to build a hovel;

instead, they ought to be allowed to write a lively novel. 



A Homeland for the Obese

I want to live somewhere in peace, where diets are verboten;

a land devoted to good food, with butter ever floatin’.

This bailiwick will not persecute the paunchy and obese,

but let them wallow in pure lard and other kinds of grease.

Along with milk and honey there will be ice cream as well —

and Dagwood sandwiches galore (with horseradish. pray tell?)

Where bathtubs are expansive and pronto pups are ever handy,

and Burl Ives ever sings of mountains made out of rock candy.

NOTE — Anybody with a waistline under 35

is thrown into a Splenda pit and buried, quite alive!



The Homeless Man’s Dream

I like a front yard with a porch and a swing, and a wood chopper windmill as well —

one that has grass that is scruffy and soft, where chickweed and clover can dwell.

Bunting and flags and a birdhouse or two; where wind chimes and trikes are not banned.

A yard with parquet cement sidewalk designs, that would welcome a lemonade stand.

A shade tree surrounded by bleeding-hearts thick, where a man can sit long with a hose —

bringing up worms for his next fishing trip, not wanting to buy some new clothes.

My yard would not have “Private Property” signs; instead I’d invite the whole block

to visit and try out my corded hammock while filling the air with small talk.


Give Me a Treehouse

Give me a treehouse so up in the air

that birds and jet airplanes I’ll suddenly scare.

Build it of wood or of box or of tin —

there’s no better place for a boy to live in!

I’ll gaze like a lord at the blue and white heights,

and levy a toll on all incoming kites.

The limbs of an oak or a pine or an elm

will cradle my castle, my vassals, my realm!

Lucky the boy who has had such a place,

where dreams and shrewd visions he always can chase.

Foolish the man who dreams of such a pad;

he’s either unmarried or totally mad.

from an article in the New York Times



Oil Rigs




what do you do with an oil rig when it’s usefulness is o’er?

especially one that’s not on land but rotting way off shore?

do you leave it all alone to crumble into rust?

do you have the company seal it up well-trussed?


i tell you what you do with an old oil rig in the sea;

you turn it into habitat for fish and water flea!

throw down some colored gravel and a plastic treasure chest;

the cichlids and the blenny will then do all of the rest.


you might charge an admission fee for people to come gape

at the wildlife now abounding round the slick landscape.

or harvest all the mussels and the scallops that survive

on the beams and cook them up with celery and chive.


from rigs to reef sounds fascinating, wouldn’t you agree?

a PR scoop for all involved with the petroleum industry.

perhaps a mermaid will appear amidst the apparatus

and judges will have fits determining her legal status!  

from an article in the National Geographic

You Left Me at the Altar, Ginger Spice . . .


Ginger Spice, how could you?

I thought we had an ‘Understanding’.

I wrote letters to you, Tweeted you, and inundated you with emails — all of them with the same message: Let’s get hitched. 

I had the ring all picked out; it was on sale at Walmart.

Don’t you remember I told you we’d spend our honeymoon at Paul Bunyan Land up in Bemidji, Minnesota? I assumed that since you didn’t reply, you were cool with that.

So what happened?

Who is this Christian Horner guy you’ve suddenly gone ga-ga over?

Can he make you as happy as I can?

I doubt it.

As I told you many times — I have the world’s largest collection of bubble wrap and I can whistle “Send in the Clowns” through my deviated septum.

Can this Horner character match that?

Oh, Geri, how can you throw away your life on some Formula One Racing slob!

But don’t worry . . .

When it all goes smash, I’ll still be waiting for you.

Faithful as ever.

But make sure to cry out my name loudly — the battery in my hearing aid is about shot.

Our Daily Skin


When God created mankind, He did not give us a skin.

Our muscles and our ligaments kept all the organs in.

Ev’ry kidney, heart and lung was colored just the same;

there wasn’t any reason, then, for pride or lowly shame.


But the devil came along and challenged God to make

a covering for all our innards (that old shifty snake!)

And so Jehovah covered us with epidermis sleek —

and suddenly we had to join a single-colored clique.


The pink skins had their circle and the dark skins had their group;

the yellow skins were clannish, and albinos formed a troupe.

Each one snubbed the others, made them slaves or outcasts vile;

and this caused tears in Heaven while the devil did but smile.


The day will come, I hope it will, when skin will not determine

how we treat each other — as grand masters or as vermin.

In the eyes of God all colors are the same, I’m sure;

the hue is not important if our hearts are clean and pure.

What to Do When the Zombies Attack


Most people are prepared for the normal crisis and emergencies that come from things like earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, and political elections. But how many of us are truly prepared for when the zombies invade?

According to television, movies, and Stephen King, it is imminent. So we should stock up on supplies before a visit from these reanimated corpses.

Hikingware.com suggests you do the following, so their arrival will not inconvenience you too much:


  • First of all, can you tell a real person from a zombie? This is important mainly because you might otherwise take off the head of a family member or friend who is just having a bad hair day. The best way to tell the difference is to ask a suspected zombie what they had for dinner last night; if they say “Brains and guts” they are alright. If they reply “Yogurt with granola and wheat germ mixed in” they need their head cut off immediately.

  • Since cutting off their heads is the only way to keep a zombie from trying to strike up a conversation with you about religion and politics, you will soon have a yard full of zombie heads rolling around like bowling balls. And just about as useful as bowling balls, too. So purchase a small cannon ahead of time. You can stuff the heads in, three at a time, and fire them over the rooftops into the nearest Starbucks — where they will be recycled into . . . well, never mind. (I’m just glad I don’t drink coffee anymore.)

  • A football helmet is a good idea for each family member, and for the dog. You’ll never get one on a cat, so don’t even try; let ‘em take care of themselves. There are no zombie dentists, and so when they try to gnaw into your skull with your helmet on they’ll break some of their rotten teeth and then probably wander away.

  • Setting them on fire is not recommended. Many urban areas have strict zoning restrictions about zombie fires, and besides they don’t even know when they’re on fire and might walk right into your house, setting it ablaze. In cold weather try hanging tinsel and candy canes on them instead.

  •  Invest in a good mulcher. Zombies are always dropping arms and legs, not to mention eyeballs and other annoying items, and who’s got the time to rake all that stuff up and give it a proper burial? Just stuff it in your mulcher, flip the switch, and watch the hamburger fly!

  • Sometimes the zombies are just passing through, like migrating ducks, and sometimes they come to stay, like in-laws. If they are just passing through the best thing to do is to keep your garbage cans on top of the garage so they won’t be tempted to rummage. Don’t make eye contact with them. Have your Lysol can ready, but try to just ignore them. The ones who come to stay need firmer handling. Besides cutting off their heads, you can put up NO ZOMBIES ALLOWED signs around the neighborhood. Zombies are pretty thin-skinned, and they’ll probably just slink off to file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Zombies, or FBZ.  If they start to hassle you just ask to see their zombie license. That usually shuts them up.

  • Finally,once they are all disposed of, or sent to day camp, you should definitely wash down all table tops, door knobs, and picket fences, to prevent the spread of the zombie virus. If you think you have contracted the zombie virus yourself you should immediately go to the most densely packed area you can find and start sneezing.