Monday, February 29, 2016


Today my brother came in and exclaimed, "They're b-a-a-c-k!" and I immediately knew that he meant that the BUZZARDS are here.  I said, "They're early!", knowing that the Annual Return Of The Buzzards in Hinckley, Ohio, is March 15.  I said, "It's probably because of global warming.", as the temperature is 49 degrees today.

Each year, when the buzzards are traveling to Hinckley, Ohio, a great number of them stop and rest in trees in our side yard.  My husband will run into the house and yell, "The buzzards are here!", grab his camera and go out to photograph the event.  We moved to our present home in May, 1984, and in March, 1985, we noticed approximately thirty buzzards roosting in the large trees on the east side of our property.  We are fascinated by their soaring, eerie beauty.

Several years ago, a woman came to our house and asked, "Can I come to your house when the buzzards come?" I asked, "How do you know about the buzzards?" She answered, "We were driving by one day and saw them in your trees and I told my daughter that I was going to ask you if we can come to your yard when they come again so we can see them up close." I asked, "How do you know they'll come again?" She answered, "We've seen them twice so I figure they come every year." I replied, "Of course you can come join us." She asked, "Why hasn't the newspaper ever covered this?" I said, "I think some of my neighbors would be upset if I publicized it."

She said, "We call your house the Buzzard House." She saw me wince at the reference and said, "Oh, every time we drive by, we talk about the buzzards!"

She said, "You should have a party!"

My brother, ever the wit, said, "Yeah, you could serve bird's nest soup!"

Sunday, February 28, 2016


While I was registering at a local office, the supervisor of the Intake Clerk interrupted and gave instructions of how she wanted to have the Intake Clerk train another person.

Although I thought it was unprofessional for her to interrupt the process while I was sitting there, the supervisor was precise and to the point with the clerk.

After the supervisor completed her instructions, she then placed her hand on the Intake Clerk's shoulder and thanked her. I thought that she should have apologized to me for her interrupting.  I noticed the clerk cringe slightly.

After we completed my registration I mentioned the supervisor's touching her and I asked, "Do you find that physical contact offensive or patronizing?" She replied, "Oh, not really, she's very nice." I said, "I thought I saw you cringe." She nodded in what I thought was surprise and agreement. We had a brief discussion about body language and my detecting her barely noticeable cringing.

I said, "Where I worked that would be entirely unacceptable." She answered, "I know she doesn't mean anything by it; it's just her way and she's always very complimentary." I asked, "Does that make you do a better job?" She said, "No, but it's nice to be appreciated." I said, "You should tell her that I commented that it was unprofessional behavior and maybe she'll get the message; it's always better coming from an observant outsider."

In stores, when a clerk answers a phone rather than waiting on me, I mention that the person on the telephone will call back and that I should be waited on first.   They always seem surprised that I complain.

When I told the story at home, Les said, "Or maybe she'll just say a bitch was complaining!"  After Les' warnings to me that I am going to be shot by some crazed person I've confronted, I am trying to be a kinder, gentler person!

Saturday, February 27, 2016


For several weeks I have been volunteering on Tuesday and Thursday at The Well, which is an organization created to help disadvantaged people by providing FREE meals, clothing, toiletries, household items, and income tax preparation.

When my friend Chiquita became the Director of The Well, on numerous occasions, she suggested that I should volunteer.  I asked for a tour of the facility and I noticed that there were many bags of clothing to be sorted and shopping carts full of books to be placed on the shelves but I made no commitment to volunteer.

Impressed by the mission, I began donating clothing, food, household items, and began attending and supporting fundraisers, and I kept thinking about the books, which were still in the shopping carts each time I would visit.

After Christmas, when I took I several items to donate, I stopped by the office to chat with Chiquita and was met with, "When are you going to volunteer?"  I replied, "I could be doing the books."  She answered, "Oh, the Board would have to approve that."  Shocked, I asked, "The Board has to decide whether someone can organize the books from those shopping carts?"  She gasped, "Oh, I thought you meant to do the bookkeeping!"  We laughed at the miscommunication.  Obviously "doing the books" was not the best phrase I could have used!

After several weeks of "doing the books",  I have all the books organized, labeled and placed, not by the Dewey Decimal System, but by what I consider to be user-friendly categories:  REFERENCE, FICTION, NON-FICTION, REFERENCE, HEALTH, DIET, COOKBOOKS, BABY CARE, HISTORY, SELF-HELP, RELIGION, HUMOR, and CLASSICS.

Last Thursday, I placed To Kill A Mockingbird  in the CLASSICS section.   On Tuesday, when I went to volunteer, I noticed the book was gone and I was touched, because I thought, "Someone heard about Harper Lee dying and got the book because of that."  On Thursday a man asked, "Have you ever seen that book To Kill A Mockingbird?"  He and I spoke at length about the book and Ms. Lee.

Although it's sad that her dying is the way that will inspire some to read the book--or see the movie--it is still gratifying.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


In yesterday's BLOG article, I mentioned a woman who claimed to be a descendant of Charlemagne.  I told her I was descended from Irish peasants.  

Why is it that people crave to be descendants of royalty?  Why is that a mark of pride?  Considering the history and misdeeds of royals, I think I would probably be embarrassed to be descended from nearly all royalty.   It is a probability that one can be descended from royalty because the royals had access to the best food, living conditions, medical care, and were the best equipped to survive and produce progeny.  

I find that a great number of people of Irish descent are just as vainglorious as other royal wannabees as most Irish who are interested in genealogy, claim that we are all descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland who lived from 941-1014.

                                                                       BRIAN BORU

Although I poke fun, genealogists do concur that probably 95% of all people of Irish descent ARE descended from Brian Boru.  

When I had my DNA tested it showed that I am mostly descended from people from Ireland and the British Isles but that there is 4% NEANDERTHAL in my genetic code.  Now, THAT is fascinating to me.

Below, see my article about a friend who was surprised by what her DNA testing and that further genealogical research revealed about her royal links:

                                                      TODAY WE CALL THAT RAPE

At the Genealogical Society meeting this month, one member told how she had been surprised by her DNA testing (see information from The National Geographic below) which showed she had a great amount of Middle Eastern genetics. She then showed a chart that showed her ancestors in the 1400's and one of them was Murad II and in her presentation she mentioned that each time Murad would conquer a territory, he would "add another wife".  I said, "Today we call that RAPE." She said that she was surprised to find she had Islamic ancestors, because her family (surname Amole) was from Alsace-Lorraine. When the earlier ancestors came from the Ottoman Empire they had the surname "de Turk" which of course meant they were from Turkey.

I said, "You'll probably be on a Watch List and not be able to board an airplane!"

She said her particular female link was to one named "Fatima" which she pronounced "Fa-teem-uh". I said, "Obviously you're not Catholic or you'd know it's Fat-uh-muh". My friend Rosanne punched me in the side and whispered, "You're NOT Catholic!" I said, "But I know about Our Lady Of Fatima." I then said to Rosanne, "I wonder if it's Fatima or Fatimah." Rosanne asked the difference and I said, "Mohammed's daughter's name was spelled with the h on the end and Fatima is the town in Portugal."

It's sometimes comforting to reflect on our ancestors and our little link with history, but we oftentimes forget that some of own ancestors were probably NOT the heroes/heroines we would like to imagine or believe them to be. I always say that I want to find miscreants, scoundrels, scalawags, caitiffs, and rapscallions in my tree, but alas, I've found a bunch of teachers, men of the cloth and farmers!

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Murad II, (born June 1404, Amasya, Ottoman Empire [now in Turkey]—died February 3, 1451, Edirne), Ottoman sultan (1421–44 and 1446–51) who expanded and consolidated Ottoman rule in the Balkans, pursued a policy of restraint in Anatolia, and helped lead the empire to recovery after its near demise at the hands of Timur following the Battle of Ankara (1402).

Early in his reign, Murad had to overcome several claimants to the Ottoman throne who were supported by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus and by many of the Turkmen principalities in Anatolia. By 1425 Murad had eliminated his rivals, had reestablished Ottoman rule over the Turkmen principalities of western Anatolia, and had once again forced Byzantium to pay tribute. He then turned his attention to the Balkans. In 1430, after a five-year struggle, he captured Salonika (modern Thessaloníki), in northern Greece, which had been under Venetian control. At first the Ottoman armies were successful against a Hungarian-Serbian-Karaman alliance; but after 1441, when the alliance expanded to include German, Polish, and Albanian forces, the Ottomans lost Niš and Sofia (1443) and were soundly defeated at Jalowaz (1444). After signing a peace treaty at Edirne (June 12, 1444), Murad abdicated in favour of his 12-year-old son, Mehmed II.

European powers, under the auspices of Pope Eugenius IV, soon broke the truce; and Murad, leading the Ottoman army, inflicted a severe defeat on the Christian forces at the Battle of Varna in November 1444. Under pressure from court notables and faced with external threats, Murad reassumed control of the state in 1446. In 1448 he defeated the Hungarians at the second Battle of Kosovo (October 17).

In Anatolia, Murad pursued a policy of caution because of the westward advance of the Timurid Shah Rokh, who posed as protector of the Turkmen principalities. The Ottomans gained suzerainty over the Turkmen rulers in the Çorum-Amasya region and in western Anatolia, but the principality of Karaman, which through its alliances with the Balkan Christian rulers was a major threat to the Ottomans, was left autonomous.

During Murad’s reign the office of grand vizier (chief minister) came to be dominated by the Çandarlı family. The Janissary corps (elite forces) gained in prominence, and the hereditary Turkish frontier rulers in the Balkans often acted independently of the sultan.

From the National Geographic:

Join a real-time, landmark research project! Learn something about your deep ancestry while contributing to the overall success of the Project.

The Genographic Project is a global research partnership of National Geographic and IBM. With support for field research from the Waitt Family Foundation, Dr. Spencer Wells and a group of the world's leading scientists will attempt to collect and analyze more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous people all over the world. The goal of the Genographic Project is to learn about the migratory paths our ancestors took and how humankind populated the planet. Find more detailed information on the Genographic Project, at or just CLICK HERE.

The general public can actually take an active part in this remarkable effort by purchasing a Genographic Project Public Participation Kit and by submitting an anonymous sample of their DNA using an easy and painless cheek swab. By participating, you will not only contribute to this great endeavor, but you may discover something fascinating about your own genetic past as well. Furthermore, the proceeds from the sales of the Kits will be channeled back into the Project to support additional research and to fund education, cultural conservation, and language revitalization efforts for indigenous and traditional communities around the world.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Last week Les baked Apple Cake, which is one of our family's favorite desserts and is from a 
handwritten recipe from our mother.  It is delicious and I shared the cake with several people, one of whom commented, "You probably don't share your family recipes."  I thought, "Why would I NOT want to share a recipe?", but I was not surprised by the comment because I have known quite a number of people who have stated that they would not share recipes.

So, what is it with people and what I derisively call their "sacred family recipes"?  It's not as if they hold a patent.  Do they think people are actually vying to acquire the recipes?  I always laugh inwardly and think to myself, "Hell, if I actually wanted it, I could probably find it on the internet!"

One very irritating and boastful acquaintance brought her "secret recipe" bread pudding to an after-funeral carry-in dinner.  She began telling an elaborate story about the closely-guarded recipe and how it had been handed down generation-to-generation and had been made famous by her family's former restaurant and how she had been sworn to secrecy and could only share it with her first-born child.   I thought it was neither the time nor the place to be vaunting about her bread pudding, but also believe that a sense of propriety is lost on braggarts.

After her trying to force the bread pudding on me, I finally tasted it and that was followed by her asking several questions such as, "Can you believe how good this is?" and "Isn't this the best you've ever tasted?"  I refrained from saying, "It's just freaking bread pudding and not a dasquoise!" but I instead replied, "I'm sorry, but I like my mother's bread pudding much more."  She was obviously shocked and said, "Everybody has to say their mother's stuff is better."  I laughed and said, "Yes, that's exactly what YOU are saying!"  

Although I had turned and walked away from her, she persisted and said that many people had "begged" for the recipe.  I was weary of her gasconade and said, "I notice that nobody here is asking for it."

At a Christmas gathering last year, one woman was telling that her mother was a "Clay" and her popcorn ball recipe came "directly from Henry Clay".    After a lengthy discourse about the popcorn balls, she stated that she was not allowed to share the recipe.  I restrained myself from laughing but could not help noticing that nobody had even asked for the recipe.  

Later, the woman revealed that she was a descendant of Charlemagne.  I asked, "Do you have any recipes from Charles Martel?"

OK, I admit that was a bit of showing-off by me with the Charles Martel reference, and it was obvious that she did not understand the reference as she asked, "What does that mean?"  I answered, "Oh, Charles Martel was Charlemagne's grandfather;  you know, the Battle of Tours and kicking the Moors out of Europe?"  

Obviously still not grasping that I was making fun, she asked, "Are you a descendant too?"  I answered, "No, I'm descended from Irish peasants!"

Isn't it interesting that people want to believe that they are descended from royalty?  Of course Irish descendants are just as silly as they think we are all descended from King Brian Boru.

Les has warned me about sarcasm being wasted on those who do not "get" it !

See my BLOG article below named "TIMPANO" which tells about a family recipe I did BEG for, only to learn that it was nearly a duplicate of a recipe from the movie Big Night:


Gerald and I were guests at a surprise birthday party for one of my former employees, whom I had not seen since 1988, although we have kept in contact via Christmas cards.

He is of Italian descent and we enjoyed his family's traditional Italian birthday meal. It was--to use an Italian phrase delizioso cibo--a delicious meal. The antipasto was also the salad course and it was bountiful with prosciutto, Genoa salami, Cerignola, Gaeta, Castelvetrano, Taggniisca and Baresane olives, capers, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers and other delicacies I did not recognize but gladly sampled. There was a wheel of Camembert with a walnut on each slice and drizzled with a red syrup as well as Rustica, Asiago, Pecorino, and Caciotta cheeses. The soup course was stracciatella which consisted of chicken broth, spinach and eggs. I asked what the word entree was translated in Italian and his mother told me prima portata.

The main course was TIMPANO, which I had seen prepared in the movie Big Night. (See the movie clips) Timpano is made with pasta, sauce, meatballs, cheeses, and hard-boiled eggs baked in a thin crust in a special timpano pan. The pan is drum-shaped, thus the name for timpano is derived from the kettle drums musical instruments--timpani--as timpano is the singular form of the plural timpani.

His birthday cake was tiramisu. I don't care for the coffee flavoring of tiramisu but savored the gelato which was also served.

I begged, pleaded, and cajoled until I received the timpano recipe from his mother! It was difficult to find a timpano pan, but I finally found one on! The accompanying recipe is from the movie Big Night, as his mother forbade me from sharing HER recipe!

Of course, I MUST copy this meal! It is my next big project!

CLICK HERE to see The New York Times recipe "Big Night Timpano."

Sunday, February 21, 2016


I said to my brother, "It's about time we polished the silver."

He began reeling, acting as if he were falling, and in an exaggerated movement, slumped to a chair.

This is his way of being "knocked over by the hint"!  He mopped his brow and said, "Yes, Victoria, there's a lot of tarnish."  The "Victoria" reference is aimed at my use of the "royal WE"!

Yes, I admit that he is the one who polishes the silver and I do not.

As I dislike "hinting" and have written about it previously, I am embarrassed that I was caught hinting, rather than being straightforward and just asking!

Later he felt his skull and said, "We should conduct a CONCUSSION PROTOCOL."  I did not know that reference.  He replied that in pro football when there is a suspected concussion, a protocol is followed to determine the severity of the injury.

My hint obviously warrants a concussion protocol!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


When I told a friend that I had been talking to some mutual acquaintances about a recent event we had both attended, he commented, "No doubt they were asking about me."

I guffawed and asked, "Why on earth would you think that you were the topic of conversation when there were important people at the party?"

He said, "Well, you know.", with the suggestion being that he would be the ONLY focus of interest.  I answered, "Well, actually, I do NOT know why you would immediately think others would be asking about you, except that you are very narcissistic and think that everything is all about you!"

I gave him this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Today would have been my brother Ken's 78th birthday.  When he was grown, I recall how Ken hated the childish nickname "Kenny".  His wife Betty always called him Ken, and as hard as I tried, sometimes "Kenny" would slip out.  

He was "Kenny Gene" (from Kenneth Eugene) to my Grandmother Shirkey and the aunts and uncle on that side of the family.

Several years before Kenny died, I gave him a photograph of our grandparents and inscribed it "to Kenny Gene";  he was actually touched by that reference. 

I dislike nicknames and all eight of us siblings had nicknames.

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

Bode, that culprit who bestowed all those nicknames on us, never quit calling us by the names he had bestowed.  I asked him once if he were getting even with us for himself being nicknamed. He asked, "Awwwww, don't you like your sobriquet?" Only he would throw in "sobriquet" to make a point.  He liked "Bode" much better than his real name of Velorus Melvin (oh, yes, that is true!).

Norman and Les would cringe as Bode called him by their old nicknames.  I was a bunch of pet names to him but I never minded as they were mostly cute. My subscription to The New Yorker still comes as "Susannah" because Bode gave me a gift subscription in that name; thus, I know if I receive any mail with the name Susannah, then my name was purchased from the magazine. 

Bode had practically an eidetic memory and he would never let me live down adopting a pseudonym after my friend Cammy and I assumed pen names as teenager writer manques; she was "Daphne D. Carman" because of Daphne du Maurier, and I was "Taylor C. Shirkey" for Taylor Caldwell.   Recently, Les said sarcastically, "Just think of all those girls named Taylor nowadays; you were a trendsetter!"

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

The Clan
RR #1
Bloomingburg, Ohio

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

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

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

At a meeting I said, "Hey, Miranda..."; she answered, "Yes, Beatrice..."; then she had to explain to others why we used the Bardian names.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Today, as a friend and I were leaving a restaurant, I noticed a young woman wearing one pink tennis shoe and one turquoise tennis shoe.

I pointed to them and asked, "Is that a new fad?"  She said that she had been doing it since she was "three years old";  well, she is certainly now old enough to know better than to look ridiculous in public!  I told her about a schoolmate who used to wear one scarlet sock and one gray sock when she was wearing her Ohio State University garb.

There is a "National Two-Different Colored Shoes Day" which will be observed on May 3, 2016!  The stated purpose is to "encourage individuality".


Later, I said to my friend,  "There are organizations that supply shoes mainly for amputees, children with cerebral palsy, and people with mismatched feet;  she could donate her extra shoes there."  My friend laughed and I told him that I have another friend who has to buy two pairs of shoes because one foot is bigger than the other.

Here are some organizations to help people find their "sole mates":


Several companies will give discounts to people needing to buy different sized shoes:  Nordstrom's, Birkenstock, Healthy Feet Store, Nike, and Brooks Sports, Inc.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


In yesterday's BLOG article, I mentioned Mrs. Craig, my late teacher of Latin.  There were only four students in the Latin III class and we had to choose which Latin poet to translate.  I thought it highly amusing--and rebellious--to choose OVID! That choice was emphatically vetoed.  Instead, I was stuck with Virgil or Cicero.  I am glad Mrs. Craig refused to allow the study of Ovid and consequently, I have had a lifelong love of Cicero.

MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO is considered by most historians to be Rome's greatest politician.  Cicero was a philosopher, lawyer, politician, political theorist, orator, Consul, and constitutionalist.  As John Adams wrote:  "All ages have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher combined."  Although he was a political manipulator, Cicero was still an idealist and true patriot.  

When Mrs. Craig died, I used a Latin quote on the sympathy card accompanying the flowers I sent.  Her daughter told me how much she appreciated it and she was sure that her mother would have enjoyed my remembering my Latin.

From Cicero:  "Brevis a natura nobis vita data est;  at memoria bene redditae vitae est sempterna." ("The life given to use by nature is short;  but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.")

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


On Saturday I was reminded of the words of Clarence Darrow:

"I have never killed anyone but I have read some obituaries with great satisfaction."

Darrow expressed this sentiment in several different quotes at different times, and I have heard it wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, but this quote is from Darrow's Memoir which was published in 1932.

After I posted the Darrow quote on Facebook, a Facebook friend scolded me by writing "de mortuis nil nisi bonum" which translated from Latin means "of the dead say nothing but good".  I was impressed he knew the Latin.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Today a friend used the word "GRUNTLED";   I had never heard the word used previously.  Of course I should have gleaned that it is the opposite of DISGRUNTLED, but I did not grasp that immediately.  The person had said, "At your house we were gruntled with a great meal and wonderful conversation."  I could sense a nice compliment there but to me "gruntled" sounded the opposite of what it actually means:   GRUNTLED definition:  pleased, satisfied, contented.  transitive verb:  to put in a good humor.

My list of words that do not sound to me what they actually mean includes ENERVATE and PENULTIMATE.  See the list of eleven words from Mental Floss that don't mean what they sound like:

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Valentine's Day is more than greeting cards, flowers and candy, and more than telling your sweetheart that you love each other. It is also love in general toward others and sacrifice. There is much history about Saint Valentine, dating back before the 14th century, but the holiday is generally celebrated world wide.

Prior to Chaucer in the 14th century, no links between the Saint named Valentinus and romantic love existed. Earlier links were focused on sacrifice rather than romantic love.

The "roses are red, violets are blue" saying dates back to Edmund Spenser's epic of 1590:
"She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew."

One of the nursery rhymes by Gammer Gurton's Garland in 1784:
"The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you."

And to my Sweetheart, Gerald:

Saturday, February 13, 2016


A reader of this BLOG commented that I "sure write a lot about Vivian".  I replied that I had actually only "mentioned" her in several articles which is definitely different than "writing about" her.  
Below IS my favorite article I've written about her.  


We were having a "folding party" at our house--a group get-together to fold, address, and stamp flyers--to mail for one of our political events. As I was walking to the door with one participant, my friend Vivian had already gone out the door and I saw her on the street, in an animated conversation with a neighbor of ours who was sitting on his golf cart.

Their conversation was lengthy and I saw Vivian wagging her finger at him on occasion. My other friend and I wondered what the conversation was about, but did not want to intrude. After Vivian left, my curiosity got the better of me (OK, I'm just nosy, but how I love euphemisms!) and I called her later to ask what the "tete-a-tete" was all about.

Vivian laughed and said, "He asked me why we didn't join the Country Club as he had heard we played golf and heard that my son was a good golfer." Knowing her feelings and my feelings about the history of the Club I asked, "WHAT did you say?"

She said, "I told him that they didn't want us in the 60's and that they didn't want us in the 70's and that they didn't want us in the 80's and that they didn't want us in the 90's, so why would I want to be a part of them NOW!"

I asked, "WHAT could he say?" She laughed and said, "He actually told me how cheap the memberships are now!" I asked what she had answered and she said, "I told him that where we played the only color that mattered was GREEN!" I screamed with delight, "Oh, Viv, you know how I love puns: green for money and green for golf!" Sometimes a person does have the perfect rejoinder! PERFECT rejoinder, Viv!

Friday, February 12, 2016


Today is the 207th birthday anniversary of my hero, the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.  Charles Darwin shares the same birth date.  I always say that I would have been a Republican in 1856 when John C. Fremont ran as the first Republican for President and also when Mr. Lincoln ran in 1860.  I believe that, if Lincoln were alive today, he most definitely would NOT be a Republican.  

I notice that Republicans today rarely mention Mr. Lincoln.  I commented to a Republican,  "I expect you all to change the February celebration to the Reagan Dinner rather than the Lincoln Day Dinner since Ronnie's birth date was February 6."   I must refrain from such sarcasm as the recipient replied, "Hey, that's a great idea!"  I refuse to participate in Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Day celebrations as I detest both of those men.  Fortunately, our local celebration is called Presidents Day Dinner, but I do celebrate the birth date of Mister Lincoln.  I plan to watch the excellent portrayal by Daniel Day-Lewis in the movie Lincoln once again.

Born in Kentucky. Lincoln led the country through the American Civil War, preserved the Union, ended slavery, and promoted economic and financial modernization. Lincoln was reared in a poor family, mostly self-educated, but became a lawyer and an Illinois state legislator. He is well known for his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and promoted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery.

His writing is still incredibly moving;  his Gettysburg Address is one of the most quoted speeches in American history.

Six days after the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford Theater. This was the first assassination of a United States President, and he has always been ranked one of the three greatest presidents.

Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861, creating the first U.S. income tax. Currency honoring Lincoln includes the United States five-dollar bill and the Lincoln cent, which represents the first regularly circulating U.S. coin to feature an actual person's image.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Yesterday's article mentioned WLAC--1510 on the dial--a 50,000-watt radio station from Nashville, Tennessee.  I am flooded with memories.  My brother Norman and I listened to the station regularly.

Norman had strung a wire up our television antenna to be able to get reception.

Listening to WLAC in the late 1950s was how Norman formed his lifelong appreciation of Ray Charles. There we were, listening to Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley while other kids were listening to Pat Boone. Whatever it was which struck a chord (can't resist a pun, can I?) with us two kids from rural Ohio, it kept us enjoying that music and fueled our rebellious spirits.  Letting others know that we listened to this music (known as "race music") was something we shared only with closest friends.  In those days, one was considered a "rebel" just by liking Elvis rather than Pat Boone!

Of course, I also loved Elvis, but we all know he was only white because of his birth, as he brought black music to popularity while Pat Boone did pedestrian "covers" of the songs of Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Ivory Joe Hunter. The "50,000 Watt Quartet" of disc jockeys at WLAC were: Gene Nobles, John Richbourg, Bill "Hossman" Allen, and Herman Grizzard (see picture above). They were the "Pied Pipers of Rhythm and Blues". Imagine my shock when I just learned today that John R was WHITE!

Listen below to an interview with John R.

We would hear the advertisements for Randy's Record Mart, in Gallatin, Tennessee, which was, according to the advertisement, "The World's Largest Mail Order Phonograph Record Shop". I was disappointed to learn that the owner of Randy's Record Mart, Randy Wood, was the founder of DOT Records, which was the label of Pat Boone and others who did "covers" of songs by black performers and songwriters. It pissed us off that "they" were singing "our" songs which we had already heard performed by the "true artists". I don't know if DOT was among the unscrupulous record companies which cheated black songwriters of their royalties, which was a prevalent problem.

I was saddened to learn that WLAC now has a talk-radio format.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


At a recent gathering, my friend Vivian and I were regaling the group with memories of our radio-listening habits when we were teenagers.

As we were discussing WLAC, I shrieked with delight, "THUNDERBIRD--say it!"   I was referring to the vintage (sorry, but I cannot resist that pun) Thunderbird Wine jingle:


To this day, asking "What's the word?" to people (mostly men, but obviously also some women as Viv and I remember the ads) of my generation will elicit a response imitative of the low, suggestive voices of the radio disc jockeys from the 1950s, and "satisfaction" is always said with the addition of several A's: "saaatisfaaction".

The history of Thunderbird Wine is interesting. After Prohibition the Gallo Brothers wanted to corner the market of young wine consumers. Ernest Gallo began selling Thunderbird in ghettos around the country and it is reported that he would place empty Thunderbird bottles in gutters as advertisement and also began advertising on the radio with the "What's the word?" jingle. Thunderbird Wine is known as "The American Classic" and as a Bum Wine. The original price was 60 cents ("thirty twice") and the cost today is $4.50.

I read that the yellow, fortified wine is known to turn the lips and mouth black and that the taste is disgusting.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Nominalization is a verb or an adjective that has been transmuted into a noun.  Recent cringe-producing examples:

FAIL (as in "an epic fail"),  SOLVE (rather than "solution"),

I was ready to scream the first time I heard "medal" and "parent" used as a verbs but have recently heard "Let's CONFERENCE (rather than "let's confer"), but when I heard "SIGNATURE IT" (what is wrong with just "sign it"?) I nearly gave up all hope for humanity!

Turning nouns into verbs such as "friending", "trending", "texting", and "blogging" was probably inevitable but I reached my irritability point when I heard "evidencing"!  (I guess there is hope because "friending" was just "highlighted" by my Spel-Chek)

Although "finalize" is acceptable, I can recall my teacher Miss Digman criticizing the use by telling us it wasn't a word until "That Eisenhower kept saying it!"

A friend (a NOUN) forwarded the Facebook message to me:

Monday, February 8, 2016


Today, in the grocery, I could not reach the Real-Lemon which was on the top shelf.  A young couple turned in the aisle and I asked the young man, "Will you help me?"  He immediately handed the bottle to me and I told him and his wife the following story about Vic Cassano:

When I worked at Rockwell, Vic Cassano was a guest speaker at one of our Management Club meetings.  Vic Cassano was known as the "Pizza King".  Cassano told that in his business philosophy there are some magic words and those words are: "Will you help me?" He told how he used the question in all aspects of his business. For instance, if he were in one of the restaurants and he asked one of the cooks that question the answer would be, "Of course, Mr. Cassano." He said that if he asked one of his Managers that the response would be, "Sure, Mr. Cassano, glad to help." He said when he would ask his Board of Directors, they would usually respond, "Maybe, Vic." but he said that sometimes he would have to change it to "ARE you going to help me?" and they would answer, "Of course, Vic."

Since then, I have used Cassano's "magic words" quite often in my life!

Sunday, February 7, 2016


A young friend was poking fun at the way people in Louisiana speak and I asked, "And how often do they make fun of YOUR accent?  He answered, indignantly, "I don't have an accent!"  I laughed and said, "Tell me how you pronounce 
O-R-A-N-G-E!"  When he did, I laughed and said, "Definitely OHIA!"  (I deliberately mispronounced Ohio for effect.)  I continued, "Tell me how you pronounce M-A-R-Y, M-E-R-R-Y, and M-A-R-R-Y."  Each time he replied, I would screak, "OHIA!"

I like regional differences but find it irritating when people from other areas think that our pronunciations are automatically incorrect.  A woman from Massachusetts who is a member of our Lunch Bunch said that we pronounce the word "aunt" like the insect.  I said, "I'm certain that if you look in the dictionary, you will find that A-N-T in a perfectly good pronunciation." She insisted that A-U-H-N-T is the only acceptable pronunciation.  I laughed and said, "The only people I hear say it that way are from the hills."  

I repeated the same exercise of telling her to pronounce O-R-A-N-G-E, etc.,  and then I asked "How do you pronounce G-H-O-T-I?"  When she answered, I said, "No, it's pronounced FISH!"  I told her of the old conundrum usually attributed to George Bernard Shaw, but the first documented usage was by William Oiler:

GHOTI is pronounced "FISH":

The "GH" is pronounced as the "F" sound in "TOUGH"
The "O" is pronounced as the "I" sound in "WOMEN"
The "TI" is pronounced as the "SH" sound in "NATION"


Here is another example:


"GH" as the "P" sound in "HICCOUGH"
"OUGH" as the "O" sound in "THOUGH"
"PT" as the "T" sound in "PTOMAINE"
"EIGH" as the "A" sound in "NEIGH"
"BT" as the "T" sound in "DEBT"
"EAU" as the "O" sound in "BUREAU"


It's not surprising that English is difficult for speakers of other languages to learn.

Just consider these five words ending in "OUGH":

BOUGH rhymes with COW
COUGH rhymes with OFF
ROUGH rhymes with PUFF
THOUGH rhymes with GO
THROUGH rhymes with SHOE

Saturday, February 6, 2016


The pineapple is a symbol of WELCOME.  It is certainly welcome in our diet.   Read the article sent to me by my health-conscious friend Mona Lisa who knows how much I savor fresh pineapple.

                                THE SIMPLE PINEAPPLE 

The pineapple is a member of the bromeliad family. It is extremely rare that bromeliads produce edible fruit. The pineapple is the only available edible bromeliad today.

It is a multiple fruit. One pineapple is actually made up of dozens of individual flowerets which grow together to form the entire fruit. Each scale on a pineapple is evidence of a separate flower.

Pineapples stop ripening the minute they are picked. No special way of storing them will help ripen them further. Color is relatively unimportant in determining ripeness. Choose your pineapple by smell. If it smells fresh, tropical and sweet, it will probably be a good fruit.

The more scales on the pineapple, the sweeter and juicier the taste.

After you cut off the top, you can plant it. It should grow much like a sweet potato does.

This delicious fruit is not only sweet and tropical; it also offers many benefits to our health. Pineapple is a remarkable fruit.

We find it enjoyable because of its lush, sweet, and exotic flavor, but it may also be one of the most healthful foods available today. If we take a more detailed look at it, we will find that pineapple is valuable for easing indigestion, arthritis, and sinusitis.

The juice has an anthelmintic effect; it helps get rid of intestinal worms.

Pineapple is high in manganese, a mineral that is critical to development of strong bones and connective tissue. A cup of fresh pineapple will give you nearly 75% of the recommended daily amount.

It is particularly helpful to older adults, whose bones tend to become brittle with age.

Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme, is the key to pineapple's value. Proteolytic means "breaks down protein", which is why pineapple is known to be a digestive aid. It helps the body digest proteins more efficiently. Bromelain is also considered an effective anti-inflammatory.

Regular ingestion of at least one half cup of fresh pineapple daily is purported to relieve painful joints common to osteoarthritis. It also produces mild pain relief.

In Germany , bromelain is approved as a post-injury medication because it is thought to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Orange juice is a popular liquid for those suffering from a cold because it is high in Vitamin C. Fresh pineapple is not only high in this vitamin, but because of the Bromelain, it has the ability to reduce mucous in the throat. If you have a cold with a productive cough, add pineapple to your diet. It is commonly used in Europe as a post-operative measure to cut mucous after certain sinus and throat operations.

Those individuals who eat fresh pineapple daily report fewer sinus problems related to allergies. In and of itself, pineapple has a very low risk for allergies.

Pineapple is also known to discourage blood clot development. This makes it a valuable dietary addition for frequent fliers and others who may be at risk for blood clots.

An old folk remedy for morning sickness is fresh pineapple juice. Fresh juice and some nuts first thing in the morning often make a difference.

It's also good for a healthier mouth. The fresh juice discourages plaque growth.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Today is the anniversary of my mother's birth.  If she had lived, she would have been 103 today.  In her heart, she was always young.  

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

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

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

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

Flash forward--when I was in my twenties--my brother Les and Mother came to pick me up from work, and a gal named Beverly King asked the next day, "Was that your sister in the car?"  I said, "No, that's my mother."  She asked, "She's pretty, what happened to you?"

I saw Beverly King Duncan recently and I reminded her of that exchange.  Bev redeemed herself by saying that my mother would have been proud of me.  I hope so.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


A reader of my BLOG left a comment that I had used the word "propriety" incorrectly in my article titled WHY IS IT YOU WANT TO KNOW?  The sentence in question:  "I was more offended by her lack of propriety in asking in such a public place."

I asked, "What word do you think would have been correct usage?"  He answered, "Proprietary."

I replied, "Perhaps you are confusing PROPRIETARY with PROPRIETY."  I learned that he wasn't aware that there was the word "propriety".

PROPRIETY:  "the state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals."

PROPRIETARY:  "of or relating to an owner or ownership."

No, Dear Reader, the woman showed NO propriety when asking embarrassing questions!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


It is College Championship Week on Jeopardy!  Last night, Carissa, the contestant from West Point, kept saying "HUNNERT" as she chose the 2 HUNDRED, 4 HUNDRED, etc., categories.

I smirked and said, "You can take the girl outta West Layfayette, but........",   (Sorry, Patty, for that snide remark)

Les answered, "Yeah, they probably say HUNDRED in East Layfayette!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Yes, I am embarrassed to admit, but I tried to ANSWER the remote control, thinking it was the phone.  

WHY do I need THREE controls for my television set:  one for TV, one for movies, and one for VCR tapes?  WHY am I charger-challenged?

A friend sent this list to me:  Blessed Are We Who Can Laugh At Ourselves.   I admit that they all apply to me:

1. You accidentally enter your PIN in the microwave.

2. You have 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

3. You e-mail your spouse who has a computer upstairs.

4. Your reason for not staying in touch with family and friends is that they don't have e-mail or Facebook addresses.

5. You pull up in your driveway and use your cell phone to call someone inside to help with the groceries.

6. When you leave the house without your cell phone, (which you never had for the first 20/30/40 years of your life), it is now cause for panic, and you turn back around to go get it.

7. You get up in the morning and go on-line before you've had your breakfast.

8. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

10. You're reading this, nodding and laughing.

11. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you're going to forward the message.

12. You are too busy to notice that there's no Number 9 above.

13. You actually scrolled up to see if there is a Number 9.

14. Now you're laughing at yourself. Blessed are they that laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to amuse!

Monday, February 1, 2016


Today, on Sunday Morning on CBS, an opinion piece was given by Faith Salie called On A First Name Basis;  it concerned the appropriateness of young people addressing older people by their first names.  I disagree with her conclusions.  See here:

Last year, during Thanksgiving dinner at our house, a young person who was a guest, immediately began calling several older adults by their first names;  several of these people are actually older than his own grandparents.  I find such behavior to be unseemly and dreadfully poor manners.

Afterwards I told him that it was totally inappropriate for him to begin calling these strangers by their first names rather than by Mister and Mrs.  He told me that I was very old-fashioned and that he called EVERYONE by their first names.  I asked, "Did you call your teachers by their first names? Do you call your doctor by her first name?"  He answered, "No, but they are professional."  I answered, "The people you were addressing are also professional and deserve your respect NOT because of that but because they are old enough to be your damned grandparents!"  I told him that one of my husband's teachers had been a frequent guest at our home but I would NEVER call him by his first name although he is less than 10 years older than us, he still is accorded the respect of being MISTER!

I asked him why he also kept saying their names repeatedly.  He said that was an old trick to be able to remember the names of people he'd just met.  I replied, "Oh, yes, I also know that trick, but you should have been saying Mister or Mrs."

I told him I felt sorry for him that he had been reared without learning to be respectful. He said that ALL young people are this way.  I said that was a gross generalization and that I would be willing to bet money that I had family members as young as he who would NEVER speak that way to older people.

He said, "They never said anything."  I answered, "Of course they wouldn't because the first rule of good manners is never to embarrass others."

I said, "Here's some advice:  HOW to know whether to call older people by their first names is when you say Mister of Mrs. and THEN those people tell you to call them by their first names;  that's when you have permission."

I found from consulting the internet that it is a common problem with young people.