In response to Monday’s gloomy column and ‘the tough row we could have to hoe,’ Craig Furnas writes: ‘Looks like we should all invest in hoes, then.’

☞ Good plan.


Joe Cherner, founder of Smokefree Educational Servies writes:

I am very saddened by the recent death of Morton Downey, Jr., age 67, from lung cancer. Years ago, Mr. Downey had a very popular TV talk show, particularly with young people. As a repeat guest, I had heated debates with Mr. Downey. Mr. Downey smoked throughout his show and often blew smoke in the face of guests who opposed him. Most of it was done for sensationalism, theatrics, and to provoke his opponents.

Unfortunately, Mr. Downey was idolized by young people, many of whom probably started smoking to imitate him. Mr. Downey constantly screamed that all his aunts and uncles smoked and lived to be 100 (which I doubt was true), and that he would live to be 100 too. In any case, it was a terrible message for young people who clung to his every word.

About seven years ago, Mr. Downey was diagnosed with lung cancer. He publicly apologized for his past antics and did some public service announcements against smoking. Unfortunately, as is often the case, he was no longer a youth icon. His apology didn’t come close to making up for the damage he had caused.

A list of famous celebrities who have died from smoking can be found on our website. Just click on “documents” when you get there. As usual, these celebrities influenced millions of young people to start smoking (many even appeared in cigarette ads), and by the time they died, they were almost unknown to the next generation. In other words, their lives influenced young people to start smoking but heir deaths didn’t prevent young people from smoking.

I will miss Morton Downey, Jr. and I know he is sorry for what he did.


Sharon Barowsky: ‘Not positive because I haven’t read the whole book, but the likely source of those wonderful Jewish Haikus is Haikus for Jews: For You, a Little Wisdom by David M. Bader.’

These are some of George Berger‘s excellent canine haikus. He’s not sure who wrote them, either:

I love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be

Today I sniffed
Many dog behinds — I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy-come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man-come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I have
Made a puddle

I Hate my choke chain
Look, world, they strangle me! Ack
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much I do

Dig under fence — why?
Because it’s there. Because it’s
There. Because it’s there.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

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