Monday, January 31, 2011



Did you hear about the insomniac, existentialist dyslexic?


Sunday, January 30, 2011


I shy away from using social-networking abbreviations (such as "LOL", "OMG", "RALMAO", "u r") while on Facebook. Yesterday, in response to the President's State Of The Union Address, the Half-Term Governor Palin used the acronym "WTF" in her round of interviews on Fox Noise.

Her ignorance of history is deplorable; e.g.: not knowing the meaning of "blood libel"; not knowing about North and South Korea being separate countries; not knowing of Sputnik's effect; not knowing that Africa is a continent and not a country; confusing tax cuts with TARP; not knowing the role of the Federal Reserve; not knowing the difference between tax cuts and spending cuts; and her ignorance about JFK and religion.

It is shocking that she obviously does not read. When she had the opportunity to help "bind up" the country's wounds after the Tucson tragedy, she unleashed another diatribe, via the internet, and made the issue all about herself!

How could any sensible person take her seriously? She is incurious, lazy, and undependable, yet she and her followers seem to celebrate her ignorance as being a badge of honor because it makes her "one of them". I want my President to be smarter than I am; I wouldn't want my President to be in a foreign country and not know its history; I wouldn't want my President to "throw in the towel" right in the middle of her/his term in order to enrich himself/herself.

Her use of the "WTF" acronym is not only vulgar, it is also NOT very "presidential"!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Mrs. Chapman, my second-grade teacher, was my all-time favorite teacher. I now realize that I was her "pet", but at the time I assumed that all teachers must be like Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Chapman! One day, in class, Mrs. Chapman gave us an assignment to make smaller words using the letters from a larger word. When I submitted mine, she said, "Phyllis, "yar" isn't a word!" I said, "Oh, yes it is, I saw it in another book!" She issued the challenge, "You need to show that to me!" I brought in the book the next day to prove my point (after all, I HAD to have a 100 on that exercise!). In response, Mrs. Chapman took me around to all the other classrooms and told the story, explained what I had done and said she was so proud of me! Of course, I didn't comprehend how important that incident would be in my life. Years later, watching "The Philadelphia Story", I erupted with glee and memories when Katherine Hepburn's character used the word "yar"!

For years after my being in her class, Mrs. Chapman would bring me books to read during the summer because she knew that I could not get to the library. Today, I truly appreciate how kind, compassionate and understanding that she was because at that time I did not realize that I was a "poor" kid and that was probably the impetus for her to be so kind to me. I did not realize I was a "poor kid" until I was in the 4th grade.

Flash forward to the year 2009. I was invited to a baby shower for my husband's great-nephew's wife. I was introduced to the "favorite teacher" of the great-niece and she and I chatted amiably about work and other topics. Silly games are played at showers, but being so competitive, I expect to win them all, and of course the prizes go to the honored guest. At this shower, for one of the games, we were supposed to make words from the baby's name "Troy Michael Skinner". We were given a 10-minute time limit. After the time limit, the hostess asked, "Does anyone have 25?" Nearly all hands were raised. She continued with "50, 60, 70 and then 75". Only two hands were raised: mine and the favorite teacher's. The hostess asked, "80?" and I was the only one who raised a hand and the hostess asked, "How many?" and I answered, "122." The teacher, very angrily said, "That's IMPOSSIBLE!" I was shocked, offended and angered by her outburst and stood up and said, "I'll read ALL of them!"; when I arrived at the word "YAR" the teacher said, emphatically, "That's not EVEN a word." I laughed [which, of course, I knew would only exacerbate her anger--hey, I grew up arguing with a father and brothers--so I did learn a few things about a well-placed dismissive laugh!]. I said, "Hell, I've known that word since the second grade!" She had the unmitigated gall to say she didn't believe me.

You can imagine the embarrassment level felt by the rest of the party. I continued, "So how much money did your husband let you bring with you today?" She was shocked and asked, "WHAT does that mean?" I answered, "That means that I want you to put your money where your mouth is--I want to bet you THAT amount of money that I am right!" She turned away and I said, "Oh, no you don't get off that easy!' I said, "I have $100 with me, but if you have more, I'm good for it, aren't I, Gayla?" (Gerald's niece, Gayla was the very mortified hostess!) I asked Gayla to bring out a dictionary or a computer. Two people told me that I was acting inappropriately and that it wasn't important. I said, "Oh, but it IS important!" Gayla brought out a dictionary and as I showed the word "yar" I said, "Oh, and by the way, I also have "YARE" on my list and it's also a perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word!"

Yes, I recognize that I am petty but I thought, "Imagine what kind of teacher she is!" Gayla told me later that the teacher said, "Well, I was just surprised; after all, she JUST works in a factory!" After hearing that, I was glad I upbraided her.

Thank you, once again, Mary Kay Chapman, for encouraging me to be a spunky person!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Just recently, at a dinner party, a school classmate was shocked when I said that a certain teacher we had had was an "ignorant, vindictive bitch".

All my life I had heard what a great teacher "Mrs. DOG" was. [I called her that behind her back: DOG stood for "delusions of grandeur".] She had been my mother's teacher and all 5 of my older brothers had her as a teacher. Her great distinction was that she'd been given the honor of creating a mathematics test for the "Ohio Every Pupil Test" because my older brother and others had consistently scored high on the state mathematics tests from little rural Bloomingburg School.

I was actually looking forward to having her as a teacher and I think that all of us had been programmed to be in awe of her because she had taught so long and was renowned to be a "great" teacher. The older boys affectionately called her "Ma" behind her back.

By the time I had her, in Ohio History, she probably should have been retired. She was mean, petty, vindictive, and showed great favoritism toward her "pets" (which I might add, all of whom were from well-to-do families), but the worst thing was that she did not know her subject! She was primarily a math teacher but I guess a history teacher was needed that year and I suppose she and the hierarchy thought she could teach "anything"! I never had her for any math, Algebra, Geometry or Trigonometry, so I will not comment about her ability as a math teacher.

From the beginning, when I merely questioned her about a statement she made which I knew was an error, she haughtily responded, in front of the entire class, "Just because you're a Shirkey doesn't mean you know everything!" I was summarily ordered to Mr. Biddle's office where they called my mother at home. "Mrs. DOG" told Mr. Biddle that she had also had my mother as a student and that SHE would talk to my mother! Even then, I knew that her high-handed treatment of the Principal was WRONG! On the telephone, my mother took my side, but when I got home, she said that I needed to show respect and I countered with, "Even IF she's wrong?" Mother said that I should because she was old enough to be my grandmother.

One day, in Ohio History, in 1956, and we were going to have a mock-election between Eisenhower and Stevenson. Mrs. DOG made the statement that "All Negroes should be Republican because Lincoln freed the slaves." I was shocked and knew that I SHOULD speak up but I was also cowed by my having been upbraided previously. [I have lived with the shame the rest of my life that I did not correct her since I was a Stevenson supporter.] There were 5 Negroes (the politically correct term at the time) in the class and I surreptitiously stole looks at them to see their reactions.

I also had her in English and thank goodness for "multiple-guess" tests because she couldn't give me bad grades on those although she did attack my book reports. I recall that I asked to report on "Cry, The Beloved Country" (for "extra credit" which she always encouraged and being a little brown-noser, I always did!). I wanted to report on the book because my brother Bode had the book, and I wanted to be considered "grown-up", but Mrs. DOG vetoed that saying that she would choose what books we could use and that we weren't going to have any of that "Communist stuff"! I innocently asked her if she had read it! She said she didn't need to read it because she'd "heard" about it! Of course, Alan Paton was a Christian and the book and ideas have nothing to do with Communism--just more evidence of her ignorance--and intolerance. I kept telling my family that "she had it in for me", but my brothers and mother still defended HER! I told my brother I would prove it to him. I turned in a book report which my brother had done two years previously and she had given him an "A"; I re-wrote it in my handwriting and she gave me a "B"; I gave my own actual report to someone else to use and he was given an "A". I knew the "B" grade was just her vindictiveness toward me because she COULD do it and get away with it and I had no recourse! When I told my mother about what I had done she told me that I was wrong in doing that.

Fortunately, after that year, I never had her as a teacher again.

Three years later, my favorite teacher, Miss Digman, came to teach in Ohio because West Virginia had a mandatory retirement age of 70! Because she "roomed" at my friend's grandmother's house, I had almost daily contact with her outside the classroom and not only was she a brilliant teacher, but also had an acerbic, scathing wit and didn't suffer fools gladly. When I told Miss Digman how "awful" that "Mrs. DOG" was, both my friend and her grandmother literally GASPED and immediately began praising Mrs. DOG! I began to relate evidence demonstrating her meanness and ignorance. I shall NEVER forget Miss Digman's response, "This is like a scene from "The Manchurian Candidate"--whenever her name is mentioned--all these brainwashed people immediately begin singing her praises." I had never read "The Manchurian Candidate", but it immediately went to the top of my "to-read" list! Miss Digman laughed and said that I was the FIRST and ONLY person in Bloomingburg to tell the truth! When Miss Digman used the term "delusions of grandeur" to describe Mrs. DOG, it was the first time in my life I'd heard the phrase used, and it was then that I adopted it as an acronym for "Mrs. DOG", which Miss Digman found amusing but my friend and grandmother found disrespectful.

Years later, watching the movie of "The Manchurian Candidate" I vividly recalled Miss Digman's comparison to Mrs. DOG!

Miss Digman told me that Mrs. DOG was very upset because she had asked all of her fellow teachers their academic credentials. Miss Digman told me that "Mrs. DOG" didn't have a college degree and I was shocked to learn that and I asked how she could be allowed to teach. Miss Digman, who held a Master's Degree, sniffed in a condescending way when she told me that "Mrs. DOG" had graduated from a "normal school". I asked what that was. She answered, snottily, "They went to school back then until they could get a husband and they let them teach school." Miss Digman was unafraid to tell the truth.

The year I was ready to graduate, Mrs. DOG announced her retirement. I took the three book reports--my brother's original with the "A", my copy of his with a "B", and my actual report submitted by someone else with an "A" and showed them to Mrs. DOG and told her how she had discriminated against me. She said that I should be "whipped" (WHIPPED?--I had never had so much as a spanking my entire life!) and she immediately reported it to Mr. Biddle and said that I shouldn't be allowed to graduate. Of course nothing came of it.

I had never heard anyone outside my family use the word "bitch", but when I told Miss Digman, she used that word to describe Mrs. DOG!

I have lived my life emulating Miss Digman and doing everything I could NOT to be like "Mrs. DOG"!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


When Sherrod Brown ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, I was thrilled to learn that Carole King would be in Wilmington to campaign for him. She was scheduled to be at the Municipal Building and there was a large crowd to meet her. She said that she had first met Sherrod when he was a Congressman and she testified before his House Committee about environmental issues.

She asked the crowd, "I may be a celebrity, but when did I lose my right to have an opinion or to speak?" She continued, "I have one vote too! My celebrity might bring a lot of people into a room, but I recognize it is just a tool but I embrace that!" She said that instead of talking politics in a group, she simply asks people how they are doing and if their lives are going well and from there people can decide what candidate they think can help their families more. She said that was why speaking directly to people always has the greatest impact.

King said that visiting Wilmington mirrored her own life in rural Idaho. She mentioned that both Idaho and Ohio were historically Republican strongholds, but now show signs of Democratic progress. She said, "I came to Wilmington because I love meeting you all and it's a town that resonates with things I care about." She added that she prefers to be with people from rural areas. This from a Jewish girl from Brooklyn!

For the voters who think that their votes don't count, she reminded people that John Kerry lost the election in 2004 by 9 votes per precinct. If we had had just 9 more votes per precinct, especially in Southern Ohio, we would have won that election.

Carole King has sold more than twenty-five million records, won four Grammy Awards, and has been inducted in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame and of course, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame for writing and performing such songs as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?", "A Natural Woman", "Take Good Care Of My Baby", "Some Kind Of Wonderful", "Every Breath I Take", and "One Fine Day". Before becoming a recorded singer in her own right, her songs were recorded by James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Monkees, The Chiffons, and The Shirelles. Her album "Tapestry" holds the record for the longest time an album by a female remained on the Billboard chart (six years) and to be Number One (15 weeks).

I was surprised by her tiny stature as I was taller. She said "I'm now a senior citizen, but I can still rock!" After pleading and cajoling, she finally acquiesced to our begging to hear her sing. She said that she would sing if we all sang along with her. As we joined in, she sang, a cappella, my favorite, "You've Got A Friend."

As usual, I was in my "groupie" mode, and she gave me an autograph. Oh, how I wished I'd brought along the albums! As she and I were munching on the hors d'oeuvre, she commented that she'd never tasted one of the cheeses before. I told her it was "Mont St. Benoit" cheese and then I said, "It's BATAMTA!" She laughed and said she wasn't used to hearing YIDDISH in Ohio OR Idaho!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


When I received my first management position, I was in charge of the shipping department. We had a very good system in place of checking off the items as the truck was loaded. To prevent mistakes, as the Supervisor, I was required to circle and initial the items which were loaded. If this weren't done, the person issuing the bills to the truck drivers would call and return the bills to me. Our performance rate was 100%.

One afternoon, near quitting time, we were loading a truck scheduled to go to Cleveland and Detroit. All the pallets were in a queue and I circled the Detroit load as complete and made sure the separator was in place to load the Cleveland portion. The lift driver was to load the pallets for Cleveland. The driver was in the truck waiting and I went ahead and checked off the items as being loaded to Cleveland and took the clipboard into the office and the driver came in and picked up the bills.

A few minutes later, I went back to the shipping department and there were the pallets for Cleveland still setting on the floor. I ran to find the lift driver but he had already clocked out. He later told me he left because I had the clipboard. I ran to the dock door and saw that the truck had already gone.

I was sick at heart. I didn't know what to do. Finally, I went into the office, feeling very certain that I was going to be fired when I told what had happened. My boss was sitting there and when I told him what happened, he immediately spun around and telephoned the Cleveland customer and very light-heartedly said, "Hey, Gary, it's John, we missed your load tonight; I'm sorry; we'll get it up there tomorrow."

My boss told me to sit down. I was trembling inside but I think I managed a calm exterior. He asked, "How long did it take you to come in to tell me?" I answered, "A half-hour." He then asked, "What do you think I should do?" I answered, "I guess you should fire me." He asked, "And how would that benefit me; I've already invested a great deal of time and money for your training?" I said, "You could take it out of my paycheck for the wasted trip." He answered, "No, we're not going to do that, but what lesson did you learn?" I said, "I was in too big of a hurry and I should have used the procedure instead of assuming that the work was done."

He said, "Yes, that's a good lesson, but more importantly, you now see why it's always the wise thing for you to BE THE FIRST TO TELL when you've made a mistake." I nodded and he said, "I would have really been pissed off if Gary had called ME all bent out of shape instead of my calling him."

He continued, "And I haven't failed to notice all the extra time you put in without pay and I'm not going to punish you by taking money away from you because I know this will never happen again with you!"

He concluded, "There is no way that I could punish you as much as you've already punished yourself in the last hour."

Many times after that, during my life, I gave the same kind of speech to people who'd made errors and when I would learn about the errors after the fact, I would always tell them of the time when I learned the lesson of being the FIRST ONE TO TELL.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Poor Gerald. His first and last names are constantly mangled.

He answered the phone today and someone pronounced Raypole as "RAPE-OLD".

One time he placed a phone order and did not spell out his name. The package arrived addressed to "Raple".

I have spelled Raypole many times and it has returned written as "Raypoll".

We've had Payroll and Rayhole.

I ordered a Christmas ornament to be inscribed "The Raypoles"; it has "The Payroles" on it; I have the copy of the order and I printed the "R" and the "P" legibly in block letters.

I've answered the phone several times with a people asking, "Is this Mrs. Pole?" Gerald has answered and has been asked, "Is this Ray?"

And then there's Gerald. I did another article about learning to pronounce Gerald's name the way it is in southern Ohio. "Gare-uld" and NOT "Jare-uld".

I won't mention the name of the relative who constantly spelled it "Gerlad" on Christmas cards. Other spellings:


When the video, "You Can Call Me Ray" came out, Gerald was constantly serenaded by family, friends and co-workers.

Monday, January 24, 2011


CHUTZPAH: Dictionary definition: noun, Yiddish
shameless audacity, utter nerve, gall, effrontery, impudent rudeness, lack of respect, supreme self-confidence.

[My favorite definition from Leo Rosten: a man, who, having killed his parents, threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan!]

Last night, on Facebook, I read someone's posting about the unsatisfactory service he had received by AAA. When I inquired this was the story:

The person had run out of gas and he called AAA to bring gas. When AAA asked for his membership information, he told AAA that THEY needed to call his GREAT-GRANDMOTHER and she would give permission to use her membership card. Of course AAA refused to do that. He said he told AAA that he couldn't understand why they wouldn't help him because his grandfather had used his great-grandmother's membership and didn't have his own card.

I asked, "Are you crazy; why do you think you should use it?" He said, "She pays $100 a year, so why shouldn't I be able to use it?" I said, "Well, because you are not on her plan and if you were she would have to pay extra." He posited that that wasn't fair because he is family. I asked, "So you think that $100 membership should cover her, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and in-laws?" He said that he did because AAA was supposed to help people. I said, "AAA is supposed to take care of the people who have PAID to have that coverage--it's not a charity!"

I asked him, "Do you realize that you could cause your great-grandmother to lose her coverage by telling about your grandfather using it illegally?" He countered with, "They can't do that." I said, "If she had committed fraud by letting unauthorized people use her service, then they most certainly could--why would they want such a risky person?" He said, "There's no fraud, I'm family." I said, "But you're not on HER Family Plan!" I asked him, "In what universe do you think this wouldn't be considered fraud?"


Sunday, January 23, 2011


Gerald had built a birdhouse and placed it in the back yard for Mother to enjoy watching the birds eating. The birdhouse was located approximately 20 feet from the garage. One day, Mother looked out the window just in time to see a squirrel scamper across the garage roof and alight onto the birdhouse, scaring away all the birds, and happily eating the bird feed.

After that we had a Thurber-esque series of Gerald's attempts to outsmart the squirrels.

He first ran out and shooed away the squirrels. Of course that lasted as long as it took Gerald to return to the house.

He put a plastic shelf on the platform of the bird house, where he'd had a wooden one, thinking the squirrel would slip and slide off the plastic. The squirrel landed on the plastic and immediately dug a bunch of seed out of the feeder to spread around him to keep from sliding.

Gerald moved the bird house further away from the garage. Mother saw the squirrel jump from the wisteria bush UP and
and onto the bird feeder.

Gerald, an old Navy man, built a contraption resembling a "Rat Trap" on a hawser, the device which kept rats off ships. You've heard of rats leaving a sinking ship; in this case the squirrel grabbed the edge of the rat trap and swung around over the edge and up to the feeder.

Gerald moved the bird house again.

The same day the squirrel was shimmying up the pole and joyfully feasting on the bird feed.

Gerald put an aluminum cone shield under the bird house but the squirrel climbed OVER and AROUND the shield.

The next day Gerald put metal around the wooden pole to keep the squirrel from having traction to climb the metal-laden pole!

The squirrel was undeterred. Gerald sprayed the pole with silicon.

What Gerald considered his "succes d'estime" the rest of us considered his "Pyrrhic victory"!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Today is the one-year anniversary of publishing my BLOG. The following are my favorite TOP 10 BLOG ARTICLES for 2010:


To view them, go to the right side of the page and scroll down to the SEARCH BAR and type in the article name in the box titled "Find Other Posts" and then click on "Go" and it will take you to the original posting.


Friday, January 21, 2011


My husband and I are fans of Richie Havens; I since 1966 and Gerald since 1968. We have seen him in concert 20 times. He has never failed to deliver a marvelous performance. We first saw him in 1969; however, in the intervening years, he has gone from performing in arenas and stadiums to small venues. We were never able to talk to him until two years ago.

At one concert, there was a virtually unknown performer as Richie's opening act: Bruce Springsteen. I can remember Gerald leaning over and saying, "Boy, that guy's GOOD!" We became immediate Springsteen fans. Bruce, the opening act, received a standing ovation.

Two years ago, Richie's website showed that he would be playing at a night club in Cleveland. In my mind, I was thinking that the "night club" would be similar to the Copacabana. I insisted that we would have to "get really dressed up" for the event. I made reservations for "ringside seats". We drove to Cleveland and checked into a motel. When we told the clerk why we were in town, he said that Richie was staying there also. The clerk said, "If you don't get to meet him at the club, I'll be sure to introduce you; he stays here whenever he's in town!"

When we arrived at the venue, there was no valet parking. We walked in and there were tables covered with oil cloth (and with rings from glasses and cigarette burns on the oil cloth) and guys sitting at the bar wearing flannel shirts and jeans. Of course, I was expecting a grand stage show but this wasn't exactly the Copa! The word "dive" crossed my mind and if my feet hadn't hurt so bad from those high heels I was wearing, I wouldn't have sat down at a table in the bar.

Gerald went to the bar and asked where Richie was going to perform and the bartender gestured toward an area to the rear of the bar. We went in and found our reserved table. There were just eight tables around the stage and the rest of the area seating was just rows of folding chairs.

Did I mention we were overdressed? The dress code was obviously "early hippie"! The crowd was amazingly diverse in age; there were a number of young people as well as people of our age group. The audience was very enthusiastic.

Richie gave a wonderful performance combining both old and new material; practically all of the old songs received standing ovations.

I was disappointed, however, that he did not perform my favorite song, Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman".

I had said to Gerald that we might be able to get his autograph after all these years. I had brought my copy of Richie's autobiography and Gerald bought the new CD. When we got to the front of the line, Richie said, "So you're the ONE who bought my book!" I told him that several people in line had asked about it and he should have them on sale there also, along with the CDs.

I mentioned that he hadn't sung my favorite song. He asked which one and he said I should have yelled out a request. I leaned over and whispered a secret in his ear. He looked at Gerald and asked, "Are you the one?" Gerald knew exactly what secret I had shared with Richie!

Gerald said, "Yes, I'm guilty!" Richie inscribed the book, "To Sue Just like a woman A friend forever Richie Havens". Richie and I started singing the song TOGETHER! That made my day, my week, my month, my year, my decade: singing "Just Like A Woman" with Richie Havens!

Last year for my birthday, we went to see Richie at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights; he was appearing with Arlo Guthrie. Again, there was a wide diversity of age groups, which continues to surprise me, but I have seen the same age assortment at Dylan's concerts also.

There was an intermission between Richie's portion of the concert and Arlo's performance and Richie had graciously consented to autograph CDs during the intermission. Gerald bought Richie's new CD to be autographed. I have no shame--I took the autobiography and he autographed it again--I also took 13 CDs to be autographed. [I had put away all of Richie's records and since Norman gave me a car CD player for for my birthday, I had to replace the albums with CDs!] I know the people behind me in line HATED me for taking up so much of Richie's time, but I know that I'm his number one fan, so I risked their umbrage!

Arlo started to perform and the people behind me were restless as they also wanted to enjoy Arlo's concert, but there I was, hogging Richie's time. Gerald, ever the gentleman, suggested that we move aside to allow others behind us to have their autographs. We went to the back of the line.

When we came back, Richie was charming and accommodating and he asked us to sit with him and we watched the first half of Arlo's performance together. When Richie was ready to leave, he hugged me and told me he'd see me the next time! It's marvelous when a person one has admired doesn't disappoint when one meets him in person!

Thursday, January 20, 2011



Just to show you how dingy the press can be: last Saturday my daughter and two of her childhood friends were having coffee at the coffee place in Plain City. Her friend, Michelle, started telling them a story about someone at her work had brought in pistachio nuts to share with the other employees the week before Christmas. Michelle pulled one of the nuts out and said it looked like it had a face on it. She did not say whose face – just a face. She thought it looked a little like George Washington! Someone talked her into telling Channel 10 News about it. Channel 10 called her back within ten minutes of her email to them. They asked if they could use the story on the air. She thought it was hilarious and said yes. She hadn’t gotten her nails done, but they insisted on HER holding the nut. To make a long story short, look on Google. Type in "face on pistachio" and see what you get. They are saying she saw Jesus on the nut. NOT ONE TIME did she mention Jesus. They made it up! I just looked at the nut, and Freddie Krueger comes to mind. Strange. Strange. Strange.

Ohio woman says markings in pistachio look like Jesus' face

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Some call a central Ohio woman a little "nutty," but she says to use your imagination.

Michelle Phipps, of Dublin, thinks an image on a pistachio shell she found has a striking resemblance to Jesus.

A co-worker brought the nuts into the office to share with other employees. Phipps said one of the nuts stood out from the rest.

Her co-workers thought they saw some other images in the nut.

"We all started joking about it and talking about it. One thought it looked like Jason from a movie, or Freddy Kruger or George Washington. All sorts of things," Phillips said.

The face is getting lots of attention on her Facebook page.

Regardless of who it resembles, Phipps said she plans to preserve it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


January 8, 2011

Dear Gerald and Sue,

This will be my last message to you as Ohio's Attorney General, and I want you to know how much your steadfast support has meant to me as we have worked every day to utilize the resources and responsibilities entrusted to us to stand on the side of the people of this great state.

I have cherished the opportunity to serve as Attorney General. The important work of this office touches every part of state government and, by extension, the lives of the citizens and taxpayers who both support and rely on the Attorney General's office. I am immensely proud of the diverse array of accomplishments the office has been able to achieve over the past two years. Many of those accomplishments are summarized in the 2010 Annual Report of the Attorney General's Office; the report is now available and I encourage you to take a look at it by clicking here: Several highlights of the report also follow this email.

While I know you share my disappointment with the election results, I remain convinced that we all did everything we reasonably could, and my pride in our team will endure throughout time. With your help, we were able to come closer to victory than any statewide Democrat, and we ended up on the short side of a painfully close race by less than five votes per precinct out of over 400 cast.

I look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the new year, and I am eager to continue my efforts to protect the futures of Ohioans with my work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington. Please rest assured that my commitment to improving our state through the political process is unwavering. By sticking together and continuing the work we have started, we will endure these tough political times to enjoy many future victories together.

Thank you again for all of your help and support.

Gratefully yours,

Ohio Attorney General


Fighting for Ohioans From Wall Street to Main Street

-Winning the 10th largest securities class action settlement in U.S. history against AIG.

-Winning millions of dollars in restitution and other assistance for large groups of Ohio consumers from those both large and small that treated them unfairly.

-Extending consumer protection services to help small businesses and nonprofits by fielding additional complaints that garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars for these entities.

-Working endlessly, tirelessly, and creatively both in the courts and in our communities to fight the scourge of foreclosure and to help keep people in their homes.

-Spearheading what has become a 50-state investigation of fraudulent foreclosure affidavit practices that abused the rights of homeowners and the legal processes followed in our courts.

-Protecting the environment in an investigation and prosecution that secured the largest underground tank settlement in Ohio.

-Pursuing an unprecedented joint federal-state agency crackdown to enforce existing laws against worker misclassification, which robs governments of needed revenues, undercuts law-abiding businesses, and cheats employees out of the rightful fruits of their labor, such as the protections afforded by state laws on workers compensation and unemployment compensation.

-Responding to the state’s economic troubles by working to protect Ohio jobs in areas as diverse as airlines and hospitals, and taking steps to create future employment through an innovative new approach to research agreements in Ohio’s colleges and universities.

-Setting our accustomed national standard for investigating and prosecuting health care fraud.

-Uncovering a decade-old charitable scam that bilked Ohioans out of millions of dollars intended for veterans causes while operating nationally to funnel money illegally to political campaigns.

In Support of Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and Victims

-Creating new ways to catch criminals by providing cutting-edge identification, investigative, and laboratory assistance at no cost to local agencies.

-Introducing robotics and improvements at the BCI crime labs to cut turnaround times for testing evidence significantly—an average of 47 days for DNA testing, down from 71 days last year.

-Expanding the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG) with even more accessible real-time criminal database information for local officers positioned on a stronger computer platform poised to cope with the higher volumes of work occurring now and expected in the future.

-Addressing the scourge of human trafficking in award-winning efforts that included new state legislation and greatly expanded law enforcement training and investigative techniques.

-Cracking down on meth production in a grant-funded pilot effort and eradicating a bumper crop of marijuana plants by teaming BCI resources with state and local law enforcement agencies.

-Taking on organized crime by overseeing 15 cross-jurisdictional task forces resulting in 259 arrests and 58 convictions for one task force alone.

-Bringing education and funding to victim advocates, making cyberspace safer for children, and empowering seniors through the creation of Triad units to protect seniors across the state.

-Creating a new database for Missing Adult cases to complement the Amber and Silver Alerts.

-Assisting local prosecutors directly with major cases involving homicides, child sexual abuse, and public corruption, and then ensuring that these and other convictions were upheld on appeal and in federal habeas proceedings.

-Overseeing peace officer training and certification by OPOTA, which expanded on-line and regional trainings for the convenience of local officers and ultimately was honored by receiving Flagship Agency Status from its national accreditation agency in 2010.

Advocating for Ohio with Professionalism and Integrity

-Successfully representing Ohio in the U.S. Supreme Court and Ohio Supreme Court while winning awards along the way.

-Supporting pivotal cases spanning subjects such as: upholding minimum wage requirements, protecting workers from secondhand smoke, shielding kids from porn, demanding accuracy in election advertising, defending anti-gambling laws, supporting schools, ensuring fair settlements, and protecting Lake Erie’s native fish population as well as public access to its shoreline.

-Encouraging careers in law by AAG volunteer participation in mock trial competitions.

-Supporting the community by our aggressive outreach to veterans and other community groups and our support of various charitable causes, such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Ohio Special Olympics.

The full report is available online at:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


During the summer when I was ten years old the boys were back at their fort in the woods and Mother told me to go get them for supper. My younger brother went along with me. We went to the fort but they weren't there; I began calling out their names and I started walking around the perimeter of the cornfield. After awhile, I realized that I had lost my direction.

The more I roamed the more confused I became. The corn was "as high as an elephant's eye" and I could no longer see our house. I was lost and suddenly I saw a RED house. We had seen the movie "The Red House" with Edward G. Robinson and it was very scary. We went to the door of the house because I thought that we could call home. The house was deserted. I peered in the windows. Little did I know that my brothers used the deserted house as a "clubhouse"!

I kept calling for my brothers. After awhile my younger brother and I kept hearing unusual noises and we were very frightened. We were so tired and hot that we just sat down in the cornfield and I started crying. We kept hearing the strange animal-like sounds and we would get up and run, still lost, not knowing which direction was home. Finally, my brothers appeared. They had been the ones making the animal-like noises. When we got home the brothers made fun of me.

My mother asked why I didn't look at the sun so I would know where I was. I told her I didn't know I could do that. [I am still "directionally challenged"! I hate for people to tell me to go east or west or north or south; just tell me which way to go--left or right--not east or west! When asking for directions, I always try to seek out a woman because they usually use landmarks! I always poke fun at myself and say, "If they ever move the Court House, I'll be in big trouble!"]

When I started to work at International Harvester in 1978, my biggest fear was that I would get lost in the enormous plant! Prior to that I had always worked in small plants. I was so grateful to learn that the columns were numbered. I was still frightened to go very far from my department but of course I could not share that with anyone! One day my boss told me to go to Department 34 to do an inventory on the real sills because he couldn't get anybody to answer the phone in the department. I didn't know where Department 34 was, but I knew it was "across the bridge"! Fortunately, I saw one of the millwrights on a cart and asked him to take me there. When I got there, I found the supervisor taking a nap in the office! I completed the inventory and went into the office and startled the supervisor and asked him to take me back to my department, as I knew that that department had a cart. He asked if I were going to "turn him in" and said that he had just "dozed off momentarily". I answered, "Hell, I've been in the department for 20 minutes!"

To overcome my fear, I decided to walk to a different part of the plant every day for 20 minutes at lunch time. My friend John had been employed there for 26 years and had worked in a number of departments. John needed the exercise so I invited him to walk with me instead of sitting in the office shooting the bull with the rest of the guys. I saw it as a great adventure for myself and John was getting exercise, thus it benefitted both of us. Only last year did I reveal to John my ulterior motive. I asked, "Do you remember when we used to walk at lunch time?" He answered, "Yeah, I sure was glad when you finally knew your way around the plant and I didn't have to do that any more." Surprised, I asked, "You KNEW what I was doing?" He laughed and said, "You are so transparent!" I asked, "How did you know?" and he replied that the big giveaway was that I was writing in my notebook all the column numbers, etc.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011



I can remember my friend's mother was always "well turned-out" and "looked like she stepped out of a band-box"--those were the accolades I heard her receive--from other people. On one Christmas Eve I went to their home and they were having hors d'oevre and egg nog (oh, my, this little country bumpkin thought that was the height of elegance!). My friend's mother was wearing a burgundy velvet jumper with a pink silk blouse and burgundy velvet slippers. It was the most striking outfit I'd ever seen someone wear--in person. I held a secret passion--clothes--not that I had any nice clothes but I was very knowledgeable about designers--Hubert de Givenchy being my favorite. I surreptitiously read Vogue and Harper's Bazaar at the library and I knew about Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, Balmain, and Mainbocher [I told the story about Lillian Hellman going to testify before the HUAC and she wore her Mainbocher suit and I pronounced it "Main-bocker"! Fortunately, it was my brother who asked, "Isn't he French--I think that should be pronounced "Man-bochay" Fortunately, I wasn't in public. I later learned that he was from Chicago and adopted that French-sounding name! Years later, when a relative of mine pronounced Etienne Aigner in an Anglicized way, she did not appreciate my whispering to her the correct pronunciation].

I was embarrassed by my preoccupation and would never have admitted it to anyone as I thought that it was not "serious"! That was the 1950s but when Mrs. Kennedy came on the scene I could no longer hide my fascination! I can remember getting a "Chanel-style" suit at Lord's in Washington C.H.

Another unforgettable outfit my friend's mother wore was a pale yellow cashmere sweater with a matching sheath skirt accessorized with brown alligator pumps and a matching purse! I recall seeing her at a basketball game wearing T-strap shoes, a Pendleton jacket and stretch slacks (it was when "stirrup pants" were first introduced!). NOBODY wore slacks then; soon everybody was wearing stirrup pants! I wanted to look just like that and to have that style. But of course, I could not have those kinds of clothes as they were sold at Lazarus, Soldan's and the Martha Washington Shop!

One day, I got a stain on my blouse and my friend said we'd just go to her mother's closet and borrow one; my friend wore a bigger size than her mother. I protested that I couldn't borrow her mother's blouse and my friend said, "We'll pick out one she hardly wears." I could not believe her closet--I actually counted 20 white blouses! One time I was staying overnight and I had brought my outfit to wear the next day and it was a white pleated skirt and lavender polka-dot blouse which I thought was very chic. I was pressing it and I told her I'd borrowed it from my sister-in-law and she suggested that I wear something of hers, since we were the same size! I felt so special and never "demeaned"--all because of how she phrased things--and not "put down" because I didn't have the "right" things to wear.

I was selected as the "Outstanding Senior Girl" and would be hosted by the DAR at a luncheon for all the County girls who'd been selected. I had no idea how to dress for a "luncheon" but my friend's mother allowed me to borrow a navy dress and blue and white Spectator pumps. I received many compliments that day and I was so grateful that I was the same size as she! I remember how she told me that she always wore navy blue to all important job interviews and meetings. To this day, I talk about the "navy blue uniform" that I wore to all job interviews.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Yesterday, in watching a politician deliver a speech, I could not help but notice that she had, very pretentiously, posed in front of a United States flag, when she delivered her speech via the internet. While the politician probably believed that the United States flag, positioned next to the fireplace of her home broadcast studio, made her somehow look presidential, anyone who knows flag etiquette, knows that it only demonstrated her ignorance. For one who constantly "waves the flag" and figuratively wraps herself in the flag as a grand show of her patriotism, she should actually take time to learn about the flag. She is one who routinely brands as unpatriotic those with whom she disagrees.

The flag should have been placed to her right, not to her left.

The Flag Etiquette Guide (Flag Display FAQ) provided by the American Legion, clearly states:

"When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed in a church, public auditorium or meeting place, the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the speaker's right as he faces the audience."

Prior to the Flag Code changes in 1976, the display procedure was somewhat different. Now, the staffed flag should always be placed to the right of the speaker (observer's left) without regard to a platform or floor level.

My brothers and I are very strict in dealing with flags. I have set up meetings and events and have had to correct people a number of times about flag placement. I've been known to stop at strangers' homes to tell them that flags were incorrectly displayed. This past fall, on a windy day, I noticed that a flag pole was bent and the flag was touching the ground. I stopped and went to the door and a disabled veteran came to the door and I helped him to aright his flag.

I can recall in the 1970s when flag-burning was rampant, and although it was anathema to me personally, I defended the First Amendment right to do it. In a debate, I can recall that I said that I found it far more offensive that country and western singers wore costumes with flags on their butts. My brother said, "Nobody can destroy my flag because it's in here." as he touched his chest, all the while defending the First Amendment right.


Friday, January 14, 2011


With the snow falling today and hearing dire predictions of a "blizzard" I am reminded that I have lived through two REAL blizzards. During the Blizzard of 1950, we lived on Myers Road, back in a lane about a quarter mile from the road. My father couldn't get home and had to stay at work. My brothers and I were happy because we were out of school and we had a TV! And then the electricity went off. We didn't care because everything was still fun!

The snow was as high as the fence posts and the boys were digging tunnels, making snow-women and having snowball fights. That was the time a brother dared me to put my tongue on a metal railing! Each time I've seen "The Christmas Story" I think back about how I was dared to put my tongue on the railing. Mother rushed out with hot water and relieved it!

Because of where we lived, we were snowbound for a week!

Of course Mother had to worry about feeding six kids. Thankfully she was very creative. She had run out of fresh meat but she had Spam and canned corned beef to use. We'd had vegetable soup, bean soup, and potato soup--food that "goes a long way"! One day as we sat down for dinner she had prepared Corned Beef Chili; it was like chili but with canned corned beef instead of ground beef. I thought it was wonderful!

For years, when Mother, my brothers and I would reminisce about the blizzard we would always exclaim about the corned beef chili. One day in the 1970s I came home from work and Mother said she'd invited all the family for a special meal--CORNED BEEF CHILI. I sat down with great anticipation. This was possibly the WORST thing I have ever tasted. I ordered pizza for everyone! Norman said, "I always told you it was awful!"

One time we were visiting my brother Bode in Florida and we had a discussion of whether the Blizzard was in 1949 or 1950; Bode and Mother said one year and I said another. It's interesting to see which events help us reach our conclusions. My basis was what grade I was in at school at the time. [We have a saying in our family that if one of us doesn't know something then ONE of us undoubtedly will.]

I said, "I'll settle this--I'll call the other brothers!" Bode, already offended that I would dare to doubt him, said that they wouldn't remember any better than I did! I called Norman and he said, "1950--don't you remember the Blizzard Bowl?" I called Neil and he said, "1950, because that's when we got the TV." I called Kenny and he said, "It was 1950 because it was the weekend of the Ohio State-Michigan game--who could forget that?" Duke said, "Hell, I was three years old, I don't remember anything!"

I gloated, "See--I'm right!" He answered, "You expect me to believe ALL of you?" "Four to one--you must believe us!" He said "I'll go with Duke's answer!"

When I got home I went to the library to get copies of coverage of the blizzard to send to him. Did I fail to mention that we are all bad sports and we all like to gloat?

To see the short video and news report of the Blizzard of 1950, click here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I recently watched the critically acclaimed film "An Education" because I am a fan of Peter Sarsgaard and I like to see everything nominated for the Academy Awards before the awards. I was impressed with Carey Mulligan's performance and she definitely deserves a nomination.

In the film, Mulligan's character loves the recordings of Juliette Greco. That made me recall about a friend of mine who was a fan of the author Francoise Sagan so we JUST had to see the movie "Bonjour Tristesse" when it was released. We loved the singing of Juliette Greco in the movie and my friend purchased the record.

I called my friend to tell her about the movie and I asked if she still had the Juliette Greco record. She said that it was lost in one of her many moves. She and I fondly reminisced about our own schoolgirl passions and intellectual pretensions. She laughed and said, "How could I have been so silly to think that Sagan was a great writer?" I said, "Hell, we were fourteen--what do you expect--I was just as bad--I thought Taylor Caldwell was good!" She said, "I think that's when you got all-Francophile on me, wasn't it?" I answered, "Yes, I had to find out what "Bonjour Tristesse" meant!" She asked, "I forget--what does it mean?" I answered, in my best whispery Juliette Greco imitation, "Good morning, sadness!" We both screeched with laughter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Some of my friends are great sports fans and although I currently have little or no interest in sports, when I was a girl I was a walking compendium of sports knowledge. My father and brothers were all sports fans and I was under their influence. I can tell you all about the starting lineups of OSU basketball teams in the 60's, baseball trivia (just last week my brother asked, "Do you remember Rocky Colavito?" to which I could recite his stats!) and boxing information!

Several times in playing Trivial Pursuit with the "youngins", they think they will be able to "bring me down" in the sports category. However, most of the sports questions are about sports history. One Thanksgiving, Joshua and I were playing against a team of FIVE! We were ready to win the game and of course the opposition chose the sports category to try to defeat us, knowing that neither Joshua nor I had any interest in sports and thinking that they would prevent our victory! The question was what pitcher refused to play in the World Series on Yom Kippur. I paused dramatically, rolled my eyes, tapped my fingertips on the table and sighed, before screaming, "SANDY KOUFAX!" [How easy was that? Sandy Koufax was the love of my life as a teenager!] One of my nephews asked, "HOW do you know these things?" My brother Kenny said, "She knows everything BEFORE 1968--that's when we lost her!" That's when I began dating Gerald and his only sports interests are car racing and golf. I don't even want--or need--to pretend an interest in those activities.

Another thing my friends find amazing is that I was a boxing fan (since I'm a follower of Thoreau, Gandhi, and Dr. King). I can recall watching the Friday Night fights; I can still remember the the theme songs of the sponsors. I remember Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Rocky Marciano, Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johannsen, Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler. We especially liked the middleweights: Sugar Ray, Carmen Basilio, Gene Fullmer and Bobo Olson.

At Rockwell, one of my workers, Mike Ancona, was also a boxing promoter! Everybody at work seemed to have "another job"!

One of my guys told Mike that I was a boxing trivia expert (Hey, I'm no Dr. Joyce Brothers-- the boxing expert on $64,000 Question--but I do o.k.)

Ancona walked up to me and asked, "Who beat Tony Zale for the championship in 1949?" I answered, "Edith Piaf's boyfriend Marcel Cerdan." Ancona told me I was amazing. [was he amazed that I knew Cerdan or that Cerdan was Edith Piaf's lover?] I asked him, "Did you JUST see "Raging Bull?" I told him that as a girl I had red boxing gloves with "Rocky Graziano" on them (photo above). Boy, that dates me!

Mike gave me a tee-shirt with Ancona Promotions on the front and "Rocky Raypole" written on the back!

Monday, January 10, 2011


A special comment by Keith Olbermann.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011


My husband is very bad at remembering names; my best trait is my memory.

Gerald and I had dated a short while when Gerald's brother and sister-in-law asked if he would come to their house and stay with the kids--NINE children--while they went to a funeral in Cincinnati. Gerald asked me to help and I agreed.

Among those nine were three boys I nicknamed the Blonde Stair Steps. They looked very much alike and were within two years of each and within inches of the same height. Their names were Harold, Beryl and Dwayne. It was a very eventful day with all of the children vying for attention. The next time I saw them was at Gerald's family reunion and when I called them each by name, Gerald whispered, "How do you DO that--I can't tell them apart?" I told him identifiable characteristics of each one and he said, "That's unbelievable; they all look the same to me."

That same evening was the first time Gerald asked me to marry him. He always tells people that's the reason he married me!

Saturday, January 8, 2011



My all-time favorite Elvis song is "Trouble" from the movie "King Creole".

When I was a teenager and madly in love with Elvis, all of the Elvis fans would be in the auditorium at lunch time to play the newest Elvis records. We considered ourselves rebels. Lorraine Smith would always be the first to have his new records. I can remember my great disappointment when Lorraine announced she was no longer an Elvis fan--she was a Pat Boone fan--and her turnabout was because of a really shameful reason--her new boyfriend thought Elvis was too "hoody"! [My disappointment was mostly because we wouldn't have the Elvis records as quickly! The rest of us solemnly swore that we would NEVER change no matter what anybody thought!]

We would listen to the records endlessly, feverishly writing down the lyrics, and performing the songs, a la Elvis. On Saturdays, in the summer, if I were lucky to get to town, I would go to the record store and play them endlessly and the records were always on my birthday want list!

When Elvis' third movie "King Creole" came out, Lorraine and her clique were able to go to Columbus to see it; I, along with the others less fortunate, had to wait for it to be shown at Chakeres Fayette Theater. Yes, I was there, screaming with all the others. I wanted to read the book by Harold Robbins, "A Stone For Danny Fisher", on which the movie was loosely based. The librarian told me I would have to have my parents' permission to check out the book, as it was "adult". Mother promptly wrote a note, but the librarian thought it was forged; my brother Bode came to the rescue; checking it out in his name and handing it to me in her presence! He snarled, "If she'd old enough to ask for it, she's old enough to read it!"

After seeing the movie, I went to Evelyn Evans, the Bloomingburg "beautician" (as they were known then), showed her a picture of Elvis, and asked her to cut my hair that way. The following Monday, in the auditorium at lunchtime, I asked Mr. Sabin to borrow his jacket and bow-tie and I performed the hip-swiveling choreography to emulate Elvis doing "Trouble". [Several of my classmates remember that performance to this day.] At my last birthday party, I did a karoake to "Trouble" but with less fervor than in 1958!


If you're looking for trouble,
You came to the right place
If you're looking for trouble
Just look right in my face
I was born standing up
And talking back
My daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack
Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery
Well, I'm evil, so don't mess around with me.

I've never looked for trouble
But I've never ran
I don't take no orders
From no kind of man
I'm only made out
Of flesh, blood and bone
But if you're gonna start a rumble
Don't you try it on alone
Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery
Well, I'm evil, so don't mess around with me
I'm evil, evil, evil as can be
Repeat refrain.

Friday, January 7, 2011


In 1907, Mark Twain wrote: "The truth is that when a library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected children and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me." That's classic Twain!

I am opposed to censorship. How dare the current censoring or Bowdlerizing of Twain's masterpiece "Huckleberry Finn" be allowed!

I have never used the "N" word in my life. Even as a child, reading "Huckleberry Finn", I knew that it wasn't "right" for me to use the word, but I was worldly enough to ask questions such as "WHY?" Why would Huck use those words? Why did he act the way he did? Clearly, the answers were that it was an accurate portrayal of life at that time and place. Even as a child, I was able to grasp that the author probably didn't approve of the words and actions of some of the characters.

Did I suddenly begin using the "N" word or the derogatory term for Native Americans? Of course not.

Twain wrote: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter." He knew he had to use the RIGHT word because, as he wrote, it's "the difference between the lightning bug and lightning."

As a child, I did not know that "Huckleberry Finn" was banned when it was first published because Jim was treated as a "human being". The fact that I, as a child, knew that Jim was a human being and deserved to be accorded fair treatment, and because Huck gradually rejected the values he was brought up with, especially the views on slavery, and the fact that I, as a child, comprehended that, is the ultimate triumph of Mark Twain! His ability to communicate to a child in rural Ohio in the 1950s just as he had communicated when the book was published in 1884 is a testament to his masterpiece. To quote Twain, I don't want his books to be among those "which people praise and don't read."

Hemingway was right when he wrote: "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called "Huckleberry Finn"; it's the best book we've had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."--from "The Green Hills Of Africa (1934)

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Thursday, January 6, 2011


Since using the link below, my friend Patty and I have been sharing stories about different songs from our youth. The following is a note from her about "THE STROLL".

OK. Joey, Casey [grandkids] and I just did The Stroll. Joey liked going down the middle.

Here is my best Stroll story: all of the kids used to gather in the gym in the mornings until school started. The boys would shoot hoops, and the girls would dance. However, whenever The Stroll came up, they would drop the basketballs and come running over to dance with us. Well, there we all were in our two lines (about 40 kids), and as we are dancing, I looked over at the other line to see who my partner would be to dance down the middle. Well, surprise, surprise, there stood one of the few black guys in our school and a mammoth guy he was (Allister Dowdell). I briefly thought, "What the heck am I going to do now?" I could tell by Allister's facethat he was thinking the very same thing. As our turn came, we both made the decision to "dance our asses off" down the center of that line. As I remember we got a little ovation, which was heard by my boyfriend Raymond (who didn't dance). The look he gave me wasn't the friendliest look I ever got, but he should have learned how to dance!

To see the link, click here.

The dance was born before the song, and had it not been for an idea of American Bandstand's Dick Clark, the song may never have been. Dick noticed the kids were "line dancing" to a song by Chuck Willis called "C.C. Rider", and he needed more musical material than just the one song and ultimately a few others for the kids to do this dance. He enlisted the aid of singer Brook Benton who put pen to Dick's idea, and "The Stroll" was born. The Diamonds were given the opportunity to record this not long after their hit of "Little Darlin", and the song shot to #4 in January of 1958.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


In the store, two days before Christmas, I was in the Express Lane as I had only two items. In the next lane was a couple with an overflowing cart, with a huge bag of dog food across the top of the load. The woman began loading items onto the belt and as she picked up the dog food, another item fell to the floor. She and the man both leaned over to pick it up and I could see the looks between them and I heard an audible growl from the man.

OOPS! Another item fell to the floor and as they both leaned over to retrieve it I could see the tempers flaring and he slammed the item back into the cart. They noticed that I was looking at them, so NATURALLY (some would say it's NOT natural), I began singing, "Have a holly, jolly Christmas" in my best Burl Ives homage.

They both began laughing and I said, "Just 2 more days!"

Monday, January 3, 2011


A young family member asked what we are doing tonight and I said that I had received a gift certificate to Olive Garden and that Gerald and I are having a "date night". She said that she was incredulous; that she'd never heard of married people having dates. When I told her it was quite common, she laughed and asked, "Whatta ya do?" I answered, "We get dressed up and go out and have a good time." She asked, "Like what? Go to a movie?" I said that we were going to a movie. She asked, "You mean you actually get dressed up?" I replied that I had a new outfit and that Gerald would be wearing slacks, dress shirt, sweater and sports coat. She asked, "Doncha feel out of place with everybody else not dressed up?" I told her, "No, I figure everybody else will think they should have "dressed up" more!" She told me that she found that train of thought confusing. I told her that when she grew up she would understand.

She asked, "What do you find to talk about after all these years?" I answered, "I'll start out by telling him about a person who thinks we couldn't possibly have anything to talk about after all these years!" The kid asked, "You really mean that you have stuff to talk about?" I answered, "I'll be telling him about the book I'm reading, a funny thing I saw on Facebook, what I ordered on e-bay and I'll be asking HIM about what interests him--you know--rather like a date!"

Finally, still with faint ridicule in her voice, she asked, "And does he kiss you goodnight at the door?" I answered, "Well, honey, this isn't our FIRST date!"

Sunday, January 2, 2011


About an hour outside Memphis, Gerald and I stopped at a rest area. As I came out of the restroom, I noticed a large picture of Tina Turner adorning the wall. The picture proudly proclaimed that we were outside of Tina Turner's birthplace, Nutbush, TN.

Gerald and I have always loved Tina and when he came out of the restroom, the lobby was very crowded. I pointed to the picture and recited in a conversational voice:

"I heard she left a good job in the city."
Gerald answered, just as matter-of-factly, "I heard she was workin' for The Man every night and day."
I continued: "And I heard she didn't lose one minute of sleepin"
Gerald continued: "And I heard she didn't worry about the way things might have been".

Gerald is usually not prone to this kind of exhibitionism, although I will erupt into song nearly any place or any time, but we both started singing in unison:

"Big wheel keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river."

Others in the lobby joined in singing and began clapping!

We continued:

"Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis,
Pumped a lot of 'tane down in New Orleans,
But I never saw the good side of the city,
'Til I hitched a ride on the riverboat queen."

We "oooh, oohed, oohed" on our way back to the car and then Gerald said, "Well, you know, it would have been more appropriate to have been singing "Nutbush City Limits!" I answered, "But I don't know those lyrics!"


"Nutbush City Limits"






Saturday, January 1, 2011


We wish everyone a happy, safe and prosperous new year.