Friday, January 31, 2014


Today is the birthday of Joey, my friend Patty's teenage grandson.

I asked Patty, "Is he STILL Joey?" and continued with "If Bobby Kennedy could keep being Bobby, then any guy can keep his kid name!"

I remember how my brother Kenny hated the "Kenny" nickname when he was older. His wife Betty always called him Ken and I tried, but "Kenny" would slip out! He was "Kenny Gene" to my Grandmother Shirkey and the aunts and uncle on that side of the family! Many years before Kenny died, I gave him something which had belonged to our grandparents and I wrote "to Kenny Gene" and he was actually touched.

In my family, my brother Bode always wanted to be called "Bode"; Gary never had a nickname; Kenny is still Kenny to us; Neil is the middle name of Raymond Neil; and I and nearly all the family stopped calling Norman "Banty" when he requested us to stop when he was grown. Duke is Duke and Les is Les and I'm Sue and other nicknames, but only Phyllis to classmates! Les was "Punky" until he requested us to quit calling him that when he was a teenager. Duke is OK with being Duke, but Sheila insisted on calling him Roger. She's the one who famously said, "You have nicknames like dogs!"

Bode, that culprit who bestowed all those nicknames on us, never quit calling us by the names he had bestowed! I asked him once if he were getting even with us for being nicknamed. He asked, "Awwwww, don't you like your sobriquet?" Only he would throw in "sobriquet" to make a point.

Norman and Les would cringe as Bode called him by their old nicknames! I was a bunch of pet names to him but I never minded as they were mostly cute. My subscription to The New Yorker still comes as "Susannah" because Bode gave me a gift subscription in that name; thus, I know if I receive any mail with the name Susannah, then my name was purchased from the magazine! Bode had practically an eidetic memory and he would never let me live down adopting the a pseudonym after my friend Cammy and I assumed pen names as teenagers; she was "Daphne D. Carman" because of Daphne du Maurier and I was "Taylor C. Shirkey" for Taylor Caldwell! Recently, Les said sarcastically, "Just think of all those girls named Taylor nowadays; you were a trendsetter!"

On cards and gifts Bode would use an assortment of names. The rest of us would always ask each other, "What name did Bode use on your Christmas card?" My all-time favorite: Bode was in Iceland during the Korean Conflict, and we received a Christmas card addressed this way:

The Clan
RR #1
Bloomingburg, Ohio

This was before the days of actual house addresses in the country! How, you may wonder, did that postal delivery person Zoe Garringer know to whom to deliver that card? Of course it had the soldier's return address.

My friend Patty and I send numerous cards to each other for our birthdays and each will have a different name. This past year I received seven cards from her, all with different names. Patty is far more clever than I; e.g.: on presents she will write thus: From: Agatha and Chris Christie; Aretha and Ben Franklin; Hoot and Althea Gibson; Rosa and Gordon Parks; or Michael and Mary Tyler Moore, and never repeats herself.

Years ago, in e-mails to a friend who's a lover of Shakespeare, I began addressing her as female characters from Shakespeare--I was being cute AND showing-off--of course!

At a meeting last Thursday I said, "Hey, Miranda..."; she answered, "Yes, Beatrice..."; then she had to explain why to the other members.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I have been involved in a massive Facebook thread because my Facebook friend Jon Provost (YES, Jon Provost of Lassie fame) criticized Ann Coulter and her appearance on the Piers Morgan Show (see clip below). The right-wing trolls came out en masse attacking Jon, and after I added several comments, I have been attacked RIGHT AND RIGHT. Obviously they can't be attacking me right and left!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I love the word "smarmy" and it's one which my brother cautions me about overuse. One time in a class, I used the word "smarmy" and the instructor said he didn't think it was a word. I was immediately atop my insulted high horse and challenged him to a bet. I shall give him credit: the following day he apologized in front of the class.

I have always used the word "smarmy" to test dictionaries: it's my opinion that if the dictionary does not contain "smarmy", it is not worth having!

Since the internet, I don't think people are great users of dictionaries. I have numerous dictionaries: one beside my chair in the family room, one in the bedroom, one beside the computer upstairs, one in Les' room, and among the ones in the library are the French-English, the Spanish-English, and the "Bible"--the OED--Gerald said if the house were burning, I would probably grab the OED!

I know it's difficult to believe, but I have been described as "snarky"; but I've never been accused of being "smarmy"!

See the article from Grammarphobia about SMARMY and SNARKY:

On smarm and snark

Q: The commentariat can’t seem to stop talking about “smarm” and “snark.” Where did these two words come from?

A: Yes, there has been a lot of talk in the media about “smarm” and “snark,” especially since Isaac Fitzgerald, the newly appointed book editor of BuzzFeed, told in November that he wouldn’t publish negative reviews.

We won’t contribute to the cultural finger-waggery in the “smarm”-versus-“snark” debate, but we’re happy to discuss the evolution of these terms.

The latest incarnations of these words are still works in progress, taking on different shades and spins and tones each time they’re used.

In general, though, “smarm” is being used now to mean smug, disapproving self-righteousness and “snark” to mean scornful, dismissive nastiness.

You won’t find the latest senses of these shifty words in most standard dictionaries, but “smarm” and “snark” have etymological roots that date from the 19th century.

The noun “smarm” is derived from a colloquial verb that showed up in the mid-1800s and meant to smear or bedaub, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The dictionary says the verb “smarm” first showed up (spelled “smawm”) as an entry in A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words (1847), by James Orchard Halliwell: “Smawm, to smear. Dorset.”

By the early 1900s, according to OED citations, “smarm” was being used to mean “treat in a wheedling, flattering way” or “behave in a fulsomely flattering or toadying manner.”

The dictionary’s earliest example of this Uriah Heepish sense is from the March 1902 issue of Little Folks, a magazine for children: “You can go and smarm him over if you want to.”

And here’s an example from Widdershins, a 1911 collection of ghost stories by the English novelist Oliver Onions: “It had been the usual thing, usual in those days, twenty years ago—smarming about Art and the Arts.”

In the 1920s, according to OED citations, the adjective “smarmy” showed up, meaning “ingratiating, obsequious; smug, unctuous.”

Here’s an example from The Deductions of Colonel Gore (1924), a mystery by Lynn Brock: “Don’t you be taken in by that smarmy swine.”

The noun “smarm” appeared in the 1930s, meaning “an unctuous bearing; fulsome flattery; flattering or toadying behaviour,” according to the OED.

Oxford’s first example is from Clunk’s Claimant, a 1937 detective story by the English author Henry Christopher Bailey: “That smarm of holiness … was pretty near the ruddy limit.”

The dictionary’s latest example, from the Feb. 19, 1978, issue of the Guardian Weekly, uses “smarm” in that same toadying sense: “ ‘George’ did this, ‘George’ did that, all the way through. ‘George’ is the victim of bonhomie and smarm.”

Most standard dictionaries still define “smarmy” and “smarm” in terms of obsequious flattery or excessively ingratiating behavior, though the Cambridge Dictionaries Online website includes “disapproving” as an informal sense of “smarmy.”

The disapproving, self-righteous sense of “smarm” is a relatively recent phenomenon. We haven’t pinned down exactly when the obsequious “smarm” got its disapproving sense, but the usage took off after BuzzFeed’s declaration that negative reviews were a no-no.

In an article last month entitled “On Smarm,” for example, Tom Scocca, the features editor at Gawker, offered this definition of the term:

“What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.

“Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can’t everyone just be nicer?”

The noun “snark” first showed up as an imaginary creature in Lewis Carroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876), but the word we’re talking about here is derived from a verb that appeared a decade earlier.

The OED describes the verb “snark” as a dialectal term “of imitative nature” that means to snore or snort.

The earliest citation for the verb in Oxford is from an 1866 issue of the journal Notes and Queries: “I will not quite compare it [a sound] to a certain kind of snarking or gnashing.”

In the early 1880s, according to the dictionary, the verb took on a new sense: to find fault with or to nag.

The OED’s first example of the new usage is from an 1882 edition of Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, which defines “snark” as “to fret, grumble, or find fault with one.”

In the early 1900s, this fault-finding sense of the verb “snark” gave us the adjective “snarky,” which Oxford defines as “irritable, short-tempered, ‘narky.’ ” (“Narky” is a British and Australian term for being irritable or sarcastic.)

The OED’s first example of “snarky” is from The Railway Children (1906), a children’s book by the English author Edith Nesbit: “Don’t be snarky, Peter. It isn’t our fault.”

The related noun “snarkiness” showed up in the 1960s, according to Oxford, but we’ve found only one passing reference to it in eight standard dictionaries. The abbreviated noun “snark” hasn’t made it into the OED or standard dictionaries.

Like “smarm,” the noun “snark” is a relative newcomer. One of the earliest examples we’ve seen is from an essay on book reviewing by the author and editor Heidi Julavits.

In the March 2003 issue of The Believer, a literary magazine she co-edits, Julavits discusses reviews that display “wit for wit’s sake,” “hostility for hostility’s sake,” and a “hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt.”

“I call it Snark, and it has crept with alarming speed into the reviewing community,” she writes.

In the article, she uses the terms “snark,” “snarkiness,” or “snarky” 15 times (no “smarm,” however).

Yes, that’s a lot of snark. But David Denby has written a whole book about it, Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal and It’s Ruining Our Conversation (2009).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


My friend Arminta dislikes the phrase just sayin' used on Facebook postings, because it obviously should be just writin'!

Today I am just wondrin' why I have interaction with people who are unbelievably illogical.

I am currently involved in a 40-thread dispute (just countin') on Facebook. A Facebook friend posted about the probable closing of a local nursing home which is her workplace. In anger about the situation, the granddaughter of my Facebook friend, posted a false statement about the President. I corrected her statement. I also wrote: "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own facts."

Then the tumult continued, with various family members attacking me. The mother of the one posting false statements began posting, instructing me not to "downgrade" her daughter and not to "preach politics". As I was doing neither, I responded with more facts.

I should know by now that people hate to be corrected and it only brings out more ignorant animosity. I can accept having political differences with people as long as they tell the truth. Hey, I was being "nice"; I never once used the word LIAR to describe her, but WHY do I have to have the last word?

Just lecturin' to myself!

Monday, January 27, 2014


It happened again to me: that awkward moment when I pronounced a word and then someone repeated the word after me, but pronounced it a different way, obviously tried to let me know that I had mispronounced it!

The latest is PERIDOT. At a recent gathering of Gerald's family, a person asked me the birthstone for August and I said, "PEAR-UH-DOT". The person immediately said, "I have a PEAR-UH-DOE ring."

I know that my family and friends will not believe this, but I actually let it pass!

When I told Les, he erupted with laughter and asked, "How are you plotting your revenge?"

I said, "When I'm alone with her, I'll merely play the online pronunciation." (listen below)

Les said, "Can't help yourself, can you?"

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Recently, when Rita Moreno received her Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild, it was mentioned that she is one of the few entertainers who are "EGOT" winners. EGOT means: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. EGOT is the entertainment grand-slam! (CLICK HERE to see article)

There are 11 EGOT winners:


*LIZA MINNELLI (received an "honorary" Grammy which does not qualify, but has the other 3)
*BARBRA STREISAND (received an "honorary" Tony which does not qualify, but has the other 3)

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Les told me about seeing Kevin Hart interviewed and Hart was telling about being given a movie script for Fool's Gold and the script contained the word façade. When the camera rolled he pronounced the word as "fuh-cade" and the director yelled "Cut!" but, as Hart told the story, the director let him repeat the scene three times before correcting his pronunciation, as the rest of the crew were enjoying the spectacle. Hart said that he knew the word façade and knew how to pronounce the word correctly, but had never seen it in print.

A friend asked if I knew what the word deigns means, but she pronounced it as "deens"; when I did not recognize the word she spelled it and I said that I did know the word but it's pronounced as "danes". Les was listening to the conversation and said, "You know, that's one of those words that one sees on the printed page, but seldom hears pronounced."

In a recent BLOG article I used the word "banal" and then a friend referred to it and mispronounced the word.

Les said, "It's your Francophilia--you just love those Frenchy-sounding words--remember your insanity about niche?"

Other words I've heard fractured by people:

YOSEMITE (yes, Yosemite!)


Friday, January 24, 2014


A friend sent me this cartoon today, because she is amused (or amazed) about my impromptu singing habits and the fact that I take cartoons from The New Yorker to my doctor, who shares my warped sense of humor! She wrote: "Every time I hear you start singing in public I'll remind you that you have a staff infection!"

As is my wont, during the Christmas season, I was singing a Christmas song while shopping. A woman pushing her cart in front of me began whistling the tune along with me. We both stopped and I said how much I loved whistling, but I could not whistle. She said that she loved singing, but that she couldn't sing worth a darn! I said that we were a match made in Hollywood-musical heaven! I told her about my husband's saying that being with my family was like being in a Hollywood musical! We discussed how much we loved Bing Crosby's whistling in different songs.

Just yesterday I saw her again and she said, "You're the singer!" She then turned to a woman with her and said, "This is the woman I was telling you about." We both agreed that people thought the both of us strange for singing and whistling in public! She said her family is constantly embarrassed by her behavior!

I said, "I meant to mention Carole Anne Kaufman to you." She asked, "Who is that?" I said, "Probably the greatest whistler ever!" She asked, "Is she from around here?" I said, "Oh, no, she's a world champion whistler; there are whistling championships; you can see them on YouTube."

I told her that there has been classical music written for whistling.

Listen to Carole Anne Kaufman perform Ave Maria.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Whenever I am particularly exasperating, Les will say, "A lunar excursion, Alice!" which is his updated version of the Ralph Kramden exhortation, "TO THE MOON, ALICE!" Les will make the same gestures and say "BANG! ZOOM!" just like Jackie Gleason. (see the YouTube clip)

We always knew that Ralph never meant any of his idle threats because we could see the long-suffering Alice completely in control of the situations!

See the cute cartoon which appeared on my refrigerator!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A friend and I were discussing her son's choice for a book report this semester and she asked me if I knew the book A Death in The Family. I told her that when I'd read it in the 1960s, I had loved it. I went on to tell her that I'd read it because of Dwight MacDonald, the writer, who was a seminal influence in my life, had been a friend of James Agee, the author. When I was a kid my father subscribed to Esquire magazine; I'm sure my brothers enjoyed the Vargas pinups, but I discovered the film critic Dwight MacDonald there. I loved movies but never realized that they could be considered an "art form" until reading MacDonald. I recall MacDonald's prefacing an article with the phrase, "As an intellectual..."; when I showed that to friends and to my teacher Miss Digman, I asked, incredulously, "Can you believe he's so conceited?" Miss Digman replied, "Well, no doubt he IS an intellectual; he also writes for The New Yorker." As she flipped through those pages of Esquire, she said, off-handedly, "It's no conceit; don't you consider yourself an intellectual?" I was taken aback at the very suggestion that I might think highly of myself.

By the time I learned of Agee, he was already dead. I read the masterpiece Let Us Now Praise Famous Men which was a collaboration between Agee and the photographer Walker Evans. I read Agee's film criticism because MacDonald had quoted it and when A Death In The Family was published it received the Pulitzer Prize posthumously. I read the book and when a movie version was made it was entitled All The Way Home and it starred Robert Preston and Jean Simmons. I was touched by the movie but as with many favored books, the films do not match the writing. I oftentimes wondered how Agee would have reviewed his book and the play and film adaptations.

I just climbed on my ladder to fetch my three Agee books from the top shelf of my library. I told my friend that I would read A Death In The Family again to see if it is as good as I remember. I just opened it and in the first paragraph I was enthralled and transported to Knoxville, 1915: "I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child"; "one or two juts apiece"; "gracefully fretted".

I'm in love with writing one more time! Oh, to be able to write like THAT!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


A friend sent a copy of this Facebook message her son received:

The things in life maybe learnt the hard way, But its the best way. When it's harder it sticks in your heart for forever :) winter jam Friday?? Maybe :)

My friend wondered how students like this will ever graduate. I know that writing rules are lax on Facebook, but seeing five errors in three sentences or fragments is ridiculous! LEARNT?

Yes, "A little learning IS a dangerous thing", Mr. Pope! (see poem HERE)

See the cartoon another Facebook friend sent. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014


Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he and the SCLC helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery march. In 1968 King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


"Wrapped up like a noose
Another rumor in the night."

A Facebook friend sent this cartoon to me and asked, "What was that word you used to describe those fractured lyrics?

It's MONDEGREEN (see BLOG article here)

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Before the end of last year, Gerald and I went for our six-month dental appointment to take advantage of our dental insurance for 2013. I had my implants cleaned and also had a cancer screening. I didn't need to see the dentist but Dr. Shue usually stops by to chat for a minute but didn't this time; I assumed he was too busy to chat. Gerald had cleaning, cancer screening, and the dentist needed to check his crowns.

Sitting at the desk, making appointments, I asked Gerald, "How is Dr. Shue?" Gerald said that he saw another dentist. I said to the billing person, "Where is Dr. Shue? I only schedule appointments when Dr. Shue is here." She said, "Dr. Shue is at another location; he wanted to spend more time with his grandkids." I asked, angrily, "Why wasn't I notified?" She said, lightly, "Oh, you'll like our new dentist," and I said, very deliberately, through gritted teeth, "NO, I WON'T" She looked at me in amazement. Gerald said, "No, she won't."

I can't believe that we weren't notified of the change. When Dr. Shue retired, he shut down his practice and began working two days a week at the clinic and I always scheduled appointments on a day he would be working!

TWO people I don't want to change: my dentist and gynecologist!


Dental Rush:

The act of brushing your teeth multiple times right before a dentist appointment.

Guy 1: You going to the dentist?

Guy 2: Yah, I had a dental rush this morning.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Once again, Gerald was lost in a stream-of-consciousness dialogue between Les and me.

Les and I were busy fixing liver for my brother Duke's birthday dinner. Les didn't want to touch the liver--his excuse is that he has a cold--but I know from prior preparing of liver that he just doesn't want to touch it! As I was dipping the liver in flour I said, "I can't fix liver without thinking of Portnoy's Complaint." Les said, "I wouldn't mention that liver connection at dinner!"

I said, "It reminds me of Goodbye, Columbus." Les said, "I don't remember any similarity." I said, "Well, Philip Roth wrote both of them and Richard Benjamin starred in both, and it was the so-called Jew-Wave in literature at that time; you know, Roth, Bruce Jay Friedman, and of course, Salinger." Les quipped, "I guess Roth and Benjamin were the Jews du jour!"

I told him that my favorite scene in the movie Goodbye, Columbus was when Brenda exclaimed, "I'm a liver." (meaning that she wanted to LIVE) and Richard Benjamin deadpanned, "I'm a pancreas."

Les said, "We should've made apple pie for dessert." I said, "EWWWW, like American Pie?" Les asked, "You actually saw that?" "Oh, you know how I like those rite-of-passage movies!"

Les said, "I wouldn't mention apple pie at dinner either or any other strange food fetishes!"

Gerald walked in just as Les was singing: "Hello world, goodbye Columbus, I got a feeling that you're going to hear from us!"

He asked what we were talking about, but when we started to explain about liver and apple pie, I could tell he was confused and then relieved when I said, "I'll just write about it!"

Thursday, January 16, 2014


A friend used the phrase "Isn't that a hoot?" recently and we discussed how we so seldom hear it any more!

Some of my holiday reflections:

The criticism of the Obama family's card is ridiculous. I'm glad--and rather proud--that MY card from the President and his family does not recognize only ONE group and it's appropriate for all citizens of our country!

Elvis singing "glorious streams from heaven afar" when everybody else--and the sheet music--has "glories stream from heaven afar". Throughout the years I have listened to his singing that phrase and corrected it. Les quipped, "His phrasing isn't exactly Sinatra-esque, is it?"

The manufactured "plot" to keep people from saying "Merry Christmas". It's all political grandstanding and obvious lies. If you're a Christian, say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Christmas" (veddy, veddy, English and Charles Dickens-ish).

Even "Merry Xmas" is fine because Biblical scholars agree that early Christians used the "X" sign to identify themselves against those dreaded Romans, so that is ironic for those feeling persecuted today would be offended, don't you agree?

If you want to say "Happy Holidays", say it; after all, the word holiday is derived from "HOLY DAY". If you want to say "Seasons Greetings"; go ahead, it just takes more time!

If you're Jewish, say "Happy Chanukah", knowing full well that it was never a major event with the Chosen People until they had to compete with all that hubbub from the others! Pieces of chocolate gelt never compared with the presents the others were getting!

Let's not forget that the birth of Christ wasn't really December 25--by any scholar's calculation--but that date was in defense by the Christians against the Pagans and their glorious Saturnalia!

AHA! Back to Elvis' "glorious"!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


A Facebook friend sent this cartoon to me and reminded me that it's never too early to have a CRINGE--FAYETTE COUNTY TALK segment.

It's interesting that I have heard all of these "RIGHT CHEER" (as numerous Fayette County folk pronounce "right here") in Fayette County!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014



There are 3 clocks in our bedroom; all with different times! OK, so it's only 10 minutes time difference between MY clock and Gerald's clock, but it drives me crazy, and the one on the DVD is still another time!

Daylate savings time:

When you set your clocks ahead ten minutes to trick yourself into being early for things.
All the clocks in our house observe daylate savings time so that we are not tardy for school.

Monday, January 13, 2014


In response to my BLOG article "GPS", I received another cartoon from one of my Facebook friends.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I am not going to post on here about the common cold being caused by a virus as I have done other years. I am going to scream if I must tell one more person that I have a cold because of a virus and NOT because I do not wear SOCKS! Well, maybe not, since that screaming would probably hurt my already sore throat.

Today, I did put on footies for the first time in years to "pad around" the house. When we are expecting company, Gerald always reminds me to put on shoes. (Hey, you can take the girl out of the country, yada, yadda, yadda!)

By not wearing socks--I could risk frostbite and hypothermia-- but the dreaded cold is a virus which I have unfortunately passed on this week to my shoes-and-socks-wearing brother! Gerald has been immune so far.

Les mentioned that it hadn't been this cold in 25 years and at that time we were in Florida and he was left to care for the cats. He said, "I never told you but I brought the cats inside and put them in the basement." I said, "That's a great idea! Even though there's heat in the garage, it's certainly warmer in the basement!" Moving beds, bowls, litter boxes, etc., from the garage to the basement began and it was cute seeing Gerald and Les bringing in the children two by two! As Les was bringing in Puff all by himself, I asked, "Is that all, Noah?"

It was very amusing to see the "Magnificent 7" surveying their new territory! As everybody knows each cat has his/her bowl and bed!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Here's a game we played at our dinner party:

From Richard Nordquist

REVERSALS: A palindrome is a word which reads the same backward and forward. However, if reading a word backward produces a different word, then that's what's known as a reversal or an inversion. For example, the word pairs mug-gum and star-rats are reversals.

Below are 10 pairs of definitions, each of which corresponds to a pair of reversals. To make it easy, each word contains 6 letters (An asterisk indicates either a hyphenated word or a two-word term.) Your job is to identify the reversal. Answers are below.

1. (a) Knives, forks, and ______.
(b) Pries in a sneaking or meddlesome manner.

2. (a) Committed an offense or fault.
(b) ______the Menace.

3. (a) Single-masted, rigged sailing vessels.
(b) Small cylinders on which thread or yarn is wound.

4. (a) To cause to grow together again.
(b) An itinerant mender of household utensils.

5. (a) One who refuses to grant something.
(b) Checked or halted a horse.

6. (a) Fills with resolution or determination.
(b) Frozen or partly frozen forms of rain.

7. (a) Children in school
(b) To make a mistake. *

8. (a) To laugh (a slang term) *
(b) Marked by the enthusiastic expression of college spirit.*

9. (a) Diversions or pastimes.
(b) Leather bands for sharpening razors.

10. (a) A 10-dollar bill.
(b) A substance that curdles milk.



Friday, January 10, 2014


For the past ten years we have had our Christmas cards "created"; it's a joint effort with my niece, Tracey, who is an artist, and my husband, who is a collaborator. Tracey had been making cards with either eagle or cardinal themes. Five years ago, I was inspired by our niece Carrie, who obviously takes great care in choosing her Christmas cards. (I always say, "Carrie sends the prettiest cards!") That year her card had, "From our home to your home" and it had depicted a beautiful Federal-style house with a winter scene. I asked Gerald, "Why don't you take a real picture of our house and use it on a card?" Snow had just fallen and the trees were covered with snow and it was indeed picturesque. Gerald took the picture.

Since then we've used Gerald's pictures of our marble fireplace, bubble lights, and a watercolor of the house which was a gift of a friend who grew up in our house. This year Tracey created a lovely collage of past Christmas cards, which was a suggestion of another friend.

Several years ago I decided, for our next card, to have a picture taken of the sleigh on our porch filled with pretend presents. I wrapped an assortment of packages in different sizes with blue and silver paper and coordinating bows. I filled the boxes with newspapers and magazines for ballast.

I thought that I had them arranged quite expertly for photographic effect, just waiting for Gerald to take pictures. However, silly me, before Gerald had the opportunity to take pictures, a thief came onto our porch and stole the packages!

We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Did the thief actually think I had put actual presents in those boxes? I hope that the thief enjoyed the papers and magazines! I do hate it that I lost the bows, because several of the bows were exquisite, and hand-made by Tracey.

Several people asked if I reported it to the police. What was I going to say? That a thief stole a bunch of weeks-old newspapers that would have been recycled?

In my after-Christmas shopping at Meijer's yesterday, I bought a perfect 4-roll pack of blue and silver paper! Yes, I'm going to try again! Perhaps the cats can guard the packages! On Stormy, on Puff, on Einstein, Louise, Sasha, on Professor, and little Taupey! (Oh, I'm confusing the cats with A Visit From Saint Nicholas!)

Thursday, January 9, 2014



I must confess I have been keeping a long-hidden secret from you. I thought it was over until I saw a picture of him in today’s paper. The old palpitations and goose bumps started once again. Yes, I was a full-fledged Herb Alpert fan and followed him wherever he was. I bought every album, joined the fan club, met him and got his autograph. Elvis didn’t know about my other love.

Did you have a back-up to Elvis? No one is really a back-up because Elvis was on a much higher human level. Don’t say Bob Dylan, or I’ll gag. I mean a handsome back-up.


I bought some Tupelo honey for Gerald; it's his favorite and I can only find it locally at an "Amish" store. I love the song Tupelo Honey which was written and performed by Van Morrison. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Van Morrison but my favorite version of Tupelo Honey is by Richie Havens.

As I was getting ingredients ready to prepare baked parsnips, I asked Les, "Will you get down the honey?" as it is on a shelf too high for me to reach. Les handed it to me and started to sing A Taste Of Honey. I screaked, "Patty just wrote to me how she adored Herb Alpert." Les answered, "I just saw a thing about him in the Sunday paper."

Thus began an afternoon of Alpert-mania (listen here for A Taste Of Honey).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Yes, it's that time of year again; time to post my HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS greeting.

JANUARY 8, 1935: Elvis would have been 79!

As a teeny-bopper, I was the world's most devoted Elvis Presley fan. When I was thirteen, I even went to the beautician Evelyn Evans to have my hair cut like Elvis'. My bedroom was completely covered with Elvis Presley pictures. Every time a new song was released, several of us Elvis fans would listen to the record over and over to be able to write down the lyrics to be able to sing along. My greatest artistic achievement was to sing along and gyrate as Elvis did when he sang "Trouble" from the movie "King Creole". As the years passed, I would always watch his god-awful movies and buy whatever records were released, and I never lost the love for him, but by the sixties I was "into" folk, protest music, and jazz and although I went to see him in concert in 1973, my passion had subsided. I attributed it to "growing up". In 1973, we went to Graceland and stood outside the gates and took pictures of the gates, but this was before his death and the tours; after the tours started we went to Memphis to see inside Graceland. I was disturbed because his grave marker has "Elvis Aaron Presley" and I know that's wrong because it's really Elvis Aron Presley as the Aron rhymes with the middle name of his twin Jesse Garon Presley. I bought the commemorative stamps and sent out "first day cancellations" on January 8 to my fellow Elvis fans.

Several years after Elvis' death, my brother called me on January 8, and said, "Hey, they're having an Elvis trivia contest and you should call in and win." I tuned in and one had to be the 3rd caller; the questions were very easy but I couldn't get through to answer. Then a question came which nobody called to answer. I dialed the number and answered the question, "What was Elvis' serial number in the Army?" I answered, "U.S. 53310761." The DJ asked, "How on earth did you know that?" I told him that after Elvis was drafted, there was a girl group--The Threeteens--which had a song entitled "Dear 53310761" which I have, and then I proceeded to sing the song! I also told him that there were at least 25 songs recorded ABOUT Elvis. I also told him that it was "U.S." rather than "R.A." because "U.S." is used for draftees and "R.A." is used for enlisted people. I think that was entirely TMI as he then told me about my prize and shut me down.

What did I win? ALL of Elvis' records! Of course, I already had all of Elvis' records. I gave them as a present to my brother who is also an Elvis fan.

Now I have an "Elvis shrine" at Christmas: I have a tree full of Elvis ornaments which I surround with Elvis collectibles. This past Christmas my friend Arminta gave me an Elvis Christmas stocking which is shaped like Elvis' white satin jumpsuit pant leg and boot. It has a button when pushed plays "Blue Christmas". I send Elvis Christmas cards to all of my friends who are also Elvis devotees. I'm sad that I never met him.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


A friend posted the cartoon WTF: Fun Fact 1199 to my Facebook timeline.

I answered, "See my BLOG article WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY BROTHERS (CLICK HERE) where I was informed that I also possess PMS, SAT, and SPC which means:

"A bitch who knows everything and can prove it!"

Monday, January 6, 2014


Twenty-one years ago, a couple attempted to sell their baby here in Washington Court House. My sister-in-law Sheila was made aware of the intended transaction and thwarted it by threatening legal action. I told them I would give them the money the woman had offered if they would not give away our flesh and blood because at that time, I thought the man was related to us; I later learned that he is not. The couple left town shortly thereafter. Although we knew of their whereabouts throughout the intervening years, we have had no contact. They kept the child, had another child, divorced, and have children by other mates.

Sheila and I often wondered if we had done the right thing by foiling their attempt to dispose of their child. Perhaps--probably--the child would have had a better life here in Washington Court House than the one she had traipsing across this country with those reprehensible people. I have also kept track of the woman who tried to buy the baby.

That child they tried to sell died last year at age 22. That is certainly a tragedy.

On Facebook, I see the writings from the couple commenting on the anniversary of their daughter's death and their great grief. How dare they be posting this hypocrisy?

What should I do about such phony sorrow? Les and Gerald suggest I just ignore it.

I tried just to leave it alone on Facebook and allow them to garner sympathy from other readers, because that was their obvious motive in publishing their supposed anguish but I posted the following: "Remember when Sheila changed your plan?"

Of course, they will surely "get" the enigmatic meaning! I have had no response. They probably did not know I have been tracking them on Facebook.

I don't have a word bad enough for these ghouls!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I was stunned--and pleased--to see an answer from Sears posted on my BLOG article WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A RELATIVE. The article detailed my umbrage and Sears' response to the problem with my Sears kitchen range.

See my BLOG article which details my problem with the Repair Department of Sears on Thanksgiving Day; also see Sears comment to me on my BLOG...CLICK HERE

This is my response to Sears:

Thank you for responding to my BLOG article concerning my problem with attaining service from Sears. I am providing the information you requested.

Sears number I called {from my warranty book): 1-800-469-4663
Date of initial telephone conversation: Thanksgiving Day afternoon, November 28, 2013
During that conversation, I was told that a Sears repair person would be at my home on Friday, November 29, 2013, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. On November 29, 2013, prior to 5:00 PM, I once again called the Sears number to confirm the appointment. At that time, a woman told me that my appointment was scheduled for DECEMBER 20, 2013, (yes, that's DECEMBER)! I asked, incredulously, "Are you crazy?" During my conversation with the woman, my husband came into the room and announced that he had just received an e-mail from Sears (at his e-mail address) informing him that our appointment was scheduled on DECEMBER 30 (yes, the THIRTIETH of DECEMBER!), 2013.

I hung up the telephone and made other arrangements to have my range repaired. A repair person came to my home that EVENING, November 29, 2013, dislodged the wires to the oven, which enabled me to use the burners; informed me that he needed to order a part; on the following Monday, December 2, 2013, he returned, installed the part, and my range was repaired!

In my home, I have the following Sears products: kitchen range and microwave, washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, sweeper, treadmill, and nearly all of my husband's tools are Craftsman, but I can assure that, with future purchases, I shall consider other brands than Sears.

FINAL OUTCOME: My "Case Manager" Joey called me to let me know how concerned Sears is about my displeasure. They are sending a $50.00 gift card. I told them: "I will accept it with grace."

Friday, January 3, 2014


I went to the local Chinese restaurant to buy gift cards and there were several people lining up to pay their bills and I said, "Go ahead; I'm not in any hurry." I sat down on a bench next to a man who appeared to be Indian or Pakistani. He said, in a very loud voice, "I've been waiting an hour." I asked, "For what are you waiting?" He said, "I ordered SIX spring rolls and they brought the wrong thing." I said, quietly, "They probably had to make some; I don't think spring rolls are a normal choice here; I think they are either Thai or Laotian." He continued with his rant and it was so bad that a woman emerged from the banquet room to see about the commotion. I said, quietly, "You must stop screaming; don't you understand that there are cultural and language difficulties between you and them!" He said that he ordered the spring rolls for his wife "all the time". One of the waitresses came over to us and tried to explain to him that the man who had taken his order over the telephone misunderstood and had prepared the wrong thing. That only aggravated the situation; he kept shouting that he ordered them all the time and he asked, "How do you think it would be if I ran business like this?" I said, "I can't believe that you are in business acting this way! You probably have problems with communication just as they do!" That obviously angered him as he said, "What do you know; you're an old woman!" I said, "I know this much: YOU are very rude and it's obvious that you DO have language problems!" He kept ranting about their incompetence. I said, "These young people are trying to take care of you and if you continue screaming, I will call the police as you are causing a disturbance and upsetting everyone here!" He didn't say any more.

A young man came forward with a package and the man opened it to look inside and he said, "THIS isn't what I ordered!" I leaned over and I looked inside the bag and I said, "I count SIX spring rolls; are you hoping to cause such a ruckus so you don't have to pay for them?" He took money from his wallet and threw it down on the counter and stomped away.

I yelled, "How about a tip?"

The young woman came from behind the counter with tears in her eyes and hugged me and thanked me. Several other people came to console her. I said, "Maybe he'll go to the Nagasaki restaurant to get them in the future!"

Thursday, January 2, 2014


My friend Patty's daughter Susan posted a recipe on Facebook for "Crack Sticks" (see recipe) with the tag line that they are "addictive". I screaked at Les, "OMG, look at these; Mother used to make these when we were kids; she called them roll-ups." Les said he didn't remember them. I said, "We weren't as poor when you came along!" Her recipe was the same as the one posted here: flatten the pieces of bread with a rolling pin and add ingredients; sometimes Mother would add fruit.

My father, two of my brothers, and my husband worked at Pennington Bread and before the prevalence of "Bakery Thrift Stores", the employees were allowed to bring home the day-old products. (click here to see my BLOG article DAY OLD BREAD)

Although we always had plenty of bread, none was ever wasted! Dishes made from stale bread were staples: French toast, bread pudding, and "dressing" (how "stuffing" for turkey, etc., ever became known as "dressing" is beyond my comprehension!) were common and Mother also made "roll-ups".

Pennington Bread Company was purchased by Flowers Bakery and the plant closed; the Pennington label is now owned by Klosterman's. I bought a loaf of Pennington bread at Walgreen's today.

There was an award-winning set of television advertisements featuring the by-then elderly Morgan Pennington, the owner of Pennington Bread, giving grandfatherly advice to a grandchild. I would always make snide remarks about his being a hypocrite!

When those aired, I can recall a woman who had worked with my father and brothers at Pennington Bread, told me, "If I tell you something about Morgan Pennington, will you promise not to ever say anything?" Expecting something downright salacious, I said, "WOW! What is it?" She then told me that when Morgan Pennington was young he used to steal the tips of waitresses. I started laughing uproariously and I asked, incredulously, "That's it--that's the big secret--Hell, I thought you were going to tell me something scandalous!"

I remember going to Christmas parties at Pennington Bread and I can recall that not all of the kids got presents. Even as a kid, I knew that was so WRONG! But it taught me a very valuable life lesson: in my future work life, when I was in the position of making decisions about company Christmas parties, I always made certain that EACH child received a present of equal value! I guess I did learn something from the old skinflint--NOT to be like him!


1 loaf of bread, crusts removed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted

Flatten slices of crustless bread with rolling pin.

In a bowl combine powdered sugar and cream cheese.

Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Spread 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese/powdered sugar mixture on each slice of flattened bread. Roll up, jelly-roll style.

Brush with melted butter and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 20" at 350 degrees until golden brown. (My mother used to turn them over after 10 minutes)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014