Thursday, April 30, 2009

Major Woe

I don't know what has happened, but Spider Solitaire (intermediate level) became easier to win. The longest streak I've ever had was 22 games until recently. I won 37 games in a row and then clicked the WRONG thing when I was going to return to the game instead of quit and end game. ARGH!!! I've won all the ones since then now and would have over 40 in a row if I hadn't done that. Many times I'll go back and undo all the way back to the beginning or to some other place. Then I'll keep trying various moves until either I win or give up. I was so on a roll with 100% until I over-clicked. I am so bummed. I will not reset and start over though. (sigh) I'll just carry on from here and see if I can top my previous streak.

Added later: I spoke too soon and screwed myself when I clicked the wrong part. The game has gotten harder again. :-(

Spoiler Alert in the Last Paragraph

I've been spending time with vampires and werewolves lately by reading the first two books of the Twilight series. My granddaughter Kari loves those books and has read them and seen the movie several times. She wanted the boxed set of hardbacks and for me to read them, too, so I told her I'd order them, read the series, and then give them to her for her birthday. She was all for that.

I'm getting into the story after a slow start. It took reading over half the first book for me to get caught up in the story. Stephenie Meyer isn't anywhere close to the writer that J. K. Rowling is. Rowling is a wonderful writer and an excellent storyteller. Nothing has captivated me the way Harry Potter has since reading them, and I don't even like fantasy literature.

Meyer's series is basically a romance novel with all the complications and sappy parts that are gaggy. I don't like romance novels but have read some and know the format. Well, actually fiction is supposed to introduce a situation with characters who experience one damned thing after another until a resolution is reached. Good fiction gives readers what they want in ways they don't expect it. Fishing is an effective analogy for writing fiction. Hook the fish, give it some line so it can take off a bit, reel it back in, let it back out a little, and keep this up until the fish is landed. Writing is manipulative, and we participate in it as long as the writer holds our interest. Meyer has kept me interested most of the time. I care about Bella, the main character, and am reminded that she is a teenager and makes decisions typically the way they do. I've spent most of my professional life teaching teenagers and know how they can be. I also remember how that all-encompassing passion can be.

I'm going to have to give this more thought about the effect of this story on teenage girls. When we taught Romeo and Juliet, it provided an opportunity to discuss suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary situation and not something that needs to be romanticized. This novel has similarities to Romeo and Juliet and even has Bella make those comparisons. I also warned girls against those "for the love of a good woman" stories and movies because when you're dating him is about the best he's going to be. Don't marry someone thinking you'll change him. It can and has happened, but it's mostly grist for the fiction mill. I'd think that being in love with a vampire would be the ultimate bad boy, no matter how much he restrains himself. The main appeal of Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf is that someone is always there to protect her and care about her no matter what. That's pretty heady stuff. Mere mortals can't compete. So of course Bella wants to be turned into a vampire. I'll stay tuned to see how that turns out, finish the series, and see what I think about the other two. So far, this is my take on them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DWTS - Results

The encore dance was the one I hoped it would be - Team Tango. It was even better tonight than it was last night. Ty said he knew he wasn't doing well in Len's world but it was a lot better than Len would do in his world. I'm glad I got to know who he is.

Robin Thicke is the guest singer. He and Jennifer Hudson have been on several shows lately promoting their tour.

Melissa said the doctor was trying a new treatment for her cracked rib and that she hoped she could finish the competition. There are too many injuries on this show. The professional dancers did a funny PETA parody about the injuries.

Here's the order of those staying. Lil' Kim and Derek were first named. Ty and Chelsie are safe. Several of us thought he might go this week. So now who will it be? Gilles and Cheryl are staying. Team Tango dancers are all safe. The team dance might have played a big part in this. So it could be Melissa since she had that low score because of being judged on her rehearsal tape. The tension mounts!

Now for the competition for a new pro to be on the show next season. This week they changed partners. These four got the highest votes and Brent Borbon and Snow Urbin were eliminated. Afton Delgrosso and Genya Mazo danced a quickstep. Mayo Alanen and Anna Demidova did a jive. I liked this four best but am not sure which dancer I hope gets to do this.

Shawn and Mark will be back, so it's Chuck or Melissa. No dance-off? I thought they were going to do that. Awwww, it's Chuck and Julianne. :-(

DWTS 8 - Week 8

This week they divided into two groups for a group competition that will be added to their individual scores. All the new pictures don't match their dances this week, but I chose what I could find and the ones that look best.

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Dance: Lindy Hop

Score: 9/9/9 = 27 (last week 27)

Critique: Gilles had to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder so he could continue to compete. He struggled with the lifts and was frustrated with himself. He always manages to pull it off during the performance, though, and did this time as well. The judges have criticized him for being too hectic, and he calmed that down this time and managed the lifts, too. His performance was energetic and fun! Len liked it. Bruno praised him, and Carrie Ann said he was fantastic. Good!! Cheryl's choreography is always excellent! She brings out the best in each of her partners.

Lil' Kim & Derek Hough

Dance: Paso Doble

Score: 9/9/10 = 28 (last week 26)

Critique: The Queen Bee is back! Wow! Or as Bruno said, "The bitch is back!" This was intense, passionate, and hot! Bruno said it was a classic, classy paso. Carrie Ann thought it was gorgeous and showed how much she's grown as a dancer. Len thought she came out with fire and passion. I loved it! Derek chose the best choreography for her and she rose to the challenge! Tom said the new rule of thumb was if Bruno stands for the entire critique, it was a 10. I hope Maddie watched this tonight. She likes Lil' Kim and would have loved it!

Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough

Dance: Cha-Cha-Cha

Score: 9/9/8 = 26 (Last week 27)

Critique: Julianne told him the cha-cha was flirty and fun like their relationship. Julianne did more dancing in this than Chuck did, but he looked great and danced well. Carrie Ann said he was definitely in the game and his hips were moving. Len said it's not how you start but how you finish and that this is turning into a competition. Bruno said he needs to work on his arms. It's getting harder to know what will happen now.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Dance: Samba

Score: 10/8/9 = 27 (last week 28)

Critique: Mark's mother Shirley helped Shawn with her dance since she's a winner in Latin dance and a teacher. It helped because Shawn improved in the areas we saw her work on during rehearsal. Shawn was more technical than emotionally connected during the dance. Len said it lacked hip action and that it was OK but not her best job. Bruno said she would grow into it. Carrie Ann said she didn't make mistakes and was great.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani


Score: 7/7/7 = 21 (last week 29)

Critique: Melissa's rib that was hurt before had a hairline fracture. The orthopedist told her she could continue to perform but had restrictions during practice. The judges had to give scores based on their rehearsal tape which didn't have the impact it would have with an audience. Each of them said it was unfortunate that they had to base it on what they saw. Tony was very disappointed but understood and hopes they get to come back. I'm glad they have something to judge.

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Dance: Salsa

Score: 9/7/8 = 24 (last week 24)

Critique: Dmitry helped Ty learn the moves, and Chelsie made him get tanning spray. He said he went way out of his comfort range with this salsa. Well, Ty has moves! Footwork, hips, shoulders! Who knew? He did it! Jewel was all smiles. The audience and Carrie Ann cheered for a long time. Bruno hated Carrie Ann's whooping as much as I do that loud Mary on So You Think You Can Dance. Len said he showed so much improvement but that unless he stepped it up during the tango, it was time for him to hit the trail. Bruno said his hip action was all from the knees. Carrie Ann loved it. Ty said he didn't know what else to do to make it better because that was his best salsa.

Now for the team dances.

Team Mambo with Chuck and Julianne, Mark and Shawn, and Tony and Lacie (filling in for Melissa). Their plan was to showcase what they do best. Chuck said they were "upping the shirt-off." All members have to do well because the scores are based on how everyone does. It's always good to watch the pros dance together, and Lacie and Tony were amazing. Shawn did well, but Chuck really did well. They had a hilarious ending! The guys stripped down to pink tights and black leotards that matched their female partners' costumes. I wish I had a photo to show you!

Score: 8/8/9 = 25

Team Tango with Gilles and Cheryl, Lil' Kim and Derek, and Ty and Chelsie. Oh, this is wonderful! Lil' Kim and Derek began with a tango with passion, footwork, and precision after rejecting shirtless Gilles and Ty. Then Ty and Chelsie were smooth and good. Gilles and Cheryl were wonderful. Lil' Kim was the best tonight in all ways, though. Aha! Bruno stood during the whole critique and said they were like a pack of voracious raptors going for the attack! Carrie Ann said Team Tango takes it. Len said Gilles's footwork was atrocious and Lil' Kim made a little blunder but that they worked together perfectly as a team and that's what it's all about.

Score: 9/9/10 = 28

Well, it's getting more difficult now to let some of them leave. I still think the final three will be Lil' Kim, Melissa, and Gilles unless something happens. It's hard to tell, but Ty, Shawn, and Chuck will probably go in that order or maybe Chuck after Ty. I like Chuck and Julianne and would like for them to stay as long as possible. Ty is just too cute, too. Shawn does really well, so it's hard to know.


I'm behind reading blogs again and miss y'all! I'll get back on track tomorrow, I hope, and also post my DWTS recap. Carry on!!

More Family

And now here are my wonderful granddaughters, Kelsey and Kari!

Kelsey (16)

Kari (15)



Monday, April 27, 2009

Birthday Boy

Photos from the birthday party at a the Dragon Park in Nashville. The parks in Nashville are awesome, by the way! Those of you on Facebook can see all the photos on there if you'd like to.

Melissa cutting the castle cake she baked, Sally and Brian behind her, my mother and Brendan.

All in a knight's day! Grace assisting Sir Brendan.

Riley, Brendan (who said, "Oh, a Brachiasaurus!" when he opened it), Mother, and Sally

Quote: "I am Mickey the Mouse."

Brian laughing with Riley's parents, Jim & Jamie and Grace's parents, Albert & Jinjifore

Birthday Squirrel

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beamish Boy, Jr.

Today is my grandson Brendan's sixth birthday, and he gets more charming and fun every day! His party is tomorrow afternoon in a park in Nashville. I'm looking forward to being with him and other family members and friends. It was 87 today and is supposed to be 86 and sunny tomorrow, so we'll have a pretty day to be outside. How did summer get here all of a sudden?

Grandchildren are as wonderful as people say they are! I have four whose ages range from six to sixteen! Love, love, love, love!!!

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) died this morning at 86. She had a long career in theater and on television as Maude in the spin-off series and as Dorothy in The Golden Girls. This is sad, and she will be missed. Here's an excerpt from this article:
“Let’s face it,” actress Bea Arthur told an interviewer in 1985, “nobody ever asked me to play Juliet.” At five feet, nine and a half inches, with a deep voice and commanding presence, Arthur has instead made her career playing “strong women” who speak their own minds and control everyone around them. Although these women have included such formidable characters as Yente in Fiddler on the Roof and Vera Charles in Mame, Arthur will probably always be best known for portraying liberal Maude Findlay, the “women’s libber” who stuck it to Archie Bunker on television’s All in the Family and then dominated her own situation comedy, Maude, throughout the 1970s. Arthur’s imperious and controversial Maude left a lasting imprint on American television and feminism.

Befitting her new status as a single, older woman, Bea Arthur created a new television character in the 1980s: Dorothy Zbornak, the divorced schoolteacher of The Golden Girls. From 1985 to 1992, Arthur played Dorothy as the sharp-tongued leader of four older women who lived together in Florida, coping with aging while looking for love and enjoying female friendship. This realistic, funny portrayal of senior citizens won the series a loyal older audience and helped Arthur gamer a second Emmy in 1988.

Despite her continued identification with the theater in the 1990s, it is clearly television audiences that have most warmly embraced Bea Arthur’s “strong women,” and it is through television that Arthur has most influenced American culture. On Maude, Arthur helped break down television barriers and normalize topics like abortion and alcoholism as subjects for open discussion. Perhaps even more important, selves. The sharp-tongued heroine who does not conform to cultural standards of youthful beauty or wifely duty but who holds herself tall and speaks her mind has been a rarity in American popular culture. Bea Arthur embodied this rarity and created a role model for many American women.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is making the email/internet rounds. I never heard about it and wonder if there were publicity I missed. Do any of you know about this memorial? I got this information from a couple of sources, so there's some repetition. (Click images for larger view)

To the Struggle Against World Terrorism (also known as the Tear of Grief and the Tear Drop Memorial) is a 10-story-high sculpture by Zurab Tsereteli that was given to the United States as an official gift of the Russian government as a memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It stands on The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor in New Jersey and was dedicated on September 11, 2006 in a ceremony attended by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The sculpture is in the form of a 100-foot (30 m) tower made of steel and coated in bronze, split with a jagged opening through the middle. Inside the opening hangs a large stainless-steel teardrop, 40 feet (12 m) high, in memory of those whose lives were lost during terrorist attacks in the United States. The eleven sides of the monument's base bear granite name plates, on which are etched the names of those that died in the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Tear of Grief, whose correct name is To The Struggle Against World Terrorism, is a 10-story high sculpture by Zurab Tsereteli that was given as an official gift of the Russian government and placed on The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor as a memorial to those that died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The sculpture is in the form of a 10-story high tower of bronze split with a jagged opening through the middle. Inside the opening hangs a large polished titanium teardrop about three stories high to represent the tears in Moscow shed for the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The teardrop will contain a special cooling device to produce a constant flowing of water. This causes the sculpture to appear to weep.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Teachers Make

Remembering that dating accident reminded me of this. I googled it and found this from the one who wrote it. This has made the email rounds, and this is the original with comments from Taylor Mali, whom I applaud. I LOVE it! This is why I spent almost 40 years being a teacher.

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you're a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?


I am well aware that "What Teachers Make," a poem I wrote in 1999, has been elevated/reduced to the level of Inspirational Cyber Spam. It started happening shortly after I posted an unattributed draft of the poem on this very website. Since the poem appeared on my website, I figured my name was unnecessary. But I was wrong. I suspect the text of the poem got copied, pasted, and sent by well meaning teachers and fans. Soon enough, the poem became anonymous, and people began to edit, alter, and "sanitize" it. There are, to my knowledge, at least five different versions of the poem out there circulating. All of them are anonymous.
The poem has taken on a life of its own. Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, quoted one of the anonymous versions in its entirety as part of his Yale graduation speech in 2003. This led to quotation by Harvey Mackay, the syndicated business columnist. National Public Radio did a story about the adventures of the poem in 2004. Am I disappointed not to have received credit for writing this poem that has inspired so many? Used to be. But the truth will always come out in the end. And if I had to choose between inspiring teachers anonymously or not inspiring them at all, I would choose anonymous inspiration every time.


When my friend Jackie was getting her MBA, she complained about how they taught that businesses had to keep growing and taking over. It sounded ruthless and predatory, and she hated it and asked why people couldn't just make a living. Watching Donald Trump on The Apprentice and now Celebrity Apprentice reinforces that way of thinking I hate so much. He fired one of the contestants because she offered to go to the boardroom with the project manager. He fired her because he said, "Never volunteer for execution." Apparently, he sees compassion, concern, and helpfulness as weakness. If being a bastard or bitch is required to be successful in some businesses, I want no part of it. They make their own rules and then expect each other to play by them.

I dated a guy ONCE who bragged about finding loopholes that kept people from getting insurance benefits and puffed up with pride about how that helped him climb the ladder to a VP position. Then to make it worse he let me know more than once what he made and asked me what my salary was. I told him, and he said his withholding was more than that and that he made more in less than a month than I did all year. Then he adopted a fake sincerity and said how terrible that was because teaching is so important. I glared at him and agreed by saying that my job is much more important than his but that people in business agreed to pay themselves those salaries and that money doesn't determine how vital a job is even though I didn't expect him to understand that. It still burns me up thinking about him.

The banking and insurance disaster shows what can happen. Executives with some of these companies walked off with severance packages in the hundreds of millions while others scraping by were left with nothing - no retirement, no job, and no hope. How can they live with themselves? Greed got us into the financial disaster we're in now. Some of us haven't been greedy. We've lived within our incomes, bought houses and cars we could afford, paid our bills, and tried to do what was right. We're paying for those robber barons that Teddy Roosevelt curbed. The problem is that they just have to lower their standard of living a bit by not having six houses, a yacht, and such as that. The ones suffering are those with no jobs, no pensions, and no prospects. Some young teacher friends have gotten pink slips (last hired, first fired) and are in a panic to figure out what to do about next year. Other people I know are struggling to stay in their homes by taking any work they can find. They weren't greedy. They thought their companies who have never had to lay anyone off would stay solvent. Middle management had to go. Shops in town are closing. Local restaurants are barely hanging on. It goes on and on with so many! It's scary and could have been avoided.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Maxine is right. This cough has been going on too long. Maybe it would help if I'd vacuum.

Chocolaty Bliss from Oz

Pseudonymph sent me a package of Tim Tam Chocolate Biscuits which arrived today! You might have heard of the Tim Tam Slam on YouTube or when Natalie Imbruglia demonstrated it on Leno or Letterman. I forget which. You can read about Tim Tams and the Slam here. I took a bite of each one of the four kinds and am looking forward to savoring them all! Thanks, Pseudonymph! :-)

My friend Janey is coming here for a few months this fall. I need to ask her to bring me some. I saw some places online to order them and read that Pepperidge Farms had a deal and sold them (as Tim Tam Chocolate Cookies) at Target from November through March, so I missed it. This article also mentioned that they are Gail Simmons' favorite snack. I wonder if the ones by Pepperidge Farms were as good as the originals.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DWTS - Results

There was a new part of the show tonight. We got to vote for a professional dancer to compete next season. Two of them are related to previous competitors, Afton DelGrasso who is Ashly's sister and Genya Mazo who is Alec's brother. All of the pro dancers were really good, so it was difficult to decide between them. Next week four of them will compete until we're down to the winner in a couple of weeks. I don't know who I hope wins but liked Genya Mazo, Mayo Alanen, Afton DelGrasso, and Anna Demidova the best although the others, Snow Durbin and Brent Borbon were very good, too.

Just as I predicted and hoped, Lawrence Taylor had the lowest scores this week and is leaving. Tom said he was the worst actor they've had on there because it was obvious he was ready to go and get back to the golf course. In fact, he announced that he'd be on the practice range at 9:00 in the morning and tee time would be 9:30. I'm glad, but it's going to be tough from now on.

I really want Gilles to win, so that's a given. As for Ty and Chuck, they are so cute and fun to have around, but they won't make it to the end. Melissa and Lil' Kim probably will. Shawn might.

Monday, April 20, 2009

DWTS 8 - Week 7

This week the dancetestants participated in a 60's group dance and performed a dance they haven't done yet.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani

Argentine Tango

Score: 10/9/10 = 29 (last week 27)

Critique: Intense, passionate, and precise. The judges were pleased and praised her dancing and Tony's choreography. It was beautiful to watch.

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska

Dance: Waltz

Score: 7/7/7 = 21 (last week 22)

Critique: Edyta was completely covered! She usually wears skimpy costumes to show off her perfect body. She removed that long coat and now has on a ballgown that still covers more of her than usual. Then dance was graceful and elegant, and LT did pretty well. Bruno said it wasn't terrible but not brilliant. Edyta said she was wearing so many clothes she got tangled in them.

Lil' Kim & Derek Hough

Dance: Rumba

Score: 9/8/9 = 26 (last week 28)

Critique: Derek tried to tone down Kim's sexiness this week and really worked on his choreography. The judges thought they went too far and that she needs to be herself. Bruno said it was a good rumba but that taking the raunch out of Lil' Kim was like having a Margarita without tequila. It was as if they were being too careful. Sorry, Derek, back to the ol' drawing board!

Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough

Dance: Samba

Score: 9/9/9 = 27 (Last week 23)

Critique: Well, Chuck! They were both in red, and this might just be Chuck's best performance! Wow! He won't make it to the finals, but Julianne is so popular, and they are a couple who are so cute together that it will help them stay longer. Len said it was by far his best dance yet! Bruno and Carrie Ann loved it! All right!

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Dance: Waltz

Score: 8/8/8 = 24 (last week 18)

Critique: Ty was having trouble with the romance part of the waltz because he said Chelsie was like his adopted daughter. Jewel came to rehearsal to help Ty be romantic during the waltz by telling them to tap into the sincere feelings they have for each other and not try to make it more than it is. He said this waltz was for Jewel. It worked. The waltz was sweet. Ty had good posture and some smooth moves. I like him. Bruno said it was a bigger comeback than Mickey Rourke. Len and Carrie Ann also liked it.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Dance: Cha-Cha

Score: 9/9/10 = 28 (last week 26)

Critique: Shawn was on the road and had to learn the dances with Mark teaching her the group dance on her own. She got tired and stressed out which made her have trouble learning the steps. Mark was dressed like Michael Jackson with the sparkly socks. Their cha-cha was energetic and happy. Carrie Ann said she brought the dance to life. Len liked it, and Bruno said it was flamboyant and vibrant like a young Debbie Reynolds or Mitzi Gaynor. Wonder how many in the audience besides me know who they are?

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Dance: Viennese Waltz

Score: 9/9/9 = 27 (last week 26)

Critique: Cheryl took him to a synchronized swimming coach to learn how to move during the dance. All I could think about was how he looked getting in the pool. Their dance was elegant, smooth, and graceful. It was also sexy. I will say every week that I hope he wins that tacky mirror ball. He is sooooo fine!! The judges praised his performance and Cheryl's choreography.

The group dance was a 60's homage. Ty came out dressed like a hippie for rehearsal, bu they said that was the wrong era of the 60's since that part didn't happen until after JFK's assassination in '63. That era was mostly between '65-'75. Early sixties when I was in high school and college was what they had in mind with go-go dancing, the mashed potato, the twist, and the swim. I did some of those dances when I was in school.

The group dance costumes were the Mary Quant style of go-go boots, mini skirts, heavy eye-liner, and long straight hair. Ah yes, I remember that! They all wore black and white. It was entertaining and fun. I couldn't stay still in my chair and wanted to dance!! Cool! Len said it took him back to '64 when he went clubbing in London. It made me miss dancing because it was such a part of high school, college, and several more decades of dating and going out. It can be so sexy and romantic to dance with a man, moving together to the music, anticipating, hoping, and enjoying. Maybe it's time to make some more memories. ;-)


Aled, or Oxy as I call him, sent me this "World's Shortest Fairy Tale" that I'll share with you. Then for my reply, I'll leave that to Maxine.
Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl "Will you marry me?" The girl said, "NO!" And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and scotch and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted..

Since I've been happily divorced since 1975, I can tell you that works both ways!

Interestingly, some of the best marriages I've seen lately are between gay men.

Dreaming Dreams

Susan Boyle has touched people around the world. For all of us who have dreamed of fame, success, and accomplishment, she embodies those dreams. She made it and got to sing on stage for millions. Those of us who have written and re-written our Oscar acceptance speeches, visualized our names on book covers while we signed copies for admiring fans, seen our names in lights, heard applause for outstanding performances, placed our paintings in galleries, practiced interviewing guests on our talk shows, and spent our lottery winnings, Susan Boyle did it for us. That's why we can't help crying when we see the video of a middle-aged, middle-class woman singing beautifully and surprising everyone with her talent. She gives us hope, and we are thrilled for her.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lazy, Rainy Sunday

I stayed in bed and listened to the programs I like on NPR this morning while it was raining. My cat Brigit snuggled with me. It was so cozy. My favorite will-not-miss program is "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" It's hilarious and about current events. I look forward to it and can listen to the podcasts if I have to be away from the radio at that time.

The rest of the day has been spent on here and reading and being Recliner Cat. Such a good, lazy day! I'm excited because for the first time I have a blank week ahead in my appointment book! I'm so excited! My time is my own! I just love being retired!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Holes in My Head

Somewhere around 40 years ago, I had my ears pierced. After the diagnosis of my unfortunate illness, I got paranoid and decided not to have metal getting into my body through my ear lobes and stopped wearing earrings. I also started the journey toward no longer dying my hair since I read about a link to that and a type of lymphoma I didn't have. Well, I've missed wearing earrings but haven't been able to because I couldn't get them in there without pain. So finally I got them re-pierced Wednesday morning. Now after six weeks wearing these gold studs, I can wear my earrings again and maybe buy some new ones to celebrate!

By the way, according to Trivial Pursuit, ear piercing is the number one form of self-mutilation in the US.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So Are the Days of Our Lives

Check here to find out your life expectancy. I got this from David's blog (even the hourglass). Thanks!! What about yours? Let me know!

I used to say I planned to live until I was 87 but would stick around longer if I felt good and were having a good time. So it just might happen. I hope so because then I could see how the grandchildren turn out and what they are doing.

My real age - 65
Virtual age - 53.2
Average Life Expectancy - 80
My Life Expectancy - 91.8

Roll Me Out of the Ballpark!

NPR had a piece this morning on the Fifth Third Burger sold at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock, Michigan. It's HUGE!!!
Rex Larsen | The Grand Rapids Press
Josh Kowalczyk, an intern with the West Michigan Whitecaps, tries to get his hands around the Fifth Third Burger.

This article is from "Minor League Concession Item Of The Year" by Darren Rovell in Sports Biz here.
For years, we've given the title of "Concession Item Of The Year" to the Gateway Grizzlies, whose executives seems to have a knack for coming up with the best idea year after year.

In 2006, it was a bacon cheeseburger with donuts as buns.

Then came the deep fried sliders.

Last year, it was the buffalo wing pretzel.

But the West Michigan Whitecaps have our eye this year with this — believed to be the single most caloric item ever offered at a ballpark.

Here are the important details on this absolute gutbuster. It's called the Fifth Third Burger, named after the bank that sponsors the team's ballpark.

It's 5/3 lbs (1.66) of beef with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and Fritos on an eight-inch sesame seed bun.

The team says it feeds one to four people and sells for $20, and if a person finishes the Fifth Third Burger in one sitting, the team will offer up a Fifth Third Burger T-shirt.

Mickey Graham, the team's director of marketing and media relations, told us that they came up with this burger because it's something fun that people can understand.

Graham added that he thinks it's possible that that the burger will be popular enough that people might show up to the ballpark, buy a ticket to get in, buy a burger and go home.

"We've had people come just for dinner," Graham said. "It actually happens pretty frequently. We take our food pretty seriously."

For the less important details, here is the approximate "nutritional" information:

Fifth Third Burger Nutritional Value

Total Fat299g460%
Sat. Fat 199g597%
Total Carbs354g118%

After finishing creating a Fifth Third Burger, Todd Guyer compares it with a McDonald's cheesburger.

From "Whitecaps' Fifth Third Burger not for Faint of Heart" by Michael Zuidema | The Grand Rapids Press Read full article here.
Here's what fans can expect from the Fifth Third Burger:

Start with an 8-inch sesame seed bun that requires 1 pound of dough and is made specially for the Whitecaps by Nantucket Baking Co. of Grand Rapids.
Spoon on nearly a cup of chili and place five one-third pound hamburger patties on top of that. (Get it, 5/3 pounds of beef for the Fifth Third Burger?)

Add five slices of American cheese and liberal doses of salsa, nacho cheese and Fritos. Top it off with lettuce, tomato and sour cream, and you have a burger that can be sliced with a pizza cutter and feed four people for $20. Jalapenos are optional.

Each offseason, team officials brainstorm ideas for their next culinary creation. Potential ingredients for this season included cactus, sausage gravy, Spam, fried eggs and grape jelly. Fortunately, not all on one sandwich.

Eventually, the Whitecaps settled on the Fifth Third Burger because it consisted mostly of items that easily can be found at a ballpark.

Other new food options for the season are a Chicago-style hot dog cart and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.

To the Nines

I got this from Ben's Biz Blog, which is about Minor League Baseball. I found it while researching the Fifth Third Burger and thought this post was interesting. Check out the entire post at "Cyclones Deliver a Winner" on his blog.

"On Sunday, July 19th at 6 p.m., the Brooklyn Cyclones are hosting Bellies and Baseball: A Salute to Pregnancy, and inviting expectant parents to participate in a variety of themed activities...including a special prize for anyone who gives birth at the game."

A pregnancy lasts nine months and a baseball game lasts nine innings, so it is only fitting that nine "themed activities" will be taking place throughout the evening.

* Barefoot & Pregnant: Expectant moms can run (or, more likely, walk) the bases with no shoes on before the game

* Craving Station: A table on the Concourse level will offer pickles, ice cream, anchovy pizza, etc. for pregnant women who crave more than the usual ballpark fare

* Water Break: Two expectant fathers will try to complete a race with water balloons attached to their bodies. The winner is the one who lasts the longest or finishes the race without his water breaking

* 7th Inning Stretch Marks: Pregnant women will be allowed onto the field in the 7th inning to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame

* Lamaze on the Lawn: The Cyclones will offer a Pre-game Lamaze class on the grass in centerfield

* Special Delivery: Any woman who gives birth at the ballpark before the end of the game gets free Cyclones Season Tickets for life for each member of her new family

* Naming Rights: Any expectant mother who agrees to name her child "Brooklyn" or "Cy" gets free Season Tickets for life

* Pregnancy Pitch: Any woman in her third trimester gets to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game

* Trimester Tricycles: Bike race between expectant fathers between innings.

If you or your significant other is currently not pregnant...well, you have more than three months to rectify that situation. If the opportunity to participate in a Minor League Baseball promotion isn't a good reason to procreate, then I don't know what is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For Fellow Harry Potter Fans

Career Counseling

The Somali pirates have the wrong idea. They can get killed and not necessarily be paid ransoms. Why aren't they doing email scams like the Nigerians? It can be done in the comfort of an internet cafe with relative anonymity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For some reason there was no dance-off tonight. Before when they didn't have one, it was a double elimination but not tonight. I don't know how they decide that. Do you? Btw, what does Carmen Electra do anyway? She was on there gyrating with back-up dancers and a chair in a cabaret act.

Steve-O was voted off the dance floor tonight.

Prepare to Cry

I got this from Rhea at The Boomer Chronicles. Here's what she wrote complete with links. She's right. I cried.
Susan Boyle, a 48-year-old woman who lives near Glasgow, Scotland, with her cat, Pebbles, wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. The reason the judges fell over themselves in praise is: 1) she sings beautifully; 2) she’s older than most contestants; 3) she’s a real plain Jane. The Daily Mail puts it this way: “Middle-aged, dowdy, with thick eyebrows and an unfortunate gait, she couldn’t have looked less like a star.” First, Paul Potts, and now Susan Boyle. Watch Susan Boyle perform. Watch out; you might cry.

She now has a chance at a second career in musical theater. I hope it happens for her and much more!

See what happens when I get behind in my blog reading? I've just seen this post on Dan's, Eric's, and probably other blogs I haven't made it to yet.


Phil Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to eighteen years in prison, which is how long this trial has been going on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

DWTS 8 - Week 6

This week the rumba and jive. Len gave the lowest scores tonight and was the most critical.

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Dance: Jive

Score: 6/6/6 = 18 (last week 21)

Critique: Ty is so cute! He's still stiff when he dances but loosened up more tonight, especially during parts of it. That part was more like line dancing. I'm glad I got to know something about him because I've liked Jewel for a while and like them together. The judges said he isn't a good dancer but is enthusiastic and gives it his all.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Dance: Rumba

Score: 8/9/9 = 26 (last week 26)

Critique: An innocent, wholesome rumba! It was age-appropriate and sweet. Shawn felt self-conscious dancing the rumba since she's only 17, so Mark tried to help by re-creating a prom setting since she might have to miss her high school prom. It helped. The judges thought so, too. Len said the rumba can be like a fire and can be warm or hot. He liked it.

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska

Dance: Jive

Score: 7/7/8 = 22 (last week 20)

Critique: I just can't get into Lawrence. Warren Sapp went to their rehearsal to help him have fun. I remember what a great personality Warren has. Not so much with LT. His jive wan't that much fun to watch. Some parts of it were jive-ish for sure, but he just seems reserved. The judges said he did much better than he did last week.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani


Score: 9/9/9 = 27 (last week 25)

Critique: Melissa wanted to make a come-back from last week. She rehearsed getting into character for the dance, and Tony said she did it really well. It was sensuous and fairly passionate. The judges said her moves were more like ballet and that she needs to break away from them and not be afraid to commit to the full movements.

Lil' Kim & Derek Hough

Dance: Jive

Score: 10/9/10 = 29 (last week 26)

Critique: Now this was a jive!!! It was quick, fun, and energetic! They danced to "Jailhouse Rock" which was appropriate. Queen Latifah was in the audience in a flannel shirt. Yeah, me too. I loved this jive and so did the audience and judges! Carrie Ann and Bruno went wild standing and cheering! Len thought it was too theatrical but still gave them a 9.

Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer

Dance: Rumba

Score: 7/4/5 = 16 (last week 18)

Critique: Lacey had on lingeree, and Steve-O tried to be passionate and actually succeeded part of the time. The trouble is that he doesn't dance well. Carrie Ann said there was something oddly mesmerizing to watch him dance and said it was his commitment. Bruno and Len said his dancing was bad.

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Dance: Jive

Score: 9/8/9 = 26 (last week 29)

Critique: Gilles had trouble with this dance and really had to work at it. It's always wonderful to me to watch him dance or even just stand there. He tried and tried and said the jive wasn't his dance, so Cheryl took him to the soccer field. That way he could use that footwork for the jive. It worked! He was energetic and fun. Len thought too much so and said he was frantic and all over the place. That's more about Cheryl's choreography than him, isn't it? He rushed over and kissed his wife when the dance ended. Love that! I REALLY want Gilles to win this!! Really, really!

Tom introduced Cristián de la Fuente in the audience and said he was going to have steamy scenes with Rachel Griffiths in Brothers & Sisters Sunday night. I'm looking forward to that!!

Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough

Dance: Rumba

Score: 8/7/8 = 23 (Last week 23)

Critique: Chuck told Julianne she didn't have to be mean to him to teach him to dance. He said when she was mean, it pissed him off. Since the rumba is about passion, she took him to the amusement park where they had their first date, so they could get the romance back. Len thought they did that too much and the dance was too raunchy. Bruno and Carrie Ann loved it. I thought it was intense and emotional and didn't see what Len objected to. Chuck said it was his favorite dance they've done.