Sometime the response to a question is a question…or a complaint.

March 19th, 2014

“How are you feeling?”

“How should I be feeling? With my bad back.”


“What time is it?”

“What do I look like? A clock?”


“I hope things turn out well.”

“I should be so lucky.”


“Dinner’s ready. Hurry up.”

“I’m coming. What’s with the ‘hurry?’ Is there a fire?”


“I’m wearing the tie you gave me.”

“What’s the matter? You don’t like all the other ties I gave you?”


“Want to go horseback riding?”

“Riding, shmiding. Do I look like a cowboy?”


“It’s a beautiful day.”

“So, the sun is out. What else is new?”


Three Jewish mothers are having lunch. The waiter comes over and says, “Ladies, is ANYTHING all right?”


A Jewish mother gets a phone call from her son. “A long time you haven’t called. You didn’t wonder if I’m dead yet?


A Jewish mother answers the phone, a call from her son.

“I haven’t eaten in a week. I didn’t want to have my mouth full of food in case you called.”


“It’s my birthday.”

“A year smarter you should become.”


Ceil says to Ida, “It’s awful what’s happening in Afghanistan.”

Ida says, “I live in the back, I don’t see nothing.”

Artists who have appeared live (many in person) on the WRHU Jazz Cafe with John Bohannon

March 17th, 2014

TV host/vocalist Regis Philbin

Jazz Banjoist/vocalist Cynthia Sayer

Les Brown, Jr with the Band of Renown

Composer Ervin Drake (It Was A Very Good Year)

Author David Evanier

Cabaret vocalist K. T. Sullivan

Cabaret vocalist Steve Ross

TV host/vocalist Peter Marshall, Hollywood Squares

Stride pianist/vocalist Judy Carmichael

Stride pianist Stephanie Trick

Vocalist Maud Hixson

Bassist Jim DeJulio

Guitarist Joe Carbone

Vocalist Ellen Kaye

Debbie Whiting, daughter of vocalist Margaret Whiting

Vocalist Jerry Costanzo

Comedian Pat Cooper

Vocalist Carol Sloane

Vocalist Sue Raney

Trumpet/vocalist Bria Skonberg.

Pianist Stan Wiest

Band leader Joe Battaglia, New York Big Band

Vocalist Jim Malloy

Broadway actress/vocalist Janene Lovullo

Vocalist Alex Pangman

Band leader Jack Millman

Vocalist Greg Pomrance

Vocalist Cary Hoffman

Vocalist Ed Romero

Vocalist Denice Donatelli

Vocalists Tom Toce & Kimberly Hawkey

Bassist John Ray

Guitarist Vinny Raniolo

Vocalist Shoshanna Bush

Vocalist  Joanne Tathem

Vocalist Ken Slavin

Pianist Ben Stein

Alto, tenor, baritone sax Lou Caputo

Bassist Chris White

Vocalist/pianist Phyllis Tagg

Vocalist Tom Culver

Vocalist Sam Broverman

Vocalist Mary Bogue

Vocalist/ jazz pianist Les McCann

Actress/vocalist Linda Purl


Seven Steps to Positive Community Interactions

March 14th, 2014

Police in New York City have been issued a new directive titled Seven Steps to Positive Community Interactions.
Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton say from now on, police officers will be required to introduce themselves by name and rank and must listen attentively and keep an open mind, and they must be patient.

“Excuse me, Mr. Alleged Perpetrator. I’m officer Mort Snerdly, badge number seven and a-half medium. Do you have a minute to chat?”
“Huh? What’s the beef?”
“Oh, no beef, sir. Pardon me, but I was just wondering about your activity in that jewelry store. It seems to be closed. And I observed you possibly exiting said building by the front door, which appears to have been jimmied.”
‘Sorry, pal, but I can’t hear you because of that burglar alarm. Loud sucker, ain’t it?”
“Yes, sir.  We can step a few feet away and chat.  That is, if you have the time.”
“Well, officer, I am in a rush here. Got an important appointment.”
“Yes, sir, I understand. But I noticed that your pockets are bulging.”
“I carry all my valuables with me.  Got to be careful these days. Leave things in your apartment, never know who might break in.”
“Sir, I’m really sorry to detain you, but I must inquire as to what you may have on your person.”
“My person?”
“Yes, Mr. Alleged Perp. In your pockets. What are you carrying?”
“Like I said, my stuff. You wouldn’t happen to have a search warrant on you, would you?”
“That won’t be necessary, sir. This is in the category, oh, excuse me while I check my manual. Ah, yes, here it is, in the category of probable cause.”
“The cause of what?”
“Forgive me for taking up your time, but it appears to me, wow, that burglar alarm is persistent, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, that store owner ought to be given a summons for unnecessary loud noise. Disturbing the peace around here. The neighbors may start complaining.”
“Yes, sir.  We’ll look into that. Now, about the items on your person.”
“Just a few things I picked up. Over the years, of course. You might say I’m a collector.”
“Yes, sir. I understand.  And I’m sorry to be so, well, nosey, but do you happen to have receipts for all those items?”
“I’m really in a hurry, officer.”
“No problem, sir. We could continue this conversation at the precinct. You won’t have to call a cab, we can ride in my squad car. Take just a few minutes to clear this up. May I interest you in some nice bracelets?”
“They’re called handcuffs, sir. If you don’t mind, just turn around and you can try them on for size.”
“Now, wait a minute. Are you saying you’re arresting me?”
“Oh, perish the thought, sir.  Just detaining you for continuation of our little chat.  It’ll be much quieter at the precinct.”
“Well, officer, I think I’d better call my lawyer.”
“No problem, sir.  Here, use my cell phone.”
“Yeah, I’ll just call Bernie, my attorney. Hey, Bernie. It’s me. Got a little problem here. This nice police officer…what? Probable cause?  Ipso facto? Habeas corpus? Yeah, I’ll tell him.”
“What’s Bernie saying?”
“He says you got nothing. I should…”
“That’s all right, sir.  Sorry to have bothered you. You’re free to go.”
“Gee, thanks, officer. See you around. I hope not.  Heh, heh, just a little joke.”
“Uh, sir?  My cell phone?”
“Oh, yeah. Sorry. I do have my own.”
“Well, sir, I’m sorry to have detained you. I hope you won’t be late for your appointment. Have a good day. That burglary alarm is really loud. You wouldn’t have some ear plugs on you, would you?”
“Sorry, no.”
“No problem. I’ll just step over here.”
“Ok. And I’ll just check in with Bernie. On my own cell phone.  Bernie? Yeah, everything’s ok. He told me I was free to go. Yeah. Hey, thanks for saving my bacon.  No, I didn’t knock over a deli. It was a jewelry store.  Yeah, he’s checking on the loud noise from the burglar alarm.  Nice fellow.  Very polite, considerate, understanding, patient.  Yeah, I know.  A lot of that going around lately.”

Spring ahead or back or what?

March 10th, 2014

On Sunday, March 9 this reminder in the New York Daily News:

Daylight Saving Time. Spring Ahead. Did you turn your clocks back?



Actual Instructions on Real Items.

March 10th, 2014

A hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.

A bag of snacks: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

A bar of soap: Directions. Use like regular soap.

Frozen dinners: Serving suggestion–Defrost. Heat. Enjoy.

Cough medicine for children: When taking this medication, do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery.

A sleep aid: Warning. May cause drowsiness.

A bag of peanuts: Warning. Contains nuts.

A child’s Superman costume: Wearing this suit will not enable you to fly.

The OOPS Department

March 3rd, 2014

A great-grandfather went to a local school in Connecticut to pick up his five year old great grandson. When they got home his wife was shocked. “You’ve got the wrong kid.”
“Huh? You said he would be wearing a yellow coat and a blue hat. Take a look.”
The old gent had to march himself–and the wrong kid–back to the school and he eventually returned with the right kid.
“Where did I leave my glasses?”

A local newspaper printed this correction:
Our typographical error was pointed out to us by a number of readers. We are embarrassed and contrite that our proofreading let such a error escape us.

Some years ago the Associated Press sent this brief story on its wires to radio, TV stations, and newspapers around the country:
This year’s drought in the northeast comes 20 years after the same region suffered thrwords.
Then came the correction:
This year’s drought in the northeast comes 20 years after the same region suffered thrties.
Well, that clears that up.

On the Naming of Towns

February 17th, 2014

I live on Long Island, and I can’t imagine living any place else, especially not in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota or in Goodnight, Texas and certainly not in Ten Sleep, Wyoming.

Accident, Maryland? No thanks. Then there’s Boring, Oregon and Hell, Michigan and Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
Cool, California might be nice.

And then there’s Henpeck, Illinois. People in that town got tired of explaining that it was not named for a husband with a tyrannical wife, but after a prominent citizen named Henry Peck. Eventually, they renamed the town Oblong. Don’t ask. Illinois also has a town named Normal. Local humor is a frequent listing in the newspapers: “Normal Man Marries Oblong Woman.”

You had to be there.

Here on the Island of Long, some years ago, there was a controversy in the community of Shirley. It was scheduled to be renamed either Brookhampton or New Hampton. Two opposing groups formed, the Committee To Rename Shirley and the Committee To Keep Shirley Shirley. Folks in favor of a change suggested Floyd Harbor, ignoring possible confusion with the community of Lloyd Harbor. Dissenters who pointed out that Shirley has no harbors were reminded that some harbors are nearby. Anyway, they said, the William Floyd Parkway runs through Shirley.

William Floyd was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but he lived in Mastic Beach, near Shirley. And, making things more complex, Shirley began in the 1930s as Mastic Acres because it was near Mastic Beach. But in 1952 Mastic Acres was changed to Shirley in honor of William T. Shirley, a developer. People liked him a lot because he bought the community a post office. Well, he didn’t actually buy one. You can’t just go to a shopping mall and buy a post office, and can’t even find one on the Internet. But he did buy a parcel of land and put up some money for a building to keep stamps out of the rain. By the way, stamps in 1952 cost three cents.

One day in 1967, some people in East Northport decided that their community ought to return to Larkfield, the original name it had until 1909. One reason for the change, they said, was that one of the main streets was called Larkfield Road. And anyway, East Northport isn’t really east of Northport, it’s to the south. Someone then said, change it to South Northport. Someone else said, change it to Southport. Another person said all those names would be confusing because the community is on the north shore. Peoria was also ruled out because some folks in Illinois were using that name, and still are today so it apparently caught on. Anyway, these days it’s still East Northport.

Imagine the dilemma facing folks who lived in the Massachusetts town of Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

It was an old Indian name that meant “You fish on your side of the river, I’ll fish on my side, and the tourists can have the middle.”

They changed the name to Webster.

Maybe I’ll just retire in Carefree, Arizona.

Upcoming Guest on the Jazz Cafe

September 11th, 2013

Scheduled to appear Monday, Sept 16th, on the Jazz Cafe with John Bohannon: Jim Malloy, a dynamic new vocalist who puts some style into the old standards. His debut CD “Jazz Vocalist” is getting radio plays around the country.  Malloy will perform live and in person on WRHU.

Also scheduled: A visit with a jazz legend, Toots Thielemans, renowned for his jazz improvisations on harmonica. His composition “Bluesette” has become a jazz standard. Thielemans is 92 and still leading the way.

Be sure to tune in to the Jazz Cafe, hosted by John Bohannon every Monday from 1p to 4p, on WRHU 88.7fm. You can also stream the show on the internet here.

Subway Kittens

September 11th, 2013

Two tiny kittens scampering along a subway line in Brooklyn the other morning shut down service for two hours until NYPD officers finally scooped them up. Usually, squirrels scamper, but in this case kittens were scampering. Go figure.

Reaction was immediate. Many riders said they didn’t mind the delay because they didn’t want the kittens to get hurt.
Donald Trump insisted that the city turn the entire subway system over to Trump Transit, and this problem would not happen again because he would install a screening facility to prevent cats and other live animals from entering the subway system without a special permit.
Former MTA boss Joe Lhota, who’s running for Mayor, said he wouldn’t have stopped the trains for a couple of damn cats. They probably have fleas anyway.
Anthony Weiner, also running for Mayor, said he would have personally saved the kittens. He says he has a detailed Saving Kittens Trapped On The Tracks policy, and that, if elected, he would appoint a deputy Mayor of Feline Safety. Yes, he said that.
Other hopefuls in the race for Mayor said they would have stopped the trains to save the kittens.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said there was no truth to reports that he would have unleashed a chemical attack against the kittens to clear the way.
President Obama said he would have considered a limited narrow act aimed at anyone who would release kittens on subway tracks. Not an open ended commitment, no boots on the ground. That third rail is a killer. The President also said, we cannot accept a world where innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale and kittens are thrown onto subway tracks. But he later decided to leave the issue up to Congress.
Vice President Joe Biden said, that’s right, boss.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, some cite the risk of doing things, but we should ask, what is the risk of doing nothing?
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said his Parliament voted down a proposal to join the effort to rescue the kittens. More’s the pity, he was quoted as saying, although he didn’t explain what that meant. Brits are fond of saying that.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court had no comment because he was still working on last Sunday’s New York Times crossword puzzle.
Hillary Clinton did not commit one way or another, but aides indicated she was weighing all options and would make a decision in the future.
Alec Baldwin said he would have tied their tails together and tossed them up over an electrical line like a pair of old sneakers.
Governor Christie of New Jersey said whoever tossed those kittens onto the subway tracks is a complete idiot, self consumed and underpaid. Christie reminded reporters that he’s on a sea food diet. He said, I see food I eat it.
Mitt Romney, who said, you remember me. I used to be the next President of the United States. I would have scooped up the kittens, put them in a pet carrier on top of my car, and driven them to safety.
Mayor Bloomberg was unavailable for comment because each time the city has a major problem he retreats to one of his many homes outside the city, for his own safety, but a spokesman says because of today’s sophisticated communications technology the Mayor is always reachable.
The kittens, whose names are August and Arthur, will be available for adoption in several weeks unless they are found to be living illegally in America, at which time they will be subject to deportation.


Who’s Afraid Of Wolf Blitzer?

September 9th, 2013

“Martha, will you show her where we keep the, uh, euphemism?”

No one was there at the moment, it was just something I say out loud to myself now and again because some customer in my bar is always asking me where the you-know-what-is, giving it some kind of cutesy name, and hoping no one would ever guess that a person might have to pee or poop.

All this happened, more or less. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. I really should have called a repairman, but at the moment I was concerned about one of my regulars at the bar. Elmer Gantry was drunk. I would deal with him later, because there was another immediate issue to handle first. My bartender. I sensed that he was unhappy.

“I am unhappy,” he said.


He gazed intently at me from across the bar and said, “You don’t understand. I am an invisible man. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Just a lousy bartender.”

I tried to reassure him that he was a truly great bartender, skilled and stylish with a soupcon of panache, but he seemed to have made up his mind to quit.  He wondered aloud if a soupcon of panache was an ingredient in a Brandy Alexander, but I said never mind. A raise, I thought. I said to myself, “Self, I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” He must have read my mind, saw my thought bubble.

“Go ahead, make my day. You talkin’ to me? I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.

As he strode out the door, I said, “You’ll want to come back. Pick up the phone. Call me, Ishmael.” But I knew he wouldn’t call.  “Shane. Shane. Come back.”  That was my pet name for him, and I was hoping that might work.  I tried another pet name and one final attempt. “Sawyer, you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back as a star.”

“Hasta la Vista, baby,” he said, and stomped out the front door.

And that’s when she walked in. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. And my bartender had just quit. Tall, blonde, and beautiful, she didn’t just walk, she slinked.

“What…a…dump,” she said, looking around, then at me. “Hello, Gorgeous. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I hurried around behind the bar. “What’ll you have?”

“A martini. Shaken, not stirred. And we’ll be friends.”

“Bond we will, and I’ll do my best,” I said. “My bartender just quit. And just as this place is really getting popular.”

“So,” she said. “The best of times, the worst of times. This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“Don’t call me ‘Frankly.’  You’ll find another bartender. Round up the usual suspects. Or just whistle for him. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

“How true. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

“I was about to say that,” she said.

“By the way, don’t call me Steve.”

She took a dainty sip of her martini.  “I’ll just call you Scaramouche. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”

“That’s me. Scaramouche. I fall in and out of love every day, and the affect is the same as having never loved at all.” I poured myself a bourbon on the rocks and raised my glass to her. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

I still had no bartender, but at least I had a piano player. Sam. He was the best. He could sound like Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, and Dave Brubeck all rolled up into one. But when you unrolled them, he sounded like Sam. He sauntered into the bar just then, sat down at the piano, and I said, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’”

And he did. But midway through he hit a clinker. He turned toward me, grinned, and said, “Well, nobody’s perfect.”

I liked Sam. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. That day he said, to no one in particular, “The hell with it. I’ll play piano in some cheap bar.”  And so saying, he rowed ashore, and found my drinking establishment.

Sam kept playing and I turned to her, still not even knowing her name, and said, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” But she obviously didn’t like that because she arched an eyebrow and flared her nostrils. Impressive motor skills to be able to do those two things at once. I tried another approach. “Stella! Hey Stella! I feel we’ve met previously. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty frame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

She heaved a sigh. “This is the second saddest story I have ever heard, and I must say, the moment one learns English, complications set in.”

It was love at first sight. It felt good. Love is never having to say you’re sorry, and what was your name again? We moved closer, our lips ready for that first sweet kiss when Ishmael walked tentatively back in through the front door and paused there. “When I walked outside, I said to Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. I’m back. There’s no place like home.”

He clicked his heels together.  Funny I had never noticed those ruby red slippers before. He glided behind the bar and made a Sloe Gin Fizz for Elmer Gantry, who was still drunk at the end of the bar. I wondered who the hell Toto was but decided not to ask. At least my bartender was back. And she was here.

I looked at him, looked at her, and said, “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.”

There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.

That’s all there is, there isn’t anymore.

Good night and good luck.

Good night, David.

Good night, Chet.

And good night, Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are.