Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. Unfortunately, things haven't been very funny lately. And yet, I and everyone I meet remain amazed with America's strength and resilience. Like many others, my first reaction was horror followed quickly by outrage and anger. When I saw the Palestinians celebrating in the streets over the cowardly murder of thousands all I wanted was to nuke them and wipe their whole civilization from the face of the earth!
Then I realized that we wouldn't be any better than terrorists ourselves if we'd done such a thing; killing innocents and, probably, missing the true enemy. Thus I understood the patience and self-control that our leaders were showing as they tenaciously track down those rabid dogs that are now cowering in the back of some hole.
This is so very typical of the small-minded person that would carry out such a horrific deed and then crawl back under the rock from whence they came, hoping that they will not be found out. We've seen this behaviour many times before as the media bring today's rapist, pedophile or serial killer to our attention. They seem to have several things in common: lack of respect for others; inability to accept themselves; preference for darkness. There isn't much anyone can do about the first two, but the light of freedom will illuminate their hiding place and the world shall be shown their true form.
Like a dog, quivering and shaking in abject fear wimpers with a tremor in it's voice so shall we hear their confessions. 

Now let those who've taken the lives of innocents feel the fear and trembling,

Let them awake in a cold sweat at what they have done.

make one's flesh creep, make one's hair stand on end, make one's blood
run cold, make one's teeth chatter; take away one's breath, stop one's
breath; make one tremble &c.
haunt; prey on the mind, weigh on the mind.
put in fear, put in bodily fear; terrorize, intimidate, cow, daunt,
overawe, abash, deter, discourage; browbeat, bully; threaten &c. 909.
Adj. fearing &c. v.; frightened &c. v.; in fear, in a fright &c. n.;
haunted with the fear of &c. n.; afeard[obs3].
afraid, fearful; timid, timorous; nervous, diffident, coy, faint-
hearted, tremulous, shaky, afraid of one's shadow, apprehensive, restless,
fidgety; more frightened than hurt.
aghast; awe-stricken, horror-stricken, terror-stricken, panic-
stricken, awestruck, awe-stricken, horror-struck; frightened to death,
white as a sheet; pale, pale as a ghost, pale as death, pale as ashes;
breathless, in hysterics.

In every adult human there still lives a helpless child who is afraid of aloneness...
Louise J. Kaplan

These cowards have provided us with that which we could not have provided ourselves, unity of the nation as a whole against a common enemy. In this unity there is strength, comaraderie and a force of will the likes of which I've never seen before. Woe unto those that shall feel the wrath of this country!

America: The Good Neighbor.

Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes.
Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.

I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - not once, but several times - and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

Stand proud, America! 

[Thanks to Cheryl Gray for this one]

This riddle concerns three elderly ladies, a large bottle of Jack Daniel's (Black Label), and a baseball game. You get to be a detective. Here goes....

The three ladies went to their first baseball game. This was something that was an occasion of great excitement to them. To add to the excitement, they smuggled a bottle of booze into the game, and started immediately to enhance the soft drinks they bought.

It was a good game. There was a lot of action on the field and a lot of action in the stands. All too soon, long before the game was over, the bottle was nearly empty.

By now, you should have enough information to be able to tell how far along the game is, and what the status of the game is, namely, the inning and how many runners are on base.

Have you figured it out yet?
It's the bottom of the fifth, and the bags are loaded.

[thanks to Bob Behling for this one]

Sony Sees a Robot Family in Every Home
By Jan Paschal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Instead of a chicken in every pot, Japan's electronics giant Sony Corp sees a robot family in every household.

Ever since Sony's original AIBO robotic dog made headlines in 1999 by selling out in a flash in Tokyo and on the Internet at $2,500 a pop, some of the world's biggest toymakers jumped on the robotic pet bandwagon -- and the robots just keep marching off the assembly lines and onto the toy store shelves, competing for space in Santa's sleigh.

If you doubt this is the Year of the Robot Family, consider: Robotic dogs, cats, birds, fish, dinosaurs and insects dominated this year's Toy Fair in New York City, with more than 100 models in Hasbro Inc.'s showroom alone.

Will consumers keep buying into the concept? Or will some of these robots go begging? That remains to be seen, with the U.S. unemployment rate at a four-year high of 4.9 percent in August and Japan's jobless rate at a record 5 percent.

``Our vision is a robot for every member of the family,'' said Stuart Wallock, director of marketing and business planning for Entertainment Robot America, a unit of Sony Electronics Inc., of Los Angeles.

``I'll make an analogy with watches, where Dad might wear a diving watch, while Mom wants a fashion watch and the kids might go for Mickey Mouse watches,'' Wallock told Reuters.

A dad or a teenage son, for example, might prefer the original AIBO or one of his later incarnations, while a mom or a daughter might want an AIBO in a fashion color or one with a softer look, Wallock said.

Now Sony is revving up to sell two new AIBO playmates -- ivory-colored Latte and charcoal-colored Macaron -- for $850 each. The robots look like roly-poly puppies and, like all AIBOs, are equipped with digital cameras. They cost a little more than half the $1,500 price of second-generation AIBO, launched late last year.

``We've had very impressive traffic on our Web site'' since Sony's ``birth announcement'' earlier this week that Latte and Macaron have joined the AIBO family, Wallock said. ``We were surprised.'' With lights atop their heads and pink or purple jewels for eyes (think rhinestones), these new AIBOs stand 11 inches tall and look like cartoon critters. In October, Fuji Television Network Inc. will air an animated TV program in Japan starring Latte and Macaron.

``By expanding the product line, we're going after a different demographic,'' Wallock said. ``In Japan, we're targeting the 20-something woman,'' who is trendy and fashion-conscious.

In Japan, advertisers often zero in on single working women in their 20s and 30s who live with their parents and have money to spend.

In the United States and elsewhere, Latte and Macaron are expected to appeal to women and younger children. But ''tech-savvy young guys who have seen them'' like them, too, Wallock said.

If Your Relationship Is in a Rut... Secrets of a Much Happier Marriage 
by Ellen Wachtel, PhD, JD

Couples who are dissatisfied with their marriages donít have to resign themselves to lifelong misery... or get divorced. Often, simple changes can turn around even the most troubled marriage.

Insight: Recognize that things you have been doing havenít been working.

Change: Stop doing the wrong things... and start doing what creates good feelings.

This sounds simple -- and it is. But many couples keep nagging, criticizing, shouting -- even while recognizing that those behaviors only make things worse.

It takes only one person to break the vicious cycle of hurt. Strategies to improve any marriage... 

To stay motivated through tough times, think back to your courtship. What first attracted you to your spouse?

Now -- look to see those qualities in your spouse. The more you pay attention to glimmers of positive feelings, the more positive feelings you will have.

We feel closest to people who make us feel good about ourselves. If you say and do things that build up your partner -- and avoid things that make him/her feel worse -- your relationship will improve.

Of course, when your marriage is stressed, complimenting your spouse may be the last thing you feel like doing. 
Itís much easier to think of all the things he is doing wrong.

Remember: People donít change because theyíre criticized. They change when warmth and goodwill motivate them to please their spouse... or to make their spouses happier.

Train yourself to notice the things you admire about your spouse -- no matter how small. Then tell your spouse.

If this still seems difficult, think about how parents behave. They may be frustrated or disappointed with their kids 
-- but they still find ways to acknowledge their good qualities. Adults need this as much as children.

Donít fake admiration. Compliment your spouse on things you admire.

Examples: I was really impressed with the way you negotiated our lease... That was a delicious meal -- youíre a great cook.

Early in your relationship, you probably made a point of learning what actions made your partner feel cared for -- and you did them. When a marriage is under stress, spouses stop making these loving gestures... and resentment grows.

Look for opportunities to do special things for your partner.

Examples: Make your spouse a morning cup of tea... offer to watch the kids so your spouse can spend an evening with friends.

Your partner may take a while to notice that youíre acting differently -- and even longer to respond with loving gestures of his own.

Be patient. Try to notice any small steps in the right direction. Praising these improvements will encourage your spouse to continue making them.

Example: A wife was upset that her husband was always late for dinner. As she made changes to make the relationship more affectionate, he continued to come home late -- but started calling to tell her. She thanked him when he called ahead, resisting the urge to add, ďI wish you would come home on time.Ē Within a few weeks, he began to arrive at dinnertime.

Many couples avoid sex when they are having marriage problems because they feel emotionally distant. Yet sex can help couples feel closer.

If youíre not in the mood, make love anyway. Donít think of it as something you are doing for the marriage... but as something that will make you feel good.

All this talk about positive communication doesnít mean that you should bury what bothers you. But express complaints in a constructive way. 

Raise your complaint when you are not feeling angry about it. This will help you keep your tone calm -- and prevent a nasty fight.

Start with something positive. Your partner is more likely to listen if you acknowledge what he is doing right.

Keep it short. Donít say more than a sentence or two before giving your partner a chance to respond. If you spend a lot of time detailing your point of view, your partner is likely to feel that you are lecturing -- and will stop listening.

Donít use past hurts to illustrate your gripe. Your spouse will feel that he can never stop paying for what went wrong in the past. Keep examples current.

Avoid your partnerís alarm buttons. Words like ďabusiveĒ are overused -- and offensive. So are psychological interpretations such as, Youíre overreacting because your mother is so controlling.

Listen nondefensively. 

Example: Your partner says, The minute you walk in the house, youíre grumpy. All you do is criticize me.

Ineffective response: Thatís not true. Two days ago, I sat down and had a drink with you. Donít you remember?

Better: I do feel tense when I come home.

Nondefensive listening stops an argument quickly... so you can work on a solution together. 

Fact Cat

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