Saturday, May 31, 2014


One of my careful readers asked why I wrote "benefited" rather than "benefitted" in my BLOG article BENEFITED FROM. She stated that she has always seen it "benefitted".

Click here for explanation from Future Perfect; one can BENEFIT from the website!

Friday, May 30, 2014


After reading my BLOG article "YOU'RE ACTING JUST LIKE", my brother Les said, "You and your brother call each other Gladys when you realize you're acting like Mom."

I said, "But, of course, the difference is, that's US, that's not somebody else saying it!"

He said, "You and Patty call each other Gladys and Shirley when you detect characteristics reminiscent of your mothers." I said, "That's because Patty's LIKE one of us!"

It was indeed a shock when I realized I am JUST LIKE MY MOTHER!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I like the series Reign and, although the cast is comprised mostly of actors from the United Kingdom, the enunciation and diction are oftentimes difficult for me to comprehend. When I'm watching a recording of the show, I turn on "closed captions".

Last evening, after watching the program, I neglected to turn off the closed caption feature and when I switched to Late Night With David Letterman, the comedian Andy Kindler was performing.

During his routine, Andy asked, "I believe it was the great philosopher Descartes who said, 'am I right, Ladies?'"

The closed caption followed a few seconds later and it showed: "I believe it was the great philosopher DICK CLARK..........".

Kindler's routine had been moderately amusing, but the closed caption was hilarious!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


At a recent City Council meeting, one of the members, during a reading of a Committee Report, used the phrase "benefited from" 4 different times, and "noted" 3 times. I'm glad he could, on behalf of all the committee members, state that they had "benefited from" a subject, but I think a more appropriate phrase would have been that all the committee members "heard about" the topics. (see definition of "benefited")

At several meetings, another Council member, during his readings of Committee Reports, used the terms Mr. and Mrs. to name each Committee member. I wonder why he thinks it's important to use gender. He is a very slow-speaking individual; I timed his recitation at the last meeting and he could have saved 30 seconds by just listing the names and not using Mr. and Mrs. (No, I don't have anything better to do than time him) Les said, "Maybe he thinks it's respectful; he's probably old-fashioned." I said, "I think he's younger than I."

I have noticed that the Chairperson has commented several times that he likes to get us "out of" the meetings in a timely manner; thus, that would be saving thirty seconds!

From the OED:

"receive an advantage; profit; gain"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014



Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%

The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $16,400

The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer

The San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:

Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x
111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. While Waterloo, New York, was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in General Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every state of the Union on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored or neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 1950s, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in more than 60years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in December, 2000, which states that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to "Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend (in with the National Holiday Act of 1971), it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

On January 19, 1999, Senator Inouye introduced Senate Bill 189 in the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30 instead of "the last Monday in May". On April 19, 1999, Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform. To date, there has been no further development on the bills.


My Great-Grandfather Levi Shirkey, Meigs County, Ohio volunteer.

Sunday, May 25, 2014




Yesterday I was at the local Costco, buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Owen, the Wonder Dog, and I was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had-- an elephant?

Because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog and that I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time I tried it, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is: load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two each time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete (certified), so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I must mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Obviously horrified, the woman asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no--I had stopped to pee on a fire hydrant--and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.


Costco won't let me shop there anymore.

People better watch what they ask retired people because they have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman.

He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer's credibility.

Q: "Officer --- did you see my client fleeing the scene?"

A: "No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away."

Q: "Officer, who provided this description?"

A: "The officer who responded to the scene."

Q: "A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?"

A: "Yes, sir. With my life."

Q: "With your life? Let me ask you this then, Officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?"

A: "Yes sir, we do!"

Q: "And do you have a locker in the room?"

A: "Yes, sir, I do."

Q: "And do you have a lock on your locker?"

A: "Yes, sir."

Q: "Now, why is it, Officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?"

A: "You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room."

The courtroom exploded with laughter, and a prompt recess was called.

Friday, May 23, 2014



O.K., here is a new topic. I will start it.


1. Wear a sleeveless top.

2. Accept a text from Anthony Wiener.

Dear readers: Patty and I originate a lot of topics, lists, and games. Please add to this one!

Thursday, May 22, 2014




Robert Todd Lincoln was the only child of Abraham and Mary Lincoln to survive into adulthood. His three brothers died from illnesses at young ages. Robert lived until 1926, dying at the age of 83. Robert begged his father for a commission to serve in the Civil War, but President Lincoln refused and commented that the loss of two sons made risking the loss of a third out of the question. Robert's mother used every tactic to try to dissuade the President from appointing his son in the war.

But Robert insisted, saying that if his father wouldn't help him, he would join on his own and fight with the front line troops; the President relented.

The President arranged for Robert's commission, but wired General Grant to assign "Captain Lincoln" to his staff, and to keep him well away from danger.

The assignment did, however, result in Robert's being present at Appomattox Court House, during the historic moment of Lee's surrender.

Then, the following week, while Robert was at the White House, he was awakened at midnight to be told of his father's having been shot, and was present at The Peterson House when his father died.

Robert's three brothers were Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Eddie died at age 4 in 1850, probably from thyroid cancer. Willie was the most beloved of all the boys. He died in the White House at age 11 in 1862, from what was most likely typhoid fever.

President Lincoln grieved greatly over Willie's death. Lincoln had a temporary tomb built for Willie, until they could return home with his body to Springfield, IL, and Lincoln often spent long periods of time at the tomb.

The Lincolns were known to be very permissive parents and Tad was known to be a real hellion. None of his tutors could control him; he grew up unable to read or write well. He was a "mama's boy", had a lisp, and was probably mildly retarded. He died at age 18 in 1871, most likely from the same thyroid cancer Eddie had died from, suggesting a genetic flaw.

Robert, at age 22, following his father's assassination, moved to Chicago with his mother, and brother Tad, who was 12 at the time. Robert finished law school and practiced law for a time.

As she had done as First Lady, Mary went on shopping binges that far exceeded common sense, driving what was left of the family assets into bankruptcy, and leading to numerous disputes between Robert and her.

Robert also had battles with Mary to keep her from destroying Lincoln's private papers, despite their financial worth, but for their historic value also, with Mary trying to tear them apart and burn them in fireplaces.

In fact, her irrational behavior grew so destructive that Robert had to have her put away, with his signature, signing her into a mental hospital, where she stayed locked up for three months. Mary never forgave him for it, and they remained estranged from then on, until Mary died at age 63 in 1882.

As an adult, Robert wrote there was a lot of distance between his father and him, caused mainly by his father's being absent so much of the time during Robert's formative years, as his father was gone a great deal of time on state-wide judicial circuits, campaigning for office, or serving in the state legislature. Robert wrote that his most vivid memories of his father were seeing him pack his saddle bags to be off again.

In 1868, Robert married a senator's daughter and they had three children--two girls and a boy--Abraham Lincoln's only grandchildren. Their son, whom they named Abraham Lincoln II (but whom they called "Jack") died in 1890, at the age of 15, from an infection arising from having a boil pierced under his arm.

The two daughters, however, lived fairly long lives, one living until 1938 to die at age 69, and the other until 1948, dying at age 72.

The last direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln was the child of one of Robert's daughters--Abraham Lincoln's great grandson--named Bud Beckwith, who died, married but childless, in 1985.

Robert went into politics and was highly regarded in those circles. In fact, he served as Secretary of War under President Garfield, and, incredibly, was with him when Garfield was shot at the Washington train station!

And then, some years later, Robert would also be present when President McKinley was gunned down in Buffalo!

In later years, Robert would grow a beard. He would serve in other political appointments and ambassadorships, and later became president of the Pullman Train Car Company, a booming enterprise at that time, and he would hold that position for the remainder of his life.

Robert was an avid amateur astronomer, and had an observatory built into his Vermont home; the telescope was so well built and powerful that's it's still used by a local astronomy club today!

Several times, Robert was offered the chance to run as President or Vice-President, and refused the offers.

In his 20's, Robert was standing on a train platform in Jersey City, crowded among a crowd of passengers attempting to buy sleeping berths from a haggard conductor, when the train moved. Robert was standing so close to the train that it spun him around and sent him dropping into the space between the train and the platform against a moving train threatening to crush him!

Suddenly, a hand grabbed Robert by the neck of his coat and pulled him up onto the platform, a quick action by a solidly strong man that may well have saved Robert's life.

And you know who that man was? It was Edwin Booth, the acclaimed stage actor--the brother of John Wilkes Booth--who had murdered Robert's father.

Below is Robert's sarcophagus at Arlington National Cemetery, where he's buried with his wife and son Jack.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Time for a some traffic problems in Fort Lee? No, folks, it's time for CRINGE, FAYETTE COUNTY TALK!

CLICK HERE to see the article from The Huffington Post: 12 Commonly Mispronounced Words And Phrases which are: PERUSE, LIE VS. LAY, SUPPOSED TO, TOWARD/ANYWAY/AFTERWARD, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, BEMUSED, I.E. VS. E.G., ME, MYSELF AND I, FARTHER VS. FURTHER, FEWER VS. LESS, FLAUNT VERSUS FLOUT, and IRREGARDLESS, all of which I have used in other CRINGE articles!

I have an acquaintance who actually said, "I.E." in conversation, rather than saying "that is"! Another person there at the time, mockingly replied, "E-I-E-I-O!" and asked, "Do you also say E.G.?" The first one missed the sarcasm!

I hear people saying "TOWARDS, ANYWAYS, and AFTERWARDS" very often. The misuse of THERE, THEIR, and THEY'RE drives my brother bonkers as "HAVE WENT" does to me!

Ones not found in the Huffington Post article which are also common:

IT'S/ITS: (see cartoon sent from a Facebook friend below) why is it so difficult to understand the difference? Every time we see the misuse, one of us here in my house will shout "IT'S", mimicking the guy from the opening scene of Monty Python's Flying Circus. I have an associate who nearly always makes the error with writing ITS/IT'S; the same person also writes "SUPPOSE" when it should be "SUPPOSED" and also says "OFF OF".

Recently, I said "me" in a sentence, rather than "I". An acquaintance, who has made snarky remarks to me about some of my BLOG and Facebook postings about syntax, e. g., asked, in a taunting, "I GOTCHA!" manner, "Oh, shouldn't you have said I instead of me?" I said, "No, the sentence required my using the objective case; if I were using the nominative case, then I would have used I." The person said she didn't remember any such rules from school. I said, "I hate to sound old, but I think we learned those rules when I was in the fifth grade!"

The difference between HER AND ME is that I actually want to be corrected when I am wrong!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


My friend Mona Lisa sent an e-mail and stated that when she saw my use of the word "whinging" in a BLOG article; she thought it was a misprint because when she started to leave a comment about the article, SpellCheck showed that it is not a word. I responded, "Did you go to the OED? it's a perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word." I also told her my brother's quote: "SpellCheck isn't God, the OED is!"

I understand SpellCheck will accept any usage as long as it's a word (such as "all ready" and "already") and one must be careful about usage. CLICK HERE to see the Grammarphobia article Ten Mistakes Your Spell Checker Will Never Catch.

I appreciate SpellCheck because of my own misspellings, but when I know a word is a word and SpellCheck doesn't, I always refer to my trusty OED to prove it.

See the cartoon Grammar Nerd a Facebook friend shared above.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I didn't have any corporal punishment growing up--not a single hit, strike, or spanking--Gerald says that's what's wrong with me! As an abused child herself, my mother did not believe in hitting a child. Her method of punishment was to tell us: "You're acting just like..." and she would then insert the name of some horrid person in the family that she thought we had demonstrated similar offensive conduct. When she would refer to my father as one of those people, I would always rankle and say, "And I guess you're perfect." She would always say, "I just want you to be better than that." She believed her method would change us.

That I had no corporal punishment doesn't mean that I didn't have altercations; in fact, I was a mean little girl who grew up with seven brothers and I was a "spitfire" and had many schoolyard tussles. When I walked into the first class reunion I attended, my classmate Jean Ann said, "There's our little Ruffy Silverstein!"

I've written about my transformation as a teenager in becoming a follower of the teachings of non-violence by Thoreau, Gandhi, Schweitzer, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As an adult, the closest I ever came to striking another person in anger was shortly after my brother died in 1964. I was staying with my sister-in-law, with whom I was close; she had been a part of my life since I was nine years old. My nephew was misbehaving and when my sister-in-law started to discipline him, she spat out, "LITTLE SHIRKEY!" While my brother was alive I had heard her say those kinds of things frequently, but for the sake of family harmony, I had always let it slide.

But that day, with clenched teeth and fists, I screamed at her, "Don't you EVER say that again." She began to excuse herself by saying, "Well, he's acting just like..." I didn't let her finish that sentence but continued with my screaming, "And just how the Hell would you know how my brother acted when he was three years old?"

By this time she was cowering on the sofa and although I'd gotten past my desire to hit her, I could not stop my rant. I asked, "Don't you know that's like a knife in the heart every time you say those things?" I continued, "I heard all my life that I was acting just like some awful person in my family and all it did was piss me off!" She was speechless as she had never seen this kind of behavior from me. I asked her, "And what makes you think you're so perfect? I understand from genetics that children inherit from both sides."

I went outside, went downtown to a pay phone, and made a collect call to my mother and asked her to find somebody to come to get me right away. I didn't even return to the house of my sister-in-law for my personal belongings. I was shivering in the November cold when my cousin's wife came to get me. At home I told my mother what had happened and, of course, she was furious. I told her, "Mother, you do the same thing and I NEVER want you to say it again because no matter what, it is wounding when you criticize my father." After that, my mother never used my father as the scapegoat but continued to use examples of other family members to make her point. Late in her life, I said, "You know that didn't work." She said, "I think you turned out pretty well."

My niece was six years old and her brother was three when my brother died. After the incident, I had limited contact with them over the years, but in 2000, they and their mother were visiting my home and my nephew's son was misbehaving and my niece's voice rang out, "LITTLE SHIRKEY!" I realized that she'd learned that from her mother; I looked at her mother, left the room, and walked outside. My niece followed after me but I waved her away. The next day my niece called me and asked why I was so upset and I told her, "Ask your mother." I would never say a critical word about her mother to her.

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of my husband's relatives and she was criticizing her daughter and she said, "She just has too much of her father in her." I said, "Tell me, does she have any of your characteristics?" This woman actually said, "Well, she is good-hearted." I was literally stunned that she would compliment herself and have such a lack self-awareness. At that moment, I sensed that she'd hadn't gotten my sarcasm. I asked, "So, she only has bad traits from her father and none from you?" Then I could see that she understood. I asked her, "Do you say that kind of thing to her about her father?" She admitted that she did. I told her how devastating--no matter the age-- it is to hear criticisms of one's family, especially about a parent. I asked her, "Don't you realize that she already knows her father's faults? She doesn't want others to tell her." I told her that it is also hurtful to my husband when he hears those criticisms. I told her that he knows all the faults but that doesn't mean he wants to hear them from someone else.

As a teenager, one of my brothers married a girl from Texas; they should never have married but they had children, were divorced, remarried, and divorced again. When the ex-wife died I sent a card to my niece and in the card I wrote some complimentary things about her mother, because her mother and I were teenage girls together and I did have some good memories. My niece responded: "I know that none of Daddy's family liked Momma, and I didn't like her very much either, but she was still my Momma. I want you to know how much I appreciate the fact that you have never said a bad word about her."

There's never any reason to hurt an innocent person because one's been hurt.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I have loved Mel Brooks since seeing him perform in the 1960s as the 2,000 Year Old Man (CLICK HERE to see article from NPR). Those routines with Carl Reiner are so memorable that my brother Les and I still quote from them today. Brooks is one of only eight EGOT (those few people who have received an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony) honorees.

This month, a special 40th anniversary, commemorative, Blu-ray edition of his movie Blazing Saddles is available.

I was very disappointed that when Mel was recently interviewed (CLICK HERE to see article) about the 40th anniversary, he complained because Blazing Saddles was not ranked as Number One on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of the 100 Greatest Comedies. He was quoted: "It's the funniest movie, I think, by far, no matter what the AFI list says. Five should be the next number because numbers 1 through 4 should be given to Blazing Saddles." That is sheer arrogance.

As much as I love Mel, admire his work, and his chutzpah, I disliked his sour-grapes behavior and lack of humility. I have seen all of the 100 movies on the list and I agree with the voters of the AFI that Some Like It Hot should be ranked Number 1 and I much prefer Dr. Strangelove, M*A*S*H, and The Graduate over any of Mel's movies. Mel's movies contain a much broader humor than I prefer, but I still quote from nearly all of them.

Three of Mel's movies were in the top 15:

Some Like It Hot
Dr. Strangelove
Annie Hall
Duck Soup
**Blazing Saddles
It Happened One Night
The Graduate
**The Producers
A Night At The Opera
**Young Frankenstein
Bringing Up Baby
The Philadelphia Story

Go to the AFI website to see the complete list.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


To the friend who sent this Urban Dictionary posting (see below) to me: I would NEVER quote Wikipedia!

Nevertheless, I shall take the not-so-subtle reference to heart.

Not that I have been influenced in any way by the internet, but LSTMS to you, Missy!


wik-ee-ped-nt (n.)

1. a person who is excessively concerned with looking up minor details and rules on wikis (notably Wikipedia) or with displaying their internet-learning, esp. when it has just been learned.
2. a person who adheres rigidly to the content of wiki pages without regard to common sense.
3. a person who is v. ostentatious or condescending when engaged in the above behavior.

Other forms: wikipedantic (adj.), wikipedantry (n., an example of wikipedantic behavior)
The wikipedant was constantly on her phone, checking and correcting our ENTIRE conversation.

Friday, May 16, 2014


I was a captive audience during the NFL draft picks as I was dining at a local eatery which features big-screen televisions with sports programs playing. I know very little about football, but I had heard of Johnny Manzell; three guys at the bar were discussing which team might draft him.

As I was listening, I heard several people say "JAGWIRES", not only by the guys at the bar but also from the television announcer. My companion knew less about sports than I, but when I returned home, I asked Les, "What the Hell are Jagwires?"

He laughed and said, "Those are the Jacksonville Jaguars; it's a very common mispronunciation."

When I googled it, I was surprised to learn just how common it is (CLICK HERE to see article from The New York Times.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Since 1969, I have prepared Gerald's favorite meal for his birthday. There has always been lasagna, garlic bread, salad, and German's Chocolate Cake with a few variations for changing tastes. Since 1978, Layered Lettuce Salad replaced a typical salad and I've added rumaki as an appetizer and balsamic glazed mushrooms.

For Gerald's birthday last year, I wanted to make Gerald's favorite meal, but also wanted to accommodate the dietary restrictions of some of the guests. With the variety of food, one can find something to eat!

John, a friend of ours, has maintained a gluten-free diet for some time and whenever he's coming for dinner, I try to have the meal as gluten-free as possible. Last year, I couldn't find any gluten-free lasagna noodles locally or in Wilmington or Chillicothe. Gerald went online and was able to order them. John was able to have rumaki, salad, lasagna, and mushrooms; just no bread or cake. He had ice cream for dessert. At the meal everyone said that the lasagna was excellent. Since then I have used six different kinds of gluten-free pasta for meals.

See the article: 5 Myths About Gluten (CLICK HERE).

I keep finding gluten-related cartoons in The New Yorker and forward them to John. He said he was sorry for being such a problem, but I told him that I was quite adept by now in preparing gluten-free meals. See my two favorite cartoons here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


We began frequenting La Bamba Mexican Restaurant in Greenfield, Ohio, because of the recommendation of our friend Larry Chapman. It is a restaurant associated with (type in in your search bar for information about great deals). The restaurant featured a good menu selection, good food, good service, good prices, and we able to use our discount.

Recently, I was quite surprised to learn that La Bamba was no longer in business but another restaurant El Canon had opened in the same location. When I quizzed Mr. Chapman, he said that it was the same group of people who'd had La Bamba.

On Cinco de Mayo this year El Canon was offering a special menu and entertainment offered by SPARK!, a local group of musicians and artists. We had a marvelous time with Gerald being photographed wearing a sombrero and having a flower between his teeth.

When I asked why the name had been changed our waiter told us that there had been a problem with another restaurant named La Bamba and they decided just to change the name rather than have a lawsuit.

When I asked the waiter how to pronounce El Canon, he pointed to the front of the menu and was showing us the illustrations on the front of the menu; I saw a big rock and a small rock and he kept pointing to space between the rock and saying "el canon". When I finally realized what he was saying, I said, gleefully, "Oh, it's a CANYON!" Cacti, mountains (not rocks!), a river and a CANYON!

I would recommend El Canon to anyone who likes Mexican food; we think it's worth the 14-mile drive.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


According to Jennifer Wenker, the Founder of SPARK!, it is "a 501(c)(3) non-profit creative upstart in southern Ohio. An historic space is being re-imagined and re-purposed as a mixed-use arts center to spark creativity, community, and re-investment in our region. Our niche is Contemporary Appalachian. As artists, musicians, performers, and creative, we like to mix it up, color outside the lines, collaborate, improvise, jam, and share what we know with others through workshops, classes, zany events, camps, exhibits, and live performances. Donations are 100% tax-deductible."

Because of our mutual friend Larry Chapman, I became aware of SPARK! and although I do not play a musical instrument or have artistic ability, I am interested in joining. As I told Jennifer, "You must have some APPRECIATORS!"

Monday, May 12, 2014


At a recent City Council meeting, the City Manager, in his remarks, stated that we should patronize two local dispensers of plants.

I thought that was highly presumptuous, unprofessional, and unethical. I wondered how Kroger, Home Depot, WalMart, Aldi's, Ace Hardware, and other local vendors where I've seen plants for sale would feel about that boosterism.

Several years ago, at a meeting of my political party, a representative from the Farm Bureau had been invited to speak about a ballot issue. The person who introduced the Farm Bureau representative, told the assemblage that we "needed to" and "had better vote FOR the issue." I was incensed and I spoke up and said that nobody was going to tell me HOW to vote and that I was opposed to the issue and I stormed out of the meeting. I was grateful that two other people also voiced their dissent!

I don't need SHILLS to tell me where to shop or how to vote!

Sunday, May 11, 2014


My mother was very pretty, but she hated to have her picture taken as do I and three of my brothers. I have only three photographs of her. The one shown was taken when she was 21 years old holding my brother Gary. She always laughed when she told me that she was married two years before she became pregnant and she thought she could not have any children; then she had eight children in 21 years! We were loved unconditionally.

Of all of us siblings, Gary looked the most like my mother, with his pretty skin, dark complexion, pretty teeth, black wavy hair and "snapping black eyes" (as my grandmother would say). Oh, damn, I look like my father's sister! When I saw my aunt the last time, I turned to my brother and said, "Please tell me I don't look like her!" He answered, "You better start saving for the facelift!"

My mother--I'm going to phrase this politely--had a "prominent nose". One day when my brother Gary was about 10 years old he came home from school and said, "Boy, Mom, I thought you had a big nose until I saw Mrs. Greene's!" Mother said, "Well, I'm glad someone's is bigger than mine and Jimmy Durante's!"

My mother always looked young for her age and as my father was eleven years her senior, she was often mistaken as his daughter. When my father and mother came to my eighth grade graduation, one of my fellow students said, "I didn't know you had an older sister." I answered that I didn't. She then asked, "Who was that girl with your dad?" I answered that it was my mother and she asked, "Wow, she's pretty--what happened to you?"

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Recently at a gathering at my home, I introduced a minister to others as "The Reverend..". He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You're the first person--outside of Boston--who knows that is the correct way to make an introduction." (see here)

I said, "I learned that in the 1960s because of hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. introduced as THE Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr."

Today at a craft show, I saw business cards on one of the tables which advertised a cleaning service with the title "Immaculate Concept". I remarked, "Aren't you worried that Roman Catholics would find your company name offensive?" She looked stunned and answered, "I'm a Christian." I replied, "So are Catholics, but I have found that most people do not know the meaning of the term Immaculate Conception; do you?" Obviously offended, she said, "Of course I do; it means that Jesus was the Immaculate Conception." I said, "Oh, no, you're totally wrong, but that is a common misconception (couldn't help myself on that pun); the term actually means that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the Immaculate Conception, NOT Jesus." She said, "I went to the college in Cedarville and that's not what I was taught." I answered, "Then your instructors were WRONG!" She said, "That's just your opinion." I answered, "No, it is not an opinion; it's an historical FACT that The Immaculate Conception has been a Catholic doctrine for more than a century and has nothing to do with Protestant dogma."

By this time, the woman was clearly upset. I asked her if she believed in the Immaculate Conception and she replied, "Of course I do; that's what the Bible teaches." I said, "No, I'm sorry, but you are wrong; it is NOT in the Bible, nor is it in the New Testament, and it is not in the Vulgate or the Apocrypha." She said, "I know--that's the first five books of the Bible." I told her, "No, you're thinking of the of the Pentateuch; the Vulgate is a Catholic Bible." When I explained about the Apocrypha, she said, "Well, that's just your opinion." I said, "No, you can actually read it."

She said, "Then you're Catholic." I ignored her assumption and continued, "Catholics believe that Saint Anne and Saint Joachim were the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and when Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother Saint Anne, Mary was conceived without original sin; you can understand that the vessel for carrying your Lord and Savior had to be without sin."

She said, "I've never heard anything like this." I said, "That's sad that you paid money to go to school and your instructors did not understand the concept." (couldn't help myself AGAIN)

I continued, "This is quite easy; you can look it up online or just look in the dictionary." (see here, the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary)

She then told me she had "lots of Catholic friends" and that none of them told her it was offensive. I doubted that she had "lots" of Catholic friends, but I answered, "Any Catholics I know would not appreciate your cutesy term Immaculate Concept." She answered, "I think it's a good name; what do you mean by cutesy?" I said, "I'm rather certain any Catholics I know would cringe at your lack of respect about their dogma."

Realizing that she wouldn't accept facts, I shrugged my shoulders, waved my hand and said, "Just look it up; you'll learn that I'm right." I did notice her glaring at me several times during the remainder of the show.

When I came home and told Les, he asked, "Can't you go anywhere without having huge discussions?" I said, "Oh, I was just imparting useful information."

Friday, May 9, 2014


Reading today's Grammarphobia posting (see below) I was reminded of a recent Facebook thread about pet peeves, where a friend of mine who is of the Roman Catholic faith, wrote that she finds it offensive for people to use abbreviations such as "Frisco", "Saint Nick", "Berdoo" and "Saint Rafe" ("Berdoo" is for San Bernadino and "Saint Rafe" refers to Saint Raphael, her church in Springfield).

When several people asked why those examples were offensive, she replied, "These are the names of our Saints and should not be abbreviated or subjected to slang."

I wrote, "Although I do not find it offensive, those examples are truncations, not abbreviations."

I can't help myself!


I left my heart in … Frisco?

Q: My North Beach uncle used to respond negatively when I used the term “Frisco” to refer to San Francisco. He considered it a huge no-no. He loved the city and thought the usage was disrespectful. What’s wrong with it? I (a Midwesterner) kind of like it.

A: Like your uncle, some San Franciscans object to the use of “Frisco,” saying it’s too touristy or it recalls the city’s gritty past.

Etymologically, it’s simply an abbreviation of “San Francisco,” perhaps introduced by 19th-century sailors who used the shortened name for the port.

We know that the nickname “Frisco” has been around since at least as far back as 1849. The city was officially named San Francisco in 1847, taking its name from the already well-known Bay of San Francisco.

Long before the official naming, though, sailors had referred to the town, the port, and the surrounding region as San Francisco.

For example, Richard Henry Dana uses “San Francisco” for both the port and the region in his sailing memoir Two Years Before the Mast (1840).

The earliest published use of “Frisco,” according to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, is from an 1849 letter written during the Gold Rush.

The letter, quoted in Octavius Thorndike Howe’s book Argonauts of ’49 (1923), is dated Dec. 30, 1849, and was written by a New Englander who had recently arrived by ship. He uses both the abbreviation and the full name:

“Made good passage to ’Frisco. Captain David Carter of Beverly [Mass.] died on the passage out. Think San Francisco the most contemptible dirty place one could wish to see. Not fit for man or beast.”

Note that the letter writer uses an apostrophe before “Frisco,” so he regarded it as an abbreviation. The apostrophe appears in many early uses.

As we said, this is the earliest known example. But we suspect that earlier ones will turn up, since that letter-writer used the term so casually, as if it were well-known.

“Don’t call it Frisco. It’s San Francisco, because it was named after St. Francis of Assisi. And because ‘Frisco’ is a nickname that reminds the city uncomfortably of the early, brawling, boisterous days of the Barbary Coast and the cribs and sailors who were shanghaied. And because ‘Frisco’ shows disrespect for a city that is now big and proper and respectable. And because only tourists call it ‘Frisco,’ anyway, and you don’t want to be taken for a tourist, do you?”

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I have an acquaintance who thinks that her grief is more grievous than the grief of others. I suggested that we could work on a project around Memorial Day. She said that she can't do anything for several days around Memorial Day, because she will be "too upset". I said, "I didn't know you had soldiers in your family." She asked, "What do you mean?" and I explained that Memorial Day is meant for deceased service men and women. She said, "I had people in World War II." I said, "You didn't even know them!" It's as if she thinks she's the only person in the world with sorrow. Everyone has tragedy; hers has to be "out there" rather than private!

I told her, "I think of Rose Kennedy; if she was able to bear her tragedies, then I certainly should be able to bear mine."

Another acquaintance refused to go to his brother's funeral. He said, "I don't like funerals." I fairly shrieked, "And WHO do you think LIKES them?" When his wife died, I had to shame him into going for the visitation which he himself had arranged to have for four hours. After about a half hour he stood up and said, "I have to go home and take my medicine." I said, "And who do you think is going to greet her friends?" He whimpered, "Can't you do it?" I said, "No, it's your job!"

An acquaintance's relative is constantly excused for her bad behavior, because she had tragedy in her life. She has gotten away with her inexcusable behavior for so long that she has nearly everyone cowered. She was obviously taken aback when I confronted her when she was nasty with me.

I have a family member who thinks that his "condition" should be an excuse for his bad behavior. An aunt on the other side actually said to me, "Oh, we can't get him upset; you don't know what he might do!" I asked her what she thought was going to happen. She said that she didn't know. I told her that he has gotten away with his grown-up tantrums for so long that he sees people truckle to his outbursts. She told me that I probably hadn't seen him "at his worst". I told her that I just wouldn't tolerate it and he knows who he can get by with that behavior. I continued that if he ever threatened to harm me I would call the police, simple as that; he has to learn how to control himself. I said, "Besides, I know I can move faster!"

When we accept their bad behavior then we are the enablers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


With a group of people socializing before the beginning of a meeting, I overheard someone say, "He graduated OSU." I didn't say anything to that person as I was not part of the conversation, but the person next to me noticed my visible wince and asked, "What's wrong?" I said, "FROM; he graduated FROM!" She asked, "What difference does it make?" I said, "Because the word graduate means to be awarded a degree, not to receive one. The school graduated the student, not the other way around." She said, "But doesn't simplicity matter and if you understood what he meant, what difference does it make?"

I hate it when people are sensible!

I felt like screaming, "NO!", but I didn't. Instead, I said: "OSU graduated him; he was graduated from OSU; or he graduated from OSU." My companion reiterated that she couldn't understand the difference. I explained the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, but I could see HER wincing, so I refrained from any other comments.

See the article from Grammarphobia which addresses that topic. I was stunned that the proofreaders at The New Yorker allowed--or overlooked--this: "He moved to New Jersey after graduating college." The New Yorker is renowned for having the best proofreaders in the magazine industry.

Graduate school

Q: In the recent New Yorker piece about the father of the Sandy Hook killer, Andrew Solomon writes that Adam Lanza’s older brother “moved to New Jersey after graduating college.” GRADUATING COLLEGE? Shouldn’t that be FROM college?

A: We read the same article in the March 17 issue and had the same thought: How did “graduating college” make it through the New Yorker’s copydesk?

Pat’s feeling was that copy-editing standards at the New Yorker might have slipped a notch. But Stewart wondered if the construction had passed into standard English usage since we discussed the issue on the blog eight years ago.

We decided that we ought to reexamine this subject. So in the interest of open-mindedness, here goes.

Back in 2006, we said the verb “graduate” had evolved over the last two centuries, but not enough for this sentence to be considered standard English: “He graduated Stanford in 1986.”

Traditionally, according to our original post, there would be three proper ways to express that sentence:

● “Stanford graduated him in 1986.”

● “He was graduated from Stanford in 1986.”

● “He graduated from Stanford in 1986.”

Most of the usage guides we’ve consulted still object to a sentence like “He graduated Stanford in 1986.”

Why? Because the verb “graduate” originally meant to award a degree, not to receive one. The school graduated the student, not the other way around.

Over the years, the verb “graduate” has evolved, but usage authorities generally believe that the use of “graduate” in that disputed sentence strays too far from the original meaning of the verb.

When the word first showed up in the late 1500s, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “graduate” was a transitive verb meaning to confer a university degree.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Gerald received new slacks for work. When Les took them from the bag to launder he said, "These smell like the old Craig's Department Store." I said, "Yes, just like G.C. Murphy with those wooden floors."

Les said, "That smell just takes one back in time."

I said, "That sounds rather Proustian."

Les quipped, "I'd much rather have a cookie."

I have written before about Remembrance Of Things Past by Marcel Proust and the madeleines (see here) and also referred to Proust in several other articles.

See our favorite Proust-related cartoon from The New Yorker. When I went online to find this cartoon, I wasn't surprised, but just delighted by the number of "Proustian" cartoons I had to comb through the archives to be able to find this one.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Cinco de Mayo is just our excuse to eat Mexican food, which we enjoy, but I also like sharing the history of the celebration.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the defeat of French forces at Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not greatly-celebrated in Mexico; it is not a national holiday, but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla, where El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (the day of the battle of Puebla) took place. I've met numerous people who think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but the date for that is September 16.

CLICK HERE to read about the history of Cinco de Mayo from The Encyclopaedia Britannica while I enjoy caldo de Cameron, ceviche, romeritos, and for dessert pan de muerto.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


The question of a Facebook friend was: "Who is running against Bender?" [FYI: David Bender is running against Steven Eckstein in the Republican Primary for Juvenile Court Judge in Fayette County.]

The first person who replied gave an incorrect answer which was promptly corrected. Please see the thread. I redacted the names of all the posters except for mine (for clarity of the exchange, I left initials for the others).

The 4th person who posted made a snarky comment about Mr. Eckstein running for Judge as well as running for a position on the Republican Central Committee. The poster ended her post with a cliché: "does he want to have his cake and eat it too?" (Since the poster seems to like clichés, and just to be a smart aleck, I thought about posting "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander", but I didn't because I thought I should maintain decorum.)

The 4th poster is an elected official and obviously should know the rules of the political party affiliation. I provided factual information and quizzed the poster about whether the poster believed that all elected officials should be allowed to hold both positions or whether it was just Mr. Eckstein the poster was criticizing.

I dislike it when people don't answer the question put before them but instead try to change the subject. You will notice that the poster never did answer whether the poster believed it should be the same rule for all officials or just for Mr. Eckstein. I sensed that the poster was a supporter of Bender, but I didn't question that because I didn't care as I could not vote for either one. I merely supplied correct information.

After "beating around the bush" (another cliché for the poster) and posting several times, the poster retreated by writing, "If you would like to discuss this any further I would be happy to, but not on social media...I prefer to do things in person." What a cop-out--after posting a snarky comment and dodging direct questions--I doubt if the poster liked my answer that her comment was "illogical" when she was using the "social media"! There was no further comment from that poster.

It is surprising that an elected official would not know the rules, regulations, and structure of the political party to which the poster belongs.

After all this, the person who started the thread posted that she just wanted to know WHO was running against Mr. Bender because she wanted to work against him.

If you are as old as I, you will remember Sammy Davis, Jr. performing the old Vaudeville bit Here Come De Judge on Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


My family and friends, to whom I turn when I need help with computer technology, will find it amusing that I was the "go-to" person when we first began using computers at work. My fellow-management people--all men--were very resistant to the change.

The men could not stand the "techies"--our company's computer guys--because they were, to a man, condescending, patronizing, and supercilious. As the "techies" were also young, their haughty attitudes did not sit well with men old enough to be their fathers.

When the "techies" came to instruct or fix problems, I actually listened, documented, and was able to apply those lessons. Other management people would call me to ask, "What program do we use for...?" "How do I get in to...?" It wasn't that I knew about computers, but only that I remembered and applied the information which I needed for work.

When I saw Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live portray "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy" (see the clip with Jamie Foxx HERE), I laughed at how accurate it was and when Nick Burns yelled "Move!" in exasperation of the ignorance of the people, I yelled, "Eric, help!", because Eric was the most arrogant of all the "techies" I dealt with at work.

Even after I retired, guys would call to ask questions and I would answer, "Look in the black notebook I left in my desk, or call Eric!"

Friday, May 2, 2014


Why is it so difficult to find regular olive oil? Wouldn't one think that "regular" olive oil would cost less than "extra virgin"? After all, the "regular" is produced after the pressings for EVOO (I'll use that term for "extra virgin olive oil" in the remainder of this text), but the regular costs just as much--and sometimes more--than the EVOO.

Try to find regular olive oil. I was in Big Lots and there were thirteen different brands or sizes of olive oil and all were labeled EVOO. I know that a great number of oils labeled "EVOO" are not truly "extra virgin"; that's why I buy the ones listed as legitimate by Consumer's Report. Read the article from NPR about fraudulent EVOO HERE.

As I wrote in my BLOG article EVOO (see here), we use a lot of olive oil and we faithfully follow the guidelines for the proper use of EVOO versus regular olive oil as we have learned from Dr. Oz, Martha, and other cooking mavens.

Les said, "Maybe you should buy one of those cheaper ones labeled EVOO; it should serve well as regular oil." I said, "We have no idea what is in those."

I went to Kroger and, guess what? They have twenty-seven brands and sizes of olive oil and only two of them are just plain olive oil and one was "light" olive oil; the remainder are EVOO. I am grateful that Aldi's now has regular olive oil alongside the EVOO.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


I recall hearing the phrase "mogo on the go-go" used in the 1960s, but I haven't heard it since. My understanding of the meaning was: "a fictitious disease, ailment, or infatuation". See the Grammarphobia article which gives several interpretations of the phrase. Of course, I heard the word used in Spellbound and W.C. Fields movies.

Thinking of little-used phrases, just yesterday I used the quote "Put my Pucci in my Gucci and go!" When I see women like Paris Hilton and others, I think of "Baby" Jane Holzer who was the "It" girl of the 1960s, except that, unlike Hilton and other current celebrities, Holzer was elegant, intelligent, and had a career. She was a wealthy socialite who became a member of Andy Warhol's circle and she starred in some of his movies and that chronicler of pop culture Tom Wolfe, referred to Holzer as "The Girl Of The Year".

One time I saw her interviewed and the interviewer commented about her "jet-set" lifestyle and he wondered how she was able to do everything she did and she answered, "I just put my Pucci in my Gucci and go!" I tried to find that quote by her on Google and other sites, but was unsuccessful. I thought, "How pathetic that I remember that quote, but I don't remember Quantum Physics!"

In researching for the phrase, I was pleased to see that Jane Holzer is now successful in real estate, as well as being a film producer, humanitarian, and renowned collector of modern art, but that she did not end up like many others from the Studio 54 entourage. (CLICK HERE to see the NPR article.)


Mogo on the gogo

Q: What in God’s name is “mogo on the gogo”? I heard it the other day while watching Spellbound. Did Hitchcock (or, rather, his screenwriter) coin the phrase?

A: The expression “mogo on the gogo” didn’t originate with Alfred Hitchcock or with Ben Hecht, the main screenwriter on the 1945 film Spellbound.

It was apparently a catchphrase in certain Hollywood circles in the 1930s and ’40s, though it had much earlier show-biz origins in vaudeville, burlesque, and minstrel shows.

The expression is hard to define since it isn’t in any of our slang dictionaries. But it’s generally used as a comic phrase for a mental or physical malady, like lovesickness or an exotic fictional disease.

And W. C. Fields used variations on the phrase too. Fields got his start at the turn of the century as a vaudeville juggler on the Keith and Orpheum circuits, both of which booked minstrel acts at the time.

Later, in his films, Fields used “mogo on the gogogo” to mean a fictitious disease.