Welcome to the Slow Lane

Sanford, Salt, Food Stamps

Here I go harping  once again upon the morning news,  I can't help myself. 

Mark Sanford of the infamous Appalachian Trail hike. the one that drifted so far off course that he found himself lost in Argentina in the arms of a glamorous woman to whom he is now engaged.  That SC Sanford is running for the senate.  He's paraded  four handsome, smiling sons into the limelight.  Family solidarity you know.  And, considerate fellow, he publicly stated that the ex-wife would be welcome in the campaign organization. 

Yes, he messed up big time, but many people (probably men) have come up to him and said that his vulnerabilty just makes them feel so much better about themselves.  Huh!  Poke around if you must, guys.  Just spare us lies and public humiliation of the family.  If this behavior is good for self esteem, eeeeeeeeeeek!

Interestingly, Sanford's probable democratic opponent for the senate seat is one Elizabeth Colbert Busch .  That is one Busch I would vote fore.

Fat, Sugar, Salt.  New book lambasting "grocery manufacturers" for scientifically leading us down the primrose path to obesity via formulas so precise we cannot resist being drawn into addiction.  Remember the cigaret doctoring scandals?  Bear in mind that Phillip Morris is now into food big time.  Kraft Foods, I think, among their holdings.  If it worked with tobacco, why not food?

The formulas rely not only upon exact amounts, but types. OMG!  If you think salt is what you buy in the grocery, forget it.  They've got evil salt shapes that stick to your tongue and make you crazy.  So much sugar is added via corn syrup that some predict our veins may some day run with it.  And fat, well, remove, the sugar and add the fat.  Boy, it'll taste soooo good.  You'll hardly miss the sugar and salt. 

Ordinarily, I would scoff and suggest reading labels.   Even in the slow lane, label-reading is wearisome and frustrating with the mumbo-jumbo.  Especially if you forget your glasses.  But there is a rule of thumb, if it has more than 10 ingredients, don't buy it.  You probably can get a sense of these numbers without your glasses.

The most disgusting mention this morning is the fact that 1 in 5 American children live in poverty.  What a national disgrace! This statistic, though mentioned often, falls seemingly on deaf ears.  Food stamps?  Stop stealing job creators' tax money to feed those takers! 

Wouldn't you think the far right, many of who are evangelical Christians, would subscribe to biblical admonitions to feed the poor.  It's not an idea cooked up by Obama.  Though, I'm not a biblical scholar, I don't recall hearing anything about making sure the rich have more than they could ever spend in one lifetime.  Oh, silly me!  I forgot you can't take it with you.           


Cuppa Noodle Soup Under Attack

Morning news:  Three year old child badly burned by spilling cuppa noodle soup on his little bod.  The heads of those who make the cups and those who make the noodle product sold in the cups are on the line.  Before going any further, let me state that no person, big or little, deserves painful burns from cuppa soups or anything else.  Let me further state, no child should be served cuppa soup so hot as to inflict third degree burns if spilled.  What about his little mouth? 

Where are the adults in this picture?  Oh, he was served by his 16 year-old-sister who was probably texting or scrolling with the other hand.  Cuppa soup cup has a printed warning about danger of serving it's product to children.  (Perhaps the words were too long?)Therefore, it seems likely that mom's case isn't gonna stand up in court. 

Maybe she ought to go after the microwave folks?  After all, it was their device that heated the cuppa soup in it's poorly designed cup to the scorching point of flesh.  Hmmm.....that tactic might not work out for mom either.  Who's to say sis punched the right button? 

Sorry, Mom.  From here in the slow lane, looks like the only buck your gonna get is the one that stops on your kitchen counter.   

Moonstruck or Not

More than once, William Least Heat Moon writes of pleasure and intrigue walking by night.  I've slept under jeweled western skies soothed by river sounds and, a continent away, lulled by distant lion roar in thick velvet night   Yet, stray from the campfire any further than discretion required?  Not me!

Closer to home, I fantasized about horseriding at night.   Familiar with mountain trails ridden by day, my friend and planned a night ride.  Saddled our horses and up the mountain we went.  Boy it's dark in these woods!  Well, the moon will be up in a minute.  (Wrong, the moon wouldn't be up for hours!)  Luckily, the horses' night vision equalled their homing instinct, patiently carrying us along the trail now unfamiliar to us being blind as bats.  Frightening at first, this night blindness gave way to a surreal bond with the mare.  I sensed her elegant, beautiful movement as never before.  I was floating in complete trust.  Sadly, my friend did not drift into this lovely state.  She drifted out of my life, but eventually got over it.   

I once agreed to night-hike, led by a trusted friend, braving total darkness, to the top of a Blue Ridge Mountian to await the moonrise.  (Can't remember the name of the mountain but do remember the name of the friend.)  The hike was nothing to her; I felt as if I'd topped Everest. 

The moon teased and teased false moonrise till up it crept, fine and porcelain in cloudless sky.  Totally ignoring the threat of lunacy arising from excessive moon gazing, we stared and stared scarcely blinking, refusing to stop.  Old wives' tales warn against this very thing.   Finally, shivering bodies shook us from the reverie.  I swear fairies danced on the foliage guiding us down the mountain.  It was glorious and surreal! The lunacy was only temporary.







National Potato Chip Day

March 14th and I almost missed it.  The legendary chip, native of Saratoga, NY, was supposedly invented when a crabby woman repeatedly sent potatoes back to the kitchen.  She thought them undercooked.  The temperamental chef finally lost it.  I'll fix her wagon!  See how she likes them potatoes!   And he fried 'em to a crisp.  The rest is history.

I, myself, had an eccentric greatuncle (this guy climbed out the bedroom window while visiting us for a midnight stroll) who made himself a bundle in the chip industry.  A millionaire, according to family history.  Los Angeles, his home, even then was attracting........the unusual. But I digress.

Unlike the age old chicken-egg question, in the case of the potato chip, we definitely know which came first.  But if the church had had its way, potatoes would still be swill fit only for swine.  Spanish explorers were rebuked for including this "leprous" food among booty from the New World.  These original, gnarly potatoes were prounounced evil having never been mentioned in the Bible.  Just look at that thing.  It's like the hand of a leper!  It causes leprosy!

Hungry peasants, risking leprosy over starvation, began growing potatoes.  All went well for a couple of centuries,  Folks were reasonably well fed and no leprosy pandemic cursed the masses.  Tragically, the potato, itself, fell prey to agricultural leprosy, the potato blight. The two-year famine and a quarter of the Irish starved to death or left the country.

Modern science has since cured the potato of it's blight and man of his leprosy.  Still, a leprocal aura surrounds the potato.  In it's modern form, it's a little too starchy, though yummy and sweet.  Deep fry thin slices of it, sprinkle with salt, and it's irresitable.  But sadly, it inflicts modern curse heinous as leprosy: Chips on lips, fat on hips.  Oh, shut up and hand me that bag.            



Bad Hair Day?

A really strange sight.  I mean right there, right there moving through Main Street traffic a semi truck. 

Come, come, surely there's more to your life than that! 

Yes,  but this truck was driven by a woman. 


A woman wearing a head scarf. 

That's illegal in Kentucky? 

She wore the scarf tucked into her jacket hoodie style.  Nary a strand was visible.

You don't mean she was one of them?  

As I live and breath.  

Hmmmmm.  That is rather odd for your parts. 

You bet it is. 

The truck was registered in middle Tennessee where the Bible belt is cinched really tight.  Is she foreign born or a convert?  Either way, a hard path.  If she's foreign, wonder if she's allowed to drive in her homeland.  Did she have a male child with her?  Was her husband snoozing in the sleeper?

And what about that head scarf stuff anyway?  Hair is bad?  A mere lock triggers uncontrollable male lust and erotic frenzy?  (What rot!)  Alas, the poor Muslim woman has hair that is bad, but does she suffer bad hair days?  The scarf, it seems, may have some advantages.    

Sara Palin and the Pope

The cardinals meet to elect a pope; soon the vatican will be blowing  smoke.  The Republican conclave next weekend will do likewise.  To me it's a tossup as to which group is most delusional, both notoriously blinded by their own smoke. 

On one hand, we have an antiquated, medieval masquerade that seems mostly irrelevant in today's world.  On the other, (both of them right, by the way) we have a political party bent on returning to the middle ages. What do you mean?  We had no government then! Exactly.  . 

The Church and Republicans love wealth and the procurers thereof.  The wealthy are revered as saviors:  Indirectly saving your soul with hefty donations; directly saving your re-election with hefty donations.  Neither group seems much interested in the plight of man or womankind.  Bear the children God gives you, my daughter.  For heaven's sake, take a bath and get a job!

As for sex scandals, the Church's rampant, unchecked, unpunished pedophilia outstrips anything the Republicans have hidden so far.  Will the subject even arise amid puffs of Vatican smoke? 

I have to say from the admittedly slow lane, both these groups seem to be, well..... losers.  The Vatican stumbles along in pius parades to nowhere.  The Republicans' proven losers meet to spout irrelevant rhetoric to nowhere.  

Speaking of which, Sara Palin is surely easier on the eye than any papal candidate.  (Wink!  Wink!  You betcha!)   But I'm pretty sure no future pope has an IQ number matching his age.

Ed:  Eeeeeek!  My face is red!  I can only attribute my confusing right and left yesterday to advancing years.    


Shortly after 9-11, my sister and I visited Hawaii.  I'd like to think we were savvy travelers taking advantage of paranoia surronding travel, but that's not the case.  Plans had been in place a long time and having scoffed at travel insuranace, we refused to forfeit our trip (and money).  Besides, if being marooned is your destiny, what better place than Hawaii?  I hadn't lived in Hawaii three years for nothing, you know.  Balmy trade winds, rustling palms, muu muu's and leis.  I love the place.

A few days on the windward side of Oahu, and I discovered that, once in a while, you can go back.   Driving to Kaneohe air station, I saw standing our Pond Road duplex exactly as remembered.  Pond Road, beautiful, windswept, rocky point.  Gorgeous, but we could hear the car rust at night.  We squirted salt from the TV antenna every day; otherwise, no picture.  Mongooses (mongeese?) skittered about.  No snakes in Hawaii.  After lights out, geckos sang love songs in the living room.  We had a big gecko hunt before my parents' visit.  The wouldn't understand tropical house pets.  I loved the place.

An out-of-the-way place, Moloka'i seemed just right to me and the sister.  Why on earth would you go there?  Isn't that where the (gasp!) leper colony is?    Yes, it is.  But it's also a charming, non-touristy place where life is easy.   I remember shopping in a Moloka'i  country store.  A skinny, wiry, old Hawaiian boasted of his young tattooed haole wife pregnant to the nth degree. If he's still among the living, they prbably have a raft of kids by now. 

We rented an isolated house situated on the uppermost point of the island.  The road to the nearest grocery twisted and turned 8 miles atop cliffs before dropping to sea level.  Breathtakingly beautiful green cliffs, rocky shore and rushing tide, just like the photos.  It took every second of 30 minutes to drive.

Though a few wild pigs roamed the lush acres round our Moloka'i rental, the most unsettling wildlife was a mouse housekeeping in the range.  Of course, neither of us had thought to pack a mouse trap.  However, we had cookies of which the mouse seemed fond.  And we had acohol from the grocery.  Hmmmm......Soaking a large cookie crumb lightly in Jim Beam, we went to sleep and hoped for the best.  Morning light and the crumb was gone.  It is not clear whether the mouse died of alcohol poisoning or was merely comotose for a couple of days.  However,  we never saw him/her again.

At the opposite end of the island, a world class kite-maker has his shop.  Having recently read a book by an Indian master flier of kites, I asked the Moloka'i man if he knew such-and-such from India.  Oh yes, he was here a couple of months ago. Can't think why I didn't buy a kite.

The leper colony?  Yes, indeed, we flew via tiny green plane. Access is by plane or boat only.  In spite of it's horrendous history and origins, it is a lovely place.  Charming white bungalows set in tropical shade, flowers nodding round doorsteps.   A handful of elderly peoplel live there by choice.  Leprosy, now called Hansen's Disease, requires no isolation, is treatable with modern drugs.   The few residents stay because it's the only place they know. 

Most people know of Father Damien and his great service to the colony.  Before he came, lepers had no shelter, no food, no medical care, no church.  Father D deserves the praise heaped upon his chubby little shoulders.  But, as our guide told us, "The good father did not take care of himself.  He never washed his hands.  That is why he got leperosy and died." 

On the other hand, Mother Marianne Cope and the Sisters of St. Francis remained healthy.  Not a single one succumbed, even though changing dressings and medicating leprous wounds.   Don't hear much of Mother Marianne, but without her, in spite of Father Damien's good work, the misery of the colony would've been prolonged.  Both are now saints: he in 2009, she in 2012.  No wonder the vibes of Moloka'i are good.

I love the place!  






Spirit Sales in the Slow Lane

I wrote earlier of beer truck delight, that is spotting the until-recently-forbidden vehicle on the streets of my town.  Not just driving through enroute to Tennessee's sinful venues, but actually off-loading cases within city limits. 

Contrrary to local clergy's dire predictions,, gutters do not flow with demon rum, beer, wine, or drunken sinners.  Tax money, instead, flows to the city coffers.  Folks in these parts are mostly dead set against taxes in any way, shape, or form.  Govmint?  Who needs it?  But even the most hardened Tea Party member has to admit the tax is better than driving 50 miles for spirits.

Seven outlets (one for every deadly sin?) exist for dispensing alcohol in it's various guises.  I've not visited them all, but am planning a field trip with a friend when the weather warms.  I have it on good report from the beauty shop that the truck comes to town only once every two weeks.  Naturally, shelves empty in a heartbeat.  I suspect undue influence by  Tennessee distributors.  You can't escape politics even in the slow lane liquor store.

At a more progressive town selling alcohol for a year now, one enterprising vendor made purchase of same the heart  of discretion.  The shop is inside an unmarked warehouse into which the shopper drives.  Behind warehouse doors he/she chooses spirits of choice without the town's curious eyes.  I don't know if a password is required.   

It's hard to believe such places exist in the US, but leave coastal cities behind and dive into the heartland and there's no telling what you'll find.  Bubbles of the past float on the ocean of progress.  As for me, I'm grateful for those foamy little bubbles lacing my pint.

PS  I'm no longer carded at the grocery.  They've seen through my disguise. 


In the Blink of an Eye

You remember folks wearing phone implants swinging down the street free-handed jabbering like the local schizophrenic?  Well, even in the slow lane, the stick-it-in-your-ear phone has been shoved into obsolescence by the Smart phone.  Though hands are needed for these phones, users don't seem to mind.  Enthralled, when not blabbing their news to the world, they delicately  stroke their phones in a kind of cyber-self-pleasure.

Now Smart Phone is developing a device to be scrolled with the eye.  I think they may have missed the mark.  Stroking is just more satisfying than blinking.  How comical, though, to see air terminals and coffee shops full of blinkers.  

Not to be outdone, Google has eye-blink technology of its own.  They've just revealed a prototype of internet equipped eye glasses.  Google Glass has a tiny computer in the upper right lens that lets you do the stuff--video chat, camera, GPS, web search, Face Book, shop, and Twitter--with the blink of an eye.  Fashion wise, Google Glass is a clear winner. The the dynamic Google logo with the double "O's"  lends itself easily to any number of fanciful frame designs. 

However, this blink-of-they-eye technology needs examination.  Think about driving, cataract, pink eye, tics and sneezing.  What if somebody looks over your shoulder and blinks while you clean your glasses?   Rolling the eyes could become a misdemeanor.  Giving the right circumstances, you might blink yourself into oblivion.

Maybe Contact Google is the way to go. 


Horse Meat VS Pink Slime

Though I'm not one to eat horse meat, but I probably have.  During WWII, meat, sugar, coffee, shoes, gas, tires, cigarets and I don't know what else were rationed.  (What concerned me most was the shortage of bubble gum.)  Gossip had it that horse meat was plentiful on the black market; that it often masquered as beef in the local butcher shop.  A particularly stringy, unrelenting, fork-bending chunk of meat?  My parents would laugh, "Eat your horse."

These days it seems most of the world routinely dines on horse meat even though the practice was banned by Pope Gregory III in 732 AD.  The church, of course, frowned upon racous pagan holidays celebrated by wild debauchery and feasting on horse meat.  Pagans were crazy about Epona, the beautiful horse goddess.  Alas, Gregory's effort failed just about everywhere except in the US, the UK and Ireland.  (Would that the church ban on contraception had failed so dramatically.)

I've no doubt eaten pink slime, also. Though US authorities said it's perfectly safe, our European brethern had more sense.  Why would we  eat this stuff?  I mean, think of the formerly waste body parts in it!  Genitals, eyeballs, lips, subcutaneous fat.  Everything but the moo cleaned up with good old amonuim hydroxide, a chemical to die for.  Supposedly, pink slime is no longer added to ground meat, but hey, meat inspectors are on the sequestered chopping block.  (Pun intended.)  Given the choice, I'd unwittingly eat horse over pink slime any day.

Did someboday say it is National Nutrition Month?        




10 Reasons to Abolish Government

I'm taking a far right look into the idea of gutting and abolishing our government.  They might be onto something.  I'm listing 10 reasons worth considering.

1.  Government regulations and red tape are pesky and ridiculous.  In mid-twentieth century, I worked on a military base, a minor government clerk.  Reclamation and salvage, our mission, included dealing with disposal of jeeps to wool socks.  As it so happens, a  waist-high mountain of wool socks  was slated for the burn pile.  My husband, an enlisted man, needed some of these socks.  "First Sgt," I asked, "Okay if I take a couple pair of socks?"   "Sorry, against regulations.  We gotta burn 'em."  Hmmmm.....   It's the only thing I ever stole.  Those socks lasted forever.  

2.  Government doesn't declare war often enough.  If left entirely to the private sector, we might have nonstop war.  Weapons of mass destruction, arming troops, that's where the big money is.  Great for the economy.  These jobs do not go overseas.

3.  Government interferes with the god-given right to own as many guns of any type that you can stuff in your pick-up truck, shed, garage and basement.  This is the American way and creates jobs.  Guns do not kill jobs.

4.  Government interferes with private warfare.  Instead of pretend war in Congress, we could have the real thing.  Think shoot out at the OK corral. 

5.  Government interferes with private travel.  Speeding, texting, talking on the cell, these are god-given rights to kill ourselves and others behind the wheel.

6.  Government wastes money on the needy.  If they're Christians and the right color, some church will take care of 'em.  Most of 'em are slackers anyway that just need a shave and a bath to get a job. 

7.  Ditto above for the elderly.  Everyone knows Social Security is bankrupt.   If they can't get a job by bathing and shaving, well, maybe Obama's Death Panel is a good idea.

8.  Government enforces voting rights.  This is just a silly thing to do.  Who would interfere with voting rights?  Wrong information for early balloting?  Hours in line to vote?  Come on, it's just a fluke.

9. Government gives women way too much latitude.  Pro choice?  How dare they?  Equal payment?  Are you kidding?  Transvaginal probe?  That's different. The government should definitely be there. 

Well, I'm stopping at 9 reasons.  It's just too depressing, the  mindset of the right.  I, for one want universal health care, infrastructure, food stamps and Head Start.  I want stricter gun laws, less war, government out of panties.  I want to tax the living hell out of the wealthy.  

Years ago when I snitched those socks, I could not conceive of today's disrespect for  President and government.  Today, in the slow lane, I cannot fathom it.      



The Picking of Nits

Call me nitpicker, and you'd be right.  Technically, I've never picked nits since modern products controlling head lice make this unnecessary.  Figuratively speaking?  All who know me have suffered to some degree from this glitch of mine.  Believe me, I know how annoying this can be.  In desperation, I, myself, once blocked e-mails from a nit-picking friend.  (For those of you who might not know, this is the equivalent of unfriending on Space Book, er....Face Book.)  Yet, on the whole, I believe moderate nit-picking a good thing capable, with the right attitude, of evolving into critical thinking. (See below, you'll be surprised.)  

I've written earlier about authors and geographical blunders in their works: the little book's graphic with the Colorado River flowing to the Mississippi when instead the once mighty Colorado dribbles sadly into the Sea of Cortez.  Also Merriwether Lewis' blundersome "Mississippi grave."  Oh my, Dear!  He's lain south of Nashville, TN, since the day he left this earth.  Still, these errors, while sloppy, are harmless. 

I'm not so sure when it comes to the evolving of certain words.  One particular word, injury, throws my nit-picking genes into overdrive.  Call me paranoid, but I call it shameful spin referring to war wounds as injuries.  Why?  Because the implication is wrong. The word wounded implies war.  A soldier is wounded in war; anyone is injured in a car accident.  Up until our recent cooked-up forays, battle casualties were the wounded.  Skin, bones and body parts torn, cut, pierced, broken, blown away during battle, these were wounds.   Injury is too soft and kind a word for war.  I'm telling you, our troops are not injured.  It's worse than that.

Does it really matter which word?  Yep, it does.  The impact of war should not be made easier to swallow in any way.  One word manipulation leads to another, you know, and the spinners amongst are betting we don't know the difference between a nit and a gnat.                  






National Kahlua Day!

My quirky calendar marks yesterday (2-26) as Tell a Fairy Tale Day.  Seemingly sane friends of mine whispered the tale that Obama would be king.  He's going to crown himself as soon as he gets our guns.  Pulease!  But, hey, I'll skip the rant.  Pundits aplenty are standing by.  Besides,  I'm so unattractive when I go over the edge.  

Moving right along, quirky calendar says today is National Kahlua Day?  Hmmmmmm....That might be unAmerican.  Isn't Kahlua a Mexican liqueor?  Surfing the web confirmed that though it originates in Veracruz, Mexico, Kahlua is legal.  Americans are allowed to celebrate the holiday.

From the time Kahlua is but a gleam in a coffee bean eye till it's born in a little brown bottle--seven long years.  American ingenuity has cleverly found shortcuts to home-brew the yummy spirit, cutting the time to a few weeks, outfoxing even the Chinese.  Fortunately, the DEA turns a blind eye and homebrew as well as legal Kahlua glorifies any cocktail, cookie, cake, or pie to which it is added.  

In Nahuatl, language spoken in Veracruz before Spanish boots tromped the land, Kahlua supposedly meant "House of the Acolhua."  That looks and sounds strangely like the word alcohol, don't you think?  Kahlua, however, was not waiting for the Spaniards. Although I'm not older than dirt, I am older than Kahlua.  ___________________________  (Insert your favorite toast.) Vive le Mexico! 

Mountain Folk

For 20 years, we lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a small horse farm tucked at the base of Forge Mountain.  It was long-ridged, steep-sided, ten miles long.  Miles away at the other end of this ridge lay a subsistence farm tilled by an old couple resembling Grant Wood's American Gothic.  This couple, however, were not solemn and she, dark-haired, matched his height.

Don't recall how we learned of the Edneys their eggs, butter and fresh milk, but we became steady customers.  If you came near meal time, nothing to do but share a meal, always a huge one, food threatening to spill off the round kitchen table.  Not meal time? Well, here have some apples from the orchard or tomatoes from the garden.  We always  left with more than we came for.  

A huge garden surrounding their cabin supplied their vegetables. Chickens and guineahens pecking through the garden kept it pretty much insect free.  Raised their own meat, and venison was plentiful. A beautiful Jersey cow for rich creamy milk and butter.  Doubt they bought more than flour, sugar, and coffee.  They lived the old moutain ways, but there was a difference. 

Mountain people were wonderful folks, but pretty slow in warming to strangers.  The Edneys, on the other hand, met strangers openly and without suspicion.  They were curious in a friendly way.  Considered your story equal to theirs and wanted to hear it. 

In their 80's, they worked the garden side by side, cooked side by side.  They were still very much in love.  He laughed about marrying the 15 year old who couldn't boil water.  She laughed about hating housework, had to be outside working, packed her one baby on her back.  I suspect, Mr. Edney, a man before his time, helped with the housework.

One day I snapped quite a good close-up of Mrs. Edney in the garden.  The next time I visited them, for some reason, I slipped the photo into the pocket of an old work coat hanging on a kitchen peg.  A short time later she died suddenly (fortunately, she wasn't housebound long).  Months later, I received a tearful call from Mr. Edney.  He'd found the photo and it was the best picture he'd ever seen of her.  He could never thank me enough.

Little enough payment, I thought, for the rich experience of knowing this beautiful mountain couple.           

Crabbing in the Slow Lane

Money talks, but a local TV anchor is something I would never want to be.  Well, you know the local robberies, fires, shootings, all that stuff you'd expect to cover.  But how humiliating to work betwen ads for the strangest products.

For example, the Ear Vac, a kind of hair-dryer looking thing you stick in your ear to suck out wax.  It is unkind and unfair to judge a book by its cover, but the unfortunate woman demonstrating the gadget  appeared to have sucked away her jaw and chin as well.  Watch the 10 o'clock news for a report on the effectiveness of the Ear Vac Well, darn it all, I missed the report, so admit my comments are biased.  (Unusual these days, don't you think?)

Then there's the stuck-together recliner chairs.  Up to six or eight of them can be stuck together.  Each unit has reading light, a tray, and  massager.  Wait a minute, these look just like airline seats !  Why wouild I want airline trauma in my living room?  I suspect the clever Chinese gut old planes, recondition the seats, add a massager.  Voila!  Stuck-together recliners.  And these hideous chairs are available in camo, presumably  so you can hide in your own living room.

As if working between the ads isn't bad enough, how about the ticker across the bottom of the screen.  How embaraassing, headlines like High and middle school teacher sentenced to 60 days for sexual contact with students.  Embarassing because such news deserves full coverage. 60 days?  60 years would seem more appropriate.  Dare we assume a job was lost?   Or was the perp's father Mayor so-and-so?

Another little ticker:  State of Missouri thinking of abolishing  tax break for seniors who  rent.  What! Though I'm not a belter myself, but this is the Bible Belt.  "Do unto others....., Love your brother......, etc.,"  tucked-away ideas for Sundays only?  Are they applicable  to rich brothers and others like yourself only.  This is crazy!

TV ads, ridiculous, yes, but are amusing and mostly harmless if you have a brain in your head.  The ticker items, ridiculous, too, as they slide across the bottom of the screen, in one eye and out the other.  Unfortunataely, they often  spin, are far from amusing and harmless.   

No, I wouldn't be good at it, the TV news.  Besides, though I have most of my marbles,  no longer do I have a good side.  I'm your basic green room horror.  But that's okay.  I like crabbing in the slow lane.              





I've just discovered Pinterest, a clever, interesting website.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  I live in the slow lane, remember?  Anyhow, it struck me as an excellent model for a site I'm considering, a site to be called SPINTEREST.  It will be a place to post, you guessed it, spin.  Categories I've come up with so far are:

Spin the Limelight: Celebrities, prominent and notorious folks working on image.  Spinees must be making a statement, not just thrusting themselves into the limelight.  "I want to make a difference, maybe volunteer in the Congo," Oh, I can't take my hairdresser?  Well, I don't go anywhere without Ramon.   

Spin the Tail on the Donkey:  Cable news and radio talk shows provide an almost endless supply of mucky spins for this category.  Think Bill, Rush, Glen for starters.

Spin the Elephant:  Not an easy task. The elephant party orbits so far out that views and  statements come pre-spun.   

Pour the Spin:  This, of course, refers to Tea Party spin.  These people fall pretty much into the category above.  Already self-spun.

Spin the Bottle:  This category would include, not just alcoholics, but those battling every addiction known to man and womankind.   "My drinking, sexing, gambling, snorting had nothing to do with it. The producer hates me!"

Spinerama:  A spin of considerable length taking place over time.  Example:  Lance Armstrong, figuratively and literally, the King of Spin.

Spinakers:  Quirky little spins picked from local and regional news.  "Beer on tap signals doom for our little God-fearing town!"

My Spin:  Testimonials from reformed spinners.  "I have spinned......"

Spinning Wheel:  Spin from highest corporate, government, or religious authorities.  Heinous spins often ending in cover-ups, disenfranchisement, personal tradgedy.

Spin the Slow Lane:  I've changed my mind.  The world of spin is just too despressing.







Sleeping With Richard Burton

Got your attention, eh?  Actually, as the legend goes, I'm possibly one of the few women who did not sleep with Richard Burton.  You know I'm putting you on.....as he was prone to do himself in the finest Welsh tradition.   Show me someone who claims never to embroider tales and I'll show you someone fibbing in his teeth.      

Would Richard be disappointed to know I had no fantasies about him?   His rich voice (no pun intended) appealed to me, but little else.  Still, given the choice between Richard and Eddie Fisher, I'd go with Liz's decision.   I admit to sharing the world's sleazy interest in the Taylor-Burton scandal.

Was there was a man on earth who could resist the formidable charms and beauty of Elizabeth Taylor?  Even gay men loved her.  Burton, a married man, dallied with Liz during and after filming of Cleopatra, but made no snap decision.  A year or so passed before he chose to leave his wife and children.

Taylor and Burton married, blended a total of six children. Joined at the hip, their life together was good, if tumultuous.   They were generous people with time and money, though he sometimes crabbed about the time.  Richard loved babies, dogs, good food.  Books, however, were his first love and if forced to choose between Liz and books?  Frankly, I don't think she'd have had a chance.  

Before there's trouble of a legal nature, let me mention The Richard Burton Diaries, edited by Chris Williams, written by Burton between 1938 - 1983.  He began diary-keeping at age 14 and ceased a few months before his death in 1984 at 59  The book, a whopping 600 pages, is one of those books that take me a long time to read.  But I love this kind of book,  my bedtime story, a ritual that I hate leaving at the end of the book.  In a manner of speaking, sleeping with Richard Burton

The Burtons were devoted to their extended families, his and hers, devoted to their art, devoted to each other.  The played Yahtze as wel las footsie, but evidence indicates they were probably faithful to one another.     

He struggled with alcohol, weight, cigarettes, bad temper.  Assuredly, he had the actor's ego, but it was latent through most of his writing.  One brief mention of women before Elizabeth.  No badmouthing the ex's.  His typewriter, red-letter days, voracious reading, love of language, travel and the sun--he wrote of day to day living with humor. Not without personal glitches himself, he wrote honestly of his shortcomings. 

Interestingly, during times of great stress, death of family members, health problems, his divorces, he does not write.  Still, it's a facinating read of a many-faceted man. 

Details of the Burton-Taylor relationship?  You'll have to read the book yourself.  You won't be sorry.        

Asteroid Jam

Asteroid jam:  Celestial traffic snarl?  Preserved celestial leftovers?  Celestial rockers having a blast?  Maybe all three. 

Actually it's my personal pneumonic for remembering asteroid belt location. "Making asteroid jam,"  places it between Mars and Jupiter.  Somehow, it seems important to me to remember where this celestial junkyard is located.  I hear you muttering under your breath, WHY?  A psychological glitch, maybe, a phobia? 

I don't think so.  I am amazed by meteorites, asteroid ophans forced to fend for themselves.  The tiniest orphans flung from orbit find their way to earth gently sprinkling the planet with a constant supply of meteorite dust.  Put a glass slide on your roof for a few days without rain.  Take a look at the slide under a child's microscope and there they are.  I find this fascinating.  In my next life of thinking of astronomy. 

A US research team seeks and finds grown-up meteorites in Antarctica.  Nugget and boulder-sized meteorites plucked from the ice are precious tidbits of the solar system.  (I hope a certaim congressional leader, straight from Georgia, does not declare this research straight from the pit of hell.)

I don't need to tell you that robust orphans are not so benign.  People in Russia know this as do the dinosaurs. You also know location of the asteroid belt is not standard cocktail party fare.  It is handy, however, for Trivial Pursuit. 

Valentine' Day

Valentine's Day is pretty important at our house.  Sixty-two years ago it was our first date, a dance to which I invited him.  He accepted and was immediately stricken with appendicitis.  Fortunately, to beat out the competition, I'd asked him early; so though he couldn't dance, he could go.  The rest is history.  Mostly I can't get him on the dance floor these days, but when I do, he still has the moves.  Last year we threw caution to the wind, didn't dance, but ate chocolates for breakfast.

Family history aside, the day that became Valentine's is mythic in origin.  One version says Cupid's beloved wife fell dead when she peeped into the forbidden  box. Cupid loved her so much he took the poor, little dead body to Olympus or therebouts and revived her.  Voila!  A goddess and a love holiday were born.   

How Cupid became this naked little cherub shooting love darts, I do not know.  I do know clever Christians thought it best to keep the love holiday alive, but make it their own.  Enter Valelntine.  A bishop in Roman times who married Christian couples, an illegal act for which he was imprisoned and  executed.  While in prison, he took Julia, the jailer's daughter as a penpal.  No record exists as to the nature of their relationship.  Purely platonic, I suppose.  His last letter amazingly survived and was signed "your Valentine."  How sweet.  Sounds far-fetched to me.  Still, you have to admit Valentine was a fine substitute for Cupid and other heathen deities.  Another Roman holiday safely decked out in Christian trappings.

Cultures celebrating Carnivale and Chinese New Year skip Valentine' Day until later in the year since these celebrations often occur near February 14th.  There's just so much you can do in one week.  Some cultures focus on friendship:  The Finns, I believe, and Latin Americans, ironically, cool and hot bloods, respectively.

Japanese and South Koreans have an interesting take.  On February 14th, men give chocolate to women.  On March 14th, women give men non-chocolate goodies.  (Interestingly, women can signal the end of a relationship by not giving goodies three times as valuable as what they received.  You gave me five pounds of chocolate.  Here's a few butter mints.  Shove off.)  On April 14th, Black Day, a day for eating black noodles to mourn the single life.

Saudi Arabian religous police working diligently to quell this impure holiday have created instead a strong black market for red roses and wrapping paper. 

Indian Hindus and Islamists, aghast at cultural contamination from the West, find their warnings fall on deaf ears.  Ignorning clerical warnings, many Indians love to love Valentine's Day.

Back in the slow lane, I'm thinking chocolates for breakfast would be nice.     




International Flirting Week

Whoooeeee!  Lots to celebrate this week!  And to top it off, it's International Flirting Week.  Need I say more?

Sunday, Feb 10, Chinese New Year!  Year of the Snake.  Couldn't find much on the net.  (Well, you see, I didn't want to buy anything or have my fortune told.)  I wanted the stuff printed on throwaway placemats in Chinese restaurants.  Wikepedia cautiously writes that in an animal race across the river, the fabled Snake wrapped himself around the leg of  Horse,  Near the opposite shore, the clever reptile revealed himself, frightening Horse out of first place.  Snake is considered intelligent, but a bit unscrupulous.

Live near an an asian community?  You've seen these folks in action.  They know how to celebrate.  Feasts and dragons; baiting the spirits, liquid and otherwise; gutters flowing ankle-deep in firecracker paper.   Mardi Gras has noting on Chinese New Year.

Monday, Feb 11, Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk DaySo your dragon didn't win first place in the parade, get over it and chill out.  Tomorrow is.....

Tuesday, Feb 12, Mardi Gras!  Not much recovery time between new year and carnival.  Still, I'm betting there's world class party animals who celebrate both.

Wednesday, Feb13, Ash Wednesday.  No disrespect intended, but for some, the  forehead smudge possibly marks the spot where the hatchet lies buried behind the skull.

Thursday, Feb 14, Valentine's Day.  TV news reports Valentine spending expected to be down this year to under $100.  What!  You mean some people get more than a box of chocolates?

Friday, Feb 15, Singles Awareness Day.  This seems a cruel holiday.  I mean hot on the heels of Chinese New Year, Spilled Milk, Mardi Gras and Valentine's, there you are, all alone.  But maybe it is reason to celebrate.  After all, it is International Flirting Week.  

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Online Dating Service:  More seniors, citizens as apposed to students, 39%, use these services.  You've probably noticed TV ads target older singles.   The newly matched couple make goo-goo eyes, coo to each other in sappy stages of love.  So, what's the problem?

Answer:  Senior users in the online dating business are defined as ages 40-60!  Can you believe it?  Some of us fall apart a lot sooner than others, but in my book, 40-60 is middle-age.  If you're truly a senior, and don't do Face Book, a good way to find guys is at the grocery on senior discount day.  Not that I'm looking, but geezers lurk by coolers.

Using the Bible to Advertise Hip Replacements:  A nearby hospital starts their ad with an open Bible.  From there on, they tell of their sacred healing mission showing smiling doctors and nurses comforting grateful patients.  Next, to the operating room where voice-over says they do more hip replacements than any facility for miles around.  Tacky, yes, but wrong?

Answer:  Wrong because the Bible says nothing about hip replacements.  And the ad ignores Biblical admonitions concerning greed.

People Sleeping on the Job:  Missouri folks fired for sleeping on the job will now find it much harder to get unemployment benefits.

Answer:  Call me a liberal socialist, but the homeless should be exceptions to the rule.

Eating Numerous Chocolates for Breakfast is Harmful:  A doctor warns that Americans eat on average of 22 tsp of sugar per day.  This bad habit may lead to death.  Isn't this going to happen anyhow?  Chocolates being high in sugar should be restricted by those wishing to live for one hundred years or more.  How can this be wrong?

Answer:  On Valentine's Day, I admit to eating numerous chocolates for breakfast, a danerous practice, indeed.  I understand this excessive sugar intake may shorten my life by fifteen or twenty minutes, give or take a day or two.  In the slow lane, I consider it worth the risk.



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