Monday, November 30, 2015

Age is Just a Number

This is what 95 looks like!
Yesterday I spoke with my oldest friend, literally: Gloria is 95 and I have known her since my first day on Earth. My mother's best friend since the two of them were teens, she lived next door to us for much of my childhood and became my second mother. After the death of my birth mother in 1981 (at sixty-two), Gloria moved up into the top slot, becoming the only mother I have.

She is simply extraordinary. She lives alone and drives herself everywhere, like to the gym each morning to work out for an hour on the machines. She has an active social life, meeting with friends to play games like Bingo and Mahjong. She was always a great cook and still dabbles in the kitchen. Yes, she has a few aches and pains, she admitted, but "that's to be expected when you start to get older," which is how she currently sees herself in the grand scheme of life.

What sets her apart from some whiners many years younger --  like me for example -- is her attitude. She is upbeat and always has been. Despite losing her husband, the true love of her life and father of her two children, when she was just fifty years old, Gloria has continued to squeeze the most out of each day. She's had some health issues, one which required serious heart surgery, but her natural ebullience brought about a speedy recovery each time.

Gloria was born in Brooklyn, moved to Long Island, returned to Manhattan, then ventured to Florida and finally settled in Phoenix. She likes warm weather since she's a golfer and likes to get out on the green as much as possible. When I wake up each morning all stiff and achy, groaning as I make my way down the stairs to feed the cat, I chalk it up to my age; after all, I am sixty-nine! Then I think of Gloria, take a big swig of fish oil, and quit my complaining.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter Vacation Blues

My husband and I are in the midst of a quandary. He wants to take a trip this winter and wants me to go with him. His goal is to escape Maine's frigid temps and frozen landscape and go lie on a beach somewhere tropical, sometime in late January. He thinks this sounds like fun. My problem is the deciding where, the getting there, and then the lying on the beach part.

The choices include St. John, St. Bart's, Puerto Rico, Barbados and all of the Caribbean. Mitch sees each one as a distinct destination, whereas I think they are all the same and promise nothing but a long layover at Newark airport followed by days of waiting for the elevator, boredom, wandering through trinket shops and sticky drinks with those paper umbrellas and a lot of pineapple.

Last night we tried to pin it down. One method we used was a test I found on the Internet to determine where to find the beach best suited to your particular needs. You are asked to choose the most appealing photo out of nine different ones for eight different questions, like "How do you want to spend your day?" and "What hotel looks best to you?" That sort of thing. I took the test and my answer was "A Royal Caribbean cruise." Then Mitch took the test and chose different things but got the same answer. Clearly it was an ad for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line dressed up like a travel quiz.

I will not go on a cruise because bad things could happen. You could fall off the boat (or be pushed), get food poisoning, have your husband get seasick (a distinct possibility) or just be stuck with a whole lot of people you don't like but have to see day after day after day for like nine days.  Besides, I hate vacations. It's not like I work in a coal mine in West Virgina all year long and need a rest.

It's a new day and the problem remains unsolved.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Questions for My Readers

Many people read this blog yet I rarely get comments from anyone other than my husband and one or two loyal readers who take the time to make their feelings known. Sometimes I wonder if I would get more of a reaction if I said some shocking things calculated to get a rise out of people. But then why would I. Who needs comments, especially from strangers? In fact, I am thankful that I finally shook  that one nut who used to write and say how awful I was all the time. (Hopefully she has died.)

Still, it would be nice to know how people feel on some subjects. For example, one thing I am burning to understand is how Donald Trump remains in the lead according to all the political polls, despite his outrageous behavior and stunning insults aimed at whoever gets in his way. Right behind that is my complete bafflement over Hillary Clinton being someone so many people admire, when all I see is a cheating, lying, conniving shrew with really bad bags under her eyes.

I'd like to understand why so many people are so fascinated by reality TV. How empty must one's own life be that precious hours are squandered watching other people living theirs? And with so many commercials, no less.

Who buys those things from QVC? The clothes are so hideous and unflattering, and that's on the models! Imagine how bad they look once you get them home and put them on your own dumpy body. And yet they sell out constantly, and the callers seem to love them.

Why do so many celebrities end up getting so fat? They can afford personal chefs and home gyms and fitness trainers, still they puff up like Poppin' Fresh on prednisone. (Have you seen Dan Akroyd lately?) It's a mystery.

Lastly, how come so many people still respect the Catholic Church after the revelation that hundreds of its priests were engaging in sexual abuse of young children, a fact that was covered up (and thus condoned) by Church leaders for years, but society is quick to label the Mormons, Scientologists, Christian Scientists and Muslims as evil cultists?

If anyone knows the answers to any of these questions and can also figure out how to leave a comment here, please fill me in.

Film Review: SPOTLIGHT

For reasons I don't understand, many movies finally get to Maine long after they have opened in theaters elsewhere. This means that by the time we see them, if ever, we've read all the reviews and heard all the hype, making it hard to go in with an open mind. Spotlight is one of those. Already there is talk of Oscars for the cast, although I'm not sure for who or why; in this film, the story is the true star.

The Spotlight team in a huddle.
It's almost too hard to believe, but it's true and we've all heard it already: Alarming numbers of Catholic priests sexually abuse little children, boys and girls alike. Turns out that fifty percent of all priests are not celibate, and many of them are pederasts. The Church covers for them, reassigning them to other parishes once their dastardly deeds are discovered in their own backyard. The problem is global, as wide-reaching as the Catholic Church itself, although here the focus is on Boston as a team of tireless reporters from The Boston Globe hunt down the gory details, beginning back in 2001.

An able cast of proven actors, most notably Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and Rachel McAdams, tell the story. And tell it and tell it; the film is pretty much all close-ups of talking heads with little else. A few shots of downtown Boston flash by, making you hungry for more, but mostly you can see Spotlight with your eyes closed and not miss anything. For a visual person such as myself, it's disappointing. Still, if you're hungry for all the dirt on just how depraved the Catholic Church was, and possibly still is, this movie more than satisfies.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Two Ends of the Color Spectrum

Yesterday the world learned about the horrific execution of a 17-year-old African American boy in Chicago last October. He was gunned down by a white cop answering reports that cars were being vandalized. The first two shots into the kid's back took him down, but the officer approached and at close range fired another sixteen bullets into his victim. It is beyond beyond, certainly one of the the worst examples of police racism ever. The whole thing was captured on a video which was just released yesterday. Hours later, in a CYA move on the part of the Chicago police, the officer was arrested. One wonders what he's been doing since the murder of this boy one year ago? Was he still out "protecting" the citizens of Chicago?

A friend of mine works for a large company seeking to hire a new CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Starting out there were more than thirty applicants eager for the job, and they had to be whittled down to a reasonable number to be interviewed in person. There were nine who made the first cut. My friend, the ultimate decision-maker, sought my help to continue the whittling. Finally he came down to the two men he had liked the best in person, who also had the most pertinent experience and could definitely do the job handily. But then he mentioned, "The third best candidate is a black woman." I asked if the company, which already employs many women in top positions, has any black executives. He said no. One guess who's getting the job.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Changing Times

Today I was driving behind a Masshole, which is what we here in Maine call drivers from Massachusetts, and wow, was she ever one. Besides being a terrible driver -- not signalling ever and going way too slow to qualify for the left lane -- the back of her Toyota Corolla was plastered with bumper stickers for Hillary Clinton. I got a chance to see them up close for a really long time, and they sure were stupid. One of them said, "I'm ready for Hillary for President." I wondered how one gets ready for that, and what not being ready for it looks like. Another one simply said "Madame President." There were others, maybe eight or ten in all, slapped on willy-nilly.

These days, with terrorists eager to blow you up or shoot you down, I find it surprising that people drive around wearing their hearts on their sleeves, which is essentially what a bumper sticker does. I want the stranger in the car next to me, ahead of me and behind me to know as little about me as possible. I'm already putting myself out there by driving a bright red car; they certainly don't need more information, least of all what my other car is or where my child is an honor student.

The only bumper sticker I ever displayed was EAT BERTHA'S MUSSELS, which referred to a funky seafood restaurant (Bertha's) in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood. Other people with a Bertha's bumper sticker would honk as they passed by. It was sort of like being in a cool club of fun people. It even got me out of a ticket one time, when the cop who pulled me over for going through a yellow light that might have been red decided to let me off with a warning because, as he said, "Anyone who eats at Bertha's is okay in my book." That was back in the early 1980s, when Baltimore was safe and sane. Today that same cop would likely arrest me or shoot me on the spot.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Beyond All Reason

Yogurt: Never again!
In today's paper there is a teeny little article about the fact that at the University of Ottawa, a yoga class that has been taught since 2008 is being discontinued because it is politically incorrect, since "there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice" and fears over "which cultures those practices are being taken from." Yup, you read that right. Here's more: "Many of those cultures have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy. We need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga."

So to be sure I don't commit an act of political incorrectness I am taking stock and changing my behavior. Following are a few of the steps I will implement in order to avoid making anyone at all uncomfortable:

1. First and foremost I will stop eating all yogurt. Not only does it sound very much like "yoga," which we now know is bad, but it is made from cultures, and eating an entire culture can never be good.

2. I am discarding all my black clothing since the wearing of blacks can only be seen as racist behavior.

3. I am installing ramps leading to all my doors because you never know when a handicapped Jehovah's Witness or Mormon will stop by to proselytize. We must be open to all religions.

4. I am burning all my books that have anything to do with racism, sexism, history, the Irish, Native Americans, and all other peoples who may have been abused by our evil government. This will free up a lot of space on my shelves where I can instead house several three-year-old Syrian refugee orphans, I heard many of them are coming soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Everybody Qigong

I am so tired of anger. I think I will not have any anymore. Right now my husband is on the phone in the next room, yelling. Who at or what about is not important, the fact is that yelling is tiresome and doesn't change minds. I imagine that if nobody got angry, problems would either dissolve or be solved. Try it in your own life. And if you know any members of ISIS, get them to try it.

Yesterday I participated in a three-hour workshop covering the basics of Qigong, which is sort of like Tai Chi but different and please don't ask me how. Anyway, for the whole time I did not have one angry, depressed, sad, dire or uncomfortable thought. It was paradise.

I'm pretty sure that if everyone spent their leisure time doing Qigong instead of playing video games or watching violent movies or bombing innocents, the world would fundamentally change for the better.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Words to Live By

We never know each day when we wake up what will happen. The sun rises and the sun sets, and in between is chaos. Today I learned that a wonderful person I knew back in high school (South Side Senior High, Class of '64) died last Friday. Jane had been battling cancer for some time and finally succumbed. She left the following final reflections which I share here with you, dear reader.

Final Thoughts from Jane Kinzler

All you have to do is live your life.

Gratitude is a portal to compassion.

Receive the encouragement that is offered.

Be at peace with the surroundings.

And allow the stories to unfold.

The less the resistance, the fewer the obstacles.

Regard what is around you as a gift, not an obligation or a chore.

Enjoy your time on the planet.

Enjoy the journey.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pet Pet Peeves

A pet peeve is defined as "Something that is annoying to a particular person that may not be annoying to others." Mine is having pets. I am clearly in the minority on this one, since according to the ASPCA there are now approximately 70-80 million households in America with dogs and another 74-96 million with cats, and I'm guessing that the people who own those animals enjoy having them. This may not be true, since I am among the cat owners (and until two years ago the dog owners) and I am sick to death of the whole shebang.

The last week of my life would make a great comic movie starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, if only it were funnier. In fact, if it were even the teeniest bit funny. Actually it would make a better drama, a tearjerker like Sophie's Choice only without the Nazis.

I can hardly stand to relive the gory details so I'll just say it fast to get it over with: To recover from the death of my beloved cat of twenty years, which bummed me out as much as any death of any being ever has, and to get my surviving cat a replacement companion, I purchased an adorable seven-month-old kitten from a local shelter. Once home with us, that new kitten stopped being adorable and turned into Carrie of the cat world. It bummed out my surviving cat much more than the death of my other cat bummed me out, to the point that he took off on the morning of the third day and stayed away for 12 hours, returning late at night in dire condition, sick and weird and hiding under the bed and not eating, drinking or using the litter box.

We got the point and returned the new kitty to the shelter, a loss of only $89.00 and thus no big deal although it could feed a family of refugees for a week no doubt; what refugees where I am not saying because don't get me started on that whole thing.

Anyway, Lurch was sick for two days, and so a vet visit was necessary and then another one requiring an x-ray and blood work and subcutaneous intravenous fluids and an appetite stimulant, and in all upwards of $6oo was spent to get him back to somewhat normal. (I am leaving out the grossest part that took place last night and after which I may never be the same, involving cat feces and that's all I'll say, necessitating a day spent laundering everything in my house including but not limited to bedding, bathrobes, personal clothing, towels and more. I went to a laundromat for the first time in 40 years since I needed a commercial washer for some of the larger items.)

So then this afternoon, after Lurch's morning douche in the kitchen sink (which thank God my son was kind enough to drive over and join me for since it's a two-person job when the cat weighs fifteen pounds), he seemed better and was no longer hiding under the bed and seemed eager to go out. Since he had finally eaten and actually performed some bodily functions that were close to what is deemed normal on this planet, I made the executive decision to let him go, thinking he would be back in half an hour since it was his first jaunt after being sick. But, he's now been gone four hours and I am not only looking out all the windows and opening all the doors constantly, I am writing this post about it, and that just sucks.

And that's why I am done with pets and if Lurch never comes back then I say good riddance to him and his kind.  I will simply donate my pet beds and pet carriers and cats toys to the shelter and be done with the whole lot of them and enjoy what little time I have left without worrying about finding a pet sitter to go away for a freaking weekend when the spirit moves me (if I ever have any spirit anymore without Lurch).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Donald's Plain Talk

The Donald is pissed.
I just watched Donald Trump on C-Span giving a speech to a packed arena somewhere in New Hampshire yesterday. The crowd absolutely loved him, and while he said many things that got applause, the one statement that had everyone clapping wildly and up on their feet was his plan for handling the terror organization known as ISIS: "We have to bomb the shit out of them!"

It was shocking -- even to me and I admit to having a gutter mouth -- to hear someone running for president talk that way. What way? The way everyone in real life talks all the time. But somehow our politicians have gotten it into their heads that they need a gang of highly paid speechwriters to dream up fancy language full of esoteric rhetoric and soaring euphemisms to get our votes. Well guess what: that's how Obama got elected, and it hasn't worked out too well. The sad truth is that fancy talk won't stop terror attacks.

Donald Trump may not be the right mouthpiece, but diplomacy isn't always the right solution. That rousing roar of approval Trump got for his proposed solution suggests that many of our fellow Americans feel it's time to get some muscle back into the Oval Office.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Setback in the White House

Laughing often looks like screaming in terror.
Eight years ago I started out writing a humor blog, but gradually events turned darker and darker and suddenly there's not too much funny around. In fact, just about the funniest thing I can think of is that my fellow Americans elected President Barack Obama twice, and now they are finally beginning to understand that he is in way over his head. This phenomenon is called "the Peter principle," stemming from a book written back in 1969 by Laurence J. Peter.

In a nutshell, the Peter principle refers to the fact that the decision by management to promote an employee is usually based on his or her performance in their current job. This eventually results in their being promoted to their highest level of competence, and potentially to a role in which they are not competent. This is referred to as their "level of incompetence." Naturally the employee in question has no chance of further promotion, and the only way out is down.

This is exactly what has happened to Obama, who is hot to flood our country with thousands and thousands of Syrian refugees at a time when at least one million radical terrorists, based in Syria, are bent on our destruction and relish the chance to get in here and blow us the hell up.

See, I told you it wouldn't be funny.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Odd Jobs

Looking through the classifieds, I am continually stunned, stumped and stymied at the use of the word "teacher" when the job opening is for taking care of infants ranging in age from six weeks to eighteen months. Even more amazing, a degree in Early Childhood Education is always required. I can't help but wonder what kind of courses are offered to earn such a degree. I imagine they look something like this:

Introduction to Swaddling
Classic Lullabies
Shoes: Why Bother?
Anger Management  
Teething for Beginners
Preventing Crawling Injuries  
Discouraging Gender Differences
Thinking Outside the Juice Box
How to Pat the Bunny Appropriately
Burping or Spitting Up? How to Tell
Comparing Apples to Oranges: It Can Be Done
Save Time or Save the Planet: Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
Binkies and Pacifiers: Spot the Differences
Prunes: Four Too Few, Six Too Many?
Helping Baby Recognize Mommy and Daddy
Parents Who Blame: Finding a Good Lawyer

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Presidential Joke

One of my favorite old jokes goes something like this: A tourist visiting Manhattan is lost. He approaches a passerby on the street and says, "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Times Square or should I just go fuck myself?"

"If you liked that one, wait til you hear this one..."
After seeing the president's televised press conference earlier today, in which he called the Paris terror attacks that left 129 dead, 352 injured and 99 in critical condition the work of a "handful of people who don't mind dying for what they believe," stressing once more that most Muslims are good people practicing their religion peacefully, I thought of that joke, only with a couple of changes: An American citizen is touring the White House. He meets President Obama and asks, "Excuse me sir, are you planning on doing anything to protect us from ISIS or should I just go blow myself up right now?"

Jihadist Thanksgiving

I have not visited my acupuncturist since the Paris shootings but I doubt the usual treatment will do much to calm my jangled nerves next time. Maybe I'll ask him to bring out the big needles from the back room that he saves for nuclear war, raging pestilence and ISIS gone wild. I hope he has some of those.

The fact that so many young people are so angry and filled with hate for the world that they can go out and slaughter complete strangers their own age by shooting them down like the Nazis did to the Jews (and gays and Gypsies, yes I know) during the Holocaust proves that it can happen again and is happening right now. Beyond disheartening, no word exists to describe it. (I would use "heinous" but that word's impact has been diminished by being part of the opening sequence of TV's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" cop show. )

The fact that all of them are of the Muslim faith or radical Islamic jihadists or whatever phrase Hillary Clinton dares to use without being accused of racial defamation or incurring the wrath of Obama is surely not a coincidence, yet we are all cautioned not to generalize about all the "nice" Muslims and all the "decent" followers of Islam, wherever they are hiding out since I have never seen any, certainly not in the news or on TV, railing against the "handful" (according to Obama) who are giving their religion a bad name.

Instead we are all supposed to be happily planning for next week's Thanksgiving dinners, ordering our free-range, all-natural turkeys and loading up on canned pumpkin, apples and pecans for the pies, yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing fixings, emergency turkey gravy and all the rest, in order to proceed with that hollow, ritualistic holiday as if nothing has happened to change our world, pretending we have so much for which to be thankful. I wonder what that might be for President Obama.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Recipe for Relaxation

The sanest thing I did all day was go to an office, lie down on a table and have hair-thin needles stuck into my body at various points. Then I just stayed still, with the needles in place, and repeated my mantra to myself over and over. This lasted for a little over an hour, with the needles being readjusted three times, about  every twenty minutes. Soft music played. It was very relaxing and I have no doubt these weekly treatments have contributed to my improved health in recent months.

Sounds nutty to some people, I know. But not as nutty as this: In Paris today, a pack of terrorists went on a shooting spree and killed ten people who were out in a restaurant. There were also explosions at six different locations around the city, killing an additional sixteen people. Now they are saying at least forty people were killed and sixty wounded at a soccer match. As I write this, hostages at a concert hall are being shot one by one.

Now that's nutty. I say acupuncture for all, especially since these terror attacks seem to be happening more often without anyone stopping them.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We Need Mitt!

Mitt, oh Mitt -- where are you? Your time is now. Save the Republicans!

Mitt Romney is a smart, politically experienced, kind family man with a love of country and a vision of America as a leader once again. As for scandals, I doubt there is even one skeleton in his closet. His wife would make a great First Lady; besides being lovely she has MS, giving her full rights to sympathy instead of jealousy. And in case you missed it, the last debate among the candidates currently in the running made it clear that each one has a fatal problem---or two or three:

Marco Rubio is Cuban so we are supposed to like him because immigrants are so in these days. But his ultra-canned and over-rehearsed glibness can also be seen as slick and oily, which might explain why I always call him Mario by mistake, thinking of the video game's Super Mario.

Ted Cruz is also of Cuban descent but exploits it less.  He looks exactly like the original model for the Greek Mask of Tragedy. The more I hear him the better I like him, but let's be real: anyone against gay marriage has no chance. (That ship has sailed.)

Chris Christie is fat and that is that. Too many jokes about that would impair his ability to govern.

 John Kasich is whiny and annoying. Enough with "My father was a postman" already, a statement he manages to work in to almost every sentence he utters. Just how does that make him the right choice to run the country anyway?

Carly Fiorina lost my support during the last debate when she revealed her new hair color. Who needs a president who is busy fussing with her hair?

Jeb Bush is wimpy. He looks like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, and also my Aunt Peska. I suppose in these days of transgenders being so popular that might be a good thing, but I find it distracting.

Donald Trump is played. Still funny and real, he just does not know what the heck he is talking about a lot of the time.

Ben Carson has a sweet personality, is 100% black and not just half like Obama, and seems very honest and very smart. But really, he's got to wake up. He should have some coffee or something.

Rand Paul looks like a leprechaun or a creature out of Lord of the Rings. I swear he is not human.

Bobby Jindal is too skinny, Huckabee's ears are too big and anyone else who is running is too forgettable since I don't remember who they are.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Heather Has Two (Dumb) Parents

I recently watched a short video posted on my Facebook page that shows what happens when you place a bar of Ivory soap into a microwave oven. While it was less disturbing than it might have been had the bar of soap been, say, a cat or a mouse or any number of other living creatures, still, the very fact that it exists and that people post it and others watch it is disheartening, advancing my theory that people are getting dumber every day.

Another example of this downward trend can be found in today's Wall Street Journal, where a column called "Work & Family Mailbox" answers questions from readers. Today some poor sap asks, "How can parents support each other when a child refuses to do what she's told, such as getting dressed for soccer practice?" Apparently the clueless writer is unaware that sprains and strains, often around the knee and ankle, are very common in soccer. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "player collisions — either full body or kick collisions — can cause a wide range of injuries, including cuts, bruises, and concussions. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendinitis and shin splints, frequently occur as well." 

Obviously the child's refusal to get dressed for practice is a desperate cry for help, fearing for her safety as well as being trapped in a home where the "adults" have no idea how to raise her.  Anyway, in case you care, the bar of Ivory soap does not explode; all that happens is that it gets big and fluffy. Then you have to just throw it away. See what I mean about people getting dumber?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Politically Incorrect Cuisine Tips

Chris Farley eating pizza.
When you're looking for a restaurant, steer clear of all the Italians, the most fattening food on the planet! Sure it tastes great, but if you eat it consistently you'll end up looking like Chris Farley the day he died. He even said on a Saturday Night Live opening monologue, "I love Italian food, can you tell?" (It was later declared that he died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine exacerbated by advanced heart disease, no doubt from some dumb Italian dish.)

Nutritionally, nothing White has any value.  Only an idiot eats white bread. Ditto white flour and white rice, which  puff you up with empty calories. Besides, Whites are almost always very boring on the plate.

Anything Black can hurt you when it comes to eating. Black beans will make you gassy and bloated. I wouldn't touch them. And black licorice is bad if you have high blood pressure. In fact, if you're over forty, eating two ounces of it daily for two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm. But the real dietary danger will be the blackened, grilled meat, which contains one of the most potent carcinogens known. So think twice when it comes to anything Black.

Anything Indian is downright dangerous. Most curries are very spicy and may upset your stomach, irritate a hernia, or cause heartburn later. And that Indian bread is so delicious you could just keep eating it and eating it until it makes you vomit, so forget Indian.

Their restaurants are everywhere, but you'd be smart to ignore all the Chinese. The food is loaded with salt and can give you a stroke, I am not kidding. And obviously calling it "dim sum" is a coded way of saying that "some people are dim" who eat it. Besides, those fortune cookies are stupid.

Don't bother with any Ethiopian. Their cuisine, if you can call it that, is tasty but their methodology for ingestion is just gross: You wipe it up off your plate with your fingers. No utensils! (Jesus, what century is this?)

When it comes to restaurants, Mexicans are the worst and should be declared illegal. It's usually just a pile of mushy, reheated beans smothered in some gooey mystery sauce and slopped over rice. If you have a death wish, get some Mexican. (Recent problems at Chipotle bear this out.)

Pearl Harbor on a bad day.
Japanese can kill you, and I'm not talking about Pearl Harbor, although that was pretty bad. (See photo at right.) Sushi is very popular and may be the linchpin of Japan's plan for world domination by feeding everyone else parasites, heavy metals and bacteria.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How Many Lies Have You Told Today?

I have just started reading a book by M. Scott Peck, the now-deceased author of the wildly popular bestseller, The Road Less Traveled. This one is entitled People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. The second part of the title worries me because I lie all the time yet I don't think of myself as evil. Am I?

My most recent lie was to a group of six women who meet for dinner once a month. Through a chance meeting with a friendly stranger I was eventually invited to join the group, and while I had an agreeable time the first evening, after the second one I realized there was no future in it for me. These were simply not my people, and certainly not my restaurants! One hint was that never, during either evening, was I asked anything about myself by anyone. Instead the others talked about their own lives, having several things in common: two of the women are related and three share an employer. I began as an outsider and remained one. Still, they included me in their planning emails and I was on the docket for the next dinner.

I could have said I was sick that day. I could have said I was having surgery, or that my car was in the shop or my husband had a work thing or my non-existent dog died or my septic tank was overflowing or I sprained my ankle or I just plumb forgot. Better yet, I could have told the truth and said, "My feelings are hurt because I seem to matter so little to all of you. Besides, we have nothing in common, and I don't really feel anything for any of you either."  That would have been A, guilt-tripping, and B, unkind, especially since what I wanted was an eternal escape, not their hollow (or even heartfelt) apologies and the need to come up with another excuse next time.

So I sent a group email announcing I would be going to China before the next dinner. Apparently they bought it, and with nary a question about why, or for how long, or where in China, or anything at all, instead emailing their well-wishes for a good trip, clearly substantiating my suspicion that I was a non-essential groupie to their superstar circle. End of story.

I didn't feel guilty since nobody was hurt, and for all I know they are glad I'm gone. Still, it was a lie, and were I Pinocchio my nose would be growing as I write this. (I better read more of Peck's book, and quick.) Anyway, just for fun, try to get through one day without lying. Be honest if anyone asks you any of the following questions:
Do I look like I've put on weight?
Do you like my hair this color?
Do I look old to you?
Do you think I should have a face lift?

Did you like the movie I recommended?
Brucelyn Jenner
Who do you think you will vote for?
How much exercise do you get each day?

What do you think of Donald Trump?
What do you think of Michelle Obama?
Should illegal aliens get free health care?
How much TV do you watch every day?
How much do you give to charity?
Are you a vegetarian?
Is Bruce Jenner male or female?
Do you like yoga?
Are you afraid of death? 
Are you an organ donor?
Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Joke of the Week

If you are extremely overweight you are likely riddled with problems: You have trouble walking up stairs, or just walking. Your clothes feel too tight, you are uncomfortable in summer, you suffer from a host of digestive issues, your breathing is often labored, and of course you look bad naked. Will any of those things improve if you are called "heavy" or "ample" or "big-boned" instead of "fat," which for some reason has been deemed an offensive word? No, not even a little.

Our current Attorney General, with the tacit approval of the current President of the United States, declared last week that the term "juvenile delinquent" is offensive and must be stricken from our collective vocabularies. Going forward, the new term for those young troublemakers shall be "justice-involved youth."

That should cut down on crime.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Another Four-Letter Word

A friend of mine thinks I use the word "hate" too freely. She says it's "a very strong word" and thus should be saved for special occasions, when you really, really hate something. I hate that. I hate when someone tells me how to use words, and what words to use.

Actually, I do hate a lot of things. And maybe for me "hate" is not a strong word. Maybe for me it's just a medium word, and "despise" is the word I use when I feel really strongly about something. It isn't but it could be, after all, she doesn't know what's in my head.

Here are all the things I can say that I honestly hate:
Children getting cancer
Bill and Hillary Clinton
Morons calling George W. Bush "a moron"
Whoopie Goldberg
Rachel Maddow
Having high blood pressure
Feeling dizzy
Being constipated
Driving in snow
Dropping my cell phone in the toilet
My eyesight since my cataract surgery
Waiting for service in a restaurant
Feeling fat
Bill Maher
Very hot days
People who tell me how to think
When the power goes out in a storm
Mosquito bites
Dunkin' Donuts coffee

Friday, November 6, 2015

Guess Who's Running for President

Apparently one of this sorry bunch will be our next president:
An ancient radical 
An incensed female executive
A fatty with a speech impediment
An unctuous ethnic type
A boring rich white guy
A short eye doctor
A self-righteous Jesus freak
A lying white harpy
A soporific black guy
A loudmouth comic with bad hair
A scary-looking, super-smart bigot

Live, from New York . . .

People are having a cow (I know it should be "people are having cows" but that just sounds wrong) over the fact that Donald Trump will be this week's host of Saturday Night Live. They think it is undignified and certainly not appropriate behavior for a presidential candidate. I guess they have forgotten, or maybe weren't born yet, that during his own run for the presidency, Bill Clinton went on Arsenio Hall's late-night talk show and played his clarinet, or was it a trombone, and answered the now-famous question from a young woman in the audience, "Do you wear boxers or briefs?"

The sad fact is that whatever a Democrat does, like running off with $200,000 worth of goods from the White House, is seen as perfectly fine by the mainstream, while anything a Republican does, be it similar in nature or not even half as bad, is considered tawdry and low. But here's an even sadder fact: They are all pretty much the same.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Let's Play "Find the Asshole!"

Where's Waldo? Look for the teeny head of the eponymous asshole.
Aah, country life -- there's nothing like it. Especially early on a fall morning just past dawn, when the birds are twittering awake and peace lies like a silk duvet on the surrounding forest. Drinking my morning coffee I could almost hear a pin drop, except for the ROARING, HIGH-PITCHED, INCESSANT and EAR-SPLITTING whine of my neighbor's leaf blower that got my teeth chattering. The harrowing sound disrupted the normal course of events for forty-five minutes without a break. Squirrels and chipmunks fled the scene. My cat came racing home, begging to be let in. Deer, always magical and lovely to see in the first light of day as they munch on the remains of our garden, choose to breakfast elsewhere. Then it stopped and I thanked God for the silence, except two minutes later it started up again. (I guess he had to pee.)

Like everyone around here, the guy next door has a lot of trees on his property. And as many trees have done since the beginning of time, they drop their leaves as winter approaches. Some of those leaves land on the neighbor's driveway. He could use a rake (like any decent human being), getting some aerobic exercise and toning his upper arms while showing respect for his neighbors, many of whom are still asleep at this hour, but instead he slaps on a pair of tarmac-worthy headphones and schleps up and down his really long driveway with that stupid vacuum cleaner, blowing the leaves into the woods. He did the same thing yesterday and the day before, and I assume he will do it again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, until the last leaf or the first snowflake falls. I hate him. I hope he gets sucked up into the machinery himself. I would laugh. (I would also call 911.)

I would use his name but I don't know it. But why would I?  He has only lived right next door for two years and we have never met. (That's a Maine thing.) See if you can spot him in the photo shown above. Here's a hint: He's wearing blue and has a head.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

People Say the Darndest Things

Earlier today I went out to lunch with a friend from Connecticut who is here in Maine on business. We drove separately and met at the restaurant, which is located in Portland's busy Old Port district. A little bistro tucked on a side street, it does not have a parking lot but there is plenty of on-street parking available right out front, with meters. The fee is a quarter for fifteen minutes; this comes to about two dollars if you have a long lunch, or less if you don't.

After we each had found a parking spot, my friend expressed outrage that there was no free parking for the restaurant's patrons. "People in Connecticut would never stand for this," she exclaimed. "Nobody in Connecticut would ever pay for parking just to go out for lunch!"

This got me wondering several things. First, would people who live in Connecticut pay for parking to go out for dinner? Next, what are the people living there called? Connecticutites? Connecticuters? Connecticutonians? And lastly, could my friend possibly be correct? I simply don't believe that every restaurant in the state of Connecticut that serves lunch also provides free parking for its patrons, or that all the residents of that state demand it.

If anyone knows the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. The only thing I know for sure is that most people, no matter where they live, will say just about anything, especially when they are hungry.

Truth in Advertising

Before "Magic Hat" she weighed 300 pounds!
I saw an intriguing ad recently for a skin cream promising eternal youth, or at least the appearance of it. The provocative headline asked "Who Has Time for Aging?" Apparently this particular cream, when diligently applied to the face and neck, erases all wrinkles and turns back the clock, making you look like your young self again. And then you simply don't get any older! Because it's made in Hollywood, you know it works.

I am not buying any of that face cream, mostly because I don't have a full-time job, or actually any job at all, so I have plenty of time for aging. In fact, without doing that, I'd have a lot of time on my hands -- too much, really. But what I would buy is some of whatever those advertising executives use that gives them the chutzpah to print that stuff. Imagine the joy in believing that all your dumb ideas have value. If I had some of that, I'd promote a few of my own products. Lately I've been working on a special hat that allows you to stay in shape by just sitting around. If I can get it to be just a little bit smaller (see photo), I think it will fly off the shelves this Christmas.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nowhere to Run

I've always thought I would move to Quebec if the worst happens. But after perusing Canada's official government immigration website I have come to find out that my kind is not welcome there as a permanent resident. Maybe I'm too old or maybe I don't have the type of job they require (I checked "artist"), but whatever the reason, they said in no uncertain terms that I am not eligible. And neither is my husband, who is not only eleven years younger than I but a diligent businessman with a yearning for earning. And we even speak French!

So if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016  election we will have to move to Israel, where at least they will greet us with open arms, but those arms -- theirs and ours-- could possibly get blown off at any moment.

Now I don't know what to do besides pray that the American voters public will come to their senses by next November. Damn those Canadians!