The men in the Pollak family live their lives by this simple philosophy.
“Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie down?”
As you might imagine, this sort of lifestyle governance lends itself not only to the hardening of every artery in our bodies, but to time well-spent in profound thought. Herewith, profound or not, are several of my recent epiphanies:
• I’ve noticed that all of those TV deals for food slicers, absorbent rags, laundry cleaners, etc., seem to have the same scam going. “But wait! If you call right now, we’ll DOUBLE your order. Just pay separate shipping and handling.”
It’s that “separate shipping and handling” _ usually about seven bucks _ that gets you to buy twice the product you want, assuming you even want the stuff in the first place.
Oh, and people such as Vince Shlomi _ the ShamWow character who was arrested for allegedly punching a prostitute _ and the late Billy Mays, whose cocaine use was a “contributory cause” of his death, have your credit card number.
• On the subject of scams, who has a better one than the National Rifle Association and the industry it supports?
Two years ago, the organization got its members and other gun owners so worked up over the election of Barack Obama that they bought up every bullet in sight, fearing that with a Democratic president, the government would come in and take their guns away.
Seriously, target shooters, hunters and others couldn’t find bullets for many of their weapons, such was the bullet-buying fervor drummed up by the NRA.
The NRA did the same thing, of course, when Bill Clinton was elected. Meanwhile, no law-abiding citizen had his gun or bullets taken away by Clinton and none has had his gun or bullets taken away by Obama.
It has been reported that sales of 9mm Glocks like that used in the recent Tucson shootings have been booming, thanks to people fearing they won’t be able to buy them anymore.
Someone, by the way, is going to have to explain to me why anyone needs a gun that fires 30 bullets in rapid succession instead of — say — one with a 10-bullet magazine.
I’m not buying the old “slippery slope” nonsense about one reasonable restriction leading to a total ban on guns, not when perhaps a 10-shot handgun instead of a 30- shot one might _ just might _ have spared the life of that sweet 9-year-old girl killed by the madman in Tucson.
• When it comes to Sunday’s American Football Conference championship game _ with the winning team going to the Super Bowl _ I’m having a tough time figuring out which team to root for. Do I cheer for the sideline player-tripping New York Jets, with their obnoxious coach, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, with their quarterback who was suspended for four games this season because of accusations from a 20-year-old college student that he sexually assaulted her? Gee, the lout or the thug? Some choice.
• Everybody makes mistakes. I just happen to work for a place that makes them in front of many thousands of readers. In case you might be wondering, finding out in the morning that you’ve screwed up _ and knowing the paper will be out there all day long and there’s nothing you can do about it other than fixing the online version _ is not a good feeling at all.
We do, of course, print corrections for all the mistakes we know about. Some aren’t totally our fault in that they’re based on erroneous information provided to the newspaper, but most of the boo-boos are ours.
The thing that surprises me every year is how consistent our number of corrections turns out to be. In 2010, The Daily Star ran 178 of them, down from 187 in 2009 and just slightly up from 174 in 2008 and 176 in 2007. Most folks who let us know when we’ve messed up are very nice about it. Others can get downright snarky. But believe me, no one is more upset than I am when we make an avoidable error.
Where that is concerned, we’ve already got a running start on 2011. Just this week, in an editorial, we managed to refer to the current New York governor as “Mario Cuomo.” If we were writing between 1983 and 1994, we would have been right-on. However, in 2011, the governor is Mario’s son Andrew.
We regret the error, and all the others we shall make in 2011.
And how to keep them to a minimum is certainly something to think about.
SAM POLLAK is the editor or The Daily Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (607) 432-1000, ext. 208.
The men in the Pollak family live their lives by this simple philosophy.
- Sam Pollak
Using time off in the worst way possible
"You don't mean it," I pleaded. "You simply can't mean it!"
Terror lives on, and there's no end in sight
The horrific scenes out of Boston on Monday will be hard, if not impossible, to forget, unless, of course, it happens again ... and again ... and again.
Remembering the glory of their times
So, last Sunday, instead of writing The Great American Novel like I ought to be, I'm idly looking in my usual dumb fashion at a television screen.
Column on guns led to a barrage of (mostly) jeers
You know, I'm beginning to suspect that perhaps there was not universal agreement regarding what I authored in this space three weeks ago.
No one is coming to take your guns
I have some disappointing news for some of the more-virulent foes of sane gun-control legislation.
- Saturday, January 26, 2013
I'm fit to be tied because I can't find anything that fits
"Did you ever get the feeling," once asked sad-faced comedian George Gobel, "that the world was a tuxedo … and you were a pair of brown shoes?"
- Saturday, January 5, 2013
Seeing errors of our ways is important
It has become an annual custom to devote my first column of the year to informing our readers about how badly we screwed up over the previous 12 months.
- Saturday, December 15, 2012
Celebrate 2012 with the annual 'Sammy Awards'
Before you criticize someone -- goes this oft-quoted advice -- you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, you'll be a mile away from him when you say it … and you'll have his shoes.
- Saturday, November 24, 2012
Gazan children and Israel suffer for Hamas folly
On Nov. 21, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was on his historic and courageous visit to Israel that led to a peace agreement that still exists.
- Saturday, November 3, 2012
I'm worrying about what's to become of me after Nov. 6
There’s just no getting around it.
- Saturday, October 13, 2012
No Southern comfort from some in GOP
Most politicians make a gaffe now and again, with Vice President Joe Biden providing more than his share, but what I find fascinating are the increasingly frequent, intellect-defying, science-ignoring statements from politicians with one thing in common.
- Saturday, September 22, 2012
Critics prefer leaving media in pieces, not peace
Given the current epidemic of citizens great and small smacking the news media about the head and shoulders repeatedly and with great vigor, it can’t help but hurt the feelings of a sensitive and fragile soul … such as yours truly.
- Saturday, September 1, 2012
What’s in a name? The difference between a hero and a fraud
- Saturday, August 11, 2012
Rumors of papers' death have been greatly exaggerated
On the bulletin board in my office is this cartoon drawn in 2009 by the talented Lisa Benson of the Washington Post Writers Group.
- Saturday, July 21, 2012
I wonder how it would feel to have all that money
- Saturday, June 30, 2012
Why do women stand by such awful men?
Most men _ and you know who you are _ are not to be trusted.
- Saturday, June 9, 2012
For fatalistic job-seekers, I hear al-Qaida is hiring
NEWS ITEM: Abu Yahya al-Libi, second-in-command of al-Qaida's terror network, was killed last month in Pakistan by a CIA Predator drone attack, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed Tuesday.
- Saturday, May 19, 2012
I'm happy with our kids to a certain degree
It was several years ago, and I was in the kitchen, telling my eldest daughter and my then-teenaged son about the person who was taking over as publisher at The Daily Star.
- Saturday, April 28, 2012
I get by with a little help from my 'friends'
They are my precious friends, although I've met only a couple of them. They are always there -- unlike most of my other friends -- whenever I want them ... or need them. I just have to open a book, and there they are.
- Saturday, April 7, 2012
It’s not easy for a politics junkie to get off the stuff
One of the curious things about being a politics junkie is that in any given election year I become even more of a social pariah than usual. I’ll admit that my fervid exclamations about the previous evening’s Republican primary or the latest poll numbers have on occasion been accompanied by grasping the lapels of people I think might be my friends lest they get away.
- Using time off in the worst way possible