Thursday, August 24, 2017


A Facebook friend posted about visiting Nutbush, Tennessee, Tina Turner's birthplace.  I was reminded of an article from Sue's News, from 2011:  

                            NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS 

About an hour outside Memphis, Gerald and I stopped at a rest area. As I came out of the restroom, I noticed a large picture of Tina Turner adorning the wall. The picture proudly proclaimed that we were outside of Tina Turner's birthplace, Nutbush, TN.

Gerald and I have always loved Tina and when he came out of the restroom, the lobby was very crowded. Gerald was standing under Tina's poster, admiring.  He said, in a conversational tone, "I heard she left a good job in the city."

I responded, just as matter-of-factly, "I heard she was workin' for The Man every night and day." 

He continued: "And I heard she didn't lose one minute of sleepin'."

I continued: "And I heard she didn't worry about the way things might have been."

Gerald is usually not prone to this kind of exhibitionism, although I will erupt into song nearly any place or any time, but we both started singing in unison:

"Big wheel keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river."

Others in the lobby joined in singing and began clapping! Two women began dancing, hilariously trying to emulate Tina's moves.

We continued:

"Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis,
Pumped a lot of 'tane down in New Orleans,
But I never saw the good side of the city,
'Til I hitched a ride on the riverboat queen."

We "oooh, oohed, oohed" on our way back to the car and then Gerald said, "Well, you know, it would have been more appropriate to have been singing Nutbush City Limits!"  I answered, "But I don't know those lyrics!"








Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I hate to drive.  

With tongue-in-cheek, my brotherLes has actually accused  me of choosing friends depending on their willingness to be "the driver" for excursions.  Of course that is NOT true--I am not THAT manipulative--but I am certainly glad that I have a good number of friends who do not mind driving.

Recently, I encountered a new experience in driving: a ROUNDABOUT.   I thought those were   only in England. There I was in Urbana, Ohio, and thankfully, I was using the GPS.  The voice from the GPS rang out, "At the third exit on the roundabout, turn left onto I 36."  

Screaking to myself, "What the Hell does that mean?" Being geographically challenged, I turned the wrong may, which was followed by THAT voice, instructing, "As soon as possible, make a U-turn."  

After a couple of tries, with other drivers honking, and with my throwing up my hands in dismay, other car drivers forgave me and allowed me to continue and I was able to safely reach my destination.  While there I asked, "Can I get out of here without using that damned roundabout?"   Another shower attendee said, "Follow me."  WHEW!  Finally, success!

ROUNDABOUT:  "a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic flows almost continuously in one direction around a central stand."  Roundabouts are also called "islands" and "rotaries";  they supposedly reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions by reducing traffic speeds and minimizing T-bone and head-on collisions, allowing U-turns, causing less idling, less pollution, lower emissions, and less noise.  They are popular in the UK and France.

We were in Boston recently, and roundabouts, called "rotaries", are prevalent there.  I was thankful I was not driving!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


COORDINATION TONGUE:  the act of unconsciously sticking out one's tongue while engaging in an activity which requires mental skill, physical coordination, and/or dexterity.

I have noticed that all women of my acquaintance have their tongues sticking out while applying mascara.

"Coordination tongue" is quite noticeable with children while they are concentrating on different tasks, especially involving writing and sports activities.

Probably the most famous person using the technique is Michael Jordan as was evident especially while he was shooting free throws.

Monday, August 21, 2017



My "moment of truth"about admitting that I was indeed a "Senior Citizen" happened at the Rock and Roll Hall Of  Fame ten years ago.  When I saw the difference in cost of the admission price, I immediately took out my driver's license to show my age.  Ever since, I have used the discounts, even asking at places where the discount isn't posted if AAA, AARP, or Golden Buckeye is honored.  Gerald happily uses his veteran's discount at Home Depot and other places.

Last week, at the JFK Library and Museum, the difference in the price of admission was $2.00.  I told Gerald, "I'll give it as a tip to the maid at the motel."

Sunday, August 20, 2017


A peculiar malady has been afflicting my family, but we had no name for it until today. The symptoms:  an unbridled desire to immediately view the movies we have received from Netflix and have them back to the post office before the day is done. We cannot bear to keep a movie overnight or to even wait to put it in our mailbox for the mail carrier to take the following day. There is no need for this precipitancy as there is no penalty for late returns; we could keep the movies for days, weeks, or months, but we are caught up by an overwhelming urgency.

We average watching 16 movies a month.

Bless the The URBAN DICTIONARY: just having a name for our ailment has caused a lessening of the anxiety associated with the affliction.

It's called NETAFLIXIA.

NETAFLIXIA: a self-diagnosed non-medical term to describe people who are addicted to the Netflix video streaming service or DVD movies.

Patient A was diagnosed by his friends to have a severe case of Netaflixia, in which he is unable to avoid use of the service, and may behave violently towards himself and/or others if the services continue to go unused for a long period of time. (normally one week)

Patient B was diagnosed by family members to have a severe case of Netaflixia, in which movies had to be viewed immediately and returned to the post office the same calendar day.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


With all of the excitement generated by the anticipated eclipse, I was reminded of the excitement about the comet Kohoutek.  See my article from Sue's News, published in 2010:


In December, 1973, when the Comet Kohoutek was visible in our sky, Gerald was excited. He even bought tee-shirts with "Kohoutek" emblazoned with rhinestones portraying a comet. 

I had given Gerald a telescope for his birthday the previous June. Gerald had read that Kohoutek would be at its perihelion on December 28 in the early morning hours. He was on Christmas shutdown and I had taken the week as vacation. He took the top off the Scout and loaded the telescope and a chair into the back of the Scout and we drove into the country where the view would be better. I was dressed for bed in my nightgown and robe, but I cradled the telescope to keep it steady, as we drove outside of town. I looked at the comet but soon lost interest and I fell asleep on the floor of the Scout. I had taken blankets and a pillow and although it was a rather mild winter night, it was still cold. Gerald was sitting, glued to the telescope, and I awoke to the sight of flashing lights. Startled, I bolted upright, only to see a Sheriff's deputy approaching the Scout. He asked what we were doing and Gerald invited him to look at the comet. The deputy hopped into the Scout and looked at the comet. He commented about my bedclothes and said that he thought we were a couple "making out". I asked, "In a flannel nightgown?" He laughed and said that we were crazy.

Kohoutek was known as the "comet of the century", but overall, Kohoutek's display was considered a "cosmic letdown" which led to its nickname "Comet Watergate". Because Kohoutek was to most, a disappointment, its name became synonymous with duds.  Even though it failed to brighten to expected levels, it was still a delight to Gerald as it was the first comet he saw after receiving his telescope.

We still have a collection of Kohoutek memorabilia. Along with the tee-shirts, we have several albums by different artists celebrating the comet. On Journey's debut album was an instrumental entitled Kohoutek; on R.E.M.'s album Fables Of The Reconstruction was their tribute Kohoutek;  Yahowha 13's first album was named Kohoutek; Argent's album Nexus had three songs inspired by Kohoutek: The Coming Of Kohoutek, Once Around The Sun, and Bill Carroll had an album entitled Kohoutek; on the album Don Solaris by the English group 808 State is an instrumental titled Kohoutek; a bootleg album by Pink Floyd is titled In Celebration Of The Comet--The Coming Of Kohoutek", and finally, Burl Ives recorded a single called The Trail Of The Comet Kohoutek.

Friday, August 18, 2017


After telling Mona Lisa about yesterday's article about the wonders of baking soda, she sent the following suggestions:

Did you know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers"?

Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture set for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes: cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing; works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus: get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection: to prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer: if menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover: just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure: cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters: to disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine which is a powerful antiseptic.

Vinegar to heal bruises: soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Kills fleas instantly: Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations; good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor: the next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Eliminate ear mites: all it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear; massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief: it's not just for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and then apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.


Thursday, August 17, 2017


At the Bloomingburg Community Day celebration, there was a group of Girl Scouts set up close to my table.  I had an enjoyable time discussing recipes where I used Girl Scout cookies and told of activities I helped with when my sister-in-law was a Leader. The Leader asked if I would consider helping with their Troop.

Later, one of the girls suffered a bee sting.  I had a cooler with Coke and ice.  I said, "Here, pour the Coke on it;  it's cold and will help the pain."  The child was screaming in pain and the mother obviously did not care for my suggestion.  I said, "Go to the store and get some baking soda and a bottle of water;  that's what my mother always used."  After mixing the baking soda in a capful of water and applying it, the child quit crying.

I suggested they should have a "badge" for testing home remedies and to start with the wonders of baking soda.  I mentioned uses such as teeth whitening, refrigerator deodorant, heartburn relief, sunburn remedy, hand cleanser, and chafing relief..

On the internet, I found 60 USES!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


After writing yesterday's article about the face of hate, I was reminded about David Margolick's excellent book Elizabeth And Hazel:  Two Women Of Little Rock.   The book details the lives of Elizabeth Eckford, one of "The Little Rock Nine", who integrated  Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Hazel Bryan, the fifteen-year-old schoolgirl shown in the famous photograph as she was spewing racial epithets at Elizabeth.

An acquaintance of mine, who is 90 years old, grew up in McGhee, Arkansas. He likes to discuss history and politics with me. He was planning a trip to visit his brother who lives in Little Rock. When I said that I would like to go there, he was surprised and said that I would be bored because there's little to do there. I was confident that there was more "to do" in Little Rock than there is in Washington Court House. I said, "I'd like to go to the museum at Central High School." He asked, incredulously, "What do you know about THAT?"  I responded, "Quite a lot;  that happened in 1957;  that was a big deal when I was a girl."  I told him about David Margolick's book.  He said he din't need to read a book because he "lived through it".

As he is a registered Republican, I was curious why he frequently stated that he disliked President Eisenhower. Interestingly, when pressed for examples, he could never give any substantive answers. As a Democrat, I must say that it galled me, but I would answer that I admired Eisenhower's dispatching the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to integrate Central High School.

Seeing his reaction to my knowledge about Central High School, Orval Faubus, and Eisenhower's intervention, I exclaimed, "NOW I know why you dislike Eisenhower so much!" As a person who is covertly racist, he denied that Eisenhower's upholding the law was his reason for disliking him.

He told me that his younger brother attended Central High School during that period and that his brother had told him that the trouble "only lasted a week" . I laughed in disbelief, and I answered, "Your brother must not have been around because the account by the black kids is totally different; the abuse went on the entire time they were in school." He said, "That's not what my brother said." I said, "The book details the many abuses, among which was being scalded in the locker room." He said, "Well, my brother was THERE and you weren't!" I asked, "And who do you think I believe; him or the students who actually suffered the abuse?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


A Facebook friend posted the picture below, which had been taken at the Charlottesville White Supremacy Rally, and dubbed it THE FACE OF HATE.  I see no reason to tell his name or discuss what happened to him after the rally.

However, it reminded me of another famous photo (see below) of a fifteen-year-old girl named Hazel Bryan who was spewing racial epithets at Elizabeth Eckford, who was one of the nine children trying to enter school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.

My friend Cammy used that photograph to illustrate the cover of her 1960 Senior Paper about the Civil Rights Struggle.  She used the title THE FACE OF HATE.

Sadly, today I think, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Monday, August 14, 2017


Yes, today is NATIONAL CREAMSICLE DAY and I'm here to admit to a life-long love of the delicious treat.

As if it weren't enough for me just to enjoy a Creamsicle--oh, no--I must also bake a Creamsicle Cake.  There are many variations, but below is a simple 3-ingredient version:

1 box of white cake mix
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice

Mix ingredients together.  Put in a greased
 8 x 8 pan.
Bake at 350 for 30-33 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Can be topped with a favorite frosting or garnished with powdered sugar, orange peel, or orange zest.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Several years ago, I attended the Fayette County Historical Society Civil War Program at the Fayette County Museum. The Ulysses S. Grant Homestead Association from Georgetown, OH, which maintains the boyhood home of Grant, provided the program which celebrated the life, history, and legacy of Lieutenant General Grant during the Civil War and as the eighteenth President of the United States. The displays regarding the daily lives of soldiers, weapons, and photographs of Grant were very interesting to me, and the performers, attired in their woolen Civil War-style uniforms on a hot summer day, were especially impressive.

Lieutenant General Ulysses Simpson Grant was performed by Michael Miller of Georgetown, OH. Grant, born in Galena, OH, moved to Georgetown, OH, when he was 11 months old and resided in Georgetown, OH, until he went to West Point. It was good to see someone of the correct physical stature playing Grant: during the Civil War, Grant was 5' 7" and weighed between 135-150 pounds. Mr. Miller's portrayal was a fitting homage to Grant and when Miller completed his speech, he said, "If there are any questions, I would be glad to answer."

I stood and asked, "Yes, General Grant, I have a question: would you comment on your General Orders Number 11?" Mr. Miller looked surprised and replied, "I'm sorry, I don't know about that; could you tell me what it is?" I said, "Yes, it's your Orders where you expelled the Jews from your war zone and you expelled them as a class because of smuggling."

It was actually exhilarating to hear the shocked intake of breath from members of the audience and the titters as people looked to see the questioner.  I continued, telling that Grant had been upset by rampant smuggling, but that he had unfairly singled out Jews to punish, when his own father Jesse Grant was also known to be smuggling during that time.  I said, "You might want to read the new book on the subject." He asked the title and I said, "When General Grant Expelled The Jews."  Someone close by, but within my earshot, said sarcastically, "Did she write it?" A school classmate of mine, Alice, said to the person, "Oh, Phyllis knows what she is talking about; you can be sure of that!" [Thank you, Alice.] My nephew Michael was with me and he whispered, "She had to go to school with you since she called you Phyllis."

Within half an hour, the moderator of the program came to the microphone and commented about General Orders 11 [It was great to know that someone actually cared enough to go quickly to Google, to check my assertion.]. When the moderator said that President Lincoln had "overruled" Grant, I said, "Actually, the President RESCINDED the orders."

After the program, I went to speak to Mr. Miller and I complimented his "grace under pressure". His "significant other", who sometimes portrays Julia Dent Grant in performance, said, "That's the first time in 15 years that he's ever been stumped!" Mr. Miller asked how I became an expert on Grant. I said, "Oh, I'm not, I'm much more interested in Sherman."

Several people approached me and they are members of the Historical Society; all said that I should join the Historical Society. I said, "I'm already a Lifetime Member!" I guess I should attend more meetings to enable them to know me.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


My Great-Great-Great-Grandfather George Givens (it was "Givinn" in Ireland) was born in 1743 in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, which is now in Northern Ireland. While in Ireland he married, lost that wife to death, and married another and by those two women had five sons. In 1794, George decided to emigrate to the New World. He was 51years old! One son died and was buried at sea; another died shortly before landing but they were allowed to wait to bury him on land. George's wife and another son died shortly after landing. He placed the two remaining sons with families in Pennsylvania. In 1798, he married Miss Nancy Morgan, aged 20--talk about a dirty old man--and with her and his son Robert, went to Massieville, OH, where they remained until 1807 when George secured a patent for a new tract of land located in what is now the eastern part of Pike County in Seal Township. He lived there until 1846 when he died at the age of 103. On his grave is a 4-feet marble tombstone with the inscription:



A Native of Ireland


SEPT. 29, 1846.


103' y'r of his


I don't know what the first "A" means. I have a tombstone rubbing of the tombstone hanging on the wall of my library.

George and Nancy Morgan Givens had eight children.

Their son James (1810-1878) married Frances Graham (1808-1887).

James and Frances' daughter Nancy Givens (1829-1910) married Angus Langum Parrill (1827-1887) on Christmas Day, 1848.

Nancy and Angus' daughter Margaret Nancy Parrill (1868-1956) married Sherman Tecumseh Shirkey (1866-1944) on August 14, 1895.

Margaret and Sherman's son Kenneth Velorus Shirkey (1902-1973) is my father.

Every generation of my family has had a girl named Nancy EXCEPT mine! My mother refused to name me that but I always said that if I had a daughter I would name her Nancy Morgan, in honor of that young woman who came to the wilds of Ohio and survived!

I have a copy of George Givens' Last Will and Testament which is on file in Pike County, OH.  It begins:

"I, George Givens of the County of Pike and State of Ohio, being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory do make and publish my Last Will and Testament."

He was 101 when he made the will, and I love the part about being "weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind and memory", but what I find far more interesting is this section: "I give to my beloved wife Nancy all my household furniture, one cow and one riding horse and that she shall have her support and live with my son Thomas Givens during her natural life and be by him supported." In those days, women could not inherit and were no more than the property of a man! Even the household furniture belonged to George, not Nancy, and she was ordered to live with their son.

When I first read Walt Whitman's Pioneers! O Pioneers  in the 11th grade, I thought of Grandma Nancy and how brave she had to be.  Here are my favorite verses of the poem:

"For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!"

"All the past we leave behind,
We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
Pioneers! O pioneers!"

"O you daughters of the West!
O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
Pioneers O pioneers!"

Friday, August 11, 2017


While working at Rockwell, we were having a new Gemcor Automatic Riveter installed. The hole for the riveter had to be 12 feet deep because of the force of the equipment. The digging could be done only on second shift because everything had to be cleaned on third shift for the first shift's operation. Each morning, nearly everyone in the department would go to look in the big hole to see the progress. One morning, Eddie, one of my operators, came to me and said excitedly, "You're going to have to call an exterminator;  there's a rat down in the hole!" Eddie's riveter was right beside the big hole.

I went over and looked in the hole and there was indeed a rat in the big hole. I said to Eddie, "I'm going to climb down in the hole and you hand me a mandrel." I was on the third step of the ladder and Eddie handed me a mandrel which weighed about thirty-five pounds. I tossed the mandrel toward the rat and it missed the rat by about two feet. I said, "Hand me that bottle of MEK." [MEK: methyl ethyl ketone, a cleaner which is poisonous to humans if ingested]. By that time I had quite an audience including the Union Committeeman who was yelling at me that it wasn't my job. I climbed further down the ladder and started squirting MEK in the rat's face.

The rat began squirming and dropped over. I jumped down on the ground and picked up the mandrel and crushed the rat with the mandrel. I yelled at Eddie, "Do you need this mandrel for today's orders?" He said that he didn't so I left the mandrel for the excavators to bring up out of the hole. When I climbed out of the hole, I received a round of applause from the audience, except for the Committeeman who told me that I should not have have been doing that "work" and that I should've called some Union employee. I told him we didn't have any in-house exterminators so it wasn't a Union job. I also told him, "Besides, I just saved the Company $150.00 and resolved a safety issue with Eddie." I turned to Eddie and I asked, "Right, Eddie?' Eddie said, "I can't believe you killed it;  I thought you were a nice lady."

I asked, "Eddie, what are you having for lunch?'  He answered, "A ham sandwich." I asked, "Do you think they killed the hog before they cured the ham?" I told him I grew up on a farm and I gave him a demonstration of how to kill chickens and then I told him I didn't mind killing anything except the rabbits because they cried. He gasped, "You mean you killed bunny rabbits?" I said, "Yes, and I enjoyed eating them too." After that, my nickname was RK.

 (You figured out it was Rat Killer, didn't you?.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Last night, I referenced "the three oldest lies in the world":

The old joke:

1. The check's in the mail.
2. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
3. I'll still respect you in the morning (oh, I cleaned it up for my readers' consumption; I've been known to tell the actual lie in private conversation).

The following are actual lies and excuses I have heard during my career and I am embarrassed to admit, I've actually uttered some of them myself:

4. We're family here (You're a part of the family).
5. It's in the Contract (Handbook).
6. John said, Sue said (he said, she said, they said).
7. It's only a cold sore.
8. I'm not that kind of girl.
9. It was OK when it left my area.
10. But that's the way we've always done it.
11. They're working on it (it's on order).
12. It can't be hot--I don't have them yet.
13. If you do this, I promise I won't ask you for anything else.
14. They told us that in Orientation.
15. This won't hurt anyone.
16. We're here to work as a team.
17. I 'll get back to you (I'll put it on my list, I'll make a note of it, I'll take
a look at it).
18. I don't usually do this on the first date.
19. We're an equal employment opportunity employer.
20. No, we're not hiring.
21. You'll be promoted on merit.
22. You'll be let go according to your evaluation.
23. I promise I won't tell anyone (I know how to keep a secret).
24. It'll never happen again.
25. I'll have the part there before the line goes down (The part will be there in
the morning).
26. A.O. Smith has a quality department.
27. We have a just-in-time system (just-in-case).
28. I don't have any extra people.
29. I'm not the regular crew chief.
30. It's not in the specs.
31. It's an ongoing process.
32. It's not on my breakdown (it's not my job, I'm not paid to do that).
33. The warehouse is only a half-hour away.
34. It's logged in (it's in the Macro).
35. I'm just a temp.
36. Yes, these are safety glasses.
37. It didn't get this way overnight--it's not going to change overnight.
38. Figures don't lie (but liars can figure).
39. We'll do lunch.
40. Don't call me--I'll call you.
41. I'll see you after this appointment.
42. You're looking good.
43. He's the same as all the other customers.
44. It's not good--but what will they take?
45. My Grandmother died (5 or 6 times).
46. I was absent because of jet lag.
47. I thought that you were going to take care of it.
48. I love him like a brother.
49. It's worked for twenty years--let's leave it alone.
50. I just got here (I've only been here 5 minutes)
51. I'm late--because of: car trouble  (alarm clock, traffic ticket, my wife didn't
wake me up).




53. I'll pencil you in to my Blackberry.
54. You're not in the system.
55. It's at the Lab.
56. Will advise.
57. It was a scanning error.
58. I didn't get your message (e-mail, test).

No doubt I'll have SIXTY by the end of this year!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I asked Gerald, "Have you ever heard of a dumber name for a car than JUKE?"

He said, "No, I think that sounds very millennial."

"I answered, "Hunh?  JUKEBOX and JUKE JOINT;  those are rather old-fashioned."

Challenged to name other, ridiculous names for cars, we agreed with this list:

LETTUCE by Mitsubishi
LE CAR by Renault
THAT'S by Honda
P'UP by Isuzu
DELIBOY by Toyota
SCRUM by Mazda
THING by Volkswagen

I commented, "Hmmm, they are all foreign;  perhaps it's a language problem."

Les said, "How about GREMLIN?  that's AMC!"

Later, Les chimed in, "How about the sports term juke and juking?"  I asked, "You're kidding, right?"

He said, "No, it's quite a common term for deceptive plays and tricky maneuvering."

Of course, right to the dictionary for me.  "Juke" is derived from the Gullah dialect (jook, juke, or jouk) ) which translated means "deceptive", "disorderly", or "wicked". 

JUKE JOINT:  a roadside cafe or bar which featured drinking, eating, music, dancing, and sometimes prostitution.

JUKE BOX: Because live music was expensive, bringing in phonographs and records to the "juke joints" became popular, and eventually, coin-operated machines replaced the phonographs.

JUKING:  To outmaneuver by a feint or other deceptive movement;  to make a move intended to deceive. 

JUKE DANCING:  A suggestive dance where, usually, a female's butt is moved against a male's crotch (called "Chicago Juking").


Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I've written previously about August 8 being NATIONAL SNEAK SOME ZUCCHINI INTO YOUR NEIGHBOR'S PORCH DAY, an amusing suggestion of how to get rid of excess zucchinis.

Because of the generosity of family and friends, I have long been the fortunate recipient of zucchinis.  I have made zucchini bread, zucchini boats, zucchini rings, zucchini appetizers, fried zucchini, stewed zucchini, but the piece de resistance is THE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE which I have been making for several years.


                    CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft unsalted butter 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Apply cooking spray to a 10-inch Bundt cake pan.
Drain zucchini.  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Mix butter and sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.  Alternately stir in dry mixture and milk into zucchini mixture, with nuts as the last addition.  Pour batter into pan and level top of batter with a spatula.  Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack;  cool completely.  Set on cake stand and drizzle with glaze.


2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together and drizzle over cake

Monday, August 7, 2017


I was challenged to post "A WORD OF THE DAY" on my Facebook page to describe the current Liar-In-In-Chief. 

I have used the following: 

CULLION                    MALEVOLENT                 
POLTROON                VITRIOLIC            
CAITIFF                      TETCHY         

None are reprehensible enough.  I would appreciate additions to my list.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I seldom write about politics on Sue's News, saving that for Facebook.  I was happy that the New York Times is finally using the word "lies" to describe statements made by the current resident of the White House.

I was also glad that The Times also printed the actual words of Anthony Scaramucci he used in the interview with Chris Cilizza, rather than letters followed by the silly ***, as other publications did.  I don't use that kind of language and don't want to hear the words used, but it still important that we know the actual words used.

When I receive Facebook messages that are lies I now simply delete them.  In the past I would answer all of them, providing proof of the lack of veracity.  I asked the people who forwarded the loathsome messages to have enough character
and courage to send the proof to all of the other people to whom they had forwarded the lies.  What did I think was the possibility of that happening? Not one of these people ever wrote to me to apologize for their lies.

A friend told me that I should use nicer words instead of confronting them as liars.  I answered that I didn't believe in euphemisms and if people had such disrespect to forward such trash, they should have the word "lie" capitalized and not use the tame term "falsehood";   not only are they lies, they are goddamned lies.

I oftentimes wonder how I can actually know mendacious people like this who could forward such invective without verifying the source. Are they so desperate to believe what they want to believe that they will sacrifice their morals and send the detestable lies?

Why do people continue to fabricate, falsify, and forward lies about President Obama and his family? Why don't they recognize the evil they are transmitting? What reason could there possibly be for people to resort to such calumny? Hmmmm?  I think I know. These bigots wrap themselves in the flag and tell their lies because they are too cowardly to admit that their fury is really because the President's mother was white and his father was black. I can respect people with differing views about the President's policies. In fact, I have disagreed with the President. I have no respect for people who forward lies about him.

I laugh out loud at those who grandly proclaim their reason is about the deficit or other policies, while hiding behind their cloak of prejudice. I always asked them, "Why didn't you send me stuff attacking his predecessor when he was creating all those problems?"  I never had to resort to the tactics of those ignoble people.

Their vituperation cannot be because of the President's policies because he spent all of his time cleaning up the mess that was left to him.

As much as I dislike the current White House occupant, I have never forwarded any lies about him. Just telling the truth about him is damning enough.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


"I'm half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott."

As a teenager, I loved Tennyson's The Lady Of Shalott, and all things Arthuriana.

The Lady lived in an island castle which flowed into Camelot.  She had a mysterious curse and she had to continually weave on her loom.  As she looked into her mirror, she realized that the "shadows of the world" were a sad substitution for looking at the "real world", which certainly resonated with me.  When she saw Lancelot, she stopped weaving, looked out the window at Camelot, causing the curse.  She left the tower and floated down the river to Camelot;  she died before reaching Camelot.  Lancelot thought her to be lovely.

I learned to face my own shadows.

Friday, August 4, 2017


Mark Twain:  "When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what angels eat."  I quote this at least a dozen times a year, while feasting on the mellifluous gift of nature.

I have written before that August 3 is NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY, about how to select a watermelon, and the health benefits of watermelon.   

What else can I say about this perfect food?  Nothing.  I'm just going to enjoy another slice!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Last night, Gerald said that we had a bat in the belfry.  When I asked the location of our belfry he said our bedroom.  I accompanied him upstairs and there was indeed a bat flying around in the bedroom.  Gerald began throwing a sheet around, trying to trap the critter, but the bat flew into the hallway, then in and out of the hallway, bathroom, and other bedroom.  I said, "Close the doors!"  After closing off all possible doors, we were able to get the bat from the upstairs hallway downstairs where it began flying around in the living room, dining room, and library areas. We opened the two exterior living room doors.  The poor creature kept flying around, with us ducking, weaving, and trying to direct him to the open doors.  Soon, we could no longer see the bat, and we thought the bat had flown outside.

Much later, Gerald shouted, "He's still here!"  I said, "Hell, if he's moved in, we might as well name him."  Gerald said, "Bruce."  I said, "I thought Boris would be nice."  He asked, "Why Boris?"  I said, "After Boris Karloff." and I immediately realized that I'd actually meant "Bela", after Lugosi!  I asked, "Why Bruce?"  Gerald asked, incredulously, "Bruce WAYNE?"  I screaked, "BATMAN!"  

Gerald called Pest Control and they stated they do not take care of bats and suggested Gerald call the Extension Service.  I said, "Let's look on the internet.", and I typed in "HOW TO CATCH A BAT IN THE HOUSE".

Once again, we could no longer could see the bat and we thought it must have flown out one of the open doors.

This morning Gerald said, "He's still here.", and pointed to a corner in the living room where the bat was hanging.  I said, "Awww, Bruce is asleep!"  Gerald and Les stapled sheets to the doorways between the living room and the dining room, the library and also the stairway to isolate the bat.  

Gerald was very ingenious and located an old badminton set;  he attached the net to two hot dog skewers we had left over from a bonfire. (Sometimes it's good to be semi-hoarders!) He trapped the bat in the netting and took it outside. 

We are now trying to figure out how Bruce got in the house.  The information I gleaned from the internet warned that if there is ONE bat in the house, there's probably a colony present somewhere.  I also learned from that babies are usually born in AUGUST!  (Oh, this IS going to make us BATS*** CRAZY!)

We will be keeping the upstairs doors closed, trying to isolate the location of any possible future intruders.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Years ago, I enjoyed Jeannette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle, where she recounted her life growing up with three siblings in a dysfunctional family with a brilliant, alcoholic father who dreamed of building a glass castle.  While home-schooling his children, teaching them geology and physics, their artistic mother taught them reading but had no maternal instinct or interest in rearing a family.  A very selfish person, a hoarder who was probably bi-polar, she categorized the children as Lori being the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, Brian the brave one, and Jeannette the hard worker.  

While enduring extreme poverty and an abnormal home life Jeannette was molested but was able to escape the environment at age 17, leaving West Virginia to join her older sister Lori in New York.  She began working and with scholarships, grants, and loans, she completed Barnard College and become a writer in the sophisticated world of New York magazine publishing, working at New York Magazine, living on Park Avenue, all the while always hiding her background, until one day she saw her parents in New York living as homeless people.  Despite their disadvantaged life, all the siblings moved to New York where her older sister worked in a law office to support herself as an artist, her brother became a policeman, but unfortunately, her younger sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

I am looking forward to seeing the soon-to-be-released movie starring Naomi Watts as her mother Rose Mary, Woody Harrelson as her father Rex, and Brie Larson as the adult Jeannette.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Gerald will have his yearly physical this week and he decided a month ago that he could lose ten pounds just by cutting out snacks.  We usually have a dessert with our dinners, sometimes the desserts being healthful items such as strawberries, melons, and low-calorie sherbets. However, sometimes, we have some high-calorie items.  This week Les made an Oreo No Bake Dessert and it was delicious and irresistible.

Gerald had received a RESIST bumper sticker from one of the organizations to which we contribute. Gerald put the RESIST bumper sticker on the half-consumed pan of dessert.

Les, a Star Trek fan, suggested that I place a sign from The Borg: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE, for Gerald, a fellow Star Trek fan, to see: