Thoughts to ponder . . . .

Which is more tiresome -- women who complain about pregnancies or men who complain about softball injuries?

You know you're over the edge when you pick up your home phone to make a call and you dial 9 first.

Definition of hell: Waiting 30 minutes in the veterinarian's waiting room while a John Denver tape is playing.

Alternate definition of hell: Your child brings the school hamster home for the weekend and insists on parking it in your bedroom to keep it away from the cats. The hamster's cage is equipped with a treadmill. The furry little guy uses it all night long.

Definition of heaven: You take the car in for its standard checkup. Even though it's like inviting theft, you tell the service writer to double-check the transmission, fuel pump, air filter, cooling system, carburetor and air conditioner. Two hours later, he calls. "Couldn't find a single thing wrong," he chirps.

Alternate definition of heaven: a dentist who doesn't begin with, "Well, now, let's have a look."

Long life and good fortune to whomever invents non-crinkly fax paper.

If you land at National Airport from the south in a commuter plane, one frequently used approach takes you north over Alexandria, east over the Pentagon, east across the northern lip of the main north-south runway and, after an extremely sharp right turn at an altitude of only 250 feet, southwest onto a secondary runway. Why such maneuvering in heavy traffic and at low altitude? Airport officials say it maximizes safety. Hmmmmmm.

There ought to be a way to prevent automatic tellers (or similar punch-'em-up wonders of the modern era) from displaying your name at the conclusion of a transaction. At Union Station, for example, if I buy a train ticket with a credit card, the machine ends matters by saying: THANK YOU R LEVEY. You're very welcome, machine, but if I want the shady-looking schloonk who's behind me in line to know who I am, I'll introduce myself.

One day before I die, I'd like to go grocery shopping and find nothing on my list sold out.

Is there anything better than jumping into a pile of leaves? Yes. Having someone else rake them.

Difference between a good restaurant and a bad one: Good waits for you to ask for the check. Bad slips the check to you in the middle of your entree.

I won't embarrass him by publishing his name, but James Madison High School in Vienna has a 97-pounder on its freshman football team. Proves once again that want-to, not physical stature, is the essence of athletics.

Why do so many people exult over all the new restaurants in Adams-Morgan? Behind every new one is an old one that failed.

The phone company is really something. If you look under "Attorneys" in the Yellow Pages, it says, "See Lawyers." If you look under "Garbage Collection," it tells you to see "Rubbish Removal." If death were for sale, they'd tell you to see "End of Life."

People moan about gas prices -- with reason. But the same people rush out to the 7-Eleven in the middle of the night and pay 20 percent more for basic household supplies simply because they're too lazy or too disorganized to plan ahead.

Here I thought baseball was the cliche capital of the world, what with playing them one game at a time and the pennant race never being over till it's over. Enter football. Every game is "won in the trenches." One team always "controls the line of scrimmage." Every losing quarterback says, "Give their defense credit." Spare me!

A house in my neighborhood sat on the market for six months when the first agent had the listing. It sat for another six months when a second agent had the listing. Now that a third agent has it, the house is either for sale or for rent, according to the latest front-yard sign. Granted, rental isn't a long-term answer. But it generates at least some cash flow, for both owner and agent. Isn't that more intelligent than trying to swim upstream in a bum resale market?

A Sunday spin on the Beltway. Between River Road and the Interstate 66 turnoff in Virginia, I decide to count how many of the cars that pass me have just one person inside. Total: 179 of 191. And we say we're serious about conserving fuel? (Note to wise guys: Two others were in the car with me at the time I did the counting.)

There is no truth to the rumor that "Volkswagen" means "Poor resale value" in German.

If there is a more dangerous pedestrian crossing in our fair city than Seventh Street and Michigan Avenue NE, I don't want to see it.

Have you ever gone into a Roy Rogers and not seen that yellow sign warning you that the floors are wet?

You know it's late October in Washington when a T-shirt is just a little too little and a long-sleever is just a little too much.