Thursday, May 31, 2012


I recommend the new book The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book examines the science of WHY we do WHAT we do. It is fascinating how companies use our habits to market items (see article).

The "experts" say that it takes 28 days to break--or adopt--a habit.

I tried diligently to break a habit, but after 28 days, I still WANT what I gave up!

I can't find any experts to tell me how to stop WANTING!

The song Breaking The Habit by Linkin Park has a marvelous line:

"I don't want to be the one
The battles always choose."

To read the article Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


A wonderful friend called and asked if I could use some free lettuce. [As FREE is my favorite word, you now know why I described the friend as "wonderful"!] It seems as if a truck was stalled and the refer unit was out and could not deliver on time; the distribution center refused to take it as the refer unit had been out. The produce company said to dump the lettuce.

Fortunately, my friend was called and she was able to get 3 crates. How many in a crate, you might ask! 24 heads to a crate! My friend delivered a crate to my house! Thank goodness we have an extra refrigerator in the garage!

I immediately put the word out to family and friends--FREE lettuce! I now have 6 heads left.

When my friend called, I assumed it was iceberg lettuce, but when I looked in the refrigerator, I said, "WOW, it's Bibb, I love Bibb!" Les pointed to the label and said, "No, it's BUTTER LEAF." I said, "It sure looks like Bibb!" He said, " Your first indication that it's NOT Bibb is the label on the crate!" I said, "I've had butter leaf lettuce when I've bought bags of mixed lettuces, [Yes, I said LETTUCES!] but this looks like Bibb." He said, "Just admit that you don't know EVERYTHING in the world--it's butter leaf!"

Of course I had to check on google and guess what? "Butter leaf" and "butter head" lettuces are also known as BOSTON BIBB.

So there, Les!

PRODUCE PICKS: Butter Leaf Lettuce
By–Michael R. Marks

"For many people, digesting lettuce salads is tough, especially as they get older. So for many older diners, lettuce salad is no longer on the menu.

Whenever George Burns entered a restaurant, his first question was,“Do you have butter-leaf?” Chefs who served Burns knew that when he walked in, the butter-leaf came out of their walk-in. That's because butter-leaf is the easiest of all lettuces to digest.

Cut a head of butter-leaf lettuce in half and you will know how it got its name – from the buttery yellow color inside. It's also marketed as butter lettuce, butterhead, Bibb, Boston or limestone lettuce.

You can also find it still “alive,” hydroponically grown, which I love. The leaves are soft, and the flavor is delicate and sweet. Field-grown butter-leaf retails for about 99 cents to $1.49 a head. The hydroponic lettuce will cost about $3.99, but it lasts a long, long time. You will never have to throw lettuce away again."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


After reading my article titled COROT, my brother called and said, "You MUST tell the story of your condescending acquaintance and Waiting For Godot."

I had invited the condescending acquaintance (CA for the remainder of the article) as a guest to a dinner party. At the time, I knew her only slightly, but I knew that she had recently returned to the county; holds a PhD and was a professor before retiring. As we shared the same politics, I thought she might be an interesting person to have as a guest.

Everybody else at the dinner party knew each other and as the CA was a stranger to the group, I asked her to tell us about her career. She must have thought that nobody else was supposed to speak the remainder of the night as she monopolized the conversation and when I would deliberately steer the conversation to another topic she would interrupt and start telling another long-winded anecdote about herself.

Not ONCE during the evening did she ever try to engage another person in conversation or ask a question or make a comment about anything anybody else had said.

Because of her self-aggrandizement, I could see the discomfort of my other six guests. Finally, I asked, "Did you see Waiting For Godot on PBS?" The CA fairly screaked, "And she even pronounced it correctly." [I had pronounced Godot as "Gah-dough" rather than "Guh-dough]. A normal person would have said, "And you even pronounced it correctly", but she was seemingly oblivious to any sense of good manners. The CA probably did not notice the reaction of all the other guests. [I find that egotistical people are largely unaware of other people's feelings.] I saw my brother roll his eyes and one of my friends give me a "Can you believe that?" look and another lifted her napkin to shield a laugh.

As the hostess, I felt that I should not embarrass my guest, but I did say, "Oh, yes, I have all of Beckett's works in my library." I saw my brother lift his hand and waved it over his head (the universal "over her head" sign). The CA was obviously surprised and responded, "Right here in Fayette County!" One of the other guests asked, "Why does that surprise you?" The CA answered, "I wrote my thesis on Samuel Beckett; I'm just surprised someone in Fayette County knows Beckett."

Another guest asked, sarcastically, "Didn't you know that Sue knows everything?" I laughed and pointed to my brother and said, "If I don't know it, then he does." My brother said, "And if I don't know it, then my other brother does."

The CA obviously did not realize that she was being the object of ridicule as she then began droning on about her doctoral dissertation!

After the CA left, several other guests remained, and four told me they would never come again if they knew she were going to be there! Their assessments ranged from "arrogant", "narcissistic", "bad-mannered" to "egotistical". When I told them I didn't believe that she comprehended that she was being condescending, a friend asked, "How could she not know? Saying "She even pronounced it correctly!" and "Here in Fayette County." How could she NOT know?"

I never invited her to come back.

My brother said, "You must stop bringing home those little lost puppies; they are hard to train!"

Monday, May 28, 2012


"Kit" Boyd, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the Korean War. I uncovered the information accidentally, and I asked, "Why didn't you ever tell me this?" and he answered, "It would have seemed like bragging and I was just doing my job when it happened." Please read the citation given with his Silver Star:

"Lieutenant Boyd was in charge of a truck platoon evacuating troops when the convoy came under heavy enemy fire from an enemy roadblock. Without regard for his own safety, Lieutenant Boyd reorganized the convoy of vehicles still operable, improvised stretchers for the wounded, loaded them on vehicles and led the convoy through the roadblock. Two hundred yards down the road the convoy again was subjected to heavy enemy fire, including accurate mortar fire. Lieutenant Boyd abandoned the wrecked vehicles and loaded the wounded onto an artillery prime mover and two half-tracks. By using the prime mover to push the stalled and burning vehicles off the road, he was able to go through the second road block. During the action, Boyd was wounded and fell from the prime mover, later making his way back to his unit station alone."

"......just doing my job." INDEED!
Here are a few closeups:

Sunday, May 27, 2012


In dealing with older people, one has to hear the same stories over and over! I don't want to turn out that way--please don't let me become a boring old coot (is "old" redundant in that usage?); nowadays, I make myself preface anecdotes with, "Stop me if I've told you this before."

My mother was defiantly NOT that way! My mother said that she hated to be around old people because all they talked about were their ailments! She was 80 at the time! Although my mother would tell us stories about "back then", it was usually at our urging.

My mother was always "au courant", keeping up on current events and pop culture. Every day she would tell me about the topic on "Oprah" and other newsworthy events.

My mother always had "crushes" on movie stars, but when they got old, she would just toss them aside for a new "hunk". We teased her about her crush on Jack Lord as "Stoney Burke" (we razzed her by saying "Stoney Puke') but when "Hawaii Five-O" came along, Jack Lord was "too old" for her interest!

Once, when we were going to a Dylan concert, Mother said, "Well, his lyrics are good, but I can't stand that a-tonal flat voice!" She should have been a critic!

Mother loved Sinatra and Perry Como but those records were put aside for newer artists. I said, "Mother, you are so disloyal!" She answered, "Oh, I still like them, but I like new stuff too." My niece came to live with us and she and my mother spent a great deal of time together and my niece would play her favorite music in the car--the Judds, Reba, Shania--and she made cassettes for mother. Mother started listening to country and western music. She became a fan of Reba McEntire. I gasped, "Reba McEntire?"

Her favorite song became "The Rose" by Bette Midler. We played it at her funeral.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Yesterday, an acquaintance asked me to come to visit her at her home as she wanted to show me some photographs.

As we sat down at her dining room table, I looked at the opposite wall and said, "I see you have the same Corot print that I do."

She asked, with surprise in her tone, "You know Corot?" Having previously experienced similar condescending remarks from her, which, regrettably, I had allowed them to pass without comment, because in those instances we were in the company of other people. This time, being just the two of us together, I decided to confront her condescension. I asked, "Why wouldn't I know Corot if YOU know Corot, and especially a famous painting like Ville d'Avray?" There was no response from her, just a sudden, sharp intake of breath. I continued, "Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is my favorite artist." [I admit that was showing off a wee bit, but I so love people with three names like J.M.W. Turner and Corot!]

Still, there was no response from her. I stated, "You didn't answer my question and I'm very interested to know the answer." She hemmed and hawed and said, "I just never expect people from Fayette County...". As her voice trailed off, I did not allow her to continue, but interjected, "But YOU are from Fayette County, so why would you think that your fellow Fayette Countian would not know Corot?" She said, "But I haven't lived here since I went off to college."

I answered, "That's totally illogical; I knew about Corot when I was a teenager; they actually had books of French artists at the library." [I have found that one of the things people dislike the most is to be accused of being illogical.]

She did not respond to that salvo.

I said, "I'm disappointed that you cannot admit what is obvious--that you think you are intellectually superior."

She answered, "No, I don't think that, I just know we have different backgrounds."

I answered, "No, actually you do NOT know that because you have never ONCE inquired about my background, but I certainly know all about yours, but that still doesn't answer my question." Then she said, "You misunderstood what I meant." I laughed and said, "I'm a woman of great perspicacity, so I'm sure I DID understand." She did not answer. I asked, "Please tell me WHY you would think I wouldn't know Corot but you would? that's a rather simple question." Then I laughed again, which clearly upset her. [I have also found that people dislike being laughed at, along with being accused of being illogical.]

I suddenly felt embarrassed, because I was enjoying the attack too much! Shame on me. To use the cliche, I was having a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Clearly, she had not been exposed to rough-and-tumble arguments! It wasn't exactly a Socratic dialogue! Oh, yes, we do have VERY different backgrounds!

I stood up to leave and she kept making attempts to apologize, which, if she knew the slightest thing about me, she would know that was exactly the wrong thing to do. I would much rather that she had told the truth that she does feel superior rather than giving a spurious apology.

As I had my hand on the doorknob to leave, I said, "Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3."

I probably won't have another invitation.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Yesterday, in a store, the clerk serving me was named "Cecilia". Naturally, I began to sing "Cecilia". The clerk said, "My grandpa always sings that to me." Knowing right then that I was probably close to her grandpa's age, I said, "He must be a Paul Simon fan." As I thought about the next line of the song, I realized that it was hardly appropriate for a grandfather to be singing to a granddaughter. I asked her, "How much of the song does he sing to you?" She answered, "Just the name." Relieved at knowing that Grandpa had not sung any of the risque lyrics to her, I asked her if she knew the rest of the song; she said she'd never listened to it.

I thought, "NEVER listened to it? If I were named Cecilia, and I knew there was a song with that name, I'm sure I would've listened to it!"

I debated with myself about continuing, but surged ahead, "Well, you're probably named for St. Cecilia." She said, "I've never heard of that." I said, "She's the patron saint of musicians."

Undeterred, I continued, "There's a couple of poems by famous poets about St. Cecilia you could google."

This reminded me another clerk named Laura and when I sang a snippet of the song "Laura" to her, she said she'd never heard the song and she thought I'd made it up! When I asked her if she'd ever seen the movie, she asked who was in it and when I said, "Gene Tierney" she said she'd never heard of HIM. How could anyone named Laura not know about the song and movie?

The lack of curiosity by people is a constant source of amazement to me!

However, there is hope: my favorite store clerk is named Soren and he was also pleased when I asked if he were named for Kierkegaard and he said that his parents are existentialists! That made my day! I always try to get in Soren's line at the store!

Les asked, "What is it with you and clerks?"

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Each week, Les and I share the joy of The New Yorker, especially the cartoons. This week's edition contained this cartoon, which for some reason, reminded Les of me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I needed to buy a bottle of vodka for my client. He told me to get the best buy.

At Kroger, I enlisted the help of the clerk, "I need to get the cheapest bottle of Vodka." She and I were looking at the row of bottles of vodka and she pointed to one for $7.00+ and I asked, "Why don't the labels have marked the prices per ounce so I can tell the best buy." She laughed and said, "They're liters!" KORSKI @ $13.58 for 1.75 liters! was the best buy! I said, "Well, that sounds Russian enough for me!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Someone recently used the phrase "couldn't hardly". It transported me back in time: I recall my teacher Miss Digman physically recoiling when a classmate said it! I knew at the time that it was incorrect usage, and that I undoubtedly would never say or write it in my lifetime, but that vision of Miss Digman's reaction is indelibly etched in my brain and has kept me vigilant!

Adverbs such as hardly, rarely, scarcely, barely, and seldom should not be used in the same clause with a negative as it creates a double negative. Adverbs which suggest "few", "little" and "not often" should not be used with a negative.

A friend quizzed my using "were" instead of "was" in a sentence, "If that were the case....." Of course I know that "if" in that sentence requires the subjunctive mood and "were" is correct, but my friend said it sound "stilted"! Although pleased with her use of the word "stilted", I replied, "It sounds correct, as it were!" My brothers and I laugh and imitate our teacher Mr. Kelley when we use the subjunctive mood, as Mr. Kelley would often say "As it were."

I'm glad to have had some good teachers!

See the American Heritage Dictionary definition of "hardly" HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2012


My brother told me that I am doing well in breaking my habit of using "ANYWAY", but another habit I need to break is my overuse of exclamation points.

I said, "With Spell Check there should also be PUNCTUATION CHECK."

I'm proud because I refrained from using exclamation marks after either one of the above sentences.

I said, "At least I DON'T misuse ellipses, hypens, em dashes and en dashes." He answered, "At leasts don't rectify the other problem."

NOW, to work on the CAPITALIZING for EMPHASIS!

Sunday, May 20, 2012



A game played at either a meal or in a group setting.

1. When at a meal, and everyone is on their phones, grab them and stack them face down in the center of the table. First to pick up their phone, pays the bill for all. If no one grabs it, everyone pays their part.

2. When in a group setting, grab the phones and stack them. Whoever grabs their phone must perform challenges, each group member gets to pick a challenge so in a group of 10, touching your phone would cause you to do 10 challenges. You may use your phone during the challenges but afterwards, it goes back on the stack.

3. *Everyone is texting at a group meal*
Person 1: "PHONE STACK!"
*Person 1 snatches all phones and stacks them face down*
Person 1: "first to touch pays the full bill"

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Recently a friend wondered why I like cut flowers so much. I explained that it was the difference between "Shanty Irish" and "Lace Curtain Irish". Growing up "Shanty Irish", I definitely aspired to be "Lace Curtain Irish".

The terms "Shanty Irish" and "Lace Curtain Irish" are seldom used in Ireland, but mostly in the United States. "Shanty Irish" was a derogatory term used to describe poor Irish immigrants. The origin of the word "shanty" is unknown, but is presumed to originate from the Irish "sean tig" which means "old house". In Ireland people like "Shanty Irish" are known as "culchies" and "bogtrotters", which are both derogatory terms.

"Lace Curtain Irish" people might have been just as poor as the "Shanty Irish", but they wanted to be considered more respectable. They were called that because they put up lace curtains for the sake of appearance. "Lace Curtain Irish" is usually said with disdain.

As a girl, I can remember going to a friend's home, and her mother had REAL flowers in a bouquet on the dining room table. I told myself, "When I grow up, I'll have REAL flowers in my home."

Today is exhilarating: I have bouquets of French lilacs, rhododendron, clematis, roses, peonies, irises, and mock orange gracing the different rooms. I especially savor the flowers of spring and summer. {Les said that ONLY I would use the word "savor" to describe feelings for flowers. I explained that savor is also properly used to describe smell as well as taste!} I cherish exquisite vases and containers, and especially ones with flowers on them which I can use to display matching flowers!

My favorite display I have ever done was to have a bouquet of flowers resembling a painting hanging directly above it, but NOBODY noticed! Gerald comforted me by saying, "Maybe most people are not so detail-oriented, Sweetheart!"

My brother Norman explains the difference between the "Shanty Irish " and the "Lace Curtain Irish":

The LACE CURTAIN IRISH move the dishes before they pee in the sink!

Friday, May 18, 2012


"Aren't you the lady that needs some painting or wallpapering done?"

I answered, "Yes, do you do that kind of work?"

That conversation transpired when I called a stranger to get a telephone number for a friend. The stranger was kind enough to give me the cell phone number of his ex-wife. He told me that his cousin had mentioned that his wife's uncle had done work for us in the past and that I might need other work done.

Gerald and I have been trying for three years to find someone capable and willing to install grass cloth wallpaper in our living room. We want the same kind of paper that is currently on the walls and Gerald found the replacement wall covering from Renovations. According to our friend John, who grew up in the house, his mother had the grass cloth wallpaper installed in 1962. The paper is still quite intact and I LOVE the patina, but there was water damage around one of the windows and it can't be fixed.

After having three wallpaper professionals come to look at the job to provide an estimate, none of the three were willing to attempt the job.

The stranger is coming to give an estimate. If he's able to install the grass cloth, then the foil wall covering in the dining room will be next!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was without my cell phone for THREE days and I find it difficult to believe--and I am now embarrassed to admit--just how dependent I am on having the cell phone.

Dring the three days, I caught myself dozens of times reaching for the phone and then last evening someone called me, urgently needing telephone numbers she thought I might have had; the numbers were unlisted in the telephone directory. The numbers she needed were stored in my cell phone! I told her that my cell phone was dead, but I would try to find the numbers she needed.

After hanging up, I started grumbling to Les, "WHY am I supposed to be the REPOSITORY for all knowledge in the world?"

Being sensible, he responded, "Just call her back and tell her you can't get it, instead of being in a dither, but, as usual, you want to be the rescuer."

After complimenting his use of the word dither, I looked in three address books, called the operator, and left messages for several people I thought who might have the numbers, but could not locate the numbers. Suddenly, I remembered that the daughter of one of my tenants is married to the cousin of the ex-husband of one of the people with whom my friend needed to make contact.

WHEW! I decided to give that circuitous route a try! The mother wasn't home; I spoke to the step-father; he gave me the cell phone number of his stepdaughter; I left a message; she returned my call; she had to go home to find the number. She returned my call with the number of the ex-husband! I thought, "I know they had an acrimonious break-up, so he might be irritated, but what the heck, it's worth a try!" He answered and very obligingly gave me the cell phone number of the ex-wife.

All told, it took less than half an hour! Les, said, "Good job, Sherlock!" I called to give the number and she was very relieved.

Lessons learned:

1. Never be afraid to call anybody if it's to help someone else with a problem.

2. I just spent some time transferring my cell phone storage numbers onto the computer and also made a paper copy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


One time, all of the management team had been called to have what we termed a "Come To Jesus Meeting". We were all sitting around a conference room table waiting, with dread, for our boss to arrive.

As we trying not to show our apprehension, we were making small talk and one of my colleagues admired my briefcase which was Coach brand. The other guys were also looking at it and we did not notice when our boss walked into the room. We heard his voice say, "Well, are you all going to have a damned orgasm about the briefcase?"

Nobody spoke and hurried to their seats. He asked, disdainfully, "Well, Sue?"

I said, "No, I would only have an orgasm about a HARTMANN briefcase!"

Fortunately, he laughed!

(Starting bid on the briefcase on eBay - $700)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.

So he went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet.

After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede, which came in a little white box to use for his house.

He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar with him.

So he asked the centipede in the box, "Would you like to go to the bar with me today? We will have a good time."

But there was no answer from his new pet.

This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked again, "How about going to the bar with me and have a beer?"

But again, there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation.

The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.

This time heput his face up against the centipede's house and shouted, "Hey, in there! Would you like to go to the bar for a beer?"

This time, a little voice came out of the box, "I heard you the first time!

DAMMIT, I'm putting on my shoes!"

Monday, May 14, 2012


My brother has a wicked sense of humor (OK, some say "SICK"), but as I've written before, his bete noir is with people who use "air quotes"!

Yesterday, another family member used the odious "air quotes" and my brother asked, quite earnestly, "When did you receive your diagnosis?" The other family member answered, "What do you mean?" My brother answered, still very earnestly, "That neurological disorder." The other person said, "I still don't know what you mean." Of course there is no way that my brother would lift his hands to demonstrate the "air quotes", but instead said, "Those peculiar gestures you're making with your fingers--is that some kind of tic?" Naturally, the other person felt offended and answered, "You knew exactly what I meant!" to which my brother answered, "But I didn't know you were linguistically challenged and couldn't express yourself in an intelligent manner!"

"Oh, you just think you're so smart." to which my brother responded, "SOME have said!"

I just e-mailed the other family member the Victor Borge punctuation routine!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I applied for a job as a "Field Organizer" for a political campaign and I had an interview on the telephone. I knew that these jobs were usually filled by young people, mostly by recent college graduates. As we'd had several very incompetent ones in past campaigns, I decided I wanted to be "paid" instead of doing all of their work for them while I was being a volunteer! After all, I had experience and knowledge! I thought that perhaps those might be desirable traits they were looking for in a candidate!

My "interview" was conducted on the telephone and the interviewer was obviously a young woman. Of course, in the "chatting" part I asked about her background; from her summary I gleaned that she could not have been more than 25 years old. Her first question of the interview was "How do you think you could handle working twelve hours a day?" I answered, "That would be like PART-TIME work to me." She obviously wasn't listening, or comprehending, because her next statement was, "Our people are expected to work long hours." I answered, "As I said, 12 hours would be like part-time work because I was SO used to working LONG hours." Oblivious, she continued, "We often have to work very long hours, miss meals, and family." I wondered to myself, "What part of the English language does she not understand?" but I proceeded to tell her that for instance, one year I did not have ONE day off from January 2 until July; that I worked every Saturday, every Sunday and every holiday and also during that time my counterpart on another shift was off for an operation and I had to work six weeks straight, 17 hours per day to cover his and my shifts!

I also told her that I had worked with a number of "field organizers" and I had observed HOW they worked. If she had pursued that lead, she would have learned the "HOW" was not a compliment.

I knew that I had answered her remaining questions with appropriate replies and then I realized that this was JUST a perfunctory interview, because in my cover letter I had written that a prominent person had suggested I apply and she asked how I knew the person. I soon understood that I didn't stand a chance in Hell of getting the job because of my age! She was smart enough NOT to say anything illegal, but it was obvious to me that she thought an older person couldn't "handle" the job!

The campaigns are short-lived and the young folks go on to other jobs, careers, or further education and they probably believe that they have done "well". One actually had the nerve to ask for a letter of recommendation; I declined. He asked why and I told him that I had observed his lack of ability! He was nearly in tears when he told me that he thought he had done a "great" job and wanted to know specifics, which I supplied. Of the 13 with whom I worked in past campaigns, there was just ONE who actually performed the job and who had the ability, people skills, acumen, knowledge, and stamina to do the job!

I think I'll apply again this year just to make them UNCOMFORTABLE!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


My friend Patty wrote that this was her best compliment:

"It was at my grandpa's funeral. I overheard my mother telling someone that I was a wonderful daughter and she couldn't ask for better. Needless to say, I was farklempt. She never knew that I overheard her."

I wrote back and told her it reminded me of my mother:

Our next door neighbor had seven children, all of whom were lousy.

Shortly after Mother came to make her home with us, she was on the phone with the neighbor, and I could tell from the conversation that they were talking about Mother's coming to live with us. I heard Mother say, "Well, Sue always says that I make my home with them, NOT that I live with them!"

Mother did not know I heard that conversation, but later Mother said, "She doesn't have one decent kid--there she is out there in the country with emphysema --and not one of those damned kids will get her an air conditioner!"

Three days later we took an air conditioner to her!

Mother said, "She was telling me that I would regret MOVING IN ON you!" I said, "She said THAT--moving in on?" Mother said, quite smugly, "So I told her, "MY daughter ALWAYS says, that I don't LIVE WITH them, but I make my home with them!"

Oh, that shade of difference: her saying that "MY daughter always says" rather than "Sue always says" tells EVERYTHING about MY mother!

Friday, May 11, 2012


Les said that I'm getting CROTCHETY! I answered, "That makes me sound OLD!" He answered, "At least I didn't say you're IRASCIBLE!"

This made me start to thinking about words which are usually just associated with those who are OLD:


My friend Gretchen added:


but my favorite from her is:


Les just chimed in with:


We discussed that a great number of these are gender-specific:

FEMALE: hag, crone, battle-axe , crow, slattern, garrulous
MALE: coot, codger, hoary

So WHY are there more derogatory ones toward women? OOPS! Being CROTCHETY!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today, at Kroger, an announcement came over the PA system, "Mrs. Smith, your grandchild is at the Self Check Out Line." The name was NOT Mrs. Smith, but I wouldn't want to give her real name and publicly embarrass a grandmother for misplacing her grandchild!

Shortly, I heard a child screaming and I asked the woman next to me, who appeared to be in my age group, "Did you read O. Henry's The Ransom Of Red Chief when you were in school?" She said that she had not, but she had read The Gift Of The Magi. I gave her a brief synopsis of the story: two crooks came up with a plan to kidnap the child of the town's wealthiest man. They ended up having to pay the father to take back the kid because he was so bad and the kid was known as Red Chief.

The child's screaming escalated and the woman asked, "Wonder how much she'd pay?"

See O. Henry's story by CLICKING HERE. It's worth re-reading!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The answer is YES!

My brother just told me that after "AIR QUOTES" the second most annoying habit of people is when they answer their own rhetorical questions; e.g.:

"Do I [blah, blah, blah--you can insert any annoying question here--blah, blah, blah]?" and then they'll answer their own questions with something akin to, "Yes, I do" or "No, I don't."

One seldom has the opportunity to interrupt their verbal stream, as these offenders usually string together several of these nettling rhetorical questions in a row!

Rhetorical questions CAN be interesting but ONLY if they're left UNANSWERED! I rather like clear, concise, declaritive sentences and if people want to ask a REAL question, then dammit, I'd be glad to answer!

When did this vexing behavior begin? I blame Donald Rumsfeld for this appalling trend as he used to do it all the time at press conferences. [My favorite non sequitur by Rummy is "We don't know what we don't know!"]

Is there any way to stop the Rummy-regurgitators? I fear not!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


In response to "I COULDN'T CARE LESS", a friend called and said, "How about other sarcastic inverse expressions?" I asked which ones and she said, "Like "TELL ME ABOUT IT!" which obviously means "DO NOT tell me about it because I already know about it already!"

She continued, "There's also the omnipresent "RIGHT!" (said with verbal elongation "RI-I-I-GHT"!) and "YA THINK?", both equally sarcastic and irritating! Then there's the Yiddish expression "I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY!" which has the same sarcastic inversion as "I COULD CARE LESS!"

Monday, May 7, 2012


People magazine [YES, I "look at" People; Gerald got a 3-month free subscription for buying sweaters at Peebles after Christmas and our friend Mary was working there, so he caved in!] has an article this week entitled "What's The Best Compliment You've Ever Received?" The comments range from:

BRADLEY COOPER: "I respect and look up to you--from my pop."
JENNIFER ANISTON: "Whenever anyone, a friend or stranger, comes up to me and tells me that I made them laugh--nothing feels better."
MICHELLE OBAMA: "Barack tells me I'm at my best when I'm hanging around with the girls, no makeup, in my lazy weekend clothes, just being me."
ASHTON KUCHER: "One of my friends told me, "Other than your dad, you're the hardest-working person I know."

You can see other comments online.


One of my nephews told me this: years ago, three of my nephews (he and two of his cousins) were talking and one said that he was my favorite nephew. The other two jumped in and said that they thought they were my favorite!

I must have done something RIGHT!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Norman, Les and I hate the phrase "IT IS WHAT IT IS" because:

1. none of the three of us know what it means.
2. it sounds stupid.


We love the cartoon from The New Yorker:

See some answers from The Urban Dictionary:

1. Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as "f..k it."
The client changed the deadline to today? Well, it is what it is.

2. A cliche, popular within the circles of coaches, business execs, and those of us who just want to say "It's happened. 'I'm going to forget about it. I'm going to move on. There is nothing that can be done about it."

Voted by USA Today as the #1 cliche of 2004
"We showed up and gave 100%, and it is what it is. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, after finishing second in the Nextel Cup championship. (AP, Nov. 22)

"Never in a million years did I think we would be 1-5 at this juncture, but it is what it is. Mike Minter, safety for the NFL's Carolina Panthers, on his team's start this season. (AP, Oct. 24)

Is this a better game than before? That's what a lot of people are asking. Perhaps the more precise question should be: Is this what hockey is going to evolve into? And if so, will the fans, the players, the coaches, and the general managers embrace it as NHL hockey?
"It is what it is," said Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock. "It's a new game." (AP, Oct. 23)

3. A) A phrase that seems to simply state the obvious but actually implies helplessness.

B) A phrase that seems to simply state the obvious but actually means "it will be what it is," as in "it ain't gonna change, so deal with it or don't." See also tough shit, oh well, cry me a river and tfb.

Meaning A
J: I can't believe the price of gas!
B: It is what it is.

Meaning B
J: It troubles me that you continue to put cyanide in my Yoohoo even after I've asked you to stop.
B: It is what it is.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


A friend asked me for a substitute for the phrase "I couldn't care less".

I never use either of the phrases "I couldn't care less" and "I could care less" because I find them to be nonsensical.

Below is an explanation I'm borrowing from Common Errors In English Usage by Paul Brian:



The expression "I COULDN'T CARE LESS" originally meant: "It would be impossible for me to care less than I do because I do not care at all" is rendered senseless by being transformed into the now-common "I COULD CARE LESS".

IF one COULD care less, that means one could care some! The original "I couldn't care less" already dripped sarcasm, so it's pointless to argue that the newer version is "ironic".

The original expression "I couldn't care less" was a British saying and came to the U.S. in the 1950s. The inverted form "I could care less" was coined in the U.S. and was first recorded in print in 1966. The question is--something caused the negative to vanish even while the original form of the expression was still very much in vogue and available for comparison--so what was it?

People who misuse the phrase are obviously just being CARELESS!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I love The Urban Dictionary! It is snarky, sarcastic and wonky; all those characteristics I find useful! In 2004, I used the word "wonk" in the presence of a woman who actually labeled herself a "wordsmith" and I knew what the word meant and had seen it used in The New Republic magazine, but when I was challenged by her, I couldn't find the damned word in any dictionary at the time! My nephew said, "Try the Urban Dictionary--they're very WONKY like you!" My "wordsmith" haughtily replied that she didn't use "slang" words!

This same woman had never heard the word "vet" used to describe a thorough examination or evaluation as in "vetting political candidates", although it is NOT a slang word.

"WONK" is now in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary!

The Urban Dictionary was founded in 1999 by Aaron Peckham who was a Freshman student at California Polytechnic University. The definitions in The Urban Dictionary are slang, ethnic and cultural phrases not found in standard dictionaries. Users of the Dictionary may submit definitions without registering, but must provide a valid e-mail address.

Les said I should register some of our mother's unique words and phrases.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I have several people from THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS keeping me in line about using the word "ANYWAY" as my sentence ender and bridge to another sentence. Thanks to all of them! I SHALL break the habit!

Les said, "Hey, I heard something worse than using "ANYWAY"; it's "AND WHAT NOT"." I replied that I used to work with a guy who said "and what not" continually and that I would ask "WHAT?" and he'd say, "What do you mean?" and I would answer, "What does and what not mean?" He said, "It means nothing." I asked, "Then why not say nothing." I was glad that he hadn't noticed my ANYWAY!

Here's examples of "AND WHAT NOT" from The urban dictionary:

A more hip hop way of saying "etc", or a verbal way of expressing "..." It is said by those that have so much poppin' that they don't have the time or energy to explain what the "what not" is. This term should not be used by wannabe gangstas, as this will only serve to slash your street cred. People will know you have no substance behind your "what not."

"What are you doing tonight?"
"I'm gonna meet some people and what not."

Used a a way to encompass many items, thoughts, absolutes that are defined but are too numerous to be listed or the communicator is unsure what they actually are.

The next report will contain facts, figures of the impending impact of sales and what not.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


At the recent wrestling tournament, when John won a match with the score of 10-0, one of his teammate's parents came over and asked, "What did you think about that, Grandma?" I was stunned and Allen said to him, "This is my aunt but she's like a grandma." When I recovered, I said, "I'd be proud to be his grandma."

GRANDMA! Of course, I'm old enough to be his grandma! OMG, I'm OLD!

Today Allen said that everybody there assumed I was his mother and that we must look alike. I said, "That's because we look like Shirkeys."

I wish I resembled my mother instead of looking like my father's family. I always describe my father and his family as light-eyed and pasty-faced, totally unlike my mother! I look like my father's sister, except I have dark eyes. The last time I saw my aunt I begged Gerald, "Please tell me I don't look like her." Norman said, "You better start saving for the face lift!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This week is the anniversary of President Obama's order to Seal Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden. His action displayed brilliance, decisiveness and fearlessnessness. He showed his usual "grace under pressure" (JFK's quote from Hemingway) and when criticized by some French people for not giving bin Laden a proper religious burial, the President answered that he would not allow bin Laden's burial site to become a shrine!

Below are some other BON MOTS addressed to our sometimes obstreperous allies, the French:

JFK's Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 1960's when French President Charles de Gaulle announced that France would pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said that he wanted all U. S. military out of France as soon as possible. Secretary Rusk responded, " Does that include all those who are buried here from two World Wars?" DeGaulle did not respond.

At a conference in France there was a large number of international engineers participating, including French and American engineers. During a break, one of the French engineers asked, "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims; what does he plan to do, bomb them?" A Boeing engineer stood up and quietly replied, "Our carriers have three hospitals on board which can treat several hundred people and they are nuclear-powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day; they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water each day and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from the flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?"

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference which included admirals from the United States, Canada, Australia and France. At a cocktail reception, the admiral found himself standing with a large group of officers which included personnel from those countries. Everyone was chatting in English as they sipped their drinks when a French admiral suddenly complained that whereas Eauropeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English at these conferences rather than speak in French?" Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German!"

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, it took him a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on baggage. "You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked, sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. "Then you should have known to have your passport ready, instead of holding up the line.", the agent said, derisively. Mr. Whiting replied, "The last time I was here I didn't have to show it." The agent said, huffily, "That's impossible, Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France." Mr. Whiting, the american senior citizen gave the Frenchman a long hard look and quietly said, "Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate your country, I just couldn't find a single Frenchman to show a passport to!"