Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alrighty Then

William Archibald Spooner
1844 – 1930
William Archibald Spooner is forever locked into history because the linguistic phenomenon known as a “spoonerism” is named after him. A spoonerism involves the accidental (or sometimes intentional) swapping of letters, words, or vowels in a sentence - for example: “Go and shake a tower” (meaning “go and take a shower”). Spooner was a professor at Oxford and he became so famous for his spoonerisms that people would attend his lectures just to hear him make a mistake. He was not pleased about the great publicity that surrounded him but as he neared death his attitude softened and he gave interviews to the press. Spooner not only got his words wrong: he once wrote to a fellow professor to ask him to come immediately to help solve a problem. At the end of the letter he added a post-script that the matter had been resolved and he needn’t come.

Some spoonerisms attributed to Spooner are:
“Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. Can I sew you to another sheet?” (Pardon me, madam, this pew is occupied. Can I show you to another seat?)“Let us glaze our asses to the queer old Dean” (…raise our glasses to the dear old Queen)“We’ll have the hags flung out” (…flags hung out)

Simon Ellerton
Simeon Ellerton lived in the 18th century and was a fitness fanatic. Because he loved to walk long distances, he was often employed to carry out errands or act as a courier for the locals. On his many frequent journeys he would gather up stones from the roadside and carry them on his head. His aim was to gather sufficient stones to build his own house. Eventually he had enough stones and he made a little cottage for himself. Having spent so many years carrying extra weight, he felt uncomfortable without it, so for the rest of his life he walked around with a bag of stones on his head.

Francis Egerton
Francis Egerton (8th Earl of Bridgewater) inherited his title along with a very large fortune in 1823. He became famous for his unusual dinner parties which he threw for dogs. All of the invited dogs would be dressed in the finest fashions of the day - including shoes. Another eccentricity was his manner of measuring time; Egerton would wear a pair of shoes only once - when he was done with them, he would line them up in rows in order to count the passing days. He also kept pigeons and partridges which had their wings clipped so he could shoot them for sport even with failing eyesight. When he died he left a large number of important documents on the subject of French and Italian literature to the British Museum, as well as a large financial donation to the Royal Society.

William Buckland
William Buckland is famous for two things: he was the first man to write a full account of a fossil, and he was incredibly eccentric when it came to animals and food. Buckland’s love of natural history resulted in his house being something akin to a zoo. He filled it with animals of every kind and he then proceeded to eat them all (and serve them to guests). He claimed to have eaten his way through every animal. The creatures that he said tasted worst were bluebottle flies, and mole. Various guests to dinner describe being served panther, crocodile, and mouse. A famous storyteller at the time (Augustus Hare) told this tale of Buckland: “Talk of strange relics led to mention of the heart of a French King [Louis XIV] preserved at Nuneham in a silver casket. Dr. Buckland, whilst looking at it, exclaimed, ‘I have eaten many strange things, but have never eaten the heart of a king before,’ and, before anyone could hinder him, he had gobbled it up, and the precious relic was lost for ever.”

Now here’s my question. We all have quirks. Which of yours will you be remembered for in 100 years?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Poor Quinn

We had one helluva storm yesterday. Truly fantastic! Thunder, lightening, clouds that made it almost as dark as night, and golf-ball sized hail. Nature at her finest.

I was thoroughly enjoying it and about to head to the porch for a better view when I discovered Quinn huddled in a corner, shivering. Huh? I don’t recall him being terrified last fall but he sure was yesterday. Perhaps it was the hail. I must admit it did make quite a racket.

Instead of going outside and indulging myself I ended up sitting on the floor in the hall without any windows and missing the majority of the storm. Quinn isn’t a cat you scoop up and hold so I had to join him and settle for petting him where he was.

I sure hope he gets over this before storm season starts in earnest. I’ll miss storm watching if he doesn’t but his comfort comes first.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Confession Time

But first, I went to see the Little One in her school play last night. Quite a talented bunch of kids and very well done. What made it even better is that they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

And now, the confession. Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of TV. So what, you’re thinking, right? Well, it’s what I’m watching…Hogan’s Heroes. I don’t know why but I love that show. So much so I own the complete series. But that doesn’t keep me from watching it on TVLand every evening nor from watching today’s marathon. And, when it’s over this afternoon, I’m likely to pop in a dvd so I can see more. Hm, I can’t even blame it on the characters who do, on occasion, dictate my viewing since I finished up the story I was working on and they’ve vacated my head.

Yes, I know. I’ve lost my mind. I admit it. But there’s just something about it, something that amuses me. It’s not nostalgic since I really didn’t pay much attention to the show when I was a kid. Now, however, I can’t seem to pass it up. I even look specifically to see when it’s on these days.

Ah well, who knows what my mind will latch onto next. At least Hogan’s Heroes is harmless.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some People

Have entirely too much time on their hands.

Click here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Berks Jazz Fest

Yes, it’s that time again. Jazz has come to Berks County. From today until April 5, there are 130 different events scattered throughout the area, many of which are free. Some, right at the end of my block. And, since bars in Reading are now non-smoking, I may even wander over and partake.

To check the schedule, click here.

Over the years, I’ve attended various events. The quality of the local talent is amazing. If you’re in the area, be sure to catch as much as you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Not much else happening so have a great weekend. Remember, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do and if you come up with something call me so I can join you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Did Good

Last night was a show night with the little girls, Hairspray. Unfortunately, the Little One had dress rehearsal for the play she’s in this weekend. We had no instant ideas for who to offer her ticket to. After some thought, I decided I would try to arrange a surprise for everyone.

I asked Neeley! Much to my delight, she was able to come home for the evening. I called her mom, Riley, and informed her I had a friend who I thought would fit well with our group. Oops, she was ultra nice and wondered if she should give her ticket to Eva May in case Eva had a friend she wanted to bring since cousin Little One wouldn’t be with us.

You should have heard how pathetic I sounded when I explained that I really wanted her to meet my friend, that she’d heard all about our outings and how she’d be truly disappointed not to meet Riley. Then yesterday, once I knew Neeley was in town, I called and informed Riley that my friend would be meeting us at her house and, on the off chance that she arrived before me, would Riley please let her in and chat.

Yep, worked perfectly! As expected, we had a blast. Dad and the Little One even had time to join us for dinner. And, to top it off, the traveling version of Hairspray turned out to be much better than Broadway one was.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Music Lessons

When I was in fourth grade my school music program asked if anyone was interested in learning to play an instrument. I chose the flute. My parents dictated that I play the string bass instead. You’ll need to ask my mother for their reasoning. I never have gotten a valid answer.

I turned out to be technically decent even though I was not musical in the slightest. At that age technical counted for more than having an ear. In seventh grade I began to audition for all possible music festivals. As I saw it, that was a legitimate way to skip school. Since I was so mechanically proficient, I was always selected to participate and made it all the way to the state level.

One year, I met a cellist who went on and on about how superior he was and how being a mere bassist was nothing. Me being me, borrowed a cello from the school, taught myself the audition piece and the standard scales and, without telling anyone, auditioned on both cello and bass. Imagine his surprise when the list came out and I ranked higher than he did. No, I didn’t attend on cello. I didn’t have to since I’d made my point.

I ended up having a lot of fun with the bass even though it hadn’t been my choice. I went to a really cool music camp with great people, some of whom I still talk to. I also went along with an orchestra that performed all over the UK and ended up spending a summer with one of the host families.

And then there was the summer I took bagpipe lessons. On second thought, I better save that for another day.

I still have my bass, bagpipes too, though I haven’t had it out of the case in years. I might someday. Oh, I did get a flute last year. I figure I’ll teach myself to play it while sitting on the porch this summer. I’m sure my neighbors will get a big kick out of monitoring my progress.

No blog tomorrow. Too much stuff to do.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Great Lines

There was a free movie channel preview last weekend and I ended up watching Enchanted. Now I have the song with the steel drums stuck in my head. Just two lines from it, not the whole thing. That wouldn’t bother me. Those two lines, however, are really starting to get on my nerves.

I figure they’re stuck in my head because they happen right at a line that makes me laugh. The lost princess starts to sing in Central Park, much to Patrick Dempsey’s horror, and the Jamaican quartet instantly joins in. At that point he asks if everyone knows the song, he’s never heard of it. Makes me chuckle every time. As he does when Prince Edward shows up and bursts into song and he says “Oh he sings too, does he?”

There’s another line towards the beginning that I love. The prince pops out of the manhole cover with a chipmunk in tow in all his princely finery, lands on the steel cage, huge sword drawn, holds it to the throat of the streets department worker who just replaced the cover, demanding to know where the princess is. After all is said and done, the only thing the streets guy asks is if the others saw the chipmunk.

Other movie lines I find particularly amusing are:

“You’re born into a family, you don’t join them like the Marines,” from While You were Sleeping and “It’s a helluva day at sea, sir,” from Overboard.

How about you? What obscure lines that have little to do with anything do you enjoy?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Visitor

Day two of spring yesterday and migraine season is already upon me.

I went off to bed, not expecting to sleep, and contorted myself, getting as comfortable as possible. See, that’s the thing about migraines with me. They don’t go away until I sleep and I can’t sleep because it hurts too much. Anyway, I was twisted around, neck stretched, arm twisted, face mashed into the not nearly cold enough pillow, when I felt someone sit on the bed beside me. Yes, it was a someone. Too much movement for a cat. Bixby, who was stretched out on the other side of me, picked up his head to look. When he began to purr, I figure whoever it was had reached across me to pet him. He doesn’t like most people so when he didn’t bolt neither did I.

I waited. Then I heard my grandmother. She’d come for one of her visits. We talked softly. Amazing she could understand what I was saying since I was all pressed into the pillow but she could. Perhaps it had something to do with her being dead over thirty years. Maybe that’s an ability you develop once you die, speaking through pillows.

As we chatted, she fuzzed my hair as she always had when I was a small child. Ever have anyone do that? Catch a strand of hair between two fingers, usually right behind your ear, and then rub their fingers together until the strand was separated and fluffed? Very relaxing. After a few minutes, she shushed me, telling me we’d speak later and it was time for me to sleep. I started to explain why I doubted that was possible but she wouldn’t hear it. She rubbed my back as she used to and I was out for three hours. Not long enough to make the migraine go away completely but it did at least take the edge off. Perhaps she'll come back tonight.
Amazing, yes?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feeling Old?

Here's some games, just for you.

1. Sag, You're it
2. Pin the Toupee on the bald guy.
3. 20 questions shouted into your good ear.
4. Kick the bucket
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over.
6. Doc Goose.
7. Simon says something incoherent.
8. Hide and go pee.
9. Spin the Bottle of Mylanta
10. Musical recliners.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I’ve already mentioned I grew up in the middle of nowhere. That means there was lots of local wildlife. Deer and occasional foxes in the yard, raccoons and opossums on the porch, bunnies, skunks, moles, voles, chipmunks, squirrels and groundhogs scattered about. Back then there were still pheasants mixed in with the wild turkeys.

The one surefire way to tell it was really spring, other than the baby critters scattered about was the first sighting of George, the resident snake. I have no idea what sort of snake he was other than brownish.

Every spring we’d rake up the leaves from the top of the flower beds and pick up any sticks and branches that had fallen over the winter. One of my chores was to then burn everything. Yeah, I know. My childhood was a bit odd in many ways.

Anyway, George lived in the compost heap that was located next to the burning pile. It was framed with a wire fence which I would sometimes lean against while playing in the fire. Until George moved in. He was not at all happy if he was disturbed while lounging in the sunshine and would hiss to express his displeasure. He was rarely upset enough to slither away however. I guess he was in his domain and therefore not about to leave his spot for anyone.

His arrival, though he was a very tiny snake, ended the use of the majority of the compost heap. Couldn’t disturb George now, could I? Over time I could see distinct paths he created as he wound his way through his territory. It really was fascinating, watching them emerge. When I’d go out to burn, if he wasn’t already there I would tap the fence and wait. It never took long for him to join me. He’d curl up on top on nice days and soak up the sun while I torched whatever accumulated debris there was.

George’s reign lasted for years. By the time he vanished, I had quite a collection of skins he’d sloughed. He used one particular section to assist in shedding them, right on top at the side I always stood when we chatted. I think he left them for me intentionally.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just When You Think You've Heard It All

I watched the news last night. No clue why as it’s something I rarely do. Soon as I tell you what I learned you’ll know why.

First there was a story on a new website, Cute As Hell, which the reported dubbed as facebook for pets. You register and post your pet and then others comment and vote on who is cutest. There’s article and tips and merchandise, all pet related. No, I didn’t sign up my boys. They can do that themselves if they choose to.

The second thing that snagged my attention informed me that it is now toad mating season in Philadelphia. There’s a group that is so concerned about the toads crossing a busy city street to get to a marsh in order to mate that they’ve organized a watch and talked the city into posting a detour and closing the street once the toads start a-hoppin’.

In serious news, authorities in Gambia rounded up 1000 alleged witches and forced them to drink hallucinogens. President Yahya Jammeh believes witchcraft was responsible for the recent death of his aunt so he invited “witch doctors” who combat them to come in from neighboring Guinea. These specialists are aided in their witch hunts by police, soldiers, intelligence agents and Jammeh’s personal guards. Amnesty International is now involved in putting a halt to this.

Finally, Linkenholt, England is for sale. The whole village that is. There are 21 cottages, a grand manor house, a cricket pitch and pavilion, 1500 acres of farmland and a 425 acre wood. The only thing not included in the sale is the local church. It’s located 75 miles southwest of London and comes with 40 residents who currently work the estate and would really like to stay on. This can all be yours for the low, low price of $32 million. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Please, be civilized in your rush to snap up this bargain.

I think I’ll go back to living in my nice, comfy void.

Oh, a reminder. Tomorrow is the equinox. Stand your eggs on end.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Check Up Time

I went to visit my favorite neurologist today to see what we might do about preventing the baby orangutan that lives inside my head from becoming active again now that the weather’s warming up. I do so love winter when he’s dormant.

There’s nothing new yet but there is something that’s reached the clinical trial stage so perhaps next time. As always, he decided he was in need of drinks long before my visit was over. At 9:30 AM. And, while we were discussing the bad side-effects of the topomax which I had to stop taking, he once again pointed out that I’m already crazy and that the drug really didn’t cause that. Hm, yes, perhaps he’s correct but my normal crazy isn’t the bad kind. Topomax crazy is.

Actually I suspect he likes my appointments. My migraines aren’t life-threatening as some of the troubles his other patients have are. I ask lots of questions and have been for so many years I understand his responses. We also discuss my books which just makes him shake his head at me.

Today, I wanted to know how I can tell whether it’s just another migraine or if I’m having a stroke. The simple answer? I can’t. Sure, with lots of testing he could discern it but when I’m sitting in the living room in pain, I won’t know the difference myself. Gee, isn’t that comforting? Oh, something bizarre and fascinating he told me. As I age I might stop having the pain associated with migraines yet continue to experience the other effects such as numbness and blurred vision. Interesting and definitely something to mention should I ever wind up in an emergency room.

One last thing. There’s been a study done. Highly trained medical professionals have now determined that fluctuations in temperature of as little as five degrees can trigger migraines. No! Really? I wonder how much it time and money it took for them to figure that out. Silly people. If they’d asked me or anyone else who has weather related migraines and we could have confirmed it in an instant.

In happy writer news, Linked is a recommended read over at Dark Angel Reviews. Thank you, Becky! Click the pic to read it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Know...

You spend too much time on the computer when...

You've gone to an un-staffed AOL room to give tech support.

You say "he, he, he, he" or "heh, heh, heh" instead of laughing.

You say "SCROLL UP" when someone asks what it was you said.

You talk on the phone with the same person you are sending an instant message to.

You look at an annoying person off line and wish that you had your ignore button handy.

Your answering machine/voice mail sounds a little like this...."BRB. Leave your S/N and I^ll TTYL ASAP".

You sit on AOL for 6 hours for that certain special person to sign on.

You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

You end your sentences with.....three or more periods.......

You purchase a vanity car license plate with your screen name on it.

You think faster than the computer.

You enter a room and get greeted by 25 people with {{{hugs}}} and **kisses**.

Being called a "newbie" is a major insult to you.

Your teacher or boss recommends a drug test for the blood shot eyes.

You need to be pried from your computer by the Jaws-of- life!

It's too nice to be inside at your computer. Go out and enjoy the sunshine before it gets hot.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Nope, not yet.

When I was a very small child, I had the coolest toy ever. It was a turtle on wheels. It had a seat and you propelled it with your feet on the floor, not pedals. Bet you’re wondering why that was so cool, aren’t you? I haven’t told you the best part yet. When you bounce on it, it would shoot ping-pong balls out of its mouth.

I’m not sure if it was the Women’s Club or Junior League, my mother belonged to both at the time, but one of them was having a white elephant sale. Well good old mom decided I would donate my treasured turtle to the cause. Needless to say, I was hysterical. Other than my stuffed bear that the neighbor across the street gave me when I was born, that was my most adored possession.

Nothing I could say would convince her to take all my other toys except for the bear if only she would spare my turtle. I wanted to buy it back at the sale but no, she was having none of that either. Not even when no one else bought it and it was loaded up in the truck to take on to the next sale.

I’ve never let her forget it, that’s for sure. Every argument we’ve had since then has ended with me pointing out that she got rid of my turtle. Yes, that always stops her cold. I have yet to figure out if it was me or the turtle she hated. I suspect it was both.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I still have the bear, raggedy though he is. I would have the turtle too if not for her.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sign Me Up

Every year in Kemi, Finland on the Gulf of Bothnia a different architect designs a snow castle which is then brought to life by local constructors. This year’s includes a restaurant, chapel, and hotel. Taking just over a month to create, it is the biggest ever.

Open from January 30 through April 12, weather permitting, you can pay an entrance fee to wander around, book your wedding or christening, enjoy a hot meal with a very cold beer, or for 130 euros ($168 U.S) you can spend the night on a bed made of ice. The temperature inside the structure averages between 5 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit so once you’re settled in for the night you might to stay. Oh, they do recommend placing your clothes between the arctic sleeping bag and lambskin cover so they’re not frosty in the morning.

A very kid-friendly place, you’ll find a snow slide, labyrinth, and carousel made of ice. For adults, there are various concerts throughout the season. No, during your stay at the snow castle you’ll never be at a loss for something to do. Even the halls are works of art, decorated with three-dimensional ice carvings.

Once the castle closes for the season, it is demolished in order for it to melt faster. There is then a contest to see who will design the structure the following year.

Yep, I’m ready to go. Anyone want to join me?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good Stuff

Cashews are technically seeds. They grow at the bottom of cashew apples, a tropical fruit. They are never sold in their shells because the raw shells contain a toxic liquid that can blister human skin, thus their other name, blister nuts. So how did someone figure out you could eat them when roasted?

Friday the thirteenth occurs three times in a year once every eleven years. 2009 is one of them. February, March, and November.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. I’m going to take their word on this one.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes. Hm, okay but would you really want your death certificate to read death by donkey?

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. And it will also discourage people from snooping in your refrigerator because they'll think you're insane when they find your stash of rubber bands.

The Bible only says there were three gifts, not that there were three wise men who brought them. So it could have been one overly generous individual bearing three gifts. Changes everything, doesn’t it? Anyone religious? Can you verify this one?

February 1865 is the only recorded month in history not to have a full moon. I wonder when the next one will be.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite. Not so sure about this one. I checked and couldn’t find anything to support it. Perhaps I’ll share what I did find one day.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. He also had plans for parachutes. Good idea to go with his flying machine.

On six-sided dice, the number of dots on opposing sides always adds up to seven. The odds of rolling a seven with two dice are 5-1.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I had the day off today. One of my errands was to stop in at the old day job and pick up my homemade Easter candy. One of the ladies there makes the absolute best. OMG it is soooo good. You can’t begin to imagine how good it is.

I did have another purpose for stopping in myself instead of asking one of the friends who still works there to pick it up for me. Earlier this week it was announced that the company would be closing sometime before the end of the year.

Yes, I know. It’s a sign of the times. That doesn’t make it any less sad. The current parent company has other facilities and is absorbing some of the functions. Others will be farmed out to China. Still others are simply being phased out.

Many of the employees have been there a good majority of the thirty-five years the company has been in business. Hey, overall it was a great place to work so once hired people tended to stay. Those I used to work with grew up there. A few have met their spouses there and yes, both halves of the couples are still there. They had families and we all watched their kids grow up too. Kids that are now about to start college. Scary thought now.

People who thought they were secure are now facing the possibility of starting all over again in an area that is at the highest unemployment level of all times. In fact Reading has the second highest unemployment rate in the country. Not only will 160 people be out of jobs there but several small local businesses who subsisted primarily on what they supplied to that company will most likely not survive either.

So while I was there I made sure I wandered around a bit to say hello and goodbye to the people I miss. There may not be a specific closing date but I’m sure some will start to go soon and I wanted to make sure I spoke to them before they’re scattered.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fixed, Yay!

There are mirrors on the moon. Astronauts left them so that laser beams could be bounced off of them from Earth. These beams help give us the distance to the moon give or take a few meters. How’s that for useless information? What I want to know is how often the moon spins to the proper spot so it aligns with our lasers and we can actually access the mirrors.

So last night I got home, did my chores and flipped on my computer to post my blog only to find all sorts of warnings flashing all over the screen. I think I even saw one that said “Danger, Will Robinson!” mixed in with the others. I don’t know what happened or how but my computer that was fine in the wee hours of the morning was no longer in the twilight of evening.

I finally figured out which warning to click on that would take me to the how to fix the mess I didn’t create thread. I followed the instructions to a T and surprise, surprise it didn’t work. Yeah, I know. Silly me, expecting it to.

After another long and frustrating search, sans swearing since, as we all know, computers are self-willed machines that will toy with you in ways you can’t begin to imagine if you’re at all mean to them, I finally located the live help option. Guess who I spent the next two hours chatting with? Jayashree Krishnamoorthy. Sorry but I had to laugh when the tiny avatar was politically correct.

Good ole Jayashree was excellent as long as I followed the script. However, when I asked what the hell happened in the first place to cause the problem and how can I prevent it from happening again, he didn’t fare so well. In fact, he muttered something, yes, men can mutter even while online, that made no sense and repeated his original has he helped me with my problem line.

Since he did make it all better I thought it best to drop my question before he got annoyed and undid what he’d just done. I thanked him politely, wished him a happy day, and let him move on to the next poor techno-moron.

My question – Are Indians genetically engineered to be computer wizards since all the tech support in the world seems to be based there?

In other news, all is now right in my world. Harry’s toy reappeared so he is now a happy little playing cat again. I have a release date from Ellora’s Cave, May 15th, for Hot Rush, aka the canoe story. And I have the day off Friday. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not Surprising

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently issued a “report card” on the nations infrastructure. Guess what? It’s really, really bad and was assigned the grade of D with an estimated $2.2 trillion in repairs needed.

Here’s the breakdown, not that it really matters. A D average shows little hope of anything being very good.

Aviation – D
Bridges – C
Dams – D
Drinking Water – D-
Energy – D+
Hazardous Waste – D
Inland Waterways – D-
Levees – D-
Public Parks & Recreation – C-
Rail – C-
Roads – D-
Schools – D
Solid Waste – C+
Transit – D
Wastewater – D-

Pretty sad, isn’t it? Supposedly the stimulous bill should help this by creating jobs in repair and construction, thus spurring the economy. Spending on infrastructure is an investment in the nation’s future, not a consumption of limited resources as welfare and rebate programs are. Will it work? We’ll see.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Today's Useless Tidbit

In 1914 Kimberly Clark invented a bandage made of absorbent wadding from processed wood, dubbed Cellucotton. It was sold to the War Department at cost and used to bandage soldiers’ wounds.

After the war, they needed to find a different use for it and eventually stumbled on the idea of sanitary napkins, thus eliminating the need for women to reuse household rags.

Originally named Cellunap, short for Cellucotton napkins, the name was soon changed by Kimberly Clark’s first marketing firm to Kotex, short for cotton textile.

It took a bit for the notion to catch on but by 1945 cloth rags were a thing of the past.

Yes, I’m sure this is something you’ve always wanted to know too.

Monday, March 9, 2009


There was yet another suicide bomber in the news. It has me thinking.

The people. Are they acting independently or are they designees of a group, just waiting their turn to be blown to bits? I’m asking about little bombings in open, public places, not major events like the World Trade Center. Do you think the groups they belong to ask for volunteers or is the person who was wearing the blue hat to last week’s meeting the unlucky one to be next in line?

The bombs. I know if they’re acting independently they strap them on themselves and off they go. But if they’re acting for a group is there someone who does it for them and then says “Nice knowing you” as they pat the bombers on the head and send them on their way? Are they on a timer so the person wearing the bomb doesn’t know exactly when they’re going to die or is there a trigger that the individual must consciously choose to set off?

The locations. How are they chosen? Let’s face it. In a public place the odds of injuring someone not targeted are extremely high. Do they care or is that just how it is?

The causes. Call me shallow but I can’t think of anything I’m willing to die for. Mothers, calm down please. I’m talking causes here, not your children. Reacting instinctively and dying to save your child is a whole other topic. Yes, being a martyr for a cause might appeal to some but think about it. Wouldn’t they be able to do more to further whatever they believe in by sticking around and promoting it? A suicide bombing is a once and done thing and then that person’s usefulness is gone. Also, any unnecessary loss of life is sad and taking innocent lives in the name of a cause is tragic but seriously, does the news of another suicide bomber have the same impact on your thoughts now as it did twenty years ago? Perhaps it’s time for these groups to come up with a better idea because that one has outlived its usefulness. Hey, just my opinion here. You’re welcome to comment and share yours.

The hate. Is it justified? Within these groups, assuming the bombings are planned by groups, does anyone ever stop to think about why they hate whoever it is they’re about to kill or are they just blindly following some charismatic individual that excels at stirring up those around him without truly making any sense?

I know. It’s a lot for a Monday. I’ll go now and leave you to your fragile illusions of peace and safety.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Saturday, March 7, 2009


Thursday, March 5, 2009


Okay, I confess. I’m bad. I’ve always been bad. Apparently not just in this life since I’m obviously being punished now in ways that are far too harsh to justify with what I’ve done in my current lifetime.

To the cosmic powers that be, my humblest apologies. May I come home please? I promise to behave as best I can for as long as possible though I warn you, I’ll never be perfect.

This place you’ve sent me is coldhearted and unfriendly and it’s sucking the life out of me. I really need to get home, before I’m crushed beyond recognition.

Is anyone out there? Can you hear me? Do you care? Or have you banished me to this wasteland and forgotten all about me now that I’m no longer there, wrecking havoc, being a thorn in your collective sides.

Please, I beg of you. Send help before it’s too late!

Multifaceted Day

Alpha – adjective – socially dominant

Annoyance – noun – a source of vexation or irritation

Charisma – noun – a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure

Confidence – noun – a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances

Deplete – transitive verb – to empty of a principle substance

Empowered – transitive verb – to promote the self-actualization or influence of

Essentials – noun – something necessary, indispensable, or unavoidable

Fascinate – verb – to transfix and hold spellbound by an irresistible power

Frustration – noun – a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs

Overdue – adjective – delayed beyond an appointed time

Pet – noun – a person who is treated with unusual kindness or consideration

Protected – transitive verb – to cover or shield from exposure, injury or destruction

Purgatory – noun – a place or state of temporary suffering or misery

Safe – adjective – secure from threat or danger, harm, or loss

Soothe – verb – to bring comfort, solace, or reassurance to

Used – verb – to behave toward: to act with regard to

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh No!

Harry’s favorite toy is missing and he’s very sad. (Reminds me of a song in the Dr. Seuss Song Book I used to play when I took piano lessons as a kid, Somebody Stole my Hoo-Too-Foo-To-Boo-To-Bah. As I recall, the expression on the critter’s face resembles poor Harry’s.)

Last night `he sat staring at me with his mopey little face, looking so dejected that I quit trying to send him to find it on his own like I usually do and helped. We spent over an hour crawling around the floor, his head right next to mine, looking under things, poking around with the yardstick, taking apart the bottom of the refrigerator but to no avail. This time he tucked it away in such a good hiding place that I can’t find it.

I kept asking him where it was, telling him to go to it so I could fish it out from wherever it’s stuck. He led me all over the house but nope, still no toy. It’s a handmade, blue and green plaid catnip mouse with a green ribbon tail and he loves it.

I’ve already hidden it in the bottom of the toy box and he yanked out the other fifty toys to get it. That’s how much he loves his little mouse. Of course, nothing else will do when it’s missing. Oh, he plays with the others too but only after he’s dropped his mouse in my lap. I think he does that for safekeeping, so no one else can touch it. The one time Quinn tried to pandemonium ensued and fur flew. Yes, Harry has sharing issues but only with that one toy. And really, is it so bad

Generally in the morning after the boys have breakfast he plays while I check emails and write. He’ll bring it for me to toss, always dropping it right on my foot so it’s easy to reach. Today, he sighed at me and took his sad self back to bed. Let me tell you, nothing tugs at your heart like a despondent kitty.

I once again asked the other boys to help Harry locate it while I worked today but it wasn’t in the middle of the floor when I got home so I suspect we’re in for another evening of search and rescue.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In Life

It’s often the little things that make it worth getting up in the morning. Hey, I admit it. There are occasional days when I’d really rather not bother.

Fortunately today wasn’t one of them. I had a nice long chat with a very dear friend last night and I was still smiling when I woke up this morning. Isn’t it amazing how some people seem to know exactly when to get in touch? Or is it just me that happens to? Hm, perhaps I send out an I-need-you vibe or something. Don’t really know but whatever it is, I’m always happy when it works.

Later on at work, (yep, still smiling with no one knowing quite why which made it even better) I opened my bag of Cold Stone jelly beans. Damn if they don’t taste just like the ice cream! Regina, 35 only have 140 calories so you might want to nab some next time you’re at the store. Trust me, they are so sweet you won’t even eat that many.

In happy writer news, my wonderful editor offered me an Ellora’s Cave contract for Chaos, the second in my Cosmic Connections series. Time for me to get back to work on the third. And I will. Just as soon as the new people who invaded my mind move on. But for now I’m having so much fun playing with them that I hope it’s not too soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I read the other day that OK is short for “oll korrect”, a deliberate misspelling of “all correct”. It comes from Boston newspapers in the 1840s when it was fashionable to spell things incorrectly for humorous effect. The joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Get it? However, if that’s truly the case then how did the proper spelling of “okay” come about?
Something else to ponder.

The theory is the common cold could be alleviated if we had a world-wide quarantine. As in we all stay home. See? I’m not being anti-social. I’m doing my part for the common good, promoting world health. But the theory neglects to say how long we all have to stay home. And what about people who don’t live alone? Couldn’t they pass it back and forth indefinitely in a closed environment, thus negating any positive benefits of isolation?

And another thing. Did you know in the proper environmental conditions there are plants that could live forever? Of course absolutely nothing could change ever and that’ll never happen but it’s food for thought. But it wouldn’t be an annual plant. They die soon after going to seed.

Contrary to what some believe you can’t really survive indefinitely on water and supplements. Your body needs carbohydrates, fats and protein for energy and cell repair, not just vitamins and minerals.

Do you know why you get more carsick in the back of a vehicle? Because the balance mechanism in your ear registers movement while your eyes are telling you that you are stationary. In the front you have a better view of the horizon and you can tell you’re moving.

So there you have it. Your useless information for the day. Feel free to add to the list.

And now I’ll leave you with a question. After you cement your dentures in place how do you get them out?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Milk and Bread

Yesterday, at the grocery store, I stood in front of the milk display and laughed. Not only was it fully stocked but there were two rows of gallons stacked on their side on top of the upright gallons. At first I wondered why and then it hit me. There was snow predicted for today. Just a dusting with a possible one to three inches overnight into Monday. But that doesn’t matter. Any mention of snow in this area has people losing their minds. They rush out to the stores and nab milk and bread like there’s no tomorrow.

What I’ve never understood is why milk and bread? Why anything at all? Unless they were planning to hit the store as I was yesterday, why run out and get things they don’t really need? I’m forty-six and never in my life do I remember being stuck for more than three days, not even back when it used to snow here for real. And that was when I lived out in the middle of nowhere on a road that was sparsely populated and not high on the township’s priority list to get cleared.

The people scarfing up all the milk and bread live in the city. Granted, the snow removal in Reading leaves a lot to be desired but it’s not that bad. And there are bodegas on just about every corner if the streets are seriously too bad to drive on.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, yes, I did buy milk and bread yesterday. But I intended to. I always buy milk because there are many days when I have cereal for dinner. I rarely buy bread but I’d already decided on German bologna sandwiches for lunch this week since some lovely spicy brown mustard magically appeared in my refrigerator again. Good thing I was there early because I’d have been disappointed if I had to wait until next week for my sandwiches. I’m not exaggerating. I’m willing to bet that by four in the afternoon there was no bread left in the store. That’s how ridiculous people are around here.

It did snow a little overnight. The grassy areas were covered this morning but there was nothing on the street. So if anyone missed out yesterday they can still make it to the store today. They should be restocked and it is supposed to flurry again tonight.