from newspaper columns by
Al Sicherman

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Al Sicherman, a.k.a. “Mr. Tidbit” and “Uncle Al,” was a man of many hats at the Star Tribune. Except for the “Tidbits” column (on which I still depend for information), he is now retired.

Al Sicherman

July 15, 2004

Mr. Tidbit’s First Law: Every new way to buy an existing product always costs more.

text below checked (see note) when added

March 16, 2006

Long ago, when young pre-Mr. Tidbit was living with his parents and grandmother, a friend dropped by during dinner. Offered something to drink, he got a bottle of beer from the refrigerator. Mr. Tidbit’s grandmother, noting that there was already “white soda” (something like 7UP) on the table, said “White soda and beer: That’s a Cincinnati.” His friend shrugged, poured beer and soda into a glass and took a drink.

“This is terrible!” he said.

“I didn’t say it was good,” said Mr. Tidbit’s grandmother; “I said it was a Cincinnati.”



“Uncle Al has the key, if only he could find it”,
April 17, 2006

Uncle Al has been mislaying stuff alarmingly often. (See “Father’s will, Where did I hide my?”, “Funnels, Where the #%@ are all the?” and “Organization expert, A visit from the,” all in “OeuvrePaid,” the unpublished index of his works-for-hire.)



“OK by him: English as a non-language”,
January 1, 2007

Responding to the New Year’s invitation to start fresh, Uncle Al has decided not to be such a #*&* cynic — to notice more flowers and less of the manure they grow in. (But cynically, that does increase the chance he’ll step in it.)

For example, he is rethinking his view of the peculiar e-mails that appear to come from banks and credit-card firms [...]

Here’s part of one that Uncle Al received early last year:

“Good day, dear client!

“The January and Februray of 2006 were the most risky with fraud operations for Visa Internationals. Day by day hackers get confidential information of our clients and much people apply to us to safe them from money lost.”

Uncle Al has believed that grammar or spelling so dreadful, in e-mail ostensibly from a major financial institution, means it’s really from a crook. But with his resolve to be less cynical, he concedes that some such e-mails could be from major financial institutions that have uncommonly welcoming hiring practices.



May 21, 2009

While Mr. Tidbit wasn’t paying attention, several brands of “uncured bacon” showed up in the refrigerator case, all boasting something along the lines of “no nitrates or nitrites added” (a reference to the chemicals usually used in curing bacon), and following up with something like this odd caveat: “Except for naturally occurring nitrates in celery powder.” Celery powder in bacon? Yes, apparently they add celery powder because it contains ... nitrates!




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