Saturday, July 22, 2017


I love Fair Food!

Yes, give me the roasted corn, Bloomin' Onions, funnel cakes, elephant ears, Polish Sausage sandwiches, fare at St. Colman's, Pork Producers, and Cattlemen's Association, but this year I have fallen in love with POTATO ON A STICK! I ate something similar last year, with the potato deep fried like French fries, curled and served on a plate, but this year the potatoes are served on a skewer. The concessionaire drills a hole through the potato and puts it on a stick and fries it.

The girls in the picture, Elizabeth and Brittany, were walking through the building where our booth is located, showing the potato on a stick, trying to create business, and I asked them to bring one back to me, which they promptly did.

Elizabeth returned and said that she had been reported by another vendor for soliciting business which is against the rules of the Fair. What an assault on their entrepreneurial spirit!

The girls are from North Carolina, moved to Zanesville, where Elizabeth's mother and step-father started the concession business, working at county fairs.

Good luck to them!

Friday, July 21, 2017


After reading about malaphors, I was reminded of several examples of what I termed spoonerisms, but I could have assigned the term "malaphor" to some of them.

See my Sue's News article written in 2011 titled SPOONERISMS:

SPOONERISM:  an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels or morphemes are switched (see metathesis).  The condition was named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner, a British cleric, scholar and professor. Though these examples might be apocryphal, he was attributed to have uttered:  "a blushing crow" (for "a crushing blow"), "you've tasted two worms" (for "you've wasted two terms"); and when giving a toast to "our queer old dean" (for "our dear old Queen").

When Steve Forbes was running for President, he said, "The stack is decked."  when he meant to say "The deck is stacked."

My friend Patty's husband Chuck has some classic ones:

"Wibel and Orbel White" for Wilbur and Orville Wright
"Fee fries" for French fries
"Sank Franatra" for Frank Sinatra

My sister-in-law Kay was also known for her Spoonerisms. My brother Bode was always cute with his answers and had a large collection of retorts if the answer to a question was an obvious "Yes". He would invariably answer, "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Was Attila The Hun naughty?" or "Does the bear shit in the woods?"

One day Kay, thinking she could also be cute, answered, "Does the Pope poop on the pulpit?"

Another time Bode asked Kay to call the hardware store to see if they had the size of "steel drill bits" he needed. Kay asked them if they had "Strill dill bites"!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


From Grammarphobia, one of my favorite sites:

A malaphor is a merging of two aphorisms, idioms, or cliches;  a blend of the words malapropism and metaphor.  The word "malaphor" was coined by Lawrence Harrison in his 1976 Washington Post article Searching For Metaphors.  one example:  "That's just the way the cookie bounces." 

Look at some of these funny, silly, and absurd examples of malaphors which is also known as  "idiom blend":

"We'll burn that bridge when we get to it."

"You hit the nail right on the nose.", a blend of "You hit the nail right on the head" and "That's right on the nose."

"She really stuck her neck out on a limb."  ("stuck neck out/went out on a limb)

"I can't make these split minute decisions."  (split-second/last-minute)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


For my birthday I usually have one of two cakes: either my mother's recipe for Coconut Cake or a Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake; four years ago, I served both;   last year was the coconut cake; this year the Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake is planned.  My brother Les made the piece de resistance in the photograph below:

Christy Cooper, a woman who worked for me, first made the Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake in 1997 for my birthday and people were literally licking the cake plate.

Christy had a thriving business making cakes; however, I was surprised to learn she used cake mixes.



Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1 10-inch cake pan, greased and floured

1 Duncan Hines white cake mix
1/4 cup flour
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup Crisco oil
1 1/3 cups water
Mix together, using package directions. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes until done (springs back to touch, toothpick inserted comes out clean; cake comes away clean from pan)


1 quart + 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 tablespoons piping gel (Christy used clear; Les uses red to make it pink)
2 teaspoons clear vanilla

Beat whipping cream and sugar together until it forms a soft peak. Add piping gel and vanilla. Beat until a soft peak.
Divide into two portions.

To one portion add 4 cups of fresh, sliced, strawberries.

Slice cake in the center and place on cake plate. Spread strawberry cream mixture on the cake.

Place other layer on top. Spread remainder of whipped cream icing on the top and sides of cake.

Refrigerate before and after serving.

TIP from my mother: Put mixing bowl, beaters and spatula in freezer an hour prior to making the whipped cream, especially in hot and humid times; it helps to keep the whipped cream firm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I seldom check the names of the "mutual friends" on the postings of other "Facebook friends".  

Today, I answered my doorbell and standing there was a friend whom I hadn't seen in more than a year.  She handed a gift bag to me and said, "Happy early birthday."  I said, "How did you know?"  She said, "You're my Facebook friend."

There was a book inside the bag--Wonder Girl:  The Magnificent and Sporting Life of Babe Dedrickson Zaharias.  Stunned, I asked, "How on earth did you know I would like this?"  She replied, "Well, DUH! You wrote about it!"  I said, "But I didn't write about it on Facebook or my blog."  She answered,  "You commented on our mutual friend's page that Babe would have been treated the same way as Serena if the internet had been around when she was a star!"  

I said, "WOW! This is wonderful!  You shouldn't have done this."

She answered, "I got it at The Dollar Tree for a buck and besides, you've always been generous to me and I remember you wrote about how your friend and you like to brag about how cheap you've gotten something!"

You never know who is reading!

Monday, July 17, 2017


In yesterday's blog article I  referenced my recalling the clock number of a worker.  Read this Sue's News article from 2013:

A good memory is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse.

Awhile back, Gerald and I were shopping and I saw one of my former workers and the worker yelled, "Suzy Jo!" I responded, "Ronnie Jo!" Of course my name is not "Jo" and neither is Ronnie's.  It was from an old "inside" joke from work because we had had a woman named "Jo" come into the department and Ronnie had to train her to take his place.  She was given three days to learn the job but she could not grasp the sequence of elements of the job. The second day, Jo brought a piece of chalk and tried to mark the panel to show the sequence but the chalk rubbed off; next, she returned from break with a piece of cardboard and took string and attached it to the control panel and had written down the sequence but each time she would forget to weld or forget to push the buttons in the correct sequence.  Ronnie would have to run and catch up her errors.

On the third day Ronnie told Jo just to stand there and let me disqualify her. She said, "No, I can learn this job." I thought, "Oh, Hell, I don't want another fight about a disqualification!" Ronnie put in a call for the Steward and said, "My three days of Hell must end!" After talking to Ronnie, the Steward came to me and I told him he needed to talk to Jo to accept the disqualification. The Steward replied, "You know I have to represent her too; it'll just look like he wants to stay in the Department and you're favoring him." I took out my documentation to show him that she had made absolutely no progress in learning the job and it was my judgment and not Ronnie's. With fifteen minutes left on the shift, I called the Steward back and disqualified Jo, and fortunately, she did not fight it.

After that, if anyone in the crew made a mistake, he was immediately branded "JO"! There was David Jo, Roger Jo, etc.

That day at the Mall, Ronnie started to introduce me to his wife and I said, "It's Judy, isn't it?" Ronnie let out a joyful yelp and said, "Tell her my clock number!" I said, "14399."  I continued, "Your wedding anniversary is June 19." Judy asked, "Oh, my God! How do you know that?" I said, "Well, that's OUR wedding anniversary too!" Ronnie said, "I told Judy you never forget anything!" I said, "I can't remember logarithms but I can remember clock numbers." It also helped that Ronnie was one of my all-time favorite workers and I would be more inclined to recall things about him.

Gerald was standing by, very amused, and he told them the reason he married me was because I could keep all of his nieces and nephews names straight!

Later, telling this story at home, Les remarked, "You're lucky he was STILL married to the same woman!"

Sunday, July 16, 2017


At a local gathering, an esteemed local doctor, who is retired, was "holding court", and he was being greeted by numerous people.  One woman asked, excitedly, "Don't you remember me?   You delivered my baby!"  The elderly doctor was gracious and responded that he did remember.  

I was standing beside her and I couldn't help myself;  I laughed, and the woman said, "What's funny?"  I answered, "I'm going to ask him how many babies he delivered.  I'm sure he remembers all of them."  She obviously detected my sarcasm and said, "Well, I was pretty special."  

Later in the day, I was at another event and a man came up to me and said, "Hey, Sue, how's it going?"  I said, "Great;  how are YOU doing?"  He asked, "Don't you remember me?"  In the past, I would probably have pretended to remember the person, or struggled to recall him while  continuing conversing, but NOT today!  Instead, resorting to my old friend--humor--I answered, "Give me a hint;  I'm a lot older than you!"  He laughed and said a number, "12911."  I screamed with delight and said, "Donnie!" and he and I hugged.  He said, "I knew you'd remember my clock number!"

Listen to Ella sing I've Got Your Number:

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Gerald received several restaurant gift cards as birthday presents.  As I was making the menu for dinners this week, I mentioned that I was free one evening.   I asked, "Do you want to go to Streetside 62, Red Lobster, or El Canon?"

Les asked, "Are HIS gift cards burning holes in your PALATE?"

I do love a good pun!

Friday, July 14, 2017


On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States of America.

On June 14, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a nineteen-year-old teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk and then assigned the class to write essays about the flag and its significance.

Thus began Cigrand's long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about the national observance of Flag Day.  The crowning achievement of Cigrand's life came at the age of fifty when President Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a national observance of Flag Day.

In 1948, President Truman signed into law an act of Congress designating the 14th day of June-every year--as National Flag Day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


When planning vacations, here's our deal: if I want to visit an art museum, then we must also schedule a car museum visit.   Several years ago, I wanted to go to the Toledo Art Museum because I had learned there was a Corot I had not seen.  Gerald wanted to go to the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana.  Fortunately, Toledo and Auburn are close.

In Toledo, after touring the museum, we had delightful dining at Tony Packo's Cafe.

In Indiana, we had an enjoyable tour at the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum;  I learned that the "It's a doozy" saying stems from the reaction to the beautiful Duesenberg car in the 1930s!

When we went to the Toledo museum, Gerald was thrilled to see a work by Frank Stella titled Lac Laronge 4.   He bought a print of the painting which cost $24.99.  The print measured 38.5 inches X 26.5 inches. He was outraged by the cost of the frames listed at the museum and "harrumphed" that he could get one cheaper "around home" but when he shopped for frames around home, he couldn't find a "ready-made" frame in the size needed. The largest ready-made frames were 36".  He went to Michael's and other places to get estimates for having a frame made. The cheapest estimate was $199.00.  I had had frames custom-made for my Corot prints and they were made of cherry wood. Gerald asked, "How MUCH did those cost?" I told him I couldn't remember because I'd had them made in the 1970s.

Thus, his Stella print stood, rolled up, in a corner of the bedroom for several years.  One day, at his niece Gina's home for a picnic, I admired the frame on a huge picture in her living room. She asked, "Would you like to have that picture?" I protested that I couldn't take the picture. She continued, "Jason brought it home from work and since we didn't have anything to hang over the couch, I put it there, but I hate it."  Knowing that she liked Monet, I countered with, "What if I find you a Monet print to go there?" She said that I didn't need to do that.

I called Gerald in from outside and said, "Gina says we can have this god-awful painting." He looked bewildered and I said, "The frame--the frame!" (I admit I said it with a lame Herve Villechaize imitation)

For less than $100.00 I was able to purchase TWO Monet prints already in decent frames to put on Gina's wall and Gerald got the frame from Gina for his Stella print.  The Stella print now graces our family room wall.  I HATE the print, but Gerald LOVES it, so that is all that matters, since every other art work in the house is my choice. We have nicknamed the print "It's A Doozy"!

The original of the painting, from Stella's Saskatchewan Series, sold at Sotheby's for $800,000 in 2007.

* * * * * * * * * *

My ONLY Herve Villechaize joke: Herve Villechaize wanted to do something philanthropic and he came up with an idea to make resort hotels to cater to other little people. Everything in the hotels would be scaled-to-size for little people and the best thing would be that the the little people could vacation there free-of-charge.

They were called STAY-FREE MINI PADS!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


In the 1970s I volunteered for the Suicide Prevention Hotline. I received eight weeks of training and after completing the training,  I was interviewed by the psychiatrist Dr. Marx before being allowed to deal with actual people. When I met Dr. Marx, after our introductions, I asked if he were related to Zeppo or Karl. He laughed and said, "That was good; people usually ask if I'm related to Groucho." I laughed and said, "Too common!" Dr. Marx said, "I hear that you are uncommon!" I told him I liked to think so.

Dr. Marx asked me a great number of questions, with standard ones such as why I would like to be a volunteer [I learned later that the Hotline sometimes attracted troubled people to be volunteers). Dr. Marx was sitting on the edge of his chair, looking in my eyes very intently and then he asked, "What's the worst thing anybody could ever say about you?" I didn't hesitate a moment and said, "If someone said I were lazy!" Dr. Marx almost fell off the edge of his chair, but put his hand flat on the floor to prevent his fall. He was laughing. I asked why it was amusing and he said, "I've been a psychiatrist for 20 years and I've asked that question of hundreds of women, but I never heard that answer before!" I asked what women usually said and he answered that they would be upset if someone said they were a slut or other terms such as that. I said, "Oh, that's sex--that's so unimportant!"

A volunteer was supposed to work only one year because of burn-out. When my assignment was nearly over, Dr. Marx called me to his office and told me what a wonderful job I'd done and he asked if I could stay another term. I asked, "Couldn't you get anybody else?" He said, "You see,  I should have just told you the truth instead of trying blandishments." I said, "You had me at blandishments!"

The most interesting case I had: I was working second shift; my session at the Hotline was after work between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM;   most suicides happen after 12:00 midnight. One night I answered the phone and after a few minutes of discussion I realized that I actually KNEW the person I was talking to and that he worked in my department. There was nobody else available to serve him; I had to deal with the awkward situation. Fortunately, I did not have him work for me directly, so I was able to manage the situation.  I alerted my leader about the situation.  The following night he called again and asked to talk to the "nice lady" but he was told I wasn't there. Of course at work I couldn't betray his confidence but I sure watched out for his behavior.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The Irish call the obituary section of the newspaper "The Irish Sports Page".  

I am looking forward to reading Carl Reiner's new book Too Busy To Die. I enjoyed Reiner's HBO special If You're Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast where he conducted conversations with Mel Brooks and Norman Lear about aging, and interviewed fellow nonagenarians Dick Van Dyke, Stan Lee, Betty White, Tony Bennett, and other not-so-famous people such as Henriette Thompson, who at 93, is the oldest woman to have run and completed a marathon;  Ida Kelly (101), who works out daily; Tao Porchon-Lynch (98), a yoga teacher who marched with Gandhi in the 1940s;  and Jim Martin (95), a D-Day veteran, who still parachutes.  He also interviewed two 101-year-olds: Kirk Douglas and Patricia Morison. 

I have been a fan of Reiner since his appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show.  I treasure his recordings of The 2,000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks.  To this day, my brother Les and I still do shtick from those recordings from the 1960s and 1970s.  We wore out the vinyl records and replaced them with CDs.  I have numerous tapes of their television appearances portraying the character.

Below is one of our favorites:


Monday, July 10, 2017


In yesterday's posting, I wrote about a woman who is a bigot.  She and I are members of a club which meets monthly. 

Just once, I wish that a bigot would admit to being a bigot!

During a meeting in 2015, we were discussing the Obergfell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision, and the bigot said, "I believe in Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."  I wondered to myself, "Does she think that is original or clever?" but instead I said, "The last person who said that was a bigot too!"  She exclaimed, "I'm NOT a bigot."  Another club member said, "But, of course you are!"  She said, "It's against the Bible."  I said, "So, you follow ALL the stuff in Leviticus?" She said, "I try to!"  I pointed to her outfit and said, "Then you should be stoned to death for wearing those mixed fabrics!"  She looked stunned.  I said, "Perhaps you should re-read Leviticus!"

At a meeting earlier this year we were discussing movies and I said that I had just watched Loving.  She said she didn't know about it.  When I told about the landmark Supreme Court decision which outlawed miscegenation she said that she didn't know that word.  When I told her the meaning, she said, "I'm not prejudiced, but I don't believe in people marrying outside their own race."  I answered, "But, of course, you ARE prejudiced."

She seemed shocked that I had said that.  She said that it was against the Bible.  I asked, "So, you believe in the Bible?"  She answered, "Of course I do!"  I asked, "Do you believe the story of Noah?"  She answered, "Of course."  I said, "But the story of Noah teaches that we are ALL from ONE family."   She said that the story meant that WE are descended from Noah.  I asked, "WE? Then everybody would be a Jew."  "No, they'd be Christians."  I asked, "How could they be Christians when Jesus hadn't been born in Noah's time?"  She answered, "Jesus comes from that line."  I said, "Well, interestingly, He comes from Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's." She screamed at me, "What does THAT mean?"  I answered, "IF you believe, then you must believe that Noah sent one of his kids to the East and that's where Asians come from and he sent another to the South and that's where blacks come from and you know they all had to find MATES!"   

Les quipped, "You know when somebody starts by saying, 'I'm not prejudiced, BUT......', she's guilty as Hell."

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Today, at a community gathering, a woman of my acquaintance sat down at the table where I was sitting with a friend of mine.  I know that the woman is a bigot because I have heard her say some egregious statements.  

I saw another woman with whom I had worked in the 1970s and I said to my friend, "Oh, I must see her."  The bigot said, "We used to go to school together.",  and she got up and followed me.  The former co-worker and I embraced and I told her that I had stopped by her house recently to ask her to sign a petition.  She said, "Oh, it was YOU;  my husband couldn't remember your name but he said you told him we'd worked together." We chatted awhile, reminiscing. 

The bigot asked, "Do you remember me?  We went to school together."  My co-worker said that she did.  The bigot began fawning over her and knowing full well how she truly felt about people of my co-worker's ethnic background, I was disgusted.  

I returned to the table to join my friend, and the bigot followed.  The bigot said, "She don't look any different."  I replied, "Do you mean she DOESN'T look any different?"  She said, "That's what I said."  I said, "No, you said, 'she don't'."  

Later, my friend chastised me for the not-even-subtle correction of the bigot's grammar.   I told my friend that the woman was a reprehensible bigot and I said, "I was irritated with her phony fawning and complimenting, acting as if they were BFFs in school."  

My friend screaked with laughter and said, "OMG, Sue Raypole just said BFFs;  I can't wait to report that to your cliche society!" 

I groaned and said, "Yeah, I was petty, picking on her grammar, rather than for what really pissed me off!"

Saturday, July 8, 2017


My mother's maiden name was Cox.  My Grandmother Cox would proudly say that her FIRST vote was for James M. Cox.  It was a family joke that James M. Cox was her "Uncle Jim", although we all knew there was really NO family connection.

James Middleton Cox was a teacher who became a successful businessman and founded Cox Enterprises which included newspapers and radio stations, along with other publications, including The Kelly Blue Book, and in later years, television stations.  After a successful business career Cox was elected to two terms as a U.S. Representative, served three terms as Ohio's Governor, and in 1920 ran as the Democratic nominee for President, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his running mate; unfortunately, he was defeated by fellow Ohioan Warren Harding.   

As Governor, Cox was a crusading progressive reformer, as he supported women's suffrage, restricted child labor, implemented education and prison reform, minimum wage, no-fault workers compensation, direct primaries, initiatives, and referendums, home rule, improved the state court system, Civil Service, highway systems, and opposed the attempted Constitutional amendment to install "right to work".

Interesting historical trivia:  of the four candidates for President and Vice President in 1920, THREE did become President (Harding, Coolidge, and Roosevelt).  Most historians concur the "the better man lost" in the election of 1920 as Cox was demonstrably more qualified in experience, intellect, and morality, than Harding.

My mother's first vote was for FDR.  She adored FDR and my father detested him.  My father and his family were die-hard Republicans.   My mother would tell the story of how Grandmother Shirkey told her that she would "watch the children" if Mother would go to vote for "our Mr. Bricker".  John Bricker was a native of Mount Sterling, where my grandparents had lived, and they knew Bricker personally.  Mother said that she told her mother-in-law that she would be going to vote, BUT , "For MY Mr. DiSalle."  Granny responded, "But he's one of those Italians, isn't he?" (she pronounced it as "Eye-talian", much to my mother's amusement, as my grandmother would brag to my mother that she had been a teacher before she married and reminded my mother that she had not completed high school). 

Despite my mother's vote, Mr. Bricker won that election against Mr. DiSalle, but in 1958, my all-time hero Stephen Young, won the election against the Bricker.  Granny died in 1957.  I told Mother, "Granny would turn over in her grave to know HER Mr. Bricker was finally defeated!"  Bricker  had supposedly been "unbeatable", according to the "experts" at the time. 

Actually, John W. Bricker was a very interesting and influential political figure who had been elected the Attorney General, Governor, and Senator of Ohio, and in 1944, he was chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate with Thomas Dewey, but Mother would never forgive Bricker for saying that FDR was a "front for the Communist Party".

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Recently, Martha Raddatz, in reporting about the "Trump/CNN Brawl", used the word "GIF" to describe the phony addition of the CNN logo in the staged wrestling "brawl".

I asked Les if he'd heard the word used before and he answered, "I think it's an acronym but I don't know what it stands for, but I've heard it pronounced with both 'g' and 'j' sounds."

In researching, I learned that GIF stands for GRAPHIC INTERCHANGE FORMAT. Merriam-Webster definition:  "noun; a computer file format for the compression and storage of visual digital information;  also, an image or video stored in this format.  First known usage: 1987."

See the definition from the

GIFs are image files that are compressed to reduce transfer times.  The creators of the format, Bob Berry and Steve Wilhite, claim that the soft 'g' sound is correct.  One said, "Choosy programmers choose GIF, a play on the peanut butter commercials where 'Choosy moms choose JIF' is used."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


I wish I could locate a copy of my all-time favorite cartoon, which I recall seeing in the 1970s.

In the picture, a sow, lying with a farrow of suckling piglets, has a look of disgust on her face as the caption shows her uttering, "P.T. BARNUM WAS RIGHT!"

Today is the birthday anniversary of P.T. Barnum, who was born in 1810.  Phineas Taylor Barnum was not only the co-founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, which is shutting down this year, but was also a brilliant businessman, creative showman, and also a politician, but he is most remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes. 

Along with his most famous quote, he also said:

 "Every cloud has a silver lining."
 "The noblest art is that of making others happy."
"Without promotion, something terrible happens...nothing!"
 "Money is, in some respects, life's fire;  it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


In a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote how we should celebrate Independence Day: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm, which I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the Gloom, I see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I see that the End is more than worth the Means and that Posterity will triumph in that Day's Transaction, even altho we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."

Monday, July 3, 2017


One of my friends, a teacher, sends The Teacher's Corner to me because it shows interesting daily events.  She asked, "Why do you think that July 3 would be the first day of the Dog Days of Summer when it's usually hotter in August?

In researching, I learned that the phrase has nothing to do with dogs lolling about in sweltering heat. To the Romans, the "dog days" occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise above the sun, and coincidentally, that usually happened in early July.   

Translated from Latin--dies caniculares--means "puppy days", thus the term "dog days".  

The illustration from The National Geographic showed that the Greeks believed that the constellation Canis Major depicts a dog chasing a hare.  The star Sirius represents the dog's nose and Lepus represents the hare.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. 
The resolution stated:  "These United Colonies are & of right ought to be Free & Independent States."

After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into the law of the land.  The photograph below depicts President Johnson handing a pen from the ceremony to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


One of our "green-minded" young acquaintances shamed us into buying some CFL bulbs. Being skeptics, Les marked each one as Gerald replaced them, and one bulb, in a family room lamp, which burns continuously, has lasted more than a year. That was encouraging and I bought more. Recently, the young visitor was dismayed that we had not changed all the bulbs. As we were looking at one of the chandeliers, I said, "It's a matter of PRESENTATION VERSUS PRINCIPLE!" Gerald then did his imitation of my crying crocodile tears while proclaiming, "I don't want ugly bulbs in the chandeliers!"

The young whippersnapper sighed and said, "I guess it's hard for old people to change!" I asked, "Change? That's the problem; we have changed TOO much and people of your generation just want to throw away and get more instead of reusing and recycling."

I then launched into a lecture: "Let me tell you about conservation and recycling!" I told him that when I was his age we had no choice--we had to reuse and recycle--we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the stores for redemption. We had to walk up steps because we had no escalators or elevators in our schools and stores. We had to ride a school bus because our parents didn't buy us cars or have mothers as a taxi service. We didn't have $300 tennis shoes. We had TV, but not one in every room and we had to share the one telephone; nobody had their own "personal" phone. When we mailed a package, we used crumpled newspapers for cushioning, not Styrofoam or bubble wrap. The boys had to use a push mower run by human power. We had no allowances but had to work menial jobs to have any spending money. We got plenty of exercise and didn't need to join a health club or waste electricity using a treadmill at home. We drank from a water fountain and did not have plastic bottles with custom water! They used matches to light cigarettes instead of "disposable" ones; they refilled their pens and replaced razor blades instead of throwing away the whole thing.

We received a "free" Christmas tree with a load of coal. Mother had only cloth diapers; she didn't fill landfills with the indestructible kind. She made clothes using a treadle Singer sewing machine and we wore hand-me-downs, and in my case, "hand-me-ups"; we wore darned socks and patched clothes. Meals were made "from scratch" and not from "processed" convenience foods. She would cook any wild game the boys caught except for opossum or raccoon.

Mother used newspaper and kindling to start fires in the coal heat stove. For entertainment, we played card and board games; we even read "for fun" and not because we had to for school. We had no vacations. We had no bathroom yet we were always clean. My brothers had to carry water for my mother to be able to wash clothes on Mondays. The clothes were hung outside to dry in good weather and inside during bad weather. On wash day, we always had a pot of beans and either corn bread or skillet bread to go with it. I can still remember the smell of the clothes drying inside the house, mixed with the smell of coal burning, beans cooking, and cornbread baking. My mother would pick "greens" in the spring, tend the garden in the summer and forage for raspberries, blackberries, elderberries and make pies, cakes, cobblers and jellies. My grandfather would bring tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, green beans and peppers which all needed to be "worked up". We would have hundreds of jars "put up" although most were stored under beds because of lack of space. 

I can wax poetic about wilted lettuce and Kentucky Wonders but I realize how hard my mother worked to provide us with "special" things. As soon as I was able, I made sure Mother had modern conveniences such as washer and dryer, sewing machine, and freezer.

I wish I didn't value my modern conveniences so much.  There is no nobility in drudgery and I am happy I do not have to experience the drudgery my mother did.