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Originally published June 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 29, 2008 at 12:32 AM

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The Wrap | Ron Judd

Don't worry, Bill: We're here to help you adjust

He's outta there. Plenty has been written about what the early retirement of Bill Gates means for Microsoft. But not enough attention has been paid to what it means for Gates.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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He's outta there.

Plenty has been written about what the early retirement of Bill Gates means for Microsoft. But not enough attention has been paid to what it means for Gates.

Namely: As a retiree, Chairman Bill will be on a fixed income. Just to be neighborly, we drove over to Hunts Point to poll some other retired high-tech moguls for some penny-pinching tips for Bill and the family:

• Cut dryer sheets into quarters.

• Save heating costs and eliminate drafts by closing off 85 or 90 rooms in your house in the winter.

• Improve gas mileage by keeping the tires in the Bentley inflated to 38 psi.

• Take advantage of that early-bird special at your local Royal Fork buffet.

• Turn down thermostat on Olympic-sized Jacuzzi to 103 degrees.

• Never buy a grocery-store chain on an empty stomach.

• Sunday-paper coupons!

More helpful hints:

You Know You're In Trouble When: Wally Walker is described as the brains behind the operation to save your city's NBA franchise.

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Trying to Fuggedaboutit: After protests by Italian Americans, Democrats modified a campaign ad in which Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, R-Bedrock, is depicted to the tune of theme music from "The Sopranos." The new ad is set to the more politically correct jingle, "If I Only Had A Brain."

He's Not Old, Just Well-Ripened: Sen. John McCain, R-Thritis, is offering a $300 million prize to anyone who can help him remember where he left the keys to his Buick.

Bang, Bang: The Supreme Court, packed with Bush appointees, ruled 5-4 that Americans have a fundamental, constitutional right to be shot by their own handgun.

SCOTUS Strike Two: The court also whittled the original $5 billion Alaska oil-spill penalty against Exxon Mobil down to a paltry $500 million. Writing for the majority, Justice David Souter noted that if people, fish and wildlife don't want to be fouled by petroleum, they should stay the hell out of Prince William Sound.

Please Update Your Scorecards: Due to its coming clean on its nuclear program, North Korea has officially been downgraded from the Axis of Evil to the Enclave of Irritants.

N.K. II: The change in status will allow the former rogue nation to trade with the powerful economies of the West, and also with the United States.

Crossfired: Major news outlets spent an entire day last week hashing over criticisms of Sen. Barack Obama's views on religion by the Rev. James Dobson, a lunatic-fringe evangelist who believes in the Bible right down to pillars of salt and talking snakes. Next week: Mainstream media run McCain's views on technology past the Unabomber.

Of the People, By the People ... Congress, controlled by Democrats elected to end the bankrupting occupation of Iraq, voted overwhelmingly to provide yet another $161.8 billion to continue military operations for the next year — still with no timetable for withdrawal. The running tab: more than $800 billion. If you can come up with something funny about this, you're one up on us.

He's Joking, Right? Obama, D-Teeth, is urging Americans to help his poor vanquished opponent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-Soup Line, pay off more than $10 million in campaign debt — all of it accrued after the woman failed to display the common sense God gave a goat and get out of the race when it was officially over six months ago. Yeah: We'll get right on that.

And Finally: "Scratch any cynic," he often said, speaking for a lot of us, "and you'll find a disappointed idealist." The world is a lesser place without George Carlin.

Ron Judd's columns appear in Sunday's A section and Thursday's Northwest Weekend section. Email: rjudd@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

About The Wrap | Ron Judd
"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.

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