Friday, July 12, 2019

"AN OUTING FOR THE OLD FOLKS"


--=

Years ago, after we retired, Frank and I shopped at a little, local, IGA store in upstate New York. Before then, when Frank was paid, we’d always shop on Thursday. We were barely seniors – Frank was 55, and I was 43, but happened that the store gave a 10% discount to seniors on Thursdays, so we had a good reason to keep our traditional shopping day. One snide, thirty-something clerk there always had a comment about cheap seniors taking advantage of the discount. She said, “but it makes a nice outing for the old folks.” She repeated it often enough that in the years since then, any time Frank and I go a bit far afield, we always say it’s “an outing for the old folks."



On Wednesday, we really old folks, Frank’s 88, I’m 76, had an outing. We headed south on an hour-long trip along lovely rural roads, to McBee, South Carolina, to McLeod Farms. A colleague of mine from the magazine made the same trip a few weeks ago, and wrote a mouth-watering article about it. What better reason to go than the strong recommendation of a friend.



Along with the farm market, there is a great little museum of interesting stuff from some great old cars, to dolls, farm equipment, and miscellaneous items that are fun to see again. Here's the link to their website, macspride.com



We went, we saw, we bought peaches – among other great produce. I’ve been looking at my stash of peach recipes, and I think I’ll make peach custard bread pudding this afternoon. This morning I’m having a juicy peach for breakfast.





Friday, July 5, 2019

BRITISH ACCENTS




Why is it that advertisers who want to have their products viewed as the best available, use announcers with British accents to gently and genteelly present their wares? It began with items like luxury cars or watches.  Now I hear the dulcet British tones touting things like replacement windows, food products, over-the-counter medications, household cleaners, even CPAP machine cleaners

I don't dislike it, I just wonder why they see a need to go fancy. There's nothing elegant about CPAP machine cleaners. A straightforward ad will do.

Friday, June 28, 2019

THE MOCK TURTLE'S SONG


                                      Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?


This is the Mock Turtle as imagined by an artist called Snugglestab.  `
MOCK - Adjective
Not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive.
"a mock-Georgian red brick house"
synonyms:
imitation, artificial, man-made, manufactured, simulated, synthetic, ersatz, plastic, so-called, fake, false, faux, reproduction, replica, facsimile, dummy, model, toy, make-believe, sham, spurious, bogus, counterfeit, fraudulent, forged, pseudo, pretended

Will you, won’t you – will he, nil he. Willy-nilly, our mock POTUS makes decrees and, soon after that, changes his (alleged) mind. He’s waffled on most of the issues that confront us today: Deportation raids, retaliation attacks on Iran, back and forth with threats of tariffs for Chines goods, staying in NATO, and add in topics like Russia, Syria, and Obama care.

It appears that as soon as he “runs his mouth” on an issue, saner advisers around him bring him back to reality. He called off retaliation against Iran’s downing of a drone, because he was told 150 people would die. Well, more than that would have died if the conflict had escalated.

I hate to say this, but I do agree with the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman who said "No strategy should go against the times. The trend of the world is mighty and overwhelming. Those who follow it will prosper while those who resist will perish. Peace, development and win-win cooperation are the trends of our times. Any strategy that is closed and exclusive, which is against the general trends, is doomed to failure." He also argued that "no strategy should harm the well-being of people all over the world" or "underscore the confrontation side of relations," calling for greater international dialogue and less unilateral behavior.

I like that “any strategy… which is against the general trends.” Immediately, global warming comes to mind. He never waffles on his stance on that topic. Maybe he can’t – he’s got too many cronies in industries that contribute to the world pollution.

Well, enough about the POTUS. I do go on and on about him, but he just goes against my grain. I’d just like to shake him silly – willy-nilly.

           

The Curmudgeon has spoken.


Friday, June 21, 2019

EDUCATION IS THE KEY




There’s a reparations bill in the offing, but I read that even if it clears the House, it has little chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he did not favor reparations “for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible.”

The idea comes up every so often: we should make reparations to the descendants of slaves. The idea comes up because descendants of the whites of European lineage feel that something should be done to ease that little bit of residual humiliation and regret we might carry because of what our ancestors did.

Geeeeze Loueeeze, you don’t just pay people off and then say to yourself, as the silly phrase goes, “I seen my duty and I done it.”  What? And then we’ll all feel better?  And at what generation of those descendants should we stop the reparations?

What the politicos need to do is put the money where it will benefit everyone in the country: put it into education. We desperately need to raise the educational standards for everyone, because, as an often misattributed saying goes, “an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”  Most of all, we must enhance the educational opportunities for the black students who need assistance.

I don’t recommend giving a blank check to every black student. No, the student must truly need the assistance, and must qualify and be accepted for whatever type of higher education they want to pursue.  The nation will first loan them the funds for their schooling. Once they graduate and receive their qualification certificate, license, or degree, the loan will be written off.  That would be the basic premise of the law – the rest is in the details, and we all know the devil is in the detail.

We’ll see what happens.




Friday, June 14, 2019

A CHICKEN WITH ITS HEAD CUT OFF

If I have to have a picture of a chicken with its head cut off, I'll go for for this colorful one by Barbara Ann Gomez. I do wonder what the inspiration was for her to draw it.


September is a big month for foodie celebrations. There are more celebrations than there are days of the month From Pickles to Popsicles, from Guacamole to Linguini, September is a feast.

We’ve been planning ahead at the community magazine, and we’ll celebrate with several food-related articles, plus a compendium of food memories from some of our staff members.  One gal wrote about not wanting to eat chicken after she saw her grandmother cut the head off one, and saw what was to be her Sunday dinner running around. Another writer’s mother also killed chickens, but she hung them up by their legs on a line. Then she cut the head off. Easier to drain the blood, of course.
Getting a picture of those events in my mind’s eye, I remembered that I too know firsthand what it looks like to see a chicken running around with its head cut off.

When I was around 10, maybe younger, living in a development on suburban Long Island, one of our neighbors bought a mess of baby chicks. There must have been several dozen. They kept them up in their attic, and I remember going up there to see the cute, fuzzy things. This was, as I recall, a lovely but strange family. There were, I think, four or five kids. They really should have been living in a rural area, not in small house on a morsel of an acre, and I remember the house as, shall we say, not being as nice, neat, and clean as where I lived.

Well, the fuzzy chicks, grew. The dad built a coop out in the backyard. The neighbors on each side mustn't have been too happy about it, but...  I know there were complaints about the dirt and smells, but the adults had to deal with that. I thought the chickens were great. One time, it must have been time for a family meal, and I remember the dad killing a few by running their necks under the blades of an upturned reel lawn mower. And then chickens really did run around with their heads cut off. 

Of course, I must have told my mother. What she did about it, what the other mothers did about it, (there were several of us kids there) I don’t know. I know I never saw that again. But once was enough for me to remember. This New York City-born kid still thinks it was cool.




Friday, June 7, 2019

FRIDAY FLOP



Here it is Friday, at almost 8:00 p.m., and I absolutely forgot that it is a Friday, my usual posting day. I must a that nothing earth shattering has happened here this past week. I've just been busy, busy with articles coming in thick and fast for August and later issues of the community magazine. I've written several of my own in the last few days, and I'm really ready for a lazy, rainy weekend.

I just saw this  in the evening report from the Washington Post about a POTUS Tweet: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon — We did that 50 years ago,” Trump wrote. “They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!”  [Oh, really?]

And so, dear friends, good night. It's almost past my bedtime.

Friday, May 31, 2019

"SORRY LOSERS AND HATERS"


“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q.
       is one of the highest -and you all 
    know it! Please don't feel so stupid or 
       insecure, it's not your fault,” 
    Donald Trump tweeted in 2013.
      Alex Wong/Getty Images

The very interesting article “Trump fixates on IQ as a measure of self-worth,”
by Andrew Restuccia, was featured in yesterday’s Politico.com begins with “People who know Trump suspect his IQ obsession stems in part from a desire to project an image of success, despite scattered business failings and allegations of incompetence.” 

If he truly revered people with high IQs, he’d listen to and respect the research of scientists world wide who have the proof that we are suffering from man-made global warming. He’d listen to those who have studied world politics, world trade, education, and many other fields. He'd use those experts, not business friends, to man (or woman) the appropriate government departments.

To me, the man has the vocabulary of a child, and the temperament of a child bully. I really question why he thinks he has such a high IQ. I’ve seen the figure at 158, but no one can substantiate that. I’ve seen the figure at 73 – that’s more like it, but again, it’s unsubstantiated, and probably bogus. Based on his actions and speeches, and possibly even his Tweets, experts have rated him as having below average intelligence. What he is rated high at is manipulating, threatening, and changing his (alleged) mind. The truly gifted and brilliant don’t ever refer to their own IQs or denigrate those with lower scores.

I wish he’d change his (alleged) mind and not run next year.  Dream on.





Friday, May 24, 2019

CHASING A PANDA


No, not this kind of panda...



I’ve been stopped once or twice by a cop - never got a ticket though – and I’ve never, ever been chased by one. Good grief! But this past Sunday, I turned the tables on the normal way of things, and I chased a cop.

Long story short. Frank was coughing heavily and breathing poorly, so we took a trip to the nearby emergency room. They didn’t like what they were finding, so they sent him to the hospital. We are accustomed to going to the hospital that’s about fourteen miles away, but there was no room there. We got sent to another hospital about twenty-three miles away. Driving to the closer one means driving in a lot of heavy traffic. Driving to the farther one means relatively rural driving, and almost the same time to get there. Nice.

The ambulance driver, who later told Frank to apologize to me, said it was a straight shot down to Rt.75 then east. The hospital is right on Rt.75. Ah, yes it is, but he forgot to tell me about the detour around that huge hole in the road near the end of the trip - the detour that has no signs to tell a driver how to get around it and get to the hospital.

Well, I drove around and around, seeing the some of the gorgeous homes in the town, seeing the municipal buildings and the main streets, but I couldn’t locate the hospital. Then, you guessed it, I saw a policeman in a nice panda car. I latched on and followed him around through several streets and turns. Finally, he thought something was off, and pulled into a parking lot, and then round a big dumpster, checking to see if I’d followed. I did. I met him on the far side.

...this kind of panda!

He was really good about it. He gave me simple directions - just about two miles with two turns. I got to the hospital in no time at all after that, but I was really frazzled by the whole excursion. I can look back now and smile, but until I saw that police car, I thought I was doomed to drive the streets of Monroe, North Carolina, until the cows came home or I ran out of gas.

And, to bring you up to date. It turns out that Frank’s COPD has come back to haunt him after ten or twelve years. Whatever triggered off the change, the strong symptoms, and the seemingly over-reactions of the medicos, he’s doing just fine. He’ll be back on one of the meds he used to take, just to be sure, and we’ll go on from there.






Friday, May 17, 2019

UNDER THE TABLE


I've got a stash of ideas for blog posting. They're just thoughts I've had in passing and remembered to enter into the stash. It's been a busy but nondescript week here, so I thought to take a look. One line says "me and Joy under the table."  That would be my cousin Joy, and the table would be our grandmother's dining room table. It was a massive thing on two slab-like pedestals. We could sit there, each leaning on a pedestal, and converse to our hearts content. We weren't hiding - everyone knew where were were, and they could hear us from the kitchen. We couldn't have been more than four or five or so, because after that we'd never have fit.


I went googling for a suitable picture, and I found this one. Hoo-boy, wouldn't it have been fun for us two to have had iPads then. We'd have been there to this day.

There's something to be said about snug places under dining room tables, in window seats, or in a grownup's big, comfy chair.  The world is reduced to an area as small as we are, a space we can handle. The world is reduced to the equivalent of the womb, to the equivalent of a a hug. We all need that.



Friday, May 10, 2019

WHAT'S IN A TITLE?


I've no title for today's posting. I almost didn't have a subject, but my regular routine stop at the Politico website gave me my subject. I love political cartoons, and each Friday I check the lineup at Politico. This morning's look gave me this:

Bee-u-tee-ful! It's right in line with what I've been thinking: let's get back to the younger generation of lawmakers. If he's re-elected - fate forbid - our current president will be 79 when he leaves office.
Biden would be 83, and much as I do admire a lot of what she's accomplished, Elizabeth Warren will be 76. (I hope I did that math correctly.)

I am now 76, and knowing my own capabilities, I believe Warren could do the job, but, Democrat or Republican, we've got to get some younger, more flexible politicians running our government. I'm going to learn as much as I can about the more prominent of those nineteen dwarfs. If nothing else, the political scene will be very interesting in the months ahead.



Friday, May 3, 2019

HORSE HOCKEY


     Yes, Horse Hockey! This news was in this morning's New York Times:


U.S. passes first big global warming legislation in 10 years

House lawmakers voted to block President Trump from abandoning the Paris Agreement on climate change and to require his administration to devise a plan to cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The measure, which passed 231 to 190, stands virtually no chance of approval in the Republican-controlled Senate.


What is so unbelievable about the news is that it "stands virtually no chance of approval in the Republican-controlled Senate."

Do you mean to tell me that he majority of Republican senators agree with the president that global warming is a hoax? And I see that 190 Representatives - are they all Republicans? - agreed with him too. We're going to hell, degree by degree. Our legislators are fiddling while the world burns.



Friday, April 26, 2019

BRING BACK THAT MAGIC FINGER



I am reprising a post from January 2013. I’ve got someone special here with us this weekend, so I prepared this posting in advance.


I'm sometimes very glad that we’ve not got the power to read each other’s minds. Surely I wouldn’t be thinking this way if we did have the power, but there are so many times that I want to shout at people, tell them off, tell them what I think of their conduct or attitudes. Not nice, not nice, I know. 

I am invariably polite. You’ll rarely hear me say, for instance “I like that dress,” or “I like that haircut.” What I’ll say will be something like “What a dress!” or “That haircut is you!” There’s a subtle difference there, and there’s no point in antagonizing some poor being who’s probably trying her best. I do try my own best, and it may not suit everyone else.
There’s a lovely saying, attributed to Elsie de Wolfe: “Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.” Sometimes I’ve had to be gracious until my teeth hurt!


I knew a gal once, a friend of a friend, and she and I got talking about people we have no use for. She said she wished she had a magic finger that she could point, just like a kid uses his forefinger and points it like a gun, and just cock the thumb trigger, and ‘poof’, they’d be gone. I’ve been mulling over the idea ever since we had that conversation.*

I suppose it’s good we don’t have this ability. It’s a simplistic solution - and just think of the possible ramifications - but don’t you too sometimes wish you had a magic finger like that? (other than that finger?) 
But then, I wonder who might use that magic finger on me? I’d better watch my p’s and q’s.



*And in these years since the 2016 elections, I too often wish I had that magic finger for real.






Friday, April 19, 2019

THE ONCE AND FUTURE EDITOR

I had to go to my yearbook to pull out this bit of masthead from The Viking View


I’ve been the editor of our community magazine for several months now. (You can view the latest issues of the magazine here.) The other day it dawned on me that I’d been an editor once before in my life. What a hoot! I was sports editor of my high school newspaper, The Viking View. We could find no guy who wanted to do the job that year, so I volunteered. I did have to change the name of the editor’s column from “The Locker Room” to “Grandstand Seat.” I really enjoyed that year, especially because I was allowed to travel on the team bus for away games. I also remembered that I was a stringer for the New York Times, and I earned a mere pittance from calling in the results of the games.

Editing the copy is much the same job: correction grammar, usage, and punctuation. We must still check the content and rewrite for clarity and the overall feel of the article. And spelling too – Spellcheck doesn’t catch everything.
Putting together the final product is quite a bit different these days. Then it was rearranging the printed copy and pasting up dummy sheets. The Publications Room was usually a mess, as recall. Today it’s all done electronically. The final proof process is much the same though, corrections made right on the printout, and, frustrating as it may be to find errors that get through, I really enjoy the job.

While I was scanning things from the yearbook, I copied my senior picture.
That's me at age seventeen.
The blurb under the picture said my goal would be medical
research - that was then.
I finally went into banking and computers, a far stretch from the medical field.





Friday, April 12, 2019

STORM TRACKER


Here it is Friday again. And rain again. It is April, of course, so we should expect the showers to bring all those flowers. Rain is predicted for this afternoon and for another two days, into Monday morning. That's fine for me, because I've got the magazine's May issue in the proof process. It's definitely an indoor job. 



Seeing as how it's a weekday, and weekdays mean lots of almost useless new hours on the TV, there's sure to be a storm tracker out on the roads in and around Charlotte.

Would someone please explain to me the need for the local TV news programs to have a storm tracker when it rains? Or even during a major hurricane? It would seem to me that this would be as useful as using chopsticks to eat ice cream. Watching someone riding around in a van and reporting in on the rain, and often the lack thereof, is just plain useless.

Some TV stations go to great lengths to get out there in the storm.

If you are at home, you don’t usually need to know what’s happening on the main roads. If you’re on the road in your car, I hope you don’t have a TV. If you’ve got the TV station playing on your iPhone, you’re stupid. Turn it off and pay attention to the driving.

I do remember when you could depend on the weather report coming in at about twenty minutes past the hour. One report, nice and neat, and not too much time spent with forgettable information like degree days or moonrise and moonset. Today there are at least two weather reports on per half-hour segment.



I do realize that the local stations have to fill in with something. There isn’t all that much news out there, and what there is is usually a lot of criminal activity that we don’t need to know about. TMI. TMUI – Too Much Useless Information.



The curmudgeon has spoken.

Friday, April 5, 2019

PURPLE PIECE




This lovely purple piece by the American artist Jeff Koons popped up this week on one of the general interest websites I visit. Red is the favorite color of my adulthood, but, as a child, purple was always my favorite, and my eye is always drawn to that color.

The Koons piece is currently display at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. I reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen of the Venus of Willendorf, and indeed, the author of the not very flattering article in The Guardian did mention that ancient statue.

The Venus of Willendorf


I’ve always smiled when I saw pictures of that Venus and others like her – they remind me of me. Though our proportions are bountifully bulbous, they can truthfully be called classical.

Though current standards would have us be sylphlike, and health-wise it would be wiser for us to be more slender, we women of substance can smile and accept ourselves. We can say “I’m all right.”


Women en large





Friday, March 29, 2019

OLD WIVES' TALES



Ah! It's still Friday, so I'm not too late. I've had a busy day today, and almost - not quite, but almost - forgot that I wanted to tell you about the article I wrote for the online magazine for women over fifty, Prime Women.

I get their regularly posted emails, and they've been advertising for writers over fifty. I'm well over fifty, and over the fact that I'm no longer that age. I wrote to them and gave them some of my qualifications. The editor wrote back and asked me to "complete an assignment" as a test for them. She gave me the topic of explaining a number of myths about women over fifty.

She liked what I wrote. Part of their deal - no payment is involved at this time - is to sign an agreement form. It's all legalese to me, and I'd rather not sign anything like that. I respect the need for the company to cover their, ah, bases, shall we say, but I don't want to enter into any formal agreements. So, I said thanks, feel free to use the piece I wrote, but I'll pass.

But the editor did use my piece, and it was posted on Monday. It's titled "Old Wives' Tales: The Many Myths About Women Over Fifty." Although I've got articleas running in Charlotte Seniors, and, of course in Living, our community magazine, it's a hoot to see my work on a fancy-schmancy website like that one. I don't think they'll want anything more from me, but it was fun to do this one piece.



Friday, March 22, 2019

"TAKE TWO ASPIRIN AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING"


I've a few blog posts almost ready to go, but they need a bit more work. I have got an absolutely rotten cold - no cough to speak of, thank you, but nasty nevertheless. I really don't want to fuss with a blog post. Aha! what better article to post than one on aspirin that just ran in our community magazine. This month we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the patent for aspirin. Herewith, that article:



When was the last time your doctor gave you that advice? (Moreover, when was the last time you could call the office and speak to your doctor without going through his nurse or a triage nurse, and a long wait on the phone?)

You have to wonder how it’s properties were first discovered. Who was the first person to chew on some bark he’d torn off a willow and realize that his headache was gone? For centuries, extracts from the bark of the white willow tree, Salix alba, were known to be pain relievers. During the early nineteenth century, chemists isolated its active ingredient, Salicin. The pain reliever was difficult and costly to extract, so chemists began to search for a synthetic version. That version, salicylic acid, was discovered in 1860. Less costly to produce, salicylic acid was effective but was very hard on a patient’s stomach.
    
The German chemist, Felix Hoffman, whose own father suffered greatly from rheumatism but couldn’t stomach salicylic acid, began a search for a better pain reliever. In March of 1899, Hoffmann’s employer, now known just at Bayer AG, received a patent for acetylsalicylic acid, a product that would be easier on the stomach. They called the new product Aspirin. The “A” for the acetylsalicylic acid; the “spir” for spirea ulmaria, the Latin name for meadowsweet, a common source of salicylic acid; an “in” just because it was a suffix commonly used in the industry.

In America, Bayer lost their patent on the name Aspirin because they let many other manufacturers use it. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Can you hear a doctor telling a patient “take two acetylsalicylic acid tablets, and call me in the morning?”

Aspirin, the almost universal panacea, is largest selling pain reliever in the world. Sold generically or under a brand name like Bayer, coated or uncoated, full strength, children’s dose, or timed-release, it is probably one of the least expensive medications to produce. For general pain, headaches, fever, inflammation, for heart attack and stroke prevention or intervention, and even to help prevent or treat some cancers, it’s uses are many.

It’s side effects can be many too, and you’ll know one if you get one, but nothing like the horrendous warnings we hear about many of the new medications touted in the media. In general, aspirin is one of the NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, characterized by their anti-inflammatory characteristics. Acetaminophen, brand-named Tylenol, has none of those properties, and is easier on the stomach. Like all medications, aspirin should be taken according to the package directions or your physician’s directions. Don’t overuse a good thing.

Friday, March 15, 2019

MY LITTLE LIST OF HORRORS

I could care less what’s on the television – I’m either reading, writing or poring through the internet. I like to sit in rocking chair the Frank custom made for me years ago. The rocker fits my generous proportions, and it sits in the living room. So, I wear ear protectors to shut out as much of the sound as I can. Every once in a while some change in the sound or a flicker of light makes me look up at the screen. Last night I looked up during an interview a PBS reporter was having with an author. Lovely gal. And then she gestured with her hands and I went “bleah.” She’d painted her fingernails black. I just loathe that.

Fleeting and flitting brain that I have, I immediately thought to do a blog on new dress and grooming fads that I simply hate. I hate most of them because, to be honest, they strike me as being less than “lady like.” I know we live in an era where we can dress and adorn ourselves in whatever fashion suits our fancy, but some of them look awful.


Herewith, my list of horrors:
·       Nail polish in any colour out of the reds, pinks, coral, or naturals range – they should be worn only by Dracula
·       Red nail polish on stubby fingernails – attentions should never be drawn to stubby set of fingernails. They look like they’ve been chewed.
·       One or two nails on each hand painted a different colour - disconcerting
·       Hair with zig zag parts or a zig zag cut – neaten up folks.
·       Fake braids hair enhancements – natural is the way to go
·       Socks, sheer or not, worn with high heels – I knew a gal back in the sixties who wore white anklets and heels – she looked ridiculous.
·       Socks and brogues worn with dresses – looks like trans dressing to me
·       Bra straps that show. Strangely, wide, workout-bra straps showing don’t bother me
·       Spandex garments worn outside the gym – ladies, as a dear friend of mine always says: “Spandex is a  privilege.”
·       High heels with ankle straps. That strap interrupts the visual flow of the leg from toe to hemline, making legs look a bit chunky.





I’ve probably got a few more I could add to the list, but you can think about these for now.



Friday, March 8, 2019

WOMEN : RONZONI : TIME CONSUMING :: MEN : EGGOS : FAST AND EASY




The subject at a recent Tuesday morning meeting of Living, our community magazine, was the June issue and June weddings. The topic at hand: should the magazine run some of the staff’s wedding pictures? Before and after? Well, maybe, maybe not. We got to talking about how couples function together. It’s a physical and mental dance.

Fingers interlaced and wriggling, one of our community’s contributors described the minds of women. To paraphrase: “They’re like spaghetti, running in all directions.” Then, index finger jabbing there, there, there, he described men’s minds. Again, paraphrasing, “They’re like waffles, compartmentalized.” When given a bit of thought, his analogies, despite being generalizations, make perfect sense. I'd never heard of this before, but in googling this morning for an image of spaghetti and waffles, I found there's quite a bit of discussion on just this topic. Our resident droll humorist wasn't as original as we'd thought. This was my take on the topic:

Women’s minds are capable of running in many directions, “over, under, around, and through.” Unless they’re specifically focused on a situation at hand, a problem, or maybe a good book, they have many things to cover and be aware of in their day. There’s that “back of the mind” that lets them know when it’s time to pick up the kids, or the grandkids, put the wash into the dryer, or start dinner. They’re always checking their to-do lists, especially the mental lists.

Women are like the magazines they favor: Southern Living, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living – everyone’s living – Elle, O, Better Homes and Gardens. All are collections of miscellaneous, interesting topics. We’ll add in a few “single topic” publications like Gourmet or Prevention.

Men are like the magazines they favor: Popular Mechanics, Golf Digest, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, ESPN Magazine, Sports Illustrated. All are one-topic publications. We’ll allow GQ in here.

Men’s minds are generally compartmentalized. For the majority of men, they have boxes for things like sports and the guys, sex, home maintenance, the kids or grandkids, work. If they’re retired, that last compartment is called “what’s on for the day.”

There’s that old adage about “a man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” That saying came into general usage because it’s true, not universally, but generally.

Friday, March 1, 2019

GRAMPA AND MERCURY


Yesterday, I was looking over my notes for blog topics. One was “Grampa and mercury.”  Good Grief! 

We lived right up the block from my father’s parents. Though I didn’t like to get down there, I loved being in the basement with my Grampa. (That's not Grandpa, it's Grampa, just the way we said it.) I didn’t like to get there because going down from the kitchen the stairs were open and the way was dark. It was intimidating for a little kid, and to this day I am leery of open stairs. I just know someone is going to reach through and grab my ankle. It’s never happened, but one never knows.

I just loved helping Grampa load coal into the furnace. I remember being down there once when the coal was delivered – whoosh! – down the chute in a cloud of dust (but no “hearty ‘Hi-yo Silver!’”)

One thing we did a lot was play with mercury. Grampa had a mayonnaise jar-full. We kids lived to roll drops of it in our palms, and cover dimes with it. We could keep the dimes – great for us to take to get penny candy. Oh, I could write a whole blog about penny candy. Maybe someday.

But mercury! I can’t begin to know why my Grampa had such a thing. Where would he have gotten it, and what would he have done with it? And what my uncle did with it when Grampa died, I’ll never know. I remember the jar was weighty. Imagine if one of us had dropped it. Whew!

Mercury is a dangerous thing. The Mad Hatter was mad because hatters once used mercury in their trade, and mercury affects the nervous system. There are other professions, like gold mining, that use mercury and its compounds in their everyday work. Not good, not good.

There are so many things commonly used years ago that we ban as toxic today. I do remember the sting of Mercurochrome. It’s still available in some countries, but ours bans it because of its mercury content. I guess ignorance was bliss.