Friday, February 28, 2014


This is a posting from The Wise Geek:

Flu viruses can live for 12 hours on cloth or tissues and for 48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces.

How long the flu virus, or influenza virus, can live outside the body varies depending on the infected surface. For example, the virus can live for as long as 12 hours on porous materials such as tissue or cloth. Nonporous materials, such as wood or metal, can carry a live flu virus for as long as 48 hours after being infected. If a surface is wet, that can increase the life of the virus to 72 hours outside the body. The flu virus tends to live on skin for only a couple of minutes, but it can spread rapidly during that time from contact with the hands or other parts of the body.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


A friend sent a Huffington Post article (see here) about the misuse of the word "ironic".

I wrote back that I had discussed with numerous people about the misuse of ironic AND pathetic.

One man in particular--a racist, sexist, homophobic BLOVIATOR--who posted his bigoted rants nearly every day on a Facebook site, misused the word "pathetic". When I corrected him he was furious.

Another time he used the phrase "unmitigated gall"; I answered that Joan Crawford's use of the phrase in the movie Mildred Pierce was far more effective than his imitative use. Knowing that the man is an anti-Semite, I added, "Those JEWISH screenwriters are SO, SO quotable and you should ATTRIBUTE!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


On Hardball, Chris Matthews made a reference to kids and Art Linkletter and I said, "They DO say the darndest things." My brother asked, "Who's that?" I had to explain who Art Linkletter was and when I mentioned Kids Say The Darndest Things, he said, "Oh, you mean that Bill Cosby show." (see YouTube clip)

Yes, I'm OLD!

I received this from my friend LEE RENO:


While I sat in the reception area of my doctor's office, a woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the room. As she went to the receptionist's desk, the man sat there, alone and silent. Just as I was thinking I should make small talk with him, a little boy slipped off his mother's lap and walked over to the wheelchair. Placing his hand on the man's, he said, “I know how you feel. My Mom makes me ride in the stroller too.”

As I was nursing my baby, my cousin's six-year-old daughter came into the room. Never having seen anyone breast feed before, she was intrigued and full of all kinds of questions about what I was doing. After mulling over my answers, she remarked, “My mom has some of those, but I don't think she knows how to use them.”

Out bicycling one day with my eight-year-old granddaughter, I got a little wistful. “In ten years,” I said, “you'll want to be with your friends and you won't go walking, biking, and swimming with me like you do now.
She shrugged. “In ten years you'll be too old to do all those things anyway.”

Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day, I entered the examining room to give a four-year-old her injection. “No, no, no!” she screamed. Scolded by her mother, "that's not polite behavior.” With that, the girl yelled even louder, “No, thank you! No, thank you!"

On the way back from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson innocently said to my son, “Dad, I know babies come from mommy's tummies, but how do they get there in the first place?” After my son hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust, “You don't have to make up something, Dad. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer.”

Just before I was deployed to Iraq, I sat my eight-year-old son down and broke the news to him. “I’m going to be away for a long time,” I told him. “I’m going to Iraq.” “Why?” he asked. “Don't you know there’s a war going on over there?”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I was invited to a birthday party for an elderly woman whom I did not know. When I asked the host why I was being invited, I was told it was because I know more about "culture" than any other people he knows and the woman is a renowned music teacher, performer, and educated individual. My brother quipped, "So why is it that YOU were invited?" Then he laughed and said, "It's probably because you're OLD too!"

I liked the woman immediately because she cussed like a sailor; drank wine as if it there were no tomorrow; and had a couple of Manhattans. I hate it when I have had a good first impression and then learn how very wrong my opinion was!

After the perfunctory getting-to know-you questions: where do you live; how are you friends with the host; how long have you known the host; have you lived here all your life; what kind of work do you do? After hearing my background I'm sure she thought she was dealing with a dolt! The host mentioned that classical music had been played at my birthday party and that piqued her interest.

However, when she learned that I do not play any musical instrument, but am knowledgeable about classical music, the woman asked me, in a patronizing tone, what my favorite piece of music is, and I answered "Mendelssohn's Fourth Symphony." She answered, haughtily, "Mendelssohn didn't write any symphonies; he wrote concertos." I said, "Funny thing, he wrote at least FOUR symphonies because the FOURTH is my favorite." I explained to her that the Mendelssohn Third is known as the "Scottish Symphony" and the Fourth is known as the "Italian Symphony". She was clearly irritated by my certitude and said, very testily, "I think I know more about music than YOU." I answered, "And I obviously know more about Mendelssohn than YOU do." Clearly irritated, she said, in a very dismissive tone, "He was Jewish." I said, "Yes, so am I." The look on her face was priceless.

I went home, got my CD of a combination of Mendelssohn's FOURTH and FIFTH Symphonies, returned, and handed it to her and said, "Happy Birthday!" I said, "His FIFTH is better than a fifth of whiskey!"

As I wrote, I hate it when I'm wrong about people! She doesn't like me and I don't like her.

Monday, February 24, 2014


A woman who reads my BLOG was having a conversation with her niece when she suddenly realized that she was possibly listening to a version of a story that was "almost like" my BLOG article "MORAL HIGH GROUND" (see here). After hearing details, she realized it was indeed the SAME story. My BLOG article details the unjustified and outrageous behavior toward me by a woman in the presence of her husband and young daughter. When my BLOG-reader first read my article, she had no knowledge of her niece's involvement, and she commented that "people like that should not have children".

Initially, the niece admitted--truthfully--to calling me a bitch, giving the finger, slapping her buttocks and telling me to kiss her ass, and using the "F" word, all in front of her child and husband. Her excuse was that I had given her a "nasty look" when she first turned around and saw me. That was totally untrue as I had been waiting patiently for her to move. She was clearly upset with her husband who had told her to move. After her initial insult to me, I DID criticize her vehemently for her reprehensible behavior in front of her child and I stood there--FIRMLY--rebuking her, as her husband continued to make her move away, as she was continuing her insults.

After the aunt showed my BLOG to her niece, some "backpedaling" began; the woman obviously had to try to save some face and told her aunt that I had "started it". As well as being a bully, the woman also tries to project onto others her own disgusting behavior. As I told the aunt, I wrote my version immediately after the incident and her niece was relying on her months-old recollections and the obvious desire to make herself look better!

The niece told her aunt that they had seen me in the same store the following week, but that they had shied away from me. They did not realize it, but I also saw them that day.

It was a wise decision for her to have stayed away from me; I'm a rather stubborn person; I would not have BUDGED that day either, and I wouldn't BACK OFF at any time; I will STAND MY GROUND--with GROUND PEPPER, that is--I don't have pepper spray in my purse, but perhaps I should have.

I might as well find humor in this. In the beginning, I thought it was hilarious that the BLOG reader knew the actual perpetrator, but after the acrimony which has followed, I had to "defriend" the aunt from Facebook and remove her from my BLOG followers.

Les keeps warning me that people might be "packing heat"!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Just when I thought that no one other than my friend Patty actually cared about the "correct" way to install toilet paper (Click here to see BLOG article PATTY AND TOILET PAPER), I discover that there is quite a toilet paper debate, complete with its own meme, infograph and Wikipedia site, along with more than FORTY (there might be more, but I quit counting at 40) sites on Google joining the great debate! To see the "Absolute Right Way To Hang Toilet Paper" click here.

A Facebook friend sent the cute cartoon.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I used the word "lorn" recently and Les asked, "Don't you mean forlorn?" I said, "I find lorn more poetic."

He answered, "OK, Little Dorrit!"

I asked, "Is that really from Little Dorrit?"

He answered, "Of course, do you think that I would resort to misquoting?"

I said, "How the Hell do you remember that; you said you don't like Dickens and only read Great Expectations because you HAD to for English literature!"

He said, "I never read it; I watched that damned Netflix movie you rented because Derek Jacobi was in it and they used the damned word!"

I am constantly amazed by our frames of references. On a recent Jeopardy!, the question was "Isak Dinesen". I screaked, "I KNOW it, I KNOW it!" Gerald and Les were waiting for my answer as I was saying: "Oh, Meryl played her in the movie Out Of Africa; she was a Baroness; uh, uh, I know it; it's ISAK DINESEN." Fortunately, I was able to get it out before the time limit.

Les laughed and said, "I can just see it if you were on Jeopardy!; you'd scream out that you know it and then give your convoluted method of answering!"

I should have read the book!

See the word "lorn" from Merriam-Webster:

Word of the Day



desolate, forsaken

Friday, February 21, 2014


In a recent Facebook thread, a teacher wrote about kids not having Valentine boxes at school. It touched my heart and I wrote that next year I shall make boxes to take to school for those kids who don't have the boxes; I actually marked my next-year's calendar for February 13 to take boxes to schools! A friend posted about my "bleeding-heart Liberal" tendencies! A comment was made that it would only condone the parents not doing their jobs. So what? The kids can't help it; why make them feel left out?

I mentioned that when I was in elementary school, my shoeboxes wrapped in Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil and adorned with construction-paper hearts did not stand a chance in the competition against the fancy-schmancy, elaborate ones made with paper doilies and Cupids, wrapped in red cellophane. I commented, sarcastically, that my teachers at the time obviously did not recognize ones made by parents! I understand that there are kits available now! The winning boxes of my school days pale in comparison to the ones of today (see example).

This led to a larger discussion of the pitfalls of parents doing school work for their kids. My mother would help with homework and my brothers and I would help each other, but nobody ever did the work for me.

However, my brother Norman needed to have some drawings for school and he's not artistically adept and he had our sister-in-law Jan do the drawings. They were so good he kept having her do the drawings and receiving A-pluses for the work. Imagine--when it came time for art work to be assigned for the school ANNUAL--it was a natural assumption that such a talented artist as Norman would accept the assignment! UH-OH! I remember when a friend had been helping her son and had done so well that they wanted to place him in Advanced classes. UH-OH!

My leaf collection and insect collection were used by my two younger brothers. I honestly do not see anything wrong with that; exactly WHAT did the collecting of those specimens have to do with actual learning? It was merely about "collecting"! For myself, I love trees and leaves, so I enjoyed it. I can still remember going to my grandparents' place near Potts Hill in Ross County and finding unusual leaves accompanied by the scents of autumn, and the smell of shellac used in preserving those leaves. As a young woman, I shellacked leaves and made them part of a coffee table-top for my first apartment. Who would have thought that leaf-shellacking would be beneficial in life? I can't think of any other way leaf collecting has benefited me except I can usually impress people by knowing trees by their leaves.

Insects? By my brothers using the insects I'd collected, it meant that only ONE each of the butterflies was killed; what was the sense of killing more butterflies? I still know the difference between butterflies and moths and cocoons and chrysalises, but other than being able to answer on Jeopardy!, I can't fathom what other benefit it has been to me or to my brothers!

A term paper of mine Aaron Burr And The Blennerhassett Conspiracy was successfully palmed off by my brother as his work, although the teacher did ask who helped him and he said his sister. I loved history and still do; he had no interest; what would a large research project have benefited him?

My brother is an autodidact and to describe him, I always think of the quote attributed to Mark Twain: "I never let my schooling interfere with my education."

Thursday, February 20, 2014


How many people need to die before the reprehensible "Stand Your Ground" laws are repealed? I would not usually attach a cartoon with such a serious topic, but this one is too perfect not to use.

I am reminded of the song Where Have All The Flowers Gone:

"Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone to graveyards, every one.
When will they ever learn?"

Listen to the classic from Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Trayvon Martin murder was a travesty of justice. Will the jury for Michael Dunn be as incompetent as the jury for Trayvon? So, what if kids are playing their music too loud? Drive away, idiot! Hell, when I'm in my convertible with the top down, I have music blaring; do you think he would shoot an old woman playing classical music, rock and roll, folk, an audio book, or whatever pleases me that day? Probably, if he thought I were black!

I read that the guy who shot the man in the theater for "texting" will probably try to claim "Stand Your Ground" also. Why wouldn't he just move if "texting" was bothering him? The murder victim wasn't talking!

See my article JUSTICE--FAYETTE COUNTY STYLE (HERE) about a sixteen-year-old boy murdered in the Kroger parking lot and the murderer was set free and he paraded the streets of Washington Court House the following day with a firearm strapped to his hip!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I have nice leather gloves in black, blue, and brown which I wear to weddings, funerals, and for other dress-up occasions. I also have a pair of purple suede gloves which I wear to Red Hat Lady events in the winter. I don't wear any of my nice gloves often because I lose gloves so easily. The remainder of the winter I wear the one-size-fits-all stretchy gloves. I have them in various colors: different shades of black, brown, gray, blue, and red.

Each year, when the winter sales are on, I stock up; the gloves are usually about 50 cents apiece then. I carry at least four pairs of these gloves in my glove box and whenever I see a kid without gloves, I stop and hand a pair of gloves to them.

I began doing this years ago when I noticed that at the end of our street there were kids playing outside in the winter not wearing hats and gloves. This was the house where my nephew said "The Spider People" lived. When I asked him why he called them that he said, "I think they have webs in their hair!" (see BLOG article about THE SPIDER PEOPLE). I went to the Dollar General store and bought hats, gloves, and scarves, returned and handed them to them. Within a week I saw one of the same kids without gloves. I bought more gloves and gave the gloves to him; they began calling me "The Glove Lady".

One time I saw one of the girls wearing mismatched gloves. That's when I decided to carry only black gloves, even though I know that there are different shades of black. Those children have since grown up and moved, but I still see a lot of kids without gloves.

I no longer buy hats and scarves; thank heavens for hoodies; every child seems to wear a hoodie nowadays.

The great thing about the stretchy gloves is that they can be worn on either hand. Right now, in my glove container at home, I have seven LEFT-HAND gloves. All of these are nice--some designer--leather gloves. Why do I keep them? Do I hope to have them reunited like some long-lost lover? There's an organization named ONE COLD HAND which seeks to help people reunite their gloves or trade with others. I can envision my lonely-hearts type advertisement: "Lonely, size 7, left-hand, saddle-brown, sheep leather, Burberry glove with cashmere lining, wishes to be reunited with right-hand mate!"

I would think that statistics would show that more right-hand gloves are lost because there are more right-handed people, but read the article from The New Yorker (HERE) about a woman who collects lost gloves. She said that maybe it's only in New York, but she has found more left-hand gloves than right-hand gloves.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


News of the killing of the baby giraffe in Denmark was widely aired (see article here). The reason that the zoo officials gave was that was how they "thin out" their too-great population of giraffes.

The fact that they fed the meat to lions was okay to me, but to do that in front of children--no--that isn't okay!


WHY would they allow the female and male giraffes to be together during mating season? Hell, we know to separate cats and dogs.

WHY not neuter or spay the ones at the zoo? That's what sensible people would do.

WHY not have contraceptives? I must admit that I don't know if there are contraceptives.

WHY not donate that beautiful animal to another zoo? I can't believe there's no European zoo which would like a giraffe.

Monday, February 17, 2014


The holiday is widely known as "Presidents Day" and is often an occasion to celebrate, or at least remember, all presidents and not just George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays are in February and most often they are regarded as the top two presidents of our nation.

Traditionally, Presidents Day was Washington's birthday. It was celebrated as a public holiday on February 22 each year, in peace or in war.

Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, an early draft of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act renamed the holiday "Presidents Day" to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, which would explain why the chosen date falls between the two birth dates. The bill was voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968.

Washington's Birthday is known officially as Presidents Day in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming; Lincoln/Washington/Presidents Day in Arizona, George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day in Arkansas, Presidents Day in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont; Washington's Birthday/Presidents Day in Maine, Presidents Day in Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, and Oregon, Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday in Montana, Recognition of the birthday of George Washington in North Dakota, Washington and Lincoln Day in Utah, and George Washington Day in Virginia.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Whenever I hear people say THE Ohio State University, I chuckle at the pretentiousness, and when I mention OSU, I will say the THE with great exaggeration so people will know that I am poking fun.

I have become veddy, veddy, English lately. Recently I mentioned to a friend that a grand-niece was going to university, rather than saying to "the" university. I had also mentioned that the Nurse Practitioner had sent Gerald "to hospital" rather than to "the" hospital.

My friend who seldom misses an opportunity for a good riposte, said, very drolly, "Been to England lately, Madonna?"

Madonna, who has been living in England for several years, is constantly being ridiculed for her "English accent"!

See the Grammarphobia article which addresses why we say "Mount Rainier" and "the Rockies" among other interesting examples.

The Rockies? Not the Rainier?

Q: Some geographical nouns seem to require “the” while others don’t. She vacations on Cape Cod, but climbs the Alps. We sail up the Nile, but swim in Lake George. Is there any logic here?

A: The definite article “the” was once seen more often in place names than it is today. But this convention is still very much with us, and logical or not, there are a few broad rules of thumb.

First of all, we use the article with the names of oceans, gulfs, and rivers: “the Pacific,” “the Nile,” “the Mississippi,” “the Ganges,” “the Caribbean,” etc.

We also use “the” with names for deserts: “the Sahara,” “the Mojave,” “the Kalahari,” and so on.

And we use “the” with the names of mountain ranges and groups of islands that are expressed as plurals.

This accounts for usages like “the Adirondacks,” “the Himalayas” (mountain ranges); “the Bahamas,” “the Hebrides” (island groups), and others.

However, “the” is generally not used with singular names for individual mountains and islands (“Mount Rainier,” “Oahu”), though there are exceptions.

The definite article is used, for example, with mountains like Switzerland’s “the Matterhorn” and “the Jungfrau,” names that the Oxford English Dictionary says are “felt to be descriptive.”

We use “the” with both singular and plural names for regions, as in “the South,” “the Highlands,” and “the Lake District.”

We also use “the” with a singular geographic name that begins with an ordinary noun plus “of,” as in “isle of” and “cape of.”

This accounts for usages like “the Isle of Wight,” “the Isle of Man,” “the Cape of Good Hope,” “the Rock of Gibraltar,” and “the Strait of Hormuz.”

As the OED notes, “the” was formerly “used more widely” in geographic names, especially the names of countries.

The dictionary mentions old usages like “the Argentine,” “the Congo,” “the Lebanon,” “the Sudan,” and “the Yemen” (we might add “the Ukraine”). We no longer use “the” with these names, and of course “the Argentine” is now simply “Argentina.”

The names of some countries have included “the” because they were originally named for a river, a region, a desert, or a mountain range. One such country that still retains its article, “the Gambia,” was named for the Gambia River.

In addition, “the” is used with countries whose names are plurals, or whose names consist of a common noun that’s modified.

This accounts for “the Netherlands,” “the Seychelles,” “the Dominican Republic,” “the United States,” “the United Kingdom,” and others.

We don’t generally use “the” with names of lakes. A special case is “the Great Salt Lake,” which is exceptional because it’s a descriptive noun phrase consisting of common words.

We haven’t covered all the bases here but we’ve given you a broad outline.

By the way, we ran a blog post a couple of years ago on the use of prepositions with geographical nouns. This will explain why we say “on Cape Cod” but “in the Rockies.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014


After seeing the reaction by bigots about the recent Cheerios commercial, Les and I were discussing the prevalent racism we see on a daily basis and Les commented, "I guess all we can hope for is for that generation to die." Unfortunately, I see and hear a great deal of racism from people who are younger than my generation. I am disheartened when I see denigratory comments about the President on Twitter and Facebook coming from people young enough to be my children and grandchildren.

My friend Chiquita posted this picture on Facebook. I am reminded of the song You've Got To Be Carefully Taught from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Listen here for the song from the movie soundtrack.

Here are the lyrics:

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear,
You've got to be taught from year to year,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made*
And people whose skin is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you're six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You've got to be carefully taught."

*Please notice the asterisk above.

I have quoted--and sung--the lyrics of the first stanza numerous times since first seeing the movie in 1958. Listening to the song again, I had forgotten and was taken aback to hear the word "oddly" used in reference to the eyes. I told Les, "I'll bet Mr. Hammerstein would choose the word differently, rather than oddly, if he were writing that lyric today." Les said, "Now that's a little too PC, don't you think?" I said, "Since we have Asian people in our family, I guess I'm more sensitive than I was when I first heard the song back in the Dark Ages."

Friday, February 14, 2014


Valentine's Day: Bet You Didn't Know

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Frank Zappa is usually credited with the saying "So many books, so little time".

When I see lists such as "Books You Should Have Read", I usually find that I have already read them.

Today a friend posted on Facebook: 32 Books That Will Change Your Life. (see list HERE)

There are 15 of the 32 which I have NOT read!

I can hardly wait to get a couple to read and change my life!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Today is the birth date of President Abraham Lincoln. He left his footprint on the history of this nation and gave us the Gettysburg Address.

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of America's greatest heroes due to both his incredible impact on the nation and his unique appeal. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation. Lincoln's distinctively human and humane personality and historical role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves creates a legacy that endures. His eloquence of democracy and his insistence that the Union was worth saving embody the ideals of self-government that all nations strive to achieve.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I've found someone as sick as I!

I was telling a friend about the story of a woman in England found in her apartment ("flat") and she had been dead for 3 years and the cause of death could not be determined because her body was so decomposed. The only reason she was found is because the flat was ready to be repossessed; the door could hardly be opened because of all the mail piled in front of the mail chute; the police reported that the television was playing and she had obviously been wrapping Christmas presents.

When I told my friend the story, I asked, "Can you imagine not one person missing her for 3 years? I expected, at least a compassionate "awwwww", but instead, she said, "Wow! I wonder what the brand of TV is!"

Of course, I'm still laughing!

Monday, February 10, 2014


I embrace new words.

This week, I learned two new words: TESSITURA and AGITA.

Since I don't watch the Super Bowl, but I did want to see Renee Fleming's performance of The National Anthem, I "Googled" about it and in one of the comments, the word "TESSITURA" was used to describe her vocal ability. See definition from the Encyclopaedia Britannica HERE.

I was watching Hardball and the host was quoting a newspaper report and the word "AGITA" was used. To the dictionary, post haste! Definition from Merriam Webster (pronounced "AJ-uh-tuh") "a feeling of anxiety or agitation".

"Judging by its spelling and meaning, one might think that "agita" is simply a shortened version of "agitation", but that's not the case. Both the word "agitation" and "agitate" derive from the Latin "agere" ("to drive"). "Agita", which first appeared in American English in the 1980s comes from a dialectical pronunciation of the Italian word "acido" ("acidus") which means "acid" and "heartburn". "Agita" is occasionally used in English with the meaning "heartburn". For a while, the word's usage was limited to New York City and surrounding regions, but the word has become more widespread since the mid-1990s."

I just learned the word and as we were watching Jeopardy! last night, a correct question was AGITA! It's going to be like schadenfruede: after I'd heard the word, I've heard it dozens of times since.

I have recently begun using the word "thread" in answering postings on Facebook. I contributed to a "54-thread" recently. FIFTY-FOUR back-and-forth remonstrances about one subject! My brother said that I obviously have too much time on my hands! I love passionate discourse and exposing ignorance! I wondered how/when the use of "thread" came into its current usage. See Grammarphobia article:

Thready or not

Q: Having a grammar insurrection in a non-grammar thread on the Lost Des Moines Facebook site. Hence a question about etymology. How did “thread” come to be used in this way?

A: The word “thread” has been used this way in writing since the 1980s, according to examples in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED says this use of “thread” means “a linked sequence of posts or messages relating to the same subject on a newsgroup or (now more usually) an Internet forum.”

The earliest examples in the dictionary are, naturally, from newsgroup postings.

The first appeared on May 30, 1984, in a Usenet group,, under the heading “Beta Testers for Readnews Replacem. Wanted.” The relevant sentence reads:

“When following subject threads, the next article with the same subject is located while the last page of the previous article is being read.”

The term was so useful that it was bound to catch on. Here’s another example from the OED: “A self-described ‘overpackaholic’ started a thread in the Travel Forum.” (From CompuServe Magazine, 1994.)

We should note that “thread” had an earlier and much more technical meaning in the terminology of computer programming.

The OED says this sense of the word, which dates to the early 1970s, means “a programming structure or sequence of operations formed by linking a number of separate elements or subroutines; esp. each of the parts of a program executed concurrently in multithreading.” (Got that?)

Here’s the dictionary’s earliest example, from Proceedings of the First European Seminar on Computing With Real-Time Systems (1972):

“The present research is aimed at investigating the costs of using a common program for different machines, and this leads to the concept of ‘single-thread programming.’”

The less technical sense of “thread” —a linked series of messages on the same subject— is just the latest figurative use of an extremely old noun.

“Thread” came from old Germanic sources and was first recorded around the year 725 in a Latin-Old English glossary.

Nearly 1,300 years later, its literal meaning remains basically unchanged—a fine cord of fibers of some material spun or twisted together.

Figurative usages have abounded over the centuries, Oxford says, with “thread” used metaphorically to mean “something figured as being spun or continuously drawn out like a thread.”

The figurative spinning out can refer to the course of a life, a conversation or argument, one’s thoughts, a persistent or recurring theme, and so on.

Finally, on a less poetic note, “threads” has been American slang for “clothes” since the Roaring Twenties.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I never use the phrase "Pardon my French..." because I think it sounds rather inane, but I have an acquaintance who uses the phrase repeatedly. Any number of times, I have asked, "Parlez-vous Francaise?" but she does not seem to "get it"!

However, I was interested to learn the background of the phrase. See the article from GRAMMARPHOBIA below.

Although the article does not mention it, I believe there is another reason for its usage, and that's because of animosity toward the French. For example, my brother, who was stationed in France in the service, always had negative things to say about France and the French people. On the other hand, I am an unabashed Francophile!

There are numerous examples of terms which imply that the French have unsavory habits and lack of morals. For example: we know that a "French maid" is supposedly naughty; "a French letter" is an old term for a condom; "French kiss" means gratuitous use of the tongue; "French postcards" was an old term for pornography; "The French Disease" was a name used for herpes; "Taking French leave" means leaving without thanking the hostess or saying goodbye and also for being AWOL; "French gout" was a term for syphilis; and "Frenchified" has the connotation of being untrustworthy or effeminate!

"Tout sonne mieux en Francais"--EVERYTHING SOUNDS BETTER IN FRENCH!

Pardon my French, revisited

Q: Have you ever looked into “pardon my French”? I think it would make an interesting, and perhaps titillating, item for the blog.

Robert A. Simon, a novelist, librettist, and New Yorker critic, seems to have been the first person to use “pardon my French” in writing to excuse swearing or other questionable language.

The earliest example of the usage we’ve found in a search of Google Books is from Simon’s 1923 novel Our Little Girl:

“ ‘Hell, you don’t want anybody to impress you!’

“Mrs. Loamford stiffened. Harper noted the reaction.

“ ‘Pardon my French, Mrs. Loamford,’ he apologized.”

However, similar expressions have been used since the mid-1800s, soon after English speakers began using the term “French” euphemistically for bad language, according to written examples in the OED.

We’ve found even earlier examples of “pardon my French” used literally to excuse the use of a French expression in conversation, either because the listener might not understand or because the usage might be taken as pretentious.

Here’s an example from Randolph, an 1823 novel by John Neal: “I do not believe that I am yet ‘une fille perdue!’ Pardon my French. You know that I am not very ostentatious of such things.”

The earliest example in the Oxford English Dictionary of “French” used for bad language is from Adventures in New Zealand, an 1845 book by Edward Wakefield: “The enraged headsman spares no ‘bad French’ in explaining his motives.”

The dictionary’s first citation for an expression similar to “pardon my French” used to excuse questionable language is from Marian Rooke, an 1865 novel by Henry Sedley: “Excuse my French.”

The latest Oxford example uses “pardon my French” to excuse an attack on another kind of bad English—academese.

In the May 12, 2005, issue of the New York Times Book Review, a book is described as “a welcome change from theory-infected academic discourse, pardon my French.”

The adjective “French,” of course, has been used in a negative way in English for hundreds of years.

A 1503 citation in the OED, for instance, refers to venereal disease as the “Frenche pox.” The French, naturally, referred to it as the mal des Anglais. Touché!

And “French” has been used since the mid-18th century to describe racy novels and pictures.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


On Sunday a friend used the word "briggity" and I pounced, "HOW do you spell that?" After recovering from the shock of my practically shrieking at her, she said that she didn't know how it was spelled, because she'd never seen it in print but that her mother had always used the word. I told her that my mother also used the word but I had never heard it used outside my family and that I'd written a BLOG article about it.

When I told her how we spell it, she said that perhaps it had a "d" sound rather than the "t" sound we gave it. I said, "I'll look up briggidy and briggedy, and other possible spellings."

I went to Google and typed in the words. None of those had any reference, but I typed in "definition of briggety"and voila, there it was! I should have done that the first time rather than Googling the individual words.

In contemplating writing this, I returned to my original article (CLICK HERE to see BRIGGITY) and I saw a comment that had been posted by a fellow BLOGGER named "Miracle Mommy" and she had also been trying to find out about the word and she happened on my article on Google Blogger.

I sent an e-mail to her to let her know where to find the information.

Briggity is a word used in Appalachia and can be found in the Dictionary Of American Regional English and it does mean "too big for one's britches".

Friday, February 7, 2014


I like the "DO YOU REMEMBER THESE?" postings on Facebook. A wringer-washer, Boston pencil sharpener, and centerpiece for 45 records, have been posted recently. Today, a Facebook friend posted a picture of a Tupperware bowl key chain. She had the caption that her mother sold Tupperware and the bowl key chain was the best seller.

My mother used to carry her crushed red pepper in one of those bowl key chains, because the food at restaurants was never HOT enough for her! In the 1960s my sister-in-law Betty sold Tupperware and my mother and I bought many pieces and also received them as gifts from Betty. In the intervening years I've replaced the famous Tupperware salt and pepper shakers three times: one set got too close to a stove burner; I gave one set to a nephew who loved them because of Grandma; and the "S" and "P" wore off another set.

I have something in common with Oprah: she is very possessive of her Tupperware! Also like myself, when she has dinner parties she likes to give leftovers to guests to take home, but she warns them that they better return those containers. I no longer send food in Tupperware but use the ones by Glad, etc. All of my family and friends know that those damned containers better be returned if they ever expect to take home anything else!

I rarely use the Tupperware containers any more but keep them stored in a cabinet above the refrigerator which is used for seldom-used items. When I hear Les mumbling and cursing when getting out the big broth pot, for example, I know that he's been hit by cascading Tupperware! He hates the Tupperware!

My friend Lori puts a note on my refrigerator and checks it off when she returns with the containers. We laugh when my brother returns containers which have held noodles, only to refill them with more noodles!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


My grand-nephew, a great fan of M. C. Escher, wrote, "At least I know that YOU will get this!", when he sent me the cartoon seen here.

M. C. (Maurits Cornelis) Escher was a Dutch artist who was born in 1898 and died in 1972. His most famous works are mathematically-inspired woodcuts and lithographs although he was also an illustrator, draftsman, muralist, and tapestry designer.

Please visit the website of the National Gallery of Art which houses the largest collection of Escher's works outside of the Netherlands.

I especially like his self-portrait seen here and his illustrations with birds, but I show this other one because my grand-nephew favors the mathematically-inspired works.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


When I began working in a factory, my brothers warned me that I would face a barrage of pranks and practical jokes, such as that rite-of-passage for kids: "snipe-hunting". They gave me numerous examples from their own experiences: being sent to get "brass magnet", "big weight", "long stand", "can of steam", "left-handed screwdriver", "hammer grease", "eye measures", "striped paint", and "board stretcher".

Being told about "board-stretcher" was prescient because my very first "fool's errand" happened when I was told we needed a "bacon stretcher", but being forewarned, I did not fall for it.

Being forearmed, I was always wary and guarded and when confronted I would always say something like: "Don't you already have one of those in your tool box?"

My friend John told me his favorite: he was told he had to fill out an "ID-one-oh-t form". Yes, he fell for IDIOT!

But after more than 30 years of never being fooled, one day one of my employees asked, "Sue, can you get me a SWEDGE from the crib?" I reacted, "Sure, you think that I'm going to fall for that?" The guy looked shocked, but said, "I asked for one and the crib guy said you had to approve it." I said, "Yeah, right, is it on your breakdown?" He answered, incredulously, "It's called out on my breakdown." He pointed to his job description and yes, indeed it called for a SWAGE tool.

Of course I knew what a swage was; I'd seen it on numerous breakdowns. I realized that I had never heard it pronounced as "SWEDGE". I'd never pronounced it before and realized I'd probably never heard the word spoken; in my mind, I'd always thought "SWAY-JUH".

I hurried to the crib and got the swage tool and sheepishly handed it to the worker. He'd never seen me acting that way; later his Team Leader said, "Lou asked why you acted so BIZARRE about the SWEDGE." I didn't share my paranoia!

When I told my brother Norman about the incident he said, "I don't know why, but it's always pronounced as SWEDGE in factories!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


My mother used to say, "Every drunk quotes St. Paul."

I love this cartoon from The New Yorker which, of course, is a reaction to the medical marijuana stores in Colorado.

My father did the grocery shopping for my grandmother when she could no longer see. She would recite her list and always tell him to get her "a bottle of my medicine". One time she asked me to get her bottle of medicine from her pantry. I asked her what it looked like and she said that it was in a brown paper bag. Even though I was a kid I recognized the paper bag from Len's which contained a pint of whiskey. I learned how to make a Hot Toddy! (CLICK HERE to see recipe)

Monday, February 3, 2014


So, my husband has a "touch of the flu", according to an Emergency Room doctor. Gerald has had cold symptoms for a week but yesterday he was in bed all day, did not eat all day, vomited 4 times, was feverish, and had abdominal pains. We went to the local nurse practitioner and she advised taking him to the ER because she thought he was dehydrated. We were at the ER from 7:30 PM until 1:00 AM.

I actually liked the doctor. He "got" something amusing I said and reacted with a "TAH-DAH" just like an old Vaudeville trouper!

When he was checking Gerald's lungs he told him to say "99" and explained that was an old-time method used in checking lungs before the use of X-rays. I said, "You don't look old enough to pre-date Dr. Roentgen." He said, "I'm impressed you know that."

By 12:30 AM we were the only ones remaining in the ER and while waiting for his release papers, we were having an enjoyable time with the doctor and nurse. The doctor began telling about other old-time medical practices and I mentioned the use of maggots and leeches. I mentioned how doctors used to be called "leechers" and that they only became known as doctors when they stole the title "doctor" from teachers to have some respectability from the barber shop! The doctor asked how I knew about leeches and I told him I was a person who's interested in history.

I have used the "leecher" reference when I heard MDs be condescending toward PhDs!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I try to refrain from politics on Sue's News because that's practically all I do on Facebook, but sometimes comments are too contemptible not to respond.

I admit that I am abysmally ignorant about sports, but hearing and seeing John McCain criticize the player Richard Sherman made me furious.

Let's compare: McCain received a free education he did not deserve; as the grandson of an Admiral and son of an Admiral, he received a "legacy" appointment to Annapolis. He could not have been chosen otherwise, because his high school grades were so bad. At Annapolis McCain graduated 894 out of 899 students.

Mr. Sherman, from the projects of Compton, California, attended a Catholic school, on scholarship, and graduated as the Salutatorian of his class and was admitted to Stanford University based on his academic record. He graduated from Stanford with honors and is studying for his Master's Degree. He did it all on his own. His story IS the American dream!

I would never fault McCain's service to his country during the Viet Nam War, but even McCain would have to admit he was a very poor pilot. Because of his poor academic record, the only way he was able to be in flight school was because of his family connections. Do you think that anyone other than the son of an Admiral would be allowed to continue piloting airplanes after crashing five aircraft? Because of his family's influence, he was allowed to keep flying. His nickname in the Navy was "John Wayne McCain" and it was definitely not a compliment. He was able to use his influence with the DOD to have his military records "permanently sealed".

McCain had every advantage in life and has been feeding at the "public trough" his entire life. He was a "brat" all of his life with poor school performance, temper tantrums, being a prankster, jet-jockey, heavy drinker, and adulterer. He is lazy and oftentimes makes mistakes of facts. He cannot operate a computer. During one of the Presidential Debates he admitted that he knew little of economics and didn't seem the least bit embarrassed about his confessed ignorance. After spending nearly all of his adult life in "public service" and expecting to be elected President, the fact that he hadn't learned about a subject so integral to the position was shameful.

His behavior in his personal life was reprehensible. His first wife was considered beautiful and while McCain was in Viet Nam, she was injured and became disabled. Shortly after he returned from war, he began an adulterous affair with the woman who became his second wife, and she is the heiress to a beer distribution company, and obviously McCain could benefit more from her than from his disabled wife. Since his involvement in politics, he has hob-nobbed with the very wealthy and was involved with the Keating 5!

I have strongly disliked McCain for years because he has a cruel streak in him. When Chelsea Clinton was 12 years old, Mr. McCain told a disgraceful joke about the child. I hope he likes the ridicule his daughter Meagan has received.

In the 2000 Primary season McCain was able to hoodwink a large number of the media which gave him his appellation of "maverick" and he received adulating praise from "the boys on the bus". At the time I thought, "How can they not see through his phoniness?" Although I dislike "W" more than I do McCain, I thought it was karma to see the Bush campaign use McCain's own tactics on him, as McCain had done to his own opponents in the past.

His behavior in the 2008 campaign was despicable, with his pandering to the right-wing. He called his campaign bus "The Straight Talk Express" which was ironic since he "flip-flopped" on the issues of immigration, free trade, affirmative action, environmental issues, and his "baby": campaign finance reform.

He is a war-monger. To see him turn on Chuck Hegel, the man who was his Campaign Chairman and supporter in the 2008 campaign, just because Hagel told the truth about Iraq, shows McCain's total lack of character and his characteristic mean streak. At least Hagel knows that the war was caused by the lies by Bush, Cheney, et. al. Unlike McCain, Hagel had the courage to admit he was wrong in supporting that illegal, immoral war.

McCain seems to be a permanent fixture on the Sunday talk shows. My brother, ever the wag, asked, "Why doesn't John McCain just stay home with his family or go to church on Sunday mornings? Each Sunday he seems to do the full Ginsburg!" (That's a reference to Mr. Ginsburg, Monica Lewinsky's attorney who appeared on all the talk shows one Sunday!)

McCain received his just desserts this week when the Republican Party of Arizona censured him for being "too liberal". As McCain has voted as a Conservative on nearly every piece of legislation, that reprimand is priceless! McCain was under attack at a town-hall meeting when some of his constituents lambasted him for his abhorrent flip-flopping on issues. On the one hand, it was good to see him finally taken to task for his poor performance as a Senator; on the other hand, it is sad to see the legacy of John McCain is that of a bitter old man who could have been great!

He is a shame to our country.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


In a store recently, a clerk asked my companion, who was in front of me, "Are you more than 50?" My friend who is not yet 50, was humiliated and screaked, "Do I look 50?"

I asked the clerk, "You DO know that you are NOT supposed to ask that, don't you?" He answered, "That's how I find out if you get a senior discount." I said, "That is ageism; I'm quite sure if you ask your manager you will learn that the proper question is to ask whether we have any coupons or discounts." He said, "Nobody told us that." I said, "You see, by asking that question the customers can decide whether they want to use the Golden Buckeye Card or the AARP card, both of which your store honors."

He actually called the manager who knows me very well. She instructed him that I was correct.

I ALWAYS use my discount cards and, coincidentally, in that same store I had reminded a new clerk that she hadn't asked if I had any coupons or discounts.

A a restaurant recently I was dining with several women who are older than I. After the waiter had used the term "girls" three different times to refer to us, I asked, "Well, tell me Sonny, how big do they grow women where you come from?" One of my companions squealed, "Ooooh, I like it." I said, "It's offensive." Another companion said that I am "too sensitive". I said, "My husband says I'm as sensitive as an old brown shoe!" The waiter said, "Maybe I should say ladies." I said "No, we're not girls or ladies, we're women." He said, "I was just trying to ask you all at one time." I said, "Then you should have used the term YOU ALL." When he left the area, two of the women lambasted my behavior. I said, "I fail to understand WHY you like it; it is so patronizing." I said, "Hell, I was going to give him a 20% tip; he didn't have to try that ingratiating BS!"

I have no embarrassment about my age and readily answer if anyone asks. At one of my birthday parties last year a guest actually tittered and asked, cutely, "Are you 29 again?" I answered, telling my age, and I asked, "Why do you want to know, are you with the Census?" WHY on earth do people say such stupid things--did she really think I would lie about my age--or did she say it just to try to embarrass me?

I also dislike it when people bring insulting presents to emphasize age--such as Depends--and give insulting cards. At the birthday party for a sister-in-law who turned 70, a number of people brought what they obviously thought were CUTE age-related gifts; she was mortified. I comforted her by saying, "We just know people with no class!" Gerald has a relative who seems to relish embarrassing people about age; he's actually put signs in the yards of relatives telling motorists to honk, showing the age on the sign. When that happened to another relative, she was very angry; she called me and I went to her house and I knocked the sign over so that it couldn't be read!

I love the Dylan Thomas poem: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.