Sunday, January 31, 2010


Brendan was funny on the phone with me yesterday. He went into this: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. I said, “Oh, you are using a mnemonic device to name the planets,” and named the first three. He then went on to name the rest of them and added, “In January, 2006, Pluto’s status as a planet was changed. Because of its orbit, Pluto is a dwarf planet.” I said that’s right and asked him what the sentence should be without Pluto. He said, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us … Nothing. Now we will no longer enjoy our mother’s delicious home-cooked Pluto.” I guess that was on the DVD he got this from, too. I'll have to ask his parents if he edited that last part or not.

Interesting child for sure. He didn’t show as much interest in the mnemonics I gave him for the Great Lakes but will probably remember it. (HOMES = Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)

D&D Banned in Prison

I thought it was interesting on several levels that Dungeons & Dragons has been banned in prison. NYTimes article HERE.

The suit was brought by a prisoner, Kevin T. Singer, who argued that his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the prison’s decision to ban the game and confiscate his books and other materials, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript he had created for the game.

Mr. Singer, “a D&D enthusiast since childhood,” according to the court’s opinion, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for bludgeoning and stabbing his sister’s boyfriend to death.

Prison officials said they had banned the game at the recommendation of the prison’s specialist on gangs, who said it could lead to gang behavior and fantasies about escape.

Dungeons & Dragons could “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior,” prison officials said in court. That could make it more difficult to rehabilitate prisoners and could endanger public safety, they said.

RPG discussion boards are abuzz! As the mother of a geek, I've been defending this for quite a long time; however, the prison population doesn't have the most well-adjusted people around, so I'm trying to wrap my head around a gang of D&D players.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

War Trivia

Britain developed the first tanks for use during World War I. The word tank was used because it didn’t mean anything, and didn’t give the Germans a clue as to the weapon’s possible use.

Size Trivia

The largest Olympic stadium ever constructed was Stadium Australia in Olympic Park. It seats 110,000 people. Opening and closing ceremonies, men’s soccer finals, and athletic events were held there.

I LOVE the Olympics!!

Bowling Trivia

Candlepin bowling uses 10 small pins and 3 balls, and is played primarily in the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The ball is only 5 inches in diameter, is made of hard rubber, and has no finger holes.

I've played something similar to this, but it had another name. Anybody know?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Einstein Say -

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

And this too ...

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.


It's snowing like a madman here. It started a little after 8:00 and hasn't stopped. They're predicting 6-10" of accumulation. It changed to freezing rain while ago which is predicted to go back to snow, and I hope it does. As long as the electricity stays on, I'm fine.

Did Any of You Know This? I Didn't.

The first woman executed by the U.S. government was Mary Surratt. She was hanged July 7, 1865, for conspiracy in the assassination of President Lincoln.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger died today at 91. I've read and enjoyed all his books and short stories. They came along at the right time for me. We all know about Catcher in the Rye, but he wrote many short stories as well. This quote from one of them is meaningful to me:

The central theme of Salinger's work is stated explicitly in one of his best short stories, "For Esm̩ Рwith Love and Squalor." Salinger quotes a passage from Dostoevski: "Fathers and teachers, I ponder 'What is Hell?' I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love."

I Don't Remember This

The first color TV series starred married actors Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy and was called The Marriage, appropriately enough.

Sad News

Brian called this morning to let me know that my ex-husband died at 7:45 this morning from renal cell carcinoma. He was an important part of my life for many years and is Brian's father. Even though I didn't want to stay married to him, I have lots of good memories from our time together. Brian and Melissa are flying to Tampa Saturday afternoon for visitation Sunday and the funeral Monday. Brendan will stay here with me. If the weather reports are accurate, and we get all this snow they're predicting, this could be difficult to manage since I can't get out of my neighborhood when it snows very much. There are hills in every direction with not enough room to get a running start. The street in front of my house goes to the by-pass down a very steep hill, which I've always elected not to try. So I hope weather conditions cooperate, so they can get Brendan here Saturday evening and pick him up Monday evening.

This is really sad. Brian's doing pretty well and was prepared for how bad this was even though we're never totally prepared for this.


I worked at the vitamin shop yesterday afternoon and got so sleepy toward the end of the day. I dragged myself to the yarn shop and the grocery store. When I got home, I put up the groceries and changed clothes. Then I lay down to rest and dozed off for a while. I was so groggy and fixed a Lean Cuisine because I wasn't capable of much else. After attempting to play Scrabble while eating, it was all I could do to go back to bed and watch the State of the Union Address. I saw parts of it and then went to sleep big time, not waking up until 2:30 AM when I got up and turned everything off and went back to bed until around 8:30 this morning. Good grief! Am I sick? I still don't have any energy and don't feel that great.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Auntie Meme

Well, since it's Howard, I'll do this. He tagged me for a meme, and although there aren't many things most of you don't know about me (that I'd tell on here), I'll give it a shot.

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.

Thank you, Howard.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

Soundtrack to My Day

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

So many! This is the hard part.

(1) I'm a cat person. Mostly because I like it that cats use the litter box, don't eat all their food so it can be left out for them, don't require baths that often, don't have to be walked, and don't bark. I'm too lazy to have a dog and don't like to be jumped on and licked by them.

(2) I survived the 60's without addictions and with quite a bit of my idealism. I'm a realist but hopeful. I didn't do drugs but did try smoking pot and didn't like it. I don't smoke, so it hurt my lungs. I also didn't like to feel disoriented (well, more than I am naturally). I don't like to be out of control even though I was drunk a few too many times back then. Anyone who says you wouldn't do anything drunk you wouldn't do sober has never been drunk. One of those experiences marked the end of my drinking except for wine now and then. It happened a long time ago - like at least 25 years ago.

(3) I love being retired but wish I weren't so old. My life hasn't exactly gone the way I hoped it would. There are quite a few things I'd change if I could rewind.

(4) Have enjoyed traveling and want to do more of it. For example, I want to go back to Europe and want to visit Australia. There are places here in the US to go, too. I want to visit my blog friends and nephews and/or meet them in various places. I'd love to visit Charlie and get him down here sometime. So many places to go! Also, how can I work it out to live in the SW (Arizona or New Mexico) during a lot of the summer?

(5) A lot of people get on my nerves.

(6) I actually do this.

(7) I'm still intimidated by my external hard drive and haven't used it yet.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

I hate to ask any of you to do this because I know some of you hate it, and some others I'd ask have already been tagged. So if you don't choose to participate, that's OK. I'm asking you because I like your blogs. I don't always comment on them because often I read them on my Blackberry and can't comment or post - just read.

- My dear friend Charlie I've known for at least 15 years, I think. How long has it been, Charlie? His blog is Berry Blog HERE.

- Tugboat my favorite truck driver and best storyteller ever! His blog "The Award Winning! God, You Ain't Goin' to Believe This!" is HERE.

- Froggy at the former Frogponder but now Froggy.

- Mrs. Miss Alaineus because what I know about you already is fascinating, and I'd like to know more.

- Her wonderful new husband Mr. Mischief whose blog is A Bit of Loki.

- Ken at Bucko's World. He's Nutwood Beth's husband and a neat guy.

- Oxy on The Life and Times of Huge Alex. He's from Wales originally, lived in the US a long time, and is now back in the UK.

- Chris at From A Whisper to A Scream.

6. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

I think I remembered to let all of them know!

New Book

Game Change came today from Amazon. I've been wanting to read the dishy book and now I will. You'll be hearing about this from me.

How Dinosaurs Became Extinct

... or the very first senior moment

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Can Believe This

Declaring that he was an alcoholic, Ozzy Osbourne quit performing and opened a bar. He soon drank up all his stock and wasted his money until he rejoined his band.


For those of you who would like for wine to be sold in TN grocery stores, HERE is a website that gives information and a link to write to your legislators. It's called Red White and Food. I just sent emails to my state legislators, one I know is in favor of this because he sponsored it - not sure about the other one since he sponsored that legislation to allow guns in bars and restaurants. They can sell beer in grocery stores here but not wine. Weird. Get me out of here!

Red Panda and Spring Flowers

I was tired of looking at the snow picture I had on my blog header and changed it to the red panda. Isn't that the cutest and most adorable thing!!

I bought potted hyacinths and daffodils to have in the house to give me some hope for spring. I'm ready for warmer weather and wish spring and fall would last most of the year.

SAG Awards

Betty White was a hoot in her Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech. SOURCE for excerpts from article.
The funniest acceptance speech goes to lifetime achievement award winner Betty White, who still can rile up a room after 88 years. After buddy Sandra Bullock lightly teased White during her introduction (said Bullock: “She starred in four different television shows called The Betty White Show. Four. Most people would stop naming shows after themselves after the third one.”), White approached the podium and thanked her pal: “Isn’t it heartening to see how far a girl as plain as she is can go?” But she was just getting started: “I am still to this day starstruck. I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces. But what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few. Maybe had a couple.” (Props to George Clooney, who, while presenting best performance by a cast in a motion picture, told the audience: “I think it was 1987, I did an episode of The Golden Girls, and I would like to thank Betty White for her discretion.”) And you have to respect White, if only for that high-slit dress. Backstage, she told reporters, “You got to use everything you possibly can!”
Betty White had only praise for Bullock backstage. "She's the epitome of what a movie star should be," White said. "She's not only gorgeous and talented, but she's also the most down-to-earth human being."

And this:
Sandra Bullock is really turning out to be the darling of the awards season. Just check out the speech she delivered after winning her best actress award for her work in The Blind Side: “So proud to say that in a room full of faces that have inspired me, and allowed me six years ago to say I’m going to stop working, ’cause I wasn’t doing good work, and audition again. And you say goodbye to the money, and you say goodbye to all the things that you became comfortable with…And to my husband, Jesse, who works so hard all day, and you get dressed up in monkey suits, and you sit at a table with people you don’t know. And I leave you there and then you come back with, like, Morgan Freeman’s email. I don’t know how you do it. I love you so much, and you’re really hot. And I want you so much.” Backstage, the actress could barely believe her win — she told reporters: “It’s a fluke. I feel that it’s wrong. I made a bet with the driver — my money was on Meryl.” And when another reporter told her she was now the frontrunner, she shushed him.

Full speech here and worth watching for the loving expression husband Jesse James has on his face. Charlie and I became fans of his when he was in Celebrity Apprentice and did it on his own, no matter how much Trump tried to badger him into calling on his wife. Sandra Bullock also said at the Critics Choice Awards how it was no surprise that her work got better after she married him and that now she knew what it was like for someone to have her back. They seem to have a good marriage, and I'm glad.

This is the year for Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz, and Mo'Nique. I'm also really happy for Juliana Margulies for her role in The Good Wife. She's excellent on that and said her parents called her after every episode and have always been supportive. She said they were proud of her in everything she's been in except not so much for Snakes on a Plane. LOL! I'm sure! If you haven't seen The Good Wife, watch it. I still have movies on my list to see!

February will be TV heaven for me with the Olympics and other awards shows!!

Vote for Howard's Blog Soundtrack to My Day

My blog friend Howard has been nominated for a Bloggie for his blog about music Soundtrack to My Day. This is a big deal! The Bloggies began around ten years ago and are like the Oscars for bloggers. Ironically Howard had to be coaxed into blogging and now look! He's a star!

Please go HERE and vote for him, and if you want to read an excellent blog about music, read Soundtrack to My Day.

The voting procedure is one vote per email address. If you return to vote again, the ballot will be replaced, so be sure to mark all the categories you have with favorites. Voting is open from now until Sunday, January 31st at 10PM. To place your vote, go here, where the screen goes horizontally, not vertically. The music category is about halfway across. But do check out all the categories and blogs, there are some fascinating entries. At the far right, there is a place to fill in your email address and an anti-spam word device before completing the process. A verification email will be sent to the address to finalize the vote. The winner will be announced in March at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.

As a favor to several of us, please vote for anyone but Perez Hilton in the Gossip Blog category. You might find some of your favorites on the ballots, so check them out.

Thank you! Please vote!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Helpful Flow Chart

Once again, I've stolen a post from Bob at I Should Be Laughing. He has good stuff over there.

Too Sad

Coyotes are extremely loyal to their mates. If one is caught in a trap, the other will bring small game for it to eat; it will soak itself in a river to allow its thirsty mate to chew on its damp fur for water. It has been documented that the free coyote will stay with its captive partner until death.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Piercing Trivia

Piercing isn’t some new punk fad. From earliest times, people pierced their ears, nose, nipples, and navel, as the holes produced were thought to release demons from the body.

From Bob at I Should Be Laughing

10 Trolls Every Blogger Will Encounter

By Andrea Grimes at Heartless Doll

It's easy enough to avoid real-life trolls. Keep your billy goats in check and avoid sketchy bridges. But online (you know, in the world where you aren't in charge of Capra aegagrus hircus and the safe maritime transportation thereof), anyone with a blog is bound to run into an internet troll. They've been around since the days of newsgroups and BBSes, even before Livejournal was in diapers, and they'll probably still be around when the aliens come to get us in 2012. In fact, they may be the aliens.

Bloggers, beware: here are 10 troll types you will encounter on the internetz, flamin' ur thredz.

10. The anti-choice troll
It can smell your desire to murder the babies of the world with your liberal atheist devil-worshipping hate, and it will find you and your blog and tell you, in no uncertain terms, the hellfire you can expect. Feminist bloggers are especially familiar with this troll, and know all too well that there is no arguing with the crazy. Let the crazy talk. Let the crazy express itself. Because the crazy thinks it has Jesus on its side, and if you think it's hard to argue with a religious nut on an internet forum, try arguing with a potentially non-existent dude who's been dead for 2,000 years and has millions of people thinking they can speak for him.
9. The grammar nazi troll
Let's talk hypothetically: in your blog post, you found the cure for cancer. Not only that, you ended genocide and made reality television programming illegal. But, in your fervor, you used a serial comma or were careless with your use of its/it's. The grammar nazi troll will be here in a flash to tell you what a worthless piece of shit you are for your abominable command of the English language. The grammar nazi troll likely has no publications of note but carefully copy edits all its rejection letters. Also, the grammar nazi troll reading this post is really upset that I didn't capitalize "nazi."
8. El Creepo

This troll was, initially, a fan of your blog. It read your work regularly, sent you tips via e-mail and tried repeatedly to friend your personal account on Facebook. When you didn't respond with equal enthusiasm, El Creepo started feeling angry and rejected because you didn't want to be friends with a stranger from the internet who e-mails you upwards of six times a day. If El Creepo is lucky, it lives within driving distance of your town and will use your Twitter or FourSquare account to track you down at your local and stare menacingly at you from across the room. Please leave me alone, El Creepo. Really.
7. The political dissenter/martyr troll
If your blog is interesting, chances are it's because you take a stand on things. You have political views you feel passionate about. You build a community of people who are interested in these things and who interact thoughtfully and productively about said things. Heck, some people even manage to disagree civilly. Until political dissenter/martyr troll comes around, starting fights with everyone in a comment thread, spewing its passionate anti-whatever-you're-into views all over the productive discussion. This troll will likely get mouthy about how pathetic a blogger is for not entertaining dissenting opinions, all the while only being interested in hearing itself talk (or type, as it were). Political dissenter/martyr troll, what good do you think you are doing? Whose mind do you think you are changing? Troll, you are an asshole.
6. The troll who can't let it go
It may have been 2 days or 2 months ago, but you once said something that this troll didn't agree with. And while you have moved on, this troll has not. One day, you'll be posting about, say, Skittles. The troll who can't let it go will pop up and remind you about that time you said you hated glitter, didn't believe in the public option or thought we should legalize the possession of small amounts of narcotics. Chances are even you forgot you hated glitter, but this troll never forgets.
5. The self-promotional troll
The self-promotional troll is real happy for you, and it's gonna let you finish, but ITS WEBSITE IS THE GREATEST WEBSITE OF ALL TIME HERE IS A LINK Y'ALL TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF MAH POSTS OK LOL.
4. The troll what feeds itself
Despite the long and storied existence of IP-tracking technology, the troll what feeds itself dedicates its time and effort to engaging with its inflammatory self by posting under different names on a single blog, all to make it seem like there are many people who share the same hateful and/or argumentative position. It's like stuffing a ballot box, except it's on the internet and it's really sad and who has this kind of time?
3. The troll who over-shares your personal information
It could be an angry ex, a dissed friend or someone at school or work who has it out for you. But this troll knows your personal business and isn't afraid to use it against you online. The troll knows where you live, who you're dating or what school your kids go to. And this troll wants everyone else to know, too.
2. The troll who believes it has inside information about your weight or sexuality When all else fails, this troll will just call you fat/a fag. When you call this troll out on its poor arguments, it will call you fat/a fag. When you prove this troll wrong with actual facts, it will call you fat/a fag. Actually, when it hasn't even tried anything yet, this troll will call you fat/a fag. Maybe there's something to be said for consistency?
1. The troll who has thought out extensive sexual assault scenarios
Most likely to be a
troll commenting on a female blogger's site, the assault troll attacks writers with vivid and terrifying threats of sexual violence. Yes, the threats are scary. Even scarier? The fact that there are probably real, even normal-seeming, people behind them.


Adolf Hitler’s favorite dog, Blondi, an Alsatian, was used to make sure his cyanide capsules were lethal. Hitler used the cyanide to commit suicide when he saw it worked on Blondi.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can't Escape

I haven't been in a relationship for quite a while partly because I don't want drama in my life. I didn't take into account Brigit the demanding feline blonde diva in my house and life. I don't know why I thought it would work to pretend I was still asleep after she woke me up pawing my arm, running back and forth across me, knocking things off the night table, and being as annoying as possible. Why? Her dish with treats in it was empty. She had food, water, and a cleaned-out litter box, but having no treats (supposed to be occasional not regular) was enough to relentlessly harangue me in the middle of the night. If I'd just gone on and done what she wanted in the first place I could have saved two hours of drama and gone back to sleep. Sorry. Just had to interrupt this post to open the door and let her outside for a little while. She has me trained.

Here she is on my knitting bag. Looks deceptively sweet and content, doesn't she?

For Boy G

Seven thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians bowled on alleys not unlike our own. They didn’t have to rent bowling shoes, however.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wow! The Image of This!

When she was a young woman, TV sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer lived in Israel. There, she was a trained sniper. In fact, she was so adept at handling a Sten gun, a British submachine gun, that she could quickly assemble one while blindfolded.

And Dr. Ruth is also a size queen!

Who Knew?

Dolphins have killed sharks by ramming them with their snouts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Observations on the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais was of course funny. Several digs by him and others about NBC and Leno. And this one, "I like a drink as much as the next man - as long as the next man isn't Mel Gibson." Then Gibson walked out to present.

Why did Michael C. Hall have on a knit hat? OK, I googled and found out he has Hodgkins lymphoma and is on the road to recovery. I'm sorry he's going through that and glad he's doing well.

No reason for Mickey Rourke to wear a cowboy hat inside, though.

Yay!! Julianna Margulies won for The Good Wife! I'm so glad. She really is good in that show and makes it what it is.

Yes!! Glee won!

Mo'Nique walked up to the stage on both awards shows like she's James Brown and someone is behind her holding her cape. I think her husband does escort her part of the way. Maybe it was the music. Her speech was eloquent and heart-felt and made me teary.

Martin Scorsese spoke eloquently about film when he accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award presented to him by Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sandra Bullock's speech was so good. I'm glad this is happening for her and for Jeff Bridges. He said they were screwing up his unappreciated status. T Bone Burnett won for song at this one, too. Looks as if this is the year for Jeff Bridges. I hope so for him and Sandra Bullock.

Robert Downey, Jr., gave what appeared to be an irreverent speech which was perfect for him.

Those were the highlights for me. What about you?


Golfer Arnold Palmer was the first person to make $1 million playing golf. Golfing great Ben Hogan’s famous reply when asked how to improve one’s game was: "Hit the ball closer to the hole."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sorry So Sorry

I've been thinking about apologies lately. We can all make a list of politicians, sports figures, entertainers, and others in the news who have apologized publicly for something they said or did. I certainly appreciate the gesture but don't put much stock in words alone. Anyone can say anything, but unless they change their behavior and try to do better, apologies are empty. That's how we know they were sincere.

Most of them don't mean it and others didn't need to apologize in the first place but were pressured into it. Sometimes we say things in anger or without thinking and later really are sorry we did it. So what are we really saying when we apologize? Sorry we were caught? Sorry we hurt someone's feelings? Sorry we were being a jerk? Want things back the way they were? Wish it would all be over with? Trying to look good? What do you think?

Sleepy Saturday

I worked today at the vitamin center and had to get up a few hours before I usually do. I've been sleepy all day, too. I took my knitting and a book, as usual, and had quite a few customers - the good kind who know what they want and get it. This was not a good knitting day but more of an unknitting day. Frustrating for sure and probably had something to do with my being so sleepy and my lack of ability.

I went by the yarn shop and unknitted some more. Some yarn doesn't work well to ravel and start over and gets fuzzy. One of my projects is this way and the other one not as much. The conversation was enjoyable, and then Tina, Hope, and I went to the Mexican restaurant. Interesting how being there with a tall blonde in her 20's is such a different experience than when I'm there with other friends closer to my age. The waiters were speaking Spanish to Hope, asking about her "novio" and really giving her attention. She speaks and understands enough to carry on a conversation, and of course that impressed the waiter even more than he already was. I remember those days and miss them, but life goes on. I'm invisible to men now and that's how it is. I had my time but just wish I'd realized I had that power, but then I might have been dangerous.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Critic's Choice Winners

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Best Acting Ensemble: Inglourious Basterds
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges
Best Actress: tie! Meryl Streep & Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, Precious
Best Young Actress: Saoirse Ronan
Best Documentary: The Cove
Best Foreign Language Film: Broken Embraces
Best Animated Movie: Up
Best Comedy Movie: The Hangover
Best Score: Up
Best Song: The Weary Kind
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Make-Up: District 9
Best Action Movie: Avatar
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Editing: Avatar
Best Sound: Avatar

Kristin Chenoweth hosted this and was way too silly. Her jokes fell flat most of the time. I like her and have enjoyed her performances and personality, but not tonight. I was glad Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges won. Mo'Nique has received nothing but high praise for her performance in Precious, based on the novel by Sapphire (what an agent Sapphire must have!). I haven't seen it yet but will. Have any of you seen Inglourious Basterds? I like some of Tarantino's movies and not others but will see this one. I hope Kathryn Bigelow wins the Oscar - first woman director to do so if she wins.

Gosh, I have a lot to see since the only one with nominations I've seen is The Blind Side! Sandra Bullock was funny when she said, "Hey, critics! Bet you didn't see this coming! Neither did I!"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Penguin Poster

This is the only picture I could find of a poster I used to have on my wall. The caption is: "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no class." It always made me laugh and cheered me up when I needed it.

LOL Trivia

The possessor of a prize feline in Bucharest was able to increase her cat’s stud fees to $1,000 a day when its name was changed to Bill Clinton!

Just Sayin'

NBC needs to honor their contract with Conan and let Leno go if they aren't happy with his being where he is. They need to give him severance pay without any strings attached. He should get to go to another network if that works out and let the others stay where they are. NBC is known for stupid programming decisions. I still haven't forgiven them for canceling several shows I loved. I was ready to have Jimmy Smits as President on The West Wing and possibly Alan Alda as VP. They get some good shows and then don't support them. As Craig Ferguson said about NBC execs, they are lying rat-bastards! I wish I could be in charge of programming for NBC. The MBA's wouldn't be happy, but some viewers would be.

Bits and Pieces

Coke Zero is basically carbonated battery acid with caffeine and Aspartame. It's really bad for me, but I drink it anyway because I like the fizzy taste.

Why does Pat Robertson have a show? Better yet, why does he even exist? The scary part is that there are people who actually believe him and agree with his hateful spew.

The View is much better when Barbara Walters is not on it. All she does is brag about who she's interviewed (it was her JOB), interrupt to explain the obvious, and annoy me.

Spending lots of money to renovate a house you're going to sell isn't always cost-effective. When I look at houses, I see the potential as long as it has features that are important like location, floor plan, structural soundness, condition, and such as that. Sometimes what people add is not what prospective buyers like and want. Clean, repair, paint, decorate, and organize it. Make it sellable without spending a fortune except for repairs that the inspector will require anyway.

Teacher pay based on "merit" (HA! test scores) is a horrible idea for many reasons. Some teachers teach courses that aren't tested. Do we need to have an art contest, music competition, etc.? Should high school coaches get paid based on their wins and losses? TVAS scores in Tennessee are supposed to predict performance of high school students with a formula that is based on predicted CORN YIELD! It's crazy. In our state, Governor Bredesen wants to participate in federal "Race to the Top" money which will give most of the money to higher education but will be hardest on teachers whose classes are tested. I was leery with merit pay as part of Obama's education platform and am disappointed that this program includes it. We need to get rid of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) which has set education back and will take decades to recover from. That was a huge mistake made by the W administration, and I hoped it would be replaced with something that really works. It doesn't seem that will happen. There must be less emphasis on testing instead of more. Students need to be taught to think and learn, not just to take tests. I could go on and on but won't. You get the idea.

I'm still keeping musician hours but have a glimmer of hope that I will get back on a schedule that is still night owlish but pushed back earlier than going to bed at 3:00 AM.

I Can Think of Several Reasons for This

Residents of Hawaii outlive residents of all other states. Louisianans are the most prone in the United States to die an early death.

Froggy, Don't Read This!

Giant crab spiders have such a ferocious appearance that they earned a spot as extras in the horror film Arachnophobia. These creatures, however, eat only cockroaches, crickets, and caterpillars, more than compensating for their scary appearance. Giant crab spiders are about 2 inches long, are hairy, and have noticeable black fangs and black feet. Their egg sac is the size of a golf ball.

I intentionally did not include a photo.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Awards season has begun, and so must my movie marathon. As you know, I try to see all the nominated movies before the award shows (which btw are already written down on my calendar - Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, Independent Spirit, and Oscars). My work is cut out for me since I've seen only a few of them so far.

I'll write more about the movies later with reviews. From what I've heard and read about Crazy Heart, I'm looking forward to it. First of all, I like Jeff Bridges. The story is familiar, and we've seen it before. The character sounds like Townes Van Zandt's life without the happy ending. Townes was an incredible singer-songwriter who drank himself to death. I guess The Wrestler is a credible comparison there in several ways. Both died because their hearts exploded, so to speak.

But back to Crazy Heart, I feel that I know what to expect, but Bridges gives more and in different ways in his roles. He looks a lot like Kris Kristofferson and sings his own songs. T-Bone Burnett was interviewed by Terry Gross this morning on "Fresh Air" and wrote original songs for the movie and produced the music. That's always a good sign. He's an amazing talent.

Bridges's character has a relationship with a reporter played by Maggie Gyllenhaal who is about 1/3 his age. I warned students about those "for the love of a good woman" movies and novels because that rarely happens in real life. Those stories make for good fantasies, but if someone isn't like you want them to be when you are with them, odds are low they'll change. I'm OK with this in the movie but wish it weren't the much-younger woman again. Oh well. Don't see that happening in reverse, do you?

Guess I should have waited until AFTER watching the movie to write about it, but I'll do that, too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ahead of the Curve

Tom Brokaw was on NPR this morning discussing the effects of the economy on businesses and people who need to take stock of their spending habits and lifestyles. By being a teacher in a cheap-ass rural county in Tennessee, my salary has always sucked. I got used to economizing (squeaking by) and don't notice any difference now since I've never been able to afford investments, don't have a credit card, and am not in debt except for my house. I'll have a car payment when this '99 car costs more to maintain that payments on a new one. I generally keep cars until that point. Would I like to have more money and live higher on the hog? Hell, yes! But I'm OK. For some reason, even though I make less money than I did when I was teaching now that I'm retired, the money goes farther, and I've even been able to save and do some traveling. When I told Mother this a few years ago, she asked, "You're not forgetting to pay something, are you?"

Then I read this on HuffPo and feel profoundly fortunate and thankful!

Jacqueline Mosley One Of Many In Memphis Struggling To Keep On Power

On January 12, CNN's "American Morning" featured the story of Jacqueline Mosley, a Memphis woman in her 60s who's struggled to find work and who has lived for nearly a year without power or heat in her home.

"I'm not without power because I don't want to pay. It's because I can't pay," she told CNN's Kiran Chetry. "It's been real challenging. Every day I'm out looking for a job. I'm trying to find things that I don't know how to do but I'm willing to learn."

Mosley knows she isn't the only one struggling, and she's grateful to the city of Memphis for temporarily giving her power and heat during the cold winter months. Before her power and gas were turned back on, Mosley would go to the local library in the morning to warm up. The power had been off in her home for 11 months.

Mosley can be contacted at for potential job offers. She has 30 years experience as an administrative assistant and knowledge of modern computer software. "I'm diligent, I'm loyal, I can do it. Anything on the computer, I can do it. Anything in the office."

Chetry said that people were in tears in the studio listening to her story.

Yikes! Trivia

The historic notebooks in which Marie and Pierre Curie recorded their experiments on radium, nearly a century ago, are still radioactive.

Miep Gies Died

For those of us who taught and read The Diary of Anne Frank, we got to know and admire Miep Gies through the words of that book and play. What courage that wonderful woman had! May she rest in peace.

When I was in Amsterdam, I saw the Frank house from a boat tour and wish we could have been there longer to see more.

This article is long but interesting, so I copied at pasted the text from MSNBC's site HERE and added the photos from other sources. HERE is a similar article with more information.

AMSTERDAM - Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager's diary, has died, the Anne Frank Museum said Tuesday. She was 100.

Gies' Web site reported that she died Monday after a brief illness. The report was confirmed by museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostar, but she gave no details. The British Broadcasting Corp. said she died in a nursing home after suffering a fall last month.

Gies was the last of the few non-Jews who supplied food, books and good cheer to the secret annex behind the canal warehouse where Anne, her parents, sister and four other Jews hid for 25 months during World War II.

After the apartment was raided by the German police, Gies gathered up Anne's scattered notebooks and papers and locked them in a drawer for her return after the war. The diary, which Anne Frank was given on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life in hiding from June 12, 1942 until August 1, 1944.

Gies refused to read the papers, saying even a teenager's privacy was sacred. Later, she said if she had read them she would have had to burn them because they incriminated the "helpers."

Anne Frank died of typhus at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, just two weeks before the camp was liberated. Gies gave the diary to Anne's father Otto, the only survivor, who published it in 1947.

After the diary was published, Gies tirelessly promoted causes of tolerance. She brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the Frank family as more than she deserved — as if, she said, she had tried to save all the Jews of occupied Holland.

"This is very unfair. So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work," she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press days before her 100th birthday last February.

"The Diary of Anne Frank" was the first popular book about the Holocaust, and has been read by millions of children and adults around the world in some 65 languages.

For her courage, Gies was bestowed with the "Righteous Gentile" title by the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. She has also been honored by the German Government, Dutch monarchy and educational institutions.

Nevertheless, Gies resisted being made a character study of heroism for the young.

"I don't want to be considered a hero," she said in a 1997 online chat with schoolchildren.

"Imagine young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary."

Born Hermine Santrouschitz on Feb. 15, 1909 in Vienna, Gies moved to Amsterdam in 1922 to escape food shortages in Austria. She lived with a host family who gave her the nickname Miep.

In 1933, Gies took a job as an office assistant in the spice business of Otto Frank. After refusing to join a Nazi organization in 1941, she avoided deportation to Austria by marrying her Dutch boyfriend, Jan Gies.

As the Nazis ramped up their arrests and deportations of Dutch Jews, Otto Frank asked Gies in July 1942 to help hide his family in the annex above the company's canal-side warehouse on Prinsengracht 263 and to bring them food and supplies.

"I answered, 'Yes, of course.' It seemed perfectly natural to me. I could help these people. They were powerless, they didn't know where to turn," she said years later.

Jan and Miep Gies worked with four other employees in the firm to sustain the Franks and four other Jews sharing the annex. Jan secured extra food ration cards from the underground resistance. Miep cycled around the city, alternating grocers to ward off suspicions from this highly dangerous activity.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This One I Knew

Leonardo da Vinci wrote notebook entries in mirror (backwards) script, a trick that kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death.

Seinfeld Has Left the Building

Rolling Stone had an odd dilemma in 1994: the music journal had two fabulous photos of comedian Jerry Seinfeld impersonating Elvis Presley, but only one could go on the cover. To remedy this, the editors launched the magazine’s first split cover. Half the issues featured Seinfeld as an old, puffy Elvis, and half featured him as a young, virile Elvis. The issues were sent randomly to subscribers in September 1994, and newsstands carried both versions.

Monkey Sex

Scientific researchers say promiscuous species of monkeys appear to have stronger immune systems than less sexually active ones.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Day Again

I went to Mother's this afternoon and watched The Proposal with her and ate. It was a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy, predictable and entertaining. She and Ryan Reynolds made it better than it could have been. I like them. Good cast - Betty White was a hoot. We enjoyed it.

They're getting another snow day because of the country roads and side streets. I have several errands to run and will go by the shop and knit socially with the group. It's like going to Cheers.

Cracking Trivia

The first human-made object to break the sound barrier was a whip. As the energy increases from the handle to the end of the whip, the energy is moving beyond the speed of sound at the tip. That’s why a whip makes such a loud cracking noise.


Desi Arnaz’s, from "I Love Lucy," father was mayor of Santiago, Cuba, and his mother was the daughter of one of the founders of Bacardi Rum. His family went into exile in the United States after the coup that brought dictator Fulgencio Batista to power in 1934. The family made its new home in Miami, Florida. And Desi’s best friend in high school? Al Capone, Jr.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mr. Jones

Here is Mr. Jones, my friend Earl's daughter Amanda's bird whistling the Alabama Fight Song. This is for you, MikeinBama. As for me, I think they need to teach him "Rocky Top."

Friday, January 8, 2010


Today was our coldest day we've had in seven years. The high was 18 which is 27 degrees below average, they just said on the news. I thought we'd had cold days but guess they were in the 20's. We used to have colder winters and more snow. It would be in the teens and even get below zero at times. Not often but it has. Winters have been mild for the most part for the last several years with a few really cold weeks. It's supposed to be 8 tonight and stay below freezing until Monday when they say it will be 40.

I had to go out and bring in the big trash container the city provides us and get the mail. It was a bitter cold I felt in my bones. I was careful rolling the bin up the driveway and walking to the mailbox so I wouldn't fall. It's been randomly flurrying all day and might again tomorrow. I keep turning up the heat and am warm in the den where the gas log fireplace is.

I realize this isn't as cold as it is during most of the winters some of you have, but it is here, and I'm complaining! I used to prefer cold weather to hot but have changed. Moderate weather is still my choice, and I'd love to live where it's spring and fall weather all the time. Where is that?

Living in Canada, Scandinavia, Vermont, or some other place where I could be surrounded by people who think more like I do than the way it is here isn't an option for me now. Can't handle the cold there and don't want to live where they speak in "below" for weeks and months. It would be so nice otherwise, though.

Size Queen Alert

The sperm whale has the biggest brain of any mammal. Its brain weighs up to 20 pounds, while the human brain weighs 3 pounds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day

They called off many schools in Middle Tennessee yesterday on speculation of snow. Fortunately it did snow - not much but at least it showed up. We have a dusting with it on the roads, so that qualifies. There are still light flurries off and on. Where my grandchildren go to school on Signal Mtn (part of Chattanooga), Hamilton County didn't call off school until two hours after they were in school. Lots of kids slid and had wrecks. Some had never driven in snow, and it can get bad there pretty quickly. Going up and down the mountain are right-angle turns, hair-pin curves, and steep windy narrow roads. That puts the kids in danger. It's better to err on the side of caution in those cases.

Yankees who move here criticize calling off school when there isn't much snow and make fun of us, but the country roads stayed icy and slick because it would warm up enough to melt it some during the day and the refreeze at night. It's not cost-effective to have all that snow removal equipment like they do in hard winter places. We don't get that much to make it efficient. They salt and scrape main highways and streets, but that's it. I can't get out of my neighborhood when it snows and am in town. It's hilly in every direction which I didn't anticipate as a potential problem in the spring when I bought my house. I can't get a running start to get up any of them, and the one downhill part goes directly onto the by-pass which has a lot of traffic. I'd rather not careen down that and not be able to stop. So I'm stuck. My brother can get here and out in his four-wheel drive truck, but I have a regular car.

I worked yesterday afternoon at the vitamin shop - one of my twice-monthly afternoons of a grueling work schedule that somebody has to do but I manage. Then I went to dinner with Linda at a Chinese restaurant, Ming Court. After that I made a grocery run to pick up a few things I needed and Brigit demanded. She likes that Party Mix which was supposed to be an occasional treat, but since cats are the originators of Asperger's, nothing is occasional if you do it once. Then it's a pattern, and she now expects them regularly. Yesterday was Senior Discount Day at Kroger, so the early-bird seniors had swooped in and bought all the things on special I wanted. Then the snow panic shoppers finished off the rest of the groceries. At least it wasn't crowded.

I could get out today and might if I need to but will probably stay in. I need to get my car serviced but can wait a bit longer, I hope. I forgot to get a couple of things last night but don't want to have to put on make-up and a bra and would need to change out of these sweats. Retired life! Gotta love it!

I Guess So!

During World War II, the free-tailed bat caves near San Antonio were guarded closely as part of top-secret Operation X-ray. The U.S. military attempted to train the bats to carry small incendiary bombs and release them in Japanese buildings. During one test, bat bomb carriers escaped and set fire to barracks and a general’s car. The project was later scrapped.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not on My Hand!

The Goliath beetle of Africa has a huge armor that makes it the heaviest flying insect in the world. In fact, it weighs more than eight mice and is a common pet with African children, who fly it from a string.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twain Trivia

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, was the first published novel ever to have been written on a typewriter.


I don't know if you notice that weather thingy on my blog, but if so, you've noticed that it's cold here. Right now it's 16, which I realize is not as cold as it is where some of you are. It's supposed to get down to the single digits later this week. I keep turning up the heat but still don't feel as warm as I would like to. What's it like where you are?

I'll Do It Again

Yep, I'll watch Celebrity Apprentice again. We all have our guilty pleasures, and this is mine. Are you going to watch it with me this time, too, Charlie? Anyone else?

Here they are:

Baseball legend Darryl Strawberry, pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Rock of Love star Bret Michaels, America’s Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne, American track star Michael Johnson, actress Holly Robinson Peete, pro wrestler Goldberg, actress and comedienne Carol Leifer, funnyman Sinbad, Olympic swimming champion Summer Sanders, former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, pro wrestler Maria Kanellis, celebrity chef Curtis Stone and Victoria’s Secret Angel Selita Ebanks will all face Donald Trump in his boardroom and compete in grueling business tasks to raise money for charity. Celebrity Apprentice premieres March 14 (9 p.m. EST) on NBC.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wrong-Handed Phobia ~ Seriously?

Phobia: sinistrophobia Fear of: people who are left-handed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Deer Hunter

I hope this is true. It's just too funny anyway.

Somewhere near Rochester, New York Ed set out to bag his buck at 5:30 a.m. By 11:30 a.m., he was exhausted and hungry-- and still no buck. At 12 noon, the mighty hunter Ed guards the remains of his lunch while a passer-by snaps a quiet photo while trying not to startle (with a belly laugh) the deer.

Busy Stomach

Every 3 days, your body makes a new protective lining for your stomach. Without it, the stomach would literally eat itself alive in about 2 weeks. The hydrochloric acid of the human digestive process is so powerful a corrosive that it easily can burn its way through a cotton handkerchief, and even penetrate the iron of an automobile body. Yet, it doesn’t endanger the stomach’s sticky mucous walls.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Book Quizzes

Thanks to Bob where I found these. His books are doom and gloom, but he has a neat new header photo.

Let the comments begin! LOL Guess we know why I've been single so many decades! Let me know yours if you take these.

You're Love in the Time of Cholera!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff could get you killed.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

And we know about my sense of humor!

You're Much Ado About Nothing!

by William Shakespeare

You're not really sure what all the fuss is about, but it seems like it's all a lot of overreaction. Light and playful, you tend to be the one making dirty jokes in the corner, or even in front of a whole bunch of people. You end up being more or less unable to keep a straight face, even when something serious seems to be on the line. Despite this, you still have something to say about gender equality. In the end, you're just looking for a hero.

Take the Book Quiz II
at the Blue Pyramid.