Thursday, August 30, 2007

Frightening Knowledge

There are times that I realize I know things that are a bit scary. I didn't go looking for some of this knowledge that I have and I don't know where I got it, and that is also a very scary thing. That being said, I know what this is:
Yes, that is a picture of a sex swing. (Can't WAIT to see how many hits I'll get with this one!) Now, I don't own a sex swing, have never used one, and until yesterday, never seen one. That is where the story comes in.

Yesterday I went to get my hair 'done.' (I feel like one of those little old ladies when I say that. :)) Anyway, my stylist told me that she would walk me out of the salon because there was something I needed to see. When we got outside, she pointed to the house across the street. There, big as life, in a big old maple tree, in the front yard, was a sex swing. And it has been there for about a month. And the street is one of the busiest in our town. Now the question is: Has it been used since it was put there? And just what time of night do they use it? And... I can't go on--my mind just won't let me continue.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And Now I Buy JEWISH Appliances!

Today I took delivery of this:

(Full disclosure: this is NOT a picture of my kitchen. :))

Yes, after almost 30 years, we bought a new kitchen range. And I am THRILLED! So, here is the story:

The oldest daughter has online Pampered Chef parties and I usually buy something from her. About a month ago, she had her last one and I decided to try one of their baking stones. Both of the girls love theirs, so I figured I would give it a go. A couple of weeks ago, my order came in--I couldn't wait to use the stone. I placed the refrigerator biscuits on the stone--this was to help 'season' it--and put it in the oven. And I couldn't close the oven door because the stone was too big. Now, the smallness of the oven on the old range has been a source of extreme irritation for me since we bought it. I don't have ANY idea why the stove had such a small oven--most people have never even heard of the problem. I could never place a 9X13 pan in the oven lengthwise--it always had to be sideways. Of course, this meant I could not put as much stuff in the oven as the average person could put in theirs, so everything took me longer to cook because of having to cook in shifts. A general pain in the ass--to put it mildly. Anyway, we decided to buy a new range as it was the last of our original appliances to replace. I decided on the GE and we ordered it last week--and today it was delivered.

This range is really over the top in terms of features. First--and what REALLY sold me on it--it has two ovens. I KNOW that the smaller of the two will be the one I use 90% of the time. A great energy saver as the space is so much smaller to keep heated--it takes half the amount of time to pre-heat as the big oven does. The bad part about the two ovens: there is NO storage drawer, so I have to find places for some items. Oh, well, it could be worse.

The range top is ceramic and has five burners. The middle back burner is just for warming, but still... Both front burners are dual--you can change the 'size' according to the size pot you want to place on them. This thing has more settings on it than you can imagine--for crying out loud, the upper oven has a PIZZA setting!

But the part that REALLY blew me away about this range: it is Jewish! There are settings for the thing that will enable it to NOT go against orthodox Jewish Sabbath requirements. Something to do with not being allowed to turn on or off appliances during Sabbath, or something like that--I'm sorry I am not very knowledgeable about this. Anyway, the stove can be set to turn on at sundown and stay on for the entire Sabbath OR be disabled for the same period of time if you program to do so. As I said, it has to do with requirements regarding working on the Sabbath. It just is a cool--but for ME unnecessary--feature. And totally strange. :)

As of right now, we haven't used any part of the stove. Today was spent trying to 'burn off' the new smell from the oven. Many hours of using the self-cleaning feature helped with this task. I'm hoping to give the whole thing a good workout tomorrow. I may even start cooking again! Yeah, right. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

And They're Back!

I have been playing the part of a hermit as much as possible the last several days and that is for one reason only: the students have invaded our town once again. Enrollment at the university is somewhere in the 9000 range, so that is a substantial boost in population for a town that has 20-25,000 people in it normally. Add to that the parents who must bring little Susie or Billy to school themselves, and you have boosted the total number of people that much more. And NONE of these people should be allowed to have driver's licenses!!! Driving around this town the first several weeks after school starts is very good for teaching one how to drive defensively. (Frankly, I think the mommies and daddies drive worse than their kids.)

Of course, my playing hermit is also a good thing--I have kept myself busy getting ready for our 'house guest.' I had to get the room ready as well as clean out closets, drawers, and other spaces so that the nephew will have room for his things. The trouble is, I'm not sure WHEN he will show up at the house! When he stopped by last weekend, we never did get it straight as to if he will be here today or tomorrow. Either way, the house is ready, there is food in the pantry and frig, and I have clothes on, so he can come any time.

The street that we live on is slowly becoming the place for students to live who don't want to live in the dorm. Typically, what seems to happen is this: Mommy and Daddy decide it would be so much cheaper to buy Susie or Billy their own house and rent rooms, than to pay the cost of room and board in a dorm. So, we have several homes now that have three bedrooms and house anywhere from three to six (or more?) students in them. While we haven't had TOO much trouble with students, there are a couple of big-time problems. First, this street is very narrow and it is a dead-end. The dead-end isn't that much of a problem with the extra people, but combined with the narrowness, it is--we only have one way to get off of this street and that is going past the student houses. Sometimes there will be cars parked on BOTH sides of the street and it makes it very difficult to drive between them--especially when you drive an SUV like I do. Also, the students don't always respect their neighbors--sometimes they will park way too close to the mouth of a driveway, or park in front of mailboxes. Some of the mailmen will refuse to get out of their trucks to place mail in a mailbox, so it is not nice to block access to them. Then we come to the winter and our street parking ban. Starting November 1, there is no street parking allowed during the night so that the plows can remove snow. We found out that the ban is in effect whether there is snow or not--K got a ticket the other year in the spring when there was NO snow on the ground and the ban was to be lifted in two days. So, all vehicles have to be parked in garages or driveways. This is a problem when there are only spaces for two vehicles and 4-6 vehicles need space! It gets a little interesting the longer the winter goes on, to be sure.

While I don't like to make generalizations (yeah, right!) I don't have much faith in the brightness of some of the new students that will be living here. The other day I noticed a vehicle coming down the street, followed by another one. The first one stopped and the second one drove past it into our neighbor's driveway and parked. A guy jumped out of the first vehicle and started waving his arms to get the attention of the second vehicle, to no avail. Two guys jumped out of the second one, gathered their backpacks and were about to go to the door of the house when they finally realized they were being hailed. So, they walked out to the middle of the street to find out what the other guy wanted and were promptly told that they had gone to the wrong house. The house they wanted was further up the street on the opposite side of where they parked. Back to the vehicle the driver went and tried to get back in--and couldn't. The driver's side door wouldn't open so he had to go in through the passenger side and push the door open so that he could move the vehicle. Finally, he found the house he was supposed to be at. And this only took fifteen minutes to complete! Unbelievable. It just might be a very interesting--if not frustrating--year.

Cute Kittens

This just proves that some people spend WAY too much money on toys for their cats. It is NOT necessary!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Congratulations! It's A...

C had her (hopefully) once-only, out-of-town ultrasound appointment yesterday. Considering they have to travel 5 hours or more, this proved to be an all-day affair. Her appointment was late in the afternoon, so they took the kids with them and were able to spend a nice amount of time at the zoo. A good time was had by all.

The ultrasound took over two hours for them to complete. I guess the baby was VERY uncooperative, so they just had to keep searching. The purpose of the ultrasound was to determine if there was anything showing that could indicate a problem with the baby--and that would indicate a failure to thrive. (Failure to thrive seems to be what happens to her babies.) Everything looked good, so she isn't scheduled to go back to see the specialist. Thank goodness. She doesn't need the added stress--physical AND mental--during a pregnancy.

She went into the ultrasound with the knowledge that she was having a boy. Everything pointed in that direction--heart rate, etc. They were SO happy because they already have four girls, so another boy would help up the testosterone level in their household. So, the ultrasound revealed--and you HAVE to know what is coming next--that they are having ANOTHER girl! Good Lord, I hope this doesn't mean that she will have ANOTHER pregnancy after this one!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Here we go with another dose of trivia from mental_floss:

--Cleveland last won a major league sports championship in 1964. Since then, neither the NFL's Browns, NBA's Cavaliers, AL's Indians, nor the short-lived NHL's Barons have won the world championship. Tough town to be a sports fan!

--Then again, you have the Detroit Lions. They haven't won a single play-off game in 50 years. They won the NFL Championship three times between 1953-57, but none since. Thank goodness for the Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings! (And this year HAS to be the year of the Red Wings!)

--Zippy Chippy is the losingest thoroughbred in America's history. In 100 lifetime races he placed in 8 and showed in 12, but never came in first.

--More Americans watched the King's "Elvis--Aloha From Hawaii, Via Satellite" concert on TV in 1973 than tuned in for the first moon landing in 1969.

--Elvis is ranked #2 on Forbes' Richest Deceased Celebrity list in 2006. (He was #1 from 2000-2005, then knocked down by Kurt Cobain.)

--Victor Willis, a member of The Village People (and the only one who was NOT gay), was married to Phylicia Rashad (aka Claire Huxtable.)

--Elvis only played five concerts in a foreign country--all in Canada in 1957.

--Casu Marzu, or 'rotten cheese,' a delicacy found in Sardinia, Italy features the larvae (read that as MAGGOTS) of the Piophila casei (a fly.) Italian health authorities and the European Union advise against eating the stuff. DUH!

--A quintillion is a "1" followed by 18 zeroes.

--Carlos Santana was the first Hispanic to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

--Johnny Carson joked about an imminent shortage of toilet paper during his monologue--this while talking about the gas shortage in 1973--and caused panicked viewers to go on a hoarding spree, emptying shelves. Carson was forced to publicly apologize the following night.

--The northernmost point in the 48 contiguous states lies in Minnesota. The Northwest Angle is an isolated piece of land that juts up into Canada.

--The average female opossum has 13 nipples. They are arranged in a circular pattern with one in the middle.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lights! Camera! Action!

On August 5, I celebrated my 8-year anniversary of quitting smoking. Sometime at the beginning of the month, I ordered my anniversary gift--as I have done every year since 'the day.' My gift to myself is always something that I WANT and don't really NEED. This year was no different. The gift I selected this year was a hockey jersey with 'my boy's' name and number on it: 51-Filppula. I am happy.

So, my girls had to listen to me go on and on about this jersey from the time I began thinking about getting it to deciding to order it and through the ordering process and the wait for it to be delivered. The day it was delivered, I decided to spare them having to listen to me again, so I was going to take a picture and send it to them. This would keep me from having to mention the jersey to them and them having to try to pretend any interest in what I was saying. :)

I pulled out the digital camera to take the pic and, wouldn't you know it, the LCD monitor was showing a distorted image. It looked very Dali-esque (The Persistence of Memory)--'melting' colors--except it was more geometric and not as rounded as colors in the Dali painting. I thought maybe the problem was with the batteries, so I changed those. No help. Then I thought maybe the PICTURE would be fine and it was just the monitor that was screwed up, but that wasn't the case, either--the pic came out looking like the image on the monitor.

Of course, my first thought is pessimistic: the camera is four years old, so it must be garbage. This led me to researching new cameras--one of which I found that would be a good replacement for the Canon. But, before I ordered the new camera, I decided to see if there was any way to fix the old one. Wouldn't you know it, there WAS a known problem with the CCD image sensor in some of the Canon cameras and that is what this seemed to be. (As an aside: this is the SECOND camera of mine to have a faulty CCD sensor. The camcorder (NOT a Canon) needed to be fixed for the same problem--that is why I couldn't use it for A's wedding last year!) This little bit of info led me to call Canon to find out how I could have the camera fixed.

I decided to use the toll-free number and contact support by phone. It usually is a quicker way to do things. Surprise of all surprises, my call was answered immediately by a real, live person! I explained the problem I was having and he agreed that it sounded like the CCD sensor. He took some info from me and said I would get the rest of the instructions for sending in the camera by email. This call took place late in the day on Friday. On Monday, I got an email with the instructions AND I got a printable address label to be put on the package. I was to send the camera in POSTAGE PAID and it would be fixed for free. All this for a camera that is four years old, that has been out of warranty forever, and that I paid less than $300 for. I think I like this company!

The camera reached Canon on Friday, so I am waiting to hear from them this week. I am very impressed with the service I received. Oh, and yes, I ordered the new camera. It will be here on Tuesday. And it ISN'T a Canon! (Ooops!)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Teachers--Bah, Humbug!

Before you start ranting and raving at me, I want to say that I admire a lot of teachers and the work they are doing. I REALLY don't think I would have the stamina to do what they do over and over again for year after year. That being said, I will get on with this post.

Most of us, on at least one occasion, have been asked--whether on a college application, through a meme, etc--to name one teacher who was influential in our lives or who we admired most. Whenever I have confronted that question, I have never been able to come up with a good answer. There were very few--if any--teachers that I ever REALLY admired or who I thought did a good job.

Throughout my school years, I had quite an array of teachers. During elementary school, the majority of my teachers--all female--retired at the end of the year they had me as a student. I always wondered if they retired BECAUSE of me--and not because each and every one of them had Methuselah as a student! (Actually, the sixth grade teacher had taught The Mother when SHE was in grade school--and she continued to teach after I went up to the high school!)

Then there was the English teacher I had the beginning of high school. It was her first year of teaching, so she was young, hip, and encouraged each of her students to be her friend. She gossiped to us about the other teachers and listened to all of our secrets--and ignored our 'confessions' of wrong-doings. This continued till close to the end of the school year when, suddenly, she ratted us out to the principal and got us into trouble. Now, we weren't in trouble over drugs or booze or anything major--it just was minor infractions, but still. I guess she needed SOMETHING to ensure her employment for the following year.

Anyway, our school district had some terrible teachers, but here are some stories that most people will find hard to believe. They ARE true--trust me.

In our high school, we had one math teacher for the higher math classes. Those who took four years of math got to see him every damn school day for all of those years. I was one of those who got to be in his class every single year. While I didn't always agree with his teaching methods, we got along fine and I did manage to learn quite a lot from him.

As is the case with all student/teacher relationships, the students, at least, get together and bitch about the teachers. There always is something to complain about with one teacher or another and when you are in the exact same classes with virtually the same people year after year, you have the tendency to hang out with each other and get to know each other well. At one point during senior year, I realized one of the girls wasn't going along with the bitching about the math teacher with the rest of us. I dismissed it as nothing and forgot about it--until about a year after we graduated.

'Math girl' babysat for the math teacher and his wife for years while we were in school. This wasn't that unheard of--especially because her family was a little more of the 'better' class of people in our town. Then, about a year after we graduated they got married. Obviously, they were getting 'together' while we were seniors--hence, her refusal to chime-in with the teacher bashing we did. To this day, the whole thing creeps me out. And they still are married and had a kid together. He continued working at the school until his retirement. It was very strange to go to our class reunion and have him there as the husband of one of our classmates. Ick!

While the story of 'math teacher' is creepy, it doesn't come close to the story of 'basketball coach' and 'English teacher.' These two were youngish--probably around 30 or so--and were close friends. They loved to go to the neighboring town and 'drink' their lunch on many occasions. How did we find this out? Because of the great 'drinking age of 18' experiment. Several of the kids in my senior class turned 18 before we graduated--my hubby among them--and they would go to the same watering hole for a beer whenever they decided to leave school. Sometimes they left just to leave, other times they would be going somewhere else for a class, but if time permitted, they would stop for a beer. And this was when it was discovered that these two teachers spent many of their lunch hours in a bar.

'Basketball coach' was the poorest excuse for a teacher I have ever seen. He taught a required class that I had in 7th or 8th grade and, even then, I thought he stunk. Thankfully, I never had to sit in his class ever again, but I have heard enough from others about his classes. The majority of the time he showed movies or (anyone remember these?) film strips. He gave enormous amounts of multiple-choice quizzes and basically left the class to itself whenever possible. One story I CAN relate, because I saw it for myself. As a senior, I was in charge of the finances for the yearbook. During our yearbook ordering period, I was required to count the money and bring it to the superintendent's office to be placed in the safe where it would, eventually, be put in the bank. This worked out fine for me, as I didn't have a class right after lunch, so time wasn't a problem. So, this one day, I walked into the office and saw 'basketball coach' chasing the superintendent's secretary around her desk--LITERALLY!!! She was giggling like a school girl and he was red-faced and out of breath! Now, WHO do you think was more embarrassed, them or me? And the beauty part of this: he had a class that he was supposed to be teaching in the room across the hall. But, they were watching a film strip, so it was all okay. Un-freaking-believable!

'English teacher' was married and had kids. ('Basketball coach' was, too, but divorced sometime while I was in school.) It was common knowledge that he had an affair going on with a former student of his--one which began while she was still his student. She was a few years older than me and was in college. Word was, she would send any correspondence for him to the school so that his wife wouldn't find about it. This went on for years. The student graduated and went to work at the same school as a teacher. They eventually married each other and are still together today. They each attained the position of principal before their retirements. They were highly respected. A GREAT place I graduated from, huh?

While most of the teachers I had weren't as bad as the ones I have mentioned, most were quite unmemorable. However, I DO have to tell about two teachers I actually liked.

I adored my physics teacher. He was a kind, gentle man and NEVER should have been a high school teacher--he was too brilliant! The man was not able to 'dumb down' enough to explain things to us so that we could understand what he was talking about. I truly don't believe I learned much of anything in his class--just wasn't able. He was very tall and lanky--he reminded me of Lurch from The Adam's Family TV show--only he was better looking. He was a bright spot during my high school years. He DID leave the school the year after I was in his class--another teacher I ruined forever!

The other teacher that I can't complain about was my biology/chemistry teacher. I admired him and for one reason: he was there to teach and that is what he did. He didn't engage in the foolishness or politics that the other teachers were part of. He was a teacher and we were his students and that is how it was. No one ever knew anything about his private life--only that he wasn't married. The only time he set foot in the teacher's lounge was to get his mail from his box--you NEVER had to knock on the lounge door to find him because he was always in the lab if he wasn't teaching a class. He did his job and he did it well.

So, there is my tale of the teachers. I often wonder how bad things are there NOW if they were that bad back then! Interesting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another Way To Look At It


The about-to-turn-4-year-old granddaughter followed her mother into the bathroom. Not finding anything more exciting to do, she proceeded to jump up and down on the bathroom scale.

"You know," she said to her mother, "when you jump up and down, you get a higher score!"

So, from now on I will just consider my weight gains a 'higher score!'

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thank You

You guys are just great and I thank you for the comments about Vegas. They will be very helpful while I finish up the planning for the trip.

meleah: I hear you when you say how exhausted you are when you get home. I did a mock-up flight and hotel room reservation and the flight alone will KILL. Leaving from our local airport at 9:00 AM will get us to Vegas at 3:00 PM. That isn't too bad--and we only have to change planes twice. (Oy!) However, coming back, we leave at 8:30 AM and don't get home till 10:00 PM! That will be one very long day--ESPECIALLY our almost 6 hour layover in Madison, Wisconsin! I guess I will just have to actually GO to the travel agent and get this planned out for me. :)

Dazd: I definitely will send an email to Carmen--thanks for the link!

kristi: We DID hear about Fremont St--the good AND the bad. We plan on going to see the lights and then high-tail it back to the Strip! I almost decided we should stay at the Bellagio--cost be damned !--but it is a little too high end for us. We are simple people--McDonald's was a big night out just a few years ago--so I don't think we would feel very comfortable there. I'm leaning toward Treasure Island right now--a co-worker of the hubby stayed there recently--and the reviews on Trip Advisor have been good. People LOVE the MGM Grand on Trip Advisor, but I want to stay more in the middle of the Strip--MGM is too far out. We have been told that the pirate show is just not what it used to be--nothing I will be waiting to see, for sure.

While we WILL do some gambling in Vegas, it won't be a whole lot. We play slot machines and that's about it. I KNOW I could play Texas Hold-em, but I would NEVER try my luck at a big casino. NOBODY wants a newbie at a gaming table. :) What I want to do the most is sight-see and people watch--and the people watching is very much the best part of going somewhere like Las Vegas. Of course, we will be seeing Elton John in concert, but haven't decided where else we will go. Time will tell.

So, if anyone else has any advice, please add to the comments. They all are appreciated.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sin City

It has been decided that we WILL be going to Las Vegas in a couple of months. I KNOW we will have a great time. However, this will be our first trip there, so I am asking for your help. Please, will anyone who has been to Vegas let me know a few things: Where is/are the best place/s to stay? Are there any 'must-sees' there? Generally, what can I expect? Thanks in advance for any info/help you can give!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Sky Is Falling!!!!!

(--A Perseid fireball photographed August 12, 2006, by Pierre Martin of Arnprior, Ontario, Canada.)

On Sunday, August 12, the yearly light show that is the Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak. This is the one time of year when you can see many--even DOZENS--of meteors every hour. Estimates are you will be able to see one or two 'falling stars' per minute. The added bonus this year: the moon will be in its 'new' phase, so there will be no moonlight to detract from being able to see the shower.

The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. When the Earth and the comet's tail intersect, any small bit of dust that hits the atmosphere will create a streak of light, or 'falling star.' The show begins around 9PM and the amount of meteors increase until just before dawn on Monday morning when you could see one or more per minute.

The youngest daughter and I watched this wonderful show many, many times. It is something you definitely cannot miss--and you will never forget. While the best viewing is on the 12th, there should be an increase in meteors already and should continue for a few days after Sunday. Of course, it is best to look up when you are away from city lights, but we were able to see quite clearly here in our town. We don't rival New York City in terms of lights, but we DO have a streetlight across the street from us and we had a wonderful show to watch. So, circle your calendar now and make it a point to watch the sky on Sunday!

For more on the shower from NASA, go here. The Wikipedia article on the Perseids is here.

In The News

Famous people born on this day who
are actually older than me:

Donny Most
Robin Quivers
Keith Carradine
Connie Stevens
Dustin Hoffman
Mel Tillis
Esther Williams
Dino De Laurentiis


Kathy Hilton--Paris' mother--said the hardest part of her daughter being in jail was 'seeing the rashes on her arms and face from the thin sheets' she had to sleep on. I need to know WHAT kind of drugs this woman is taking--it would be nice to live in that fairyland once in awhile! Read the rest of the story here, if you think you can do it without puking!!!!


So, to EVERYONE'S absolute surprise, Star Jones has confessed to having gastric bypass surgery and that is how she lost all of her weight! I definitely wouldn't have guessed, would you? Why doesn't she just go away--enough is enough. If you want to read the story, you can go here.


One of Oprah's dogs has died. For anyone who has/had pets, the death of one is a very sad, tragic thing. For this dog to die was tragic in more ways than one--it died needlessly! The poor thing died because it swallowed a ball it never was supposed to play with--the ball was the toy of another one of her dogs. Excuse me, but aren't you supposed to put dangerous toys away from your animals? She says her dogs are her 'children'--well, don't you 'dog-proof' your home just as you 'child-proof' your home? So, so needless. Here's the story.


Madonna paid--out of her own pocket--for the Child and Welfare Services director from Malawi to come and check on her and the child she is trying to adopt. Also, she gave the director some other money--all without government approval. And then some people wonder why she is accused of 'buying' the child. Hmmmmm. The rest of the story.


Actor Ving Rhames's dogs are suspected of attacking and killing a caretaker on his property. There are no eye witnesses, so an investigation is still on-going. At the very least, the dogs mauled the man and at the worst, they killed him. The story is here.


Supposedly this past weekend, Lindsey Lohan went--ONCE AGAIN--into rehab. This time she is supposedly in a facility in Utah. Ah, does anyone care at this point? Does anyone believe this will work this time? Unbelievable. A short article here.


Barry Bonds is now the new home run king. Big whoop. It is too bad that so many questions are attached to his winning the title. Sports just ain't what they used to be. The story here.


Lee Hazlewood has died at the age of 78. He wrote 'These Boots Are Made For Walking.' The story here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Famous people born on this day who
are actually older than me:

Garrison Keillor
"The Amazing" James Randi
Stan Freberg

(not a whole lot today!)


My goodness, but it has been a long while since I've done one of these, so here goes. As usual, these come via mental_floss.

--When Lincoln's body was exhumed in 1901, observers reported that his hair and beard were intact, but his eyebrows had disappeared.

--In 1703 on the colonists' market, Native American scalps in Massachusetts earned a bounty of 12 pounds each.

--In the 1940s and 1950s, the grass surface on most mini-golf courses was actually goat hair that had been dyed green.

--In 1930, there were 32,000 speakeasies in New York City--more than twice the number of legal drinking establishments in town BEFORE Prohibition.

--12 to 15 million spectators typically line the route of the Tour de France.

--1904 was the year the first case of cheating during the Tour de France was documented.

--In 1975 the beaver was adopted as the official symbol of Canadian sovereignty.

--Nelson Rockefeller, the former US vice-president, died while 'entertaining' his mistress at a townhouse he'd purchased for her.

--Henry Ford said the Model T was available in any color "so long as it was black"--or so the legend goes. Totally false, however. From its introduction in 1908 until 1913, you could get the Model T in several colors, including red, grey, blue, and green.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Slightly Creepy Songs

Sometimes we find a song that is really quite good, but after thinking about it for a while, we realize it is just plain creepy. I found a few that fit in this category.


Every Step You Take by The Police

I LOVE this song--have since it first came out. On first listen, it seems like a beautiful love song. Here is a man so very in love with a woman--so in love that he can't think of anything else but her. Then you really HEAR the lyrics and begin to understand that this is a demented individual!

"Every single day and every word you say

Every game you play, every night you stay

I'll be watchin' you"

Yeah, a little creepy. The words of a stalker, for sure. Good song as long as you don't think too much about it! :)



Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen by Neil Sedaka

This is a fun, catchy song to sing along to. Nothing really wrong with the words, until you see Sedaka singing them during his 'come-back' phase. This was in the mid-1970s when he was about 36 years old. Listening to a 36-year-old man singing these words is more than a little creepy:

"Tonight's the night I've waited for

Because you're not a baby anymore

You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen

Happy birthday sweet sixteen"

SEEING him sing the song brings the point home even more! (Don't know how old he was in this video, but DEFINITELY too old to be singing to a 16-year-old! The audio and video are not in synch in this clip, but I couldn't find a better one.)



You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr

I like Ringo and like his songs. Once again, very catchy, pop tunes--good to sing along to. BUT, he DEFINITELY was too old to be singing this song to a 16-year-old! EWWWWWWWW!!!! Please, a man of 33 (his age when he recorded this) should NOT be singing lyrics such as this--especially when they are aimed at someone so young:

"You're my baby, you're my pet

We fell in love on the night we met

You touched my hand, my heart went pop

Ooh, when we kissed I could not stop"

Sorry, but this, too, just screams 'pedophilia' to me!



Those are my top picks for 'creepy songs.' If anyone has any others, put them in the comment section!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ring, Ring

I talked to each of the girls for over an hour and a half tonight--another night of marathon talk fests. Last night, I spoke with each of them for at least two hours. I told them that they talk to me more NOW than they EVER did when they lived in this house! Strange how times can change.

However, I told C one time that I think the only reason she calls me is because there is no one else to talk to, or that she is bored. She just laughed. But it is quite true--I will be awake at hours when others are sleeping and I very rarely won't talk because I have other things to do. If nothing else, the girls know that I am pretty much always available for them on the phone.

It is nice that they call. There were very difficult times with both of the girls in the past, so I am grateful things are pretty good between us. Now if I can only find a way to keep my ear from going to sleep during those long conversations! :)

Telephone 2

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Shows

Because it is summer, there aren't very many new series on TV. Cable networks, however, have begun to change that. We no longer have to wait till the fall for the new season--several cable networks have new seasons every few months and the new season has just started for some shows. Today I will write about two shows that have just aired their second episodes for the summer. One of these shows was over-hyped and one wasn't advertised heavily at all. Here goes. (Spoilers will show up!)


TNT hyped this show to death. I swear they put on an extended commercial to promote this show every hour during the evening programming. I guess if you have Holly Hunter as your star--she DID win an Academy Award, after all--then you want to make sure people will hear about your show. (As an aside: Will SOMEONE PLEASE throw this girl a sandwich! I have seen pictures of concentration camp inmates with more meat on their bones. Or, at the very least, will you stop showing her nakedness!? Not attractive at all.)

Hunter plays an Oklahoma City detective. Through two episodes of this show, I still am not sure why they even bother making any to-do about her job. It just seems to be incidental--they don't spend enough time on the cases she is working on and they almost seem to get in the way. I guess they needed her to be a cop so her best friend, who happens to do all of the CSI stuff for the police, can test all of the angel evidence Grace comes up with.

Yes, people, I said angel. You see, Grace is a wreck. She is an alcoholic, she is a slut, she is an adulterer, she has no belief in God--and she doesn't seem to know how to clean up her house to save her life. When she hits and kills a man while driving drunk, she calls on God to help her, so an angel is sent to her as a last-ditch effort to help her straighten out her life. The angel is something else, too. He is a slovenly, long-haired, tobacco chewing, homeless-looking sort. Nothing stereotypical here. Michael Landon, he ain't.

I don't know what the show is trying to be. There isn't enough about the crime of the week happening to make it a crime/cop drama. It definitely isn't 'Highway To Heaven' or 'Touched By An Angel'. It wants to 'push the envelope' and see how far things can go before the censors scream 'STOP!' I thought 'The Shield' got away with things never before seen on non-HBO TV, but this show seems to put things in just because they can. And that, I think, is the problem: there is just too much in the show that seems to be in there for shock value. Not enough has been done in character development, and that is too bad. It seems to jump around too much--too much going on and not enough time spent on anything to hook you. I think the show could have been good without being sappy. Too bad they haven't come up with a solid direction for this show. And the shocking, unexpected shooting of Grace's boss at the end of Monday's show isn't really enough to make me want to spend any more of my time watching it. Sorry, but this one is being put on my 'do not watch' list.



I believe Fx has a hit with this show. Come on now, with Glenn Close and Ted Danson as two of the main characters, how can you NOT?

This show is a legal thriller. Glenn Close is the best litigator in the US and she represents the class action suit against Ted Danson, an allegedly corrupt, extremely wealthy, CEO. A young, newly hired lawyer--played by Rose Byrne--is the 'central character.' At least, the story seems to revolve around her.

The show jumps back and forth from the 'now' to the 'past.' In the 'now,' we know that the fiance of Byrne's character has been murdered and she is sitting in jail as a suspect. We also know that she DOESN'T call her boss, Close, to come and help her. It seems as if the show will continue in this same manner until the timelines merge. Obviously (?), the murder has something to do with the lawsuit--but it definitely ISN'T clear as to who is the bigger villain: Danson or Close.

Close is an absolute joy to watch. She can be the sweetest, almost motherly, person one minute and the most vicious bitch the next. The transformation from one to the other is so sudden that you are just as surprised as the character she is dealing with. She has to be thanking her lucky stars for being given this role-of-a-lifetime.

For anyone who only thinks of Ted Danson as 'Sam' from 'Cheers,' this role is a shocker. He is quite a smarmy character--and will probably do anything to make this whole lawsuit go away. (Just because he finally DID call off the hit on the witness, doesn't mean he ISN'T willing to do anything.) It was actually quite brilliant to have him call for the 'hit' as they did: in the backseat of his car after having sex with a hooker and after snorting cocaine. This after showing how much he cared for his family. REALLY upped the smarmy level for him.

I'm loving this show, but I feel it should only be a one-season show. I don't think they can sustain it for longer than that. The story should only go as far as solving the mystery of the murder and that's it--cause that will also be the settlement of the lawsuit and then at least ONE of the main characters will have to go away. They really can't keep this lawsuit going for more than the one season or it will become too boring--no matter how much goes on. It would just feel too dragged out. Once the lawsuit is over, there is no reason for Danson to stick around. I can't see the show without Danson--he is just too good. And to keep the show going just to watch Byrne become a hardened person like Close isn't going to make it. All in all, a great show and one I happily put on my 'do not miss' list.

Bridge Collapse

There were a few tense moments for me earlier this evening when we accidentally saw the first reports of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. (Hubby was channel-surfing, as usual, and happened upon the story just minutes after it happened.) While our youngest lives in St. Paul and NOT Minneapolis, there are a lot of people that don't know there is a difference, so we weren't satisfied that all was well until I talked to her. Of course, she wasn't home when I first called--thank goodness for cell phones! I actually gave her the news about the bridge--she hadn't been watching the news so had no idea what was going on. A very, very tragic story. I can't imagine what some people are going through this hour. Long term, this bridge being out of commission is going to really disrupt traffic. 150,000-200,000 vehicles use the bridge on a daily basis--now they have to find different ways to get to their destinations. I'm sure this story will be in the headlines for many days to come.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Construction Site 2

What is it about us that makes us want what we can't have? When on a diet, all I ever think about are the foods on my 'no' list--and that is ALL I want to eat. When someone tells me I can't do something, that is EXACTLY what I want to do. Human nature, I guess.

Today, the temp was hovering in the 90 degree area all day. I didn't want to leave the house and have to put up with the heat. Thank goodness, I didn't need to go anywhere. All well and good because I COULDN'T go out: the public works department was working on the sewer pipe at the top of our street, so I couldn't go anywhere even if I wanted. Yet, all I could think about was how unfair it was that I was stuck in the house against my will! (We live on a dead-end street, so the work completely cut us off from being able to drive off of our street. Of course, K parked one of our vehicles on the other side of the construction in case we HAD to get somewhere--we just would have had to walk a couple of blocks to get to the vehicle.)

I have always had the nature where if I am told I CAN'T do something, or I HAVE to do something, I want to do just the opposite. Even if it is what I wanted to do in the first place! When I was pregnant for my second, I was put on bed rest for about a week. Now, any woman who chases after a five year old child day in and day out, DREAMS of being able to stay in bed and do nothing. BUT, the minute I was told I HAVE to stay in bed, it was the LAST thing in the world I wanted to do. It actually ranked below 'clean up the mess the child with the flu just did' in terms of what I wanted to do.

And so, today, I felt as if I was a prisoner, trapped and forced to do something I didn't want to do. And as soon as the road opened up again, I felt no need to leave the house! Freud would have had a field day analyzing me! :)