Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And Then the Fight Started

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...

The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.

When she asked me why, I replied,

"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"

And that's how the fight started.....


My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.

I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?'

'No,' she answered. I then said,

'Is that your final answer?'

She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'

So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."

And that's when the fight started...


I took my wife to a restaurant.

The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.

"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."

He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"

"Nah, she can order for herself."

And that's when the fight started.....


My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she

kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.

I asked her, "Do you know him?"

"Yes", she sighed,

"He's my old boyfriend.... I understand he took to drinking right after we

split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."

"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"

And then the fight started...


When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me

that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take

care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer.. Always something more

important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point.

When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily

snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for

a short time and then went into the house.. I was gone only a minute, and

when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish

cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway."

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.


My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.

She asked, "What's on TV?"

I said, "Dust."

And then the fight started...


Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and

slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and

proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I

pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the

weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly

undressed, and slipped back into bed.. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a

different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."

My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid husband

is out fishing in that?"

And that's how the fight started...


My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.

She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."

I bought her a bathroom scale.

And then the fight started......


After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security.

The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age.

I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home.

I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.

The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.

So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.

She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and she

processed my Social Security application..

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office...

She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.'

And then the fight started...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the wildly successful Seabiscuit. Some years ago, she was afflicted with a virus which left her with chronic fatigue syndrome. So, all of her research for Seabiscuit was done either doing interviews over the phone or computer research. While doing her research for Seabiscuit, she kept coming across the name of Louie Zamperini. She sees this quote: “the only person who could outrun Seabiscuit was Louis Zamperini”. Intrigued by this quote, she begins to find out who “Louie” is. And does she come across some story. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

It begins in Torrence, CA in the 1930’s. Louie is one mess of a boy. Today they’d probably diagnose him as ADD and put him on Ritalin. I digress. The boy is in constant trouble. He plays practical jokes, steals, runs away from home, is truant from school and is, basically, a juvenile delinquent. His older brother, who is the antithesis of Louie, decides that he is going to try and channel Louie’s energy and talks him into getting into sports. Since Louie needs to always run fast from his troubles, he tries out for track. And it turns his life around. Against all odds, as some would say, he tries out and makes the US Olympic team for the 1936 Olympics. He doesn’t live up to his expectations but he does meet Hitler. He is so looking forward to the 1940 Olympics in…Tokyo.  Read more...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who's the Button Pusher in Your Family?

I'm not talking about "pushing the buttons" that will tick you off, to irritate you.  Or your spouse knowing just what to say to get you started into an argument.  I'm talking about when something goes wrong with any appliance in the house, that person's answer to the problem is to start "pushing buttons".  Maybe that one button will make everything right.  The pushing buttons person in my house is my dear, sweet,  much beloved hubby.  I have to give him an excuse.  He was raised in an apartment building in NYC where, if anything in the apartment stopped working, well, the "super" came to fix it.  Then, in his corporate job, if the computer, telephone etc went out, he'd simply call his secretary and she'd either fix it or call someone to do it. Read more...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This and That, Some You'll Care about Others, Ehhh

I just finished reading two very good books.  One by Laura Hillenbrand of Seabiscuit fame, entitled Unbroken and the other by Markus Zusak entitled The Book ThiefThe Book Thief was originally written for adolescents 13+ but any adult will find the book amazing.  Both deal with WWII, one in the Pacific theatre and the other with German citizens living in a small suburb of Munich.  In Unbroken, the protagonist is an Olympic runner, turned bombardier, turned Japanese prisoner, turned tortured soul, turned Christian.  In the second you have a 13 year old girl whose brother dies in her arms, to be given up to foster parents, to live through the saturation bombings of the allies and all that implies.  Plus, it's narrated by death.  I think I'll go watch A Fish Called Wanda.  Fettuccine, lasagna, risotto, marinara... 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Willard than Ratatouille

We don't have a sweet little mouse who makes yummy soups and keeps my kitchen running smoothly.   We've got a WILLARD (I know Willard was a rat, but that's what I consider my intruder).  Willard, like Ratatouille, has fine taste. He chose as his first home the inside of my Mercedes convertible. Read about the devastation...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Death, Insurmountable Odds, Sex with Cannibals...Books of Adventure

My father was a bomber pilot in WWII and was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. As a child I remember looking at pictures of his time in that area. He then became a member of the Air Force Reserve. And while my sisters and I remained in our little town in central Texas, my dad was flying to England, Hawaii, Taiwan, Goose Bay Labrador, Panama etc. I always envied him his life of travel. Because of him, my mantra in life has always been that if God put it on this earth, I want to see it. So, knowing full well I can’t go everywhere nor can I go back in time, I began reading nonfiction adventure books that, in many cases, would take me where no man has gone before (sorry, I’m a Star Trek fan).  Read more about adventure books:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bloody 'ell, London is a Bomb....Expensive

Good ev'nin Luv....A typical greeting by a driver of a "black" taxi.  I think the first time I went to London was 1978 or '79.  I used to sponsor students on tours to England and "the continent".  Over the years I either went to England with my  husband and daughter on family trips, on his business trips or a stop over on the way to Africa.  I remember that first trip and while at the British Museum of History, I saw the "bobbies" walking amongst the cars with long poles with mirrors on the end looking for bombs underneath the cars.  The Irish Republican Army was still causing death and destruction.  Then we went a week after the death of Princess Diana.  I usually just throw on some good walking shoes and walk my rear off.  Well, I went from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace etc etc and the photos I got of all of the teddy bears, flowers, candles, makeshift alters for Diana...well, it was heartbreaking. Read more... 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett or as I'd call it: Fall of a Giant

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With this novel, you see the fall of a great writer. I enjoy Follett's books but with this one he has fallen way short of his lofty goals. The problem is with the main characters.  They are WWI, socialism and a woman's right to vote. These are the main characters not Fitzherbert, Maude, Ethel, Walter, Gus, Bernie, Grigori, Lev etc. These characters exist only to spout the platitudes of socialism or the reasons for or reasons against a woman's right to vote. There is some gratuitous sex thrown in but then it's yada yada yada with men   debating strategies for battles or Lenin pontificating or lengthy sermons on the beauty of socialism. The human characters are caricatures, Fitz, the pompous vain Lord of the manor, Ethel, the servant girl who is very smart but still falls for Fitz and of course finds herself pregnant, Maud, the strong willed woman who gives as good as she gets and Billy, the uneducated coal minor who outsmarts his colonels and generals. If you are into WWI and are also interested in the beginnings of socialism, this book is for you.  This is not Pillars of the Earth or World without End where you actually learn to care about the characters.   Unfortunately there are two more of these tomes coming out.  No sir re bob.  I'm not buying them.   Of the 340 reviews on Amazon, 229, like me, gave it a single star*...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Half a Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss

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In the early 1970's my boyfriend, soon to be husband and later my ex, and I were coming home from a "dance" at about 2am.  Now, where I'm from, there aren't any nightclubs or discos.  If you wanted to go hear music and dance, you went to one of a myriad of VFW or Legion Halls or one of the many "dance halls" owned by the local Catholic churches for their church picnics, which invariably had a "dance".  And these roads are all unlit and two lane.  My boyfriend was driving.  As we began to crest a hill, right in the middle of the road was an accident that had not been moved out of the way.  They had no lights on.  We hit the accident which propelled one of the  cars into one of the drivers who had been standing in front of it.  He was seriously injured and since this was pre-seat belts, I hit the windshield and was also taken to the hospital.  Luckily for me, I escaped with just a bad gash on the forehead.  Later, the guy who was seriously injured was given a DUI and fined by a judge. 6 months later my boyfriend finds out he is being sued by the DUI guy and who was his attorney?  The judge who gave him the DUI.   He had some brain damage and was suing for future lost wages.  He wanted  $75,000.  I remember thinking, that's what he thinks he'll earn in a life time, $75,000?  It's likely the attorney felt that was all he could get.  I really don't remember what the insurance company paid him but it wasn't $75,000.  We were very lucky in that there were no fatalities.

  First Lady Laura Bush and writer Darin Strauss weren't so fortunate.  Read more...

Monday, September 6, 2010

If You Read One Western in Your Life, This Should Be It...

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (25th Anniversary)

A genre in the writing world that has fallen into the dust bin and sold for 25 cents at garage sales is that of the Western. Once a staple of American writing from the 2 penny booklets sold during the 1800’s to Zane Grey to Louis L’Amour, it seems the genre has disappeared. You have some novels that are sort of set in the west like Cormac McCarthy’s Border trilogy or his No Country for Old Men (all placed in the southwest and Mexico). But if there is a western you should pick up and read, it’s Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.LarryMcMurtry LonesomeDove.jpg Here’s a wonderful quote from the one and only Stephen King on what you should read: “There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story... don't be like the book-snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book." And that is Lonesome Dove.  Read more...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things That Irritate, Flumox, and Down Right P*ss Me Off

People who throw cig butts out of the window when they have a perfectly good ashtray in the car and then the butt hits your window!

I can not tolerate trying to be a nice person by holding open a door for someone and they just march right through as if you were the doorman.  I often say, "Your welcome" to let them know how rude they are. And that means you, lady, at Nordstrom's on Saturday...

You want to turn left at a light where there is a left turn lane.  But you can't get in the lane because the people going straight have two car lengths in front of them.  Move up!

The young people  of today are not being taught manners.  I had a young man, who saw me entering the building,  walk in front of me, and then let the door slam in my face.  Up yours kid...

When you are at a checkout counter being helped and the clerk then answers the phone and spends time helping that person or takes a personal call and begins to do their nails.  I can see George Costanza slapping his hand on the counter and screaming, "Customer service here, customer service here!"

People who don't put their shoes away leaving multiple pairs of shoes, sneakers, and flip flops around (submitted by my spouse) Sorry, dear.  I'll make a concerted effort...

Drivers, while stopped behind another car at a light or stop sign, slowly creep creep creep to within inches of the car in front. I got hit by a guy doing this.  (submitted by me about my spouse) After much back seat driving, he still does this...

Constant calls by political parties for donations. I'll donate when I'm ready thank you. I love that feature with some phones, TV packages that show the number of the caller on the TV screen.  Don't even have to bother to look at the phone...

Press one for English, dos  por espanol...Pretty soon it's going to be press uno por espanol and two for English...

Customer service people who try to placate your anger by saying "I understand ", when they really are trying to calm you down because they know they work for a sh*t company!

People who truncate your name.  Why?  Tiger Woods always does it. Strik for Stricker etc.  The most notable President Bush calling whatshisname with FEMA, Brownie.

People who chew gum and snap it AND have their mouth open. We can hear you! And see those crowns and those filled teeth and possibly dentures.  Yuck!

People who realize at the last minute they want to exit and cross two lanes on a busy freeway to do so.  Get off at the next exit you jerk!

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Enough said.  John Boehner's  perpetual tan.  Mitch McConnell's no eyebrows. Sarah Palin's "You betcha".  Harry Reid (left) and Mitch McConnell are pictured in this composite image. | AP Photos

But what's really p*ssing me off is that nothing, nothing has changed in Washington DC.  And here's a poll, and there are many others, that report the same..The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17 (see trends). Just 37% of voters believe their own representative in Congress deserves to be re-elected. Thirty-nine percent disagree. Just 27% say their own representative is the best person for the job. Overall, 62% say it would be better for the country if most incumbents are defeated in November. Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters are angry at the policies of the federal government.

I am not alone folks.  I am not alone...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You're An EXTREME Redneck When.....

1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table … in front of her kids.

2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.

3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

4. You think a woman who is out of your league bowls on a different night.

5. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.

6. Someone in your family died right after saying 'Hey, guys, watch this...'

7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.

8. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

9. Your junior prom offered day care.

10. You think the last words of the Star-Spangled Banner are 'Gentlemen, start your engines'.

11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.

12. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.

14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.

15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

16. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.

17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Purge, by Sofi Oksanen: A Book Review

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This book isn't about anorexia or bulimia or the occasional colon cleanse.  Purge is a book of two voices that takes us  through the tumultuous times of WWII, the communist occupation of eastern Europe and into the uncertainty of Soviet life in the 1990's. It does not take place in Russia but in the little known country of Estonia.   Estonia  is a country in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by the Russian Federation.  But this story could have been placed in any country that had been occupied by the Germans and then the Soviets.  I'm going to do an aside here.  My husband and I visited Moscow a year ago and wanted to go to the National Museum of Military History.  We wanted to hear the Russian's "take" on things.  Our guide, Olga, informed us that when the Russians finally drove the Germans back across the Germans' eastern front that they, the Soviets, liberated the countries that the Germans had occupied.  Ok then. We rolled our eyes.   Just ask those "liberated" people how they liked it and  you will see just how much  in Purge.  The two voices are that of Aliide, born in the 1920's, in Estonia in a small village.  The second voice is that of Zara, born in Vladivostok, Russia, sometime in the late 1970's.  The two voices meet in 1992 when Zara escapes from her brutal pimp, Pasha,  who had lured her from Russia with promises of making great money but instead  forces her into being a sex slave in Germany.  Read more...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Twisted Head Part Five

Well, I finally got my second set of botox shots based on the results of an intramuscular electromyography. Say what? It's called an EMG. You lay (lie, whatever) down and the doctor inserts a small needle, like an accupuncture needle, into various muscle groups. Yes, you read right. More needles in the neck. As the needle is inserted into the muscle, the doctor either puts his hand on your face and asks you to press against it or he moves the needle around. Are you still with me or are you running for the hills? The needle has a fine wire attached to it that sends a signal to a machine that reacts like an EKG machine. If, when you press against the doctor's hand etc, the machine makes a "noise", meaning shows an erratic line, then that muscle is contracting and that is where he needs to inject the botox. The doctor then moves to the next muscle group and sees if he gets the same reaction. If there is no "noise", then no botox for that muscle today. He located two muscle groups that made "noise" so that's where I got my two vials of botox. I have a really smooth neck...Anyway, it takes up to two-three weeks for any results to show. If it doesn't work this time, then I'm off to a specialist at Emory Hospital. Keep your fingers crossed for me, OK?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Twisted Head Part Four:The Saga Continues

Well, here it is almost three months since the botox injections and, drum roll please...nothing. It did NOTHING! Many of you asked about how in the world did I go half way around the world with my head twisted to the side. It's called good valium and business elite on Delta. When I'm reclining, I don't have any issues, except with the difficulty of reading. That's where the Kindle has been so much help. It's so light I can position it many ways. Once I got to Singapore I decided to have a massage. Not an Al Gore massage, just a plain old massage. After the massage the therapist said, you are so tight. I will adjust you. And before I could open my mouth, she had adjusted both sides of my neck. My chiropractor asked if she was certified to do that. Yeah right. But it sure felt good. It wasn't easy slogging my way through the jungle and climbing a mountain but I'm not a whiner, so I'm not going to complain. What I am going to complain about is what in the hell is going to happen to our health care systm when Obama/Pelosi/Reid care comes into fruition. I get back and I'm still on the valium type pills. I've been trying to work out and do some Dahn yoga to stretch the neck muscles. So, I have an appointment with the neurologist last week on a Weds. A week before that, I CALL the office to make sure the botox has been ordered. I know you're asking why do the injections again if they didn't work the first time. From my research I've done, sometimes it just takes more than once to kick in. I get a call on that Monday saying yes the botox had been ordered. I go to the appt and the doctor says that obviously the first set of injections didn't work and that he is going to use an advance technigue where he will put small needles into the different neck muscles, apply pressure to the muscle and if it contracts, that's where he'll put the injections. But he couldn't do it at that location because he didn't have the necessary equipment. Why didn't he do that the first time? 75-80% of all spasmodic torticollis sufferers respond to what he did do. Oh, no. Not me. I have to be different. So, he makes an appt for me the next day at the other office. I get home and get a call from the woman who had told me the botox had been ordered, this is the second time this woman has done this to me. I know you're saying GO TO ANOTHER DOCTOR! Well, I found a "movement disorder" specialist in Atlanta but I couldn't get an appt with him until August! So, I got a call from this woman, apologizing, and saying the botox had been ordered. I called the mail order company and indeed it will be in their office tomorrow and my appt is the next day. But it will still take 3-4 weeks for it to work...if it does. If not, then I'll keep that other appt for August and change doctors. OK I will whine...My golf game sucks. But as I told the doctor, you can see everyday our soldiers coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan with lost limbs and crippling disabilities. So my whine will be minimal...

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Review on the writer Carl Hiaasen

I’ve always had an offbeat sense of humor. I loved Monty Python and their Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, Life of Brian and of course, Spamalot (French Soldier: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.) I loved it. I’m also a fan of Dave Barry and Christopher Moore (Chris Moore is definitely not for everyone. He is VERY politically incorrect). So, in keeping with my sense of humor, a long time ago I picked up a book by Carl Hiaasen. It was Tourist Season, his first book. Here is a synopsis of the book off of Hiaasen’s web page: “The only trace of the first victim was his Shriner's fez washed up on the Miami Beach. The second victim, the head of the city's chamber of commerce, was found dead with a toy rubber alligator lodged in his throat. And that was just the beginning... Now Brian Keyes, reporter turned private eye, must move from muckraking to rooting out murder, in a caper that will mix football players, politicians, and police with a group of fanatics and a very hungry crocodile.” Now, who could not read something with that type of description? Tourist Season (Carl Hiaasen)

Hiaasen has, for most of his career, been an editorial writer for the Miami Herald. So, his focus, both in his editorial writing and in his novels, is South Florida. Now, if you’ve ever spent any time in south Florida, you know it is populated with all types of miscreants, crooked politicians, crooked real-estate agents and just the plain weird. Welcome to the wild, weird and whacked out world of Carl Hiaasen. Read more...

What's Become of "Buy American?"

It's getting harder and harder to "buy American" these days. Just look at these icons of american culture and see where they are now or were always made. I found this courtesy of

Toll House: Nestle, a Swiss company, is the owner of the Toll House brand of chocolate morsels, baking supplies and cookie dough. But, at least the cookies are an American invention. Ruth Wakefield owned the Toll House Inn outside Whitman, Mass., and baked colonial-inspired desserts. Her big hit was a butter cookie that she flavored with bits of a Nestle chocolate bar. In the mid-1900s, she and Nestle struck a bargain. They could use the Toll House name and in return she got a lifetime supply of chocolate. In 1939, Nestle started selling chocolate "chips."  Read more...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plastic Bottles, Moonlight Cruises and Indiana Jones

It's almost been a month since I've returned from my trip to Borneo and I still am thinking about what an adventure my sister and I had. In addition to the adventure we also learned a great deal about how many dedicated people there are throughtout the world who devote their lives to the conservation of animals and the flora and fauna. For example, one of the scientists working along the Kinabatangan River noticed that the local shrimpers were cutting bark off of trees to hook their shrimp traps to so they could locate them. Well, that meant that the tree would eventually die and there would be more deforestation. This scientist got together with some the local influential shrimpers and suggested that instead of using the bark, why not use "used" plastic water bottles. Read more...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Review: Innocent by Scott Turow

It’s been 23 years since we've seen Rusty and Barbara Sabich, the husband and wife in the wildly popular novel, Presumed Innocent, written by Scott Turow. Presumed Innocent was also a wildly popular movie starring Harrison Ford (playing Rusty Sabich, chief deputy prosecutor) and Greta Scacchi (playing Carolyn Polhemus, a sex pot assistant). I expressly remember the first time “they did it”. Whew, was that some scene. Yes, that’s right. Rusty was being a bad boy and began having an affair with Carolyn. That is until she is raped and murdered. Rusty is accused of the deed and stands trial, only to be exonerated. Or, was he?

Presumed Innocent was really the first of the courtroom drama genre novels. Unlike many of the other authors who write these types of dramas, Turow still has his hand in the legal business as a defense attorney representing white collar defendants. He has written 11 other books since Presumed Innocent. An author knows how much blood, sweat and tears he/she has put into a book and may wonder whether they will be able to replicate that success in a sequel. Innocent doesn’t have the same level was suspense that Presumed Innocent does but it is one hell of a read. It’s a great courtroom drama for adults. Read more...