Tagged: humorous essay

Kroc’s Great Gift

Joan Kroc, the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of the American dining institution MacDonald’s, died a very rich woman. Thanks to sales of Big Macs, deep-fried potatoes, and colored corn syrup in water, she was, in fact, a multi-billionaire. Upon her death last year, Kroc’s executors were pleased to announce that the fast-food heir had...

Super Bowl Sunday

This weekend brings the biggest sporting event in America, the Super Bowl. The violent antics on the playing field are only a small part of the ritualistic gatherings that happen in living rooms and dens around our country. People will congregate together to pass judgment on a well-known celebrity’s lip-synced rendition of our national anthem....

The Nature of Luck

This past weekend I competed in a made-for television event called “World Series of Blackjack.” The producers invited 25 gambling luminaries — if such a thing can be said to exist — to square off in 5-person, 30-hand matches. The winners got a pile of money, and the others got to be on cable television....

Mars Versus Earth

Like millions of others, I watched with fascination and wonder as NASA’s space probe Spirit touched down safely on Mars and began to transmit back to Earth images of our planetary neighbor. As a child who enjoyed reading the science fantasies of Arthur Clarke and Ray Bradbury, among others, I didn’t imagine that sending a spaceship...

Smooth Jazz

You can find karaoke machines in hundreds of bars and restaurants and bowling alleys around Los Angeles, where everyone is a budding star (or at least wants to be.) You can find fewer live piano bars, where a player well-versed in the standards and Broadway show tunes accompanies enthusiasts with cabaret dreams. And even rarer...

The Astrology Enigma

Anyone who believes in astrology is operating irrationally. If you don’t understand why, you may safely skip this Thought and return to your horoscope, where you will discover that you and the other twelfth of the world that was born on the same month as you are predisposed to success (or lack thereof) because of...

Performance Enhancing Drugs

The sports world is aghast — as it often seems to be — that athletes in disciplines as diverse as track & field, football, and baseball are ingesting “designer” steroids that allegedly make the competitors bigger, stronger, faster, and eminently more endorse-able. Since an organization like the NFL can’t possibly claim that it’s looking out...

Against Charity

Giving to the needy is supposed to be a virtue. Indeed, it’s once of the sacraments of most religions. In our venal world, being charitable — sharing with those who don’t have what you have — is akin to secular holiness. How much someone gives to charity is a powerful if imprecise barometer of how...

Strom und Drang

From the Department of Delicious Irony we get news that the late Strom Thurmond, the perpetual Senator from South Carolina who died in June, had fathered a child out of wedlock with a black teenager. That child, Esther Mae Williams, is now in her sixties, and for the first time in a life of secrecy...

The ‘Broken’ BCS

Many tears were shed this past weekend in Los Angeles, and the lachrymal mourning wasn’t over starving Africans or bleeding Afghanis. The crying – and the whining and the righteous indignation – was inspired by a college football ranking system that kept the USC Trojans out of the putative national championship game, the Sugar Bowl,...