• Forty-one years ago, I was a naïve 19-year-old just beginning life’s journey. I do not like to brag but I was the poster child for naïveté. I had a few ideas about life but too few to make me a contributing member of the human society. What I knew about life could fit nicely in my trouser pocket with plenty of room for a country boy’s pocketknife.

  • Many think that the sports season for big bruisin’ men wearing protective armor and helmets has ended.
    While football is over, there is another sport going on now where padded men bang into each other, break out in fights and wind up with concussions. It’s hockey, a cool sport.

    The finish

  • Many think that the sports season for big bruisin’ men wearing protective armor and helmets has ended.
    While football is over, there is another sport going on now where padded men bang into each other, break out in fights and wind up with concussions. It’s hockey, a cool sport.

    The finish

  • Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. In ancient Rome this day was a pagan holiday in honor of Juno, the goddess of women and marriage and the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Later it became a holiday named after a priest. According to church tradition St. Valentine was a priest near Rome about the year 270 A.D.
    While historical details of Valentine’s Day are unclear, we do know that across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.

  • I take a certain amount of well deserved, if I say so myself, pride in keeping to a well organized schedule; my to-do-list. If it is on that list, I am going to do it, regardless of the difficulty attached. The trick is to get on that list which I guard with my very life.

  • February is definitely heart month. The stores are filled with the little puffed, stuffed beauties in shades of pink and red, not to mention the luscious confections all dressed up to look like roses, kissing lips or hearts of love. And yep, there are those cuddly stuffed toys too, all in an attempt to win your lover’s affection. Love is definitely in the air and while in modern times we tend to commercialize it, the Bible certainly has much to say on the topic.

  • I am rather old-fashioned in some areas of my life, which I do not intend to upgrade to current standards. I do not believe in changing something unless it really needs to be changed. A crazy phobia is going around these days suggesting that if something is old, it must not be any good and if it is new, it must be good.
    I think old Solomon was right when he said, “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV).

  • Last week I wrote how I got shanghaied and wound up in Tampa at the Gasparilla Pirate Fest. They didn’t release me until it was too late to write this week’s column; but they did allow me one telephone call. I called an acquaintance, recently arrived from England, who I asked to write about Sunday’s Super Bowl.
    The opening words of his submission were, “I don’t know much about sports in the U.S., but I guess the Super Bowl must be about bowlers all trying to score 300.” The rest of his writing follows.

  • Have A Heart for Companion Animals, Inc. has planned a “For The Love of Animals Gala.” It’s a fund-raising event featuring The Johnny Mello Show and Adult Magic Demonstrations by “Magic Mark,” Beasley, a high-energy interactive magician.
    The show will be held Saturday night, Feb. 11, from 7 until 10 p.m. in the Silver Springs Shores Community Center, located at 590 Silver Road, Silver Springs Shores.

  • The holidays come and go. We vow not to get stressed out as we were at year’s end. Yet we charge into the New Year with so much on our plate that whatever resolve we intended gets quickly buried amid our to-do lists.

  • On my way to Pun Alley I got shanghaied and wound up in Tampa several days before their Jan. 28 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. An invasion by a fully rigged pirate ship with cannons booming will force the city to surrender and start festivities that culminate with a pirate parade. I managed to get a carrier parrot to bring you the news.

    Clean Getaway
    One of the first pirates I met was wearing a paper towel on his head. I asked, “Why are you wearing a paper towel?”
    “Arrr” he replied, “I’ve got a bounty on me head!”

  • It was one of those weeks where, if I accomplished anything that delicious slice of information has completely eluded the tiny gray cells floating in my cranium. It is not as if those little gray cells had anything else to do.

  • Today is the first of three Friday-the-thirteenths in 2012. The next one in April, just before tax day on the 15th, is bound to be unlucky for almost everyone. While the origin of this “holiday” is not known, we do know that people attribute many unlucky happenings to it.
    Estimates have been made that 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day. Some are so fearful that they avoid normal routines in business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. Take a trip down Pun Alley to see what happened to some unlucky people.

  • Forgive me if I have said this before, but, “Happy New Year.” It may be the epitome of redundancy but I have given this greeting for 60 years and I mean it as sincerely this year as I have all the years preceding.
    The first few years of my life, I had no teeth and so all I could say was “Goo-goo, daa-daa.” It meant the same thing. This year I have all of my teeth but I am not certain how many more years.
    The way we start life is the way we usually end life, with no teeth and drooling all the time with a silly grin on our face.

  • Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet. Since Thanksgiving it’s been an epoch of dinners and parties with alluring food and drink. This week is Diet Resolution Week, a good time for you to think about controlling your figure.
    To start you on your way we look at a number of think or slim stories.

    It’s Biblical

  • Although I may look a little stodgy on the outside with a few gray hairs blossoming on the top, I still know how to celebrate, and this is the time of the year to do that sort of thing. I love a good Christmas celebration.
    For the last few years, I have never had to check my calendar to know when it is time to celebrate the Christmas season. It seems that the Thanksgiving turkey always gives rise to what I shall refer to as the Holiday Turkey. No sooner is my Thanksgiving turkey resting snugly inside of me when the Holiday Turkeys begin their assault on Christmas.

  • Christmas is Sunday. There’s still time to do that last-minute shopping where you get to fight everyone else to get those perfect gifts before the stores close. This can wear you to a frazzle. So, while the kids anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus, take a break, relax and stop at Pun Alley for some punny stories.

    Santa’s bull
    Every Christmas Eve, Santa’s reindeer complete a long and tiring journey. Before they depart, Santa’s sled has to be pulled to several North Pole stops while it is loaded.

  • The Ocala Symphony Orchestra plays tonight on the downtown square as part of the light-up Ocala activities. As a prelude to this excellent music, I’m marching down Pun Alley beating my own drum and blowing my horn to produce the following discordant notes.

    Out of tune

  • The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage had commandeered the Christmas decorating operation for yet another year. I am not quite sure how she remembers when to start all of this, because the thought had not yet entered my mind.
    Here it is Christmas and I am about as prepared for Christmas this year as I was last year. One of the great things about my wife is that she keeps all of these holidays in order and on time. I am still reeling from my Thanksgiving Day turkey indulgence.

  • Jews have been called the People of the Book for centuries. Actually we could be called the people of the books since we are forever preoccupied with texts. In fact, Judaism is a text-based religion with its emphasis on the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Talmud and all the commentaries.
    With all the attention given to books, it is no wonder that Jews have set aside a whole month to highlight and promote writings of Jewish interest and/or by Jewish authors.
    Actually it was a librarian at the Boston Public Library who came up with the idea.