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I didn't watch the Oscars last night. I enjoyed not watching the Oscars even more than I enjoyed not watching the Superbowl. I had a couple of reasons for not watching. I didn't have any dogs in that fight. I only saw one of the best picture nominees and the movies I did see (with the exception of Walk The Line) got very few nominations.

The other reason was that TVLand was showing a Don Knotts marathon. No way in hell could the Oscars compete with that. It was all pre-Jack Burns Andy Griffith show and post-Norman Fell Three's Company. They had some classics, like the one where Barney gives a ticket to the governor and the one where Gomer takes his place in the choir. Interesting piece of trivia: Ron Howard's father Rance Howard plays the governor's chauffeur in the former episode.

There were also a couple of episodes where Howard Morris played someone besides Ernest T. Bass. In one, he played Helen Crumps TV repairman. In another, he was a voice on the radio.

They showed that episode of Three's Company where Mr.Furley overhears a conversation between Jack and Chrissy and misinterprets it as something sexual. That was always one of my favorites.

I now understand all those women who were glued to the television after Princess Diana died. I hate to think what I'm going to be like when Bob Newhart dies.

Even though I didn't watch the Oscars, I checked to see who won what today. (The fact that I can do that is yet another reason not to watch them). Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon got the acting awards they deserved. I was glad to see Ang Lee get best director, even though I didn't see Brokeback Mountain. Maybe now people will go out and see Ang Lee's underrated gem, Ride With The Devil, an excellent film about the guerilla part of the Civil War fought out west. (A part of history which itself is unduly ignored).

There was one good joke from Jon Stewart I hated missing. "Bjork coulnd't be here tonight. She was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her". Yes, Bjork and Dick Cheney are easy targets, but only taken one at a time. To zing both of them with the same joke takes a special dexterity and comic genius.

There is a lady in the Charlotte Observer named Gerry Hostetler who writes extended length obituaries ( more like articles than obituaries) every Monday. She wrote one for my father when he died. She makes me feel like such a piker with my haiku.

Today she wrote about a guy named Anthony Joseph Melibruda, who was an "affable optical technician and photographer", but had an alter ego that was "a happy-go-lucky clown and photographer." Apparently he was never dour. And always a photographer.

I am enjoying making fun of the article, but it did make him come across as a very likable guy and someone I wish I had known. I guess that's the real test of the writing. (It's on page 3B of today's observer.) I wrote a haiku after reading the article.

Anthony Joseph Melibruda

The death of a clown
I never knew makes me sad.
I missed his best gags.

In financial news, the major indices and my real life trading portfolio are down. My Bell South (BLS) stock is up though, since it is being bought by AT&T. I would like to attribute this to me being smart, but it didn't occur to me when I bought it that this would happen. The three main factors were its Zack rank , wanting to buy a utility for sector diversification, and plain old gut feeling. The latter is wrong at least as often as it is right. Of course my Pantry (PTRY) stock is up. Good old reliable PTRY.

My peruvian copper stock (PCU) is down, but I got a dividend today that is greater than the amount I've lost.

According to the NC Lottery page, Powerball is going to be coming here May 30. That's a lot earlier than I had previously heard. I will probably not be making anymore trips to South Carolina. Now that Powerball is about to become dangerously convenient, I'm going to start writing down how much I spend on tickets. According to Rob Sanford, you should spend no more than 0.5% of your gross income. I have decided on a limit which is a little less than that, and I'm going to spend that plus up to $100 in winnings.