Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Reading!

I want to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas and a felicitous New Year, as well as to remind all and sundry that
Storm Approaching (Part I of the Mercenaries series),
Gold and Glory (Part II)
Resolution (Part III)
The Free Lands (Part IV)
And Gladly Teach (educational satire) and
Hodgepodge (humorous essays)

are still available (at Amazon, other online retailers, or from the author).Why not buy (and even read) one (or more) of these fine books?    

Sunday, November 2, 2014

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Health for the Holidays

Those helpful folks at Wellness Weekly have begun their annual cam-paign against anyone enjoying himself (see essays of December 2013 and Jan. & Feb. of this year, “Healthy Eating,”, “More Health”, and “Yet More Health”). In the October 6 issue of their killjoy newsletter they proffer even more valuable advice as to how we should conduct ourselves as “the temperature drops” and “many of us turn to rich foods,” which might have a terrible consequence: “if we aren’t careful” we might “gain weight”.

In case any of you are inclined to reckless indulgence, in case you might be tempted by Satan to gourmandize on such things as chips, hot dogs, pizza, wings, beer, hot chocolate, pumpkin-spice latt├ęs, apple cider, whipped cream, caramel drizzles, cream of potato and broccoli cheese soups; soups containing cream, cheese, or meat; pumpkin layer cake, cheesecake, bread pudding, macaroni and cheese, Halloween candy, or yams and sweet potatoes mixed with cheese, cream, butter, canned soup, or bacon—(I thought yams and sweet potatoes were the same thing, but the bulletin differentiates)—here is some useful advice:

- If you are watching television while you eat anything, do push-ups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks during halftime or commercials. (And, I might add, after the game why not run around your house a few times, rappel from your roof, or turn somersaults on the lawn?)

- Pedal on a stationary bike while you watch a game.

- Why not drink green tea instead of malevolent beverages like hot chocolate or cider?

-  Chew sugarless gum. (Perhaps they might also suggest chewing the gum wrappers. They will taste just as good.)

- Hide the candy. (They suggest this twice: “Stash sweets out of sight” and “Put candy bowls out of sight”. One must ask, why do they seem to endorse preparing these hidden bowls at all?)

Remember, sinners, all it takes is an extra hundred calories a day to gain ten pounds in a year.

You may not be able to die rich, but you can certainly die skinny, thus saving money for your heirs when they can purchase a small coffin.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Welcome to my blog! Here you will find humorous and satirical essays on various topics (such as education, nutrition, and films) and information on my books. The problem with blogs is that most of their material is buried. So here is a list of the main essays at Write Away, organized chronologically by topic; and I invite visitors to take the moment or two required to use the handy archive gadget on the left to locate the articles they might find interesting.

For regular visitors—if such there be—let me say that I am preparing a new edition of Miscellanea, my collection of essays. It will include several new pieces—some already on this blog—and will have a new title (probably Hodgepodge). I hope to release it in September.

Please leave a comment on any essay that moves you to express an opinion, and remember that my books are easily available at, other online retailers, or from the author—see the brightly-colored flyer directly below this post. Why not buy one? You will find descriptions and excerpts on the blog. I also welcome messages at
ESSAYS (Amusing)
2014:  February 25:  Yet More Health
2014:  January 13:  More Health
2013:  December 29:  Healthy Eating
2013:  October 5:  On Institutional Advancement
2012:  August 23:  An Innovative Boarding School Model
2012:  August 13:  Testing Kinesthetic Students
2012:  May 20: A Cautionary Tale
2011:  October 10:  An ‘Aria of Revenge’ a la Verdi
2011:  July 26:  Lights! Cameras! Teach!
2011:  July 26: Project 1812: History for Kinesthetic Students
2011:  May 10:  An Innovative Grading System
2011:  January 12:  Evelyn Waugh on Educational Reform
2010:  October 11:  A Theory of Art
2010:  February 15:  The Test of the Future
2010:  January 28:  The Newest Members of the U.N.
2010:  January 7:  Just What the Doctor Ordered

2011: July 25  / July 20:  Historical Films
2010: March 1:  The LOTR Film Trilogy (Take That, Peter Jackson!)
2010: February 21: Star Wars III:  A Critique of "Revenge of the Plot"
2010: February 7:  A Critique of "Tacky Clowns"
2010; January 8:  A Critique of "The Phantom Mess"
2013:  April 24:  The Adventure of the Surprising Ending
2011: March 17:  “Consulting”: from And Gladly Teach
2010: October 6:  Resolution
2010: April 4:  Gold and Glory
2010: March 7:  Storm Approaching
2010: February 1:  And Gladly Teach

Monday, March 24, 2014


Keeping in mind that one purpose of this blog is to publicize my literary efforts, I here present a handy flyer that gives you lots of information about them. If any interest you, please do not be shy about buying them or sending me any questions about them that you may have.

(You should, of course, click on the images so you can see them clearly.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I am unsure if these little pasquinades meet with any approval—since no one leaves any comments here—but I cannot resist bringing you further examples of what people must put up with today on the subject of food.

1)  From the March issue of Consumer Reports OnHealth:  “An English study found that women who took a brisk 15-minute walk reduced their desire for chocolate…. All of the groups reported a lower level of craving—and were less tempted by images of chocolate."

I assume that the value of this English study is to warn women against taking 15-minute walks and thus depriving themselves of enjoying one of the most delicious and nutritious foods on our planet, one of the things that makes our wretched existence bearable.

2)  In the March issue of Consumer Reports there is a review called “Top Popcorns.” It begins thus: “Plenty of Americans reach for popcorn when it’s time to watch the Oscars, the Crawleys, or the latest zombie attack. When we asked readers their favorite snack during special shows, popcorn led the list. (To our readers’ credit, ‘Nothing: I don’t snack’ came in second.)”

You see? You see what these people are doing to us? In an article that reviews popcorn, the writers commend those (16.7%) who never touch it—who, indeed, “don’t snack.” In an article that tells you which popcorn is best to eat, we are made to feel guilty about eating it. How frail and wicked we are! How we must admire the stalwart Puritans who never snack, who sit there nobly not enjoying a light collation of goodies, who resist the promptings of Satan to eat between meals. (And God knows what their meals consist of. Probably celery sticks and clear broth.)

The same issue of CR contains a long article about the best TV sets to buy. It might be better if the magazine warned people about wasting their time watching the Oscars, the Crawleys (whoever they may be), or zombie attacks.

PS - Any comments? 

Monday, January 13, 2014

More Health

On Dec. 29 I published a satirical essay, "Healthy Eating," about the wonderful advice my colleagues and I receive in the Wellness Weekly, a newsletter that our employer thoughtfully sends to us. The latest issue arrived today and after reading it I realized that to publish funny stuff on this blog I need not cudgel my brains, I need only reprint this newsletter verbatim. I suppose that doing that might cause copyright problems, though, so today I offer just one item from the Weekly, from the article “Top 10 Ways to Control Portions”:
5.  Keep seconds out of sight: Don’t serve family meals family-style. Keep pots and dishes away from the table where it’s all too easy to go for seconds. If the extra food is right in front of you, you are more likely to continue to eat than if you had to get up from the table to have seconds.

Now perhaps you think I made that up. But I did not. It’s right in front of me in black and white. “Don’t serve family meals family-style.” Someone really wrote that and did not see either humor or irony. And… but I need not go on. Just read it, relish it, and laugh (or cry).

I would like to offer more suggestions to Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., the publisher of the Wellness Weekly. Why stop at half measures? Here is a revised version:

5.  Hide the food.  After slaving for hours to prepare a delicious meal, place minuscule portions of each item on tiny plates, then hide the rest in the attic. If any diners are so wicked and greedy as to wish to eat more of your food, tell them to go get it. After climbing a couple of flights of stairs, getting cobwebs in their hair, and banging their heads on the rafters, perhaps the insatiable gluttons will think twice about gorging themselves. After all, what better compliment can there be for a chef than for people not to eat the food? After the meal, go to the attic, get the extra food, and throw it away. That’s the best thing, after all—nasty, evil food. Poison, all of it.

PS – Did you know that “3 oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards, 1 oz. of meat is the size of a matchbook, and 1 cup of potatoes, rice, or pasta looks like a tennis ball”? That’s item number 9 in this week’s bulletin. Careful diners will of course want to carry a deck of cards, a matchbook, and a tennis ball with them whenever they succumb to the temptation to eat, so they will not accidentally eat 4 oz. of meat or 1½ cups of rice.