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Portia and I were having lunch at the Far East Cafe on Grant Avenue. I was buying, Portia being imaginary. She’s a sparkling conversationalist and an inexpensive lunch guest.

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Visitors swarm to the Coastside each weekend, coming to enjoy our local diversions, including the beaches, the farms, the restaurants, and, of course, our annual Running of the Goats on Main Street. Soon a new local attraction will open its doors, the Coastal Museum of Unnatural History.

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This is a “classic” Quip Tide, written years ago. And yet we still don’t have an answer to Louie Castoria’s timeless question. Castoria is taking the week off to contemplate chickens and roads.

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Most of us on the Coastside realize the need to be prepared to evacuate on short notice. We don’t face the biblical plagues of Egypt — frogs, locusts, boils and such — but we have the ever-present threat of disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes and drivers who don’t signal their turns.

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When you hear the words “Main Street” they conjure up images of an America from long ago. There’s the old City Hall, the fire station, several restaurants, watering holes, a market, a barber shop, a bank and the local newspaper's office. There’s a general store, clothiers, booksellers and ha…

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Cleo, the CEO, smiled broadly, gesturing with open arms to everyone in the conference room. “Welcome back for our first meeting at HQ since March 2020. We’ll be heading over to Brigid’s Brew Pub for our first lunch together as a team as soon as we’re done here. My treat!”

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Telephone help lines have become all syrupy in their praise of the customer or patient. Was there a gigantic webinar for phone assistants to learn how to obsequiously flatter the patient, without providing any real service?

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This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. It is not Mothers or Mothers’ Day, because it honors exactly one mother, your own, and it is her day. That was the original idea anyway, but some of us are lucky enough to have two mothers, or several mother-figures, or, as in my case, a mother and a mothe…

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This morning, April 26, I appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, but my appearance wasn’t as apparent as they usually are, apparently. It was done by phone. Thanks, COVID-19.

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Watching episodes of “The Voice” sometimes puts me to sleep. Coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas and Blake Shelton fill the time with competitive banter, but it isn’t enough to hold my attention throughout the show.

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Five business colleagues were Zoomed — rhymes with “doomed” — in another virtual meeting. They had come to the last item, “Other,” and became mired in trite, sometime offensive phrases people use at work. (In Italics.)

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Last year, almost to the day, I and many others stopped commuting to work. I’ll return to the office occasionally, but have no desire to resume 90-minute drives each way, five days a week.

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Back in the Dark Ages, when AOL was only available through dial-up modems, receiving an email was a sporadic event. The cheery “You’ve got mail!” voice — as enthusiastic as if it were saying “You’ve got a tax refund!”—prompted users to leave their chat rooms or pause Tetris long enough to op…

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We have a great variety of wild birds along the Coastside, to the delight of devout birders and folks who just like nature. But the people who named bird species had a lousy way of showing their fondness for the feathered flyers.

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Of the world’s soups, minestrone is the chameleon. You can use whatever you have in the fridge and pantry.

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We unpaid humor columnists are occasionally asked questions about our craft. Over the past 23 years I’ve been asked some queries enough times to think they may be of general interest. Here are a few of the frequent topics:

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Either James Madison or Alexander Hamilton wrote, “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Though angels might be more kind to us than we are to ourselves, they’d still need to hire us to do the leg work.

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Among the things we’ve missed in recent months is those long drives to visit faraway family or national parks. Maybe just for the cocoon comfort of the family car.

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Quip Tide usually begins a new year by predicting events that will not happen in the coming 12 months. But if we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that anything can happen.

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It’s not that 2020 was completely rotten. Couples still got married, parents had babies and teachers taught, though their plans were usually modified.

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Dec. 25, 2020, will be “Xmas Lite” for nearly everyone — fewer sleigh bells jingling on visits to Grandma’s house, smaller dinner tables and less need for a wide tree to shade all the presents.

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We’re getting only about 10 hours of sunlight these days, as the Winter Solstice approaches, and it’s about time we did something about it!

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In December our thoughts turn to nutcrackers and elves, caroling and wrapping, holiday movies and big family gather — well, holiday movies, anyway.

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“Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof!” says Tevye, of “Fiddler on the Roof,” in the book, film, and countless stage shows worldwide.

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Languages change over time. The outdated titles “Miss” and “Master” for young people have all but disappeared, which is only fair, since “Master” conveys respect, as in “Master Yoda,” while “Miss” sounds like the young lady swung at a pitch and didn’t connect.

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Every U.S. president has been commander-in-chief, and most presidents — 28 out of 45 — have also been veterans, having served in active duty, including state militias.

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There are two kinds of people in the world: those who categorize everyone into two kinds, and those who don’t.

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In presidential election years, Quip Tide often yields the floor to someone who has held the office and is generally thought to have carried out its heavy duties honorably. Today we hear from one of the Rushmore Four, Republican Theodore Roosevelt, born 162 years ago on Oct. 27.

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I’m not a veterinarian, I am a sexagenarian — that is, in my 60s — which required neither advanced schooling nor special skills, other than continuing to breathe. During those 60-plus years I have learned a lot about dogs, and most of it from dogs, who are, after all, the experts on the subject.