Monday, November 30, 2015


The dictionary definition of "Orwellian": "an adjective to describe official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state."

This year, at Thanksgiving Dinner George Orwell's 1984 was a topic of conversation.  I was disappointed in myself that I could not bring forth numerous "Orwellian" words and phrases other than "Big Brother is watching you", and "doublethink".

After the dinner guests left, I lovingly perused several volumes of Orwell's works and reacquainted myself with the wit and wisdom of Eric Blair.

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

"If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide from yourself."

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face--forever."

"He who controls the past controls the future, He who controls the present controls the past."

"For, after all, how do we know that 2 and 2 make 4? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable--what then?"

"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind happiness is better."

Also, whenever I hear the word "dystopian", I immediately think of Orwell.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"I WAS TASKED......"

I know that using task as a verb is acceptable, but the usage sounds mostly self-aggrandizing.
I have an acquaintance who has repeatedly said, "I was TASKED" to...." (fill in the blanks!). After hearing him use the phrase at least three times, I finally asked, "Do you think that TASKED sounds important or impressive?"

Taking George Clooney to task?
Q: Twice in The Monuments Men (screenplay by George Clooney), Clooney the actor uses “task” as a verb: “We have been tasked to find and protect art that the Nazis have stolen.&#82…

Saturday, November 28, 2015


My friend Carol shares HELPFUL HINTS with me.  Here are some of her favorites.

For icy door steps in freezing temperatures: get warm water and put Dawn dish washing liquid in it. Pour it all over the steps. They won't refreeze.

To remove old wax from a glass candle holder, put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then take the candle holder out and turn it upside down. The wax will fall out.

Whenever I purchase a box of S.O.S Pads, I immediately take a pair of scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of throwing away rusted, smelly and unused pads, I finally decided that this would be much more economical. A box of S.O.S pads now lasts me indefinitely! In fact, I have noticed that the scissors get "sharpened'' this way!

Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like a BLUE store receipt.) Put rubbing alcohol on paper towel and the mark will go away.

Crayon marks on walls? A damp rag, dipped in baking soda. The marks come of with little effort.

Friday, November 27, 2015


It's always difficult to decide which delectable dish to prepare with turkey leftovers. I always make Turkey Carcass Soup the day after Thanksgiving--several people have told me the name just sounds unappetizing--but it is truly delicious. 

Just boil the turkey carcass and then use the broth to make a tasty soup. I also like turkey tetrazzini, turkey hot shots, and turkey ala king, but there's only so much leftover turkey!

The all-time favorite of my family is Turkey Croquettes served with gravy made from the drippings from the turkey. The gravy was so good this year I told Gerald I should just "mainline it in my veins!".

Mother's Turkey Croquettes recipe: adapted from The First Ladies Cookbook from Mrs. John Quincy Adams' Chicken Croquettes:

3 cups cooked turkey, cold
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying
extra cracker crumbs
parsley sprigs for garnish

Add cooked turkey, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, and butter. Knead all together well until it resembles a meatball mixture. Shape into balls or cakes the desired size. Dip croquettes into beaten eggs, roll in cracker crumbs, and fry in oil until light brown and hot in the middle.

Serve hot with gravy or alone.


Thursday, November 26, 2015


Click on Pumpkin Pie at the end.








Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Recently, I was going to be in close proximity to a product demonstrator and I recalled my brother Norman's advice: "Never say NO when someone offers you a breath mint."

That prompted me to think of other times one should not say "NO"!


1.  My brother Les quipped, "Never say NO when asked do you want fries with that?"

2. Never say NO when someone offers you a place in line. Whenever I offer someone the opportunity to go ahead of me in line, I get really PO'd when they say, "Oh, no, that's all right!" Why the Hell would somebody turn down the chance?

3.  Never say NO when offered a different food.

4.  My brother Les also suggested that one should never say NO to pie!

5.  Never say NO to taking a nap!

6.  Never say NO to starting a healthier diet or exercise regimen.

7.  Never say NO to asking for help when you need it.

8.  Never say NO to trying a new activity.

9.  Never say NO to accepting an invitation.

10. Never say NO to join family for an activity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


In conversation with a friend I said, "That is clearly demonstrable."  I noticed the quizzical look on his face and he said that he didn't know THAT word.  I said, "You know, when something is easily demonstrated."  He asked, "Are you sure that's how it's pronounced?  I answered, huffily, "I am QUITE sure;  would you like to BET?"  We went to YouTube (listen here) and he said that he'd always said "DEM-UN-STRATE-UH-BULL".  I answered,  "Then you have always mispronounced it;  I hope you've never said it aloud in public!"  

He countered with, "I suppose you've never mispronounced a word."  I laughed and said that my mistakes were LEGENDARY and are posted on the calendar for everyone to see!  "REAL-UH--TORE", "POE-TASSIUM" and "CEE-MENT" haunt me!

I then related about my family's collection of mispronounced words.  As a youngster, when my mother was reading in the Bible, she thought that Lebanon was pronounced "LUH-BANNON' and that Deborah was pronounced "DUH--BORE--UH"!  My brother Bode thought that Catholic was pronounced "CAT-HOLIC"!  Gerald thought that Armegeddon was pronounced "AR--MADGE-UH--DON" and that facade was pronounced "FUH-CADE".  

See my BLOG article from 2012 about FACADE:

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

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

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

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

Other words I've heard fractured by people:

YOSEMITE (yes, Yosemite!)


Monday, November 23, 2015


While dining with Gerald's nephew Daren and his two children Emily and Eric, there was a birthday celebration at the table behind us which was accompanied by the restaurant's wait staff clapping, singing, and bestowing a large sombrero on the victim!

Naturally (well, it's NATRUAL with me) I joined in with the clapping and singing and then I arose, went to the table and wished the birthday honoree a happy birthday!

Shortly afterward, I was presented with a piece of birthday cake.

Gerald commented that it's interesting just how many times that my extending birthday wishes has resulted in receiving FREE CAKE!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


It's been fifty-two years since the death of President Kennedy and I still mourn for what might have been.  See my bittersweet article below:

                              NOT MEETING JFK 

The only time I ever skipped school was in 1960, to go to London, Ohio, as Senator John F. Kennedy was supposed to be in a motorcade on his way to Columbus.

When we got there the motorcade had already passed. Whoever heard of a political event being ahead of schedule? When I returned to school, all was forgiven because Mr. Kelley was a Democrat and he excused me!

Watching the results of the election, President Kennedy was quoted as saying, "Ohio--where I get the warmest welcome--and the fewest votes." I was passionate about the election and spent every moment I could "campaigning" for JFK. There is no way to ever capture the passion felt of young love, or young politics! 

One of the saddest realizations--and a defining moment in my life--was discovering all of the anti-Catholic sentiment in my county. My best friend and I would go around the county with her mother, gathering up all of the anti-Catholic literature we could find and destroying it. At that time, there were phone booths on nearly every corner in Washington C.H. and there were always pamphlets left there. They were also all around at Downtown Drug and Pensyl's and all other businesses of the John Birch Society followers. I was so naive that I asked Mr. Pensyl if he knew who had left those disgraceful pamphlets! He told me to leave the store. My friend's mother quit going to Dr. Binzel when she saw those flyers there. In the remainder of the time that Pensyl's and Downtown Drug were there, I never again entered the buildings. That is the main reason that we started shopping out of town. My friend has kept one of those vicious pamphlets framed on her wall with the note, "LEST WE FORGET!"

At a class reunion, two of my classmates and I were discussing JFK and how important he was in our lives. Then something peculiar occurred--everybody there said how they had been for Senator Kennedy--but I knew better because Mr. Kelley had conducted a mock election in our Government class. I spoke up and said, "I remember the mock election and there were only FOUR votes for Kennedy and the rest were for Nixon." Mike Coil laughed and told all of them that it was true. I then proceeded to tell WHO in our class had voted for Kennedy: Mike Coil, Bob Hammond, Don Grim, and myself! I took out my collection of senior photos and inscribed on the back of the pictures of Mike, Bob and Don were references to our being Democrats. As my brother Norman says, "I can never find anybody NOW who admits he/she voted for Nixon!"

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Our friend John was riding with us to an event and he expects me to provide literary and historical references when he cannot think of the source.  We were talking about a certain portly presidential candidate and John asked what part of Shakespeare had the line about having people around who are fat.  I laughed and said, "That's the one from Julius Caesar about Cassius having a lean and hungry look and it mentions that Cassius thinks too much and that is dangerous."  I said I would have to wait to get home for the full quote.  

The first play I saw (other than high-school events) was Julius Caesar.    Mrs. Craig took a school bus load of us to Wilmington College to see the performance. I took along my copy of the play.

I was diligently following along with the dialogue and when it reached this part as Caesar speaks:

"Let me have men about me that are fat
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look
He thinks too much and such men are dangerous."

The actor portraying Caesar gestured toward the actor at stage left and it was a very portly young man portraying Cassius.  Even wearing a toga, one could tell he was big! I burst out laughing at the incongruity of a rotund actor portraying Cassius. Several people turned to look at me. I could not stop laughing although Mrs. Craig and others were shushing me! I regained my composure but when Caesar uttered "Were he fatter" I broke out in peals of laughter, literally holding my hand over my face to quiet the laughter.

Riding on the school bus home someone said, "We can't take her anywhere!"

Since growing up, I have seen the play performed twice and have also seen the movie starring Marlon Brando and when that scene comes on I always laugh!

CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video Julius Caesar (1953) - A lean and hungry look.

Friday, November 20, 2015


In 2012 I wrote the article WRITER MANQUE (see below).   I recently learned that the "writer" of the "book" referenced in that article has produced another vanity-press "book" and had a book-signing at a local restaurant.  While I found it extraordinary that people actually paid for the first "book", I now find it unbelievable that people who bought the first volume are willing to buy the second!  

                                      WRITER MANQUE
I  noticed in the local newspaper that a local attorney/farmer was having a "book-signing" of his recently published book. I know several people who bought the autographed book and one had exclaimed that it was "wonderful". As I do not know the attorney, I had no interest in reading it until someone mentioned that there was a chapter about a notorious, local, former judge who had been named "The Asshole Of The Month" by Hustler magazine in the 1970s. Although I was hopeful that the chapter was about that episode, it wasn't, but I was still interested when I saw that the chapter was about a different, although equally ignorant, decision by the judge.

In leafing through the book to find the chapter about the judge, I noticed the word "suspicioned". I thought, "OMG, Miss Digman would turn over in her grave at such usage!" [Miss Digman was one of my teachers in high school.] I then saw "council" when it should have clearly been "counsel"; the Supreme Court was not capitalized; and there were numerous errors of syntax, grammar, ellipses, and punctuation. The most glaring example is on page 173 where he wrote "This house saeft....." I screaked, "What the Hell is THAT?"

A friend said, "I guess that's the problem with vanity press books." I was shocked to see in the acknowledgements that there had been an editor! I said, "Surely the people who wrote the blurbs could not have read the book prior to its publication."

I laughed when I told a person who had recommended the book to me that the book would have had just a few pages if the author had not used "Mr." for all the white characters. The black characters, a custodian and a busboy, are not given the "Mr." honor! I cringed when I read the description of a black man as having a "shiny black face" in THREE separate places! No other person's facial characteristic is mentioned in the book. When quoting the black characters, he attributed "them" instead of "those"; "cause" instead of "because"; "I give you" instead of "I'll give you"; "I been watching " instead of "I've been watching" and "I see 'em" instead of "I see them"! I seriously doubt that all of the Misters he quoted used impeccable grammar and speech patterns, but ONLY the blacks are relegated to using that vernacular! [At least he didn't commit the usual faux pas and write that they were "articulate"!] Having lived in Fayette County all of my life, I have heard "prominent" people pronounce Washington as "WaRshington"; use poor grammar; drop the "g" on being, and going; 'cause for because, but one wouldn't know from this book, as all the white people have good speech patterns and the blacks sound like Stepin Fetchit! It's astounding that the author could recall the exact speech of people from fifty years ago.

I'm surprised that the author didn't injure himself -- patting himself on the back -- for being such a magnanimous friend to black people! His self-congratulatory, self-aggrandizing, posturing is embarrassing. I wondered how he had been such a successful attorney/farmer/businessman, but I believed it after I learned that he was able to convince people to pay $14.95 for the book!

Another person told me she'd heard that the writer manque was going to do a follow-up book. I said, "Perhaps I should ask him if he'll hire me as a proofreader and editor!"

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Whenever my brother Les and I are cooking together, I am a stickler for following recipes, but he'll throw a dash of something in that's not included in the recipe and he'll say, "It's a recipe--not a law!"

Some amusing examples of why I think it should be a "law":

1. My friend Jenny does not cook and she was telling me that she loved Key Lime Pie.  I told her it was easy to make and gave her my recipe.  She called and asked what it meant where I had written "separate two eggs".   I gave her an egg separator!

2. My husband's nephew's wife did not cook and he loves my homemade vegetable soup and I invited them to dinner when I fixed it. The nephew asked, "Aunt Sue, will you tell her how to make vegetable soup?" I proceeded to tell her to get a cheap cut of roast and "boil the Hell out of it" for broth. She asked, "Exactly how much time does boiling the hell out of it take?"

3. A friend wanted my recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie and when I e-mailed it, I wrote to use the "zest" of a lemon and she thought I meant to write the "rest" of the lemon;  unfortunately, as you can imagine, her pie was not successful.

4. My friend Bobbi's daughter not only roasted a turkey with the giblet package inside--which I have heard of others' doing--but she also fixed a pot roast with the blood package still attached to the bottom and she wondered why her family got sick!

5. The first time I made gravy I put in too much flour and I ended up emptying the gravy from the skillet to a pot and then to another pot as I kept adding milk;  I used an entire gallon of milk!

6. When my friend's Bobbi's daughter was 10, she was visiting with me and she stayed for dinner. When she went home her mother asked what we'd had for dinner and she said that everything was good but that I had NUTS on my noodles.  Bobbi told her that couldn't be true because she had eaten my noodles before, but when Bobbi asked me about it, I said, "I had Noodles Almondine!"

7. During the Blizzard, we ran out of fresh meat, but we had canned meat like Spam and corned beef. My mother made chili using the corned beef and we all thought it was delicious! For all the years afterward, we would talk about the corned beef chili and how great it was. Finally about thirty years later, we were surprised to have a big pot of corned beef chili and it was just plain AWFUL!

8. My sister-in-law was known for her wonderful home-made bread. One time, feeling like Lady Bountiful, she sent a loaf home with one of her son's friends. The next time she saw the boy she asked how the family liked the bread and he answered, "It was almost as good as Pennington's!"

9. I was talking to my former sister-in-law who was from Texas and she was mentioning what a terrific cook my mother was except for that "sweet stuffing" she made. I protested that my mother never made "sweet stuffing" and she answered that she always served it after dinner. It was then I realized that she had confused BREAD PUDDING with stuffing!

10. As a young married, I saw salt fish on sale at Kroger. As we both love fish, I bought a package and it looked like a nice white fish. What I didn't know was that the fish is supposed to be SOAKED overnight to take out the salt.   It was inedible!

To quote the sage:  "A little learning IS a dangerous thing!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


A friend called to ask if I would assist him with a problem and I said that I would but I asked why he'd thought to call me.  He told me that he'd first called our mutual friend John who'd told him, "You should call Sue The Barracuda;  she'd be a good one to help with that!"

I gasped and said, "SUE THE BARRACUDA!  Oh, no, that sounds too close to that wretched Palin creature!  Do you ALL call me that behind my back?"

He answered, "I haven't until now!"

I said to my husband, "I wonder WHAT else they call me!"

When I told my brother about "Sue The Barracuda", I learned that my nephew has been calling me "Hyacinth Bucket" behind my back for years!

For those who do not know the "Hyacinth Bucket" reference, it is from the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.  This is the description about the series from IMDB:

"Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet", if you please!) lives to impress and she has no patience for people who pretend to be superior because that makes it "so much harder for those of us who really are!" Assured of her own eminence, she spends her days trying to make sure everyone else is, too.  Her put-upon husband Richard and her down-market sisters Rose and Daisy are a challenge, but she's always willing to talk about her rich sister Violet but Violet's cross-dressing husband, not so much!"

I don't mind the "Sue The Barracuda" nickname as I think there is an implied compliment there, but please NOT "Hyacinth Bucket"!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I was with my doctor reviewing the results of my blood work. All of the results were good but when he got to the kidney function he said, "This is great--you have the kidneys of a 17-year old!"

Gerald had driven because we were going to lunch after the appointment and when I got into the car, I told him what the doctor had said about the kidneys and he drolly asked, "Don't you think you should give them back?"

Monday, November 16, 2015


While staying at a 3-Star hotel, a young friend ordered Eggs Benedict from Room Service.  He knew that I like Eggs Benedict (see article below) and it was his first time to have them and he posted a picture on Facebook.  I commented:

ENGLISH muffin, CANADIAN bacon, poached egg, HOLLANDAISE sauce--now that is VERY cosmopolitan!" (That was an "inside" joke as we had earlier made fun of his being in WEST VIRGINIA!) 

Our mutual friend Jack responded about the photo:

Is that a recipe or the old Court View Bistro?

I replied to Jack's comment:


Jack replied to my comment:

What's the interpretation of ROFLMAO?

I replied to Jack:

Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off--that we had had a Bistro!

Jack replied:

Yes, I was trying to be funny...and I guess it worked.

My reply to Jack:

Yes, it worked with me, but in a conversation with another person who knew the meaning of ROFLMAO,  I was asked:  "Why was Jack's posting funny to you?  I didn't know we had a bistro."  I screaked, "It was funny because Jack was making FUN because he knew that we NEVER had a Bistro!  I guess he could've said TRATTORIA!"  

I concluded with:

"Oh, Hell, Jack, if we have to explain 'em......"


I had a client who shared my fondness of Eggs Benedict and he was lamenting that there was no place around to get them. I told him that I had had them at Bob Evans and although they were no longer on the menu, one could tell the waitress and she would tell the cook and he would prepare them.

Shortly after that conversation, he learned that someone who came to the house in a professional capacity had been a Manager at Bob Evans. He told her that he and I were going to go there to have Eggs Benedict; she informed him that Bob Evans didn't carry English muffins, let alone make Eggs Benedict! 

However, he did not have the opportunity to share that exchange with me because the following day, when I walked through the door, I was introduced to the person with whom he'd had the conversation about Bob Evans and Eggs Benedict.  She said, "I've been looking forward to meeting you." I said, "That's nice to hear", foolishly assuming that she'd heard nice things about me.  She then said, with some hauteur, "I thought you'd like to know that Bob Evans doesn't make Eggs Benedict." Immediately insulted, I said, "Funny thing--I just had Eggs Benedict there last week." She continued, condescendingly, "They don't even have English muffins." I countered, "Funny thing, my Eggs Benedict were properly made on English muffins." Undaunted, she continued, "I know better, I was a Manager there." I said, "And I know EVEN better, because I ATE them there last week!"

I could tell that she was unaccustomed to being corrected, but I was highly offended and shocked by her unprofessional behavior and arrogance. I asked, "So how much money do you have with you?" She asked, "What does that mean?" I said, "It means that is how much I'm willing to BET you that I'm right!"

She left in a huff.

What kind of person tries to attack another person about something as innocuous as whether Bob Evans makes Eggs Benedict? The person was at the residence in a professional capacity and yet launched into her silly diatribe. Why did she feel the need to make a big display of her supposed knowledge about something which had absolutely nothing to do with her professional capacity? And what was her motive in desiring to demean a complete stranger?

Today, we went to Bob Evans and had Eggs Benedict. We asked our waitress if she remembered the former Manager and she agreed that she did. My client told her the story of the former manager. Gerald took a picture of my client, the waitress, and the Eggs Benedict.

When we returned to his home, he immediately called to tell her about his Eggs Benedict; she wasn't there but he left a message for her to return his call. I was glad that he was offended on my behalf. He said, "She needs to know she shouldn't lie."

I answered, "What she did was even worse than a lie--she acted as if I didn't know what I was talking about!"

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I was at Meijer's and I saw a guy with a 24-pack of Coca-Cola in his cart and I had seen the price of $5.99 for it.  As I gestured toward the Coke products in my cart, I said, "You know Kroger has the 12-packs at 4 for $10.00 and Meijer's honors competitors' prices."

He said, "Yeah, but I want a 24-pack."

(File that under the category of "WELL, DUH!")

Being the "Queen Of Coupons", I am always generous with other people in sharing my coupons. When I'm in a store and I notice an item in someone's cart (OK, I'm also NOSY!), I will usually offer the person a coupon if I would not be using the coupon that day. One day, I offered a woman SEVERAL coupons and she looked at me as if I were crazy and said, "Oh, I don't like to be bothered with those." I said, "Well, if you did, it would have saved you $2.50!" She said, "I'll take them." I answered, "No, I'm going to BOTHER someone else with them!"  (File that under the category of "NAHN-NA-NAHNA!")

When I was working, I always had a "Coupon Club" and I would set it up in the cafeteria and people were supposed to bring in coupons to trade.  Each Monday I would look in the box as I would bring in all of my extra coupons from the Sunday paper.   Nearly all of the participants were good about cutting the coupons prior to putting them in the box and trading, but one person would rip out (not CUT) the coupons she wanted and then just toss the remainder of the newspaper in the box!  (File that under the category "IT TAKES ALL KINDS!")

After I retired, I advertised on Freecycle to give away coupons and the response was marvelous. One woman who answered actually lived in another state and wanted me to mail the coupons to her, and she stated that she would then send me the money for postage after she received them.  No, I didn't send them to her.  A woman who lives right across the street from me has a friend who also answered the ad so they now share the bounty!  File that under the category "STICK CLOSE TO HOME!")

Saturday, November 14, 2015


On Facebook, a friend posted a picture of a bottle of mercurochrome with the caption:  "Share if you remember this", which suggested that one were old if one did remember!  

HOW did my mother do it--rear eight children--with none ever taken to the hospital?  We had our share of injuries but fortunately there were no broken bones.

I am recalling the medicine cabinet which housed mercurochrome, merthiolate, iodine, alcohol, antiphlogistine, flax seed, sweet oil, castor oil, camphorated oil, Unguentine, Resinol, Ben-Gay, Vicks Vapo Rub, cocoa butter, Epsom Salt, a Styptic pencil, and of course, her home remedies--which she created from spices, herbs, and other plants--all good for what ailed us!

I remember how "pretty" I thought the color of mercurochrome was and I would always request it to be applied rather than the dreaded iodine!  I keep a number of those products (flax seed, cocoa butter, Epsom Salt, and even Vicks Vapo Rub) but I actually wish I had some others of the old products--such as antiphlogistine--the best POULTICE ever!  I will have to see if it's still produced!  

Below is an article from 2004 titled WHAT HAPPENED TO MERCUROCHROME?:

Dear Doc:

I had skin surgery recently and was told to apply Mercurochrome to aid in scar less healing. The product, once widely available, is sold by only one vendor in Boise, and I'm told they manufacture their own. Another pharmacist told me they were not allowed to handle or sell it. What happened to this antiseptic that I grew up with?

— D.Y., Boise, Idaho

You're dating yourself, pops. Few under age 30 have ever heard of this stuff. In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that Mercurochrome, generically known as merbromin, was "not generally recognized as safe and effective" as an over-the-counter antiseptic and forbade its sale across state lines. A few traditionalists complained: "Whaddya mean, not generally recognized as safe? Moms have been daubing it on their kids' owies since the Harding administration!"  But the more reasonable reaction was: It's about time.

For many years the FDA, faced with the task of regulating thousands of pharmaceuticals and food additives, many of which long predated federal oversight, has maintained the so-called GRAS (generally recognized etc) list, originally compiled as a way of grandfathering in products like mercurochrome that had been around for ages and hadn't hurt or killed a noticeable number of people. Recognizing that from a scientific standpoint such a standard left a lot to be desired, the FDA has been whittling away at the unexamined products on the GRAS list over time. Mercurochrome and other drugs containing mercury came up for scrutiny as part of a general review of over-the-counter antiseptics that began in 1978, and for good reason--mercury in large enough doses is a poison that harms the brain, the kidneys, and developing fetuses. While no one has offered evidence of mass mercurochrome poisoning, the medical literature contains scattered reports of mercury toxicity due to use of the antiseptic, and these days the burden of proof is on drug manufacturers to show that their products' benefits outweigh the risks. In the case of mercurochrome and many other mercury-containing compounds, that had never been done.

The FDA initially proposed clipping mercurochrome's GRAS status in 1982 and asked for comment. Hearing little, the FDA classified the antiseptic as a "new drug," meaning that anyone proposing to sell it nationwide had to submit it to the same rigorous approval process required of a drug invented last month. (This took place in 1998--nobody's going to accuse the FDA of rushing to judgment.) It's not out of the question that a pharmaceutical company will do so someday--published research on mercurochrome, though hardly abundant--suggests the stuff is reasonably effective. However, the approval process is time-consuming and expensive and any patent protection mercurochrome might once have had surely expired long ago. For the foreseeable future those yearning for that delicious mercurochrome sting will have to look somewhere else.

Friday, November 13, 2015


2015 is a year which contains THREE days of Friday the 13th.

See the TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA article from The Urban Dictionary:

Fear of the number 13.  
The year 1998 was a bad for triskaidekaphobics. Strictly, the word does refer only to fear of the number 13, but it’s often extended to mean fear of the inauspicious date Friday 13th. That year was one of the comparatively rare ones in which that date turned up three times. Every year has at least one Friday 13th, but in each of the 28-year cycles of our calendar there are four years that have three of them. The only consolation I can offer to those affected is that there won’t be another for 11 years. But then we shall have three in short order: 2009, 2012 and 2015. The word’s origins are all Greek, from tris, “three”, kai, “and”, deka, “ten” (so making thirteen), plus phobia, “fear, flight”. The word is a modern formation, dating only from 1911 (it first appeared in I H Coriat’s Abnormal Psychology). Though it has a serious use in psychology, it seems to exist mostly to provide an opportunity for people like me to show off weird words from classical languages. 
I'm triskaidekaphobic(no I'm not).

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Across the street, for three houses down, none of the people have any trees; directly behind us and beside us on two sides, there are no trees. Our house is surrounded by trees and I love my "JUNGLE". In fact, I was upset when my husband cut down some bushes in the back yard to make a path to the street. Before that I couldn't see the next door neighbors houses or down the street, except in the winter, when the trees lost their leaves. Thank goodness for "Big Ben"--the name of the enormous pine in the back yard--as it gives us great protection and privacy. Several years ago one of the neighbors grumbled to Gerald about having to rake "OUR" leaves!

When we first moved here, we noticed that some of the neighbors had aluminum pot pie pans tied in their trees. Then we noticed some of them were outside banging boards together. We thought this was rather curious behavior. One day Gerald was outside and the next-door neighbor asked him, "What do you folks do to get rid of the birds?" Gerald naively answered, "We do everything we can to attract them." Obviously that was not the right thing to say; the neighbor turned and walked away and didn't speak to him for the next several years. They kept banging and clanging to keep away the birds and we were installing bird houses! I told Gerald we had "disturbed the status quo".

Eventually that neighbor's house was bought by people who turned out to be friendlier neighbors! Or, perhaps, it was because, when we moved here, WE were the new neighbors with different customs, and now, we are the long-time residents, but I'm not grumbling! All of the houses around us, except for one, are now inhabited by people who bought the houses after we were here.

AHA! We're now the status quo!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-staff. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11 AM. Some schools are closed on Veterans Day, while others do not close, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities.

Veterans Day is officially observed on November 11. However, if it falls on a week day, many communities hold their celebrations on the weekend closest to this date. This is supposedly to enable more people to attend and participate in the events. Federal Government offices are closed on November 11. If Veterans Day falls on a Saturday, they are closed on Friday November 10. If Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, they are closed on Monday November 12. State and local governments, schools and non-governmental businesses are not required to close and may decide to remain open or closed. Public transit systems may follow a regular or holiday schedule.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I had arranged for a motel reservation through an online service which guaranteed a certain price. When we arrived at the motel, the clerk stated that there was no record of that transaction.  I had called the motel earlier in the day to verify our reservation, which indeed had been verified, but the desk clerk denied the price and refused to honor it.  I asked, simply, "Then how did you receive the reservation with my credit card information?"  She answered that I must have given it to them.  I said, "That is a LIE!"

After a contentious colloquy, I demanded to speak to the manager but was informed that the manager was not available.  I continued with an unrelenting diatribe which included my use of the phrases "bait and switch" and "rip-off";   I even invoked the name of William Shatner.

My husband and a friend who was also going to stay at the motel tried to intervene which irritated me even further;  I said testily to them, "I'm fully capable of taking care of this!"  Throughout the entire encounter I never once raised my voice, but communicated through clenched teeth with seething rage.

I told the clerk that because we were exhausted from the trip, I was going to pay the price but that I would be calling the corporation the first thing in the morning and I would certainly be telling her name.  

The clerk asked, plaintively, "Why are you being so mean to me?"

I said, "Mean?  You think this is mean?  I'm merely being assertive!"  

Our friend stated that if he hadn't been there as a witness, he wouldn't have believed the story.  Ever since the episode the friend has uttered the phrase "Why are you being so mean to me?" at least once a week, followed by my saying "I'm merely being assertive!"

The conclusion of the story is that I did call the corporation and as I had the proof which I had downloaded,  I received a refund, although it took nearly a month.

The moral of the story is ALWAYS make a copy!

Monday, November 9, 2015


My best friend told this to me as I was changing the bandages after her mastectomy:

"A true friend is someone who will be there beside you when it's the last place on earth she wants to be."

I need this reminder occasionally.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


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

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

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

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I have some big shoes to fill.

My brother Bode had a good line: "Do you know what they say about a guy with big hands and big feet?'
"He also has big gloves and big shoes!"

My brother Norman worked with a guy who always wore shoes which were too big for his feet and the shoes turned up on the end, making them look like elf shoes. One day Norman told him, "Just so you know, there's no truth to that rumor!"

From my brother Les: "Don't criticize a man until you walk a mile in his shoes; that way you can be a mile away from him and you've got his shoes!"

"If the shoe fits--buy it!"--Imelda Marcos

What kind of shoes do frogs wear?  Open-TOAD!

My brother Duke knows all the words to Elvis "Big Boots"! I cry whenever I hear either one of them sing it!

Friday, November 6, 2015



CHANUKAH 2015 will be celebrated December 6-13.


Everything you need to know about the holiday of Chanukah by Rabbi Shraga Simmons.

Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days. On the secular calendar, Chanukah generally falls out in December.

This primer will explore:

(1) A Bit of History
(2) Lighting Instructions
(3) Other Customs

(1) A Bit of History

The Hebrew word Chanukah means "dedication." In the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Second Holy Temple, the Syrian-Greek regime of Antiochus sought to pull Jews away from Judaism, with the hopes of assimilating them into Greek culture. Antiochus outlawed Jewish observance ― including circumcision, Shabbat, and Torah study ― under penalty of death. As well, many Jews ― called Hellenists ― began to assimilate into Greek culture, taking on Greek names and marrying non-Jews. This began to decay the foundation of Jewish life and practice.

When the Greeks challenged the Jews to sacrifice a pig to a Greek god, a few courageous Jews took to the hills of Judea in open revolt against this threat to Jewish life. Led by Matitiyahu, and later his son Judah the Maccabee, this small band of pious Jews led guerrilla warfare against the Syrian-Greek army.

Antiochus sent thousands of well-armed troops to crush the rebellion, but after three years the Maccabees beat incredible odds and miraculously succeeded in driving the foreigners from their land. The victory was on the scale of Israel defeating the combined super-powers of today.

Jewish fighters entered Jerusalem and found the Holy Temple in shambles and desecrated with idols. The Maccabees cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it on the 25th of Kislev. When it came time to re-light the Menorah, they searched the entire Temple, but found only one jar of pure oil bearing the seal of the High Priest. The group of believers lit the Menorah anyway and were rewarded with a miracle: That small jar of oil burned for eight days, until a new supply of oil could be brought.

From then on, Jews have observed a holiday for eight days, in honor of this historic victory and the miracle of the oil. To publicize the Chanukah miracle, Jews add the special Hallel praises to the Shacharit service, and light a menorah during the eight nights of Chanukah.

(2) Lighting Instructions

In Ashkenazi tradition, each person lights his own menorah. Sefardi tradition has just one menorah per family.


To publicize which night of Chanukah it is, all eight candles on the menorah should be at the same height ― and preferably in a straight line. Otherwise, the candles may not be easily distinguishable and may appear like a big torch.

In addition to the eight main lights, the menorah has an extra helper candle called the "Shamash." As we are forbidden to use the Chanukah lights for any purpose other than "viewing," any benefit is as if it's coming from the Shamash.

Since the Shamash does not count as one of the eight regular lights, your menorah should have the Shamash set apart in some way ― either placed higher than the other candles, or off to the side.


The most important thing is that that your candles must burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall. (Those famous colored candles barely qualify!) Many Jewish bookstores sell longer colored candles.

Actually, it is even better to use olive oil, since the miracle of the Maccabees occurred with olive oil. Glass cups containing oil can be placed in the candle holders of any standard menorah. Many Jewish bookstores even sell kits of pre-measured oil in disposable cups.


To best publicize the miracle, the menorah is ideally lit outside the doorway of your house, on the left side when entering. (The mezuzah is on the right side; in this way you are "surrounded by mitzvot.") In Israel, many people light outside in special glass boxes built for a menorah.

If this is not practical, the menorah should be lit in a window facing the public thoroughfare.

Someone who lives on an upper floor should light in a window. If for some reason the menorah cannot be lit by a window, it may be lit inside the house on a table; this at least fulfills the mitzvah of "publicizing the miracle" for the members of the household.

Since the mitzvah occurs at the actual moment of lighting, moving the menorah to a proper place after lighting does not fulfill the mitzvah.


The preferable time to light the menorah is at nightfall. It is best to light in the presence of many people, which maximizes the mitzvah of "publicizing the miracle" and adds to the family atmosphere. The menorah can still be lit (with the blessings) late into the night, as long as people are still awake.

The menorah should remain lit for at least 30 minutes after nightfall, during which time no use should be made of its light.

On Friday afternoon, the menorah should be lit 18 minutes before sundown. And since the menorah needs to burn for 30 minutes into the night, the candles used on Friday need to be bigger than the regular "colored candles" (which typically don't burn longer than a half-hour).


On the first night, place one candle at the far right, as you face the menorah. This applies whether the menorah is placed next to a doorway or by a window.

Another candle is placed for the Shamash (taller helper candle) which is used to light the others. It is not counted as one of the candles.

First light the Shamash, then recite the blessings, and then use the Shamash to light the Chanukah candle.

On the second night, place two candles in the two far-right positions ― and use the Shamash to light the left one first.

The third night, place three candles in the three far-right positions ― and use the Shamash to light them in order, from left to right.

Follow this same procedure each night of Chanukah... until all the lights are kindled and glowing brightly!


Watch animation of how to light the Menorah

Listen to the blessings for lighting the Menorah

Print formatted text of this blessing

The first two blessings are said with the Shamash already lit, but immediately prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.


Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Asher kid-shanu bi-mitzvo-sav, Vi-tzee-vanu li-had-leek ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.


Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Shi-asa nee-seem la-avo-seinu, Baya-meem ha-haim baz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.


This blessing is said on the first night only.

Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Sheh-he-che-yanu vi-kee-yimanu Vi-hee-gee-yanu laz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

The following paragraph is said each night, after the first light has been kindled:

Ha-nerot ha-lalu anach-nu mad-likin Al ha-nissim vi-al hanif-laot Al ha-tshu-ot vi-al ha-milchamot She-asita la'avo-teinu Ba-yamim ha-heim, ba-zman ha-zeh Al ye-dey kohan-echa haki-doshim.

Vi-chol shmonat ye-mey Chanukah Ha-nerot ha-lalu kodesh heim, Ve-ein lanu reshut li-heesh-tamesh ba-hem Ela leer-otam bilvad Kedai le-hodot u-li-hallel li-shimcha Al ni-secha vi-al niflo-techa vi-al yeshua-techa.


After lighting the Chanukah menorah, families enjoy sitting in the glow, singing and recalling the miracles of yesterday and today. The first song traditionally sung after lighting the candles is Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages). (click for audio and lyrics)

A number of other customs have developed, including:
•eating "oily" foods like fried potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), in commemoration of the miracle of the oil
•giving Chanukah gelt (coins) to children
•spinning the dreidel, a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side (sivivon in Hebrew)

What is the origin of the dreidel?

In times of persecution when Torah study was forbidden, Jewish children would learn anyway. When soldiers would investigate, the children would pull out a dreidel and pretend to be playing.

The letters on the dreidel are nun, gimmel, hey, shin ― the first letters of Nes Gadol Haya Sham – "A Great Miracle Happened There." (In Israel, the last letter is a Pey ― "Here.") One way to play dreidel is to see who can keep theirs spinning for the longest time. Or alternatively, to see how many dreidels you can get spinning simultaneously.

Another version of dreidel is where players use pennies, nuts, raisins, or chocolate coins as tokens or chips. Each player puts an equal share into the "pot." The first player takes a turn spinning the dreidel. When the dreidel stops, the letter facing up determines:
•Nun – nothing happens; the next player spins the dreidel
•Gimmel – the spinner takes the pot
•Hey – take half the pot
•Shin – add one to the pot

(Alternatively, you can play where everyone spins their own dreidel simultaneously. Anyone who gets Nun takes 2 from the pot; Gimmel takes 1 from the pot; Hey puts 1 into the pot; Shin gives 1 to the person on his/her right.)

On Chanukah we add "Al Ha'nisim" – an extra paragraph which describes the Chanukah miracle – to the Amidah prayer, and also to the Grace After Meals.



People seldom believe me when I tell them how SHY I was as a child, teenager, and young woman but when I began work I was fortunate to have someone slightly older who was instrumental in "bringing me out of my shell";  after nearly fifty years she is still my great friend!

She gave me some of the best advice I have ever had: "Find out everything you can about people because it comes in handy."  Of course I am now known to INTERVIEW everyone with whom I come in contact!   She would frequently say, "So-and-So knows that/has that/does that/wants that." She had that uncanny ability to recall important--and useable --traits about people. When I mention about the importance of "knowing and using resources", I always remember where I learned it.  For example, her daughter needed a "fancy dress" for a school function. She could not afford to buy one but she knew that one of our co-workers was also a seamstress.  She bartered with her: she did house cleaning for her and the woman made the dress.  She would trade clothes from her kids with other mothers. I named her "TheWizard Of Bartering".

She worked a second job as a bartender on Friday and Saturday nights and she would barter for babysitting ("You take care of my kids; I'll do something for you.") People liked to barter for her cakes, as she was an accomplished baker.

She was routinely coming up with ways "to make a little extra money".  I rode to work with her, and every morning, before picking me up, she would have already stopped at Atkinson's Bakery to pick up a selection of doughnuts and pastries. She paid 25-cents apiece for the goodies and she would sell them at work for 30-cents each. I reminded her that "time is money", but she said, "It takes 15 minutes to get the doughnuts and I would be stopping there anyway and then at work, it takes maybe 15 minutes more to collect the money." It was very rarely that she didn't sell all the doughnuts; she usually made a profit of $1.20 per day selling doughnuts. She said that the doughnut sales paid for her gas. She drove a big old station wagon which was no doubt a gas guzzler, but with four kids she needed a big car and she was "Mom's taxi", taking her kids, and kids from the neighborhood, places. Of course, she bartered when chauffeuring the neighbors' kids.

She was an "earth mother" and a "mother lion"; she scared teachers and sports coaches and anyone else who dared impugn her children. She definitely did the best she could.

When she and I would go to flea markets and yard sales, she would haggle with sellers which I was too embarrassed to do, but I would not hesitate to let her "do it" for me! I was successful in getting her to use the term "haggle" rather than a derogatory ethic term she had used. She said, "I didn't know it was bad!" She would buy stuff at flea markets and take the items to work to sell because she was constantly "selling something"!

She came to my first yard sale and changed sticker prices because she said that my prices were "too cheap"! I had 10 paring knives marked at 10-cents each and I hadn't sold a single one; she put $1.00 on them and I sold all of them.

She also ran the "dollar drawing" at work on payday. In case you do not know what a "dollar drawing" is: each person who participates writes his/her name on a dollar bill and puts it in the pot; whichever name is drawn is the winner of the pot. She had to stop that "gambling" when a disgruntled player told the Company about it; the person was upset because she didn't receive 100% of the pot because my friend kept 10% of the pot as the "fee for processing". Undaunted, she told the usual bettors, "Meet me up at Jessie's after work to play." (That was Jessie's Truck Stop) The owner of Jessie's didn't "cotton to" that activity and she said, "Meet me at the bar!"

She was our "Hell-on-wheels" Steward. When writing a grievance, she would say, "Give me a good word." When she was off work for a carpal-tunnel operation, I was her replacement Steward. When several co-workers became upset with me, she defended me, but lectured, "You got to stop being such a smart-ass!" I asked, "Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?" She answered, "No, you're book-smart;  I'm street-smart!"  She insisted on 50/50 drawings at Union meetings. Whenever there was a death in the family of workers or when people were off work for an extended period, she took up collections of money and food.

One year at Christmas, our hours had been cut at work and she and I were so poor that at our gift exchange, I gave her one pillow and she gave me a 1923 silver dollar which I still have in my jewelry box. Nowadays, when she and I get together to exchange gifts, we always hearken back to that time. We now have everything we need; we don't need presents, but it is always a celebration because we are grateful that we can give each other nice presents.

Last year, before Christmas, she said, "Hey, I need pillows!" Laughing, I said, "You only get ONE!" She did not get an economical (I won't say "cheap"!) one from K-Mart, but luxurious down ones from Elder Beerman.

My husband has said to me on numerous occasions that he cannot believe that we're friends as we are "totally different". I said, "She loves me with all my faults." Of my friends, she is the only one of my friends my mother ever liked. My mother would oftentimes say that she was her friend too because she would come to visit my mother without my being there: "just for the heck of it"; she told me that she wished that my mother was her mother. She always remembered my mother's birthday; and even after all these years, she always calls me on the anniversary of my mother's death to see how I'm doing.

Now, THAT is a FRIEND!

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I have a "theme" Christmas tree in every room and sometimes more than one in a room:   sleighs in living room, 12 Days Of Christmas in dining room,  tree with cookie cutter ornaments on kitchen table, nutcrackers in laundry room, Santas in family room, cardinals, poinsettias, and Red Hats in bedrooms, seashells in bathrooms, holly in the hallway, trees with buttons, buckeyes, Santa ornaments, and I have the Elvis shrine, trains, and Coca Cola display in the library but now, I MUST have the BOOK TREE!

I actually have a collection of THIRTY Christmas books--which reside between the couch and end table in the library--because I have never known what to do with them.  Recently I had my friend Judy take some of them.

 Christmas In Plains by Jimmy Carter, The Cat Who Came For Christmas by Cleveland Amory, The Hired Man's Christmas by George Givens, and A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg will be the foundation of the CHRISTMAS BOOK TREE!

see the video:

How to make your very own Christmas tree out of books

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


An ACTUAL overheard conversation:

AN ELDERLY WOMAN: "Now I don't have anything against colored people but I think one of them is enough as President."
A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN: "I know what you mean."

OK,  here was my dilemma:
1. Should I interject myself?
2. It would reveal that I was eavesdropping.
3. Is it my duty to correct the use of "colored"?
4. Do I really want to be against someone who dislikes Ben Carson despite the horrible reason?

Although it was obviously my moral and patriotic duty to become involved--after all, I AM the CORRECTION POLICE--I thought, "I'll let both of them exist in their prejudice as I know both of them are Republicans", but I was interested to know which of the other 8 or 10 candidates they would support.

You already knew I couldn't resist, right?  I asked them, "So, which of the other LIARS would you support?" After their shock that I had interjected myself--and used the word liars-- I gave a detailed account of the lies which Rubio, Cruz, Trump, Fiorina, Christie, Paul, Kasich, and Bush had committed recently. The elderly woman asked, "So you're for Carson?" I laughed uproariously and answered, "Oh, Hell no, he's just abysmally ignorant about the Constitution, history, geography, and the environment, but it has NOTHING to do with his being African American."

My ever astute brother asked, "How could you have omitted Carson's HYPOCRISY of taking advantage of Affirmative Action and USPHS grants plus he was reared by a SINGLE mother who received food stamps, welfare, public housing, Medicaid, and eyeglasses for him?"

So much for that BOOTSTRAPS thing!


I like the word SCREAK. Although the definition is: "to make a harsh, shrill, sound", I have always thought of it as a cross between a shriek, a screech, and a scream. 

 It is an intransitive verb of Scandinavian origin and is pronounced "skreet".

When I used the word in a BLOG article, a friend called to tell me she thought it was a misspelling of "scream".   I answered that it was a correct spelling of screak and she said, "Spell-Check doesn't recognize it."  

I SCREAKED my answer:   "Spell-Check isn't God; the OED is GOD!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Please vote YES on Issue 1!

Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment, Issue 1 (2015) - Ballotpedia
Ballotpedia is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professionally curated encyclopedia designed to connect people to…

Monday, November 2, 2015


Today, as some politicians would like to take away VOTING RIGHTS, it is good to reflect about how far we have come and that we never want to go back.  LEST WE FORGET, remember that it was not until 1920 that women WON (I hate it when the words "given" and "granted" are used) the RIGHT TO VOTE!  Voter registration is an ongoing passion for me.

This is a story of OUR great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers who lived only 95 years ago.  On November 15, 1917, women dared to "peaceably assemble" and to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless.  Thus unfolded "The Night Of Terror" when the Warden of Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there.  By the end of the night, some were barely alive.  Forty prison guards, with their warden's blessing, went on a rampage, wielding clubs against the thirty three women for the offense of "obstructing sidewalk traffic."

Here are some of our heroines:

LUCY BURNS was beaten with her hands chained to the cell bars above her head and was left hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

DORA LEWIS was hurled into a dark cell, had her head smashed against an iron bed and was knocked out cold.  Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought that Lewis was dead and Cosu suffered a heart attack.  Additional affidavits describe the guards beating, grabbing, dragging, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting, and kicking the women.

ALICE PAUL, the leader, embarked on a hunger strike.  She was bound to a chair, had a tube forced down her throat, and had liquid poured down her throat until she vomited.  She was tortured like this for weeks until word was finally smuggled out and there was a public outcry.

PAULINE ADAMS in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.

For weeks the only water the women received was from an open pail and the food they received was infested with worms.

EDITH AINGE of Jamestown, New York

Every one of us should rent the movie Iron Jawed Angels.  It is a graphic depiction of the battle these valiant women waged to enable us to go to our polling places, pull the curtain, and have our say!  Let's not them have worked and died in vain!  HBO has released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies, and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum.  I wish it were shown at political events and anywhere else women--and like minded men-- gather.  I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

Suffragists conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment:

Suffragists at the National Woman's Party Headquarters, Jackson Place, Washington D.C., conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis,  Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right).

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized but it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong and brave, he said, and that didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.".

We need to get out to vote, register others to vote, and encourage others to vote to use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. 

HELENA HILL WEED, of Norwalk, Connecticut, while serving a 3-day sentence in a Washington D.C. prison for carrying a banner which read "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.".

WHAT are the reasons for NOT voting:  I have to work;   I have to carpool;   it's raining;  I don't want to be called for jury duty;   I don't know where to go to vote;  I don't know when it is;  my vote doesn't matter--yes, I've heard ALL those excuses!

As my mother used to say, "Any excuse is better than none!"

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Below is an homage to The Rocky Horror Picture Show which I wrote in 2010.  

On Friday night, Gerald and I accompanied our friends James, Shane, and Shane's son Gage to Wilmington to see a Midnight showing.  Although the audience participation is far more raunchier than when we used to go, my sides are still hurting from laughing.  The highlights: knowing I can still jump out into the aisle and dance The Time Warp AGAIN;  seeing the "V" on James, Shane, and Gage to denote their losing their "virginity" to Rocky Horror as first-time participants.  We didn't "dress" this year--here's how I know I am OLD--it was too damned cold to dress in costume-- that would NOT have deterred me "back in the day"!  All of us are currently planning our costumes and props for next year!

My article from 2010:


 I think Gerald and I initiated at least twenty teenagers to the Midnight Movie bashes of  The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We would go at least once a month and take a different kid with us! Yes, we danced The Time Warp in the aisle, threw toilet paper at the screen, dressed in costume (I had to be "Magenta"--my favorite color!)--the whole schtick--we had no shame! What fun! We were the crazy ones with props:

Some of my favorite memories:

I subscribed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer so I would have "The Plain Dealer" to put over my head like Janet did when it rained!

Water pistols--to rain on Brad and Janet--thus the newspaper covering her head!

Rice: At the beginning there's a wedding and we threw rice when the screen wedding guests did!

Toilet paper--bought Scott toilet paper to throw when Brad yelled "Great Scott!" .

Flashlights--to use when they sing, There's A Light Over At The Frankenstein Place:

"There's a light over at the Frankenstein place,
in the darkness of everybody's life!"

Toast--when Frank proposed a toast--threw toast.

Confetti--when the Transylvanians threw confetti--we threw confetti!

Rubber gloves--When Frank snaps his rubber gloves and when Magenta took the gloves from his hands--snapped gloves at same time!

Party hats--when Frank put on a party hat, so did we!

Noisemakers--At the end of the Creation speech, the Transylvanians used noisemakers as did we!

Bell--when Frank sang, "Do you hear a bell ring?" we rang our bells.

Cards--when Frank sang "Cards for sorrow, cards for pain", we threw playing cards!

I loved it when the movie switched from black and white to color--just like "Wizard of Oz"; Riff Raff, "Dammit, Janet", Dr. Frank-n-Furter, Rocky, Meat Loaf's appearance, but my all-time favorite is dancing in the aisle with Gerald to:

The Time Warp:

"It's a jump to the left,
And then it's a step to the right,
With your hands on your hips,
You bring your knees in tight,
But it's the pelvic thrust,
They really drive you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!"

Oh, Gerald, let's do "The Time Warp" AGAIN!