Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year Bitchin'

It's the end of the year.

Apparently it is not the end of the world, although with the news this morning that Kanye West and some woman named Kim having a baby, it might still be a possibility. Which brings me to my first thing to bitch about for the end of the year.

Celebrities. Or more accurately...people with no talent who for reasons I cannot fathom, are famous. Most of them are barely literate, ridiculously artificially enhanced and so damn annoying. People, people... come to your senses. Get a life, make a life for yourself. If we all ignore them they will go away... think "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

Politics: Where do we start? After over two years of campaigning, while the country went down the shitter, the election is finally over. The first thing Congress needs to deal with..the Fiscal Cliff. And what are they doing...posturing. Do some damn work, get it done and stop trying to save face in front of the American people. Trust me, it's too late for that.

Violence: Nothing throughout this year can compare with the tragedy at Newtown. We can only hope some progress is finally made in the name of mental health and controlling instruments of mass and easy killing.

Music: For the first time in a bunch of years, there's hope. Ok, so not yet on commercial radio, but there are some real good new bands out there. The grumbling from the past several years is actually starting to create a few changes with radio programming. Now if we can just get rid of the faux celebrity singers from the reality shows, and get some air time for the bands that have worked their asses off for years...then we might just see major improvement. Until then, I will keep the Music blog going and try to showcase as much good stuff as I can find.

Family: Even if they aren't related, family is all that matters at the end of the day, the year or your life. Never take them for granted, never miss a chance to show how you feel, and remember all the little things that make them the best part of your life.

A New Year is ahead, a clean slate. Try not to screw it up.

Happy New Year.


Friday, December 28, 2012

A Passing General and a Parade

Yesterday, a good man and one fine soldier died.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf has died at the age of 78. Commander of the American led coalition which destroyed the Iraqi forces after their invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Schwarzkopf designed a decisive plan which worked to perfection, and resulted in a low casualty count.

In total, 148 Americans were killed in battle, 145 were killed in non-battle conditions and 467 were wounded. The total casualties were 760...for the entire three weeks of war. The General knew his adversary, Saddam Hussein. He was no match for the West Point graduate and native of New Jersey, I might add.

On June 10, 1991, New York City held a ticker-tape parade for the returning men and women who served in the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf was among them. I was lucky enough to be living in New York City at the time and spent the day both attending the parade, and buying beers for the soldiers. The pride in their mission was evident, but what struck me the most was the gratitude they had towards the American people.  Gratitude that they, unlike their Vietnam era brothers, were welcomed back as the heroes they were.

We bought t-shirts off the vendors and had them signed by some of the soldiers. The adrenaline racing through their bodies was intense, but it could hardly be close to what they felt like during the war. It was my first ticker-tape parade and the atmosphere was more than electric. It was the best welcome home party you could ever imagine. And it was led by the man who was the reason for it all.

Thank you General. Easy journey.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

They Stuck What Up Where?

Ok, so it's been a while since I did one of those kinds of posts. And this one really, really just made my day.

From Deadspin, the story is "What Did We Get Caught In Our Rectums This Year?" ho ho ho...and you thought that Christmas was over.

It seems that The Sun Sentinel out of Florida, has created a database of the reasons for emergency room visits across the country. And in true Deadspin fashion, they have created a list of visits sorted by "Insertions" and "Orifices." Fun stuff. We can scroll down past the normal accidents like a button or fly in the ear, and begin to wonder about why someone has hot wax, a screwdriver or a knife stuck in their ear.

The nose has a few interesting objects as well: a Crucifix, battery, hair barrette and a dixie cup. But let's skip down to the real nitty gritty. Here are a few items the emergency room workers were telling jokes at the bar about, after their shift ended.

Items stuck in a penis: spoon, plastic zip tie, soda can pop top, piece of timber, forks...plural. WTF?

Vagina: bedpost...someone most have been real lonely, toy microphone stand, piece of basketball shorts, sewing needles???

And the most fun orifice, the rectum: french bread...I guess for making a sandwich after, hand wrench, cigarette lighter, vial of bath salts, drum stick...not specified whether a wooden one or a piece of chicken, various bottles, and artificial Christmas tree branch and a loofa with suction cup and hook atttached.

Whoa. What comes to mind is the line from Bill Murray's character in Stripes, when they recruits are all telling their life stories and he says "I wanna party with you guys." Seriously, a hand wrench up the ass?

Now, I haven't lived the most sheltered life, but this list has just got me flummoxed (I don't think I've ever used that word in a post before, how exciting). Somehow when they talk about heating up your sex life, I didn't think they meant shoving a cigarette lighter up your butt.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Smiling Again

It is 9 pm Saturday before Christmas. The oven is finally off after another full day of baking. I need to do the filling for a double batch of cookies in the morning, and separate the ten varieties into the individual tins. Later tomorrow, on the way home from the Poconos, I will make three stops and drop some off. I am tired and not nearly as intoxicated as I would have hoped.

Thought I would share a little more holiday cheer since I won't be sharing any cookies with you. There have been a few weird sightings on the roads lately. Last week, the Drum Mamma told me of something she saw up in NW New Jersey, and a few days later I saw basically the same thing going through the Lincoln Tunnel leaving Manhattan. On both occasions we saw cars with lit Menorahs on the roof...fairly large Menorahs, with the correct number of lights on, for the specific night of Chanukkah.

Then there's this. Again, the Drum Mamma caught sight of this guy on an old motorcycle with Santa riding shotgun in the sidecar. Apparently this guy was flying on the backroads with the Drum Mamma hellbent on getting a picture of him. He blew past a cop doing over 60 in a 50 MPH zone and the Drum Mamma saw the cop just laugh. That was when she decided to slow down before the cop stopped smiling.

And last on the list, another great birthday card, this one from "the uncle."  It shows a Mariachi Band and when you open it up, it plays the Mexican Hat Dance. If you know my sense of humor, well, it's just perfect.

So, Christmas cookies are just about done, the holiday is almost here. It's nice to end off the year with something to smile about. Hope you are smiling too.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just a Smile or Two

In my family, December is filled with birthdays and assorted religious holidays. It's a time of birthday cards, Christmas cards and for the various mixed faith couples, Holiday cards. Before they all end up in the recycle bin, I'd thought I'd share a couple of my favorites.

First up from my brother and sister-in-law. Well from my sister-in-law, my brother definitely had nothing to do with it. Inside says "You Rock." Trust me, my brother would never say anything remotely complimentary like that to me.

Love that card.

The second birthday card is from the drum-mamma. We have a long history of going for the perfect card. And yes, she always succeeds.  The cards tend to be two females, young, old, middle-aged...doing something fun, naughty, fun or naughty.

That's kinda us. She put our names on the card next to who she thinks we are in the picture. Me, in the picture bares an uncanny resemblance to my aunt back in the day. I even showed her a picture of my aunt with the same type of "babushka" on her head. It's the witchy, bitchy thing again

And here is the best Christmas card so far, hands down. It is The.Perfect.Tree.

A few more days of cards to come, can these be topped? News at 11.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown: Sadly the Song Does Remain the Same

"The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody’s gonna go to school today
She’s gonna make them stay at home
And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was good as gold
And he can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?"

On January 29, 1979 a sixteen year old girl in San Diego, took aim at a school playground from her home across the street, and started shooting with the rifle she had been given for her birthday. Two adults were killed, eight children and a police officer were wounded. Why, she was asked.

"I don't like Mondays."

Over thirty years later, we ask the same question, why? It's not likely we will ever know why the chip inside Adam Lanza's head got switched to overload. And while the voices become louder for more stringent gun control, discovering the cause for these increasing mental issues is far more important.

In this age where 1 in 88 children is identified as being under the autistic spectrum, where 5.2 million kids between the ages of 5-17 are diagnosed with ADHD, where so many, so many more have mental problems, diagnosed or not. Something has happened to the younger generations, something is causing the disintegration of the minds of our children.

Maybe sometime before another senseless killing takes place, we can get our legislators to stop adding pork to build bridges to nowhere, and start putting some real money to the multitude of mental health issues affecting this country.

Bob Geldof wrote the song "I Don't Like Mondays" after the 1979 shooting. Sadly, it is still relevant today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TaTas: All For A Good Cause

One of the codes I live by, and trust me I don't have a lot of them, is the message "We Can All Do Something." Though it can be used in many areas of life, mostly I think of it in terms of charitable acts. While donating money or volunteering time is not always possible, there are endless ways to help others. You just need to use your creative mind.

Apparently, the strippers of this country are using the gifts that God gave them, no...I'm talking about their brains, and are working their...well yeah, that, for a good cause. Yes, indeed, an Arkansas strip club is offering 2-for-1 lap dances if you bring in a new toy to be donated to charity. The Toys-for-Tatas campaign is in effect for the month of December, and all toys will be given to the Toy-for-Tots program run by the Marine Corps Reserve.

Here's the story.

But don't think these southern girls are the only ones stripping for a cause. A gentlemen's club in Minneapolis offered a similar night of fun and games, as did another one in Florida.

So far I haven't heard of any male groups offering any similar "Let's see what Santa has under the suit" events. Maybe it's time to get their under-stimulated brains thinking about doing some charity work

Ho Ho Ho.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

COOKIES Again: Tis The Season

Right now, I have a lot of Christmas cookies in my freezer. Unfortunately, I believe I have an equal amount in my stomach.

Having spent a large portion of the day yesterday measuring, mixing, rolling, and of course tasting, I have a good head start on the holiday sweets. After last year when I spent nine straight hours baking, and during which time I consumed a bottle of wine and a shitload of cookies, I thought this year I would break up the baking into a couple of days. Double the cookies, double the alcohol. How can that be bad? Don't ever call me a glass half-empty girl.

I still have a lot of baking to do. Five more varieties at least, plus I need to frost or fill some of those that are now in the freezer. After that, it's time to fill the tins. You think baking is a pain, try filling tins for close to a dozen separate friends and family members. Who gets nuts, who doesn't. Who likes these, who likes those. While most are happy with whatever they get, the closer the friend or family member, the pickier they seem to become.

In the end, everyone is happy and I swear next year I will cut down on the cookies...baking them that is, not eating them.

Got milk?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor: A Generation Defined

September 11, 2001. A day none of us will forget. It was, and is the defining moment of an era. Seventy-one years ago today, another defining moment took place. December 7, 1941. The day Franklin D. Roosevelt termed "a day which will live in infamy." The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Many generations have been born since the events of that day occurred. The passage of time makes it easy to forget just how horrific that day was. On one beautiful morning in Hawaii, 2402 Americans were killed and 1282 were wounded. Four battleships were sunk, including the Arizona, where 1177 men died, many still entombed at the bottom of the harbor.

After 9/11, we started to think of the world in before and after terms. The same was true with the Pearl Harbor attack. Before, the US stood on the sidelines, after...we were at war. Men, boys really, enlisted immediately. My father was one of them. Seventy-one years later so many of that generation of men have been lost, my father is one of them too.

On this anniversary, take a minute to remember those lost on this day, and the thousands who would be lost in the next several years after.

War is hell, and it began seventy-one years ago today.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So, Who Do You Trust?

The Gallup people, they of the poll business, have published the results of their annual study into what professions are considered to be the most ethical. Well isn't that fun.

So this was the question that was asked:

Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields—very high, high, average, low or very low?

The top three rated professions are: Nurses, Pharmacists and Doctors. Nurses topping the list is no surprise, as they have been at the top for every year but one, since they were included in the list. The only year they came in second was in 2001 when firefighters were in added after 9/11. The interesting thing is the margin by which nurses were considered more ethical than doctors...15%.  Another interesting statistic, engineers and dentists are considered more ethical than cops.

So who's at the bottom of the list? Car salesmen, no surprise there. And right above them...Members of the House of Representatives. Senators rank a few places up on the list, but both rankings give us something to think about. Besides the fact that we think of Congress as a resource-sucking vacuum of do-nothings, we also question their core morality. And we question it a lot. Nurses got a low/very low rating of 3%, Congress... 49%. Scary.

For the entire list of the professions and their rankings, click here

In the big scheme of life, this poll doesn't mean much. It is interesting however, to note that being part of a high profile profession does not really make you all that trustworthy.

I end this with a quote from Senator Jeffrey Pelt in the movie 'The Hunt for Red October."
"Listen, I'm a politician which means I'm a liar and a cheat, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops."

Sounds just about right.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

COOKIES...that is all

Another holiday season is here, and while this one will not be quite the merry one within my family, there are still traditions, functions and gatherings needing participation. Since one side of the family does not observe the Christmas holidays and the other no longer exchanges gifts...the best family decision ever made, the most urgent task in my repertoire is the Christmas Cookie baking.

Over the years, I learned to bake with my mother. She was an exceptional baker. Me, I rarely get any complaints, but she was better. As time passed, she baked less and I baked more...a natural road to follow. These days she only bakes one batch of cookies, a fat-free variety for my dad and brother. This year I'm sure it will be a much harder task knowing it will only be my brother eating them.

And so it begins. I look at the calender to see when in the month we will be at the weekend house where the baking assembly line area is so much more user-friendly. Check the supplies to see what needs to be purchased, gather the recipes of the old favorites and look for some new cookie to throw in this year.

That's where I'm at. Last year the cookie marathon ran one day, 9 1/2 hours. Brutal. This year it's going to be broken up over a couple of weekends. All in all, it will be a big mess with vast quantities of alcohol needed for inspiration. In the end, it's all worth it. Everyone gets their own tin, we feast for a few days and enjoy the sugar high for as long as we can.

Another year and another tasty memory.
And a boatload of calories.
Works for me.


Friday, November 30, 2012

And All We Needed Was A Unicorn

Two friends, feeling confined and restless, see the opportunity for a little fun and fresh air. So they take it. Nothing out of the ordinary, it happens every day. Just not quite like this.

This week, in Staten Island NY, Casper the pony, whispered a little something into his friend Rotzie the zebra's ear. Something along the lines of "Let's go have some fun, follow me." It seems the animals, part of a petting zoo, were able to hit the road when their caretaker left the pen gate open. Casper, not unfamiliar with going on the lam after two prior breakouts, led the way closely followed by his partner-in-crime.

I love how the guy recording this is making sounds to call them over to him, while never missing a beat with the filming. Not shown in this video were the two animal keepers running down the street after them, wearing jumpsuits and trying to lasso them. A story with a happy ending, the animals were taken into protective custody and are being relocated through the witness protection program, to a new home somewhere in Jersey. It's where all captured criminals eventually end up.

Best story of the week.
All that was missing was a unicorn.
Or eight tiny reindeer.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An App For An Ad: Is It A Lot To Ask?

I feel like I haven't been myself lately. Too warm, caring...nice. I do not wear nice very well. It is time to start bitching about things again.

So you know what has been getting me more and more pissed off...internet ads. Like on youtube, or if you click on an online newspaper...bam, there they are. Now, I fully understand the idea behind these increasingly annoying mini-documentaries, but lately they are becoming longer and more difficult to escape.

They have decided that maybe we shouldn't have the option of skipping this ad in 5,4,3,2,1 seconds. Some ads no longer give you that option. It's 30 seconds of crap...30 seconds. On the internet that's like combining dog years and light years. And, how about the ads which take over the entire screen, just as the clip you want to see is about to begin. Now they have flashing ads which make you want to smash the screen, along with ads that push in from the sides, bottom ads and the worst ones are where they emit a sound from another window and you have to minimize everything else to find where these incredibly irritating voices are coming from.

Ads are becoming more and more prevalent, and they're not ever gonna go away. My question is...where are the geeks in all of this? Why haven't they come up with a way to stop these insidious, non-stop commercials? Some type of App to cut them off as soon as they start. We need this. I would pay for this.

You know of course where all of this is heading... premium internet use. Pay more money for non-commercial web browsing. It's already happening on some of the music streaming sites. Whether it becomes a viable option is anyone's guess right now. That's why we need an App.

I would pay for this. Not much, but a couple of bucks, at least.

You can skip this blog in 3,2,1...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday: Let It Begin With You

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of my posts dealt with helping out the community. Besides the immediate need for donations, I wrote of the continued support for charitable agencies faced with overwhelming obstacles this year. Well, it's time to get serious.

Today is Giving Tuesday.

GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

While a national campaign to help those in need is a wonderful thing, we can all find ways to help out our own communities. For the past two years I've promoted an easy way to do this.

"Feed Others, Then Yourself"

As you send out invitations to your corporate holiday party, include one line:
Please bring non-perishable food items for donation to a local food pantry.

Simple. If your company is big, talk to Human Resources or whomever is in charge of the event. Send an email, send a letter, get it done. Then, take it a step beyond the company party. Teach your children the power of individual action by asking friends and relatives visiting your home, to bring a donation.

If you own a small business in town, put a sign in your window saying you are accepting donations for a food bank. Encourage your childs school to hold a food drive. It doesn't take much to get the ball rolling.

If the idea of lugging a box full of dry goods doesn't appeal to you, consider collecting hats, gloves, socks and scarves for those who face a cold winter. When the hurricane hit on the east coast, so many families left their homes with just the clothes on their backs, and winter is almost here. Warm clothes should not be a luxury. Collect toys; far too many children won't be having anything close to a real Christmas this year.

Today is the day it all begins. Please forward this post to as many people as you can. Check out the Giving Tuesday website for other ways to help, or think of one on your own.

Just do something. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Weekend Wake Up

Woke up at five this morning, not unusual, although since tonight might be a late one, I had hoped to get at least another hour of sleep. Walked downstairs to turn on the heat in the sunroom, my favorite room in the house. It faces northeast, so the morning sun finds it quickly, but with three walls of windows, the night chill is slow to leave.

Checking the outside temp, mid 20's does not make me happy, especially since the past two days have been in the 60's. And the dog just picked up her leash and is following me around. She's in a hurry. Me? Not so much. Too bad this is a battle she always wins.

She's getting old. We've had her for over seven years and the shelter thought she was around three when she moved in, to help us manage our lives. There's gray hair on her chin, and her body is beginning to look like old dogs bodies tend to look. Thinner, hips more prominent. She has always been a good dog, a little off sometimes, but aren't we all?

As the sun barely lit the road, we walked up the hill...east, toward the sunrise. It seems the new neighbors have moved into the house closest to ours. Guess we will be meeting them today. The dog knows the route. Up at the lake, our walks go one of two directions, so depending if I take a left or right, she knows where we will be headed.

Keeping my head down, bracing against the 25 mph gusts, I wasn't as aware of my surroundings as usual, until a loud noise got my attention. A buck chasing a doe at full speed, less than ten feet in front of us. I could feel the ground shake from the force of their hooves as they barely missed us. Any closer would not have been good, not at all. I think the dog was as stunned as I was because she didn't bark or lunge toward the deer. My blood was pumping so hard, well, I was no longer thinking about the cold.

The sun is up now, the wind has died down. A cup of tea and a little morning writing. Soon household chores will take up most of the day, but the promise of a night of live music, makes it all worthwhile.

Maybe another cup of tea before the day really begins.

Love weekends.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Preparation: Make a List...or Not

Do you guys realize this Thursday is Thanksgiving?  oops, my bad. oh yeah and I'm cooking too. shit.

It would seem that I am not quite as prepared for this holiday as one might hope. While I may not be in the state of readiness I would like, I've done it enough times to think it will come out ok. After all, it's just family, they are well aware I am not perfect and are only to happy to point it out.

I have the bird, some sides, a little of this and one or two of that...just not the whole package. And I haven't made a list. And my brain is another year older and a lot more airy than it was a year ago, when I did have a list.

Blame it on the hurricane.

Normally we have Thanksgiving in the Poconos. Whoever shows, shows. They stay overnight, a couple of days or the whole weekend. A lot of work, but fun. This year the hurricane meant we lost power up there, so we missed a weekend, plus we knew we weren't going up this past weekend. Which meant we lost a lot of prep time to get the house ready for the influx. Instead of stressing and trying to get everything done in too short a time period, we punted. Decided to have the dinner in Jersey instead. Cook at our house, eat next door at my Mom's. No overnight guests. No thirty-five loads of laundry. No cleaning before and after. Just cooking.

Piece of cake.

I think I remembered to bring home from the Poconos the essentials: mega roasting pan, cheesecloth, assorted spices and items I only use on Thanksgiving. I'll find out sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon whether in fact, I did. Tomorrow, I'll be at the specialty market first thing in the morning to pick up the ground sausage meat with sage, which makes the stuffing so damn good, and all the vegetables I need. Having a list would be a good idea, but for some reason, I just haven't been able to write one.

This is not the best way to get ready for a holiday dinner, of that I am fully aware. But this is what it is. We will cook, we will serve, we will eat. And with this year there being so many who have so little, we will be thankful.

And stuffed. Can't wait.
Wish I made a list.



Monday, November 19, 2012

A Night of Music, Balls and Reflection

Saturday night, we took a drive into Manhattan to hear a singer I had interviewed perform at a small club downtown. The plan was to grab a bite to eat at The Meatball Shop and head over to the venue, which conveniently was only a couple of blocks away. The Meatball Shop has been in the news and all over the social media sites lately, because of the tireless work they have been doing for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

As soon as the need was uncovered, the restaurant set up a daily run to the Rockaways in Queens, to provide hot meals. They also began to collect blankets at their three restaurants. In return for a blanket to keep someone warm, the restaurant would give you an order of four meatballs. Let's just say, they've collected a lot of blankets. As I wanted to try out the restaurant, what better time would there be?

I packed up a handmade afghan my mother had crocheted and we left Jersey to begin the evening. Well, sometimes plans don't always work the way you hoped. Traffic. Not getting into the city, but the drive cross and down town took way longer than it should. Finding a parking spot only a block away from the club was sweet, but it was a little too late to grab some eats.

Outside the venue, I ran into Antje the singer, and we walked into the club together. The show was wonderful, a thoroughly enjoyable performance. At the end of the show, we had a conversation with a man who was there to see another act. He told of his experience with the storm. His beach house was gone, washed away. As we offered solace, he shrugged and said "It was a beach house, others lost their real homes. I have nothing to complain about." He also told us in the past week, he had been hit by a car while riding his bike. Not a good few weeks in his life, that's for sure. But he was resigned to what had happened, and had begun to move on.

While some of the affected areas are making strides, we can't forget even more of the coastal towns are still devastated, and will be for a very long time. What amazes me, is the resilience and acceptance of those living under conditions they could not have imagined a month ago.

Just something to think about as we sit down this Thursday for a feast, surrounded by family and friends.

By the way, we did get to the Meatball Shop after the show. One donated blanket, four delicious meatballs.

I hope the blanket keeps someone warm this Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


I'm not in a good mood.

Actually, it's more than a mood. I am not in a good place. It comes and goes, and though band-aids do cover up the wounds, there are always reminders left behind. Emotionally this has been a hard year, my father's illness and death topping the list.

It's also been a year of new adventures. Sometimes you can learn a lot about yourself as you jump into unknown waters. Getting older makes taking those leaps a little more difficult, but much more rewarding. Let's just say I have learned a lot about myself. Some things I like, some I don't.

We are now in the middle of November, getting close to the holidays. The time of the year for a life retrospective. The time of the year to look ahead and decide which adventures are worth pursuing and which ones have become obsolete.

As for the present, a night out in the City tonight. A night of music. Nothing else rights my world more than listening to live music. So look for a decidedly lighter tone in tomorrow's blog.

And maybe a walk in the sunshine today, always a good way to blow out the dark spaces...

and breathe.


Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Over, She Said with a Twinkie in Her Eye

Hostess is shutting off the ovens...for good. sigh.

Growing up on the East Coast, my life was greatly enhanced (as was my waistline), by the big three cake bakeries: TastyKake, Drake's and Hostess. They packaged scrumptious, ok maybe not, but when you're a kid, those taste buds have not fully formed, single serve cupcakes and such. Each had a variety or two which were favorites, but TastyKake was my #1, followed by Drake's (who doesn't love a Yodel?) and Hostess.

Of course Hostess was famous for the indestructible, life-force known as the Twinkie. meh. Not high on my list. Given the choice, I would eat nothing before I would eat a Twinkie. However give me a Susie Q, and I can get happy real fast. Always loved them cold, so the cream filling gets semi-hard and you can actually feel the fats form cholesterol bubbles as you swallowed. Of course, they were even better before they took out the trans fats...what wasn't. But I digress.

Now as much of a chocolate freak as I am, I was not a fan of the Hostess chocolate cupcakes. Drake's Ring Dings and the TastyKake buttercream or full-chocolate versions were so much tastier. I did however, love the orange cupcakes. The icing is a color not found in nature. And as with all Hostess baked goods, you need to have a degree in chemistry to truly understand what you are eating. But who the hell's cupcakes.

But in the midst of my sadness over losing my desserts, there is also the loss of Wonder bread. A white bread so artificial, ducks have been known to explode after consumption of a slice or two. Again, who cares, it made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Now, I'll need to use grown-up bread. Life can be cruel.

In the end, who really knows if it was the economy, unions or competition which forced the closing of the Hostess plant. It will soon be gone.

Of course if you stock up now, you can still be eating Twinkies into the next millennium.

I bet Shop Rite is gonna be busy today.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sniglisms: Part 2

So it sure has been an eventful week. Some of us are still bouncing back from the hurricane, and we are all recuperating from the election. Whether your chosen candidate won or lost, chances are you are dealing better with the aftermath than Eric Hartsburg.

Hartsburg is a pro-wrestler from Indiana who, for a reason I cannot imagine, decided to auction off space on his face. As luck would have it, the winning bid required him to get a Romney-Ryan logo tattoo. A Romney supporter, he didn't have a problem with the tattoo before the election. After...well, he seems resigned to be a supporter for life. Wonder how his wife feels about it. He didn't tell her about the tattoo until an hour before he got it. And you wonder where all the great guys have gone.

In other news, they held the World Pole Dancing Championships this past weekend in Switzerland. Pole Dancing Championships. Did you ever? While the Chinese, with their circus experience in pole dancing, were expected to top the competition, it was not to be. Instead it was the Russian and Ukraine women who were the acrobatic wonders of the contest. Now I don't think they are famous for their circus pole dancing, perhaps they honed their pole dancing skills some other way. Could be all that glitter does bring gold. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saying Thanks on Veterans Day

November 11, Veterans Day.

Today we take the time to say thank you. Time of war or time of peace, doesn't matter; the sacrifice of  our Veterans and their families cannot be overstated. Life, blood, time...these are the things given freely by our servicemen and women. The lucky ones have only given their time.

Much has changed since servicemen returning from the Vietnam War were harassed and spit on. Most of those men were drafted into service, most did not agree with the reasoning behind the war. But the country so thirsted for peace, anything or anyone linked to the war was looked upon with contempt.

Thankfully, our returning Vets today are treated with the respect and honor they deserve. The price they pay however, has never been higher. Long deployments, one after another, take their toll on the mental, physical and emotional being of these soldiers. And the families they leave behind, go through their own kind of hell.

As you go about your day, take a minute or two and think of the men and women who have served our country. Think of all you take for granted everyday: a normal life, a life of safety, a life of freedom. Think of all they have sacrificed, the important moments they have missed, the memories they wish they could forget.

Think of these things and say Thanks.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Black Friday: Blurring the Holiday and the Holiday Sale Line

Well it's November, so there is no escaping the onslaught of holiday, take your pick: ads, stories, displays, sales, music. And yes, every year they appear earlier in the year. But this year the unofficial start of the season, Black Friday, starts barely after our Thanksgiving indigestion has kicked in.

Yes, this year Walmart and Kmart have announced their stores will open for the Black Friday sales at 8 pm on Thanksgiving night. I can see men all across the USA pumping their fists in the air. With one fell swoop, the retail giants have made ardent fans of millions of men in this country. Why? One

I firmly believe many households will be sitting down for the traditional meal just a little earlier this year. Shovel the food down, clean up the mess and shuffle off to the discount chain of your choice. Oh yes, thousands of wives, girlfriends and daughters will be getting antsy to head out, leaving behind thousands of fathers, sons and boyfriends lying in various states of bloat...alone with football. And the couch.


I will not be participating in the shopping excursion. I, myself hope to be lying on the couch in a state of bloat watching football. Ok, I won't. I'll be on the computer, but the game will be on in the background. My cooking and cleanup completed, a little holiday buzz going and it's time to vegetate.

And give thanks.
And nap.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Looking at Life: Both Sides Now


The way you look at most things in life depends on which side of the fence you sit. This morning, in a five minute time span, I watched as both sides of an issue unfolded.

On my way back from a doctor's appointment, I stopped in to buy some fresh baked bread. Though I live in a smallish town, we are lucky enough to have three different spots where I can shop for breads right out of the oven. The aroma of the bread hit me at the same time as I began to hear the conversation between a customer and the woman behind the counter.

I don't know how much of the conversation I missed, but the man evidently was not thrilled with the outcome of the election. Fine; someone wins, someone loses. But the problem he had was mainly about the US slowly pulling out of all the wars. "We need to be in a conflict," he said. "It gives people work."

That logic always brings me back to an old Jefferson Airplane song. I can't remember off the top of my head which song it is, only the line which has stayed with me since the time of the Vietnam War.

"War's good business, so give your son."

Which brings me back to the bakery. The man left the store and the woman who was probably in her mid-30's, looked at me. In her eyes I could see...anger, disbelief, fear; I wasn't sure. Then she said "People have a right to say whatever they want, but my husband has had four tours in Iraq, and I just want him home, alive."

She then proceeded to tell me how over the sixteen years of their marriage, he has been home with the family for about four of them. He is now stationed in South Korea and is looking at possible deployment in Afghanistan after that tour is over. When he is home, his mind is troubled with thoughts of friends killed or badly injured. How he spends nights looking at their pictures online, reliving the nightmares he has witnessed.

She said these things without anger, regret or complaint. It was her life, her choice. The sadness in her eyes was not for herself, her husband or her family. Her sadness was caused by a man, one of many no doubt, who felt there was no downside to armed conflict. As long as it was "good" for the country, personal struggle or loss, while inconsequential.

I hardly knew what to say to her. I wanted to throw my arms around her in a big hug. As I walked out the door, I said something I never say. "Good bless your family." They were the only words that felt appropriate.

I only hope He does.

Post-Election Dejection

Don't know about you, but I'm pretty much done with politics for a while.

Two years of non-stop campaigning, billions of dollars spent, so much time Congress wasted doing everything else but the People's business.

But...just one last little comment.

Apparently Jersey was the reason Romney lost the race. Heard on one of the Fox affiliates this morning that Governor Christie's ringing endorsement of Obama's handling of the hurricane relief effort, caused a tidal surge (sorry, but had to use that one) of support for the president. Governor Christie...for all the good this man has been trying to do, unfortunately to most of the country, is nothing more than a series of fat jokes.

AND, he's from Jersey. Since when do we get respect...for anything? Today, we get the nod for re-electing the President of the United States? Bull.

Whatever. It's all over. In the end, the Democrats still control the Senate, the Republicans still control the House, and Obama still controls the Country. As Yogi Berra said, "It's Deja Vu all over again."

Now what do we do about Donald Trump?


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A President: This Is What I Want

I want a president who...

Has actually had a real life. Someone who has worked at a crappy job and realized he wanted something better.

Admits that he made mistakes in judgement as he grew up. How else do you learn? So you smoked pot in college, ha, who hasn't? Somehow I don't think he'll be lighting up in the Lincoln bedroom. Does any of the other stuff really matter at this point?

Swears when he gets pissed off. I believe in being calm under fire, but I also believe if heads need to roll, I want it done with passion.

Has a drink now and then. While I don't want a fall down drunk, I do want someone who understands how to deal with having a drink or three. If I ever meet the president, I want to be able to offer to buy him a beer. It's just a social thing.

While I truly don't give a shit what religion you are, I do not want a president whose view of the world is based on what his religion tells him it was 100, 1000 or many thousands of years ago. This, I believe is the real separation of church and state. If you are being sworn in, leave your prayer book at the door as you walk into the Oval Office.

Looks across the aisle, takes a deep breath and makes the first step to the middle.

Realizes he works for us...the people. This means we are what should matter in your plan for the country, not paying back the political favors to the big corporations.

This is what I want. Am I living in a fantasyland? Yes...her name is America.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

The New York City Marathon: Facts Over Fiction

As Mayor Bloomberg continues to pout over the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, there seems to be a revisionist history of sorts concerning the actual reasons why it was called off.

In a letter addressed to all 47,000 entrants into the race, the New York Road Runners Club, headed by their president and CEO Mary Wittenberg, stated her position as to the cancellation.

"It became increasingly apparent that the people of our area were still struggling to recover"

That much is true.

"That struggle, fueled by the resulting extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants, created conditions that raised concerns for the safety of both those working to produce the event and its participants."

Well, liar,liar pants on fire...and all that.

Basically she is saying it was all the media's fault, and if they ran the race, the residents of NYC would attack the runners and race officials right there out in the street. Give me a damn break.

As someone who watched with fascination, as the growing rumble on Twitter became a wasn't the media that shut down the race. It was the people. The idea of busing 47K people to the starting point in Staten Island was the initial problem. A mile or so away from where they are still doing a house-to-house search for the missing, (never mind that there are areas where houses no longer exist) they planned to bring in all the supplies needed to kick off the race. Port-o-Sans, food, water, first aid stations, police, etc. Precisely all the things people on the other side of town desperately need...and still do not have.

Then there was the media tent in Central Park. Powered by generators large enough to each fire up over 100 homes, there they sat, ready to keep the media warm and charged. Although I personally would have loved to have seen the overhead shot as the TV helicopter panned from the celebration at the starting point to the utter devastation which would have been in camera view, it was idiocy to think running the race was anything other than a bad idea.

As for the safety of the runners and the crews...absurd. New Yorkers have a whole lot more on their minds. The idea of residents seeking vengeance is not only absurd, but insulting to all who live there. Mary Wittenberg should know better and be ashamed of herself.

In the end, it was cancelled because it should not have been run. Period. Thankfully, the transparent motive of lots of cash, was finally trumped by human decency.

Because when you listen to what the people are saying, that's what you get.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy: Time For Action

"I don't know where to go, I don't know what to do."

Photo: 6ABC Action News
Tears filled my eyes as I watched a woman who had lost everything say those words, as she was wrapped in a warm embrace by Governor Chris Christie. She is one of  thousands whose life has been forever changed by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. And yet, she is still lucky...she survived.

Days after the storm has passed, most of the country is getting back to business as usual. For the East Coast,   things could not be farther from the truth. It is time however, to do what comes naturally to most of us in New Jersey...get up in someone's face. Or in this case something's.

The Jersey shore is on life support. I'm not talking about the reality crap which passes for entertainment. That is not the Jersey shore. It was, and it will be again, one of the strongest memories many of us have of our childhood, adolescence and even adulthood when the family circle of life was repeated. For every bar or club, there were a hundred homes with families who worked hard to be able to breathe in the salt air. It is a place of memories. It is a place called home.

Now the shore wasn't the only place impacted by the storm. Northwest NJ has been devastated by the number of trees downed by the storm. As I drove through that area on Wednesday, it was mind-boggling to think of the work utility crews have ahead of them. In New York City, the Hudson river poured into Manhattan, three blocks in. Fires ravaged The Rockaways in Queens. Home of so many First Responders, they watched helplessly as over 100 homes were consumed by fire, while surrounded by floodwater.

It's time to do what we as a country do best. Help.

Here's a few ways to do it. For me, the big three are always a good way to start. The Red Cross, United Way and Salvation Army. We are also into November, getting closer to the holidays. Traditionally the time of year for food drives. With all the people displaced or living without power, local shelters and food banks are taking a heavy hit. Support your local food pantry as much as you can. Organizations such as WhyHunger know how to get food to those who need it.

For the last two years, my company has combined a food drive along with our holiday party. There's plenty of time in the weeks ahead to set that up. Or if you own a local shop, set up a table or box where customers can bring in donations. And it doesn't need to be food. Hats, scarfs, gloves,'s getting cold quickly.

If we all just thought for a minute, I'm sure we could all think of some small way to help out.

Brick by brick, street by street, we will rebuild. Right now though, we just need a little help.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: It's Over...or is it?

Nearly thirty hours later, the power is back on.

While living without a computer, TV and lights was an inconvenience, life during and after Sandy was not that bad...for me. Heat, we have gas heat and that was not an issue. We had no loss of running water. Funny how the little things like flushing a toilet are so overlooked in everyday living, but become so important in a disaster such as this. We were very lucky.

The 8"-10" of rain never materialized. If it had, things might have been very different. Living three blocks from the river means you are always aware of problems with the weather. The winds were like nothing I had ever experienced. Hearing the roar of the gusts as they blew in through every possible point of entry in this old house, made me shudder to think of the sound of a tornado.

The power came on 3:52 this morning. Turning on the news, it was the first time I was able to see the devastation. The shore as I knew it is gone. The overhead shots of Seaside Heights looked as if the town, or what is left of it, was built in a desert. The streets have been replaced by tons of sand deposited as the flood water receded. Listening on the radio to Governor Christie's press conference yesterday, he talked about the Boardwalk, or what used to be the Boardwalk. I knew this place. I knew the sausage & pepper stand which was built right in middle of the Boardwalk. I knew the amusement pier, whose rides are now sitting in the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, in the scope of things the Boardwalk doesn't matter. Too many people have lost their lives and their homes, to think any differently. But it is about the memories. The Boardwalk will be rebuilt, but it won't be the same. It will be much more modern, it will feel different. And for the younger generations, it will be fine. They won't have the memories of spending the day being toasted on the beach and spending the nights strolling down a Boardwalk smelling of sausage & peppers, or fresh made zeppoles. It will just be different.

So now New Jersey and a bunch of other states start to rebuild. Some places will be starting from scratch. Me, I'm just fine.

And thankful.

If you can, please donate to either The United Way, The Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Time, blood, cash.

We can all do something.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Been up since 4:30. Already the wind was picking up.

At this point almost three hours later, the winds seems around 30 mph sustained. The time has passed for preparation, it's now nail-biting time. We've all been through hurricanes before, this one is different.

It appears that Sandy has an agenda, and New Jersey is the center of the bulls-eye. The shore towns have been evacuated; only fools remain to ride this one out. All transit systems are shut down. New York City's Times Square is empty. Only my local convenience store is open this morning. Love those guys.

I live three blocks from the Passaic river. It floods...though in this area, infrequently. Upriver and downriver, the destruction caused by the Passaic is well documented on news reports and insurance claims. During Hurricane Irene last year, the river overflowed its banks and was a block and a half away, before slowly receding. I think tomorrow it might be even closer.

There hasn't yet been a drop of rain, so the emotion I feel most is one of impatience. Let's get it over with already and deal with it head-on. Not looking forward to the inevitable loss of power, and really dreading the dog walks in hurricane force winds. If she gives me one of those "I don't want to be out here"  looks, I'll be sure to remind her that I'm not happy about it either.

Time to run the flat iron through my hair. We may not have power for a few days and well...priorities.

Stay safe.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frankenstorm: Gone Shopping Yet?

We are now into the second day of the unofficial Kat Hurricane Watch. Unofficial because Official might imply that I actually know what I'm talking about.

We left off yesterday after the early morning broadcasts of impending doom. Thank you for the heads up, but does it need to be non-stop coverage five days ahead of the storm and pre-dawn? I think not.

Left the house around eleven to do my Friday ritual of grocery shopping, getting gas, and other errands to get ready for the weekend in the Poconos. The price of gas was a nice surprise. Found a nice nest of competitive stations where the highest price was $3.07. Filling up at $2.99 a gallon was something I did not expect to see again in my lifetime. And as usual in Jersey, WE DON'T PUMP GAS. ever.

the line up.
Next stop...Shop Rite. Parking lot full and at this time of the day, it should not be. Finding an aisle where two men are getting into their cars; I wait. They are just about across from each other, so as they both pull out, there is really nowhere for anyone else to go. But that didn't stop a car from each direction in trying to pass them. Gridlock Aisle Four...and I'm still in the parking lot.

Now there are different types of shoppers and shopping trips. Around the holidays there are serious looking women on a mission, armed with detailed lists. They know what they need to do. Storm shoppers...not so much.

Yesterday the aisles were full of abandoned carts, which mainly happens when the shopper leaves the cart because they just remembered something they needed three aisles back. Then you have your duos. The elderly mother and her daughter, each with their own cart clogging the aisle, while the daughter screams every item she thinks her mother might need...and still the mother hears nothing.

Storm shoppers are like battle fatigued soldiers. They know they need supplies, but what to buy? Staples like milk and bread (btw, the 'uncle' saw a woman yesterday with an entire cart filled with white, and batteries. We are told to buy them, but do we ever remember to check what size we need before we rush out the door...NO. So there you have the battery aisle overrun with people blindly staring at the battery display.

Other than beer, which is considered a staple in my home, I don't think I bought any of the usual storm supplies. I'm pretty sure we can get through a few days on my normally overstocked food supplies.

Update, update!!!!!
Morning news reports they are beginning to see the surf getting rougher and winds are picking up in Florida.

All Sandy, all the time.

Gotta go check my flashlight.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Oh Sandy Girl...Hurricane Watch Begins

So this is how it's going to be for the next five, count 'em, days. Sandy, Sandy, Sandy, sports, Sandy, Sandy.

As I watched the NY local news at 4:30 this morning, every station had a reporter out on some beach talking about the the hurricane. The storm, Hurricane Sandy, is not predicted to hit this area until Monday-Tuesday. Every station. A beach. Four-thirty in the the dark.

There were no winds blowing sand in the reporter's faces (one of my personal favorites), no shots of the surf eroding the beach, there was NOTHING. It's four freakin' thirty and pitch black. So what is the point of dragging every low level reporter in town out of bed at some ungodly hour to stand on a the dark.

And, it's just beginning. As the storm pulls into south Florida, our local news will be teaming up with the Miami affiliates and we will see their reporters standing on the beach looking around, showing the waves begin to rise, the idiots still trying to surf and the stranded tourists who thought it would be a kick to experience a damn hurricane.

Already they are putting everyone into panic mode. I need to go to Shop Rite later for my usual weekend shopping trip. It's gonna be a zoo. The store manager is sure to have a smile on his face as he sees the pallets  of bottled water go sailing out of the store. Big news.

At some point, I'm sure they will send a reporter out to cover it.

Most likely before the store opens.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Could You Do This Job?

The Wild West has officially returned to New York City.

In what has become the latest in shootings of New York police officers, off-duty cop Ivan Marcano was shot in the chest as he attempted to stop a crime in progress.

From his car, Marcano saw three men robbing a man on the street. He exited the car with his gun drawn, identified himself as a police officer and was shot by one of the robbers, who then fled in their white Mustang.

As the cop's girlfriend began to drive him to the hospital, Marcano spotted the getaway car. The gunmen's car then crashed and a second gunfight occurred. While still holding his bleeding chest, Marcano tracked the suspects, trying to find cover behind parked cars.

As bullets flew, Marcano got off a shot that found its mark. One of the suspects lay dead next to the white Mustang, with a bullet in his head. The other two men are still at large.

Seriously, you can't make this shit up. Want to take bets on how long before this story finds its way onto one of the TV crime shows...ripped from the headlines.

Thankfully, it seems Officer Marcano will recover from his wounds and deservedly receive medals and accommodations. Unfortunately, the New York City area had three police officer incidents in the past week. Besides Officer Marcano, one cop was killed making a traffic stop and another was killed by a passing car, after he responded to a crash involving a drunk driver.

Under the best of circumstances being a police officer is hard way to make a living. When we get caught speeding, we think it's the cop's fault. If we see some maniac weaving through traffic, we bitch there's never a cop around when you need one. And day after day, they leave home and family behind to report for duty...knowing any day might be their last.

Just a simple Thank You doesn't seem to be quite enough.

But it's a start.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Cycle of Life...And Stuff

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know my dad passed away in August.

The time since his death has been an adjustment for the entire family. No more so than for my mother, his wife of 64 years. To her credit, she has adjusted quite well to living alone for the first time in her life. She has created her own schedule and is beginning to rearrange all the aspects of her day-to-day living. This includes disposing of a lot of my father's things. I'm not talking about his clothes or jewelry. I'm talking about the stuff he collected and stored in the house they have lived in for over fifty years.

Did I mention he loved to collect things?

In the past two months my mother has unearthed: travel logs he wrote over thirty years of vacations, statistics from the baseball pool he was in for the past five years, books he had ordered still in the mailing envelopes, VHS tapes by the score...he taped everything he had an interest in, and gadgets of all types.

My mother has found them all. She is now making piles: things to go directly to the garbage, things I might want to keep and things my brother might want to keep. There is no pile for her. It now seems everyday when I see her, there is something else that leaves her house and finds a home in mine.

Many of these things are perfectly useful, like the dumbbells he used after his open heart surgery. As someone who loves having books around, I have taken many of them, knowing they will sit on the shelf unread.

Then there are the items which are kind of cool and I know I don't need, but I will take it anyway. Case in point, the tool in the picture. Brand new. Only god knows when we bought it, or what this 87 year old man was ever going to do with it. It is now in my house and I don't have a clue what this %# year old woman is ever going to do with it.

How long my mother's purging process will take is anybody's guess. There's the attic, basement, their bedroom, living room and the two bedrooms which once belonged to my brother and me, and which have long since become the last resting places for all of my dad's collections.

As my home begins to look like a hoarders and hers turns clutter free, I can only hope my mother's enthusiasm for this project wanes before too long. Else I may need to make some give-a-way piles of my own.

Hmmm. Who wants this...
Line forms to the right.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Life Lesson on a Beautiful Day

Right now I'm supposed to be writing...just not a blog.

I'll get around to what I need to do a little later. But I just had a few thoughts about the day, so here I go.

Yesterday, as we drove up to the weekend house the weather danced between pouring rain and brightening skies. Through it all, we could see the colors of the season bursting out of the gray sky. By next weekend, many of the leaves will have dropped, leaving barren spots where the crimson red and marigold yellow used to be.

Across the river into Pennsylvania, the colors were still beautiful...until we made the turn up the last small hill before the house. In mileage, it's only 2/10 of a mile, but the elevation is just enough to create a different eco system. In spring when the snow throughout the community has melted, we will still have piles scattered around, refusing to fade away. Summer comes a little later and fall lasts a few short weeks. Today, only a few trees have any color left, mostly they have turned brown or are bare.

This morning as I caught up on posts from some of the other writers I follow, there was one which made me rethink my day. Now I spend most of the week working from home and most of my time in front of a computer. Weekends are usually spent up here in the mountains and I treasure every minute of it. But today, the plan was to spend most of the day again, in front of the computer. Until I read the post Curating a Bucket List on the Fly by Jonah Gibson.  Jonah has recently found out he has cancer, and unfortunately it is not his first trip down that road. With each series of tests, his diagnosis has become more ominous. His post reflected on his imaginary Bucket List and how useless and absurd it was. There is the distinct possibility there will be no time for everything he once thought had value. A life lesson to be sure.

Indeed, tomorrow is promised to no one, and we should all take each day for the gift that is offered. Today life offered me a beautiful day and the chance to breathe in fresh air as I walked around the lake. I greedily accepted the offering, and I am both mentally and physically recharged. There is a certain amount of discipline to have a writer's life. But there is also only a certain amount of life we have to live.

Thank you Jonah for reminding me of that.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sniglisms: Part 1

In our first chapter of Sniglisms, I offer two stories while distinct in their subject matter are definitely sailing on the same ocean.

Story #1: Internet Use Disorder. Oh c'mon, you knew it was coming. I'm just surprised it's taken so long. We now have a name for the feeling of anxiety or shakiness we may experience when we are yanked off the know, offline. Are we ever offline anymore? Apparently gamers are the ones most affected by this new disorder, which goes by the nickname IUD. Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we already used that little trifecta of letters? I'd hate for a health care professional to get the two confused.

Now this little affliction is so new, they don't even know if it is an actual disorder or if it will need treatment. Scientists believe this internet addition may damage the same areas of the brain as drug and alcohol addiction. It appears to affect processing of emotions, executive thinking skills, attention span and cognitive control. You know, pretty much everything you need to be a stable human being. The younger generations are so screwed.

Here's the full story: Internet Addiction

Story #2: Writers are more prone to mental illness. huh, Imagine that. I thank my beautiful niece for this story...I think there was something she was trying to tell me.

A study done in Sweden has concluded that creative people are the craziest. They needed to do a study on this? Have they never done any actual...reading? Writers are nuts. Period. We write because we hear voices, shit did I say that out loud, inside us with lots to say. So we say words.

Well, it seems the study says writers in particular, are the ones most likely to be bi-polar, clinically depressed, schizophrenic and be addicted to something or other... the internet perhaps? Do you see where I'm going here?

Writers. On the outside they seem to be pretty normal, but when you read some of their work you really start to see they are no-doubt-about-it, residing in another universe. Sane people just don't have those thoughts...or do they?

With so many writers out there who write and are published primarily on the internet, does it mean they are doubly afflicted? This is not good.

 I am a writer. I write for the internet. I am screwed.

Read the story: Writers are crazy or something like that.

And On A Thursday, She Created Sniglisms

Sniglisms. Don't bother to look it up, it doesn't exist.

Sniglisms is word I made up to create another category for the more acceptable sniglet. And yes, you can look that up.


any word coined for something that has no specific name

Or basically what the creator of the word, Rich Hall said "any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should."

Since this is the internet and all that, there are thousands of stories each day which are, in my opinion, overrated. And equally, there are thousands which are overlooked. Usually those are the ones I enjoy the most.

Now, from time to time when a whole bunch of things clog up my head, I do a recurring feature called "Random Thoughts from a Scattered Brain." In that, I've been including crazy things I have observed or annoyed me (and we all know that doesn't take much), and my take on different stories I have read. Usually it's things I think should be mentioned, but there's not enough meat there to write a full blog.

Here's where we bring in sniglisms. 

This feature will offer my interpretation of stories I find fascinating, but may not have reached the masses. Full the past I have found quite a few male anatomy "slice and dice" stories...amusing. That's probably not the best word to use...

Anyway, tomorrow's post will be a learning experience...for you and me. I will try to offer some information which hopefully you will find interesting and/or humorous. And I will learn how quickly I can offend people.

Judging from past experience, it shouldn't be too long.

Tomorrow...snuggle up with a Sniglism Part 1.


Sunday, October 14, 2012


People from outside of the area think New Yorkers are rude, crude and uncaring. Well, some doubt about it. But for every story of bad behavior there are ten stories of courtesy going unmentioned.

So here's just a short fun story, giving a shoutout to a security guard.

This past Friday, the 'uncle' left Queens to join us at the weekend house later in the day. Before starting the trip, he needed to drive into Manhattan to pick up a winter jacket he had ordered. He found a parking space on the street, fed the meter...allowing a half hour to run in, pay for the jacket and get back. That should have been more than enough time...except it's the 'uncle.'  Shopping for him is not exactly a quick in and out procedure.

Because clothes shopping for him is always a hit or miss thing, he tried on the jacket to be sure the fit was acceptable. hmm, maybe I should try the next size for comparison? Can you hear the minutes ticking? Yes, the next size was better, so he pays for it and realizes he is now 3 minutes over the time limit.

Now, ticket agents in NYC are like vultures smelling a dead carcass...they appear from out of nowhere and will swoop down and slap a ticket on your windshield at the exact moment the time expires. Fully aware of the looming $65 ticket which will be appearing at any time, the 'uncle' runs out of the store. As soon as he goes through the doors...beep, beep. The cashier forgot to take off the security tag.

No time for that, he keeps with a security guard on his tail. As the guard yells to him to stop, the 'uncle' turns around and tells him he needs to feed the meter and laterals the shopping bag to the guard. After a complete catch by the store security, the 'uncle' continued to his car and the security guard went to check the package and have the tag removed.

As the 'uncle' returned to retrieve the jacket, he was met halfway by the security guard. Nice. He explained that he was only doing his job. That he was and it was done well. 

And no $65 ticket on the windshield.
Life in the big city...sometimes it just makes you smile.


Friday, October 12, 2012

On The Soapbox: This Is Heath Care?

Well, I said on the Music blog that I wasn't going to rant about the Vice-Presidential debate and I'm not. I've got bigger fish to fry. My only comment on the debate is Martha Raddatz...that's how you do it son. Do you realize she has spent more time in war zones than all the candidates combined? Wouldn't you like to crawl into her head and find out what she thinks?

But anyway, today I need to write a few words about something I saw they other day. A quote from Romney about health care in this country. To be fair, I don't think any plan out there right now will work. The system is way too broken. Do I have an answer, I do not. What I do have is common sense and this ain't it.

“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’  ”

Well, yes that is true. If you pull up to the emergency room turning a whiter shade of pale and grabbing your chest...ding, ding, you go to the front of the line.

“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”

We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance? Have you never heard of the word Cancer? Or MS, ALS, Diabetes, Alzheimer's or a host of other diseases where you die a slow death. Yes, you are going to die, just not quick enough for a trip to the emergency room.

How many people cannot afford to buy their daily medications, never mind afford the long term care needed for a chronic or terminal disease?  No, apparently it is better to wait until things become critical, then dial 911.

When a self-employed individual in this country needs to spend nearly $1000 a month for decent...not great health coverage, obviously something needs to be done. I know, I've been there and it is not easy. But having a candidate who really believes that emergency room medicine is the way we should go, well that's just crazy and scary.

Anybody out there got any ideas that actually make sense?