Friday, September 30, 2016


My friend Mona Lisa sent the Facebook message to me to add to my WORD FOR THE DAY FOR TRUMP:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

M & S&M

I noticed that my husband was engrossed in a magazine article and I asked, "What are you reading?" He answered, "Oh, it's an article about the Marquis de Sade."

I was surprised, as his usual reading habits are centered around science fiction and car magazines.  I laughed and said, "Let me know when you get to the part about Charlotte Corday."

Later, he came into the family room and very grandly opened his shirt to reveal a package of candy protruding from his tee-shirt. He said, "He's into S&M, but I'm into M&Ms!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


 The movie All That Jazz is reportedly a roman a clef  about the director Bob Fosse.  In the movie, no matter how bad his previous night and day had been, the actor Roy Scheider, portraying the character Joseph Gideon, does his morning routine:  putting Visine in his eyes, drinking Alka Seltzer,       taking Dexedrine, smoking a cigarette in the shower, and all    the while listening to Vivaldi's Concert In G;  he then finally looks in the mirror and says, "IT'S SHOW TIME, FOLKS!"  (see the YouTube segment below)

The movie was made in 1979, but after seeing the movie, on each day since, when I get out of my car to be in public, I say, to myself, "Show time!"

When I'm asked how I am, I invariably say, "wonderful", "marvelous", "fantastic" or "fabulous", and even on a really bad day, I can still muster a "great"!  With family and friends I will tell the truth because I know they actually care.   

I wish people would put on their "game faces";  if only just occasionally. The repetitive moaning and groaning is, frankly, quite boring.  Perhaps it's their lack of any other conversational gambit or they don't realize that very few people actually want to know "How are you?" I never use that phrase as an opener, mainly because I know I would be in for an iteration of their maladies. 

Please see the following article about smiling from THE WISE GEEK:

Physically expressing an emotion - such as smiling - can trigger happiness.

Smiling has been found to increase feelings of happiness. Psychologists believe this is because the brain interprets the flexing of certain muscles to be indicative of a particular mood. For example, the zygomatic major is the facial muscle responsible for controlling the corners of the mouth.

When this muscle is flexed, it is thought that it triggers the neurological response that controls emotion. Another possibility is that smiling while around other people leads them to smile back, and the brain reads this as a social cue to feel happy. 

My friend Chiquita calls me "Suzy Sunshine";  I told her nobody wants to see "Suzy Sourpuss"!

Even worse than the constant moaners and groaners are ones who hack and cough and keep telling how bad they feel and risk infecting others.  Last week, a man was coughing repeatedly in a group setting, and even after my telling him to go home, he remained, coughing and telling how sick he felt.  Today, a friend who had been present, was feeling poor, and wondered if she had been infected by him.  It reminded me of the definition of Patient Zero from THE URBAN DICTIONARY:

Patient Zero

Typically an asshole that spends between five and ten minutes talking to you before mentioning casually that he/she is sick, causing you to wonder if you've now been infected by what this mouth breathing stick has. Usually it's just the common cold, but it could just as easily be ebola.
"I can't come in today, Patient Zero there got me sick yesterday when he was breathing all over the coffee cups."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


September 27 is National Crush A Can Day.  The observance was created to educate people about the benefits of recycling.

Some interesting facts from Binge Magazine:

1.  If you lined all the aluminum cans recycled in 2015 end-to-end, they would circle the earth 169 times.

2.  In the USA, 105,800 aluminum cans are recycled each minute.

3.  Your television could run 3 hours from the energy saved by recycling cans.

4.  Aluminum cans generate about 1-cent per can.

5.  The aluminum can industry pays more than 1 billion dollars annually for recycled cans.

For more information:

We have a can-crusher setting in the kitchen:  I toss the cans from the counter into the container but  Gerald developed his own system which he uses in the garage:

He uses an 8-pound sledgehammer to crush them.  WHAM!  They are nice and flat!

The guy at the recycling center told Gerald that his were the best-looking cans they receive!

Monday, September 26, 2016


I used the term "Dagwood Sandwich" recently and a young friend had never heard the term; I didn't even know if Dagwood and Blondie were still in the "funny papers"! Yes, Blondie is still syndicated.

In a survey I conducted with family and friends, the following were determined to be examples of "YOU KNOW YOU'RE OLD IF" you remember these:

45-RPM RECORDS (78 AND 33 1/3 TOO)


Sunday, September 25, 2016


A Facebook friend shared the following:

I responded that I like SMALL WORDS even more than polysyllabic words.

Thus, the current challenge to identify my favorite little words.

My all-time favorite small word is SMARMY and I have written about it several times.  I once used "smarmy" in class and the instructor said he'd never heard the word--but he said it in a self-confident manner--to let me know that he doubted it being a word. I said, "It's a perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word." He responded, haughtily, "And what might it mean?" I answered, "Unctuous." One of my classmates groaned. The instructor said, "Then you should have used unctuous because obviously more people know unctuous than smarmy!" The groaning classmate said, "I don't know either one!"

Some one-syllable words I love:



And, in yesterday's article I used "pawl" which I had not known until the previous day!

Saturday, September 24, 2016


After reading my STRAP LOCKS article, my brother--who knows EVERYTHING-- asked, "So then, you know what the PAWL is."

Of course I did NOT know that word.  He responded, with a pun, "I'm APPAWLED that you don't know that word!"

According to the Merriam Websster Online Dictionary, the pawl is:  "a pivoted curved bar or lever whose free end engages with the teeth of a cogwheel or ratchet so that the wheel or ratchet can only turn one way."

I was wondering why the strap locks could not be recycled.  See this method from YouTube:

Friday, September 23, 2016


At our political headquarters, we mount the campaign banners daily on the outdoor railings and then take them down at closing because we don't want them defaced or stolen.  We usually mount them shortly after opening the office.

One day, a volunteer came in early and asked what she could do to help and I said, "Take the strap locks and tie the banners to the railings."  She asked, "What are strap locks?"  I handed a package to her;  she laughed and said, "Oh, I thought it was some fancy tool;  we always called them zip ties." Later, we were discussing different names we'd heard used for the ubiquitous items.   "Tie wraps", "hose ties", "zap straps", "cable ties" and "plastic chains" were among the examples.   

The first ones were sold under the brand name "Ty-Rap" and had been designed for use in the aircraft industry.

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

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

Being forearmed, I was always wary and guarded, and when I was suspicious that I was about to be the victim of a prank, I would always say something like: "Don't you already have one of those in your tool box?"

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

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

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

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

Later I called my brother Norman and asked, "How do you pronounce S-W-A-G-E?" and I told him about the incident.  He said, "I don't know why, but it's always pronounced as SWEDGE in factories."

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Did you ever watch the movie The Man Who Came To Dinner?  In it, there's an obnoxious, demanding houseguest named Sheridan Whiteside who seemingly will never leave.

In my family, when we were kids, we were always having various cousins living with us.   One cousin, Mervyn, stayed the longest. He was obviously unable to fend much for himself.  One day, he ordered, imperiously, "Cut that pie!" I reacted by saying, "Cut the damned pie yourself if you want some!" When he started to cut the pie, it was obvious that he had no idea how to cut a pie as he was HACKING at it. I immediately took over the knife. ["CUT THAT PIE!", uttered with the unique Mervyn inflection, has been a family saying ever since.]  See the video HOW TO CUT A PIE IN 10 SLICES:

Over the years I have been stunned by the number of people I've encountered who do not know how to cut pies and cakes.  At functions, I am immediately asked to perform the task.

While working at International Harvester, a guy came from another department to ask me to come to his department to cut a cake for a celebration. As I did not know the guy, I asked him why he was asking for me and he said, "Dino the Inspector said you were the only one who knows how to cut a cake right!" It was probably because I was the only woman there.   Dino was the one who usually ordered cakes for our department's occasions.   Once Dino asked me how I'd learned to cut the cakes. Dumfounded, and not thinking that cake cutting demonstrated any particular talent, I answered, "From my mother, I guess." He said, rather plaintively, "My mother never did things nice like that." Dino later asked me to teach his girlfriend how to cut cakes and pies.

Martha Stewart and other companies sell pie cutters (see above) at ridiculously high prices. Although I am a gadget lover, I say, "What's wrong with a knife?"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


For years, I have had the burning question:  WHY IS OKTOBERFEST IN SEPTEMBER?

In researching, I learned that the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to celebrate the marriage.of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.  That celebration began on October 10, 1810, and continued through October 17, 1810.

After several years, because weather conditions are better in September than they are in October, the festivities began in September.

Munich will be celebrating its 181st Oktoberfest this year.

Go to for more information than I ever wanted to know!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I used the term "rifle" and my brother asked, "Don't you mean riffle?"

Definitions from Oxford Online Dictionaries (NOT  the OED):

RIFFLE:  to turn over something, especially the pages of a book, quickly and casually.

RIFLE:  searching through something in a hurried way, in order to find or steal something.

RIFLE is pronounced just the same as the weapon and RIFFLE rhymes with the word "piffle".

I was surprised to see "stealing" as part of the definition of "rifle" but after checking six other sources, I learned that all seven of the sources had stealing implied in the definition.

As usual, my brother was correct because I was RIFFLING rather than RIFLING!

I knew that RIFFLING was a method of shuffling cards, but I did NOT know that a riffle is a shallow section of a stream or river with a rapid current.

From one of my favorite sites Grammar Girl:

Both rifle and riffle mean to go through something but when you're riffling, you are hunting, flipping through something, such as book pages, or shuffling cards (riffle is thoght to be a blend between ripple and ruffle).  But when you're rifling, you are searching frantically, or ransacking, usually meaning to steal something. (Rifle is derived from the Old French word for steal or plunder)

Monday, September 19, 2016


While I was working at the Democratic booth at the Scarecrow Festival, a man wearing a disgusting tee-shirt which proclaimed that he was one of the "Basket Of Deplorables", approached our booth.

He obviously recognized one of the three of us sitting there, and said to Helen, who is a native of Kentucky, "You know the only good thing to ever come out of Kentucky?"

I didn't give him a chance to complete his insult;  instead I jumped up and screaked, "ABRAHAM LINCOLN!"

That did not deter him.  He continued with his lame "punch line":  "An empty Greyhound bus." None of us laughed, but he is one of those people who laugh at their own "jokes", which is quite sad.

I replied, "So, you think THAT is amusing?  I think it's DEPLORABLE!"  I continued, "You know what Kentuckians say about Ohioans?  That a Buckeye is just a worthless brown nut!"

He ignored me!

He continued his  conversation, asking the whereabouts of another Democrat because he wanted to "razz" him too.  

I've never figured out why people like him possess that particular trait of  masking their passive aggressive animosity in so-called "humor".  

The difference between "US" and "THEM":  when I passed the DEPLORABLE Trump exhibit, I did not stop to "razz" them.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Who knew that cutting grass was distressful to the grass?

Read the article from The Wise Geek:

Most people associate the smell of freshly cut grass with carefree summer days but why does freshly cut grass smell good to us and where does the smell come from?

Scientists have recently studied the phenomenon and discovered that the pleasing odor of freshly cut grass is actually the result of chemicals released by the plants to indicate distress.

When plants are damaged, whether by a hungry caterpillar or by the blades of a lawnmower, they send out a distress signal by producing a type of defense protein called jasmonic acid.  This not only makes the plants less appetizing to caterpillars, but it also attracts parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside the caterpillars.  In this way, the plant ensures the eventual rescue from the caterpillars.

Interestingly, the same reaction occurs when grass is cut.  The scent of freshly cut grass is a result of the plant's defense mechanism.

There are thousands of types of grass.  Besides lawn grass, there are various types of grass that produces food such as rice and wheat.  The largest type of grass is the giant bamboo, which can grow up to 150 feet.

Maintaining a grass lawn is environmentally friendly as it produces oxygen and helps prevent soil erosion.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


In a rare sighting, I asked my brother, "Is that a damselfly?"  I had always thought that the damselfly was a FEMALE dragonfly but in checking online, I learned that although both dragonflies and damselflies are from the same order, they are different.

It is easy to mistake a dragonfly for a damselfly, because they do look alike, but adult damselflies have thinner, more delicate bodies.  After careful consideration and quick online checking, we determined that the insect we saw was indeed a DAMSELFLY.



This article is from The Wise Geek:

The distinctive looking dragonfly, with its eerie eyes and four paper-thin wings, is usually found around lakes, ponds, and other wetlands, feeding on bothersome insects such as mosquitoes and flies.  Dragonflies have six legs but they cannot walk;  instead the appendages are used for catching and holding prey, or for perching on plants.  The legs of the larvae, however, are used for ambulation.  When a dragonfly larva, known as a nymph, is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other aquatic plant, and finds a place to emerge.  There are more than 5,300 species of dragonflies and the species has been around for more than 300 million years.  The larval stage of some dragonflies, spent under water, can last as long as five years.

An interesting sideline of writing a BLOG is meeting--via the internet--other BLOGGERS.  There is, no doubt, a blogger for every possible interest.  To learn more about dragonflies and damselflies, click on who bills herself as "AQUATIC ENTOMOLOGIST WITH A BLOGGING HABIT" and you will learn more than you ever wanted to know!

Friday, September 16, 2016


September 16 is EL DIA DE LA INDEPENDENCIA (Mexican Independence Day).  

Many people I know believe that Cinco de Mayo is Independence Day but both days provide our excuses to eat Mexican food, which we enjoy, but I also like sharing the history of the celebrations.

On September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, began the War Of Independence with the cry "Grito de Dolores" ("cry of Dolores") with Dolores being the village where the revolution began.   Hidalgo was defeated in 1811, and after years of fighting, during subsequent battles and regimes, Mexico became a Federal Republic in 1823.  

Although there were several attempts at  re-conquests, Spain finally recognized the independence in 1836.

I'll be celebrating their independence while I enjoy caldo de Cameron, ceviche, romeritos, and pan de muerto for dessert.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


This advice from Dr. Oz:

We all think eating fruit means just buying fruit, cutting it up and popping it into our mouths. It's not that easy. It's important to know how and when to eat fruit.

What's the correct way to eat fruit?


Eating fruit like that plays a major role in detoxifying your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.


Let's say you eat two slices of bread, then a slice of fruit. The slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it's prevented from doing so.

In the meantime, the whole meal rots and ferments, and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach, and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.

Eat your fruit on an empty stomach, or before your meal.  You've heard people complain: Every time I eat watermelon I burp, when I eat it my stomach bloats, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc. This will not happen if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. Fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas.  Hence, you bloat.

There's no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruit becomes alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruit, you have the Secret of Beauty, Longevity, Health, Energy, Happiness and normal weight.

When you need to drink fruit juice drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT the concentrated juice from the cans. Don't drink juice that has been heated. Don't eat cooked fruit; you don't get the nutrients at all. You get only the taste. Cooking destroys all of the vitamins.

Eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it slowly, mouthful by mouthful, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it. You can go on a 3-day fruit-fast to cleanse your body. Eat fruit and drink fruit juice for just 3 days, and you will be surprised when your friends say how radiant you look.

KIWI: Tiny but mighty, and a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and fiber. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange!

APPLE:   an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants and flavonoids which enhances the activity of vitamin C, thereby helping to lower the risk of colon cancer, heart attack and stroke.

STRAWBERRY: protective fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits and protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals.

ORANGES:  eating 2-4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent and dissolve kidney stones, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

WATERMELON: Coolest thirst quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. Also a key source of lycopene, the cancer-fighting oxidant. Also found in watermelon: Vitamin C and Potassium.

GUAVA & PAPAYA: Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Papaya is rich in carotene, good for your eyes.

Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer!

Can you believe this? For those who like to drink cold water, this applies to you. It's nice to have a cold drink after a meal, however, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you've just consumed, which slows digestion. Once this "sludge" reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

A serious note about heart attacks:

Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw. You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms. Sixty percent of people who have a heart attack while they're asleep do not wake up. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Be careful, and be aware. The more we know, the better our chance to survive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying of cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the "good" living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you" and less "I'm sorry."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it, and really see it . . live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


When I heard "RIGHT CHEER"  (rather than "right here") used at two large gatherings this past weekend in Fayette County, I knew it was time for an addition to CRINGE--FAYETTE COUNTY TALK. 

 Among numerous other examples of "OUR"  (because I am just as guilty as others) vernacular heard this past weekend:

NOTHER rather than other (as in "a whole nother time")

EYE-TALIAN rather than "Italian"
WADN'T rather than "wasn't"
IDN'T rather than "isn't"
SOSE rather than "so as"
CANNIDATE rather than "candidate"
SUPPOSABLY  rather than "supposedly"

YOU GUYZES rather than "you guys"

And, of course, the Fayette County constants:

IDEAL rather than "idea"

WARSHINGTON rather than "Washington"
FEESH  rather than "fish"
WEESH rather than "wish"
DEESH rather than "dish"
WRINCH rather than "rinse"

When I mentioned some of these at my "Lunch Bunch" get-together today, one member was very offended and she suggested that I thought I was "above" others, I just had to laugh and admit my own faux pas.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Yesterday my friend Mona Lisa brought a present to me which she had found at a yard sale: it is a 1911 Charles Scribner's Sons first edition of Stevenson's Treasure Island with the famed illustrations by N. C. Wyeth.  It is in good condition but missing a dust cover.   Mona Lisa told me she had looked online and saw one in similar condition selling for $55.00.  A copy with dust cover is posted on E Bay for $150.00.

The illustrations are still amazingly vibrant.

What a TREASURE for me!

My brother Norman loved the art of Andrew Wyeth, and as he said, he became a fan of N. C. Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth "by osmosis".  I have quite a number of "coffee table" books featuring the work of all the Wyeth family and I also have a number of prints by Andrew and Jamie.  Several years ago, Norman asked, "How did Andy get relegated to the upstairs at your house?"  I replied, "ANDY?  I didn't know you were THAT close to Andrew."  He answered, "I even say BETS!"  (Betsy is Mrs. Andrew Wyeth)

Later, when I told Les about the conversation, he said,  "You  have to love someone who uses the word RELEGATED!"

Sunday, September 11, 2016


"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11." -President Barack Obama

Each year since 2002, I have committed to a day of service.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


October 11, 2016 is the last day for voter registration in Ohio.  Early voting begins October 12, 2016.

Absentee ballot return deadline by mail is November 5, 2016.  In person absentee ballot  deadline is November 8, 2016.

If you know anyone who has not voted previously in their life, or has moved and need to change his/her address, or who has not voted in several past elections, or has been convicted of a felony, please have them register to vote.

It is easy to register to vote.  People can register online or call 877-767-6446 to request a form.

If they want to register to vote, change their address, or request an absentee ballot form, please refer them to:

153 South Main Street
Suite Number 1  740-620-4023
Washington Court House, OH 43160


135 South Main Street  740-335-1190
Washington Court House, OH 43160

Ohio voter registration requirements for 2016:

1.  Must be a U.S. citizen

2.  Must be 18 years old on or before November 8, 2016

3.  Must be an Ohio resident for 30 days prior to November 8, 2016

4.  Not be currently imprisoned for a felony

5.  Not be declared incompetent by a probate court

6.  Not be permanently disqualified for violating election law

Friday, September 9, 2016


My brother showed me this tip about peeling potatoes.  It really works well;  the other tips include shelling eggs, shelling garlic, kiwi skin removal, cutting bananas, and paprika cutting.

Rachael Ray has shown this tip for slicing cherry tomatoes;  it states that it can also be used for slicing grapes:

See the 5 cooking hack tips here for rainbow pasta, ice cream sandwiches, egg separating, eggs cooked in bell pepper slices, yogurt frozen treats, and boiled egg hearts:

Thursday, September 8, 2016


We consider ourselves to be Chili Connoisseurs.  I won the Continuum Of Care's CHILI COOK-OFF for two years and also won another Chili Cook-Off Competition in Chillicothe.  All credit goes to my brother Les who prepares it from our mother's recipe.

During this campaign season, we are conducting Phone Banks each Tuesday and Thursday at our Headquarters.  We provide a meal for the volunteers. One of our volunteers suggested we announce the menu ahead of time.

For September 8, the main course will be 7-WAY CHILI.  The famous Cincinnati Chili is 5-Way, but we like to accommodate various appetites, thus we have CHILI WITH BEANS--7 WAYS:

CRACKERS:  (Nabisco saltines, Town House rather than Ritz, Lance's Captain's Wafers, Frito-Lay corn chips, and oyster crackers)
GLUTEN-FREE PASTA (we prefer rotini as it doesn't GLOB like spaghetti)
ONIONS (we prefer green onions)
PEPPERS (Gerald prefers green peppers)
CHEESE (we prefer Monterey Jack)
HOT SAUCE (Gerald prefers Frank's Red Hot Original)

Only after competing in contests, did I learn that other people serve  PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES with chili and one very strange family serves MASHED POTATOES with their chili. I'll have the peanut butter sandwiches Thursday, but NOT the mashed potatoes.

              GLADYS SHIRKEY'S  BIG POT OF CHILI RECIPE (as DICTATED to me from Les)

4 yellow onions
olive oil
6 cloves garlic
4 # ground chuck
McCormick's Chili Powder
4 8-ounce cans of Hunt's Tomato Sauce
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes
4 cans Joan Of Arc Kidney Beans
1 can Hunt's tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin

In a large pan, dice 4 onions and saute in oil. Add 6 cloves garlic and a little bit of chili powder.

Start adding hamburger (we use ground chuck for competitions) a pound at a time, because it makes it easier to break up and cook.

Add some chili powder to the hamburger as it's cooking. Drain grease from hamburger. I set it at an angle on the counter to drain off all the grease possible (unlike Mom who put all the grease in the chili).

In a big pot combine:

4 cans tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
4 cans kidney beans

[NOTE: rinse all cans and put the RINSE WATER in the pot; there's a lot of flavor and sediment in the cans]

Bring to a boil; add drained hamburger; add more chili powder to taste; add 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 tablespoon sugar (cuts the acidic taste).

Simmer 2 or three hours, stirring frequently. We like THICK chili!

Salt and chili powder to taste.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Years ago someone asked one of my sisters-in-law when she was "expecting" and at that time my sister-in-law was NOT pregnant. Because of that, I've always been very circumspect and have never asked that question unless the subject of pregnancy was broached by the one who was pregnant.

Recently, at a gathering, I was asking for volunteers for a political campaign in the fall. A young woman said she would like to volunteer and I gave her a sheet to complete. 

To me, she looked as if she were at least six months pregnant. She wasn't very heavy, but she was wearing sweat pants and a tee-shirt which fit very snugly around her abdomen and she had quite a protuberance that looked much bigger than a "baby bump".

As she was a newcomer to the group, several other people had asked me about the "pregnant girl".

Because I thought she might be very uncomfortable or even be "POPPING" by November, I made the error of asking, "When are you expecting?" She said, "I'm not pregnant."

Open mouth, insert foot! 

I couldn't believe I'd just asked that question. I was ready to go underneath a table with embarrassment, but with great aplomb, she let me off the hook by saying she'd never lost the weight from her last baby.

Lesson learned!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016



September 6 is NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY.  After spending a great deal of time with young people this summer I was saddened to learn how few of them actually read ANY books.

Years ago, I gave a copy of Diary Of A Young Girl  to one of my nieces and I wrote a note which stated that I was her age when I first read the book and that it had changed my life.  I was eager to hear her reaction and after a week I asked her if she'd finished the book and she said, "Oh, Aunt Sue, you're SO melodramatic!"  (she pronounced it "mellow-dramatic")

Monday, September 5, 2016


With America's working families under unprecedented attack, it's important to remember what unions have done for us. From the weekend to sick leave, child labor laws and safer working conditions, unions will always stand up for the rights of working people.

Here's to the Labor Organizers who gave their lives to give us the 8 hour work day.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Chris Rock is quoted: "There's a new app that lets you know if your friends are racist--it's called Facebook."

I have said that the only good thing about the Trump candidacy is the fact that the bigots have come out of the woodwork.  I am shocked daily by the examples of  bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia I receive from people on Facebook.  In the past I would answer all of them, but now I just DELETE the comments.  Gerald says I should "UNFRIEND" them but I told him I want to see what they are really like and I quoted Oliver Wendell Holmes.:  "The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye;  the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract."  However, I actually don't want them to contract;  I want them to be exposed.  One thing I think we can count on:  these bigots are so vainglorious that their being exposed does not matter, just as it doesn't seem to matter to Mr. Trump, and they will continue exposing themselves.

The following is an article I wrote in 2010 for Sue's News.  It is titled:

                                         YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO

My employer was married to a woman whose mother was Japanese and there were several Asian women employed by the Company.

One day at work a sales representative came to give a demonstration of an "improved" version of a product which we used. Two of the women who were working at the equipment where the demonstration was conducted were Asian.  After the demonstration, as we were walking away, the sales representative made a repugnant remark about the sexual proclivities of Asian women. My boss saw that I was ready to respond and he motioned for me to leave. I walked away from the site greatly angered, not only because one of of my sisters-in-law is Korean, but also because of the women who worked for me who were Asian. I waited as I saw my boss bid him goodbye. My boss called me to his office and motioned for me to sit down. He calmly picked up the telephone and called the sales representative's superior and told him that we would not be ordering material from them ever again. I could tell from the conversation that the other person was asking for an explanation, but he gave no reason or explanation, just a simple cancellation of the contract.

I was shocked and asked why he hadn't told the man WHY we were declining the material. He answered, "I want that SOB to keep making those kinds of mistakes and for him to explain to his boss WHY he lost the contract." I asked, "Did you tell the sales rep why?" He answered, "Yeah, I told the M-F'er that he was talking about MY daughter and that you never know who you're talking to!" I am sure that I would have told the sales rep's boss the reason, but perhaps my boss' actions were more effective.

However, "You never know who you're talking to" became a defining moment in my life because I knew that I, myself, had been guilty of untoward remarks.


Saturday, September 3, 2016


After reading yesterday's Sue's News about stereotypes, Mona Lisa called and said, "You should re-publish the one about unintentional racism."  Below is the article from 2011:  

                                            INTENTIONAL/UNINTENTIONAL RACISM

Years ago I read an article about unintentional racism. An example given in the article was that in the Katrina aftermath, when Barbara Bush and the former President Bush toured the Astrodome, Mrs. Bush commented, "So many people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

The fact that those poor people had lost loved ones, homes, jobs, pets, and possessions seemed lost on Mrs. Bush.  The author of the article attributed her callous attitude to "unintentional racism" and concluded that she did not realize that her remarks were indeed racist, but just showed her to be out-of-touch and unsympathetic.   I wondered aloud, "I wonder how she would have felt if she'd lost everything and was transported hundreds of miles away to sleep on a cot with no privacy?"   Recalling her remarks about Geraldine Ferraro, I was not inclined to be as tolerant.

Bob, one of my colleagues at Rockwell was a very well-spoken, educated, professional who happened to be African-American. One day, Bob and I were having lunch together, and later, another colleague who had observed us together, commented, "He's the whitest black man I've ever seen." I called him out and told him that was offensive and racist;  the guy was obviously surprised and said he'd meant it as a compliment! I said, "Then I'm supposed to infer that you think that only white people USUALLY have his attributes?" He said, "I didn't mean anything by it."

In stores, I oftentimes see store personnel who stop people to check their receipts. I have never been stopped, but I always hold my receipt in my hand with my car keys. I always assumed people were stopped if there were un-bagged items in the cart. Tonight, I was behind a couple in line who are black and I saw the man bagging the items. I had one item and as I followed behind the couple, they were stopped to show their receipt. I had my receipt ready and the store employee waved and said, "You're all right." I said, "I know that I am all right, but what was wrong with those folks ahead of me?" He said, "They had something that wasn't in a bag." I said, "That's NOT true; I was behind them in line and he bagged everything."

Tomorrow I will call the District Manager to inquire about the Company policy.

Friday, September 2, 2016


Yesterday, in conversation with me and another person, a friend used an anti-Semitic stereotype.  I screaked, "Oh, please tell me that you didn't actually say THAT!"  She was stunned by my reaction and during the ensuing conversation among the three of us, she said that she didn't know it was offensive or why it was offensive, and that she'd heard it used all of her life.  She asked WHY it was offensive, and the other person and I explained the reasons. 

She said that she would NEVER use the phrase again and I believe her because I think that she is NOT a bigot.  She asked, "WHAT word could I use?" and it was settled that "finagle" would be appropriate.

Later in the day, the third person who had been in the conversation, related how, earlier in his life he'd unknowingly used a derogatory term to describe some music.  When he was confronted and told that it was an offensive term for Hispanics, the man said that he had had no idea it was offensive.  I said, "But I bet you never used that word again!"  

I dream of the day when derogatory ethnic terms are not even in the lexicon.  Later, in conversation with my brother, he said, "Our only hope is that maybe, when all the people who use those words are dead, kids won't even know the words exist."

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Donald Trump, a draft-dodger, used the condition of "BONE SPURS IN HIS HEELS" as one of his four deferments to avoid the draft.

My brother was blind in one eye, but he was shipped off to Viet Nam.

I know that heel spurs are very painful because I worked twelve hours a day--walking on concrete floors--enduring the pain of heel spurs.

Heel spurs are also known as calcaneal spurs and policeman's heel.  I tried all of the "home remedies"seen below but finally had to resort to having them removed surgically.

Gee, Mr. Trump, with all of his father's wealth, could surely have had his heel spurs removed and could have gone to Viet Nam!