Friday, August 28, 2009

Larry, Moe, and Curly

The Stoogeum is for knuckleheads and skillet-brains. A half-hour’s drive from Philly, it’s a shrine both to the Three Stooges and their fans. Check it out before you go, the Stoogeum is only open one day a month. That may improve since Sony is releasing DVD sets of their 190 films. Favorite quote: Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Listen to your mother: sleeping later won’t help combat the need for a nap. Soitenly not.

Popcorn is a whole grain.

Researchers have found that both men and women rate their partner’s attractiveness higher than their own. Even Lynne Cheney?

Know what they call the sheath at the end of a shoelace? The aglet. You had it right there on the trip of your tongue.

Up tight Englishmen were lambasting sofas as late as the 1780s, calling them sinful. The French, on the other hand, invented springs for theirs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dial one for English

Keeping score on baseball hat sales? Yankees caps outsell all others three to one. Most complex logo – Florida Marlins with 10,966 stitches compared to 2,688 stitches for the interlocking NY. At the factory, they churn out 72,000 caps a week, about seven a minute. I have a collection.

It didn’t work -- translating some of the English lyrics in “West Side Story” into Spanish for greater authenticity. Broadway audiences were getting the general idea but were not getting hammered with emotions because not enough understood Spanish. Hmmm. Maybe we no longer need “press one for English.”

If you are bored with ketchup-and-mustard American hot dogs, buy your next one from hotdogueros who sells Sonoran-style hot dogs. It is wrapped like a candy-cane with bacon and griddled until dog and bacon become one – then garnished with taco-truck condiments and stuffed into split-top rolls that are a cross between Mexican bolillo loaves and regular grocery store buns. The best.

We’re talking about single ingredient peanut butter. You know, just peanuts and salt. Try it with oatmeal. Also stewed lentils an vegetables with curry powder. Stuffed jalapenos? For more, click here.

The dot over an "i" is called a tittle. Two tittles make an umlaut but that doesn't sound like much fun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Words - new and used

American slang is always changing. There are now 2,500 words for “drunk.” Bartenders estimate the number will grow to 3,500. No, “George” is not on the list.

No joke. Incoming cell phone calls can turn on an oven’s electronic controls. Whoosh. Stand by your oven and dial your number. Cell phones can also interfere with baby monitors, computer speakers, car radios, and – my favorite – Pacemakers. Use my land line.

One measure of how much we need newspapers: during the first 10 years of the “The Tonight Show” Jay Leno relied on the press’s accuracy for more than 18,000 political jokes. Bill Clinton was the butt of nearly 4,000.

From ages 20 to 69, men suffer hearing loss at twice the rate of women. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

A reader writes: "Divorce -- future tense of marriage."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nonsense for fun an profit

Uh-oh. In 2005, there was one geriatric specialist for every 5,000 people over 65. By 2030, the ratio is expected to tilt even more to one knowledgeable doctor for every 8,000 patients. Save your liniment; you’ll need it.

There’s a new molecule in town, a germ-fighter. The gunslinger goes by the name of silver dihydrogen citrate. Claims are the all-purpose germ killer tricks hungry germs into thinking citrate is food only to be ambushed by microscopic particles of ionized silver. Are you following all this? There is historical precedent. The hygienic upper crust Greeks always drank from a silver chalice. Clink.

You may know that Mr. Bojangles was a popular black dancer named Bill Robinson. But you might not know he was an avid Yankees fan who often performed gratis at games by tap dancing atop the home team dugout. He could run the bases backwards as fast as many player could run forward. Try that, Ginger Rogers.

In California, they have a car show for the wrong side of the tracks. Owners compete for Worst in Show, get the picture? One 1967 VW Squareback always draws lots of looks driving the freeways – probably because of the coffee cup glued to its roof.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Front porch delights, Part 62

This morning, I almost ruined the front porch.

As per usual, around sunrise I was enjoying the first cup of coffee as the sun began to warm us up. The early light bathed over the treetops first and then washed down to the people on the ground. Thanks.

Delicious stillness. Always. Thanks again.

Gradually, the critters come to life. Birds want attention first. Some singing, some tap-tapping the bark for bugs. A new pair of wrens park sideways on the way up the maple.

Relaxing made easy.

That’s when my genius bulb went dim. What a perfect place, I thought, to pay bills.

Wrong. No sooner had I written a couple of checks than I realized something was really out of synch. It was like smoking grapevine out behind the barn – I was doing something wrong in a very pretty place.

The front porch is our sanctuary. Here, we can escape from the daily duties and sorting pills. So I packed everything – bills, stamps, calculator, etc – back into the house. The Mystery Woman said she would teach me how to pay bills on-line.

Fortunately, the older we get, the fewer bills we have.

Where was I? Oh yes, one more cup of coffee and back to the porch.

The wrens might miss me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Join the push for health care reform

Fair warning: I’m getting out of sorts.

All this lying and posturing about health care reform is making me cranky. The GOP fear mongering, the insurance industry mis-information, the absurdity of letting 18,000 Americans die every year with no health insurance – it makes my heart heavy.

Yesterday, I joined up with the rabble on our side. A group of elder bloggers locked arms in support of health care reform. Most of us favor the public option. Most of us want the Democrats to go it alone if they have to.

It felt good to push back. Just bare hands and a keyboard.
No guns. No spittle.

Make your voice heard. Go to the Obama site on health care reform and show your support by signing up. Click here.

It’s a small step. But it will make you feel better.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We the People want health care reform

It’s time for the Democrats and the Obama administration to cowboy up.

Forget the Republicans. They are too much in the pocket of the insurance industry and the drug companies to ever vote for health care reform.

We the People urge you to use your muscle, guys. We the Voters gave you clear majorities in both the House and Senate. Use it. Get a bill that includes the public option. Vote it up or down, but vote!

Every day you wait, you lose more ground to the Republican minority that is fighting a smarter, meaner, nastier battle than you seem capable of.

The organized armed protesters are not going away. The organized shouters are not going away. Insurance companies have too much invested in preserving the status quo.


PS--I'm not the only senior who feels this way. Elderbloggers from across the nation are registering their strong belief that we need health care reform. Check out their work at Ronni Bennet's blog, As Time Goes By.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No guns at political meetings

There is no reason to bring a pistol to a Town Hall meeting. There is no reason to bring an assault rifle to a Town Hall meeting.

Here are the reasons why not to bring a gun to a political meeting, especially a meeting where the President of the United States is in attendance:

Abraham Lincoln.

James Garfield.

William McKinley.

Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Harry Truman.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Gerald Ford.

Ronald Reagan.

These American presidents were either shot at or killed while serving in office. One nut. One bullet.

It only takes one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Neanderthals, Tom DeLay, chirp speed

Test show that Neanderthals had difficulty perceiving bitter tastes. Of course, Brussels sprouts had not been invented. Nor second marriages.

Ahh, the D-list. Disgraced former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has signed on for this season’s “Dancing With the Stars.” He’s famous for his Texas Two-Step, metaphorically speaking.

Take your pick. Adherents to the John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone archetype of masculinity and the notion that real men don’t get sick – please note, it actually makes men sick. Alan Alda, the wuss, played a doctor in M.A.S.H. This just in: women continue to outlive men by about five years.

This is complicated so pay attention: Cricket metabolism and chirping speed vary with the ambient temperature. The snowy tree cricket is so dependable that Dolbar’s Law provides a temperature gauge: count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 40 for the temperature in Fahrenheit. If you're in a hurry, tune in the Weather Channel.

With all the data mining going on in government computers, the old job with new appeal is statistician. Encourage your kid to wonk out on randomization, parameters, regressions and data clusters. The money’s good. Fuzzy-faced college kids can earn $125,000 with that Ph.D.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The porch perspective

This is where the troubles began.

It's our screened porch in Minneapolis where I hunt and peck this blog most days. Rain or shine. From here, if I am lucky, I can sometimes recognize a good perspective on our world. Usually hiding in plain sight.

Regular visitors will note the fresh paint. The Mystery Woman repainted the old wicker furniture this season. Last summer, she recovered the cushions. Before we ran out of beer, I managed to stain the deck. C'mon, that's not the way I meant it. We are very formal.

Summers are quick in Minnesota. The flowers are playful. Fun and wondrous. How did they ever survive that first winter up here? Tender green shoots. Tiny little seeds.

They must have survived the same way we do -- somebody loved them. And took care of them. Every springtime, they return the gift.

It's nearly always springtime out on our porch. Come see us.

Guns and politics -- dangerous

The signs are growing more ominous.

Militias are on the rise in the U.S. Guns are getting to be commonplace at public meetings to discuss politics. One vacuous guy who was openly carrying a gun said (in response to a question) he thought the meeting would be safer if 1,000 people showed up packing heat.

Protesters carry signs with scarred with swastikas. One man had a sign that spoke directly to his point: “Death to Obama.” His sign also read “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.”

Where the hell are the sensible leaders from the right who are brave enough to step up and call for a cease fire!

Stop pandering to these crazies. Stop the fear mongering and paranoia that validates these extremists. This madness has got to stop.

Violent repercussions are one trigger-jerk away.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health care reform -- geezer fight, geezer fight

OK. Let’s rumble.

Let’s see if we can bring these health care/town hall theatrics to a showdown. You bring your geezer goons and I’ll bring mine. No prosthetics allowed. Set your Pacemakers on stun.

Let’s get in each other faces and shout. Up close. If your arthritis is not flaring up, jab your fingers in the air. Let the spittle fall where it may.

Let’s not let anyone talk. Spouses, neither. Ignore everyone saying “Sit down, honey,” unless they are wearing a badge.

If the two wires in your head are touching, that’s always a plus.

It’s the Bloods and the Crips. The Jets and the Sharks. Don’t make us resort to our ultimate threat—the shirts and the skins.

The Alamo. Apocalypse NOW! But please, don’t everybody wear a white belt with matching shoes.

A scheduling note: the bus will leave in plenty of time for you to maintain your fiber regimen.


Here’s the serious question: aren’t you tired of this angry and stupid spectacle that is playing out on the evening news? The unrelenting pounding is giving geezers a bad name: “No government health program – but keep your hands off my Medicare.”

Let's push back but in a civil way. Give some thought to this approach: Ronni Bennett, a woman we know from her writing on the aging process, is urging elderbloggers to link together in a grassroots effort to support health care reform. If we can get enough readers to respond, it might stiffen the spine for the Blue Dog Democrats so we can pass a bill. Learn more about her effort here. Join us August 20.

We need health care reform.

The humanitarian reason: 46 million Americans have no insurance.

The economic reason: duh.

Epiphany Now!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Town hall disruption -- edge of the abyss

There’s going to be a killing.

I hope I’m wrong but if these town hall meetings don’t cool down, somebody is going to get shot, knifed or run over.

Already, some nut dropped a gun at a town hall meeting in Arizona.

Is this what you want? The question goes directly to Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin where the evidence of hate speech is piling up.

--Beck says Obama is a racist.
--Limbaugh compares Obama to Hitler
--Palin says the Obama health bill creates death panels.

I won’t even get into Newt Gingrich playing cute with race-baiting code.

Is this what you want? The question goes to big pharma lobbyists and conservative organizations who admit to sending white hot magma over the Internet describing how to disrupt these town hall meetings. One paid hit man said his organization has sent how-to guidelines to over 750,000 email addresses. Another said 400,000 were on his list. In all 50 states, the manipulation roils on.

That’s the makings of a mob. A mostly white mob.

Obama lost White America 55 to 43 percent. And that white mob is being stirred into dangerous rants that have shut down town hall meetings all across the U.S. This is mob rule, not free speech.

A congressman is hung in effigy. Lynchings are the god-awful relics of a tragic period in American history. They are covertly, overtly, blatantly – racist.

Don’t give me the crap about left-wing disruptions in the past. More wrongs, whether two or twenty, don’t make this nasty plan right.

Conservative friends say this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Why? Is this what you want?

Someone on the right needs to exert some leadership. For America.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Woodstock, Rumsfeld, Tarzan -- swingers

Woodstock was so wet and muddy that 400,000 revelers left behind perhaps as many as 80,000 sleeping bags. Too wet, too heavy to carry. Makes you wonder how that farmer who owned the property ever reclaimed his land for any productive use thereafter.

Back when he was CEO of Searle, the great Donald Rumsfeld turned a $28 million loss into a $72 million profit. He also brought aspartame to market. And that’s not the only bad taste he left in our mouths.

In 1981, Sony announced its electronic camera and the headlines boomed: “Film is dead.” True, but premature. It took 28 more years for Kodachrome to fade away.

The first movie to get scathed by the Hays Code? “Tarzan and His Mate” which featured a skinny-dipping scene. The racy clip included underwater footage of a body-double for Maureen O’Sullivan and a buck-naked Johnny Weissmuller. Yes, that could be the first time Tarzan performed his jungle yodel. You, too?

The food judges on “Top Chef” are expected to taste 16-17 bites of each food they munch. If you get the job, expect to gain 10 to 15 pounds over a season. Pack two sizes of everything.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One for my baby ...

Hey. This is getting to be fun. And poignant. And revealing. How do you spell insightful?

I’m talking about contributions to the book we all need to write on aging. Take a look at yesterday’s post (below). Scroll down to comments. A handful of people have responded. Different strokes and I identify with every one of them. Take a look. You will too.

Now sit down and write something about the aging process. Or the youth process. Anything: love, family, finances, fender skirts. You get the picture. Keep it to 250 words or less. Have fun.

If we get enough entries, we’ll try to get a book published.

So, set ‘em up, Joe.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Aging -- one story at a time

We're trying to write a book -- together -- about aging. This collaborative effort is because everybody ages differently. Jump in. Write about anything: love, health, family, money, fender skirts, anything. Please limit your thoughts to 250 words. If we get enough good entries, we'll see about getting a book published.

Have some fun. Click on "comment" below to add your thoughts. Here's mine:

"Like most people, I have a fondness for sunup and sunset - and for the special light that shines up the world at both ends of the day. Our primordial feelings probably go all the way back to the caves when the changing light re-wrote the rules of safety every day.

"As I sit on the front porch, I feel like a co-conspirator with the sun. The changing light continues to fetch up feelings that long ago I quit trying to understand – and now just enjoy. The dusk gently reminds us who controls the night. And from the primeval forest across the street, the cottonwoods launch fuzzy, feathery things that float gently on the air currents and look for sex. Watch them catch the thermals rising from the still-warm sidewalk. Ohh.

"In the first light of morning, the animals take charge. Birds, mostly, announcing a positive take on another day. The biggest wild critter on the block is the rabbit, if you don't count the mailman. Urban rabbits have developed two personalities - at the same time both fearless and tenuous. Truth is, as long as the Mississippi rolls through the cities, so will the rabbits. They rule the spring gardens.

"At last, I am beginning to understand the sweet pleasures in the invitation: 'come sit a spell.' I love this porch."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Doofus -- they walk amongst us

Conservatives give the doofus a bad name. People with hard hearts just don’t think straight. Consider global warming. The right wing (read big business) denies the possibility of global warming. Think about the consequences. No global warming, no bikinis. That’s right, nokinis.

The first bikini, by the way, was found on Minoan cave paintings dating around 1600 B.C. Prudery was born with the fall of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, conservatives would tell you swimming was unhealthy. To this day, the right wing is opposed to health care reform.

Speaking of global warming, some 4,500 climate studies were published in 2007, more than triple the total from a decade earlier. Yet the scientists have been unable to convince the captains of industry to reduce emissions. Sigh (but not too deeply – unhealthy).

Recall the sweet canard about how a Kansas butterfly flapping its wings can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world. Now comes the notion that seawater flowing around and through a jellyfish can affect ocean currents. A guy named Charles Darwin came up with that one. He’s the grandson of the earlier trouble-maker.

Where was I? Oh yes, conservatives are such doofuses …

(If you are still reading, take note: this post marks my 500th. Clink!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Smoke, mirrors and lobby money

Opponents to the national health plan would have you believe yesterday’s town hall outbursts were spontaneous.

I call B.S.

The events were fueled by a high-paid corporate lobbyist and former GOP congressman from Texas – Dick Armey. A guy in his office wrote and spread around a hate-filled memo on how to take over town hall meetings.

Think about that.

A fat-cat corporate lobbyist is choreographing ways to shut down public discussion of a vital piece of legislation. He is getting paid to disrupt democracy – paid by the health industry, by the drug companies and by the rich insurance companies. That much we know. Lord knows what else they have done to foment such high drama.

This is manipulation, pure and simple. Scare tactics. Disgraceful. Calloused. And a genuine assault on free speech. This does not lead us to a better place.

The mob shouts down anyone brave enough to disagree. “Sit down,” they shout. “Shut up,” they yell. Are jackboots next?

If conservatives insist this mayhem is righteous anger, then walk away from the lobby money. The staged theatrics taint your credibility, undercut your arguments, and make your protests suspect.

This is not democracy. Disavow Dick Armey.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One lump, or two?

Are sweets addictive? Ask a rat. In a recent study, 40 of 43 rats picked sugar over cocaine after trying both. Could have been just the munchies.

Here’s the question: if we continue to give old folks such things as transplants, Medicare and pacemakers – shouldn’t they reciprocate with gifts of wisdom, inheritances, and old Buicks with low mileage?

On an average weekday, unemployed Americans sleep an hour longer than their working brethren. They straighten up the house, work in the yard and do laundry twice as much as the employed. File this under Duh.

Cash for Clunkers delivered a jolt to the economy in only six days. Could it be because the money directly benefits the consumer rather than the bailouts that enrich the bankers and the bandits on Wall Street?
Just asking.

Do you like seafood? Fresh. Wild. Only half are. The other half are farmed. Worldwide.

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