Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Simple Life

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

Is there anything to be learned about simplifying our life as Thoreau suggested in his writings?

Thought Number 1 ....Everything has gotten complicated
There are days that I just want to find a cabin in some remote area of woods and move in.  Not so much in the vein of the Uni-bomber or anything like that.  I want my cabin to look all cute and quaint with a rock fireplace....oh, and indoor plumbing...and a decent kitchen. So, perhaps, I need to work on my willingness to simplify.

My point, however, is that  I find that I am not OK with how complicated our world has become. Every move we make takes layers and layers of steps, rules, forms to fill out, dotted lines to sign, hit the accept or decline, be sure to read the fine print  and beware of the loop holes.

 As our technology advances, so does our level of "loss of control".  If you think this isn't true, try to call your cable carrier or your Internet provider and tell them that your need to adjust your bill because your service isn't working properly.  That will confuse them right away.  Do you need connected to tech support or billing? As you will be speaking to an automated customer service person...yeh, a machine, get used to the idea that it will sound something like this:

Surly machine:  Tell me briefly what you need...
You:  I need to talk to someone about my....(cutoff)
Surly machine...I did not understand you, please tell me briefly what you need
You: I need billing
Surly machine...I understood you to say you need billing, is that correct?
You:  yes
Surly machine: Please enter the phone number associated with this account
You: (crap...did I use my cell, home or work #....let's try cell)
Surly machine: Please enter the 6 digit password at this time
You: (are you effing kidding me, I don't remember what password I used...again a guess)
Surly machine...please enter your 32 digit account number
You; (at this point you are currently, frantically trying to locate your account number)...
Surly machine...I didn't get that, please enter your 32 digit account number or if you know the extension number of the party of which you wish to be connected to.  (I definitely have a digit that I would like to extend but, I suspect that isn't what surly machine is wanting)


When did everything get so cumbersome????  Don't get me wrong.  I am not so naive to think that every generation didn't have their own set of problems.  Providing for families, gainful and meaningful employment, finding contentment in one's life....Haven't all of those things always been in play?  For the purpose of today's post, I am not talking about the trials and tribulations that life brings, I am talking about how convoluted we have made the processes by which to manage our lives.

 It seems the processes that are required in our modern world to be employed,  remain healthy, pay taxes, even plan our funerals have just gotten CRAZY COMPLICATED.

So back to my first thought, "Why in all of our attempts to automate, clarify, make more user friendly (that one is hilarious)  condense, reduce waste, and all of the other reasons we have been given to substantiate the need for the ever changing processes in our life,  it is more complicated than ever before?

Thought Number 2..... Henry David Thoreau would need a prescription for anti-anxiety medication if he were alive today.

AND if Henry wanted  meds in today's world,  he better know which health care provider is on his network, what is his deductible, what is the co-pay, what is his primary and his supplemental coverages are, is he covered by Medicare or a private insurance company,  is his drug generic or name brand and can it be ordered at increments of 90 day supply for a cheaper rate...oh and does he have the proper forms or can his doctor submit the claim for him? Since it is going to be denied the first several go rounds, he might want to have the doctor watch his blood pressure readings, as well. Don't forget to ask about drug interactions and side effects, Henry??? Don't worry if you forget though, because a good malpractice lawyer will remind you on a TV commercial tomorrow morning during the news. 

Ahhhh...but let's go back to the peaceful thought of going off into a cabin in the woods, just as Thoreau did to find  inner peace and tranquility.

Forget it!!!  Part of the reason Henry ditched his life as he knew it was he was ticked about paying taxes. He was against having to pay real estate taxes.  All, I can say is his head would be spinning off the top of his body if he saw that Federal Income taxes came into being in 1912 and  our Tax Code is so long no one even knows how long it is.

Well,  Henry David Thoreau, you really had such a great idea to simplify life but in today's world I don't think you could escape.  There is, as the saying goes " no place to run, no place to hide".

Still it is nice to occasionally dream of the possibility of a simplified world while quoting one of Henry's lines such as  " Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

Of course, he also said, "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"
We can only hope.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Idiots, Idioms, and Incidents

As I was checking my sources for the lesser reported news stories for the week, I happened to notice a lot of the headlines were similar to well known idioms.  Go figure....idioms in the news.  (Please note: I said idioms not idiots, although, to be fair,  there did seem to be some overlap.)

For any of you that might have slept through  English class the day  idioms  were discussed, let me refresh your memory.....


  1. A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., raining cats and dogs).
  2. A form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people: "he had a feeling for phrase and idiom".

Serious as a Heart Attack

A menu for those that like to live on the edge.
 As idioms go, this one is rather straight forward. It means the person is "very serious".  Here is an example:

shoot yourself in the foot

Meaning: If you shoot yourself in the foot, you harm yourself in some way by doing something stupid or making a silly mistake.
For example:
The Minister of Agriculture shot himself in the foot by saying that farmers couldn't understand economics because they weren't educated. He resigned soon after.

For a real life example: A Brazilian bank robber took the idiom to heart.  Upon guarding the door while his buddies stole $16,000 from a bank, the bungling burglar shot himself. Yes, he did...in the foot.  He was arrested later after seeking medical treatment at a local hospital.

You have to admit...as examples go...this is a good one.

Keep Your Chin Up 


Over the Top

  There are a number of idioms that could fit this story,  if one wants to use their imagination a bit. Actually, some of these idioms  fit the story both figuratively and literally.

Sheyla is going to be discussing her need for larger breasts
on TLC this coming Sunday. She doesn't appear to be a big fan of
the idiom "less is more". 
 Sheyla Hershey currently holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the "World's Largest Enhanced Breasts" at a whopping 38KKK.  She has gone back to her doctor to try to have them enhanced to MMMs. (which I can only assume stands for Monumentally Massive Mammories) She had tried last year but due to a staph infection had to have the implants removed.  She is going to try again.

hhhMMMM...how about the idioms "last but not least, or "in your face".  Really, the possibilities are endless.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie*

(*disclosure this dog is really, really sleeping)

A man in Sarnia, Ont. was sorting through the mail and found a pre-approved credit card offer for his dog Spark.   Spark Sloan, the sheltie-spaniel mix was eligible to sign up online for a credit limit of $30,000 with Capital One.

The problem with the offer was two fold.

#1- It was addressed to Spark, a DOG.
#2 - Spark died 10 years ago.

Kelly Sloan, Spark's former owner,  was quoted as saying  "It’s a heck of a deal. She can apply online today, and I guess, get her card. With the economy the way it is, I can understand they’re becoming a little more lenient than they were as far as passing out credit cards.” The family went on to say that if Spark had been able to get her paws on a credit card, she would have loved a  blue hula hoop.

Capital One apologized for the error and said that before an
actual card is issued there is an application process that is subject to  approval.

The credit card company stated that the  applicant would have had to jump through some additional hoops before receiving a credit line.   Well, put Capital One.  Let's imagine it would be blue.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's Not What You Said But How You Said It


A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about Travel + Leisure magazine's poll of the rudest cities in America.  Not to keep kicking a dead horse, I have a few more things to say in reference to rude people and how I perceive them.

Today  I was reading a blog written by a fellow Kansas Citian,  about the rude fans that surrounded her and her family at a Comets Soccer game.  Two thoughts came out of this. BTW You can check out that blog I was reading if you care to, it is  People I Want to Punch In the Throat. It is the post from Monday called "People we met at the Soccer game.

Thought # 1   Even though, I am conflicted, I am 100% clear on the fact that rude people suck.

As we have talked about in the past, I have a personality of constantly being "conflicted".  No matter what the topic is introduced to my wayward mind, I will start the "pros and cons" list.  The wrong or right...the in and outs of all subjects.  This is not to be confused with you  thinking I don't have my own opinions.  I do.  Just as Dirty Harry said in the movie Dead Pool, "Opinions are like A**holes, everyone has one".  (Didn't Dirty Harry have a way with words?)

Normally, I am open to the tenor of what people say but not necessarily open to the tone in which they deliver the message.  HHHMMMM ....how can I clarify this a bit.  Say whatever trash talk, ill conceived, stupid crap to me that you want and my analytical brain will be searching for the logic to substantiate your point of view.  That is if you are speaking to me politely.  I will promptly dismiss any notion of your point of view...deem it total crap...kick it to the curb...if you are in my face being a jerk.

Here's the deal.  I tend to be both left brained and right brained equally. I tend to be very analytical, logical while being very creative and thinking "outside the box".  NOT only am I both right and left brained, I don't seem to have a dominant personality trait.

 True....no matter how often I take DISC or Brigg Meyers or any other test that is supposed to reveal my personality, I will always come out nearly equal in  all possible categories.  In the DISC test, for example I am equal parts  Dominant, Influential, Steady or Compliant.

Even in my motor skills,  I am ambidextrous.  Both left and right handed.    Unlike most brains that have a dominant side, my brain is up there being all friendly.  Both sides are BFFs.

If you have an opinion, (and we have already established that you do) on any given subject, I am open to hearing it.  That is not to say I will agree with you but I will respectfully listen to you.  As I listen, I will be finding reasons to substantiate why your point of view might be right. Of course, simultaneously,  I will also be checking off the column in my head that is telling me why your opinion is a total load of crap. Still, I will politely listen, offer alternate ideas, listen some more.  It will be really friendly.  (Unless, of course, you tell me something like your are going to kill your Mother-in-law.  Then I will be checking off all the boxes that says that is WRONG, WRONG, ABORT ABORT.   The bitch might need to die but it isn't your place to do it.  That really is being rude on your part.)

The operative word here  to make the world a better place is being POLITE.  When did the world get so very combative?  Not just in opposing opinions but even in social graces.  When did people become so insensitive to the feelings of others?

But I digress....I usually don't take offense at whatever you say to me or how you live your life.  Live and let live is my motto but after reading the post from the blogger dealing with rude sporting events fans, COUPLED WITH A TRIP TO THE WALMART  that has me considering never shopping again, I am feeling the need for civility.

# Thought #2  How is it I didn't know there were two major soccer teams in Kansas City?

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Did You Hear The One About ???

Normally, I zero in on the lesser reported news stories to give you a bit of a diversion from the 2 or 3 main stories that are being aired non-stop by the major news outlets. It seems that the major players that dole out the latest and greatest news,  now latch onto the "hot story" and beat us over the head with it.   It doesn't appear that getting the facts straight is nearly as important as getting great ratings. 

Which brings me to some of the lesser reported stories that couldn't wedge their way into the "real news programs"  but still have a certain "worthiness" as far as entertainment value.

First up....

Hey Tweet Boy, Be Sure to Check the English to English Dictionary

A British tourist was handcuffed and barred from entering the U.S. because of a Tweet. Leigh Van Bryan tried explaining himself to authorities in Los Angles that the tweet that said he planned to "destroy" America was a slang term meaning that he intended to "party hard".  The special agents weren't buying his explanation. According to Leigh, they told him "You've really f***** up with that one, Tweet Boy.

Those special agents sure have a concise way of summing up the situation. 

Report of cruel and unusual punishment within prison system. 

An inmate is suing New York City prison officials for $1 Million because they don't have prison jumpsuits in his size.  A 400 pounds convicted felon, Elias Diaz, said he suffered emotional damage when he was forced to spend eight months wearing the same T-shirt and sweat pants because the largest size available in the NYC system is 6X.  Diaz wears a 7X.
Really??? The worst part of being in prison is "not getting one of the jumpsuits".

Ain't That a Kick in the Head

Rodolfo Valladares went into his bank to cash a $100 check. Much to his shock, the teller thought he looked like a robber that had been hitting banks in that area of Florida.  The teller of the Florida Bank of America set off the silent alarm and things went from "bad" to "worse" for Rodolfo.  He was handcuffed by police and kicked in the head according to the Miami Herald.

The mistake was quickly recognized. The robber's description wasn't a match for Rodolfo.  Also, at no point did Rodolfo act the part of a robber. The only things he presented to the teller were the check and his ID.

A Florida jury has awarded Rodolfo $3.3 million in damages having ruled that the bank was negligent in both tripping the alarm and not canceling it when they realized Valladares was a customer, not a criminal. 

Do you suppose that Rodolfo is depositing his award into his Bank of America account? 

A Computer was Hurt in the Making of this Film

Cut down in my prime
Did you happen to the one of the 26 + millions that watched the video of  the irate father in North Carolina after he found a profanity laced diatribe written on Facebook?  Tommy Jordan, had spent the day upgrading his daughters computer when he came across a status update posted by his daughter in which she complained at length about her lazy parents making her work too much.

Note:  The full length video is over 8 minutes long but the shorter videos don't tell the whole story.

I am going to refrain from commenting on this one as people are clearly divided between the Yays and the Nays on this. I welcome your point of view.  What do you think of this dad taking such a public stance to get the word out to his daughter that she is an ungrateful little snot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Day for Love Songs

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

Thought #1  Picking a Perfect Love Song

I am a person that likes to listen to the words of songs.  Call me crazy (and I know you do) but I like songs that have a message, a story...something that is heartfelt.

What sent me down this path of finding a nice love song,  was the fact that I was in the car listening to some of the more modern, trendy songs that incorporate sweet sentiments like "tap that" and "gonna do ya" when it occurred to me that surely there are songs out there that are meant to woo a girl.  It was evident  by the time I was listening to LMFAO's lyrics of "I have passion in my pants and I aint afraid to show it" that perhaps professing one's  love  through music must be  passe.    (Note: It might also be pointed out that we aren't supposed to take advice about romance from a group that names their band after the anagram for Laughing my f******* ass off.)

So, for the sake of Valentine's Day, I was on the hunt for some nice love songs. How hard could this be????

As I am Googling through some of the 65 million possible websites that come up for "great love songs" I find some of them are, in fact, about love of country, love of God, love of partying, love of drugs, love of Rock and Roll and all manner of love. I narrow my quest to only songs that are professing love or lust for another person".    Still this is proving to be more difficult than one would imagine.  

On many of the "top love song" sites, there are lists of possibilities.  Unfortunately, no two lists come close to naming the same songs. 

According to a website out of  Wedding Central, a website out of Australia  the #1 love song of all time is Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On.

According to Stereo Gum it is My Girl by the Temptations.

According to About.com it is Something by the Beatles.

According to DigitalDreamDoor it is I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston  (NOTE:  I wrote this post prior to Whitney Houston's passing, but it must be said she had some beautiful songs...loves songs among them.  This particular song is among the great love songs.)

I suspect the "greatest" love song for each person is unique.  It would have to be a song that touches a person,  perhaps reminds them of a true love,  or marks a memorable moment in their life. 

When Hubby and I got married one of the songs sung at our wedding was One Hand One Heart by Leonard Bernstein.  I not altoghther clear why we picked that song other than it was originally written for an opera so it fit into the service along with Ave Maria better than  something like "Let's Get It On".

 It was, after all, the 1971 and I was a teenager so my decisions might be up for review.  In the early 70's,  I could have picked far worse choices.  (you can get an idea of some of the awful music that was available in the 70's by going to Furious.com)

If I could point out a positive about my  choice, it is the fact you can understand the words.  At the time, I didn't seem to notice that there was a lot of death mentioned in this song. 

Now it begins, now we start
One hand, one heart;
Even death won't part us now.

Make of our lives one life,
Day after day, one life.
Now it begins, now we start
One hand, one heart,
Even death won't part us now
(footnote:   If anything goes wrong with this marriage after 41 years, there probably will be a death involved. If there is a younger woman involved, there will be 2 deaths)

Thought #2  Examples of what a love song should look like and what it SHOULDN'T look like

First up cute songs written for love....

I am not a huge fan of the Twilight movies. (hard to believe but not all of us can go ape sh** over vampires and werewolves)  I liked the Twilight movies ok, but don't quite get into the attraction of vampire love.  Frankly, marriage is hard enough without the added burden of a husband that is creepy pale,  stays up all night, prone to craving human blood and is immortal.  So much for growing old together.  Still, this song is a nice love song.

This song was written by Tom Higgenson after he met Delilah DiCrescenzo.  Tom said later in interviews (if one is to believe what one reads in the media) he thought she was the most beautiful woman he ever saw and wrote the song for her.  Nothing ever came of a romance as Delilah had a boyfriend.  Still the sentiments of Tom's love song (albeit unrequited love) makes for quite a nice romantic gesture.

I love the songs that Jim Croce wrote about the love of his wife and son.  There were other besides, this one. Ingrid Croce, tells in her book Thyme in a Bottle, that she and Jim had a disagreement about their finances one night.  Rather than talk about it, he went to the kitchen to sulk and she went to bed. She said Jim had problems communicating anytime there was conflict involved.   The next morning very early, he nudged her awake and sang this to her.  (Jim Croce's songs didn't get popular until after his death in 1973. This song came out a year later in 1974)

Maybe these aren't what you consider great love songs but you have to appreciate that I didn't pick Jimmy Buffett's Let's Get Drunk and Screw (who could resist that come on) Da Brats In Love Whi Chu (which just is chock full of fun lyrics) and R. Kelly's You Remind Me of Something (he compares his girl to his Jeep and wants to wax her among other things).  How romantic!!!!

What are your favorite love songs and is there a story as to why it is your favorite?

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Around the Water Cooler 2/10/2012

I found my self saying out loud "over and over and over" this week...."I just can't believe what possesses people to behave the way they do or say the things they say.   A lot of the stories this week are just tragic.  There is just no understanding as to how people can be as cruel...evil, really as they are.   Here in KC, a 19 year old was sentenced to life for killing her neighbor, a nine year old, when she was 15.  She wrote about the horrific crime in detail saying how fun and exciting it was.   It just defies explanation.

Makes all the "minimally crazy crap" pretty laughable.  On my last post, I was talking about how this aging thing is a little perturbing and to add to my apprehension,  I see a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone getting ready for surgery

Is There a Pill for This

What got my attention besides  the wave of nausea  that swept over me while looking at Arny,  was the line in the story that said:

For the record, Arnie is 64 and Stallone is 65 ... and still in better shape than most humans.

What????   Compared to who???  Really, this isn't settling my nerves about the effects of aging.

Money Talks, even if it is Crazy Talk

Fausat Ogunbayo, 46, recently filed a $900 trillion law suit against the city of New York and its Administration for Children’s Services for allegedly improperly placing her two sons in a Queens foster home more than three years ago.  According to Ogunbayo she says her rights have been violated.  Fausat is acting as her own attorney (are we surprised??) and going after not millions...not even billions but trillions. 

Officials from the city say the the children were removed from the home as Fausat seems to exhibit mental issues including delusions.   

I don't think her lawsuit is proving the city wrong.

Blame it on the Boobs

A Florida woman was arrested on Sunday for driving under the influence.  She insisted that she would have passed the sobriety test had it not been for her big boobs. Maureen Raymond claimed that even though she was driving over the speed limit, reeked of alcohol, had slurred speech and crossed over the yellow line several times that the real reason she couldn't stand to do the field sobriety test was the fact you can't balance when you have big breasts.

According to the police report when asked if she was ok, she responded that she had whiplash and big boobs.  Do we see a pattern here????

After doing a little dance for the police officers, she tried to undress to show off the goods but the officer asked her to keep her arms to her sides.  According to Maureen, that can't be done...you guessed it...with big boobs.

Sibling Rivalry Goes Wild

A couple of weeks ago, you might remember that John Goodman, the founder of Polo Club Palm Beach, adopted his 42 year old girlfriend for the purpose of protecting his millions in an upcoming lawsuit levied against him. John is being sued by the parents of a young man that was killed when John (allegedly) ran a stop sign while he was intoxicated broadsiding a car driven by Scott Wilson.

 Now that girlfriend/daughter, Heather Laruso Hutchins is part of the $300 million dollar trust set up for the kids, the REAL kids aren't taking it well.

John's biological children are suing.  According to court papers filed on behalf of his teenage children, they feel that daddy abused the adoption process by making his girlfriend his daughter. Now that Hutchens is  John's third child, she is entitled to a 3rd of the children's trust. According to the article, that adds up to about 5 million a year.  (I wonder if he is open to future adoptions as I am an orphan at this point in my life)

Speaking of family trees with very few branches, here is another family that had some very strange dynamics.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Aging is an Extreme Sport

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

In November, while on my little hiatus from blogging, I decided to take some road trips.  When I am not inspired to whine to all my bloggee friends, I try to channel my energy into other things.   So, I took myself to Arkansas to visit my 100 year old grandmother.   I don't do this nearly often enough and she reminds me on a regular basis that she isn't getting any younger. 

The real "bite in the butt" about visiting my grandma is I have a freakish resemblance to her.  The story goes that my mother, upon the event of my birth, started crying.  Uncontrollable, inconsolable, crying...when asked why, she said to my dad "She looks just like your mother".  She didn't mean it as a compliment but I suspect my mother wasn't my grandma's biggest fan.

Alas, in November when I walked into the living room to visit Grandma,  at least 3 family members just felt compelled to say, "Gosh, you two look alike."   Thanks a heap, family!!! Are you saying that I look like I am approaching my 101st birthday.  (Although, to be fair, my grandma doesn't look a day over 85)

Trying to look at the more positive aspects of having a grandma that will celebrate 101 is that I could honestly  claim that  I was middle aged when I had my 50th birthday.  I will also, concede that it  is gratifying to hope that I will be as funny and articulate at 100 as my Grandma is.  I would like to think that  I will still be living at home and making funny jokes and following them up with a really cute laugh as she does.    Time will tell.  What is not particularly fun is seeing what another 41 years looks like on my face.  I suspect that her face indeed will be my face in that time of my life. 

Thought #1

Why is it that as people go over the 50 mark,  there is an enormous bias (let's be honest...bigotry) dealing with aging? The only upside to this is that usually when people get into their 90's and 100's everyone thinks they are adorable. (and they are,  nine times out of ten)

Aging in America is difficult. We live in culture where youth is more than admired..... it is required.  Getting older is very much frowned upon in today's America.  (Be ever so mindful of the frown lines that would ensue by all those frowns)

 No more are the days of all the glorious quotes that equate longevity with wisdom and grace. 

The years teach much which the days never knew. 
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk. 
 ~Doug Larson

Age  is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.
-- Martha Graham

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thought #2

Not long ago I went to a luncheon where  a couple of the Hallmark Card creators were  in attendance.  One of the glories of Kansas City, is in fact, it is the home of Hallmark.  A lot of creative types work and live here for that company.  Anyway, John Wagner was there.  He was on the program to do a little presentation about his cartoon "Maxine".  

Maxine is loosely based on his mother and aunt, I think he said.  Or maybe he told me it was based on his grandmother and mother.   I was so busy being amused that I no longer remember exactly what he said. He is a totally entertaining guy.  Go buy some of his Shoebox cards.

So my second thought is....Please don't let me be so negative (albeit funny) that people make comic strips out of my bitchy old self.   OR if they do, they need to fork over the profits to help pay for my long term care when I am committed.


If one were to do a cartoon about me, this might fit.

Speaking of aging... a little joke....

After being married 25 years, a man looked at his wife one day and said, "You know, 25 years ago we lived in a cheap apartment, drove a cheap car, had only a sofa bed and watched a 14" black and white television. BUT, every night I got to sleep with a hot 25 year old blonde."

"Now," he continued, "We have a nice house, a new car, a big flat-screen TV, but I have to sleep with a 50 year old woman. It doesn't seem fair."

His wife was a reasonable woman. She replied, "Well, why don't you go out and get yourself a hot 25 year old blonde? Then I'll make sure you will once again live in a cheap apartment, drive a cheap car, have only a sofa bed and watch a 14" black and white television."

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