Bits and pieces for Palindrome Week

Published 8:09 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By Frank Roberts

This is a bits ‘n’ pieces column, and it must begin with something that should elicit an amen from most folks. One of my docs (I have a slew) gave me a “bulletin” announcing that senior citizens are the nation’s leading carrier of Aids — hearing aids, Band-Aids, Rolaids, walking aids, medical aids, government aids and — most of all — monetary aid to their kids.

The daily mail always brings in slews of catalogs, and some are now threatening with this message: “Don’t let this be your last catalog. Order today.” What happens? You don’t order, and the catalogs keep coming anyway.

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A friend visiting Buster Keaton’s home was amazed when the brilliant comic’s St. Bernard let out a loud, clear “meow.” In the mouth of the dog, in addition to the breed’s famous spittle, was a newborn kitten the pooch had adopted, carrying it around atop the doggie tongue, looking like a wad of chewing tobacco.

My wife has a problem similar to one experienced by Edward G. Robinson. He was stone deaf. Someone asked him if he ever tried a hearing aid. The actor showed a small sack containing five hearing aids. Robinson was asked why he didn’t get them fixed. The star said, “Sorry, I can’t hear you.”

The difference these days is that, the devices often cost a small fortune.

The royal family and their babies are in the news. It’s a wonder they get favorable press. Prince Charles said, “I simply treat the press as though they were children.” Ridiculous!

President John F. Kennedy twice failed the New York bar exam. He explained, “I’m clearly not a major league genius.” And, the former president once confessed, “I don’t think the intelligence reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.”

And now, a few quips and quotes:

From comedian George Carlin: “When I got out of high school they retired my jersey, but it was for hygiene and sanitary reasons.”

From Sean Connery, via the department of startling revelations: “I’ve always hated that damn James Bond. I’d like to kill him.” Confession from me: I’ve never seen any James Bond movie.

Christopher Plummer, Julie Andrews’ co-star, used to refer to their movie as “The Sound of Mucus.”

In honor of Palindrome Week (5/11/15 to 5/15/15): Palindromes have always been fascinating. They’re expressions that read the same forward and backward. The most famous is “Madam, I’m Adam.” One I especially like tells of man’s ingenuity: “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama.”

Here are a couple from Bob Dylan: “If I had a hi-fi” and “Do geese see God?” A couple more for your edification: “Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?” “A nut for a jar of tuna” and this lengthy one: “Are we not drawn onward, we few drawn onward to new era?” Whew!

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at