Saturday, September 30, 2017


Talking about merthiolate and mercurochrome with my doctor and his trainees, I told them that I had written a blog article about the two tinctures.  Below is from 2015 Sue's News:


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

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

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

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

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

Dear Doc:

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

— D.Y., Boise, Idaho

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

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

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

Friday, September 29, 2017


Known as the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 29 and ends at nightfall on September 30.

The Day of Atonement is considered the most important day of the Jewish year, as evidenced by the synagogue attendance rate: more people go to temple on Yom Kippur than for any other observance.

Yom Kippur marks the end of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of teshuvah (Jewish reflection, repentance and return) that begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

During the Days of Awe, Jews seeks forgiveness from friends, family and co-workers, a process that begins with Tashlich, the symbolic casting off of sins that is traditionally observed on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah by throwing bread into a body of water. On Yom Kippur, Jews attempt to mend their relationships with God. This is done, in part, by reciting the Vidui, a public confession of sins. Yom Kippur has the most extensive prayer schedule of the Hebrew calendar and arduous abstinence from food, drink, sexual intimacy, and animal-based clothing, such as leather.

All major Jewish observances, including Yom Kippur, consist of four main prayer services: Ma'ariv, Shacharit, Musaf and Mincha. Yom Kippur, though, is unique. It begins with Kol Nidre, a legal document that is hauntingly chanted and emotionally charged. The Book of Jonah is read during the afternoon prayer service on Yom Kippur day. The Day of Atonement is the only Jewish observance that includes a fifth prayer service, called Ne'ilah, which is a final plea of repentance before the gates of heaven are said to close. The Ne'ilah service precedes the shofar blowing and the end of the fast.

While Yom Kippur is characterized by solemn fasting and marathon prayers of repentance, it is actually considered the most joyous day of the Jewish year because it commemorates God's forgiveness of the sin of the Golden Calf, the Israelites' slip into idolatry after the giving of the Ten Commandments, and is considered a time to start anew spiritually.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I've written several other times about my doctor.  He trains medical students from THE Ohio State University where he also matriculated.  One of the trainees usually performs the intake ("what are you being seen for today?", etc.) information.

Today, I was the last patient of the day.  A female student came in to the examination room and proceeded with her questioning.  After she completed her intake, I interviewed HER, as I am wont to do.  I complimented her dress and said that it reminded me of a Piet Mondrian painting.  She said she'd never heard of  the artist.  I told her that Mondrian was very prominent in modern art in the 1920s and that the great fashion designer Yves St. Laurent presented an entire collection in the 1960s inspired by  Mondrian's art.  I said that I had recently seen a "red carpet moment" with someone wearing a "vintage St. Laurent" and it looked as classy as it had in 1965.  She had heard of St. Laurent.

The student jotted Mondrian in her notebook and said she would look it up. 

When she returned with the doctor, it was
decided that I would receive a cortisone shot.  Shortly, two other students joined to observe the medical student administer the injection.  The doctor said, "I see you have her swabbed;  did you ask if she were allergic to iodine?"  Sheepishly, the student answered that she hadn't.  I piped up and said that I wasn't, but I was allergic to merthiolate.  The doctor, of course knowing that I was joking, asked, "Have any of you heard of that?"  All answered that they hadn't.  One asked what it was and I said it was like mercurochrome.  None knew that either.  The doctor told them that it was used on every scraped knee for generations.  I said, "It was a beautiful color--pinkish-orange--and it glistened!"  The student was jotting it down and asked how to spell it.  After the injection the observers left the room.

He asked the student, "What did you learn today?" and she listed several medical items and then said that she'd also learned about Mondrian and merthiolate.  He told her she should take some time off and visit the Topiary Garden because it has a brass rendering of the trees from A Sunday On La Grand Jatte.   She said she didn't know about that.  The doctor said, "Tell her about Seurat."  I told her that the painting hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago and gave her a brief account of Seurat and pointillism.  The doctor said, "Well, knowing Sue will be your liberal education."  I said, "Oh, thank you for quoting George Bernard Shaw!"  

Don't you feel sorry for that befuddled young woman?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


After reading the articles KINDRED SPIRIT and 999, Mona Lisa sent the following:

Here's something to think about.

I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive Lab tests, he said I was doing fairly well for my age.

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"

He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine, or hard liquor?"

"Oh no, I replied. I'm not doing drugs, either!"

Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"

I said, "Not much; my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!'

"Do you spend alot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"

I answered, "No, I don't."

He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"

"No", I said.

He looked at me and asked, "Then, why do you even give a shit?"

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Dealing with the recent mistake of laboratory results, I recalled an incident at work years ago.  

Working under a government contract, our plant was contractually committed to be a "drug-free zone";  as we had Department of Defense personnel located in our facility we had to be very careful.

One day, as  I was walking through the plant, I noticed that a woman was wearing a tee shirt with a large marijuana leaf on it.  I told her Team Leader to bring a replacement and I informed the woman that she had to remove the shirt.  She said that she would have to go home.  I told her to clock out and do that.

I went to Human Resources and told the Manager I wanted a drug test to be ordered.  I was told that I was "making a mountain out of a mole hill";  I responded in a smart aleck tone and said that I would personally pay for the random drug testing if they weren't willing.

I asked to see the employee's personnel file, which was begrudgingly handed to me.  As a person interested in names, I usually always ask the maiden names of women I meet.  As I was leafing through the file, I saw the results of the employee's initial drug test and I noticed the name of the person certifying her drug test had the same surname as the employee's maiden name.  As it is an unusual name, I thought that was highly suspicious.  I also noted that the emergency contact number was listed as her mother and it was the same as the name of the person certifying the test at the lab.  

I demanded to see the Human Resources Director and told him that he needed to launch an investigation.  He disagreed with me and said imperiously that he "didn't take orders from a Manager".  Technically, in the Company structure, the Human Resources Department reported to "Corporate";   I immediately went to the Vice President and Plant General Manager to whom I reported and related the incident.  He simply picked up the phone and told the HR Director that he was going to have the private investigator conduct an investigation.  The employee was sent to a different lab where she tested positive for drug use and was terminated. 

After the investigation it was determined that it was her mother who worked for the lab the Company used and had falsified her daughter's drug test;  the Company changed labs.  After taht, my boss would call me "McGruff"!

The enmity between the HR Department and me had been long-standing.  Although I had applied for a position there and received a very nice refusal, I felt no animosity as I was told I was "overqualified";  I accepted a position with another company.  Several months after that refusal,  I learned that my former boss at another company had accepted the position of VP and General Manager at the company where I'd been turned down.  A few weeks later, my former boss called and asked me to join him there as the Production Manager.  I asked if he knew that I'd been previously turned down for that job.  He laughed and said that he didn't know that but that he was having problems with Human Resources and I could help him with that also!  

After joining the Company, I had several run-ins with HR and oftentimes I had to turn to my boss for support which antagonized the Director. 

Fortunately, that HR Director was soon replaced by Corporate with a more aggressive individual.

Monday, September 25, 2017


When I "retired" in 2002, I lost nearly all of my company-sponsored life insurance.  I applied for life insurance and knew that it was a policy which would lapse in 15 years. I had no problem receiving it and did not require a physical.  When Gerald retired in 2004, he also lost nearly all of his life-insurance.  When he applied for life insurance, he was required to have a physical, but he was able to secure the insurance.

When I received the letter reminding me that I would lose the insurance in January, 2018, I immediately arranged for a consultation and learned that I would be required to have a physical and that there would be a price increase for coverage.   I was not concerned.  A phlebotomist/ nurse practitioner came to the house, took vials of blood, urine specimen, checked my blood pressure, performed an EKG, measurements, and other tests.

When I received a letter denying insurance with the reason given being:  the B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) test revealed a result of 999, while the acceptable level was 125, I was dumbfounded.  I had no idea WHAT the test was and after looking on the internet, I learned it was a test for congestive heart failure.  I was frantic;  my brother Ken had died with that and my brother Bode had died of a heart attack.  I thought, "Can this be true?  I've had blood work, EKGs, stress tests, and never had any evidence of heart problems."

With trepidation, I went to my doctor the next day and he told me that if that denial were correct, I would be dead, not sitting there in his office.  He ordered blood work. 

When I received the result of that lab work, I learned that my number was actually 71 rather than the 999 on the insurance company's lab work.

I immediately called the insurance company and I was transferred to an "underwriter" who said that they couldn't be expected to re-test every complaint and that I could have tests done at my own expense.  I screaked, "I already did that!"  He said I could file for a reconsideration.  I asked, "Are you going to fire that lab?"  

I completed a new application, including the results from the lab work, plus a letter from my doctor, along with a ferocious condemnation of their procedures.  I wrote:  "You have egregious flaws in your chain of custody, and whether it was with the home visit, the clinicians, or interpreters, you should initiate an investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action."

After two weeks, I received a letter granting my application.

How many people just accept "results" without complaining?

Sunday, September 24, 2017


At a wedding reception Gerald and I peered around, looking for a place to sit but couldn't see any available seats with any people we know.   My feet were hurting from the damned high heels I was wearing and all I cared about was sitting DOWN!  I spotted a table where there were only four people sitting.  I asked, "Are you saving these seats for anyone?"  A man stood and said, "I am so glad you didn't ask if somebody was already sitting there."  His wife said, "He always has to make fun when people ask that."  I laughed and said that I also hated it when people would ask that inane question.

Sensing a kindred spirit and during an enjoyable conversation learned that we knew several people in common and that I had worked with his brother years ago.  

During the conversation he told the following:

I told him I'd be telling the joke!

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Gerald and I and our friends frequent a Chinese restaurant so often that we have our "own table" and are greeted effusively by the proprietors and they automatically know our drink preferences.  

Recently our favorite employee there introduced us to her lovely little daughter and we naturally asked the child's name and she answered "Eileen".   Afterward I said, "I am ashamed of myself but I have to tell this "BOB" joke:  

What do you call an Asian girl with one arm and one leg leaning up against a wall?  IRENE!"

I had to refresh the memories of the other couple about "BOB" jokes:  

What do you call a guy with no arms and legs who likes to go swimming?  Of course, the answer is BOB!

On reflection, the "IRENE" bit wasn't the greatest joke, and I was greeted with disdain and groaning, but before judgement, guess what?  They all "got" the "IRENE" reference for "EILEEN/I LEAN" meaning, so they are just as bad, but when I later told my wiseacre brother, he said, "If you gotta explain 'em,..."

If you do not understand WHY that was included by me as a "BOB" jokes, see my article below from 2010:

                               BOB JOKES

OK, I admit, I have sick humor! Many years ago, I heard my first "BOB" joke:

"What do you call a guy with no arms and legs who likes to go swimming? BOB"

Over the years, I have maintained a collection of "BOB" and "BARB" jokes, much to the dismay of family and friends. Just let anyone say, "Hey, remember BOB jokes?" and I'm on a roll. Recently, a friend introduced another generation to BOB jokes and asked me, (dubbing me "the VENERABLE ONE") for my assistance. "Should I or should I not?", I wondered.  How could I disappoint a new generation?

What do you call a guy with no arms and legs who water skis? SKIP
Is in your mailbox? BILL 
Hangs on your wall? ART 
Is in front of your door? MATT 
Is under a car? JACK 
Rakes leaves? RUSSELL 
Was with wild animals? CLAUDE 
Is covered with cement? ROCK 
Was stoned to death? ROCKY 
Plays golf? CHIP 
Is on stage? MIKE 
Is in a vehicle? OTTO 
Is under a microscope? GENE 
Was struck by lightning? ROD 
Is in your spice rack? HERB or BASIL
Is in a flowerbed? PETE 
Flies over a fence? HOMER
Is in a bank vault? RICH 
Is in a hole? PHIL 
Is on 2 wheels? AXEL
Is in a coffee cup? JOE 
Is in a bank? BUCK 
Is covered with sauerkraut? REUBEN 
Is in a fireplace? BERNIE 
Is in a men's room? JOHN 
Is in a grocery bag? CARY 
Has been in collisions? REX 
Loosens Hex screws? ALLEN 
Is buried 6 feet under? DOUG 
Is buried 3 feet under? DOUGLAS 
Was cooked by cannibals? STU 
Is foaming at the mouth? BUD 
Is at a news desk? JUSTIN 
Is covered with glue? ELMER 
Is on a piece of paper? MARK 
Is covered with oil? DEREK 
Is remembered by the deceased? WILL 
Who does his own shaving? NICK
Is between two buildings? ALI 
Is in the end zone? SPIKE 
Whose head is underwater? DUNCAN 
Is an electrician? SPARKY 
Is under a bed? DUSTY 
Is in a lingerie drawer? TEDDY 
Is in a bathtub? DWAYNE

I can't have BOB jokes without including BARB jokes:

What do you call a woman with no arms and legs caught in a fence? BARB

Against a wall? EILEEN 
Floating on a pond? LILY 
In a vase? ROSE 
Who feels worthless? PENNY 
In a stream? BROOKE 
Holding a coat? PEG 
On a beach? SANDY 
With a breaking wind problem? GALE 
In a frying pan? PAM 
In a box of chocolates? CANDY 
Hanging from a chandelier? TIFFANY 
On your dining room table? CRYSTAL 
Between two slices of bread? PATTY

I've saved the self-deprecating one until last:

What do you call a woman with no arms and legs bringing a lawsuit to court? SUE

At least I didn't include HELEN KELLER jokes!

Friday, September 22, 2017


I love acronyms.  I have been known to create a few.  However, I knew that I had used the phrase "indelibly etched on my brain" far too often when "IEOMB" appeared on a WIPC (work in process control) board in my area at work because of my complaining about missing components needed for production.

I know that on Facebook and Twitter, that texting phrases, slang, and acronyms are sometimes humorously "abbreviated" and "casual", (e.g.: "u" for "you", "ur" for "you are", "b" for "be", "adr" for "address", "thx" for "thanks", and "cuz" for "because") but I keep noticing that people on Facebook do not grasp when "no" should be "know", "suppose" should be "supposed"; and "its" should be "it's"! ("ITS" is especially problematic because I recently learned that the acronym ITS in texting means "intense text sex"!

But surely people are not so busy that they cannot type "know"! I would think that only Twitter excuses abbreviating, as one is limited to 140 characters per posting.

I do like some of the acronyms: YOLO, CYT, BTW, and WTH.

I don't tweet or text.

I no, I no! (I know, I know!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017


There is a local Aryan Nation group and I am shocked to hear frequent bigoted remarks in my county.   As a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I am also aware of the frightening increase of hate groups in our country.  I see the results of the encouragement of bigotry, misogyny, and racism from the current resident of the White House.

I was almost ready to give up hope of common decency in my country but when I saw the Reverend Robert Lee IV agreeing about the removal of public monuments which extolled Southerners who seceded from the Union, it gave me hope that change is possible.  Because of the negative backlash from his congregation, the Reverend Lee has resigned from the church.

Part of his statement:  

"My name is Robert Lee IV.  I'm a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was the center of violence in Charlottesville.  We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate.  As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America's original sin." 

I always knew that change is possible.  Below is an article I wrote in 2013:

                        CHANGE IS POSSIBLE

My Facebook friend Mark Kennedy is the leader of the Democratic Party in Alabama. He is married to Peggy WALLACE Kennedy. Peggy is the daughter of George and Lurleen Wallace. Peggy was thirteen years old when her father made the infamous "Stand in the schoolhouse door" speech on June 11, 1963. President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard and James Hood and Vivian Malone entered the University of Alabama.

This year, with Dr. Sharon Malone at her side, Peggy Wallace apologized for what had happened fifty years ago.  I am surprised that it did not receive the media coverage it deserves.

It is heartening to see that change is possible and the sheer beauty of George Wallace's daughter being the instrument of change is especially thrilling. Peggy Wallace has magnanimity and grace as well as being a caring daughter. She said that she hoped that her children had the legacy of their mother and not their grandfather.

A bit of trivia: Vivian Malone's sister is married to Eric Holder.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, will be celebrated in 2017 from sundown on September 20 to nightfall on September 22.. The Hebrew date for Rosh Hashanah is 1 Tishrei 5778.

Though Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year," the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. This is because Rosh Hashanah, one of four new years in the Jewish year, is considered the new year of people, animals, and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, or Yamim Noraim (the "Days of Awe"), and is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement";  the Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the "Day of Judgment" and it is believed that God opens the Book of Life on this day and begins to decide who shall live and who shall die. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are viewed as an opportunity for Jews to repent (teshuvah in Hebrew) and ensure a good fate.

The New Year greeting is l'shana tova which means "good New Year".

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Trying to register people to vote, I find it astounding that the most frequent excuse that I hear from people for not voting is that they don't want to be called for jury duty. When I explain how easy it is to be excused from jury duty, they say they still don't want to take the chance. My brother scolded me for telling people that, reminding me of the saying, "Would you like to be tried by a jury with people who were too dumb to get out of jury duty?"

I think it's my patriotic duty to serve on juries and over the years, I have served on Municipal, Grand, and Petit juries. Defense attorneys usually excuse me and I think it's because I have terminated people. That is rather ironic as I think I would be a juror who would be very sympathetic of the rights of defendants. At one voir dire, a defense attorney asked me how many people I had fired and I answered that I hadn't counted the notches on my gun belt that morning. Yes, I knew that being a smart-aleck would get me excused, but I didn't want to serve on that particular case.

One time when I served on a Breaking and Entering case, I believed that the prosecutor did not meet the burden of proof and I voted for acquittal. One of the male jurors also voted to acquit, thus the vote was 10 to 2 for conviction. The jurors agreed to discuss the case and the man who voted with me for acquittal said that he would never believe a word a cop said and he wouldn't vote for conviction. I told him that he had to be removed. He told me I was crazy because he had voted with me. I told him that I had arrived at my decision based on the evidence and that I wasn't prejudiced and he was. He was removed when I notified the judge. When the alternate juror was seated the vote was 11 to 1. Yes, I hung the jury!

After the trial, I went to the prosecutor and told him I'd like to give him a suggestion. He was immediately interested and asked how the jury voted.  I told him it was 11 to 1.  He asked who was the lone holdout and I told him it was I.  He said, very surprised, "YOU, I didn't think it was you! You were so attentive!"   I told him that I knew that attorneys think they can "read" juries and it was my job to be attentive.

The Prosecutor asked why I had voted for acquittal and I told him that he hadn't met the burden of proof;  he asked me for examples which I provided. He asked about the juror who'd been replaced and I told him that he had also voted to acquit. He said he couldn't believe that I went to the judge about the one who was voting with me. I answered, "He was prejudiced; I wasn't." I then asked him, "You know how the defense always asks the question whether we would believe a police officer more than other people?" He nodded and I said, "You should ask if we would believe a police officer LESS." I said, "You know if we answer yes to the defense on the first question, we'll be excused, and if we answer yes on the second question, you'll remove us!" I continued, "I think that guy would have been excused from jury duty if you had asked that question."

At the second trial, the defendant obviously had a better lawyer because he was acquitted.

At a drunk driving case, I was in the venire waiting to be questioned and six jurors had already been seated. One of my former teachers was called for voie dire and I knew that she was near my mother's age and she could have been excused because of her age. She sat down and immediately turned to the judge and announced, "Your Honor, I need to tell you that I think drinking is a sin!" The defense attorney immediately jumped up and said that he wanted to poll the jury because she had corrupted the jury pool. He was then allowed to ask questions about the beliefs and drinking habits of the jurors and prospective jurors and two who had been seated were excused. When it was my turn to be qizzed, the defense attorney asked if I thought drinking was a sin and I answered, "No, merely foolish!" I was excused.

Monday, September 18, 2017


CHUTZPAH: Dictionary definition: noun, Yiddish
shameless audacity, utter nerve, gall, effrontery, impudent rudeness, lack of respect, supreme self-confidence.  

My favorite definition for chutzpah is from Leo Rosten: a man, who, having killed his parents, threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

Last night, on Facebook, I read someone's posting about unsatisfactory service he had received by AAA. When I inquired this was his complete story:

He had run out of gas and he called AAA to bring gas. When AAA asked for his membership information, he told AAA that THEY needed to call his GREAT-GRANDMOTHER and she would give permission to use her membership card.  Of course AAA refused to do that. He said he told AAA that he couldn't understand why they wouldn't help him because his grandfather had used his great-grandmother's membership and didn't have his own card.

I asked, "Are you crazy; why do you think you should be able to use it?" He said, "She pays $100 a year, so why shouldn't I be able to use it?" I said, "Well, because you are not on her plan and if you were she would have to pay extra." He posited that that wasn't fair because he is family.  I asked, "So you think that $100 membership should cover her, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and in-laws?" He said that he did because AAA was supposed to help people. I said, "AAA is supposed to take care of the people who have PAID to have that coverage--it's not a charity!"

I asked him, "Do you realize that you could cause your great-grandmother to lose her coverage by telling about your grandfather using it illegally?" He countered with, "They can't do that." I said, "If she had committed fraud by letting unauthorized people use her service, then they most certainly could--why would they want such a risky person?" He said, "There's no fraud, I'm family." I said, "But you're not on HER Family Plan!" I asked him, "In what universe do you think this wouldn't be considered fraud?"


Sunday, September 17, 2017


Mona Lisa sent this to me. I don't know why she wrote that it reminded her of me.


Yesterday I was at the local Costco, buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Owen, the Wonder Dog, and I was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

Because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse, I told her no, that I didn't have a dog but I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time I tried it, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is: load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two each time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete (certified), so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I must mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Obviously horrified, the woman asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no--I had stopped to pee on a fire hydrant--and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.


Costco won't let me shop there anymore.

People better watch what they ask retired people because they have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


After becoming a Manager at Rockwell, each morning I met with a Quality Engineer who had been assigned to the Department.  Because of the serious condition of the Department, a very seasoned Engineer had been assigned to the Department.

After our Department's Quality improved dramatically, the Engineering Department assigned a different, young Engineer to review the NDRs (the write-ups which would require Engineering consultation and approval) with me to "triage" to aid the Department.

Each day, the young Engineer, Ron, was prompt and very business-like. He always brought along a cup of coffee and I had my Coke setting on the desk.  He was deferential, calling me "Mrs.". The only personal conversations we'd had were about movies and we were both cineastes! One Monday, Ron asked, "Did you have a nice weekend? I understand it was your anniversary." I had taken a vacation day and Ron had to confer with my boss, who took my place in the Department that day.  I said, "Yes, thank you, we went out to dinner with my brother and his wife as we share the same wedding anniversary day." I also mentioned that we had gone to see a movie. He inquired which movie. I answered, "Aurora Encounter."  Ron said he hadn't heard of the movie; I knew he expected it to be an intellectual movie.  I said, "We were so lucky to see my favorite actor in a tour de force performance." "Who is that?", Ron asked.   I said, very deadpan, "Jack Elam."

At that moment, Ron had taken a drink of coffee; he began laughing and choking and he spit the coffee on the desk, the documents, and on us! We jumped up, trying to clean up the coffee. I knocked over my Coke.

When we regained our composure, he said, "You WERE kidding about Jack Elam, weren't you?" I said, "Oh, no, my brothers and I have loved him ever since we saw him in old TV shows like Cheyenne and Sugarfoot."

I did an imitation of Elam, reciting this line from the movie Hawmps!: "I'm ready, I'm loose, I'm walking death and destruction!"

Ron asked, "Isn't he the one in Cannonball Run?" I exclaimed, "Another bravura performance."

Ron said, "No number of French and Italian words can convince me!" "I'm walking death and destruction!" became our inside joke.

After that, Ron and I became friends--as close friends as a 20-something and a 40-something could be. Nearing the end of the Contract, Ron accepted a position with another company.   I was invited to his going-away party and I was the only Management--and I might add--the only OLD person there. Several people there commented about those facts and Ron lifted a glass and toasted, "To the only person who loves Fellini AND Jack Elam!"

Of course I responded, "I'm walking death and destruction!"

Friday, September 15, 2017


When I was in high school, Rocky And Bullwinkle was popular; it was on television prior to American Bandstand; we watched both daily after coming home from school. I loved the characters, the segments with The Wayback Machine, Mr. Peabody, Fractured Fairy Tales, Mr. Know-It-All, and Dudley Do-Right, but my favorite part was at the end of each episode, which was always a cliff-hanger, where the announcer [I later learned was William Conrad] would intone dramatically about the next episode.  E.G.: one about Rocky being trapped on a mountain: "Be with us next time for AVALANCHE IS BETTER THAN NONE--OR--SNOW'S YOUR OLD MAN!" I loved the puns.

A friend and I would constantly be using "OR" references much to the irritation of family, friends and teachers and I sometimes do it today.  Algebra was my first class of the day and my friend and I would be chattering animatedly about the previous day's Rocky episode. After tiring of hearing us, the Algebra teacher, Mr. White, said, "Great minds run in the same channel OR fools think alike." Touche, Mr. White!

Mr. White did not have a pleasant smell about him and I think that he wore the same clothes all week long. He wore different ties occasionally but his white shirt was dingy and his trousers were always shiny on the rear and one could see chalk residue on them from the previous day. [It just dawned on me that they were from a suit which, of course, was not washable and needed to be dry-cleaned; he probably couldn't afford to have them dry-cleaned] He would also have little bits of toilet paper stuck to his face where he'd nicked himself shaving. I thought about giving him one of my father's styptic pencils.

I did well in Algebra--with the help of my brothers--and although I do NOT remember Algebraic formulas today--I DO remember Rocky And Bullwinkle and especially all of the "inside" references which were usually Yiddish.  It's interesting that the term, Wayback Machine  is now an internet colloquialism for past events.

HOKEY SMOKE, Bullwinkle! You're still relevant!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Recently, in conversation, a friend, who is a "millennial", said, "That's really janky!"

"That's a new word for me;  is it slang?", I asked.

"I don't think so;  I've used it for a long time."

Oxford Dictionary:  janky:  of extremely poor or unreliable quality.  Informal.  Unknown origin. First usage from the 1990s.

The Urban Dictionary:  janky:  inferior quality;  held in low social regard;  old and dilapidated; refers almost exclusively to inanimate objects, not to people.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


A friend is battling cancer and we are considering ways to help him and his family.

Occasionally I become disheartened by the behavior of people and I conclude that there isn't much hope for the human race. Whenever I think about contributions to humanity, I think of Jonas Salk who refused all profit from the polio vaccine.

Each time I am grousing about people, my husband will ask, "How about Tim?"

Tim is a friend who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I told Tim, "If you need anything, you know you can depend on us." He said, "I know that, and thank you, but I'm OK." As the weeks went by, he needed to have an operation and he had to be off work and use his disability insurance. His wife had been injured at work and she was attending college to prepare for a different career. Occcasionally,  I would call to ask how they were doing and he would continue to tell me that his disability checks were covering their expenses and he wanted to make sure his wife continued her schooling, but they were OK.

After a couple of months, I received a call and he said, "You know you told me that if I needed help, you knew some resources." I learned that he had used all of their savings; taken out all of his 401K investments; the 66 % payment he received from disability was not covering their expenses; he was in debt $2,500 for doctor and hospital bills; he needed to start a round of 35 chemotherapy visits and he wouldn't have funds for the co-payments.

I asked him to let me make some phone calls and I would call him the next day. I also asked him to let me help him write an appeal to his insurance company. He said he didn't think it would do any good, but I reminded him that I had written an appeal for my mother and they had reconsidered. We wrote the appeal and I mailed it.

I took him to Community Action to inquire about any benefits available.

Weeks before Tim called me I had been to the Medical Arts Building for therapy on my shoulder and I'd noticed a cookbook being offered for sale at the Receptionist's desk; I asked what group it was to benefit, and the Receptionist told me it was for The Tree Of Life and its mission was to help cancer patients. I called the Tree Of Life and told Tim's story and I was told to have him write a letter telling what was needed and submit it and they would consider his case. I typed a letter, took it to him for his signature, and mailed it the same day.

I recalled that when I'd gone to a Candidate's Forum before the last election, one of the candidates told that she belonged to a sorority with a charitable mission to help cancer patients. I got in touch with her and she told me they were meeting that very next night to decide where to allot their funds. She told me to have him write a letter and get it to the Secretary. I immediately typed a letter, took it to him to sign, and I hand-delivered it to the Secretary at her place of business.

I called several people to ask their churches to donate and I imposed on a friend to ask her St. Vincent de Paul group to donate. I called my brother and told him that the Catholics were giving $200; of course, the Pentecostal had to match that. I sent out a letter to friends and family. I had a yard sale.

Gerald told him that he would drive him to Wilmington for the five-times-a-week, 7-week chemotherapy treatments.

Because of the generosity of family, friends, churches, and the charitable groups, we were able to raise the $2,500 to be able to have him out of debt.

He recovered wonderfully well; he returned to work and his wife completed college and was working in her new field. Several months later, Tim called me and said, "You're not going to believe it, I just got a check from the insurance company and I want to re-pay you and Gerald for all you've done."

I said, "NO, NO, we don't want that!" I did NOT say what I was actually thinking, which that he might need the money in the future. He said, "Well, I'll call your brother and the others." Several people reported to me how he'd tried to re-pay them, but each had refused.

He could have so easily kept that money, and nobody would have known, and of course, he had every right to keep the money, but he instead wanted to re-pay those who had helped him.

A couple of weeks later, I was attending a funeral and a woman who worked at Community Action beckoned for me to come to sit with her. She said, "You know, I've been working there for 30 years and NOBODY has ever returned money to us until your friend came in and gave us the money!"

I asked, "Kinda restores your faith in humanity, doesn't it?"


Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Gerald says that I "interview" everyone with whom I come in contact. While that is not entirely accurate, I do, oftentimes, inquire about people and their backgrounds interests when first meeting them.

Today, I wanted to talk to a firefighter, not about any Fire Department issue, but I had a personal question.

After introducing myself and finding out what I wanted to know, I asked the firefighter about his background and how he'd decided on firefighting as a vocation.  

He said he had been an EMS member and also a volunteer firefighter in his small town and he said, "I guess I just got hooked on it."  I replied, "Or, in your case, you could've gotten hooked and laddered on it."

He said, "I like that;  I think I'll use it."  I laughed and said, "Go ahead;  no charge."

Monday, September 11, 2017


In past years I have participated in organized activities for the National Day Of Service. Wearily, a  friend asked, "What are we going to be involved with this year?",  because I usually "drag" her along with me.  I told her I was going to do some "small" things such as spending time with a friend who is at a nursing home for rehabilitation;  shopping for an elderly friend; sorting and organizing books to take to Half Price Books for a fundraiser;  taking donations to Goodwill.

She said, "That doesn't seem to be very important."   Who's to say "what" is important?

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Gerald and I went into a local restaurant and the hostess asked, "Table or booth?"

Gerald said, "John Wilkes."

The young woman said, "Hunh?  I don't understand."

Gerald said, "You know, John Wilkes BOOTHE?"

She answered, "I don't know who that is."

I said, "You know, the one who assassinated President Lincoln."

She said, "Oh, I don't know anything about that."

I said, "It was in all the papers."  Obviously unaware that I was striving for humor, she answered, "Really?"

Oh, please tell me, HOW could a person old enough to serve liquor NOT know who the Hell John Wilkes Boothe was?

Saturday, September 9, 2017


I remember, sometime in the 1970s, when my company issued a memorandum that "employe" would be used in all Company correspondence rather than "employee" and stated that it would save the company millions of dollars by deleting ONE "e".  Nowadays, as a stockholder, whenever I receive literature from the Company and I see the word "employe" used, I wonder how much it actually benefited the company. 

By 1979, the Company had eliminated Department Secretary positions and created a "secretarial pool" and any correspondence from us in Production Management would be submitted--hand-written or dictated-- and after being typed by a pool typist, the materials would be returned to us for distribution.  

One time, after I had submitted a hand-written letter to be typed, when I received the typewritten material from the secretarial pool, I noticed that my wording had been changed.  I returned it to the typist and told her she would need to retype it.  She asked why and I explained that her typing made it ungrammatical.  Obviously miffed, she stated that she had "simplified" it for me.  I replied that it was now incorrect and I could not possibly issue the letter.   She replied that she was sure the person receiving it wouldn't know the difference.  I asked, "You're sure?  Then obviously you know this employe."  She replied, "He's just a factory worker."  I said, in a very condescending tone, that the intended recipient held a master's degree and would definitely notice the error;   I reiterated that I could not present it with the mistake and that I, myself, was perfectly capable of typing the response if I could use her typewriter.  She told me that I wasn't "allowed" to do that.  I was, of course, offended that I, as a member of Management, even needed to have the conversation with her.  

I told her that I needed to talk to her Supervisor.  Unbelievably, rather than just agreeing to re-type the letter, the Supervisor said that the employe wouldn't be able to tell the difference.   I told her that was "very patronizing" and I would wager that the intended recipient was far more educated than the members of her department.  I also said that it could have been re-typed in the amount of time we had wasted discussing it and that I obviously needed to speak to her Manager.

Only then did the Supervisor ask the nature of the problem.  I stated that I had properly used a transitive verb and the typist had changed it to an intransitive verb.   The Supervisor yanked the paperwork from my hand and said she would re-type it.  After that, my submissions were typed exactly as I presented them.

Within a few years, the secretarial pool was gone, we all had computers on our desks, and we all had to type our own responses.  

Ah, progress!


Friday, September 8, 2017



WHY should we care about ampersands?

1.  I like to say the word.

2.  It's a glyph

3.  The sign is aesthetically pleasing to me.

4.  It's a ligature of "e" and "t" (that's "et" in Latin;  et means "and").

WHY was September 8 chosen as Ampersand Day? Chaz DeSimone, founder of Ampersand Day, chose the date because several of the characters can be cleverly disguised as ampersands, when the right fonts are used:

Thursday, September 7, 2017


During our recent trip to Graceland, we decided that we also wanted to visit B.B. King's Blues Club on Beale Street in Memphis.  We stayed there five delightful hours, enjoying the music of two separate musical groups.  The first group featured "The King of Beale Street" Preston Shannon.  I enjoyed a meal of fried catfish, onion hush puppies, and okra. 

At a table next to us, the group was comprised of an Asian-descent woman, an Hispanic-descent man, a young African American woman, a middle-aged African American man, a young African American male, an elderly Caucasian man, and a middle-aged Caucasian male.  I was fascinated by the group, wondering if they were family or co-workers, but, of course I could not eavesdrop because of the noise level in the club.  I told Gerald, "That's what America looks like!"

When the waitress brought out a birthday cake to the group, people began singing, and we joined in;  I used the opportunity to engage in conversation with the woman nearest to me and inquire about the group.  I learned that they were celebrating a co-worker's birthday and that they were all employed by ABM Air and they were from different parts of the country and all were in Memphis for a conference.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


My best friend called.  

"What were you doing?"
"Wrestling With His Angel."
"Oh, yeah, that new book about Lincoln."
"I liked his last one too."
"What's he trying to do;  be the Robert Caro of Lincoln?"
"Now THAT was really good!
"I have a good line now and then."

There's no need to identify who said WHAT to WHOM because we typically read the same kind of books, finish each other's sentences, and somewhere in the conversation, she will ask, "What new thing did you learn today?" because years ago, I condescendingly told someone that I learn something new every day, and she has never let me forget it!

"So, what new thing did you learn today?"
"That CAVEATING  is a word."
"I was listening to Meet The Press and one of the pundits said 'caveating' and I screaked at Les, but when I looked online it IS acceptable!"

Tuesday, September 5, 2017



MONA LISA:  "Do you have flood insurance?"

SUE:                  "We're not eligible."

MONA LISA:   "Why?"

SUE:                   "We're not on a flood plain."

MONA LISA:    "What'a a flood plain?"

SUE:                    "It's low-lying land adjacent to a river and is subject to flooding."

MONA LISA:    "Has there ever been a flood here?"

SUE:                   "I remember one in 1962."

MONA LISA:    "Then why couldn't it happen again and why wouldn't there be insurance?"

SUE:                    "Insurance actuaries determine those things."

MONA LISA:    "With global warming, things might change and we could have a flood."

SUE:                   "I hope there will still be FEMA!"

Monday, September 4, 2017


With the probability that the so-called "Right To Work" issue will be foisted upon Ohio voters, it is important to remember that RIGHT TO WORK IS WRONG!  With America's working families being under unprecedented attack, it is important to remember what unions have provided for all of us, not just union members.  From the eight-hour work day, child labor laws, pay equity, safe working conditions, sick leave, and numerous other benefits, unions have always stood for the rights of working people.


Sunday, September 3, 2017


My friend Mona Lisa sent the following article and the accompanying chart and wrote, "Aren't you glad that tomatoes are ALSO healthful?"

A tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris, and radiating lines look like the human eye and yes, science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocadoes, eggplant and pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female; they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Was John Keats gazing on a "love apple" when he penned his immortal words "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."?

Today, as I was gazing on the object of my affection--a perfect tomato--I sighed, and quoted Keats.  My ever-witty brother asked, "How's it gonna be forever if you eat it?"

No photograph can perfectly capture the essence.  Ah, this Big Boy was delicious, but I do prefer the lovely Rutgers.

As I have written previously, the way I feel about tomatoes is immoral:  I lust after them. I have had enablers all my life: Mother always allowed me to have the first tomato of the season; my brother shares his first tomato of the season with me and, of course, I have friends who reward me with their bounty.

Tomatoes are indigenous to the New World; Aztecs cultivated and ate them. When the Spaniards took them to Europe in the sixteenth century, many thought they were poisonous. Tomatoes are in the same family as tobacco and the deadly mandrake. Some thought they were an aphrodisiac.

The French named tomatoes pommes d'amour--LOVE APPLES--and the French are always so succinct because I love tomatoes.

I want them hot from the garden; I will wash the dirt off--with hot water--and grab the salt shaker. As I say, "I never met a tomato I didn't like.", and this season has been splendid with family, and friends enabling my addiction.  I carry a salt shaker in the console of my car;  one never knows when one might encounter the object of one's obsession!

Oh, sadly, the season is nearly over and soon I will be cursing those "plastic" tomatoes in the grocery!

Friday, September 1, 2017


I have had problems with my feet for years. After pounding concrete floors at work for more than forty years, I guess that should not be surprising.  I have been wearing "orthotics" and trying to find the "perfect shoe" all my life!

With a wedding to attend in September, I want to be able to wear a pretty pair of dress shoes rather than my omnipresent Mary Janes.   As my podiatrist had retired I decided to try a new podiatrist.   After discussing my issues, the new doctor said, "Roll up your pants and show me how you walk."  Naturally I thought about Monty Python's skit The Ministry Of Funny Walks (click on the YouTube sample) but  I resisted doing my best John Cleese impression.  

The doctor asked, "Have you always walked on your tippy-toes?"  I stifled a giggle at his use of the "tippy-toes" term, but answered, "I didn't know I was;  maybe I'm compensating for being short." He continued, "You are contracting your toes;  that's probably what's causing your pain."  I told him that my left foot hurt more than the right foot.

After the doctor's reviewing X-rays, his taping pads to my left foot, giving advice to roll both my feet on a frozen water bottle twice a day, and scheduling a return visit to probably measure for new orthotics, I left the office having some hope of relief. 

At home, whining about my feet, my brother quipped, "OK, Christy Brown.", which effectively put MY left foot problem in its proper perspective.

See Christy Brown posing with his self-portrait.  Brown, the Irish writer and artist, was afflicted with cerebral palsy, and was able to write, type, and paint ONLY with the toe on his LEFT FOOT.  If you have not seen the quintessential Daniel Day-Lewis' Academy Award-winning portrayal of Brown in the movie My Left Foot, I suggest you rent it from Netflix or borrow it from me.