Jewish World Review June 6, 2005/ 28 Iyar, 5765

Greg Crosby

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Hot Off the Press | The Laguna hillsides are crumbling, turning expensive hilltop homes into valley shacks; Paris Hilton found a guy with the same first name as hers and has announced her engagement to him; the Michael Jackson child molestation trial is winding down; the Democrats continue to do everything they can to delay the John Bolton confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations; and former FBI big shot Mark Felt has admitted that he was Watergate's infamous "deep throat." Now that you have all the top news of the week, let me enlighten you with a couple of tidbits you may not have read about.

Brotherly Love?

This first one is from the Reuters News Service. It seems that five Thai Buddhist monks have been defrocked and fined after a brawl with other monks from a nearby temple, police and newspapers reported.

The street fight was the culmination of years of antagonism between monks from the two temples who had often exchanged curses, insults and rude gestures as they collected alms on different sides of a road, the Manager newspaper said.

"When an ordinary person is given a middle-finger sign, he will be mad. So am I," the paper quoted one of the defrocked monks, Boonlert Boonpan, as saying after the brawl in the northeastern state of Nong Khai Monday. Boonlert said he usually carried a knuckle-duster in his shoulder bag during the morning collection of alms on which Bhuddist monks depend.

Boonlert and the four other monks, all aged between 15 and 28, were each fined 1,000 baht ($25) by police for public brawling and were defrocked by senior monks, Wut Pomraksa, head of Nong Khai police station, told Reuters. But Boonlert was unrepentant. "If senators can fight in parliament, why can't monks?" he said. Oh, those crazy religious kids!

Bee Careful

According to the Associated Press, a Tulsa Oklahoma family has found a bit of buried treasure under the floorboards of their historic home: 20,000 bees.

Beekeepers found several hives under the floor of the second story of the house. The bee combs under them were about six inches thick and extended several feet. A modified vacuum cleaner will be used to suck the bees out through a tube and deposit them in a sealed container. The bees will be taken to an apiary, where their honey will be harvested.

Because the 1930s home is in an historic district, the removal project has been delayed while the family finds a contractor who can tear out the flooring without violating preservation guidelines. They haven't received an estimate of how much it will cost. There's no doubt, though, that the job won't come cheap. Now that's really getting stung when you least expect it!

Think It Might Last?

Reuters has reported on a British couple who hold the world record for the longest marriage. Percy and Florence Arrowsmith married on June 1, 1925 and celebrated their 80th anniversary on Wednesday. They say their success was down to a glass of whisky, a glass of sherry and the word "sorry."

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The Guinness World Records said Tuesday the couple held the title for the longest marriage and also for the oldest married couple's aggregate age.

"I think we're very blessed," Florence, 100, told the BBC. "We still love one another, that's the most important part." Asked for their secret, Florence said you must never be afraid to say "sorry." "You must never go to sleep bad friends," she said, while Percy, 105, said his secret to marital bliss was just two words: "yes dear."

The couple has three children, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and is planning a party soon.

"I like sherry at lunch time and whisky at night and I'm looking forward very much to my party," said Florence.

I'm only married for 27 years but I learned the "yes dear" trick early on. I also know that saying "I'm sorry" can be the quickest and easiest way to end an argument.

Unfortunately, in the heat of battle those two magic words can be really hard to choke out. Evidently Florence and Percy were able to do it, and do it rather well indeed.

Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Arrowsmith. .

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2005 Greg Crosby