"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Break - Holiday Music

For those who are naughty:

And for those who are nice:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eat, drink, be merry

Each year I have to post my favorite Thanksgiving comic:

And for those who get a long weekend away from work (you probably work for the government):

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My baby's with the dingoes

My older daughter and husband arrived yesterday in Australia (or today in Australian time) for a three week vacation. Although I've never been there myself, I have viewed many Australian-made movies over the years. Here's a quick list of those I can recall (astericks indicated those I highly recommend):

Australia (2008)
The Piano (1993)*
The Castle (1997)
Dead Calm (1989)
A Cry in the Dark (1989)
Mad Max(1979)
Rabbit Proof Fence (2002)*
Strictly Ballroom (1992)
Dark City (1998)*
My Brilliant Career (1979)
The Man from Snowy River (1982)*
Gallipoli (1981)*
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Breaker Morant (1980)*
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Age of Consent (1969)
December Boys (2007)
Shine (1996)*
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Romulus, My Father (2007)*
The Tracker (2002)*
The Proposition (2005)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three in One

Just because I am fascinated with Auto-Tune and space and two scientists:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Speaking of mirrors

Not feeling like writing today so here's a repeat of an old post from a couple years ago:

Driving back from the bigger town Sunday morning, I glanced in my rear view mirror at a car behind me and caught a glimpse of it. I wasn't sure if it was real, so I looked in the mirror again. Because the sun was brightly shining, there was no mistake about it. That line just below my right lower lip wasn't a wrinkle as I had hoped. No, it was dark, and about an inch long, and it was back.

It all started with the sustenance of a mole that developed on my lower lip in high school.

Not like this one:

Similar to this:

The mole appeared during puberty, and in adolescence it was easy to dismiss it as a "beauty mark." But in my twenties, the mole started producing hair, especially a certain dark long one that seemed to stand out among the tiny blond fuzz around it. It was just screaming to be plucked and so began the battle.

A decade of plucking my uni-brow had yielded two separate eyebrows with no further yanking necessary. So, I thought, would be the demise of this renegade mole hair. Every six weeks I would pluck it out of the mole mound and six weeks later the strand would reappear, as long and dark as ever. It never seemed to have any sort of growing cycle. It simply reappeared fully grown at that entire inch size.

After fifteen years of unrelenting plucking and regeneration, the "aha" moment occurred. If the mole is providing fodder for the follicle, get rid of the mole. A 45 minute out-patient procedure with a plastic surgeon, five stitches, $2500 out of my pocket, and I was rid of the mole and the hair forever - or so I thought. Two weeks after the six week healing process, it returned.

For almost 40 years now, the war between stubborn hair and stubborn host continues. Neither will acquiesce. We both intend to win the war, despite each losing battles along the way. Both a little more gray and withered than our youth, our uncompromising determination is never shaken, although the battles have become fewer.

The hair has now changed tactics: it doesn't reappear quite so regularly and often at unsuspecting times, especially in the car or at a movie theater. Perhaps my eyesight just doesn't catch it nearly so soon, but when it is discovered, I've gotten considerably better at jerking the thing out with just my fingernails.

We've gotten a bit more comfortable with each other, but we're still not quite friends. It is truly a love-hate relationship. If I do win the war, and I fully plan to, I admit I'll miss tugging on that hair in moments of quiet desperation far away from tweezers. But not that much.

Today's update:

Here's recent picture of my older daughter. You can see that she has a much bigger problem than I have.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I really need to look in the mirror more often.

I've been on TV three times in my life. The first time I was in the audience of the local station's afternoon kids' show with Sheriff Sid . My brother was interviewed and I got just enough face time to show my smile, as my relatives told me.

The second time I was 25 years old and on a noon chat show of a Birmingham, AL station with three elders from my then hometown promoting a weekend centennial festival. I was assigned to speak about a specific part of the festival, but the mayor (as all politicians seem to do when on camera) talked and talked and talked and talked and they ran out of time before it was my turn, but I got enough face time to show my smile, as my friends told me.

So last night, at a press conference, I was around TV cameras again, this time in a pan of the speakers' table and milling around in the background. I've never actually seen myself on TV so I turned on the news when I got home and watched for the story. We were watching the coverage of the event, and my husband asked me who I was talking to. Who? "There, you're there on the left hand side." What? And it was over.

I saw that woman with long silver hair on the left hand side of the screen talking to some guy I know. It didn't register that that woman was me. I didn't recognize myself. But I got enough face time to show my smile, as my husband told me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Censoring can change perception

Bleeping one innocent word gives a whole new meaning to this muppet song:

Thanks to my lovely daughter for sharing this.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This week in review

I wrote three posts on Monday, then disappeared most of the week. Perhaps someone in this world has missed me, so here's some of the things occupying my time this week:

Tuesday I had a board meeting at which I volunteered to fill all the huge empty planters downtown with evergreen boughs as part of the holiday decorations. The Christmas Parade (sorry, we are politically incorrect in this town) is in two weeks. Wednesday I drove 40 miles over to my daughter's farm and clipped a truck load of long-needle pine and cedar branches and filled the pots. I only had enough to complete half, so today it's back for another truckload. The entire project should be finished this weekend after I put in some ribbon and berry accents.
Next week I'm giving a program at the local Chamber of Commerce luncheon about "How businesses and communities can adapt to a changing economy." I've been organizing everything into a power-point presentation because I think people absorb information so much easier when they see it, especially with full stomachs.
I've also been working on a statement for a press conference that same day. We'll be announcing a huge project that our local task force has been working on for over a year. I'm so excited about the facility and the technology that is involved, plus it will be creating new jobs that everyone so desperately needs. I'll blog more about that next week.
The First Time Homebuyers Credit is popular. I've completed several amended 2008 tax returns this week alone, and many more previously, so the $8000 refunds will get here before the end of the year. As you may be aware, there is now a $6500 homebuyer credit for existing homeowners, as long as they have lived in their homes 5 consecutive years out of the last 8. There are income restrictions too. Get your "free" money while supplies last.

Between episodes of "V", "The Biggest Loser", and "The Office," I've been sorting through piles of magazines from the past three years. Because of all my previous business ventures, I receive many offers of $10 or less subscription rates to some of the best magazines, and who can refuse at those prices?

Alas, some of the home/cooking magazines are now gone for good, so I needn't worry about collecting them in the future: Gourmet, Cottage Living, Southern Accents to name a few. Much of the information in them I can get on the Internet, but how I love the photography!
Considering the value of my time, and the time and gas spent hauling them to the recycling center now, I am certain they've cost me more than had I subscribed at the regular rate (which I would never have done in the first place). I've torn out pages that I may refer to at some point in the next few years (at which time I'll be culling from that pile).

The rest of my time was occupied with the daily hum-drum of office work, fixing dinners, and sleeping. That's my boring week so far. No encounters with finger-lickin' clerks or bitter feminists. It's actually been rather nice, but I hope the weekend will bring better blog fodder.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Plug for a Friend

Kind Eyes. Now available. The first novel by an old friend, a successful attorney in Little Rock, (and a heckuva nice guy, too) who grew up in Central Illinois.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Now your news, now

One area TV station's tag line is "Your news leader." It should be "Your news now." They continuously over-use the word now. Just tonight, their Springfield reporter used the word now 7 times in a 60 second news story.

The beginning of this post was also mocking them. Their promos always include "one area school" or "one area town" or "one area business."

It hasn't gotten better since I wrote my rant last year.

Just more Cook County politics?

Northwestern University professor David Protess, founder of the Medill Innocence Project, has been subponaed by the Cook County state's attorney's office seeking his students' grades, his syllabus and their private e-mails.

Protess and his group have been featured numerous times on TV and their efforts have sucessully resulted in the release of eleven people from wrongful imprisonment. They have previously discovered coercion by police in many of those cases.

Bitter Feminist #1

My previous post stirred up some debate about the definition of feminist and the use of the word bitter in describing some of them. Therefore I will now occasionally post real-life incidents I have observed or read about of self-described feminists whom I consider (my opinion only) to be bitter.

Here is my first example.

A self-described feminist in an office setting tells co-workers that she is leaving to get a cup of coffee. A male co-worker in the office asks politely, "Would you mind bringing me back a cup of black coffee?"

Her reply : "I didn't get a PhD to serve as somebody's waitress."

This incident was told directly to me by the feminist at a dinner party. I asked her if the man was sarcastic in his request. She indicated no. I commented that perhaps he simply wanted a cup of coffee and since she was going to the break room... It made no difference to her, she thought the request was degrading.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Finger Lickin Not So Good

There are people who lick their fingers when eating ribs. There are people who lick their fingers when eating fried chicken. Some establishments even encourage the habit.

But some people lick their fingers at other times. Like the sales clerk I encountered yesterday. I purchased a dozen ornaments for a Christmas tree. As she was explaining to me that she likes to wrap things very carefully because she herself had a bad experience with a clerk poorly wrapping a purchase (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah ... TMI and I'm in a hurry), she licked her fingers, picked up a sheet of tissue paper and wrapped an ornament.

I had to watch this 12 times. Then she promptly licked her fingers again to open the plastic bag wherein she placed my purchase.

Of course, I was in total shock, so I was speechless and just stood there watching her again and again and again, thinking about flu pandemics and Orbit "Dirty Mouth" commercials.

I walked out holding the bag on the opposite side of where she touched it, dangling it like a dirty diaper.

Here's a tip: To open a plastic bag, rub the bag (near the top) between the palms of both hands for a few seconds, and voila, it opens. No spit required.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Be careful what you Tweet

Helping protestors in real time can result in searches and confiscations, at least in the USA.

"When protesters in Iran similarly used Twitter to organize anti-government rallies, the U.S. State Department hailed the micro-blogging service as a boon to democracy."

Secrets for a youthful middleage

Someone told me it was hard to tell how old the picture was in my recent Halloween post. When I said it was taken nearly 20 years ago, she said I really hadn't changed that much and asked how I do it.

Here are my secrets:

1. Pick the right DNA. My maternal grandmother died in her 90's and looked 75. My mother is 84 and has few wrinkles. I was always carded well into my 30's.

2. Have very, very thick hair as a youth. As your hair thins when you age, you'll still have much more hair on your head than there is on the bathroom floor.3. Stay out of the sun (and tanning booths) and don't smoke. Especially don't do both. Of course when you're young you think it doesn't matter, but one day you'll look in the mirror and see a dried up, brown reptile coughing up green stuff staring back at you.

4. Don't grow very tall. People always think short people are younger than they really are. Maybe because they can buy clothes in the kids' department. Who looks youngest in this picture?

5. Unless you're already a dried up, brown lizard, you don't need to be rubbing all kinds of junk into your face. The more rubbing that's done, the more wrinkles you get because you're stretching the skin. Just wash with a good soap, splash water to remove it and pat dry.
6. Don't dye your hair. You're not fooling anyone. We all know that no person over 50 has naturally golden blond or jet black hair. Even Barbie.

7. Avoid botox, plastic surgery, and any of the other hot eternal youth solutions, unless you want to look like all the other androids.

8. Dress your age. Nothing says old lady skank or old man pervert than wearing something more appropriate for a 20 year old.

9. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

10. Get plenty of sleep. She not called Sleeping Beauty for nothing. It's always the ugly old witches who are flying around at night.

11. Keep moving. Notice I didn't say exercise. Run amuck.
12. Have a sense of humor. If you want a long life, it's inevitable you'll get old so you might as well enjoy the trip. And it will be so much easier to find someone to change your adult diaper if you can laugh about it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shaking bitter women back to reality

Here's an excellent essay that very well sums up my feelings about the modern feminist movement:

" If you weren’t so bitter about the broken promises of Feminism, you would be able to see the difference between Feminism and Women’s Rights."

The real reason Republicans won in New Jersey

In the modern world of an over-weight population, you'll never gain popularity during election time by mocking a chubby opponent, especially when Christmas is just six weeks away.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fright nighty night

This was the scariest costume I ever wore at Halloween. Also the cheapest. Not one to spend a great deal of money on a costume, I just rolled out of bed, put on some Pond's cold cream, and started partying. You can see I was still a bit sleepy. The only problem with the costume was the cold cream. After an hour or so, it starting melting and turned into a transparent gob of oil dripping into my eyes and mouth and onto the pink fuzzy slippers you can't see.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We wondered when it would happen

A few years ago, after years of investigative journalism on 20/20, ABC's John Stossel finally saw the light and became a libertarian. More significant is that he began reporting on libertarian issues on a more Democratic leaning network. My household TV viewers wondered just how long ABC would tolerate his "Give Me a Break" series.

John Stossel has now left ABC and gone to Fox Business and Fox News. He is probably the most well-known libertarian journalist in the media and perhaps the move will provide more new viewers who will hop aboard the libertarian train to freedom.

Of course, his views will not feel at home there either, because right-wing conservatives are just as guilty about wanting government in their lives as the more left-wing liberals of the other networks. Still, it is good to see that there is at least one Voice of Reason in the media.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Don't slip your tongue in MY mouth

Cargill Meat Solutions is recalling 5500 pounds of beef tongue, because the tonsils may not have been completely removed. This comes after a Nebraska meat packer recalled 33,000 pounds last week for the same reason.
I am not sure which is scarier - the remote possibility of mad cow disease or that there is that much demand for beef tongue.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hard Candy - movie review

It was solely because I think Ellen Page is such a great young actress (Juno in 2007), that I picked up the movie Hard Candy at the local DVD rental place a few days ago. I hadn't remembered reading anything about this film when it debuted in 2006. (Don't read the spoiler reviews on line or it will ruin the film's effects.) Apparently it fared better in Europe than the US.

This was a film my husband and I were still talking about days later. It was very raw and disturbing and yet so well-acted and with enough twists, turns, and dark humor to keep one riveted to the storyline.

The entire premise is about the deceit of seduction. A 14 year old girl (Ellen Page) meets a 32 year old man (Patrick Wilson) in an Internet chat site and agree to meet. Two sweetly innocent-looking characters are looking for something perhaps more than friendship. The rest of the film deals with the seduction and resulting consequences. Most of the scariest moments are done through imagination and off camera sounds but there is some visual violence.

The two actors basically carry the entire film with only very minor appearances of three other characters. Throughout the movie, layers of each character are slowly unveiled and by the end there are two different characters than those you thought you knew at the beginning of the film.
Based upon the previews that were included in the DVD, it led me to believe that the marketing people were trying to sell this film to a teenage horror/thriller audience. That is a mistake. This is an adult film about an adult topic with adult consequences. It is gripping, nauseating, and complicated. It will have you talking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why one needs to be specific when explaining things to a child

Ken Burns has produced a new series about national parks.

We were discussing the series this weekend and sharing stories of family vacations at various national parks. One friend remembered her mother telling her, before a childhood vacation started, that they were going to Mt. Rushmore where they would get to see the heads of four famous presidents.

This is what she actually saw:

But this is what she imagined she was going to see:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Stealing Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Starrlight Meme

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? something hard that I sucked on - some ice.

2. Where was your profile picture taken? daughter's wedding 3 years ago

3. Can you play Guitar Hero? I limit my guitar playing to Air Guitar.

4. Name someone who made you laugh today. Me. What was it about? I looked in the mirror.

5. How late did you stay up last night and why? 10:30, but I was watching infomercials and a Mr. Ed rerun before dawn.

6. If you could move somewhere else where would you and why? a newly constructed home because I'm tired of renovating, remodeling, and repairing.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks? yes and more

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you? This is a small town. We're all close.

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends? Absolutely. I'm living proof. With benefits? Only if you haven't remarried.

10. Do you like Dr. Pepper? I prefer Dr. Oz because he has a TV show

11. When was the last time you cried really hard? Really hard as opposed to just sniveling? when the older daughter moved to the left coast

12. Who took your profile picture? some drunk at the wedding reception with a disposable camera

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of? younger daughter. She needed a head shot for an award. People who shovel shit as part of their work don't have time for professional resume pics.

14. Was yesterday better than today? yes Why? Because today I don't have to stand in any long line at the grocery store with a bunch of stupid people who can't figure out how to scan items at the self-checkout lane.

15. Can you live a day without TV? yes, if there's nothing good on.

16. Are you upset about anything now? only the stupid politicians

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it? Yes, if they last

18. Are you a bad influence? No, except when I'm stirring up trouble.

19. Night out or night in? Depends upon what I want to do

20. What items could you not go without during the day? My clothes.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? dying brother

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say? Hi

23. How do you feel about your life right now? It's great, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.

24. Do you hate anyone? one person, and he knows who he is

25. If we were to look in your Facebook inbox, what would we find? an empty, desolate place

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass? Yes. I am pure - no illegal or even prescription drugs.

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before? Me. See #26.

28. What song is stuck in your head? Mr. Ed theme song

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2 a.m., whom do you want it to be? Since my room is about 20 feet above ground, it would have to be either King Kong or the Jolly Green Giant, so I'll go with the green guy.

30. Do you (or did you) want to have grandkids before you’re 50? No, I'm way too young at heart to be a grandparent. Besides it's too late for 50 and 60 is just around the corner.

31. Tell us your Saturday night. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

32. Do you think too much or too little? I think therefore I am.

33. Do you smile a lot? Way too much. So much so that some men have taken it the wrong way.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And the winners are...

The 19th annual Ignoble Awards ceremony was held today. Some of the winners are:

Peace Prize: A Swiss contingent who, through experiments, determined whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

Medicine Prize: A California man investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by cracking the knuckles of one hand, but never the other hand, every day for more than 60 years.

Public Health Prize: A Chicagoan who invented a bra that can be converted to two face masks n case of emergency.

Economic Prize: Executives of several Icelandic banks "for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy."

Why is it not surprising this occured in Kentucky?

Kentucky has a reputation for spawning jokes about child brides and incestuous relationships, but this is no joke.

A convicted pedophile has been ordained by a church.

At least this church has openly admitted to the dirty deed, as opposed to some religions that hide their pastoral crimes.

But some Kentuckians have wisdom:

A Kentuckian saw a priest walking down the street. Noticing his collar, he stopped him and said, "Excuse me, but why are you wearing your shirt backwards?" The priest laughed, "Because, my son, I am a Father!" The Kentuckian scratched his head. "But I am a father too, and I don't wear my shirt backwards!" Again the priest laughed. "But I am a Father of thousands!" To which the Kentuckian replied, "Well then you should wear your shorts backwards!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Government health reform

Until their wishful thinking dreams about national health care are dashed (so those incumbent legislators can get re-elected), those who truly believe in the cause should be doing the following:

1. Paying the health insurance premium for an uninsured family in their community.
2. Donating money to not-for-profit free clinics so that they can provide more services to more people.
3. Donating money to not-for-profit hospitals so that they can use the funds to pay the bills of uninsured patients.
4. Donating healthful food (not the crap most people give) to food banks to provide better nutrition for those needing help.

I have no statistics, but my educated guess is that most of the proponents of a government funded option do not or are unwilling to do any of the above. But they have no qualms in forcing everyone else to foot the bill of a national program.

The problem with a government funded "option" is that private insurance companies will reduce their presence in health care and eventually only provide catastrophic coverage. Why should insurance companies take on the expensive first dollar health risks of individuals if the government is willing to do so?

This is the very thing that has happened since Medicare came on the scene. Just try getting a private insurance policy for someone over the age of 65. It is nearly impossible. Unless that person is still covered under a policy through employment, there is virtually no option for health insurance other than Medicare. The only private policies available are Medicare supplement policies. Those policies provide coverage over and above the initial benefits that Medicare pays. The risk the insurance companies have is greatly minimized by the government funded program, so why would they include that coverage if the government is providing it?

Therefore if you're over 65, you are locked into the government program unless you are wealthy enough to pay doctor and hospital bills with your own money. The very same will happen if a government option is forced upon those under 65. The result will be NO options. Just government plans with, perhaps, private catastrophic insurance.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roadside Fall Beauty

Some people in these parts consider them weeds. I call them wildflowers. I took these pictures as the mower was headed toward them to cut them down.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Long Meme: Part Two

From Sunday Stealing:

27. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? I prefer to eat in my sleep or sleep in my food

28. Do you look like your mom or dad? Dad with the exception of one part

29. How long does it take you in the shower? to do what...????

30. Can you do the splits? ouch, no

31. What movie do you want to see right now? The Informant. It was filmed in Central Illinois

32. What did you do for New Year’s? ate and drank

33. Do you think The Grudge was scary? Don't know, don't care, and it's not in my Netflix queue.

34. Do you own a camera phone? yes. It comes in handy for blackmail.

35. Was your mom a cheerleader? No, we all have marching band genes in our family

36. What’s the last letter of your middle name? E

37. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 8

38. Do you like Care Bears? only when they're hibernating

39. What do you buy at the movies? a ticket

40. Do you know how to play poker? I hate card games.

41. Do you wear your seat belt? Yes, because I want to get decapitated when I'm in an accident (since I must have the seat so close to the steering wheel). Stinkin' laws!

42. What do you wear to sleep? a cat on my stomach

43. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? shootout with deaths on the interstate highway

44. How many meals do you eat a day? 1-5 It depends on how hungry I am.

345. Is your tongue pierced? No, I put enough disgusting things in my mouth as it is

46. Do you always read MySpace bulletins? I quit MySpace years ago. The cool people are on Facebook or Twitter.

47. Do you like funny or serious people better? I like serious people who can lighten up and funny people who can take things seriously

48. Ever been to L.A.? once, that was enough

49. Did you eat a cookie today? Does a Fig Newton count as a real cookie?

50. Do you use cuss words in other languages? ellhay, esyay

51. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? I don't steal anything

52. Do you hate chocolate? No one hates chocolate.

53. What do you and your parents fight about the most? They're in their 80's and I don't believe in elder abuse.

54. Are you a gullible person? Only if you have a bridge to sell.

55. Do you need a girlfriend to be happy? I told you, I am not gay.

56. If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what what would it be? actress in musical comedy. There's no business like show business like no business I know. Everything about it is appealing.

57. Are you easy to get along with? I'm always easy

58. What is your favorite time of day? sunset over the prairie

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some day my prince will come

When I was a little girl, I wanted to marry Prince Charles. Not because I thought he was cute (I'm not crazy), but HE WAS A PRINCE! What little girl in the 1950's didn't want a prince to come and carry her off to his castle to live happily ever-after? Fortunately the 1960's arrived and altered my opinion.

Our parents and siblings were about the same age, so over the years I still felt a bit of kinship. The Prince and I grew up together in different parts of the world through the same decades of turmoil and change.

Years later he married a woman with my first name, and their sons were born the same years as my daughters. Could there be a fateful union of his princes and my princesses?
Prince Harry celebrates his 25th birthday today and my younger daughter has hers a few days later. But she isn't getting 50 million dollars for a birthday present.

For some women, a title of Prince and 50 million dollars in the bank can make a guy very appealing, even if he is red-haired and freckled and a bit on the wild side. They might pursue the guy because of their love of money, power, and celebrity, not for the love of who he is inside those trappings.

I don't think there will be a union of Charles' and my children. Fortunately, my daughters understand that fairy tales don't often have happy endings, that money isn't everything, that a title doesn't make the man, and you don't even need a man to be happy, but men sure are nice to have around when you find the right one.

So happy birthday to Harry and happy birthday to Jean. May you each live your separate lives to the fullest. And, Jean, I think you're the real one with a Royal Flush.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't know whatcha got til it's gone

Some of my clients often complained about their jobs at a local manufacturing plant. None of their complaints were life-threatening, but just wishing they could "take this job and shove it" because working somewhere else always looked just a bit better.

I always reminded them of the excellent pay they were getting compared to other area jobs and the fantastic retirement and health plans provided to them, despite some increases in deductibles and changes in retirement payouts. I told them they actually had it pretty good and those benefits might outweigh the daily grind of a typical factory job. Truth be told, I was actually a bit jealous, being a sole-proprietor business owner without employer paid health coverage and matching 401k plan.

I'm not sure they believed me, until one day this summer the plant closed, and the jobs and benefits were gone. All of a sudden that crappy place to work looked pretty darn good.

Jobs, like friends and relatives, are often taken for granted. We never realize how important they are to us until they've disappeared. The one good thing about this recession is that appreciation of what is really important is being brought back into focus.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Long Meme: Part One

Thanks again to Sunday Stealing:

1. The phone rings. Who will it be? land line - a telemarketer; cell - a daughter

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Always -to the cart rack in the parking lot where I also take the other carts that someone else left out

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I'm a very good listener.

4. Do you take compliments well? absolutely not

5. Do you play Sudoku? I don't understand Japanese.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? probably

7. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yes, in Wisconsin where I was the main course for 10,000 mosquitoes

8. What was your favorite game as a kid? kick the can

9. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew she was married, would you? I'm not gay.

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? No. My husband would be so disappointed.

11. Do you like to pursue or be pursued? I like to pursue knowledge.

12. Use three words to describe yourself? thirty-five, twenty-four, thirty-five

13. Do any songs make you cry? Every one of them when sung out of tune

14. Are you continuing your education? Every day I attend the School of Hard Knocks.

15. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Go ahead. Make my day.

16. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? I've had my picture taken in a photo booth, but I have never taken pictures there.

17. How often do you read books? Every day I read part of a book

18. Do you think more about the past, present or future? future - it's something to look forward to

19. What is your favorite children’s book? my childhood - Nancy Drew mysteries; daughters' childhood - Where the Sidewalk Ends

20.What color are your eyes? blue

21. How tall are you? 5 ft 2, yes eyes of blue, could she, could she, could she coo?

22. Where is your dream house located? in my mind

23. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? credit card

24. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? last year

25. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? 25 miles to a "green" house on the prairie

26. Do you like mustard? country Dijon

The last 3 questions totally bored me. Hopefully part 2 will be better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No death panels, just care for the greater good

Here's an excellent commentary about one Obama advisor for health care reform, who happens to be the brother of White House chief of staff.

If you want real health care reform, just get government out of health care completely and watch the costs become more affordable and the care become better.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stop the War

Oh, I forgot. The Obama Administration has proclaimed that there is no longer a War on Drugs. Everything is pretty much the same; they're just going to avoid using that phrase.

More and more law enforcement people are waking up to a fact that we libertarians have always known: the war on drugs is useless and expensive and drugs should be legalized.

Harry Browne, the Libertarian presidential candidate of 2000, preached this message , but few voters were intelligent enough to listen to reason. If you want a brief history of drugs in America, read his excellent article here.

There may drug addicts

but there are also drug funding addictsBoth groups illustrate a lack of restraint and both groups prove the war on drugs is not working.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It can be nasty, but I still go out to eat

I am sometimes a bit obsessed with food. I like good food, sometimes on the gourmet side, but most often it comes down to just being picky about fresh, wholesome, and unadulterated things that have been prepared and served properly.

One bout with food poisoning a number of years ago yielded subsequent years of cautionary noshing and a mistrust of people's kitchens. When a meal causes one's body to hurl feces and vomit simultaneously every 15 minutes for over 36 hours, along with the feeling of the devil driving a spike through the center of one's body, one just doesn't forget - ever. Follow that initial day with another day of dry heaves, and another week of gagging at the very thought of food, all the while having no energy to get up off the bathroom floor...well, you get the drift. And yeah, I should have gone to the hospital, but I'm tough and it was quick weight-loss method.

So now I avoid potlucks and homemade baked sales like the plague. In a previous job, I visited many homes (by appointment, too) and what I saw in some private kitchens would shut down any public restaurant.

Nothing say homemade more than preparing dinner on a counter where the cat's ass had been just seconds before.

I once took a food sanitation course to get a license as a food service manager. I scored 100% on the state exam because I was totally committed to safety. At the end of that course, our class visited an area restaurant and we were allowed to test various areas of the kitchen to see if it met standards. Based on what we found, I could not believe the restaurant actually volunteered for this activity. I went straight to the meat, destined to be placed on pizzas. The temperature of the sausage was 71 degrees. I guess that just made for quicker cooking time in the oven. By the way, that establishment is no longer in business.

We have all heard stories of food service workings spitting or flicking boogers in customers' food or dropping food on the floor and re-plating it. Generally, though, this is in retaliation to an obnoxious, over-bearing, smart-ass patron.

I rarely go to buffets, but when I do, I use the following rule: serving spoons and eating utensils - right hand; finger foods - left hand; and go always early, before the animals get there. You know, the ones who wipe their noses or cough in their hands and then pick up the next serving spoon. Or the lady who can't quite reach the food in back and allows her boobs to nest in the salad bowl. Or the kid who sticks his finger in a dish, licks it, and then goes on to the next dish and does the same while mommy laughs at how cute he is.

My latest restaurant observation was a woman who, as she walked by a set table with napkins placed over the flatware, accidentally brushed one of the napkins to the floor with her purse. Ever so politely, she picked it up off the floor and placed it back over the flatware for the next unsuspecting customer. And there was the guy who brought his dirty plate when he went back to the buffet for seconds, put some food on it, then decided he wasn't that hungry after all, and scraped the food off the used plate - back into the serving container for someone else to enjoy.

I've come to the conclusion that eating in a restaurant is still probably pretty safe, until the customers arrive and screw everything up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Free for all

It works every time. Just promise a bunch of no-gooders something free and they come running out of the woodwork. The police used the scam in Ft. Lauderdale and saved themselves some detective work.

Next time they should try free food -
They would get twice the crowd:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Queenie the Cutie is back.

Call me a big tease, but you'll have to click here to read how burlesque is making a comeback.

Which reminded me of my mom's old copy of the Johnny Mercer polka tune that I used to pound out on the piano:

In the burlesque theater, where the gang loves to go
To see Queenie the Cutie of the burlesque show
And the thrill of the evening is when out Queenie skips
And the band plays the polka while she strips.

Take it off, take it off cries a voice from the rear.
Take it off, take if off, soon it's all you can hear.
But she's always a lady even in pantomime,
So she stops! and always just in time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Girl Groups Baby Mama

Lost in the Kennedy death announcement on August 25th was the same day death of song-writer Ellie GreenwichIf you were around in the 1960s, you probably know the lyrics to a few of her over 200+ songs, including:

Leader of the Pack

Da Doo Ron Ron

Chapel of Love

Be My Baby

River Deep, Mountain High

and so many more.

(We can) Rest in Peace

Illinois and Massachusetts have one thing in common: the quality of their politicians.

The canonization by the media of good old Teddy sweeps the dirt under the rug. This was a, spoiled, arrogant man used to wiggling his way out of messy situations through his wealth and daddy. Putting polish over the dirt doesn't make anything cleaner:

Although a C student, he was admitted to Harvard.

He was suspended from Harvard twice for cheating.

Oops, he inadvertently signed up for 4 years in the military, but daddy got that corrected to only
2 years and no Korea time.

He was cited for reckless driving 4 times at the University of Virginia, but no license revocation

Chappaquiddick - nothing more needs to be said except - suspended sentence.

Numerous extra-martial affairs and public sex display

And then there's all his wonderful legislation that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and headaches


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yum, yum, very good?

In the never-ending battle of fast food franchises, the key strategy is coming up with new sandwiches that appeal to the high fat demand of the American appetite.

The latest research has created the KFC Double Down. Who needs carbs when you can use two deep fried chicken breasts for the bun? And for filling - what red blooded overweight American could resist two pieces of bacon sandwiched between slices of melted pepper-jack and and swiss cheese? Not to be outdone by McDonald's Big Mac, KFC then finishes off the creation with their own "Colonel's Sauce."

They are test marketing this in Rhode Island at a cost of $6.99 with fries and drink.

Estimated calories is over 1200, which is nearly my entire daily caloric intake.
(Photo courtesy of foodgeekery.com who brought this to world attention)